Posted in Gifts, God's victory, Good gifts, Gratitude, Health, Inspiration, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, Travel

37, thank you…

Today is 9 September, a day before my 38th birthday 🙂

I thought of writing a few realities / things I am grateful for, so here it goes 😉

  • the God of my life
  • my faith, being saved
  • Victory – the church where I belong
  • basically everything in my life, just the reality that I am alive
  • the dreams in my heart
  • the hope that I have in Christ
  • the woman that I am now (definitely not perfect, but under God’s grace)
  • love for the Word of God – my manual for life, my comfort, my teacher, my guide
  • fulfilled dream travel to Europe this year
  • in good health, good shape and feeling strong
  • best Omma and Appa, the sister and the brother, all loved ones
  • my sisters-in-Christ, I couldn’t thank them enough.. (Hazel, Alica, Mel & Bong)
  • my lovely friends (a lot of them, all wonderful individuals, I’m beyond blessed)
  • my colleagues (all good and helpful)
  • my work in ADB, the fact that I belong in this wonderful organization
  • benefits as an ADB employee
  • my simple but comfy home sweet home
  • my cozy room
  • my oldie but trusty car
  • ongoing “A” process (hopefully will be granted by 2018)
  • upcoming Busan trip with Gill and Eia
  • being able to play squash and exercise
  • food on the table and fridge
  • lots of good food to try
  • coffee time with family & friends
  • my gadgets which make me reachable and sociable
  • technologies which make life convenient and comfortable
  • my little savings and a few investments
  • things that I own and manage to buy (clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, etc.)
  • my female inspiration – Peony Lim and Mari Jasmine
  • Korean series/movies (my guilty pleasure)
  • my crushes (Gong Ji Chul aka Gong Yoo, So Ji Sub and a whole lot more)

I’m sure I have more things to be grateful for, big and small, but for now, written above are the first things which came to mind. 😉

God, thank you so much for a (beyond) wonderful 37th year of my life. 🙂 

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I am excited for the 38th – hopeful, grateful, blessed and expectant of God’s best to come my way. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

Travel Challenge ;)

😉 I’m taking this challenge upon myself for the first time.

I thought THE Europe trip would be THE only trip I’ll experience this year. But of course, God always has better plans. 🙂 He delights in blessing and surprising His children, and I do love surprises so I am one happy daughter. 😉

You probably know that I love Korea, of course, the one in the South. 🙂 I’ve been in Seoul only once in 2011 but my soul longs for it since then. I have hoped to return in 2012 and the following years but it didn’t happen, just not meant to be back then…

It was at this dinner for Mark’s birthday celebration when I remembered to ask Eia when is she going back to Korea, she goes there atleast yearly. I asked because I would request her to buy my favorite sunscreen which she bought for me early this year. She said she would go back in October and invited us to go with her to Busan, she said it’s just a weekend trip. So Gill and I entertained the thought quite quickly, a few days later we had our flights booked! 🙂

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As of this writing, we only have a month and 4 days before that #TRIPnotTrainToBusan. 🙂 I’ll post more about it after that quick getaway. So before and during this trip, I thought of doing some sort of a travel challenge. Since this trip is not “planned,” I have to be within budget this time, well I should always travel within budget but since it was my first time in Europe, I didn’t know much what to expect and how much to spend so I think I kinda went over the top. ;P Don’t worry, I learned a lot so the future trips would be better, budget wise. 😉

For the #TRIPnotTrainToBusan, we only have 3 full days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). The target overall budget is Php 30k, that includes the airfare (almost 10k), accommodation (around 6k), visa processing (Php 800), so I only have around Php 13k for food, transportation and shopping(?!). So for 3 days, my budget is around Php 4k per day which is fairly decent. ;P

So the challenge(s) is keeping within the budget and travelling light. This seems so easy, but for me, believe me, it’s tough, and it’s an understatement. I have travelled a few times and I have to admit, I always, that means without fail, felt that I spent more than I should (because I didn’t set a budget for each trip) so I wouldn’t actually know how I fared. For the Europe trip alone, I think I shopped more before the trip than during the actual trip, I bought camera, luggage, clothes, shoes, etc. When it comes to packing light, I’m still not good at it, I only have a couple of short trips which I packed just enough ensembles, but for most trips, I overpack, period.

For this trip and the trips to follow, I hope to get better as time passes by. So I’ll start with this short trip, if I do well this time, it is likely I’ll become a better traveler in no time. 😉 Well, I believe, I’ll become better at this, I know I can, always by God’s grace. 🙂 Pls cheer me on, okay? 😉

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Japan trip with Eia & Gill (December 2015)

 

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” ~ Matthew Karsten

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

Posted in Fashion sense, Inspiration, Lessons Learned, Minimalism

#REPEATisTHEnewHIP®

I follow very few celebrities. Not that there’s something wrong with following a lot, but I know myself, I get influenced, though not quickly, I believe exposing and allowing oneself to be vulnerable and to get swayed to materialism, worldliness, etc., I am mature enough to protect myself, that’s why I usually edit the ones I follow. I only keep those who inspire me and influence me in a good way. I believe we have to be careful with what/who we surround ourselves and with what influences we take in as our own.

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny. – Mahatma Gandhi
I started following Mari Jasmine just a couple of months ago. I just felt there’s something different about her, she’s unassumingly very pretty and brainy, she practices a healthy lifestyle, and I know I’ll learn lots of good stuff from her. #followTOgrow:)

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A couple of weeks back, she shared that she wanted “to learn to love, reuse, restyle the clothes she has instead of consuming new things all the time.” I got to admire her more because of that. And I also got into thinking that it’s something that I should follow for practical and a whole lot of reasons. On her post today, she asked what hashtag can we use to view all the clothes that we repeat. So I left a comment with this hashtag #REPEATisTHEnewHIP®.

I repeat wearing my clothes obviously, but I’m guilty in the sense that I make it a point not to wear the same clothes in between close occasions. But having this new way of thinking,  #REPEATisTHEnewHIP®, I wouldn’t care wearing the same clothes as often as I want, but of course using my little creativity for a different twist😉😛

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Trying this thing where I wear and repost more of the same items of clothing. I’m not so comfortable with this culture of consuming new things all the time to just wear it once or twice. I feel like Instagram has definitely contributed to this phenomenon 😂 what if we made it like a styling challenge so we get maximum usage out of our clothes? Anyone keen to join me 😋

Posted in Beauty and Wellness, Health, Lessons Learned

All the Hs that I ♥…

IMG_0507The first H that I love is no other than Hermès, it’s a given, right? ;P Of course, I’m kidding, or more appropriately, daydreaming. 😉 I like Kelly, but I love the Constance bags much more, photo on the right. If there’s one overly generous person who will be willing to buy me luxe bags, this would be it, I’ll get one in dark chocolate, deep red, moss green & rusty tangerine. Dreaming is free, right? 🙂

Oh well, sorry, on a serious note…

The most important H for me is Health. To be healthy is the best blessing that one can ever  have from the Lord. When you are in good  health, you can live the best way you can possibly hope and dream of. I  just couldn’t emphasize enough how important it is to take care of one’s health, to be mindful of what it really means and to actually breathe it in as a way of life.

In our family, my sister and I were raised knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eating fruits and veggies and drinking lots of water are good for our bodies. Thankfully, I grew up healthy, though I was thin. I used to be chubby when I was a baby but gradually became thin when I started going to school at age 6.

I became more health-conscious when I was in my early thirties. I had endometriosis and adenomysis since I was in my mid-twenties which caused too much pain when I was having my period, I took pain relievers for a really long time because I refused to take pills and other medicines. I decided to take the alternative path to healing through eating healthy more consciously, limiting sugar and dairy intakes, trying to exercise and reading a lot of stuff about healthy lifestyle and overall wellness and applying the lessons I get from it. And then I learned that a healthy lifestyle isn’t only about what we eat, how often we exercise, how intentionally we avoid getting stressed out and living a life with positive and thankful outlook. We also need to check on the products that we use and apply on our bodies. The products we put on our skin are being absorbed and can have good or bad effects on our health depending on the ingredients each product has.

So for more than 3 years now, I became very picky with the products I use, I read labels and I avoid buying anything with EDTAs and parabens. There are a lot of ingredients to avoid, which I couldn’t memorize, which are unfortunately in most products we use. So I prefer all things natural, organic with my skin care & beauty products, even my nail lacquers are made of safe ingredients, my fave brands are Orly and Zoya.

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To make things easy for me (less stress, better health, right?) I support local brands which use organic and natural ingredients, so #loveOrganic #loveLocale. 🙂

The 2nd and 3rd H” which I love are HumanNature and HappySkin.

So I will be sharing the products that I lovingly use regulary and will surely use faithfully for a really long time. 🙂

Let’s start with bathroom products, all by HumanNature, from hand wash to feminine wash (top left to bottom right).

IMG_0735First, I wash my hands using the liquid soap, brush my teeth using the natural toothpaste and wash my face using either of the 3 facial washes. I use the hydrating creamy wash on weekdays, the balancing wash on weekends, while I use the nourishing wash after I play squash in the office. I use the mandarin fresh scent for shampoo and conditioner, I use them alternately during the week. I use the gentle berry body wash most of the time, sometimes I only use soap, and then coffee&vanilla body scrub once a week. For the feminine wash, my favorite scent is the chamomile, because chamomile is one of my favorite flowers. 😉 At home, we also use the natural dishwashing liquid for our kitchenwares (photo on the left).

Before bedtime, these are the products that I use.

IMG_0726I start of with the Pixi Glow toner, then I apply the SkinFood Royal Honey Eye Cream on my under-eye, then apply either the Overnight Elixir or the Radiant Grace night cream, both by HumanNature.

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For more than a decade already, I made it a habit to apply a clear balm on my lips before I sleep. Here are my favorite brands, Nuxe, HumanHeartNature and VMV. Kiehl’s is gifted to me.

 

IMG_0720In the morning, before I go to work or church or other commitments, I apply basic make-up. I am not a heavy make-up user, I can go out just wearing a lipstick, I use other make-up products just because I am a woman. 😉 But honestly, I really prefer a no-make up look – always! 🙂

The first product I apply on my face is the SkinFood Tomato sun cream, I absolutely love this product, love the scent and finish on my face. I’ll buy my next tube in October, when I go to Busan. 🙂

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After the sunscreen, I apply the zit-zapper cream on my under-eye, then the blur cream on my T-zones.

Next to apply is my favorite bronzer by Nuxe, I bought this in Paris, I so love its scent, it is so easy to apply, it complements my skin color well.

After the bronzer, I apply some cheektint using either of these HappySkin products.

The next products I apply are the lipgloss and lipstick. There’s no denying that I love HappySkin lippies, I currently have 5 in different colors but I think I was able to finish 2 sticks already. For the lipgloss, I have 5 as well, by HumanNature, Muji which I bought in Osaka, 2 BareMinerals (gifted by Gillian) and the last one is Clinique from Leslie. 🙂

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If I will be asked to just use one “make-up”, this will be it, I love the color, the finish on my lips and it’s so affordable, too! 😉

I finish off my make-up by spraying this hydrating face mist. 🙂

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So there, I hope you learn something from this very long post, and I hope you also enjoy reading it. 🙂

Stay H, everyone! 😉 Happy, Healthy & Holy. 😍

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons Learned, Peony Lim

Happiest Birthday, PL! ♥♥♥

PeonyLim-ParisPinkandRed-gif1To my dearest, Peony Lim, now Mrs. PB,

I wish you the happiest birthday ever! ü

Thank you for being the kindest, prettiest, loveliest blogger I know. 🙂

You are truly an inspiration to me. I admire you because I know you are much more than a pretty face. I admire that you are a well-rounded person and sooo good in so many things. 

Because of you, I started to cook again, I try to wrap my gifts beautifully because these are some of the things that I love/enjoy doing but set aside because of “lack of time.” You made me realize that I can do things if I really want to. I know you are much busier than I am, so if you can do a lot of things, most probably I can do it too. 🙂

I admire that you are taking care of your health by eating well, working out and being positive even when things don’t go as planned.

Thank you for your kindness, for finding time to answer emails and other requests you get from your followers.

Thank you for your openness and sharing a big part of your life which we learn a lot from – love of family, travel, cooking, baking, wellness, fashion, love of family, and a whole lot more. 😉 I am not into make-up but I really enjoy watching all your tutorials, and I learn a lot from your tips. 🙂

I wish you all the very best! May you have the happiest, loveliest small & big moments, always! 🙂 

Stay happy!

♥♥♥

Your forever follower,

Ryah from Manila

Posted in Europe, Lessons Learned, Travel

Blooming – slowly but surely

IMG_8903It can’t be denied that travelling is one of the best sources of one’s learning and maturity. Whether you travel alone or with family/friends, you get to learn a thing or two about yourself, about others, about life in general. You just bloom and continue to blossom from the experience.

We have different reasons why we travel. After reading this post (from seed to flower) by Mari Jasmine, I too asked myself the reasons why I love to travel. The first reason that comes to mind is that I want to see and experience God’s wonderful creation, when we travel, you get to see that the world is so vast and so beautiful, you couldn’t grasp how great our Creator is. I love all things beautiful, I think everyone loves beauty, one of the best ways to experience beauty is to travel, I haven’t traveled much, but so far, every single city that I get to visit looks beautiful to me, each one is different but each one has its beauty to showcase and to put anyone in awe.

After I experienced spring in Seoul, South Korea for the first time, I dreamt of traveling to cold places, to experience spring and autumn in different continents, most especially, Europe. It’s generally warm (sometimes really hot in the Philippines) so when I travel, I hope to feel cool breeze, fresh air and lots of beauty around.

Aside from witnessing God’s wonderful creation and experiencing the cool weather, I also want to eat different food, and just savor the flavor which each distinct city offers. Everyone loves to eat, right, I am definitely not an exception. 😉

Alright, I want to shop too, but I know it’s not too practical to buy a lot because there’s just so many more wonderful things than stuff/material things, so I try my best to limit my spending so that I can save up the money for another travel.

In my recent travel to Europe, I’ve learned a lot, for someone who is a self-confessed late-bloomer, I definitely have a lot more to learn!! Thank God for the opportunity to travel, I get to learn lessons which make me wiser, a little bit stronger and better as a person, and as a traveler.

  1. Travel light.

Duh, Ryah? When will you ever learn?

IMG_8845 (Edited)This trip is my 7th international travel, but it’s the farthest and the longest. All of my first 6 travels took only a week and only within Asia. This time, it’s in Europe, we traveled to 6 cities within 3 weeks. Next time, (i) I should start packing early, not on the day of the travel. (ii) I should plan my wardrobe ahead of time, (iii) mix and match, (iv) remember that I can wash my undies right after taking a bath, so don’t bring too much, and (v) I can also do the laundry too, laundry shops are available everywhere. If I didn’t bring enough clothes, (vi) I can shop for more clothes, right? Shopping is part of travelling. 🙂 (vii) If I will be hopping from one city to another, bring medium luggage only. (viii) If I will stay in one or two cities only, I can bring the large luggage only if the vacation is two weeks or longer and I expect to do some shopping.

2. Stick to your budget.

I have budgeted Php2,000 per day for the trip. It should have been enough if only I used the daily budget to food and transportation only. The budget for shopping should be separate. For future travels, especially to Europe, I will budget Php3,000 per day for food and transportation, pls note that this is a pretty generous daily budget. The budget for shopping should be in a different wallet or pouch, never mix up the money for both allowances. Before the trip, the only must-buy in my mind is the leather bag in Florence, well I planned to buy a few more stuff like the Little Prince book and Jane Austen classics, I forgot to budget on the fridge magnets which are my mandatory souvenirs. If only I have more space in my luggage and if only it’s not too heavy, I wanted to buy the Starbucks demitasse in cities where it is available. Oh well! No regrets though…. sometimes I think, the “heavy luggage” situation happened because I am being spared from shopping too much, which is good. 🙂

IMG_9965Are there things I regret not buying because of my fear of carrying an even heavier luggage? Yes, there are a few things – some hardbound books in Notting Hill Bookshop, the Starbucks demitasse in Paris, France, a few more Leonidas chocolate bars, some more Cath Kidston handcreams, and the Lovea shampoo & shower cream, this is a French brand of natural products which I bought in one of Milan shopping malls, had I known that I would love these products, I should have bought more travel size tubes, or 1 big bottle for each. Oh well, lesson learned!

3. Chill.

More often than not, we travel because we want to relax, we want to rest in a far place, somewhere far from work, or from anything that causes stress. We spent 3 to 4 days in each city that we visited, we stayed longest in UK, 5 days, because I requested for it, I wanted to see my family and a couple of friends. As you know from experience, 3 or even 4 days are not enough to explore a city, even the small one. Since this is our first time in Europe, we wanted to see most of the tourist spots, so we booked tours and hop-on-hop-off buses in Florence, Milan, Paris, London and Rome. In Brussels, we depended on Leah, since she lives there and we only had 2 full days in Brussels, on our 3rd day, we even managed to go to Gent, in Graslei Canal, before we moved to London.

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I will surely come back for you, Toscana…

In every place that we visited, I can say with all conviction that we didn’t have enough time to chill one day and then explore the next day. Well, this is perfectly understandable, next time, we know better. On my next trip to Europe, 4 cities will be maximum in 3 weeks or 1 month, and spend atleast 4 full days in each city. I personally wanted to explore more of Tuscany, more of Paris, but we just didn’t have enough time. I love San Gimignano that’s why I want to go back, as for Paris, we barely had time to go to other landmarks except for the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, I want to go back to see the Eiffel Tower at night, to see more of the Louvre Museum, check out more museums and gardens, chill more, drink coffee at pavement cafes, eat more macarons and other French pastries, and maybe, just maybe, finally buy my first ever LV or Chloé bag. 🙂

4. Avoid last minute shopping.

Since we didn’t have enough time to chill, explore and shop in each city, we always made the most of our remaining hours in the city to shop or buy souvenirs for family and friends. When we do this, there’s a chance that we miss our flight or train ride, which actually happened to us in Paris going to Brussels, and almost happened again in Brussels going to London. It’s expensive to book a new ticket on the day of travel, well, we’re grateful that there’s another schedule that afternoon from Paris to Brussels.

On our last day in London, I went out even though it was raining hard because I wanted to buy a big  bottle of Pixi glow toner, which I thought might be cheaper since it is a UK brand. I was lucky enough to be able to buy it. After getting it, I went back to the hotel just in time for our check out, we went to the airport via Uber. At the airport, all liquids must be put inside a seal-able plastic bag. The ones which are 100ml or bigger should be checked in. I totally forgot about the toner that I bought, 250ml, which I put inside my bag after I purchased it in the morning. So naturally, I was not allowed to bring it with me, I had no choice but to leave it, and “throw away my £18!! 😦 Mailing it to my cousin’s home is more expensive than the item itself so I let it go and charged it to experience. 😦

5. Savor the food, the fruits, the flowers, as much as you can.

IMG_7626Back in Manila for 20 days, I must admit, setting aside the beauty and charm of Europe, including the cold weather of Brussels and London, what I miss the most are the fruits (cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) which are soooo yummy, readily available in grocery stores and so cheap!! So while I was there, I ate as much as I can, but I still miss it, if only I can bring a lot back home. I miss the flowers too, they’re too lovely and visible just anywhere. Next time, I won’t hesitate to buy a bouquet and have a photo op with it. 😉 I miss the coffee, the chocolates, the macarons… Okay, I miss Europe, pls take me back! ;D

6. Take lots of photos.

IMG_7042Yes, I did take lots of photos but I think they’re not enough to make a good album, most of the photos were taken thru the IG stories which have low resolution. One lesson learned is to use either digicam or iPhone for high resolution so it’s ready for album or for printing. If you want to have your photo taken in a particular place, don’t hesitate to ask your travel buddies. I actually don’t have much photos because I was too shy to ask my travel buddies.. Next time, I won’t be shy anymore. 😉

7. Save up for travel.

Don’t spend too much on stuff, so you can travel more often. My dream place is Europe, since it’s a big continent, with lots of beautiful cities to experience, I need to save up a lot so I can go back often and visit three to four cities at a time. 😉

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Hope you’re able to learn something from this post and apply it on your future travels. 😍😘

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬