Sunday, February 18, 2018

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone!

Just a little update.

I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months already and I feel like my hair is getting dry now. Getting a haircut here in Germany is expensive (compared to the Philippines) and since I only want to trim the ends, I just decided to cut my own hair. I usually cut my bangs but this is the first time I cut all the ends. I probably cut 1-2 inches. My hair in the "after" picture seemed like it's not yet cut properly so I made some more cuts just to even out everything but the end result is almost the same - shoulder length with a bit of layering (though it's not really layered as to what they do in the salons). All in all, it's a new and nice experience and I feel that I actually did a pretty good job.

As usual, the struggle is real with acne. I'm in my thirties already, but my acne still persists. I'm not sure if it's hormonal or due to the food I eat or my lack of enough sleep or my lifestyle in general. Maybe it's all of the above plus genetics. Huhu. So I ordered the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask and Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. I've been seeing a lot of good reviews in Youtube about this calcium bentonite clay combined with apple cider vinegar. I've been using it for three consecutive nights already.

So these pictures were taken last night (my third night of using the said mask). The first one was right after I put the mask and the second one was after about 30 minutes and as you can see, the mask was starting to dry up and crack and it felt like my face was being pulled inside (I don't know if it's the right term though) but it's probably the "pulsating" effect of the mask, which is written on the label. After washing my face with warm water, it feels clean and there's no tightening after effect which I experienced from other masks. I've been warned that it's drying so I usually put serum and moisturizer after. There's really no striking effects yet but I can see that some of my pimples are starting to get dry now. But let's see what happens after some more uses. Hoping to do a proper review maybe after 2 months.

And lastly, I just want to share some of the products that I've used up completely (aka empties). Since I am now trying to live a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle, it's important for me to make sure that I don't waste a lot products and to maximize everything that I buy. So here, you can see my lip balm, which is one of my favorites. I got it when I was still in the Philippines and I'm just happy I finally finished using it. There's also my favorite hydrating serum from Avène, which I would have to repurchase tomorrow. And my favorite Pilot pen, which I had when I was still in the Philippines. I remember when I was younger, I didn't really get to finish the ink in my pen because my pens either got lost or I get a new one and I just didn't like to use the old ones. Now that I look back, I can just imagine how wasteful I was. But it's never too late to start anew, and I'm just proud I get to use my pen up to the last drop of ink. Haha!




Sunday, February 11, 2018

Berlin: LUMAS The Liberation of Art

Two weeks ago, I had a workshop in Berlin with other PhD students (five days spent learning and discussing important topics). Our free times were only during the evenings and on the 1st of February, we joined a walking tour in Berlin.

Our first stop was an art gallery called LUMAS. The exhibit was of modern and urban photo art. I am not an expert when it comes to artsy stuff but I have to say that the artworks are rich in color and dimension. I actually did not expect it to be like that because somehow, modern, specifically urban art, doesn't have that much appeal to me compared to paintings of the olden times (Romantic era). But seeing all the artworks in the LUMAS gallery, I am now dreaming of owning one or more and putting them in my future house.

Took a few snaps and look at how gorgeous those artworks are.







If you want to see more of the artworks, you can visit their website here.

*all images taken by me

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Day 5 of Social Media Detox

Just dropping by for a quick update.

It's been five days already since I deactivated my facebook, messenger, and instagram. Yay! So far, so good! It's hard on the first day but the next days weren't so bad as I thought they would be.

However, it's been four days already of me being stressed out with my project proposal. The first two days were actually spent feeling like in a limbo - it was difficult to find focus and gain momentum in writing, been reading scientific articles but nothing comes to mind when I tried to write. The third day was the start of finding the light I needed. Slowly, ideas came up and I began to start writing until the wee hours of the morning (slept at 3:30 am). The fourth day, which was today, I felt stuck again. There's not much of an improvement. My mind is so slow in developing and paraphrasing sentences. I miss the time during my undergraduate years when I can just compose and finish a paper overnight.

With all the stress I am facing now (hello to my zombie self with bloodshot eyes) and remembering my New Year's thought that I'd be kinder to myself, I decided to have dinner in a Thai restaurant (aka date with my self). Ordered pad thai, which was so delicious, and peppermint tea to calm my senses. I have to say I'm quite lucky because the tea wasn't in a tea bag, instead it's made of fresh peppermint leaves!


I am now back in my apartment and just had a cup of coffee to get me through the night. I just hope that I can finally finish my project proposal (starting to actually get teary-eyed now).

To the person (or people) who get to see this blog, I hope your 2018 is off to a great start!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

12 Things To Do This Year

Since this is the start of the year, aside from my new year's resolutions, I also wanted to make a list of things that will make my 2018 special. I've been here in Germany for five months already and I feel like I haven't really explored much this very own city that I live in. So, the plan is to make or do something new every month.

Here's it is (in no particular order):
  1. Join a city tour and learn a thing or two about Cologne
  2. Visit a museum (or several museums) and immerse myself in art and/or history
  3. Watch a musical (preferably in English)
  4. Watch a German movie
  5. Watch a live concert of my favorite artist/s
  6. Eat in a restaurant serving German cuisine
  7. Join a sports activity
  8. Enroll in a German language course
  9. Go to a vineyard
  10. *still thinking of what to put here*
  11. *still thinking of what to put here*
  12. *still thinking of what to put here*

P.S. Will update this once I have some ideas for numbers 10 to 12.

-Day 1 done for my social media fasting. Been checking my phone from time to time but there's really no notifications to check. Let's see how far I will go.

-Also, another big goal for me this year is to pay off my credit card debt, the target time being the first quarter of this year. I'm hoping to welcome the spring season debt-free.

Life Updates and Social Media Fasting

I have always wanted to change/update the layout of my blog but I never got the chance to do it...until yesterday. Surprisingly, Blogger has new themes (though I feel like they've been here for quite a while now, I just hadn't explored them). I actually wanted to get a customized theme from the sellers out there but for now, I'm fine with this Blogger theme.

Anyway, on other life updates - Someone just turned 31 three days ago! Thirty one!!! I, actually, don't know how to react. It was just a normal day at work. I only told my birthday to one person in the lab. It was also hidden from facebook but there were a few who greeted me on my wall and in messenger. In the afternoon, it was nice to find a muffin with a birthday candle on my table. Apparently, the only person who knew it bought it and told two of my colleagues. They greeted me a happy birthday, I get to make a wish and blow the candle, and we talked about getting old/being matured.

So to start with my resolutions with regards to spending less time on social media, last night I deactivated my facebook and instagram and left another app. I also uninstalled them in my phone just so I wouldn't be tempted to login in them again. These are all, of course, just temporary. I just wanted to feel what it is like living without them, like the way life used to be, because sometimes it can be suffocating. And I also just want to just focus on more important matters (e.g. writing my project proposal) and basically, just to declutter my life. Let's just say I am currently having a social media fasting.

Here's a TED talk discussing the things, social media-wise, that I am aiming for this year. So if you're also interested, have a look and maybe you'll also get inspired.

And another goal is to write more here. 2017 got the all-time low in the number of blog entries so I'm hoping I get to do a better job this year.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Resolutions for 2018

Hello 2018! You've come so fast and it's already the 3rd day of the year!!!

Just dropping by to share my resolutions for this year.

Disclaimer: These things may sound easy and very basic but I feel like I've been neglecting them for such a long time already.

Now that I'm getting older, I really want to focus on living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Drink 2 Li of water everyday
  • Be mindful of proper posture (eg. sit up and stand up straight)
  • Have 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday
  • Cook healthy meals more often
  • Spend less time facebooking and instagramming...but
  • Blog more (compared to 2017)
  • Meet new people in person and make friends
  • Spend less and save more
  • Be organized
  • Avoid procrastination and cramming

 Hoping that we all have a wonderful and blessed new year! 


Images from here

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hamburg

Hello again! So, while waiting for New Year's Eve, which is just 3 hours away, I want to make use of my time now to write some more here. Bawi bawi rin pag may time! =)

The day after Christmas, me and my friend went to Hamburg. It was my first time and it's nice to be able to see a new city in Germany. It's vibe is a lot different from Cologne. The buildings are bigger and taller and the roads, wider. But then again, each city has its own charm.

What I love here in Europe are the architectural designs of old buildings and how well-preserved they are. Just look at the building pictured below, the Hamburg Rathaus (City Hall). It looks so good from afar but the details are especially captivating when you're nearer.









We joined a two-hour walking tour discussing the history of Hamburg. Even though it was a bit rainy and the wind was blowing strong (since Hamburg is a port city, its location is near the open waters), it was all worth it listening and learning some historical events that happened in Hamburg.




The inside of St. Michael's church is stunning! The white and gold colors brightens the surroundings. It's not very big and I think the size is perfect for an intimate wedding. There's even a big organ opposite the altar.

After the tour, me and my friend met up with a fellow Filipino scholar. The three of us came from the same university. The two of them were batchmates and I'm a year older than them. We had lunch in a cafe and talked about our experiences. And it's really nice to hear something new or a different way of dealing with things because it widens your perspective in life.


First Christmas in Germany

I hope you had a wonderful time spending the holidays with your loved ones. As for me, I know this is late, but let me share how my first Christmas here in Germany went.

On the 24th, I traveled to Oldenburg, a quaint city in the northern part of Germany, where I'd be spending the next coming days visiting a friend and nearby places. The travel time from Cologne to Oldenburg is approximately 4 and a half hours by train (including a 37-minute waiting and change of train in Bremen). I arrived at 4:30 pm but it's already starting to get dark. Since the time in Philippines is several hours ahead of Germany, we spent time chatting with our own families online before having dinner. For our Christmas dinner, she prepared spaghetti and lumpiang shanghai. It's just a simple celebration. We also had an exchange gift and I got some comfy/warm socks and a candle, which is perfect because it gets really cold in my apartment.

Christmas day was spent just eating and staying in the apartment. But late in the afternoon, we decided to get out and breathe some fresh air. We just walked from her apartment to the city center. On the way, we passed by a cemetery and decided to have a look at it. How ironic that it's Christmas and we're in a cemetery but my heart melted when I saw people visiting the graves of their loved ones. I also noticed that there were candles and fresh flowers in many of the graves, which just shows that the love for our departed family members and friends never ends, even after they are long gone.

We, then, passed by several houses and apartments. What I like about Oldenburg is that the buildings are separate from one another. The houses have big lawns and gardens. It's refreshing to see a sight like that because Cologne can be a bit crowded and rarely do you see apartments with gardens. Upon arriving in the city center, we're lucky to find an open cafe. Yes, it is open on Christmas day! It's cozy and warm and it's just nice to sit there with a cup of macchiato. After keeping warm, we had our energy back and walked around the shops and, snapped some photos.













At the end of the day, I realized that nothing beats spending Christmas with family but I'm also thankful that even though I'm in a foreign country, I was still able to spend it with someone.

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone! Just a little update. I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months alrea...