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Lifestyle Travel Tips

F I K A

May 27, 2016

Sweden, one of the happiest countries in the world, is famous for FIKA. It’s a Swedish culture that basically means “to have coffee”. But it isn’t just your usual quick coffee break. They put a lot more meaning into pausing once in a while through out our busy day, having a cup of coffee and dessert with friends and family, and really just living in that moment. The few times I’ve been to Sweden, FIKA is something I have learned to look forward to. And even in the Philippines, my Swedish boyfriend and I always make sure we incorporate it in our daily lives. I think it teaches us a valuable lesson – that pausing once in a while throughout our busy and sometimes stressful days, can do us more good. It reminds us to slow down and breathe a little, to look around and savor the moment, and to truly interact with the people around us whom we often take for granted due to the fastness of life. A simple tradition, yet a strong reminder to appreciate life at this very moment. So, shall we have a fika? 🙂

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So much character found in this cozy little spot.

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Global Living – One of the cutest little coffee shops in Västerås!

 

XX,

Cath

Lifestyle Travel Travel Tips

Spring In Sweden

April 1, 2016

The Swedish countryside is richly filled with rolling hills, open landscapes and mountains lined up with pine and birch trees. Freshwater streams and lakes are equally abundant especially on the Southern parts. If you love nature as much as I do, you will definitely enjoy experiencing the 4 different seasons in this gorgeous country. This time, I am really enjoying Spring in Sweden.

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Since the climate varies in different parts of Sweden, temperatures can vary widely too between summer to winter, sometimes making summer still quite cold and winter season long and dark. Spring this year ranges from lows of 2 degrees (Celsius) to highs of 12, with cool winds and sunlight starting to shine, melting the winter ice away.

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Taking all of nature in and really taking advantage of the fresh crisp air  as much as I can during my stay here. Our days are filled with early morning hikes at the woods and long afternoon walks along the countryside.

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Taking short regular breaks from our hectic city lives can be very good for the mind and spirit. Being away from crowded buildings, noisy cars and endless traffic can be quite refreshing. Most importantly, taking a good long pause from running around the daily marathon of life, allows us to put things in better and bigger perspective.

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I have been more alive in the past two weeks than I have in a very long time. Grateful for this time to be surrounded by loved ones, the magnificence and calming power of nature, and to simply just be.

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XX,

Cath

Lifestyle Travel

What Is Your Happy Place? ☺️

February 20, 2016

We all have our own version of a “happy place”. It could be a unique place close to our hearts, a special memory we hold so dear, or a person whose company makes us feel more at peace. Whatever form or shape it takes, this place is where we can always breathe more, dream more, live and love a little bit more. It is where we find ourselves going back to, time and time again. To me, it has always been the ocean. Growing up close to the beach, I’ve always had an early connection with the ocean. Which is probably why I’ve always preferred sports that involved being by the sea –  diving, surfing and triathlon consumed my early 20’s. Even on my calmer and older days, listening to the soothing sound of the waves, watching the clear blue water glisten under the glorious sun, feeling the sea breeze brush against my sun kissed skin – all these just almost instantly put me in a state of joy and peace. What about you, what is your happy place?

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XX,

Cath

 

Lifestyle

Just Keep Going

February 7, 2016

Have you ever had one of those days where in you feel nothing but pure exhaustion, and you run out of every ounce of patience you’ve been painfully saving up, and you end up being this monster of a person – tired, angry and agitated?

I have. I think we all have, in one way or the other. And these so called bad days I believe, do not simply come out of thin air. They are a product of our daily frustrations that somehow pile up over time, and sadly get the best of us. The worst part is when we take it out on the people around us, our loved ones and the people we interact with. We lose kindness and compassion, despite us deliberately making the choice to be kind and compassionate. Simply because human as we are, we falter sometimes.

The past few months for me seemed like a tug of war of emotions between passion and the necessary, between chasing after my dreams versus what’s practical. And everyday has been a challenge and conscious effort to fully understand myself, to deliberately read the signs that the universe is telling me, and most importantly to keep making the best out of the uncertain.

I guess despite the daily dose of punches we take here and there, the best and only thing we can really do, is to keep pushing. Afterall, we owe it to ourselves to NOT give up, to keep moving forward with every ounce of positive energy we have left, and to consciously strive to draw strength and positivity from people who lift us up, and from experiences which shed light in the seemingly endless tunnel.

Life, in all its fullness and glory, is afterall wholly appreciated when we know what it means to be defeated, how it is to suffer and what it’s like to be broken. And only through the gift of ruin, can there ever be transformation. Let’s be kind to ourselves. Breathe. Forgive our own shortcomings. And know that there is always another day to be better.  Just keep at it, just keep it at. ☺️

XX, Cath

 

Lifestyle

How www.openinghours.ph Changes and Adds Value To Our Lives

January 17, 2016

Metro Manila  has been my home base for almost 10 years now. And each year, I’ve seen how traffic has grown significantly worse, sadly affecting everybody’s daily schedules. From longer hours spent on the road, to delayed or cancelled appointments, and worst, physically and emotionally drained people who spend more and more time doing meaningless tasks, mainly as a result of how bad traffic is.

Given this, and largely because I believe time is meant to be spent doing things of value, I have learned to be more proactive. Meaning – I plan ahead. This doesn’t only apply to my corporate life, but more importantly, this has made my daily life in the Metro more manageable.

So how exactly do I plan?

  1. Know my priorities. I make a list of the things I value the most and what I want to achieve for the year. This helps me isolate the things of biggest value to my life, from those activities that are necessary yet not as meaningful.
  2. Create a calendar and a to do list. Here, I break down my key priorities into years, months, weeks and days. This helps me navigate through the things I’ve set out to do. My end goal is to do more of the things that matter, while lessening the time spent on meaningless tasks. Of course, there are tasks that albeit not being fun, are nonetheless important, such as time spent on commute, errands, meetings, etc. But the more I plan ahead, the less time I spend on rework and non value adding work.
  3. Use openinghours.ph. This website shows all the opening hours, contact details and addresses of all businesses in Fort Bonifacio, and soon the entire Philippines! Perfect tool to help us plan out our days and definitely beat the crazy Manila traffic! What I love about it is the website’s core values of simplification and adding value to the lives of its users, by gifting us with complete and accurate information at the tip of our fingers.
  4. Just do it! Let my daily calendars and to do lists guide me through out the day. I trust that I made them with enough wisdom, knowing my top priorities. I try to be as flexible however, but I’ve learned to say no to tasks I know that won’t contribute to my growth.

I hope you find my simple tips helpful. And please do try openinghours.ph 🙂 Trust me, the services it provides have absolutely been integral in simplifying my daily plans and in helping me go through each day in the Metro, with more ease and convenience. Join me as I support companies that strive to make life’s journey all the more meaningful through the services they offer. 🙂
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XX, Cath

 

Lifestyle

What Are You Most Thankful For?

December 5, 2015

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the coming holiday season, I figured I’d take a few moments to reflect on the things I am most thankful for this 2015. While I always choose to be grateful and dwell on the positive, I recognize that the challenges and constant changes in my life are usually the greatest eye openers that make me appreciate and truly count my blessings.

So here are 5 things I am most grateful for :

1. The Gift of Time – Have you ever felt like time is running by so fast and you hardly have enough time for everything and everyone in your life? Fact is, our time is limited. And we are bounded by daily responsibilities. Therefore I truly appreciate moments when I have full control of my time to spend with my family and loved ones, and do the things I am truly passionate about.

2. Good Health and the Ability to Do – Waking up everyday is a gift. And staying healthy and having the capacity to do the things we need and more importantly love, are daily blessings I thank God for.

3. Imperfect Days That Make Us Appreciate The Good Days – Have you ever had one of those really shitty, rock bottom, truly unhappy moments? And you deal with them with every ounce of will and passion you have left? And you go through each day with tenacity and faith, believing things will get better. And then they do. They always do. And you begin to appreciate better days like this, when you can breathe a little bit more, live a little bit more, love a little bit more.

4. Distance and Absence That Make Us Appreciate Presence – Ironic yet true, that I’ve learned to appreciate the presence of my family even more, when I started living alone over 9 years ago. Sometimes we forget people’s value because their presence becomes ordinary. But absence and distance can be occasional reminders for us to appreciate our parents more everyday, savor moments spent with our siblings and really treasure every second shared with our loved ones.

5. Love and Peace of Mind – When I think about the people in my life, I know why my life is filled with love. I’ve been blessed to have met so many people who’ve become like family to me. And having met Mathias at a time when I sincerely prayed to be with a good man, it was then I found my peace of mind and heart. I was home.

And with all these, I am thankful to have the gift of gratitude, the eyes to appreciate, the heart to adore. What about you, what are you most thankful for? ☺️

XX, Cath

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Lifestyle

5 Simple Ways to Achieve Balance in Life

November 21, 2015

Our definition of balance varies from each and everyone. Some use quality time with loved ones as their ultimate barometer for having life balance. While for others, it could be how fast they climb the corporate ladder, or the number of countries they’ve been to in their lifetime, or simply if they can workout 5 times a week. And we do not judge as to how different our personal definition of balance can be, because then again, we are all unique and are at different life stages. The more important thing is for us to know how to get to a more balanced and meaningful life.

I’m sharing with you a more generic guideline which I live by. My life is by no means perfectly balanced (and I strongly believe that there is beauty in imperfection), but I gladly embrace this journey. Because after all, life is a continuous flow of self discovery and a daily miracle, that gives us the chance to take action for our selves.

So here are my 5 simple ways to achieve life balance:

1. Make a choice. – As in all things, it starts with making that conscious choice that we want to achieve balance in our lives, otherwise it only stays as an idea.

2. Know what your key priorities in life are. – Know what makes you truly happy. Is it traveling? Is it going to the gym 5 times a week? Is it spending time with your loved ones everyday? Or Is it running your own successful business or being ahead in the corporate ladder? There could be so many different things that can make us happy. But realistically, we cannot have them all. Neither can we do all of them together at once because of our limitedness. Hence, we choose what our non negotiables are, the top things we cannot live without, those which truly add value in our lives.

3. Take ownership of your time. – When your priorities in life are clear, it is easier to navigate through life. It is easier to make daily schedules and life choices, because we have a clear reference point on where our life should be geared towards. Bottomline and as a guiding principle, our time should be spent largely and with most quality, on what we have defined as our non negotiables.

4. Make peace with your choices. – Let go of the what if’s and the should’ve, would’ve, could’ves of the world. There are less important things we sometimes need to let go of, so we can give more time for what truly matters to us. And we live with these choices.

5. Recognize and accept that it’s a journey. – There are good days, and there will be bad days. There are days where in we have to spend 12 hours at work, sacrifice traveling for an equally important passion, or even give up running the marathon altogether. But it doesn’t mean life sucks, or we’ve lost it completely. We have to remember that life is a journey, and so is finding balance. We have to embrace even the tough days, because these hard moments define the truth in our choices. They validate the importance of our priorities in life. And most importantly, they remind us to keep fighting for the people and things that truly matter to us.

Hope you find this article helpful. And truly hoping that like me, you’ll find this journey just as meaningful.

XX, Cath

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Since I’m a Libra (I was born in October), the balancing scales coincidentally also happen to be our Zodiac symbol. Hence, the strong inclination to always seek balance in my life.

 

Lifestyle Travel Travel Tips

Nothing But Basics!

November 14, 2015

I love basics! This mostly stems from how I always crave for simplification in almost all aspects of my life. Be it at work, traveling, fitness, and even down to what I wear – I always attempt to simplify the processes involved, while getting the best results. If you rummage through my closet, probably half of it is composed of basic white shirts and black tops. (The other half would be my gym and tri clothes from the olden days.) I think no matter the time, no matter the season, black and white always stay in style, just like a true classic!

So each time I travel, my go to clothes are mostly composed of white and black tops, which I mix and match with the classic blue jeans or maong shorts. This of course doesn’t mean I don’t own any printed or bright colored clothes, because I like a splash of color here and there. But I always tone down a louder shade with a basic black or white.

For my recent Autumn trip in Denmark, my love for basics super came in handy. It streamlined my clothing choices and saved a lot of space in my luggage. And hopefully I didn’t look so bad. 🙂

I brought a few white tops, but since it was quite cold, I had more black pieces with me. I did a lot of mix and match permutations with my clothes, but for these particular looks, what I used were my basic white and black long sleeve tops, classic blue jeans, winter boots and a couple of coats. Pretty basic! 🙂

A closer look at the white version. I have such a soft spot for white! ❄️

A closer look at the white version. I have such a soft spot for white! ❄️

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This is the black version of this look. Switching the white top for a darker shade, giving it a more Autumn- ish feel. 

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Since November in Copenhagen gets really cold, a thick coat is a must! But it also means, it’s layering season! 

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A closer look at layering and the coat details. 

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Love how a simple coat can change the look all together! ☺️

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There you have it, ladies! A couple of pretty basic black and white looks, with a touch of khaki and a bit of layering, to add that extra oomph to your classic style.

XX, Cath