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Monthly Highlights | November 2021

I love you, November.

There were a couple of challenges that occurred this month (honestly, when hasn’t there been a challenge each month?), but we prevailed! The most important detail from this month is that a lot of big changes happened, and more are currently ready to roll out within the upcoming months.

Thank you for everything.


Streaming service(s) might change from the time of writing this post due to the services’ contract with the movie/TV show networks.


An action-comedy film where an FBI agent works together with a world-renowned art thief to capture an even more renowned art thief to clear the agent’s name and make the second place art thief number one – what could go wrong?

I saw The Rock, and I clicked. I saw Ryan Reynolds, I knew this movie was going to be a masterpiece. I loved the action scenes, the plot twists (wait towards the end for the biggest one), Gal Gadot, and of course the sarcastic wits and comebacks. I hope there will be a part 2!

Maturity Rating: PG-13 • Genre: Action, Comedy • Original Language: English • Streaming Service: Netflix


High school students who were expected to go nowhere in life became some of the first high school graduates and college majors in their families. With the guidance and support of the one instructor who helped them find their voice, they became known as the Freedom Writers. Based on a true story.

I’d heard of this film when it first came out, but my adolescent self wasn’t interested in high-intensity drama films at the time. Fortunately, I was able to watch it recently, and I was thoroughly impressed. I don’t know what else there is to say other than how inspired my heart is by the strength and perseverance that the then-high school students had with everything they went through and everything they overcame.

Maturity Rating: PG-13 • Genre: Teen, Drama, Inspiring • Original Language: English • Streaming Service: Amazon Prime Video

LOVE HARD (2021)

This romantic Christmas movie focuses on the female lead having rotten luck in the love department. She eventually starts talking to her “Mr. Perfect” on an online dating site and decides to surprise him by meeting him for the first time in person for Christmas. Turns out that she’s the one who will end up surprised.

I imagine myself being the voice-over for the trailer of these movies/series whenever I write a synopsis about them. Moving on…

Normally I stray away from romance movies (even though I love reading romance stories), but this has Nina Dobrev, so I couldn’t resist watching it. In short, I enjoyed the movie. It was your typical cliché romance storyline, and I was expecting a little more laughter, but I still found it sweet and interesting.

Maturity Rating: TV-MA • Genre: Romance, Comedy • Original Language: English • Streaming Service: Netflix

LUCA (2021)

In this computer-animated coming-of-age movie, we have a merboy (mermaid boy) wondering about life beyond the ocean. One day he comes across another merboy who, surprisingly to him, casually swims up to the surface, and as soon as he’s no longer in the water, his tail turns into a pair of legs and feet. The boys form a friendship and try to live in a small human town in hopes of one day getting a motorbike to go on more adventures.

I’ve always wanted to watch this film since I first saw the trailer. Fortunately, when I visited a friend, I was able to watch it on her Disney+ account. It was not a disappointment. It was as if my inner child had taken over and I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and characters. Granted, it is cliché and anticlimactic, but it was still refreshing and wholesome to watch. The ending had me crying, but they were tears of joy because I just – ah, I love this sweet film so much.

Also, Disney+, if you ever see this post, please think about making your service available to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as we are a U.S. Territory, and I am an avid Disney fan who would love to watch more Disney movies. Thank you.

Maturity Rating: PG • Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy • Original Language: English • Streaming Service: Disney+


In this 9-episode series, over 400 individuals were invited and accepted to play a series of children’s games in order to determine who would go home with the grand prize. Sounds easy? That’s what they thought too until things became red.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to include this in my favorites. I couldn’t believe that I even watched it when I told myself I wouldn’t watch something with this kind of storyline. The outcome? I was emotionally wrecked by the end of the series. For me to be this affected by the storyline helps me understand why it is a big hit nationwide, and thus helped me decide that it is worth adding to my favorites.

Maturity Rating: TV-MA • Genre: Survival, Drama • Original Language: Korean • Streaming Service: Netflix


I didn’t have a lot of must-listen-to songs this month. I mostly repeated my October playlist or listened to songs in my library.



I was surprised at how insanely delicious this is. Hard on the outside, but kind of chewy on the inside. The texture of the inside is pretty close to cheesecake ice cream. In my sweet tooth standards, it’s also not too sweet. Plus, it doesn’t melt as fast too, and I’m currently living in a tropical climate area.


Karioka is a “sweetened deep-fried sticky rice ball made of glutinous rice and coconut milk dough mixture then dipped in a coconut and sugar mix sauce. They are usually served skewered on thin bamboo sticks or individually as snacks or dessert” (Simply Bakings).

I’m pretty sure I tried this before, but I, unfortunately, appreciated its greatness just recently. It tastes HEAVENLY. It’s chewy but not to the point where your jaw tires out, and its sweetness is just right for my tastebuds. I also enjoy biting into the outer layer – hearing the crunch is somewhat satisfying.



I never knew I’d be celebrating my birthday differently this year, but nonetheless, I’m very grateful for how it turned out. This year, I was able to celebrate with a soul sister of mine and her family in the Bay Area. We had a mini pizza and cake celebration, but being with them has made it all the more special, especially listening to my sweet goddaughter sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.

I would like to also wish my birthday twin, my other goddaughter, a Happy second Birthday as well. I couldn’t celebrate with them this year, but hopefully next year I can finally meet her and celebrate our birthdays together.




After almost two years, I was able to see the clouds up close again. This time around, I was fortunate to make it back to the city I called home for four years – San Francisco. Technically, I stayed a little further north of the city, but it was lovely seeing familiar streets and buildings I became accustomed to.

As this was only about a nonstop hour flight, here is a summary of how my actual flight went.

Arriving at the SAN airport, it was surprisingly busy, considering my flight was early Monday morning. Checking in my luggage was pretty quick as I paid the fee ($35 for one checked bag 50 lbs. and below) on the United app (not sponsored) the night before my flight.

The most challenging aspect for me had always been going through the security checkpoints. The line was long. AND, MANY WERE NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING. I tried my best to stay a good distance from the person ahead of me. Once I finally reached security, the officer confirmed my passport and identity; and I placed my belongings in appropriate bins on the conveyer belt.

I went for a lengthy walk straight to my gate. After about 45 minutes of waiting, we were ready to board. I chose the window seat and was happy that the middle and aisle seat were empty because I didn’t have to disturb anyone as I navigate to my seat.

We took off. The flight was smooth and pretty quick. Even though I was tired, I wasn’t able to take a quick nap and just listened to some music. Over an hour later, we arrived in SFO, and I made my way to baggage claim.

I left a warm San Diego and arrived in a rainy San Francisco.


After about 9 days in the Bay Area, I took off on another flight, and this time, my destination — Saipan. Yes, I am officially back home in the tropics, and I couldn’t be more grateful to reunite with my parents and see the place that I grew up in for over two decades. The flight was, well – I’ll be going into detail about my whole itinerary in a separate post, so be on the lookout for that one! For now, it feels good to be home.



  • Being with my parents;
  • Smiling a lot more;
  • Spending time with my soul family;
  • Celebrating another year around the sun;
  • Coming back to Saipan.

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.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Keep being inspired and take care always,


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