I got a contraceptive implant.

I’ll be straight with you.

I have been in a long-term committed relationship with my boyfriend for about nine years now. We are not religious and we have no problem getting intimate while we are still unmarried.

I grew up very Christian. With my parents’ nudging, I got involved with the groups within the church from Sunday school to youth camps. And we all know the mantra they drill into every hormonal teenager: true love waits. I have always been pragmatic and held the belief that you cannot stop teenagers from having sex, at least give them the facts and let them protect themselves. So here I am at 27 with no children while a number of girls involved in the church back home have one or more children out of wedlock (and the inevitable shotgun weddings).

I have no problem if others choose to abstain from sex until marriage. Just be goddamn sure that you won’t slip up and bring an unplanned child into the world until you are 100% sure and ready. We have enough problems.

My boyfriend and I are nearing our 30s and despite the incessant questions on when we will be married and have children, we are pretty lukewarm on getting hitched and having children. We can barely afford being adults with bills, we can’t bring in another human being into that.

So here we are.

[Fair warning: there are a lot of bruised arm photos.]

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Being an adult: Romantic relationships.

As mentioned in my entry post for this series, when I was younger, I wanted to be married by 26 and have my first kid by 27. Well I am 26 right now and I am not married nor am I pregnant. I have been with my boyfriend for eight years now, and while we have discussed that we want to get married (to each other) someday, that’s not really possible right now.

I met my boyfriend (let’s call him Daniel because that’s his name) back in junior year college. He was in a class with some of my friends while I had that period free. I was hanging around the class because there was this guy I had a crush on (not Daniel) in the class with them. The instructor was really nice though and he let me sit in with the class and even made me participate in the discussions. Of course the guy I liked didn’t give me the time of day, and I was okay with that. I told myself during that phase of my life that I didn’t want a boyfriend. I was having a nice time, I was with my friends and it was my favorite subject.

One day I was sitting with this one friend, whispering to each other and she pointed me to this guy who she thought had a nice smile. I looked over and the guy (it was Daniel this time) did have a nice smile. He was this tall, lanky kid with glasses who looked like a nerd. He always had a Rubik’s cube in hand so he was (still is) most definitely a nerd. But he also always had this really warm smile whenever I saw him. So like a true child of the internet, I stalked him through social media the instant I got home that day. I saw on one of his profiles that he liked this band I also liked so I took the chance and messaged him and we got to talking online almost every day.

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I bought a menstrual cup: an update.

It’s been about five months since I got my menstrual cup, about five cycles I have been using it. I thought it would be nice to give an update on my experience and what I’ve learned about this whole thing.

I feel like this has been the best decision of my menstruation-having life. Let’s take it back when I was still using pads and the occasional tampon.

My period rarely starts on the same date each month. It could be early a few days but more often late a few days to even more than a week. I use a period tracker app but my actual period likes to be a jerk. This uncertainty meant I had to constantly be on alert on the onset of my PMS symptoms because I would never know when I would start bleeding. I start getting stabbing pains a few days before my period actually starts but that could still mean right the fuck now or five days from now. Wearing a pad prematurely was a regular occurrence when I was so sure but still got nothing. But with the cup, I could just slip it in when the stabbing pains start and not worry about it. Most of the times I don’t even notice that my period already started because I don’t feel anything, which leads to the second thing.Read More »

Skincare Staples: Jeju Farm Sheet Masks

I discovered Jeju Farm masks when I stumbled into a Beauty in Seoul [ website | Instagram ] kiosk in a nearby mall. The sheet masks were PHP38 each and have been a staple in my stash ever since. If you get the chance, I highly recommend visiting a BIS kiosk, they have reasonably-priced Korean beauty products and they have the nicest sales people I have ever encountered.

Let’s get on to my my favorite Jeju Farm masks:

jf mask snail

Jeju Farm Snail

Claims: The snail mucus extrct with EGF ingredient recover your skin effectively and keep your skin nutrition plentiful. The natural aloe-vera extract sooth exhausted skin. Sufficient moisture supplying make healthy skin.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Ethanol, SodimHyaluronate PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Methylaparaben, Hydroxyethlcellose, Diaodium EDTA, Alltoin, Propyiene Glycol, Triethanoiamine, Snail Secretion Filtrate Extract, Fragrance. [ source ]

Let’s start off with my favorite. This mask has a different material from the other two Jeju Farm masks in this post, this is more rigid and plasticy than the usual soft fiber of Aloe and Green Tea and of the other variants of this mask line I tried. Due to the material, it dries up really fast. But I love this mask anyway. The scent is pleasant and not overpowering. The remaining essence is plenty enough for me to transfer it to a small container ready for use the next night with a compressed sheet mask tablet, adding a few drops of toner or additional snail essence into the mix.

As with these Jeju Farm masks, I use these when I have a bit of time to allow me a mask at night. The snail is for when I have been dealing with a bout of mild breakouts I need to soothe.

This mask leaves my skin soothed and hydrated, a nice glow in the morning after, 10/10 would recommend.

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Skincare Routine: Early 2017

I never really had acne when I was a teenager gone through puberty. My face was really oily but it stayed smooth. I only really used facial wash back then.

But everything changed when the fire nation attacked.

I can’t remember now when I exactly started breaking out but I think it was around when I was 19 or 20. The acne was mainly concentrated on my cheek area at first. I tried so many drugstore products and even went to a dermatologist who gave me antibiotics and products which dried my face out. I wasn’t aware of the online skincare community then, so without the help of /r/AsianBeauty and /r/beautytalkph, I bought products that were not kind to the skin and I shot my moisture barrier to shit. My acne worsened and I lost hope, living with painful breakouts and a constantly red face.

However, by late last year, I subscribed to /r/beautytalkph and got to talk with other people who I shared skin types and skin concerns with. Most importantly, they were from the same country, which meant recommendations were mostly easily accessible or even locally produced. Between November last year and today, my routine has been mostly unchanged save for the addition of sheet masks, and it had been the best few months for my skin.

 

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The Magnus Archives: Season 1 Review

This review may contain spoilers. From the Rusty Quill website:

“Make your statement, face your fear.”

The Magnus Archives is a weekly horror fiction anthology podcast examining what lurks in the archives of The Magnus Institute, an organisation dedicated to researching the esoteric and the weird. Join the new Head Archivist, Jonathan Sims, as he attempts to bring a seemingly neglected collection of supernatural statements up to date, converting them to audio and supplementing them with follow-up work from his small but dedicated team.

Individually, they are unsettling. Together they begin to form a picture that is truly horrifying because as he looks into the depths of the archives, something starts to look back…

I’ve really been into audio drama podcasts the last few months. I first got introduced to it a few years ago with Welcome to Nightvale. I wasn’t able to keep up with it once I lost my iPod Touch, so I didn’t bother to catch up when I got a new phone. Wanting to listen to something similar, I found out about We’re Alive, Tanis, and The Black Tapes. The last two were relatively new so I easily was able to binge both in a couple of weeks. I loved the format as well as the stories. We’re Alive was a lot longer though, I grew tired of the story as a whole so I abandoned it. Tanis and The Black Tapes are well made but I don’t like them as much as The Magnus Archives.

I think I discovered this podcast last month, in the audio drama subreddit. Season 2 was just starting and the reviews were really good. I was hooked (heh) right from the first episode.

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Being an adult: Career.

I had a hard time starting my career when I got out of college. I have an arts degree and while I did my best not to flunk anything and generally enjoyed college, I wasn’t sure if being an artist was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I’ve always been involved in the arts. Always was one of the creative ones in grade school and high school, always involved in the school paper, always enjoyed arts class. I wasn’t spectacularly talented, just better than most and actually put some effort into it. I really liked  writing though. I mean, I still do. But like most aspects of my life, my career was just something I stumbled into, not something I planned for.

I was not able to land a job right after graduating college. I applied to various graphic artist jobs but my portfolio was pitiful. I was lucky that my parents didn’t pressure me into taking a job I didn’t care about. They didn’t expect me to pay them back for anything nor did they expect me to give them a monthly allowance now that they were done paying for my education. I didn’t want to take the call center route, I just knew I would burn out so fast in that sort of job. I tried building my portfolio while I was unemployed but I guess my heart just wasn’t in it. I even tried selling some handmade accessories for a while. That was fun for a bit, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.Read More »