Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

message in a bottle: time and silence

Time and silence are today's luxuries.

I live for Saturdays and Sundays.
I live for the peaceful feeling of waking up and expecting absolutely nothing stressful for the day.
I live for hours and hours of Hay Day playing and book reading with occasional tea drinking and cupcake munching.
I live for the quality time spent with my loved ones.
I live for days when I can wear shorts or jeans with slippers or tank tops.
I live for the heat of commuting and the cold of going home from a fun day, no reason to frown, no reason to get tired.
I live for the days when I'm off work and work is off me.

I'm an introvert so I naturally get pulled to the silent, more "boring" side of things. I always was the one who can just stay in one corner, read and time will pass by unnoticed.

Being in the middle of the hullabaloo of the mid-20s (work, career and the chase of a dream), I crave for time and silence. I long for those precious hours I have for myself when I can do anything and it won't matter to anyone but me. I find those moments important. Those times are when I get to center myself and bring back what the noise and pressure tried so hard to get rid of.

The world is more than the activity, the movement, the cycle. It is existing to be appreciated, to be known, to be seen. How can we see something that constantly moves and changes? We have to stop our own noise and just look.. So we can begin to see.

Give yourself that chance to stop and relax, to know more about your surroundings, to get to know more about yourself. I sometimes hear people labelling that as "laziness". No it's not. It's a wise decision to have that pit stop. I'm not saying to discontinue work or learning, it is to welcome rest and quiet.

Grab a cup of caffeine. Sip slowly. Turn an electronic page (if you're into ebooks) slowly and purposefully. Glance somewhere else if the written word impacts you. Go out and try a new food joint. Try a new cuisine. Cook. Walk. Run. Hug your husband. Make time. Savor silence.

I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. - Chaim Potok, The Chosen

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Teatox with Tiny Tea of "YourTea"

There are days when being a natural morning person isn’t enough. I know everyone has their own way of kicking off their day. It's usually a workout and a caffeine fix--like me. I only open my inbox at work when I already have my cup of coffee or tea with me. The tension/pressure/stress I expect from my emails is melted off by every sip! The heat just massages me from the inside. 

I’m no black-coffee drinker, I think that’s too boring. I tried it a couple of times before and my heart beat just went through the roof! The palpitations I had made me swear off that kind of “healthy” coffee forever.

Chill, moderate energy is more than enough for me. Thus, the choice for a creamy cup of coffee. The sad thing about this is it makes me feel bloated afterwards. I think it’s all the cream I add. :( Given that, I went through Instagram for possible options on how to perk up my day.. Hopefully, my experience with this tea will help you achieve what you want + more unexpected results. I'll get to the latter in a while :)

I met “YourTea” in Instagram and I stalked them in Pinterest and their blog. It was an exciting discovery for me! I read more about the brand and here goes: It’s an international brand of tea that has tons of benefits, more than what a normal blend will have. The people behind YourTea are like us—tea drinkers. They have been creating tea combinations that will balance taste + benefits (the latter I was talking about earlier).

I want you to meet someone--
Natalie Kringoudis is an ambassador of YourTea. She is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Natural Fertility Educator and Author. As a way to support wellness, she has developed a unique style to treating health and well-being with Traditional Chinese Medicine. She helps YourTea provide its drinkers education on diet and lifestyle to maximise the benefits of the tea blend.

I’m really only after the energy boost but if it eases my bloated tummy, then give it to me! I experienced how good it was for me so I am writing about it, sharing the wonder, and willing you to try it out :)

Here’s a list of their tea blends and the benefits they give you:

—> TINY TEA (reduces bloating, removes toxins, improves energy levels, and nudges away any surplus weight)
—> EVERYDAY TEA (boosts immunity, regulates mood, aids digestion and allows the skin to have the healthy glow we all crave)
—> ANTIOXIDANT TEA (the antioxidants assists with anti-ageing, fights free-radicals, and detoxifies the body)
—> BREAST FRIEND TEA (nourishes the liver and activates the kidneys to support the body in producing a healthy supply of strong, nutrient loaded breast milk)
—> SKIN MAGIC TEA (nourishes and cleanses the system so that the body won’t have to push out toxins and waste through the skin; nourishes the blood to better assist the removal of internal toxins)
—> MAN TEA (nourishes the organs, promotes muscle growth, and increases strength; combats the signs of bloating and fluid retention to achieve a greater muscular definition)
—> FERTILITY TEA (supports the hormones, benefits ovulation, and regulates the woman’s cycle to maximize fertility and conception potential)
—> ANTI-C TEA (assists in cleansing the kidneys and liver to help the body lift stagnant dampness and phlegm)

YourTea offers a 14-day and 28-day teatox program that won’t leave you starving. I purchased their 28-day teatox box of Tiny Tea wherein it’s recommended to have a cup of tea twice a day, 20-30 mins before/after a meal. It is easier for me to drink it after a meal since planning to drink before a meal isn't always a success. I don't know what time I'll really get to eat, being busy with work and personal errands.

By the way, I bought my box from TeatoxPH, a distributor of YourTea in the Philippines. 
       *They’re really professional and makes the transactions easier for buyers. If you choose to try this out, contact them! :)

Trust me when I say this:
You won't starve. Drinking this won't be a hassle. You can retain how you eat, just add the tea on your daily food intake. It will make you feel full since it’s warm water. Every time I have a cup, I feel like it’s melting (or maybe “digesting” is a better term, but really, who feels “digesting”?) the food I just had. In a good way. I feel a bit lighter after!

Mom noticed how clear my skin was days after starting the teatox. She, of all people, doesn’t sugarcoat stuff about me. If she says something nice, she means it! I haven’t changed anything in my lifestyle, no facials, no special juices or whatnot. Just the teatox and my usual morning exercise. So plus points to YourTea! :)

A significant thing I noticed after taking the tea for 2-3 weeks was whenever I have an unhealthy meal (fast food junk, instant noodles—both I love but both are so bad for me), drinking the tea makes me wish that I took more time in choosing a better meal. The tea taught my body what it needs, what it should love, what it should flush out ASAP. It teaches me to be more self-aware, to give more time in deciding what’s best for me, giving my body what it needs and, at the same time, satisfies my cravings.

YourTea Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Pinterest
TeatoxPH Instagram (Manila distributor)

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

message in a bottle: the best attitude


Let's talk about gratitude.

I woke up the other day feeling sluggish and I just cannot drag my butt out of bed. My mind is spinning from the long list of to-do's I have to check before the day ends. Imagine thinking about a day ending even before I got out of bed! The first 10 minutes of welcoming a new day already exhausted me. I used all my willpower to rise, drink a glass of water, sweep the floor, roll out my yoga mat and just work out. I promised myself that I'll feel better after I sweat all my apprehensions out.

Every time I finish a workout session, I take some time to just sit still. Dripping sweat, shoe-less and feeling light since my body just undergone something it needs. I feel the endorphins rushing in and I visualize sharing the good vibes with everyone I know, those that I love and even those that I am annoyed at (we all have that list! Hehehe!).

On my way to work, I began noticing how different I see things.. I appreciate:
             (a) The elevator waiting on the 5th floor of our building. Like it knew that I'm going down for work. I whispered thank you to the last person who pressed the elevator button for this floor.
             (b) The funny pedicab driver that seems to be friends with everyone we pass by. For non-Pinoy readers, a pedicab is a small, pedal-operated vehicle. I ride a pedicab and a jeepney for work everyday. They're incredibly humbling and fun. I thought thank you for light hearted public transportation drivers whose attitude on life is contagious.
             (c) The cool breeze that greets me as I walk by to get some breakfast for Alfie and I. I whispered thank you for the little gift inspite of the heat.
             (d) The easy feeling I had as I read through my emails of the day. I whispered thank you for giving me a break today.

Those are incredibly shallow stuff, I know, but the joy it gave me as I continue my initially weary day was just fascinating. It made me realize just how easy happiness can be created. The gratitude I felt in every trivial thing (which a pessimistic person might find annoying and pointless) carried me through the day.

There can be so much light and love you can create and share when you're thankful for what life brings you. It's a constant positive cycle that's on your control. Look. See that this life is more than what you imagined it to be, even more than you wanted it to be. Treat each obstacle as a challenge, a practice session, a time for contemplation. There are a lot of beautiful things that are left unnoticed. The gift is here, all you have to do is to merely acknowledge its presence. Feel thankful. Express your gratitude by sharing it. Smile. Continue the cycle of positivity. Be happy. Most importantly, be kind.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 
― Melody Beattie

Monday, July 14, 2014

easiest pancake recipe ever

Cooking is as unnatural to me as singing (or anything that involves a performance haha!) so it took me a fair amount of courage to start learning.

I have always loved watching cooking shows, especially those who bake so much. I adore Nigella Lawson's calm instructions, Giada de Laurentiis' amazing bod, Kitchen Boss' baking masterpieces... I can go on and on!

I wanted to be like them but I have to start somewhere, right? So I started with the simplest thing ever.. I'm skipping over cooking instant noodles and boiling an egg here. Let us start with a breakfast staple: pancakes!!

As I try to be healthier and more conscious when it comes to choosing what I eat, I am beyond delighted to read about the two-ingredient pancakes. This is great for those in paleo diet and those who want to have protein after a workout. This recipe just needs banana and eggs. If you want it sweet, balance the ratio of the banana to the egg (1:1). If you don't have a sweet tooth, 1:2 ratio for banana and eggs is perfect. :) **I feel so good writing this! Self improvement--yey!**

Step1: Prepare. This is all you need! Those who never cooked at all will understand how much of a relief this is! :)

Step2: Slice the banana in small pieces for easier mushing. If you're a bit of an OC, do this one part of a banana at a time. It's awesome to be able to crack an egg open flawlessly! Practice makes perfectionne! :)

Step3: Mix, mix, mix!

Step4: Cook in medium-low heat. Trust me, I've tried various levels of heat and "slowly but surely" is the best way to go. This is the prettiest batch I've ever done so it's blog-worthy enough for me! If I can do a prettier batch, expect a comeback post :)

Oh and I personally loved adding peanut butter. I use it as an alternative to maple syrup. It balances out the sweetness of the banana. :)

Have you done pancakes this way before? :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

cafe on the 6th at ascott hote, makati

Again and again, Dad has been a consistent role model and positive beacon in my life. He has taught me a lot that I know and he gave me this cool, reserved demeanor, something I only share with him. :)

Last Fathers' day, we headed out to have lunch somewhere new. We had no idea where at first since this is a special day yet not as remarkable as birthdays so we want to splurge just the right amount. I love dining in hotel restaurants/cafes. It's a chance to check out their amenities and have an idea in mind for a staycation or a celebration venue. Seeing different nationalities being catered to in hotel cafes are nice too. It makes me feel one with the world even if it's just eating in the same place as people who look different from me.

So in we went inside Ascott Hotel in Makati. It's fused with Glorietta so it's real easy to get to. The doorman is always a huge guy with an adorable guard dog--I am not sure what breed but it's a black and big thing that looks so calm and nice, or maybe a little bored.

Of course, Cafe on the 6th is on the 6th floor. The hotel is, as expected, a good venue to have some privacy. I barely saw any guests, actually. They're mostly in the pool area rather than lounging elsewhere. The design is a bit oldish so it's not something I rave about, but it's nice enough. The staff are friendly though, they ushered as in. They immediately set up a table for us, gave us warm, freshly baked bread and left us happily munching on those. We even asked for seconds! :)

Okay.. Documenting where we eat is a job. I usually stop them from messing up their food just so I could take a picture and show it to you guys. See how much I love you?! Hahaha. I don't look at the menu too much for the prices as I expected to find a decent menu online. But.. There seems to be none since the place is more known for its breakfast buffet (courtesy of bloggers who stay overnight in the hotel). So I will be improvising on the names of the food and maybe my little blog will somehow be seen by their manager so they'll upload their menu or something. Hehehe. Enjoy! :)

Shrimp pesto--creamy and has a generous serving of shrimp.
Fries with absolutely everything on it--not a fan of this. The fries were dry.. I prefer my fry dripping with cheese and bacon. I think this was overcooked.

For the diner that cannot decide what to order -- I think this is called "Anything Goes" or "Can't Decide", something witty but true ;) 
The best: four cheese pizza. I can marry cheese and this one has four! Heaven on a very hot plate.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
- Clarence Budington Kelland

Linking up with Friday Blog Hop.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

message in a bottle: unresolved

Have you ever felt so tired that you continually complete your day on auto pilot?
Are there days when sweating it out to Jillian Michaels feels better than earning money?
Do you have happy nights wherein you daydream of liking what you do in the morning? And waking up realizing that your daydreaming is only, well, dreams?
Are there unsatisfying days when you go home and all you can do is kick off your heels and lie down, eyes closed, relaxing the mind that was so unfairly taxed?
**I tend to ask a lot of questions when I feel unstable ;)

If yes, then congratulations, I feel the same way!
I never imagined this path to be what my life will be like when I started working.
I thought I'll be a doctor, or even a teacher, or a magazine feature writer. Something that can directly affect people. Now, my priorities are inclined on finance. Sometimes I think that I kept on earning that I forgot about living.
I left all the color, the sparkle, the meager salary back in what I envisioned my life to be. I took up a whole new wardrobe of feelings after lasting a couple of years with computers (in no way connected to social media, more like account receivables and credit cards).
Have you ever felt that way? As if age robbed you off the courage to do what you really want?

In comes blogging.. I started this pretty thing (with a pretty new design that I'm so proud of! High five!) as I cannot express much in the job I chose.
The wonderful atmosphere of sharing life's experiences and getting excited in every tab that I open, that's what I crave for. I don't want to turn this post into a rant but more of a wave of inspiration to what I plan to do. I want to be able to see beyond what I already know. There is much more to the world than just the computer language I am used to seeing.

I do not know when, nor how, nor where I'll be better off. The logistics are vague to me.
I accept that I am in the now. The past is done and the future is untouchable.
What I know is I aim to be grateful. It seems so passive but it seriously does wonders to my perspective, the mood of my day.
I have a job, a family and love to support me, to cheer me on, to catch me before I fall, to be the first ones to appreciate my little triumphs.
My days may feel exhausted and boring but I look forward for what is to come. I want to daydream and actually live that dream. I enjoy blogging and reading, and I intend to use this feeling to move on, to actually do what I want.
To like what I do. To enjoy every bit of my life.

I can write about this for days on end so before publishing a post a lot longer than this, I leave you with:
Do you do what you love? Do share more of your story, if you like :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

message in a bottle: spring cleaning

Feels so good to finally be in the mood to do some spring cleaning even if:
1. It's not spring.
2. It's just for my shoe closet.

I am no shoe lover, but I buy new ones when an occasion arises and I just have to find that perfect pair for the perfect dress. I don't settle for what I already have (read: sneakers, flipflops, simple flats). When I know it's a "heels only" event, I will adhere.

I bought a cute pair by Carmen Saiz from CMG today. Nothing fancy, just a pair of wedge shoes that I coveted because of Pinterest. I wore it right after paying for it. Dad was with me and he suggested for me to just donate my old sandals. I initially hesitated since I wanted to just throw it away, but after quite some time, I realized that Dad had a point.

I was packing my shoes away when I got home and it struck me that it doesn't have to only be one pair. I went through all my shoe boxes under my bed and nodded to myself. Maybe I didn't have to simply discard every pair that I don't wear anymore. Mind you, most of my shoes were worn only once or twice. It's suitable to give away.

It was a satisfying feeling to remove the old and make room for new stuff. This does not only work for shoes, or clothes, or accessories.. It's very much applicable to emotions as well.

We only have one life to live and it's better not to live it in the past--with the same old people who doesn't make us better, the same feeling of being stuck, the same situation of settling.

To let go of the past is to embrace the present and welcome the future. The past drags us and slows us down. Like all the shoes I had which were all packed away in this little storage area. It's fills up a space that can be freed. A space that can contain a lot of wonderful things that we can only imagine.. Unless we act.

Linking with Confessional Friday.