Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Weekend of Everything that Flies: The 21st Hot Air Balloon Festival

A couple of weekends ago, I went to the 21st Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark, Pampanga. I've always wanted to go - I just keep forgetting the date until I realize it's just around the corner and oh no! I don't have the money to fork over, no companion and too late to file for leave because work has piled up.

Last December though, I found a Metrodeal promo and so I grabbed on to it. This may very well be the last time I can witness the Hot Air Balloon Festival as I read that the government is planning to fully use the Clark International Airport as Pampanga's own international airport.  

I was at Clark Freeport Zone as early as 3 in the morning. The show though was set to start when sun finally rises. There were plenty of people at the venue before then! We're glad we got there early - we were at the front, close to the hot air balloons.

The moon was still very much present in the sky when we got to the venue

And saw the breaking of dawn

Sun rise meant the Hot Air Balloon Festival was about to start 

Meet my last minute travel buddy - Erin whom I had quite a weekend adventure with at the Hot Air Balloon Festival.

I was originally set to go with my best friend, Ryan. Unfortunately, he got very sick a day before we were supposed to go. Luckily, Erin here was game to fill in.

Notice the almost matching cat eye shades we're wearing? She bought us those from Sunnies. They've got a real nice collection there and pretty affordable too.

Notice my lips have a pop of color? I'm actually wearing make up that day. I wouldn't have bothered to except maybe for the eyebrows if I was with Ryan. Erin told me to wear make up - pretty darn good idea to because the girl loves taking a lot of photos of us!

Anyway, on to the sights we saw at the 21st Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival!

Professional sky divers with the Philippine flag


We got a little lost on our way back to our tour bus (we had to take a different route when it was time to get back) and we were super puyat and tired from the early travel but what the heck really? This was an adventure! My first for 2017! And if this is really the last hot air balloon festival in Pampanga then I'm glad I got the chance to experience it for myself before it goes away!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm

Here I go again with the Good Reads Reading Challenge. I'm still determined to finish the challenge I set for myself. The only reading challenge I've been able to complete so far was about 3 years ago already. 

This year, I challenge myself to read 24 books. Again! 

So far, I've only gotten around to finishing one book - Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm. It's actually a book series - the first was The Cuckoo's Calling. I normally wouldn't read a book's sequel until I've read the first (exactly why I was not able to finish Sweet Valley Senior High and Fear Street Sagas!) because it's just not normal. Reading the first novel would give you more background on the story of the next book of the series. But well in my defense, I didn't realize that until I've already bought it.

The Plot: When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in a private detective Cormoran Strike. Mrs. Quine thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to bring him home. 

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives - meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. 

When Quine is found brutally murdered, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before. 

My 2 cents: I started reading this book at Powerbook Greenbelt 4 while I was passing the time. And I finally bought it late last year when I accompanied my best friend, Ryan at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf one night. He had to work and I didn't want to go home just yet so I decided to buy the book to keep me entertained while I waited for him.

Overall, I thought the story was intriguing and exciting. Like I said, from the first few pages, I was already hooked. I enjoyed how the story unfolded from Strike discovering the lifeless body of Owen Quine to him meeting the various people who were mentioned in the book and to the end where he finds out who the killer is. I had my suspicion on who killed Owen Quine but I was so wrong!

I only wish I got to read the Cuckoo's Calling first. Though the story of the second book is separate from that novel, reading it would probably give me a better understanding of the characters' personal lives which were weaved in this novel.

Book Rating:

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Romantic Comedy Movies of All Time

My friend from work, Eileen and I got to talk about romantic movies one day over lunch. I was so surprised to find out she hasn't seen much of the raved about chick flicks. I grew up reading not only romance novels (Jude Deveraux anyone? Love Stories collection, yes?) but I also watched a whole lot of romantic films - and I mean a lot! It's an ever growing list of romance movies I have to watch. My Dad got me into watching those movies, can you believe it? He was a romantic at heart.

Well, with Valentine's Day just around the corner now, I thought I'd share some of my all time favorite romantic comedy movies because what better time to binge watch these than February, the love month?

1. You've Got Mail

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks make a real cute couple! I loved them on Sleepless in Seattle which is also a really nice movie but You've Got Mail is my favorite! Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) They've never met in person but they do talk online via email, not knowing they actually knew each other! Seriously a cute movie!

This movie made me believe finding love online is a possibility. I actually did meet a couple of Filipino guys online before whom I exchanged emails with have a couple of times, talking about mundane stuff. They were around 16-18 years old and I was a 13 year old pretending to be 18 at the time. Boy! I couldn't wait to grow up then! Ha! Ha!


2. The Wedding Planner

Oh yes, JLo and Matthew Mcconaughey! They had a meet cute way of meeting in this movie. JLo's character, Mary is a very good wedding planner who makes couples' wedding dreams come true. But she didn't have a love life of her own. And then she meets Eddie, who makes her think maybe she could fall in love after all. But as fate would have it, the man of her dreams is getting married to someone else and she's their wedding planner!

3. The Wedding Singer 

Oh who could forget the popular song from this movie, Grow Old with You? I mean Adam Sandler serenading Drew Barrymore on a plane was romantic enough but that song - that clinched it! 

I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad 
All I wanna do is grow old with you

I'll get you medicine when your tummy aches 
Build you a fire when the furnace breaks 
Oh it could be so nice growing old with you

Robbie Hart was a popular wedding singer until his fiancee stood him up at the altar, leaving him broken hearted. Julia Sullivan meanwhile was a waitress he meets at one of the wedding receptions and she's about to marry Mr. Wrong.  

4, Serendipity

Another meet cute story this time starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. John Cusack has been very well known for his Say Anything movie particularly because of that scene where he holds a boombox over his head as a way of serenading the girl he likes. But I love him in this movie! 

As their story goes, they meet at a Bloomingdale department store one snowy night in December, hit it off right off the bat but they didn't get together because as Sarah (Kate Beckinsale) believed, if they were meant to be together, they'd find each other again. 

This movie made me believe in destiny. And I still hold on to that belief. 

5.  Something's Gotta Give

Now this movie came as a surprise to me. I never thought I'd like it as a romantic film. After all, the usual romantic movies involve young people - you know, maybe twenty, thirty something folks not senior citizens. But Dianne Keaton and Jack Nicholson in this movie were just so funny, cute and charming together.

6. Never Been Kissed

Another Drew Barrymore fave of mine! I so so so love her as Josie Geller, a young reporter from the Chicago Sun Times who gets another chance to live high school. And she ends up meeting the right guy there - her English teacher played by the handsome Michael Vartan. 

My favorite lines in the movie: 

Sam: Sorry I'm late. It took me forever to get here.
Josie: I know what you mean. 

In her second turn at high school, Josie ends up dating the most popular guy in school. And just as she said, he's the guy you wake up for every morning of a school day. So could relate to that because I had a crush on the most popular guy in our batch when I was in high school. 

7.  Hitch

Will Smith plays Hitch, the guy who helps the common man get the girl. He's got all the moves. Til of course he met Eva Mendez's character, Sarah and suddenly Mr. Smooth and Perfect goes out the window.


My favorite line from that movie? It's when Hitch says:

Because that's what people do... they leap and hope to God they can fly! Because otherwise, we just drop like a rock... wondering the whole way down... "why in the hell did I jump?" But here I am Sarah, falling. And there's only one person that makes me feel like I can fly...That's you. 

8. Bridget Jones Diary

Bridget Jones was 32 and she was single. She had her eyes on book publishing playboy, Daniel Cleaver played by Hugh Grant. who was also her boss. And at a New Year party hosted by her parents, she meets Marc Darcy who grumbles to his mother about Bridget being a verbally incontinent spinster who smokes likes a chimney, drinks like a fish and dresses like her mother. That's of course the turning point for Bridget. She decided to take control of her life and start keeping a diary where all her thoughts are written down along with the number of alcohol she's consumed, number of cigarettes she's smoked, her age and her weight as she attempts to find Mr. Right.

Marc Darcy: The thing is I like you. Very much. Just as you are.

It's not just the love story of Bridget and Marc that I loved in this movie. I loved that Bridget was also able to realize her worth. And I'm not just talking about the scene where she resigns and tells him she'd rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein's arse.  

Daniel: We belong together, Jones. You. Me. Poor little skirt. If I can't make it with you, I can't make it with anyone. 
Bridget: That's not a good enough offer for me.  

9.  She's the Man

The days when Amanda Byrnes could do no wrong in terms of the chick flicks she's starred in! At least for me though, this was her best. For one thing, Channing Tatum is a hottie! Second of all, he's so cute in this movie as Duke, the guy who's crazy for this beautiful girl who could care less about him. He's crushing on her so hard and he doesn't know how to talk to her while she's crushing on Sebastian (Amanda Byrnes), his roommate. 


10.  Notting Hill

Ever thought you'd meet a famous actor/actress and he/she would fall in love with you? Well that's Notting Hill. Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) was a famous movie star and William Thacker is an English man who owns a travel book shop. Their worlds are different but fate brings them together. 

So many memorable lines in this movie! 

William: I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. Everyone in the world knows who you are. My own mother has trouble remembering my name. 

Anna: I'm also just a girl. Standing in front of a boy. Asking him to love her. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

V-Day Me Day

Confession: Valentine's Day is one of my favorite occasions. It doesn't matter whether I'm single or in a relationship - I actually like Valentine's. It's the day when you actually can feel the love in the air!

What's my plan for Valentine's? Well, since it falls on a weekday, I'll be at work! Ha! Ha! And okay, I'm single so you won't see me out on a dinner date. But you know, even though I won't really be have big plans on the day, February is the love month and so even after Valentine's Day has past, I'm still going to celebrate it somehow. Going to make it my Me Day.

And song for this love month? Well that's gotta be Hailee Steinfeld's Love Myself. I swear this song would make anyone love their single self!

I'll be celebrating Valentine's even without a special someone. Let me tell you some of my ideas: 

1. Spa Day!

I never was one for getting body massages. However I have a spa-loving friend and she takes me to really nice spas around the Metro. Nowadays, I like treating myself to a good body massage. It's a great, cheaper way to de-stress from work than shopping (a favorite activity of mine!) and since I've been doing workouts at the gym, it's also a great way to ease my muscle pains. A recent discovery of mine and now a favorite - a hot stone massage!

There are so many benefits to getting this type of massage such as easing muscle stiffness, increasing metabolism, improving blood circulation and overall melting away tension. 

2. Shopping!

They don't call it retail therapy for nothing. If I have some extra cash to spare this Vday, you bet your boots I'm going to shop - maybe for shoes (because I really have a weakness for gorgeous shoes) or books. Not clothes just yet since I promised myself I'd buy after four months - when I lose weight! 

These are just of the shoes I've had my beady eyes on:

Nike Classic Cortez in Pink

Reebok Classic Leather Pearlized

I've honestly never been a sneakers kind of girl nor have I been very fond of pink (green is more my color) but these shoes are gorgeous and I want them! 

3. Nail Spa Day! 

My feet are the most abused part of my body - I walk a lot. I wear high heels often. And recently, it's been even more abused because of my workout - I dance. I jump. I run. It's only right to give it some loving by dropping by a nail salon. One of my favorite nail spas in the Metro? Nailaholics! 

Plus I wear a lot of open toe shoes so to make my feet presentable and pretty to look at, a visit to the nail salon for a pedicure is a must! 

4. Hair Salon Day 

They say a woman's hair is her crowning glory. But truth be told, I haven't been kind to my hair - especially last year. I kept bleaching it and coloring it (a fascination for red hair) and I don't do much hair treatments specially after. As a result though, it's been pretty dry and brittle. Woe is my hair! This year though I'm resolved to take better care of it so a trip to the salon for healing hair treatments is on top of my list. Try the Macadamia Hair Oil Treatment at Piandre! It''s love! 

5. NetFlix and Chill 

Ever since I discovered NetFlix, it's all I ever want to do on my spare time! I love watching TV series and movies in this streaming app. Next time, I'll tell you about my favorite movies for V-Day and my essentials for a great NetFlix night! 

6. Gym Time

Okay in terms of what I'm actually gonna do on Vday itself, well you'll most likely find me at the gym on Valentine's Day since I gotta keep up with my fitness goals! Speaking of which, I sure need to buy new stylish workout clothes!

Check these active wear out at Adore Me a brand that's all about female empowerment and self love which I love! They're I have to say I'm loving their products!

What are your Me Day V-Day plans? Share it with me on the comments section! I'd love to hear all about it.

Photo credits: 
Hot Stone Massage
Nike Cortez: 
Reebok sneakers: Reebok Classics

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is Riverdale worth watching?

I am a huge fan of Archie comics so I've always wished to see these characters come alive on television or movie. There was a cartoon show about Archie and the gang before but I don't think it was ever made available in the Philippines. So imagine my delight when I found out the CW was making a series called Riverdale as inspired by the comic book.

I have to admit it wasn't what I expected. In fact, when I first saw the trailer, I was shocked. And was not very thrilled on CW's take. I mean, where was the beloved freckled faced boy who's such a klutz even though he doesn't mean to be? Where was the love triangle of Betty and Veronica with Archie? Where was the comedic, asexual Judghead who's got a bottomless pit for a stomach? Why was Riverdale so dark and gloomy?

But like I said, I'm an Archie fan so I gave the show a try. For instance, this is Archie Andrews. He's far from the comic book character even the modernized Archie. But he's a hotter version of Archie - he's got a six pack abs in the show. Also I think he does have the boyish charms which comic book Archie possesses. This Archie though is more of a brooder than happy-go-lucky which I think adds to his charm. He's also having an affair with an older woman aka Miss Grundy - who's now a hot, young and single teacher at Riverdale! *Gasps!*

But like I said, I'm an Archie fan so I gave the show a try. For instance, this is Archie. He's far from the comic book character even the modernized Archie. But he's hot, don't you think? This is KJ Apa. He's relatively new in Hollywood. He's originally from New Zealand.

This is Veronica Lodge aka Camila Mendes in real life. Like the character from the comics, she's gorgeous. In the TV series, she's the daughter of a disgraced Hiram Lodge who's supposedly in jail for embezzlement. Her mom, Hermione used to date Archie's dad, Fred Andrews and is now back in Riverdale, working as a waitress in a diner. In this show, she's nice. Well, trying to be it seems. And seemingly supportive of Betty's feelings for Archie. She's also a Latina.

Betty Cooper is played by Lili Reinhart. In the comics series, Betty's always been my fave girl. She's nice, responsible, dependable and definitely very sweet. I've always rooted for her to win Archie's heart. Well, actually even Reggie's heart - I loved their love story on Archie Comics The Married Life. Betty in Riverdale though pining for Archie's affections, is so much more complex. She's also nice in the series but she seems to be struggling with the expectation that she's supposed to be perfect. She also seems to have a relationship with Adderall.

And Jughead! I will say Cole Sprouse from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody is the perfect loner-drink-coffee-all-day-while-writing-a-novel Jughead of Riverdale. He grew up cute too, didn't he? His role in this series sure is very far from the comedic Disney show he was once known for.

The CW series also gives fresh new roles to Kevin Keller, the first gay Archie Comics character. He's got a bigger role in the series as Betty's best friend which I like! Kevin is played by Casey Cott.

Josie and The Pussycats are all black women: Ashanti Bromfield, Ashleigh Murray and Irie Hayleau.

And the new queen bee of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom aka Madelaine Petsch.

Riverdale's story kicks off with the death of Cheryl Blossom's twin, Jason. I do believe Season 1's plot is going to center on the WhoDunnit? question and of course I would want to know why.

Riverdale is like Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars. It's edgier and sexier for sure than the comics version and actually after watching the first two episodes, I have to say I'm hooked! It's refreshing to see these characters come to life on the small screen with fresh new personalities and new histories. I'm excited to keep watching this series and get to the bottom of things.

Whether you're a fan of the comic book series as I am or not, I think it's safe to say you'll enjoy Riverdale too.

P.S. This show is available on NetFlix so start streaming!