27 April 2013

Five for 5

The Basics of Home Entertaining

Home Entertaining Essentials
So to give y'all (wait...when did I start talking...nevermind) a break from my sappy realizations amidst the crisis that is Quarter Life, here's another Five for 5 list dedicated to...(insert drumroll please)...home entertaining!

I grew up in a household that loves to entertain guests and actually makes an effort in fixing up the table even if we're only having a simple dinner for 6-10 people. Out of all the seven dwellings (read here) we've lived in, we always consider it if it's fit for entertaining visitors. Given the nature of my profession, I am automatically bestowed the task of sprucing it up regardless if it's my guests or not.

Sometimes you want to have different looks or set ups, but obviously have a limited budget. This is especially true when you're just starting out with your own home or have zero clue on what items to get as they are so many. Based on my experience, some of the pieces you can keep in stock or splurge on are the following five since these pieces practically go with anything and can instantly turn any table top from drab to fab. Consider these like your perfect basic white tee that goes along with anything and almost any occasion.

  1. Silver or Stainless Steel Utensils - It would be nice to have it in more simple and clean lines so that you can use them on both casual and elegant setups. 
  2. Simple Plates & Plate Chargers - I would recommend if you can stock up on plates that are white or bisque-colored. Plate chargers add a bit more of elegance and I would often recommend it in silver or gold because I would consider them as the "oomph neutrals" or in words that are more simple and sweet, lakas lang makasosyal.
  3. Table Cloths in Black, Gray and White - If you have the budget for colored ones and with patterns, then I say go for it. But those with tight pockets you may want to focus more on the following colors: black or dark gray, light gray, beige white or crisp white. These are good color bases in case you want to have setups with bright or non-neutral color accents. You can never go wrong with these.
  4. Clear Drinking Glasses & Vases - Invest in good drinking glasses with clean lines. Same goes with the vases. I usually recommend something with clean lines and lesser details for those with limited budget because they can go for both casual to (almost) formal. 
  5. Tea Lights - Stock up on tea candles....and I mean a LOT. They can instantly add drama and ambience to any table top. Let them float on top of a clear vase filled with water and pebbles (or shells) and bam, you already have a simple but chic center piece. Place them beside the vases near your floral arrangement or on each step of your stairs for drama. Not only do they provide ambiance and decor, they also help ward off the pesky mosquitos while eating. They also have ones that are battery-powered if you're concerned about the heat it produces, though they might not be as effective in warding off the insects. 

25 April 2013

The House We Live In #2

GLORY DAYS--a time in the past regarded as being better than the present, or so says Google. This is exactly how I felt whenever I would get a glimpse of this...this evidence of our so-called "Glory Days" as a student, which is also perhaps why for more than a year or two it had been proudly "showcased" at the bottom or top most part of our bookshelf, basically away from the easy accessibility of my near-sighted eyes. It was only recently while doing our annual "spring rearranging of furniture" that my mother had noted why I don't place it in a more, shall we say "eye-level" location? At that time I simply shrugged it off, blaming it on misplaced humility and so there it is now at the place seen in the photograph above..........beside my working table.

If I were more cartoon-ishly dramatic (okay fine I am), I would have squinted my eyes at it and accuse it with lines going along like "wutcha lookin' at buster" in my most mobster-gangsta voice. It sits there like a threat, daunting you constantly as if saying "is that the only thing you got?". I know, I know, I should be more proud of this accomplishment. It says so on Google, trophies are decorative objects or prizes for some victory or success (and yes, because Google is TRUTH...okay I kid). But sometimes, especially with that eerie lighting, it also seems like a looming threat that you can be just a one-hit wonder. Ah yes, again with the over thinking and unjustified fears. Boo hoo.

Perception, people. Being humble is good, it's just that sometimes overdoing it leads to instances such as the ones mentioned above. I say, we worked darn hard for it and dammit if we don't own it! I refuse to let it be a symbol of threat, instead I want it to be a reminder of how we were at that time. We weren't the strongest bunch and at times we hear things that made us doubt, friendships were indeed tested, we basically lacked sleep and money, but we still managed to rise above the challenges thrown to us and I won't apologize for basking in the glory of its sweet, sweet reward. I may feel otherwise if I know we didn't work for it, but we sure as hell did.

So in times when I feel like my continuing efforts are not producing the results I desire, I would take a bit of my time looking at this tangible evidence to remind me that once we were able to succeed at a time we thought we couldn't. We pursued, we persevered and if it happened once, making it happen again is not impossible.

09 April 2013

In Your 20s: Living the Quarter Life

from the movie "The Graduate"

Living the Quarter Life is like being tugged in opposite directions. Some people around your age--perhaps friends or classmates whom you used to play jackstones with during break times or people you were getting wasted with during your party hey days would either start getting hitched or sperminated (ergo pregnant), promoted to higher positions in their respective careers or even have their own booming businesses. 

And then there's you, appearing to be "stuck" between being young and old. Maybe you're single or in a relationship that may or may not lead to the altar or being in a job that doesn't make you feel fulfilled or happy or makes you feel like you're in some kind of career rut. The feeling as if you're not moving according to the grand "plan" where by your late 30's you're suppose to have a financially stable job and supporting your own hypothetical spouse and mini-me's. The seeping paranoia that how come everyone seems to be moving forward and you're still floating somewhere in between. Oh the aimlessness, frustrations and whatnots of the inevitable and over thinking!
Benjamin: I'm just...
Mr. Braddock: ...worried?
Benjamin: Well...
Mr. Braddock: About what?
Benjamin: I guess about my future.
Mr. Braddock: What about it?
Benjamin: I don't know. I want it to be...
Mr. Braddock: ...to be what?
Benjamin: ...Different.
-from The Graduate (1967) 
I've graduated from college for almost two years now and apart from learning that stepping out in the real world for the first time is like going through another phase of puberty (read here), we also have to deal with the inevitable "Quarter Life Crisis". Some would define this phase as the adjustment period when one person transitions to becoming a full-pledged adult. As for me, I see it as some sort of job interview (or life interview?). You know how when you're applying for jobs they usually ask how you see yourself in their company 10 years from now? Answer that in terms of how you see yourself, your life in general 10 years from now and huzzah you just found your golden ticket to get out of QLC!

We were always told that we should follow our dreams. When I was in highschool I already knew I wanted to become an Interior Designer, it was my dream career. And so I went to college and took up a course on BS-Interior Design. Immediately after that I went ahead and took the board exams to get my professional license. When I passed, I was ecstatic beyond words. I was finally and could officially call myself as an Interior Designer, my ultimate career dream! When the elated feeling toned down and reality starts settling in there it came...........

........"and then what?".

To say that I was at loss is a severe understatement. I didn't know what to do next. Should I join a firm or venture on my own? Should I specialize in this area or take up masters in this so and so? In short, I have to find another dream, something less vague and more tangible......a goal (or goals). But of course, like anything else in life, balance is an important factor. We worry too much about discovering our goals and preparing for our "future" that we sometimes forget about living in the present.

I suppose living in our 20's is about relearning, rediscovering and having a poop load of realizations about ourselves and life as we know it. It is the time where we plant the seeds or set the foundations of how we wanted to grow out or become after those 10 years. It is about identifying and remaking your dreams and transforming them into goals. It is the time where we are young but can legally drink alcohol during lunch. It is the time to regret nothing. If it's good then it's awesome, if it's bad then it's an experience to learn from. Live, laugh, love and discover--that is living in your 20s is like and perhaps even beyond. And yes, I'm aware most of what I've just said are from motivational quotes on Instagram. #iregretnothing

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