Monday, September 1, 2014

#30Lists Day 1

September first. I can't believe we're down to our last four months of the year.

And I'm starting this month out with a list challenge called 30 Days of Lists, a semi-annual journaling challenge for Listers.

Today's prompt is Today is brought to you by. Let me tell you this day has not been easy. It's been completely exhausting, but I'm glad it's almost over for me. Can't wait to start another day tomorrow.

Until then, I leave you with list #1. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Reading Thing 2014

One of my favorite reading challenges is under way! This year's Spring Reading Thing is hosted by Sandra of The Musings of a Book Addict (Thank you!). It's running from March 20 to June 20. If you're interested to join this challenge, click here.

Without further ado, here's my list:

1. The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas - Got this one on sale on Kindle upon the recommendation of one of my pastors. He says it's a must-read for single Christian men and women. I'm 4 chapters in and so far, it's been eye-opening and actually makes a lot of sense. Wish more single people would read this. 

2. The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley - Another Kindle Store buy from one of my favorite authors. This one is about how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Should be very useful for people like me who set out with lofty goals only to get distracted along the way.

3. Full Frontal PR: Building Buzz about your Business, Your Product, or You by Richard Laermer - Being a (former) PR/Communications professional, I know for a fact how important it is to build strategic buzz about a brand. PR is not just about network, not just about being able to talk up a storm, it's certainly not about partying or looking a certain way. PR is about strategy, it's about knowing your audience and how to reach them. It's about being able to communicate a message that your audience will understand and act upon. And because the media landscape and the audience are ever-changing, it's of utmost importance that every PR professional keeps learning. This book, I hear, is one that must not be missed.

4. 100 Years from Now by Steve Murrell - This one's written by the founder of my church (Victory) and president of Every Nation  Churches & Ministries and is about the importance of understanding mission, values, and culture in order to grow and sustain a movement for generations to come. 

5. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin - I'm 9 chapters in and so far, this is proving to be quite a compelling read. It's about a TV exec who gets the surprise of her life when the baby she gave up 18 years before shows up at her door all grown up, wanting to meet the mother who gave birth to her. 

6. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown - Very excited to read this book. I can feel this one's going to have a huge impact on me. In this book, Brown challenges us to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

Happy reading, everyone!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Grace by Max Lucado

"Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off." - Max Lucado in Page 7 of his book Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine

I've always been taken by grace. I hear the word and it just does something to my heart. I reckon it's because I know I have been given so much of it. And that often I forget to pass the grace that has been so generously given to me on to people who are in need of it, too.

I accept grace but often refuse to give it away. Then a book like this comes along and I am reminded just how much I've been forgiven, just how much I am loved, and just how rotten I really am, and how only grace can lift me up from this pit.

I read this book slowly, savoring every chapter, often pausing to think about what I'd just read. Max Lucado just has a way of explaining things that even my heart can understand. And that's what he does, speaks right into my heart. 

So if you're looking for a book to make you just a little bit kinder and more compassionate and to remind you just how much you are loved, go on a give this one a try.

"Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart--poisoned as it is with pride and pain--replacing it with his own. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change. Do you clean up so he can accept you? No, he accepts you and begins cleaning you up. His dream isn't just to get you into heaven but to get heaven into you. What a difference this makes! Can't forgive your enemy? Can't face tomorrow? Can't forgive your past? Christ can, and he is on the move, agressively budging you from graceless to grace-shaped living." - Max Lucado (Page 9)

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Taste of Tuscany: Marcia Adams in Tagaytay

I've made it a goal this year to get out more often, to take the opportunity of meeting new people, reconnecting with people I haven't seen for a long time, and experiencing things I would normally say no to. If you know me, you know I'm not really the adventurous type. When it comes to food, for example, I naturally go to places I've tried before and liked. I mean, why risk spending on something I'm not sure to like, right? But where's the fun in that? All that is about to change this year.

I recently had the opportunity to go around Tagaytay for work. Through this, I got to discover new restaurants and shops.

One of them is Marcia Adams, a beautiful restaurant in Tagaytay. It is not difficult to find it but you need to make sure to call ahead to reserve a table because it gets pretty packed, especially on weekdays. Drive along Aguinaldo Highway and make a right turn upon hitting the arch separating Tagaytay from Alfonso. About a hundred meters after that turn you will see a nondescript signage.

In case you miss the signage, the property also has a huge door with a brass knocker in front. But that's not where you enter.

You go in through another gate that will take you to a path of gorgeous greens.

Even more beauty awaits you as you go farther down. The restaurant has three dining areas, all having the charm of Tuscany. One is this rustic room, their main dining area.

Another is their sunset room, which looks out to a garden. It's gorgeous in the afternoon!

They have gorgeous flower arrangements like this one all over the restaurant.

They make their own chairs and they don't use nails to build them! Pretty cool, huh?

Marcia Adams has been open for some three years now and weekend after weekend, the guests come in droves. They got so packed that they've decided to open another dining area, that gives a better view of the outdoors.

Even the ground you walk on is charming! I heard these are century-old bricks!

Now, let's get to the food. Be ready to spend a minimum of PhP700 for a meal at Marcia Adam's. Each main course comes with your choice of appetizer and dessert. A pretty good deal, I must say.

My personal favorite is their Aromatic Pork. So flavorful, possible the best grilled pork I've ever tasted!

I chose a tomato-based soup to go with my main course. The soup was thick and tasted like fresh tomatoes. Yum!

Dessert was Panna Cotta with Lemon Sauce, which I found so refreshing. The perfect end to a perfect meal!

They also sell wine and these darling owl door stoppers. I had to keep myself from buying!

Want to visit Marcia Adams? You may SMS Marcia at 0917-8011456.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Stepping Up

Do you have any regrets in life? I am tempted to say yes. I've definitely taken a lot of missteps, have done things I wish I hadn't and have things I wish I'd done but didn't.

I wish I'd done better in school, for instance. One of my frustrations was never getting into the Dean's List in college although I came close a few times. 

I also wish I'd been more strategic early on when it came to career path. I chose my internship based on my interest at that time (basketball) instead of thinking about what I wanted to do career-wise. When I eventually realized I wanted to be either a news reporter or work as an editor in a magazine, I did not have enough experience and had not honed the right skills.

I'm sure there were people around me who could have helped those days but I wasn't really thinking about the future then and didn't know who or what to ask.

It's a good thing for young people nowadays that there are programs that can help them figure these things out as early as high school. One of the programs available is called WASSUP Summer Stepping Up Program which I highly recommend because I can vouch for who's running it, my coach (and mom) Susan Rivera, who has 20+ years of solid HR experience spanning numerous industries which includes Globe Telecom, Hewitt Associates, PT&T, CAVEL Group of Companies, the Pioneer Group of Insurance Companies, and PLDT; and is a Professional Coach certified by the International Coaching Council and practicing internationally, and is a member of the International Coach Federation, the International Coach Academy, the Behavioral Coaching Institute, and the Human Capital Institute.

Here's a poster of what this program is about (click on photo to enlarge):

As mentioned in the poster, the program will be held in Sol Y Viento Resort in Pansol, Laguna, and will run for three days, two nights. The full program comes with road trips and one-on-one coaching but participants can also opt for just the regular program or the regular program with coaching, or the regular program with road trips. There will be several speakers from different industries and backgrounds and other certified coaches who will help run it.

Believe me, if I were a high school junior or senior now, I would be lining up to get into this program! So if you have kids or relatives or friends whom you think can benefit from this program, sign them up now! If you register and pay before April 5, you get PhP2,000 off or  PhP1,000 off if you pay before April 12. 

For inquiries and reservations, please call or text 0917-8181838 or email

Now going back to my earlier question. I realize that while there were mistakes and missteps, I would not be who I am now if not for them, and I wouldn't know how to help young people if I hadn't gone through them. Everything, indeed, happens for a reason.

Monday, March 11, 2013

American Idol Final Four Forecast

I've been a fan of American Idol since Season 3, a season that gave us the likes of Fantasia Barrino, Diana Degarmo, and of course, the most successful singer from that batch, Jennifer Hudson (who is looking absolutely stunning and svelte these days). I have not missed a season since then, that is, until this current season came rolling around.

I watched the first few episodes but found myself quite put off by Nicki Minaj, who came off as too talkative and too dominating of the panel. I just wasn't interested to watch anymore.

But thank God for late night replays, I got to unintentionally catch some of the semi-final round and saw that the judges (Minaj, whom I'm starting to warm up to, included) actually picked a good crop of singers this year.

Here are my picks to get to the top:

Candice Glover - I was blown away by her performance of one of my favorites, Ordinary People by John Legend. Amazing vocals from this lady from South Carolina, whose third time trying out for American Idol finally paid off.

Candice Glover performing Ordinary People by John Legend
Video courtesy of Fox / American Idol

Candice Glover performing Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Rae
Video courtesy of Candi Rickelle (Candice Glover)

Angie Miller - Overcoming significant hearing loss (40% on one ear, 20% on the other), this incredibly talented artist wowed the judges from her first audition. She's my bet to win the competition this year. She's like the female version of Colton Dixon, who is one of the most successful out of last year's batch. Incidentally, Angie sings a Colton song, which got her a stint as one of the five girls advancing to the live shows.

Angie Miller performing her own composition Set Me Free
Video courtesy of Fox / American Idol

Angie Miller performing Colton Dixon's Never Gone
Video courtesy of Fox / American Idol

Angie Miller performing Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me
Video courtesy of Angie Kristine Miller 

Devin Velez - This Chicago Barista has been belting out songs in English and Spanish, which makes him a standout for me among the guys. 

Devin Velez performing Somos Novios (It's Impossible) first recorded by Perry Como
Video courtesy of Fox / American Idol

Amber Holcomb - What an strong contender this one is! And pretty, too! I love that she got a makeover and some confidence to go with the new look. My favorite song she's sung so far is her rendition of My Funny Valentine.

Amber Holcomb performing My Funny Valentine by the late great Frank Sinatra
Video courtesy of Fox / American Idol

There you go. My fearless final four forecast for American Idol Season 12. Can't wait to see them perform live these next several weeks!

I'd love to know: Who do you think will make it to the end? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Currently In January

It's the first of January, the beginning of a new year. Half an hour before it becomes the second day of the year, let me share with you what I'm up to:

Current Book/s: I like to read several books at once. Normally, one is a book to help me grow in my faith (aside from the Bible), one is a book to help me grow professionally or personally, and one fiction read. For Book #1, I am going through John Ortberg's The Me I Want to Be. For Book #2, I am starting a book called Standout: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assesment from the Leader of the Strength Revolution by Marcus Buckingham. I am also reviewing a book I've read before called Develop Your PR Skills by Neil Richardson and Lucy Laville. For the fiction, I went for light reading--Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.

Current Playlist: I've been listening non-stop to Michael Buble's Christmas Album. My favorite song in this album White Christmas, which is a duet featuring Shania Twain. Also in love with Hillsong's Unending Love, which I heard for the first time at worship service last Sunday.

Photo Credit:

Hillsong's Unending Love

Current Guilty Pleasure: Tim Tam in Chewy Caramel

Photo Credit:

Current Color: Definitely deep purple.

Current Food: Since it's the holidays, we have a generous supply of ham. I also cooked Carbonara twice (yesterday and today). It's one of the dishes I can cook quite well. Today's batch was devoured by my brother and his friends. When I went down for dinner, it was all gone. 

Current Drink: Water with Lemon Slices and Pepsi Max.

Current Favorite Shows: Scandal and Modern Family. Scandal's second season is soooo exciting! Fitz is so dreamy and that flashback encounter with Olivia in the garden was just so well-acted by Tony Goldwyn I had to play the scene back again and again. Here's a clip of that scene from youtube:

Current Wishlist: A brand new MacBook Air 11" 128GB with a 2-TB external hard drive. An HDMI Media Player so I can watch my shows on my TV instead of on the computer. The Michael Kors Hamilton Bag in Black.

Photo Credit:

Current Exciting News: My blog is getting a makeover soon! One of  my resolutions for 2013 is to blog more and I hope that with the new design and more frequent posts, you, my dear readers, will visit my blog more this year.
That's about it for now. Happy New Year, everyone! I pray that our 2013 will be filled with breakthroughs, miracles, and exciting surprises from God.

I'd love to know: What are you up to currently?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall Into Reading 2012

It's autumn once again in the U.S. and that means it's time for a reading challenge. I've been joining the reading challenges of Katrina at Callapidder Days for the few years and I truly enjoy knowing that halfway around the world, there is a group of (mostly) women reading with me.

Here are my books for this year's Fall Into Reading:

1. Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud - I've heard good things about this book. God knows I need as much help I can get figuring out my issues so I'm quite excited to get started with this one.

2. 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl by Amy Parham - I absolutely detest dieting but I do know at this stage, I need both diet and exercise to get to a weight and shape I will be happy with. I certainly need the inspiration to keep on going so I'm looking forward to reading this book from a former contestant of the show Biggest Loser.

3. Redemption by Karen Kingsbury - I have never read a book by this author before but I do know she is a popular Christian Fiction writer. Borrowed this copy from a friend some time last year and I haven't even started reading it yet! Need to finish this one pronto so I can return it soon.

4. Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky - Started reading this book in the summer but only got to a the first few chapters. Interesting read about productivity and execution.

5. The Grace of God by Andy Stanley - So happy I spotted this book in last week's Manila International Book Fair! I'm a big fan of Andy Stanley and have read most of his books. Can't wait to read this once, especially since it talks about one of my favorite topics.

6. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin - Emily Giffin is one of my favorite chick lit writers and this one is her latest book. Should be an easy read. I just hope there's no cheating in this book! (Two of her last novels were about cheating partners.)

7. Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron - I used to love watching Full House as a kid! Candace Cameron grew up to be such a beautiful lady. This book also talks about her battle with the bulge. Yet another book to inspire me to keep going in my weight loss journey.

8. Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic - Nick was born without arms and legs but lives a full life. An inspiring story about an extraordinary man! Can't wait to read about his life.

Happy Fall Reading!