Monday Musings: And Summer is (almost) here

I woke up to a grey morning which I had expected thanks to the weather forecast from the previous evening.  I’m not complaining, but I could’ve used a bit more sunshine to start the week off.  But I’m never one to dwell on the negative.  I have always tried to see the positive — telling myself that the glass is half full — and what better way to reinforce it than to try and get the posts rolling on this side of the web.  I thought I’d keep it short and sweet and this being a Monday, here you go with the latest and greatest Monday Musings from Pinay New Yorker.

Monday Musings are actually supposed to be a snapshot of the things that are brewing in my head.  It’s a list of disconnected thoughts that will hopefully spur an actual full length post sometime during the week.  I’ve tried to keep it a regular to do here but haven’t been quite successful, but when I do write a post on the topic, it serves as a start of the week warm up that gets me to the next post.

Summer is (almost) here.  I like the warm weather because it’s always hot from where I came from, and when it rains it really pours.  So this hot and cold and hot and wet days we’ve been having are not new to me.  I just wish that it will stay hot if it’s “warmer” we’re heading towards, instead of seesawing between the two ends of the thermometer, depending on Mother Nature’s mood.  So we’ve been having hot and cold days with no discernible pattern, and I’m just glad that the forecasts are more or less on point.  Time to get the summer planning going.

Busy crafting.  My creative spirits have been bouyed by business picking up in my Etsy Shop.  Half the time I’m reposting inventory that had expired and posting what is already finished.  I’m trying to keep myself from creating new items until I’ve taken cared of most of what’s in the existing inventory, but I’m hoping to keep the orders coming in.  It’s not as simple as creating the items and then listing it.  There is a whole process to being an etsy seller, and while it can sometimes entail a lot of work, it’s nice to see my items available for sale.

Then there’s the additional task of marketing it on social media — but that’s another post altogether.. more on this for later.

Experiencing New York in 60 seconds.  A week or two ago, I attempted to capture snippets of my day in short video clips I strung together into a minute-long summary of how my day went.   What had started out as a pronounced effort to create something without any fuss turned out to be quite the learning experience for me.  Remember that I shoot only with my iphone6.  I published the videos under my GothamChickshopper monicker where I’ve created a Youtube Channel.  My first attempts were laughable but an enjoyable laughing trip for me, more so after I realized I had shot the videos in the wrong orientation.  I have since corrected the error, but I’m still trying to find the best way to edit the videos.  They are grainy and pixelized and more for viewing on your smartphone.

Here’s one sample below which I like because of the tender moments innocently captured as I panned the camera.

Life changes have taken me over.  I am embarking on a new journey and happily doing so with my not so little guy by my side, but I’m trying to bounce back and even step up my cadence as I begin afresh.

All excited to write about that if I can only get a moment to breathe and hit the keys.  Soon.

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Monday musing: Creative frenzy

I started writing this at half past six and the sun hadn’t quite awakened just yet. I had tried to wake up my brain with my usual cup of Joe and my quarter of a cup of oat bran. And I started writing.

Creating for the #GiftOf50.  I’ve had a productive  weekend with my tools. I’ve been busy sorting my beads (Saturday) and creating (Sunday and most of the nights preceding it). I usually string the beads onto headpins before assembling the actual earring dangle then I finish this as a second step in a batch. I only put the ear wires when I’m sure I’m done, with no other finding or component or additional gemstone or bead to add. Last night, I did the last step.

Here’s the thing.. I had started creating basically with the idea of making a batch of earrings to give away as part of my #GiftOf50 push. After assembling the earrings, I am now torn about actually giving them away and posting them in the shop. Did I just create a problem for myself here?
I’ve also been busy with my Marian necklaces which deserves a post altogether.  Three (make that 4) pendants and necklaces in production.  I have the pendants done (finally), but I am in a design quandary.  (again, have to write about this separately.)

Giving in to the challah bread craving. I love bread but I’m trying so hard to stay away from it.  The week prior has been good in the area of trying to keep my weight in check, so I thought I’d give myself a break over the weekend with a “bread run”,  even if only for one loaf of challah bread from my challah bread source in my area, Le Pain Quotidien.  I meant to make some French toast, but congratulate me for resisting the urge.  I did eat it throughout the weekend..  grilled cheese dinner on Saturday, and this simple yet hearty breakfast of tomato scrambled eggs for Sunday breakfast.

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Sunday breakfast of tomato scrambled eggs and challah bread.. brings me back home to breakfasts in Manila with the “tasty” sliced bread or better yet, pandesal. .

I’m not worried about the scale tipping a tad higher because I know saying goodbye to my carbs beginning today will correct that.  For me personally, I have learned that weight loss is best managed by weight control– and at my age, I am not killing myself over a slight weight gain (nothing over a pound), more so when I’ve succeeded in keeping my weight down.  I am at my usual plateau and the only goal now is to break it and even go lower.  Soon!

My happy mailbox..I have never stopped collecting postcards even if I haven’t been actively trading them, and it always brings a smile to my face when I find a postcard in the daily mail when I sort them at the end of the day.. what more when I get 3!! Thanks to my friends from Postcrossing Philippines who continue to keep my collection growing with their postcards from home.  Keep them coming!

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#HappyMailbox: Thank you for the postcards, @mumwrites and @skyorange … for the mail smiles you brought my way with these cards from the Philippines. 🇵🇭 Such wonderful additions to my collection! Mail coming your way.. 💌

More lawyer wannabe questions.  I haven’t forgotten and I am not ignoring them.  Thanks for reaching out via email — I always appreciate hearing from the people who stumble into my corner of the web.  Again, I am getting to the questions soon.  Keep dreaming..

Gotham chick recommends.  Sometime in 2015, I thought I’d create a specific account for Gothamchickshopper for product and service recommendations.  I created an Instagram and twitter account, and yes, a blog.  I’ve always had the account on my smartphone but haven’t really been writing about it.  (I hardly get to keep up with this one!).

So I’ve started being more focused with the new hashtag #GothamChickRecommends and hope to keep the social media accounts more active as well.  I am even thinking of doing a weekly roundup here.  My restaurant posts have become short blurbs that can be an entire blogpost and I really should focus on some of that.  (That’s me talking to myself.)

I think I’m off to a good start and will hopefully get at least one of these blurbs into an actual post here during the week.. plus one or two or three.

Happy Monday!

Monday Musings: Brussel Sprouts, etc.

Monday musingsTrying to get the ball rolling without reinventing the wheel, so to speak.  Back to my old staple Monday post of short blurbs that don’t necessarily focus on any particular theme.  I try to list 3-5 (or more) blog worthy thoughts that would make for a paragraph or two, but not quite a whole article.

Early start.  My Monday started out rather early at past 4am when my body clock (or the extreme heat in the room) woke me up.  I have a small fan beside me which is usually off and I switched it on and tried to go back to sleep without much success.  Perhaps it was my subconscious mind reminding me I didn’t turn the alarm on my phone on, or I could just be plain excited to start the week.  I loved the long weekend but sometimes a staycation tends to wear you down.  I did get a lot accomplished so I am happy, and I’m all set for the week ahead.  Besides, I always enjoy the quiet and the stillness of a sleeping house.  It actually helps me to focus on centering my thoughts and starting off the day on a more balanced footing.

Brussel sprouts, my new fave.  I was one of those kids who would refuse to eat vegetables but was forced to.  As I grew older, I developed an acquired taste for certain flavors, but I knew I would never be a vegetarian.  While I try to stay conscious of my friends’ dietary restrictions, I also tune in to likes and dislikes when I get the chance to dine with them.  Earlier this year, a friend turned me into loving brussel sprouts when I was deciding on my birthday luncheon menu.  I only had two sides, and brussel sprouts became one of them. I got hooked.  So this weekend I cooked up a meal of fillet mignon steaks and picked two sides from the grocery deli — one being the roasted brussel sprouts.  Even with no frills, it’s a filling flavorful dish to accompany any entree.  I swirled it in the pan juices of the steak to heat it up and it certainly made for quite the delectable pair to my choice cut.  Try it!

Slouchy beanie crazy.  I have a full post on this in the works on my craft blog, GothamChick, but I have yet to finish it.  Sometimes, waiting for the right graphics can really delay me, but I’m trying to get this going.  I’m on beanie number 4, this time for Jared, the son of girlfriend Lisa, and I am planning to start on beanie number 5, number 4 for me.  I finally have hair long enough to pull it off and I like the way a slouchy beanie will keep you warm without the threat of hat hair!  I’m currently adjusting needle size to the yarn used, and while I have been undoing stitches all the way to the beginning, it’s an easy enough pattern to adjust and play around with.  Temperatures are dropping and rising in NYC these days, so I always have my hat and gloves in the bag just to be sure I’m all set.

Reading on.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have been so bad with my goal to read 6 books this year.  I am still crawling through my first book, which was one of the gifts I got in April.  I’m hoping to finish “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro in the next couple of days and get that list moving, even with just little steps.

Another post to start the week off right.. keeping my fingers crossed I can keep this going..

Monday Musing – Back!

MondayMusingsLogoA full week of silence is not only unacceptable but sad.  I have been trying very hard to be consistent with posting here, but juggling two corners of the web has been a bit of a struggle along with my attempts to keep two Etsy shops going.  I am giving it the effort to get back into a workable rhythm that will allow me to work all this multi-tasking seamlessly, but I haven’t quite settled into it just yet.  Trying.

They said when you don’t know what to write, it helps to revisit old habits and one of the things I’ve missed doing is writing under this banner, and to think it’s one of the easiest things to write about because it is a hodge podge of topics popping in my head as I write.  Anything goes, so they say.

UntitledThe return to Etsy.  So in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been busy setting up the return of two of my stores.  One has been my longstanding jewelry storefront, and the other, a fleeting foray into paper goods which I am now populating with handmade cards.  That’s GothamChick and PaperKrafts, respectively.

It isn’t all that difficult bringing GothamChick back up and running — primarily because I have the stocks to populate the store with.  PaperKrafts has me creating and posting simultaneously, and while it’s sometimes a mad rush to produce the items, photograph, edit and post, I’m enjoying putting out my handcrafted cards out there for people to hopefully buy and use.  It has also allowed me to revisit and use long forgotten art supplies I’ve had all this time, along with my Paper Flower Garden project I have been just drawing and cutting the last couple of months.

Coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  I’m happy and at the same time a bit frazzled by the fact that we are now entering the last quarter of the year.  2017 is just around the corner, and there are three major holidays coming up.

Halloween basically still figures as “major” because the boy is only 12 (and still thinking about a costume) and I live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is taken seriously.  Last year, I wore a costume and managed to surprise myself and not just a few trick-or-treaters with what I came up with, and I had vowed to do a costume this year.  After much thought, I think I’ve come up with something acceptable and I really should get started on pulling it together soon.  (Blog post coming.)

Thanksgiving is an “evolving” holiday for my boy and I, given that we are in the midst of a major transition in our lives.  I’m trying to make it low key given that, but it doesn’t mean we will not celebrate.  “How” is the bigger question — but there’s time to figure that one out.

And finally my favorite holiday of the year is coming, and again, during a major transition.  Last year, I promised Angelo we will really decorate this time, and I’m beginning to feel the pressure right now, but this should be a breeze.  I’m all excited just thinking about it!

Those Mondays that make you wish there was a third day to the weekend.  I almost didn’t want to get up until I remembered it was a work day, and I had promised myself I will try to make it to work early.  (Which, of course, didn’t happen despite my best efforts.)  The past week has been a tough one to handle in many respects, and I am really putting in the effort to try and take things as they come, without letting them weigh me down.

So I’m making a major push to get motivated and stay motivated so that I don’t lose my way.

There are just so many things going on in the background and I am trying to stay positive by shutting out the negative or the unknown.  It isn’t easy.  I think it’s human nature to worry and give in to anxiety — even if neither one actually helps us in any way.

Again, trying.

 

 

Back to Monday Musings (on a Tuesday)

MondayMusingsLogoIt’s a tad frustrating to see that my last post here was mid May and we are getting on with June.  I had unsuccessfully tried to begin half a dozen posts, but no luck.  Rather than write a full post on any given topic or blog prompt, I thought going back to the bullet style update I do under this banner would help me get things rolling.  

What have I been up to?

Summer’s on!  It feels as though we skipped spring altogether and jumped head on into summer!  Is that spring being short or summer coming early?  It’s a little tricky deciding but our days are definitely hotter, and the preview of the heat coming our way is making me wish for fall.  Lighter clothes, less layers — yes!  But then I remember Summer’s past when I had to be creative with commuting to work– I literally had to don something else to brave the heat with and change to more appropriate work clothes when I got there!  Hopefully not again…

There’s a lot of fun summer trends making a come back like off shoulder tops and flowing skirts.  I’m excited because of my newfound sewing skills which I am trying to convert into something I can wear.  I’ll delve into that in more detail in my craft blog, but yes, I’m going to fearlessly declare that I hope to make my own clothes!

Vacation plans brewing.  I am getting ready for a trip the second half of June, but I’d rather write about that while it’s happening or maybe after.  I’m excited for many reasons, but principally because this is the first vacation I’m planning for just myself.  It’s doubly exciting because I’m meeting up with BFF Donna who will be there with her family.

One of my oldest friends from way back when, we only get to meet up when she brings her brood here to New York.  This time, we’re heading closer to her Down Under to get some sun!

I have been putting together my gear the last couple of weeks and have started packing.  Two weeks to go and I’m off!  Blog post coming on what I’m packing and bringing with me.

And of course, I’m still trying to decide when I should actually fly to Manila.  The trips are a little easier and more difficult to do these days now.  Angelo is bigger and is actually a better travel companion, but then adjusting the vacation to his summer schedule can be a bit heavy on the pocket as it’s peak season on our side of the world.  Still, we take into consideration his request to be able to stay in Manila longer so he can immerse himself in the culture, and more importantly, to get to spend time with family on both sides while there.

Make up happy.  I’ve actually avoided writing about this because I hate posting pictures of myself here.  But one thing I will always be is a make up junkie — something I have been since my teens.   My dream as one is to actually be able to sit in Juan Sarte’s make up chair and see myself magically transformed.  The story behind why Juan Sarte is actually rather long and personal, but his artistry should suffice as an explanation.  I would love to be his apprentice if I had the opportunity or luxury but I’d probably have to fall in line behind hundreds of other aspirants.

I’ve been experimenting with lip paint and just found a drugstore brand that compares to the fancier and pricier ones.  (Again, blog post coming.)

At 50 and as an Asian, I get so wowed by the fierce and bold reds and pinks I see in the streets of New York, but I am cautious about the colors I wear.  It’s very tricky when you take into account that the colors you wear should agree with your skin tone, and now at 50, your age, so much so that you just have to be discriminating in what you pick.

But make up has always been a source of joy.  You won’t believe how a quick run through the make up counters back home used to make me giddy happy.  These days, it’s as simple as checking out what’s on sale, and patiently running between the samplers and the make up cleansers in ever busy Sephora.

Sew excited!  Pun intended.  So I wrapped up the 6-week beginner sewing class over at Mood Fabrics’ MoodUniversity.  The next set of classes begin next weekend (June 13 for the Adult Advanced Sewing class), but I am going to have to postpone to the fall due to vacation plans.  And yet I’m all gungho about attempting some sewing for me to wear (yes!) this summer and fall.

More on that on the craft blog!

Legal Eaglets in waiting.  Happiness is completing a blog post here — finally!  Goal for the week: two more posts.  Let’s see where that goes.  I owe two of my 39 readers a reply after I got some very touching feedback via email (pinaynewyorker at gmail dot com) and each one deserves its own post.  Hoping.

Monday Musings: Afterstorm Thoughts

MondayMusingsLogoI wanted to write during the weekend but all-day and all-night snowstorms tend to turn down my energy levels to an all-time low.  So no, I didn’t get to do a Friday Five update from last week’s list — probably more because I didn’t really have much to say.  But there is hope that list will get done a week late.  But still done.

I tried to take a walk yesterday but there was still #snow everywhere. This #firehydrant in front of my place is usually my #meterstick when it comes to the #snowfall. He's buried deep as you can see. Not looking forward to walking out to catch the busIt snowed, and it snowed and it snowed.  Most people from where I come from (where we do NOT have snow and where it is HOT all year round even when it’s coolest in December) dream of seeing snow and witnessing the snow falling.  I did, too, when I first got here and I got a big snowstorm to make that wish come true during my first winter.  Then I had to walk out the day after the storm because someone was sick and I just felt I had to go get some tea.  So I went out in the snow and got some tea from the grocery behind our apartment. It was then that I realized it wasn’t all that pretty—and I lost my love for snow after that.  It’s one of those things that you wish would fall so you could enjoy it and then magically disappear.  Alas, it doesn’t.

Because it’s cold it usually lingers.  And when it warms up a tad, the snow melts and then freezes into ice.  I don’t know about you but I like walking without having to worry that I will fall, and I have fallen a few times.  I am thinking of the warmer climes of Manila and wishing the snow away.  While the sun finally showered us with so much needed sunshine yesterday and today, just because so much of it fell, I don’t think the snow is going away anytime soon.  There are mountains of snow in the city taller than you and me.  (Of course, I’m a short 5’2″. )  Then again, Mother Nature might relent.

Peasant Pasta, my go to comfort food.  I gave up rice decades ago, but I have always had a love-hate relationship with pasta.  I love to eat it and I can cook it well. Of course I have to be firm with myself when I actually am on a diet — because pasta is anathema to any cleanse or weight loss regimen.

For all the ingredients and cooking secrets (like how to make it sweet like the Jollibee spaghetti even my little tyke loves), my favorite pasta is actually a simple mix of pasta dressed with olive oil or butter and sprinkled with black pepper and a ton of parmesan cheese.  I went into the weekend ready, and I cooked up some for one of the meals during the storm.

  •  I cook enough pasta for one serving in, believe it or not, a tiny sauce pan.  I had read up somewhere that you don’t really have to have a huge pot boiling.  You just need to estimate the pasta you need, cut it up in the appropriate size to fit in the itsy-bitsy pan and fill it with water to cover the pasta.  Make sure to stir during the first 60 seconds to stop it from adhering and be sparing with the olive oil.  I don’t salt my pasta because I have a bland palate.  (I even do my eggs the same way — no salt AT ALL.  Gasp.)
  • I don’t rinse my pasta but just drain it.  (Pasta for one goes straight into my bowl, and I find that rinsing helps only if you intend to store the pasta leftover for use with a different sauce or more sauce later.)  While still hot, I put a slice of butter, sprinkle some pepper and then toss to coat the pasta.
  • And the final touch — grated cheese to your heart’s desire.  I don’t toss the cheese with the pepper or the oil/butter because I find that it tends to clump together and gets concentrated in some of the pasta.  I do it at the end.
  • Eat heartily.

Somehow, just writing that up made me hungry again.  And I have sworn off pasta for until my next “break” in between phases.  That might be a while.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse.  I’m including this here as a reminder to myself that this is one post I must write about one day soon.  So many secrets have been spilled via social media.  Don’t you just hate how you can stumble on to something you wish you never knew about or found out — but it was just there for all the world to see, and turns out, you were the last to see it?

One can deny the truth to death, but beware of exif data on those snapshots.  And everything online is dated — even if Instagram makes you calculate by number of weeks passed, you’d eventually arrive at a proximate timeframe within a week’s window.  Which reminds me how just a little more than a year ago, I received one such picture of what would have been easily deniable without the photo evidence.

The universe listens and when it speaks, it’s our turn to pay attention.  It’s so uncanny how right at that moment when you feel your grip slipping, something mundane or ordinary chimes in and reminds you to keep your focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the other side.  Silly hats and unexpected hellos that remind you that for every person who hurt you or broke your heart, you found two or three who blessed your life with their friendship and love .  It’s as if the universe heard your anger boiling up inside and decided to send a refreshing breeze your way to remind you about the good things that came out of all the tears and the pain.

And you end your day thinking “Yes, I’m in very good place.”
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Monday Musings: Cold, Cold and Colder

MondayMusingsLogoIt looks like our crisp nice mornings are switching to cold and colder ones with the onset of near freezing temperatures here in New York. I’m trying to be a bit cautious with the layers, though, which is why I think I ended up being underdressed just a wee bit today.  I will live.   Days like this make me miss Manila all the more — even if everyone complains about the humidity and the heat and dreams of snow.  Keep dreaming — it’s not all it’s cooked up to be.  Ha!

So another Monday, another set of musings.

Layering.  We all tend to be in denial when it starts getting colder and try to ‘brave’ the cold thinking “Nah, it’s not THAT cold.”  Then we get hit by the freezing temperatures as we walk out the door.  Vanity has a lot to do with not wearing a suitable hat or cap because we all hate having to go through hat hair after spending time prettying ourselves up for the day. Then there’s that big decision on which coat to wear — do we wear the shorter and handier one or the long and bulky ones that might make us look like we actually want winter to come.

I’ve started taking out my winter scarves and will  be folding away the lighter, autumn ones.  And over the weekend, I started re-knitting one of the long and chunky yarn scarves which I had made last year, and worn only once because I had done it too long.  I’m trying to make it into an infinity scarf and I’m almost a third of the way through.  Totally excited!

I’m also putting away my ballet flats and polishing my leather boots, and gathering all other winter wear musts.  (T-shirts to wear under the sweaters, sweaters to layer, and gloves to wear.)

Getting ready for my tree.  I have an artificial tree which I assemble and disassemble every year.  I’ve already started clearing that part of the living room where it usually stands and will hopefully be able to put it up this weekend.  In the meantime, I’m making a mental note to look for the christmas balls we had done by color motif each year and fashion some window decor out of them for an additional festive feel.

New York City is getting into holiday mode and the tree in Bryant Park is already up.  I haven’t had the chance to browse the stores and visit, but I hope to feature that here in a forthcoming post.

But before Christmas comes Thanksgiving.  I am not so big on Thanksgiving but Angelo has requested I cook dinner (or lunch) this year.  He’s not particularly into turkey, so we’re going with chicken instead.  It’ll  be a simple dinner but I want to start a new tradition where we say to each other what we are thankful for.  I know that this year has been a challenging but very rewarding one for me, so my list will be rather long.  Or maybe not.

I was planning to make my famous leche flan tonight and had even stopped by the grocery to pick up some limes, but I didn’t realize I was out of condensed milk.  So I guess I am going to have to disappoint the girlfriends counting on their llanera of this Filipino version of the versatile flan.  I will have to make something else for dessert.  I’m thinking some homemade mango ice cream I will make out of regenerated dried mangoes and vanilla ice cream.. Yum!!

I have started saying my “Thank you”‘s.  We always give thanks in general when Thanksgiving can be made even more meaningful by saying thank you to the people who deserve it.  So this morning I texted a friend who is bound for warmer climes with the family this Thanksgiving holiday and simply said that “the friendship we shared was one of the things I am most thankful for in the past year, and I want you to know that that means a lot to me.”

What are you thankful for?  Ah, yet another blogpost.