Tuesday, May 28, 2013


My #Positivity and #ProjectSimplify are doing really well. I'm feeling happier everyday and I learned to lighten up my baggage gradually. I made peace with my past, got in touch with long lost people and accepted that the things I didn't get and cannot change are most probably not the best for me. For a competitive woman in her late 20s, that can be tough. But for a competitive woman who believes she is a child of an abundant God, that's fine. There's a whole world of blessings to claim. I just have to be ready.

I've been reading a lot, too. Lately, my bedtime menu includes how to become truly wealthy, gain financial freedom and what it truly means to be rich. I realized that the reason why I rough myself up to achieve my financial and career goals is simple. It's not really to hoard pesos in my bank accounts or pile up my closet with expensive things. It's actually because (1) I want peace of mind. And this peace of mind actually stems from knowing that I have enough to give my family a comfortable, even luxurious life. Or that they get sustainable funds if I'll be gone sooner than expected. There's nothing wrong with that. Number (2) It's also because having more means I can help more. How many times do I have to say "sana mayaman ako" whenever I see heartbreaking stories of families living inhumane conditions. People with no shelter,  no food, not even access to clean water. Kids who cannot go to school despite the fact that education is a basic human right. I would love to send those kids to school! But how can I do that if I don't have much to spare? Bo Sanchez said that for two decades he thought that to serve the poor, he should embrace poverty too. But he also realized that's not what God actually wanted. We can love the poor and serve them more if we have more. It makes perfect sense. Money is not evil. Wealth is not evil. It's actually a wonderful enabler. It's how we use it that matters.

So aside from my #Positivity and #ProjectSimplify, I must add #MyRoadToRiches. I hope to share my journey, what I'll learn and do to be truly abundant! 

It all starts with a pledge, a decision, and I'm making one today. 

For practice, and just so that we're not too serious. ;)

Recommended reads:
Perang Di Bitin by Andy Roberto 
My Maid Invests in the Stock Market by Bo Sanchez
Ready to Be Rich by Fitz Villafuerte 
Truly Rich Club 
Pesos and Sense

From the soon-to-be richer Nook,

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Weight Loss Chronicles

 I did lose weight.

The comments of my family and friends are finally sinking in. I really thought they were just being polite or extra nice when they say "baket ang payat mo" or "you look like you went back to your College days". It didn't occur to me until now that the most effective way for me to lose weight, is to actually not obsess about it. True that it's different for each individual. We can opt for strict diet plans, subscribe to expert help (ie. Cohen), and/or engage in new sports or workout. 

Coming from someone whose weight can swing from sick-looking payat to alarmingly heavy, I learned to understand that my body responds not only to what I eat (and not eat), but to what I do and my overall attitude. It has a lot to do with commitment, balance, consistency and most of all, understanding how your mind and body works.

I hope what worked for me can work for you, too. I don't know how much pounds I lost so far, to be honest, I never keep track. You'll learn why. All I know is that I already NEED, and not want, a new wardrobe because my clothes are starting to look like they're not mine. 

1. Start slow, but start now. I started to reduce my intake for a beach outing in February. All I wanted was to look decent in my swimsuit, but then I also realized that while I do love my body, it can be much much better. So I started three weeks before my Pundaquit getaway, and never looked back. 

2. Eat less, and eat right. Eating less of the bad stuff is different from eating less of the good ones. If you want to lose weight, the first thing to do is examine your diet and lessen your overall intake. Next, dissect your diet further and decide on food that you have to keep or kick. It's not rocket science. It's common sense, you read it over and over again. More of the good stuff means more natural, organic, freshly prepared, lean, home-cooked food. Less of processed, junk, preserved, fatty, salty and sweet. And I said less, because I have sinful pleasures i.e. soda and sausages like any normal human being. If you can stay away from the bad stuff 100%, good for you. If you can't, that's okay and normal. Don't be too hard on yourself. A little bit won't hurt.

3. Satisfy not stuffed. When I was younger, I eat to my heart's content. I will eat as long as I want to. Then I end up bloated and on the verge of purging. I enjoy the food while I eat it, get sated, and eventually sick that it's no longer a pleasurable experience. Now, I learned to listen to my body, and stop when I feel satisfied but never stuffed. It can be a bit pricey to eat small, frequent meals when you're not home, but you can always ask the waiter to wrap the remaining food on the table. It's also similar to eating only when hungry. You can have lunch at 10 or 12 or at 1.You're body will tell you when, so listen.

5. Quality over Quantity. My best friend gave a the book on how French Women Don't Get Fat. My immediate take away is to go for quality over quantity. If only I learn to eat the premium kind (of meat, of veggies, of pastries, of chocolates), then I wouldn't need a lot. Classic example is that I get more satisfaction from a premium kind of dark, nutty chocolate than a cheap, overly sweet candy bar. Or a handful of fresh nuts or natural chips can be a lot better than a big bag of junk food. It needs a bit of practice and self-control, but I slowly learned to always go or even spend more for the better option.

6. Read. Read about health risks from being overweight. Read about experts' advise on keeping your body active and healthy. Read about natural seasonings. Read about cooking your own pasta using fresh ingredients. Look at magazines. Read how mommy's health affects her baby. Read about cancer. Read about success stories of people who defeated obesity. Read blogs. Read about fashion trends. In short, read about anything and everything. You are not only devoting a good time to learn (rather than eat out of boredom), but you also get helpful insights, tips, new learning and inspirations. I won't get tired of asking my readers to READ. It doesn't matter if you read actual prints or digital content, just read. And do it everyday.

7. Don't be obsessed with the weighing scale. I don't have one in the bathroom. I only step on it when I visit my cousin's house because for whatever reason, they have it in their living room. You can of course get one for yourself, but you don't need to check your weight everyday. Why? One, it can be frustrating because you'll feel like you're not losing significantly, and two, it's more real when you "feel" your weight loss. Your pants, shirts and dresses will give you amazing clues!

8. Treat yourself. When you start to feel lighter, or learn to go for the healthier option, or when people start to notice and compliment you, reward yourself. It can be in a form of your favorite quality meal, a glass of wine or how about buying yourself a new, one size smaller dress? :)

9. Move your butt. I run and do yoga, although not regularly. I have a very busy schedule, and most of the time, I'm too tired to exercise. It's not an excuse though. You still need to move and burn those extra calories. You need a balance between eating less and right and burning enough calories. It doesn't even need to be hard-core workouts. My not-so-secret exercise? I love to walk a lot. I walk several blocks in the morning going to work, even more blocks in the evening going home, and while I have online banking accounts, I choose to to do personal banking several times a week because that forces me to walk. I go to the mall during weekends just to walk around. I walk the dogs. I walk every chance I get. It saves me gas, fights cellulite, shaves the pounds and helps keep my heart healthy.

10. Find a hobby. You know how time flies when you're busy? It's also one way to pass the time and fight the urge to munch on the limitless stash of your mom in the pantry. It's also nice to be productive. Redecorate your room, learn some DIYs, practice your makeup skills, cook a new dish, or even play a new game on your tablet. Just find something enjoyable for you. I recently find myself, I don't know why, obsessed with cleaning the house. I'm now a master of vaccum cleaners and you wouldn't believe how much you'll sweat when you have this machine on hand.

I'm no expert on weight loss, and I'm not claiming miracles if you plan to try the tricks that worked for me. But for posterity's sake, here's what my eating habits look like.

  • I try my best to eat breakfast. I'm a perennial coffee drinker, but I know it's not enough. A banana, a cracker with thin spread of cream cheese or a glass of fresh juice is a good start.  Don't get fooled by the "natural" word in powdered juice.
  • I rarely eat white rice. I replace it with whole wheat bread sandwich or a good amount of veggies. 
  • I eat meat because for me, it's still the best source of protein. I eat mostly chicken, occasionally beef and rarely pork. Except when I crave for a sinful sisig. But yeah, don't finish the whole sizzling plate!
  • I try to inject fish and seafood in my diet as much as I can 
  • Thankfully, my maturing taste buds now have an appreciation for green leafy things. Salads in particular. 
  • I only eat one heavy meal a day. Logically, it should be lunch so I still have the rest of the day to burn it, but since I usually have dinner at home or with my boyfriend, I eat very light for lunch and enjoy a full dinner. Half rice at the most, and lots and lots of ulam and veggies. 
  • Good subs for white rice: brown/redm rice, organic oats, tofu, veggies
  • My occasional self rewards include chocolates, Coke and pies. All in reasonable doses. Since I don't eat them all the time, I feel no guilt on days that I do. 
  • I skip beer and sugary cocktails and go for red wine when I go for night outs. I never liked beer anyways.  
  • In the occasion that there's reason to feast on glorious food ie celebrations, balikbayan in the house etc., I abide by the plus minus rule. If I ate a lot yesterday, then today's meals should be very light.
  • Thanks to J who willingly bought me a decent juicer, I'm starting a habit of juicing. It's not really for weight loss but for cleansing and overall health. Just a reminder to take it slow, I tried ampalaya, cucumber, pechay and malunggay on my first day and I almost died. I should learn more from sexy Jheng who influenced me to try juicing.

Just keep in mind that it's best to strive not only for weight loss but for better health, too. It makes all the hard work and self-discipline more worth it. So let's go, no stopping now, we have more work to do. With that, I leave you with my work in progress photos. :) 


From the Nook, 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Fishy Advice for Adulthood

We can complain all we want about the shallowness we see everyday on the web but we have to admit that the web is also a jungle --- alive, thriving, and sensible if you just know what to look for. 

For anyone out there who's been having issues about adulthood, boredom, routine, traffic or life itself (and that means ALL OF US), please watch this very nice video inspired by David Foster Wallace's commencement speech in 2004. Unfortunately, Mr. Wallace succumbed to clinical depression and ended his life in 2008, but toast to this guy for this wonderful piece which makes us realize that we have the OPTION and the FREEDOM to choose how we THINK and REACT with everyday nuances. 

Have a great Thursday!

From the Nook,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cumpleanos 2013 and How it Feels to be 28

When I was in fifth grade, I thought being 28 is scary. That I should be married and a mother and a powerhouse career woman all at the same time. Now that I'm 28, I'm not married (and have no plans whatsoever), I have no kids yet, and while I'm likely what you'll call career driven, I'm but a humble young professional working hard, taking baby steps up the ladder of success. 

I hear friends whine about being in the late twenties. I get it, my nieces and nephews whom I put to sleep as babies are now in college. (what??) My Facebook timeline is full of photos of pre-nups, weddings, engagement parties, bridal showers and yes, babies. All shapes and sizes. My aunts and uncles are endlessly asking the dreaded question: "Kelan ka ba mag-aasawa" or worse "Di kapaba mag-aanak". Guys, don't tell me my eggs will expire soon or you won't make it to my Christmas list this year. Ang OA ha! ;-)

I'm 28, I'm not scared and I don't feel old. If at all, I feel I'm in a unique stage in my life where I feel I'm in full control and it's prime and liberating. I make decisions everyday, I can make mistakes and be accountable for them. I earn my own money, and spend them to my will. I can be drunk and my mom won't scream at me anymore. I can be wounded, desperate and crazy one night, and yet I'm strong enough to lick my wounds and be okay the next day. I now know who and what to value, and therefore, trivial things and shallow people can't affect or hurt me bad anymore. More so, I'm ecstatic because I know life has great things to offer, in the coming days, months, years. I just have to be ready and patient. While people dread the big 3-0, I'm actually very excited for the Lord's plan to unfold because I'm solid that it will be great. Better than I can ever imagine. Worrying is futile and unnecessary. 
So what's there to be scared about being 28? Or quite frankly, about being 18, 28, 40 or even 60? Nothing. What we should fear are ignorance and lack of guts to live the moment, cherishing yesterday, looking forward to tomorrow and still be enjoying the now. Let's stop being gaga over age so we can start making a life that is exciting, fruitful and worth the pages of history.

We can be our best selves at any age, so cheers to being 28. :)


Pre-Birthday work/party at Jay Sean Concert, Club Paraw, Boracay

Office surprise birthday treat: Sushi, Spa and Coke!

Drug of choice

Taken during my family birthday dinner at Namnam with our bro's bunso, Tobias

Post-birthday wine and dine at Barcino with Team TMI :)