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 Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

77++

When I travel, I am happy with the reality that I am with family and/or friends, and we will share lots of wonderful memories together in a different place. That’s why I only have very few musts – must see, must eat, must buy – the rest of the trip, I happily go with the flow, go where my family or friends wish to go or what they wish to do.

For my recent trip to Europe, my dream destination, I’ve been listing my musts even before I bought the ticket for it, that’s why when it’s already actually happening, my list came in (so) handy. 🙂

I posted this list in my previous post, I was able to do 12 out of 19. I am very happy because the 7 things which I wasn’t able to do were replaced by 77++ more beautiful experiences (trip to Bellagio, Lake Como / Lugano, Switzerland / Brussels & Gent in Belgium) which I wouldn’t trade for anything else. 😀

France

  • Eiffel Tower – ✔
  • Eat macarons at Laduree Pierre Herme – ✔
  • Coffee at pavement cafes (done in Italy) – ✔
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book – ✔ not in Paris, but in Notting Hill, London

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato! – ✔✔✔
  • Leaning tower of Piza – ✔✔✔ Kim and I even climbed up the Pisa and we were stunned by the gorgeous view from the top!
  • Colosseum – ✔✔ We saw it both day time and night time, in both times, absolutely picturesque, right Caye? 🙂
  • Buy leather bag in Florence San Gimignano – ✔ So happy to find a very lovely but not pricey brown leather bag

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel (and auntie too!)- ✔✔✔ I was happiest in London because I was able to spend time with them, so love them!! ♥♥♥
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids – ✔✔✔ Happy to catch up with Bong and Iris, such precious time to be with friends 🙂
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon – hopefully next time I’ll get to watch this
  • Eat at monocle cafe – no more time, maybe next time
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – ✔✔ Yes! We went to Notting Hill bookstore and the apartment where the character of Hugh Grant lives 🙂 I loved the bookstore so much, if only I have the space on my luggage for those lovely hardbound books…
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set – nope! hopefully next time!
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉 – she was in Miami when I was in London, not meant to be ;P
  • Photo op with real peonies – ✔ no photos with peonies but I got to see them in real life (I think in Milan and Rome) So beautiful!!!
  • Umbrella park at Bath – nope! next time 🙂
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir – not available, guess only few were released
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room – nope, next time, too!

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I thank and praise God for the 77++ unfathomable beauty that He showed us and made us experience in this trip. I trust He has much more wonderful things in-store for me. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled.

Image-1Back from my dream travel for almost a week, I wouldn’t want to miss this chance to glorify God for causing it to happen.

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled. 🙏🙌 My 💖 is full. 😊
Europe is my dream destination. I had it in my heart in my late teens. Can’t remember how and why, I guess it’s one of those dreams that God has planted in my 💖.
I’ve been open about it, family and friends know about this dream. I believe in the power of proclaiming your dreams, believing God to will it in His time and prepare for it as you wait for Him to make it happen.
Everything is kept in my 💖, lessons learned included.🙋 The photos and my nonexistent photography skill couldn’t make justice as to how I beautifully see it, feel it, and reminisce of every single precious moment I experienced, every single person I spent time with and those who I briefly encountered all throughout the trip. I am grateful (beyond words) to GOD who give great gifts to His children (James 1:17). 🙌He has blessed us, spoiled us, showed us marvelous, unfathomable beauty and kindness (yes, still exists) in the world (despite all the scary things happening around), and protected us.
I’m back to my normal life, but I am equally grateful and happy because this is where God wants me to be at this time. Bloom🌻 where you’re planted, right? 😍
God knows I will always want to go back to Europe, He knows what’s in my 💖 but I trust His will & want His best for my life, far more than my version of what’s best for me. ☺
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
#oldsoul®
#GODspoils🙌🙌🙌

#LivingTHEdream💞💖

#gratefulbeyondwords💞💖

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

Europe…we’ll see you soon!

FullSizeRenderIf you are a loved one or a very dear friend of mine, you sure know that Europe is a big dream of mine. I actually have 3 big dreams, only God and me know what these 3 dreams are. One of these big dreams is to live, work and retire in Europe with my family. In 35 days, I will get to see, smell, taste, feel and experience Europe in the flesh. 🙂

I think I was in my early 20s when I started dreaming of travelling to Europe, it was so far-fetched back then because promo fares were still unheard of. Thanks to the changing times, travel has become affordable to many.

In 2010, mi amiga Lianne and I promised to each other that we would go on our Europe trip, we were taking Spanish language classes during that time, the agreed year was 2015. Fast-forward to 2015, mi amiga got married and had her first baby. As for me, tax issue hit the Filipino staff in our company, we had to pay our taxes and had to push back all our travel plans with friends.

In early 2015, I got promoted and transferred back to my first department in ADB, OGC. I met new set of friends. My default travel buddies had different travel plans so I had no one to go with me to Europe. In my new set of friends in OGC, Caye and Kim were keen on going to Europe, my prayers were answered, thank you, Lord! Each of us has different reasons for wanting this Europe trip but God has caused us to be each other’s travel buddy. Thank you so much, Lord. 😊

Last year, a few days before my birthday, Caye, Kim, and I booked our ticket via Qatar Airways! We started out counting from 200 plus days and now we’re down to 35 days!

As of this writing, we already have our Schengen visa. We are hoping to get our UK visa in early May. I have practiced packing my clothes, I will edit it some more but I think I’m 90% good. We’ll be meeting a couple of friends and we’ll visit my cousin Jel and her adorable family in London.

So far, here’s my personal list of the things I want to do/experience subject to Caye & Kim’s approval 😊:

France

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Eat macarons at Laduree
  • Coffee at pavement cafes
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato!
  • Leaning tower of Piza
  • Colosseum
  • Buy leather bag in Florence

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon
  • Eat at monocle cafe
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – Friday morning
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉
  • Photo op with real peonies
  • Umbrella park at Bath
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room 43

My hashtags for this trip are ready too:

#GODspoils®️

#LivingTHEd®eam

#®️yahINeu®️ope2017

Before we reached to this point, we had gone through a lot of challenges and loss along the way, but in all of these, God remained faithful. He caused us to endure everything and believe that this Europe dream is not only our dream but most importantly, HIS dream for Caye, Kim and me. 😊

And we are too grateful and blessed to experience the fulfillment of God’s dream for us.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1

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with the answer to my prayers, my lovelies, Kim & Caye

♥♥♥

Posted in Good gifts, Non-negotiable, Settling

When settling is okay…

There are things which are non-negotiable, especially when it comes to someone’s values, character, and identity in Christ.

With my experiences in life, one of the good fruits, is now I know my non-negotiables, most specifically when it comes to relationships, be it with friends or with “someone special.”

I am wonderfully blessed with amazing people around me, my family, friends and even my colleagues. If there are two greatest blessings I have right now which I am grateful beyond words, they are my family/friends and our strength/good health. Having these in my life, I know I am extremely blessed which I am really happy about. 🙂 All other things are just bonuses, and I can boldly announce to the world that God is so good to me, He gives me lots of bonuses. 😀 All praises and thanksgiving to you, our Great God, our Father, our Savior, our Healer, our Friend, our Lover, You Are All GOOD. 😀

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  – James 1:17

Actually, I learned from one of the preachings in Victory, and I believe it: that the greatest gift/manifestation of God’s generosity is our salvation thru Christ Jesus, and everything else (is) just wonderful bonuses from Above. We are enjoying our life here on earth because Jesus has saved us and forgave our sins thru dying on the cross.

When it comes to our faith, we shouldn’t settle. Our God is great and He deserves the top spot in our lives. He deserves our time, our attention, our love, our best.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33

When it comes to mundane things, I guess it’s okay to settle, from time to time, depending on the circumstance. For me, simple is beautiful, always. In this world where materialism/consumerism is just too much, it is always best to go back to basics, relieve ourselves from getting stressed by trying to be “IN” all the time, and just be content with what we have and what we can have without getting into debt.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful things, I do, even the expensive ones. But I know that I can be happy without them. I am actually happy without them, I am content with just appreciating beautiful things. I am also an advocate of local products, when I find myself liking imported, expensive things, I remind myself that it’s always good to support our own, always good to be practical and simple. #lovelocal #proudlyPinoy

A couple of months ago, I had a serious bag crush on these two. The one on the left is Sezane, a French brand, and the one on the right is Cuyana, a US brand.

As of this writing, I still love them. But I know they are something I can’t afford right now. Someday, I hope to have them. But for now, I will happily settle for something local and will serve the same purpose. 🙂

Tada!! The half-moon crossbody bag below is by PoshPocket, a local brand, this bag is handcrafted with vegan leather, a leather substitute that looks and feels like genuine cow leather and contains no animal products. It comes with a matching zip pouch to safeguard your small items, with gold metal zipper closure. 😉

What you think? It’s pretty, right, especially with my monogram on it? 🙂

This is what I mean when I say “settling is okay.” You can be happy without hurting your pocket. 😉