Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Yep, Still Single

When are you getting married? 
Don’t you want to get married? Are you scared of commitment? 
You should get married! You’re wasting your genes! 
If you don’t want to get married you should get yourself pregnant at least – you’ll regret not having kids when you had the chance! 

Being a single woman in a later part of life can be very annoying, especially when you're at a family gathering. Everyone wants you to get married or have kids. It can get tiring to answer the same questions repeatedly. I know (most) people mean well but it is still such a pain.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Book Review: Swipe Right

One of my recent reads was a book that I enjoyed reading…I seem to enjoy reading about couples who seem to get the love right, but the timing so wrong because this is another one of them. Swipe Right by Stephie Chapman is about Fran and Ollie, new recruits at a media content agency who start off clashing with each other to work friends.

Credit: Hera

The story revolves not just on the friendship and the wrong timing romance (they met when she had a boyfriend, and Ollie was seeing someone else), but on Fran’s project for work as a result of her recent breakup: dating and evaluating men that she meets from an online dating app. 

That whole date evaluation was a bad idea from the start. Interesting yes, but was trouble waiting to happen. Of course, Fran’s dates later find out that they are part of the anonymous date evaluation that she is writing about and things end up badly for her. I think anyone could tell her that doing this when the people you write about are ones who you hardly know, there is the danger that they will react in the ways that you do not expect. The guys she dated were such characters! It makes you wonder what kind of people are on these apps! If there is any lesson I learned from this part of the story, is that you need to be careful and discerning about dating someone from those online dating apps. I am glad that I gave up on that a long time ago!

Fran and Ollie’s story and how things developed and progressed between them unfolded in a way that gave readers time to see how this made sense even though they were drawing a line because of their respective relationships. The spark, the chemistry between the characters was definitely there for me, no matter how other readers think otherwise. 

I also enjoyed the supporting characters in this one. Some books have supporting characters that were just background and fillers for the story but I thought that the group of people they had in this one enhanced the whole thing instead of just fading away when they were not necessary.

My only complaint about stories like this (not just for this book) is that it is always justified that the leads fell for someone else because their respective significant others are the “villains” of the story. It just feels too convenient. I think it would be realistic to just show that people can sometimes outgrow each other or that – surprise – the lead character is the bad guy or girl in this for falling for someone else while in a relationship. 

While I did love how Fran and Ollie were together, and I loved that part where the book talked about the photo of the two where they just had this spark with each other. I wish I could see that photo, it sounded like such a great one that I could practically picture it in my mind!

I was happy that the lead characters had their happily ever after in the end, but I was a bit conflicted with how it was handled. I think that Ollie messed up so much, and he did not fight for what he had with Fran enough and broke her heart more than once. I think that Fran should have made it a little more difficult for him before they got back together. I think that the writer should have done more to redeem Ollie in the eyes of the reader to make him worthy of Fran after everything that happened.

Swipe Right is a good read for me, romance novel readers and chick-lit readers would probably enjoy this too.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Book Review: The Substitute

Picture this: you are going home to your parents because your mom has planned your wedding – to a fiancée that you have already broken up with. You could not find the words to tell your parents about because they have already spent so much on the wedding, so you go home on the date agreed anyway. What are you going to do? If you are Megan Vandemeer, you could get lucky and meet someone like Josh McMillan on your flight home. This is the story of the book The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank. 

In this story, Megan gets drunk on the flight and Josh tries to help her off the plane to her family. They mistake him for her fiancée, and he goes along with it because he found out that one of the people that he planned to investigate during his trip was Megan’s father. 


Credit: Denise Grover Swank

I thought that the premise of this book was hilarious because for one thing, how could you get engaged and have your mother plan your wedding even if they have never seen or met the guy? Still, the way the characters were presented and the complicated family dynamic they had I think it made a bit of sense.  It was also a stroke of luck that the purpose of Josh’s trip, which was to find out who stole their company’s idea and applied for the patent ahead of them, was made easier by becoming an insider in the Vandemeer family.  

I thought that the relationship between Megan and Josh was cute, particularly since they had chemistry and they had to pretend that they had been in a relationship for a long time. All the almost-but-not-quite-caught moments added to the feels of this story. Of course, it would not be a good romance if it did not have its share of villains, who try to stop whatever it was that was going on between the two of them.  

There are so many characters in this book, some of whom have spinoff books of their own that I plan on reading in the future because I enjoyed this one. It was a sure sign that I loved this when I could picture certain actors as the characters in the story. One character, however, that I could not imagine any actor for was also one of my favorites: Megan’s grandmother. She was this old lady who wore what she wanted, did, and said what she wanted – often with hilarious results. There was never a dull moment when she was around! I loved how she did naked yoga and wanted to sketch Josh’s butt! That was so funny! 

While some of the events in this book seem too unrealistic, I opted to enjoy reading them unfold instead of picking on what was too much or what did not make sense. It was a fun ride that led to two people falling in love and having their issues with their families work out in the end. It was a whirlwind romance that both did not expect when they were on the flight to Kansas, but it ended up being a happily-ever-after for them anyway. 

If you like a feel-good romance with the pretend-relationship trope, this is a good and quick read. There are some funny moments, some romantic ones, and some notable moments of friendship. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books on this series. Will try to write reviews on them when I am done. 

If you ever decide to read the book after seeing this review, please let me know. I would love to know what you think! 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Never Stop Learning

The best piece of advice I have ever received about life is this: Never stop learning.

I used to think it meant that after college, I should continue my education in other ways but these days I think of that advice as including and beyond the academic experience. It means learning in the biggest school ever, life.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Book Review: The Perfect Dress

It is always refreshing to read love stories that feature characters that are not always given their time in the spotlight. One such book is The Perfect Dress, which features a plus-size female lead along with a group of friends who are plus-sized as well. 

Credit: Montlake Romance

In this book by Carolyn Brown, Mitzi is one of the owners of the bridal dress shop called The Perfect Dress, along with her best friends Paula and Jody. The book tackles the stories of each of the girls from The Perfect Dress, not just Mitzi’s story. All the stories presented issues that ranged from failed relationships, parental issues, and struggles with their weight as plus-sized women. I loved that the stories shared here are more of adult issues as opposed to stories from most romance novels that tackle young adults who have different problems altogether. 

I thought that it was cute that the book was set in the south, where people say “y’all” and were all about “what would people think” and small-town gossip…I think that it is the kind of setting that fits well with people like me who live in a small town where the thinking of people are remarkably similar to that of the book. It made it all very relatable to me. 

As far as the stories of the characters are concerned, I thought that Mitzi and Graham’s story was cute. Being schoolmates who meet again as adults and fall for each other and the awkwardness of it all, especially since Mitzi has taken his twin daughters under her wing at the shop. 

Paula’s story about having a child with a man who was – for lack of a better word – a scumbag, was a little annoying in the sense that while she was being the bigger person and owning up to her responsibility, I felt that the guy deserved a little more than an almost break up with his wife for cheating. He got away with a lot and it was not fair. 

Jody’s story about ending a long relationship and ending up with someone else was nice, but I felt that it was rushed and did not show much about how it developed. I wish it were shared a little more since there was a lot about her previous relationship that was tackled. There was not much shared about Paula’s relationship, but it still got more later on than Jody’s did.  

It was a little off-putting that Paula and Jody were portrayed as having mothers who were so bad to them. Their mothers were very soap-opera mean and I thought they were a little too harsh, especially when you see that Paula has a sister who her mother seems to treat better. Is the author trying to say that mothers hate plus-sized daughters since Graham’s ex-wife is the same with their kids? I was very curious about that.

I loved that this book made their female characters strong and independent and that they placed an emphasis on how plus-sized women deserved their stories and yes, the perfect dress at their wedding. I just wish that the book did not keep talking about how the women were big like we need to constantly remember that fact. Other than that, I thought it was a nice, light-hearted book and is a quick read for anyone wanting to pass the time with that has a plus-size romance lead.

Lately, I have read books with Asian, Latino, and African American leads, now I have read one featuring plus-sized women. I think it is refreshing to find that there are now books that place other women other than the single skinny white woman as the lead character. I look forward to more of these. If you have any recommendations, I would love to learn about them!


Friday, March 19, 2021

Throwback Post: Online Friendships

This is an old entry from my old blog, edited/updated for this one. Hope you like it! I've been missing these people since I haven't seen anyone for a long time now. Hope they're all doing well!

I remember during the earlier days of the world wide web, people used to say that it was hard to trust people online. Can you make real friends online? Do the online friends you chat with tell you the truth about who they really are? In these days of catfishing and trolling I think a lot of people will still answer in the negative but thankfully, my experience with online friendships has been very good. Yes, you can make real friends online. I know I did.

In the early days of blogging, when it was more about personal experiences than it is about OOTDs or the latest events and places to see and be seen, I came across people like me who were trying out that new thing called a blog. Through the years, even though some of them have since moved on and stopped blogging, we have kept in touch through social media and have even met once or twice (as much as my faraway provincial life can take me). The friendships, despite the distance and the lack of face to face encounters still exists. For that, I will always be grateful. It is amazing to see all of us grow up and move on with our lives: getting married, have kids, move to a different country (or in some cases move back home). My online friends have been there to support me when I had surgery and was worrying about the possibility of cancer. They were supportive during the loss of my father. If that isn’t proof that online friendships are real friendships, I don’t know what is.

online friendships
My Blogger Friends

It was through online friendships on a showbiz fan forum that I made some very good friends of mine. It was also an online friendship that paved the way and helped maintain the friendships I gained as a football fan. In my home-office-home kind of life tucked away in a rural part of the country, it is my online friendships that have helped me thrive and keep in touch with people who have the same interests as I do. People who help me keep in touch with a part of my life that I had once left behind when I moved to the province. 

online friendships
Football Friends

If you’re also wondering, I would also say yes ladies: you can also make friends with guys online without the assumption that it is for dating or hooking up. This was once a fear I had about online friendships with guys (due to an overprotective father who probably thought all men online were predators). I have had male blogger friends who have never made any false assumptions of the friendships that we had online. You can make friends online without dating them. I’m not saying that there are no guys who are online to find girls to date or hook up with, but I am saying that there are guys online who are there just because they are. And if you are friendly, they can be too and you can both keep it at a friend level without worrying about any expectations.

I guess that’s the thing about being online and not seeing a person face to face. You don’t need to make any assumptions because of your gender. You relate more to them as a person. I could be wrong, but that’s how my experiences have been so far. I’ve been lucky, I guess. That’s not to say that I haven’t crushed on anyone that I’ve been friends with online. That has happened too. BUT since he was clearly just being a friend, I didn’t want to ruin it. That crush has passed, that ship has sailed and I’m good with it.

To sum things up, I have been blessed to have made some very good friends online. People who I would like to be in touch with until we are all too grandparent-levels old. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made, the friendships I’ve maintained, and the friends I will still make online. It’s a scary and often catfish(y), troll-laden online world out there, but sometimes, if you look hard enough, you will find there are still good people out there and that it’s not such a bad place to be.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Film Review: Love, Rosie

Cecilia Ahern is one of my favorite writers. I first started reading her books when I discovered P.S. I Love You and I have read almost every book she has released since then.

Love, Rosie (also known as Where Rainbows End) is one of the books Ahern released around the same time as P.S. I Love You. The book is about best friends Alex and Rosie, two people who grew up falling in love with each other but afraid to tell each other how they felt. I fell in love with the book and was very excited when I heard that it was going to be made into a movie. Obviously, I watched it as soon as I had the chance.


Monday, March 15, 2021

Movie Review: The Lost Husband

One of my favorite movies way back when was the film, Safe Haven. I fell in love with Josh Duhamel’s character of a small-town guy/ dad who won over Julianne Hough’s heart. I have not seen him in any romantic films in a while so when I heard about the movie The Lost Husband with Leslie Bibb, I decided to watch it online.

The Lost Husband is about Libby (Leslie Bibb), who lost her husband in an accident and is left with two young girls to take care of. Living with her mother, with whom she has a complicated relationship, she finds it hard to get over her husband’s death. The movie starts with her moving out of her mother’s house and to her Aunt’s farm in Texas.

On the farm, Libby’s Aunt tells her that she wants her to help manage the farm with the help of their farm manager, James (Josh Duhamel). Of course, as any fan of romantic movies knows and expects, it is the whole working together thing that gives the two the chance to fall for each other. Several moments were (I guess) meant to be romantic, with them being locked in a freezer together and James kissing Libby in front of people who were making fun of her looks, but I did not feel the romantic vibes between the two as much as I would have wanted.

At one point it is revealed that James is helping take care of his ex-wife, who had a stroke. With Libby still not over her husband’s death and his current situation, there was obviously hesitation on both sides to give their relationship a try. Not even him bonding with her kids was enough to encourage that. 

Eventually, however, Libby finds her moment of closure and James finally gets his ex-wife to her parents so that he can move on as well. They end up kissing and that is the end of the movie.

As I mentioned earlier, the romance just did not give me the feels. I would have loved to have felt it, but I just did not, which was too bad. There was also a side story about how Libby learns she actually grew up with her Aunt as a child before her mother took her away, but I felt it was not that necessary for the plot or her story (or romance). I would have been happier with more romantic moments, to be honest.

There was a bit of an easter egg of sorts in the film for fans of the late 90s - early 2000s TV: in the scene where there were women making fun of Libby’s appearance, one of the women was Carly Pope. Carly played Sam in the series Popular, which also starred Leslie Bibb as her stepsister Brooke. The funny part about this is that in Popular, it is Leslie Bibb who plays a character who plays the flashy, popular type while Carly Pope plays the simple, unpopular one. In this movie, their roles are switched. I do not know if that was done on purpose to include Carly Pope, but I felt that it was a good nod to the series that I enjoyed watching in the past. And for another TV actor appearance, there was also a cameo from Kevin Alejandro (who plays Danny in Lucifer), as Libby’s husband. 

I was really hoping for a good romance starring Josh Duhamel again. I was disappointed with this one. Is it because he is older or because the story was just not good? I am not so sure. 

The Lost Husband can be bought or rented from YouTube. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

My Not So Minimal Mother

Is it just me or is a certain generation just obsessed with having a lot of everything? 

Just to clarify, I am talking about the difference between my generation and that of my mother. I would like to think that I am more into the minimalist type of living: I may accumulate stuff, but when the time comes that I feel that I have too much, I purge everything and give away the things that I know can still be used. I do not like the feeling of having too much. Even before Marie Kondo introduced this whole keeping only what sparks joy thing, I had a habit of keeping things minimal. I think it stems from the period when we moved around several times. I did not like the idea of packing and repacking too much. 

Image by Igor Schubin from Pixabay

With my mother it is a whole different deal: she loves having things on “display.” It can be figurines, knick-knacks, anything you can show off to other people when they visit your home. She even places a whole range of plates, cups, mugs, etc on display shelves. None of them have been used. They just sit there. That is apart from the plates and cutlery that are only used “when there are visitors.” There is just too much stuff that does not have that much function in our home.  For me, it feels that if you are not using it, it really has to go. For my mom, it feels as if things are reserved for events that to me hardly ever happen.  

I find all these little trinkets awkward to have. For one it is not child-friendly and will surely be something you have to look after if there are children around. Plus it is such an effort to clean when there is so much out there on display. I do not understand why there is the need for all of it in the first place.  

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have told my sister that I want to take out all of the plates and cups on display because they are never used anyway. Of course, my sister reminds me that unless I want to get into a fight with my mother, everything stays where they are. It just frustrates me to look at everything and know that those things will not be used in my entire lifetime and yet they will have those special spots on the display shelf.  

There is something about not having too many things that I equate with having a clean home. I find that it is also (for me) a good way to clean the clutter of my mind when there are not too many things that clutter my vision as well.  

My mother’s trait of having too much stuff is not limited to kitchen/dinnerware or living room displays. Take this for example she, the senior citizen who only goes out to church has more shoes and clothes than her daughter (me), who regularly has to go to work. While I go for having a practical number of clothes and shoes, she is more of the “one can never have enough of” persuasion. 

I cannot help but wonder if there is a psychological explanation for this. I wonder if there is something about her generation that makes them be the way they are. I know my mother is not alone in being like this. I have talked to friends whose parents are the same way. What possible satisfaction could they get from having all these things without using them that I do not see or understand? 

What do you think?  


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Film Review: Somewhere in Time

The movie Somewhere in Time is one of those classic films that I’ve loved since I was a child. The episode of Jane the Virgin which had Jane Seymour as a guest sparked an urge to write a post about my love for this movie. When I saw her on my TV screen, I had a flashback of the first time I saw the movie that I think made me become such a hopeless romantic.

I haven’t seen the movie in such a long time – 20 years would not be a stretch – but I can still remember the scenes that I loved from the movie. That part where the old Elise asks Richard to come back to her is one of them.  I thought that it was sad but I found the scene where Richard realizes that he has a modern coin while he was in the past and goes back to his time to be the most heartbreaking. Even as a child, I understood how Richard could be so devastated by going back to his time because he was so happy in the past with Elise.

This is the movie that made me fall in love with Christopher Reeve. I knew him as Richard first before he became Clark Kent. To this day, he is my Superman standard. Henry Cavill may be hot and all, but he is no Chris Reeve. Brandon Routh came closer to the Chris Reeve mold so I like him better.

To this day I am fascinated by this film and can never resist watching Jane Seymour in her other projects because of how much I loved her in this movie. I remember grieving when Chris Reeve passed away not just because he was Superman, but because of this film. I was so young when I first saw this. I would love to be able to see it again. It's such a classic movie that I'd love to share with my nephews and niece when they grow up.

I digress, so let’s move on. The theme song from the movie was the first non-lesson piece I tried to learn on the piano. I didn’t get far with it except for the first part but I remember just being taken back to my favorite parts of the film just from hearing the music.

Has this movie been digitally restored? I'd love to see it if there is one. It would be such a special thing to watch again.

Does anyone else out there like the movie too? I'd love to hear what you think of it!

This is an old entry from my old blog, edited/updated for this one. Hope you liked it!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Book Review: That Weekend in Paris

This is a silly reason to read a book, but when I saw that it was about a country singer and a songwriter, I thought that it would be a good thing to read. Add to that the Paris setting and I immediately thought this would be worth the purchase and the read. If you are interested in a book with those elements, read on for this review of the book That Weekend in Paris by Inglath Cooper.

Credit: Fence Free Entertainment, LLC

In the book, Dillon is on a plane to Paris to get a hold of country star Klein Matthews, in the hope of snatching him up from her ex-husband’s company and into her own. Her marriage had not ended well, and she thought that getting his biggest talent would be a great way to avenge the fact that he cheated on her with a younger woman after suffering from breast cancer.

The idea was simple enough, but then Dillon apparently met Klein before and felt an attraction to him even when she was married. She did not act on it, but there was a spark during the first time they met when she “discovered” him and had her husband sign him to his company. After meeting Klein again in Paris, she then discovers that Klein was attracted to him from the first time they met as well. I think that it does not take a genius to guess where these two go from there.

Klein and Dillon start spending time together in Paris and travel out to the countryside, writing songs together along the way. As romantic as everything starts, the prospect of going back to their respective realities mean that whatever they were feeling for each other on that trip was a one-off thing. Dillon still has to deal with her ex-husband Josh, who seems to be having a change of heart and wants her back. Klein, on the other hand, finds out that his ex-girlfriend had given birth to his child, a child that he thought she had aborted before and was the cause of their breakup. And if that is not complicated enough, Klein’s ex seems to be a psychopath who was secretly poisoning him for breaking up with her and is manipulating him to be with her because of her ambition to be rich and famous. 

The Klein-Dillon love story seems to be a case of love at the wrong time – twice. Eventually, as with all romance novels, they end up happily ever after and become sort of a power couple in the country music scene. 

I wanted to be really into this story, but it did not work for me as much as I wanted it to. I felt that there were some elements that they could have emphasized more. I felt bad because some parts were not necessary for the plot of the story that could have been removed to make room for the parts that I felt were missing. The whole older woman and younger man romance was not even addressed as much, which I felt was something that could have been used a little more in the book. I did, however, love that it dealt with adult relationships and adult problems such as problems when a marriage does not work out or when couples deal with issues such as when one partner has cancer.

As someone who has a special place in my heart for country music, I wish that there were more of that world in this book instead of just introducing their lives in it then moving on to life beyond that. The book does have its moments, but I really wish that there were more to it. It was nice, but it could have been better.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Movie Review: Hello Stranger

A work acquaintance of mine recommended this movie to me and I didn’t get around to watching it until recently. Being a rom-com and Asianovela fan I was curious about this but it took a while for me to get used to listening to the Thai language enough to enjoy the movie.

The story revolves around two Thai tourists in Korea. One was there to enjoy a trip he was supposed to take with his ex-girlfriend and the other was there to attend a friend’s wedding. During the course of their trip, they bare their hearts to each other and fall for each other in the process. Sadly, the relationship doesn’t progress because the guy gets back together with his ex-girlfriend, who followed him to Korea.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Netflix Picks: Book Club

There is a movie that I have been meaning to watch but have been unable to find for rent, streaming, or purchase anywhere until recently. I was very intrigued by this movie, so I was happy when the film was finally available on Netflix. The title of the movie is Book Club, and it stars Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as a group of friends who have been together for 30 years and have a monthly book club together. 

While all the women are in their later years, they all have different stories. Vivian (Jane Fonda) is a successful businesswoman who owns hotels and refuses to give up her independence, which is the reason why she has not settled down. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is a divorced federal judge who has not remarried since splitting up from her husband fifteen years ago. Carol (Mary Steenburgen) is married and frustrated that something is missing in her marriage. Diane (Diane Keaton), on the other hand, is recently widowed and is being convinced by her daughters (one of whom is played by Alicia Silverstone) to sell her home and move closer to them (and effectively taking her away from her own set of friends).

During the course of the movie, each character experiences a personal journey as they tackle their latest book club topic: the 50 Shades of Grey series. Vivian runs into her “one that got away,” Arthur (played by Don Johnson), and starts reconnecting with him. Sharon starts dating again. Carol tries to bond with her husband in several different ways. Diane travels to Arizona to see if she can move there and meets/falls for a charming pilot (played by Andy Garcia). 

I really enjoyed watching this movie. I love that they can give the story of older women justice by showing them as real people with varied personalities. I think that we live in a generation where most movies are about younger people being the lead characters and for stories to be mostly about younger people’s stories and struggles. It is great to see that someone has made a point to emphasize that just because you are older you do not fade into the background. You still have a life; you still have stories that you can share, and you can still be a leading character in your story.  Having these characters portrayed by such an amazing cast is an added bonus. 

I have seen some movies recently that did not have the kind of romance and spark that I was expecting from them, so I was happy that while this is not a romantic movie, the scenes where Vivian and Arthur were together as well as the scenes between Diane and her pilot was sweet and romantic. The feels were definitely there. I certainly did not expect to be swooning while I watched Andy Garcia and Don Johnson romance their leading ladies, but I did end up doing that!

I got so invested in each character’s story that I was rooting for them to find the happiness that they deserved. I am glad that they all got that in the end and that they were able to have a movie like this to show that there is room for stories like this in movies. I would love to see more movies like this. Movies like this made me realize that there has not been much room for stories of the older generations. Getting older myself made me see that this is something that the world needs to make room for. 

Book Club is an entertaining film to watch if you are not too youth-obsessed when it comes to movies. It is a good film about friendship, romance, and the personal journey of a group of women that I think you would enjoy.

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