Lifestyle Blogger. Promdi. Filipina.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Civil Wedding Ceremony

My youngest sister recently got married via a civil wedding ceremony. She’s getting married in a church ceremony in December, but she was advised that it would be good for her to get the legal ceremony out of the way before the church ceremony so she and her now-husband went in front of a judge here in our municipality and said their I Dos.

civil wedding

I didn’t expect the ceremony to affect me the way that it did when my other sisters got married in church. I thought that with it being a simple ceremony before a judge that it wouldn’t be as moving as a church one. I was wrong. I felt this urge to tear up during the ceremony. I had to control myself since there no one else seemed to be in the verge of tears as I was.

It was nice that the judge who officiated the ceremony was a nice guy. He had a sense of humor that made the ceremony less stuffy and more fun. He even encouraged photos to commemorate the whole thing, with him included of course!

I loved that being a small ceremony, everything was more intimate during the civil wedding. It was good to share something special with a small and select group of people. 

It was so good to see my sister smiling and laughing during the ceremony. Before the relationship with her husband, her previous one ended badly, and it hurt her so much that I thought it would be hard for her to recover. Thankfully, she met her husband and the rest is history. 

The newlyweds will still be having their church wedding in December. As nice as that one will be with the fancy outfits, the big reception and all the fancy decorations and whatnot, I think that I will still like this civil ceremony more. It had the couple at their most unguarded, at their most natural. Same goes with friends and family. 

If I ever get to the point of getting married myself, I’d probably prefer a small and intimate wedding just because this one felt so much better to me than the bigger weddings that I’ve been to with all the fanfare. It was just my sister and her husband and the immediate members of their family, along with a couple of close friends and relatives.

Personally, I don’t understand all the things that go with weddings these days. Maybe it comes with age, but I feel that the simpler they are, the better. I think it’s much more practical to spend on the couple’s life together than to spend all that money on just that one day. I’ve heard of people who have had to borrow money just to afford their weddings and I just don’t think that is the right way to go.

There’s something to be said of the small and intimate ceremony. Even if it’s not as small as a civil ceremony with a few family and friends, having an intimate church ceremony for me feels better for me now that I have seen how it can be like. From what I’ve read of some other weddings done in other countries, some couples opt for the small and intimate ceremonies then just choose to have a “wedding dinner” for the bigger group of people after. If I were to get married, I’d probably want to do that. 

I still can’t believe that my youngest sister, our little baby, is now a wife. It feels just like yesterday that I would carry her in my arms and sing her to sleep. Next thing you know she’ll be the one doing the same thing to her own baby. I know she’s got other babies she’s focusing on right now like her work, blog and business, but you never know right?

SHARE:

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Accidental Icon Update

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I am a fan of the blogger Lyn Slater, aka Accidental Icon. I shared my post on Facebook when it came out and tagged her. To my surprise, she posted a comment to reply! I can't believe I never shared this!

Accidental Icon


I know that this is a bit of a late reaction, but I didn’t realize that apart from raving about this development on my other social media accounts, I did not give an update about this here on my blog. Since it all started here, I think that it is something that should be updated here as well.

Lyn’s blog was the inspiration that I needed to continue blogging. When I started in 2003 (with a different url…I’ve had several through the years), blogging was so different from what it is today. At one point I questioned if I should continue blogging since so many of the people who blogged during the time that I started were not doing it anymore.

Blogging today is a whole new environment. I don’t think that my blog is up to par with the more popular, “influencer” ones that are out there and I questioned whether I was too old to be doing this. Once I discovered Accidental Icon, I realized that it was never too late and that I was never too old to keep on doing something that I loved. 

I was so happy to discover through the reply from Lyn that she had read my blog. It warmed my heart to find out that she thought my voice was “engaging, self-reflecting and honest.” I may not be like the other bloggers out there, but I realize that it was better not to be. 

Yes, I am not a successful blogger when it comes to popularity and income but as long as I am being true to myself, that is what matters. After all, I did not start the blog for popularity and money anyway. 

Yes, it would be nice if I could monetize my blog, but it was started as an outlet, something to help me decompress from the stresses of everyday life. If that purpose is being fulfilled, I will keep on going. It may not be a daily thing like before, but it would still be something for me to do when I felt like it.

One post that I recently enjoyed from Lyn Slater’s blog is her entry on “What Nowness.” It’s about change and reinvention. I may not be in the same situation as Lyn as her post was about retirement, but for me I’ve felt the same urge for change in terms of my career and wondering, “What now?”

I can’t help but wonder how my future is now unknown, that I am at a crossroads and that I am currently either waiting for a shift from my environment or an instinctual push from my own subconscious to know what to do next. 

There is an urge for me to focus on my creative side. But, given the number of people that I am responsible for, the risk of up and leaving my current job for something that doesn’t assure me of financial stability is too big to make that move.

For now, I feel like I just need nourish my creative side whenever I have the time to do so. Take pictures, write, draw, paint. Anything that strikes my fancy. Anything that inspires me. Just put whatever I have out there and see what sticks. Maybe one of those things can be the what now that I’m looking for.

What do you think?

SHARE:

Friday, October 11, 2019

Keto-Friendly Baked Fish Recipe

My sister is currently getting ready for her December wedding by going on a Keto Diet. She’s been very strict with following this diet and has lost a lot of weight since she started. Since she only eats food that are keto-friendly, I decided to try preparing a dish that the family can all eat together even if she is on her diet. One recipe that I found via the Yummly app was Baked Fish with Mushrooms by CDKitchen.

As with any recipe that I try, I tend to tweak them a little to fit into what ingredients are readily available. Since I was making it keto-friendly, I checked in with my sister and showed her the ingredients to make sure it was something that she could have. Ingredients and instructions are credited to CDKitchen, with italicized notes being my tweaks on the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets, ½ to ¾” thick – I had no idea how to estimate this (not my strongest suit) so I just bought two packs of cream dory fillets from SM Hypermarket.

2 tablespoons butter or margarine – I used butter. I haven’t used margarine in anything ever because I don’t like the way it tastes!

1 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms – I used a can of button mushrooms since I couldn’t find any fresh ones.

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 teaspoon snipped fresh tarragon or thyme – I used thyme because there was no tarragon available. I only used McCormick Thyme Leaves because again, no fresh ones available. 


Instructions:

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into serving size pieces, if needed. 

This was easy enough, but I realized that patting freshly rinsed fish used up too much paper towels. I should have found another way to dry them. I felt like I wasted too many paper towels…or did I rinse the fish too much?


Arrange fish in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish, turning under thin edges. Sprinkle with salt. In a small pan, melt butter; add mushrooms, green onions, and dried tarragon, if using. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms and green onions are tender. 

Spoon mushroom mixture over fish. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon, if using.

My baking dish wasn’t as instructed, I used what I had. I think I went overboard with the salt – I rubbed instead of sprinkled, and I was worried that the fish was a bit on the salty side. It was a good thing that the butter with the mushrooms and spices seemed to help overpower the salt.


Bake, covered, in a 450 degrees F oven for 12 to 18 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

I forgot to cover the fish! And I forgot to check the temperature!

Thankfully, since I was watching over the oven like a crazy person, I managed to cook the fish properly. Once the fish flaked easily, I took it out of the oven to serve to the family.


This finished product:

keto friendly baked fish

According to my family, who love and would probably never tell me if I did not do this right, the fish was good. As much as I appreciated the support, I know that I could still improve on it (by following instructions, for one thing) and I could probably tweak it a little more to adapt to the ingredients that we have at home. Maybe add a little here and there to make up for the fact that some of the items I added were not as instructed. 

This is the second cream dory fillet recipe that I’ve tried so far. Hopefully I can discover some more recipes using white fish fillets (which are readily available here) in the future that I can share with everyone. 

Any suggestions?

SHARE:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Appreciation Post: Fresh Produce

When I first moved to the province from the city, I felt that my stay would be temporary. Now that I am two decades into it, I feel that there’s no place I’d rather be. Aside from enjoying the fresh air and not living in an overcrowded area, one of my favorite parts about it is getting fresh produce like fruits and vegetables easily – sometimes even at no cost!

My sister and her husband are good with planting/gardening. We’ve been able to harvest the following organic fruits and vegetables from their hard work: Chinese Cabbage (Pechay), Papaya, Malunggay, Calamansi, Lemongrass, Chilis and Dragonfruit. No fertilizers and no pesticides used. Our garden may not produce a lot, but it’s a start. Fresh fruits and veggies straight from the garden. Who doesn’t want that?

dragonfruit

I don’t have a green thumb; I can’t begin to count how many plants have died under my care. But I do love that we are able to do this here. I’d love to invest in some plant boxes so that we (meaning my sister and her husband) can plant some more or possibly break off some cemented parts of the house so we can have more land to plant in.

Aside from fruits and vegetables from our garden, we also get a lot of the same from friends and neighbors who have their own trees and plants in their own gardens. Recently we got some rambutan from a neighbor. Sometimes we get fresh mangoes from another. We also get a regular bunch of bananas from the harvest of yet another neighbor. All organic and for free! How often can you say that when you live in the city?

rambutan

In these times when we need to be living sustainably, it’s a good thing that we can have the opportunity to produce our own fruits and vegetables. I think everyone should be encouraged to start a garden of their own at home, no matter how small. There’s just this different appreciation for these items when it comes straight from your garden. Considering how weirded out I am by how some fruits and veggies look in grocery stores, it’s great to have normal looking produce to enjoy.

I read from a post of a friend on Facebook that having your own garden at home is not just sustainable living but it also helps the environment in terms of water absorption, because having an inch of compost and plant cover can increase the ability of the land to absorb water by 20%. This helps to absorb water/rainfall during the rainy season. In some areas, that can help minimize flooding and this can also help recharge our groundwater aquifers for future use, since most areas are having groundwater shortage issues already. 

While I do encourage having your own garden, this does not mean that I discourage acquiring your produce elsewhere. I think that we all need to support our farmers and buy from them as well. Here in our part of the province the fruits and vegetables come directly from the farmers themselves, so buying from the market is a great way to support them. 

If you are in the city, another way to support farmers would be to buy from Session Groceries, which works directly with farmers to sell their products. That way they earn more from their hard work instead of being paid little if they go through other routes/middlemen to sell their produce in grocery stores and other markets. When you order products from them, they deliver the produce right to your door. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve seen the reviews and I think it’s a very promising venture that I hope other provincial farmers can benefit from in the future. 

If you haven’t tried gardening/planting your own fruits and vegetables, I suggest experimenting on it. Having your own fresh produce is very fulfilling, even for someone like me who just enjoys the benefits of it. 

If you don’t have a green thumb, support local farmers as much as you can. Not only will you be sure of the kind of produce you get, you’d be helping other people as well. 

SHARE:

Monday, October 7, 2019

Embracing the Gray

One thing that reminds me that I am aging is my white hair. I’d say gray but when I stare at them, they aren’t really gray, they’re white. I have been coloring my hair every three to six months or so to cover them up and it takes a lot of work. I don’t know if I was the patience for this gray hair cover-up process anymore since I end up with this look on the top of my head just a few months after coloring:

embracing the gray


It’s a hit or miss kind of thing trying to figure out the best gray coverage with the right kind of shade for me. There’s also the matter of making sure that my hair doesn’t go dry and brittle from too much coloring.  I've been having hair fall issues and I worry that it’s from all the coloring too so I am hesitant about making this a “rest-of-my-life" thing. 

Coloring my hair at the salon is too expensive because I have long hair that goes down to my mid-back. Coloring my hair at home, on the other hand, is a process – often a messy one. It’s just too much work. As I’ve mentioned before, I have been considering embracing the gray instead of continuously coloring my hair. It just seems the simpler, less-stressful thing to do. 

I’ve discovered that there are several women even younger than I am who are embracing the gray. There is even an Instagram account called @grombre that celebrates women with gray hair. I’ve also read an article on Glamour that mentions the names of celebrities who have also embraced the gray themselves. It also features other women who are making the transition and stopping with the hair coloring to cover the grays up. It’s an inspiring/encouraging read. 

My last hair color was in April (more or less, I can’t remember when exactly). I’ve decided that I will stop coloring my hair and let it see how it grows out (for now).   

My sister is getting married in December and I’m going to be a bridesmaid so there is still a possibility that I will color my hair then but at this point, I am leaning toward letting my hair be the way it is, unless my sister intervenes for the benefit of her wedding photos. I’m hoping that the hairdresser can make it work without suggesting that I color it.  

Considering how much goes into the hair coloring process: the chemicals, the packaging and all that, I think that it is also an earth-friendly thing to stop coloring my hair altogether.   

In the past year or so I have been more conscious about the waste items that I produce. The hair color products are in plastic packaging so imagine my horror when I realized how much plastic I have thrown in the trash throughout my hair color phase.  

I can’t keep coloring my hair and destroying the planet at the same time. I don’t think there will be a point to my gray-less hair if the planet is reaching extinction. I know some people might think I’m overreacting but I think every little thing counts. I may not be able to avoid producing waste, but if I am capable of at least reducing that in areas where I can, I feel that I should do it. It doesn’t hurt that it will be easier on the wallet too since I usually have to use two boxes at a time with my hair.  

So, there you have it: I’ve decided to embrace the gray. I don’t know how my hair will end up in the long run, but I will be less stressed out about it since I don’t have to color my hair every three months anymore. I’m in my 40s. I’m aging and I’m going to deal with it.  

Anyone else agree with me? Let’s embrace the gray now! 
SHARE:

Friday, October 4, 2019

Managing Screen Time for Kids

Kids these days have grown up very differently compared to the way I grew up in my day. We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have gadgets like smart phones back then. Who knew that one of the big problems for parents today would be controlling screen time for children? I don’t think I ever imagined this technologically advanced world we live in now!

I think a meme I saw on Facebook showed it well: back then, parents had to scold their kids for staying out too long playing with other kids but now parents force their kids to go out and play with others. Technology has played such a big role in this because while I grew up playing video games on my TV or on green-screened portable players, kids can now use their mobile phones and tablets to do this. And if you let them, they can do this ALL DAY.

I don’t have my own children, but I do have a niece and two nephews that I often spend time with. These days I’ve come to appreciate the childhood that I had that did not involve the constant use of gadgets, so I make it a point to have activities with the kids that do not involve them.

nondigital time with kids


My younger nephew is only 5, but he has already played games and watched videos on phones/tablets for a few years. For a time, his mom was worried because his eyelids used to twitch a lot and she thought it was from too much gadget use so she decided to limit screen time for him. My sister and her husband got him a bicycle and that is something that he enjoys that takes him away from phones and tablets (plus, it’s good exercise).

Another thing that my sister has enforced is having times when my nephew (and his teenage sister) can use gadgets. Sometimes gadgets are also withheld completely when they need to concentrate on schoolwork. Considering how distracting gadgets can be, that is a good call.

When it comes to spending time with my nephew, I try to come up with activities with him that do not involve gadgets. However, I do try to have activities that are related to the things in the games and videos that he usually enjoys. We play with his toy dinosaurs and reenact the dinosaur battles in the games that he plays. Sometimes we draw the dinosaurs and color them. When he was in his train phase, we used to play with toy trains, or pretend to be trains ourselves.

nondigital time with kids


Another thing that my nephew and I have come to enjoy together is playing Jenga. For someone so young this little guy is so good at the game! He has beat me several times and this has encouraged him to play the game more. I think that while it’s not physical activity, it’s still better than too much screen time. 

The good thing about limiting screen time with kids, based on the experience with my nephew is that you get to condition the child to not spend too much time on gadgets. We’ve noticed that even if my nephew does enjoy playing games or watching videos on gadgets, he gets tired of them easily and moves on to doing other activities. He stops watching or playing on his own accord, we don’t need to tell him to stop or remind him not to use gadgets too much. He does it on his own.

nondigital time with kids

Are any of my readers parents with kids who also enjoy their screen time? What do you do to manage their screen time? What kind of activities do you have with your kids to minimize their gadget use? I’d love to know!

SHARE:

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thoughts on Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags

I’ve been an advocate of the habit of carrying reusable bags for shopping for a while now. I am very happy that many people are now practicing the same habit so that shoppers can avoid the use of plastic bags. But I still have my reservations when it comes to reusable grocery tote bags...my biggest issue with it being how “reusable” they are.

I still stand by my earlier post and prefer reusable canvas/tote bags, particularly for groceries. The ones that are usually sold at grocery stores are made of the type of cloth material that tears easily if the contents are too heavy. This will eventually end up in the trash. Are they even compostable? 

The bigger ones, while reusable, are usually made of plastic which, in the long run, will be another thing to add to the growing number of solid waste in the world. Just thinking about it gives me so much anxiety. 

My sister and I have made it a habit to ask for boxes instead of bags when we go grocery shopping. It’s much more practical than carrying hordes of bags when we do our shopping for monthly household needs. We figured it’s much more practical considering that grocery stores do have these boxes when items are delivered to them.

It was a surprise to us when one day we were informed at SM Hypermarket that they are no longer allowed to use boxes to pack our purchases. We were forced to buy their small reusable bags, which were so impractical to carry, especially since not everything can fit into bags of that size. We have since started to bring big reusable shopping bags, but I still feel it was much better to use the cardboard boxes we were used to.

reusable grocery bags


According to a sign I saw, the reason they are refusing to let shoppers use the boxes is because they will be sending those boxes for recycling. I found that odd – isn’t it practical that they are reusing the boxes with the shoppers who, in turn, can send the boxes off later for recycling? 

Sometimes I think that it's more of an optics thing: it’s a good way to show corporate social responsibility, a good way to show they are being “earth friendly.” Other times I think it’s a profit thing too since those green bags go for P10.00 each, and it costs even more money for the bigger bags. 

As disappointed as I was about this development, I still appreciate that an effort is being done to be earth-friendly, even if I feel it’s not quite the perfect move. At least it’s a step in the right direction somehow. It makes people more aware and more conscious of what can be done to reduce our use of bags that eventually end up in the trash.

I wish that stores could have a way of recycling the bags that they sell since, as I said, they will eventually tear (for the small bags) or are made of plastic (for the bigger ones). It would be great if they can collect these bags from their shoppers – maybe they can have a collection area in each store and show how these bags can be recycled/reused to ensure that they don’t end up in a landfill or worse – the ocean. 

We are still a long way to go before we go zero-waste when it comes to shopping. I don’t even want to start with online shopping on this one. I just hope that eventually we can figure something out that will be best for everyone – the shoppers, the stores and the planet as a whole.

SHARE:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

My Year So Far

As Joey Tribiani used to say, “How you doin?” I know I haven’t blogged much recently because, well, life happens. To make up for that, allow me to make this post a bit of a diary of my activities so far for this year: 


January 



It was a busy month, I guess you can say that work wise we hit the ground running at the start of the year. We managed to accomplish some important things for the office that we really needed. It felt good to have the year start on a good note. 


February 



This was convention month for our industry, and it was a hectic one for me because I did a lot of work for this event. Still, I made sure that I had time to balance it all out by reconnecting with an old friend (not old in the sense that the person is old, just that I’ve known the person a very long time), taking time to go out with work friends and going on a staycation with my family.  


March 

My heart broke when I heard the news about the death of Luke Perry, whose poster was a common fixture on my bedroom wall during my younger years. It made me think about how life is short, how nothing is guaranteed and how we should make sure to do everything we can to live our best life. I decided to have fun and give in to my nephew’s request to take his toys to work with me and I did some experiments in the kitchen with the help of my sister, which is something I haven’t done in a while. 


April 



I decided to see a former work colleague and get some career advice. Things are changing in the workplace and at this point I’m still at the stage where I’m uncertain of where I’m headed, and I needed some perspective. While she did give me some things to think about, I still don’t have that clarity that I want to be able to make my decision. Apart from that, this month was also eventful in that my nephew graduated from grade school, I had my hair color fail and finally got to see NSYNC together (sort of) again in Coachella with Ariana Grande. 


May 

My family and I went on yet another staycation and this time, we also did a bit of sight seeing with the kids by going to some kid-oriented places nearby. It was exhausting (the sight-seeing, I mean)! The hotel stay was super relaxing, and I would love to do it again when my wallet permits me to do so.  


June 



In a rare family moment, we all went to the beach together. We live minutes away from the beach, but we hardly ever go there. We’re more the pool people type so taking the time to get sand between our toes is an achievement for us. It was fun for half a day and then we went home! 


July 

I decided to start on my own DIY Revenge Body workout. I love the show and decided to give it a try by setting a regular workout schedule for 12 weeks and going on a diet. It has not been what I expected so far for this first month and it made me a little disappointed. Maybe I need help from Khloe Kardashian? 


August 



August was a celebration-heavy month. My youngest sister got married this month. It was also the birthday celebration of my late grandmother’s best friend and my grandson’s (?!) birthday.  Plus, it was fiesta period at the town where I work, which made for an event-heavy month in that area.

My family and I also got to try some food places in town this month, particularly a coffee shop and a Korean place. I will be blogging about those places soon.


There are four months to go before the year ends. I don’t know how to feel about that. I feel that time has flew by so fast and I I haven’t been able to do as much with this year as I should have. I don’t know if the next few months would be enough for me to say that I can make up for what I feel I need/want to accomplish for the year, but I will try.  

What about you? How has your year been so far? I hope your year has been good, and that the last remaining months will be even better! 
SHARE:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Netflix Pinoy Movie Review: Everything About Her

A successful woman on the top of her game is diagnosed with cancer. Life expectancy is low. What do you do when you know you are going to die? For Vivian (Vilma Santos), the lead in the Filipino movie Everything About Her that is streaming on Netflix, it meant facing her disease head on while continuing to kill it (pun intended) in the real estate industry. She hires a nurse named Jaica (Angel Locsin), who not only helps her with her illness but also teaches her a thing or two about living a better, more fulfilled life. 




The movie is full of scenes that show off the acting prowess of both Vilma Santos and Angel Locsin. I thought that they played off each other very well in this movie not just in the comedic scenes but in the dramatic moments as well. It takes real talent to make a viewer (namely, me) laugh in one scene and then cry during another. Their exchanges all come off naturally and make you relate to their characters as real people.  

I’ve always been a Vilma Santos fan so I may be biased here but I loved her in this movie. This lady is so tiny in person but the way she played her role as Vivian made her seem like a larger than life character with so much power and influence, like someone you would not want to cross. Angel Locsin as Jaica was both street-smart and funny. The chill character who has been through a lot but keeps going. I think has played similar roles in her other films. Her role in Four sisters and a Wedding reminds me a bit of Jaica.  It’s too bad that she hasn’t done a movie in a while, I think she is so versatile as an actress (who can do comedy, drama, action, etc.) and deserves to do more films that can show off that versatility. 

While I do appreciate having the eye candy with Xian Lim being in this movie, I felt that his role as Vivian’s estranged son was not given enough exposure/time for viewers to understand how complicated his relationship was with his mother and why it was hard for him to make the effort to patch things up with her when he first came back. Still, I felt that he did justice to this role and he held his own alongside two talented actresses in this movie. 

There were several moving scenes in this movie that I loved, mostly they were scenes that dealt with parent-child relationships and how complicated they could be. There were a few particular scenes in the movie that I could count as my favorites: The scene where Vivian discovered that her son knew that she was sick, the scene where Vivian and Jaica talked about the sacrifices parents do for their children that may not always be appreciated and the scene where Vivian hosts a dinner for everyone and pretty much uses that to sort of say her goodbyes.  

I loved how this movie tackled not just the reality of a person’s mortality but also took on the topic of the relationship between parents and their grown children. I also liked that it posed the question of a good work-life balance and about doing something fulfilling with our careers and ultimately our lives, not just something that would make money. The fact that this movie was able to do that while making the audience laugh and cry (and swoon at Xian Lim, who is oh so handsome in this film) makes this a good one for me. 

This was a movie I watched on a whim. Even if I am a fan of Vilma Santos, I did not expect to like this movie as much as I did. I’m happy that it’s in an international streaming service so more people not just in the Philippines but in other countries could watch it. I think that the topic is very universal and it’s something a lot of people will be able to relate to. It doesn’t hurt that they have a really good cast for this one too. I hope people catch it while it’s still on Netflix! 
SHARE:

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Most Common Balikbayan Box Gifts

As a Filipino, I believe it is next to impossible not to have a relative or a close family friend who lives or works in another country. As is normal with Filipino culture, the balikbayan box is an item almost all of us have had at one point in our lives (at the very least). Lately I realized that the most common items I’ve received as gifts via the balikbayan box are bath products, colognes and lotions. I think at this point I have enough to last me a VERY long time!



Being that I have enough lotions and cologne to last me practically a lifetime, I have no idea how much these things cost. Are they super affordable or come in promo packs that make them so easy to purchase and give as gifts? It’s not that I am implying that the people giving them are cheap – in fact, I find them practical gifts since everyone uses them and if they are affordable, it does make things easier to just buy one item of different scents so you don’t have to think too much about what to buy or if you can buy stuff for everyone and still be on budget.  

Let me put it this way: if you have tons of relatives or friends who you want to give gifts to at one given point in time, I personally would have a panic attack with worry about what to give and if I can afford to give everyone something. Given that thought then affordable items like lotions and colognes do fit the bill of good gifts. You can just give a certain group of people a bunch of them and let them pick out the scent they like best. It doesn’t hurt that the brands are recognizable/ well-known, so they are not exactly just any gift to the receiver. 

As much as I would like to say that these lotions and perfumes/colognes get a lot of use from me, they don’t (hence the whole thing about these items lasting practically a lifetime for me already). The weather in the country is just too bad and it can feel too hot to put on lotion sometimes. The humidity makes me feel so sticky! I tend to just put it on my elbows and knees, sometimes on my hands too. The feet and the legs get special treatment when I’m wearing flip flops and shorts but that’s about it. As for the scents, I’m the type of person who sprays on a bit at the start of the day and forgets to use it again for the rest of it – which means I don’t use it as much as I probably should. It’s not about being stingy with the products, it’s just that I tend to forget using them. Considering that I hardly put on makeup these days too, remembering to put on lotion during the day is an achievement in itself! 

Knowing that I will probably still be receiving these types of items as gifts (being that I have relatives abroad who send them), I try to not waste what I currently have. I don’t make a habit of regifting them, but I do tend to give them away when I know someone who wants one. Like when a friend mentioned liking a particular scent that I had at the time and have not used yet. Sometimes my sisters mention liking the scent of the lotion or cologne that I use and if it’s not really something I’m attached to; I give it to them as well.  

To any other Filipino reading this with relatives or friends abroad, particularly to the ladies, do you experience the same thing? If not, what items do you commonly receive as gifts from balikbayans? Leave me a message and let me know! 
SHARE:

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Concerts I'd Love to See

In a recent post I talked about my experience watching the Manila leg of the Boyzone Thank You and Goodnight farewell show. Their last two Manila shows were probably the first concerts from foreign musicians that I’ve seen in a long time, with the most recent prior to that being a toss-up between Alicia Keys and the Davids (David Cook and David Archuleta, fresh from American Idol). I can’t really remember which one was the more recent of the two.  

So many foreign artists have come and go and while I do love a lot of them, prices for these shows are often so expensive that I need to pick and choose which shows I really want to go to. I’ve gotten my quota of shows for the year with the Boyzone show but if any of these artists were ever to come in for a show or two, I would be happy to make the exception because of how much I love them: 


Janet Jackson 

I know that Ms. Janet is doing shows in Vegas now, but I would be over the moon happy if she ever came over to perform here in the country. Her music was a part of my younger years and her dancing was a big influence on my own love for dance during my teenage years. I can still remember the days when I would dance along to her songs like Rhythm Nation and If and how much I loved singing along to her music (there are way too many to mention because she just has an extensively good discography).  





Jennifer Lopez 

To this day I remember the first time I heard If You Had My Love and the first time that I played On The 6 on our stereo system at home. Jennifer Lopez has songs that I often danced and sang along to and her performances are always on point and high energy, so I know that watching her would be well worth the money. I’m such a fan of this woman and it would be amazing to see her show in person if I would ever get the chance.





Beyonce 

Again, another amazing performer whose shows are unquestionably entertaining and on a whole other level. I’ve been a fan since Destiny’s Child, and I’ve followed her career since then. I think that like Janet and J Lo, her show would be worth the watch!





Taylor Swift 

People might say that in my 40s I may not exactly be her target market, but I just love Taylor’s songs, especially the last couple of albums (I've been playing her Lover album nonstop these days).  There are several of them that I can relate to and some that have inspired me as a writer. One day when I publish my book(s), this woman will be one of the people that I will thank for the inspiration so I would love to be able to watch her concert one day when she decides to stop by the country.





Kelly Clarkson 

If there were a celebrity that I would want to be my best friend, it would probably be this girl. I mentioned this in a previous post about my dream Celeb Squad. She just seems so fun and so real and I love her personality. I’m a fan of the covers that she does of popular songs and I love how much her music has grown through the years since she became the first winner on American Idol. I’d love to see her do A Minute and a Glass of Wine in the Philippines someday. One day, hopefully she can make that happen!






Sam Hunt 

Now THIS would probably the most likely to be a shot in the dark considering that country music is not exactly popular in the Philippines. Still, I am a fan of Sam Hunt and I am obsessed with his Between the Pines and Montevallo albums. To hear him sing those songs live would be a dream come true. It doesn’t even have to be a big concert, maybe just a small gathering for his fans in a more intimate type of show or setting. Something that would give off that whole back of the truck in the country hanging out vibe that some of his songs give off.





NSYNC 

This is one concert I’d take even without Justin Timberlake, who is the most likely person who would probably not be open to a reunion tour. Like Boyzone, I was a big fan of NSYNC and I have the magazines and DVDs to prove it. Their concerts in the US were some of the DVDs I had and I would have loved to have seen all that great harmonies and dancing here in the country during their heyday. Still, I would be more than happy to just see them and hear them perform their hits in a show one day. That performance with Ariana Grande at Coachella give me a bit of hope that it’s possible. I really wish that it can happen sometime soon.




I love so many other artists but these ones are at the top of my list when it comes to concerts I’d love to see. I’m sure everyone else has their own list of must-watch musicians, I hope that we all get to watch at least one of them in our lifetimes.

Let me leave you all with a combination of two of the artists I want to see, a performance of Jenny From The Block by J.Lo and Taylor Swift during T.Swift’s Staples Center concert a few years back. Enjoy!


SHARE:

Friday, August 30, 2019

Cutting Back on Streaming

I call myself a pop culture junkie because I’m into a lot of pop culture things, especially in the entertainment industry. An example is how I love watching movies and TV shows via streaming sites. At one point I think I was watching so many shows and movies that I was losing sleep from being a couch potato. There were just too many things on my “To Watch” list and there wasn’t enough time. It didn’t help that I was watching too many shows that had too much action/violence and depressing topics. It was taking a toll on me and I just could not take it anymore. I needed to cut back and have more positive thoughts in my mind.  

Image by DanFa from Pixabay

Taking a step back and looking at the list of shows that I’ve been watching, I realized that I was watching way too much of crime shows. People getting murdered, abused and being victims of various types of crime and experiencing an assortment of trauma is not exactly the kind of thing that promotes positive thinking so that was out of the question. Ditto with shows featuring secret agents and other similar shows.  

I was watching a bunch of superhero shows too. While they did involve heroes saving the day and all that, they did involve a lot of dark themes that I felt was not good for me either.  

You know what I realized after weeding a lot of shows off? There are very few shows that have a feel-good theme. Everything just seems so depressing these days. At this point the only superhero, crime or drama show that I watch tends to be the type that puts in a lot of humor and/or light-heartedness into their show and those shows that I enjoy I can count with one hand (and one of them recently got cancelled). But frankly, it’s been a good thing. I don’t lose sleep from too much TV anymore and I LOVE IT. Couch potato mode is off right now for me.

Image by xxolgaxx from Pixabay

In a way I guess this is me doing a Marie Kondo on the type of media that I take on. If I feel it will spark joy for me, I will watch it or read it but if it will only make me feel bad then I’d rather not do it, no matter how popular any of these books or shows or movies may be with everyone else. I think that there is far too much bad news already in the real world that causes too much anxiety for me to add on to it with depressingly dark-themed entertainment fare.  It feels good to let go of something that was contributing to my feeling so down lately.

It’s nice having more time to do other things than just binge-watching shows to catch up on what everyone else have been talking about. With me ignoring the whole FOMO thing and taking time for my other interests, I suddenly feel like there is not enough time. I can’t help but feel like there are so many other things that I loved that were sacrificed for TV/movies. That I really need to do the other things that I love again and rediscover who I really am apart from my obsession with binge watching.  

Watching too many things on my tablet or on TV has been such a waste of my time. What do I have to show for what I gave my time to? Nothing. Totally unproductive use of my time that won’t matter in the long run. I’d really like to change that and make time for the other things that I’ve ignored for so long like yoga, art, writing and my little experiments in the kitchen. I’ve always wanted to plant some fruits and veggies at home but never found the time. Maybe now I can finally do that. It might actually be a more relaxing and fulfilling alternative compared to what I used to waste my time on.  

As I read somewhere before: “Life is short. Do the things.” I leave you all with my wish that you may lead a fulfilling and productive existence and find happiness in discovering yourself through your daily life (and things). Let’s all take it literally people, let’s LIVE! 


SHARE:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Netflix Rom Com Review: Isn't It Romantic?

I’ve always loved watching movies, but lately I watch them from streaming services like Netflix more than I do in the cinema. Most of the time my movie reviews would be from films I’ve caught via streaming, like this romantic comedy called Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra and Adam Devine.




In the movie, Rebel Wilson plays Natalie, who hits her head and is suddenly caught up in an alternate world where everything is full of clichés from romantic comedies.  She suddenly lives in an apartment she obviously cannot afford, falls in love with a very handsome man played by Liam Hemsworth and even her close friend (Adam Devine) finds love with the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra. 

I how the movie peels off each cliché from rom-coms one by one as Natalie starts adapting to her new environment. I was laughing most at the part where she is about to sleep with Blake (Hemsworth) and it keeps skipping to the morning-after scene because her rom-com universe is PG, as proven also by how it bleeps all of her curse words whenever she says them.  

The movie isn’t anything life-changing, but it was entertaining and funny to watch. It reminded me of 80s Pinoy feel-good movies that also had musical numbers like the one this movie had at the end. Like most rom coms, this one had a predictable ending (which I will not spoil for those people who intend to watch the film on Netflix) but as a parody of the genre, I think that it was to be expected. Still, I must be honest and say this is not a movie that I would be happy to watch again. Once is enough. 

Despite my feelings for the movie, I did appreciate the cinematography and the whole setup of the film. The difference between Natalie’s real world and her romantic comedy world was like day and night. The colors, the vibe of both worlds was very diverse, and it made the dream world style of Natalie’s romantic comedy life stand out. I also found the whole gay best friend character a little too much. I know it was supposed to be one of those clichés, but I thought he was portrayed a little too exaggerated for me.  Natalie said it herself in their first scene together, he was an offensive version of a gay guy. I did not like that.  

Rebel Wilson is naturally funny, often self-deprecating, but also very lovable in the movie. Liam Hemsworth, on the other hand, while he did look good in the movie and you could tell that he was having fun with the role, he just isn’t as charming or as funny as his older brother Chris (sorry, after seeing him be funny in the Marvel movies, it’s hard not to appreciate his comedic chops).  I didn’t really like Adam Devine in this movie. I felt that he didn’t have that much to do with his role, he just stayed in the background for the most part. I did, however, like seeing Priyanka Chopra in a comedic role. I think I’ve seen too much of her being broody on Quantico and being a villain in Baywatch that I forgot that she could still have a fun side to her.  

My favorite part of the movie was the whole musical scene/showdown between Priyanka and Rebel to the tune of I Wanna Dance with Somebody. I’ve always loved that song and it was an entertaining scene. It reminded me a bit of the Thriller number on 13 Going on 30. It just had that vibe. 

Would I recommend this movie to anyone? Yes, probably to people who have the time to spare and who aren’t expecting much from the movie other than some laughs, some music and a little romance. Otherwise, you can just skip this one and watch something else.  
SHARE:

Thursday, August 22, 2019

My Online Dating Experience

As a single person, I’ve often received comments about when I will ever get married. Either that or people would want to set me up with someone (something that I don’t really like). Living in the province where I am stuck in my home-work-home existence, dating just isn’t possible unless I were willing to succumb to the inevitable: joining online dating sites. I've mentioned this on a previous post, but this time I want to share some of my recent experiences with online dating apps. 

There are a couple of people who I know personally who have tried and successfully found someone via online dating apps and I am very happy for them. As someone who abhors the idea of being set up or going on a blind date, this is something that is a bit scary for me. I have tried this in the past, to the point where I was chatting with this English/Turkish guy who is in town for modeling gigs (and looked a bit like Adam Levine, I kid you not) but as soon as the topic got into actually meeting up, I realized that I couldn’t so that didn’t end well. The only other time that I was in an online dating app was when I found out that Michael Vartan was on Tinder. Again, another fail on my part since I didn’t find him (even if I subscribed so that I could view people who were in the LA area where he’s based).  


Image by athree23 from Pixabay

Now that I’m in my 40s the clamor from “well meaning” friends and relatives for me to meet someone to marry (or at the very least, have a child with) is at an all-time high. I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to give the online dating thing another try so I signed up for Bumble and Facebook Dating then logged in again to Tinder and OK Cupid . 

Honestly, my interest with Facebook Dating was only so that I could see what it was about. I decided not to put a photo of me – it was just my name, age and location that was on there. I thought it was a little bit creepy that most of the options being presented to me looked like creepy guys who could pass for goons in Filipino action movies. I would have signed off from the feature completely if not for the fact that I also signed up for the Secret Crush feature, where you could name your Facebook friend that you have a crush on. If he happens to be on FB Dating and lists you as his crush too, that would be a match. There are two guys that I have a crush on who are on my friends list. So far, no matches for me in that area. Either they are not on Facebook Dating (which, from the looks of things they are probably not) or they do not have a crush on me (which I would rather not think about right now). I’m giving myself until the end of the year for this one – unless I get more of creepy likes from people who, for some weird reason, think I am their match even if my photo is a cartoon of the cast of The Game of Thrones. 

There have been no matches for me on Bumble either. But I do like the setup of the app. I like how they don’t put in an unlimited number of options for you in one go. They also have a feature where they can validate if you are a real person and not someone out to do some cat fishing in the app. The profile setup is also very helpful in weeding out which person you would want to swipe right to (even if I haven’t done that yet). 

I had a match on Tinder. I got the notification of a Fil-Am studying medicine matching with me, but I decided not to reply to his message right away. He then disappeared from my end of the app. Oh well. It’s not that bad considering that most of the guys I’ve seen on Tinder seem to only want to hook up (the shirtless and low-waist photos are a giveaway). There’s one guy on there that I think is my type, but I was too chicken to swipe right since it seems he is only here for a while (ergo he might only be looking for a hookup too) so I did the next best thing: I subscribed to his YouTube channel. Knowing me I will find some kind of thing I don’t like about the guy and unsubscribe in a few weeks.  

Lastly, I have been on OK Cupid again because that is where a friend of mine found his current girlfriend/partner. BUT, like Tinder there are so many guys out there who are only into hookups. Some are even married and confidently say that they are there because they are not into monogamy (something you can put in your profile apparently). I’ve received about 50+ likes and messages from the app but since I haven’t subscribed to it, I don’t get to see the messages or who these people are. I’ve only liked a couple of guys in there, one of whom is someone I knew (and I just wanted to say, aha!) and another who is the only guy so far on that onslaught of options who I can say is my type. Sadly, that guy I picked out has been online and hasn’t been a match, so I guess I’m not his type.  

I was talking to a friend of mine who was also single, and I vented out my frustrations about not finding a match on the dating apps. I was worried that I set my standards too high, but this person reminded me that I needed to have those standards to find the kind of person that I would actually want to be with. One thing I realized now that I’ve looked back on my “journey” is that I probably won’t find the right person for me on these apps. If I haven’t found him in the last couple of months that I’ve signed up, I probably won’t find that person in those apps at all.

The whole thing got me to thinking if I was only doing this because this was something people expected of me. I kept having all these excuses and apprehensions whenever there was a guy I was thinking of swiping right to. I ended up not swiping right at all. Then all these thoughts of maybe not being a relationship person or being a commitment-phobe comes flooding in.

As I've said in my earlier post on online dating, maybe I’m just not the type to be involved with someone. I don’t know for sure. I’m fine on my own. Yes, it would be nice to have someone but I really don’t know if I am capable of being in a relationship after being single and independent for so long. 

I remember telling a friend that if I were to be with someone, I wanted it to be something that happened naturally. If it’s going to happen then it’s going to happen. Maybe I should just leave it at that and let go of these apps.

As the Florida Georgia Line song goes, “If it’s meant to be, it will be, baby just let it be.”

Signing off the apps now. 
SHARE:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Musical Obession: Hadestown

I love my share of musicals. I grew up watching Annie on video, along with other classics such as The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar. During my high school years I was a fan of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon and more recently I was (and still am) obsessed with Hamilton

A few months ago, I discovered another show that I started to obsess over in the way that I have with Hamilton. It’s the (fairly) new musical called Hadestown. I found out about it when I got a suggested video on You Tube that featured the two leads of the show performing the song All I’ve Ever Known. From there I watched the other videos and started following the Hadestown OBCR playlist to listen to the songs from the musical. 


Much like Hamilton, Hadestown started off as a concept album and has since evolved into the Broadway/Tony Award-winning musical that it is today. It is a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, two lovers separated by death until the former follows the latter to the Underworld to try to get her back.  

In the musical, the story is retold in the setting of the Great Depression era and is narrated by the god Hermes. It focuses not just on the relationship of Orpheus and Eurydice but also of the god of the Underworld and his wife: Hades and Persephone. If you are familiar with Greek mythology then you know how the story will go and how it will end. It may sound weird to be interested in a story you already know and yet want to see again (albeit in a different incarnation) but as Hermes sings in the musical, even if we know how it ends, we sing it again in the hope that things will be different.


I have not seen the musical in its entirety, just bits and pieces of it that have been shared online, but I am hooked. I am in awe of the actress who plays Persephone — if I could sing like that I would love to play her on stage, that’s how much I loved her performance. I get chills by how mysterious and eerie the actor who plays Hermes is when he is on stage. I think Eva Noblezada, who plays Eurydice is so talented and her voice just glides through the air when she sings. I was also pleasantly surprised about how different Reeve Carney is in this one. I’ve seen him in Penny Dreadful as Dorian Gray and I have to say that seeing him play this naïve character who was full of heart was amazing. I was disappointed that he didn’t get nominated in the recent Tony Awards for that.  

I wish that I could get to watch this with the current cast but that is nothing more than a dream for me. I doubt if I can ever make a trip to the US, much less score tickets to the show on Broadway. I hope that like Hamilton, this original cast can record one performance for future video sale/distribution to fans like me who would not have the opportunity to see the show otherwise.  

This is one of those shows that needs to have a movie version in the future. I am hoping that it happens sooner rather than much, much later. I mean, if Lin Manuel’s In the Heights can get acquired for a movie version on the year it was on Broadway why can’t this one not happen too? I’m willing to wait the decade (or so) that it’s taking In the Heights to be made and released. I think it will be worth it!



SHARE:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: Roswell New Mexico

One of the TV shows that I was watching a few months back was Roswell New Mexico. Based on the book series called Roswell High, this is the second incarnation of the books to TV.  

I was familiar with the older show but I never followed it. I decided to give this new version a shot this time around because it was from the same creator who came up with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, which were shows that I loved. 

Basically, the show is about a group of aliens who were part of the crash in Roswell, New Mexico in the late 1940s and how they are blending in with the people in the town they now live in. One of the aliens is in love with the daughter of an undocumented immigrant, who comes back to town after being away for a long time. This starts a series of events that threaten to reveal their secret and forces them to come to terms with who they are and where they came from.  


The show very aptly tackled issues that came with being “different” and being “aliens,” which is a good fit for the times in the US. I love that they are able to incorporate talking points about these issues in such a show, considering that it is a series marketed to a younger crowd. The issues get pointed out and is given their screen time without it being preachy or boring. It becomes part of the whole storyline. 

My favorite part of the entire series is Nathan Parsons, who plays the alien Max, who is in love with Jeanine Mason’s character Liz. I’ve seen Nathan Parsons in The Originals and I never paid him that much attention but he shines in this show as part of the star-crossed lovers (pun intended) of the series. I love how he played the younger Max who was in love with Liz even back then – the way he looked at her was very pure and innocent compared to the pained and passionate looks that he gave when he became older and is faced with her again. You can just feel how deeply in love Max is with Liz. I swear, every time he comes up with those swoon-worthy lines about how much he loves Liz I find myself almost falling off my seat every time. The guy is good at this! 

Speaking of swoon-worthy lines, I have to give credit to the writers of this show for all the romantic things that have been said on the show (mostly by Max for me). I sometimes forgot that I was watching a science fiction show and not a romantic drama with the words that were said.  


I feel like I’m disappearing until you look at me. 

Somehow you always stand in the part of the room that the sun hits first.

You touched my lips and I stopped breathing. 


Do you understand what I mean? 

Moving on...I’m very happy to see Jeanine Mason in this show. I still remember her from her dancing days on So You Think You Can Dance. I’ve seen her in several other projects since then but if I’m not mistaken, this is her first lead role. While I can’t say that she’s on the same level as Nathan Parsons, she does hold her own in every scene. 

Honestly, I don’t care much for the other characters in the show because I’m more invested on Max and Liz than anyone else...which is why I was disappointed to find out that Max died at the end of the first season. I know they will bring him back for the second season but I have the feeling that he won’t be the same Max...and I really liked the “deeply-in-love-with-Liz” version of him.  

I’m not sure if I will love the second season if Max is different, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I hope the writers will not let me down. 
SHARE:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Fave RomCom: Never Been Kissed

I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I will always love them, no matter how cheesy they get sometimes. A few months ago I was reminded that one of my favorite rom-coms of all time had just celebrated its anniversary: Never Been Kissed (coincidentally the name of my very first blog from way back) is now 20!


I can’t believe that it’s been 20 years since I was introduced to Josie Geller of the Chicago Sun Times. I can still remember loving this character who had a second chance with high school by going undercover to try to get the inside story on the lives of teenagers. This was also the movie where I fell in love with Michael Vartan, whose career I followed up to his most recent TV show, The Arrangement. I also can’t forget to mention that this is one of the earlier movies of Jessica Alba and James Franco. 

Looking back now that I’m older, I do realize that my hopeless romantic side sort of glazed over the fact that the teacher was interested in his supposedly 17 year old student (which in hindsight is a bit of a red flag when you think about it). I know she really wasn’t 17 and just pretending to be one but still, it is a little disturbing how it was a bit ignored here in favor of getting the romance in. Maybe if they didn’t frame the relationship around that, it would be less of a disturbing thing but I really have no idea what other way they could have done it. Oh and there’s also that thing where Josie dated a high school guy, who I am assuming is also underage and 17. Also not OK. 

The age thing aside, this was one of my favorite movies because it was about a woman finding her voice and her identity. It was about connecting with people and about finding the kind of love that you wanted. Josie always wanted to be a successful writer and that article she wrote at the end of the film helped her to be that. She wanted to fall in love in the way that she dreamed of, and in the end she took a risk and got the man she wanted. 

Drew Barrymore was such a sweetheart in this movie, it was hard not to root for her and want her to succeed. I love how even in the end while she did grow as a person, she was still that lovable and charmingly awkward person that she was in the beginning of the film. 

There were so many quotable lines from the movie. I loved the scene where Josie described the kind of kiss that she wanted to have, to which her co-worker (played by now Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer) remarked that she should be a writer. 

Another memorable line (or should I say lines) in the movie was from Josie’s article, where she talks about the people you meet in high school. The girls, the athletes, the smart kids, your teachers and friends. And yes, of course, that one guy that makes you want to go to school in the morning.

I have to agree with her, although for me it could relate to people I have met in college as well. I guess it has something to do with being young — experiencing things and meeting people at that age, people tend to make a big impression on a person.Things are different when you’re young, when all things are new. It just makes everything extra special and memorable in that way.

Of course, I cannot discuss this movie without mentioning that final line where Josie finally gets her man and he tells her he’s sorry he took so long to get there and she replies that she knows what he means…that was just a classic scene for me. Then that Beach Boys song plays and everything just feels so happily ever after…to this day that song from the end reminds me of this movie and brings a smile to my face when I hear it! 

Never Been Kissed is one of those movies that I’d watch again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. It’s a classic rom-com and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. This whole pretending to be someone else in the age of the internet and social media would not have worked in the same way today as it did in the 90s, but it’s nice to go back to a time when social media didn’t matter. 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably in at least one of the major streaming services out there. It’s worth the watch!
SHARE:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Thank You Boyzone and Good Night!

It finally happened! As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I managed to get 3rd row VIP seats to Boyzone’s Thank You and Good Night Manila concert AND the opportunity for a Meet and Greet with the band. This was a better opportunity for me compared to last year’s 10th row seat without the chance to meet everyone.


As excited as I was about the show, I was also a tad disappointed that the Meet and Greet was not what I hoped it would be. I felt like we were in a factory assembly line: shuffled in 20 at a time, rushed to pose with the guys so that someone could take our picture and then shooed off so that the next set of 20 could go in and do the same. We were also repeatedly told not to give them anything or hand them anything to sign. I understand that there was very little time and the band did just come in from a flight from Taiwan, but I felt that it could have been handled differently. I was just lucky that I managed to stand near Ronan Keating where I could tap him on the arm to tell him that I loved their music (and the radio show he does with Harriet Scott that I follow online). I also managed a hug from Keith Duffy as I was being rushed out of the room, with Mikey Graham stifling a laugh at the situation.

Photo Credit: Wilson Chua (Sorry had to blur out the other people since I didn't have their permission to share their photo in public!)

In spite of the state of the Meet and Greet, I still had a good time at the concert itself. Former Westlife member Brian McFadden entertained the fans with a bunch of Westlife songs. My sister and I agreed that he had a really good voice which, I admit, I never noticed when he was on Westlife. He was also very good on stage and knew how to handle a crowd. He was very entertaining. I’d watch him if he ever came back to the country to perform because based on how he was as a front act, I know he’d be good to watch again.


The set list for Boyzone was, as they promised, full of the older hits, as it was their good bye to the fans who have followed them through the years. I loved going back in time to the songs that made me love this Irish boy band in the first place, and I enjoyed seeing the old videos that they shared on the big screen as they performed their hits.


As they did last year, they also had a special tribute to Stephen Gately who passed away in 2009. It was good to see the video where they all talked about their relationship with him and equally touching to hear them perform with his voice still included in the track so that he could be there with them.


It was a long show (and based on how they looked at the Meet and Greet the guys all looked like they were very tired from the very long and hectic tour schedule) but they still gave us fans a performance that we won’t soon forget. The energy was very high, with all the guys making the effort to get closer to the fans from the stage. Keith even went straight to the audience area to perform in the crowd!




After the last song it was sad to see it all end, but I am happy that I got those two hours to relive my youth and the good memories that it had for me. It was great to meet people like me who, for those couple of hours, got to be kids again watching our favorite band before we go back to living as adults with careers, families and responsibilities (something that I think Keith also said in an interview about the tour). It was nice to exchange stories with other fans like me who were big fans since the beginning. I was surprised to find out how many of us were unable to go and see them when we were younger and were now watching them from the VIP seats. It's good that we got to see them before they disbanded!


I’m really glad that the band came back for one final show. I actually got a few ideas for my book ( a historical novel that was partly inspired by some of their songs and some actual events in Philippine history) during the concert and from meeting them in person. I can’t wait to start writing it again! Just looking at Ronan made me think of the character I had based on him. It was hard to write before when he looked much younger but now that he's in his 40s, the character just came alive for me when I saw him up close!




On that note, this is me temporarily signing off to write this dream novel of mine. I won't be able to post as often as I used to, but I've written some advance posts that I've scheduled to pop up every now and then in the meantime. I'll be posting updates on my writing when I have something significant to share so please keep stopping by this blog whenever you can.

Thank you again Boyzone for coming back. Thank you for the music and for letting us say goodbye.
SHARE:
Blog Layout Designed by pipdig