#OntheMove: Of Grace and Gratitude!

How are you?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWriting this with a full and happy heart. Just want to share some news of little wins + a short ode of gratitude! ūüôā Just going with life’s paradoxical ebb and flow here. Seems like impermanence is the only permanent thing working for me now. Scary but exciting times ahead.

So I am on the move again folks! Spent the weekend packing stuff in boxes, clearing out cabinets and cleaning the flat. Moving back home temporarily to complete the last leg of my training in the Flavour world. And honestly? As surprising as it sounds, I AM ACTUALLY EXCITED!!! 4 weeks-ish left in Singapore + a much awaited three-week break ¬†+ and then I’ll get to embrace home in Philippines again.

Hope I can prove myself worthy of this industry? haha. I thrive on growth and learning, so I can’t wait for what is to come.

Although I still have no idea where I’ll be based after my training (a.k.a. How to calculate the probability of which six ASEAN country I’ll build my next home in?),¬†I am trying my best to keep myself grounded, hopeful and¬†content.¬†

Uncertainty is my best friend at the moment and I am putting my best face forward to shake hands with him constantly. I am working my way to embrace his good sides. Because for a planner freak? My current situation is becoming a constant struggle. So however scary, I am trying to trust the process and revel within it constantly.

Going to celebrate my first “work-sary” in a couple of weeks and my two-year anniversary in Singapore in less than two months! I can’t believe how fast time flies. This time last year I was probably studying my postgraduate ass off…juggling internships during the day and cramming research papers/ readings at night.

But amidst this all, I guess I do what I do because I really want to work towards growth. And mostly, I want to keep on journeying towards my¬†ikagai.¬†Hope my trial and error process of finding meaning in the everyday life would suffice. ūüôā

And in my journey towards it, I will always be in debt and thankful for those who incessantly stayed and supported me through and through. Family and friends who never failed to lend their presence whenever needed.

[:) A special shoutout to my family who flew all the way here to Singapore to spend time with me again and help me pack all my clothes and fixtures into boxes. hehe]

Love is indeed huge and faaaat. And you can always find them in little things.  Blessings in disguise. Let it pour.

.. and with that I just want to recap all the things bright the past months. Letting blessings pour mean letting selfless grace and gratitude seep in.

So thank you. Cheers to unchartered waters, uncertainty and most of all joy! Here’s a short ode to all things happy this year. From listening to free orchestras at the park, short hike trails, museums, surfing in Bali, eating everything in Taiwan, eating everything (Again) in Malacca, playing with corgis, 25th birthday, spending time with friends, family and more. x

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Sending love to your new journey Manu + Tiza ‚̧

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That 21k Magic: First Half Marathon Experience

First off, I don’t know how I survived. But I did and I am alive!

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First 21km. First Time running alone. First Night run! Told a random auntie to take this photo. Thank you, kind soul. Haha!

After training for months (strengthening and improving my running pace), I finally am able to say that I am a half marathon runner now! (*Happy dance*). Always wanted to tick that off my unwritten bucketlist– and I did!

17545401_10155984648444148_1808742473932134089_o.jpgLast March 28th, I joined my very first half marathon race. I signed up for it end last year — with no expectations and zero knowledge how to train myself. But thanks to free Nike Training Plans and couple of google research, I was able to work with a simple training plan of my own.

I did not have a target pace. Simply put, I just really wanted to finish the race and prove to myself that I can actually do it. Discipline was the hardest challenge. I tried to eat right (and highlight on try). I had to dedicate some nights and early mornings for running, as well as I had to really make time to go gym for strengthening. I’ve always been running 10ks before. So about three months leading up to the race, I just increased my run distance by 2ks every week.

Nearing the race date, I almost wanted to quit… for two things: (1) Stupid me, of course it was a night race. But I did not expect for the half marathon to start at 1am. But alas, yes. (2) Since I signed up by myself, I felt a bit alone in this journey. I felt discouraged that no one could welcome me at the finish line after. I know it’s a petty excuse, but it would be nice to be welcomed by the people you love. Nonetheless, Family and friends still showed their support even if they’re miles away.

My family did a video call with me at 1am to support and my mum waited till I finished my run. (Thank you, love!). Thank you as well to my friend/flatmate Janina for making those witty and nice posters for encouragement (and for sneaking at work to photoshop it haha!). And Thank youuu to all my other lovely friends for reminding me constantly to train, especially for the times I felt like skipping— Thank youuuu all for making it happen!

When I was nearing the finish line, I got all teary eyed. I felt a lot stronger and accomplished. It was a truly humbling experience to run along side people with the same heart and passion as you do. Though people run with different reasons, I find joining marathons inspiring. Never really understood why before– I mean, why pay / join something when you can run freely /the same outside?

I guess, it’s about the magic of community. It’s so nice to be enveloped with the feeling of belonging. Ah, the runner’s high.

So uplifting to belong in a positive group that just encourages you to keep. on. going.

To keep on moving, just as how most things in life are.

I won’t say I am the best at this. And Heck, I am not even the fastest. But running saved me in a lot of ways than you can imagine.

 

And I am happy with that. And to continue with this high, as well as to continue working on that #TwentySevenThin health and mind goals– I am joining another half marathon this coming May.  I hope I don’t die of fatigue.

17390627_10155984648354148_3731098101157020460_oHopefully, I can train myself enough to beat my previous time (It wasn’t glorious.. but I finished a little before 2hrs and 30mins). If I can do enough sprints, more training and strengthening , maybe I can try to accomplish sub 2 or at least 2:15.

Who knows? If I keep at this, the maybe someday I can actually push to run a full marathon one!

There’s a couple more running marathons around the world I would love to try. My friend mentioned to me a Pyongyang marathon over at North Korea.

(And yes…you read that right, over at North Korea!!!!)

I think it would be lovely to join those. If not, there are a couple more on my list. Like perhaps, fly over Athens and experience the real first races or complete the Big Five Marathon– especially when it has a marathon race in Africa. Hello, literal running with the wild!

We are five months in 2017, let’s continue making the most out of it shall we? To more firsts and adventures!

Completing Asia’s Top 50 Best Restaurants: #10 Burnt Ends, Singapore

Since last year, Burnt Ends has been on my “must eat” list. And I can’t believe we got to score some seats here!

 .jpgTwo months long wait for the reservation. And two hungry girls. One epic experience of another modern Australian cuisine.

Three things should sum up this experience: Smokey, Charred and Intense.

Chef Dave Pynt is godsent with the talent of perfecting barbecuing. All machines, ovens and grills in the house were customized meticulously. Apple and almond wood ovens are used and could be fired up to a wooping 700+¬†¬ļC. Menu offerings are changed daily to serve the only best and tastiest.

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Chef Dave Pynt in action!

Located near the bustling area of Keong Saik Road, Burnt Ends positions itself more for casual dining. It has a open kitchen concept with only about 18 coveted seats at the Chef’s table. Although they accept walk ins, reservation is a must if you want to see the chefs in action.

We ordered ala carté dishes for sharing.

Eggplant and Miso ($12sgd)P3251723.jpgThe charred woody taste from the customized oven definitely leveled up the humbling eggplant, giving it a tinge of an ashy note. Include in the slight play of textures with the chili and creamy miso sauce.

Beef Marmalade and Pickles ($14sgd)P3251738.jpgHousemade sourdough bread ( amaaaazing texture!) with beef marmalade and pickles. Sweet and umami like, the touch of pickles is genius as it adds the right amount of acidity to the dish. A humbling small appetizer, but is power packed with flavour!

Burnt Ends Sanger ($20sgd)17453381_120300002783537389_1850331835_o.jpgThe most raved and popular staple of the house: Burnt End’s Sanger Burger. I wouldn’t say it’s a mind blowing dish, but it was good as it is. Not sure if it was worth the hype though. Slow roasted for 10 hours (?!!!), the pulled pork shoulder was succulent, sweet and a little tangy. I guess it had something to do with the spicy chipotle aioli sauce pairing. The broiche bun was done right though. Soft and buttery. Just the way I like it.

And saving the best for the last….

(Mouthwatering) Onglet, Burnt Onion and Bone Marrow ($26sgd/ 100grams)P3251752.jpgMy photo does not give justice as to how amazing this is. Oozing burnt onion pure√© underneath with bone marrow sitting on top…. MY LIFE IS COMPLETE. If there’s any flavour study on richness, please take this as an example!!! It’s a whole package. The steak was cooked perfectly. It was beautiful. ¬†And It was utterly flawless.

I did not want it to end.

17571208_120300002769350666_1639612834_o17500175_120300002784421211_926433504_o (1)I am definitely coming back here again (mostly for that onglet steak!) and maybe for some cocktails. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself folks! Just make sure you go early + reserve.

Burnt Ends, Address: 20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391, Phone: 6224 3933

The #HappyHoliBaes series in Bali!

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What does one do when there’s a seat sale?

YUP. WHAT ELSE?! Book a spontaneous trip + go for an unexpected adventure!

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Last January, my friend and I was lucky enough to see a fantastic online deal from Air Asia. From a 0.80 sgd base fare, we were able to book a flight to Bali for around 122sgd RETURN! What is joy?! For 4Days x 3Nights, we were able to tour the majestic island! Just 2 broke girls trying to make ends meet, budget hopping…hoping to make the best out of this travel experience.

Janina and I were badly looking for some vitamin sea lately. We wanted a distraction, a space for healing and fun. For the whole plane ride, Janina was thinking of hashtags for our beachin’ adventure and she came up with: #YourBaliIsAWonderland ( *snap* *snap* confidence) and #SomeBaliToLove (yaaas).

Since we can’t take too much leaves, we actually left Friday night (March 3) and stayed in Bali till late Monday (March 6). So technically, we only had about 3 full days to go around. Hence, we had to make sure we hash out our itinerary well to maximize our time there.

In any case, I only had three non negotiables on my Bali wish list:

(1) Beach (of course) + Learn Surfing

(2) Go to ubud and have a taste of the luwak coffee

(3) Try and savour the ever so famous Babi Guling AND Balinese fried/ smoked duck

AND I TICKED THEM ALLLLL! Self high five!!!!

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Gede, our ever so amazing driver guide! (Thank you Manu for making sure everything’s in tact! Your fave Filipino girls are forever thankful.)

But again, this all wouldn’t be possible too without our amazing driver, Gede, to take us around the island. We are also going to be forever in debt and thankful for our close friend, Manu, for arranging all of it and making sure we feel welcome in his home in Indonesia! The next time you wanna visit the Philippines– you know who to call. We got your back too homie (hehe). Name it- you got it!

* So here’s an ode to our humble Bali adventure. Finally! I was able to use my nice mirrorless olympus camera to shoot and play! *

Day 1 

We decided to spend the first day going around the Ubud, and narrowed down the places to see and visit. Gede was kind enough to drive us around these amazing sites:

  • Goa Gajah Temple (Elephant Cave)

An epic peek into local Balinese archeological artistry and intricacy.  They say the Goa Gajah cave is a place of retreat, peace and monastery for buddhist monks. Here, you can find bathing ponds and tranquil spaces for worship.

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Peaceful walks, kissing the earth with your feet!

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Offerings and prayers

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  • Bebek Tepi Sawah (Because… DUCK?!)

For Lunch, we headed down to Bebek Tepi Sawah to have a luscious bite (okay not a bite.. BUT a whole plaaaate) of heaven sent fried/ smoked duck.

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The cheapest duck ever. Crispy crispy skin. TAKE ME BACK!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAP3041232.JPGGive girls thy food and we will forever love you. *Donations are always accepted.*

  • Bali Pulina (Agro Tourism, Civet/ Luwak Coffee Plantation)

Time for some cuppa! On the search for authentic coffee beans in Bali!

While I am not much of a coffee drinker, I find it always nice to try something new. So we decided to check out the Bali Pulina plantation (as per Gede’s suggestion).

Upon entering, a guide will tour you around the plantation and explain the process of making the luwak coffee. (Plus points?  There’s no entrance fee at all!).

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Literally– The coffee shit.

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No words! The beauty of it is so so vast!

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A cuppa of luwak/civet coffee costs $5sgd. But upon purchasing, they also give some complimentary free flowing coffee/ tea of different types as well. Not bad I’d say. The luwak coffee is very smooth, light and medium roasted for me.

Hmm. Although we’ve had an amazing experience (look at the view!), I am now.. not so sure if it’s a good idea to support the industrialization of the civet/ luwak coffee in the future. I mean I am all for coffee curiosity, but since the animals are being bred and kept in captivity, it’s  bewildering if they are actually being treated well. (If they are abused or forced fed).

Just a food for thought.

  • Seniman Coffee (LOVE LOVE LOVE this cafe forever)

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I chose a lighter type of roast: the Bali Karana Kinta- Manis. Smooth, slightly sweet and fruity on the palette!

The woman beside me was actually typing an article on yoga and meditation. I have never felt so much peace in my life. The atmosphere was absolutely chill– people reading (WISH I HAD MY BOOK WITH ME!), storytelling and conversing! They even have plastic rocking chairs. What is awesome.

Seniman coffee calls their coffee revolution the 4th wave. They have single origin beans, as well as coffee workshops available. Definitely going back here for more.

  • Ubud Art Market

Wanted to have a nice walk and shop for a souvenir in Bali, and check out the little artistic paintings they’re selling. I ended up buying a tiny painting of farmers in fields.

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  • Chasing sunsets @ La Plancha Seminyak

After a wonderful time at Ubud– we headed back to Seminyak for some R&R. Time for some La Plancha chillin’: sitting by the beach bean bags, have a couple of drinks, and watching the breathtaking sunset pour itself over the night sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnded Day 1 with a rejuvenating massage! (No need for explanations.)

Day 2

  • Sea Circus

Brunchy breakfast in the ever so hipster carnival themed resto-bar-cafe in Seminyak.

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Had one pot of Chai Latte (forever favorite) + wonderful advocado (!!!) pesto on toast.

  • Canggu beach (for surfing)

P3051412.JPGStarted the beach day at 10am, by the wondrous heat of the sun. Stayed here, enjoyed the view and had some bamboo charcoal ice cream. Hello Sunburn!

We didn’t stay in Canggu for long since we wanted to check more of the beaches south, on our way to Uluwatu Temple.

  • Dreamland Beach

P3051449.JPGHues of pristine blue, sky and sea! Stayed here the whole afternoon, chasing crystal clear waves and making friends around the world.

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  • Uluwatu Temple + Kacak Fire Dance

Bali: a majestic island that holds 1000+ Temples! Our local guide, Gede took us to experience the Balinese Kacak fire dance at the famed sea temple in Uluwatu.

Perched on top of a magnificent cliff, the Uluwatu temple is a definitely a sight to behold. Said to be the known protector to Bali, they believe the temple stands to usher out evil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGoing here to watch the sunset is a must. We were lucky enough to catch the Balinese Kacak Fire dance against the beautiful, tranquil sight of the sun setting across the sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe dance is telling unique performance of light. No instrument was used in the dance. Storytelling was done by 50+ men sitting around in a trance, chanting “cak” in different timing combinations and melodies.

  • Warung warung: Babi Guling *oink*

And for dinner! The search for some nasi babi guling continues! Gede took us to try some at a nearby warung in Kuta.

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Friendly locals pose for a photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInitially, I thought this is the Babi Guling is the same as Lechon in the Philippines. But boy, I was wrong. This is Godsent. It’s so lactony-like and SPICY. A very far cry from our sweet herbed Lechon back home. But it’s very very veeery good and a must try.

  • Partied it up at La Favela

Transported to an eclectic wanderland of hipsters and gypsies partying.

File_000 (1)Initially, this is what the club looked like… until 12am and the people just started pouring in. Tables were set aside to open for an awesome DANCE FLOORRRR! Unfortunately, the later part of the night was not recorded. These two broke girls were busy enjoying and losing themselves dancing in between crowds.

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But here’s a picture of me behind their awesome alcohol bar. Hi.

Day 3 (last day booo!)

  • Seminyak beach for surfing (Near La Plancha side)

Sun’s out, surf’s up!

At first, I was kind of iffy to try surfing because I don’t really swim that well. But what the heck, I finally mustered up the courage to try and ride some waves.

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First thing Joji told me: “I’ll make you fall in love even more with the sea.”

Paid 20sgd for a two hour surfing lesson with Joji. He is pretty chill and nice, as he was not really strict of the time. Honestly, all he genuinely cared about is for me to really learn. He said he won’t stop teaching till I manage to find my balance and stand.

And after many failed attempts– I did!!! I stood up (yaaaaay!).

I can’t quite describe it, but it is really something to be out there cruising with the waves. I don’t know how much gulps of salt water I’ve had, or how many times I fell… but I really felt free. Is it weird to say that I felt utterly loved too? Maybe it’s how the water presents itself– fast, forward and crashing. Or the way of the sun’s tiny droplets seeping into your skin. Or just maybe, it is just the accumulated plethora of joy, freedom, and presenting itself in view.

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Why do I look so tiny beside this surfboard? haha

  • La Laguna – Near Canggu and Berawa beach

Part boho- part gypsy, the cafe/ resto- lounge @ La Laguna is 100% made for the island chic. An addition to the other “La” places we visited (La Favela and La Plancha), this new hangout is definitely sporting some vintage eclectic vibes to the old souls. Divine antique chairs, shabby decors, and gypsy caravans make the venue even more swoon worthy.

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Saw her by the bridge. She has such telling eyes. ūüôā

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and that’s all folks! The End of #YourBaliIsAWonderland adventures…. (for now).

Will definitely come back again for you Bali, you are absolutely breathtaking and beautiful.

xx

Little hideaways +

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I find wonder in discovering little nooks and crannies in resplendent spaces.

Haji lane (albeit, overrated for some) will always be one of my favorite places here in Singapore. Little shops in every corner, random trinkets, artsy fartsy painted walls– what more can you ask for? Such happy colors to paint the soul!

whatsapp-image-2017-02-20-at-8-23-21-amLast weekend, I had a chance to reconnect with an old friend from University. She visited Singapore for a short while, and I decided to show her around my favorite places in Bugis– Haji Lane, the National Library, and The “Gotham Building” or what I call a trip to Great Gatsby (@ Parkview Square). It was such a wonderful, love-filled day!

From lunch meet ups in JSEC Ateneo to Haji lane in Singapore– nice to know things are still the same.

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Thank you Hannah for wasting time with me (And taking lots of nice portrait photos of me haha???). To art, creativity, career, light and love xx.

So excited to head back home for more adventures.

Celebrating love month: Cheek by Jowl

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetHello there February. Greeting this love month with my immense love¬†for…¬†FOOD.

Still going out and about searching for the best meal experiences here in Singapore!

So to celebrate the love month, I went with my friend Janina to try¬†Cheek by Jowl.¬†Known for its flavorful and cultural dish interpretations, this modern Australian restaurant concept is located smack right at the heart of the CBD area. It’s becoming the new talk of the town lately. Judging by its really good reviews and quality food, we decided to have it a go.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetDespite the full house dinner reservations, the place was still absolutely cozy and bright. Just perfect for a casual (but elevated) dining experience!

We were lucky enough to sit right at the chef’s table. And my my, I am loving the open kitchen concept here. It’s utterly humbling to see these chefs at work. There’s so much artistry and zeal in the making!

So let’s get on it shall we?

We kickstarted the dining experience with their famous appetizer: Fresh Canadian Oysters topped with Smoked Tomato Granita ($5sgd/ pc).Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThis succulent meal is to¬†die for.¬†It’s such an imaginative symphony of the sea. You’ll find yourself oozing with ooh’s and ahh’s with the lovely pairing. The smoked tomato granita as ice on top– makes it 100% swoon worthy.

For mains, Janina and I decided to share these all together:Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOur first gastronomic feast on the mains: the 12 hours slow cooked lamb shoulder, with pressed and grilled zucchini, green olive puree, smoked yoghurt, and crushed pistachios ($38 sgd).

yes. 12 HOURS!

All I can say is¬†damn, that lamb is good.¬†For one, I am not an¬†avid fan of lamb meat because of its animalic taste. I find this meat quite tricky to handle because if it’s not cooked well, the animalic taste can overpower the whole meal. (Unless that’s what you’re going for).

But with this one- it’s just perfect! The meat. was. so. soft. You don’t even need to use the knife! The modern fusion of the dish takes me to a middle eastern trip somehow. Tasting this against the different sauces of the dish is such a teasing palette party. Pair the meat with the smoked yoghurt you’ll get a different sensation. Try it with the green olive pur√©e and you’ll get a different interpretation.

All in all, the exquisite fusion on texture play is definitely on point. If you’re looking something to completely satiate your senses, this dish is a¬†must order.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetNext up– Duck confit with a five spiced caramel sauce, zucchini mint salad and waffles on the side ($36sgd).

A festive asian twist on a sweet¬†and¬†savoury dish. I can taste the cinnamon and nutmeg from the five spiced caramel sauce– making it have the right amount of sweetness to coat the meat.¬†The light, yet invigorating taste of mint with zucchini is amazing. And the best part? Pairing and eating it all together with the waffles. I mean, who wouldn’t want a breakfast and dinner meal in¬†one?Processed with VSCO with a6 presetEnding the succulent dining experience with this amazing dessert:¬†Fermented cherries-lightly seasoned with Sichuan pepper, with sherry brown butter curd, vanilla coconut sorbet, finished off on top with a coconut ash meringue ($15sgd).

A gastronomic juxtaposing of dessert elements– a play of light and rich flavours all in one! The acidity of the fermented cherries is perfected with its pairing of the brown butter curd and vanilla coconut sorbet. And the kick of the dish? ¬†The light seasoning of sichuan pepper. (* Slow claps*)img_8863Definitely a must try dining experience. If you’re feeling lazy// and opting out for a dressy dinner/ lunch out, I must say Cheek by Jowl is a must try. But do reserve first as the place gets too full quickly! ūüôā

xx

still on the lookout for more soulfood experiences! -D

Working on that ‘stubborn gladness’

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She has podcasts on it too! Have it a go and listen. ūüôā

Been reading on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and trying to sink in ways on how to amplify the mundanity of existence. Ah yes, let’s file this under: the writer’s odyssey of finding simple everyday joy out of life.

It is getting pretty hefty boring following the ways of ‘day in- day out’ monotonous living. It is all in the same routinary circles of home-work-home process [+ and maybe a few here and there fitness/ nightouts]. [Lol, on the few].¬†And I think it’s time to shake things up a little and find more light, love and positivity out from the ordinary.

And there are kazillion ways to do that.

But let’s start first from the little things and keep this chill and simple.

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, she writes about the creative living. And how creativity is a path for the brave. She got inspired by this wondrous poet in the literary world– Jack Gilbert, a marvelous writer and extraordinary professor. He inspired many as he gave¬†an inciting soul-food advice¬†of how one can find meaning and¬†zest in life. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“We must risk delight,” he wrote. “We must have the¬†stubbornness to accept¬†our¬†gladness¬†in the¬†ruthless furnace¬†of this world.”

Students told me he was the most extraordinary man they’d ever encountered…

He didn’t so much teach them how¬†to write poetry, they said, but¬†why: because of¬†delight. ¬†Because of stubborn gladness.¬†He told them that they must live their most creative lives as a means of fighting back against the ruthless furnace of this world.

Most of all, though, he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their capabilities.

While this can mean several things for many, ultimately it calls on to me about our journey towards building the fullness of our being. It is about finding joy, contentment and acceptance about who we areРcelebrating the many uninterrupted capacities and cosmos within us, as well as our capabilities to grow in them. Pursuing anything and everything that makes you truly you. ..That makes you happy. 

This phase of turning into adults and moving towards life’s “next stages” is a testament of the challenge. Think about it. Did you ever give up something you love because life got in the way? Did you stop doing what you love because of how the world discouraged you? Was it because of fear?¬†When was the last time you even held a crayon?

Alas, the challenge of finding that sweet spot. How to live like a purposeful, happy-filled, magical adult in the ruthless furnace of this world.

I gave up on art a couple years ago (as seen in my very limited posting of artworks), because of some challenges I have been facing. I didn’t think it mattered to me anymore since I have been preoccupied with life’s endless hoohah of adulting problems. I got so caught up finding work last year that I really did not bother with it anymore. And once I landed myself a job– I, again, got myself preoccupied performing …stretching myself to make ends meet. From living independently, budgeting expenses, to doing annoying laundry, cleaning the house, having wacked up social priorities – I lost it.

And whenever I try to go back and draw again, I just get even more bummed. I get so frustrated on how my mind goes blank and I couldn’t accept that I don’t have my creative juices flowing anymore. And since I have been feeling down and less of myself more than ever, I just grabbed a pen and drew whatever came up. The result wasn’t as a good as before (I feel like I am back to square one), but I am slowly starting to pick up the momentum again. Here’s a sneak peak at my latest doodle:

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I am still a work in progress, a creative warrior trying to hold on to her the positivity sword. But I’ll get there. Again, it’s on the little things.

So start on the little things that could amplify your life a lil’ bit.

1. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!

While there’s no clear cut and defined way to jumpstart your life towards creativity, I started my journey towards it by decluttering. I started by cleaning my email actually. hahaha. Then proceeded on to decluttering anything in my way– from cleaning my work station at home, clearing out foods that I can or not eat, lessening my alcohol intake¬†(HAHAH), airing out negativity, letting go, trying to have a capsule wardrobe…. name it. Let’s embrace minimalism people!

2. For heaven’s sake, look up.

Yup. Put down that handphone and give your poor thumb a rest. It’s been scrolling through endless snapchat stories, facebook feeds and tweets. I notice this a lot in Singapore. A lot of people are stuck looking at their phones (even while walking?!?!!) and no one really engages in conversations anymore. And I am trying to practice this more consciously now. Found out my neighbor is from Canada and he’s relaxing here¬†for a break.¬†The Uber driver and I had a pretty interesting talk on running. A person near my HDB block and I bonded over dog stories (hahaha).

Have it a go and talk to someone new today (yes, that hawker auntie counts). Or fine. Just make someone smile.

3. Really, it’s Nike’s Just do it

Mindfullness around you helps build ideas. Since I try to engage more with the world (old school), I am getting more and more inspiration with regards to what I do. I get ideas from people- from little conversations or to even the little sceneries I see during bus/ train rides. ūüôā And really, there’s nothing more to it than just starting. Pick up that old instrument of yours. Get a frying pan and start cooking. Grab your dancing shoes.

Really. What is there to lose?

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Everything you do is a path towards better living and creativity. There’s no calculated answer. But as long as you strive towards it, I believe we are creating spaces to¬†live like magical happy filled adults. // Work on your own stubborn gladness.

Hope you find your way through it.

xx

Bye bye 2016- Toasting to 2017!

Since 2012, my Christmas and NYE celebrations are getting simpler and simpler.

No more fluffs.

No large festivities.

(No lechon) haha

No more panics of planning out holiday home-cooked meals for the family. No noisy kids screaming and playing at home. No more loud chattering at the dining table. No more family toasting of wine and beer.

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Like anything else, a lot has been changing with the dynamics back home. And as always, this wondrous chameleon adapts to whatever life takes her. So, bring it on!

Instead, I am simply celebrating it here on my own, with my two doggy babies and a bottle of San Mig beer. Such is life.

And no–this writing is not about the aspect of being alone. It’s to celebrate the warm goodness of solitude. And maybe about the feeling of being content— accepting life as it is. It’s funneling everything down to what matters. Who stays, who goes. Authenticity.

Oh 2016, you have been such a weird ride. So glad to say goodbye and have another go this 2017.

Looking back, it’s been a year of growth. A year dedicated to reckless discoveries, series of heartbreaks, wins and failures.

I was able to graduate with a masters degree, got my first job, continued living abroad and experienced a series of firsts (and fails). Got to embrace moments of being free and independent, as I finally celebrate little wins of making life choices of my own.

I discovered my love for traveling and seeing more of the world. And no matter how short it was, I got to experience the weird but elated firsts of falling for someone. (Guess for once, the ice queen melts too).

Hoping to open 2017 with a more wide-eyed wonder, a fresher perspective, and a braver and stronger heart. It’s less about the fuss, and more about authenticity.

There’s a lot more to discover, a lot more risks to take, and a lot more mistakes to make.

Excited to see what’s next.¬†Adventure is out there!

Happy new year, folks. Hope you’re having a good one.

Always, with love and light -d

What’s your flavaa?

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Hello Jakarta!!! Current hotel view at the moment

Ahhhhh. There’s really nothing better than taking a long hot bubbly bath— for some soul cleansing.

Writing from Jakarta as of the moment. Embracing the suite life and gazing out to my hotel window. So far, I have been eating all the sambal I can today. Trying my best to acculturate myself here during my short stay.

So yup, was able to cruise myself down to Indonesia to experience a wonderful opportunity… *insert drumrolls*—, it’s¬†my very first “business trip” abroad. tada!

Plus, just received the news last week that I have been regularized in my current job. Eeeey, time to celebrate?! Shots anyone?

Kidding aside, it has only been three months + nine days (and counting) since I started my very first job. I must say… working in a flavour industry is indeed challenging. I didn’t quite realize how complex flavour creations can get. There’s so much synergy going on cross functionally, just to translate those chicken bouillon flavourings into your lovely adobos. I mean—-who knew that there’s a special flavour sensory language needed to describe your food (i.e. waxy, fatty oily, lactony, tallow, animalic???). Who knew that flavour experience is composed of just 20% taste and 80% aroma?!? Who knew that we can only detect five types of taste (sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and umami)….though there has been ongoing research/studies that we may have a sixth receptor–> FAT!

yaaas. Science. is. so. cool. (and that’s coming from someone who went through university…absolutely¬†abhorring, dying, suffocating, suffering in her management with chemistry course).

Well, I have always been passionate with food’s artistry in general. From presentation to taste delivery, its such a feast for your eyes.. and yes…the tummy. So far, working in my current job has converted¬†me to have¬†a new found appreciation of food even moooooore than before. Maybe that’s why I gained 2 kg since I started working here. haha.

But believe me. Every single thing that gives body to your food, the flavours that tickle your tastebuds, the aroma that crafts your taste experienceРall of them hold so much backstories of its own. They cover so many different dimensions of science to allow the exhaustive interplay of local culture stories, creativity and craft in flavour delivery.

(Lol, this is sounding like a cheesy appreciation blabber about science)

Anyway, this is the part where I love it the most. Working in this industry makes me feel like I am navigating through the playspace of authenticity, as it makes me feel what I do matter. I mean, there’s nothing more real and wonderful than being part of something big right? Something that ignites everyday moments of delight for others? From creating flavours that ignites nostalgia¬†of someone’s home cooked meals to showcasing unique touches of cultures, I just feel humbled and happy in a way because I can get to share my¬†effort// version of artistry as a mark somewhere out there?

However, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my anxiety still tells me what I have now isn’t good enough. And I am increasingly getting pressured to map out my life after my current role’s¬†training. Where will I go?

So even after the overally cheesy appreciation¬†post… basically– I can say that I am still really just as lost as everybody else. I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

I am only learning as I go. I am only cruising through the experience as I go. I am only contemplating about it as I go.

And that’s okay right? We are allowed to be unsure, to fake it until we make it?

If so, then we good. I have to keep all this anxiety in check.

For now, I’ll just try to trust the process of self discovery. Hopefully, I can figure out how I can make my morning yawns and getting out of bed worthwhile. Till then, I’ll just patiently push through.

okaaaay 12:29am and there’s still work tomorrow. Zzzzzzz.

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Old photo, during our trainee induction program. Just want to show how cool our lab coat is. HAHAHAHA. ktnxbye.

xx