Au Revoir, Marion!

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have been posting a lot of sad news lately, well… another sad event has happened and this time it hit close to home.

Yesterday, my officemate and friend, Marion Martinez, passed away after a four year battle of ovarian cancer.

Today, we held a mass and tribute for her, lead by the Integrated Marketing Group in the Chapel of the Annunciation in the ABS-CBN compound. Her family brought her urn to the office and held a simple lunch in the marketing office.

I spent half of the tribute crying my eyes out as her close friends from Marketing and Synergy (the department where she previously worked) shared stories.

It brought me back to fond memories of Marion. She was one of the friendliest people in the office. She had such a pleasing personality that we became friends the instant she moved to Marketing back in 2006. We didn’t even have a common project back then. I can’t remember when exactly our friendship started but we bonded over common people we knew, like my cousin Miloy, who she worked with during her Synergy days. She’s share stories of their times together and my cousin would also do the same when I see him.

I think the time we first got to work together was the 55th anniversary promo project, where I had two major sponsors. Marion was the team lead for trade marketing and we would be meeting together and coordinating with each other about it. Since then, we would always greet each other in the hallways and share an anecdote or two.

It was also around that time she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her treatment went well and she was back in fighting form after some time. I would often ask her, “How are you?” and she would talk about her treatments like it wasn’t the most tragic thing that can happen in her life.

Years went by, and what got my crying was when I remembered a memory with her back in 2010. I have just gotten back from my leave from my anxiety disorder and she just got back from her treatments since her cancer came back. We were surprised to have gone away from the same time. I remember we were telling each other that we haven’t seen each other for quite some time and swapped stories. Looking back, I knew somehow I got strength from her with what she went through to go on through my own personal battle.

She briefly became part of the original Team Bagets, where she was in charge of the events and other trade stuff for kids, until she was already having a hard time with her sickness. I remember one long car ride with her to a meeting in Nestle, where she was the one who helped me out with my VJ spiel project, she shared with me her trip to Europe and the things she does for her treatment.

Her sickness to a turn for the worse about a month ago. Her friends all rallied to help raise funds for an operation for her since her cancer was spreading.

The Marketing team organized a Shop For Cause for the 1M for Marion movement and I bought these pretty shoes just for her. Whenever I wear this, I will remember my dear friend.

Au revoir, my friend! You can rest now. It was a battle well fought and you have won. We will miss you!

* Some photos taken from Marion’s own FB page and from Hub Uy.

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Thinspiration: TRA Week 8

Time flies so fast and I’ve completed two whole months of the TRA program!

I measured myself last Saturday and was pleased to see that although my weight remained the same, my body fat still went down a few decimal points and so did my BMI and subcutaneous fats, while my skeletal muscle increased.

I was to be quite honest, relieved at the results but also not satisfied with it. I was relieved that I was right on track, however not at the speed I wanted. There was a very slight change from my last measurement two weeks ago and also not much different from my one month marker.

To be honest, its probably due to how I behaved that past month. I cut myself a bit loose that July and started accepting invitations to eat out with friends since I was already comfortable with the program and adjusting well. However, eating out is a bit trickier when trying to stay healthy because there is more temptation to stray (you just have to sample the restaurant’s dessert) and you are not familiar with what is in the meal. I have also welcomed traveling for a few days, and some times you cannot help but sneak your hand into that bag of chips when you’re having a laugh with friends by the pool. Due to these changes in schedule, my work-out schedule has also became sporadic and I just went maximum of 2 times a week.

But as much as possible, I kept to the 3333 meals throughout day. It became my guiding light throughout the journey. People are beginning to notice how I eat and thus I get to influence them to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The program also helped me exercise my amount of self-control. The lessons have already bore into my subconscious that I refrain from having more cake, drinking alcohol (despite peer pressure), and staying up late.

I am looking forward to my third month with excitement, adventure and curiosity. Every day is a new challenge, and every day is a new beginning. Every day is a step closer to my goal.

Coming Soon: The Grove 2012

With September, the air now sings with the bright merry tune of the upcoming year end holidays. In the Philippines, we celebrate Christmas as early as September.

September for me, comes with new changes.

This September, I am about to be a proud owner of my own home – my very first.

After four years of waiting, one of my dreams will finally come to fruition. I will be handed over my condo unit at the newly built and developed The Grove located along C-5 in Pasig City. This residential community boasts of resort-like condominiums in the heart of my hometown.

I bought a studio unit in one of the first towers four years ago as an investment for the future. It was my first biggest purchase I’ve ever done and one of my firsts as an adult. I decided to own a studio unit since it was the only one within my budget at that time and I wasn’t sure how my future would look like. I was only 25 when I bought it so I thought to myself, if I wasn’t married by the time it was done, I can still use it, or if I was, I can have it rented out or sell at an heftier price since it was a prime real estate property.

I really believe in serendipitous events. If things are meant to be, they are meant to be.

It all started 4 years ago. I was sitting in my desk one day, and I overheard an officemate of mine talking about her condo unit located in another prime development area and I said to myself, I wanted this for myself. To wake up in my own home, and when I go down, its complete with amenities and the like.

For some reason, I texted my sister first and shared that dream. I already had some places I had in mind like in Eastwood in Quezon City or at The Fort Area, which at that time was being developed into a global city. And she suggested visiting her high school friend, who worked as a sales agent for Rockwell Land, as they had a new development project coming up.

I didn’t hesitate with Rockwell, as they are known for their prime development projects in the Makati area and is a sister company of the very company I work with. We arranged a meeting with her friend Ina, within the week.

Upon meeting Ina, she showed me The Grove project and I fell in love with it. It was still pre-selling, and work on the site hasn’t even begun. She showed my the types of properties they had and I said I was interested in a studio unit since it was the only one I can afford.

I had only one condition for her – the unit had to have a number 7, my lucky number – on the unit. She smiled and said there are only three available units left – 907, 911 and 1111. Guess what unit did I get? 🙂

I didn’t hesitate as I knew that this unit was meant for me. A week later I was signing contracts and writing out checks until the unit will be turned-over.

And now, the time has almost come. Early this year, I have been contacted by the handover team to assist me with the turn-over. Target date is on September.

And as September came, on its very first day I arranged for a visit to inspect the unit since I have never seen it.

My unit is actually done, according to Jeff, my handover representative. The first thing you open to is a mini-kitchenette that has already been affixed with cabinets, provisions for a stove, washer/dryer and refrigerator, and a sink.

After that you step in a wide open space which is to be my dining/living/bedroom area.

Off the room is a balcony area with a mini veranda. That gives the view of the Marikina river behind the compound.

After showing us the unit, Jeff brought us downstairs to the amenities area. A lot are still under construction, but the pool, basketball and tennis courts are already finished. Coming soon are the gym, dance studio, and function room.

I am definitely excited for my unit! Even if my unit is ready, I plan to furnish it up a bit and maximize space before I completely move in. My target is to have it completed by December 2012.

I so can’t wait! Its like a dream come true!

Food Trip: Chez Karine

I am such an avid fan of desserts! I always scour the metro for the best places to buy sweets and desserts because usually they are ice breakers for clients and friends during parties, or make great Christmas gifts.

Chez Karine bakery is a quaint little French patisserie that opened recently at the Fort. This cute and homey place offers artisanal, seasonal pastries made fresh, from scratch, daily.

The place is bright and cheery and it stands out amidst its next door neighbors, Cupcakes by Sonja and Gelatissimo, which are also fierce competitors and established dessert places in the area.

Chez Karine’s specialties are their colorful French Macaroons, Royal Puddings, Panna Cotta and little cakes and pastries. They also have a wide range of coffee and tea drinks and go well with their pastries.

Here’s their menu below:

For my first visit, I decided to get a box of 7 macaroons, one of each flavor – Dark Chocolate, Earl Grey, Salted Caramel, Strawberry, Lemon, Milk Chocolate Passion fruit and Pistachio, and a box of 3 Royal Pudding, also one of each flavor – Chocolate, Muscuvado and Vanilla.

First of all, I just love their packaging, especially for the Royal Pudding. Their panna cottas also come in the same jars. Their boxes have cute caricatures for an added personal touch. Even their little cakes have specially shaped boxes for them.

As for the macarons, my favorite would be the salted caramel and earl grey. The others are a little on the too sweet side for my taste but their texture is just right. Although I wish they had more flavors to offer.

For the Royal Pudding, the muscuvado is my favorite. The chocolate is a little bitter, probably made from dark chocolate, while the vanilla one is a bit too plain. The pudding has the same texture and creaminess as the Filipino dessert, the leche flan, and even has the caramel sauce at the bottom. But I find this dessert expensive at P100 a jar and contains very little. You are probably paying more for the packaging and flavor.

Chez Karine is a very welcome addition to the Serendra area as another great option for dessert or give-aways. Looking forward to trying out their other menu items!

September Photo A Day Challenge List

I am already on my 8th month of participating in the list and it now plays a major part of my day. Here’s the Sept list:

Please be reminded that the hash tag is #FMSphotoday when you are on instagram or twitter 🙂

Do check how to play the list at fatmumslim’s website here.