Monday, November 28, 2011

There are many ways in which we get our hearts broken or our spirits crushed. Maybe it's a break-up of a relationship, or a decision to leave and move away from a beloved place, or a choice to stop doing something that is important to you but due to certain circumstances must be given up.

Whatever the situation, here are personally-tested ways of getting yourself up and on-track with life instead of being caught up in sadness. It is okay to dwell and acknowledge the sadness and pain but it is equally, if not more, important to know when it is time to take that deep brave breath and move forward. Remember, you are not the only one limping around with a broken heart. We could all use company :) and most especially, the inspiration to getting through it :).

Don't be alone. Ask a sister or a best friend to sleepover especially for the first night. Or sleepover at a friend's house. The goal here is not to be trapped in your own thoughts when you are at your most vulnerable. Having company helps you process the event in a more healthy way by having another perspective and encouragement and support.

Start a new project. Look at your someday-to-do list and pick one item. Getting yourself busy by engaging mind and body will help in pulling your heart out of the slumps. In my case I finally got myself seriously moving towards making those creative photo albums and photo journals that I have been meaning to make for ages.

Learn something new. Another way of getting yourself feeling that you are moving forward is to expose yourself to new things and expand what you know. For my part, I learned to sew, an activity that required concentration and motor skills and definitely a certain amount of love because I believe it is one of those things that you master with patience and perseverance. I have always wanted to sew and I have always wanted to make something with my hands and maybe make something of myself through  what I create. Taking this step makes me realize that there is a whole world to learn and explore and it would be a waste to just sit around wistfully for the past.

Make lists of happy goals for the next 4 weeks. This is something I picked up from our friend SexyJen. At this point you will have started to notice that many of the suggestions on this list really focuses on moving forward. It is because I have been at that stage when I wallowed so long that I later regretted not rousing myself up to move on soon enough. You can always take that occasional pause to grit your teeth through a painful thought but the point is not to linger.

The lists will help keep you focused on the positive actions you can take and will remind you that you have the power in you to heal yourself and make even better decisions and choices in the future.

The other way of making lists is to list all your accomplishments in a day no matter how small (including cleaning out the kitty litter and eating lunch). This will show you that you are whole and able and strong -- most importantly it will remind you how blessed you are and how thankful you should be that you are able to do all those things.

Don't go to the mall for retail therapy. Wait a few days, and when you do go, have a list that is according to some specific purpose, like that new project or that new thing you are learning. This way you satisfy the need to buy something but also not waste the purchase on impulse items. You don't want to add the heartbreak of a huge credit card bill to what you are already dealing with!

Immediately remove anything in your home that reminds you of the heartbreaking event. Just the same way as vision boards help us focus forward and attract the right energies to fulfill them, constantly seeing reminders of what broke our hearts will weigh us down. You don't need to throw them away as if you didn't care. Put them away and deal with the items later on when you are more ready.

Do a bit of redecorating and re-arranging of your space. This will further help in easing out any sad or painful memories because even if you take out the reminders, the old arrangement will make you think of what used to be there.

Do go out. Step out of your home but into a friend's or family's home. Spend a day helping out with chores or cooking in another's kitchen. This helps you slide back into the rhythm of daily life while having company and absorbing the positive energies of those around you.

Do a through cleaning of your home. You can do this in stages spread out through a week. You can do this simultaneously with the redecorating and rearranging. As you clean, visualize old energies and stagnant energies being swept away. After cleaning, light a scented candle and play a favorite happy music playlist to thoroughly refresh the space. This simple little ritual can send the right signals to your brain and your heart that things are going to be really okay.

Get in touch with dear friends and family through email, letters, phone calls. Not necessarily to moan or mourn about what just happened but to remind yourself that the people who do understand and who will support you no matter what are just there to support you. Stretch yourself out and reach out and feel how big your world actually is and how filled it is with people who care about you.

This would even be a great moment to write gratitude letters to those people so that you focus on the all the good and blessings instead of the sad thing.

Plan a trip. Be it local or abroad, plan a trip but definitely make it out of town. Find family or friends with whom you can stay for a few nights. Learn about the place. Plan an itinerary. Get yourself excited. Even if the trip does not push through immediately (in my case I cannot yet spare the money for travel), the planning will give you that feeling that there is somewhere to go, and that there are many things, places and people out there waiting for you. You can move forward and the horizon is vast and deep.

Who knows, if you exude the right energies you might find yourself in a free trip brought on by serendipitous events.

Do get a haircut or a trim or even just a simple hair pampering treatment. A nail spa treatment works too. Just as redecorating your home can help ease out any sad associations, so does giving your own self a bit of a makeover. Don't do anything drastic, you are not trying to escape or run away from reality. Instead what you are doing is enhancing yourself for the even better days ahead.

This doesn't even have to be an expensive treat. In my case, I just got new nail polish and did my own nails. I also trimmed my own bangs. The target is to have a bit of change on you physically, and if you think about it, all that time you were just focused on you and making you pretty is in itself a pampering.

Dress up nicely everyday. Don't look as miserable or sad as you may feel. People will respond to you more positively instead of highlighting your sadness or loss or pain. In turn, you will feel cheered by their response. You see what I'm getting at?

All of these look easy on print. I will be the first to say it is not as easy in action. I've been there. Pretty recently. Literally less than a week. But I have also reached that stage in my life when I recognize the futility of wanting to change the past or bringing it back. There is only today and there is only moving forward. I still have the occasional cry at night, usually before I go to sleep. But then I remind myself of these things on the list and suddenly my life feels full.

The universe will take care of you. But you will have to take the first step. The rest will follow.

*Hugs to everyone out there nursing a broken heart*

Friday, November 25, 2011

the announcement poster

We are not even halfway with the to-do list but we are being brave and optimistic and posting the announcement:

We are holding it in my parents' garage. I have yet to make the buntings!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

tick tock thursday

Time felt fast but it actually flowed syrupy. I got a lot of things done but I felt like I have not done enough.

Got a nice working lamp for the craft and sewing space. Got sturdy pretty containers for supplies at 50% off. Found out that thread is a rare commodity in modern stores and malls - didn't find any for proper sewing, only those that came in emergency sewing kits. Swam in the cold pool. Got my mail. Sorted through the scrap fabrics and segmented them by size (big ones for big projects, small ones for practice). Spent time with my family. Spent time with the turtles.

Did my first practice sewing project all by myself -- a small pouch. Mainly got the hang of working with the sewing machine, threading it and fixing gnarled thread.
Repainted an old wooden container. Now it's ready for use in the craft space and in the shop.
Felt like dressing up my makeshift bedside tables with lace doilies.
I will be grateful. I am grateful. Thank you, Universe. Please send me peaceful dreams tonight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

one day at a time

Many things are overwhelming me these days. Until I reminded myself to take it one day at a time, one step at a time. We all get to where we need to go just by focusing on what is before us at the moment. That is all we can do, really. That is all we can control for now.

Today we bought our very first sewing machine and got our first lessons from our aunt. We managed to make a crooked placemat and we could not wait to make more (but less crooked). There are still a lot of things to buy and things to do on the list but we did all that can be done for today. We did not waste any time.

I was also pleased to feel the support and help of our parents. I know that my dad has long been skeptical of us surviving on our own business but today he has been extra helpful and even gave a few suggestions. We are still very much at the embryo stage of what my sister and I are trying to achieve but we just do our best to focus on what can be done each day. We cannot let ourselves be disheartened by thoughts of being such late bloomers or being poor or feeling inadequately skilled. Things will change accordingly as we fuel what we do with faith and passion.

Tonight we also finally got to fixing the tiny studio space that was allotted for us in our parents' home. We still need a few pieces of storage and furniture but it is already looking cozy and beginning to feel like an inspired space.

Keeping calm and sewing on.

how do you know?

How do you know that you did the right thing? What if it hurts so bad and what if your mind and logic are telling you it's right but your heart just feels so bad? Some say that anything requiring a big decision will always bring that moment of doubt, especially at that point when you have to make your decision manifest. But they say you should always go with your decision and it is normal to have that lingering on the threshold because any change always brings with it its own discomfort for we are creatures of habit. They say you should give things time to settle and unfold in its own way. Just like when you wade into the sea and stir up sand and nothing seems clear and you wonder if maybe you should just head back to the shore. If you stand still everything will settle and then you can see clearly again.

Maybe it will help to remember that if things are meant to be, no amount of obstacle will matter. The power of a human heart fueled with the strongest love will overcome everything.

I am in a rather difficult moment now and any inspiration you can share will be much appreciated.

Monday, November 21, 2011

SexyJen and Peetur are a married couple who also happen to be my sister's best friends. My sis and I asked them if we can have a sleepover as part of our own getting-together-with-people-who-matter goal. They live far from the main metropolitan area and on a lazy Sunday with empty roads it still took us about 45 minutes to get to their place. They have a beautiful and cozy home that they personally decorated and furnished.

They are well known in their circle of friends as adept party givers and are considered to be a pretty cool husband-and-wife team who travels a lot and who have plenty of skills plus social and business networks that enable them to sustain what many people would probably describe as enviable lifestyles.

Here are some insights and inspirations that we gained on this short but enriching visit.

Getting away from the usual routine and environment of your own home can do wonders for your mood and sanity. Fewer distractions (such as unwashed dishes and dusty books). Real relaxation. Just letting go of the usual. There is a very distinct feeling of your body unknotting and loosening up. You are away from home and all it represents and reminds you, especially the parts that get you all worked up on a daily basis.

Spending real deep quality time with friends who totally "get" you feeds your heart and spirit on so many levels. Giving and receiving valuable advice and perspective. Realizing that your own experiences can be useful for other people as inspiration just as you yourself are inspired by the life of other people. It makes you realize that we all get a turn on helping and being helped.

Foosball is fun. First time I played and my tummy hurt from laughing so hard. Haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Haven't played that way in an even longer time.

Even cheap wine can add a dash of something special. Our friends introduced us to Arbor Mist, a really affordable fruit-flavored wine that I enjoyed a lot. 6% alcohol. I was able to drink half a glass before I got the buzzy dizzy feeling and before I started feeling the veins in my respiratory system start to protest. Lovely sweet taste. I may be unsophisticated about wines but my taste buds loved the mixed berry flavor.

Receiving a book recommendation that could possibly help me along in the various journeys I am embarking on now. Jack Canfield's The Success Principles is a bit of a long read but the peeks I had into a few pages had hit a few home runs. Already downloaded the Kindle sample.

Every one is dealing with a drama or tragedy of his own. We all have our own set of trials and challenges. Even if we may sometimes feel that some people seem luckier or more blessed than we are, it is important to realize that we are equally blessed. Maybe I have always hungered for the opportunity to travel almost every month and often felt a pang of envy at those who get to go somewhere nice frequently. But those very same people may secretly wish for the kind of closeness and camaraderie that I have with my sister with whom I can share the weight of family responsibilities and troubles. The point is, we are all gifted with something and we are all challenged with something. Never think that you are only getting the short end of the stick or that you are the only one who needs a break from the trials of life. The universe is fair.

You can survive a whole day without your phone. About an hour into the catching up conversations, I have settled into a comfortable chair and did not feel the usual urge to get my phone from my bag and check for messages. I just focused on the moment of enjoying the time with my friends. I also did not use my phone to set an alarm in the morning. The sunshine streaming through the window crept softly to wake me up instead.

Actual physical distance can give you a better perspective on matters that you need to decide on. Getting away from the familiar can give you that much needed balance against too much comfort and complacency. What seemed overwhelming now looks like something I can deal with and survive. There is a lot of space to move and grow and maneuver. There is no need to get stuck.

Time does fly when you are having fun. Ask yourself: when was the last time that you just simply savored a moment or experience without always taking a peek at the clock or your phone or your computer? Without rushing or feeling the compulsion to get things done even while you are doing something else?

Vision boards help. And patience (plus purpose and focus and faith) is a virtue that every one would benefit much from having. SexyJen had a vision board from way back in college and when we examined it, we realized that every little detail she had pasted on it has been fulfilled. I need to update mine when I get home!

Every one could benefit from being taken care of once in a while. As house guests we were forbidden from lifting a pinkie to do house chores. In addition we received a lot of constant attention asking if we needed or wanted anything.

It was a refreshing change for someone like me who always has to do everything everyday and take care of everyone and myself to boot. So thank you, thank you to SexyJen and Peetur!!! You have restored our sanity and spirits!

Surrounding yourself with happy things can lift your energies considerably. I have been inspired by how SexyJen and Peetur designed their home. All around are happy photographs from their various trips, occasions, and other memorabilia that showcase their successes and achievements. You can feel the joyous energies spilling out from the photos and they make you realize just how much fun they are having throughout all those years.

Graham crackers dipped in honey make a very happy and delicious snack.

This sleepover was such a happy event! Definitely beats going to the spa and any form of retail therapy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Last Thursday, my sis and I went to the old neighborhood where we grew up to check out the local market for supplies and fabrics. Our aunt promised really low prices (and we got them!)

It was literally like time travel as we found ourselves in a fully physically renovated but culturally intact place of our past. We had lunch in one of the market stalls and to cap the day off I had traditional iced dessert at a nearby fastfood.

rice porridge (lugaw) with bits of egg, pork, garlic, spring onion, tofu. paired with tofu and pork cubes swimming in a soy and vinegar dip. our aunt had the palabok noodles with egg and shrimp.
iced dessert (halo-halo) of mixed preserved fruits, jelly, leche flan (custard) and ice cream

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the ultimate organizing challenge

We have begun to acquire a lot of materials and supplies to get us started on the whole crafting and vintage shop we are dreaming up. After the shopping spree there is now that task of organizing every little bit so we can monitor consumption, supply levels, and pricing. When we were finally unpacking things from the shopping bags we realized how challenging it will be to set up and maintain order with so many little pieces and types and colors.

We are on a small investment budget so we bought many things by piece rather than by pack. We bought ribbons and trimmings by yard not by roll. For starters we used empty cardboard tissue rolls to keep our ribbons, ric rac, laces, and other stringed trimmings. We got inexpensive plastic organizers for the buttons and beads. For wrappers and cartolinas and felt papers we got a trash bin to hold everything together. We also have a very small crafting space so we need to consider that as well.

We are not yet done taking stock of what we have so far. Any suggestions on organizing crafting supplies and materials will be most welcome! We have not yet even begun to think about how to store our fabric!

Friday, November 18, 2011

what i have been up to

Mainly shopping for materials and supplies for the shop. Will be getting a sewing machine by next week. My sis and I have been planning and working and listing. I sleep so soundly at night because I get very very tired with all the legwork and brainwork.

One thing for sure, this is not an easy task that we have set for ourselves. The details! The penny-pinching! The worries! But at the same time, there is also so much fun and there is always this strong sense of things happening because you just have to go out there and literally do something even if it is just to check every available design on cotton fabric. I think I am close to having visual overload from all the colors and shapes and prints.

We are less than two weeks away from opening and we have barely started on the actual creating and crafting. So much to do, and time sneaks by when we are not looking!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

getting ready for many things

Today is the third day for semi-cramming for the store on December 1. My sister and I have been trawling places for ideas and materials, including spending a day at our grandmother's to begin learning the basics on sewing.

Yesterday I dropped by my old office to pick up a late check (which will happily tide me over the holidays since projects seem to have disappeared after I finished the last one last week). I have always felt apprehensive about visiting because my life has changed so radically that I wasn't sure what to expect. I should really have more faith in my friends, my true friends. The warmth and joy and comfort that I gained achieved in a day what I have been struggling to for months.

There were also quite a few serendipitous news that only the wisdom of the universe would have the knack for manifesting. Gij will bring me goods to sell over the weekend, while those whom I've told about the shop (for which my sis and I finally have a name- yay! I will reveal it next post complete with design) expressed excitement and wholehearted support and faith in my abilities to pull it off.

JenI will soon be JenS because she had become engaged. Another close friend, Tatt, also got engaged. Gij and JenI made me sit on the "lucky" chair and made me rub their engagement rings so I could pick up on the engagement energies. I really have no idea how that is going to work but by this time, I will be a fool if I still dare to question the Big Scheme of Things. Especially in the light of certain things that must be done which makes the whole idea of engagement any time soon seemingly improbable.

Anyway, I shall get ready for the day now. Will try to have photos put up soon on what I've been busy with.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

13 Things I Would Love To Receive For Christmas

This is, of course, aside from world peace, good health, and successful businesses.

Unlike before when there are a zillion things I would like to buy for myself merely because I have become overwhelmed by all the new things I felt I needed to keep up with, I now have very specific things I want with very specific reasons for wanting them.

A camera bag from Jo Totes. Or two.

A macro lens for my camera

One year supply of Mod Podge (because it is quite expensive and I really need it for all my crafting)

One year subscription to National Geographic magazine

An Amazon Gift Certificate worth at least $100

An Instax Fuji camera in chocolate with 12 packs of film

Popcorn Hour Networked Media Jukebox

A brand new and better induction stove (because my current one is starting to show problems)

A Lotus Spa gift certificate (the most pampering treatment)

A beautiful vintage piece : a typewriter or a turntable or a camera or a cash register or a sewing machine

A set of yummy fruit flavored bath gels like the ones from Philosophy
A big thick Moleskine sketchbook

An all-expense-paid trip to any place I love

Monday, November 14, 2011

a late post

Due to an unforeseen series of very busy schedules, the next post of The Baker's Dozen will come out on Wednesday. Do come back!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

butterflies, roses and feathers

I had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday and last night. I caught a glimpse of the light at the end of this very long tunnel. This morning when I did my morning pages and morning sketches, I also prayed. I asked for guidance, signs, messages. But being quite occasionally dense I asked that I be given signs through butterflies, roses, and feathers. I promised to pay attention and to listen and to do everything on my part. I want to keep moving forward, to totally pull myself out of this slow quicksand of delays and distractions.

Already I am beginning to feel better. Less heavy. Less burdened. There are many thing going on in my life right now that require patience and love. I didn't realize I had grown hunchbacked trying to carry it all.  Now I know. And I also know that there are other many other ways to keep myself walking forward.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a day in hipstamatic

Wednesday, 9th of November
Weather forecast says there's going to be rain for the next few days.
My mom came to visit and brought me home-cooked lunch. Thanks Mom!
Been working all day on a project due on Friday. Will most likely stay up all night.
Went for a swim in the late afternoon to refresh my brain. There are christmas flowers already!
My sis and myself after swimming
Post-swim snack : spanish bread, egg pie, and coffee
(Then it was back to more work)
Another break : reviewed some old journals for the new journal inspiration.
My sis playing with Mogget
Mogget the monorail cat, right on top of my flat TV
Cups of coffee sustain me through the long work day (and night)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

it has truly begun!

For quite a while now there have been significant nudges in retail towards earth-friendliness and sustainable living. Some supermarkets have launched Bring-Your-Own-Bag shopping days and more retail shops with earth-friendly products have been cropping up.

And now there is Echomarket. Yay! Finally!

creative status : will start something.

I've been yapping about getting creative and crafty since October but I feel that I have progressed very little and have barely scratched the surface of things.

I have completed Holly Becker's BYW class -- that's a big something at least -- and have greatly improved how my blog works (in my humble opinion). Some noteworthy items : 1) photography quality, editing, size, and layouts 2) font types and sizes 3) color schemes 4) blog header 5) social networks 6) weekly features 7) more consistent voice (I think) 8) special features such as my life list and twelve by 2012.

Today I intend to start on my creative journals. I discovered though that I had disposed of a lot of my materials when I went on a series of cleaning and clutter-clearing frenzies a few months back. I only have a very small handful of magazines and art materials available, but I will make a start with them and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, here are some snapshots from the old journals I have made through the years.

I missed making these! I could spend hours happily putting stuff together. I have also found this activity very therapeutic and it has actually helped me process my thoughts. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

hidden little surprise

I used to collect notebooks. When I used to have a regular paycheck, one of my rewards for all the hard work was a trip to the stores and getting myself a nice notebook. I want pretty notebooks for everything -- from writing journals to taking notes in a work meeting, or brainstorming with myself during an analysis task. Even for to-do lists. For some reason, pretty notebooks inspire me and brighten me up and lend me a boost of energy.

Now I only have very few pieces left as I use up what had been left of my collection. When it is all gone I intend to start a new, but smaller, collection.

Meanwhile, as I was cleaning through my shelves I found a small unused notebook buried in between thick household and cooking books. It's a travel notebook that I bought years ago, possibly around very early 2000s.

I will certainly use this for my future trips! It has three sections that efficiently covers and categorizes the kind of trips that you may want to take.
Are you also a notebook addict like me? If you know of any good shops that sell really pretty notebooks at reasonable prices do let me know!