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 :)

Keeping it Casual with The Gap

A few weeks ago, THE GAP invited me (along with other global fashionistas around the world) to play dress up with their current collection. Oh what a dream!!! I've always been a fan of the brand! I was given free rein to style myself with their clothes (and adding a few personal pieces too) and so here are my 3 favorite looks. I thought I'd share the photos with you today just in case you're looking for some cool and casual outfits. And yes, all of the GAP pieces I used are available in their Manila stores. :)

Thanks again to my good friend (and awesome photographer at Little People Photography) Krissy Rodriguez. I'm not really a pro "fashion blogger", but she did such an excellent job of putting me at ease and making me feel pretty in my favorite GAP clothes.  For this shoot, we kept it easy breezy and just shot these images at home. :) :)

I love going white-on-white so I kept it immaculately clean with this GAP White Linen Button Down and White Always Skinny Skimmers.
I wanted to make these rugged Sexy Boyfriend Jeans by GAP work-appropriate so I paired it with a simple white tank, a structured pink blazer, and some heels. 
This one's the perfect lazy Saturday morning: cute Maddie Shorts and soft knit top by GAP. 
Special thanks to GAP Glorietta

Keira's Looks in Begin Again

If you haven't seen BEGIN AGAIN, please set a date to watch it PLEASE. It's a very simple story with adorable characters and catchy tunes. I won't spoil it for you but I just wanted to dedicate this morning to just marvel at Keira Knightley's clothes in the movie. I couldn't get over the impeccable styling of Indian stylist, Arjun Bhasin! She did an amazing job with Keira! Of course Keira's ballerina figure just makes her the perfect clothes hanger for these looks---BUT I really believe any woman can pull off these casual, down-to-earth looks too! Her looks are so easy on the eyes without trying too hard. :) Style crushing big time!!!!

Seafood Shack

Calling all you seafood lovers, you should start "swimming" your way to the SEAFOOD SHACK in Scout Rallos in Tomas Morato. My buddy Martin Kabigting, one of the geniuses behind this new "fishy venture" (and I mean it in a good way of course!), invited me to try their best sellers a few weeks ago along with the soon-to-be weds Muffin and Don and we had a blast. It was a super quick  (and bitin) lunch for me since I was heading to my class in Ateneo right after. Next time, I promise to stay a bit longer so I can really enjoy my seafood binge all the more.  I'll make this a quick review and go straight to the point...errr...bullet point(s) I mean. Hehehe! 
  • I am a fan of CLEAN restaurants. I do love discovering hole-in-the-wall restos with worn out interiors that add a bit of history and charm, that's all perfectly understandable. A place can be old and look a bit shabby but clean. Hygiene is a non-negotiable for me, especially when it comes to food. I don't care if you're a Michelin starred resto, if it smells like a sewer and you have dirty utensils, forget it! Hehehe! This resto wins in the CLEANLINESS department. I guess it's a given since it's brand new but I really do hope they keep it this way and maintain the level of cleanliness. 
  • I love the interiors of this resto---it reminds me of San Francisco! It helps that the interiors are crisp and clean, you don't get that "langsa" feeling especially since they serve mostly seafood in the menu. The design takes you seaside while in the concrete jungle.
  • If you're looking for a less touristy alternative to eating at a local Dampa, this may be your best bet. Masaya pa rin kumain sa Dampa, especially since they serve the freshest of the fresh but sometimes it can become a tourist and balikbayan trap with overpriced dishes. Here at Seafood Shack, you get fresh seafood without the stress of haggling---and you can still get down and dirty kamayan style. I mean, you have to admit... finger licking makes the seafood eating experience all the more fun right?
  • Their boiled shacks are quite generous and their sauces are really tasty. You can choose either Lemon Peppery, Soy Garlic, Southern Cajun, Shack Daddy (all in). These flavors don't overpower the seafood---katamtaman lang ang timpla and you can always make adjustments with the spice level too. 
  • Aside from their boiled shacks, customers can also order other none seafood items (if you have someone in the group who's allergic to seafood) like their Grilled Chicken, Pulled Pork BBQ, Chicken Hash Nachos, and Cajun Wings. I loved their Texas Cheese Sticks and Grilled corn and cheese on a cob! We had these for starters and I was sold! Sobrang sarap! And they serve dessert also!!!
  • The prices are quite reasonable especially since the serving portions are quite hefty. This is really a place for families and barkadas. 
For more information about Seafood Shack, you can visit their FB page HERE. Thanks again for having me over! 


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