Kick-ass Mondays

 

my kick-ass monday threads

 Unlike other corporate warriors, I do not hate Mondays. There’s something about whining about the start of the work week that doesn’t appeal to me. While the job or the company is not perfect, I have so much respect for my work and the organization I work for to even bitch about it. It’s a means to start the week on a positive and thankful note. Most of all, I don’t want to attract any bad juju and make corpo life unbearable for me. 

I had an awesome Sunday – thanks to the impromptu shopping spree from the Hubs.  For only PHP1,000 consider my haul (thanks to the massive sale over at H&M) – knitted cardigan with faux leather sleeves which I bought at 70% off; brown cargo-type slacks also at 70% and from Forever 21, round sunnies which gave me the look of a happy alien.

My pair of shoes was also bought at 70% off also at H&M. I bought them almost a month ago, and I can’t stop wearing them with whatever I have in the closet. 

Here’s to a wicked Monday! I hope you don’t let Mondays break you. 

#HelpOurBabies: Finding the time to care for the children of Virlanie Foundation

This post is very special to my heart.

Some long time readers of this blog may be aware that in spite being married for more than five years already, the Hubs and I are yet to be blessed with our own child. While we have agreed that our little unit still constitutes a family — yes, even in the absence of a little one — we still can’t wait for the time when we will be blessed with our own little geek-in-training.

Thus, issues about children are issues I hold dear to my heart. While there are kids that are born into privilege and are blessed with families of their own, there are also a lot of children that are not as fortunate. Fortunately, they find their way to group homes and organizations which serves as their family – selflessly dedicating time, effort and love for these children.

bth5

One of these is the Virlanie Foundation, a twenty-three year old private, non-profit foundation that reaches out to the street children of the Philippines. Through the selfless and committed dedication of the Virlanie Foundation, the children are given the opportunity to have a better and brighter future. In spite being exposed to the harsh realities of the streets at a very young age, these children are trained, molded and guided by the foundation to be outstanding young men and women as they grow up.
(READ MORE ABOUT THE VIRLANIE FOUNDATION HERE)

Last Saturday, Virlanie Foundation invited bloggers and long-time supporters to meet their beneficiaries. The volunteers, bloggers and guests all had a fun time playing with the children, singing songs and even listening to story telling sessions by some of Virlanie’s staunchest supporters and friends.

A day with the children of Virlanie
A day with the children of Virlanie
A day with the kids of Virlanie
A day with the kids of Virlanie

Volunteers include (dispatch from Virlanie Foundation):
“DJs Sunny Bonner and PJ Paradise of the Las Vegas-based duo WeRWolvz are making clubs come alive with their powerful music. But once in a while, they find themselves in Manila not just to energize the local club scene but also to help children by volunteering their time and talents. The current editor-in-chief of Good Vibes PH, Kai Magsanoc, established her own start-up to spread positive news amidst today’s sea of dismal messages. Brian Bantugan, an educator, artist, and nature builder, is in the best position to spread progressive ideas and concepts among his numerous students in St. Paul University. EJ Miranda, Red Bull marketing executive, shared his time and musical abilities to teach children how to play the piano. While independent music and visual artist Amiya Velayo, who sings for and about children, expressed the importance of sharing her own time and that of her future child to help these underprivileged children.”

All these volunteers have one thing in common: they are busy, highly-creative, jet-setting individuals who are finding time to care for others by making helping not just a one-time activity, but a part of their hectic lifestyle. They have realized that a strong culture of caring is worth more than fame or money.

virlanie

Supporting Virlanie’s #HelpOurBabies campaign
Last June 1, Virlanie launched a fundraising drive to raise support for its Babies and Toddlers Home, the residence for its child beneficiaries aged 0-5 years old. As part of the Foundation’s strategy, Virlanie organized an open-house activity for bloggers, members of the media, and artists. The 3-hour event was made memorable with musical performances from the artists and Virlanie’s very own French volunteers. The guests also picked books to read to the young listeners. And right before meal time, they spent some time outdoors playing with the children.

Virlanie Foundation continues its call for support for #HelpOurBabies. This campaign will run until June 30, 2015 as it aims to gather more financial donations to help the Foundation continue its work with the babies and toddlers. All donations will go towards providing the children with three square meals a day, milk and snacks, healthcare, clothing, shelter and other basic needs. For details on how you can help, please visit www.virlanie.org/HelpOurBabies

Virlanie invites everyone to strengthen our culture of caring, not only to raise money for its own programs, but to influence more people to make helping a part of their lifestyle.

If you want to know more about the Virlanie Foundation, you can go to their website, or Facebook page. You can also go directly to the #HelpOurBabies page to know more about the campaign. Remember, your support will go a long way in helping these children have a brighter future.

The new ASUS ZenPOWER – Power in your pocket 

(Press release)

My job in PR plus all the other projects I have going on in the side always means that I am usually on my phone — either making calls, composing emails or SMS messages or writing (like right now — am writing this post on my iPhone 6+

The down side of being always on your mobile phone, especially if it’s iPhone, is always running out of battery. For this, I was given powerbanks but since they’re bulky, I tend to always forget them at home. Right now, I keep my phone juiced by having my charger with me at all times. But this only work when there is an electrical outlet nearby — but for times when there’s just no power source? 

Enter ASUS latest powerbank in the market. ASUS ZenPower boasts a stylish, lightweight, and compact design of a 10,050 mAh powerbank but with the same size as your credit card – fitting perfectly and seamlessly into your pocket.

It comes in Blue, Pink, Silver, and Gold, and weights 215 grams, ASUS ZenPower is the best solution for all urban lifestylistas who are always on the go and let style speak for themselves.

  
This nifty juice box will be exclusively sold in Lazada.com.ph (via www. lazada.com.ph/asus-zenpower/) starting June 25 at 12 Noon.

With the partnership of ASUS and Lazada Philippines, the superior quality and design of the ZenPower can now be experienced effortlessly through Lazada’s innovative shopping solutions. 

Shop anywhere, and anytime with the Lazada Mobile App, available for FREE in both Google Play Store and iOS Appstore- so whether you are stuck in the traffic or in between meetings, you can still shop with the Lazada Mobile App. With Lazada’s nationwide Cash-on-Delivery network, you can pay in cash once the items are delivered to your doorstep.
Disclosure:

This is not a paid post. Material was provided for announcement purposes. 

Spilling the deets on Brazilian Slimming Coffee

You wanted to lose weight. You tried running, not eating rice, daily exercises — but nothing seemed to be working and the fact that you can’t wear your favorite cigarette pants annoys you more and more. 

Well, this is the scenario in my case. Thus, I was more than intrigue and curious when I read about the Brazilian Slimming Coffee, a weight reducing product being marketed by a local celebrity. 

 

the secret to weight loss?
The celebrity who distributes this locally is Daiana Menezes, a Brazilian-Japanese model and host known for her enviable body. While I can only wish that I will be able to at least reach even half of the enviable physique of Ms. Menezes, my goal is to reduce the big tub of lard I carry on my middle size while also lessening at least 10 to 15 pounds if possible. Currently, I don’t eat rice and I love brisk walking though my occasional downfall is my unexplicable love for sweets. Aside from Ms. Menezes (a credible endorser if ever there’s one) — what convinced me to buy was the numerous testimonials from clients who tried the product. Some were able to lose 3 pounds, but some were able to shed up to 32 pounds! 

Process of ordering is simple: orders are placed via Viber as indicated in their Instagram account. The 200 gram jar is 680pesos. You can pay fort our purchase through BPI and BDO. The product will arrive after 1-2 days. Shipping is not free. If you are from Metro Manila, shipping is about PHP40. 

 

this is how it looks like
 
I started drinking the coffee since Sunday so this is already my 3rd day. Some testimonials on their site says they started losing weight after three days – I don’t feel anything and I don’t seem to have lost weight already. 

For your reference, I now weight 80 kilos .  I will post here updates if I have lost any weight at all as I finish my first jar of Brazilian coffee. 
  
Review for the first three days: 

  • Smell – upon opening of the lid, you will immediately smell of coffee, with a hint of earthy-chocolates undertone. 
  • Taste – this coffee actually taste good, it is not too sweet or creamy; but with a slight hint of bitterness. 
  • Effect – I did my research before buying this product. Apparently, there was a proliferation of Brazilian coffee before usually available on Chinese drug stores. These were banned for a while due to the not-so-pleasant side effects like dizziness, diarrhea and even palpitations. You will not experience any of the above when you drink this coffee. The only visible and very obvious effect is that you will feel thirsty every time. The first time I drank this coffee, I had to go and pee every time. You will drink, drink and drink. 

I’ll make sure to update this post and report if this stuff really works.  I know in the end, nothing beats working out and losing weigh the natural way. However, I also believe there’s no harm in trying and as long as I won’t damage my body, there’s nothing wrong with trying new things. 

ToyCon 2015: The Geeks are Alright

Note: Photo-heavy post

Geek girls and boys: If you ever found the girl or the guy who will brave a sweaty, antsy throng of likeminded souls just to attend ToyCon or ComiCon with you: do yourself a favor — MARRY THE GUY OR GIRL! (I got wise and married one!)

It takes a different kind of understanding, acceptance,  patience and love to fall in love with the nerdy kid in school. 

Acceptance – because trying to relate to a girl whose life mission is to learn to speak Klingon or a guy who takes care of his BJD (ball-jointed doll) daughter and spends a fortune to buy her dresses and wigs is not easy. It will never be easy. Your friends may laugh at you; or your cousins will find him weird — but stick around. I assure you, we nerdy boys and girls have a vivid imagination and our creativity knows no bounds. So do not be surprised to receive poetry written in Elvish or a BDJ with a face-up similar to your feature. 

  

jampacked crowd
  
Understanding – because there will be cancelled dates due to Friday Night Magic tournaments; cosplay photo shoots where you have to carry her enormous wings and fans boys/fan girls crushing on your hot nerd especially if he is wearing a passable “L” cosplay. 

And a long supply of patience for days when they seem to prefer living in the alternate world which White Walkers seemed to inhibit. 

Judging from the number of lovers and non-lovers prowling the crowded of ToyCon, seems to be that the geeky girls are alright. And with so many little geeks running around, dressed in full cosplay, I am assured that our future (and the quest for the geeks’ world domination) is assured :) 

third generation geeks and little GoKous

I have no idea what the total turn out for this year was — but I am sure that organizers must be having a field day for the influx of people which seemed to be never-ending. With lots of people coming out of Megatrade Hall carrying large bags of boxed toys, you would think that Christmas came early. Meanwhile, Cosplayers have occupied the surrounding areas near Megatrade as they are asked to pose and preen from a multitude of cameras in front: 

  
   
 

If there’s one thing I wished I did when I was younger — it was to cosplay (costume play). Cosplaying allows you to pursue an identity that is different from yours, to inhibit a character that is entirely different from who you are. Seeing these guys and girls get on with the spirit of their characters is very entertaining and inspiring. Of course, my personal favorites are these guys: 

 

true love

In the end, I didn’t get to buy anything — well except for a Funko Harley Quinn key change. One, because I purposely did not bring enough to buy a large toy and second, because the sheer amount of sweaty bodies occupying the space jostling against each other deterred me and the hubby from lingering too long on one booth. I was able to take a lot of photos though: 
  

the hubby and my other hubby with his chainsaw

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  
There’s a post-script to this story: 

While we were jostling our way against the crowd, two high-pitched girls behind me were talking in their fake valley-girl twang: 

Girl 1: wow so many beautiful people! 

Girl 2: yeah, I wish we’re one of them… 

Girl 1: hmmmnnn… We need to start a new plague 

Girl 2: yeah. A nerd-centric plague 

Me (in my head): A curse of misery, death and dismemberment on both your valley-girl houses! Next time don’t bother coming inside this place! 

(Review) L’Oreal Extenso Hair Treatment at Bang’s T&J Makati

before and after

In 2010, burn out and in the middle of existential crisis, I threw caution to the wind and dyed my hair a shocking shade of ash blonde. 

  

peroxide blonde days
 I don’t know what I was thinking but the hairstyle definitely took a toll on my hair. I kept the peroxide blonde from 2010 to 2014, even showing up to job interviews with a full mop of yellow hair. Throughout these years, I managed to style it, layer it with other shades or cut it but never once have I treated the hair to any kind of treatment. 

Thus, in late 2014, when I finally got tired of the yellow haired-look, I finally decided to just let it be: let the hair color wash out, let it grow long and then have it treated all in one go. You can just imagine the damage inflicted on my hair due to four years of harsh hair color, of bleaching and endless styling. My hair ended dull, dry and brittle. 

After procrastinating endlessly, I finally decided to drop my ass off at Bang’s T&J (Tony & Jacky) at their Buendia branch located at the West of Ayala condo near MakatiMed. 

Scheduling –No appointment necessary. Just drop by the salon. The Filipino staff will assist you and ask for your preferred treatment. As far as I am concerned this is irrelevant. Because they will ask the Korean hairstylists if the treatment is okay for your hair, depending on your hair’s condition. Note, during our conversation, I had the impression that Korean hairstylists can opt not to provide your preferred treatment if it will only damage your hair further. 


Service
– the good thing about Bang’s T&J is that the process is determined like clockwork. Once your hair has been assessed, the process for the whole thing unfolds like clockwork: in my case, that’s  shampooing, then the rebonding, hair wash again, haircut then treatment then neutralizer then hair wash before one last final blow-dry and hair iron. I love that there’s already a seamless flow of the step-by-step process — there’s no wasted time and the assistants are always on alert when it’s time to change cellophane wrappings, wash up, etc. 

 

i come in peace!
 
Some observations : 

  • Korean hairstylists are efficient. They rarely talk but when they do — it’s to give pointers for your hair. Mr. Ken, the hairstylist who was assigned to me didn’t minced words when he mixed my idea to have the bottom part of my hair shaved for an undercut. “No good,” he says, suggesting soft layers instead. He is fast, efficient but is nice in a very impersonal way. 

The Filipino assistants though is another story. I heard endless chitchat about their work hours and their current to do’s. If they’re not chatting among themselves – they are upselling me with everything: Keratin treatment, perm, hair color or another round of treatment. Twice, the assistants came too close to my scalp with the ironing machine  and one accidentally poked my eye with her hand when she was ironing my hair. No harm done though, but you can’t help but compare their work efficiency with their Korean bosses. 

  
Rates – premium quality and professional service of course comes with a prize. I wa hoping to save money and avail of one of the packages mentioned in their flyer. Apparently, it doesn’t work that way since service might not be feasible or appropriate for heavily damaged hair. While they have a “Back to School” promo ongoing, if you are to avail of rebonding and hair treatment, expect to spend PHP6,000. 


Recommendation: Bangs T&J has been one of the trusted names when it comes to envy-worthy hair styling. They have been my trusted salon before I jumped ship to Bench FIX during my blondie days. I am truly happy with the output and in fact will come again for hair coloring. 
Contact info: 

 Website: www.bangs.com.ph 

Please note that we have paid for this service. This post states my own opinion, biases and reviews. 

Content VS Revenue: Blogging issues in perspective

How do you maintain credibility and standards of your blog, while maximizing it also as a revenue-earning tool? This is just one of the many issues on the blogging community in general which was discussed during the recently concluded, “Shop Till You Blog: A Lifestyle Blogger Mixer” by online giant LAZADA.

We are lucky to be one of the invited bloggers during the event where Lazada, through its key officers Inanc Balci (Lazada PH CEO) and Florian Holm (Lazada Chief Marketing Officer), together with top blogger Kryzz Uy discussed the many ways one can maximize his or her blog presence — either by crafting creative content or by finding ways to monetize her blog if this is the direction the blogger wants to take. While Kryzz gave insights on how to create compelling and interesting content, Balci and Holm outlined ways on how Lazada can give additional revenue to the lifestyle bloggers just by being part of the Lazada Affiliate Program. 

Lazada top man Inanc Balci talks about how Lazada plans to grow its affiliate program locally

  
For Lazada, one of the profitable means to earn for being an affiliate is through the use of “deep links” which generates a unique link that will credit all sales to your account. Lazada makes the business of earning extra money simple by doing away from a lot of confusing rules and processes. 

 

The many misconceptions of blogging

In her  talk, Kryzz highlights that being a blogger goes beyond attending events and getting cool swag- a responsible blogger keeps a schedule of their post and ensures that content presented is helpful and relevant. 
  

Florian Holm talks about the benefits of being a Lazada affiliate

Creative outlet or revenue earning – I believe that Blogging is a very personal exercise and a unique experience for every blogger. While some maybe contented to write and nothing else, there’s also nothing wrong on earning a little on the side for opportunities being made available to a blogger. In her presentation,  Kryzz talked about finding and pursuing your passion while blogging–that’s what’s important. Anything else: the SWAG, the revenue opportunities, the fame are all just sweet cherries on top. 

Affiliate Marketing 

International social media platforms (like Facebook and Google) and international blogs have been earning a lot from the affiliate program of Lazada. If the opportunity to earn is presented through presence of links and banners – as long as blog content is not compromised, then it is something that should be actively pursued by other bloggers. 

Lazada makes the program as painless and as straightforward as possible: