Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Friday, April 30, 2021

Thoughts on The Sussex Interview

It is sad…just sad all around. I saw the interview that Oprah Winfrey had with Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle about how their life was when they were still active members of the royal family and now that they are out of it. I felt sad watching the whole thing. Sad that they had experienced what they did, sad that the outcome was something that caused a rift within their family, and sad knowing that after that interview, things will not change for the better.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Former Dream Jobs

My sister and I were recently talking to my niece (her daughter) and our nephew about what we had wanted to be when we grew up. My niece is trying to pick what to concentrate on for Senior High School and we were telling her how in our case, we did not end up where we thought we were supposed to go. 

Take my career journey for example. As I mentioned in a previous post, I never expected to end up where I am today. I did not expect to be in a more Administrative position, involved in HR and in Business Development. I did not take a course related to these things. My degrees are for the arts and for marketing, not an educational path that you would expect to lead to the industry I am in today.


Monday, April 26, 2021

Can't Stop Watching: Air Force One

Have you ever had that one movie that you just cannot stop re-watching no matter how many times you have seen it? The kind that you were not planning to see but once you flip the channel and see that it is on, you end up watching it? I have a movie that is like that for me. It’s weird since the lead actor is not exactly my favorite and the genre is not really my usual flavor, but I still end up watching it anyway. That movie is Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford. 

There are other movies with similar themes of being trapped in a vehicle and needed to save other people and escape. Speed and Snakes on a Plane come to mind when it comes to that theme. For this movie, Air Force One, the official plane of the President of the United States, is hijacked by a group of terrorists who want to have their leader freed from prison. 


Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Sunday Update 22: I am Not OK

When is the job more important than your life or your mental health? These days, I’m sure that many would say never. Personally, I am questioning the same thing myself.

As I said in last week’s update, I had an RT-PCR test done at work with the rest of my co-workers with the help of the Philippine Red Cross. Someone had tested positive previously and we all had to make sure that no one at work was infected. Thankfully, none of us tested positive and we could all breathe a sigh of relief. Still, it was a big risk (and some have said, out of line and against health protocols) for our boss to order us to report for work even while we were waiting for the test results. I can’t imagine the stress I would be going through if someone had ended up testing positive. 


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Revisiting Wayne Goss

The pandemic has brought about many changes for a lot of people. For me, one of the changes that happened in the past year is the fact that I hardly ever wear makeup anymore. It has gotten to the point where I feel like I do not remember how to put it on. 

The fact that I wear a mask and a face shield whenever I’m out made me feel like the less I put on my face, the better. I know a lot of other people still wear makeup, but I haven’t felt like doing so underneath all the layers of protection.

Still, there are days when I need to put on makeup. I have video meetings sometimes and, if I am home for them, I am usually mask-free. That means putting on makeup so that I do not look pale or look like I am just lounging at home. 

Because of the need to put on makeup again, I decided that I needed some help. Of course, I went back to the one person who I knew could help, Wayne Goss


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Discovery of Witches Season 2

I love reading. I love books. I love it when books come to life on TV and in movies, especially if they get it right. One of the books that turned into a TV series that I enjoyed was the adaptation of the series A Discovery of Witches.

The series, as I have mentioned in a previous entry, is adapted from the All Souls series of Deborah Harkness. The first season covered the first book, and recently, they aired the second season, which is based on the second book, Shadow of Night. 


Monday, April 19, 2021

When This is All Over

I was going through my newsfeed on Facebook this morning and I saw that people in Israel can now go mask-free when they are outdoors. People are basically back to normal now and have no worries about this pandemic. I envy them so much! At the rate things are going here in our country it will probably take a while to get to that level. Maybe a year – or more. I’m hoping it would not be as bad as I am thinking but these days, I’m more of the hope for the best but expect the worst kind of gal. 

Still, those photos from Israel made me think: what would I want to do when this is over? When people are allowed go out to see friends and family again and be able to go mask-free without worrying about a virus that can take your life? What would YOU want to do?


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sunday Update 21: COVID Scare

It has been a difficult week. I had scheduled an online check-up with an app and the doctor did not show up, which meant waiting 2 hours for nothing. I went to the office for two days to work there, something that has always made my anxiety levels go up because I am afraid of the COVID 19 virus. 

For those who have been following my work stories since the pandemic, I used to work one day at work, then the rest at home. Then my boss placed me on the five days at the office schedule, even if the law says I can work from home because of my comorbidities and I can do my job well enough from home. After a while, I resumed a one day a week at the office, but then after my boss said people were jealous of my schedule, he placed me on three days a week at work, with my only concession being that one of those days was only during the morning. I cannot even begin to share how nervous that makes me feel. Looking at my accomplishments from my previous schedule to my current one, I have shaved down my productivity so much because of how worried I am if I am being careful at the office. Can you blame me?


Saturday, April 17, 2021

April 2021 Playlist: Country

I have not done a playlist post in a while. With the summer (oh sorry Philippines, it’s actually the “dry season”) here already I thought it would be nice to post music that I enjoy listening to that helps distract me from the summer heat (and the stress of COVID, to be honest).  This month, I share with you some of my favorite country songs with my April playlist!

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Country was never the type of music I listened to when I was younger, but now that I am older (or should I say, more mature), I have started having an appreciation for this genre. That is not to say that I like all country music, but there are some songs that I have grown to love that I cannot help but sing or dance along to when I hear them.

Play It Again by Luke Bryan is a song that I (literally) love to play again. I sing along to it too (and maybe dance along as well). I completely fell in love with this to the point that like the girl in the song, I want somebody to play it again after I hear it. 

I do not think many people know that Lucy Hale, who played Aria on the show Pretty Little Liars, tried her luck with country music. Her song Loved is a sweet and feel-good song that I can’t help listening to over and over again. 

My playlist cannot be complete if it does not have country royalty Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in it. To me, their song It’s Your Love is a classic. I love singing along to it. 

Wanted You More by Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum…dropped the second name to be politically correct?) is a song I only discovered when someone sang it on a reality competition a few years ago. I love this more than their previous hit, Need You Now. Another song I discovered by watching a singing competition on TV was Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves. I discovered it on the Masked Singer, of all things!

If I had a country crush, it would be Sam Hunt. I love almost all of his songs, but I Met a Girl is something that I sort of pretend that he’s singing to me, so it is a personal favorite!

Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban is probably one of the earlier songs that got me into country music. I felt that it had a pop feel so it was not hard a transition for me to appreciate it. 

Again, who would have a country playlist without Shania Twain? Her song Man I Feel Like a Woman is such a female anthem that is fun, empowering, and such a nice song to dance along to (while I sing to my hairbrush!).

As a Swiftie, I loved the song Babe by Sugarland, which also features Taylor in the backing vocals. This is another song that I love singing along to while I pretend that Brandon Routh (who played the male lead in the music video) is my cheating husband.

There are a couple of songs that I fell in love with when I heard them on made for TV movies. I had to search for them on Spotify just to learn the title and who sang it. They are the songs Sweet by Johnny Douglas and I Love How You Laugh by Carey Moore and Josh Rush. Some songs, on the other hand, I discovered through a Country playlist on Spotify, like Keeping Score by Dan + Shay featuring Kelly Clarkson, Lovin’ Lately by Tim Rich featuring Tim McGraw, Thank God I Got Her by Jonny Diaz, and Love Like Theirs by Maddie Wilson.

Of course, there are country songs that I love that broke into mainstream charts like Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, Last Name by Carrie Underwood, and Honey Bee by Blake Shelton. Speaking of Blake, I also love the song from his ex-wife, Miranda Lambert. The song Somethin’ Bad About to Happen featuring Carrie Underwood reminds me of Carrie’s songs Last Name and Before He Cheats. It has the same feel to it, and I love that!

Another feel-good-sounding song for me is I Look So Good (Without You) by Jessie James Decker. But the one that really makes me smile when I hear it is Sweet Home Alabama by Lynrd Skynrd because it reminds me so much of the movie that has the same name (it stars Reese Witherspoon if you want to check it out!).

In Case You Didn’t Know by Boyce Avenue is another song that tugs at my heartstrings. The original is from Brett Young, but this version from Boyce Avenue is my favorite. 

Lastly, I am a fan of a couple of songs from Rascal Flatts. Bless the Broken Road is a classic and I think so many people have used this song for weddings and whatnot but my big fave is What Hurts the Most. It’s a song that really makes you feel the pain from the story of it when you hear it. I love the duet version of this, with Natasha Bedingfield I think, but I can’t seem to find it on Spotify.

Do you like country songs? Is there anything on my list that you like? Leave a comment and share the love!


Friday, April 16, 2021

My Sworkit Journey

I read online that one of the things that can help a person prevent the infection of serious cases of COVID is regular exercise. During the start of this pandemic, I started exercising more regularly, something that my doctor would probably be happy to hear. I used to exercise a lot in the past, but after my thyroid surgery things just went downhill for me and workouts became sporadic to nothing at all. I was so frustrated that I would work out daily and not lose weight at all, so I stopped. It was only when the pandemic started that I found myself workout out daily again.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Netflix Picks: Tiny Pretty Things

One of the things that I have a weakness for in terms of movies and TV is if the story revolves around dance. That is the reason why I decided to check out the Netflix series title Tiny Pretty Things, which is based on a book of the same name. Based on the lives of people involved in a Chicago ballet school, the series is jump-started by the literal fall of their top dancer, Cassie. Her incident triggers the arrival of a new dancer Neveah, who enters on a scholarship. 

The series is a quick watch at only ten episodes for the first season. I have no idea so far if there will be a second season. I guess it was not as big as Bridgerton to get an immediate renewal. There is no news that it was canceled or that it was a limited series so there is still a chance that this is a show that will still have more stories to tell. The way it ended gave it room to have a second season, but it was also satisfying enough to end with just one season.

Most of the characters in the show are dancers. There is Cassie, who is lying in a hospital bed for most of the series. It is what happened to her that becomes a curiosity for all the other dancers. Neveah is the new girl who takes Cassie’s place on a scholarship, much to the dismay of Bette, who thought she was good enough for the position as she is the younger sister of Delia, a graduate of the school and a ballet star.

There are also the boyfriends: Nabil -- the French-Muslim boyfriend of Cassie, Oren -- Bette’s boyfriend, Ramon -- one of the top choreographers in the world and boyfriend of Delia, and Caleb -- who is secretly sleeping with the school’s director, played by veteran actress Lauren Holly. 

Other main characters include June, the dancer who becomes Neveah’s roommate, Isabel, a detective who wants to find out what happened to Cassie, and Shane, a gay dancer who becomes Neveah’s confidante (and is in a friends-with-benefits secret relationship with Oren). 

The show features a lot of dancing, but for some reason, I cannot get myself interested in the dancing as much as I am with the complicated stories that each of the characters is involved in. There are a lot of stories in this series. Maybe a little too much for ten episodes.

There is so much about how big the loss of Cassie in the school was as she lies in a coma in the hospital, about the determined detective wanting to find answers about what happened to her and who and why she was pushed from the roof of the school. There is the fight to be the top girl in school, which Bette is determined to be no matter what it takes. There is also the complicated relationship between Oren and Shane, and the rift between Oren and Nabil, and the secret relationship of Caleb and the school director. Add to that the secretive background of the choreographer Ramon and you have this large mishmash of stories that sometimes makes it feel so hard to keep up with. 

I also have to say that there is a lot of sex scenes in this show. Way too much considering how old the kids in the show are supposed to be. Maybe I am being too conservative in that observation. I know that kids are having sex. It is just that there seems to be way too much in this show for me to wrap my head around. 

While the dancing is good – apparently all the actors are dancers themselves – I do not think that the acting was up to par. The acting seemed very cheesy and soap-opera-like for the most part, which was something that I did not expect from the show. 

If you are in it for the dancing like I was, I think that you would appreciate the show. But if you are looking for good material, this may not be the show you are looking for. 

I say watch it, but keep your expectations to a minimum. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pandemic Diaries: Waiting for My Vaccine

Have you been vaccinated yet?

For many other countries, the vaccination process is already well underway. Friends and family from the US in particular have already been vaccinated, something which I am sure brings a large amount of comfort in these uncertain times.

Image by Ali Raza from Pixabay

Here in the Philippines, we have started the vaccination of healthcare workers and, in some areas, vaccination for senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.  I am actually very jealous of my friends who have been sharing that they have gotten their first shot of the vaccine already. 


Monday, April 12, 2021

Baumgartner Restoration

Art is something that I have always interested me. When I was a student I took art classes and I always enjoyed learning about and appreciating works of art, particularly those with historical significance.  I loved learning about the background of a painting, what it was about, what it told about the time it was made, and what story it told. 

I recently discovered the YouTube channel for Baumgartner Restoration, a Fine Art Restoration studio based in Chicago, Illinois. It is a studio that has been around since 1978 and is now being run by Julian Baumgartner, the son of its founder, R. Agass Baumgartner. Based on its website, it works on restorations with clients from small museums, universities, art galleries, art dealers, collectors, and private clients.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday Update 20: Uncertain Times

Another week, another quarantine classification update. From ECQ, we are now on MECQ. Whatever that means. So far to me, it seems the same as ECQ except that the curfew hours are different. Oh, and this time, we get to wait until the end of the month for the new quarantine classification. Yay.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These times are so uncertain. You can’t plan ahead because there is no way to tell what could happen tomorrow. The fact that hospitals are still overwhelmed by the number of COVID patients and how the local health units are unable to test all the people who need to be tested shows that we are still not recovering from this. I think we are (very) far from it. It doesn’t help that people are speculating about the health of the President and are wondering about the stability of this government.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Re-Follow

My social media accounts are things that I check almost every day. I follow a lot of people, mostly people who I know personally, but I also follow a lot of people that I admire: writers, celebrities, fellow bloggers, and other influential people. There used to be a time that I felt that I was following too many people so I did a purge and unfollowed people who I felt had posts that I did not agree with. Recently, however, I did a re-follow and followed back some of these people. Why? I felt that it would be a healthy thing for me to do so. 

Image by ijmaki from Pixabay

Yes, I know that sounds weird but it’s not like I re-followed anyone who is toxic or negative. I decided that I should be open to listening to people who have different points of view and interests from what I have. It’s about re-following people who are also open to a discussion/conversation about topics that we do not always see eye to eye on. I feel that to grow as a person, I need to open myself up that way.


Friday, April 9, 2021

My Past Life Regression Experience

One thing that I have been interested in for the longest time is the concept of past lives. I know that most Catholics/Christians frown on the idea that we are given second (or third and fourth and so on) chances on earth but personally I would like to think that we do come back as different people so that we can learn and become better until we are ready to move on to the next life. 

I have been reading a lot about this even when I was still in elementary school. I have always thought (believed and imagined?) that I had a past life. I am obsessed with history, with reading and learning about how people from the past lived, what their personal stories were, and what kind of environment they lived in. I also have an interest in old music, and I have always wondered if there was a reason for that.

There are people who I have seen on TV who have gotten help from people to look into their past lives. I remember watching people on TV who are said to have psychic abilities and could see the past lives of the people they meet and I used to wonder if I could meet them because I wanted to know and confirm that I did have a past life (or lives, for that matter). Unfortunately, I have not met people like that (yet) so I had to try something else. 

My searches on Spotify yielded podcasts that help listeners to undergo a past life regression session. I have not been able to find feedback on these podcasts from people who have tried them so I was not sure if I should. Someone discouraged me from it because without feedback, how could I tell if those hypnosis sessions affect me? It was too risky. 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

I Can Never Be An Influencer

The recent “scandal” involving a photo of Khloe Kardashian has raised a discussion on authenticity among celebrities and social media influencers. I find myself conflicted about this issue. On one end, I think we all try to show the best versions of ourselves online and for that reason it should not be a surprise that her photos are edited. Plus, for celebrities like her who use social media as a means of income as an influencer, I think it is a given that her posts would be edited and curated. As far as businesses go, she is the product, and of course, she would need to present it the best way possible. She may not be her “authentic” self, but she is being authentic to her image and her brand by posting her edited and curated photos.

The kind of scandal Khloe Kardashian (my favorite of the sisters, to be honest), made me think of how I would never want to be in her place. Behind the glitz and glamour, I'm sure that there is so much pressure for her to be a certain way all the time. I think that maintaining some form of reputation online for me seems to be a very tiring thing to do. All the planning, curating, and editing is a lot of work. I could never be Khloe, that world all too much for me. 

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

As a blogger, I have been approached to write about certain products in the past, but I found myself uncomfortable doing so in exchange for payment when it is not something that I believe in. I think that is one of the reasons why I never transitioned to being an “influencer.” Well, that and the fact that I do not have it in me to do all the work involved with doing this full time.

I am posting this not to diss any influencer, vlogger, or blogger. In fact, I must tip my hat to these people because what they do involves a lot of work and commitment. I just find myself struggling with doing the same thing because of issues such as authenticity in my work. I do not think I can be genuine with what I write/review if I was paid to say something positive about it. While some can do it, I do not think I can be real with my audience if I was planning everything that I share or if I was being prompted with topics for my posts. 

Image by Piyapong Saydaung from Pixabay

With my anxiety, I do not think that I can show or share as much to be an authentic “influencer” because there are some things that I would prefer to keep private, and I feel that is not what having an online/social media career would be about. You need to be out there often, and I do not think I am comfortable with that either.

Some people would probably argue and say that most people are not their authentic selves online anyway and I agree. I just do not feel that I can be comfortable with presenting myself in that way. I have friends who have encouraged me to transition my blog into a vlog or to use my Instagram to monetize what I share. I have looked into it, and I have tried some elements of doing so. Yes, I have tried the SEO of things, the affiliate links, the ads, the planning and coordinating of my blog with social media, the hashtags, and all that. I did not go all in, but I did dip my toe in the waters to see how it would go.

The experience made me realize that I did not want to do it that way. I have been blogging as an outlet, writing to release stress and just share my thoughts with the world. Yes, it seems too bad that I am not doing what I can to monetize it when there is a potential for it, but I feel that it would not be doing what I loved if I went in that direction.  It would spoil things for me. If it works out that I can be who I am now and still make something off it, then well and good. But if I go down that route of monetizing things and doing the work, I feel it would be better for my mental health to just stop doing this altogether. I do this to relieve stress, not to add on to it. 

So yeah, I can never be an influencer. With me become more and more into an introvert as I get older, I think that it is actually for the best that I do not turn into one!


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Netflix Picks: The Bonfire of Destiny

Anyone else doing Netflix binges while they work from home? I have been doing a lot of that lately. Mostly I watch shows or movies that I have already seen before, so I do not get distracted from what I am doing for work. Eventually, I decided that I needed a change and picked this French drama called The Bonfire of Destiny (La Bazar de la Charite).

Originally aired in 2019 in France, this miniseries is inspired by a true event that happened in Paris in 1897. The fire at the Bazar de la Charite becomes the main event that pushes the show’s main characters to various directions in their lives, changing them completely. I originally wanted to watch it with the French audio, but I figured I could not work and read subtitles at the same time, so I decided to use the English audio provided by Netflix instead.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Valuing My Vision

What would you do if the doctor told you that you have a problem with your vision and could possibly go blind? How would you feel? How would you react? I cannot imagine what I would do if that happened to me. But it is something that my co-worker recently went through. As someone who has had bad vision my entire life, losing my eyesight is something that has made me very scared and more determined to value my vision.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

My officemate was having migraines a lot, we all thought that it was from the stress of work and the pandemic. That and the fact that she is functioning as a single parent at home since her husband is working overseas. She has always been wearing reading glasses, so she figured the headache could also be the result of needed to change her glasses — something that she has been putting off because of the pandemic. 


Monday, April 5, 2021

Guilty Pleasure: The Graham Norton Show

I love talk shows. I have loved them since I was a young girl. Oprah will always be my favorite, but these days if I want to watch a talk show that would make me smile, it will have to be the British program The Graham Norton Show. It is that one show that is guaranteed to make me laugh when I need it most. Thank God for online videos!

Living in the Philippines means we do not get the show on TV. I only discovered the show on Facebook, and I have been watching and following it from there and from their YouTube channel since then. From what I’ve been able to gather online this is a show that has been on air since 2007, with the show featuring the same things that most talk shows have: several guests who share a couch while they talk to the host, a musical guest, and the red chair portion where people share a story and there is an option for the guest (or Graham himself) to pull a lever to dump the speaker if the story was not interesting enough. 


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday Update 19: Too Much Anxiety

 It is already the second quarter of the year. The world is still reeling from the COVID 19 pandemic that started last year. While a lot of countries have already vaccinated most of their population and have been opening from previously implemented lockdowns, there are those who are experiencing either their second or third waves of the pandemic. For us here in the Philippines, well, I think we have not yet gotten over our first wave just yet. And it is making me feel anxious and antsy about it. 

Today marks the first day in almost a year since I went back to the hospital. I had to get some lab work done for my check-up with my doctor. I had been putting it off because of the increasing number of COVID-positive cases in our area. I had registered yesterday to be part of those priority cases that will be vaccinated earlier, and I am required to present a medical certificate. I am left with no other choice but to visit my doctor if I want that vaccine.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Revisiting My Catholic Side

One of the things that I was obsessed with when I was younger was learning about the saints — Catholic saints, in particular. I loved learning about them and wondered how they lived. It was a thing for me as a child that I sort of forgot as I got older.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, with a mother, grandmother, and aunts who have trained every child in the family early on about daily prayers, hearing mass, and all the other traditions and beliefs that any good Catholic should know. So even before the religion classes in grade school taught me about the rosary or pray the Angelus, I could recite the whole thing by heart. Yes, we were that kind of family. The kind people called in Tagalog as “sarado katoliko.” The direct translation of that is closed Catholic, but technically it means we are a strict Catholic kind of family.


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Do We Really Need Cancel Culture?

This era of social media and the internet is an interesting thing. The online world is a great way for people to express their opinions and reach out to more people than was ever possible in the past. It helps make this large world feel smaller, its people are more connected. We get to learn more from each other. With the internet, we get to expand our world and our thoughts and ideas. We can call to action people from all over the world to support causes that are important to us, and it can make a difference for the better. But, as much as it can do a lot of good, it can do a lot of bad as well.

There are many things that I believe we could do less online: trolling, fake news, and the like. But the biggest thing that I find myself conflicted about is cancel culture.  That act of calling out people and “canceling” them is something that I feel does a lot more bad than good.

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