Reflecting & January Favorites

I spent the majority of my Saturday morning impatiently waiting at a local pharmacy and then having to skillfully navigate through a crowded grocery store. Two tasks that are very minor,  but by the time I knew it, half the day had gone by. In my head was a list of what I thought I needed to accomplish. What I realized was that sometimes it is perfectly okay to NOT be productive. It is okay to put the list aside and simply enjoy a beautiful Saturday…at the beach. So, that I did. Upon returning to my apartment  I felt recharged and relieved from the earlier frustrations that I experienced that morning. I sometimes become so consumed with ‘this’ and ‘that’, but giving myself permission to chill is liberating.


I have a few favorites from January. Nothing too crazy. I will make this quick. My Sunday night ritual has a new addition, which is GlamGlow’s Gravity Mud Firming Treatment. I finally found a more affordable alternative to my favorite dry shampoo. Batiste! And then last, but probably the star of this brief favorites post is this $7.25 black denim jacket I purchased at a local thrift store. My search for the perfect black denim jacket is over.


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


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.





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




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!


A Friendly Reminder

Since coming back from my trip, I had to overcome the following: jet lag, depressed mood and the challenge of returning back to my daily routine. I think I have finally settled back in, but I’m still experiencing post leave blues.

A few days ago I spent the afternoon with my little one at our favorite Italian ice cream spot, savoring desserts and listening to live jazz music outside. When she wasn’t ditching me to run off with other children (lol), we were creating slow motion videos of her displaying her ninja moves. We had time to browse through some local shops. One where I spotted this friendly reminder in the form of a cuff bracelet (details at the bottom of this post): “Be Here Now”. A mantra so fitting for the moment. It was a rare afternoon where I was able to leave work early, and I was spending it with my favorite person in the world.

I felt grateful and the sadness I held in previous days subsided.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for.


Cuff: Indo-Love, purchased at Wysh.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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 🙂

Must Have Dry Shampoo

Thought I would share this little bottle of perfection since it has been keeping my hair looking fresh post workout.

I have experimented with a number of different brands, gravitating towards Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Dry Shampoo. I still love Living Proof, but due to it being out of stock at my go to beauty store, I decided to pick up a mini size bottle of Bumble and Bumble’s Pret-a-Powder Tres Invisible Dry Shampoo with french pink clay.

It’s perfect for those with normal to oily hair like mine. This baby effectively absorbs oil and adds a nice amount of volume. Additionally it claims to protect hair from the sun’s UV rays.

Definitely purchasing the standard bottle next time.



Breakfast @ Our Place

This is nothing new to the rest of the world, but lately we have developed a toast and cream cheese obsession. There many ways you can enjoy this perfect pairing, but the addition of avocado, tomato and a poached egg with cracked pepper is my current favorite.

You can find a collection of similar recipes on your preferred search engine (I wasn’t the genius behind this), but allow me to break it down.

  • A slice of your favorite kind of bread toasted— I recommend sourdough.
  • Cream cheese. I go for a tablespoon size amount to spread on top of your toasted bread.
  • Thinly sliced roma tomato, layer on top of the cream cheese.
  • Slice avocado. Place on top of the layer of sliced tomatoes.
  • Poach egg on top…or fried.
  • Sprinkle cracked pepper.

And that’s really it.