Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Weekend catch up

I've been journalling a lot. A lot more than my usual entries, and it's such a joy for my eyes to see my pages adorned with cursive mixed in with my normal penmanship. Writing in cursive is or lazy days, and I like how even in penmanship you can capture how you're feeling. I've been using gray ink lately, having ordered a bunch from Shopee in lieu of going to the nearest National Book Store (a.k.a. stationary freak heaven, among other places), since I find it lighter on the eyes. Is anyone else particular about what pen or ink they use when writing?

It's a trial batch, but doesn't it look scrumptious?

My mom has been baking a storm! Her current feat is Cinnamon Rolls, and though I am grateful for her passionate drive to get her recipe just right, I'm wishing we had more neighbours to give away our warm treats. I've been carb loading these past few days... we can't waste them! Even if my mom is the one baking, I'm learning that with each step there is something to be learned. And with the process, due to discrepancies, results may vary and that's okay. 

Trial #1 of homemade pasta

I also tried my hand at making homemade pasta! I succeeded, but I worked the dough too much that when I went and cooked it, it was tough. But, I'm glad because it was a new experience and I was gutsy enough to try it. (Sometimes, I find myself hesitating to do a simple task because I'm afraid I won't get it right. I'm working it out, though, and unlearning this behaviour). What you see in the picture is the initial state, but I transformed it into tortellini stuffed with Lughanighe sausage, then tossed it with some garlic, olive oil, and basil as a simple sauce. It was gone before I could take a picture!

Since the quarantine in our area has been eased off a little, the check points have been lenient. My mom and I spent the whole of Saturday out and about: we went to the market to get our weekly produce and meat, and also to buy my brother his missing supplies for graduation. It's quite unfortunate the family won't be able to make it up to Bataan to witness him walk the stage. Jokingly, I said that it'll be a funny story to tell!


On the other hand, one afternoon when I was sitting in our backyard, listening to the birds, words of love and affirmation were messily spewed onto my journal. It was on the topic of body-image, and acceptance, and love, and so much kilig! Read it through here.

It was a good weekend overall. I really wish the weekends were longer, for although they are but days in the week, it's just more peaceful, and feels less daunting than what the 'work' week has in store. 

--- 

The last days of May passed me by like a breeze. Here one moment, gone the next. But it was a nice slow break, and a nice transition from May to June. How was your weekend?

Much love,
- S.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Musings on Blogging

It's been nearly 2 months since I've been consistently uploading on Simply Sher! Writing and posting used to be a one-off thing, jumping from Tumblr to Wordpress then onto Blogger/Blogspot, but I'm glad that Simply Sher was the one that stuck, and writing has finally come back to me (or me returning to it). 

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
I would like to share with you how blogging has been for me, and how it has impacted my life these past few months.

On the onset, I didn't really know what to blog about. Accustomed to journalling, I found it quite the challenge to put my thoughts out to the internet and for the world to see; there was no control now on who sees my posts. Just throw me over the bridge if it landed on the browser of someone I knew in passing; this would surely give them another side of me I was not prepared to shell out. But at the same time, I was so tired of my internal monologue that there HAD to be a creative outlet. There had to be another way. 

Forcefully, at the time, I tried some prompts to kickstart getting comfortable with typing, rather than writing, out my thoughts. To my surprise, it came easily and I was able to clearly convey my train of thought. This gave me the push to publish on here again on March 30th (see post here) after nearly a year of not being active. I was obsessed with how the prompts turned out that I was able to upload a few that I liked a lot. This then led to my more original ideas - ones that I really cared about and had put a lot of thought in.

However, there came another problem. 

As with most social platforms, there comes a time where you start to compare yourself; whether it be for ideas for improvement, or downright unhealthy. Flipping through numerous blogs I found on Bloglovin' and the trusty internet, I was in awe at how aesthetically beautiful each page was and how it truly reflected the writer. For some reason that bothered me. 

I must be honest, this was mostly because I was really dissatisfied with how my blog looked at the time - it lacked personality and didn't embody the vision I had for it. Instead, I had my focus on obsessively researching: "how to toggle with blogspot HTML and CSS", and "how to build a theme from scratch (!)". This, in turn, took a toll on my writing. Thankfully, I was recommended to buy a theme from Etsy, care of Berenica Designs, and it solved every bout I had with the generic blogger theme I was working with. 

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Now that I've gotten the hang of things, writing out my ideas has become such a healthy habit for me. It was a great turn out because I was able to freely write about what happened during the day, expound on thoughts and readings I've come across online, and most importantly, document the present. I always like to think how future me would feel and think reading back these posts. 

Blogging is something that I don't have to pressure myself to do; it's not a task that is daunting, and I really appreciate that. We don't need anymore pressure than we already feel from the outside world. It's actually one of my favourite things to prepare for, especially in the evenings, when I have a fresh new page to start the creative process. Although it's not a literary masterpiece, nor is it an academically sound peer-reviewed paper, it is written in a personal tone, and that is A-OKAY.  

Another motivation, I guess, is having a space where I can share my thoughts and people would, perhaps, relate. It's interesting to see who resonates with your ideas and stories! On the flip side, it has also brought me back to reading. I love coming across blogs that contain people's musings, allowing strangers to calmly infiltrate their 'little corner of the internet', as many like to put it. It's like a tightly knit community, albeit anonymous to each other, traversing through life and making people not feel alone. 

Lastly, I suppose, is just that - not feeling alone. I've come across writers documenting their slow pace of living, those who take a moment to appreciate the shows they're currently watching or the greenery in their garden, and also those who write about how current events and sociological observances make them feel. It's grounding to know that we're all taking a moment to let things sink in, and that we're not allowing the modern times to take over. It's good to know that there are still humans out there that value the mundaneness of living. 

With that, write on, fellow bloggers (can I call myself that now? Is there like a chant circle tradition that I need to do? lol). Let this space be insurgent to the rat race. I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful posts! 

Much love, 
- S.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Hiro: An Introduction

Do you ever wonder what runs through the mind of your pet? Surely there can be more to their comforting existence, cute countenance, and primal need for food. Having the time to spend with  my dog, it's a question that often crosses my mind, especially when I catch a glimpse of him looking out (or shall I say looking in?) in our backyard with a deep gaze.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Toast

Sher's Rating: ★★★★☆

Based off of an autobiographical novel about the life of Nigel Slater, the very protagonist of the story, Toast offers a comical take on his coming of age, especially when it came to his love for food and sexuality. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Storm's Coming

The sky, a murky colour of blue and gray spoke its silent whisper through the breeze that rustled even the thickest branch; a storm was coming, and no one was prepared for it. In this part of the world, typhoons were as common as the common cold - happens once in a while, but once it has its sure-footing, you'll be sure as hell to come down with the flu. In the same way for typhoons, once it rains, it's a downpour; uncontrollable like the gush of a waterfall, twenty-four hours of this can cause destruction!

It may stop, things may come back to how they were, but stricken areas aren't as fortunate - many suffer after experiencing such a downpour. Often not recovering for months, needing aide, and families forced into evacuation centers cramped together like canned anchovies. When will disaster risk and reduction be fully effective?

Concerned citizen,
- S.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Immigrant Diaries: Life before Migration

Hi! My name is Sherlyn and I am an immigrant.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Week in My Life
(May 11 - May 17, 2020)

Following my favourite blogs, I quickly learned that this is an age-old practice of veteran bloggers, a week in my life! Personally, I looooove watching these on Youtube... it's actually an unhealthy obsession, but it's just so calming, I can't get enough of it; I have a list of my favourite vloggers here. I'm not sure if anyone will care, but here is a glimpse of my week (in words). This is the first one, so please bare with me!

Please be warned: I am merely existing right now. Suppose I should also preface my morning routine just so it's not reiterated in ALL days, it's pretty constant.

Morning Routine
  • Wake up at around 6.30 am, turn off my air conditioning, and go back to sleep until the residual coldness ebbs away.
  • Wake up a second time at around 8 am. Look at my ceiling, and greet the universe a silent good morning. 
  • Open my windows, puff out my pillows, and make my bed. At this time I tidy up a bit - this primes me that the day is a blank canvas. I am the painter, and it's time for a new creation; albeit the same picture. 
  • Head to the washroom. Wash my face. Brush my teeth. Give myself a smile. :)
  • Go downstairs to put on my coffee. Instead of the Nescafe Gold Instant Coffee (my fav!), I've been using a Moka Pot with coffee grounds from the palengke. The concoction is mixed with 1/2 tsp sugar, and Soy Milk. Gives a stronger punch, and wakes you right up!
  • Bring my dog out for a quick walk. 
  • Now the day can start.
Monday - May 11, 2020
  • Summary: Today was mostly spent outside in our back porch. I edited a blog post (Creative Type), and read my current book (Hope Leslie). Listened to some old Italian ballads; for some reason I find it so calming and fitting for the afternoon merienda vibes.
  • I woke up early but took the day slow, something that has been a practice for a couple days. 
  • Did Chloe Ting's Hourglass workout in the back porch, instead of my bedroom, with my dog silently judging and nudging me to play. I like this more because I can actually feel the breeze rather than rely on my trusty electric fan. It was calming too; listening to the birds, and the chickens. 
  • Hopped on a quick call with my dear friend @helloannajo
  • Cooked some egg for post-workout meal and lunch. 
  • Joined Warde! Rachel Nguyen's slack group.
  • Gave myself a 2-inch haircut! It was getting too hot, and I was getting sick of hair sticking everywhere! I want to go shorter, and transform this mane into a LOB (long bob), but I shall leave that with the hair stylists.
  • Greeted my friend a Happy Birthday! Food for thought: there are so many May babies.
  • Snacked on some Pan de Coco, and Watermelon! Watermelon has been staple in our household (1) as a dessert, and (2) a cooling snack.
Tuesday - May 12, 2020
  • Summary: What a busy day today! The dogs needed a groom so my siblings and I took them to the nearby groomer. Fortunately they were open for business! Cooked a bunch today, and had barely time to sit down. It was a nice change of pace.
  • Woke up early to bring my mom to work as I needed the car today to run some errands
  • Journaled for a bit on what I read on The Pattern (my pattern handle is @shrlma)
  • Brought the dogs to the groomers
  • When I got home, did a new work out! This was a Cardio Starter by Body Project, and some meditation with Yoga with Adrienne.
  • Cooked Eggs and Sausage for Brunch.
  • I was bored so I made crêpe; a simple recipe we found online. 
  • Tidied the kitchen and the area outside 
  • Read Hope Leslie
  • Picked up the dogs from the groomers (they were so cute! they got a summer cut), and bought my siblings and dad Zagu - it was so refreshing because today was a whopping 42°C.
  • Lounged for a bit then I had to pick up a gas tank for our oven, then picked up my mom from work.
The usual Breakfast/Lunch/Brunch situation. Dining alfresco in our backyard.
Wednesday - May 13, 2020
  • Summary: Today was pretty chill. I cooked crêpes twice today! It was such a winner. Got to bond with my siblings as well since they volunteered their time. I've been trying to engage them in daily housework so they move instead of wasting their day away on their gadgets. Second mom? Yes.
  • Today's workout / Today's yoga practise.
  • Made two batches of crêpes because my siblings liked it so much! Recipe can be found here.
  • Had coffee and journaled while watching Katherine Karas' recent weekly quarantine vlog
  • Walked the dogs with my brother.
  • The sky was SO blue, and the clouds had a tinge of pink to them.
  • Stayed in the backyard, as per usual and stayed in my workout clothes for most part of the day.
  • Got lost in Youtube watching fountain pen videos! I'm looking to purchase another one to add to my collection - I only have one and it's the Sheaffer VFM, a gift from my youngest brother.
  • Hopped on a call with my dear friends Anna and Ryan to end the evening.
Thursday - May 14, 2020
  • Summary: Something weird was looming. I felt it as soon as I woke up; having woken up little later than usual (9 am), and for some reason was very lethargic mid-day. This was when the weird feeling heightened - the clouds were gloomy, suddenly the breeze quickened, and BAM! It rained. I also took a nap. 
  • Today's workout / Today's yoga practise
  • Made crêpes again due to popular demand! By the time this quarantine is over, I will have mastered the art of crêpe making. 
  • I situated myself outside, brought out my notebooks and book and journaled, drew FOR THE FIRST TIME in a long time, and laid there. 
  • I made a second cup of coffee but didn't get around to drinking it because I suddenly wanted to nap. 
  • Hopped on a call about business opportunities which turned out to be some direct marketing scheme. IMO, I don't trust these. Just not for me, although there are people who succeed in it. 
  • Ate dinner with the fam. Tonight's dinner was turbo'd chicken (prepared w. love by my dad). 
  • Walked the dogs with my brother, noticing the sudden drop in temperature. 
  • Wrote a blog post about my job hunting experience.
Oh crêpe this is so good!
Friday - May 15, 2020
  • Summary: Cozy. Breezy. Cloudy. Today's weather is just perfect! Had an interview with one of my applications. I am very thankful the recruiter decided to call me; not getting excited though; remember just focus on the now. 
  • No workout today! Just going to allow myself to sit and appreciate the weather. 
  • Had an interview scheduled for one of my applications! So thankful the recruiter reached out.
  • I was on a high from the interview and didn't want to spiral into overthinking so I distracted myself by reading articles by the Book of Life - On asking people what they 'do' & For those who (privately) aspire to become more reclusive.
  • Played with my dog, and watched youtube videos about long lost twins and donor fathers.
  • Caught up with a few friends through chat.
Saturday - May 16, 2020
  • Summary: Contemplated if I wanted to move today. I woke up and put on Jazz music which put the day in the right mood. Went to the shops to buy a kitchen lighter; mom was making cinnamon rolls and needed it for the oven. Overall nice chill day. It rained again!
  • With much tug and pull, my body was not happy with my mind's 'sit around the whole day' decision. So this was Today's workout.
  • Waited for an hour to line up for the grocery only to find that there were no kitchen lighters available (grr!). Checked out another shop that, thankfully, had no line! Mission accomplished. 
  • Bought Zagu for the siblings. 
  • Didn't help my mom much with the cinnamon rolls, but I did help in eating! Homemade is the best - except for maybe when it's from Solly's.
  • Signed up for a Social Psychology class and The Art and Science of Relationships on Coursera.
  • Had a headache so I napped it out... the whole afternoon. Then I decided to read my book and retire to bed early.


Sunday - May 17, 2020 (Present)
  • Summary: Mom's cooking up a storm! She made another batch of cinnamon rolls. My task today is to make lunch, and go to the palengke (wet market) to buy my coffee grounds and eggs.
  • Listening to my body, here is Today's workout - though I ease into it. 
  • It's quite sunny today, but really hoping it rains again in the afternoon. It was such a nice feeling to read while it was gloomy and the rain was pitter-pattering, coupled with Rainy Jazz music *chef's kiss*.
  • Lunch was entrusted to me. Today's menu: steak and vegetables. I am the dedicated chef when it comes to cooking steak in this family.
  • Going to do my Coursera courses and readings.
  • Jump into a call with Anna to discuss plans~. 
---

Wow! That's the end of the week. It feels like a journey, like Monday was ages ago, so near yet so far. Doing this allowed me to reflect on my day and take it all in. I felt accomplished updating the list, knowing that I did what I can to stay productive and active. This will be fun to look back to, especially when things 'go back to normal'.

Well, this is a glimpse to my everyday life! I hope you enjoyed reading through it, and I'm so sorry if it's a long one. This was so much fun and I definitely see posts like this in the foreseeable future. 

I hope you had a lovely weekend! What was something fun you did? 

- S.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Job Hunting Amid the Pandemic

There has been an underlying theme for the past posts that I've not really been too vocal about; it's more of an after-thought, something that I would rather not dwell on... and that is my current state of unemployment. I guess talking about it made me feel negative feelings, and with everything that's going on, it's really not something that I wanted to add to the list of THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT DURING THE PANDEMIC. But now that I had some time to think about it, I need to release this energy in some way to propel me to get something done about it. Wallow no more. It's game time. 

Prior to the start of quarantine, even before I had resigned from my previous job, I had a few active applications to somewhat prepare me for the process of finding a new role. The term job hunting sounds so primitive, and in a sense, it somewhat is - I had decided to leave the tribe that I have been in for nearly 2 years, and off to the wildnerness, the unknown, I go to find a new tribe to join. A new tribe to spend majority of my day with, new processes and goals to attain, and hopefully a new and different environment that makes me feel like I'm learning, and more importantly a place where I feel valued, respected, and empowered. 

Every time I would come across job descriptions on LinkedIn, Jobstreet, and Facebook (there are groups where recruiters would post) I always try to envision myself doing the job they have described. Most often than not, I don't send in my application because I felt that I wasn't good enough - I was left with so many gaps in my previous role that it left me with no confidence in myself. There were thoughts in my mind that would send me into a spiral,"Are you analytical enough?" ,"Are you really driven to hit your quotas?", "Man, you don't know anything about excel, how are you supposed to send in 'detailed reports and figures' to that manager?". For a time, I hit my lowest point, and was frustrated with myself. 

Majority of the companies I'm eye-ing are in the start-up field. I could go corporate, I'm not opposed to it, but in my opinion, I feel like I thrive in a more laid-back, get-shit-done environment. Having worked in a start-up servicing start-up companies, I know what sort of people they are looking for; not only do you have to be a skillfully fit, you also have to fit in. Over the years, companies are favouring people who are culturally fit - having personality, having a hobby aside from work, being  open-minded and flexible, having the willingness to push your limits. For the time that I was working in that start-up, I heavily identified with this; heck, I embodied it! People relied on me to find people like me to hire in their companies. But now that I'm on the other side of the fence, I'm not sure if I am that person anymore. 

Back to the topic at hand before I went on a tangent there. I had (still have) a lot of self-doubt since I was being overly critical with myself and my capabilities. I failed to look at my accomplishments  and go from there. After some pondering though, I have come to know my strengths and weaknesses: 
Doing this little activity allowed me to puts things into perspective, and gives me an idea on what I need to work on. I notice I've highlighted more interpersonal characteristics, but I should mention that I hope to learn to be more analytical (numbers-wise). 

Looking internally empowers me to plan out and see the positive in the next steps of job hunting. As they say you have to enjoy the process, which applies in all aspects of life. Just because I apply does not necessarily mean that I'm going to get in. Applying is the first step, and the rest will follow. At least I have piece-of-mind that I have put myself out there. For now, that is how my take on job hunting changed. I trust unto the universe and God to guide me to an opportunity that is meant for me. For now that is all I can do. Trust.

---

Thank you for allowing me a space to vent out the things I'm going through right now. To those who have experienced being laid off, furloughed, or like myself, in the process of finding a new job, let us be here for each other. This too shall pass.

Much love,
- S.

Monday, May 11, 2020

My Creative Type: The Dreamer

With the thirst of knowing my person inside and out, I sometimes find myself lurking the internet for personality tests to categorize my 'type'. Though there are a plethora of personalities to go around, many to share, knowing your 'type' allows for a more personal understanding. I think, as we traverse through life, we do this more-so to not be so hard on ourselves since we get to know how we are generally wired; however, this should not replace introspection!


Here is where the personality test by Adobe, Creative Types, come in. A few months back, this actually surfaced in my Facebook feed. I was taken by the illustration and all the more appreciated the graphics when I took the test. It asked simple, quirky questions and provided one word answers and phrases. You don't have to think too much, which is good since it allows for a more spontaneous experience. Afterwards you get to know your type and they provide an info chart on the traits of that type. Whether it is accurate or not, take it with a grain of salt.

It's a fun little test, give it a whirl!
---


With my answers, I was determined as The Dreamer. It is described as someone who sees the world as a place of beauty and magic. Further descriptions are:
  • Where others see facts and figures, you see symbols, metaphors, and hidden meaning.
  • Deeply emotional and intuitive, with a vivid imagination - the quintessential idealist and romantic. 
  • Feels most at home in the inner world, and happy to roam mental landscape of thoughts, emotions, and fantasies.
  • Naturally drawn to express your inner world through literary pursuits, music, and the visual arts.
  • Greatest gift includes depth of sensitivity and empathy.
  • Greatest challenge is learning to balance dreaming with disciplined action.
At this point in time, I do identify with the descriptors they have provided. I day dream often and my one of my favourite hobbies (that has become second nature) is contemplation. To stay sane, I require some form of creative outlet, and have been a dilettante in the arts. It's true, I am sensitive but only to my environment, which I suppose comprise of people as well; easily, I can feel when the atmosphere is not balanced, and often would prefer to book it out the door just to feel okay. 

Though it's great that I am in touch with my emotions and feelings, in the real world it is deemed being the weaker type. But people like us can be great leaders as well! Since we are empaths, we are more attuned to the pulse of the people around us. I embrace this part of me since I know I can provide a healing energy to the people around me, in case they need someone to confide in. It's an amazing gift that I wouldn't trade in the world!

With that, I end with a quote found in the description. One that I can relate to:
[Let your mind roam free, DREAMER, but don't forget to return to the here and now. ]
What is your Creative type?

Much love,
- S.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

To Kill A Mockingbird

Reading has been a hobby I have loved for the longest time, and has been easy enough to pick back up during this quarantine season. I was doing my usual rounds of reading blogs, and finding new blogs to follow when I stumbled upon Natalie Harney's Blog, Work Over Easy. Easily, I fell in love with her style of writing, the topics that she wrote about and her illustrations! I came across her very first Book Club post featuring the book Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrbaland was so inspired by how she explained and portrayed the book as she was reading it. I have not joined a book club before, so I thought I'd jump on the wagon and contribute to the community by writing my own. Thank you to Natalie for sharing your thoughts and springing this idea! 

Photo by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

To Kill A Mockingbird

The first book I want to feature is a classic - one that I was not able to put down, and finished in 3 days, To Kill a Mockingbird! I actually have been trying to read this book years before but did not have the patience. It was not the genre I was used to, but with time, I suppose, it became easier to go through each line. The book was written in the early 1960's by author Harper Lee. It was written in the point of view of young Jean Louise "Scout" Finch where she narrates stories from her childhood with her brother Jeremiah Atticus "Jem" Finch, and childhood friend Charles Baker "Dill" Harris over a number of years. The overall tone of this book is  quite innocent, with a hint of awakening in the eyes of youth to the racism and prejudice of coloured folks during their time. 

What I enjoyed most about this book was how it painted racism and prejudice in the eyes of young people. It also showed how as kids we easily hear things from adults when they think we're not listening, or don't have the capacity to understand. Fortunately for Scout and Jem, their father, Atticus Finch, was the town's legal counsel so they were quite exposed with how people talked and how the law worked. I'd like to think Atticus used these as bedtime stories!

Atticus is quite the character as well! I enjoyed reading his dialogues; like how he takes everything with stride and how he somehow makes everything alright with saying "It is not time to worry yet." Likewise, his unconventional way of bringing up Scout and Jem in a predominantly white neighbourhood. His kids have the same respect for coloured folks as they would their uptown relatives. Since Scout and Jem are motherless, they were entrusted to Calpurnia, their household help. Thanks to her, they don't get into a lot more trouble than what they cause.

It was enlightening to learn about how neighborhood folk during that time interacted with each other. They have come a long way with how they treat their coloured neighbours, but there are still remnants from the 1960s worldview to modern time. I can still parallelize how the minorities get treated in areas where it is predominantly Caucasian.

If you are into history and first-person narratives, you will surely enjoy this book! It is a staple in American classics, and I can definitely see why it has remained so.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Much love,
- S
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