April shower bring May flowers

This past year I’ve undergone significant life changes in both my career and personal life.

Around this time last year I was at Spanish Banks, with my then fiance having our engagement photos taken, to which soon after began the whirlwind called my life.

Less than 8 months ago I became a married woman,  less than 6 months ago I became a home owner, less than 4 months ago I packed my life in the city and moved back to the suburbs, and less then 2 moths ago I left my job at a company that I considered my second family.

Change is good; a lot of change must be really good, right?

It’s not just me, I see it through Insta-stories, my friends during their vents and even through articles shared online – there is a constant state of dissatisfaction.

What is happiness? Why is it that my generation seems to constantly look for more. And even as I sit here in my own spacious two bedroom condo, typing on my shiny macbook I still flick through Instagram and recognize a tinge of envy as I browse through my feed.

bright-daylight-environment-240040

 

I’ve encountered the same personal dissonance before so these are the next steps I typically take to get back onto my own two feet:

  1. The Little Things – stopping to admire the little things in life makes you grateful for the bigger things. Today instead of rushing to get to work, I stopped thinking too much and focused on the beautiful lush greenery.
  2. Nature – thinking about nature and how vast our earth is always gives me perspective. The earth will revolve regardless of whether my resume isn’t getting better. Easy ways to get outside (if you don’t have a backyard/patio) is to go for a walk at the park or at the beach.
  3. Important People – What is truly important in life? If you haven’t decided on what or who plays an importance in your life then maybe that’s a good place to start dissecting. As for me, my husband, my family and close friends are what makes life worth living. At the end of the day I think about how much I value these people and feel so thankful to have their presence in my life – it makes all the difference in the world. So I reach to my loved ones to express that gratitude and I often  feel a warmth in my heart just doing so.

Happiness is not a destination it is a means of getting to where you want to go. That is a quote that I’ve kept repeating. We are not victims to our lives but active players who get to decide how we will take the day on.

 

 

Advertisements

Who are we without the people who have raised us?

It is in sadness and guilt that I write today’s blog. I found out this morning that my grandpa had passed away.

Before we moved to Canada my grandparents raised me. They lived with my parents and my siblings during the years my parents both worked full time. And while we had moved to Canada I maintained a close relationship with them, visiting them every other year, talking on the phone and even writing letters.

It has only been the last five years, the years of my growth, that I have not kept in touch with my grandpa. I had grown ‘busy’ trying to develop a career and building a life that I thought I had to live. He had stayed here with my aunt’s family and yes I knew this time was coming near. I took him for granted and distanced for the sole purpose of avoiding this huge feeling of loss right now – as I had when I lost my grandmas. But now instead of just feeling loss I’m feeling guilt, sadness and a sense of confusion. Who have I become?

The Filipino culture is so entrenched with the concept of family. I used to go to my cousin’s cousin’s birthdays, new years etc. Living in Vancouver has made celebrating every possible occasion difficult due to the expenses. How can I go out and celebrate everything when I need to constantly work to afford the lifestyle I want? And how can I develop my career if I have to consider so many other schedules into my work week?

I hope to change all this, to find my Filipino core and re-start spending more time with my family. For now, I’m left feeling so sad and so so guilty.

IMG_0250

 

 

 

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

A year’s worth of planning and a lifetime worth of love starts tomorrow!

It is so surreal that this day is finally here. As someone who has planned and executed numerous events, wedding planning was not fun for me. The event goals were different and success metrics depends really on the day itself.

As an event planner, I am anxious and thinking about the timeline with all the moving pieces. This morning we are tying up last minute and loose ends. The majority of today will be spent having a nice lavender bath and a calming facial.

As the bride, I’m excited and can’t wait to celebrate my love to an amazing guy with my closest family & friends. In the months and days leading up to this special day I’m reminded how many wonderful people I have in my life to be thankful for. I have been showered with so much love and affection.

And while I’m excited and so happy for this day to finally come, I can’t shut my eyes on what is happening in the world around me. This is not to put a damper on my mood or the wedding but mother nature is demanding to be treated with respect. Nuclear missile testing and ignorance to global warming and other environmental issues are not to be joked around with. There are hundreds of people stranded on islands in the Caribbean with most inhabitants having had lost their homes and all their possessions.

So despite the weather forecast for tomorrow, I am grateful for the rain to come. I’m thankful for the relief it provides for our BC wildfires and only hope that it pauses for an hour or two (for our photos!)

 

 

 

The two month countdown…

There’s only two months left until I officially become Mrs. Reynolds.

The event planner in me is thinking of all the things that still need to be done from the seating chart, the music list to the very tiny small details. Reviewing the decor to ensure my green, gold, creme and coral/blush motif works well together. The BlackTux Rental Company has put this beautiful color swatch together that basically mirrors the color motif I’ve planned for my own wedding except with slate grey suits and a more coral toned blush.

FBFBC275-0E4D-431E-8798-E14B31447C94-247-00000026A9E5A68D

The other part of me is trying to get serious. Getting married isn’t just a party or a huge event, it’s a commitment of a lifetime. I’m so thankful to have found my better half, someone who continually leads me to grow and development.

My goal this month is to finalize all the details and complete the pieces so that I get to savour the weeks leading up to my wedding and how huge of a deal this really is!

How did you make sure you had all your to-do’s ticked off in time for the wedding?

 

 

Holiday Baking – Filipino style

As I had mentioned in my previous blog, I love Christmas. This year I wanted to gift my loved ones with a special gift of value: pandesal.

fullsizerender-2Pandesal is a bread bun found everywhere in the Philippines. It’s made with very simple ingredients but requires special love to make (I found this out).  Made with the recipe found on Salu-Salo.com by Liza A I spent about 3-5 hours last night making my first batch of pandesal and I couldn’t be more happy with the results.

When I think of pandesal I think of the Philippines and mornings of waking up with my Lolas around. Typically eaten at breakfast although I also have memories with one of my Lola’s dipping it into a coke for a mid-day snack. This was the same Lola that mixed egg with her Sarsi! Anyway, this little common bun holds lots of fond memories for me and I can’t help but feel like it would generate the same sentiments with those who receive it.

Here’s the recipe I used (originally by Liza A with minor changes):

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups all purpose flour

img_0001I mixed the yeast and water together in a bowl on it’s own and set it aside. In another bowl, I put the milk, butter, sugar, eggs and salt together. Important memo: make sure the butter is at room temperature. My butter was not as warm as I had thought and it was challenging mixing since it stayed in clumps.

After mixing the two bowls together I started adding the flour. This is the process that took lots of time and required lots of love. You basically mix, then transfer the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and then knead until it’s elastic or not sticky.

Once I had a ball of dough, I placed it into bowl, covered with plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour or so until it doubled in size. After it rose, I cut it into about 26 rolls. The little doughs of love then undergo another cover and rise routine. I covered the parchment lined trays for about an hour with a cloth. Once they rose the little dough buns were placed into a preheated oven at 225 degree Fahrenheit for twenty minutes and then I increased the temperature to 325 degree Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes.

They made my little tiny apartment smell amazing and was reminiscent of my childhood. Once these buns came out of the oven I immediately spread some butter on them. While they required so much time and effort to make I felt they were well worth it.

 

Ireland (ii): Land of the rainbows

I definitely did not expect Galway to be as great as it was. Upon arrival to downtown my senses were thrilled with all kinds of sights, sounds and scents.

13680697_10153604679976436_5415760361339878812_nCobblestone alleyways filled with al fresco dining, banner flags strung throughout the street, happy fiddlers playing such fun tunes and crowds of people flocked through each establishment. We checked out a few establishments for our first night. We had dinner at the only restaurant that was not overly full – it was an Asian noodle house. But then stopped at various pubs like the Quay, The King’s Head, The Cellar Bar for a pint. When we head back to our Airbnb accommodation we were surprised with a massive loud street party put on by Red Bull energy drink with a live DJ turning tables in a trunk out on the street. It was the craziest and funnest random party ever!

Our first day in Galway was pretty great, although the one thing that I noticed about Galway was that everyone smokes everywhere and the smoke made my eyes dry and my head hurt. Aside from that downtown Galway was beautiful!

13876613_10153604704576436_3723355539356678484_nWe decided to drive to Kerry to do the Ring of Kerry, backwards. We drove around the craziest narrow roadways and the scariest part was that large (I’m talking ginormous) tour buses drove around it. We didn’t pick the greatest day to travel there as the weather was not on our side but it was lush, green and full of sheep 🙂

The next few days spent in Galway were just staying around town lounging and adventuring around neighbouring sights. We checked out the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle & the Folk Park – both were definitely sites to check out.

13879475_10153604707611436_8167719958109592884_nThe last day my fiance took me for a drive further north of Galway, past Connemara. Our drive took us around some lakes and it was just breathtaking. We stopped at Abbeyglen Castle where I was surprised with a night’s stay…and my now beautiful engagement ring. I won’t go in too much detail but we arrived at the castle and were greeted with a champagne reception, a 5 course dinner and dessert then a beautiful cozy engagement by a fireplace.

 

 

Hold fast, stand firm.

When I was nearly complete with my undergraduate degree in economics I remember sitting in one of my classes where the professor broke society down into supply & demand graphs. There were those that consumed, and those that provided for the demand; some small business, larger corporations and then the very elusive select top uber groups that held the monopoly of the world’s economy within their control.  Am I mixing up my sociology/economics courses? Maybe – but in today’s news it seems that everywhere you turn there is some insane series of events (horrific and unbelievable) that seem to be enforcing the perspective of “my people”. I’m not belittling and want to fully admit my bias that I have not been primarily affected. If you stop to look at the macro perspective with all the recent events and the news we see – it seems like all of it creates feelings of us vs. them.

When Trump started his campaign the news went nuts with his proposition of building walls and segregation, little did we know this was just the beginning. Throughout his campaign news coverage of riots and racial cards were brought to the forefront. Awareness of this was one thing but for some it seemed to bring people to rally on one side versus the other. Then Brexit, then the horrible horrific shootings in America – what is happening in society today?  Then even more local, the Vancouver housing market asking us to shut our doors to the foreigners – yes I believe they are part of the reason for the insane pricing hikes but the conversations that are stemming from this are really quite racial. And with all that’s happening in the common wealth nations there is little to be seen or said about what’s going on in the Middle East. It’s like it’s been completely removed from our news so we can focus on the shootings, the protests and the injustices of North America and the privileged European countries. Who is controlling what we see and why are they feeding us this?

I opted to change my path in university and did not pursue my major in economics, adding another four years of study, because I refused to see people as cattle. I refuse to let the select elite garner influence how I feel about society or how I treat other human beings.

Yes, we need to update our justice & learning institutions, we need to eradicate racial perspectives of difference and through all of these events we must remember that we are one human race.  There is no separation. We don’t need to side with one or the other. We are one people. That is what I choose to derive from all the chaos of world events today.

Social media has woven us into a tighter and more knowledgable social community. Here’s to holding your virtual hand and hoping for a better now.

landscape-nature-hand-field