Turning an Ugly Day Around

This day didn’t start out right. I woke up at around 4 AM because my right hip and left knee were hurting. A few hours later, when I left my bedroom, somebody snapped at me. With my personality, such behavior directed at me works as a trigger for my own ugliness to brew, and boy, did I let it brew. 

Then, I came to realize that such unpleasant incidents at the start of the day shouldn’t define how the rest of my day should go. So, I fixed myself a proper brunch (it was almost lunchtime, actually), enjoyed the food that I prepared, cleaned up a little and retreated to my room to continue the bedsheet project I’ve been working on for over a week now, collect pretty illustrations to print later on and watch some funnies.

What do you know, there’s still that heavy and dark cloud (to be honest, it’s more like there’s a bright, hot sun because I love it when it’s dark and dreary and hate it when it’s sunny) hovering above me but I actually feel rather pleasant. Sometimes, you just gotta do one thing to make yourself feel better and that effort can snowball into a good-sized lump of happiness to help you get through the day. God is good and He’s generous with new chances for you to get things right. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, folks.

  • Sharing this video, by the way – ‘hope it inspires your meals. 🙂

Che-Che-Change

The title is to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “Chains” and it’s brought to you by the letter C. 😀

I recently stumbled upon an old photo album/scrapbook of mine. Most pictures were taken during my trip to the US with my dad about 14 years ago. I couldn’t help but compare how I looked then with my physical appearance now. 

Honestly, my facial features didn’t change much – I still have chubby cheeks and you can still see the unevenness of my eyebrows (one has always been higher than the other). However, I already have eye bags and fine lines around my eyes and you can tell instantly that I have stopped spending time under the sun – people like to tell me that I’m the same color as tofu.

It really smells good – I’ve received compliments from everybody.

Besides the physical change, I think a significant change with me in the last few years is how I’ve gravitated toward minimalism and frugalism. I’m still a work in progress, I should say, but the practicality I exercise now is truly a far cry from how I collected signature items when I was younger. Like I had a lot of branded clothes, bags, perfume and makeup when I was a teenager until in my twenties. Nowadays, I always look for cheaper and simpler products.

My latest purchase that I believe is a good demonstration of my more practical mindset is this particular fragrance from Scents Swatch. I discovered this brand on Instagram and it has some scents that are inspired by designer perfume so I instantly looked for one that supposedly smells like Issey Miyake’s L’eau D’Issey pour Femme – a scent that reminds me of the ‘90s, and Scents Swatch has somewhat recreated it through Midori.

It’s about 60 percent similar to the original but it’s refreshing and the scent really lingers. I love it. If I had actually bought L’eau D’Issey pour Femme, I would have busted couple thousand or more Php, while this only cost me 390Php (didn’t even have to pay for shipping because I got a free shipping voucher).

Another thing is, I don’t really get into trends anymore. I know the clothes that look okay on me so I’m less inclined to be adventurous with style. Also, I don’t buy the latest technology so I’ve never tried Snapchat or Tiktok.

Additionally, I didn’t eat breakfast before but now I do. Actually, it’s more like brunch because I eat my first meal of the day at around  9am to 10:30am. Plus, I used to be very messy but I’ve become a big fan of order and organization over the years. I don’t like to clean though but I like to put things where they should be.

All in all, I think time is a wonderful gift because it has the ability to mold you into a different, somewhat better person. So, if you’re not satisfied with the person that you are, work with God’s gift of time, trust it, and I guess, be kind to yourself too. Learn to accept the things that you cannot change about yourself such as the inevitability of aging or how you look, and actively better yourself in the aspects of your life where it’s possible to actually make a change.

Simple Joys

The awareness of my current mental state drives me to be more intentional in pursuing the easiest and simplest things that can transform my inclination toward pessimism and rumination into light and pleasing moments.

Hopefully, with me sharing my sources of simple joys, you will find your own happiness escapes as well. Here is my list.

  1. Japanese Anime Films – Although I’m not a total anime-niac, I do enjoy a lot of Japanese cartoons, most of them from Studio Ghibli. My top picks are:

I also liked Grave of the Fireflies and Colorless, but they’re not particularly cheerful films.

2. Lifestyle YouTube Accounts – These are accounts that I’m subscribed to. Their videos either relax me or provide me with important lessons in life.

3. Favorite Books

  • XQ Adventures written by my sister, Margery Santander and illustrated by my niece, Marguerite P. Goze
  • Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
  • A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
  • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Recipes and Wooden Spoons by Judy Baer
  • All the images are not mine.

Perhaps, when you’re feeling a little blue and out of it, you can check these out. A little diversion from a negative train of thought can be quite helpful – it can put a halt to escalating unpleasant emotions and delay potentially harmful actions.

Off to Different Things

So…I tendered my resignation letter last August 6 and my last day at the company will be on the 4th of September. To be quite honest, I had been thinking of leaving my job for over a year but I kept on worrying about my finances. I remember I used to pray for my cash reserves to bulk up so I can finally pack up and do something else.

God actually “acquiesced” to my request and blessed me with an amount of money that was more than what I had already saved up. However, COVID-19 happened and that placed me in a totally different headspace.

Thus, I stayed a few more months and within this period, I had managed to get sick multiple times. I had both carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome flare-ups, hormonal issues, and anemia (my blood pressure was disturbingly low and the systolic and diastolic were within arms reach of each other). 

Adding to all those physical health woes was my mental wellbeing or lack thereof. My anxiety was awful, hence, I finally decided that it’s time to rest.

I’m still anxious though but I’m taking steps to manage this along with my physical issues.

So, what are my future plans? I will not be working for the next four months. I’m just going to take it slow and do a lot of the things that I didn’t have the time to do or had lost interest in doing because of my job, such as blogging. I also wish to study how to take decent Instagram photos, because right now my photos lack aesthetic appeal. Also, I’m going to try to sleep better. I only get a maximum four hours of sleep – no wonder my blood pressure’s so low.

I have all kinds of projects in mind too and I intend to help out my mother in putting our home in better order even if there’s an obstacle in our way. I hope to cook and bake more as well, because none of us had been quite successful with cinnamon rolls yet. Using yeast is entirely new for us. We’ve always avoided it and not for biblical reasons.

Honestly, I’m scared about not having much of a monthly income but I’m choosing to put faith into action and trust that God will demonstrate his strength in this time of weakness.

Anyway, here’s the first project. This is a book that my sister bought long before she had children. It was already tattered when she purchased it and over the years it just came apart even more. I did my best to salvage it using the journaling materials I have here at home. It looks somewhat better now even if I decided to save the front and back covers of the paperback. I just need to wrap it in plastic to give it structural integrity.

That is all for today. I’ll pop back in soon.

The Curse of Bad Skin

I’ve never really had nice skin. Actually, that’s not accurate because the skin on my arms and legs are okay, which I’m somewhat grateful for. However, my face is full of skin demons – insert dramatic wailing, “Why God?! Why this face?” — If you don’t know from what award-winning musical this is, I’m judging you.

When I was younger, I thought that I would reach a certain age and not have to deal with any skin woes anymore, but here I am, 40 years old, defying my unscientific beliefs as a younger human. No matter how much love and money I devote to my epidermis, the zits just won’t quit. I resent this unrequited love.

You’d think I’d be so disillusioned already and give up skincare altogether, but no, my person chooses to be optimistic. I’ve, so far, experimented with organic products and expensive ones, and I’m always willing to give a well-advertised product a try (unless the price is outrageous) because I’m a sucker for good marketing. Thankfully, I can be a bit of tightwad with the money I allocate for myself, so I save first until I feel comfortable investing in something new.

And speaking of something new, this is what I’m trying out right now.

*image not mine (from a Shopee seller)

I just got the kit today and it’s supposed to be good for one month. Since I’m dealing with zits, I figured I should go for the miracle kit for acne. If this proves effective, I’ll commit to it and also try the anti-aging kit – because I’m 40, just in case you’ve forgotten. This skincare kit is from South Korea, so it’s quite affordable, and I know I can easily get it again.

That’s proof that I’m staying optimistic, or maybe just of how much I like buying things from Shopee. Whatever. I’m happy until my next zit after launching into this treatment. Do any of you have advice on how to get rid of aging signs and adult facial acne? Share if you care.

My One-Pan Turmeric Cream Pasta

Once in a while, I will share some of my go-to recipes. None of them will be too fancy or complicated because I truly only exert extra effort with cooking during Christmas and when I do church get-togethers. 

Anyway, the first recipe that I’m going to share is the one I’ve been loving recently, my One-Pan Turmeric Cream Pasta. I just whipped it up last Thursday, and I have been eating it once a day since then. I wish I could share a picture, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, I guess – my cousin and I didn’t think of taking a picture when we had it for dinner earlier.

Typically, for pasta, I only just use one pan because while I don’t mind doing the dishes, my hands have an aversion to it because I have both Carpal and Cubital Tunnel Syndromes. For real. Anyhoo, here’s the recipe for the sauce, which is just right for a single serving.

This is not a great picture but it’ll do for now until I learn how to edit photos for better aesthetic impact

1/4 cup water

1/2 beef cube

1/4 carton of all-purpose cream

4 sprinklings (yes, that’s the term I’m gonna use) of turmeric powder

1 sprinkling of ground black pepper

2 sprinklings of cayenne pepper

parsley

chili-garlic mushroom chicharon (which I buy from my cousin)

  1. Boil 1/4 cup water and dissolve the beef cube.
  2. Add all-purpose cream. Stir until the sauce develops a thick-ish consistency.
  3. Sprinkle turmeric. Stir.
  4. Sprinkle ground black pepper. Stir.
  5. Add your noodles and stir everything until the noodles look like they have absorbed the sauce.
  6. Put in a plate and sprinkle the pasta with parsley, cayenne pepper, and top everything with as much chili-garlic mushroom chicharon as you want.

This pasta dish is quite tasty, and it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, which is perfect if you, like me, do not enjoy long cooking times.

Dealing with These Unusual Circumstances

I am in dire need of a pedicure – my toenails look like talons. If I put my feet on display, there’ll be confusion as to what creature I truly am.

Unfortunately for me and the rest of my family, our nail lady is not allowed to head out while the COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country. She’s classified as immunocompromised, so, of course, she should just stay at home. We’re just gonna have to risk it with the giant nail clippers and nippers.


Clearly, the restricted mobility imposed upon us by COVID-19 has diminished life quality and while there is no reliable cure and preventative treatment, we’ve no choice but to stay at home (only speaking for my family and me here) and only go out for genuinely essential activities. Thankfully, Mom, Dad, and I are homebodies, so staying put does not make us too anxious.


We miss church, though. I miss my Sunday School students and all their questions that have nothing to do with our topics, as well as the accessibility of brothers and sisters who only pray the best for you.

Likewise, I miss those rare occasions when my family suddenly wants to dine out. I miss going to a neighboring city just for a family grocery shopping extravaganza (calling it an extravaganza because it’s actually more like a clan excursion – there’s my sister’s whole family, me and my mom, and my two cousins).

But, as mentioned, we’ve no other sound option but to be as careful as possible and learn to find satisfaction in the remaining conveniences we’re blessed with. In my case, as stressful as my day job is, I have decided to practice gratitude as much as I can. Besides that, I try to inject quality to my day through the little things such as the food we eat, how I dress up at home, scent up my room, and consume content online.

I have yet to pick up exercise though. I try to get motivation from watching Kim Chiu jump rope a thousand times on Instagram. So far, I just enjoy watching her and also envy her for her strong knees (oh to be young).

As for my gnarly toenails due to lack of professional nail care, they will remain hidden under fluffy socks for now. They are digging into my skin, but this is a pain I can bear until this country truly gets rid of COVID-19. How’s everybody else dealing with this?

Hello!

Hello, digital realm!
This valley girl is going back to blogging. It’s been years since my last blog. In fact, this is a revamped site. I had the intention to create a beauty-centered blog about five years ago and totally forgot about it. I think what happened was I wanted to indulge my fantasy self, but my real self was rather exhausted with writing since I do it for a living.
Anyway, I have transformed a great deal over the years. To be quite honest, I’m no longer into makeup as I used to be (I wanted to become a professional makeup artist then), although I still wear makeup for the heck of it – because you know, that’s my business (yea, catchphrase from Tabitha Brown). My interests have greatly changed and they’ve decreased as well. I don’t know if that’s out of the desire to be a true minimalist or simply laziness due to aging.
At 40 years old (yiz, I am – I don’t know how that happened, I was 30 and skinny the last time I checked), it seems like my life these days is all about priorities such as being right in my relationship with God, staying on top of financial responsibilities, saving for old age, managing my stress, and keeping my physical woes under control. It all seems dull (like my skin), but there are hard bricks of wisdom and embarrassing drama in this 40-year-old life. These are what I long to share (well, not so much the drama – there’s not much of that anyhow), not necessarily for anybody to pick up some lessons (but if that happens, two thumbs up and a baby girl wiggle) but more to monitor and push me along in this journey.
So, hello again, it’s me (Adele Dazeem? No, Chip!), and I’m a sharer. More substantial things to come, just you wait.