S&R December Deals.

If you're like me who is still giving out gifts even if Christmas is over, you can check out these S&R December Deals which are good only until the end of the month!  

Remember those gift baskets I wrote about last month (read my blog post about S&R November Finds: Christmas Gifts and Decors)? Here are more choices.. The Houdini Gourmet Favorite (PhP2,599.95), the Houdini Bon Appetit (PhP3,499.95) which comes in 2 colors, and the Houdini The Executive (PhP7,999.95).  Like I said, you can give them to family friends (so you don't have to give each family member a gift) or your bosses.

Serenitea's 2016 Diary and Choco Holiday Series with Toblerone.

Still on a hunt for a new planner to use next year? Check out Serenitea's 2016 Diary.  I have one and it's even prettier in person with the shiny gold dots contrasting with the craft paper-like cover.  You can get the planner for free (yes you read that right.. FREE!) by spending a minimum single receipt worth PhP1,200.  If you don't know what drinks to buy at one time, you can just purchase gift certificates instead.  The good thing about these GCs is that they have no expiry date so you can give them as gifts to your friends next Christmas or keep them for future Serenitea purchases.    Hurry because these planners are only available until January 15!

All I Want For Christmas.

I know I said I'll veer away from writing about my personal life but I feel like the venues where I could post has become more and more limited.  Twitter only allows 140 characters, Instagram is better suited for photos, and Facebook.. Well, we all know what Facebook has become.

It's nothing serious really.  I just wanted to tell you about my Christmas wish list, or lack thereof.  When my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told her I had to think first.  And when T asked me last week, I couldn't give him an answer too.  For some reason, as I grew older, I had less and less material "wants" on my wish list.   I don't know why.  Maybe it's because of age or maybe because if I have a "want", I could buy it on my own anyway.  

As kids, we weren't really spoiled but we were not deprived either.  My dad wanted to buy us everything but my mom kept us grounded, which I understand now, because it taught us to appreciate both the little and big things in life.  My sister and I were only allowed to wish for toys on our birthdays and on Christmas.  Not that we didn't have new things the rest of the year but we could only ask for what we specifically wanted on those two occasions.  I guess that's why I could come up with a list every time when I was younger because I've been waiting one year to ask for it.   My old blog theme (maybe some of you can remember it) even has a wish list on the side where I cross items off when I receive them already.

Back to the question of what I want for Christmas this year.. 

Last week, T already got me an Acca Kappa brush from Rustan's because I mentioned to him that I damaged my old one. I thought that was a suitable Christmas gift already but he still told me, "Babe, wag mo na ako pahirapan, just tell me what you want."  So I tried browsing online shopping sites to see if there was anything that would catch my fancy.  There was none.  And that's when I remembered my wish last year and the years before that...

Image credit: Pinterest

Anniversary (part 3): Ultralight Flying at Angeles City Flying Club.

...continued from Anniversary (part 2): Globe Telecom's iPhone 6s Launch.

Here's my blog post on that plane ride everyone was asking me about after I posted photos on Facebook and Instagram.  Even if T and I didn't have much sleep because the Globe event finished late, we pushed through with our ultralight flying lessons with Angeles City Flying Club (ACFC).

Anniversary (part 2): Globe Telecom's iPhone 6s Launch #ThatWonderfulMoment.

...continued from Anniversary (part 1): Dinner in Blackbird at the Ayala Triangle Makati.

After dinner, T and I head over to Bonifacio Global City for the iPhone 6s launch where Globe Telecom brand ambassadors, together with fifty preferred Globe customers, will officially get their hands on a new iPhone 6s ahead of everyone else in the Philippines.  

When we arrive, I am led to a registration area and given my first gift.. A Christmas Starbucks card!  I really appreciate this because it's something I collect and I always buy Starbucks coffee before going to work. After that, someone is introduced to me as my personal guide for the evening (hello Randy!) who then leads us to the area of the main event.  

Anniversary (part 1): Dinner in Blackbird at the Ayala Triangle Makati.

Weeks before our anniversary, T asked me what I wanted to do.  It just so happens that the Globe iPhone 6s launch is on the same day so I asked him if we could just go there and celebrate our anniversary some other day.   Of course, it was totally fine with T but he still surprised me with dinner in Blackbird at the Nielson Tower before the event.

Christmas Gift Ideas at The Spice Lab PH.

It's crunch time and we're all looking for gifts to give our relatives, friends, and co-workers this Christmas.   But instead of the usual fruit cake, check out these products from The Spice Lab PH.  Their sauces are healthy and spicy and are handcrafted out of the freshest ingredients with no added preservatives.

These products can be given even to people who don't cook, like me.  The other day, I added a spoonful of Seafood Chili Garlic with Sausage and Mushrooms, which The Spice Lab sent me, to my favorite Delimondo Corned Beef and voila.. Instant gourmet taste! 

Experience The New Taste of California with California Pizza Kitchen's New Menu.

I remember California Pizza Kitchen (or CPK) being one of the first restaurants in the then newly-expanded Alabang Town Center.  During my high school days, my family and I would eat there almost every week and more often than not, I would see my classmates dining in the restaurant with their families as well.

Throughout those 18 years, CPK has continuously reinvented their line up of dishes, and this month, there are a couple of new items on their menu you might want to check out for your Christmas dinners.


Fruit and Nut Salad (PhP275+)
A unique blend of mixed fruits, nuts, and avocado paired with CPK's fresh orange vinaigrette.

Cream Silk's Leave-On Cream #AnytimeAnywhere.

I love how summer never ends in the Philippines but one downside about the tropical weather is the humidity and how it drains my hair of its natural moisture, leaving it dry, dull, and frizzy.  I suddenly miss the dry weather of California.  Although my skin would suffer there, I love how my hair looks  and feels almost every day!

We all have our share of bad hair days and all we can do is tie our hair into a ponytail.  But sometimes even that won't solve our problem right?  Fortunately, Cream Silk came up with a Standout Straight Leave-On Cream, which is a hair polish and a leave-in conditioner in one!

S&R November Finds: Christmas Gifts and Decors.

Are you done with Christmas shopping? Is your tree up already? If your answer is no, you might want to check out these Christmas gifts and decors I saw at S&R this weekend.

Chef Martin Yan's Taste of Vietnam Celebrity Chef Tour in Manila.

"Yan can cook.. And so can you!"

Sounds familiar?  Last month, I had the opportunity to meet the person who made that line famous in his show 'Cook With Yan'... Chef Martin Yan!  I was one of the few lucky ones invited to an exclusive dinner hosted by the Asian Food Channel for their celebrity chef tour at the New World Hotel in Makati.  

When I arrive at our table, I find a cutting board signed by Chef Martin on my seat.  What a cool giveaway!  I don't think I'll be able to use it for fear of washing off the signature.

Kaskade at The Palace Pool Club.

Don't you have a chuckle every morning when Facebook shows your "memory of the day" which can range from a monumental event to something really random and you can't even remember what the status or photo was about? More often than not though, the Facebook notification brings a smile to my face because I am reminded of the importance of keeping those memories intact.  I used to record everything in journals but as I grew older, I wrote less and less even if I tell myself to write more.  I know there's Facebook and Instagram but I'm sure one day, they will also become obsolete like what happened to Multiply.  Gosh, it hurts to remember all those uploaded memories gone to cyber wasteland!  And so, there seems to be only one memory vault I can rely on... My blog.  I know blogs may suffer the same fate as the other social media sites but so far, it's the only thing on the Internet that has remained constantly with me throughout the years.   

I know Joei & Me is mainly about food and travel since those are the things T and I find joy in most of the time. But because of the realization that I need to preserve all kinds of fun and happy moments, you might see blog posts that are mostly photos, with only a few words in between..    Just like this post about Kaskade who performed last Friday at The Palace Pool Club.

Rita's Italian Ice, Now Open in Alabang Town Center.

Note: Updated this blog post to tell you about our recent visit to Rita's!  Please read until the end :)

Another establishment opened in Alabang Town Center (ATC) this month.. Rita's Italian Ice!

TWG Tea, Now Open in Alabang Town Center.

A lot of things have been happening lately that I barely have time to sit down and blog.   But I don't want days or weeks to pass without any updates so while I'm waiting for iTunes to restore data on my new iPhone 6s (yipee!), I thought of writing a short post about a favorite establishment of mine which recently opened in Alabang Town Center... TWG Tea!

I discovered the stall accidentally while I was walking around the mall one afternoon.  I thought it was a mirage because I haven't heard of any announcement of a branch opening in Town Center.  When I saw that it was really a legit TWG, I hurriedly approached it and bought macarons.   

T's niece Natalia is also a macaron monster like me.  So when I had lunch with T's family at 8 Cuts, which also just recently opened in the area, Natalia was so excited when I told her that there are TWG macarons nearby!

#RawFoodIsTheNewHot: Learn About The Raw Vegan Lifestyle with Chef Sonia Astudillo.

It's almost the end of the year again and I'm sure one New Year's resolution we will all have is to live a healthy lifestyle, am I right? I've had this on my list for as long as I can remember but the reason why I can't seem to stick to it is because I CANNOT diet.  I enjoy eating, and to deprive myself of food will leave me sad and miserable.  But by reading books and talking to people who are knowledgeable about the topic, I learned that being healthy does not necessarily mean restricting yourself of good food.  On the contrary, what it means is that I just have to be smarter with the choices I make when it comes to the food that I eat.

If this is something you can relate to, you might be interested in a five-part part workshop series with UP-cum laude graduate and Bali-certified raw chef Sonia Astudillo at Sugarleaf Makati called #RawFoodIsTheNewHot.  Each class will help build your knowledge about raw food and its benefits, ingredients, going organic, super foods, and more.  Can you believe this is made of raw food?

Mr. Graham's Sandwich Shop.

Remember that cute little cafe I wrote about a while back called Mrs. Graham's Macarons (read my blog post about the cafe)?  Well, T and I were invited to the new establishment next door owned by Mrs. Graham's husband, Chris.  The restaurant is aptly called Mr Graham's Sandwich Shop.  

The Chocolate, Coffee, and Ice Cream Expo & Holiday Travel and Dining Deals Expo 2015.

I can't believe that three of my favorite things will be under one roof for the Coffee, Chocolate, and Ice Cream Expo happening on November 18 to 20 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Aura Premiere!

The Belly Rub Restaurant in Commercenter Alabang.

Before watching The Martian (love the book, love the movie!), T and I have dinner at Belly Rub.  It's one of the newer restaurants in Commercenter Alabang.

Cakes By Mariella Martinez.

Mariella Martinez is not your usual baker.  Can you believe that she doesn't own a conventional oven or a Kitchenaid? She only has, what she calls, her trusty Imarflex 30L oven toaster and a Philips hand mixer.  

Mariella began baking in 2008, inspired by movies she'd seen. She has been baking since then and in 2012, she joined a national food and beverage competition called MAFBEX.  Despite not having any formal education or training in pastry arts, Mariella and her team were able to bag 2nd place in the Plated Dessert category.  Impressive!

I've been emailing with Mariella since early this year but for some reason, we couldn't find a common time.  She wanted to give me samples of her work but I didn't want her efforts to be just for any ordinary day and preferred an occasion where I could share her creations with family and friends.  After almost half a year, our schedules finally got to meet!  There was a joint birthday celebration in the family so I told Mariella, she can finally send me her cakes.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's 2016 Giving Journal.

I still need planners and notebooks in my life.  Yes, our mobile phones are much more convenient because it's quick and we always have it with us but at the end of the day, I need to write things down.  That's why when a year is about to end, I get excited because I can get a new planner, and of course, the pens that I'm going to use with it.

If any of you are like me and are looking for a planner to use next year, check out Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL)'s 2016 Giving Journal.

S&R's Halloween and Party Deals This October.

In my calendar, October means the start of Christmas gift shopping, parties, and of course, Halloween!  Let me share with you some deals T and I saw at S&R last weekend.

Acacia Hotel (part 5): Breakfast Buffet at Acaci Restaurant.

...continued from (part 4): A Steakhouse and Tree Top Lounge.

The next day, T and I have the breakfast buffet at Acaci, which is included with our stay.   Since there are a lot of dishes, I'll just go through my favorite parts of the buffet so you can see what Acacia Hotel has to offer.

Acacia Hotel (part 4): A Steakhouse and Treetop Lounge.

...continued from (part 3): Lurra Wellness Spa.

A Steakhouse

T and I have been looking forward to our dinner at A Steakhouse, Acacia Hotel's newest restaurant, which serves USDA prime beef, along with the freshest catch of the day, in a fine dining setting.

Acacia Hotel (part 3): Lurra Wellness Spa.

...continued from (part 2): The Lobby at Acacia Hotel.

After resting for a bit, T and I go to Lurra Wellness Spa, which is on the same floor as the gym and the swimming pool.  The spa is open daily from 3:30pn to 12midnight, while the in room massage is available until 3am.

Acacia Hotel (part 2): The Lobby at Acacia.

...continued from (part 1): Staycation at the Executive Suite.

T and I have a light snack at The Lobby at Acacia because it's still too early for dinner.   When we get there, I see the Joei & Me logo on one of the tables.  How cute!

Acacia Hotel (part 1): Staycation at the Executive Suite.

I usually travel a couple of times a year to unwind but given my schedule, it's just not possible anymore.  That's when I started to appreciate staycations because it's easier to plan and yet it still provides the same relaxing feeling that traveling gives me. So I was really happy when T and I were invited to stay at Acacia Hotel in Alabang. 

pH Care Naturals Intimate Wash: Papaya and Guava Extract.

Everyone is into organic stuff nowadays whether it be food, health supplements, and even personal and beauty products. And that’s because we just want to make sure that whatever it is that we use is something that won’t harm us, especially our feminine wash. That’s why the folks behind pH Care came up with an all-new pH Care Naturals line in two variants: pH Care Naturals Papaya and pH Care Naturals Guava.

Applebee's Grill and Bar, Now Open in BGC!

Two months ago, I wrote about how excited I was that one of my favorite American restaurant chains called Applebee's Grill and Bar is opening its first branch in the Philippines (read my blog post about Applebee's Bar and Grill: There's No Place Like Today.).  That's why I was happy when T and I were invited to the VIP event + blessing of the first Applebee's branch at Bonifacio High Street.

Win A Staycation at Acacia Hotel Alabang!

To celebrate its fourth anniversary, Acacia Hotel is having a party this Saturday, October 10!  There will be an extra scrumptious dinner buffet spread of the hotel's best dishes at the Acaci Restaurant, as well as face painters, caricature artists, balloon twisters, and a roving photo booth.

And if you dine with three or more guests, you have a chance to win an overnight stay in the Acacia Suite. So ask your family or friends if they're free this weekend because who knows?  You might be the lucky winner!

UAAP Basketball Season 78: DLSU vs Ateneo.

This isn't the championships yet but it was such a good game that I want to dedicate a blog post to it! 

Last Sunday, the De La Salle Green Archers faced the Ateneo Blue Eagles for their last game in round one of the eliminations.  I thought T and I were going to miss most of the game because it was so traffic in EDSA and even around Mall of Asia.  We parked at the open lot in front of E-Com (ang layo!) because we expected that parking near the MOA Arena was full already and just ran in the rain!  Poor T.. He wasn't feeling well but he still gave me his hoodie so I wouldn't get wet.   So come the game, T didn't have much energy anymore.

When we arrived at the Arena, it was already half of the second quarter.  The whole time, Ateneo was leading by a lot!  The second quarter ended at 36-46, in favor of Ateneo.

Luminisce Derma Clinic with Dr. Kaycee Reyes

If I were my skin, I'd hate myself.  I don't wear sunblock (not even when I'm directly under the sun or at the beach), I don't have regular facials done, I don't drink enough water (three glasses a week is already a lot for me), and I don't have a dermatologist.  But now that I'm in my thirties, I know I should take care of my skin more.  I took baby steps by recently incorporating a skin regimen to my daily routine.  It's nothing fancy, just Neutrogena moisturizer with SPF during the day and Lancome Genefique and another Neutrogena moisturizer at night.  And I try to drink more water every day.

I was also supposed to look up a dermatologist who I really liked but my last visit to her was more than a decade ago.  And that's when I received an invite for a consultation with Dr. Kaycee Reyes of Luminisce.  Talk about right timing!

Earth Kitchen in Bonifacio High Street.

Healthy.  Local.  Sustainable.  

These three words piqued my interest when I received an invitation to a new restaurant in Bonifacio High Street.  Although more and more places catering to the health-conscious crowd have been popping up lately, there are still only a few of them and not all are hits.  That's why T and I are excited to visit Earth Kitchen in BGC.

#loveSnR: S&R's Members Treat Sale from Sept 25-30.

One thing people don't know about me is that I love grocery shopping.  It may not be obvious since I don't cook, except for the occasional pancakes and omelets, but I do enjoy going to the supermarket.   One of my favorite groceries is S&R, which is actually having a Members Treat Sale only until today!

The San Diego County Fair in Del Mar and the Slingshot Ride.

I went to visit my sister in San Diego last year but I was (and still am) only able to write about the trip sporadically. To see my other blog posts about that trip, click on the label US Trip in 2014.

My sister and I are adrenaline junkies so when I visited her in 2014, we decided to go on this infamous ride called the Slingshot at the San Diego County Fair.  You know those funny videos on Facebook where people pass out or go apesh*t while on the ride?  Yup that's the one.  I wanted to try the Slingshot during my trip to Guam but I was wearing a dress so it was a no-go (read my blog post about my Guam trip).  But finally, after four years, here I am!

Before we go into all that though, let me take you on a tour around the fair grounds.

Staycation at Nobu Hotel in City of Dreams Manila.

The first time I stayed in Nobu Hotel was when I arrived from Bali (read my blog posts about my birthday trip to Bali) and right before I left for the States so I can spend time with my mom via a staycation.

#CravelistatTuscany Instagram Contest.

Remember my post about ten unique and drool-worthy dishes at McKinley Hill?  You can win GCs from these restaurants through the #CravelistatTuscany Instagram Contest.  All you have to do is regram the featured Cravelist dishes for the week, tag five (5) of your friends, and include the official hashtag #CravelistatTuscany!

#CravelistatTuscany: 10 Drool-Worthy Dishes To Discover in Tuscany at McKinley Hill.

Whatever it is that you're looking for, there is always something for you at the restaurant row of Tuscany at McKinley Hill.   Let's take a closer look at 10 unique food offerings I've tried, as well as what this dish is that I wanted to attack with a giant fork ;))

Pico De Loro at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Everyone has been in such a bad mood lately with the heavy rains, bad traffic, and horrible news that fill, not only my TV screen, but also my Facebook wall.  It seems like every news bit is either annoying or depressing!  So to counter the blues away, I am going to try to create a little bit of virtual sunshine here by sharing about our trip to Pico De Loro Beach and Country Club last April.   

Yuujin Japanese Cuisine in Greenhills.

There must be something with September because around the same time last year, I remember being stuck in really bad traffic too.  I attended a meeting in the Malacañan compound which lasted longer than expected so I wasn't able to eat breakfast and lunch.  They served food and snacks but I found it hard to eat and to participate at the same time.  

After the meeting, T picked me up but traffic was so bad, he had to find alternate routes and somehow we ended up in Greenhills. I told T I was dying of hunger so he suggested that we try Yuujin Japanese Cuisine.

Locavore Kapitolyo: A Filipino Restaurant.

I heard there are a number of good restaurants in Kapitolyo so when T and I were in the area after watching the 2015 Under 23 (U23) women's volleyball in Ultra, we went to a Filipino restaurant called Locavore.

Gyumon Yakiniku Restaurant in Makati.

Since I've been using my Macbook Air more than my iMac desktop computer, my laptop has been flashing warnings that its internal storage memory is getting low.  Today, the storage is almost at zero so I had to back up to another storage device.  And that's when I saw a zillion photos I haven't uploaded on Facebook and a number of places I wanted to blog about but wasn't able to.  So I'll try to write about them one by one, starting with this authentic Yakiniku restaurant in Makati called Gyumon.   

After an event in Rustan's Makati (read my blog post about Swarovski's 2014 Fall Collection), T picks me up and we go to Pasay Road to look for a good Japanese restaurant.

Frank's Hotdogs and Craft Beers at Resorts World Manila.

One day, because of a horrendous traffic situation, T and I end up in Resorts World Manila.  It's been a while since I've been there and I am surprised with how much it changed!  There are many restaurants I haven't tried yet which is perfect since T and I are hungry.  We want something quick though so we go to Frank's Craft Beers.

Kettle's Buttermilk Fried Chicken in SM Aura.

Fried chicken is my weakness.  So when I heard that a restaurant serving good buttermilk fried chicken called Kettle opened in Shangri-La Mall, I wanted to pay a visit.    But months passed and I wasn't able to try it because I rarely go to that area.   Good thing Kettle opened another branch in BGC and T and I were finally able to go.

NY Comfort Food at The Bowery BGC.

Last February, I was scheduled to have an MRI for my shoulder in St Luke's when T said I should get something to eat before the procedure.   We went to The Bowery in Bonifacio Global City.

McDonald's Cheesy Eggdesal.

Have you heard about the newest addition to McDonald's breakfast menu? Introducing the Cheesy Eggdesal!  With fluffy folded eggs and melted cheese in between warm pandesal buns.. Pair it with a cup of coffee and it's the kind of breakfast you'd want on a rainy day.  And the best part? It's only 39 pesos, very affordable!

Lebron James in Manila: Rise Beyond Belief.

To be honest, I'm not much of a Lebron fan and even rooted for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors during the last NBA finals but Lebron James IS Lebron James and an opportunity to watch him in action is not something to be missed.  So yesterday, I went along with T and his friends (thank you Jino!) to see The King, who is here for the Nike Rise Program, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Trailer of The Sequel to One More Chance.

I haven't posted much lately because it's been a bit hectic being back to work and all.   But I just had to write about the announcement of the sequel to 'One More Chance'! Most of you probably watched the trailer already but I still want to post it on my blog aka my online diary because the movie is special to me and T.  My good friend Ivy (read my blog post about her wedding) even calls us Popoy and Basha.  Hi Chang!

It's funny though that while I was about to watch the trailer on my phone, I heard it play from T's iPad.  Apparently, he was loading it too!

But before I go on, watch the trailer below and tell me what you think...

Raffi's Place in Glendale, California.

Like I mentioned in a previous blog postthe problem when it comes to travel posts is that I want to write about everything in chronological order but since travel posts entail a lot of work because of too many details and meticulous photo sorting, I end up not writing about my trip at all.  

So, rather than not having anything, I decided to just write about random moments during my previous trips whenever I feel like it and use labels.  Blog posts about my US Trip last year will be tagged US Trip 2014 and blog posts about my US trip this year will be tagged with US Trip 2015.  If you click any of those links, it'll give you a line up of all my blog posts for a particular trip.  Sorry, it's just my OCD talking :D

This blog post is part of my US trip in 2014. 


The best thing about going to LA is seeing and catching up with family and friends.  Well, thanks to iMessage, we all get to keep in touch regularly but there are still things you want to make kwento in person so I met up with my friend Tina for lunch.

Tina was supposed to bring me to Din Tai Fung but when she saw on Facebook that I ate there just before I went to the States (read my blog post about Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong), she took me to Raffi's Place in Glendale instead.

Yummy Magazine x Kitchenaid Cooking Demo with Chef Gino Gonzalez.

Last week at Enderun Colleges, Yummy Magazine and Kitchenaid teamed up for a cooking demo with one of the country's sought after chefs and COO and Head Instructor at the Centre for Asian Culinary Studies, Chef Gino Gonzalez.

La Lola Churreria in SM Aura.

After an event (read my blog post about the Yummy Magazine x KitchenAid Cooking Demo at Enderun) and after having dinner at Todd English Food Hall in SM Aura, T wanted dessert so I suggested that we try the churros at La Lola Churreria.   I'm not sure where the other La Lola Churreria branches are or  if this place is new since I've been out of the country for a while but there's a line when we get there.