Thank You, 2014!

It’s just a few hours before we bid goodbye to 2014. My, my. How fast time flies.

The past year has been very good to Alvin and I. It was a year of firsts, adventures, and (good) changes that will affect our lives forever. And we couldn’t be any more thankful for all the blessings we got this year.

I am thankful for family. This year, I feel that even though Alvin and I moved to a different country, our families remain to be closer than ever. His parents visited us and my side of the family will also be visiting in the first quarter of 2015. We are happy to spend time with them here in KL – our ‘home’ for the next couple of years.

I am thankful for old friends and how technology makes distance irrelevant. Despite leaving Manila last June, I remain very close to my good friends. I see photos of my godchildren on Facebook so I won’t feel that they grew up too fast. My friends keep me in the loop of what’s happening to them and are always ready to hear about my day. I am also thankful that friends are actually willing to spend just to see us and make sure I don’t miss them too much. Right now, we have one of our favourite couples from Manila spending the New Year here and more of our friends are planning to come see us by mid-2015! Yay!

I am thankful for the new friends we have made and look forward to making more this year!

I am thankful for opportunities that came my way and I am so excited for the things that will be coming this 2015. 😀 Some are already ironed out, while there are more on the pipeline. 🙂 There was a time when I thought that I might feel unproductive without an everyday, regular job. But really, that hasn’t happened the past 6 months and it looks like I will only get even busier. No complaints here! 😀

I am thankful that the powers that be have been good to us during our move and adjustments here in Malaysia. So far the posting has been nothing but pleasant and everybody at the embassy and the people we’ve met here have been nice to us. Finding a home, a car, and anything we needed here has been a breeze.

I am thankful for my husband for being the best he could be. Sweet (in his own, adorkable way), responsible, usually patient with my whims and crazy moments, and always caring. He always thinks of how to keep me smiling and comes up with trips and things to do (within the city and out) to keep my wanderlust in its A-game. Thank you for making me your priority and making me feel like a princess. Keep at it. This 2015 and the rest of all your years! Lol.

And lastly, I am thankful for you. Thank you for reading this blog of mine. I hope you get something out of my musing and the things that I share with you. I am loving every minute of writing here and I hope you’ll stay with me longer.

And with that, I shall end this quick blog post to go and celebrate with my husband and our friends. I hope you guys have a wonderful New Year!

More later.

Love, Carol

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Events: Embassy Christmas Party

Our first embassy Christmas party at post and we loved every bit of it. Personally, I love the embassy events where we all get together and become one big family – eating together, sharing stories. In fact, I always feel that way whenever I drop by the embassy on a normal work day. Everybody is so welcoming and nice.

I love how in this embassy, ranks don’t really matter too much. You don’t hear officers belittling their staff or making them feel inferior – in person, in social media, and everywhere else. And there are no complaints from the staff about their bosses. Everybody works well with each other and whatever professional differences they encounter on a day-to-day basis, at the end of the day, people chalk it up to work experience and do not take it personally. It really is like a being in a big family where you find comfort despite being far away from home. We have each other to talk to, laugh with, and even share homesickness.

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Expat Life: First Christmas in Malaysia (Christmas Trees & Holiday Shopping Tips)

It’s 6 days before Christmas! And while I think I’ve sort of outgrown Christmas (unlike my husband who is so adorably excited for this season), I must admit that it still brings a lot of happy memories from my childhood.

But come to think of it, it’s actually pretty weird to be in a country where not every corner is lit up with Christmas lights. Not hearing Christmas songs from your neighbours’ place is also a bit disconcerting. I find myself even forgetting that it’s just a few days till Christmas. 😛

So being the Catholic Filipinos that we are, we got ourselves a plastic tree as soon as Halloween was over. No, we’re not cuckoo. In the Philippines, Christmas trees are up as early as September – I kid you not. And when people go and live abroad, we do try to make sure we settle in just fine. One of the ways to adapt to a new country is to make your new home actually feel like ‘home’. Not really a replica of your home country but you just bring in traditions and little things that remind you of where you really are from.

Where to get your Christmas Tree

At that time, my husband was sort of frantic – asking people where we can get a tree. He was so determined to bring Christmas cheer into our new home, he was asking people from the embassy who have been here in Kuala Lumpur longer where we can get our own Christmas tree as early as October. So just in case people haven’t gotten their trees until now, and for future reference to those who will be looking, these were the answers that we got:

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Events + Fashion: Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week Favourites

Last October – yes, October! This post is so late! – I attended the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week here in Kuala Lumpur with some of my husband’s colleagues from the embassy. Our Consul General, my friend Johann who’s a Vice Consul just like my husband, and Ms Gigi who’s the embassy’s trade attache. No, my husband wasn’t with us as the seats allotted for the embassy were limited – and let’s face it. I’m of more use at a fashion show than he is. And he knows that. So he willingly stayed at home for some guy/alone time. Who says the wife is just an accessory to the diplomat? Hmm? 😉

Just to warn you, this is going to be a picture heavy post. I’d keep the text down to a minimum and just share photos of my favourite pieces from each collection that we saw. And a bit of side stories here and there. Cos really – would you want me yapping about cuts and silhouettes and colours and patterns instead of just checking out the photos? 😛

 ALBERT ANDRADA (Philippines)

(Related: Albert Andrada wins ‘Most Connected Designer’ award at Asia Fashion Week)

Albert Andrada, Asia Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz, Stylo, 2014

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Events: Filipino Community Gathering in Sitiawan, Perak

Skipping some of the events I had to write about (I’m so late! Some of them happened weeks and weeks ago!) to write a shortie something about what happened just last Friday. Something very heart warming.

A good percentage of the Filipino population work abroad. Almost everyone in the Philippines has at least one relative who left the country for what they often call as ‘better opportunities’. Admittedly, our people has yet to feel the tangible effects of our growing economy and it makes me hopeful that this would be the start of Filipinos abroad going home without fear whether they will be earning enough for their families if they took a job in their home country.

It might take a couple of years more. But really, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve seen enough families torn apart by the diaspora. Children growing up without their mothers who had to go abroad to take care of the children of other people so she can earn money for her kids’ education back at home. I had a friend whose father never made it to any of her graduations as he was working as an engineer in the Middle East. They had money to send her all the way to college and to finish her Master’s Degree but alas, he was old when he got home and he died a few years later. The times they spent apart was something they can never bring back.

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Events: Surviving the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2014

Just got home from the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale and I gotta say, my arms (and also my husband’s) are dyiiiing from carrying our purchases. This has got to be the craziest book fair I have ever been to – even crazier than the ones we have in Manila. And that’s saying something.

Don’t believe me? Well here you go:

Big Bad Wolf, Books, Book Sale

So I guess this is how a book sale with 3.5 million books, running for 24 hours look like. I felt like Belle discovering the library inside the Beast’s castle!

What I thought was going to be “just another book sale” turned out to be one of my most favourite shopping experiences in Malaysia. Also, I’m proud to say that we’re almost done with our Christmas shopping thanks to this event! (Granted that our shopping list contains just a few names since we’re far away from our friends and family back in Manila – but still!)

We got there around a little bit before 5 in the afternoon. The crowd was tolerable so I can honestly say that the biggest enemy you have to face during the sale is the urge to grab everything in sight.

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Beauty + Review: Ziaja Natural Argan Oil Protective Face Cream

Ziaja, Moisturiser, Argan Oil, Facial Cream, Protective, Skin Care

My new favourite moisturiser – which I’m about to finish off! 🙂

While I am head over heels in love with makeup, I’ve got to admit that I’m more obsessed over skincare. I can wax poetic all day about how having clear, healthy skin is the key ingredient to looking good. No matter how much makeup you put on, at the end of the day, if your skin isn’t properly taken care of, it will show. Unless you use some magic called Photoshop or slap a filter on a selfie.

Great skin has a lot to do with genetics and I thank all the saints for letting me come from bloodlines that don’t have any skin problems. I’m pretty sure both my mom and my dad, as well as my grandparents on both sides, never had a tough acne problem. Come to think of it, the best example would have to be my grandma (dad’s side) who just turned 95.

Carolyn Ramoran, Carol Ramoran, Carolyn Malasig, Carolyn Ramoran Hamilton, Carol Hamilton, Carolyn Hamilton, Greta Hamilton

My grandma when she was younger. I think this was in the early 40s. Isn’t she a beauty? 😉

Carolyn Ramoran, Carol Ramoran, Carol Malasig, Carolyn Hamilton, Carol Ramoran Hamilton, Greta Hamilton

And this is her just a couple of weeks ago during her 95th birthday. Look at her skin! It’s too beautiful for a 95 year old! And I’m not just saying this cos she’s my grandma who swears by how much I resembled her when she was young. 😉

But my grandma, who already had great skin to begin with, didn’t keep her skin healthy just by letting it be. She nurtured it and kept it hydrated. According to my dad, she has always (and still is) been religious in applying her creams and moisturisers. I started taking care of my skin quite seriously at age 23 and now that I’m 25, I can honestly say that I’m gonna be making my grandma proud. 😉 Moisturiser has also become my religion and I intend to stay devoted till I die.

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