April 30, 2016

Cheap Coffee

Filed under: Food — Tags: — rvchua @ 11:40 am

I am justified by my weekly McDonald’s black coffee. There is a nearby Dunkin Donuts but they inexplicably don’t have coffee all the time. Is this review also applicable to iced coffee? Also does anyone deliver here some iced coffee? I am slowly dying in the heat!

April 28, 2016

Books I Have Read (April 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 7:07 am

1. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo – It feels good to read something gritty after several light murder mysteries. Actually exhilirating is the more apt description. I skipped yoga after work so I could finish this. Harry Hole is a bastard but I trust his instincts when it comes to murder. The bad thing is that this is the only Nesbo I have!

2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This is YA, right? The best way to describe this is an episode of SG1 + The Matrix + The Hunger Games + ancient Rome. It was filled with tropes but somehow worked well and were not to cheesy. There were some parts that I enjoyed but the book wasn’t that amazing that I would want to read the other two books of the trilogy.

3. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley – This was a short, sweet story however there were parts where the tone felt preachy or dated.

4. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor – A scifi fiction with genocide, weaponized rape, female circumcision and roles of men and women. Yes, it is not an easy read and can be disturbing. I thought it was set in contemporary Africa but the technology is different and no longer common. There were times that I didn’t understand the main character’s decisions, she is quick to anger, impulsive, etc. However this book is highly original and very readable and it will make you think for days.

5. Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld – I was more than a quarter into the book before I realized that I already read this. I forgot that the third book is Goliath (which I haven’t read) not Behemoth. Since I read this almost 6 years ago, it would be nice to read again. Did Alek discover that Daryl is actually Deryn? I can’t remember!

6. Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi – A very well written autobiography on her life, loves and food. My favorite parts are her childhood memories in India, especially those associated with food. Lakshimi has been very truthful about her relationships though her preferences made me wonder (wealthy, powerful, older men). Another interesting part of her life is her struggle with endometriosis, despite having access of the best doctors, she was diagnosed late and her reproductive system was already ravaged. It would be interesting to read the other side of the story,

7. The Nose by Nikolai Gogol – My first Gogol and I am not exactly sure if liked it or not.

8. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister – This seemed to take forever to finish however this is highly recommended for all women, particularly those who are single. It introduced me to some viewpoints that I have never considered before. Though the book focuses on the developments in the US, it is still applicable to all modern women in the world.

9. Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti, Marion Bolognese (Illustrations) – What is there not to like about books and food? Though I wasn’t completely blown away, I enjoyed it. I was putting off reading this because I was afraid to have food cravings in the middle of the night! Though I have read some of the books mentioned, I didn’t recall a lot of the food scenes. The only food scenes I remember in books are those in Haruki Murakami’s, though I don’t remember the details I am always fascinated that despite the weird happenings the main character always finds time to clean and make a simple meal. Also, I always remember when the characters go to Dunkin Donuts!

10. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – A well-written novel of first contact headed by Jesuits in a planet in Alpha Centauri. What seemed to be a series of events blessed by God eventually becomes doomed. The book touches about science, faith, linguistics, anthropology and family. Just reading it makes me understand why it won a lot of awards. There is a sequel but I am not interested to read it. When it was finally revealed what happened, I kept thinking about Star Trek’s Prime Directive.

April 19, 2016

This Is Not My Pilates

Filed under: Pilates — rvchua @ 12:12 pm

I don’t think I have done any of the moves in this video. If my first experience with Pilates was like this, I probably wouldn’t have come back. Now, I am trying to make Pilates a priority despite the hefty price tag.

April 13, 2016

5 Days in The Same Outfit

Filed under: Minimalism / Simplicity — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:43 pm

Much as I want to do something like this, it is simply impossible. I sweat a lot and sometimes I smell funky especially with the natural deodorant I have been using. Also, we are in the middle of El Nino wherein I am covered in sweat when I am just brushing my teeth. However I do wear my work pants 4x a week and nobody notices. In Pilates, I wear the same pants and use it during the weekend and then finally wash it before my next session.

The Art of Novellas

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:29 am

I have been seeing these minimalist Melville House covers of classic novellas in BookTube. I find them gorgeous and a good introduction to authors that I have never read. I want to start reading Russian Literature, Thomas Hardy, Honore de Balzac, etc. I can’t believe that I haven’t read Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and I need to read more Elizabeth Gaskell! Just as soon as I whittle down my current TBR to a manageable number or I can dedicate one whole month of just reading novellas!


April 11, 2016

Leftover Women

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rvchua @ 10:46 am

For all the women in the world who are being pressured to marry by their parents, family, friends and work colleagues.

April 7, 2016

Ube Cake!!! (AKA Birthday Wishes)

Filed under: Food — Tags: — rvchua @ 8:05 am


My birthday is more than a week from now. In 2013, I got sick with chicken pox and I had to share a cake with other office mates who also had birthdays in April. In 2014, I was in Japan and there was no celebration but fortunately I was part of someone’s farewell dinner. Last year I turned 40, I just went out for lunch with work colleagues and dinner with yoga friends. It was a bit sad for me, no great celebration at all.

However this time, I want to have my own birthday cake. Something huge, something decadent, something that I will eat until I get sick to my stomach! It can be chocolate, cookies and cream, mango or ube!

The Next Step

Filed under: Health, Pilates, Yoga — Tags: , — rvchua @ 5:39 am

If I had money and time, I would stick to Pilates and drop yoga. However I cannot afford P10,400 every couple of months, nor can I go the studio any time. I really love Pilates especially having one-on-one sessions. I can easily tell my teacher any pain I had, usually in the wrists, the shoulder or the hips. Then she would immediately try to address the situation, usually because a certain body part is sore. In the sessions that I had, I have never felt any pain though I usually feel my muscles working hard. I love that there is an intense focus of doing things correctly instead of like how high you can lift your leg. If you thought in yoga that you are discovering new muscles, in Pilates you easily feel your butt in just one move done less than 10 times!

In yoga, I really hate Warrior 1. I have to push my left hip forward and right hip back while engaging my back leg. My body instinctively screams in this pose. After doing Pilates, I find this pose unnatural for my body. Why does my hips and front knee hurt? Are we pushing the body to do the pose instead of adjusting the pose to the body? Is this a result of having a class that tries to accommodate a lot of people instead of catering to each person’s limitations? I used to hate being adjusted in yoga but with Pilates each adjustment is a joy. Relax the chest and shoulders, engage the abs, lower the sitz bones, lengthen, etc. Just with little adjustments, my body automatically knows what to do. Every move is done mindfully, with ease and effort at the same time.

Today is my last session. So what is the next step? I would like to incorporate more cardio in addition to Pilates because though I am getting stronger I have put on weight because of all the stress eating I have been doing. I am looking for an inexpensive gym that has an elliptical so my knees won’t hurt. The only option available if I go there before work is a little tricky in the commute. However that means another P1K+ per month and a new pair of sports shoes. Or I could just do 30-minute workouts at home every day! The thought makes me worried because I am very lazy. I only lasted one day in a previous experiment. I still need to plan this out because I simply cannot afford additional expenses. People who asked me how much I am paying for Pilates are immediately disappointed. I am using the money I have saved to pay for these classes and at the same time postponing the buying of a new iPad mini, expensive coffees and travel. Despite the sacrifices, I am determined to stick to Pilates as much as I can!

April 5, 2016

Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship

Filed under: Film — Tags: — rvchua @ 9:53 am

I cannot understand why I have never read Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan? This needs to be remedied as soon as possible despite having 30 books lined up in my TBR!

Expenses Monthly Analysis (March 2016)

Filed under: Food, Money, Yoga — Tags: , , — rvchua @ 12:23 am

I could have done without a couple of the purchases below especially with my credit card payment looming around the corner!

  • An H&M tshirt (P599) that said “My Everyday Tshirt”. Yes, I am planning to wear it as much as I can
  • A Happy Mooshi (P125) after a pilates session.
  • Finally bought a pail (P185) after being plagued with no water for several days.
  • Yoga class card 3+1 (P500).
  • Chocolates (P166.50) for my nieces
  • Ice cream (P100) for some work colleagues.
  • A bowl of shoyu ramen (P250) at Nonki.

I tried to do something healthy eating but I wasn’t able to sustain it for more than a week

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