Posted in Ballerines, Essentialism, Intentional living, Love local, Minimalism, Sustainable living

On switching and loving local

I’ve always been a ballerines (French word for ballet flats) kind of gal.

I just love its classic look and comfy style. 

Repetto Ballerines

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

Au revoir, Marcha…

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.

I’ve always wanted to try Posh Pocket Shoes, it was always on my radar, but since Marcha Ballerina has become my go-to brand, I didn’t get to try Posh, though I bought a half-moon crossbody bag from their bag line, PoshEveryday.

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. 

Hopefully by then, Pointy Basic in greige (gray and beige) will be available in my size. 

Posted in Change, Essentialism, Intentional living, Minimalism, Sustainable living, Things to do, Zero waste

The Perfect Combo for me ♥♥

♥♥

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). 🙂

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Essentialism and Sustainable Living

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 the essentialism 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 🙂

Essentialism:

  • 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)
travel essentials – lightweight, safe and minimal

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 plastic-packaged toothpaste tubes to toothpowder in a jar
  • from plastic toothbrush to wooden/bamboo toothbrush
  • 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. 🙂

There’s hope, always! 🙂

Posted in Beauty and Wellness, Books, Change, Coffee lover, Goals, Inspiration, Just Random, Knowing oneself, Lagom, Lessons Learned, Life's lessons, Minimalism, note to self, Reading, Things to do, Womanhood

“me time” essentials

💁The ABCs of my “me time” essentials include:

Good:

  • Ambiance 🌿🌻
  • Book 📖
  • Coffee ☕

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. 😉

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Last Sunday, I brought this book with me, I’ve read it a few weeks ago, and I wanted to browse it again and be reminded of the beauty and versatility of wearing white shirts. I consider it to be a classic and classy wardrobe staple.

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I used to not like white shirts. I thought it didn’t look good on my complexion. But it has changed in the recent years, I now love white shirts. It’s either I’ve become less conscious of how things look on me or comfort has become a priority as I mature — must be both reasons. 😉

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. 😛

#embracingchange #simplicityisbeauty

Posted in Family, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special (Last Part)

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! 😛

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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. 🙂

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group photo inside our lovely home on Day 1

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! 😛

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Before heading to the airport, we had our yummy breakfast at a “fancy” street food stall near our home 😛

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2570.JPGHere’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!

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last milktea for this trip… until next time 🙂

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.

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Another thing I really enjoy is trying out new drinks and pastries in Starbucks. I know these are not available in the Philippines, so I ordered and loved the new cappuccino blend and the green tea and red bean mascarpone. I had to check my Merriam Webster app to check what mascarpone means. 😛

mas·car·po·ne

  (mäs′kär-pō′nĕ, -pōn′) 

n. fresh soft Italian cheese with a high butterfat content, made from light cream.

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. 

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I love the design and it’s very handy too. For souvenirs, I prefer something light and small. Btw, the demitasse is on the lower right corner of this photo, sorry, it’s blurred.

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? 🙂

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“Every good and perfect gift is from Above…’ – James 1:17

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Posted in Family, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special (Part 3)

P4280355Big. Enormous. Gigantic. Elaborate. Intricate. Beyond lavish.

These are just some descriptions I have for Grand Palace. It is very true to its name, grand is actually an understatement. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have seen quite a lot but it still blows my mind each time I see such elaborate, intricate, gigantic edifice of different forms, kinds, architecture and history. How in the world were they able to create those structures some hundred years ago (sans machines, technologies, electricity) with such accuracy, beauty, artistry and intricacy…

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On Day 3, we finally had the time to visit the Grand Palace. It’s a must see, never to be missed even on a hot day. But if ever I will go back with family or friends, I would prefer to go on a cooler weather. We were literally dripping with so much sweat because it was soooo hot, another underestimate. 😛 We were there between 9:00am – 10:30am. The whole place, though it was grandiose, it was still unimaginably and amazingly filled with tourists!!

I tried to take photos though I could hardly see through my camera lens because the sun was up and so bright even with my sunnies on.
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Of course, the 🌞 didn’t stop us from taking group photos and videos and having some good laughs and blogger poses in between. 😛😂

As soon as we got out of the Palace, we beat the heat by rewarding ourselves with some ice cream. 😍

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été is a French equivalent of ‘summer,’ it’s pronounced ‘ay-tay’

Since Day 3 was our last full day in Bangkok, it was also our last chance to do some shopping.

We requested our driver to bring us to Platinum Fashion Mall, where we first had lunch at the foodcourt, I had the yummiest Thai soup (forgot how it was called), but I was too hungry to even take a photo of it 😛 (sorry!) and then shopped. Since we had limited time, I bought first my friends’ requests and some souvenirs for family and friends.

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I got these keychains (and some cute elephant printed pouches) for pasalubong because I love that they are hand-made in Thailand (not in PRC). 😛

When my friends go to Thailand, I only have one request – Durian Chips. I would have hoarded these chips but they are expensive! The one in round container is almost P500 ($10)!!

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Aside from the Jim Thompson scarf, this lovely elphie wallet and a keychain were my remembrance from this wonderful trip. Really love these cuties. 🙂

When my friends learned that I would be going to Bangkok, they all had the same word for me – shopping in Bangkok is cheap. So I kept it in my mind and heart 😛 and managed to keep myself from buying anything from the time the flight was booked  until our trip to Bangkok – big milestone for someone who never failed to buy something new to wear for a trip (you know OOTD is life in IG). 😛 Each time I got tempted to buy a top, or a pair of pants, or bag, or even accessories, I would instinctively tell myself “that’s probably cheaper in Bangkok” and then I would walk away as fast as I could. 🤪

So the day of shopping finally came, but by this time, I’ve ran out of my pocket money, my ATM didn’t work, so I borrowed a few bucks from my brother & sister!! Lifesavers! 😛 So I depended on little cash and my creditcard but unfortunately, most shops don’t accept creditcard payment and some have 3% bank charge! But I still tried to go through each floor and looked for something to buy for momsy, my preggy sister and/or me. I managed to buy a dress and skorts (skirt/shorts) for momsy and nothing for me!! Amazing, such a breakthrough! 🤣😂😜

So I had some affirmations about myself through this experience:

✅ I’ve experienced this a few times – I would go home empty handed from mall wide sales.  It came to a point when mall wide sales don’t entice me anymore. I don’t and can’t force myself into buying something just because it’s on sale.

✅ No fitting policy won’t work for me. I want to try something on and see if it looks good on me before I consider buying it.

✅ Too many options, limited time and crowded malls have negative effect on my appetite to shop – which is actually friendly on my pocket. 😜

✅ I would rather spend my money on food than things – I love to bring home some local goodies for my family and friends for them to try and taste. So I bought some locally produced coffee, milk tea, noodles, and snacks from Big C, a big grocery store near Platinum Fashion Mall.

Thanks to Eia for introducing me to this coffee brand (Khao Shong), I love it! 🙂

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So that’s all folks for Day 3! We definitely had a grand and lovely time! On this day, my brother, sister and I wore our matching shirts! I got one for momsy, daddy and Matty too! 🙂

Posted in Family, Friendship, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Minimalism, note to self, Travel, Travel Highlights

Summer Special… (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed with another short yet definitely sweet and super fun trip this April. It’s a blessing because my favorite sister Kris, I only have one :), and favorite brother-in-law Carlo gifted me with a flight ticket to Bangkok. 🙂 Thank you so much, you’re the best sister and brother to me! 😀 Thanks much too to Nikky for booking it for our group and taking good care of us all throughout, you’re the best! 🙂

This trip, my 12th country, Thailand, is very special in more ways than one. Aside from being our first time to travel together out of the country, it’s also my sister’s first out of the country trip and she’s 4 months pregnant with the very first grandchild of our growing little family. 🙂 It’s also the first time that we would get to travel with Kris’ and Carlo’s friends/churchmates, Nikky and Tet. 🙂

So many firsts! So many things to be thankful for! 🙂

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very grateful for these 4, we had so much fun together 🙂

This photo was taken in Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer Palace), our first stop on Day 1 – 18 April – Ayutthaya Day trip. The backdrop is called Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The divine seat of personal freedom). Of all the places that we explored, the Summer Palace is actually my top favorite, we took lots of beautiful photos on this very beautiful place. I loved that this place has pavilions and gazebos laid out in a garden setting, Western style-buildings, there’s Victorian feel to it, everything is just so lovely. 

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Keng Boo-Pah Pra-Paht

After taking lots of photos and shortcutting our tour around the Summer Palace because it was getting too hot already, we were ready for my much awaited Thai milk-tea, and Thai lunch!! 😛

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All smiles – Thai milk tea is ♥

Here’s our Day 1 Thai lunch, all soooo yummmm!!

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first Thai lunch with our hospitable, generous kuya driver/tour guide 🙂

After lunch, we were ready for another treat – Ayutthaya Historical Park-hopping all afternoon. 🙂

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Thanks to my brother and sister for their GoPro, we’ve got lots of wide-angled photos and super funny videos. 🙂

Next stop, one of the highlights, was our up-close encounter with a biggie but uber cutie elephant 🙂

After our photo-op with cutie elphie, it’s time for my 2nd milk tea! 😛

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Too hot at 3pm!!!

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This was our last stop in Ayutthaya, we’re too exhausted to go inside, we took this photo from the fence 😛

That’s all for now for my first Thailand trip.

Posts on Day 2-4 will follow in the coming days, hopefully. 🙂

Good night, folks!

Hugs from warm Manila 🙂

Posted in God's victory, Inspiration, Knowing oneself, Lessons Learned, Love, Minimalism, Non-negotiable, note to self, Womanhood, Word of God

knowing oneself

Lately there are lots of templates on Instagram where you will answer questions about yourself, it’s like an online version of the good old slambook! 🙂

I first saw it from my dear friend Gillian’s IG stories so I downloaded some of the templates from TheSundayChapter IG and answered them. Sharing some here:

Having been able to answer these templates quickly and enjoyably made me happy and realized that I know myself much better now compared when I was much younger. I guess that’s just how life works, as you go through life, as you experience lots of things, both good and not-so-good, you get a better understanding of who you are, what you prefer and why you prefer this one thing over the other, why you do what you do and you are happy about it (no need to explain yourself to anyone), you know your negotiables and non-negotiables which is really liberating. You don’t depend your choices and decisions on someone else because you know what works well for you and what’s not, and you are very cool with it (talking about acceptance :)).  

Knowing oneself is a lifetime process, so we better enjoy and love as we discover new things about us day by day. As we age, we change our preferences, though there are things that we will hold dear until the end, we improve (hopefully), we learn to let go of things quite easily because we now know what matters most, and we know that it’s never about material things but about our God (our life with Him here and thereafter), our life’s purpose, and every single person we are blessed to have around us. These people help shape who we are, and vice versa, so let’s strive to have positive influences towards each other, let’s walk together towards goodness and righteousness, all for God’s glory. 

Discovering oneself will not be always a walk in the park, sometimes you will have doubts, sometimes you will be judged and you might get off track and feel sad about it but you have to be reminded who you really are, in Christ. Your worth is dependent in Christ alone, He knows who you really are and He loves you just the same, unconditionally for all eternity. 

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”