Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Garden State of Mind

I'm just in the mood for nice songs today. This one's on the top of my list of go-to, feel-good favorites:


And so was the movie, "Garden State".

Have a merry mid-week, everyone! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition

Ever since I saw an article on the internet that there is going to be a new Nintendo Entertainment System in a mini console with HDMI port, I have been salivating over it. I really wanted to get one for myself for Christmas. Even more so, when I have a colleague who actually managed to buy one and brought it to the office. I've been longing to be able to play my favorite Nintendo games again, especially since I have a full week to spend at home during the Christmas holiday, with my brother coming for a visit along with his family. It would be so nice to play the games with my brother again just like when we were kids in the 80's.


The new Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Mini, released 11th November 2016 (image from http://www.nintendo.com)

Imagine my dismay and shock when I found out that Nintendo did not deliver enough stock. And that a lot of scalpers have taken advantage of this limited stock and are now selling them four times (or more) the original price. See angry comments on Amazon.com. This is really absurd, crazy and unreasonable. And very, very cruel on the part of Nintendo.

I just want to remind people out there that you should NOT give in and buy it for more than the original retail price. Nintendo will surely release more stock in the coming days or weeks. You are just encouraging the greedy scammers. It's just not worth it. You can actually just play the games with your regular computer using an emulator. Or if you are a more technical person, you can just get a Raspberry Pi and install the games.

My colleague's RaspberryPi3

I am actually just wanting to buy this product over pure sentiment and nostalgia... but I do not know for how long this nostalgia-induced "wanting" will last. Nintendo, you better act fast!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Old Town and Around Prague

Up on escapadecapades, my visit to the beautiful city of Praha and some hotel, bars and restaurants review:

The old city bathed in golden early morning light

Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely weekend! :)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Summery Pink and Blue Outfit

It's Friday and we're a few hours away from getting that well-deserved weekend break. I've been feeling kind of down lately. Mostly because I usually feel like crap every time my birth month approaches. And also, I have been feeling sick this week because I have been having trouble sleeping. My daughter had an episode of what is apparently known as a "night terror" (parents, please read about it here as it is different from a regular nightmare) some nights ago, and we were all traumatized by it. After that night, I was a little bit scared that she will have another episode and so my sleeping patterns have been a wreck. As a result, I have been pretty sick most days. Thankfully, though, she hasn't had any other episode except for that one night.

Anyway, to help cheer me up, I'm posting some of the pretty and pink (most of them) things I've taken back from our European trip...

Chaussures tricolore... all my favorite wearable colors in one shoe

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jose Rizal Travels: Litomerice

Up on escapecapades.com: A trip to the cozy little town of Litomerice, a few kilometers off Prague, one of the places in Europe where Jose Rizal lived. This is also where he met his life-long friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt. Click on the link for the full story.


View of the town square from the Tourist Information Center's viewing tower

 Enjoy the time travel, and thanks for stopping by! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DIY: Framed Sunflowers

I just got back home last weekend. And while still jet-lagged, I managed to finish framing and mounting my dried sunflowers that I brought back from France with extra-special care and painstaking effort.

My freshly framed dried sunflowers

Click and scroll for the whole DIY story...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A la ferme

One of the highlights of our first week in France was at a farm called Ducazaux. It was a good place for our daughter to see some farm animals, walk in their mini-forest trails where you can see some fox holes and birds nests. They also have some play areas and a small café and souvenir shop.

The entrance to the farm

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz, France

Up on escapecapades.com: this year's visit to the Pays Basque in France ...


with an added review on a Michelin starred restaurant.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Mood: The Sunny Sunflowers

We chanced upon some sunflowers growing in the wild on the road side. My mother-in-law made a bouquet with a bunch of other wild flowers. It's so pretty.

We have just arrived in France this weekend. On the road from Toulouse to my in-laws' place, we were greeted by the smiliest, sunniest blooms of rows and never-ending rows of sunflowers. Scroll down for your viewing pleasure...


Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Art at Curate, Resorts World Sentosa

Hubby and I decided to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary a bit earlier than usual this year. He told me about this restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa called, Curate. I immediately checked it out and found it interesting.

food for thought :)

They regularly invite Michelin-starred chefs from all over the world for a sampling of their artistic cuisine. This particular weekend, we went for a lunch menu prepared by two-Michelin starred chef, Guy Martin of France. He is quite famous as he has a TV show called, Epicerie fine on TV5Monde (the French cable TV network) that we regularly watch on weekends.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Great Wall at Jinshaling

Up on escapecapades.com: the full story of my Great Wall Trek


The start of the 5-km trek on the authentic and unrestored portions of the Great Wall at Jinshaling, Chengde

Cheers and have a good weekend! :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Les Misérables in Singapore - A Review (Sort of)


image from: http://www.loket.com/lesmiserables/

So, I was able to watch Les Miserables by myself last night. This is the second time I was able to see it onstage. The first time was in London many, many moons ago.

I remember that cold, rainy night in London. I was so excited to see it. I totally enjoyed the performance. The most memorable of all was the little girl who played Cosette singing, Castle on a Cloud.

Anyway, about the show here in Singapore... first thing I noticed was that the stage looked much better than the one in London, which might be due to the fact that there have been significant improvements in technology over the past years. And that the Esplanade Theater is much grander and bigger than the one in London.

I regret to say that I found the stage actors lacking in energy and expression. From where I was seated (which I thought should be the best seat in the theater), I could not see their facial expressions (see below pic of seating plan) but their gestures and the feelings in their voices should be apparent to all the viewers no matter where they are seated. For some reason, I just didn't feel it enough.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Beijing Experience

Up on escapecapades: My recent trip to Beijing, trying some craft beer, their famous Peking Duck and of course, visiting the Forbidden City. I have also included some tips and reviews at the bottom of the page.

Sitting pretty inside the Forbidden City

Cheers, and have a good weekend! :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday Mood: Macarons and Mother's Day in France

Yesterday was Mother's Day in France. They call it, Fête des meres. I personally prefer having Mother's Day celebration on this date because it is in France that I became a mother.


Pastel pink Ladurée box, with the rest of hubby's pasalubong from business trip in France

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fitness Tips: Xtendbarre and Yoga

Searching for fitness activities is never an easy task, especially if you're not really the sporty type. When I was much younger, I never really craved for fitness activities. Being fit seemed to just come easy and happen naturally despite the unhealthy eating habits. But as the years go by, being fit starts to require extra effort... and even most especially after having a baby.

I have been regularly practicing Xtendbarre and Yoga for more than half a year now, and I would like to share some of my experiences, what worked for me, and some tips on how to keep yourself motivated:

Find an activity that you love

Be on the lookout for activities that would not only keep you fit but would also be fun to do, otherwise it will be difficult to be motivated. One of the things that worked for me is Xtendbarre. I have been doing it regularly for more than six months now, and I'm totally loving it. For those who are not familiar with this fitness program, it's a mixture of Pilates and Ballet, designed to tone your body (with special attention to the glutes and legs) and to strengthen your core. It's fun because it feels like you are dancing when you are doing the ballet movements. But be warned, you may think that just because it is fun, it is not strenuous.


Doing some stretching before the class

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mother's Month

In our household, we have two Mother's Day celebrations -- the second Sunday of May, as most of the world know it, and the last Sunday of May, otherwise known as Fête des mères in France. But why limit myself to just two days when I can choose to celebrate Mother's Day the whole month? And in celebration of Mother's Month, I am writing this blog to impart some useful tips and talk about my experience on being a mom of four years... whether you like it or not. I rarely ever write about being a mom, so please bear with me.

My daughter and I at Federation Square in Melbourne, April 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In and Around Melbourne


New post on escapecapades.com, featuring my recent trip to Melbourne:

In my more recent travel posts (starting from this post about Melbourne), I shall be including short reviews of restaurants and hotels I've been to, to make my travel journals more useful to readers and followers.

Fun graffitis everywhere
From now on, I shall be posting all my travel blogs on escapecapades.com. See you there!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Strawberry and Pink Theme Birthday

This year, for my daughter's birthday, I decided to exert a little extra effort for her party. We never really hosted a real children's birthday party before because hubby and I are both lazy when it comes to organizing events. But I was thinking that our daughter is now at an age when she will really appreciate having a birthday party with her friends.

I have shared some useful links at the bottom of this post to make my site more useful to parents planning to hold a birthday party for their kids.

Strawberry and everything pink theme

Friday, April 15, 2016

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

Emergency flight back home

Grieving this week on a week that is supposed to be meant for celebrating numerous happy occasions... life's many ironies.

This week has been quite an extraordinary week -- there were two birthdays, a wedding and a funeral. Life is like a soap opera, or even a movie sometimes.

It's really difficult to lose a loved one. Especially one that is closest to you. And one who cared and dedicated her whole life to you, even though she didn't really have to.

I find it really difficult to search for words about how I feel, but I just want to say, I will forever be grateful to those who have been very sensitive to really feel and partake with my grief, despite miles and oceans of separation -- friends who took the time to ask and to listen, family and neighbors who lived close and far away, long forgotten faces who suddenly appeared out of nowhere to condole and console. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Les Misérables in Singapore

While browsing for events to keep my daughter occupied during her upcoming two-week school break, I chanced upon Sistic's ad on Les Misérables. I have always been a big fan of this show because I have always been a big fan of Lea Salonga.

Les Miz in Singapore! :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pink Lemonade

In my search for everything pink for the upcoming Birthday Celebration of my daughter, I've come across "pink lemonade" on Pinterest. Since I love lemons and my daughter loves pink, I decided to test out this recipe that I found on Youtube. It was quite easy to make, and I love the fact that it uses raspberries for color, not an artificial food coloring.

Having a gouté for one with my Pink Lemonade + Bonne Maman treats
You can make your lemonade as pink as you want. I prefer to have mine with just a hint of pink. But upon serving it for snack to my daughter, she complained that it's orange, not pink. She just likes to complain all the time. I wonder whom she got that from? :D

Happy Easter! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My Trusted Skin Care Products

It's always difficult to give your whole-hearted trust and loyalty to anything or anyone because more often than not, you get betrayed or let down. And I know you'll agree with me that this is also true when it comes to beauty and skin care products. Today, I am sharing with you some of my tried and tested, trusted names in skin care:

My favorite body lotion -- Crabtree and Evelyn. I used to get the Goat Milk scent, but they discontinued it several years ago.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 4: Rotorua


From Hobbiton Movie Set in MataMata, we drove farther down South for about a couple of hours to reach Rotorua. We arrived late in the afternoon, so we only had time for dinner. We just had dinner at one of the not-so-interesting restaurants in this area at the city center called, Eat Street. And then it was a bit cold and rainy. We had a nice relaxing restful sleep at the motel after a tiring day from Hobbiton.

I went back the next day, a bit before sunset to take some long exposure, wide angle shots with my big camera. My shots didn't really turn out any nicer than the filtered iPhone ones that I posted on Instagram, though.

The next day, we visited Kuirau Hot Pools Park, which is in the middle of the city center. At first, I was not so impressed about it. But then I immediately figured out it's a huge park and we started in the less interesting parts. Later on, we found a place where we can soak our feet in a hot pool. My daughter and I enjoyed it very much. And then at the end, there was a huge, smoky, hot water lake filled with various shades of yellow, red, amber and greenish shades of mineral deposits.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Hearts Day



Rainbow-colored roses and delicious cake, hand-picked by my daughter for Valentine's Day

I have been feeling all lazy this weekend. I didn't feel like going out, so everybody went out this morning, except for me. But what a surprise it is when hubby and daughter came back bringing colorful flowers and lovely cake for dessert... both of which just about summarizes how my love life has never been more colorful and more delicious than ever before.

Happy Hearts Day, everyone!

Friday, February 12, 2016

I'm a Model !!!

Folks, please allow me to interrupt my series of posts on my New Zealand trip with this Breaking News:

Last night, just before going to bed, I checked on my Instagram and saw a comment from Steve Madden's IG asking my permission if they could use this picture of mine for marketing purposes:


Leg Work for Steve Madden shoes... just hope they don't photoshop it and put somebody else's upper body parts on top. :D

I am just sooo flattered! And so excited. I never thought my legs could ever get so famous like this. I guess you could say I'm sort of a model now, and for one of my favorite brands of shoes at that! Nakakalokah! :)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 2: Waiheke

On our second day in New Zealand, we decided to head out into one of the closer islands from Auckland to join a half-day bus tour in the morning, and then do our own improvised walking tour in the afternoon. This island we visited called Waiheke reminds me so much of the pear pie that I would always buy at Marché (the Swiss bakery/restaurant that has branches here in Singapore). I did not know before until then that it's the name of an island in New Zealand! Such an interesting coincidence.


This is a view of Palm Beach

Saturday, January 23, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 3: Hobbiton

From Auckland, we set out early morning on our third day in New Zealand to the Hobbiton Lord of the Rings Movie Set tour. We took the South Motorway, the big highway, so the view was not very scenic at all. I was a tiny bit disappointed. But we went inside the small towns on the way back to Auckland from Rotorua, and the roads were definitely a lot more scenic, albeit, longer than usual. I noted that we did not pay any toll fees at all.

I booked the tickets online, more than a month in advance. There are three pick-up sites for the tour, one in Rotorua, where we are actually heading after the tour, one in Hamilton and another one in MataMata itself, where the movie set is located. I chose the MataMata site since it's the shortest drive from Auckland, and also offered the cheapest tickets because of the proximity to the Shire.


This is the i-Site, at the MataMata city center 
The i-Site is located at Broadway Street, which is right at the city center, conveniently littered with restaurants and bars and lots of parking lots. There is also a souvenir shop inside the i-Site. I bought a few more postcards to send to myself and my relatives because they have such beautiful postcards and stamps. And they conveniently have a post box outside of the shop.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ted Talks SPAM

I've had my fair share of the spamming and scamming lot on emails and phones. And the very rare times that I've responded (semi-violently) to them was when I was on a terribly bad mood or caught in the midst of  an inopportune time. But what I really, really would most like to do is to annoy the annoying. But lately, I haven't got the energy or the precious time for that.

The last phone scamming thing I've experienced was quite recent. It was a phone call on the office landline coming from the Philippines (where else?). It caught me by surprise because I never give out our office land line to anyone. I myself don't even know the phone numbers, and wouldn't know about it unless necessary. And since there are only very few of us in the office, it was the Head of Services that answered the phone. The scamming people didn't know my full first name and my middle name. So I told them it was not me they were looking for. They were claiming I have some unsettled accounts with some bank in the Philippines. I hung up on them immediately, but they had the gall to call again! It was really embarrassing for me to keep getting the phone from the big guy in the office and for everyone to hear me trying to tell the person on the other end over and over that it was not me they were looking for. I was mortified and infuriated. 

I'm guessing they got my office phone no from LinkedIn since it's the only place I mention where I work. And from there, they got it from the company web site. I ranted about it on facebook and several friends confirmed to me that it's really a LinkedIn scam, and that most of the targeted accounts look pretty in the profile pic... so I guess I should be flattered, at least. Of course, I immediately made my profile picture to be only visible to  first-level contacts from then on and I've removed several contacts who might be pretending to be legit job placement agencies.

This video from TED is quite hilarious, though:



I really love British sense of humor. I wish I can have some of it. But it doesn't quite work when you don't have the accent. This made me laugh a lot today.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Zealand Trip, Part 1: Auckland

During the holiday season, we decided to take a trip down south. We visited the North Island of New Zealand and roamed in and around Auckland and Rotorua. We arrived on the 26th of December and we were blessed with warm sunny weather. Thankfully, it is summer in December in the Southern Hemisphere because I am not so much of a sweater weather person and I don't buy into that White Christmas crap because I have already experienced how much of a bitch the cold and bitter white winter can get.

The view of Auckland from our boat on the way to Waiheke Island
Our hotel was just right at the top of Queen Street. It's a famous street with all the shops and restaurants. Right at the bottom of Queen Street, you'll find the pier, where you can book all sorts of island trips.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Best of 2015

According to Instagram, here are my best nine photos from the previous year...

first row: best loved pair of shoes from Steve Madden, Airbus A350 simulator experience, visiting Frodo's hobbit hole at Hobbiton Lord of the Rings Movie Set in New Zealand (will post about this soon!)
second row: an evil bunny ice floe on Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon in Iceland, a picture representing my first time to try aerial yoga, a throwback pic of my beloved and long-missed autumn at the Japanese Garden in Toulouse
third row: trying out new wide angle lens on night time view from our balcony, throwback pic at Piazza di Spagna, the fittest i have been this year after 2 mos of xtendbarre + yoga + wall climb

...nine best, meaning the "nine most liked" photos of the year. I admit that, like most people, I tend to get carried away and get overwhelmed with the social media "likes" from time to time. But I try to remind myself that I'm doing Facebook mostly to keep in touch with friends, especially those who live far away. Making people jealous is just second priority (insert wicked evil laugh here). And the "likes", I really usually do not care about. A 1000 likes do not equate to being a 1000 times less lonely. Most of the time, it's quite the contrary, actually. Especially since, you will only get a lot of likes if you give a lot of likes also. It's not really because your picture deserves it or that these "likers" really like you. I'd always prefer good old-fashioned personal meet-ups any time or a personal private message if bodily presence is constrained by distance. Non-virtual relationships are seemingly becoming more and more of a rarity these days.

I like Instagram because i treat it like a pin board of all the good things happening in my life, whose essence, I would like to somehow freeze and capture in frames that I can look back on gloomy days to cheer me up. But the truth is, my most loved memories from last year cannot be captured in just a few photos. There were so many of them. For this, I am truly grateful and feeling "blessed" as the overused hashtag goes...

Happy new year, everyone! More photos and more adventures await!