Monday, December 31, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 344 - The past days

Hello everyone! A few more hours before 2018 ends, I found the time to make my last Sunday post for the year. The past days went like a blur. Like what I mentioned in my previous post, I thought I will be having a quiet and relaxing Christmas break. Much to my surprise, several groups of friends signified intention to visit my hometown. I've been touring friends in Marikina the past few days. Most of them shopped for shoes. Other than shoes, my hometown is becoming a popular site for unique restaurants. Hence, I took the opportunity to bring them to my trusted favorites. It has mostly been Rustic Mornings by Isabelo, Industriya Marikina and Cafe Lidia. One group even decided to visit Pinto Art Museum the last minute. It was tiring but as always, a great pleasure to accommodate friends in my dearest hometown.

2018 Birthday

I was looking forward to have a quiet and relaxing Christmas break. However, plans changed when friends showed interest to visit my hometown. Most of them were attracted with the Marikina Shoe Festival. The trade-show gathered the best local shoe manufacturers in one roof. Shoppers were in return treated to the best locally produced shoes at discounted prices. Right after Christmas, I started touring different groups of friends. The ending, I caught  a bad case of colds. Not to mention, all the food intake. ;) Other than shopping, I make it a point to bring friends to my well trusted restaurants.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 343 - Holiday Rush

It's been weeks since I last opened my laptop at home. Work life is fine, except that I always felt tired on the last few weeks. Blame it on the traffic on the way home. The extended mall hours and holiday rush automatically translate to prolonged travel hours. At this point, I would like to believe that everything is starting to subside. Not until I had last minute shopping with my mother. Despite the rainy weather, the nearby mall is flocked by shoppers. Setting aside the hassles, I love the sight of families spending time together. 

I have a lot to blog. But I'm feeling quite disorganized now. From food discoveries, Christmas parties and my quiet birthday celebration. :) Meanwhile, I'm leaving this post with these photos.

I'm in love with this book! I bought this from Book Depository, I'll do a review soon.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas 2018 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Claire P of My Thoughts Scrawled in Pink!

Thank you to the seven beautiful ladies who joined. I appreciate your responses and suggestions. See you again next year! 

Beautiful Sunday # 342 - In the middle of the holiday

In the past years, December is quite a laid back period for my teaching stint. But changes in the school calendar happened. We just started second semester and everyone is having their own adjustment phase. In my case, I still struggle having a 7 am schedule. I've been teaching for almost a decade, but having early morning classes require me some time to settle. As for my office work, I admit the need to improve my productivity. I was slow and lousy, my working pace wasn't the same as last year. If there's anything to make me feel better, I hope to finish one last report before 2018 ends.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 341 - Holiday

The long weekend was the best.  I was able to accomplish some year-end errands. I completed my Christmas shopping. I spent an entire day with my cousins. I was able to successfully book a last minute staycation with my friend A. More importantly, I had my most awaited samgyeopsal. It was the best way to cap off the holiday.

Before savoring the long weekend, I had my share of patience testing incidents. Lengthy meetings and heated discussions that as always, left me drained and exhausted. Explaining my side while everyone is obviously leaning to rejection. Listening to incoherent and irrational thoughts. Dealing with people, who wants to look and feel smart. In the middle of that "battle," my mind wandered and brought me to other places and circumstances. I thought of my life if I was a full time freelancer. If I get paid for taking photos and doing some visual merchandising. Or if I simply return to my work station and get things done. I hate complications, but that's how things work in the world of grown ups. 

On the lighter side of life, I love this watermelon postcard from Marieken.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Giveaway 2018 - Still Open!

Hello everyone! Most of you are probably savoring the long weekend. I made this post to make your weekend more special. ;)  I'm hoping this post will reach more enthusiastic book lovers. Please note though, the giveaway is only open for Philippine based readers. Simply answer the form embedded below to join.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 340 - Last for November

My family may not be oriented on the concept of Thanksgiving, but I lately realized that we have been practicing our own version. My late Lolo's (grandfather) birthday usually falls on or before Thanksgiving Day. In the past years, my family gathers for lunch on his birthday. This year, no plans  were made.  I guess everyone assumed the default plan of organising the usual padasal on his first death anniversary. But Lolo probably made a way. Our family was reunited through the baptism of the family's youngest member. We had a sumptuous lunch. I got to spend time with my cousins. We went to the nearby mall to shop for Christmas gifts. Some of them stayed and we had dinner before Sunday ended. It was another rare well spent weekend. Times like this is more than enough to make me feel thankful. Me and my cousins may have our own struggles in life. But opportunities like these made us feel that we can be happy, even in the presence of adversity. 

So much has happened last week and even early this week. Bottomline, this quote captured my sentiments and most of the things happening lately. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Christmas 2018 Giveaway

Hello everyone! I'm giving away another book before the year ends. This time, I' m not revealing the title for added surprise. ;) The contest is open for Philippine based readers. Just answer the form below to join. The contest is open until December 7, 2019. The winner will be announced on December 9, 2018. 

Beautiful Sunday # 339 - Something Better

The past week went like a blur. I remember finally closing a report I've been doing for months. I had my last meeting with my class, this means the first semester is over. I have a few weeks to rest from teaching. One of the meetings I attended left me with confusing thoughts. I dealt with the same unreasonable person. I was on the brink of uttering something I would regret. I held on to my composure so nothing worth gossiping happened. :p 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 338 - Life lately and another Book Giveaway

I guess everyone has been told countless times, personal issues have no space at the workplace. But as always, reality relates a different story. Like probably everyone here, I have my own set of experiences filed in this subject. I have forgotten some, unless someone or a situation reminded me. Like whenever Facebook memories brings out old rants and hate status messages. Sometimes, I cringe after realizing my shallowness. But what I discovered lately, my blog and personal journal are the better depositories of my issues and disappointments. Everything is detailed, except for the names of some people involved. 

A few weeks ago, I was tempted to rant about someone. I wanted to upload a quote relating how that person has become uncharitable, prejudiced and narrow minded. I'd like to believe that I already outgrew this behavior. Or maybe, Google just failed to give me an appropriate and discreet quote. Hahahaha But after checking my pile of work and other grown up concerns, I shift to another episode. I'm over and done, especially after I realized that payday is still, so faraway. Hahahahaha Or the best way to distract my attention, when a freelance work has been approved and soon enough, money will be on the way. 

I would love to say that so much has been happening in my life. But truth is, I'm occupied with working opportunities and least to say, some patience testing and inconsiderate beings. The good thing however, these negativities will diminish once I paid all my bills, I have something for my family and I can squeeze in some quality time with my friends. 

Setting aside, here are some photos from last week.

My first Christmas postcard came from the Netherlands - Thank you Marieken. You know how much I love vintage inspired cards. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rustic Mornings by Isabelo

I can't count how many times I brought friends in Rustic Mornings by Isabelo. This will always be one of my favourite places in the world, or at least in my hometown. Who would have thought this quiet and cozy home in the suburbs will eventually become a popular dining place. I love the white and blue interiors, uneven mosaic tiles, old fashioned metal lamps, unique styles of each gazebo and the al fresco dining experience. More importantly, the place's all day breakfast menu won my heart. :) 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blog Giveaway Winner : Christopher Robin Book

Thank you to the 16 blog readers who joined my giveaway. Shout out to Ann, Gladys, Adrianna, Era, Jennifer, Patsy, Marivic, Claire, Agnes, Rona, Marieken, Jeremy, Kamille, Lauren. TPS and Lourdes. I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. 

I will have a second round of book giveaway in time for my favorite time of the year. :) Stay tuned for my announcement. 

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 337 - First of November

It was a great week long break. I treated myself with more than enough sleep. I accomplished some freelance works in between. I also took home some office works, which had a different ending. :p I attended to some errands, went out with my mother and visited a new place with my friend, AK. The highlight of the week was the opportunity to tour some colleagues in my hometown. We had two agenda: shoes and food. ;) I brought my colleagues to my trusted shoe outlets. We had breakfast at my favorite, Rustic Mornings by Isabelo. We also had the best Asian lunch at Eat Fresh Marikina. Next month, another group of friends signified their intention to visit my hometown. As always,  I'm more than willing to tour everyone. Count me in if you have plans of eating and shoe shopping. 

It's been a while since I captured nice photos from home. So here's a few during my week long break. 

And it was all yellow - I miss my real mood board, books and checking out my stash of postal mail. Likewise, it's been a while since I last went to the Post Office. I need to send out postcards for my friends, especially since another favorite holiday is coming. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 336 - Slowing Down

I'm currently savoring the week long holiday break. I'm enjoying my quiet time at home, albeit the presence of some freelance works. Aside from the Christmas break, I always look forward to the holidays of All Saints and All Souls Day.  It signals the end of my classes, I'm reunited with some of my cousins and I get some rest before the Christmas rush comes in full swing. 

Freelance works made my life over the past weeks. While I was able to accomplish everything, I felt inadequate for not complying with deadlines. I was luckily granted with extensions. Although part of me feels so lousy and disorganized. I have some areas to improve. I should have known my priorities. My only consolation, I hope my clients were contented with my work.

In the midst of all the work involved, some good things happened in between. The unexpected dinner with friends, random yet great movie finds on cable channels while freelancing, some skin related problems were finally healed, sumptuous dinner with the family and knowing that a friend has moved on after a heartbreak. Author, Cecelia Ahern called these as perfect little moments. My wish is that everyone here will have their own share.

Meanwhile, here's the past few weeks in photos

It's time to dust off the merriest decors again.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 335 - Life Lately and a Book Giveaway

Having a constant supply of freelance works has always been in my wish list every year. A few more months before 2018 ends, I'd like to believe that my wish was granted.The first quarter of 2018 gave me a great start. I had cooperative clients that led to successful projects. All the work also arrived in perfect timing. As soon as I wrap up one project, inquiries for another job started to come in.  The streak of freelance works even extended on the summer months. Everything slowed down when I started to have classes.

Fast forward to September, the last quarter of the year usually marks my lean period. Much to my surprise, I received a number of proposals .... I mean project proposals, not the proposal my mother wanted for me. Hahahaha The work involved is manageable, except that everything came at the same time. While I'm grateful for these opportunities, much of me feels disorganised, overwhelmed and worried. There's just too much on my plate these days. The next weekends will definitely be different. I have to forgo those slow, quiet and relaxing afternoons. This leads me, I'll also be away from this blog on the next weeks. To compensate my absence (as if my absence is felt hahahaha), I'm leaving a book giveaway for my Philippine based readers.

Get a chance to win this book

I'm giving away  a copy of The Little Book of POOH-isms, an original publication of Disney Press.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

All About Yves by Catherine Ormen : The Life Story of Yves Saint Laurent

Admittedly, I have limited knowledge about Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). I'm more familiar with the brand and the popular product lines such as Tribute Sandals, Cabas Bag and one of my dream bags, the Sac de Jour. But YSL or Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent as a haute couture is a stranger to me. The most I can remember about him was being bold enough to create designs that allowed women to wear comfortable tuxedos. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 334 - Messing up

Another week, another set of accomplishments. I hope so. Details of last week went like a blur. All I can recall was the need to rush my students' grades and having a rather quiet week for writing reports. There's this critical report I've been doing for months. It has always been set aside whenever a new assignment arises. I gave myself every end of the month to complete everything. Unfortunately, I messed up. My deadline extended to several months already. This is my worst record, the longest time I spent to complete this report. :( Other things where I messed up, exercise. I blame the take home work from teaching and freelance. My system can't anymore accommodate exercise for sleep. Although to my defense, I read a number of articles emphasizing choosing sleep than exercise. I found an excuse ;) but still, I'm not giving up exercise. It was the only solution I found for my aching soles.  

Setting aside my uninteresting work life, here are some photos from last week

Weekend Snacking - My all time favorite find lately is Nestle's Nestea Milk Tea. This is not the first time I shared this here. But Nestea's version is the closest substitute for those expensive milk teas on shopping malls. I just need to find out where I can find a cheap source for tapioca pearls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 333 - The storm has passed

The storm has passed ... literally and in a way, figuratively? I hope I have same answers to both questions. Let's leave the latter question in another post. ;) Last week, my social media newsfeed was flooded by warnings of an upcoming typhoon. On Thursday night, there was the unusual yet expected crowd in supermarkets and groceries. A lot took the weather advisory seriously, except in our own home. We discovered an almost empty fridge on Saturday morning. We were able to survive until lunch. We opted for unhealthy fast food for dinner. By Sunday morning, the weather was better. There was a sight of sunshine, prayers were answered.

Other than the threatening typhoon, the past week gave me some feeling of accomplishment. I was able to join the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), attended an errand to a government agency, mailed some postcards and almost finished another set of paperworks. Almost .....  because I gained another set of work upon checking my email. (insert face palm) While typing this post, my mind feels so lost with all the upcoming work. And sure enough, a malfunctioning laptop is not helpful these days. Before everything gets messed up again, here are some photos to remind me of last week. 

What I took home from the MIBF - It's a coffee table book showcasing the life of Yves Saint Laurent. Another addition to my addiction. :p If I can't own any of those coveted signature bags from the likes of Hermés, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, I'm fine collecting any of their official coffee table books. As far as I know, Louis Vuitton has the most number of releases. They have editions for bags, wardrobe, travel to the architectural styles of their stores. As mentioned in my previous post, I saw a copy of Louis Vuitton Catwalk during the MIBF. Unfortunately, budget constraints. I ended buying All About Yves. It looks too formal from the outside. To my surprise, the pages are colourful and in a way, interactive. :) It's like having a pop-up book for grown ups. I'll try to take photos of the book on my next post. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Manila International Book Fair 2018

I started attending the Manila International Book Fair three years ago. Back then, I remember not expecting anything much from the event. To my surprise, I took home two bags of books. On the succeeding years, I conditioned myself to limit my purchase. I avoided buying anything fiction. I focused on finding rare books in my wish list. Last year, I only took home one book. I bought my first hardbound coffee table book from Kate Spade. This year, I intend to do the same. I went to the hardbound section of Fully Booked and checked out the coffee table and collectors' series. This section usually contains the relatively expensive books. I'll reveal in my next post what I took home. ;) Meanwhile, I'm sharing here photos from the 39th Book Fair. I hope this will become helpful to those who are planning to join the fair until Sunday. 

There are tickets to the event. To save on costs, you can print the free passes provided by exhibitors. I used National Bookstore's passes, which you can download and print through their Instagram page.  The pdf file of the ticket can be found through this link. You can also print and present this photo from National Bookstore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 332 - Trying to be positive

It was another tiring week. There was a major event at work in the middle of the week. As always, a lot of admin work needs to be accomplished. I still handle clerical jobs like sorting documents and getting paper cuts in between. Once in a while, I drop by the bank to withdraw funds for the office. I request food delivery. I keep receipts and prepare liquidation reports. Not that I'm complaining, it's more of having a love-hate relationship. I appreciate admin work because it uses less brain and analyses. I hate it because it leaves me dead tired, after all the physical efforts it demanded. A day filled with walking and coordinating means dozing off during my train ride. On worst days, I will miss my train stop and end up alighting on the last station. 

Friday, as expected, felt like my most awaited day of freedom. Everything was wrapped up with a little surprise. I had an unexpected fridate with my girlfriends. It was the perfect way to end a loaded work week. Over the weekend, all plans were set aside to give way to .... sleep. :p These days, weekends are always devoted for rest and some photos. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 331 - Hello September

For Filipinos, September signifies one thing. It marks the beginning of the BER months, Christmas is fast approaching. Even if there are three more months before December and there are other equally significant events in between. In my case, September reminds me of my first month of working many years ago. It's been more than a decade since I entered the workforce. Maybe years ago, I still consider this as an accomplishment. These days, it has become a constant reminder of my age. It emphasizes how I turned to become one of the oldest members in our organization. :p 

Last week was filled with accomplishments. Saying this feels so fulfilling and liberating. I finished a number of reports. I did some admin work for the office. More importantly, the lengthy freelance work I've been doing for weeks was finally, accomplished. The last freelance work was one for the books. A few hours before my promised deadline, the supply of electricity was cut off. I was forced to work fast, because my laptop's battery was less than 50%. All the rush and panic were worth it because my client paid me on the next day. ;) Best feeling ever. Hahahaha Meanwhile, this reminds me of another client, who has yet to settle. I just need one more client to replace my dilapidating laptop. 

Other than work, here are photos from last week

Attempted to bake? Unfortunately, I just helped someone and took photos. Hahaha 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 330 - Last for August

Unfortunately, this is too late for a Sunday post. Last week was quite hectic because of a major event at work. I felt all the exhaustion on Friday afternoon. The extended weekend felt like a much needed  break. In as much as I'd like to rest and sleep, I have a pending freelance work. Hence, I spent both Saturday and Sunday finishing a lengthy paper. Monday was supposedly devoted for rest. But my cousins made unexpected plans. I was on rush mode again. I finished all my product photography tasks in the morning and spent the rest of the afternoon with them. We ended the day with a sumptuous dinner in one of my favourite hometown restaurants. Cafe Lidia is always, for the win! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

What you can buy for less in Hermès : My first Hermès purchase

I adore the brand, but I can never afford any of their line of bags.

I can't exactly remember when and how I discovered the brand. The nearest I can recall was from a fashion blogger and through Samantha Jones of the American series, Sex and the City. Like everyone else, I was first oriented with the two popular bags, the Birkin and Kelly. After learning how much each costs, my interest with both the bag and brand intensified. I started reading articles and what blew me away was the difficulty of acquiring either the Birkin or Kelly. Having millions of money does not guarantee any purchase. One has to line up and secure a schedule to visit, especially from their stores in France. You have to build a relationship with the sales assistants to possibly gain an offer for a bag. The relationship includes consistent purchase of expensive non-bag items. It might take two to three years for first time buyers to acquire a Kelly or Birkin. It also appears that the store implements a hidden screening process. 

While I cannot purchase any bag, I started exploring other products from the brand.  I discovered their iconic and historic line of scarves. Still very expensive. I learned about their shoes, fragrance, jewellery, ready-to-wear and surprisingly, a line of books. I discovered it when I learned that Hermès actually has an online store. If I can't afford the bag, I can probably save up for a book. Much to my surprise, the books weren't as expensive as I was expecting. 

An authentic Hermès merchandise that will not cost an arm and a leg

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 329 - On Money and Values

I just finished watching the Thai film, Bad Genius. The reviews were not deceiving, I now regret not watching it earlier. The story centers on Lynn, a top performing student single-handedly raised by his economically struggling father. Like any other parent, the modest father wanted the best education for her daughter. Lynn was sent to a prestigious school, in the hope that this will give her the ticket to study abroad. Typical to any movie, one can expect what happens when the smart and economically disadvantaged meets the wealthy yet academically struggling kids. Instead of being bullied, Lynn became an accomplice of the rich kids. What started as the usual cheating in class exams, transformed to a money making mechanism. The cheating business later progressed to a grand project aimed to provide leaks to a standardized entrance examination for US based universities. 

The unpredictable plot, suspense and hidden themes made me enjoy the film. As much as I don't want to deal with it, the scene where Bank emphasized that continuing the cheating business is way better than earning a university degree retained on me. The cheating business made Lynn and Bank earn millions of money. Some university graduates, who honestly worked their way, will probably never earn that amount of money in their lifetime. It sounds harsh and pessimistic, but reality speaks half of it. . If there's anything powerful than money, I always return to value system. But the question on how to  impart values is something I will not attempt to explain. I can claim expertise in other fields, but values education is not just me. Then again, I realized this is what we need ... even adults need some refresher course. :p Proof to this are all those viral videos that generated public outrage in Facebook. Admittedly, there was one that remained a constant topic within my circles. In my mind, it would just take another viral video or controversy to end all the heated discussions and opinions.

I always complain that I have nothing to write over the past months. This week, I guess I had more than enough. ;) Here's something to break all the rants and negativities I started. :p

My slow, quiet and relaxing weekend mornings

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 328 - Rain

Endless rain, strong winds and thunderstorms. This was how weekend started. I felt unusually tired last Friday, probably because I'm still adjusting with my evening classes. I was looking forward for a great rest and sleep. The colder weather felt relaxing, not until I woke up with heavy rains. The continuous downpour already felt frightening. Surrounding areas were already flooded. I forced myself to stay awake and thank God, the rain subsided on midnight. Hopefully, a better weather tomorrow. 

The past week went like the usual days at work. It was one of the rare weeks when I thought everything was on default mode. Somewhere in the middle of the week, something happened. Times like this always remind me of another dream job. I have always been interested in crisis management. I want to be a social media data miner, who look for hidden data patterns, formulate fact based insights and identify strategies that can rebuild a company's tainted image. 

Years ago, I thought such work was already handled by any corporate communications team. By accident, I encountered an article that related how Cebu Pacific Air handled public outrage, following the fatal crash of Flight 387 in 1998.  The article was written by no less than the President and CEO. It was the first time I discovered a Singapore based company specializing in crisis management. In 1998, social media wasn't born yet. It's a different story if everything happened today. Information dissemination is faster, the lone resort is always, damage control. Speaking of damage control, there's another sector in the country that badly needs it. Talk about the Corporate Communications team of the national government. Someone should have been fired long ago. People can always forgive her stupidity and turn everything to a comic relief. Unfortunately, absence of moral decency, problematic attitude and disposition should be placed somewhere.  <end of my rant>

Trying to make everything feel a little positive, here are snapshots from last week

Discovered a new favorite - It has been months since Boulangerie 22 opened at Gateway Mall. I never tried it because I thought it was expensive. Added to this, I rarely encounter reviews. But because I was craving for something different, I decided to give it a try. There were no regrets, I love their salted caramel chocolate cake (the rare times I enjoyed anything chocolate), Holy Cheesus mini loaf and my all time favorite, green matcha s'mores cookie. Prices are relatively the same with Bread Talk, although I found more choices here. The bakery appears French, though I sense it's owned by a Korean based company, like Tous Le Jours. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 327 - Disappointments

The weekend gave us a better weather. I woke up on a warm Saturday morning with fresh fruits and the smell of a homecooked meal. I captured some photos, had lunch with the family and met one of my favorite friends in the afternoon. On Sunday, we celebrated my cousin's birthday with a sumptuous lunch and dessert. Everything felt slow and relaxing, it was the perfect way to end a disappointing week. I have a long narrative at the end of this post. Before anything else, here are some photos from last week. 

Unhealthy and healthy - trying to create something from these two bowls 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 326 - Last for July

This weekend feels quite unusual. There are no freelance works and deadlines to chase. I'm restless, part of me feels there's something needed to be done. Maybe, it's time to #KonMari or tidy up my room again, start and finish a drama series and go back reading. But deep inside, all I wanted is to eat and sleep. ;) The more I age, the more I appreciate my sleeping hours. On weekdays, it's a luxury to get eight hours of sleep. More so, when my part time teaching stint requires me to report at 7 am. My new schedule left me quite surprised, it's been years since I had early morning classes. The three-month break also made my teaching skills feel a little rusty. Oh well, it has always been like this after a vacation. 

Before the weekend started, a retired colleague and mentor celebrated her birthday. It was an afternoon filled with great food and laughter. I also met former colleagues and just like that, it felt like the good old days again. They always say, people come and go, especially at the workplace. In my case, most just end up leaving. It's a rare case to have colleagues turned friends, who make their presence felt. I share the same fate with people I became close with in college and graduate studies. I guess, I will never get used to with this inevitable part of life.

I think I'm getting too serious again. On the lighter side, here are some pictures from last week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Essential Oil Review : Breathe Essence of Life

I can't exactly remember when and how did I discover essential oils. My guess is from some bloggers I follow.  My interest intensified when I encountered more people sharing photos and life changing experiences. I became more curious, I was willing to spend for the sake of trying. Much to surprise, the first brand I encountered was way above my budget. I wasn't ready to spend Php 8,000 for a starter kit. I discovered other brands but just the same, expensive. I guess I was quite lucky because an online friend gifted me with a complete starter kit. Thanks P! I received a diffuser and eight variants of oil.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 325 - Extended breaks

It has been raining non-stop in Manila the past week. Rare times like this make me happy only because of the colder weather. Unfortunately, this weather is always coupled with the hassles of flooded streets, suspension of train's operations, traffic and worst case, temporary shut down of electricity. Having been working for a school, classes were suspended and I was spared from some of these inconveniences. I spent the past days at home getting more than enough sleep, browsing my social  media accounts and watching some drama series. 

Like what I always expected, I thought I will be enjoying my quiet time at home. Unfortunately or fortunately, more time meant discovering some much needed home repairs. The sight of stained ceilings and stripping paint on walls disturbs me. I gained another unpleasant surprise when I sought an estimate for a repainting job. The cost was way above my expectation. This again brings me to freelance works. :p (Since 2018 started, I think all my Sunday posts contained freelance works.) But seriously, any  #RAKETship (freelance work) is always, a welcomed opportunity even without a need. ;)

On the less serious side of my life, I watched Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again with my friend A. Like the first sequel, it didn't disappoint. It's 5 out of 5 stars from the acting, singing and entire production. It was refreshing to see Santorini and all shades of blue. Other than the story, I can't help but notice the resemblance of English actress, Lily James and Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach. I'm also bothered with the evident fine lines on Amanda Seyfried's face. She looked older than her age. Pierce Brosnan is still handsome, except that he looked a little fat in the movie. :p 

Here are more from the past week in photos

A few of my favorites - Amazing Grace will always be one of my favorite scents. I find the citrus scent of Breath Essence's essential oil so refreshing. I bought a new and illustrated version of The Little Prince from National Bookstore. I can't resist the pastel colored illustrations. Lastly, Faith Love Hope's Pure Love Organic Balm serve as my companion before sleeping. It helps me reduce my feet's numbness every morning. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 324 - Family

When 2018 started, one of my closest family members will be reaching a milestone age. My Father will turn 70 years old. In my family, such age spells two words, food and celebration. My initial plan was to rent a modest place for my paternal family. My wish was to celebrate in this popular and trusted Filipino-Chinese restaurant in my hometown. For those who live in Marikina, you might be familiar with Luyong Restaurant. I initially dismissed the idea because a relative claimed that the rates have become expensive. I don't know what prompted me but during summer, I decided to personally inquire. Much to my surprise, their rates were very affordable. I booked a weekend schedule and the rest was another priceless occasion spent with my family. Thank you to my #FunFabFam and I have to mention, the very efficient staff of Luyong Restaurant.

Other than my Father's birthday, here's the past week in photos.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 323 - Halfway 2018

And just like that, half of the year is gone. I'm trying to recall all the significant events and accomplishments over the past months. Like what I always mention, it has been freelance works.

A few days ago, I chanced upon someone, who tested my patience and caused me to have some trust issues. It has been years since she intentionally failed to settle her debt and blocked me on her social media accounts. Honestly, I'm not sure if I have forgiven or forgotten. One thing I know, the experience caused me to change the way I treat other people. I know, I sound unfair and prejudicial. Unfortunately, my defense mechanism led me to this behavior. 

On to the positive side, I love it when people make all means to reconnect and rekindle our friendship. Within the week, I met former students for dinner and coffee. This rarely happens because most of the time, I belong to the unloved segment of instructors. :p Of the 10 years I've been taking part time teaching stints, I can count the number of former students, who later turned as friends. In other news, I discovered that the first batch of college kiddies I handled turned 30 years old!!!! I'm still in touch with some of them through Facebook and lately, I've been seeing photo uploads of 30th birthday celebrations!!!! It makes me feel so old, all the more when I discovered that the students I'll be handling this semester were born on the year 2000. (Nakakaloka!!!)  They don't know the Y2K bug. They were toddlers when our country impeached a president. And speaking of which, I hope these kiddies will no longer experience another EDSA revolution. My mother was pregnant with me during the first EDSA. I was in college when the second EDSA and worst foreign exchange depreciation happened. I thought that was the last time I will see 1 USD = Php 50. :(

Okay, I think I wrote a lot of negativities already. Let me share highlights of the past week in photos.

I created my own breakfast bowl. I'm thankful to the generous Instagram users who shared their recipes. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 322 - First of July

I wasn't able to blog last weekend because .... freelance works. :) Everything needs to be accomplished before Monday. In effect, I confined myself at home over the weekend. Come Sunday, I felt I needed some reward. So here comes food delivery to the rescue. ;) I craved for Charlie Chan and chicken wings from Yellow Cab. As of typing this post, I feel that I didn't have enough Charlie Chan and part of me wants some doughnuts from J.Co. :D It's always like this whenever I get overwhelmed with work.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 321 - 2018 on its first half

Halfway of the year now, I'm trying to recall anything significant and meaningful when 2018 started. Unlike last year, the first months were relatively lighter in terms of my day job. What ended to be challenging was the freelance works. If I'm not mistaken, this year gave me the most opportunities. I'm more than thankful because it meant additional income, unexpected learning and a great way to break the monotony of my day job. 

I didn't make any out-of-town trips, but the hotel staycation somehow compensated. I was able to catch a few good movies and missed a few I have been awaiting. I haven't seen the last sequel of Pitch Perfect. I got hooked with K dramas like Birth of a Beauty and My Golden Life. Once in a while, I get to see some of good old friends. I have friends I only see once a year. But I have those who make all means to accommodate random meet ups. There were also those who make their presence felt, albeit online. My constant learning over friendships, it has always been presence over presents. And quoting some lyrics from a nice song, those who can let the distance keep our friendships together. 

It's been a month since I made a journal entry. I don't know if I'm losing the interest. These days, my spare time has always been spent sleeping, reading or watching some K drama. Last year, journaling made me discover a community of fellow grown ups, who still love stickers, washi tapes, stationery and all the beautiful paper stuff. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review : Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli

It was one of those random trips at the bookstore when I first encountered Star Girl. Truth to be told, I only got attracted with minimalistic yet intriguing cover. Despite the interesting story, I wasn't keen on buying the book. Save for the few good reviews I read, I remembered it when I saw the last copy from National Bookstore's first Book Binge Bazaar. I got it for almost half of its retail price.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 320 - Halfway June

I'm typing this post after a sumptuous father's day dinner with my family. We opted for Filipino-Chinese food and had it delivered in the comforts of our home. I will never get tired of weekends like this. My family is not the hardest to please, even a bag of popcorn and ice cold Coke will do.

The past week was probably the longest unexpected break I had this year. It all started with the two national holidays and the series of class suspensions. I spent the rest of the week working at home. The colder weather has been conducive both for working and sleeping. But as always, sleeping is the easier option. Situations like this make me always dream of working at home. For some reason, I feel more productive and get my working pace on the wee hours of the morning. Maybe because no one distracts me at 1 am, except for a hungry stomach. It's also easier to resist food temptations because food deliveries are not available. (and please don't give an idea where to get food from midnight till dawn)

Other than the colder weather, I can't seem to remember anything significant last week. Save for a few accomplishments, a freelance work and a major report from my day job. I was able to watch Ocean's 8 with my friend A. I enjoyed the film, even if reviews don't seem to agree. I've always been a fan of Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway. I was also entertained with the cameo appearances of Katie Holmes, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour.

Here's more from the past week in photos

And I was able to finish my second book for this year :p - I'm far from my usual target of one book every month. These days, much of my spare time is spent sleeping or checking my social media accounts. Halfway 2018, I only managed to finish two books. :p I really wish I could read more. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 319 - Rainy days

It was another typical work week. Morning rush, crowded trains, consolidating reports, coordinating with offices, lunch break with my friends, catching sunsets while walking to the train station, trying my best to squeeze in some exercise, and checking my social media accounts until I fall asleep. In the middle of everything, the news gave me more than enough surprises. It started when this unreliable female government official committed another disgraceful act. If she was working in our organization, she has already been subjected to some serious disciplinary action. But from the looks of everything, she is keeping her position. The rest of us have no choice but to accept this bitter reality Our hard earned taxes will always be used to support some unworthy government officials. Okay, end of my rant. ;)

In other news, the death of Kate Spade and Antony Bourdain has been occupying my mind the past few days. Honestly, I hate it when some people undermine and play victim blaming. I may not have the expertise in Psychology to argue, but I will never have the heart to blame Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and all those lives taken away by depression. One of the best articles I read about depression and mental illness is this post from Joanna Goddard

Kate Spade is one of those brands I discovered from blogging. She will always remind me of vibrant colors, bows and polka dots. I will always admire her style, creativity and bravery. She is a game changer, artist and entrepreneur who made things happen. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 318 - First of June

And just like that, the summer months are over. Classes are starting again and soon enough, traffic in Manila is expected to worsen. While it has been the same cycle every year, I guess the little surprises along the way make the difference. Visiting a new place, reconnecting with some good old friends, discovering something may it be in work or life in general and always realizing that I'm getting older and older. In millenial lingo, adulting is hard. ;) 

I took a day off from work last week. It was a good decision because I was able to rest well and spent quality time with my family. A good TV show, unhealthy food delivery (pizza, chicken wings and Coke) and the chance to visit the National Museum of Natural History. I may not have out-of-town trips this year, but  I appreciate discovering new places even within the city.

Meanwhile, here's more from the past week in photos.

Weekly table mess

Saturday, June 2, 2018

National Museum of Natural History

Friday, June 1, 2018

Selyong Pamana 2018 - An Exhibit of the Philippine Postal Coporation

A few days ago, I received an invite from the Corporate Communications team of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost / Post Office). As someone who still finds happiness in letter writing, postcards and stamps, the invite means a lot to me. Added to this, I learned that my blog was discovered because of the posts I made for the Philpost. Yay! . 

Recently, the Philpost organized an exhibit called Selyong Pamana. The event featured the historical evolution of Philippine issued stamps. 

I almost missed this event, even though I visit the Post Office at least once a month. Good thing, I immediately read the last day invite.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 317 - End of May

It's the last few days of May. Soon enough, summer is officially over. Save for the classic question, where did time go? It has been the same cycle every year, may it be in work or life in general. What differentiates everything are the memories that came with it. I don't have out of town trips. I really miss traveling. I hope to see a new place at least before 2018 ends. Except for the unexpected hotel staycations, there's nothing significantly memorable. Probably, save for the few times I had unplanned dinners with friends. The rest was all about my day job, blessings of freelance works, two straight months of wearing sneakers (best decision ever) and catching sunsets because I don't have evening classes. 

The next months mean back to normal working mode. This reminds me, I will miss the less traffic and spacious trains, because students are on vacation. Although this year, the institution where I work for synchronized with the international school calendar. I'm not sure how will this work, considering that typhoons in Manila arrive on the months of July to October. Actually, a number of schools in Manila have adjusted their opening of classes. Unfortunately, not everyone is synced because some start in July, August and a few on September. I sound so pessimistic and someone against changes. Hahahaha I may not appear supportive but deep inside, I'm anything that leads to improvement. After all, it's one of my responsibilities at work. I will not get on the details of my work. One thing sure, I do things that bore other people. ;)

So much about my sentiments, here are the beautiful things that happened last week

Weekly table mess

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Beautiful Sunday# 316 - Halfway May

The past few hours was spent stalking details of the Royal Wedding. ;) I watched the livestream while checking the contents of my social media accounts. Things I appreciate include the simple yet elegant plant ornaments at St. George's Chapel, Lady Jane Fellowes (Princess Diana's youngest sister) rendered the only reading, entrance of Prince William and Prince Harry (Princess Diana must have been smiling in heaven), Prince Harry's wedding suit and seeing a junior version on Prince George and the other pageboys, Duchess Meghan's veil details that represented the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, restored E-type blue Jaguar the couple used to head to their after-wedding party and The Kingdom Choir's rendition of Stand by Me. As for the best dressed, I love Kitty Spencer's D&G green dress, Karen Spencer's monotone look, and Victoria Beckham's navy dress. 

Other than the most awaited Royal Wedding, the past days were fine (I guess) except for some manageable hiccups at work. So far, I'm enjoying the rare times I can leave the workplace early. I can still catch sunsets in Manila. And these days, me and my friend A have been walking towards the train station. Our usual route includes passing along the historic Escolta Street. And as always, we still wish that an administration will finally have a sustainable action to restore its glorious days. If that is too much to ask, a great clean up project can work as its initial stage of restoration.

Meanwhile, here's more from last week in photos

Weekly table mess - I'm impressed with the quality of my Instax photos. There was no indication of discoloration, even though some of the were taken more than 5 years ago. Although these days, I rarely use my Instax mini. Maybe it's time to take it out and use it again. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 315 - Two weeks after

Two weeks!!! I'm not sure if anyone here noticed. I didn't upload any Sunday post for two consecutive weeks. It almost went to three, because this post didn't make it on a Sunday. As much as I'd like to say, there has been so much going on with my life, the real reason was shallow. Freelance works got in the way. :p I've become a slave of my desire to earn additional money. The past weekends meant chasing deadlines, mining data and what seems to be an endless process of editing. While I can always handle the bulk of workload, the changing requirements never fail to exhaust and irritate me. I was working from midnight till dawn. I will force myself to wake up before lunch, with bad skin and swollen face. I even made plans for this weekend. Finish some work and the never ending promise to exercise. Unfortunately, my laziness overpowered everything. ;) 

I was trying to recall all the events that happened the past two weeks. First thing that came in my mind was the historic event between North and South Korea. While for my dear country, I'll keep my mouth shut about everything. :( These days, I just entertain myself with a nice movie, good food and the company of some great friends. I recently discovered Kore-eda Hirokazu's films and the happiness of eating Samgyeopsal. I swear, I can survive a week eating grilled pork belly wrapped in fresh lettuce. I recently watched The Third Murder, one of the critically acclaimed films of Kore-eda Hirozaku. I love the movie and discovered that he also directed another Japanese film that I love, Like Father, Like Son

I don't have much stories to share because life over the past weeks have been the same. Work-home-freelance work- sleep :D I almost forgot, some online shopping. ;) Other than these monotony, here's the past week in pictures.

Weekly table mess

Monday, April 23, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 314 - Out and about

Unexpected. This was the nearest theme I can assign for the past weekend. After a full week of work and some personal drama :p, I booked a hotel staycation with my friend A at the last minute. My intention was to stay home and sleep over the weekend. Despite feeling tired and weak, I rushed to the hotel and the rest was another relaxing and memorable weekend.

We got lucky with the last minute reservation. We were given a room with a view.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 313 - Halfway April

The past week was surprisingly exhausting for me. It started when I failed to foresee some overtime work. A freelance work forced me to work on a tight deadline. And somewhere along the way, some grown up concerns made its presence. I was doing fine on Monday. Tuesday was manageable. Wednesday marked the start of everything. I have less than 5 hours of sleep. I rendered overtime on the succeeding days. By Friday night, I felt all the exhaustion and sleepiness. I slept on the way home and almost missed my last stop. On weekends, all I did is sleep. I spent more than 10 hours in bed for two days. I felt a little recharged, but not my lousy and obese weight. I badly needed exercise. For the nth time, I hope to return to my exercise routine. 

Those who have been reading my blog know how much I love handwritten notes, letters to postcards. For a while, I thought I outgrew this interest. It started when email, Friendster (back then), Facebook and all other social media channels entered my life. When I started working, this old school way of communicating found its way on me again. And much to my surprise, I started to gain friends through this medium. Most of them started as blog friends and later, became letter-writing / penfriends. The opportunities for friendship even extended in my Instagram account. I found readers / followers / post crossing friends and acquaintances. Please keep them coming! While not everyone maybe interested in stamps, mail and letter writing, I always welcome new friendships, albeit online.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Flowers Express Philippines : A Service Review

A few weeks ago, I thought of surprising a friend on her birthday. Her biggest wish was to meet or receive a greeting from her favourite celebrity couple. I made all means to reach "this couple." Take note, I've been communicating through their Instagram accounts over the last 3 years. There was no glimmer of hope, my messages were  either "seen zoned" or not read at all. This year, I decided to change plans. Although a month ago, I still made the last try... failure. :p

Anyway, it was time to have better plans. I thought of surprising my friend with something alarming and disturbing.. in a positive way. :p The first that came to my mind was sending a dozen of roses and tagging it from a secret admirer.  Instead of mentioning "secret admirer," I played around and made it appear that the flowers were sent by the male celebrity. 

I searched for local sites offering flower delivery in the Philippines. The first shops I remembered were Designer Blooms and Island Rose. Both online shops were fine, except for the price ranges. I searched for alternatives and was quite surprised with the number of local shops offering the service. But results that helped me the most was this article from Like List. I checked and compared offers, I eventually landed at Flowers Express Philippines

I chose this shop because it has the cheapest deals and free shipping in Metro Manila. Although on hind sight, I realised it's weak in terms of selections. As of this date, choices are limited to Roses, Mums and Gerberas.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 311 - Holy Week Break

Unfortunately, this is late for my usual Sunday post. I thought I have more than enough time during the Holy Week break. But family reunions and rushed freelance works took a toll on my health. What I thought as petty dizziness attacks eventually intensified. My world was literally spinning as soon as I wake up.  I now understood what Vertigo meant. Dizziness that heighten even when I attempt to close my eyes. I was advised to refrain from doing anything stressful, which includes using my laptop, mobile phone and prolonged hours of watching TV. I followed medical orders, except using my mobile phone. :p I need my mobile phone to keep me occupied and inspired?!!! especially when stalking my crush’s Instagram account. Hahahahaha Another unfortunate reality, Instagram is the only way I can be updated with Ho-pin Tung. (Read my past Sunday posts to know more about him. Hahahahaha)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 310 - Messed up March

Yes, that's how the month of March went for me. Half of the month meant beating deadlines and challenging freelance works. I felt so disorganized. I can't figure out which to prioritize. All I have in mind are tasks needed to be accomplished. Never mind if it meant going to bed around 2 am and forcing myself to get up for my day job. This lifestyle caused me problematic skin, unexplained cravings and deprived exercise. It's been more than two weeks since I worked out. These days, it's only the summer heat that's causing me to sweat. I'm hoping to return to my routine next week. I'm afraid to face the weighing scale again. :( hahahaha It's time for payback and bounce back.

At this point, I'd like to believe that much of the workload has been accomplished. I can concentrate on my day job and personal errands. Hopefully, the upcoming Holy Week break will permit me to reorganize and experience that much needed rest. 

I miss the days when I can keep away my laptop to finish a freelance work. This weekend, I'm back to my usual messy table. Checking my pile of postcards, books and writing entries in my planner. I guess the only time I need my laptop is when I need to watch movies and some K drama. :p

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Beautiful Sunday # 309 - Summer is starting to be felt

I'm typing this post on a hot and humid Sunday morning. Summer is making its presence. I miss the cold breeze in the morning and evening after work. It's those rare times when coming home after work is less stressful. The colder weather is so soothing and relaxing. Other than this "sweaty" weather, this season signals the end of another school year. It's graduation season again and for us in the academe, it meant additional work ahead. In my case, it's report writing season. Speaking of papers, a huge chunk of it has finally been removed in my list. Although upon checking, I have a pending freelance work due on Monday and here I am, blogging and still needs to report for work on a Sunday. :p I'm still feeling messed up especially with a malfunctioning phone again, again and again. I love the iPhone I received from my Smart plan. But its defects have been causing me a lot of trouble. The one-year warranty has caused me endless trips to Power Mac's Service Center, which by the way included 3 times of phone replacement!!! I have been issued three defective units within one year. Beat that!!! So with a heavy heart, I have to move back to an android phone again. 

After a full week, I had the perfect start for the weekend. We visited my mother's hometown to attend my cousin's wedding.