Category Archives: Updates updates

A book blog and a new theme

I figure since it’s still January and it’s the best time to start fresh on new things, it’s the best time to open a new blog.

A little backgrounder: I’m not much into niche blogging. I tried it before, with a NaNoWriMo blog, a Pinoy Big Brother blog and even a WYD Sydney blog — both in an attempt to put a place for some posts and to monetize those blogs — but none of them ever stayed with me long enough to give me significant earnings or be as important to me as this blog. I have no patience to be a tech blogger because as much as I’m a techie, I’m not too techie to start a blog for it, and there’s no other topic I know of that feels like a good topic to blog about all the time. So no niche blogs, except for my fiction blog and this cryptic blog for hopeless romantics/cynics. Out of all blogs, this is the only one I really earn from, too.

Sometime last year, I got into some kind of blogging drought and I filled this blog with more book reviews that it looked more like a book blog than a personal blog. I didn’t mind, but I think some people did…and I felt really bad for making this blog deteriorate in content.

Since it’s 2010 and I want to challenge myself and I doubt my determination to do a Project 365 like some people I know, I thought of just starting a blog on something that I know I wouldn’t stop doing this year, which meant I would probably be writing about it more this year. Wait, did that make sense? What I meant was, I decided to start a blog on something that I write a lot about here in Refine Me, in an attempt to put those posts in a proper place and to give room for this blog to be the real personal blog that it is.

So anyway, this means there will be less blogs about books here because the book posts will now go to…*drumroll*

One More Page - my book blog!
One More Page – my book blog!

Image is fuzzy, huh.

Anyway, yes, all book-related posts will now go to my book blog, One More Page. I mentioned this in my last post, but I think I need to plug it again just for kicks. :P This is where all book reviews, book related squee-ing and news will go. If you’re a book blogger, or you just love books, be sure to visit. :)

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging about books here every now and then. I mean, I’m practically inseparable from them already so it counts as “personal” right? Right!

On another note, have you noticed anything new for this blog? Shiny new theme! Yay! I was getting tired with the last one, so here we go. I didn’t design this one, but it should work for me. Like what we say at work: if someone else can do it for you, let them. Or something to that effect. :P

So there. There’s still another blog that I’m thinking of doing but I’m still not done thinking about it. I also want to set up a lifestream or something, since I did buy that redirects here. Hmm, let’s see, let’s see. :)

Hello September

Am I the only one who’s kind of bewildered that it’s September already? That we are down to the last four months of 2009? And that we’re already doing a Christmas countdown (only in the Philippines, my friends :p)?

It’s September! SEPTEMBER!!!

Yes, I’m slightly bewildered. A part of me feels like this year is ending way too fast, and I haven’t even gotten any of my bearings yet, but another part of me is kind of amazed at how many things had happened in the past eight months, and I know there’s just a lot more that will happen in the remaining four. Plus, the last two months of the year has always been exciting for me: NaNoWriMo and Christmas, yay!

So what’s so special about this September? Honestly, Septembers are slow months for me. Nothing much happening, except for my brother’s birthday. For the past two years, my September has always been months when things happen. Like me joining the workforce. Or, the Switchfoot concert. Or the first WordCamp Philippines. Or going back to Cebu after seven years. Y’know, those kinds of stuff. What does this September have for me?

Honestly, nothing.

So, I thought, Hey, let’s do something for this September. Something (sort of) new and challenging.

Hello, September. Hello 30-day Blogging Challenge.

Yeah, I was inspired by her and her, and I thought, hey why not? I’ve been complaining of a personal blogging drought, anyway. I figured, since September is probably the last month in 2009 where I won’t be as busy (compared to October, November and December, that is), plus September has 30 days, so it’s just right! Right?

Plus, this should be easier than writing a piece of fiction everyday (which I failed miserably…but hey, I’m updating it every now and then!), right?

I wish I could think of a theme like Riz did, but for now, I’ll have to call it the default until I could think of a better name.

So. 30 days. I can do this. Will you join me? :)

Tonight we fly (thanks
Tonight we fly (thanks

Hello September. Hello 30 days. Bring it on. :)

Hello, Bella

Oh hai, new layout.

I wish I could say I designed and coded this layout…but I didn’t. Shortly after I wrote the last post, I started surfing through the WordPress theme directory to look for themes to use as an inspiration. But I realized I have no time yet, and what harm is it to use one of the free themes?

Hence, hello Bella — the name of this theme. I like how clean and colorful it looks. :) The headers and the titles take a while to load, though. Some kind of font-flash-rendering thing. Or maybe it’s just my connection.

Anyway, I miss designing. But I know I’m so rusty with it already. Must. Flex. Designing. Muscles.

And speaking of muscles…I’m still in pain from Sunday’s work out! I can’t laugh properly without my abs complaining, and stretching always needs extra effort. I’m not exactly complaining about the pain, though. I kind of miss it whenever I don’t feel pain the day after a long work out. How gym buff does that sound? As if that isn’t enough, I’m hitting the gym tomorrow later again for another round. But seriously, the pain kind of puts things in perspective.

And speaking of perspective. I just got reminded of my mortality — God can really just take us away any minute He says so. When it’s your time, it really is your time. It’s very humbling and overwhelming…and well, like I mentioned before, early deaths can really silence most people. It certainly left me at a loss for words.


Here we go, finally a new layout for before 2008 ends. Now I can cross this off my to-do list. I feel quite fulfilled making this layout since I wanted something simple and easy (and probably something that would last until I feel like making a new layout again). Plus this theme will be carrying my theme for next year, just as the past one carried my 2008 theme. See a pattern? :)

Now if only I can code this fast for my other projects. *headdesk*

I still have a lot of tweaking to do for this layout, I’m sure. I’m waiting for Browsershots to give me the screenshots of my site in browsers, specifically in Windows, since I feel like the colors might turn out different when it’s viewed there. Do me a favor, please? If you’re viewing my site in Windows or any other OS other than Mac, will you please tell me if it looks fine? Thanks. :) Oh and if you find a bug or anything that doesn’t look okay, please let me know as well so I can do something about it.

Again, as I make another layout, I realize how much I suck with CSS. I mean, yeah, I know how to make layouts and manipulate it, but it’s not like I really know them, like in the way I should, seeing as I give myself a high rating with my CSS skills. I can’t remember the proper usage of a tag unless it’s the basic ones, and it takes me ages to figure out why one thing is wrong — like why my blockquotes aren’t showing in italics. Argh. This just means I have to practice more, yes? Gimme time, gimme time.

Well, at least that’s one thing off my to-do list. I still have a lot, and it’s only two days left in 2008. Gah. Must. Stop. Procrastinating! The discovery of putting ebooks in my iPod keeps me distracted a lot. Bah. T_T

Anyway, I still have to update the content of this site, so pardon the obsolete content on some pages. I can’t promise that they’ll be updated before Thursday, but I will update them soon! :)

Upgraded to WordPress 2.7

As promised right after WordCamp Philippines 2008, I’ve finally upgraded my blogs to the latest WordPress versions.

Altogether now: HALLELUJAH!

I said I’d do it before the end of the year and with a new custom layout, but right now there’s just no time to make a new layout, so I thought I’d upgrade WordPress now, and work on a new layout during vacation (which officially starts tomorrow! WOHOO!). And here we are!

It’s not that hard to upgrade, as promised by the WordPress people. It’s a pain to back up so much files though, and check which plugins are not usable anymore. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’m still using all of the plugins, but I’ll check that when I create a new layout. For now, this free WordPress theme would do. I still have to cleanup all the past posts and check for broken links, but I think WordPress 2.7 would help me go through all these past stuff. Yes?

Anyway, it feels great to blog again. I’ve been having some problems with the old version of WordPress that I have, and I hope this new version would help reduce those problems. (Oh and if you’re wondering what version I upgraded from, it’s WordPress 2.1. So whoever is still in that version, YES, IT’S POSSIBLE AND EASY TO UPGRADE TO THE NEWEST VERSION :D).

Today is the last work day for 2008, one day early because of the traffic on the streets. Our boss told us we could not go to work tomorrow, and just leave the dirty work for the seniors. I’m glad for that because I really don’t want to be at work during Christmas Eve. I already have our Christmas cake here (thanks Sugarhouse!), and I’m going to ride three tricycles with this. Haha good luck!

So yes, the last work day and when I get back to work next year, it’s going to be such a busy year ahead. I can feel it! It’s up to the point that when I think of it, I get scared…but I also know it’s going to be a good year ahead. :) I just have to make sure I make peace with this year before I jump into the next. Which means, a lot of de-cluttering and introspection in the next few days!

So here’s to a fruitful 2008, work-wise. I’ll post a longer one about this next time. For now, I’ve got to start fixing my things. It’s going to be a while before I get to see this workstation again. :D

In 2008, I will chase daylight

And…here we go. New year, new layout, new philosophy. Yeah. HAPPY 2008, EVERYONE!

The past layout has been six months old and although I love it, I thought it’s time for a change, especially for the new year. So from pink and black, I’ve got blue and white and gray…something similar to the first layout of the domain when I got it four years ago (which reminds me…this domain turned four the other day!). The layout is structured similarly with the past one, so it wasn’t that hard to make, but I did have difficulty with the colors on this one. This is the first layout I made on a Aslan, and the first time I experienced the PC-Mac color thing. I don’t know if it’s just my brother’s PC and the angle of his monitor, or the colors are just really screwed. Now the original look is not how it looks like now. Ah well. It looks fine now, but I will change it tomorrow when I am on Guilo (my office PC). I still have two things to accomplish today, so the layout tweaks wait tomorrow. But if you see any bugs, please let me know. :D

Chasing Daylight is from Erwin Raphael McManus’ book of the same title. I bought it during the last book fair, which I only got to start reading a few days ago. So far, it’s an exciting read, which got me thinking about what I plan to do for the new year. Here’s the blurb:

“There are a few things more powerful than a life lived with passionate clarity,” writes McManus.”Every moent is waiting to be seized by those who are chasing daylight.

We all have dreams, hopes and aspirations. Why, then, do some of us realize our dreams and advance forward while others watch timidly from a distance and hope for a break? Author Erwin Raphael McManus reveals the direct relationship between passion and initiative.

When we are passionate about God, we can trust our passions.

Chasing Daylight is a call to live a life of blazing urgency. We have but one life. We are given one opportunity to pursue our dreams and fulfill our divine purpose. Every moment counts, and we must engage them with fierceness and zeal. Put an end to passive observation, paralyzed by the need for perfect opportunity, and start seizing the raw, untapped potential of your life with God.

Are you willing to risk failure? Are you ready to get in the game? You may stumble, but you will find yourself falling forward, propelled toward the God-inspired adventure He intends you to live.

So yes, 2008 is the year of chasing daylight. :) Bring it on!

A Moment I Was Made to Sing

It’s the first official Friday at my new work, since I didn’t spend my last one at work because of the break our boss gave us to fix our requirements. Can I just say? I love that we are allowed to wear jeans on Fridays. Wohoo. I missed being able to do that! Now it’s an excuse to get myself a new pair of jeans and wear my sneaks again! Wohoo!

So I haven’t been blogging as much because I wanted to blog again with a new layout (which is what you are seeing right now). So here. Oh, and I also love it that I can do some designing on the side at work especially when there are no pending work requests. I am now a web content developer by profession, but I still do designing on the side since we don’t get to design as much right now. And I love it that I have enough time to tap into this hobby because we only work for 8 hours. Yes, it’s only my second week, but I really love it there already. Thank You Lord.

Tonight was supposed to be a night of gimmicks, with Mito’s birthday party and the impromptu bonding session of our team together with our trainor, but I obviously have to miss both because my brother felt feverish this morning (which made him miss work), so I have to be around in case he needs help. Plus I need to do some grocery shopping since we’re running out of food. I feel kind of bad missing out on these parties, especially the one with my new teammates, but then again I am also broke since we won’t get paid until the 24th, so once we get paid, that’s when our team would have a “celebration.” Yes, I’ll be there, promise!

And speaking of more adventures in work…I suddenly found myself joining the bowling team of our account for the upcoming sportsfest. To those who know me in real life, I’m not the sporty type. Yeah, I could play decent table tennis, do some ice skating and probably run good enough for track and swim some laps but I’m not really the sports playing type. Like what our team leader said when he first asked us if we could play, I’d rather write about it than actually play. :P But for some weird reason, I got sucked into being a part of the bowling team. I know how to do the basic moves in bowling I think, much thanks to the one time I played with my YFC upper household…but play it competitively? No way.

So what made me sign up? Besides the lack of people around, and the persuasiveness of the girl who was asking us to sign up and I guess there’s this interest of doing something new. Maybe it’s also because I have more time on my hands, and I don’t mind making fun of myself as long as I meet new people and enjoy, too? Haha, I don’t know. But I’m pretty excited, and I hope I won’t get hit by laziness and want to back out. It’s just for fun, and it wouldn’t hurt to try something new. :)

Ah, I’ve never been so contented for the past year! I am truly, truly happy for this new job, and I could not thank Him enough for giving this to me after making me wait. :) The wait just made things sweeter, in my opinion.

Which brings us to this layout. One morning before my final interview at my current employer, I was at Starbucks, drinking (an expensive) morning coffee while praying. I had Triskal on shuffle with my prayer time playlist, and then this song played. I’ve had that song on my player since March 2006, so it’s not new to me but at that moment, the song spoke volumes into my heart, and I knew then that God was with me inside that coffee shop. And I knew, no matter how unsure I was of everything, that God has it in His hands and everything will be okay. :)

Thus the new layout, because every moment that I live and breathe is truly a moment made for worshipping. :) (Lyrics and streaming audio after the cut!)

So I present to you Refine Me’s 16th version, based on Steven Curtis Chapman‘s Moment Made for Worshipping from the All About Love album. :) I’m sure there are bugs (especially in IE), so if you see them, please do tell me about it by posting a comment to this entry or by emailing me so I can fix it ASAP. Pages are yet to be updated, so some of them are definitely old. :P

Off I go! Here is the song I based the layout on and the lyrics for your listening pleasure (streaming only, not for download!). Happy weekend everyone. :)

Continue reading A Moment I Was Made to Sing


I am back after a one day Error 509 Bandwidth Exceeded day. I never knew that I could eat up my bandwidth (4GB) within ten days? I never expected that, since I never really ran out of bandwidth before. Is my blog finally reaching some sort of “popular” status, or is it only because I have too many graphics in this layout and I like refreshing my screen (I bet on the latter :p). I know my site isn’t as popular as, though. :P Anyway, I upgraded my hosting plan just to accomodate my space and bandwidth needs for the rest of the year. I stopped blogging because I know I’d probably eat up my bandwidth before I get to post, so I waited until I can finally pay for my upgrade. Kudos to my host, Protagonist Webhosting. :)

I have some serious things to talk about, which I won’t just yet because…well, I can’t really write about it for now. But it’s definitely stirring up some emotions that I wish were gone but won’t be until I finish the task.

But I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. :)

Anyway, everyone’s been doing the Lakbayan thing since Independence Day. I finally took it and here’s my result:

My Lakbayan grade is C-!
How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out atLakbayan!
Created by Eugene Villar.

Well that’s understandable. I’ve only been to some places in the Visayas region and one in Mindanao (I ♥ Davao!) while other places in Luzon are places I pass through. Not much of a traveler, except maybe for the different YFC International Leaders Conferences I’ve been in.

It’s no secret I want to travel around the Philippines, so this is a good start. I’m going to set myself a goal: raise my Lakbayan grade to at least a B- within the year. How about that? This means I really have to get up and organize outings and whatnot, just to be able to go to the places I want to go to that I haven’t been in before. Anyone want to come with me? :)

Moolah Matters

Jomar, my financial guru (haha, yes naman), once told me that I should have other sources of income other than my job. True, I have rackets here and there, but they come once a year (Didache devotionals) and others come depending on the situation. I’ve been thinking about other things to do to earn money besides webdesign (because I am so sloooow at designing other people’s sites), and one that would not take much of my time, and now, I’m revealing what I will get into.

I just got approved for PayPerPost and BlogToProfit.

I resisted at the idea of signing up first because I feel like this blog would lose its personal touch. But after much thinking (and accounting), I decided to give it a try to see if it really works and if I can really do it. That, and I think it might be a good writing exercise for me, to make it creative and not ad-looking. It did work with this one, right, and I’m not even advertising this. :P So why not give it a try?

I won’t fill my blog with advertisements alone, and I promise to label everything that is sponsored (there will be a Sponsored Posts category). I also have a Disclosure Policy (thanks to, just to make things clear.

Oh, and if you do want to start doing PayPerPost, do sign up by clicking here:

All right! Bring on the moolah! :P

Pink & Blue

Back in college, whenever I was asked what my favorite color was, I’d automatically say purple. That is true, since I started liking the color since I was in sophomore year in high school. But then whenever I’d choose something to accompany that color, I rarely chose pink because I thought it was too girly for me. But deep inside, I really loved the pink and purple combination. Purty, isn’t it?

It was only around college when I admitted that I love pink as much as purple — all because of my 18th birthday party. :) Just like her, I declare my love for pink. ♥

So now I present you Refine Me‘s 15th layout, if I am not mistaken. :) It’s not pink and purple (because I’ve done that before), but it’s very blue and pink — still quite girly, if I may say so myself. I’ve been making this one since last week, and I wanted a three-column fluid-width layout so I can put more stuff in the sidebars. :p

I’m not yet done editing the contents, so if you see something wonky, please leave a comment on this post or send me an email. I’ll be fixing this tomorrow…er, later, when I wake up. Yes, that includes the content pages. Okay, off to bed!