Sunday, July 6, 2014

MY FIRST MANICURE EXPERIENCE

The other week I surprised the FB world (my network, at least) when I posted this photo:

My caption says: So this is how it feels to be a lady.

Comments I got were:

"Hindi sayo 'yan pramis!"
"Ang yabang na ng kuko mo!"
"Totoo ba yan?!"
"Walang gustong maniwala, di kasi kami sanay na may kuko ka."


My friends couldn't believe these were actually my hands because they all know I had the ugliest fingernails in the whole wide world. That is not an exaggeration. In fact, if there's any other adjective that is worse than ugliest then you could probably use that to describe my fingers. Below is the proof (Too bad I didn't keep a clearer picture of my entire hands showing my disgusting nails, because I always thought they will be like this forever):


Having this kind of nails actually runs in the family. On my dad's side, my uncles, aunts and grandma used to have the same nails because we have the same habit. We love cutting our nails too short, until they bleed. Also, whenever I am stressed or bored I tend to kutkot my nails (sorry, I don't know how to say this in English.. so let me be a lil konyo for now.. haha!). I know other people bite their nails (especially when under pressure) but I never bit mine, I just kutkot using the nails/fingers from the other hand. 

So there, after almost 30 years I finally grew my fingernails. It was really a challenge for me as it used to be a way to kill time and boredom. It was like stopping a bee from producing honey, or rich girls from splurging on shoes and clothes (kidding!)

And because my nails grew long enough to have their first taste of manicure, I searched online for the best nail spa in Singapore. The first on my list of things to consider in choosing a spa is the cleanliness. I've seen a lot of mediocre nail spas that do not practice proper hygiene and I would never ever enter those kind no matter how cute the nail art could be. Besides, I want my first ever trip to the nail spa to be unforgettable. 

So finally, I saw this review online of a nail spa called Auum - The Honest Nail Spa. They call themselves the honest nail spa because they do not upsell unlike others that keep insisting services even those that do not suit the clients well. Auum educates its clients on their products and services and they let the clients choose what they want to be done based on the information Auum shared. 

Auum is located in Pasarbella, The Grandstand in Bukit Timah. The place can be quite hard to reach as there is no public transportation taking this route but there are free shuttle services from 6th Avenue (look at the schedule online). We actually waited for the shuttle for about 20 minutes. It was worth it though, because Pasarbella is really a nice place.



And why are they the cleanest nail spa? Because they practice strict hygiene standards. They use disposable towels, toe separators, foot files, etc. All other tools are disinfected and cured under UV light.

All these proved to be right when I went there weeks ago to have my first ever manicure session. I was supposed to avail of their Signature package worth S$38 (soak + shape + trim cuticles + callus removal treatment + scrub + massage + polish) but I've got blisters on my palm after mopping our apartment floor earlier that day so I just opted for their Essential package (shape + trim cuticles + polish). This costs S$28.



Auum doesn't carry all those famous nail polish brands because they contain harmful toxic substances that might damage our nails (and bad for our health, in general). Instead, they use non-toxic brands such as Scotch Naturals (eco-friendly and toxic free), Deborah Lippman (used by Hollywood celebrities), NCLA, etc.





Another thing that I liked about this spa is the interior. The couches are so pretty I wanted to take them home with me (and they are actually up for sale).






I enjoyed it. Hopefully it was only the first of many trips to the nail spa, because I honestly feel this just confirmed my being a lady. Hahaha.  And so.. this is how it feels to be a lady eh? :)






Saturday, July 5, 2014

OF PAIN AND PAINKILLERS

I'm sick. And sad.

I've been under the weather for the past few days but still went to work since we're ramping up in some of our projects. I even worked on a weekend which is something odd in the human capital industry. Recruitment process usually happens on weekdays because hiring managers and interviewers are out on weekends. But since we've been catching up on numbers we had to work last weekend. To sum it all up, I am effing tired.

I guess my body's unable to handle anymore so I got really sick. I had throbbing pain in my head, clogged nose and cough. I went to the doctor and was given medicines (but I continued working even when I was feeling so bad). 

When I woke up yesterday my neck felt itchy. I looked at the mirror and saw it was covered with rashes. Even my arms were beginning to develop rashes. I still went to work and consulted a doctor during my lunch break. He said it could be that I had allergic reactions to the medicines I took so he gave me another medicine to take.

I am allergic to seafood, but I still eat little amount to desensitize. This is what my sister (who is a pediatrician) to her kids for them to grow up as normal people who can enjoy life and eat anything. One of my nephews is allergic to a lot of food, even peanuts. 

Yes, allergic reaction isn't pretty much unusual in our family. What saddens me is to find out I am allergic to certain drugs. I am already aware that I should stay away from Ibuprofen as it is an allergen, however I think I am allergic to all kinds of pain killers. What I took yesterday was Pacofen. It was just taken to relief pain. Just an effin paracetamol with codeine and caffein. 

I knew I had to be given steroid due to rashes all over my body, but the doctor just gave me antihistamine. How cool is that? Anyway, good thing the rashes didn't get worse (like what happened to me last year when I became puffer fish look-alike) and I'm feeling a lot better today than yesterday. I still have rashes so I continue to monitor myself. I am also in constant communication with my sister on what I should and should not do while recuperating.

As of last night (sorry, a bit gross haha):


I am just so lucky anaphylactic shock (rapid onset of allergic reaction that may cause death when blood pressure drops and airways narrow, blocking normal breathing) never happened to me.

And good thing it was better than last time (and I am reposting just because I wanted to.. wahahaha). 


I don't wanna be like this anymore!

So I vowed to never take pain killers anymore so it won't happen to me again. But wait... how loser it is to be allergic to pain killers? Haha. Can you imagine me having to endure pain without taking anything to at least reduce it? 

Hahahaha. You know I'm just laughing at myself but deep inside I feel sad because I hate it when I get sick. I tend to be emotional and melodramatic. 

*sigh* Anywayyyyy, I am going back to sleep now. I still have cough and cold at this time, but too scared to take anything. Even paracetamol.

Loser. Zzzzzzzzz.....





Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

DINING IN THE DARK

Aside from becoming an architect, another dream of mine was to work for a non-profit organization back in the Philippines. Unfortunately, due to failing grades in college and the 'glam' of the corporate world that lured me, I have completely ditched the idea. Despite working full-time as a corporate slave though, I still find time to "go back" to my dream -- joining organizations as a volunteer. I may not have been actively participating as I am physically away but I see to it that in my own little ways I do help, be it thru prayers or promoting the advocacy.

Years ago, I've also had the pleasure to promote a wonderful lady's (Miss Nortehanon) advocacy called Pens of Hope through this blog. The program aims to promote education by providing pens (and other school supplies) to public school students in Samar. It may sound so simple, but when you get to know Miss Nortehanon and how she keeps her identity private until now, you'd also admire her like I do. :) It's been a while since I last 'joined' her program and I am beginning to hate myself for that.. I hope soon I'll be back. :)

Moving here in Singapore resulted to me having limited time and means to do charity stuff. I've only been able to support financially (which makes me feel unsatisfied and uncomfortable talking about). I miss seeing the smiles of children we are able to feed, the grateful eyes of people we are able to help and the stronger aura of those we are able to inspire. I miss the 'awwww' of my heart whenever I see less fortunate people happy.

5 years ago, packing goodies to be distributed with my best friend

My 25th birthday (and my other friends' birthday too), celebrated at Jollibee with the kids of Gawad Kalinga Payatas

seeing how happy they were with their loot bags is priceless

I miss happenings like this. I miss having the genuine happiness brought about by helping.

I haven't done this here in Singapore. Probably because it's a rich country and people are taught to work hard for survival, and to be able to provide for their families. Something that is lacking in the Philippines. 

I never thought I could ever be part of an advocacy here, until recently when a colleague introduced me to Singapore Association of Visually Handicapped. The mission of the group is to help the visually impaired help themselves by acquiring new skills and gain self reliance to cope with the integration into society (http://www.savh.org.sg/). Sounds amazing, isn't it? This is something I find great about Singapore, even people with disabilities are trained to be independent. This organization does not survive by collecting donations from people alone, but through programs and services that earn them a living. 

My friends and I were fortunate enough to join one of SAVH's programs, as endorsed to us by my colleague. It is called Dining in the Dark.

As the website (http://www.savh.org.sg/ql_ditd.php) says:

"The 'Dining in the Dark' experience is organized by the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) as a form of raising awareness about the challenges that persons with vision impairment face in their daily activities. A sighted person can also get to experience what it is like to be blind without the use of blindfolds. The idea for this project originated from the Blidekuh (Blind Cow) restaurant in Switzerland. We have specially trained selected SAVH clients as waiters and kitchen helpers to prepare set course meals for your eating pleasure. While you will not able to rely on your sight, we, however, invite you to fully exploit your other senses such as taste, touch and smell during this session."

The dinner costs S$38 each, minimum of 10 diners per group. It consists of a starter (soup), main course (pasta or chicken chops), dessert (ice cream) and drinks (tea or coffee). Everyone opted for chicken chops as their main dish because we all thought eating spaghetti (with red sauce) in the dark would be messy.

I did the reservation (at least a month) and asked around if any of my friends would like to join. Fortunately, many of them said yes. We were a group of 11 people (not all are in the picture below).




Prior to dining, we were briefed by staff (also a visually impaired girl) on how we'd do it. As we all knew the dining room would be completely dark (and cellphones were not allowed inside) she told us where to locate our cutlery on our table, the glasses, the shape of pitcher with water versus the one with juice, how to pour drinks into our glass, how to pass on basket of bread to others and all those things relevant information. I felt so excited at the same time, scared. I am claustrophobic and although I am only afraid of enclosed small spaces, I wasn't so sure yet if I can stand staying in a dark room without knowledge of how it looks like. 

I tried to be fearless I even volunteered to be the first one to get inside the room. I held on to the visually impaired wait staff's shoulders as we walk toward the dining. I felt my heart thumped while locating my seat in the dark. The feeling lasted for a while until my friends began talking, giggling and teasing each other. I suddenly became comfortable and excited.

Then the wait staff started serving food. She would often tell us what to expect, like "careful, the soup is hot." or "on your left I will serve your food, etc." Eating at that time was hard, even slicing of meat became a challenge for us. But it was fun I could hear everyone in the room laughing while struggling. As we went on eating I began feeling how it is to be a blind. It's never easy. I felt hopeless at one point but as they say, "just go on". You will never succeed in anything if you quit. 

After eating, they finally turned on the lights so I grabbed my phone and took photos of my plate and our table.




We had the chance to speak to the program manager of Dining in the Dark, Joji, who happens to be a Filipina. She's a very nice lady who seems to be so passionate about what she's doing. She even shared how much she wanted to do the same in the Philippines, but to no avail. She takes pride in letting us know how independent their members are, how they are able to support themselves and to be optimistic in everything despite having disability (technically speaking). I love it. I love hearing stories about hope amid 'lacking' in something (in this manner, the sight). Like Joji, I dream to see something like this in the Philippines.

It was such a lovely experience. My friends and I enjoyed it so much. 

I would like to end this post by saying:

Do not take for granted all the blessings you have in your life such as the gift of sight... You never know how hard it is to live in the dark. Thank you, SAVH, for this wonderful experience. Respect for all the visually handicapped out there! :)

"One can lose sight, but not vision."






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GLAD MIDSOMMAR!

Midsummer, also called Summer Solstice, is the longest and sunniest day of the year. For those who want a geeky explanation, the summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet's semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23deg 26'. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

Nosebleed, I know. Well, gotta thanks Wikipedia for that scientific explanation.

The summer solstice usually occurs sometime between June 20 and 22 in the northern hemisphere, and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the southern hemisphere. This year it is on the 21st of June in the northern hemisphere (North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Northern Africa).

Prior to working overseas, I had no idea that midsummer is celebrated in other parts of the globe. Probably because everyday is summer in Manila. Hahaha. And although Singapore has the same weather as ours, some people are still celebrating it because of Europeans living in this country. 

Midsummer is widely celebrated by the Nordic people or those who inhabit Northern Europe. In Sweden, it is one of the most important (if not the most important) holiday. It's an outdoor celebration that involves a feast on pickled herrings, potatoes, chives, sour cream; accessorizing your hair with flowers; singing songs and dancing around a pole. I have a Swedish colleague who introduced us to this event 2 years ago by bringing flowers in the office and putting lovely wreath on her hair. 

Her hair was like this:



She also taught us how to dance the Swedish way despite me not having talent in dancing. Heheh. It occurred to me then that midsummer must be a fun celebration and somehow made me more interested in traveling to Sweden and learning the culture. 

This year, I took part in celebrating midsummer by joining IKEA's midsummer buffet. Nah, just kidding, I just wanted to eat. Haha. Anyway, IKEA is a Swedish brand and what better way to celebrate their most important holiday than to hold a one-day Swedish dinner buffet on June 20. It may not be an outdoor celebration but it was definitely Swedish with all those awesome dishes served. Tickets were priced at $20 (IKEA Family member) and $30 (non-member). Because my friend is a member, we only paid $20 each and were given $10 voucher each that I used to buy baking pan at IKEA. So technically we only paid $10 for the buffet. Not bad, right? 


Menu consists of herrings, rolls, cheese, meatballs, cold cuts, seafood and a lot more. 









It was definitely worth it. In fact, I probably ate more than what I paid for. Hahaha. Salmon is a favorite so I had too much of it, as well as the meatballs and vegetables. However, my stomach ran out of space for dessert so I didn't get to try those mouth-watering sweets anymore. It was my friend who finished the dessert below. Haha.



The next day I woke up early to clean my room and the whole apartment then spent about more than an hour working out at the gym. End of story. Hahahaha.




Sunday, June 22, 2014

FOAM RUN

Few weeks back my colleagues and some friends joined the first ever Singapore 'foamtastic' event, the 5K Foam Run.

The event is a 5km 'run' involving obstacles and foam. Obstacles include foamy slides, tires, that sort of raft (which I don't have an idea what to call) and a lot more. It was fun, except that it was really tiring probably because of extreme heat in Singapore. Aside from the fact that we did it at past 3 in the afternoon, it was held in Sentosa island. By the beach. I felt like my skin was burnt and the heat triggered my migraine. For a time I felt uneasy too because the sun was up and the foam got my eyes irritated.

We arrived in Sentosa an hour before our schedule. We joined the last wave and we all regretted it, because the organizers seem to be tired already and did not take much pictures. Good thing my friends brought their waterproof camera and a GoPro. Most of us joined this partly because of pictures, anyway. Haha. See, while waiting we took lots of pictures.


At around 3:40 we assembled at the starting point at Siloso, then showered with foam. We had selfies and the organizer took a group photo (which they didn't upload in their FB page... hmmmp). My friends and I had fun 'bathing' while some participants were not too keen on getting wet. WTH, right? You joined a foam run yet you didn't want to  get wet. If only I could push them into the foam.. Wahahahahaha.



I couldn't see anything. Hahaha. Malamang, nakapikit eh. :P

From Siloso we ran our way to Palawan Beach where we had the 1st obstacles, jumping through tires. So easy, right? But dang, it was sooooo hot. Good thing there were several drinking stations along the way.


We went on running along the beach. It wasn't easy to run on the sand while the sun is up, I swear. Also, our shoes accumulated so much sand from this event. Tsk. Good thing I wore my old pair of rubber shoes. Heheh.


I am tired. And toasted. Haha.

The next obstacle was something that tested my patience. But in reality this is to test your stability. Haha. Patience for me, because I almost gave up on crossing these effing platforms aka raft look-alike. I fell several times and my knees were badly hit I got bruises and my skin felt like being polished by sandpaper. Deym.  The scenes were too funny though, we were just laughing whenever one falls down. 




See that queue of people behind me? Because it took me forever to finish this, they all had to wait patiently. Hahah.



Then there came the slides and other inflatables. A few of them.





We made sure that we drink water at every drinking station to keep us hydrated. You can also take a shower using cold (drinking) water if you like. Hahah. 



Prior to reaching the finish line, organizers helped us clean up with a water hose. 



The final obstacle involved 'diving' through a slide of foam. It wasn't easy for me as I couldn't slide. I just crawled 'til the end of the slide just to get out of this. I think I'm too heavy the slide cannot seem to handle me well. Haha. This is where I got my elbow cut. Ouch.



Finishers took home a pair of flip-flops from Flips. Too bad I got the wrong size so I can't use them at all. There were also some booths offering services such as a photo booth where you can take polaroid photos for $2 (props were provided). Other sponsors were there too, selling apparels at discounted prices.

We had so much fun. Whoever called this a "run" must be insane though, because we never really ran. We just walked and passed through the obstacles. Haha. Kidding. Of course, we ran... a bit. Hoho.

Anyhoo, despite getting some cuts and bruises, everyone enjoyed it. It was one memorable experience because we never really join any serious marathon. We just signed up for this foam run to laugh at ourselves playing with foam and falling from obstacles.

'Til our next "run"!!! :)






Thursday, June 12, 2014

BLENDED


Adam Sandler is my first ultimate crush. While girls of my age would scream at the sight of Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves on the screen, I'd be happy looking at his egg-shaped head and pointy nose. I first saw him in a comedy film called Airheads with Brendan Fraser but it was in Billy Madison that I realized I was in love with him. Haha. Kidding aside, I like funny and witty guys. It doesn't matter if he's hot or not as long as he's fun to be with, I'm cool with that. It's a plus though if he's good looking. Hohoho.

Then there came The Wedding Singer, which I think is one of the best rom-coms ever. Like I still smile whenever I hear the song "Grow Old With You" coz I actually imagine Adam singing on the plane to Drew. Yes, Drew Barrymore. She's also one of my favorites, thus having them both in one movie is a great idea. They have this onscreen chemistry that I rarely see in loveteams nowadays. 

And who would ever forget the love story of an anterograde amnesiac Lucy and the womanizer Henry in 50 First Dates? The plot may be quite unrealistic but who cares, I (and probably a lot of women as well) enjoyed it anyway. Aside from the movie itself, I love it's soundtrack I even bought a CD (Oh yeahhhh I took hundreds off my allowance just to get myself one.. Hahaha). Again, it was with Drew.

Fast forward 19 years after their first movie together, they are offering a reunion project. This time a different kind of movie, way different from those romantic comedies that took our breath away -- a family themed movie but still with the element of romance and comedy. It's called Blended. 

At first I didn't understand why it was called blended, later in the film I learned this is because it's the term used for stepfamily. Lauren (Drew) and her sons plus Jim (Adam) and his daughters. 

I've seen plenty of negative reviews about this film but I didn't care. They said it's a rehash of Adam's previous comedy films. And that it wasn't romantic at all, unlike the old Sandler-Barrymore flicks that made women smile. Still, I wanted to see it for myself. Luckily, it didn't disappoint me. 

Let me give you a rundown of reasons why I liked Blended:

1. Everybody deserves a second chance at love. Jim's wife passed away, Lauren divorced her husband due to his infidelity. Sure, you may already have "excess baggage" such as your kids but this should not stop you from falling in love again. You all can make a lovely family anyway.

2. Adam Sandler makes an adorable daddy. All his scenes with his girls touched my heart. Probably because I'm a papa's girl more than being a mama's.  I loved how hard he's trying to act like a mommy to his kids, especially that scene where he fixes his youngest daughter's hair that turned out to be a disaster.


3. Typical Adam Sandler movie. Although a disguised Rob Schneider is nowhere to be found, you can still say it's a Sandler movie. Remember 10-second Tom from 50 1st Dates? He's also here. At the pharmacy where Jim and Lauren met again after their blind date. "Hi, I'm Tom." That was friggin hilarious. 

4. Bella Thorne is so pretty. Kudos to the person who made her look tomboyish, the transformation was very much noticeable.


5. In the resort, there's a bunch of African singers who pop up at a number of scenes to deliver comments by singing. That particular scene at the gym where the lead flexes his muscle to the beat was friggin hilarious. He was there singing 'til the end even when the family is back in America. Seems a little lame but that group made our night. 


6. Jessica Lowe makes the statement "soooo romantic!" the funniest. 


7. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler looked good together. They may have aged a bit but their onscreen chemistry is undeniably strong they can still make box office-worthy romantic comedies.

Although the plot is predictable and some scenes were way too cheesy, those didn't stop me from enjoying the movie. Yes, it wasn't that romantic as per teenybopper's standards but it sure did give me a lot of "awwww.." moments coz I find mature kind of romance more genuine.

I'm pretty sure a lot would disagree with me as I know Adam is always criticized for being overrated, terrible comedian and so on and so forth. But I swear there was never a dull moment in this movie. All three of us (my colleagues and I) and the rest of the audience laughed the whole time.



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