chrysanthemum on pile of books on table

Words of Wisdom

I am lucky to have the most amazing family members. Because of them, I have lots of great advice from over the years. But today, I’m going to share two of my favorite words of wisdom that I hold closest to my heart.

“Accept the fact that you’re a dork, & your life will be a lot easier.” – My Dad

While I forget the context, this is one of my favorite things my Dad has ever said to me. In life, we often get too caught up in how others view us. Too many people are prisoners to their ego. Instead of being authentic & genuine, they’re too busy trying to look “cool”, desperate to not be labeled as weird or different. By accepting the fact that I’m a dork, I’m able to escape my ego. I can be myself without fear, which in turn makes my life easier as well.

“It is your greatest misfortune if you have never met me.” – My Great-Grandmother, Leonora San Agustin

My great-grandmother, Leonora San Agustin, is one of the most influential women in Asia. She became the first female Chemical Engineer in the Philippines in 1939. This quote is one of my favorites. She inspires me to always be myself, & anyone who isn’t for me. The loss isn’t mine. It’s their misfortune if they never get or want the opportunity to meet me. My Lola Leonie is a go-getter, & she always succeeds in anything she put her mind to. She is brilliant, & I know that she passed down her intelligence & writing skills to me. Please check out this brilliant article she wrote in 2007 at 92 years old!

What are the best words of wisdom or advice given to you? Please share them in a comment below.

XO Denise

view of white airplane wing over the clouds

How-To: Plan a Vacation

I’ve been told that my planning skills are extraordinary! In a team meeting a couple of months ago, I shared my personal color-coded Google calendar, my sticker-filled, colorful, Happy Planner, & my personal Evernote notebooks for work, travel. Today, I’m going to share with you how-to: plan a vacation process, using my favorite planning tool, Evernote.

Choose a Destination & Research

Choosing my destination is usually the first step. I personally have a list of destinations on my phone that I use as a quick reference. I take into account the time of the year that I want to travel, the time it would take to reach my destination, as well as how much time I have to take off. For international travel, I like to have at least 10 days. When camping, glamping, taking road trips, or traveling to the Midwest or East Coast, I like to have a long, 3 or 4-Day weekend. And a short weekend is usually enough for vacations on the West Coast, since I live in California.

Once I choose my destination, I do my research, & I mean I do thorough research! I also look up everything I need to know, creating lists of must-dos, must-sees, & must-eats. I decide on the best days to travel & for how long to optimize everything I want to do. Lastly, I start budgeting & brainstorming how to save money during the planning process as well as set aside spending money during my adventures.

Add My Findings to a Travel Itinerary

Depending on how many days I have to travel, I create a flexible itinerary to outline my plans for my trip. I list my travel dates, flight info, & even the weather forecast to determine how to pack. I decide what I want to do & eat each day, but leave room for flexibility just in case the weather changes or we come across planning issues. Here’s an example template from my vacation in San Diego, California last Fall.

Finalize a Packing List

My last step is creating my packing list. In the example template above, I have a full Packing Checklist. Listing everything I can possibly need as well as choose specific outfits for certain days allows me to avoid forgetting anything & over-packing. I also created a travel essentials blog post a few weeks ago that has some of my favorite things to always ensure I travel with.

I hope sharing my how-to: plan a vacation process helps you plan your next vacation! Do you have any other tips & tricks that you’d like to share with me? Please do share them in a comment below.

XO Denise

spiral notebooks placed on white cloth with burning candle

My Daily Gratitude List

Every day, I take a moment to list all of the things I’m grateful for in a daily gratitude list. I find that when I give thanks for everything that I’ve been blessed with, it allows me to make even more room for good things to enter my life. Today, I want to publicly share what I’m thankful for in hopes that it inspires you to remember how lucky you are every day as well.

My Typical Daily Gratitude List

I am grateful for…

  • My Life
  • Being in good health
  • My Family
  • Having great Friends
  • My cutie pug, Pogi
  • Having an apartment
  • Access to clean, drinking water
  • Having food in my fridge
  • My gifts
  • XOdenisejoyce Divination Community on Instagram & Twitter
  • My blog readers, social media followers, & YouTube channel subscribers
  • The gym in my apartment building
  • Having a Peloton bike in the apartment gym
  • The rooftop pool to swim laps in
  • Having money in my bank accounts
  • My car

Key Takeaways

If you notice, I usually list the things I’m grateful for in order of importance. I am thankful to be alive first & foremost. Without my life, I wouldn’t be here on Earth period. Then, I give thanks to the people & pets in my life, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I then continue to list the basic human necessities that we all need to live a decent life, i.e. my home, water, food, etc. The remaining list items are specific to me & are special, not necessities, but I’m grateful to have them because others in the world aren’t as lucky.

Do you list the things you’re grateful for every day? If not, what would be on your list? I’d love to discuss your thoughts on my daily gratitude list in the comments.

XO Denise