/**/ February 2013 - Travel + Decor + DIY

Kick Starting Europe -- Late Backpacking post

I know it has been months already, but I think I deserve a pass to blog about my back packing trip in Europe. I will be sharing the highlights of my trip in a series of blogs (so check on the travel link along the side menus—in the near future)


Traveling Europe will always be part of every gum-shoe’s bucket list. It started as a faith goal for me in 2012 and that goal happened (yey).


First thought of going to the city of Love was overwhelming—-but planning was dreadful. There were times that I was in tears, thinking of where to go, what to do—train connections and squeezing my BUDGET. But then again, as I started with a strong faith, this encouraged me to stay strong and trust God (and truly He provided—will share this in a different post).


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Our intern, Sebastian, really helped a lot. He gave me some cool perspective on what to do and where to go. He was so kind also to offer me a place to stay in the South of France (if he’s not in Paris that time).


The moment that I received my visa, I rushed in confirming all my bookings (planes, trains and accommodations). I made sure that I will try all types of accommodations.


Just like a true backpacker, I prepared only one backpack (my brand new North Face bag) and a handy satchel to carry along around every city I will visit—-I decided to bring my Adidas classic canvass shoulder bag, because it is light. I have my camera, hat, map application on my phone , Surat Journal and enough clothes to go around (and be a fashionista around Paris).


My first destination, PARIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Useful tips in preparing


o   Check all blogs related to the place you will visit. Just make sure to note the top 5 priority sites you want to visit. (for sure you will not be able to go to all the places they will mention, but at least you will be able to visit the BEST—as per your priority list)


o   Check out a number of travel booking sites, this will help you compare flight and hotel fares. I got good rates from www.cleartrip.ae and got good accommodation insights in www.airbnb.com and www.booking.com


o   Ask friends who already went to the place you will visit. This is really helpful (more than the internet).


o   Do not over pack! Just clothes you can use for a good 3 days (then wash them)—washing will be a challenge though. –Also, lifts are really not a thing in Europe.


o   Don’t panic about maps—you can get them in any information center inside the airport.


o   Check online if there are special promos/ passes for people staying for a few days in every city you will visit (note not all promos and passes are beneficial)


o   ENJOY!—you will be visiting one of the best places in the world—just try to look forward seeing the beauty that these places will offer!



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A wedding and a lot of butterflies...

I love helping friends with their DIYs. DIYs always give that special touch to every event and for an event as intimate as a wedding, for me DIYs are a must (specially for us Filipinos). This can be stressful for some, but for others, this can be very rewarding and a great time to bond.


When my friend asked my help to do a d├ęcor for their wedding stage (stressing already that they don’t have a budget) I was excited and ready for the challenge. We decided to play with paper. I always love working with paper. I think they can be elegant if used properly. It is easy to cut, to fold—to print on, you can really do a lot from it.


First stop, I googled some possible inspirations. We came across some butterfly cut-outs and the bride liked it. So, we thought of creating a curtain full of white paper butterflies. We hanged them on a metallic divider owned by the groom using transparent nylons.


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We also thought of creating flowers from paper. Somehow we figured out how to make paper roses (just cut a square paper spirally). We glued them on paper lantern balls we bought from IKEA and decided to hang them along with the butterflies to create some depth and leveling.


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Lastly, with the butterfly still in mind, we thought of creating some table accents. We printed musical notes (because the bride is a singer) on a brown/cream cardboard and cut it in varying butterfly shapes (same as the white butterflies), then we glued two together and folded both wings opposite one another for it to stand.


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We were all happy on the outcome of our simple paper project. I love how all the couple’s friends pull together just to help them decorate their wedding stage.


My Dubai Event and Fashion Blog: The Age of the Graphic Tees - URSOM's Grand Launching

Who doesn’t love a good T-shirt? If I have a choice, I will wear it everyday, even at work. People are always drawn to comfort and a T-shirt (cotton shirt) is indeed comfort at its basic form—oooh deep


Graphic tees have been around for quite some time now. I still remember, back in my college days,I always get fascinated seeing shirts with prints such as “Tummy illfigure” instead of Tommy Hilfiger and “GI Jose” as a Mexican/Filipino spoof of GI Joe.  They are brilliant—and funny.


Aside from the spoof graphic shirts, with the age of digital printing, having a very intricate art print on a shirt is not a problem anymore.  


Now, T-shirts are not only a piece of clothing, but also another form of canvass where we can express ourselves and where fashion can become an expression of one’s passion.


I was totally intrigued when a friend of mine linked me an article from Gulf News reporting that a new T-shirt brand will be launching here in Dubai, where artists can have their artworks printed (and get a percentage of the sales). Since I just started doing some fashion blogs, I was interested to know how this brand came into being.


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 Ursom (which means draw in Arabic) – according to an article from art in the city, is the first e-commerce site that sells designer T-shirts by artist from across the Middle East. — bridging the gap between the worlds of art and fashion. Printed on high quality T-shirts with state of the art equipment, Ursom operates the entire production line out of Dubai


To read the full article clink on this link: http://www.artinthecity.com/en/articles/post/2013/02/12/ursom-celebrates-the-launch-of-its-website-with-regional-artists-and-designers/512/?cct=119&ccid=512


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(Sample graphic tees. Showcased by hanging them around the venue on clothes line.)


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(giveaways—YEY)


What I love about Ursom is that the idea is so simple but brilliant. T SHIRT + ARTIST = EXCELLENT GRAPHIC SHIRTS.  This is perfect with the emerging artist communities in Dubai.


 


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(With my brother —there is a story behind this). What am i wearing: 21 Men cardigan, black skinny jeans from TopMan, scarf from Urban Behavior, leather bag from Ted Baker.


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(With Ursom’s co-founder, Luma.)


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(yey—food. What a treat!)


The event was simple. I was able to talk to one of the co-founders, Luma, who told me that they wanted the event to be as casual as possible—and it did turn out to be so. The place was full of artists and promising entrepreneurs eager to have a glimpse of the T-shirts being showcased during the event. –The venue was also awesome! (and I will do a separate blog about it)




I can’t wait to submit my design to Ursom and have someone wear it (and pay )


 


You can check out what they have in their online shop by checking their website at http://ursom.com/. As of the moment T-shirts are available AED 120 each.



Photos from Ursom Official FB page and Zheena Vergara Photography


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Dralion --Happy Chinese New Year

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It was my first time to watch Cirque du Soleil. I always wanted to watch one. The last time that they went to Dubai was I think 3 years ago, my friend asked me to come, but I was not that interested back then. When I watched a documentary of Varekai (one of their shows) I decided that watching Cirque du Soleil should be part of my bucket list.


I waited, and thought that the following year, the whole crew will return..but only after 3 years. Whew! It was indeed a long wait! I felt envious that in the Philippines, for the past couple of years they enjoyed 2 greats Cirque du Soleil acts. The moment that I heard that finally it will come again to Dubai, I told myself, I will not miss this!—perfect way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.


We caught the 10pm show and to my surprise, being on its 2nd week (and considering that is was very late at night) there are still a lot of people getting in line. We actually thought that we will be located very far from the performance area. Good thing, it was not a huge hall. Eventhough we were not that close, we were not that far either. It’s just right for us to enjoy the show—though at parts I have a large truss column blocking my sight


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The show started with 3 clowns being clowns, then forced a volunteer from the audience to introduce the show. They constantly bug this particular guy. At first I thought, whew, this guys is such a sport..then it seemed as if, he is too sport, that I started thinking that everything was part of the act (well it’s up for you to find out!)


A little background:


“Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show’s name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West.


In Dralion, the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative colour: air is blue; water is green; fire is red; earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion, cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved.” -—taken from www.cirquedusoleil.com


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The acts were amazing! My favorite was the trampoline act. It seemed as if they were flying and walking on walls—-my childhood dream


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All in all it was a superb show, a few down sides though –I saw wire support on the medusa act (this made it less impressive). And there are a few acts that was not shown, if I base it in their official website, namely, hoop diving and single hand balancing.—correct me if I just missed this. 


I will totally recommend everyone to watch this! At around 15min before midnight, my eyes told me to sleep, but a spectacular act after one spectacular act made forcing my eyes not to shut down all worth it.


Dralion is still running in Dubai till the 17th of Feb 2013 in Dubai World Trade Center. To get tickets and to know more about it you can check http://www.cirquedusoleil.com or go directly to http://platinumlist.net


-Photos from google images.  


Birthday BLOG! What age is a Milestone again?

Last Saturday was my birthday, and reaching this milestone age (cough cough** I am, and will always be 26 in my press release) was the reason why I started to really be active in blogging—in short, pagtumatanda nagiging papansin.


I decided today, that instead of receiving gifts I will be the one giving it away. I love how my business can bless people, even as simple as giving a Surat Mini Blank Book away. I made a Q&A promotion in my facebook page and I got a good number of entries. In the end a girl from India won (she was the only one who gave the answer—worthy winner).


Saturday is church time — I love that I will be leading worship in our church the day of my birthday, what a great way to spend my birthday morning, serving God and be with my spiritual family.


For lunch, we headed straight to a meeting with some of our church leaders, to my surprise they prepared a cake for me and aside from that, we had a very tasty Indian meal. Tandoori chicken and filipinized biryani (mixed with minced beef). Thanks to Auntie Candice, she really made the food Filipino friendly—I think I got 4 servings of biryani


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Filipino friendly biryani and chicken tandoori ala Candice 


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My first birthday cake. I love the flavor—Honey Cake- I can’t believe that this just came from Spinneys, so it means, it is very affordable. I recommend this for those with picky sweet tooth like me. –thanks to Marlon, Uncle Bernard, Reagan and Auntie Candice——aaawwww.


After the meeting, I went home to prepare for my birthday dinner. I booked a Korean restaurant along Oud Metha Road, which I will make a review in a separate blog. Before heading to the restaurant, I finished and took an appointment for my US Visa application first. Please pray for me. Will update everyone once I’ll get the result (hopefully good news).


I invited my closest friends to join me for my birthday dinner. Because it was in a Korean restaurant, it was only appropriate to get the “Korean room” where everyone will sit on the floor. The only problem was, it can only hold a maximum of 20 people, good thing people arrived in batches so the size of the room didn’t become an issue.


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 We enjoyed the meal. The service was superb—> I love that in this restaurant, eventhough serving was very demanding they are still smiling (a lot of hands-on stuff for the waitress—like preparing for the bulgogi and bibimbap). All my guests loved the place and said that will go back there.


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The very helpful and cheerful waitress (cho) preparing our bulgogi.


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Spicy seafood casserole and honey chicken (this is like bonchon chicken but better)


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My dinner bday cake—the rice cake version. They surprised me with this, complete with closed lights pa.


The room was filled with laughter and kaaswangan (our term for teasing people, but with good intention). Being away from home, this is the closest set of people that I can call family, so I couldn’t ask for more.


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God truly have blessed me for the past year. There’s nothing compared to His love. and with that,I am truly thankful. I am excited what instore for me this year. I am sure it will be great! 


Have a blessed day everyone!


it's my bday and i am giving away a gift!!!

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As a way of saying thank you to everyone—->i decided to give away a Mini Blank Book Surat Journal today (my bday)!!!l! Here’s the link to know how you can win! Free shipping charge!!!


https://www.facebook.com/suratjournal/posts/416363908452370?comment_id=2765124&notif_t=feed_comment


Another bazaar to prepare! YEY! ARTE TSC

For almost a week now i’ve been working very late to finish the collection that i will display and hopefully sell for this coming ARTE SOUK (Feb 8 2013) in Time Square Center Dubai. It will be my first time to participate in TSC and my 2nd in ARTE. As of the moment i am almost done with all the Little Blank Books (A6) and the Blank Books (A5). Tomorrow i will just have to do a number of Mini Blank Books  (A7), clean all of them with wipeout. and print some business cards and wrappers.


I am excited for this one! i am very happy that i was able to do a lot with the time that i was given. YEY! 


Hope to see everyone there! (will blog about it also)image