Musings: dark & rainy days (Part 2) + theater visit

Hi everyone! I’m sorry to greet your December 1st with silhouette & gray photos but I hope these will inspire your winter season. I also hope you’re having a blast as the Christmas season starts. How are you going to celebrate Christ’s day?

Sun set in Ayala Center while waiting for my friend

Antique clock that my aunt bought for my parent’s engagement

Construction site on the look out.

In contrast with the silhouette photos, I want to share the set in the recent show I watched with my cousin. It was actually her requirement in school and I just tagged along.

I am amazed of the lights and how the props were creatively used.

Lights can totally add to the drama!

These people were doing a wave dance before the audience!

Liza Macuja-Elizalde shared some imagery that ballerinas use to convey meaning. I wasn’t able to get the context fully but the introduction helped.

Stay inspired,



Takeaways: Broken things

As cliche as it may sound, some things are meant to be broken.

I was doing a favor for my dad when I accidentally dropped my phone a couple of weeks ago–the glass facing down. I was in utter shock when I saw my phone on the floor.

I did not panic because I normally drop my phone around the house or somewhere when I place it on top of a table and it slides. When I picked it up, I saw the shattered glass. It was terrible! I never imagine that my carelessness will result to something like this.

My relatives dropped me off at kn’s place and I went inside the elevator still thinking. I felt stupid for a moment but I didn’t get angry the way I used to before. I was surprised with my reaction! I stayed calm this time. I felt at peace because I knew that God is teaching me a lesson.

Over the past few weeks, I was attached to my phone. This incident reminded that I should not take pleasure on this device more than I take pleasure in my time with God.

I called my dad and confessed what happened. He accepted the fact and did not get angry either! He also asked his friends for contacts. My mom and sister also instructed me to tape the shattered glass so that I won’t get bruised. I received grace and felt it in full!

I realized that when things like this happen, our reactions matter. We either make the situation good or worse. Praise God for helping me deal with this!

I also realized that we need other people’s help. Keeping this to myself wouldn’t solve the problem. My dad knows someone who is from Greenhills and his friend gave me directions where to go.

I also told my best friend about the incident and asked if she would like to go with me. Apparently, she was able to visit the place before!

The security guards at the MRT stations and malls were also very friendly. We asked around for directions and they gladly helped!

This incident reminded me of us. We are broken. We cannot make things right. But when we go to God and ask Him to give us grace and accept that we will remain broken on our own, we receive it in full!


Takeaways: flat lays

Recently I have been reading crafty and creative blogs like A Beautiful Mess and Nubby Twiglet. Both blogs exemplified beautiful flat lays.

I also love doing flat lays and documenting things that are on my desk. Their blogs challenged me to make them better. Here are some flat lay photos that I took during the previous weeks.

Fresh tangerine and kindle

In this photo, I used an iPhone filter called Chrome. It doesn’t do much in the photo aside from brightening it up a bit.

I learned that brightening up images can make the quality better. Try it!

Antacid medicine from my aunt

Another tip: go near the window and only use one lighting source.

In this photo you can see the shadows on the left. I used a lighting source from the right.

Caring for my eyes. Recent purchases from the drug store. What is your eye regimen? It is actually my first time to try Olay eyes. Have you tried it before?

In this photo I used my sister’s blanket as background. You can use solid colors depending on the color of the objects you are going to place. Usually I use white or brown since both colors are more neutral and flexible. Sometimes, I use placemats, blankets or shirts. Be creative! It doesn’t need to be conventional!

My desk while having some snacks.

In this photo, I angled my phone in such a way that the objects are not a hundred percent covered.

Tip: You can play with the angles until you get the perfect shot!

I will be sharing separately for the flat lays I did for food in the following posts.

Stay inspired,


Thoughts: 24 lessons I learned as I turn 24 (Part 2)

Hi everyone! This is a sequel to my previous post. I recently turned 24. Yay! As always, I write reflections and thoughts for every experience, event or learnings from people I meet. I deemed it timely to share 24 lessons that I learned through the years.

I hope you’ll find this article useful.

THIRTEEN- Live with a war time mind set. 

A few years back I was sitting in the pew during our church’s prayer time. As our Pastor shared the Psalm for the week, he also shared John Piper’s book called Don’t Waste Your Life. It is one of my favorite books and I try to read it again and again in order to be reminded that we are here on earth for a short time. We need to make every moment count. We need to be good stewards of our time.

This is also the reason why I had a shift in perspective regarding shopping and spending idle time.

I encourage you to read this book! It is free for download. Just click the link above.

FOURTEEN- Make others feel good. 

I am a very sensitive person. I tend to be very happy for a moment then sad for the next several hours. I am easily affected by circumstances and words of other people. I guess it’s just part of my personality but I think it is not an excuse to make others feel bad.

I am still working on this but thank God for Joy’s mom for her example! We can be joyful even if we feel disappointed.

FIFTEEN- Live with less. 

I wasted a lot of parent’s resources when I made bad decisions. I tend to buy unnecessary stuff but they all ended up sitting on the table. After a while, I realized that I am not being a good steward of the resources that God has given me or my family.

Recently, I have been more conscious with what I buy or consume. Maybe because I am already working and spending my own hard earned money. I learned that we can enjoy life by living with less. It also helps us to clear our thoughts when our spaces are not cluttered.

SIXTEEN- Be in the moment. 

There are a lot thoughts popping in my mind as I write this line. I better understood myself after reading a series of blog posts by Katie Kuo especially this one regarding day dreaming. My sister will often get angry at me when I could not keep up with what she’s saying. I think this explains why.

I need to remind myself to be in the moment. To focus on every word that some people are talking about. I think looking at them in the eye helps.

I also deem it useful to bring my notebook with me and write down what I observe. It helps me to be immersed.

SEVENTEEN- Allow yourself to fail. 

I am afraid of failing. Everyone is looking up on me especially during my elementary and high school years. I am afraid of seeing myself lose. Thankfully, after failing a subject in college, this fear was lessened.

I’m not sure how to do this either but maybe trying to do something that you like will help you accept failure.

I learned that failures are not the end. They’re like closed doors of opportunities. We should just keep on knocking on different doors so that we’ll find the right door. But of course we must choose wisely!

EIGHTEEN- Read. Read. Read. 

I hated reading when I was a kid. I cannot stick to a page without moving uneasily. I preferred making up stories while playing with my sisters or browsing my aunt’s pile of magazines. I got sick of my dad constantly reminding me to try reading.

This changed when a relative gave us a Magic Tree House book. It was really interesting and short. I started reading this series but always wondered why I could not find the purpose of doing it.

When I joined a camp and had to leave because I got sick, we dropped by at the nearby National Book Store because I asked my dad. I saw Sean Covey’s book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. I knew I wanted to try reading that book after seeing the adult version from my dad’s shelf. After reading this book, I realized that I am interested in non fictional books–business, self help and inspirational.

My dad would always brag about his reading achievements. He told me he could read a book in one sitting. I wanted to achieve that so I never stopped reading ever since.

My course also required us to read a lot! I guess I appreciated reading more!

NINETEEN- Learn something new today. 

I believe that we can learn something new every day. It can either be a skill or an information about something or somebody. We just have to be unconventional and try to look outside the box.

We can start by asking, “God what are you trying to teach me today?” too!

I love reading blogs because I can gain new insights and ideas from people around the world. My favorites are mentioned here. In addition, I also love Joy Mendoza’s blog.

We can also learn something new when we visit to a place we’ve never been to. Several weeks ago I had the privilege to get to see Dangwa, the flower district in Manila. I’ll be posting our photos and reflections separately.

TWENTY- Acknowledge that everything has a purpose. 

When we seek God, we gradually understand that even though we may not see a bird’s eye view of our lives, He can. We may not understand why we are going through a season in life but He knows. He knows everything about us.

I always go back to Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

That is also our mentoring group name.

TWENTY ONE- Give more. 

For the past several years, I always write a goal to give more but I could not. I guess it’s because it is a bit vague. They say that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I couldn’t agree more! My aunt has this generous spirit that is why people are naturally drawn to her.

Studies also show that people who give more are happier. They are also content. During the year, I hope I will be able to live by this lesson.

Setting aside a certain amount will be of help. We can give to our family, relatives, friends, organizations, and those in need.

TWENTY TWO- Eat what is right (and enjoy your food). 

During my high school years, I restricted myself to a lot of food types but never resisted anything sweet. This imbalance will probably cause me to be more diabetic prone.

After eating halo halo (filipino version of Bing su) in my university years, my tonsils suddenly hurt. I ate congee for several days but the pain would not subside. I visited an ENT doctor to check the swells. This incident occurred again after a year.

I learned to lessen my sweets during that time. God taught me to eat a balanced meal gradually. I am also learning to enjoy my food.

TWENTY THREE- Care less about how you look. 

I craved other people’s attention. I wanted to always stand out. My image became an idol. I cared about how people compliment my outfits or the way I look. I tend to get sad when nobody tells that I look pretty or that my dress looks great.

I guess it was connected to my clothes obsession (although I think my previous outfits were horrible looking back). Living with less means living with the basics.

I am learning to care less about the way I look. Instead, I wanted to exude a God given confidence so that other people will be blessed and will feel good.

TWENTY FOUR- Freebie suck. 

I am always thrifty. I bring food in school and at work. I also bring my water bottle with me. I love free stuff. I enjoy them! Through the years, I made a conscious effort to use free stuff or service as long as I can in order to save. I realized that we don’t need to spend to have a good time.


Takeaways: The Art of Tidying (Part 2)


As a kid, I would often ask my sisters to pose for me. I would pretend as the photographer and let them act as my models. Before the “shoot”, we used to conceptualize the outfits by taking out some of my parents’ clothes as well as my aunt’s clothes (she lives with us). We would also borrow my aunt’s shoes and accessories. I would often get upset because after the shoot, I would return the pieces one by one despite asking for help.

J during our photoshoot
Ironically, I was the one posing here because they might get angry if I post their photos

My aunt has the most stuff among us all. Some of her clothes were stored in our closets. At one point in time, I was into cleaning and organizing the house. I transferred her stuff to her room and stacked her clothes inside her closet. I got scolded afterwards but because of this I felt good that my sisters and I can have a space that can be called as our own.

J's closet
Sneak peak of my closet. Confession- I wasn’t able to take a before photo.

I agree to Marie Kondo’s point in the book that the way we were traditionally taught how to organize would never really give us a decluttered space. Through the years, I would often sort my clothes when I feel like they were totally disorganized. While sorting, I would often hesitate to give away some stuff that really looks good but won’t fit me anymore. Sometimes, I would hesitate because my aunt will get angry at us for not appreciating the clothes she bought for us. I would also sort the accessories me and my sisters shared. There was one three layered and one five layered plastic drawers on both ends of our vanity table where these were stored. I wrote labels for clips, hair ties, combs, lip glosses, hair nets etc. Because the drawers were big and the space was communal (our helpers also access this when they help us do our hair), it was always messy. Organizing was never ending! My clothes, shoes, accessories were never really fully organized!

I applied Marie Kondo’s advice that we start tidying by discarding. She also suggested that we discard the clothes, shoes, and accessories first among other things because it is the easiest and most visual. She said we should discard stuff that do not spark joy one by one by touching it. For me it means discarding the things that were left unused for several months, clothes/shoes/accessories that made me feel less confident and won’t make me look good. After learning my body shape, colors that complement and style, I was easily guided in this process. I would say that the hardest part would be letting go of clothes that are already worn out and yet are memorable. My closet was never been this spacious! Although that is the case, I still have to sort my stuff in our “ancestral” house.

Closet in progress. Believe me I already took out a lot! Before, you cannot see the margins.

While reading the book and decluttering at the same time, I also realized that we are so bombarded by media! A lot of advertisements lure us to buy more stuff. It is also a common notion that to have more things equate to a good and successful life. Growing up, we would often go to out of town trips just to shop usually for clothes. It was my mind set that is flawed. Although I knew that I already have enough clothes, I want to have more. I thank my aunt for showing us her love by giving these things but it also led me into a series of “shopping failures” and wasted money. I realized that I was shopping for items that were beautiful but won’t perfectly fit me. I also realized that I was not spending my time wisely when I stroll in the malls aimlessly. My wants are limitless and buying more things wouldn’t make the list shorter. It won’t also make me happier.

During this process, I was drawn to more neutral colored clothes like black and white. We weren’t allowed to wear these colors because of chinese beliefs that wearing these would bring or signify death and bad luck. My aunts prefer bright colored clothes as well as printed clothes. I realized that although I keep some of these type of clothing, I prefer solid and neutral colored clothes. Here is a very helpful guide I found on pinterest in building a capsule wardrobe from Flip & Style:

Capsule wardrobe.jpg


Lastly, as a follower of Christ, I am accountable on the resources that he has given me. I want to be a good steward. This means I ought to give more rather than receive. I also need to have a simple lifestyle although that does not mean deprivation of the good things that God has given. He also wants us to enjoy these little pleasures but we need to be on guard.

We need to be aware on what we purchase, consume, and read. The social media, television and magazines always entice us to look like the fashion bloggers, artists and other influential people. We might also feel pressured because our friends are wearing trendy clothes. May this passage remind us of what we should focus on.

Colossians 3:1-3

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

In the succeeding posts, I will be sharing my journey in tidying up as well as my reflections.

Stay inspired,


Takeaways: The Art of Tidying (Part 1)

One Sunday afternoon I was lying on my parent’s bed/guest room bed/yellow room bed (because they aren’t usually around). I was staring at the wall in front of me. It was completely different from the wall it used to be. It was messy and lots of random stuff were placed without order. I was contemplating on the sermon I heard that morning but I just could not think properly because the view is obstructive.

This view prompted me to check out Marie Kondo’s The life-changing magic of tidying up book. I heard it from my aunt and saw her place completely different from before. It was spacious and clean and so calming.

Seven years ago it was just a wall. Occasionally we put something on top of it when my relatives are around but it was usually bare. I’d like to sit on top of it or stretch or take photos or study. I would then imagine that I’m sitting beside the window while reading a book on a rainy day. Just writing this post make me reminisce those care free days.

Image result for art of tidying up
Photo taken from the web

You may ask, why did we end up having these dividers? My mom was worried that we’d lack storage space because my sister was moving in the condo. We will be three by then and she might not have enough space to keep her stuff (Having enough ‘space’ is always a condo problem). But we ended up splitting the storage space because she doesn’t have much stuff to store. Or maybe I suggested we divide it to accommodate our stuff. Okay honestly I forgot what really happened.

I got the top most shelf by default because of our height order. Even then it is still a struggle to completely keep everything within reach. I would usually place random stuff on top of the other. After several months of doing this (or even years), I could not bear to look at the shelf. It was a disaster.

I asked myself, what happened to the space that I enjoyed before? How did I accumulate all this stuff? How can I declutter? 

These questions led me to Marie Kondo’s book and a series of decluttering not just in this space but to the rest of my stuff and the common stuff in the unit.

I will be sharing my decluttering journey as well as reflections while reading the book in my succeeding posts.

Stay inspired,