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


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