Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Self...

Don't complain, don't complain, don't complain.

Sometimes, like 12 midnight and I clearly am behind on the work I was planning to do, I wonder if what I'm doing is really worth it. The job, the freelance job, the extra projects...are they really worth it if it means staying up late, waking up early, being tired?

Right now I am eating a box of Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mints, my nemesis). Hours ago I ran a mile and a half, going up to an 8 min/mile pace on the treadmill. And right now I'm undoing all of that. Actually the canoli I had right after my gym session undid most of that already. But details, scmetails.

And then I have to remind myself that I am in charge of my own actions. I have made all of the decisions that have led me to where I am now. This is my own choice. So damn it, if you are going to eat the whole foil of cookies, own up to it. And if you are going to feel bad that your lifestyle has no room for the fun stuff, remind yourself that you have plenty of opportunities that many people don't.

Dear self, you have it good. Now back to work, you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Watching Wicked: Times I Wish I Had More Talent

Thanks to NYC Broadway Week, I finally got to see Wicked this week. Most people have nothing but good things to say about this musical, so I was excited. And my somewhat high expectations weren't at all disappointed.

The singing, acting and overall plot/themes of this musical were amazing. So much so that I downloaded the soundtrack and have been listening to it ever since. I even created a station on Pandora. Seriously, I'm obsessed.

Coming from the Philippines where the majority of the population wish they had musical and dramatic talent, I usually feel like a foreigner because of two things: 1) I HATE karaoke. Sure, I'll sing along to the radio in my room by myself but reading words off a screen in front of a crowd? No thanks. 2) I have absolutely no desire to be famous. Some in my family wanted me to go into broadcast journalism because they wanted to see me on TV and in my grandmother's words, I shit you not, writing is boring.

Those two things still haven't changed (and probably never will), but after watching Wicked, a part of me wishes I had the pipes to belt out "Defying Gravity." Seriously, listen and see if you aren't at least inspired to say "I'm doing what I want to do, and you can kiss my ass if you don't like it!"

"I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes... and leap!"

Even though I joke about starving artists, I have a lot of respect for these ubertalented actors and singers who give it their all every night. Most of them have had to serve coffee or fold lots of shirts to get to where they are, but damn if they show that it was all worth it. I love people with that kind of drive and passion.

I guess my point is, after spending 40+ hours a week in the past how many years in front of spreadsheets, Word documents, and other web analytics, I've forgotten what it's like to be inspired. To enjoy something for the sheer beauty of it, not because it leads to a click, a download or a dollar. 

I want my mind blown more often.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paycheck to Paycheck: A Shoe-Addict's Version

When I got my very first freelancing opportunity, I gave myself a little reward in the form of boots. Today, I bought another pair -- not because I got another gig, but because I've been thinking about these boots for a long time and finally decided to just freaking do it.

A part of me thinks dropping $100+ on a pair of rubber shoes is redonkulous, but another part of me thinks "Whatever, practical self. You're no fun." Good thing my paycheck from my latest freelance assignment came in just as I got home.

P.S. No, I haven't only bought two shoes since I first started doing freelance work.
P.P.S. No, I don't spend every freelance paycheck on shoes. Although, man, that's a life.

Also, just to make this a little less shallow:

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”  ― Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life Advice from Old People

The New York Times has a great piece on life advice from 80-something-year-olds. Maybe it was the arrogance/ignorance of youth, but as I'm getting older I find that there is soooo much more to learn than I imagined. So advice from people who've been around much longer is valuable. A few things that I'm taking to heart:

On work: Besides the usual do-what-makes-you-happy blah blah, there's this: "keep in mind that a promotion may be flattering and lucrative but not worth it if it takes you away from what you most enjoy doing." Life-work balance is hard to achieve, but I'm working on it.

On getting older: "Embrace it. Don’t fight it. Growing older is both an attitude and a process." and “Don’t waste your time worrying about getting old." I'm loving 26 so far.

On travel: "Travel more when you’re young rather than wait until the children are grown or you are retired." and  "'Travel is so rewarding that it should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on.' Create a bucket list now and start whittling it down." I think this blog covers the bucket list part, but this is a good reminder for me to skip the new purse/shoes/skirt and plan more adventures, invest in experiences.

On attitude: "You are not responsible for all the things that happen to you, but you are completely in control of your attitude and your reactions to them...Adopt a policy of being joyful." I'm a firm believer in mind over matter. Your attitude affects your actions, so choose a positive one. I will wake up tomorrow and think "I am awesome." OK, maybe not, but I will say "I have coffee, let's do this."

Sunday, January 8, 2012


An email from Travelzoo about an Iceland Northern Lights gave me such wanderlust that I decided that I am done with boring vacations and need to go on more adventures. So no more all-inclusive, free poolside cocktails and buffets, but more live-like-a-local, off-the-beaten-path trips.

Image via

Who is up for walking on glaciers and seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Also on my travel list:
New Orleans -- I'm still debating whether I want to experience Mardi Gras or not
Quebec, CA
Barcelona, Madrid & Andalusia, Spain (already been to parts of this, but I want to go back)

Obviously there are more places I'd like to visit, so this is an ongoing list without a deadline. Plus, I'd be broke and jobless if I tried going everywhere.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Am the Master of My Fate

Image via Etsy

Out of the night that covers me, 
Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
I am the captain of my soul. 

-- "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

Such a great poem. It never fails to inspire.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anticipating 2012

I wanted to write a year in review post -- because it seems like everyone is doing their own Top # Things in 2011 -- but I think my last post from September pretty much sums up the highlights. God, that makes my life sound boring.

So! Instead, upon realizing that I don't have anything specific to look forward to in 2012, that's what we're going to talk about.
  • To trying more new things. Do you know the feeling of accomplishing something you didn't think you could possibly be good at? It's amazing. Like good sex amazing. If you don't, I highly suggest throwing yourself out of your comfort zone as soon as possible and doing something crazy. Like a pole dancing class. Haha, only half joking here. I still have a Groupon for tennis lessons and sewing lessons to use up, but I'm going to stop ignoring this list and try crossing more things off, and not just because 30's slowly creeping up.
  • To staying hungry. I just read Steve Jobs' sister's eulogy (yes, I'm late) and it's inspiring to know someone who did what he loved, and worked at it -- hard. I want that kind of determination and passion. Though I may put in long hours, I feel like I've been walking around with an eh attitude. What's being pessimistic going to do for me? If I'm going to do something, I might as well give it 100%. (Also, I still have a little less than 4 years to make this list.) Sorry in advance for the constant emails, coworkers. 
  • To getting what you want. They say you don't get what you don't ask for. And in all of the numerous stories about why women are behind in the workplace, this is always one of the reasons. I know I'm guilty of this, including outside work, like in relationships and being kind to myself. So I'm going to be unapologetic about what I want, what I need and what I deserve.
Of course, there are some not so profound things I'm excited about: like a work ski trip, planning more travels, and possibly another hair color change. 

What's in store for your 2012?