Posted in Bucketlist, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

Travel Challenge ;)

😉 I’m taking this challenge upon myself for the first time.

I thought THE Europe trip would be THE only trip I’ll experience this year. But of course, God always has better plans. 🙂 He delights in blessing and surprising His children, and I do love surprises so I am one happy daughter. 😉

You probably know that I love Korea, of course, the one in the South. 🙂 I’ve been in Seoul only once in 2011 but my soul longs for it since then. I have hoped to return in 2012 and the following years but it didn’t happen, just not meant to be back then…

It was at this dinner for Mark’s birthday celebration when I remembered to ask Eia when is she going back to Korea, she goes there atleast yearly. I asked because I would request her to buy my favorite sunscreen which she bought for me early this year. She said she would go back in October and invited us to go with her to Busan, she said it’s just a weekend trip. So Gill and I entertained the thought quite quickly, a few days later we had our flights booked! 🙂

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As of this writing, we only have a month and 4 days before that #TRIPnotTrainToBusan. 🙂 I’ll post more about it after that quick getaway. So before and during this trip, I thought of doing some sort of a travel challenge. Since this trip is not “planned,” I have to be within budget this time, well I should always travel within budget but since it was my first time in Europe, I didn’t know much what to expect and how much to spend so I think I kinda went over the top. ;P Don’t worry, I learned a lot so the future trips would be better, budget wise. 😉

For the #TRIPnotTrainToBusan, we only have 3 full days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). The target overall budget is Php 30k, that includes the airfare (almost 10k), accommodation (around 6k), visa processing (Php 800), so I only have around Php 13k for food, transportation and shopping(?!). So for 3 days, my budget is around Php 4k per day which is fairly decent. ;P

So the challenge(s) is keeping within the budget and travelling light. This seems so easy, but for me, believe me, it’s tough, and it’s an understatement. I have travelled a few times and I have to admit, I always, that means without fail, felt that I spent more than I should (because I didn’t set a budget for each trip) so I wouldn’t actually know how I fared. For the Europe trip alone, I think I shopped more before the trip than during the actual trip, I bought camera, luggage, clothes, shoes, etc. When it comes to packing light, I’m still not good at it, I only have a couple of short trips which I packed just enough ensembles, but for most trips, I overpack, period.

For this trip and the trips to follow, I hope to get better as time passes by. So I’ll start with this short trip, if I do well this time, it is likely I’ll become a better traveler in no time. 😉 Well, I believe, I’ll become better at this, I know I can, always by God’s grace. 🙂 Pls cheer me on, okay? 😉

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Japan trip with Eia & Gill (December 2015)

 

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” ~ Matthew Karsten

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

77++

When I travel, I am happy with the reality that I am with family and/or friends, and we will share lots of wonderful memories together in a different place. That’s why I only have very few musts – must see, must eat, must buy – the rest of the trip, I happily go with the flow, go where my family or friends wish to go or what they wish to do.

For my recent trip to Europe, my dream destination, I’ve been listing my musts even before I bought the ticket for it, that’s why when it’s already actually happening, my list came in (so) handy. 🙂

I posted this list in my previous post, I was able to do 12 out of 19. I am very happy because the 7 things which I wasn’t able to do were replaced by 77++ more beautiful experiences (trip to Bellagio, Lake Como / Lugano, Switzerland / Brussels & Gent in Belgium) which I wouldn’t trade for anything else. 😀

France

  • Eiffel Tower – ✔
  • Eat macarons at Laduree Pierre Herme – ✔
  • Coffee at pavement cafes (done in Italy) – ✔
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book – ✔ not in Paris, but in Notting Hill, London

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato! – ✔✔✔
  • Leaning tower of Piza – ✔✔✔ Kim and I even climbed up the Pisa and we were stunned by the gorgeous view from the top!
  • Colosseum – ✔✔ We saw it both day time and night time, in both times, absolutely picturesque, right Caye? 🙂
  • Buy leather bag in Florence San Gimignano – ✔ So happy to find a very lovely but not pricey brown leather bag

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel (and auntie too!)- ✔✔✔ I was happiest in London because I was able to spend time with them, so love them!! ♥♥♥
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids – ✔✔✔ Happy to catch up with Bong and Iris, such precious time to be with friends 🙂
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon – hopefully next time I’ll get to watch this
  • Eat at monocle cafe – no more time, maybe next time
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – ✔✔ Yes! We went to Notting Hill bookstore and the apartment where the character of Hugh Grant lives 🙂 I loved the bookstore so much, if only I have the space on my luggage for those lovely hardbound books…
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set – nope! hopefully next time!
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉 – she was in Miami when I was in London, not meant to be ;P
  • Photo op with real peonies – ✔ no photos with peonies but I got to see them in real life (I think in Milan and Rome) So beautiful!!!
  • Umbrella park at Bath – nope! next time 🙂
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir – not available, guess only few were released
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room – nope, next time, too!

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I thank and praise God for the 77++ unfathomable beauty that He showed us and made us experience in this trip. I trust He has much more wonderful things in-store for me. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled.

Image-1Back from my dream travel for almost a week, I wouldn’t want to miss this chance to glorify God for causing it to happen.

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled. 🙏🙌 My 💖 is full. 😊
Europe is my dream destination. I had it in my heart in my late teens. Can’t remember how and why, I guess it’s one of those dreams that God has planted in my 💖.
I’ve been open about it, family and friends know about this dream. I believe in the power of proclaiming your dreams, believing God to will it in His time and prepare for it as you wait for Him to make it happen.
Everything is kept in my 💖, lessons learned included.🙋 The photos and my nonexistent photography skill couldn’t make justice as to how I beautifully see it, feel it, and reminisce of every single precious moment I experienced, every single person I spent time with and those who I briefly encountered all throughout the trip. I am grateful (beyond words) to GOD who give great gifts to His children (James 1:17). 🙌He has blessed us, spoiled us, showed us marvelous, unfathomable beauty and kindness (yes, still exists) in the world (despite all the scary things happening around), and protected us.
I’m back to my normal life, but I am equally grateful and happy because this is where God wants me to be at this time. Bloom🌻 where you’re planted, right? 😍
God knows I will always want to go back to Europe, He knows what’s in my 💖 but I trust His will & want His best for my life, far more than my version of what’s best for me. ☺
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
#oldsoul®
#GODspoils🙌🙌🙌

#LivingTHEdream💞💖

#gratefulbeyondwords💞💖

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

Europe…we’ll see you soon!

FullSizeRenderIf you are a loved one or a very dear friend of mine, you sure know that Europe is a big dream of mine. I actually have 3 big dreams, only God and me know what these 3 dreams are. One of these big dreams is to live, work and retire in Europe with my family. In 35 days, I will get to see, smell, taste, feel and experience Europe in the flesh. 🙂

I think I was in my early 20s when I started dreaming of travelling to Europe, it was so far-fetched back then because promo fares were still unheard of. Thanks to the changing times, travel has become affordable to many.

In 2010, mi amiga Lianne and I promised to each other that we would go on our Europe trip, we were taking Spanish language classes during that time, the agreed year was 2015. Fast-forward to 2015, mi amiga got married and had her first baby. As for me, tax issue hit the Filipino staff in our company, we had to pay our taxes and had to push back all our travel plans with friends.

In early 2015, I got promoted and transferred back to my first department in ADB, OGC. I met new set of friends. My default travel buddies had different travel plans so I had no one to go with me to Europe. In my new set of friends in OGC, Caye and Kim were keen on going to Europe, my prayers were answered, thank you, Lord! Each of us has different reasons for wanting this Europe trip but God has caused us to be each other’s travel buddy. Thank you so much, Lord. 😊

Last year, a few days before my birthday, Caye, Kim, and I booked our ticket via Qatar Airways! We started out counting from 200 plus days and now we’re down to 35 days!

As of this writing, we already have our Schengen visa. We are hoping to get our UK visa in early May. I have practiced packing my clothes, I will edit it some more but I think I’m 90% good. We’ll be meeting a couple of friends and we’ll visit my cousin Jel and her adorable family in London.

So far, here’s my personal list of the things I want to do/experience subject to Caye & Kim’s approval 😊:

France

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Eat macarons at Laduree
  • Coffee at pavement cafes
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato!
  • Leaning tower of Piza
  • Colosseum
  • Buy leather bag in Florence

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon
  • Eat at monocle cafe
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – Friday morning
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉
  • Photo op with real peonies
  • Umbrella park at Bath
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room 43

My hashtags for this trip are ready too:

#GODspoils®️

#LivingTHEd®eam

#®️yahINeu®️ope2017

Before we reached to this point, we had gone through a lot of challenges and loss along the way, but in all of these, God remained faithful. He caused us to endure everything and believe that this Europe dream is not only our dream but most importantly, HIS dream for Caye, Kim and me. 😊

And we are too grateful and blessed to experience the fulfillment of God’s dream for us.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1

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with the answer to my prayers, my lovelies, Kim & Caye

♥♥♥

Posted in Baking, Bucketlist

My ♥ is full..

..and so is  my tummy 🙂

Today, one of my greatest dreams got fulfilled, one of the things in my bucket list got ticked – that is to learn how to bake. 🙂

I grew up in a very simple family. My mom cooks but she never bakes, so I had nil idea how to bake pastries. I think, if my memory serves me right, I was in my high school or probably in my college years when I first wanted to learn how to bake. Mi amiga Rocel, one of my bestfriends in highschool, wanted to bake strawberry shortcake, she gave me a recipe of it with a promise that we should both learn to bake. Fast forward to many years, Rocel learned how to bake, she’s now in the US with her husband and son, but I remained clueless when it comes to baking. The dream lives on in my heart, though I didn’t get to do it because I don’t have an oven and the basic equipment, there are more important things to purchase so buying an oven and other utensils is always pushed back.

I have this friend/carpoolmate/colleague who recently retired. We all know that she bakes and cooks real well. When she retired I told her that I’ll visit her one of these days and will request her to teach me how to bake. Little did I know that my other carpoolmates want to learn how to bake, too! So we decided to visit Ms. Millen and do the baking session one Saturday morning. 🙂 We called our baking session, Millen101. 😉

Ms. Millen shared a list of pastries that she knows how to bake. From the list of six, we decided to bake: 1. Moist Chocolate Cake and 2. Lemon/Calamansi Squares. Here are the recipes shared by Ms. Millen:

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We’re all really happy to learn how to bake. Much more than having a full tummy because of the uber yummy chocolate cake and calamansi squares, my heart is full, I am exceedingly happy because I finally get to bake, and the experience is made more special because I did it with friends, with one of my treasures in life. I am wonderfully blessed with wonderful people around me. 😀 Thank you so much, Lord, I know this is another answered prayer. 🙂 Indeed, your timing is perfect, always! 🙂

The Moist Chocolate Cake 🙂

The Calamansi Squares

Ms. Millen did all the teaching and sharing, prepared breakfast, provided all the ingredients, the utensils, equipment, her time, lovely kitchen, lots of love, ALL for FREE, so as a simple thank you gift, we gave her what she loves. 🙂

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She loves to drink Coke, she collects Coke cans and other “Coke items”

After our baking session, I had lunch with momsy and daddy, it’s daddy’s 62nd birthday today. We had lunch in our of our fave restos, Simply Thai, because we simply love Thai cuisine. 😀

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I’m happy that my parents are healthy. Lord, please bless them with many more healthy, happy and lovely years with us.

Lord, thank you for such a blessed, wonderful day! You are good, all the time! 😀

Posted in Books, Bucketlist, Reading

Reading is ♥

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I love to travel, in every travel, one of my “must bring” is a book. I don’t always get the chance to read while on travel but in my heart I want to have that kind of vacation where I don’t have to do anything but just read leisurely, maybe under a coconut tree, with a lovely white-sand beach as my view, and a glass of tamarind shake to sip. 🙂

While in Manila, while living the daily life and working on weekdays, one habit I want to develop is reading. I am making progress but I want to allot more time in reading. This year, I downloaded the Goodreads app where there’s a “Reading Challenge” feature. My target is to read 12 books this year. So far, I only finished one book as of this writing.

Currently, there are 58 titles that I saved in the app which I want to read, well some of it, I’m already reading. The thing with me is I don’t focus on one book. I have around 5 books on hand which I read at different times.

This year, here are some of the books that I would like to read:

I hope I’ll be able to meet my target, or better yet, outdone myself. 😉

P.S. The classic books on the bottom right are mine, already on my shelf, waiting for me to give them my time and attention!! haha The rest are books in Fully Booked that I want to buy. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Gifts, Just Random, Lessons Learned

I’m back!!!

img_3659So sorry for being MIA for a loooong time… Got so busy with all the Christmas festivities, barely had time to even draft some blog posts and updates here.

I hope I can blog more often this year. I have lots to share but have limited time. This year, I also want to read lots of books, well, always I wanted to read books but I kind of “wasted” lots of my time in instagram(IG) so I decided to delete my IG account and just reinstall it every weekend. I have lots of books on my bedside table, and have some more ebooks and dreaming of buying a few more books which I recently saw at Fully booked in S Maison. I hope to have some good progress in my reading this year, and also to be able to study French, and basic Italian. I would like to learn baking too!

How’s 2017 treating you so far?

As for me, I feel great! 🙂 Thank and praise God for everything, for all the lessons I learned in 2016, for all the experiences which taught and equipped me, including the typhoon my family and I experienced while in Bicol with our relatives to celebrate Christmas. It was life-changing, not only for me, but for each one. I’ve become more grateful for the life that God has given us, more appreciative of my family, all loved ones and friends that we have in our life, more aware of what truly matters in this life which include, first and foremost, our relationship with God, then with our family and every single person around us. Being kind, if possible, always be kind, to every person surrounding us, each one carries something, experiences a challenging situation, one way or another. So the way to live is to just trust God, surrender everything to Him, just be at peace wherever you are in life right now, because God is truly in control, He knows what’s best for us, He will give His best at the perfect time, just when we are ready for it.img_5701

Though a few days late, I am wishing and praying for ALL of GOD’s best for each of us this year. I am particularly excited for my Boracay trip with family, for my Europe trip with my lovelies, Caye and Kim, and  for many of God’s miracles and breakthroughs coming this year. 🙂

P.S. Sharing here my chosen Christmas wrapper and tag, I love it! The design is subtly Christmasy which makes it so classy. 🙂 I also love the gifts I shared with family & friends, I managed to give out natural/organic gifts & even supported local brands. 😉