Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vacation Dreams

I plan on running tonight after a Japanese meal with friends but ended up consuming a stick of Magnum and is now seriously contemplating on hitting the sack. It's no secret that a full stomach and sleep go well together.

And when I wake up, I wanna open my window to this

A week in Maldives

Or fancy a float in the Dead Sea

Maybe take hike on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Be at peace in Bhutan

I think I'd like to hit the beach and swim with the reef sharks in Solomon Islands

I want to go on a vacation. Who doesn't?

This entry is inspired by National Geographic's Now or Never? 9 Places to See Before They Slip Away.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kids at Heart

Oh to be young and free again!

I am grateful that I was able to spend a carefree afternoon with friends. We did a lot of curious and geeky things that I'd like to show how our curious minds bring out the kid in each one of us.

Kid #1: Hair-raising experience 

And the elongated bubble!

Kid #2: Her turn on the van de Graaf generator

Kid #3: Imprisoning himself inside a bubble

Kid # 4: Attempting to eat this chocolate bar

I snapped some priceless pictures of Kids #3 and #4. You can call these 2 "intellectual buddies". I am not so sure what they're talking about when Kid #3 tried the slippery slide.

Trying the hair-raising experience together.

The machine shows how birds are able to fly. The ball floats because of the high pressure under it and low pressure above. What these 2 did was to try to transfer the "floating ball" from one machine to the other without dropping it on the ground.

Oh to be a kid again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,

you're off to Great Places!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Don't Believe in Make-Up: Dove Soap

I've been using Dove soap since the time I realize that I want great skin. Great meaning smooth, healthy-looking and silky skin. Nothing like waking up on a non-busy day taking a second - feeling smooth silky skin. -(",)-*wink*

Using a non-drying soap is the cheapest way to take care of your skin. Couple it with healthy diet, home scrub once a week and moisturize with lotion ... voila, invasive and expensive spa treatments unnecessary. 

Although it's slimy during bath time, once you dry yourself, you instantly get moisturized feel without the taut  skin that most soaps give. I've been enjoying Dove for more than 10 years! I am a certified Dove girl. I even seriously considered working for the company that manufactures Dove because I want endless supply of Dove products.

I tried the newly-released shampoo and conditioner but I wasn't as satisfied as the soap. I am not particular with shampoos but I am discerning with conditioners. The conditioner weighs down my hair which I prefer to feel light and soft. 

I am excited to try the intensive moisturizer though, I do home-made pampering. 

Much cheaper than going for a regular run to the salon. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five Years

Today marks my fifth year on the job. I feel celebratory but bittersweet is more appropriate to describe the feeling in my heart. Some parts of the past 5 years have been an uphill climb sometimes on rough road but the journey itself and the prize with each milestone are much sweeter. So here I am, cliche as this may sound, smarter, stronger and wiser. All thanks to the things I have signed up doing from seven in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

Let's toast to that.

So as not to sound vague, by training and practice, I am an engineer who is part of a TEAM which ensures that facilities are in place and processes are working properly to ensure constant fuel supply to a power generating facility. The statement sounds more professional than what I actually do. 

Trust me. 

And that's me 3 years and 20 pounds ago. #10lbs/cheek

As an immature professional, I have been guilty of being ungrateful to the job that I dreamed of before graduating from college. I was an idealistic, sheltered 21-year old who thought that the real world can be planned out and how events will turn out is totally controllable. We all know that isn't true and I had difficulty grasping my perceived "failures" - it's actually more of things not happening as I envisioned them to be. Life got better when I realized that I can choose to make the best out of the every situation and there's more to life than work.

On top of the celebratory toast and dinner Person A and I shared last night for our five year milestone, let me share with you 5 things that I am grateful about and the 5 things I learned at work.

Five Things I Am Grateful For

1. There's no better place to hone your technical skills, practice business acumen and learn people skills than at work. All the thermodynamics principles I learned at school plays out differently once it's acting  inside the pipes. There's no better teacher than seeing heat transfer, fluid flow in actual process. 

2. It pays. The money I use to eat out, the medical expenses of my parents and all my investments have been possible because I have a job.

3. Process design, economic calculations and pressures are just 30% of a typical day. 70% of the time is all about being a follower, leading a team and making decisions - sometimes in challenging situations. No matter how many times these situations took me out of my comfort zone, I am very much grateful as these shape my character. My character will always be a work in progress.

4. For the friendship I forged and the numerous mentors who have patiently worked with me. 

5. The company values of integrity, safety and trust - which everyone is expected to adhere. 

Five Things I Learned

1. When you choose a place to work for, make sure you agree with its values and culture. It will make your daily work life much much easier. 

2. Never underestimate the power of communication. How you show the results of your analysis, how you resolve issues and how you get a team to get to one direction, their success lies in communication.

3. It's all about the team. You can only do so much yourself, getting a thing into fruition requires a team of craftsmen, technicians, engineers to review your work and managers to make a decision. The sooner you internalize the word team, the sooner things will work out for you.

4. Difficult situations will constantly arise and the only thing that I want to happen is breeze through it with grace. If you're in for the long haul, you still want to face everyone 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road. So you just want to have the best character in every situation. This is my biggest challenge. 

5. Seize every opportunity, have a plan and learn to evolve. I am a naturally curious kiddo so seizing opportunities have never been a problem. I always have doubts (mostly on my abilities) but at the end of the day, if I fail doing my best, then at least I learned a single thing that leads to failure. Hahahaha!

This will be one of the few instances you'll hear me talking about work. I have a no work-related post policy but this love letter to myself is too good to pass up. I want to remind myself 10 or so years down the road that a grateful heart gets you through the day.

And so, let me share some pictures Person A and I had celebrating our 5th year at work. We started on the same day, have more or less overlapping kind of work, the same industry but employed by different companies. 


The story of our parallel lives.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happiness In a Jar

My newly-filled jar on the kitchen counter.

My fat cells are doing a chumbawamba dance.

I rest my case. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That Awkward Moment

When you prefer FIBISCO Chocolate Mallows 

Over Ferrero Rocher

I keep a few of my favorite chocolates to satisfy my craving. Last week, I noticed that a box of chocolate mallows lasts a weekend (to be truthful, it only lasts a day) while my rocher stash lasted a month! 

Since I was 5, chocolate mallows have always been a favorite and at 26, I always have a box in the cupboard.  Now, I have 2 boxes because Person A also asks if I have some at home. It's also his favorite. 

I like the texture of marshmallow and biscuit base coated with chocolate. I remember the box then costs PhP 14 as opposed to the PhP 26.50 current price tag. 

I've tried the more refined (and sosyal) versions of this biscuit but nothing beats the efficiency of our good 'ole Fibisco Choco Mallows. Satisfaction is defined as the Happiness and Taste divided by cost. 

Now, I am pitting it with my other favorite, Kinder Bueno. Also from Ferrero.

Ferrero is not my top 1 favorite grocery chocolate. It's Ritter Sport. 

Let's see if choco mallows will win this round.

The Weekend in Threes

If people say misery (loves company) comes in threes, I say BLESSINGS COME IN THREES as well. My weekend is a testament to that.

ONE. The hot chocolate I enjoyed this morning.

It's made from tablea - minimally-processed cocoa. It's not as good and as thick as what I'd normally enjoy at home but it will do. My bloated face expresses all the satisfaction the warm cup brings.

TWO. The quality time we've enjoyed.

Fridays are reserved exclusively for "us-time" and it's our way of unwinding and catching up. One thing I always look forward to each week. Oh, and we got extra date time as well earlier today. As I always say it, Life is one big date.

THREE. Praising God with Awesome Friends.

Tonight the community welcomed new members and I am excited to start the journey with my beautiful girls. 

Life is beautiful. Especially on weekends. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Amoroma Ristorante: Still Our Favorite and Best Italian Restaurant

While finishing our meal at Amoroma, I had this conversation with Person A:

Me:           Is this our favorite Italian place?
Person A: Meron pa bang iba?

He's right and I agree. We love that the food tastes so rich, home-cooked and priced just right. Our recent trip to Tagaytay is primarily to enjoy Amoroma food and of course to enjoy some quality time. Yikkkeeee!  

I love the no-nonsense ambiance of the place: its regular lighting and of course the checkered table cloth. 

What did we enjoy on our second trip to Amoroma?


This basket comes free with the grilled pork that we order. It's so soft and tastes creamy and buttery. 

5-Formaggi (PhP 485)

13-in, thin crust pizza with GENEROUS topping of mozzarella, romano (?), gouda (?), fontina (?) and blue cheese. The right mixture to give the right amount of saltiness, creaminess and the taste of old cheese. 

The serving of cheese is so generous that you can see the pointy-end sagging. This is the best cheese pizza we've ever had!

Con Vegetale Risotto (PhP 280)

Mixed vegetables, white wine, extra virgin oil and parmesan cheese.

The texture of risotto is perfect while the flavor is delicate: subtle vegetable salted by the parmesan. This is a winner especially if you're thinking of ordering a flavor meat dish.

Filetto di Maiale (PhP 380)

Grilled pork tenderloin

The pork is grilled medium, still soft with slight lemon-herb flavor. Person A thinks it good but not great. I think it's great. The potato slices on the side is awesome. It's brushed with grilled meat flavor.

Tiramisu (PhP 180)

Espresso-soaked cake with mascarpone cheese. Can you see how sinful this slice is? It tastes as good as it looks. The sponge cake is extra soft while the mascarpone filling gives it milky/buttery/creamy flavor balanced with the bitterness of espresso and unsweetened cocoa powder. 

Again, one of the best tiramisu we've had.

In Summary

1. In terms of taste, price and authenticity, nothing beats Amoroma. The food consistently tastes good, rich and home-cooked that you'll be convinced it's peppered with lots of love.

2. The place is very casual and not intimidating perfect for family gatherings, with friends and even with a date. Just don't ask her to dress up for fine-dining. 

3. Price is medium range, about PhP300 for main course, sufficient for one.

Calamba Road
Tolentino East, Tagaytay

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sonya's Signature Massage

Person A and I snuck up a quick trip to Tagaytay over the rainy weekend. He was craving for Italian food and he thought of giving me the massage that I had been dreaming for weeks. 

After a short deliberation, we headed to Sonya's Garden. The place is still very relaxing and pretty even with the rain. However, there are now a number of places in Tagaytay which have the same and even better ambiance. 

Sonya's Signature Massage (PhP 785/hour)

It is a combination of Shiatsu and Swedish massage. What I like about it is the intense pressure applied on my spinal column and the masseuse is well-trained with the Swedish stroke. The massage oil used smelled too much of virgin coconut oil (or is it mineral oil?). I prefer something lavender/pine scented. However, there's nothing spectacular about the massage. It's good but nothing great. For its price, I am expecting more. 

Also, they charge an extra PhP 100 for the couple's room. Most massage places don't.

What Person A and I enjoyed though was the hot, dalandan-seasoned tea served after the massage. 

Like no other!

So the search is still on for our favorite massage place in Tagaytay. In Makati, we prefer Blue Water Day Spa. I feel extra relaxed and sleepy after their combination massage (Swedish+Shiatsu) and a fraction lower than the massage we had over the weekend. 

Buck Estate, Alfonso

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Call Me, Maybe?

If 2011 is defined by Adele's Someone Like You, the soundtrack of 2012 is dominated by Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know. And if I have to choose the LSS of the year, I have to award it to Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe.

Admit it, the song is too catchy that it keeps playing in your head 24/7.

Here are 2 interesting takes on our songs for the year. 

Somebody That I Used To Know choreographed by Anthony Lee

Although Solenn, Georgina, Anne, Liz and Bea has a viral video of Call Me Maybe, I still like the Biebs and Selena's take on the song

*With a hand on hip, makes a phone call sign and nods head* 

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

I am tempted to post a video of "Hot Problems" that would put Rebecca Black's Friday to shame but let's not go there.

That would be too much.

Fifty Shades of Grey

I first encountered the Fifty Shades series in one of the articles published at Time.com sometime last January. Dubbed as the most controversial trilogy of 2012, the books explore the unconventional love story of an extremely handsome and wealthy Christian Grey and a seemingly ordinary, fresh out of college Anastasia Steele. The series is selling like hot cakes internationally and the Philippine market is no exception. Copies sell in a day at all bookshops in Glorietta/Greenbelt area.

Naturally, I am curious what the hype is all about and so here I am sharing what I think about the 3-part story. Please note that I had all my copies reserved and got first dibs as it was released in Manila. 

Low EQ lang ang peg.

As described in Wikipedia, the plot traces the relationship between Ana Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey. Grey is 27 and is extremely wealthy. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her life as well as a non-disclosure agreement, something that he's required from all of his previous submissive. As she gets to know him, she learns that his sexual tastes involve bondage, domination and sadism, and that childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual. In order to be his partner she agrees to experiment with BDSM, but struggles to reconcile who she is with who Christian wants her to be: his submissive, to-do-with-as-he-pleases partner in his "Red Room of Pain"

The book is well-written. It's simple and easily comprehensible. It is a fantasy love story with a lot of adult content. Other than that, I don't see any thing special. 

Why I think it sells:

1. It's a fantasy love story of an ordinary girl meeting an impossibly handsome and wealthy man. It helps as well that the man is madly in love with her. It's an adult fairy tale which every little girl has been wishing for when she believed that she's a 5-year old princess ready to be swept off her feet by a dashing prince when she turns 18. 

2. It's a form of escapism. Related to my first point, Christian showers Ana with Louboutins, Saab, and Audi R8. Oh and a trip to London, France and Monaco. It tickles a woman's fantasy that a man can give her all these wonderful things. My take on that is, you can work hard to achieve the things that you aspire for rather than wait for an extremely wealthy man to give them to you. Sorry for bursting the bubble.

3. It explores sexuality.

The series actually reminds me of a Mills and Boon novel. 

Or as a friend pointed out, Precious Hearts Romance?

So why did I read the 2nd and 3rd book despite of the points I raised? Because I wanna know how their love story turns out. The book is well written and entertaining. 

The Fifty Shades series is not going out of our sight anytime soon, a movie production company already won the rights to make it to a film and actors are already expressing their interest. 

Here's Ian Somerhalder expressing his interest to play Christian Grey.

I am sure that Christian stare can make tons of women swoon.

I'll be watching and we'll all make Erika Leonard James richer. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Candy Cane Lane

I am having a quiet evening with my blood red polish. With my preferred date out for work, I decided to get a manicure and pedicure and topped it off with a trip to the waxing salon.

Nothing like fresh polish and hair-free body to welcome the weekend. Light bounces better without fine hair, giving a shinier look - at least for the legs. And I find satisfaction with every hair stripped and groomed.

Kanya-kanyang kaligayahan lang 'yan.

Orly's Candy Cane Lane

This shade of red comes out nicely on my warm skin tone. It brightens my skin. It's a far cry from my typical good girl shade. 

Wicked enough but with a hint of modesty.

Just how I feel right now.


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