Meowth Moments Got a New Home!

 

 

New Year.  New life.  New sources of inspiration. 

Meowth goes from ‘ME’ to ‘WE’.

The gist on how 2013 will be. 

 

I’ve always look forward to change, given that it’s one of the most constant things in this world. 

I will be posting my next articles in my new blog site –

 

http://meowthlovescoffee.blogspot.com

 

 Raves / rants / musings / sweet tales / passion / love and music – captured in writing –  to inspire, raise awareness, inform, or just make people smile.  =)

Avalon Organics for Sensitive Skin

My selection of skin care products is quite limited.  I have sensitive skin which only allows me to follow a basic skin care regimen: a gentle facial cleanser, a water-based moisturizer, sunscreen with SPF 30, and occasionally -a cream-based moisturizer to treat windburn (when I travel).  I would shy away from toner, no matter what the labels indicate (for sensitive skin).  I would try a toner today, then rashes and dry patches would start to form the next day.  I seldom wear make-up, too. 

Last month, in one of my visits to Healthy Options, a shop where I regularly purchase dietary supplements (vitamins) and other organic food, I gave in to an impulse buy in favor of a product called – Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk (about PhP 345 per 251 ml bottle).  The change in weather from warm to cool night-time breeze did not only indicate Christmas, it is also that time of the year when my skin begins to peel.  This made me receptive to organic skin care products – the shift has to be one product at a time to make sure that I don’t hurt my skin in the process.

I tried the cleansing milk as soon as I got home.   The cleanser comes in a convenient package.  A pump is enough to generate the right amount of cleanser for my face.  I cautiously worked up a lather on my right cheek, and purposely, I let some lather into my eyes – it didn’t sting, no tears!  It has an orange-y scent, and yet, gentle enough for my skin.  Immediate result: clean, soft skin (you can touch).  It didn’t disappoint, so I’ve made this product my (new) daily facial cleanser.  A major plus – it helps fight photo-aging! As a recreational runner, I usually do my long, slow distance (LSD) run under the clear Sunday morning sky.

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Hydrating Cleansing Milk

Another thing I love about Avalon Organics is that it has an NSF seal.  A product bearing an NSF contains at least 70% organic ingredients.  Avalon uses 100% vegetarian ingredients.  They don’t test their products on animals. 

NSF Seal

Last week, I went back to Healthy Options for an Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Balancing Toner (about PhP 345 per 251ml bottle).  I’m almost convinced that not all alcohol-free toners are created equal.  I’ve been using the toner for a couple of days already – no rashes, no sting, no dryness, no irritation – only clear skin and a bit of orange-y scent.  Should things go well in the next 2 – 3 weeks, I’ll have to include an Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Moisturizer in my shopping list. 

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Balancing Toner

To learn more about Avalon Organics, please follow this link to their official website

Disclaimer:  I don’t have authoritative information about skin care regimen and products. If you are hyper-sensitive to certain products or ingredients, please consult your dermatologist before you buy or apply new skin care products.  =)

My Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore Anniversary

Today marks another milestone in the long, colorful history of running : Dec. 2, 2012 – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

I’m going nostalgic over it.  I ran 42.195KM in last year’s edition.  It was my first time to join a full marathon event abroad, and my first to cover such distance without the presence of any of my teammates.  I intended to run it that way, for I wanted to test my WILLPOWER so badly‘What the mind conceives, the body achieves’…on with it!  I registered as soon as SCMS started accepting runners for the 2011 ed.  I had my flights and hotel accommodation booked, as well.  I invested on this test.  I had to finish it no matter how crazy it sounded.  I posted it in Facebook, not for the bragging rights, but to challenge myself even more.  Failure was never an option. 

I have a way of working on and around my goals, but at that time, it wasn’t working.  If it wasn’t working in a certain area of my life, then I would have to compensate the need to accomplish something – running did it for me without fail.  I was certain to beat all doubts in my head. 

SCMS 2011 - From Orchard - East Coast Park - Raffles Blvd - Padang

SCMS 2011 – From Orchard – East Coast Park – Raffles Blvd – Padang

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 – I spent only half of the day in the office.  I had a late afternoon flight to catch at NAIA Terminal 2, and a carbo-loading dinner waiting for me in Pasir Ris, SG.  The dinner was hosted by Ate Emma – whose friendship I cherish for two decades and counting. 

I checked-in at Concorde Hotel Orchard Road around 11PM.  Staying in my friends’ flat meant that they would also need to wake up at wee hours of the morning, so I opted to stay in a hotel near the START line (Ngee Ann City, Orchard). Five things about Concorde: spacious room, courteous staff, good food, location, and competitive rates.  Adrenaline and dopamine fueled my excitement.  I can’t wait to start the next fun-filled day with my long-time friends.

Concorde Hotel Orchard - my home away from home for two tonights

Concorde Hotel Orchard – my home away from home for two nights

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 – It was never too early to give myself a small reward for being gutsy enough to join SCMS.  It was a breakfast treat – the best strawberry pancakes via room service! 

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Concorde Hotel Orchard serves one of the best strawberry pancakes in town.

Right on time, 10AM – my SG-based soul sister Atty. Cashmere fetched me from the hotel, and we headed straight to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for the Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC).  With almost 60K runners, the REPC that morning was surprisingly hassle-free!  We still had time to do a little shopping before we met up with Renchie to lunch.  We were greeted with fine dining at Sky on 57, and the best aerial view of Metro Singapore at the SkyPark.

Bestfriends from Bukluran days! =)

Best friends from Bukluran days! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptous soup is served with a shot of Johnny Walker Blue Label.  Superb! =)

New form of liquid therapy. This sumptuous soup is served with a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Superb! =)

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! - MBS Skypark / View Deck

Kuya Renchie conquered his fear of heights! – MBS Skypark / View Deck

View from MBS - The Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer – view from the SkyPark

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Esplanade on a cloudy day.

Another tourist coming to life...

Another tourist attraction coming to life…

The day didn’t end at MBS.  It started to rain again at 3PM, and I was thinking – here’s another epic run waiting to happen, a full marathon in the rain.  Cashmere probably noticed that I was beginning to feel the pressure.  The remedy:  we went to another shopping destination – Takashimaya, later to be joined by the lovely couple Kris and Jenny-Vi.  Good conversation over Korean food – we called it dinner!  Cashmere accompanied me back to the hotel.  She asked for my after-race (kikay) kit and promised to cheer for me at the Finish line.  At 8PM, it was ‘goodnight, Orchard’.

NOW the RUNNING PART…

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 – My day started at 2AM.  A bit before 5AM, I was one with the crowd as we cheered at the START line.  No time pressure, I told myself,  finish it

SG has a relatively flat terrain and warm climate – same as Metro Manila…but humidity in SG was a major factor. I didn’t expect that level of humidity.  After KM5, I felt that my body fluids were gone.  At KM23, East Coast Park – I saw a number of runners down to their knees, agonizing in pain called cramps.  It was shocking.  At KM31, I thought it was the FINISH line for some distance categories, as the crowd was thick.  It wasn’t a finish line, it was the MEDICS area.  I passed by and saw a lot of people lying on stretchers.  They were so pale.  It gave me ‘The Chill’.

At KM32, I noticed edema (water) in my fingers.  All 10 were swollen already and started to numb.  I knew it was temporary, but I didn’t want to risk it – not being able to finish the marathon.  I didn’t fly all the way to SG to DNF (Did Not Finish – a term use in running.  It means ‘dropping out of the race’).  I had to lower my pride.  I knew at that moment, I wouldn’t be able to beat my time at MIM (Manila International Marathon).  I had to walk all the way to the FINISH line.  The good thing about it was, I had my cellphone-camera with me. 

The course wasn’t all pretty as I reached the FINISH line.  Runners dropping out of the race in pain, assisted by the paramedics and race marshalls – it was a common, disheartening scenario.  I continued to pray.  The race became my metaphor.  I set goals to achieve…then what?  I realized that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life, not like this – ALONE!  Pride had no room at that moment.  I was confronted by my metaphor.  I knew there was something out there for me, which was more than running and chasing goals left and right.  I knew it all along. 

START Line - Ngee Ann City

START Line – Ngee Ann City

7KM na lang! =)

7KM na lang! =)

Scenic race route

Scenic race route: it was like touring SG by foot

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

Imposing view of Marina Bay Sands; runners trudging under the scorching heat of the sun

My favorite shot during the race - an SCMS official photo

My favorite shot during the race – an SCMS official photo

Finish! =)

Finish! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

One for the bucket list! =)

After-race-treats! =)

After-race-treats! =)

Atty. Cashmere waited for me at the FINISH line.  She knew that I would have a tough time negotiating the impact of SG’s natural humidity.  She didn’t bother to tell me before hand; it might be quite discouraging.  She also knew I would get through it – come hell and high waters.  (Thank you, sis!  You’ve got faith in me! Thank you for supporting me all the way! It meant a lot.)

That same day at 5PM, I was already in Changi Airport, bound for Manila.  This was, indeed, one for the bucket list.

Wait, there’s more!  I managed to shop online for an original DVD as soon as the official SCMS announcement came out.  Addict! =)  This one is for my (future) children. 

Talk about drafting a personal history...

Talk about drafting a personal history…

Weddings @ Work: Marriage Reality Check(list)

In a few months, I will be busy replacing my surname in almost every public document I have.  Not that my aunts handed me a result of a DNA test to tell me that I’m an adopted daughter.  If this is your conclusion, then you might be watching too much soap opera.  =)

It’s official.  I whole-heartedly agree to enter into a lifetime contract. 

The thought is serious.  Marriage is sacred.  In a more popular sub-culture tone, marriage is still ‘highly fashionable’ in this time and age. 

I’m excited and scared at the same time.  I used to have doubts whether I would be capable of being ‘the better half’.  It’s heavy, the whole concept of marriage, but it’s sanctifying. Every realistic person would know that it’s not just about love (love is important, but it’s not ‘everything’ to make a marriage work). 

Coffee on a quiet Sunday evening, this is what downtime means for me and BFD.  We were reading several magazines when we came across an article – Marriage Reality Check(list), published by Weddings at Work.  We answered every question in the article (eyes roll + wicked grin + don’t-give-me-that-silly-look + look-me-in-the-eye-killer-look) – it was fun, highly engaging, and full of insights. 

Here’s a copy of the article, as published in the Weddings at Work website.  This is meant to help couples sort out a  lot of things, especially those who are seriously contemplating to get hitched.  =)

Reference:  http://www.weddingsatwork.com/index.php/marriage-reality-checklist/ 

Marriage Reality Check(list)

So you’ve chosen the person to live with for the rest of your life. But do you know his or her take on certain issues concerning your marriage and future family? Below is a checklist of things you ought to discuss and disclose before proceeding with your wedding plans.

PERSONAL

Do I do anything that bugs you? If I can’t change, could you live with that for the rest of our lives?

CHILDREN

How many children do you want? Who’s going to be the primary caregiver? How would you feel if we won’t be blessed with any?

FINANCES

Who will handle the household budget? Will we be allowed to have personal savings and spending from each other’s salary? Or do we remit our full salary in the same pool? Do you have any financial obligations to your family? Do you have debts?

DWELLING

Where will we live when we get married? Is living with our families an option? If so, when do we expect to move out?

HEALTH

Do we have any health issues each should know of? Are there any health concerns that we could potentially pass to our children or we should prepare for financially?

FAITH (different religions/beliefs)

Do you expect me to convert to your religion? Or would you respect it if I choose to still practice what I believe in? Which religion should our children be brought up to?

PRIVACY

Are we allowed to answer calls in each other’s cellphones? Are we free to read each other’s text messages, emails, & mails?

SEX

Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and problems?

FUTURE IN-LAWS

Does my family do anything that annoys you? Do you feel they will interfere with our marriage? Will it be alright with you if I keep supporting my family (physically/financially) even if already we’re married?

CAREER

Do you expect me to be a full-time housewife? Would you be bothered if my job pays better than yours?

CHORES

What household chores do you expect me to do?

LIFESTYLE

What do you wish/expect me to changes in my present lifestyle?

FRIENDS

Who among my friends do you feel is a bad influence? Are we still allowed to go out with them for late night gimmicks when we’re married?

MIGRATION

Do you see raising our family here in the Philippines or is migrating to a foreign land in the plans? Would you consider a job abroad and leave your family behind for a better life?

Browse for more insights! =)
http://www.weddingsatwork.com

Love: Do you have an appointment with me?

We’ve only got 30-something days left in 2012.  So what happened this year?  Work is stable though not very exciting (operative word: very).  I’m not able to beat my personal record in running.  I didn’t join any badminton tournaments.  The stern warnings from the doctors got the better of me so I’m not the recreational athlete I used to be…but in the brighter side, I traveled a great deal!  The very thing which I tried to run away from was able to catch up with me big time – it’s that thing called (drum rolls) ‘true love’ (yikes!).

All the while I thought, I couldn’t sustain a serious, long-term relationship. So I just stopped trying and looked forward to happier days, basking with the virtual label ‘single, happy, (and you bet – sexy and I know it!).’  There were days wherein I was too busy to spend time meeting new people. To me, it’s a waste of time to be constantly seeing someone whom I couldn’t have an engaging and honest conversation with.  I’d rather play badminton or train for a marathon.

This year, I made some quick plans which involved a lot of traveling.  I went to my longest drive ever up north (Ilocos Region), a long haul flight (to Europe) for the love of arts and wine, and frequent local travels for work.  I wasn’t thinking about love life.  I was planning to get an ITIL certificate, not a marriage certificate.  If Cupid does exist, I think he knows better.

I was Cupid’s unsuspecting target for a while.  I was in a Friday morning meeting when I received an invitation from BFD – lunch?  I almost missed his message.  I managed to send a reply in an hour.  ‘Did you send me an invite on purpose or is it for someone else?,’  I asked him only because I wanted to be sure.  I’m not into military interrogation.

He said that the invite was really for me, and this prompted me to check my calendar for a ‘lunch appointment’.  None came up.

So I threw a follow-up question, ‘Do you have an appointment with me?’ In my head, may usapan ba kami?

He said he was just trying his luck.  Since I didn’t have any appointment for lunch, I went out to meet him in one of my favorite restaurants. We talked about running, work, blogging, and stock trading.  It was all business, nothing personal.  A bit past 1PM, I was in a hurry to leave for another meeting back in the office.  As I shook his hand in a business-like manner, I graciously thanked him for the hearty meal and good conversation.  I thought that was our first and last one-on-one meeting until…

Two weeks later, he showed up again without any appointment. I was like, ‘who are you to show up without an appointment?’  I just said ‘hello’ and I told him that I couldn’t join him to lunch – super busy me!  Before I fled from the scene, he handed me a long brown envelope, inside were 2 boxes of special dark chocolates.  I felt that my cheeks betrayed me, and a quick turn-around was needed.  I looked at him and smiled.  ‘So you want to surprise me?’  =)

——

Early this year, I developed a fondness for music by Everything But The Girl (EBTG).  ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Looking for Love’ became my instant favorite, coupled by a music video for Lancome, which was filmed at the Louvre.  I discovered the video at YouTube; it was that time when I was scheduled to visit the Louvre in Paris.  I didn’t know I was heading for the same – Love.  No appointment required.  =)

‘Positive Activism’ – Trying to Keep It Really Positive

Photo grabbed from: cleverjustice.com

“Fiat justita ruat caelum” – a legal phrase which means, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.”

Today, I’m fed up by three of the more sensational heinous crimes in the broadsheet and television.  There are accounts by people who are utterly capable of evil deeds – a seemingly innocent young lady who allegedly masterminded the murder of her best friend, and young adults high on drugs – no plans for their future, decided to curtail other people’s future. As I was reading a witness’ tale of the murder, it made me shiver.  It was so inhumane, deliberately inhumane!  Why are we becoming so inhumanely selfish?  There is just too much suffering that some people totally forget about living, giving, and everything good and innately human. 

I never wish to violate human rights, but at the legislative level, the crime rate today is enough warrant to revisit death penalty as capital punishment for heinous crimes in this country.  “Eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” – not as a legal fancy but for the welfare of the majority.  So many innocent lives we are entrusted to nurture and protect. 

As a citizen, I don’t feel secure anymore whenever I roam around the Metro, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to pack my bags now and leave for Amsterdam.  I’m in for a good fight.  I don’t know if I could ever reach the stage of ‘in aid of legislation’, or go back to the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ kind of deal.  I don’t have that same level of energy to take the cause out in the streets like the way I did back in college. 

I’m taking the ‘preventive side’ of things and make it a commitment.  I’m referring to any forms of positive activism which I will be able to sustain.  One takes the form of guiding young children – those within my reach; my future babies, included.  Social Studies 101 in the old school curriculum emphasized family as a building block of the society, as cell is to the human body.  I don’t want to be contributing to the statistics of children and young adults misguided by porn, violence, and evil drugs (so help me God).  Another form of activism, though it really is tough to choose the best candidates nowadays, I’m accepting the challenge to be more conscientious in examining candidates for public office.  Operative word: more.  The form which I’m into right at this moment: blogging. 

This article is more of saying: ‘I rant. Now, I stop.  I hereby pen my commitment with the most sincere intention of keeping it.’

How about you?  Are you joining the fight?

No Running: WOK with BFD and Meowth

I was already in high school when Grandma taught me how to cook.  I was pressured.  Grandma said that my mother-in-law will send me back to my parents once she learns about my zero culinary skill.  I wasn’t thinking about marriage at that time.  I was afraid of the idea of failure.  Eventually, I learned basic cooking.

BFD has his fair share of culinary lesson.  What drove him to learn basic cooking: ‘survival’.  A few months ago, he found himself in a situation that gave him no choice.  If he didn’t cook, he would’ve died.  (Translation: BFD not cooking? No meals.)  I want to assure the running community that he was not lodging a protest against any human rights violation at that time, so he had no legitimate reason to go on a hunger strike.

Fast forward…

Today, BFD and I are not only preparing for our wedding.  More importantly, we are preparing for that true-to-life scenario called ‘life together’… and without hyperventilating – seriously!  One facet of daily, healthy living is to assure constant supply of nutritious food in our household.  I (sweet) talked him into a Sunday afternoon bonding in the kitchen. We agreed to prepare a pasta meal, as we are currently recovering from a full marathon.  We badly need carbs, plus a healthy dose of protein for muscle repair.  So we made our version of PENNE PASTA with SPANISH SARDINES in CHUNKY TOMATO SAUCE. 

We dropped by SM Hypermarket MOA to shop for the choicest ingredients at budget-friendly price point.  It turned out, the recipe below is good for 6 servings, about P65.00 per serving.  (Budget is another matter that we need to get used to as a couple.)

Now try these steps! 

Serving suggestion:  Serve with garlic bread or any toasted bread sprinkled with McCormick Garlic Bread Seasoning. 

Note on the recipe:  I don’t usually follow measurement of ingredients to the dot (that’s why I don’t bake).  I adjust the amount of ingredients based on the aroma, taste, and how the food actually look while I cook it. 

Wine pairing:  I’m not a wine expert.  I just have a strong preference for French wine.  For my personal consumption, if wine I must have, I would gladly reach for a glass of Chardonnay to go with this Spanish sardines pasta.  (Note to self: The last Chardonnay bottle at home was emptied two months ago.  Time to replenish.) 

As for our bonding in the kitchen, we didn’t have roses all around.  Instead, we had a few laughs, my mom and cousin approving the recipe, and a minor complaint (from me) – the ‘distribution of workload’ was not fair.  This minor complaint, I can let it go.  I just have to write about it now…well, at least, we accomplished a recipe.  We already have some assurance for a hunger-proof household.  =)

BFD and I did the grocery together.  I ended up cooking, while he prepared chilled soda and Mogu Mogu.  He had the knack for making it appear that it was a quest for the best Mogu Mogu beverage for me.  He offered to wash the dishes, too (sweet!). While he was at it, he was checking whether his new sports watch is indeed water-resistant (peg: running in the rain).  Runner nga talaga! =)

Wedding 101 : In the beginning…

Let me start this post with a disclaimer: I’m not offering any authoritative information with regard to wedding preparation.  I’m also a newbie in this field.

BFD and I are both Catholic.  It’s innate for us to seek blessing from the Church through the provisions set in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony.  We acknowledge our need for Christ to be the center of our lives as we walk the high road together.

Just a brief one about the ‘decision’ – a lot of thought went into it.  I won’t even attempt to elaborate for it warrants a dedicated blog entry – a different, colorful story altogether.

Wedding Arrhae
photo grabbed from http://www.flickr.com/photos/adlaw/484757651/

Going back to the wedding, we want to keep it simple – a small altar date to be witnessed by our family and closest friends.  I wanted 50 guests only, but BFD reminded me about my extended family, tightly knit, that is…So what used to be 50 is now 80. Our challenge is to put it all together without enlisting the service of a wedding coordinator at this stage of planning.

We are running it like an IT project.  We started by drafting and agreeing on ‘our wedding charter’, which includes our objective, deliverables, resources + budget, and a high-level plan of activities – all in a worksheet.  It’s easy to get swayed by glitzy stuff in wedding preparation, so we have set a common reference – our wedding charter – to keep us on track.

We initially agreed on the following: altar date, budget, and church.  Tons of work, but day-in day-out, it gets more fun working together for a major milestone.  We’re not 100% made of cheese (cheesy runners we are), as individuals, we are Type A.  We would argue once in a blue moon, but we have a way of managing our temper.  We have a higher batting average sticking to logic.

Documents are also part of our checklist, and the basic ones are:  Birth Certificate and CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage) from NSO – requested online and delivered to our doorstep for a minimal charge; Baptismal Certificate and Certificate of Confirmation from the parish office.  There’s an annotation in the newly issued Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates – ” Purpose:  Marriage”  <– It gave me ‘the happy-chill’.  Seriously.

We have started attending wedding exhibits and buying back issues of wedding magazines.  It’s more for gathering information, checking out fresh ideas, and the best deals.

We registered online for our first wedding expo.  Our entrance fees were waved and we got in hassle-free.  For our first and second wedding expo, we attended early Day 1.  It gave us ample time to checkout great deals from select suppliers while the crowd was still thin.  Why Day 1? If we are compelled to sign up on a deal from the expo, we have the luxury to think it over before we invest (or spend); meaning, we could go back to the expo the next day to seal the deal.

Wedding Expo by Themes & Motifs
08 Sept 2012 – SMX MOA

Our badge after hours at the expo. =)

As for the wedding magazines, from P200 – P300 for a new issue, a back issue is at P100 – P150/mag.  We bought four back issues from Filbars.

We are now looking into some themes and concept for the prenup photos.  Running is a given.  Filipiniana, maybe?  Vintage, rustic charm – could be?  Perhaps, you could share something lovely along this line of thought.  We’d love to hear your suggestions.  =)