Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vacation from Life

"I want a life I won't need a vacation from"

When you've been working for more than 3 years, you start to settle into a routine and some of the passion you used to have dissepates. It's not really a matter of choice, it just happens. From pushing for a promotion, you start looking forward to vacation leaves and taking a break from work. It's a sad thought but that is the reality for a lot of young professionals.

I like to travel--you probably have figured that out by now. I've always believed that travelling is something you do to "add" to yourself. To help you grow. To help you mature.

But there are times that the idea of travelling loses its purpose. You begin to travel for the sake of travelling. Just because. And then in the middle of your trip, despite the activities you engage in, you start feeling empty.

You start questioning why you're even on that trip. What's the point of all of it?

It's sad when you get this realization in the middle of a trip. And then you realize, what you really need is not a vacation; is not a break from your routine. Or a lame excuse to start growing up. What you need is a life you don't need a vacation from.

It's so easy to get overworked and start wanting a brief break from it all. So you start planning a vacation. But instead of it being a thing you look forward to, it becomes just that-- a break from the routine.

I miss the times when vacations meant more than just a break. Vacations should also be about the place you go to. About embracing the culture; taking in all the sights and sounds; getting engrossed in the moment. Of forgetting about yourself and your issues and just being there. Being present. Knowing that you are blessed and that trip is not a break from your life, but part of it.

That feeling that you're not running away from something but just continuing what you had. Of not looking at foreign lands as the greener pasture, because in your reality, what you have, whether at home or abroad is the greener pasture. There is no line separating your reality. There is no concept of "vacationing" or "taking a break from reality" because ALL OF THIS is your reality.

I hope none of us will ever lose the vigor to travel. But I also hope that none of us will look at travelling as a means of running away from something. We don't need a vacation. We don't need a break. Our lives today, whether we are in the home base or travelling elsewhere, is OUR life. It is all of it. When we're abroad, it doesn't mean we become another person. We are still the same people we were when we left. Still have the same issues. Still face the same problems. Our realities did not change. We just happen to be in another country.

I hope all of us would have the kind of life we won't need a vacation from. And that the concept of vacationing be that which we look forward to not one that we feel like we NEED.

Here's to travelling the world, not for the sake of it or because we need a break, but because seeing the world is something we've dreamt of doing. It is a goal in itself, not a just something to waste time on.

//Photos from my recent Singapore- Malaysia trip :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Philippine Gourmet Chocolate

Move over Belgian chocolates, we have a new king in town! Give a warm welcome to something I'm very proud of-- PHILIPPINE gourmet chocolates.

A few days ago, we featured Ralfe Gourmet, a Cebu-based chocolate company in an event featuring Philippine gourmet chocolate.

Ralfe Gourmet started in the business selling tablea. Its founder, Raquel Choa is an amazing chocolatier who got her love for chocolate from her grandmother. The business is only 4 years young and has just recently moved past selling tablea to creating the most sumptuous locally made chocolate creations.

Now they carry pralines, truffles, alfajores, tartufinis, and other delectable artisan chocolates. What makes these special is that not only are the cacao locally grown (from Cebu and Davao), they are also hand crafted with love. Amazing!
I personally love the chocolate pralines with cacao nib. Cacao nib is the cacao bean without the shell that is roasted and  fermented. When you bite into it, you get tiny hard bits which reminds me of coffee beans. It is very interesting!
Another favorite is the chocolate with rice crispies. I like this because you can have it two ways-- on its own or drop it in a hot mug of milk for a really tasty chocolate drink! Perfect for kids :)

They even have chocolate pandesal! Which I believe would go perfect with tablea (of course!)

Ralfe offers flavored tableas. They pride themselves in having perfected the tablea so you won't have that grainy texture common in grocery-store tableas. If you're too lazy to melt your own choco drink, you may want to try these powdered versions instead:
The most amazing-- and I mean AMAZING-- thing about these is that they are flavored! There are twenty flavors to choose from like strawberry, cherry, green apple, hibiscus, the list goes on! The flavors are all natural so apart from drinking premium chocolate, you also know that everything you're taking in is good for you as well.
I had such a great time manning the booth at the event (no, I don't work for Ralfe). It's a good feeling when you market something you also believe in. I am no chocolate fan but Ralfe Gourmet has made me appreciate good chocolate. And they have also made me feel very proud to be Filipino. Can you believe we have our own chocolates now? They're super tasty too!

Ralfe Gourmet is based in Cebu and will be opening their first store at the end of November. I can't wait to see their business grow. Truly, this is another proof that we Filipinos have so much potential and talent, worthy of competing in the international market.

Congratulations Ralfe Gourmet! Congratulations Raquel, Alfred and Ed! :)

For more information, check out their website at www.ralfegourmet.com

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wearing Our Color Proud

So last Sunday, I went with Kaye, our lucky winner, to Philippe Tordjman Le Salon at Sofitel Philippine Plaza to have our hair colored.

You know that my hair is colored but you probably don't know that I've never had it professionally done before. I am too much of a cheapskate and a DIY-er that I believe I can achieve that perfect hair color without going to the salon. Well, I have proven that I indeed can pull off a decent hair color but really, it is always better to trust your hair with professionals. On the one hand, it was Kaye's first hair coloring session so she was really excited-- we both were!

After quite a long consultation with the colorists (we had so many questions!), we finally settled on what we wanted to go for. Since my hair color is still nice and intact, the colorist suggested I get highlights. Kaye went for an ash brown shade with highlights.

We look so goofy in this photo! Oh, the things girls go through for beauty!
I really loved that there was a consultation before the treatment. I know that there are people who know exactly what they want when it comes to hair color but not me. I want it to look natural to actually blend in my features, not stand out. My only goal when it comes to coloring my hair is that I get it to match my brown eyes. That is why I was really excited to try L'Oreal's Wear Your Color Proud campaign because that is exactly what they wanted to achieve-- find that perfect hair color that would enhance your features and show the most beautiful you.

As you can see in the right photo, my hair is actually already brown so there's not much they had to do with it. I would like that it be lighter though and have a bit more depth, so my colorist suggested highlights. After around two hours in the salon, we were done!
Taken under fluorescent light
Ta-dah! I am so happy with how my hair turned out! The colorists were also very pleased with it that while they were blow drying my hair, they kept telling me how the color suits me. The photo do not give it justice, I tell you! It's so much prettier in actual. I have yet to take a photo under sunlight, I'm betting it's so much more beautiful under the sun/natural light.

Thank you so much L'Oreal for giving us beautiful hair! A big shout out to the team at Philippe Tordjman Le Salon! You guys are the best! Thank you for treating us well and for being so patient with us.

You guys have the chance to wear your color proud too! Avail of this week-long promo for L'Oreal hair coloring treatments in the partner salons of L’Oreal Professionnel: Bench Fix Salon; Bang’s Tony & Jackey; Henri Calayag Salon; Philippe Tordjman Le Salon (Sofitel Hotel) and  Regine’s.

 C'mon girls, give yourselves a treat! (and a friend too!), join us wear our colors proud!

This has been Ninin, #proudchinita signing out :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Turning Egyptian

So what did you go as this Halloween? Me, I went as Cleopatra.

I am very proud of my costume this year because I made most of it myself. Save for the white dress, which is actually a beach cover-up, everything I am wearing I sewed myself.

I didn't get to prepare much for my costume. I was so lazy that instead renting out/buying something I just decided to DIY it. I bought all my materials from SM Department store. I got white felt, ribbons and trimmings. Everything was made in a rush that I was really surprised when it turned out pretty nice in the end.

Even if I really don't have any experience in sewing garments before, I decided to go with felt because I really wanted to be able to wear it again. I didn't wait it to be another of my usual arts and crafts projects that end up in the thrash after just one event. So if anyone is looking for an Egyptian costume, you may rent out mine. Hehe
I'm really proud of how this turned out, it makes me think I may have a future making clothes or costumes. 

I still can't believe my beach dress worked perfect in my Egyptian ensemble. Even those Aldo shoes I've had for the longest time (and which I thought didn't look very Egyptian at all), proved to be perfect for this look. I know it sounds conceited but when you didn't really plan something so much and DIY-ed most of it, you can't help feel really happy when things turn out right :)

Please don't mind so much the awkward makeup. I really am not very particular about makeup, I can only do theater makeup which is extravagant and allows me to play with colors. I chose a bright green mineral eye shadow for my eyes and lined it with liquid eye liner to achieve Cleopatra's look. 

Hope you all had a great Halloween too! 

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