Sunday, January 29, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 250 - Last for January

Last Sunday of January, still trying to figure out where did time go? The first month of 2017 is about to end and part of me feels I failed to catch up. There were so many things that happened in a span of one month. 

Everything started with work, as expected. Priorities were changed so there were abrupt changes I have to deal with. On the positive side, I became adjusted with my weirdest class schedule. I also scored some freelance works. A previous client requested for additional work. My other existing project is also nearing its ending. But the major event of January happened to be the departure of my friend T. I always have a hard time dealing with farewells. Being left behind is as always, one of life's hardest struggles. 

On Friday night, my friend T hosted her farewell dinner. She treated us in one of my favorite grill restaurants. What people might expect as a night of tears and tribute didn't happen. Drama was never in the personality of my friend. Haha Instead, everyone was stuffed with the best food while discussing and laughing at some recent happenings in our environment. 

Friday also marked the eve of the Chinese New Year. Years ago, I braved Binondo's festivities with another friend. I think this was the only year when I failed to visit in time for the CNY celebration. I hope I'll be able to drop by next week, with all the red lanterns and decors still around.  

In between the days at the workplace, I found these interesting links.

This Etsy seller is my life goal!!! - One of my wildest dreams to become an established freelancer. My workplace situated in the comforts of my own home. My boss will be limited to my clients. I can wake up at my pace, engage in morning exercise, work the entire day, teach in college and get back the much needed 8 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, this work set-up will make me more anti-social. I still have to outweigh this but given all the unnecessary forms of stress I experience everyday, I can't help but dream of a quiet, peaceful and relaxing work life.

This Samsung ad in India - Define customer service that breaks the borders of expectation. The additional effort we extend to accomplish our jobs meant priceless happiness for someone else. For a while, it made me think what really happens if I give beyond what is expected. Am I really making someone else's life better?

The compiled videos of former President Obama  is love!!!

This magic trick oblong scarf from Kate Spade !!!!! It's already on sale, but still expensive for my budget. 

Nina Stajner's instagram and etsy account are both lovely. - I wanted to own one of her pins or drawings.

Chunky Knits - I've been drooling :p over the chunky knitted blankets I always encounter in Instagram. This French seller has it all.

I discovered another blog love :) - Meet Hello Miss May!!!

Here are the beautiful things that happened last week

Waking up on a relaxing weekend morning with these Filipino treats

Postcard and letter from my friends in Thailand and the Netherlands

#Besties - No goodbyes but new beginnings to  my dear friend T! Let's repeat our Singapore trip ;) 

My stash of everything Korea - Saw a Korean convenience store last Friday and what do you expect from me :p 

This is weekend! Everything feels so relaxing and stress free.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pink Beautiq's Ultra Strength Whitening Serum

It was the past trip to Ilocos that made me discover Pink Beautiq's Ultra Strength Whitening Serum. Blame the dark and uneven skin tone after the trip. I was desperate because in less than a week, it will be my birthday. Despite knowing that I have an impossible case, I still searched for products that can lighten the skin in the fastest time span. I hopped to different shopping sites and limited my search on skin whitening products.

Pink Beautiq as a brand and its product line were both new to me.  As always, I searched for reviews in the hope of getting positive feedbacks. True enough, the few articles I encountered all shared positive experiences. I took this as my signal to purchase, even though the price was a little out of my budget. :p 

I purchased this whitening serum via Beauty MNL. I made the purchase around 10 pm and was surprised that it was delivered the next day. Hooray for Beauty MNL's consistent next day shipping!

I used the product during night time. I skipped my evening moisturizer and replace it with this whitening serum for two weeks. I was praying that the product will work because it's expensive and I was desperate. True enough, I began to notice improvements on my skin tone after 4 days. While I don't have photos to prove, I noticed that I was a shade lighter. The lightening effect was happening, although in a gradual phase. The product worked and I was not deceived by reviews.

I tried using the product on my knees and elbows. Unfortunately, I didn't observe the same results. I believe this can be explained by the thinner layer of the skin of the face. Hence, effects can be easily observed.

More than its effectiveness, I also monitored possible side effects. It may surprise some of you, but I never experienced any trace of heavy skin peeling. The serum did not cause any painful sensation and redness. Although I noticed small acne sprouting days after I started using the serum. Other than rare incidents of acne, I never had other skin problems.

The product comes in small bottle with dropper. A small amount of the serum can already go a long way. The only thing I didn't like, the "vinegar like' odor of the serum.

Overall, I would recommend Pink Beautiq's Whitening Serum. However, I believe the product is not designed for those with sensitive skin especially those prone to acne.

You can purchase Pink Beautiq's Whitening Serum here. It initially retailed at Php 599. I recently checked and the price was reduced by 10%. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 249 - The Last

This week had me contemplating about so many things. Growing up and getting exposed to different kind of people meant having the chance that your firmest beliefs and principles will change. My parameters of loyalty, honesty, and even on how to be a good person have evolved over time. I have seen people who started as the best of friends and later became the worst of enemies. I have seen people whose definition of friendship depended on the benefits. The worst I had was when I invested time, loyalty, honesty and respect to someone who eventually suck out the best in me. What was once an inspiration turned out to be a source of frustration, disappointment and betrayal. These are the people we should wish to never come to our lives. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to distinguish them. The only time I realized that they should be avoided, was when all the damage has been done. 

Years ago, there was this high ranking government official ousted from his office. He used to have plenty of prominent friends. When all the legal cases were pursued against him, all the powerful and popular friends were gone ... as expected. However, this government official had another friend who chose to remain. The friend unfortunately gained his own share of ire from the local citizens. While everyone is hating this government official who supported a convicted friend, part of me felt respect and admiration. How many people will choose to travel the hardest path with you?

I started to think that maybe, the truth does not highly matter anymore. What's more important are the people who chose to save and remain behind. Years after this national issue subsided, the "prominent" friends who left were back in the limelight. Maybe years ago, people admired them because they were courageous enough to leave the ousted government official. In my case, I never felt the common sentiment of admiration. Part of me felt a degree of doubt to the "prominent" friends. I will never entrust my life to such kind of people. So when they run for a position in the national government, I was convinced of not voting for them. Some of them still won the elections. After some time though, I noticed that people tend to lose trust on them. Changing allies, political parties and friends is surely, not a good manifestation of loyalty, trustworthiness and real friendship I should say.

Going back to my original thought, everything boils down to one of life's paradoxes. You need to be at your worst to distinguish who are the best. 

So much about my serious thoughts, here are the few beautiful things that made the past week

Saturday mornings are the best - Need I expound more? As always, the rare times I can wake up without an alarm clock, worrying about work and people I don't like. Hahaha 

January is about to end - I checked my planner and realized that the end of the January is nearing. Another week and month are about to end. Come with the end of January are sad news and farewells about to happen. Also in the photo is the brochure of my dream camera, Sony a5000 is love!!! Hope I'll be able to acquire this within the year. 

Still receiving Christmas cards - Thank you for the warmest wishes Terra! I look forward on exchanging letters with you and Marieken for many years. 

Visit to St. Pio Chapel - I've been hearing a lot about St. Pio Chapel in Libis, Quezon City. It's refreshing to see a chapel amidst the towering buildings around. Surprisingly, one can still experience silence and stillness inside the area. I was fascinated with the rosaries everywhere, wide open spaces, pigeons waiting to be fed, scattered chapels and praying room. I initially planned to visit St. Pio last year in time for my birthday. There were change of plans and I somehow regretted not visiting earlier. Nevertheless, I'm still happy because I was able to visit with my mother.

Other things that happened this week, my favorite Korean actress finally married her long time boyfriend. :) Happy for Kim Tae Hee!!! 

Where did January go? Tomorrow will be the last full week of January. A lot is about to happen ... Memories to make and some decision to take. 

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When in Ilocos : Patapat Viaduct and more

When traveling to Ilocos, don't ever miss the Patapat Viaduct! The bridge connects Ilocos to the succeeding region of Cagayan. It crosses the slopes of the mountain ranges while providing the best view of the open sea. A common sight on the bridge are parked vehicles equipped with tourists eager to capture photos. Some would dare to sit or lie down in the middle of the road for that one perfect shot, which I actually did. :p 

On the way to Pagudpud, we passed by this picture perfect area. I remember this was taken near the welcome arc. The place reminded me of photos of old calendars, showcasing different scenic views. We also went to the Blue Lagoon and swam the beaches of Pagudpud. Unfortunately, I was already tired when everything happened. So I have no more photos to show.

We were able to visit Ilocos' famous zoo, Baluarte. We only had some sight seeing while riding the e-jeep and exploring the museum showcasing some preserved animals. 

Years ago, I saw an IG photo from South Korea carrying this concept. I find the entire idea cute and to some extent, brilliant. I was happy that Laoag offers this. While everyone is trying to get their best photo in the famous Laoag marker, I stayed in this area. My shallow self is mesmerized. ;)  

Some parts of Ilocos are also known for pottery. We visited a pottery plant and had the chance to experience this traditional process. Just a piece of advice for those with intentions to visit, applying some mosquito repellent spray can help. I had a number of mosquito bites while trying the pottery experience.

Looking at this photo, I quite regret that I wasn't able to buy this candle holder.

The Patapat Viaduct was already a treat for me. On the way home, we also stopped by the Quirino Bridge. The entire sight was too relaxing. Initially, I felt uncomfortable and tired on the long road trip. I was daydreaming of traveling by air if I have more than enough resources. But if I chose such route, I would surely miss this view.

Our final stop was the grape farm in La Union. Yes, this is no longer in Ilocos. This was another revelation for me. I didn't know that there were grape farms thriving in La Union. These can be easily seen along the highway and several farms are offering grape picking for a minimal fee. The usual entrance rate is Php 50. The cost of grape picking was around Php 200 per kilogram. (I'm not really sure.) It might be expensive but as most of you can guess, we don't pay for the grapes but the experience. If you find the rate expensive, don't fret. You can eat unlimited number of grapes while inside the farm. :) 

We arrived quite late in the grape farm, which became a disadvantage. It was a challenge to capture decent photos. The best time to visit the farm is around 3 pm to 4 pm. Usually, during the period before sunset. I intentionally hid my face because my skin was terrible. I was unevenly reddish brown.

This has to be my last post from my Ilocos trip. My deepest gratitude goes to my friend A who arranged everything. Likewise to my friend T for leaving us some helpful tips. I'm also partly indebted to my freelance client who gave me a surprise bonus, hours before the trip. This leaves me, maybe I should once in a while spend my freelance earnings for traveling than shopping. ;) While travel only lasts a few hours or days, the experience it gives me lasts a lifetime.

Every year, it has always been my target to see a new place. As you may know, traveling and sight seeing also meant documenting or taking photos. The Ilocos trip has proven that I need to give up my trusted point and shoot Sony camera. Some photos were actually taken by my camera phone. While the camera phone is great, I noticed that pictures emerge better with a real camera. Even an entry level point and shoot camera can go a long way. This year, my target is to acquire a mirrorless camera. I hope the universe will connive with me. For the longest time, I've been planning to upgrade. I'm claiming it! :) There will be more earnings and a new camera soon. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 248 - Learn and unlearn

Hello everyone! Hope everyone here is enjoying the weekend. As always, I savor the rare times I get more than enough sleep. I wake up without an alarm clock. More importantly, I only see people I like. I mean it. Hahahaha Lesser stress, life is easier and happier. Years ago, I don't care much about weekends. I was excited with work because everything seems new and challenging. When I went to Graduate School, I dread weekends because of Saturday classes. Good thing though, I found a group of friends who made life a little better. When I finished my degree, weekends became boring again. I later started teaching, so weekends became precious for me. The two days give me an opportunity to rest. When I revived my interest in blogging and got addicted with Instagram, the more I love weekends. The days allowed me to divert from my usual work and provide an opportunity to become a little creative. 

Work was manageable the past week. I was able to cope with deadlines, both with office and teaching. The government agency I became in contact with was fast and responsive. I hope everyone will have same experience whenever they transact with any government agency. Everything would be easier and everyone can focus on the more important part of their work and life in general.

While I can never get away with all the problems and unexpected disturbances about work, I feel that I get rewarded with my "life after work." I have a great family and friends. My family may not be perfect, but I haven't been in any major fight or argument with them. In terms of friends, my friend A has been my strongest support system. We started as office neighbors, been to some work related events, traveled together, and before I knew it, I've been blessed with a great friend. I'm thankful every time we go home together, eat the unhealthiest street food after a stressful day and counting the days before payday. On Fridays, we treat ourselves with another set of unhealthy mall food. Mc Donald's, KFC, Bibimbap, to chicaron bituka... while discussing work, life and everything in between... including people we don't like. Hahahahaha

Setting aside this serious aspect of my life, here are the other beautiful things that made the past week

Loving everything vintage - I've been looking for sellers offering vintage items. For the longest time, I wanted to collect the classic bus tickets. I found a seller and artist selling some pieces. Also, my longest quest of finding a reasonably priced die-cast London bus has ended. :) Yes, I love collecting miniatures of vintage cars.

All these pictures I have about vintage stuff intensify my desire to engage in journaling. If only I can still draw or at least sketch. They say that you can find your true calling by recalling the things you enjoyed, back when you don't have to worry about paying bills and all those grown up stuff. ;) As a kid, I really enjoyed drawing, sketching and making crafts. Still wondering when will I rekindle this interest. 

Royce's Potato Chocolate Chip - The rare times this land in our home :) Still feels a little surprised that Christmas gifts are still arriving in our home. I may not know everyone who loves my family, especially the friends of my parents. But really, I already love the people who love my family. 

Postcard from Terra - Thank you Terra for feeding my addiction to Beatrix Potter!!!

All other beautiful things - Patches seem to be a trend these days. I've seen a number of shops offering blouses with the cutest patches. I joined the bandwagon so I acquired one too. ;) The Hello Kitty doll came from a friend. Thanks Mother E! It carries a Paris inspired theme. 

A few days ago, Aggie tagged me to answer her yearend survey. Here are my responses

What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before? 
The extreme Sand Dunes experience in Ilocos

Did you keep your new year's resolution and will you make more for next year?
Never managed to make one.

Did anyone close to you...
get married? None
Give birth? None, most of my friends are single too.
Passed away? None.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Skill to deal with people I don't like...

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Can't really remember if I had an achievement

What was your biggest failure?
I became too honest with my sentiments, forgetting that some people are not ready for the truth or honesty for that matter...

What dates in 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
My 2016 birthday was one of the best. This was one of the rare times I get surprised by my closest friends. I got three different birthday surprises. I felt so loved!!! The thought that people took effort to stage a birthday surprise was more than enough for me. 

Did you suffer any illness or injury?
No major illness or injury, but lately I noticed my stomach has become too sensitive

What was the best thing you bought? 
New smartphone in the beginning of 2016

Whose behavior merited celebration? 
My dear friend A and my parents!!!

Where did most of your money go?
Food and bills

What did you really get really, really, really excited about? 
The trip to Hong Kong with my family. It was my first out of the country trip with some family members. 

What songs will always remind you of 2016? 
Little Mix's Black Magic, Weird People, Shout out to my Ex ... for some reason, I love the way they sounded. They reminded me of Spice Girls. 

Compare to this time last year, are you

Happier or Sadder?

Thinner of fatter?
Fatter by 5 lbs. unfortunately ... the struggle is real!!!

Richer or poorer?
Nothing changed, I believe.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
 Paralysis by overanalysis, spending and becoming affected with all the negative people

How did you spend Christmas?
On a roadtrip visiting some relatives, this year was the best.

Did you fall in love in 2016?
Yes but as always, unrequited. Hahahahaha

What was your favorite TV program?
The Voice Kids, Your Face Sounds Familiar, my dose of K. drama: DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN and YONG PAL

What was the best book you read?
Konmari all the way! But there are other books that I enjoyed in 2016.

What were your greatest musical discoveries?
Still, Little Mix's music!!!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? 
Laidback as always ...  flat shoes, loose tops

What did you want and get?
Smartphone :)

What did you want and not get?
That long awaited opportunity ..... worked hard for it in 2015, but all my efforts ended as futile attempts. As of now, I'm not sure if I still wanted it. I'm too tired chasing it. 

What was your favorite film of the year?
A number of films but what I remember the most is Honor Thy Father

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? 
Practiced with my groupmates for the Xmas Party's dance number hahaha dinner with my friends after work 

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time with friends, travel opportunities and at least one brand collaboration

What kept you sane?
Friends and family

Which celebrity figure did you fancy the most? 
If you are quite investigative, followed me on Instagram, saw the birthday surprise.... you can easily tell. Hahahaha 

What political issue stirred you the most? 
That hereo's burial that betrayed a lot of my fellow Filipinos

Who did you miss?
Some good old friends... and the way they used to be

Who was the best new person you met?
Can't really remember ... but the blogosphere has given me friends I never expected

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016
Be more patient, understanding and keeping some things to myself .... Some people don't appreciate feedback and honesty, which I should respect. Returning to my old self of keeping my silence and become more careful with trusting people.   

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When in Ilocos : Cape Bojeador

The Cape Bojeador, also known as the Burgos Lighthouse, is one of the oldest attractions in Ilocos. It was built back in the 19th century. Climbing up the lighthouse meant seeing part of the West Philippines Sea (Yes, I prefer to call it as West Philippine Sea). As much as I wanted to see the inside part of the lighthouse, tourists are unfortunately restricted for safety reasons. Despite the inaccessibility, the lighthouse still functions although its main light source has been replaced by solar powered devices. I read from a few articles that up to this date, seafarers still rely on Cape Bojeador for navigation.

Aside from the lighthouse, the place has been converted to a museum. There are rooms that showcase old equipment and other paraphernalia. Although I must admit, some rooms look and feel so creepy. What I love about the Cape Bojeador is the view in the last photo. It was a challenge to score decent photos because of the bulk of travelers. But I guess the view of the sea is more than enough for me. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Beautiful Sunday # 247 - Explore

This has to be the first Beautiful Sunday post for 2017. The previous post served as a review for 2016. I started work in the middle of the week, feeling refreshed although still wishing that vacation could be extended. :p Last year, I ended my first day of work with a doctor's prescription. I almost had the same fate this year. I had a bad case of stomach flu. I suffered from diarrhea, felt nauseous for some time, slight fever, felt so sleepy, and worst of all, lost my appetite. It was a rare chance for me to dislike food. My taste buds only wanted fruits and fluids. Up to this day, I'm still struggling with meals. I should be happy because this meant unexpected and unforced diet. :p  But the fever, chills and unexplained body aches are torturing. Good thing though, we don't have work on Monday. I have an extended weekend to recover.

A few days ago, a Facebook contact left a status message about comfort zone. No one grows staying on his / her own comfort zone. Over the past years, I have become careful in using such words. I knew some people were belittled because they don't progress with the society's imposed standards of success. And the one reason blamed, the person was not strong enough to leave his comfort zone. Upon hearing their stories, I discovered reasons. There were life changing circumstances. I also learned that sometimes, within that comfort zones are stories of struggles, strength and courageousness. The person who is usually perceived as weak, shallow and useless have their own discrete battles. 

With all these grown up lessons, I sometimes wish to return to my old silent self. The world and my immediate environment have too much noise to begin with. Sometimes, I feel that its best to contribute less in the chaos, appreciate the things and people that matter to me and explore opportunities meant for me. 

Speaking of explore, I feel that it's a great word to begin the year. If last year I just wandered, maybe it's time to put some meaning by exploring. Let's see, let's see.... 

Meanwhile, on the less serious aspect of my life haha here are some of the beautiful things that happened

Happy Mail - I still receive Christmas and birthday gifts from the mail. Thank you Marieken!!!

Humidifier is out of the list - One of my Christmas / Birthday wishes is to receive a humidifier. Fortunately, one of my cousins helped me crossed this item in my tita's list. Haha This has to be one of my favorite home appliances, apart from the microwave oven. :p

Humans of New York Stories - I have been wanting to acquire this book for the longest time. It's not in any way available in National Bookstore branches near me. When Fully Booked finally re-opened in Gateway Mall, I was glad that they have stocks of this edition. The book is expensive so I'm hoping some freelance works would save me. Hahaha Another wish I hope to fulfill, I wanted to be like Brandon Stanton one day!!! 

Longchamp Le Pliage Limited Edition and Kris Aquino by Kamiseta - They are two of my favorite OOTDs lately. I got the limited edition Longchamp from my Hong Kong trip. I love the quirky design. The Kris Aquino collection of Kamiseta was quite a revelation for me. The lady inside my overweight self is dreaming of wearing an off-shoulder blouse. Problem is, most off-shoulder blouses make me look bigger and heavier. Kamiseta's version is quite forgiving. I love that it's in my favorite color and the off-shoulder area is not too revealing.

Beatrix Potter's 150th anniversary edition - Finally!!! Ordered this last December from Book Depository and as expected, it arrived a month after. :) Never mind the wait, I love the book. I was surprised with the article features about Beatrix Potter. 

Before reporting for work, I was able to watch two films lined up for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). I saw Die Beautiful and Seklusyon. I have to give 5 out of 5 stars for both films. I wanted to write a review but I'm afraid to ruin everything. :)  I maybe one of the few individuals who appreciated this year's move for MMFF. I wanted to watch more movies, if time and budget still permit. Next year, I hope to see same or better caliber films in the festival.

I'm off to watch some Korean dramas in my list and get some extended rest. Wishing everyone a Beautiful Sunday and a great week ahead!