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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something’s amiss

Hello again.

It has been quite a while since I sat down and attempted to write something, and actually focus on it from start to finish. You see, paying attention and focusing on things is a huge challenge for my ADHD brain. Ever since I can remember, I couldn’t focus on one thing at a time. There are so many things that I want to think about, as well as things that I want to do—- all at the same time. Maybe it’s because I have to prove other people that I am not lazy, dumb and incompetent as what people make out ADHD-ers to be. I can do a boatload of things, and that I am actually skilled at something.

It’s a slippery-slope of things, and I’m making a sad attempt to synthesize everything and make decent solutions out of them.

But I’m hopeful that I’ll grow, and be the person that I want to be– in spite of my ADHD.

Protest Fashion and Beauty, Anyone?

After the rise of the #TakeNoShit campaign online, a famous Internet troll decided to give a piece of um, unsolicited fashion and beauty tips while participating in rallies. In case you live under a rock, let me give you a brief background on this AWESOME campaign that unfortunately got some internet trolls #SHOOKT (which is very pathetic, by the way) and prompted them to spew out nonsensical advice.  The #TakeNoShit campaign was initiated by Ateneo de Manila University instructor Nathania Chua as a response to dehumanizing (and flat-out gago) comments by netizens towards protesters who spoke out against the decision to bury ex-president/dictator/demon spawn Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. This campaign aims to provide awareness on the real-life consequences of online harassment, and eventually compel people to take action against their harassers.

Yesterday, Ilda of Get Real Philippines shared a piece of advice for protesters that caused the ire of so many people, including myself. (You can really tell that it’s fucking terrible, right?)

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Want to know why? In a time where women still continue to fight for ownership and responsibility for their own bodies and lives, there are still other people who wrongfully dictate what should and shouldn’t be expected of a woman. Rape culture still very much exists in our society, and this kind of mindset presented by Ilda is perpetuating that rape or harassment victims should be blamed for their misfortunes and dismiss men’s violent sexual attitudes as a “boy thing.” In this case, Ilda insinuated the online harassment that these women received after the protests were a product of their own doing because they were wearing short shorts and on-fleek makeup, and that they should cover themselves up to prevent being harassed. As a response to her very infuriating tweet, I thought about how people should dress and look like during protests.  I was also inspired by Irish Dizon’s Facebook post on this too.

Here’s the golden rule for rally-appropriate fashion and beauty : WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT, AND LOOK WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT. If you dig sharply contoured cheekbones that will pierce the flawed logic of internet trolls, go! If you want to wear short shorts, a cropped top, or even a daster, just do it. One’s clothing or appearance should not be an issue for anyone who’s fighting for a cause that’s directed for the common good. As for the trolls and harassers, please take responsibility of your shitty behavior.

P.S.: I’m going to contour the crap out of my face and wear short shorts during the rally on the 30th because I’m a concerned citizen who likes to dress good and look good for herself. Those things are not mutually exclusive. Bye!

The Weekend

Another free-writing exercise. This time around, I will be talking about how my weekend went.

Saturday

Yesterday, I had lunch with my best friend Jow. Jow and I have known each other for sixteen years, but we’ve been best friends since we were in the fifth grade. We haven’t seen each other for months, and we really needed to decompress and see each other.

For our lunch date, we had lunch at Pancake House in Glorietta. Jow ordered the Grilled Cheese and Spaghetti combo, while I ordered Salisbury Steak. Too bad we didn’t take photos of the food, because we were really hungry at that time. Over lunch, we talked about work, writing, and life in general. We also tried catching Pokemon in between bites. After lunch, we decided to pass by Baskin & Robbins as an attempt to chill out and talk about more things again.

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Jow got Chocolate Chip, while I got Maui Brownie Madness. I usually get Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough whenever I drop by a Baskin & Robbins, but the Maui Brownie Madness is so delicious!  We also took turns in taking snaps and tried to catch for Pokemon again inside Glorietta.

After we had ice cream, we decided to head to Landmark. Jow wanted to buy the new Maybelline brow product that Liza Soberano is currently endorsing, and that said brow product is on sale. Unfortunately, it was out of stock at Landmark, so we passed by Greenbelt and checked out a couple of stores such as Muji and PCX. We dropped by PCX, and the brow product was out of stock there. We also tried some foundations and other beauty products at the store. At some point during our stop at Greenbelt, we also dropped by the Beauty Bar branch at Greenbelt 5. Going to Beauty Bar is equal parts hell and heaven, because the products that they have are so cool, yet we can barely afford them. Finally, we dropped by the Watsons at Greenbelt 1 and we finally found stocks of the Maybelline Fashion Brow Shaper Duo. Jow and I got one each after we tested them out. After deciding on getting it, Jow got a new face powder while I got some sanitary napkins. I know it’s TMI territory, but I get paranoid when I don’t have an adequate stock of period products.

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We needed to take a photo.

After we went shopping, we decided to roam around the Greenbelt area while waiting for Jow’s sundo. While roaming around, I asked her if I could charge my phone, since my phone was running out of battery. She agreed. We also stopped by Cafe Mary Grace, because she wanted to buy some treats for one of her aunt’s friends. Afterwards, we parted ways because Jow’s sundo already arrived. We parted ways, and then I realized that my phone was with her! Fortunately, my iPad was connected to the Ayala  Malls wi-fi, so I was able to message her. She then messaged me that she left my phone at her aunt’s office, so I just picked it up from there. We parted ways (again), and we promised that we will do something again next month. We’ll go to a board game cafe, perhaps? Or try a new restaurant? We’ll see.

I was on my own for the rest of the day, so I decided to do my usual routine whenever I go to the mall.  I window-shop, leech wi-fi, go around, eat, the works. I dropped by the Color in History exhibit at Ayala Museum, which was on free admission. While there, I saw one of the women that I looked up to back in high school.

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Meet Ms. Villegas! Ms. Villegas was my Literature teacher back in third year school, and she was one of the teachers I had in high school that I admired. She had an immense passion for writing and literature, which inspired me to read more and write. We talked about life in college and in high school, as well as some stuff about the exhibit. It was nice seeing her!

 

Some photos from the exhibit.

After I dropped by the exhibit, I did my usual routine. Along the way, I bought a notebook for my mental health journal from Papemelroti. I was also able to try out a bunch of makeup, but I recently promised myself to buy less makeup in the coming months. I was also able to catch a lot of Pokemon yesterday.

Sunday 

Sundays are usually chill days for me. I woke up at 6:45 am, which is something I consider early (I usually wake up at 8:30 now). I had pancakes for breakfast. Afterwards, I went back to my room to check stuff online. I ended up feeling ambivalent after, since I learned that President Duterte said something absolutely shitty. His charm is comparable to a cult leader, with his supporters blindly attacking those critical of his administration with rude comments. His comments have made my day a bit terrible, but thankfully there are some things to be happy about.

First, there’s the release of Frank Ocean’s second studio album, Blonde. I like Frank Ocean and his music, and his songs hit an emotional nerve for me (“Thinking About You” made me cry). Next, I finally got some alone time— well, sort of.

My brother asked me to buy something for her (He and her are my brother’s preferred pronouns) at SM Bicutan, so I obliged to her request. After I did it, I spent the afternoon at Bo’s Coffee to write in my journal and use the wi-fi. I was also craving for coffee, so I ended up ordering an iced latte with vanilla syrup.  In a previous post, I mentioned that I will try to stay away from coffee as much as I can, but  I realized that I still need coffee once in a while. Afterwards, I roamed around the mall, with Booksale as my last stop. The Booksale branch in SM Bicutan has a couple of rare finds; I was able to find some old issues of i-D, The Fader, and Wired there a couple of years back. I didn’t want to buy anything at first, but the preloved book section came calling. I ended up getting Steve Martin’s novella, Shopgirl! I have a lot of books on queue, but this book was one of the books that I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while now.

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After I went to SM, I went to Army Navy. I wanted to try Army Navy’s steak breakfast burrito, so I ordered one with some extra bacon. I really liked it, and sour cream gave the burrito an extra kick. It’s the perfect all-day breakfast meal, and I highly encourage meat lovers to try it!

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(P.S.: I am just going to eat bacon less. Maybe when I’m out of the house.)

Before I went home, I did some window shopping at a Korean general store in Better Living. I found some Face Shop products, as well as some Pepero variants that I have never heard of.

And oh, Jow and I decided to go to the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival this weekend. We’re usually not morning people on weekends, but we will go to two of the morning talks on Saturday because the topics are right up our alley.

This weekend was a good breather. Friends, food, and alone time? Yes, I know it’s a strange combination, but this is how I would want to spend my spare time. I have to read Shopgirl now, and probably try to sleep.

An attempt to write again

Recently, I hit a wall with my writing. As I mentioned in my previous post, I found it difficult to write something— whether it’s an article for work, or a personal piece. It sucks to feel stuck with the current trajectory of my progress as a writer. What the heck, I can’t even be considered a writer by certain people because I don’t have a lot of experience, and my vocabulary is not as sophisticated as theirs. But on the flip side, this is the way that I write, and I will continue to form this writing voice that shows who I really am. Fuck what they think.

As a headstart in improving my writing skills, I discovered this little challenge called My 500 Words. My 500 Words is a writing prompt by Jeff Goins, which compels people to write something in 500 words, for 31 days. I really want to be able to get better at expressing myself through writing, and my fellow writer friends told me that I just need to keep writing to grow and improve. I also want to stop the habit of constantly berating myself for “not being good enough,” or being overly self-conscious about by my writing. There are several prompts in this challenge, which include free-writing, goal-setting, and storytelling. I am excited to do this challenge, and I am hoping that this will help me relax and love writing again as a craft. Wish me luck!

P.S.: Lea, please keep writing. You have a voice, and you can write. There are people who encourage you to keep on honing your craft. Listen to them, and not those who say otherwise.

(PPS: I will take on this challenge in two ways: write blog entries or write a personal entry in one of my many, many journals)

 

 

Best Meal Ever?

One of the writing prompts that I found on Man Repeller’s Writers’ Club was to write a 500-word piece about the best meal that I ever had. As a self-proclaimed hungry girl, it’s very difficult to decide on the meal that I would gladly call as the “best meal ever,” since I’ve encountered a lot of great dishes over the years. More so, I needed to come up with a criteria of sorts to justify the reason why I chose a certain dish to be the best meal that I ever had. Questions such as, “Is the dish something worth going back to?”,”Does the dish give me a huge smile on my face?”, and “Is the dish worth paying for?” are just some of the questions that have guided me in choosing some of my favourite dishes. Given these guide questions, I came up with a shortlist of my favourites: the sisig from Recovery Food, the Bacon Breakfast platter from Army Navy, the Salisbury steak from Pancake House, and my dad’s homemade bacon and mushroom carbonara.

After much deliberation, I finally settled on choosing Army Navy’s Bacon Breakfast Platter as the best meal that I’ve ever had. I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s just so damn good. It has been my comfort food at work, and I love how it has become my mood-booster on seemingly depressing work days. Anyway, the dish consists of fairly simple ingredients: fried rice, fried egg, longganisa, and bacon. The ingredients mentioned are already breakfast staples in households, but when you combine these all in one dish, you will be immediately transported into your home during breakfast. For this dish, I would consider the stars of the dish would be the bacon and the longganisa because of the salty-smoky flavour that these viands provide. In my case, this dish reminds me of breakfast chats with my dad at home during the weekends. It’s just so comforting, especially on days where you feel like crap.

However, given the calorie content and the health hazards brought upon by this dish, it is obviously not advisable for daily consumption. I do suggest that you eat it on days where you feel very hungry and sad, or when you feel like you deserve it. Anyway, if you do eat it, enjoy it while you can, and maybe get an extra helping of egg (or two).

 

 

 

Life Pegs: Leandra Medine

It is no secret that Leandra Medine is one of the many people that I look up to. Aside from my father and my closest friends, I consider Leandra Medine to be the model for the type of creative life that I would like to emulate. In case you do not know her, she is an author, podcast host, fashion icon, and the founder and proprietor of that little fashion blog called Man Repeller.

Anyway, the top reason why she is one of my life pegs is because of her writing style. Her writing is humorous, self-aware, honest, and engaging. In a blog entry called “Why I Don’t Wear Makeup,” Leandra candidly shared the reason why she refuses to wear makeup. The piece was a love letter in being comfortable in one’s skin, especially in this day and age where women experience some form of pressure to look their best— especially in a field where looks matter. After reading this piece, it made the makeup fan/hoarder in me realize that it is perfectly okay to go bare-faced or wear a full face of makeup— just as long as I am okay on the inside. In addition, the piece also made me come to terms with my messy, wavy hair, large nose, and dark under-eye circles. This piece showed her honesty and candor, and that is something that I found admirable from her, and other writers as well.

Self-love and humor aside, another reason why I love Leandra Medine is because she is such an entertaining interviewer and compelling podcast host! If you watch her interviews with fashion icons and all-around cool people such as Iris Apfel, the Haim sisters, Jenna Lyons, and Ines de la Fressange, I think she was the only interviewer that I knew that made Danielle Haim talk for a solid minute. In addition, her Monocycle podcast is honest and engaging. Although this podcast of hers is fairly new, the topics that she discussed in this podcast are quite hard-hitting and personal, in a sense that listeners could strike a chord with the things that she talked about, such as dealing with confidence, embracing vulnerability, and putting a halt to self-sabotage. One day, I hope to be as articulate and as engaging as her whenever I talk to an audience.

Last but not the least, another reason why I look up to Leandra Medine is because of her determination and passion towards Man Repeller as a resource for fashion, lifestyle, and creativity. When Leandra Medine initially started Man Repeller, she used it as an avenue to express her personal style, and that she believed that being a “man repeller” meant expressing your own style freely, without immediately confining yourself to certain trends or societal norms. Over the years, Man Repeller has gained the attention of numerous style publications (both print and online), and a strong social media following on Twitter and Instagram. Because of its subsequent growth and influence, Man Repeller has transformed into a full-fledged fashion and lifestyle site. Leandra Medine’s vision to create an authentic, inclusive platform for women who share a passion similar with Man Repeller is something worth looking up to, and I hope to create a platform that allows young people to share their interests, feelings, thoughts, aspirations, and passions— without any judgments.

Geez, I have a lot to say about Leandra Medine. But to put it simply, she is an awesome woman that young women like me can look up to, especially in the field of creative self-expression. I hope her blog will continue to inspire and compel young women (and girls) to be comfortable in their own skin, live creatively, and have fun with life.

 

 

Sources:

Image from Google

You can learn more about Leandra Medine on manrepeller.com, and you can subscribe to her Monocycle podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud. 

Project 52: Lea’s Writing Project

 

I don’t normally pursue personal projects that require long-term commitment, since I never really follow through with them anyway. However, this year, because of my new personal motto of “being intentional,” I decided to take on a year-long writing challenge of sorts. This year, I will be writing on a weekly basis on my blogs (WordPress or Tumblr, depending on the topic and the speed of my internet connection), and I will be writing about anything and everything that tickles my fancy. Aside from this weekly writing challenge, I have also challenged myself to have my work published this year. Even if I have a day job, having a creative outlet such as writing will help me feel more at ease and achieve some balance in my life.