Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Childhood Memories: The Sound of Music

When I was a little girl, my father liked to encourage us to watch movies that he liked. It had gotten to the point that there were particular movies that became traditions for us to watch during the summer. One of those movies is The Sound of Music.


The film is a classic that was filmed in 1965 and is an adaptation of the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is based on a true story about a young nun who is sent to become a governess to the children of a widower.

Photo Source: Amazon

The movie has been a part of my family since I was a child, and I am happy to share that it is still a part of my family now that I have nieces and nephews who have also seen and loved the movie no matter how old it actually is. 

I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to be sixteen going on seventeen to sing that one particular song in the movie. I remember thinking that the girl who played Liesl was the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. I remember wanting to have Julie Andrews as a baby sitter when I was a child. I remember having a crush on the boy who played Friedrich, even if in real life the guy was old enough to be my father.


Raindrops and Roses was one of my favorite songs when I was in grade school, so much so that my mother bought me a calculator that opened to the sound of that song. At some point I think that So Long, Farewell was also a favorite of mine.


My cousins often came to visit for the summer and this movie was one of those films that we often watched together. It makes me smile when I see the kids of my cousins also growing up knowing about the movie and knowing the songs. I’ve seen videos of them singing along to music from this movie and it makes me wonder if the happy feeling I get is what my dad felt when he was sharing this movie with us and was watching us fall in love with it. 

A few years back I saw the special on Oprah where the cast of the movie was reunited to celebrate the anniversary of the movie (50th, I think). It was good that they were able to do that while everyone was still alive. Today, two of the kids from the film have already passed away, both from cancer. It was sad to read about their passing because these are people who have been a part of my life through this movie that made an impact with me when I was so young.

There has been a revival of this movie through a live broadcast that starred Carrie Underwood as Maria. I was a little disappointed because the magic that I felt watching it when I was a child was gone from the version that was on TV. The classic is still the best version of this musical. 

Have any of you seen this musical? Did it make a mark on your childhood as much as it did with me?

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Falling for Remember Sunday

I’ve always loved romantic movies. Feel good movies are my thing. They can be crazy simple and predictable, but I’ve always enjoyed watching these types of films. This is why I’m a fan of Hallmark Movies. They’re one of my guilty pleasures. They never fail to give me a positive feeling especially after a long and stressful day. Love stories are just a feel-good thing for me.

Photo Source: Pixabay

One of the movies that I love from Hallmark is the film Remember Sunday. Back in the day I was a fan of the TV shows Chuck and Gilmore Girls, so having Zachary Levi and Alexis Bledel starring in one movie was a must-watch for me. Gladly, they did not disappoint me with this one. 


The movie is about Gus and Molly, who meet and fall in love after they meet a diner. It would have been a typical love story if not for the fact that Gus suffers from a disorder where he cannot make new memories past those that he had before he suffered from a brain aneurysm. Every memory he makes since then is forgotten by the time he goes to sleep so Gus has made it a habit to put reminders all over his apartment of things he wanted to remember from certain days. He also has a pen recorder that he saves on his laptop to remember the important things, including Molly.

There is a lot of drama involved with the story that I can’t share without giving spoilers but suffice to say there is a struggle with having a relationship with someone who doesn’t remember you the next day unless he is reminded of it. It’s very 50 First Dates, but in a more dramatic setting. So, does that mean this condition is a real thing, not just something that people make up for stories like this? Sure seems like it. 

I loved the movie because it wasn’t feel-good all the way. There was a lot of heart-wrenching moments with the struggle that Gus has in order to remember Molly, and with the way both were trying to hang onto each day with each other because of his lack of memories. I really felt for Gus because you could feel the pain and the struggle that he was going through (great acting from Zach Levi – first time I’ve seen him in a serious role if I’m not mistaken). There were so many moments where I felt like I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything would be alright.


The movie was a bit sad, but the end gave a lot of hope that maybe, just maybe, Gus was gaining his memory back. Either that or the love that he had for Molly was strong enough for him to overcome the condition that he had. It was that hint of hope that gave me that warm feeling in my heart that Hallmark Movies always makes me feel. I loved it. I wish that Zachary Levi did more dramatic/romantic roles because I may have loved him before, but I really, really love him more now.

If there is anything I would like to change about the movie, it's that I wish the ending wasn't so simple. The open-ended part was interesting but the execution of it left me wanting a little more considering all the emotional things the characters have been throughout the movie. I just wanted more.

Still, Remember Sunday is a good movie if you want your heartstrings tugged and want to feel love in your heart. It's worth the watch.



*Photo and video from the official Facebook Page of Remember Sunday and Hallmark's YouTube Channel

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Care to Sworkit?

As I have mentioned in a previous post, at the moment I am not allowed to exercise (cardo, weights) due to a weak heart and other heart issues. However, there was once a time when I was healthy enough to do so and I did it with the help of this app called Sworkit.



Sworkit was an app that I heard about from my dream celeb squad friend Khloe Kardashian. She mentioned Sworkit and other apps as some of the things she used to lose weight. I tried every single app that she suggested, and it was Sworkit that turned out to be the best fit for me.



When you open the app, you get to choose what type of workout you want to do. There are several sets you can choose from depending on the type of workout you want to do. There are workout plans for getting Leaner, Fitter or Stronger, but you can also choose depending on the type of workout such as Strength, Stretching, Cardio or Yoga. There are various workout routines under each category for you to choose from depending on what you feel you need to what you want to focus on. You can also opt to make your own set by customizing the workout with moves that you prefer doing. Once you have your set selected, you can then select the how long you want to work out. It can be several minutes or sets, depending on the workout. You can also select a playlist from Spotify that you can use while you work out.



I love Sworkit because the workouts focus on body weight training, which means I don’t need any equipment to be able to do the workouts. The app also teaches you how to do the moves before you start the workout. There is a voice that will guide you throughout the workout to tell you when to start or stop a certain set. 

The app is very useful because it also has reminders for workouts, which can help motivate you to do it on days when you don’t feel like getting up. You can personalize your workouts depending on difficulty level, type of category, stance, impact level or focus area. 

It’s too bad that I’m not able to workout with Sworkit these days. It’s the best app I’ve used for exercise because I feel energized after every workout. While it does give me a challenge in terms of levels of difficulty, it’s not too intense that I feel like quitting from it. There is definite pain after a workout, but it’s the good kind where you feel muscles you have forgotten had existed before.

The only disappointing thing about the app these days is the cost. Annually the subscription costs $79.99 a year, or you can choose a monthly fee of $12.99. It’s a bit pricey for my taste, particularly because when I first used the app, there was a free version where you could only use a limited number of workouts per category. This time however, you only get a 30-day trial period after which you need to choose between the annual or monthly subscription.  I wish they still had that free version to be honest. I don’t think I can afford the subscription when I do get the go signal from my doctor to work out again. There’s just too much financial responsibilities that I must prioritize before this app. 



I can live with the limited options if I get it for free. But I understand that they need to earn from it too. It’s just sad because I finally found the right fit for me then this happens. Oh well, back to set workouts on YouTube for me I guess. 

For those who can afford the app and are interested in a good workout, give Sworkit a try. It’s worth the money.



*Screen Captures from Sworkit app and via Official Website
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Bloggers I Follow: Solenn Heussaff

In the Philippines, most people would know who Solenn Heussaff is. She’s an artist, an actress, a TV host, an author, a model, a social media star (along with her husband Nico) and she is also a blogger.



I was never a fan of Solenn in the beginning. When she started on TV and in movies and such, I just thought she was OK. I think I’ve seen her once in person at a football game when her husband used to play in the UFL but I never fangirled or anything like that.

After my sister started sharing her posts from Instagram, I think that’s when I started following her as well. It was also through her Instagram account that I learned about her blog, which I have only recently started to read.

The stories she posts on Instagram, particularly the ones with her husband, are often very funny and very real. I think that’s what made me follow her account in the first place. I love seeing the relationship that these two have. I hope that if (that’s a big IF) I get married that the relationship I have with my husband will be as good as theirs obviously is. 

While I may have started following because of her and Nico, I eventually followed and used her as my fitspiration – although sadly, inspiration is all it will ever be (for now) since my doctor has not allowed me to do cardio or weights due to my existing heart condition! If only I could be as fit as she is! If only I can eat those healthy meals that she does (no chia seeds here in the province)! Wow, that would be something!



These days I have been following her account because of her art. I used to dabble in art when I was in high school and completely scrapped it in college. I’ve drawn/painted here and there, mostly doodles through the years, but I have been longing to give art a chance again and Solenn’s art is inspiring me to give it another shot. I may never become as good as she is, but I’d love to immerse myself in that world again. I miss it!

Lately on her blog, Solenn has been making an effort to talk about issues that are close to my heart: the environment and mental health. I love that Solenn is using her status and social media to reach out to her fans and help them to become more aware of these issues that need to be taken seriously.  As much as I can blog on and on about the environment or talk about mental health I only have a few readers on my blog compared to her thousands or millions of followers. It is good that someone with her popularity can use her platform for a good cause. 



I look forward to reading more of her blog as she posts new entries. In the meantime, I will keep following her and her husband on Instagram. If you liked what you’ve read in this post, you probably should too. 


*All photos on this page are screen captures of Solenn's blog.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Making Time for God

Religion and I have a complicated relationship. I was raised a Roman Catholic. As I got older I’ve attended service for Born Again Christian groups. I still go to Catholic church during the major holidays but for the most part I don’t anymore. I may not be perfect in the sense that I am not religious, but I do believe in God and I try to maintain a relationship with him in the ways that I can.

Prayer is something that I may not do in the formal sense, with recited prayers at specific times or whatnot, but I do pray. I can’t say how often because it depends on the day: sometimes something catches my attention and I say a silent prayer in thanks or for assistance (not just for myself but for others as well). I was also brought up with the idea that your work can be a form of prayer, that you glorify God with your work. I do my best to live up to that whenever I can. I say whenever because obviously, I am not perfect, and I do make mistakes from time to time. 

One thing that I try to do is to read the Bible and meditate on the word of God. I have a daily reading guide that has inspirational thoughts that guide you with the readings assigned for the day. I also have a daily devotional that I use along with it. 



I wish I could say that I read the Bible daily but there are days when I don’t. I make up for it on the days that I do by catching up on readings I missed on the days that I do read the Bible. I’ve never passed on reading for more than a couple of days though, so I don’t miss or need to catch up on much. 

Reading the Bible has been good for me. It helps me to deal with the jumbled thoughts in my head because there is always something in it that I can apply to my life and that has been very good for me. It helps me feel that I am never alone, that God is there to encourage me and keep me striving to do good, even when there are days when I feel less than it. 

If you ever had the chance to look at my Bible, you’d find that it is highlighted like crazy with the lines that I found that I could relate to. There are also special markings on the ones that have become my favorites. This Bible was given to me by a coworker of mine way back in 2001, just before I moved from the Metro to the province. It is one of my prized possessions that I’ve had with me through several moves through the years. I’ve gotten older and my eyesight is not what it used to be. The small text in the Bible has started to become a challenge to read but I still use this Bible. It’s been with me through a lot and I plan to stick with it for as long as I can. One day I hope to hand it over to my niece for her to use as a guide when she becomes an adult herself. 

I hope that I can finish reading the Bible this year. I always intend to read everything all year but never really finish. I am always close, but never really done. Hopefully this year I can do it.



Photo Source: Pixabay.com 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Women in the Workplace

One thing I realized after learning through the years about equal opportunities in the workplace is that I have been lucky because all the places that I had worked for had female bosses. The owners were still male, but the people I worked under were female.



When I was an intern for a magazine and an ad agency, my bosses were both female. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to see young women blazing a trail for themselves in their place of work and in their chosen industries. It was something that inspired me to hope that maybe one day I could be someone like them. 

My first job was in marketing, where my immediate superior was a woman who was not that much older than I was. She was smart but down to earth and I liked watching and learning from someone like her.

My next job was in ecommerce. There I had an older boss, who acted as a motherly figure who was also a mentor at the same time. She was very dedicated to her work and made a habit of having weekly meetings, so we can all update each other on the progress of our projects. It’s something that I have carried with me to my current job. I may not organize meetings that often, but I make it a point to discuss work progress with everyone in my division as often as may be necessary.

In my current job, I have had a female superior when I first entered the company and now, I am one of the females in senior positions in the company. In this current job, there are more female than male employees in senior positions and I am grateful that we are in that kind of a work environment where the gender of the person has not been used as a basis for determining the position we can have in the workplace.

This is all a big deal to me. I grew up with my father being a boss and my mother being a secretary. When I was a child that was the more common setup. Having that not be the norm today, to be able to live in the generation where women do not have to be the secretaries but be the bosses themselves is a wonderful thing. 

As I read about how there are still many places where women are not given equal opportunity at work, I remain appreciative of the places where I have been and am currently employed. If there is anything this has taught me it’s not just to give more opportunities to women but also to be open and give opportunities to everyone equally regardless of gender, age, etc. If we write people off because of certain labels, we will never know what kind of talent we pass on because of whatever prejudices we might have had. If I had worked in a place where it was male-dominated, I don’t think I would learn to appreciate the term “equal opportunity workplace” the way I do today.

I know it’s not women’s month or anything like that, but I just have to raise a glass to the women who I had worked for and the people who have given these women the opportunities that they did to inspire me to be the woman that I am today in the workplace. I hope that there will be more of us in the future!



Photo Source: Pixabay.com 

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Book Review: The Secret Life of Ceecee Wilkes

Imagine making a mistake in your youth that you regret greatly. It’s something that drives you to change for the better. You do everything in your power to make things right – except owning up to your mistake. What do you think will happen when you finally have to come right out and admit it? The Secret Life of Ceecee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain is about just that.

Credit: MIRA Books


This is the story of Ceecee Wilkes. She helped commit a crime in her youth because she thought she was in love with the guy who got her involved. Being young and naïve without any adult guidance or supervision, she ended up being in over her head with what she had done and had to live with the consequences of her actions up until she eventually got married and had a family of her own.

As much as I don’t want to go into too much detail about the book, it’s hard to share how I felt about it without sharing what happened. Ceecee ended up taking care of a child that was born during a kidnapping gone wrong. She was too young and afraid and ended up taking care of the child as if she was her own. The time came, however, when she had to admit to the mistake she made of not telling her daughter who she really was and how they came to be mother and daughter. Drama ensues. 

I really wanted to like this book. I really did. The book had some good moments, particularly with the dilemma that Ceecee had when she was left with the baby when she was only 16. That moment where she wanted to return the baby but was too afraid to do so. I totally get that a young girl who has had no adult guidance in her life (apart from letters her mother left her before she passed away) would be so confused in the moment and would make the mistake of running away with the child instead of giving her back. 

The part that was difficult for me to understand was how she could live with the lie until the child became an adult. It took having her ex-boyfriend on death row for her to come forward and admit that her daughter was not hers and was that of the Governor who lost his wife to the kidnapping all those years ago. I felt that it was also too easy the way that the ending was resolved with everyone accepting what has happened and reconciling everyone like nothing extreme happened. I guess I felt that it was too forced an ending for me. 

My feelings about this book are conflicted. On one end I did feel for the main character but on the other, I found this book difficult to read for some reason. I was glad when I was finally done with it even if I didn’t feel like it had an ending that satisfied me. 

It’s not one of those must-share books for me, but it’s not completely bad either. I guess the most I can say if anyone is interested in this one is to read at your own risk. 

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Our Stay at Summit Ridge Hotel

The staycation our family had at Taal Vista Hotel was so much fun that my family and I decided to have another one over the summer holiday. This time we went to Summit Ridge in Tagaytay.

View from our room

Why Summit Ridge? I had the chance to stay at the hotel for a convention a few years ago and I thought that the hotel was pretty good. I had several other hotel options in Tagaytay but ultimately decided that it was better to go to a hotel that I had experience staying in than a new hotel that would give us some surprises that may or may not be pleasant. 

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by our stay at Summit Ridge. I don’t know what it was, but I suppose having been at Taal Vista just a month before was a factor. We had such a good experience with that stay that it made us aware of what kind of service these hotels should give their guests so when we did not find that in Summit Ridge, we were greatly disappointed.

First issue we had: the pool. When we arrived, we had some pool toys with us. The woman at the reception area told us that the pool was drained just that day and would not be available for use during our stay. It was a shocker because when I booked the hotel online, there was no indication of that happening. There was a note that the restaurant was being renovated but that was it. Considering that I had several kids with me who wanted to go for a swim I was annoyed that I had booked there when they did not have a pool. According to my sister when she was in the lobby there were other guests who were equally disappointed that there was no pool. I have no problem with them wanting to clean/renovate the pool. But the least they could have done was inform potential guests before they booked a room (or in our case, a suite). We ended up staying most of the day in our suite, which was a two bedroom with a living room/dining area similar to the one we stayed at in Taal Vista (but smaller).






Second problem: poor customer service. When we checked in we were earlier than our check in time by an hour. The reception staff said that meant that we had to check out an hour earlier as well. I had to ask for a later checkout time, so we could leave at the actual time that we booked. 

After we checked in, my sister and I went to the nearby Robinson’s Supermarket to buy food and drinks, since our suite had a refrigerator and a mini kitchen. We were carrying so much stuff, but no one helped us carry them to our room (something that was done for us at Taal Vista). The security just looked at us and the reception staff didn’t even pay attention to us as we walked by. Later we even walked past the reception area to go to Robinson’s via a door at the side of the hotel, which I knew to use from my previous stay there. It was a long walk…then we discovered the side door was locked. No one even bothered to tell us when we walked by!

The mini kitchen

Third issue: their spa. I asked to get my mother booked for a massage, but we were told that they were fully booked, which was weird since when we got there the place seemed empty. We were advised that we should have booked it in advance, which was weird since we only booked my mother’s spa appointment at Taal Vista upon our check in and we had no issues with it. It was annoying that the receptionist at the spa wasn’t helpful at all. She didn’t even look at her appointment schedule to show that they couldn’t squeeze my mom in. I think it wasn’t so much the lack of available service that I was upset with. It was more the approach when it came to turning us down more than anything.

Last: the bathroom. While it was nice that there was a separate area for the bath and the toilet. My entire family agreed that it was inconvenient that they didn’t have a bidet. That is such a deal breaker for us. I hope next time they can include that in their rooms.


No bidet!!!

While we had issues with the breakfast buffet being at the ballroom of the hotel, we felt that it was understandable considering that we knew of the renovations being done at their restaurant. However, at one point we noticed one of those rolling layered tray things at the side of the ballroom where the waiters (who seemed like students for some reason) were dumping leftovers. We literally had full view of layered trays of leftovers. No plates or anything of the sort. Just the food itself. Not exactly an appetizing thing to see for breakfast. They should have at least kept it hidden if they needed it to be nearby.

Disappointment is an understatement right now about our stay at Summit Ridge. I had a far better experience years ago. I don’t understand what went wrong.

I don’t know if we would consider going back to Summit Ridge. Their only selling point is being near a supermarket, Starbucks and Bag of Beans but that’s about it. I do hope that their hotel can be improved further over time. Till then, I think we’ll pass and try something new.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Diet Tea for Weight Loss? Pass!

Full disclosure here: I am overweight. I have been overweight since I had my thyroid issues. I’ve been struggling with it for a long time. I am now seeing a different doctor to treat me for my thyroid problems (among other things) and for the first time in a long time I have been losing weight. I’m hoping that this time around it will be more consistent, and I can go back to the ideal weight for my height and body type. Fingers crossed on that one. 

I’ve tried various methods to lose weight. I think I’ve tried every diet imaginable, but the weight loss just didn’t happen for me. It got to the point where I used a lot of laxatives, particularly diet tea, to lose weight. It was probably one of the biggest mistakes that I have done for weight loss.

Image Source: ahgomaaz at Pixabay.com 

I remember being on vacation when I started having stomach issues. I didn’t pay much attention to it until months after I got back when I felt that it was getting worse. I sought the opinion of a gastroenterologist, who did a few tests to see what was wrong with me. As a precaution I also had a colonoscopy, since my cousin had just recently passed away from colon cancer at the time. 

My doctor told me that the result of my stomach issues was a bad diet and my use of laxatives. I was told that it was one thing to use them when you are constipated, but it is not advisable to make it into a regular habit. He explained something about how laxatives force bowl movement and if used too often, it will get to the point that you will have the stomach issues that I have. This is because the bowel is no longer used to doing its job without the push from laxatives. 

If I needed something to move things along, my doctor advised me not to take laxatives. He recommended that I eat food that had more fiber (whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, vegetables) and to drink more water. He also told me to stay away from food that could cause constipation such as dairy products, fast food and processed food.

In this age of social media where more and more people feel the pressure to look good, I can understand the urge to try a faster route where you do not have to diet or exercise as much as you should to lose weight. But one thing to remember is that you can’t lose weight if you don’t put in the work. Even those people who get weight loss treatments still need a great amount of discipline in terms of diet and exercise to attain their goals and maintain them. Besides, I’ve been told that most of the weight you lose from laxatives is water weight anyway.

I’ve known people who have passed away from and are currently suffering from colon cancer .It's been said that it is a disease that is one of the worst forms since most people do not know that they have it until it's too late. The best thing that we can do is to eat right and to make sure that we see the doctor when we feel or notice something different about our digestion.

My advice to the young ones out there: it is better to eat right, exercise and work with your doctor on what is the right plan for you to lose weight. Don't try to treat yourself and depending on what is advertised for weight loss. Do things the right way. It may be slower, but the healthy/way is still your best option in the long run.


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Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Crown Princess

Through the help of a friend of mine, I recently discovered the TV series called The Crown Princess (Likit Ruk) from Thailand.

Photo Source: AsianFuse.Net, Credit: Channel 3 Thailand

The series only has 12 episodes, but each episode is about an hour and a half long. You’d think that watching an episode that long would be boring, but I wasn’t bored because there is a lot going in each episode. 

The Crown Princess is, without spoiling it for other people who have not seen the show yet, a romance between a Crown Princess and her Thai bodyguard. She is next in line to the throne of a fictional kingdom called Hrysos (which looked oddly like a place in Europe despite having obviously Asian-looking royalty). The Princess traveled to Thailand for a diplomatic event where her life was threatened (because she is the next in line to the throne). She is forced into hiding under the protection of her assigned bodyguard, the handsome Lt. Commander Davin.

I love that the series is short because one of the things I hate about local TV dramas is that they last too long, dragging out popular series to their very last breath even if it means sacrificing the quality of the story in the process. The romantic angle of a famous woman and her bodyguard has been done, but I like that with this series the princess is no pushover. She is not your typical damsel in distress: she can take care of herself and can fight side by side with her protector if necessary.

There are several subplots in the series that revolved around the supporting characters, which I liked. Normally I hate when these kinds of side-stories are featured in dramas like this because they take too much time away from the main story but in this show the other stories compliment the main drama, so I didn’t mind. I liked one other potential romance in the show that developed in a way that wasn’t forced or awkward (Alan and Pan). I felt that if they wanted a spin-off of the drama, the story between those two would be it. 

One big mystery in the show is about who wanted to have the Crown Princess killed. It was a big guessing game to the end. I thought that coming up with all the possibilities and who the eventual perpetrator was one of the great parts of the show. It was not easy to guess who was actually responsible! 

All the actors in the show were very good. I especially liked the actors who played Prince Alan and Princess Kate. I thought that they showed a depth in their performance and to be honest, I found their roles more challenging than those of the lead actors. There was a progression to the characters of Alan and Kate that were clear from their acting. The lead actors, on the other hand, got to show off their action skills in several scenes and gave fans something to swoon about with their romantic moments. The "kilig" factor was off the charts for those two!

The series also gives some insights into mental illness, relationships between a parent and child and about leadership. I liked that it had these elements included in the show. It wasn't all romance and drama. There was something more to it. 

I loved this series. I’m hoping that I could discover and enjoy more shows from Thailand in the future. 

In case anyone out there knows any good Thai TV series or movies to watch, is there anything you can recommend to me? Please leave a comment on this post!


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Friday, July 20, 2018

The Price of Progress

Life in the province has been great for the past twenty years (well, almost 20 that is). I’ve always appreciated the fresh air, the lack of traffic and the laid-back lifestyle. I feel bad that these days, with the progress going on in our neck of the woods, there are some things that have got to give.

Road widening projects have been common in our area for a couple of years now. While it’s good that the roads will be wider since traffic is slowly starting to build up in these parts, I feel sad about all the trees that are being uprooted in the process. It has always been one of my favorite parts of living here that when you are on the road, both sides are lined with trees. Sometimes some of the high branches look like they’re reaching out to one another and crossing the road, making a sort of canopy that the cars pass under. I always thought that was a beautiful thing to see. Now we don’t have that anymore.

Road Widening Project I passed...note the trees are marked. 

It was always relaxing to see all the rice fields that we pass by on our way to our grandmother’s house. Nowadays, these rice fields are being converted to gasoline stations, subdivisions, memorial parks and other establishments. We are starting to slowly become urbanized. At this point I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing. 

I have heard of mountains being chipped away or blown up to make roads, which is depressing because as much as I want the easier access to other areas that these roads will provide, it is still sad that Mother Nature would have to suffer because of it.

Another road widening project shot...trees have to be taken down. Price of progress. 

I hope that the government is doing something to ensure that no matter how much progress can be given to the country, no matter how urbanized we can get, that every municipality or city in the country can still have a percentage of natural resources preserved and protected. I hope that one day they can incorporate the improvements being made with corresponding projects pertaining to the environment and give urban sites a green element. That way the improvements won’t mean that the environment would be the price of progress but that improvements would mean a bonus to the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against progress. I just wish that we could do something more environmentally while we do so.

Excuse me while I enjoy what’s left of our provincial/rural life while I still can. I will miss this when things change completely.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Atmos Fit Elite (A Review)

Last Christmas I received the Atmos Fit Elite as a gift. It’s a fitness watch that helps the user tell how many steps he/she has taken as well as know a person’s heart rate monitor one’s sleep. I remember my sister telling me that she wanted to buy this from Kimstore and it was amusing that she was the one who wanted it, but I was the one who got it.

Credit: Youtube Unboxing from Alvin Nazareno La Victoria


I decided to charge it, download the app and give it a try. 

The watch is accurate when taking the number of steps I make and helps me monitor my heart rate, but I’m not sure about the sleep cycle monitoring. It seems to think that I don’t sleep enough even when I do. I was not satisfied with that feature, so I decided not to wear it while I slept.

I’m not used to wearing a watch, so the Atmos Fit Elite felt uncomfortable and bulky to me. It doesn’t fit with some of my outfits (I love wearing dresses) so I don’t get to wear it as much as I would like to. 

There are other features to the watch such as call and text notifications (if it is paired to your phone via Bluetooth) and a posture alert for when you are (supposedly) slouching – although there were times when I was not slouching at all and it still kept on vibrating to the point that it was getting annoying. There is also a find my band feature on the app for when you can’t find your Fit Elite, although I haven’t had the need to use it yet.

Battery life for this gadget is pretty good. I had gone a week without having to recharge it when I first got it. I don’t know if that is long enough since I haven’t tried any other fitness watches/bands other than this one. I would have loved to have a longer charging cord with this one. Most of our outlets are near the floor so I have to keep the watch at floor level to charge it (which, because of my germophobe-ish eccentricities, is really annoying). 

If I were to rate this watch I’d have to say it’s just OK. Nothing to rave about but still a useful gadget to have considering its price. I think that it’s worth the cost but if you want to have more features on your fitness band/watch, it would be better to look at other brands because this is just a basic one. 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our Taal Vista Staycation

It has always been my dream to take my family on a staycation, but I never got around to doing it until last summer when I took them to Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay.

Checking in....

Taal Vista is a hotel that I have known since I was a child. We used to go there to get a good view of Taal Volcano. I’ve even had lunch there a couple of times before. Despite the frequent visits, my family and I have never stayed there until last April. We were a big group and my mother didn’t want us to have separate rooms, so I decided to book one of their suites, the Taal Suite. 

First thing I noticed about booking the suite was that there were not enough photos to give me an idea of what it looked like. There were no reviews on the suite online either. I was a little hesitant about the booking but decided to take the risk anyway since it was just an overnight stay. 

Booking was easy. All I had to do was send an email telling them how many we were and asked what they could recommend to me. I received options to choose from and ended up with the Taal Suite, which is in the Mountain Wing of the hotel. I arranged for a cake to be placed in the room when we got there, since we were there to celebrate my niece’s birthday.

Welcome treats!

They gave us a map of the area, very useful!

When we got to the hotel, there were a lot of guests checking in and we ended up getting to our room past the usual time (2PM). Thankfully, we were given the opportunity for a late checkout the following day, which more than made up for the time we spent waiting at the lobby.

The Taal Suite was basically three rooms: two regular rooms that surrounded and connected to a third room that served as a living room and dining area. It was perfect for my family, especially for the kids because they had a lot of room to roam around instead of staying in their rooms.






There were so many things that I enjoyed about our stay at Taal Vista. For one, it was near Sky Ranch. There was even a pathway that led directly to the amusement park without going out to the highway. We also got our tickets at the reception area, which was more convenient than going in line at Sky Ranch itself. We were near other restaurants and fast food places so there was a lot to choose from during our stay aside from hotel room service. 

Another plus with the hotel was that they had a lot of things that guests could do within the hotel itself. Aside from the restaurant with the Filipino folk-dance performances and the great viewing deck to look at Taal Volcano from, the hotel also had a pool, spa, gym, game room and a playroom for kids. OK, I must admit the gym, game room and playroom probably need some renovation, but they were still good features of the hotel that we made use of.









View of Taal Volcano

At the viewing deck area.

The rooms were all very comfortable and clean. The toilet at the middle/living room area could use some curtains because you were in full view of anyone looking at the window when you needed to use it. One of the bathtubs could also use a replacement because it was a bit cracked.

Curtain needed. Stat.

Replace this, maybe?

Room service, on the other hand, was very efficient and the food was so good. Wish I could have tried more but by the time we got around ordering room service only three of us were awake, so we didn’t want to order too much and waste the food.

Our stay at Taal Vista was pricey and was way beyond my budget but – barring some of the improvements I suggested – it was worth the money. In fact, I am thinking of saving up for another stay with the family. Hopefully a longer stay next time around. I think that one of the assets of this hotel is their staff. I cannot say how much I have appreciated how everyone just went above and beyond to make our stay comfortable.  From the bellhop who helped us follow up the availability of our room when we checked in to the security who saw us crossing the street from McDonald’s with more food than we could carry and helped us by bringing everything to our room for us, everything was just much appreciated. We have stayed in another hotel after this particular stay and the service just does not compare to what we experienced here.

Case in point: we were at the gate of the hotel connected to Sky Ranch when my niece realized that she lost her mobile phone. We were all panicking and the hotel security immediately asked us where my niece last saw her phone and radioed Sky Ranch security to check. They then accompanied my niece, who (thankfully), was able to retrieve her phone from the last ride we were in. The quick response and assistance was something we didn’t expect, and I know my niece will never forget that experience (since she had just received that phone for her birthday).

Waiting for security to retrieve my niece's phone.

What else is there to say? I loved our stay at Taal Vista Hotel. We will be back for sure for a longer stay. 

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

My Celeb Squad

Have you ever liked a celebrity so much that you wonder what it would be like to hang out with that celebrity and maybe be “besties” with them? I have.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

If I a genie were to appear and tell me that I can form my own celebrity squad ala Taylor Swift, these are the people who would be in mine:


Kelly Clarkson


I have been a fan of Kelly since she was on American Idol. I just love her songs, I love her bubbly personality and I love how real she is. Kelly says that Meryl Streep is her spirit animal and I’d like to think that Kelly, along with the other women in this list, are my spirit animals. 

Here is a video of Kelly that show off her personality, her own vlog called A Minute and a Glass of Wine:



Taraji Henson 


Oh my goodness, this woman is just the most amazing actress. I’ve seen her on several movies and TV shows through the years and I am so happy that she is so popular now because of the TV show Empire and her movie Hidden Figures. 

I admire that she is over 40 and she is still killing it as an actress and still looks so good. I’ve seen interviews of her and behind the scenes videos of her and her co-stars on Empire and she just seems to be fun to be around.



Chrissy Teigen


I don’t understand why there are hating on this woman. I mean, they know that she can clap back at them like nobody else (just ask Instagram account @commentsbycelebs!). Then again, they might be hating just to get her attention and to have her clap back at them. I don’t know, that might be possible.

I love how real Chrissy is. She’s not afraid to share photos that are not edited, that show her without makeup and non-curated situations. She speaks her mind and she is not afraid to be who she is. I’d love to be like that.



Italia Ricci


I first discovered Italia Ricci when she starred in the TV show Chasing Life. I’ve followed her on social media ever since. A girl who loves her wine and pizza and is not afraid to admit she fangirled over Michael Bolton (who I also loved when I was younger). What's not to like?!

This is a person I’d love to hang out at McDonald’s with (because she loves their burgers so much they had it at her wedding) then work it all off later (or as she says, #eatitburniteatitagain).

A post shared by Italia Ricci (@italiaricci) on


Cardi B


This is one woman who I thought I wouldn’t like but when I saw her being interviewed on TV, I was just cracking up with her fun personality and how unpretentious she seems to be in spite of her success. To be honest, I became a fan of her work after I saw her being interviewed. She's just hilarious! It was the personality that drew me in! I’d love to hang with her!



Khloe Kardashian


This woman is my favorite Kardashian. I know that a lot of people are giving her grief for taking back Tristan Thompson, but I think the thing about her that I like the most is that she doesn’t care what people think. She will do what she thinks is best for her and her family. I love how important that is for her. It’s also inspiring how much work she put into becoming as fit as she is now compared to what she looked like in the past. 

Like Chrissy Teigen, Khloe is honest and calls things like it is and will not apologize for it. I love that! I’d love to hang with her just to get her opinion on things. Oh, and if she can teach me how to organize everything I have, that would be a big bonus!




Lin Manuel Miranda


The only man in my squad! Lin Manuel is such an amazing, creative personality. I’d love to be able to pick his brain and his creative process. I’d love to talk to him about a lot of things, like how he manages to tweet something inspiring every day and how he never runs out of things to entertain his fans. This guy is just a genius who is passionate about so many worthy causes, I can’t help but want to hang out with him!



So, what did you all think of my squad? Would you like to hang out with us?



Video Credits: Offiical YouTube pages of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Kelly Clarkson and Buzzfeed Celeb
Photo Credit: Official Instagram of Chrissy Teigen and Italia Ricci
Twitter: Official account of Lin Manuel Miranda 

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Pure Genius

I have an iFlix account that I hardly use, so I thought that I needed to make it worth my money by watching a movie or two on it when I can. That was when I discovered this (now defunct) series called Pure Genius.


This show is about a billionaire who started his own hospital to cure rare medical conditions, using his money and resources to invent new ways to cure various types of disease. It is later revealed that his motivation for this is the fact that he himself has an uncurable disease that he would like to find a solution for. 

There are so many TV dramas set in hospitals that you’d think that this would just be one of the many with the same plotlines and issues. I found it to be different in the sense that it also tackles a lot of the technology that is involved with making solutions to their medical problems. It made me wish that there were hospitals like this that take that extra step and spend that extra cash to find new ways to cure people. I don’t know the reality is with the solutions they present on the show, but it did make me wish that these cures did exist. It’s sad when there are families with members who have a rare disease that can’t be cured because people in the medical industry cannot afford to find a cure for something that only a few people have (meaning there are also very few who can pay for it).  One of the best things they had shown was the kidney donor chain they organized to make sure that their patient got his much-needed transplant. That was an amazing episode. I wonder if that has been done in real life?

I found the side drama about the feelings that James (the billionaire) has for Zoe (a doctor) to be moving too. I feel like they have a connection even if it is a complicated relationship, considering that she also has something going on with another doctor (who I think she has zero chemistry with) and the fact that he is their (dying) employer.

A post shared by Pure Genius (@puregeniuscbs) on

I think it's too bad that TV networks cancel these shows without warning to the producers. It's tough when viewers like me become emotionally invested in the characters and the show itself when these networks pull the plug and we're left wondering what happened to the people we've been watching and following for several months. 

I still wanted to know if James did find the cure to his disease. I wanted to know more about the priest/doctor and his story. I wanted to know if Dr. Wallace was going to have an affair with Dr. Channarayapatra. There’s so much more story that could have been told. I hate it when things end up like this. It’s way too open ended!

Exactly how I felt knowing the show ended just like that. (Photo from Pixabay)

Oh well, it was a good show while it lasted.



Photo & Video Credit: Pure Genius Official Instagram Page, Trailer from CBS 

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Accidental Icon

Blogging is something that has been a part of my life since 2003. When I turned 40, I began to wonder what role blogging would have in my life (if it were to have any at all). Almost all the bloggers out there seemed to be younger and most of the bloggers I’ve known in the past have not blogged in years. Blogging since to be about being an influencer these days and I don’t know if I fit into that category. 

I started searching for older female bloggers to see if this is something that I can and would still want to do. That was when I found the blog of Lyn Slater, more popularly known as the Accidental Icon

Accidental Icon


Lyn Slater is a 60-something grandmother who started her blog in 2014. I took one look at her blog and had instantly become in awe of the woman that she is. I love how her blog shows you that people like me can still blog and that age is not an issue. I admire her confidence and her style, and I love how well-written her entries are. Another thing that I noticed and admire is how her site, despite her popularity, does not have any ads. It’s so refreshing after all the influencer blogs that I’ve seen that are packed with ads or have entries that are more about promoting products than expressing themselves.

I can only hope to be as comfortable in my own skin at her age. I am a couple of decades younger and I must be honest, gone are the days when I would share regular photos of myself or selfies. As I have gotten older I have surprised myself by not feeling comfortable and being self-conscious on camera. Seeing Lyn and her photos on her blog has made me wish that I could be as happy with myself as she is. 

Accidental Icon


As a fashion blog, there are naturally many photos of Lyn in varying styles/outfits. I love that she’s showing that just because you’re older it doesn’t mean that you must look old. It doesn’t mean that you have to be frumpy or boring. You can have your own style and you can look good even if you are older. You just have to get out there and do you. To me that’s what her blog is all about. 

The Accidental Icon’s About Page is an inspiring one. It’s about being “A Woman Who” or the type of woman who would enjoy reading and learning from her blog. I think apart from identifying the kind of people who would want to read her blog it also gives readers a chance to discover the kind of woman she is and what people can expect from her blog. If only I could be as great at making an About Page for my blog!

There aren’t that many bloggers who are in my age bracket and older, so it is a good thing that there are people like Lyn Slater who have taken on that challenge. Maybe one day I could be as good and as iconic as she is. For now, I will keep typing away and see where this can take me. Hopefully it’s somewhere good.


*Screen captures from Accidental Icon's website/blog

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