All These Things (8): Space for what matters

Before anything else: help me out for one of my final projects for school? If you’re a romance reader anywhere in the world, may I borrow ten minutes of your time to answer this reader survey? This is to profile our target market so I can create a marketing plan for indie romance books by Filipino authors. Survey is open until Wednesday, so please answer and share! Thank you! ♥

I was planning my week last night before going to bed and while I was doing so, I started freaking out because why are there so many things to do? I feel like I’m running out of time, which, of course, is all in my head. But I can’t help it sometimes, especially when I realize that it’s almost past half October, and soon it’s November, and the last two months of the year is usually my busiest.

And the lola in me just wants to get enough sleep.

I’m not complaining, because there’s nothing to complain about. I do know that I may be too busy sometimes. My friends at work tell me this all the time, and lately, I agree. And lately, I’ve been thinking of the things and activities that I could maybe let go of, even temporarily, to make room for other things that I need to prioritize. Like writing, school, SFC, exercise, and sleep (most important!).

I guess I’m coming to a point where I realize that I don’t need to do everything. Years ago, I kept on saying “Yes” to so many things because they’re fun and I want to try new things…but maybe now, it’s time to start saying No. Because I only have so much time, and I need to make space for the things that matter.


The Mermaid From Siquijor by  Justine Tajonera, from the #StrangeLit Fateful Turns bundle. With all the things I need to do, I barely have the time to read, and when I do read, I want it to be as stress-free as possible. Meaning short stories, or stories that don’t make me think too much (but feels are okay!). I hang out with my Kindle and my Buqo app a lot, because paper reading makes me fall asleep too fast and I just feel guilty with the book.

That said, the #StrangeLit bundles are really fun, and I’m only about 1/5 through the stories (there are 41!). Reading these makes me wish I could write fantasy, but I think I’m really more of a reader of the genre. But who knows, maybe later.

Go get them if you haven’t – they’re Php 90 each on Buqo, with 10-11 stories in each bundle!


Sill that novel, and also some articles for work. :D I have to put that novel on hold for a bit because of school, but when I’m on break, I write some. It’s an uphill climb, but that’s good for the heart, right?


Jon McLaughlin’s new album, Like Us. Liking it so far. :)


Of what to do after this. Do I design, or do I edit?


Nothing as of the moment, but I bought a new air purifier scent from Mia Maison last week, called Rain. (I may have bought it because of the association with my book. :D) It smells so nice and clean. :)


That I be satisfied with the productivity I have every day, when I know I have exerted effort. (Because there are times when I know I haven’t, and that just feels right to feel bad about that. But I mustn’t let that get to me.)

So now my wish is that I would focus, give my all, then let go at the end of the day.


Purple and black dress, black cardigan. It’s Monday, and it’s always dressier during Mondays.


Studying! It’s not easy to juggle schoolwork and work, and it’s totally not easy heading to Makati for the whole day on Saturdays, but I like being in class. Learning is fun, and meeting new people is also very fun. We had our last class for Digital Marketing Analytics 102, and we still have a long way to go with our marketing plans. But look at us, so happy in our last class picture!

We have a final defense on October 24 to get us our Specialist titles, so wish us luck. :)


A pair of hands to help me out at work would be nice. What did the Gospel last week say? Ask and you shall receive? There. Lord, please give me someone to help out with all of this soon.

Also wanting to iron out the schedule this week – including the non-work event tomorrow at Makati, and the dentist appointment on Friday. Not looking forward to the dentist thing on Friday, but alas, it is needed.


A good workout. And not to be lazy so I can get that workout.

Also to pass the defense on the 24th.

And yes, sleep. But that’s a given.


Slightly bit hassled because of the adulting things I need to do. Haha, but well, we cannot avoid being adults, and stuff. Remind me to call my dentist later.

I also feel like I need to hustle now. So, hustling. Don’t let the Monday blues beat you, folks!

Image credit: Time’s Up by Ana Fuentes

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សូមអរគុណអ្នក, សៀមរាប!

I realized that I never finished writing about the Cambodia leg of our trip that we had until I saw that it’s been almost a year since this happened. (Almost, because this time last year was the Bangkok leg of the trip.) Then I saw this in my drafts, and I thought – why not post it on the anniversary?

Massive photo dump. And I may not remember the order of the places we went to. But even so, that Siem Reap trip was a good one. I think I kind of fell in like with Cambodia after that, and now I smile every time a photo of the Angkor Wat or Ta Phrom or any of the temples appear on my feed.

So here’s a very, very late recap, because  I kind of want to reminisce. :)

I am no stranger to crossing borders in trains, I realized, as I was thinking of how to start this post. I realized that I had done that several times when I was in Europe – when I rode the train from Switzerland to Paris, then Vienna back to Switzerland. Somehow, this border crossing from Thailand to Cambodia felt different, perhaps because of the company, and the fact that the Asian experience was different from the European one.

So early morning on the third day in Bangkok, we headed over to the train station at Hua Lamphong to ride a train to Aranyaprathet. I didn’t have high expectations for the train, based on the blogs I’ve read, and I was glad that I didn’t, because the it was a third class train, very much unlike the ones I rode in Europe. Nevertheless, I was in good company, so it was all right.

Bye, Bangkok!
Bye, Bangkok!



It was a long, long train ride, though. We arrived at Aranyaprathet about an hour later than expected, and it was hot and we were tired, but we must press on! We rode a tuktuk, had lunch, had a money changing experience, and then we made our way to the border.

And then we were in Cambodia! But there was a bus ride, and then a long van ride, and we almost got lost in Siem Reap. Thank goodness our hotel owner was nice.


Then, hello, Siem Reap!


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Get Your Hands Dirty

I’ve been thinking about hard work lately.

I remember one time, when I was preparing for a sort of date, I complained to a friend about how it was so hard to make an effort sometimes. Like, at one point, you kind of just don’t want to exert that much, and shouldn’t this thing be easy? Shouldn’t it just fall into your lap when you’re not looking?

But relationships and love are complicated, so let’s talk about something more tangible, and easier to measure. Like, losing weight. My workout schedule has been erratic ever since 2015 rolled around, and I would rather catch up on sleep or eat or do something else than spend an hour in the gym. Until my female colleagues signed up for Curves, the all-female gym near the office, and invited me to join them. I tried it out, and signed up, because it’s cheaper and it’s more intense than what I’m doing now. Of course, as soon as I started, I expected that I will shed pounds like that, completely forgetting that when I first lost weight, it took me lots of muscle pains, sweat, discipline and hard work to lose all that I lost in nine months. I suppose I assumed that just because I did it before, it should happen the same way again, but obviously, it’s not.

Or, school. I started taking a certification course for Digital Marketing last August. Since it’s my first time to study and work at the same time, it wasn’t as easy to get my study habits back. I always remind myself that I won’t learn if I don’t put in the necessary hours to actually learn the things. It could be spending an entire Saturday in a classroom, missing some other things in the process. Staying a few more hours after work to attend a webinar. Allotting extra hours to go through the course material, and working on the assignment ahead of time. I often said when I started studying again that I thought I could go by just swimmingly and not put too much effort into things, like how I did some things in college (heh), but the first assignment totally took me by surprise and I realized that I can’t just wing this thing. I need to put in the work.

How about writing? Like I said last time, I’ve been stuck in a certain part of book #2 for a long time now, and it’s frustrating because I know what’s going to happen, but the feelings just weren’t there. It’s like I’m writing robots instead of characters with stories and feelings. And then I see some people who are coming out with books and I feel like they’re churning words like machines while I just keep on writing and rewriting the scenes that I was stuck in. Then there were so many things happening to other author friends and it’s all exciting, and then I’ll think: when will that happen to me, too?

And then, I remember that as with everything in life, writing and putting out books still requires hard work. From writing the first draft to the revising and editing, to sending it to the world and then thinking of ways to get people to notice your book and read it and talk about it. There’s no overnight success in this, and venturing into all of this meant I have to do the dirty work. It may look effortless to some (as I have sometimes fooled myself into thinking), but there were many things that happened behind the scenes for the show to look flawless.

So yes, hard work. I have to remind this to myself – especially recently – that nothing worth having ever comes easy. I forget this easily, because I have allowed myself to believe that I deserve things simply because I want them, and not because I worked hard for them.

I want to make a promise to myself this time, for the sake of all the things that I still want to accomplish before 2015 ends (and beyond) to never neglect hard work. I want to remember, and learn – and maybe sometimes even force myself – to sit down in front of my computer to write, to open my course notes to study, or to take those steps to the gym, because I believe that the things I want to accomplish is worth rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty. They should be, because if they’re not, then why am I even wasting my time reaching for them?

Let me end this post with wise words from HB:

All good things come tangled up with sacrifice of time and space and resources. You have to go out on a limb. You have to trust in the things bigger than yourself. Not everyone is going to understand your discipline but it’s going to be necessary for the race ahead. Stay focused. Keep your eyes forward.

(Image source: Desktop Sketching, Eric Heupel, Flickr)

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