What I’ve Been Up To + Getting Older

I have dedicated a majority of my time studying. Hence, the lack of attention I’ve been giving to this blog. This weekend I decided to give myself a much needed break, and focus on having some quality time with my family and give me time to make another brief update.

A few days ago was my 27th birthday. My perspective of aging as altered over the years. I recall feeling a slight resistance to getting older, preferring to stay one age forever. 22 sounded good to me, but now I see that my early twenties consisted of a lot of indecisiveness and that I was too caught up in the past and creating a picture of my future, that it was difficult enjoying my present. At 27, I can’t say I’ve mastered “life”, but I am more accepting of the fact, that nothing is permanent. I’m not the only one getting older. Everyone around me is. All I can be is 1) in the moment and 2) grateful. And that I am.

I came home to this beautiful bouquet of calla lilly bulbs that my husband surprised me with. I love flowers, but this particular kind is deeply sentimental to me, as it was this type of flower that was used to adorn the venue of our wedding reception seven years ago.

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On another note, I wish everyone a great week! 🙂

 

 

Thrifting Again (Small haul)

In continuation for my love of searching for amazing thrifted finds, I gathered a few pieces from the last few weeks to share.

  1. Floral top – Looks pretty dreamy tucked into highwaisted jeans. With the first button unbuttoned. The floral design reminded me of something similar from Reformation.
  2. Black knitted tank – Hugs the body comfortably. It looks basic, but the quality is 10/10. Found this for a dollar.
  3. Yellow/Navy plaid blouse – Or can be used as light jacket. Not a big fan of plaid, but the combination of these two colors work so well. Additionally, it’s surprisingly versatile with a lot of items in my closet.
  4. Salvatore Ferragamo shoes- Super chic, and elevating to any outfit. When I purchased this, it literally looked like it was never worn before. The bottom of the shoe gave it away, but still.
  5. Black leather square toed ankle boots – Another staple in any closet. I’ve been looking for a pair just like this (see above photo).

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7 Year Anniversary / Reflections on Marriage

Each anniversary that passes always brings some familiar feelings and thoughts. I always contemplate over the previous years and find myself amazed at how our story has developed in the pass x amount of years. This day marks seven.

Fabian and I were both students in Great Lakes, Illinois, when we met at the ages 19 (me) and 21 years old. I reflect upon how fast (five months after we initially got together) our friendship and relationship progressed into an eternal commitment to each other and raising our beautiful daughter. Like most young married couples I know, they will tell you that it’s definitely a challenge, but it can be a very meaningful one in hindsight.

At the age of 19 throughout my early twenties, I felt this need to grasp tightly to initial feelings. I couldn’t comprehend what marriage was suppose to be like, because I had never been in one. It took me awhile to figure it out and in most recent times Fabian and I worked diligently to solve this ‘mystery’ together.

We have quite the story, but I have chosen to withhold previous chapters and focus on today.

I don’t often confess to the world how I feel, but I do have to say that I am incredibly blessed and overwhelmed with love.

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Dressing Like My Mom

Just got off the phone with my mom. We were joking about how nowadays I find myself dressing more and more like her. Proof is in the yellow shirt I am currently wearing, that I recently purchased at a local thrift store due to 1) My deep appreciation for a vintage aesthetic and 2) It greatly reminded me of my mom.

Growing up I recall my mom’s closet primarily being dominated by a variety of collared shirts. Her favorite was, and I think still is yellow, so a yellow collared shirt immediately brings back memories of her in her late twenties, early thirties.

Even our hair was very similar.

But anyway, I love the look…and I love you mom!

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A Clean Face Ft. Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil

Upon checking out at the cash register, the kind lady scanning my items took a brief pause to look at my Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil (with coconut and argan oils). “How do you use this?” She asked. Aside from providing thorough directions, I found myself elaborating and raving more about this particular product. It’s not new in the market, but it definitely is a staple!

I recall a time I thought it was taboo to use oil to clean my face, but it has been the first step in my double cleanse routine prior to bed time for past few years. Massage a few pumps on to dry skin and watch the oil melt away makeup and other impurities.  After washing off  the remaining oil proceed to the second step, which is using a delicate facial wash such as the Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser for a deeper clean.

It sounds like more work than it should, but it’s so worth it. And in my opinion, it’s a lot more economical than facial wipes.

 

Favorite Thrifted/Secondhand Finds

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My obsession with giving second hand items new life sparked after being an active user on the Instagram like app, Depop. While I enjoyed selling items from my extensive collection of impulse buys (now pretty much sold), I grew to embrace the idea of purchasing thrifted and vintage items. Most retail stores I typically gravitate to, try to mirror vintage styled pieces but then sell them for a higher price. Although it is a lot more time consuming, there is this thrill of searching for one of a kind clothing on Depop or thrift stores that are so much more affordable. To make the deal sweeter, it’s better for the environment (Watched The True Cost? If not, it’s on Netflix).

 

  1. In the picture above (shout out to my daughter, Luci for taking this picture), is my current favorite piece of outerwear. It is a light, oversize gingham jacket I purchased at Captain’s Helm for about $18. This shop is not your typical thrift shop like Goodwill, but still…at $18 I consider this a great find. I have seen different versions of the gingham jacket that range from $60-$1,000, but not quite like this. I love pairing it with bright colors, such as the t-shirt I am wearing underneath.
  2. Duckster Windbreaker from The Wonder Shop. This is probably one of the first vintage items added to my closet. There is a hood you can utilize by unzipping the collar area. The quality is legit. Like Captain’s Helm, The Wonder Shop is not your typical thrift shop. I believe this piece was $24, but I would rather wear this vs. a similar one from Forever 21.
  3. Leather Jacket from Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Thrift Shop. This petite leather jacket, in this gorgeous color (it’s like gunmetal blue?) with purple buttons still had the original tag on it, showing a retail price of $180. I got it for $24. I know a black leather jacket is a classic, but this is a beautiful alternative. On another note, click on the link to read more about the incredible charity services accomplished by the proceeds earned when you shop at the DAV Thrift Shop.
  4. Lauren Jeans Co. by Ralph Lauren button up from Disabled American Veterans Thrift Shop. For $3.95, I scored this amazing light weight, blue and orange diamond printed top. I was already imagining it tucked into dark high waist jeans. I had to.
  5. Floral Wrangler Top – Mall Crusher . Purchased on one of my favorite Depop shops. I can’t recall the exact price, because it was a bundled deal. I wear this top all the time. It looks pretty damn good tucked into high waist denim. Whether it’s a skirt, shorts, jeans…and then add on a denim jacket. I love it.
  6. Coach Purse. This item was actually given to me during a Career Women Symposium. So, not bought. The first 100 attendees to sign up for the event were able to receive a free outfit from Working Wardrobes. I happened to be apart of that first 100. The Working Wardrobes event was so much fun. I encourage you to click on the link to read more about this amazing organization.

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Old & New Favorites

Southern California may not be the destination to experience a traditional winter season, but  that definitely has not stopped me from struggling through typical skin concerns in colder weather.

 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I have mentioned this product in a previous post, but no joke, I am on my third bottle. My skin always feels hydrated and glowing after each application. Pricey, yes. Tip. Save your money on other skincare items such as facial wash and moisturizer, and go big for a great serum.

Laniege Lip Mask. Suddenly I have the worst chapped lips. Partnered with consistently applying Aquaphor throughout the day, I use this leave on lip mask a few times a week prior to a good night’s rest. I purchased this baby during a layover in Taiwan, out of boredom. Thankfully I did, considering it does provide some much needed…and I mean…NEEDED relief.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess. For the most part I have made the treadmill my friend these past few months, in place of running outdoors. To provide a bit of warmth to my face I use this natural, oil-free bronzer. Also on the pricier side, but the product item itself is pretty big, and it will last you forever. Tip. Make sure you get the right shade for you. A little goes a long way, so selecting a shade lighter than what you need will result in more application.

Maybelline Brow Precise. Additional favorite to add to the list, because I did not think I would find an alternative to Glossier’s Boy Brow that was a lot more accessible. At almost half the price, you can maintain your brows and effectively add volume to it. I use this whenever I am lazy. And colder weather tends to do that to me.

NYE and Welcoming 2018

I would like to express my gratitude to my dear friend and sister from another mister, Nova, and her beautiful family for inviting us in welcoming the new year in her lovely home…and also for the many pictures taken that night. It was a night full of love, laughter and food. To summarize, it was perfect.

A very brief history on how how I met this queen. We go all the way back to April of 2010,  during an unexpected two day trip to Guam. During that time we were both in the process of preparing to depart from the comforts of our own homes and into adulthood. Our paths crossed again soon after and then years later, where she resided with us for a few months. Fast forward to the present and we currently live in the same state, about 15 minutes away. I am super blessed and extremely thankful for our friendship.

Prior to the celebration, I was in my apartment writing down some goals for 2018. Most of which were on my list for the past x amount of years, not due to the fact that I was not able to achieve them, but because I am a never ending work in progress. I always strive to do better in different areas of my life, such as self (mind, body, soul), relationships, career, education and finance. I plan to base a lot of my content for this year around these categories, in an effort to document that progress and to keep myself accountable.

Every year is completely different and 2017 was probably the more drastic year I experienced in awhile. And I say that with a grateful heart.

I hope everyone is having a great start to 2018!

“There is no right time, there is only right now.” – Mel Robbins

 

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California Christmas

It is our first time celebrating the holiday season here in California, after spending almost four years on the east coast. Yes, the change is drastic, but I am loving it. I have only been residing here for roughly six months and I really…really can’t fathom living anywhere else. I love Southern California.

We enjoyed the majority of our simple and pretty much nontraditional Christmas festivities during Christmas Eve, in which we went out to our favorite local breakfast spot, opened presents and soaking up a bit of sun in the best ‘winter’ weather with our dog, Mimi…who we recently adopted back in October 🙂

To end a wonderful day, our evening consisted of baking brownies and laughing our butts off to Home Alone 2 (it never gets old).

I return to work tomorrow, but it’s okay considering how close New Years is quickly approaching and I fortunately am blessed with a bit more time off.

Hope everyone is having an incredible time!

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Thoughts/Highlights & Favorites

Since I left my home in the Philippines roughly eight years ago, I have made my best attempt to return on an annual basis. I initially decided to postpone this year’s trip to later reunite with my family in Japan early next year, a decision we mutually agreed on…and one that I was excited about. But…our plans quickly altered last minute, and I found myself booking a round trip ticket back to the Philippines. Super last minute, but also super necessary, for reasons that I will carefully reserve for my family’s privacy.

Truly one of the best decisions I have made this year.

The trip was short, but incredibly profound. I unfortunately did not take many pictures. Rather I tried my best to live in the moment. So this post is more personal. Read below for some thoughts, favorites and highlights.

Thoughts/Highlights.

My Mom & Celebrating Her 57th Birthday. When I think of my mom, my mind tends to visualize a younger version of her. When she left the house, her outfits consisted of collared blouses with light denim jeans and she often toted a black purse. Her hair was very similar to my current soft layered bob cut, but with bangs. I use to wonder why she rarely experimented with different trends but it is now that I appreciate her simplicity. My mom is gracefully aging, but while the inevitable occurs she remains herself. This beautiful and caring woman inside and out. My Tita Marissa said it best when she told me, “Your mom thinks about others before herself.”

My sister and I threw her an early birthday celebration a few nights prior to our flight back. We commuted to a nearby mall, searching for the most delicious cheesecake (her favorite), which we discovered at the French Baker.  We indulged in Chinese food for dinner, followed by singing her happy birthday, sans the candles…and of of course, enjoying delightful slices of the blueberry cheesecake we purchased.

I tell her this often, but if you are reading this mom…I love you.

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Bonding With My Sister. Very few people get me, and one of those people happen to be my older sister, Jasmine. Regardless of our age, I feel like we revert back to our younger, silly selves from our high school/college days whenever we are together.  I am sure she disagrees but if only we lived closer, we could make a pretty entertaining YouTube channel about…well, us.

We bonded mostly through food (of course), conversations regarding our personal lives, our knowledge on pop culture and…more food.

I will definitely miss our morning breakfasts at Relish Luxe Cafe and munching on Tochi Cookies from the Salcedo Market.

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Time. Going back home can be a friendly…and sometimes not so friendly reminder that time ceases for no one. I feel like a different person each time I visit, but not in a negative manner. Rather in a way that I feel more evolved. I am returning as a mother. As a wife. I now have a life from where I left, and as I contemplate over the thought that things will never be the same, I can also say that time can also be a friendly reminder to be present and to be grateful.

Favorites.

It’s a short list.

Citadines Millenium Ortigas Manila Hotel. Stayed here briefly, but by check out it was difficult to depart. Truly a home away from home. Loved the details that went into their decor.

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Relish Luxe Cafe. Where my sister and I had breakfast almost everyday during our stay.

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Tochi Cookies. My sister purchased five containers in assorted flavors of my now favorite cookie. Devastated that I can’t purchase this here in the US.

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Mama Said. Song by Lukas Graham.

La La Land. A movie I watched during the long flight. I cried.

Long post. I know. If you made it to the end. Thank you for reading 🙂