Squared Away: Life Lately in New York City

It has been over two months since I’ve been here in New York City and what an adventure it has been and continues to be. Not fully knowing what journey lies ahead of me here, I’m more grateful for the opportunity I was given to just breathe and to escape life’s reality --simply, to live life and to let it be.

I’ve always lived in a cycle of having to do this or to do that and to go to school or to get a job. I know it’s an unavoidable routine of growing up so I chose to escape from it for a while. I honestly realized that I’ve been living life in a fast pace, one I couldn’t fully grasp. I’ve graduated college, had a job and launched a business but I haven’t given myself time to fully focus on understanding who I am and what I want to do. So, I took the challenge – a change that continuously makes me miss life back home and I know will not give me the perfect answers but at least good ones. I flew to the Big Apple for more reasons than just giving life abroad a try, but well in the process to find more inspiration and motivation to live my life to the fullest in my own way possible.

Over a month ago, I tweeted one of the biggest realizations I had from this adventure of mine so far and that was and I quote “Sometimes you just need to escape and explore to know yourself more.” To be honest, I’m still afraid and anxious of not knowing where to go or what to do but I’m learning more each day of the purpose of uncertainty and that is to  bring out the better you even if it means learning from crossroads.

So it has been 2 months of random foodventures, Broadway craze, coffee runs, park hops, tourist fun and endless bonds, and I am totally grateful and overwhelmed for all the joy and fun they’ve given me. I may not be achieving a new milestone like how it should be but at least I’ve given myself time to “breathe” while learning more about life in between. Getting the time off, I was also given the chance to fuel myself up with more ideas and stories which I’m ready to work on and share with you all soon.

I won’t deny it but there are times when I question myself whether or not I’m doing things right but I guess I just have “to let go and let God”— to take my time, to stop controlling life and to believe that things happen in the right time.

If I could give one advice to whoever is reading this now, it would be to pause, take a deep breath and to live in the “now.” Not to say that you should quit your job or give up being online, it’s more of giving yourself time to escape the rush of life even for just for 2 minutes everyday, to at least remind yourself to appreciate the little and big things that have always been around you and to actually tell yourself, you did it and you made it this far!  

-- I still can’t believe it. It’s finally here. My first ever entry in my own domain—a gift from friends of mine who believe in me and my passion.

Welcome again to Living in 365- a space filled with stories for us to share, embrace and learn from.  

Throughout the months I’ve launched this space online, I never felt deep appreciation for words and how powerful they are. I’m not a great writer but I try to be and I learned to love words even if it’s just plain ABC. Also, I am very much into photography. I enjoy capturing moments and putting them together because photos speak of their own stories.

Working with words and photos together, I decided to share how my life is lately in a unique way. I apologize in advance if this entry seems like a rough draft because I haven’t formally written in quite a while except in my personal journals.  

So here you go… this is me. This is my life lately in a wonderful place called New York City.
Having no itinerary and just having a list of what each of us wanted to do, we got to explore different corners of the city. Sometimes we’d end up in a park not on our list, a random flea market or a coffee shop we didn’t know existed but it was fun to spontaneously get lost, wander off and to just enjoy the moment.

Here in New York City buildings are beautiful that whenever you look around, you just want to take mental pictures.  Also, you never feel alone when exploring an area cause there a ton of people around you.
Sometimes all we need to do in this busy world to find our clarity is to listen to the one person that matters- ourselves. I realized the importance of listening to myself when I decided to fly out here. Sometimes it’s hard to listen with all the pressure around you but at the end of the day, life’s what you make it and it’s important to hear your own self out than allowing others to dictate how you should live.  I’m just glad that the people I love support me on that.

This photo was taken in Gantry State Park three days ago. Couldn’t help but capture this particular moment because while writing in my journal, I couldn’t help but enjoy the calm sound of the waves hitting the rocks. It reminded me of home.

I’ve been surrounded by love ever since I decided to leave the Philippines and when I arrived in the Big Apple. I couldn’t be more blessed and grateful for everyone who is continuously there for me. Having friends and siblings in my first few weeks in the city made me feel like I haven’t left home. We got to do lot of things together like going to Orlando, hiking a mountain, escaping the room and stuffing ourselves with lots of food. And yes, there may be times that I do extremely miss my family and friends back home but I’m glad that my siblings are here and that I get to bond with them after so many years.

Everyday I’m still amazed on how love can work wonders. It doesn’t have to be anything romantic, it ‘s just being there for other people and knowing that no matter what there will always be friends and family who will make you feel less lonely in the world.

One of the best parts of this crazy adventure was that we were able to fly to Orlando and be the ultimate kids at heart together. For one week, we had fun at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. We got to enjoy the rides, catch the parades, meet the characters and eat park food. It was a bliss and definitely the best time ever. One of the highlights would have to be Magical Kingdom’s Happily Ever After Fireworks Show (which for me was the best and my most favorite fireworks display ever.) There are still so much to share about this adventure which I will reserve for another story.  
What I love about this city is that whenever you get tired of exploring the busy streets, there are numerous parks where you’re able to breathe.” Being in the city that never sleeps, people are always in a rush to get things done or to get to a destination. It was nice to have time in between our adventures to take a break and enjoy oue surroundings. Parks here are the best cause you can eat, explore or even rest. My favorite parks would have to be Gantry State Park (the best view of the Manhattan skyline and the best place to enjoy the sound of the sea and the cold breeze), Central Park (the biggest park where you peacefully get to explore beautiful and spontaneous corners) and Bryant Park (filled with good food, drinks and lots of treats)
I learned to love coffee ever since college and I’ve dreamed of having a coffee shop in the future. We’ve been on the hunt for amazing coffee and we finally did after going to almost 18 cafes and counting. What I love about coffee shops here in New York is the different stories they share and the vibe, aesthetic and offerings they each have. I’ve been enjoying my little ventures to these cafes and I can’t wait to share them with you all next time.

P.S. I’m loving lattes a lot lately.
If you ask me one thing about life that I love, it’s the ability to learn all the time. We get to learn from our mistakes or even happy endings but most of all, learn about life and everything in it. I grew to see the value of learning because it helps make us a better person in a sense we know more, feel more and be more in this world.

We’ve been to a lot of museums and most visits have been my second time around. I’ve never really appreciated museums not until after our Euro-trip and I’m glad I went back. There are so much paintings that I learned to love and appreciate.  

My favorite museums so far: Museum of Modern Art, Whitney, The Cloisters
Ever since I watched my first musical in Singapore, I never stopped loving it. Whenever I had the opportunity to watch musicals locally or abroad, I’d take a chance because I love everything about it. There’s just something special when you catch live theater-- you really feel like you’re a part of the story they’re sharing. What makes the experience even better is that a few years ago, my sister who’s a fan of Broadway took me to see some shows and there and then I too became a fan of musicals. I’ve always believed that these don’t only bring magic to the lives of many but smiles in people’s faces.

Recently, we watched around 6 Broadway shows and my favorites would have to be Anastasia and Waitress. I’d reserve my thoughts for another story but if you’re in the city, take a chance and watch one show cause before you know it, you’d want to see more.  
Because it’s the autumn season, the weather in the city has been crazy. There would be days when it would be warm and some days when it would be cold but recently it has been freezing so I’ve been playing dress up with layers. Having to wear layers continuously brings me out of my comfort zone when it comes to my style. My staple outfit so far would be: heat tech, sweater, jacket, cropped pants, long socks and sneakers.
If you know me so well, you’d know how much I love food and how much my family loves it as well. When you’re with us, you’ll be surprised with the amount of food we can order and eat in seconds.

Breakfast is a staple favorite and I’m glad we were able to try really good places that serve great food. So far most of the brunch places we’ve been to were all amazing- we have the Egg Shop, Five Leaves, Wagamama and Jack’s Wife Freda.

Eating in the city has never been so good. So far all these places listed, I’d recommend to all.
So yes, if you haven’t guessed it right, WE LOVE EATING to the point that people sometimes question our appetite and when they see us we’ll just leave them in awe. In my opinion, eat things you love and for me that would be brunch and DESSERTS. Eating desserts would have to be my all-time favorite. If you know me so well you’d know how much of a sweet tooth I am. So far we’ve been to 10 dessert places and counting. So far so good. I loved them all.

This photo was taken in Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, one of my staple favorites in the city.
As much as I love sweets, I love sunsets too. I don’t really know why but I guess cause every sunset is different and it’s a constant reminder that endings can be beautiful too.

Throughout this trip, I realized the power to pause when life gets too much to handle or when you get anxious about something or someone. Give yourself seconds or minutes in a day to breathe, relax and to take things in. I learned to take it day by day, in my own pace, and it has helped me appreciate life even more.

This was a photo taken at Gantry Park when I decided to catch the sunset on my own. And all I could do was pause and say to myself, “Wow! What a beautiful view.”
When you’re in the city, you can’t help but notice the street art around you. This has to be one of my favorites.

I love the word dream because it means so much to people. It can be simple, complicated, from when we were young or already an adult.  We all have our own dreams and we’re all slowly living them. The most important thing to remember is that even when things don’t go the way we plan; we try our best to never let dreams go because we know this is what makes us happy in this world.

So yeah, dream big always.
I learned to love commuting through subways in the city. I guess because it’s the most convenient transportation and I learned to see it as a fun adventure too. I remember a few years back when I went on New York adventures alone, I got lost a couple of times cause the routes were confusing. Now that I’m slowly getting used to it, I’m glad I familiarize myself around

I’ve never appreciated commuting up until now and I commend those who can withstand rush hours and crowded stations, it’s not easy at all.

And oh! You’ll be amazed to find out the number of kilometers we commute and walk each day. For me, it’s a form of exercise at least.
Everyday we do our own chores- make the bed, do the grocery, cook food, wash the dishes, do the laundry and clean floors. It’s in this independent lifestyle that I’ve greatly appreciated the little things cause back home it wasn’t as tough as this. Culture here is really different. You’re on your own and I’m glad I’m learning more about it. At the end of the day, I’m just really thankful and I’m glad that I’m slowly teaching myself to do these. 
I’m not much of a book lover like my cousin and siblings but I’m slowly learning to appreciate them and in its stories. I’ve been reading self-help and inspirational books lately.

Current Read: The Power of Habit

Take time off to relax. That’s what I’ve been doing and it has given me more inspiration to share stories and also more motivation to achieve goals. Also, with my on and off back pain, I was told to take things easy and to always make time to relax. I have been doing so and it has helped.
The world is a lot bigger than you think. There’s still so much to discover out there and I can’t wait to experience what lies ahead. With this new vision I was blessed with 2 months ago, I can’t wait to see what else the world has to offer.

For now, I’m just here in the city discovering new places to eat in and shop in which I truly enjoy.
I love my siblings because they bring me out of my comfort zone. The past few weeks we escaped rooms, went to anti-gravity yoga class and painted a canvas which I didn’t expect to like. There was one activity which we had to re-create a picture of a sunset for an hour which I found fun and therapeutic. It was challenging at first but it was a learning experience.

I realized that it’s actually fun to challenge your own creativity especially with what you’re doing. I currently do this with the way I dress, write and take photos.
I love traveling and I hope to go to more countries someday but sometimes it’s also fun to stay in one place and learn more about its people, food and culture. I’ve been wandering off with family, friends and even on my own. It has been so much fun exploring spontaneous spaces and random corners may in Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan.  
I’ve learned to appreciate the little and big things here in the city! Doing chores, commuting, going on adventures and having time to bond with loves ones are things that I am grateful for. Getting to wake up everyday, being there for others, and getting learn and wander everyday are things that I greatly appreciate.

I am lucky and thankful for what has been, is and will come. I am most thankful to you guys who believe in me and my passion.
Ever since I came to this city, I’ve always wanted to thrift shop. After seeing vlogs for quite some time, I was finally able to do it and I found really good items that were all bang for the buck.

My favorite thrift stores so far: L Train Vintage and The Vintage Twin 
I can’t help but capture our adventures around the city to relive memories that once were but will always be cherished in memory. I enjoy taking photos and keeping them. They not only test my creativity but also tell a story. Other than that, moments are special to me and I’d like to remember them dearly.

So like me, capture moments.
Each of us have our own thoughts in our heads and it’s best if we write them down in a journal especially if we want to remember these things again. I have a travel journal where I note down the places I’ve been to and keep small things that I collect in the places I go to. I also keep a personal journal where I rant or share thoughts and realizations about life and in its in between.

It’s nice to have an outlet to share and remember things. You should try it.
Most importantly… smile through it all. There will always be good times and bad times, but at the end of the day to live life is the greatest gift and it deserves your happiness. Your smile can change the world. What more could you do than to pass it on.


  1. I love every bit of this post. Keep living life, Rach! :)

    1. Hi Inah,

      Thank you so much! I hope you too get to live life to the fullest. :)

      With stories to tell,
      (Living in 365)