The Day I Wore: Matching stripe neutrals

        

I rarely wear matching outfits with my son Tristan (admittedly, I don’t have the foresight to plan these things haha), and this one time we caught it on camera wasn’t even intentional. I think I dressed him up, and unconsciously chose the same color palette (really the only way to do it in my book). So when this proud momma realized it, we had to take photos! My top and pants are from Promod, and slip on shoes are from Crocs. Tristan’s shirt and pants are from Uniqlo and his shoes are also from Crocs (they’re special edition Cars 3). ❤ Happy Monday!

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Travel Diary: Fatima, Nazare & Obidos

I still cant believe we did all this in one day. What a great family adventure! We travelled to Fatima, Nazare and Obidos, which were all quite beautiful in their own way. We had initially planned this day for my Mama’s birthday, which was May 13, as my mom wanted to be in Fatima for its 100th Anniversary. We ended up going on the 16th because I had planned it wrong, but had turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the 13th was absolute chaos. There were thousands of devotees coming in from all over the world (as we were told by our tour guide) and it was just impossible to get in. Yes, the 16th was perfect, because there were no more crowds and the weather was perfect.

We actually planned this European vacation because of Fatima. My mom wanted to go, and of course, we were game to travel, so we all went–my parents, Carlos and I and little Tristan (who was just turning two that time). I was in charge of booking all the plane tickets, Airbnb apartments and all the tours, which turned out was no easy task. Thankfully, I got this one right (except for the date, but all was forgiven when we heard how crazy it was on May 13).

So, how did we see all these places in one day? I went through Lisbon Pick Up Transfer (http://www.lisbonpickuptransfer.com), which was one the best decisions I made for this trip. We got them for our airport pickup and drop off, for this day in Fatima, Nazare and Obidos, and another day in Sintra (I’ll be doing another blog post for that one). We were very happy with their service–the driver was also our tour guide, and they were able to provide a van for us since we were a lot, which made the trip very comfortable. If you are heading to Lisbon, I suggest you go through them. They offer an amazing service, and their prices are not too bad. We spent 85 euros per person for a private tour (Tristan was free), so we paid a total of 340 euros or around P20,000 for four adults.

FATIMA. Okay, so I am not exactly a devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, but my mom is, which is why we went. And I was raised Catholic, so I pretty much understand what this is all about. I have to say though, it was quite interesting to hear the stories of the three children: Saint Francisco Marto, Saint Jacinta Marto and Servant of God Lucia Santos, see the home where they lived, and stand on the spot where the apparition happened (there is now a church there). There is a lot of mystery behind these apparitions of Fatima, which includes holy messages about the Church and the Pope. You can read all about it HERE.

It was nice to see the entire complex of Fatima, which was huge. Walking around, we saw devotees fervently praying and lighting candles, and some were even walking on their knees to do their pilgrimage. We were traveling with a toddler, so we were trying our best to keep him happy and interested. Bring a stroller, if you have your child with you, because you might be doing a lot of walking if you are out to explore the complex. Oh and while you’re there, make time to see the houses where the children lived, which was for me more interesting than the churches.

NAZARE. Two things I cannot forget about this picturesque seaside village: the amazingly fresh seafood and that breathtaking view of the beach. To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect to see in Nazare when we chose this tour, but looking back, this stopover was worth the drive. The food definitely made it all worth it. We had the most incredible grilled sardines, fish stew and seafood rice there, and it was all very simply presented but was just so fresh and delicious. We tried to find something similar in Lisbon, but failed. I guess it’s because all the ingredients were freshly caught, so you cant get the same taste anywhere else.

Then, there was that gorgeous view of the beach. Nazare is high up, so you get an unbeatable view of the Atlantic coast. You can view the giant waves from up there (can you believe the waves reach 80 feet over there, and people actually surf it), while listening to live street performances. I loved that I saw traditional costumes being worn by the fishermen and their wives, and how the place looked so peaceful and serene. It is generally windy over there, so don’t wear a hat or you’ll be running after it like I was haha.

OBIDOS. This is a such a pretty, picturesque walled town, which was like an hour drive away from Nazare. This place has its own charm, with traditional painted houses and narrow cobbled streets, which you can explore in a few hours. I loved the streets leading from the gate (I think it is called Rua Direita) because it is lined with interesting shops that sell paintings, decorative plates and souvenirs. What was interesting was trying their Ginja de Obidos, which is a sweet cherry liquour. It is served in small chocolate cups (which you can eat after, of course) with a cherry–it is so good!

Further along the Rua Direita is Obidos Castle, which has been converted into an exclusive hotel. We didn’t get to stay there, but maybe next time! How interesting, the original castle was constructed in the 12th century but the keep and town walls were completed in the 14th century. Up there, you get a wonderful view of the countryside. What a gorgeous place–make sure to take plenty of photos when you’re there.

                        

I hope I was able to help you plan your trip to Portugal! This day tour was definitely worth it. If you have any questions about it, please leave a comment below. ❤

The day I wore: Promod Denim

Lately, I’ve been all about my denim jeans. Not only are they incredibly versatile, they are comfortable, effortless and they always look cool. These skinny push up jeans from Promod are called Earnest, and they feel like second skin. The best part about it is that it gives you that extra lift so you look long, lean and perky. I wore it out on a full day of meetings and errands and I was so happy with them. They are made with amazing stretch material, and the dark wash lends a clean polished look. I paired the jeans with a floral top (also from Promod) and mustard slides from Pinkytoes.ph (IG handle: @pinkytoes_ph).

 

On another busy day I wore Lucien, one of my favorite pairs from Promod that has a relaxed, boyfriend jeans feel. It is also made of stretchy, light, comfortable fabric that moves along with me. I love that it isn’t as tight as Earnest, so I can rock a totally different look. And I can easily pair my loose button-down shirts and t-shirts with it. I wore it with a pajama-style shirt (also from Promod) and leather slip-ons from Bata.

Promod has an incredible denim sale ongoing now, and it is only until today! It’s BUY ONE, GET ONE at 50% off for all five jeans styles, so you can get them at a fraction of a price. It is seriously a great deal, which is why I just had to share it. Head on to your nearest Promod store now!

 

10 things I look for in a grocery store

I have to admit, I never really cared about what was in my local grocery stores or supermarkets until I got married and began managing my household. I took the fresh produce, meat and seafood aisles for granted, as I left it to my mom to plan and shop for the weekly menu. Instead, I stocked up on snacks like chips, chocolates, pop and juices, which ironically, is now a rare thing in our household. Now that I think about it, my idea of a complete grocery store is totally different now that I am a mom in my mid-30s compared to how I was back in my teens

The change definitely came when I gave birth to my son, Tristan. I grew more aware of the value of eating my greens, organic vegetables and fruits, as I wanted my son to grow up eating nutritious food. I became more aware of sneaky unhealthy ingredients that make it to the “healthy aisle” and began buying more fresh and colorful food. Especially now, that my whole family is on the ketogenic diet (no sugar and no carbs), we have made it a point to only buy good, wholesome food. And so I decided to share my top 10 picks for choosing a grocery store.

1.) Accessible and close to my home. I don’t like having to drive a long way to do my groceries. First, because of the traffic–it is just not practical to waste time and gas on the road just to do the groceries. I prefer to drive a short distance so my groceries stay fresh, and the items that need to stay chilled or frozen gets to my refrigerator or freezer right away.

2.) Has a huge fresh produce section. One major requirement for me is a nice big section dedicated to fresh produce. A wide selection of vegetables and fruits is a must, as that makes up most of our groceries for the week. For vegetables, the more colorful, the better! This is really where I spend most of my money. And though admittedly it can be quite expensive (can someone please explain to me why vegetables are so expensive), I think of it as an investment because food = medicine.

3.) Carries organic vegetables and fruits. “Organic” has become a normal thing over in our home. We try our best to buy pesticide-free vegetables, and make sure everything else we consume is  free-range, anti-biotic free, non GMO with little to no sugar. I love that more and more groceries have dedicated big sections for organic vegetables and fruits. This is a must when choosing a grocery store, because it means they have made an effort to supply you with healthy alternatives.

4.) Has a wide selection of meats. When I shop in a new grocery store, I usually scan the meat section (after the produce section) so I can see what they offer. If I see that they have a good assortment of beef, pork and chicken in different cuts, then that is a huge plus for me. Also, it is so important for the meats to look and smell fresh!

5.) Has a wide assortment of seafood. Another important staple in our keto diet is seafood, so if the supermarket has a great selection of fish, crabs, shellfish, shrimp, etc, that is a good indicator of a grocery that’s worth going to. Though it is totally understandable that not all can be available at all times, having a variety of fresh seafood at a given time is great.

6.) The dairy aisle has a good selection of butter, cheese and creams. My family loves cheese and butter (also a necessary keto food group), so having a variety is super important to us. I love being able to find my favorite cheeses in one grocery–especially when they have the brands I love.

7.) There’s ample space to move around with your cart. One pet peeve I have when grocery shopping is when the aisles are too narrow and there’s always cart traffic inside the supermarket. I don’t see the point in having to deal with it (we already deal with traffic everyday), so my go-to grocery has to be spacious and well-designed/planned. I always bring my son with me to do grocery-shopping, so this is important to me.

8.) I can easily find my favorite brands/products. We all have our brands that we are loyal to, and of course, we want to easily find these in our local grocery (having to shop in two or three groceries per week can be time-consuming and tiring). If your supermarket carries all my go-to brands, that is a huge check in my book.

9.) There’s numerous cashier/paying aisles, to prevent long lines and waiting. Long lines can be tiring! I love it when I find a grocery that has plenty of cashiers to accommodate its customers.

10.) Well-lit and properly designed. Lighting plays a key role in grocery shopping. It allows you to see the fresh produce, meats, seafood, etc. properly, so you will be able to buy the best for your family. Also, it helps prevent tired eyes from scoping out what you need. A well-lit grocery allows you to happily shop and even take your time while shopping.

I am happy to share that the newly opened Landmark Alabang passed all 10! I was quite impressed with how well-designed it is, and since its launch I have been going back to do my weekly groceries there. I have always loved shopping in Landmark Makati, but since it is too far from my home I haven’t been able to go back. Which is why I am ecstatic that Landmark opened in Alabang, which is near my home! My weekly grocery shopping experience has definitely improved, and I am looking forward to seeing what new developments Landmark Alabang has in store for us.  ❤