Monday, November 21, 2016

LDR gift giving

One of the main things that I find challenging in long distance relationships is gift giving. At the start, I would send EJ gifts by having them shipped to him but this has proven to be very expensive and limiting. Not only will you not be able to send expensive items (for fear of them getting lost), you also cannot send some items due to customs restrictions. This prompted me (and him too) to get a bit more creative in sending gifts.

Well it was his birthday last Friday and the occasion allowed me to try another means of gift giving-- pizza delivery :) Pizza is one of EJ's favorite foods and for many years I've been wanting to give him pizza but I couldn't find a place in Canada that would let me buy and pay online. Well that all changed when I discovered Uber Eats.

Uber Eats Canada let me order from stores near EJ's home and an Uber driver picked it up and delivered it to his house. I ordered from Pizza Edge in Brampton, a small restaurant with tasty pizza (ask EJ!). Ordering to delivery took about 30 minutes in total which is really fast compared to pizza deliveries here in the Philippines. The food was debited from my Uber account without any hassle. It was just perfect! I was so nervous the whole time that they would have to look for the actual card used for the transaction or me to sign it or something but no, they just delivered it and the receipt was sent to my email. Mission complete!

Because birthday cakes are passe. Birthday PIZZA for my love!
Now I finally have a place to go to if I want to order food for EJ in Canada. The interesting thing is, Uber Eats is actually not available in the Philippines (hehe) so I'm really really glad I got to fool the app thinking I was in Canada :P

Since I'm already on the topic, let me share some of the websites I've used before in sending gifts to EJ online:

1. Edible Arrangements - EdibleArrangements.ca has been my go to delivery service for food items for many times in the past. I love their chocolate-covered fruit items and that you can add items to  the fruits like balloons, bears, etc. You can also schedule the delivery date so you can get this in advance and not worry about it. What I dislike however is that it can get quite expensive with the delivery fee on top of the price. Still, it's a good service provider with cool products.


2. Amazon Canada - Amazon Canada is my go to for the more expensive (and bulky) items I want to give EJ. It's reliable, safe, and accepts international payment. It has a wide selection and you can check for the best deals.

There you go! I'll leave the part about sending items to the Philippines to EJ but that's my list of go to websites for sending gifts to Canada.

Stay strong fellow LDR couples! *hug*


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sweet Red and Green

It's that time of the year again when the nininja kitchen opens up once again for my signature red velvet and green tea crinkles!


I love how these babies get a lot of attention during this time. I'm normally a lazy baker because baking is messy and time-consuming but the satisfaction I get when people eat these crinkles makes all the effort worth it :)


This is indeed the season to be jolly!-- and fat! Advance Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Up in the sky I go

One of the biggest art projects I was fortunate enough to take on was the design for a baby boy's birthday party. His parents are currently in Bangkok and since it's his first birthday, his mom really wanted to make it special by creating a theme for it. But for some reason she says she couldn't find the type of decor she wanted for the party so she contacted me to make her the decor.

It  was a really fun project because I got to work with one of my favorite mediums: felt cloth :) I find sewing really enjoyable and relaxing. I particularly enjoyed making cute little clouds and stuffing them!
Liam's mom even had a cake customized based on my design!
What I love most about the party decor is that they're reusable and after the party, they could put it in the baby's room as decor. They're also easy to pack which made sending these to Bangkok really easy :)

Happy birthday darling baby boy!

For customized party decor orders like this, email me at thenininja.com or PM me on Instagram @nininja

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Of art and more

There's nothing more satisfying for me than creating art. Lately, apart from being busy from work (sorry about the lack of updates), I have been keeping myself preoccupied with art projects. So for the next few posts, allow me  to feature some of the art projects I have been preoccupied with:

1. Cut out family tree

A few months ago, I went to Canada to visit EJ and his family and I decided I wanted to do a special gift for them. So I decided to do a cut out family tree. It was the first time I've ever done one but I do enjoy making cut outs and I tend to get excited about new projects. It was a really painstaking task, and I had to do the cut out twice because the first one just looked bad, but the final product is something I am very very proud of :)


My colleagues at work were so impressed with this they even suggested I sell it. I haven't really post it anywhere online until now but I guess they're right, so if you wanna order, I'm selling this for PHP2,000.00 with 2-3 weeks production time.

2. Glass calligraphy

In line with the whole "this is the first time I'm doing this but what the heck" mentality, I decided to do calligraphy on a glass frame for a dear friend's wedding. Again, it was the first time I tried it and it was a disaster at first because apparently you need special materials to write on glass, but I was able to pull it off and I think it is beautiful :)


I can't find the framed version of this or the final touched up one, but this one will do. I love how it looks so artsy and I really didn't think I could create something so nice. Again, if you want to get a customized one, I sell these for PHP950.00 with 1-2 weeks production time.

So there goes some of my art projects the past month! I can't believe I've actually embarked on a lot of artistic endeavors in just a few months. But it is something I do derive so much joy from and it feels great to be able to share it with the world :)

p.s. for orders, email me at thenininja@gmail.com or PM me on Instagram @nininja

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Discovering Arequipa, Peru

This year has been nothing but full of surprises for me. Some things didn't go as (I) planned but I can honestly say all the surprises I've been given this year have been pleasant.

One of those unexpected twists was being able to travel to Arequipa, Peru for work.

It was my first long haul flight and as luck would have it, my first one had to be a grueling 36-hour transit. My itinerary was Manila - Hong Kong - New York - Lima - Arequipa. Talk about a baptism of fire!

I've never heard of Arequipa until the trip. Before, when I thought of Peru, all that came to mind was Macchu Pichu (which is one of my dream destinations, by the way). So it was a pleasant surprise for me to discover the beauty of Arequipa.

The view from the airport! That's Chachani and Pichu pichu, two of Arequipa's volcanoes
Arequipa is unique because the city is bounded on 3 sides by volcanoes-- Chachani, Pichu-Pichu and Misti. It is also 7,600 feet above sea level which makes its weather interesting-- it's hot in the morning and really cold at night. The elevation was also something I wasn't ready for hence my altitude sickness on the first two days :(

Tourist spots
Arequipa is actually one of the major tourist destinations in Peru. I didn't have a lot of chances to go around but and I think these pictures will make you see why:


  


Pretty fields in Colca Canyon
Selfie with a condor in Colca Canyon!

Snow at the highest point in our trip to Colca Valley!
 

The alpaca reserve! The pretty alpacas are allowed to just roam free
 

Touring the Monasteria de Santa Catalina

  


Weather
The best time to travel to Arequipa is between May to September because it is their dry winter season. It means you get clear sunny days in the mornings and cool nights. One fun fact we noticed in Arequipa is that there are hardly any clouds in the area. So you literally get clear blue skies which makes for the most beautiful nature shots!

For those from tropical countries (like me) however, please note that the temperature drops around 5 pm and you need a thick coat which is actually a thick thermal down jacket for me :P

Hotels
Hotels in Arequipa are more like bed and breakfasts. They are not very  tall and looks like houses converted to hotels. What makes the hotels interesting though is that they do not have air conditioners. You can request for a heater at night if you get too cold but other than that, it's just natural air/temperature for you.

Shopping
Shopping in Arequipa for tourists is mostly centered in Plaza de Armas. They have a couple of malls but if you want the more "authentic" feel, you may visit the Plaza which also doubles as one of the must-see tourist spots in the city.

The Cathedral in Plaza de Armas

As for things to buy, I have two "A" words for you: Alpaca and Alfajores. Alfajores are soft delicate cookies that are common to Arequipa. I really enjoyed the dulce de leche in Arequipa so it was easy for me to decide on getting the one filled with dulce de leche. I can't emphasize enough how good they are! The cookies are soft and crumbly and the filling was tasty and not overly sweet. It was just perfect pieces of heaven!


 

I don't mean for you to buy an Alpaca but make sure to get Alpaca products because not only are they cheap there, but you know for sure they are authentic. I went home with a scarf and a shawl made from Royal Alpacas for a colleague and she swears by how warm and nice they are. I also got myself Alpaca stuffed toys which had the softest and fluffiest fur! They are so adorable and makes for a great souvenir. Add a chullo (hat) and your Peruvian pasalubong stash is complete :)

Food
In all honesty, I am not such a big fan of their food. I know they say that potatoes are Peru's gift to the world but being a vegetarian in Peru and having to eat potatoes almost every meal gets tiring. For some reason too, I feel like everything was bland. Sweet food were not a problem, but the savory ones tasted under salted to me.

They however have some interesting food items that I've only seen (and heard of) there:

Choclo con queso
Choclo con queso directly translates to corn with cheese. But what's interesting about the Arequipan version is that their cheese doesn't melt and it isn't very salty. Also, the corn kernels are huge! They're as big as my nail!

 

Look at the slab of cheese beside the choclo vendor!
Queso hellado
Queso hellado translates to cheese ice cream but it isn't actually made of cheese! It's like honey flavored sorbet but because its color resembles that of Arequipan cheese, the locals have named this sweet dessert as queso hellado.


Chicha morada
Chica morada isn't actually local to Arequipa alone, it's actually all over Peru. It's a juice extracted from Peruvian purple corn. Yes, you read that right, corn! But interestingly, it doesn't taste like corn, it actually tastes more like grape wine (but milder). I don't have a photo of it but I had it so many times in the trip, I treated it almost like water.

And there you have it! That concludes my Arequipa experience! Thank you, Arequipa! Thank you, Peru! ♥

The power of collagen

Lately, I've been obsessing over ways to make my skin look young and fresh. One of the things that I've discovered is collagen treatment. I know it's not new and people have raved about it in the past but allow me to focus on one product that I've been using a lot the past few weeks:


It's a Collagen mask from Watsons. Yup, you read that right, Watsons!-- that personal care store we buy our toiletries from, has a collagen mask! In fact, it has an entire collagen line under its name: hand creams, facial washes, night creams, you name it! And they all have collagen!

I've been using a lot of face masks and I'm so used to them not making a lot of difference the next day so it was a pleasant surprise when I saw results the day after using the Collagen mask from Watsons. Even if I stayed up late, I woke up looking fresh and for lack of a better word, blooming. Even my boyfriend noticed the difference!

The masks retails for Php65.00 at Watsons and believe me, it is recommended to use it 3 times a week. I know it's a bit expensive but because I swear by how effective it is, I think this is an investment you might want to consider. Or if you're going to an important event, you may wish to use one the night before so you'll look fresh and blooming the following day. I tell you, the effect is that instantaneous!

I am completely in love with this product from Watsons and can't wait to try the other products from their line. I think I'll get the hand cream next. I can't wait to have extra soft hands!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cambodia: A Photo Diary

On my birthday 3 months ago (wow, it's been three months!), I ticked off two items off my bucketlist: see the Angkor Wat and ride a hot air balloon. I know this post comes way late but I would still like to take you all on a photo adventure of Siem Reap, Cambodia:














Thank you, Cambodia for the memorable trip! It was definitely an amazing birthday!


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