March 24, 2015

Discovering Booktube

Filed under: Books, Web/Tech — Tags: , — rvchua @ 5:41 am

I usually get my book recommendations from goodreads but late last year I have started to watch a lot of YouTube videos about books. People who make these videos are usually called booktubers. I loved the videos where they listed the best books of 2014 which has prompted me to put some titles in my to-be-read list. Other videos are usually book hauls, book reviews, book wrap ups, unboxing, etc. There are booktubers who only read YA but I prefer those with diverse reading backgrounds. I want to read more scifi, more literary fiction, more graphic novels.

Though I hear the usual authors (Atwood, Sanderson, Murakami, etc), booktubers have made me aware of new authors. One such heavily mentioned name is Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I haven’t read any of her works which include Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah. She also gave a 2012 TEDx talk called “We should all be feminists.”

March 23, 2015

Intriguing Woman#3: Hatshepsut

Filed under: Books, Uncategorized — Tags: , — rvchua @ 11:51 pm

HatshepsutHatshepsut is one of the rare female pharaohs of Egypt, she is not a queen like Cleopatra. Some statues of Hatshepsut show her in typical pharaoh regalia: the head cloth with uraeus, false beard and kilt. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I, the wife of Thutmose II and co-regent with Thutmose III. She was already a powerful woman during her father’s reign. She ruled Egypt for around 21 prosperous years until her death from bone cancer in her 50s.









Egyptologist Kara Cooney wrote her biography in The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt.



March 20, 2015

Intriguing Woman#2: Jiang Qing

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 4:57 am

516px-Mao_and_Jiang_Qing_1946An actress who was also a member of the Chinese Communist Party and in her third marriage became the fourth and last wife of Mao Zedong. Jiang Qing is infamously known as one of The Gang of Four who controlled China during Mao’s latter years. After Mao’s death, she was arrested and condemned to death but the sentence was lessened to life imprisonment. She later committed suicide in 1991 after learning she had throat cancer.

Anchee Min’s Becoming Madame Mao is a fictionalized account of her life. I don’t know if there is another novel about Jiang Qing’s life.

March 19, 2015

How Is Your Health?

Filed under: Health — rvchua @ 11:18 pm

There were free medical tests at the office yesterday. These are my results:

  • BMI – 22.8 (normal weight is 18.5 – 23.9)
  • Blood Sugar – 140 (normal is ≤ 140)
  • Cholesterol – 162 (normal is ≤ 200)

I had to recompute my BMI because my height and weight were all wrong. Also, we had the test right after our lunch so I am expecting my blood sugar & cholesterol to be actually lower.

Should I take another test to see if I need to see the level of my good and bad cholesterol? What other tests should I take?

Intriguing Woman#1: Empress Cixi

Filed under: Books — rvchua @ 11:58 am

This week I have been reading the wikipedia pages of 3 intriguing women. First one is Empress Cixi who at first was the concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor, then became the regent of her son the Tongzhi Emperor and her nephew the Guangxu Emperor. She was the most powerful person in China for 47 years. The Qing dynasty collapsed 3 years after her death with Puyi, the last Emperor of China (refer to Bernardo Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor with John Lone in the titular role).

Pearl S. Buck wrote a fictionalized biography of Empress Cixi. If it is accurate, I do not know but it would be an interesting read.

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March 16, 2015

A Budget Experiment

Filed under: Minimalism / Simplicity, Shopping — rvchua @ 4:31 am

To curb my junk food eating, I tried a food diary but only lasted for 1 week. I actually did it twice but I couldn’t commit. I tried limiting junk food to 3x a week but that completely derailed in a matter of days. This time instead of focusing on the junk food, I am focusing on the spending. I am hoping that by curbing on my expenses, I will have lesser money to buy any junk food.

So for the next 4 weeks, my budget is P500 from Mondays to Fridays and P500 for Saturdays & Sundays. So this means I will have only P100 per workday and P250 during the weekend. My budget will cover food, transportation and other small expenses. However it will not include rent, laundry, massage, donations, expensive toiletries and emergencies. This means that I will have to say no to paid yoga classes, so I will have to stick to YogaHub until October. I have no plans to buy any new shirts, pants or shoes so I am good in that area.

I tried the budget for the first time this Saturday when I was out the whole day for yoga and was hanging out at Ayala while waiting for my next class. My total for the day was P240.50 (not including rent and massage) wherein P85 was for an americano at J. Co. I could have said no to the choco drink after my Ashtanga class and I probably will not have a coffee every Saturday. I did better on Sunday where my expenses was only P140 but I will no longer get the 7 Eleven four seasons juice (too sweet) and the empanada at J. Centre mall food market (too oily and I did not like the crust).

Today is the first working day using this budget so this will be the real test! I plan to buy oatmeal so I can have that for breakfast and I will use up my stock of canned tuna. I will try to analyze each days expenses to see what I could improve or what I could have done without.

March 13, 2015

Spending Impulses and Habits

Filed under: Minimalism / Simplicity, Yoga — rvchua @ 7:13 am

LU9855S_7001_2I just wanted to carry home the grey Lululemon towel mat the moment I saw it at YogaHub. It was half the size of my current mat but 3x heavier. Also it was a hefty P5.8K but I managed to put it back on the shelf. Later on an important question popped in my head. How the heck do you clean a mat like that? Also because it is pale grey, it would have a tendency to get stains. I looked up online and while reading the instructions (it can be machine washed) I noticed a lot of negative comments on the towel mat. Thank goodness that I don’t part easily with my money. So I am going back to my plan of sticking with my current yoga mat until I see actual holes on it.

A few months back, I told myself that when I regularly go to YogaHub I would be buying new pants and shirt. However I changed my mind after my KL trip. I want to go back being a minimalist. I want to have a streamlined closet. I don’t want to waste money on new things when what I have is still perfectly usable. I don’t want to have too many multiples of one thing. So I am determined to stick to what I have until I see holes on my pants or shirt or if my sports bra no longer offers the support that I need.

This resolve is also extending to other parts of my life. I need to replace my tote bag because the lining has completely detached but I will not buy anything unless I found the right replacement. There will be no new shampoos and deodorants until I finish the ones I have even if I don’t like them that much. No new shoes though I am hankering for a pair of comfortable slipons and I still don’t know what to do with my cramped Sperry topsiders.

I have been analyzing my major expenses for the past 3 months. Most of it is going to eating out and coffee. The coffee was because I needed a place to hangout to read my book and wait for my next yoga class. So tomorrow I will look for that place. As for the eating out, I usually stick to cheap choices if I am alone but it is difficult when I am with friends. I think all the junk food I have been eating is costing me too but I am still stumped with how to get rid of that bad habit.

So why do I do this? A major reason is so I can easily book a flight without having to wait for a promo. I have my eye currently on Saigon, Bali or Nepal. Unfortunately no one is interested to go with me. My KL trip has woken my thirst for travel again.

March 11, 2015

Zoolander and Hansel in Valentino Runway

Filed under: Film — rvchua @ 1:14 pm

I never saw the movie but Zoolander and Hansel should be mandatory during Fashion Week!


March 9, 2015

Wrist Pain and Other Yogic Insights

Filed under: Yoga — rvchua @ 1:10 am

After suffering from wrist pain, I was hesitant taking just any yoga class. Last Tuesday the yoga teacher asked if anyone had any injury but hardly glanced at me when I tried to raise my hand. It was my first class with that teacher and I was busy concentrating on my modifications so I was able to zone out her cheesy playlist. The important thing was that I managed to finish the class with minimal wrist pain. Last week I was able to do 3 classes so I am ready to go back to a full schedule but will be protecting my right wrist as much as possible.

Last week I planned to do 3 weekday classes but in the end I was only able to do 2 since I kept having unproductive late afternoon meetings. I managed to join the 5:30PM class on Tuesday only because I skipped a meeting. That day my back was acting up and my wrist was starting to throb, I just needed to be far away from the office and the negativity. I tried to attend a class on Thursday but it was simply not possible. The weekend was completely different. There was no traffic, I was not in a hurry, I was able to enjoy my leisurely breakfast and people watch, I didn’t have any agenda except for yoga. I felt so peaceful after the turmoil of the workweek. On Saturday I managed even to snooze on the YogaHub couch while waiting for my early morning Ashtanga class. So this is the new game plan: maximize as much yoga on the weekends and take any opportunity to do yoga on weekdays.

On Wednesday, I accompanied Clarice to Yoga Tree Mactan Studio. The best advantage of that studio is how near it is to my home and office. But when the class doesn’t start on time and then runs over, it starts to get on my nerves. Also I need to hold in my pee until I reach home and there is still no real changing room. I won’t be worrying about those things for the moment since I hardly go there.

For the past 3 months I have a weekly Ashtanga practice with Jeanne. During this time I have learned to appreciate this type yoga which is known for being regimented, OC and strenuous. Ashtanga may be longer and have more postures and vinyasas but you appreciate the opportunities to rest during the standing and seated postures. Since you know what is going to follow, you know how to pace yourself so that you can always finish the class. It is only now with wrist pain that I have to discovered one of the purpose of padahastasana after doing 5 Surya As and 5 Surya Bs. I am still a long way of doing all the postures of the primary series, will a Mysore practice help?

After 1.5 years, I have learned to love hot yoga. I remember my first class in 2013 where I ended up with a beet red face and dripping in sweat. Now I don’t have a red face but instead my face looks brighter and clearer than usual. In a normal class I sweat a lot but in hot yoga I am not the only one so I don’t feel weird, actually people look at you differently if you don’t sweat. Now I am joining Jason’s hot yoga class every Sunday.

March 8, 2015

Boys of Yoga

Filed under: Yoga — rvchua @ 12:10 pm

We need to see more men do yoga!

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