Photo-A-Day May 2012: Fourth & Last Week

We've reached the end of another month again. Today we say goodbye to the fifth month, May. It felt like a long month for me. Did you feel the same way?

Day 22 - Pink
Pink is definitely my favorite color. I even dedicated a board on Pinterest solely for it.

Day 23 - Technology
The App Store is the life of an iPad, iPhone, etc. Can you imagine how boring a device would be without apps?

Day 24 - Something new
New mugs from my cousin Eric. Yes, he sent me a dozen mugs.
Eleven for my Starbucks city mug collection and a special Tim Hortons for my daily coffee mug.

Day 25 - Unusual
This type of shrine is all over Thailand as they pay homage to Buddha.
The believers even leave food as their offering.

Day 26 - 12 o'clock
At 12 noon on Saturday, this was the view from our balcony.
My son and I were eating Cowboy Spaghetti for lunch.

Day 27 - Sweet
We tried a new restaurant, Anna & Charlie's Cafe. They have this delicious Chocolate Brownie Cake.

Day 28 - The weather today
The weather is perfect for a swim.

Day 29 - A number
88 is one lucky number for the Chinese people.

Day 30 - My personality
I am an introvert.

Day 31 - Something beautiful
I am a morning person and I find sunrises beautiful and full of hope.

May had been a wonderful month. Spent almost half of it in the Philippines. So many moments to cherish.

1st and 2nd week
3rd Week

How did your month of May go?

I am excited for June. Are you?

June Photo-A-Day Challenge

Enjoy the rest of the week!

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How to Grow Your Starbucks City Mug Collection?

In a span of almost a year, my Starbucks city mug collection has rapidly grown in size. I now have 82 mugs and waiting to receive 40 more. Thought I'd share how I grew my mug collection. What worked for me and what didn't. 

My Flickr set of my collection

My Pinterest board of my collection

This post is especially dedicated to Jasmine who called me her "mug mentor." Wow! Also dedicated to those who are thinking of starting their own or wants to grow their Starbucks City Mug collection.

Starbucks released several editions of their city mugs. What caught my eye is their current Global Icon Series.

Here are my own tips how I grew my collection:

  • Buy whatever city mugs that are available in your current city.
  • Ask your immediate family and closest friends especially those who are traveling to get the mugs for you. I have three people who I "obliged" to buy me a mug whenever they are on travel. These three people are my husband, brother and sister.
  • Locate people around the globe and plead with them to get you a mug from their own city. (I wasn't comfortable with this so I approached no one.)
  • Find people in the airline or travel industry, they would be able to help you a lot as they travel for a living.
  • Blog about your intention to collect and post it on Facebook. This worked for me. People are more than happy to help me with my collection.
  • Trade with other collectors. Find other collectors at . Look for me, I am irmaloveslife there.
  • Join Starbucks collectors group on Facebook. These groups helped me a lot. But I am telling you, it is a competitive world out there. I am a member of these three groups:

There are more Facebook groups but I noticed that the members are mostly the same people so I am sticking to three groups for now. 

  • Buy mugs from other collectors. I bought a few mugs from several collectors in the Filipino group.
  • And a collector's last resort, buy from eBay. Search for Starbucks City Mug or be more specific, "Starbucks + city name." Buying from eBay is easy, you just pay via PayPal and you just have to wait for the package to arrive at your doorstep. But better watch out for overpriced mugs. The more rare a mug is the higher the asking prize is. Law of economics.

A few more thoughts....

I had a lot of exposure when I blogged about my collection. I have two very dear cousins who went out of their way from their trips and bought as much mugs as they could. I was overwhelmed and very grateful. I also found friends willing to add mugs to my collection.

I also found wonderful people to trade with through this blog who I ended as friends with.  

I am blessed to be living here in Bangkok where I could easily find the complete set of Thailand city mugs. All five of them. Come to think of it, if I were living in Manila, I would only have access to Manila and Philippines mugs. Not promising.

Trading with collectors from the Facebook groups is very competitive. Most of the collectors there already have the mugs I have access to. And you also "compete" with fellow collectors from where you are from. So unless your city issues a new mug (a surefire way to get everyone's attention) or you are from a city or country which has non-existent collectors/traders, it entails a lot of work. But somehow, I still get requests to trade because there would always be new collectors. So watch out for those. 

The Facebook groups serves as a forum for collectors. You learn about new mugs (Starbucks is issuing way too many new mugs) and collectors to avoid trading with. 

Beware about postage costs. They can be darn expensive. Let's put it this way: cost of a mug + postage fee (approximately same cost as the mug) + packaging materials = expensive. I only use registered air mail for my packages. They are the most reasonably priced postage rate and you get a tracking number. 

Next Starbucks city mug related post would be on packing and boxing mugs for shipping. Yes, it is important that the mugs get to the recipient in perfect condition, no broken handle whatsoever. Watch out for that one!

Hope I helped out the new collectors or those I somehow influenced to collecting from my precious posts. 

If you wish to trade with me or have any questions about the things I discussed in this post, please send me a message at

Happy collecting!

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Women and Bags

Women, by nature, love shoes, bags, clothes, cosmetics and so many other things. There is a number of women - especially celebrities - whose shoes, bags and clothes are worth a fortune. I do watch out for photos of Hollywood stars and find out which bag they are carrying. 

While I am not into outrageously expensive bags (I cannot afford them in the first place), I had owned several bags over the years. I pretty much had a bag in the right color(s) for the right occasion. 

Now that I've stopped working and am now a stay-at-home mother, I drastically reduced the number of bags I own to a handful. 

I seriously do not need a lot. Now, that I am a mother, my bag now doubles as a diaper bag. I am telling you, one will find the most interesting things in a mother's purse. I let go of my bag organizer to fit Javi's diaper, baby wipes, extra set of clothes, snack, water, milk, juice. For this reason, I am not really keen on owning a very expensive bag. 

Then I saw a photo from my good friend's Flickr page. For the first time, I longed to own an expensive bag.

Meet the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM in Fusain!

Image source
If I could own one expensive bag, this would be it. I also read in Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, if I were to have just one nice bag, it needs to be close to my hair color. Now, this LV bag is the one for me! I am day dreaming with my eyes open.  

We all know how expensive this bag is - I never even bothered to find out how much - so unless someone gives it to me as a gift (my husband not included as he is spending our money so no way) I probably have no way of owning this.  

This same girl friend found another beautiful bag. Yes, she finds the nicest things. This time, I think I can afford this bag.

Longchamp Mary Katrantzou tote bag

Okay, Irma, time to wake up from daydreaming and get on with real life.  

That was fun, eh?

Photo-A-Day May 2012: Third Week

We are now back in Bangkok living a quiet life. The third week of May just zoomed by even if I was taking things easy.

Day 15 - Love
This is my favorite photo from our pre-nuptial shoot which now hangs in our bedroom.

Day 16 - What I'm reading
Currently reading - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Day 17 - Snack
Yes, I eat Nutella straight from the container when I'm finishing it off.

Day 18 - Something I made
What's for dinner? Ma Po Tofu

Day 19 - A favorite place
Saturday morning is when I do my Post Office run to mail packages to other Starbucks mug collectors. The post office has now become a familiar place and I get smiles from the post office staff.

Day 20 - Something I can't live without
My two rings - wedding and engagement - and what they symbolize.

Day 21 - Where I stand
I used to be afraid of heights. Then we found this place which is on the 16th floor.
I am now used to the height; it no longer bothers me.

My first and second week account can be found here.

So how is your May coming along?

Gotta go now. Busy week. There's the Philippine Chief Justice trial to tune in to, Lady Gaga's concerts in Manila and later this week here in Bangkok (as if I can watch; I'm being kept busy with all the controversies) and the American Idol finale. Go Jessica Sanchez!

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Starbucks City Mug Collection Update

This past month had been crazy. My Starbucks city mug collection grew rapidly.

Reasons would be I went to the Philippines and traded my heart out. I also had a few international trades via mail. Some were gifts for me. Yes, I felt the love.

I brought these with me together with our luggage.

My cousin from Phoenix is spoiling me.

A very special mug from a dear friend. She personally bought this from her trip to Seattle.

A successful trade from Poland.

Add caption

I have 30 new mugs to add to my collection. I now have a total of 69 mugs.

And my collection continues to grow and grow...

A big THANK YOU to each person helping me grow my collection.

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Photo-A-Day May 2012: First and Second Week

I had been missing for a while. Real life took over. Time was a scarcity as well as a fast efficient internet connection.

The secret had been out. Javi and I were in Manila. But we're now back in Bangkok. We traveled to the Philippines for the reason that my only brother was getting married. More on his happy wedding on a separate entry.

Day 1 - Peace
My sister helped me with the day's prompt and showed me this notebook as we were going around Fully Booked.
I "borrowed" the notebook and snapped a photo of it. I love that it's in my favorite colors - pink and neon green.

Day 2 - Skyline
If we were in Bangkok, this would have been easy as we have a spectacular view of the skyline from our balcony.
But in our barrio in Bulacan, this is the best one I could find. Very tropical!

Day 3 - Something I wore today
The summer heat is so on. I need to put up my hair all the time thus the photo of a scrunchy.

Day 4 - Fun!
KFC is more fun in the Philippines because of the gravy!

Day 5 - Bird
It was so hard to take a photo of a real bird. I kept on shooing them away. So I settled for  a coffee packaging from Starbucks from one of our late night coffee run and the bird of Twitter.

Day 6 - Me
All dolled up for my brother's wedding

Day 7 - Someone that inspires me
Next to my husband, the other person who inspires me to become a better version of myself is my son. Photo taken while we were inside the Yellow Cab restaurant in Paseo de Sta. Rosa.

Day 8 - A smell I adore
One of my favorite scent, L'eau Par Kenzo Pour Femme, with a background of the Makati skyline.

Day 9 - Something I do everyday
I start my day with my morning devotional over a cup of coffee.

Day 10 - A favorite word
My favorite word "Love" in my favorite McDonald's slogan, "Love ko 'to."
Oh, and while at McDonald's I took home my favorite Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Day 11 - Kitchen
I was still in Bulacan so this is a part of my mother's kitchen.

Day 12 - Some thing(s) that make me happy
Three things that made me happy: (1) Purefoods Tender Juicy hotdog, (2) Advanced Mother's day lunch at Cibo, and (3) a sleeping Javi on the entire Manila - Bangkok flight.

Day 13 - Mom
Oh, why do you have to be so far away?
These are my mother's photos from her Facebook page.

Day 14 - Grass
We live in a concrete jungle. It was so hard to look for a photo of  grass.
I snapped this one while on a cab ride. 

May is almost half over. How did your first two weeks go?

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