Monday, August 21, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 279 - Long weekend

I'm typing this post on a quiet and relaxing Sunday night. The rare times I feel relaxed because of the holiday break. I don't feel the rush and usual frustration that weekends are over. I still have some work to do but from the looks of my tired and lazy self, everything has to be set aside. I long to sleep before 12 am, wake up before sunrise and accomplish all the tasks in my list tomorrow.

Before the week ended, I attended an important event. There was an advice to come in business attire. I skipped my usual Friday jeans and sneakers. I wore slacks, short sleeved top and my favorite pair of ballet flats. When I arrived in the venue, I felt out of place. I should know better. I should have taken the business attire seriously. This also reminded me of the usual advice, it's always better to be overdressed. Later that night, I realized that I don't have a set of formal clothes to begin with. I have plenty of clothes, but none would qualify for formal events. Same goes with my bags, I don't have a clutch or any formal bag. This only proves, I keep on buying the same items. At this age, I should have my own pieces for formal events.

During the weekend, I had another weird wedding dream again. Oftentimes, the wedding had no groom and the ceremonies will not push through. For several years, I thought it meant as a prelude to my future. No groom, hello to single blessedness forever. Hahaha However, some reliable materials gave me deeper meanings. Weddings may symbolize change, independence and commitment. Some even connected it with sorrow, agony and bitterness. With my current state, I would like to believe that it relates with bitterness. I remember discussing an issue with my mother a few days ago. It really frustrates me how some people can resort to cheating and commit other wrong doings in exchange for promotion, advancement and other forms of progress. Aside from promoting a culture of inequality, these people demoralize those who adhere to full honesty and hardwork. 

On a positive note, I realized that honest and hard working people will always have priceless respect and value. Something that those who cheated will never achieve. Whenever, I feel hopeless I guess I have to rely on this thought. 

Meanwhile, here are some beautiful things that happened last week

Weekly Planner Mess - Despite all the frustrations, I was reminded of some good things that happened last week. 

What relaxing weekends are made of - Nachos, wine, cheese sauce and great coffee table books scored from Book Sale. 

Slow, lazy and quiet mornings at home in the company of some great reads

I wanted to end this post with a point of optimism. But I'm occupied with so much concerns. I'm distracted and admittedly, feels frustrated over some things within my environment. I guess I'm thriving in a stage when I can strongly feel how life can be so unfair. There are things I can no longer change. Hence, I have no choice but settle for acceptance. While I'm still crossing that bridge, I just wish that somewhere along the way, some good things will happen. Life becomes easier when some positive things and surprises happen. 

Wishing everyone a great week ahead! 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Make Gift Giving Hassle-Free with GC Regalo

It's not the gift. It's the thought that counts. I have heard of this reminder for as long as I can remember. Though admittedly, this supposedly heart warming thought has been both misused and overused. We often use it to console ourselves, whenever we receive gifts we don't like. We wanted to emphasize gratefulness, because someone took time and made effort to make us feel special.

Finding the perfect gift is not always easy. You always have that family member, friend, colleague, godchild who will challenge us every Christmas, birthday and other occasions. There's this family member who seems to have everything in life. Someone's interests are expensive or unfamiliar. There's this godchild I haven't seen for ages and lives in a faraway town. Over time, I learned a universal solution to such constraints. Gift Certificates (GCs) were created to save the day. It serves as a fool proof and guaranteed gift for anyone. It will never become the gift meant to be passed on to someone else or classified in the category of, it's the thought that counts. Haha

Here are other reasons and suggestions of how and why gift certificates make it as a fool proof and advantageous gift option.

Provide the gift of experience to anyone through  GCs - Gone are the days when gift certificates only work for department stores. Sodexo Premium Pass and SM Gift Pass can be used to avail food and activities such as movies, skating, bowling, dermatological services, wellness activities, and entrance fee to a theme park. Why not treat a hardworking friend to a full body massage by purchasing a Sodexo Premium Pass? The GCs can be used to avail wellness services from Bioessence, The Spa or The Nutrure Spa.

While any tangible stuff can make it as a great present, the gift of experience is equally great. Experiences made possible through a Sodexo Premium Pass will pave the way for the gift of priceless and memorable experiences. Don't forget to insert a note of appreciation for this hardworking friend too. Better yet, write down the possible experiences that can be availed from the GC. 

Give someone the freedom to choose his presents -  GCs provide more freedom and options to the recipient. Hence, more practical. Years ago, I used to receive a basket of groceries during the workplace Christmas party. Apparently, even my colleagues were not satisfied with this set up. Common complaints include the heavy basket not conducive for commuters and some items that were not really useful. In addition, some employees needed to render overtime to set up and arrange the heavy baskets. Fortunately, the management heard our sentiments. On the succeeding year, the basket of goodies were replaced by Sodexo Premium Pass. Since then, I used my GCs to watch movies from the most awaited Metro Manila Film Fest. Some of my colleagues use it to purchase grocery items for Christmas eve and some would devote it for their children as entrance pass to theme parks.

Aside from Christmas gifts, the workplace also started using Sodexo GCs as employee incentives and rewards. Employees who celebrate their birthdays, rendered perfect attendance, or performed an exceptional work are given GCs as incentives.

In addition, our friends and family members who seem to have everything in life and whose interests are  not familiar to us can benefit best with GCs. Giving them a set of GC can give them the freedom to choose items they need or want, which we often don't understand. Let's make gift giving stress free with GC Regalo's GC.

Help someone create the best memories - Inside that wish list is an item we have been wanting to purchase.  It might be a new pair of shoes, electronic gadget, bag, dinnerware and the like. Oftentimes, these items are a little expensive.The good news is, GCs can help someone cross out items in their wishlist. I have a nephew, who has been wanting to purchase that remote control car of Lightning McQueen. The mother dismissed the idea because as always, expensive. Me and my other cousins pooled some SM Gift Pass for Toy Kingdom. My nephew would always remember the day when he finally took home Lightning McQueen. He was amazed with the power of GCs, as it was his first time to use it. His happiness was priceless.

Here are SM Gift Pass' other partner merchants. Other partner establishments for GCs from Rustan's, Waltermart and Shopwise are also listed below. 
Make someone experience that guilt free shopping experience - We always have that friend, colleague or family member, who would feel guilty for spending money, even for their own sake. The good news is, GCs provide an opportunity for our loved ones to experience a guilt free shopping experience, may it be on their birthday. or Christmas. My suggestion, purchase some Sodexo Premium Pass, insert an appreciation note and suggestions on how the celebrant can enjoy the GC. It can be a shopping spree, dinner to a nice restaurant, much needed phone replacement, or a new laptop. The options for guilt free shopping experience is almost endless as Sodexo Premium Pass is accepted to more than 9,000 merchants.

Here's a list of Sodexo's growing number of merchants.  

Save your time and energy, focus on the season and celebration - Oftentimes, we spend of lot of time and energy in finding the perfect gift. We focus on the gift giving, paying lesser attention to the celebration. This usually happens during the Christmas season. We spend so much time shopping. We get stressed with traffic, long lines and the volume of shoppers. In the end, we feel drained and stressed on the actual day of the celebration. In some cases, some people even caught common illnesses such as fever, cough and flu because of the constant trips to the mall. What others fail to realize is that GCs can always save the day. Focus your attention on the celebration and allow GC Regalo to take care of the gift giving.

Our favorite gift giving season is fast approaching. In a few months, it will be December again. For hassle free gift shopping, I highly suggest buying GCs from GC Regalo. This online shop offers GCs from Sodexo, SM, Rustan's, Waltermart, and Shopwise / Wellcome. You can check out all the GC products here.

Buying online from GC Regalo is so convenient. They have wide payment channels which include credit cards (Visa / Mastercard), bank deposits (BDO, BPI, UCPB, Union Bank, RCBC, East West Bank, Land Bank. Metrobank, and Chinabank), and other payment centers such as SM, LBC, Robinson's, Cebuana and Bayad Center. In addition, buyers can choose from different denominations for GCs and can later be delivered in the comfort of your own home. Indeed, everything is hassle free. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nakauwi na - A 2017 Cinemalaya Short Film

The review may appear biased because I knew the team behind this short film. They were former students who graduated a few months ago. A school project that landed on the stage of Cinemalaya is already remarkable. However, the achievement went beyond expectations. It won Cinemalaya's Audience Choice for short feature film. Hats off to Nicholle, Sean, Martin, Jaynus and the entire team!!! 

Nakauwi na deals with a social and political issue that has become a constant content of the local news, EJK or extra judicial killings. Nakauwi na focuses on the untouched side of EJK. If there is anything that remains unadulterated about EJKs, it's the concealed stories of families behind each death statistic. 

Father and son, Mang Jerry and Emman, depicts the life of a typical Filipino family. Mang Jerry is a struggling yet optimistic jeepney driver, who wanted nothing but for Emman to finish his studies. Emman is the dutiful son about to finish his degree in Engineering. A few days before Emman's graduation, Mang Jerry woke up to the worst nightmare for any parent. Emman's lifeless body was plastered, disgraced and labeled with the usual accusation in those summary killings. 

The film highlighted the reality that most victims of EJKs came from poverty stricken families. It's almost tantamount to saying that poverty begets EJK. Another eye opener was how poverty and EJK can deny anyone even with the least respect. Surviving families cannot even mourn because of financial burdens, legal concerns arising from a crooked justice system that favors those with resources and connections, and the depressing reality that even your remaining support system (friends and relatives) will eventually close their doors. All these happened to Mang Jerry. 

Despite all the inhumanity, Mang Jerry, who has all the right to blame the system, remained meek and honest. He resorted on pitiful measures just to give that decent send off for his lone son. In the end, he stood up and fulfilled that one last mission. The scene was painful yet heart warming, heroic and dignifying. 

The short film is overflowing with themes and sentiments, setting aside the ruthlessness of EJK. The film also emphasized that Mang Jerry and Emman's story represents only one of the thousands in the growing list of death figures. The film does not aim to end all the summary killings or aggravate the hate to the people behind this injustice. There were compelling scenes that challenged viewers to rethink or change their perceptions. A significant part of the film relates that while we condemn all forms of social injustices, we have unconsciously become its silent contributors.

No doubt, 5 out of 5 stars for Nakauwi Na.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 278 - When everything changed

I started writing this post in the middle of the week. I already have a theme and direction for the content. The earthquake last Friday changed everything. A few hours after lunch, I felt unusual swings in my work cubicle. I thought I was just dizzy and feeling light headed. It always happens because I rarely get enough sleep. When everyone was already reacting, we left and moved to the school's open ground. Prayers were uttered and soon enough, everything felt stable again. It was quite a relief.  Some things I learned after, I'm thankful that I don't stay in a high rise building. The school's open grounds provide more than enough safety space for everyone. 

Work life went on. I even attended to my Friday night classes. Going home was stress free, traffic was nowhere. Though honestly, I was exhausted. Aside from the threatening incident, I was plagued by grown up concerns. I'm making plans, one of which already materialized. I'm hoping for positive responses. In between, part of  me feels frightened. I can only wish a great blessing will come my way and in a snap, all my worries will go away. But life works on a different way. Oftentimes, it leads to the most difficult and painful pathway. 

I sound so disheartening. It feels like I see life with nothing but sorrow and agony. I attribute everything to my old and usual habit of excessive worrying. Despite these heavy life concerns, some light, happy and heart warming moments still come my way. The highlight of the past week was the visit to Chinatown (Binondo) with my cousins. After attending to some errands, they treated me to a bowl of hand pulled noodles and a lot of dimsum. Nothing beats authentic Chinese food. It also feels great that one of my longest running projects at work is finally done.  

Here are the other beautiful things that happened last week

Weekly Planner Mess - I noticed, my planner reflects my prevalent sentiment. I tend to generate dark and less colorful output when I'm consumed by sad sentiments. 

I'm loving this designing eyebrow pencil from The Face Shop. A few weeks ago, I dropped by The Face Shop to purchase my usual eyebrow pencil. I was disappointed when the sales assistant told me it's out of stock. In return, she offered the designing eyebrow pencil. I was reluctant because it's expensive, not until I learned it was 50% off its original price. Added to this, the store is hosting a buy one take one promo. Deal!!! These items originally retail from Php 399 to 495. 

I've been using the pencils for weeks.Much to my surprise, they didn't disappoint. Though it's quite tricky to use, the pigmentation and pencil's versatile tip create the best eyebrows.

One of my all time favorite book series - Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine's series will remain as one of my favorites. But I still need two more books to complete the set. I'm still looking for a copy of Alexandria and Morning Star. I prefer second hand copies, because cheaper. :) 

What relaxing weekends are made of - Kalamay, uraro cookies and buko juice for this weekend. Waking up without an alarm clock, seeing sunshine inside my room because during I leave home before sunrise on weekdays, chanced a great movie in the afternoon, and having that quiet and peaceful life in the comforts of our home. It's far from my everyday life of dealing with uninspiring, annoying and patience testing people. :p

Weekends are supposedly for resting. However, I scored a freelance work that needs to be accomplished this week. I'm so inspired since it smells and spells additional earnings. :p 

Wishing everyone a worry and stress free week ahead!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Postcards from Inspiredby.Ph

My fascination with postcards intensified when I started my own postcard challenge. I challenged myself to send at least one postcard to a friend every month. The task was easy, the real challenge was finding a constant supply of quality postcards. I was fully aware of the scarcity of postcards in the local market. Shops like Papemelroti, Hub Make Lab in Escolta, and the on and off vintage shop in Sta. Cruz Manila gave me great selections. Problem is, new designs don't often arrive. I already sent all the designs to my friends, long before another series is released. In the end, I'm always in search for shops that offer beautiful and reasonably priced postcards. Once in a while, I settle for independent sellers in Instagram. Etsy and Society 6 make another great source, but shipping fees often exceed the  price of the postcards. On a few times, some local artists email me for possible collaboration. Unfortunately, none of these offers materialized. 

A few weeks ago, I received a message from the team behind Inspiredby.Ph. I was surprised that there is at least one company, who takes postcard production seriously. Aside from their in-house design, the company collaborates with local artists in promoting the Philippines through postcards. I always admire businesses that provides opportunities for local talents to showcase their artistry. But what further caught my attention, the company is owned by real life couple who are not Filipinos. Soulmates, Jane and Max are originally from Russia, but found home here in the Philippines. They are currently based in Dumaguete and manages their own business. Creating postcards is just one of their ventures. 

I'm hoping there are other postcard enthusiasts reading this post. You will surely love their designs.

I appreciate businesses who takes packaging as a serious business. All items ordered online will come in this beautiful box. 


One of my favorites, this series features maps of popular local destinations. I hope the team will be able to increase the places in this series. I'm wishing a series for Manila, NCR, Bulacan or Ilocos will be released. 

There are also classic but updated photographs showcasing sights of different local destinations. I remember mentioning months ago that some photograph postcards sold in local bookstores were lousy reprints  decades ago. Luneta Park for instance looks so different today (Hello Torre de Manila, hahahahaha), yet its postcards sold in bookstores were still in the 90s.  

 Unique digital designs which showcase a lot about the country 

The works of local artist, Angelo Delos Santos is also featured in one of their postcard series. 

This has to be my favorite. I love the graphics and minimal colors used in the design. Another wish, I hope there will be more cities released in this series. 

Aside from postcards, Inspiredby.Ph also offers other items such as wall posters, tumblers and wall clocks. I think their tumbler series make it as a great gift for foreigner friends. In the future, I hope the company will increase their product line up. Items such as tote bags, shirts, phone cases will become a great addition to their business. 

Learn more about Inspiredby.Ph via their Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 277 - Accomplished

I'm typing this post feeling so weak and lazy. It must be the activities I had last Saturday. I attended to some errands with my cousin. I arrived home feeling so exhausted. In effect, I set aside all my other plans. These include office work and checking some examination papers. My body is calling me to rest, but there's just so much work to deal with. I hope I could finish everything before the day ends. I'm also looking forward for a great work week. There's this assignment I've been wanting to finish. I can't wait to tick it off my list this week. I swear, I will celebrate it with a Taco Bell meal once its over and done. :p  Who wants to join? :) 

The past week gave me some pleasant surprises. Some items from the mail, rare dinner with friends, a slice of my favorite cake, found the perfect gift for my cousin and most importantly, unexpected freelance earnings. ;) Whoever said that money can't buy happiness. In my case, it can buy delicious meals for my family. Years ago, it would have been a nice blouse and a new pair of shoes. These days, everything is all about food. When you get older, metabolism slows down, weight accelerates, clothes and all those shopaholic stuff are becoming unappealing. As proof, the rare mall trips left me without any purchase. My past purchases were comprised of planner stuff, cool Korean make up from The Face Shop, nice perfume, a few dinnerware and more food.. again. Hahaha 

So much of my boring stuff, here are the the other things that made the past week

Weekly Planner Mess - I realized that I'm halfway with my planner. I can't wait to find out if I will complete the remaining pages. I also learned that half of the semester is over for my classes. A few more months and my Friday night schedule will be over. :)

Happy Mail - Thank you Terra and Marieken for the postcards. One reason that relieves me after a long day at work.

Goodies from Antipolo - I can't even remember the last time I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Voyage, more popularly known as the Antipolo Church. I'm lucky to have friends and relatives who visited the place and took time to share some goodies. I miss the classic thin sliced kalamay, topped with latik and wrapped in banana leaves. So here's another proof that life is just all about food. :p

Some goodies from the mail - Last week, the team behind Inspiredby.Ph reached out to me. Just when I thought that finding beautiful postcards in the Philippines is a challenge, I discovered an independent local shop that produces unique and beautiful postcards. I will blog about my postcard loot soon. 

Meanwhile, it's 11 pm and I'm feeling so weak and sleepy. But there's some work waiting to be accomplished. Define the life of a grown up...

Wishing everyone a great week ahead! 

StyleBest's Zanstyle Major Sale

Starting August 15, StyleBest will be hosting a major sale. Shoppers who will order a minimum of $ 30 can gain discounts from $ 10 to $ 100. Items under the brand of Zanstyle will be included in this promotional sale. I browsed the selections and here are my favorite finds.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4
from top clockwise 

Zanstyle's collections exemplify a clean and laid-back look. It can be worn on those casual days to a typical workday. My favorite finds include the classic v-neck shirt, which can also double as an inner blouse on formal work outfits. The gingham bell sleeves blouse can serve as a smart casual wear. I love the cropped pants because of its versatility. It can be paired with a casual top, flat shoes and my favorite white sneakers. The symmetrical cut top is another casual wear that can hide those stomach bulges.

Check out StyleBest's Zanstyle's collections here

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