K4 Kitchen Wishlist

K4 Kitchen Wishlist

Russel Wright serveware
decorativethings.com

Drinkware
$72 – wolfandbadger.com

Ruby Server
cottageandbungalow.com

Rosanna serveware
nordstrom.com

Flatware
dwr.com

Cheese board
$56 – occa-home.co.uk

Shot Glass Set – Mustaches
weddingshop.theknot.com

Serveware
$56 – habitat.co.uk

Dinnerware
macys.com

Staub french oven
chefsresource.com

Sugar dish
shopplasticland.com

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Waking up in Polomolok

I can never seem to cease obsessing about the mornings of this humble municipality in South Cotabato.

It always starts the same: the moment I flutter my eyes open, I am immediately brought into a state of unknown elation. Unknown, because I can’t seem to pinpoint where this feeling is coming from. Elated, because in spite of the turbulence I may be going through, I still cannot help but feel tranquil, peaceful, thankful and hopeful. Everyday really is a new day here in Polomolok.

One may attribute it to my apartment’s location. I live in one of the company staff houses; two floors, a decent kitchen and dining area, old-tiled yet fully functioning bathroom, wooden fixtures, two bedrooms with mine situated at the back. I live with a girl from Marbel and she’s one hell of a cook–I am basically the guinea pig of some of her creations. But anyway, in front of our house is a decent lawn big enough to build another set of apartments. In our backyard, which is my view, is a family compound. But since we’re on the second floor, the window gives me a rich view of trees. Never mind the traditional sounds coming from a traditional Filipino home, there’s too much greenery to absorb my neighbor’s scolding of her children.

Then, there are the birds. As far as I can remember, my grandmother was still alive when I last witnessed an orchestra of bird-chirping. Today, I hear them every time I wake up and I cannot be more pleased with such melody. And before I forget, there’s the invaluable silence. It’s not like this place is deserted, behind my apartment is an army of houses, schools and apartments and across from us are a bunch of offices and the pineapple processing plant; yes, where the pineapple you use for salads or upside down cakes are being made. And yet, this place is so silent or rather subtle, that a Buddhist monk would approve.

Ooh, while I’m writing this a few birds came to sit by my windowsill! It’s a bit surreal from where I came from. I mean, Davao City isn’t Manhattan but like most developing cities, the commercialization of our area is pretty darn fast. I heard the building beside our home is going to turn into a call center and then the last time I went home, I saw the houses behind ours are being renovated into commercial spaces–there goes those damned Davao City birds!

Anyway.

This is just one of the things that I can’t help but feel surprised at. Mornings are the same whenever I go, but I guess this is what this place does to you or maybe this is just me. But for the past six months I’ve been living here, I have come to appreciate the simple things more. Not only that, I also realized that one doesn’t need a lot of things in order to live. Hey, I’m not going to lie, I still want Morocco and Paris, the cottage from the movie The Holiday, designer shoes and bags; but my point is that, those are just the perks I can give myself after working hard, but in terms of going through everyday living, one doesn’t need much really–one of which, I think, is waking up feeling that today is going to be a good day.

By the way, I’m only 23… so to the any adults who get to read this, I won’t apologize for my naive idealism. To those my age or younger, OMG you guys, this is totes true, stop blabbing about the new iPhone, I mean, do you really need it?

And with that, please excuse as I take advantage of this beautiful morning with some Anna Wintour (The September Issue documentary!).

Eyes to the ceiling: Meet my friend Irene

She was going to leave Davao City in less than 24 hours when the thought of giving a parting gift/remembrance crossed my mind. We had dinner over at their house when I told her that since I was not able to prepare something for her to bring to Nihon, I would just blog about her instead.

And like most promises I made to her (i.e., lose weight (2010), buy her a copy of Eat, Pray, Love, (2010) lose weight  (2011), lend her my The Graduate (1967) VCD (2011), get an Australian boyfriend someday (2012), lose weight (2012-2013)–I have broken a most of them. And whenever she would demand of her long-overdue article, I would tell her, in my most moody, sensitive and artistic tone–to just wait.

Aside from dealing with my lazy ass, I actually had no idea how to write about her without sounding like we’re former lesbian lovers who broke up because we fell in love with the same guy who happened to be gay (Fred? Matt Bomer?)! Gah. I simply had no idea… until I went to Barrio Bistro last night to order some pizza.

So here it is, baby. One year and five months in the making… I give you a brief look into my existence before, during and after (after???) our friendship. Hope you enjoy mwahuugzzzzzzzz

1. Pre-Irene: 

There was one brief dark-cloud moment in my life which caused me to somewhat shun myself from my social circle. I became recluse and  buried myself in book after book. This went on for almost a year, I think, if it weren’t for the persisting efforts of my childhood best friends to “bring me back to life”. That period eventually passed and I looked at my surroundings in a better light… but some things weren’t the same after that. I still had fun but only with my good friends. I guess I became severely careful with my actions.

2. Enter the Crazy Bitch

It’s hard not to notice Irene. I remember first seeing her in my college Biology class, she was not from our block but I heard we were taking the same course. I then identified her as the girl who dressed nicely, later I appreciated her for not being a snob. Much later, I noticed she was the funniest and had so much enthusiasm for life! Her positive spirit was contagious!

Eventually our group of friends got together and we started hanging out. I’d like to believe it was our common love for old songs, classic films and good food that first bound us–okay, and our knack of making fun of incredibly hot guys. We were opposites in all almost everything but we hit it off. For the first time since that “dark cloud” moment, I felt how amazing it was to just let go and just be…free. Don’t think about what other people will say; life is short; love big, love all; love yourself; love the haters; #YOLO before it became a ridiculous trend that is today; buy that expensive bag because you deserve it; eat and eat some more; diet; explore; laugh; do things; go to places; live. Anything can happen when you’re with Irene but when things take a different turn, you’d be amazed at how you can just shrug, take a deep breath and mutter, c’est la vie.

But I don’t want to give the impression that she’s only my friend for the good parts. Irene is a beautiful lady and has had quite a number of accomplishments–but some people are not so appreciative. And she may not know it but I do feel protective of her. Protective in a sense that I really get mad whenever people say something not so nice about her. I don’t fucking care about their opinions, I’m just angry because she doesn’t deserve it.

Anyway.. she is the kind of friend that makes we want to have kids and grand kids so that one day, when I’m all wrinkled like a dry prune… I would be able to tell them stories of my shenanigans and escapades. (I’m saying this figuratively okay, still not into kids…just the extent of how our friendship means #choz)

But I guess the best thing about being friends with Irene is that, at least in my experience, she makes you want to feel better about yourself. She’s appreciative and encouraging but honest at the same time. And for someone like me who’s neurotic at times, her enthusiasm and optimism still surprises me. I don’t know where she gets it, it worries me because as far as facing the shitty tendencies of life, Irene has–so far–the strongest facial muscles to put a smile on all of it.

3. Now

And now you’re in Japan and I’m here in South Cotabato and we’re looking at the same different sky. And tonight we try to put into words our reaction after seeing a clip from Magic Mike (2012) but you prefer Channing and I prefer Matt but that’s how we roll. Today, my homesickness got really bad but you waved it off with the word ugahip and not to mention the chubby cats you always send in.

A million miles away and only the internet to connect us… but still, never a dull moment with you Irene. Never a dull moment.

 

Can

Why I haven’t been writing much or anything, actually

In all honesty, one of the main reasons that made me take this job and made me move away from home was to write. I had this silly, romantic notion that by being on my own, the literary gods would reveal unwritten stories or unknown characters and make me incessantly pour out word after word, night after night until my laptop crashed and I pull out weeds in the yard at three in the morning while yelling lyrics from “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”. And guess what? Like all 20-somethings film/TV series ever made… I have found my voice! I discovered what I want to tell the world! I saw the world and people differently! I love myself more! I still eat meat but I care more about the environment! I have finally gotten over this guy I have been infatuated with since preschool!

Okay, the last sentence is completely untrue (it wasn’t preschool); but you get my drift. Being exposed in this less chaotic and demanding environment has made a lot of contribution for my ‘The Expendables’ fan fiction. I guess the simplicity of my new surrounding has not only allowed me to appreciate the (in my opinion) true necessities of life and living but also gave me a clearer picture of how I understand the world, its inhabitants and white rice. A good example would be this: August 2012, I would have written about how a mannequin offended me (interesting but vague); August 2013: I would probably write about how I realized I was not as strong as I thought (cliche but more profound than former).

So you might ask (my good friend Irene already did–a million times), how’s your writing? What have you been writing about lately? When are you going to write about me? or Us? Why aren’t you maintaining your blog? Why don’t you write about your feelings instead of eating them?

The answer, my friends, is that my writing has been in pretty bad shape for the past five months. In fact, I’d like to believe it’s deteriorating. I can barely finish a page in my journal, I don’t read as passionately as I used to and I have been putting off the office newsletter that I’m supposed to work on. Along with it comes going through every single day as if something is rotting inside of me. No kidding. I’m starting to feel the mediocrity getting its sustenance from my soul. I’m only 23 but this morning I asked myself if my life is going to be like this forever. I have never felt so uninspired and vulnerable. And no, it’s not PMS.

But please, don’t get me wrong… it’s not like I’m ungrateful or unmotivated. I’m thankful for this awesome job I have, the cool people at work, this rent-free apartment I am living in now, loving family, friends and pets waiting for me back home. Also, I am about to take a wanderlust-loan from my parents so that’s motivation enough for me.

So what’s wrong? I don’t know.

Or rather, I didn’t know then.

Because on the very same day I asked that question, I also got an answer.

I got the answer from my boss.

Like I said, part of my job is to maintain the company’s online internal newsletter. Lots of photography and writing, plus my boss lets me unleash my creativity–a corporate utopian privilege, I know. But to make the short story even shorter, there has not been much unleashing happening ever since I got hired. Oh yes it has been quite a crazy month with all the events and graphic designing happening, but about 15 articles delayed? #inexcusable #totes

“[It’s because] you’re intimidated…” she said.

But in a nice, sisterly Jodi Sta. Maria-to-Toni Gonzaga-in-You-Are-The-One kind of way.

To which I mindlessly followed with “Yes, I am insecure of Diego’s* work.” (*Diego is a screen name for my predecessor)

“Just do what makes you comfortable” she reassured.

And just like that, the truth came out. I mean, I am already aware of my insecurity with people who I perceive to be better writers than me. But what I discovered after that brief exchange was the countless ways I have been distracting myself because I was not confident with my own words. No wonder I feel so secretive, reclusive and selective with exposing my work! When I got published, I didn’t tell anyone I submitted an essay–it was my Aunt who found it during one of her Sunday afternoon siestas.  No wonder I would pull all nighters on graphic assignments or accept more workload thereof in spite of the growing delay! No wonder I’m so carb-driven!

Thus I kept my words, hid them and coddled them with the initial thought that I was buying time and maybe one day, I will wake up the way Paul Dano did in Ruby Sparks after dreaming about Ruby. But… now I see that I was avoiding writing because I was already living with the notion that I was not going to be good enough. I was afraid that people would look past through my message and dwell on my dry humor or untimely. punctuation. 

But why now and why here, of all places?

I think it’s because I actually like my job… or rather the non-writing aspects of it (i.e., graphic design, event planning, and lots and lots of road trips). I have become too comfortable with my distraction that it took me some time to associate my unfulfilled sentiments with my lack of writing.  I chose to put off the damn newsletter because I felt that mine was never going to be as impressive as Diego’s! Because making fun of my misuse of cumin is okay but taking a jab at my writing may cause me my life… I mean, I will still go on living, but maybe not as alive. (I’m too engrossed with pop culture to be suicidal anyway).

And now I’m into my 10th paragraph and I have been writing and rewriting for the past three hours. Waking up from this ambition-comma has definitely taken a favorable toll. This new learning or whatnot will not immediately make me a better writer but at least, at least, I can say that I’m no longer that afraid to try and become one. 

But for now, I’m just thankful to God that I got this understanding in all my currently plump glory and not on my Egyptian cotton-laden deathbed in Moscow. 

And to anyone who gets to read this, maybe you can do a bit of life tune up. If you’re doing what you love, I am deeply happy for you and please continue to inspire people like me. If you’re not sure about how you feel with your current endeavors, maybe it’s time to do some dream-reviewing, because you might be getting too close to comfort. And I’m not referring to the good kind.

 

 

 

It’s Raining and I Don’t Want to Work Yet, So…

We at the tropics have been experiencing an unusually long downpour lately. Not only does this prolonged drenching slightly convinces me that selling puffy coats in this side of the globe is not that ridiculous after all, but it also gives us an excuse to sleep a bit longer, arrive to work late and feign flu in order to take a day off (just kidding).

But I think the best thing about the rain is that you get to fully enjoy and/or benefit from certain things and activities that at 37 degrees wouldn’t allow you to.

A good case in point is hot chocolate. You would not be able to totally, completely, “earth-shattering-ly” get full satisfaction from sipping the Ambrosia from the Hood if it was hot outside, would you? The cold weather actually makes the drink warmer and creamier. Know I can feel my taste buds begging.

And just like hot chocolate, there are certain songs that, in my opinion, are best heard when it’s raining. These songs just blend in with the weather so much that one just becomes more tolerable with the negatrons of rain (i.e., mud, paucity of cabs, third serving of lugaw, etc.). So, while I’m still building  motivation to finish my reports,  please allow me to share with you two of my most favorite rain-appropriate tunes:

1. John Mayer – “Neon”

 

2. Maroon 5 – “Sunday Morning”

 

But of course while it’s not actually my favorite rain-song, let’s never forget to play some good old Snoop Dogg when it drizzles. Get it. Get it.

 

Fo shizzle.

Enjoy your hot chocolate!

Anna Karenina and Pablo: Literary Refuge for the Storm Newbie

With my boss informing us not to go to work due to the storm, I decided to do a real time commentary while reading Anna Karenina.

12/04/2012

First 10 chapters: Levin is such a love sick puppy dog. I just want to yell at him.

I liked how Tolstoy described Oblonsky’s understanding of how Levin sees girls and how he perceived Kitty Scherbatskaya, the object of his intense affection:

“Oblonsky smiled. He understood that feeling of Levin’s so well, knew that for Levin all the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class included all the girls in the world except her, and they had all the usual human failings and were very ordinary girls; while the other class – herself alone -had no weakness and was superior to all humanity.”

102, this is for you.

Last night you sent me a text message but to be honest, I couldn’t read it anymore. Yes, I saw the words, observed the length but I couldn’t grasp what you were trying to say because I was already preoccupied with anxiety. I didn’t like to see you like this, you are so much more than the worry and doubt you put on yourself. But don’t think you’re a hassle to me (because I feel you might), in fact, I was relieved that you explained your abrupt exit. I might not have been able to give my reply as promptly as I should have, but I’m telling now how happy I was when I heard from you.

Anyway, I’m writing not to express any disbelief or tell you what you should do. I know I have an attitude of being somewhat of a know-it-all but let’s just say in matters like this, I want to be heard especially when I feel that I will say might be of help. So I’m also telling you right now that life is a bitch, people can be cruel and yes, sometimes we are not enough, hell, to some we will never be enough.

But I want you to know that in moments like this, it’s okay to give time to be weird. It’s okay t admit defeat, to surrender, to fall apart, to leave, to let go and succumb to our vulnerability. It’s okay to make stupid decisions, to do things against our better judgement or even allow ourselves to dive in the pool of insecurity, uncertainty, selfishness, fear, doubt and jealousy–but remember, never drown. Heck, we don’t even have to always rationalize what we feel or even understand our own selves… because we are human and that’s how we grow. And most importantly, we don’t have to explain these moments to anybody else.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that don’t be afraid of these breakdowns because these are the one of the defining moments in our lives. After all the thinking, crying and  falling short of breath, we should be able to understand ourselves more, embrace our faults and weaknesses, appreciate who are and what we have and just love, love, love, love, love ourselves more. And sometimes this is the most difficult part because it’s always easier to look for faults but like every love song written in the surface of the earth, it all begins with love… then things will fall into place.

You might get mad at me for saying this but I really hope you wouldn’t be so apologetic for almost everything. While adjusting to other people is done on a daily basis, remember that you don’t have to please each every one of them. Heck, you don’t even have to please me or our friends. I don’t mean to be harsh but I’m just really afraid that if you don’t outgrow that kind of attitude, maybe someday someone will take advantage of it and I don’t want that to happen because you’re one of the best people I know. And I just hope you will be able to see yourself the way I see you… full of love, hope, smart, responsible, beautiful, sincere, generous and so much more.

I apologize if I judged you in anyway in this post and I would totally understand if you don’t wish to speak to me after reading this. I know we haven’t been friends for a long time nor do we completely know each other, but either way, you are most cherished friend to me and I really am concerned. Finally, this is nothing but a blog post…I’m not asking you to change your mind or whatever because I will love you either way or how may times you would leave in the middle of the afternoon. 🙂

Just please remember that you can always talk to me, regardless of how much fun I’m having that time.

 

 

I’ve read this book twice and probably read through this particular piece four times. It always, always takes me back to how I once saw my life’s direction. I wanted to be passionate about so much but clearly, I have fallen short of this “want” that it conceals me from what I need to do.

Plus it really is a sad line.