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December 2016

Personal

50 Important Questions and Answers as I Bid 2016 Farewell

It’s currently 11 pm where I am. I’m in the living room with Yuri soundly sleeping beside me, and we’re both huddled in blankets because it’s one cold night!

It’s a lot quieter tonight compared to last week, during Christmas eve, where we entertained over 30 guests – a colourful mix of relatives, friends, and neighbours – here at home. But while it was a fun celebration, this quieter one is a welcome change. Honestly, this is how I’d love to spend the last night of 2016: quiet, comfortable, and engaged in meaningful conversations with my loved ones.

Speaking of meaningful conversations, I saw this year-end post in Thought Catalog weeks ago and I just knew I had to answer the 50 questions as I bid 2016 good bye. Here we go.

1. What made you feel the most alive this year?

I’m not sure how to answer this question as the times I don’t feel alive are very rare. Probably the most memorable thing to happen to me this year is our family’s semi-reunion this Christmas. We don’t see our relatives often because they live in different parts of the country, so being with them is always special!

2. How did you surprise yourself in 2016?

For starters, I learned a lot of things this year! I got immersed in a couple of new hobbies: calligraphy/brush lettering and creative planning. I also learned how to drive! Although I don’t drive a lot (I still prefer to have my kuya drive me around haha), I wear my driver’s license like a badge of honour.

3. What did you do this year that you regret?

I regret not watching what I ate and not working out, like, almost at all. Now I’m suffering the consequences (read: nothing in my closet fits…)

4. What made you cry the hardest this year?

Job’s health scare, which, thankfully (as in thank you, thank you Lord) remained to be a health scare that must be forgotten and locked away.

5. Which friends have been there for you the most in 2016?

Everyone close to my heart has been there for me for most of 2016! My college barkada, Superfriends, George, JM, Hazel, and Christine, who are always present in my life despite the distance. And my workmates, the dream team, the bestest girls to work with like ever, Lenz, Jona, Sarah, Xeng, and Yankee (special mention: Julie and Macy!).

6. What are you most grateful for as this year draws to a close?

I am grateful for the people in my life. Job, Yuri, my family, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbours, everyone. God put all of them in my life and made it a hundred times better.

7. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

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Mixed Mess Personal

Christmas 2016 as Told Through Pictures

Hi! I haven’t blogged in like forever! Today, Wednesday, is the first day this month that I didn’t have to do anything outside of work. My December is so busy, but busy is a good thing, so thank you Lord!

Let’s assume you’re interested in my life. I’ll tell you all about it. Through pictures. Because I’m too lazy to write a picture is worth a thousand words… Continue Reading

Personal

The Gift of 3 Lessons in the Season of Giving

I always say that Christmas is my ultimate favourite season of the year.

There’s something about this fact and the general feel of Christmas season that brings out the best in us. We become more thoughtful, more generous, more loving – traits that reflect and glorify Jesus Christ! Now, this is especially more personal to me because my love language is gifts (both receiving and giving). I don’t think this love language means materialism. On the contrary, I think gifting is a great way to exhibit generosity, thoughtfulness, and love!

So when the blogger group I belong to, Mommy Bloggers Philippines, announced a Christmas gift swap for this year, there was no question. I’m in! My “baby” wasn’t someone I personally knew, but it was really exciting reading her blog, trying to figure out what she would like, and then choosing a gift for her.

And then, there’s the thrill of receiving my very own gift, too! Just yesterday, I received this package, which came from my fellow mom blogger, Liz Aquino:

I remember getting all excited, thinking of all the possible things the package must contain. After tearing through what seemed like an eternity of wrapping paper, I finally uncovered this!

The Starbucks Mug truly came as a surprise for me because I am no coffee drinker but I sort of collect mugs. What’s surprising about it is that I don’t recall ever talking about my mini-collection. So thanks, Liz!

We have a cupboard full of nice mugs and specialty mugs, but these are the few most special ones for me:

Three Lessons from a Simple Gift Swap

But more than the lovely mug and it being a nice addition to my growing collection, I learned a lot of things from this blogger gift swap. Which is, basically, what should be the essence of any tradition! Here are the three lessons I learned in the season of gift-giving:

1. Sometimes, receiving is just as fulfilling as giving.

I love to think of myself as a giver. I like showering the people I love and care about with gifts as a reminder that they are in my thoughts. However, there is something fulfilling about receiving a gift from someone else, too. It feels wonderful to know that someone took their time and effort choosing a gift that they think you’ll appreciate!

2. There is something special about choosing a gift for someone you haven’t met yet.

Although we visit each other’s blogs through blog hops, Liz and I haven’t met yet. It actually feels kilig (lol) to imagine someone who doesn’t know you personally thinking day and night about what to give you. It’s especially challenging because they don’t really know what you like!

On the other hand, I also have my gift swap baby, Mel of Trying Hard MinimalistI haven’t met her yet and it was exciting to figure out what she would like! With the Mommy Bloggers Philippines gift swap, the limits my gift-choosing ability was surely tested, but it was a lot of fun going through the process!

3. At the end of the day, it is the thought that counts.

We all say that. It’s the thought that counts. Most of the time, it is spoken in an apologetic manner, as if apologising for a gift that is cheaper than expected or a gift that the receiver might not like. I beg to disagree. I think choosing a gift where it’s the thought that most counts is the most wonderful gift of all. If you give me a simple note, I’ll cherish it because I know you spent time on me. What a privilege. What a blessing!

And speaking of blessing…

About my Secret Santa, Liz

I think Liz’s gift accurately represents her personality. She is a big coffee drinker who usually has a cuppa with her when she blogs. She writes in her blog, Diaries of a Control-Freak Momtitled this way because she realised, when her son got confined in the hospital when he was just 3 weeks young, that no matter how much of a control-freak she is, she still has no control over a lot of things life throws our way. I relate to this because this blog is mainly about how I resign to the inevitably messy nature of life!

Her blog has documented her journey as a mother with a special-needs son for three years. Three years and she still doesn’t want to call herself a legit blogger! Thank you, Liz, for your thoughtful gift. To answer your question, I’m not a coffee drinker but I drink tea — and a lot of milk! (Thankfully, my lactose intolerance doesn’t bother me that much anymore lol.)

Merry Christmas, everyone! <3 

PS: Yes, I took a bazillion photos with my new mug. No shame.

PPS: A big thank you to all of the generous companies who sponsored the #MBPGiftSwap of #MommyBloggersPH! (And I’m seeing Yuri’s favourite Arla milk! I swear, I buy 2 litres of it every week!)

Contadina
Tupperware
Lorenzana Lorins Patis and Lorins Bagoong Alamang Guisado
myPhone watch
VillaDelConte chocolates
Arla
Poetry Magnets

Mixed Mess

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Messy Christmas!

I still can’t believe there’s only a little over 10 days before Christmas.

Half of me thinks it’s too soon (wasn’t it just yesterday when I was preparing for Christmas 2015???), while the other half of me couldn’t believe it is still December 12. My calendar is almost full!


Just last Saturday, I spent my day in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. It’s just 3 hours away from Davao City so I didn’t spend the night there. I came there for two events – my dear friend JM’s daughter’s Dedication Day and my cousin Kuya Jason’s pamanhikan. It was just sheer coincidence that both of these important events were scheduled on the same day and took place in the same city!

Off to Kidapawan City 😎

A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on

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It’s the Dedication Day of my second goddaughter (and third godchild), Mia! She’s sooo purdy I can’t even. Hope you enjoy Ninang’s gifts!

Welcome to the family, Yvonne! 👯

A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on

Kuya Jason and his fiancee, Yvonne, are actually set to be married on the 22nd, so this pamanhikan was just for formality. More relatives will be arriving in the coming weeks so it will be a lot busier!

And during the day that I happened to be out of town, I got called twice by couriers, informing me of the delivery of two different packages. I’ve been receiving packages almost every day. That’s how my Christmas seasons always look like lol.


Because I was out the entire day last Saturday, I made sure to finish all the Christmas gift wrapping the night before. I also had to make a mad dash to buy a gift for my baby in the Mommy Bloggers Philippines gift swap, have it wrapped (I ended up buying a Christmas-themed box to make the LBC staff’s life easier), and then have it shipped. I actually already bought a gift earlier last week but I had a last minute change of mind. Continue Reading

Davao Events Messy Haul Shopping

My Finds from the Christmas Bazaar 2016

Chino's Deli

I admit that I had much more fun browsing the items on sale during last year.

I would say that the products sold by the booths last year were much more interesting than the ones on display this year, but maybe that’s just me and my hobbies speaking. You see, while I love dressing up, I don’t really get excited about hangers and piles of clothes. And shoes. And bags. And makeup. Don’t get me wrong; I love all of those things just as much as the next girl, but come on, I see all of those in malls and online stores everyday.

When I visit bazaars, I expect to discover unique knick-knacks, browse hobby stores and stores that offer products we don’t often see in malls and boutiques, sample locally made food products… So I was quite disappointed with this year’s bazaar’s lack of those things.

I found myself missing the craft, artsy, hobby, party, local organic food stalls from last year. Where were my handcrafted soap, planners and diaries and colouring books, locally made chocolates, and calligraphy stuff? Oh well.

However, I did not come home empty-handed. Okay, I almost never come home empty-handed from whatever, but yeah, you get the point. I did find stuff that sparked my interest and even discovered things that I’ll surely buy again (totally saving those business cards, guys!). Here are my finds from the Christmas Bazaar 2016. Continue Reading

Christmas Events Shopping

Christmas Bazaar 2016 at the Davao Convention Center

My co-workers, Sarah and Jona, and I are regulars at local bazaars.

More often than not, we end up buying more food than we had planned!

This year’s Christmas bazaar is no exemption. Since the bazaar will be there until Sunday (November 30 was the first day), and we went yesterday (where there was a huge downpour!), here’s a quick post about what you can expect from it. This is by no means an extensive description of the entire bazaar. Instead, here are pictures of booths and stalls that caught my eye.

15240144_10211128793238726_1485166881_n 15271660_10211128779238376_837103330_o 15240197_10211128780118398_253117348_n 15280900_10211128782678462_1322678443_n 15280996_10211128791558684_513351116_n 15281172_10211128783478482_1625203103_n Continue Reading