It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for a decade now here at Chasing Dreams; blogging for two decades if we count those early years hopping around various blogging platforms before settling down on this one.
Back then I didn’t have any concrete plan for this website, except to become a journal of sorts. Which is basically what blogs were in the day. A place to vent, a breathing space, a creative expression.
Eventually, I had to force this blog to “grow up to pay the bills”, but even then I was very picky. I didn’t want to monetize these pages with keyword-generated ads, I chose the brands I worked with, and I worked hard to keep this space personal, passion-driven, and purpose-centric.
If you’ve been following this journey for a while you’d remember that this space doubled as a Web & Branding Design Studio for a good number of years, and then a hub for all things Pursuit Manila, and then a blogging resource site (which eventually became The Purpose Blog). Basically a launch pad for many of my passion projects and creative ventures.
It’s funny how I kind of grew up on this blog too, and how the blog naturally evolved through seasons of my life. From falling in love to getting married to being a mother, from being at the peak of my corporate career to becoming a work-from-home mom, plus all the dream-chasing in between.
Today for all sentimental reasons I thought I’d look back at some of the highlights of this blog, which are also easily some of the highlights of my life.
Join me as I take this trip down memory lane? Yes?
(A quick note: Some of these posts are super old, apologies in advance for some broken links here and there.)
The Early Beginnings
I did a major purge at the start of this year, removing a big chunk of old posts from this blog’s public archive (because cringe? lol). Still, there are a few ones that I think represent those early years, like—
This post that started it all. Hello, 2009 Riz.
A glimpse of my old apartment. My aesthetic obviously changed so much haha. How did I survive having too much red in my house again?
My weird obsession with typewriters. Did you know that there was such a thing as “typecasters” back then, long before there were instagrammers and bookstagrammers? No? Fine! I. Am. A. Dinosaur.
Does anybody remember The Dreamerie? It was my first ever experience launching an online business, and I can’t even remember how many launches I had since then!
And that weekend I spent with my childhood friends in Singapore. One of those defining moments in life where I knew everything would never be the same again.
Falling in Love and Being Happily Married
There’s no denying that one of my greatest inspirations in writing this blog is this guy named David, and our roller-coaster, on-and-off long-distance relationship which, I’m happy to report in case you don’t know it yet, ended at the altar.
Lately, we would laugh about how this blog played a bit of a role in our relationship. How, on his part, he was able to know me better through my posts (or stalk, more like haha). Or me, how I occasionally dropped hints and riddles about him here and there, thinking maybe he’d happen to read them. Classic ligawan of our time, what can I say. Haha.
Blogging with my heart at the tip of my fingers. That moment when I knew that David was (is) the only guy I would ever
gush blog about.
That Central Park date, ahhh, easily one of my most favorite New York City moments.
What September reminds me of. A quick summary of our love story, in reference to the month of September.
Turning 28, and finally celebrating our birthdays together.
Being happily married. Seriously though, I happened to have married a chill and happy person, and God knows how much I needed that in my life!
More of David and this married life here.
The 30-day Blog Challenges
I’ll always be a believer of 30-day challenges because I’ve seen how truly effective it is in creating a habit and, let’s be honest, in populating content for a blog!
Which is why I did this challenge 3 times in the first few years blogging here. The idea is to publish content every day; and to make it more methodical for me, I worked around a fun theme for each round.
Second round in 2010, which was all about our wedding. For sure, one post about our wedding was not enough, I had to talk about it for a month! Lol.
And the third round in 2013, which I dubbed “30 Days of Gratitude” from when I was adjusting to my new life as a mom, and all the thoughts and feelings that motherhood came with.
Some of the best lessons about blogging I learned from these 30-day challenges, which reminds me, I really should do this again soon!
The biggest surprise of our life was definitely when we found out that I was pregnant with twins. So even when I never really considered myself a “mom blogger”, blogging about Dawn & Rain was something that happened organically.
In other words, not only did the babies take over my life and schedule, they took over this blog too!
This is when we found out we were having twins. The best April Fools joke, ever.
A series of posts during my twin pregnancy. Seriously feels like a lifetime ago!
That November morning we took the girls home for the first time, and life was never the same.
I’ll stop here but you get the drift, this blog houses countless photographs and stories about Dawn and Rain. I mean, I bet most of you are still here for them! :)
That 52-Week Project
The height of Dawn & Rain’s “blog takeover” happened in 2014 when I joined a 52-Week Photo Project. It was a photography project started by a blogger named Jodi, where mothers from around the world took portraits of their children, once a week, every week, all year.
That was a fun year! Challenging but fun. The best part was having documented that year in Dawn & Rain’s life in a special way, and having all of these photographs for the wall and the family albums.
I highly recommend you do something like it too.
I can’t even pick a favorite, I love and treasure every single one of them!
The One Words
In 2014 I started skipping the New Year’s Resolutions and doing the One Word challenge instead. The mechanics of the One Word challenge is simple. Instead of coming up with a list of resolutions at the start of the year, you pick one word that will represent the dreams, prayers, and goals you have for that year.
Amazingly, not only did these words serve as guide as I go about my year, in hindsight they also served as markers. Until now, I can still casually talk about the highlights of a specific year just based the word for that year.
I still sometimes laugh at how easily I picked those big words “pursue” and “passion” in the first two years! And how, as I age, I find myself choosing words that feel more quiet and slow if you know what I mean.
This 2019 my one word is PURPOSE.
I’m feeling it, y’all. I do!
2015 was the year Pursuit Manila was born, and wow what a year that was! In a nutshell, Pursuit Manila is a community of Christian creatives who desire to honor God in their businesses, family, and passions.
Every month in 2015 we gathered women from across the metro to learn, fellowship, and connect. This blog became the hub for everything Pursuit Manila—
How it all began. I remember posting this scared that no one would show up. But the first group of women did, and every month the group just kept growing!
All the monthly gatherings are archived here, every single one documented with beautifully styled venues, inspiring loot bags, and pretty little flatlays. Everything you’d expect when you put creative women in one place!
Ending the year with Thanksgiving. Consider this one a quick roundup of everything and everyone that made Pursuit Manila what it is.
Although Pursuit is no longer actively meeting since 2016, the friendships and connections we’ve built, the passion projects that were launched, and the lessons learned will surely last a lifetime. <3
Oh The Places We Went
I haven’t been to that many places, to be honest. Contrary to the image a self-proclaimed “dream chaser” might portray, I’m really mostly a creature of comfort. I’d pick a book over an adventure any given day. I find that my energy runs dry whenever we go on spontaneous trips that I basically need to take a vacation after taking a vacation.
I realized in recent years that as much as I dream of the next big destination, I’m really mostly drawn to places where family is.
Like Sydney, where some of my favorite cousins are.
Or Singapore, where my childhood friends were.
And of course, New York, where I fell in love.
Ah, those feelings I have for New York, all preserved on these pages.
Lately, traveling for us is more about creating core memories for Dawn and Rain.
Looking forward to adding more places to this list. :)
Endless Ruminations About God and Life
Many of my readers I got to know a bit well because of these posts. I published plenty of posts on what I’ve been learning about God in this chase of dreams, this perpetual search for meaning and purpose.
“God replaces what he takes away,” says my naive 21-year-old self. Trivia: This post remains to be the single most viewed post in this blog. And isn’t that mind-blowing, how literally every day, people around the world turn to Google to find answers to questions about why God takes things away? It’s a bit sad, if I’m honest, but what an opportunity to dig deeper and seek more! I pray every day that this post will somehow lead these internet strangers to the right answers, if not completely answer them.
There’s so much ground to cover! God taught me so much!
There’s also my Hillsong story, what “chasing dreams” looked like for 16-year old me.
And the 30 lessons I learned in 30 years, a mere attempt to list them all down, because obviously there’s got to be more than 30.
Chasing Dreams Today
At some point in recent years, I struggled to keep up with this blog.
In that note, I’m just glad that this is exactly what’s unique about blogs. They are personal websites, after all, and they grow and evolve with the blogger.
Today this blog is stripped back down to its roots—a space for telling stories, of practicing intentionality, of living a creative life, of seeking God in both the big and small things, in relationships, and places, and passions.
Maybe it will evolve again into something different someday like it always does, but for now, I’m letting this place just be, and I hope you’ll stay around for that too. :)
Here’s to the 10th year of Chasing Dreams!