Friday, September 28, 2012

Pottery Barn

Back story: Several years back, I worked for a furniture export-manufacturing company. It opened my eyes to the wonders of beautifully crafted furniture pieces. I used to think of it only as a functional piece. And I got introduced to the many different types and usage of furniture items. The first time I heard/saw an occasional chair, I blurted out "does this mean it's used only occasionally?"  

And so, I fell in love with the many furniture pieces that we make and sell abroad. But, alas, even if am allowed to buy -- the price points are beyond my reach. Only those who have money to burn can. Quite frankly, I've met several inconspicuous ones who doesn't bat an eyelash; just signs the check. 

The sum of my three years in the furniture industry (short but sweet) has me forever bitten by the furniture bug, if there's such a thing.  I now have eyes for really awesome furniture pieces especially those that combines functionality and style. Art, in itself.

If there's one store that keeps this bug alive in me, it's Pottery Barn. I love old-world. So, it's no surprise that am drawn to it. Before the internet, I used to leaf through its catalogs and gawk at the pieces featured. But now, I have it bookmarked!

Everyday, I browse and browse. One day, when our condo unit gets done, we shall have a piece or two of a Pottery Barn item. Here's a sneak peek of what we wish to have. 

this is my dream reading nook
organize. organize.
bathroom sink
Pretty lanterns.
chic storage
glass canisters
The great news is that Pottery Barn now ships to the Philippines, direct. It should be less the hassle from customs.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's happening.

So, my future hubby just made this. 
Only 21 days left before the big day. And we are so looking forward to it, as family and friends travel a considerable distance to be with us on the day we exchange vows. Not just of undying love but of our commitment before God to faithfully be with one another, regardless of the tides of our lives. 

See you all.  


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Barrio Girl goes to the Weekend Market

I love open air markets! Somehow it gives me that prelude feeling of what it would be like to shop in the markets of Portobello, Grand Bazaar, or even the Chatuchak market.

Say hello to our community market -- the Salcedo Saturday Market. It's the sosyal (read:high end) kind of market. It's a weekend market, actually. But it is so vibrant that people who live in the village and even those who don't make it a point to visit and have their fill of the freshest produce, mostly organic. 
The ancient trees surrounding the market makes this place more cheerful.
The market opens in a tree-shaded open parking lot from as early as five in the morning and closes at two o'clock in the afternoon. Mainly, there are three sections of the market where stalls are interspersed with each other. Fruits, produce, fresh fish and meat, organic products from the different regions of the country, ornamental plants and the widest selection of ready-to-eat dishes from french cuisine to the ever reliable pork barbecue. 
Bought some pots for my potted friends at home.
The sense of community is fostered by the interaction of stall owners (both foreign and local) and the customers and even those who share tables in the mess hall of the market. Here, you'll see plenty of people who are not so ordinary, at all. Some local celebrities drop by to chow or  buy freshly baked bagels. Most foreigners stay to eat and chat their hearts away with family and friends. Usually, friends use the market as a meet-up place for catch-up weekend conversations. 

What's interesting for this barrio girl is the stark contrast of this market than the one I know back in the barrio. The very first time I heard of the Salcedo Market, I was apprehensive to go. This was six years ago. What's so exciting about markets? Back home, it'd take lighting and thunder to move me to go to the market. 

But to my delight, indeed it is a place quite removed from the usual, even normal market. Here, it seems that people do not necessarily need to be doing the task themselves. It's like a social gathering of sorts whereas in the market of my barrio people hurries to get the task done. Here, people linger, smile and talk. They take the time to smell the roses.Perhaps, it's because they do have time. 

In the province, people bring their plastic bags to ensure the vegetables are kept fresh. In Salcedo Market, you'd find plenty of push carts for those who are seriously doing their market activities while others tote branded bags for their bagels, organic dressing and greens for salad.

There's even uniformed personnel that keeps the peace and order situation of the market! How grand. Reminds of a politician from the south of Mindanao. He was interviewed by some media people regarding the peace and order situation of his province. His very confident reply goes like this: "oh, the peace (fish) and order is the same. You just have to go to the market to buy and order the peace (fish) you like." 

So, if you've been living in the big city and you long for some semblance of a life back home, I recommend that you go to the Salcedo Saturday Market. It's at the open parking beside the Velasquez Park along Alfaro and Tordesillas Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati. 

You'll surely enjoy and feel at home. For me, this is the best weekend market. In fact, it has spawned so many similar markets all over the metro. But nothing beats the original, eh?

Follow me:  
@shiela_culpa (twitter)
@shenglu (instagrm)
@shenglu (pinterest)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Help me Win an iPad!

Show me some love. Please? I am an Avon Philippines' associate and it is running an internal program to generate Facebook Fans. 

It is giving away an iPad to the associate who can get more referrals to like the Avon Philippines Facebook page. 

I already have an iPad but I figured that should I win this promo, my siblings and niece and nephew would have something to tinker with. You see, they've always had to go to an internet cafe for their internet use. Perhaps, I can don my Santa hat in December and make them all happy with just one gift. 

Here's how you can bring a smile to my siblings in the barrio. Imagine that, you'll be bringing them closer to technology considering that they live in the barrio. 

Participating is so easy but it requires a dose of patience. Here's how.  

1.  Click this link: Facebook/Avon Philippines
 When you click this link, the image below appears:
First step: Click the LOGIN (Your Facebook login). See encircled part of the picture above.
2. After logging in, the picture below appears. 
Step 2: Here's the part where you LIKE the fan page of Avon Philippines. See encircled picture.
3. At this point, you're almost done. Just one more thing and equally important. Here's the part where you type in my name: Shiela Culpa
Step 3: You'll have to type in my name so it could be put on record that I did, referred you to our fan page.
  4. Yay! Just one more thing. Remember to click, ENTER.
Step 4: See I've encircled my name so you get the idea (read: am desperately begging you, hahaha). Click the box that says, ENTER. 

Viola! You have just helped me increase my chances of winning the iPad. I don't have anything to give but my sincere THANK YOU. And an Avon product. Just leave a comment below so I can send you the item. 

Please follow me: 
@shiela_culpa  (Twitter)
@shenglu (Pinterest)
@shenglu (instagram) 


Lippy Love on Twitter from Avon Philippines

I must admit am a sucker for Twitter promos. I've joined countless. I won this Live Curious shirt from NatGeo through Twitter. I've never been a lucky raffle participant. But this is one promo where they asked you to write. Joining was so easy, you just have to submit a question that relates to the Live Curious campaign. And the guys over at National Geographic will choose 10 winners-- I was one of the lucky ones. 

I keep on joining promos even if I know that the probability of winning is way, way off the hopeful mark. But it's fun and engaging. So, I still do. All the time. 

So, imagine my excitement when Avon Philippines (Twitter/AvonPh) announced that it has its first-ever Twitter Promo. Everyone wants a nice shade of lipstick. In the case of Anne Curtis, who calls herself a Lipstick Monster, an entire collection would send you quickly to lipstick heaven. 

If I were qualified, I'd join. But am not. Am an Avon Associate. But you, my friends, CAN

You ask, how? Joining is as easy as ABC. 
A.  Print or Save on your smart phone @annecurtissmith / @supsup_shamcey tweet that reads: #AvonUCRBrilliance lipstick at P199! Show this tweet at any Avon & get another makeup item as freebie.

B. Go to any Avon Store nearest you. For locations, click here. Show your tweet to any Avon staff. 

C. Purchase any shade of the Ultra Color Rich Brilliance lipstick at P199 and you get your FREEBIE of the same value. 

Hurry now. Offer is until September 29, 2012 only. Want to know how it feels to be a lipstick monster? Get one now and be one. And get as many as you want. Even the entire collection!

Be a certified lipstick monster!


Saturday, September 22, 2012


About two years ago, a brand came into my consciousness. Some random people had been telling me about their exciting purchases at a boutique called, Uniqlo. This is one of the things that make them ecstatic when going abroad. It's a Japanese clothing brand that sells casual wear such as basic tees, preppy shirts and pants, lounge and sleepwear at reasonable prices.

I've been to a few Asian countries myself but all those travels only had me lurking at big brands' windows and shops. I came close to getting in early this year when we went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a conference. But alas, the store was already closed when we got there. 

And so I just savored on the stories of my friends. In July though, its flagship store in the Philippines opened its doors at the Mall of Asia (MOA). We tried on the second day but the line snaked through the entire second floor of the mall! Crazy. 

The following day, we went back with a full stomach and a bag of patience. Luckily, the queue was shorter. Bouncers controlled the people inside. Just 5 at a time. 

When it was our time, I was amazed. Totally. The selections are endless. So many choices. Really cool stuff. Now, if I may say, I have a bit of a thing with Japanese brands. I fell in love first with Muji. 

Muji is quite expensive. But Uniqlo's price points are acceptable. We saw families with bags and bags of shirts, pants and accessories. That night I went home with only two items: 2 pieces of opaque leggings. The price was even lower than that of the local brands. 

Last Saturday, we made plans to visit it again hoping that the store won't be as filled to the brim. Wait, we were supposed to check out another international brand that just opened the day before. But we were disappointed with the merchandise on display. We headed to Uniqlo, instead.

I tried several pieces. I fell in love with the crispy cotton long-sleeved shirts. I didn't get to buy though. The sizes are way too small for my big arms and equally big tummy. Drat.

So, here's what I took home. By the way, the mall was on a mid-night sale that night. So, we shopped until our bellies were growling with hunger. 
Really cool laser cut seamless underwear and patterned tights.
Men's shirts that are dry. Bought them for myself for running.

The shop has the widest selection of socks, too. You'll go gaga on your first visit, if you haven't been into a Uniqlo store in the past. 

Have fun! Just like we did.

If you're on twitter, follow me at shiela_culpa and if you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. And hit share. Would love to hear from you. And oh, follow my mood board too, at Pinterest/shiela_culpa


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bikram Yoga: A novice's tale

A few years back, I enrolled myself in Bikram Yoga. Primarily to lose weight. Secondarily, to stretch my sleeping muscles trapped in mounds of fat. 

Back story: I didn't just wake up one day and saw that I have gained almost twice my original weight. I saw myself progressing, pound per pound. Blame it on the job and the place where I got assigned to for work. Being in field sales didn't do any good to my already wobbly will to engage in active lifestyle. 

From that day on, I spiraled and bloated. I had my failed attempts at losing the extra pounds -- gym, diet pills, running/jogging, die-eating, and then, yoga. And not just any yoga, I chose Bikram Yoga. 

Bikram yoga is practiced in a hot room. The heated room is set at 38 degrees Celsius. Hot, hot, hot! It's meant to allow the muscles to stretch by warming them and the sweat generated by the heat detoxifies the body, thereby, flushing out toxins. 

It is composed of 26 poses, repeated twice. One session is a good 90 minute practice. 

The first time I practiced, everyone around me was sweating buckets but me. Not a drop. The succeeding days saw me experiencing dampness on my face and my limbs. Then, over a month of regular sessions, I started to experience what sweating really meant. 

And that's when I started feeling the looseness of my tighter clothes. And I felt more limber. So, I should have continued, right?

Wrong. I got sidelined. I started taking the easy route. Going to the mall, hanging out, dining out. Then, I kept gaining and retaining all the fats I've ingested. But I was unfazed. 

What was I thinking? Nothing. I wasn't thinking. For a long time. Brisk walking for two hours helped but the rain gets in the way. Hihihi. 

So, last night I went back to the studio. Enrolled myself. And practiced my first session together with good friend, Cathy. Ah, the first few minutes spending in the dark heated room meant for practitioners to relax already made us sweat!

I was nervous. The heat can induce nausea and vomiting. Mid-way to the session, I felt dizzy. So, I had to sit down. Otherwise, I feel that I'll throw up. 

And then, the poses were just so hard to follow? From the outset, it looks easy enough. Bending here, stretching there. But doing it right is a different story. And holding it in for a few more seconds and defying your limits (gravity) is another twist to the story. 

This morning, I woke up with aching limbs. It feels like I've been in a fight the night before. I was tempted not to go to work. Ha! Sleeping in would have made me feel better. 

But no, I moved along at a snail's pace. The first thing I did? Fix my yoga mat, yoga towel, my clothes for the hot room, my small travel essentials (for shower afterwards) and change of clothes. 

Am I going back tonight? Yes, definitely. I want to make my muscles remember the poses and learn to enjoy the heat and the practice. Hopefully, in the process I would lose a few inches. And my money gains mileage. Bikram Yoga is expensive. Sigh.

Why do I keep on trying? One person inspires me the most. She used to be my yoga teacher. She's become a good friend. And whichever part of the world she goes, she teaches and practices bikram yoga. 
Joyce, send me some good vibes from miles away.
Someday, I'd like to practice with you again. Hopefully, I'd be able to be at least half-decently able to do the poses, right. 


Should you want to check out Bikram Yoga Manila's studio, click this link


Monday, September 17, 2012

Dashing Diva

When I was a little girl, I'd remember that mom would have a home service for manicure and pedicure, every Saturday afternoon. The nail technician (back then she's referred to as the manicurist) would settle in our balcony with all her implements -- nail polish of all shades, her tools, and her special stool. 

Curious, I'd check on the bottles and start duplicating what she's doing to my mom's nails. Sometimes, she'd do my little hands and feet for free. Most often than not, my mom would say that just give her the "clear polish." Perhaps, so she doesn't have to pay the full price? I don't know the answer. 

Back then, I thought it was cool to have your very own manicurist. Then, when I was  living in the city, my dorm mates and I had the same arrangement. A manicurist would come to our apartment and will take turns being manicured. She does it from dusk until around 11 o'clock in the evening. I guess she was moonlighting from her salon duties, at night. It was cool except that smudges are the norm the morning after. 

In the big city (a.k.a Manila) the same procedure is now called a nail spa. Talk about an upgrade. Big city, big name! Here's more. The menu for nail services is as dizzying as the menu of a medium-sized restaurant. All in the name of nail cleaning, filing, and buffing. 

Needless to say, the choices vary from spa to spa. Some promises zen-like relaxation. Others market it as an extension of one's duty for self-indulgence. Cosmopolitan drink to go with your mani and pedi? How about a cold/hot tea?

All these can be had if you're willing to shell out more cash. My personal preference is my usual nail salon. Not so cheap, not so pricey either. Just right for my price range. But last week, I did a detour at Dashing Diva in Greenbelt 5. 
Hell's Kitchen. (Nail polish shade). Very diva.
I used to go there. Back when I had more money and less money sense. This time though, I used my gift certificate. A friend of mine gifted it to me -- Erica, as her present, on her wedding! Yeah, I didn't do much. So, I got the surprise of my life. So, thoughtful. Love ya, Mrs. F!

How's a Dashing Diva experience? It feels like you're a diva, for half an hour or so. 

First. Once seated, the technician will hand you the menu for your service of choice while she gently tells you to soak your feet in a sudsy lukewarm water.  
Light scrubbing after the sudsy soak.
Second. You'll be handed some magazines for your reading pleasure and will be asked for your drink of choice. Tea or coffee? On Thursdays and Fridays, it's cocktail night! For free. 

Third. Choose your nail color from the nail swatch. All Dashing Diva colors. 
There are so many concoctions the technician puts on your nail. Cleansing, strengthening, etc.
Finally, when the nail base color, nail polish and top coat have been put on, you'll be directed to the salon's section for nail polish drying. Ah, smudges will never be an issue. Guaranteed long lasting polish. Unless, you take on hand washing clothes as your next chore.

So, if you want to feel like a diva even for just a day, go to Dashing Diva. The basic mani/pedi is P650. It's pricey but worth it. I suggest you do this for special events like on a date or breakup? Just kidding... at least on the breakup part. 

Dashing Diva is at: 

Beauty Bar Cosmetic Stores:
G/F The Power Plant Mall
Rockwell Center, Makati City
Tel. +63 2-898 1467

2/L Greenbelt 5
Esperanza St., Makati City
Tel. +63 2 757 5028

2/L BGC Central Square
Tel. +63 2 958 5347



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raffle Giveaway a la Barrio

Where does the time go? Julia Fordham sings. And this barrio girl asked. 

A year ago, I've decided to take blogging seriously. The decision is predicated by my desire to practice and harness my writing skills. And to "immortalize" my adventures and mishaps in the big city. Being the barrio girl that I am, I feel that most of the time I play a pretend game of adult-sophisticate cosmopolitan woman. 

Yet, when you peel off the veneer, you'd see that am still very much attached to my roots. I have an insane fear of strangers and commuting. I've been in the city for six years now and yet I cannot go on my own outside of Makati. 

I haven't been to Divisoria. I don't know where 168 is. Or Tutuban. I just know that these are shopping havens for the serious shopper. But I've been to Binondo, for food trips.

In spite of my deficiencies, I celebrate my life in the big city. I love exploring restaurants, the parks in the city and the shops. Yes, I know where the relevant shops are. Mind you, am not a shopaholic. I just love window shopping. 

These things offered me enough reason to grow roots in the city even if it meant turning my back from the comforts of home. 

So, celebrate with me by following me on this blog. Together, I'll take to my discoveries, my booboos and my successes. 

And I shall give away exciting gift packs of Avon products. 
Loot Bag for the 5 winners. 
Loot # 1: Beauty Essentials
Loot #2: Hair Care + Body Contouring Cream
Loot #3: skin care essentials
Loot #4: assorted beauty products
Loot # 5 is still in the works. This blog will be updated in the next few days for additional loot items.

Disclaimer: I am an Avon associate hence, the giveaways but these are not sponsored by the company. All products are from my personal stash. 
Want it? Hit the Follow button. Leave a Comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Top 10

Nesting. They say that women are on this state when they're approaching motherhood. In my case, am getting ahead of my future situation. 

You see, the barrio girl is marrying a city boy in five weeks! When we begin our life together as a married couple, I have a few things that I'd like to bargain for. 
1. New Condo
If I were back in the province, I would have insisted on a house. But city living is way different. Commuting, especially, in Manila is horrendous. So, I'd make a home out of a small abode. 

2. A new queen-size bed
Again, if I had my way I will definitely go for a California king. However, there is no way that this can be turned into a reality. Just not practical, if you only have a pea-sized apartment. 
Cynthia Upholstered Storage Bed by Potter Barn.
3. A contemporary bedside table and lamp. 
It would be nice to have a place for your mobiles and bedside reading materials.
Stratton bedside table from Pottery Barn.
4. A set of Daphne Linens
I have my eyes on them for a long time now. I've kept on telling myself that I need a new place to justify its purchase as well as to give the brand proper respect.
Daphne linens.

5. A walk-in closet and built-in modular cabinets. 
I hope to properly store clothes, towels, linens, lingerie and other knickknacks. Everything stowed nice and easy. 
Ah, the ultimate in organizing wardrobes, etc.
6. A front-load washing machine and dryer and a vacuum cleaner. 
Washing shouldn't be a chore anymore.
 7. A red Smeg refrigerator. 
I've been smitten.
8. A reading couch and floor lamp.
My favorite past time is reading. And I want to cultivate an environment where my family could also discover the joys and wonders of the written word.
Pottery Barn.

 9. A chic working table/cum vanity. 
Wouldn't it be less stressful if work is confined to a working table? I am an advocate for not bringing work at home. Sometimes, it's unavoidable and inevitable.
A Pottery Barn item.
Confession: I have an obsession with Pottery Barn. It's my favorite home store in the world.   
10.  A pocket garden.
 I really dream of living in a home with plants surrounding it. If I can't have the lawn of my dreams, might as well make do with what I have by growing potted plants. 
Taken from Pinterest.
One of these days, I shall take a photo of my potted friends. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Barrio Girl meets Kate Spade

The barrio girl has outgrown her nondescript bags. I've always had a fascination with things pretty and dainty. In the past, I'd spot these in equally nondescript part of the malls, the city. 

One thing I've proven time and again though, is that most of my purchases do not last long. I really have issues with quality because it's very frustrating. I remember about a decade ago, I was walking inside my village when I had this sensation of my left foot being extraordinarily light. Alas, the entire sole of my left shoe was a few feet away from where I stood. Needless to say, the brand has been ticked off my list... for good.

Aside from being bewildered, it was awkwardly embarrassing! From then on, I vowed to focus my energy and resources on buying quality products only. 

So, I saw my progression from the local boutique variety to international brands. About six years ago, I had this black barrel/doctor's bag that got a lot of attention. It served me well. 

And then, Charles and Keith came out with a woven satchel. It looked like it could rival a Bottega Veneta. I had fun and I loved it... until it became misshapen from overuse.

Not too long ago, I laid eyes on a Kate Spade bag. It was love at first bag sight. But the price was out of my range. I waited for the right time. It was a swell moment when I opened my package (had it bought in the US). Ah, kilig.
So pretty!
Oh, before that I've had my affair first with my faithful and lucky wallet. 
Never failed me.
 Months back, I was looking for a pretty iPad sleeve. My choice was a toss between a Marc Jacob's and a Kate Spade sleeve. This won. 
Handy. And chic.

This small collection got another entry. 
Very functional.

Owning these awesome Kates made me realize that my bag palate is upwardly changing. At my age and income range, the brand's price points do not break the bank... yet. 

Am happy with the brand, its quality and its prettiness. Will I be acquiring other brands? Sure, I have my eye on another brand. But it's already a splurge that I can't afford right now, in the scheme of things. Priorities, priorities, priorities. 

If I want a change of scenery, I have my trusty LV Neverfull. Someday, I would love to feel the texture of other coveted brands. Meantime, my love affair with Kate continues...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

What is a hedgehog? A deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary- and terribly elegant. Here is a parallelism of two life stories that somehow intersected in a social norm called, interaction. This is a story of similarities and contradictions -- of a building concierge seemingly content to her fate of being a wallflower and of a privileged teenager, dissatisfied and full of angst. Say, hello to 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog.'
One of the best I've read in my lifetime.
The book started out slow for me. I felt that the writer was way too condescending, self-absorbed and elitist. Yet, I had this nagging feeling that there must be a twist somewhere in the story. So, I was compelled to get through the obstacle. 

The french novelist, Muriel Barbery who wrote this book, skillfully employed wit, cynicism intertwined with a pragmatist point of view and a healthy dose of humor. 

It shares two voices, two point views of parallel lives. Of a concierge, (Renee) who observes that she has to live a double life, if only to ensure that she doesn't become an aberration to the society's expectations of what a concierge should be -- slow, unrefined, and uneducated. 

But here the protagonist is far from being a dim wit. She loves the written word. In fact, she is constantly surrounded by philosophers in her free time and ponder on their philosophies as to its significance in her time. She enjoys tea, the theater and visual arts.

Meanwhile, a 12 year old Paloma Josse is an upper class kid who lives a privileged life yet unhappy and thinks that life is not worth living. She views the people around her as shallow so more often than not, she criticizes everyone around her.

She sees Renee all the time and suspects that an intelligent woman hides behind that stoic facade.

As fate would have it, one of the celebrated tenants, a food critic, of 7 Rue de Grenelle died. It paved the way for the arrival of a new tenant, a cultured Japanese businessman named Kakuro Ozu. 

He shares Paloma's suspicion of Renee. He befriended both. In the short course of their friendship, Paloma through Renee, realizes that not everyone pursues vanity at the expense of their intelligence while Renee, for the first time in her life, feels that life is worth living. Short-lived as it was, she died a tragic death, she found meaning and affirmation.

As I leafed through the pages, I realized these 3 things:  

1. Stereotype is universal.  
Anywhere in the world, we live by a certain code. And it is largely affected by ones social standing. I believe it's the "caste system" of the modern society. We think that only the rich are gourmands, only the rich are cultured and sophisticated. 

When you're in the lower rung of the society, you're supposed to NOT appreciate opera music, ballet, museums. And that your interests are confined to soap operas and street gossip. 

But I strongly disagree. Case in point: I know of a chauffeur (driver) who's hobby is to read a book daily. And am so envious of him because he gets his dose of reading pleasure while earning his dough. 

Therefore, no one should be judged by the size of his wallet or educational attainment. One maybe schooled but not learned. Intellectual and cultural pursuits transcend generation and social status.

2.Meaningful conversations bridge a gap, any gap. 
The social divide between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, can be narrowed down if we start tearing down preconceived notions of what and where are our stations in life should be. When we start reaching out to those around us, even those we think below our station, we will be surprised at the depth that they hold. 

And that chatter can turn into healthy conversations. And that hollow pit you feel outside of an unpretentious talk is surprisingly a welcome breather. 

When one opens up to the vast possibilities then, the universe will conspire to make people of the same interests and desires cross their paths. 

3. Cocooning out of ones shell means 'coming out'. 
 One doesn't have to be an extrovert to connect with people. We just need to be more receptive to take the time to talk to the elevator man, the food vendor on the street, the taxi driver you rode with this morning, and that colleague you often see at your favorite hangout. These people may share your interests therefore allowing you to truly broaden your horizon. After all, life is lived in reality and not at the safety of ones head.
Go, get your copy at your favorite bookstore. You may also try Amazon, if you're too lazy to go out. See, the options are infinite. Read it now. No excuses.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Barrio Girl in the Big City: Hello, Ironman!

Barrio Girl in the Big City: Hello, Ironman!: What drives you? Not just to excel in what you do. Importantly, in pursuit of what you're doing. It can be a dream, a hobby, a lifestyle. ...

Hello, Ironman!

What drives you? Not just to excel in what you do. Importantly, in pursuit of what you're doing. It can be a dream, a hobby, a lifestyle. What fuels the drive to get you there?

Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author of the books Tipping Point, Blink, What the Dog Saw among others, wrote in Outliers that for anyone to excel in something, at least 10,000 hours must be logged on to practice on the craft. 

That is countless of hours of repetition, of doing the same thing over and over again until it becomes second nature to them. Until skills and talent marry each other. Then, it becomes the image of a genius. Or geniuses. Hence, their unparalleled success. 

In active lifestyle, the triathlon people never fails to impress me. I am in awe of their sheer will to pursue a physically demanding and mentally challenging sport. I speak from an outsider looking in to the core of a friend's journey towards a finisher's medal. 

Meet Josette. She's a corporate athlete. Sales Executive by day, triathlete by weekends and in between days. And a mom, too. Yes, she wears many hats but her desire to finish an Ironman event prods her to train, night after night. Come rain or high water. 
Hosting gig for Avon Philippines with Epi Quizon.
One uninitiated actually asked what she gets out of participating other than being sunburnt. I believe she answered to this effect, "others dream of traveling, acquiring things, I, on the other hand, dream of finishing a race." 

I believe that the short and long of it is that she does it, "for the love of the game." She logs hours to train even by herself so she is ready come race day. And in spite of months of preparation, she still experiences "the nerves" and that mental anguish the night before. 

It's how painstaking it is. On her first attempt at CamSur last year, she worried about the swim leg of the race. But she aced it. Then, came the bike leg. She had to pedal for about 40kms. She had a great time and enjoyed it too much that she took her time and missed the bike window. It meant that she can no longer continue with the race. She begged and begged and cried... to no avail. Lost in the drama is the fact that she could have finished her first triathlon. Could have, the operative words. 

Did she give up on her dream? No, Sir. If at all, the desire has been fueled some more. And without any extra thought, she trained just as hard, just as consistently to prepare for the next opportunity. 

On August 12, the universe conspired to make her dream a reality. She was one of the thousands of Cebu's Ironman 70.3. The race gun fired at dawn and the sun shined the brighter mid-day when she finished the race at 7:44:12 hours. The time puts her in the #40 spot in her division. Not bad, eh? 

These are her digits: Swim: 00:49:23; Bike: 03:49:31 and Run: 02:56:36. These are the numbers that got her to the finish line of the 70.3 kilometer event. 
The form.
Pedaling her way to the 40km stretch. Here at the M. Fernan Bridge.
Impressive. Inspiring. And I write this because I want to tip my hat to this friend whose sole purpose for braving the sun, the rain and all the elements, is to reach her dream. 
Just one step.
Cebu Ironman 70.3 Finisher's Medal designed by kenneth Cobonpue. (Taken from the Cebu Ironman website)
 Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.  -Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849), "Eleonora"

Move over, Tony Stark.