A Quick Guide to Long-Distance Relationships (LDR) by Olivia Penero

When you love someone, being apart from them is the worst feeling ever, especially if you only get to come together once a month or once every three to six months. It's obviously harder to catch up with each other and make time for each other, and in my case, having someone living two hours ahead from me adds to that difficulty (might not be a lot of time, but you get the point). 

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Since people have asked me time and time again how we've managed to be together all these years, and how we're still very much in-love, I've put together a little guide to help people who are new to LDRs or those who will be experiencing an LDR in the future. These are from experiences, and have been proven to work in our situation. Some might work for you, and some might not. Ready?

1. Establish trust before going long-distance.

One of the ultimate causes for failing relationships (LDR or not) is the lack of trust between the couple. Before you go into a long-distance relationship, you two have to be able to trust each other to stay loyal - and that could be incredibly hard. The less we see of a person, the more thoughts we have of him/her being unfaithful or getting bored and looking elsewhere for comfort. When you start getting thoughts like these, STOP.

Here's a tip: when your mind starts playing with you, go back to past memories you had when you were together. Go back to that moment he assured you of his loyalty. Make sure it's as vivid as you can make it, and just breathe. Want an easier solution? TRUST HIM. A fight can be triggered just by a single text or message, without any solid evidence to back it up. Don't let your imagination and lack of faith in him ruin your relationship.

2. Give him/her space.

You might think that with all the miles between the two of you, he'd have all the space he needed, but that's not the case at all. Yes, spatially, you are countries apart (in my case, at least), but in a relationship where one is clingy and one is a little more laid-back, the latter might feel suffocated. 

Giving your partner "space" doesn't mean going for weeks with just a single text/message. That's preposterous. I used to think that being thoughtful meant always chatting with him at least twice a day and asking him how his day has been, but the more we matured, the more I realized multiple texts each day might not be the best way to make him feel I'm looking out for him.

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Here's a tip: Instead of sending a lot of random texts each day, why not greet your partner in the morning before work and send a message before you go to bed at night? You don't have to be all strict about it of course (we still text random times when we know the other person is stressed, bored, or doing something they need moral support in), but we have to consider the fact that a message intended to make them feel special might have been sent at the worst time. 

3. Make time.

Never think for a second that because both of you are busy, you'll no longer have the means to let them know you're thinking about them throughout the day. What's so hard about sending a short message like, "Hey babe, busy atm but wanna let u know you got this" (his actual message to me by the way, haha)? Got your hands full? USE SIRI and make her text for you. 

Giving time for each other should matter more because time is all you have going for you when you're in a long-distance relationship. You can't be together physically, but you can spend time together either via Skype, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts - just any way. And you'll need time to make it work. 

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Ever heard a couple fighting because "you don't have the time for me anymore" or "your priorities have changed"? This can totally be avoided. I've been with my guy for 11 years, and we've never had this fight. We're similar people who need our space, enjoy silent moments alone or with each other, and devote time to regularly talk. Yes we've argued, but never for this reason. In an LDR, time is ten times more valuable.

4. Send random surprises their way.

For those whose love language is more on material things, sending your significant other unexpected gifts you know they'll love will be a great way to let them know you care. If you're in the same country but in different states/towns, this will prove to be quite easier. In our case, we're online shopping buddies, which means most of our shopping is done online. 

I know, we're not all rich and can barely afford to pay off student loans or pay monthly bills, but your gifts won't have to be super expensive. Lance has gifted me several expensive jewelry (hello, Tiffany) because he can afford it, but I don't have that kind of bank account. Instead, I send him statement pieces like an elegant tie from a favorite store he likes, or get him a health box subscription 'cause he's a total sucker for those things. Here's a tip: buy from his/her country's store site as there's probably going to be free shipping within the territory. 

Also, don't feel bad if you can't match something expensive with an equally wallet-tearing item. It's often the thought that matters (cliché, yes), and when you're in-love with someone, you'll be willing to accept anything they give you.

5. Don't give in to social pressure.

You might be seeing a lot of posts on social media these days about #couplegoals, followed by people in the comment section tagging their partners and saying, "this could be us" or "babe, why don't you do this for me". The thing is, every relationship is different (which is why in the beginning of this article I mentioned some may work and some might not), and with long-distance relationships, you can't afford to give in to society's idea of the perfect relationship.

This generation is waking up to a world full of #goals, and it makes people think that if you're not within that definition of said "goals", you're a loser. This is dangerous thinking, because we tend to overlook what's real and try to apply what society says should be. I often see posts about guys sending flowers a few times a week, or boyfriends taking their girls to trips to the Bahamas or to Paris, and even guys who spend so much on creating the perfect birthday party for their girlfriends (and vice-versa). While these are all great expressions of love, you shouldn't expect a 30-karat ring on your monthsary. 

Appreciate and feel happy for couples who are able to do said goals, but don't go forcing your man to do the same thing. Chances are, he wants to give you these experiences, but can't at the moment. Don't be a stuck-up b*tch and prattle on to your friends about your man's "incompetence" and how you need a new sugar daddy. (Also applies to guys, okay?)

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Long-distance relationships are always under attack, much like normal relationships are. They sometimes get into crazier fights and go weeks on end without talking to each other. They sometimes get the feeling that the other is cheating on them, and sends a message that infuriates the other. What's incredibly difficult is that you can't talk about an issue face to face, and no matter how great your internet connection is, there's a tone in his or her voice that will make you think twice about what was said. 

Lance and I used to see each other once a month, but now that he's taking his Masteral on Neurology, we're seeing each other less often. His last visit was July 2017, and we're looking forward to coming together again either this November or December. It's hard, because there are many times I need him to be physically present, and he's told me he would've loved to share a cocktail or two with me during the weekend many times before. There's not an experience I've had where I wouldn't have wanted him there too. 

Having an LDR isn't all bad though, as it did a lot of good things for us as a couple and as individuals. We both don't like to hover around the other, and we both prioritize our families and career first. We're firm believers that we need to both be successful to be able to help more people around us, and we both hate feeling inadequate in any form. Thus, we tend to want to "out-please" the other, and that goes for some very funny stories. (I guess his Australian genes gave him a natural sense of humor?)

 

Are you in a long-distance relationship right now, or going to be in one in the future (maybe because of studies, etc.)? Don't worry, you'll get through it. I hope you picked up a thing or two from this article. Like I said in the beginning, these are tips and shouldn't be followed religiously. If all points work for you, then hey, congratulations. Just please don't come back after a few months and tell me off 'cause they didn't apply to yours. 

Any other LDR-related topics you want to read about? Let me know in the comments, and if I have enough know-how about it, I'll do an article on it. Deal? Deal.

Happy loving!

Gorgeous Planners to Spice Up 2018 (Part 1) by Olivia Penero

Planner month is ON, and I'm already excited for all the pretty planners I can get my hands on without screwing my bank account over. Living in the Philippines has its pros and cons, and I think the most helpful for me is that the selections are few but chic and functional, whereas if I lived abroad, my wallet would be crying blood. 

Anyway, for this post, I'll be listing FOUR PLANNERS that I find very pretty, functional, and have me scrambling for a copy. The more planners come out, the more parts we're going to have for 2018 recommendations. Ready? here we go!

1. FILED's Keepsake & Scribble Planners

Pre-order yours now! CLICK HERE.

Pre-order yours now! CLICK HERE.

These babies are super pretty. The moment I saw sneak-peaks, I knew they were going to be bomb - and I was right! They sell for Php 595 (Scribble) and Php 545 (Keepsake) each, and if you want to get a sleeve with your planner, they have a planner bundle that gives you the planner/journal, your pick of a pastel-colored pen capsule, and your choice of Agenda Sleeve cover for only Php 1,099. You may also have your sleeve or planner customized with your name! Rad, right? 

One of the many things I love about FILED's planners is that they know how to make organizing fun, affordable, and simple. I'm just glad their product design team was able to create something very colorful and customizable.

(Their bundle is currently unavailable, but I hope they restock soon! That came out exceedingly fast, but again, I already expected that.)

(Want to see my first FILED planner ever? Click here!)

2. Hobonichi Techo 2018

© Hobonichi. Order your own planner! CLICK HERE.

© Hobonichi. Order your own planner! CLICK HERE.

A planner post won't be complete without a Hobonichi recommendation, am I right? One of my ultimate planner crushes, the Hobonichi has it down to a "T" when it comes to providing customization options for planner addicts. It allows you to use your planner any way you want (from making it an art journal to actual planning), and the covers come in a variety of designs. 

Hobonichis retail for JPY 4,320 (so around Php 1,960) when you buy the set from their website, excluding shipping to the Philippines. Thankfully, a lot of local art stores have already opened for orders and cost a little less (probably due to bulk shipping). You can get the 2018 Hobonichi Techo Original A6 on Craftylane.ph for Php 1,350 and choose from covers starting at Php 1,250 for the A6 Melon Cover. 

I thought I'd be okay with just the A6 last year, but after seeing the actual thing and having it in my hands, I realized I was more of a Hobonichi Cousin user. It's bigger and can be split into two books (Hobonichi Cousin Avec). What can I say? I love my space. 

3. Kikki.k Personal Zip Planner Medium: Love Life

© Kikki.k Order yours now! CLICK HERE. 

© Kikki.k Order yours now! CLICK HERE. 

My first planner ever was from Kikki.k, and it's always been my first choice. Their designs are always chic, pretty, functional, premium-looking - just totally for fluff-loving, pastel-color-addicts. Their collection has gotten more posh over the years too, and the accessories? OMG. Living for it. 

They retail for USD 79.95 (around Php 4,000) for the Medium-sized planners (undated), excluding shipping costs. But come on - they're super worth it, right? I love the fact that Kikki.k comes out with a collection and not just planner-related items. They've got keychains, pens, pads, wallets, and leather organizers that come from the same theme. Perfect for obsessively organized princesses. 

(Wanna see my first Kikki.k planner? Click here. :))

4. Emily Ley's Simplified Planners

© Emily Ley. Get yours now! CLICK HERE.

© Emily Ley. Get yours now! CLICK HERE.

Holy cow. I think I've been lusting after Emily Ley's planners since 2015, but beauty can come with a cost! While I might come off as someone who spends money just because they think a product is pretty, I'm actually pretty reasonable (right, Bem?). Of course I want a SImplified Planner. Of course it'll cost me a lot. But it's worth it. Haha. 

Everything about Emily's planners speak beauty and function. From the cover to how the inside pages were designed, they all scream 'buy me'. It's easy to see why, if you've seen the photos on their website. What perfectly sane girl wouldn't want to get their hands on one of those planners?! 

Their Daily Editions cost USD 58 (Php 2,967) for the Golden Pineapple design, my favorite from the series. That price also excludes shipping, which is almost the same amount as the planner. I know, you can't have everything in life, I get it. 

 

So, what planners will you be checking out for 2018? I know this list is still very short, but let's give the other brands a few more weeks to get themselves together. There are way more brands yet to reveal their planners, and I'm stoked. 

5 Great Audiobooks To Listen to on Audible by Olivia Penero

I'm a certified bookworm, and there's never a time I'd choose to go out during the weekend over an offer of curling up in a corner with a good book and some coffee. That being said, my busy work schedule has rendered me unable to indulge myself, leaving me in want of a different way to still be able to "read" without my eyes. Enter Audible.

I've been a subscriber on Audible since October 21, 2015, and have gradually fallen in love with the platform and its available titles. This was the solution to my declining reading life. Not only could I listen to some of the most talented narrators and voice actors, but I could also listen to a story while being occupied with a whole mess of other tasks.

I adore Audible, and would love to share some books I've personally listened to and have had fun with in the past. What's great is that they give you a 30-day free trial with one credit to use on any book you want from their collection. Sweet, right? I remember my first purchase - Tyler Oakley's Binge (read my review here!).

 

Here are 5 (out of many) audiobooks that I think will be worth your time and credit.

1. I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

Gosh, I love this man. Not only is he inherently funny, he's also mad inspiring, and every time I hear the word "hustle", he's one of two people I immediately think of (aside from bae Lilly Singh aka iiSuperwomanii).

In his new book I Can't Make This Up, he talks about his journey and what molded him into the Kevin Hart everyone loves today. Narrated by Kevin himself, he lets listeners in on some childhood experiences, ups and downs, relationships, and a LOT of life lessons anyone can learn from.  

I purchased this audiobook initially because I'm a huge fan of his stand-ups and films (regardless of how much flack they sometimes get). I like how he presents his stories, and I figured this would be a chill, very funny listen. I was right on the last instance, because as "chill" as his storytelling was, Kevin Hart actually hit some really serious, relatable issues. 

An excerpt from "I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons," the new memoir by Kevin Hart, performed by the man himself. Exclusively from Audible: http://www.audible.com/KevinHart

If you're looking for an inspiring book filled with real stories and funny/witty side-notes, Kevin Hart's I Can't Make This Up is a great choice. 

One of the best audiobooks I've EVER listened to, BBC's Agatha Christie Radio series is well worth your subscription. Regardless of whether you're into crime novels, this audiobook will rub off on you (in a good way).

For those familiar with Agatha Christie, you'll know this will be a real treat. Listen to BBC's Full-cast performance bring to life classics like The ABC Murders, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and Murder On The Orient Express.

Christie's great at packing a mystery story, and if you haven't heard, 20th Century Fox will be releasing a live action film on Murder On The Orient Express! I am SUPER excited to watch my favorite characters acted out by some of the best names in Hollywood. 

What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best selling author Agatha Christie, "Murder on the Orient Express" tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone's a suspect.

When I subscribed to Audible two years ago, I was looking forward to listening to novels that I loved and knew by heart, as well as discover new thrillers that would get my blood pumping. I was in for a very wonderful surprise when I chanced upon this series. 

I first came to discover Tales From Beyond The Pale when I was looking for horror podcasts on Google, and it opened A LOT of potential goosebumps-giving channels. (Let me know if you want a list.) Since then, I've purchased a number of stories from this production group and none have disappointed me yet. This short audiobook will be perfect for horror/thriller lovers who like well-written stories acted out just as great. 

My suggestion? Listen to this before going to bed, lights turned off, noise-cancelling headphones on your ear. Close your eyes and imagine yourself actually listening to a legitimate radio station. It. Feels. Awesome. 

Seriously, I think anything created by Lilly will be incredible. As I mentioned before, the word "hustle" is, for me, synonymous to her name. I've followed her vlogs/channel since 2015, and I can feel all the stress, all the determination, the passion she puts into her work every single day. I love how she's still human, you know? Reachable. Attainable. 

Her new book How To Be a Bawse is insanely inspiring. I've only listened to a preview, but I've read the book already, and man is it packed with tips and wise words. If you decide to listen to this audiobook, you'll be feeling that much closer to her by the end. Trust me on this. I'm not saying it just because I love her and am a fan. Try it out and see for yourself. 

Any book that will allow its readers to feel more confident and assured of themselves is a great way to spend your bucks and time. 

Holy fudge. Aside From Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is a series I've been crazy about. If you've noticed, I'm very big on crime and mystery genres, and it drags me away from the drama of reality. This audiobook is a COMPLETE edition of Sherlock Holmes' detective stories - a real treat. 

Whether you've read the books, I'm sure you're familiar with BBC's Live Action series on Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch). Listen to classics such as A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of The Baskervilles. There's a reason why Sherlock has maintained his status throughout the years as one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time, and once you get in on his cases, you'll understand why. 

 

What would you be willing to try out from this list? Let me know in the comments. 

P.S. I reviewed a few more audiobooks HERE. :) You might want to read it too.