As an effort to document turning 34, I looked for 34 things that figured in greatly in my life the past year. I try to choose by how they have made an impact on my life, how I loved them and how I would want to still remember them years from now. (I also realize if I start doing this a tradition I’d need to think of more things. I hope my things will be life-enriching).
So in no particular order…here we go.
I bought the Fitbit One as a gift for myself last year and it has been a gamechanger on how I try and make an effort to move and be healthy. I also attribute my 10-lb weight loss in 8 months to it. I haven’t taken it off since February 24 up until this last month. I plan to go back to it and hit some serious mileage with it soon. If you are on Fitbit, add me up – comment below so I can send you my e-mail address.
2. Project Life App.
Another gamechanger. I never thought I could be productive with my iPhone. This app has let me complete my 2014 Christmas album on time (like before 2015 started), made most of my friends scrapbookers (something I’ve been egging them to do for the longest time) and – wait for it – is allowing me to finish my daughter’s first year album. (She is turning 9 this year, by the way). Your $0.99 investment is worth every cent – and a whole lot more.
3. Blog Revamp
Committing to blog again figured in greatly with my one little word for the year. You might say having a blog is easy but really, maintaining it is hard. I am due to fine tune some blog details on the blog soon – newsletter sign-ups, buttons, more links – but over all, I am still very much in love with my work (with lots of help from friends).
4. One Little Word.
I can write a series on how having BRAVE as my word for 2014 changed me. Really. I strongly recommend you have a word to guide you for your year. It can be a conscious choice, a silent whisper, a nagging question. Choose a word. Make it yours. You won’t regret it.
The past year I discovered the beauty and hidden wealth of information from podcasts. It is like you are attending school on a radio – amping up educational value and retention by 100%. It started when one of my favorite bloggers started her podcast and then it morphed into listening to other great podcasters. Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones do you recommend?
6. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
Or maybe I should just say Brene Brown. (Though I specifically listed things and not people) Ah, if I can plaster all the things she has written in her book in my walls so I can keep reading it from time to time. I have highlighted more than what it is left un-highlighted. I love this book so much that I’ve been following up every two weeks with FullyBooked if they will be able to restock – and have lost patience with them and have requested a friend to order from Amazon. All those efforts for a book. Yes. I love it THAT much. Start with this video – and gobble her up.
7. Me Before You.
This book haunts me up to now. It has been elevated to Judith Mc Naught level status in my shelf (and if you know me, you know how much I love Judith McNaught).
8. Running Man.
This Korean variety program isn’t only a TV series for myself – it grew into my daughter’s absolute favorite, earning a spot in her scrapbook album (it’s the second page she made, imagine that!) and further cemented me and my friends’ goal to go to Korea soon. We even keep a GoogleDoc spreadsheet for us to keep tabs on episodes we’ve watched and leave feedback about it. Yep, we are F.A.N.S.
9. Shondaland Shows.
Grey’s Anatomy will always be my true love but Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder come very close to being a full-blown addiction. (Wait, I’m already addicted) You can find me tweeting about these every Friday or Saturday, as soon as Shondaland Thursdays are over in the US timezone.
As part of my SH*T-I’m-not-getting-younger realization when sickness became real in our family (both my parents battled with cancer within 6 months of each other), I have learned that in order for me live longer (and healthier for my kids), I need really apply what I know. I buy chia seeds and spirulina from The SuperFood Grocer. My kids love chia in oatmeal and champorado and my husband even drinks my apple-carrot juice concoction with spirulina.
11. Blog Posts.
I haven’t written much content since I revamped the blog but I can say what I’ve put out so far I’m very happy with. I’m most proud of this and this. Writing about my Dad is still hard, even for someone like me who loves to write. It was as painful as it was therapeutic. Maybe someday. I need to dig in with a crowbar.
12. My Own E-book.
It’s something very scientific and not exactly something I would normally write about but it’s under my name (and on Amazon to boot!).
I went to FOUR workshops the past year. And it has opened me up to a whole lot of new friends, interests and work. It all ties up to me being brave enough to go to some event completely on my own, not knowing anyone beforehand. Sometimes, you really just need to take a leap of faith.
16. Art Materials.
17. Art Friends.
After doing my workshop with Alessa Lanot and finally caving into my craving to know more about lettering, a friend taught a group of us for free during a free day. And I have been hooked ever since. One of my projects is to practice lettering everyday and once I have enough I will definitely put it on my Projects page. For now, Instagram will do.
18. Argan Oil.
One of my jobs is to lead operations on a beauty brand that sells products on Amazon. One of their products is argan oil and I have tried it and it works wonders. It really is golden oil – works on your skin, your hair, your nails – great for my daughter’s eczema too.
19. Moleskine planner.
I rely heavily towards my organization into paper planners. For years I’ve been trying to look for THE one, but I always come back to my trusted Moleskine. I write all over it, in different colors. To-do lists, speak to myself quotes, memory timestamps, bills payment reminders, etc etc. You will get to know me when you read my Moleskine. It’s like my working personal virtual assistant. I’m holding out for Elise’s Get to Work book coming out later this year. Maybe that will be the one.
20. Korean Food.
Very much like my love for Running Man, my family has developed the taste for Korean anything which is actually good since we eat a lot of veggies now with spicy side dishes.
21. Personalized shirts.
My husband started a small business called MB Project and it has paved the way for us to have family shirts made for my monthly family project and even create shirts I like (like my yearly of-age shirt, my Yoogal shirt and many more). It’s a very promising business for my husband and I have so many ideas to expand the line as we go along.
22. Taylor Swift’s 1989 album.
You’ve got that James Dean daydream look in your eye. ‘Nuff said.
23. Beyonce’s Beyonce album.
If I had musical writing abilities, this would be the song I’d write for my kids, Blue.
Cause when you open your eyes, I feel alive
My heart beats so damn quick when you say my name
When I’m holding you tight, I’m so alive.
24. My view on sunsets and if I had free time to actually bask in it in the mornings, sunrises.
I will say it again. I will never trade our air, our sunsets views and the no-hassle driving where we live over the city.
25. My rosary.
My rosary is small, it hasn’t been used as often as I would have liked but whenever I get around to using it, miracles happen. Prayers get heard. Decisions can be made going by what my heart whispers. I remember asking my Dad this, “How do I know it’s the heart speaking to me and not my mind? How do I know if it is Him I dream about and not just what I want to think?” He told me, just like relationships, you need to be close to your partner to know what he thinks and feels. “Agatha, you just need to stay under the grace. The close you are to Him, the louder you hear His voice.”
26. Now and Then Photos
So sue me, I have growing kids. I take too many photos. But admit it, you absolutely want to do something like this.
I went back to drinking coffee again this year. It has made the difference in me being a productive beast or a lazy ass during my golden hour, which is during mornings, as soon as Martha goes to school.
28. my iPhone and its apps
29. PicTapGo and
I don’t play on my phone but I did get hooked with 2048 very much like my brief stint with Candy Crush (I played it like crazy during those months when Dad was in and out of hospital. I was awake but can’t work or write, so I just played Candy Crush. I have long since deleted it from my phone, right after Dad passed away. Call it an emotional memory trigger.)
31. My one picture of Dad and I when I was a toddler.
I keep it in my desk, look at it when I’m down, when I’m happy, when I’m looking for inspiration or when I’m looking for answers. What would Dad do? What would Dad tell me if he was here? Would this make Dad proud? I tell you, this practice has helped me become such a changed person. Really. Dad continues to inspire me to be better, to be good. Long after he is gone.
32. Project Life and
33. being on the Project Life Team.
When I first read an e-mail from Becky Higgins entitled “happy mail”, I thought that it was just a newsletter, announcing a Christmas sale or something. It was already a week into December and the call ended on October 31st – I knew my chances were pretty null. So when I read it, the tears fell down people. Yep, literally. It was like I’ve won an award or something! I’ve tried sending my application once, back in 2012 (when I started doing Project Life). It was a long shot but hey, it was worth a try, right? 2013 was a bit too hard for my personal life so I didn’t even think of expanding my hobby up until the later half of 2014, when I wanted to explore and embrace being brave.
34. The Man in the Arena.
Holding this close to my heart.
Nothing ever comes if one doesn’t dare greatly.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..
I can’t believe it’s so hard to actually list down 34 things. Proof that I’m all about experiences and not stuff to show, I guess.
Let’s see if I can round up 34 lessons I’ve learned in a next post.