Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Learned Today: #1

I'm surrounded by so many brilliant people that I pick up something new everyday. While I do keep notes of the advices I get - solicited or not - it's a waste not to share these pockets of sunshine to other people, whom you'd be surprised, need it the most. Hence, I'm starting my What I Learned Today series in this blog which simply aims to share the good, the bad and the weird teachings I encounter daily. Quick and fuss-free.

Ironically, this came from my former boss (who should be driving me to work more! LOL) while we were going through my Performance Appraisal session. When she asked me for feedback, I told her that I'm perfectly fine except for the fact that the past 6 months have been really tiring exhausting, I feel like I need a break from working 7 days a week. She then reminded me that no one is pushing me to do so, and how wrong it is to log in and check my emails even on weekends. The original plan to scan through your work mails will eventually lead to answering emails and doing work on weekends. The only difference is you work at the comfort of your own bed. You rest your body but not your mind. It's a vicious cycle, and it can get the better of you. I'm then more surprised to be lectured of how resting one day a week is actually a command from the Lord, and putting yourself through 7-day work is not only physical abuse but a sin more than anything else. Trust me, she knows the bible. 

So yeah, another lesson learned. My resolution? I'll finish everything by Friday, and I won't touch my work laptop on Sundays, at the very least. If I'll truly want it, then I can do it.

How about you, do you get at least a day off to rest? Please say yes. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Even Mean Machines Need a Holiday: Staycation Musts

Don't we all do? 

It took me a while to realize that I'm no longer the energetic teenager who doesn't say no to anything. At 27, I'm less active and favors more relaxing activities. My idea of a night out now is getting a drink at a lounge or sports bar rather than all night dancing in a crowded posh club. I sure need a break, but I never entertained the thought seriously. It only dawned on me after an hour-long fight with our village security last night. (To cut the story short, my car broke down in front of the friendship gate a minute before closing, and the village guards decided to be insensitive, inconsiderate and rude - especially that it's not time for their Christmas Aguinaldo) But I’m not taking any of their sh*t (yes, I’m very upset, I’m sorry) so I’m filing a formal complaint. Things like this are not too familiar to me, because believe you me, I’m always patient and courteous with service people and I even cringe at those who like to boss them around. 

So what’s the connection of the staycation I need and the guard busting scene you ask? Well, a lot of it has to do with my self control. Not so long ago, to make me truly mad  takes a whole lot of effort and extreme vulgarity, but it's no longer true . I snapped after the first rude remark from that ill-mannered guard. I have no patience left in my body, and that’s sorely out of character. I may be snob, but conflict doesn’t sit well with me.  I’m not a war freak. Never was and never will. 

“Even heavy duty machines need cooling time, you know, otherwise they’ll wear out too soon.”  says my significant other. 

“Perhaps” I said, at the back of my mind, I know he’s right. 

What’s with men of few words that I always tend to listen to their one liners? If he tried to convince me on how much I need and deserve a break after working for six solid years with no real vacation longer than scarce 4-day weekends, and how the stressful nature of my work can take its toll on me, regardless of how much I love what I do, then the farthest he’ll get is to see me rolling my eyes at him.

Thanks to my voice of reason (Hi, Sweetie!), I decided to save myself from becoming an old, impatient (and wrinkled!) witch, so I just have to make this staycation happen. Nothing fancy, only fresh linens, grapefruit oil, fat pillows, books and good movies. To make this thing work, I vow to observe the following: 


1.  Live Offline. I keep three phones, one of which is a Blackberry, so total of four messaging tools including my BBM. I also have two laptops, one I use mainly for work. I log on to my social networks daily, and I check four different email accounts. My mind is begging me to stop this addiction of checking my texts and emails every chance I get and just abandon the online world. Be gadget-free for at least three days.   

2.  Eat. Pray. Love. I vow to eat good food and be fast junk food free for the whole of my staycation. Talk to my God in any place and any time I want, spend time with myself and get lost in my own thoughts, without my usual guilt of letting the time pass doing nothing. 

3.  The art of nothingness. The state of doing nothing in particular, and not forcing yourself to think of anything particular. It’s like emptying your tank so you’re ready to load up with fresh new things come Monday. 

4.  Early to bed and early to rise. A confessed night owl, I long for the rare times that I can sleep early and rise early, enjoying the benefits of doing more with the longer hours of the day and simply enjoy the clean, serene feeling of early mornings. To know more of its benefits, click HERE

5.  Yoga. I’ve been practicing power yoga the past weeks, but I consider it exercise more than anything. My arms and core love it, but my mind is begging for something more subtle. I just got my meditation Yoga DVD, and it’s time to breathe my way to a more relaxing routine. 

6.  Read.I try to squeeze my reading time before bed and while in the shuttle going to work. Both of which are unhealthy ways to read. I either sleep at 3am or get headache from reading while the van is in motion. Three days off will give me 9 hours of  pleasurable reading time, if only I dedicate 3 hours a day. That sounds like a plan. I’m excited to read my suspense novels and biographies, in place of my countless emails, and other people’s posts (*grins*). A truly welcome change. Read on my best friend’s tips on how to finish a book by clicking HERE.  

7.  Take things Slow. I talk fast, I think fast and I decide fast. Darn I even walk so fast, I’ll beat you in walkathon any day. To be honest, I like things done the fastest way possible. But I’m not to say that taking things slowly has no merits. It certainly pays to take time and start with slower pace in about anything. A slow, leisure walk, chewing and enjoying your food properly, slow, meaningful conversations. This weekend, I vow to do things slowly and just savor the idle moments I have on hand. A long slow bath sounds good, too.

Are you into staycation, too? I know someone who is. Hello to the witty Poyt of Tanggera! :) Wish me luck, especially on the no emails/texts part. And it will be great to hear your staycation tips, too. :)

From the Nook,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Product Review: Breaking the Code to Youthful Skin

I used to undermine the benefits of using serums. For years, I stick to the cleanse-tone-moisturize-protect habit, and I thought I was fine. I should have been wiser. We live in a world with fast changing needs, that we tend to stretch ourselves too thin to meet what's expected or rather, demanded from us by our work, our family duties, even our personal goals. All the stress, lack of sleep and dirty habits (smoking, alcohol, upsized fastfood meals, too much of everything) take its toll on our health, and body, and yes, our skin. I have this theory that people looks older now, than two generations ago. One look at my mom's photo when she was my age, and I automatically know that I look like crap these days. Since getting 8-hour sleep, regular exercise and proper diet are not something I can commit to at this point, then I might as well turn to science to help me deal with premature aging problems. 

One such product that I've been using the past 5 months (not easy to be loyal to one, ha) is L'Oreal Paris Youth Code Pre-Essence. I got it as a gift from my client who works for the same company. I only use it every night since I don't like putting so much products in the morning because Manila heat can be really unforgiving, especially on commute days. So, on to my notes.

  • First of all, no breakouts. I've read some reviews which says otherwise. I'm glad my skin responded well, but of course, a patch test will be best. Place small amount of product to your inner arm of back of ear and observe for 24 hours for any adverse effects. 
  • The consistency. It's silky and glides smoothly on my skin. I usually face the fan to dry it before I apply my usual moisturizer. To be honest, it's moisturizing enough on its own, but I discovered that my skin felt softer if I use it in tandem. 
  • Instant effects. I know anti-aging products are supposed to work to prevent aging, and thus, can only be fully appreciated in time. But it's always good waking up to smoother, more glowing skin every morning. The sides of my nose are almost always peeling, and this product helped a lot in addressing it. 
  • Dropper. It's hygienic than dipping your fingers in a tub of product, and it's fancy too. 
  • Backed up by Science. As mentioned, the company behind this product is my client. While I don't deal with any of their brands, but more of the corporate side, I'm confident that L'Oreal invests heavily on R&I (Research & Innovation), and thus, each of their product goes out with the highest quality marks. This particular product is a result of 10 years of research on genes. To find out more about it, you can click HERE.
  • Price Tag. It's priced at rough Php 1,500 (34 USD). Generally cheaper than other brands like Kiehl's or Lancome. I finished my first bottle in 3.5 months, so it's roughly Php12/day that you nourish your face and neck with anti-aging goodness. Not bad at all. :)

  • Fragrance. While I like good smelling products, I know for sure that less or no fragrance means less harm to skin.

Here's a secret, I've tried the Lancome Genefique, and IMO, the L'Oreal Youth Code Pre-Essence is as good, and of course, less expensive. 

Good to know:

Serums and moisturizers are two different things.  A moisturizer has larger molecules than a serum. This means that a moisturizer will not penetrate the skin as far as a serum will (which has smaller molecules, thus, can go deeper on your skin). Serums are meant to deposit nutrients and anti-oxidants to address concerns like aging, dark spots, even acne. Moisturizers are meant to deposit moisture and hydration on your skin. Some serums can be moisturizing enough, so it can be used alone. On the other hand, if you don't have skin troubles and happy with just a moisturizer, then lucky you because there's no need for you to shed out extra cash at this point.

So, are you a serum fan? What works best for you? Happy to hear your thoughts

PS: This is NOT a sponsored post. :)

From the Nook,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Boom Boom Bass-ing with Nicki Minaj - Manila 2012

 All work and no play makes Jack Dang a dull boy girl. Not only that, it also turns me into a witch. A really ugly one.

So before I declare stress war to the rest of the world, I stopped being a geek and took a big break by joining the rest of the "Barbz" (that's how she calls her fans) in the biggest Pink Friday Party of international rapper/singer Nicki Minaj.

The MOA Arena was packed to the brim, mostly of adorable little girls and of course, gays, mostly wearing bright pink costumes and wigs usually donned by the Trinidadian-born American rapper.

MOA Arena was packed inside and out!

I barely made it to the start of the concert around 9pm, I didn't see the front act (dancers) but I couldn't care less. We entered the concert venue as Nicki Minaj was singing her opening song and the audience were screaming so loud I can almost taste the energy. While I do listen to her songs (especially that they're staple in my BF's Hip-Hop car playlist), I was amazed by the teenagers who knew ALL her songs LINE by LINE. And I'm talking about 13 to 15 year-old teens! My favorites are the obvious: Starships, Your Love, and what's Nicki without Super Bass?

Everyone was dancing and screaming and throwing their hands in the air or waving their glow sticks that it's impossible for you not to feel overwhelmed, and amazed on how one person, considerably new in the industry, could rally the crowd to a wild but beautiful chaos. Then just like that, I let go of all my inhibitions and started jumping and screaming and dancing, too. In my mind, I was puking all the stress and negative vibes with every song. I clapped so hard, I ended up with sore arms.

I hope my photos did justice to the awesome concert party brought to Manila by Blackberry Philippines and Globe. :)

It ended with pink and purple shining shimmering confetti, I remembered the fabulous golden finale of Kylie Minogue last year! :)

The paparazzi shot by RIM/Team Blackberry Philippines. For more kikay outfit photos from the concert, visit this LINK to the BlackberryPH Facebook Page.
The obligatory shot with Nicki :D

So, did the Pink Friday Tour cured my stress? Hell yeah! So much that I reported to the office the next day with a big smile and bright red lipstick. One thing though, one hour of Nicki is just plain BITIN! <3

Did you witness Nicki Minaj last night? What's your favorite part of the concert?

From the Nook, 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Have You Met This Cutie?

And I'm talking about Jem Mark, a.k.a. Jemdahunk. He's super cute, a talented dancer, genuinely funny (at least for the How to Dance in a Club Series) and well, he just makes my fainting days more bearable and entertaining. No pun intended. What can I say, I'm a busy girl, and I need mini breaks even if it only exists online. :) 

Here are just some of my favorites from this cutie pie, who's by the way, is a flight attendant based in UAE.

Because this move reminds me of a dear friend! :P

I feel you.

Guilty as charged! But nah, I'm not sporting a Chanel clutch! Not yet. :D

And just in time for the Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday concert brought by Blackberry and Globe tomorrow, July 11, Jemdahunk went all out in dancing Super Bass with Style, together with some Pinoy celebs! Laureen Uy and Tim Yap are really cute, don't you think so? An insider told me Laureen was so game and arte-free, that she insisted on dancing the Super Bass outdoors! And yes, she still looked fab while doing it. :)

Guys and gals, practice how to dance the Super Bass with a lot of style and party with Nicki Minaj tomorrow at The MOA Arena! :)

From the Nook,