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2018 Book Fairs (part 1): The Big Bad Wolf at the World Trade Center Manila.

If there's one thing that could beat my love for shopping, it would be my love for books. When we were younger, my Dad would always give me and my sister 100 pesos to spend on books (our training of handling money was by being given specific amounts for certain items but if we needed more, we could ask for it but we just had to justify why). Books were cheaper then so I remember being able to buy two Sweet Valley books already with that allowance. I also love reading R.L. Stine and Christoper Pike but unfortunately, not all of the titles are available in the Philippines. So when we go to the US, I would always go home with a luggage or a balikbayan box filled with books (Waldenbooks was the shizz!). I thank my mom for always encouraging us to read and my Dad for indulging us in this hobby, even if they were not readers themselves.

There were back-to-back book fairs this month and I plotted them both in my calendar. Let me start with the Big Bad Wolf Sale at the World Trade Center. I've been receiving direct messages on Instagram ever since I posted about it in my IG stories. Two million books at 60-80% off housed in one hall. How amazing is that!  The sale coincided with Valentines week so I told T no fancy restaurant for me this year.. Just bring me to this book fair and I will be more than happy. He stayed true to his promise and we went on the first day of the sale.

Ideally, the best time to go would be at 9am when the sale opens but with my bad back and all, I'm not sure if I could handle the crowd.  We went at around 11pm and there were still a lot of people but only a short line to get in. I knew it was going to be a long night so I came prepared and wore sneakers, donned a backpack instead of a handbag, and brought eco bags (dapat pala maleta but more on that later).

The Stress Remedy by Dr. Doni Wilson.

As a working professional, I'd say Sunday is my love-hate day. ‘Love' because it's the day which I get to spend to rest or with my family and loved ones but 'hate' because at the end of it, I know the next day would be a Monday. Don't get me wrong.. I love what I do and I am passionate about my work no matter how stressful it can get. I have a high capacity for stress (I'd say tried and tested!) and I actually live for high-stress events or cases but for some reason, the thought of Monday always gets me down.  What more for people who don't love what they do?

Our bodies are designed to deal with the normal stresses of every day life. But our bodies' natural 'stress response' can get out of balance and seriously impact our well-being. Living with high level of stress can put you down and affect your emotional, physical, and mental health. It actually puts relationships at risk and makes work less productive.

Date Ideas for Valentines 2018.

February 14 was also Ash Wednesday so T and I heard mass first and then watched Black Panther afterwards. Like I mentioned previously, we don't really 'celebrate' Valentines because T doesn't believe in needing a holiday to make me feel special (yay lucky me). So when he got me two bags of candies from Candy Corner, I thought that was it. When I got home, I was surprised with a delivery of a three-dozen Ferrero Rocher bouquet! We joked that it was a win-win situation since he loves Ferrero as much as I do.

But since most of us have work yesterday, I'm sure it was a bit hard to celebrate Valentines. Don't fret! There's still tomorrow and the weekend to do something special with your loved one. Here are a few suggestions based on what your partner is like.  Plus, I'm giving away a few freebies! Happy Valentines from me to you.

Valentines Giveaway: Ballet & Ballads.

Ballet & Ballads once again returns to the stage to bring music and lyrics to life in a star-studded affair led by Ballet Manila CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.  Joining her is singer Christian Bautista who will sing his greatest theater hits and songs from his latest album, artists from the Klassikal Musical Foundation, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.  And as an early Valentines present, I'm giving away premiere night tickets to a few lucky readers! Check out my Instagram @joeiandme to find out how you can join.  

Restaurants at the New Wing of Power Plant Mall Rockwell.

I've been going to the Powerplant Mall since it opened around 17 years ago (oh wow, it's been that long already??) and it's also my second home so I've seen the stores come and go or relocate to different areas of the mall. However, the expansion last year is probably the biggest one yet and now the new wing is open with more stores and restaurants.   Here are the ones that are already open as of today:

Din Tai Fung

The first time I ate in Din Tai Fung was when T and I went to Hong Kong (read my blog post about our Hong Kong trip).  My friends were warning me about the wait but we were lucky because in that split second that we arrived, we were immediately given seats. Just a few minutes later, it was already a blockbuster line! The Philippines is no different. This Michelin-star restaurant has been drawing people to queue every time a new branch opens. Odd hours during weekdays are ok but weekends, especially Sundays, are crazy.