Archive | Dreams & Inspiration

Are you tough enough?

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Are you tough enough?

Posted on 25 February 2012 by Liza Mae V.

My legal representative today asked me a very good question which made me question …

“Am I tough enough?”

This was prompted when I said I’m interested in being a paralegal so I learn about the laws on my own and protect myself as a landlord for the LTB & RTA (landlord tenant board and residential tenant act) is very skewed towards tenants.

Tough Situations Won't Break Us

This question made me ponder. if you know me I’m barely five foot, filipina, youngest & only female sibling, and more recently people call me ‘soft’. It is not that I choose to be but situations in my life has no reason for me to be ‘hard’. I was brought up with very protective parents and lifestyle which didn’t prod me to be ‘hard’. I fought two older brothers occasionally but since I was younger, I just followed what they said for they are 6 and 12 years older than I. I am one of the youngest cousins growing up and in the family I was very well disciplined and never was argumentative. Only in my recent years have I had to face battles, arguments, and stand tall to be heard. Especially being with an ex whom was damaged and argumentative, it put me in a corner and I had to argue back. I didn’t choose to be in this situation but was forced in to this role. No one likes drama or confrontation but some days you can not avoid it and you gotta fight back.

I realize I am learning to be harder! I don’t think people are born to be hard people but are put in to situations to BE hard, making them hard people. Take the example of someone who was brought up in a rough neighborhood vs. someone who was brought up in a posh neighbourhood, their level of hardness will be much different.  I had this discussion with a friend of mine who is from Brooklyn and how different lifestyles we had growing up.  You have to do what you have to do to survive the jungle out there and if you don’t want to be stepped on, you had to be tough.

I realize though that we all have different roles and purposes in life – some people are soft and some people are hard but everyone is different for situations shape you to be who you are.

I wasn’t built tough but in the last few years I have been through the most challenging times. I am finally being tested by God and I believe he doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Maybe everyone has to go through difficult times in different times of our lives and that time for me is NOW! It is something that I have to go through to finally grow up, and be a grown up.

To answer the question of “Am I tough enough?”


I am not broken. I am alive. I can still breath. Just with a little faith in the unknown and a really great support system of friends and family. I am surviving the tests of time and I am tougher than I ever have been. So bring it – pleasure or pain!

Tough situations won’t break us, it can only shape us!

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My Road to Being Content

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My Road to Being Content

Posted on 27 January 2012 by Liza Mae V.

The other day I looked at past photographs of my closest female friends in our early 20’s and those days seem like yesterday. Though as I look at today, things have changed dramatically in the past two to three years. Most of my friends are either married or about to be married. Everyone thought I would be the first to be hitched but their predictions were wrong. I do admit I am an addict of love and relationships but at this point, my focus has changed from focusing on relationships to focusing on what I should do with my life. I always based my decisions on my relationships instead of focusing on what would make me happy without being in a relationship. I used relationships to decipher what I was feeling, how I should live, and how to make another person happy.

Club Photos of Martina and Liza Mae

Club Photos of Martina, Liza Mae, Davina

When a relationship was severed, I felt the same. In the end, I lost myself in the relationship and didn’t know who I was and what made me happy. It was hard to look in the mirror for I felt like my world was shattered but this isn’t the case for I still had me. I was alone for most of my life, so why would a relationship change my core being? This brought me to the realization of, ‘how can I be in a relationship and expect someone to make me happy, when I didn’t really know how to make myself happy’. Not to say that I don’t know what makes me happy but what I am really trying to figure out is, ‘what makes me content? ‘

Being content means to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face.
Being content means feeling a sense of inspiration to do something productive with your day.
Being content means your heart burns with passion, a passion so hot another person gets burned with it – inspiring them.
Being content means waking up before the alarm for you are so excited about your day.
Being content means living in the moment and not wishing to be somewhere else.
Being content means appreciating what you have instead of what you don’t have.
Being content means being/living your dream.

I yearn to be content.

I want to have passion, drive, and motivation. I want to find the fire that burns my fuel of life! It seems like a difficult task at hand but I know that it is within my arms reach. I figure, ‘how can one find what they are looking for if one isn’t ever lost?’ I admit I am feeling lost but I know I will find my way. For some days I get a glimpse of the life I want to live. I just need to get over some of the hurdles in my way. It seems that some of the hurdles are what I put in front of me, created out of my own fears and insecurities.

Things are more simple than they seem. Once you remove all the hurdles which are not really there, life is really simple. This is what I struggle with and try to wrap my head around. I realize this mentally but I gotta DO something about it if I want to be content.

I yearn to be content.

Until that day when I find what I want to do with my career – I will truly be ready to be in married. As of now, I need to build on my foundation for the relationships will be much stronger and more profound. I am not trying to be Miss Independent with the idea that ‘I don’t need a man’ logic, I just want to be a strong woman. When my man is down, I can be his rock. Right now I feel I can’t provide that at the moment and it is unfair to rely on another person when I have the ability to rely on myself. So it is time for me to build … be strong … and try to enjoy every minute of it (no matter how difficult life may seem).

Being Strong and Content


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This is your life … so live it

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This is your life … so live it

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Liza Mae V.

These words by Holstee Manifesto are what I live by and stand up for, though some days are challenging, never stop trying to live the life you want to live.

The Holstee Manifesto - This is your life ...

Lately life has been a big blur of heart felt moments both good and bad and I never felt so alive but lost at the same time.  It seems I go through this cycle that goes from knowing who I am and what I am doing with my life to not knowing who I am and not knowing what I am doing.  I guess when life is good, things are seen in a positive light but when I am put through difficult situations, I begin to question my life.  The life challenges really test my faith and really knock me down and make me feel insecure about my being but when all obstacles are put behind me and I have jumped that hurdle I begin to believe again.  I know life is a test and God doesn’t give us more than we can handle for He wants us to succeed.  I try to keep my head up in these difficult times for what am I left to do?  I can not sit in my sorrows for life is too short.  I gotta stand up for myself, my life, and make the best of it.  Though my ego wants me to believe that this is the hardest thing I have to face in the moment, I know life has many more challenges on the way.  I know this is just a building block to make me stronger for things to come in my life.  After all I am only dealing with Liza Mae and I don’t have to deal with a husband, kids, and in-laws.  I can only fathom how many challenges life will have when my decisions directly effect those people.  But for now I gotta stand up and appreciate the life that I have in front of me and the challenges life throws my way.

 Motivational & Inspirational Playlist

I have compiled some of my current favorite motivational and inspirational songs that lift my spirits when life’s got me down.

“Success is my idol and being broke is my rival” – Big Sean

“So in all the bad and the good will soon come
Don’t think second best
Be number one
Spread some love
Don’t give to receive
Strive to be happy
And live to believe”
– Jessie J

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Where will life take you?

Posted on 13 September 2011 by Liza Mae V.

“What is a journey?

A journey is not a trip.
It’s not a vacation.
It’s a process. A discovery.
It’s a process of self-discovery.
A journey brings us face to face with ourselves.
A journey shows us not only the world,
but how we fit in it.

Does the person create the journey or does the journey create the person?

The journey is life itself.

Where will life take you?”

I’ve been wondering ‘Where will life take me’ for the last few months for my life changes have been more than I have anticipated.  I’m at another crossroads of life where there are more than two options.  As I look back at the last two years of life, it has been quite an amazing journey and wouldn’t go back for I have learned a lot about myself and life.

I have made mistakes along the way but what’s life without mistakes?

I’ve grown, developed, but quite possibly digressed.  I thought I had my life together nearing the dreaded age of three-zero but it feels far from that.  I know that this phase will pass like every crossroad I have encountered for life is about reinventing yourself time and time again.  I wonder if the reinventing stage ends at any point?  I guess it does, now that I think about it, it stops at death.

I’m not too sure where my journey will be or where life will take me but all I know is that it will be a hell of a ride.





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picking up the pieces

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picking up the pieces

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Liza Mae V.

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spent the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”
– Ray Bradbury

The reality is that I am back in Toronto and I am no longer in New York City! So as I read through my last entry of ‘NYC breakup or just separated?’, I must confess that is only a piece of why it was so hard to leave New York City.

So it is not the question of why it was so difficult to leave NYC but the real question that should be answered is why did I want to leave Toronto?

I was unhappy with my life in Toronto and just needed to get away from it all. So I picked up my bags and just left it all behind. I delayed this decision for awhile for I had many responsibilities that I had to attend to, mainly the properties.

As reckless as it was, I just did what I felt I needed to do and a few of my closest friends were pushing me in this direction for they seen how unhappy I was. But what really pushed me to the brinks of this decision was the fact that J extended his stay in China. This really broke me 10x more than my previous entry, ‘missing you’.

His arrival was supposed to be right before my birthday but that didn’t happen and I just lost it. All logic went out the window and I just did what I felt I needed to do. When faced with adversity you instinctively fight or flight? I choose the latter, literally and mentally. I didn’t want to fight any more battles or struggle through the stresses of my daily life.

Some can say that my situation wasn’t that bad or it could of been worse but as immature as it may sound, I just didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted to find an escape and forget it all. Though it would of been temporary, at least I knew that some how, I can find a peace/piece of mind … again.

escape button

Taken with an iPhone and Instagram App

It is like I had a clocking system of my life in Toronto, and I had to mentally check out. I stopped thinking about my repercussions or my responsibilities, I just checked out.

Now that I have finally checked back in, things started off rocky but I’m slowly picking up the pieces. It is like I have lost myself and trying to find myself again. Some days are great and other days are not so great. I’m trying to find the fine medium but at least I can see the pieces, just trying to figure out what pieces I want to keep versus leave behind.

One thing I am assured of is that everything I want in life is right in front of me. I just got to start believing in myself, as everyone has believed in me.

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a child’s smile lights up my life | a story of hope

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a child’s smile lights up my life | a story of hope

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Liza Mae V.

Since I’ve been back in Toronto life hasn’t been quite the same as when I left and quite honestly I haven’t been having the best of days.  I have been practically house bound since I arrived for I have to figure out some things in my life, big and small, and I don’t have a car.  This has caused me to be  demotivated to exercise or move but a close friend of mine told me I need to go running for it will make me feel better.  In my mind I knew it would be good for me, for it would make me realize that I can breath the fresh air, soak in some sun, and give me that runner’s high.  I still wasn’t motivated but with enough time and mental preparation, 7 hours later, I finally removed my pajama gear I’ve been mopping around in for the past 2 days and threw on some baggy pants, tank, and running shoes.

As I began running I started to feel the soreness of my body especially my quadriceps.  I thought I couldn’t do my regular 5KM route for I haven’t been this sore before.  I don’t know what I did but I was in pain.  Every step I could feel my muscle fibers yelling at me to stop but I started to drown out the noise with my iPod, feeling the air fill my lungs, the kiss of the sun on my skin, and the ground beneath my feet.

I began to start feeling alive again but was still in pain.  I doubted I could do the full route, so in my mind I said I’ll do a lot less than normal.

A Child's Smile | Julius Pajama Party

As I approached a house with two kids playing in their front lawn, they stopped what they were doing to wave and smile as I passed.  I could not resist smiling back for kids are the most purest of creatures.  They made me feel like I was running a marathon where people cheered from the sideline.  It was probably 7 minutes in to my run and they made me appreciate that moment from thereon.  Life is too short to be miserable.

I managed to do my regular 5KM running route and in record time of 25 minutes.  I fought through the pain and guess what?

I survived.

Life can be painful at times but we just have to push through the pain for it will make us stronger and as cliche as it sounds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When you are going through a painful experience, the light does not shine bright but as time moves forward, you will start to see the light again.

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lost ring | a story of hope

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Liza Mae V.

As I was packing my luggage to go back to Toronto I emptied one of my purses and to my surprise I saw a ring that looked like the engineering ring I had lost during a BBQ in the Bronx on July 4th weekend. I was doubtful and thought it was a dime but i did a double take and reached for it.

It was my ring!

I immediately slid it on my right hand pinky finger and held my hand up high to admire it.

I smiled so much it filled my heart with joy.

This ring is a symbol goes beyond the fact that it is an engineering ring.

It symbolizes hope.

The reason why it symbolizes hope is because it seems I always lose misplace this ring but every time I seem to find it against all odds.

I lost it on a car seat.
I lost it at night in a parking lot.
I lost it in the midst of my purse.
I lost it in my hair.
and the list goes on.

This goes to show that sometimes when you think you lost something or someone and it comes back against all odds, it was meant to be.

The ‘lost ring’ is a metaphor for life.

The funny thing is the day I lost my ring I imagined it will eventually show up as it usually does, hence my reaction to losing it.  I was concerned for 5 minutes, then I moved on.  I learned not to attach myself to ‘things’, for things can be replaced and sometimes losing something or someone is out of your control.

Why fight it?

Accept it and move on.  Life is too short to control the uncontrollable.

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75 Simple Pleasures of Life

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75 Simple Pleasures of Life

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Liza Mae V.

As I read through Zen Habits list of 75 Simple Pleasures I thought it would be nice to make a list of my own.  I have always made these lists in my written journal but why not share it with the world.  It is just simple things that make me smile and be happy.  It is not too complicated nor costly, just simple.  Sometimes these things are what keep me moving especially when the current is going against me.

Note: Not in any particular order, just random thoughts.

Red Lobster - A Simple Pleasure

  1. Waking up to a warm body
  2. Sunshine after the rain
  3. Sweet mangoes
  4. Kid’s laughter
  5. Hot coffee on a cold day
  6. Feet against the sand
  7. Swimming through warm water
  8. Snorkeling
  9. Dancing Mindlessly
  10. Making someone laugh Continue Reading

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Concepcion, Ilo Ilo | Philippines

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Living the Simple Life | From the Philippines

Posted on 14 February 2011 by Liza Mae V.

Concepcion, Ilo Ilo | Philippines

View from my Window – Concepcion, Ilo Ilo

an edited excerpt from a journal entry I found when I was in the Philippines dated April 27, 2010.


Today I woke up at 6am for I slept earlier due to exhaustion of the previous day.  My cousin, Tonette, yelled to me to grab my camera.  I ran to the patio deck that looked out to the sea and mountains that surrounded it.  The breath of freshness refreshed my face and the smell of the salt water was like heaven.

Two months earlier I did not imagine this, sitting at my cubicle of my engineering job.  I am content and I know the future has many brighter days ahead.

Continue Reading

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About Liza Mae

I am a twenty-somethings female photographer in search of love, the meaning of life, and adventure. I am passionate about anything photography from the snap to the click.


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