Update On My Twelve Commandments

Photo from www.ladyokieblog.com
I wrote this blog post around two years ago when I started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Reviewing it now gives me a sense of accomplishment to see how far I have come from the time I embarked on my happiness quest. 
My Twelve Commandments 
1. Do it now. I have become more diligent in doing the things I need to do without delay. I have also employed the one-minute rule which I discussed in my previous blog post.
2. Learn to shut up. Still struggling with this part. There are moments when I can’t keep my mouth shut especially at the verge of my emotions but your secrets, they are safe with me. 
3. Stop overreacting. I have. And I saved myself from a lot of trouble.
4. Love. No need for explanation, I suppose.
5. Spend time with people. Much improvement in this. I try to always talk to my parents and accommodate friends as much as possible. It is a warm fuzzy feeling that I have forgotten once in my life.
6. Stop worrying. I have been struggling with this as well. But this year, I am employing a new mantra: Tranquilo. It means, “Take it easy.” Let’s see how it goes 🙂
7. Read. And write. And sing. And dance. Been doing a lot of this lately, thanks to my WAHW lifestyle.
8. Pray and find inner peace. Meditate. Go to Church. I still do and it has been immensely helpful in my outlook towards things.
9. Sharpen the Saw. Because of what I do now, it almost seems like I am sharpening my saw every day because I love what I do (which is writing and reading). I still get to have my occasional perks like a massage and of course, shopping for books! Yay!
10. Choose your battles. I have and that’s why I am where I am now.
11. Learn like a sponge. I have learned a lot in the past few months that I am out of my corporate life. I realized that learning is everywhere and cannot be contained in your office space. 
12. Be Balot. I wrote this in 2012 and the same applies: “This I got from my favorite poetry, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. No one can be me. And I don’t even have to worry if you like me or not. I am who I am. Take it or leave it.”

Day 91: Because Amici is Love

Amici is a restaurant close to my heart. We used to traverse the roads of Pasong Tamo from our old office to the canteen of Don Bosco to experience their awesome pizza, pasta and of course, the gelato.

Even now, when we want comfort food, we go to Amici at the Venice Piazza. It seems like most of the critical conversations that I have with my friends from work happen in Amici. It has become our stress-busting place which offers really good Italian food. The restaurant has two floors, an ambiance which is really homey (imagine picture frames of old photos hanging on its walls) and ample seating area.

I already have my staple here. Parmigiano Pizza (PHP248) al Pesto which is parmesan-coated pizza crust served with a side of pesto sauce. Equally good is their spinach artichoke. Same coated pizza crust with spinach artichoke dip. This can be good for 2-3 persons.

This one is my ultimate favorite — Chorizo E Spinaci (PHP432). It is gourmet Spanish chorizo and spinach in white sauce. Good for 3-4.

For their pasta, I always order the Linguine Al Prosciutto E Tartufo (not in photo, PHP298) which is a flavorful combination of prosciutto (as the name suggests), truffle oil, porcini and shiitake mushrooms. Good for 2-3. 

Here is a photo of their Linguine Al Salmone Cremoso (PHP318) which is basically linguine pasta in a creamy mix of salmon, white sauce and lemon. 

To know more of Amici’s menu, click here.

The Amici Story (from their website)

In June of 1994, Fr Gianluigi Colombo, a Salesian Italian priest in charge of overseeing the operations of the Don Bosco Printing Press, was given permission by Don Bosco management to set up a “canteen” to support its employees. Fr Colombo made the request to address the concern of its employees not having access to good food during lunch break.

 The employees not only got good food to satisfy their hunger but authentic, freshly-made Italian dishes in a “turo-turo” setting. The friendly, familiar atmosphere made the foreign dishes that were new to their palette, less intimidating and phenomenal beyond anything they had ever tasted before.

Starting with Italian coffee and gelato, the canteen eventually introduced wood-fire oven baked pizzas and homemade pasta. Fr Colombo’s kitchen eventually became a taste of heaven where tired and weary “souls” found comfort.

By June 2001, Amici di Don Bosco (Friends of Don Bosco) was legally established as a business entity to also serve the needs of students studying in Don Bosco. The “turo-turo” was now known to many as a self-service canteen and eventually opened its doors to a broader market. However, it wasn’t the requirements of the printing press nor of the students of Don Bosco alone that kept Amici di Don Bosco’s stove burning.
News of great Italian cuisine prepared and served by priests and “ordinary people” inside a canteen spread like wildfire, attracting patrons from all over Metro Manila. From humble beginnings, the printing press cafe became known for authentic Italian pizza, pasta, and gelato.

Initially believing that it was the good Italian food that drew in the crowds, the employees eventually realized that they offered something much more. Customers experienced a certain warmth and charm whenever they came; where the staff treated each and every customer with special attention. People from all walks of life: expatriates and celebrities, white and blue-collar workers, housewives and socialites, flocked to Makati to experience Amici di Don Bosco. Every day, from 11am to 2pm, this inconveniently located “hole-in-the-wall” along Pasay Road would be packed with lines of patrons waiting to be seated!

Perhaps the novelty of the paradoxical situation became an attraction; Italian cuisine in a canteen setting, warm and excellent service by people who had no formal training: former carpenters, printing press laborers, and priests. Everyone was willing to share tables, eat using mismatched utensils, appreciate the same good food, and enjoy the same ambience of chaos brought about by good friends and family at the table!

This is the “magic” of Amici di Don Bosco!

Buon appetito!

Corporate Junkie

A Letter To All Young Girls, Wild and Free

And since it is Monday, I would like to reminisce what my Mondays were like, some years back. I always considered Mondays toxic. A majority of us would. So I applied this saying together with my other friends:  work hard, party harder. So we had wine or alcohol nights every Monday. Never mind that we have to report to the office the next day. It didn’t matter. Mondays were stressful. We have worked hard. We have earned the badge to party.

Photo from www.colorfully.eu.

Work hard, party harder, they said. It would be fun, they said.

That motto did not apply only on Mondays. I lived it by heart. Every single day. Yes, that is exactly what I did.

I worked hard.

Earlier in my professional life, I worked around twelve hours a day at the minimum and go to the office even on weekends. That was voluntarily — that was how much I loved my job. Sometimes, I skipped lunch. Then I go home tired and what I thought was the beauty of living on my own is now backfiring.

Living on your own without your parents spelled awesome (in hindsight, not that much fun anymore). You can sleep whenever you want to. Go home anytime you want to. You can eat whatever you want and in my case, since I was too tired to even move a muscle, my dinner would consist of fast food takeouts, pancit canton, inasal or whatever express food that was convenient to prepare. On weekends that I was free, I slept the whole day. That was my body conking out and me giving in to it.

It was only imperative to give myself a pat on the back — to reward myself for all my hard work.

So, I partied even harder. I was proud that I can handle my alcohol. I know for a fact that my ex-boyfriend (now husband) was also proud of that, too. Vices are sooo fun when you are young.

It never dawned on me that it would jeopardize anything.

I was young. Besides, during that time, no one really told me that this could happen. I only knew about these crazy immune disorders now. And to add to that, I had friends who smoked all their life, quit when they were pregnant and went back to smoking immediately after birth. No complications. I have friends who drove their car amidst this crazy Manila traffic up to their ninth month. I had friends who worked until their water broke. I had friends who were allowed a cup of coffee a day throughout their whole pregnancy. So this really, was never a concern. Everybody seems to get pregnant easy. You just have to want it, and when you are ready, boom! – you will just bloat like a balloon.

And then, I got smacked into this whole thing.

Yeah, it is true. Regrets really come last.

I took care of my career, somehow assisted my family. Took care of everything except my body. When I hear about healthy lifestyle before, I scoffed. I am not unhealthy!!! There are people worse than me – people who do drugs or what-not. Hell, I don’t even get sick!

So, in retrospect, how was I extremely unhealthy?

  • Vices
  • Not enough sleep because I claimed that I was insomniac
  • Coffee
  • Fried food
  • Very little veggies and fruits
  • Very little water
  • A red carnivore (I love lamb, steaks, everything red meat)
  • Coke everyday (the softdrink!)

Yeah, I may not have consumed alcohol every day but my eating habit was really bad. My husband always told me that this will be the source of my sickness. But I always thought that if I would die, better eat everything that is good.

But I didn’t die. And now, I want a baby. And my past habits are haunting me. Oh yes, perdition indeed.

So what steps am I undertaking? Well —

  • Stop all the vices. No alcohol. Not even a puff of cigarette. No nothing. Cold turkey. So this is how it feels. Not that bad actually. Given the right motivation. I thought I could never quit.
  • Lessen consumption of red meat. The husband prepares my nutrition plan. For today, he prepared chicken, salad and kimchi. Oh, this is going to be fun!
  • No more coffee and Coke. This is my greatest struggle. I replaced water with coffee and Coke. Now I have to go back to water (and juices, and herbal teas). Good luck to me! From all these, coffee withdrawal is the thing that funks me up. I am so dependent on coffee. Now, I am having tension headaches. Hopefully, this will come to pass. I have been replacing coffee with tea and fruit juices.
  • Sleep. This was easy. I did not bring work home anymore. They say that you have to prep your mind for rest. The more that you do something before bedtime, the more you drive Mr. Sleep away.

So, I urge you, those who can relate and who live vicariously through these experiences, to just think a little about your future. I am not a hypocrite. I won’t tell you to stop. But if you see a baby in the years to come, then you know what to do.

Sometimes, you think you would never want a kid but all those will change when you would finally get married. When you would finally yearn for a baby. When you would want to complete your family.

In all honesty, I did not. Babies were actually the last thing on my mind. But trust me, you will want to. Unless you plan to be single for the rest of your life and you are 100% sure that you will be a eunuch, you will want to create a family – and a precious little one is part of that.

An overactive immune system caused by the toxins and acute stress that it has to constantly battle is sooo expensive to treat. Trust me, I am having that problem now so I know. The reason may not be totally  because of this (research has no conclusive results yet on why people develop autoimmunity and other immune disorders), but I believe that it is part and parcel of everything that I am undergoing (not to mention my over-compatibility with my husband’s leukocytes)!

I think that the new motto for young ambitious girls shouldn’t be work hard, party harder. It should be work hard, rest harder (a vacation, a walk in the beach, a rejuvenating massage to give you a sense of relaxation).   Doesn’t seem that exciting, but boy, you would thank yourself when the time comes.

Writer’s Note: I know that this is supposed to be a post about happiness or hope as this is my 365 days of happy. However, I just want to do this writeup because as I mentioned, everything about repro-immuno disorder is becoming my advocacy. I still consider this part of my project because in my own little way, I hope I am paying kindness forward (to all young girls out there) especially because I have received many random acts of kindness over the past months that we have discovered about our condition.

Our First LIT Procedure

“A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope.” ―Geraldine Solon

People undergo many trials in life. In my case, I have considered myself so blessed. Most of the things came easy, God has been good. 

It came as an avalanche when I was diagnosed with a repro-immuno disorder. Having a problem creating a happy family never occured in my wildest dreams. I cried, tried to be happy, cried again, tried to be positive. Most of the time, my hope dangled on a string.

But during those times when I lose hope, I am pulled back, by family, by friends, by the husband… by Jesus.

After the shock of  knowing this ultimately weird condition of being “too compatible” with my husband, we finally decided to do the treatments. 

I already started on it last Friday. In the morning, they took 14 vials of blood from the husband and at around 2:30PM, injected the processed blood, which now only contains his white blood cells. 

I took this photo of my left arm before the procedure — 

My doctor started me on the first LIT (lymphocyte immunotherapy). She told me to hold the husband’s hand for support. I could have not gone through without it. I don’t know where to start describing the pain. It was excruciating. Tolerable but extremely excruciating. 

Doctor gave me six shots. Each shot was more painful than the previous one. To explain it haphazardly, it felt like blade slicing through the skin. Thinking about going through it for four times is hell. Thinking that I am doing it for my future baby eases it all.

I was required not to wash my arm for 48 hours. It looked like this when we went home —

Despite the pain, I am happy. I am happy that we are still able to find ways on how to couple our silent prayers with scientific treatment. I am happy that my immunologist is a God-centered woman who keeps on reminding us to pray. There have been times when my faith becomes so distant from me. It is by God’s grace and your prayers that I will be able to forge my faith stronger and hope for the best — the life that He has in store for me and my family.

Bacolod Foodtrip Day 4: Calea

I know, I know. Calea is not someplace new but I just have to include it (for the benefit of those who have not been to Bacolod and have never tasted this slice of heaven yet) because every trip to Bacolod deserves a stopover in Calea. 
Calea used to be a small pastry and coffee shop beside L’ Sea. Because of its popularity, it branched out initially in Robinson’s Bacolod (not sure if it is still there) and now, in its own haven at Balay Quince fronting L’ Fisher Hotel. 

There has never been a trip home that I missed a coffee session in Calea. Likewise, I have never experienced a session in Calea when the place was empty or there were no customers. It is just buzzing with people, every single time! 
They have an awesome selection of really good cakes. The most famous ones are the blueberry cheesecake and the chocolate cake.

And speaking of blueberry cheesecake (PHP85), I just had to…

… together with my second cup of coffee for the day (PHP65)– 
(Side note: I liked the variety of coffee in 365 Modern Cafe more. I also liked how the coffee was presented in Museum Cafe.)

Husband ordered a Mocha Frost (PHP95) and a Double Pastrami Sandwich (PHP150) —

This is a larrrgee, filling, tasty sandwich! It could use more meat though. (so the husband says).

All in all, Calea ALWAYS never disappoints. So whenever you set foot, don’t forget to get that sugar fix from the best cake shop in the city. 

Happy eating!

Corporate Junkie

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