Critter Cool

Yesterday, I got to spend the afternoon with my furry friends at Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe. Their north branch has a special place in my heart as my favorite dog, Ella, stays there. Her hugs and kisses brought a smile to my face. Indeed, being with dogs keep me happy as their presence is therapeutic. I can’t wait to go back!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

I ended my day with a new Starbucks Bearista bear in siren costume. I could not resist mermaids and bears, so a combination of both themes is absolutely irresistible for me. I bought the bear with my own money, and went home happy!

It does not take much to keep me going, as I am a fan of dogs and toys (even at thirty-three)! Being childlike is an asset in this day and age, as I know how to live life lightheartedly. It is up to me to see the beauty of life as I play the game of balancing adulting and being forever young.

I Shawl Return

Yesterday, I just finished crocheting my first shawl. I followed a pattern on Youtube, and purchased the yarn and hook online from The Attic Yarn and Craftery. This is proof that technology and a traditional handicraft can coexist. Online shopping for notions and tutorials have worked for me to improve as a crocheter and become more passionate for the craft.

While most people encourage me to take on more advanced projects such as cardigans and amigurumi, I have happily carried on with scarves because I enjoy crocheting while reading, listening to podcasts, and watching movies. It is quite challenging to follow a pattern while engaging in another pastime. Since multitasking is the way I go, I prefer to work freestyle and enjoy more hobbies in the process.

This is why this shawl is remarkable for me. While it is imperfect, I have followed a pattern from beginning to end. It was admittedly less fun than crocheting while listening to a comedy podcast. However, I realized that I can still follow directions and upskill in a digital medium.

I still have a lot of room to grow, and it is comforting to know that I can make something that it is intricately instructed. I have restored my faith in myself thanks to this shawl.

This won’t be the last pattern I will follow. For now, I am beginning a new scarf using the same hook but a totally new ball of yarn.

Here’s to new skills and beginnings!

public.jpeg

Hail Mary!

Yesterday, I got to attend the launch of Mama Mary and Her Children Book Six. It was a packed event at National Bookstore Glorietta, where the book’s contributors and friends of the late Fr. James B. Reuter, SJ gathered to witness this event. I got to see faith in action during the party as one of the authors, Rowie Matti, personally welcomed me. It was quite awkward for me to be there as Fr. Reuter was a friend and mentor to my ex. We would even visit his grave at Novaliches, to pay respects and to recharge amidst the trees planted on Jesuit property. While it was a blessing to have discovered the Mama Mary book series in 2017, I had to let go of this relationship as it was no longer serving me as a person.

Since then, I focused on myself and rebuilt my faith. I was genuinely surprised when Rowie messaged me a few weeks ago to invite me to the book launch. I explained to her my hesitation, but she reassured me that she will see me there. And she told me, it’s Mama Mary’s birthday after all.

And so, armed with courage, I attended the event. My ex was not there! But Rowie, who is now my friend, was there to welcome me. So was an army of fellow Marian devotees! I received a rainbow rosary and a Divine Mercy stampita, which is bittersweet as it was my late father’s devotion.

I bought the signed copy of the book, which is a compilation of personal stories of people who were blessed through Mama Mary’s intercession. Not all of these stories can be considered miracles. Most of them in fact were about everyday breakthroughs and challenges which were overcome through prayer. In an age where technology is overtaking our lives, it is refreshing to read ordinary stories of faith, hope, and love.

I highly recommend this book, as it is a reminder for everyone that when God closes a window, He sends us his Mother to help us pass through the door He has opened.

‘Til the next book launch! Ave Maria!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

Slay, Pray, Play

I had a productive Thursday. I started my day with a meeting in Manila. My brunch consisted of this hearty mac and cheese, which was topped with sunny-side up egg. I ordered corn and cheese jello for dessert. It was a delicious combo!

public.jpeg

After my meeting, I headed to Sta. Clara to pray for my upcoming opportunities, and to give thanks for all the blessings that I continue to receive.

public.jpeg

I proceeded to Barkin’ Blends Dog Cafe for some quality time with my furry friends from the east. Spending time with dogs is therapeutic for me, and it keeps me balanced.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

I ended my day with some dirty ice cream at UP. I was in the campus to watch Pan de Salawal, an indie film which warmed my heart.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

I make sure that I have enough hobbies to make life meaningful. Working all the time is not sustainable, so whenever I have time to spare, I visit the dog cafe, watch movies, and pray for more chances to slay. Life is about balancing my priorities and making each day colorful. And of couse, I show up daily to blog about it here on speakoutsam.com.

September Offering

Yesterday, I offered my time to Moved.org, a nonprofit founded by Filipina philanthropist Alex Eduque. It was my second time to volunteer for the organization. My first time to do so was last month, which I considered as my birthday treat to self. Yes, I consider volunteering as a luxury. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Volunteering keeps me busy whenever I am off-duty from freelance work and family obligations

  • My ability to work both alone and with a team is improved by volunteering

  • I get to serve others and expect nothing in return

  • I get to meet new friends!

  • I make the most of my time by doing something I love

  • I get to share my blessings and resources, even if it is just time

My heart grows bigger whenever I offer my time to benefit the needy, the disadvantaged, and those who simply need my help. As I sorted and assembled worksheets for preschool students in NCR, I was able to clear my mind from the seemingly petty issues I am facing. I realized that I am fortunate enough to have an education and continuous opportunities within my reach. I have time to help others and share what I have. And most of all, I get to be thankful for all the blessings that enable me to serve.

Please do check out Moved. Hope that you can also help them in the future!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

The Force and The Furs

Yesterday, I tried a new waxing salon for the first time. It was a relaxing place to chill out while getting my grooming done

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

Then, I had Kipp’s Fried Chicken for lunch. Their chicken burger steak meal comes with macaroni salad that is reminiscent of kiddie parties. The old timey taste of the meal brings back childhood memories, which was perfect on a Sunday afternoon.

public.jpeg

After my hearty meal, I went to the PAWS Pet Cafe at Vertis North. Their pop-up cafe always draws a crowd of passionate animal advocates. I attended their last day because I could not miss out on their Star Wars-themed costumes and intergalactic ambiance!

I had a lovely time with their Doctor Dogs, who are therapy animals at work. They visit schools, hospitals, and offices to spread positive vibes and good cheer.

They provided me with comfort and messy kisses! I already follow some of the doctor dogs on social media, and their daily photos give me positive vibes.

To learn more on how you can donate to PAWS, please visit https://paws.org.ph/!

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

Before going home, I had Cocina Peruvia’s chicken pasta in huancaina sauce. It was a flavorful party in my mouth! I will definitely order this again.

Furs, the Force, and food. Just three things that make my heart warmer on a Sunday. I can’t wait to enjoy more of my simple pleasures next weekend!

Charmed

public.jpeg

Yesterday, I went to Binondo for a special reason. I was not in the area to enjoy sumptuous Chinese food because spoiler alert, I’m not a fan of Oriental cuisine. However, I do love to shop!

I reached Carriedo LRT1 station by lunchtime. Good thing I had a hearty brunch before this outing, so I was game to commute as there is no parking in the area.

It was impossible for me to be in the area without paying homage to the heritage street that is Escolta. I admired the bygone grandeur of the vintage buildings before proceeding to Binondo.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

The beautiful Carriedo Fountain greeted me as I reached the area fronting the Sta. Cruz Church. It was remarkable to notice that Manila is already cleaner and more organized under the newly-elected Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s mandate. I was able to cross the streets and walk along sidewalks with ease (compared to previous visits).

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

My leisurely stroll then led me to the Chinatown Gold Center, where I was welcomed by several stalls selling Chinese gold jewelry! My agenda for the day was to buy classy yet affordable 24K piyao (good luck) charm bracelets for my mom and myself. I originally watched a vlog about Covo 24K Jewelry on Princess Mendoza’s channel, and I could not get the bracelets from this shop out of my head since. I linked the vlog episode at the end of this entry to provide you with more information on this store. (Also, this is not a sponsored post!)

public.jpeg

I chose a rose quartz bracelet for myself, and a black mantra one for my mom. The store is a goldmine (literally!) of dainty 24K charms, but I was already set on piyao ones to adorn our wrists. You can select the charms, beads or string for a bespoke bracelet or ring. Skilled artisans make each bracelet by hand while you wait.

public.jpeg

My bracelets were completed in 5 minutes. I am happy with my purchases, and the shop owners are accommodating. I will definitely be back, as they accept trade-in of 24K pieces. They also do re-stringing and bead replacement.

Do watch the linked video at the end of this post, and visit Covo Jewelry one of these days! They have handmade bracelets for every budget and taste. 24K is a timeless metal that goes well with everyone. I can’t wait to wear my own lucky bracelet everyday, and I’m sure that it will bring me love, fortune, and positivity!

public.jpeg

Innovating Myself

A few days ago, I attended the Innovator’s DNA Coffee Collab at the new HiFI Campus at the College of St. Benilde. I learned that the quality of the innovation is based on the condition of the disruptor. Having reflected on the discussion we had, I realized that I have a long way to go to be an innovator in this rapidly-changing world. But at 33, I am still hungry to learn and grow.

They say that it is never too late to follow one’s passion. As a writer and blogger, I get to attend various conferences where the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR or 4IR) is discussed. I went to school and graduated with a Humanities degree, but I ended up working in finance and risk management. To say that I veered away from my degree in the workplace is an understatement. However, it is only now that I am my own boss that I realized that I did not stay far from my degree after all.

My liberal arts education has helped me analyze and think critically in an age where specialization and practical skills are in focus. My drive to innovate has also led me to attend seminars, conferences, and learning opportunities. And amidst all the books I have read and conversations I have started, I know by now that I can never fully be an innovator unless I trust the process and surrender myself to the will of God.

public.jpeg

To help myself in this journey to maximizing my skills and increasing my chances of succeeding in the current labor landscape, I have decided to answer the activity we have been assigned to during the Innovator’s DNA event. I had a buddy during that time, and he was an interesting conversationalist and professor. Now that I am accomplishing this assignment on my own, I hope that I will be inspired to never stop learning, and to find ways to reinvent myself in a limitless technological atmosphere.

  1. What personal experience or journey brought you here, into your current role?

    I have been blogging for two years now, and I use my website to share the insights that I have learned throughout my learning and creative journey.

  2. What issues or challenges are you confronted with?

    I am currently recovering from the recent passing of my father from a terminal illness. I am also looking for a corporate job while finishing my freelance projects.

  3. What about your current situation (work/personal life) frustrates you the most?

    I am frustrated by the bullying I have received on dating apps. Guys there would call me “lesbian” and other derogatory terms just because I sport a pixie (no offense to gays and lesbians. There’s nothing wrong about being gay, but I’m straight.). I am also struggling to find a good man to date in real life because I am not the conventional Filipino woman. I have short hair, I think independently, and yet I am still a devout Catholic. Most of my friends are discouraging me from dating because I am disappointed with the dating pool. I refuse to give up, though.

  4. What are your most important sources of energy and happiness in your work and life?

    I enjoy knitting and crocheting. Those two hobbies keep my hands busy as I feed my mind through books and podcasts.

  5. Watch yourself from above (as if in the helicopter). What are you doing? What are you trying to do in this stage of your journey as an innovator?

    I am blogging, attending conferences, listening to podcasts, reading, and networking.

  6. Watch our collective journey from above: what are you trying to do collectively in the present stage of your collective journey?

    We are all trying to connect with each other and hoping that these connections can go beyond social media and into real-life conversations that can spark lasting change.

  7. Given previous questions, what do you now need to ask yourself?

    What if you fly?

  8. Imagine if you could fast forward to the very last days of your life, when it is time for you to move on. Now look back on your journey as a whole, What would you want to see at that moment? What footprint do you want to leave behind?

    I want to see the exact moment when I decided to give myself the chance to learn more so that I can innovate in the age of the FIR.

  9. Now return to the present and crystallize what it is that you want to create, your vision and intention for the next 3 months to 3 years. What are the essential core elements of the future that you want to create in your personal, professional, and social life? Describe as concretely as possible.

    3 months- I want to be a graduate of a short course that can increase my chances of getting employed by equipping me with the latest technological and soft skills.

    3 years- I want to be a manager in a company that enables me to communicate to others and provide empathy to our stakeholders. Also, I hope to be settled with a partner or husband while still continuing my learning journey.

  10. What would you have to let go of in order to bring your vision to reality? What is the old stuff that must die? What is the old skin (behaviors, assumptions, mental models, etc.) that you need to shed?

    My fear of failure, my limiting belief, and my fear of technology.

  11. Who have been your “guardian angels” and helpers in your journey and who do you need as helpers in your future journey as an innovator?

    I am blessed to have my family and best friends who believe in me when I tend to put myself down. In the future, I hope to have a supportive boss and husband who can help me maximize my skills. Most of all, I must never cease to give myself a seat on the table.

I am ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. For now, I will take this learning journey one day at a time, as I innovate to be the best version of myself!

Innovation Journey

public.jpeg

Yesterday, I visited the newly-opened HiFi Campus at the College of Saint Benilde. I was there for two talks: the Innovator’s DNA Coffee Collab and The Founders’ Journey to Impact Entrepreneurship Engaged Talk. Both forums were informative, but it was the first one that really resonated with me.

Ms. Judith Claridades hosted the Innovator’s DNA afternoon. We were composed of individuals from various backgrounds, age groups, and perspectives. We had an interest in how innovation and the mindset that commands problem solving through design can improve our lives and uplift our present human condition.

public.jpeg

Ms. Claridades focused on the importance of the self in the innovator’s journey. Being self-aware is the first step in bringing forth positive change. After all, it is only by effectively improving our own selves that we can begin sharing our skills, talents, and ideas to help others along the way.

It was also worth noting that empathy is essential in innovation. We cannot influence others if we are stuck in our own worlds and refuse to feel the pain that others have. It was humbling to be reminded that innovation is not just an act that benefits our physical beings, but our spiritual growth as well. When we help others, we feed our soul, and this is how we leave legacies that make the world a better place.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

The Founders’ Journey to Impact Entrepreneurship was also interesting as Anna Meloto-Wilk, the president of Human Nature (a brand I love so much, that I actually sell their products on my online store- BUY NOW!) was part of the panel. I’ll never get tired of listening to Human Nature’s story from its humble beginnings to being one of the leading social enterprises today. As a Core Advocate for the brand, it is inspiring to watch our president unceasingly sharing our values to audiences that need more goodness in their lives.

As a blogger and freelance writer, I am always looking for inspiration to improve my craft and grow my mindset. It is always a treat to feed my brain with stories that uplift others while discussing how problems were solved through design thinking and empathy. Innovation should not be a big, lofty idea that is beyond everyone’s reach. Rather, it must be something that we practice by habit and instinct with each endeavor that we tackle each day.

We can all be innovators, if only we are determined to share what we know and believe in!

public.jpeg

Done > Perfect

public.jpeg

I have been knitting scarves for more than a year now. I started this hobby during the Knitting Adventure organized by Knitting Expedition in 2018. Since then, I have not looked back, as this has also led to my re-discovery of crochet. I knitted during meetings, in between appointments, during my commute, and in cafes.

I realized that I worked well with scarves, so I stuck to knitting these warm, cozy things. I also knitted beanies in the past, but I enjoyed the mindless process of making scarves. Working on a project without thinking about it, yet still being able to focus on a meeting or a task at hand has enabled me to multitask, expand my intellectual pursuits (I was able to knit while reading books and listening to podcasts!), and keep my hands busy. I have also shared my hobby on social media and here on my blog. It has been a joyful journey so far.

public.jpeg

As I share with you this newly completed scarf made from yarns from my favorite yarn shop, The Attic Yarn and Craftery, I hope that you will be inspired to find a hobby that provides consistent purpose and meaning to your life. The world is already stressful as it is, so a hobby or two that can be enjoyed without much thought can free up your mind to focus on work, schedules, and adulting.

I am a firm believer in the saying that “done is better than perfect”. Yes, my handmade journey is not easy (ex. I have to bring extra tools everyday, I have to learn how to budget my time, etc.), but it has simplified my life because it has expanded my mind. By enjoying a “mindless” hobby, I was able to have a growth mindset. By starting to knit, I got projects done while improving as a worker.

I basically got it together, one stitch at a time!

Summer Knitting

Yesterday, I knitted while having lunch and coffee at Summer Cafe in Coron. It was a ray of sunshine amidst the gloomy day.  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

I ordered the cheesy omelette and americano. It was a delicious combination!

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

For dessert, I headed to Pedro’s Gelato, a local ice cream joint in Coron. 

IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

I had the ube langka and mango sorbet. It was so good!

FullSizeRender.jpg

Then, I visited the mangrove forest near the Maquinit Hot Springs. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

It was fun to knit, be my foodie self, and explore nature all one day. Hope to have more memories with the things that make me happy.  

Coron Adventure

Yesterday, I conquered my fears of the open water and narrow caves. Coron brought out the adventurer in me and I enjoyed it. Here are some photos proving that my fitness journey is all worth it.

Here’s to more tours with Mother Nature to come!

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Rainy Boracay

It was a rainy last day in Boracay. I worked out, ate breakfast, and enjoyed the rain along the shore. The beach is gorgeous and the view is unforgettable.  

I hope to be back someday! 

IMAGE.JPG

Boracay Day 2

Yesterday was my second one in Boracay. I enjoyed swimming in the beach and walking along the shore. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG

I braved the monsoon to eat the famous piri piri chicken plate at Spicebird. That was delicious!

IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG

I also went back to a Boracay Leathers to buy a coin purse. I highly recommend this store for quality handmade leather goods. 

IMAGE.JPG

Later that night, my friend Pia took me out to have gingertinis at Aplaya. It was so good!

FullSizeRender.jpg

I can say that the island life is a relaxing break from the busy city and it was a privilege to experience it. It was also lovely to catch up with a friend. On to our next adventure!

Knitting By The Sea

Yesterday, I finally got to knit at Boracay. 

IMAGE.JPG

It was a treat to watch the waves crashing by as I stitched my scarf. 

IMAGE.JPG

I also got to buy functional souvenirs from local handmade merchants, such as Boracay Leathers. 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

When it was time for a cuppa, I went to Real Coffee to sample their barako and famous calamansi muffins. 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

I bought myself a personalized anklet from a handmade jewelry vendor. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

And even if I’m not into swimming, I enjoyed the remarkable white sand and pristine waters of Boracay. 

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

Getting out of my comfort zone is part of the journey. For every new experience, there is always knitting to keep me going so I know that there’s something to look forward to. 

Crochet in the Sky

It’s my first time at Boracay! I started my day with black coffee before boarding my flight with my mom and maternal relatives. 

IMAGE.JPG

It was a dream come true to crochet in an airplane. I enjoyed my leisurely flight as I hooked my way to landing. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

I even crocheted in the ferry. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG

Boracay is breathtakingly beautiful! I can’t get enough of the clear waters and fine white sand. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Our bedroom came with a teddy bear named Bogart. It was a fun touch that I immediately warmed up to. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

I can’t wait to explore the island more as I crochet, knit, and enjoy!

Sailor Mercury Sam

My cousin Carmel Lucas is a graphic artist and illustrator who does kawaii images of people. I recently commissioned her to draw me as a 90’s anime character, and here’s the result: 

IMG_8034.JPG

She got my pixie and crystal glasses right! I love it, and it’s a dream come true to be a cartoon character.  

Please support her by commissioning her for portraits and illustrations! Her Instagram handle is @ame_senpai_art. You get to have a colorful portrait customized for you, and you will also be able to support an artist. 

Let’s all continue to lift each other up! 

Hello, The Unknown!

This week was particularly difficult. My late dad recently had his 40th day, and not a single paternal relative called to support me and my mom. This event has made me realize that I have no one to rely on but myself. I can’t care for my mom if I’m not able to be strong for myself. Thus, I am resolving to embrace the unknown and bravely allow the world to surprise me, even if I’m not exactly sure of where I’m going. 

I don’t know who this character was but I gladly took a photo with it. Later during the day, I learned that this was one of the Transformers Autobots.  

FullSizeRender.jpg

Maybe life won’t be so bad after all, if I was able to survive the first 40 days without my dad. It can even be fun, just like when I got embraced by an autobot.  

Stitch And Smile

Yesterday, I took some time to have a latte while crocheting. 

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

I slowed down to meet Power Plant’s friendly K9, Basha. 

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

And I also finished weaving this piece, which is my second one off the loom. 

Living slow doesn’t necessarily mean going off the grid. It could be as simple as quietly enjoying a hobby over coffee, noticing the simple joys in life, and weaving the ends of a project together. As long as I can stitch while conquering each challenge that comes my way, I know that I can smile through anything.