Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Project C & D for Y Unveiled :)

I’ve been writing so much negative thoughts lately. Sorry for spreading the bad vibes. Pardon my own way of coping to survive everything. In time, I know things will get better for me. As one of my heaven sent blog readers mentioned, it doesn’t rain forever. I’ll hold on to that reminder.

I guess it’s high time to write something happy and positive. Everything came in perfect timing because I recently finished a major project outside work. Yay! For those who read my past Sunday post, you might remember the photo teasers of a secret mission called Project C & D for Y. It’s time to unveil the details because my dear friend CC is also waiting for it.

Project C & D for Y stands for Project Candice and Diane for Yarise. I see a little grammar glitch with the names. Haha Candice (CC) and I agreed to start a Candy Buffet venture. Everything began after a long day at work that ended over a carbo-loading dinner in 8 Street. A loaded stomach and our dream of becoming rich fueled the creative juices of entrepreneurship. Haha We agreed with the idea but were hindered how to generate our first client. The heavens connived with us because CC has a niece who is about to celebrate her 7th birthday. And that niece happens to be the smart and beautiful kid, Yarise.

All the idea came early March but since I was too occupied with some unexpected tasks, the real work started on April. Yarise initially wanted a Monster High inspired candy buffet. I was challenged because the colour theme of this famous cartoon does not carry the typical cute and elegant look of candy buffets. How can I pull off an elegant candy buffet when the theme is inspired from skulls and colours of black, white, pink and blue? After some negotiations, (thank God!) Yarise agreed to have anything in pink. 

We sought inspiration from different websites, searched for the cheapest and quality supplier and made things happen last Sunday. Without further ado, here's our first attempt to Candy Buffet.

We were able to provide a decent candy buffet. It wasn't as grand as those I see in Pinterest and other sites. For a start though, I would like to believe that we have surpassed the first test. :)

Here are the specific details of the buffet

The photo of the birthday girl served as the centerpiece. Instead of the usual picture frame, we used a miniature version of the artist's canvas stand. We added some decorative boxes to elevate the photo. 

 Another accent is the pink sketch book and letter dice from Papemelroti.

The buffet carried a pink and teddy bear theme. We initially wanted to stick with the pink theme. We found it too plain and monotonous. Hence, I decided to infuse some cuteness by taking out all the teddy bears I accumulated at home. I also added the flower pompoms to emphasize the celebrant's love for anything pink.

Our buffet was not limited to candies. We also offered mini cupcakes with frosted icing.

Guests can use the cupcake cups or the pink paperbags to secure the candies. 

More than a project, CC and I are taking this endeavor to the next level. Yes, we are open for business! We can customize a candy buffet based on your preferences and budget. If you are interested to hire us, please send me an email dianewrites15(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 105 - Last for April

The past week has not been fine. I have some problems to settle. I have issues to resolve. I wish I could discuss and relate everything here. But as always, there are some things that are best left kept and unsaid. Please send me all the luck and positivity this week. My struggling self badly needs it. :(

Since my spirits are down, I was most of the time quiet and asleep. Weird but that's how I cope with everything. I want my moments of silence and the sleeping hours to forget everything. I've been so lousy with everything including my personal schedule of visiting my dearest blog friends. I apologize if I haven't read and visited everyone. I feel quite guilty because a few blog friends have been leaving nice comments and messages. I can't even push myself to return the words of gratitude and appreciation.

Despite the negativities, here are some of the beautiful things that made my week.

My daily dose of fruits - Thanks Nanay for preparing everything for me. Except for the slices of papaya, I love everything in my fruit box. 

Shakey's Pizza - No photos of the pizza because all the slices vanished in a few minutes. Haha The Big Boss felt generous so he ordered boxes of pizza for everyone's happiness.

The Ultimate Throwback - Anyone who can guess the small piece of paper? It is a bus ticket bound to Bataan. I found this inserted in one of my books. This reminded me of those days when I had weekly field works with my friend T.

Everything in this photo is about Project C & D for Y :) I can't provide details yet. I'm reserving everything on a separate blog post.

Additional details of the project - Everything will happen today! Hopefully, it will be a successful endeavor for us.

How to end a not-so-good week? A great dinner to destress. I had a huge bowl arroz caldo (Filipino congee), puto (steamed rice cake) and the classic Halo Halo. 

Wishing everyone a Beautiful Sunday and a great week ahead!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

30 Things Life Taught Me # 13 - Office Politics

I promised myself to write one entry for this blogging series every month. Turns out, too much unexpected work came last March. The freelance works and my last minute adopted classes rattled me. I never had the chance to write some “serious” posts. I’m trying to revive and hopefully finish the series before (I still dread) turn 31 on December. 

I’m half hearted writing anything about work. It’s one unwritten rule I learned among other bloggers. Never write about your colleagues, boss or the entire workplace. I adhere to this especially when the intention is to rant and leave some negative impressions. On my end, I’m afraid to unintentionally insinuate blame to someone. One thing I’m sure, my own working environment is not perfect.  I had my own share of superiors who challenged my self-esteem, colleagues who tested my patience and culture and systems I wish to improve.


Office Politics is one of those aspects of working that college never taught me. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics. Most of the time we deal with scarcity, minimizing costs, maximizing benefits and striking that much needed equilibrium. When I enrolled for my masteral studies, it was dwelled in a few subjects. My classmates were sharing their own experiences at the workplace. But the 22-year-old graduate student in me can never relate. I was just starting to learn the  complicated and tangled ropes of working.

To begin with, what is Office Politics anyway? As I understood it from experience, it starts from the practice of “doing something to acquire something.” At first, there seems to be nothing wrong with it. The trouble arises when the parameters of “what was done” and “what was acquired” are perceived and defined by the members of the workplace. When what was done and what was acquired benefit a few and harms the rest, Office Politics will surely emerge. When what was done bypassed some rules and procedures, all the more when what was acquired gives questionable privilege and advantages to a few, I don’t need to mention what happens next.

I have been a witness and victim to instances of Office Politics. I know how it felt to be a mere observant and a member of the disadvantaged party. In my almost a decade of working, I can proudly claim that I never joined or started the politics. I admit of becoming provoked especially when I felt cheated.  I held on to my silent and untainted reputation. Yes, I’m claiming that untainted reputation. I am not the most hardworking, intelligent and obedient employee. I have my own share of shortcomings and hardheadedness. Other than my tardiness records (There's a deep reason behind this which I hope to blog in another post), no one can ever accuse me of engaging in some malicious or anomalous activity. I worked hard for every promotion, salary increase and incentive I received. I feed my family with nothing but my clean and honest handwork.

At the end of the day, what did Office Politics teach me? It will forever be part of the system. There will always be people who want nothing but power, position and money. The challenge for me is whether I go with them to gain the prize of questionable advantage or I hold on to my selfish conviction of remaining as the silent and untainted employee.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 104 - Thank you for the rare holiday break

Indeed! It was a much needed holiday break.  It was even an extended break for me because I already took a leave from work since Tuesday. However, the real holiday started for me last Thursday. I was away from home since Tuesday and Wednesday for some project preparations. Not really freelance, but I'm hoping it would push through. Part of my personal income was wrecked and despite the little financial drain, I'm hoping something good will eventually turn out. 

On my last day at work, I brought home some documents to finish. I needed to do it as my deadliest deadline is fast approaching. For those who can sense the queen of procrastination in me, yes I wasn't able to stick with my plans. My holiday break was spent zzzzzzzzzzz lol I may not be productive but at the very least, I got my much needed sleeping hours. 

Meanwhile, here are the few beautiful things that made my week. 

More snippets of Israel's 1st Birthday - Who doesn't love birthdays? :) As confessed in my previous post, I enjoy kiddie parties than those grown up events.  Great food and the company of my fun fab fam are more than enough to experience this rare happiness.

More foodie treats from Israel's birthday! 

The classic Filipino cotton candy, an exclusive Zagu booth, thumb size ice cream and my first serving from the candy buffet, this is how I define a real party! :) 

Honeycomb Waffle and Strawberry Milk Tea - One of my newest foodie discoveries! I encountered SIP through their advertised Facebook page. I was more attracted with their Honeycomb Waffle then. I searched for branches and the one near the workplace only offers beverages. :( I eventually discovered a branch closer to home. Best about everything, they offer the complete line up of products from drinks to meals. I will definitely be back for my next waffle.

Tropicana Coco Quench - My addiction to Coke is somehow replaced by this healthier drink. While I still prefer the all natural buko juice, this can serve as the lesser evil substitute.

Sansrival from French Baker - I will never say no to this forever favorite! The buttery icing and crunchy layers feel so heavenly.

Classic Isaw  - Ewww for some but comfort food for a few of us :)

When my paternal grandma was still alive, Good Fridays meant having a mini reunion with overflowing food and stories. The star of the afternoon is the Pancit Luglug (sauced version of the classic Filipino noodles) and Palitaw (Filipino rice cake with coconut gratings and sugar). Gone are the reunions and the Pancit Luglug, what we had at home was the classic Pancit Bihon and the Palitaw prepared by my mother.

M&M's Dark Chocolate and Reese's Miniatures - The dark chocolates are for the parentals :D and I had full ownership of the mini Reese's. I don't often encounter these inside the nearby groceries. Hence, this is always a part of my loot when there's an opportunity to visit Duty Free.

Homemade cheesesticks! - I'm addicted to these fried cheese in sticks lately. Weekends and afternoon snacks at home meant enjoying this heavenly grease. ;) 

Lay's Wavy Chips - This is not available in local groceries. :(  I managed to purchase a bag because of a recent trip to the Duty Free shop in Subic. It tastes like Ruffles, nothing really special but my family loves it. 

Jars for a special project - I've been shopping small cookie jars for a special project. Hopefully, this will be a successful and long term endeavour. 

My first item for ASOS finally arrived!  - Zigrid, you should be blamed for this. Haha Why did you blog about ASOS?  I made another international online shopping months after I got my Lands' End and LL Bean bags. (Blame the shopaholic hormones heehee) Another bag arrived with a little side story. I'll blog about it over the next days. ASOS gave me a unique experience I will never forget. 

Someone is always too thirsty and hungry :) (It's not me! haha) - While others love summer ... count me to the few who dislike it. Electricity and water bills are sprawling, I always perspire even after taking a bath and in the few times, I get those unexplained headaches.

I'll be back to work tomorrow. Hopefully the days, weeks and next months will be better. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All the more I love the Philippine Postal Corporation

Some months ago, I wrote about my admiration to the neoclassical architecture of the Philippine Postal Corporation. If you have noticed, the pictures were limited from the fa├žade and the external structures of the building. I haven’t shown anything within the premises. On the few times I visited the Philippine Postal Corporation, I always catch an ongoing event. The main service area that accepts all letters and packages has an equally magnificent architectural finish. The high ceilings with intricate detailing, sturdy and elegant marble tiles, wooden tables reflective of the old and local wooden carvings and the distinct patterns of the metal railings of each transaction counter. 

While some of you might think that the Philippine Postal Corporation is perfect, there are far more hidden areas of improvement that demand attention. More than the decline of the usage of traditional mail, some facilities inside the building are pleading for restoration or at the very least, minor renovations.

Whenever I have to claim a parcel abroad, I always receive this notification to visit W-124. The section is situated in the underground level and often unknown to everyone. In my case, I discovered the area when I decided to redirect all my packages at the workplace’s address. Since I work in Manila, I figured out that my packages would arrive earlier. 

On my first time to visit W-124, I have to inquire for specific directions. The security personnel were kind enough. As I was navigating my way to the underground floor, a few employees willingly pointed me the direction even without asking. 

When I found the W-124, this is what fronted me.

Cracked and bare cement floors that still exhibit cleanliness though, heavily stained walls, rusty metal gates that separate the clients from the attending employees and counters that would at least look half decent with minor repaint.

The customer reception area looks so pathetic. One can’t imagine this condition to exist, amidst the magnificent neoclassical architecture. However, there are far more depressing scenes. The place where the attending employee stays is more tragic. I didn’t take photos out of respect and courtesy. But dear God, the area where packages are sorted will never look conducive for working. It is not airconditioned although there are electric fans provided. How could they bear the heat in the always summer temperature in Manila? The bare cement floors, dark and unpainted walls, poor lighting and the ceilings that are meant only for storage of old and unused things. The area looks like the classic warehouse used as hideout for gangsters and kidnap victims in those local action films.

In short, the area will never be conducive for working. While I don’t have the right to complain for the employees, I feel a degree of sympathy for them. The kind of services they are rendering does not reflect any sign of dissatisfaction from their pitiful workplace. The employees are courteous, smiling and don’t look exhausted at all. In fact, I’m the one who looks more haggard. lol Sometimes I even caught them joking and laughing over silly stories. I often subscribe to the idea that happy employees are bred by a favorable working environment and good pay. But the employees designated at W-124 serve as real life contradictions of this traditional belief.

I also have to mention the transparency and strict compliance of the designated Customs Officer. Despite his huge and intimidating beer belly (heeehee Sorry, Sir), he was consistent in implementing the custom fees. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about unexplained and anomalous fees. In my case, I never experienced any form of extortion or corruption. I only paid the mandatory Php 50 inspection fee for my packages worth less than Php 3,000.

While my post can't do anything to improve their welfare, I just want to commend the hardworking and forever customer oriented employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation. My recognition specifically goes to the customs officer and the two lady personnel assigned in W-124. Despite the negative impressions that taint government employees, they provided great service doesn’t come with an expensive pay and price tag.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cuteness and Sweetness Overload in a Candy Buffet

I want to confess something. ;) At this age, I enjoy attending kiddie parties more than weddings and all those grown up events. Kiddie birthday parties never fail to excite the forever kid-at-heart in me. I guess the overflowing foodie treats, party loot bags that are so sinful for my weight and age and the very laid back atmosphere make me appreciate kiddie parties more. There's no need to worry about the party dress, shoes, makeup and all those stressing and prettifying preparations.

Last Sunday, a member of our Fun Fab Fam celebrated his first birthday. Yay! Months ago, I wrote about his baptism rites and reception. Time flew so fast, the youngest member of the family turned one.

There are a lot of beautiful things to blog about his birthday. I couldn't contain everything in one post. Let me start by sharing one of my favorites. I also have to mention that I'm blogging this for my dear friend CC. Hopefully, CC will have the patience and effort to click and visit my page. ;)

Sweetness and Cuteness Overload!

This was my first time to encounter a real candy buffet. If I'm not mistaken, I discovered this concept from a few American bloggers.  One thing I realised, party needs are changing and diversifying over time. Before, everything was provided by the caterer from appetisers to desserts. Today, it looks like specialisation is the name of the game. There's a separate service provider from the main course to desserts and another niche specific for candies and sweet treats.  

CC, these are the towering jars I've been telling you :)

My first trip to the candy buffet

Marshallows, sour soft candies and a few chocolates not in the photo

Should you wish to take home some candies, paper bags are likewise provided

Biscuits to be dipped to the chocolate fountain

Now I'm tempted to throw a party just to have my own candy buffet experience :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 103 - Bataan White Corals Beach Resort

I'm writing this post a few minutes away from Sunday. I just came home from a very long trip from Morong, Bataan. I'm dead tired from the 4-hour bus trip, commute from Manila to home and unpacking all my dirty clothes. While downloading my photos, I took my much needed warm and relaxing bath. I planned to finish this post right before I finally call it a day.... Minutes after typing the first paragraph, my plans changed. zzzzzzz :)

For the annual summer outing at the workplace, we went to Bataan White Corals Beach Resort. It was my first time to explore the shores of Bataan. I'm actually more exposed with the beaches in Southern regions of the Philippines. Pardon my exhaustion, I'll let the pictures relate everything.   

 The resort boasts the rare salt water swimming pool. Most of my colleagues appreciated the warm salt water too soothe their unexplained body aches.

This is my favorite part of the resort. I love the spending my quite time at the beach front with these locally produced wooden chairs and tables.

My perfect vacation meant staying away from all the noise and chaos of the city life.

I just need a comfy beach chair under the shade of this mushroom?!  :)

An afternoon walk which started with the perfect summer weather

It ended when the skies are threatening to give an unusual summer rain.

Trunks of coconut trees and corals act as makeshift benches 

Beaches in the Philippines will never be complete without the coconut trees

Blue skies, green grass and colorful pants ;)

Morning of the next day, I suddenly can't wait to be back home

This reminded me of home.We used to have these towering Mast trees, long before my Father decided to cut them down. They threaten to break the glass windows especially during the period of strong typhoons.

The typical look of the villas

The freshwater pool, another inspiration for my dream home :)

Time to say goodbye