40 Things Making Me Happy As Of May 31, 2019

ida at 40.jpg

Because I love lists and because I just turned 40, I thought about writing a list of things that are making me happy as of May 31, 2019. This list may change over the next few months, but as of today, these are the big and small things that are bringing me joy.

I like writing these things down because I know that in my dark days, I will lose all sight of what brings me joy. If I re-read this, it may help me get back to the place where I am most functional, where I am most joyful, and where I will cling to His Grace.

  1. Turning 40. Seems like a good number to be.

  2. Having a job that both challenges and fulfills me and gives me purpose and joy.

  3. Having another job that provides financial security and challenges me too.

  4. Working out with officemates (for free!)

  5. Staring at my piles of books (even as I wonder when I can read them all)

  6. Experimenting with making my own pour-over coffee

  7. Looking forward to Japan and Singapore (and hopefully the US!)

  8. Scrolling through my feed and seeing cute babies, yummy food, gorgeous places, and beautiful people

  9. Listening to podcasts while I take a bath and while I walk to and from work.

  10. Getting people into enneagram.

  11. Backtracking on my photos a day project.

  12. Writing down my pop culture schedules (movies, TV premieres, book launches, etc)

  13. Teaching people to journal.

  14. Being able to consistently journal again.

  15. Thinking of ideas for work (trying to see them through is another issue)

  16. Planning my Abot Tala film appreciation class.

  17. Thinking of the Boracay and Dumaguete trips.

  18. MIBF (and it’s also part of the stress list)

  19. Re-arranging my stickers and postcards


  21. Having random lunch or dinner or coffee with workmates

  22. Spending time with Mama and Carlo even if we’re not actually doing anything.

  23. Speed-reading through romance books on my Kindle Unlimited account.

  24. Re-watching some of my all-time favorite comedy shows on Amazon Prime Video (30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Rec, Community) and Netflix (Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Fresh Off the Boat)

  25. Making customers happy if I lead them to the book they’re looking for.

  26. Buying colorful pens.

  27. Being able to finish my skin-care routine.

  28. Discovering new restaurants or trying new food.

  29. Chatting non-sense with friends (and also, sometimes, may sense)

  30. Reading storybooks or making up stories with G.

  31. Watching my favorite football teams win dramatically.

  32. Watching really good movies for the 2nd (or even 3rd or 4th) time.

  33. Writing down random things I want to tell God.

  34. Re-reading verses and seeing them in a new light.

  35. Listening to preaching that makes me ask more questions.

  36. Trying to figure out the tension between what is in the Bible and what is happening in real life.

  37. Reading Christian authors that challenge me.

  38. Keeping still.

  39. Talking to Him without any of the prayer structure that used to bother me.

  40. Breathing.

30-day Journaling Prompt


Journaling has been my on-and-off hobby since I was 8 years old (I won’t say how many years ago that was). The past couple of months, I was given the opportunity to actually share what I know about it and help people get started on their journaling journey (tongue-twister that is).

I was supposed to do a 30-day journaling prompt starting January 1, but by the 15th, life caught up with me and I found myself stuck. But since today is February 1 and the trial period for 2019 is over, I am officially re-starting my New Year.

And so here I am, not re-starting the prompts, but giving you a full 30 days of prompts that you can use in case you want to go on a journaling journey yourself.

Remember, you can write, sketch, collage, or even video your answers, as long as you are able to do it. As one of my idols likes to say, “done is better than perfect”.

Will be doing a daily #selfcare challenge for February, so crossing my fingers I stick to that one this time around. If you want to follow my progress, follow me on Instagram @emotionalnomad

Happy journaling!

DAY 1 What are you most thankful for the past month? List at least three (but better if more!)

DAY 2 What are you looking forward to this month? List down your events and plans so you can look them over the next few days. Get excited!

DAY 3 What are things about yourself that you want to improve? List down three and if you can, list the practical and concrete steps that you need to take

DAY 4 What is something new that you want to learn this month? It can be something as simple as learning to cook a new dish or as formal as signing up for a business marketing course on Coursera. The important thing is to never stop learning and having the desire to learn new things

DAY 5 What book (or books) are you planning to read this month? What do you hope to get out of these books?

DAY 6 If your 2019 will be a movie, what genre would you want it to be? Any specific movie that you would want your year to turn out to be?

DAY 7 What do you do to relax and de-stress? Write out (or draw) your destressing routine so you have something to look back on when you feel the pressure.

DAY 8 Who is that one friend or family member that you want to intentionally spend more time with this new year? Write down your reasons why then schedule a regular "date" with this person for the next few months.

DAY 9 If you like to travel, what is it about traveling that you love? If you don’t travel, what is stopping you from going on trips?

DAY 10 What are new places that you want to visit this year? It can be a nearby town, a new restaurant, a new country, etc.

DAY 11 What's your morning magic weapon that helps you conquer the day? If you don't have one yet, think about the past few months and try to recall what it is that you do that brings you energy and joy and helps you focus for the rest of the day.

DAY 12 What are your health goals for the next few months? Health doesn't mean just losing weight. It can be exercising, getting something checked, eating better, etc.

DAY 13 What Sunday night "ritual" do you do to prepare yourself to get back to the grind tomorrow? If you don't have one yet, think about things that either motivate you or relaxes you and try to create your own little Sunday night habit.

DAY 14 What are the things that you want to do or learn in order for you to love other people better?

DAY 15 What are the things that you need to do in order to love yourself better? What does self-care mean to you?

DAY 16 Write a “love letter” to a loved one that you haven’t said I love you to in a long time.

DAY 17 Choose one day this month where you will do absolutely nothing. Afterwards, describe the experience in your journal

DAY 18 When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Compare what you wanted then and where you are now? What has changed?

DAY 19 If you could have any job but you won’t get paid for it, what would it be?

DAY 20 When you retire one day and look back at your working life, what are the things that you want to have accomplished?

DAY 21 Write a letter to your ten-year-old self. What are the things that you know today that you wish your younger self knew back then?

DAY 22 If you were given the chance to mentor someone, what are five things that you would want them to learn from you?

DAY 23 What work of art (movie, book, music, painting, etc) has made you really happy lately?

DAY 24 If you could have any talent or skill, what would you want to be really good at?

DAY 25 What has been the greatest disappointment that you’ve had the past few months? Is there anything you can do to overcome it or make up for it?

DAY 26 What are three small or big lessons that you’ve learned so far this year?

DAY 27 What are three things that you want to improve about your habits so far this year?

DAY 28 What are 5 things about yourself that you love the most?

DAY 29 What are 10 things that you love about your life right now?

DAY 30 List down 10 random thoughts that you’ve had today.

4 books that are currently inspiring me

While I’m really more of a fiction reader (and romance books devourer), I learned to read non-fiction books when I started working at OMF Lit. If you’re surrounded with a lot of inspirational and practical living Christian books and you need to learn how to market and promote them, then of course you would need to learn how.

But over the eight years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned to not just multi-task my actual job but also multi-task reading. At any given time, I’m probably reading around 3-5 books (plus “just” 1-2 fiction books too) at the same time, both for professional and personal reasons. I usually share them on my IG (I’m still thinking about creating a book-focused personal IG account) and for some reason, people actually believe me when I recommend something.

So long story, well, a bit long, here are five of my current reads that have been inspiring me for varying reasons. Some are shameless plugging for books that we sell of course, but there are also some non-OMF Lit books.


I may be a bit biased here because Isa is my friend, we published her first book Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God, and she wrote a short chapter about me. But ask anyone who has read anything she’s ever written (even her IG stories can be poetic) and they’ll tell you that she is insanely talented. She is able to put into eloquent and heartfelt words what people feel. She is able to tell stories that make you feel connected to the people she’s writing about even if you don’t actually know them (as her partner in crime Crae likes to say). And her new book, independently published, is a combination of the two. Her writing is kind and heartfelt but not cliche or too mushy. She tells stories about the strong women that surround her, the amazing students that she has inspired and who inspire her, and even missed love connections.

If you’d like to know more about the new book, visit her FB page Isa Garcia Writes. And if you’d like to buy her previous book, it’s available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshops, National Bookstore, or buy online here.

Like Lines On A Map


The Relevant Podcast is my favorite podcast and Relevant Magazine is my favorite magazine too. I discovered my favorite Christian writer Shauna Niequist through both and the minute Annie F. Downs joined the podcast, I knew she was going to be another favorite person. I decided to read 100 Days to Brave first because, well obviously, I wanted to take more bold, brave steps in my personal life. 15 days in and I can’t say I’m so much braver, but I’m doing a lot of self-analysis and rediscovering what it is it I really want to do with regards to do that “one big project” that I’ve been meaning to do. Will be talking about my 100 day journey on and off through the blog and through my IG as well.

I bought it through Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!) but I’m hoping we’ll be able to import this soon.



This young girl has been an inspiration of mine ever since I discovered her stickers and her ABC Journal. I may not be an artist like her (in fact, I cannot draw to save my life) but I find inspiration in her creative endeavors, her travels, and her journaling. I know my journal will never be as pretty as hers but I am learning a lot when trying to incorporate my own kind of creativity when I journal, which is mainly adding stickers, prints, and the occassional doodle that only i will understand. This book talks about how to live the creative life in both practical, fun, and even money-earning ways.

This is available in most bookshops like National Bookstore and Fully Booked.



His first book, Love Does, changed my life. It showed me what it really means to really love like Jesus and made me realize how I may be doing things wrong. I’m still a work in progress when it comes to loving my neighbour and so this follow-up is perfect as Bob himself continues this journey of learning to love even the most difficult to love people (including yourself!) and how we (meaning Christians) are supposed to be the emobiment of love (and yet we’re obviously not).

This book is available at our bookshops for P925 but if you buy it until October 31, you get 20% off!


10 reasons why I hang out at coffee shops

If you know me in real life or if you’ve followed me on social media long enough, you’d know that I love (understatement) coffee. And while I can always just brew my own cup at home or at the office, there are still a lot of times when I want to hang out at various coffee shops. Here are some of my reasons why.

1. I go there when everything seems just too much. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life now, but there are just days and moments when you just need to get away and be alone and be anonymous and just be somwhere other than there. When I need to work, I bring along my trusty laptop. When I don’t need to work, I just bring a book or a notebook and pen. I sometimes don’t tell anyone where I’m going just so no one will bug me. Or sometimes, I just tell them because I know that after an hour or so, I will crave their company. Maybe.


2. I go there when I want to people watch. The people who go to coffee shops are pretty interesting. There are those who devour frapuccinos like there’s no tomorrow. There are the beautiful people who parade in and out like stars in a music video about coffee. There are the ones who crave solitude ironically, in a public place, but in a corner with their books and/or phones. There are those who meet up with long lost friends over coffee cups and pastries. There are the workaholics who can’t seem to let go of their laptops. And yes, I am sometimes all of those. Well, except for the frapuccinos (I rarely drink them) and being one of the beautiful people.

3. I go there when I want a good cup of coffee. I’m sorry, but I truly believe that instant coffee is not real coffee. Nothing beats good ole brewed coffee. The smell, the texture, the scalding hotness as it goes down my throat, and the eventual jolt as it enters my system. Those are things that instant coffee (no matter how “now” it is) can never give me. And yes, sometimes I do give in to the inevitable iced drinks and frapuccinos and flavored coffee, but brewed coffee is still my main thing. Some of my favorite coffees are:

Vietnamese Coffee and Barako from everywhere!

Toby’s Estates - Gibraltar and Mocha

Bo’s - Drip or french press of Sagada, Matutum, etc

Starbucks - cold brew goodness

Commune - everything


4. I go there when I want to meet up with long lost friends, or even everyday friends. It is quiet enough that you can hear each other talk, unlike if you meet up in a mall or that thing called a bar, which will never ever be conducive to intimate declarations. Just please, observe common decency by not making the coffee shop a market place coz you know, some people still go there to think and have me time.

5. Most coffeeshops offer free wifi and for someone who breathes online, this is always a good thing.

6. Coffee + aircon + wifi + headphones = conducive to writing

7. Most coffeeshops have really good pastries to satisfy my always sweet tooth and sometimes even more than decent food to tide me over.


8. A lot of my best ideas have come from just sitting in coffeeshops, staring blankly into space and waiting for eureka moments. Granted, not all of these ideas have borne fruit, but someday, that idea notebook will come in handy.

9. Coffeeshops always smell good. Period.

10. And yes, the dream is to one day have my own coffee shop/library, where people can do all the things I mentioned above. I also want to have a “quiet area” where those craving solitude and need to concentrate will not be disturbed by those who want to socialize. So while that is still in the pipeline (maybe), I will continue to make the rounds of all the coffee shops in Manila and fortify that idea in my head.

5 Things To Do When Things Get Too Overwhelming


Whether your to-do list is getting longer and longer or you’re anxious about an upcoming presentation or you’re just in the dark phase of your mental health cycle, there are moments when you just have to stop, take a deep breath, and just do something to make the voices stop or to make your heart calm down or to unscramble your brain.

Don’t say you can’t afford to stop. When it’s a matter of your sanity or your health, you have to step away from whatever it is that is causing you to panic or to be too anxious or to just be too overwhelmed.

Here are some things that I’ve found to be effective and maybe you can give one or two (or all) of these a try. But remember, the first thing you have to do is stop whatever it is you’re doing and take 5 minutes or more or else you might just cave or break down or have an attack. The first step is to try and breathe normally. Then these may follow.

  1. Pray or meditate (or both)

    Depending on your spiritual persuasion, you can do either or even both. As a Christian, this should be my first refuge. But the truth is, it’s not always a natural response. So I have to remind myself or have others remind me that my first refuge should be God. It doesn’t have to be a “formal” kind of prayer but more like me talking to Him, venting, crying, making sumbong, etc. And then the other important part, which is where meditating comes in for me, is to be quiet and listen.

  2. Read

    I wrote the other day that I feel so blessed (not ironically) that in my workplace, I can just go down to our bookshop to take a break and read a book that can inspire me or teach me a lesson or both. You don’t have to work in a bookshop, but wherever you are, you can just grab your current read or a book that you’ve been meaning to read and find a quiet corner (even the bathroom!) and lose yourself in a different world (if it’s fiction) or learn some words of wisdom (for non-fic) from someone else.

  3. Talk to someone

    If you’re like me, an introvert/sometimes ambivert, this doesn’t always work because sometimes you just want to be alone with your thoughts. But when you sometimes feel like you’re going out of your mind, talking to someone just might save your sanity. You can either tell the person you just want someone to listen to you (and hopefully you find someone who listens well) or you can ask their advice or you can even just ask someone to distract you from your own thoughts (sometimes, humor helps!). It is important for you to realize that you are not alone.

  4. Create something

    I’m a writer, so my first instinct is to of course write in my journal or post something on social media (or both). But if you’re a visual person, you can draw or sketch your feelings. If you’re more musical, you can play an instrument or sing (there are videoke-like apps now so you don’t have to sing acapella). If you cook, go ahead and cook something. The idea is to find your creative outlet and let it all out there.

  5. Eat or drink something

    You may laugh at this, but seriously, it helps. But it has to be in moderation, mind you. A cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a piece of chocolate, your comfort food - they may be temporary distractions but they can help you breathe.

How about you? What are the things that you do when things get too overwhelming?

8 planners/journals you can use for 2018



If you've been following my social media feeds, then you know that a.) I love planners/journals b.) I have too many planners/journals and c.) I've been on a search for the perfect planner/journal. Also, because of two rakets that I have (and an upcoming super duper secret project), I went on full research mode and bought and looked at tons of them. 

So here I am, sharing with you what I've learned about all of the ones that are available in the market that caught my interest. I won't tell you which one is the best because I believe they're all pretty good and it really depends on your purpose for using them. So for each one, I'll tell you what's great about it and what kind of person would actually like it. 

So let me take you now on this planner/journal journey...

(Let's get the more popular ones out of the way)


Starbucks Planner

3 things I like about it

  • The leather cover that you can use for the planner itself or for books
  • The special Starbucks card that comes with it
  • The color of the not green one

You'll like it if: you've made the yearly (panata) tradition of getting one and if you really like consuming all those Starbucks Christmas drinks that you need to buy

But: Notice that the things I mentioned that I liked about it were all external things.  The inside isn't anything special but just your basic planner look. So if you're looking for something different from them this year, you'll be a bit disappointed. 

Where to get it: Y'all know the drill. 18 stickers, 9 of them Christmas drinks

From Starbucks Philippines FB

From Starbucks Philippines FB


CBTL's Giving Journal

3 things I like about it

  • It's a hybrid planner and journal since it has a lot of prompts and questions that will make you reflect on your life, as well as space for you to actually plan things. 
  • It emphasizes giving and generosity all throughout the year, in different forms and sizes
  • You help send kids to school through REAL Life Foundation 

You'll like it if: you like combining your practical and your reflective side and if your focus for 2018 is related to generosity

But: if you don't like your planner to be your journal too, then you are probably looking for something a bit more practical

Where to get it: 12 stickers only!

From CBTL FB page

From CBTL FB page


Belle De Jour Power Planner

3 things I like about it

  • It's a very pretty but practical time-management tool that includes period tracker, cash flow tracker, goals page, 2018 workbook, etc, alongside the month-to-month and day-to-day pages.
  • It comes with a card that you can use at partner establishments as well as tons of coupons for the whole year.
  • The BDJ community is huge and has expanded to not just the planner but to a website, workshops, meet-ups, etc.

You'll like it if:  you're a woman who loves to track a lot of things and you also love to shop

But: it can be a bit too frilly for some people who like their planners minimalist

Where to get it: National Bookstore, Fully Booked, or direct from their website.

From ilovebdj.com

From ilovebdj.com


FILED! Scribble Planner

3 things I like about it

  • It suggests activities that you can do every month as well as weekly compliments that can help get you of that expected funk.
  • It has monthly artwork from internationally acclaimed graphic designer Risa Rodil (you've seen her work around, just Google her)
  • It has spacious pages for you to write in (which some planners neglect, really)

You'll like it if: you like pink and a younger and more dynamic vibe (and if you like Risa's art!)

But: it may be a bit too "young" for those looking for a more serious vibe.

Where to get it: National Bookstore, Fully Booked, or direct from their website.

From filed.com

From filed.com


Now, here are some new (or new-ish) ones that you can check out


Whatda! Anong Petsa Na? Freelancer's Sanity and Survival Planner

3 things I like about it

  • It caters to a very specific market: female freelancers or those who are doing rakets on the side
  • It doesn't just help you plan; it gives productivity and raket tips, has a budget and project tracker, mission maps, etc.
  • It has hilarious (and helpful) comics inside, since the creator RaketChick is a comic book artist

You'll like it if: well, if you're a raket chick or if you're planning on trying freelancing in 2018

But: if you have a full time job and you're not interested in the side hustle, then this will seem weird to you

Where to get it: National Bookstore or from Anvil's website. 



The Daykeeper 2018

3 things I like about it

  • It has a page across the weekly planner where you can write down the "things that made me smile". We all need to remind ourselves of the simple joys every once in a while.
  • If you're into sketching and calligraphy, their paper does not bleed!
  • It comes with other extras like writing a letter to yourself at the start of the year, postcards to send to your friends, Bible verses and quotes to reflect on

You'll like it if: you're more of a faith kind of person and if you want a journal/scrapbook more than a planner

But: It might be too spiritual if you're not that kind of person

Where to get it: Their website

From Daykeeper website

From Daykeeper website


Woman, Create 365 Wonders Planner

3 things I like about it

  • It has so much art and poetry and literature! It's actually not just a planner but a showcase of all the awesome, young, female talent that we have.
  • The planner also puts much emphasis on feminism and the wonders of the female mind and heart
  • A portion of the proceeds go to Wipe Every Tear, an NGO that rescues girls from sex-trafficking

You'll like it if: you want to be more "woke" or if you're already a card-carrying feminist and love of art

But: There might not be too much space for you to do some actual writing or planning

Where to get it: Select FullyBooked branches or order directly from them.

365 Wonders.jpg


Your Sunday Night Journal

3 things I like about it

  • It helps you not dread Mondays so much because you do reflective journaling on Sunday nights (hence the name)
  • It helps you look at your upcoming week from a macro level and makes you think about the good (and bad) things that happened in the week that was
  • It looks so minimalist and pretty, and makes you excited to actually write on it.

You'll like it if: you only have time to journal once a week

But: if you want to journal every day, it might be too minimalist for you

Where to get it: From their website.

From yoursundaynight.com

From yoursundaynight.com


One liners about the others that I've taken a look at

  • My Write Life 2018 (Mercury Drug) - not really a planner but more of a journal/tracker/notebook but still very nice
  • Muji Planner - for the ones that really just want a planner
  • Hobonichi - soooo expensive but seemingly worth it if you can afford it
  • Certified Positive Planner - for those who want their "Chrsitian" planner
  • Focus Journal - made by BDJ too, but this time with a focus on, well, focusing
  • Tita Witty's Planner - if you want to laugh and cry while planning your life


So, here it is, I'm giving away some planners! Yey! It's the first time that I'll be doing this, so yey! I was not sponsored by any of these but I can't keep all the planners that I've bought in the name of "research" (for rakets and two secret things) so I'm spreading all the planner love. Just join the Rafflecopter below and I'll announce the winners by December 27!


10 Ways You Can Read Even When You Don't Have (Much) Time

If you’re reading this article, then this means that you actually want to read books. But wanting to read and having the time to read may be two different things for you, whether you are a working mom, a student on your final year in college, a workaholic, a freelancer juggling three different projects. But the important thing you need to have is the desire to read.


Here are some tips on how you can still incorporate reading books into your routine and make your life richer and more meaningful (and don’t we all want that?)



1. Set a realistic reading goal every month (and commit to it!)

By now, you’ve probably figured out how fast (or slow) you can read. So why not challenge yourself by setting a realistic goal of how many books you can read in one month or one quarter. And you need to commit to it by setting up punishments and rewards for yourself. You can even get an accountability partner, if that works for you. 



2. Set a goal per reading session

If committing to x number of books per month is too much for you, then just create goals every time you read. Let yourself finish 50 pages before putting down the book or finish 2-3 chapters every time you have a reading moment. And if you go beyond that, better!



3. Take a reading break (or breaks) during the day

While some have coffee breaks, why not take a reading break? Even 15 minutes during your lunch break can be enough to read 1-2 chapters (or more if you’re a speed reader). Not only will you get to catch up on your book, but you might also get inspiration for your job or that pesky term paper you’re working on.



4. Always bring a book for those long lines

It’s inevitable that you’ll have to wait in line, whether at the bank, the grocery or waiting for your ride home. Instead of stressing out and complaining on social media, bring out that book or ebook reader and start or continue reading.

From http://religionnews.com/

From http://religionnews.com/


5. Read while on your commute

Reading in moving vehicles isn’t really bad for your health, unless you have vertigo or eye problems. If you can read in a car or bus or train, it’s a good way of spending time especially if traffic is bad. And remember to look up from your book every once in a while to avoid motion sickness.

From DailyExpress express.co.uk

From DailyExpress express.co.uk



6. Schedule reading times during the week (and turn off your cellphone!)

You probably spend a couple of hours at the end of the day just going through your social media feed or playing games. While we don’t want to take that away from you, why don’t you schedule one night a week where you turn off your mobile device and read a few chapters of a book. And if you use your mobile device to read, turn off the WiFi to avoid distractions. You can even put it in your calendar and set reminders so that you won’t forget.



7. Join a book club or reading group

It sometimes helps to be part of a community that is reading the same book so that you are pushed to finish it. A fitness routine uses the same principle—you can exercise better if you have a workout buddy. 

From http://www.wblibrary.org/

From http://www.wblibrary.org/



8. Create a “reading space” 

It may be a quiet corner in your house or a not-so-crowded cafe or a bench with a good view. Wherever it is that can get you in the mood for a little reading, find it and keep it. 

From tipsaholic.com

From tipsaholic.com



9. Don’t force yourself to finish books you don’t like

Don’t give up on the first chapter. Try out a few more, but if it still doesn’t grip you or you don’t find it useful, just put it into your DNF pile (that’s Did Not Finish) and move on to another book. Life is too short to finish bad books or books you don’t like. 

From www.sarahsbookshelves.com

From www.sarahsbookshelves.com



10. Read long form articles or blogs

Sometimes, a book may be too much of a commitment for you at this point in your life. But you should not lose the art of reading things that are longer than 140 characters or two paragraphs. So try reading the longer articles or even blog posts you can find online that match your interests. This may even encourage you to go back to reading books!

From www.technobezz.com

From www.technobezz.com

How about you? Any tips on how busy people can continue reading?

6 ways to journal even if you can't consistently write

You've seen various articles and listicles on the power of journaling. Here's one and here's another. It helps you keep remember and memorialize what happened especially if your short term memory is kinda crap. It helps you see your emotional patterns and if you suffer from some sort of mental health issue, it helps you keep track of your ups and downs. It helps you count your blessings. And so on and so forth. But not everyone is a writer and it's a struggle for some to actually write a few sentences every day, whether if it's for public or private consumption.


But worry not, there are still other ways for you to still keep the habit of journaling even if you're too lazy to write or if you can't bring yourself to pour out your deepest thoughts on paper or on your phone. Here are some of my suggestions.


But before that, let me emphasize that journaling can either be analog or digital (or both in my case), and it really depends on which you're more comfortable with. Some really prefer pen and paper, and some of my suggestions here will probably be best for the analog type. But I'll be writing another post about my suggested digital journaling apps/processes for those who want to take the plunge. 


1. Listicles or bullet point journals

Sometimes you just want to list things down and not worry about coherence or structure. You can list down three things you're grateful for. Or come up with a different topic that fits what happened in your day and jot down five bullets to support it. 

Screenshot 2017-07-24 20.19.11.png


2. Photo A Day Journal

3 reasons why keeping a "photo a day" album is helpful

  • It helps you remember the important/good things that happened months ago and if you're feeling down today, that can help cheer you up.
  • It "forces" you to take photos for posterity's sake.
  • It's fun. That's all.


3. One sentence / line a day

If writing down just one sentence at the end of the day is all that you can manage, then so be it. And if that one sentence happens to be  paragraph long, then that shouldn't really be a problem. 



4. Sketch journal

If you're more of the drawing or sketching type, then it's okay to maintain a sketch or illustration journal. If I had the talent, I would probably have one too! One of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram is @bymariandrew coz she expresses all these very interesting things in simple but funny and cute sketches.

Screenshot 2017-07-24 21.06.19.png


5. Bullet Journal

Guys, searching  through Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc on how to bullet journal is a blackhole that I willingly fall into. There are so many how-to's, examples, videos, etc that you won't have trouble trying to figure out how to do it. The challenge is actually putting a structure to it and one that will not intimidate or hassle you. This is the Buzzfeed post that got me started. And here are some Pinterest boards you can follow. 

Bullet journaling is perfect for people who love lists, notebooks, pens, washi tapes, etc. In other words, it's meant for someone like me! 



6. Audio / Video Journal

If you're more comfortable just talking or even taking a video of yourself while talking, then why not do an audio or video journal? This doesn't have to be a podcast or vlog type, but just you and your phone recorder or camera, talking about what happened and what you felt during that day. 

But if you really want to go big time, and if it's okay for you to have people listen in on you while you process, then go and make it public or selectively public. A lot of the YouTube stars now just started out with this and now they're social media celebrities. If that's your goal, then this is a good place to start. 


Don't forget though that at the end of the day, your journaling goal should be clear. Whether it's to document your life or to process your day or to practice your art or to track your mental health or to just be creative in making memories, remember that it's for you and maybe your future children if you want something they can remember you by. 


Any other suggestions as to how you can journal if you're not really a writer?


My Year 38 To Do List

2o days before my birthday I was supposed to post a blog  every day on my bucket list for my 38th year. But as always, life got in the way. But when I went on another semi-solo vacation in Davao a few days before my birthday, I had time to have a heart-to-heart with God and with myself, trying to figure out what my small and big goals are for this new year in my life. 

Here they are, in no particular order. Well except for number 1 which is my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, if you didn't know yet).


20, Travel outside of Asia (which I was able to blog about here)

19. Interview awesome women for my blog (hopefully, starting by June)

18. Revive Basa Bayan (for realz!)

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17. Teach part-time again 

16. Take the first steps towards taking my MA or some form of scholarly study

15. Watch a non-Azkals, non-Filipino football game in another country (happening this June! Wah!)

14. Start taking local football seriously again (and maybe even blog about it!)

13. De-clutter. Actually, should be number one on my list but I dunno how/when/where to start.

12. Start lending books to trusted people. They're getting pretty lonely on my shelf. 

Back when they were still organized. Now it's triple the number and quadruple the gulo.

Back when they were still organized. Now it's triple the number and quadruple the gulo.


11. Seriously and earnestly promote local indie musicians, artists, businesses.

10, Give free digital marketing consultation to those who want it and are serious about doing it for their businesses.

9. Go on a trip where I will not go online (seriously, I've never done this)

8. Start a fitness routine.

7. Write physical letters and send them to random friends or leave them in random places for random people to find.

6. Book drop once a week (again, random places for random people)

5. Restart my scrapbook project coz I have so many scrapbooking shiz that I keep buying.

4. Redesign our condo and get rid of all the clutter (I am part of a family of packrats)

3. Get my hair curled or get another tattoo (done the latter, still thinking of the former)

Wander/Wonder. Design by  Crae Achacoso , Tattoo by  Wiji Lacsamana

Wander/Wonder. Design by Crae Achacoso, Tattoo by Wiji Lacsamana


2. Contribute to a book project.

1. WRITE A BOOK (more on this in another post. maybe)


Now to start the to do list and plan for each of these items. Year 38 is going to be life-changing. I can feel it!

Things you can/should still do even past the age of 30

"Masyado ka nang matanda para gawin yan." (You're too old to to do that)

That's probably one of the more infuriating things you will hear as you continue to grow older. While you may experience a few creaks in your bones here and there, or you might have some physical limitations, or you just don't particularly want to do any of these things, age (and other people's judgement) should not stop you from doing or experiencing things even if they say it's only for "the young". 

I'll keep adding to this list and I'd like you to share some of your own too so I can keep adding to this.


1. Get a tattoo - I got mine when I was 35 and I plan to add a couple more

2. Color your hair - I only started coloring my hair when I was 36 and I have no regrets so far 

3. Wear sneakers instead of "real women's shoes" - I love sneakers and if I want to wear them every day, I will. Whatever feels comfortable, go for it!

4. Play games - board games, computer games, actual toys for kids, who says you have to stop? Well, as long as it doesn't get in the way of actual "adult" duties, then why not?

5. Have crushes - You can always have crushes. 

6. Read YA novels - Yes, they're meant for young adults, but the themes resonate with all ages. Plus, if written well, the stories are compelling!


How many of these have you read?

How many of these have you read?

7. Buy clothes and shoes from the teen's section - Hey, if it still fits you and if you like their designs more, why not?

8. Teach the young ones a thing or two - Just don't start with "When I was your age..." 

9. Change careers - Why stay in a career path where you want to not go to work every day or you feel like you're not using the best of your abilities? If you have the freedom to do so (meaning you don't have fiscal responsibilities or something), pursue what you want to really do or try things you never thought you could do and if you're good at it and you like it, then go! 

10. Eat chocolate - Unless you're diabetic

I can't remember where I had this!!!

I can't remember where I had this!!!

11. Start traveling! - 2011 was the year when I was able to first step out of the country and my life has never been the same. I talk about why it's important to travel here

12. Make new friends - The introvert in me balks at this but my life has been richer the past couple of years because of the new people I've let into my life.

13. Try to learn new things - Disprove the adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" coz first of all, you're not a dog, and second, it really is a matter of willingness to try out new things.

14. Fall in love - Uhm, yeah. Not gonna elaborate on this one.

10 Ways to Make Mondays Not Suck

Almost everyone I know hates Mondays. And those who don’t hate Mondays are looked upon with either wonder or disdain. But no matter how many times we wish it would never come, it always arrives after Sunday.



So instead of complaining and whining about it, why don’t we take some concrete and practical steps to try and not make it that much stressful. And who knows, maybe after a few weeks, months, years, you’d end up actually looking forward to Mondays. Okay, maybe not looking forward to it, but maybe tolerating it like you would an annoying friend whom you love and can’t really live without.

(And I’m sorry, this post doesn’t include how to get out of traffic and rush-hour madness. Sadly, that is something people in the city have to deal with every Monday. And that’s a whole other post eh?)

So over the years since I started hating Mondays (which is basically since I started studying), here are some things I’ve tried to do for me to reach this point where I’m past the hate and more at the acceptance stage.


1. Think of Monday as a blank slate

If you screwed up, mostly cheated on your diet, was late almost everyday, or you just had a bad previous week, then try to think of Monday as that day when you can start all over again. Of course, technically, the consequences of all that you’ve done last week might still be there to haunt you, at least you can tell yourself that you can start trying all over again. Start the week with a clean slate, try not to suck so much this time. And if you still do, you have another Monday to try and start again.

2. Sleep early on Sundays

You already know that you’d have to wake up early (or whatever time you need to get up) on Monday, so why would you still sleep late, or go out to a late party/dinner/date on Sundays? Do yourself a favor and get the necessary 6-8 hours of sleep so that you won’t wake up cranky or stressed the next day. Speaking of which…

3. Make a Monday Morning Power Playlist to start off your Monday

If you’re the kind of person whose mood is affected by the kind of music that you listen to, then get ahead of your mood by making a playlist of all the songs that you either love or perk you up or make you smile. You can even set your alarm to this playlist, but just make sure you don’t put your favorite song at the beginning if you don’t want to end up hating that song eventually. Oh and hey, I made aMonday playlist on Spotify


4. Pray and/or meditate

Of course this is something you should probably do everyday, but make sure you do it especially on a Monday. It helps to seek guidance, to read His Word, to listen to what is really in your heart, and to air it out in prayer, and then to listen to what He is saying through His Word. Of course I know not everyone believes in this kind of thing, but if you do, don’t forget to do it not because you’re supposed to but because you want to. And if you don’t believe, try it sometime. You might be surprised.

5. Prepare/Eat a good Monday breakfast

If you’re the type whose mood is affected by food or lack of food, make Monday breakfast extra special. Reserve your favorite kind of breakfast for this day of the week. Better if you can prepare it yourself. But if you’re not that breakfast cooking/preparing kind, then go out and get your fast food or friendly carinderia on the corner breakfast. Believe me, food and coffee (or tea) goes a long way to make you happy.


 6. Exercise

If you get your rush from endorphins, then make sure you don’t miss your workout, whatever that may be. It doesn’t work for me, but other people have attested to it, so maybe it should be something we should try yes?

7. Don’t work yet in your first 30 minutes at the office

Unless you work in an industry where it is imperative that you start working on the dot the moment you enter the office, then don’t start working yet, at least for 30 minutes. Enjoy that cup of coffee first while reading a newspaper, browsing through your news feed, or even talking with colleagues and catching up on what you missed during the weekend. It helps ease you into work mode while making sure your body and brain isn’t “shocked”.

8. Start your week with a list

Making to-do lists makes some people anxious, especially when it turns out to be a super long list, but seeing things on paper or on your smartphone/tablet/computer helps a lot in trying to figure out your load and how to come up with a strategy in getting those things done. And there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off on that list. Make your list colorful, creative. If you’re more of a visual person, then make it a visual to do list!



9. Read a few pages of your current read

Well, this applies if you’re a reader. But be warned, you sometimes don’t want to stop and so your work will get affected. So try to learn disciplined and prioritized reading. And then reward yourself with a few more pages at lunch and after work. If you’re not a reader, try searching for articles on why reading is good for you. Or just ask me. Or read this.



10. Remember why you get up in the morning

As cliche as this may sound, it really helps to remind yourself why you’re doing this, dragging yourself out of bed at 6AM (or even earlier). Whether it’s for family, for loved ones, or for your personal fulfillment, you need to find that reason. And if you haven’t yet, and you hate your work, and you don’t even know why you’re doing this every freaking day, then that’s a whole other problem that’s beyond just hating Mondays. And that’s a whole other blog post.

10 things I wish parents will teach their kids about commuting

Things I wish (and hope) parents and schools would teach children so somedy they will be better commuters

(Honestly, I really don’t know whose fault it is why there are a lot of inconsiderate and horrible commuters in Metro Manila)


1. Keep right when walking up the stairs or riding escalators or just walking on the road. And maybe explain why we have to do that.




2. Follow the arrows painted on the MRT/LRT platform. They are not there for decoration.




3. Let people get out of the train first before rushing in. Same applies for elevators.



4. If there’s enough space to breathe or move (which rarely happens), respect other people’s personal space. Unless close talaga kayo.




5.  Don’t lean or embrace the poles. They’re there not just as part of the train’s physical structure, but also so verticallly-challenged people who can’t reach the hand rails have something to hold on to.


From middleclassfury.wordpress.com

From middleclassfury.wordpress.com


6. Kung malayo pa ang bababaan mo pag sakay mo ng jeep, okay lang maupo ng malapit sa driver. Di naman siya nangangagat. Sana.


7. Same applies kung marami kang dala na ipapatong mo sa gitna ng jeep at makakaabala sa mga sasakay.


8. Kung may makikiabot ng pamasahe, iabot mo na kaht di ka naman sinuswelduhan ng driver na maging assistant niya. Pag yung nakikiabot ng bayad ay di nagsabi ng “paki” or “please”, mag thank you ka sa kanya para maguilty naman.


9. Kung ikaw naman ang magpapaabot ng pamasahe, mag thank you ka sa nag abot. Pag walang gustong mag-abot, tumayo ka at lumapit sa driver (tapos pag nag preno bigla, upuan mo yung ayaw mag abot ng pamasahe mo. joke lang)


10. Mag deodorant bago umalis ng bahay lalo na kung alam mong makikipagsiksikan ka sa MRT, LRT, bus, jeep, etc. In fact, kahit hindi, mag deodorant ka pa rin.