Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 My Year in Review

Just a few hours left until we officially say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017! Looking back at how my year went by has become an annual tradition for me ever since I started it.

2011 was the year of exploration. I quit my job earlier in the year without a new steady job to go to. Took a swing at writing freelance full time. I also explored other cities in the Metro. 2012 was a sad year for me overall because of my father's passing due to an illness and so I didn't really write about the year that had been. 2013 was the year full of adventures. It was the year I decided to enroll in LEAP, an amazing leadership program that made all those adventures happen and where I met so many awesome people I now call friends. 2014 was all about my relationships - building new ones, rekindling old ones and strengthening friendships I already have. And 2015 was the year of travel for me. I went exploring both in and out of the country with friends and family last year.

This year, 2016, for me has been a year full of discovery. It's also a year I crossed off a lot of things I've been wanting to do for so long off of my bucket list. What do I mean by that?

1. It's a year of discovering new food joints! 

I didn't often blog this year. But when I looked back at my old posts, I realized it's full of food posts!
I had a burger at Hole in the Wall, an upscale food court in Century City Mall. I ate at an ancestral home that's been turned into a charming restaurant. Tried a new pizza place near our office. Had a taste of New York. Discovered a not-so-new pasta place which serves seriously good pastas! These are just to name a few by the way!  

It's no wonder I became overweight this year!

2. I had a weekend staycation at a new posh hotel in Pasay 

If you've been in the area of Mall of Asia this year, particularly around the bay area, you probably have noticed this building that's shaped like a ship. That's Conrad Manila. When I saw that hotel, I told myself, I want to experience staying there. And I got to do so when a dear old friend came back from London for a visit.

3. I finally experienced what's it's like to attend a murder mystery party!

Really. I've always wanted to know how that would feel like. It's from growing up reading mystery novels like Nancy Drew. So when I read online that there's a company in the Philippines that organizes one, I hosted a murder mystery party right in time for my birthday and invited some friends. It was a party to die for.

4. I had a couple of travels. 

Where to next?

One was for work in Cebu. The other a vacation in Singapore. My Cebu travel was a pretty chill one. It didn't feel like work at all. It turned out to be a welcome break from all the stress back in Manila. As for the latter trip well that gave me clarity on what I wanted to focus on this coming 2017.

You see before I went on my trip, I met up with my Serenity friends. My friend, Jaton was getting married in October and so we decided to set a day to meet up and bond and also of course so he could give us our invites to the wedding. Jaton asked us that day what we wanted to create this 2017? Was it the year of love? A year focused on growing career wise? I had no idea what to answer back then. I was so confused and bothered that I didn't know which among the many things I wanted in life to prioritize for the next year.

After that trip however, I got my answer. I'd like to refer to that trip as a true eye opener. Not gonna get into the details anymore but it's safe to say that my relationship with my friends - how strong was our bond - was also tested during that travel. I learned a lot about me and how I handle troublesome situations and I learned a lot about my friends too. I'll tell you more about what the answer is on a separate post. Meanwhile, you can read my Singapore travel diary.

5. A relaxing massage at Neo Day Spa 

You know what's a great way to destress? A trip to the spa! And I've read about Neo Day Spa a couple of years ago and I've since wanted to drop by this posh spa. Thanks to my spa loving friend, Anerine, I finally got to try it and I have to say the service here is wonderful! I highly urge you to try!

Our post spa glow

6. I met #JaDine this year. 

I'm a fan of this love team! Ever since their Diary ng Panget movie came out, I've shipped them. I even watched their concert on Pay per View earlier this year. Show of hands who was thrilled to find out they've become Team Reel to Team Real? I know I was!

This year, I met them both in person!

Nadine is so pretty! And James is sooooo cute!!!! I was super thrilled to meet them both!

7. And lastly, 2016 was the year I upped my Instagram game. 

I especially enjoyed sharing OOTDs on Instagram because honestly, I love dressing up! And doing OOTD shoots with my friend, Jordan, I've discovered I actually enjoy doing it and sharing it online! Next year, I'm going to blog more about my OOTDs and I will be calling it StyLIZed. My #2016bestnine only proves this! Most are OOTD shots.

So even though I know there are some shitty things that have happened in 2016, in my life, there's still been a lot of good things that took place. 2017, I'm excited to see what you'll be like for me! Next year I will move forward with love and passion as my life's theme.

Happy New Year folks!!!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blog Giveaway: Brew Your Best Year with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's The Giving Journal 2017

Every time I'm about to ring in the new year, I like to plan on how I want the next 365 days of my life to be. When I was a kid, I used to do so by creating New Year's Resolutions like so many other people. But for some time now, I've been doing so by writing down my plans on paper so a planner always comes in handy for me!

Aside from that however, I also like to jot random things on my planner - from friends' birthdays/special occasions to work meetings, to blog post ideas to expenses I've incurred and things I have to buy - an idea I've adopted from my Dad. I know, I'm so old school! A lot of peeps nowadays rely on their smartphones for that but whatever. I like my system. 

Anyhow, I've finally decided on the planners - yes, multiple (actually just 2) - I'm going to use for 2017! And because I also like having coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with Ryan a lot, I've been able to complete stamps from them already resulting in multiple planners!

I actually like CBTL's The Giving Journal. For one thing, they come in colorful versions.


It's also got inspirational notes with really nice illustrations inside which really lives up to their Brew Your Best Year brand messaging. 


It's also got a good enough space to write down things everyday whether they're goals, meetings or just random things.

And of course, for the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf lovers, some coupons you can use when you visit!

Plus with The Giving Journal you're also supporting CBTL's advocacy. It's not called The Giving Journal for nothing! Every cup purchased and every Giving Journal redeemed helps enable the dream of Real Life scholars to take flight. Read more about that here

Don't you just love this time of the year? You've got a delicious coffee to drink while you chat with friends, do some work or just while the time away perhaps accompanied by a good book to read or a laptop for your TV or movie marathons (CBTL offers free WiFi for Swirl card holders) and at the same time, you get to have a very nice planner while being able to help someone too! I know I do.  

Want to make this 2017 your best year ever? This planner can be the perfect companion! And on that note, because Christmas is the time for giving, I'm giving 2 people The 2017 Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Giving Journal! 

The mechanics are simple - it's follow, tweet and comment! And by New Year's Day 2017, I'm picking out the 2 winners! Oh and this contest is open to Philippine residents only

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mini Vacation in Cebu

December is usually a busy time at work for me because of back to back events. This year, at this time of the month, I found myself unexpectedly traveling back to Cebu for work again.

Cebu's the province that I've been to quite a lot - mostly for work. Even though that may be the case, I usually try to do a little bit of sight seeing.  This year, I did that too. I went to the newly opened SM Seaside Cebu and Temple of Leah. But to be honest, this didn't feel like much work to me. It almost felt like a real vacation - short as it may have been - still a vacation is a vacation.

First time to use AirBnB locally and I had no regrets. I'll tell you a little bit more about the place next post. But I think that's how it started - the feeling that I was on vacation and not work. 

What places did I go to this year? Well, for starters I went to the newly opened SM Seaside Cebu along with my workmates. I know it's a mall. What's to see in a mall? We followed this guide. Actually I didn't get to do everything in the list. A few of it at least.

The Cinemas - We didn't watch a movie there. But we did take photos at the cinema lobby. There's a wall there that's so Instagram worthy - it's very colorful. 

We also checked out Sky Park where you'll see Water Play which is a great place for kids to play at! Actually watching them made me wish Water Play was also open for adults! Ha ha!

And Kenneth Cobonpue's exhibit is there as well. It's actually the playground.

Also took a photo of the different colored spiral staircases. My favorite of course is this apple green. Incidentally, this is going to be 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. Isn't that awesome?

Also saw The Cube which is kind of like Mall of Asia' LED giant globe except the Cube's not LED but I didn't take a selfie with that anymore. I also visited Chapel of Pedro Calungsod. It was drizzling when I went there and there was a wedding going on so I also did not take photos. 

Another sight I saw in Cebu this year? The Temple of Leah. It's our very own version of the Taj Mahal - it's built for love by Ellen Adarna's father, Teodorico Soriano Adarna for his late wife, Leah Villa Albino Adarna in 2012.  

With all the statues in the place, it feels like being transported to Rome and Greece which is well the architectural design of the place. 

The grand staircase with the statue of the woman this temple was dedicated to. I'm just gonna say this gesture is seriously romantic. I think this can make any cynic believe there's such a thing as real love. 

Temple of Leah now has an entrance fee of Php50. I think that's to support the continuous construction of the area.

And since this is a sort of vacation, there was a lot of eating involved too! 

And finally, these were my hard working, fun-loving, and easy-going companions who made this Cebu trip memorable. 

Nicole with her "candid" shot at Temple of Leah.   

Glydel and Fate on another BTS shot 

Group shots taken with the Lenovo VIBE Shot. Fate's working the panoramic selfie shot since I have shaky hands and can't seem to figure out how to work it even though it's my phone. Ha! Ha!

Of all the work trips I've done in Cebu, this has been by far the best trip of them all. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The new Taylor Swift song I'm loving

I recently stumbled upon this song while I was browsing through my Facebook feed. It's called Better Man by Little Big Town. It's written by none other than Taylor Swift. That girl knows how to write about heartaches... Every woman who's ever had her heart broken could probably find a Taylor Swift song that would speak to her... One that mirrors her own experience. Yes, I'm a Swiftie. I'm not embarrassed to say that at all.

I personally have Taylor Swift songs that I could relate to. And this song is now part of that list.

I know I'm probably better off on my own

Than loving a man who didn't know
What he had when he had it
And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic
I wish it wasn't four a.m., standing in the mirror
Saying to myself, you know you had to do it
I know the bravest thing I ever did was run

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again

But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye
Like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
A better man

I know I'm probably better off all alone

Than needing a man who could change his mind at any given minute
And it's always on your terms
I'm hanging on every careless word
Hoping it might turn sweet again
Like it was in the beginning

I wonder what we would've become
If you were a better man
We might still be in love
If you were a better man
You would've been the one
If you were a better man

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Favorite Fashion Accessory: Moto 360 2nd Gen

Confession: I am not a watch person. It's the accessory I least wear.

It's not that I don't like watches. In fact, I've seen a lot of watches that I imagined myself wearing from Swatch to Ice Watch to  Avon. It's just that I keep forgetting to wear one. But I'm in love with a certain watch right now - the Moto 360 2nd gen.

It looks like your average watch right? Wrong! The Moto 360 2nd gen is actually a smart watch. It's just that unlike most smart watches in the market, this one adopts the circular design of watches. I love the color of this particular watch - Rose Gold which is part of Moto's fashion line of Moto 360 smart watches. They also have a sporty line for those who are very active in their exercise regimens.

My friend, Ryan always complains that I'm on my phone a lot. I have a tendency to keep on checking for text messages, emails, social media notifications etc. I actually don't like checking my phone a lot especially when I'm in the movies since it's so dark there, a light from the phone can be distracting to other viewers.

With Moto 360, I could easily check on notifications just by glancing on my wrist. All I need is a Bluetooth connection (to check on my messages and calls or glance at the time) and to be connected to the Internet (to get online notifications; play my Spotify music; check on my emails).

Oh and it also has this feature called Moto Body which tells you how active you've been in a day kind of like a pedometer that tracks down the number of steps you take, only better since it also tells you heart rate and calories burned. And you'll get a summary of this on your email - just set it up.

It has been the only watch I've worn frequently. It's such a cool gadget. And yes, like I said I love it as a fashion accessory that I have taken a couple of photos of me wearing it as part of my OOTD.

Outfit: Top and shorts (For Me) 

Outfit: Uniqlo dress

Outfit: Something Borrowed from Zalora 

I really love this watch. Sadly it was on borrowed time. Get it? (",) I'm really not the kind of girl who gets swayed by new gadgets but this is one of those moments I'm thinking I should get one for myself. Can somebody just give this as a Christmas gift to me? (",)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I Love About the Metro

I enjoy living in the big city because there's just so many sights to see and things to do around! I'm always on the lookout for something to fill my weekends actually - sometimes even things I can do after work.

Are you looking for something new, interesting and/or fun to do? Allow me to make some suggestions.  

1. Go watch a play.

Kapeng Barako Club Samahan ng mga Bitter is set to hold a number of shows this October and November. I've seen this Palanca-award winning play by Juan Ekis a couple of years ago with my friend, Ryan and I will tell you it's a really good play! Reserve your tickets for the show as early as now as it can get sold pretty fast. 

2. Go old school and play board games

When I was growing up, my Dad bought me a lot of board games! My favorite was Monopoly. Who would've thought fast forward years later that playing board games can be cool again and have become an interesting business to boot? Well if you grew up loving board games too or just looking for some new thing to do with your friends and special someone, try going to Dyce and Dyne on October 16. I went here before when a couple of work colleagues and I needed to pass the time (aka avoid the traffic at EDSA) and we had a whole lot of fun playing! 

3. Celebrate #NationalPamperingDay at Nail-a-holics  

Looking for an escape from the daily stress without leaving the city? Go pamper yourself at Nail-a-holics on October 17 when they celebrate the first ever #NationalPamperingDay of the country! You can get a free manicure and hand massage from 10am to 12noon. 

4. Party the Night Away on Halloween

I love Halloween! And I'm so glad that over the years, we've started to celebrate this holiday! Trick or treats in the malls and Halloween parties abound! I still remember the Halloween party I attended with my friend, Maila before. It was soooo fun! Wanna party it up on All Hallows Eve? Check out the party happening in New World Hotel this Oct 28

5. Get cultured and watch a Spanish Film

I learned about this one from my friend, Ver who decided to watch a Spanish film recently to pass the time. It was a Thursday night and it was raining hard which spelled horrendous traffic. I've developed an interest in watching such films from my Film professor in College because he used to make us spend Saturdays just watching films of different genres from different countries. The Pelicula Pelikula 2016 Spanish Film Festival will run until October 16 at Greenbelt 3 Cinemas. For more information about this, log on to Instituto Cervantes Facebook page.   

6. Learn more about blogging 

If you're a blogger who's really serious about her craft, you might want to check out Martine De Luna's Write Blissfully workshop happening in November. As Martine describes it, "it's limited to a small group of dedicated and passionate bloggers, entrepreneurs and creatives who are committed to creative success during our time together. In a span of 7 hours, we will “batch write” together, as a group of passionate women. This is a group that is COMMITTED to having a "get-it-done" mentality!"  

7. Tune in to your kikay self and learn make up! 

Rustan's is holding a make up workshop about Minerals on October 15 at Rustant's Makati. You've probably read about mineral makeup, have heard about it or even seen it. But what's so special about using mineral makeup particularly Jane Iredale? That's something for you to find out! You can reserve a slot by (0917) 555 6984.

8. Attend the BDJ Fair 

My favorite brand of power planners is back to launch their 2017 planners! I super love BDJ. I've been a BDJ girl since 2012! And they just keep on getting better not only with the planners they design but the events! And the annual BDJ Fair happening on October 16 at MOA Music Hall is a must attend! It's a day filled with workshops, brand booths and other exciting activities! Plus it's where you can first get your hands on the 2017 planners! Buy VIP Passes to this event!

City Event Staples 

8. Weekend markets 

Here's something I usually look forward to on the weekends - the weekend markets in Makati! Although I've only ever been to Salcedo weekend market which is every Saturday morning of the month, I have heard that there are a lot of awesome things you can find as well at the Legaspi Sunday Market. 

9. Quiz nights

Lastly, if your idea of fun involves challenging yourselves to think of how much trivia you know, why not attend a quiz night? I've attended a few of these myself with my friends. We've never won but it's always been fun! There's a quiz night every Tuesday at Murphy's Pub in Makati and in 121 Allegro. Other quiz night organizers like Geek Fight Trivia and Pop Quiz hold one every month so be on the look out for those too! 

Speaking of events, do you guys know Eventbrite? It's the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events. I know of this mostly because some of the events I've attended in the past made use of this platform to invite people. But it's really my friend, Ver, who sparked my curiosity to try this out. She once organized an event for her Psychology organization and she made use of Eventbrite. She was so impressed by this platform she couldn't help but boast about it to us! I love planning events. I'm just waiting for the opportunity to use it. But if you've got events you're organizing yourselves and you're looking for a way to manage it better, try their event management page.   

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pamper Me Time in Celebration of #NationalPamperingDay

This post is brought to you by Nail-a-holics

Confession: I am a lazy girl. I've never been able to stick to an exercise regimen for long. The only form of workout I ever do and I love to do is walking. If I can get to the place by walking, I would. Sometimes when I'm coming from the nearby mall (and by nearby I mean a jeep or two away), I would walk home instead of riding. Around Makati, I could walk from Greenbelt to Poblacion and back and you won't hear me complain. So yeah, my feet are highly abused and that's why I usually pamper myself with a trip to the nail salon.

A trip to the nail salon is also my way to destress from the hustle and bustle of daily life and I've been super duper stressed lately! I've skipped that pamper me time session for months though since I needed to save money for my out of the country trip. But my feet had been screaming for a treat! Well today I finally went to the nail salon because I got invited by Nail-a-holics to avail their Vitamin Sea package (manicure-pedicure-footspa) in celebration of the country's first ever #NationalPamperingDay. I visited the recently opened Nail-a-holics in Glorietta 3 to indulge in some me time.

I love coming in to this nail salon. Their Hamptons-themed interiors are seriously relaxing! It's like I'm getting whisked away to the beach - that's the feeling I always get when I'm in this place.

Looking to pamper yourself? Well, mark October 17 on your calendars - because it's #NationalPamperingDay and in celebration of this occasion, from 10AM to 12 noon, you can head over to any Nail-a-holics branch nationwide and get a relaxing manicure and hand massage for FREE! Go on and take the time to indulge. I know I'm glad I did! And my feet are thanking me for finally giving them their much needed treat!

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