Mixed Tape #1: What’s up?

I got into the writing mood after my snapshot post so I just thought I’d write about the mishmash of things I’ve been up to as of late, starting with the slightly difficult task of soul searching… Yet again! In the last few days I have been trying to grope around for my old self- the core of me that seems to have blinked out of existence- before my job and this endless food blogging commitment took over my life.

The truth is, I have been trying to find a balance between responsibility and my numerous personal goals but so far it has not worked out so well. Responsibilities at work take 80% of my time since it is after all a Monday to Saturday 9 to 6 affair. Then there is this desire to keep improving myself and my food blog by continuously baking and cooking and taking photographs; but I have been doing it in almost every moment of my free-time that it has made the experience begin to feel more like my second job rather than my hobby really. Occasionally I wish I could skip the whole food-making process and get down to the photographing and writing.

Weekly BTS

This was the Sunday I was on my feet baking and photographing from 6 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon just so I could have time to do other things aside from blogging duties.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m not approaching it right. Sometimes when I’m on vacation I keep thinking about how to photograph something for the blog that I tend to take myself away from the moment. It’s something I’ve been trying to control since I begun to discover it. Maybe I ought to let myself feel the now rather than trying to compose my draft in my head with the photos and the words I attach to them.

And yet that’s how I go about with everything isn’t it? In my mind there is only one way of doing things right, and that is by doing things well. Meticulously. Doing things in a way that passes my own almost exhausting standards. (Gah whyyyy must I torture myself so?!) Regardless of how popular/unpopular my food blog might be, I take much pride in seeing the fruits of my labour through beautifully-styled photos and well thought-out text. It’s always been who I am, this “perfectionist”. I readily set my mind into doing things I hate, but when it comes to things I like I add my heart and soul into the mix. Sometimes I wonder if people appreciate my work not just for its face value, but also because of the blood and sweat that went into it too. I wonder if it translates well into the work, my passion and perseverance.

Sometimes I wonder if at the end of the day was any of it worth the trouble?

I think I got too caught up into the whirlwind of food blogging. I was enamoured by the idea of how it is something you turn from flour and eggs into something spectacular and delicious. I’ve always loved the idea of creating things with my own hands. But through it all I have let slip any time for the other things I love– the things that for the longest time have been important parts of who I am even before I discovered a love for blogging or creating food. Heck even before I discovered this love for photography that has made me save up so hard just so I can obtain some good gear.

Back when life was simpler and I could just be, there was all sorts of illustrating and sketching. Colours and painting. There was writing too. Gosh I miss that lovely combination.

Here at home, I have a tall set of drawers with wheels at the bottom- similar to the ones you might see in salons- filled to the brim with art and colouring materials. I love colouring materials and never have I missed any opportuniteis to add new ones when I visit my favourite bookstore in Hong Kong. There are sketchpads that have been started but are now gathering dust in their shelves. It wasn’t so hard to go through them before, what with my constant drawing of character designs or manga strips; of my putting to paper a scene from a story brewing in my mind. I even used to letter and doodle my favourite song lyrics. Even such a simple task eludes me now.

The unfinished doodle from 5 months ago of a song by Panic At The Disco.

The unfinished doodle from 5 months ago of a song by Panic At The Disco.

I still have this crazy dream of becoming a published author. You know, sort of like one JK Rowling, who has managed to touch so many imaginations around the world with a captivating story. I like that idea of being able to share something that moves people. It’s always something I aspire to do whenever I write, or draw, or even blog. That is in fact probably what drives me to keep blogging– the hope that I can keep writing something worthwhile. Writing fiction is my number one love even if drawing was my first one, and yet both these are things I have not done in any serious capacity for quite some time. 😦

I do love food blogging, but perhaps I’ve made the mistake of bordering on obsessing over it. (Perhaps I should have made a lifestyle personal blog instead of just a food blog lol. Perhaps I’ve put too much expectations upon myself!) For some reason I just keep going though, because I know if I stop I will regret it. I just need to figure out how to find that balance I lost.


I had another sort of dream the other night– the type of dream that made it seem as though your world was turned upside down. Everything that was supposed to happen did not, and everything you hoped would not happen did. Like the way of most dreams the details slipped away from my memory the moment I woke. I remember feeling uncharacteristically melancholy though. I did not like the dream, I suppose you could say.

The dream involved my high school friends– people I have not seen in so many years. It makes me sad that sometimes growing older also means growing further apart. Before, everyone fitted snuggly in the heart of a moment, then slowly like birds set free from the nest they fly away, and usually not in the direction anyone expected.

We all keep moving away from each other until there is but a small thread holding each person together. But that could all change. Right?


2009 was the last time we got together. Time flies and leaves you wondering where it went.

I remember a lot of details from my high school years because my memory is like that. It tends to take specific moments and replay them with clarity, like that moment occurred just yesterday. That’s why I am such a sentimental person I guess. I can’t help but get hit by the waves of nostalgia every so often. The memories are not all good, but still… Guess I didn’t realize I was missing them that much, huh?


I want to end this post on a more joyful note. This mixed tape of mine today is of a depressing sort, and frankly time is too precious to spend with your head down, which is why happy things must be highlighted more than the sad ones, and what better way to do that than with a pic spam?

I went on a trip some months ago and I enjoyed it a surprisingly more than I was anticipating, to tell you honestly. You know how some people seem to have comments about a certain place even before they get there? Well I have learned to leave those unproven impressions at home whenever I travel. Sometimes the most random places can surprise you! Guimaras, a place that has never once crossed my radar, certainly did.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip, with some captions when you hover over:

And now to make me you crave for the beach!

In case anybody’s interested, a more detailed diary entry of this trip can be found here, here, and here. ‘Till the next mixed tape edition! 🙂

Journal, Photographs

I find it strange that I’ve been missing a lot of places lately

It went: San Francisco in the morning, Hong Kong in the afternoon, and Japan in the evening.

I miss San Francisco, because it was one of the best places I have ever been to. The good vibes it gave me as I walked up and down its colourful streets are unprecedented. I haven’t gotten that good a feeling from any of the other cities I’ve traveled to. I miss Hong Kong because I haven’t been there in over a year, and we used to go there often it’s practically a second home country to me.

As opposed to the two above, I haven’t technically “visited” Japan properly. We docked in Fukuoka once when we went on a cruise and spent a couple of hours walking around near the port. It was a small taste of Japan, but enough to whet the appetite. I’ve always liked Japan (the cuisine included!), and I wonder when I will finally get to go and explore. Soon, I hope.

In my nostalgia, I went and dug up some of my old Fukuoka photos, even adding some effects just for fun.

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I do often wonder when I can legitimately pay a visit to this magical place.

Photographs, Writing

At a loss for words

© 2013 Cla Panuelos

We talk with an ocean open between us,
its rippling waters often drowning out our intentions.
Ignoring it as we have been doing
changes not the fact that it exists–
a storm before the calm.

Words streak past us, even over our heads.
We hear the sounds but not understand what they mean.
It’s just been too long since
we’ve seen each other’s faces–
a shadow blocking the light.

And yet it is in the constant trying that
we find perhaps a taste of our hearts’ desires.
Falling into the web of circumstance and change,
we sit in wait for the single moment
when we could be fools for each other again.

When at last at night we lay
alone with only the thoughts of each other,
the doubts claw into the back of our heads.
Living within the repercussions of distance and time,
always the question: Do I know you at all?