Believe: Mela and Rach

Monday, March 5, 2018

When in doubt... pause, take two deep breaths, and silently tell yourself: "To Believe. Just Believe. Believe. Believe. Believe." You can clench your fists tight while saying this if it helps. 

It sounds silly now but based on experience, the best way to fight any doubt is to actually make yourself believe that there is nothing to worry about. ‘Cause at the end of the day, what’s holding you back is you and to live life the way you'd want to, it'll be important for you find ways to fight the waves of anxiety and fear that’ll constantly bombard you.

This month has been a crazy mix of highs and lows both mentally, physically and even emotionally. I’ve been currently on a job hunt sending out resumés to companies. I’ve been battling out the laziness of the freezing winter weather by being more active through daily exercise and by being more productive through reading writing and exploring. I even can't help but be anxious and overthink most especially during down times.

It’s difficult to not question yourself and your choices when you don’t know the end to all your means but I’ve come to realize that it’s actually okay. Not knowing is actually a good thing  cause there’s more to uncertainty than what meets the eye. I even wrote a story about it here

Anyway, February despite being a mix of peaks and pitfalls will always be one of my favorite months every year cause well it’s my birth month and I know there are so many blessings to be thankful for. For ever set of 365 days I’m given on February 13, I’m always grateful to everyone and everything that has made my life fully my own. For my family and friends and well to the stories, adventures, memories, challenges, downfalls and all the things that make my life really interesting, thank you for making my life nothing but incredible. 

I guess what makes this year's February extra special is that I’m hitting it off more independently in another country for the very first time. I’ve got to do so many things on my own. I got to celebrate my birthday in the most intimate yet special way possible. I also got to catch up with my high school best friend who I haven’t seen for years. I even luckily got a second job interview in a beautiful office in Manhattan which hopefully I get feedback soon. And since it’s Lent, I’ve been more motivated to practice mindfulness in my daily lifestyle. 

My February has been interesting so far and it's ironic cause even with all these things happening, I’ve been more inspired to share my thoughts and learnings lately. 

So I'm sure you're wondering why I'm sharing my own February insanity with all of you. Well cause despite its craziness, I’ve been actually feeling good about myself. And it’s not just cause of my own efforts. I'm constantly reminded of something simple yet powerful: To believe.

So for this month’s stor-we, I focused on believing because I know everyone is battling out their own daily struggles and it’s nice to be reminded that having faith in oneself can actually make personal challenges into wonderful epiphanies. I know there will be times when you believe in something so much and it doesn’t turn out the way as planned so it's pointless. But think again…It’s better that you believed you could and did it rather than you regret you couldn’t and didn’t do anything at all. 

I’m sure 'believing' isn’t new to you. People tell you this always but ask you listen to them or hear them out?  ‘Cause these are two different things and one of which can make all the difference. Take for example my life lately.The simple act of believing has made me reach father than I could even imagine. I’m currently living in New York City, miles away from what I was used to. So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: 

To believe is to BE-LIVE. Whenever you believe, you simply let yourself be and you allow yourself to fully live. By constantly saying this, you convince yourself to live beyond  all doubts and fears and to live life your way. I know life will never be easy with unwanted burdens and uncalled for challenges, but what matters is you trust that whatever you do is for you and because of you. And in whatever circumstance good or bad, you’ll always know that you lived life trying, experiencing and learning because you made yourself believe in possibilities and not just drown in fear. This is what makes life worth-living… you living your purpose, your way." 

Also, to make this Stor-We more interesting, I invited my cousin Mela to share her thoughts and stories on the theme as she too is a firm believer of chasing dreams and pursuing passions... This is what she has to say: 

"I want to think that I go by the saying, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there” because I know life will never be easy, and nothing worth it will ever be served to you on a golden plate.

I think we need to always bear in mind that pain and suffering is definitely inevitable. However, changing your perspective, having faith and courage, and continuously trying to find your purpose amidst all the chaos in the world, that’s always a choice … it’s never impossible."

So I guess this is me telling you to believe in yourself not just now but all the time. When in doubt, remember that it’s better to believe in making life worthwhile now than being too late and never. Take the first step .Live life your way. Believe. You got this. 

Year of Yes

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This month’s read was all about the courage of saying YES. It seems so simple in writing but it’s actually hard to do. 

I guess what makes it difficult is that I’m not used to doing things out of my comfort zone.If you’re just like me, you’d think of valid reasons and excuses to easily get out of unwanted situations. I don’t force myself into things that I don't want to do and even if I badly want to do them, fear always gets in the way so I end up not doing them at all.

So yeah, I can admit that I can be adventurous at times but I’m not at all fearless. I can easily tell myself to try or do something new but when I slight sense of fear kicks in, I completely chicken out.

I’m working on it though. 

This is why I feel my encounter with Shonda Rhimes book entitled the Year of Yes is a blessing in disguise. It helped me see myself beyond all the NO’s I’ve been easily tossing around. Her story inspired me to actually say yes to things that matter-- no matter how big or small they are. Instead of just shutting down an idea, activity, or plan cause of slight fear, I’m now more motivated to believe in myself, to gradually let go of fear, to try and see how things go before actually saying no.

It inspired me to give YES a chance instead of saying my usual NO in a heartbeat (unless the situation calls for it) 

Ironic right cause this is just a book and it easily changed my perspective. But for me, it didn’t seem like that at all.

Instead of it feeling like I was reading someone else's story, it felt like I was actually in a conversation with a friend and she was personally telling me ways on how I too can say YES to unlikely situations. This is why I absolutely loved the book and finished it in 5 days! Instead of it being a 'here you go these are the steps on how to say yes kind of thing', it was more raw and personal with true stories which made it more relatable. 

This is not to say though that saying YES is now my instant protocol in everything that I plan and will do. It just means that I’ll be taking the steps needed to actually consider it before saying no. Like right now, I’m actually allowing myself to say yes to things that I didn’t realize that I would like, ever. I’ve said yes to living a more active lifestyle so now I’m trying out pilates and yoga with my sisters. I’ve said yes to trying out healthier food and now I’m obsessed with avocado toast. I’ve also said yes to job offers that are not in my actual field and so far I’m waiting for final feedbacks. 

I learned that saying yes is more than just an activity, it’s a personal epiphany of worthwhile victories. That’s why I hope you get to read it. And not just that, Shonda makes you realize how no matter what, you should own up to your marvelousness and Badassery (if you’ve already read this book, you’d know what it means) 

I don’t want to give away too much information but here are my top 10 learnings: 
  1. A good story is not purposefully lying. The best stories are true. 
  2. Find your hum. Spend 15 uninterrupted minutes doing something you love
  3. Be a doer and not a dreamer
  4. Losing yourself happens one NO at at time 
  5. No one is going to be good as you are. Own you BADASSERY. 
  6. Never apologize for marvelousness
  7. Be your own narrator
  8. We are like mirrors, what you are gets reflected back at you. What you see in yourself, you may see in others and what others see in you they may see in themselves.
  9. Happiness lies in following the same list of rules. This is wrong. There is one rule: There is no rule.
  10. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Rewrite it. 
Shonda Rhimes is a true wonder woman and her ability to be a mom and a writer of four popular shows today is amazing! If you’re just like her-- willing to fight fear, allow changes, and be the best person you want to be, saying yes might be the way.

 Let me know what you think about this. xx  

The Art of Not Knowing

Monday, February 12, 2018

In a few more hours, my new year is bound to start and to be honest, I have no clue as to how I should feel, as to what I should say or as to what I should even do.

Yes, I will always be grateful for all that is and was but to be honest I still don’t have an answer to the biggest question I’ve been asking myself ever since I graduated college. I still don’t know know what I’m doing with my life and what the future holds for me. 

Over the past 365 days, I’ve been struggling with myself to know exactly what I want. Goals and dreams are easy to figure out but when it comes to dealing with reality, I easily get so worried and anxious that I end up questioning every little thing about myself even when I shouldn’t. 

I know people on their birthdays usually share the 22 things they’ve learned or their life journey at 21 but for me, I simply want to share the biggest realization I had over the past year in the hopes of giving comfort to those of you out there who are just like me —still uncertain about life, and a lot of things.

And boy, they were right. At twenty one, you become a little grownup whose thought process changes, mindset is different and perspective is more mature than ever. I know I'm still a kid at heart but my priorities in life have changed. 

Also, I never realized how a lot of things can change in just a year. I will always be grateful to the man up there who has blessed me with life opportunities to grow, enjoy and learn from. So, THANK YOU Lord, for this beautiful life I can call my own.

 By now, I’m sure you know most of the turning points of my 21st year but to complete that list, I’d like to share something important with all of you that  has kept me sane throughout the tough times of the year. I’ve learned the art of not knowing and how it has helped me become more positive and motivated than I ever was. I’ve come to realize that not knowing is okay and  that it shouldn’t be a setback but a mindset to move you forward.  It wasn’t easy getting here but I learned a lot from it which I’d like to share with you all today.

So to those of you who have no idea of what life is meant for you or what the future has in store for you, this one’s for you! 

 “It’s okay to now know what exactly you want to do, where you want to go or who you want to become. I know how scary uncertainty is (with time and age limits) but everything will turn out fine if you believe in your own pace. Just take it day by day. Don’t rush yourself and do things one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll realize that slowing down and taking the time you need is what gives your life more purpose and meaning. It makes you feel more alive and happy.

Also, uncertainty can bring out the good and bad in you. Ironic right? But we can’t help it. Don’t get me wrong but it’s taking the unexpected steps and learning from crossroads that makes your life a well-lived one so reaching your destination without a hardworking, happy and memorable journey is not worth taking at all. 

So don’t worry if you’re in a place where you don’t know what’s meant for you. It’s fine. Don’t give up and lose hope. Disallow uncertainty to hold you back from living. Instead, let it push you forward to see what you might be missing out. 

‘Cause at the end of the day, no matter what you’ll always be surrounded by the greatest support system you could ever imagine -your loves ones and the man up there. You shouldn’t worry at all.

Live life with peaks and pitfalls. Live life to the fullest.  Go beyond the uncertainty that has always been holding your back and you’ll be surprised that you’re living the life that you can specially call you own.” 

Untitled, 1997, Acrylic and modeling paste on canvas, 96 x 120 inches by Laura Owens (Whitney Museum, NYC)
At 22, I'd like to confidently say that "It's okay to not know." 

So if you ask me for advice at 22 well I’d just say that you should’t pressure yourself to know what you exactly want at this moment or to compare yourself to how life is for other people.

 A lot of things could still come and go everyday that you might not even expect but you will absolutely love. So yeah, for me. Keep living in your own your pace. Live life like it’s your last day. Stay strong, have faith and trust in the universe. Things will come your way if you let it be. Happiness is a choice and it’s one you should always make. Appreciate the little things even small victories. Before you know it, you’ll be living life your own way.

So, thank you everyone who continuously join the journey and support and believe in me. I will always be grateful to each one of you. This year wouldn’t have been the best without you, me and the man up there so I’d like to offer up love and gratitude to all of you who has made my life worth living and one to continuously work hard to inspire all of you.

This is it. I’m ready to open a new life chapter with the high hopes of still bringing you all good vibes and inspiration! xx

Keen on Caffeine

Friday, February 9, 2018

If the next photo doesn't say it all, I don't know what is. 

I love coffee so much that I can’t recall a moment that I ever disliked it (maybe just the time it unintentionally broke my friend’s laptop). Nevertheless, it always tastes good and I always found each experience with it special. I guess there’s just something unique about the whole coffee concept -- not just the caffeine but the stories that come with it. 

First off, I’d like to thank my 15-year old self for wanting caffeine every college exam week. From then then on, coffee has always been a part of me and its purpose has become more than just a perk-me-up but now my life’s pick-me-up which I’m happy to explain later on.

Coffee has been one of my greatest serendipities and also the perfect remedy whenever I’m anxious, sad or lonely. A lot of my life stories come with it like catching up with loved ones, staying up for a project, writing on my journal, meeting a new friend, enjoying a a piece of cake and so much more! This makes whatever coffee (commercial or specialty) so significant to me…it’s the moments along with it.

Why share this story now? Why share my love for coffee at this moment? Well aside from seeing my bag full of coffee cups after a month, it’s nice to share with everyone my coffee-ventures here in New York City in the hopes of finding inspiration in opening my own coffee shop/ CSR initiative in the future and for you to check out when you come and visit.   

So how’s coffee in New York City? It's AMAZING. I’d totally recommend you coffee-hop if you’re around the city. There are so many choices that my list endlessly goes on even if I’ve been to about 25 different cafes in a span of 4 months. I’ve never ever enjoyed the overall coffee experience as much as now. And don’t worry if you’re the pressed or commercial coffee type of person, there are still so many options for you to choose from! You’ll be left overwhelmed. 

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, coffee has become my life’s pick-me- up which simply means it has been my serendipity through life’s up and downs. It has been there for me through my peaks and pitfalls as cheesy as that sounds. Coffee has been more than just a hot or iced drink for me, it’s one of my security blankets. 

Coffee culture here in the Big Apple is one to love and I’m glad to share with you some insights one latte (a.k.a. my favorite coffee drink) at a time. 

Here are the cafés I’ve been to so far: 

  1. La Colombe
  2. Pret 
  3. Irving Coffee
  4. Integral Coffee *
  5. Happy Bones
  6. The Grey Dog
  7. Brooklyn Roasting Company
  8. Epicerie Boulevard
  9. Van Leeuwen
  10. Chef’s Club Counter
  11. Devoción
  12. Intelligentsia 
  13. Bibble & Sip
  14. The Lazy Lama *
  15. The Good Sort
  16. Blue Bottle * 
  17. Joe and The Juice * 
  18. Ludlow Coffee Supply * 
  19. Lucid Coffee
  20. Homecoming *
  21. Birch *
  22. The Bean
  23. Le Quotidien Pain
  24. Coffee Project New York 
  25. Cafe Grumpy 
Among all these cafes, these are my top picks. 

The Lazy Llama, Ludlow Coffee Supply, Homecoming, Blue Bottle and Birch

Deconstructed Latte from Coffee Project New York

These have become instant favorites because I love the overall experience that comes with it - the coffee, space and vibe. Actually one main reason why I café hop is because I get to try different lattes in new spaces with unique stories. One café feels homey, another feels cozy and some are just Instagram perfect! There are too many variations and I enjoy them.

Come to think of it, I’d gladly share with you guysmore reasons why I love coffee and why you should learn to love it too: 
  1. Specialty coffee unlike bottomless sodas in vending machines or milkshakes in blenders, requires a thought process and system to be made perfect. It’s nice to see your perfect cuppa joe made in front of you and to your liking. 
  2. Being in a café is like being in a happy place with endless possibilities- you’re able to meet with friends, catch up with work, relax, eat and so much more! 
  3. Every café has a story and it’s nice to be a part of it
  4. Coffee is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter depending on how you like it.
  5. Specialty coffee requires a tedious process and it’s a work of art in itself.

I’ve never been as caffeinated as I am now but I appreciate every moment. So far this year, I’ve only been to three new coffee shops and I can’t wait to visit more.

Also, you might be wondering why I collected all these cups. Well aside from recycling them and keeping them as 'memorabilia', I’d like this coffee journey of mine to be a part of my own café in the future. I’d like to have a shelf dedicated to these cups if not in the shop at least in my future place. 

I’ve also come up with cool ways to use them. I never realized how aesthetically pleasing it looks as decor and how cost efficient it actually is. The little things count when you live in an expensive city such as NYC even if it’s just a container for makeup and pens. Don't forget to wash these cups properly! 

So yeah, this is my coffee story. You might find this crazy but to me it's an investment in inspiration (as what my brother-in-law would say).

 So in whatever circumstance, I do hope you spend time on the things that give you serenity whatever they might be. You deserve to be constantly inspired and happy.  xx

Begin: Alexa and Rach

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How to begin when you don’t know where to start.This is one of the setbacks I've had and continuously hear from other people whenever they start something new.

The struggle of trying to make things happen for the very first time has always been what many would call "easier said than done". With the effort, uncertainty and fear of not knowing when, how and what could be... starting out is always difficult. 

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this in our lifetime and it’s okay. It’s normal. Even until now I still see every “start" as a challenge but throughout time I learned that what’s important before beginning is actually believing. It really helps when you trust yourself. 

For our Stor-We this month, I decided to focus on the central theme, TO BEGIN, because aside from being the first month of the new year, I know how much motivation everyone needs to begin or to begin again in achieving goals and dreams. 

Calligraphy Artwork created by: Xyla Ramos (IG: @xylaramos) 

I’ve always believed that it’s never too late to start over even if it requires a lot of time and effort. I also think this is timely to share because in the past two years out of college, I’ve started to do a lot of things out of my comfort zone. I worked for my first job, launched a food business, introduced my passion project and even decided to move and try life abroad. All these things started out as plans and opportunities but has now become my reality. 

With that said, I’d love to share with you all the  experiences I’ve had when I started out these new ventures with the hopes of inspiring you to begin living the life the way you want to. Here are some of the things you might encounter, so don’t worry! We’re all in this together. 

When you start something new…

You will feel so uncomfortable and awkward but don’t worry! It just means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone so a job well done! 

I remember my first ever job interview. I was so nervous that I prepped the day before trying to prepare answers for foreseen questions. I remember how awkward it was when it started out but felt accomplished when it ended. I realized I couldn’t do-away with interviews if I wanted to get a job anyway so I had to suck it up and deal with it. It’s not so bad as I thought it would be. Trust me. You’ll actually learn more about yourself through the process- what you believe are your strengths, qualities and goals for the future. 

I also remember the first big decision I had to make (ever) and that was resigning from my first job to migrate abroad. It was tough. I remember shaking, tearing up and feeling so scared when I had to tell my boss that I was resigning. It wasn’t easy, but it was indeed a learning experience! 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes to do things you want to do, you’ll need all the guts to begin.
Whenever you’re doing something for the first time and you feel weird about it, just remember that you’re doing something new - out of your usual zone. Kudos to you! 

You will overthink and question yourself but remember you won’t know if you won’t try. So... try it out first, at least there’s no regret. 

Leaving for the States was never a plan but an opportunity. I really didn’t want to migrate abroad but something last year changed that decision. I thought to myself "why not take the opportunity to try life abroad while I’m still uncertain of what I want to do and while I’m still young enough” cause really…I didn't know what to do after quitting my job. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to learn, discover and explore. So here I am in New York, endlessly job hunting waiting for a sign or an opportunity to come. It’s not easy as I thought it was. I’ve actually been anxious lately but I learned to breathe and keep calm. I just continuously tell myself to try and try cause things will happen in God’s perfect time and he would want us to live with no regrets. 

Even for the early stages of  Living in 365, I undoubtedly questioned myself whenever I shared my stories and whether or not they're good enough to read or inspire people. While working for this, I even side tracked from the main vision of my site without noticing and my cousin had to tell me. So right now even if I’m not sure of how people will think about the stories and segments I plan to share on this site (like this one), I remind myself what I’m here for, what my vision is and to believe that the stories I have to tell can inspire people. 

You will constantly feel afraid but remember the support of the people around you. They’ve got your back, always.

Launching a business, choosing a career and deciding to go abroad were all scary the first time. The uncertainty of not knowing what can and will happen made these decisions hard. 

I remember the anxiety I had before leaving for the States. I was emotional, scared and doubtful. I remember I kept asking myself if it was a big mistake but I knew I had to do it because something inside of me made me believe I could and I also got excited. What helped me the most was the amount of support I got from my loved ones who were overwhelmingly amazing. I’m so grateful. 

Launching a business from scratch was also really tough. A lot of great things happened but a lot of  turnabouts also had to be solved. Since we all personally pitched in for the success of Kapoké, we’re all struggling trying to keep it up and running. With the support of loyal customers and friends around us, we just learn, survive and conquer. 

You might hate it or love it but whatever it is, you still did it. 

There will come a time when you expect things to happen after you give your best effort to start. You’ll anticipate for the best but the worst comes. 

When things don’t go your way, you might constantly question yourself and life choices, just like me. I’m currently in this situation where I feel useless, insecure and guilty at times. There are days when I just feel so out of it and days when I’m the happiest.

And really...It’s not easy when you’re anxious so whenever you do get that feeling, please don’t avoid it. Try to address it in the best way you can. It’s better to let it go then to just suck it up until it hurts you.

 Breathe. Relax. Find your serenity. Let it out. 

What I learned so far is that whatever happens, always count your blessings and remember that you survived and conquered. 

You will make excuses and allow distractions. Trust me, just believe in yourself and the rest will follow. 

From all these experiences, I learned that the most important thing to have before you start is actually to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. I realized that the one person that might hold you back might just be yourself and it’s best if you give yourself reasons to keep going and to never turn back. Trust that whatever you do is for you and because of you. In good times and bad times, it’s a risk you chose to take and learn from.

At the end of the day, what matters is you tried, experienced and learned. 

So to make this Stor-We more interesting, I invited my sister, from AlexaLovesBooks to share her thoughts and stories on the theme and this is what she had to say: 

"If someone had told me eight years ago that I would be building a life for myself in New York City and have the bonus of my husband and my sisters and some of my best friends living right alongside me, well, I probably would have laughed my butt off and told them that it wasn't in the cards for me. But it's eight years since that fateful day when I boarded a plane all on my own bound for New York and began a brand new chapter of my life. I didn't know then what I know now - that this new beginning was going to be for a chapter that changed my life completely. Beginnings, whether they're a part of your plan or something that happens without warning, are tricksy like that. They'll seem like nothing innocuous at first, but when you look back years later, you'll realize that it was a defining moment. A starting line. A point in time where everything changes. For me, moving to New York was a beginning - and even though I was hesitant all those years ago, these days I can't imagine what my life would be if I hadn't allowed myself to let a new chapter begin.

So I guess it’s time for you to ask yourself this: “When was the last time you’ve done something for the first time?"

Don’t be afraid.  Remember: To begin is to believe. 

You’ve got this! Here's to making a bold move to begin and making new things happen this 2018! 

Our Stor-We

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ever since launching Living in 365, I’ve always envisioned it to be an online platform where people are able to freely share their thoughts and life stories while also being able to learn  new ones. 

I've always had this vision of making storytelling more of an asset than just a mere activity. I wanted people to see, feel and embrace their authenticity by not drowning through man-made insecurities, but by simply believing in their own unique stories. 

For me, stories can bring out one's natural beauty cause of its capacity to change and inspire the lives of other people. This is why we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be affected by any social standard or superior. We don’t need to be famous to shape the world or to be rich to say we’re living the life. We are all influential people in our own way and we find true happiness by just being ourselves. This is why we should never stop believing in who we are and we should choose to listen & learn from other people. 

Think about it…

You are motivated to do something you’ve never done before because of a story you read online. You may currently be at your job now cause someone told you about their own experiences in that position or what the company was like. You may also be living in that city of yours  because of the childhood stories and memories you hold dear to your heart. 

Stories leave a lifetime of legacies and give us purpose to what seems like a meaningless life. With this, I’d like to introduce to you all to a collective corner where everyone is free to share, read and learn stories of life and everything that comes in between it. In this created space everyone is free to be a storyteller, a reader, a friend or a mentor with a main goal of sharing, listening and learning while living out a purpose. 

This is Stor-We: A collective corner inspired by the special connection of stories. 

To start this community, I will be asking help from friends and family to share their experiences about a certain word or theme for every month this year. In this way, everyone who would like to take part can share their own stories. There’s no attached pressure being part of this community. Only those interested get to share what they want.

Here, everyone is free to express themselves, to start conversations and to learn from other people. 

Also, I love encouraging people in pursuing their passions so for this one I'll be collaborating with my best friend, Xyla, who will help bring color to this project! 

So... if you’re interested to take part of Stor-We, stay tuned for something exciting! 

My One Word for 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

And that my friends is the end of #Livingin365 Book 2017. Wow! Times does fly by so fast. Seems like only yesterday when I was back home in the Philippines doing what I thought I would still be doing today. Many things have happened and a lot has changed but I couldn’t be more grateful for a year that was and currently is. 

First and foremost, Happy New Year to each and everyone of you! It has been a while since I last shared a story and it seems fit to start #Livingin365 Book 2018, with a personal favorite on how my 2017 was and how to make this new year even better.

If you’d ask me, 2017 was an instant game changer. It was  all about self love for me since aside from being single after so long,  I knew I owed it to myself. What were the odds that it was because of this year I got to understand pieces of myself that I didn’t realize were already in me for so long. If you're interested to know more about it, you can check  out my 2017 Recap.

I am truly grateful for who I am today and the people and things around me which have made all that is and was possible. I may not fully know what I’m meant to do or where I’m meant to go yet, all that I know and learned from 2017 is that no matter how much uncertainties you have in life,  just live life to the fullest everyday, be in the moment, and start living in the NOW. It’s your life and no matter how you choose to live it, you’ll have the support system you need by your side, always.

So to my family, my friends, and to all those special individuals who have made 2017 one for the books— doctors, new acquaintances, helpers, drivers, kind strangers-- you are all truly amazing! Always know that.

So it’s time to close off an amazing year and welcome a new one.

Hello there, twenty eighteen! What’s up with you? 

So lucky enough this year I was able to welcome 2018 with my siblings in New York City! Because it was freezing cold outside during New Year’s Eve, we decided to stay warm and have an intimate celebration in our very own apartment. My sister Alexa and I started out this new tradition of writing a letter to our future 2018 self which we plan to open and read on the last day of December. I honestly hope good things will come around and whatever happens will have its reasons.

Also, every time a new year comes around,  a word or phrase just comes to me and it helps motivate me to make the next 365 days ahead, nothing but amazing. This time around my sister actually said this particular word and I instantly knew it was the right one for me this year.. So thank you Manang! 

As mentioned earlier, I focused on taking care of myself last year. This year I’d like to help myself grow farther from just the ordinary. I choose #ToGrow2018. I’d like to grow more in doing the things I love, in discovering new things to do, and in exploring new places to see.

I’d like to become the best person I can be and these are some of the ways I know I could make this happen:

1. Grow by stepping out of my comfort zone 

To be honest, this new year has actually made me feel so anxious cause I have no idea how this year will go and the anticipation of the unknown scares me. My first main goal this year is to look for a job and let’s just say it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve been questioning myself and the choices I made of actually moving here and testing out the waters but I try to remind myself that I’m in one of the greatest cities in the world and that there are loads of ways I could still be productive. I also remind myself of God’s plan and how the wait might be longer cause he’s preparing me for something greater. Let Go, Let God. I just breathe in and out and talk about it with other people. Sharing these sentiments has helped me realize so much of why I feel this way in the first place. I was reminded of how I’m in a new place with a different culture and my anxiety is happening cause I’m going beyond my comfort zone.

 I actually realized that living in the Big Apple has been a huge step out of my usual zone so the new experiences that’ll come after will just be as challenging and different as how it started.

 Here’s to going beyond what’s common and trying to remain positive through the process. 

2. Grow by honing and learning new skills 

So this year, I’d like to read and write more. Yes, I’ve been brainstorming on a series of stories that I’d like to write for living in 365 and I’m still journaling- one I keep for personal rants and one to keep track of memories throughout the year. Also, I want to read some more so I decided to collaborate with my bookworm sister who has an amazing blog  (sisterly plug- better go check it out), you’ll just have to wait and see on what we came up with. I’m actually excited cause I forgot how much fun reading is. I’ve actually already finished my first book. 

To expand my photography skills, I do have something in mind. You’ll just have to wait for that. 

For new skills, I challenged myself to learn how to cook and bake even just simple recipes this year. My friends would definitely know how much of a sideline I am when it comes to this. I’d either just be in charge of the recipe or the ingredients.  So I’d like to turn that around! Now that I’m living in an independent and carefree country, I’d like to create nice food for myself and my family. 

I also decided to make more time for exercise, mediation and devotion. Having done these three things that past few days this year, I realized how important these things are in strengthening my entire self both inside and out.

3. Grow by spontaneously enjoying what is to come and not endlessly expecting of what it should be 

We all have goals and I have a couple of them. I’ve mentioned some above but others include  drinking more water (if you know me, you know I can live a day without it), eating in moderation (you should know by now how much of a foodie I am) and being more responsible with money. All these are practical which I hope I continuously achieve in the long run. However, I'm the type of person that I anticipate for something to happen at a certain time and when it doesn’t come or show, I get easily affected and worry.  It’s not bad to want something at a certain time, it’s just not that easy when it can affect you totally. This is what I’d like to work on this year, to be more spontaneous and to be thankful of what comes my way. I can't wait for the spontaneous adventures this year! 

Before I end, I’d like to share with you all the new daily motivation I made myself to get me going throughout  this whole year. I do hope this helps you too and that no matter what your plans are for this year or whatever comes your way, you’ll always start the day hopeful and end it with a grateful heart. Good luck! I hope this year we all grow to become who we are truly meant to be in this world.

Here’s to us LIVING IN 365! Here’s for us #ToGrow2018!  

P.S. This is my first mini collaboration with my big sister, Alexa. Go and check her beautiful website out. Her word is pretty amazing too.

So, what is your motivation this 2018? Don't hesitate to share whatever it is wish us.

We're all in this together. 


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