Travel Tuesday: My 29th country UAE

Kimono Dress by Mich Araullo
ALLELUIA!!!! 29 countries in my 28 years! I got an advance pass! This means I don't need to travel next year! My bank passbook can rest a bit! Hahaha!:) I've been to the UAE a couple of times but only confined to the airport (layovers) so technically I couldn't include it on my list just yet. But now, it's officially numero 29! The best thing about this trip..it was absolutely FREE!!! What a blessing to be able to travel for work.. it just so happens that it's work that I actually enjoy! Of course, many thanks to the SHELL family for sending me to Abu Dhabi to experience Ferrari world (I'll be blogging about that real soon!!). We were given some free time in between our work requirements, so I used the time wisely to explore as much as I could.
I'll be honest with you, Abu Dhabi is FAR from what I expected. I was quite disappointed with myself and my preconceived notions. First of all, I sort of pictured Abu Dhabi to be similar to Cairo..then it hit me, Cairo is third world and Abu Dhabi is first world. In fact, it was once dubbed the most expensive city in the world! I was expecting Morocco/Cairo meets Old Manila/Ermita and instead I got a Switzerland meets Singapore! The city is booming with progress, everything's grand and modern. We were billeted at the luxurious Yas Viceroy Hotel right at the Yas Marina Circuit. I had my jaw dropped the entire time as we pulled up to the driveway. This giant illuminated jellyfish-durian looking hotel is a tourist site in itself!
This image is from the web.
As soon as I entered my hotel room, I was jumping for joy!!! A big suite all to myself facing the actual Yas Marina race track!!! Ka-Gu-Lo. Of course, the whole time I was walking around the hotel I had my most pompous face fixed.Out of my way people, OUT OF MY WAYYYY!!! Rich looking female walking!!! But I think all my loud OOOHHHS and AAAHHHS sort of gave me away and I looked like a kid completely mesmerized. While having breakfast I had the view of the race track and the docks. Para bang galit na galit sila sa pera nila... "I want race cars..KABLAM..and yachts..KABOOOMM..in the same place!!!! Kapow, Kapoof, Kacheng-Kacheng!" Very 1970s ang sound effects ko.
We planned a trip to a local souk on our first day so I dressed up all rugged ready for a day of haggling with aggressive locals. I pictured small muddy streets, camel dung, and endless lines of spices, tapestries and carpets. Instead, we saw a mall. A very clean mall. Yes, their souks look like malls. Airconditioned with gelato booths and a Starbucks. How I wish we had clean markets too! Imagine having sanitized and  airconditioned "palengkes"!? I kept asking the locals to lead me to their "old, traditional souks" but apparently they've renovated all the old markets decades ago. That's what happens when you've got so much OIL. Hahaha! And the people were all so pleasant! I was almost pissed that the people were too nice. Plus these Emiraties do like them fancy cars!!! Beemers, Rovers, Jags, and Maybachs all over the place! Huy, side mirror niyo lang ang dami ng mapapakain na bata sa bansa ko! Sarap ilabas yung side car ko sa gitna ng kalsada..BOOOM! Meron ba kayo nyan?!?! Limited edition yan at may libreng kalawang pa! Hahaha! My side car is the most fuel efficient car because you don't need fuel at all. O diba, eco friendly!:)
The highlight of my trip however was bumping into all our kababayans in the UAE. I love, love, love seeing Pinoys every time I travel and I always make it a point to chat them up..yes, I'm one of those pyscho over-friendly people who say "Pinoy ka???" with a big all knowing mousy smile. Sabay hirit "Hindi noh! Hindi ako Pinoy!" hahahaha!:) Everyone from the bell boy at the hotel, to my housekeeper, even to the guys at the food court greeted me "Kamusta na po, Miss Patty!". Even the Pinoy ground staff at Etihad was so helpful and called me by my first name! It was like an extension of Manila in Abu Dhabi and I loved it!
Overall, the UAE was quite an eye opener for me. And although I was very impressed and amazed by all their grand architecture, all the luxury and pomp..it also made me appreciate the simple joys we still enjoy back home..like fish balls in the street, taho vendors and Divisoria. :)  We may be a poor country, but we're  a happy people. The goal is for the private sector to work hand-in-hand with the government to create new policies that will provide more opportunities for our people. We don't need to be the richest country in the world, we don't need gold plated toilet bowls. People just need to be fed and children just need to be schooled. When you travel, there are always lessons you can pick up from other cultures and it's always good to somehow apply these things back home. :) So every time you take a trip abroad, get to know their history, their cultural traditions, and the systems of government..see how a country works and try to learn as much as you can. Travel is more than taking a few nice photos, buying a couple of souvenirs, it's about educating yourself and seeing the world in a whole new perspective.

I'm giving away ballet flats from Yosi Samra
to some Lucky Blog Readers!
I'm always on the lookout for comfortable walking shoes for my travels and I stumbled across the super soft on the toes--Yosi Samra ballet flats! They come in different colors so you can collect them all! :)
And since I want to share the loving with all my fellow travel bugs out there,
I have a little blog giveaway again for all of you!


1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Click LIKE on the Yosi Samra Facebook Page.
3. Answer this simple question: "If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you take your Yosi Samras?:)" Place your answer on the Yosi Samra Facebook wall and don't forget to add the hashtags #dapattylaurelblog and #myshoesize. Contest ends on Dec 1.

"I'd take my Yosi Samra ballet flats to SANTORINI, Greece! It's my dream destination and I hope I'll be able to save up enough money to travel to this lovely island someday! #dapattylaurelblog #size7"

Show some loving for our homegrown talents!

Rewind. Still a very wide-eyed 19 year old college kid, I received a phone call from MTV that changed my life forever. Because of this phone call, a 45 year old ME will hopefully bump into a 55 year old Carson Daly and say..."Hey buddy! Hey pal! I was an MTV VJ too, y'know!!! Representing the Philippine Islands! Magka-level tayo tsong!!!". Of course, he'd be on the 100th season of The Voice..while I'd be on my 100th trip to the Principal's office saying "I'm really sorry Mr. Principal, nagmana po sa tatay." I remember meeting Donita Rose years after our VJ-ing days and praying to God that she'd remember me! I was so worried she'd go "Oh yeah, I remember you..you were an intern, right?" Hey, it's friggin' Donita Rose..if she said she remembered me from her grade school in the States, a school I've never even set foot in, I'd still be kilig! :) But thankfully, she DID remember and today I consider her one of my dearest friends. Sabi ko sa inyo, sikat ako nung panahon..kayo talaga wala kayong tiwala sa celebrity street cred ko eh! Former Shizzzzniiiiiit ito mga kapatid, Shiiiiz-niiiit. I put the INIT in SHIIIIZZZNIT!:)

My MTV days were indeed exciting times. I met so many interesting people, mostly musicians of course--from the upcoming artists to musical legends. Prior to MTV, I was already a big music lover, but my experience in the music industry made me even more aware of all the wonderfully talented Filipinos in the scene. Since then, I've been a big supporter of homegrown talents and even if I'm no longer a veejay, I still try my best to promote local artists as much as I can.

Sadly, I was never blessed with a good singing voice (I guess God decided to bless me with killer looks and brains nalang, hayyyy,you can't have it all daw...ang malas ko naman! HAHAHAHA kapal!) so I've always been on the listening end. But what I do realize is that WE the listeners, the fans, the active audience are responsible for the success of each musician. Without US, these musicians won't have careers! They won't have gigs to play, they won't have songs to put on the airwaves, they won't be inspired to come up with lyrics and harmonies if they don't have an audience to sing their songs to. So yes, WE matter. You and I can create a huge impact in the music scene!

So let's not wait for Oprah or Ellen to discover local talents for US. Let's make the initiative and do our part, let's promote our own Filipino musicians! Pasikatin natin sila dito at pasikatin natin sila sa buong mundo :) If your MP3 playlist is 99% comprised of International artists, why not leave a few gigabytes for some local musicians too? And don't stop there, spread the word! If you discover a talented Pinoy, post it on Facebook, Twitter, drop a few encouraging comments on their Youtube channels! If you're based abroad, tell all your friends about the Filipino musicians you've discovered..send them links or play their music at a Friday night gathering. Your small gestures can do so much to boost the Pinoy music scene.

Speaking of local acts, here are 3 artists I'm loving right now!:) A few posts back I've already featured the luscious electro-pop diva, Amber Davis. Today, I'm also sharing a catchy dance track by Brenan and also a light and airy song by Julianne.  I urge you to watch these music videos and if you'd like to share the positivity online, take a few seconds to share them on your FB, Twitter, etc pages! For all our kababayans abroad, ipagmalaki niyo na 'tong World Class Pinoy performers to all your friends and relatives there as well!:)

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/filamber
Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/filamber
Subscribe to her channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/filamber

Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/brenan_e
Subscribe to his channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/brenanmusic
Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/juliannetarroja
Subscribe to her channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/juliannetarroja


Special thanks to Patria David for these wonderful portraits!







Check out their gigs and get their music downloads here: www.audioclefvault.com

Wise words from H.Jackson Brown Jr.

via@thecoolhunter 

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Lovers out there!




I CAN TOTALLY RELATE!!!
Dang, this video is hilarious!

Hi Tech Savvy Parlor: THE BLOUNGE

If you're a working girl like me, you rarely have time to pamper yourself so when I got an invite from the lovely Ms. Rossel Taberna to check out the newly opened THE BLOUNGE in QC I made sure I cleared my schedule for a day of beautification! I called up my buddy Muffin, who was also in dire need of a day of prettifying. So we set the date and met up for some kikay time together. On most days when I'm shuttling from one place to another, my hair is usually in a bun or ponytail. Oh, how I wish I could wake up in the morning and have a stylist blow-dry my hair para vavavoooooom ako araw-araw. Kung pwede lang magkaroon ng isang closet kung saan papatirahin ko yung isang hair stylist! Maglalagay naman ako ng Egg Sandwich at Coleman sa loob ng closet..at may butas naman para makakahinga naman siya..ano akala niyo sa akin? Hello, Human Rights yun! Hahahaha!!! I kid, I kid. I hope the hair stylists dont stone me to death upon reading this. I guess every girl just wishes she could wake up and have that "galing parlor" look each day..but if you're no Beyonce or Oprah, we can sadly only afford this special treatment on rare occasions. 

A trip to the salon is such a precious thing for busy urban dwellers like moi..it's almost sacred to have something as simple as a blow-dry or freshly polished toe nails! It's vanity but it's also sanity. These are simple joys that we girls need once in a while :)  Luckily, there's a new spot in QC for all my Northerner buddies!
The Blounge boasts of it's high tech savvy vibe by offering each guest a personal IPAD to use while having their treatments. Seeing the IPADs laying on each dresser was the ultimate ALLELUIA moment! I was so happy I was able to reply to the dozens of emails I left pending while having a hot-oil treatment and a pedicure :) Muffin, on the other hand, enjoyed playing some Diner Dash while having her hair colored. The staff at The Blounge were all very accommodating and professional. They took the time to explain all the treatments very thoroughly, which I really appreciated. :) The price points are very affordable too, especially for the level of service they offer. Kayang kaya ng small Teacher's Budget namin ni Muffin :) We looked totally smashing but were saddened by the fact that both our boyfriends were busy and nowhere near QC. We ended up going on a date after..just me and Muffin looking drop dead gorgeous for NO ONE!Nyehhhhh!:) Of course as soon as I got home, I skyped Patrick to brag about my silky, shiny hair at syempre binola-bola niya ako like a well trained boyfriend. Magaling hijo! HAHAHA! :) 
The Blounge Salon
2/F Hodge Podge Bldg. 139 Mother Ignacia St., Quezon City 
(in front of ELJ Bldg. ABS-CBN)


YOU COULD WIN A 
COMPLETE BEAUTY MAKEOVER
 from The Blounge!
1. Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Click LIKE on the Blounge Facebook Page.
3. In only 3 sentences, tell me why YOU deserve a makeover from The Blounge Salon. Send your name, address and answer to pattylaurelblog@gmail.com before Nov 30, 2011. The winners will be notified via email. Good luck y'all :)

FASHION FRIDAY: Wear it Forward

As a former preschool teacher, this instantly warmed my heart. And since I'm a fan of simple, the KADA concept was something I was easily impressed with. Sell shirts, Send kids to preschool. I encourage you all to take a few minutes to browse through the website, get to know the brand and see how you can be a part of this Wear It Forward movement!:) The shirts come in different sizes, colors, and designs and are perfect as Christmas gifts! So buy 20 shirts for your cousins, titas, titos...another 20 for your officemates..and another 20 for yourself!!! :) I promise you, it'll be a guilt free shopping experience knowing that your loved ones will be receiving a nice shirt to wear and that a cute little boy/girl will be receiving the gift of education this Christmas. Whether you buy 20 shirts or just 1 top, you will be such a big blessing to someone. 
20 SHIRTS SOLD=1 KID IN PRESCHOOL


"We are five young entrepreneurs who always dreamed about giving back to society. We believed that every action can make a difference, no matter how small. So we decided to create KADA, a brand that we’d believe in, a company we’d love working for, with products we’d be proud to wear, for a cause that has always been close to our hearts: education to those who need it the most.

Wear it Forward program is not CSR program (corporate social responsibility). It is what KADA is all about. Our Wear it forward program (for every 20 shirts sold, KADA will send one kid to school) is the heart and soul of the KADA. In fact, we talk about our sales goals not in peso amount, but with how many kids we are targeting to send to school.

KADA’s “Wear it Forward” program, in partnership with Cartwheel Foundation, started off its inaugural efforts supporting a couple of schools in Bukidnon, Philippines that gives primary education to preschoolers. We decided to start with them because these schools are struggling to reach out for help and yet are almost virtually impossible reach (physically - it took us almost 24 hours of 5 different modes of travel with a 7 hour hike to even reach the schools). Even the Philippine government has yet to know that these schools exist. With Cartwheel’s help, we are aspiring to provide education where it is truly needed the most."


 WEAR IT FORWARD NOW AND HELP FILL UP THIS CLASSROOM AND EVEN MORE CLASSROOMS AROUND THE PHILIPPINES!

If only I looked this COOL in person.


In ♥ with this portrait by 
talented graphic artist Patria David!

The Sultans of the Desert

Photo by Sven Wiesner
DESERT-CHIC SHEIKS and their gangsta bodyguard

What happens when friends and friends-of-friends randomly get together in a strange and foreign city like Abu Dhabi?! Madness. 24 hours of crazy. What happens in the desert, stays in the desert. 6 Filipinos+1 German+a handful of local Shieks and Sultans= One Wild Party in the middle of nowhere!!! We met some not so friendly camels and shrieked like crazy while WADI bashing (dune bashing) in our 4x4 Land Cruiser. Thank God our driver Oman was confident in driving up and down those slippery slopes..I seriously thought we'd tip over and get stuck in the sand for days!

Marc and Jinno provided the entertainment (by role playing and dressing up as Sultans), Von and Karina were busy charming the local boys, Loralee and I enjoyed some traditional hubbly bubbly (shisha), and Sven was our official DJ for the evening..bringing us some old school beats by Snoop Dogg and Dr.Dre in the desert!

It was a star-studded event, with actual stars (and I'm not talking about celebrities but constellations) dotted all over the perfectly clear sky! We decided to take out all our sleeping bags from our tents and chose to just go all out by sleeping in the wide open space. Words cannot describe the feeling you get waking up to an eerie, quiet and cold Arabian desert. Kakaiba. But what I can describe is how much we reeked of camel the following day! Wala ng toothbursh at ligo-ligo pag nasa disyerto! The group that doesnt shower together, stays together. Hahaha!!:)



SAND to SAND
From the Desert to the Beach!
Just thought I'd do a double post today :)


So I just arrived a few hours ago from Abu Dhabi and on my way home, I was greeted by the awful holiday traffic! And just like that, it hit me! PASKO NA!!! It's Christmas season again so I've been sort of on a panic mode since I only have a few tick marks on my gift list. I still have a lot of girls and boys (who have been both naughty and nice) on my list and I hope to play Santa to them even in a very small way. Luckily, a friend of mine referred me to this online store called The Little Pinky Store. The brand is very boho-beach babe which I love especially since I enjoy dressing in boho tropical chic, even during our monsoon season. There's always something about the island fashion culture that makes you feel so relaxed and in tune with nature! It's easy fashion which flatters any body type. I've ordered a couple of pieces from their store already and I must say the prices are very easy on the pocket :) TLPS has everything from wallets, earrings, shirts, to sunglasses, bags, and other accessories! Take your pick!:)




Click here to visit The Little Pinky Store.

I'm giving away Cute Canvas Bags from 
The Little Pinky Store
 to Some Lucky Blog Readers!

1. Click LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2. Click LIKE on the TLPS Facebook page.
3. Send your name and address to pattylaurelblog@gmail.com before November 27.

Excited to share my little Abu Dhabi advenchooooor with all of you soon!:)


The places I MUST see before I die and meet Good 'Ol Papa Jesus

PORTILLO, CHILE
BONN, GERMANY
 KUEKENHOF, NETHERLANDS
 LANTERN FESTIVAL, TAIWAN
SAGONO BAMBOO GROVE, JAPAN
YUNNAN, CHINA

All these images are from www.thefancy.com.

When I grow up, I want to dance like this kid!!!



Wala ata siyang buto, he's made of jell-o!:)

Fashion with a Conscience: The Toms Story


I'll be honest. I don't own a single pair of TOMS. I always thought it was just a cult brand for the Surfer, Nature-loving market. I knew that it was a good brand with a charitable mission. But the specifics, I wasn't fully aware of. All I knew was that they had cute designs, they looked mighty comfortable and all the cool kids in Alabang were sporting them. It's such a shame that I only got re-acquainted with the brand about 2 weeks ago. Had I known that this was what TOMS was all about, I would have bought myself a couple of pairs years ago! Friends, I don't like to hard-sell as I hate being hard-sold..but for this brand I will have to push every button just to reach you. After meeting with the TOMS team the other night, I am convinced that this is a product I will strongly support and hope that my dear readers will support to. Think about it this way, you need cute and comfortable shoes right? So why not pick a brand that allows you to DIRECTLY affect another person's life. It's not as if we're encouraging a dole out..they're shoes that are worth every penny, durable and stylish..and ultimately shoes that will do you good and another person good. ONE for ONE. Simple, no frills, straight to the point. Please watch the video below, it's only a 3 minuter so clickity-click-click!


WHY SHOES?
In many developing countries, children must walk barefoot for miles to school, clean water and medical help.Hundreds of millions of children are at risk of injury, infection and soil-transmitted diseases that most can't afford to prevent and treat. Children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, and access to education is a critical determinant of long-term success. A village of healthy, educated children have a better chance of improving the future of their entire community.- TOMS

FAST Facts About TOMS
THERE IS NO TOM
Our founder's name is Blake. TOMS is actually an abbreviation for "Shoes for a Better Tomorrow", but we couldn't get that on the back of a shoe, so we shortened it to TOMS.

WE ARE CONSIDERATE OF LOCAL BUSINESSES
Going in and trampling the local economy would be downright un-TOMSy. We always try to make sure there won't be any mom and pop shoe makers put out of business by our giving activities.

WE DONT GIVE ONCE AND LEAVE
We keep giving. Kids grow out of shoes. So we strive to set up sustainable giving partnerships that allow us to give repeatedly as children grow.

WE DONT DO IT ALONE
As of September, our customers have given away 1,000,000 pairs of shoes (awesome), and could only have done so through our vetted NGO partners on the ground in each location. If our little family of employees had to do that all themselves, they'd never have time to make new shoes or answer your calls.

WE DONT GIVE GLITTER OR WEDGES TO CHILDREN
Promise. Not to say they wouldn't like them, but the shoes hand-placed on children's feet are specially designed for their terrain and environment.

GIVING ISN'T INSTANTANEOUS
When a purchase is made, it takes about 4-6 months from purchase to feet.

KIDS DONT MAKE OUR SHOES
This one is for the real cynics out there. Our factories in Argentina, Ethiopia, and China are all AAA rated, and third-part audited to ensure they employ no child labor, and pay fair wages.

WE DONT JUST "DECIDE" TO START GIVING SHOES TO A VILLAGE
We're learning a lot, but still rely heavily on local experts to determine our areas of giving.


Visit their Facebook Page for more details 
on how you can get involved!
SO What's NEXT for TOMS???

Imagine my excitement when I heard about the EYEWEAR line! Can you imagine being able to bring the gift of SIGHT to someone?! Wow. And the shades are topnotch too! Syempre nag-feeling eyewear models na kami..I loved all their designs, classic with that unique twist. High quality with intricate details on the actual frames :)

            
Thanks Mich Araullo for my summery top!:)

Alessa and I wanted to help TOMS in our own little way so we thought of making this little instructional video for the TOMS Paper Lantern :) If you have a minute to spare, please watch our little labor of love. More details about this Christmas Project here!



Be part of the ONE for ONE movement!
www.toms.com

Love is in the Air


I stumbled across this post on Facebook by my friend Ferdy this morning "‎3,285 days of marital bliss. More than 10,000 meals shared. 50 lbs added between the 2 of us. :) Happy 108th wedding monthsary! it's been a great 9 years! I love you Bing!" and just like that I was inspired to make this little tribute post to all the wonderful couple friends I know. I was about to write another mushy post but I guess my readers have had enough of all that...so allow me to send you my love through the musical genius of the BEACH BOYS!!! 1-2-3 IT'S KISSING-KISSING TIME!!!!:) 


It's time for a JUJU for YOU 
and a JUJU for HIM, too.
The Holiday season is fast approaching so instead of waiting for New Year's to start your healthy lifestyle..why not start getting fit NOW?! This is the perfect time to detoxify and give your organs a much needed tune up to get you set for all that holiday gluttony. I teamed up with JUJU Cleanse once again for this special giveaway, and this time we're feeling extra generous so we're giving away 2 cleanses for you and your special someone! I'm guessing you've been taking care of each other for years..so it's time to take care of your own bodies too, but might as well do it together!:) 

I'm giving away complimentary juju cleanse packs to
 One Lucky Couple!!!

1.) Click the LIKE and TWEET buttons below.
2.) Follow @jujucleanse on Twitter.
3.) Tell me why you and your sweetheart deserve to win the Couple's Juju Cleanse in 3 sentences. Send your favorite couple photo, your brief answer, and address to pattylaurelblog@gmail.com before November 20.

*Singles are welcome to join! Just grab your mom, sister, or bff to join the contest with you! Good luck everyone!:)

Looking for a thoughtful and healthy Christmas gift? Check out the Juju packages now!

 

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