Just Julia

Faithful Friday | Life Updates and the Sorry Not Sorry Salty Pilgrim

I’m here…alive and well, folks, and I have a ton of undone things.  My brother and I just had to do the round of “living together” elsewhere in the city and get ourselves sorted, currently stretched between two places: the parental home, and the home away from home.  In case you also wondered I am laptop-less at the moment…this is an iPad.  It’s a miracle we finally got wifi installed…spotty broadband connection but fast when it’s not spotty.  It’ll do.  But that’s not this…I’m in the south again and I currently have a sponsored post draft that’s overdue (cued excessive honesty, I do take a sponsored post every once in awhile when I like what is presented to help the blog pay for its hosting) but I’m not done with it yet.  I prayed to get in the right headspace and to ask for help on it but the Lord impressed “It’s been awhile, blog from the heart first, the rest shall follow.”  There’s stuff that’s been braising in my heart but I wasn’t sure whether I should serve it up for fear of stepping on a couple of toes, appearing self-righteous but I figured part of love is upholding your held-dear real nuggets while not being bland.  Sorry, not sorry, I’d rather try and be salty.


Mom brought me home something from New York City that as a tasty reminder helped resurface the desire to reflect about certain things openly and while the desire to remain politically correct about my faith and not talk about it won for a long while it finally lost to the revelation in my heart…love is not always politically correct.  Politically correct lover, anyone?  Yawn?  I realized quite simply that the politically correct gives up sometimes so nothing scandalous is stirred, but the Cross is a scandal of grace.  However, as Heneral Luna so bloodily proved…sometimes politics sucks but love never gives up, so love wins…even in death one can be an unconquerable soul.  Here was what Mom brought me from abroad, Silly Salt. It made me think ever so sharply about Christianity, the word people ever so reluctantly use now…it’s like to some the politicized word has leprosy, they wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole thanks to a number of its countless ambassadors.  Sadly, they don’t see it contains the Name that heals.  So rather than be the salt of the earth we discard ourselves in thought “Silly salt.”  None of us are perfect but a lot of us would rather play life hooky than aim for on high and look…silly.

To serve my braised heart up plain won’t do…it needs to be Salty for you to take it.  I’d like to address my Christian beloveds who feel (or don’t feel) they may have lost their saltiness or are running from who they ought to be according to the Bible, which contains that we believe are the words of Jesus.  I have Muslim friends who I love dearly and I respect them, they do not eat pork, pray 5 times a day, and have a completely different belief system.  Here’s the thing, why does the World bully a Christian to apologize for what he believes?  That irritates me no end, do we not love Christ or aim to with all our mind, heart, and soul?  Would any of us directly question a Muslim friend who doesn’t eat pork or worse…dare them to?  No, of course not, why?  Because the world knows that their people are prepared to be politically incorrect to defend their faith.  How about those who uphold the banner of Christ?  We hear the “dares” to bend for what we would otherwise not do, say those words, we’d rather just do it or laugh, move on, and change the topic and look congenial than express silent offense or speak up and cause noses to bleed.  Fools for Christ are dwindling.

I told someone recently that just because in several occasions you might have been wrongly bashed with the Bible it doesn’t make it any less powerful.  It shouldn’t deter you from picking it up daily to fight or to listen to what our beloved Jesus has for us today.  

“11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

A lightbulb went on in my heart on this matter.  A huge problem is we keep looking at other people’s test papers when what really matters is right in front of us…our own.  We keep talking about why someone does this or that when we ought to think of what we are saying. Live your life the way He wants you to live…not counting how mere mortals expect you to just bring it.  None of us are perfect, but we have a Perfect Example to follow.   I thought a great deal about parents, too.  The parents who manage to succeed in raising well-adjusted adults have always made sure to put forth an EXAMPLE before an EXPECTATION, it doesn’t work the other way around.

To those who bully Christians (other Christians included) for trying to be holy on our Spiritual fitness journey just remember, in the gym you see the fumbling newbie before a Spartan.  Cut someone trying some slack.

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My Fair London

*brushes WordPress cobwebs away…* So I just got back from London a couple of hours ago and obviously can’t sleep, that’s pretty much self-explanatory.  I did bring my tripod, my DSLR, and my old but still trusty Canon S90 for easy shots…however, it was overall harder than I expected to thoughtfully capture London in what is essentially under 5 glorious days with 2 of those days tied to a separate itinerary which was also fun.  In essence, Mom and I were suddenly treated to this trip (which slightly explains my Houdini on the blog as I rushed to get Visa requirements together at the last minute), but she was also there for work.  We didn’t have an unlimited wifi connection at our disposal and given that every time our keycards let us in we were always tempted to just untidily pass out on our beds I decided to forego the plan of blogging daily while I was there and just collect photos and videos and give you my best glimpses in one go.




We were kind of on a down-to-the-wire budget because this God-given trip came at the end of the month so though I got a couple beauty bits for you to see most are drugstore…none are, I have to say, terribly exciting, and no, I didn’t come home with any Charlotte Tilbury (boo).  We were fortunate enough though to be staying at Kensington in a hotel just beside Kensington Palace a.k.a. the younger royals’ London home.  Stay alert for my youtube vid…I’ll move quick on recording that video for you, expect it this weekend.  London weather was way more than fine when we were there, it even got extremely sunny on our last two days, locals agreed with us, quite a contrast to the week prior.  I told a British friend of mine whom we intended to visit but didn’t get to see “Oh, we’ll bring the sunshine!” and voila, the weather cooperated with my cheeky claim.  If you see any photos with me in them it’s thanks to Mom who’s actually very good at taking pictures.  England, you have my heart, and I must say without exaggeration, more than any foreign city I’ve been to so far…I’ve got plans for you.  Click through to see the full photo stream. … To full post & COMMENTS...

My New Flototto PRO Chair in Snow White | The Glass Desk Workspace Sequel

Back on the home front, I anticipated the arrival of a thing of beauty, that was actually already mine for months but was in storage.  So, sorry if this non-beauty post is slightly redundant, but it just had to be written.  Without a decent and equally classy desk before I just didn’t have the heart to pick up my beautiful chair from my aunt who along with her German husband are the local distributors for Flototto products through BOOGI, their premium modern furniture store at LRI Design Plaza in Makati.  I’ll put it plain, these aren’t cheap chairs, but they are ergonomic, flame-resistant, and thanks to German durability will last a lifetime or more.  A lot of love, thought, and care went into the design of the entire Flototto furniture range.


Meet the enchanting Flototto PRO Wood Tetrapod Chair which I photographed today, and only now I discover that the shade name is Snow White, obviously destined to be paired with my glass table (her glass coffin remember? I’ve got my tales sorted).




Its ergonomic design encourages good posture and comfort, even when carrying the chair to transfer it to another location you will sense that the design works with you, and not against you.  I experienced this ease of mobility while carrying the chair downstairs to take a photo of it.  I figured I’d do a workspace post sequel since many of you have not seen the very final outcome of my workspace overhaul now that it is complete with my Flototto chair.  By the way, I do not own a Macbook Pro, my current laptop is practically dying. This one is my mother’s…I borrowed it to edit another video that I have actually just uploaded today.  This is how my workspace finally looks.   Click through to see the full post and more photos.… To full post & COMMENTS...

New Beauty Stuff YouTube Video x An Actual Tutorial

After 3 whole weeks, I finally almost sort of get the vlogging setup I’ve always dreamed of.  I overhauled my bedroom, got an affordable desk, and all that made filming in my safe and comfy zone rather than in our living room way more possible and picturesque!  Watch the video here or in the player below this image.  I will post the list of products but I’ll edit that in tomorrow morning because I am falling asleep right as I type this.  The products are mentioned and typed into the video.


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If the Glass Desk Fits | IKEA Glasholm Php3900

Workspace goals, check.  In all honesty, at first, a glass desk was not the one on the list.  I had cycled and recycled the thought of having a stereotypical beauty enthusiast workspace.  You know…like someone might have stuffed more and more white IKEA storage into my room.  Later, the cheerful concept of a museum for a room turned marmite on me.  It suddenly didn’t seem practical because I almost always have makeup on my hands when I’m testing makeup, or after having cleaned my brushes.  I had a daymare of an infestation of flesh fingerprints covering the ever popular IKEA Alex drawers or my imaginary IKEA Micke desk (there are several Micke desks, I first eyed the narrow white one with a single roll-out drawer, out of stock locally).  I began to think and internalize more whilst in the belly of an IKEA stockist’s showroom.  I’m not against any of you who just love how white brings in the added light while providing an instant surface for blogging or Insta-pushing everything pretty, I get you.  If, for example, you live in a polluted city in a cramped space more WHITE is definitely your answer to opening things up and giving the illusion of more breathable space.  I just wasn’t so sure I wanted that completely white feel personally for me.  I’m a lazy lout when it comes to making sure things are spotless white all the time.  I just want things to STAY WHITE without my maintenance  (brat LOL).  Did I love the concept of having everything white in my room or did I begin to hate it?  Would I decide to turn my room into a safe-to-say contrived blanc manifestation of tons of popularly curated, dreamy minimalist Instagram feeds?  Roomspiration is okay, I don’t mean to be a snob, just thinking for myself here.  In my mind, especially after seeing Essie Button rock that beautifully clean, white home office (which completely suits her fancy for curating artsy, colorful objects) , I remained tempted to do the same.  That is, of course, until I saw this IKEA Glasholm glass desk which felt like more of a step in the grown-up direction for me, and it was the exact same price as the other IKEA table I originally visited the store for.  I also didn’t mind that it didn’t have any drawers, I mainly want my desk to be something I do stuff on, not store stuff in.




IKEA Glasholm Desk from @furnituresourcephils (IG) ,

Showroom:38 Granada St., Villa Ortigas II, Brgy. Valencia, QC., Daily 9am-8pm, Nationwide Delivery, Viber/Mobile: 09175383738

ONLINE CATALOG w/pricing and measurements by album: facebook.com/furnituresourcephils

As of today this was the last Glasholm desk unit.



Along with getting a new desk I played a bit with an alternative way to use my LED fairylights in my room even when Christmas-time hasn’t reared its red and green head yet.



Hiding the fairylights in this basket surrounding the bottoms of magazines gives your “magazinspo” spot a bit of a magical glow at night, great idea as well for children’s books for bedtime stories or their favorite soft toys.  It’s just something I suddenly thought of, no Pinterest or pegs involved.  This basket of magazines however in the last 4 days has since migrated to beneath the desk (but it obstructed my feet) and now is to the left of the desk by the window on top of a chest, still glowing by sunset.



A couple of deciding factors on choosing the IKEA Glasholm desk had nothing to do with appearance.  Laguna has extremely high humidity.  I have an 8 year old IKEA cubby in white compressed wood which began peeling and warping at the corners around 2 years ago so this glass desk is a keeper.  I also wanted something that resisted getting smudged or visibly dirty and was super easy to clean so that I could eat meals on it if my family was not home, make an art mess on if I felt crafty, and spill makeup on if I was experimenting.  I also wanted something minimalist yet sturdy so the Glasholm desk was my answer.  It was a cinch to assemble, the glass underneath has 4 round, stainless metal wells and the legs come with screw-tops so you just twist them in.  The glass isn’t transparent but it beautifully reflects the sky and will probably give me a sangria surface during a beautiful sunset.  I also can’t wait to set a vase or mason jar of fresh flowers on top eventually or even write erasable reminders/doodles on the surface with colored glass pens.  For the good value price of Php3900 from an IKEA stockist I’m pretty stoked to have picked this up.  It got me blogging right away as you can see, and I finally have a place to plant myself for more productivity.



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New Bloggles, the NEW Canon Nifty Fifty STM Lens | Their Revamped 50mm 1.8 Lens

If you’re into true glossy-worthy blogging nearly all of you know Canon’s old really affordable nifty fifty lens, the trusty 50mm 1.8 which usually goes for about $100 USD or nearly Php5k.  It gives you a crisp subject for medium to close-up shots and a nicely de-focused background if there’s enough distance between them.  I might be like super late to the party with this update, but I had no idea that Canon recently re-released that old fave lens of theirs at just about $50 more (roughly Php2k more) but with a way quieter, new auto-focus STM motor.  Our favorite affordable close-up lens seems to have gotten quite better.  I bought my lens for Php6798 from Camerahaus, Glorietta, they’ve got a 0% 6 month credit  installment plan so I’m paying over Php1000 per month for this.  They have 2 left in stock in Glorietta, but as for Camerahaus SM Aura, Canon SM Aura, and Canon Highstreet bgc they are all out of stock.  I was looking for the old nifty fifty, I only found out it had been “remade” because I asked why their lens was so expensive then they told me it was the newly released one and I was delighted.  Here are some test shots I took as soon as I got home, no editing done apart from re-sizing.








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“Unlike its predecessor , which is also referred to as the “Plastic Fantastic,” this new 50mm lens has a metal mount rather than a cheaper (and weaker) plastic one.”

– petapixel.com

Two more Canon 50mm 1.8 STM lenses are available for purchase from Camerahaus, Glorietta at Php6798, 6-month 0% credit installment plan available.  As far as I was told this is pretty much out of stock in many places .… To full post & COMMENTS...

Out of Hiding by Bethel Music | A Song of Redemption in Retrospect

I felt I just needed to take a moment to really blog in thankfulness, because for the past week I’ve just had to wrap my heart and mind around the fact that God has redeemed me and essentially remade me.  I had an awfully challenging time last year to say the least.  It felt for awhile with everything happening on the outside like the Lord had completely taken my life as a vehicle and overhauled it with me inside, doors locked, but He knew what He was doing completely.  I needed it all even if it felt like it was the last thing I needed.  It is true, I’m leaning in reference to something I read, “They buried us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”

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With the arrival of spring one year later I am grateful for it all, the layers of circumstances that was meant to mold me and other people.  I’m still thankful and now I can smile looking back because the Lord wanted me to just be even closer to Him really, in a way that I never was not even in my college years.  Even if I still have no idea what the future holds after all this, I trust Him more than ever now to weave the new threads in.  To be clear “They” in the quote doesn’t refer to anyone okay…just the heavy situations themselves, I never hint about grudges anywhere and if they existed the last place I’d take to venting about grudges is the internet. No grudges here now, only gratitude.

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So much stuff came my way last year, multiple things, that I cannot outline all of it in one night even if one friend were to say they’d like to listen to it from the beginning, one rounded off evening with single malt scotch wouldn’t cut it.  At one point I just wanted to disappear into some black hole (not die or anything like that okay, just hide from everything).  Some friends were even like “I can’t believe you were going through all this…and that you’re only telling me now, I didn’t know.”  A handful of my nearest and dearest endured my talking them blue in the face when I tried to make sense of things and they would firmly reassure me that the Lord worked all things for the good of those He loved and protected even if we don’t have all the answers.  Another friend from the West coast abroad emailed back “Natutusok yung puso ko sa mga pinagdadaanan mo, Juls.” Many of us have had years like this, years that contain moments you can’t even release onto paper because reading it out just makes one feel nearly nauseous and in the dark…but there is light, there always is.  The Lord supplied some of my much needed answers this year, but in hindsight I never needed them, I only needed Him.  Slowly into 2015 there was a song that drew even the most bruised portions of me out once again into the world.  I’m completely okay now and almost surprised to find myself here.  There were actually two songs, but this one was my new year song.  “Out of Hiding” a song by Bethel Music’s talented  Steffany Gretzinger and Amanda Cook could not have more astutely played out what I needed to hear for the new year.  I hope this song helps you, if any of you in the dark out there are still moving towards the light.  Because He says “Come out of hiding, You’re safe here with me…”.  Steffany and Amanda talk about the background of the song here at this BTS link in a special behind the scenes feature.  Here is the official lyric video of “Out of Hiding.”

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Gabriel Valenciano Weds Tricia Centenera | Another Cousin’s WeddingS and What I Wore

March whizzed by like a freight train, I had tapings, shoots and another cousin’s wedding for which I was invited as a family guest…so technically I could have relaxed more, and could have taken more photos (I planned to, I even brought my DSLR).  However it turned out to be one of those moments wherein when I got there I didn’t want to experience my cousin’s wedding through a lens the entire time and wanted to mingle more not fuss about what I could possibly feature.


That shot is from the Boracay ceremony, but I’m including reposted photos from both.  I wanted to actually behold the moments happening right before me and just be happy for them.  I have a few shots though from when before we left to show you and will include a couple of (pun unintended) grabbed shots from Gab and Tricia Valenciano’s Instagram accounts because I wasn’t able to fly in for their second beach ceremony in Boracay.  First thing’s first, though, this shot of what I wore by Dad for the Tagaytay Ceremony.



Paul Smith sapphire trench, Rajo Laurel gown, Nine West clutch, photo credit: Dad

We were warned by the groom’s father that the weather in Tagaytay might be nippy because Tricia’s Australian guests were feeling the chill the evening before the big day, so I brought my trench which was the envy of many who opted for shawls…I was also surprised by how cold it got that day just before sunset.  Click through to see the full post and what products I used for my makeup look, also just a few more photos from both their ceremonies.… To full post & COMMENTS...

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