Friday, August 30, 2013

Online Shopping

The advent of digital technology and the accessibility of the internet has dramatically changed the life of shoppers even of those who are in the third world. 

We've all heard and saw in movies how coupons are painstakingly clipped and used by homemakers to get that extra discount when shopping at drugstores, hypermarkets and the likes.  

When the internet opened the possibility of buying products, services and brands that are otherwise difficult to reach, the shopping landscape improved and became so exciting -- more and more people are becoming shopaholic. 

Shopping at your fingertips. With just a click on that virtual shopping cart, your shopping itch is satiated... for the moment.  

I bought vacation packages like this
 Grabbed a hard-to-miss yoga offer
Bought a novel and proudly pinoy made bamboo speaker

Whimsical tapes that I haven't had the chance to use yet
Travel essentials

Kate Spade stuff
One-off restaurant coupons, plane tickets, hotel reservations and the likes. 

When you really come to think of it, the ease of internet shopping makes for a lot of closet shopaholics. Go ahead, check out your loved ones internet browsing history. You'd be amused and surprised. 



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weekend spa at Sonya's Garden

It was one of those random weekends that we headed to Tagaytay after my almost week-long conference. Initially, we just wanted a scrumptious dinner at Breakfast at Antonio's and then coffee at Starbucks. But we arrived in Tagaytay way too early for dinner. 

We did the next best thing -- search for a spa place. So, we found ourselves at Sonya's Garden. 

The entire property is inlaid with red bricks. I think some are salvaged from old houses.
Dainty corner for book reading.
 At Sonya's Garden, you'll find yourself surrounded by shrubs, bougainvilleas and other flowering plants. It's as if you've stepped into a hideaway in the country.

These steps lead to the The Spa.
The spa house has a water feature in each room. When you're inside, it seems like it's raining outside. So, while you're enjoying your massage, surely you'll be lulled into sleep. Just like me! 

The massage rooms are very homey primarily made of wood and capiz shells. 
Here you'll be asked to change into sarong.

There's a small locker for your belongings but you can also just prop your bag on this occasional table. 

Each massage room is outfitted with a shower and set of toiletries.
The spa's menu is quite extensive which ranges from simple facials to spa packages. For our treatment, we opted to just enjoy an hour-long Shiatsu massage (P756/each).
Dalandan tea after massage. Very refreshing!
Wishlist: Scented and lighted candles in massage rooms! It should complete the relaxing ambiance.
Adjacent to the spa is this store with so many lovely concoctions. 

The store looks very promising. It sells organic home scents in vintage bottles. You can also find body creams, bugs repellant, bar soaps in really beautiful packaging. Am thinking they can be a well-thought of gift this Christmas. 

If you're thinking of a relaxing weekend in Tagaytay, consider going to Sonya's Garden. Just a word of caution though, it's kinda far. In fact, it's already in Alfonso, Cavite. But I tell you, it's worth the trip. Before you head home, you can buy freshly baked bread and pastries and potted herbs. 
Sonya's Garden
Address: Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, 4123
Phone:0917 532 9097 
Have fun!


Nothing beats a Starbucks customer experience. Sure, it's not perfect. But the nice thing about Starbucks is, it always bounces back as soon as it discovers its error and to some extent when it becomes aware that a customer's expectations are not met. 

I've been a customer for a long, long time. I have my fair share of experiences with my office neighborhood barista. Let's start with my name. I didn't know that it can have so many spelling variations... only at Starbucks. 

But when you're a regular, your friendly barista greets you by name and remembers your usual -- and your personal quirks like upside down caramel, non-fat, absolutely no-foam with extra caramel drizzle macchiato.  
Dawn's treat. And my usual order.

You feel that your coffee doesn't taste as it should be? You can return it. And your barista will replace it pronto. 

When the Starbucks card was finally launched in Manila last August 7, we obviously made a beeline for it. It works as a debit as well as a loyalty card. After 12 beverages, your 13th cup is on them. Get one grande cup on your birthday, too. Awesome, eh? 

Since then, I've been using my Starbucks card for all my java fix. Last night, I went to its Alfaro branch after my bikram yoga practice. The transaction took a little while longer than it should. Until finally, the barista informed me that she will just have to return it to me at my table. 
My favorite sandwich: Chicken pesto in shitake mushroom

About ten minutes later she explained there was some glitch in the processing of my order. I got double-billed but not to worry, it will be credited back, asap. And to appease me from my troubles, I was given a coupon for a free tall cup -- of my choice. 
How can you not stay loyal? I have tried other cafes but always, always I find myself back inside a Starbucks when I need my caffeine fix. And this is almost everyday. 

I say, good job Starbucks. You truly know your coffee and the best coffee experience. Onward!