Books, Reviews

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Format: Paperback

In a nutshell
It was the year 1986, the time when casette tapes and comic books were all the rage. It was also the year that red-haired Eleanor met Taekwondo-skilled Park — and vice versa — while riding the bus to school.

Both considered themselves “outcasts” but even so, their first impressions of each other didn’t go well. so it was a surprise how two odd bus mates slowly fell for each other; thus starting their “friendship-love story.”

My thoughts
Let’s get this done and over with: I DIDN’T ENJOY IT! I know, I know. A LOT of people loved this book, so maybe this is just me. Maybe I’m just not into the whole 80’s thing, or I just couldn’t really connect and relate with the main characters, both Eleanor and Park. The different issues they had individually made me uncomfortable, especially the last bit about Eleanor. The feels other people felt while reading this book? I didn’t catch ’em. The only two feelings I can associate with this book are “boring” and “dragging.” Sorry not sorry.

However, this is my first Rowell book. I’m still willing to give her a chance. Good thing her other books have different “themes.” Read this ONLY if you want to read all of the author’s books. But if you’re fine with not reading them all, skip this.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Do you or do you not agree with this review? (Haha!)
Share your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below!

Beauty and Wellness, Reviews

Weekly Essential: A Massage from Esencia Day Spa

For more than a decade now, I’ve been a big fan of massages, mani-pedi’s, and whatnot. Those close to me know that I really allot a budget for these treatments every payday (kikay mode! #sorrynotsorry), and I’m glad that my sisters and some of my girlfriends also share this same “wellness priority” mantra in life. Haha. Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of spas in the metro — for massages, for nails, for waxes — so I’m a little confident in really recommending some of my go-to establishments and the services they offer.

For this post, I’ll be focusing on ESENCIA DAY SPA located in Solenad 3, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. 🙂

esencia 1

As most of my friends know, I’m a Manila girl during the weekdays and a Nuvali girl during the weekends. The result of that? Going to Solenad (an Ayala Land mall in Nuvali) has been a part of my Saturdays for almost four years now! Solenad 1 is famous for its restaurants and the koi fish pond. Solenad 2 has more restaurants, some spas and stores, and a supermarket. As for Solenad 3? I believe it’s the most complete. It has ALL those plus the cinemas! And of course, Esencia Day Spa!!!

(photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa's Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa’s Facebook page)

I’ve been going to Esencia ALMOST every Saturday since December 2015, and I believe it’s about time I share with you WHY. Aside from their Moroccan-inspired interiors, they have the most amazing foot reflexology ever!!! And I’m not even exaggerating. Like I said, I’ve tried a lot of spas (even abroad), and their foot reflexology is just the best for me! They have a well-trained staff, and the strokes they use are really balanced — just enough pressure to make you feel calm and relaxed! (And sometimes, even snore too! You know what I mean? Haha!)

esencia 2

esencia 3

Aside from that, I also recommend their therapeutic body massage to remove those aching muscle knots (or what Filipinos usually call “lamig”). The 60-minute treatment is just not enough (bitin!), so I say go for the 90 minutes — which is what I prefer anyway. But if you’re not into that, you can just go with the classic Swedish body massage.

Recently, they have promos and one of which is the “Spa for Two.” My sister and I availed of this and for two hours, we escaped “stress” thanks to the treatments included in the package: foot scrub + warm stone body massage + tea = all for only Php1,999 for two! This is a limited-time offer, so I highly suggest you drop by Esencia as soon as possible! (You might even bump into the owner, Les! Say hi to her from me! Hehehe!)

esencia 4

Lately, I’ve noticed that Esencia has been jam-packed and fully booked (which is great, I’m really happy for them!), so if you want to book a slot or two, make sure you give them a heads-up first.

contact Esencia Day Spa today! :) (photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa's Facebook page)

contact Esencia Day Spa today! 🙂 (photo courtesy of Esencia Day Spa’s Facebook page)

My recommended treatments in order:

  • Foot Reflexology
  • Therapeutic Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Warm Stone Massage

So the next time you find yourself in the south side of the metro, head over to Nuvali and enter the doors of Esencia Day Spa! Promise, you’ll come out refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated — even alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic! Wahahahaha! 😉

esencia 5What treatment/s are you looking forward to try at Esencia Day Spa?
What other spas in the metro can you recommend?
Let me know! 🙂

Food, Mi Familia y Mi Amigos

Friendly Desserts :)

Brownies. Cakes. Cookies. Cupcakes. Macarons. The dessert list evolves and goes on, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll always love ’em all! Haha! I actually credit my love for sweets to my late mother who was so passionate about baking. In fact, our Christmas season equated to “fruitcake season,” and I grew up to the smell of freshly-baked whatnot all year round. What started as a passion, then turned into a business. In 2001, my mother eventually pursued opening an actual bakeshop just near our house. Unfortunately in 2003, we lost her to cancer. And as much as we wanted to, we couldn’t continue the business anymore. But that was THEN.

I still plan on resurrecting my mother’s bakeshop in honor of her. Someday, the world will once again be able to taste her pastries and sweet treats through her recipes that we, as a family, treasure.

But since I’m still in the process of acquiring baking (even cooking) skills (ahem!), I just made it a personal advocacy to support people I know who share the same passion as my Mama.

So in this entry, I’ve included three of my friends who found their passion for baking, and I hope you also get the chance to taste heaven through their creations! 🙂

Tiny’s Desserts

My friend Tiny (or Tinah as some call her) and I go all the way back to high school. Now, we’re workmates! Of course I’m talking about our day jobs (which is my dream job, btw! hehe!) because as I’ve mentioned earlier, I can’t bake nor cook to save my life! At least not yet! =))

Anyway, even before Tiny decided to make her passion an actual business, I was already lucky enough to sample some of her baked goodies.

From her eggcheflan (yes, it’s leche flan inside an egg shell!) to her brownie cupcakes, I know that I’ll order for some more!!! 😉

Moist Chocolate Brownies

Moist Chocolate Brownies

For more information on how to order from Tiny’s Desserts, click here.

Gracefully Sweet Blessings

Stock analyst by day, baker by night (or during the weekends). That’s my friend Grace.

I met Grace through my Light Group from #FeastMakati, and I’ve witnessed how her passion slowly turned into a business. She specializes in customized cakes, but I’m pretty sure she can bake anything! I can’t wait for what’s in store for her and her budding cake business!

THE Blueberry Cheesecake that Grace shared to our Light Group! #happytummy

THE Blueberry Cheesecake that Grace shared to our Light Group! #happytummy

For more information on how to order from Gracefully Sweet Blessings, click here.

True Riches Cupcakes

Ah, don’t let the name fool you. True Riches Cupcakes don’t just serve cupcakes, they serve anything and everything under the sun that can be baked! They can even provide desserts for parties and whatnot. And the interesting part? My friend and former officemate Cha (the owner) is actually a software developer by day! O diba?!

Aside from the cupcakes, I recommend you try TRC’s flavored Cookie Shots and French Macarons:

Cookie Shots

Cookie Shots

heart-shaped French Macarons

heart-shaped French Macarons

For more information on how to order from True Riches Cupcakes, click here.

And those are just three of the people I know who are using passion as fuel to their own successes. I’m sure you also know people who do the same. Let’s all support them together! 😀