Intentional Living

The Good Trade Fair – October 2018

Just as we did back in July, we went all the way to Central Square at the Bonifacio Global City last week for The Good Trade fair. It’s a weekend pop-up of small businesses espousing a zero-waste and sustainable lifestyle.

I finally restocked on the first organic deodorant I’ve used that didn’t have me worrying about smelly pits after a long day – Zero Basics Deodorant is all natural, keeps you dry and smell-free for 24 hours (maybe more), and doesn’t leave chemical residue that darkens your pits. Believe me, I have tried deodorants from a couple other local organic brands and this is the best so far.

One bottle will go a long way, unfortunately for me, I dropped my first bottle which is why I needed to restock so soon. Sa totoo lang, ikinalungkot ko yun. The bottle was still more than half full, and I just really had such a good product experience. My deo of choice used to be Dove Original. I love its powdery smell. I was quite happy with it except that the container ends up in a landfill and will probably exist longer than I will. So I made the switch. 

This one comes in an amber glass bottle with a spray nozzle and is refillable at a discount. Zero-waste, and cost-effective. 

I also got a pair of bamboo toothbrushes from the Zero Waste Hub, and filled a bottle that I brought with me with peppermint hand soap from Ritual.Ph. I love that there were a number of brands there that allowed for package-free, buy-what-you-need purchases. It does feel a little weird to already be lugging a shopping bag of empty containers BEFORE you do any actual shopping, but it really wasn’t all that bad, and not an inconvenience.  

It was also great to see Anthill Fabric weaves up close and personal. I didn’t buy any this time because sizes do tend to be for the average Pinay (translation: maliit para sa’kin), and they do cost considerably more than fast-fashion options.  I have my eye on a couple of pieces that I might save up for a custom order though. 

It was also great to dialogue with some of the shop owners and learn a little bit more of their products and advocacies. I was really trying to be intentional with my shopping and didn’t want to just purchase whatever I fancied – but there are definitely new-to-me brands that are now on my radar ?

What these fairs do, really, is make us more aware of the small changes we can do that can have great impact in reducing plastic waste, and leading a sustainable lifestyle that will be friendlier to Mother Earth. I was really looking for an alternative to dishwashing sponges. We go through one of those every couple of weeks and I know there’s a better alternative out there. I was hoping to find wood brushes or those abaca scrubs that weekend. Sadly, whatever stocks were available had already been sold out.  

Luckily, the Daily Convos Shop had these:

I didn’t buy any. But the lady who makes them was nice enough to talk to me about her products. I mentioned that I’m a yarn hoarder and could probably make one for myself. She recommended using cotton thread and even told me about how to keep these scrubbies clean and sanitized so they can be used for a long time.

SO I made a couple of squares to try. I actually still have a few sponges for backup but so far, the scrubbies are holding up and doing the job just fine. We have a silicone pot scrubber that we got from Taiwan for the tougher stains so I’m hoping that this is a switch we can do without any hassles. I just have to convincethe hubby to use the scrubbies instead of the sponge. 

I made a couple more to give to a friend to test-drive too. Friends and family out there who would love to switch too, I can make a couple for you as Christmas presents, just let me know!

Eat Well, Sleep More

I really truly thought I haven’t been this stress-free in so long. 

Until I got sick and the doctor told me that people get ATP when they’re under a lot of stress.

Sure, work isn’t as physically and mentally draining as it used to be for me (thank GOODNESS for that!), but there are other stressors around.  I figured that for me it was not sleeping enough and (sometimes) over fasting.

Having trouble sleeping

It’s been over a year since my Sleep Apnea diagnosis, yet unfortunately, I haven’t made much progress in creating habits to promote better sleep quality. Heck, I don’t even use my CPAP regularly. And I should. The sleep doctor recommended that I use that machine everyday, and even during travel.

When I got sick, I noticed an increased challenge in getting myself to relax and ease into slumber. At times, I even felt anxious. Of what, I couldn’t really tell.

My Fitbit comes with a Sleep Tracker, and if it’s accurate, I’m only getting an average of 3 hours of sleep. I have more Awake and Restless hours logged than actual Sleep! 

Getting enough rest and quality sleep should be a priority. No matter where you are in your life right now, it’s important to accept this. Getting sick, and being instructed by the doctor to rest at home for three days (without doing ANY work), is a sure way to get one to take this seriously. But we shouldn’t really wait for any Medical issues or emergencies before we take heed.

What happens we don’t get enough sleep?

This is Your Body Without Sleep (infographic) - see Pinterest link for image credits

This Is Your Body Without Sleep (Infographic)

Virtually everyone has experienced the negative effects of a bad night’s sleep: grogginess, crankiness, lack of focus and a host of other nasty feelings that hover over your body and mind the entire

So you see, there is A LOT riding on getting the right amount of shut-eye regularly. Our well-being depends on it.

Deliberately sleeping less

But I get it. Sleeping 8 hours or more daily means spending a third of our lifetime in bed. And when you’re dreaming big, and have so much to accomplish, that seems like too much time wasted.

So we try to make our days longer by cheating ourselves of a few minutes of sleep. Then we find that we need more time to do the things we want to do, so we wake up earlier, and go to bed later. And it keeps going on and on and on.

We tell ourselves: Oh I’m okay with just four hours of sleep. We convince ourselves that we can function just as well with four hours as we would if we had eight hours of sleep. But do we, really?

Skipping Meals

Have I mentioned that I recently lost about 40 pounds? That’s over the course of a year. The most weight I have lost and kept off EVER. Yay me.

I got here by eating well, and incorporating exercise into my routine. There’s actually a ways to go to get to my ideal weight (the answer to many health issues, apparently) but already, I know that I am in a good place in terms of my health and well-being.

My wellness plan involves having three balanced meals a day. There’s a prescribed timing for meals, but we’re cautioned not to starve ourselves. The problem is, I have unintentionally been skipping meals while at work the past few weeks. Doing so hasn’t helped me lose more weight. Instead, it just put me at more risk for getting sick. And get sick, I did.

That day I started having chills, and complained of a very sore throat, my husband immediately pointed out that I must not have been eating well. He accused me of skipping meals! I was on the defensive right away – telling him that that was against my wellness plan. But when the doctor was asking me questions around the same topic, I had to stop and really think about what I had been doing in more recent weeks. I had to admit to myself that yes, indeed I have been skipping meals to the point where I was starving. And I should have known better.

Purpose and Priority

Think about this: Instead of deliberately depriving yourself of sleep, how can you make more out of 16 hours that you’re already awake? Take an accounting of each 15- or 30-minute block of your waking hours and ask yourself: does the time you spend on the things you do, represent the life you want to live?

Do your current actions take you closer to your goals?

It isn’t easy. First you need to determine what you want to achieve. Have you painted your big picture? Do you know where you want to go?

Knowing your purpose, setting your intention, makes it easier to decide what your priority is. It makes tough decisions easier to make, like how you spend each minute, and with whom you spend it with.

If you haven’t decided yet what your big goals are, then maybe you can make to prioritize. So you can spend less time doing unimportant stuff, and have more time for what matters most – including rest and sleep.

As for me, I have my Passion Road Map (thanks to my Passion Planner). It’s still changing from time to time, and I’m not sure that I’ve already found my purpose in life, but I understand the general direction I want to head towards. But I’ve realized too that I will not achieve my goals, or it will take a lot of extra effort to do so, if I keep pushing my body to the limit without giving it the proper nourishment, exercise, and rest that it needs.

So getting better sleep, and NOT skipping meals, are currently my priority. Locking these down help assure that I will have the physical and mental energy, for everything else I need to do.

How about you? How much sleep do you get? And do you eat three balanced meals daily?

 

How we saved up for Travel

This is our Travel Money Jar. Today, it is nearly empty but there is no reason to be sad. After all, this empty Travel jar means that our travel memory banks are full!

You see, it’s nearly empty because we used its former contents to fund our recent trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. And what an amazing trip that was!

We got a really good deal on airfare for this trip back in November 2017. As soon as I learned of PAL’s seat sale, I let Mom know right away so we can take the trip together. Just a couple of months prior to the trip date, I reached out to an old classmate of mine from grade school who is in the Tourism Industry in PP. She hooked me up with a local travel agent to make arrangements for the hotel and tours.

52 Weeks Money Savings Challenge

A couple years ago, the 52 Weeks Money Savings Challenge became viral.

The concept: Save an incremental amount of money weekly, and enjoy your lump sum savings at the end of the year. One can start with a small amount that increases each week (50 pesos on the first week, and increase the amount by PHP 50 increments weekly), or start with the biggest amount, and work your way down.

It’s our second year now of doing this challenge. We chose to specifically allocate the savings for our Travel fund, and physically stash cash in a repurposed jar of Mayo.

The husband and I are both doing the challenge, so we started with 50 pesos each at the very beginning. If we miss one week, we make up for it on the next. To stay on top of the challenge, we use the 52 Weeks Money Challenge App.

Both the husband and I have the app on our phones, so every week, I enter the actual amount we each deposit. If we needed to borrow cash for emergency spending in the house, we record it through the app too.

To start off, you will need to enter the following:

  • Motivation/Goal – Travel, a new TV, or Downpayment for a new house, or whatever you fancy
  • Saving Method – Start low, or start high
  • Base Unit/amount – we chose 50 pesos, to get a substantial amount for our travel goals, but you can choose a lower amount depending on your end goal and capacity.
  • Reminder Time – This is my favorite feauture because you can set a day and time at which the app reminds you to save weekly!

Every once in a while, I count the actual cash in the jar to make sure the totals tally with what the app tells us we should already have. It’s been a real good way to keep track of things and not rely on just memory – Did we put money in the Travel Jar this week?

Doing this challenge, and physically seeing the money stack up inside our Travel Jar, has really kept us on track with saving money for our travel goals – without necessarily taking away from our regular budget.

As a couple, we haven’t done that much travelling – it just wasn’t a priority in the past. But it is also something we are changing.

How do you save up for your travel goals?

Are you also doing the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge? How is your experience, so far?

Midyear Musings

Another month done. Halfway through 2018. Six more months and it would be just another year gone by.

How much have we accomplished thus far? Is life all about the passage of time, or about how much we do or make in a given amount of time?

Do you measure life by how you feel?

If we want happiness – how does happy feel like? Stop for a moment and think about this: how do you want to feel? Whatever that it is – do what you need to do to feel that way.

Many times, I catch myself thinking about how much time I have wasted. It’s as if I look back at days, weeks, and months, only to realize that I’ve only been going through the motions but not really being fully alive.

But I don’t really think that’s 100% true. I think what’s true is that my idea of living constantly changes. Sometimes I want more, and other times, it is enough to simply exist.

And always, these ideas are influenced by what or who is around me. My husband is prone to saying that social media is evil – and he has a point. How many times have I looked at my social media feeds and come out feeling bad that I didn’t do this, or I haven’t been there, or my house doesn’t look like that? So many times.

But it isn’t social media‘s fault. I realized that I’ve allowed myself to compare my life with an idea of someone else‘s life based only on carefully curated photos. I judged myself.

It took some introspection, some inspiration, and some deep conversations with like-minded people, plus the husband, for me to come to terms with the reality of the choices we make in life. Because ultimately, that is why we are where we are in this season of our lives. It’s about the choices we make. It’s about what we prioritize.

That’s how I managed to stick to the habits I learned when I gave my health a reboot. That’s how I’m finding time to spend with the people I want to surround myself with. It’s also how I’ve managed to complete 8 crochet projects so far this year, and read 16 books! It’s also how we’ve now managed to travel to two countries in less than a year’s time vs ZERO travel in so many years.

Life is all about what we make space and time for. When we look at it that way, I think, it opens us up to nearly limitless possibilities.

This is not to say that I’m living the life. I am also a work in progress. I know that I am still making bad choices, and my daily actions still don’t reflect my vision for the future I want to have. I am inspired – but more often, as it appears, not inspired enough to take real action. Understanding that, I am less frustrated by how much I haven’t yet achieved.

Inspiration. Choice. These are the precious first few steps, but they are not enough to make our dreams a reality. That requires consistent and focused action. That’s why I share this note to the world, not to preach, but really to remind myself to

Choose your vision. Get up. Show up. Do the work. Make it happen.

24/100

Oh, it’s just a list

In July 2012, I decided to take on the Day Zero challenge, and managed to share a (partial) list of 56 tasks (should be 101) to be completed in 1001 days. If you’re curious as to what tasks made it to the list, check this 101 in 1001 post. I will be updating that to reflect which ones I already got to do.

The list is almost six years old now and it’s more than double the 1001-day timeline originally set to accomplish all the tasks. Today I look back at the list and realize that based on what made it to the list, there are some things that changed, while some remain the same. And that’s how life goes, right?

Going through the list feels so much like #ThrowbackThursday. It reminds me of how things were, back then:

  • I was missing baking, and was still dreaming of a full-time home based baking business.
  • I was still very much into digital scrapbooking. Although truth be told, I was more of a hoarder of supplies and a stalker of galleries and wasn’t doing much actual scrapbooking.
  • We loved photography. I guess we still do, even if we don’t use big cameras anymore and just use our phones, even on vacation. But now, I want a new camera (or a better camera phone)! 🙂
  • Sewing and quilting is something I was interested in, and still am.
  • Crochet didn’t make it on this list 🙁
  • Reading is LIFE. My pile of books keep getting higher and the to-be-read list just keeps getting longer and longer.

Then I felt worried. Doesn’t my list seem filled with trivialities? Was it reflective of the life I was crafting?

Yes, and Maybe.

Yes, at first one might think the tasks are trivial and so simple. But that’s the nature of the challenge – to be simple and clear enough that you can actually do them. So that’s not such a bad thing.

But does it show what kind of life I was creating? Maybe. I think at the core are all those things I want to have in my life. But I probably didn’t approach list-making from that perspective. I didn’t start with – what kind of life do I want and what do I do to get that? I just made a list.

The Good Life

Essentially, we all want a good life. But our definition of a good life might not all be the same. What is that for me? In all the busy-ness of life, am I still making sure that the steps I take are leading me to that life? Is the way I am living right now already part of that life? Because it should. The good life should not be a faraway concept. Not something to envision only for our future selves. We deserve it now.

Of course, oftentimes we find ourselves in a place we never would have wanted to be in. Things don’t always go as planned, or wrong decisions were made. Rather than staying stuck, we must take consistent action aimed at breaking away from those situations. Easier said than done. I’m not in a very bad place – just not exactly where I always thought I would be (even that keeps changing) – yet I’m still not very consistent at taking action. What more if one was in a terrible situation?

Wow. I did not see that thought bubble coming up when I started this post. But I’m pretty glad I went there.

10 of 100

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