A Different Birthday

I'm celebrating my birthday a little differently this time. Bianca is currently abroad and won't be back until June. She left just a few days after New Year's and I've been missing her so much. I'm not used to not having her around and the house is awfully quiet without her. I depend on her for a lot of things, and it's hard to be without her.

2017 was a difficult year for me. I went through so many challenges and disappointments. Despite all my efforts to make things work in my favor, it seemed like everything I did put me on the wrong track. And as if I needed more stress, we were also busily moving house. But God always knows how to make it up to me. In the midst of all the strain and tension I was feeling came some good news. Bianca received word that she was a recipient of a scholarship grant from The French Embassy, and as a French government scholar, she is eligible to study in a university in France with benefits such as a living allowance and health insurance among others. We also ended up moving house in the same neighborhood instead of somewhere far, which was what was originally planned. God is good!

With all the house moving activities, numerous garage sales and preparations for Bianca's trip, I had forgotten about my annual birthday jumping shot. I only trust Bianca to do this for me, but since she's not around, I guess I'll just have to wait and content myself with looking through our old Paris photos.

I've ceased making birthday wishes to ask for material things as I've grown older through the years, but I'm thinking this time around, I will make a very specific wish. I so desperately wanted to accompany Bianca on her trip so I could help her settle in to her new apartment, to make sure that everything was in order and to help her with the initial adjustment of living away from home. It's the first time we are apart, so I wanted to make it easy for me too. But with the expenses of moving house, medications, and all the other bills that seem to never end, it was just not possible. I tried my best, but it was not to be.

So here's my birthday wish.... I wish that I would have the chance to visit Bianca this March, that my sister can accompany me because I cannot travel alone, and that I will be able to pick her up in June to bring her home safe.  It's a tall order, but I believe that God is longing to be good to all of us, and that He wants to give all of us the desires of our hearts. I'm claiming that now.

So, if all goes well, I'll be sharing my belated birthday jumping shot very soon, somewhere in Europe, no less. See you in a bit, Biancs. I can't wait!

- - -

Dear Mama,

I couldn't help but write you a short note after reading your annual birthday post. I don't say this enough, but thank you. Thank you for always looking out for me. Thank you for answering my late-night messages about laundry. Thank you for supporting me and teaching me to never give up. Thank you for being not just my mom, but my best friend. We are so lucky to have the relationship that we do and I am so blessed to have a mom like you. Even if you're not physically here with me, I still feel like you are always here in spirit and it means so much. 

Happy birthday, mama! I wish I was there to celebrate with you, but I hope you have a wonderful day nonetheless. See you in two months. Don't worry, God will grant us our wish(es)! 

I love you,


Hello and A Birthday Post

Hello, dear friends! 

Yes, we are still here. Although it may have seemed that we had abandoned the blog due to the absence of posts, I don't think I will ever find it in my heart to say goodbye to this personal journal of ours. It has been a struggle for me to put my thoughts into written words, often drafting blog posts and writing out stories in my head, only to find excuses not to come through and hit the publish button. I also depend a lot on Bianca for the blog's visuals and photos, but starting college as well as pursuing her other interests has made it harder for me to pin her down. Of course, I understand that her studies come first, but I just felt lost without her. However, as always, at the start of each new year, I resolve to do things better. So, here I am again and I sincerely hope to make good of my resolutions this time around.

And what better way to start than with my annual birthday post! I feel a little rusty writing this now, but hopefully I get the hang of things again soon. 

Today, I celebrate my 24th birthday for the second time. I am not in denial or scared that I'll be turning 50 in just two years, I'm just feeling young at heart! My twenty something years were my carefree years. I had no worries or fears, I was in good health and everything just seemed right in my world. So, I'm channeling all those positive energies from the past and believing that my best years are still ahead of me.  

2016 had me going through more downs than ups. My PD symptoms are advancing steadily and I am coming to terms with the fact that I may need someone to care for me and help with my daily activities sooner than I expected.. I try my best to be as independent as I possibly can, and to work around my medication's "on" time. I carefully plan all my trips out of the house to ensure that I'm functioning properly whenever I'm out to do errands or meetings, or even something as simple as having dinner out with friends. Everything has to be timed and in sync with my medication. And it's the same way when we have guests come over at home because the main goal is that I would be able to sit still, converse and feed myself as best as I can. But sometimes the best laid plans don't always work out and my medications fail me. I used to get so frustrated when this happens, but I've learned to let go of things I don't have control of. It has happened that I've spent an hour getting ready, dressing myself to go out of the house, and maybe another hour in traffic to get to my destination, only to find out that I have to turn back home because I can't even get down from the car because my body decides to start shaking and trembling when it's not supposed to.

Of course I still get frustrated, agitated, or even depressed when these things happen, but I don't stay there for too long. I wallow in self pity for a minute or two, then pick myself right back up. I believe that I am able to do this not because I am strong or brave. I believe that God gives me the grace and the courage to go through life's setbacks and the peace that I am experiencing now is from Him alone. I have so much more to be thankful for. I have the love of my family, friends, and even complete strangers who go out of their way to be good to me and to Bianca. We do our best to give back  every chance we get.

I am sometimes hesitant to tell my stories about what I'm going through with my Parkinson's disease for fear of being judged or criticized but the desire to share and inspire others in similar situations is greater. To my dear friends who are reading this, please don''t hesitate to ask me out to lunch or dinner because I look forward to going out, and having the chance to spend time with you is worth all my trouble, really.

I end my birthday post as usual with my infamous jumping shot. I haven't gotten myself a trampoline yet, but I did manage a skip and a hop this year. I didn't hear any complaints from my photographer, so I think it's safe to say that she's pretty impressed.

With love, 


Kitchen Stories: Cherry Almond Oatmeal

I've been trying to get Bianca to eat a proper breakfast at home before she leaves for an almost two hour trip to get to school everyday. But it's always impossible to make her sit down for a meal so early in the morning when she's in between being half asleep and rushing out the door. I've tried serving up her old favorites as well as new ones in the hopes of piquing her fancy but all I get is one bite or maybe two if I'm lucky, and that's it. I've tried sending her with a packed breakfast and lunch but she prefers hot food so it's a choice between the cafeteria or the fast food restaurants just outside her campus. Not really a good idea health and money wise.

I know she's 17 and all grown up now, but the mom in me will always see her as a baby. I always worry that she's not eating well or that she's not getting enough rest, I can almost hear her complaining and protesting as she reads this post. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Right, fellow moms?!? Could I have a show of hands, please? Just so I can prove my point. Hahaha.

I made Cherry Almond Oatmeal over the weekend and she liked it enough to ask if she could bring some for breakfast in school. Success! It could have been the cherries, but since it's not exactly the type of fruit you can have every day, we'll experiment with other fruits that are in season and not as costly.

Although this doesn't really count as a recipe since it is pretty basic, I'm sharing the how-to with you just so you can keep this in mind for when you feel like giving your oatmeal some extra lovin'.

Cherry Almond Oatmeal
(makes 1 serving)

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup almond milk
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Combine oats, almond milk and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then stir in the brown sugar. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes until oats are thick and creamy. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add almond extract and a little splash of almond milk. Mix well.

Pour into a bowl and top with cherries and almonds. You may use as much or as little fruit, nuts and sugar as you like, according to your preference. Enjoy!


It's been two weeks since school started again! After such a long holiday break, it's been challenging to adjust to homework and readings and long car rides, but I honestly really enjoy the college environment and it's good to be back.

I definitely learned a lot from the first few months I spent in college. Here's a couple things that really stuck with me:

1. There's no harm in trying. Joining organizations and auditioning for music groups and signing up for projects might be daunting tasks, but they're experiences that you shouldn't miss out on just because you're scared. There's always something to be gained from every risk you take!

2. Hang out with people who give you positive vibes. It's essential to spend time with people who inspire and motivate you to be better.

3. That being said, you also have to learn to work alone. Being independent and responsible without anyone telling you to do so is something you must learn how to do.

4. You actually have lots of free time, you're just not using it correctly. Don't procrastinate. Finish your work before your deadlines and don't leave anything to the very last minute.

5. Don't neglect your health and well-being. Eat balanced meals and get enough sleep.

I'm only just getting the hang of this whole college thing. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to improve on. But I know that my second semester will be even better and I'm really looking forward to the rest of it!

Love,  Bianca

Lucky Me

Every new year that comes around, I am reminded of how lucky I am that I get to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter as well as my birth month this January. Like most of you, it's the time that I reflect on the year that was, and the time I set goals of what I'd like to accomplish in the 12 months ahead.

I am very thankful for the past year even with all its challenges and difficulties. I had so many plans for 2015 that I couldn't get off the ground, which made me so frustrated. Despite the best of intentions, nothing seemed to work. Every day, I felt that God was testing me by letting me go through failures and heartaches. I prayed harder and more fervently each day, but I guess God wanted me to take a Master's Degree in Patience and Humility!

Looking back now, I believe that what I wanted to happen didn't happen because I still had lessons to learn and that not my plans but only God's plans will prevail. I am more than lucky because I had family and good friends to see me through it all. Life goes on, and I'm not giving up.

I am ready for a fresh new start this 2016. Every day is a new beginning to live life to the fullest. We all deserve to live a long, happy, healthy and abundant life.  So, let's all smile, laugh out loud, be kind, and have a heart so big that we become unstoppable.

Dear friends, thank you for always indulging me by reading my birthday post every year. And of course, I can't let all of you go without sharing a photo of my infamous jumping shot. I wanted to jump off from a ledge but Bianca wouldn't hear any of it. Oh well, maybe next year I'll use a trampoline ;)

First Monday

Today is the first Monday work day of the year! Although we are technically still on vacation until January 17th, I'd just like to start the year right by putting out one of our work goals for the blog.

As you know, we blogged less in the past year. Life kept us busy and got in the way of blogging, but we tried our best to share snippets of what we've been up to on Instagram and Facebook. We hope you're following us over there!

We are very grateful for brand collaborations that came our way during the last quarter that challenged our skills and creativity. It helped that the brands we worked with were familiar to us and we both worked hard on styling and editing the photos. Although we still have much to learn and there's lots of room for improvement, it is something we truly enjoyed doing as a team. Bianca and I are both thankful for the trust and support extended to us by The Blue Kitchen, Bungalow 300 and Bayo Clothing and look forward to more creative collaborations this 2016.

Happy Monday and Happy New Year!

*Photography by Bianca |  Styling by Cyn

Turning Three

Today, we celebrate our blog's third year! Thank you to you, our dear friends and readers, for continuing to follow us on our journey. We are grateful that although we blogged less this year, you all continued to visit the site  to back read our old posts. 2015 was a challenging year, but we made a conscious effort to dwell not on what we didn't have, but focused instead on our blessings. As we leave all the challenges and difficulties of the past behind, we hope you continue to join us as we look forward to a brighter and abundant new year!

With much love,
Cyn & Bianca