Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ただいま!

Yup, I'm back :D

Although it's kinda late for the title, because I got back Monday morning! (^^U)

My last four nights in Hong Kong only had less than eight hours of sleep - total, not per night (^^U) On the last night I did not get to sleep at all, and our flight back to Manila was the first one, so now I cannot even imagine how I lasted at all.

So when I got back last Monday, I napped, then I worked in the afternoon, then slept early so I could run at the park as soon as it opens at 6 am. I did that yesterday morning and this morning, so it feels great to have been sleeping for about eight hours and then going for a run as soon as I get up (^_^)

So since my last post, I've been really busy and preoccupied, until we went to airport on the wee hours of Wednesday, since we were taking the first flight out. We arrived at Hong Kong before 8 am, then we took the bus to New Territories.

Our friend PW and my sister, on the way out of the airport.

Our first two days were mostly walking and eating and buying things. Although my feet ached at the end of each day, I really enjoyed the long walks (and the frequent trips to Sasa) and the weather was great (^_^)

Strawberry Hair Curlers - among other loot

Although everyone says that there is Nothing in New Territories, I still like staying there because there are less tourists and I like seeing the locals going about their regular, daily life. It's also quiet and there are several spots where one can just sit and read or have coffee or talk with someone, especially near Harbour Plaza Resort City where we stayed. There are also a number of options for good places to eat in.

Clockwise from Top Left: Cheesy Milk Tart, Ostrich Pie, and Pork Neck Pie

Apart from their 711 having good onigiri available, we discovered Pie & Tart and its sort of addicting variety of... pies and tarts :D All the varieties of their milk tarts are really good, and we also tried some of their dessert puddings.

Ostrich Pie - It was my first time to Eat Ostrich Meat (^^U)

Because I want to try something different as much as possible whenever I travel, I decided to get the ostrich pie XD My sister also said she has tried ostrich before somewhere in the Philippines where they really breed ostriches and use them for various dishes. So, I tried the pie and I think it tasted a bit like chicken with an aftertaste of beef. I am not sure though if ostrich meat really tastes good or Pie & Tart just makes really good pie whatever is in it :D

Time for unusual chocolates (^_^)

Of course, we also went to Okashi Land, which we raided last year XD I wanted to get my dose of unusual chocolate so I picked Ginger & Milk, Fruity Lemon, and a Spicy one with "orange bitter and chili pepper."

Spicy Chocolate!

I came across this bunch of cute daruma, with each daruma representing money, love, or anything else that one might need some sort of "help" or luck in. It also comes with a chocolate inside. I wanted to get the one for money, but I wanted a pink daruma, so I just got it instead XD

Pink Daruma Mascot

I immediately used the daruma mascot when we got back to our hotel that day, and then I started seeing it differently after a couple of days XD Although that is another story.... (*^_^*)

Daruma-san joins my kendoka and Kaonashi

On the day before the exam, we still all went out and explored, but my sister and I decided to go "home" early, so we could relax and try to sleep early. 

Milk Tea in a really nice cup :D

So we just spent time with our friends until the early evening, and then they went off to meet other friends for dinner. Before heading back to our hotel, we checked out this interesting matcha + soft cream shop called Cha Cha :3

I wish there were more of these XD

I picked the matcha with soft cream (I think it was made with Hokkaido milk) topped with red bean and mochi. 

The bottom of the cup was matcha jelly - by the time the soft cream melts and the red bean mixes with everything, I died XD

Back in the hotel my sister and I soaked our feet in the tub as we ate garlic noodles and drank grape soda, and talked about girly stuff and the things we bought and the others we wanted to buy, deliberately avoiding any mention of the exam XD 

Cute perfume bottle :3

We then started packing our things because we would be transferring to another room in the other tower of the hotel the next day, where we were "officially" checked in under kendo. 

Butterfly Powder Case

I was already starting to feel quite tense about the exam, but our loads of snacks and purchases cheered us up as we packed them into our bags.

Powder Puff for a Powerpuff Buttercup :3

I woke up quite early the next day and found my sister already up. Then we moved to the other part of the hotel and everything kendo began :) In a nutshell, I did not make it (^^U) Of course I felt bad about it, especially since all my sempai who were present got to watch my keiko, because their exams were done by the time it was my turn, and as we waited for the results, they said they saw me and said it was good. So when I found out I didn't make it, I was quite disappointed. However, it immediately surfaced in my head that I could not do anything anymore except continue to practice, even though it was not clear to me what exactly went wrong. 

Everyone was quite happy and in good spirits even after the exam (^_^)

In the evening though, despite many of us not being able to make it, everyone was in good spirits and one of my sempai encouraged me to continue and to take the exam again next year. I was still quite unsure about taking it next year, but after sleeping it off, I woke up on Saturday feeling much more inspired and motivated than ever, so I knew I will want to try again next year :3 I also realized that Not Making It kind of took away some kind of pressure from me. It is not that I did not want to pass - of course I wanted to pass - but there was also a strange form of "relief" (for lack of a better term) in me and it was like I am just at the right place where I should be now, in terms of my level. And then I could move forward at my own pace. 

Ippon! :)

The rest of the weekend was all competition and free keiko, and we went to support our own during the matches. The point above was made by one of our best players ~ he won this match :) Watching all the other players and being able to practice with people from other countries was so great and inspiring just like last year. Because of this, there was also a part of me that was happy that I can go back next year since I did not make it this year :D 

Kitty Packaging Tape to seal my shinai bag

We headed for the airport on the wee hours of Monday. Prior to that I spent a long time packing and trying to fit everything in my bag (^^U) As my sister and PW slept on their beds, I packed away while listening to my iPod and thinking about someone who stayed at the same floor as we did (who is also the reason why I started looking at the daruma mascot suspiciously). After I finished packing just a few minutes before our alarm went off, I stood by the window and said my goodbyes to Hong Kong and promised I will be back again soon, and said my thanks for all the wonderful things I experienced in it just like my previous visits. 

I Will be there, Viet Nam :3

Suddenly, there is Viet Nam in this post XD Must be the daruma mascot! Anyway, just as suddenly, as I sat in the plane on the way home, I picked up the magazine in front of me and saw the Hanoi Special on the cover. I stared. 

And remembered my decision the day before to replace this year's trip to Malaysia with Viet Nam, all because... (*^_^*) 

Viet Nam is really on my travel list, though I was thinking of scheduling it next year. It has won over Malaysia now, though :3

Then just as I was thinking if flights were easy to book (Viet Nam's kendo players had to fly back home Tuesday because as it turns out there were only specific days when there are available flights to Hanoi), I came to end of the magazine's articles:

March. That's like, tomorrow :D

Today is the last day of the month (and it's a Leap Year at that!) and tomorrow is a new month, a new day. Many things in February did not turn out the way I wanted or expected them to, but I know that they happened this way to make way for even greater things and for me to take even more cheerful steps with a more positive outlook as I move forward (^_^) 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Travel List

Time to make a list of the things I should pack for my trip this week (>.<)

Some really cute pencils I picked up from a Japanese store :3 - for making my lists!

I am usually bursting with excitement a few days before a trip but I have mixed feelings about now since it's for something else ~ details next time (^^U) For now I can only try my best to Keep Calm and Carry On XD When I get there, I can only make sure I do my best!!!!! And then whatever happens after, I can only keep stepping forward and giving my best and never giving up!!! Of course, though, I wish for great results :D But since I can only know that After everything, I can only stay calm and do my best for now (^_^)

*internal scream* XD Gambarimasu!!!!!!!!

I am also quite excited though about my two whole free days for Doing Nothing :D Just traveling and wandering (and buying some really cute stuff) are totally Happy Things (^_^)

The pretty pencil case I bought from a Korean store (^_^) This is also where I keep my drawing pencils :3

So I won't be around for a while :) Photos and updates when I get back :) Will make lists to do, to buy, and to pack, and fly off! *wave*




Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Mom's Artwork

Recently my mom has dug out her old drawings, paintings, collages, and handmade cards (from way back in the 60s!) because my sister wanted to look at them and has been thinking of framing them and putting them on display, among other things. We've seen many of these drawings and collages before, but seeing them again now made us realize how the gift of art runs in the family and that the beautiful things I see in Nick Bantock's books are just like the things my mom had been doing since she was young, except that she made them on cards and her personal journal pages. 

An old card she made for my dad

She took on after her dad, our grandfather, who drew and painted for most of his life. My grandma on the other hand was very good in sewing, collaging, and making things with her hands, which my mom also got from her. So for most of her teen years, while she dreamed of getting into art school (she got accepted but could not afford to go) she drew and painted her sorrows, joys, and thoughts away. She also made some kind of journal posts onto several sheets of papers that she turned into collages. 

Dreaming about going to art school - a drawing from a series of drawings that talks about her daily life

A drawing of herself on the way to the market early in the morning

The funny thing is that in one of her drawings, she drew herself and my dad, and added two little Indian girls - but they were not married yet at that time which means my sister and I were totally not around yet XD

A sign! XD My sister said this drawing explains why we were born with big hips (^^U)




Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nostalgic Rain

There is something nostalgic about today's kind of Rainy.

It does not seem to be one's typical bed-weather, well at least for me. It is more like, Comfort Weather. It is the kind of rainy that makes people Feel from really deep within them. This is the kind of rainy that magnifies a girl's affections for a boy though she just adores him from a distance. Or they could be friends, and it makes her rainy day when he sits close to her and she can smell his jacket. 

Maybe it is because it's this kind of Rainy that made the music of the Smashing Pumpkins tug at something from inside me. 

It is the kind of Rainy when, if you are together with someone, you would opt to stay home and have dinner and watch movies rather than eat out and go to a coffee shop. 

This is the kind of Rainy which, as you listen to your favorite indie band performing onstage, you experience their music on a whole new level and you suddenly feel a bit more grown up than you were before this Rainy weather. 

Even after the rain has stopped, it leaves behind something - a breeze, the smell of leaves, the sound of a car passing by across a wet road - that makes you remember old relationships, happy moments with family, or the first time he asked you out, or the first time you heard her laugh out loud. 

This kind of rainy kind of brings about feelings of comfort about the past and about things you used to love to do, that it also inspires you to make a big change now or start something completely new. 



Recycle Your E-Wastes

For quite some time, I have been consciously recycling things or repurposing them, or giving them away for others to use. I have also shifted to using eco bags when shopping and refrained from using plastic materials as much as I can. 

My grandma recycles everything - she washed and redesigned old drinking cups and turned them into window decor last Christmas instead of throwing them away. Practically everything in her home is handmade or sewn by herself and by my aunt.

However, among the things I could not just dispose of nor reuse are old and broken cell phone chargers, cables, power cords, adaptors, and headsets. Eventually they accumulated dust and used up space and they all lived in a box for several months - until early this week. 

I've been wanting to reorganize my box of chargers, cables, and adaptors, but I always put it off. However, I decided to do it right at the moment as I was passing by the perpetually avoided box :D 

I sorted out the contents into Frequently Used and Occasionally Used, and took out all the ones that were broken or forgotten. I placed the Frequently Used ones (phone cable, Kindle charger, camera charger and cable, and DS Lite charger) into a smaller container inside my room, then left the Occasionally Used ones in the box. With the Frequently Used ones and the broken/forgotten ones taken out, I had more space in the box for placing a Wii and Playstation One unit. Then I placed the entire box at the storage above my closet. 

Now what to do with the electronic wastes...

I searched online and found HMR - their services include Recycling and Asset Disposal Solutions. Although this service seems to cater only to companies, I sent an inquiry anyway if they would accept e-wastes like those I have accumulated. 

And very quickly, I got a reply from Mariecris of Envirocycle which is an HMR Group Affiliate. Basically they accept all sorts of e-wastes, but the e-wastes are not brought to the HMR Showroom in Mandaluyong since that is just a showroom :D One can bring stuff for recycling to the Envirocycle plant directly. But since it is all the way in Laguna, one can choose to go to Envirocycle's monthly Waste Market Fair and just bring stuff there for proper disposal (^___^)

This month, they have a Waste Market Fair in Alabang and Sta. Rosa - tomorrow at the Alabang Town Center parking lot, and at Nuvali Sta. Rosa on Saturday. Their usual time is from 9 AM to 2 PM. 

I am closer to the Makati area so I will wait for Mariecris' advice on when next month's Waste Market Fair would be (since it will be somewhere be in Glorietta), then I'd bring the things that need to be properly disposed of. I will also be telling people about it so it can help them get rid of old electronic wastes and to help promote this monthly Waste Market Fair. I think there are other stalls or buyers there for non-e-wastes like paper, so it would be good to check it out. 

Will post more details when I get them next time. Mariecris of Envirocycle was so helpful, quick, and informative - because of her, my sister and I now know where to bring much of our accumulated things which we need to get rid of (^___^) Updates on the next Waste Market Fair's schedule next time! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dozen Shoes

Yay. So yesterday we have completed the redesigning of a dozen shoes. (The thirteenth pair is still on the craft table, but that can wait :D)

I did the last two of the 12 yesterday afternoon, one before my tutorial and another after. 

Another perfect-for-Valentine's pair (^_^)

I discovered a lacey ric rac in pink, and decided it would make a nice pair of plain red shoes a bit softer and girlier. Throw in some pastel-colored buttons and tiny glassy beads. 

I didn't think these would go with bright red but they did :)

Red shoes ready for wearing. Gifting. Receiving. 

I like the pink button with the striped edges. 

Next was a pair of pink floral shoes. 

Those sea green sequins make me think of mermaids.

I decided to add the dark green ribbon to complement the pink beads and white pearls.

I didn't fix the sequins and pink beads that way; but somehow they look like they posed for the photo XD

This pair of shoes will go well with some of my own clothes XD

Suddenly, pretty girly shoes.

Will post a mosaic next time of all the shoes from this fun batch, so you can also see the pairs designed by my sister :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food: All Here Now

I have finally finished going through an old food blog which I have stopped updating a long time ago. I deleted a number of posts, and moved some of them here. There's just one more food blog that I need to go through, but it's not under i.ph so it can wait. 

Chocolate mochi from Dezato Cafe - for chokomochi - both the person and the blog :D No more food blogs!

Eventually the contents of that other blog will be incorporated here. There will be no more food blog for me :3 I don't get to update it regularly anyway :D It was fun writing about the places I checked out and the food I enjoyed, but it became chore-like for me at some point, and there are places I go to so often that I cannot keep writing about the same thing all the time. Besides, it's not like I go out there and eat to blog about it or to review a food place. I just blog when I happen to come across an excellent place or try out some new dish, and that's just it. I'm not quite a food blogger :D Far from it (^^U) So I will still share about food here, it will just no longer be a focus or a separate page that's all about food and what people should know about them. 

PS. The mochi in the image above are really good. Feel free to send them to me for Valentine's :3 

Shoe + Lace

And yet another batch of pretty shoes (^_^) After yesterday morning's pair of black shoes with red and blue hearts, my sister and I worked on three pairs of shoes each. 

Preparing materials for a pair of brown shoes

I picked the brown shoes and decided to make it lighter and softer with a lace ribbon and some buttons.

Girly (*^_^*)

The next pair of shoes is something I would like for myself, though it might not go well with my pinks and purples. I like its Oriental feel though :D

Prepared the materials before taking a break

I try to take a break between each pair by working on something else for an hour or so. Before getting started on this lovely pair, I went and studied a bit of Japanese language first (while my TV was on a Korean channel ^^U). After about an hour I got back to working on the shoes.

Yellow lace, green flowers, and random beads on some random prints

Then there was dinner time and while Nat Geo talked about the mythical Chupacabra, we worked on our last pairs for the day. Mine was a pair of green corduroy shoes. 

Thick lace ~ the beads at the center are really part of the lace (^_^)

Today I will redesign the remaining pairs before and after my tutorial job :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lovely Shoes

More shoes. 

Yesterday before kendo practice I finished redesigning this pair of simple gray floral shoes.

A lovely pair of shoes to be made even lovelier :D

I was somewhat inspired by these colors (*^_^*)

The colors of the shoes turned out softer than these, but were along the same lines :3


This pair would perfectly blend in with the clothes I have :3

Then this morning was a pair of black shoes, made alive by bright red and blue. Somehow it all has an English feel to it~

I love pairing that shade of red and blue :3

This pair is perfect for Valentine's Day (^^,)

Oh look it's our hearts pinned together (*^_^*) 

Love-ly indeed (^___^)

The perfect pair, totally made for each other! XD

I think cute and pretty girls should be wearing cute and pretty shoes like these for Valentine's ;)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Redesigning Shoes - At It Again! XD

Yup I have been redesigning shoes again so this week has been made even more exciting because of it XD

I have over a dozen to redesign and finish by this weekend so I took out my first four pairs for yesterday (I only finished two though, because I started late in the afternoon).

Gray and orange shoes, black shoes, gray floral shoes, and red shoes :)

I picked the gray shoes with orange dots first. I think it's a very interesting design. I worked in the backyard where it was bright and windy, and it was nice to get up from a quick nap then get to work on something crafty outdoors (^_^)

I've been wanting to put this Big Blue Button to use and now I have used it :D

By the time I finished the left shoe, it was getting dark so I temporarily had to work under the yellow light in the backyard. I wanted to finish the first pair before getting back inside to work on the second pair.

A cluster of Odd Buttons - one with an engraved shape of a flower, one with ears, and one that is flower-shaped

Inside, I took a photo of the finished first pair :3

I like this pair for myself, except that orange and gray are not in my color palette so they won't match any of my clothes :3

The next pair was the red shoes. I already worked at our craft table. We had dinner first before I even finished the first shoe, then I worked on the pair as my sister watched TV and worked in her computer at the same time :D

Red Shoes + Tiny Flowers = Lovely

The red shoes have tiny flowers on them. I added sequins and beads to make them shimmer a bit XD

Working on the second red shoe

Finished! 

My fingers were aching a bit after an evening of hand sewing on thick fabric, but it cheers me up so much to see the redesigned shoes! (^_^)

This pair would go with my color palette!!! :D 

Today I will work on the other pairs (^_^) I already have a design in mind for the gray floral shoes! I prepared the materials last night before I went to rest :)
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