Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things (The Final Season)

I have always watched out for Oprah's list favorite things. Most of the items in her list are something I'd want to have or something nice to have. But since they're mostly available in the US, it rarely put a dent in our finances.

When I want her favorite things episode, I would be looking out for the reactions of her audience. They would go ballistic. As one friend pointed out, the audience lose the f____ minds. Who wouldn't? She gave away expensive things, cars, and trips. Wow!

This year is the last time Oprah is doing her Favorite Things episode. Boy, did she went all out? I only watched it and it blew my mind. What more for her audience who are the intended recipients of the fantastic items.

Wanna find out what's in this year's list?

  1. Andre Walker Hair Care Products (AndreWalkerHair.com)
  2. iPad (Apple.com)
  3. Scrabble App for the iPad by Electronic Arts (EA.com)
  4. Classic Sparkles UGG Australia Boots (UGGAustralia.com)
  5. Sophia Satchel by Coach (Coach.com)
  6. Magaschoni Embellished Tunic and Leggings
  7. Hope in a Jar by Philosophy (Philosophy.com)
  8. Nordstrom Lingerie (Nordstrom.com)
  9. Herb Savor by Prepara (Prepara.com)
  10. Centerville Pie Company's Chicken Pie (HarryandDavid.com)
  11. Garrett's Special Limited-Edition Favorite Things Tin (GarrettPopcorn.com)
  12. Le Creuset Cookware (LeCreuset.com)
  13. Miraclebody Jeans by Miraclesuit (MiracleBody.com)
  14. Sophie Jewelry Box from Pottery Barn (PotteryBarn.com)
  15. Jessica Leigh Diamond Earrings by Dana Rebecca Designs (DanaRebeccaDesigns.com)
  16. DonorsChoose.org Gift Card, Courtesy of Bing.com (Bing.com/gives/)
  17. Williams-Sonoma Mini Croissants (Williams-Sonoma.com)
  18. Holiday Favorites Assortment from Talbott Teas (TalbottTeas.com)
  19. The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo (RedWheelWeiser.com)
  20. Illuminations by Josh Groban (Amazon.com)
  21. Let It Be Me by Johnny Mathis (Amazon.com)
  22. Baker's Edge Brownie Pan (BakersEdge.com)
  23. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (GhirardelliBrownies.com)
  24. Beecher's "World's Best" Mac 'N' Cheese (BeechersHandmadeCheese.com)
  25. Breville Panini Press (Williams-Sonoma.com)
  26. Cashmere Cable Sweater by Ralph Lauren (RalphLauren.com)
  27. Decoded by Jay-Z (RandomHouse.com)
  28. Elfa Customizable Closet System from the Container Store (ContainerStore.com)
  29. Five-Year Netflix Membership (Netflix.com)
  30. Judith Ripka Eclipse Earrings (JudithRipka.com)
  31. Kiva Gift Card, Courtesy of Groupon (Kiva.org)
  32. Kyocera Ceramic Cutlery Set by Ming Knives (MingsPantry.com)
  33. Philip Stein 25th Anniversary "Oprah" Watch (PhilipStein.com)
  34. Lafco House and Home Collection Candle Set (LafcoNY.com)
  35. Lululemon Relaxed Fit Pants (Lululemon.com)
  36. Nike "Free Run+" Shoes (NikeStore.com)
  37. Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera (NikonUSA.com/D3100)
  38. Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise (RoyalCaribbean.com)
  39. Season 25 T-Shirt from the O Store (OprahStore.com)
  40. Sony BRAVIA LX900 HDTV with 3D (SonyStyle.com)
  41. The Beginning by the Black Eyed Peas (Amazon.com)
  42. Tory Tote and Reva Ballerina Flat by Tory Burch (ToryBurch.com)
  43. A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson (HayHouse.com)
She gave away the latest electronics gadgets, jewelry, state-of-the art cookware, clothes, shoes, books, membership cards, and a cruise package.

You'd think that would be all, right?

Not quite.

Last, but not the least, Oprah gave away a Volkswagen 2012 Beetle (VW.com)

I seriously wish I was in the audience.

Our Next Destination

Our time in Cebu is up. Just when I have finally adjusted living here and begun calling this city, our home.

My prayer at the beginning of the year is to move back to Manila. Let's just say God has a better plan.

Jed is being transferred to Bangkok, Thailand. The three of us are off to the land of Buddhas, beautiful beaches, wonderful food and endless shopping.

We are targeting to move in three weeks. Yes, I'm calling on the Lord every single day for supernatural energy. I am way too overwhelmed right now. But somehow, everything is falling in its proper places. This only proves how this move is God's plan for us.

About three months ago, I told my two close friends how I feel like we would be leaving Cebu soon. There's that unmistakable gut feel, the same feeling I had the year I announced I am about to meet Mr. Right. True enough, that was the year Jed came into my life.

I am finally settled here in Cebu. The three of us are enjoying living an uncomplicated life. I've established my routine. Javi and I have been used to our weekly trips running errands. Weekends are spent going around the city or maybe a trip to the beach or mountains. We have our own community - friends, church, etc. In a way, I am happier living in Cebu than Manila. There's that feeling of contentment.

However, whenever I would reach my comfort zone, God will turn everything around and get me out of it. He wouldn't want me feeling complacent. And I am just so grateful as He has bigger plans for my life. He knew I could do so much more.

I am excited at the thought of my little boy traveling. I can't wait to see that first stamp on his passport. I look forward to new adventures with my two boys. Living far away from family and friends had taught us the importance of this family. We only have the three of us. That's how we build the foundation of our family.

It is normal to feel sad as I would be much farther away from my family and good friends. With the influx of social media, it is now easier to stay in touch. And they can always avail of airline promo fares and visit us in our new home.

Living in Cebu has opened my eyes to new discoveries, new friends and new opportunities. It has equipped and prepared me for this move to Bangkok. See, God has a purpose for everything.

I am going to miss the easy way of life in Cebu, driving around as I possibly cannot drive in Bangkok. Uh hello, right-hand drive. It's going to be challenging living without a car. But we'll live. Javi and I will say hello to the skytrain.

At this point, I just choose to obey and trust God's plan for us. And it had always been for our good.

The best thing that happened to Jed and I in Cebu is Javi.

I wonder what Bangkok has in store for us?

34 Is The New 24

Who am I kidding, right? Hahaha!

There was a time in my life when I thought I'd like to be 24 forever. Looking back, that was never a good year. I'd definitely prefer being where I am right now with all the wisdom I have learned through time.

My birthdays are somehow the most important day in my life. It's not a holiday which I share with everyone. This holiday/special occasion is mine alone.

Last year's birthday was pretty sad for me. Jed was in Manila for some training. I was left home with an eleven day old newborn. I was on the height of my postpartum depression. Family and friends were in Manila. I felt I was so alone.

But this year's was different, I had this joy the entire day. I knew upon waking up that is was going to be a good day. Well, Jed sort of put me in a good mood by letting me know what his gift was the evening before.

I got a card and a cake!

People close to me know how I much I love getting hand written cards. And I look for it first. Plus points for Jed for writing me a card. Of course, I cried as I read his message, then my eyes lit up when I came across this line, "This serves as your pass to any treatment of your choice at Chi, The Spa!"

Christmas came early for me. I'm a sucker for massages. And I know that Shangri-la's Chi, The Spa is the mother of all spas. But I gave up on the idea of trying it out because a treatment is so darn expensive. And my husband doesn't get any discount.

Back to my special day, as it was a week day, I finished the household chore for that day. Then I joined Javi for a nap, I turned on our A/C and we woke up feeling refreshed.

My little boy and I went out to run errands. Then we found ourselves in Starbucks sipping my favorite toffee nut latte while enjoying a cookie together.

We then took the shuttle that will bring us to the resort where we will meet Jed for dinner. I had the best evening with my dinner dates.

To finish the evening, I had my massage while my wonderful husband looked after the little boy. Now what to do during my hour and a half treatment, I spent it praying. I thanked God for the 34 years He had given me, for blessing me with the right people and a great life. I prayed for the year ahead.

Now this is the after-treatment look. I honestly did not want the treatment to end. It was a worthwhile experience. I've ticked off an item from my Cebu bucket list.

Chi Spa, I'm not sure if I will see you again but it had been a wonderful experience.

I did not want the day to end. I was still smiling as we reached home and was hand-washing Javi's clothes.

I definitely felt the love as greetings poured in from family and friends all over the globe through SMS, Facebook.

Even if were only the three of us, I had the best time. Why wouldn't it be when I was with the two very important persons in my life.

Looking forward to a fantastic year ahead. And it's going to be a good one.

Happy to Be Back in Baguio

After three years, Jed and I were back in Baguio. We haven't been back since our wedding day. What's different now is we have a one year old little boy in town which makes the trip more enjoyable and difficult at the same time. Can you guys imagine an almost 5-hour road trip with a toddler?

We almost did not push through with the trip as my mother was rushed to the hospital the night before due to stroke-like symptoms. But as we all know, the Lord is good, my mother is alright and we were off to Baguio.

I felt nostalgic as we approached Baguio City.
We couldn't wait to smell the scent of pine trees and feel the cold breeze again.
That city has left with me with only good memories.

We stayed at The Manor again.
I got us a room with a balcony as to get a glimpse of the garden and the gazebo.

We loved how the hotel is decorated for Christmas.

As the weather is cooler, we have an excuse to cover up and cuddle.

Another reason why we love visiting Baguio? Food trip!

Strawberry shake from The Forest House

Strawberry shortcake from Le Chef
How this reminds me of our wedding cake.

Kamote bread from Cafe by The Ruins

You never leave Baguio without hoarding these goodies - raisin bread from Baguio Country Club and ube and strawberry jams from Good Shepherd.

Oh, we will definitely go back.

One Day by Hillsong Church

One Day was the last song played in church yesterday's excellent message titled Purpose from the Overflow series.

I cannot remember when a song had touched me this much. As I searched for its lyrics and listened to it again, I found myself crying. The message of the song couldn't be more appropriate. With all the development in my family life, I feel so blessed; I am grateful. Jed would not be very happy that I have the urge and feel like "I've got to give it away." And that's why I'm letting him handle the pricing of items for our garage sale.

Here is a video of One Day performed by Darlene Zschech of Hillsong Australia

More than I could hope or dream of
You have poured Your favour on me
One day in the house of God is
Better than a thousand days in the world

So blessed, I can't contain it...
So much, I've got to give it away,
Your love taught me to live now...
You are more than enough for me.

Lord, You're more than enough for me
Lord, You're more than enough for me

Javi Turns One Year

Our little boy turned one two Saturdays ago and we threw him a Halloween-themed party at the Clubhouse of Two Serendra. Javi's birthday is very close to Halloween and for some reason the colors purple, orange and black appealed to me. I want to make it a fun non-scary Halloween where kids will come in their favorite costumes and adults to either dress-up or come in black, purple or orange. It was a bit of a surprise that guests followed the requested attire.

We are grateful to everyone who spent their Saturday afternoon with us to celebrate the little boy's birthday. You wouldn't think that my friends and relatives from Bulacan would make it, well they were the first ones to arrive. Good friends who do not have kids still showed up. I wished I had more time to spend talking to each one of them.

Together with my dearest friends Neyza and Ding, we came up with Javi's Spook-tacular 1st Birthday.

Javi with his kiddie guests
Photo by Joemarie Silva

Our little family
Photo by Joemarie Silva

The Angeles and Arricivita families
Left photo by Joemarie Silva; Right photo by Nikki Padilla

Catering by Kusina Ni Maria
Photo by Joemarie Silva

Decorations, loot bags, prizes, activity corners by Neyza and the gang
Loot bag goodies by Via
Photos by Kris/Malou Atienza, Tammy Mendoza and Joey Tiosayco

Cake (from Dexter's Bakeshop) from Lola Sally
Photos by Joey Tiosayco and Kris/Malou Atienza

Cupcakes from Party Perfect
Photo by Tammy Mendoza

Ice cream from Arra
Photo by Tammy Mendoza

For our wedding, I had everything under control. For Javi's first birthday, things were a little chaotic. Jed and I had a destination wedding, Javi had a destination birthday as I planned it from Cebu. I just want to say thank you to these people who helped me organize Javi's birthday in Manila.

Special thank you to my brother Dio for his generous contribution, my sister Via for the goodies and all her help, and my mother for the cake and the small errands I asked her to work on. The party will not at all be possible with Ding and Neyza. The way I see it, there won't be a party without them. So blessed to have these two ladies helping me out. A big thank you to Ate Eppie, Kuya Joem, Ate Nats and the three very obedient kids for the trips to Divisoria with Neyza, putting up the decorations and all the party goodies and for the wonderful photos. Lastly, to Mark and Joey for showing up .

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