Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review: Dan Brown's Origin

I pledged to read 12 books this 2018 for my GoodReads Reading Challenge. One of the books I recently finished is Dan Brown's Origin. It's the fifth novel from his Robert Langdon series which I am such a fan of! Yep, I've read all of them - Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Inferno. Pretty sure some of you are familiar with the titles I mentioned too since The Da Vince Code was such a controversial book for the Catholic Church plus three out of the four books I've mentioned have been adapted into a movie starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon (love him for the role!).  

Anyway, so back to Origin. In the story, Robert Langdon finds himself in Spain, at the Guggenheim Museum attending an event hosted by his former student and friend, billionaire and futurist Edmond Kirsch. The latter's event was to reveal his discovery, a breakthrough that will answer two fundamental questions of human existence and will change the face of science forever. But then the evening turns into chaos and forces Langdon to escape Bilbao together with the gorgeous museum director, Ambra Vidal. 

The two fundamental questions: Where do we come from? and Where are we going? 

As you know, when it comes to the first question, science and religion have different answers. Religion says an omnipotent being is responsible for our existence here on earth. Everything from the night and day, water and plants, the creatures that walk the earth and of course, us, mankind were created by the one we call God. Science explains it with the most famous creation theory, Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection.

As the story goes, both questions will be answered. Personally though, I was not blown away by the answer to the first question. It was more like "well, okay. That's interesting..." The second question is more intriguing for me. In this day and age of technological advancement, we find ourselves asking "Will machines replace human beings?" 





Because as the story goes, Robert Langdon finds himself depending on Winston, whom one would think was a British guy speaking at the other end of the phone line but turns out to be a super computer built by Edmond Kirsch as his assistant. After his friend is murdered, Langdon, together with the gorgeous museum director, Ambra Vidal, set out on a mission to discover what Kirsch was not able to reveal to the world so they can finish what he intended to do.

Artificially intelligent computers are not new anymore but they keep leveling up thanks to this day and age of technological advancement. Doesn't it amaze you, the things computers can now do? Here are ten powerful examples I found.

But at the same time, it can be scary to think of because a true artificial intelligent system can learn on its own like Winston did from the book. If it can learn, it can get smarter. It can adapt. It can get better. Who knows what it can do with knowledge it can acquire, right? Although I know right now AI is still young and far from what the Hollywood movies and TV shows depict.

Origin is a highly entertaining and intriguing read. There's still the conspiracy theory to it aside from the technological aspect of the book - did the religious, represented by Bishop Valdespino, in this book, give the order to kill Edmond Kirsch? Were the religious leaders so fearful that the faithful will question their faith and perhaps lose that faith in God once they find out the groundbreaking discovery of Edmond Kirsch? Was it someone from the royal family of Spain that wanted Kirsch dead in order to protect religion? As for me, I had my suspicion though from the first few chapters as to who is responsible for the murder of Kirsch. And it's a disturbing idea.

I would love to see this turned into another movie. I think it'd be another exciting watch on the big screen with Tom Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon. Meanwhile, do read the book! It's everything you'd hope for a Robert Langdon novel - beautiful locations (Guggenheim Museum, Sagrada Familia, Madrid, Barcelona...), an intriguing mystery to solve, a touch of history, and of course the mad dash to the reveal of the secret. 









   


Monday, October 8, 2018

What Happy Looks Like Vol 13



Here are my five happy things from last week:

1. Reading a book and drinking coffee at a quiet coffee shop. It's my kind of chill Sunday. 

2. Seeing someone I like a day earlier than expected. I've been feeling like my week was going by in a humdrum. And then that happened. I love moments of surprises like that. It's like the universe sending some love and happiness my way. 

3. Trumpets by Sean Paul being played at Body Jam class. It's my ultimate favorite dance track ever since I first heard it played during Rej's Body Jam Superstar competition. 

4.  Timezone with my favorite couple, Ryan and Dom. We're still at it with our monthly photo booth tradition.

5. Seeing my best friend feel the kilig. His crush not only smiled but also said hello to him. I live vicariously through him so kinilig narin ako. We're so high school! LOL! 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Travel Diary: Batu Caves and Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia

What else did we do during our trip to Malaysia? We had another country side tour and of course not to be missed, we went to visit the famous landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers!

Kuala Lumpur Suburbs and Batu Caves 

During our Malacca tour, we learned so much history. In this tour, we still got a glimpse of history but we also learned about their culture. 

Our first stop was a visit at Royal Selangor, a world famous company known for its quality pewter, which is a gray alloy of tin with copper and antimony. It's here that we witnessed first hand the art of pewter crafting and saw the many possible designs and uses of pewter such as children's gift, kitchen utensils and even as fashion accessories. 

My mom bought me a pair of earrings from Royal Selangor - the most expensive souvenir I have ever gotten in my life so far! But who am I to complain? They are gorgeous! I even wanted to get the necklace and/or the ring of the same design but that's just too much. Also I had to be honest to myself - I wasn't much of a necklace or ring person.   

  


If you want to know more about Royal Selangor, you can visit this site.

We also had a stop at a batik shop. Here we were shown how batik designing is done. It's basically dyeing a fabric using wax so the fabric doesn't absorb the dye. I saw something like this done during my travel in Bali, Indonesia which I think is where batik originated from. 





The highlight of this tour of course was Batu Caves, a limestone hill composed of a series of caves and cave temples. It's a frequented tourist attraction in Malaysia. Batu Caves is actually a religious site for Hindu. It's dedicated to Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War. You'll see his statue at the entrance of Batu Caves. 

 

Since it's still a sacred place, if you're visiting Batu Caves, make sure to wear comfortable clothes that also don't show a lot of skin like shorts or spaghetti tops. Don't worry though, the locals pass around a fabric that you can use as cover up since there are a lot of tourists that either are probably not aware that there's a dress requirement when you visit. 



My mom and I just before climbing up the colorful but steep flight of 272 steps to get to the top of the main cave. Am so proud of my mother - the woman's got strong legs! While her friends struggled to get to the top, she made it look easy. 



My mom and her friends getting in the way of this shot! LOL! 
   


For our Batu Caves tour, I chose to wear my white sleeveless cotton top from Bayo paired with my Dorothy Perkins pastel skirt since we were going to a place of worship. I topped the whole look with my Tally blue Teelle sandals which I first saw Kelly Misa wear.    

This is one of my supposedly OOTD shots. I consider this a lucky shot considering there were so many people climbing up and down the stairs of Batu Caves! The struggle to get a good IG-worthy photo was real. That was the reality I faced when I went to Batu Caves though on Instagram, I saw people who had really good shots on these stairs aka very few tourists to none, leaving me to wonder "how the heck did you guys do that?! Photoshop ba yan?" 😜


Look at that! People from all sides, each posing for photos just like me. 
 
Anyway I think there was a sort of Hindu occasion during our visit because there were different Hindu related rituals and celebrations ongoing which I guess added to the number of people at Batu Caves.

When you reach the top of the cave, you'll see more statues of what I suppose are more Hindu Gods. 


  


Just watch out for the monkeys while you climb up. They might rummage your bags thinking you've got food on you so don't best not to bring food and keep your belongings close to you. Oh and if you've got more time, there are more caves to explore at Batu Caves like the Dark Cave though that's got a separate fee. Also I don't think it's recommended for older people because I read that it involves more climbing, crawling and even sliding. 


Petronas Twin Towers

During our whole stay in Kuala Lumpur, my mom and her friends' asked me one question repeatedly. "Ngayon ba tayo pupunta sa Petronas?" (Are we going to see Petronas Twin Towers today?) Finally, on our fourth day in the country, I took them there. 

I booked our tickets via Klook again since I read that lines going up the towers can get long (who wants to wait in line?) and you might not even end up getting the schedule you wanted! At least with Klook, I was not only able to secure our tickets to go up Petronas Twin Towers but we also had a ride going there.

  

Seeing Petronas Twin Towers up close at last! If you want an amazing view of Kuala Lumpur, go inside the towers although I read that some tourists prefer to see the skyline view of the city from Kuala Lumpur Tower since it's got a better view. Lucky me I saw a breathtaking view of the city from both towers because we also visited KL Tower. Don't ask me which will give you the better view. I liked the view from above on both. I guess partly because I saw the city view from the top at different time frames. Also I'm not hard to please. 

The tour inside Petronas Twin Towers will take you to Skybridge at the 41st and 42nd floors and the  Observation deck at level 86 which gave us these panoramic views of the city.  





 



And finally, here's my favorite shot from my visit to The Petronas Twin Towers. 



I had to use fish lens on my mobile phone to capture this shot because no matter what angle Mai Ann did (kneel, lie down on the ground, sit, etc.) the photos just couldn't capture up to the twin towers spires considering the Petronas Twin Towers are so tall! So we bought the fish lens being sold by the Filipino vendors in the area which to be honest at the start we ignored but one of 'em with persistence managed to convince me to let him show me the wonder brought by using fish lens. The vendors are nice actually. They even showed my friend and I how to use the fish lens. My mom even managed to get one of them to take their (hers and her friends) photos using my phone with the new lens! LOL! 

We really waited for night fall when the towers are all lit up just to get this shot and it quite a wait because even at seven in the evening, Kuala Lumpur's still looks as though it's only afternoon! My mom was becoming impatient with me already especially when we took so many shots just to achieve this! But you know, when I was going to be back in Malaysia? I just had to take the chance! 

Finally, I have a photo of me seeing the Petronas Twin Towers that I could show to everyone. And finally, after six years, I can actually say I went to Malaysia! There's still a lot more to see in this country and I definitely would like to come back to explore but for now, I'm just happy to have seen what I've seen together with my mom who deserved this rest and relaxation from her ever so busy life in Manila.  



     

Monday, October 1, 2018

What Happy Looks Like Vol. 12



How time has flown by. It's already October. But the month isn't off to a good start for me. Woke up with a headache which is still here hours later after drinking meds. I forgot a few items while preparing for work thereby causing delay on my end. Some guy in a Toyota Hilux called over to me from the window of his car while I was walking and asked if I needed a cab. Creep. Got to work a whole lot later than I planned. I'm basically having Monday blues.

But let's continue on to looking back at the things that made me happy the past week.

1. Got to go to the gym more times than I have since April. I think I finally am finding the right motivation - the original reason I signed up for a gym membership - to go back aka not a guy.

2. Getting my Sodexo mobile pass GC from Pera Swipe. It's one of those new apps I tried out. Just keep swiping up on your screen to earn points and there you go! Points converted to Sodexo GC. Now. What to buy? What to buy?

3. New clothes. 

4. Finding out that the Bistro Deli branch near our place still offers unlimited coffee refills for less than Php50. 

5. Me Time. It's nice to just spend time with yourself from time to time doing whatever the heck you like.

6. Saturday Body Jam class.

7. Going online and finding that I have a Spot the Difference game request my friends. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Old Charm Vibe of Malacca, Malaysia

A historical tour of Malacca, also called Melaka, was part of the activities I planned out for our visit in Malaysia. I honestly had no idea what else was there to see in our neighboring country aside from the famous Petronas Twin Towers so it's such a welcome addition to find this in Klook.

I'm always fascinated by history so I was enticed to avail of this join in tour. Also, the photos of the Malacca I saw on Klook and online were beautiful and so IG-worthy! Unlike the modern Kuala Lumpur, Malacca will take you back on a journey to the past as it gives you an old town charm vibe.

Since this was mostly a walking tour, we definitely saw so much during our visit and I'm telling you all about them in this post.

St. Peter's Church

My mother is a religious woman so she was thrilled to find out that one of the tour stops was at St. Peter's Church. It's the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Malacca built in 1710. It was donated by a Dutch official named Franz Amboer and it marked the end of the persecution of Catholics in Malaysia. Catholics during the Dutch colonial era weren't allowed to practice their fate until they formed an alliance with the Portuguese during the war of the Spanish succession which resulted in the Dutch softening their stance towards Portuguese Catholics. 

Did you guys know that Malaysia is not a Muslim country? There's Christmas in Malaysia too! Why? Because there are also people who practice Catholicism in the country. According to our tour guide, Malaysia is a multi-religion, multi-cultural and multi-racial country.

In Malacca, we saw that through the different places we visited such as this Catholic church.    





The church's white facade and green scenery adds to its beauty. Catholics in Malacca go here to celebrate mass especially occasions such as Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 

Christ Church

This is an 18th century Anglican church found in Malacca city. It's the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. This beautiful structure is built in Dutch Colonial architectural style.




Around the area, you'll see some pretty decorated tricycles which you can ride to go around town if you don't want to walk. Choose the design that appeals to you most.



Hello Kitty might be the favorite design of the bike drivers though.





Stadthuys (Dutch Red Square) 

The Stadthuys mean the municipal town hall and it was built by the Dutch during the 1650's after taking over from the Portuguese in 1641. It served as the Governor's residence until the 18th century. It was also the Dutch Administrative Center until 1824 and even the British made this their administrative center too. 

I love how the red paint of the buildings around make it so beautiful to look at! So picture-worthy isn't it? Though the original color was actually white but once they painted it red, it became known as The Red Building. The Dutch design of thick brick walls and big windows and doors were maintained even though the British had renovated it several times during their regime.   


If you want to buy a souvenir, you can find some vendors in this area. Here's my mom checking out some. 



 Love how happy she is in this photo. It's my favorite one from the trip. 



St. Paul's Church 

It was not the only Catholic church we visited in Malacca though. We also went to St. Paul's Church, another historical building. Unlike St. Peter though, the only thing you can see is the building's skeletal structure. Yes, it's in ruins now but don't confuse it for The Ruins of St. Paul which is in Macau, China. The church was built in 1521 and it's the oldest church in Southeast Asia.





A Portuguese nobleman named Duarte Coelho built this church, originally a chapel, as an act of gratitude dedicated to the Virgin Mary following his escape from a storm in the South China sea. It was known as the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada (Our Lady of Annunciation). When the chapel's care was given to the Society of Jesus in 1548, it was further enlarged with a second floor and a bell fry tower added on to it. Once the Dutch took over Malacca, the old church was renamed St. Paul's Church and was used by the community as the main church until they established a new church now better known as Christ Church Malacca. It further deteriorated unfortunately when the British occupied Malacca in 1824.   

The church is located atop St. Paul's hill. You'll have to climb a steep step of stairs to get to this church. Luckily, my mother still has strong legs for this climb. It's well worth it anyway because while the climb can be hot and humid, it's bright and breezy at the top. It also gives you a nice view of Malacca from above. 






And just a few walks down St. Paul hill is the Dutch graveyard although I learned from our tour guide that there are more British buried in the place. Since we were just passing by the area on our way to the Fortress, I didn't get to take any photos. But I found a blog post on this from The Poor Traveler which you can read about.

A Famosa

This Portuguese name means "The Famous" and it is a former fortress found in Malacca. The A Famosa is one of the oldest remaining European architectures in Southeast Asia and the Far East. The picture you see below is the only thing left of the fortress - the Porta de Santiago, a small gate house. The Portuguese built this fortress after they defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate.

Afonso de Albuquerque led the attack and was the one who thought of building the fortress. At the time, he believed that Malacca was going to be an important port between Portugal and the Spice Route in China. Meanwhile, other Portuguese were also establishing friendly ports in Goa, India and Macau, China for ships heading to Ming China and returning back to Portugal.

 



A Famosa experienced changed of hands twice. Once was in 1641 after the Dutch arrived in Malacca driving the Portuguese away and twice, in the late 18th century when the Dutch surrendered the fortress to the British because they didn't want it to fall under the hands of Napoleon of France. The English had no plans though of maintaining the fortress and so they ordered its destruction. This building might not be standing now if it weren't for the intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore.

Jonker Walk

After lunch, we continued our Malacca walking tour, by going to Jonker Walk where we also visited a Buddhist Temple and a Hindu Temple which again just proves what a multi-religion country Malaysia is. This part of Malacca reminded me of Haji Lane in Singapore with its rows of vendors selling souvenirs and food.





Our whole day Malacca tour was truly rich filled with historical facts. What stood out the most are the architectures we've seen during the earlier part of the tour which was mainly designs by the Dutch. If you like a bit of history and old charm vibe, this whole day Malacca walking tour from Klook should be on your places to visit when in Malaysia! Just make sure to come wearing comfy clothes and shoes.

For this particular trip, I chose to wear my Tango dress which I'm thrilled to say I can now wear comfortably! And by that I mean, my tummy is not trying to bulge out and I can eat without feeling my dress go snug. I wore my Teele wedge sandals too which I was afraid was going to hurt my feet after awhile considering the added height but surprisingly didn't!

Also apply sunscreen because the sun can be very unforgiving (especially in the afternoon!) and bring water, umbrella and one of those portable battery operated fans too for added relief from the heat.

We might have sweltered from the heat and I might have ended up with a sun burnt back, chest and shoulders (forgot to wear sunscreen!) but overall this was a delightful trip!
 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Recent Movies I've Watched on Netflix

I love having a Netflix. It lets me watch a movie or show anytime I want - old and new alike. Anyway, here I am back with another set of films I've recently seen that you might like... or not.

1. Hotel Transylvania 2

I haven't seen the first movie because it's not available on Netflix but this movie seemed to call to me so I decided to watch it anyway because I was in the mood to watch something family friendly. Also I thought my goddaughter who was there at our house that afternoon would be enticed to watch as well. But nobody could tear her away from her Peppa Pig. LOL! Oh well.

This is such a cute film that stars Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Andy Sandberg to name a few. Also funny.



2. Wreck it Ralph

Another computer animated film I watched and I have to say I can't believe it took me so long before I got around to watching it! There's already a sequel to it with the Disney princesses! I'm not sure if the sequel's been shown in cinemas since I just saw on Google that Disney's reanimating Wreck it Ralph because they received backlash from lightening Princess Tiana's (from the Princess and the Frog) skin. Maybe it was pulled out of the theaters first?  




3. Nappily Ever After

What a powerful message this film sends! Critics are actually divided on their opinions of whether they love it or hate it. Read my review on this




4. Gerald's Game

Oh what a twisted Netflix original film this is! It's a psychological horror film based on the same book title written by Stephen King. Imagine being handcuffed on a bed with your dead husband, a hungry dog and no one else around for miles. I'd lose my mind for sure - if I don't die first. 



5. The Glass House

This stars Leelee Sobieski as an orphaned teenager with her younger brother forced to live with her parents' appointed guardians after a car crash killed both her parents. It's a mystery thriller. It's not so bad to watch in my opinion though it's not really very exciting either. Probably the most exciting part of this movie for me was the end part. 



6. No Reservations

A romcom/drama film that stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as a successful restaurant chef in NYC who finds herself becoming guardian to her niece played by Abigail Breslin after her sister (Abigail's mother) dies in a car accident. Aaron Eckhart plays the lead guy, Nick, another chef who works his charms with Kate (Catherine's character) and her niece. 

The only good thing for me in this movie was the talk of food. Aaron and Catherine didn't have chemistry on screen. 




7. Sierra Burgess is a Loser

Shannon Purser plays Sierra - the modern day Cyrano de Bergerac: eloquent but not attractive and her leading guy, Jayme, is played by hottie Noah Centineo. I think this movie wanted to show viewers that even the not-so-attractive-girl can land the guy because of her personality. Unfortunately, the way this movie played out didn't exactly endear Sierra to me. 

She cat fished Jayme after he unknowingly texts her instead of Veronica, the popular and beautiful cheerleader in Sierra's high school because for some reason I cannot understand, Veronica gave Jayme Sierra's number. It wasn't her fault maybe that Jayme texted her but to connive with Veronica to keep up the act...loser territory. Compared to Noah's character, Peter Kavinsky in To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Jayme is a two dimensional character. Just watch it for the eye candy, Noah.  

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Netflix's Nappily Ever After: Worth Watching?

So Netflix recently released another original film and it's called Nappily Ever After. It stars Sanaa Lathan as Violet Jones who seemed to have it all - a thriving advertising career, a hot boyfriend and great hair. But after she ends up with a dog instead of an engagement ring, her perfect life unraveled along with her hair. 



Saw the trailer as I was browsing my Facebook feed and thought it would be interesting to watch. Now that I've seen it, let me share my two cents on this film. 

What I Like

It's Funny

This movie gave me quite a few chuckles. There's Violet's panic reaction to getting hosed down with water, ruining her perfectly straightened hair. The accident she had at the hair salon where she got her hair emergency fixed. Dad ending up as an underwear model, thereby revealing to the world that he seems to be gifted underneath that white brief he was wearing in the ad and her friends talking about her Dad's package! Cringe! Who wants to hear her friends talk about your father's seemingly sizeable package? But also funny! 

Wil and Zoe's father-daughter relationship

Wil is an endearing father who showers his daughter with love and doesn't fail to always tell her that she's beautiful the way she is. And your heart would go out to Wil and Zoe as they both struggle with the idea that they're a broken family. Wil, being a single Dad, wishes that he could be enough for his daughter but feels frustrated with the realization that his daughter still needs her mom. You'll feel for the kid too, seeing how she longs for the mom that isn't there in her life. 

The Film's Message

Violet's hair story is so relatable! Us women, we do so much styling with our hair because having great hair makes you feel beautiful and confident! We perm it. We color it. We cut it short or grow it long. We get blowouts. Rebonds. Keratin smoothening treatments. In Violet's case, she always kept her hair straight because she grew up believing that it's only when her hair is straight that she can be perfect. 

It took losing all her hair for her to realize that perfect was not the way to live. She was missing out on life simply because she didn't want to mess up the hair she spent hours fixing. As her boyfriend in the movie said Vi's life was all about the no's - no dancing; no shower sex; no being silly together - nothing that could ruin her hair. 

Of course it's not to say that we shouldn't color our hair. Or get treatment. Or whathave you. I know I'm personally toying with the idea of getting my hair recolored again! And getting treatment for it for no other reason than simply because I want to! 

It took going bald to make her realize she need not be perfect. She need not look a certain way because it's what would land her the guy or what other people would find beautiful. She only needed to love who she sees in the mirror. 

This film's message is clear and powerful - be your own kind of beautiful - however you see that. Not who others says you should be. To quote Violet "Women can wear weaves if they want to. They can straighten their hair if they want to. It's a choice." Keyword being choice.  

This movie is more than just a romcom. It's really about self love - embracing who you are kinky hair and all.  

What I Wish There Was More Of In This Movie

The book where this film was adapted from might have tackled some of my issues about the story considering you can do so much more background story telling in a book than a film where you have to compress it into a two hour watch. Still I think the screenwriters could have fleshed the stories out a bit more. 

More Mother-Daughter Story

Paulette, Violet's mom, is depicted to be the reason why Violet felt so insecure in life. There's a scene where adult Violet talked to her mom about an incident when she was young that made her feel so bad because she became the laughing stock of the other kids and wondered what her life would be like if Paulette just hugged her instead of whisking her away on the car. But they never really delved into it. It felt like it just had to be said but not to be explained any further. 

More Backstory About her Parents Relationship with Each Other

At age 11, it was shown that her parents are together and as when Violet grew up, they talked about her parents separating. But again it's only the tip of the iceberg. While you'd see in the course of the film that her parents interactions with each other become estranged, they don't really delve deeper into it. And just like how they treated her parents split, they also didn't do much to show why her parents' would get back together. An eye contact and jump into the water together and that's it. They are back together as though they simply had a fight and had now kissed and made up. 

More Backstory About Her Mother

In a dinner with family and friends, viewers and Violet are given a window to Paulette's back story growing up. It's brought up in the dinner conversation when one of Paulette's friends compliments Violet for her great hair and how lucky she is that her mom loved doing her hair when her grandmother didn't share the same feeling about doing Paulette's.   


So it boils down to the question: is it worth watching? Despite wishing for a little more backstory, it's still a heart warming film with a powerful message worth taking into heart. 



Monday, September 24, 2018

What Happy Looks Like Vol. 11



1. Being able to squeeze in a workout



It's been a month or two since I last attended a cycling class at the gym. I used to be able to go religiously but priorities had to shift. But I was able to make time for it this week when my friend, Franz, told me he was teaching the class. Cycling made my legs burn but I sweat so much in this class! It's like I could feel so much of the calories melting away. LOL!


2. I made a sale

So a couple of weeks ago, I made my first sale on Carousell. This time, I made a sale selling prepaid load. Thanks Coins.ph! Any amount big or small will help fund all the things I want to buy!

3. Eating delicious pasta for about half the price

An Italian restaurant called Amici had a pasta fest for two days last week. The first time I ate here was a couple of years back at the Ayala Triangle branch and the delicious taste of their carbonara was forever etched on my mind. When I saw their pasta fest promo where they offered their pastas for less than Php200 (original price is Php300+ per plate) I just had to go and eat there again. Brought my friends along too who also enjoyed a good pasta meal.

4. Creamy vanilla milkshakes




5.  Capping off the work week by having dinner with a friend

I was supposed to have a no spend day last Friday but chucked that off when Jordan invited me to dinner. I'd never say no to meeting up with a good friend especially on a Friday night.



  
6. Dining at the Riverdale feels ambiance of The Filling Station Cafe 



Loved the 50's diner feels of this place complete with some waiters dressed up as famous personalities such as Elvis Presley and music from that era. But now they've taken it up a notch by adding the Riverdale feels of the place - Pop Tate's diner in Riverdale. You guys know what a hit show it is now! Even I, a true blue Archie Comics fan, love their dark and different take.



Sunday, September 23, 2018

Confessions: Friends and Money



My Dad had a best friend from College. Theirs was a friendship that run the test of time that even when they graduated, had work and families they still stayed in touch. They even had a tradition of getting together every Christmas or New Year with us their families tagging along. You'd think that having been friends for so long that nothing would break that closeness. You know what ended that? Money.

Now while I don't believe that money is the root of all evil, I understand now why there's a saying friends and money don't mix. I stumbled upon this article recently about why friendships and money don't mix and found myself agreeing with the writer.

I partly blame myself for putting myself in a stressful situation like this because I've been loaning money to friends regardless of what they need it for. I don't care if it's to pay for new clothes or for something as serious maybe as a tuition fee for their kid or for sickness. If I consider you a friend and I have something to spare, I would lend the money. I just expect to be paid back for it of course because it is a loan.

You know why they say friends and money don't mix? It's because money can strain a friendship.

I once had a friend, a very close one, whom I had to loan money for because well it needed to be done. We were travelling and my friend didn't have pocket money to spend for the trip. It was something I had to find out an hour before we were set to leave for the airport to visit another country where cost of living is high! That experience was probably the first time I ever thought that people are right about money and friendship not mixing together. Needless to say that travel wasn't as much fun as we had hoped it would be because of the money problem and we fought about it because it felt as though I was pushed to the wall. What made the situation even worse was seeing my friend's lifestyle - spending for unnecessary things here and there. It made me wonder why I couldn't be paid back when I needed the money when it seemed as though my friend had more than enough money after all?

I also know of a friend who would ask me to pay for both of us first when we're dining out or ask me for a favor to pay for an item bought online because said friend was not around and did not leave money to pay for it. It turned out asking this person to pay up would be a very difficult task. It came to a point where I was finding myself asking to be paid and being paid but not the whole amount because as the person liked to say I earn a lot anyway. But that's not the point is it? It's also not right. If we owe a friend, we should pay back the same amount of money you asked him or her to shell out on your behalf especially when it's for luho and not a need.

And then again, another friend who asked me for a favor that involves shelling out money on an agreement that I would be paid back once I give the items I was asked to buy. Turns out, even with a whole lot of clarifying that it was a loan and not a gift and confirming that I would be paid back, I'm not going to see the money ever again as it appears there's no intention of getting paid back after all.

More than not getting my money back, you know what I find more bothersome? It's the idea of people whom I call friends breaking my trust. I trusted them to be responsible enough to be good for the money since we're all adults, with stable jobs that we may or may not hate but pays for our bills and luho in life but then when time came to pay back debt, they don't come through for you. I trusted them to be honest enough with their situation as well to tell me why they haven't come through with the money, when they can pay back or if they can even pay back (yes, I would at least like to know that they have no intention of paying so I also know never to lend them again. Expectations managed.) Trust is a very important value in any kind of relationship and when that's gone, it's hard to earn back. 

It's a frustrating situation that I had put myself in. It's also a hurtful situation because they're supposed to be my friends. Friends care about each other's welfare, don't they? But it seems to be a lesson I'm learning the hard way. Money won't ruin your friendship. I know this too because I have friends whom I lent money to but cared enough to come through with their word. What ruins a friendship? It's friends breaking your trust that do.


Current List

Currently watching: Glow 

It's another Netflix original series about a group of female wrestlers. I'm only on episode 4 of Season 1 and I'm still trying to decide whether I like it or not. A friend told me he was watching this on Netflix and I got curious. I honestly thought it was a musical. I guess I misread what I saw on Facebook about this show before. I think what I actually read was that this show has a good soundtrack because so far, that's what I like about it.

Just listen to the music on the background of this trailer.



Currently reading: Finding Audrey

Still have not gotten around to making a dent out of this book enough to fully understand the story! But from what I read from its plot. Audrey has social anxiety disorder and she wears dark glasses all the time even at home. Then she meets Linus, her brother's friend who gets to break down her walls.



Since this seems to be about mental disorders, this could be a good discussion with Ryan, who teaches psychology.


Current fashion brand love: Straightforward 

It was Ryan who introduced me to Straightforward. He loves this fashion brand because of its neutral colors, simplicity and affordability. We keep checking out the store in Mall of Asia! So one day, during our usual visit to the store, I decided I'd check out the women's clothing and I'm surprised to find that I'm drawn to it. If you and I are close in real life, you'll know that I love wearing colorful outfits. Ryan says my fashion style is a lot of color blocking because I would wear a pastel green top with a pink pastel skirt and mustard yellow sandals or a red printed cami top and teal skirt with white heels. I rarely wear neutrals or all black (unless it's a work event that calls for it). There are at least two or three colors in one outfit for me.

They recently released a new collection which I am loving - again! This is my favorite out of the new collection:




It's the linen button down dress. I like it both in mint and beige. I find it simple but elegant at the same time. It's almost Php1,500 each and I want to buy them both! Good luck sa wallet ko! LOL! But I see myself wearing it for my upcoming Hongkong trip.