Boot Shoppin' Part 2

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I never blogged about my first search for boots because I figured because a) I'd never find any here, in this country, where no one seems to need it, also everyone who wears a pair gets stared at and b) because I was bound for a place that had more choices anyway. There was no point getting it to me. As it turns out, I was right.

Now, the unforgiving rains have been coming in albeit more frequently these days {hello, Falcon?!} and the worst thing someone maarte like me would encounter is the case of the ruined shoe due to moisture and/or injuries or accidents due to slipping in the rain.

The afternoon that came before the night I wasn't able to come home, I had been at Greenbelt on a mad hunt for some nice rain boots. After all, I was scheduled to watch Varekai the next day, which, if the rain doesn't stop, was going to be a sure location of muddy puddles and there's no pair in my shoe closet that would forgive me after I've traipsed them in rainwater.

Incidentally, I was not able to get any, though I was able to score a nice red raincoat from Topshop. I am thankful now that I didn't see any because of two reasons: a) It didn't rain the night I was at the Grand Chapiteau and b) I totally forgot to troll the internet for some nice pairs and so with the help of my friend T, and inspired by Frances' boot post, who are both on the lookout for some Wellies, I am now contemplating over really nice pairs that they are keeping me up! After all, despite today's sunny weather, no one knows when it's going pour like crazy again.

I initially had about 10 {yes, ten!} choices but I looked at all of them for about  five minutes each and finally boiled down to these two:


Coach Pixy Dream Tall Signature Designer Rain Boots

DKNY Niagara Rain Boot in Gray


They are both in the same price range and both have amazing reviews so it all boils down to aesthetics and that's where the confusion begins.




Help?

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I Love Mondays

>> Monday, June 27, 2011

Every single Monday, I struggle to skip through tweets and FB statuses saying how my online contacts would say they hate Mondays, or how they wished the weekend was longer. One friend {in real life} once said every Monday should be a holiday because she felt good that work started on a Tuesday and must've contributed to her general well-being.

This ain't a claim on superiority, nor am I struggling because I have condescension over Monday-haters but rather I find it odd that I am the only one {whom I know} who actually loves Mondays. And I feel that if I admit that out loud, I am going to be burned down or be gunned down by a firing squad.

But the truth is:

via
I Love Mondays. I really do. So sue me.


Mondays are my fresh starts. Every Monday, I am at work at a very decent time, sometimes even earlier than asked, sometimes as early as 7 AM. Every Sunday night, I take time to write down every single thing I can do on the Monday of that week. Every Monday, I never fail at running before taking my shower, and recently, after work, too. Every Monday, I am awash with unbelievable excitement like I am every Christmas morning in the hopes that what I produce, feel, give and receive on this day will be replicated throughout the week. Every Monday, my makeup is perfect down to the last single stroke of eyeliner. Every Monday, my outfit is carefully chosen and my room is immaculate when I leave it. Every Monday, I carry a smile all day and it's impossible to piss me off, which is pretty much the opposite on all the other days :P Every Monday, I am with hope that I am given a fresh, new slate to clean up the dirt I've gotten myself into from a previous week. If you ever need to ask me a huge favor, do it on a Monday.

And if only to cheer you up today:



Probably the loveliest proposal I have ever watched. Also, this is the marriage proposal
sequence I have dreamed for myself since I was 16. I can't believe I admitted that.




I really love Monday too much, please don't hate it so it won't go away.

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Things I Love Sundays: Rollercoaster Week and Varekai

>> Sunday, June 26, 2011

I miss boring days. In fact, I have hardly been bored this month which is both a good and bad thing. I like being occupied {who doesn't?} and I miss being bored {because boredom makes me listen to my own thoughts and my own voice in my head}. But this week has been pretty rollercoaster-esque especially the last two days of the work week because of the typhoon!

Despite the setbacks this typhoon caused, I am grateful to have been keeping a smile on my face all week. I may have a chaotic head right now because of all things I a) want and b) need to do but I am a happy girl despite of it all. Here I go again sharing with you what made me grateful this week because after all, if we just take a look at our lives, despite some bad things that may happen to us, the good stuff always outweigh the bad ones.


Pilates via

I started going to Pilates {among other classes} last week and this week, we tried another type of Pilates and holy @#%@^@%*(! Prior to trying this out, I just know Pilates as one of those classes people try to lose weight or to get fit. I didn't know it was THAT hard!

When we walked into the class, I should've taken it as a sign that it was going to be hardcore because of the muscular men and women warming up inside. Being someone who forgets to calculate and estimate things sometimes, I went ahead and got myself ready in a mat. The first few exercises were something I'd expected since they were about the same with my first class. However, as the class progressed, and about 15 minutes into the class, I was ready to succumb to shame and walk out.

But I didn't. Thankfully, I have gathered enough guts {and grit} to pursue what was exponentially physically-challenging than my normal activities. These were the likes of push ups but with legs raised, and other moves that threatened to be the end of my life as we know it. If I didn't finish it, I would never really know what else I am capable of.

Belly Dancing

Not as exhausting but just as challenging as any pilates class. Last Wednesday evening was my first belly dancing class and though I figured I had a bit of dance moves in me, limiting the movement to the hips and {I though I had it figured} looking sexy. During the exercises, I caught a glimpse of myself at the studio's mirrors and cringed how I looked a bit masculine-ish dancing, plus a bit bouncy. I realize I have to learn how to dance a bit more sensually gracefully. Ack. And for inspiration:

My Belly Dancing Goddess, Shakira


Refuge from the storm

I truly thought that one night of typhoon hell for Manila was going to be enough. However, it was 11 PM on Friday night and the skies weren't showing any signs of wanting to stop so in favor of braving the floods all over Manila, I checked into a nearby hotel. I am just thankful there was an available room!

 Some of the things that make me a girl scout


I love how they are so spot on every. Single. Time.

Hap Chan's Soya Milk <3 <3 <3 Had this and lobster ball noodles before
hitting the Grand Chapiteau for Varekai and it was just love.

The BFF and I outside the Grand Chapiteau.
Saturday was my Varekai day and as I was waiting outside
the big circus tent for our turn to enter for the 7:30 show,
my bestfriend came bounding out of the tent, from the 3:30 PM show! 

And of course, my Cirque du Soleil Varekai Experience which made me
clap so hard, cheer endlessly and feel like a kid all over again
in the presence of a circus.

Photos were not allowed inside {even if through cellies}, so here is
my souvenir photo from the booth of Sun Life Financial Philippines
who brought Varekai to Manila together with BDO and Manila Hotel.
I will be writing about my experience more extensively tomorrow. <3

What's making you smile today?


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Of Montreal

>> Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One of the things my friends from work have planned after Toronto {they on a business trip, I on a personal trip to see my parents} was a two day trip to what was touted as Canada's most European city -- Montreal, formerly called Ville-Marie, so called because the official language is French.

After all, when I asked Canadian friends and people who've been to Canada, they all seemed to have had fun in Montreal because everyone recommended we see it. Besides, if you follow me on Twitter, or if you've been reading this blog for some time now, or if you know me in person {aka heard me screech or swoon over French phrases}, you'd know that if I was just four hours away from a French speaking city, I'd definitely go.

So we did.

I forgive them for misspelling my name. After all, the VIA Rail train ride
was one of the most comfortable rides I ever had to board, largely because of
seamless WIFI connection. The seats are comfortable and the toilets
are clean. Economy seats, round trip are more or less CAN$ 200 but I remember ours was
a bit cheaper than $200. Bookings are done online and you can just pick up
the ticket at the station.

Hoping for Before Sunrise. Kaso wala.


C and I before dozing off.

And then when we arrived, our first stop was our hotel:
The Fairmont Hotel La Reine Elizabeth

 When we arrived, the boys were pretty beat but C and I insisted we walk
around the city.
Of course, we had a map in hand but it was pretty useless with us
because we couldn't understand a thing as everything was in French
{I was secretly delighted, of course!}.

Pink blooms lend beauty and testify to spring in the streets of Rue Sainte Catherine.

Rue Sainte Catherine of course, is Montreal's shopping district

When we paused from all the shopping walking, we looked up and the sun was
shining through maple leaves:


Montreal is a biking city and bikes are for rent. I find this truly cool.

I had to resist jumping into a bike and sing ala Sound of Music at this park.
I wanted to stay there for half the day but sayang oras and we were only
staying in the city for two days.

I forget the name of this statue {such a bad tourist, I know} but apparently
this is a popular meeting spot in downtown Montreal.


Where the company I work with was founded -- Montreal.
Incidentally, as we were rounding up the streets to go back to our hotel for a quick change,
we discovered that this building was just right in front of the hotel!

In Montreal, we ate French Italian! We wanted some French cuisine that night
but ended up with some pizza and salad and wine which to this day I can
recall as one of my best meals in Canada.

Montreal is known to have around 300 HUGE churches and where we visited,
Sainte Joseph's Basilique, the church had escalators. Take note: escalators.

At the top of the basilique are some almost hundred steps.

With our Chinese tour guide at I forget what because obviously
I wasn't listening
.

Then it was time to hit the Biodome of Montreal {amazing animals and plants!}

... where I had my pictorial with the yellow weeds.

Then it was time to visit another church, this time, the Notre Dame / Basilica
in Old Montreal, where Celine Dion got married. And true to form, someone
was getting married at the time of our visit, too!

As soon as we were getting out, we got trampled near the bride we ended
up sprinkled with rice, too {or grains!} and saw the group pictorial
outside and I spotted a super cute visitor. May he not come across this blog.


In the streets of Montreal.




In all its old world beauty, I am drawn forever to Canada's cultural capital that is Montreal.
"To go is not the same as to come back," as they say. One of the places I'd like to go back to is Montreal.

Hopefully in the next few years.



Love and happiness,
T.

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The World's Biggest {and Awesomest} Bookstore

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As a book geek, one of my main goals when I was in Toronto was to spend some time {and possibly buy a couple of titles} from what Guinness Book of World Records used to list as the world's biggest bookstore {currently it's Barnes and Noble NYC on the basis of shelf space but WBB takes away most number of titles carried}.

I'm just your Next Door Nerd.

One rainy weekday, after our trip to the Niagara Falls, I set out alone to explore Edward St. and the 20 kilometer long bookshelves:


Because the bookstore was too wide, one shot was not enough to capture the
entire facade
.

I must've looked dazed and definitely not confused as I got through the doors of WBB because the patrons near the door all looked at me. With its bright white lighting and rows upon rows of books, I felt a little dizzy as to which shelf to go to first. The ones near the entrance were lined up neatly facing the front so you can see all the covers and not be intimated. I realized that space can do so much to a book-seeker --- I did not get overwhelmed enough to just go back to the hotel and mope because of fear that the books might be more expensive in there {the price was just about the same.}

Unlike here, everything was free to be read and aren't wrapped in cling wrap. I'd like to sound smart and say I read at bookstores but I don't. When I am inside one, I feel that I always have so little time to see everything's that available so I don't stop to read what's inside. I do read the back covers though and if my breath is not taken away, I put the book back where I got it.

One of the aisles for Fiction. I think I must've spent an entire hour just
going through the titles...

Where I saw this:

Sweet Valley Confidential! Of course I've already read it and I wouldn't really
recommend getting it in hardbound version but it was just so pretty in there xx


If it weren't for the thick, hardbound covers, I'd have taken them all home.
It was the first time I'd ever swooned over a book's cover. I didn't look at each of the books'
cover artists but whomever it was just got the right feel of the book {Jane Austen's Emma} from the artwork to the paper used. I kept touching them and running my hands through.


These took my breath away. And now, a month after that day, I feel sad that I did not
buy these. I've never read Pride and Prejudice {though S urges me to} for fear of being
intimidated by heavy and big old English words but if a book was this pretty and have as
much covers, one can't help but do so, too. Unfortunately, because of luggage limitations,
I ended up carting the following:

Top to bottom: A poster with a cat in it {which I've yet to put on a frame}
Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer {which I finished in the plane on my way home}

It's a virtual romance that begins by chance. When Leo mistakenly receives e-mails from a stranger named Emmi, he replies-and Emmi writes back.  Soon, secrets are shared, sparks fly, and erotic tension simmers. Even though Emmi is married, it seems only a matter of time till they meet. But will their feelings survive a real-life encounter?  And, if so-what then? Funny and fast-paced, Love Virtually offers plenty of twists, turns, and satisfaction.

Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet

Is there such thing as a Western Taoist? Benjamin Hoff says there is, and this Taoist's favorite food is honey. Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living.

I'm currently reading the Tao of Pooh {thanks to my friend T's suggestion} and it's amazing how calming its effect can be.

How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo

Tuccillo, coauthor of the enormously popular He’s Just Not That into You (2004), ventures into fictional territory that distinctly echoes Sex and the City. Julie Jensen, 38, and her friends are singletons living it up in New York, but they would all much rather be in committed relationships. On a whim, Julie decides to write a book about the experiences of single women around the world. Taking a leave of absence from her job as a publicist, she jets off for parts unknown. Her first destination is France, where she encounters the enigmatic and charming Thomas, who is in an open marriage. Even as she visits other countries, Julie can’t help but long for Thomas, who meets up with her again in Bali, jump-starting a whirlwind affair. While Julie is off seeing the world, her friends are back in New York, growing closer to each other as their lives take some disastrous twists and turns. Both entertaining and thoughtful, Tuccillo’s debut is a must-read for women navigating the sometimes treacherous dating world.

I saw this book on the sale bin {retailing at CAN$ 4.50} so despite it being a hardcover, I decided to buy it. It's not exactly a bestseller material {finished this in about two weeks} but it was pretty informative as I learned about women and how they work it being single in various cultures such as India, China, Iceland, Brazil, New York City, Australia, Bali and others.


I did give up a bunch of books before paying for everything at the WBB counter, some of which that I can remember are Derek Blasberg's Classy, Drink, Play F@#ck by Andrew Gottlieb, Jack Kerouac's On The Road {dammit, I still feel haunted for giving this up!} among many others.

As I was paying at the counter, the cashier cheerily nodded at my purchases and gladly offered me a membership card {I apparently spent enough to merit one}. I politely declined, saying I am only a tourist visiting an important bookstore. For some weird reason, I felt like I belonged to that bookstore and feel that I should be back in the near future.


Do you have a favorite bookstore? I think I just found mine.

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All You Have To Do is Ask

>> Monday, June 20, 2011

One of Manila's premiere skin care centers, House of Obagi, is having a contest and the mechanics are fairly simple! Plus, the prize at stake is an Obagi Professional C Serum 15% which is worth a lot, I might as well be joining myself!

Download this poster, stat!


Promo goes on till June 27 and the lucky winner will be announced on the 30th. Goodluck!

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Anyone can be a father but it takes a man to be a dad

God's delays are never God denials. Now I know this is true.

On Sunday morning I wrote:

Hi Dad!

Just a quick note to greet you a Happy Fathers' Day! :) I know that we are not related by blood but you've been a great dad to me and Jerome that if anyone asks me, I'd tell them I am truly lucky to have you as my dad and that I am not sad anymore not having my biological father every Fathers' Day. You've shown us tremendous love over the years, and showed mom what family and married life should be. For that alone {among others}, I am truly happy that you came into our lives.

Thank you for all the wisdom you shared with me, I remember that talk we had at our living room here back when i just graduated from college, about a guy I was dating. You told me that bad boys don't change and that has been a guiding light ever since. I now know what to look out for with the guys I date {probably why no one lasts anymore haha} and I am super grateful for that.

I wish you more blessings and years and years of happiness with mom. I can't thank you enough as well for all the financial {or otherwise} advice you've given me.

Thank you dad and I love you.

Tara

On Sunday morning EST, he replied:

Tara,

Wow, you know how to write a moving letter.  Thank-you for the heartfelt greetings.  I feel lucky to have adopted such a wonderful family.  Life has never been better.  Your mom and I have been enjoying life together like never before.

It's hard to be a parent and not sound like your giving a sermon all the time.  But very happy to hear you do listen and take the advice to heart.  I am convinced you will find the right guy when the time comes, don't rush it.  You will know it when it's right.

You are a wonderful daughter, and am very proud to see you standing on your own feet with a good job, great disposition on life, and think it's a good thing to have caught the travel bug. :)

I love you Tara.

Love,
Dad



I must've done something right to earn a dad when I lost my father.
Happy Monday!

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Things I Love Sundays: It's Fathers' Day!

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

And just like the rest of the last nine years, I have gone through this day without physically greeting my father. 

I have to admit that it doesn't get to me as much as it does before. Especially since I have had a stepfather {one I love very much and have an awesome father-daughter relationship with}, it doesn't feel as bad. However, because I don't exactly live in the same time zone with my parents, it does get hard.

But oh well. Time for happy thoughts!

The past month has been a testament of how we can push forward more and knowing that we can always top our last triumph. Work-wise, it has been consistently busy, with everyone in our team morphing into different versions of ourselves to find a version with an added coping mechanism with stress. Through it all, I find myself stretching myself farther ---and try to pursue the kind of life that I think is best for me.


A haircut. I got my hair trimmed off a few good inches some weeks ago at Piandre in
Leviste. I have forgotten how nice it is to have not so much weight on my head.
And I think I'd like to go back to this branch more often, too!

Two kinds of movies. I saw Kung Fu Panda and X Men First Class on opening
weekend and on the same night, too! As usual, Po made me cry {thank goodness for
3D glasses!} and Michael Fassbender was hot as Magneto.

Ponds launches its new endorser {and line, which I shall be writing about soon} Angelica Panganiban.
I've seen Angelica one time at the US Embassy {I was behind them in the line} and
I know she's pretty but when we saw her last Tuesday, I gotta admit, the girl's got more beautiful than ever!

Of course, launches mean only one thing:

Seeing my favorite blogger girls! Here in this photo with Nikki and Rowena.

And of course the whole gang!
Photo credit: Nikki Tiu


At long last, I have found my perfect Sunday salon!
Posh Nails in Tomas Morato
is open till 12 AM on Sundays
so I get to go after dinner. Which I did last Sunday <3

The Search is Over. There truly is merit in letting the world know what you want.
Since I've blogged about my search for shoes, suggestions came pouring in from friends
and finally, I have been able to narrow it down to Adidas Clima Cool Chill in Pink.
I've already taken this to my morning and night runs and they're just amazing!




And because I also decided to get a bunch of stuff from Adidas, I was given a membership
card from 3 Stripes which entitles me to a LOT of discounts.
Fine, I don't really shop
a lot at Adidas but I've been thinking of getting more training clothes {Yes, atleta ako!}

 New books! My orders from my favorite Multiply seller came and I can't be any happier.
Books are my weakness. I know I always get sidetracked by pretty shoes but
I am no-holds-barred when it comes to book shopping.

 Yoga via
I already had my first class of yoga yesterday and despite my whole body 
really hurting from all the poses our trainer made us go into, I am thankful
and pumped {doesn't sound right for yoga} to have a go at it again. Too,
I didn't realize it was so hard but the thought of conquering them all
drives me to pursue it.


And as always, a reward for hard work.
 I endured five hours of work out: body combat, retro dance, 100 crunches {I can
just usually do 20, IKR??} and yoga so after my salmon dinner, I had this yummy
Apple Caramel Crumble. And slept like a baby.




What are you loving this week?
PS: I hope everyone is having a nice family day since it's Daddy's Day!

Love and happiness,
T.

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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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