Be Thankful for Mornings

Morning!So—-Hi, reader.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to write at least twice a month and seeing that January, February, March and April flew by as fast as my salary when I was still addicted to online-shopping (I miss you, Zalora), I think I’ve already failed.

But then again, every waking day is an opportunity to change my life and so here I am, composing my very first blogpost in almost a year.

Ah. The struggles.

I couldn’t even begin to describe what happened within that time frame. Others may have gotten married, may have broken up, may have given birth—heck others may have even changed genders (good for you!), but for me the year was a whirlwind of bittersweet moments that I am now trying to chalk up as ‘mid-20s life’. Yes, that’s what we’re going to call it—mid-20s life. Although in just a few months, I will be hitting my late-20s and Oh.My.Oh.My. Am I freaking out.

No, I am not freaking out because I’m getting older—that’s not it. It’s what I have done and have not done that’s making my stomach turn and churn and well, me, hurl. It’s like I feel that I’ve made a pretty exciting life for myself—traveling, meeting new people, taking up jobs that deal with different issues, concerns, and people—but then not really. It’s unsettling. It’s definitely a feat to describe.

What I can tell you though, dear reader, is I’ve realized a lot of things about myself and life at that in the past year. They are hardly groundbreaking and nothing you haven’t read in other blogs or crappy chick-literature that I love so dearly. But it’s surreal when you’re up face to face to the stuff that you were only able to read about before–the kind of drama novels are made of. It’s like there’s too much going on that you just wish a camera  was following you around and then at one point somebody is going to pop out from nowhere and scream “GOTCHA!” but no. The struggles were real; the tears were even more real. The pain was too palpable to consider just as a simple infliction of the mind. Sh*t just got real. There’s a reason for that.

I won’t bore you with details. All I know that it’s also an equally important thing to learn how to move forward and never stop building your life around your dreams and ambitions. Never ever give up on your dreams and more importantly, never ever give up on yourself.

And so far, I think I’m doing well.

More posts to come as the new chapter of my life is unfolding…back to where it all started. Back in Vientiane, back to working for the greater good, back to my old self. If there’s one thing though that changed..I’m happy now. Hard to believe that I’m able to feel that despite everything I’ve been through. But I am, and now that I know what ‘happiness’ feels like, I’d fight for it. Every single waking day.🙂

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The Long Pause

He said he misses my stories. I rolled my eyes and almost immediately spat out the most insulting phrase ever, I Know, Right.

It was sarcastic, of course. As a blogger–sort of–I’m not really sure if people really care about what they read, especially when posts are overly dramatic and that there are more important issues in the world apart from my own thoughts.

Abandoning my blog for a few months isn’t exactly a deliberate step to get over the ‘adventurous life’ I left behind and stop regretting my decisions. For some reason, things have not been kind. Or that I am simply not kind enough to myself. Either way, it’s been tough. I stopped writing because–just like that–nothing inspires me anymore or at least, I haven’t been motivated to write. I’m the type of person who can write about dirt if I can make something out of it but not even my most interesting moments the past few months (definitely more intriguing than dirt) were able to make its way to me and be transformed into words. Logging in to my account is a struggle, let alone write something. Anything.

But here’s one anyway.

…Somehow the word about some makeup hobbyists from UPLB offering their hair and makeup services got out, and Ate Sheryl and I found ourselves reveling in an experience of a lifetime.

Two years ago, I pledged to myself that I would grow out my hair and upon reaching my waist, I would cut the whole chunk of it and donate it to an organization dedicated to creating medical wigs for cancer patients. But since my insecurities ate me up more than my pledge, I failed. I  bleached my hair to a shocking rusty blonde and it dried to the tips after a month. I guess it’s more rude to donate damaged hair than to back out on my word. When I cut the animal hair off my life in December, I was still in the middle of figuring out what I would do to compensate for my wrong decisions.

One day in January, my Mother–last semester’s executive producer of a local television show of their college–was telling me about her day and how her guests made an impression to her. She was telling me about this ‘group’ who get together every Valentine’s Day and ‘beautify’ themselves for the day. I was about to brush off the idea when she mentioned that they are, in fact, cancer patients.

I was moved. Not only because they are cancer patients and that I finally found a way to compensate for my botched hair donation but because I felt deep in my heart that our art can mean something for other people. Even for just a day.

Armed with our signature pink traincase, Ate Sheryl and I arrived at Madre de Amor Hospice Foundation on Friday the 13th of February (Ate Sheryl is engaged, so her Valentine’s Day was booked) at 8 AM and there we met the strongest people we have known. No, they are not just a group who get together for Valentine’s Day. They help cancer patients help each other during these trying times.


They are some of the women from Madre De Amor Hospice Foundation in Los Baños, Laguna. They are called mobile cancer and dialysis patients who get together to build a support system with and for people who can relate to their own plight. They do fun activities together; share stories, progress, struggles, loss. They were no celebrities but the glow that radiated from their faces was priceless. I don’t think any amount of cosmetic surgery could give them that, it’s not even the makeup. Their spirits were warm, bright and alive because of the happiness knowing that there are people around to support them; the optimism that everything is going to be all right for them and their peers; and that strength, that strength that not even cancer can beat.
All That Glitters, Leandra Flor, Division K International Speech Contest 1st Runner-up, Toastmasters International

These women were my inspiration in writing a speech for Toastmasters International. Their strength is silent but profound. The day that Ate Sheryl and I spent at Madre de Amor became one of our most unforgettable walkabouts in our lives. Our makeup gig might not have been located in another province, or in another country–it wasn’t even with famous people. But they are all what we needed to see that life is beautiful. No matter what.

And I should remind myself of this. Every day.

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Tales of A BeautyHoarder

It’s a bit of a stretch to call myself a makeup artist just cos I’m nowhere close to the people on Face Off. I have the audacity to use #mua all the time in my posts on Instagram just to join the bandwagon, if you know what I mean. What are hashtags for, right?

When people ask why I don’t take proper makeup workshops or attend makeup school, I only think of two things: 1) School again?; 2) I’m not sure if I’m committed to the craft enough to lay all my cards on the table, quit my full-time job to pursue a career that a million girls (and guys) are much better at.

In my chosen career-path, only the people who experience momentary insanity apply for graduate school; and the academe is a pretty small circle compared to the empire of art and cosmetics. Besides not everyone can be like Bobbi Brown, Anastasia and Michelle Phan. You’re lucky if you even get a ‘regram’ from them.

Okay, what the hell am I talking about.

Well, in my years of being a washed-up travel blogger/avid reader/frustrated actress/one-time Medical Doctor-dreamer/one-time Lawyer-wannabe/former PhD student (in the time being, at least)/university research associate/pseudo-fashionista, there was one thing that was in my purse–after all the sweat and tears, after all the dreams that have come true and/or shattered–a makeup bag.

I started walking down the aisle as a flower girl in weddings at the age of 2. My Mother would stand close to the altar with a cookie in hand so I’d walk and grab the coveted cookie. Of course, she couldn’t let the flower girl go to battle without the proper warpaint. Fascinated with whatever she’s doing to my face, and whatever watercolor thing she uses to do that, I would open her magic batik purse sitting on her dresser and spill the watercolor all over the place. I’d smear the colors, draw lines with the pencils, pucker my lips when it’s time for the red clay-ish thing, and whoa what do we have here–a baby clown.

That being said, I did the same thing over and over again every afternoon for years. I bought my very first eyeshadow when I was 12 and it changed my life forever. Since my Mom cannot grace all my programs in school, I’d do my makeup myself. I bought magazines and copy the looks of the covergirls (still can’t do the Candy-wink, unfortunately). Mismatched eyebrows, scraggly eyeliner, lipstick on my teeth–who cares. I just like the fact that my eyes looked bigger, my cheeks didn’t look like somebody slapped the heck out of me and my pout (and teeth) was a vision in red. Yes, even before the Anne Curtis red-lip craze, I was sporting a red lip in high school events.


Why hello me!

Until one day, my friend bought me an 8-piece set of professional makeup brushes from the US as a present. It was the first time that I felt in control of whatever art I wanted to recreate. And even to this day–that I take selfies as makeup inspiration for my 57 followers on Instagram (HAHA!)–makeup is the only time when I feel calm, in control and focused. AND PREEEETTYYYY. With my chronic dissatisfaction of the things around me, and my ADHD tendencies, when I do makeup for myself and for my ‘clients’ and see them glow, radiant and happy afterwards? Screw Delayed Gratification, I am addicted to the instant fulfillment I get from it.

When people ask why I’m not making a career out of this. It’s the same with writing–I don’t want my love for it to be ruined by the whole rigmarole of the ‘industry’. The pressure of having to do this for everyone with unrealistic expectations is kind of overwhelming. I don’t want to end up hating it because I can’t live up to other people’s standards. I’d like for it to remain as a hobby, kind of a friend/sister helping another friend/sister in need. The compensation I get from it is just a bonus.

Right now, I’m happy with Instagram. Drawing inspiration from hustlers is kind of my thing nowadays. I don’t even care if some people think it’s stupid or it’s useless or it’s vanity controlling me. Because in a world where ‘happiness’ is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I think I already found mine. Let’s stick to that.🙂

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