How I celebrated my birthday

Did I mention it was my birthday last December 12, 2012? Yes, I was one of the so-called lucky ones who got to celebrate their birthday on 12-12-12. I know that doesn't happen all the time, so I felt kinda excited when I realized the cool coincidence.

Anyway, it's the second year I've celebrated my birthday away from my family and best friends since I'm already based here in Dubai. Aside from taking a five-day leave off work, it was a very quiet and laid-back occasion over all, but still felt special nonetheless. I was actually planning to be all ninja and go unnoticed this year but four of my colleagues and friends at work blew my cover and still remembered. Was so surprised to receive a call from them. They never fail to make me smile. I feel lucky having them as my extended family here in the desert.

The best part was waking up to a short but very sweet message on my phone from my mom (which made me cry a bit) and then being greeted by a handful of fresh flowers from my man. I couldn't imagine a better way to start 12-12-12. He was even wearing the shirt I gave him during our first year as a couple. It's a spoof of Salvatore Ferragamo, which reads Sobratorpe Ferrogwapo (the direct translation in our language: super shy but handsome). My favorite shirt ever! Cracks me up every time because the description is so him. Haha!

He then accompanied me to the Philippine embassy to get some documents stamped for the property we're buying back home. Our dream is finally coming true and I couldn't be happier! Afterwards, we went to church and had lunch in my favorite Chinese restaurant. He even got me this New York New York canvas print that has LED lights. I've been eyeing this beauty in Home Centre for quite some time and now it looks magical hanging in my tiny apartment. So fun and relaxing to look at especially in the dark. I still can't believe he got it for me!

I also received three postcards (which I appreciate so so much!), a teddy bear, and online access card to my favorite tv programs from our loving Dubai friends. I was really surprised. So many loving people have gone out of their way to greet me and send in their love (online and offline) as well. I feel so loved and blessed with the kind of family and friends I have even though I'm a thousand miles away. It's a beautiful life. :)

Here's a few more highlights from my special day courtesy of Instagram:

  1. Finally gifted myself with my own extended office at home. It's my favorite little corner now where I go online, blog, read and organize my bills and stuff. Will share more of this creative (and not to mention messy) space in a separate post. :)
  2. As I already shared with you the other day, I also started a mini Santa Claus collection!
  3. Haven't eaten a cake for some time now (because I'm supposed to be dieting) so I was really excited to finally have my cake and eat it too. My boyfriend did a great job choosing ChoCo'a. It's my favorite chocolate cake in this part of the globe. Real yum!
  4. Had to give in so I purchased one raffle ticket just to see if triple 12 is really a lucky day for me. Let's see if I'd win that car...
  5. My boyfriend and I crashed a stranger's wedding! The bride's dress looked stunning!
  6. After visiting Dubai Mall, we finally capped off my special day in Ikea where I got some scented candles and a small cabinet for the apartment.
That's it! I just got a year older but my heart feels a lot younger and happier to be honest. It's been a great 26 and I'm looking forward to more adventures, blessings, challenges and surprises that my 27th year here on earth will bring. I just know in my heart that it will be incredible. :)

Cheers! xo


Monday Favorites - Pretty Inspirations

Happy Monday everyone! How are you guys doing? Been experiencing one tough week after another that's why I haven't been online as much I would have wanted to lately. But that's all water under the bridge now. I kept on saying that there's gotta be a rainbow behind all those clouds and true enough, looks like I'm looking at a better future once the next two weeks are over. Finally! The power of words and positive thinking working at its finest indeed! Anyway, I've saved and collected quite a few lovely things from all over once again, so in the tradition of Monday favorites, I'm sharing them today to hopefully add a little dose of pretty and inspiration to your day too.
I'm tough like Monday morning. Like this print so much!
This photo reminds me of my upcoming 27th birthday. Yes, somebody's getting so old. Taking five days off work starting tomorrow (yay), but will most likely celebrate alone at home. Oh, the perks of living abroad! :(
Speaking of birthdays, how cool would it feel like waking up with these pretty colorful hope balloons on my birthday?
This adorable little kitty will be me in a few days (I hope). Finally getting my first ever pair of eyeglasses. It still bugs me that I no longer have perfect eyesight though. :(
Saoirse Ronan looks beyond chic and gorgeous in this In Style photoshoot
Enjoy the moment, slow down

Lovin' today's Google Doodle's tribute to Ada Lovelace. Smart girls rock!

Hope you're having a great Monday! Let's show this day who's the real boss! :)


Dubai Snapshots: Rainy days and birthdays

Happy Sunday everyone! How's your weekend? I didn't realize that it's already December (my birthday month!). Today is an official non-working holiday for all of us because of UAE National Day. I even woke up with an SMS sent by His Highness Sheik Maktoum this morning warmly greeting all citizens and residents of Dubai. How cool is that?

Anyway, something miraculously special happened last Friday morning. It rained like cats and dogs here for real! I was so excited because I haven't experienced that much rain here in the desert and it felt awesome. Hearing its pitter-patter (there was even slight thunder) was like music to my ears. Really couldn't believe it! I ended up opening the windows completely and watched the rain until it stopped. It felt so good and refreshing!
But since it rarely rains here in the desert, the  downpour resulted to instant flooding all over Dubai. Traffic was terrible! We were supposed to drop our friend to the airport for her flight to Manila but since we couldn't manage to enter because of the crazy flood, she ended up walking a long distance right from the highway to the departure area instead.

After getting Chinese food take-out in Bur Dubai, we decided to take Business Bay Road on our way back home instead  to avoid the traffic jam, where I took this (really far) shot of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) along with other skyscrapers:

What's the weather like in your part of the globe?


Zombiefits and a little Tuesday Playlist

This week is probably one of the most challenging weeks I've ever had here in the Middle East so far. It's really pushing me to my limits like crazy. With so many people in our team leaving the past weeks, I'm beginning to feel extra exhausted with all the workload. Thank God for the awesomeness that is music! I don't know how I'll get by without it. It's surprising how simply listening to songs can change one's mood. Makes such an amazing stress reliever! Sometimes even just humming a happy tune makes a huge difference already.

Here's the little playlist I created for work today with some of my favorite songs:

Till I Hear It From You, Gin Blossoms | More than a Love Song, Augustana | Perfectly, Five Times August | Lucky One, Vertical Horizon
Your Guardian Angel, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus | Swing Life Away, Rise Against | Collide, Howie Day | Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
Story of a Girl, Nine Days | Moment of Truth, FM Static | Stars, Hum

I hope things turn around for the better soon. But first, I really need to get through this day unscathed. Seriously could use a little breather or something. The beach is calling my name!

How's your week doing so far? I hope yours is not as sucky as mine. Keep it light, y'all! :)

What do you do to manage your stress?


Dubai Snapshots: Souq Madinat

We've been out and about a lot these days. The weather has never been this beautiful (just the right amount of chill) for the longest time and we really want to enjoy every minute of our free time outdoors while it lasts. I'm so glad that our weekends are now consistently a fun mix of swimming, malling, barbecue parties, dining out, and sight-seeing. I've been here in Dubai for almost two years but it feels like I'm seeing and actually experiencing everything for the first time now with an entirely new set of eyes. It's amazing!

Today I want to share with you a few snapshots from our first ever visit to Souq Madinat Jumeirah with our friends. Its interiors really feel and look like a traditional Arabian souk. There were so many specialty stores and souvenir shops inside offering really nice items ranging from toys and ceramic plates to snow globes and beaded shoes. Lots to choose from, especially now that Christmas is just around the corner. I really gotta start shopping for gifts!

I instantly remembered that particular Carrie Bradshaw scene from the second Sex and the City movie shot here in the UAE the moment I saw these colorful beaded shoes there. They were so pretty and not to mention comfy too!
How cute are those mini snow globes with the camel inside, right? Perfect for my growing collection! I really wanted to hoard lots of these for my friends and family back home. But my absolute favorites would have to be these super cute Dubai mini nesting dolls:
There are also a handful of great restaurants to choose from when you get hungry and there's even a theatre inside for stage plays for additional entertainment. I think Stephen Mallatratt's stage adaptation of The Woman in Black is still running until the end of this month. You can also tour the entire Madinat Jumeirah resort by riding an open boat for one of their Abra tours. We didn't have time to try this out but we'll definitely do it the next time we visit. I might try a night ride instead because they say it's a different and much more exciting experience.

How did you spend your weekend?

P.S. I've decided to extend all paid ads on the right sidebar with an additional five days free of charge to compensate for my sudden mini blogging break the past week. Sorry guys. Real life kicked in. But I'll try my best to make up and exert extra effort in sharing online from now on. Thank you. :)


Apple Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

My guy has given me lots of fresh apples weeks ago when I had the flu so I can have something healthy to munch on. But the problem was, I don't really eat apples unless it's a cake, a muffin, or a pie. Since I didn't want those apples to go to waste, I decided to put on my imaginary baker's hat again after a long long time of not baking, and baked Apple Cinnamon Muffins for the very first time. I used this recipe as guide but cut the measurements by half and used ingredients I already had available at home instead. I can't believe how easy they are to make and they came out really good I must say!

For this recipe, you will be needing 1 cup self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 big egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 2 cups chopped apples (peeled of course), 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (or any nuts of your choice), 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional).
I'm telling you these muffins are so incredibly filling and smell so good too. The best thing about this recipe? You can all do this by hand! Best served warm along with your favorite cup of hot coffee or choco. Enjoy!


Wishlist Wednesday

I'm big on seafoam green and peppermint shades these days. I can wear a layered outfit in these shades even on a freezing winter day and still feel like I'm surrounded by the prettiness of spring. It's such a refreshing color combo that brings me into an instant smile. What colors are you currently crushing on?

1. A floral crown like this one on my wedding day? Yes please! | 2. This clutch will have me dreaming of pistachio flavored ice cream all the time. | 3. The colors and chevron print make this phone case a real winner.
4. Chiffon + lace = easy breezy pretty!

IN OTHER NEWS : This week is proving to be a tough one for me at work because the most amazing boss in the whole wide world ever has officially tendered his resignation. *cries* My workload has never been this crazy and with my boss now gone, the possibility that all my efforts will go unnoticed is so painful just imagining. But I'm still hopeful that the upcoming days will be a lot better. There's gotta be good news somewhere behind those clouds. Anyway, tomorrow is a non-working holiday here in Dubai, which means another super long weekend for me. Couldn't come at a better time. This is exactly what I need!

How's your week going so far?


Dubai Snapshots: Driving slow to stop the flu

Woke up with a serious cold and a throbbing headache this morning. Around 9 o'clock, I've had enough of my non-stop sneeze fest and was itching to go out and enjoy the weekend. Though feeling slightly feverish, I've asked the boyfriend if we could drive around outside to get some sun. I was so certain that if I nurse this virus under the covers all day instead, it's gonna morph into a full-blown flu (which is the last thing I would want of course). Being sick is absolutely no fun.

We drove slowly around Jumeirah Beach Road with the radio on and even parked in front of the public beach for a good 30 minutes. The blue of the sky and the sea couldn't get any more beautiful today. I was really tempted to take a dip because the weather felt so perfect for a swim. But maybe next time. Just basking in the sun, feeling good, and enjoying the great outdoors... it was enough for me. 

We brought along with us one of my Blythe dolls, Tippy, by the way. I think she enjoyed the short drive outside as much as I did. I am really thankful the boyfriend agreed to drive me around outside today because it was exactly what I needed to feel a lot better.

How's your weekend going so far? I hope you're all in the pink of health! :)


Blythe and Me: Alice of My Plastic Fantasy

Hello everyone! I haven't done a Blythe and Me post for quite a while and I missed it so much. Putting together a post after the interview is always the best part because I love featuring wonderful bloggers who not only share my big love for Blythe dolls, but are also creative and talented ladies everyone can draw inspiration from. :)

Today I'm posting my long-due mini interview with the super cool chick from the UK, Alice of My Plastic Fantasy. She runs a cute shop on Etsy and her Flickr account is a treasure trove of really amazing things featuring her mad photography skills. You'll love her for sure! Let's get to know her more.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your awesome blog?
Hello! My name is Alice, and I'm a twenty-something toy enthusiast based in Scotland who loves photography, anglo-saxon, spaceships, toys, superheroes and yarn. My blog is a mishmash of all the things I love! Blythe features a lot because she's my not-so-secret favourite of all the plastic lovelies that live with me.

What got you into collecting Blythe dolls and can you share with us the story behind your very first Blythe?
I first saw the book Blythe Style in 2006 in a local art gallery gift shop and we fell instantly in love. My friends thought she was terrifying, and I thought she was the most amazing thing ever. I kind of wrote off ever actually owning one - until I turned 18 and my wonderful grandparents gave me some money for my birthday. With their blessing, I bought my very first Neo Blythe -  an Angelica Eve. I practically camped out on the doormat waiting for the postman. It all spiralled wildly out of control from there...

How many Blythe dolls do you currently have? Do you have a particular favorite?
I currently own one Kenner, six Neos, one Middie and an increasingly large army of Littlest Pet Shop petites. I love my Kenner to bits, because she is so old and amazing and special, but just edging into first place is my Doronjo, Jessica. She comes pretty much everywhere with me.

Do you also feature your Blythe dolls on your blog? Any other special activities you do with your dolls (like maybe bringing them when you travel, sewing clothes for them, photoshoots)?
My Blythes do feature on my blog, as do all my toys - I called my blog 'My Plastic Fantasy' a.) because I probably thought I was being really cool and edgy quoting a Dresden Dolls song and b.) because I have a major problem with plastic. I love toys. All toys! Blythe is my favourite because she has encouraged me to get involved in so many other things. I love to take photos of her, sew for her, knit for her, crochet for her, customise her, take her on adventures... all of which you can see on my blog. :)

Aside from Blythe dolls, are you also into collecting other things?
I also have a very soft spot for Pullips, Dals and Taeyangs... and have a small family of those as well as my Blythe girls. I have dabbled in BJDs, and currently have a Pukifee living with me. I love vinyl toys, like Crazy Label and Kidrobot. I love takochus, fingerpuppets, amigurumi, Sonny Angels, Lego, My Little Pony, plastic dinosaurs, Cavey, Playmobil, Star Wars action figures, Monster High... I could go on - I just really love all toys, indiscriminately and enthusiastically! Aside from toys, I also have a growing yarn stash and far too many comics. I'm definitely a hoarder!

Thank you so much, Alice for sharing your Blythe story! Get to know more about Alice and her doll collection through her blog. You can also connect with her through the following links: Twitter, Etsy and Flickr.

Are you a blogger who's also into collecting Blythe dolls? I'd love to feature you and your collection here in Icing & Write! Please send a quick email to aizzing(at)icingandwrite(dot)com with the subject "Blythe and Me" so I can hook you up with the details.

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