Monday, October 05, 2015

Fighting the Burnout

Image from Pinterest

I posted this image on my Instagram last Tuesday. More than anything, I put this on my timeline for myself. I needed this reminder.

You see, I caught myself in a slump of sorts recently. I felt tired, drained, unmotivated. It was as if I was doing things on auto-pilot and just mentally willing the burnout to go away.

I later realized it was frustration and exhaustion that got to me. I was frustrated at my inconsistencies and mistakes. And I was tired of trying so hard, day in and day out. I suspect I also got bored with my routine.

So last week, I spent my time and energy getting back on track. I began with a longer, quieter, and deeper prayer and devotion time. This was key to everything else I was able to accomplish later on.

The gentle reminder I got from the Lord was this: my chief end is to glorify God and enjoy His love. The goals I set for myself and the drive I tried to follow--good as they are--blurred my vision of God's purpose for me. I had become too performance-oriented, and unintentionally relegated the Lord to an "office boss"--another person who added pressure to attain goals.

Imagine the peace that overcame me when I read through Proverbs again and re-discovered that God is not so much boss as He is Father.

All He wanted was for me to bask in His love! Unlike the world, God did not expect me to tick off every goal on my list. In fact, the Bible acknowledges that you and I will fail sometimes, and that is okay. God will never press us for something we don't have the energy to give.

During times of frustration and exhaustion, the Lord simply wants me (and you) to lean on Him. He is Abba Father. Make baby steps and offer tiny victories--and expect to see God respond with the great, extraordinary things.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Eat Drink and Be Married

Ok, let's take a break from our back-to-back trips. If you're a young wife and mom like me, I'd like you to get a cup of coffee or tea, your favorite pastry, sit back and relax. I am introducing you to a new online series for us: Eat, Drink and Be Married!

This show is hosted by three wonderful, beautiful ladies, all wives and moms, and real-life friends: Patty Laurel-Filart, Kelly Misa-Fernandez, and Nicole Hernandez-De Los Angeles. They just released their 2nd episode, and I tell you, you will instantly love them! They talk about topics that are close to our hearts as girls-slash-ladies-slash women... And I have to say this, they talk about these things with such candor and realness, which makes the show so easy to relate to and super fun!

You can watch the Eat, Drink, and Be Married on and! The first episode is all about Newlywed Discoveries and the second is spot-on for the single ladies!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Morning With Dinosaurs!

While putting together my Bacolod post, I suddenly remembered another trip we took last August. I quickly realized that I haven't shared much about it--which bummed me a little because I had made a mental note to spread the word about it just because we had so much fun there.

I'm talking about our little adventure to Dinosaurs Island in Clark, Pampanga!

We invited the kids' very own #TitasOfManila for the extra fun factor!
This place is perfect for those of us with kids who are into dinosaurs (an effect of the blockbuster Jurassic World perhaps?). Jaden is most certainly that kid these days. My 5-year-old is totally fascinated by dinosaurs (and dragons), and this obsession has rubbed off on his 2-year-old sister who now plays with T-rexes instead of dolls. 

Anyway, off we went to Dinosaurs Island one Saturday morning. From Metro Manila, it took us about 2 hours via the NLEX-SCTEX route. I was the one on the wheel and the drive was pretty good! 

Once in the park, we got introduced to our tour guide, Camille, and started our trek back through the dinosaur era. We saw over a dozen species of dinosaurs--many of which Jaden knew. I say this with much pride... and surprise! Before that trip, I didn't even know he understood many things about dinosaurs, their characteristics and behavior!

A Parasaurolophous. (I had to ask my son for the name and my husband for the spelling)


Pay P20 and get meat to feed the huge t-rex!

There is a Safari Ride and a 7D Super Screen within the park too. The attractions require separate tickets, which worked for us because all the kids really cared about was the Dino Trail.

I honestly had very little expectations of the place, so it was such a nice surprise that we ended up having lots of fun! I was actually quite impressed that many dinosaurs had hydraulics which causes them to move like a live dino. They even roared! The life-size replicas were ingeniously made too--attention to detail was obvious. Why, they looked real! All this made me glad we have this attraction in the Philippines--and just a car ride away from Metro Manila! 

Apart from that, though, much of my enjoyment came from seeing my children so happy and excited about the whole experience--from the road trip we took to the actual park adventure!

To know more about Dinosaurs Island,
please visit their site at

Monday, September 28, 2015

City of Smiles

Hi everyone! We've just flown back from the happiest 2-day trip in Bacolod. My husband was there for work, and he decided to take all of us with him. (Thanks, Aims!)

I love Bacolod! History and culture are rich, the people are oh-so-warm, and the food is AWESOME! Walang hindi masarap sa Bacolod!

Best of all, we got to bring both kids this time around (on our first trip, only Sophia tagged along). We had lots and lots of fun! We bonded over food, in our hotel room, and of course, while learning!

We arrived around 3 in the afternoon, which was just the perfect time to check in our hotel, L'Fisher, on Lacson Street.
She went straight to the four-poster bed. Magaling!
After settling down and changing, we headed to 21 Restaurant for their famous Batchoy.
I asked my picky-eater Jaden if the batchoy was good, he answered: "It's better than good!" 
The next day was for lakwatsa! Our first stop was Balay Negrense in Silay. I love how old houses are really goldmines for great stories of the past, so visiting this was upon my special request :)

Balay Negrense. This is a 117-year old ancestral house built by the Gaston Family. It is now a museum housing many important artifacts and antiques. 
The receiving area. It's amazing how old houses can give you a peek into the lifestyle of the past. Here, you'll see a gallinera on the left. A gallinera was a chair for 2-3 with a cage underneath the bench. The cage was used for the roosters which guests traditionally brought as gifts to the master of the house.
Girls on the left, boys on the right. The division in the use of the staircase was not only for "propriety", but for practicality: Filipinas used to wear long dresses (think baro't saya), so efforts were taken to avoid stepping on the trains of fabric. 
Boy's bedroom. The children had interconnected bedrooms so that they could easily play with each other without having to go out to the hallway and disturb the adults. "Children were seen, not heard."--this was the philosophy back then.
The first motorbike! This really fascinated me because it literally looked like a bicycle, except that it had a motor attached near the pedals. There is a small door in this photo, and it leads to the basement which had air slants designed for ventilation. I thought this was a genius idea because proper ventilation is necessary to preserve the wood of which the house is made.
We spent about an hour in Balay Negrense and it was time well-spent. Julz and I took the opportunity to teach our kids how families back then lived, the role of the Negrenses in Philippine history, and how sugar became their primary industry. 
Balay Negrense in Silay is about 30 minutes away from Bacolod City (Lacson Street). The museum asks for a mimimal entrance fee and guests get a guided tour of the house.

After our tour, we went to Aboy's for lunch and then sent the kids back to the hotel for their afternoon nap. Julz and I snuck out to have a quick date at Calea.
My Bacolod happy place.
When the afternoon heat was about to mellow, we woke up the kids for our next adventure: The Ruins!

The Ruins in Bacolod is, IMO, one of the most beautiful, storied structures in our country. I don't think I'll ever get tired visiting this.
The kids played around this huge garden all afternoon. Later on, when we asked Jaden what was the most fun part of our trip, he said. "When we ran and ran!" We had good rounds of laughter with our kids in this park.  

The only time we stopped playing was when I "ordered" everyone to pose for photos. Hehehe.

Dinner that evening was at Imay's (sumptuous as usual). But the best meal I had was at Masskara Chicken Inasal the next lunch. Haay! Kung pwede ko lang iuwi yung kainan na yun! LOL.

Our trip was short but very pleasant! I'm beyond grateful we had this opportunity to take our kids to another part of our country and to bond as a family. That always makes the travel more than worth it :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bar Cart Styling

Our bar cart from VW Home has been a lovely focal point in our home since it arrived. Guests have all gravitated towards it and, personally, I just love looking at it. I feel it adds charm and character to our place.

I've shared a photo of our bar cart when it was freshly delivered. I got around to styling it the next evening. This is how it looks now:

I put many of my favorite things on my cart: my beloved French press, teacup from my MIL, cupcake/pastry stand--a gift from my friend Sheila, a few bottles of wine neatly tucked in my bayong, sparkling water, scented candle, table napkins, books, paper straws, wine glasses in a pink-and-white box, and my RA tea set boxes with even more trinkets inside :)
To be honest, I've looked up several pegs on bar cart styling before ordering the trolley. I even made mental notes on the ones that I really liked. But when I was actually styling our own, I ended up having a totally different bar cart.

First, you will notice that our wine bottles and glasses occupy no more than a third of the cart. Well, that's because we're not exactly an alcohol-drinking couple! Hehe. But we love tea, coffee, sweets, and books, and so that's what you'll see in our bar cart.

I didn't want to buy more accessories, so I just used pretty pieces and trinkets that were boxed, stored, or otherwise scattered in our house. This served two purposes: it freed up storage space, and I was able to showcase them to add to the aesthetic of our home.

If you'd like to style your bar trolleys, I grabbed a few photos from Pinterest that might interest you!

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