26 Years and Life Update

Hello!

I am back again after another year hiatus from this blog. 

26. An even number. Officially in my “late 20s”. A year older. But who’s really counting?

A couple of weeks ago, Madeline (www.channelmaddie.com), one of my long time friends from high school, asked me to write for her blog under her “Friends of Madeleine” series. I welcomed the challenge with open arms but it got me to ask myself three questions: 

  1. Why haven’t I been blogging the way I used to before? Maybe I should start blogging again. 
  2. What do I really think of my life right now? 
  3. Where do I want to be based on how I am living today? 

It was a timely contribution to commemorate another year of life but it also sparked an old flame of mine with writing blogs and sharing my thoughts in this little safe haven I have in the internet. So given this long weekend, enhanced community quarantine situation  and time, here I am giving this another shot.

I gave my blog a little make over:

  • I changed my blog description to “This is a peek into everything and anything under the sun @ 26”
  • Updated my About Me since I realized it was still describing a college version of Shaira.
  • Included a new page called Photos of the Month which highlights my favorite moment captured by my iPhone for that month.
  • I also updated my logo but stayed true to my pastel purple palette (my favorite color, if you haven’t guessed yet). 

This is me hoping that I become more consistent with what’s becoming a seasonal hobby of mine I get into at least once a year. I won’t be so demanding of myself and I’ll keep my expectations manageable, rather than high or low.

Here’s a quick life update from the last time I posted last year: 

  • I’m finally settled in my new job as a business development officer – I realize that in this familiar yet slightly more advanced field of work I am in, I still have a lot to learn. Life at work can be so intricate and my current knowledge and understanding of things is just at the surface level. The habit of constantly comparing myself to other people’s capabilities doesn’t help either. I hope to sharpen my existing skills but at the same time learn and explore new skills I can offer in my profession.
  • The pandemic is still on going but this time I’m a little bit more accustomed to life with the virus. “New normal” is what they call it and this is it. Compared to last year, I decided to stay here in Metro Manila. Despite the skeletal work force and most recently the work from home set up, I am more resilient to the mental drain this whole pandemic dawn on you. (Don’t get me wrong, living in this Pandemic is still exhausting, I’m just a tad bit more used to this new way of life. Come on, it’s been a year and we’re still in the same place, who wouldn’t get used to it already? SAD FACTS.) 
  • I’m still trying to find ways to maintain my small cold brew business in Baguio City. I have our family’s restaurant to thank for that. I did try to launch it here in Metro Manila but this whole pandemic situation just makes the business slight more risky. I’ve weighed the pros and the cons and the latter just outweighs the other more. Thinking about this now, I guess what’s important is just trying to figure out how to potentially grow more in Baguio. 

The list ends there. The kind of year we had in 2020, life may have been restricting both mentally and physically which makes every little bit of progress or step towards anything a huge blessing in life.

I may not have made exponential growth in wealth, or achieved any sort of promotion at work or started a family of my own like many others in the year 2020 but my outlook in life shifted to a different light. At the age of 26, I’ve learned to be more appreciative of simply being alive and taking each and every day as a blessing.

Here’s me using this platform and safe haven to keep myself accountable and to appreciate every blessing that comes daily. 

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Day 10: A letter to my 30 Year Old Self

Dear 30 year old Shai,

About 2 weeks ago, you finally turned a quarter of a century. If you don’t recall anymore, your birthday happened in the middle of a global pandemic. I do hope it’s over by now and that a vaccine and cure has been distributed rightfully to everyone. If things the world forgot about the time everything stopped to “flatten the curve” and things went back to normal programming, I only want to ask you one question:

Are you happy?

I do genuinely hope you’re answer is YES because this is me, your 25 year old self, working her ass off (mentally and physically) towards your happiness. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the fleeting kind of happiness. I’m talking about the happiness that encompasses both good and bad days. Happiness because you problems knowing that overcoming them will make you a better person. Happiness from loving more freely by our friends and family, and getting the same love in return. Happiness because you’re proud of who you are and who you’re coming to be.

If you consider yourself happy at 30, then I only pray that you continue to strive to maintain that happiness the next 5…10 years of your life. Who you are now may be completely different from who you were at 25, but I do hope you’re transitioning gracefully towards a new stage in life, settling down I hope, and stable (crossing my fingers).

Love,

Your 25 Year Old Self ❤

Day 9: My Beauty Must Haves (atm)

A huge chunk of my daily morning routine is composed of me doing my make up. The process of getting ready and making myself look more presentable for work is something that I like to take my time on because for me, it’s almost therapeutic.

What I use daily for my face is essentially my top beauty must haves. On a good day, this is how it would turn out:

These are the products I use on my face:

I am not particularly picky with my beauty essentials. I do like Maybeline products because not only is it affordable, it actually works well on a day to day basis. I also prefer Asian products because it suits my skin type more.

For my base I like to use Innisfree My Foundation in the shade 1.3 (the perfect amount of dew on my fairly oily skin). I brighten my under eye circle with the Maybeline Instant Age Rewind in a slightly lighter color that the foundation. Close to the shade of my foundation would be the Maybeline Fit Me Concealer, to give extra coverage to the redness below my chin, around my nose and zits. I lock it all in with Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, focusing a bit more on my T-zone since it gets extra oily there.

I fill in my brows, darkening my tattooed brows a bit more since I haven’t had it retouched in a while, with The Face Shop Style My Eyebrows in a medium-dark brown shade. If I’m not lazy, I would pull out my current favorite eyeshadow palette, Sephora Holographic Nudes, and shade in my lids with a neutral color and top it off with a shimmer (in this case holographic shade), to give a bit of dimension and brighten my eyes. My all time favorite mascara to seal the deal would be Maybeline Sensational Mascara. Out of all the mascaras I’ve used, this one actually holds my lashes up without it being too thick and heavy, it almost looks natural. I add a little bit of liquid eyeliner (Maybeline Hyper Impact) and the eyes are complete.

I’ve been using the shade “Farmers Market” from the face palette, Tarte Hampton’s Weekender to help make my face look a little bit slimmer and my cheeks a little bit higher. To give me that natural flushed look, I love the Everbilena Advance Lip and Cheek Tint.

I finish the look with my choice of lip balm and lip color for the day and I’m good to go!

Quarantine Workout No. 1

This is the workout plan I did for WEEK 2 of this community quarantine. I only decided to take working out seriously on the 2nd week because, to be honest, I was still in denial about this whole community quarantine thing happening (around the world) and I thought I’d be back in Manila signing a contract with my new employer within a couple of days of week 1 (but nope).

The workout I am sharing is fairly beginner but through the week, I would tweak it to make it a little bit more challenging. I don’t like setting out goals I wasn’t sure I could achieve given the fact that I haven’t worked out seriously in a couple of weeks.

I set out one major goal: To be able to do 10 full push ups.

This workout routine is mostly cardio and would last for about 30-45 minutes depending the number of breaks you take in between the sets.

SUNDAY
1. 30 minute cycle (Link to my 30 minute playlist)
2. 10×3 Half push ups
3. 20×3 Leg Raises

MONDAY
1. Ride Rev work out (I received through an email subscription to the class)

2. 12 x 3 Half push ups

TUESDAY
1. 30 minutes cycle (Link to my Dua Lipa playlist)
2. 10 Minute Core Blast
3. 12 x 3 Half push ups

WEDNESDAY
(Active Rest)
1. 15 x 3 push up
2. 20 x 3 Leg Raise
3. 100 Squats (combination of pulse squats and regular squats)

THURSDAY
Alternate 4 x
1. 16 reps (8/side) Leg Lunge
2. 10 jump squats
3. 20 pulse squats

4. 15 x3 half push ups
5. 20 x 3 Leg raises

FRIDAY
1. 30 minute cycle
2. 10 minute core blast
3. 15 x 3 Push up
4. Full Push Up attempt*
*Determine if my half push exercises have led to me being able to do a full push up – IT WAS A SUCCESS (but i could only do 1. Lol.)

SATURDAY
Set timer for 7 minutes and repeat these twice with 1 minute break in between (15-16 minutes total):
1. 15 Jump Squats
2. 10 Burpees
3. 20 Military Push ups
4. 25 Bicycle

5. 15 x 3 Push ups
6. Attempt full push up
7. 100 Crunches
8. 20×3 Leg raises

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do my Saturday work out because I was having really bad menstrual cramps. However, one take away from planning your workout for the week and tweaking it along the way helped push myself to exercise daily despite not having a set schedule. Other than the 30 day challenge I got myself into, this also helps me actually distinguish the days from each other.

Again, this week’s workout was beginner level. Honestly, I didn’t want to shock myself by doing intense workout routines right away. I mostly listened to how my body was feeling. For one, I’ve been experiencing this really sharp pain on my mid-back area and it almost goes away every time I work out. It’s as if the moment my body gets warm, the pain subsides.

Day 8: Something I struggle with

I guess one of the things I’ve been struggling with for quite some time now is my weight and I’m pretty sure I’ve brushed through this topic already in a previous blog post. I’ve always been hesitant to write about this because I always get eye rolls for complaining about being skinny. But trust me, it’s no fun being called out for “not eating enough”, “looking like a stick” or “looking sick”.

Thanks to my boyfriend, I’ve become more conscious with the exercise I do and the food I eat. Because I struggle with trying to gain muscle and not being “too skinny” or “too sickly looking”, I have to be mindful of the type of work outs I get into and the food that I take in.

For example, if I do too much cardio (like join a cycling class 3 times a week), my weight would immediately drop down. I have to make my diet is composed of a lot of protein in order for me to build muscle. If I choose not to work out and bum out for a couple of days, I lose muscle quite instantly and start to get all soft but not fat. I would be bloated and feel bloated.

Weight management is not an uncommon struggle. Everyone has their own sort of “battle” with it. However, being conscious about it and trying to have a healthy relationship with my weight has made me learn more about my body than ever before. Over time, I’ve learned with what works with me and what doesn’t.

2017
The year I counted my Macros and ate 1800-2200 calories a day, more than my usual 1600 calories a day diet.

Day 7: 10 Songs I love (atm)

This list is not in any order but here are my top 10 current favorite songs based on my Spotify:

1. Living Proof – Camilla Cabello

2. Bitches broken Hearts – Billie Eilish

3. Hallelujah – HAIM

4. The Birthday Party – The 1975

5. July – Noah Cyrus

6. Breathe Deeper – Tame Impala

7. Hallucinate – Dua Lipa

8. Hand Me Downs – Mac Miller

9. Stand Still – Sabrina Claudio

10. Loving is Easy – Rex Orange Country

Day 6: 5 WAYS TO WIN MY HEART

1. Be kind. Not just to me but to your mom, your dad, your siblings and even to strangers. You’ll win my heart.

2. Spend some time with me. Whether it be several hours, 1 hour or 5 minutes of your day, but taking the time to be with me or simply just talk to me, ask me how I am, or catch up with me. You’ll win my heart.

3. A good humor. Make me laugh or even make me smile when I’m upset. You’ll win my heart.

4. Be dorky and you’ll win my heart. Sing even when you’re out of tune. Dance even when you’re off beat. Talk about your weird hobbies with me. You’ll win my heart.

5. Effort. If you make the effort to get to know me as much as you make the effort to let me get to know you. You’ll win my heart.

Day 5: Travel Bucket List

Here’s a list of the TOP 5 destinations (at the moment) I want to travel to in my life time:

1. Switzerland
I’ve seen jaw dropping images of the Alps and heard about the scenic train ride along the glaciers before and I’ve always wanted to go there some day. The movie, Crash Landing On You featured the alps and other scenic destinations in Switzerland, which I think helped boost the romantic element of the entire story line especially in those scenes where Capitain Ri and Seri’s paths crossed without their prior knowledge.

Ski Resort in St. Moritz
Scenic Train Ride along the glaciers.

2. Morocco
I watched the 2nd episode of David Chang’s Netflix show called Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner and he featured Morocco together with Chrissy Teigen. I was mesmerized by their visit to the Marrakesh, which is pretty much the busy market everyone goes to for goods. Despite how busy and chaotic the scenes were, everything just seemed so culturally dense. Other than that, it would be nice to visit old, historical towns that withstood natural deterioration through time.

The Marrakesh

3. Greece
First of all, I love Greek Food and I love Mama Mia. I’ve seen a multitude of pictures that capture the beauty and culture of the country so vividly, how could I not want to visit it some day? The fact that some of the structures still standing there are heavily associated to gods and goddesses like the Parthenon in Acropolis seems surreal to me. This country has never left my list of places I want to visit to.

4. China
There’s no denying that the Chinese culture has been glocalized in almost every other country in the world. However, there are still places in the country I have yet to see in real life. I think that the country is just so vast that it would always have something worth seeing up close in person. My parents did the Iron Man 70.3 in China a couple of years ago and they would not stop telling me about the delicious and affordable food ate. Other than that, it has always been a dream of mine to see the Great Wall of China and the Tianzi Mountains in person, just some of the many peculiar sites I know the country can offer for visit.

5. Machu Picchu, Peru
Based on all the vlogs and images I’ve seen, this has always been a place I want to visit one day. Even the journey to get to the destination is one of a kind.

DAY 4: What’s in my Bag

Here’s the list of things you’ll usually find in my bag:

  1. My Phone – Probably the most important thing in my bag.
  2. My Wallet – Cash, cards, IDs. The most important things I need to get through a normal day.
  3. Lip balm and Lip stick – My all time favorite lippie at the moment is the Taupe shade fro MAC. However, this never stays the same. I switch out my lip color almost every day, until I end up with around 5-6 sticks in my bag at once. Any lip balm is a requirement to prevent chapping of course.
  4. Notebook and Pen – I got this habit of bringing a notebook and pen wherever I go because you just never know when you need to jot down notes during a last minute discussion or sign some docs while you’re out and about.
  5. Face powder – I have oily skin and a good face powder is what I need to tame it down.
  6. Powerbank – Bought by Jasper because I guess he got irritated with the countless of times i borrowed his?
  7. Body spray – I love body sprays from Bath and Body Works or Victoria’s Secret. It’s a good mid day refresher, if you’re into doing that because I usually use a different perfume in the morning.
  8. Airpods & iPad Pen – These are essentials to me.

Day 3: Pet Peeves

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  1. People who over post a curated way of life on IG.
  2. People who cut their nails in public. I don’t think I need to explain it too much but I don’t think cutting your nails and letting it fly everywhere is appropriate.
  3. People who cut me off while I’m speaking.  I’m a great listener. In fact, if you know me enough, you’ll find out that I like to listen more than to actually talk.  But if you cut me off during the very few times I get to speak?