The Day I Turned 40

As I write this, it has been 13 days since I turned 40 and I still do not feel like I am 40. I do not think I have my parents’ wisdom when they were at this age. My parents had everything in control at 40. I feel like I am still wading though life and trying to figure out what I want to do more in life. Adulting is hard.

Even with all the uncertainties I face, there is one thing I am sure I am going to do with my life. I am going to enjoy every minute of it. I am thankful for everything I have. When I think about it, I may look like the loneliest girl in the world: single, orphan, no siblings, no child, no better half. However, God had already blessed me with wonderful parents that all the love they gave me were more than enough to help me survive life without them. I have aunts who stood as my second parents, cousins that treat me like a big sister and friends who support me with all the love and care . It does not matter if they are near or miles away. I never feel alone. Thank you, God! I could not ask for anything more.

With all these blessings, I could not let my birthday pass without a little celebration. We had a simple dinner at home. I invited my friends and relatives over and I am glad they came.

My journal is now filled with happy memories.

The celebration was a family effort. My aunts prepared the house. This meant a lot of cleaning and rearranging.

I also baked my own cake.

My cousin, Baby, helped me bake cupcakes.

Lani came to cook shrimps, sweet and sour fish and dinuguan. My cousin, Alan, arrived early to help with the preparations. My cousin, Arvin, ran errands for me. These people made my life easier so as a reward, I will not subject them to such work every year. No birthday dinner like this next year. Hehe!

My friends made this day special, too. Aside from their presence, I got wonderful gifts to treasure. I got another poem from Wela. She already wrote a poem for me 2 years ago and, now, I got another one. Here is what she wrote:

Happy 40th birthday Kat,
For this you deserve a pat,
For being a true friend to hold,
And for letting God make you into His mold.

We your friends are so much thankful,
For giving us someone who is soulful,
Not someone whom we cannot count on,
But one who is always there to rely on.

One who is artistic and also creative,
Intelligent and at the same time innovative,
What more can we ask for and search?
You’re always there and easy to reach 

So on this special day that you were born,
A prayer is sent your way not to make you cry ‘popcorn’, 
But to let you know how much you’re appreciated,
For all the things you’ve done and orchestrated.

May you live a harmonious life,
Praying that one day you’ll become a wife,
To a man who is well-deserving,
Of your gifts and unconditional loving.

For the mean time here’s hoping for good health,
May you be blessed with more friends and wealth,
Overcome every trial that comes your way,
Be grateful for all the things that you receive each day.

We lve you! 

Isn’t that beautiful?

Wela and I.

My friends also planned a little video presentation. The funny thing is that I knew all along that they were going to do this. One friend told me about it beforehand because he thought it was funny that they had a problem who will edit the video since I am always the designated editor for videos. It was funny to see how my friend, Ernelyn, wiggled her way into borrowing my laptop so she could play the video that was sent to her messenger. She said she needed to finish something for work. Ha! Although it was a lame excuse, it was an endearing gesture.

Erns trying to run the video.

Here is the video made by my cousin, Bong. Yes, they got Kuya Bong to create a video for them. The awesome thing is that he was able to get in touch with my high school friends. I was only expecting video messages from our common friends. Like the poem, I will also treasure this video.

And the celebration did not end there. My friends who missed my birthday came two days after to celebrate with me.

A week after, I got this package from Grace.

I feel loved.

I am looking forward to my 40’s. Life begins again and it looks great from where I am now. I am beaming with gratitude and happiness. For those who feared turning 40 soon, it ain’t bad!

Well-deserved!

The preparations for my friend’s birthday kept me busy the week before the Holy Week. You see my friend, Ernelyn, was turning 40 and she dreamed of having an 18th birthday type of celebration. She had this dream written in her dream book! (This made me panic a little since I do not have a dream book!) Many of her dreams have already been fulfilled: having her own family, building her own home, buying her own car and having me as a friend (kidding!). Having this party was one of those dreams she wanted to cross off her list.

For those who know her, we all agreed that Ernelyn deserved this grand celebration. When you look at her life, it seemed that the odds were all against her favor (credits to Suzanne Collins). She was born out of wedlock. As a baby, her mother left her in the care of her aunt who raised her like her own but her aunt was not rich so they lived with meager means. She told me that she used to go to school without breakfast.  She did not even own proper school shoes. Yet, she survived it all unscathed. She graduated with honors: elementary salutatorian, high school salutatorian, cum laude in college. She passed the CPA boards. All her hard work paid off and she started to fulfill her dreams.

Even with all her achievements, she never forgot to give back and share her blessings. Her home is always open for her family and friends. I was one of the recipients of her generosity. I remember last year I was working during my birthday that I did not have time to organize even a simple celebration. She came to my house and told me to dress up because she was going to treat me to dinner. What a friend!

And since she asked that I take care of her slide show, I did the best I could. I am glad she was happy with what I did.  All of us, her friends and family, were there to support her.

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Here we are with our party duties: Mitzi (right) is Erns’ best friend and she was asked to deliver a speech and Bobot (left) was one of the hosts for the program.

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Jen (middle), Erns’ neighbor and bff,  was the official party photographer. Wela (left) and I (the girl with a poor posture) were on double-duty. Wela was one of the hosts and since we brought cameras, we also took photos . (Btw, I am using Wela’s photos in this post.)

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These are some of our friends who each has a role to play in the party.  Left to right: Wela, Kikim (one of the hosts), Ernelyn  (the debutante. hehe), Teram (photobooth sponsor), Me and Mitzi (the bestfriend).

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This is my photo with the birthday girl. Ernelyn really deserved this party!

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If you have noticed,  I wore makeup. You can count on my two hands the number of times I wore makeup in my lifetime. Thanks to my friend, Teram, for insisting. Otherwise, I’d look like Cinderella before the ball. Haha Good thing, I bought a black and white houndstooth printed skirt from Zalora when there was a sale last December.  (Here’s a tip: Visit ZALORA’s wide range of plus size clothing if you want stress-free shopping.)

Ernelyn’s birthday was a party to remember. Looking forward to other birthday parties!

The 37 Things this 37-year-old Learned the Past 12 Months

I just celebrated my 37th birthday early this month. Thank you those who took time to greet me.

It has been a good year.  My heart bursts with happiness whenever I think about the blessings that came my way. God loves all of us and He has a way of making His presence felt in my life. I am sure He does the same thing to your life.

Last year I made a list of of 36 random thoughts. In the same spirit, I am writing 37 things I learned the past year. These are mostly things I learned about myself.  I have to review the recesses of my brain (who am I kidding?) Facebook posts to refresh my memory.

1. It does not matter whether you know the person long enough or not. When you are comfortable with someone, it just feels right. I welcome friendship at any point in my life.

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2. You make time for people. I gained friends this way.

3. It is never awkward to randomly send a message to a friend to catch up on our lives.

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4. A little sense of humor does not hurt.

5. Good food is a good thing.

6. It is never too late to learn new things.

7. Do not assume you know everything.

8. We all have different experiences. Sometimes you can also learn from the mistakes of others.

9. Falling in love may be a wonderful thing. It may not happen to you but you can always have a different kind of wonderful.

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10. Even with unfortunate things happening in the world, you can still trust in the innate goodness in people.

11. It is okay to be nice.

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12. You do not have to buy something you like just because you can afford it.

13.  You do not need to travel far to appreciate the world around you.

14. Create your own piece of heaven on earth.

15. I may be silent when around people. Sometimes I just do not have anything to say.

16. You can be happy with the success of others.

17. Prayer can change a lot of things- all for the better.

18. Surround yourself with people who inspire you.

19.  Family means the beings who are close to my heart. This includes the pets we have at home- Joaqui, Blessy and Peachy.

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20. You do not have to have a witty retort on every unfavorable remark hurled against you. Silence can be your response.

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21. Rediscovering your own talent can be a reward itself. Being appreciated for it is a bonus.

22. A genuine smile is a thing of beauty.

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23. Welcome happy thoughts.

24. Give back in whatever way you can.

25. Do not work hard for just the money. Work hard for the fulfillment of something meaningful.

26. Listen to people of all ages. You can learn a thing or two from them.

27. A grateful heart is a vessel for joy.

28. I learn more about my friends when I travel with them.

29. I celebrate diversity. It is more fun to be around different kinds of people from all walks of life.

30. Never delay praises. When you like what you see, say it or hit ‘Like’ on Facebook. 😉

31. Make time for yourself.

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32. Savor some of those moments of happiness alone.

Source: http://brightend.tumblr.com

Source: http://brightend.tumblr.com

33. Take care of your health.

34.  Assume the best in people. Sometimes they surpass your expectations.

35. Learn how to forgive. It is better to have a peace of mind that have the last say.

36. Enjoy whatever is in front of you.

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37. Life is short  and it is not race. Just enjoy it.

 

Let’s Move & Let’s Love

I just celebrated my 35th birthday last week. Two friends and I had a joint celebration. It was a simple dinner with friends. The night was full of laughter as we tried to catch up with each other’s lives.  It is during birthdays that I feel a renewed sense of hope and love.

 

A birthday, for me, is a gift- another year and another chance to do things better.  To do things better is to do things with love. Little acts of love matter.  Sometimes we think we are insignificant specks in the universe. We are not. Think about the Higgs boson particle. Too nerdy? How about a mosquito?

 

Acts of love do not have to be grand gestures. In my case, I enjoy the little things like the after-dinner conversation and laughter with my aunts, a hug from a pet, sharing an entertaining video with my cousin or a simple, touching message from  a friend.  It is in the little things that people (and animals) share with me that I feel loved the most.

Source: fridgedoor.com via kat on Pinterest

 

Because a birthday is a new year for me, I commit to spread love through good vibes, positive attitude, warm smile and good food. The foodie in me had to say that last bit.

Source: bellamumma.com via kat on Pinterest

 

 

Clearly, my mind wanders around food. Ha! Today is my uncle’s birthday. We had a simply lunch with family. I cooked two dishes. I may not have the money to buy him an expensive gift but I do have the time and energy to cook Fried Wontons and Crispy Shrimp Pasta.

Our tummies are filled with good food (and love).

How about you? What simple acts of love do you want to commit doing?

Benetton encourages you to move and love. Check out http://perfumes.benetton.com.

Betty Crocker saved the day!

Yesterday was my 34th birthday.  I woke up at 5am to attend mass. It was good to start my day with gratitude and blessing. I had a simple lunch with family. I cooked lunch (just spaghetti) and I baked a cake.

A cake is staple in my past birthdays. It makes a regular lunch or dinner a little fancier. It signifies a celebration.  I’ve had cakes of different sizes, flavors and designs.

This time around I baked my own cake. Betty Crocker came to the rescue. I found this box of cake mix in the local grocery.

Although I had six months of baking lessons under my belt, I did not want to sweat it out on my birthday. Baking from scratch is a lot of work. I was glad that the instructions written in the box were really simple: just mix and bake! No sweat!

What sealed the deal was that it was affordable!! Only Php141.75 (~ $3.3)! The price of a chocolate cake when ordered from a good baker ranges from Php 500-Php1200 depending on the size (and the reputation of the baker). Since I know how to make chocolate frosting, this is worth giving a try.

This is the baked product with frosting.  Tada!!

Haha! It looks bad. I need a lot of practice in the frosting department. Don’t tell me what it looks like. I already know what you are thinking!! Taste-wise, the cake did not disappoint. It was moist. I almost burned the cake bottom but it was still soft and moist. I think my oven was too hot that the cake was done earlier than the expected baking time. (Mental note: Buy an oven thermometer. )

Thank you, Betty Crocker! I will never bake a cake from scratch again. (The lazy bones in me are acting up!) I should have met you before I had the six months of baking lessons! Now I have this crazy idea of selling Betty Crocker cakes for Php500. (Cue in: evil grin)

More on the birthday:

I did not do much yesterday. I spent it lounging around. After the chitchat with family over lunch, I took a bath, napped and  read a book. I replied to Facebook greetings in between.  I was swamped with all the greetings. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for Facebook. Although I have issues with your privacy settings (the lack thereof and my confusion over the existing ones),  it is a nice feeling to receive greetings from friends. I tried to personalize my reply (as opposed to the standard “Thank you, _____!”).

“Thou that has given so much to me,
Give one thing more–a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.”

– George Herbert

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