February 2020 Gratitude

Feb 29, 2020

Gratitude is an important avenue for growth and part of self-care.
Here I share a peak into my monthly gratitude journal each month.

☾ Kind, good samaritans who are generous, like the one who was kind enough to offer to pay the difference at a grocery store after my debit card was blocked and kept getting declined. Bless that man.

☾ Mail-in ballots. They are super convenient and helpful for busy/odd working hours folks, as well as disabled, chronically ill, immunocompromised people to get their votes in. Also, curbside voting at the polls for disabled folks.

☾ Zicam, Emergen-C, ginger + turmeric soup, elderberries and electrolyte water to help prevent or shorten colds.

☾ Civic action orgs/movements that includes constituents or members of communities to volunteer/get involved in political activism, whether it be phone banking, registering voters, mailing postcards or canvassing.

☾ Libby and cloudLibrary. I know I mentioned Libby in a previous gratitude post, but I've also been utilizing the cloudLibrary app as well. Both have audiobooks and ebooks available via your library.

☾ Girl Scout cookie season. Samoas (aka Caramel Delights) are in the "god tier" category of the tiermaker tiers.

☾ Coworkers who bring bomb ass homemade food, candy/sweets, or delivers coffee for us at work. They're the real MVPs.

☾ Days off to rest, recharge, rejuvenate and read.

☾ No car insurance bill this month because there's no February 30th. It's a nice break before it renews next month and I'll have to start paying double the rate again due to my "new" used car. Yay.

☾ Beautiful sunny, warm days, blue skies and blooming flowers throughout the month.

☾ Occasionally finding good parking at work and getting to + from work safely.

♥ What are you grateful for this month? ♥

February 2020 Playlist

Feb 28, 2020


Know Your Worth // Khalid
Do Better // Lil Donald
Pretty Brown Skin // Diamond White
Be Okay // Jordan Fisher
Heartless // Diplo x Julia Michaels x Morgan Wallen
Reminds Me // Kim Petras
blocked // contradash
Forever // Justin Beiber x Post Molone x Clever
You Should Be Sad (Tiesto remix) // Halsey x Tiesto
Kinky // Kesha x Ke$ha
Only the Young // Taylor Swift
Power Trip // Klassy x Ruby Ibarra
Old Me // 5 Seconds of Summer
Lovers + Strangers // Starley
High Road // Kesha
Those Kinda Nights // Eminem x Ed Sheeran
Selfish // Madison Beer
Because Of You // Kodak Black
Love You Like I Used To // Russell Dickerson
Feel Me // Selena Gomez
Good in Goodbye // Madison Beer

♥ What did you listen to this month?
What are your favorites? ♥

{Watch, Read, & Listen} Gentefied, Say Her Name, Jordan Fisher

Feb 24, 2020

♥ watch, read & listen a weekly feature where we share and recommend
our current movie, book and music obsessions to you every monday. ♥

Watch: Gentefied on Netflix

Based on the digital series of the same title, Gentefied centers on three cousins who band together to keep their Grandfather's popular Boyle Heights taco shop in business as the neighborhood becomes more gentrified. Throughout the show's first season the cousins confront their differences in their connections to their community, their heritage, and their commitment to the family business, all while navigating larger themes of gentrification and the marginalization of Latinx's in America.

Starring: Karrie Martin, J.J. Soria, Carlos Santos,  Julissa Calderon, Annie Gonzalez, Joaquin Cosio

Read: Say Her Name by Zetta Elliot

Say her name and solemnly vow

Never to forget, or allow

Our sisters’ lives to be erased;

Their presence cannot be replaced.

This senseless slaughter must stop now.

Award-winning author Zetta Elliott engages poets from the past two centuries to create a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls. Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists championing the Black Lives Matter cause. This compelling collection reveals the beauty, danger, and magic found at the intersection of race and gender.

Listen: Be Okay -- Jordan Fisher

{Story Diary} East Flows The River by Michelle Kan

Feb 19, 2020

Happy Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week!! In honor of Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, Michelle Kan released her Aromantic Chinese fairytale, East Flows The River. Though it's a novella, it's still my favorite read of 2020 so far and my favorite of her work. To celebrate in a small way, I created a (non-spoilery) Story Diary post for East Flows The River.

east flows the river michelle kan aro chinese rep
East Flows The River by Michelle Kan
Fantasy, Novella
LGBTQ+ (Aromantic rep), Asian (Chinese) rep
February 15, 2020

A Maiden, a Fox, and a long journey home.

Ties that bridge rivers, dreams that touch Heaven, and the magic of the places we call Home.

(In which a Heavenly Maiden and a Fox Spirit search for the places they belong.)

An Aromantic Chinese Fairytale.

East Sea

"At the end of the River lies the Eastern Sea," the Maiden began. "The great blue expanse that signals the edge of the world. Therein lies the palace of the Dragon King of the East Sea, the sovereign of its swells and storms, and God of the clouds and rains."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

The East Sea is one of the Four Seas that make up the boundaries of ancient China. In Chinese folklore, East Sea is the palace of the Dragon King of the East Sea, Ao Guang, who is responsible for the storms and tides. Kan does a beautiful job of seamlessly weaving the Dragon King folklore into East Flows The River.

Learn more about the legends of the Dragon King folklore on Mythopedia. Or if there are better and accurate resources, please leave a link in the comments below! :)

Righteous God of Blessings and Virtue

"But even the most seasoned of travellers need places to rest. Especially one as generous as the God of Blessing and Virtue."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

The Righteous God of Virtue and Blessing, formal name Fu De Zheng Shen, is a god of prosperity and wealth in Chinese folklore.

Chinese Lunar New Year

[Image Source]

From the author's acknowledgements in the back of the book:


"There are fifteen days in the Chinese Lunar New Year. Each of them serves a different purpose and has its own distinct traditions, and I've woven these traditions into the fabric of this story. While the Chinese Lunar is best known abroad for its more lively festivities, the final day of traditional celebrations is marked by a more subdued affair -- the Lantern Festival.

In the Lantern Festival, families hang colourful paper lanterns outside their doors as a way to lead wayward spirits home and invite good luck for the New Year. It is a day to welcome the Gods and acknowledge your ancestors, but most importantly, it is a day for reunion and for family."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River


east flows the river michelle kan moodboard aesthetic 

"Once, there were many Weaving Girls. They lived and worked together in harmony, weaving day after day in perfect contentment. They never longed for more than the felicity of their endless weaving, and they never desired anything other than the comfort of their eternal Sisterhood."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

"There were tales about the River. Of how it had been present since the dawn of time and how it was the very blood of the earth itself. Of how it was the source of those mortal beings who called themselves men, and how it both gave life and stole it in equal measure."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

"All the sweetest fruit in the earthly realm cannot compare to the Peaches of Heaven," it said quietly. "And as my Lady can tell, our earthly counterparts are not even yet in season. But if she will accept a humble offering, please know that this represents my sincerest wish - that my Lady may find her way back home and reunited with her Sisters."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

"From the sash at her waist, the Maiden unfastened the small copper bell on its silken thread. It chimed sweetly as she fastened it around the Fox's neck, bronze and orange hues gleaming in he light of the sun.
"A gift for a fine Fox," she said. "For its hundredth year to come - and as my deepest gratitude for its guidance and company."
The Fox tried to pull away, whiskers bristling in embarrassment.
"Please, my Lady--"
"Neither the greenest of jade--"
"--there is no need--"
"--nor the sweetest of Peaches in Heaven could compare to the friendship that you have shown me, my friend. Please accept this as a symbol of my own appreciation."

--Michelle Kan, East Flows The River

The friendship between the Maiden and her Fox companion was strong and incredibly wholesome. This story focused a lot on their friendship as well as the Sisterhood between the Maiden and her Sisters.

Michelle Kan is an independent filmmaker/videographer, writer and artist based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa.

By day she runs Fish & Swallow Productions, an independent film and online content production studio dedicated to the documenting of arts/cultural events and the spotlighting of artists, creatives and other extraordinary individuals in and around Wellington and the rest of New Zealand.

When not behind the camera or editing footage, she's also a screenwriter and author of speculative fiction. A lifelong storyteller and creative writer, she specialises in creating dynamic urban fantasy and gentle Chinese fairytales – all told through an asexual and aromantic lens.

Not to be limited in her creative outlets, she's also a Chinese brush artist, drawing from traditional Chinese brush art techniques to produce both modern and traditional-style illustrations.

Michelle is passionate about the arts, exploring her cultural heritage through her creative output, and is a lover of graphic novels, video games, action/martial arts films and parkour – all profound influences which helped her shape the content that she likes to produce.

{Watch, Read, & Listen} P.S. I Still Love You, Yes No Maybe So, Only the Young

Feb 17, 2020

♥ watch, read & listen a weekly feature where we share and recommend
our current movie, book and music obsessions to you every monday. ♥

Watch: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

Sequel to Netflix's To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Lara Jean is officially Peter’s girlfriend, so everything should be perfect, right? But feelings grow complicated when an old crush reenters her life.

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher, Anna Cathart, John Corbett, Holland Taylor

Read: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

Listen: Only the Young -- Taylor Swift

{Story Diary} Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Feb 11, 2020

fairy tale fail mina v. esguerra #romanceclass contemporary romance
Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra
Contemporary Romance, Filipino Lit
April 17, 2010

Ellie Manuel is a hopeless romantic, stuck in a cubicle all day. She's in her twenties and should be having more fun. But instead of doing what she really wants, like traveling wherever her Philippine passport can take her, she's hung up on the guy who dumped her for not being "ambitious enough." Someone should tell her that there are other cool guys -- who probably even eat at the same office cafeteria! -- who would encourage her just to be her fabulous self.

FAIRY TALE FAIL won the 2012 Filipino Readers' Choice award for Chick Lit. Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.

"Maybe the only things worth having are the ones you fight for." "Or maybe," Lucas said, "The person who tests you three times isn't Prince Charming, but the Evil Queen in disguise."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Fairy Tale Fail (Loc 778)

South Metro Manila, Philippines 

[This image is actually of Southeast Metro Manila | Image Source]

The story is set in Manila, where the characters work and live, but the main character Ellie is a wanderlust who travels as often as she can.

Bangkok, Thailand 

[Image Source]

Greenbelt, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines 

[Image Source]

Greenbelt is a shopping mall at the Ayala Center in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.

A large part of the Philippines are Catholic, and they practice many of the Catholic traditions. Note: catholic traditions are practiced differently in different parts of the world. This is how it's practiced in Philippines or by Filipino families abroad.

Holy Week

A catholic holiday that starts on Palm Sunday, which people who celebrates go to mass to remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Readings of religious texts is a tradition that starts after mass on Palm Sunday and typically ends on Good Friday.

Visita Iglesia

"The Visita Iglesia (church visits during Holy Week) was a family tradition for me; Don and I had that in common."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Fairy Tale Fail (Loc 197)

A catholic tradition that is practiced in different ways in other regions around the world. In Philippines, the general practice is to visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and recite the Stations of the Cross. The more devout would double it to fourteen church visits carrying a cross, while the elderly would visit one or two. In recent times, most pray only two stations per church.

Maundy Thursday

A catholic holy day that falls on the Thursday before Easter, also (often) called Holy Thursday, and is the fifth day of Holy Week between Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. It commemorates the Maundy and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the apostles.

Barkada: group of friends; clique; gang; squad
Kuya: older brother
Tita: auntie
Yaya: nanny; caretaker
Ate: sister
Tangina (depends on the context of how it is used): a slang short for "putang ina" which translates to "your mother is a wh*re" or "f*ck you"; or an expression used in surprise or excitement.

Tuk-tuk: a 3-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi

[Bulalo | Image Source]

Favorite Quotes

"Some people had one large group of friends, and that was all they needed. I, on the other hand, had many small circles of friends. High school friends, college blockmates, college orgmates, cousins, friends from my first job, the barkada from my current job. These groups all had different personalities--and sometimes I was in the mood for one group and not another."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Fairy Tale Fail (Loc 311)
"What I'm saying," Lucas said, clearing his throat, "is that being friends with someone doesn't mean they'll always be loyal to you. Or that they'll always be the kind of person you knew."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Fairy Tale Fail (Loc 769)
"Really, people should leave us brokenhearted folk alone and stop trying to fix us. We healed on our own time."

--Mina V. Esguerra, Fairy Tale Fail (Loc 966)

Meet Mina V. Esguerra

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).

Purchase Fairy Tale Fail


{Watch, Read, & Listen} Just Mercy, Black Girl Unlimited, Khalid

Feb 10, 2020

♥ watch, read & listen a weekly feature where we share and recommend
our current movie, book and music obsessions to you every monday. ♥

Watch: Just Mercy

World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

A powerful and thought-provoking true-story, "Just Mercy" follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan might have had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson.) One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx,) who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds-and the system-stacked against them.

Based on a true story and adapted from Bryan Stevenson's bestselling book Just Mercy.

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Jacinte Blankenship, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Bryan G. Stevenson

Read: Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.

A powerful memoir for fans of Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson and American Street by Ibi Zoboi.

Listen: Know Your Worth -- Khalid x Disclosure 

January 2020

Feb 3, 2020


☾ We got a whole ass $1 raise at work -- that, on top of tips and opportunities to climb up to higher levels + pay increases.

☾ Dad and brothers birthday. It was a small, jointed occasion but it was very Star Wars filled. And filled with pancit and delicious desserts.

☾ This month was a particularly (and delightfully) sunny and dry month. After December gloom, it was a nice, welcome break to see the beautiful blue skies. It was also deceitful because it was still cold and windy.

☾ Donating and sharing donation links for those affected by the Australian wildfires.

☾ After the holidays, I fell off track of minimalism, but I did a no-buy month to jolt me back into minimalism and its helped financially and clutter-wise.

☾ Pizza party at work and managers bringing us coffee was very much appreciated as well as much needed.

☾ Finally got my car fixed (fingers crossed it lasts this time) and my tires balanced and rotated.


  • Waiting forever (a week too long) to finally get my car fixed. Driving to work and back everyday, pouring distilled water in my engine everyday and breaking down on the side of the highway once was dangerous and stressful to say the least. Don't do it, kids.
  • Got into my first book slump of the year, but luckily it didn't last long.
  • Majority of the parking near my work is restricted (at least until 5pm) by PG&E which makes the already limited parking even harder to find.
  • With the pay increase + tips we make, I might make more than Medi-Cal allows to be on their insurance, so I might lose Medi-Cal and thus will have to apply for ACA. More paperwork, yay -said no one ever.
  • Mom and I got into an argument that fractured our relationship a bit but we're working through it to build a better, stronger and healthier relationship.

What I Read


Poems I Sleep Next To by Shelby Eileen
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Loveboat, Taipei by Aigail Hing Wen
Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
The Wolf Queen by Cerece Rennie Murphy
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically by Peter Singer
Resist: Tales from a Future Worth Fighting Against by Hugh Howey + more
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
You Too? by Janet Gurtler + more
The Offerings: A Novel by Michael ByungJu Kim

What I Listened To


2020 // Great Good Fine Ok
you should be sad // Halsey
Me & You Together Song // The 1975
Changes // Lauv
me & ur ghost // blackbear
Still Learning // Halsey
Underdog // Alicia Keys
Cut You Off // Selena Gomez
Healing // Camden Cox
Queen // Loren Gray
Renegade // Niykee Heaton
Black Swan // BTS
Paranoid // ASHS
Catching Feelings (remix) // Inigo Pascual x Moophs x Ruby Ibarra x Dennis Blaze

[more in my january 2020 playlist post]


I worked a lot and was going through personal stuff so unfortunately no adventures this month.
Check back next month for San Francisco adventures.

Posts This Month

Intentions for 2020

Current Makeup Faves

I Tried 5 Online Personality Tests and Here's What I Learned

January 2020 Playlist

January 2020 Gratitude Journal

Looking forward to in February

  • My lola (grandma) comes back home from Philippines!
  • A coworker says he's going to bring us chocolate on Valentine's Day, so we'll see if he was serious.
  • Exploring and getting back into photography and will hopefully share on the blog. Start planning on shifting my blog to a more microblog in the sense of less words and more pictures/images/graphics.
  • Volunteering again and rejoin people power movements to canvass and phone bank voters, especially since our local elections are coming up.

♥ How'd the first month of the new year/decade go for you?
Share your recaps in the comments! ♥
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