Innovation Journey

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Simple Design

Yesterday, I started my day by dropping off some snail mail. As an avid philatelist and analog fan, I still send letters to loved ones here and abroad to let them know that they’re in my thoughts. Snail mail can never be replaced by email or instant messaging. There’s a joy in waiting for a letter to arrive, and writing one’s good wishes on paper. It’s a practice that I will continue observing even in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

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After my morning meeting, I had a simple lunch at Megamall. I had Kipp’s chicken burger steak and Quickly coffee 2 (it’s iced coffee with choco pudding). So good!

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Then, I went to CITEM for a quick meeting.  

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I am inspired by design thinking, so being in this office drives me to be a better problem solver in my day-to-day activities. I have attended CITEM’s design thinking conferences in the past, and my favorite was the IDC in 2017. I hope to attend more design thinking workshops and conferences in the future, and I am proud to see the Philippines excelling by design. 

I have a thing for doors, so I had to take a photograph before I left the building.  

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My next stop was St. Clare Monastery. I prayed for work, more projects and partnerships, as well as for my terminally-ill father’s health. 

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I capped my day by watching Samantha Lee’s Billie and Emma for the second time. I love this movie even if I am straight. It’s a simple love story that resonates with everyone. 

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There is no better time for me to claim opportunities that are aligned with my values and ideals. At the same time, there will always be ways for me to squeeze in a film, some food trips, and prayer. Life is getting better, and I’m so in.  

Sunday Chill

Yesterday, I heard Sunday mass with my family. 

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I knitted while waiting for mass to begin.  

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Then, we had lunch at Pho Hoa, and I was pleasantly surprised with their pretty floor. 

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Then, I watched Alone/Together starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. As someone who hangs out and jogs at UP Diliman, I appreciated the beauty of the campus on the big screen. They even ate the street food that I love on the movie! Also, they featured the National Museum and Vargas Museum, two museums that are close to my heart. I will definitely visit those two again. And I really enjoyed watching this movie because I recalled how idealistic I was then, and that it’s never too late to pursue my dreams. I’m still young after all. 

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For dinner, I had the toasted naked longganisa with brown talangka rice from Breakfast Bin. 

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I also had ice cream from Papa Diddi’s. I had the mango cheesecake and barako coffee scoops. They were both delicious and even complemented each other. 

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Sundays are best spent with both my family and by myself. I was able to knit, eat, and watch a movie. Definitely a Sunday peg for weeks to come. 

IDC 2018

Yesterday, I got to attend the International Design Conference of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The IDC 2018 entertaining and informative. I learned from the various panels of speakers from the creative industries, and now I am more inspired to keep on pursuing dangerous ideas in order to take risks, innovate, and disrupt my life. 

I took two P2P buses to conveniently reach the venue, the Samsung Hall at SM Aura. 

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I wore Marikina-made shoes from Rob and Mara, which I purchased after trying them on for comfort. And yes, they are one of my most comfortable pairs to date! 

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I had pizza for breakfast!

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And a non-fat latte to perk me up.  

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Then, it was time for the talks. 

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For lunch, I went to Aperitif. I had the prosciutto pasta, which was mixed in a cheese wheel. For dessert, I had the ooey gooey chewy chocolate chip cookie, which truly lived up to its name.  

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After getting my share of creative inspiration, I proceeded to The Pen to view the Salcedo Auctions’ preview of Important Philippine Art.  

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It was moving to view the boceto for the Spoliarium, which is Juan Luna’s most prolific work.  

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I am determined to keep on being creative, thanks to the IDC 2018, my sumptuous French lunch and snack, and remarkable Philippine art. I am really lucky to have these opportunities, and I look forward to similar experiences in the future. 

Living Architecture Guided Tour and Talk

Last Wednesday, I joined the Living Architecture guided tour and talk on Gaudi at the UP Vargas Museum. I was curious to know how these structures integrate nature into their designs and how people keep them alive. 

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I was happy to see a mix of students, professionals, and art enthusiasts. 

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It was an engaging tour, where I learned that architects design structures to be living by integrating the natural environment and allow people to use it in a flowing manner. An example of which are buildings that utilize green energy, contain markets and food halls, and combine cultural centers with public spaces like skater parks amidst an arresting natural landscape. 

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We then proceeded to a talk on Gaudi and his groundbreaking work, the Sagrada Familia.  

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The speaker, Architect Choie Funk, discussed Gaudi’s natural influences and how she has applied them in the design elements found all-throughout his work. 

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My key takeaway from this experience is that “design solves problems”, as Ms. Funk explained to us. If we can use our knowledge in design to tackle issues not just in our personal lives but in our society and environment, then the world will be a better place.

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Design and structures live on as we make use of them and integrate them into our routines. I look forward to letting nature influence me more as I go about my day-to-day life. And of course, I will keep on applying design thinking to solve problems with a dose of empathy. 

WanderCat

I adore independent shops. It makes me happy to explore small businesses and last Sunday, I dropped by The Wander Space along Maginhawa (I swear this street will always have a special place in my heart). I was planning to buy something handmade to add to my collection, and I was not disappointed. 

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How dreamy is their storefront?

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Their door was a gateway to a traveler’s hideout. It also houses a cafe which serves light meals like pasta, pastries, and strong coffee. 

I stumbled upon this adorable hand-knit beanie from String Strand Strund and I just had to have it. 

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It is actually a kitty beanie!

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Their shelves are packed with handmade pieces to make you look like the traveler that you are.  

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Obviously, I couldn’t wait to wear my new hat.  

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The have a teepee! And it’s for sale.

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This is their cafe area. It gives me life.  

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I enjoyed writing blog entries in the cafe as their internet connection is high-speed. Plus, their playlist is perfect for reading and writing. 

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If you love local, handmade, and traveler’s souvenirs, do check-out The Wander Space. It will brighten up your day and wardrobe!

Kilometer Zero

Yesterday, I visited Kilometer Zero at Luneta. I got the idea from Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss. Without providing spoilers, the protagonists had an important scene in their love story at Point Zero, which is the kilometer zero in Paris. Beyond the novel, Point Zero is still a hotspot for rituals involving luck and wish-making. As a result, I became eager to test this in our local Kilometer Zero located in front of my beloved Rizal’s final resting place

When I dropped by Luneta last Rizal Day, I was so moved by our late National Hero’s presence that I failed to notice that Kilometer Zero was literally in front of me. I only realized my oversight when I was already home. Thus, my determination to return to Kilometer Zero grew stronger during the week until I simply had to make the trip once and for all. So, after my workout, I took advantage of the traffic-free roads and made the commute to Luneta. 

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I was greeted by history. 

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I am very excited to visit this museum once it opens this May 2018.

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Of course, this never gets old. 

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A train named Pepe and Friends goes around Luneta for a minimal fee. 

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It was a beautiful morning.  

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This was morbidly gorgeous. 

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I was about to cross the street when I first spotted Kilometer Zero.  

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Finally, I made it!

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I took my first selfie at KM 0. 

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I wore another Rizal shirt for the occasion.  

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I felt a sense of peace and hope whilst standing at the beginning of all roads in the Philippines. 

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I just had to take another selfie with my homeboy Rizal. It felt good to see him again. 

I had a fruitful morning, and it was awesome to finally be at the beginning of everything geographically measured in the Philippines. I wished for all the best this 2018, and it was perfect to begin the year at KM 0. It was worth the commute!  

Do visit KM 0 at Luneta and make a wish or two! While you are there, take a brisk walk and appreciate history in the hallowed grounds. You will definitely enjoy your time.  

Post-Holiday Shopping

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Yesterday, I finally spent the gift card from my Ninong Oscar to buy a basic black handbag from the department store. In keeping with my “buy local” advocacy, I bought a genuine leather number from Zoe Bags. It is sleek, reasonably priced, and stylish. I cannot wait to use it as I bag better opportunities this 2018!

I also had the chance to have my photo taken with the Sanrio holiday display. It made me feel like a kid again and it cheered me up! It pays to always be game to smile and seize every chance to have a memorable photo to capture moments of joy. 

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I am all for simple pleasures in life. While I do own branded stuff, I still enjoy buying affordable pieces from department stores, bazaars, and online shops. I go for quality though, and I make sure that my money is spent well. As long as the item can serve me well, is made of materials which will enable it to last, and is within my budget, then I will definitely purchase it. Through the years, the most treasured items I own are those which are simple in design, yet thoughtfully made. I will be on the lookout for more blessings to come, and hopefully, these will spark joy into my life this 2018 and beyond.

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LOL at the Past

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The past few months have been daunting, to say the least. I have experienced challenges which led me to decide on ending my stay in an unhealthy situation. Of course, it was not easy to say goodbye. I had hopes and dreams for myself which that situation could not fulfill, so I pulled the plug and carried on. Right now, I am simply enjoying the present and flushing the negativity out of my system. I have been sleeping soundly and eating more balanced meals. Also, I have been relaxing and sound tripping. I have also decided to make this Christmas a joyful one, because I deserve it. 

I am hoping that my decision to be happy during this festive holiday season will lead to better experiences and meaningful relationships. I am done with being pessimistic and I am now opening my life to beautiful memories. It starts now.  

Day 18: Unburdened

I finally got myself a smaller Rags2Riches yesterday at their UP Town store and I am so happy! I already own larger bags from the social enterprise, but I have been having back pains due to my congenital scoliosis. I was advised to use backpacks or smaller handbags instead. I am also going through a transition period from a difficult situation I have recently exited from. I need things that are aligned with my advocacy to buy from local brands, support handmade, and prioritize social enterprises. I believe that items which help uplift communities and support artisans can inspire me to weave joyful stories, as the card says. The bookmark card is included in every Rags2Riches bag, and it states their advocacy, the artisan’s name, and their WHY.  

It is important to know the WHY of the brands I support. I am glad that Rags2Riches’ why resonates with me, as I also want to have a better future for myself. I am excited for the upcoming changes in my life, and I need dependable and quality belongings for my journey. I know that a bag that has been joyfully made in a social enterprise can positively impact my lifestyle, and I hope it will spark meaningful conversations. 

I am unburdened and free, and I look forward to living out my own why, which is wellness through mindfulness. Mindful living starts with supporting an advocacy and letting the positive impact propel me forward. I look forward to better days ahead!

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Day 16: Cozy Living

It is already my sixteenth day into my self-improvement project, and I am incredibly grateful for the positive vibe it has given to me. I have chosen to capitalize on my skills, revisit my vision boards, and assessed my career trajectory based on my skills and specializations. Now, it is time to continue improving my life day by day, and I cannot do that without staying true to my advocacy for buying from social enterprises and handmade.

One of the social businesses I have admired for a few years now is Knitting Expedition. It provides jobs for women in the Ifugao region. Most of them knit at home while caring for their families. This gives them empowerment, a steady income, and a chance to thrive in their beautiful ancestral land. They do not have to relocate to the city to provide for their children. I am all for women empowerment and teaching skills to ladies. This is why when I saw that they already have a black plush dog that looks like Ella, my favourite chiweenie from Barkin Blends Dog Cafe, I just had to buy it. It is a cozy upgrade to the usual mass-produced stuffed animals readily available in the mall. 

I still buy stuffed animals and dolls because they bring out my whimsical and imaginative side. I do not think that play should only be for children. Simply having plushies in my room uplifts my mood and keeps things cozy. I love cuddling with a plushie to sleep, and now that I have my knitted Ella (yes, I named her after my favourite dog!), I will be reminded of positive vibes and possibilities. After all, if my new toy has given a woman the chance to earn for her family while applying a skill she has learned (and surrounded by majestic rice terraces at that), then I can also pursue my passions and goals as long as I strategically play the game of life.

Do keep social enterprises and handmade brands like Knitted Expedition in mind when shopping for yourself or for your loved ones! It will do your soul good, while providing better opportunities for others.

***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***

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Photo from  Knitting Expedition   

Photo from Knitting Expedition  

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Day 14: Resilience as an Opportunity

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I worked as a Senior Risk Officer of an Australian mortgage firm for five years. As a Risk Management professional, I have learned that managing risk is best done through careful planning. This mindset has trickled into every aspect of my life. I find it difficult to proceed with any major decision without conducting a SWOT analysis, making mind maps, and consulting experts if needed. 

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Risk management has become integrated into my personal life. Now that I am on my fourteenth day into my self-improvement project, it is worth noting how I have shared risk management practices in my life. By uncovering my skills, I became aware of my abilities, which are crucial in furthering progress. By learning HOW I can develop my career with resources I already have access to (spoiler alert: advanced degrees and money are not initially needed), I am able to plot my next course of action to improve my circumstances. By empowering myself as a woman, I am able to act on my mission to blaze a trail by inspiring myself (because everything begins in the self) and eventually, inspiring others. And by attending a disaster risk conference, I am able to learn how to approach risk in my daily life through preparedness and a change in mindset.

On a personal level, it is crucial to shift my approach to risk management from response to preparation.

Anticipating and planning are important in personal development. Disasters come in the form of struggles which are usually preventable. This is why I advocate careful assessment and calculation before making any major decision. I approach failure rationally, because I know that life is not perfect and there is still a chance to fail especially in circumstances beyond my control, such as relationships, friendships, the weather, the traffic situation, etc.

It is important to rise above the chances to fail by making the necessary precautions and preparations to minimize or transfer the risk to fail. 

I am thankful for this opportunity to be exposed to the scale of Risk Management today in disaster management, crisis management, and big data. By listening to distinguished speakers from the public, private, and international development sectors, I was able to see that risk management at its very core is all about planning and preparation. If it is feasible to plan for disasters, wars, and even disease outbreaks, then it is practical to be a calculated risk-taker in my personal life. After all,  it is when the risk pays off that life becomes a sweeter deal.

 ***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***

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Always a note-taker.  

Always a note-taker.  

Glad to have made a friend! Photo from Donna. 

Glad to have made a friend! Photo from Donna. 

Day 11: Weekend Feel-Good Project

The past week has been a roller-coaster ride for me. I was able to land a promising opportunity which will come into fruition by the New Year. I was busy preparing for this to be finalized and with my freelance research work, so I made sure that I was in top form. I worked out, ate right, and published entries on self-improvement. I also attended a women-empowerment event at the ADB, where I was inspired to decide for myself. I made up my mind regarding a few personal matters, and I had to take action on a major part of my life. I had to let it go because it was no longer empowering me. By the time the weekend arrived, I was yearning to unwind and spend some time to cheer myself up. 

Any self-improvement process involves time to decompress. Rest is essential towards achieving a balanced life, so this weekend was all about chilling out.  

I began my weekend with a visit to Barkin Blends Dog Cafe

With Bernadette, the GirlBoss behind Barkin Blends

With Bernadette, the GirlBoss behind Barkin Blends

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I had dinner with my best friend.  

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I watched a concert which featured all of my favorite Filipino rockstars back when I was still in uni.  

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I goofed around at the photobooth  

I goofed around at the photobooth  

Itchyworms

Itchyworms

Barbie Almalbis

Barbie Almalbis

I wasn’t able to take a photo of Rivermaya because their set was so much fun! I was jumping to their songs. 

Ebe Dancel

Ebe Dancel

My favorite, Ely Buendia   

My favorite, Ely Buendia

 

I watched the concert alone! 

I watched the concert alone! 

I had my pixie trimmed at a new salon near my house.  

My pixie got a trim and I got to cuddle Barney at Barkin Blends afterwards.  

My pixie got a trim and I got to cuddle Barney at Barkin Blends afterwards.  

I also got to spend time with my family, read a novel, and workout as I normally do.  

I had a relaxing weekend (yes, a rock concert can be relaxing!) and I look forward to enjoying time on my own for now and eating out by myself

Restful weekends lead to productive weekdays. I am excited to diversify my life and discover more ways to enjoy my weekends.  

Let me know if you have anything to suggest regarding weekend ideas! Hit me an email at speakoutsam@gmail.com.  

Have a meaningful week ahead! 

Day 8: Become a Conscious Consumer

Check out these cute local and handmade stuff at  The Craft Central ! 

Check out these cute local and handmade stuff at The Craft Central

More from The Craft Central SM North branch

More from The Craft Central SM North branch

I have recently shared with you how I design my life with intention. A huge part of my lifestyle is my choice to be a conscious consumer. I always prioritize goods which are not from a chain store or mass market enterprise. Are you curious about being a conscious consumer?

Let me teach you how! 

  1. Support a social enterprise.  I always bring at least one social enterprise-made item with me. The easiest way to do this is by using toiletries from social enterprises since they are basic, everyday needs. I have shared how Human Nature has positively impacted their employees in Gawad Kalinga communities, and how the brand has given my life meaning through the years. Do give it a try and you will also notice that most social enterprise beauty products are natural and organic.
  2.  Buy handmade. Handmade and artisan-made products have soul. They carry with them the dream of micro-entrepreneurs to establish themselves in a largely manufactured market. Plus, they have charm which a factory-made item can never replicate. My favourite handbags are from Rags 2 Riches (which is also a social enterprise) and BagsByRubbertree
  3. Go local. Support local brands and help our economy along the way. It is already 2017! We should stop believing that imported goods are better than locally-made items. We should be proud of our own products, and share this pride with every purchase made.

Becoming a conscious consumer begins with these three steps. You might have to spend a little bit more, but I promise you that buying items from businesses with a heart will be good for your soul. It will definitely spark joy and uplift people’s lives, especially in the case of social enterprises. Do yourself a favour and become a conscious consumer today! 

 ***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***

 

Day 6: Magnetized

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I have been through a lot of changes in the past year. I launched my blog in a low-key manner, became a freelance researcher while looking for career options, continued exercising, and attended some awesome seminars and conferences as a form of continuing education. I realized that it was way too easy to get lost in all of these transitions, but I chose to remain centered through my wellness through mindfulness battlecry. 

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I have made a commitment to living deliberately. It is a process which I am undertaking because I want to make better choices from now on. I would like to have more blessings in my life, so I read Bo Sanchez’s book How to Be a Blessing Magnet. Do you also want to design your life with the intention of attracting more blessings? 

Let me teach you how! 

This book reinforced my belief in *magic*. You see, I have always seen wishing as more than just a fairytale storyline. I believe that wishes can come true, especially since miracles have been present in my life. Of course, we have to have a healthy dose of reality in the wishes we make (ex. I cannot wish to become invisible!). So I was glad that Bo wrote in this book that “wishing has power”, because the impact created through wishing releases energy which attracts blessings. 

To begin attracting blessings, you have to live with a thankful heart.

Wealth is a feeling. It does not matter how much you have in your bank account or how successful you are in your career. If you feel like a winner, you internalize the perception that you are rich. And when you live like a winner, you will be grateful. You will thank God more! And you will aspire for incredible things and opportunities because you know by now that you deserve more. 

Do extraordinary things.  

Take initiative. If there is nothing happening in your life right now, create opportunities! For instance, my blog has become my full-time job when I resigned from work. And guess what- having my own website has become a dress rehearsal for being my own boss! By learning how to manage my website, plan content and write my blog entries every single day, I learned how to be my own boss and by doing so, I am also becoming a better worker. 

By the time I will be employed again, I will be a better follower because I learned first-hand how it is to direct myself and to be responsible for something that is entirely my own. I look forward to applying this sense of responsibility to my next job.  

So I urge you to begin something extraordinary today for yourself and you will be surprised on how it will give you clarity on what you truly want in life. Let that clarity help you attract the right blessings.  

Create your own miracles.  

Take a look back and reflect on your challenges. List down what you have learned from your struggles and use them to propel you forward.  And use your suffering to have compassion for others so that you will not just attract blessings, you will also share your blessings!

Failure is a redirection.  

Change your strategy if your life needs to be fixed at the moment. Again, reflect on your setbacks and strategize on how you can rise from your challenges. Remember, you can only redirect your path if you act on your plans. So go ahead and keep moving forward!

Be hopeful.  

Remember this formula to sum up Bo’s powerful promise that your future can be beautiful: 

+ Hope = + Happiness

Increase your hope, and it will lead to an increase in happiness. Once you are hopeful, you begin to have a sense of gratitude which enables you to live with intention. When you are able to fulfill your dreams, you become happier. And when you give hope, you make other people happy too!  

So act on your dreams and say this powerful declaration at the start of each day:

I’m God’s beloved and it’s His great pleasure to bless me. God’s river of blessings is flowing to me at every single moment of my life. Everything I need comes to me. I’m a blessing magnet.  

-Bo Sanchez  

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“How to Be a Blessing Magnet” by Bo Sanchez is available at National Bookstore. I bought my copy from the Shepherd’s Voice booth at the 2017 Manila International Book Fair. It is also available online at www.KerygmaBooks.com

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***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com*** 

Day 4: Designing my Life with Intention

I am at a point in my life where everything has to be intentional. I am already thirty-one years old. I know myself well by now and I am no longer wasting my time with people, experiences, and things that are not going to positively influence me.  

Today, let me teach you how to begin designing your life with intention so that you can live more meaningfully.  

I am inspired to design my life with intention!  

I am inspired to design my life with intention!  

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz  of R2R was so sweet to have included this handwritten note.  

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of R2R was so sweet to have included this handwritten note.  

I love this book so much, I have given copies as Christmas presents in the past! 

I love this book so much, I have given copies as Christmas presents in the past! 

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With Word of Mouth friends Char, Dianne, Brian, and Rucha  

With Word of Mouth friends Char, Dianne, Brian, and Rucha  

My first time at NCAA!    

My first time at NCAA! 

 

I was into philately back in grade school. I guested on the show  Tipong Pinoy  back in the day (and I spoke about my love for stamp collecting) so it was a treat to pose by this backdrop!

I was into philately back in grade school. I guested on the show Tipong Pinoy back in the day (and I spoke about my love for stamp collecting) so it was a treat to pose by this backdrop!

My delicious mushroom risotto from Ilustrado  

My delicious mushroom risotto from Ilustrado  

  1. Live like a winner. I won this R2R passport case and signed copy of The Genius of the Poor by Tom Graham. It all started when I listened to the In Good Company podcast. I supported the podcast since they began releasing episodes because I have been supporting social enterprises like R2R for nine years now (my first R2R purchase was a clutch in 2008!). When they had a giveaway, I joined and of course, I was glad to be one of the lucky winners. Now, you might be thinking what this has to do to “Living life like a winner”. Well, I would not have intended to support social enterprises and handmade business if I did not have a healthy dose of self-respect and self-love. By buying from these social enterprises, I am sharing this love to the artisans and communities whose dignity is being restored with every purchase made. This makes me feel like a winner because I get to share my love. I listen to podcasts that spark joy and uplift my mood. In the end, I live life like a winner and I am inspired to design my lifestyle around my intention to thrive, grow, and win!
  2.  Attend events that can inspire you. I am inspired by cultural and artistic events which could inspire me to elevate my taste for a quality life. By immersing myself in stories, artworks, performances, and music, I get to feel, process how these feelings correlate to my experiences, and have a chance to empathize more as I go along. For example, I attended a Word of Mouth storytelling event at the NCAA auditorium at the beautiful walled city of Intramuros. I got to see my friends Char, Dianne, Brian, and Rucha and we also had lunch at Ilustrado. I felt renewed and restored after listening to stories and catching up with friends over delicious food. I couldn’t really ask for more on a rainy Sunday. 
  3. Be mindful of the choices you make. My Girlboss Workbook by Sophia Amuroso begins with an oath, which allows me to promise to myself that each choice I make must be deliberate. I blog about pursuing wellness through mindfulness, so I’m all for being deliberate with my choices. It begins with asking yourself if each choice is going to be good for you. If it will help you become a better person, then go for it! Remember, mindfulness begins with self-love. Separate your emotions from the love you feel for yourself. Make sure that you love yourself first. From there, all your choices will be deliberate. 
From the Girlboss Workbook

From the Girlboss Workbook

Design your own life with intention, and be sure that each choice you make is deliberate. Don’t ever lose sight of your self-love. Lastly, do not give up when you experience setbacks. Choose to move forward. After all, each new day is another chance to redesign your life!

 ***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***

Day 3: Hard Skills

I have decided to continue my self-improvement journey by discovering what my hard skills are. These are skills which are standard employable traits, such as computer programming and report writing. I have shared with you how I discovered my soft skills the other day, so now, I am going to teach you how to determine what your hard skills are. 

I am on my second day of the free four-day course from The Bucketlist Bombshells. You may also take it as it could help you probe into your untapped skill set and dormant dreams regarding your career. Do not be derailed by their business model, which is to educate women on how to put up online businesses so they could travel the world full-time. Their free course and ideas work even to those (like me) who do not plan to be a creative nomad but would like to amp up their careers. Be sure to download the worksheets which are included in the course (I opted to use a notebook though to answer the worksheets). Lastly, have a notebook, pen, and highlighter (or coloured pencils) so you can take notes and answer the questions!

I am being 100% real here, so I am sharing with you my actual notes from the exercise.  

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The exercise includes Mind Mapping, which is an effective tool to determine what tasks you are capable of doing. I have included some of my mind maps here to serve as examples. The middle box will state your role and the outer boxes will correspond to each task and sub task that you have. You have to make a mind map for every work, school, and passion project role you’ve had.

Once you have made your mind maps, use a highlighter or coloured pencil to highlight the tasks which you have enjoyed doing. Once you are finished, list down all your enjoyable tasks to make it easier for you to consider when you are looking for a job or putting up your own business.

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You will then have to find the common theme among these enjoyable tasks and determine what made you enjoy them. 

After doing so, you will have to go back to your 16Personalities test result from yesterday’s lesson and see if any of these tasks correlate with your personality profile. 

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I hope that today’s lesson has inspired you to apply your skills more effectively at work or while pursuing your passion project. And who knows, you might even end up being a Bucketlist Bombshell yourself! I know that I am a corporate girl for now, so I am on the self-improvement train to help me build a better career.  

Tomorrow, I will share another self-improvement lesson so do stick around and learn from (and with) me!

 ***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***

 

Solo Dining in Manila

There is something oddly romantic about dining alone in Manila.  

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It is uncommon to find a woman dining alone in our city. The esteemed writer Jessica Zafra has written  -and shared in her lectures at the Ayala Museum- about her experiences when enjoying a meal by her lonesome. She gets judgemental stares, condescending questions from dining staff, and odd commentary from other diners who think that their whispers are beyond her hearing. I have observed the same whenever I would venture into a restaurant without a companion. You see, I am an only child, and whether I am in a relationship or not, dining alone is definitely part of my routine. Both of my parents have their own lives and I prefer to eat healthful meals. Whenever I have the time to savor a leisurely lunch, I prefer to go to Maginhawa Street, where there are various indie restaurants to inspire my inner foodie. And yes, I never saw the stigma attached with women eating out without a companion until I have been doing so regularly. 

What I cannot accept are the questions from everyone. The staff usually asks me before, during, and after my meal whether I am still waiting for someone. I do hear comments from other people in the restaurants I have eaten in that I must be lonely, poor, or worse, left alone by a date. There was even a time when I was still single and someone from another table asked me if I am too single. I ignored the question, because why should I even bother, right? But as I was happily single then, I realized that women without companions in Manila are seen as a threat by some. It only stems from our patriarchal society, and by the collective perception by women in our society that it is “sad” to eat out alone.  

I have observed in my previous workplaces that eating alone even in the pantry is seen as “sad” or even “wrong”. I have turned down invites to join others for lunch when a book awaited my eager eyes. I have also spent many a lunch break with friends so I am not exactly a loner. However, I am also comfortable to eat alone. It is more than okay for me. It is also liberating, because I have already learned to be oblivious to the stares, the comments, the questions from seemingly Type A diners, and the condescending remarks from people who should not even bother.

There are more important matters to discuss rather than a woman dining alone in Manila. It is already 2017. I think Manila should leave the solo lady diner alone.  

I can finish the rice bowl I order in restaurants whenever I eat out alone, thank you very much. The latte I enjoy with my novel is best shared with the protagonist on the pages I read. My best ideas haunt me while working out, but I learn to love myself more whenever I dine alone. In the cruel and unforgiving world of Manila to women who are comfortable being out alone, I have learned to appreciate my guts and forgive myself. I have learned to delight in my own company. And yes, I have learned to find my voice for this blog, during the endless cups of coffee I would sip while planning my next solo food trip.  

Whether you are in a relationship or not, make sure to eat out by yourself. I guarantee you that it will make you stronger, empowered, and dare I say happier. Just ask the next solo female diner you see in the corner. Or better yet, don’t. She’s probably too engrossed in her own company to even care. 

 ***Comments are welcome at speakoutsam@gmail.com***