Rainy Day Pegs from Urban Outfitters

Sometimes UO can get a bit too "Coachella" for me (sign of my age?!), but they do have some pieces that are still wearable and accessible for everyday girls like me :) Here are my rainy day inspirations from their current collection. Now I need a hat. :P 

Feeling Like Royalty in Japan

With more flights from Manila to Tokyo and a much more welcoming VISA application system in place, more and more Filipino travelers are planning their Japanese holidays. I've been to this country three times already but it never fails to fascinate me! I see myself traveling to Japan a few more times in this lifetime. I'll be sharing more about our Tokyo adventure in the succeeding blogs, but for now, I wanted to write about the Palace Hotel Tokyo because it was really a truly memorable stay for me and Patrick. We only stayed for 2 nights but we loved it so much, I couldn't help but share it with you folks today. 
I think we no longer fall under the category of "honeymooners" because we already have almost 2 years under our belts. BUT there's nothing wrong with acting like a bunch of sappy newlyweds even with 10-20-30 years between you, right? If you are engaged and are in the process of planning your honeymoon, scrap all your other options and BOOK HERE (or give a few subtle hints to your Ninangs/Ninongs to give you this as a wedding gift! Hahaha!). Or if you are already married with kids, saved up a bit for a special occasion---then this property is worth exploring. 
I booked this hotel with the help of AGODA, so it was pretty easy and hassle-free. I was there a few days ahead for work and so Patrick flew in over the weekend to join me. The agreement was for him to just take the Airport Train when he landed in Narita and make his way to the Tokyo Train Station (it's just a few blocks away from the hotel) and meet me at the Palace Hotel Tokyo. I came from another hotel so I checked in earlier and was surprised by the Front Desk with a free upgrade to their EXECUTIVE SUITE!!!!!! *insert shrieking sounds here* I love getting random upgrades when we travel, it's like Christmas for a traveler like me! Here I am running around like a kid in our 75 sq meter suite!!! We live in a 95 sqm apartment back in Manila so this was HUGE by our standards. It's a suite you can definitely stay in for an entire week or more because of all the free space!
Half way through my frolicking in the suite, I realized that I still haven't heard from Patrick and so I started to worry. "Did his plane make it on time? Did he get lost? What happened to him?" then a very selfish-it's so evil I'm embarrassed to even share it but I will--thought came into my mind. "Oh shucks, if Patrick doesn't make it----does this mean----I HAVE THIS SUITE ALL TO MYSELF?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?! WEEEE!!!!! Party Time!!!" *rolling on the bed* and then two seconds after *Ding-Dong*. Yep, it's Patrick. BOOOOO. Hahahaha! I kid, I kid. Of course I was jumping up and down when I saw him. I took him around the suite for a little tour and we both looked at each other like "Oh yeah!". When you work as hard as we do, these little luxuries mean so much! 
Another thing to note is the location, how can you go wrong with this premier moat-side location? You know how other hotels claim to be "near" a special point of interest then when you get there you realize that "near" is actually a 20 minute walk and several bus stations away? Well, this hotel will not disappoint. They've definitely earned the right to put the word "PALACE" on their hotel's name because it's right beside the Imperial Palace. We were lucky to be billeted in a room with a spectacular view. A view you will only see in postcards. The day time view was beautiful with the lush greens against the clear blue sky but the night time view proved equally amusing, with lights from the buildings around the Palace grounds shining like diamonds (ala-Rihanna!). I loved that this area was the quiet part and historic part of the city. 
As an added perk, guests who book in the Executive Suites can enjoy access to the Club Lounge. This was definitely a favorite of ours and we really maximized our access! They serve fine canap├ęs, finger foods, cheese, specialty cakes, and even Champagne at selected times. The bubbly will definitely put you in your "honeymooning" mood, wink, wink!!!

If you book early, you'll be able to snag good deals with Agoda that includes their Breakfast Buffet too. It may cost a bit extra but I suggest you do so since it's really worth it :) They have a really good spread in the morning. I went gaga over their freshly baked breads and pastries. You can also opt to dine al fresco and watch the beautiful geese swimming like ballerinas by the moat. 
Another interesting feature about the Palace Hotel Tokyo is their collection of artworks scattered across the property. The paintings alone are enough reason to visit the hotel! There's a lot of art and history within these walls (more than half a century worth of stories!) which makes it a much more interesting choice for discerning travelers. 
But the thing that had me sold on booking here was this---THE EVIAN SPA!!!! This luxury spa is the first in Japan and the only branch located outside of France! If you're a SPA fanatic then you would know that this is THE SPA of Spas! We were treated to a 50 minute relaxing massage for two and it was the perfect way to cap off a long day of walking and sightseeing. 

             Some of the images above were taken from the official website of Palace Hotel Tokyo.

Thanks again to the wonderful staff of THE PALACE HOTEL Tokyo for making us feel like a King and Queen of our own little kingdom! It exceeded our expectations and to all my readers who are willing to splurge, this is a hotel I would highly recommend. And of course thanks to Agoda, still my go-to-site for bookings here and abroad. Your deals are really hard to match! I'll be blogging about a budget and family friendly hotel next, so stay tuned for that. :) I MISS JAPAN ALREADY!!!!! 

Miranda's Garden

In my future home, I will have my own garden and I will be my own Miranda! Hehehehe!

Our Last Two Days in Sydney

73 Questions with Blake Lively

My Anthropologie Dream Items

In a perfect world, I would have a credit card that doesn't need to be credited which would allow me to shop to my heart's content without having to worry about a horrendous bill at the first of every month. Hayyyy. Anthropologie WHY?!?!?! WHY must you make me CRYYYYY?!?!?! Here are the items I have in my imaginary online shopping cart! I need want these pretty things in my life!!!!! I waaaaaant. 

My Weekend Picks

 Healthy Snacks from Take Root

I'm a seriously, serial snacker. I could come home completely stuffed from a dinner buffet and still have the munchies at midnight. My husband always catches me snacking in bed "You're going to eat AGAIN?! We just had dinner!". So when I discovered Take Root it was a big Alleluia moment for me! Finally, I could snack on treats that are actually nutrient rich and good for me. I love their slogan that basically sums up the ideal eating philosophy I'd like to adopt one day: "EAT WHOLE. EAT CLEAN. EAT WELL."

Their KALE MIX CHIPS are so delicious! I'm snacking on them now as I type. As you may already know, KALE is a superfood packed with Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. I have to admit I'm not a fan of raw kale in salads (blehkkk!) but somehow when it's baked the bitterness fades away. The Vegan Cheeze mix is highly addictive!

I also really enjoyed their Banana Bread with Flaxseed Granola Mix. I had a bowl this morning with a few scoops of my favorite Plain Fat Free Yogurt. Granola is great for energizing your metabolism and since it's a Fiber-rich food, it helps flush out all the toxins in your system.

You can find them on IG, Twitter and Facebook @takerootph so you can check out the list of products they have available :) Make sure you order in advance because I hear they sell out quickly. 

Pure South Body Products
Baths are scared to me---next to naps and midnight snacks. Hahaha. I love taking long warm showers especially after a long day of work and errands. It's just nice to wash away all your worries and just come out of the shower feeling fresh and clean all over again. Just like Take Root, Pure South believes in using ALL NATURAL ingredients. All products are homemade and free from harmful chemicals---so this would make it perfect for folks like me with sensitive skin and even for kids.

They have different variants of soaps, each made to suit a specific skin type/skin need. My top 3 picks would be:

Cocoa butter is widely noted to reduce stretch marks. It is high in antioxidants which help fight off free radicals. It is also high in fatty acids which deeply hydrates the skin. It is also known to help ease skin irritations as eczema and dermatitis. 

This soap has an Olive oil base, rich in Almond oil which is loaded with Vitamins A, D & E. If there is one skin ingredient that seems to do it all, It may very well be Almond oil. It is said to grow long hair, strengthen nails, treat skin disorders, prevent stretch marks, have no greasy feel, isnt pore clogging yet so gentle that it absorbs quickly into your skin.

Contains wonderful soothing, skin conditioning and healing properties. Shea butter is packed with natural Vitamin A that is known for improving a number of skin issues from blemishes and eczema to bug bites, minor burns and dermatitis.

Along with their massage oils and soaps, their Body Sugar Scrubs are also worth adding to your bathroom stash! ingredients as Premium Raw sugar, Grapeseed, Sunflower, VCO, Sweet Almond Oil, and Vitamin E oil giving you an incredibly luxurious scrub that scrapes away layers of dead skin. After just one use my skin felt so supple and soft, it was like I was given a new layer of skin! Sarap to kis-kis away those dull, dead skin cells (Ohmygulay! Ang arte mo naman Patty! Make Kis-Kis! Hahaha!) Of course when it comes to exfoliating it's important to not go overboard. Since I have very sensitive skin, I think a 2x week regimen would be good enough for me. You'll have to listen to your body and see what works for you. You can order through their FB page here
Ash and Muff
I just recently had these blankets personalized by the folks at Ash&Muff. They did a really great job with the monograms :) If you need some customization for birthday gifts, wedding giveaways, or even for corporate/business needs---just click here to visit their FB page :)

Hillsong Conference Sydney

As I was decluttering my closet this morning, I was ready to toss an old orange romper into my pile of giveaways. I took a second look at it and a surge of emotions came rushing in---it was the romper I wore on our very first date!!!!! NOOO! Romper, come back to the closet and stay here---FOREVER! :) :) Patrick even texted me after our date and said "I really enjoyed our date tonight. You looked AMAZING by the way." Aba syempre, AMAZING talaga! Excuse me, AKO PA?!?!?! Helloooo!  Kaya hindi pwede itapon 'tong AMAZING romper na ito. Hahahaha!!! 

I still remember our first date like it was yesterday. I remember the movie we watched, what I ordered for dinner, the exact parking slot in Power Plant mall, what he was wearing----but of all the details that I was trying to piece together in my mind that evening, it was the music that was playing in his car that really gave a lasting impression. He was playing 90's music (hooray!) and Christian music (so I was like wuuuhhhhaaaaat?!).  

So let me explain myself first. Like 90% of the Philippine population, I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian school, went to church every Sunday, gave to charity. Jesus was all over--including Mary, Joseph, and his whole barkada of disciples, saints and angels. Jesus was all around me---except inside of me. I was never really ashamed to call myself a Christian, but I wasn't exactly proud of it either. I was just one of those "let's keep it on the down low" kind of believers---trying to still live a cool, normal, secular life from Monday to Saturday and then willing to put the Christian hat on when Sunday morning came calling. So when I heard  the songs of praise and worship blasting through his iPod ON OUR FIRST DATE, I didn't really know how to feel about it. I thought to myself "Don't we just sing these songs on Sunday mornings or during retreats? I mean, you're on a date---and you're trying to impress this girl and you're playing Jesus tracks?!". Half of me was probably on the defensive, feeling guilty for my own ailing spiritual life. I was in denial, I was struggling, ultimately..I was lost. And without really meaning it, just by playing a few songs on shuffle mode, this fella stirred up some unsettling feelings inside of me. Feelings that I thought no longer mattered because I was in control of my own life and had it all figured out (I was obviously sooooo wrong!). 

As the date progressed I started noticing something about Patrick that I've never ever encountered in any other man---I realized that his confidence and countenance were  anchored on one thing: his relationship with God. He had a sureness about him that didn't come from his own merit, it came from something bigger and greater. He didn't really say "Jesus this-Jesus that" in fact our conversations weren't really on the holy moly guacamole side but there was just something about him and the way he carried himself that made him very different. 

For years, I always attached my feelings of self-awareness to things I've accomplished (graduating from a prestigious university, thriving in the industry, making my own money, etc) and to how I am able relate to the rest of the world. The world's standards became my standards and I derived my faux happiness from things that were fleeting and temporal. For the first time in my life, my perspective was challenged. And I felt uncomfortable with it. Here was Patrick just singing along to some old church song like a 75 year old Lola---not caring at all if it was baduy, corny, or too "Christian-y". Praising the Lord through traffic from Salcedo Village to Rockwell---was his thing and he didn't feel the need to downplay this part of his life for anyone, even ME, a girl he was trying to style on. He was just being himself, a dude who really liked Jesus---no edits, no pretensions. It took a while for me to be on the same boat, a lot of humbling had to happen for me to really break down my walls and fully understand it. But I'm really thankful that the Lord was very patient in shaping me---this very stubborn and selfish heart of mine needed a major makeover! Hindi pa tapos!

Some of the songs that played on Patrick's iPod that evening came from HILLSONG. And that is why I've been a fan ever since. For those who aren't familiar with HILLSONG, they are a church movement that started in Australia 30 years ago. A lot of the songs we sing in our own little churches were penned and produced by them. They have been used by God to serve millions around the world through their ministry of music and missions. Every year they have a Hillsong Conference which is open to EVERYONE. You don't have to be a member of Hillsong or any church org really---as long as you have the heart to serve the Lord and others in your own little way, then you can definitely sign up for it! Patrick attended this conference back in 2006 (long before we met) and to this day he calls it one of the most life-changing events of his adult life. So while we were still dating, we promised each other that once we got married, we would save up and do the Hillsong Conference together. Our dream came true a few weeks back---after months of major pagtitipid, we made it to the Hillsong Conference in Sydney!!!!! The actual conference ran from Monday to Friday. We flew in on a Saturday morning and did a bit of sightseeing before the start of the actual conference---we also managed to squeeze in some pasyal-pasyal in between sessions too. 

More than 25,000 people flocked to Sydney from all parts of the globe to attend the conference so it was really packed! There were morning and night rallies---which were like super concerts! It was such a feast for the senses with amazing production numbers, powerhouse performances, props, light, videos, and great guest speakers--- the works!!! We were all singing our lungs out (even if out of tune!) and were just so happy to be celebrating Jesus through their excellent productions! In the afternoon, we attended several workshops called "Masterclasses". This year they allowed us to just move freely and select the classes that really fit our lifestyle, current professions and ministries. We attended the classes on FILM, Social Media, Creativity, etc and learned so much from the Hillsong team and other guest facilitators. The classes were so inspiring---Patrick and I were raring to go back home so we could apply all the things we learned! Hopefully I will have more time to blog about each session in detail, but in the meantime I hope you'll be good with just this photo teaser:) Thank you Lord for giving me and my husband the opportunity to attend this year's conference. Salamat, Salamat, Salamat!

For those interested to sign up for next year's conference, watch this video below!
Speak we're listening. from Salomon on Vimeo.

Switch&Save with Watsons

I've been SWITCHING and SAVING with Watsons for several years now. It's a brand that I wholeheartedly endorse because I really do shop at Watsons regularly. (You'll find me loitering at their SM Aura branch all the time, hihihihi) The store keeps expanding with new additions here and there so there's always something to look forward to when I drop by. About 80% of my banyo is filled with Watsons products---maybe it's because I keep getting the Buy One Take One variants (lahat yan, mouthwash, cotton buds, toothbrush, bath gel---I even got a hair dryer for me and for Maimai!). Whatever savings I'm able to set aside because of my Watsons purchases (10 pesos here, 15 pesos there, 100 pesos here--add them all up and you get big savings!) I'm able to use for things that I consider as luxuries like a nice dinner date with Pat, or it can add to our pocket money for a trip, or a foot massage. 

We don't have a stay-in helper for now because it's just the two of us and we're getting by with doing most of our household chores on our own. But we've been getting LOTS of help from Maimai (our super awesome cleaning lady who also doubles as my assistant for shoots/hosting gigs) especially when it comes to heavy duty cleaning and laundry. She really is a blessing to us :) Maimai also accompanies me from time to time to stock up on supplies, and that'ss when we also go shopping at Watsons after our trip to the supermarket! She's a certified Switch and Save fan too! Pwede na rin syang endorser because she knows all the products by heart. Hehehe!
Another reason why I have chosen to support Watsons--->THE PEOPLE. From the branch managers to the cashiers to the sales assistants, all of them seem very happy to be working for this wholesome brand. I've been fortunate enough to attend their big pow-wow events for their employees in the past so I know how they operate behind the scenes. The Watsons team really does feel like a BIG family and they do take good care of their peeps (at kasama na rin ako dun!). 
So I hope to see you guys at Watsons! They have so many items on Buy One Take One right now so drop by a Watsons near you to be part of the Switch and Save Phenomenon :)

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