Day 63: Life Meaningfully Hacked

 "Whaaaaat? You have hypothyroidism? Aren't you supposed to be fat?" 

Lifehack #1: A microwaveable pillow helps my body temperature adjust to an airconditioned office after commuting. Hypothyroid patients are notorious for being sensitive to changing temperatures, so a heated pillow is a Godsend.

Lifehack #1: A microwaveable pillow helps my body temperature adjust to an airconditioned office after commuting. Hypothyroid patients are notorious for being sensitive to changing temperatures, so a heated pillow is a Godsend.

This is the usual reaction I get from people every time I tell them I have hypothyroidism. It is sad that in the Philippines, hypothyroid patients are popularly perceived to be predestined to be overweight. The condition is widely covered by mainstream media, and not many people talk about it online. The lack of awareness causes the condition to be shrouded in mystery and misinformation. 

Yes, hypothyroidism can cause the patient to be overweight. But I am not letting this happen to me. Just because I have this condition does not mean that I will let it define my weight, my mind, and my sense of being. To counter the tendency to be overweight, I workout everyday and watch my food portions. I also include as much exercise as I can in my day, such as walking to the MRT station, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Regarding the natural tendency for hypothyroid patients to be sluggish and drowsy, I fight the lack of energy by drinking coffee after each meal, taking walks, and really, willing myself to keep up with life. I cannot afford to drift away and lose myself in the tiredness, and I can tell you first-hand that this is not easy. The lack of energy can really make me feel sleepy even in the middle of meetings. But I try my best to psyche myself up so I will not snooze at every onset of drowsiness.

Lifehack #2: Taking a selfie before boarding the MRT strangely prevents me from dozing off during the trip. Yes, I have snoozed even in a SRO train!

Lifehack #2: Taking a selfie before boarding the MRT strangely prevents me from dozing off during the trip. Yes, I have snoozed even in a SRO train!

This is why I strongly believe that defying hypothyroidism is more willpower than anything else. Mindfulness is my secret weapon, and my thinking is that I should believe in my own ability to fight the symptoms of my condition. Every time I feel discouraged or moody, I workout. I read. I listen to music a lot while working. I go on a coffee run. These life hacks help me go through life, and just plain awake.

Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries

Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries

I once suggested to a teacher to share life hacks but I was told that systems work better because it is not wise to hack through life. I strongly disagree to this because as a hypothyroid patient, I have been working smarter to make it through each day, each week, each month, and each year. I have followed forums and groups online to know how to hack through each hour of my day, because trust me, having hypothyroidism is not a piece of cake. Systems are useful, but hacks are help me survive when I am battling drowsiness, hunger (because I am controlling my portions), and moodiness (yes, hormonal imbalance does this to you).

How can I even maximize systems without life hacks? They are efficient steps to productivity, and in purposeful living, getting things done is key. Here are some life hacks that help me everyday (see photo captions). I know that they are useful not just to hypothyroid patients like myself, but for everyone. 

Processes can work if there are efficient steps along the way. I have embraced these life hacks which I have discovered as I have lived each day because they keep me productive, awake, and thriving. If I am thriving, then I am really maximizing my time, resources, and creativity. And yes, life hacks help me live meaningfully and defy hypothyroidism.

What are your life hacks? How do you integrate them into your processes and systems? Let me know so we could exchange ideas!


Lifehack #3: Workout, workout, workout. Burn calories, release endorphins, and improve your mood!

Lifehack #3: Workout, workout, workout. Burn calories, release endorphins, and improve your mood!

This morning's selfie before the MRT started moving southbound. Yes to staying awake during the whole trip!

This morning's selfie before the MRT started moving southbound. Yes to staying awake during the whole trip!

A good breakfast is never complete without coffee. Lifehack #4: COFFEE HELPS!

A good breakfast is never complete without coffee. Lifehack #4: COFFEE HELPS!

Lifehack #5: Online classes, books, Tedtalks...Always look for opportunities to learn and grow. Feeding the mind is just as important as nourishing the body. 

Lifehack #5: Online classes, books, Tedtalks...Always look for opportunities to learn and grow. Feeding the mind is just as important as nourishing the body. 

Day 62: Quarterly Review

#nofilter #nomakeup

#nofilter #nomakeup

Today, I am celebrating my third monthsary at work. This is a big deal for me because I have not just started in this new job, but I have also switched careers and industries with this new role. You see, I have worked in an Australian BPO for five years. That is half a decade of my life doing Risk Management for a country I have only visited once in my existence.  When a change in management prompted me to resign, I felt that I was doing the right thing. And by implementing change, I meant doing it in a big and bold way: no more BPO's, ever. 

I do not want to sound ungrateful because outsourcing has really taught me a lot. I felt that I grew up as a worker. Fixing other people's arrears does that to you, as well as understanding and speaking in an accent which is totally foreign-sounding to you. However, I think that work should be people-centered. If other things get in the way of caring for the welfare of your employees, then that is not dignified work for me. Also, I am already thirty years old. I need to find a more stable company with corporate ideals so I can also develop wholistically. Having monthly socials in bowling alleys and arcades can be fun for employees, but this does not foster growth. Learning does. And now that I am working in my alma mater as a Program Officer, I can say that this learning is a daily norm for me.  

Having free access to our well-equipped libraries is important to me. I am not only a voracious reader, I am also innately a researcher. When I feel the need to learn something new, I tend to read books to supplement whatever I can Google. Also, working in the academe means that I have a lot of time to work on my personal goals. I have used the school's fast internet connection to enroll in online classes on personal system implementation, writing, and purpose-driven branding. I am still taking the last class, and this will last until September, so I am definitely going to have an interesting quarter ahead! I have also put up my blog and purchased my own URL. I also began my 100-day writing project, which enables me to have content on my website everyday. Once that challenge ends, I can confidently continue writing quality content because by then, writing has already become second-nature to me.  

A quarter is more than enough to develop new habits. I have learned so much in a short amount of time, and broadened my horizons especially in terms of upgrading my skills. I am excited to level-up my life through dignified work and learning, as I continue achieving wellness through mindfulness! 

Now, let me prepare for the day ahead and finish my coffee! ☕️ 

Day 51: Coconut Mornings


I just realized that living with hypothyroidism can lead to so much negativity. It may seem that I cannot have the best of everything. I have to workout even when I am tired. I have to take the stairs to burn more calories and wake myself up. It has recently led to resentment, because my thyroxine dosage has been reduced. I found myself dozing off on my desk. Three cups of coffee did not always wake me up. I felt sluggish in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. I was forgetful, because of the so-called "brain cloud" which people with hypothyroidism often experience. 

At some point, A just said that enough is enough. 

After an insightful conversation with him yesterday, I have decided to alter my thinking instead of resenting that I have been shortchanged in this life. I should think that I have a complete life. It may not be perfect, but I am trying hard to manage so that should suffice.


I started this morning by thinking that I could enjoy the little things that I am allowed to have. I had a whole coconut earlier after parking my car. I bought it fresh and had the meat and water transferred to a bag to go. It was refreshing, filling, and the perfect energy drink to keep me going during my commute. Upon arriving at my office, I was determined to have a healthy breakfast.  I had tortang talong, half cup of fried rice, and banana ketchup. I also had coffee, because I need all the caffeine I could get. 

Havinf proper nutrition and a shift in thinking has helped me this morning. I am determined to maximize my day by focusing on what makes me complete instead on dwelling on what I cannot enjoy in my condition. I know that it is easier said than done, but it would not hurt to give it a try. 



Day 37: Just Get Up and Work


There are just days when I would rather hit the snooze button in the morning. I was tempted to do so earlier, but I immediately countered it by reciting the Prayer of Jabez:

New Living Translation
... "Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!" 

I got up, worked out with my YouTube exercise videos, and took a quick shower. I got dressed, drove to my parking space, and took the train to the office. I am transitioning to dieting on my own (I am no longer enlisting the help of my diet delivery service), so cafeteria breakfast consisted of half a cup of rice and a fried egg. I also had a 120z Americano. It was filling, and it is proof that it is possible to eat healthful meals without resorting to expensive diet plans. Of course, I have had three years of experience with my diet provider, so I already got used to the proper servings and I am already educated on portion control. I am keen on continuing my diet as it is one of the important factors to minimize the health risks of my hypothyroidism.

I have been dreading this day due to some recent events. However, I also pushed myself to work and put my game face on. I prayed the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I felt that I am not alone. There is no use to feel discouraged then. 

I will live through today!

Day 32: Daily WROTEin

Werking it even with sore throat!

Werking it even with sore throat!

I'm celebrating my second monthsary at work today! Being an alumna of the university where I work definitely has its perks, such as knowing the layout of the libraries by heart and knowing where to buy awesome brewed coffee based on my budget. However, my homecoming is not a single event. It is a daily routine which I am surviving thanks to willpower and prayer. 

The best part of my day is when I wake up. I get to thank my Creator for a new morning and say the The Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10 : “...Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”  This prayer has kept me grounded and blessed since I discovered it in 2006. I then wash up and workout for at least thirty minutes. Exercise is a must as I have hypothyroidism. I mix it up with different routines so I will never be bored. 

I take a shower, take my prescribed thyroxine dosage, and drive to my parking space. I cannot eat breakfast until forty-five minutes have elapsed since I took my medicine. I usually eat in the car, after it is already parked. I take the MRT or P2P to my stop, then walk to work.

My first stop in the office is always the chapel. It always fills me with awe that I am able to work and live a normal life despite my health condition. I then unwind with a cup of coffee and my morning snack. There is nothing more rewarding than a cuppa, which wakes me up while calming me down. It is a paradox which has never ceased to intrigue me. I randomly count my blessings, check my social networks, and respond to emails. If I still have time to spare, I return to the chapel to pray the rosary.

My work day usually goes by quickly. I like being organized, and I keep an analogue planner to take down notes and tasks. I listen to music while working, using a cheap radio and earphones which I regularly replace. I switch between pop and classical stations. During my downtime, I also update my blog and chat with my boyfriend. Lunch and coffee breaks are healthy yet filling. I am always focused on my fitness goals, and I know which food to eat and avoid. I also stay away from frappuccinos and calorie-rich desserts.

My commute home is a reversal of my trip to work. I enjoy light dinners, to help me sleep earlier and lessen bloating. I also stop by our nearby park to buy fresh coconut water. It aids in detox and re-hydrating me after a long day.

I end my day by writing on my Five Year Journal, a prayer, and a book until I drift to sleep. The next day is the same cycle, with the same willpower and attitude.

I will never be able to pull this off without the support of my family and boyfriend. I may not be earning much, but I have enough and that is what matters. I look forward to having a more abundant life and eventually, the chance to settle down.


Day 31: Living Mindfully and Helping Others

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

Beautiful handmade rosary by an inmate in Bilibid Prison.

I prayed the rosary again after a long time. I used to pray with it everyday during my previous job. My old building was adjoined to a mall, which is a stone's throw away from a church with a quiet adoration chapel. My previous job was stressful, and this ritual calmed me down during my lunch breaks. I enjoyed meditating on the mysteries, and I never lied about going to the adoration chapel whenever I was asked regarding my whereabouts. I have always been proud about my faith, and this motivates me to look for ways to integrate my passion for prayer in my other love, which is social enterprise.

I have previously used cheap plastic rosaries and jewelry-type ones from pilgrimage sites such as the Vatican and Lourdes. All of them were easily broken due to daily wear and tear. I have never been dainty, so these rosaries never appealed to me. I only used them out of necessity and because they were presents and purchases from important places of prayer. I have constantly been on the lookout for a durable rosary, because I believe that prayer is a tactile experience. I depend on rosary beads to guide me along the way. If the beads are too small and the gaps between them are practically non-existent, then it will make prayer less of the soothing ritual which it was meant to be. Thus, I have been accustomed to replacing my rosary annually, which became a pain because I do get attached to things especially if they have memories connected to them. 

Usually, the crucifixes are the first ones to break. The cheap plastic ones cannot withstand the pressure of daily commuting, which is not pleasant because I do not enjoy seeing the representative image of Christ cut into half. For those with metal links, the chains would get disconnected. Having them repaired is an obvious choice since I do have experience in bead work, but it already dampens the enjoyment of prayer. As the years have gone by and the handmade movement grew along with the internet, I have discovered options which finally meant having sturdy rosaries for less heartbreak.

I bought a chotki rosary from Caritas Manila a couple of years ago, and it has served me well. It was handmade by an inmate from Bilibid Prison. It is sturdier than most rosaries I have owned, and it still works until today. It has began fraying though, as the string they have used is fibrous, so I am already seeing the signs of wear and tear on several areas. I will still recommend this though, for it is a good conversation starter and it is for a good cause.

This has then led me to the search for a new rosary. My boyfriend and I are going through challenging times in our personal lives, so we need a spiritual weapon to inspire us to renew our faith and pray more often. I have ordered four rosaries from Rugged Rosaries, an artisanal social enterprise in California. They make rosaries by hand using military-grade paracord, beads, and components. The two full-size five decade rosaries have been carefully selected to represent our personal faith journeys, while the two one decade clip-on rosaries are for everyday use and commuting. I am excited to receive them and road test them once they arrive from the US! I am also happy that part of the proceeds from my purchase supports a team of artisans who promulgate the faith through beautiful rosaries in America, and provide rosaries and MP3 New Testament Bible players to the troops.

My faith has led me to support social enterprises and the handmade movement. My advocacy is my biggest means to help others, and I look forward to doing so by shopping meaningfully, sharing the products on my blog, and living mindfully. I also want to keep on praying, because it is a meditative practice which lets me focus on the positive.

I hope that your passion will lead you to support an advocacy with minimal effort and true joy!

Day 30: Soul Sam

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

The past few days have been challenging. I have encountered incidents which shook me to the core. I lost my trust in the people around me, and it seems that I am being harassed by an unknown entity. I have already reported these incidents and I have faith that authorities will handle this accordingly. Meanwhile, I am healing and moving on. I have decided this morning that I do not need to dwell on the feeling of distrust. Rather, I should focus on what I must be thankful for.

I woke up early this morning and did my ab and cardio routine. I had a hearty breakfast and a medium Americano from my go-to convenience store. I am wearing my five year old Doc Martens which cushion my feet and keep them warm and toasty in the rainy weather. Most of all, I have a family to go home to, a boyfriend who drives me home when visibility is low due to the rain, and a best friend who will drop everything to spend a few hours to comfort me. 

My best friend works in Quezon City but he managed to treat me to pancakes and coffee during my lunch break in Ortigas. I appreciate his effort and concern, as he knew I was going through a difficult time. My boyfriend had a family reunion at Pampanga, but he waited for me at Quezon City to have ramen with me and drive me home. These simple gestures mean heaps to me. It has been said that the only resource that we cannot reclaim is time, so I am grateful that my closest people look after me. I am also looking forward to moving on from these recent issues and carrying on with work. 

I have reasons to be thankful and happy amidst troubles and the rainy season. I will always have something to write about and experiences to share. People may try to take my trust away, but they can never conquer my spirit. All I have to do is breathe. 

Day 28: Sammie 2.0


The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be its staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, it still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice makes eating sandwiches in this country a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and it is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Just let me be.

Day 25: There Has To Be A Word

Today is Diane's 30th birth anniversary. She was the closest thing I had to a best friend in high school. She's the one on the left (in red) in this pic taken during my birthday in 2006. 


I miss her everyday since her passing from a car accident in 2008.

This one's for you, Diane. 

1) There has to be a word for missing someone in random moments, and anyone still alive can never replace someone who passed away because she was the best person to give spot-on advice.  

2) There has to be a word for realizing that you should make the most out of this life because your late friend is no longer here to experience new stuff in the present.  

3) There has to be a word for the friendship that binds you and your high school girls, and one of the things that bring you together is a late friend who was everyone's soul sister. 

4) There has to be a word for falling in love with someone whom you introduced to your late friend back in the day.  

5) There has to be a word for a friendship that goes beyond someone's passing

I ❤️ you Diane! 

Day 21: Monday

I wrote a poetic tribute to my Monday (even if it's already Tuesday)! 

 My cube is bright

Sunshine dances on my shelf

I felt gloomy but The Beatles held my hand

So I did not let The Carpenters build me down

I have a white table

With watercolors and a charging cable

But first, let me finish my coffee

Before it turns artificially cold

From recycled air

And Monday work fare

Day 18: Why I Don't Write

I'm writing this entry as I am enjoying a cup of halo-halo! The definitive Filipino summer delicacy is perfect for this sunny day. It is also a sweet way to usher in ROUND TWO of my 15 Days of Writing True!  

I have learned in design thinking that repeating a process albeit in a different iteration fosters creativity. I chose to repeat my class not because I failed, but because I want to see how this journey can be taken differently. How can I enjoy a trip with another perspective? There is only one way to find out and that is by taking it all over again.  

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 


I am here at Human Nature for their beauty fair! They have released a bronzer, lip miracle (sunflower oil-infused lip balm) and cheek tint! I have personally tested them and they are perfect for sensitive skin and everyday use. I also adore this brand as they are a social enterprise that provides employment to those who need it most. 


I can't wait to see how Round Two turns out. For now, I need to finish my halo-halo and shop for sustainable makeup. 

Day 14: Letter to Self

Today, I covered Writing with Poetry in my Writing True class. I was tasked to come up with examples for different figures of speech, as well as accomplish a couple of sentence reversal exercises.

My Own Examples of Figures of Speech

I rode the MRT this morning and we were packed like sardines inside the train.

My breakfast is my arsenal.

I have an eternity to love you.

I failed Calculus but I worked in Finance.

Piping hot pour-over. Random run. Horrendous heat.

My notebook is insisting that I write. The cardio punched my gut.

I workout to relax. I work to enjoy my time.

I ate my breakfast and my hesitations.

"Insurance policy" for my college degree
"Compass" for inspiration

"Blog" for a website. "Minds" for thinking employees.

I wrote my blog entry. I wrote my day. I wrote my present. I wrote my future.

I will never quit my job. I enjoy my job. I will fight for my job.

School is theoretical, work is the real world.
Many can dance, but few can endure.

Never let your worries burden you or your burden worry you.

Converting straightforward sentences into poetic ones.
I woke my sleeping heart with coffee and poured chamomile over it afterwards.
I am wiped out and as famished as an uncharged smartphone
My phone dissolved into thin air.
Conquer this house and establish your kingdom.

Converting poetic sentences into straightforward ones.
We are not together, but I want to fall in love with you.
I would like to be with you even if I have to be the one to adjust to you. 
I want many things but I can only have half of those in reality.

 Final Task: Letter to Myself

(Written yesterday, May 15, 2017) 


Dear Sam, 

I am proud of how you worked out this morning, starting with your ab routine, then a HIIT workout, and finishing off with three rounds of moves for your glutes and thighs. I was thrilled when you told that rude man in the MRT to stop occupying your space because he has more than enough already for himself. You practically told that man to stop grabbing your handrail and stop leaning on you. No one in the MRT had the guts to do that in your section and I could tell that everyone was watching you. You did not let this stop you, and you continued telling the man to move until he did. Well done also for the way you pushed that man when he tried blocking your way as you exited the train. He tried one cheap move, but you responded with a silent clapback. I am pleased with how you stood your ground this morning and how you kept your composure in the office. I am proud of your poise even when you felt like hunching. You did well, and you were a class act. Not to mention that you can walk in high heels now and you even own the aisle with your strut. 

I hope that you will never lose your swagger while keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground. I hope that you will continue working out so you can sculpt your abs while eliminating the need for the second cup of coffee due to all those calories burned. I'm excited to see how your sassy comebacks will move you forward. Never let go of your grace, but always be sharp with your wit. You got this, Lucas. The Force is strong in you.