Sulo Riviera

4 Mar
The photos I’m sharing today are taken at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City. I was there to attend a 2-day work-related event a few months ago. I fell in love with the place because of it’s super chill, beautiful and quiet ambience. It is also very much in touch with nature… and so  I thought these pictures would perfectly match the topic that I want to talk about today:

14993336_1871739486394837_1051842169266608085_n

se·ren·i·ty 
səˈrenədē/
noun
the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

p_20161117_085313_bfSerenity, i think, is a concept frequently misunderstood.  The word comes from the Latin term serenus, meaning clear or unclouded (skies). By extension it thus means calm, and without storm.  I find this etimology funnily inaccurate though! I read a quote that said serenity is in fact not the absence of storm, but the presence of peace amidst the storm. And I think I like that definition better. 😉

15032245_1871738739728245_7174477402138612579_n

p_20161117_085714_bfOftentimes, when people pray to God for serenity, they are actually meaning to ask for God to take away all their pains and sorrows, their troubles and their problems, and give them a peaceful, stress-free life instead. I have learned however that asking for some sense of serenity should actually mean asking God for strength to endure any chaos, for the ability to go through struggles without losing yourself, and for the will to remain grateful for life, despite being confronted with all the reasons to hate it.

p_20161117_074227breakfast by the pool. Ain’t this awesome????? ^_^

p_20161117_074302When I pray to the universe for some serenity and peace, my heart knows that what it needs is the skill to face life’s not-so-good mood with gracefulness. This is not to say of course that I do not snap or stress even a bit at all. I do.. easily in fact! But the important thing I guess is I know how to ask, and I definitely know the right thing to ask for.

p_20161117_091150_bf When faced with any kind of inconvenience or challenge,  I’ve learned to stop asking my God to take them all away. Instead, I ask for the right weapons to help me make it through the battle. I ask for the will to go on, for some inner peace to preserve my sanity, wisdom to make the right decisions when things are starting to get out of hand and most importantly, discipline when the situation calls for any form or degree of sacrifice.

Anyways, allow me to talk about this hotel a bit more for a second. It definitely deserves some review!

15135879_1872172743018178_1625826160009430518_n Sulo Riviera is a hidden oasis in the middle of a busy city. It is a perfect place to reflect, to eat slowly and to just read a book. 

p_20161117_091007_bfThe hotel also has a great selection of food, which btw are very reasonably priced. I was instantly brought to heaven upon seeing the dessert section! hahaha EVERYTHING TASTED SO GOOOD!

Collages2.jpgTheir banoffee pie and strawberry shortcake are to die for!!!!15078896_1871738849728234_6317510754790284811_n

Actually lahat ng food nila masarap! I wouldn’t bother describing each one na.. basta lahat masarap! haha. Sobrang nakakahappy lang yung feeling! ^_^

p_20161117_085831_bfSerenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.

The important thing to remember is that peace comes
from within your own heart and mind, not from
some outside source, and when you refuse
to be disturbed by things about you, life
will flood your being with dynamic energy.

14993301_1871738086394977_1156557479411982591_np_20161117_085843_bf

Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures.

Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.

-Norman Davies

15094897_1871739036394882_462981202737007386_n

15027602_1872674622967990_4066267839795842761_nThe final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.– Reinhold Niebuhrp_20161117_090647_bfWe have to realize that life will always have its ups and downs. It’s a non-negotiable. Thus, I believe that we all should start praying for help, not for an escape. This way, we wouldn’t be blaming or questioning God/the universe for all the so-called misfortunes that we experience. Everybody goes through hardship, the only difference lies with how we deal with it. 🙂

14991790_1872674709634648_3373336216952617498_n

p_20161116_184446That is all for today! thanks and have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

The Majesty

1 Mar

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

13450722_1799412570294196_8586243273708619624_n

My past week has been pretty serious and uneasy to process. A few major changes suddenly blew on my face without prior notice and it was (is?)  driving me a bit crazy.

But that’s the thing with change, right? You never really see it coming. It just happens right there, right then, catching you in your most unprepared, shaking your world so madly, and making things unbearable to some extent. Now sure this isn’t the first time I had realized a major change in my life was taking place.. but just how many more times should I talk about change in this blog before I get the hang of it?  Ah I probably never will. It’s quite strange how change (particularly, negative change) is known by all to be a constant thing in this world, yet nobody ever gets familiar with the feeling, the pressure, and the meaning it brings to us.

13428475_1799412756960844_2228688964144703734_n

I am totally cognizant and accepting of the fact that some changes had to happen in my life regardless of my (lack of) readiness for it for a good reason.  I know this has to be for a good reason! I was conferring with my very reliable and supportive friend about all these and she told me that I am just being pulled back by the things that are bothering me because I am about to be propelled to greatness..yeah she used the arrow metaphor to explain this to me, and I have to say the right perspective always helps.

So bring it on! I am willingly throwing myself out in the open now!  I’ll face all these changes head on, and I know will emerge victorious. I’ll overcome my negative thoughts, and I’m gonna grow. These changes that are happening right now are just another mechanism to make me a better person, perhaps a better adult, and a better woman.

13442410_1799412693627517_2021281910334786619_n

I will not be defeated by sadness. I will not be consumed by pain. I’m no longer afraid of rejection, failures and oblivion. I know I’m gonna have to go through tough times with more toughness in me. And then, no matter how hard, I shall find my inner serenity.

Life cannot be that bad. It is always more beautiful than what we think it is. All I have to do is focus on the good things.. There are always good things.

13442179_1799412803627506_1753582843195653469_n

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

13417607_1799412820294171_8237337943703532620_n

I’ve been enjoying how life was going for me just before this month happened, so much so that I felt suddenly cheated and deprived when everything started changing gears and heading towards an unfamiliar, uncomfortable situation. But since change is inevitable, I guess all I can do now is trust fate and do nothing else. I know I must try embracing the new things coming along instead of resisting them even though it seems harder or less advantageous for now, and simply bend.

13450020_1799412736960846_8589528900716642334_n

I am stronger than what my current rattled, shaken, and overwhelmed self is telling me right now. I cannot let this stop me from seeing the beauty that life has to offer. There’s always something to be grateful for.

Even the setting of the sun has its own melancholic charm.  It gives us this unsettling feeling that we all dread to feel — an ending to a beautiful, easy day — but it does so with such majestic elegance.. and you just know.. you see… you witness how life still generously helps you, and prepares you for the darkness that lies ahead.

13419165_1799412850294168_5547235254437355730_n

In the Grand Manner

3 Feb

I’m sitting on my chair on a Friday evening. I just finished a deliverable at 8:30pm. I’m seriously contemplating whether I should go home after a tiring day at work and a tiring week in general… or go to a coffeeshop and study til’ midnight again. Kaya pa ba?

Yes, I’ve already started reviewing since Monday and I was so shocked to (re)discover how easily exasperating studying law is. Been going home 12 midnight consistently the past week, on top of being in the office all day. I’d go to bed tired and also wake up tired.  I’m 30 pages behind my target readings, altho I am quite amazed by what I’ve learned so far.

But right now, I don’t know na-ooverwhelm ako sa pagod ko (1 week pa lang!) at sa dami ng kailngan ko palang basahin. Stress IN THE GRAND MANNER mga te! T_T huhu. I realized antagal ko na palang nagpahinga from all this lawschool shiizzz. <ore than one year na. I finished the entire course December of 2015 actually (and 2017 na mga te!), but the grad ceremony happened July 2016. Naloko ako don ng sarili kong mindset lol.  All this time inisip ko saglit lang yung pause ko. Oooops hindi pala. WOW.  That’s why it’s so hard for me to get back on my normal pace. Oh well.

Anyways, i’m just writing this mindlessly and to be very honest, without even trying to think anymore. I hope that my body adjusts to this very tight schedule soon because I really want to perform well in the bar exams.

Para naman masaya, isshare ko na lang ang gradpics ko for some motivation (because I seriously need to up my bar review game. It’s no joke I intend to finish strong!) :

P_20160627_141710_1

For those who don’t know, the sash I’m wearing is called a “sablay”. All graduates of the University of the Philippines wear it.. and we wear it with PRIDE. It’s ironic because “sablay” in Tagalog means “failure”, yet it is quite the icon of success in the university.

P_20160627_142006

The purple tassel clipped on the sablay is exclusively  worn by the graduates of the UP College of Law. This tassel means much more to me though because it is a symbol of the hardship I went through. LOL

P_20160627_141455

And that’s the famous UP Law quote. GRAND MANNER nga daw kase.

P_20160627_141813

Hindi nyo lang alam kung gaano karaming timba ng luha ang iniyak ko noon sa law school. Kaya kailangan kong pumasa ng bar mga te!!!! Para naman matuldukan na ng tuluyan ang chapter na ito ng buhay ko hahaha.

P_20160627_144645_BF_1

P_20160627_150431

Ang haba ng hair ko. Ganda no??? hahaha kakapagupit ko lang kase…

13501753_1804319096470210_5080731071809625453_n

P_20160627_194033

grad

Sobrang sabaw ko na sorry. like really. my brain cells are all fried.P_20160627_193946

P_20160627_193948

OKAY. tama na. nagdecide na ko to soldier on and study tonight! Woooh! Kaya mo yan girl… sa simula lang mahirap! FIGHT LANG NANG FIGHT!

Invisible Tiara

30 Jan

Ah my facebook feed is filled with Miss Universe-related posts right now. So to jump on to the Miss U bandwagon, I’m sharing a look that is inspired by our very own Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach (read: blue dress and a confidently-beautiful-with-a-heart attitude lelz). She’s ending her reign already and it makes me kinda sad coz I really like her and what she represents (persevering, fighting and faithful gal):

blue-outfit3

recently-updated28

There’s something about beauty pageants that makes it close to my heart: I’ve always wanted to become one in fact. Let me share a bit of an anecdote related to this:

On my first year back in college, my Math 17 professor asked the class to write down our wildest fantasy as a bonus question on our Midterm Exam. While my classmates wrote about having wings, being superheroes, having powers of invisibility, going back in time yadayada, I wrote a simple response: “To be Ms. Universe”.  I wrote this in jest, partly finding it hilarious, partly finding it serious. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a beauty queen but I was resigned to the idea that this will never happen.

When I got my blue book (test booklet) back, i saw that my prof left a note on that bonus portion. He said “This is not a fantasy, Jei”. (Jei was my nickname in that class).  I knew my prof meant to tell me that what I wrote as something impossible is actually obtainable. It is indeed a dream, but not a fantasy… meaning, it can be done by me.

blue-outfit1

p_20161217_200309_bfbag from a thrift shop, which i got for less than P300.00 😀

blue-outfit5

Now that i’m older, i realized a much deeper sense in my professor’s note on my blue book. When he said it was not a fantasy for me to become a beauty queen, he actually meant  that I needed to see my worth and beauty more, to regard myself as stunning and great enough to not consider a beauty pageant as an impossible dream. It is not about actually joining Miss U. It was about me learning to regard myself a queen on my own terms. 🙂

p_20161217_195919_bf

I should wear my invisible tiara every single day, everywhere I go, and no matter what the circumstances are. I should feel regal and elegant regardless of society’s labels and titles. And I must always exercise grace through compassion even when not wearing glittering gowns and high heels.

blue-outfit4

Trivia: One of my bucket list items says “To be a queen” but I’ve already crossed it out a few years back haha. (Curious how? Check my Bucket List page 😀 )

p_20161217_200539_bfParisian shoes

blue-outfit2

Beauty queens covet to take their 15 minute victory walk and they try to get this by doing their best in various routines (long gown, swim suit, Q&A, and all the preliminary stuff they need to attend to). Well I walked and strode for a total of 27 years, attempted to practice gracefulness in the way I see, feel and act towards other people but most especially towards myself;  learned to think on my feet when situations call for it;  responded to tough questions posed not by pageant judges but by life itself; accepted defeat various times (although not always with elegance haha parang stage fright lang yan), and tried everything (and still trying! :)) to be a continous winner in the most important beauty contest ever, contest of the various versions of myself.

Ahhh, I like me now. I think i’d crown the 27 year old me the Miss U! 😀

blue-outfit

And here’s a Ms. U-related quote that I really love:

“You can’t let go. You have to really believe that you can and you will and it’s not gonna be easy at all. It might take a while. You have to keep working hard.

Don’t let anything distract you. Work hard, every day, you should be working towards your goal. There’s no time to slack off and sit and wait for your dream to come true. Nothing is ever given to you for free. You work hard for it. Don’t lose your faith, that’s the most important thing. You will encounter challenges that will frustrate you, but don’t ever lose your faith. That’s what will keep everything intact.”

– Pia Wurtzbach (Ms. Philippines – Ms. Universe 2015)

Punong-puno ng drive at motivation. Sana ganyan din ako for the bar review! HAHAHA

recently-updated29

Anyways, ayun lang muna. 🙂 Congrats Maxine Medina for being in the Top 6 of the 2016 Miss Universe Competition. Kinabahan ako na mananalo si Colombia ang awkward naman kasi kung kokronahan siya ni Pia after all the drama last year… Pero all is well! Ms. France is the winner! 🙂

 

Tangerine is In

10 Jan

Hello, friends 🙂 How’s life been treating you all lately? And how have you been treating it? 🙂 I must say that my first few weeks of 2017 have been great. As far as my New Year’s Resolutions are concerned, I’ve gained an initial strong momentum so I’m really happy. I’m doing most of the things listed there quite successfully, and I even added a few more items. But they say it takes at least 21 days to form a habit. Well i’m 10 days done, 11 days more to go before I can safely say i’ll be consistent with these changes. 🙂

Anyways,  one of the things I added in my list is to “always dress well and classy and be shameless about my fashion sense”.I want to make this year all about me, and a big part of “Me” is my love for fashion.

Speaking of fashion, let me just share with you my recent favorite dress that I think looks really classy but has managed to keep the “sexy” element at the same time:

p_20161217_173159

I think my style has dramatically evolved over the years. I used to  wear skimpy outfits which usually sparked a conflict between me and my dad – where he would tell me to change my outfit, and I would of course defy. It was all big hoop earrings, denim, cropped tops, tubes and anything that exposes the flesh.My cousin even said I reminded her of the “Chonga girls” haha. (see picture at the end of the blogpost) Well, that time of my life was great while it lasted, but adulthood happened and I automatically started gravitating to “adult” clothes LOL.

x

Now, my closet is full of dresses. I have exactly 2 denim pants, 2 denim (not-so-pekpek-anymore) shorts, and very few pieces of revealing tops/blouses. Surprisingly, my shift from one end to the other of the “length of clothes spectrum” did not really have much of a difference in terms of fun and confidence. I am enjoying dressing up like a prim-and-proper lady as much as I enjoyed being the rebel-feelingerang-sexy-to-hell-with-you-all-im-gonna-wear-this-fabric-thrifty-of-an-outfit-with-lots-of-cut-outs-and-shit kind of girl.

tan-outfit1

I got this dress from a thrift shop for around P230 to P270 pesos (?! not so sure anymore). I love love love the color of the dress, but I died for the cut, the silhouette, an its perfect length.

tan-outfitlocally made bag, belt borrowed from mom

I paired this with my blue bag which was gifted by my aunt Lorna two Christmases ago. I just knew the bag’s color was the right color to complement tangerine. It kinda breaks the monotony, right? 🙂

p_20161217_173543I also wore my zebra-print bangle to give emphasis on the whole safari vibe of this outfit. My gold bracelet and watch are my constant accessories. I wear them all the time with almost any outfit.

tan-outfit2

Lovin’ the pop of blue! 🙂

I wore this outfit for the first time  last December 19 during our family Christmas party/reunion. We stayed overnight at Crimson hotel and I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring (and wear) nice, pulled-together clothes.

That night, I had a date too.

p_20161217_175207

p_20161217_175217

Hehe I was out with the cutest guy ever… and his name is Drei 😉

p_20161217_174604

p_20161217_174547

Drei is my cousin’s cousin (from the mother’s side) but he’s been the Brigola Clan’s adoptive baby because all of us are all grown ups now. Haha we had a fun dining experience at the hotel’s Executive Lounge, overlooking the entire Alabang. It was a good night really. 🙂 And I felt extra pretty in my dress hehe ^_^

p_20161217_184226

I don’t know about you, friends, but when I find a dress I really like, my heart skips a beat, and it continues to skip beats every time I pull it out of my cabinet.

They say everyone has some sort of addiction in their lives. Fashion is probably it for me. When it comes to clothes, I find it really hard to stop myself from buying especially if I’m really in love with the piece.

I would usually use the excuse that I’m buying from thrift shops most of the time anyways so buying 5 to 10 dresses at a time (yes, i’m not exaggerating) is okay since the total cost is equivalent to just 1 dress if i buy in the mall. And buying 1 dress in the mall each month, or every 2 months is okay. Well, I know there’s something wrong with the logic. It’s not the cost that is the problem, it’s the inclination to have more, more, more. Everytime I give in to the impulse, I feed that addiction and in the end I know it’s gonna take it’s toll on no other than me.

p_20161217_173524

Shoes from Parisian

p_20161217_180641

p_20161217_174927

I really find it hard to not buy clothes, or to part ways with my clothes. I know this is a habit I must change soon. Maybe my attachment to my clothes is borne by the fact that I always see them as a big part of me. And it’s not easy to let go of parts of us, right? But but but. There is no excuse for this crazy attachment. I dream to someday learn how to love a dress and yet not need it in my life at the same time. Okay. I know I also need to apply that in some other aspects of my life! ahahaha

p_20161217_173337

p_20161217_173823

Well, that’s all for today! 🙂 Hope you had fun reading this and I hope we all get to change our bad habits and addictions!

P.S.:

chonga-lips-banner-1300x9001.jpg

Image

Desiderata

9 Jan

desiderata-for-mom-001

Yours and Mine :)

1 Jan

It’s 2017! We are given another year for fresh beginnings – a clean slate, a blank paper to write a new chapter of our lives on. All the baggage we have from 2016 are better off left exactly there – in the past. Let’s all start the new year right – filled with joy, fulfillment, gratitude, awe, faith and love. 🙂 And hurray for me! I have a new blog post on the first day of 2017! Setting the momentum for what’s gonna be a good year not only for me, but also for this blog. hehe 🙂

I was going through my piled-up drafts and thought this number right here with the white clean coat dress and well-polished look was the most befitting to welcome the new year:  p_20161225_103725_bfIt’s simple, crisp, clean,  kinda mature, and subtly presidential. Nothing too grand or flamboyant, but still making a statement. 🙂 That’s how I probably would describe what I want for my 2017 – I want it to be a concoction of simple joys, responsible adulting and small wins in life. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to great surprises, such as maybe passing or topping the bar exams but I shouldn’t really get myself caught up with the big deals lest I allow pressure to take over me. That is the last thing I want for 2017:)

p_20161225_103721_bfAnyways, I’ve been trying to recollect the best memories of my 2016 and you know what I realized?  The past year has had too many highlights that I cannot even call them highlights anymore. LOL :)) 2016 has been super awesome. It was a collection of colorful experiences which are not necessarily always happy and good; Indeed, some made me tremble, shed tears, and doubt myself for a bit but in the end, it’s what made things pretty interesting.

p_20161225_103858_bf_1Here are some of the unforgettable moments of my life in 2016:

1. I graduated from law school. I couldn’t believe it myself – I got through 5 and 1/2 years of what I thought was extreme hell. Wheeeeew! It was not heartbreaks that made me cry like a baby so many times – it was law school! bruuuuuh

2. I was sent to Switzerland along with the other members of the Philippine Delegation to defend a State Report before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of (all forms of) Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW). First travel abroad. Europe. This one will always be in my heart. 🙂

3. I fell in love with the strangest guy, or should I say, strangest idea of a guy. Kakaibang love story to na hindi naman talaga love story. Ah basta. Kailangan ko ng separate post for this lol.

4. I got my first bouquet of roses on Valentines day 🙂 I know, i know. shallow. But then, this blog is called Shallow Euphoria so I’m justified for cherishing this experience just a bit too much right? 😛

5. I got my heart broken 😦 But it was a test of my self-appreciation and self-respect so all good.

6. I became more spiritual. I was learning a lot about Taoism and it has tremendously helped in my daily life.

7. I was introduced to the habit of reading. This one’s the most unexpected but I love that it happened 🙂

8. I made another milestone (which I  cannot disclose right now) just before the year ends…

9. ….and a lot of food, frappe, cocktails, hotel hopping, family and friends bonding, and alfresco resto exploring in between!!

WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

coat-dress1Dress from a thrift shop

recently-updated30Bag gifted by my office mate Becca, Anne Klein watch, gold bangle from Baclaran

p_20161225_103752_bf_1Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, any one can start from now and make a brand new ending.

p_20161225_103740_bfWe are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.

p_20161225_102729shoes from Parisian

p_20161225_103745_bf2016 has taught me so much about myself, about adulthood, and about life in general. I gathered all these important realizations to sort out the things I need to improve on, and while the past year has been nothing short of wonderful, I acknowledge that there are responsibilities I need to take more seriously this year for my own sake. So, after a quick year-end review, this is the set of New Year’s Resolutions I intend to pay attention to:

15740766_1895376467364472_1011165136715892121_nMany of my goals I am already trying/doing, but I feel that I need to improve on the consistency aspect – like reading my novels and devotional/Taoism books, blogging and trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

I also have  one major goal for 2017 and that is to pass TOP the bar exams (libre mangarap, friends! hahaha). But seriously, It’s the one thing from that list I’m kinda nervous about, not because I don’t believe in my own aptitude, but because I know it entails lots lots lots of discipline and hard work. But a new year means infinite possibilities and I intend to try my luck on that ha!  🙂

p_20161225_103934_bf1Before I end this post, allow me to insert one important message:

I know that some people did not have a very pleasant 2016. And I don’t want to dilute the importance of their own experiences just because my year turned out well and fine.  To my friends who breathed a big sigh of relief upon the conclusion of the past year, congratulations for getting through your rough time! 🙂 I am soooo proud of your strength, your endurance and your will to soldier on! I hope that 2017 brings you the blessings that you so deserve. 🙂 This new year can as much be yours as it can be mine. CLAIM IT! 🙂

p_20161225_103920_bf

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!! LET’S SPREAD LOVE WHOLE YEAR ROUND!!!

love,

Janica 🙂