skin tones and voices

Me being creepy at 3 years old. I guess my hair style hasn't changed much since then :))
Bakit ang itim-itim mo? (Why are you so dark?) 

When I was younger, I hated my skin color. For many years, I was the "smart kid" but never the pretty one, partly because I was dark.

I mostly didn't care. But when I allowed those comparisons to linger in my mind, I would feel like the ugliest person and that feeling was just, well, not fun.

The parts of myself that I didn't like, where did they come from? What drove me to purchase skin whitening products in the Philippines and want to be just a few shades lighter? Why did I have relatives who would joke about how dark I was and think it was okay? What made me hate going out under the sun because it would make me even more tan, as if that was the worst that could happen to me?

One simple answer would be the Philippines' colonial background. For over three centuries we were under the rule of Spain. We also briefly had a British Invasion and for almost 50 years, the Americans also occupied my homeland.

During colonial times, when you were dark, it meant that you worked outside. You were part of the lower class. If you had fair skin, you had prestige. Over the years, we carried with us this idea that light skin is the equivalent of beauty and status. It's been ingrained in our advertisements, in our TV shows, in our interactions with people who have been conditioned to believe this.

However, there were also people near and far who would consider my skin tone beautiful; those who say that people in Europe and other "predominantly white" countries would pay money to bake in tanning beds just to have my color. That here in the US, we have tanning sprays and lotions instead of whitening soaps and deodorants. I remember this story of my cousin who went to Macedonia with her family and how the locals kept admiring her skin. I found that uplifting. I could boast about it, but what I'm trying to say is that from hating my skin color, I eventually came to appreciate it. I learned that we always want what we didn't have and it doesn't help anyone to hate what you look like nor to be overly prideful about it.

So why am I writing this? As a follower of Christ, I have a deeper appreciation for the inherent value he bestows upon us as image-bearers of God. The color of my skin is but one part of who I am. This is part of my Filipino identity and it is the source of many stories. In one sense, I just got over it. This isn't a way to "get back" at the people who teased me nor is this a way to cope with losing sleep over how brown I am.

Sometimes I joke that I'm coffee and my husband is cream, lol. Photo by Lukas Suarez.

The point of it all? Your words matter. 

Your view of the world and how you express it could potentially define someone's life. As it relates to skin color, you could either perpetuate the idea of one color being more beautiful than the other, or you could enrich the world by recognizing--nay, acknowledging--someone's beauty regardless of their skin tone and cultural background. Skin color is one thing. It could apply to how we (yes, we) perceive someone's intellect, family of origin, interests, or some other category. 

You see, words matter because they last (see this and and this). Even at 26 years old, sometimes I still tell my husband "Look how brown I am!" with a mix of appreciation and a need for affirmation that my skin is beautiful the way it is.  While I'm not completely wrecked psychologically and I have "gotten over it," the words I heard growing up remain in my psyche. It's up to me to remember my value in Christ, receive the encouragement I get, and reaffirm the beauty of others as I do for myself.


Tell someone they're beautiful and mean it. And if you can't mean it just yet, maybe consider looking at that person differently. Who knows the kind of destiny you're helping shape for that person with your words.

If you're on the receiving end of things--the one being teased and having a hard time embracing what comes naturally, I'm here to tell you that you are lovely. It may take some time to believe it for yourself, but it's true. People always want what they don't have and what we do have is worth celebrating and being thankful for.

Challenge that voice that brings down.
Be that voice that lifts up.

weekend reads

The irony of this photo is that all of the articles I listed are online :))

Happy Saturday friends! Here's a round up of some interesting links for your breakfast browse, afternoon coffee break, or evening wind-down.

Have a great rest of the weekend ahead!

one year in America

I cried at the airport. I cried when I said I wouldn't and I held on to my mom and dad before we had to go inside the terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I held back tears the whole trip to Manila but when I got off the van, I just lost it. The reality of my leaving behind the Philippines hit me hard only at that moment.

Yesterday I celebrated my one year (!) anniversary of living in the United States. May 11, 2017 I boarded a new Boeing 787 with my husband and what few earthly possessions I had. I landed in LAX and it was still May 11 in San Diego, California--it was a fresh start.

A lot happened in one year. Here's a list of highlights in no particular order:

my first lush cosmetics experience

After 25 years (going on 26 in June!), I've finally started paying attention to my skin. I moved to the US from the Philippines nearly a year ago and the change in climate brought about some changes in my skin as well, especially on my face. It's incredibly humid in the Philippines while California air is really dry. While I'm glad my nose didn't bleed from the climate shift, it was my skin that took a blow.

Cetaphil seemed to do the job until, well, it didn't anymore. I went for a facial a couple months ago and the lady who did it said that I needed to upgrade. Also, thanks to her, I now know that I have normal skin. All these years I thought I had combination skin! I followed her advice and gave myself permission to splurge a bit. My college self would have laughed at you if you told me I'd drop $$$ on skin care products. Skin care is probably one of the things I wouldn't skimp on now.

I wanted to try a bunch of products but I figured that wouldn't be the best for my skin, so I did my research online. There were a few strong contenders but I knew that I wanted to go natural. Enter Lush!

I had heard of Lush back when I was in the Philippines mainly because of their famous bath bombs. But because I didn't go out much (I was one happy introvert), I didn't know they had stores there. I probably wouldn't have purchased them anyway because it was more expensive. So glad I'm in North America where it's relatively cheaper. Here's what I ended up buying:

Good Friday

Today we remember. We revisit. We take it all in once more.
Today is not the day to celebrate...yet.


It's Good Friday and I'm really looking forward to our church service later tonight. The approach will be different from any Good Friday service I've ever attended, mostly because it's going to be so solemn and I find that to be more sobering. Like I said above, it's not yet time to celebrate, exactly. I believe Jesus is alive, yes, but without the darkness of Good Friday, the light of Easter will not be possible. This week has been long and tiring for both Carlo and I, and we both need this night to just be still with God's people and remember our Savior's suffering.


Here are some resources for your Good Friday (and Easter) reflections:
7 Passages to Read on Good Friday (from Crossway)
Image Journal's curated art, poetry, essays and stories for Lent.
10 Passages to Read on Easter (Crossway)
One of my favorite books on the cross.
 A playlist for Good Friday and Easter

march madness: early spring updates

Spring is probably my second favorite season after fall, especially early spring. I'm not a huge fan of summer and I'm still getting used to winter evenings here, so spring time is that sweet spot between not too hot and not too cold weather. This season is also special to me since I arrived in the US during spring, and this coming May will actually be my first year anniversary! If I stop--really stop--to think about the past few months, I'd be blown away by the numerous changes that happened. Here's a brief rundown of what's going on lately:

2017 Reading List: February + Life Updates

How is it the last day of February already??? I hope this month has been filled with wonderful things for you. Valentines with my husband was pretty low key but still special. He also celebrated his birthday this week and one month from now, we will be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary! Cuh-razy.

Work is also in full swing for both of us. C found a new marketing job and he's really enjoying it so far. I've also started working part-time for a non-profit and I'm having fun with it as well! These jobs are definitely gifts we want to steward well.

Now for my fellow book nerds out there, we're capping off the month with a list of things we read.

Photo from Jocelyn Glei's website
Manage Your Day-to-Day (from 99U) /  
I'm a sucker for all things productivity and self-improvement. This means I spend an inordinate amount of time browsing Lifehacker and reading psychology articles. Ordering Your Private World is one of my favorite books. So when C and I discovered the books that 99U created, I knew I was in for a treat.

Manage Your Day-to-Day is down to earth and inspirational. I could say the same for Maximize Your Potential, which I read sometime last year. 99U's books are geared towards creatives--but this doesn't mean it's just for designers, photographers, and artists in the technical sense of the term. If you're an entrepreneur, corporate employee, or just someone seeking some ideas and motivation to improve on your trade, you'll still benefit from what 99U has to offer. However, I can't speak for the third book in the series since it looks like it's specifically for entrepreneurs.

Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential are both packed with quotable words and actionable ideas in every essay. I have the Kindle copies but the physical books would make for a nice collection. It doesn't hurt that they're inexpensive too. The 99U books are easy to read and like I said, practical. You can read one essay every day if you're in need of an extra dose of inspiration for your work day.

Side note: While books like Managing Your Day-to-Day are helpful, I believe Jesus is still the best model for time management. He worked, he had a clear mission and he didn't waste any time doing things that didn't align with that mission. He also set aside a lot of time to be by himself to pray and be connected to his Father. Jesus is the perfect example of hard work, focus, and rest. 

Photo from Amazon
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? 
The four stars are for incredible character development, smart humor, and a "mixed media" approach that just works. In Bernadette you'll find emails, handwritten notes, news clippings, and even an FBI file. Using a variety of narrative devices is not a cop-out; it actually serves the story well. Semple's characters are intelligent, sarcastic, and emotionally charged but never volatile (except maybe for Bernadette, but her unpredictability is consistent enough that you can kind of predict what she'll do next? Perhaps.) 

The novel is truly Bernadette's story--it's about her struggles, achievements, buried dreams, and exhumed nightmares. It is about her social anxiety, escapist tendencies, and creative genius. It is about Bernadette the mother, wife, and architect. But at the same time, the people surrounding her are so well developed and don't just act as fringe characters. It's all about Bernadette and also not just about her. 

I would have given the book 5 stars but I took out one because the ending was too abrupt for me. Semple may have thought it best to end the book the way she did, but I think ending it with an epilogue of sorts would have been better.

In true Patricia fashion, I'm also reading two more books at the same time. I'm also working on Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness and M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts (the movie adaptation came out recently). Feel free to let me know what you guys are reading or let's follow each other on Instagram! I frequently post what I'm reading there :)

Stay tuned to see what other literary goodness March holds! 

READING GOAL STAT: 6/25 books read.

Reading Roundup

caffeine chronicles | 05: revolution roasters

Revolution Roasters
It was raining so hard sometime last December when we visited Oceanside on the 31st but the trip was well worth it. We went on a day trip to spend some time at Carlsbad where Carlo's stepsister lives. On the last day of 2016, we bonded over Settlers of Catan, ate good lunch, and petted a couple doggies. To cap off the day before we drove back south, we visited Revolution Roasters.

They are craft coffee experts and as the name suggests, they roast small batches of responsibly-sourced beans from different parts of the world. Their merch is pretty awesome, too--camper mugs, baseball tees, canvas tote bags, coffee-making gear, and of course, the beans themselves.

List of concoctions:

I tried their butterscotch latte and it didn't taste as sweet as I thought it would be. The butterscotch flavor is just right--I can taste the brown sugar just a little bit but it wasn't overwhelming either. The coffee itself is smooth. I would recommend it for your first visit! Carlo had the Dirty Chai but it was just okay for me. We both like dirty chai from another coffee shop up in Murrieta, which I'll be featuring another time. :)

Boar head!
It's a cozy shop but can still seat a lot of people especially now that they added chairs outside (not pictured). Revolution Roasters is the perfect spot to recharge, get inspired, purchase coffee-themed items, and try some craft coffee if you're in the Oceanside area.

Revolution Roasters 
located at 1836 South Coast Highway 
Oceanside, CA 92054
Open everyday from 6am-6pm

2017 Reading List: January

Happy February, friends! I hope you had a great start to 2017. If not, it's only the beginning of the second month. There's still time to set new goals and crush them. Speaking of which, one of my goals this year is to read at least 25 books. Let's see what I read in January:

A Man Called Ove / 

Fredrik Backman's popular debut novel tells the story of a curmudgeon who shows us that we can never fully understand someone until we enter their story. Ove is a man of values and unwavering principles, but as an old widower, he doesn't seem to have anything to look forward to at the beginning. He was perceived as a grumpy man who saw things in black and white until one day, his new neighbors disturbed his life...for the better. In the latter years of his life, he found new purpose and unwittingly touched people's lives. Ove is a funny and charming story about love and friendship interspersed with grief and loss--much like life, where both the good (life) and undesirable (death) coexist. Ove teaches us that there is no shortcut to grief and there is still much to look forward to in the unseen future, if we just let it unfold.

on new jeans and expansion

Late last year I lamented the fact that I'm the heaviest I've ever been in my life. I've gained about 12 happy pounds since getting married in 2015. It's easy to get sad that I'll never be the same size as I was in high school (perfectly normal), so instead I just choose to focus on getting stronger everyday. In fact, while some of the weight gain may be fat, I'm pretty sure part of it is water weight and muscle from working out.

Instead of forcing myself to fit jeans I would have worn in college, I've come to accept that those days are gone. Pants that are a couple inches wider reflect who I am now. While most of my clothes from 2011 still fit me today, I bought new jeans last year because my old ones don't fit as well anymore. These new jeans have become a way for me to make peace with my body and to embrace new things that come my way.

january goals

patricia's 2017 goals

I'm always experimenting with a system for each area of my life--how to be a morning person, establishing a daily routine, morning versus evening quiet time, what workout to do and when, etc. I have A LOT of goals and I've experimented countless times with how to define and achieve them. One system might work for someone and not for me, but I try anyway. My Simplified Planner's quote for today says, "Be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods."I have a lot of goals this year but I'll be flexible about how I reach them.

Last year I wrote a list of "faith goals" and God had an answer for ALL of them. They weren't always answered in the way that I thought or hoped them to be, but all of them were fulfilled. And so, I move forward this 2017 knowing that I can set goals big and small, trusting that whatever lines up with God's plans will come to pass and what does not will be re-calibrated.

Here are some goals for this month that I will be stubborn about:

Carlo's Favorite Movies of 2016

Why are you here? Is it to see if Rogue One made the list? To see which foreign comedy and animated movie muscled their way into the Top 5? Why... why?! (Photo source: Digital Spy)

Hey, it’s not too late for an end-of-2016 list, aye? :) First, here's a bonus– the year’s most disappointing movies for me:
  • Midnight Special – A classic case of expectations meets the pavement. Some will disagree, but IMO this was a sci-fi slog.
  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant – I really liked the first movie and didn’t care much for the second. Now the fourth will go straight to TV, and Shailene Woodley isn’t even interested. This should tip you off to the quality of the third.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – One word: “Martha.”
  • Star Trek Beyond – Ah yes, "The Fast and the Furification” of the Star Trek franchise. Don’t get me wrong—I liked the previous two Trek films (and Furious 7, to be sure). That said, this movie frustrated me in a way that most people won’t identify with. I’m talking predictability, an appalling number of “coincidences,” stale action sequences, and much more. At times, things got so absurd I half-expected Vin Diesel to pop up in a Starfleet uniform, drive a muscle car through an asteroid field, and worst of all—survive.
  • Passengers – Boasts one of the most contrived endings I’ve seen of late. This showed promise with Starlord and J.Law on board, but as the proceedings grew more ludicrous I wanted off at the next stop.

caffeine chronicles | 04: por vida

At Barrio Logan. Photo by yours truly.
Por Vida is a homegrown coffee shop, gallery, and store celebrating Mexican art and tradition. They serve "locally roasted, fair trade, and organic coffee with a Mexican twist." My Instagram pal Christian introduced me to this little gem in Barrio Logan close to Chicano Park, which was recently named as a National Historic Landmark!

caffeine chronicles | 03: holsem coffee

Photo source: Explore North Park
Hello friends! Over the next few days, I'll be updating the blog with some of last year's coffee shop visits. Today our featured cafe is Holsem Coffee over at North Park. I went there sometime in September to have a nice long chat with my friend Jahara, who went to the same church that I attended back in the Philippines. It's been years since I last saw her and we ended up connecting in San Diego of all places.

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