Day #3 – A Travel Destination That (Makes) Would Make You Happy

This is really a tough for me. Whichever place I think of, I feel like it’s the perfect one for this day’s post. But, I think of another place, and that one just knocks the last place out of the park! But, I think I’m going with my all time favorite travel destination ever since I was a little girl. I’ve never been to this place (hence, the slight edit of the title), so, if I do get the change to visit, that would really really make me very happy!

Are you guys familiar with the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia? I fell in love with the history behind it,  as well as the urban legends. When I was a kid, the movie, Anastasia, was a big thing. It became one of my favorite animated movies of all time. It took place, of course, in Russia.

So, why Russia? Aside from Anastasia influencing me, when I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to learn ballet at the Bolshoi Ballet Company. Everyone in the dance world knows that Russians are one of the best dancers in the world, and the Bolshoi Ballet Company produce the best of the best ballet dancers ever. I wanted to be like the prima ballerinas I saw on TV. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Right now, I can hope to at least watch one of their full length performances, like Swan Lake or Giselle, at the Bolshoi Theater. Totally on my bucket list! In addition to that, I’ve always wanted to learn Russian! This just all came from watching that animated movie. haha. cray cray child.

I totally know Russia isn’t the best place to be in, and I know that maybe when I go there, I might have the ‘shattered glass effect’. But, who cares?

Now, enough chatting. Let’s look at some pictures!

Bolshoi Ballet Company (photo from Google Images)
Bolshoi Ballet Company
(photo from Google Images)
Bolshoi Theater (photo from Google Images)
Bolshoi Theater
(photo from Google Images)
Catherine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia (photo from Google Images)
Catherine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
(photo from Google Images)
Peter Paul Cathedral  (photo from Google Images)
Peter Paul Cathedral
(photo from Google Images)
Church of Our Savior, St. Petersburg, Russia (photo from google images)
Church of Our Savior, St. Petersburg, Russia
(photo from google images)
Druzhba Narodov Fountain (photo from google images)
Druzhba Narodov Fountain
(photo from google images)
Saint Basil Cathedral (photo from google images)
Saint Basil Cathedral
(photo from google images)
Red Square, Moscow, Russia  (photo from google images)
Red Square, Moscow, Russia
(photo from google images)

So, there you have it. I’m totally loving this challenge so far! : )

Russia for the ‘travel destination that would make me happy’. 

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Day #2 – A Destination Where You Love The Culture

I wanted to put Japan, but while I was  trying to think of what I loved about their culture, I couldn’t think of anything. I thought of maybe 1 or 2 things, but that’ wasn’t enough. So, I decided to go for a place where I was able to experience the culture first hand. I haven’t been to a lot of places so my choices are very limited.

I went on a study tour to France, specifically in Strasbourg, for a couple of weeks (and then in Paris for a few days) along with a few of my friends.  If you don’t know where Strasbourg is, it’s in the north-eastern area of the country. It is literally right next to Germany. We were able to take a 20 minute bus ride from Strasbourg to Kehl, Germany! How cool is that?

What do I love about Strasbourg’s culture? Here’s my list!

1. The food. I think I can eat French food 24/7 without getting sick of it. When we stayed in Strasbourg, we had to live with our foster families. I and my housemate, Clari, stayed at this traditional, quiet, home with our very traditional, old, caring foster mom, Madame Suzanne. Here’s what we usually ate every meal:

Breakfast – bread with jam or cheese, cereal, quiche lorraine (picture bellow) (We ate breakfast at home with Mme. Suzanne),

Lunch – couscous, sausage, poulet rôti (roasted chicken), potatoes, tarte flambée (picture bellow) (We usually ate at the school where we were studying French or at restaurants in the city.)

Dinner – Salad with a different kind of cheese every time, beef/chicken/pork (Mme. Suzanne cooks it so differently, though, it tastes amazing!)

Dessert – cooked bananas with sugar, crepes with sugar, lamb shaped cakes (during Easter), yogurt!, strawberry/raspberry tarlettes

Everything listed above are the only things that I remember. (This was 2 years ago!) They served a lot of sausage because they were near the border of Germany. So, that makes sense. Yogurt was their staple desert. When we’d gather as a group, we’d always talk about what flavor of yogurt we ate the night before. Different types of quiches were always sneaking their way on they dining table. A few of my friends got sick of it 2 weeks into the trip!

Quiche Lorraine Photo from Google Images
Quiche Lorraine
Photo from Google Images
Tarte Flambée Photo by Me :)
Tarte Flambée
Photo by Me : )

2. The language. Earlier today, I attended a talk where the speaker was asking “Why did you choose to study French? Spanish? German?” All their answers sounded so profound and very scholarly. People kept saying “…because it will help me in the future”, “…because it will look nice on my resumé”. I, on the other hand, had a very shallow answer. I decided to study French because it sounds nice. (The practicability reason followed after.) But, yes. I wanted to study French because I wanted to sound like the native French speakers with their saucy accents and pouty lips. Being in France for a month made me fall in love with the language even more. I was so glad that from when my day started to when it ended, I was hearing and speaking the language.

3. The people. I know the French have this reputation of being very snotty, cold, and rude. Maybe people just stereotyped the Parisians? NO! When we were in Paris, the Parisians were nice & friendly. People from Strasbourg were even nicer & friendlier. People from both cities said their ‘bonjour’s, ‘au revoir’s and ‘merci’s. So, I have no idea why they’re stereotyped to be like that. (Help?) I never got to encounter a French person who was rude to me or to any of my friends.

4. Pâques…in French means ‘easter’. When we were in Strasbourg, we arrived before Easter Sunday. Everywhere we looked, there were giant eggs, little eggs, medium sized eggs,… just tons of eggs everywhere (picture bellow). Mme. Suzanne served Clari and I a lamb shaped cake (picture bellow) one day. She told us that it was one of their traditions to have lamb shaped cakes. It looked so cute and tasted so yummy! Now, here in the Philippines, we don’t really celebrate Easter. The closest thing that we do is have an easter egg hunt, and not everyone in the city participates. In Strasbourg, they already have set traditions, activities, foods for that specific occasion, which was nice to experience.

Giant chocolate egg in town Photo by Me :)
Giant chocolate egg in town
Photo by Me : )
Lamb shaped cakes Photo from Google Images
Lamb shaped cakes
Photo from Google Images

5. The sites. I’m sure many of you have seen pictures of the Tour Eiffel,  the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, or Sacré Couer. I’m going to show you the beauty that Strasbourg has to offer!

Place Kléber  Photo by Me :)  Look at the structure of the buildings behind us!
Place Kléber
Photo by Me : )
Look at the structure of the buildings behind us!
Parc de L'Orangerie  Photo by Me :)  This was a nice park to stroll around in. It had beautiful flowers and trees!
Parc de L’Orangerie
Photo by Me : )
This was a nice park to stroll around in. It had beautiful flowers and trees! My friends just made the place even more beautiful. haha
Their very own Notre Dame Cathedral!  Photo from Google Images  For me, this is better than the one in Paris ;)
Their very own Notre Dame Cathedral!
Photo from Google Images
This gives the one in Paris a run for its money.
Place de la Republique Photo by my friend  This place looks so pretty when the trees bloom!
A photo of Sophie and I at Place de La République 
Photo by my friend
This place looks so pretty when the trees are in bloom!
Easiest way to commute! Hassle free tram system Photo from Google Images
Easiest way to commute! Hassle free tram system
Photo from Google Images

So, there you have it. Strasbourg is a small city, with cobblestone roads, a preserved history where modernity grows around it, cute little traditions and wonderful people. It’s one of those perfect European cities.

Strasbourg, France for Day #2 🙂 

Day #1 – Your Favorite Travel Destination

castle-childhood-disney-disneyland-where-dreams-are-made-Favim.com-468839
(photo from Google Images)

Now, instead of saying France, London, New York, etc., (besides, I feel those are already assigned to this whole 30 day challenge haha) I chose Disneyland Theme Parks because of many reasons.

1. The food. I really really like their themed food. If you go to Tomorrowland, you get a different kind of popcorn. If you go to Adventureland, you get a whole selection of deliciousness. I also really like the tumblers and buckets where they place the food. My all time favorite is the honey popcorn from Tokyo Disneyland. They put it in this cute Pooh Bear popcorn tub, and it was the perfect sweet-salty combination.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

2. The Mascots & Characters. I love how the actors are so into their characters. When I was in Disneyland California, my friend, Helena, and I wanted Maleficent’s autograph. She was so scary and intimidating, Helena and I were so shy trying to ask for her autograph. Normally, you’d feel so chill because everyone else was so approachable. Not this witch.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

Aside from the human characters, the mascots are so adorable and friendly! I loved looking for a certain character and asking for their autograph. If I remember correctly, the theme park would give you a small booklet that you needed to fill with stickers. If the booklet says for example, “look for Goofy”, and you found Goofy, he’d give you the sticker to place on your booklet. It was such a fun thing to do! The best memory I have of the characters was when I was at Disney World Florida, and they all were singing and dancing in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Mickey Mouse and his friends were there, as well as Cruella de Vil, Chip and Dale, the princesses and so many more.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

3. Street Parades! Need I say more? You get to see almost all of the Disney characters in one spectacular parade. I love seeing Pooh Bear and the gang in their Hundred Acre Woods themed float. Too cute! And, aside from paying attention to the characters, I would equally pay attention to the dance moves of the dancers. There was a point in my childhood that I wanted to be a Disneyland Theme Park dancer. The floats and costumes were just UH-MAY-ZING. Really? People did that? Really? For me, the electrical parade is my favorite! Look at all those lights and colors!

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

4. The rides. Disneyland isn’t all about just the roller coasters. They have other fun rides too, which I like and am very thankful for. I’m not a big fan of roller coasters, but I like water rides. I liked the ‘Tarzan’s Treehouse’ ride in Hong Kong Disneyland.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

I really liked this Pirates in the Caribbean ride that was inside their themed restaurant, if I remember correctly. We rode the boat, then it brought us inside a tunnel where we saw the Pirates of the Caribbean characters, treasures chests, treasures maps, and just everything pirate. I remember there was a drop too towards the end of the ride, so that was fun!

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

I lost my roller coaster virginity to this. My older sister wanted to ride a roller coaster, and she convinced me to go with her. I was so scared. I was saying, “I want to get off!!”, but too late. It was already moving. I did not scream, I did not say anything while it was going God knows how fast. My sister, however, was having the time of her life. It was one of the most terrifying, yet, fun experience of my life. Although, I like riding the Space Shuttle coasters. I think it’s because I can’t see anything so I don’t really know which way is up, which way’s down. That works for me. (You weirdo.) I’d like to conquer my fear one day. Maybe, I should start with those caterpillar ones.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

5. Fireworks. For me, Disneyland has the best fireworks display out of all that I have seen. They announce that there’s going to be a fireworks display at around 9 or 10 in the evening. So, when it’s near that time, people are already gathering in front of Cinderella’s Castle. It begins when Tinkerbell flies towards the castle or when you start hearing music playing. Then, all of a sudden, someone narrates something, (most probably it’s the Fairy Godmother) and beautiful colors appear in perfect synchronization. As a kid watching all of that happen, I felt so happy, and they were really able to capture that magical moment for everyone. They provide you with a perfect ending to tie everything together.

(photo from Google Images)
(photo from Google Images)

Now that I’m not a kid anymore, I’d love to go back with friends or family members and experience and feel the same thing when I was younger. I’d love to create more memories in the happiest place in the world.

Disneyland Theme Parks for my ‘Favorite Travel Destination’. 

30 Day Travel Challenge

I did the 30 day music challenge before, and I missed having to post at least something on my blog everyday. So, I thought, why not do another one of those 30 Day Challenges. This time, I’m doing a challenge that’s close to my heart: travelling. I thought that this could be another thing that would keep me busy. Here’s the list if you want to do it too! 🙂

Day #1 – Your favorite travel destination

Day #2 – A destination where you love the culture.

Day #3– The travel destination that makes you happy

Day #4 – The travel destination that makes you laugh.

Day #5 – A travel destination that reminds you of someone.

Day #6 – A travel destination where you love the food.

Day#7 – A travel destination where you love the people.

Day #8 – A travel destination where you know all/most of the sights.

Day #9 – A travel destination with great beer.

Day #10 – A relaxing travel destination.

Day #11 – A travel destination that reminds you of your favorite band or music video.

Day #12 – A travel destination you don’t see the appeal in.

Day #13 – A travel destination that is a guilty pleasure.

Day #14 – A travel destination that nobody would expect you to love.

Day #15 – A travel destination that best describes you.

Day #16 – A travel destination that you used to love, but now hate.

Day #17 – A travel destination that you always hear about on Facebook or TV.

Day #18 – A travel destination that you should hear about on Facebook or TV.

Day #19 – FREE SPOT! talk about any place!

Day #20 – A place you go when you’re angry.

Day #21 – A place you go when you’re happy.

Day #22 – A place you go when you’re sad.

Day #23 – A travel destination for your wedding.

Day #24 – A travel destination for your honeymoon.

Day #25 – FREE SPOT! Talk about any place!

Day #26 – A destination that makes you want to keep fit and healthy.

Day #27 – A place you’ll go if you become a millionaire.

Day #28 – A travel destination that inspires you.

Day #29 – A travel destination from your childhood.

Day #30 – The place you grew up.

Can’t wait to read your posts, and I can’t wait to post mine too!

“Well, I hope you know you have all the time in the world.”

My dad texted me that after I asked my parents, for the first time, if I could have dinner with Marco on Tuesday. His mom’s making BBQ ribs or something along those lines.

He got mad at me a couple of months ago and said, “Why do you have to rush? You’re smart and you have this whole future ahead of you!!!” My friends said it’s not like liking someone is going to compromise my future. I know that. He knows that. It’s like in the Top 10 Rules in whatever book it’s supposed to be in. I have my dreams and goals, and they still have not changed even when Marco walked into the picture. I still want to go to Europe. I still want to do everything on that things to do before you die list. So, relax, Dad.

First of all, it’s not like I’m getting married tomorrow.  It’s not like I’m moving to Seattle and starting a whole new life. I’m 20, and I know I have the world at my fingertips. Just let me be.   Second of all, this is all just normal stuff, isn’t it? (Isn’t it?) Boy likes girl-girl likes boy kind of stuff. Lastly, I’m happy. I hope you could see that.

Well, I guess this is a normal thing for dads, right? He can’t help but to be super over protective, especially towards his daughters.

But, enough on feeling blaah about what my dad said. They both allowed me to have dinner with Marco & his family anyway. So, yeeeeey 🙂 Baby steps. Wish me luck!

xoxo

First Love Never Dies

“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”

And, I found the statement to be correct. After months of longing to one day be able to be reunited again, I finally got to dance again. Words cannot express how good it felt, even though, physically, my body was telling me to stop.

I’ve missed stretching, in what some people think are, the most uncomfortable positions. To me, it is so relaxing and tension freeing that it is one of the things that I love to do! I was surprised, though, that I was still able to do the splits and stuff. I thought I’d lost those abilities completely. haha.

I’ve missed wearing those painful high heels. Although, I don’t think it’s mutual thing.

I’ve missed the blisters on my toes. I’ve actually missed how ugly my feet look. LOL. I know what you’re thinking, “Uuuhm, ew” Yes, EW, but, they’re like my trophies to remind me of all the hard work I’ve been doing.

I’ve missed teaching. Jan, the club’s current president, asked me to sub for him because he and a number of the more advanced dancers were to perform at an org’s GA. I was more than happy to oblige.

I’ve missed the muscle soreness that I feel after every dance session.

I’ve missed the chicahan sessions before & after dance starts.

I’ve missed my dance friends! Even if they think that I don’t. I do, you guys!

I’ve missed dancing. I’ve missed the feeling of just moving to the beat of the music, and just let everything go. I’ve missed moving every inch of my body. I can honestly say it is one of the best feelings in the world. I’m sure other dancers will agree.

I’m glad that after months of no dance at all, I can finally do it frequently now.

Live. Love. Dance. Those are the only things I need to do in life.

Freedom In Their Eyes

A couple of days ago, Ramadan officially started. Now, if some of you don’t know, I teach Spanish at an international school here in Manila. It is owned by a Turkish Institution, so naturally, our bosses are Turkish and are also, Muslim. A number of students also are Muslim. So, a lot of people from the school practice Ramadan.

I got to chat with two of my students, Emine and Prenses (I love their names!), during lunch break one day. They wanted to stay in their classroom instead in the cafeteria because they couldn’t eat just the same. I decided to keep them company, and I thought that would maybe distract them from feeling hungry. We talked about a lot of things. They shared stories about school & other teachers, asked about my life outside of school, and naturally, I got curious about their lives and their religion.

Emine wears a head scarf, and Prenses doesn’t. On the first day, I’ve always wanted to ask why doesn’t Prenses wear one because I thought that it was required for all Muslim women. Prenses plainly said that she doesn’t want to wear one because she doesn’t feel comfortable. Then, Emine, being the outspoken girl that she is said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s your choice anyway. If you feel free with it, then good, if you feel free without it, then it’s okay. Last year I didn’t wear a head scarf, but this year I am. It’s my choice. It’s not right if someone else tells you what to do.”

And then, that got me thinking. I’ve had conversations before with a couple of friends about how enclosed some Muslim women might feel because they have to cover themselves up. We’ve talked amongst ourselves about how they may be feeling miserable that they cannot express themselves like we can. I mean, let’s face it, media and people that we talk to feed us the information that makes us think that ‘okay, if you’re a Muslim women, you’re automatically forced into this stereotype’. And, this goes out to everyone, I think. For every type of religion, we think that the Christians are like this, the Buddhists are like that, so on and so forth.

Then, maybe, not all Muslim women feel deprived of something. Maybe that is how they show that they are free or how they choose to express themselves by wearing the head scarf and covering themselves up. As Emine bluntly put it, ‘it is your choice’.

I felt really stupid for just realizing this now. But, I’m glad I did though!  The job that I have teaches me a whole lot of things too yeeeeey 🙂 If other Muslim friends come across this post, I’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions! I’d love to learn more! 🙂

 

#medyohealthyproject + Fitness Haul

The last time I actually worked out was May of this year or maybe the first weeks of June. I feel guilty not being active LOL. I’ve recently bought a few workout clothes as well as running/training shoes. There’s just something about having legit workout gear that puts you in a better mood to actually get off of your lazy butt and start doing those squats and lunges.  I’m really excited to start doing yoga, barre3, planaforma, zumba,muscle toning, or even start dancing again.

So, the #medyohealthyproject is back on. It is the project that my bestfriend and I started in May where we would start eating healthier (NOTE: not less, but healthier) and exercising more.  I’ve been cutting down on my rice for the past two days, and substituting it with more fruits and veggies. I’m doing my best to say no to junk foods now as I’ve decided to start tomorrow to abstain from junk foods. This is going to be so difficult for me because one, all my life, junk food has been my go to snack, and two, my parents just went grocery shopping and bought a ton of junk food from S&R. No matter, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

So, that’s that. Here’s a haul of the workout clothes that I bought.

Yoga pants from Forever 21
Workout pants from Forever 21
Capri workout pants from Forever 21
Capri workout pants from Forever 21

 

Workout shorts from Forever 21
Workout shorts from Forever 21

 

Yellow razor back workout top from Forever 21
Yellow razor back workout top from Forever 21
Black workout top from Forever 21. I really really love the arte detail at the back.
Black workout top from Forever 21. I really really love the arte detail at the back.

 

Assorted sports bras from Forever 21
Assorted sports bras from Forever 21

 

Striped pink and orange shoes with turquoise laces. I chose this because one, the colors  really spoke to me (haha) and two, they felt light and comfy when I tried them on at the store.
Striped pink and orange shoes with turquoise laces. I chose this because one, the colors really spoke to me (haha. If you really know me, you would know that I would gravitate towards the bright and pretty things.) and two, they felt light and comfy when I tried them on at the store.

IMG_7961

 

Aside from deciding to workout more and eat healthier, my mom gave me these pills to help my hair, skin, and nails look its best. You’re supposed to drink 3 pills a day, 1 pill every meal. Their tagline is “Beauty starts on the inside”. Oh diba. It wouldn’t hurt to try! 🙂

For better looking hair, skin, and nails! Who wouldn't want that?
For better looking hair, skin, and nails! Who wouldn’t want that?

Let me know if you guys are living a healthy lifestyle or, like me, trying to! Maybe we can encourage one another! What do you say? 🙂

xoxo
Samantha Jean

Home

 

‘Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone
Is where you go when you’re alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It’s not just where you lay your head
It’s not just where you make your bed
As long as we’re together, does it matter where we go?

 

Totally loving Gabrielle Aplin’s album English Rain. A lot of people have been saying that she’s like a female Ed Sheeran. She has the perfect calming, coffee shop voice. I love listening to her whenever I need time to relax or on the car ride on the way to work just so that I can squeeze in enough quiet time before my day begins. You guys should totally check out her album and tell me what you think! 🙂

xoxo