Homemade Sugar Scrub

sugar body scrub

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Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

 

Hu hu! Said my piggy bank.

 

Sounds familiar?

 

Oh Yeah!

 

But it doesn’t have to be like that with a little imagination and a quick trip to the kitchen.

 

This is the frugal village girl guide to giving gifts for any occasion.

 

We don’t have to spend so much just to show the people we love how much they mean to us. Or worse, we don’t have to fall in debt.

 

With these very easy steps, I was able to whip up a lavish body scrub and gave everyone close to me a self-made Christmas present which spelled nothing but sweet.

 

Check out this sugar and cinnamon body scrub recipe which is very easy to make and left my skin smelling good and looking healthy.

 

You’ll only need:

 

Brown Sugar

Olive Oil

Cinnamon

Sealed jars

Stickers

Ribbons (or you can play on how you want it to be wrapped.)

 

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, pour 4 cups of sugar, 1 cup of olive oil and one teaspoon of cinnamon.  sugar body scrub
  2. Mix until you get your mixture preference. I like mine not so thick and not so oily.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop some on your hands to try. This is perfect for your feet, face and actually, all over your body. Just wash with a warm water after and you’ll feel the difference. I personally use this twice a week especially on a long tiring day. Perfect for busy moms and women who need quick fix for skin that needs deep exfoliation. I can say that it is one of the things I look forward to especially after a long tiring day. I am addicted to it especially the sweet cinnamon smell. Soft and radiant skin is one of the best gifts we can give to our loved ones. This is not just loved by my girlfriends but their husbands and kids too and I had to make them some more jars.sugar body scrub
  4. Using a spoon, you can now transfer your body scrub to a sealed jar. This has a very long shelf life. I’d say six months but I accidentally left one jar somewhere I haven’t seen and I was still able to use it after nearly two years. diy sugar scrubsugar body scrub

You can experiment with essential oils for different scents too.

 

I tried this with instant coffee and salt too and did the same wonders.

 

With ribbons and stickers, it is perfect for Christmas or any other occasion.

 

Please make sure to write the ingredients in one of the stickers or print them and then hang them as tags because we don’t know for sure if one has allergic reaction to any of the ingredients.

 

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DIY sugar scrub

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Midnight Thoughts: Dear Life, where are we going?

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Dear Diary,

 

It’s almost midnight and I’m oblivious to the fact that I’m grinding my teeth. My brain is on turbo again. Yes Diary. ADHD is attacking. Yes. At this hour.

I opened the window ignoring the cold winter wind from the river that brushed my entire upper body. In few seconds my face will go numb. One last puff I said. Yes diary. I smoked again. I don’t trust myself so much when it comes to swearing to never doing things again. One nasty habit I can’t get rid of. I’m guilty about not being sorry. It felt good. I need it.

 

Dear Life,

 

Where are we going?

 

Duh?! Of course Life doesn’t know. It only brings us to where we are supposed to be. Even Fate doesn’t have much say on this but I sense the connivance. They both know all along but won’t admit. Fate isn’t a spoiler though I wish sometimes it gives even a little clue and not leave me in such limbo.

 

This morning I woke up cursing like a seasoned sailor. Why am I doing what I am doing? Why am I here? Why did I allow myself to be in this? Will I be like them soon too? I felt alarmed. I want to fly back home ASAP though I have no clue where that is. My head is filled with too much “why’s” and I honestly was too hormonally emotional to be rational. I don’t want to think of answers that will put my brain on fire.

 

Again, I wanted to run so far away not even my thoughts can find me and I will be honest, I don’t know where that is anymore.

 

I remember getting off from the bus and seeing how beautiful this place really is. Then I realized I’m studying.

I need to learn what real life is all about. Easy as that and I was reminded how I secretly wished for this lesson to be taught to me. I know learning this way is more painful and heartbreaking. I chose this path to feel more alive then why am I complaining?

 

Because I felt uncomfortable? Because I felt out of place? “Go Danica! Pack your things and fly back home where it is nice and warm and sunny all year long. Give up on your dreams because they are too impossible to begin with. Give everyone who doubts you a reason to think they are really right to begin with!” It was like a song that played on repeat in my head. It was annoyingly insulting that I struggled too hard to shut it off. Yes. I bitchslapped the bullies in my head. It was hard but I won over it. Maybe next time they attack me I know damn well what to do. But am I the only one in this world who experiences this? Am I the only one who hasn’t figured it out? Am I the only one who hasn’t found which path is for me? Am I the only one who questions the tried and tested path?

 

Am I the only who hopelessly stare at my unread pile of books and swear not to buy again until I finish them all no matter how much I know why these books are still being unread? And that they failed to light me up and connect to my soul? Am I the only one who secretly hopes that one day, I can force myself to read them? Is saying I will stop buying books the same with saying that I don’t want to live anymore because just living without learning and evolving amounts to nothing? In this life where happiness is being frowned upon, what is right and what is wrong and who decides that they are right or wrong?

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Cambodia: Mishaps and Lessons Learned

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Let me pay for your meal.” the Canadian guy from the next table nicely offered when he heard the discussion I was having with the restaurant Manager.

 

They refused to accept my 50USD because I folded it. That’s my last dollar as I will fly back to Malaysia after lunch.” I replied almost shrinking.

 

Thank you. I will just use my card.” I tried to refuse.

 

It isn’t so expensive and international charge will be higher if you use your card.” he shrugged and gave the money to the manager. Danica, Never fold notes again! Or was I scammed?  

 

Thank you so much. If I’m not leaving now I would have offered to buy you coffee in return. Here, few Ringgits as souvenir.” I extended my arm to give him the bills and what was left of my Cambodian Riels. “I really need to leave now. Thank you so much. May the Lord always guide you and safe travels.” I continued and left like how they do it in the movies.

 

As I trudged my way out of the restaurant, I was wondering how I will pay for the Tuktuk ride back to the hotel. I only have some few crumpled Riels I intended to keep as souvenir for this trip and in case that the Tuktuk driver will accept my 50 US Dollars, will he have change? I need to catch a flight back to Malaysia. I have maybe less than an hour to pack before boarding. I can’t miss my flight. I should be working by the next day.

My brain was fuzzy and I am overthinking as I am about to wave to a Tuktuk driver waiting nearby.

 

Do you need a lift?” The Canadian was exiting out of the restaurant with an amused and warm smile.

 

Oh. No. I will take the Tuktuk.” Of course I needed a lift. I just couldn’t abuse his kindness was what I was thinking. Actually, more of pride.

 

Oh. Okay. Because I am headed home and maybe your hotel is on my way. I can give you a lift. Because how will you pay? I’m sure the driver doesn’t have the little machine to swipe your card.” Did he wink? Oh no! I am not travel romancing I told myself.

Hop in! My motorbike has still room for one.” He said and I couldn’t say that I might have a heart attack while on the motorbike but there is no time for this drama. I need to catch my plane and this is the fastest way. I didn’t think so much about the dress I was wearing and hopped on. Normally I will wonder where I will be holding but I immediately held on to his shoulders. Nope. I didn’t fantasize so much, just a little. On our way to the hotel and in between traffic, I learned that he is a teacher. He teaches Math and said that the pay wasn’t so much but it isn’t the point. I get what he means of course.

 

I said yes to this job offer in Malaysia even if my salary was already good in the Philippines. Money is not the point and will never be the point.

 

If we were flirting, it was really challenging. I can’t flirt shouting. I need to at least be lady-like. I didn’t have to tell him twice about the location of my hotel. It was also good that I remembered the street name. When we reached the street where my hotel was, he said that a colleague lives across the street. That explained why he knows the place so much not to mention the fact that he is an expat. 

 

I gave him the helmet as I hopped off his bike, said thanks quite a number of times mimicking my Japanese friend and walked back to the hotel. I have a flight back to Malaysia to catch and I still needed to pack. Overpack, I mean. 

 

 

I am the lousiest traveler I know. I just book flight, over pack and go. No over researching. No long planning. I just bring open mind and free spirit then I’m all set to go. No hassle, no drama, hence, perfect for a budding , solo traveler ADHD me. I’m confident that no matter how hard something is, I will figure it out.

I went to Cambodia having only Angkor Wat in mind to see. After all, I only have four days. I got the flight, 4 days and 3 nights with breakfast, hotel accommodation and airport transfers for 389 MYR (Malaysian Ringgits) (+16MYR debit card charge) or 91 USD. Air Asia Go is heart. I am just so lucky when it comes to promotions and deals and I know I just can’t let them pass no matter how broke I will be after that. I can’t give tips on how to become a frugal traveler because budgeting is not my forte. All I know is that I have enough therefore I’m fine. There are free drinks, coffee and biscuits in the office so I know I will not starve and we have swimming pool in the condo so I will not get bored. I don’t need much too.


Looking at all the pictures I took, I was like, what did I do? Crappy selfies are all I have. I wasn’t even able to capture a nice sunrise photo. I was too busy admiring and climbing the temples and was too caught up by the moment that I forgot I was holding a camera and a phone. Good thing though. I will not be able to say that it was a good trip if I will give a verdict based on those pictures. Because I remember, the moment I arrived at the hostel and saw bicycles, I hurriedly brought my bag to the room and even if I was still wearing a dress, I rented one right away and started pedaling my way to the unknown streets of Siem Reap not caring about the extremely hot weather and the worried look on the Tuktuk driver’s face. Suddenly I was not scared. As if I have known the place for a long time. As if I belong there.

I pedaled my way across and along unfamiliar Siem Reap roads. I turned and turned and smiled at strangers to their amusement and laughed loudly when I can’t remember the way back to the hostel. My soul knows the way. My heart was filled by immeasurable joy. It was bliss I never expected I will feel going solo. Thailand was practice, Cambodia was the test.

 

Before my trip, a friend already gave me a contact number of a Tuktuk driver she knows but airport transfers were included in this hotel and flight deal I booked so upon seeing the Tuktuk driver who picked me up from the airport, I said I will just hire him too. Normal price is $15 a day but I was able to get mine for $10 because I haggled like a maniac and he couldn’t speak English well. This worked well for me because I was able to really have my own experience of the city without anybody‘s biased opinion.

 

I was able to use my own senses. I took my time admiring everything I will lay my eyes on. Facts and all the other information can be googled anyway. I still can say I was on my own. I ended up tipping Mar, the tuktuk driver, $5 because he was such a sweetheart.

 

A friend already told me about the Tourist Pass but I still flinched when I was told that it costs $40 for 3 days and wanted to cry when on our way to Angkor Wat to witness the famous sunrise on my last day that it was missing. My jaw almost locked as I reluctantly handed another crisp 20USD bill only to find out later that my 3-day pass was stuck inside my crumpled scarf. Why did I have to bring a fooking scarf in Cambodia where the weather almost got me killed after climbing temples after temples under the biting heat of the sun? Danica!!!

 

Well, some lessons needed to be learned in the hardest way.

 

The first night I tried the night life. I went to the Night Market and Pub Street to try the night life and Khmer dishes and of course, beer. I travel for beers.

 

 

 

 

I saved Angkor Wat on my third day.

 

Mar called to wake me up at 4:30 am so I can catch the famous sunrise. It was worth the very early wake up call. I didn’t just feel like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider I also witnessed one of the most magnificent creations I have ever seen and nothing can replace that feeling. Not Prada. Not even LV.

 

I don’t have photos of this famous sunrise. 

Mar brought me to see the other temples after Angkor Wat.

We had lunch in one of the famous Khmer restaurants which I didn’t like because they have separate place for the drivers. It was so discriminating . I can’t even begin how I will describe the happiness I saw in Mar’s face when he told the waiter that I am allowing him to join me for lunch. It was clearly the first time he will be able to eat inside that restaurant. It was a simple gesture but meant a lot for Mar. Maybe that’s what Santa Klaus feels whenever he will give gifts to kids. It was an addicting feeling; travel addicting feeling.

 

   

 

We went back to the hotel after lunch. It was so hot to wander outside too.

After a long good nap, I realized 2 days are actually enough to see Siem Reap. Not just Siem Reap but cities in general. I realized that if I am not going to the beach, 48 hours in a place is enough.

 

I felt I needed a break from all the temples so I consulted google and found Tonle Sap Lake. I decided to go to the floating village. $6 for return tuktuk trip and $30 for the ticket which I thought was a rip off.

Siem Reap

 

But when I saw what was in that village, my heart was shattered to pieces. Residents build houses there because they can’t afford a parcel of land to build a normal house on. There is also a school for orphans whose parents died fishing in that lake.

 

I realized how lucky I am. I am blessed because my parents, though struggling, gave in to all my whims. Even gave me things even I don’t need and I am still ungrateful.

 

My life flashed in front of me. That same day, I promised I will stop whining and will be more thankful for the littlest blessing I will receive. It is indeed true that traveling makes one richer. In my case, it gave me heart.

 

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Why It’s Okay to be Unapologetically You: Self-Love Lessons Learned from Blogging

blogger lifestyle

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A Facebook message from a fellow blogger read something like:

 

Your website and articles are good but you must have a niche.”

 

I didn’t respond. I kept my one-blog-post-worth of answer in my head.

 

Having a niche will limit the scope of things I can talk about and really I don’t want to only be able to talk about one thing. I want to be able to talk about how I thought the clouds are following me when I was a child and that to be a mermaid was all I ever dreamt of no matter how much open water terrifies me.

 

I want to be able to talk about all the random little things.

 

I mean it’s okay to be able to just talk nonstop about one single topic and to create another blog that will talk about other things too but I didn’t want that.

 

I trust that if I have readers, they are well rounded individuals who can keep up and would also want to be able to let loose and dream freely.

 

I am sure that my readers, if I have any, also have thousands of random thoughts and I’m sure they want  to feel that it is normal. It is okay to be carried away by our daydreams.

 

Another goes like this:

 

Your article’s point is good and clear. I am an English teacher and it gives me headache to see misplaced punctuation marks and syntax errors. I don’t want to call your attention on this and make you ashamed about your writing by pointing out the mistakes but I want to help if you like and if it’s okay, I will copy the article from your website and proofread it. I will send you the edited version on Friday afternoon.”

 

I replied with so much gratitude. I am not so particularly strict when it comes to these punctuation marks and I am not a native English speaker neither so I’m sure that there will be a lot of mistakes. I just feel pure bliss when I write and I share it. Even if I have Yoast Plug in for SEO stuff, I still ignore it most of the time. I want to be able to write as I please. This is also why I feel so humbled when someone writes to me and comments on my post. Because I write as if no one will read it. I am now only writing for myself. If truth be told, I post and run. Writing became a very important part of my healing. Writing has helped me to disconnect. Writing has been a huge part of my personal growth and development.

 

A couple of Friday afternoons passed and I still didn’t receive the edited copy like what the Syntax expert promised. I would think that the message was just a spam but how can it be a spam when it was sent as a Facebook private message to my private Facebook account? I still want to think that she is a concerned citizen who wanted my grammar to be perfect for the world to see. Maybe the world’s entire problem depended on it. I should not think that she just wanted to remind me that my writing sucks. After all, I am open for criticism because that’s how I will improve.

 

You should be in New York and then London and then other countries.”

 

“But mine is not a travel blog.” I replied. Then no answer.

 

If I will be honest here, just traveling and nonstop exploring already lost its appeal to me. I want to be able to do something that has meaning. I want to be aligned with my truth. I want to be able to spend my life with purpose. I want a life that will allow me to be the person God has designed me to be.

 

Mark Manson, the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, was right. After traveling so much, a new country will not add so much value anymore.

In fact, being on the road since 2014 is tiring. It has started wearing me off. I just wanted to be at home whenever I can, feed my soul, grow some roots and be part of something with great value. I am still traveling, am I not? Slow travel that is. After all, what am I still running away from?

 

A Pinterest message included a link of a course on how to use Pinterest to generate income. The same person who wanted to help me with it sent it as I started it in July. She offered to be my Virtual Assistant for free in exchange for a review of her performance. I was deeply touched.

I am clueless about how it works and seeing other accounts made me really stressed and pressured. I was tempted to accept her offer but I realized how much learning I will miss if someone will do it for me.

 

While it will be incredible to have my passion the sole source of my income, I really wanted to learn everything I can from it.

 

I don’t want to skip anything.

 

I am willing to see what works and what doesn’t.

 

I know that I will feel it when I have reached a point where I will need extra pair of hands. I was tempted to take the course and other courses that promised to generate hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of dollars income. Again, I want to be able to say that I did something for myself. So I’m very happy to say that though I only earned 3.15 Euros on my third month of blogging, I feel like a millionaire. I am not in a hurry to earn money from it. To have a creative outlet for a hobby is more than okay and to be paid just one cent for doing it, I will be ecstatic!

Web Hosting

I might have only earned 3.15 Euros but it’s okay. I am enjoying the slow process of growth and with all the other things I have learned in my three months of blogging, I feel like I have won the lottery.

 

And most importantly, if there’s one thing I have learned from blogging, that is to be unapologetically me.

 

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Blog income report

 

Blog income report

 

 

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A Love Letter to my Favorite Student

a letter to my favorite student

My Ever Dearest Student,

 

I don’t want to play favorites but since you are the youngest, allow me tell you that at 19, your age, is when I wish the world, at least mine, has stopped revolving. That time, I didn’t mind crawling on my way back home, sleeping in my neighbor’s lawn nor partying again the following day and just let hangover be cured by another drinking session. I wish I see things like how I see them now then maybe I am not having panic attacks every five minutes. I was one of those kids who was always in gasoline stations, drinking and skipping classes.

 

Let me tell you that there are so many cooler things to be done aside from that. Being ignorant isn’t cool. I wish I chose to learn more so I don’t feel insufficient most of the time. How can I wonder where time went when I relentlessly killed it wishing I was older and now that I am older, I want to punch fairy godmother in the throat for refusing to undo that silly wish.

 

You were just my classmate then. You were the kid with few words. The only one who refuses to laugh at our German teacher’s wickedly dark dry jokes. You were the fastest to learn the awful German language but still chose to remain lull about it. You always sit across me and I didn’t know that you’re the group’s baby who required more attention, affection and guidance. One day you got tired of scowling and smiled at me. I smiled back and that same afternoon, we all went to eat ice cream. It was hard to explain that I can only have one scoop because my metabolism isn’t as fast as it used to be and I am sure that it will just sit proudly on my hips and thighs. 

 

Please know that I feel flattered when you and our other classmates constantly bug me to hang out to check the nightlife out. It was hard to say that I can’t stand loud music anymore and i don’t want you and the others dragging me out of the pub after one drink. I will never forget how your mouth dropped when I showed you my passport to reveal my real age because you won’t believe when I tell you that I am not a teenager anymore and that I will be your teacher soon. Asians don’t age so fast and this is one of the things I am thankful for.

 

With your limited English and my limited German, I can’t make you see the entire picture. I am avoiding hanging out with you because I want to maintain a professional distance and not because I am scared of you being a Muslim and whatever hideous things society attached to it. I am avoiding hanging out with all of you because I can’t promise that I will be able to control my sobs when I hear all of your heart-wrenching stories. I am not that brave. My heart isn’t as cold as I am projecting it to be. I am “avoiding” hanging out with all of you because my bills won’t fend for themselves. Studying and working at the same time is a bitch. My parents have a point when they didn’t allow me to do both of them earlier.

 

These days, even shaping my brows needs to be in my appointment list.

 

One day my wish of you finding a girl came true and I can’t describe the happiness I am seeing from you. I wish you knew how genuinely happy I am for you. You literally seemed floating after the class just to be with this young lady and can’t stop talking about her and how you both loved football. Oh. Puppy love! Days passed and your glow was just making the entire room bright and I was silently hoping to feel what you’re feeling too but I have things to do and can’t decide if I want a prince charming or pursue my dreams. I sucked at juggling and my love life isn’t something to be proud of. Nevertheless, I still wished for your happiness to continue, for your love to flourish and for you to be a man I somehow hoped you to be. I prayed the lord to continue to inspire you to be motivated. You might not know this but I feel like you’re the son I still don’t have.


But I will never forget that one sunny afternoon after our class. I just wasn’t able to ask why you looked so different during the class. Won’t smile. Won’t look at me and won’t reply to my Whats-app messages. We used to exchange messages even during the class. I called to cancel my babysitting that afternoon to invite you for ice cream. You said yes but I waited for us to be seated in the nearby park to ask you what’s wrong. You looked away and said “She is gone.” I understood what you meant but I pressed for details.

 

As your mother, I want to know not because I am nosy but because I want you to tell me how you feel about it. I want you to feel better. “Her dad saw us playing football in the park and approached us. He asked his daughter how he knew me and his daughter said I am a Refugee. The father looked at me and asked if I speak German. He told me that he doesn’t want me having anything to do with his daughter and to break contact immediately.” You said with a voice so controlled so tears won’t fall. I didn’t know what to say. I can’t pretend to be cool because nothing is to be cool about it. I was so mad. My heart was crashed into thousand tiny pieces. I want to be mad at the world for being this harsh to you. I wanted to take away the pain that you feel. I wish I can change the world for people like you. Your innocence doesn’t deserve this. I wish I didn’t ask for details. I wish I just pretended not to care and maybe that way I wouldn’t know how crap this world can be. “It’s okay. You’re young and you’ll find another girl.” It was the most nonsense reply I could give you but what can I say to make you feel better? Nothing. It is the way it is. There is nothing at that moment that can make it better.

 

“Focus your attention in learning and do all the sports you want. It’s not easy I know but it will just pass.” I even told you. I just hope that my hugs made you feel that I will always be here for you no matter where I will be. One day though, I know I will be able to tell you that I became a better person just by eating ice cream with you.

 

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Books That Will Make the Rest of Your 2018 More Awesome.

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It is just six days before October that means we are just counting the days to welcome 2019.

 

How’s your 2018 so far?

 

Mine? Crazier than crazy if that term ever exist! But it’s how I wanted it to be. I want to feel that I have a total control over my life.

 

This year, 2018, I have read the most number of books I ever had in my entire life. I am also finally able to launch my website even if at first, I wasn’t sure why I wanted to have it. Then as I go and read more, I found out that it’s my passion. Therefore, it is my calling. This is something I can trade my precious sleep to. This is something I can definitely do for free. I think I was a blogger in my past life if WordPress has even existed there. 

 

After I have finished my Masters, I started feeling my exhaustion up to my bone marrows so I declared not going back to the corporate world just yet and decided to do something for myself.

 

This gave birth to my baby, www.thisvillagegirl.com. I have never stayed at home for such a long time nor looked forward to coming home to learn what HTML is no matter how bad I am with technology. Now I know what having an infant at home feels like. I never looked forward to working on something like this before.

 

This year, I decided to go all out. Am I not scared? Of what? Of learning something new? Of going out of my comfort zone? Of working under my own terms? Guess what! NOPE!

 

I’ll tell you how all my fears dissolved. I’ve read all these books and I strongly suggest that you also try adding them to your October 2018 reading list. These will definitely help you confront your fears and live your dreams, (you can also try the ten books that dramatically changed my life.) All I know is that they made 2018 the year I have started to live the life I have daydreamed of having since I was nine years old and I can’t wait for the best days to come.

 

Big Magic

 

 

 

I needed to digest this line a bit longer. I remember staring at it after reading it. Now I know why I have always been pushing my self-destruct button. I know now why I have always sabotaged my own happiness, everything that I have worked hard for before, it is because I am not doing what I have been designed to be doing. I am not doing what I have been passionate about. I have failed to feed my burning curiosity. I walked away from everything failing that I have to understand myself and make a stand for what I want. I couldn’t accept that it’s okay to be different. I always tried to fit myself to a place where society or majority wins. I was so scared to follow my inner GPS. My wanting to please everyone around me (e.g. my family) made me forget that I only have one life which I am allowed to design. Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t only introduce me to a beautiful world of Eat Pray Love. She also made me fully embrace my creative side and understand that patience is another important lesson that I will learn.

 

Universe Has Your Back

 

 

This book felt like an expanded version of Paulo Coelho’s “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” in The Alchemist. I have been eyeing this book for such a long time and when I finally finished it, it didn’t disappoint. I felt warmth when I was reading it that I found myself crying in a very good way. Gabrielle Bernstein’s powerful words felt like a big bear hug that glued my broken pieces together. This is actually one of those books that I needed to put down just so I can digest each and every word of it. Her words are so reassuring that it almost felt natural to trust the Universe and never again question the bigger purpose why I exist and why I want certain things. This is one of those books that required taking time to chew each word like chocolate that is slowly melting inside my mouth. I had to close my eyes and enjoy the sweetness and the sugar rush comes after. I got so giddy and hyper to jump out of bed every morning to write and work on my blog. It didn’t even feel like reading. It felt like Gabrielle was physically there giving me a guided meditation and life coaching. I didn’t want to finish reading this book but I felt the surge of inspiration to go and actually start applying what I have taken away from it.

Universe Has your back

Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously

Osho

For a second after reading Osho’s words, I believed I am invincible. I never dared touching his books before for the fear that I will never understand them. It looked like one of our intimidating terror University professor or even the uptight librarian that never thought twice about sending me out of the room the moment I didn’t behave like how she wanted me to. The moment I started, I couldn’t put it down. It was as addicting as drugs that it felt like I have to sniff all his words to get that high feeling of calmness and bliss. I can’t wait to read all of his other books. The mere fact that he didn’t really write his books left me speechless for a moment.  His words made me want to prove that indeed fear is the biggest liar.

joy of living dangerously

 

You Are a Badass

 

I loved how Jen Sincero ended each chapter telling me to love myself. None of the writers I have came across has written it the same amount she did and I felt ashamed for that one second that I have forgotten it. From not giving a f*ck with what others will say, to manifesting the amount of money I want to earn to almost everything that I want to be in my life, she has it covered in this book and that the last thing I need to be worried about is what others will think of me. The same with launching my website. I was so scared that it didn’t look so good, or how shitty its content will be or that I didn’t know so much about how to set it up. I just decided to launch it and let it contain what I want it to. It’s mine. Naysayers can say what they want. This book convinced me that I am a Badass and I got this.

Jen Sincero quote

So if you want the remaining days of your 2018 to be better and more awesome, I strongly suggest to add these books to your 2018 reading list. If these books will not help your perspective to shift and your life to start to change, stay tuned for my next reading list suggestion and you can take your pick from there and yes, they’re also perfect Christmas presents for your loved ones.

Please share if you liked it.

2018 reading list

2018 Reading List

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Don’t Fall in Love with a Passer by: A Tale of a Broken Wandering Heart

Lake in Munich

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It was our first date. I was three hours late. Unlike the others, I know, I just know this will be different. You’re fasting. It was the end of Ramadan.

 

I can’t forget that angry look in your face that might have scared that side of Malaysia. You looked so manly outside that Mexican restaurant. I bit the insides of my lips. You smiled.  You said I was forgiven. I still felt guilty.

 

You didn’t make me pay for my share of our meal. You looked ruthlessly manly in your over six feet frame. I looked like a bit of an overweight Asian dwarf in my not so long legs. I wondered how warm it will feel inside your arms.

 

You’re wickedly witty. I felt insufficient. I’m just a blondie.

 

I made you watch that sappy movie I know you loathed. I cried and you wiped my tears away. I was right. Your chest felt home. As warm as those Ikea duvets. As comfortable as wool socks. As heavenly as hot chocolate by the fireplace during one of those dark, cold winter nights.

 

You drove me home. We bid each other goodnight and said nothing after.

 

It was good but scary. It was ordinary but different. It was strange but not a biggie.

 

I heard nothing from you the day after. A week passed, nothing. One, two, three months passed and still nothing. I shrugged it off. I thought I felt magic.

 

I went to Thailand. Came back with a nice tan and somehow different view about life. I messaged you and almost had a heart attack when you replied. We chatted over dinner and movie and yes, coffee even if it’s close to midnight. Why we lost contact, we both wanted to strangle each other. Our meeting each other halfway didn’t work. A massive failure for a guessing game. We laughed it off and picked things up from where we left them off.

 

My tan faded away, we got closer. Maybe it’s your religion. You don’t drink nor party. Such a breath of fresh air for this life of the party. You made Malaysia felt more home.

 

“You make me feel happy. I want to make you happy.” was your Syrian way of telling me what I mean to you. I was waiting for the three magic words. Romantic fool you haven’t guessed. Nearly one year of dating you made me feel like an adult who got my shit together.  But those three words, I failed to hear. Patience meant nothing to me but I waited. I thought patience can’t be learned.

 

On the last few months of your PhD, you started talking about kids. Where to raise them because Syria can’t be it at the moment. I was happy. I went through my days with hearts in my eyes until panic gotten all over me. My life, hopes and dreams flashed in front of me. I’m not ready to bid freedom goodbye. I ran away. Hid. Cried. But hey!  I tried winning you back. “Please play away from me.” were your last five words of goodbye.

 

 

 

Part 1 is here.

 

Please share if you liked.

 

 

*Don’t Fall in Love with a Passer by: A Tale of a Broken Wandering Heart is about my attempt to be with someone while on search of  purpose and happiness.*

 

Don't fall in love

 

 

You may also like

 

Hausfrau Honeymoon

 

Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents

 

The Girl with Seven Names

 

Eat Pray Love

 

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10 Things That Changed Since I Lived Abroad.

Penang Hill

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Dani, how did your life change since you lived abroad?

 

A Facebook private message read. 

 

Me: I became a minimalist, more tolerant, more patient, more flexible, more open minded, faster to learn a language, frugal, good citizen, lesser judgmental, culture sensitive, appreciate silence more, complain lesser and lesser, more creative and most of all, wide reader and a budding writer. 🙂 The list goes on and on and it’s easier to say that the old me that I know died. Even the name Dani that I coined just to sound cooler changed. I’m now Danica.

 

This was the shortest response that I could give her because I got scared that I have turned to a madwoman too after moving abroad twice. I could have given her a revised and expounded reply but I don’t know if she will be interested to read a memoir.

 

Shortly after I sent her that brief answer, there were nearly a thousand words that started bouncing up and down in my head. The blabber in me was triggered. I know I will be able to come up with more than a thousand words that will pass as a blog post entry. I can not not elaborate on this. I can not not justify it. Freak alert!

 

  1. I have turned to a frugal minimalist

In 2014 I moved to Malaysia and the only thing that I got sad about was not being able to fit my exaggerated shoe, dress, bag, book, magazine and other trinket collection inside my 24 kilo allowed luggage. I remember my carry on almost bursting. I was tempted to wear 5 dresses just to save space and be able to bring more. I wasn’t sad because I will not see my family so often anymore. I was sadder that I will leave the wardrobe that I built and looked forward to building a new and bigger one which started not even a month after I settled in. I was shopping like I have shootings and tapings to attend to. I forgot that I am not a celebrity who was paid to look good and must avoid being seen wearing an outfit twice in such a short span of time. Moving again made me live like a nomad everyday. I no longer need buy things I will not use. I am no longer being affected by the demands the biggest brands are creating. I have what I need to live the simple life that I want. I don’t need more stuff that give me headache and anxiety. Having less is the answer to having a peaceful life.

 

 

2. I became more patient.

I learned how to live slowly. I understand the “power of now” better and it makes sense. There is no need to rush everything like my meal. Being fully present in every single task that I do made me see more beauty and learn more profound lessons. From paperwork to doing my weekly grocery to cleaning my space to learning basic Coding for my website. Living abroad has made me complain lesser and lesser. I used to be the brat who bitched about every single thing in my life and cried for help at the very first sign of discomfort. I learned to be patient with myself and realize that I am a big work under progress. I never saw how blessed I was until I traded my little comfort zone to the real big world where people try to make ends meet and/or save their lives by seeking refuge in another country. Patience came with compassion.

 

3. I realized that school is not everything.

Everything that I have learned from all the schools I have been to didn’t teach me what I needed to know to survive in this life. Okay, I learned how to read and write but they are not everything. I wish they also taught me to love myself and gave a friendly reminder that I am not just born to pay bills and die. I wish they taught Happiness 101 or Introduction to Self-Care.

 

4. I read like a maniac.

Whatever I am not confident to ask, I read. Whatever I can’t afford to learn, I read and then teach myself. Now I have more books than clothes and I find them more useful. I now see the benefits of freeing time to read. It has opened my mind more than I have expected it to. I never thought that there are still unexplored part of my brain. Every book that I have read has become a part of me. Little by little, I am able to name emotions I couldn’t name before and amazed that other people have experienced it too. Reading alone gave me an assurance that I am not alone and that what I am going through is not unusual. Someone somewhere felt it too and put it to words. I just needed to pick up the right books.

 

5. I became flexible

I still can’t pass to be a record- breaking gymnast but I’m surprised to know how fast I can adapt to a new environment. I thought I am a mermaid but I was wrong. I am a chameleon who can blend anywhere easily. Living abroad has deleted all my preset expectations of how I want my life to look like and really take each day as it comes. I no longer beat myself for not preparing as early as now for my future because I know that I am working very hard each day for the one that I will love living more. A second from now is the future. Every second that I spend hating the situation where I am (e.g. job I hate) is every second of my present and future already wasted. I thought travel has trained to me to be flexible but it didn’t. It wasn’t enough. Living abroad is like a form of yoga. There are so many poses I needed to practice first before I can truly be flexible.

 

living abroad

 

6. I became more creative

Being in a new place, with different seasons, different culture, different smell and people with different perspectives inspired me to start embracing my inner artist of life. I’m no artist whose expertise in some sort of art will make tons of cash but I am an artist of life. It took me so long and so many failed attempts to find out who I really am and what I want to be but now I know why I took Communication Arts. Communication is my art. I might have only lasted one painting class session but that doesn’t mean that it is the only form of art I can be good be at. Life is an art and I am the artist in mine.

 

7. My love for languages

I used to imitate not just Indian accent but also all the others different than mine that I can hear. My friends thought it was hilarious and their wild roar of laughter stroked my ego and boosted my confidence. I thought I was a clown. But Germans actually have a term for that. Sprachgefuehl or the feel of language which actually means ones ability to learn a language fast. (See my favorite German words here.) Sure my German is still like of a toddler’s but I am trying to learn as much as I can every single chance I get. I am not a native English speaker neither but I am making a conscious effort to improve and use it like how the natives would. I fell in love with the thought of learning new languages.

 

8. I became an Introvert

It’s the biggest shocker for me. I used to drag my friends to the loo because I loved having them around. Because I mean, I can not not speak my head out alone, can I? I need to always talk, to always look good, to stand out, have more and be obnoxiously funny to be liked, right? But when I moved out of my country, I realized what an introvert I really am. I never thought that I would enjoy my time alone so much that I looked forward to coming home as fast as I can to be able to curl up and read. The only fear left  is not being able to read enough books.

9. I became less judgmental.

As I started hanging out with people outside my own race, all my preconceived notions and stereotypes started melting away. Not all Muslims are bad. Not all Chinese are racists. Not all Americans are stupid. Not all South East Asians are ignorant. Not all Filipinos are gold diggers. The list can go on but I don’t have them anymore. In fact, people I keep on meeting people on the road who have shown me kindness, understanding and compassion that I never experienced in the safe premises of our village or even my own country. At the end of the day, I came to realize that we are just all the same. We are all fighting for survival but being disrespectful and judgmental are things we never really needed.

Living abroad

 

10. I became an ambassadress of Self-love.

 

I am no longer apologetic for being who I truly am and what I will still become. I no longer look at my thighs and inspect them for possible cellulite. I would see physically challenged people really trying to do their stuff with so much gusto and there I was silently cursing my thighs for not shrinking no matter which diet I try. I heard their voices in my head saying “I will do whatever it takes to have thighs on which I can walk like a normal person.” I forgot to thank my body for allowing me to do all the things I want to. I never celebrated the power of my mind in trying to understand things it does. I forgot to thank my heart for still working no matter how many times it got broken. Of all the love I was giving away, I never gave myself some. My anxiety, insecurity, depression and the need to have more and be liked faded away. Living abroad and away from all the things familiar has made me a child trying to learn how to crawl, walk and speak again. Living abroad made me fall in love with myself and all the flaws it came with. Not only that. I am getting better in directly expressing what I want. I grew up in a culture that sugarcoats everything because we are trained not to upset other people. I have learned to say “no” more often. I have become selective of who I allow in my life too. I have learned to prioritize myself and do what makes my heart swell with joy.

 

 

Have you lived abroad? How did your life change?

 

 

 

Please share if you like. =)


Products that you may like

 

Expat Women: Confessions

Make Me German

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Learning German: A love-hate relationship.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

 

You’re already almost a year in Germany and all you can say is “Ach so??”

 

Thank you soooo much! Please rub it in! 

 

Dear Diary,

 

I am going crazy. The first two weeks of learning this language is the most horrible phase of my life. My headache never stops. I feel hungry all the time. At the end of the day I want to eat something really crunchy and/or punch someone in the throat. I’m going ballistic. I joined the classes when some of them are in the middle of the book already and I can’t be proud that all I know was just “good morning, thank you and bye” at all! I needed to do a lot of catching up.

Diary, I don’t really see why I need to learn the language to begin with. I am an aspiring English teacher and where will I use German after here? I don’t plan to stay for long anyway. I just need to learn Teaching and that’s it. I will be gone. Okay? Thanks! Bye! And that is very very soon!


Dear Diary,

 

I don’t know where the f*ck these Germans got their words from! And I don’t know why they have different Articles for “The” and genders! They don’t effin make sense AT ALL! “der, die and das??” Seriously? Who has the time? Life is too short to focus on learning German. Besides, how can they expect me to pronounce f*cking things right when Tagalog alphabet only has 20 letters? (Wikipedia says Modern Tagalog Alphabet has now 28 letters)

We don’t have C, F, Z, Q, V and X. English is already challenging at 26 letters. F, V and Z already gave my tongue a good workout then German Language has umlaute??* How am I supposed to pronounce “schwarz” and how will I remember “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” ?? (law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling)

 

That is not even the longest German word. I am losing it, Diary. I’m losing it!

 

*umlaute* source wikipedia
Ä (ä) // Long ä pronounced similar to ‘ae’ in ‘aero’
Ö (ö) // No English equivalent sound. somewhat similar to vowel in ‘jerk’, ‘turn’, or ‘third’, but it is critical to note that there is no “r” sound that is pronounced in conjunction with the ö.
Ü (ü) // No English equivalent sound

The ss-Ligature, ß
ß (es-zet or scharfes es) // Pronounced like ‘s’ in ‘set’ or ‘c’ in ‘nice’

*Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft. Currently this is the longest German word meaning “Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services.”

 

Dear Diary,

 

Today, I almost fought with my classmates who will be my future students. They are bullying me for not trying (to learn at least). Duh?! I’m just an Intern. I am not here to learn the language. I am here to learn teaching and please! I’ve gone so far with my English. It’s enough! If there should be learning German, should be them not me. Besides, almost every German speaks English and they always say they love practicing it so please, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

4-5 months later…

 

Excuse me. Why is the shop closed?” An old lady asked me in German.


“Because of the flood.” Unglaublich! (Unbelieveable!) I replied in German and I needed to stop a bit though the lady has walked away. I had a small talk in this language I started having a love-hate relationship. I mean, my German can’t still save my life and once Germans felt that I am abusing their language, they immediately switch back to English. No one should put the language into shame. Nationalism. They teach that in school too. They didn’t realize that doing this makes me so happy more than Bratwurst.

 

Dear Diary,

 

I can’t believe I will at least be able to somehow pick up the language I was so skeptical about learning. I might not need it professional wise but to be able to make a small talk with the locals and especially to be able to buy something using their language feels so good. I suck at languages and I am well aware of that already. I stayed in Malaysia for nearly two years and I can’t even say a complete sentence in Malay, Tamil or Mandarin. I have convinced myself that I don’t need anything aside from English. How full of myself have I become? Looking back Diary it was just an excuse I kept on saying and telling myself because I was too lazy and too close-minded for learning.

 

No matter how much I deny it, I was just in Malaysia to earn a living and not what I was claiming that I was there for culture when I didn’t even made an effort to integrate. Though I fell in love with it, Bahasa was like a flaw I didn’t fully embrace. I want to regret it and if I will live there again, I will surely try to learn it. Languages have this beauty that I was only able to see at 30.

 

Currently “Mein Deutsch ist noch peinlich.” (my German is still embarrassing) as how I would normally start a conversation with Germans to warn them I am about to murder their beloved language but they reply with their eyes almost popping out of their sockets and the more that they will encourage you to speak. “At least you’re trying and that will get better in time” is how they console me. Germans aren’t so German after all and I can’t believe I will admit to watching German TV and movies now and read local papers, books and magazines. The headache started to subside. Even my host family stopped using English with me and I know in few more months, everything will be better like the weather.

 

 

After two years, my German is still not as good as I want to be but I can now have simple conversations. (Click here for the list of my favorite German travel words)  I wasn’t able to use what I have learned in the German course like all the things I did in school. Real life is just the best teacher. Learning a new language at 30 might not be easy but I would never have it the other way. Otherwise, I will never be able to appreciate its beauty like how I do now in my adult years.

 

It would have been easier if Filipinos aren’t so harsh about laughing at mistakes as if we are so prone from it and I wish we don’t make fun of everything. My self-esteem has been so affected and I have zero confidence. A German friend said that I shouldn’t be worried because Germans, knowing how difficult their language is, will not laugh at me trying to speak and learn their language and that whatever fear I have for speaking it is also the fear they have for speaking a second language. The perfectionist in me may never be able to master it but at least, I still learned. I still won. 

 

Products that you may like

 

 

Learn German with Paul Noble

Dictionary of German Synonyms

Schritte plus 1

 

 

 

 

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How to Switch to Kindle Without Being so Overly Dramatic About it.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

 

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella was the first e-book I’ve read.

 

It was 2010 and I worked for few weeks on a night shift so I resorted to it just to save my sanity. I enjoyed it because my favorite author wrote it but I knew then that e-book is not really for me. I don’t know how to try Kindle without being so overly dramatic about it.

 

I love holding the book in my hands and the smell of its pages. I truly feel whatever it wants me to feel so I never read e-book again. I collected books like how I collected cute dresses, shoes and other trinkets I lay my hands on. I was once a victim of wanting to have more too.

 

Moving overseas twice left me brokenhearted for the shallow reason that I couldn’t bring all my books but I didn’t want to pay extra for additional luggage.

 

Knowing myself, I will never stop buying books. I left my books along with my mountainous magazine collection. It was a pain but I need to move on with my life. I needed to practice the minimalist approach and live like a nomad everyday. The lesser things I own, the more space I have for those that really matter. The lesser the clutter, the better I can think and the freer I can move.

 

I ate my words when my German host mother told me that the house will be repaired and we needed to bring all our stuff in the basement to make way for all the work. Floor boards need to changed and the walls need to be painted.

 

I was happy to see that I don’t have tons of clothes and shoes. But my books? I couldn’t believe how much I have accumulated for such a short time. I couldn’t figure out how to bring them all down without help.

 

Reality slapped me hard. I have seven bags of books and I still couldn’t promise not to buy again.

 

Reading is the best thing I do for myself. (As I type this, I just bought The Universe Has Your Back . ) I am still convinced that investing in myself is very essential in the sabbatical that I am taking. This is for the recovery of my soul.

 

I think I might consider buying an e-reader though just by declaring that, already made my heart weep. My boyfriend saved the day by offering his Kindle just so I can try it. He doesn’t have the reading bug that I do and only needs it for long haul flights. I just wanted to give it a try. After all, it is not so expensive. If I will buy one and realized that it isn’t really for me, then I can give it away as gift or resell it.

 

After showing me how it works, I immediately told him what I wanted to read and just after few minutes, the book has been downloaded to the Kindle and off I started reading. I didn’t have to go to the bookstore nor had to wait for the delivery.

 

The first few minutes were awkward. I was in bed and being right-handed made my left hand feel useless. It also went numb after more than fifteen minutes of expecting to do something but didn’t. My entire system was aware that I was reading and that I must be doing it with two hands but it took a little longer time of getting used to doing it with just one.

 

Twenty minutes into reading, I had a real separation anxiety. I miss the pages of the book and its smell. Though it helped that the book I chose was a pageturner, I still felt that something was not right. The first night with Kindle wasn’t enough to decide whether I like it or not. I need to finish the book to really know how I feel about it.

 

 

Pros:

 

1.My bag is so much lighter.

 

I can’t not read just one book If a book is incredibly boring despite how much other readers found it good, I drop it and move to the next and find some other moment to read it again. So I am so used to having two to three books in my bag. It was easy as thousands of books can be stored in Kindle.

 

2. It is so convenient.

 

The books can be bought from Amazon in just some clicks after reading the reviews. No Amazon account? Sign up here.

 

3. E-books are a little cheaper than the physical books and be shared with friends and family. There are also a lot of books that can be read for free.

 

4. Kindle frees a hand for me. 

 

I’m really dependent to public transportation so during rush hour and it’s full, I can still read without me having to worry of falling. Kindle allows me to hold on to the handrails while reading. Turning the page is easy too by just pressing the strategically placed buttons on both sides.

 

5. Travel time is more bearable.

 

Cons:

 

1. I am now always paranoid that it will break inside my bag though it has a protective case, I now always need to be more careful not to carelessly dump my bag on the floor like when I know that it was just books I have inside it.

 

2. I also now can’t just flip the pages and go back easily to where I wanted to.

Sure the newer Kindle versions make “fast-forwarding” and “rewinding” a breeze but I still miss that I can just do that quicker in my books.

 

3. I couldn’t bring it in the bathtub.

 

4. Flight attendants will always ask for it to be switched off when taking off and landing. A bit hard to explain that it is an e-reader that doesn’t use or require current being an electronic device.

 

5. Since it is battery operated, it can die on you so it requires charging too.

 

6. If there’s no WIFI, then you can’t buy new books when you run out of books to read.

 

Despite having withdrawal syndrome and the feeling that I am officially betraying my books, I still continued to read.

 

When I finished Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents,  it was so easy to say that it isn’t for me but it is not fair to conclude only after one book. I needed to try it a bit longer to be able to really say that I liked it or not. (He is now offering it to me for free while browsing through the latest models. hmmmm.) I then bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s Commited and Maya Angelou’s I know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Then Francisco Salgueiro’s I’m Naked What now? Is this how thrilled I am trying Kindle? I bought Stephan Orth’s  Couchsurfing in Iran two days ago and today, Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back as the sixth book for this month and I just know that a book review is following this post. You can read my previous book review here.

 

I am hitting my target of reading a book a week and actually exceeding it with Kindle’s help but I honestly couldn’t say goodbye to books. I am not in love with Kindle but at least I can say, I have the best of both worlds.

 

Will you ever ditch your books for Kindle? I’d love to know how feel about it. =)

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like:

 

Kindle Paperwhite

 

 Kindle E-reader

WALNEW Cover for Kindle Paperwhite 

MoKo Case for Kindle E-reader 

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This is at no cost to you but helps me to provide awesome content regularly. Thanks for your support!

About Us

 

Dani is a plus sized Filipina ADHD kid, recovering shopaholic, alcoholic and workaholic. She doesn’t take herself seriously. She has an insatiable wanderlust, out of this world food cravings and goof addiction. If she is not busy planning her next adventure, she will be spotted taking OOTDs and OOTNs. She took a break from the crazy corporate world to see the real one. This is not another travel blog. This is her journey to self discovery, embracing flaws and feeding her soul of what sets it on fire. She is out to prove that life begins at the end of the comfort zone.

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