Category: Uncategorized

Blog hiatus

Three words: Busy, busy, busy!
But I will be back. Let me just sort my mind first.

It’s August! Happy World Breastfeeding Month! Happy Birthday to five people who made me who I am now: My dad, my mom, my grandpa and grandma, and my darling daughter!

I will be back. And I will let you in my journey more.

 

Love,

 

Touringkitty

 

P.S. In the meantime, check me out on Instagram or Twitter (@touringkitty) and follow my journey #touringkittytravels. I’m more often there lately than on Facebook.

Taste test your fave resto through Maya Kitchen Top Eats

I am (kinda) back to the blogging grind!

It was a busy last quarter of 2016 and beginning of 2017 for me (you know why!), so here I am doing what a dutiful blogger should do–attend events and write about them. So, here goes!

Comfort food. Those were the best two words I have heard (and tasted) that rainy afternoon. Four dishes were presented via a cooking demonstration called Top Eats at The Maya Kitchen. The dishes presented were best sellers of Come Forth Kitchen, a new restaurant in the heart of busy Makati City.

I actually liked the concept of Top Eats. It’s like having a taste test first of the restaurant while you get to know how their dishes are prepared as well.

For this demo, four best sellers were presented by Chefs Albert and Rowena of Come Forth Kitchen: Tinapa Caesar Salad, Come Forth Pulpog, Malunggay Basil Pesto with Chicken Pasta, Longganisa Pizza.

And yes, here are snippets of the event…in 3…2…1!

A post shared by Em Alcantara (@touringkitty) on

I would definitely give the resto a visit soon to try out more of their comfort food. Everything I tasted that afternoon was great, and it was just a small sampling. Not only that, because it was a cooking demo, I will be able to try out these dishes on my own home.

The Maya Kitchen presents Top Eats with a new featured restaurant next month. Visit www.themayakitchen.com to know more about their latest class offerings.

Visit www.facebook.com/comeforthkitchen to know more about this month’s featured restaurant.

Toy Kingdom’s 10th Toy Warehouse Sale

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Now on its 10th year, Toy Kingdom brings you the biggest toy sale!

Happening this weekend at the SM Megamall, enjoy the best deals in Toy Kingdom’s Toy Warehouse Sale.

Here’s what you have to know about the sale:

FAQ about Toy Warehouse Sale Year 10

Question: What is the event?

Answer: Toy Warehouse Sale is an annual event of Toy Kingdom. This is our tenth time to hold the event at Megatrade Hall in SM Megamall. Expect huge discounts up to 70% off.

 

Question: When and where is the event?

Answer: It will be on November 4 to 6, 2016 at Megatrade Hall 1, 2 & 3 SM Megamall. Entrance is located at Hall 2 while Exit is Hall 1.

 

Question: What time will you open Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer:  We open at 10 am and close at 10 pm.

 

Question: Is the event free?

Answer: There is no entrance fee or registration required to enter the venue.

 

Question: What are the acceptable modes of payment?

Answer: We accept cash, credit card payments, Toy Kingdom gift cards, SM gift cards, SM gift pass and Sodexho gift certificates.

 

Question: What are the credit cards accepted during the event?

Answer: We accept all major credit cards, whether issued international or local.

 

Question: For credit card transactions, can I opt to pay in instalment during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Only locally-issued credit cards can avail of this promo. Minimum purchase of P3000 is required to avail of 3 months or 6 months instalment payment at 0% interest.

 

Question: Will there a 2 hour special or preview sale for SM Advantage or SM Prestige cardholders?

Answer: There will be no 2 hour special or preview sale during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Will there be a special area for children?

Answer: There is limited space at the event and there is no special area where customers can leave their children inside Megatrade Halls 1, 2 & 3.

 

Question: Will there be an area where we can leave our belongings?

Answer: There is no area at the event where you can leave your belongings. There are package counters at the mall (Supermarket area and Department Store area) which you can use instead.

 

Question: Will there be a lot of people during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Yes! We are on our 10th year and each year the number of people keeps growing. It’s a just a testament as to how amazing the toy deals are during this event.

 

Question: Is there gift wrapping service during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: This service is not provided during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Will you give free gift wrappers during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Gift wrappers will not be given away during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Do you sell the Toy Kingdom gift wrapper?

Answer: We do not sell the Toy Kingdom gift wrapper but we do have Toy Kingdom tote bags which you can use to put your toys in.

 

Question: Can I have the items purchased at the Toy Warehouse Sale gift wrapped at another Toy Kingdom branch?

Answer: Our branches can only gift wrap the items bought at the store. They cannot gift wrap items purchased from the Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Do you accept reservations?

Answer: No. We are selling limited quantities of particular toys because it is a warehouse sale so we cannot reserve pieces for customers. It would wise to come in early.

 

Question: Will there be an extension of the sale?

Answer: Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale only happens once a year during the specified date. There will be no extension of the sale however there will be other sale events in the coming months.

 

Question: How many cashiers do you have?

Answer: There are 24 counters which can accept cash, credit, debit and approved GCs as mode of payment. The speed of each counter is determined by the number of toys bought by each customer. Since the toys are really bargain price, a lot of people are buying cart full of toys and we appreciate a little patience and understanding from everyone in line.

 

Question: Will you provide the customers with plastic bags upon check out of items?

Answer: Yes, we will provide customers with plastic bags during the event but we do encourage you to bring your own tote or eco bags.

 

Question: Should I bring the whole family at Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: This is a warehouse sale and there will be lots of people in the venue who have only one thing in mind: shop and get the best toy deals. As much as we want to accommodate everyone, we highly suggest that you do not bring your babies and small kids for their own safety and convenience.

 

Come one, come all, and start making that Christmas list! you will surely find gifts for the young and young at heart.

 

 

~ Touringkitty

Using the Theory of Probability to Find Happiness

Photo: pixabay.com

They say there are only two certain things in the world: death and taxes. However, by spinning the main point of this statement, you can add a different kind of facet to the equation.

It’s arguably safe to say that everyone wants to be happy; they are certain they want to be happy. Whether in little victories such as getting up early to beat the morning traffic in time for work, or grand accomplishments like living the classic rags-to-riches stories covered by the Independent.

In today’s world, almost everything is quantifiable. By seeing everything from a mathematical perspective, you can develop a logical point of view – even with the most inexplicable and unjustifiable of things like finding happiness.

There are basic scientific explanations when it comes to the aspect of momentary happiness. As a matter of fact, there are specific hormones and endorphins that trigger it. When thinking about the general idea of joy, you can’t really pinpoint the exact equation on how to be happy. You can, however, turn to a little area in mathematics that tackles various scenarios and its likelihood.

On the surface, the theory of probability seems like more suited to the confines of a casino, as you usually see poker players calculate the odds of hitting a winning card on the river based on Charles Bloom’s write up. In a nutshell, the subject focuses on making quick decisions when faced with limited information with a plethora of possible outcomes.

To put its rationale to good use, Pocketfruity presents simple teasers that should get you up to speed with probability theory. Now, to apply this concept in the subject of finding happiness, look no further than understanding the fear of not knowing.

This anxiety is somewhat worse than any negative outcome. One example of measuring happiness – or contentment – is through a psychological test, wherein a subject is given an option to get a mild electric shock now or later. This study, conceived from an earlier one written by Alan Bellows, saw that almost half of the participants opted to get the pain over with, rather than a 50% chance in the future.

Regardless of how bad or negative it is, it’s common for people to want certainty in their lives. Happiness comes in different forms, and a basic understanding of this lies in the aspect of love. For singles, they can do the math and determine the chances of finding an eligible partner. First, take a rough estimate of would-be lovers, then multiply it by the chances of compatibility, then divide it by the ratio of demand, before multiplying it by the unwanted chance of separation. Without going into the exact numbers, the chance of finding the right person is at a staggering 100 billion to one. But all these principles and concepts don’t mean a thing when confronted by destiny.

You have in your hands the limitless power to grab life by the horn and attain happiness in the process. The possibility of achieving this is equivalent to the determination and the belief you put in every time. Indeed, it’ll be difficult to constantly look for something without knowing what you’re actually looking for, but the truth is, happiness can arrive anywhere. You just have to be ready. You just have to be realistic.

School of Styling: Crafting for the (non)crafty Momma

I cannot remember doing anything DIY, or Do-it-yourself. I am one who is afraid of crafting.

So, I immediately took the opportunity to attend a crafting workshop upon the invitation of School of Styling, a new biz which offers workshops for event stylers, something that is so not me.

School of Styling has monthly workshops, and for this month, they featured tassel garland and piñata making. I actually got super interested with the piñata making workshop, something I dreamed of making for my daughter.

To my surprise and delight, there was also a quick mobile photography workshop as the afternoon started.

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Geunice of Lightkeeper Studios gave the mobile photography workshop.

They also served some healthy and refreshing juices as we are doing our output of the workshop.

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Juice Barista served these. I got fruit-infused water.

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Indy Ycasiano gave the craft workshop. I have heard her name as creator of She Dreams in Ink. Together with Em Sulit of Game Changer, they call School of Styling their Passion Project. I actually like the term!

There was also a children’s corner, wherein my daughter got to played with some kids of the workshoppers. Mommas got to craft, kids got to play.

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She was actually getting ready to work on the table. But kids gotta play!

And here was my output!

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I know. Failed attempt on the tassels!
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My mini-ice cream piñata!

What I liked most about the afternoon was, aside from making the crafts, the founders of School of Styling explained why they came about with the workshops. And I particularly liked that they emphasized how their workshops can help other people start their own small businesses. One of our seatmates for that afternoon was actually gearing up to start her own event styling business, and the workshops so far have been of great input to her, as she prepares as well for her upcoming wedding.

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Workshoppers with School of Styling movers.

As for me, I’d really work on that piñata, perhaps for Cinco de Mayo. Aria is looking forward to it.

Check out their next workshop next month!

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Visit www.schoolofstyling.ph or follow them on Facebook and Instagram for upcoming events.

12 months in 12 photos

Happy New Year 28 days late!

You probably noticed my slight hiatus on the blog. But I’ve been rather active on Instagram (follow me @touringkitty!) so you might have known the reason/s. One word: BUSY! But very happy.

2015 was definitely a great year. If there is a word to describe it, it would be “miracle,” just like how His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales describes life. Yes, life is a miracle, and so is each passing day that we’re able to wake up to.

I challenged myself to post the best photo of the month. But I chose those which are very memorable. They may not be frame-worthy (some may even be blurred!), but as they say, a picture means a thousand words. In this case, I will post 12, so that’s 12,000! But trust me, the descriptions I will write will be very brief and meaningful.

Here goes!

JANUARY: Pilgrimage

Pope Francis' Pope Mobile passing by the EDSA Extension (near Roxas Blvd.). We're THAT close!
Pope Francis’ Pope Mobile passing by the EDSA Extension (near Roxas Blvd.). We’re THAT close!

January last year was very important to the Roman Catholics, and probably to some believers as well. Pope Francis visited the country for a spiritual and political reason. Our family of three treated his visit as a pilgrimage, wherein we can be seen waiting in the crowded lines for the arrival of his Pope Mobile wherever he may go.

FEBRUARY: Long and meaningful life

Nanay Pining Canlas is our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas' mother. She celebrated her 96th birthday last year, with about 40 priests concelebrating the Mass, along with Archbishops and Bishops.
Nanay Pining, with her youngest, Mons Bobby, plus the clergy who concelebrated the Mass.

Nanay Pining Canlas is our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas’ mother. She celebrated her 96th birthday last year, with about 40 priests concelebrating the Mass, along with Archbishops and Bishops (yes, Cardinals Tagle and Rosales were in attendance). Great to witness God’s blessing of life to Nanay.

MARCH: Finding my voice

Meeting her was one of the best things that happened last year!
Meeting Nelly Miricioiu (and taking a three-day masterclass under her) was one of the best things that happened last year!

 

 

 

Attending Nelly Miricioiu’s masterclass last year was definitely one for the books. Her expertise, talent, humility, and positivity was a great source of inspiration for us, masterclass students, and even the observers and our audience during the two night concert. I definitely found my voice, and slowly getting back on track.

APRIL: Saving Lives

To my right is my uncle (brother of my father), and to my left is Dr. Buddy Ostrea, the man behind Ostreavent, along with his colleagues.
To my right is my uncle (brother of my father), and to my left is Dr. Buddy Ostrea, the man behind Ostreavent, along with his colleagues.

God has put me in every aspect of a production last year–from artist to audience to production staff. Here’s one, where I was part of my uncle’s production team, to give life to a fundraising concert by pianist and CCP President Raul Sunico for OstreaVent, a lower-cost ventilator which was invented by Filipino doctor Dr. Buddy Ostrea (who happened to be one of our hosts in the Madz during a US tour).  I know I could not avail a ventilator, but being part of this project made me realise how noble Dr. Buddy’s invention was, knowing that there are premature infants who will benefit in this equipment.

MAY: Gift of Life

Honoring my own mother in this special month for mothers.
Honoring my own mother in this special month for mothers.

Bloggers were given this opportunity to bring in our own mothers in this event by a fabric conditioner brand. Timeless beauty my mother really is! Three generations in that photo!

JUNE: Wanderlust

When in Italy, do jumpshots!
When in Italy, do jumpshots!

I haven’t been able to blog about the entire trip! But I still hope to, before the trip turns one year in June! Anyways, this was one unforgettable trip. Two weeks, five countries, ten singers, one great work premiered and showcased to the world. Wow. Just wow.

JULY: Homeschool mom at work

One of her first photos as a bonafide homeschooler. Some days, it's still like this. Other days, well... But still fun!
One of her first photos as a bonafide homeschooler. Some days, it’s still like this. Other days, well… But still making the most of each session!

After the European trip, I got sick, but we had to begin homeschool because we have a preschooler enrolled! So we did, albeit slowly and surely. We’re now at the homestretch of the first homeschooling year, yay!

AUGUST: Turning five

This charmer turned five!
This charmer turned five!

I blinked my eye and saw five blissful years as a mother. No words can express the joy my heart feels. Probably, those five emotions in her favourite movie, Inside Out, could. Still, joy over everything.

SEPTEMBER: Another year

I turned 32!
I turned 32!

Happy. Blessed. Overwhelmed. Fortunate. Contented.

OCTOBER: Stage Nanay

My loves rehearsing. Something they do best--music.
My loves rehearsing. Something they do best together–music.

Instantly I became a Stage Mother. And why not, I had to accompany my daughter in five separate Halloween and All Saints’ Parties all over town! She even performed for her homeschool’s party (video in this link).

NOVEMBER: Seventh heaven

Celebrating seven years, on to forever!
Celebrating seven years, on to forever!

Time flies when you’re having fun, indeed. Very lucky girl to have him as my partner for life.

DECEMBER: Christmas Musical blessing

Music is God's gift to our family. We're happy and ready to share it to the world.
Singing Belen. It went something like that during Christmas Eve.

Each of us had separate singing engagements. Ton with his choir, the Ateneo Chamber Singer, who had mall shows and Masses. I at some private functions– for retired and elderly priests and for a Sacerdotal Anniversary. Aria sang at church and with my choir for a caroling event. Together we sang at church on Christmas Eve. Music is God’s gift to our family. We’re happy and ready to share it to the world.

 

The beginning of the year gave so many surprises. I definitely was fulfilled as a wife, mother, musician, teacher, traveler, advocate, and servant of God. I actually didn’t expect 2015 to be as busy, as fun, and as packed as I imagined. And this year, I just pray that more meaningful things will happen to me and to my family.

Here’s wishing you all the best and praying for all of you this 2016.

 

~ Touringkitty

Seven years of marriage

Last month, my husband and I celebrated our Seventh Wedding Anniversary in a simple, meaningful, and love-filled way.

November 8 this year was a Sunday, and we have church duties with the choir. We were really planning to ask for a prayer of blessing from our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas, who graciously celebrated our wedding day seven years ago. We didn’t know whether he is celebrating Mass for that schedule or not, but we were planning to send him a message in case we won’t be able to meet him in the morning.

But what happened was this happy surprise.

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Surprise! Instant Renewal of Vows right after the Holy Mass! (See the empty pews?) This priest loves my family so much, and for that we are grateful.

Some of my choir members were still on queue for Holy Communion after the Mass, and as we were already having the Renewal of Vows, I signaled them from afar to take photos. Huge thanks to their support!

 

Photo photo! Just like a real wedding. Love and blessings abound.
Photo with the priest celebrant! Just like a real wedding. Love and blessings abound.

We somehow had a gut feel that Mons Bobby made it a point to celebrate Mass during our choir’s Mass timeslot, so we could have our Renewal of Vows after the Mass. Coincidence or not, we were truly grateful for his generosity and thoughtfulness.

Then, it’s lunchtime for this family of three! We really didn’t have anything planned for this day, except for that lunch. My husband treated us for some Japanese in a nearby hotel.

And we had this picture taken at the hotel lobby!
And we had this picture taken at the hotel lobby after the yummy lunch.

We then went home to rest in the afternoon, and in a very last minute decision, my husband asked me for a date (insert #kiligpamore here). I had to immediately call for backup (aka my mom and sister) to look over our daughter while we date. So, he asked me to choose between a romantic movie or the contemporary music orchestra concert at the CCP. Of course, I chose the…latter!

Music nerds unite!
Music nerds unite!

I sang for the opening concert of the 33rd Asian Composer’s League International Festival and Conference, two days prior this, at the UP Abelardo Hall Auditorium, with the Auit Vocal Chamber Ensemble under the baton of Katz Trangco. And this that we watched is the orchestra concert of the festival, held at the nearby Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The concert featured orchestral works of composers from various Asian countries, including one of our friends and choirmate in Auit, Jimuel Dave Dagta. Days after that concert, he won a special composer’s prize in that festival!

The music was rather new to my husband’s ears, because he isn’t used to listening to contemporary works in one sitting. But he enjoyed the experience. While I am impressed with the different textures and compositional styles used by different Asian composers.

The night won’t be complete without our usual coffee-after-the-show sesh at Starbucks. Guilty pleasure! This we don’t get to do most of the time anymore, unlike when I was in college and together with some friends, we’d usually unwind after a concert over food or coffee.

It was a simple celebration yet very unforgettable. With the love from family and friends that surrounds our household, we are beyond blessed.

And here’s a short and sweet message to my dearest treasure.

To my beloved Schatzi,

 

Here’s to forever!

Darling I will be loving you even beyond seventy.

 

Much love, 

 

Em

 

 

How do you celebrate an important occasion? Do share how, so I could also get tips for the next date night!

Manila Workshops: Bust away Boredom with Board Games

My dad raised my sister and I in a board game world. Scrabble, Monopoly, Word Factory, Passport by V-tech, even the very basic Snakes and Ladders and Chess, have been our afternoon or weekend family staple.

We loved to play games as a family, and since we were four (my mom, dad, and my sister), we could split into teams and play our home favourites like scrabble.

Join Roll Two in their quest to encourage more families to play more and be more.

Make December a time for FAMILY. Connect with your family the old-fashioned way. Join us and play board games on Dec. 19, 2015, from 1:30 – 4:00 at the Parenting Emporium and get hooked!

Sign up through this link.

Seven

Dearest Schatzi,

Happy Seventh Wedding Anniversary, Schatzi!

Seven years.

Seventh heaven.

We’re on the seventh floor, too!

Forever has seven letters. So does your name. And so does Schatzi. So, yes, you’re my forever!

I praise the Almighty for giving me an awesome partner for life. I keep thanking God for you and Ariadne (oh, seven letters on her name, too!), and praying to Him to bless you both always.

Surprise, surprise! I’ve worked on this compilation of photos during our wedding day. Hope you like this.

I love you!

Em

Mein Geburtstag

(Seriously, I can’t think of a title for this blogpost, so that’s what I can best think of right now.)

Wala na sa kalendaryo best describes my age. I won’t deny, it’s part of life.

But anyways, I celebrated the whole day long. As per tradition, on the eve of our birthdays, my husband and I waited for 12 midnight for the birthday salubong. Then upon waking up the next morning, I offered a rosary and did some meditation (my husband and I practice Transcendental Meditation, albeit I practice not so often anymore). I prayed for friends who celebrated the same birthdate as mine, and celebrants for the whole month of September. September is special to me since it is also the birth month of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

My mom and sister brought us breakfast in our condo–PAKAPLOG! Pandesal, kape, itlog, FTW. And some banoons for little girl.

And look, the colours are from the Inside Out movie characters! The little kid is delighted!
And look, the colours! Inside Out movie characters! The kid is delighted.

Then my mom and sister gifted me with a body scrub, so that was one of the agendas in the morning.

Then, just brought home some Binalot for lunch–just in time for the noontime show (#alamnathis). =)

One of my voice students had a performance the following day, so I had to coach her (yes, work on my birthday!). Then I was off to hear Mass before my birthday family dinner.

Where else, but Teriyaki Boy! And here we are doing the you-know-what, haha!
Where else, but Teriyaki Boy! And here we are doing the you-know-what, haha!
My husband joined us for dinner after his work, traveling from faraway Quezon City all the way to Mall of Asia.
My husband joined us for dinner after his work, traveling from faraway Quezon City all the way to Mall of Asia.

And lastly, dessert! Which was also the birthday cake. THE birthday cake of all birthday cakes.

Death. By. Tablea.
Death. By. Tablea.

Need I say more? =)

To everyone who greeted me through text message, Facebook message, through the photo my husband posted on his Facebook, through email, a huge THANKS for remembering. Thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me and my family, for the friendship, the gifts, the thoughtfulness.

And as a treat for my blog readers, here’s what I have posted a day before my birthday. Let’s march in the light of God!