The Hardest Part

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

… is starting up.

Today I woke up with what seemed like the heaviest feeling: I did not want to get up from the comfort of my quilted sheets. I did not want to stand up and face harsh-blasting water from the shower. I did not want to move even for an inch away from the soft pillows and the blanket of morning cold that was enveloping me. I could stay all day this way, I mused. I could choose to be a bedbug and rely on the things within my reach to make me happy, to make me satisfied and still breathing. After all, who dies staying in bed, right?

It was a tough battle, between the bed and I. Suddenly, I found myself seduced by the scent of the fabric conditioner used mixed with the burning scented oil in my room, it was so homey I wanted to squeeze its aroma and put into a bottle. I wanted to create an altar for the three pillows that cradles me eight hours a day/night because it was then that I realized how lucky I was to have found the pillow of my life. I realized that finding the perfect pillow is like finding the perfect man in Manila: impossible.

I forgot to copy the link of this image :(

And so after what seemed like an eternity of battles between the cocoon of comfort that was my bed, I finally summoned enough energy to jumpstart my {already} late day. I got into the shower, sat through a wonderful breakfast of bacon and pancakes, brewed Colombian coffee and fruits. My brother announced he was cruising by my building at work for a study group, hence I had a free comfortable ride, too. I dressed up in the frilliest work-appropriate outfit I could, if only to take advantage of my one-day-only driver. I wore my highest heels, too!

I breezed through the day, handing out work output after another. My boss commented: “Are you sick? Are you having problems?” so I just smiled and continued being what apparently had been the most productive day I’ve had in the past six months.

And so I got into thinking: What could have I been doing if I stayed in bed all day? I could have been really hungry; I would have more deadlines to chase tomorrow, more work on my back and more wrinkles to slap on with anti-aging cream. Easily, I was going to be not one of the happiest people in the world and I am not agreeable when I’m like that.

Which brings me to a point: What are the things I could have done or could’ve enjoyed if I hadn’t been too chicken, or too lazy to ‘start’ things in my life? In an earlier post I wrote, I dissected the 26 things I need to do before I turn 26 years on this planet, some of these including little things like learning how to properly swim, how to speak Spanish, read the Bible, among others. Surely, it sounds like your average bucket list but giving it a deadline makes it all worth the squeeze. These things I could have done when I was younger but never got the will and the energy to start. Besides, then, it has always been easier to say no and just have laziness get the best of me.

So is starting up really the hardest part? Yes, it is. But it’s worth the battle. Because like most of life’s precious moments, every start marks the beginning of more wonderful days ahead and a life well lived.


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Things I Love Tuesdays

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In which I present a photo essay of my life week.

Tickets to CATS! I've missed so many musicals the past year {Rent, Avenue Q}
and even if my mother would not disown me {which she will do} if I don't watch this,
I will have to gather the strength and courage to sit through a musical of talking and singing cats.

ABS-CBN's CCPMG event at Rockwell
Because it was too fun being with colleagues while working and not really working.
And seeing Shobe though we didn't get to say hi. Sayang!

Spontaneous trip to the Republiq
to see someone I really wanted to see have not seen for a long time.
That was a pleasant surprise, A.

Trading in a night of a mind-boggling movie for a quiet reading night at the bookstore.
And in the Young Adults section, too!

Things that make adult things easier.

Things that make adult life incredible fun.
Flood-less streets on Sunday afternoon.

Chelo Kebab Kommideh. Rekindling my love for Persian food, at last.

Because if I were a softdrink, this would be me.
I love you forever, Cherry Coke aka one of the two sodas I drink {the other being
Pepsi Twist}

When girlfriends gets surprised.
Welcome back, K!

Watching films I have fallen in love with over and over again:

Great Expectations, 1998

Before Sunrise, 1994

Before Sunset, 2004

My favorite bit of conversation from the movie:

Jesse: In the months leading up to my wedding, I was thinking about you all the time. I mean, even on my way there; I'm in the car, a buddy of mine is driving me downtown and I'm staring out the window, and I think I see you, not far from the church, right? Folding up an umbrella and walking into a deli on the corner of 13th and Broadway. And I thought I was going crazy, but now I think it probably was you.
Celine: I lived on 11th and Broadway.
Jesse: You see?



What are you loving today?


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A Revlon FOTD

>> Monday, July 26, 2010

It's been a while since I've posted FOTDs on this blog. Aside from my regular life getting the best of me and my time, I have rarely applied make up these days {Sue me.} The other day, I've received some gifts from friends from Revlon so I decided to make an FOTD with it as I was figuring a way to somehow mask my tired face over the last few days because I haven't been getting enough sleep.

The three products I used from Revlon in this FOTD are the following:


Revlon Brow Fantasy in Brunette

Revlon Matte Blush in Blushing Berry

Revlon Colorstay Mineral Mousse liquid makeup

And here are some of my FOTDs from last week:

Notice how my face is so white here. I got a bit happy brushing on

Second note: my eyebrows look ugly here. :|

On regular days I don't get too happy with the brush, it really is like a 
God-send because it's recreates a great veil over my face and I
look glowing!

Ack! I did not realize this photo makes me look naked! :|
Anyhoo, I used all of the above products again and see how I have gotten
it much better this time. I only topped the liquid foundation
with shu uemura's Translucent Finishing Powder.

My notes on the products:

Revlon Mineral Mousse Liquid Foundation:


  • Consistency was not mousse-y at all, it was too malabnaw for a product that claims to be a mousse.
  • The shade 030 seemed like the most perfect of all shades of foundation I've ever tried though. As I was patting it onto my face, I couldn't see where the foundation and my skin demarcated. All I could see was that my blemishes were being covered bit by bit.
  • Unlike a personal favorite, the finish was not as smooth and not as seamless as other foundations seem to give. I think Revlon has yet to perfect the liquid foundation line.
  • It didn't make me oily, though so that's a thumbs up!
  • No breakouts, too!
  • No icky smell and the packaging is classy, IMO.
  • Good job on the SPF 20 but real skincare enthusiasts would know better than to trust a product that's not meant to do something but claims to.
  • Staying power is so-so but I don't mind at all.
  • Php 875 for 30mL is a bit steep for a drugstore product, IMO.

Revlon Matte Powder Blush in Blushing Berry


  • It was love at first swipe. 
  • The color payoff was not much but it's buildable --- which I always like with my blushes because I don't want a thick coat of blush at first brush, especially when I'm doing my makeup in the morning and I tend to still be a bit sleepy.
  • No glitters, just pure matte awesomeness.
  • Php 625 for a drugstore blusher seems a bit high {Ha, I'm too kuripot for words!}
  • Why does Revlon bother with all these scratchy mini brushes? 
  • But above all else, I stashed away my HG blush and this Revlon blush is now in my everyday bag.
 Revlon Brow Fantasy in Brunette
  • When I looked at it, I didn't think it was the kind of product that will work on me. After all, I was not sure light-colored brow gels worked for me {though I'm completely not sure why I still haven't bought MAC's Girl Boy until now}. When I swiped the crayon on my brows and used the gel it came with, my brows looked like I stepped out of a salon: WINNER!
  • On the second day I used this product, my dear friend T commented while she was drinking her coffee: "Uy, your makeup looks great today ha, especially your eyebrows." I have Revlon to thank for this compliment.
  • On the night of my second FOTD above, my best girlfriend Y and I trooped over to Miracle Spa in Aguirre St. and had a Swedish massage that had my face mashed up by the therapist. When I looked at myself in the mirror after, my eyebrows were very much filled and still intact.
  • I know this is available in Manila but I haven't seen it in the stores I looked into for research. Would anyone know? TIA!

That's it for my Revlon FOTD.  Do you love/hate any Revlon product? Share!

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Hot Like Mexico, rejoice! {Dos}

>> Sunday, July 25, 2010

One of my most favorite parts of the Mexico vacation was the fact that we were staying at one of the best hotels in Mexico South America and Europe. Admittedly, I was too ignorant on hotels like Iberostar because I've never been in this part of the world before, unlike my family who've all gone around Europe and South America. When I asked my mom where we were staying, she told me "Iberostar" {like I should know what the word meant in a second but I was like, 'What kind of a name is that?" O di ba, ignorante lang. 

As  I've previously mentioned, Iberostar is one of the giant hotel chains known in the Europe and the Caribbean. Headquartered in Mallorca, Spain, Iberostar Group of Hotels has over 100 five-stars in 18 countries {mostly Spain and Turkey and all those countries whose weather I have no idea of}. Unlike most tourist destinations, Cancun does not fall into the 'backpacker' category as there is no way a DIY-hostel-vacation can be done in this 'strictly tourist destination'. Being a beach/culture city, it is a popular destination for honeymooners and family outings but mostly honeymooners {I know, right?}.

At roughly USD 200/person a night, the price is kinda steep especially since I come from a third world country. However, my parents were feeling a bit generous for this family outing, so it was okay for a vacation that does not happen every day. Plus, as I've mentioned, most European hotels, this included, had an 'all-inclusive' plan, which basically covers all your food {and literally all your food, including room service, if you want to eat 24 hours a day that's fine}, all your alcohol {from Dos Equis to Corona, to margaritas and to wines, to Patron, Jose Cuervo and Don Julio, which is apparently the best tequila in Mexico}, entertainment {I attended one Spanish class and a flamenco class but they also had every sport imaginable plus intro diving classes which I wasn't able to get up for, darn!}and the mini bar {which I just stuffed in my bag and gave to my colleagues when I came home, heehee.

The signage from the Playa del Carmen highway

The  pool makes me want to do a 'Nestea' {back dive} right there and then

At my favorite part of the pool: the party area.
This was, however, taken at 6:00 AM, hence no party people :)

 About 150 of these buildings litter the whole Iberostar Hotel, with 36 rooms each

And how cute is it that there are a flock of exotic birds everywhere?

 It's a stray peacock! I've been waiting for it to spread its peacock
beauty {well, it's a male one, so no dice} but it didn't budge!

The Spanish hallways and man-made ponds

Turtle! Super cute!

Can I just say this is the biggest aloe vera plant I've ever seen?

During Japanese dinner night. Yes, they're playing with fire!

Our hotel had a shopping area and a carousel! A Carousel!
I actually rode it but no one had to take my photo.. so :(

Every night, there were cultural shows. On this particular night, they were showing
Aladdin, I think, but in Spanish.

The beach has gotta be my most favorite part of the hotel. Truthfully, I did not expect anything better. After all, I come from a country with one of the most beautiful beaches, albeit understated. I was wrong.


There were actual seagulls hovering above me when I took this photo and I never thought I'd say this
but I love seeing birds during beach time. I felt like communing with nature!

The stretch of the Iberostar beach line was more than my distance and
camera could take. It was LONG!

My beach companions: a beach bag {bought from Wal-mart}, a fizzy margarita {which was bottomless}, my iPod, a book, a Moleskine and flip flops.

When I took a break from what I was reading, I looked up and saw a couple
getting married at the beach. It was incredibly romantic!

I loved how their sand was so fine and white and that
there was much space to move around and no extras on my photos!

I did not like a couple of things though. While the bed looked so inviting, it actually gave me and my parents backaches, thus needing massages. And the massages were awfully expensive at USD90! Wi-Fi was only free at the lobby, so there were actually some geeks who camped out {yes, sir} at the lobby because they did not dare part with their laptops and smartphones. The shopping areas only carried designer labels and everything in there was again, awfully expensive even for Western standards!

Other notes:
  • If you're going to Mexico, it's okay not to bring a transformer even if they have 110V sockets because most electronics these days are convertible anyways. If you have a bit of an older gadget though, you may have to because I tried looking for one and they don't have it anywhere even Wal-Mart.
  • 1 MXN is roughly PHP 4 but avoid confusion because they're both called 'Pesos.' US Dollars are accepted almost everywhere, as well as credit cards. I hardly had any interaction with the Mexican Peso though because I was using a Service Credit Union Debit Card and USD notes I bought before I left Manila.
  • Most Mexicans do not speak English but our language being a mix of Spanish {their language}, it was easy to ask for basic things like the restroom {banio}, water {agua}, thank you {gracias}, you're welcome {de nada}, how much {cuanto}, I'm good {muy bien}, where is {donde esta}, last price {ultimo precio}, what time will the shuttle leave {a que hora van al permiso de collectivo}, orange juice {jugo de naranja}and so much more!
  • Most souvenirs are available at Wal-Mart {downtown Cancun} for a much cheaper price. Don't buy from the streets!
  • When they say the food is a little bit spicy in Mexico, it means it's incredibly spicy for our tongue. So if they say "Regular Spicy," run for your life.
  • As opposed to common misconceptions about Mexico, there are no drug dealings in Cancun because it's strictly prohibited by the government because the city thrives on its tourism.
  • They serve tequila after lunch. Don't be shocked.
  • The Mexican workers are incredibly hardworking and nice. Don't be hesitant to give good tips :)
  • God is the greatest for making me have such a dreamy vacation with the people I love.

There! Hope my notes on the hotel where we stayed gave you an idea of how things are in Cancun and Iberostar. If you ever find yourself there, I hope you enjoy as much as I did! Will be writing about the tourist spots in Cancun soon!





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Hot Like Mexico, rejoice! {Uno}

>> Saturday, July 24, 2010

It’s been well more than a week more than a month and probably more since I have been back in Manila from my magical trip from Mexico and to this day, I still have not gotten over the experience I had --- from being reunited with my parents (after two years), to the heavenly breakfast feast I wake up to everyday, to the food that never runs out, to the fizzy margaritas that seem to follow me everywhere I go, to the people I met and talked to, shared stories of culture with, to the hours and hours I spent with myself, identifying and writing down what I really want in life, scaring and surprising myself with my dreams and fears.

Alejandro - Lady Gaga
The OST of my vacation, just because there were so many gorgeous men in Mexico

I honestly do not know where to start for there are too many thoughts that I have with me now. I’'ve been reeling from the jet lag until two weeks after (I am not invincible after all), the unpacking (I only finished a couple weeks ago), the bills (I did shop so much!), the work I left and the thoughts and lessons learned that keeps haunting me every now and then.

Ah, the feeling of fulfilling your wanderlust. It's a disease and a good thing all at the same time. It's like being intoxicated and always wishing for that dose of a drug, like you have withdrawal symptoms of sort whenever you don't get your fill. And then when it's time to write about it? My golly, I really don't know where to start :|

I went to Cancun via Tokyo {a layover that allowed me to wander in their humongous airport, haha}. My heart literally stopped at all the things one can shop for at the Narita International Airport! They had so much beauty stuff I was dumbfounded! Aside from that, being the big ass airport that NRT was, it had its own map and pocket guide. Geezus.


And don't even get me started on all the Asian things you can find.

My next stop was Mexico City, where I stayed for one day so I again had the time to wander around and get lost. I was told that Mexico City was a bit of a dangerous city, especially during elections which was what it was at the time I was there so I stuck close to the airport. Also, Mexico City was a lot like Manila during Christmas. The traffic was so BAD!


Gate 75 of Mexico International Airport
Unfortunately, they do not have wifi like Tokyo {and other Asian countries like SG}
but they had bookstores, however there were limited English books :|

But anyway.

Two hours after I departed from Mexico City, I finally arrived in Cancun and these were what greeted me:

Cancun International Airport. My parents flew here directly from Newark,
avoiding the unnecessary layovers while I had to be on the plane for 26 freaking hours :|


But it was all worth it because of this.

And seeing my parents on top of that but I hadn't really been able to snap a good photo because my mother came charging behind me as I was talking to the front desk, giving me a huge bear hug. Followed by a humongous bear hug from Dad. Now I'm starting to miss them again.


And this. After one hour in the luxurious
bath tub, I buried myself in this bed but woke up after six hours because I cannot
afford to sleep when there's all these gorgeous sights to see!


And THIS. Because the hotel was so fond of intricate desserts but more on the
food on the next post.

Anyway.

We were booked at The Iberostar Hotel Paraiso, a very popular Spanish-owned hotel chain, which head office is located in Mallorca, Spain. I was dumbfounded how many rooms that resort had {roughly 450}, so all guests need a golf cart to be able to move around. What was even more foreign to me was the European way of checking into resorts and beaches was getting an all-inclusive deal, which meant that what you're paying for, you get everything in it already: all your meals, all your drinks, your entertainment {our package included scuba diving which I snubbed, tsk} ALL YOU CAN. I could totally live and hibernate in that place.

At the southern end of the pool, which runs across the entire hotel which
is probably as big as the entire strip of Boracay shores. I'm not kidding.


But it's much nicer on the other end. Plus, they host the parties here,
which start as early as 12 NN.


We went out, too, for a bit of shopping in downtown Cancun
and this is how their normal streets look like.


But being home to one of the new seven wonders of the world,
some establishments looked pyramid-ish!


But it was soooo hot so we just had to stop for some kiwi-strawberry sherbet
from Ben and Jerry's!


It's funny how we have the same currency name in Mexico, PESOS!
{albeit worth so much more}


So, that's it for now. Will write next about my Chichen Itza adventure plus
my dolphin swim and exploring the underground caves of Cancun!




Happy Tuesday!

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All I Want to Do

1. Go to NYC. 2.Create and not touch an emergency fund. 3. Tell someone I love him. 4.Cook a five-course meal and serve it to someone I love. 5. Love my imperfections but improve them, too. Read the rest here.
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