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Monday, January 31, 2011

My Planners

Today is the last day to have your Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf coupons stamped.  There are some branches that provides double stamp on this day.  Upon completion of the stamps, you will get to have a free Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) 2011 planner.  I’ve been eyeing on this ever since they come up with this promo.  Come January 20, I only have 11 boxes left to be stamped.  I’ll be able to finish exactly on the 31st if I had at least one coffee per day.  I was still eager at that time to complete the stamps.  But after a while, I decided not to pursue it anymore.  I love their planner alongside the coupons but I already have two existing planners: Belle de Jour (BDJ) and Relaks, Puso Lang Yan Malayo sa Bituka.  And most likely the coupons that I’ll be getting from CBTL planner will be the same as in BDJ.  Besides, I wasn’t able to use up all the coupons from my CBTL notebook last year.

Browsing through my planners, I am pretty much happy with them.  I’ve been a loyal BDJ planner user since 2008.  Eventhough I don’t get to bring this planner everyday, this is where I put all my schedules, notes, reminders and other scribbles.  It serves as my diary.  Of course, how can I forget the coupons?  This is another reason why I love my BDJ.  Eventhough I don’t consume them every year, I still love it!

My other planner, Relaks, Puso Lang Yan Malayo sa Bituka by Witty Will Save the World, Co., is an unusual planner for me.  Of course, there’s still the monthly and daily calendar where you will put your schedule but there are also some interesting trivia’s on some dates.  I got interested with this planner because of its funny and witty contents. 

Here's the usual daily calendar page with trivias in some dates

One interesting part of the planner is the "Love History" page.  I was eager to fill it up but then again I thought which of my exes shall I refer it to?  My friend told me to have it colored coded.  That's a great idea!

Here's another funny page.  February 14 is the only date with specific time frame for your activity notes that day.  On the last hour of the day, there's also a writing page where you could write what happened to you that day.  Quite a pressure for me to look for a date or at least do something memorable that day! Haha!

And similar to other famous planners, they also have coupons.  But I don't think it is honored anywhere unless the person you'll give it to whole-heartedly accepts it.

By the way, the Relaks, Puso Lang Yan Malayo Sa Bituka planner seems to be only for broken hearted people.  Ideally yes but it's not.  It can be for anyone.

I'm happy and content with my two planners.  And maybe next year, I won't only look forward to BDJ planner but I'll also look forward to another Witty Will Save the World planners and even notebooks!  Too bad I missed their other releases!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Idol 10 Auditions: This made me cry...

"..what kind of guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me the most..." - Chris Medina

Awww... I hope ALL men have a kind heart like him! Such a sweet gentleman!  He deserves to be in the American Idol not because of his story but also because of his talent.  He has an awesome voice in singing his version of Break Even by The Script during the auditons.  I will be waiting for him in the next season of American Idol.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spa Party

Since initially the bridal shower party I've planned should have been a spa party, below are some of the spa party service provider I've contacted.  The list might be helpful to those who are planning for this kind of party.  I've indicated all possible information you may need.  But let me remind you, I haven't tried any of these a service providers as the spa party that I've planned didn't push through (as mentioned in previous blog).  The list is in random order.

1. Celebrity Nail Spa

  • I specifically contacted their branch in Makati via email.  They responded to my query quite fast and the Manager (as indicated in the name of the email) is very accommodating.
  • They have various Spa Party Packages that ranges from Php 5,000 to Php 9,000 good for 7 to 15pax.  They also offer kiddie spa packages.  Most of their packages include basic spa set up and giveaways.  Some of their package includes snack and dessert treats.  Their packages are consumable.  Meaning you can choose what type of service you like from their list of services as long as your group consumes your chosen package.  The rate indicated in the list is on a per person pricing. 
  • Venue is not provided but they have a tie up with Astoria Plaza in Ortigas.  You can inquire from them if you want to avail the tie up package with Astoria.  The room rate discount is around 20%.
  • I personally wanted to try their service for myself in the future.  Their pricing is quite reasonable.  You can check out their Facebook fanpage for pictures of spa parties they've held including a kiddie spa party for Lea Salonga's daughter.

2.  Caprichosa Spa

  • Caprichosa Spa is located in Moonwalk, Paranaque.  It's not so accessible especially if you are just commuting since it is located inside the village of Moonwalk.  But the person I spoke to via email is very accommodating as well.
  • Their spa party package consists of different services from body massage, hand and foot spa to hair waxing services.  It is consumable and there is no minimum number of guests as long as you consume the minimum Php 6,000 (exclusive of VAT and service charges).  Normally, the Php 6,000 worth of services is good for 10-12 pax.  Their package includes spa set up, use of robe, slippers and equipment.  You can add food, gift tag and wines but with a corresponding cost.  They also offer set packages that ranges from Php 9,000 to Php 14,500 good for 6 to 15 pax.  It already includes gift certificate and gift tags worth Php 500 each.  However, you no longer have the freedom to choose which service to use as these are set already.
  • If you don't have a venue, you can use their venue exclusively for 4 hours at no extra charge.
  • I got interested in their service as it seems really cheap.  Besides, I'm very near to this area! I'll definitely try their service one of these days.  You may visit their Facebook fanpage for more details.

3.  Bridal Sparty

  • It took them a while before they replied to queries.  I sent them email, private message in multiply site and text message for my inquiry.  Finally, they've responded to me via text (0920-9021394). 
  • Their main business is to organize a spa party for you especially for bridal showers.  They offer various Spa Party Packages that ranges from Php 500 per pax to Php 1,000 per pax.  Depending on the package, it already includes venue decorations, evite, gifts, souvenirs, games, food, and venue.  You can also add dancer or group activity with additonal cost.  The number of pax requirement per package is quite strict, at least 10.  The services they offer are body massage, hand or foot spa or foot reflex.  You just have to choose only one service for your chosen package.    
  • Since they will be the one to organize your spa party, they will also be the one to provide you with the venue.  Only two locations are available, Ortigas and Mandaluyon area.  For Mandaluyong, the area is only good until 5pm or 6pm.  For night parties, location will be in Ortigas.  The use of venue is only good for 3 hours.
  • This is quite a good deal however the choice of service is really few.

4.  Toccare Spa

  • This Spa is co-owned by my sister's friend.  I only converse to her through her personal number and they have provided me spa package via email.  However, this email is their supervisor's personal email.  I don't think they have corporate email.  Nonetheless, I found their website over the internet. 
  • Their site offers various spa packages which I think is ideal for individual service.  For spa party, you need to ask them for a quotation.  They can customize their package according to your needs.  I specifically ask them to quote me a spa party with foot spa and manicure or pedicure and games.  For this requirement, they will charge Php 5,500 good for 6 pax.  The foot spa is called green tea foot spa and will be good for 60 minutes.  You can include a bridal cake and spa party favor but with additional cost.
  • You can have your spa party at their venue at no extra cost.  They have a separate room for private parties at their venue which is located in Makati Ave., Makati City.
  • I didn't inquire further about their spa party package or services as I'm already at the edge of re-planning the whole bridal shower party.  They also have a facebook account, however it is not a fanpage.

5.  The Nail Experts

  • I found this service provider in sulit website.  I don't think they have a personal website.  I just called them up and inquire.  The person I talked to (Sharon) is accommodating.  However, she never did email me further details about spa party package.
  • The spa party package they're offering only cost Php 280 per person, minimum of 10 pax.  But the only service that you will get is body massage or foot spa.  You will just add Php 10 if you want to have a manicure or pedicure.  They also have a package of Php 5,000 consumable however I wasn't able to get the type of services included in that package.  They have an additional trasportation fee depending on the location of the party.
  • They don't have a venue where you can held a party.
  • This is very cheap, however the location is very far (in Rizal / Antipolo).

6.  SF Salon

  • I found this service provider in sulit website.  I just send them an email for my inquiry and they've responded 2 days after.
  • For spa party, their package is Php 600 per person without food or Php 800 per person with food (finger foods).  The minimum pax is 10.  Their available services are manicure, pedicure, foot spa, basic facial, hair spa and powerdose.  From my understanding, you will only be choosing one service for the rates given.
  • You can use their venue which is in Ever Gotesco malls for free.  Maximum use is for 3 hours.
  • They replied late so I didn't consider them.

7.  Sydney Nails and Body Spa

  • It took them forever to respond to my inquiry.  I send them text messages (4x), email (2x) and called up their office.  The office personnel told me that they will email the package but I only received their email weeks after.  I also found them in sulit website but they have their own multiply site.
  • They responded to my email but no packages given.  Too late...

There are other and a lot more spa service providers available, just google it.  But I hope I am able to help you guys, with my shortlisted provider, who are looking and planning for a spa party.  Good luck!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Bridal Shower Planning Experience

This what keeps me busy this past few days that's why I haven't been writing on my blog.  I organized a bridal shower for my friend who is about to get married a few days from now.  This is not the first time I planned for this kind of event although the last one was years ago.  The planning was quite rush since the initial bridal party idea "failed".  Well, it just failed because the number of confirmed attendees was way too less than what I have expected.

Initially, I planned for a spa party.  This kind of party is already getting famous not just for a bridal showers but also for any type of event that is relaxing, fun and kikay.  My idea of spa party for bridal shower is not only having a spa treatment but also giving a bonding time with your girl friends.  A few spa party packages have incorporated this idea with inclusion of food and souvenirs.  But most of them does not have their own venue to provide this party package.   There are about 2-3 spa service packages that can provide venue but the spa service is very limited and the duration of stay is about 4 hours max.  (More details on the spa party packages I've gathered on the next blog).          

So my dilemma is finding a very cheap venue where we can hold a spa party.  Separate payments will be made for the venue and spa party provider.  I need to have sufficient attendees to divide the expenses.  Another dilemma.  It's really hard to get all attendees to confirm most especially if you hardly know some.  The age bracket of the guest list were also quite extremes so you have to consider those student guests.  For sure they wouldn't have that much money to splurge on a spa.  Dilemma noted.  I forgot to mention that most of the spa service provider requires at least 10-15 pax for the spa party to push through.  Another potential dilemma.  And of course, I also need to find a strategic location that is accessible to all or at least most of the guests.  Considering these, I trim down my options then as follows:

  • Option 1: Hotel + spa party package = Php 1,000++ per head, location: Ortigas
  • Option 2: Spa party package with venue (limited service) = Php 800 per head, location: Mandaluyong
  • Option 3: Spa party package with venue (limited servie) = Php 6,000++ minimum, location: Makati
  • Option 4: Spa party package with venue (any service) = Php 6,000++ minimum, location: Paranque
The last option seems a great deal but the location may be a problem and the minimum amount may become expensive when there are only a few confirmed attendees.   Same is true with option 3.  I need substantial number of attendees to divide the cost, however, this option only provides very limited service.

My very big dilemma comes in when I got the final list of attendees.  There were only less than 5 guest who confirmed (excluding me and the bride).  I got quite frustrated.  How can a friend turn down a friend's bridal shower? Well, their reasons may be valid, I don't wanna know anymore.  We're already considering option 4.  It will turn out, upon dividing the cost, each will shell out at least Php 1,500++ for the spa party package.  Quite a big amount already although all confirmed attendees are already working so I'm pretty sure we can all manage it.  But then again I thought of the location.  The location is advantageous to me as it is very near to our home.  However, I kept on thinking how will the guest leave the area as it is located in a village?  None of us know how to drive.  There are van shuttle services coming from Makati that reaches to Paranaque, specifically passing by that spa venue.  However, that shuttle does not pass by the same area to return to Makati.  I know there are tricycles in the village but I'm not so sure as to where their final drop off is located (I live in a different village that's why I'm not familiar with it).  Easy to come in but difficult to get out, unless you have your own car.

With these, I'm close to revamping the whole bridal shower plan, excluding the spa party idea already.  After some more thinking and consultations, I decided to held this bridal shower in a hotel, the traditional way: games, stripper, girl bonding and gift giving.  I already omitted the stripper idea due to budget constraints (sigh).  So now I'm in search of a very cheap hotel, sticking to a budget of Php 500-600 per head.  There were quite a few hotels in Makati that suites my budget.  I find a one somewhere in Salcedo but unfortunately it's already booked for my specific date.  I'm almost close to booking and reserving at Go Hotel, the cheapest I can find that has about 22 square meters of space, still small but maybe just enough for us.  A friend of mine texted me and she was kind enough to offer her discount voucher at Holiday Inn Galleria where you can stay overnight at almost half the price.  Without second thoughts, I grabbed the opportunity.  Holiday Inn may not be a five star hotel but it is enough already and fits our budget perfectly.  The overnight accommodation stay with buffet breakfast for two, is already a great gift for the bride and her future husband.  They can have an advance honeymoon there, haha!

All these were decided 5 days before the bridal shower event.  I still have ample time to decide on the games, decor, prizes, etc.  Maybe I'll discuss these in a separate blog and how the bridal shower went.  I'm very thankful to my friend for giving me her discount voucher.  It cuts the time of searching for a very cheap hotel.
Here are some tips [I learned] in planning a bridal shower:
  1. ONLY invite people in the bridal shower if they are also invited to the wedding.  Otherwise, don't bother.  It will just create emotional issues on the part of the guest.
  2. Be considerate.  As the host/organizer of the party, you have to consider your guests' and the bride's preference.  You cannot plan/organize an event that is in favor to you (you are not the bride!).  You have to consider your guests' budget, location, age, gender, religion, to name a few.  But of course, you cannot please everybody.  Only your judgement (and right thinking) can lead you to the common good.
  3. Have a back up plan, in case something unforeseen circumstances happen on the day of the event itself, like a sudden unavailability of a guest.  This is very important especially when your whole plan is dependent on the number of attendees.
  4. Constantly remind your guest about the event.  One text or email may not be sufficient.  Some may forget about it.
  5. Have a theme.  It is a lot easier to plan when you have a theme.  Everything follows with it from the decor up to the token/souvenirs.
  6. It will be helpful to consult other guests/friends for ideas, comments and suggestions (very helpful in cases you're running out of time).
  7. You can still have fun even with little resources, that includes money and guests!  That's why thorough research is required and the helping hand of friends as stated in #6.
  8. Have fun and enjoy.  The planning stage and coordination with guests may be stressful but always remember you're doing this for a very good friend.  You want the best for her last few days of being single.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Great Find!

Due to my new year's resolution of more savings than spendings, I didn't go much shopping yesterday even if there's so much sale! There's up to 70% off sale in Mango, 50% off in Cinderella, The Ramp Crossings, CMG, Tomato and many more.

But I'm in search for a formal dress which I will use to some wedding parties that I'll be attending in the coming weeks.  So I pass by The Ramp Crossings.  I browsed through the dresses from Details.  There were racks that indicates "50% off" and "Php 500 only".  I spotted two black elegant dresses under the Php 500 rack so I tried them on.  The first one was a long, maxi black dress with cowl neck line, spaghetti strap and low back.  It was really nice and sophisticated looking.  Another one was a knee length tube dress with peplum style skirt.  Again, its sophisticated looking.  I was only able to take a picture of the second one (see below).

Both dresses are quite big for me with US size 6 (I'm only size 2!).  But the second one can be altered much easier than the 1st one.  So I bought the second one, knee length dress.  For just Php 500, I got a very elegant, sophisticated formal dress! Really good find and great deal!  It doesn't even looked like its worth only Php 500!  Now I'm search for shoes... haha!

Friday, January 7, 2011

From Spot.PH | Umasal Lamang Nang Ayon sa Ganda

I'd like to share this funny and very timely blog.  Enjoy!

Spot.PH Umasal Lamang Nang Ayon sa Ganda: This is A Crazy Planets

How Sun Broadband Ruined My Reputation

I've been a Sun Broadband Postpaid user for a year and a half now.  It was a very fast connection initially with a promised speed of up to 3Mbps.  Although I seldom reached that speed, 1Mbps to 2Mbps is enough for me.  But that was a long time ago.  Now, I'm really starting to curse my sun broadband connection.  For days now, (that is for this year since I've experienced the same last year), I haven't opened any webpage from 6pm to 11pm EVERYDAY and almost anytime on weekends.  I can only enjoy surfing at wee hours of the night.  Frustrating.

What's even more frustrating is that I can't finish my works!  You see, I can only do my sideline job at this time, that is at night or early morning.  And I can only do this at home because its an hourly job and I have to be connected in the project's system which was downloaded in my computer.  I can't complete anything because I can't connect to the internet!  Well, I am connected to Sun Broadband's server but my connection has a speed of (on the average) 10kbps which cannot load any webpage! That's the fastest already.  I even experienced an average speed of less than 5kbps (see image below).

Speed of below 5kbps for 6 minutes already

I even called up Sun Broadband's hotline just to make sure there's no connection problems in my area.  Yes, there is no connection problem.  I even joked that my internet connection always stops whenever an airplane passes by.  The customer service representative told me that the connection has nothing to do with the airplanes.  He even helped me configure some of my browser settings which I think doesn't have any relation to my internet connection.  He just erased all the cache and history files.  Acting dumb, I followed his instructions.  Viola! Still slow connection until I already fell asleep.

With that, I got delays and pending works.  True enough, my client got pissed.  He cancels the job.  An opportunity lost thanks to Sun Broadband.  It was the second time already that he got frustrated because of my slow connection.  We can't communicate properly.  It does affect me and my reputation.

For more than a year, I am loyal to Sun Broadband.  There maybe some congestions in their server due to increase in subscriber but I still patiently waited for them to fix it, hoping that it could get better.  But I guess my patience reached its limit.  I need a faster and reliable connection.  Can anyone recommend one?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cafe @ Tinapay

The Title

I first thought of this title when I was playing Cafe World in Facebook.  Cafe - a coffeehouse, a restaurant, and/or a bar.  Tinapay - Filipino term for bread; my pet name (as part of it includes my name).  I said to myself, someday I'll open my own coffee shop with this title.  Cute isn't it?

The Blog

I always wanted to write as it is my passion.  Though I'm not that great in subject-verb agreement or even in English vocabulary but my fingers are fast enough to type about 50 words per minute with less errors.  And I like to speak my mind off, express what I thought in writing.

Since I love to write, I always wanted to have a blog of my own.  But I don't know how and where to begin.  I don't even know what will the concept of my blog be.  But finally I'm here.  I'm still not used to it and I still need to learn a lot to increase traffic and even make this income-generating blog! LOL!  So please bear with me and I hope you enjoy reading.

The Description

"Have a sip on random thoughts of whatever and whenever"

I wanted to have a travel blog, writing about cheap deals from the travels I have experienced.  But I'm too lazy to jot down every details of my trip, even the tricycle fare.  I'd rather enjoy the moment of my vacation than think about those little details.  Selfish huh?  And so now, I'll change that attitude.  I already have a small notebook with me which I carry around to list down random thoughts.  And now that I have a blog, it will really be a small responsibility to share to other people what I have experienced.

Basically, this blog is about everything that pops up in my mind, whether a rant, a rave, daily experiences and of course my travel escapades.  Similar to taking a sip at a coffee shop and bonding with your friends, Cafe @ Tinapay serves various topics that is true to life and anybody can relate.  I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing.  I also do hope that I will make time to update this blog.

Cheers! and Welcome to Cafe @ Tinapay!

A New Year, A New Decade, Same Resolutions

I remember I listed down "punctuality at work" as my new year's resolution last year.  I didn't succeed so I'm listing it down again this year.  It's really hard to come to work on time if you're not motivated. Oh well. Another one was driving.  Yes, I did enrolled to driving school last year and I even got my driver's license already.  But I'm still not driving.  Lack of practice.

Anyway, aside from the two mentioned above, below are other resolutions I made for this year.  Let's see at the end of the year if I'll be successful.

  • Back at gym - remember Php 1,000 per month...
  • Save Save Save - for the rainy days and for travel; eliminate buying unnecessary stuff like shoes, bags and clothes (OMG! this is gonna be hard!)
  • Strengthen and increase my faith - first Friday, Sunday masses and other obligations
  • Never skip breakfast - this really means waking up early so I could eat breakfast before leaving for work
  • Eat healthy - include lots of fruits and water intake
  • Take vitamins/supplements - there's still that one big bottle that is half empty and another one unopened

That's it for now.  Not a lot but I really hope I will be able to follow those.  Wish me luck.

Happy New Year Everyone!