Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Vinta Inspired Hand Quilted Throw Pillowcase

It's been a year since I made the vinta inspired hand quilted throw pillowcase. I finally edited the tutorial video and made the how-to guide. After I made this I focused on finishing the t-shirt quilt blanket and some odd projects. Filming while working on my craft takes away the fun in creating. My friend Cherry though told me I should continue to make these vids. 

It was indeed a good reminder because I normally go back to my videos for reference. Yup, even I forget about some techniques I learn along the way. Sharing what you learn also makes it stick more to your memory bank. My original plan after retirement was to teach. I can't do that anymore so I guess sharing what I learn when I'm being creative would be useful. 

One of the things I want to do is to create Filipino culture inspired quilts. Drawing isn't one of my skills. I also consider myself still a beginner at quilting. But I could work on creating designs that can be broken down in regular shapes. The vinta was manageable for me to make. It didn't have any crazy shapes and it was fairly easy to hand quilt. 

The project took me two weeks to make. I worked on it while watching TV at night (that's why some of the clips were a bit dark). Anyway, finally unearthed the clips and did some editing. 

This one is for you Cherry, haha. May my lazy bones create more. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, February 27, 2023

Home on Mondays: Condo Masters Bedroom Makeover

Last week I shared about the changes we requested for the masters bedroom bathroom in the condo. Our masters bedroom was generally okay, but the biggest pain were the closets. We added built in closets when we moved in, but made the mistake of using cabinet swinging doors instead of sliding doors. We had to move stuff just to open the cabinet. The cabinets also looked dated. The cabinet was the main focus then for the master bedroom. 

Midway through renovations.

Old look of the masters bedroom

The space was just enough for a bed and closets. I tried to fit in a dresser and we eventually got rid of it because it got wet (the a/c dripped). On Sweetie's side of the bed, he was frustrated with his cabinet. Opening the cabinet was difficult because he had to move a stool everytime he had to open it. My cabinet was a pain to open also because I had a fan in front of it. 

Here's what we changed in the masters bedroom:

Cabinet doors changed to sliding doors

Changed color of cabinets

Changed the flooring

Changed the lighting fixture

Installed blinds

Added side tables since there was space for it now

We stayed in the condo for a few weeks and got to experience the changes. We brought only essential items. Our experience was amazing. The unit was also much cooler and we didn't use the a/c most of the time. We didn't bring a lot of stuff, but we managed. It felt good actually not to have so much things. The cleaner who came to work on our balcony said he was so surprised to see the unit empty. He said it looked beautiful. 

Staying in the unit for a few weeks gave us a better idea on some minor issues that need to be addressed. Will share next week on what to prioritize if you're acquiring a condo unit. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Sunday Miracles: Pray for Peace

 “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union.” (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)

The news left and right shows so much unrest across the world. Countries encroaching on the territory of other countries. Weapon testing. Unidentified flying objects. Then there are disasters that has been taking a lot of lives. And, of course, the virus is still around. 

I have honestly been spending less time online. I just do some light browsing to read what my friends are doing. Skim over the news. I read more business and tech news. Of course, that's when I see also what's happening to the world. 

It's sad to see what has happened to the world. Things were much simpler in the past. My parents though used to say that things were simpler when they were young. I guess each generation goes through their own struggles. 

The best thing we can do at these times is to pray. 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: 5Ps Before I Start Planting Again

Proper planning prevents poor performance! That's what I learned from Ninang Janette and what I taught the students in one of the programs I managed. The past year has been a year of experiments. I had some success, but most of my veggie growing projects failed.  I was excited to have more space and I just kept planting. That's okay because I learned a lot. 

I spent an entire year trying to grow stuff. My biggest mistake was not understanding the sun, water, soil and nutrition needs of the plants. My Mom told me that my Mama Lola told  her that there's no such thing as a brown thumb. You can become better through practice and become a green thumb. 

My plan to is clear an area in our backyard where the morning sun hits. Our house is at an odd angle and doesn't get a lot of good sunlight for growing plants. So I observed to figure out the best spots for growing veggies. I have also identified an area for plants that don't like too  much sun. That's where I moved the ginger and tumeric and they seem to like the shade after 10 in the morning. 

So before I start planting anything again, I thought I'd plan things first. Here's what I picked up to consider before you plant or purchase plants/veggies:

  • Know which plants would be good companions to each other
  • Understand the sun, water, soil and nutrition requirements of the plant
  • Know the best time of the year to grow the plant
  • Understand insect invasion patterns (i.e. higad usually comes out after it rains)
  • Know which plants tend to climb
  • Research how best to sprout a seed
I've been reading and watching videos the past few months and have created a grid to help me. I will probably color code the plants also so I know what plants need for nutrition. I'll also probably mark watering schedules. I have a tendency to drown my plants (sorry!). 

Since outdoor work hasn't started yet, I have time to plan what to plant. I'll research more so that my efforts will bear fruit (hopefully). 

Happy gardening everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, February 24, 2023

Foodie Fridays: Homemade Taco

A friend of mine reminded me the other day that I should continue creating content. She said I should take videos of my craft making since a lot of titas would watch it (LOL). Well, it's really difficult to make vids. It takes up a lot of time and usually takes away the fun in sewing. I honestly still have a lot of pending vids to edit. It's just not been my priority. 

So anyway, I thought the easiest way for me to ease back in to making vids is to start with something easier, food! I'm not the greatest cook, but so far it's been edible and my boys have not complained. Last Sunday, I thought it would be easy to start cooking again by making tacos. It IS very easy to make and assemble. 

I made a taco, then a salad :)

I decided to film after I started cooking. Sweetie helped slice the veggies and Miggy took care of grating the cheese. That's how I've been cooking lately, with lots of assistance. We endured and prepared a very pretty spread. Here's how we made it in a minute and a half :)

Complete recipe is on Recipes for My Son.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Throwback Thursdays: Back Street Boys

The last concert we watched before everything shut down was the Back Street Boys DNA World Tour in Singapore. Sweetie made last minute plans and bought tickets just a day before the concert! They luckily opened a new section. Our seats were on the side and pretty near the stage. 

TBH, I did not jump on the boy band craze in the 90s. I fan-girled a lot during the Menudo era, so by the time BSB, N-Sync and Westlife rolled around I just put them at arms length (haha). I listened to their songs, but did not collect their albums. I was at that time focused on the local scene (Truefaith, Eraserheads etc.). 

When Sweetie said we were watching the BSB concert I was ecstatic and nervous at the same time. We totally enjoyed the performance of the Back Street Boys and we still talk about the show until now. I also finally followed the band on IG after the concert. Heard they were here in Manila the other day. I'm glad to hear they have finally continued their tour. 

Would love to watch them again. Maybe someday :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Moving Forward with My New Reality

The worst thing you can do to yourself is carry around baggage as you move forward. Couple it with despair and you'll definitely be stuck. I probably looked just like Despair in The Sandman the past couple of years. It was triggered by illness. 

I think I've finally turned a corner. I have accepted my new reality and I'm ready to work on the goals I've set for the year. The change of scenery really helped me because I was able to let go of my fears. I also made peace with the fact that there are things I cannot control and change.

Here's what I resolve to do:

  • Focus on the goals I set last January (I have not made a dent on it)
  • Exercise everyday and do at least 1,500 to 2,000 steps at home
  • Go out at least twice a month and rest after when my body demands it (which is a certainty whenever I go out)
  • See my doctors regularly (I do drink my meds religiously)
  • Keep more in touch with friends 
  • And most importantly, just lift all my worries to Papa Jesus

 Happy hump day everyone. Hope you are keeping well.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Time to Unveil My Craft Room Again

Ahh, it's been two months since I last got to stay in my craft room. I indulged myself and had the bathroom turned into a powder room. It was going to be very dusty so I had to pack up everything and vacate my haven. The renovation coincided with all the electrical work so we left for a few weeks. 

The craft cabinet is currently covered and I hope to remove the tarp this week. It's going to require a lot of work to clean it up and restore it. I'll probably get to use it by next week (hopefully). 

Here's the evolution so far -

Version 1 minus the Ikea shelves flanking the display cabinet.

Just before round 1 of renovations.

Version 2 just before I messed it up again.

Active craft room just before round 2 of renovations.

I can't wait to ease back in my craft room again! Only thing missing is the design board and I think I need to buy a new chair. My cute pink swivel chair broke. I think it could still be fixed. I have to check if we could DIY to fix it. I'm also still think whether I should get help to organize the room better or if I could just wing it. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Home on Mondays: Condo Masters Bathroom Makeover

One of the things I struggled with while living in a condo unit was the lack of storage in the bathroom. We were only able to add a rod for the shower curtain, towel holder and a shower caddy. We used makeshift cabinets to store extra toiletries. The toilet paper pack was perennially under the sick. The only nice thing we had was the laundry hamper which we got from Ikea. It looked messy even with the containers we used. 

I shared all my frustration to Arch. Wansi when we planned to renovate the unit. We originally only planned to add cabinets and keep the countertop. I really disliked the purple/magenta specked countertop. Through the years it started to fade and I disliked it even more. It came with the unit and I don't know why DMCI went for that ugly color. Anyway, since we were already renovating we decided to have it changed. We realized the new cabinets and mirrors wouldn't have looked good with the odd looking countertop*.

Here's what we changed in the masters bathroom:

Mirrors were lengthened to cover the wall end-to-end and added storage space behind it

Added lights under and on top of the mirror and changed the ceiling light

Changed the countertop

Kept the sink but changed the faucet

Added storage under the sink

Used dove gray paint for the cabinets

Re-painted the walls

Replaced the exhaust with a new one (the original one died after 8 years)

Original Bhagwan water heater still surprisingly working. We only changed the shower head last year. 

We were really happy with the makeover. We realized though we didn't allot any space for the laundry hamper. Managed to squeeze in a small one beside the trash can. Maybe next time we'll get a smaller one so it can go under the sink. 

*The countertop was really sturdy and is now probably installed in a new home. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Miracle Sundays: Living with CHF

I just recently had a blood test and it's a mess again. Luckily, the med tech who took my blood was a really good one. The test just left a tiny dot on my arm and did not bruise. It's been years since I've encountered a really good med tech. Next time I'll make sure to get my tests done on midnight. Hopefully I'll get him again. 

The result of the test though was disenheartening. I'm anemic and my probnp result is almost x2 from 2021. My cardiologist is yet again very busy and her assistant hasn't confirmed an appointment. Medical care in the Philippines is truly hard. I was down for a few days, but I have to roll with the punches. I have my meds and while waiting to see my doctor I have to be proactive. 

Dealing with medical issues is hard. I've always just managed to brush it off, but the past few years have been really challenging. I almost didn't get back up after the breakdown I had last year. It was the love of my boys and faith that pulled me back. 

Watched this TedX talk by L.T. Kirk the other day and it was a good reminder for me that it's up to me to live. If I don't fight then I could easily be in perile. L.T. Kirk mentioned in his talk that he can enjoy one good day, but it would be followed by several bad days. That is the life of a person with congestive heart failure. 

I've had CHF since 2008. It was the result of having pneumonia. My doctors in SG managed it really well and I was able to live normally even after heart surgery. It's been harder now because it's now paired with CTEPH* and other stuff. I've learned to live with it and have been a bit more functional now. There are good days and bad days, but that's okay since I still get to create new happy memories with my boys. 

Here's what I learned through the years of dealing with my illnesses:

  • Acceptance is key. The Nile is not just a river in Egypt.*
  • Aim to be better at least 1% than yesterday 
  • Big hairy goals or moonshot goals are for work, just make bite sized targets
  • Celebrate all achievements whether they're big or small. Reward yourself. 
  • Live for your family. 
  • Remember, Jesus loves you. Pray. 
One thing that struck me from what L.T. Kirk said was you have to live based on your new reality. Stop aiming for what used to be because it will just frustrate you. It took me a long time to understand and accept that I can't do what I used to do. I'm grateful I have my boys and friends who have been taking care of me.  

**CTEPH - Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Grew Blue Ternate from the Pod it Produced

I grew my blue ternate plant from seeds I bought online. It took weeks before it sprouted and then quite awhile before it started to produce flowers. I eventually found out though that it really likes banana peel tea. When I started giving it banana peel tea* it produced more flowers and started growing pods. I was ecstatic because it meant I can grow more plants eventually. 

I harvested the pod when it started drying. Left it to dry more and then I popped it in a seedling tray. It sprouted faster than the seeds I bought online, probably because the seed tray kept the soil moist. I was surprised to find out that the plant requires very little soil. It's been three months and I haven't transplanted it. it's grown about three feet since October. 

I'm really happy I was able to grow a plant from seeds my garden produced. I always thought that growing flowering plants is hard since i haven't been successful with others I tried growing from seeds. There is hope! The original blue ternate plant I grew is still alive. It has survived a lot of my garden's disasters (higad, drought, aphids, leaf miners etc.) and it's been easy to maintain. I'll probably re-pot this new one soon so it can grow and produce more flowers we can make into tea. 

Happy gardening everyone!

*How to make banana peel tea -

Friday, February 17, 2023

Landmark After Almost 5 Years!

Landmark, the iconic department store beside Glorietta in Makati City, opened when I was in high school. My Mom absolutely loved the supermarket and that's where we'd go when Makati Supermart moved out of Makati. South Supermarket in Magallanes also left, so the next best one was Landmark. While in college, I'd sometimes go to Landmark to buy some stuff together with friends. Also did a grad school project at Landmark.

The area grew eventually. Quad was replaced with Glorietta and Greenbelt also expanded. By the time I started working I'd walk from Ayala through Greenbelt, Landmark, and SM to reach the terminal for my ride home. I was still able to do that in the past decade and I'd still visit whenever I was in Manila. This love affair with Landmark ended in 2019 because of the pandemic. It's one of the places we missed while in Singapore. 

We discovered when we celebrated Valentine's in Nuvali that there was a Landmark in the area. Burned off what we ate by going to Landmark after lunch. It's not the same Landmark I grew up with, but it was a good replica of the bigger one in Makati. It had all the same elements as the one I'm used to although the toy section was missing. 

Enjoyed going around and since it was a weekday, the store was practically empty. We were able to look at the furniture area at length since we need a sofa. They had nice affordable options. The bazaar section that Landmark is known for took up most of the second floor. I guess some sections were not included to protect the business of other stores (there's a Toy Kingdom in the next building). 

It's not the Landmark I'm accustomed to, but this one in Solenad, Nuvali would do for now. We were so excited we forgot to take photos, haha. Didn't really go shopping, just picked up some organizers for our bathroom. I told Sweetie that since Landmark in Makati is a high traffic area, we'll probably won't be able to visit it anytime soon. This one in Nuvali would do for now :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Throwback Thursday: When I Turned 30

It feels just like yesterday when I celebrated my 30th birthday. Let's not count how many years it's been, haha! I usually celebrate my birthday at home. It did not even occur to me to host the party elsewhere. Nowadays though it's easier to just book a place or a resto to celebrate. 

My 30th birthday was really memorable. I had all my closest friends come to the party. My besties, my choir fam, work fam and school friends (HS and college). It was a really special day for me because it marked the beginning of the next chapter in my life. My birthday actually marked my first day at Google (things started rolling a few weeks later). 

Most of the food was homemade (plus some Baliwag probably). The cake was ordered by Mom and Dad from Goldilocks (of course!). We had games and did a lot of singing (videoke!). By then most of my friends from school and my neighbors knew each other, so everyone was comfortable with each other.  

I realize now why I looked back on this day. It's the day where I want to re-start from after retiring from my job. Things have changed a lot since then. My best friend moved back to Cebu, most of my friends are married and moved elsewhere (abroad/other cities). Some are still around and I've been hoping to see them. Hope it will be safer and hope our renovations will finish soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Change of Scenery

I was really anxious about the electrical issues in our home. Kept telling myself I was just being overdramatic since it was being fixed already. I couldn't sleep at night because I was worrying something might happen to us (the fire next door worsened my PTSD). Well, the dust was also causing me to have frequent asthma attacks. 

We decided to move out for awhile since it would have been unbearable not to have electricity. The electrical issues identified by the audit were really serious. I have not been sleeping well the past few months because I've been afraid something might happen to us. The electrical engineer also said we should install a sensor just to be sure. The issue has certainly marred the joy of having our new home. 

We went back to our old home for a few weeks. The change of scenery certainly helped me calm down and focus on myself. It probably did not help that we found out about the serious electrical issues of our home after the fire. We've always lived in homes where we never had issues with the electricity. You'll certainly feel a mix of emotions when you find out that your home is a fire hazard. 

I needed a reset and the change of scenery helped me. It was also reassuring to know that the issues were being addressed and we'll go back to a safe home. I am grateful we found people who we could trust to help us. It's just unbelievable how people can be unscrupulous in their quest to earn a quick buck. It never crossed our mind that this would happen. 

The change of scenery allowed me to have time to think and reset my nervous system. I honestly have not been able to do any of my crafts. My body and mind had to rest, so I indulged and just watched Netflix the past few weeks. We were able to finish Stranger Things, start The Sandman and watch a couple of movies. I realized though I should have brought a book. It would have been nice to be absorbed by a story. 

A change of scenery works. No wonder a lot of people are into traveling. Sanaol.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valentine's 2023

Happy heart day everyone! <3

We normally celebrate Valentine's the day before or after to avoid the crowd. Also delegated this day for some important errands and will drop off something for Mom. This year, Sweetie decided to surprise me and Miggy with a short day trip out of town. He sent a clue last week with a photo of a heart shaped pizza with the code "ALC214". 

I've been playing word puzzles for some time now and I had an idea the code stood for "Amare La Cucina", February 14. He originally set it for the 14th because part two of the surprise is closed on Mondays. Part 2 though was suddenly open on a Monday. Suspended renovation work for 2 days so we could rest and have a break. 

Sweetie only told us we were heading south. Brought compression socks and a light jacket just in case we end up in Tagaytay (haha). Amare has several branches in the south and I thought it was good to be prepared. The funny thing is the resto called while we were on the way and the reception was loud enough for me to hear, hahaha. Told Sweetie then and there that I guessed right, hahaha. 

I've been wanting to visit Amare La Cucina since they expanded. The first time we ate there was in Baguio during their soft opening. They were still setting up and invited bloggers to try out their offerings. The visit was a bit of a blur for me since we hopped from one place to another. What I do remember about the visit though was the Pinoyboy pizza Edmark, the owner, served. It was really memorable and during the pandemic we found out they expanded. 

We ended up in their newly opened branch in Solenad, Nuvali. Here's what we ordered -

Pinoyboy pizza

Burrata salad

Ragu pasta

Cheese and spinach dip 

Miggy had carbonara. The bacon was addicting!

For some strange reason... I forgot to take a photo of my cheese lasagna! Hahaha.
I guess I was so excited to eat! Servings were huge so we ate the leftovers for dinner :)

Pinoyboy pizza was as I remembered it. Sarap! It has a distinct flavor that makes it memorable. Good thing Sweetie reserved us a seat because the place was full even on a Monday. There were several huge groups that filled up the resto after we arrived. Walked off the huge meal by exploring the mall. Twas a fun day. Ended up skipping part 2 of the trip since I was already tired, haha. Conked out as soon as we got home. 

Thank you Sweetie for the awesome V-day surprise! <3 <3 <3

Monday, February 13, 2023

Home on Mondays: Condo Bedroom Renovation

It was our first time to own property when we bought our condo unit. Looking back, we should have probably spent a bit more to customize our unit before we moved in. We were in a rush to move at that time because we had to rid of our monthly lease since we had to pay for our mortgage. I was also scheduled to for heart surgery a few weeks after moving in. 

Start with mayhem and the mess is certainly going to grow. Life would have been easier if we had all the proper cabinets installed and furniture in place before we moved in. It was hard since we didn't have enough storage, so our home was perennially messy. 

Before and after emptying the room

No contractor wanted to work on our apartment until we removed all our possessions in the unit. That's why it took 10 years before we managed to get anything done. One of the most annoying issue in the bedroom was the closet. The cabinets had doors that would eat up so much space whenever it was opened. Another issue were the curtains. 

Property management required residents to use white curtains facing outward. It would also get warm, so to keep the heat out we doubled the curtains. We thought about having the windows tinted, but it's expensive. We then decided to change to blinds. It solved the issue of keeping the heat out. It also ate up less space especially in the bedrooms. 

Here's what we changed in the two bedrooms: 

Closet doors transformed into sliding doors 

Closets re-colored to dove gray 

Bedroom doors re-colored to white 

Accent wall added to make the bedroom more interesting 

Curtains changed to roller blinds Air-conditioning units are now properly framed 

Changed the flooring

Finally, upgraded the ceiling light

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Happy Sunday

Not feeling so well, so just wanted to wish everyone a happy Sunday ☺️

What miracle have you encountered today?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Kalanchoe, Super Low Maintenance Plant

A friend gave me several pots of kalanchoe last year. I have not been successful with succulents, so the opportunity excited and scared me. My friend gave me a pot that was overflowing and she advised to re-pot it. First thing I did was to read up on kalanchoe, of course. 

Kalanchoe is known to be the mother of millions (or thousands). The variety I have (Kalanchoe pinnata) multiplies by growing tiny new plants on its leaves. It was interesting to learn that there are plants that multiply that way. The pot I repotted has grown and multiplied. It can get gnarly though because the tiny shoots can easily be blow away by the wind and grow anywhere. 

It is a very resilient plant. It best grows on well draining soil. I accidentally scattered some of the sprouts on garden soil I meant to plant seeds in. I didn't even plant it and it eventually grew roots and started growing. Never had the time to move it to a proper pot and it's still growing. 

How to Re-pot Kalanchoe

A recent trip to the laundry cage at our condo showed that kalanchoe would grow and survive even with very little soil. I saw it started growing in cages that were left unkempt. The plant does not need to be watered often and best left alone. I guess the untended ones in the roofdeck just get its water when it rains or when the neighbors laundry drain reaches it.

Kalanchoe is known to be a houseplant and can live with sunlight or indirect sun. I noticed it grows bigger when it gets more sun. I'll likely move back my kalanchoes to it's original place when renovations are over so they can grow better. 

Among all the succulents given to me by my friend and the succulents I bought at Ikea, only the kalanchoe has survived! It's a low maintenance plant which you can place indoors or outdoors. It multiplies easily so I think I'll be able to give out some to my friends to pass the  love!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, February 10, 2023

What I Learned About Being an Introvert

I was already in my late 20s when I learned I was an introvert. The term wasn't really used when I was younger. Introverts used to be called "shy" and thought to be generally not confident. Even as a child, I'd hide from my visitors during my birthday party. I would peek from the window before going down to meet them. I always felt terrified whenever there were many people and whenever I had to perform in front of people. Reciting made me feel very anxious. I still feel the same way. 

When Miggy was growing up I noticed he was the same as me. His teachers gave me feedback that he was very shy and quiet in class. They knew he was very intelligent, so they hoped he'd speak up more. I eventually came across the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain. Through the book I understood myself a bit more and I got tips on how to help my introverted child develop. From the book, I understood that there was nothing wrong with me. 

I'm built differently from extroverts. Unlike extroverts, I don't like being the center of attention. It takes me awhile to warm up to people. It takes a lot of willpower and guts for me to speak in public. I'm only comfortable to go to parties of those I'm close with. 

My previous job required me to be "out there". I found myself doing speaking engagements. I organized huge events. Built communities across countries. Met with people who spoke in other languages. The path I took to get there wasn't an easy one. Responsibilities were thrust upon me. I told my boss back then, "Why me?" He said he knew I had the talent and I could grow much more. At one point I had at least 30 people directly reporting to me and I also experienced managing people of different nationalities. 

Photo by Norman Gorecho.

Instead of being overwhelmed, I looked at the opportunity to take on more responsibilities as a chance to learn and develop my skills. I was lucky because I was allowed to tackle things my own way. I learned from the book and from this article that introverts are wired differently. We look at things in a different manner. 

Being an introvert doesn't mean you can't do what extroverts can do. Introverts can do it by playing the role. I feel like a rag doll after fulfilling duties that require me to go out of my comfort zone. I eventually learned to enjoy it and just took a rest after. This is why I rarely went out once the workday is over. 

If you are an introvert, remember, you can do anything you want. Don't force to do things how extroverts do it. Your talents are your own. Find your voice. Follow your instincts and utilize the talents you are hiding. I certainly did things very differently and I enjoyed figuring out and solving difficult issues. I was just myself and now I'm relishing those happy memories now that I've retired. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Throwback Thursday: That Time we were at The Vision

One of the nicest places we lived in Singapore was at The Vision. It was a condo building located on the West Coast area. We were lucky to find and move to the unit just before the start of the lockdown. It was also our first time to live on a high floor. We checked out the area because it was just a stone's throw away from our friends. 

Evening view

I told Sweetie the other night what I missed most about that place, the view. Being high up allowed us to see our surroundings from a different perspective. We saw a lot of birds and the SG anniversary aircrafts when they would practice. The balcony was also a perfect place to do some gardening. 

Beautiful blue skies (Singapore)

Aside from the nice view, we also experienced nice breezes. It was especially good when the air cleared up because of the lockdowns. It would get scary though during heavy rain. There were also times when it was so windy, the wind would howl (probably caused by the wind going through the building crevices). 

Scary skies.

My favorite place though was the lobby area. It had a fountain that served as a round-a-bout. I spent a lot of time waiting for my ride in the area and enjoyed watching birds drink and bath. You can see one from the video below. 

The nearest establishment in the area was just McDonald's and a coffee shop in the condo beside us. We enjoyed walking to the park though, West Coast Park. When the circuit breaker eased up, we'd meet our friends at McDonald's. It felt so surreal when we finally got together for the first time after a long, long time. 

West Coast in Singapore is still developing. We didn't have commercial places nearby, but it was where we weathered out the pandemic. It was the perfect place to be. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Service

A PE survivor shared on our patient group how she's been coping after being forced to retire because of misdiagnosis which eventually led to her PE. She was serving in the military when she fell ill. Her illness became complicated and she eventually had to retire. It took her awhile to get better, but she started doing volunteer work. It's made her feel more energized and she wrote a very inspirational post in our PE survivors group. 

It's true. I was at my happiest when I was serving in church and working with communities. It was what powered me through difficult times. I realized this just before I had my first PE. Tried volunteering in the local church in SG, but they turned our application down (maybe because we didn't speak the local language). Well, after that I got sick. 

Last year, I was chatting with Rowie and told her that I'd be happy to help with the book, Mama Mary and Her Children. I couldn't do anything physically, but I thought I could help with any online tasks if needed. Just after another bout of heart failure, Rowie messaged and said she needed help to do last minute editing for the book. She gave me four days to go through the book. 

I was very nervous because I have good days and bad days. I prayed for stamina so I could finish the task. I was able to read and edit three out of the four days with some time to spare. It was truly a joy to read the stories made by contributors. It powered me up. Soon after we started planning for the launch and Sweetie helped out for the social media aspect. 

Serving others is one thing you can do to improve yourself. The joy of giving heals :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: My Dream Home Filled with My Crafts

Last year I made two sets of curtains for our living room. It wasn't perfect so I thought I'd have a set made professionally just for the living room. Oh boy, I was so shocked when I received the quotation on how much it would cost. The cost was 20 times of how much I spent per set of curtains I made. Of course, the one done professionally is much nicer and it has pleats (something I don't know how to do). 

We have a number of things we still need to fix in our house, so we shelved the idea of having proper curtains. That reminded me about my goal to make things we need at home. Looks like I need to re-order the craft to-do list I made last January. This way I can properly plan what I need and I can review if there are any new skills I need to acquire to make my projects.

Here's what I'll do for the next two quarters:

  • Curtains - summer is coming, so I'll need new block curtains. Hope to find better looking fabric though, something that will make the living room look lighter and airy. 
  • Kitchen curtains - we removed the kitchen curtains when we renovated. The one I made last year was too short, haha. I want the new kitchen curtain to be bright and cheerful. 
  • Throw pillow covers - we don't have any sofas yet, haha. I made two pink throw pillow cases last year. The color of the year is viva magenta, but I've always wanted to make some items in teal. 
  • Misc items
    • Essential oil holders
    • More pot holders
    • Oven gloves
    • Glass holders

I think this list is going to keep me busy for a couple of months. I hope to get things going soon!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, February 6, 2023

Home on Mondays: Condo Living Room Renovation

The "classic" look of our living room looked dated after a decade. It also made our living area smaller. We were told several times that we should have gone for lighter colors to make our space look bigger. The open shelves also made things look very cluttered. Through the years we also kept adding stuff to it. Never really had time to declutter. 

For our living room, our main objective was to make the space look bigger and clean. We felt our unit breathed a sigh of relief when we emptied it (haha). It really needed a good clean-up. Here's how it looked before we moved in -

How it looked before we moved out (didn't really occur to us to take photos of the cabinet in the past 10 years haha) -

We originally put the loveseat sofa beside the dining table. We copied that from Tita Pet and Uncle Fumio in their home in Tokyo. It saved a lot of space, but it wasn't really good for my back. It would have worked if it was on a platform.

There's a loveseat  sofa somewhere there.

How the cabinet looked when it was empty -

Here's what we changed:

Floor to ceiling living room cabinet was overhauled. Added cabinet doors to the top portion. Kept the drawers but changed the handles. Removed the glass cabinet and repainted to a lighter color. TV area also made bigger to accommodate a larger TV. 

Removed the metal shelf and re-used a Billy bookcase (those are really sturdy!). 

Replaced the lighting fixtures to nicer ones. 

Replaced the chandelier with a fan. It gets warm in the afternoons and the fan has changed the overall temperature a lot. 

Moved the loveseat sofa in front of the TV area, added a rug, an armchair and a side table. 

Removed the double curtains and switched to blinds. The blinds actually ward off heat and the sun better than curtains.

Work in progress.

Almost there.

The fan and the finished cabinet + blinds.

The new living room.

#BeKind #StaySafe