November 30, 2008

12 books for 2009 (Christmas List 4/12)

With less than 30 days to go before Christmas, I got to thinking: what's next on my Christmas List? Inspired by the Fully Booked event, it occurred to me to make a list of books to either give as a gift, or as a gift I would love to find under my Christmas tree *hint hint*.

On the top of my list is Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore. I first read this book during one of the most tumultuous periods in my life...aptly so, a dark night of my soul. The book talks in depth about how times of troubles and difficulties in our lives are part and parcel of who we become and how we can receive great gifts from it, if we allow it to. I actually have a longer post about this book here. This is one book I wouldn't mind giving, nor would I mind receiving!!!

Another book to read is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I resonated a lot with the author's experiences as she tried to find out who she was and what she was really all about after her world as she knew it fell apart. It made me also want to go out and really search for what it is I want for myself and how I could be a better me.

Guess How Much I Love You. This children's classic by Sam McBratney is a must have for any book lovers library. It's take on unconditional love is simply divine. The simple pastel-colored illustrations further make the book more endearing to readers. Even though I have like about 4 copies of the small edition of this and 2 of the big ones, I still love getting this!

If there is a book that best represents my life, it is Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece. This simple but profound text and illustrations are bound to touch any one who reads it. Shel Silverstein is also a brilliant writer. While his books may come across as a kids' book writer, his books can really change one's take on a lot of the simple things in life. This particular book is important to me because it reminds me to be content, and to know that despite life's imperfections, life is great.. I still don't have a copy of I WANT THIS!!! After all, it was the inspiration for my award-winning article in 2007 ;-)

Here's an early Christmas present! A book from the Shopaholic series. Although I would recommend starting with Confessions of a Shopaholic. I don't know what it is about this series. To be honest, I haven't really taken the time to read reviews about it, I just have this gut feel about it. I like it for some reason ;-) Thanks to Az for this picture! Taken at the Fully Booked bloggers event.

Just the other day I caught the movie The Nanny Diaries. With that said, book number 6 on my list is the novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. The movie was a fun one, and the narrative so engaging. It seems to be a fun read as well. Photo from

This I REALLY WANT! I saw this in Fully Booked and it's called Sex and the City Kiss and Tell. It looks like a great coffee table book. With beautiful pictures of the series and tales from the show, it is a must have for any SATC afficionado! For book number 8...what else but the book that started it all: Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell.

Being a big Oprah fan, I often get caught up in the Book Club recommendations. I have had a few good reads because of it. One that I would like to explore in 2009 is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I am not much of a self-help-books kind of gal but watching several of Oprah's episodes that talked about their online class about this got me curious about how this book can change my life. I am a bit of a skeptic about it though. Nonetheless, it's worth a shot, especially if Santa brings it for me!

This is getting on the bandwagon, literally, but okay already....I'd like to finally get the chance to read the Twilight trilogy. So for books 10, 11, and 12, stuff my Christmas stocking with Twilight, Eclipse and New Moon...not the ebook this time, ok?!? ;-) The box-set/collectors edition would be lovely!!! to continue reading...

More than just a bookstore: It's Fully Booked

While it took a lot of gut-mustering and positive self-talk for me to make it to the Bloggers event sponsored by Fully Booked and at the Top Shelf of Fully Booked, I was really glad I did it. Why did it take all that effort you might ask? entered the tiny elevator of Fully Booked and made my way up and signed in for the event. Saw some familiar faces Well, for one, my so-called-uncomplicated friend was late, so I had to go in alone and for someone who has occasional bouts of xenophobia...well, you can tell how that goes! When I finally gathered up the courage, I gamely and friends from previous events, and got to meet new people as well.

plus I finally got to meet Sago! long last!!!!

Anyway, as I said, I was really glad I went! Dubbed as a "recreational playground for the mind", the flagship branch of Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street does not disappoint. It truly is a haven for more than just book lovers. With five floors plus a basement to explore, one can get lost in time and space for hours on end! Not only does the store have a wide array of titles to choose from, they also carry a lot of unique titles that others do not have. I also like the fact that the staff is quite knowledgeable about titles and authors you ask for (as I have experienced in the past). They also have a lot of games, jigsaw puzzles, statues, collectibles and journals on their shelves. Truly making Fully Booked unique is their 4th floor Forum area, where book signings can be held, and the Top Shelf, the spacious roof deck where the event was held. The Top Shelf offers a spectacular view of the city and is just beautiful!!!

so many stories to explore!!!

the atrium. photo courtesy of Az of Azrael's Merryland

my favorite floor:lifestyle and children's!

We bloggers were treated to lots of fun, games, food and more! To start off the event we were given the grand tour of the entire bookstore, from the U View in the basement, which is a 62-seater theater, yup! you heard it right...a theater!!!, where film viewings can be scheduled. We also got to see each floor and talk to key people in charge of each. Trivia question: What is 2008's best-selling title? And because I heard what Vivian, one of the purchase officers, said, I got a prize!!!

thanks to Az for my picture! It was by far one of the best moments in all my blogger events!!!

My loot bag held one of the books I've always wanted!!! A book from the Shopaholic Series!!!
Plus a cool pen with a 1G USB flash drive!

By the way, the answer: undoubtedly Twilight by Stephanie Mayer. FYI: The Twilight Saga actually outsold the Harry Potter series!!! Surprise, surprise!!!

Also in the basement are comic books, a Manga section (have to admit: never knew this existed!!!), school/office supplies, jigsaw puzzles, collectibles and laptop bags. On the first floor is the Atrium, where general fiction, toys, and journals can be found. The 2nd floor is by far my favorite: it houses all the children's books ;-) Not only do they have the typical storybooks, they also have games base
d on these books, such as Eric Carle's books. There are also lots of cool pop-up books. The third floor holds the largest selction of books: the humanities section. Trivia: the third floor is the most often asked for floor. Why? Because it's where Starbucks is! And the bathroom too hehehe. The fourth floor is a haven for audiophiles as a wide selection of CD's and DVD's are on stock. There are also listening stations for one to check things out!

The event was catered by Hizon's catering...and anything with chocolate and yummy food is always a great thing, isn't it! I personally enjoyed the dessert bar, as there were lots and lots of stuff to choose from, my favorite being the Buco Pandan (yes, so unlike me, but I do love Buco Pandan!). I wasn't able to try the Tiramisu though huhu.

photo courtesy of Janine

I have always been a book lover, but given time constraints, what with juggling teaching preschool and undergraduate classes, as well as seeing clients as a psychologist, reading books for leisure had to take a time-out. The event, however, gave me the chance to remember how much I love reading and that no matter how busy I am, I should make the time for it. They made it a whole lot easier for me too: now I can log on to and order books and have them delivered to my house!

During the event they also launched the Fully Booked Bloggers Book Club during the event. As one of the attendees, I am officially a member!!! Members of the club will receive exclusive invites to events,
meet-and-greets with authors that come in to the country, and can have the chance to win prizes by offering their reviews to the Fully Booked website.

Topping off the day was a mad dash to three tables-full of books...where each of us got to take home two for free!!! Love, love, love it!!! It was so hard to choose what I wanted...but I ended up with these two hardbound books:

So, if you're looking for a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon, go to Fully Booked, with 7 branches across the metro and one in Cebu City, there's gotta be one nearby. Lounge around in one of the comfy couches while browsing a book, sip a hot cup of joe in Starbucks and lose yourself in the magic of books and more. As they said in their promotional video: it's more than just a bookstore, it's a destination!

P.S. Xenophobia = fear of strangers. Told you I knew more about phobias than you think I do...I was right about the agoraphobia thing, wasn't I!!!

Fully Booked branches are located in the following areas:
Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City
3rd Floor Rockwell Power Plant, Makati City
The Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan City
Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City
SM Mall of Asia
SM North, the Block, Quezon City
Shangri-la, Ortigas
Ayala Center Cebu
soon to open Greenbelt 5 and Trinoma to continue reading...

November 25, 2008

Bookworm is Back

It's been a long time since I've taken time out to read a book...for the most part I've only had the opportunity to read textbooks, workbooks, and children's stories, but to actually read a book for's been a while. Anyway, the other day while I was cramming for a workshop I had to give, my so-called-uncomplicated-friend told me about a bloggers event with Fully Booked. And yup, because of her, I will be going :-) Looking forward to it!!! I'm actually hoping I was one of the first 100 to have registered as they will get a freebie from the organizers. Wanna come? Register here :-) to continue reading...

November 23, 2008

Mac just got a whole lot more fun!!!

Since I got my MacBook a year and a half ago, I've grown to love it more and more each day. I've loved the software, the cool features, the fact that I can save files as .pdf even without buying a separate software for it....but there was always one thing missing: games to play. By trading up to the Mac from my old Acer, I missed out on playing online games like Chuzzle, Zuma and Diner Dash. I remember while I was on my Coron weekend getaway with my collegues we got into a big discussion as to whether Mac was really better than Windows and the one thing they held over me was the fact that it was easy to get and download games especially since most games are .exe files (well, at least as far as I knew then).


While I was surfing the other day, I came across free, yes FREE MAC GAMES!!!! Finally, a site that offers free games, software, and news all devoted to the Mac. Granted that some of them may be demos only, it still is great that there is a site that gives me a taste of mac games. It also offers a lot of info about what's out there for my mac. With this site, my Mac just got a whole lot more fun!

As I write this I am currently downloading a game called Sparkle, which according to the site is like Zuma...up next is another old favorite that I've sorely missed: spider solitaire for mac.

The downside to finding this site: I really, really want an iMac even more!!! to continue reading...

November 19, 2008

Have A Happy Yummy Christmas!

Happy Holidays!!! Christmas is just around the corner! To help get your gift lists started, here's a list of goodies available this Yuletide season, and their respective prices. All goodies come packaged in teal and brown boxes accented by gold ribbons and gift tags. An easy and affordable Christmas giveaway for your office mates, kids' teachers, friends and just about anybody!

*Date Walnut Bars

our classic recipe, still at it's best quality! delicious chewy bars just the way it's always been.
small (6pcs) Php 120.00
medium (12) 220.00
large (18 310.00
xl (24) 400.00

*Walnut Tea Cookies
delectable sugar coated, candy-sprinkled walnut cookies perfect with cocoa, coffee or tea! rich and scrumptious, one is never enough!
small (1 doz) Php 115.00
large (2 doz) 200.00

*Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

soft, yummy muffins with the fresh, sweet goodness of oranges...a perfect choice for breakfast, snacks, or anytime of the day!
6's Php 155.00
12's 295.00

mini muffin packs
6's Php 68.00
12's 128.00
24's 230.00

* Banana Muffins
an old favorite with a new twist. Old fashioned banana muffins with chocolate and/or walnuts.
6's Php 80.00
12's 150.00

Walnut/Choco Walnut
6's Php 98.00
12' 190.00

Sampler: 12's (3pc/variety) Php 210.00

Mini muffins

any variety 6's Php 45.00
12's 80.00
24's 135.00

Please give 3-5 days lead time for delivery. Free delivery to most areas.
Send PM for orders and to coordinate delivery. to continue reading...

November 17, 2008

Haunt Me Everyday

Do you ever get that feeling you're being haunted? No, not by some ethereal or supernatural being, but by days gone by. For the past two weeks, I've felt overly haunted by these earthly ghosts.

It started out with some benign message...something that logically should not bother me nor cause any distress. But alas, with that one message, I am haunted everyday.

I have always said that I try to live life with no regrets. Lately, however, this haunting is a sad reminder of one phase in my life I truly regret.

I gotta lay this to rest....the thing is, no matter how much I've laid this ghost of my past down, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it comes to haunt me everyday. to continue reading...

November 16, 2008

Research, Life and The Fine Art of Conversation

Research. Yuck.

I spent Friday and Saturday trying to figure out how to translate research findings into a journal article for publication. Truly a big feat for someone who can’t even write her own thesis, right? While I did spend a whole lot of the time blatantly maximaizing the wifi access in the venue, I have to admit the whole workshop experience gave me a new point of view with research and if there is one thing I learned to appreciate in those two days, it’s the fine art of conversation. Granted that the workshop speaker was referring to conversation as a metaphor for research publication, it dawned on me that any form of writing, teaching, and even thinking is a conversation. The thing to remember is: do you have anything to say?

I suppose that’s one reason why I’ve been finding research so difficult. It’s because I really don’t know what to say. I don’t even know what I’m interested to know, at least in the realm of research. This brought to mind my so-called love life and why it has been hard for me to find a partner: it’s because I haven’t found someone who peaks my interest nor have I found that person I want to listen to and tell things to.

One of the exercises we did in the workshop dealt with coming up with what we want to say with regards to our research topics and how different is this from what’s already been said. According to our speaker, if you’re not saying anything new, maybe there is nothing to say. On the way home, that idea stuck to my head. It led to my second realization: know when to shut up. Ooohhh….I suck at this big time. I have gotten into trouble so many times because of F.M.D. (foot in mouth disease!). Though I may be a psychologist, I often am not able to read the subtleties of human behavior too well, especially non-verbal responses. For example, I either don’t easily pick up on signals people give, or I read too much into it. As a result, I overreact or unintentionally push to far.

Throughout the workshop one very important point that the speaker kept driving at was know your audience. Know what journal you plan to publish in for it will determine the kind of conversation you will carry. *Lightbulb lights up* Lesson number 3: not all conversations are conversations for all. I realized that I tend to be too much of an open book. Whatever conversation I carry out with one friend is carried out with ALL friends, even though they are friends from a different context. For example, I often talk to my so-called uncomplicated friend about my newer friends and forget that she does not really know these people so parts of the conversation are abstract concepts to her. In the same manner, when I had a run in with the ex-that-never was, I ranted this to a friend who had no idea what the heck I was talking about. Point here: know who you are talking to and what I can and cannot tell them.

The art of conversation is not one way, I realize. While research publication may seem to be a one-way avenue, as the author dictates the argument, it is not. These publications are either responses to earlier questions or comments posed, or perhaps become a springboard for a new topic. As such, the art of conversation is a give and take process. Even though I teach this construct all the time in class, I found myself reminding myself that I also have to listen. Coincidentally, another colleague of mine commented earlier in the day that she didn’t comment on a blog post I had earlier because she could not relate to the topic. Lesson number 4.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned in the whole write shop thing is knowing that the most important part of a conversation is having it. More importantly, having it with the right people and in the right context. After all, what good is an idea if you never do anything about it right? to continue reading...

November 15, 2008

Memory Gap

I really want a new computer. A bright, shiny new iMac. Why? For one it's getting frustrating to have limited memory left in my laptop. It's still a pretty good ratio (free and used space) but I noticed that my MacBook is getting slower, especially when I have lots of windows or tabs opened. It also seems that when I open my windows programs it takes longer than before. Hay. Wish I had the money!

Then again, I suppose I can add some memory to my laptop? to continue reading...

November 13, 2008

Career Options

Don't get me wrong: I love being a teacher, but many times there are things I don't like about it. To top off the list, I can say waking up early and having to smile through a migraine are at the most unlikable things about it. Frustratingly difficult students (and their parents alike) closely follow. Not having a lot of money, having to think too much, and the need for research in the name of career advancement also make me question my goals every now and then.

Today as I was blog-hopping (a.k.a. avoiding the inevitable need to revise my thesis proposal) I came across a stay-at-home moms blog entry that dealt with the dilemma of career choices.

This got me to thinking: if I were not a teacher, what would I be?

As a child I dreamt of becoming a nurse. Nope, not a doctor, but a nurse. My family, however, said, why be a nurse when you can be a doctor? Why do the scut work when you're well equipped to go to med school? So I did consider that. In fact, I entered college believing I would end up being a doctor. Today, however, I am glad I am not, for I think a lot of who I am would not be the same if that were the case.

I've always also wanted to be a writer. I contemplated enrolling in Creative Writing for college, but was told but writing will not make you much money, unless you're someone like (so and so) and what not. Besides, they said, you've got the inherent talent for writing, you don't need to study it. Do it on the side And so I put that aside. In a way, I can honestly say I still am glad, because perhaps if I were a writer trying to beat a deadline all the time, the passion and love for it would not be the same.

I wanted to be a ballet dancer, ice skater or a gymnast. As a child I idolized Bea Lucero, Nancy Kerrigan, and Dominique Moceanu. But hello, being a fat kid with zero coordination made that impossible! Plus I don't have the discipline.

Of all the career options, however, the one I hold closest and dearest to me is being a Stay at Home Mom. To be a mother and housewife has always been my greatest aspiration. Many may find it corny or what not, but for me, this, I think is what I would like to do best.

Maybe that's why I am a preschool teacher...while I may not be a stay at home mom, being a preschool teacher is a good substitute for now. Plus it gives me the chance to explore other options till the time comes when I can shift gears and change careers. Or maybe not. to continue reading...

November 11, 2008

Got my Starbucks Planner!!!

8 days, 15 stickers and a million kulits later, I got my Red Starbucks Planner! I didn't expect to get it so soon, but thanks to a lucky break (a.k.a. a birthday party blowout given by Mom on lola's birthday) I was able to fill up my stickers. So much fun!!! I must admit that even though I am still not as sold to the present planner, I love it already. Love how much it is like the 2006 planner, which coincidentally was the one I really used the most.

I also take back comments from my previous post that it was super plain and simple. While it is much simpler than the older versions, it still has very nice accents, particularly the dangly page marker. It also comes with an engraved silver pen, which was not in the display so I didn't know about it. The packaging was nice too! I stop now? There's a black one waiting...hahaha. Talk about addict! to continue reading...

November 10, 2008

The Evils of Classroom Wifi Access

The wonders and advances of technology never fails to amaze me. As a student, I remember we'd have to use manila papers and markers to present our reports. Our visual aides were all hand made, and if ever we'd resort to some technology, it would be limited to the overhead projectors. Oh, how I can still remember my undergraduate days: without laptops in class, no internet access anywhere, ginormous cellphones that had but call and text capacity....but today, technology in the classroom is so different.

These gadgets and tools have definitely grown leaps and bounds. Not only have overhead projectors become all but obsolete. Because of these, the attitudes and processes in the classroom has changed drastically. While definitely mostly for the good, there are many evils lurking from these technological changes.

Nowadays, classroom gadgets are LCD/multimedia projectors for powerpoint presentations. But because they are so accessible, the students no longer take down notes. Rather they take photos of the slides projected on the screen. Taking down notes is a rarity.

Nowadays, most students have laptops in class. Although doing class outputs (i.e. writing essays) is so much easier for them, it opens up the avenues for distractions...especially if there is wifi access in the classroom. Because of this, many times students do not pay attention does the teacher. to continue reading...

November 6, 2008

Who are You today?

The other day, my so-called uncomplicated friend and I had coffee at Starbucks. Yes, despite the lingering disappointment with the lack of the Peppermint Mocha. For some strange reason, we started tripping on the text written on the table.

I probably sat on one of those tables a thousand times already but I never noticed what was written on it. One that got me a lot was this one: who are you today.

Okay, okay, granted it's shallow, but it got me to thinking (and perhaps reminiscing, about who I am today.

It made me look back at my days when I was still a student hanging out in Starbucks trying to work on some papers and cramming, trying to prep for my comprehensive exams. Back then I was a very idealistic young girl, believing that I could do what ever it was I wanted to do.

Then like flashbulbs popping in my head, memories of first dates (and seconds and thirds!) in Starbucks suddenly came flooding in. Those days I was a giddy girl, hoping that maybe this guy would be the one I grow old with.

And when that guy seemed to come along, but in the end turn out not to be, Starbucks became the home of the bitter, heartbroken woman who lost all her bearings and could not make sense of the world.

There were days when I was the Self-focused Introvert, just spending time with herself, learning new things about who she is and what she is all about. Other days I was child-like and carefree, not thinking about anything and anyone, just the moment, usually with my uncomplicated friend. I have also been the Shoulder to Cry on, the Listening Ear, the Sympathetic Friend, and the Gossip Girl all in Starbucks, hanging out with one of my girlfriends.

So at the end of the day, the trippy question "who are you today" ended not being so trippy after all....everyday (or should I say, every trip) in Starbucks brings out a different side of me, all of whom are neatly wrapped up in a neat little package named Ria. to continue reading...

November 4, 2008

Starbucks Planner!!!

It's finally here!

The long wait is, Starbucks unveiled the latest addition to their yearly planners. To be honest, just like I said in my previous post, I was a bit disappointed by it's arrival. It simply didn't stir up as much excitement as last years fabulous planner.

Nevertheless, I still want it! I've already chosen which one I want...the red one. To be fair, despite the somewhat disappointing arrival of the planners, I have to admit the promo is kinda better this year. Nonetheless, there still is a lot missing to it.
Let's start off with the good.

It's a definite plus that this year there are much less stickers you need to collect. This time, one only needs to fill up 16 stickers, 8 for the special Christmas drinks, 8 core Starbucks drinks. The added bonus is there is already a free sticker on your first purchase. So when you get your card, you automatically have two stickers already. Downside, as said in my previous post, there is no Peppermint Mocha. This year the new featured drink is Dark Cherry Mocha. Kinda tastes like Coffee Bean's Black Forest, but missing the chocolate covered coffee bean.

Another good point is that it's lightweight despite being hardbound. It's a nice size and thickness. Major points for that. The "leathery"appearance is nice too, but definitely cannot compare to the soft brown leather of last year.

I love the fact that the paper inside is lined. Yipee. Hopefully this motivates me enough to keep writing next year haha. The paper inside is nice and clean looking too, not cluttered by a lot of pictures, graphics or grafitti of any sort. Simple and straightforward.

I want the red one, as I said. Obviously, the availability of color choices is a good one too. This way there is some variation, not just for me to choose from, but I think it kinda gives it a different feel. In 2009, we won't see as much identical planners as before.

Now for the downside: no freebie at all. No more coupons, no pen, no pencil, no stickers, no cards, NOTHING. The card also seems to no longer have the Spark Hope part, the one you fill up. Makes me wonder: does this mean it no longer is part of the project? to continue reading...

Red Cups are Here.

For me, the debut of Starbucks' Red Cups officially herald the Christmas season. It has been a long-awaited tradition of mine to welcome the season with their special edition drinks and of course, the quest to fill up the sticker card for a "free" planner.

So today, it is officially the Christmas season! Starbucks finally unveiled their new planners and offered their Christmas drinks. After all the hoopla and countdown mania to it, I have to say:

What a let down.

Much as I still love Starbucks, and I still will go through the process of collecting the stickers (for the heck of it! I've collected every single one of them since they first introduced it...yup, the one with the 3 planners you get for completing the card) but this year, I don't feel as excited as I used to. I won't chalk it up to maturity or what, but simply to the fact that for a campaign that highlights traditions, they seem to have misguided definitions of traditions.

My biggest gripe is not the planner, technically, but that they DON'T HAVE PEPPERMINT MOCHA drinks this year! And this is what I looked forward to all year long. Being my favorite drink, it is what allowed me to complete my sticker cards quickly. No matter what they say, adding mint syrup to a mocha frap does not taste the same as the Peppermint drink.

So again I say: after waiting for the red cups, I am sorely disappointed. to continue reading...

November 2, 2008

Men, men, men...Hehe!

got this from an old magazine I saw in the beach...not mine, don't know what magazine it was hehe! sometime 2004 I think, but had no cover. too cute to pass up!!! to continue reading...

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