Beating The Winter Blues

Many of us struggle with our mood over the winter time. This can vary in severity from being mildly annoyed about the weather and finding you feel a bit blue and don’t feel like doing things to full-blown seasonal affective disorder, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety and become very serious. 

The unfortunate truth is that irrespective of how you feel about winter, unless you can afford to live abroad for half of the year, it’s something you just have to put up with. So, with winter upon us, now’s the time to think about ways to beat the winter blues.

Think of the Positives

There’s a lot to enjoy about winter time. Christmas is on its way; then there’s Valentine’s Day to look forward to. Winter food is full of comforting flavors and spices. The fashions make a welcome change from summer time and there are plenty of holiday activities for you to get stuck in to.

Embrace it

Think about the things that you do love during winter and embrace them. If you love Christmas, start preparing early to give yourself something to do. If you enjoy creating winter dishes, spend time in your kitchen cooking up new flavors and if you love winter fashion, enjoy experimenting with new styles, and make the most of it before it’s too warm again. Then, at the end of a cold winter day, curl up on the sofa with a blanket and a hot chocolate. Winter is here to stay. Enjoy it. 


Making sure you get plenty of exercise will help to boost your immunity, so you shouldn’t be struck down by too many winter colds and bugs. It’ll help you to maintain a healthy weight, even when you are enjoying some festive treats and it will improve your mood and confidence dramatically. Try to at least go out for a walk or do an online workout video every day. 

Look After Yourself

When you start to feel a little blue, it can be easy to stop taking care of yourself. But, this will only make things worse. Keep up with your usual routines, get some exercise, watch your diet, look after your skin with some gentle doTERRA products and get lots of sleep 

Treat Yourself

If you are feeling a little down, treat yourself. Go for a night out, take a long hot bubble bath, buy yourself a new book or DVD or do something more extravagant like heading to the spa for a weekend. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time out for yourself or buying yourself a treat occasionally.

Try Some Home Comforts

When you want to spend less time outdoors, it’s important to keep your home comfortable and relaxing. Why not do some DIY or redecorate to liven things up a little. Sometimes, simple pleasures like using doTERRA oils to create a calming aroma or adding some new soft furnishings can have a great effect.

See Friends

Try to stay social over the winter months. Locking yourself away at home might help to keep you warm, but you’ll soon start to miss company and laughter. Go out with your friends now and then or take it in turns to host a takeaway night.

Winter is just around the corner, so start looking after yourself and buying in some winter treats now, so you are ready.

5 Areas of Your Life Where You Have the Potential to Increase Your Storage

If you have a lot going on in your life, you may find that you’re always battling to find more space. Sometimes it can feel as though everywhere you turn there is nothing but clutter and chaos. This isn’t a healthy way for you to live, but now is the time to take control. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to involve turning your life upside down. Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways for you to gain some breathing space. If you’re eager to get started, you’ll need to read on. Below are five areas of your life where you have the potential to increase your storage.

Your Closet

Do you have a passion for fashion? If so, it’s likely that your closet is packed full of clothes. Make sure that it doesn’t stay this way. Take out all of your garments and decide what you really need. If you haven’t worn an outfit in years, there is no reason for it to be taking up space in your wardrobe. When it comes to hanging your clothes back up, you should separate your items into seasons. Then, you should store the clothes that are out of season somewhere else. One option is to use an empty suitcase – that way you’re not taking up any extra space around your home. 

Your CDs and DVDs 

Why waste entire shelves on the storage of your CDS and DVDs when you can keep them all in one place? Unless you’ve purchased a collector’s item, there is no need for you to keep the plastic containers for all of your disks. Instead, you should store them in a compact folder. This decision will free up your shelves and will make it much easier for you to organize your entertainment.

Your Car

If you spend a lot of time driving around in your car, you need to be careful about collecting clutter. If your ride is already a bit of a mess, you shouldn’t let it stay this way. Why not invest in clever storage solutions for your vehicle? This will allow you to organize all of your essential items effectively. You might be surprised by just how much you can fit in your car, without creating chaos. 

Your Technology

Whenever you’re using technology, it’s vital that you think about your performance data. Putting too much pressure on your systems could cause them to slow down or even malfunction. That is why you should make use of a raid speed calculator. This will allow you to calculate your system’s capacity, usable capacity, speed gain, and fault tolerance. By understanding this information, you’ll be able to select the most effective approach to your storage requirements. 

Your Mind

In order to live a stress-free life, you’ll need to work on clearing your mind. This will help you to retain important information for a longer period of time. If you really struggle with your memory, don’t worry, it’s possible to retrain your brain. There are a number of effective techniques that can change the way that you interact with the world. You can visit Bargain Hunter's blog for some amazing tips on how to clear and relax your mind.  

Lip Make Up: A Complete Trends History Of Lipstick

When you look at modern makeup, it’s interesting to note while the techniques and products on the market have undergone through stages of gargantuan advancement, the basics of makeup have remained the same. For as long as we can remember, people have been using makeup to highlight their features for numerous purposes. This is particularly true when it comes to lipsticks – from berries to today’s huge variety, the lipstick metamorphosis is an interesting story that should be told. 

Lipstick Trends In The Middle Ages

The use of lipstick or makeup was condemned by the church during the advent of puritanical beliefs and Christianity. In fact, red lips were associated with Satan worship with women having lipstick associated with sorcery and witchcraft. Women would secretly add color to salves or would otherwise rub, bite or pinch their lips using various materials to make them redder!

In 1884 AD

French perfume company, Guerlain, produced the first commercially available lipstick. Their lipstick brand was created out of deer tallow, castor oil and beeswax wrapped in a silk paper. 

The 1920s

By the year 1920, lipstick was a permanent feature in the daily lives of women. Fashion icons of the day were silent movie stars with dark lips people re-created – lipstick color trends were dark reds, browns, cherries, aubergines and plums. Lipstick was inexpensive and could be mass-produced after James Bruce Mason Jr. came up with the swivel up tube that gives you the modern lipstick, as you know it today. 

It is also in the 20s that the feminism wave first came about and women demanded their right to be heard at the ballot. At that time, lipstick was considered a symbol of feminism. It was also in this period companies like Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, and Chanel started selling lipsticks. 

The 1940s Lip Color

During the Second World War in the 1940s, women joined men at war frontiers. During this period, materials of all types were scarce and the metal tubing on lipsticks was temporarily replaced with paper and plastic. Due to a lack of materials, this era’s makeup trends tended to be breezy and creative. 

In fact, women were encouraged to wear the reddest lips possible to boost morale during wartime. One of the most popular shades of red at the time was Besame’s American Beauty. 

The 1960s To 1970s Artful Lipsticks

In the 60s and 70s, lipstick got inspiration from popular culture, arts and a variety of shades hit the market as well as the fashion scene. There was something for everybody and Bonne Bell even introduced flavored lipstick called Lip Smackers on to the market in 1973. Other iconic shades during the era included Maybelline’s Orange Danger coral and Aerin’s Rose Balm Lipstick in Pretty. 

The 1980s Bold Lipstick

In the 80s, everything was all about gloss and shimmers, and the concept of power dressing was born as bold red lips made a comeback. The trend was matching your outfits with your lip color. Hot pink lips became all the rage as the dance party culture took a hold, and Goth lips became popular in alternative sub cultures. 

2000 To Today

The 2000s were all about Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears as shine made its way back, and lip-glosses became a hot favorite accessory. In this age of massive advancements like liposuction in Las Vegas and brain food available at, the variety lipstick colors and formulas available is simply mind-blowing. From pink to nudes to even wackier choices like green or yellow, lipstick has today become a symbol of self-expression. 

The True Espresso: Top 3 Countries that Brew It Best

Every morning, we wake up to the smell of roasted coffee beans. It starts our day and refreshes our mind. But what if you knew that there’s better coffee out there? That it is actually greener on the other side?

Giorgio Milos, the master barista at Italy’s illy, visited New York City and was disappointed by the espresso he received. It wasn’t fresh, it wasn’t tasty, and it wasn’t an espresso. He wrote that “what is called espresso here sometimes really isn’t espresso.” According to him, some baristas simply haven’t learned to walk before they’ve run with their espresso recipes.

So, taking Milos’ critique, here’s a list of countries that have the best espressos for any coffee lover that simply wants to see the grass on the other side.


Of course, we’ll start with Milos’ home country. Coffee is part of the culture in Italy and it’s extremely rare to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a cup at least five times a day. So, naturally it’s the best place to find an authentic espresso. The espresso in Italy uses robusta beans and has an ashy charred burnt taste. However, when you’re in Italy, don’t say the word “espresso”. It’s not an everyday word in Italy and instead an espresso is known as un caffè.


Although it may not be the first place you think of when you think espresso, it is an extremely important part of the country’s culture and history. Some of Vienna’s coffee houses were even listed by UNESCO in 2011 as Intangible Heritage. The city also hosted the World Barista Championships in 2012, and ever since then has improved the quality of their espresso. If you take a trip to Vienna, be sure to visit CafĂ© Central, which is known as being the most beautiful cafe in the world.


Coffee has always been at the center of life in Singapore. However, they’ve only recently embraced modern espresso technology. This newness to the espresso scene has allowed the country to experiment with their espresso and create beautiful masterpieces. The espressos in Singapore are simply legendary. When taking a trip to the country, try to visit Nylon Coffee Roasters, Ronin, or Symmetry to get a taste of what you’ve been missing.

If you’re looking for a coffee adventure, any one of these countries will give provide you with the cream of the crop. But be warned – the grass truly is greener on the other side.

How To Avoid The Monday Blues

We all agree that Mondays can be annoying especially if we want to extend our weekends. We always want to just chill with our friends on a warm Saturday night or cuddle up with someone we love on a Sunday morning. However, when Monday comes, all the good times just end. Suddenly, we start thinking of our tasks for the week, deadlines to meet and other exhausting activities. We can keep on complaining about how awful Mondays can be. Yet we can also do something to turn it around by doing some things. 

Mondays can also be fun and exciting as long you know how to make it happen. There is no need to sit in the corner and succumb to the blues that Mondays bring. Instead, you can lighten the mood by doing these:

Get yourself a hearty breakfast. Cliche as it may sound but breakfast is considered as the most important meal of the day. Whatever you take during breakfast has the capacity to determine your entire mood for the day. This is why it is important to eat everything you like for breakfast, but make sure to follow your diet so you won't feel cranky by having a heavy stomach.

Enjoy a good cup of coffee. You know, coffee is like a hug in a mug. Nothing is more exciting that getting yourself a good cup of coffee on a Monday morning. Wake up to a wonderful day and head to your favorite coffee shop in the city to get your caffeine fix. This will help you get the right amount of energy you need to go through for the day. 

Exercise. Needless to say, this is good for you. When you do a regular exercise, your body starts to release happy hormones such as oxytocin. These hormones can boost your mood for the day. It can help you stay motivated and positive as you go through your Monday.

Wear something special. Your choice of clothing can definitely affect how you would feel for the entire day. On Mondays, it is important that you wear something that will make you feel more comfortable about yourself. Do not try so hard in achieving a trendy look that does not good on you. What you need to do is to find a favorite piece of clothing from your closet and wear it with confidence. You can also shop for some lovely items on fashion search engines like Lyst, Asos or Net-a-Porter where all the fashion you'll ever need is made available.

Choose a cute outfit that will suit a pair of these sandals:

List your to-do's for the week. Mondays can be terrifying especially to those who do not follow their schedules. Hence, it is really highly recommended that you try to organize your activities and appointments for the week. Having a complete picture of the week you need to survive can increase your enthusiasm. All you need to do is create your weekly calendar and accomplish them one by one until you wake up on a Saturday morning.

Listen to your favorite songs. Tune in to your favorite radio station or log in to your Spotify account and listen to your playlist. Giving yourself a chance to enjoy good music can also affect your mood. It can easily take your stress away. Do not be afraid to dance to the beat of your fave song. Just enjoy the moment. Take it slow. You can survive a manic Monday. You got this.

Choosing the Perfect Dancewear for Girls

You could be the best dancer in the world, but if you aren’t wearing the right dancewear, you’ll never get the respect you truly deserve or admiration from your peers. To be comfortable and stand out from the crowd while feeling your best 100% of the time is possible with the right dance gear. So it makes sense to choose the best dance costumes for performing, auditioning, and rehearsing in front of your peers and a live audience.

Choosing comfortable clothing is certainly a good area to focus on when searching for the right dance gear. But finding high quality pieces is also just as important if not more so. Your clothes has to withstand dancing rigors yet still be within your budget so you don’t have to spend a small fortune buying different dance pants for every performance as well as other pieces of dancewear clothing.

With that said, we’ll now take a look at the best ways to choose the perfect dancewear for girls. Please use this guidance to make the best choices and meet your needs.

Picking the Perfect Dancewear for Ballet

When it comes to choosing the right ballet dancewear, you have to find the best pieces that will allow you to feel comfortable and attractive; and also meet your budgetary requirements. If you do not focus on these areas, you could end up paying a small fortune for dancewear that might not look right, might not fit, and might certainly be well outside your allotted budget.

Before you begin your search, it’s best to take measurements ahead of time. By knowing your measurements, you can find high quality leotards, tights, ballet shoes, and so much more. Focus on this area, because you’ll then have the opportunity to shop around and look at gear from various vendors. When you try on various options if you’re not buying them online, you’ll be able to test if the ballet gear is comfortable, fits correctly, and still meets the limits of your budget.

Picking the Finest Dancewear for Tap

As you can imagine, tap dancers will also need gear that’s very similar to those worn by ballet dancers. They’ll need tights and leotards, tap shoes, and other gear of various colors and styles. So choosing the best gear and tap dancewear is going to be a major priority for a wide variety of reasons.

Young tap dancers could potentially choose colorful costumes for their tap dancing gear. Older children usually prefer a black leotard. Thick footed tights are also important, especially when wearing tap shoes, so looking at the various styles and types is definitely something you need to pay attention to. Don’t forget to consider your budget and how much money you have available to spend as you look over your options.

Picking the Ideal Dancewear for Jazz

If you are buying dancewear for jazz, you should speak with the owners of the dance studio ahead of time before making any purchases. They may have a strict dress code that’s already in place, so you don’t want to accidentally buy something outside of the dress code and have to return it or be stuck with it if the store won’t take it back.

Buying tights and leotards are very important to get right when purchasing jazz gear for girls. Jazz pants are the norm for boys, and girls are can even wear them too if they have permission. Make sure the jazz clothes are comfortable, fit well, and also fit within your budgetary requirements when making your final choices.


Take advantage of the information we’ve shared today. Use it to discover formfitting, comfortable, affordable dancewear for girls.

Starbucks Brings Coffee Experience Bar in Davao

Starbucks Philippines is unstoppable. The latest grand move made by this top player in the country's coffee industry is the opening of the F. Torres branch in Davao. It is the fourth branch and the only stand-alone store of Starbucks in the city.

It has a Coffee Experience Bar.

Taking the coffee experience to a whole new level is the opening of Starbucks along F. Torres street in Davao City. What makes this new branch interesting is that it has a Coffee Experience Bar where baristas demonstrate how different brewing methods can have surprising effects on the flavor of coffee. 

According to Keith Cole, the Marketing Head for Starbucks Philippines:
"Our newest store in Davao City fully showcases our passionand experience in coffee. Now with the unique CoffeeExperience Bar, we can share our passion with those who want to learn more about the different brewing methods that bring out different flavors of the coffee."

There are 9 coffee masters assigned in this branch.

This  branch has nine Starbucks Global Coffee Masters who are happy to serve customers at the Coffee Experience Bar. Upon ordering, customers can choose from different brewing methods for their cup such as Siphon, Pour-Over and Chemex. 

You can enjoy watching these coffee masters make the coffee in a bar that looks like a chic chemistry lab. Talk to them and try the Starbucks brewing methods and decide which you prefer the most. With these in your arsenal, experiencing coffee will never be the same.

It has a lovely interior.

Well, there's nothing much to say here. I'll let these photos do the talking..

This is the first stand alone store in Davao city.

The three other branches of Starbucks in Davao are located inside three malls namely SM Lanang Premier, SM City Ecoland and Abreeza Ayala Mall. This means that before you can get your favorite Starbucks drinks, you need to go inside the malls which will take so much time especially if you still need to park your car. However, with the 4th branch of Starbucks strategically placed at the heart of Davao city, everything is made easier. The F. Torres branch is definitely a perfect place for people who are always on the go.

Operating hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 7AM to 1AM
  • Sunday: 7AM to 1AM
  • Friday to Saturday: 7AM to 2AM

This is the first Starbucks Coffee Forward branch in Mindanao.

The newest Starbucks store in Davao is actually the first Coffee Forward branch in Mindanao. A coffee forward branch is a premium-concept store which offers coffee extracted with Starbucks Reserve coffee beans brewed with diverse extraction devices. This simply means that customers can see live demonstration on how their cup is prepared by the baristas. 

You know, in order to fully understand and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a product, one must experience how it is made. This is exactly how one can truly experience the distinct characteristics of coffee. This is why F. Torres branch is going to be one of your favorite Starbucks store in Davao. 

Starbucks Stirring Up A Whole New Way To Experience Tea

Today, Starbucks announced the introduction of the all-new Teavana Frozen Teas which are available for a limited time only starting on September 12, 2017. These refreshing, icy-smooth handcrafted beverages combine the finest Teavana teas and botanical blends with premium ingredients like Kyoho grapes and pomegranate pearls. 

According to Keith Cole, the Marketing Head of Starbucks Philippines, they wanted to offer something new for tea-lovers in the country. He said:
"We want our customers to experience tea like they’ve never imagined. Drawing our inspiration from a love of tea in Asia and from popular new flavors. This year, Starbucks takes innovation in flavors and texture to the next level with a unique Frozen Tea platform to satisfy the growing sophistication of consumer preference.” 

What makes these Frozen Teas interesting is the fact that they have been developed exclusively for the customers across Asia, delivering a sophisticated and modern tea experience. Starbucks is committed to investing in Teavana in the region as it remains a strong growth driver for the brand.  Davina Patel, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, commented on the growing interest in frozen beverages in Asia by saying:
“Our research shows that consumers in Asia continue to gravitate towards beverages with textural and visual appeal, which has led to a growing interest in frozen products. Moreover, consumers are increasingly exploring the world of tea through flavor and variety, with preference shifting towards botanical teas such as herbs, fruits and spices.”

Discover New Frozen Teas

Teavana Frozen Chamomile Tea with Kyoho Grape and Aloe: This refreshing beverage combines floral notes of hibiscus flowers and rose petals with the tropical flavors of papaya and mango, enhanced with hints of cinnamon and lemongrass. The beverage is topped with glistening, jewel-like pearls of pomegranate juice that burst on the tongue.

Teavana Frozen Hibiscus Tea with Pomegranate Pearls: Soothing chamomile tea is blended with honeyed white grapes and aloe cubes delivering a cool, lightly sweet taste. The beverage is generously topped with skinned and pitted whole Kyoho grapes – a popular variety from Japan known for its distinctive sweetness and generous size.

Special Offer for Starbucks Card Holders

Starbucks Card customers can enjoy these icy-smooth Starbucks Teavana Frozen Teas ahead of its public launch. Customers will just need to pay the full amount of the beverage using their Starbucks Card from September 9-11 to avail of the early access promo. Take note that these are available for a limited time only! For more information, you can visit the official website at

What are you waiting for? Save the date and enjoy a new way to experience tea with Starbucks Teavana's new drinks! If you are in Davao, you can get these drinks from three branches: SM Lanang Premier, SM City Davao and Abreeza Mall. 

Tips to Stay Healthy When You're Stressed

You and I get to experience stress every day of our lives. Stress can be both good or bad. 

When we’re faced with mild stress, such as meeting work deadlines or preparing for a job interview, we tend to push ourselves to give our best. This helps us become more proactive. However, stress that goes on for days or weeks can wreak havoc on our bodies. When faced with negative life situations for an extended period, our physical and mental energies get depleted. 

Why Proper Stress Management Matters

Managing stress, the right way is important to preserve your health for the long term. Without proper stress management techniques, you become at risk for several problems such as heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. 

Nobody wants these things to happen. If you find yourself under prolonged stress and need to take better care of yourself, here are a couple of tips you should follow. 

1. Go outdoors and experience nature. 

Do your long hours at work make you feel pressured and anxious? There’s something about greenery and fresh air that soothes your soul. The orderliness of nature and the pleasing sights and sounds of natural elements enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

According to research, it has been found out that nature distracts people from discomfort. After spending time outdoors, in a nature setting, individuals who feel depressed and stressed out feel calmer afterward. Go and hike in the mountains with your friends during the weekend. Have a walk in the park with your dog. 

2. Eat healthy snacks with stress relief benefits. 

Stress eating can be hard to resist. Most people turn to food for comfort and often choose the wrong snack varieties – high sodium chips, sugary treats, and other junk foods. If you’re craving for something tasty to munch on when you’re feeling down, pick healthier options instead. There are lots of healthy snacks that act as natural mood boosters. 

Great examples of these snacks that bust stress include nuts and seeds, avocados,cereal bars with fruits, and blueberries. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help calm your nerves and aid in cell repair and rejuvenation. 

3. Engage in regular exercise.  

Whether you do aerobics, lift weights, or engage in yoga sessions, exercise benefits your body in many ways. Not only does it help you achieve a better weight, it also increases your strength and stamina. Exercise should be an indispensable part of any stress management plan.

On the subject of stress reduction, physical activity has been known to promote the release of your body’s feel-good hormones. These are your endorphins. Not only that, beingfully immersed in the rhythmic movements of exercise helps take your mind off your worries.  

4. Get some sleep. 
Don’t you know that lack of sleep decreases your ability to cope with life’s stresses? When your mind is constantly trapped in the habit of overthinking and you’ve been toiling the entire day, sometimes all that you need is a good night’s rest. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute mentions that sleep improves your brain function by enhancing your ability to learn and cope with change. 

This explains why people who are sleep deficient cannot effectively solve problems and handle their emotions. To develop a healthy sleeping habit, stick to a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid drinking caffeine in the evening. Read an inspirational book or listen to soothing music.

5. Surround yourself with positive people. 

You may not realize it but the persons you often spend time with affect your thoughts and feelings. When you’re stressed, the last thing you need is to be with someone who complains and criticizes. Draw strength and positivity from those who are focused on solutions. 

Good people practice good and healthy habits which you’re more likely to adapt subconsciously. Optimistic friends fill your heart with uplifting messages. Pessimistic friends drain your energy to the point that you lose the drive to take healthy steps to handle your stress.

Wrap Up 

Stress is unavoidable. But the good news is that you can counteract the negative effects of prolonged stress on your health by following these helpful tips. After all, what really matters is how you respond to stress. Overwhelming situations can get the best of you. Remember that keeping yourself healthy enables you to better deal with life. 

Balay Verde Serves Fresh Food From Farm to Table

Nowadays, a lot of restaurants or fast food chains are sprouting like mushrooms all over Davao. It seems like every week, a new food place opens in the city. Wherever you go, there will always be one new player in the food industry that is excited to serve dabawenyos their sumptuous dishes, desserts or drinks. Joining this trend is Balay Verde which had its soft opening earlier this month at the second floor of the corporate center of Abreeza Mall. 

Everything in Balay Verde will make you feel at home. This new restaurant may be located inside a mall but the area is quite relaxing especially that it's already far from the busy stalls in Abreeza. The simplicity and the rustic feel of its interiors will also calm your senses. You will see wooden tables, old kitchenwares and some antique items all over the place. What's even better is the fact that all their servers are polite and kind. At least, that's what I experienced when I went to Balay Verde to celebrate my tita's birthday. 

What makes Balay Verde unique is it does not only serve buffet merienda, lunch or dinner. You can also get fresh and organic food from them. With the aim of making healthy food more accessible to the public, Balay Verde brings farm products to its store. The six owners of this restaurant are also local farm owners making it easier for Balay Verde to provide fresh food from farm to kitchen at affordable prices. The major suppliers are:
  • La Fermette (Tacunan) - Jean-Michel Desreumaux and Francis Eric Tam
  • Gems Farm (Tacunan) - Gerardo Suelo and Michelle Suelo
  • Huni Farm (Wangan) - Louella Garcia and Mavic Abisisit

These are some of the farm produce items you can shop at Balay Verde:

Balay Verde also serves freshly cooked dishes for their lunch and dinner buffet. The cost is only Php 299 per head, with free-flowing fresh tea. They also serve luscious pinoy desserts for the merienda buffet. The cost is only Php 199 per head, with diner's choice of brewed coffee, hot choco or fresh juice.

According to one of its owners, Jean-Michel Desreumaux, they use organic and natural ingredients for all their food sourced from La Fermette, Gems Farm and Huni Farm. This is their way of ensuring that they can serve good and healthy food to all their guests. He also added that while other ingredients may not be able from their farms, they source it from other local suppliers.  

This new food place in the city also caters ala carte food orders.
  • Salad in a bowl - Php 240-270
  • Salad in a wrap - Php 220-240
  • Brewed coffee - Php 80
  • Hot chocolate - Php 85
  • Fresh juice - Php 85
For the desserts, just ask the servers to find out what kind of dessert they offer for the day.

Overall, my experience at Balay Verde was highly satisfying. I like how accommodating everyone from the restaurant is. It's such a happy place to be in. I also enjoyed the food served during the dinner buffet. The minatamis (sweetened banana dessert) was my most favorite! Most importantly, I had fun checking out the farm produce products from Balay Verde. The 1L Fresh Milk of La Fermette  is a must-try. You can get this oh-so-good drink for only P75.

Balay Verde
Location: 2nd Floor Abreeza Mall, Corporate Center
Facebook page:
Operating hours: Daily (10AM to 9PM)

Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale: Favorite Quotes From The Intense Meeting at Dragonpit

This post contains spoilers for GOT's The Dragon and The Wolf (Season 7, Episode 7). Please be advised that reading this write up will spoil the season finale. Proceed with caution. Remember, you've been warned.

The season finale of Game of Thrones is probably the hot topic today after it aired on HBO on Monday morning (PH time). It will surely be the talk of the town for the next couple of days not only for the die-hard GOT fans but also those who are just simple followers or viewers of the show. I bet everyone who has seen the finale would agree that it was so intense. A lot of things happened in the 80-minute episode and people would probably talk about how Littlefinger was executed in Winterfell, how the Queen Dragon and Jon Snow finally ended up in bed, how Theon was able to regain his self back, how Sam and Bran figured out that Jon is really Aegon Targaryen, how Jaime Lannister finally walked away from Cersei,  or how the Night King destroyed The Wall with the help of the Viserion. 

All these events gave me chills but my favorite part was the first thirty minutes of the finale. It was one where the remaining "players" in the Game of Thrones gathered at the Dragonpit for a special meeting. We have Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Euron Greyjoy, Tyrion, Ser Jorah Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Brienne, the Hound, Varys, Bronn, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen all in one place!

Normally, I would write about how I feel about the episode. Some of my readers know that I always use my blog to process and express my feelings after watching a movie or a TV show. But this time, I'm gonna let that habit go. Instead, let me share some of my favorite quotes from first major scene at "The Dragon and the Wolf".

Hound: “I left this shit city because I didn’t wanna die in it. Am I gonna die in it?”
Tyrion: “You might.”
H: “Seems every bad idea has some Lannister cunt behind it.”
T: “And some Clegane cunt to help them see it through.”

Hound to Mountain: “You’re even uglier than me now. What did they do to you? It doesn’t matter now. That’s not how it ends for you, brother. You know who’s coming for you. You’ve always known.”

Tyrion: “We are a group of people who do not like one another, as this recent demonstration has shown. We have suffered at each other’s hands, We have lost people we love at each other’s hands. If we all we wanted was more of the same, there would be no need for this gathering. We are entirely capable of waging war against each other without meeting face-to-face.”
Cersei: “So instead, we should settle our differences and live together in harmony for the rest of our days?”
T: “We all know that it will never happen.”
C: “Then why are we here?”
Jon: “This isn’t about living in harmony. It’s just about living.”

Daenerys: “You have my word.”
Cersei: “The word of a would-be usurper.”
Tyrion: “There is no conversation that will erase the last fifty years.”

Jon: "If we don’t win this fight, then that [white walker] would be the fate of every person in the world. There is only one war that matters — The Great War. And it is here.”

Cersei: “He’s right to be afraid and a coward to run. If those things come for us, there would be no kingdoms to rule. Everything we suffered would have been for nothing. Everything we lost would have been for nothing. The kingdom accepts your truce. Until the dead are defeated, they are the true enemy.”

Brienne: “Fuck loyalty.”
Jaime: “Fuck loyalty?"
B: “This goes beyond houses, honors and oaths.”

Tyrion: “I’m pleased you bent the knee to our queen. I would have advised it, had you asked. But have you ever considered learning how to lie every now and then? Just a bit?”
Jon: “I’m not going to swear an oath I can’t uphold. Talk about my father if you want, tell me that’s the attitude that got him killed. But when enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies. And lies won’t help us in this fight.”
T: "That is indeed a problem. But the more immediate problem is that we’re fucked.”

Jaime: “She thinks I was an idiot to trust you. A lot of people seem to think that, actually.” 
Tyrion: “I’m about to step in a room with the most murderous woman in the world, who has tried to kill me twice, that I know of. Who’s the idiot?”
J: “I suppose we say goodbye, one idiot to another.”

Cersei to Tyrion: “Oh, poor little man. Your papa was mean to you. Do you have any idea what you did when you fired that crossbow? You left us open. You laid us bare for the vultures, and the vultures came and tore us apart. You may not have killed Joffrey but you killed Myrcella, you killed Tommen. No one would have touched them if Father was here. No one would have dared.”

Tyrion: “I am more sorry about the children than you could ever know. I loved them. You know I did. You know it in your hear if there’s anything left of it.”
Cersei: “It doesn’t matter. Your love doesn’t matter. Your feelings don’t matter. I don’t care why you did what you did. I only care what it cost us. It cost us our future.”

Cersei: “Get on a boat — take those who matter.”

Daenerys to Jon: “I respect what you did. Wish you hadn’t done it but I respect it. This place was the beginning of the end for my family. A dragon is not a slave. They were terrifying, extraordinary. They filled people with wonder and awe, and we locked them in here. They wasted away. They grew small and we grew small as well. We weren’t extraordinary without them. We were just like everyone else.”

How about you? What's your favorite line?

Learning The Basics From "Behind Portrait Photography" Workshop

Earlier this week, I attended a workshop organized by HUAWEI Philippines. It was called "Behind Portrait Photography" wherein a famous street and travel photographer flew all the way to Davao just to share some tips and tricks on how to take good photos. He is Larry Monserate Piojo who has also worked with the brand for the "100 Untold Stories Project." Under this campaign, Larry uses the P10 in taking portraits of different people all over the Philippines. What makes the project extra special is that it is made from the heart. Every story has a deep meaning or a wonderful story that is definitely worth sharing.

Storytelling Through Portraits

I have so much respect for photographers. It always amazes me how they can capture a moment in a beautiful way. They have the capacity to actually "make", not "take", photographs. Larry Monserate Piojo specializes in documentary photography. He loves travelling and taking photos of people he meets along the way. During the workshop, he explained how challenging it is to approach a person and ask for a photo. He emphasized the importance of instantly connecting with strangers and making them feel that he is not only interested for the photos but of their stories.

In presenting some of his photos, he said "Photography is a form of communication. It has become a powerful means of communication and a mode of expression that touches human life in many ways." His talk was basically focused on how to be good at storytelling through portraits. According to him, there are top five things to remember:

  1. Build confidence.
  2. Don't be afraid, get closer.
  3. Respect and dignify.
  4. Build trust.
  5. Be honest.

"Portrait Studio In Your Pocket"

The Marketing Director for HUAWEI Philippines, Corinne Bacani, went on stage to talk about the amazing features of the P10 and P10 Plus. These phones are famous for its Leica Dual Camera, allowing every user to have "a portrait studio in [his] pocket". With this technology, we need not bring our bulky DSLRs or mirrorless cameras to take good photos as we go to different places or explore certain communities. Even with a mobile phone, we can already have studio-like photographs.

The latest remarkable partnership made by HUAWEI was with Metro Magazine for the latter's July 2017. The cover photo, featuring the latest brand ambassador Pia Wurtzbach, as well as the in-pages portraits were shot using only the camera of P10. This is made possible by the new Leica Dual Camera 2.0 that uses precise 3D facial detection, dynamic illumination, and natural portrait enhancements to produce stunning artistic portrait shots in Leica image style.

What You Need To Know About HUAWEI P10 Features

Aside from the amazing Leica Dual Camera feature, the P10 and P10 Plus mobile phones also scream for efficiency, especially for the multi-taskers. Below are some of the other features that make Huawei's latest phone model a must-have!

1. Touch. Hold. Swipe. The innovative fingerprint sensor found in the P10 makes screen navigation easier and faster. Aside from the fingerprint lock, the front facing finger sensor also serves as a navigation key. It allows users to perform navigating gestures with ease. With this simple touch, hold and swipe navigation gestures, the phone can perform several operations at speed. On top of that, the one-button navigation also frees up your screen space making it look bigger.

2. Knuckle Control. Another impressive feature of the P10 is its ability to perform operations with the use of your knuckles. These knuckle gestures are perfect whenever you need to open the frequently used applications in an instant. So how does this work? You can draw certain letters with your knuckles while the screen is off. Thereafter, the corresponding application opens. For example, you can draw "C" with your knuckles and in an instant, the Camera App will be opened for you.

3. Stepping Up in Screenshots. One of the best things about having phones is that it allows us to take screenshots of so many things we find on the web or even on mobile apps. Huawei knows that almost everyone is taking screenshots so they have introduced a full, partial and scrolling screenshot features. Just by knowing the screen firmly with your knuckle twice, you can already take a fill screenshot. It even goes far as capturing screenshot with your desired shapes and a scrolling screenshot that captures screenshots longer than one screen.

4. Need to Multitask? No Problem. You can now view two apps at the same time with the Split Screen Mode and Multi-Window Mode of P10. Just by drawing a line in the middle of the screen, it allows you to have two apps running at the same time. This is such an interesting feature especially for people who wants to multi-task such as watching a TV series while reading or replying to e-mails.

5. Effortless Screen Recording. For me, this has got to be the second best feature of P10 next to its Leica Dual Camera technology. The P10 has a built-in screen recorder tool which makes screen recording effortlessly possible. To record, you can simply knock at the screen twice using two knuckles or press the volume up and power buttons simultaneously. It can start and stop a screen recording.

6. One-handed Operation Or With Gloves On. If you find the P10 or P10 Plus screen too big, don't worry. This mobile phone has a one-handed UI feature that enables screen navigating with one hand easier. It shrinks the screen down in the corner and makes apps easier to reach with one finger. At the same time, the Glove Mode feature of the phone allows you to text or scroll even with your gloves on.

"When you see the world more clearly, you see how beautiful it is."

So what can I say about the workshop? I'm glad I attended it. Larry Monserate Piojo inspired me to not only take photographs but also share stories through the photos I make. He makes me believe somehow that I, too, can be a good street and travel photographer. And right now, I'm contemplating on saving up to get my own P10. Maybe with this phone, I can already start my overdue "Life in Black and White" project. Let's see what will happen in the coming months!