Friday, October 31, 2014

Homemade Tomato Dip Recipe

We often see various branded tomato dips in the groceries, but we can actually just make it in a few minutes in our own homes! The ingredients are simple and so are the steps.

2 tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup of chicken stalk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 minced onion

1. Chop the tomatoes according to your desired size. For me I like it not too small and not too big, just the right size for chewing.
2. Sauté your chopped tomatoes along with your crushed garlic and minced onion for 5 minutes.
3. Add your chicken stalk and tomato paste and let everything simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper.
5. Pour to a bowl and dip away! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

H&M Manila Opening

Last October 17, H&M opened its first store here in the Philippines, and today is my first time going there for window shopping. I was pretty excited because the arrival of H&M here has been very hyped long before the actual opening date. So is the hype worth it? Of course it is. 

Look at this giant H&M paper bag! It's placed on top of the mall where the store is and I find it really cool. Good marketing and publicity, H&M!

The store has 3 floors: Ladies + Accessories, Ladies, and Men + Kids. I entered the second floor and these cool urban outfits welcomed me.  

A shot of the first floor from the second floor. Beautiful.

Since I'm currently looking for work, the clothes I checked were of the corporate style: corporate dresses and blazers. And I was very impressed! 

I love the shape, colors, and prints of this one.

The prints are a bit loud and noisy but I like black & white on a dress because it gives off the classy feel.

I really like this one because of the sleeves and the overall shape.

Another black & white dress! I love the symmetry and the golden zippers.

This is more corporate-y than the previous ones and I think it's because of the attached golden necklace (which I love) and the sleeves. Definitely a must-have.

Another dress with a built-in necklace! 

So those were the six corporate dresses that caught my eye. 

As for the blazers:

What I like about this one is that the sides are covered with black lace, different from your usual blazer.

This one and the next are of the same style but different colors. I don't know if I should get both the next time I go there because I honestly had a hard time picking one. But I'll most likely go with the black.

Clothes aside, there's this one large purse that caught my attention. I'm a sucker for the light mint color!

The design at the back is a wool-like fur which I really love (but I hope it's not real wool because I'm against animal abuse) but the downside of this is that you really have to be careful keeping it from getting dirty!

My first visit in the store was really worthwhile. I loved everything I saw and I will definitely go back!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Happiness Project Quote #1

I recently posted a review about Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project here and I realized that a single review isn't enough to share with everyone how great this book really is. That's why from now on, I'm going to share my favorite quotes from the book in the form of photos. The book is really filled with inspirational quotes and I can't wait to share them with you. I hope you're looking forward to it! ♥

Friday, October 24, 2014

Surefire Way to Get Past the Moping Mode

I'm a very emotional person and though I have embraced this part of myself, I'll still admit that it is really exhausting at times. I easily get affected by negative words and happenings. Because of this, I often find myself moping. Or even worse, crying. A few months ago, I had a fight with my mom and I ended up locking myself in my room. I cried my eyes out for quite a long time, and then it hit me: I was actually wasting my time right at that moment. I was crying about the same damn thing and I realized that, "Hey, there are more important things to do!" I stopped crying, got out of my bed, and read a book. It made me feel a lot better.

Instead of crying or getting mad at the world, remind yourself about your goals. Do this repeatedly until you feel like they're already tattooed on your mind. This totally works for me. Whenever I feel the sting in my nose, I either start listing my goals again to motivate myself, or exercise because I want to lose weight, or  continue with the self-help book that I’m reading so I could learn a lot of things, or just continue looking for jobs so that I can start working immediately and earn my own money. Or maybe I could just finish a series I've been watching. No matter how shallow you think your goal is, it's still way more important than sulking. Remember that.

Life is too short to feel down and keep yourself that way. Pick yourself up and seize the day! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No-neck Baby

My dog gained so much weight quickly since she gave birth a few months ago and now she doesn't have a neck anymore! She's so cute and squishy I hug her all day long. But looking at her now, I think I have to start walking her more often and give her less food.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paper Heart

My bookmark is a little paper heart made by a friend for me. Cute right? ♥

Monday, October 20, 2014

Passion vs Practicality

People in general want to earn money by doing what they love. So usually, they pick a course in college that really interests them and would pave a good career path for them. But what if you chose the wrong course? Well that's what happened to me. So now I'm in a grueling situation.

I'm a fresh graduate who took up Marketing as her course and now currently looking for work. But actually, I already knew it wasn't for me when I had one of my first major subjects. I talked to my family about it and asked if I could shift to another course (Humanities) but I don't think they took me seriously. They laughed it off and just told me to suck it up since I'm already there. Oh well. So I did. Studying Marketing was enjoyable in a way but I now know in my heart that writing is what I really want to do. It's my passion. I want to be a magazine contributor or a good blogger. That's the future I want for myself. I also want to excel in marketing but I really don't think it's for me.

What I call this predicament I'm currently going through is Passion vs Practicality. Let's be real here, people would most likely choose marketing over writing as the more sustainable career path because it's a common belief that there's no guaranteed future for every one who wants to make writing their full-time career. But this stereotype wouldn't hold me back. As of now, my plan is to keep looking for a marketing job because I don't want to waste the past four years I spent studying it. But at the same time, I will also start working on my writing seriously so once I have good enough abilities and portfolio, I can start applying as a magazine contributor. This plan somehow makes me feel at ease. Yes I have conflicting  circumstances, having writing as my passion yet having Marketing as my degree; but that doesn't mean that I have to overthink and just make myself trapped in this current point in my life. We just got to move forward.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Happiness Project and Why You Should Read It

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is the book I'm currently reading. I got it as a gift from a friend whom I had a deep hear-to-heart talk with. A few weeks after our talk, she gave me the book with a short dedication written on one of the first pages. It was so sweet and I couldn't be more thankful.

In the course of the book, Rubin was researching and testing the different theories of political dignitaries, philosophers, scientists, writers, and religious figures about how to achieve happiness. It was like a journey on the road to happiness which made reading it amusing and fun. The book also discusses different aspects of life and how we could improve each through resolutions relevant to it. These life aspects are: Vitality, Marriage, Work, Parenthood, Leisure, Friendship, Money, Eternity, Passion, Mindfulness, Attitude, and Happiness. These 12 aspects are discussed per month.  Even though you find some aspects not applicable to you (Parenthood and Marriage in my case), it's still good to read the chapters dedicated to them because there's so much to learn. Overall, the book is filled with theories, ways, and tips on how to be happy.

The Happiness Project is a self-help book, and this is my first time reading one. However, it doesn't have the imperative or know-it-all tone at all. It's just like reading the diary of Gretchen Rubin. It's really authentic and full of her own experiences, insights, and emotions. I can read it for hours without stopping because it's just like listening to a friend telling her stories. Reading this book made me add Gretchen Rubin in my Favorite Authors list, actually. Also, I seriously learned a lot about life and how we could enhance each aspect of it by coming up with our own resolutions. This book really emphasized the importance of goal-setting and monitoring our own behavior, which I liked very much because even before I read this book, I'm already the type of person who loves setting goals and keeping track of my progress. 

This book is for those who want to be as happy as they can be. So if you're on your journey towards achieving HAPPINESS or want to start one, or you think you're already pretty happy but still want to make the most out of life, then this book is surely for you. Go to your nearest bookstore or just click away on Amazon!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pretty Things

I'm sure all of us have our own share of cute things. They can be cute in size, color, or packaging. You name it! As for me, my well-loved possessions are my set of 12 Muji colored pens, EOS Smooth Sphere lip balm, and 4th generation iPod shuffle.

Every year I give myself a Christmas present. It's my tradition. It's my way of giving myself a pat on the back for surviving the past year. I suggest you to do it for yourself too if you still haven't! For Christmas 2013, I bought myself the complete set of Muji colored pens. I love the colors and the pens' design is very appealing too. I picked the 0.5 ones because I like it thick. You can buy each pen for PHP65. I purchased all 12 so I spent PHP780 all in all. It's a bit pricey but it's really worth it. I've been a fan of colored pens since I was a teen, so this purchase was totally not a mistake.

My pink Smooth Sphere EOS lip balm was a Christmas gift as well. It was from my cousin. Its packaging is really cute, though it's gonna be awkward to put it in your pocket because of the shape. It's Strawberry Sorbet-scented and it smells really really good! It has a sweet scent but not too strong, and to be honest, I'll never get tired of smelling it! But in terms of serving its purpose, I only give it 3 out of 5. It doesn't last very long and I still have chappy lips even though I use it often.

My 4th generation iPod shuffle is just a second-hand I got from my uncle. But it certainly doesn't feel like it! It still looks new and still functions very well. I love using it and luckily it comes in my favorite color!

Looking at those cute things makes me feel giddy inside and pushes me to collect other pretty things!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Best Eyeliner

All of us who love wearing eyeliner only want one thing: we want it smudge-free. Having a sharpener is also a plus. The Face Shop's Face It Styling Auto Gel Liner has these features, which makes it the best eyeliner out there. 

It's a retractable gel liner that doesn't smudge even after several hours of using, unless you have so much sweat. And even if it smudges, it's not obvious at all. It also comes with a sharpener:

With the help of the sharpener, you can let it stay thick or make it thinner, depending on what look you want to have. 

I think it's pretty easy to use, but there are a couple of DON'Ts in order to use it perfectly:

  1. Do not let the stick go out too much or it would break. 
  2. Don't leave it without the cap and avoid it exposed to air because as a gel liner, it can get dry quickly. When it does, you'll have a hard time drawing the lines.

It's priced at PHP495 and I honestly think that it's cheap, given its features: long-lasting, smudge-free, has a sharpener. This is one of the best beauty purchases I've ever had and I'll definitely buy this again. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pre-Writing Techniques, Rituals, and Dealing with Writer's Block

Last October 11, Saturday, I attended my first ever writing workshop. Though I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I was 13 minutes late. But whatever, it was totally worth it. The two speakers were well-known news/feature writers in the communication industry here in the Philippines, so I was very thankful to be one of their students even for just one day.

I really learned a lot from the workshop. Like the different Story Structures , finding your Story Angle, ways to find a Story Line, various Pre-Writing Techniques and Rituals to bring out the inner writer in you, how to overcome writer's block, and writing a good lead. I'm going to share my favorite ones among all those things which I think would be helpful to many as well.

Pre-Writing Techniques and Rituals:
These activities would stimulate your mind in your pre-writing stage. 

Creating an outline and drawing a mind map were two of the four tips the speakers gave us. These two are pretty common because most of us have already learned it from school. Therefore I won't expound on it anymore. But the next two tips the speakers shared were a little bit more peculiar.

  1. Morning Pages
This is when you write around 3 pages of your thoughts first thing in the morning in order to help you gain clarity and produce ideas. But take note, writing morning pages require you to use pen and paper, not gadgets.
      2. Artist Dates
First of all, can I just say how much I love the way it sounds? Anyway, artist dates are trips taken once-a-week that would help you discover more of the things that tickle your fancy. For example, if you're into writing, bookstores may be a good option for you. Or if you're an aspiring artist, exhibits and museums would suit your taste. According to the speaker, "artist dates fires up imagination and encourages play." 

How to Deal with Writer's Block:
  1. Creating your own time and space
You must find your Golden Hour. This is the time of the day when you write the most with the best quality. For me, it's from 11pm to 4am. Yep. My Golden Hour is that late.. and I think that's the reason I ended up becoming a night owl. No regrets though. Then once you find your Golden Hour, you must take advantage of it. Don't waste any second. As for space, you have to find/create a conducive place where you can write. Clear the clutter around you and work on one thing at a time to help you focus.
  1. Do something unrelated to writing.
During the workshop, we all agreed that you shouldn't force it when no idea is coming to you at a certain time. Taking a walk outside, listening to music, exercising, and watching television are some of the good options you can take. Put simply, just do something unrelated to writing that can clear your mind.
  1. Do writing exercises
If you don't want to do something unrelated to writing, it's fine. You can do free writing or use photos as your writing prompts. For the latter, this means finding a photo and trying to come up with different story angles related to it. An example is a photo of a beach. What story angles can you write using a photo of a beach? Some examples are: top 10 beaches in the world, tips on how to stay on budget while planning for a beach vacation, a review about a beach resort, etc. I like this tip so much because let's be real, letting your eyes see just a bunch of words for quite a long time is pretty tiring. Looking at photos is a fresh way of coming up with writing prompts.
       4. Do word play.
Just play with words that are suitable to your topic or interest. You'll be amazed with how much you've come up with later on.

So those are my favorite tips from the workshop! Attending it was totally worthwhile. Nothing feels better than learning about new things relevant to your interests. It gives you a sense of productivity and growth. Looking forward to my next one! 

Introductory Post: Who's behind this blog?

Hello! Shans here. I'm a 22-year old ISFJ living in Asia.

Welcome to my lifestyle blog! This is my personal slice of the internet where I'll be posting the things I'm interested and passionate about. One of them is  Asian things in general. Yep. Asian. I'm passionate about almost anything Asian. I love Asian food, culture, history, and places. I'm into Asian cosmetics as well, which I always buy. I'm also a big Anime and K-pop fan, but for spazzing/fandom purposes I use my Tumblr blog (tensaikise). So expect to see many Asian-related things in this blog; from the latest Milk Tea I had to the current Korean cosmetic brand I'm using. Another thing that I'll be posting here is my own recipes! I love cooking and experimenting with different ingredients and I'd like to share my cooking adventures with everyone. I also love cute things like colored pens and washi tape. Lastly, I'm passionate about happiness and living life to the fullest. I always think of new ways to be happy and productive. So I'll also be posting my own experiences and lessons that I gain from my daily life. In short, this blog will be filled with reviews and insights about things that are relevant to me.

My main purpose in setting up this blog is to satisfy my desire to write. I love writing and I believe that it's one of the best ways to express yourself. I've been keeping diaries since I was a kid and had my fair share of blogs through the years. I also made this blog so I would have a platform where I can share with people all the helpful things I can share. I personally love reading articles that are both insightful and useful, and I hope to write the same kind of articles. Thank you for dropping by and I hope you become a frequent visitor! ♥