Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tiny Plant

12.09.15 | Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Aine Garcia

"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another."
 - Napoleon Hill

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I WAS a smoker

I want to share to you about my life as a smoker, and how a little girl changed it all. :)

How it started

At 2002, I succumbed to a very unhealthy lifestyle. It was during my last year on college when I learned how to smoke. At first, it was just a stick. Then it became two. I told myself that I would only smoke after eating lunch with friends. I promised myself that I will not buy a pack because I will only be tempted to smoke even more. But then I lied, I broke all the promises I made to myself; until it became a bad habit to break. I became a chain smoker.

Because it was cool

There was no peer pressure at all, nobody encouraged me to smoke. It was a decision that I made alone. But I admit, I thought it was cool being with friends who smoke, I felt that I belong, I was showing off. I felt like I was a tough girl; that I can do what guys could do. I don’t care what other people think of me, I don’t care if I set a bad example to kids who passes by where me and my friends hang out to smoke. I was PROUD.

The habit

When I woke up, I smoke. Before I eat, I smoke. After I eat, I smoke. When I’m bored, I smoke. When I’m stressed, I smoke. When I’m taking a bath, I smoke. When I’m mad, I smoke. When I can’t sleep, I smoke. Before I sleep, I still smoke. It’s like everything I do, I smoke. Smoking became more frequent when I started working; I found friends who shared the same habit with me, it became one of our bonding sessions. Smoking too became our stress reliever during the 15-minute and lunch breaks. However, it became worst when I got promoted; I can have small trips to the smoking area when I want to, I own my time. I also had a senior who was also a heavy smoker, she would always ask me to accompany her and would happily join her puffing out those cancer stick.

An open secret

Friends, classmates, relatives who are close to me and people in our house knew that I smoke, I trusted them with my open secret. Though, my mother is a smoker and my father was a smoker, still I don't want them to know that I was smoking, especially my father. However, since my mom is a smoker, she noticed it eventually; but there were no talks or confrontations whatsoever.

The health

Ironically, I didn't get cough and colds that much when I began smoking. I was amazed, until I started to feel the effects of smoking. I was starting to have a smoker’s cough, I was gasping for air when I ran up and down the stairs. But what seems to be the most difficult was when I was having shortness of breath; I cannot fill my lungs with air when I breathe deeply. And when I push to breathe more, it was like my lungs won’t take more air; it would go on for days, sometimes weeks. My left thumb was beginning to numb, as far as I remember it went on for a month or two, although I’m not sure if it was related to my smoking but my cousin, who is a doctor, warned me that I should really quit.

On quitting

I tried several times, but I failed. The longest that I quit was for 3 weeks only, then I would light a stick again. And for more than 2 years of working with my company, I resigned. Staying at home toned down my smoking since I'm away from the famous “smoking area” and my "smoker friends". Happy with being a bum, I only smoked 1-3 sticks per day from my usual half-pack to almost 1 pack a day. 

The BIG news

2010, I became pregnant. It was the biggest and happiest news that changed my life forever. After testing positive, I completely stopped. I went on cold-turkey; there was no turning back, no urges, no nothing! I became protective of the little one inside me.

My Prenatal

It was my first time to meet the doctor, there were series of interview about my medical history, allergies, etc. And then she blurted out the million-dollar question

“do you smoke?”

I said "yes I did, before I found out that I was pregnant"

Then she asked me "how many"

I said "1-3 sticks"

Then she checked my tummy, and said that size of my tummy was small compared to the number of weeks that I am pregnant. And she scolded me. She said that we all knew that smoking is bad for our own health, what more for the little one.

Scared for the first time

What the doctor told me hit me bad, for the first time I was REALLY scared of the effects of smoking. I was scared not for myself but for the little life that I had in me. I was scared what the nicotine in my system could do to my little one. I cried!

Moving on

From the day that I learned that I was pregnant up until the day I gave birth, I was praying really hard for my baby to become healthy. Thankfully, I did not encounter any problems during my entire pregnancy. I delivered a healthy baby girl, no complications at all. I was blessed! I was relieved.

She changed it all

My daughter saved me, not only from smoking but from the way I looked at life. She is one of my biggest motivations to stop and not to go back smoking. She is my inspiration on keeping myself healthy. I want to live a long life, I want to see her grow up, graduate, have work, marry, and have kids. I want to be there with her every ups and downs, I just want to be with her. There is no turning back!

To my little girl, thank you for saving me. Thank you for making me decide to live a healthy life. Never again will I go back to my old habit. No promises, but I will DO it; for you, for me, for your dad, and for the whole family. I love you!

* And to this date, I am 5 years, 4 months, 10 days smoke-slash-nicotine-free!!! ^_^ *

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Importance of Reading to Kids with Mabel's Labels

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. — Walt Disney

Mabel's Labels knows that reading to kids is important for their growth and development, and also one of the most rewarding and heartwarming activities we can do with our little ones. That's why they created this adorable video of Mabel's Labels staff reading with their kids.

After you watch it, be sure to check out the great personalized books for kids they have available to make reading with your kids even more special this holiday season. 

Discover all the great new products Mabel's Labels has for the holidays. There are all sorts of ways to be merry with Mabel's this year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Light Port

10.10.15 | Tubigon Port, Bohol, Philippines | Photo by Aine Garcia

"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light."
-Evelyn Dunbar

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Meet My Pens!

When technology was born, my creativity took a rest. The free time I spent creatively, was changed into time spent in front of the computer checking on Friendster, MySpace, and Multiply. I almost forgot that I love to scribble, doodle, and write. I almost forgot that I'm fond of pens and papers, stationeries and stickers, and planners and notebooks. I almost forgot that I love to create!

 But that was almost 2-decades ago. I guess, when you get old balancing life and get tired of all the dramas you're seeing on your newsfeed, you look for some ways to unwind - at home! 

That's when I took my pens out again.

I never thought that I still had my pens for almost 15 years, hidden. But of course, I have to throw some of them away because they don't work anymore (I'm not sure if I get to take pics of them.) 

It was bitter-sweet, but I have to let go.



Anyway, most of the pens I had before were Pilot, Dong-A gel pens (colored and the black ones), and some other pens I hoarded from my father's stash. Lol! The Parker and the Rotring pens I had to keep because they're my dad's so it has sentimental value. Mechanical pencils were kept too, and the leads as well not to mention the Mongol pencils from years ago.

Now that my "collection" has been downsized, I discovered affordable pens and decided to get them for myself. Insert happy face here! Lol! So there, check out the new addition to my pen-family!

Titus Fine
They are totally my favorite now. These ballpens are oil-based and come in different colors. Plus, they're so affordable that each pen only cost Php 7.75! I bought them at National Bookstore, except for the green and brown which was given to my by a friend. Here's a tip, you have to go and check the bookstore every now and then because they don't have all the colors in stock all at once. I get to complete the set with 3 separate trips to NBS.

Bic and Monami
I got the Bic because I've been searching for a lime-colored ballpen, which I think Titus doesn't carry. I'm a bit surprised, actually, because I never thought Bic already had colored pens. Ballpoint size though is .7mm, I like fine point so I prefer .5 and smaller. The color is nice, it's just that the ink is lighter than expected. But hey, I only paid Php 9.75 for the pen, so it's good.

Now, the Monami Love Pet gel pen was unplanned but I so like the color that's why I bought it. Ballpoint is .38mm which I loved! Price is Php 21.75. 

Dong-A My Color 2
 These rocks! They have so many colors. The pen has twin tip, one of which was smaller than the other. I always use them on my planner, the fine tip especially! I just love the colors and I really wanted to have more. But I think, I'm good with what I have now. Each pen is at Php 22.75 only!

Faber-Castell 12 Classic Colour Pencils

This has 2 purpose - 1) for my planner and 2) so my little girl could play with it. Besides it's nice to have colored pencils around the house, you could use them anytime and anyway you want. Bought the set for Php 124.75 and thinking of buying the set with 36 or 48 colors.

So there you go! I'm planning to have brush pens and water brush as well, but I'm still in search of an online shop who carries the brands that I want. So, better watch out for that blog post! *wink*

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cricut Design Inspirations - Unique and Fun Projects for You!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

With countless craft ideas you can do with Cricut Explore One™, Cricut Explore Air™ and Cricut Design Space™, it’s time to chat about some of the really neat things you can create when you put it all together. 

As you’re getting familiar with your Cricut machine, it’s a great idea to take advantage of the free Make it Now™ projects and images that you get with Cricut Design Space™. 

For example, check out this adorable 3D Hot Air Balloons Mobile. It’s a fun, easy starter project and makes for the perfect baby shower or toddler’s birthday gift (and can you believe it's made with felt?). And what’s a gift without a card? Cricut has an incredible selection of card examples made with Cricut Explore machines. There’s even a whole selection dedicated to everything baby, which is where I came across this cute baby shower card

What better way to tell someone how special they are than with a hand/Cricut-made card and gift? This super fun shaker card is perfect for a 21+ birthday. And even if you purchase a gift, you can always use your Cricut Explore machine to personalize it. For example, if you bought a friend a purse or a wallet, you could use your machine to monogram it with their initials. Or if you bought them a plain shirt or sweater, you could customize it with a fun image or statement. 

I love this sparkly pineapple t-shirt. All you need is a blank shirt, a roll of Cricut Iron-on, and images from the Cricut® Summer Love image set. 

Pool Party
Soak up the summer fun with a pool party! You can use your Cricut Explore to create everything from invitations to decorations. Here are some really creative ideas for how to add some special splash to a pool party

Make your own beautiful table decorations, banners, party favor boxes, cards, and more for the happy couple in just a few minutes! You’ll find some really impressive ideas in Cricut’s Design Space, such as this lovely Mr. & Mrs. card

There are an unbelievable number of project examples in the Design Space, which are categorized by type (e.g. baby, holidays, home d├ęcor, school, food, etc.) and by level (easy, moderate, and advanced). You can also find a ton of great ideas for projects on Cricut's Blog and Pinterest page

The summer season is a perfect time to get your very own Cricut machine and familiarize yourself with Design Space and all the incredible projects you can create. Try out a few projects each month and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. By the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll be a Cricut pro and will wow your friends and family with your stunning crafting skills! 

Happy crafting! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My First Solo-Made Fabric Bouquet

My little girl with the fabric bouquet. Someone's got to hold it while I take a picture of it, right?! ^_^

It's been a while since I've made fabric flowers due to my very busy schedule. If it's not for my friend's sister's wedding, I won't be making a new one. And if it's not about her wedding, I won't be REALLY inspired to make a fabric bouquet!

Last April, I helped my friend on her sister's fabric bouquet. I did the flowers and she did the assembling. That's where my high school friend saw my work. Until she requested me to make one for her.

It was a big challenge for me because this time, I'll be doing it alone - from the fabric flowers, down to the assembling of the bouquet. Not to mention my extremely little time, since I've been packing as mad because we're relocating!

But then, everything went so well. I so loved the outcome, and I still can't believe that I was able to create a very stunning piece - especially for a first timer! *wink*

Hopefully, and I'm really crossing my fingers, that this will be the start of my long-lived dream.

Cheers and enjoy the pics! :)

Materials used ranges from chiffon, satin, lace, faux pearls, and some blings!

These are the flowers I used on the bouquet - they're actually four different types of shade/design.

The bouquet's handle wrapped with jute string.

My June bride specifically requested for a Rustic inspired theme with less bling.

Here's my very first fabric bouquet - another milestone for Nia&Bella. And I must say, that I am one happy crafty mom here, and definitely there is one happy bride who is currently getting married today!

Best wishes Azel! Cheers to a blissful married life with your Knight!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

MUJI Corner Punch for that Perfect Rounded Corners

This is probably one of the best paper craft partner I ever had!

I just love how elegant a paper looked like when the corners are rounded, but let's admit it, it's hard to achieve that perfect rounded corner by only using a pair of scissors. Here's another fact, it's also hard to look for corner-rounder punchers in our local bookstore and only online shops offer this type of puncher and mostly the one that I found were BRANDED and EXPENSIVE.

Luckily, I came across a post which has this MUJI Corner Punch, and I was like 'I need to ko to MUJI now!' Lol!

But it's true, I really looked forward on going to the nearest MUJI store as soon as I had my free time.

Gladly, the one that's on BGC area has it! So there, my very own MUJI Corner Punch!

Time to get some punching... papers that is!

Price: Php395
Store: MUJI Bonifacio High Street Central

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Melon Juice: My Summer Thirst Quencher!

Summer is indeed really just around the corner. And summer does remind me of my favorite thirst quenchers! One of them is Melon Juice.

This summer thirst quencher is so easy to prepare. You just need to add water and sugar to a pitcher of shredded melon and you're good to go! Just a quick tip though, do not add milk if you're not planning to consume it right away. Refrigerating the juice with a milk for a few hours turns the melon bitter. So drink it right away if you want your melon juice with milk in it.

And aside from mangoes, melons are good for making fruit shakes too.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dolci Coffee Jelly: A Nata & Coffee Fusion

I love coffee, but I'm not a jelly type of person. Which explains why I haven't tasted any coffee jelly in my entire life!

But then, a very generous friend gave me one a few weeks ago and it was only today that I finally opened it. I'm a bit surprised because it tastes just right, not bitter and not too sweet either. If you prefer mild tasting coffee, Dolci Coffee Jelly is the one for you! And surprisingly, it's not jelly, instead they used Nata de Coco as a substitute to the usual gelatin. Nice!

Try one for yourself! You can buy Dolci Coffee Jelly (300g) at Landmark Supermarket for Php49.00 only. Very affordable, isn't it?! 

Oh, don't forget to try them with your favorite Vanilla ice cream, they're really good! *wink*

Friday, March 13, 2015

Discovering Titus Pens

I've been dreading for the past couple of weeks to buy some new pens; and I only want one specific brand - TITUS.

My friend introduced me to Titus when she gave me pens in green and brown. Since then I've been using those on my CBTL planner. And because I'm starting to love them (they right so well AND they're budget friendly!) I want MORE colors!!!

However, there were only a few of them in NBS Market! Market! when I first bought my Titus pens and got only the red, blue and purple colors. So, I have to constantly check if they have new ones whenever I had a chance to go to the mall.

And so after a month, I finally got yellow, pink and orange pens!

Oh the joy!!! ^_^

I wish they have MOOOORE colors! Lol!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Merry Postcard

01.14.15 | Metro Manila, Philippines | Photo by Aine Garcia

It's been ages since I got a mail like this. I'm glad I got this Christmas Card from one of my online friends. Thank you! *smile

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year with CBTL's The Giving Journal

It's the 1st day of the year and I'm going to start it with my 2015 The Giving Journal from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I got this from a blog giveaway I've won last month. Just in time, because 2015 will be a promising year for me and my family. And there will be some big changes that will happen for the better, of course! So this journal will be my buddy for this year!

Happy New Year!!!