Married for two years

My husband and I got married exactly two years ago today, March 8th, which also happens to be “International Women’s Day”. When you see wedding photos on the internet everything’s filled with invisible hearts and it would seem as if you can hear people in the photos dreaming. Two years into my marriage, I still find myself dreaming of a great life with my hubby and son. Not that the past two years wasn’t great. But truth be told, it’s not the fairy tale story we’ve read in books when we were young either. And that’s very much okay. I’ve learned that we need to accept the reality of things that we owe it to ourselves to be able to attain that great life we so loved.

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Today as I see it, marriage takes a lot of sacrifice and compromise. You get to realize that none of you are perfect but eventually you’ll get over it and love each other anyway. Everyday, we strive to become better as an individual and as a couple and that’s what matters most.

Product Review: Ease up on the long commute through this amazing footwear

Commuters rejoice! After an impressive 11 years experience on the road from home to work and vice versa, which is uniquely about 2 hours to and fro, I have finally found a way to ease up on the long commute. That is by none other than having my own pair of comfortable footwear: Grendha Capri Sandals!

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For years, I have struggled in my commute not only because of the malfunctioning transportation system sometimes, but mostly because I abhor walking in every piece of shoe I owned in the past. Add that I hate coming to work in flip flops because that’s just plain dirty to look at when paired with snappy office clothing. It’s just not working.

So I tend to choose to commute in heels just to complement the buttoned down dresses and blazers I wear to work. Although there is an array of comfortable heels to choose from, most come in ridiculously expensive price tags in my book. The previous pairs I’ve worn just won’t respond well to my every move as well.

Until I found Grendha Capri Sandals at a local shoe store.

DESIGN

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The Grendha Capri Sandals, with its woven design with ankle strap and metal buckle, isn’t as stunning as other shoes at first sight. I did not choose it because of its beauty. My initial reaction was that its design was the perfect solution to my problems with my previous gel-type shoes.

Also, unless you want to come in wearing slippers or running shoes, you’d choose this product due to its comfortableness above any other reason. I’ve tried other products in its line and although they promise the same comfortableness and water-resistance, the design was too closed that it maintains poor air ventilation, yielding to sweaty and smelly feet for some users. But the intelligent design of this Capri Sandals, which gives enough window for air ventilation is ideal for feet on the go – without the threat of them smelling bad.

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The material used in this product is similar to a combination of the gel type and the sturdy and durable PVC materials used for slippers like havaianas or ipanema. Its ankle strap is also a great solution to very loose sandal sizes or to preventing one’s foot from slipping out when walking. Users wouldn’t have to worry about losing their shoe when they get on a jeepney, where everyone’s struggling to board in an ordinary rush hour.

COMFORT

When I first wore my shoe, it was amazingly comfortable right away. Unlike other shoes where you have this unwritten rule that you have to “break” first before you finally walk comfortably in them, the Grendha Capri Sandals gives every new user a smooth experience. It is not heavy. I didn’t have any problems with the strap and although I chose a looser size, it’s not a problem because the ankle strap helps me keep them on.

MIX AND MATCH ABILITY

The sandals come in a variety of colors such as light blue, teal, maroon, beige, pink and black. I personally prefer the beige and black colors so they can fit well with a corporate get up. Users wouldn’t feel ashamed of coming to work on it because it looks good to the eyes (it’s not an eyesore) for people wearing the corporate look. (Compared with inappropriate, open toed shoes or slippers.

DURABILITY AND CLEANLINESS

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I’ve been wearing my beige pair for about a month now, and although it has accumulated dirt in the sole, its appearance is still clean. Washing it wouldn’t be a problem either as its semi-plastic/durable material is easy to soap, brush and air dry unlike cotton ones.

RECOMMENDATION:

The Grendha Capri Sandals is perfect for young, working women who want to exude a fashionable get up even while on the road/in public transportation. Its design, durability and mix-match ability will truly allow everyone to to ease up on the long commute.

(images from zalora)

NOTE: I am not paid for this article.

How to nail your diet like a pro

How to nail your diet like a pro

1. Set an event goal.

Nothing can help remind you of your diet better than that dress you plan to wear to an upcoming event. Be it a wedding, a Christmas party, a meet-the-parents or a hundredth date night. As for me, I grew tired of complaining about how awkward I feel each time I’m on a dress. Until I’ve been invited to a formal party. I then aimed to at least loose a few pounds so I can fit in a regular sized dress without the discomfort. The idea of having to meet new people and dressing myself up helped me big time in setting up my mind that in a span of a week (for others, a month or more) I must fit (and look good) in that dress.

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2. Decide whether you are really on diet or not

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This is for consistency and strength in refusing bad calories. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell yourself (and everyone) that you are on diet. But when party time comes, you tend to lose yourself more than you lose the pounds (haha). A true person who is decided to lose weight knows that his diet must mean having to consistently cut down on the bad ingredients in meals like carbs, sodium and sugar – every day, until he reaches his goal. So “cheating” on diets won’t really help you at all. When you are not fully decided that you are on diet, you tend to think that eating that piece of chocolate or having that bag of chips would be ok. But in reality, these seemingly small decisions would hurt your weight loss process. Some people are surprised that they didn’t lose much weight after their target duration, despite feeling hungry or deprived all the time. They failed to consider that they haven’t been consistent in their goal of eliminating the bad stuff. Cheating on diets slow down weight loss.

3. Cook your own meals

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Nothing can help you stay committed to your diet (especially when you have come as far as the middle of your targeted duration) more that cooking your own meals. The idea is simple. I am a working person so I have to get to my office by 8:30 in the morning. But I know that some of the food that is readily bought around the office contains heaps of sugar and oil. So I commit myself to going to the grocery to pick my own choice of vegetables and ingredients – all for a variety of good reasons. First, I get to measure how much oil (about a tbsp. of olive oil for me) I get to put into my food. This also goes for the salt, pepper and other spices. Next, I tend to wake up as early as 4:00 AM to prepare my own meals for the day. By doing this, I feel committed to my diet not just mentally but physically as well. The saying “fake it till you make it” also applies. Even in some days you feel like giving up on the diet, setting your alarm to as early as 4:00 AM reminds you of how far you have come to reach your goal. It would be difficult to simply give up on the goal because you are reminded of the many sacrifices like doing grocery and cooking meals. You’d strongly feel that if you give up now, you only wasted your effort and time early on. Dieting is a mental and physical exercise. You have to commit to it mentally and physically. Only when you are truly decided that you are on diet can you strongly say no to bad calories – even when people around tempt you to take just one bite.

4. Drink lots of water

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young teenager drinking water after exercise.

I tried a diet that involved only eating fruits and vegetables in some days. Because of the lack of protein, I was forced to drink 4 liters of water per day. Something I don’t normally do in days I don’t diet. But the good thing about this is that it truly helped me feel much fuller. Drinking water helped me feel hydrated and strong – enough to help me get through the plant-based diet. Water also helps give you the strength in continuing the diet. It also helps digest your food faster so you don’t get bloated.

5. Share your progress to at least one friend who understands

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The diet I was on was a unique one because it was meant for only 7 days. Its promise, like most fad diets, was to lose as much as 10 lbs. in that short time. It is very strict because it asks you to eat only specific food choices per day. No one else understood it except one person from the office who tried it herself. And every day, each time I had questions or I felt like giving up, I would seek her advice and motivation. Until the day I finally lost 10lbs. no one else understood my happiness better than her.

6. Don’t go hungry

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Each time you feel hungry and deprived during diets, you are not doing the right thing. Some say that hunger only makes your body hold on tighter to fats. Whether it’s true or not, dieting must always make you feel better about yourself. Hunger only makes you feel angry towards others. The idea is to simply eat healthier food alternatives each time you feel like you’re about to go hungry. Instead of allowing your tummy to complain, pre-empt the hunger by filling yourself up with your home cooked vegetable soup and/or fruits! Yum!

7. Relax and enjoy that dress

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Go shopping. Enjoy the fruits of your hard work and flaunt the fitter, 10lbs. lighter you. ☺

P.S. Exercise like jogging or going to the gym will help boost your diet. However, it would still depend on what diet you have. If you are on a plan-based diet you might feel weaker and dizzy so exercise may be postponed.

Remember, if being fit and wearing pretty clothes make you more confident and happy, then go for it.

  • Jazzyhappy

Images not mine. Sourced from the internet.

The most affordable real estate development for startup families in the Philippines

I’ve been married for more than a year and this milestone has kept me thinking about the most affordable real estate development for startup families in the Philippines. Because now that I have a family of my own to consider, I feel that I can no longer rely on home-sharing with my parents and siblings because we already have separate issues to handle.

Little did I know that searching for a home is as tough as life itself. There are several things to consider, which includes proximity to our offices and schools as well as safety for our kids. But personally, the first problem I encountered was choosing whether to purchase a house and lot in the outskirts of Rizal or a condominium unit within Metro Manila. Location truly takes a huge chunk in the decision process.

While I haven’t bought one yet, I have already started listing the qualities I love to have in my new home. First, my address shouldn’t burden me from my commute to work. I am a young working mom and I love coming to work because it fuels my passion in my field of expertise – and it helps me support the needs of my family. Second, the home that I’d choose must be within a safe and secure vicinity with equally safe facilities. Third, this new home must provide us value for our money. My husband and I work day in and out to earn cash for savings and investment. We give importance to every minute we spend earning these bucks. So we are determined to do ample research on where to spend and invest them.

In the short time I did my research on the most affordable real estate development for startup families in the Philippines, I have learned that most condominiums in Metro Manila offer very flexible terms of payment. One of them is Empire East. I have been hearing a lot about this company even before I got married because of all the billboards they have scattered along EDSA. Until finally I decided to walk into one of their developments, Pioneer Woodlands in Mandaluyong City, to inquire. I have learned that in 5 years, I can pay for my home through a 20 – 80 – 20 payment scheme, which allows me to provide 20% down payment while I pay 80% in equal payments for how many months, until I move into my unit 5 years from now to pay the balance of another 20%. Aside from the address being in an advantageous location right at the midpoint of EDSA where all schools and business districts are easily within reach, and their secure gated community with 24/7 security and CCTVs, I fell in love with this kind of payment scheme. It allows me to strategically partition my earnings as we wait for our move in date in 5 years.

I truly commend this company because I felt that they are indeed able to understand the sentiments of working moms and startup families like me. Indeed, I feel #blessed to have encountered one of the most affordable real estate development for startup families such as ours. What’s best is for as low as 15,000 pesos I was able to reserve the corner unit I preferred! It’s indeed a lovely day!

(PS. This is an SEO exercise article)

Chasing Sunrise: Mt. Pulag over laboracay

It was a toss between seeing the sunrise at the beach (because it was popularly Laboracay feels this time) and watching the sunrise at the highest mountain peak in Luzon – Mt. Pulag? :p We’re glad we chose the former!

Mt. Pulag is found 2,922 MASL. You can get here via a route from Baguio City.

First day sunrise. Taken from Baguio, before going to the ranger station.

Because we chose to come here during the summer, the weather was the tolerably cool kind and not the freezing kind.

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However, when we began our ascent as early as 1:00 AM, we definitely still needed to layer clothing to protect us from the cold.

But instead of fog, we were presented with a perfect view of the stars.

We endured a 4-5 hour trek to the summit from the ranger station where we filed in a single line until we reached camp 2, which was 3 hours from our starting point. From there, we met other climbers who were all chasing the first peek of the sun.

Because our team had first timers, we were climbing the trail slow and easy so we could catch our breath. One thing I learned is that no matter one’s pacing, you’re all going to meet one another at the top anyway. So it’s best that you simply enjoy the experience.

Friends we met during the hike.

 

But always keep in mind that the goal is time-pressured lest you’d miss daybreak.

As we near the assault, we had the perfect 360-degree view of the grassland.

It was my first time to witness both the moon set and the sun rise in an absolutely coordinated tandem in the sky!

“It’s the best of both worlds!” I exclaimed as I glance from left to right where the sun slowly descends as the moon makes its way up the sky at the same time. And suddenly, we were standing in the midline of day and night.

Despite the taxing hike, the view from the summit is worth it. Seeing the mountain heads and a beautiful horizon is enough for me to want to come back to the place in another time.

It makes me wonder why all great places have to be far away. It’s maybe God’s way of telling us that life’s greatest blessings are worth being pursued. You have to work for it before you can enjoy it.

Be warned, although the sun shines for everyone, the hike at Mt. Pulag is not for all. Unless you are up for the challenge! 🙂

   OTHER PHOTOS FROM THE TRIP:     

                       

Praying for great health for everyone! 🙂

The best part of Mt. Pulag is the hike at the grassland with new friends 🙂

     

Look at the beautiful sea of cloids in the mountain peaks at the background.

We’d like to thank our cousins Racquel and Jade, and my friend Anna for lending us our hiking gears. 🙂 TravelFactor for an organized trip.

Amazing Celebrity Comebacks to Skin and Body Issues

This post about the ‘amazing celebrity comebacks to skin and body issues’ will be short and sweet. The first story is about singer Kelly Clarkson’s reply to a supposedly mean tweet about her post-baby body.

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Apparently some person criticized Kelly’s still chunky physique from which she says and I quote “Look chubsters, Kelly Clarkson had a baby a year ago. That is no longer baby weight. That is carrot cake weight. Get over yourselves.”, among other hurtful, unnecessary statements.

But people all over are praising the very real, honest comeback from this naturally happy Kelly as she responds to fans’ reports.

“That’s because she doesn’t know me. I’m awesome! It doesn’t bother me. It’s a free world. Say what you will. I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family—I don’t seek out any other acceptance.”

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Adorable mommy-baby photo!

Bravo momma! When I read this reply, I felt like I was suddenly levitating in a place where justice and victory meet. I mean, it feels surreal as I can’t describe how perfect her words are. I honestly didn’t expect that she will be able to react as coolly and as suave as this. For her to say that her family’s love for her is enough affirmation she’ll ever want to receive in this life practically sums up how strong and happy she is as a person. She is filled with so much support, respect and genuine happiness that no amount of words could ever break her!

Days after this story, I found this similar response from a local celebrity Bianca Gonzales to an offer of making her (skin) white. Her equally beautiful words, pressed in the image below:

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“Thank you, but I have no interest in whitening my skin – I’m happy being dark ;)”

is just the best reply from this recently married girl who, despite growing up in the Philippines’ showbiz scene where whiteness of skin has always been regarded as a standard of beauty, is obviously confident in her own, natural color. In fact, Bianca mentioned from one of her interviews in the past that she had been bullied and tagged as “negra” or dark-skinned while she was younger. And although it did hurt her back then, she has come to realize that there’s so much more in her like talent, brains and beauty that can define who she is as a person. Today, though I am not a fan, almost every guy I know regard her as one of the most beautiful faces in local showbiz!

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It must be really difficult for famous people to avoid criticisms. But the stark reality is that even normal people get fat-shamed and dark-skin-shamed these days. I personally admit that after almost 8 months of giving birth to my darling boy, I have remained 20 lbs. heavier than my pre-baby weight – despite attempts to diet and exercise. But you know, I am very blessed to be married to a husband who keeps seeing me as a sexy wife (ahem, his words not mine! lol) and who assures me that I am beautiful inside and out regardless of the numbers in the scale! And for me, the love I receive from him and my family is enough affirmation of my worth.

Of course, being fit and healthy is vital in our lives and will still remain a goal in mine. But when we see people who are happy and comfortable in their own weight and skin, who are we to shame them?

Olivia, Will You Marry Me?

Over a year ago, a group of advertising practitioners rocked OOH advertising by filling the most jammed highway in Metro Manila (EDSA) with bright pink mini billboards bearing the words “Olivia, Will You Marry Me?“. It was Valentines season and the country was still at the height of viral proposal videos online, which was the reason that this campaign instantaneously took the internet by storm!

It caused such a stir on twitter, facebook, instagram, blogs, and local news portals – with everyone wanting to find out who this rich guy is and, more importantly, WHO how beautiful this Olivia girl is – I mean for someone to actually spend time, guts and money to fill the highway with proposal billboards just for her?! Haba ng hair!

No one had a clue as nothing else was written in the billboards apart from a “21414” at the corner, which was quickly associated with the date February 14, 2014. Alas, the date came by but nothing was yet revealed; boosting people’s expectations up a notch!

‘Is it a real proposal? Or just a marketing ploy?’ netizens ask.

It definitely was too-good-to-be-true a proposal as it turns out to be only a clever marketing campaign by a group of kids professionals – to which, I am humbled to belong to.

And, here is a link to our team’s exclusive feature article! Enjoy!

THE TEAM BEHIND OLIVIA

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MEET THE TEAM BEHIND ‘OLIVIA.’ From left: Marketing communications specialist Jazz Gacula, graphic artist Mike Mijares, special projects officer Bheng Traqueña, graphic artists Cara Garcia and Denise Ballares.

RELATED ARTICLE: Olivia Billboard Mystery Solved

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