Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014


This weekly bookish link up is hosted by Broke and Bookish.





Yesterday, I completed my 2014 Goodreads Challenge, which was set to 40 books and I'm proud of myself for achieving this goal. Now is the perfect time to do my yearly round-up of the best books I read this year:

 1. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman - Allison's life journey is almost the same as mine, which is why I love this book so much. Her decision to agree with Willem's offer to go on an adventure transformed her life for the better and it made me realize the importance of taking risks in life now matter how scary it looks. There are so many nuggets of wisdom that you can find in this book and I'm truly grateful to Gayle for writing such a fantastic book!

2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas - I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it kept me up reading until midnight for two days in a row just to finish it.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This is my favorite among the series and possibly one of my all time favorite novels. Perkins is now an auto read for me, I just love her writing style!

4. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - One of the MOST unputdownable books I read this year which is why it is so hard to pick a favorite in this series, so naturally I had to include all three of them. I much prefer the storyline and characters of this over the Mortal Instruments. I feel like it has more depth and exciting parts in the story and it has WILL HERONDALE.
5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera -  I'm really glad I reread it this year cause there were so many parts that made sense to me when I did. It was that deep.

6. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse - I read this when I found out that it is Leighton Meester's favorite novel. It tells about a man's journey to self-discovery, spiritual enlightenment and the meaning of life.  It’s filled with incredible writing, and it is one of those books that I recommend everyone to read at least once.

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I just found out that this is going to be adapted into film soon. AWESOME.

8. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin - I'm reading the ASOIAF series, one book per year cause I think it'll make waiting for the 6th and 7th installation much bearable. Obviously, this is included and I can't wait to read the 3rd book next year.

9. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami - I read this at the beginning of this year and it's responsible for breaking my reading slump. This book is so amazing, I'm definitely going to read more of Murakami's works next year.

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - It's impossible to start this without finishing immediately. It's just SO addicting! It made me wanna read her other novels too(I heard they are equally good!) and I'm now a fan of psychological thriller novels because of this! 

What about you? What are the best books you've read this year? Come and join the link-up!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five On Friday




 Five On Friday is hosted by the lovely Liz.



O N E
I managed to get myself out of an unhealthy lifestyle rut and I'm proud to say I did this in December, a month full of festivities and delectable meals! I've been eating clean and exercising regularly for almost two weeks now. I disliked waking up feeling sluggish and bloated because of the unhealthy foods that I kept putting inside my body, so one day I decided that it has to stop. I was so fortunate to come across Kayla Itsines on Instagram and found her workout and healthy food plans. I'm on week two and I feel healthy, strong and confident! I found my inspiration from Kayla Itsines, Simply Taralynn, Pinterest, and a couple of Youtubers.




T W O
I bought my first ever Nikes! I wanted one for the longest time and it was my early Christmas present from my parents. This will motivate me to work out more and achieve my fitness goals. I got mine from Zalora, it was perfect timing because I got them on sale and it was the pair that I wanted - originally, when you buy it at a mortar and brick Nike store the price is about P5,700($129) but because of the sale I only paid P4,000($90). Score! Its also my first time to purchase something online and I loved Zalora's customer service, I received my package the day before I placed my order in their website. This could be very dangerous for my wallet and a start of an addiction!




T H R E E
I started reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell this morning. It won the Goodreads Best Fiction book of the Year so I know that its gonna be a good one!



F O U R
Last Wednesday, my mom and I had our first taste of chestnuts this year and its one of our Christmas traditions to eat them during Christmas season. After all, Christmas isn't complete without sweet castaƱas.


F I V E 
I'm on a health kick! I bought this little notebook where I can put all of the healthy snacks and meals that I like. I found so many healthy recipes online and I'm so excited to try them all out. I've also been eating a lot of fruits and veggies and stayed away from white rice and bread.

All I Want For Christmas


 Yay! Once again its Christmas season, my favorite time of the year! These are the things that I would love to receive on Christmas day, not that I'm expecting any gifts and I know how expensive these are, I'm just putting it out there and just having a little fun!

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor - This is the perfect tool to keep me motivated and reach my fitness goals. I finally found a sustainable workout routine by Kayla Itsines and I'm determined to stick through it until I achieve my ideal weight.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze - When I swatched this at the cosmetics counter, I instantly fell in love with its gorgeous color! Its a perfect everyday eyeshadow and you can practically bring it anywhere.

Kindle - I prefer ebooks over paperbacks and this has been in my lust list for the longest time. Thankfully, I got an Ipad this year so for meantime that will do but the paper white Kindle is so irresistible.

Purple Yoga Mat - gotta have this so I can perform Kayla's BBG workout routines efficiently.

Vans Perforated Slip Ons - I really like the style of these shoes and it'll go with so many casual outfits.

Under Armour long sleeves - I need more gym clothes in my life!

Silver necklace with cross pendant - I'm also eying the sideways cross necklace.

Dark Blue Pea Coat - I'm on a hunt for winter clothes nowadays, and I think this pea coat will be a lovely addition to my winter wardrobe essentials.

Ankle Boots - This is one of the most versatile footwear and I'm dying to have one! I'm also eying this chelsea boots in black.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WWW Wednesdays!


• What are you currently reading?



Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords - I'm half way through this book but I've been delaying on finishing this book for months now cause I didn't want to end it just yet. Recently, I decided to pick it up again and continue where I left off.

• What did you recently finish reading?


#GirlBoss - This book is amazing. It follows Sophia's journey on how she built Nasty Gal, her own successful business and became a powerful brand in the saturated world of fashion industry. What makes her even more admirable is that she neither have a college degree nor any background in business. Additionally, she gives sound advice and how to's in order to empower women and become the best version of themselves. This isn't only for budding entrepreneurs but it is also perfect for women in their 20s who are building their career and trying find purpose and meaning.

• What do you think you’ll read next?


Little Women - The cold weather and the holiday spirit during this season calls for a classic novel! I have this book on top of my Winter TBR list and I cannot wait to curl up in bed and read this!

HAPPY READING!


The Happy List




1. Gossip Girl marathon

2. Sophia Amoruso's GirlBoss book

3. The color Tiffany Blue

4. Pinteresting

5. Jollibee's Aloha burger - absolutely delicious!

6. My visa application going well

7. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse - recommended by Leighton and I loved it!

8. The thought of moving away from home soon and taking risks to become a better person

9. Opportunities coming my way

10. People who love and support you every step of the way

11. Journaling

12. Actually putting into practice all the good advice I received from people whom I'm closest with and the ones I've read from books and online

13. Baking delicious cakes and pastries with my mom

14. Chuck Bass!

Life hands us opportunities at every turn to get over ourselves, to get outside ourselves, to wake up from our own bad dreams and realize that really lovely things are happening all the time.”  -- Shauna Niequist

Credits: Wild Spirit for THL

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Rewind & November TBR


OCTOBER In One Word

EVOLVE

  3 Things About My Life In October:
1. Celebrated my 24th birthday.
2. I binge-watched Gossip Girl and finished the whole series in one week! This is the first ever TV series that I've watched from beginning to end as it was so addicting. Chuck and Blair holds a special place in my heart.
3. I finally got my acceptance letter from the school I'm applying to in Australia. It is one of the most vital documents that I need for my student visa application and hopefully, I'll be able to lodge my application this month so I can fly there in February.

5 Songs That Were Most Popular On My Ipod This Month:
1. Welcome to New York

2. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran

3. Heartstrings - Leighton Meester

4. With You - Sum 21

5. I'm In Here - Sia
Top 3 Books I Read This Month:
1.Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse - this was 
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

3 New Obsessions In October
1.Gossip Girl - Till now, I'm having separation anxiety now that I'm done watching it.
2. Travel - New York and Paris are on top of my travel bucket list - Gossip Girl and 1989 influence.
3. 1989 by Taylor Swift - No surprise here, really. Everyone's buzzing about her new album and I'm certainly one of them!

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In October

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we 
can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” 
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

My November TBR List:
1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
3. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
4. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
5. Brida - Paulo Coelho
6. For Whom The Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemmingway
7. Landline - Rainbow Rowell

This post was inspired by one of my favorite book bloggers, Jamie!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TBR Tag




I saw this tag on Books Equal Awesomeness and although nobody has tagged me, I wanted to do it as it looks so fun!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I keep track of books I want to read but don't yet own on the ever handy Goodreads.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebooks?
Ebooks! They're perfect for people like me who are on a tight budget. But if I had the moolah, I'll most definitely have more physical TBR books.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
Generally, I just look at the Goodreads/my iBooks app and see what I'm in the mood for. I'm a mood reader - one moment its a chick lit, YA or a self help novel in my hands and the next it'll be classic or heavy literature. And sometimes, if a certain person whom I look up to recommends a book, I'll immediately read them.

A book that's been on your TBR the longest:
A Storm of Swords by GRRM. I've been putting this series off for a long time now because I don't want to end it just yet. And because the release of the sixth book is still unknown, I'll surely be left hanging and wanting for more after I finish the five books.

A book you recently added to your TBR:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - this was highly recommended by booktuber that I love.

A book that is in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - I love the rainbow colors and its exciting vibe!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading:
Not that Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham. I had high expectations on this one as it was raved by a lot of people I know, but after reading 100 pages, I decided to drop it. I didn't connect with her stories probably because of the way she churned them out in an outlandish manner. I only got into the lovelife part and it was beginning to get tiresome as she elaborated about her ex boyfriends.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you are excited for:
Definitely the 6th book in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series by GRRM - The Winds of Winter.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone's read but you:
Most of them are trilogies - Legend by Marie Lu, The Grisha Trilogy and Lunar Chronicles.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:
Pride and Prejudice :)

A book that you're dying to read:
Lately, I've been leaning towards heavy literature like The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I'm also dying to read classics like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies and Little Women. Also, there's Shauna Niequist's books. There's just too many!

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?
265 :)


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Rewind & October TBR

SEPTEMBER In One Word

CHANGES

5 Things About My Life In September:
1. I turned over a new leaf and decided to push through with my Australian dream! I left behind my supplemental course, and hopefully I'll be able to fly there next year. It took me a long damn time to finally say 'yes' to this but I'm glad that the opportunity was still there. There's no turning back this time!
2. On September 6th, we celebrated my favorite nephew's baptism and I was one of the Ninangs too! My mom and I baked a fondant cake for him and everyone thought it was lovely.
3. My mom and I went on so many S & R dates this month! Thankfully, S & R has opened a new branch near our home and we get first dibs during sales and promos! After we do our shopping, we always eat at their pizza station, their combo pizza is the bomb!
4. I've decided to learn how to play the guitar and my little brother was kind enough to offer lessons(he's such a pro) when he saw me checking out Youtube videos for beginners. The first guitar chords I learned was Little Things by One Direction.
5. We celebrated my dad and my two older brother's birthday by throwing a huge party for them. We prepared a 5-course meal for them and everyone had a great time! I feel like its going to be a long time before I can celebrate with them again which makes me a bit sad.

5 Songs That Were Most Popular On My Ipod This Month:
Well, most of these songs are from Sam Smith's newest album, In the Lonely Hour. Seriously. I'm addicted.

1. Stay With Me - Sam Smith


2. I'm Not the Only One - Sam Smith


3. Latch - Sam Smith


4. Chandelier - Sia


5. Fancy - Iggy Azalea


Top 3 Books I Read This Month:
1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas- this latest book from the Throne of Glass Series, solidified Sarah J. Maas as one of my absolute favorite authors of all time.
2. Just One Year by Gayle Foreman - I'm glad I picked up this series again! I LOVED it.
3. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - It didn't excite me as much cause the story was predictable. But it made me want to read her other novels.

3 New Obsessions In September
1. Parmesan cheese from S&R - I'm so glad we found an affordable yet great tasting Parmesan cheese from S&R. The thing that I love about Parmesan is its versatility. You can put it on everything - salads, soups, pasta, pizza, bread, etc.
2.  S&R pizza - one of the best pizzas in the Metro. Mom and I ate there 6 times this month!
3. Nutella donuts from Krispy Kreme!

3 Things I’m Looking Forward To In October
1. The first day of October is my birthday!(I just turned 24 today, HOW is it that time flies by so fast?) I'm excited mainly because I get to celebrate it with my whole family. My sister(who's based in Sydney) greeted me via text message saying that she hopes that I'll celebrate my 25th birthday in OZ. It made me so happy and excited!
2. My first ever Nikes. I'm planning to buy a new pair tomorrow and I'm contemplating whether I should get the Roshe Run or the Free Runs. The former is aesthetically pleasing while the latter is highly recommended by a slew of runners online. I'm gearing towards the latter though since I'll use it mainly for running. But the Roshes looks so lovely.
3. My fall TBR pile. I've got some exciting new reads this month that I cannot wait to read!

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In September
“Sometimes fate or life or whatever you want to call it, leaves a door a little open and you walk through it. But sometimes it locks the door and you have to find the key, or pick the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn't even show you the door, and you have to build it yourself. But if you keep waiting for the doors to be opened for you... I think you'll have a hard time finding single happiness, let alone that double portion.” 
― Gayle FormanJust One Year

My October TBR List:
1. Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Maas
2. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
3. Wonder - R.J. Palacio
4. A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

This post was inspired by one of my favorite book bloggers, Jamie!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Before Twenty Four



On my last birthday, I wrote an entry about the things I've learned in my 23 years of existence(you can read it here). Tomorrow, I'll turn 24. And if you ask me what's the biggest lesson I've learned so far this year, it is to stay away from your comfort zone. The quote above speaks volumes to me. "Comfort zone is a really beautiful place where absolutely nothing gets done". That pretty much sums it up. And if you wanna know more then here they are:

1. You can read all of the self-help books in the world but if you do not take action, then all would be useless.

2. When life seems unfair, having a different outlook could take away the pain and change the course of your life. Be POSITIVE.

3. There will be challenges in life that will leave you shattered and at a loss. Give yourself time to weep, but do not stay that way.

4. You cannot please everyone. Back in college, I used to be a people pleaser and it did me more harm than good cause I was constantly affected by the smallest issues. I learned the hard way and one day, I came to realize that I deserve a lot better. 

5. Friends come and go. Keep the ones who'll stand by you when life is tough.

7. You will face fear and rejection. I struggle with handling rejection and criticism. When nothing is going right, criticisms affect you 10x stronger. I hope to overcome this in the near future.

8. Family knows your true self, the good and ugly parts of you, but they will still love you unconditionally.

9. Do not let yourself be swallowed by the abyss of self pity and depression. Stay out of  the box of badness.

10. When things go wrong, do not beat yourself up or blame others, instead, try your best to get back up. You should be gentle with yourself and realize that the pain may be part of your spiritual growth.

11. Reach out to others. You don't have to do everything alone.

12. When it comes to love, don't settle for anything less than you deserve. As my sister said, "God's Gift(GG or The 'One') will come at the perfect time. Trust that God is preparing both of you so that when you finally meet, you are both ready to commit to a lifetime together."

13. You need not change the things you love doing - hobbies, interests, career choice - just because you want to fit in a certain group of people. OWN them.

14. Don't compare your lives to others. Your path is unique. Own it and make the best out of it.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Life Recently

I made this post similar to Lauryn's, which is I think is a more personal take on the popular Sunday Currently link-up. Here's a look at what I've been up to lately.


Reading: I recently finished Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and it was so so fantastic! Definitely my favorite book in the series! I highly recommend the Throne of Glass series if you're a fan of Hunger Games, Game of Thrones or Harry Potter. Right now, I'm reading The Assassin's Blade, which is a prequel of the story and so far, I'm really enjoying it!

Listening: I've been addicted to Sam Smith's "In the Lonely Hour" album for weeks! I can't get over how amazing his voice is and even his live performances are so good.


Feeling: Now that I have a clear goal in mind, which is to study and work in Australia next year, I feel at ease compared to the last couple of months. You see, I felt so unsure with my career path. I tend to get swayed by other people's opinions on what I should and should not do. This time, I am taking in control. I want to see and discover new places.

Photographing: Good times with my family, my little nephew, foods, nature and anything that gets my attention. I especially love capturing priceless moments.

Writing: I'm writing some lists, quotes and thoughts about my goals, plans and basically life in general. I'm also planning to start a journal as I was inspired by this, this and this.

Watching: The last movie I saw was The Fault in Our Stars with my mom. It was such a beautiful and heartbreaking film, my mom and I cried so much! We were watching it at our living room and everytime my brothers or my dad pass by, they would grin and laugh at us. I thought Shailene and Ansel have done a fantastic job in portraying Hazel and Gus!

Using: I pulled out all my sweaters and have been wearing them a lot lately. It keeps me warm and cozy this rainy season and they're perfect for strolling and outings!

Learning: To focus on the present and be more positive instead of  worrying about the future and thinking about the past. 
I have my own fair share of regrets and bad decisions and whenever I feel sad about it, I try to focus on the good side of things and the blessing I've received. I also came across Zoella's "Say yes" video on Youtube and it spoke volumes to me. If you need a picker-upper, definitely check that out.

Reminiscing:  About the days when all of my brothers and sisters were still living here at home(we are 11 in the family, including the parents). I miss those days when we would go out of town even if all 11 of us barely fit inside one car, and when we are in La Union, we would explore our lola's vast farm while eating fruits fresh from the trees. Heck, I even miss those meal times when food served at the table would be gone in a matter of seconds. Life was so much simpler back then too.


Thinking: About my future plans and goals. There are so many things I'd like to do and I don't want my fears to get in the way. I'm hoping and praying that things will work out.

Reflecting Upon: The choices I've made this year and how they will affect the future. Sometimes I do worry(which I know is pointless) and ponder if I made the right decisions, other times I just throw away the consequences and doubts and live my life carelessly.
       

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Changes and Positivity



There's going to be a lot of changes in my life in the coming months because I've decided to pack my bags, leave everything behind and pursue my lifelong dream to travel. I don't want to have regrets in the future which is why I'm giving this a shot. Australia is my first destination. Hopefully, I'll be able to find the answers I'm seeking for and find a place where I truly belong. Life is full of uncertainties; but I'm willing to take a risk and put myself out there. For so long, I've been sheltered and in the process, I let myself be blinded with my fears, only to realize that I'm not growing as a person anymore. I want to break free from them cause they keep me from achieving what I truly want to become. I want to be brave. And deep inside my heart, I truly believe traveling and surviving in a different country will foster independence and courage. I'm on the road of stepping out of my comfort zone. As my sister said, "Ships are safe in the harbor, but that is not why they are built". 

As early as now, I am mentally preparing myself for the inevitable changes ahead. I'm very close to my family, especially my mom, so imagine how difficult leaving home would be. Stress, anticipation, homesickness are all part of the package. I hate to admit it but negativity would creep into my mind, and this happens more often than not and when it does, I need a pick-me-up to remind me to be positive. I'm a firm believer that simply altering the way you think can change the outcomes of your life and can help towards achieving your goals. 

1. Start a positivity diary

I'm looking for a perfect diary for me to write down all the positive things that are happening in my life, so that I have something to remind me of things that make me happy. I'm also going to include some positive photos, bible verses and quotes in here.


2. Follow an inspirational Twitter/Tumblr/Blog. 

Two of my favourites are Thought Catalog and MarkandAngel. Whenever I feel unmotivated, I like to browse these two and I instantly feel better!


3. Eat healthy and exercise.

I admit, I kind of struggle with this one cause my family loves to eat a LOT. But I'm trying my best to stick to my healthy routine. I keep in mind that I am aiming for a strong and healthy body instead of dieting. I don't deprive myself from pizza, chocolates or anything but I only eat them in moderation. And I'd like to share this daily workout plan which works great for me!



4. Spend some time alone.  

Spending some time in my own home, doing things that relax me like watching a TV show or your favorite movie, reading a book or baking can do wonders to restore my positivity. Do whatever you like, find an activity you enjoy and you will find yourself recharged.

5. Count your blessings

As simple as making a list of the things that make you happy and the blessings you have received really helps a lot in counteracting negativity.


I hope these tips work for you and let's work our way into a more positive life! :)



Monday, September 8, 2014

Blog-Tember Five and Sunday Social

Five Things About Me
  • I rarely get angry towards other people and I forgive easily.
  • I love amusement parks especially those crazy rides!
  • I love discovering new places and traveling.
  • I'm going to have my first out of the country trip in Australia next year which I'm so excited about.
  • My mom is my hero.


5 Favourite Things About Blogging



  • Meeting and getting to know new blogger friends
  • Sharing my interests and passions
  • Document my travels and experiences
  • Finding inspiration from other blogs
  • Learning new things


5 Things I'm Doing Before The Year is Over



  • Complete my basic wardrobe pieces
  • Finish applying for my Australian visa
  • Buy that Nike Roshe Run I've been wanting for a long time now
  • Organize my things here at home before my BIG move to OZ
  • Bond with my family and friends


5 Favourite Fall Fashions



  • Scarfs
  • Leggings
  • Boots
  • Oversized Cardigans
  • Berry, deep purples, wine colored tops

5 Favourite Beauty Products



  • Collection Lasting Perfection concealer
  • In2it Powder Foundation
  • Tony Moly liptint
  • Elizabeth Arden eyeshadows
  • Nivea lipbalm

5 Favourite Books



  • The Infernal Devices - Cassandra Clare
  • The Princess Bride - William Goldman
  • Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
  • Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
  • Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Linking up with Ashley & Neely for Sunday Social and Bailey Jean for Blog-Tember!