Sunday, June 03, 2012

I'm still here! --

I have to admit I miss this blog --

And I wish I could find the time to update here more regularly --

But summer seems to be more hectic than the regular school year for me.

For one, both kids are at home for the entire day and it's up to me to keep them entertained.

Then I started a new project and one that I am enjoying very much: It's a book review blog that exclusively features historical romance novels: Love Saves the World --

I've been blogging there (more regularly) since September last year.

And I'm still selling books at Ebay Philippines as starrynightbooks_ph.

The school year is about to start and I'm optimistic that I will have more free time in the mornings (both kids will have almost the same schedule now! Yay!) --

So I am committing myself to update here at least once a week starting June.  (I have a massive backlog of posts!) ^_^

Monday, April 30, 2012

Basically still the same --

5 years ago, I took a personality test online and this is the result: Clickety click here.

I decided to take the same personality test now and here is the result:

  Click to view my Personality Profile page

The results of the MI test is interesting -- I've lost my interpersonal skills -- O_O

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two days left: You Can Find Me on Zinio March Campaign Giveaway

One of my all-time favorite websites, Zinio, is having a wonderful campaign this March.

Program Details
Vote for an Influencer, and then enter our sweepstakes.

Influencers who participate in the “You Can Find Me on Zinio” contest will compete for votes from friends and followers.

The influencer with the most votes by April 16th will receive a $2,500 donation for the charity of their choice.

Contest Instructions
Step 1: VOTE Vote for your favorite influencer.

Step 2: WIN Enter our sweepstakes here:

The Influencer with the most votes by April 16, 2012 will receive a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice.

Sweepstakes entrants will have a chance to win daily and weekly prizes.

One will will win the grand prize. A Dell XPS Ultrabook

Contest Starts
March 01, 2012 @ 08:15 am (EST)

Voting Begins
March 09, 2012 @ 10:56 pm (EST)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Catching up on Reverb 11: December 25 --

December 25: Gift -- What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving? My Zinio magazine subscriptions! I love magazines! And I'm really glad that Zinio offers such a wonderful (and inexpensive) service. Every month, I get a digital delivery of Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food Network Magazine, etc -- and it keeps me occupied when I have free time. I love the information and recipes. I love the insight and the sound/idea bytes. ^_^ (If one calculates it and if one is lucky to catch Zinio when they have their promos, single issues can run as low as $1. That's even cheaper than the back issues sold at Booksale.) Plus, no clutter in the house. I have 2-year's worth of SFX magazines from Zinio.

You Can Find Me on Zinio March Campaign Giveaway

One of my all-time favorite websites, Zinio, is having a wonderful campaign this March. Here's the info: Program Details Vote for an Influencer, and then enter our sweepstakes. Influencers who participate in the “You Can Find Me on Zinio” contest will compete for votes from friends and followers. The influencer with the most votes by April 16th will receive a $2,500 donation for the charity of their choice. Contest Instructions Step 1: VOTE Vote for your favorite influencer. Step 2: WIN Enter our sweepstakes here. ( Giveaway The Influencer with the most votes by April 16, 2012 will receive a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice. Sweepstakes entrants will have a chance to win daily and weekly prizes. One will will win the grand prize. A Dell XPS Ultrabook Contest Starts March 01, 2012 @ 08:15 am (EST) Voting Begins March 09, 2012 @ 10:56 pm (EST)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Catching up on Reverb 11: December 24 --

December 24: Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you? I am slowly still learning the lesson that every day is not the end of the world -- and that every mistake does not lead to catastrophic consequences. The past six months, I have experienced loss -- more loss than I have known my entire life. And, these losses have had a devastating effect on me -- With each one, I felt the ending of one world -- but I felt the beginning of another one. I try to weather through each one -- but, I have become afraid of the day-to-day goings of life. But I am forcing myself to believe that there is something better that will happen soon. I am forcing myself to be optimistic and to stay focused. So, when something happens: when Seth comes home and the yaya tells me his teacher said he was misbehaving; when Anya picks up a french fry from the floor and puts it in her mouth; when I forget to pay for something and it was due a week ago -- I remind myself that it is not the end of the world. (The other lesson, I got from Downton: It will be better in the morning. ^_^)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Catching up on Reverb 11: December 23 --

December 23: Web tool -- It came into your work flow this year and now you couldn’t live without it. It has simplified or improved your online experience. Does the iPad count as a web tool? ^_^ I resisted reading e-books for a very long time -- but, last year, my husband showed me just how convenient the iPad can be. I am reading more (and learning more) because of my iPad. I actually play very few games on it: Ticket to Ride, Monopoly Hotels, Scrabble, Ranch Rush and basically use it for reading. I love, love, love Zinio on my iPad. And I'm kinda addicted to buying up magazine subscriptions. (I have Rachael Ray and Food Network and Oprah ... and I have Family Circle and Parenting: School Years.) I love Kindle. And it's kinda funny when I'm reading a paperback book and I want to write notes or highlight an entry -- and I can do these so easily on the Kindle app. (But with a paperback, I have a small notebook and some post-its.) We also have one of those portable wi-fi device thingies and I bring one with me when we are at the doctor's or anyplace where a lot of waiting is involved and I get to check my mail and do small stuff while we're out. ^_^ I also take notes for our association meetings and for my book thoughts on the iPad. ^_^ I actually got mine last January -- and I know I should've waited until the new one came out -- but I've been a happy owner for the past 2 months and I don't regret a minute of it. ^_^

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catching up on Reverb 11: December 22: Startup --

December 22: Startup -- 
What’s a business that you found this year that you love? Who thought it up? What makes it special?

I really, really, really love -- I love the concept!  

They accept submissions from artists and they offer 1 design per day.  After 1 day, the design is "retired"  

The price is amazing.  $10 for a t-shirt that's unique.  I also love that many of the designs have pop-culture (read: geek) references so they really can reflect a person's taste.

Our first Teefury shirt is this one.  The WhoNuts.  

Best thing?  Shipping is fairly affordable to international locations.  (Shirts will come out cheaper than Topshop or Uniqlo.)

The two other businesses that I am a big fan of are both from the UK

Book Depository and --

Why do I love them?  3 words:  Free. Shipping. Worldwide.

It is a boon to me because I have very limited access to books where I live.  (And I have limited access to clothes that would fit me where I live.)

I love that I can check for books and clothes during my kids' downtime -- and I can browse leisurely.  I know there is a risk of crazy-ordering -- but I follow 1 simple rule:  I put items in my shopping cart and sleep on it.  The next day, I edit. ^_^

Catching up on: Reverb 11 -- December 21: Project

December 21: Project --
What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

When I ran out of space in my Moleskine journal (for Books), I was getting ready to get a new one.  When I realized it was expensive. O_O

But I still wanted to write down my thoughts and keep track of my books.  

So I decided to open a blog for it.  I've been posting my thoughts about the books I've read on that blog since September last year and I have about 70+ reviews there -- and I'm enjoying the process.

I had considered handwriting my thoughts on a notebook -- but I am an impatient sort -- and my thoughts run faster than my hand.  So typing them down was my answer.

I have become a more thoughtful and more attentive reader.  I was telling F that now I take notes and "mark" (with post-its) entries that strike a cord in me.  I am reading more closely and more carefully now.

(And I have discovered my pace.  I average 1 book every 3 days. ^_^)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My new skirt --

I don't wear jeans -- but I love how versatile denim is -- so my goal for the year was to find a denim skirt.  I already have 1 denim skirt but it's pencil cut -- and not that flattering on me.  (But I still wear it.)

When I found this skirt on Etsy, I didn't hesitate to get it.

It's a denim full skirt -- and my sister describes it as having a life of it's own.  I love it.  I love the 50s vibe. ^_^

I got it from a Polish seller and that's an extra thrill for me to have something made by someone living in a place I would never be able to visit. ^_^

Her Etsy shop is here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gold on my feet --

I wrote about these shoes last December as part of my Christmas wishlist -- but I've had my eye on them since I first saw them online months before that --

I hesitated buying them -- gold shoes are not really the most practical pair of shoes to buy -- and I'm a Crocs Prima in Cotton Candy Pink girl.  (I have been living in this model of shoes for the past 4 years.)

I decided to take the plunge on my birthday -- and ordered myself a pair.

The wonderful people at We Are All Soleil were very efficient in sending out my order -- and a few days later, I was wearing my gold shoes.

And I wore them for 3 weeks straight -- I wore them to church and when I was dropping off my kids at school; I wore them to the bank and when I went to Globe to ask something from Customer Service.

When my dad first saw them on my feet, he said, "Your shoes are gold." -- to which I replied, "Yes, they are."

And I am so, so happy to have this pair of shoes.  I like seeing them on my feet.  And I wear them with everything!

Like having my own private disco~
I love it best when the light hits the shoes and the sequins reflect the light -- it's whimsy and magic -- and gold!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

On my to-bake list:

This Banoffee Recipe

And the baked cheese cake recipe found at the back of the Kiri Chef cream cheese package.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An update on our flight to Singapore --

Yesterday, I received this letter from Chartis Insurance:


Yes, we have received the forms and documents, we’re currently having the policy verified against our records after which we will be evaluating the claim.
We’ll give you an update by Monday morning.


* * *

And today, I received this email from --

Dear Ms. Ong,
Thank you for the message we received apprising us of your recent experience with us.  At the outset, please accept our regrets for the disappointment you may have felt as a result.

A request for feedback from the offices concerned had been initiated to provide us with the full circumstances of the reported incident.  The handling Customer Management Officer will be communicating with you again, as soon as the reports are completed. 

Customer Relations Office
Philippine Airlines

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Mr. Bautista re: PR507, January 12, 2012 -- my horrible flight experience with PAL (Philippine Airlines) --

We had the worst flight experience with PAL during our first international family trip last January 12.  (This trip was a post-birthday gift to me and my husband and an early birthday gift to my sister.)

In the Mabuhay magazine, Mr. Jaime Bautista has a space which provides his email address and asks readers to "tell him how they are" -- I sent this email to him (but my husband warned me that this will just end up in his Junk Mail folder.)

I have heard the same sentiment expressed by other people who have also experienced flight delays and cancellations (or knows someone who did) -- they all warned me that Philippine Airlines doesn't care.  ~sigh~ =(

If anyone knows anyone from PAL who would, at least, read/listen to my story, I would really appreciate it.

* * *

January 16, 2012

Dear Mr. Bautista,

I would like to share with you our horrible travel experience with Philippine Airlines.

We decided to take our first international trip as a family using Philippine Airlines -- I had no doubts about my choice of airlines because I have traveled abroad using PAL and have experienced PAL at its best.  I was confident that my two kids (5 and 2) would be comfortable.  

We booked our tickets on September 25 for a trip from January 12 to 16, 2012.  We were travelling directly from Iloilo to Singapore, connecting through Manila --

We experienced our first setback 2 weeks before our flight (December 30) when I received an email from PAL informing us of our new flight schedule -- 1 hour later than the original time (1115 am instead of 1010am) --

Although it meant having to wait 4 hours between flights, we were determined not to let this affect our enthusiasm and excitement over our vacation.

We arrived from Iloilo without incident and were pleased with the very attentive service from the ground staff of Air Philippines who assisted us with our transfer to Terminal 2.  I foolishly thought this was a sign that our trip would be all positive.

Our international flight was not something I had anticipated to experience from Philippine Airlines.

We were first informed that our flight had been pushed back to 1230pm.  When 1230 came, and no boarding announcement was made, I became very worried and your ground staff would not provide us with sufficient information-- they kept telling us to wait for an announcement.

When the announcement was made, informing us that our flight had been cancelled, my heart plummeted.  We were told that our flight would be merged with the 920pm flight (PR505).

The cancellation of our flight caused us to lose precious time -- it also cost us 1-night stay at our hotel because it was too late to cancel our booking for the day.  We paid for 2 rooms which we did not use.  (More than US$400)

It also caused me endless worry -- we were scheduled to watch Wicked in Singapore on January 13 and were supposed to pick up our tickets one day before.  Because our flight was cancelled, I could not pick up my tickets.  Thankfully, Sistic still released our tickets when we explained our situation.

When we were issued new boarding passes for the 920pm flight, I was dismayed to see that my family was split up.  I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old and we paid for the booking class that allowed us to do advance seat selection and I made certain that our party of 6 would be sitting together.  (On our return flight to Manila today, our advance seat selection was also not honoured and we ended up sitting at row 64.  What is the point of this benefit if it would not be honoured?)

***My 2-year old was in 67A, My husband, me and Seth were in 67E, F and G.  My sister was in 71K.  

I was close to tears, trying to get my family seated together -- and your ground staff kept pointing out that because our flight was cancelled, we had to accept the new booking assignment.  I requested to speak to the person in-charge but he REFUSED to talk to me over your staff's phone.

At this point, my family had been traveling for more than 12 hours.  We were exhausted, physically and emotionally.  My children missed their naps and their medication.  The seating was another painful, unnecessary blow to us.

Thankfully, we were finally issued seats that were together.  (But this was after much pleading and waiting.)

Our 920pm flight eventually left at past 10 and we arrived in Singapore at 135 in the morning -- this was 12 hours later than our first expected arrival.

By the time we arrived in Singapore, we had no choice but to pay for a taxi service (S$50) since and the MRT and bus only operated until midnight.

We arrived in Singapore tired and very demystified with our terrible flight experience with PAL.

We had lost a day and we lost a bit of our budget due to circumstances forced on us by your airlines.

I am sitting here right now at the domestic terminal, writing this to you, because my PAL flight to Iloilo is LATE as well.  I approached your ground staff at the appointed boarding time and I was told, yet again, to "wait for the announcement" -- our flight is supposed to depart at 605pm and it is now 556pm -- no announcement has been made.

I have already contacted Chartis to inquire about our travel insurance, which we also purchased through PAL -- and I was informed to submit my request but that reimbursements for delays only counts for delays from 12 hours.

I will submit my report to them -- but, even if we receive monetary compensation, I wonder who can compensate me and my children for their first trip -- it is meant to be an experience of wonder -- but it left both my children exhausted and sleepless for almost 24 hours.  (My son now has anxieties and keeps asking if our plane is broken and if we have to stay up late again -- )

I wonder who can give us back the day we lost in Singapore and the tour we had planned for that afternoon.

A vacation is supposed to be a happy time and a time of relaxation and enjoyment -- my vacation was stressful -- the lack of empathy and consideration from your ground staff left me feeling very dehumanized.

Your airlines owes my son a vacation where he won't be afraid that the plane is broken and that he cannot sleep in a bed because of it.


Khristine, mom of Seth (5) and Annika (2)
Iloilo City

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012 Resolutions --

I'm starting the year sick -- and yaya-less. Which is a sad combination. But I am managing.

I'm also starting the year with a slight addiction to those 20-peso scratch cards that are being sold by the Lotto stand. O_o

Here are my resolutions for the year.  (In order of difficulty.)
1.  Read More.
2.  Craft.  (I should, at least, make myself a book cover.)
3.  Lose Weight.  (I want to lose 30 pounds!)
4.  Find Grace. <-- not a person O_O

I was very happy to have achieved the reading bit for 2010.  I read a total of 129 books.  (123 romance novels and the rest are not.)  So I will continue to read and chronicle my thoughts about the books that I have read.

I have enjoyed reflecting on the following:
Rev. James Martin, S.J.'s 12 Really Stupid Things to Never Do Again (Thanks to Eric for the link!)
Linda Vernon's Rules to Live By (Thanks to Facebook.)
Neil Gaiman's My New Year Wish