Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Photo from here.
Happy New Year!

Allow me to thank you all guys for reading my entries, for commenting from time to time, for liking it on Facebook, for tweeting and for following.  It really meant a lot to me.  This year has been a year full of blessings and some of those blessings are you.

Let us welcome 2011 with positivity.

Cheers!

XOXO
Joanne

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Appreciate

"Feeling appreciated is one of the most important needs that people have. When you share with someone your appreciation and gratitude, they will not forget you. Appreciation will return to you many times." 
- Steve Brunkhorst

******************************************

The most important lesson I have learned this year is to learn how to appreciate.

The year 2010 has been a year full of blessings and I thank the Lord for His generosity.  I could not even remember the problems I had because all of those were overshadowed by His grace.  He showered me with blessings better than what I prayed for.   

This year I have learned to appreciate the things that we sometimes take for granted--the seemingly bottomless refrigerator where we can always pull out something whenever we are hungry, the clean and comfy sheets we lay our body when we sleep, the cool breeze, the sun's rays kissing our cheeks in the morning, the falling leaves, the raindrops, the cheerful jeepney or taxi driver, the courteous salesperson... everything.

So, my dear readers, be appreciative and the world will appreciate your existence.

New Year Beliefs and Customaries in the Philippines

In just a few days, we will be saying goodbye to 2010 and we will welcome 2011 with a bang (literally and figuratively).  I actually feel like it is 2011 already each time I wake up.  Yesterday, after office, I went to the market to buy a horn for my son.  He's only allowed to make noise on New Year for his safety.  And besides, I will not buy firecrackers so noise would be enough for us to celebrate it.

Aside from Christmas, the most awaited celebration in the Philippines is the New Year.  In fact, some families have more preparations for New Year than Christmas.  Aside from celebrating it with firecrackers and noise, Filipinos have other beliefs and customaries at New Year.


Photo from here.
You will never see a household without a basket of 12 rounded fruits.  It is actually not hard to find 12 rounded fruits in the Philippines because our country is a fruits basket in itself.  The most popular fruits during New Year are (1) watermelon, (2) gooseberry, (3) grapes, (4) orange, (5) apple, (6) kiat-kiat, (7) chico fruit, (8) pineapple, (9) longan, (10) papaya, (11) lanzones and (12) melon.  The12 fruits to represent one fruit per month is believed to bring prosperity all year round.  Round shape signifies money while fruits mean abundance.  The Chinese believes 13 is the lucky number and they prepare 13 fruits instead of 12.

Another customary associated with fruits is the hanging of 12 grapes at the main door of the house.  It will remain there until the next new year. It is believed to bring wealth inside the house.

Photo from here.
Aside from rounded fruits, clothes with polka dots (I even heard curtains with polka dots) will also bring good luck when worn during New Year.  My grandmother used to buy us polka dot clothes when we were still kids and she would fill our pockets with coins.  At the strike of 12:00MN, my sisters and cousins would shake our pockets while grandma shakes her wallet.  Aside from the shaking, we would also jump 12 times.  The jumping is believed to add height.  If you are not satisfied with your height, jump at New Year (satisfaction is not guaranteed).


Photo from here.
Another customary is the turning on of all lights inside the house and opening doors and windows during New Year.  It is believed to ward evil spirits and attract good ones to enter the house.  As you will notice, almost all customaries during New Year originated from Chinese beliefs.  It is not unusual because the Chinese have long been residents of the Philippines--even before the Spaniards came to invade.


Have you ever tried wearing green or red (or both) clothes during New Year.  It is also believed to bring good luck.  But I think the silliest of all the beliefs is having new stuffs in the house before New Year.  In this time of economic downfall, it is simply the silliest thing to do.  How can you attract wealth for the new year if you will waste your hard earned money of the current year to unnecessary stuffs?

Do you know other beliefs and customaries during New Year?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Planning to move to a new house? Las Vegas movers are the best, my friend said so.

About three years ago, my fiance and I decided to move to a new house as one of our preparations for my giving birth. It was October and I was on my 6th month when we moved.  It was a hard task because of the accumulated appliances and furniture, not to mention our personal stuffs. The packing stage took us about a week, while the moving stage took us only a day because we had a little help from a bunch of friends.  We used to live around our friends houses so the moving became easy.

Do you plan to move to a new house?  If you live away from friends or families, I suggest you hire movers.  My friend in the US said Las Vegas movers are the best.  She moved in to a new apartment about a month ago and being alone and away from relatives and friends are hard but movers made it all easier for her.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Vacation

Vacation starts tomorrow and I am excited!

I am not too much concerned about the hassles of last minute gift buying and buying foods for the Noche Buena... I am just so excited to do all those things because I haven't done grocery shopping for quite some time now.

My sister asked me yesterday what I will prepare for Noche Buena.  I will probably have the usual stuffs--spaghetti, chicken, ham, loaf and salad.  After the mass at 10 PM, we will visit our grand folks just across the road, exchange foods and stories until we get tired.

During Christmas day, my son and I will visit his grandparents and some godparents if time permits.  I plan to treat him to a movie but I will probably do it the next day.

I have lots of plans for the Holidays.

What do you plan to do this long weekend?

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Photo from here.

Do you think of New Year's resolutions as early as now?

I haven't thought of it... in fact, I don't do resolutions.  I don't think resolutions to be better should be ritually done every New Year because we can start changing ourselves for the better any day even without an occasion.  

I remember when I was in elementary up until high school, during the last day of school before Christmas vacation, my teachers would give us an assignment (yes, they are so cruel).  On the first day of classes during the new year, we will have to submit our New Year's resolutions.  If I have known that year after year I will have to do the assignment, I should have kept the first one that I made and just copy it year after year.  It is hard to do a resolution.  It is just like having a debate to yourself that you should be better in this area of your life and it is hard to negate oneself.  Listing the whats becomes even harder when your inner self asks the whys and the hows.

Having a New Year's resolution is like battling and testing yourself up to what degree can you keep up with the list.

A retreat master once told, do not make a list because it is a fad or a ritual.  Do not impose laws upon yourself when you know you will not able to follow.  It is better to have just one resolution than to have a dozen that you possibly can't do.  In doing a resolution, reflect on the days that passed and measure your inner will to be better on your identified weak point of your life.  To decide to change is an exercise of humility  and self acceptance.  If you have humbled yourself and accepted you flaws, be ready to commit yourself to change.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Louis Vuitton Car


This Toyota Innova caught my attention this afternoon.  I was already tired after almost four hours of shopping when my eye had a glance of it from the inside of the jeepney we were riding.  It was traffic so I was able to get a photo of this really unique car.  It is unique because it has Louis Vuitton's logo all over it.  If you will zoom the photo, even the tissue holder on the dashboard is clad with Louis Vuitton.  I bet the owner of this car is so obsessed with the brand.

I have seen tribal inspired prints, famous animes, sexy women and even Hello Kitty (looks awful) painted on cars but this is the first time I have seen a famous leather goods brand on a car.  I was not able to see the car seats, but I bet it also has LV on it.

Why?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Carolers

Photo from here.
You know that it is already Christmas when you hear carolers outside your house singing Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and all other famous Christmas songs known to mankind.  I like caroling, I used to sing with the gang every night after school to raise fund for our small Christmas party.  It's fun and you get to know the generous and not so generous people around the neighborhood.  And no matter how big or small amount we receive from them (even if we receive none), we always end the caroling with the song "Thank you, thank you, ang babait ninyo (you're so kind), thank you!"

As the years go by, more and more carolers are forgetting that the real spirit of caroling is to renounce through songs that Our Savior is born.  And that the essence of Christ being born is selfless giving and unconditional love.

I am not the Grinch who will steal Christmas.  I love the Yuletide season, as a matter of fact, but carolers are starting to annoy me.  Just tonight, I had several gangs of carolers and I discovered that they are actually one group but they decided to split up and pretended not to know each other so that they can raise more money. Clever, aren't they?  I am more clever than them.  After noticing their scheme, I talked to the leader and scolded them that what they are doing is not right.  The kids went away after hearing a brief sermon. I hope they will not do it anymore.

Thank goodness they did not ran away while singing "Thank you, thank you, ang babarat ninyo (you're so cheap), thank you!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kris Kringle Something Sticky Suggestions

This week's office Kris Kringle is something sticky.  I haven't done shopping yet but I am eying these items as possible gift for my Monita.

Sephora Apple Pomegranate body collection, $30.  The set contains body butter, body scrub tube, body wash and bubble bath.


Lancome Juicy Tubes set, $29.50 at Neiman Marcus.  The set contains 6 various lip gloss colors from you favorite color palette--Sparling Pinks or Shimmering Neutrals.




I wonder what I will get on Friday.  I'm excited.

Bad Fad: Dropped pants

Dream Interpretation: Packing

I had a dream last night that I was packing clothes, not for a trip, but just packing clothes that I don't need anymore.  It was the first time I dreamed about it and I had to research for the meaning of my dream.

According to Dream Moods, dreaming about packing signifies big changes in my life.  I am putting past issues to test or past relationships behind me.  It can also mean that it represents the burden that I carry.

According to Way of Tao, "The idea of packing reveals what you currently consider to be so important that you need to carry it with you.  Often you will ‘forget’ to pack something or experience drama surrounding the actual packing experience as a way of exploring a transition or the idea of letting something go. Representing ‘baggage,’ or what you may need to release as you move forward, this is a classic dream that occurs during transformative periods. Generally packing clothing, you are trying on new 'costumes' or eliminating or exploring the identity as you interact with the world."

Monday, December 13, 2010

So Hot, It Will Melt Snow

Have you seen Maggie Wilson and Victor Consunji's pre-nup video?  Steaming hot! And very controversial.  My thoughts about it:

1. It's hot.
2. It's hot.
3. Lot's of lip locking action.
4. Did I mention that it is hot?
5. It's not for the faint of heart.
6. IT IS HOT!

Click on the jump to watch the video.
IT IS HOT!


Just because it's the perfect season to emote


I don't know anyone who doesn't get emotional during Christmas season.  It is more emotional than Valentine's Day because Christmas is really a celebration of love... of Christ's unconditional love to mankind.

I chose to include I'll Be Home for Christmas by Frank Sinatra video because we all want to be home for Christmas and we all want our loved ones to be with us on that day.  I get sad chills whenever I hear this song because I have lots of loved ones who couldn't be with us on Christmas.

And I am missing my great grandpa and his son who is also my grandfather.  I miss them not because they are the most generous gift givers but because they always make Christmas special for their grandchildren.  They make children's Christmas wishes come true somehow.  I really miss them.  They died several years ago.

Do you have someone you wish to be with this Christmas?

Friday, December 10, 2010

There are times that you just want to cry

This has nothing to do with Christmas and the jitters because it's nearing.  

I just got home from the office, tired as usual and begging to rest.  I cannot rest, not yet, because I still have tons of things to do.  I just want to cry.  I have never worked so hard in my entire life.  

This morning, when my son woke up, he looked at me and asked, "Where's Mommy?"  

Yes, he asked me on my face where am I.  I was teary eyed when I answered, "I am here.  I am your Mommy."  He turned his back on me afterwards.  I bet he was not satisfied with the answer.  I gave him a hug reassuring him that I am with him, that I will be there when he needs me, and that I am still his mom.

I have a lot of catching up to do.  But for now, I will have to cry. I just have to let it out and forgive myself for being absent in my son's life for quite sometime now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

50 Questions Challenge, Day 30: What are three things that you do everyday that make you totally happy?

Today's challenge question is really easy.  What are the things that you do everyday that make you totally happy?

Photo taken in our favorite restaurant.  I always buy him little toys before we go to the restaurant so that he will not get bored waiting for the food to be served.  Obviously, he's already hungry in this photo.

1. I spend quality time with my son.  I have a very busy schedule, I actually did not have a day off last week.  Despite my busy schedule, I always find time for my son.  There are days that I instruct my son's nanny to bring him to the office and we will have dinner together in a restaurant.  Before he goes to sleep and before I do my part time job at night, I would tell him stories and cook dinner for him.  Whenever I do not have a part time job, I do not open my computer because it is the only time that I get to catch up with his life.  Seeing him smile and laugh and sharing me his stories are what really makes me happy. I cherish every moment spent with him.  He is growing up so fast and I don't want to miss him making milestones for himself. 


From here.
2.  Every accomplished and met deadlines make me happy because it means no more stress and I have more time for my son.  I really don't ask for monetary rewards or gifts for a job well done.  A simple pat on the back is enough for me to keep me revved up for the next task.  Material things disappear but words of praise stays forever.  That's a piece of advice for you from me, whether or not you are the boss, never ever forget to appreciate the efforts of the people that surrounds you.


That's my son sleeping soundly.  I am fond of taking pictures of him while he sleeps.  He could not sleep without his favorite bolster pillow he named "Hotdog".

3. You may find it silly but sleeping makes me happy.  It is something that is lacking lately so I get really happy whenever I get to sleep at least 10 hours.  A soft and comfy pillow and cold sheets will make me fall asleep in seconds.


Kris Kringle

It is inevitable not to have Kris Kringle or Monito-Monita in the office during the Yuletide Season.  It is fun especially the guessing part who your Monita or Monito is and each week (depending on how many times in a week you want to do this) there is a theme on what to give.

Our office started two weeks ago and the first theme was a gift that is soft.  I got this:

Bath & Body works Twilight Woods body lotion for "soft" skin.  I am happy to have received this because I really like love Bath & Body Works products.  My Monita/Monito is generous.  Lucky me!


This week's theme is something long and hard and I got these:

 A long pen with a with a bear and heart design and green feathers for extra cuteness.  It has ink and it works.


For something hard, I got this mug.  Perfect for coffee break times.

Next week's theme would be something sticky.  I wonder what I will receive next week.  I can't wait for the big reveal.  I bet the one who receives my gifts will be surprised. 

This is just one of the many reasons why my most favorite holiday is Christmas... every one is generous and they just let the spirit of giving be.

Do you have exchange gifts, too?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Favorite Photo of the Day: Brad Caught Squeezing Angelina's Butt

Photo from here.
This photo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie looks sweet and normal but look at where Brad's right hand is at... it is busy squeezing Angie's butt.  Gotcha!

Oh, stop it Brad!  Puhleez! The world already knows that you are the most beautiful couple and with just that we are all jealous and you need not show it to us that you two are the sweetest, too.

We will watch Angie's latest flick, The Tourist, okay.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

50 Questions Challenge, Day 29: Do you wish you lived in a foreign country or a far away state?

Photo from here.
Today's 50 Questions Challenge is related to the day 28 question.

I miss my parents so much and I wanted to be with them.  They both live in the US and I hope I can visit them.  I really don't want to live there for good, I still love living in the Philippines.  If I will be given a chance to go there, I would just probably stay there for a month or so... of course with my son.

Photo from here.
But, if there is one place that I would really like to visit aside from the US, it is Paris.  I just want to see in person how majestic the Eiffel Tower is.  And, fall in love there (huh?).  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Charity Works

My heart smiled today.

I did some charity works together with my office mates earlier today to the orphans of Mango House in Silang.  It is a small orphanage that houses 14 children of ages 6 to 11 under the supervision of Rev. Ada Jensen--the founder of Mango House who is from Pennsylvania, USA.

That's me in the red.
We packed the goodies at 8 in the morning and headed to the orphanage at 9.  I was excited going to the place.  It was not my first charity work but I always get excited when I get to help children.  We arrived at the place at 10 o'clock, just in time for the program.  When I entered the house, I saw little children lined up in the living room and they greeted me good morning with their sweetest smiles.  We immediately went on with the program we prepared for them.  We had games, they watched a movie and we had lunch together.  

The staff are doing a really great job raising the children. 

The children gave us a special song number as a gift for us... they actually made me cry.  I cried because I felt sorry for them.  I cried because I am thankful that I did not grow up without knowing my parents.  I cried because I was happy to have made them happy even for a day.



If you would like to help and know more about Mango House, go to their website, mangohouse.tripod.com.

50 Questions Challenge, Day 28: Do you wish you lived closer to a certain someone or group of people?

Photo from here.

I like where I am living, I am close to my relatives and friends but, my Mom and Dad live in the US and if there's any other place I would want to live, aside from the place where I am right now, it is with them.  I have been living almost my entire life away from them and I miss their presence. They never really saw me grow up because they have to work.  If I can just make the US a bus ride away from the Philippines, I probably have done that a long time ago. 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  It is true in my case.  


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who Won the Grand Lotto Jackpot?



I saw in the news last night that the lotto winner of 742.1M got a little help from a machine to pick numbers. Machine aided picks cost more than 20 pesos. It made me think that the winner has the money to spend for gambling considering he can pay for lucky picks. Aside from that, PCSO confirms that the winner is from Luzon. Later this day, I heard a news that the lucky lotto outlet who will receive a percentage from the jackpot is from Subic.

Photo from here.
The lotto roller coaster ride actually made people frantic, crazy and lose their marbles. After the PCSO announced that there is one winner and clues were given, people started to have speculations. One speculator is Tim Yap--a broadsheet columnist, showbiz talk show host, self professed fashionista and eventologist (what the hell was that?). He proudly twitted that the winner is Miko Morelos, a reporter from Philippine Daily Inquirer. He even twitted that the poor guy has a twitter account. Of course, Morelos's account was flooded by tweets from anonymous persons which made him block his account. A sane, sensitive and sensible person obviously knows that the reason why lotto winners' names are not disclosed is for security reasons. To clarify, Morelos did not even place his bet so his chances of him winning is nil. Because of Yap's tweet, he put Morelos and his family in jeopardy.
Even if Morelos denied that he did not win... do you think the extortionist, kidnappers, hold-uppers and other known criminals will believe him? It is a wild goose chase and criminals will start the chasing with Morelos.

I hope that Morelos and his family will survive this ordeal unharmed.

Lessons learned... know when to keep mouth/fingers shut, verify information, keep secrets secret and make common sense common.

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