Thursday, March 31, 2016

Midweek Nothing

I had no plans of blogging during the middle of the week. But those who know me well can sense the real reasons why I suddenly emerge with a blog post on a weekday. I probably have

1. A sponsored post, which happens once in a blue moon,
2. Have been to a nice place and can't wait for the weekends to share it.
3. Something came up along the way. Either something great or worst.

How I wish I have a good news to relate. Something inspiring to share. Unfortunately, this is just one of those days ... for the lack of adjective, I wanted to end. If this happened years ago, back when I started to revive my interest in blogging, I would have related the details behind everything. But I guess, I grew up? One thing I learned, I should lessen my contribution to noise and stress pollution. Hahahaha There are just some things better to be left unsaid. 

A year ago, I cannot count how many times I expressed my lowest moments. As much as I wanted to deny it, it feels like I met this unwanted emotional visitor again. I suddenly remember a few lines from the rare self-help books I read. If we are constantly bombarded by the same emotional burden, it means that the root cause of the struggle remains unaddressed. Given my current situation and self-diagnosis, I have to adhere to this thought.

On a positive note, I tried my best to become a better person today. I chose to be understanding and considerate. I was able to extend a little assistance to someone in need. Please don't mistake it for financial assistance. Hahahaha I'm another person in dire need of it. Hahahaha 

The day is about to end. I will spend the last few hours with some feel good activities. A frapuccino, bag of chips, (forgive me) and watching Episode 11 of my current favorite K. Drama, Descendants of the Sun.

Wish me better days and life ahead. :) 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Beautiful Sunday# 205 - Holy Week Break

Happy Easter! The Holy Week break is over. As always, where did time go? I spent the Holy Week at home. #TeamBahay Hahaha Food, family, and a lot of sleep. How often can you experience these? I forgot, my Korean Drama marathon. I'm loving Descendants of the Sun, led by another Korean crush. Song Joong Ki! I love him ever since I watched his former drama series, Innocent Man. If I'm not mistaken, this was the last drama series he had prior to his mandatory military stint. As mentioned by my friend Jenny, all male Korean citizens in their 20s are required to undergo military training for 18 months. I patiently waited for the airing of the drama series on KBS World. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get synced with their schedule. For some reason, I think some programs are aired earlier than what was provided in their schedule. While there are always sites to offer online streaming, I'm constrained with a decent internet connection. So there, story of my life. Hahaha In between the Holy Week break, I promised myself to squeeze in some work. Unfortunately, as of typing this, I think I need to do unleash my favorite skill again. Cramming! Examination papers to check, freelance works and some office work to review. Send me some miracle! Hahaha

Days before the Holy Week break, it has been a tradition to hoard take home some good food. Becky's Swiss Chocolate Cake will never be forgotten. I believe it has been a while since I last enjoyed the marshmallow icing, mocha butter cream inside and toffee crunch pieces.

Another holiday family favorite is nachos,cheese and veggies. This has become a staple treat every holiday break.

Saw this nice nook of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at The Venice Grand Canal Mall 

A's birthday treat :-) before the holy week break

Before Sunday ended, I went to the mall with my mother. Grown up concerns and unexpected home related purchases.... I also felt the need to go out as I have been on self-imposed house arrest since Thursday. I took advantage of the time to buy unhealthy dinner takeaway. I ended the day with a great dinner with the family, watching forever the replays of Descendants of the Sun and checking out the freelance works. Where will this ever end? :) 

It's the last week of March tomorrow. While April marks the summer months here, I'm beginning to feel the summer heat since the Holy Week started. There are no travel plans for the summer. However, I have again an overflowing leave credits to consider. I have to schedule and utilize these leave credits. Otherwise, they will just be forfeited for nothing. With the end of my second semester classes, I'm looking forward to concentrate on my office work and finally end all the pending freelance works. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Venice Grand Canal Mall

Before the Holy Week break, me and my friend A managed to squeeze in a visit to The Venice Grand Canal Mall. A few months ago, I saw teasers of this place in my Facebook newsfeed. At first, I was inclined to be believe that it wasn't true. I became convinced of its existence when Facebook friends started uploading photos.

As of date, the place is still relatively new. It's on the beginning stages of its operation. Hence, there are only a few shops and activities to do. For now, the place is filled with different restaurants. Selections are still quite limited as well. The most you can do in the place is to have a great meal and capture photos with your friends and family. Being a replica of the Venice Grand Canal, one might surely look forward for the Gondola Ride. Unfortunately, the amenity was not operational yet when we visited. 

I'm not sure if the management intends to turn the mall to a food hub. There are a lot of empty retail spaces. Despite the limited attractions, I still recommend a visit to The Venice Grand Canal Mall. Snap a few photos, enjoy the view and have a great meal with the restaurants around. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Korean Drama : Yong Pal is love

Jo Woon is handsome. Truth to be told, this is only the topic I wanted to talk and write about. Haha Ever since I reached Episode 8 of Yong Pal, I’ve become hooked to the drama series. It was when I realized that I love Dr. Kim Tae-Hyun (Jo Woon). Hahahaha If I will define the parameters of a perfect guy, watch the drama series and don’t ever lose your attention to Jo Woon. His eyes, lips, hair when brushed up and call me the weirdest, his perfect cheekbones. All this time, cheekbones never appealed to me because I have been abundantly blessed cursed with it. A blessing I hate because it makes my face look bigger and wider. Far from my dream of owning a small round face, which most Korean actresses own.

Going back to the real intention of this post, I’m not sure if I can still write a decent post about Yong Pal. Hahaha It’s been a while since I last wrote about a K. Drama that I love. The last I watched was The Legendary Women, and was so far, the longest in terms of number of episodes. While I have a number of drama series in my list, it took me some time before I was able to watch and finish one. It didn’t help that Drama Fever and Viki have become selfish to Philippine based android and apple users. Most of the drama series uploaded in the two applications are not available for viewing here. How come? How could they deprive Filipinos, often considered as the leading admirers of Korean drama?

Yong Pal landed on my list because of my all time Korean girl crush, Kim Tae Hee. I decided to watch it because of her. Much to my surprise, my attention went to Dr. Kim Tae-Hyun.

Yeo Jin Ha (Kim Tae Hee) was locked up and intentionally forced to remain in coma by her half brother. This was mainly caused by her half brother’s greed to own the entire company. The original plan was to eventually kill Yeo Jin Ha. Everything seems to work well not until the innocent Dr. Kim Tae-Hyun came in the picture. He was a brilliant doctor finishing his residency, in the hospital where Yeo Jin Ha was locked up. Despite his brilliance, Kim Tae-Hyun is troubled with debts and the struggle to have his sister treated. In his desire to make ends meet, Kim Tae Hyun dabbles as a gang doctor (Yong Pal). He accepts house calls and performs medical procedures to filthy rich criminals, gangsters, who wish to escape police investigations and legal charges. Fate and destiny entered, Kim Tae-Hyun ended to become one of the doctors secretly monitoring Yeo Jin Ha. He was supposed to be an accomplice, another criminal to begin with. A series of events followed, Kim Tae-Hyun turned to be Yeo Jin Ha’s savior and love interest.

The best things I love about the drama series include the suspense, how the love between Kim Tae Hyun unfolded and the hospital scenes. Suspense was to the highest level. There were a number of events I wasn’t able to predict. For me, this is an indicator of a good drama series. The hospital scenes were also a hit for me. Although I have limited knowledge in this field, I enjoyed the side stories particularly all the emergency cases in the hospital. The one that sealed everything for me, how the love story of Yeo Jin Ha and Kim Tae Hyun developed. It was far different from all the cheesy flix I often encounter and enjoy.

If you are looking for romantic flix that goes beyond another case of third-party involved, enjoy hospital scenes like those shown in Grey’s Anatomy and has the heart of superb suspense, Yong Pal might work for you. 

And while my heart has been continuously beating for Jo Woon, I’m enjoying another K drama. Oh Rose, you have to blamed for this. I’m loving Descendants of the Sun, which is still airing in South Korea. I’m trying to catch up with the series via KBS World. While my heart still shouts for Jo Woon, I’m actually torn because I also love Song Jong-Ki. Oh these Korean men, you are making life harder for me. Hahahahaha

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Beautiful Sunday #204 - Sunshine

Halfway March. In a few more weeks, classes are over. I will have a two-month rest from teaching but office works remain the same. In fact, much of my work actually happens during the summer break. But before summer, I'm excited for the upcoming Holy Week break. It's time to get more than enough sleep. Meals with the family. Movie and K. drama marathon. Time to pause for a while, rest and recharge. 

The past week was the busiest. Amidst all the workload, I was able to temporarily escape Manila. Still work related, but I was able to visit a province somewhere in the North. It feels good to see a different scenery these days. I was clueless about the place so I sought the assistance of a little technology. Thank you Waze for leading us to our destination. This mobile application showed me its own moment of self-redemption, after disappointing me a few years ago. My first attempt to use Waze forced me to just delete it. It was occupying so much space causing my phone to slow down. My second attempt happened a few months ago. I accompanied a friend to look for this old and quaint restaurant in Manila. I thought everything was working well not until Waze led us to an dark, empty and scary lot. Despite the disappointing experience, I gave Waze another chance. This time however, I noticed the easier interface and additional features offered. Best about everything, Waze brought us to our destination in the shortest possible time. Waze amazed me this time. Hence, I will no longer uninstall it from my phone. Hahaha I'm actually looking forward for my next travel adventure with Waze. 

Before the week ended, I was able to accomplish a major step in my on-going task. This major activity got me dead tired physically and emotionally. When I first arrived at the workplace, I remember a colleague handing this task to me. The instructions given were quite limited so I was forced to learn everything on my own. Despite taking full accountability, I have three colleagues who shared the workload.  A few years after, this task was transferred to colleague T. Every one at the department left, leaving me and T handling the work. When our new superior arrived, the task was transferred to another office. Unfortunately, the recipient department was not able to continue the work. They reasoned the lack of manpower. The ending, the task died because no one wanted to do it. 

When I was moved to another department, my new superior wanted to revive the task. Obviously, I became the best person to handle it. I have no problems except when I realized that I have no one to help me. Years ago, I have a strong support system. This time though, I have no one to depend on but myself. I still have colleagues designated to render assistance. I was thankful but our current working arrangement is quite limiting. And I don't blame them at all. Maybe it's the reality that I'm bound to single handedly accomplish what used to be a task of 3-4 persons. I was expecting something to happen last Friday. Something that can probably wipe away a fraction of my exhaustion. My expectations failed me. Sadness gained, but a deep lesson earned.

And because I was too tired last Friday, I rushed home and rewarded myself with something refreshing and relaxing

Oh Joo Won! How can I not love you? Hahaha I first saw Joo Won from The Bridal Mask. He seldom smiled in that drama series. Although at that time, I find him cute but not attractive. Fast forward now, I decided to watch Yong Pal because of my girl crush, Kim Tae Hee. As much as I love Kim Tae Hee, I have to give my admiration for Joo Won. Gaaaaahd! I love everything about his character. I later learned that Yong Pal made him earn the Daesang Award, during the recently concluded SBS Awards. As I understand it, the award serves as the grand prize for acting for drama series aired under SBS network. Joo Won's acting deserves it! 

Truth to be told though, I wasn't expecting to develop a crush on Joo Won. His first appearances was just okay. I felt I was deceived because as Yong Pal's episodes progressed, I can't help but develop admiration for Joo Won. I started to notice his height, hair, smile and call me weird, but I love his cheek bones. :) My favorite part in the drama series happened on episodes 8 to 10 and 17 to 18. Added to this, I felt like melting whenever Joo Won is dressed up and have his hair brushed up. Gaaaaahd, my heart be still!!! Hahahahaha

And before I forget, I have to thank Terra for the lavender postcard. Sorry, I just got carried away by Joo Won. I intentionally placed the postcard here because lavender was a significant part of the drama series.

Another set of postcards arrived! - Thank you Marieken and Terra!

I got a discounted copy of Garance Dore's book. I was excited only to later discover that it wasn't written in English!!!! Hahahaha I wanted to sell it but who will ever buy something that is not written in English here?

How to unlove? Not Joo Won hahaha but these meringue cookies

Goodies all the way from the South - Thank you Mother E for helping me own this most awaited luggage :) 

And I'm looking forward for some sunshine next week :) 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 203 - Better days

Life is not good .... especially when you see the piles of bills to be settled. Hahaha Grown up problems. When the week started, I felt the strong urge to organise my financial goals. I can't be like this forever. I have to have a game plan, a financial plan or in general, a grown-up plan. My biggest irony arises from the nature of my job. I have been to corporate planning for quite some time. I've prepared a number of documents related to planning. This is our goal, how do we achieve it? What will be the role of each? Where are we now, based on our stated goals and objectives? This is work everyday, but how come I'm so terrible doing it for myself?  

Sometimes, I wish that I just win the local lottery. Who doesn't? Haha A few years ago, a colleague told me that having half a million pesos will address ALL of colleague's problems. I never had problems with this colleague. I didn't know much about colleague's personal life. I later discovered that this colleague got involved to a financial fiasco. I felt sad. I felt bad. Colleague was forced to resign from his post. A few months after, I learned that colleague was able to secure an overseas job. This colleague used to be quiet on Facebook in the height of the financial trouble. Colleague became visible again when everything was already settled with overseas life. Until now, I have been hearing stories and speculations behind the financial trouble. I never had the chance to confirm the real story and honestly, I'm not really interested. If I were in colleague's shoes, I will not like it when people are speculating and telling negative stories about me. But seriously, I'm looking forward on the day when I will meet this colleague again. At that time, I hope both of us can say that we don't anymore need to win anything from the lottery. 

I have been having the weirdest dreams lately. There were a lot. But the two I can't forget is my attempt to ride an elevator that doesn't fit my height and when I left a restaurant because I saw our President & CEO, with his friends and family. I searched for some interpretations and everything seem to point out that I'm led to a deeper awakening. Whatever it is, I can only hope that my decisions will lead to me to a better and happier life ahead.

I'm getting too serious and boring, here are the few beautiful things that made my week

Milk and choco-oatmeal cookies - This is how to start a weekend.

Something pastel and colorful 

Happy Lady - Who can still remember Happy Lady's classic cover for their needle and threader? I have a feeling it's only me who can still remember this brand. Haha I grew up having Home Economics classes for seven years. Hence, this was a staple item in our home. It's only now that I appreciate the classic illustration of the brand. The vintage drawing of the three ladies never changed at all. 

Scored this musical carousel at the frightening streets of Recto and Avenida in Manila. I did a little cleaning and voila, I have another vintage find. Although part of me wants to fix the sound and movement of the carousel.

Trying out a new product, Shiseido's Super Mild Conditioner. I've become addicted with Japanese hair products lately. It started with Tsubaki's shampoo and conditioner. All these would not have been possible without Zalora's voucher. Thanks Zalora! 

Because it's starting to feel summer. Gone are the days when I wake up with a little of colder air around. Hello summer! 

Good morning from my favorite nook :) - The hanging shelf project remains unaccomplished. When I started organizing my books, I discovered how much were actually missing. There were books that were not returned for years already. The initial plan was to have a four-layer shelf because I wanted to compile my DVD collections as well. Hopefully everything gets done during the Holy Week break.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Sunday and better days ahead! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 202 - Manageable

Happy Sunday!

The day job is starting to collect more work. But everything remains manageable. Teaching is still fine except for the papers needed to be reviewed. It's this freelance work I have been praying to finally end. How I wish I could relate the details, but I have to admit something. I'm starting to regret accepting this freelance work. Along the way, I realized how much I have been deceived. Despite discussing my working arrangement, client refuses to comply. I have been receiving text messages from this client everyday. I'm starting to feel irritated especially when the chain of text messages will be followed by a series of phone calls. I have stated from the start that I have a day job and I only work on weekends. Client told me that my output is due for presentation last February. It has been March and client is still claiming that my output is needed for presentation. When is really the deadline now?  I'm starting to feel that client just wants to pressure and impose an artificial deadline for me. But what really irritates me, client has been changing the data every now and then. In effect, I'm left with the burden of forever  revising the report. Forgive me for becoming unprofessional, but I'm convinced not to finish the project anymore. I gave myself a deadline. After this last output to be emailed, I will quit from the project. Never mind if I will not get paid. Never mind if client will say negative things about me. The hassles, inconveniences, stress, added to this the fact when I realized that I have been underpaid, everything is not just worth it.

As for my other freelance work, it's starting to feel challenging too. But I'm enjoying it because it's on a different avenue. It hones another skill I wanted to improve. This work also gives me another benefit. It reduces my bad habit of oversleeping. Part of the work needs to be done in the morning, while the sun is still up. Hence, the past weekend has become better for me. I'm able to wake up a little early and a contagion effect of this, I'm becoming a little more productive during weekends.

I didn't have photos that captured my weekdays. I didn't visit a new a place. No food escapades. Nothing went really interesting to be documented and shared. I organized and captured few photos on Saturday morning. 

I had breakfast under the sun. Literally. Hahaha I needed to do it for the other freelance work. In the second photo is my favorite PiP Planer and the popular and a bottle of Perrier.... which I only bought because I wanted the bottle for a DIY project. Haha 

I also received some postcards from the Netherlands. Thank you dearest Marieken!

The parcel of land has become my Father's real version of  Farmville or Farmtown. Hahaha I'm happy to report that most of the vegetables we have at home were harvested from this place. But ask me why I was in this space? I needed it for the freelance work. 

While accomplishing a project, I accidentally trip off my left foot. Oh my! This is the last thing I wanted to happen. I cannot afford to be injured. And as expected, I had a bad case of sprain. A few years ago, I had a similar stupidity. Hahaha I thought I just trip off from a pavement. My left foot ached for a while. Not too long after, walking felt painful. The nurse at the workplace tied ice bags around. Part of the side of my ankle expanded. It exaggeratedly swelled and started to turn a little black. This made me realize the injuries are not always cured by ice or cold packs. I wasn't able to report for work the next day. My mother sought the help of a Physical Therapist. It didn't take a day for the swelling to finally subside. Although I later noticed that the injured side of my left ankle did not return from its original size.

Fast forward now, I got to the same stupidity again. I wasn't aware that the steps in my Father's Famville were uneven. I was rushing to reach the middle part of the place when my left foot made another showdown My poor left foot tripped off again. In my effort to salvage my poise hahaha I mean, to maintain my balance, my left foot carried the burden again. I felt like my injury five years ago will make a comeback. But since I learned my lesson, I followed my colleague's advice. On accidents, don't force the injured part of the body to move. I stood up for a while and waited until the initial pain subsided. When I got home, NO MORE ICE PACKS. Never again. I instead applied Katinko . My left foot is still painful and a little swelled. Walking still feels a little painful. Taking the stairs is another problem. But the recent injury wasn't as worst as five years ago.

Filipino friends and kids of the 80s - 90s, who can still remember the plant on the last photo? It's been a while since  I last saw a Makahiya plant. For those who are not familiar, the plant has very sensitive leaves. The leaves fold for a while whenever it receives even the smallest movement.

Thank you Ash and Muff for my monogrammed canvas bag. If you liked monogrammed items for your home and daily needs, visit their website and Instagram account.

Setting aside all these stories, here are a few interesting things that made my week.

I'm loving West Elm's Instagram account - I've always been in loved with the minimalism and Scandinavian interior design. Even the instagram accounts of their regional branches are so lovely. I wanted to visit their branch in Estancia Mall. But most of you are probably aware that the mall belongs to the segment of the upscale market. Prices are surely not something I would love. Although part of me is wishing that they have a local online shopping site. With that, I can virtually window shop and identify items that my limited budget can reach. :) And speaking of online shopping, the #TitaOfManila inside me has become more appreciative with the conveniences of online shopping. How I wish all my favorite shops will have a facility like Zalora. Online shopping is so convenient especially now that choosing the right clothes that fit are a whole easier now because there's free returns with Zalora.

Book Photography - This is a new trend I discovered in Instagram. I found a number of book lovers taking beautiful photos of their book collections.

Still about books, I wanted to read Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun.

Missing Mommy by Rebecca Cobb - This children's book about bereavement made me cry.

My dear friend A is so excited about Me Before You's movie adaptation. I want to read the book before watching the movie.

And because it's Women's Month, the National Museum granted FREE ADMISSION for all women this month.

I initially thought that I will not be able to write anything this week. Thanks to my stupid foot injury ahahahaha