13 March, 2017

Things I Love Sundays: Unplugged.

I didn't go home a couple of Saturdays ago. Well, it's no secret that I am an extrovert. I enjoy being around and with people yet there are moments when I crave for some quiet and peaceful time, alone. It is not something that I often get unless I impose it, which I did a couple of weeks ago. Sure, I like to hang with my friends, share stories, and catch up. I'm fond of night caps and late weeknights with colleagues. I dig long breakfasts. Yet three weeks ago, I had way too much of un-wanted chaos and noise. It did drain the energy out of me. I reached this point wherein I simply longed to take a break that sort of "people-fasting", to shut down, and just itched for everything to go on a complete halt.

Alone Time.

Of course - these things don't happen with a snap of a finger so the choice to not go home for a couple of days was a good one. No one knew where I was. There were no traces of me in social media for at least a good 2 days, but really, I was just in the city. But I tell you, that one selfish moment that I yearned brought me solitude. It may have been for just a few days, but it was glorious. And now, I promised myself to carve out mandatory weekly or if I'm lucky enough, daily me-time hours.

If you're curious » »» »»» nope, I didn't do anything out-of-this-world, but I was tempted to travel solo somewhere but I knew it would be 'bitin'. Being the responsible human being that I am, I can't just leave work and YOLO away... that would be super fun though.Ü My Mom thinks otherwise. I did little, me-time stuff and I liked it. I won't be surprised if I find myself booking a flight and going somewhere, alone. This is something that I have been wanting to do for the longest time, but I guess I'm just scared to do it. However, taking inspiration from my word of the year — courage, it may just happen one of these days.

I came across Think Simple Now and I love how they described alone-time as something beautiful and healthy. We all know how others frown upon solitude because most people think that it's lonely. That's just one way to look at it. Here's a snippet from Think Simple Now's article.

"There is a power in being able to find contentment in solitude. Bacon ( Francis Bacon ), wasn't far off when he ascribed god-like powers to the people who can enjoy solitude. If you are able to be happy alone, then even in the emptiest times in life you can find peace and even joy. I'm not suggesting solitude is better than being with people. Simply that it’s impossible to completely avoid aloneness in life, so it’s worth having a strategy to find joy in those moments. Enjoying solitude can also give you an independence that makes you less desperate with friends and less likely to cling onto lousy relationships."

P had his solitude, unplugged moment too. He went on this tour slash trek to one of the mountains here in the Philippines. He went with this group wherein he didn't know anyone. While there's a part of me that felt that I should have been with him climbing that mountain, I just could not get myself to be a clingy and demanding person. That was his much-needed, sacred me-time. If situations were reversed, I'd want him to respect my time alone, too.Ü Anyways he came back re-charged and all jazzed up.

Have you ever craved for me-time? What things do you enjoy doing alone? I like taking long walks. I can also spend days worth learning how to do make-up ( from YouTube, of course ), but next month or next next month, I'm gonna try to squeeze in taking make-up lessons.  Peace + Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.

Things I Love Sundays: Making 2017 Count

29 January, 2017

Making 2017 count

Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái - 恭禧发财! Four weeks into 2017, I'm celebrating my 'second' New Year. This also happens to be my sixth CNY since I joined the company, we'll call it Company M, where I'm connected with. A lot of you know that it's a Chinese-owned organization. Lucky me, this second New Year gives me a chance to write Making 2017 Count.Ü

I have been reading my 2016 year-end blog post these past couple of days and seeing the people who were with me in 2016 never fails to make me smile. Why am I saying this? I struggled the first two weeks of 2017 and I hated every minute of it. I usually am a positive and optimistic person. I easily adapt to change, except this one time. I was out of it the first few days and I am disappointed at myself for not being able to comfortably move forward with this one huge change that's happening right now. Late last year, someone I look up to and have gotten close with made a decision to choose a different path. It was a big blow for me plus other friends at work who were blessed to have gotten to know him beyond our professional lives

Happy 2017

We were like family and it took a lot of courage for me to face the reality of his decision. I was in denial for a while, but I knew that I owe it to myself to move past this. Step 1 was to allow myself to feel sad. Pain bonded the rest of the 'family' that he left behind. Once I started to act like a grown-up about it, I started to feel better. And now my new page is filled with excitement with a pinch of anxiety. I know that things happen for a reason even if the reasons always come after. Instead of toying with ideas of leaving and running away, I look forward to discovering whatever good is there for choosing to stay. Waiting was never one of my strongest points so I hope this comes to pass soon.

It can be easy to get sucked in by these things. It can be tempting to just leave yet once you remind yourself of the bigger picture, you see how pitiful an exit running away can be. We're just human and we can easily get seduced to self-destructive pleasures. So no matter how terrible a situation is, I always make a conscious effort to choose to see the good over the bad stuff. My Chinese zodiac forecast says that 2017 isn't going to be that nice for me. I almost threw a fit when someone told me about this. You see, I have tendency to over-think so to counter this and to continue to channel my energies to being positive, there are 2 things that I'd like to do for myself through my blog this year.

01. Making the Year Count
This is an annual, start of the year ( or start of the Chinese New Year in my case ) goal-setting post that I am reviving. Bloggers have different names for this, but a lot of us do it. I first did mine in 2014 when I stumbled upon a link-up hosted by Kelli Murray. After 2014, I missed the next two years.Ö

02. Things I Love Sundays.
This one is a count-your-blessings journal thing that I learned from Musings in Milan. Gratitude Journals have become a popular practice everywhere, even Oprah Winfrey has one.Ü I believe that gratitude does magic. I came across this article from Abundance & Happiness and it talked about how gratitude attracts happiness. You may want to check it out if you have extra net time, it's a good read.

What is something you want to change, or a goal you want to set for the New Year, and what is your plan for making it happen?
If there's one thing I failed miserably at last year, that was taking care of myself. I must have gained at least 7-lbs and it got to a point when some people would bluntly tell me how I got "rounder". Of course I was annoyed and I noticed how it was affecting my confidence. I was working out but I guess it wasn't so effective because I lost discipline with what I ate. Come mid-November, when I returned from my Japan trip, that's when I decided to first cut down on junk food. Despite my thyroid troubles, as of today, my total weight loss = 4.2 pounds.

Setting the confidence issue and vanity aside, I am doing this for myself. I have no plans of getting married and have no plans of having children. If I want to live a long life and for me to make my travel dreams come true, wellness is important. I intend to continue what I'm doing right now for at least 3 more months. If I stay on track, I'm guessing I'd lose at least 10 more pounds. Then I'd go back to training to tone these muscles. Wish me luck.Ü

Many people choose a word to reflect on, live by, or aspire to for the New Year. Let us know your word, how you decided upon it, and how you hope to incorporate it into 2017.
I started to think about this way back in December, but waited until after the first few days of the year for a word that would be most meaningful to me. This transition right now has a lot to do with this. I don't think I will ever be fearless, but I would like to be able to always choose to confront my fears and to act on them in both big & small ways. I bet you're shocked with what I just wrote. My family, friends, and people around me know me to be an extra-strong woman, but guys, supergirls get scared, too.Ö For whatever it'll be, I want my heart to remain strong and my spirit to stay brave with anything that life throws at me. So friends, the word that calls out to me the strongest for 2017 is Courage.

I will make 2017 count by: Live in Gratitude AND Spread the Love.
Peace + Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.

Making 2014 Count

19 January, 2017

Food Trip: The Best of 2016

Hello beautiful people! How are your first 3 weeks? I can't believe that another year's come and gone. It's time for my yearly round-up of my Top 5 comfort slash favorite munchies. You're probably wondering - what was I thinking?! I know, I know. Believe me, it was super difficult to narrow everything down to just 5 because of all the trips that we had last year plus I met new people who eventually became good friends. Food's clearly one of the foundations of our friendship. We've been successful in trying out a bunch of restaurants in Metro Manila, Tagaytay, and even as far as Baguio! Then there's P, who took a huge leap in 2016 when he started to explore beyond his usual bacon, spam, burger, and chicken meals. 2016 was definitely a great 'food year'.

Food Trip: The Best of 2016

What I'm sharing is not a comprehensive list, but it should be enough to make you want to try 'em in one of the restos near you. My Top 5 Food List for 2015 was based on goodies that I said I could eat everyday and I'll never get tired of having them. I tweaked 2016's list a bit. Many of the things I ate in 2016 each had a beautiful story behind it. My food round-up includes local favorites, things that I used to neglect, got to try, and now love. There are also healthy stuff that I should have started eating years ago. This list does not have anything sweet though. I used to be 'dessert girl', but towards the latter part of 2016, I made this lifestyle change: no rice, no Coke Light & Coke Zero, and if possible no super sweet desserts.

So, what do I have for you guys? From classic comfort food and healthier choices to delectable Asian flavors and something pretty fancy. I couldn't resist sharing them here in my blog. I hope that in one of your future travels, you get to try them too. Curious? Go ahead and feast your eyes as you join me in my Food Trip: The Best of 2016.

Peranakan Laksa
Discovered thru #SingaporeInvites in Joo Chiat, Singapore • Read: Laksa Love
Girlfriend Tip: You'll find the best & authentic Peranakan Laksa at 328 Katong Laksa.

Taking a break from holiday food.Ü Salad Stop's Big Bird is a winner 👌🏼

A photo posted by R U S S (@ruussso) on

Healthier Snacks from Salad Stop
My favorite branches are in Alabang Town Center & PowerPlant Mall in Makati.
Girlfriend Tip: Their serving is really generous that you can actually split it for 2 meals.

Smalls Bites and Light Refreshments
I'm a late bloomer. This is something that I started to enjoy come end of the year
Girlfriend Tip: Hotel Jen Manila has afternoon tea from 2:00PM to 4:00PM.
You get exclusive access to the Club Lounge if you're staying in a Club Room.

Japan's Favorite Ramen: Ichiran Ramen
Discovered in Japan's heaven for gastronomists, Osaka.Ü
Girlfriend Tip: Try not to get rattled when you're ordering via the ticket machine.

Beef that's Better than Kobe: Matsusaka Beef
There is absolutely no way that you should go on a trip to Japan & not try Matsusaka Beef.
Girlfriend Tip: Forget about your diet. You just need to have this with rice and sake.

Food has always been one of the reasons why I wanted to travel. Food and travel are like milk and cookies, they always go together. And, it's always a pleasure to eat good food. The discovery of new culinary experiences always give me a different kind of sensory thrill which I always found in every city and country that I go to.   Peace + Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.

Food Trip: The Best of 2015