Found: Pretty Plunger

I know what you’re thinking? Toilet plunger?! Go ahead, chuckle if you must but the reality is clogged toilet bowls happen. You know the scenario: The flush doesn’t sound right and you get that sinking feeling. You turn and see the water is just not going down or the water is all gone and not refilling. Worse, there is a clump of toilet paper and the water slowly rises to the brim. This is when you hit the point of no return and all the bells and whistles go off your head. Nooooooooo!

It is stressful (and embarrassing) to deal with a clogged toilet. Somehow it seems to happen exactly when you are expecting company.

I find that the toilet plungers available in the Philippines are not as effective compared to the ones sold in the States. It’s the way the rubber is shaped and the quality of it. The ones I see in the grocery are mostly sink plungers and made from flimsy material. What’s the point? You need a proper toilet plunger with a sturdy rubber that tappers in the bottom so that it can fit the toilet bowl hole. It’s also hard to find a nice looking plungers.

Here are some cool (and effective) plungers available on Amazon:

InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger Capsule, White

OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger and Canister

Simplehuman Toilet Plunger

We just finished renovating our powder room in the new Maison Epperson. Tom and I put a lot of thought in designing the space to make the rest room experience comfortable for family and guests.

We believe that one way to create pleasantries in the powder room is to provide a plunger.

Sitting pretty. InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger Capsule, White from Amazon.com

I bought the InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger on Amazon last week and it arrived at my doorstep in less than 5 days. Amazing! What I love about this particular style is that the stainless dome cover lifts and locks in place. The plastic base also keeps the plunger head off the floor (it’s more hygienic that way).

Have a pleasant day!

Easy Creamy, Garlic-y Caesar Salad Dressing

Have you ever tried making your own salad dressing? If not, you’re missing out on some great flavors.

Making your own salad dressing from scratch tastes better than bottled ones. It’s healthier too as you have control of what goes in it.

During my birthday dinner at Cru Steakhouse in Manila Marriott Hotel, I ordered their signature Caesar Salad prepared tableside. This was not the first time I ordered this salad and I was reminded why it had become one of my favorite dishes in the resto.

One of my favorite dishes is the CRU Caesar Salad. It is prepared tableside using the freshest ingredients and the dressing is made from scratch! So elegant. Rina has been our constant server whenever we're here. Excellent service as usual!

Photo taken using Instagram

I got inspired to make my own homemade caesar salad dressing and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks or for kids, substitute with 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise (I suggest Hellman’s brand)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or 4-5 anchovy fillets
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

The details make the difference

To assure that you get the creamiest and most garlic-y flavor, here are my non-negotiables:

Use grainy Dijon mustard. I recommend Waitrose Easy On The Dijon Whole Grain Mustard. I love the grainy bits and the tangy flavor of this particular mustard. Available in Rustan's Marketplace

If you've never tried adding Worcestershire sauce in your caesar salad dressing, now is the time to do it. It gives depth of flavor and adds to the garlic-y taste (the ingredients of the sauce include soy, vinegar, and garlic). Available in all leading groceries

Only use fresh Parmesan cheese. Don't even think about using the bottled version. The intense, complex Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese like no other.

Cool kitchen gadget: Garlic press

This kitchen aid cuts down chopping time! Moms and cooks will thank me for this.

A garlic press is a kitchen tool, consisting basically of two levers connected by a hinge. There are small cups on the end of the levers opposite the hinge that nest inside each other. To use, separate the levers, place a clove of garlic in the cup, and then close the other lever on top of the garlic. Press the levers together and the garlic will fall through very small holes in the bottom of the cup. The garlic press is ideal to use when recipes call for "very finely minced garlic."

Easy peasy:

Step 1: In a wooden bowl, whisk extra virgin oil, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, garlic, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper until smooth; season with salt if necessary.

Step 2: Drizzle dressing over romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat.

Skip the croutons and bacon. You can also add fresh tomatoes if you wish.

Reminder: Don’t use raw egg yolks if you’re planning to serve this to kids. Best to use egg substitutes or mayonnaise.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, try it and let me know how you like my recipe!

Add To Cart: La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Hand Cream SPF 15

The first time I tried the La Prairie White Caviar collection I loved it! In fact, I’ve become a disciple.

Of all the La Prairie products White Caviar collection has become my favorite. I like that it’s light, non-sticky and the luminous effect it gives my skin. Every time I apply it on my face and hands, they literally glow!

Hands have the tendency to betray your age, sometimes appearing more aged than the skin of the face. Exposure to the elements may result in age spots, lines and an unappealing dry, weathered look. White Caviar Illuminating Hand Cream SPF 15 brightens, refines and hydrates skin for a younger, fresher look while guarding against daily exposure with UVA/UVB protection.

Tip: To avoid wastage (especially using La Prairie) and if you don't want any lotion/cream on your palms, apply the cream on the back of one of your hands then rub the backs of your hands together in a circular motion. This way, you only moisturize the top part of your hands which need the most anyway.

La Prairie products are quite pricey as it’s made from the best ingredients. I make sure that I don’t waste a single drop. Dapat simutin! LOL

I also like the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Cream. It gives my face a radiant glow. I have yet to try their Serum. I heard it’s like magic! I think we all need a bit of magic in our lives, don’t you think?

La Prairie White Caviar Collection is available at Rustan’s Department Stores

High-Tops That Add “Height”

Skechers SKCH+3 high-cut rubber shoes have become an #OOTD staple on Instagram. It’s not surprising as these cool kicks effortlessly increase in height with a 3” hidden wedge without compromising the comfort that all women desire. While they may look like ordinary high-top sneakers, there’s a hidden wedge that will lift your heel a few inches higher off the ground. Yes ladies, nabibili na ang height ngayon! LOL

I have this style of Skechers SKCH Plus 3 and it's my favorite! I like that it's all-black and with grommets.

Walk the walk: The padded wedge in the rubber shoes makes it very comfy. Moms will still be able to outrun their toddlers wearing them, haha.

Nude-colored shoes in general elongates the look of your legs plus, a hidden wedge inside the high-tops gives you extra boost!

Sassy straps: Loving the three hook-and-loop straps across the vamp as it elongates the sneakers and secures the high-tops in place.

The ultimate Fall shoes! Black and studs are this season's musts!

The latest styles of Skechers SKCH+3 collection for women features a wide range of choices that can be worn every day. Add flair to your dress, jeans, leggings, short, or skirt ensemble with the SKCH+3 and you’re good to go!

SKCH+3 is also made with various materials such as smooth leather, woven canvas, lace, suede, and faux leather. Also available in new colors such as wine, black, gold, taupe, plum, navy, rose, aqua, and chestnut—it’s almost impossible not to have a SKCH+3 to mix & match with your wardrobe.

Skechers SKCH+3 are available at Skechers stores in Glorietta 2, Trinoma, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria, SM North Edsa – The Annex, Ayala Fairview Terraces, Robinsons Place Manila, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Market! Market!, Festival Mall, SM Fairview, SM Dasmariñas, Marquee Mall, SM Pampanga, Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, Abreeza Mall Davao, Gaisano Mall of Davao, SM Davao, Centrio Mall Cagayan de Oro, and LimKetKai Mall CDO.

Check out Skechers’ Facebook page for more info

Reservations in Paradise Featuring 2Cellos

Shangri-la Boracay Resort & Spa has become one of my favorite Boracay destinations.

I love that it’s away from the main beach so it’s peaceful and picturesque. It’s paradise.

Whenever they have a promo, I jump at the opportunity as they are so worth it! In fact, every time they have their Anniversary Sale, I’m one of the first ones to line-up in their booth. They have incredible deals!

Ladies and gentlemen, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines presents an unforgettable weekend of food, wine and leisure…

You will love this:

Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines, in partnership with Bacchus International Inc., invites luxury experience seekers to an unforgettable weekend overflowing with the finest food, wine and leisure options offered exclusively by Reservations in Paradise from Nov. 7 to 9.

Luxury travel has become all about incredible experiences. This elegant gourmet event on Boracay Island promises a feast for the senses, a delightful medley of gastronomy and music. The first night will set the symphony of ultimate indulgence as guests are treated to an intimate performance of the sensational 2Cellos from Croatia, followed by an equally glorious seaside dinner and after-dinner party. Ahhhhhh!!

The three-day epicurean journey: Reservations in Paradise is now on its fourth season. The festivity will have a series of sunset cocktails and dinner parties with wine pairings in surprise venues around the resort.

Featured wines come from well-loved wine houses Marchesi Antinori, La Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné and Champagne Billecarte-Salmon. These renowned wineries have provided their carefully selected wines, while the resort’s international chefs will create innovative dishes to enhance the beverage flavors.

The 2CELLOS Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, the 2CELLOS, are best known for re-imagining pop and rock tunes performed on their cellos. The Croatian duo has toured with Sir Elton John and his band. They have released two albums – 2CELLOS and IN2ITION – which are available on Sony Music Masterworks. They were the first instrumentalists to ever be featured on “Glee” and have also appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, “The Tonight Show” and others. The duo has collaborated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age and George Michael. They have also worked on various projects with winning producers T-Bone Burnett and Humberto Gatica, and legendary film composer James Newton Howard.

Too cool 2Cellos: Woohooooo! I can’t talk or write about these dynamic cello duo without gushing haha! Ever since I saw 2Cellos perform during Elton John‘s concert in Manila, I’ve become a fan. I play their music almost everyday, it’s part my “creative” playlist. They get me motivated and get my creative juices flowing. I love their passion for their craft and their cool and edgy vibe plus, they’re so cute! 2Cellos rock! \m/

Not your “Tita’s” music:

Freakin’ awesome, right?!! They’re funny too! Watch the next goosebump-inducing vid:

Everyone knows this:

Imagine yourself on the beach with a glass of red and some rock & roll:

More more more!!!

Let’s take slow and cool. Now for some Coldplay action:

I can’t wait to watch them again!

Take advantage now: Reservations in Paradise packages include a two-night accommodation in a hotel room or villa for two persons, two concert seats to 2Cellos, participation in the full itinerary of gourmet activities and leisure offerings.

Luxurious accommodations and breath-taking views: Guests who wish to avail the Reservations in Paradise package may choose from these room and villa categories:

Deluxe Room

Deluxe Seaview Room

Treehouse Villa

Pool Villa

Dreamy offer: Villa guests are guaranteed first-row seats on a first-come-first-served basis. Pool Villa guests are guaranteed first-row, middle seats. Rates include taxes and service charge.

Reservations in Paradise packages:
Deluxe Room -P80,000
Deluxe Seaview – P85,000
Room Treehouse Villa – P115,000
Pool Villa – P165,000

For inquiries on packages and reservations, please call the Manila Sales Office at (02) 8142587 or email sales.slbo@shangri-la.com.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, run, don’t walk, book now!

For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.shangri-la.com.

Living and Loving the City Life

Growing up in Laguna had its perks: the clean air, privacy and tranquility, feeling closer to nature, open space, the ability to produce your own food, friendlier people, slow-paced life and low crime rate. I loved it. But as I got older and began working in the city, it became stressful because of commuting.

Photo by Tom Epperson

Have you heard of the term “extreme commuting”? According to Wikipedia, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, an extreme commute is a daily journey to work that takes more than 90 minutes each way.

My St. Scho College, Manila classmates and thesis partners: (from left) Abbey, Grace, Miriam, Maya & Jayzel. Photo from Abegaile Dinglasan

After I graduated, I was fortunate enough to land my first job in one of the country’s best advertising agencies. I was part of the creative team and worked long hours. This entailed commuting back and forth to Laguna everyday which also meant spending hours sitting in traffic. I did this for a year, and I’ve never felt more drained and tired in my life.

Commuting took its toll on my body, so I decided to resign. It was one of the more challenging decisions I made in my life as I loved my job. But living in the suburbs at that time seemed more practical.

On hindsight, I think it would have been a wiser decision for me to live in the city and pursue my career in advertising. But anyway, after years of extreme commuting and wasted time sitting in traffic, I finally decided to make the big move. It was the best decision I’ve made. I honestly believe that had I stayed in Laguna, I would not have been as successful in pursuing my dreams. I’m not saying that living in the city is for everyone, but it definitely is for me. For years now, I have been living and loving city life!

For those who hail from the suburbs, yet pursuing a career or starting a business in the city and suffering from hours on end spent in traffic, I truly feel you. If there is one advice I could share with you, that is to pursue your dreams and invest your time and money by making it happen. Do it while you are young.

In my youth, living in the South was my comfort zone, yet I left it in order to pursue my dreams. I got a place in Makati City and have been living in this wonderful urban jungle since. And the best part is that instead of working for my dream advertising company, I now work with them. I am so glad I took the leap back then.

I wish I invested the money I made from my first job in a condominium instead of buying a car only to drive in traffic going home to Laguna. I would have saved time and money commuting.

I met up last week with Vice-President for Megaworld Eugene Lozano. We talked over coffee about our experiences in commuting while pursuing our big city dreams and how we should have invested on a flat early on. According to Eugene, “A smart investment like this allows one to live a life uncompromised. To be able to have everything within reach in a matter of minutes is a privilege and a practicality that’s understated. If you live close to where you work, you can better plan your day without the hassle of driving far or being stuck in traffic. Living in Three Central opens you to more choices –where to go, where to eat, or what to do. We are the only developer in Makati CBD that offers very flexible payment terms. Investment for a studio or 1 bedroom unit starts at Php 15,000 a month. Just pay the reservation fee, and the Php 15,000 a month, that’s it. No downpayment, no lumpsum, at zero percent interest.”

Looking at the new Three Central Condominium I can’t help but think that had I invested on a place like this my investment would have probably doubled by now.

Check out Three Central Apartments/Condos:

Location: Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City

Three Salcedo is part of the exclusive Salcedo Village community right in the middle of the country’s premier financial district. It is surrounded by the top multinational corporations in the Philippines, embassies and consulates.

First upscale mall in the Philippines

Three Central will house the first upscale lifestyle mall in Salcedo Village to be leased and operated by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, which also brought us Eastwood City, Newport Mall, and Burgos Circle.

This!! Residents of Three Central will have exclusive access points to the mall.

Unit types:

There are different unit types available to suit our clients’ needs:

• Studio (41-44 square meters)
• 1 Bedroom(44-46 square meters)
• 2 Bedroom with balcony(73-80 square meters)
* Buyers have the option to combine units if they need bigger spaces

Unit inclusions:

All units of Three Central come fully-fitted and fully-furnished with modern, well-chosen appliances. These include:

• Air-conditioning
• Range hood and cooktop (brand: Elba)
• Refrigerator
• Washer/Dryer
• Kitchen sink (brand: Franke)
• Microwave
• Dining table set
• Toilet fixtures (brand: Grohe)
• Sofa and center table
• Bed frame w/ mattress
• LCD TV
• DVD Player

Amenities:

The seventh floor will house the amenities that also include a resort-themed 20-meter lap pool, pool deck, a kiddie pool, children’s playground, daycare center, palm court, pavillion, function rooms gym, shower and locker rooms, landscaped meditation gardens, gazebo, reflexology path and outdoor spa. The roofdeck, on the other hand, will have a lanai and al fresco seating areas. It will also have culinary stations (pasta,kebab,pastry,sushi). The property will also have function rooms and a business center.

Easy payment terms:

Three Central has very flexible payment terms starting at Php 15,000 a month, no down payment, all at zero percent interest.

Living in the city definitely has its perks especially if you’re building a career or setting up a business particularly in Makati. The convenience of living near your office is everything. You also don’t have to endure long traffic and you save on gas, money and time.

Shoppingero/shoppingra, if you’re tired of commuting and sitting in traffic or you want to save time and money while making your big city life dream come true, maybe it’s time to invest in a condo that’s near your work area. Check out Three Central!

For more information on Three Central, call 0917 8876223 or visit www.megaworldmakaticbd.com.

My Five Favorites

This category of my blog is truly one of my favorites because I get to share things, places and moments that I love and inspiring to me.

Available in National Book Store

1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. This was a gift from my daughter Aryanna. She knows me so well. First of all, I love the title and the book cover (in this case, judging a book by it’s cover is OK, haha). It’s a glorious novel that crosses decades, continents and genres. I personally love the ancient charms of the Italian coast on the Ligurian Sea setting. The plot is engaging and there are thousands of characters in the book but a lot of them are memorable. If you’re up to reading a novel of love, loss and hope I highly recommend this book!

Available in leading groceries

2. Sunny Select Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer, French Vanilla. All it took was one whiff of the French vanilla scent of this non-dairy creamer and I’m hooked! It’s sweeter than the regular coffee creamer so if you take sugar in your cup of Joe, you won’t be needing it anymore. The calories per serving is not bad either: 3 tsp. = 50 calories

Got these in Watsons

3. Pantene Pro-V Aqua Pure Shampoo & Conditioner, No Silicone Formula. In my opinion, silicone is a necessary evil for those who have long, thick and/or damaged hair to maintain its luster and shine. But those who have fine hair like mine, silicone-free shampoos are bliss as it doesn’t weigh it down.

I bought this in Rustan's grocery

4. Shady Maple Farms Organic Maple Butter. Maple syrup that is whipped into submission is ove! Perfect with popovers and waffles!

From our garden

5. Leafy centerpiece. Using leaves as centerpiece for Maison Epperson is my new obsession. I love the simplicity and calmness of it. Look around your backyard or go around the neighborhood or check out the flower market for lovely leaves. Group them together or just use a single leaf in a vessel to decorate your home.

Come to Taiwan, Part 1

When I was invited to go Taiwan, I didn’t think twice as I am always enthusiastic about travel opportunities, specially to places I have never been to. I have heard good things about Taiwan, and was told that it’s a foodie and shopper’s haven so… ding ding ding! To discover a new place then eat and shop? Why not? After all, Taiwan is the purveyor of bubble tea to the world so how could the experience not be anything but sweet and fun?

Jeron Travel & Tours Corporation, #727 VM Tower Roxas Boulevard corner Airport Rd. Paranaque City, Metro Manila; Contact nos.: (632) 854.1813, (632) 851.8991, (632) 854.7128, (632) 854.7131, (632) 854.7130; Email: info@jerontravel.com

I was delighted that Jeron Travel & Tours arranged the trip for me and my companions. The services they offer are varied from airline and hotel booking, transfer services, immigration assistance, documentation services to travel consultancy. Since 1993, they have been providing clients with excellent and personal travel services, and have established themselves both locally and internationally with great expertise in Taiwan, the Philippines, and other neighboring Asian countries.

A travel tip to the wanderlusts out there: it pays to avail of the services of travel agencies as they facilitate everything for you. For busy people and working mothers like me, this travel assistance makes traveling worry-free and a walk in the park.

Eva Air Manila, 23rd Fl., LKG Tower 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati Citty; Telephone: +632 7531380 - 82, Reservation Number: +632 864-3800, Airport Telephone: +632 879-6250 - 1; Website: www.evaair.com

It was my first time to fly with Eva Air but I’ve always known it’s famous for Hello Kitty Jets whereby Eva Air teamed up with Sanrio to make specially designed airplanes.

Hello Kitty fans out there will surely have a ball in Eva Air’s Hello Kitty Jet as everything from the food, to the plates and utensils is adorned with Hello Kitty

The token arroz caldo shot inside the Eva Air Lounge at NAIA.

Boarding time!

The Premium Economy of Eva Air is the shiz! Best in leg room!

I super like the banana leaf mural on the Eva Air cockpit wall! It reminds me of my favorite Marinique – Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper.

I love airplane food!

Eva Air truly has comfort of passengers in mind as their premium economy class exceeded my expectations. It was so spacious! Its legroom is not a far cry in comparison to business class of other airlines.

Pimp my Eva Air ride!

Day 1 & 2

The flight from Manila to Taiwan took only 2 hours. Disembark agad-agad!

We took the bus from the airport to our hotel.

Time for Taiwan!!!

Palais de Chine Hotel, Taipei, No. 3 Sec. 1 Chengde Road Taipei 103 Taiwan, R.O.C.; Telephone: +886 2 2181-9999; Email: palais@lhoteldechine.com

We were billeted at Palais de Chine Hotel. The splendor and elegance of French interior are showcased in this five-star hotel. You’ll be welcomed by a life-size bronze horse sculpture upon entry, with a velvet curtain backdrop and a grand crystal chandelier for illumination, no less. Talk about ambiance lighting as this hotel is exactly what it is all about.

Our first day was all about late night shopping as we arrived in Taipei late in the afternoon, so soon after we checked in, off we went to dinner at Shan Shan Cha.

Everything we ordered in Shan Shan Cha restaurant was delicious. The dishes are not overly seasoned and you can taste the freshness of the ingredients.

Ximending Shopping District is a go to place for street food hits and bargain shopping for the hip, young and young at hearts. You will likewise find local street artists exhibiting their skills and talents here.

Street food

Street performers

Shopping for street style

I scored this Vans X Rollicking sneakers at the Vans store in Ximending. I love anything limited edition.

What a fun first day we had in Taiwan!

The "bagong gising" crew (LOL): (from left) Chal Lontoc-del Rosario, GM of Jeron Travel; writer Ivan Man Dy; Klara Anonuevo, Travel Now Magazine; Maricel Diosana,Travelife Magazine, TV personality Daphne Oseña-Paez, Lara Lubi, Eva Air Sales & Marketing and Anton Diaz, www.ourawesomeplanet.com

On the second day of our trip, the group woke up super early. We had a full day of schedule and I was excited!

We took an hour train ride to visit the Fulong Sand Culture Festival— an annual event drawing visitors and sand sculptors alike from local and abroad. Taiwan boasts of this sand art and happens to be rated by the World Sand Sculpting Academy as the best in Taiwan.

Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park is a representation of the gold mining culture and lifestyle during the Japanese occupation. It had its heydays during the gold and copper mining era of Taiwan where it thrived and flourished, but unfortunately ceased to be after the minerals were exhausted. It was only in 2000 that this town was given a new lease on life as it was revived into a historical museum.

The journey is about an hour but it was a pleasant ride especially up the hill. The view is breathtaking!

The park itself includes a number of renovated buildings dating from the Japanese Colonial Era, as well as the gold museum and the Crown Prince Chalet.

Lunch at the park

The softest and tastiest tonkastsu

We all loved the sosy “binalot”! Everyone got to bring home the stainless lunch box and Japanese handkerchief. Yay!

Ubusan na ng gold ito!!

The gold displayed weighs 220lbs. According to our museum guide, if you're strong enough to lift it with one hand, the gold bar is yours. Parang Exculiber lang ang peg! LOL. We also got to visit a real mine shed at the Gold Park. Ang dilim.

Sorry Chal, marami ka pang bigas na kakainin haha!

Outfit of the day #OOTD :)

Jiufen is a charmingly old mining town located in the northeast mountain in New Taipei City where you will find old world authentic tea houses and artisan shops.

Those who are familiar with the famous Oscar awarded Japanese anime movie Spirited Away will surely be enchanted by this place.

It was an umbrella-ella-ella day!

Transforming old industrial sites into cultural destinations has become a trend in Taiwan. The former Japanese-built coal power station which closed in 1981 was renovated into the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology. The museum is located in Keelung, north of Taipei and is accessible by train with ease. It is worth visiting this museum as it will also allow you to explore the coast, watch an iMax movie, go hiking and learn something about the ocean.

Super cute cards and letter from kids who visited the museum.

The day was capped off by having dinner at Have Hot Pot.

We had Taiwanese hotpot using charcoal and the freshest ingredients and the best fried chicken I’ve had (sorry, no photos because I devoured it agad-agad!)

Photos by Anton Diaz of www.ourawesomeplanet.com. For awesome food & travel posts, visit his site.

Thank you, Anton!!! I couldn’t have done this travel post without your amazing pictures! I’m super grateful!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, tune in for Part 2!

My Enervon Journey To Happiness: A Happy Home

I always believed that the happy way to reach your goal is by visualizing and taking small steps. Success reinforces success.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Instagram, then you know about my Enervon Journey To Happiness photo journal. The project was a month-long campaign powered by Enervon that encourages everyone to make their happy goals a reality by uploading photos of your everyday efforts to reach them.

My goal: To create a happy home.

As some of you may know, we moved homes this year. It was a grueling process that took many months of planning and renovation.

Had I not visualized and documented the progress of our house, I would not appreciate our new home now.

After our big move, I also made efforts in cleaning, organizing and beautifying the new Maison Epperson (you can view the photos and tips in creating a happy home on Instagram: #JourneyToHappiness).

Happiness is using furniture we already have and just refurbishing them. Adding a few home accessories also makes the space look fresh.

The best part about decorating the new home is seeing the whole family enjoy the space.

Because when your home improves, your life improves too.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, make happy happen!

Thank you, Dad!

I’ve always been a daddy’s girl. Growing up, I always tagged along with him. My childhood is filled with memories of our travels together, implementing his non-profit projects and helping the needy. He opened my eyes to real world and in the process I learned to be grateful for everything in my life.

He is an intelligent and brilliant man with big dreams and with an even bigger heart.

My dad is never without a book and a cup of coffee in tow.

When he left for New York to be with my mom and work, my world became a little sadder. It was hard not having my parents around because we were very close. Life can be unfair. I miss them everyday.

The pursuit of sustainable happiness

On my birthday, he sent me this heartwarming love letter:

My favorite tee. I was wearing the "birthday" t-shirt my mom got me at a local department store. I loved that shirt because whenever I wore it, people would greet me "happy birthday" even though it wasn't my birthday, haha!

Happy Birthday Jenni!

Here you are “posing” on an antiquated “jeep” in one of many sorties, inspecting the crucible of non-profit projects around the country that we were undertaking together. Even then, like a great “star” that you are, nobody can discern from this picture that you just experienced a severe and life-threatening accident, as we were on our way to inaugurate a self-help farmers’ association irrigation project in Bataan.

At early dawn, our Toyota cruiser driven by my driver ended up upside down with gasoline oozing out from the vehicle after sliding down on the highway and hitting an unsuspecting coconut tree. 

We could not get the doors open; but as if on cue, villagers came running and shouting, “Get the child out, get the child out.” They did and thank God you were rescued first and you were the only one without a scratch; much less blood on the head which I got from hitting the rear-view mirror. A miracle?  It happens everyday!

This will always live in my memory, as if it was only yesterday. Looking back, it foretold how a calculated risk-taker and innovator you will be and many times more successful than me in building your career and your family.

If there is a moment between my dream and waking up, the moment you want to stay frozen in time, this is one of them!

This is an excerpt from the memoir your younger sister Joyce is writing for me; which I have to admit, you have influenced from the book and articles you have written. Please continue writing because I love reading it.

On your birthday, I wish the best gift of life and love everyday only a father could give!

Love,
Dad

 

I remember that day. Whenever I close my eyes and think back hard enough, I could still feel my dad’s arms holding onto my frail body protecting me from harm. He is my guardian angel.

They say a father and daughter relationship has the profoundest of bearings on whether or not we grow up to be happy, serene, healthy, fulfilled individuals. The way in which a father interacted with his daughter as she was growing up is a major factor in how a woman’s nervous system is wired, which in turn impacts her physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, her self-image, her view of the world, and the ease – or otherwise – with which she loves and trusts as a woman.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my dad for the positive fathering he has shown me. Despite the distance, I feel the love.

Love you Dad!!

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