Author: Layla

Yes, you can teach this girl new tricks.

NB: This pic was taken a year ago. I haven’t been to the UP Diliman campus since the Enhanced Community Quarantine was announced in March. So yeah, I miss my university. While I’m enrolled right now, attending classes on Zoom is a different ballgame. I know this feature picture is totally irrelevant to the current blog topic, but this university has given me a new lease on life, and it has given my confidence back. I do acknowledge that that newly regained confidence is only a small piece of the puzzle, having managed to survive graduate school–and to do well in the first semester–and it is all due to hard work. But I would like to say it’s because I  was also willing to try something new. And this is what this blog post is about. I have friends who asked me how was I able to survive my first semester of graduate school, it was all down to five things: a goal to work towards, discipline, determination, working smart, and yes, a willingness to …

Sorry, I just couldn’t shake this off.

Trigger warning: suicide. A few weeks ago, my work friends and I encountered huge traffic on our way home, which was an understatement. We checked in on Waze, to see what was going on. And we found out that someone committed suicide somewhere near where we live. It made me think about a lot of things. First off, about the person who committed suicide. Of course, I don’t know him or her, but I can only imagine how he must have felt like. That he or she is already in a dark place, and of course, the pandemic didn’t make things better. But I uttered a short, silent prayer that God will take care of that person, and make sure that he or she will be okay.

The Life-Changing Magic of Having Everything You Need On Your Desk

I usually prepare my room for a life change every year (well, almost every year). Going back to school, or just plain needing a change, my room’s layout gets revamped. And while I acknowledge that it is very labour intensive and er, dusty, the results are totally worth the muscle pain and allergic rhinitis. Tidying up also involves my desk, and I make sure I have everything I need within reach, so it’ll save me time trying to fumble with drawers and looking for things. Let me take you for a mini-desk tour, where I’ll show you all what’s on my desk. I’ve had this desk since I was in high school. My father bought it from a Japanese surplus store, and it was such a wonderful surprise since he bought us our very own study tables whilst my sister, brother and I was away at camp! However, I’m considering getting a new one as I need something larger that can also make room for a printer. For now, though, I can make do. The corkboard I bought, …

Sipping on Something Good: Strawberry Cream Cheese Milk

Studying without eating is unthinkable–in my books, at least. And since there’s food, there has to be some kind of drink, right? To be honest, I’m quite excited about this drink, and how it’s borne out of an experiment and an inspiration. I’ve been drinking a lot of milk teas with different flavours and the one that struck me most was the “cocoa cream cheese” one. But since I have had trouble sleeping lately, caffeinated drinks were out of the question. Inspiration struck. I have strawberry milk powder and strawberry jam.  So I put myself to work. With a bit of whisking, and stirring, and a lot of trial and error, my little drink baby was born: a lovely concoction of cream, strawberry milk powder, strawberry jam and cream cheese. And boy, it tasted so good. 😉

Recently Read 3 || American Duchess by Karen Harper

This is the last of the three books I have read during the three-month quarantine that I am reviewing. As well, it would be the last non-academic reading material I will be engaging in as school will start in two weeks! I have to admit though that I am quite excited about going back to school, online, or otherwise. The American Duchess is not the first book I have read from Karen Harper’s work. It was engaging, and the marketing tagline was “Before there was Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt.” As I was fascinated by the lives of those “Million Dollar American Princesses”, I was overjoyed to find the book in Scribd, of all places. In a nutshell, The American Duchess is a fictionalised account of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan’s life–starting from her debut in society, then her wedding to Charles, Duke of Marlborough, and then her divorce, and her second marriage, this time to Jacques Balsan. All well and good. The story was a page-turner, like The Royal Nanny, the first book of Karen Harper’s that …

A very tasty potato galette

Again, hola amigos and amigas! 🙂 Yes, I’m a girl who loves to eat, and a girl who also loves to cook. I discovered this dish while looking at Facebook videos.  Facebook is a treasure trove where food videos are concerned, I kid you not. This tasty dish is called a potato galette and oh my, it is fancy. According to the Martha Stewart website, the potato galette is a staple dish in the French countryside. Although she made her galette differently, I’m sure her variation is just as good. I got this recipe from Cooking with Shereen. You can see more of her toothsome treats here and here. Since I don’t have a lot of the ingredients (apart from the coarsely grated potato), I decided to put my own spin on it. To make this tasty dish, you’ll need: One large potato, grated. a pinch of salt a pinch of pepper (in this recipe, I used powdered chilli–we love spicy food, yes we do! haha) 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, also coarsely grated Directions: Grate …

Recently Read 2|| The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice

Reading a good book is something like eating your favourite meal: you want to savour every bite, wanting it to last longer. That’s exactly how I felt when I read Eva Rice’s The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp. The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp Eva Rice 2013, Heron Books 583 pages Summary In this novel, we get to meet Tara Jupp, a seventeen-year-old girl living in 1960s Britain. A minister’s daughter living in Cornwall, she lives with her father and her many siblings. Tara is a teenager living a quiet life in Cornwall, riding horses, visiting her neighbours, and singing in the choir. But her talent in singing gets discovered, and in no time at all, she is taken to London–where music, fashion, and high society is within reach. In London, Tara becomes Cherry Merrywell, and is starting to become well-known due to her talent. She gets to meet interesting people, and comes across someone she met in childhood. Back home, Tara gets involved in a family drama that centres on her sister, and her sister’s best friend. …

Preparing for a new semester.

Well, hello there! And hello, August! We’re having a pretty late start where the first semester is concerned, but with the world being pretty much upside down at the moment, it’s understandable. I’ve gotten word that enrollment will start mid-August. And that’s just mighty fine with me. I’m pretty excited yet apprehensive. I don’t know how online learning is going to pan out. I guess we shall wait and see. Because I couldn’t go out of the house to do school supplies shopping because of a second semi-lockdown, I’ve resorted to ordering them online. And it’s really strange, being used to going to the mall to do it personally, as I am particular about what I want. There are a million things I want to say about how things are going on here in the Philippines and what’s being done to combat the pandemic. But I’d rather keep my mouth shut because I don’t want a subpoena. Let’s put it succinctly: Things are crazy over here, and crazy is an understatement. For now, here’s a …

The Revision Diaries 1: The original and its comments

Hola amigos and amigas! Over a month ago, I submitted my research proposal. The proposal was about the introduction of more flexible working arrangements in the Philippine government sector. As someone working in the government sector, I have realised that the flexi-time being offered in most government offices doesn’t cut it anymore. Traffic, most especially in Manila has become increasingly horrendous, making millions of workers arrive late to their respective workplaces. I have received my professor’s comments, and to my relief, they were mostly asking for clarifications. For a month, I’ve had nightmares about receiving scathing comments in each part of the proposal. My fears have proved unfounded, but I still have a lot of work cut out for me! While looking for added research material, I realised that I could write about my adventures and misadventures about writing my research proposal. I’ve had a lot of bloopers while drafting the original, and I am pretty sure that the hilarity won’t be ending anytime soon. 🙂 Hence, this new category: The Revision Diaries. I really can’t …