Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Daiso

Friday, November 20, 2020

With few weeks before Christmas, the websites I follow have already whipped up their gift guides prompting customers to shop early to avoid the detestable rush that has come to associate this holiday. Oprah started the tradition with her wildly popular My Favorite Things. New York magazine, where I gifted myself with a monthly subscription, categorizes these presents for the most important people of your life. 

In this space, I recreate my version of the gift guide. It is curated with you, my readers, in mind. The first in this series is Daiso. Specifically the store's branch in the ground floor of Robinson's Antipolo. This is not sponsored so I individually picked and chosen all the products that I will be featuring here hoping that you'll also like my selections. So bookmark this post when you quickly go to your Christmas shopping. Although you can opt to go online this year as opposed to going out to buy but believe me, nothing beats the sensory giddiness when you can actually touch and feel the stuff that call out your name. Protocol practicing of course

So wear your masks and shields, spritz the alcohol of your choice and shop away. And oh, since this is Daiso, everything is under 200 php! Can we say ' such a steal?' You better! 

1. Christmas Paper Plates

2.  Cutlery Set 

3. Stamp Type Cookie Cutter

4. Mini Ice-Bar Maker

5. Fluffy Room Socks

6. Lint Brush

7. Velvet necktie hanger

8. Captain America and Star Wars doormats

9. Pink Unicorn Compact Mirror

10. Mickey Mouse organizing bag with zipper

11. Ice Pack

12. Trash Can

13. Printed floral apron

14. The cutest lip balms

15. Tote bags

16. Stationery Set (for dog lovers)

17. Craft embosser

18. Fleecy 'Good Humour' cap

19. Salt and Pepper Shaker 

20. Mini chair 

21. Kraft Aluminum Pouch 

22. Metallic Dragon Pen

Spot anything you like? If so, tag me up and show the good people of Daiso this post. Please watch out for my next gift guides as I plan to go to all my favorite stores so you can make this Christmas the merriest of all to the receiving end of your generosity! 

Daiso is at lower ground floor of Robinson's Antipolo. 

Cover Photo: Canva

All photos are mine otherwise stated.


Dash & Lily is a holiday rom-com fare that you deserve

Friday, November 13, 2020

I have always loved Christmas themed everything: Starbucks cups I collect as holiday decor, Spotify playlist which I aptly call 'We'll Always Have Christmas' and to my opinion, ' The only holiday mixtape that you need', window displays and decorations in my favorite stores, yuletide anthologies like My True Love Gave to Me ( this deserves a series of its own, swear!) and Let it Snow, holiday movies like Love Actually. I love everything Christmassy, Grinch would have gone ballistic. 

And now adding to the delightful mix is Netflix's Dash & Lily! 

After months of self-imposed Netflix cleanse primarily influenced by my number 1 favorite 2gether The Series/Still2gether, I know I can't keep dodging the temptations for so long since December is upon us and with this month comes flurrying are avalanche of Christmas movies that I totally can't resist. It's the holidays and I can always go back to modern-day, fairy tale Bangkok first thing next year just in time for F4 Thailand which I am still debating whether I'll support or not. But that's another subject for a blog entry. 

The thing about me is that I am super picky with the art that I consume. Because of it, I missed a lot of shows that are on everybody's radars ( Emily in Paris, The Queen's Gambit anyone) but that's just me. But when I found out that Netflix has adapted Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan ( he wrote my favorite YA of all time, Everyday) and Rachel Cohn, I knew pronto that the time has come for me to watch other shows other than my favorite BL lol. I have read and enjoyed the book so it's a complete shoo-in! 

I immediately looked for my copy and feared that I might've lent it to anyone and it wasn't returned yet but ever since I adhered to The Home Edit to color-code my books, I easily spotted it in all its worn beauty, sandwiched between two favorite books, just like the red notebook of dares in the adaptation. If this is coincidental, I took no notice. I'd like to think that this is serendipitous such as when Dash found the notebook comfortably settling in the stacks of The Strand Bookstore in wintry New York City where the series was filmed. 

If you can get past the implausible premise of what're the odds and slim chances of ever finding a red notebook full of dares that will let you do and experience things you have not done and experienced before in The Strand which has '18 Miles of Books', then you know that's the Christmas magic working on you. 

When Dash recited the lyrics off of Joni Mitchell's sad Christmas ditty, River, as an indicated dare in the notebook, I was completely pulled in. In the next 7 episodes, I laughed and cried and felt warmth all over me like the feeling that you get on Christmas morning when you have gifts to open or even without anything as long as you are happy that you are together with your family. That's like a biggie but that's how I felt when I finished the show in sobbing, crying mess. 

Dash & Lily has everything that I like in a show, meaning all the trappings that made it work for me: both characters are misfits, they love books and can totally spend the day in the bookstore which I can totally relate and yes they both love River which is the very first song that I downloaded in my Spotify playlist as reinterpreted by Sarah Mclachlan. I mean, what's not to like? 

Don't worry, I am not going to spoil you on what's ahead but I hope that as you reach this point, you'll check the series out and allow yourselves to be swept away by the joy and cheer that this will bring you. Throw away your inner Ebenezer Scrooge and Buh Humbugs because you deserve this treat now. 

As for me, these details kept me glued from the first episode 'Dash' to the very last ' New Year's Day': 

1. The series started at The Strand Bookstore, which is like my top bookstore to visit! Recently, because of the coronovirus effects on businesses, The Strand has, for the first time, asked its loyal customers for support to keep their business from succumbing to bankruptcy. I hope this series benefits The Strand. I know I will if only I can. 

2. Since this is a holiday confection, it would be a disservice if this will not feature holiday songs!  Aside from the aforementioned River, fat sloppy tears came out of my eyes when Fairytale of New York played in the background in one of the episodes! WOW. Like from the start, the show has just won me over and over again! Since this was set in pre-Covid NYC, I also half expected the song New York (Handles Heartbreak Better) by Peg Pernavik since I feel that it will encapsulate Lily's 'heartbreak' better. And oh, let me tempt you to these interesting features about the two songs that I love dearly that I scoured from the Web. 

* ‘River,’ the ‘thoroughly depressing’ Joni Mitchell song that somehow became a Christmas classic



3. The series has full-on representation: Midori Francis (Lily)is of Japanese descent. Austin Abrams (Dash) is of Jewish descent. Lily's brother is gay in a very realistic gay relationship. I can go on forever! 

4. The inspiration behind Lily's great aunt name is one of my favorite Newbery-winning novels by E.L Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I made it my life mission to collect all the books stamped with the honor. 

5. There is a fake Pixar film called Collation in which a piece of paper and stapler fall in love. One of the characters is voiced by Gina Rodriguez who I adored in Jane The Virgin! 

6. Mrs. Basil mentioned the line 'No Pun Intended', which of course is the title of my book minus the 'No', lol. 

7. NEW YORK FREAKIN CITY. Need I say more? 

8. These are the books briefly mentioned and are essential to the deciphering of the codes leading to the first dares: French Pianism, Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe ( which I like) and wait for it, The Joy of Gay Sex! This is glorious!!

9. Dash favorite books are: Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Zadie Smith's On Beauty and Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore. The taste jumped hunty! 

So really, what's stopping you from bingeing Dash & Lily? You deserve to get out of the rabbithole of whatever you have at the moment. Here's a show that will potentially lift up your spirits even if the world outside is crushing down on you. 

And as Lily would put it, 'Do you dare?'

images: (netflix, strand,


Life Lately

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hi. I miss you. 

This is an update the no one asked for. 

With everything that's going on in my professional life ( in case you still didn't know, I am a public senior high school teacher), updating this website seems to be the the least priority. I mean, this academic year has got to be craziest year ever: DepEd started late, students were met with their choice of learning modalities and to top it all, face to face learning is not happening up until early next year at least. This is the first time that it happened and honestly I am still looking for the silver lining of this all. So instead of thinking ideas to keep this website going, I have my work to think of first. I know it is not an excuse because I MUST be able to balance my obligation and what pleasure this gives me but believe me when I tell you that I am learning the ropes here. 

I am currently handling Oral Communication subject of four sections: twice a week are my scheduled online classes and the remaining days, I monitor my students through Google Classrooms and group chats on Facebook Messenger. Everything is just so new to all of us that we fumble and stumble. Sometimes we fear that we cannot stand again from the fall but since teachers are the frontliners now, we have no choice but to dust off and start anew. Although distant learning is not all that bad as I perceived it to be, it is not as lucrative either. 

Since I am teaching in a public school, our students do not have the same privilege nor the opportunities as compared to the students who belong to a well-off family who can afford to study in the private schools of their choice: most of them do not have decent Internet connection, functioning phones or even money to buy cellular load. This is the real situation that some romanticize about. There is nothing romantic here. This is the truth that the majority of Filipinos suffer on a daily basis. Some may applaud those who suffered for their resilience, but certainly not me. It's appalling and preposterous and not in any way a valid, solicited reaction. If we keep on celebrating this so-called resilience, we are just accepting the very little portion that they can give us. I hate being too political on this site because this is meant to be a sanctuary of the things that make me happy and certainly that thought doesn't make me one. 

That's a reality bite, if ever you need one. But I can't promise you, it will make you full. 

But I need to continue with this creative endeavor because this is basically what I signed up for. It's just that my insane schedules zap out all my energy, I barely have time to even pick a book. In fact, even if I wanted to finish Jessica Zafra's The Age of Umbrage and it still has a truckload of Miss Z's acerbic wit that I had known and adored, I am having a hard time getting around it. My reading record this year is laughable, I am still debating whether I will still join Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021. I have 5 TBRs on my Kindle Fire and I can't seem to even get to Chapter 2. The only consolation I have is that I grew up reading the books I love so I am not as guilty not being able to live up to that bookish reputation that has been tagged to me from people who knew me. 

Speaking of reading, Novice magazine, where my essay #Pride of Passage was published, arrived during this hiatus and I just marveled at how wonderful it all turned out. It's a literary concoction from creatives of myriad disciplines and I still get kilig on my inclusion. And I must say, everything's worth it! I am thankful to all those who bought copies. You can still buy a copy of your own by clicking this link

I am also over the moon that my story, ‘Cumulus’ was selected by the fiction editor Yeow Kai Chai to be one of the only 5 fictional pieces to appear in the end-of-the-quarter issue of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. International baby!  

In the website, these words prompt me to pinch myself if I was really a part of it or am I only dreaming: 

Our mission is to promote the literary arts in Singapore, to stimulate the feedback mechanisms in the literary scene, and to develop Singaporean writers to international standards. Our standards are therefore high, and our paradigms are the TLSes and LRBs of this world. We believe that good writing can and will emerge in Singapore, and we aim to aid that process by applying rigorous critical and editorial criteria.

Like, I can't believe it! QLRS is a dream journal and me being included is one of the best plot twists this year. I am still waiting for one more plot twist and I hope I'll also get it! Keeping my fingers crossed! 

I still have more ideas up my sleeves for more website updates, I just need time, energy and motivation to keep doing them! I am also open to suggestions. All you have to do is to comment below! 

Thank you and I hope you are safe in wherever you are at the moment!