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Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Meditation: One Month After

Today marks a month since I started practicing meditation. I never thought that I would do something like this. If you asked me about it a few years ago, I would probably laugh at the idea but now that I have been practicing this for a month, I can’t imagine going a day without it. 



Yesterday I was telling someone at work about it and I was asked what the difference was between this and yoga. I explained that while I also practice yoga and meditation can be a part of it, I mostly practice yoga for the physical exercise of it, and I do meditation to help me clear my mind and start the day right. 

Mostly I do meditation by listening to music and/or to audio meditation guides that I find online. There are people who share recordings that help guide you during your meditation. It can take a while to find the right one for you and it’s more of a hit and miss kind of thing until you find what’s best. What I focused on are meditations that involve visualization and affirmations. Given how stressed I often felt pre-pandemic (and even more now that we’re in one), meditating this way has given me a more positive outlook during my day to day life. It helps me to calm down and relax and to focus on what I want my day to be. 

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Me and My RBF

 “You’re just like your father.”

That was my mother’s comment when I mentioned how surprised I was when I was told that the reason why our neighbors hardly said hello to me on the street was that they were a bit scared of me. This was when we had just moved and I hardly knew anyone in the neighborhood. I was hardly home because of work and if I was home, usually it meant just staying indoors without seeing anyone else. That meant that people didn’t know me that well, so what people thought of me was based on what little interactions I had with other people.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

KTH1

As many may be aware by now, I have been converted and I am now a big fan of Korean group BTS. Yes, I am now part of the BTS Army. While I am what my niece calls a fan of OT7 (all 7 of the guys), I also have my bias (favorite -- ah the things that I have learned in this fandom). Apparently, there is such a thing as a bias,  and a bias-wrecker, which means the other member of the group that makes you want to change your mind on who your actual bias is. People who follow me on social media would probably be able to figure out that Suga is my bias...but the thing is, I love Taehyung/V too. I can’t say that he’s the bias-wrecker though...I love both guys equally. If there would be a bias-wrecker, it would be Jimin, but only because as I have said before, he feels like he could be my son in my past life. A male version of me, sort of. 

Anyway, I will blog about Suga in a later post, but this time I want to share why I am a fan of V, also known by his real name Kim Taehyung. When I first discovered BTS, I remember referring to him as the other Jungkook because JK was the only guy whose name I knew (he was my niece Sam’s crush). As I started listening to them more, Sam introduced me to a playlist of songs that he sang a lot on and songs that he actually wrote himself. I have to admit, I fell in love with his singing voice immediately. 

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Monday, August 16, 2021

My Tarot Reading Experience

My niece bought a deck of tarot cards online. She said that she bought it because she was curious and wanted to try it. I have had my fortune told before but the fortune-teller used an ordinary deck of cards. I have never taken these things seriously because that last person told me that I would marry someone foreign and that I would have to choose to be with that man from another country and be away from my family and my comfort zone or stay put. That hasn’t happened (yet).

Anyway, my niece has been experimenting with it, searching online about how to use and interpret the cards. I decided to give it a try so I asked her to give me a reading. Apparently, you can have your cards read with a yes or no question (by choosing one card) or by having it read on a spread of several cards (my niece is only familiar with using 5 cards right now).

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Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Sunday Update 24: Delta

The past week has been crazy...I don't know how best to describe it really. So much has happened and yet I feel like the week passed me by with me not even realizing it. I felt like a viewer of my life last week, like I was in it but not quite -- you know what I mean? Like I said, it was crazy.

First off: Delta. As many people in the country are aware, we are under another lockdown. I worked from home for three days last week because we had a skeletal schedule at the office to prevent the spread of the virus. Everyone is on edge because three employees have been quarantined the week before. After all, they were close contacts of positive patients and another actually tested positive. It was so scary to think of how dangerous these times are when I was talking to our positive officemate on the phone. She thought she would never go home alive. Thankfully, she was discharged from the hospital today to recover at home.

Getting work done is a challenge because a couple of people are on sick leave and I have to pick up the slack of two people AND do my own job.  I'm just grateful that I can work from home on some days, to lessen the stress and paranoia. There have been days when I felt like I was on autopilot while working because I felt like having (and acknowledging) actual feelings about all this is making my anxiety worse. It doesn't help that there is now news that the Lambda variant, which is said to be vaccine-resistant, is already in the country. Any sort of safety I felt about being vaccinated disappeared when I read that news update online. I wish I could get a booster shot but given that they haven't even finished vaccination on the entire population, I doubt we will get around to booster shots anytime soon. 

Then, of course, there was the earthquake that happened in the middle of the night. It feels like we've had more than a handful of strong quakes this year. That is way too many than normal. While I am grateful that it has not even come close to some of the stronger ones from the past, it still makes me worry whenever I feel a little rumble from the ground. Even the rumble from large vehicles passing by our street makes my heart jump a little in fear that it could be another quake. 

Now that I've gotten the negatives out of the way, let me share some of the positives from the past week. My mother got her second dose of the vaccine (Astra Zeneca). That is one less person to worry about in the family. While Lambda is still of concern, I'm glad she has some protection at the very least. Now I only have the young ones to worry about. My nephews and nieces are still not on the schedule to be vaccinated, so I am still concerned about their safety and health.

Meditation and exercise have been positive things for me these past few weeks. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been feeling down and depressed lately, and I decided to try meditation as well as regular exercise to help me to feel better. While exercise is something I was already doing before, taking things up a notch helped me to release any stress I was feeling. It is such a relief to find a means to get that tension out of me daily. It was an added bonus that I am feeling healthier (and lighter) too.  

Meditation, on the other hand, has helped me to find a more positive outlook on life. It has helped me to learn to love myself more and to see the importance of slowing down and taking the time to give myself positive affirmations to help get me through the day. 

I also mentioned that I had recently become a fan of BTS. I liked them before but I can only say that I became a true fan recently. Their shows and their music has helped me to laugh and feel better these days -- I even use their music to work out! These guys have filled my life with positivity these days and I feel better because of it. They have even helped me out of my creative rut. The romance novel I have been drafting, writing, and procrastinating about suddenly had a new scene/chapter all because of the BTS song Let Go. I'll share that chapter on this blog soon (after I get my friends to check it out).  Another scene was inspired by yet another one of their songs, but I will share more about that in another post. 

Here is the song that inspired me to write again:



How has your past week been? I hope that it was better than mine. I hope that despite the gloomy outlook globally due to this pandemic we can have a better one this week! Until next time, take care, everyone! Wear a mask, social distance, and stay safe!



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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Passions I Miss

As they say, so much to do, so little time. 

A few days ago I was cleaning up my room and I realized that there were a lot of things that I have not touched in a while. It’s not so much about having too much clutter, but more about not having the time to do those things that I have been passionate about in the past. 

I can’t completely blame the pandemic (OK, maybe a little) for this lack of motivation to do things I love. I feel like lately, I have been too distracted with work and other adult-type responsibilities to take on the things that I used to be crazy about. As much as I want to force things, I feel that my passion for them would be ruined if I made it an obligation to give it a try again. Nevertheless, I would love to have the opportunity to enjoy doing these things soon.

Here are the things that I would love to get back into:
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Friday, August 13, 2021

Kitchen Goals

This pandemic has me going stir-crazy at home. There are a lot of things I want to do, but I also find myself procrastinating over a lot of it, eventually opting to just lie in bed watching TV or reading a good book. One thing that I always plan on doing but never get around to is cooking. Pre-pandemic I used to randomly pick recipes online and try them myself but it has been a while since I last did that. 

One of my recent (stress-induced) pandemic purchases was an oven. Our old one broke during the start of the pandemic and it has been a challenge getting someone to fix it. After all the hassle I decided that it was easier (read: less stressful) for me to buy a new one -- which turned out to be less expensive than the original one, by the way.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Right now I have a list of recipes that I want to make using the oven, but I haven’t tried anything yet because of these ECQ/MECQs (aka lockdowns). The Delta variant of the COVID 19 virus is wreaking havoc all over the place and it has been scary to go out to shop for ingredients for anything. As much as possible we purchase from nearby stores to avoid crowds (which I had been afraid of pre-pandemic anyway) or get food delivered these days. Going out for the hard to find ingredients means risking the health of people around me (since I am fully vaccinated, but members of my family are not since they are not part of the schedule yet). 

For now, I can only plan to make these recipes. I really hope that the pandemic will end soon. There’s so much I want to do when we are finally free to do what we normally do again.

Here are some of the food that I am planning to make once it is possible for me to do so:

Chicken Enchilada - I miss eating this in Mexican restaurants. I want to try to make it at home so that when I crave it I can just make it myself.

Buttery Baked Chicken - When I was younger a neighbor used to make this amazing chicken baked in butter. I never got the recipe for it but I found one online and I want to try to see if I can recreate that recipe from my childhood.

Baked Fish with Mushrooms - I am obsessed with baking fish. And I love mushrooms. This is a recipe that is a must-make for me.

Saengseon Jim - I found this recipe when I was looking for one for baked fish. I have no idea how this would taste but since I have liked almost all the Korean food that I have tried so far, this might be a good one to try.

Easy Oven Baked Ribs - There was a recipe from Chrissy Teigen that I tried involving ribs that  were supposed to be grilled but I baked them instead and they turned out really good. Trying a recipe that is specifically for baking seems to be a good one to try.

Chocolate Blackout Cake - I have been craving for really good chocolate cake. Maybe I can make one?

Snickerdoodles - This is something I have always heard of but never tried. I love the taste of cinnamon so when I read that it was an ingredient, I knew I had to try it.

Oatmeal Cookies - I think the last time that I made oatmeal cookies was in high school. That was so long ago! I need to remember how to make this again because oatmeal cookies are a personal favorite!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread - I tried this a few years back and even if it did turn out good, I felt that I could still make it better. I want to try this one again!

Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread - I have been seeing this online but I have not tried it. It looks so good and I want to try it!

I can’t wait until this pandemic is over…I might keep salivating over the thought of all this food until I can make them!




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Thursday, August 12, 2021

August 2021 Playlist: When the Old Soul Strikes

Growing up, I was exposed to different types of music. Because of that, I tend to have favorites in almost every genre (well, maybe except death metal). But one thing that I tend to have a preference for that most of the people in my family do not really care for are old songs. It could be old songs remade into new ones or literally the originals themselves. Or they could be new songs that have a similarly older, classic type of feel. They are not really in any specific genre, but they do evoke a different era from our current times. 


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I have been called an old soul because of this interest. And maybe, if I did have a past life, this is the reason why I love songs like this. Maybe in a past life, I loved these songs. It really is a bit difficult to explain, but let me share these songs here and say something about what I like about them. Songs like this remind me of BTS' V, who seems to share an interest in old songs as well. It's nice to know I have something in common with one of my favorite artists.

I've also shared a playlist of these songs below. Enjoy!



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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

#Army

A few years ago I blogged about the Korean group BTS and how I was introduced to them by my niece. These days, however, I have shifted from being an admirer from afar to a fan. Now I would like to think of myself as part of the BTS Army. I have gone a long way from not knowing who was who to become a fan of each member of the group. When my niece said that her bias is all of them because it changes every time, I have to agree because I have learned to love all of them too. 




However as I mentioned in another post, I may not always admit to it but I do have my favorites: Taehyung/V for his vocals, Jimin for his charm and talent (and for making me feel he was my son in a past lifeand for making me feel he was my son in a past life), and Suga because of his personality and talent as a rapper. He is someone I find very interesting. Seeing him work as a producer and listening to his work is so appealing. . I admire his work and I find him so attractive (or dare I say it, so hot) when I see him in producer mode.

I feel like a parent who says she loves all her kids equally but deep inside she has her favorites. I can’t help it. But I promise, I love everyone else too. It’s just that those three have a special place in my heart.

Because of this "favoritism", I realized that I have been listening to Suga nonstop on Spotify. I have only started to listen to his mixtapes/albums recently but Spotify has already recorded his song Daechwita as my most played song. OF. ALL. TIME. But V has not come out with his mixtape yet, so we'll see who gets more streams from me when that happens. I swear the voice on that one just has a calming effect on me. His song Sweet Night from the OST of Itaewon Class is a big favorite!


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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

App Review: The Pattern

One of the things that I have always been curious about studying an individual's personality and have insights into what makes a certain person tick. I remember when I was younger that I was curious about people who credit certain traits to people because of their zodiac signs (be it the Western or the Chinese ones). I still find it interesting that people think that can analyze one's personality by your date and time of birth. 

I recently discovered an app that takes that personality insight to the next level by giving you an in-depth analysis using not just your date and time of birth, but your place of birth as well. The app is called The Pattern and is available on Google Play and the App Store. Channing Tatum talked about the app online a few years ago and he was featured on Access News because of it:


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Monday, August 9, 2021

Sworkit Journey Update

I have been overweight for a long time now. I have always gone up and down the scale from the time I got out of college, and I tend to eat my feelings when I am stressed out. But for the past few years, it seemed that I have not gotten below the numbers that I had been on. Despite that, I did not take it seriously. 

There was a time when I used to work out regularly, and I loved it. But after gaining weight post- thyroid surgery and struggling with it, I just stopped caring. I did not take any action to correct it. Not even when my doctor said I was at risk of getting a heart attack (all I did was take maintenance meds). It was only during the beginning of this pandemic that I started to get scared and decided to actively take care of my health through regular exercise. At first, it was just to stay healthy enough until I got vaccinated but now that I am, it is also to stay healthy but for it to be the long-term goal for the rest of my life.


Image by AndiP from Pixabay


In a previous post, I shared that I have been using Sworkit to work out regularly. Depending on the type of program I am on, I can work three or five times a week, at 20-30 minutes per workout. The type of workouts varies as well from HIIT to yoga and pilates to barre. I love the variety and I think that it helps me to not get bored with it as time goes on. 
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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Book Review: Once Upon a Royal Summer

A while back I made a review of Teri Wilson's Accidental Beauty Queen, a romance novel that to this day remains to be one of my favorites (that I have re-read several times). I have since started buying and reading her books on Amazon. While many of those books have been entertaining, I have not found anything that would top or equal my love for the Accidental Beauty Queen until I read Once Upon a Royal Summer.
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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Travel Plans

The pandemic may make travel difficult for a while with the varied vaccine requirements in different countries, higher cost for transportation, and the required quarantine upon arrival, but it hasn't stopped me from dreaming of being able to travel one day. If I had the resources, I would travel A LOT once the pandemic is over. For now, I can plan the places I want to visit and find a way to see them later when things get better.


Image by Jan VaĊĦek from Pixabay

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Friday, August 6, 2021

Moments I Miss

This pandemic has made our lives pre-2020 a thing of the past. Even if there are moments when restrictions have been lowered (only to go back up again weeks later), it just hasn't been the same. Life hasn't been the same. And it sucks, to say the least.

As I have often mentioned in this blog, I have been careful about going out during this pandemic. Until everyone in the family is fully vaccinated, I don't see myself letting my guard down anytime soon. That being said, I do miss life pre-COVID. There is so much about life back then that I miss and often took for granted. 

I can't help but think of these missed moments so much lately since we are almost nearing the two-year mark of this pandemic. Here are some of those moments that I would love to have again:

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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Drama Review: The Day of Becoming You

It has been a while since I last watched an Asian drama. I have been watching mostly Korean dramas so during one weekend without much to do, I decided to randomly pick a series from iQIYi. I decided on the Chinese drama called The Day of Becoming You.

 

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Music Recommendation: Scott Bradlee's Post Modern Jukebox

Music has always been a big part of my life. My father exposed the family to the love of music since we were children and in a way, I think this is what helped me to appreciate many different types of music. If you were to look at my liked songs on Spotify you would see that I have a mix of various genres: classical, rock, pop, country, folk, alternative, grunge, Broadway, R&B, and hip-hop, among others. The only genre you would never find from me would probably be something extreme like death metal. 

Among the music I enjoy are the old songs...I guess in a way I am a bit of an old soul because I appreciate that. I'll share more about that love in a future post.

One artist that I love and discovered on Spotify because of my love for the old classics is Scott Bradlee's Post Modern Jukebox. It is a band that gives modern songs a vintage feel intending to bring classic sounds to the mainstream. Discovering that a few of my favorite finalists from American Idol have done songs with the group made me want to listen to more of their music. Also, if you're a BTS fan, you would recognize this group as the one that V was copying in a video (he was watching a video of their version of Closer).
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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Cravings: Food I Miss

Just when we thought that the production of vaccines would mean that the pandemic would soon be over, here comes the stronger Delta variant of COVID 19 that is spreading the virus faster than people can get the vaccine. I was hoping that the entire family can be vaccinated by this year so that it would be safe for all of us to go out, but given the rate of people getting vaccinated at any given time, it would take longer for them to get scheduled for their shots. 

While a lot of people have commented to me that I can go out safely because I am fully vaccinated, I have to correct them that it doesn't mean that I am immune. The vaccines can protect you from being seriously infected, but it doesn't mean you can't be infected. You can be infected and you can still transmit the virus. Hence, I have decided to stay home and only leave for work. That's it. 

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Monday, August 2, 2021

Once a Boy Band Fan, Always a Boy Band Fan

My old classmate and I were talking recently about how we are now fans of BTS. I remarked that, although these boys from Korea are younger than us and we are definitely not their target market, we still love them. I guess that means that once you're a boy band fan, you're always a boy band fan. She agreed. 

I couldn't help but look back on all the boy bands that I've loved throughout the years. I became a fan very early. If I remember correctly I must have been about seven or eight years old when I first discovered this pop culture phenomenon. Now, decades later, I am (surprisingly) still a fan of boy bands (well, one particular boy band anyway). 

Let me share a list of the boy bands I've loved through the years. Let me know if any of them were your favorites too!
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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Are You Man Enough?

It all started with a TED Talk on "Why I'm done trying to be man enough." Actor, director (and now podcaster and author) Justin Baldoni talked in 2017 about how there are certain expectations of what a man should be, what a man is supposed to be, and that he is tired of that. He says that the definition of masculinity today is broken. While there are good things, there are areas that need to be changed.

I loved how he talked about how the more feminine qualities of men are often discouraged. How men are taught that to be men, they cannot be soft or vulnerable. They cannot admit to their feelings, they cannot feel hurt, they cannot cry, they cannot show weakness. Showing these qualities were automatically being equated with being gay. I loved when he said, "As if being gay makes you less of a man."
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