A Filipina thirtysomething grad student's blog with a side helping of geekery, food, books, music and beauty!

by Layla

After that long break + what I learned during that time

Hello, I’m back, after a long break.

So many things have happened–Lent and grad school applications thrown in together.

So, what’s Lent got to do with the break? Well, it’s the time of the year I usually do my annual social media detox. I cheated a bit, that’s true (#cantstayawayfromthegram), but I’ve learned to be less fixated on it.

There are a few things I’ve learned during my break. I will be sharing my insights on them. Continue Reading →

by Layla

Hello, hello.

Hello, how are you? Hope you are doing fine.

It’s been more than a month since I last updated this blog, and to be honest, it’s been wonderful not posting.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love blogging, but there have been times when I have been wondering what am I still doing with this blog, and being completely devoid of motivation. For the past few years, I felt like I had to keep up with everything, and I’ve felt the intense pressure to write something worth reading. Three years later, I can now admit that I felt like I had to churn my brains out in order not to lose readers. Continue Reading →

by Layla

Pie time! My experimental Salted Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

It’s been long since I posted on here, and as well, a long time since I have shared anything food-related on here, much less a recipe. I took advantage of today’s rest day, although it’s for a sad reason, as there’s a huge typhoon brewing in the northernmost part of the Philippines. Please pray for them, that the storm might change its course and that the damages and lives lost would not be a large number. 

All right, I deviated again! I will be sharing this experimental Salted Caramel Apple Crumble Pie. 

Here’s the recipe. 🙂 Continue Reading →

by Layla

The Lazy Girl’s All in One Meal

My father’s been taken to the hospital more than three weeks ago, but he’s home now–yay! I won’t lie though, those three weeks were tense, to say the least.

And that meant that I was on my own a lot. And me being left alone a lot gives me reason to prepare a meal that can be eaten at any time of the day: bacon, egg, and mushroom fried rice. This dish screams HELLO, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, but while I don’t whip it up often, it’s worth it whenever I do.

Preparing the ingredients took the most time, admittedly. As we don’t consume as much rice as we used to, there was none on hand, which meant that I had to cook rice. And frying bacon isn’t something to be sneezed at, either! I enjoyed the preparation process though, and I’m sharing the recipe in hopes that you’ll enjoy preparing the dish and eating the end product. Continue Reading →

by Layla

Read || The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

How are you all doing? Hope you are doing well!

It’s been ages since I’ve written a book review–I’ve been reading a lot of books but I haven’t put pen to paper. Or rather, in this case, fingertips to keyboard with regard to how I feel about them! I’m going to review one of my favourite author’s little known work.

Reading Lucy Maud (LM) Montgomery’s work is always a treat. I’ve fallen in love with Anne of Green Gables as a little girl. In many ways, I related to Anne Shirley. I still do, actually. While I have many good friends and I love them dearly, there’s only a few with whom I have the same wavelength–I share her viewpoint in having a friend that’s also a ‘kindred spirit’.  I still read the books in the series because there’s something about worth revisiting in Anne Shirley’s world: She never changes who she is, and she does her own thing. For those who have never read the series at all–IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. It’s totally worth your time. The eighth book in the series is actually my favourite! Continue Reading →

by Layla

Hey baby, it’s okay.

So finally, I took a short trip out of the urban jungle that is Manila. Finally, after almost five years!

A little warning: this post will be at the danger of sounding like I’m half-bottle of whining, but I promise, I’ll do my best to make sure it won’t go there.

I haven’t been doing at all well lately, emotionally, that is. Well, to be honest, it’s only partly true. I have my good days. But some days were…meh. Which is why I stayed away from blogging, because I just didn’t feel like writing anything. I did feel guilty about not writing anything at all.

I also felt guilty about a lot of things, such as not having a say when a very important headline shook the legal community (yeah, these things are important to some people I know). I also felt guilty for using one-third of my 13th month pay on skincare.  I also felt guilty about being on the fence about things that mattered to a lot of people. I even feel guilty about being single (yeah, lame, I know).

I felt guilty about a lot of shit, period.

It took a really eye-opening conversation with Lorie, one of my dearest friends telling me that I am too sensitive for my own good–it was a sign that I wasn’t shallow–it was the other way around. I was sensitive, but not in the cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat way, but I do tend to absorb life far too much. Well, that stumped me. For someone who had been accused of being shallow, this was certainly a surprise. Really, it was.

It could even be the cause of why I did have depression, she tells me, because I again, I let things weigh on my shoulders for far too long and too much.

Lorie tells me she wonders why I need to have an opinion about something I had posted on my Facebook wall. My explanation: Because I am, after all, a law student, and that I felt that I should have a stand.

Then she made me realise, why do I feel so bad about not having voiced out my stand? Does it even matter, really?

Lorie shared her philosophy–as a future Med student, she chooses to maintain her individuality and not get into the culture too much. It’s one that I’m willing to apply. To weed out unnecessary stress from my mind. She digests everything selectively, enabling her to be unaffected when she needs to be. I’ve shared about how stressed I get whenever I don’t get to finish the coverage of the assigned readings, or failing a subject.

Through this conversation with Lorie, she made me realise that:

  1. It’s okay not to have a say about things that don’t really matter in the bigger picture.
  2. I have to learn how to forgive myself over things I wasn’t able to accomplish.
  3. I can only do so much. I’m not Supergirl.
  4. I don’t have to apologise about the things that make me happy.

I was able to apply this philosophy when I went on my short trip out of town. While I couldn’t tell you enough how much I love my job, I was grateful to get out of the office–and out of the city for two days. It was bliss, even. And it made me more appreciative of the beauty of nature. It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. And yes, it’s actually more fun in the Philippines, no matter how unoriginal the slogan was. If it weren’t for time constraints, I would have gladly visited another town where my friend lives.

My aunt was worried that it has not been much of a break for me–but I assured her it was. Seeing roads free from traffic, green trees, green fields, and spotting the occasional cow or carabao was enough for me. And the sea, oh my God, the sea. I miss seeing the sea–it’s been years since I last visited the beach. Even seeing it from afar was enough for me.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap a lot of photographs and I was too shy to ask the driver to stop so I could take them. However, I will be sharing what I’ve taken so far!

The photographs are an inspiration for me to go on a trip on my own next year.

by Layla

Read || The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

How are you? How was your Valentine’s Day? Hope it went well. 🙂

This is a book that I’ve been dying to review–but I re-read this book over and over to do this review justice. 🙂 It’s definitely my favourite book at the moment, and it’s been totally worth it to buy on Amazon. Because sadly, it’s not available in book shops in the Philippines. Yeah, I’m talking to you National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked. And people are missing a lot not reading this book! Well, at least I think so.

Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets takes place in 1950s England, a country still recovering from the effects of the Second World War, and still coping with rationing. At the same time, England was also invaded by America. Continue Reading →

by Layla

My (new) multi-purpose cookie dough recipe

Baking cookies always gives me wonderful memories. Of wonderful Saturday afternoons baking cookies from the box (hi, White King), and dunking them into cold, fresh milk. Yum.

When my older sister started baking stuff from scratch, I became her assistant. Measuring things, stirring the batter, or wrapping those baked goods into boxes. That however, wasn’t fodder enough for me to start venturing into baking on my own–until she left to work abroad.

Fast forward to 2014, when I started baking cookies for friends and family. Of course they weren’t perfect–but people gave me helpful hints as to the texture and taste of the cookies. I’ve made a lucky hit with red velvet cookies–a recipe I’ll have to reproduce as I have lost it through the deletion of my old blog. Continue Reading →

by Layla

Gifts the student in your life will appreciate AT ANY SEASON


Missed a birthday? Too late for Christmas? Not able to make it for Valentine’s Day? Got a student in your life you need to appreciate? While this post is actually late, one can still give gifts that can be used throughout the year–especially when the recipient is a student!

This post was inspired by a memory in law school: it was the season for class Christmas parties and exchanging gifts. One of my classmates played it safe and included a wishlist (I kid you not) along with the slip of paper where her “code name” was scribbled. Her list included:

Post-Its (five pieces, the long yellow ones)

Pilot G-Tech pens (0.3/0.4)–black, blue and red: TWO OF EACH

Stabilo Boss Highlighters (Blue, Yellow, Pink, Orange, Green–AGAIN, TWO OF EACH)

Index cards, both sides unruled; 100 pieces.

1 ten piece set of Staedtler Fineliner pens

Okay, I can go on all afternoon! But at least you get the gist. The funny thing was, she wasn’t alone where wishlists were concerned. A few classmates even ventured as far as including codal books (pocket Bible-sized books of unannotated laws–codes, they are usually called. This is what they look like:


And they’re pretty much the Bible of every Filipino law student (Sorry, God!). We were all required to master each and every word of the law, memorising and chanting it even in our sleep if need be.

Okay, I digress.

Going back to the business of gift-giving (ha!), the student in your life deserves your tender loving care by giving them stuff they can really appreciate and use. While flowers and candies are a sweet gesture, wouldn’t it be sweeter if they use your gift and think of you while doing so? *winkwink* So what can you give them? Below is a handy gift guide–perfect for any occasion! Continue Reading →

by Layla

Soup du jour: Cream of carrot and celery soup

The holidays have come and gone! To be honest, I’m still feeling stuffed, and mind, we didn’t even prepare a lot of food! For Christmas, we had roast chicken (followed Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for roast turkey…but as turkey is a good deal more costly in the Philippines, I made do with a large chicken), pasta (recipe to be shared one of these days), and soup.

For soup, traditionally we have a special kind of chicken macaroni soup every Christmas. This time, however, I wanted to try something new. To be honest, I was nervous about preparing this–as it would be my first time preparing it.


This soup recipe came from my late paternal aunt, who is the absolute queen (apart from my mum) of preparing good food. She shared this recipe to my older sister (do check out her blog), who made this soup quite often, but not too often as it to cease becoming a treat. When I was younger, I used to assist her in cooking and baking, and I would pretty dumb not to have picked up something. Thankfully, my memory didn’t fail me, and I am able to make this, on my own, with a bit of a twist!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the recipe of cream of carrot and celery with potato soup. Continue Reading →

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