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December 25, 2014

Just wanted to pop in a quick post at the end of Christmas Day.

I'm here to say that I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas and even if you don't celebrate the holiday I hope you have a good day anyway! I hope you enjoy time with family and friends and enjoy the love that should be in the air around this time of year, regardless of your personal beliefs or religion (because that's really what this season is all about: love). 
Lilah and her "My 1st Christmas" hat--find this photo on Instagram

That said, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Christmas traditions with you: 

  • Family dinners: casseroles on Christmas Eve and turkey/fish on Christmas Day
  • Opening presents in order Christmas morning: eldest opens first down to the youngest 
  • Family breakfast after opening presents on Christmas morning (pancakes and waffles and fresh fruit and eggs....oh my)
  • Opening stockings first before anything else on Christmas morning 
  • Gathering together for more than just a day, nearly a whole week actually, and spending time together: going out to dinner, cooking in, watching movies etc. 
  • The "Secret Santa" system; the family "adults" draw names out of a digital hat (that I am in charge of) and they only buy presents for that person
  • .....and then ignoring the Secret Santa system by purchasing/making at least one present for someone who isn't your Secret Santa
  • **Spending all of Christmas Day (practically) in a car
I feel like the last one needs some explanation. Having divorced parents means my time is split down the middle during the holiday season. Typically, and especially since we've moved to Manila, I'll spend my time with Dad and family until Christmas at noon when the switch-off occurs. Then I hop over to Mom's side and we have Christmas #2, usually on the 26th of December instead of the 25th. Because Mom & co. have our Christmas at the OBX with my grandparents, this usually means a substantial amount of time spent in the car shuttling between one parent and the other on Christmas Day. 
#holidayselfie--find this photo on Instagram

Now, having divorced parents is something that will pretty much guarantee you pity from others, regardless of your personal feelings towards the split couple. Personally, I've never seen my parents together and, frankly, I think they work better apart so their divorce hasn't affected me in the pent-up teenage-angst ways you see on television. I do, however, have to admit that it is tradition for me to be in one of the only cars traveling the roads on Christmas Day from one parent to the other but this tradition is one that means I have 2 entire Christmases just full of people who love me and that makes the long days' journey more than worthwhile. (Even when squished in a car with 2 adults, 3 kids, and 2 over-sized, smelly dogs aka what happened today) 
Find this photo on Instagram

I guess that's really the point of this post: if your Christmas isn't living up to your expectations, whether it's because your parents are divorced/divorcing, you have family problems, you can't be with the people you love on Christmas etc. try and look at the good side of things rather than the bad. It's simple, and rather cliche, advice but it's true: this is the season of love and forgiveness, try and find the silver lining in every cloud and remember to look at every situation from the other person's perspective. It just might save you an argument. 

(Also: Christmas comedies/romcoms are highly recommended for anyone, not just those having a mediocre holiday) 

Joyeux Noel, Buon Natale, Maligayang Pasko, Feliz Navidad

and Merry Christmas

xx
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December 24, 2014

Favorite Holiday Movies

Home Alone
A complete classic, this movie has perfect comedic (and holiday) timing--a lot of heart and a lot of funnies is found throughout.

Love Actually
A movie I actually just experienced on the plane ride here to the States, there's a definite reason this is a classic and is the perfect Christmas romcom without being overly cheesy.

A Diva's Christmas Carol
Another TV-movie classic Dickens' novel this is not; I've always liked this movie and Vanessa William's portrayal of Diva Scrooge

A Christmas Carol
Along with the Diva version above, the classic version is just as yummy and works perfectly with the tradition of curling up with the actual Dickens' book in front of a roaring fire

The Nightmare Before Christmas
An animated Tim Burton fiesta, this is a classic (especially for my brother) and deserves to be: don't pass up an opportunity to catch this one

Elf
A Will Ferrel comedy, Will is goofy as Buddy the Elf, a confused human masquerading as one of Santa's elves and pulls off a funny, and heartwarming, holiday performance 

The Santa Clause
A movie I first experienced with my grandmother when I was little, this is truly time well spent--watching Tim Allen denying he's the new Santa Clause

Honorable Mentions

A Christmas Story
"You're going to shoot your eye out!" You could make a drinking game out of this movie and for that, it earns its spot on this list

The Polar Express
Wonderfully animated, this movie reaffirms your belief in Santa Clause as it reaffirms the main characters' (who is nameless)
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December 21, 2014

As anyone who has ever flown for a steady day without breaks can tell you....without a plan you're lost and your 'day' will not end up with a smile. After 26 hours, 3 flights, 2 layovers and 2 continents....I'm finally home! Being a seasoned veteran at these type of flights, I'm here to help you.
#planeselfies (Find this photo on Instagram)
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December 18, 2014

The book that had 1000 WASPs gasping behind closed doors. 
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December 16, 2014


As much as I love the feeling after a workout where you've accomplished a nice sweat sheen, I generally loathe the gym. Every time I walk into a gym, I always get very nervous and self-conscience and actually pretty narcissistic thinking "Oh my gosh they must be judging me....they have to be thinking something about me.....are they looking at me?" etc. 

Honestly people probably couldn't be bothered to look at me twice but there's something that has been negatively ingrained in my brain surrounding the gym. I much prefer to utilize YouTube and do workouts in my living room but obviously this has its limitations and also doesn't help me with getting over my social anxiety. 

However, I forced myself to the gym last Thursday simply because I'd been snacking on the leftover fudge pieces all day and hadn't been swimming since the weekend because A) no school Monday or Tuesday due to Typhoon Ruby and B) no more swimming after school anyway due to exams next week.

Now it wasn't like I actually had to leave my building to go to the gym, I just and went downstairs to the gym here. Every time I go, also every time I get in the elevator, I always send a little prayer going "Please no one be in here, please no one be in here" however my wish was not granted--there were already two people working out with their trainer, a boxing workout that looks so cool. 

I did my best to respectfully ignore them and started my workout on the treadmill with my iPod. I was expecting a slog at my normal 8.2 pace until I eventually caved and left disappointed and embarrassed. I actually surprised myself by running two high-intensity 7-minute intervals with a two minute water break in between (a feat I never could have accomplished without slowing down/stopping a couple of months ago). I felt really good after this so I decided to stay in the gym and tacked on a little weight lifting, squats, and weighted crunches. I had a little mantra running through my mind: 
I'm so PROUD of you!
This little encouragement doesn't seem like a lot, but it's actually a powerful motivator and I challenge you to try it next time you're doing something difficult. My lungs were burning, my mind told me asthma was seconds away from clogging my throat, and my sides were pinching in cramps but "I'm so proud of you!" kept me going. Well that and keeping a running countdown of the time in my head (little tip: don't go by seconds until it's the last minute, it'll drive you crazy! Always say "two minutes left" even if it's really 1 minute 20 seconds)

Everyone needs a little encouragement when we're doing something tough, but sometimes the only person that can give us that motivation is us. This little motivating factor also gave me a more positive outlook on the gym in total. Everyone there is there for the same purpose: to work up a sweat & to tone, train, stretch their muscles. There should be no judgement anywhere but especially in a place such as this where people are experiencing some of their most vulnerable moments and everyone carries a different motive with them when they're there. 

Next time you're working out, either in a gym, running through a park, or on the football field, try to keep a little mantra running through your brain when you start to feel hopeless and the need to stop--push yourself to your limit. (Oh, that's another thing: I try not to say "okay I'm going to run for 10 minutes" because if you don't reach it you feel really guilty and upset--the gym should be a place to feel uplifted)

It's important to realize when it's really really necessary to stop whatever you're doing: if you feel real pain or if you honestly feel you cannot go on. Recognize your own limits and once you reach them, stop. Never continue doing something if it's causing you physical harm. 

What are a few of your little tips and tricks to getting through something tough? 

xx
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December 13, 2014

I hate math. I hate it because I'm not good at it and despite it being forced upon me for a good portion of the 16 (nearly 17-yay!) years I've spent on this Earth I've just never grasped the concepts--especially this year. While last year I was floating on air with a 106% in math (it was a cake class) this year I'm drowning and it's an awful, twisted, dark feeling.

My Mom likes to tell my math teachers that math is usually my worst subject because I'm not "naturally gifted" at it so I have to "work at it" more than my other subjects and that makes it frustrating to me. And it's true, Literature class isn't without its challenges but I'm certainly more gifted at writing a paper or crafting a presentation with a speech (#confidence) than solving for x or multiplying by logbase10 of y.

It's difficult for me this year, being in a math class where I'm getting the lowest grade in the class and everyone knows it. And it's not that they're laughing at me or anything, I actually love everyone in my math class (I mean there's only 7 of us so not much to love really) and they're quite supportive but I still struggle and I still get embarrassed and I still feel really really stupid.

Now objectively, I know I'm not stupid and am, in fact, quite bright. In fact I find myself a lot smarter than some people give me credit for, yet a lot dumber than I give myself credit for sometimes. The point of this is: I'm not stupid and I know this even though math class makes me feel this way.

There's a real value in recognizing your own shortfalls: it helps you to work on them, you can seek the help you need, you can place yourself where you belong in terms of society, classes whatever, and, if nothing else, it helps to hear the hard truth from yourself rather than from one of your "friends". Whether your faults include math class, writing an essay, completing a mile run without stopping, making toast without burning it etc., there are tips I can share on how to improve upon these faults. But first, a creed:

Now, this is the very very important part of this post.

Just because you aren't good at that thing....doesn't mean you aren't good at other things.

Par example....

Running is really not my thing and you will probably out-pace me (unless we're running towards Johnny Depp or something) but I will kick ass in the pool

If you can solve this: 
that's great for you but I can still write a pretty fantastic commentary on gender representation in Shakespeare's works.

And so on....

  • It's important to recognize that just because you're not good at _____, doesn't mean you're worthless or stupid. You have value! We cannot hear that enough. It's important to recognize your talents along with your faults, and don't feel bad about having pride in your talents that you know you're good at (but don't be cocky) 

  • It's also pretty important to own up to your faults, own them don't let them own you. Ask for help when you need it, try not to feel embarrassed if it seems like everyone around you gets it but you don't--I promise at least one of them is faking it and as soon as you ask for help, they'll drop the facade and ask too.

  • Make sure you put in the time necessary to work on improving your fault as well--if it's something you find worthwhile. I, sadly, don't have a choice in math class and find myself studying in my "off" hours, going for tutorials during my study hall period, reviewing the problems I got wrong, and I'm getting better about asking questions in class. Take small steps and gradually get bigger if you want to work on your fault. 

  • Lastly, make sure the fault that you're recognizing is one that you actually have and one that you recognized. If someone tells you something rude or makes an unsolicited comment--ignore them, tell them off, and don't try to change for them! If you find yourself agreeing with them, on your own terms, then you can work on the fault. But make sure it's coming directly from your desire and not from anyone else's. (Like this math class analogy again: I say people are forcing me to do it but my mom isn't standing over me forcing me to study, my teacher certainly isn't chasing after me, it's my own motivation to work on improving my grade because I know the colleges I'm looking at and the future I want to have and it needs a higher grade in math.)
You can overcome these faults, with a lot of hard work and no excuses, and at the very least you will improve--I promise.

Do you have any tips on how to recognize and overcome faults or setbacks? Feel free to share them below! 

xx
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December 12, 2014

Find a version of this photo on Instagram

Something that is rapidly becoming a new family tradition (at least for Mom and myself) is making fudge during the holidays to include in my teacher gifts as well as a little extra for ourselves to nibble on. 

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December 10, 2014


Holiday Tunes
"Baby It's Cold Outside" by the Glee Cast (aka Kurt and Blaine)
The two guys give a great update to the classic hit and the way their two voices fit together will have you swooning.

"All I Want for Christmas is You" by Bowling for Soup
The band brings punk to Christmas, not to mention some great guitar feat. bells background action.

"Let It Snow" by Aly & AJ
The acoustic take the twins give to the song, not to mention their slightly-raspy voices, add a whole 'nother element to the song.

"The Christmas Song" by Martina McBride
Martina's slight, barely-there country twang + her soulful rendition and silk voice make this a true classic.

"Auld Lang Syne" by Colbie Caillat
The quintessential New Years' Eve song, Colbie's peaceful version and personal message at the end makes it a must-have.

"Winter Wonderland" by Faith Hill
Not only am I jealous of Faith's pink dress on the album cover, I wish I lived in the winter wonderland she sings about.

"Santa Baby" by Taylor Swift
A release early in T's career, her country roots still show in the twang of this song--and it's a perfect compliment to the lyrics.

"I'll Be Home" by Meghan Trainor
The newest song on my playlist, I fell absolutely in love with her voice and this song through Spotify's 'Christmas Pop' playlist.

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
A repeat, I know, but the Diva brings the ultimate of her range to the song and delivers a sound, if not more traditional, performance.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee
The vintage vibe emanating from this song is too good to miss, plus it's just a fun song to sing! 

"Auld Lang Syne" by Lea Michele
Another repeat, sorry. Lea's voice is the definite forerunner of this song, a perfect capture of the movie in which it premiered.

Honorable Mentions: 
"Mistletoe" by Justin Bieber
While the world loves to hate on the Biebs, this song is a cute pop-y Christmas love story that is a guilty pleasure.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" by Michael Buble and Idina Menzel
The award for Greatest Broadway Voices on a Holiday song and the Cutest Video Ever go to this song.

Favorite Holiday Song: 
"I'll Be Home" by Meghan Trainor

*click on the artists' name to get more information on the album/song/movie etc.*
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December 7, 2014

You may have noticed a few changes to my blog lately, specifically to my pages. I've added two new ones: My Recipe Box and MyTunes.

My Recipe Box
Food has always been an integral part of my life, my family's unspoken motto being: there is no better way to share love than with food.
Esther and Lucy last Christmas

Naturally I don't spend my days reminiscing about the food we ate/prepared, I relive the wonderful memories! Thinking about what made us laugh all together (a most beautiful sound), what made my grandmother go "tsk tsk" in her mock-disapproving way, what made my aunt spill her wine glass on the dog she was laughing so hard.

And that's really what the food-symbolizing-love part is all about to me: the love of a family (and the love of good food). 
Last Christmas Dinner

I'll be sharing some old time family recipes, as well as some recipes that we've tried passed on from one family to our through the magic of allrecipes.com so keep your eye out for yummy posts coming your way! 

MyTunes

Music is a gift that deserves to be shared and, being the person that makes a playlist for literally every occasion (even the ones that haven't happened yet) I thought I'd share the magic with you through a playlist page.

As always please comment your thoughts below on the new pages, on any individual recipes, or on the playlists I post. Hope you enjoy the new pages! 

xx
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December 6, 2014


It's been a while since I last had pancakes for breakfast, I mean normally I grab a small protein bar or something on my way to the bus stop, so I decided to try out a new recipe this morning. (Plus my friend was bragging about his family's tradition of having "pancake morning" which is every Thursday morning or something they have pancakes before school so I had pancakes on the brain)

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November 30, 2014

I had to look back through all my previous posts to make sure I haven't already posted something along these lines yet....and I'm surprised that I haven't because I struggle with the Sunday Night Blues so often myself.
I think collectively Sunday is so depressing because simply it's the final night of the weekend and we can literally feel the precious hours slipping away, just as our freedom is, before Monday morning rolls around. No matter how much you love your Monday plans, Sunday can be a pretty depressing night. I've developed a few tips on how to beat the Sunday Blues that I thought I would share.

  • Get things done early! Trust me I understand how lovely it is to sleep in but when you have an Aggi whining and growling and licking at your face to get you up and out plus the sound of early-morning construction right out your window, sleeping in too late isn't really an option. I'm not saying leap out of bed at 6:30 ready to start your day, I'm saying don't set an alarm but do get out of bed some time before noon otherwise you'll feel your day is wasted. (Oh and if you have a dog and they're trying to get you up, if you don't open your eyes sometimes they'll go back to sleep themselves! #lifewithdoggies) 

View this photo on Instagram

  • Get out! We all have days where we don't get out of our pajamas and watch endless reruns on TV eating chocolate chips right from the bag. If you want to avoid a bad case of the Sunday Night Blues, don't plan on this schedule for a Sunday. I suggest getting out for a walk in the morning, with a certain furry friend maybe?, walking to your local Starbucks for coffee, walking to 7-11 for a donut, anything to get you out! Today, for example, I walked Aggi and when I came back Mom and I went to the mall. This sort of leads into my next point....
  • Don't stay out too long! Believe me, Mom and I both know everyone has a laundry list of chores to get done but if you save them all for Sunday and decide to stop for lunch and drag your feet choosing which lettuce for your salad that night at the supermarket you won't get home until 3:30 or 4 and you'll feel like you have no time to relax and get everything you need to get done, done.


  • Get your work done before 5 PM! At that time it's beginning to look a lot like night and if you work after that or worse, start your work after 5 you'll definitely feel overwhelmed and like your whole weekend went by waaay too fast and the Sunday Blues will hit you like a truck. 
  • Don't let your diet go to hell! By this I don't mean 'diet' in terms of 'trying to lose weight on purpose so I can fit into my ____' I mean diet as in what you eat during the week. If you're a salads and fro-yo girl, don't pig out on pizza and McDonalds and Dairy Queen and 3 Starbucks' in one weekend! I'm not saying don't treat yourself, have pizza every Friday if you want (I do) and drink a Starbucks in the morning but don't go overboard. Especially on Sunday you want to slip back into your routine so Monday doesn't seem so harsh--eat a nice baked potato and salad for instance if that's your diet. If your diet is McDonalds and pizza normally well then....you go for it and RIP to your bowels(might I suggest prunes?) 
  • Take time to yourself on Sunday evening! Take your furry friends for another walk as the sun sets, take a dip in the pool, try a new hairstyle, call a friend, read a book, take a bath, do all of the above. (Write a blog post!) Just take some time to unwind and calm down.

The Sunday Blues didn't hit me as hard today and I think it's because I, subconsciously, followed these tips. I also laughed a lot, don't be afraid to laugh at yourself, laugh with others, laugh for no reason! (Okay you may want to have a reason to avoid stares....) My Sunday was actually a pretty good day (despite misplacing my homework folder, having to re-type a 3-page paper, and working on my Lit presentation). 

What are your tips for beating the Sunday blues? Let me know below or anywhere really. Stay beautiful butterflies! 

xx
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November 27, 2014

Happy Senseless Turkey Murder Day! (As Phoebe would say that is) For the rest of you....Happy Turkey Day (one day late for me)! I hope you get to spend wonderful time with friends and family. I'm thankful for my crazy family, my even crazier friends, and the amazing opportunities afforded to me living over here in Manila. What are you thankful for?
Our Thanksgiving family this year
xx
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November 25, 2014

A new store recently opened in Mom and I's local mall (SM Aura), Vom Fass. 
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November 22, 2014

Perhaps the title should read "letting go of your anger" (if you're singing "Let It Go" in your head at this point I thank you for not singing it aloud). Everyone gets mad at someone/something but to harbor that anger is very dangerous and actually hurts you more than it hurts the person. 

Now, I can't tell you that you should "just let it go" or that I have some miracle cure that will instantly make you understand how to set your anger at someone free, because I don't. Truthfully, I still harbor angry thoughts about a few people and situations in my life--but understanding this anger and learning how to process it is a great step in beginning to move on from it. 
In my own experiences, when someone is angry they're usually not simply angry, there are underlying feelings that are emerging through the anger like hurt, jealousy, or betrayal. Sometimes even love. Harboring resentment over something definitely means you still care about it, even if you don't want to admit that. The first step in this long process would be understanding what you're feeling and why you're feeling it.

I'll use a very personal example. I am so angry at my stepmother that I feel like I could punch through a wall when I think about her. She's poisonous, she is unstable, I don't trust her, and I worry about her effect on my father. I am so angry I could spit. Or cry. She has caused so many problems that I really don't want her in my life at all. This being said, I won't let myself detach completely because of my father and, to a degree, my brothers. I love them and I want to see them and, unfortunately, it means seeing her as well. (Don't get me wrong, if it ever reaches my breaking point, I'll have to stop seeing all of them because of her but right now I love them too much to let her ruin it.) 

I spent a while living somewhere very near to hate when I thought about her until I realized her presence in my mind was crippling me so much I couldn't function. I also realized, in addition to my anger, I am feeling hurt because of the way she treated me, I am betrayed, hurt, saddened, and fucking PISSED at the way she treats my dad, and I'm angry that I can't do anything about the situation. Understanding why I'm feeling this way is the first step in letting anger go.
(the presence of these gifs helps neutralize my anger as I write)

Now, I can't claim that I'm not angry at her anymore. Honestly I still don't want to be around her at all and I'm not anywhere close to forgiving her, but now that I understand why I'm angry I can begin working on not worrying about the anger I'm feeling, putting it out of my mind and putting myself at ease. 

Moving on from the personal and into the more general, it's a very difficult thing, to release the anger you've harbored for a long time. But understanding why you're feeling what you're feeling, maybe even discussing it with someone you trust, is a great place to start. I'm not an advocate for the "forgive & love everyone" life method, mostly because I'm not sure I can forgive certain people. (I'm pretty sure I'll be 80 years old and still feel the anger flare up when I think about my stepmother.) But I am a major advocate of the understanding & reasoning approach to life and anger. Talking it out can really help you release the bottled up feelings, and if you don't have anyone close you can turn to--you could try a therapist, they're quite beneficial, you could write a letter to Dear Abby, and, there's always little ol' un-solicited-advice-giver me. 
And here's some more unsolicited advice: 
Don't listen to naysayers when they tell you that what you're upset about is inconsequential or not important. 
Don't feel bad if you can't release the anger at all
Do try to understand why you're upset--and connect with the feelings you're feeling other than just the anger 
Do let it out! Scream, yell, cry, throw a pillow, hit the pillow, shred the pillow--anything you have to do to let the feelings out

Have you had to deal with anger at someone? Were you able to forgive them/the situation? If you haven't forgiven them, do you think you are able to? What are some of your methods of dealing and understanding your feelings? As always, feel free to comment or talk to me through any of my varying methods. 

xx
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November 13, 2014

Today Celesty tagged along and watched swim practice as she had nothing else to do. It wasn't terribly dull for her, she had her laptop anyway, and Thursdays are a short practice: just a warm-up and then relays. Relays are always fun. 

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November 9, 2014

Being a member of an international school community has many perks including meeting people of all different backgrounds, learning lessons you wouldn't necessarily learn about in a US classroom, and celebrating more school holidays. But there's also a downside. 

If you ask these international school kids, 90% have moved countries more than once, 63% three or more times (completely made up figures  but you get my point) and when you move around that much as a kid, it doesn't tend to stop as you reach your high school years which means either detaching yourself emotionally from your friends or learning how to face several tough goodbyes over the years. 

Last year I had to say goodbye to Shiv, a close friend that moved into my life from Sri Lanka and out of it to Brazil. Over the years I've said goodbye to many including Anaya, Oisin, and Louis, to name only a few. 
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November 5, 2014

Credit for both the beautiful board and the picture goes here (xx)

I stumbled upon the inspiration for this post as I was flipping through some very Pinterest-worthy Inspiration Boards, trying to find some inspiration myself.

I've been struggling lately under the mounting pressures of schoolwork, not to mention trying to keep any semblance of a social life together, plus this lovely blog that has always been a passion of mine so it didn't feel like work. Now, I'm not trying to make excuses or come off really whiney--everyone has to face stressful situations, especially my fellow high school members can relate to exactly what I'm going with, but all this pressure and stress has made it difficult to think of inspired blog posts to share with the world that's not just dead space and so...I went looking for inspiration

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October 31, 2014

As I write this, I am sitting poolside in one of my many flowered dresses with one of my (again, many) swimsuits on underneath, a cold piña colada at hand. Bragging? Maybe, but I'm proud to say it's part of my "job" here on my blog.


Picture courtesy of Wild Orchid Beach Resort

I've been to Subic before, and wrote about it here, but this time we decided to try a different resort, one on the beach. The Wild Orchid Beach Resort is a beautiful beachfront resort that offers several bars, restaurants, and pools.

View this photo on Instagram

Our first half-day/evening here was very nice, we relaxed by the pool, took naps, and enjoyed very tropical beverages before dinnertime where this little kitty adopted us as we fed her bits of shrimp. (Best dinner date I've had in a while) 

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October 29, 2014

Halloween, being one of my favourite hall-idays, is a big deal. And, hoping to begin a new tradition that I've let dwindle these past few years, I hosted a party on Monday, as I will be at the beach on the spooky day itself.
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October 23, 2014

Well actually...the title should read: Why My Reaction to Being Told "Your Eyebrows are So On Point!" Wasn't a Good Thing.

As nearly every girl (and many guys) will attest, eyebrows are MAJORLY important. They're basically an accessory you can never take off that need constant attention. They're like little, hairy children. So when anyone, literally anyone, comes up to you and says "Your eyebrows are so on point!" You basically have a meltdown and cry and want to thank them for the rest of your life. 

Exhibit A: might as well be actual footage of my reaction

Well recently a couple people came up to me and complimented my eyebrows and this was exactly my reaction. I'm not saying getting excited about receiving a compliment is a bad thing, quite the contrary actually!

My over-the-top, completely flabbergasted reaction got me thinking: yes I should be happy that they gave me a compliment, because duh compliment=niceness=happiness=happy dance, but to be so....surprised that this compliment was given out of the blue was what triggered this particular bout of over-thinking.


As people we need to give more compliments! I'm not saying that giving compliments should be fake or you should just say them to say them, you need to actually mean them, but we need to be freer in saying them! Not just to our friends and families either, but to that girl standing behind us at Starbucks who is wearing that skirt that you love or the guy sitting next to you on the subway train who has been sketching for the entire ride and his design is totally sick.

Everyone has been conditioned to either a) laugh off a compliment and then follow it up with a return compliment or b) be completely surprised and deny the person's compliment....before complimenting them in return. This isn't totally wrong, polite modesty is a good thing but learning to accept a compliment with grace is a beautiful thing that has, unfortunately, become a rarity.

I believe we need to get better at both giving and receiving compliments, they're basically little tiny pieces of joy that you can give out forever and ever! Every compliment should send a smile dancing across your face, whether or not it's from your Mom (and it does count even if 'they're family' and 'they have to say that'), your best friend, your boyfriend, or a total stranger. 


Along these lines...giving a compliment does not include whistling at a person as they walk by, doing the 'once-over' eyes so many times they notice (and especially if you keep doing it), yelling 'hey beautiful/gorgeous/good-lookin' etc. There's a definite difference between complimenting somebody like "I love your skirt" or "That band on your shirt? Yeah, they're my favorite" and calling out "Yo beautiful look over here!" Learn the difference butterflies, everyone deserves respect.

To recap: give compliments like candy, graciously receive compliments, and respect everybody. Got anything to add? Drop a comment here or on one of my social medias.

Stay beautiful butterflies. 

xx
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October 20, 2014

It's been kind of crazy lately, so apologies for not posting in a while. Last night I arrived home from my whirlwind 1-full-day-in-Shanghai weekend with my Academic Bowl team. We journeyed to Shanghai on Friday for a competition that took place all day Saturday and then flew back Sunday. You'd think with that kind of schedule we'd have no time for non-acadmemic fun, but you'd be wrong. 

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October 12, 2014

As anyone who knows me can tell, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I've loved it ever since I was little, and the holiday really peaked for me in middle school when I would celebrate with Ammie by trick-or-treating in her (and my constant crush's) neighborhood and then sleeping over at her house (an all-time favorite place of mine). 

Enjoy this archived photo of me from several Halloween's ago raging about the Scrooge's who give out yellow mints on Halloween

We would go around with Dani and occasionally Maitri and sometimes those two would stay over with us. It's a sugar-filled night of fun and abandon when we would strut around in heels that hurt (well at least I did, Dani's boobs couldn't breathe in her sexy Pirate outfit and Amrita dressed appropriately for the evening. Prude. JK ilysm)

Anyway, since moving to Manila the tradition has kind of died (at least on my end) so I decided to have a little Halloween party this year, complete with costumes and themed-food. Plus, it can be a kind of final farewell to Kim who is (sadly) leaving us in November.

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October 3, 2014

(Brief explanation as this is the first post of its kind: because I go to a private school with a uniform, I can't exactly give you weekly outfit updates. So what I've done is collected all the outfits I wore on the weekends during the month of September into this one place. Hope you enjoy!)

9/5: Night Out with the Girls (aka Kim and Celene)


(Ignore the ill-placed brown spot, it was on the mirror not on me)

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shorts (xx)  grey tank (xx)   navy tank (xx)   beanie (xx)

In addition to our sleepover, we went and saw Seth MacFarlane's "A Million Ways to Die in the West". Funny movie, pretty inappropriate at times but really funny. Think Ted with actual people + the gorgeous Charlize Theron. I was wearing my high-waisted denim shorts from Forever 21, black tank top, my red beanie from TopShop, and scuffed zipper Converse. My bag was the Ganesh designed tote bag from A'postrophe (xx). 

I went for a heavier makeup look than I normally wear, the darker smoky eye with thicker eyeliner and the pop of red lips, because when in Rome....

This was Kim's outfit:




From the buzzed sides of her hair to the purple lips to her leather 'n lace crop top, when you're with Kim you go punk. 

9/6: Shopping with Celesty (Spirit Week)


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The next day, I went shopping with Celesty so we could find a matching outfit for "Matching Monday". For this little endeavor, I wore no makeup, my Nerd t-shirt, and black workout cropped sweats with black flip-flops. I carried the same Ganesh bag from the night before. 

9/13: Saturday Practice and College Shopping






                                            (xx)         (xx)           (xx)

That Saturday, I had Academic Bowl practice from 8 am to 3 pm at school (as if I don't spend enough time in that classroom already) so I got myself out of bed at 6:30 (practically unheard of on a Saturday) and went to school. It was okay though because there were also chess tournaments, volleyball matches, baseball games, choir rehearsals, and rehearsals for the middle school musical Grease. After Academic Bowl practice, I went to a hotel in Makati to visit the 20+ colleges touring around together.

I wore an oversized white t-shirt, high-waisted shorts from Forever 21, green flats with bows, and a blue ruffle cardigan. The earrings are also from Forever 21 (gradient hoops I believe).

9/14/14: Friend's Birthday Celebratory Lunch







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tights (xx) necklace (xx) boots (xx) shirt (xx) skirt (xx)

On this Sunday it was our friend Susan's birthday so we took her to Wildflour for her birthday. Wildflour is a gorgeous San Francisco-esque restaurant that serves breakfast all day, has the best passionfruit mimosas, and has freshly-baked pastries that are to die for! 

I wore my black tank top, black and white polka dotted skirt, patterned tights, wedge lace-up boots, and "Show Off" necklace. Unfortunately, except for the tights which I know are from Rustan's and the necklace which is from La Senza (oh and the boots that are from Forever 21), I do not recall where I got the rest of the outfit. As always, substitutes are above for you.

I did golden makeup because to wear an all-black outfit with a dark smokey eye should be reserved for occasions that call for the "hot DAMN" reaction and I haven't worn the golden eyeshadow in a while.

9/20/14: Nail Art With Mom



floral tank (xx)  color block tank (xx)  high rise shorts (xx)

Because of torrential rain and flooding, not only was school let out early on Friday in fear of the buses getting stuck, my swim meet on Saturday was also cancelled. Because of this, Mom and I decided to treat ourselves to a little mani/pedi together before a quick trip to the grocery store. The result? Dark violet nails that make me feel like an Evil Queen about to take over the universe.

I wore my Forever 21 Keyhole Back tank, Forever 21 high-waisted shorts, and blue flip-flops (not pictured) from Havaianas. The extra-long ponytail is achieved by tying two ponytails, one on top of the other, to give it more length. 

9/27/14: Friends' 20th Anniversary Concert

In honor of the legendary television show Friends' twentieth anniversary, a concert was held at SM BF Parañaque. My friend Nikki was lucky enough to be able to perform in the concert so on Saturday Kim, myself, Nikki, and the two twins all piled into Nikki's car and off we went! 






Hogwarts crop (xx)basic crop (xx)cross body bag (xx) overalls (xx)

Some of you may recognize my outfit from the Spirit Week post from a few weeks back, however I wore this again on Saturday with one change: I didn't wear an undershirt. While this is how the outfit was designed and some people may have worn it without a second thought, I considered this an actual 'fashion risk' for me simply because I've never worn a crop top before and was truthfully never comfortable enough in my body to wear one. I think wearing it with the overalls that cover the stomach and the back, just leaving the sides exposed, really helped me and it was actually a major confidence booster putting on the outfit for the first time, looking in the mirror and thinking "yeah, this looks really good." 

The crop top and the overalls are from Guess (less expensive options are in the collage, I surprised myself that I bought these actually), my custom zipper Converse (you can custom make your own Chuck Taylors here--or just browse the website xx), and my purple satchel was a gift from my grandparent's last trip to Italy. 
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