I’ve always been a ballerines (French word for ballet flats) kind of gal.
I just love its classic look and comfy style.
Since I started working in my early twenties, that’s almost 2 decades by now, I’ve probably bought and worn (almost) a hundred pairs of ballerines. No, I am not kidding, you’ve read it right. Because I love it a lot, I just buy a pair or two, sometimes three each time, just of different colours. #beforeminimalism
I think it was in 2015 or 2016 that I discovered Marcha Ballerina, it wasn’t a local brand, but it has become my go-to when it’s time to shop for shoes. In April 2018, I learned that it’s going to close their physical stores in the Philippines, they had closed their small shops in nearby malls in late 2018. So my last purchase of ballerines was in mid-2018. Though they are still selling online in broken sizes.
Almost 9 months into essentialism journey, one of my guiding light in this journey is choosing and loving local brands whenever possible — it limits my options, thus making my life simple and uncomplicated, at the same time, helping out small, local entrepreneurs — basically my idea of intentional living at its finest.
One Friday afternoon last month, February, I finally had time to visit their one and only store in Makati, I didn’t buy thru their online store because I’m not sure what size to get, I’m usually 6.5 or 7, depending on the shoe style.
After getting lost, I finally found their store which was located at the lower ground of a building so you won’t see it while inside the car, so I passed by it twice.
I wanted to try their Pointy Basic and Erin (one of their ballerines’ styles) but they are not available in my size! Now I know I’m 6.5” with this brand. So after trying a couple of other shoe styles, I ended buying Prima shoes (the one on my right foot), another ballerines’ style, in blush. I bought only one pair this time because I wanted to try its fit and comfort on my feet first. So far, so good, I’m glad I bought this style and color.
Around 2 weeks after my visit, little did I know that the store will be renovated, the website is ongoing enhancements, too. I’m thrilled I managed to see the “old” store and really excited to go back and check out its new look.
Milk tea with pearls. White tee and denim jeans. Coffee with sweets.
These are some of the perfect combos for me. And while I was on blogging-hiatus for more than 8 months (my apologies…), I was discovering and embracing another Perfect Combo for my life (as well as enjoying my new role as a certified Tita (aunt) to our baby Kaeleb – another happy story). 🙂
In early 2018, I started watching YouTube videos on French and Scandinavian lifestyles, (yes, I discovered YouTube really late #certifiedlatebloomer), that was the time when I was itching (again) to work and live in Europe (that’s another story). And then I was led to videos on minimalism, intentional and sustainable living, and zero waste lifestyle. I got really interested, and in July 2018, I committed to take theessentialism AND intentional/sustainable living journey, my Perfect Combo. 🙂 Into the journey for more than half a year, I am loving and enjoying it, I am learning more and more each day. But I’m taking it slowly but surely. ️ I’m in no way in a rush because this is a way of life. A process of learning and doing things intentionally, with conscious mindfulness, will certainly bear good fruits and will reap long term benefits over a period of time.
Since I’ve become an essentialist (aka minimalist), an advocate for less waste if zero waste is not possible, and a supporter of local goods whenever available, I have shared/passed on/discarded more than 50% of my clothes, bags, shoes, accessories and knickknacks. And it feels so good to be living with less (material things), less clutter, more time to focus on things that really matter, and more space for beauty and order. Less time in deciding what to wear because I only have few (but good enough) options. I now know what I want and what will work for me for a really long time, quality over quantity. I’m keeping what sparks joy, and I’m letting go of what’s not — mostly they are the excesses from impulse buying when I was younger and less intentional with my purchases. For me, being an essentialist perfectly works well with living intentionally and sustainably. I’m gradually transitioning to zero-waste/less waste products, and buying goods from local brands, “love local” in its sweet essence, and I try my best to get away from products with plastic packaging. Our one and only Mother Earth is in great danger from many harmful human activities all caused by manufacturers trying to keep up with consumers’ demands due to materialism and onset of fast fashion. The problem on plastics and the adverse effects it has on our environment is unimaginable and irreversible.
On a day to day basis, I try to incorporate small acts of sustainable and intentional living with an essentialist mindset. Here are some of the small changes I made since I started my perfect combo journey, hope you’ll get to apply some of them, if not all, in your daily life too 🙂
I value quality time and meaningful relationship with God, family and friends
I take good care of my health and wellness, I value work, I save up and enjoy travelling
Fika and hygge (hoo-gah) are my kind of chill #scandinavianlifestyle
I don’t say yes to so many things, to many events, I know my priorities and try my best to manage my time and resources well to limit the occasion of stress and exhaustion
I have a list/inventory of the things I have and the things I want to keep using as an essentialist, I know what I prefer now (quality over quantity, classic pieces over trendy ones, neutral colors for versatility and long term use, locally made with sustainable ingredients for food, sustainable materials for products, no plastic packaging in my personal care products as much as possible, multiple use for minimal set of products, less plastic packaging for food and ingredients)
Switches to Zero/less waste:
from shampoo in a plastic bottle packaging to shampoo bar (there are several well-meaning creators/merchants, please check out zero_waste_ph,daniela calumba)
I am just finishing up my plastic-packaged conditioner and feminine wash, then I will also switch to conditioner bar and intimate soap bar
from dishwashing liquid soap in a plastic bottle to liquid soap in a refillable glass bottle (ritualph)
from using facial tissues to reusable, washable towelettes
from using tissue to dry my hands, I use hand towels
I just use my palms when I apply toner and serum on my face, no need for cotton balls
from cotton buds to reusable, washable ear pick
using loose tea leaves than the ones in tea bags (the bags are not biodegradable!)
from plastic-packaged supplements to supplements in reusable glass bottles (I usually buy them in healthy options)
from using plastic straws for milk tea w/ pearls to using my reusable bamboo straw, I also have the metal one with me always (sip, sloliving)
been using handkerchiefs since childhood, so less need for tissue = less waste
for times when plastics cannot be refused or avoided, we do “ecobricking“
always bring your tumbler with water or any of your preferred drink to keep you from buying water/juices/soda in plastic bottles. I always bring my bamboo tumbler anywhere even during my Europe trip last year, aside from saving some euros, I also didn’t add to plastic bottle and coffee cup/plastic lid waste
always bring your reusable spoon, fork, chopsticks and straws with you (sloliving)
everytime I shop I use my ecobag, I refuse plastic bags and paper bags, no matter how pretty they are, they will just accumulate and will eventually be thrown away (another waste)
I bring a jar of nuts/snacks (bought from humblemarket, a bulk shopping store) to avoid buying plastic-packaged unhealthy snacks
I use baking soda as a cleanser for bathroom and deodorizer for my fridge
my tumbler cleaner, scourer and bottle brushes are made out of coconut husk (got it from groodwood_ph)
instead of drinking plastic-packaged instant coffee, I usually drink locally-produced coffee using my locally-made french press
I have more small changes that I plan to incorporate in my life, and I am sure to share them with you as I go along. As I mentioned, this is a journey, a lifetime journey, so we have more than enough time to learn from each other and do good for the environment and for the future generation. Always remember, every (small) kind act which is done consistently and mindfully over a long period of time, will surely bear good fruits. 🙂
On this particular day, I managed to squeeze in some “me time.” I actually wanted to make it a regular part of my schedule, maybe once a month, one Saturday or one Sunday when I will spend it somewhere, just reading, chilling, writing my thoughts, drafting some blog posts, having coffee in a cozy place. On some days, I can also watch a movie after I’m done with my reading and writing. I should do it, I think it will be a good investment for one’s wellness to have some me time once in awhile. 😉
Photo from Pinterest
This is another change in me which I lovingly embrace, wearing a basic white tee with white or denim pants is my fave outfit now, and I am certain it will be that way for a really long time, or maybe until I get old and grey. 😛
While we are on the subject of change, I will be sharing with you some changes in me, very light and happy ones, so don’t worry. 🙂
I used to be an avid tea-drinker, well, I still drink tea but very seldom. I only drink it when I feel like I “need” it. Need means I need to detox, I don’t feel good and it seems that drinking tea will make me feel better because of its health benefits. I have lots of tea on my cupboard, all gifted by my generous and thoughtful friends. For some odd reasons, I became more of a coffee-drinker overtime… I guess it’s always true when they say that when you keep on doing something, in this case, drinking coffee, it will eventually become a habit, and your system just longs for it, sometimes you don’t realize that it has already become a part of you.
Here are some cups of coffee which I had in the past couple of months. Aside from the taste and aroma, I think I am drawn to its beauty. The latte art, whether simple or intricate, will always get me. My love for all things beautiful will always make me prefer coffee over tea. But don’t get me wrong, I know tea drinking and ceremony (is) another level of beauty and even history. And milk tea is a different matter altogether, I love milk tea with pearls, period. I am just saying, at this stage of my life, late 30s, I have discovered my love for caffeine and I am happy with the journey.
On normal days, days when I am drinking coffee alone, I drink different “instant” coffee which I discovered one way or another. I am trying to find that one instant coffee that will become my “go-to” for comfort and that morning caffeine fix. So far, I’ve tried the following: Nescafe Gold (Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Cafe Au Lait), Khao Shong from Thailand (Caramel Macchiato and Cappuccino) and Kaffea, a local brand and it’s organic, I love organic and supporting local brands. I’ve enjoyed them all though I am still looking for some more or “the one”. 😉
This is a little change in me lately and I am happy to embrace it. Drinking coffee is very special to me because most of the time, it means being with family and friends, catching up, having fun, making memories, enjoying a cozy ambiance, and just being together.♥
Are you the type who embraces change quite easily or are you like me or most of us who prefer comfort 99% of the time and stay in that zone as much as we can, as much as we are allowed to?
Change has lots of facets, degrees, phases, twists and turns, which make life all the more fun and exciting. If change is good and beautiful, that without a doubt is so easy to accept and embrace without so much thought and resistance. Change is sometimes internal, we change through our experiences, lessons we learn as we go along, and sometimes change is external, life imposes it upon us and we have no control about it but we only have to face it, trust that it will be for our good, optimize all the teachings it offers, either it’s obvious or it’s something that will unfold eventually.
Sometimes, when life is well, we like it to stay that way for a really long time, though sometimes, even when life is well, you know in your heart that you want something more, something different, something you think is better, more beautiful than what you currently have and where you currently are, and sometimes I go and dwell to that place and phase.I am happy and grateful with how things are in my life, I am so grateful for my family and every single person in my life, very grateful for good health and strength, I appreciate the people I work with and the place where I work, I look forward to the coming of the baby in our family, my very first nephew, and the changes it will bring in our lives. But sometimes, I will remember to ask the Lord to bring me to “this world” which I dream of, pray and hope for… If the Lord will grant that request, it will certainly require so many changes in me and everything around me, it is both exciting and overwhelming when I think about it. And after awhile, I will get back to my senses and be reminded that God holds my life, its beginning and end, He is my Father and He definitely has the best plans for me, for all of His children. From then on, peace will again fill me, and I am well.
Sweet surrender is a good place to be – always– whether you are currently in your comfort zone or you are brought to a entirely new environment.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
When I travel, I usually pack my clothes on the day of departure because I didn’t want my clothes to crumple (too much). I think this is okay for short trips, but not for 2 or 3 week trip. I tried to do that for my 3-week Europe trip, and it was not good, it’s actually a bad move, I ended up bringing so much clothes which was a nightmare especially in Europe!! I lost weight (even after so much eating – too much pasta, pizza and gelato) from carrying my heavy large luggage while transferring from one city to another. We explored 6 cities in 4 countries within 3 weeks, I knew it was only by God’s grace that I was sustained with so much energy and strength, and I was definitely in good health, before, during and after the trip, thank and praise God for everything and for sending kind-hearted people who helped me carry my luggage when I needed it most! 🙂
So on the day of the trip, I packed the lightest clothes, mostly white tops, because Bangkok weather was ranging from 32-36 degrees that time. I actually dreaded the hot weather but I just tried to prepare for it, I brought a big good old fan, facial mist, wet ones, towels, sunscreen, my good old Starbucks tumbler (which I always fill up with water), and extra shirts. Below is the photo of all the things I packed for the trip. On the day of return to Manila, I only had 1 shorts, 1 skirt and 1 sleeveless top which I was not able to wear, so I was really happy for doing a good job in my packing this time. 🙂 By the way, I ended up not using the distressed jeans on the photo, I wore a lighter pair of jeans with floral stitches thrice during the whole trip! 😛
Our 4th and last day was basically a travel/airport day, no more other agenda aside from checking out the nearby pool in our neighborhood which was less than a minute walk from our beautiful and big AirBnb, our happy home. We had hoped to atleast hang out by the pool and swim but we were so tired each night after a long day of travel so we didn’t have the time for some refreshing night swimming. Another thing that we ran out of time to do was to get some relaxing, must-needed Thai massage – definitely a must next time! 😉
So on our last morning in Bangkok, we tried to capture some more remembrance of our happy home and lovely neighborhood. 🙂
I had managed to do an endorsement shoot in the morning for a newly discovered drink which became an instant favorite ♥ Thanks for the sister for being my photographer! 😛
Before heading to the airport, we had our yummy breakfast at a “fancy” street food stall near our home 😛
Here’s the authentic, freshest, yummiest chicken Thai soup I had for brekky, and it’s the cheapest too! ♥
Of course, I wouldn’t let this day pass without my milktea! I loaded up on milktea for 4 consecutive days!
Before going back to our happy home to get our things, we had one last stop at 7-eleven. I would have hoarded lots of drinks (especially the collagen one, soooo good!) if only I wasn’t afraid of them accidentally spilling on my things! Next time, I should have a separate, durable bag for drinks alone! I ended up bringing home only 3 pouches of the collagen drink which I finished all in one day… 😛
Now, we’re ready to go and spend a few hours at the airport before our flight to Manila. The flight of Nikky, my brother and my sister was 5 hours earlier than Tet’s and my flight. So Tet and I had some time to window-shop, chill at Starbucks and chat a lot! 🙂
By this time, you probably know that I collect Starbucks cards from the places I visit, and even from Philippines when I find the cards lovely and pretty. And my very thoughtful and generous friends give me Starbucks cards as pasalubong from their trips too. 🙂 I find that they are the lightest souvenir that I can take home from my trips and also I get to enjoy a cup or two because when you “buy” the card, the cost of the card is actually consumable. 🙂 The cards are free in some cities/countries too! Here are some recent additions to my collection, which are gifted by my sweet and supportive friends. 😉
So for this Bangkok trip, getting a Starbucks card was part of the agenda. There were lots of Starbucks in Bangkok but we didn’t manage to visit most of them due to lack of time. I checked out one Starbucks branch, I forgot where, but I didn’t like the available cards so I didn’t get any. I thought I would get another chance to check out other branches, which I did, there were 2 or 3 branches inside the airport, I was able to go to 2 of them.
Tet and I went to the first branch after we had lunch with Nikky, Carlo and Kris just before they checked in.
n. A freshsoftItaliancheesewith a highbutterfatcontent,madefromlightcream.
My sister requested me to buy her a set of Starbucks demitasse, her collection. Sorry, I didn’t have a photo of it, but it’s a set of 2 mini-mugs with Bangkok and Thailand inscription on each, a good souvenir too. The first branch had no Starbucks card. So while getting the demitasse for my sister, I got tempted to get a cutie mini-mug for myself. ♥
Maybe after more than an hour of chatting and chilling at Starbucks, Tet and I waited at the designated Terminal to check-in. After we got in, Tet and I walked a long mile to find the 2nd Starbucks only to find out that there were no cards too! 😩😭😫 So I tried to keep my cool hahaha and I was glad that I got a better remembrance from the 1st branch! 🙂 Thanks much Tet for supporting me in my crazy pursuit though all in vain! 😛 But seriously, thanks a lot for walking the long mile with me to find the Starbucks on the other end (of the world) from our boarding gate, and window-shopping with me! Really appreciate it. Kob kun kaa. ♥
Now that I am about to close this 4-part series of my Bangkok posts, I would really like to take this chance to thank these 4 amazing, beautiful, lovely, fun-loving, easy going, generous, thoughtful, godly bunch! If not for all of you, I wouldn’t have a very special summer trip this year. I thank and praise God for our wonderful, glorious, short but sweet summer vacation. I am truly blessed to have visited Thailand for the first time with my Christian family and friends – that’s another reason which made this trip truly special. ♥♥♥♥♥ Where to next? 🙂
“Every good and perfect gift is from Above…’ – James 1:17