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Monthly Highlights | August 2022

Here are some of my favorite things from August 2022!



MrBallen is an account on Youtube created by John Allen, a former Navy Seal turned “scary storyteller on the Internet” (Allen). Some of his more popular content videos include true crime, missing 411, top places you can’t go and people who went anyways, and unexplainable supernatural occurrences – most of which are nonfictional events told in story format.

I’ve been interested in true crime stories for as long as I can remember, and one day I saw on my recommendations feed a video on a true crime that caught my interest. At first, I thought I wouldn’t stick around in the video, but after watching a couple more of MrBallen’s videos, I was hooked.

MrBallen is one heck of a storyteller. His videos consist of him sitting in front of the camera with appropriate photos and videos included throughout, but wow. His tone of voice, facial expressions, and arm and hand gestures have made it so easy to imagine a close reenactment of how the events actually happened.


In order to avoid having dozens of playlists, from here and onwards, I will be adding to the previous year’s monthly playlist. I think this will also be interesting to see how my music taste differs in the same month each year.

Food & Drink


Previously known as the abandoned lighthouse of Saipan which locals, including myself, often visited to hang out and enjoy the views of the island from the very top of the structure, has been “reborn into a contemporary venue that serves unique drinks and modern cuisine.” The café and restaurant setting opened its doors in March 2021.

When I first heard that the classic lighthouse had been renovated into a restaurant, I was a bit saddened by it. The lighthouse is a historic landmark on the island that could have used a lot of touching up, but I initially felt that it should have been kept as it was – a lighthouse. Nonetheless, I was curious to visit the newly renovated landmark.

Here’s how my first experience at the Mariana Lighthouse went…

I visited the lighthouse with four friends on a Thursday evening. When we arrived, there were a couple of cars in the parking lot, but only one other group of people was situated in the outdoor dining area. What quickly caught my attention was the view. We had gone there during sunset, and the sky was glowing across the island. It was incredible. I have to also admit that the renovations on the actual lighthouse do look beautiful, and I love their choice of the color blue. I appreciated that they kept the original structure of the actual lighthouse and only changed the base and its surroundings.

Although there were indoor and rooftop dining areas, after seeing the view and that there was a roof over our heads in this area, we decided to dine outdoors on the ground floor. We were quickly assisted and after about 45 minutes of selecting, ordering, and waiting for our food, we tasted some of the best meals we’ve ever tried.

I can’t remember all of the names of the food we ordered, but my favorites were the Chicago (Deep Dish) Pizza and the Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll. They were both *chef’s kiss* I especially fell in love with the Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll. It was so good! It didn’t taste spicy at all to me, but it was full of flavor, even without a dipping sauce. The Chicago Pizza was incredibly cheesy, but I loved it. It was also very thick, and the crust was cooked to perfection.

We also ordered a Loco Moco, but I think the sauce kind of overtook the dish. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty good, but it would not be on top of my “must order again” list. We also treated ourselves to some glasses of cocktails. I got the Blue Mariana, and it took some getting used to, but I thought it was okay. I tasted more of the alcohol, unlike my friend, who ordered the exact same drink and tasted more of the sweetness… Oh well.

With everything we had, we could not finish everything. We had to pack our leftovers to bring home. Sidenote: if you are planning on packing leftovers, they do charge a small fee for any to-go boxes and bags.

After eating, we did stay for about an hour more, digesting and making conversations. Throughout our stay, about one more group dined outside, and most of the other customers dined inside. Part of our group also decided to go up to the tower of the lighthouse, and I was happy that they allowed people to still do so. I didn’t go this time, but I’m hoping to do so on my next visit.

Other than the minimal hiccups of the servers forgetting to give us the additional water we requested and accidentally giving us the wrong check, everything else went pretty smoothly. I think it also helped that we went on a not-so-busy evening.

Overall, I think my first experience at the lighthouse was well worth it.



It has been years since I’ve last done a hike, let alone a 40+ minute hike inside the jungle where my body bent and stretched in ways it was not accustomed to. Nonetheless, the hike was very much worth it when we finally reached the falls.

I will be posting my full Talafofo Falls hike experience soon!



  • My friends’ friendships and guidance;
  • My first hike to Talafofo Falls;
  • Fixing our muddy driveway;
  • My first experience at Mariana Lighthouse;
  • Stargazing.

A gratitude list does not have to include major life events (but include them when they do happen). Simple blessings, such as showering with clean water, are overlooked privileges to be grateful for.

Incorporate or reserve at least 10 minutes of your daily routine to write at least three (3) things you are grateful for.

We all need a good reminder to keep our feet on the ground.

“Do you see that incredible world out there? So vast, so breathtaking. That is my imagination, the source of my power.” –Fischl, Genshin Impact

Keep being inspired and take care always,


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