December 31, 2008

What I Learned in 2008, What I Want to Learn in 2009 (Christmas List 11 and 12/12)

As 2008 comes to a close, I decided to sit and take pause as I reflect back on lessons learned in the past year, as well as to look forward to things I want to learn, relearn, unlearn or master for 2009 as a way to top of my 12 lists of 12's for Christmas.

So, here it goes:

January taught me COURAGE to face up to new challenges. Perhaps this may be cliché, as the start of any year would bring about that to anyone. For me, however, working through a lot of my personal demons (which started a few months earlier) was really a major challenge.

In February I learned the fine art of SELF-ACCEPTANCE. To be fair, this is still a lesson I continue to learn on a day to day basis, but it was in February when I think I really began to appreciate appreciating myself, faults and all.

March brought about the lesson of HOPE. For the first time in almost an entire year, March 2008 brought back to me the notion that the sun does rise and that there is a rainbow after the rain. After a tumultuous few months, it was becoming difficult to be able to hope that things would get better, but come March, the rising of the sun started.

I learned in April the value of PERSEVERANCE. I learned that persevering is not limited to physical tasks, nor just mental ones, but even to emotions and feelings. I learned to persevere my way through my thesis and through the difficult task of soul work.

For May my important lesson was FAITH. I always used to think I knew what faith was…wasn’t it just the ability to believe in things unseen? I realized, however, that many times I take it for granted. It hit me that faith was not just believing the way I was believing, you know, in my head. It had to come from the heart.

The real meaning of JOY came to me in June. Through my return to teaching preschool, I was reminded of what it really means to have joy. It is not in the material things I have around me, nor is it bought by money, but it is finding pleasure in the simplest things.

In July I figured out what it means to have PASSION. Not only did I rediscover teaching, but I rekindled my love for writing. I’ve always dabbled in it every now and then, but through a blogger event in July, I remembered what it was like to blog, thus, my blog was reborn. Passion indeed.

One of my biggest secrets (and one that people don’t believe when the find out) is that I am super shy. While it can’t be seen by others, on the inside, I am quivering inside. In August, this truth was challenged to its greatest level. I had to present a study in a conference where the top brass of my department as well as my fellow junior faculty were in attendance. It’s one thing to teach a class where you can wing your way through things and act like you really know what you’re talking about, but there?!? OMG. The lesson I learned, however, is to believe I can do it. The gift of SELF-CONFIDENCE is what I take from August of 2008.

In September I got to practice the art of TRUSTING MY GUT. Oprah says this is our internal life-saving device. I suppose she’s right, as you just know in your gut when things are right. Anyway, I say practice because I still have to really learn this virtue. In September this was challenged in me as I had to stick to my guns and trust my instincts that what I had done was right. I had to hold back a couple of students from graduating due to very valid reasons, but it was difficult to hold firm to that decision. I almost wavered a couple of times, especially since that was the easy thing to do, but in the end, I’m glad I stuck to my gut.

In October I learned what I really means to LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY. I always thought I’d learn this from my kids, but this was taught to me by Bubba. He continues to show me what “unconditional” really means, and how it feels on the inside too.

What did I learn for November? I think more than anything it was PATIENCE. I always say patience is a virtue I can often live with out, but I was reminded that I have to take things one day at a time and I can’t hurry others to keep pace with me.

The most fun lesson came this December, starting from my hosting gig at the PsychConsult 7th anniversary party, to the busyness of Baby Cakes baking, all the way to the psychology department Christmas party and to the JRAP (absent kasi si T and S!!!) food trip: SPONTANEITY. I don’t like surprises, not knowing what comes next is anxiety-provoking, and lack of structure is often frustrating, but I learned this month that on occasion, spontaneity is fun.

Those are the twelve important lessons I’ve learned for the past year. For 2009 what I’d like to learn, relearn, unlearn or master include the following:

First and foremost I NEED to learn SELF-RESTRAINT and IMPULSE CONTROL, especially when it comes to spending money. Of course don’t hold me to this if I buy an iMac in 2009 hehehe.

I think I also need to learn the art of LISTENING better in 2009. As a teacher and psychologist, this is definitely and important skill. I’d also like to learn is EMPATHY without getting over-involved, TOLERANCE without being apathetic, and WORKING WITH OTHERS without losing my identity nor over-imposing mine.

Perhaps one very important life skill I want to master in 2009 is PATIENCE. As mentioned earlier, it’s something I’ve always needed to work on. I also have to learn DETERMINATION to grit my teeth through icky tasks.

If there is one thing I need to unlearn it’s INDECISION or QUESTIONING MY ABILITY. But most of all what I want to learn this 2009 is to LIVE to the FULLEST and LOVE without fear *wink, wink*. to continue reading...

December 25, 2008

12 Things I Am Grateful for this Christmas (Christmas List 10/12

As Christmas day descends on us, I am taking the moment to reflect on the things I am grateful for this Christmas. It has been a pretty interesting year, so to speak. It didn't start out great, but it definitely is ending at a more positive note.

With no further ado, here is my list of 12 things I'm grateful for this Christmas:

1. Going back to Playschool. Getting back in the preschool mode, no matter how stressful and difficult it can get, has been like coming home after a long vacation.
2. Bubba. Having him in my life has truly made it so much better. He is the joy of my life and no matter how sad I am or how bad things are, he always makes it better.
3. My successful thesis proposal defense last April.
4. The Davao adventure. I am grateful that I got to explore such a beautiful island and to hang out with friends, but more than anything I am grateful not only for the trip (and the photo ops hehe) but because it heralded the birth of JTRAPS :-)
5. Introduction to Jung class and Ms. Seann. I am grateful that I had these, as these were very essential contributors to my present well-being. Through this I have become more authentic and honest, not just towards others, but towards myself.
6. My digicam. I am grateful for this wonderful piece of technology as it allows me to capture great moments with friends and family.
7. Bubba's and my trip to Laiya last October. I am grateful for the opportunity to go on a retreat with the most special figure in my life, as it gave me the chance to just sit and be still.
8. Discovering my artistic skills. I am grateful that this year I was able to hone my artistic and creative abilities, be it in graphic arts, drawing, as well as in verbal abilities (aka hosting hehe)
9. My job in DLSU. Despite my dislike for research, I love being a lecturer in the University and I hope I can have it for a long time.
10. Pretty good finances. While I still wish I could afford to buy things I wanted without having to save for it, or to think of it for that matter, I am grateful I can afford most of the comforts I want at anytime.
11. Being happy. I am grateful this year for the fact that I am happy despite and in spite of everything that may be happening around.
12. PsychConsult. I am grateful that I am part of this organization and for the friends I've made in it. to continue reading...

December 24, 2008

12 Places to Eat for the Holidays...or any day! (Christmas Lists 8 and 9)

With less than 24 hours to Christmas, I have to admit I won't make my goal of 12-lists-of-12's for Christmas. Nonetheless, since the Christmas season does not officially end until the celebration of Three Kings, I will attempt to complete the last few. For today, I'm making a double feature. For lists 8 and 9, here's 12 food places to go to and what to order when there for your Christmas get togethers.

1. Cyma. I discovered this greek tavern first in my favorite island, Boracay. It's tucked away in a little corner of D'mall and from the first go, it has become a favorite of mine. I love the osso bucco pasta and their house blend iced tea is yummy. The vongole or baby clam pasta and the roka salad are also must-try's. Do leave room for dessert, as their skolatina is something else! Other than Bora, Cyma is located in Greenbelt 2, Shangrila, and Trimoma.

2. Secret Recipe. This place is more for dessert and coffee, although they do serve meals. I've only tried their version of Tom yang goong. It was only average but their cheesecakes are fantastic! My personal favorite is the espresso cheesecake. The marble cheesecake is also super yummy. Secret Recipe is located in many leading malls, such as Robinson's Place Manila and Shangrila edsa.

3. Conti's. Conti's started out as a little shop called Dates and Nuts way back when, or at least that's how I know their story. It was located in BF Homes Paranaque. As a little girl, my mom and dad would take me there on special occasions. At that time it was also the only nearby place to get good cakes and pastries. Now Conti's is a big hit, with branches in BF, Trinoma and Serendra. My favorite dishes are the Chicken Cordon Bleu and Beef Salpicao. With desserts, the Mango Mambo, Strawberry Shortcake and Buco Pandan top my list.

4. TGI Fridays. Yes, it may be a wee bit overrated and way overpriced, but it sure is a fun place to be in especially with friends. The food is good too, especially the Shanghai Chicken Salad. The classic Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard sauce is also one of my personal favorites. Fridays is located in just about any mall, but my favorite is still the one in Glorietta.

5. Chocolate Kiss. Chocolate Kiss is a sweet spot inside the enormous UP Campus. A little bit on the high-end (given that it's inside the University which is surrounded by student-friendly priced restos), it is a great date place for students at any time of the week. The downside to this resto though is it's small area, which often gets full no matter what time you go. One of my favorite dishes in Chocolate Kiss is the eggplant parmigiana. The Kahlua cake is also uber yummy.

6. A Veneto. A Veneto seemed to start out as my friends and my "secret place" as nobody seemed to know where it was when I'd talk about it (especially since I live in the South and the first branch we knew about was way back in Visayas Ave, QC). The great thing about A Veneto is its really affordable prices for its really great and yummy food. They truly are poster-children for "who says good food has to be expensive"! Can't choose a personal favorite here...everything I've tried has been yummy!

7. Dairy Queen. Okay, while this is not a resto, it still is one of the best ice cream parlors ever. How can anything top a blizzard? Although it seems the flavors and toppings are not as bountiful as before.

8. Omasake. This is a new one I've tried, just this holiday season. My best friend Cookie and her fiance, Ryanne, took me there for our Christmas get-together. Located in a hidden corner in Casa Susana building beside Alabang Town Center, it's a bit out of the way if you were coming from the mall. As such, you might not really know about it unless you look for it. Surprisingly affordable for a good Japanese restaurant, Omasake is sure to not disappoint. Try the American Dream and the tofu steak. Yum.

9. Gumbo. Very much like Friday's, Gumbo is one of those restos with really big servings bright, shiny, happy servers. The jambalaya is yummy, and so is the fish and chips. I love their little coupons that give you a free dish for a minimum purchase!

10. Volare. According to a friend of mine, the chef in Volare used to be the chef in Amici. Whatever the real story is, the food is super yummy...although to be honest, not all my friends agree. I happen to enjoy it! At least the two times I went there.

11. Starbucks. Any food list of mine will definitely have a cameo of Starbucks :-) Ok,'s overrated coffee, but as my friend Che says, Starbucks adds a social dimension to studying (or whatever it is you're doing)! As such, any get together in Starbucks is sure to be a social experience. It's an excellent first date venue, safe and non-committal :-) Personal favorite, Peppermint Mocha Frap. Unfortunately this is not on the menu this season!

12. Balducci's. This is way, way on the upper end....but way, way worth it!!! Located in Serendra, Balducci's serves great steaks and other Spanish specialties. Bordering on fine dining, this is a fabulous date place, especially if you are celebrating a special occasion.

Where are you eating this season? to continue reading...

December 23, 2008

12 things not many know about me (Christmas List 7/12)

Over the past few days, I've gone to different Christmas parties...there was the one in my preschool class, where we had a Christmas Nativity play, then there was our psychological clinics anniversary party followed by a Christmas dinner and last but not the least, there was the DLSU Psychology Department's Christmas party. By far, the DLSU one was my favorite. Why, you may ask? Well, for one, celebrating the good times (no matter how darned exhausted you are) is always a great way to enjoy the holidays. One of the highlights of the party was our fun Kris Kringle or exchange gift. Veering away from the typical draw-a-name-from-the-hat style, we decided to play a game out of it. We wrote down little facts about ourselves that not many know about and the one who drew it had to guess who it was.

For the activity, my little-known-fact was "if I were to think of a career change, I think I'd like to be a TV show host, or a party clown". To be honest, that was not the one I initially thought of...but because I lacked sleep and was beyond tired, I forgot. This is what I wanted to say:

In my past life I think I was a ditzy blonde...hehehe.

thanks Janine for my ditzy blonde pic!!!

So I got to thinking...what are some other things not too many people know about me. So that lead to this 7th Christmas list.

1. I used to have a pet frog named Chinky. Yes, you read that right: frog. Well, to be more succinct I think it was a toad or a bullfrog. These were the ugly kinds...the ones that the adults would say give you warts. I used to have her on a leash and my cousins and I would play frog races all the time.

2. I am painfully shy. PROMISE!!! I may not look it, but it takes extreme effort and self-talk to get myself to engage with other people. I also don't enjoy going out and partying that much, unless it's with really good friends.

3. I have really ugly toes. My mom says I got it from my dad. They're short and stubby, and no matter what I do, they don't look pretty. I just shut my eyes and pretend I don't care about it when I wear my Crocs or Havianas.

4. I would gladly give up a full steak-and-potatoes meal for dessert. I swear. Meals are yummy and great, no doubt, but for me, nothing tops dessert.

5. My mom is cooler than me. Seriously. My mom is not the typical mom...and often times, I have to remember that she is the mom and not the other way around! She's just more free-flowing and spontaneous than I am.

6. I'm a tequila girl. Remember those scenes in Grey's Anatomy where Mer downs all those shots of tequila? That's like me. I don't drink beer, I hate scotch, but tequila....oooh tequila.

7. I hate cold weather. Every time the weather gets cold and damp, I feel sad and icky all over. I hate the feeling of being chilly and the rain makes me miserable. It's like I'm literally getting cold on the inside.

8. I despise driving. However, to be practical, I do it.

9. I'm quite good at video and arcade games. Growing up I always had a Nintendo or a Sega on hand, and I would always be able to master the games rather quickly. Except for Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter hehe.

10. My greatest dream is to be a stay-at-home mom and housewife. In fact, I used to want to have six kids!!! Now I'd settle for one. Or two :-)

11. I want to have a photocopy machine in my house. Not the printers with copiers, but an honest to goodness photocopier.

12. I'm a really good cook. I may not be gourmet, but I make yummy food :-)

What about you? What's a fact not many know about you?!? to continue reading...

December 14, 2008

12 Things I wanna see under my tree (Christmas List 6/12)

While my ultimate Christmas wish is to see a bright, shiny new iMac under my tree this year, it may not be something anyone short of Santa can bring me. With this said, I got to thinking: what is my real Christmas wishlist? Something that's actually doable for my family, friends, and even myself...hehe. So while I searched the net and other blogs for other wishlists, I found a link to this Christmas Wishlist Online Contest
in Manila Freelancer's blog and I figured since I'm on Christmas list number 6 already anyway, I should give this a try :-)

So, here is my Real Christmas Wishlist for 2008:

1. The new Starbucks Phillipines and Manila City Mugs to add to my existing collection. I've been collecting these city mugs and tumblers for the past three and a half years and at present I have about 30 of them already.
2. A Nokia E71. I know I just got a Nokia 6500c last August, but I broke it!!! Oops :-( I've been eying the E71 because of the Microsoft features. Although I'm a bit hesitant about the QWERTY key pad.
3. Any of the books from my 12 Books for 2009 list, or any of the gadgets in my gadget wishlist
4. A 1000 or 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle? Isn't it just the most relaxing and entertaining thing ever?!? It really is a great past-time for me.
5. A pair of silver or grey Havianas High. I have to admit, even though I first had qualms about buying these exorbitantly expensive luxury, it has been one of my favorite things for 2008 hehehe.

6.GC's to Kamiseta or Bayo. These two stores are among my favorite clothing places ever :-) A GC would be much better than the clothing because it's hard to get the size right sometimes!
7. Scrapbooking stuff. I've been meaning to sit down and make a great scrapbook of my dog Bubba but I haven't really had the time. Maybe during the Christmas break I can get something done. Lately I've been seeing really cute stickers and stuff for scrapbooking, and I wish I could afford them all!!!
8. A plane ticket to Bora. Just the ticket...I can take care of the rest :-)
9. A DVD of ER season 13...somehow I can't find this!!! I have season 1-12, as well as 14, but 13 is so elusive to me!!!
10. A fluffy, white, hotel-type bathrobe. I don't often use bathrobes, but for some reason, I love those bathrobes you see on TV...the ones in scenes from hotels, like that scene from Grey's Anatomy where Addison is wrapped in a robe, Derek comes to apologize, and Mark comes out of the steamy shower :-)
11. A white DLSU Adidas jacket. When the Adidas sale went on in DLSU, they didn't have a single one of, so sad.
12. My thesis finally done, papers passed, all wrapped neatly in a big red bow. Yeah right. Hehe. to continue reading...

December 9, 2008

12 Signs of Christmas (Christmas List 5/12)

It's hard to believe Christmas is just about three weeks away. With the economic crunch, the weird weather and all the stress around, it can get hard to really feel the Christmas spirit...

But I got to thinking, what are the 12 signs that really tell us Christmas is on it's way? For me, when these things come about, I start to feel the excitement slowly building up :-)

1. The Christmas Parol. Whatever street corner you're in, you're bound to see them. From paper lanterns to the famous Pampanga parols, this truly signals the start of Christmas time.
2. Order, order!!! Haha. As a partner of BABY CAKES pastries and goodies when orders roll in, this marks the start of sleepless nights, burns in my fingers and the gloriously yummy smells of date walnut bars, banana muffins and all that yumminess...
3. Christmas carols. Endlessly. Enough said.
4. Caroling. I don't know if caroling is different here and abroad, but Christmas Caroling here, especially by the street kids in my cousin's neighborhood, is something else. The banging of the tin drum, the jolly, out-of-tune yelling of "Merry Christmas Po!!!" and the asking for coins is something that I secretly enjoy. At least for the first three days.
5. Christmas bazaars every weekend. And weekdays too haha. I just started it off with a trip to the Worldbex 8th World Bazaar last Friday. The bazaars in Cuenca (Alabang) is also off to a good start...although I have yet to make my mark in it hehehe.
6. TRAFFIC!!! There is no denying the increase in traffic during the holidays. I don't get it, but it does exist.
7. The chill in the air. Even with the weird weather and the crazy hot-cold changes (moody weather as I'd like to think hehe), there is still that crisp chill in the air that tells me it's Christmas.
8. The Christmas tree, stars and all that jazz. :-) Merry Christmas!!!
9. Kris Kringle (aka Exchange gift). I never got the concept of it, but it's a fun tradition.
10. Ensaymada and queso de bola with hamon. What is a noche buena table without it?!? :-)
11. Simbang Gabi. 9 nights of mass at dawn...even if I am not Catholic and I don't observe this, hearing the church bells ring at 4 in the morning reminds me of what Christmas really is.
12. Putobumbung (did I spell that right???) and tsokolate eh. Yum...Christmas tradition to it's fullest. What is Simbang Gabi without it.

What about you...what are your signs of Christmas? to continue reading...

December 3, 2008

Kids really do say the darndest things!!!

One of the perks of being a preschool teacher is being witness to the innocence and charm of the young ones. They really can make you crack up with the things they have to say.

Here are some snippets of things they've said lately to brighten up my day:

Robbi: Teacher, kita ko yung moon noong isang night. Parang happy face! Nakita mo? (Teacher, I saw the moon the other night. It looked like a happy face! Did you see it?)
Teacher: Yes, I saw it.
Robbi: Mukhang happy face, diba? (It looked like a happy face right?)
Teacher: Yes!
Anton: Eh, Teacher, kagabi kita mo? Sad face na siya!!! (What about last night, Teacher? It was a sad face already!!!!)

Teacher Jam, long hair! (strokes teachers hair)
T. Jam: Yes, long hair. What about Cara?
Cara: Cara short hair.
T. Jam: Yes! Very good! What about Teacher Grace?
Cara: Teacher Grace long hair!
T. Jam: Yes! What about Teacher Ria?
Cara: (pauses, crinkles eyebrows for a minute) Teacher Ria....cutie!!! (mwahahahah!!! go girl!!!!)


After observing the life cycle of a butterfly (which apparently was a moth not a butterfly)
Teacher Ria: See the pictures? Where's the caterpillar?
Bebe: It's a butterfillar!!!

Ang saya!!! (So fun!!!) to continue reading...

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...

October 27, 2008

Our Halloween Trip

This is where I'm gonna be this weekend! I am spending halloween night with my dearest...Bubba. He and I (and hopefully Janine: I need a photographer hehe) will be trick or treating in the beach!!! Super excited!!! to continue reading...

October 25, 2008

Yummy Stocking Stuffers (Christmas List 3/12)

Have you hung up your Christmas stocking yet?

I remember my old stocking. It was the typical red felt stocking with white trim. To make it more special, my mom carefully laid out my name with gold string. Every yuletide season, that stocking would make a cameo. While now it's mostly for decorative purposes, it used to house wonderful goodies from Santa come Christmas mornins. Usually they were candy canes and lollipops, but sometimes Santa would get creative
and put useful stuff in it. I used to love having all the litte stuff, because they'd be so much more than bigger sized items! Lest we forget the extra goodies we'd get just before the feast of the Three Kings when Christmas decorations would be taken down and packed into boxes. This got me to thinking of list number three: Christmas stocking stuffers. Nowadays there are so many new goodies available in the market, it's hard to choose! These are the things I'd fill my kids' stockings with...if i had them haha. Then again, how said stockings had to be for kids only? :-)

1. Kitkat bites...little round balls of chocolate goodness...not too sweet, crisp and fresh, this new twist to the classic Kitkat is by far the best. Much better than the KitKat Chunky bar. Remember:need a break? Have a Kitkat :-) make it Bites! Downside to this: you can't stop munching on it till it's gone!!!

2. Flaming Hot Cheetos. Super yummy treat! Love it. Love the red fingers you get from it too haha. It has a spicy, hot kick but not too much, which makes you keep wanting more. Yummy. The only drawback is it comes only in one size.

3. E-aji Sour Cream and Onion chips. Very much like Lay's, but more affordable :-) It's chip is a little harder and thicker than the soft crispy chip of Lay's though, but not in a bad way. It has a good flavor too. I just hope it maintains this quality even as it gets more popular and well known.

4. M&M's Dark Chocolate/Peanut Butter. Yuuummmm....a twist to the classic M&M brand. Both these variants are so good! Being both a dark chocolate lover and a peanut butter fan, I can't choose between the two. Both rank equally to me :-) (photo from

5. Goya Dark Mint Chocolates. Surprisingly yummy for a local chocolate brand. No offense to the local market. For some reason, though, I still have to find a local choco that measures up to the rich quality of imported brands. I don't think it's just the quality, but maybe the recipe itself. In any case, this box of Goya chocolates is superb!!! Nice texture, good flavor...a perfect end to any meal. Plus very affordable. The Black and White version is just as good.

6. Chocnut. If you are a Filipino, then you will know what Chocnut is! This is the quintessential Filipino candy/treat. The classic amongst classic, any candy list would not be complete without this. Others have tried to imitate it, but to date, nothing comes close.

7. Flat Tops. Another Filipino classic. This, and it's relative Curly Tops, have been such a favorite treat for many Filipino children. For me, I can't just have one...further, for some funny reason, the older it gets, the yummier it is. Newly produced ones aren't as delicious, hehe. Of course, when it's too old, that's questionable as well haha.

8. Chupa Chups Strawberry and Cream. Growing up, this was an afternoon treat. However, during Christmas, it was even more special. I particularly like how it's not so sweet, and yet sweet enough to keep you wanting more.

9. Frutos Chewy Candy. A pack of this soft, chewy candy is bound to bring a smile to any face. My personal favorite is the strawberry, but all other flavors are quite good too. It reminds me of the old kind of fruittella candy.

Blow Pop Lollipops. An old favorite :-) however, it seems to me the gum in the center is not as good as it used to be.� It's kinda all sugary and it seems to melt away. I don't seem to have that wad of gum to chew anymore afterwards :-(

11. Kellogg's Rice Crispy Treats. I used to love this so much!!! It got popular way back when I was in high school, and for some time it was readily available in the local market. Nowadays it's more difficult to find. Luckily for my brothers (who love it as much as I did!) the DLSU cafeteria often has this in stock! (photo from

12. Moniegold Gummy Tamarind and Plum. I think my friend T likes the candy one better than this, but for me, this is more like it. Kinda weird though, as it is not the typical tamarind candy, particularly the round ones with a seed in the middle and covered in sugar. I initially didn't like the taste, I particularly dislike the powdery stuff, but to be honest, it grows on you.

I could go on and on with this list....there's still Jolly Ranchers, Werther's, Kisses...but I gotta end it with this. I'm getting hungry. And I wonder why I've gained so much weight...duh!!! :-)

What's your favorite Stocking Stuffer? to continue reading...

October 22, 2008

I so want to...

go to the beach.
go to the beach.
go to the beach.

did i say go to the beach? to continue reading...

October 20, 2008

The Hatching!

I was getting ready for bed when I noticed that one of my pet caterpillar cocoons was empty. I touched it gently and saw some liquid seep out of the cocoon but no butterfly. I thought it was gone...

But lo and behold, I looked around and hanging on the branch I left in the terrarium was this!!! to continue reading...

October 18, 2008

My Top Model Experience.

Had an interesting experience today: I was a hair model!

My friend and I heard about this salon called La Napa when we were in Coron and when we got back, we got offered a free haircut in the salon. We were told that La Napa was one of those high-end salons that offer high quality (and priced!) treatments and procedures so we were naturally curious. I've never had my hair cut in any other place except the typical salon (i.e. Davids) because I've always thought these places were exorbitantly expensive. Me pa, I'm so cheap hehe! So of course being dangled an offer of a freebie haircut I decided to give it a try.

Let me qualify before I go on: I did love my hair and it's length before I got it chopped off. It took me about three years to get it that long after all! Anyway, thinking it's time for a change, I went and decided to take the risk. And take the risk it was!!! Imagine America's Next Top Model make-over episodes: when the girls go in to the salon and are told what they would get. Yup, no dictation from me as to what I wanted. Ganun pala maging hair model haha. In all fairness, the stylist did ask our preference, but in the end, he was able to articulate well what would be a better cut. Like I told the stylist and the cutter: I'm going into it with blind faith!!! The Vidal Sassoon stylist then drew his instructions for my haircut on the mirror and I just bit my lip crossed my fingers and wished for the best!

In the end, I got a pretty short bob (I think that's still what its called). Surprise, surprise, even though I thought short hair makes my already round face even rounder, it actually frames my face quite well. I just hope it stays that way even after I wash it!!!

The hidden perk of my freebie haircut is I got paid, half GC, half cash!!! I gotta admit: now I wanna be a model hahaha!!! to continue reading...

October 17, 2008

I think I lost my sense of direction...

Then again, can you really lose something you never had to begin with?!? Haha.

Ever since I was a little girl, I always had trouble with directions, particularly left and right. I don't know if it really is attributed to the fact that I was said to be diagnosed with a mild case of dyslexia as a child, but for some reason, I always seem to get lost whenever I am given directions. Sometimes it works well for me, especially as a preschool teacher as it helps with the teaching left and right since the kids mirror what I do. So when I teach left and raise my right hand, they raise their left. Confusing, but true.

Anyway, today my poor sense of direction got me into trouble again!!! I was heading to La Napa salon in Makati for a freebie haircut and because I got so desperately lost, I missed my haircut!!! Thankfully I was able to get a new schedule for tomorrow. This time I'm sure I won't get lost. At least I hope so!!! to continue reading...

October 15, 2008

I Plan to Change.

For the past five years, I have been a sucker for the Starbucks planner. As soon as the announcement for the new one comes out, I set off to the nearest café in order to get started on collecting my stickers for the much coveted planner. I even bully my friends and family to help me fill up my card at the soonest time possible.

None of these planners have changed my life though. In fact, I have to admit I barely used them, except for show-and-tell purposes.

This year, I came across a blogger’s invitation: to write a blog post about the “Journal that challenged the Starbucks planner”. Being a newbie blogger, an addicted one at that, I eagerly signed up. In return, they sent me the journal to review and critique. So, do I really think this planner is going to be different from all those planners I spent a fortune on?

Before I begin, I have to give credit to Free Speech Publications, the brainchild of the planner and this contest, for it’s boldness in asking 100 bloggers to give their two-cents worth on their product. Not just that, but that they welcome not only positive reviews about their project, but even the negative ones.

Right now I have to be honest and say I don’t know.

However, I do think that this journal is different in many ways. For one, the idea that it is not really just a planner but a journal that will actually change my life 2009 is appealing to me. It makes me see it not just as a date book or something to write my schedule in.

Here are other ways this journal compares to the Starbucks Planner. For the sake of reducing redundancies, I'll be referring to the Starbucks planner as "the planner" and the "journal" refers to Free Speech's item.

Cover: the planner, especially last years, is by far more attractive. At least for me. However, when my cousin saw it, she loved it. She liked the whole graffiti thingy in the cover, which in my opinion, was too loud. It also seems to make it more masculine, which makes it less attractive to me.
The planner's soft leather cover, and refillable rings not only make it pretty, but flexible as well. I got two of the planners, actually, and I used the other one as a sketch book after filling it up with blank sheets.

Paper: both the Planner and the Journal have good quality paper, which makes it great. I like the fact though that the planner has lined sheets, which works well for people like me who have trouble keeping their writing straight and even. Although the Journals blank spaces are great for doodling on and making little artsy fartsy stuff to commemorate the days.

Pages: I like the layout of the Journal better, in a sense that it had equally laid out spaces for the 7 days in the week. I hated the shared Saturday and Sunday spaces in the Planner. I couldn't even doodle my birthday well!!! I also liked the way you can view the month in the Journal. The dividers (the sheets between months) are also informative and interesting, definitely more than the Planners!

Quality: I was a bit frustrated with the Journal, because the binding was not done very well. The last stitched area, towards the end of the Journal, was too tight or something, as it rips the paper a little bit. Not too noticeable, but when you're OC, it can be slightly flustering! However, I like the way it opens flat, unlike the Planner of 2006 which I needed to push down to be able to write on. Also, being hardbound, it's great to throw in the bag without it getting squished around.

Size: The Journal is slightly shorter than all of the Planners, but slightly thicker than the brown 2006 planner which is most similar to the Journal. Nevertheless, it is a good size.

I definitely love the content of the Journal! While the drawings and graphics of the Planner were cute, they were often useless to me. The Journal, on the other hand, has a lot of info that are very useful. And indeed, as I read them, I am encouraged to change. The little bits of wisdom are also enlightening. And they make me smile. With the Planner it seems to me that it was always so product-oriented, thus all I end up with is useless information.

Cost: This is definitely where the Journal wins. For Php 850.00, its a good buy. On the other hand, the Planner would cost about Php 2500.00 give or take, depending on the drink you get. Nevertheless, you get a drink anyways hehe (rationalizing much???)

Cause. If I'm not mistaken, Starbucks has the Spark Hope project with Unicef. However, the way I understand it, only a portion of the proceeds go to the project. What the Journal has over the Planner is that ALL PROCEEDS go towards the building of wells and schools, as well as planting trees around the world. ALL PROCEEDS! For that alone, if I had not gotten the Journal for free and could actually spare the cash, I'd get another one. Then again maybe I should not get in that sticker line...hmmm...there we go, the Journal seems to be changing my life already!

Overall, I can't really, honestly decide which is a better planner. I still think I will foolishly line up in Starbucks everytime double sticker hour comes along. But when it comes to doing what it says it can do, I think the Journal really can change a life.

So...are you ready to change? Leave a comment when you come by please and give me your opinions. Then check out the FreeSpeech Publications website or head to Powerbooks/Fully Booked to get your own Journals and change your life in 2009!

Oh, and do come back in a day or two to see more pics of the Journal and see what others have to say about it as well! to continue reading...

45 minutes and counting...

Lately I've been watching reruns of E.R. endlessly. When I say endlessly, I mean it. I turn on my DVD when I get home from work, and keep it running till I go to bed. Sometimes, the episodes blend in, and I don't know when one ends and another begins.

Anyway, I couldn't help but compare how different the series is to many of my favorites of today, such as Grey's Anatomy and Gossip Girl. For one, it seems to me (or maybe it's just a figment of my imagination) that the hour of TV shows before were longer than the hour of a tv show today. What I mean is before, the one-hour show would be about 48-52 minutes long. Comparatively, today's shows, such as episodes of Grey's, only go up to 43, 44 minutes at most. Must be the many commercials nowadays as compared to before. Another thing I noticed is before, shows had minimal music playing in the background, save for the theme song and sound effects. It's not that there were no songs played in climactic scenes in the shows, but today, music is very much another character in the story lines of shows. What's more is many of the songs we hear in the show are actual songs that become hits on the airwaves.

What hasn't changed, however, is the pattern in many shows, whether it be a medical drama (such as E.R. vs. Grey's Anatomy), a legal drama (L.A. Law vs. Ally McBeal), or teenage lifestyle show (Beverly Hills, 90210 vs. Gossip Girl). There is always something similar about the way they cast the characters: there's a popular figure, there's the handsome hero, the jerk, the rebel, and the nerd. Also, love is always a central figure in these stories. No matter what, there has to be a love affair somewhere there!

In the end, whether today or in the past, television is really a part of our lives already. Just like real life, changes of day-to-day are seen in the changes in our favorite tv shows. No matter what, however, the basics will always be the same. to continue reading...

October 13, 2008

Lost In Translation

I spent the past four days on an out of town trip with some of my colleagues for a community service project. As a result, I could not access my blog the entire time. It made me realize how much of my social world has been in cyberspace, even though I do still work in the "real" world on a daily basis. Being in close quarters with my colleagues, particularly two of my friends who were my roommates for the trip, made me realize how often I get lost in translation when dealing with the real world.

Conversations with people, for example, was one venue for me to see how lost I get in translation. I think it's because there's no delete or backspace buttons when talking to people...with my laptop, if I say something I regret, it's so easy to erase. Plus reading words does not require one to decode intonation of voices, which often have hidden meanings to it.

Blogging, on the other hand, can be a safe haven to say things I wanna say without worrying what people have to say about it. Also, having to write them down gives me time to think before I speak, thus I get to edit myself as necessary.

I learned three very important things because of this:
1. Think before you speak. While this may not necessarily be my S.O.P., I have to make it a habit so I don't regret things I say as often as I catch myself doing so.
2. Listen and listen well. It dawned on me that even though I do listen to people, I don't always listen well. As a result, I get lost in translation!
3. It's not always about me. :-) I caught myself a lot of the times in conversations with my colleagues turning the tables back to me. Whenever we'd talk about something, I often respond "in my experience", or "for me, I think..." I think I'll reserve that for my blog :-) to continue reading...

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