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2017, Let's Do This!

I can go on and on dwelling about how 2016 slammed my life with mishaps, but I would rather think about all the great things that happened this year. The girl who you thought was beaming with sunshine actually suffered from anxiety and depression, and almost took her life to end the pain. The journey wasn’t easy. But while medicines can heal the body, genuine love can heal the soul.

Miracles exist.


On me: makeup by Sasa of MAC Cosmetics | hair by Vivere Salon | dove gray lace cropped top and midi skirt from Karimadon (gift from Deo) | white heels from Stradivarius


Side note: Probably one of my favorite looks to date! Months back, I’ve been eyeing on this full dove gray Karimadon set, which I promised to buy before our Christmas party at Marco Polo. But Deo and his ninja skills are on point, he handed this to me as his birthday surprise. :)


Anyway, my faith was tested in so many levels this year. On the verge of giving up, however, God sent an instrument for His love, an aide to lift me up. Deo is my miracle. And along with my parents and his family, I found more reasons to live. Now, I have a million things to be grateful for.


I’m sure there will still be rocky roads and misfortunes, but I will fully welcome 2017 with love and strength, ready to widely embrace change. I will fly with optimism. I will guard my heart. I will continue to push myself with GUTS! I will stay grounded and grateful.


Empowered to continue living. 

To those who’ve been through a lot of struggles, too - keep fighting, little angel. You are not alone. Take one step at a time to get back up. WE CAN DO IT.


Photos by Deo Montuerto

Cheers to an amazing year ahead! Happy 2017, everyone!
Click all the bold, red highlights for back stories/more details

Things You Can Control

The holiday spirit remains! For me, it's still the most wonderful time of the year! ♥

I’m not sure if I’d like December to slow down a bit because it’s my favorite month, or fast-forward to end 2016 since it brought too much negativity in our lives. However, we do not have control over time, so we just have to make every minute worthwhile.

This year, I had to gather as much strength as I could to surpass all the hardships - from the people that I’m with and the things that I absorb. I started reading bible quotes, self-help books, and motivational websites to get by. I came across Tiny Buddha, and their website helped so much in my road to recovery. There, they taught readers how to focus on things that we can control, to live a happier life.


On me: jumper dress courtesy of Fashon 4 Grabs (available at Poshmark Studio, Maginhawa) | rainbow patch cropped top from Forever 21 | bag courtesy of Mango and Lazada | shoes courtesy of Native (available at Res Toe Run)


Sharing some of my favorites from Tiny Buddha’s list! 

Right now, you can control: 

☆ How many times you smile today 
☆ How often you say “thank you” 
☆ How often you notice and appreciate small acts of kindness 
☆ Whether you think positive or negative thoughts 
☆ The attention you give to your loved ones when you see them 
☆ How much you enjoy the things you have right now 
☆ How many risks you take 
☆ Whether or not you judge other people 
☆ How quickly you try again after you fall 
☆ How many times you say “I love you” 

These and more! :)


Oh, and can I just add - you certainly have control over what you wear for the day. It might help to pick items that make you feel good! My choice of clothes and shoes have a huge impact on my mood and confidence. Holla if you feel the same!

Quick segue but did you know that this is actually my first ever Native pair? These babies are too comfortable and fashionable, they fit well in pretty much anything I wear!


Photos by Deo Montuerto 

Hoping we all end the year on a good note. Virtual hugs for everyone!
*and back to binge-watching kdrama, lol

Grown Up Christmas List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Wherever you are, and whoever you’re with this season, I pray that your hearts are bursting with love and happiness, too. ♥


Beyond the festive Noche Buena and gift-giving, this year, I’ve embraced that Christmas should be a season of gratitude. I’ve said this before, but I think I need to point out that 2016 has really been my toughest year. I used to question my existence everyday (for months), and almost refused to continue living. Yet I would get constant reminders of things to be grateful for, and those little victories kept me going.

God. My faith. My family. Deo Montuerto. Deo’s family. Raid My Closet. Blogkada. PR and brand friends. My readers. My closest friends. Jez. My girls for 8 years. Work learnings. The struggles. Life lessons. Thankful for these and more.


Weeks back, my Mom asked me what I want to receive on my birthday and this Christmas. We stared at each other for long because I couldn’t think of any tangible gifts. I said I only want genuine love and peace, and that stays true ’til now. I mean it.

“My Grown Up Christmas List” makes even more sense to me. Sharing with you a some of my favorite lines from the song, and I pray for all these to come true.

So here’s my lifelong wish, my grown up Christmas list. 
Not for myself but for a world in need. 
No more lives torn apart, 
Then wars would never start, 
And time would heal all hearts.


Photos by Ira Gatmaitan
Romper courtesy of Vera Clothing | Flats courtesy of Parisian Shoes & Bags

Again, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cocoro Sugar - Perfect for Diabetics

This year, our family’s been in and out of the hospital for a couple of months because my Dad was diagnosed with diabetes and he had to undergo some operations. Since then, a lot has changed in our lifestyle, particularly in our food intake, to balance out Dad’s blood sugar. Mom and I became extra cautious with our eating habits as well, as advised by the doctor, to prevent the same illness. We had to master discipline and self-control! :)

However, we can’t help but binge on sweets during the holiday season. Good thing, there’s a guilt-free way to do it - with Cocoro Sugar! This social enterprise produces natural, healthy, and sustainable sugar substitute especially made for diabetics and those who wish to lose weight.


Another reason to support? Cocoro Sugar has partnered with empowered Filipino farmers in Cagayan de Oro (my Mom’s hometown) and Davao.


Deo and I got invited to the launch of Cocoro Sugar at Little Owl Cafe a few weeks ago. The chefs used Cocoro Sugar for all the dishes they served. I think they offer those until now, to delight diners who would like to healthily feast and enjoy during the holidays.


Roasted Beet Salad
Mixture of lollo rosso, romaine, arugula, blue cheese, walnuts and freshly roasted beets drizzled with balsamic dressing made with Cocoro Ivory


Chicken Tocino
Marinated with Cocoro Dark Caramel on a bed of garlic rice, rich in aroma and packed with flavor, with a poached egg and pickled onions on the side


Pecan Pie 
Made with layers of apple slices and crunchy pecans on top cooked with Cocoro Dark Caramel


Calamansi Tart
Brulee Made of freshly squeezed calamansi, creamy custard with Cocoro Ivory

In case you’re wondering if the meals tasted oddly because of Cocoro Sugar, well, they didn’t! The flavors actually came out better! I can still recall how delicious they all were, especially the Pecan Pie!


Pastries were available during the event, too! My favorite chocolate chip cookies were made with Cocoro Sugar, too, so I freely indulged (and bought home a few, haha).


Sachets (Php150.00)
3.5g x 50 sachets


Cocoro Ivory (Php120.00)
250g Stand Up Pouch

Light colored variant of Cocoro Sugar, substitute for white sugar. This is perfect for cooking, baking, or even for fruit juices.


Cocoro Dark Caramel (Php120.00)
250g Stand Up Pouch

Alternative for brown sugar, good for coffee or tea, or even for your favorite Adobo dish!


Il Fiore uses Cocoro Sugar for their gelato offers, too! Yum!


Fact: Coconut sugar is not from the coconut fruit, but from the sap. When that’s boiled, it becomes a sticky syrup-like liquid that later dries into the sweet and dry sugar.

Why is Cocoro Sugar suitable for diabetics?

Cocoro Sugar has a low glycemic index and has the presence of insulin, which can maintain blood sugar level, block the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and prevent sugar high or crash.


As mentioned earlier, Cocoro Sugar supports farmers in CDO and Davao, as a partner in expanding their knowledge in the development of coconut sugar, in sustaining their livelihood. They’re given the proper equipment for the production of Cocoro Sugar, which are already locally and internationally distributed.

Take the road to wellness with Cocoro Sugar!

Cocoro Sugar
Salcedo Market (Saturdays) | Landmark Makati | Citysuper Trinoma | Robinsons Supermarkets | Unimart | Makati Supermart (Alabang) | Earth Kitchen | Pops Candy Store | Duty Free Philippines

Party Takeout Trays from Pinac, UP Town Center

Ahhh! Few days left ’til Christmas! I hope December doesn’t end yet! My favorite month’s going by so fast. Slow down, Santa!

Aside from rushing to buy your Christmas presents, I’m sure you’re grabbing some grocery items for your Noche Buena, too. But in case you’re too pressed with time, you might want to order for take out from Pinac, instead! This Kapampangan restaurant serves delicious group meals - good for 12-15 people!

Keep scrolling for more information. Oh, and get ready for mouthwatering photos! :p


Deo and I got invited to a feast at Pinac a few weeks back. They offered sumptuous dishes that will surely capture the hearts of Filipinos.


Lengua
One of Filipinos’ staple dishes - beef tongue in mushroom sauce! I'm pretty sure this has been part of your family gatherings before, too!


Ripe Mango Shake


Chicken Relleno on Mashed Potatoes with Gravy 
One of my favorites from Pinac!


Overloaded Pinoy Paella with Bagnet
This tray has all I need and more! Drooling over Pinac’s Paella!

Pinac Hack: From Mondays to Fridays of December, group meals are available at Pinac for only Php999.00! You can choose from three different combinations.

Sample: Overloaded Pinoy Paella with Bagnet + Chicken Relleno on Mashed Potatoes with Gravy + 4 glasses of Tanglad Dalandan + big serving of Turon with Dulce de Leche

Awesome deal, right?!

Now, to fill in your tummies for Noche Buena, you can order Party Takeout Trays (good for 12-15 people) from Pinac. You may choose from these: 

• Lumpiang Ubod Taquitos (Php950.00) 
• Overloaded Pinoy Paella with Bagnet (Php1,250.00) 
• Lengua with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables (Php1,850.00) 
• Pork Embutido with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes (Php1,550.00) 
•Crispy Pata - can be ready-to-eat or frozen (Php650.00)

No sweat! 

Feast isn’t over yet! Here are Pinac’s sweet treats for everyone.


Bibingka


Tsoknut Banana Vanilla Shake


Flat Top Smores

Pinac is located at the 2nd floor of UP Town Center along Katipunan Avenue. For reservations, call (02) 958-5335 or 0917-8032150.

Feel Christmas with Favori

With 2016 being my toughest year yet, I tend to lean on to things that can ease my anxieties away. I find comfort in the presence of my loved ones, and in some external factors like the soothing scent from my Favori aerator. Indeed, scent can be a very powerful emotional trigger.

This Christmas, #CreateYourFavoriteFeeling with Favori’s array of passionately handcrafted scents and aromas for living well. Watch Favori’s holiday video with Angel Aquino here.


Take it from her! :)


Fight holiday stress by making your mornings even more refreshing with Favori’s Vanilla Aroma Oil and Vanilla Aroma Pouch. 


If you’re cooking for Noche Buena, make sure to turn on your Favori diffusers to eliminate odors, and to keep the Christmas aroma vibrant! 

Whatever you wish to feel, Favori has the perfect scent for you! 

Still undecided with what to send out to your closest friends this Christmas? Why not fill their homes with Favori? I can’t wait to hand over my Favori gifts to them! ☆☆☆
#FeelChristmasWithFavori | #CreateYourFavoriteFeeling

Res|Toe|Run Opens at UP Town Center

This store brings nothing but good vibes, and I’m so happy they’re finally open at one of my favorite malls - UP Town Center! Living true to its pun, RES|TOE|RUN is ready to give shoppers a mouthwatering experience, and is game to serve footwear enthusiasts with the best-selling pairs from popular and iconic brands.

Deo and I graced their launch a few weeks back, and we got so overwhelmed with the shoe feast at Res|Toe|Run. This branch is beaming with white and red accents, with the nicest footwear finds from Dr. Martens, Swims, Kickers, People, Hickies, Native, Birkenstock, FitFlop, Tretorn, DC, Columbia, Telic, Quiksilver, Roxy, Freewaters, Plae, AKID, and Faux Pas.


Now let’s take a virtual tour!


Res|Toe|Run has all that our soles need and more! There’s RES for comfortable and casual footwear, TOE for slippers and sandals, and RUN for athletes or active individuals. Food for your curious senses! ;)


For the foodies, you can't have just one bite. For the shoeholics, you can't have just one pair! AHHHH The dilemma!


My mom's favorite corner!


And of course, the most-coveted British footwear brand, Dr. Martens, is available at Res|Toe|Run as well! Gotta hustle to own one!


Congratulations for your 54th store, RES|TOE|RUN! Thank you so much for having us! ☆

Deo wore his pick from Tretorn (c/o RES|TOE|RUN) in this post already. Visit his blog for street and lifestyle inspiration! Also, please watch out for my RTR OOTD! ;)