17 April 2014

Life needs more beaches and bonfires.

I just need some time in a beautiful place to clear my head.

This is a scheduled post. By the time this gets posted, I will have been on a bus on the way to Zambales to spend the long break there with my friends. My friend who also spent the Holy Week there last year said we shouldn't expect the place to be like Puerto Galera where parties abound - instead we should expect quiet and calm - and that's perfect for me. I am looking forward to early morning yoga, watching the sun rise and set, feeling the sand between my toes, and bonding with my friends. Most importantly, I am looking forward to the chance to clear my head and heart and write.

Ah, except for the smell of books, maybe. Hee.
I am so excited. I will be back in Manila on Saturday. May you guys have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week as well. Ciao for now!

"At the beach, life is different. A day moves not from hour to hour but leaps from mood to moment. We go with the currents, plan around the tides, follow the sun. We measure happiness by nothing we can hold, nothing we can catch. Everywhere, life is jumping and elusive and momentously momentary."
- Sandy Gingras

16 April 2014

The Writer Tag

I don't even remember how I first came across Bea's beauty blog, all I know is that it was love at first read. I enjoyed her beauty reviews not only because they're succinctly written but also because her writing style is so fresh and crisp. You should also totally check her Luxola articles out, too! I wish she updates her blog more frequently but hey, readers can't be whiners. Anyway, I excitedly clicked on her post The Writer Tag because it's something that spoke directly to *me* as an aspiring writer when what do you know, I reached the end and saw she tagged me! Me! ME! Eeeek! That was a whoah moment for me because as I said, I am a fan and, well, I didn't think my current posts are at par with my old posts I liked. Anyway, blabber babbler, here are my answers to The Writer Tag.

1. What type of writing do you do?

Fiction and non-fiction in the form of this blog. I also used to dabble with poetry although I can't do that anymore now and I don't know why. I am also currently trying to write a romance novella.

2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?

This blog is filled with personal, beauty and fashion, and lifestyle posts mostly, although even when I post press releases I try to inject as much of my own voice as I can into them. As for fiction, I prefer romance and YA, but I would also like to try my hands on fantasy/ mythology.

3. How long have you been writing?

Does constructing entire fantasy worlds in my head count? If so, for as long as I could remember. As a child I had kingdoms, mystical worlds, jungles, and cities ruled by my Barbie dolls. I also really enjoyed my English and Filipino classes especially whenever we were asked to write on our formal theme notebooks and wrote a lot of poems when I was in high school. 

4. Are you published?

Only on our school folio and online (I used to write for a women's website based in Singapore). I never got the courage to submit articles to local newspapers and magazines. :(

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

This is horrible of me, but I don't remember. o_0

6. Why do you write?

I write because I feel everything too much. I write because the world is full of stories. I write because the world needs more stories.

7. How do you find time to write?

I just do. I almost always carry a notebook with me, but if there's no pen and paper around I make do by typing it down on my phone. Sometimes I repeat a line in my head over and over again just to make sure I commit it to memory and then write it down the first chance I get.

8. When and where are the best times to write?

Any time is the best time, although I have a day job so I only get to take care of this blog and/ or do some serious writing when I get home. I can also stay home all weekend and just write.

9. Favorite food/ drinks while writing?

Nothing in particular. Depends on what I feel like eating in that moment. I'm a moody eater.

10. Your writing playlist?

None. This is weird of me, but I find my thoughts really noisy as it is so when there's music I get really distracted. Playing music makes me sing along and forget what I originally wanted to write in the first place, so sometimes I just put my earphones on just to block everything out and listen to nothing.

11. What do family/ friends/ loved ones think of you writing?

I haven't really checked, although I know that they're happy I'm doing what I love doing. Some of those I rarely see because of distance and circumstance even tell me they read my blog to check out what's up with me these days. I have a friend who's so enthusiastic about my decision to write my first novella that he has begun pushing me every chance he gets. "Why are you texting? You should be writing your book. Get to it!" was the reply I got earlier ha ha.

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

That feeling you get when you see and feel everything coming together. ♡  

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

Technical writing. Ask me to write a formal business letter and I'll look back at you with a blank look.

14. What do you use to write with and on?

I type directly on Blogspot when I'm writing new blog posts. For my notes, I have a stash of notebooks on hand and I just pluck any of them when inspiration strikes. For my romance novella, I am using a rust-orange notebook given to me by a friend. It's not my favorite color but I hope it's bright enough to goad me when I'm feeling like procrastinating.

15. How do you overcome writer's block?

I try to write around it, but if nothing really comes I just don't force it and watch or read instead.

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

I don't really *need* motivation because it's something I really love doing and it's something that comes naturally to me heh. However, I do get intimidated especially after reading a great book and thinking I will never be able to create something close to that, so I just tell myself that it's not a race and that I should use them as inspiration, not hurdles.

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

A LOT. I try to take away a little from every author whose work I enjoyed immensely, but off the top of my head I would say Neil Gaiman, Allie Brosh, David Levithan, Marla Miniano, and Mina V. Esguerra.

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?

Gaiman's Neverwhere, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Manix Abrera's Kikomachine Komix series, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and a lot more. Can I also include movies? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Before trilogy.

19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

20. Writing goals this year?

I would like to write and publish book after book after book, but first things first - I need to churn out 30,000 words and finish my romance novella by July. As I said in that post, I'd like my novella to be an easy and comforting read, like a nice movie in your head, or like something you'll come back to every time you just want to read something that almost feels like a friend. I want to write something that makes the reader want to soak it all in and then lend to as many of his/ her friends after. I want to write something that sticks with the reader long after the book has gathered dust and the pages yellowed mostly because I can say that about a lot of books I've loved. Such high and mighty goals, I know. But writing without dreaming of these things? Where's the fun in that?

Thanks for tagging me, Bea! I rarely answer blog memes and tags nowadays but I sure enjoyed answering this! Now this is where I get corny and say I won't be tagging anyone. Instead, anyone who wants to do this Writer Tag can go ahead and answer it! Put your links below because I would like to read your answers, too!

14 April 2014

Experience summer with Banana Peel

Wherever you're bound this summer, a comfortable pair of flip flops should always be in your list of travel essentials!

I'm planning to go out of town this Holy Week, and Banana Peel's got me covered with their newest summer collections and line of foot sprays and foot blush! Just look at these pretty little things:

I got a pair each from the Navajo, Gold Rush, and Department of Tourism collections. While my sister has already claimed the Bohol pair as hers, I'm okay because the other two are equally pretty and more suitable for a girly girl like me.

When I first encountered this flip flops brand, I admit I dismissed it as just another footwear brand. But now, oh wow, look at how much it has grown! There are so many designs available that it's so difficult to choose which one to get. Whether funky, trendy, or plains and prints, there's one for every personality! Here's a closer look at the individual pairs and their "siblings" under the same collection:


Bohol from the Department of Tourism collection

Gold Rush

Aside from the wide range of designs available for each collection, I love that all Banana Peel flip flops are comfortable to wear because they're made of 100% rubber! It's also a proudly homegrown brand and very, very affordable.

"Green" stamp
Here are other collections I wish I can add to my personal stash of flip flops (because you can never have enough!):

Great news for all environment-lovers out there! Did you know that Banana Peel has released its first collection of flip flops for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Philippines?

World Wide Fund for Nature is one of the world’s largest and most effective independent organization dedicated to the conservation of nature. With bases in over 100 countries and supported by nearly five million people worldwide, their aim is to build a future where humans and animals live together in harmony.

The statement flip flops Banana Peel has designed in collaboration with WWF are designed not just to make people aware of the current environmental situations present but actually enable citizens to participate in WWF’s advocacy. For every pair of flip flops sold from the Men’s and Ladies’ Marine Life collection, part of the proceeds go into funding marine conservation programs to help save our seas! Here are the designs available from this collection:

What a wonderful advocacy! Make your summer extra meaningful by purchasing a pair of two!

Are you ready for summer? I am!

Share your Banana Peel experience with these hashtags: #ExperienceBananaPeel and #EveryonesFavoriteFlipFlops! Connect with Banana Peel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You may also visit their website here. What about you, what are your summer plans? Share them below!

12 April 2014

The goal is to avoid the lonely land of undeveloped plots.

You know how I always say I love writing and that one of my biggest dreams is to write at least one book? You know how I even have a Pinterest board filled with pins on writing techniques and encouragements? You know how I've purchased more than enough notebooks saying they'll be my writing journals that will document my book-writing process, but have remained blank until now?

You know how I always say I will do it, I will get to it, but never really get anything done?


Earlier today I attended Mina V. Esguerra's #romanceclass, a mentorship program with the goal of producing a romance novella with at least 30,000 words by the end of a three-month period. Sixteen "students" from the first batch have completed their own romance novellas, and most of the books I reviewed for the Book Blog Tour were actually part of the program. That's the goal. I first got interested to join not only for the output, but also because a support group can prove to be very valuable. If there's anyone who can facilitate this, it's Mina because she churns out characters and romantic plots like it's nobody's business.

After much deliberation (mostly because I was having self-doubts and Greenhills is just too far), I signed up past midnight last night. Good thing I still got in! But then, when I woke up this morning those thoughts came back and I was tempted to not go and just stay in the house watching movies, but NO. I owe it to my 14 year old self, who dreamed of being a published author before she reaches 30, to step up and JUST DO IT.

Good thing I did.

I have two batchmates: Justine and Bea. After introducing ourselves to one another, Mina explained the goals and rules of the program. What I love most about workshops is the immediate feedback, and our mentor had lots of that. When we were given an exercise to compose our story's description, the main characters' descriptions, and the ending, everyone was too busy scribbling on their notebooks and not looking up (except for me because I took a peek hihi)!

Bea, Justine, Mina, and me
A confession: I can't concentrate on what I'm writing (even if it's just an inane blog post) when there's music. I hear the song, get distracted, and sing along until I've forgotten what it is I wanted to write in the first place. Something magical happened today, though. Since I had no choice but to write within the 30-minute time frame until I was done, I did it even with Toast Box's background music! I couldn't believe it. That alone was worth going to far-away Greenhills for me!

It was such an inspiring afternoon! I went in full of apprehensions and with zilch plot ideas, but I walked away with a plot AND an ending that I couldn't wait to explore completely! Ideas were freely flowing in even while I was on my way home, and that's how you know #romanceclass is the excellent way to jump-start my dream. My characters don't have names yet but I am so excited because they feel so alive to me right now. Now I just need to soldier on and make sure this excitement doesn't fizzle.

30,000 words by July... Do you think I can do it? I think I can! I mean, this will be my first output if ever, so I am not expecting something in the leagues of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or the Before trilogy. Aside from *actually* finishing it though, I'd like it to be well-writtenI'd like my novella to be an easy and comforting read, like a nice movie in your head, or like something you'll come back to every time you just want to read something that almost feels like a friend.

It's a romance novella but I swear I will ease on the cheese and not make you want to retch.

I breezed through college without having to leaf through Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, but I actually passed by a bookstore earlier to get my own copy. For this project, I am using an orange notebook given to me by my friend Mike. It's not my favorite color in the world but I'm hoping it'll be enough to jolt me and tell me, "Reach out for me! Grab me! WORK ON ME!" whenever I want to procrastinate, which I hope will not happen a lot.

Oh well. Wish me luck and cross your fingers for me, will ya? This is it!

Zalora Pop-up Shop!

Do you remember the first time you bought something online? I do. It was when I was still working on the night-shift for my first job. Since I get off work at 2 AM, my family and friends were already asleep and I had no one to talk to, no one to make plans to meet up with. Having nothing better to do, I started online shopping and immediately got hooked. There was a time it got so bad that a different package arrived every day! My father even warned me that he would boil all my shoes if another delivery came the next day, that I got stealthy and asked my officemate if I can have my online buys delivered to her house instead. Tsk, bad Krissy.

These days, I still shop online but for the most part I have already learned to control the "urge". Nevertheless, the anticipation, the thrill of opening a package even when you already know what's inside, the joy of seeing all those pretty little things unwrapped... It's been almost seven years but the feeling never really goes away.

My birthday dress from Celine that I got from Zalora at 20% off during a flash sale!
Zalora, the biggest online shop in Southeast Asia, is celebrating their second year in the Philippines this month! One of their offerings is a pop-up shop in Glorietta Palm Drive Activity Center to entice non-online shoppers and teach them online shopping is quick, reliable, and oh-so-convenient! I got to drop by the pop-up shop during my lunchbreak yesterday and I had lots of fun ogling the merchandise available!

I spot familiar faces! Bloggers Angela, David, and Aisa were asked to participate in the Cheers to Two Years! shoot
Zalora Co-founder and Managing Director Paulo Campos
We all went around the many racks set up there after the program, and I took some photos for you guys!

Everything is organized by size so it's much easier to scour for your perfect pair
I'm a size 7!
In the end though, I decided it would be too much of a hassle to remove my boots just to fit shoes so I wandered off to the other racks instead.

Zalora is also now available on Android and iOS!
I spent all my money on my party so I had to be mindful of my shopping budget. These are the pieces that didn't make the "cut":

I really liked this sweater but I had to let it go because summer! Heat! Humidity!
I also just had to take photos with the men and women of the hour!

With Angela and David
With Aisa
Ava, cutie Athan, and myself with Mr. Campos
After much deliberation, these are what came home with me:

A light gray Vila blazer with neon piping for only P1,000 and watercolor print Something Borrowed dress for only P500!
I've been eyeing this dress online for so long and I'm so happy I finally have it now!
Everything is at more than 50% off! Jackets are at P1,000, dresses, tops, and bottoms are at P300 to P500, while flats are at P300 and heels are at P500! Crazy! Make sure to drop by the Glorietta Palm Drive Activity Center this weekend because the Zalora pop-up shop will be there until tomorrow only! Check out the #GloriettaXZalora hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to view more awesome fashion finds snapped by shoppers themselves. For those who can't visit the pop-up shop, just browse through Zalora's expansive selection online. While you're at it, make sure to join their mailing list so you can be sent special discount voucher codes and be informed of flash sales. ;)

Thanks so much, Zalora! Happy second birthday and more power!

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