january 2018 playlist

Jan 31, 2018

finesse (remix) // bruno mars x cardi b
curious // hayley kiyoko
wait // maroon 5
giants (tagalog version) // lights
despacito (mandarin version) // luis fonsi x jj lin
supernova // ansel elgort
don't call // lost kings
thorns (remix) // bonnie mckee x le youth

♥ what tunes did you kick off 2018 to? ♥

{Story Diary} Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra

Jan 23, 2018

YA set in college in the Philippines, featuring gods of Philippine mythology

interim goddess of love mina v. esguerra #romanceclassInterim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra
Older YA/College, Contemporary Romance, Philippine Mythological Element
April 21, 2012 from Createspace

College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn't know why everyone tells her their love problems. She's never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn't stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she's going to have to take on this responsibility -- but for all humanity.

The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It's a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world's obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.

While she's learning to do this goddess thing, she practices on the love troubles of shy Kathy, who's got a secret admirer on campus. Hannah's mission, should she choose to accept it, is to make sure that he's not a creepy stalker and they find their happily ever after -- or at least something that'll last until next semester. (As if she could refuse! The Sun God asked so nicely. And he's so, well, hot.)

Special edition containing the complete Interim Goddess of Love trilogy, a YA fantasy romance featuring gods of Philippine mythology.

Manila, Philippines

[Image Source]

Alabang, Philippines

[Image Source]

The original Goddess of Love went M.I.A., so Hannah is filling in as the interim goddess of love.

  • whenever someone summons her, and she chooses to honor them with her attention, they become hers (responsibility, I guess)

  • responsible for listening to people's romance woes, and her job is to make sure things happen as they should

  • has the ability to see people's memories

  • it's her duty to listen to people: receive requests, pleadings, demands, and her job was to decide what happens next

  • the goddess of love is called with a song

  • she could decide in your fate in less than a second

  • she could listen to the hearts of all the world's people and pass judgement on every request in the same moment, something the interim goddess of love (Hannah) is bound by the laws of time and space

Quin has magical abilities as the sun god of the Tagalogs, but his main focus here is to mentor Hannah in her newly appointed duties.

  • has the ability to levitate or mold objects, which also results in projection of lights from the palms of his hands

  • can multitask

  • probably other things that will be revealed in the second and third books

Diego is Quin's frienemy. Also the campus troublemaker.

  • abilities: unknown (as of yet)

  • has a hot temper, though

[Image Source]
Bathala is the Pantheon god of creation in ancient pre-colonial Philippine mythology. Also known as Abba, he is the highest-ranking deity, described as "may kapal sa lahat", the creator of everything. He is the caretaker of nature and the creatures of Earth. [more info]

He's only mentioned in this book, so we'll see if he has an appearance/role later in the trilogy.




Filipino food

interim goddess of love food collage


Tita = auntie
Ang Alamat ng Araw at Buwan = The Legend of the Sun and Moon
Barkada = group of friends; squad; gang

[Learn about the Legend of the Sun and the Moon here]


"Anything worth knowing is taught to kids first anyway."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Interim Goddess of Love (Loc 675)


Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance novels. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (minavesguerra.com), she documents her experiments in publishing.

When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, publisher, and publishing mentor. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” for writers and publishers, and #romanceclass for aspiring romance writers.

Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novellas won the Filipino Readers’ Choice awards for Chick Lit in 2012 (Fairy Tale Fail) and 2013 (That Kind of Guy).


**Unfortunately I think this is only sold in the trilogy set now**

sacramento women's march 2018

Jan 21, 2018

[collage of photos from march]

yesterday, january 20, was the second women's march and it was nothing short of inspiring and empowering. i marched and volunteered at our local women's march in sacramento with a few of my friends. last year we marched; this year we got involved to help support.

we marched alongside approximately ~36,000 people from southshide park all the way to the state capitol building steps, where advocates and immigrants had delivered inspiring speeches that uplifted and empowered women, condemned sexual assault/violence as well as racist and xenophobic policies, and called for people to vote this upcoming midterm elections.

huge thank you's to the organizers, speakers, advocates, attendees, volunteers, the city of sacramento, chp, and women's march sac for letting us volunteer to help out at the event. this monumental event was incredibly important to have our voices heard.

help the blue wave/tsunami gain momentum by flipping the seats locally with flippable.org and indivisible435.org. advocate, volunteer or donate. or just read their guides and explainers -- there are amazing resources that constituents can utilize if they want to get involved politically. let's grab 'em by the midterms.

♥ did you attend your local march? or see
some signs that went viral online? share
your favorites in the comments! i'm ready
for the next march. ♥

{minimalist kingdom} one year of minimal and mindful living

Jan 15, 2018

this month marks one year of mindful and intentional living (aka minimalism), and it's been a journey of learning, struggles, failures, falling back to old habits, progress and lessons. let me tell you guys, it's still a journey and a learning experience a year in. 

in a feature on the blog, i will be sharing about my journey and things i've learned since adopting the minimalist lifestyle. the good, the bad and the ugly failures. but i'll also share some tips that i've found helpful that will hopefully help some of you guys looking to venture into minimalism.

i hope you'll be following along this journey with me, and here's to improving in year 2. (hold me to this, guys. please.)

♥ what are your thoughts about minimalism?
would YOU try out minimalism? or are you
living the lifestyle? let me know in the comments! ♥

postcards from bali

last year in october, i joined a group of girls for a blogger retreat in bali, indonesia where we learned everything to know about blogging from hosting, coding, photo editing, web optimization, seo, marketing, design and monetizing your blog from three expert web developers who were our lovely hosts of this retreat. 

we spent 10 days learning, morning yoga-ing or meditating, growing, exploring, sweating (bali heat is so different than california heat), playing with monkey's, networking, learning a few indonesian and balinese words, coffee tasting and of course eating delicious food. 

places we explored:

  • ubud monkey forest
  • la laguna beach
  • watercress cafe
  • tegenungan waterfall
  • tegalalang rice terraces
  • milk and madu
  • ulun danu beratan temple
  • satria coffee plantation
  • kynd community (bali's famous smoothie bowls)
  • taman ayun temple
  • canggu sunday market
  • nalu bowls
  • pura taman saraswati temple

it was amazing to get to experience both this workshop and the beautiful island of bali, and i hope to put the skills and tools they taught us to use, and to also come back to bali on a vacation. there's so many more places in bali that i want to explore.

many thank you's to the wonderful hosts, cooks, drivers and bali locals who were so kind to us and showed us around and exposed us to the balinese culture and traditions. i will always remember and cherish this experience and your hospitality.

♥ have you ever been to bali or dream of going someday?
tell me about it in the comments below! ♥

{Story Diary} Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

f/f Rapunzel retelling novelette ♥

ripped pages m. hollis f/f sapphic rapunzel retelling #romanceclassRipped Pages by M. Hollis
Young Adult, Retelling, LGBTQ+, Novelette
September 22, 2017

Princess Valentina lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother's death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone.

Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.

Ripped Pages is a Rapunzel F/F retelling in the format of a novelette.

TW: emotional abuse; child abandonment; forced imprisonment; minor violence; trauma recovery

"They ran out of the room, hand in hand. Val followed Agnes without fear, knowing that from now on, her life would be an entirely new and wonderful adventure. Things wouldn't always be perfect, and happiness would sometimes feel like a distant fragile thing. But despite everything, she was ready to embrace this new life, glorious and unpredictable and finally hers."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 993)


Kingdom of Pouso Dourado

The home of Princess Valentina.
Belo Vale

Home of Princess Agnes, and Princess Val's new home.

"There were little houses with gray slated roofs all around, and at the end of the road, a large castle."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 624)

  • f/f romance between two princesses
  • Rapunzel retelling
  • Short but cute read
  • An undercover princess saves the princess from the tower
  • Prince charming doesn't exist here
  • One of the princesses is a reader/bibliophile
  • Queer main characters and QPOC secondary characters (kind of wish we saw more of them in the story though)
  • Accepting and tight-knit royal family (at least from Agnes' side) who welcomes Princess Valentina with open arms
  • Justice is served
  • Not only did Agnes save Val, but she also saved Val's books. All of them. No, you're crying.
  • The princess gets her dream girl
  • Adventures, road to healing, new life and happily ever after

ripped pages moodboard aesthetic ripped pages aesthetic moodboard


"One book caught her attention--a drawing of two women in a loving embrace on the cover. And it wasn't the only one; she found several more like it. Excited and eager, Valentina brought a pile to the floor and opened the first page.

In that story, it wasn't men who had adventures or saved the world, but women themselves. Valentina flipped the pages holding her breath, her eyes widening at every new word she read. There were girls kissing other girls! They could kiss whoever they wanted! And some people in the book didn't want to kiss anyone. There were even those who didn't call themselves men or women, but something else, something entirely their own."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 161-167)


"That night, Valentina sat down on her window ledge and gazed at the stars, wondering if she would ever be lucky enough to kiss a girl one day. She knew nothing in the world would ever make her happier--even seeing the world beyond her tower's walls."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 174)


"[P]age by page, these precious books were teaching her that she was worthy and the she deserves to be happy."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 181)


"Agnes.... Have you ever been in love?" she asked impulsively.

"Once or twice," Agnes answered. "I find people fascinating and easy to love."

"Do you love men?"

"I love men, women, and people who are neither or both at the same time. Why do you ask?"

"Because I think I can only love women. Is that wrong?" Val asked, thinking about how her father had been so insistent on marrying her off to a man.

She felt careful fingers on her chin. Val looked back at Agnes, and her eyes were full of compassion and understanding. "There is nothing wrong with you. Don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise, Val."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 410-418)


"I believe our hearts will always grow to love as many people as we can fit into our lives."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 454)


"There are so many. I don't think we'll be able to fit all of them in here," Agnes said coming in with another load of books in her arms, then left them on the table and turned to Val, looking insecure. "Was this all right? I remembered you mentioning how much you love them and felt we shouldn't throw them away."

--M. Hollis, Ripped Pages (Loc 929)

Agnes saved Val's books. My heart! She's a keeper.

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.




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