Come back, Nick Foles!

This may sound a little harsh but I hope Mark Sanchez fails miserably over the next six weeks and lose most or all of the games. It may suck for the Eagles but I want Nick Foles to come back like a knight in shining armor after his clavicle heals.

In other news, my Peyton Manning Broncos jersey has shipped and will be arriving soon. <3

Happy Halloween!


I said I was Barbie’s Dead Asian Friend (either Miko or Kira). But it was too complicated so I just called myself “Dead Barbie.” But someone pointed out that I didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes (duh) so I said  I was “Murdered Asian Barbie.” And then people at work said that I look more like the girls from Monster High.


Well, whatever I am, I’m wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!


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(more pics of Chris to come later)

Ways to save on TOMS Shoes and why I love them

Note about the TOMS charity model: I don’t give a squat about this. A better explanation is seen at the end of this post if you are interested.

I have five pairs of TOMS shoes that I wear all the time. I also bought a few pairs for family and friends.

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These are what I own so far (all pictured above):

  • Purple and yellow Campus Classics
  • Pink Daisy prints
  • Petal grosgrain
  • Black glitter shoes
  • Red and blue plaid pattern (Toms Exclusive)

They’re very comfortable and, so far, have not fallen apart on me yet. I also bought a few pairs for friends and family members:

  • Navy lace-ups for my husband (pictured above)
  • Red and black Campus Classics for my mom (pictured here)
  • Blue biminis for my sister, Sofia (pictured here)
  • Red canvas classics for my friend, Kamille (link to site)

In addition, I also bought shoes for my wedding next year. Our vow renewal ceremony on a beautiful white sand beach has, aside from the bride and groom, only four other guests: my parents and two siblings. Because of all the sand, high heels are out of the question. So I decided to have all of us wear TOMS shoes and still have awesome looking footwear. The pic below shows mine (gold glitter), my mom’s (red glitter), and my sister’s (pink and silver metallic). The men’s footwear have been ordered but have not arrived yet. I didn’t include them in the lists above since they won’t be used for another year.


Now, on to the most important part, which I am sure most TOMS fans would appreciate! WAYS TO SAVE ON TOMS SHOES:

  • Never pay list price! Wait for a sale. And I mean a BIG sale. TOMS periodically has sales like $10 to $15 dollars off select shoes, 25% off select shoes, and 35% – 45% off stock that they need to get rid of. Just to name a few examples. They have a site, Toms Surprise Sale, that sometimes houses shoes with the older styles with huge markdowns like the recently concluded 35-45% discount. If you’re a fan, I encourage going to that page and sign-up for promotional announcements.
  • Use coupons! Sites like Retail Me Not, Groupon and have awesome coupon codes. The most common ones are $5 off $25 purchase, $10 off $50 purchase, and $15 off $100 purchase. Amounts could differ based on availability.
  • Take advantage of the Refer a Friend program. After signing up and buying your first pair of shoes, look at the View Accounts page. At the end are instructions for the refer a friend program, which allows you to send links via email or social media. If your friend clicks on that link and makes a purchase, he or she will get $20 off and you will get a $20 store credit after around a couple of weeks. And if you’re like me who has no close friends that like TOMS, I just referred myself. I sent the link to my husband’s email. I clicked it and purchased two pairs of shoes as him. Important note: When using the refer a friend link as a first time buyer, do NOT set up an account until after you’ve already made your purchase. If you set up an account during checkout you will lose the $20 discount. Checkout as a guest instead. As soon as you get the store credit in your original account, it will be deducted every time you make a purchase. The refer a friend program will need the first time buyer to spend at least $75. If you don’t want to spend that much, get a friend or two to shop along with you and you can just split the bill.
  • If you’re a woman with an average foot size, shop in the youth section. Shoes for kids are about $10 cheaper even at list price. The size conversion for TOMS shoes is simple: subtract two from your regular size to find out your shoe size. I’m a 7.5 women’s and a 5.5 youth’s fit me perfectly. Three of my shoes above (petal grosgrain, red and blue plaid and pink daisies) are youth sizes. There is, however, a style difference. Classic youth shoes are wider at the front and have thicker rubber soles just like my red and blue plaid and daisy prints. They’re great if you walk a lot since the children’s shoes are made to be sturdier. But if that’s not to your taste, there are youth shoe styles that share the same streamlined, slim look as the women’s shoes like my petal grosgrain, my sister’s blue biminis and all the shoes from their Wedding Collection. All the shoes I bought for my wedding are from the youth section and they look exactly like the much more expensive women’s shoes.
  • You know what’s even more awesome than the tips above? It’s combining all four! Buy a marked down shoe from the youth section using your store credit and a coupon code. There was a 25% off sale going and I had a $20 store credit with a $5-off-$25 coupon code. The red and blue plaid print pair (pictured above) was marked down from $38 to $28.50. At this time, TOMS was offering free shipping for purchases over $25. I only paid a grand total of $3.50 for a pretty pair of TOMS. Not bad, eh?
  • The last is not a discount. But if you have something like Paypal Credit, which allows you to pay for 6 months at no interest (minimum $25 monthly payments), even a $100 shopping bill is very manageable if spread over four months.
  • Note about the TOMS flag. They used to give you a drawstring bag for each shoe purchase. The size is perfect for transporting or storing your pair of shoes. The company recently discontinued these bags and give you a little flag the size of a postcard. The good thing about buying the marked down old stock is that these boxes still have the old drawstring bag! However, don’t expect to see them when buying the latest styles.

Hope that helped! Remember, do not overshop. Spend within your limits. Now go and get those shoes!


On the charity model:

To reiterate what I said in a previous post, I’m not really interested in TOMS Shoes’ One for One dogma. They say that they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need when you buy a pair. A lot of TOMS Shoes are made in China. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2009, average hourly wages of factory workers in rural China is  $1.15 and $2.85 in urban areas. It’s now 2014 and TOMS claims to pay their workers a fair wage so let’s be generous and assume that their factory workers are being paid $4 per hour. Still not much. Most people in the US think of US-minimum wage amounts when they hear about fair wages so the statement can be misleading without being wrong. Even if I’m theoretically buying for two people, $48-$54 per pair of women’s shoes seem a bit steep.

Besides, I come from the Philippines and trust me, shoes are definitely important but a lot of our poor can benefit better from structures like sturdy houses — less damage and casualties during super typhoons — and more modern bathrooms in squatter areas to improve sanitation. Not shoes that are not exactly waterproof (it rains a lot in the Phils) and can be sold by the child’s parent so he or she can buy enough flip-flops for a family of four and food for 3 days. Just saying. So, charity-wise, I’d rather donate to charities like Gawad Kalinga, which builds homes for our poor for free.

But TOMS is a private business, not a non-profit charity, and businesses are there to make money so I don’t begrudge them that. In fact, I applaud them for the whole concept. Clever marketing ploy.

The point of this post is not to discredit TOMs. I’m writing this to say that I love TOMS Shoes not because of its “charity” but because I like the look and comfort of their classic slip-ons.

Top 10 books that stayed with me in some way

I’m currently re-reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus — a total of nine books. The most recent book came out and, due to my literary amnesia, I usually read the previous books all over again to prep myself before getting to the newest one. What I hate most while reading a series is forgetting a small but significant detail. “Who’s Tyson again?” “How did Bianca die?” “… etc.

There’s a meme going around in Facebook asking for a list of the top 10 books that stayed with you in some way. My friends Chie and Alet tagged me so the ardent reader in me felt obliged to share some of my greatest literary loves in the world to my 2,800 Facebook friends. Now I’ve read thousands and thousands of books since I was a kid so I may have forgotten some. And I do have a lot of favorites. But this list below is a good representation of the books that I will never forget spanning several genres. 

In no particular order:
1. Foundation (series) – Isaac Asimov [My one and greatest sci-fi love from the king of the genre. I thank my Dad for this.]
2. Discworld series – Terry Pratchett [I can re-read these books over and over and over again. So good!]
3. Wicked – Gregory Maguire [This stole my cold, little heart. I got so mad when someone stole it in Riyadh.]
4. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho [“I am an adventurer, looking for treasure.” — personal mantra.]
5. Broken Empire Trilogy – Mark Lawrence [Not the gentlest of books but oh so worth it,]
6. Percy Jackson & the Olympians – Rick Riordan [Probably one of the most inventive modern rendition of Greek mythology.]
7. Relic and all Pendergast books – Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston [All hail the glorious weirdness that is Pendergast.]
8. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams [DON’T PANIC.]
9. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman [Only Gaiman can make a dirty subway system seem glamorous and mystical.]
10. Codex Alera – Jim Butcher [Butcher is probably the only fantasy writer that could leave me wanting more even after six long books.]

Books that almost made the list. Honorable mentions:
1. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling [Mainstream but, what can I say, they’re just really awesome.]
2. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley [This book as the ability to make you think for the rest of your life.]
3. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden [By the end of the book, you’ll feel like moving to early 20th century Kyoto and train to be a geisha.]
4. Perfume – Patrick Suskind [Utterly horrifying and fascinating. Very original.]
5. The Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice [I was obsessed with this when I was in college.]
6. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card [I only read it before I saw the movie so I can compare both mediums. But I ended up really liking it.]
7. The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde [Another very original book. Literary Detective must be the best job title of all time.]
8. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel [For get all the Henry VIII books floating around in the lit ether. Buy this and you’ll realize what makes it special.]

When I come home tonight, I would love to curl up on the daybed (possibly with one of the chihuahuas on my tummy) covered in an ultra-soft throw and a cup of lavender earl grey tea on the coffee table. But alas! This girl has a lot (and I mean TONS) of schoolwork to do before she leaves for a short vacay to the Poconos tomorrow. So my recreational reading would have to wait until I’m chillaxin’ on a rocking chair with a glorious view of the mountainside and the Delaware River before me.

Until the next note. 

Shoe Shopping Tip: shop in the kid’s department and save a lot

I learned a very useful tip recently. Most shoe brands have similar designs for women’s and girl’s shoes but the latter is sold for a lot cheaper. There are sizes that overlap. So if you’re a woman who has small to average sized feet, you can get a nice, cheaper pair from the kid’s department.

Just deduct 2 from your regular size to find your corresponding kid size. For example, I’m a 7.5 women’s US so a pair of 5.5 kid’s US would fit. See the chart here from The Krazy Coupon Lady.

I wish I knew this before I bought my several pairs of Toms.


Anyway, I got a pair of new petal grosgrain slip-ons for myself and a pair of lace-ups for Chris since it’s 25% off until August 25, 2014.


Click this link for a $20 off coupon for your first purchase of $75 or over.

Why TOMs shoes’ charity model is overrated

I find it funny when I read or hear about people defending their spending $40-60+ on a pair of TOMs shoes by saying that, for each purchase, the company donates one pair of shoes to children in need. Okay. That sounds nice. But please use your brains for a minute.

A pair of classic TOMs: $48
Possible manufacturing cost of retail shoes: (I’m being generous here) $8
Possible manufacturing cost of free shoes: $8

Gross profit: $32

Even if you deduct overhead fees and other costs, the company still makes a pretty penny. Given that their revenues for the last year are estimated to be between 250 to 300 million dollars, I’m sure the founder and owner of the company doesn’t just have charity and sustainability in mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do own a couple of pairs. I bought a purple/yellow one for myself (seen in picture below) and a glittery black pair will be delivered soon. I bought a red/black pair for my mother (in photo) and a pattered striped blue pair (in photo) for my little sister, Sofia. I also got a pair of classic red for my friend, Kamille, which will be arriving along with my glitter shoes.



You know what else makes me laugh? The ones who are too snooty and look down on similar shoes that are not TOMs. Like Skechers’ Bobs. Unless you’re blind, it’s obvious that Skechers stole the idea and model from TOMs (and earned a lot of money by doing it). But you know what, I don’t really care. They’re cheaper and very comfortable since Skechers added a memory foam insole, which feels heavenly especially if you walk a lot. In fact, I own a pair:


I own TOMs not because they’re popular or have a “good cause.” Not even because they use organic cotton or recycled boxes with soy ink. *rollseyes* I own them because they are cute and comfortable. I own a pair of Bobs for the same reason. I plan to get another pair of Bobs — the silver glittery one similar to TOMs’ black glitter slip-on that I just purchased.

They are a tad expensive, though. I’m a known Scrooge so spending more than $30 on a pair of shoes makes me cringe. My advise is to use coupons. They have good ones out there. When I bought the purple/yellow and red/black shoes, I got $15 off PER SHOE since the Campus Classic line were on sale for a limited time. So that’s $33 per shoe. When that expired, I used a $20 off for $75+ purchase to get the black glitter pair for me and the classic red for Kamille. I got my sister’s blue biminis on sale at the mall for $30. The total retail price for all five shoes is $240 but I only spent $178. Never pay retail price for anything. Except for my sister’s shoes, I purchased everything from the TOMs website and used coupons because I’m leery of fakes when it comes to popular trendy stuff like these.

I would have bought my husband a pair but Chris only wears sneakers and the occasional dress shoes. He looked at the men’s alpargata shoes suspiciously. I think that he puts them in the same category as men not wearing socks with lace up leather dress shoes. Eew.

As a side note, a lot of company donate to charities. Even Skechers does, Bobs or no Bobs.

After Typhoon Haiyan.

On a side note, I hate it when people say, “Oh, you must have had a hard life,” (emphasis on the HARD) and look at me with pity after I mention that I am from the Philippines. Puh-lease. I had a great life while I was there, I love it more than any country in the world, and if it were not for certain circumstances in my life, I would rather be home right at this very moment. Not everyone is destitute and we are not an unhappy people. We certainly gripe and complain a lot less than people I’ve met in more developed countries because we know how to work hard but live life to the fullest at the same time.

I miss packing up yummy homemade food for a day-long trip to the beach for free (or a small sum), having great meals at a fraction of the cost of a fast food takeout here, my mother’s sinigang na boneless bangus, going to some of the biggest and greatest malls in the world that are one-stop shops for everything you need, hearing people speak the same expressive language you speak, getting super fresh seafood, eating baskets of the most luscious mangoes on earth, sorbetes ice cream, taho, jeepneys and trikes (I know, right!), living a few hours from places that remind you of paradise, and many many more. I took a lot of things for granted before I realized that I could not experience them here unless you spend an ungodly amount of money for a trip or a cruise.

There is a reason why people who have worked abroad for most of the year clap when the plane lands in NAIA. Someday, I will take my husband and retire there. We still have a lot of things to do here in his home country but we will eventually go (to my) home.

The DOT was right, It is more fun in the Philippines.

What to Wear

Ten years ago, I would stand in front of the mirror and decide what to wear the next day every single night. Don’t get me wrong, I was NOT fashionable. I didn’t have a lot of money — I spent most of my college allowance on books (duh!), food (double duh!) and, again, food. My clothes and shoes consisted mainly of basic items and the only relatively pricey and brand name items I had were the ones given to me by my parents. I also had major body dysmorphic disorder. I felt fat and extremely unattractive and this affected my self-confidence and poise.

So whenever I stood in front of the dormitory mirror every night, it wasn’t because I was a vain, teenage SOB. I was just thinking of a way to not look too pathetic the next day.

Ten years later, THANK GOD that I’m cured of that. I was not skinny as I was in college. (WHY did I ever think that I was FAT?!) But I don’t feel unattractive anymore. I don’t feel self-conscious. I’ve also realized a few years ago that trendy does not mean fashionable. Fashionable is wearing what suits you. And even if that darling dress looks wondermous on a size zero, six-foot tall model, it doesn’t mean that it would look just as fantabulous on your size 4 or 6, 5’4″ body.

Know your body. (Even if you feel fat.) Wear what suits you.

Now… what should I wear tomorrow?

I’m fat. Grrrrr. Yes, it’s one of those days.

I stubbornly insisted that I didn’t know who or what the eff Led Zeppelin was and I didn’t care. And that Joe Perry and Buckethead were guitar gods as far as I was concerned. When I was told that no self-respecting American would not know who Led Zeppelin is, I instantly growled “I’m not American, dagnabbit!”

And then I was forced to listen to it. With particular stress on Jimmy Page’s guitar solo. And you know what? I liked it.

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