Thursday, December 31, 2015

Love Letters: 16

Since Dane wrote a letter to her 16 year old self, I'm posting a letter I wrote to MY 16 year old self a couple years ago. :) Happy new Year Everyone! To 2016 and beyond!

Hi Aycs!

It's me, your super un-cool future self, at least based on your expectations and image of coolness at sixteen years old. I am twice your age and a year old right now and boy, have I been through a lot-YOU will go through a lot. Currently, I'm living in a three bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and my 8 year old daughter (Yes, you will have a daughter. Papa kept telling you to be safe, be careful, and even if you did listen, you weren't careful enough!-Anyway, she is a blessing and you will love her. Don't be scared!) but between then and now, a whole other lifetime took place. I don't even know where to begin.

Right now, your permanent state of mind is "Fuck the World", you feel no affiliation to anyone or anything, except your boyfriend and the few friends that are cool enough to be part of your life (equally troubled, by the looks of it) Interestingly enough, you will never like anything that is too ordinary or normal, so even when you snap out of this horrible way of viewing society, you will always gravitate to  people who, similarly, have the same deep rooted desire to be different and set themselves apart from the rest of the world, but in the future, it's to be unique and find your life purpose, and not just to hate everything, just because.

The way you view the world at this age is also very telling of the kind of guys you are going to be attracted to for the next few years. You don't need to apologize to me, I know where you were at. I just wish I was there for you from 16-26 so I could keep you out of trouble. The battle scars those years left still hurt on occasion, specially with one particular guy, whose own issues ran so deep, it's like he almost didn't have a choice but to dump it on you. He projected all his problems on you and made it seem like you were the crazy one. He treated you like dirt, called you dramatic when you cried and was so ice cold sometimes, you would find yourself apologizing for things that were HIS fault and for speaking your mind. I wish I could have taken your hand and run as far away as possible from there. You will become adamant about saying exactly what you feel after you leave this person, and you won't let anyone stifle you or leave you out to dry, at least not without a lot of noise.

You feel like the "bad" kid in your family right now. You know, the one always getting in trouble and never getting anything right. You play it off like you are some crazy rebel chick, but you are 16, and anyone 10 years older or more will know that all of these little antics you pull are part of a big cry for help. Mom and Papa knew that, so they found you someone you could talk to. Listen, you will think of yourself as this disappointing child way into your older years. I wish I could have told you at some point to stop blaming yourself and get passed the guilt, but it's something I shouldn't impose on you. You're a kid, after all. It's something though, that has never fully gone away, but really should. There are moments I find myself so angry I can't talk properly. Mom and I still don't know how to properly fight to this day. I think that whenever we start arguing, I morph back into YOU, but with the sound mind of a 30 + year old. When Mom starts pushing my buttons though, you, in all your childish glory, will eventually come out. I'm 33 now. I need to let go of you. I need to stop trying to please my parents. I am my own person. If they don't agree with my views, whether on marriage or religion or whatever else, well, tough on them. I can't go back to being you anymore every single time.

Everything you did from where you are at now to ten or so years later have made me come to the conclusion that:

- I can't make decisions. I'm always making the wrong ones.
-I cry too often, too easily. I'm too sensitive and emotional.
-It takes me a long time to let go of things and transitions and changes really take their toll on me.
-I can't commit to anything. It's too scary. Mostly because I'm such a bad judge of character and always end up with the wrong people.

Reading all of these right now, I realize, you know what I WAS a bad judge of character, I WAS indecisive, I WAS afraid to commit to anything, and you know what, there is nothing wrong with crying or being emotional (note: not emo)

But that isn't me anymore. I am not you anymore. I am not even my 20 year old self or my 29 year old self anymore. I CAN make decisions, It just takes me a long time, but once I have made them, I don't look back. I have no regrets. I still do cry often. I AM sensitive and emotional, but what's wrong with that? It's not being dramatic. I feel things- very strongly in fact, whether joy or pain, sadness or excitement. I'm not a stoic, and never will be. I can't hide how I feel, that is something that probably will never go away, but now, I realize that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

It takes me forever to let go...of places, people, experiences, but that's only because there is no such thing as half-assed for me. It's 100% or forget about it, so when things go wrong and people expect you to move on with lightning speed, well, I can't. I give a lot of myself in every relationship, situation, whatever, so it takes awhile to get it all back. I analyze to death, overthink, go back and forth over and over, but once I'm done, I am SO done. No looking back. I need to be kinder to myself. I am not crazy.

Lastly, I CAN commit. I have a million tattoos and a little girl, I don't see how much more committed I can be. This just goes hand in hand with my decision making- I need time. The more I am forced to, the less appealing it is to me.

So, 16. Here's the thing. I still have your smile, that mischievous glint in your eye, your crazy ideas, your taste in music and your presence, but if you survived through your issues, it's about time I get over them too. I haven't changed at all, and yet I've changed so much. Does that even make sense? So, what you say, 16? We're good right?

I never told you this, but I love you. You are awesome. Your life will be a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions, sometimes you'll be cruising, others you will be frantic, but you wouldn't have it any other way.

Chin up, little girl. I gotchu.

"Do not lose you”, and other things I wish I could have told my 16 year-old self

Don’t listen to them. You are not what they think of you.

You are not a burden, you are wanted, appreciated, loved - maybe not by those who you expect to accept you, but by those who chose to fall in love with your soul.

Be gentle with yourself, it is all you have.

Do not lose you. And if you do, find yourself. You are hiding behind emotional landmines, torrential rainstorms, waiting to be found. But don’t ask others to save you. They are busy saving themselves.

Speak freely, and without hesitation. Somebody should be telling you how much your voice is worth. Don’t quiet down. Listen, but listen also to yourself.

Breathe. The pain will remain, but over time your tears will dry faster. It is okay if you need time to heal, it is okay if you are a mess.. and stay a mess.. for a while. You have to know that that is okay. Do not rush your process. Breathe.

Trust your unfolding. Life, and people and society and expectations will try to mold you into a human being that no longer resembles you. Do not give in. You are you for a million and one reasons.

Be kind, even when they are unkind to you. You are not the one losing this battle. Your scars will light your way at night and teach you things others will never fathom. Learn. Even if you are tired.

Walk away from things. You need very little in life to survive – do not be held down by things you falsely think are vital to your being. If they no longer serve their purpose of contributing to your happiness, well-being or education, walk away. Do not offer up your time to things devoid of value to your soul.

Rest your mind amid the noise. Allow yourself to see clearly, even when things are running amok around you. Slow your mind down. Ease into your thinking. Decipher your emotions. Your anxiety does not own the rights to your peace-of-mind.

Love yourself first. You have nothing to offer the world when you do not see the beauty of the undying pitter-patter in the way your own heart beats for itself. You are not selfish, you are not self-absorbed. You are a fragile, furious, and free being, eyes full of silent thunder, hair wildly whipping in the weather changes, and heart bruised, battered and beautiful. Do not wait for happiness to come to you. It is already within you, in places you had forgotten you hid it, the day you decided to protect your little heart.

Monday, December 21, 2015

#ERICATRAVELS The Henry Hotel, Cebu

I've stayed at The Henry in Cebu several times in the past couple years and each experience has been great. I am always on the look out for more interesting and fun places to stay at and The Henry delivers on that front. 

First of all, I love how the floors are all varnished concrete, and even entering the lobby, you immediately get a taste of what to expect in the rest of the hotel. It has quirky decor and knick knacks that creates a sense of Organized Confusion, and I mean that in a very good way. It's almost like entering your cool friend's apartment, which makes you comfortable and at home right away.

Another thing I like is that the rooms are all different, so in the 3 times I have stayed at The Henry, I have never stayed in a room that looked like the last, which makes it quite exciting because aside from the size of the room, you never really know what you are going to get!

I'm also really into the graffiti on the walls. I'm big on street art and I love how it feels like a very posh warehouse that has been turned into a living space. Rica's, the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, has decent food and super cool decor. Think oversized tables and chairs and an extension to the industrial chic of the hotel.

Their pool isn't too big, but it's a nice cozy spot for guests. I find myself having breakfast outdoors when I'm there, as I don't have the luxury of doing so in Manila. Location-wise, I feel it is close enough to get to where I usually need to go, plus there are two really good restaurants just a stone's throw away- my fave French Bistro- TYMAD and an authentic Italian spot called Antica Osteria. 

I'm leaving for Paris in a little over two months, and I'm hoping to be able to go back to Cebu before I leave. Will definitely spend half my stay here again and the other half in Mactan. IF I come back after my studios, I'm considering moving to Cebu. Love this city! :)

    Address: Paseo Saturnino, Cebu City, Cebu

Monday, December 14, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra

As much as I like experimenting in the kitchen, I love simple, easy to make dishes. The thing is with me is that I can't just leave things as is, I need to put my own twist on it all the time, to brighten up the dish or to simply just update a classic.

Huevos Rotos is as simple as it can get, with ingredients being as simple as just fried potatoes and an over-easy egg, broken on top of them. A lot of the time in Spain, jamon or chorizo is also tossed in and it's a great meal with just some crusty bread.

My version has all of that, and then some. Here's what I did the other day when I wanted quick and easy comfort food.


3 medium sized potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on!)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 eggs
100 grams chistorra ( I got mine at Salcedo Market)
A drizzle of sour cream
1 tsp olive oil
few sprigs of fresh oregano
A cup of red wine ( I used bordeaux)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of one lime

How to:

  • Shallow Fry potatoes until crispy, about 10 minutes. Set aside
  • Saute onions and garlic, season to taste. Add chistorra.
  • Add oregano and sugar.
  • Add wine, 1/2 cup at a time, to deglaze
  • Remove from heat when all wine has evaporated.
  • Cook 2 eggs, over easy, set aside.
  • To assemble, Add fries to the chistorra and toss lightly. Add the two eggs on top, drizzle with sour cream and sprinkle with lime zest. Serve with crusty bread if you want :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shipping Cart: A new way to shop abroad

OK, so we all love looking at international shopping sites, but it's always been such a hassle to buy things because a lot of them require a US address, and unless you have a relative or friend who regularly goes back and forth between here and the States, it might be a long wait before you actually get what you order online.

There are some companies that offer US postal addresses for customers to use, which is the same as what Shipping Cart does, but the seemingly small, but actually large difference is this- they deliver straight to your doorstep, instead of you having to go to the post office ( where, let's face it, you sometimes end up paying SO much in taxes, it makes it not even worth it anymore)
So, my first purchase is on it's way- I ordered a bunch of stuff for me and Ananda on Amazon, so it's taking awhile for all of them to be shipped to my US address that was provided by Shipping Cart. But once it's all there, I can pay the shipping fee and it will be delivered to me in about 10 days ( it gives an estimate in your account)

I've been getting emails every time they receive any packages for me and it is put in my storage until I'm ready to have it shipped over. At the moment, I'm only waiting for 2 more things to arrive and I can finally have my goodies sent over to my house already.

Here are a couple things in my storage right now just waiting to be shipped:

Loving this Herschel Supply Co. Black and Brown Duffel bag. Perfect for weekend trips and as a carry on!

I got both this black blazer and a white version too! Want. them. NOW!

Will post another blog entry with my purchases after they arrive, and possibly with another purchase I plan to make. I'm thinking maybe accessories this time? Wait and see!

Instagram feed: @lbcshippingcart