Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 123 - Splurge

This week started out well because it was holiday last Monday. :p Then last Tuesday, work was suspended because of the heavy rains. I had an extended vacay but it was ruined by an upset stomach. It was the worst case of stomach ache I had. It lasted for several days. My trips to the toilet were unbearable. I reported for work the next day but my stomach was still giving me intermittent pains. I never imagined how an upset stomach can cause that much pain. Things finally got better for me last Friday. I was still feeling weak but my trips to toilet became were lessened and stabilized.

I had bad days from Monday to Thursday so all the food posts you can see here happened on Friday.

Because I was deprived of food for four days, I had a foodie blast since Friday :p

Javachip Frappucino  - It's been a while Starbucks! Milk and chocolate are the enemies of an upset stomach. But how can I resist a free grande of Javachip? :) 

Pringles and M&Ms - Perfect weapon to waist expansion! If you want to cheer me up, this cheap treat can work for me.

Coke and Chippy - When the refrigerator does not give me decent food, the nearby sari sari store is there to save the day. This unhealthy meal didn't cost me more than Php 20.

How to celebrate Payday Friday - Payday Friday and my recovered stomach is ready to welcome a meal of beefy taco and nachos.

Splurge!- So this is how I already define a beauty splurge. I'm always willing to spend a little extra on shoes, clothes and CATH KIDSTON ;) Beauty related products are items I often set aside. But what prompted me to enter Body Shop last Friday was my eyelids. I recently noticed that my eyes are becoming smaller. I initially thought that my weight is the culprit. My expanding cheeks and rounder face make my eyes appear smaller. When I finally had the chance to examine my face, I was threatened by my sagging eyelids. My only intention was to purchase an eye cream that can slow down my aging skin. I wanted to try Nutriganics or Moisture White Eye Cream. I was taken aback because the little tube costs Php 1,295!! I searched for other products  and ended with a little cheaper Vitamin E eye cream.I thought I'll be leaving the store with this small tube. Turns out, Body Shop was having some promo. The sales personnel did her job well so in the end, I wrecked my wallet for another moisturizing cream. I just hope this rare splurge will be worth it. 

And speaking of my hiding those sagging eyelids - I'm still in the quest of finding the right shade of eye shadow.  My acidic skin often refuses those economy brands. Most eye shadows only last for a couple of hours on me. Hopefully this one will work out.

Dove Hair Therapy - Blame the few beauty blogs I read, I'm interested with Dove's newest hair product.

Chocolate Lover - Another source of splurge! I went here yesterday to purchase some chocolates for an upcoming project. I ended up buying an expensive decorative item. I really hope that client will not change his mind. Otherwise, I'm dead. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reviewed! Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

image source
Twelve books in one year, good as finishing at least one book every month. This has been my goal for the past years. I was able to surpass my target last year. More than finishing, I was able to write a review for each. I was looking forward to maintain my record. Unfortunately, I have to admit defeat. The last quarter of the year is about to start and there’s no way for me to finish ten more books.

The last book I read and reviewed was Where'd You Go Bernadette? I started several books and ended setting them aside.  All my purchases from Book Depository have been delivered. I have a pile of books waiting to read. Laziness, sleepiness, freelance works, a new subject to teach and all the lame excuses, count them all here and the result is a lousy blog with nothing but my regular Sunday posts.

Despite my laziness and poor time management skills, I was able to finish another book after almost 7 months! Award! Hahaha The book that took me months to read was Rainbow Rowell's Attachments. 

I discovered Rainbow Rowell from Goodreads. Her best-rated and reviewed book was Eleanor & Park. I intend to purchase the book but when I read synopsis of her other works, I became more attracted to Attachments.

In a nutshell, Attachments relates the story of what happens when you accidentally discovered that your-crush-also-has-a-crush-on-you. In the world of teenage kids, the story could have already ended at this point. But in the grown up world of Lincoln, Jennifer and Beth, life is always coupled with its own complications.

Lincoln is a geek IT employee whose main task evolves on monitoring the information transmitted within the company email. Jennifer and Beth are colleagues and best friends, who both use the company email, to discuss their personal lives. Lincoln was initially interested and amazed with their friendship. Lincoln eventually became attracted with Beth, which fueled the entire story.

After reading the book for (yes, may I emphasize) 7 months, here are the few points that appealed on me.

It was overflowing with realistic humor stories and ironies about life. I can always relate with the issues and problems presented by each character. Lincoln’s struggle to move away from his overprotective mother, Jennifer’s personal issues about starting a family and balancing her career and Beth’s best efforts to salvage her relationship that is obviously leading to nothing.

The story contains the element of character development.  All three main characters were able to transform themselves as better persons. Lincoln being the protagonist is the character who transitioned the most. He started pathetic and ended redeeming himself as the better person that appealed the hopeless romantics members of the female populace.

As for plot development, I was able to unfortunately predict the ending. The plot was sending me obvious teasers. For those who know me, I consider predictability as a weakness of literary works. Despite having the element of expectation, I was however left clueless as to the chain of events that propelled the ending. Although at some point, I felt that the events leading to the ending was insufficient. The events went a bit fast paced and almost unbelievable for me, like what I often observed in those local drama series. Some reviewers would describe the concluding events of the story as underdeveloped to which I agree.

The best thing I appreciated about the book was the fact that it was a chick lit, told in the perspective of a male specie.  Consider Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and all those stories designed to capture the female populace. This time however, it was the most awaited prince charming relating story.

If you want to experience chick lits and beach reads rarely told in the perspective of the counterpart specie, you might want to consider Attachments in your reading list.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beautiful Sunday 122 - Long Weekend and Some Sunshine

Just hearing the words, long weekend, is more than enough to make me the happiest. Who doesn't want weekends? All the more if it meant extended weekend vacays. This rarely happens so when faced with holidays trapped on Thursdays or Tuesdays, I make it a point to consume my vacation leave credits. 

We were quite lucky this year because the holiday landed on Thursday and Monday. Instead of reporting for work on Friday, I decided to use a day in my overflowing vacation leave credits. If only I had the resources, I would have booked a flight to SG, HK or South Korea!!! (Yes, I'm daydreaming!!) Four days in my neighboring countries is not bad. A getaway in Baguio or even Tagaytay can work for me. Unfortunately, I have to face my reality. I have pending freelance works. I have examinations papers to check. I have lectures to review. I have bills to pay and an endless list of things to accomplish. Despite the take home work, I still enjoyed my staycation while with all the work load around. No complains at all! I love the fact that I can work at home. I can sleep late and wake up late. I can easily unwind by reading my hopeless romantic paperbacks, Korean drama series or calling 8-MCDO for my favorite delivery. ;)

Before this rare long weekend ends, let me recount the few beautiful things that made my week.

Rustan's Gift Wrapping Services - Premium price that equates to premium service. I lately discovered that some items sold in Rustan's are actually cheaper in SM. However, I sometimes prefer to purchase these items from Rustan's. Premium gift wrapping services and excellent customer service make me favor the little additional price from Rustan's. I don't mind paying a little extra for services that exceed my expectations.

Ricoa's Flat Tops - A cheap childhood favorite to end a lousy and stressful day

Curtains to block the sunlight because I'm about to sleep while everyone is about to start their day - I'm unfortunately or fortunately turning nocturnal? My brain seems to love the working environment from night time till dawn.

About to end work in the company of a Korean drama series - Hi Kang Maru! ;) I'm finally done with Innocent Man.

Snapshots from a recent family reunion prompted by Uncle O's birthday! My cousins might hate me but I almost didn't attend this rare family gathering. I then remembered an advice given by a former freelance client. She reminded me to prioritize time with family, friends and social life than work. Work will forever be around. Friends, family and my life will gradually be taken away and the moment I realize it... it might be too late to regret.

And before I end this post, I'd like to thank Theresa for passing me this Sunshine Blogger Award! In response to this award, here are my responses to Theresa's challenge.

1. Who is my favorite author?

Kim asked me this question a few weeks ago. Following my mood and memory, I would say Cecelia Ahern, John Green, David Levithan and Khaled Hosseini.

2. When did you know you're going to be a blogger?

I can't really remember but I started a blog back in 2005. I even opened other blogs from different platforms. All of these blogs faded away and I regained my interest in blogging in 2010. 

3. Name your favorite reality TV Show

Undercover Boss. I hope it will be franchised in the Philippines too. The show captures my heart because I can always relate to the sentiments of the hardworking and honest rank and file employees. 

4. Any languages or dialects you can speak

I'm limited to English and Filipino.

5. What is something you're looking forward to?

The shallowest would be long weekends!!! Haha Seriously, travel opportunities, career advancement and currently, the success of my documentation project.

6. What's your favorite time of the year?

December!! It's Christmas and my birthday. The festive and happy environment never fails to excite me.

7. Best place you ever vacationed

Palawan, Tagaytay and Taiwan. 

I went to Palawan almost two years ago and I was mesmerized with the entire experience. Palawan is my current definition of paradise.

Tagaytay - Truth to be told my few trips to Tagaytay were limited to short visits. Despite the short stay, I fell in love with the place. The scenery, colder temperature, restaurants and the retreat house form my definition of vacation. 

Taiwan - My first trip abroad on my own! I had great memories in Tainan from people to that one great endeavor I accomplished.

8. What's your favorite "me time" activity to do?

Long bath after an exhausting day, drama series or movie marathon and the rare long sleep

9. What store does your shopping trips always include?

Watsons  for the cheapest and diversified selections of beauty products and toiletries

Paperdolls or Apple & Eve - Two of my favorite shops for tops that can hide my overweight self

Plains and Prints, Kamiseta or Bayo - Though recently, their selections do not seem to favor my widening body

Juana's Clothing - My favorite shop in Divisoria!!

When budget permits or if I'm limited to window shopping, I visit Mango, Gap or Zara. 

10.  Favorite song as of the moment 

Something old :) : Animal Song by Savage Garden

11. What's the most expensive thing you bought for yourself?

The first laptop I had, way back 2005.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 121 - Shopping, Food and Happiness :)

And just like that, weekend is already over. It's 10:10 pm and soon enough, it will be another work week. Unlike the previous weeks, I'm looking forward for a lighter and relaxing work load. Why? It's the examination week for our dear college kiddies. :p This means no lectures to prepare. I would instead be occupied by papers waiting to be checked and reviewed. Moreover, there will be two upcoming holidays. This means more time for me to rest and sleep. I can't wait!

Before I face another week, let me recount the few beautiful things I had.

Zalora never fails me! - All of my purchases were delivered the next day. They have regular promo discounts and for Mastercard holders, they have special discount every Thursday.

Book Depository - is another shopping site I love. My recent book purchases are done in Book Depository. They have extensive book collections from paperbacks to hardback copies. Best about everything, they offer free shipping. 

Cath Kidston!!!! - You are finally here. My first Cath Kidston bag finally arrived after months of waiting. There was a little disappointment about the color but when quality is considered, no regrets at all.

Pope Francis visiting South Korea for the Asian World Youth Day - I never thought that there are a lot of Catholics in South Korea. This further intensifies my dream to visit the Land of the Morning Calm.

There's a new item in my daily fruit box :) - Mangosteen breaks the monotony in my fruit box.

Cereals from Auntie A - Nanay does not believe that cereals can form a real breakfast. I always had rice or bread for breakfast in my entire lifetime. Back then, I somehow got envious with my classmates who were having corn flakes and koko crunch for breakfast. The deprived kid in me is for the first time (yes) trying to have that classic milk and cereals meal. And my verdict, Nanay is right. Haha I don't feel full with cereals and milk.

Potato chips, calamares and mayo sauce from Rustans's Supermarket - The newly renovated Rustan's supermarket in Gateway Mall is offering gourmet sandwiches (I have yet to try) and other cooked snacks. 

Bonchon's Seoul Rice and chicken - I love it! Thank you A and C for inviting me to dine out last Friday night.

Family Mart's Chocolates - It was my first time to enter a Family Mart store. We decided to walk to the train station last Friday because of the intense traffic. We passed by the historic Escolta and discovered a branch of Family Mart. I was reluctant to try their products so I ended with this bag of chocolates. It didn't disappoint. I now want to try their potato chips and other goodies. Minus the little hefty price tag, I look forward in walking to the train station again :)

Mini-cupcakes - This is happiness for Php 100 :)

My friends are calling me - The sun is about to rise and everyone is about to start their day. As for me, life is the opposite. I'm just about to sleep. I finished two freelance works since Friday night. It might be unhealthy for me but I can only find my working pace from midnight till dawn. Now this reminds me, I do hope that freelance clients will pay soon. I don't want another horror story of a client who decided to play unprofessional. 

Wishing everyone a  great week ahead!

Another Cath Kidston

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my first Cath Kidston. Well technically, the wallet was not my first Cath Kidston. My first purchase was made last May and was shipped through my Auntie A's US address. I took advantage of ASOS's Memorial Day sale and free shipping. Auntie A arrived last July but decided to include the bag in her luggage that traveled via sea cargo. And as you know, shipping via sea comes cheaper, setting aside the longer waiting period. We were expecting the end of July for its arrival. Unfortunately, that very lousy city ordinance that causes congestion in the Port Area of Manila contributed to the longer waiting period. Auntie A's shipment was delayed for almost a month. Despite the hassles of waiting, we are just thankful that all her items finally arrived. 

Last Thursday my Nanay texted me that my bags were already at home. After having a long day at work, I suddenly gained the energy to rush home for the most awaited bag. As soon as I reached home, I forgot my hungry stomach and aching legs. Haha This was the perfect way to end the day.

Unfortunately, my excitement somehow faded away. It was replaced with a little disappointment. When I first lay my eyes on this bag, I fell in love with the darker navy blue shade. The pictures from both ASOS and Cath Kidston's site showed a shiny and dark navy blue bag.

I love almost all shades of blue but I was quite disappointed that the bag emerged a bit pale and lighter in person. Even the classic sheen on all Cath Kidston products is not highly evident. 

The bag has been purchased and I don't think that returning or reselling is an option. So last Friday I decided to use the bag. I maybe disappointed with the color but the bag's functionality and quality didn't fail me.

The seamless stitches in the handles make the bag very sturdy. I have no photos but the bag can accommodate a lot of my things. A netbook, foldable umbrella, makeup kit, daily dose of paperback, lock and lock fruit box and a pair of flat shoes all fitted inside the bag.

I was about to say perfect stitching ;) but I guess not all Cath Kidston bags have it. Can you see the little metal buckle on the side? This tote can turn to a messenger bag. The bag comes with a detachable canvas strap. Yes to versatility!

I believe all Cath Kidston bags come in YKK zipper.

I'm not really sure about the purpose :) but I guess this helps the bag stand up and prevents the fabric from becoming worn out.

Despite the little disappointment, this will not be my last Cath Kidston bag. I'm eyeing a day bag on my next purchase. :) Can you hear me L and E? #lastQuarterSale

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 120 - Tragedies, Opportunities and Surprises

First things first, my laptop at home finally bid goodbye after five years. :'( Over the last months, it has been showing signs of deterioration. The white lines on the LCD are becoming more prevalent. When I turned on the laptop on Saturday morning, all I can see is a black screen. (Insert panic attack here!) 

As far as I can remember, I backed up my files to an external hard drive. Problem is, I'm not sure if the recent files have been saved. The last time I inserted my external drive was last month. To make things worst, I have a number of freelance works waiting to be submitted this week. How timely! Although I can always take home my laptop from the workplace, I prefer my old Windows laptop for freelance work. The Mac is highly reliable but not all the statistical software I'm using are available in OS X Mavericks. I am so dead. More importantly, I don't want to be using office's resources for my personal endeavours. 

My plans are screwed up. I have plans with my pending freelance earnings already. Unfortunately, looks like everything should be set aside for a new Windows laptop. Maybe it's really time to retire my five year old buddy. But if possible, I want it to be revived for a day to secure all my files. 

Despite my little tragedy, here are the few beautiful things I was able to document

Coke and burger never fail! - Looks like your typical cheap and street burger but it's not :) It 's only the price that comes cheap. Taste is 5 out of 5 stars! This came in perfect timing because I've been saturated with all the food offering of 7-11 and the school canteen. Thanks to my FM-OPR college kiddies who started this business.

Potato Roll - How sinful! :) A roll of potato, ham, cheese and mayo garlic sauce. I just love all the grease!

Shake Shake Fries from Mc Donald's - My favorite is actually the Ketchup flavor. We ordered via drive-thru and realized that I received the wrong flavor powder. Despite the mistake, I still enjoyed my take home french fries on my most awaited Friday night.

Mini cookies from Mrs. Fields - More than the cookies, I admire  the story of Mrs. Fields. I encountered her story when I was still studying. Who would ever thought that her homemade cookies will conquer the world?

The return of the cookie butter in our home - This all time family favorite is always out of stock from the nearby supermarket. Aside from Lotus Biscoff, most of our favorite imported goodies have been out of stock even from other supermarkets. I don't want to pinpoint the culprit for all these delay in logistics and supply chain management. But really, my degree in Economics tells me that the government should  NOT be a contributor in the delay of goods and services.

Breadtalk's Chocolate Tiramisu - I found a new love! Not too sweet and my mother loves the dark chocolate topping.

Cool doodle from Cafe Noriter - I wish to return here or maybe visit their branch in Cebu. I really miss traveling.

Sincerity Chicken and Kiampong rice - Another set of dish I terribly miss. I leave work at 7 pm and there's no way for me to catch dinner in Binondo.

Net-a-Porter's staff farewell tribute to their Big Boss

If only I can make this happen, I wanted to do one for a special boss. Although I heard from somewhere that this part of Net-a-Porter marketing scheme. Regardless of the real intention, I love the overall production.

Why you should visit the Philippines?

The Philippines is not your typical Asian country. To my dearest foreign blog friends, please take time to watch. This might convince you to visit the Philippines. :)

Before hitting the publish button, a little miracle happened. My trusty buddy woke up from the dead. Alleluia! I don't want another panic attack so I guess I have to do my not-so-favorite activity. I have to hop from different computer shops to get the best deal.

PS Dearest namemate, Since I have some laptop problems... I will upload the linky tom. :) 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 119 - Hello August!

Goodbye July! Truth to be told, nothing much happened this week. I had my usual office work and teaching schedule. I'm still on the adjustment phase, but I believe I'm gradually coping. Come with this adjustment is the upcoming examinations week. I realized that I have tons of paper waiting to be checked. I also have freelance work opportunities. There's another possible client for the candy buffet business. :) Amidst the workload, if there's one thing that I always look forward, it's always the weekend when I can gain that much needed zzzzz 

Meanwhile, here are some of the beautiful things that made my week

Taco Bell! - I'm still disappointed when Taco Bell decided to change its value meal offering. Most of their value meals were replaced with french fries from nachos and cheese. The remaining value meals served with barbecue sprinkled nachos. I have to pay an additional fee to enjoy the classic cheese sauce. 

Squash Omelette - Something I hope I will learn how to cook ... in the first place, I should first learn how to cook lol

Green Tea Cupcake - This cupcake has the right amount of sweetness and fluffiness.

Paotsin's Sharksfin and Hainanese Rice - Happiness for only Php 50!

Classic Filipino chips  - Cassava chips and onion twists from a local trade fair

Pizza Hut's Big Variety Box - So this is the best way to welcome weekend!! A huge box of pizza, pasta, garlic bread, chicken wings is more than enough to make my family the happiest.

My favorite blouse - While I love Cath Kidston and floral items, I don't have floral print blouses. When I discovered this blouse from a mall wide sale, I have to say yes because of the floral and (forever favorite) blue print.

New set of hardbound books - A confession to make, I purchased these books for decorative purposes ;) I might be using it for an upcoming project I'm hoping to push through. 

A few beautiful links I love

Photos of different random acts of kindness - A little side story, I encountered a little unfortunate accident inside the train during the middle of the week. On the way home, I was seated to a restless male passenger. I knew that something was wrong with him because his constant movement is really unusual. Before alighting from the train, my instincts were confirmed. He threw up and half of my pants was soaked with his own mess. The only fortunate thing about the accident, it happened while I was on the way home. Maybe this was one of the reasons why I didn't freak out and made a scene. LOL But seriously, if my sick seatmate can read this, I hope you are feeling better now. No need to apologize :)

The Automated "Thank You" Machine - I hope we could do this at the workplace someday. I would love to be the person who will orchestrate the planning and execution of this endeavor.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Candy Buffet Project : Lucas Turns 1!

Aside from work, this was the project that kept me occupied a few weeks ago. We finally had our first real and official client for our candy buffet business :). We were tasked to prepare a candy buffet for the first birthday of a baby boy. Initially, the client wanted to have a Baby TV theme. To be honest, I'm not familiar with the TV show. I later discovered that Baby TV is an entire channel dedicated to babies. I even sought the assistance of another blogger and sole sister ;) Em, to produce the felt paper characters of Baby TV. While I was conceptualizing our design, client changed his mind. He opted for a candy buffet that fitted for a basic color theme. (Dear Em, I apologize for all the inconvenience I caused you. )

My patience was quite tested with this project. I will spare you from the horrid (I'm quite exaggerating haha) details of the preparation. The people who knew me well can trace my business' pet peeves. I hate arguments. I hate proving and explaining myself. I hate being contradicted especially if I'm sure about my ideas. I hate detractors inside the group. Lastly, I can easily sense distaste and annoyance from anyone. It really irritates me when other people keep on hiding it, while my unique female hormones can easily detect it.

Setting aside the negativities, I would like to believe that we were able to surpass our client's expectations. (I hope so, haha) We prepared candies good for 150 people and with less than 100 guests, our buffet was left empty! Here are some photos before our candy buffet was attacked ;) by the eager guests.

My initial peg was teddy bear in picnic or garden inspired set up. Hence, I have to convince my partner to purchase the "artificial grass" or grass mats. Along the way, we encountered this chocolate lady bugs. Again, it took me some time to convince CC to purchase the disguised chocolates.

Thank you A for lending me this cute teddy!

The bottle labels are scrap book materials from my favorite, Papemelroti. I bought all the available stocks in their Gateway and SM Manila branches. :)

 The basket which almost caused me some trouble ;) Can someone tell me that it became useful for this project? 

and the final project

Yay or nay? :)