Update on My Packed Lunch Challenge

Book Review (1)

This challenge made me cook more than I usually do. For the past two weeks, I cooked tapa, squash and shrimps in gata, green onion pancake and garbanzo soup. My lunches have become healthier.

Although I cook more, I’m not really crazy about sticking to the challenge especially that it only makes sense on weekdays. The main goal for packing lunch is really to save money and lessen my calories.

I also found a way to make it easier for me. I bought a pack of pre-washed arugula and a box of cherry tomatoes then kept them in our office fridge so I can have greens daily with my packed lunch. One time I didn’t prepare but we had salted eggs at home so I just brought that and ate it with the greens and tomatoes for lunch.

Here are photos of some of my packed lunches. I’ve been using this old mousepad as my placemat ever since I started working at this place. Hehe.



It’s Okay, I’m an Introvert.


The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World may have a spot on the shelves of introverted, millennial self-help junkies. It is written by INFJ coach and blogger behind introvertspring.com, Michaela Chung and published 2016 by Skyhorse Publishing.

In her work, Michaela explains how extroversion is currently what society considers normal, the status quo which leaves introverts guilty, depleted and self-conscious as they navigate life following the extrovert’s way. She clarifies that in fact, extroversion and introversion are merely two different types of personalities and one is not superior to the other.



The book is in two parts. Part one focuses on the self, the author provides a guide on how to keep one’s energy levels intact. She provides insight about the introvert’s emotions and ways to self-care. In part two, she writes more about how introverts can interact with the world in their own terms, thus “harnessing power” to act with confidence and even date as an introvert, no longer following the extroverted path.

Listening to the audiobook, I had one aha moment after another:

Aha to those times I’ve felt guilty for declining invitations to events and parties!

Aha to my crankiness and distress with the noise of fellow hikers who wanted to take an inordinate amount of photos of Mt. Pulag’s summit! Couldn’t they see the sacred mountain was best enjoyed with peace and quiet?

Aha to why I dislike the phone or don’t respond to messages for days or even weeks! It’s not you, it’s me. I just need to be alone!

Michaela shares similar experiences from her own life and those of other introverts.



Overall, I’d say The Irresistible Introvert makes a good short read. It’s only six hours long as an audiobook. The writer draws from Eastern religion, psychology research and experiences making it both informative and light-hearted.

I haven’t read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking but have heard her very popuar TED talk when she promoted her book published in 2012, four years before this one. I see how the summaries are similar, I might just read that one next.


A Little Goes A Long Way: Doing Monthly Challenges Again


Hello! Yesterday I started with my first monthly challenge: Prep and Bring Packed Lunch. Yes I’m starting in November 2017. Don’t you think it’s better to do this now than wait for the New Year? Well early 2017 would’ve been ideal but consider this an early start for 2018!

What is this?

It’s simply doing one thing everyday for the entire month. Then after an entire month, you start another habit again for the next 30 days and so on. I’m sure you are familiar with these types of things as there are different versions of it. The one I did back in 2014 was inspired from Leo Babauta of zenhabits.

Does it work?

The annoying answer is yes and no. During the first time I tried it, there was this idea floating around that doing something for 21 days straight would make it a habit. According to a Forbes article, this is a myth but don’t be discouraged. The writer, Jason Selk, only brought up the reality that it may take more than those 21 magical days. So as to the question, it really will depend on various factors like motivation, life events, timing, interest. But starting is considered a step isn’t it? Then just make it work, work, work.

My Experience

I can’t say my first try was successful but I wouldn’t call it a failure either. I found value in the exercise which is exactly why I’m doing it again. And ssshhh, at least I get a post out of it. My favorite among them, from March to December, was the July Challenge to read one Italian blog entry a day. This was altered to going on Duolingo to study Italian daily. It was fun especially that I really got to use it during my trip. I was not fluent but I could understand and was able to do simple transactions in the language.


Ready, Set, Go.

This time, I’m focusing on the habits I want to have hoping they will crowd out the bad ones. I started my lunch prep yesterday so I will post an update soon! If you’re interested you can totally do this on your own terms and identify monthly challenges that work for you! It could be taking a photograph, going vegetarian, flossing, wearing makeup, talking to a stranger. Maybe approach it as a fun thing like decorating for the holidays not training for the Olympics (unless, that’s your thing in which case you do you.)

Are there bad habits you want to lose and awesome ones you want to gain? What do you think of this as a personal project? I’m interested to know and to those who will be doing this (or at least to me), GOOD LUCK!

Freebie Magazines

If it’s free, it’s for me! One of my titas, a family friend, would say. I don’t really agree because it’s an excuse to hoard unecessary stuff. But when it comes to magazines, I can be a bit lenient. They are light and easier to get rid off when it’s time to declutter. I also love just leafing through them when relaxing on weekends.

Here’s some free magazines I love getting:

Free Magazines!

Edible Vancouver

There’s Edible magazines are published in various locales. I’m not sure if it’s free everywhere but the one in Vancouver is. I love the photos and the articles. I don’t really try out recipes because I don’t cook that much these days. This season there’s a good article about Syrian food that made me excited to try. Many Syrians from all walks of life now call this city their home. Vancouver is such a diverse city that different cultures contribute to the food scene around here. Yay more yum for all of us!


Old National Geographic Magazines

Okay this is a cheat. It’s not free but it almost is if you get them from thrift stores. This one magazine was 10 cents! It’s a National Geographic Traveler from April 2007 that also featured Vancouver. Oooh I was curious what Vancouver looked like 10 years ago. It’s pretty much the same in terms of what to do or see like visit the Granville Market or hike at Deep Cove. Some places and restaurants though no longer exist.

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Airline Magazines

Complimentary inflight goodies! I look forward to these in my flights. Haha as if I actually go on so many flights. No, not really which is why I do take the time to read through them and I usually take them with me. Here’s just a tiny peek at a really old, 2012 old, Mabuhay magazine from Philippine Airlines.


There are magazines available to borrow in the local libraries where I live. Also when I visit my tita’s house I just indulge in reading whatever magazines are lying around. Mostly she buys home decor and style ones.  I was and am really into mags free or otherwise but I’ve never spent my own money on them.

I’m curious, do people still buy magazine subscriptions? What free and paid magazines do you like to read?

Lost Memories and the Advantages of Journal Writing


My first journal was this tiny hardbound book with a gold lock. It had lined pages and alternated green, blue and pink shades. It was scented. My cousin who was then in highschool gifted it to me on my 9th birthday. I wrote “Dear Diary” and chronicled the stories of my 3rd grade self. I have no idea where that thing is now. I am thankful though to my cousin who introduced  me to this amazing thing –the diary. Of course then, I did not think much of how great it was. I just naturally took to it like any introverted kid would. I enjoyed it and the events of my elementary school years seemed just too important not to write them all down. Ah, this is likely one reason why we get reminded to see life through the eyes of a child.

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