And the holidays are here

Christmas in New YorkDisclosure: The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I actually started drafting this post maybe two weeks ago, and then I got caught up with work and real life so all I came up with was the banner above. Tonight, many weeks after my last attempt to get back to regular blogging, I’ve promised myself I will hit send at the end of whatever I write here, and hopefully write more consistently.

It’s Saturday and I’m hoping to get two packages out by Monday to cross the oceans to friends I want to surprise. That thought makes me smile. Somehow the holidays have always been about giving to others more than to myself. There’s joy beyond description when I see the joy in the faces or the voices of those that get my card, my letter, my gift.

Isn’t that what the holidays are about?

Upon Angelo’s insistence, we got a new Christmas tree this year. As I’m basically an online shopper, I ended up getting this tree from Target. I chose it because it was unlit, above 6 feet tall (I ended up getting something that was 7 feet) and of course, on sale. So it arrives as promised, and while it was the size it was touted to be, I was kind of disappointed that it was similar to the tree we had which shed blades like there was no tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, the tree was fine, but I was looking for a certain type and chose something else. As someone who doesn’t drive, I take pride in my online shopping savvy, and the convenience of free shipping to my home was something I could use, more so for an item the size of a Christmas tree. It was good — but I wouldn’t have minded except that it clogged my vacuum cleaner, so the only way to tidy up was to brush the carpet. I have a feeling this will be the first and last year of this Christmas tree. I will endeavor to find an artificial tree similar to the ones I used to know when I was a child.

Christmas trees are a big deal in my family. A good sized manger, too. But I have no room and I don’t have the manger here in New York, so I make do with a tree and lights around my window sill.

I bought a new set of Christmas balls in a teal or is it periwinkle color, mixed with matte and shimmery silver. You’ll have to forgive me for not posting a picture of my tree. It’s kind of camera shy. I used lights from last year and will be discarding the sets that don’t work anymore.

I decorated my windows and put up my parol or Christmas lantern, the newer one. I take pride in the fact that it identifies my home as Filipino because we’re really the only ones who have this kind of lantern which is sort of a cultural signature in the way we celebrate Christmas.

And I got Christmas cards.. haven’t sent them out and it’s (almost) Christmas. Hmmmm… Baby steps, I say.

To be continued…

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Friday Five: Long Weekend Ahead

Friday5

I am excited for the long weekend coming up because it’s one of the last few long weekends we’re having for a bit.  Well, that is, unless I choose to take some time off.  So I thought I’d start it by setting my sights on what I hope to accomplish in the next three days when it’s supposed to be brutally cold in my part of the world.  Right now we’re battling temperatures which are definitely below freezing, so I have made up my mind to stay indoors unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out.

First, the update.  Last week I set to do the list below and here’s how I did:

  1.  Sort my ribbons.  This one actually went somewhere and is a work in progress, given my fabric freebie stash which I picked up Sunday.  (More on that later.)
  2. Sort my shoes.  Decisions have been made and the ones heading to shoe heaven will be discarded.
  3. Label and organize the Christmas decor in the attic.  Packed and labeled and stored.
  4. Gather my loose postcards.  Hoping to do more of this during this particular weekend.
  5. Mail some postcards home.  Postcards written on and addressed — just looking for my forever international stamps.  (Almost there.)

So how’s my weekend looking?  I’m excited to create and organize my supplies.  My fabric stash has mostly been sitting in the same bags they were brought in, except for the slivers of hand-dyed silk that I have washed and been drying/ironing to work with.

The postcard project brewing in my head will need those postcards to be gathered, and I have already set aside a container.  I’m looking forward to curling up with one of the books waiting for me to open this weekend — besides those that have been sitting stewing in my virtual library on Kindle.

So here’s this long weekend’s list… and for those straying into my space for the first time and coming upon a version of this regular post, the point is to create a simple, doable and easily achieved checklist of things to do or start during the weekend, with a progress report due the following Friday.  What for? The intention is to give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the weekend, helping you to start the week off right.  It’s also supposed to help you keep track of where the weekend went beyond the regular errands you have to run.

1.  Sort the fabrics I picked up from Brooklyn over the weekend.  I did it once before and came upon a listing for “free fabrics” from Craig’s list where they give away everything and anything — as long as you want them and pick them up where specified.

That sojourn and what I got from the trip is another blog post altogether, but I need to sort through the stuff I got and start planning on what to do with them.  I had also promised my benefactor that I would share and give away whatever I didn’t make use of, and I don’t want to sit on it too long before I forget.  So I will be spending a fair amount of time going through most, if not all of the stash.

2.  Write five topics to write about here and in my craft blog.  I’ve been pretty happy with how my blogging has been in this corner of the web, but I’ve really been working on getting the other blog, which is my “craft” blog running again.  I think writing five topics down and actually starting a draft post for me to go back to later will help build up my writing ideas and keep the posts coming.

While I write very spontaneously here, I have things I want to do in the other blog which are more entrepreneurial.  But just like any business, it takes focus and a plan and I have a rough idea brewing in my head but I need to concretize them and make it happen.  That’s why I’m hoping to start with opening that space up again and being more active there.

At the same time, I don’t want to fall into a rut again here, and with the half dozen things I’m behind on in terms of topics I want to write about, starting a post should help goad me to tap the keys and actually get those posts done.

3.  Gather the books that I hope to read in the coming days and actually write about it.  I have always loved to read and have been lamenting the fact that I haven’t been doing enough of it the last couple of years.  There is a different enjoyment that I get from thumbing through pages and actually seeing the story unfold in my head.  I have the books — I just need to actually sit down and open them.  (Note to self:  Write about the books!)

4. Pull together at least one “care package” from the things I hope to destash and send out.  Through the years, I have accumulated a lot of things that I had acquired either as gifts or purchases — and some of these things have outlived their usefulness or no longer mean the same thing to me.  Others I had plainly forgotten about or no longer want.  I have always believed that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

At the start of the year, I had written my “16 for 2016 post” which I have condensed into a list as a page of this blog.  (See navigation bar.)  #14 of the list reads:

Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  

I have to get started on this, and I have several ideas in my head.  It doesn’t have to be your typical bag of hand me downs.  I have a lot of other things which I am sure others will find useful.  I can actually give them away to someone I know, or leave it out in the open for someone who might fancy it to pick up.  This weekend, I want to pull one such package and make a decision as to how I am going to get rid of it.

5.  List 10 things in the “turning 50 good deeds” to do.  BFF Fe just reminded me that I’m turning 50 in a few weeks.  (Yes, I’m hitting the big five-oh.)  Again, in the same list mentioned above, #16 was “Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.”  I have to start somewhere.  No rules really — big, small, something ordinary to something I would need to mount a major production to accomplish.  One year to do it, before my 50th year is done.

My Friday is turning out to be quite the weekend start with things going haywire in my real world.  (Read: my day job).  Ever have one of those days when you just want to crawl under the table and hide?  This is one of them.  The good news is it’s almost ending, and I can maybe sit down with a bottle and drink the nerves away, and actually start my weekend on a relaxing note.

Happy Friday, everyone..  bundle up!

Friday Five: Moving along

Friday5This is a much-delayed second post following my 2016 kick off.  I refuse to brand it an epic fail because the year is young, and I try not to be too hard on myself.  As posted in the first iteration of this blog list, the point is to create a simple, doable and easily achieved checklist of things to do or start during the weekend, with a progress report due the following Friday.  What for? The intention is to give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the weekend, helping you to start the week off right.  It’s also supposed to help you keep track of where the weekend went beyond the regular errands you have to run.

The rules:  (1) Keep it simple.  (Go through pantry and discard expired food.  Pick up prescription.  Mail that birthday card.  Start this project.  Throw that away.)  (2)  It must be doable.  (You have the weekend only and the following week as an extension, so no tasks that will require a huge investment time-wise.)  (3)  Should involve only or mostly you.  (Involving another person would mean depending on that person for the fulfillment of the task.  This is about YOU.)

My first list and it’s progress report:

  1.  Write Do.  (BFF Donna who is in Australia.)  This is a work in progress given how long I write.  Yes, I still do snail mail.
  2. Create the matching piece for B.  (Gave her a pair of freshwater pearl bracelets.)  Just trying to find the right clasp.
  3. Read.  (Book no. 1 was book no.2 of last year’s list.)  Does taking the book out count?  Ha!
  4. Sort clothes to keep or to give away.  I’ve actually done well with this as I continue to try and sort my room out the way I want it.  I used to take pride in being able to wear clothes year in and year out but now find that I have to be more conscious of something going out of fashion and resisting the urge to keep something because it cost an arm and a leg.
  5. Go through make up stash and discard old supplies.  I love make up so it’s a little difficult to part with it, but part with it, I did.  There are just lipsticks that discolor and whose consistency changes through the year, and there are broken make up palettes that will do you no good with all the powder it spreads around.

Okay, that wasn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be.  So here’s this week’s Friday Five, and hopefully (fingers crossed), I will get things off the list faster and provide you an update next week.

First of all, I’m taking reading off the list.  That shouldn’t be a weekend thing — it should be an everyday thing.  (A blogpost forming in my head.)

Secondly,  I am going to try and focus on very specific items this weekend.  (Well, hoping..)

  1.  Sort my ribbons.  (Working on some incredibly gorgeous recycled sari ribbons to use for my necklaces.  Can’t wait!)
  2. Sort my shoes.  Some of them need to hit the dumpster soon.
  3. Label and organize the Christmas decor in the attic.  Just so I’m not overwhelmed next year.
  4. Gather my loose postcards.  Project brewing in my head.
  5. Mail some postcards home.

Glorious sunshine after such a wet and snowy morning.  Mother Nature surprises us yet again.  Give me some sunshine please.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Random on the Blackberry Cam

I know I should’ve whipped out my regular cam but was too lazy to fish it out of my tote. So instead I took the blackberry out and snapped a pic.  My blackberry cam is better than its predecessors but the low light and the quick snap doesn’t do this awesome sight justice.

I was walking around THE FORT last night with my sister Ofie, trying to check out a possible condo/hotel but I guess the place was more of an extended stay facility rather than something for transients like us.  It looks like we’re sticking to our original plan.