Saturday, September 18, 2021

I had a major anxiety attack yesterday.

It's been a while since I experienced an anxiety attack - like a real one. The kind where your chest feels heavy, you can feel your heart beating hard against your chest, everything is hazy and flecked with gray, and you're gasping for breath.

Syrena was downstairs in her online class and I didn't want to disturb her. I didn't want her to know that I was suffering. Tears fell as I closed my eyes and prayed. And cried. And prayed.

20 minutes feel like an eternity when you experience an anxiety attack and when it's done, you don't feel relieved. You get anxious again. You worry that another attack will happen and you worry that next time, it'll be worse.

You scour your medicine boxes and hope you have something to calm you down. And when you find the right one, you worry that it's too early to take it and that taking it will knock you out for the rest of the day.

Of course, that can't happen. You have a child who depends on you. You have meals to prepare. You have homework to check. You have a dog to feed. You have a home to clean. You have work to finish. Deadlines to meet.

So you suffer through it. And you survive.

Not a lot of people talk about how difficult it is to be mentally unwell. While I haven't had episodes like these too often since we moved to our own place, I've realized that they're much harder to deal with now. Because I have been so at peace, I no longer know what to do when I'm not.

I couldn't even bring myself to talk to people. Because no words were coming out of my mouth. I spent the entire day in silence, staring at walls, at random items in the house. Syrena asked if I was okay and I admitted that I wasn't. But that I would be. Eventually. Hopefully.


As my mind reeled about the uncertainty of our future (long story short: I lost a job that made up a humongous chunk of my livelihood), only two people came to mind who could really help. Both lead very hectic lives and I wasn't expecting to hear back from them. But one came through for me.

And as I panicked and released all of my pent-up emotions, he stayed calm and reminded me who I am and what I can do; and sometimes, that's all you really need in life: someone who believes in you when you don't. Someone who sees the greatness you have to offer when you've forgotten it. Someone you would trust with your life.

Find that person. Preferably a few, if you can. And then pull yourself out of that funk and reach out. Reach. Out. You can't do this alone. And that's okay. Reaching out doesn't make you weak. It's a necessity to ensure that you make it through. And that's all that matters.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Ways to Enhance Your Budget and Reduce Stress

Ever since moving out, money has been more important for me than ever. I don't think I've ever obsessed over bills and budgeting more than I have right now. With monthly bills, tuition, and other essentials to think about, I've had to rack my brain on how to enhance my budget without stressing myself out too much. And that's where this article comes in.


Ways to Enhance Your Budget and Reduce Stress

Take a Step Back.

The first thing you should know and always remember is that this process shouldn't stress you out at all, to be honest. Don't let your budget rule your life and work with what you can. If you have debt that you need to take care of (like credit card debt - hello, me!), the first thing you should do is take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. Only then should you adjust accordingly. Figure out what you want to do first, what you want to take care of first, and the best way to deal with it. Most importantly: relax and don't sweat it too much. Let's face it: there's no make-money-quick scheme out there that will make these problems go away, so you might as well take things a step at a time.

Avoid More Debt.

Another important thing to do is to make sure that you don't fall into even more debt. Is your credit card bill stressing you out? Then cut your credit card in half and don't use it again. This might seem like a shock; but unless you get rid of that bit of plastic that you've been relying on so much, the chances of you falling into even more debt will simply increase in time. Get rid of it.

Take Note of Your Expenses.

Now, this next step is something that I've been telling a lot of my friends to do. It'll either sound super simple or intimidating; but either way, it needs to be done. Whether you prefer keeping a physical notebook to track your expenses or want to download an app for it, make sure you take note of all of your expenses. Doing this will help you figure out what you are spending unnecessary money on and will help you keep your money on track.

Remember: the only person who can really help you with your budget is yourself. So, no matter how intimidating the process might seem, now is the best time to start getting a hold of your finances and moving towards a debt-free and stress-free future.

For more tips on budgeting, click here.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Why We Currently Swear By Co Ord Sets

My baby girl is no longer a baby and it took my orders from Femme Luxe to come in for me to accept it.


I ordered some Co Ord Sets from Femme Luxe and when I was opening the package, she actually said, "Can I try them on?" I was in shock. Syrena never really showed any interest in clothes, let alone Co Ord Sets so I let her try them on - and they fit her perfectly. (In fact, they looked even better on her! :p)

So, since she instantly fell in love with their Co Ord Sets, it looks like we'll be shopping together on Femme Luxe quite often now.

The clothes that Syrena and I have been buying lately have greatly changed compared to the clothes we used to buy pre-pandemic.

While we used to go for cool and chic outfits to wear outdoors, being stuck at home all day has caused us to search for outfits that we can actually be comfortable wearing at home all day yet still look cute enough to make us less depressed about the situation that we're in. Co Ord Sets happen to be a great way to break the monotony of everyday stuck-at-home life.

Be a certified co-ord cutie with Femme de Luxe's collection of Co Ord Sets. No matter what you've got going on at home - be it an online meeting, an e-numan session, a live stream, a video call with family, friends, or even your crush - these Co Ord Sets have got you covered. They're comfy yet still look good enough to be worn in practically any virtual setting.

Need to walk the dog? Pick up groceries? Get orders from a Grab rider? These Co Ord Sets are cute enough to be worn out, too.

Femme Luxe's Co Ord Sets are designed with you in mind so you can be sure to look good from every angle. If this sporty look isn't your style, they also have smart Co Ord Sets like blazers with a more professional style. They also have summer Co Ord Sets that you can wear if you miss the beach and wanna dress the part at home. They even have bodysuit and skirt Co Ord Sets that are perfect for dates if that's what you're on the lookout for.

Shop for the perfect Co Ord Sets for you at Femme Luxe!

Monday, August 2, 2021

5 Things to Consider When Hunting for an Apartment

It is no secret that I recently moved out of my parent's home to live alone with Syrena. What I haven't written about, though, is how hard it was to actually find the perfect place for us to live in. If you are looking for apartments for rent, here are some of the most important things to consider before anything else.

Good Location



Probably the first thing you'll want to consider is the location you want to move to. Whether you decide to opt for an apartment, a house, or a townhouse; location is key. Do you want to be in an area that is familiar to you? Do you want to be relatively close to your family and/or friends? Do you want easy access to places like schools, malls, public transportation stops, convenience stores, or groceries? Consider what is important to you and choose your location from there.

Affordability

Obviously, your budget is of the utmost importance, as well. Realistically, how much can you spend on the place? Will you be buying or renting? If you're renting, don't forget to consider other things you might have to pay for like the electricity, water, and Internet bills, association dues, and the initial deposit.

Security

Security was definitely high up on the list for me. I knew that I wanted to move to a place with a strict guard, CCTV, and a relatively secure area, in general. I also checked the neighbors, the doors, and whether it would be possible to install extra security measures as I pleased.

Size


Obviously, you also want to make sure that the place that you choose is a comfortable size for you and anyone else who might be living with you. While there are more affordable places nearby, I chose this particular place because I wanted to live comfortably and ensure that I had space for all of the belongings that I had accumulated over the years.

Amenities


This is just a bonus, really. You may or may not care about amenities, but Syrena loves swimming and we actually have a staycation every year for her birthday just so she can enjoy the pool to her heart's content. So, being the over-achieving, over-compensating single mom that I have, I just had to give her what she wants.

Lastly, and I always mention this to people: listen to your gut. If something feels sketchy or off, listen to that part of you that thinks you should bail. Most of the time, your gut is right and there might just be something better out there for you. Good luck!

Friday, July 30, 2021

'Trainwreck' was everything I wanted in a rom-com.

I hate romcoms. HATE. With a passion. But when my best friend told me I had to watch ‘Trainwreck’ because - and I quote - “Ikaw ‘yun eh!”, I decided to give it a go.

I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled that I was being compared to Amy Schumer; but from the first scene alone, I knew exactly what she meant. I had been through that exact same scene in my actual life and may or may have not reacted the same way. :p

Also: Amy is a casual dater. A drinker. A pothead with a pottymouth. And she speaks her mind, fuck who gets offended. The more I watched, the more I saw myself in her.


I don’t sugarcoat things in bed. I push men away when I feel like things are getting serious. I hate the thought of love because I’m scared of getting hurt again. I love to drink. I don’t ask men how old they are before jumping into things with them. Lol. There were so many scenes in this movie that I had actually lived, it felt like I was watching myself on screen. And did I mention she’s a writer?



And although they totally ripped off the 'Sex and the City' speech scene; I love how, in this romcom, it’s the girl who realizes her flaws. It’s the girl who bounces back. It’s the girl who turns her life around. It’s the girl who does the big grand gesture. And you know why I loved that? Because I’m like that. I’m the big grand gesture girl. And I’m sick of people telling me, “Ikaw yung babae. Bakit ka ganyan?” Because why the fuck not?



Men deserve to be appreciated and loved and cared for and they deserve to know how amazing they are just as much as women deserve it. Especially if the woman is the one who messed up and needs to apologize in the first place.


I also loved that, for a change, we see men getting naked. We see men being used. We see men falling for the less-than-perfect-tens. It is funny. It is relatable. And it is worth the time to watch. (Bonus points: we get to see John Cena’s butt.)


If you don't know what to watch this weekend and haven't seen 'Trainwreck' yet, I highly recommend that you do. Thank me for the laughs later. :p


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dear Survivor

Dear Survivor,

The pandemic hasn't been easy on anybody. Everyone has gone through their fair share of trouble in the past year, be it in terms of career, health, or relationships. For you, it was your mental health.

Being a mild schizophrenic isn't easy, but you're still here. You've survived. I know how hard it was for you to adjust to pandemic life when you spent so much of your pre-pandemic outdoors and socializing. It's how you had to deal with your mental illness, after all. Since all of your triggers were at home, you dealt with it by leaving home, hanging out with your friends, and doing things that you love to get your mind off things.

Unfortunately, when the lockdown came into place, you were stuck at home and disaster struck in your head. As the pandemic continued, I remember how intense the paranoia was - a "side effect" of your illness. You couldn't go out even when other people started to because you were always worried that you might get COVID and infect people at home. But how could you escape your triggers if you were stuck with them every day?

I still remember how you lived day after day in mental anguish. The torture was so real that you contemplated suicide more than once a month. Since nobody in your household cared or even acknowledged your illness, nothing was done to keep these thoughts or feelings at bay. It took a few months of barely surviving that way, but I'm glad you got to a point where you decided that I had to leave that place: for your sanity, your peace of mind, and your survival. Literally.

Of course, it wasn't easy. You had zero savings, your daughter's tuition to pay, and a job that had to let go of half of its workforce due to the pandemic. You could be next any second. Enter more paranoia.

Still, the resolve was real. I still remember when you started having dreams of what peace could feel like. That's what triggered the motivation and made it even stronger. I still remember you starting to look for other jobs in the most random places; and by God's grace, you are so blessed that He gave you the talents, the patience, and the stamina that you needed to succeed at everything that you tried your hand at. From voice acting to tarot card reading to social media management, you took it all on and you did so gracefully.

By the end of 2020, you had eight full-time jobs and enough money in the bank to allow yourself and Syrena to live comfortably in a new house. More on that here.

I remember how tired you were every single day. I remember how dates were thrown out the window. I remember how friendships survived by the bare minimum. But I also know that is absolutely no regret in your heart. You did what you had to do to survive, and that's really all anybody can do right now.

Keep moving forward. Keep hustling. Keep doing you. Keep praying. And keep surviving. People said I would never do it, but here I am. Alive. Happy. And at peace.


This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.


Fun Online Games to Reduce Stress During the Pandemic

The pandemic hasn't exactly been easy for a social butterfly like myself. I was the type of girl who would go out every night and spend time with her friends to reduce stress and get away from home. But all of that changed when the pandemic hit.

Fast forward to when I moved out of home last month and to when my dad asked to have Syrena stay with them until school starts, and you're stuck with a lonely version of me who is usually lost in her own thoughts and feeling sorry for her lonely self.

Fortunately, with moving out comes better Internet and I am now able to play online games without lagging or getting annoyed by the Internet cutting out. 'Mobile Legends' aside, I have discovered a new website full of online games to enjoy when I need a break from all of the stress at work and life, in general, and whenever boredom strikes: plays.org


plays.org offers hundreds of games across every genre you can possibly think of. There are so many to choose from and the best part is that they're all free of charge. You don't have to download any apps, either. You can just play directly in your web browser for the utmost convenience.

Here are some of my favorite ones that you should try out:

Tetra Blocks


I was a Tetris kid, so it makes sense that this is on my list. I used to have Tetris marathons with my dad and this nostalgic game brings back all of those childhood memories. I love the colors, too. It adds a pop of cuteness to make my day brighter.

Endless Siege


This is a game I've never played before, but I find myself constantly coming back to it. It's an easy game that you can play mindlessly and is perfect for those days when you simply want to clear your mind. You won't get bored playing it, either, because there's always a fun new map and challenge to try out every day.

Zombie Typing


This is going to sound so nerdy of me; but if you know me well, you'll know this is true: I love to type. In fact, I can type 200 words per minute without mistakes. So when I saw this game, I knew I had to try it. And my gahd, it is the utmost stress reliever for me. If typing makes you as happy as it makes me, you need to try out this game. The clackity clack of a mechanical keyboard will make the experience even better if you have one. And oh, did I mention that they brought zombies into the mix? Even better! It's great for kids who need to practice how to type, too... which is what I think it was originally intended for. :p

Check out the rest of the games at play.org here!


Monday, June 28, 2021

The WitcherCon Show Schedule is Here

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how a WitcherCon was coming up!


Well, Netflix and CD Projekt Red have finally released the show schedule for the upcoming global virtual fan event, which is the first-ever multi-format event dedicated to The Witcher universe. All Witcher fans unite!!!

The full lineup includes a number of interactive panels, each of which also holds a host of exclusive surprises from The Witcher live-action series and forthcoming anime feature.


The event, hosted by Julia Hardy, will also be studded with special short-form content, giving never-before-seen insights to the production and creative processes behind the Witcher universe.


The schedule of panels is as follows:



The Witcher Season 2: Deck of Destiny

Panel Guests: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan, Mimî M Khayisa, Paul Bullion 

The cast and showrunner of Netflix's The Witcher will draw cards from an enigmatic deck of fan questions that will determine the path of the panel and the immediate fate of the guests. These are no ordinary cards, though. Prepare for surprise reveals, backstage insights, and a dash of chaos as the panelists take us through their journey of filming Season 2.


CD PROJEKT RED’s Memories from the Path: Stories Behind The Witcher Games 

For over 13 years, the Witcher series of games has captured the imagination of gamers worldwide. Now, the developers behind the games discuss how they brought their immersive stories to life — before revisiting old memories, uncovering forgotten artifacts, and reminiscing about their favorite moments from the franchise.


Geralt of T-Rivia

Panel Guests: Błażej Augustynek, Philipp Weber, Declan De Barra, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

It’s a meeting of the Witcher masterminds as key creators of the Witcher games and The Witcher Netflix series team up to test their knowledge of the wider Witcher universe. In this pub quiz-style game, behind-the-scenes tidbits and spoiler-y sneak peeks are prized just as much as the correct answers.


CD PROJEKT RED’s The Witcher: Beyond Video Games 

Panel Guests: Rafał Jaki, Bartosz Sztybor, Łukasz Woźniak

From detective noir to dark horror — all the way to the Old World and beyond, prepare to experience The Witcher’s expanded universe with the latest details on the upcoming comic books and board game inspired by the franchise!


Tales from the White Wolf: A Spotlight Conversation with Henry Cavill, hosted by Josh Horowitz

To close out WitcherCon, fans will hear from Geralt of Rivia himself, Henry Cavill, who will sit down with moderator Josh Horowitz (MTV & Comedy Central host) for an in-depth conversation about fantasy, destiny, and the wider Witcher Universe. The White Wolf may even have a surprise or two in store…


Available on both Twitch and YouTube, WitcherCon will first air in the Philippines on July 10 at 1AM. The second stream, which also airs on Twitch and YouTube, will begin on July 10 at 9AM.


Who else is super duper excited for this?!??


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Home Sweet Home

It has been a month since we moved into our new home. When we ran out to get dirty ice cream and excitedly took TikTok videos and explored the vicinity. When we took turns sleeping on our new rugs on the floor. When I struggled to hang up curtains and build shelves and really felt how much of a single mom I was.


So much has happened since then, it feels like a lifetime ago. Despite all of the tears I've shed, the pain I felt in my heart, and the challenges God threw our way these past couple of weeks; I find myself completely at peace and happy with this decision.

I wake up in the morning at peace even if I didn't sleep much the night before. I sing and dance as I do my chores - and I can do so as loudly as I please. I go to bed every single night with a smile on my face even though nobody owns my heart. I feel no dread, no ill will, no anger, and no hate. I am where I'm meant to be.

Sure, Syrena and I argue every now and then - almost daily, really. But we never let more than an hour pass before we apologize and hug and everything is alright in the world once again. She helps with the chores. She offers to cook. She reminds me to eat. She takes care of me when I'm not feeling well. And she showers me with hugs every few hours. Best of all, she tells me at the end of every single day that she is happy. Out of nowhere. As if to reassure me that I made the right decision. As if to tell me that I shouldn't feel guilty or bad for choosing this life. She does this every day without fail.


And my friends? My goodness. I haven't felt this much support and love from friends in my life! My friends have been coming over to help me find furniture, build stuff (coz God knows how lazy I'd be otherwise), and really turn my house into a home. They're constantly on call when I'm feeling lonely and need someone to talk to; and most importantly, God has blessed our lives with someone I honestly can no longer imagine my life without.

Everything has fallen into place. I am content, calm, and at peace. And although there have been dark days these past couple of weeks, I have never felt so blessed and so alive. And I just feel the need to let the world know that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A WitcherCon is Finally Happening!!!

My Witcher senses are tingling!!! In case you didn't know by now, I am a massive fan of 'The Witcher'. How I got into it is actually quite the funny story. Basically, there was this guy who asked me if I had ever played the games before and when I said I hadn't, he went into this super passionate tirade. He went so far as to offer to buy me the game for my Switch just so I would understand why he was so passionate about it.

I ended up buying the game the next day and fell in love instantly. When I learned that they were based on books, I looked everywhere for them - which wasn't an easy feat since the series wasn't out yet and it wasn't exactly an in-demand book at the time. The books? They were even better! I couldn't put them down! It's something I can't really put into words, to be honest.

And then Netflix released the series, and I even got to meet the showrunner, Lauren Hissrich, and the Henry Cavill in person. To end my geeky sharing session: I've cosplayed Yennefer and I even have a Witcher tattoo now. :p

As such, it should make perfect sense why I am now hyperventilating after CD PROJECT RED and Netflix have announced the virtual fan event, WitcherCon - a global online celebration of 'The Witcher' franchise.

The announcement of this first-ever multi-format event dedicated to the Witcher universe was teased on Twitter:

WitcherCon will take place on Saturday, July 10, 2021 and aims to bring together old and new Witcher fans who love the video games, books, and/or TV series.


Here's what we can all look forward to:

- Entertaining and interactive panels with the people who brought 'The Witcher' to life in-game and on-screen
- Breaking news, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and never-before-seen reveals from across the franchise
- Intimate looks into the creativity and production behind CD PROJEKT RED's games, including the upcoming mobile game 'The Witcher: Monster Slayer', comic books, and fan gear, and Netflix's live-action series 'The Witcher' plus merchandise and the anime film 'Nightmare of the Wolf'
- Expert explorations into the lore, legends, monsters, and origins for the Continent

It is important to note, however, that CD PROJEKT RED has no new Witcher game to announce at WitcherCon, so don't get your hopes up. :(

Still, I'm hella excited to get some Witcher geekery in my life once again. Available on Twitch and YouTube, WitcherCon will first air on July 10 at 1AM. A second stream will air on July 10 at 9AM in case you're not a night owl like me. :p

Who else is super duper mega excited for this? :D

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Emptiness

Things have been good since I moved out - so good, in fact, that I never felt the urge to write anything emotional on this space of mine. So good that I found myself waking up with a smile on my face and basking in the peace that I had created for myself. So good that it felt unreal almost.

I've always hated feeling happy. I've always believed that people constantly search for happiness but never really attain it. And I used to always prepare myself for the sudden drop into oblivion. But I didn't this time.

This time, I just let myself be happy. And so, I was caught completely unawares when I found myself unexpectedly going to our home in BF to learn that my dad was bedridden because of what looked like another stroke.

Not gonna lie: I was angry. Angry that no one had bothered to inform me. Angry that my dad was lying in his bed instead of in a hospital. Angry that I wasn't there when it happened. Angry that I had left home knowing full well that this could happen.

And angry that it had happened so soon after the last one. My dad used to get minor strokes every few years, but this one came a mere four months after the last one. And it is a more serious one. There is nothing minor about this one.

Days have passed and my dad is still in the hospital. He goes through therapy twice a day. He is unable to clean himself. He can't stand. He can't walk. And he still can't speak properly. My dad. My rock. The man who, after I had moved out, would send me messages every few hours just to check on me, to say good night, to make sure I locked all of the doors and windows, to ask for help with his laptop or Grab deliveries, and to ask me to send him food.

He is stuck in the hospital and due to the pandemic, I am unable to do anything more than run errands for him and update immediate family members on his current state. I feel helpless, lost, and alone.

And while I used to joke with my friends about how clingy my dad has gotten since my move, I find myself staring at my phone wishing he would ask me to send him banana bread in the morning or just ask me to come over because he's excited to see me.

I hate that my last memory of him prior to seeing him bedridden was of him in an online class as I tried to fix his laptop. I hate that I didn't knock on his door every time I dropped by to pick up some of my stuff. I hate that I was so caught up in this road to freedom, that I decided to finally put myself first during such a critical time, and that my worst nightmare actually happened.

And yes, I blame myself. I have been blaming myself every day. And if he doesn't recover, I don't know how I'll ever bounce back.

Monday, May 31, 2021

How I Saved More Money Than Ever During the Pandemic

It's no secret by now that I have moved out of my parents' house. However, if you know me well, you might have been surprised to learn that I did. After all, I was Little Miss Spend-a-Lot. How could I have saved any money to make it this far? (On a side note, did you know that American household debt has hit $14.6 trillion, while here in the Philippines it has reached $41.4 billion? I was one of those people... just to put that into perspective.)

I was literally that person who would buy something if I decided I liked it - without thinking about the price, without thinking about whether I'd actually end up using it, and without thinking about how long it would take me to pay it off on my credit card. I was also the "I can pay for it" person in my friends' group, especially after getting drunk, whipping out her card here and there without a second thought. It was baaaaad. I always felt like, "We only live once, might as well make the most of it and spend my money while I can."

That changed when COVID hit. My social life practically died because of COVID, which meant that I was no longer going out with friends and spending more money than I should be on food and drinks. A few months into it, I realized that I had actually saved quite a bit of money without meaning to. And it felt good. Nay, it felt GREAT. That feeling made me decide to take things up a notch so I took a few extra steps to save... and here I am now, at a new place, with more than enough money to survive without any help.

I made the coffee switch.

I had long avoided making the coffee switch. If you follow me on social media, you'll know how much I love Starbucks and how much I have loved it since I was 14. Yeah, I cut that out. In its stead, I discovered a whole slew of more affordable online stores that offer delicious coffee and I now have more money because of it.

I cut down on unnecessary spending, in general.

It wasn't just coffee, though. I cut down on unnecessary spending, in general, and learned how to say "no" to my mini-me. Moms will know how hard that can be sometimes, but I put my foot down when it wasn't a need and only focused on the things that we really needed. I still got takeout every now and then as a reward or when there was a celebration, but that was about it.

I took on more side gigs.

Pandemic life has been all about the side gigs for me. Back in the day, even when an opportunity for a side gig dropped onto my lap, I wouldn't really jump at it because I valued my social life a lot and didn't want to spend too much time working. With more time to myself during the pandemic, I explored new things and took on more jobs with one specific end goal in mind: to move out and live comfortably, and I am oh-so-proud to say that I am able to do that now.

I took note of all of my expenses.

This is something that not a lot of people that I know do, and I honestly didn't do it myself, either. However, I started doing it during the pandemic and it has made me be more stingy with my money. Oftentimes, we spend and spend and spend without realizing how much we're spending until it's too late. If you keep a log of how much money you spend, you'll actually reach a point where you look at yourself and say, "Okay, you've reached your limit. It's time to stop."

It helps to use an online calculator for this, too. Fortunately, there are a ton of different financial calculators out there to suit your personal needs, including mortgage calculators, auto calculators, credit card calculators, and savings calculators. It will be a huuuuuge help - trust me.

I reminded myself of my goal every single day.


Most importantly, I never stopped reminding myself of what I wanted to achieve every single day. On days when my body seemed to be craving Starbucks (usually during "that time of the month"), I stood my ground and said "no". 
On days when I was ultra tired or felt like I was burned out, I reminded myself why I was doing everything that I was doing. And it paid off in the end. I was tired sometimes, but I am exactly where I longed to be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I haven't written for myself in a while.

It has been four months to be exact.

I used to write for myself almost every day, but even my journal is now dying in a pile of dust - forgotten and alone. That's kind of how I've been feeling lately. Lonely. Inspiration-less.

To be honest, it has been a tough last few months. In case we're not friends on social media, I've been preparing to move out these past few weeks. And the struggle to move during a pandemic has been real. This isn't the first time I've moved out, but this is the first time I'm doing it with a fully-grown child and with the innate need to provide her with the best kind of life possible.

I first moved out when I was in college and my place basically consisted of a bed, a desk, a bathroom, and a balcony. I hardly lived in it, to be honest. It mostly just served as storage for my stuff. I spent most of my time at my then-boyfriend's apartment and life was beautiful. And crazy. And spontaneous. I was a different person then.

I moved out again when I was pregnant. But let's not talk about that. That was a difficult time. And I apologize to my pregnant past-self for putting her through that when I really didn't need to.

I moved out again with Syrena and the babydaddy when we moved to the Philippines. That was equally crazy. But not as beautiful. All of the money I made went to rent, utilities, and baby food. The babydaddy didn't help with expenses. Nor did he treat us well.

Looking back at that last experience, I knew I wanted to do things right this time. And that's why, when I decided I really couldn't live here anymore, I dived headfirst into a ton of new jobs. And while I usually pour myself into work with the utmost passion, other things suffered because of it. I hardly spoke to my friends and I had zero time to work out. I lost myself in a crazy busy schedule filled with meetings, events, and deadlines to keep myself sane with this end goal in mind. Keeping my mind busy with other things has helped, though. It ensured that I don't lose myself in my own thoughts. Thoughts that could lead to other things, if you know what I mean.

But today, I'm taking some time off to write a little something for my future self to look back on.

Today, I am writing to remind myself of how proud I am of myself. For that extra push that I made to make it here. For having the strength to put myself first for a change. For finally saving myself after decades of being treated like shit and being told that I am not good enough. For making it through all of the verbal and emotional abuse that I have endured through the years. And for holding on to dear life when all I ever wanted to do was to end it all.

These are my last few days here and words cannot explain how much I look forward to cutting off all of the bad juju and living a free life - free of evil, free of narcissism, free of pain, and free of negativity.

I look forward to raising my daughter the way I want to raise her and the way she deserves to be raised. In a place full of nothing but pure love. A place where she will never be screamed at for petty things, where she will never feel like she is a burden, and where she doesn't have to put her headphones on to drown out the world. A place where we will both feel free and safe. A place where we can put whatever we want to in the fridge. Lol. A place where we can eat anything what we want without worrying whether anybody will get mad. A place where we can procrastinate and leave the dishes for a little later because we want to finish watching what we're watching. A place where we can stay up as late as we want to because we can. A place where we can eat what and when we want to without hearing a barrage of complaints about our uselessness and laziness. A place where we can wake up to a world of peace and quiet. A place where our dog can roam freely inside and feel the same love, care, and safety.


Some people have commented that I've been sharing too much about my life online, claiming that I do it for attention or that I'm playing the victim. You can believe what your narrow mind wants to believe, but that's not what it is at all. I share what I share because I want you to know that that kind of treatment is not okay. You don't have to settle for that kind of life. You deserve better.

I share my struggles and my experiences in the hopes that just in case someone out there is going through the same thing and feeling the same kind of way, you'll realize that you need to get away from that. It doesn't matter if it's a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or a relative; don't take their shit. YOU DESERVE A HAPPY AND PEACEFUL LIFE. PERIOD.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

BTS Incorporates the Penrose Steps in Their PH Commercial and I am Beyond Ecstatic

I am an ARMY - loud and proud! But more on that another time. Today, I'd like to rave about the beauty of their new Smart television commercial. Although it was just launched two hours ago, the video already has more than 210,000 views:

The boys look amazing and I love the messages behind it! What really stood out for me, though, is that they incorporated one of my favorite elements in the world, which made me feel like the TVC was made for me. :p Lol.

In case you haven't heard of the Penrose steps yet, they are symbolic of defying impossible situations. I fell in love with these steps as a child when they were used in the movie 'Labyrinth' starring David Bowie and again when I was in high school and discovered MC Escher's artwork on it. These steps were also seen in one of my favorite movies, 'Inception', and more recently, in an episode of 'Kimetsu no Yaiba' ('Demon Slayer'). Seeing it in a TVC featuring BTS made these steps all the more special to me.

In the TVC, we see BTS walking up and down seven iterations of these steps with wise and powerful words flashing around them:



Jungkook goes up and down a staircase that appears to represent the entrance to a recording studio with the words KEEP INSPIRING.


RM is seen opening a book in the impossible stairways set with the words KEEP LEARNING.

J-hope is dancing in a dynamic disco set with the words KEEP MOVING.


Jin goes up a garden stairway set with the words KEEP CHASING YOUR PASSION.

V is seen at a subway escalator with the words KEEP EXPLORING.

SUGA is in a musical-inspired staircase set with the words KEEP LIVING YOUR PURPOSE.

Jimin is seen in a building’s fire exit with the words KEEP CONNECTING.

Jin reflects, “Smart decisions have always been important to us and seem to have produced good results for us. I will encourage you [to live smarter and live with purpose] so you can only walk the path of happiness.”

“When you have a purpose, you have a reason to [live] and it becomes your driving force,” says J-hope.

To this, V adds, “No matter how many times you fall, don’t give up and challenge yourself to break [big walls] in your life.”

For a group whose passion and purpose are to create music and perform around the world, staying put in South Korea for more than a year now has only made them look forward to better times. “What makes us move is the ARMY waiting for us,” SUGA shares, eager for when seeing fans face-to-face is possible again.

Meanwhile, Jungkook has everyone’s best interest in mind: “I’ll be rooting for you. Please stay healthy.”

“We know very well that you are always sending us messages through social media, uploading videos that cover our songs and dances, and participating in competitions,” says Jimin.

Smart has also shared that they really want to bring BTS to the Philippines soon and that they would also like to set up a live event for Philippine fans at the very least, but that will have to wait until the pandemic ends or the boys' schedule frees up.

What is your message for BTS? Share it with me. Also, check out my unboxing of Mattel's BTS V Idol doll here:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

2021 Influencer Marketing Trends You Should Know About

Influencer marketing keeps changing by the year. When I started on this journey more than a decade ago, blogs were all the rage. People went to blog sites to read the latest news, get to know their favorite personalities, and immerse themselves in the lives of those personalities.

When Instagram came to the forefront, fewer and fewer people visited blogs, having been given the chance to digest content in an easier and quicker way - perfect for the busy lifestyles of this generation.

Then came the videos, which provided ample entertainment and gave them a glimpse of what their favorite personalities are actually like in real life. With so many changes constantly happening, you might be wondering what's in store for influencer marketing in the years to come. Here are 3 key points that experts have made about 2021:

Authenticity is key.

With so many influencers becoming notorious for promoting brands they don't actually use in real life, sounding incredibly "sponsored" in their captions, or saying the wrong things to attract the ire of keyboard warriors; authenticity is now taking the forefront. Brands want to avoid trolls nowadays and are therefore more careful about their name possibly going viral for the wrong reasons

It's the micro-influencers' chance to shine.

Micro-influencers on Instagram are slowly starting to gain the spotlight. At lower price points, brands now have the opportunity to tap people with diverse personalities and fresh content without spending too much money. By using micro-influencers, brands can also spend more on boosting content to strategically reach their target audience.

TikTok is now a big part of the scene.

TikTok really took off last year, making it clear that people are searching for more ways to keep themselves entertained online, particularly during the current pandemic. Expect to see more brands tap influencers for TikTok videos to maximize their investment.

Have you been following the 3 trends of influencer marketing mentioned above? If you are already part of the equation, then you can look forward to a fun and amazing time ahead. If you aren't, then it's time to get to know more micro-influencers, familiarize yourself with TikTok, and above all things, just be real.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Condo, still a good investment amidst the pandemic

Condo living might be the life every millennials and yuppies have always dreamed of. For the young and restless, this is the lifestyle that perfectly fits them, which is why they want to have their own space in a condo.

However, with the coronavirus outbreak infecting nations all over the world, is it still wise to invest during an extraordinary time like this? There are uncertainty and instability, but experts in the industry believe that there are still advantages in making an investment today, especially in condominium units. Here are a few reasons why.

Location

Most condominiums are built in strategic locations situated within business districts in the city, offering you the convenience of easy access to and from work or school. It saves you from the stress of commuting and being caught in the middle of heavy traffic. The malls and restaurants are nearby, too. A location that is accessible to hospitals, supermarkets, government offices, and other essentials is the best choice during a pandemic.

Amenities

Most condos offer amenities for relaxation and entertainment such as a swimming pool, sports gym, health spa, bars, and cafés. Having a gym or a swimming pool in a condo can be beneficial for those who want to stay healthy and in shape without going outside. An active lifestyle is not impossible inside a condo. A condo’s social amenities shared by the residents are designed to create a comfortable ambiance to accommodate gatherings of all shapes and sizes. It’s the perfect place to watch a big game, relax after a long day at the office, simply catch some rays, show off your women dresses, or dine under the stars. You can still enjoy life without leaving your home.

Security

There is added layer of security in condo-living. Aside from the fact that the entry and exit points are heavily guarded, there are CCTVs installed in common areas, hallways, and even parking lots. This extra protection makes occupants feel more secure. They have peace of mind that even if they leave the house for a few days or even months, their property and belongings will be untouched.

Maintenance

A condo owner has the freedom to maintain the unit. If you’re living in a condo, you can say goodbye to shovels and the lawnmowers and spend your spare time on some me-time. Helpers and repairmen are just a phone call away in a condo, too. Not having to worry about housekeeping and unit maintenance is an enticing perk for baby boomers and busy people.

Cheaper Prices and Lower Interest Rates for Buyers

Many people are struggling with their finances right now and many are adjusting their lifestyles. Therefore, real estate developers are now selling their properties for much cheaper prices so more people can afford to buy or invest. Even banks and lenders have cut their interest rates to attract more customers.

For those who have enough resources, now is the right time to take advantage of the benefits of these low deal costs and low-risk investments in condominium units. If you’re keen on investing in a condo unit, but have no idea how much to prepare for it; use this handy online mortgage calculator to easily compute the interest and mortgage payments for a given loan term. It’s a free tool that you can always count on when searching for the best real estate deals in the market today.

Now is the perfect timing to invest your hard-earned money or savings in real estate such as condominium units. Nowadays, borrowing money is cheap and that enables stronger buying power. The easing of loans gives more flexibility to your budget, which means you can easily go for that condo unit you have always dreamed of.