General Favorites

Hello! I’m back with another favorites post. Similar to the previous ones, this favorites post will be a mishmash of things across different categories, such as beauty, TV shows, YouTube channels, and so much more.

Beauty

VICE Cosmetics x BT21 Velvet Liquid Lipstick in Shooky
As much as I love a good MLBB lip, it’s a bit of struggle to find the perfect one for my skin tone. While I do have some in my arsenal already, my try-and-buy tendencies have led me to this lipstick (and Johnrey’s review of the Vice Cosmetics x BT 21 collection– which you can watch here). While the product description says that it’s a “natural nude,” it’s more of a peachy nude with a brick-red undertone that doesn’t wash me out. The formula is a bit watery for a velvet liquid lipstick, but I’ll look past that since the color is so nice and the staying power is fairly decent. For its price point (Php 225), it performs really well, and the cute BT21 packaging adds up to its overall charm.

Music

Call My Name by GOT7
Call me biased, but I honestly think that GOT7 produces amazing, heartfelt music that’s suited for almost every mood or phase in life. Call My Name, their latest EP, is a clear indication of their maturity as artists and as individuals. While I saw Spinning Top as an exploration (or a rumination) of their young adult lives and their artistry, this EP is a product of their first steps in pursuing the path of growth and maturity. The resulting sound is sleeker, more cohesive, and more deliberate, yet still maintains the variety that GOT7 is known for in terms of their sound. It’s a no-skip album that’s guaranteed to make you dance and feel things. After weeks of listening to the album on loop, my favorites are Run Away, You Calling My Name, and Thursday.

This performance of Thursday will keep me up at night, lol.

SEVENTEEN
Did I find another boy group to stan? Perhaps I did. And Seventeen is /THAT/ group. Even though I’ve heard of them since 2017, it was only around August of this year when I started delving deeper into the group through their song, HIT. Since then, I’ve been listening to their songs on a regular basis. Similar to GOT7, they also have a very diverse discography, and they’re not afraid to mix up their concepts. Their group dynamics are also very fun to watch.

Aside from GOT7’s new album and Seventeen, I have also been enjoying Defsoul (JB of GOT7)’s mixtapes, SuperM’s debut EP, Jackson Wang’s new album, and george’s music.

Food and Home Life

My work sabbatical has given me the privilege to be a homebody. Even though I still spend a lot of my time on the computer, I’m slowly veering away from it by spending more time in the kitchen and doing household chores. My dad said that doing these things would help me develop several life skills, which will help me survive. So far, I think I’m doing a decent job at this home management thing. It’s not a one-time project where I can get things right on the first try; it’s a continuous process of trial, error, and learning. This is very evident with my ventures in the kitchen, where I try to practice my cooking skills (or lack thereof). So far, I have cooked one-pot chicken alfredo pasta and fried rice with egg and various meats. I need to make room for more variety in my cooking, though!

TV

I have a confession to make: the last TV show that I completed was the first season of Queer Eye. Since then, my busy schedule (and poor time management skills) have prevented me from committing to a show that I’m interested to watch and complete.

Now that I have a lot of free time in my hands, I finally finished the first season of Modern Love! As someone who loved the column and accompanying podcast, I found most of the episodes to be quite entertaining and heartwarming on different levels. However, I do think that the first three episodes and the season finale were the best episodes from the first season.


Another TV show that I am currently enjoying at the moment is He Is Psychometric. It took me several attempts (and delays) before I got to fully immerse myself in the show, but the delayed gratification was all worth it. I’ll write a separate TV Notes post on this drama once I finish the series.



YouTube Channels
To be honest, YouTube has become my main source of entertainment and inspiration for the past few years. In my years of binge-watching YouTube videos (for fun and information!), here are two YouTube personalities that are currently inspiring me to live my life better:


1. Rachel Nguyen/That’s Chic

Rachel Nguyen has become one of my favorite YouTube personalities/inspirations in the past few years. I describe her work as raw but dreamy, yet full of introspection and intention. She inspires me to live my life more intentionally and be more present for myself. I was lucky to enter her Slack group, and her advice about trusting your intuition, being more intentional, and setting boundaries really resonated with me.

2. Ingrid Nilsen

I grew up watching Ingrid Nilsen on and off on YouTube, and it’s so amazing to see her growth as an individual and creative. Just like Rachel, her videos are also heartfelt and full of introspection. She’s also very relatable and outspoken about her causes. For the latter, she presents them with a certain level of ease and comfort, which makes it easier to grasp the concepts behind them.

Honorable Mention: The Bon Appetit YouTube channel

I am a Claire Saffitz stan, tbh.

When I first learned about the recent buzz about the Bon Appetit YouTube channel, I did not get it. However, when I did a late-night binge of Gourmet Makes (two episodes to be exact), I finally understood the hype behind it. The videos are fun, informative, and full of interesting personalities. I don’t really have much to say, but I encourage you to subscribe to the channel and do a binge-watch session in your free time. Perhaps the Bon Appetit channel reignited my love for cooking and food.

Aside from watching videos from the personalities I’ve mentioned, I have been watching more videos about astrology, tarot, and spirituality. My favorite channels related to those matters are Little Light of Mind, Stargirl the Practical Witch, The Tarot Priest, Universal Intuition, and Manna by Adalina Bonn. Outside of YouTube though, my favorite tarot practitioner is Jessica Dore. She fuses tarot with concepts in psychotherapy, which gives a more actionable take in her tarot readings.

And that’s a rundown of my current favorites! I’ve said a mouthful, but I really enjoyed them for the past few months. Let me know what you’ve been liking!

Life Lately: Rest and Relaxation (Or Is It?)

Hello there. As you can tell, I’m currently on a work sabbatical. Unlike my previous one, which was mostly fueled by negative thoughts and feelings, this one feels a little more positive. Maybe it’s because I have rest and relaxation in mind for this break, rather than pressuring myself to get back on my feet and move forward after a perceived failure or something. Also, I’ve gained more friends and I’ve been making active efforts to reach out to them when I’m in distress, which makes me feel less isolated and lonely.

Although my keywords for this sabbatical are “rest and relaxation,” I still try to make it as productive as possible. I have a little list in my journal containing the things that I want to do for this break, such as seeing a counselor, reading some books, and the like. However, I don’t beat myself up for it anymore if I don’t get to be as productive as I want to be. I can be very hard on myself, and doing so just puts me in a place of self-loathing and insecurity. By changing my approach, it opens me up to a place of healing and growth. I just want to enjoy things as they are and be more present.

On the topic of enjoying things and being in the present moment, I recently felt that way during the GOT7 concert last week. It was the first time in a long time where I didn’t think about work or something related to it. There was also that feeling of lightness that came with it, where I didn’t feel guilt-tripped about not doing work or taking things easy with work during weekends. I just felt present and alive, enjoying the GOT7 concert with my fellow fans. I guess there’s a purpose for the poor signal at MOA arena during concerts that’s worth appreciating.

As I type this, I realize that this is me unpacking my attitude towards my attention problems (thanks ADHD), rejection sensitivity, perfectionism, and the overcompensation that I put myself through because of my perceived failures. Who knew that the process of doing household chores would be so cathartic (aside from learning vital life skills, of course)? Okay, I need to fix my room.

My #KeepSpinningInManila Experience

The moment I stepped out of my dad’s car, I immediately knew that this night was going to be one of my most treasured moments in life.

As I have said countless times, GOT7 is one of my favorite K-pop groups. Although my fan experience with GOT7 is pretty chill, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to see them live for the second time around.

My first GOT7 concert experience was during the New York stop of the Eyes on You tour. It was my favorite concert back in 2018, and I couldn’t shut up about it for months. When GOT7 announced the tour stops for their Keep Spinning world tour earlier this year, I was so shocked and excited to see Manila was included as one of the stops. The Manila show meant several things: (1) I’m going to see GOT7 in my home turf for the first time; (2) I’m going to meet my fellow Pinoy ahgases; (3) I’m going to see GOT7 take on Pinoy stuff! Will Bambam sing a Tagalog song? Did Jackson brush up on his Tagalog vocabulary? Will they share something Pinoy-related? Those were the questions that came into my mind before the show. I guess it just hits you differently when you get to see your favorite musical act in your own country.

The weeks leading up to the concert were stressful and chaotic. Aside from the stress of ticketing day and other concert-related matters, I was also going through a lot of stress from real-life stuff. Fortunately, the stress and panic from concert preps evolved into inspiration in coping with the turbulence going on in my personal life at that time. At the back of my mind, the concert would be the perfect opportunity to release my pent-up feelings and be in the present moment.

Fast-forward to the day of concert. I arrived at the concert venue initially feeling calm and collected, but I started to loosen up the moment I stepped foot inside the arena. It started with the soundcheck, where I heard the boys perform “Come On,” “Page,” and “Go Higher”. Hearing these songs hyped me up and fueled my excitement for the show.

The show itself was a masterpiece. The concert started with “Eclipse,” which was one of their heavier, more heartfelt songs. The first part of the show was pretty dark and intense, yet also very enjoyable. The first ments lightened things up though, where the boys hyped us up for the rest of the night and expressed their excitement about performing their full first concert in Manila. As the concert went on, the show started to become more lighthearted and fun, with the boys trying to say “SANA ALL” and “WALANG UUWI” during various parts of their ments. Also, the fans (including myself) chanted “SAMPLE SAMPLE!” which apparently confused Jackson and Bambam. Youngjae and Jinyoung spoke some Tagalog in their final ments, which were touching. Throughout the show, I was jumping, dancing, singing, taking pictures, and screaming my feelings out with the people in my section. (Case in point: I kept shouting, “GO BEST FRIEND” whenever its JB’s turn, lol). The performances that I enjoyed the most were “Come On,” “Page,” “1 Degree,” “Just Right,” “Lullaby,” “Look,” and the solo/unit stages. When it comes to biases and bias wreckers though, I never thought that I would be bias-wrecked in this concert. I entered MOA Arena as a Jinyoung stan, and left the concert venue completely bias-wrecked by JB (even though he’s my bias). God, the power of Best Friend.


Everyone had so much fun, and everything was so beautiful. You can really feel the love that the fans gave for the boys, and you can really feel a strong sense of community among the fans. Although I’ve repeatedly mentioned that I love the boys, I never expected to love them even more after this show. GOT7’s Manila show was nothing short of unforgettable, and it reminded me of how grateful I am to be a fan of such an amazing group.

Dispatches from Indoor Cycling Class

If you asked me about exercising eight months ago, I would’ve told you that I’ve been avoiding it like the plague due to my knee injury. Or that I’ve limited my workouts to long walks from Salcedo Village to the Park Square UV Express station. Either way, the thought of pursuing a workout routine has given me a case of The Scaries, given my history of accidents and injuries induced by workouts.

However, when my friend Bella started raving about indoor cycling classes at Electric Studio last month, I started getting curious about it. What does indoor cycling have in store for me?  Will my knees give up on me? Am I gonna pass out? Will I come out stronger after several sessions? The only way to answer all these questions is to try it out for myself.

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Fast forward to the last Thursday of August 2019. After coordinating with Bella and talking to my dad about indoor cycling, I finally bought my first-timers package at Electric Studio in Salcedo Village. The first-timers package entitled me to five classes, which I had to complete in a span of two weeks.

My first class was the most difficult one. I couldn’t keep up with the choreography and the accompanying workout routines, so I ended up leaning and stopping for several minutes in the middle of the class. I also fell a few times, which grabbed the attention of my instructor. To be honest, I wanted to give up during my first class because my body wasn’t having it. Luckily though, I was able to finish it, despite encountering those difficulties.

The succeeding classes ended up getting better and better. I was able to gradually keep up with the workouts, and I found myself to be more at pace. From remaining seated on the bike during 95% of the class to standing up for several minutes, it was arguably the biggest form of improvement I’ve seen in myself during spinning classes. Don’t get me wrong, though– I still struggled with the stretching bit during cool downs and my core is still in very poor form.

Aside from the physical benefits, spinning classes have been helpful with my mood and my sense of focus. I have ADHD, and working in social media has made me unnecessarily attached to it. Being in spin class compels me to disconnect from my phone for just 45 minutes and focus on the workout at hand. You’re forced to be present in your body, and it pushes you to just enjoy the moment. This was evident during the Twice x Seventeen x Stray Kids-themed ride that I went to a couple of days ago. I was living my best fangirl life while pedaling to a remix of Fancy by Twice and Clap by Seventeen. Who knew that I could baksu my way through spin class? I find myself feeling fulfilled after every class, which is good. There’s also a community component in these classes, which can be very helpful as well.

Now that I’ve completed my first five spinning classes, I can honestly say that this is one of the few workouts that I have enjoyed. While I may not be able to join a few spinning classes for now, the experience has inspired me to pursue working out more actively.  Maybe I’ll get my own stationary bike or a desk cycle to get the feeling…or take my dog outside for a walk during weekends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Crush: Red Velvet

Red Velvet is one of my favorite K-pop girl groups. Aside from their diverse and exceptional discography, out-of-the box concepts, amazing chemistry, and stunning visuals, what drew me to them are their makeup looks! It’s clean, yet bold, and chic all at the same time.

As a proponent of semi-bare minimum makeup, there were three eras from Red Velvet which I found right up my street: the Summer Magic, Sappy, and Reve Festival: Day 1 eras. The looks were colorful, yet somehow doable for daily wear—a beauty principle that I go for when I’m in a rush. Out of all the members though, I found Joy and Wendy’s looks to be the easiest to get inspiration from, which you can see below:

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As you can see, the looks from these eras had clean skin, glittery eyes, and bright, yet lived-in lip colors. Aside from these looks, Seulgi’s beauty look from the Wow Thing video is another favorite of mine.

(Seriously, this look is giving me a reason to bring out all my bold lip colors)

Blabber aside, I would like to know your beauty inspirations! Are you into k-pop too? What makeup looks are you planning to copy or include in your routines soon? Let me know. I had fun writing this, and my neutral makeup-loving self is yearning to experiment and try these looks from time to time.

5 Things: 5 Favorite Beauty Finds of 2019

A couple of years back, I came up with a segment called “5 Things,” where I ask friends and peers five questions where they have to share their top 5 of anything. I forgot to follow through, so I have decided to revive it for nostalgia’s sake.

As you can tell in the title, I will be talking about my five favorite beauty finds of 2019. I’ve discovered a lot of products this year, but these five things are the ones that I’ve been enjoying at the moment.

  1. Revlon Ultra HD Hypermatte Ultra Lip Mousse in Spice 

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A very recent find! I initially planned on buying the Sunnies Face Lip Dip in Femmebot, but I ended up buying this instead, since I got sold on the plush, yet longwearing formula, and the pretty pinky-brown color. It’s a bit pricey for drugstore (Php 575!), but if you want a lipstick that’s fairly comfortable, long-lasting, and suitable for all occasions, grab this one.

2. Hada Labo Gokujyun Moisturizing Cream 

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One of my favorite purchases during my Osaka trip was this hydrating cream from Hada Labo. I forgot to bring a moisturizer for this trip, so I headed to the nearest grocery from our hotel to buy this. Anyway, this cream saved my skin from the cold, windy weather of Osaka, and gave me a nice glow throughout the trip. I love this cream so much.

Speaking of Hada Labo, Hada Labo is coming to Manila very soon, and I hope that they sell this here. If not, please point me to a dupe of this.

3. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum 

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Ever since I discovered the wonders of hyaluronic acid through the Hada Labo cream, I realized that I needed to add more hyaluronic acid to my skincare routine. This serum may be small, but it packs a lot of hydration. Since then, my skin feels a little bit more plump and less parched.

4. Scentsmith Eau de Parfum in Ambrette Sea Salt 

(I can’t find an exact photo of the Ambrette Sea Salt one, I AM SORRY)

Ever since I discovered Glossier You during my trip to New York last year, I have been on the hunt for its dupe. The internet has pointed out that Lanvin’s Eclat D’ Arpege and Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt are potential dupes for it, but I cannot really spend my money on them. Luckily, I found Scentsmith in Greenbelt 5, and I found Ambrette and Sea Salt, which reminded me of Glossier You and bread. Although it’s not as long-lasting as it seems, it smells warm and comfortable— just like a warm hug.

5. Nature Republic Triple Meringue Tint in Red Brownie

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(Again: I can’t find the actual color for Red Brownie, but lol)

 

I was never really a red lipstick girl, but this lip tint/lip stain changed the way I perceive red lipsticks. It’s fairly long-lasting, and the texture’s pretty nice. In addition, it’s also a close dupe of the Sunnies Face Lip Dip, lol.

 

And those are my beauty favorites this year! What beauty products are you enjoying so far? Also, do you want me to interview people and share their ~~5 things?

 

Osaka: A Photo Diary

Japan is one of my favorite countries in the whole world. After falling in love with Tokyo in 2015, Dad and I decided to venture into Osaka this year for our annual family trip.

This trip was memorable to me for two reasons: one, it was my first family trip where I WAS allowed to venture on my own for a day; and two, it was my last vacation leave before leaving my previous company (I will spare you the details about this). Nonetheless, it was a healing trip, where I had the chance to immerse myself more deeply in the places that I wanted to go. This trip also made me realize that I need to take myself out on dates more often, and just enjoy things.

To achieve the goal of “enjoying things” on this trip, I decided to reacquaint myself with a film camera, and took some random shots of the places that I visited in Osaka and Nara throughout my trip.

 

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Looking back at these photos, I’ve been reminded that I am more than lucky to see these things, and experience what the world has to offer. Some of it may be good, some of it may be strange, but these experiences can help you stay open.

Performance Anxiety

Around late last year, my friend Roxy and I were discussing about our struggles at our old workplace. I shared to her my struggles with adjusting to various situations and environments, and the coping processes I use to deal with this struggle. As much as I want to assert who I am and the space that I want to occupy, not a lot of people will understand and appreciate who I am as a person. Most of the time, in order to appease many people (and do well), I have to conform to their ways, to the extent that I lose myself and feel negatively towards myself. I want to embrace the fact that I am kind, hardworking, and capable (as it is), but the voices around me say that I have to do x and y for them to prove that I am the things aforementioned. In addition, there’s always that nagging thought that I always have to prove others wrong whenever I take on something, be it a hobby or a work opportunity. Can I just learn and master that hobby or work opportunity out of genuine desire? Out of a genuine desire to grow and not just comply out of a need to achieve a career-related KPI? I honestly think that these lines blur a lot. There are times where I feel like I’m gaining skills not for my personal improvement, but to prove to institutions and other people that, “HEY! I’m capable! I’m good!” Or, “You said that I deserved to get fired? Well, my work says otherwise.” It’s frustrating, and it adds up to a lot of the anxieties that I feel.

I guess I’m just being hard on myself. I need to be kind to myself more, especially during stressful times. My job does not define who I am.

 

 

Some thoughts and feelings: Right Now by Aziz Ansari

Disclaimer: I’m sorry if this was poorly-written and somewhat ill-informed. I’ll edit this.

A few years ago, I was vocal about my admiration for Aziz Ansari. He was funny, self-aware, intelligent, and woke. If I remember correctly, I even wrote about my little crush on him on my Facebook profile. I loved Master of None.  Then the Babe.net story happened. In a time where most of us take into account one’s personal values in the goods that we consume, I struggled to grapple with the idea that Aziz Ansari is an alleged sexual predator. I fucking liked him, and it sucked to know that he was likely to be like that. 

Now that the brouhaha over the Babe.net article has mostly died down (or did it, really?), I finally had the balls to watch his latest comedy special. Needless to say, I was ambivalent about it. I actually liked how self-reflexive and contradictory it was (especially on woke culture), but I struggled to be comfortable throughout the sixty-five minute special. Is it because I found the apology somehow lacking? Is it because Aziz never really addressed the allegations head-on in his material? Most likely. 

Am I ready to forgive (and admire) Aziz Ansari again? I’m not sure about that yet. But one thing’s for sure: the journey of moving forward after a major screw-up is difficult and potentially life-altering. It’s not a linear path, and there’s a lot of introspection, empathy, and dark truths to deal with. He still deserves to move forward in some way, and I guess we all need to cut him some slack for that. 

 

 

Life Lately: In Pursuit of Balance

Hello, friends. I’m back. It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote something personal, so allow me to share things for a bit.

Ever since I returned to work two and half years ago, work has taken up a massive chunk of my life. I thought that I wasn’t going to be /that/ type of person, but my job as a social media manager has greatly influenced the way I approach my life over the past year and half. Because of the “always-on” nature that my job entails, the pursuit of a work-life balance has become quite challenging. Before, weekends were almost always completely free. Unplugging on social media was an option that’s readily available to me. Now, I have to manage myself (my energy, my time, and my resources) to create the work-life balance that I need (and desire). Although I feel envious of people who get to own their weekends, I’m reminded that work-life balance and free time doesn’t have to always happen on the last two days of the week, and that’s okay.

Because of the toxic circumstances that came with my previous job, I learned that I needed to be more proactive in pursuing my work-life balance now. Rather than aligning my working style and my habits with my co-workers so that I can be seen as “hardworking” and “capable,” I realized that I have to honor my personal strengths and limitations first. Second, I have to establish clearer boundaries when it comes to work and life, and those boundaries can only be fulfilled through a plethora of coping strategies. For example, I will only work for a certain number of hours during weekends, and I will not do work after office hours on weekdays (though it will really depend on the circumstances, but I’ll work towards that). I also have to do a lot of bullet journaling, and I have to keep track of my work too. It’s hard, since my executive functioning capabilities are not sharp (because of my ADHD), but I’m doing my best to get by. Third, I am slowly reintroducing old hobbies into my life again, and relearning household chores.

I guess balance looks different on everybody, and it’s a truth that we have to make peace with.