… but that’s okay.

Independently living for two months now made me ponder and realize a lot of things – things I wouldn’t have learned if I was still living in my comfort zone. In fact, I wish they’ve taught us this in school, or that I was raised ready for it. Well, I guess, learning it the hard way makes it a bit more rewarding, or so I tell myself.

But I’m not writing this post to talk about how difficult or costly it is to live by yourself in the city, I’m here to share an epiphany I had while I was doing or not doing (rather) my household chores.

Back then, we have a helper that does most of the things around the house and the only time I help out is whenever I wake up early and without hangover on Sunday mornings. During those moments, I quite disliked how meticulous the house has to be kept but I got no choice but to do as my stepmom likes, because after all, I’m still mooching off her and my dad.

Little did I know that her thing for cleanliness would set a standard for me as I leave the nest. During the first month in my condo, I diligently cleaned everyday (sometimes more than twice a day), without fail. My 24.0 sq. meter unit is tidier than I expected it to be. I’m a tad surprised, if I was being honest – I was never one to keep my room my tidy.

But then came long meetings, tedious tasks, fatigue from working out, and bouts of sadness and anxiety from a major issue my family had to go through that hindered me from doing my supposedly daily routine. There were moments that I’d rather be lying on the bed, doing absolutely nothing but listen to my breathing rather than sweeping off that bundle of hair fall on the floor. It wasn’t a complete mess, but it was for from my standard, let alone perfect.

It went on from time to time, when my emotions got the best of me. And then one night, as I was doing the dishes that’s been sitting on my counter throughout the day, it dawned on me: It’s okay.

It’s okay to come short of your standard.
It’s okay to fall far from perfect.
It’s okay to hit and miss, sometimes.
It’s okay to stay down for a while when life knocks you out.

What matters is that you keep going, you keep trying, you keep pushing.
Dory was right after all: just keep swimming.

Not Your Ordinary Salmon

I have always stayed away from the kitchen. ALWAYS. The times I cook when I was still staying at our family home resulted to either injury, smirks of disappointment, or worse, combination of the two. It didn’t help that we still have a helper inside the house that takes care of the household chores. So when I decided to put my foot down and seek out the independent life, I had no clue how the hell am I going to feed myself.

Dining out isn’t an option for me, at least, given that the Philippines is still badly affected by the pandemic and of course, it’s gonna take a fortune to be dining out all the time. I can opt to have food delivered by meal plan businesses or from small local food stores but combining its costs will also take a huge chunk out of my budget. The best way to keep me and my wallet healthy is to learn how to cook.

It’s been almost two weeks now that since I moved in to my condo unit and after filling up my ref with groceries, I realized that I completely suck at grocery shopping. I ended up buying incomplete ingredients, stuff I don’t necessarily need (I have a whole level of my ref with beers and chips), and produces that I don’t know how long they’ll be good for.

I may be good inside the academe, I may have take on numerous tests, and even passed a licensure exam without much trouble but I am in utter surrender to the fact that I am yet clueless to the things that matters most in real life. I am taking it as a challenge and allowing myself to learn from experience, even if this feels like it’s the hard way.

At the start of my journey, I was able to whip up a truly delicious grilled cheese sandwhich and Filipino Pork Adobo. But what truly inspired me to write is the Pan Seared Salmon I did for lunch today. Not only because it ended up having perfectly cooked meat, and surprisingly delicious, it also challenged me to improvise and cook by my guts instead of the page of the recipe.

I am far from being an expert, I am not even knowledgeable, but I was able to come up with a Pan Seared Salmon with Calamansi Garlic Butter and if you’re interested, continue to scroll down.


Ingredients:

Salmon Calamansi

Butter Salt

Garlic Pepper

Oil

  1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves horizontally. Personally, I like to use plenty of garlic.
  2. Slice the calamansi in half. (It was supposed to be lemon but I forgot to include it in my grocery list.)
  3. Pat dry the salmon using paper towels.
  4. Rub some salt and pepper on both sides of the salmon.
  5. Put a little bit of oil in your pan and set the heat to medium.
  6. Cook the salmon skin side up first for like four minutes first or until you think the flesh is crusty or crispy?
  7. Flip the salmon and put in some butter and add in the garlic cloves too. Baste the salmon with the butter.
  8. Wait for another four minutes or until it is cooked (but do not overdo it).
  9. Dish out the salmon from the pan and put squeeze out calamansi juice all over it.
  10. Let it rest but serve while still hot.

Leaping Out of Comfort Zone

None of us has imagined this is how things are gonna go when the year started. 2020 took all of us in a path we aren’t accustomed with, and shaped us into a new version of ourselves, or so I believe.

When the pandemic hit and the Philippines was declared on lockdown, I was living under the roof that my dad pays for completely. Quick note: it is part of the Filipino culture to stay with your parents well until a.) you get married, b.) you rent out closer to your workplace, or c.) you put your foot down and start living by yourself. And most of the time, Filipino parents wont allow you to take the C path. As a 25-year-old young professional, I was living under the privilege that my parents paved for me. We aren’t crazy rich, but we can live comfortably, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

In a previous post, I mentioned how half of the year in lockdown took a toll on my mental health. But I opt not to discuss the factor that also affected my deeply was members of my family not taking the pandemic seriously and not doing their part on trying to flatten the curve. You see, the Philippines isn’t the country best equipped to battle out pandemics like the COVID-19 – as what happened in the earlier part of the year, our health care system can’t keep up with the demand. And for this reason, I believe we all have a civic duty to do our best to flatten the curve, not only for our own good and those around us, but also for the frontliners too, our modern day heroes.

One anxiety attack after another, I finally lost the patience and had the last straw when my family took my 70-year-old grandmother to the casino. I told my dad I’d be staying a few days with a friend to avoid further confrontation but I realized that this is a recurring issue that I have to work on. It costs me my inner peace, and I have to do something about it.

After contemplating and basically begging my dad to let me, I stayed with my mom for a few weeks while condominium hunting online. I realized that the only way I can deal with my newfound work without the risk of a burnout caused by anxiety while staying in my dad’s house is to finally get a place of my own. And for someone starting over career-wise, this is such a bold move that requires tons of faith, adding the fact that I know nothing how to keep the house or live by myself.

As one of my best friends called it, I bravely took on the last quarter of the year by stepping out, no scratch that, by leaping out of my comfort zone. And as I adjust to this new found independence, I will write about it as a series of posts. Hope you enjoy the ride with me!

Bye, Rolly!

In times of trouble and despair
when the world is dark, frightening
and heavy to bear.
When rains rage and heaven rumbles,
even as the skies hurl its terrors,
in Your tight embrace I find shelter.
In Your promise I seek refuge,
Your strength and grace I look up to –
my rock, I lay it all up to You.


I’m not the biggest believer and I have to admit that my faith needs a bit of rekindling. But in a time like this, when the Philippines is currently battling and trying to survive the world’s strongest typhoon of the year (#RollyPH), one of the things that really calms me is not the thought of the government making decisive and definitive actions (it’s damn hard to put your trust in it) but really just anchoring my hope on nature’s own way of weakening the storm and trusting in God’s wisdom and plans.

Blessed to be spared from the super typhoon’s wrath. (Staying w/ my mom until I move in to my own rented condo back in the city but that’s for another post)

The fact that I was able to still write and post right now means that I am lucky to have stayed in an area not being greatly affected by the raging storm. However a lot of our countrymen has been badly affected and whose livelihood and homes were destructed. My prayers, thoughts and help are with them. If you can spare the time to pray for them, I kindly ask you to do so. You can also try to lend a hand in this site to send relief food packs and other essentials to those in need: forthefutureph.com

Thanks and keep safe! πŸ™‚

Stick It!

I started this blog for a sole purpose – to act as my passion project as I start working on my self-care. For the first few weeks, I have tried to write religiously as possible to justify the cost of purchasing the domain, and honestly, because I am excited with the community I found here and it also was my sort of escape. However, I have been in a slump for about two weeks now not because I don’t find this fun anymore, nor because I felt lazy and decided to just quit out of the blue but because I realized that there’s more than one way to practice self-care during this time of pandemic.

A month ago, I decided to quit my job. Yes, during such a crazy time. And yet, as I am writing this, I know deep in my heart that it is the right thing to do – the job has taken the life out of me and the anxiety and the sadness (depression(?), I wasn’t medically diagnosed yet since I haven’t had the courage to see a doctor in this pandemic) that it brings outweighs the pros of staying – mainly, just my salary. It was such a bold move and my anxiety got even worse, there were times that I could not function the whole day -I would just stop and stare at my laptop screen instead of doing my job, then breakdown. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I wanted to write but I also could not find the energy to open my laptop and do it without thinking about the work I should rather be doing. I know I had to do something about it so I took a few days off from work to give myself some space without feeling guilty.

I filed for two days off before and after that weekend to have more time to gather up my thoughts and “fix” whatever it is that I’ve been feeling. I also did not tell my family about the leaves so that they’d give me my space, thinking I was working. It was during those days that I realized that self-care truly comes in different forms but it always starts with this step – you’d do something good to yourself, for yourself.

And while I’ll be talking about these newfound habits and interests of mine in other posts, I’d like to use this post to highlight the help of essential oils to help me relax during such stressful time. During the nights that I have a hard time sleeping due to the anxiety, I’d pop in the diffuser we have at home and let the lavender scent caress me to sleep. Aromatherapy is a practice that has been around for centuries that uses essential oils for its therapeutic benefit. And with the rise of the popularity of holistic living and alternative medicine, also comes the rise to stardom of essential oils. In fact, in the Philippines, there’s a term for people who uses essential oils for healing or those exploring its wonders – “oilbularyo”. The oils have different effect on the body and mind but one particular scent that I like is rosemary as it is said to combat fatigue, mental exhaustion and it smells really fresh too!

The universe’s magic also intervened as Princess from The Mindful Modus shared in her previous post that she’s recently decided to sell her own essential oil inhalers on Shopee. It was exactly what I need – a pocket sized essential oil inhaler of the scents that I already like and trust. Ordered it right away and was delivered shortly after two days.

I tried her three available scents – Dream (lavender and eucalyptus), Focus (rosemary and eucalyptus), and Breathe (lavender and rosemary). I knew before I ordered that I’d like breathe because it’s my two favorite scents from our oil collection at home but I was surprised to find myself really liking her mix of rosemary and eucalyptus for her Focus scent.

So if ever you find yourself dipping your toes on the world of essential oils and would like to test if the hype about it is real, feel free to check out Princess’ oh ma therapie! for affordable personal inhaler sticks. πŸ™‚

Replay Or Rewind

If you had a chance for a β€œdo-over” in life, what would you do differently?

At the young age of 6, I got tested and was said to be ‘gifted’ by a respectable doctor from a research facility here in the Philippines. My grandparents who were living with me during that time deemed it necessary to hone the talent that I was given with. Unlike most children my age, I did not get to experience the typical childhood life outside of the house – I did not get to play physical games with peers, ride around town on my bike, or simply have playmates. Heck, my childhood best friend is my classmate who I competed with for gold medals during quiz bees and school competitions. I was a total nerd but it wasn’t because my grandparents forced me to study or hindered me from a normal childhood life – it was because as early as 7 years old, I already liked to rise up to the challenges presented to me and they made it seem like finishing at the top of the class was a feat.

Come the end of my high school life, when we were all deciding what course to take that’ll help shape our future. I wanted to do something related to Communication Arts but everyone was telling me that I’d throw away my gifts if I pursue it. I ended up going for a ‘tough’ choice, a course everyone thinks is challenging for most, a degree worth pursuing they say – Electronics and Communication Engineering. Up to now, I don’t know what people should really be doing given this degree.

I got through engineering school even if I didn’t like it in the first place, going through each class thinking that it’s only a challenge to conquer, I looked at complex circuits as riddles to be solved. Then right after graduation, I took the board examination and passed the ultimate test. It made me proud but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t even satisfied. And yet, my dad was ecstatic and proud of his little girl who has just become a licensed engineer. I will never forget the look on his face. For that alone, if I were given another chance, I still would have taken the degree. Even if it leads me to where I am right now – a place full of confusion.

Well, if I am to go through that again, what’s the whole point of the post? What’s something that I would “do-over” if given a chance to hit the rewind button? There’s only one thing that I could actually think of: I’d let myself experience failure. I will not be scared to lose, to fall down, and fall right flat on my face. It took me 25 years to realize that experiencing failures and rising on your feet again is its own reward and would only make success a bit sweeter. I know, there’s no going back in time, so instead of having to “do-over”, I will let this be a reminder as I continue to shape my future and face the hurdles of fate: winning isn’t everything and there’s no such thing as failures, only lessons learned. πŸ˜‰

Today, V knows the difference of being ‘good’ and being happy.


I would like to thank Think Talk for nominating for the Liebster Blogger Award and for providing a beautiful set of questions which inspired me to write this post. I feel deeply honored knowing that someone out there appreciates the things I write.

MAC: cheap steals and freebies

I consider myself frugal when it comes to shopping for make-up because honestly, I find myself too lazy most of the time to use it. And when I do buy make-up, I tend to buy what I believe is a good quality brand. So when I see some good deals on the brand(s) I like, I don’t quite hesitate on doing the purchase and just last July 30 (#NationalLipstickDay) as promoted in Lazada, I did not double think on getting the mini trio lipstick of my favorite shades that came with some surprisingly good freebies along with it.

One of the brands I trust and my go-to brand is MAC mostly because I believe that they have some decent high-quality products that justifies its price, and also because I really am a sucker for black and classy looking branding. So when I saw their ad (I know, I know, it’s targeted ads) for their #NationalLipstickDay sale, I hurriedly click on that add to cart button even if most people think that we would have no use for lipsticks while locked down in a pandemic stricken country.

Let me share with you my #NationalLipstickDay haul from MAC and Lazada:


I bought the mini trio lipstick in the shades Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy, and Mocha for only about $32 USD, and for MAC prices here in Southeast Asia that’s already a steal. I opted for this color combination because the Velvet Teddy (deep-tone beige) is my favorite everyday lipstick. Velvet Teddy really suits my skin color and it’s such a good MLBB (my lips but better) matte pick that isn’t drying to the lips. The other color that made me decide to purchase the set is the Ruby Woo. It’s MAC’s best-selling red lipstick of all time and there’s no question why – dubbed as ‘very matte vivid blue-red’ that seems to be universally flattering. Last but not the least is MAC’s Mocha, a peachy yellow-brown lipstick in satin finish. I don’t really do a lot of satin because I prefer make-up in matte formula, but I myself was surprised when I put on Mocha and actually liked it. Initially, I was thinking of saving it to give as a gift.

L to R: Mocha, Ruby Woo, Velvet Teddy

The sale trio on its own is already a super steal but MAC and Lazada’s #NationalLipstickDay promo got even better when they decided to throw in the top-selling MAC Maker Lipstick @mainedcm in a plush gold packaging FOR FREE. I was so surprised they gave it away for free when it was always sold out when it was just released. The shade is a plum-red matte, in total opposite of the MAC Maker’s first @mainedcm which was a good nude lipstick that suits the Filipino skin tone.

And as if a free full size best-selling lipstick is not enough, they also threw in a cute notebook style water bottle and cute stickers to customize your lipsticks with.

MAC #NationalLipstickDay freebies

I know, given the pandemic and the necessity to wear face masks outside, lipstick purchases seem to be illogical but I figured these little gems are good for another year or more if kept well. And well, why the hell not? A woman can choose to fix herself up at home… for herself, just because she wants to.

New Horizons on New Normal.

If you’re on social media, I’m pretty sure you have encountered a couple of picture or stories of cute animal characters from your peers, friends, and even celebrities you follow. Released on March, just about when quarantine started on most countries, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the world by storm. It’s an addition to the Animal Crossing franchise from Nintendo, but this latest game caters to their newly portable console, the Nintendo Switch and its Lite variant. Nintendo sales have garnered an all time high during this period and this game is one of the reasons why.

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons was surrounded by so much hype mainly due to the reason that it has been eight years since the last game in the franchise was introduced, and that it offers an endless possibility in a controlled and limited life in quarantine. The addition boasts of features that gamers are excited about from autosaves to remote island life. Here are some of the reasons why everyone took on the Dodo Airline Ride:

  • Remote island life – On the start of the game, you are being ushered from the airport to a remote island of your choosing where you can get to customize basically everything as you progress in the game, opposed to the previous games where it was set on city life. This basically is a good selling point especially the timing of the game’s release when everyone was stuck in their houses. It’s a virtual island life getaway!
  • Character customizationRight from the start, you’ll be given the freedom to design how your character would look like and can change it, even your clothes, at any point in the game too.
  • Create your own tools – To move forward in your deserted island, tools are to be made and yes, you get to create your own and customize them as well. From basic tools such as flimsy shovels to gold decorations – the game boasts of a wide variety of DIY recipes that players will encounter and make.
  • Autosave – Unlike in the previous Animal Crossing games, there are certain times in this latest addition that it’s being saved automatically.
  • Nook Miles Rewards Program – Basically, you’ll be rewarded for uhm… doing anything. Just kidding! But yes, that’s more like the gist of it – there’s built-in goals in this program that you’ll achieve just by simply playing the game as it is. No puzzles, no hard thinking, no confusion – just play the game as you like, in your own pace, and you’ll get rewards. A game that keeps on giving.
  • Multiplayer ability – Okay, we’re all stuck at home when the game was released, and as social creatures we somehow look for interactions – what a fun way to immerse yourself in a game where you can showcase your creativity to your friends and even strangers by visiting each other’s islands, sharing custom patterns that you have created, make trades like our ancestors did before (barter system), or create virtual adventure relay games. I even had an Animal Crossing date with my boyfriend and had a virtual catch-up with a friend!
  • Updates – since March, a number of updates have rolled on. Usually, there’s one for every weather change (yes, you can have your Sakura moment, and even your Winter Wonderland in the game). There are also other seasonal updates such as the June wedding celebration. And some updates to add gameplay and characters: you can now go ahead and swim in the ocean in your nice wetsuit, or meet Redd, who’s being dubbed as the sly fox.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons paved a way for us escape the harsh reality that we get to face everyday. Even with the above stated features, I believe that the main selling point of the game was the open-ended style and the freedom of the players to take control of their own world – an option you don’t really get to enjoy in real life. Endless possibilities, escape from the pandemic, and witty animal friends – I mean what’s not to like?


I’m planning on doing a giveaway of my stuff and bells as I plan to start my island from scratch. If you want to join or simply looking for an item or colorway of an item, let me know in the comment below. πŸ™‚

one of those nights

I stare at the keys, taunting me
illuminating blue light, dark thoughts
it’s crazy how these feelings do.
Raw, unfiltered, unmasked
letting it all go in heavy, little presses.
Where to start, how to continue?
Ten thousand more hours I need,
to make little pieces that count.
Trying times, jaded mind,
the white canvas, blank lines
my bunker underneath this mess.
A scream of plea, a cry for help,
created a world to keep me safe.


what the mirror showed

She stared at the mirror, familiarizing her every feature. Trying to hold on to her own identity, the one unstained, untouched by him.

Her eyes – dark as her soul, outlined by a regal thin wall of blue as he said. Her nose – how often does he pinch it when in a playful mood. Her lips – how his brushed it softly, passionately, intensely. Her hair – he has always loved the wild, long curves of her hair. Has always admired how it falls gracefully right down her shoulders and chest.


She stared at the mirror, she can only see traces of him. Traces he left behind when he shut the door. Traces of him all over her body. How badly does she want to take all of him out of her; out of her body, out of her mind, out of her life.


She stared at the mirror.


In her eyes, she see fire. A fire set on her soul. A fire that burns brightly, so bright he could not even touch the surface. A fire so pure, no remnants of him can be found.


She stared at the mirror. Closed her eyes, took hold of her hair. Snip. Snip. Snip. The wild long curves falling recklessly on the ground. Snip. Snip. Snip.

She stared at the mirror. She saw herself.