Favorite Things 2018

In 2018,

I spent the first few weeks of the year in a coding boot camp.

There were palm trees and surf sessions, but also so much code that I nevertheless cried.

I found a job, and with that became both a web developer and one of those success stories that I used to distrust.

While I planned to do less this year, I did plenty instead.

I logged 40 yoga classes, 16 artist dates, 172 days away from home, an unknown amount of meditation minutes, 324 kilometers of running, and three 5-day water fasts.

Juggling and cartwheels are also part of my repertoire now.

And so is the keto diet, specialty coffee, intermittent fasting, and folding clothes Marie Kondo style.


what really counts,

is that -1 book that I didn’t finish because it sucked.

Now this year has yet to wrap, and I’m already living the one to start.

In 2019,

I want to do more of the things I already love.

Kite. Code. Meditate. Fly paper planes.

And, I want to go longboarding–just once.


Here are my favorite things of 2018.

The Act of Kindness That Got Me Teary-Eyed

🌌 After Nurse Khwan reclined the examination chair, she told me to pretend I was staring into the galaxy. I was about to have my first cervical biopsy and was looking at the clinic’s cardboard ceiling.

The Book That Changed Everything

📖 Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
When my first biopsy showed that I had precancerous cells in my cervix, I didn’t necessarily panic.

I recalled reading two interviews in Tools of Titans, one with Dominic D’Agostino and the other with Peter Attia.

In the interviews, both D’Agostino and Attia talk about the benefits of intermittent fasting, fasting and the ketogenic diet for longevity and an array of health issues, but also as a prevention, and even as part of a cure, for cancer.

Weary of the complications that conventional treatment might bring, and with D’Agostino’s and Attia’s advice in mind, I asked my doctors if we could try to heal my body with metabolic therapy first.

For the next three months, I followed a strict ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting (usually eating only once a day) and did three 5-day water fasts (one every month).

Three months later, my second biopsy came back with the best possible results. The precancerous cells had regressed from CIN III to CIN I, and I was in the clear.

Keto Side Faves

⏳ I use the Cronometer to track my macros and all other nutritional details. It’s the single most important tool that helps me stay in ketosis.

🍳 I’m yet to try a recipe from Diet Doctor that I don’t like. My current pick is the Keto Salmon Tandoori with Cucumber Sauce, which I like to pair with coconut flour flatbreads.

🥩  I’ve had some of the most delicious meals of all time while traveling on keto. My top three restaurant picks are Milk & Madu (Canggu, Bali), Nonie’s (Boracay, Philippines), and Smokehouse (Tokyo, Japan).

⭐️ Related reading: Everything I Know About Fasting and Going Keto

Best Purchase I Made Under $100

💧 S’well Bottle
The S’well keeps my water and shakes cold and my bulletproof blends hot without breaking a sweat. I have the Yellow Gold Ombré, and I got G the Onyx Traveler, which he loves. I bring mine everywhere and have stopped using plastic bottles at last.

Favorite New App

🧘🏻‍♀️ Waking Up by Sam Harris
I like the way Sam Harriss talks about meditation and mindfulness. His explanations are clear and wise, and far more instructional than the usual “just follow your breath.”

Experiment I Loved

👘 The KonMari Method
The KonMari method changed the way I practice minimalism.

I stopped obsessing about throwing things and owning as less as possible, and instead, started to consider what things bring me joy and I’d like to keep.

It may seem like an insignificant mind shift, but it has actually allowed me to create a more positive relationship with materialism, and to be more grateful for the few things that I do own.

The KonMari method is explained in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

Most Memorable Experience

👩🏻‍💻🌴 Le Wagon Coding Bootcamp in Bali
Le Wagon supercharged my coding skills like nothing else could’ve. To say it was a lot of fun, I can’t. It was code day and night. And code in my dreams. And it was hard. But it’s what allowed me to start a career in web development and fill in a piece that was missing in my life. And that’s beyond fun.

⭐️ Related reading: Leap of Code

Music Album I Played on Repeat

🎶 Snow by Angus & Julia Stone
I always thought I couldn’t write and listen to music at the same time. The first morning of the coding boot camp, however, I played Snow in an attempt to drown out the chatter around me and discovered I could code (and thus write) with music on.

The Unexpected Discovery

☕️ Specialty Coffee
I went from barely drinking coffee to brewing my own in less than two months.

I suspect I got hooked when I bought a bag of coffee beans at The Roastery by Nozy Coffee in Tokyo, which was actually a gift for my friend Qing He.

Qing He had just recently opened Apartment, and I figured it would be sweet to bring back a “cup of Tokyo” to share.

All worked out according to my imagination, except that I left the Apartment with a new bag of beans.

Not long after, I became the shared owner of a Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder, and am nowadays tweaking the acidity and bitterness of my homemade brews.

🍒 Cheeky fact: I started with the Cafe Press Slim S (basically, a French press) as my brewing weapon of choice. I realize now that it may not have been the best buy, but I refuse to switch to any other brewing device before I master the press.

⭐️ Related reading: Slow Coffee

Quote I Started 2018 With

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit. –Banksy