Falling in love over coffee, Starbucks-style

A cup of coffee is magical. Not only does it wake up your senses and fuel your soul for the day, but it also serves as a catalyst for connecting with other people — forming friendships, forging relationships, and, sometimes, leading to happy endings.

This is the true for two couples who began their relationship with good conversations over Starbucks Coffee.

Starbucks Philippines - Love Story

Alvin and Deborah

Take the case of Alvin and Deborah, who met up at Starbucks i2 Point in Cebu after being introduced to each other through Facebook by a common friend. On that first meeting, they bonded over Java Chip Frappuccino, Caramel Frappuccino, and Cinnamon Roll. In less than a month, they made their relationship official.

After three years, Alvin, a self-proclaimed poet, proposed to Deborah through a 14-stanza poem. “I gave her one stanza of the poem every month during our coffee dates at Starbucks. It started on September 25, 2013, and went on for a year. After that, I never wrote her a poem again. I decided to fulfill my plan to propose to her last March 25, 2015 and created photo slides of us with each stanza of the poem in it, but now with the culminating stanza asking her to be my wife,” Alvin shared.

Last year, they had their prenuptial photoshoot at the Starbucks store where they first met. They are now married for eight months and expecting their firstborn very soon.

Starbucks Philippines - Love Story

Luis and Jet

Meanwhile, Luis and Jet were part of a study group that met regularly at Starbucks to review for the board exams. One Sunday after the exams, they met again at Starbucks just to read books and spend some time together, until a barista invited them to join a coffee seminar.

They obliged and had a wonderful coffee experience by discovering the different growing regions and types of coffee. After the seminar, they got to know each other on a more personal level as they were able to talk more comfortably. “That same day, I came to know that he loves to go to the movies and dreams about being Batman. He also allowed me to share a laugh with him about his funny childhood antics, which I still laugh about to this very moment. The coffee experience loosens up people and makes them more comfortable, and I think this is why the term ‘COCOL’ (Coffee-Coffee Lang) also became popular,” Jet shared. They agreed to attend the following week’s coffee seminar, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now about to get married, they still remember that first time they had a good conversation and the friendly faces of the baristas who invited them to the coffee seminar.

You wouldn’t think love stories like these can start over coffee, at a place where people get together to bond and enjoy each other’s company. But from the very start, Starbucks has strived to be the third place between home and work. And it’s here where one can form and keep meaningful relationships.

Keeping in the spirit of encouraging meaningful connections over good coffee, Starbucks is inviting you to its Meet Me at Starbucks For a Date Night. This event happens on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2017, at the following stores:

  • EVIA Daang Hari in Las Pinas (from 6 to 8 PM)
  • The Venice Grand Canal in Taguig (from 6 to 8 PM)
  • Axis Entertainment Center in Cebu (from 7 to 9 PM)
  • E-Lopez in Quezon City (from 7 to 9 PM)

There will be live performances, food and beverage sampling, and special treats to attendees.

Celebrate love over a cup of your favorite handcrafted beverages and share your photos and stories at www.meetmeatstarbucks.ph – because good things happen when you get together.

Perspective 2017

Today, I’m writing this post while inside my sister’s room. Well, it used to be our shared room before I got married. Before that, it was the room where our maternal grandmother stayed in before she migrated to Canada (she’s moved back to the PH, in Cebu at present).

My sister recently flew to Singapore to grab a wonderful career opportunity there.

She left the room in such a way any OC person would be proud of. The bed’s neatly made, pillows stacked by the headboard. On one side, all the things she chose to leave behind kept in big plastic boxes (she brought almost everything to SG — she was allowed up to 9 balikbayan boxes; most that’s here at home are for garage sale or disposal). On the shelves, some knick-knacks and stuff that may be of use to her, probably when she gets back.

And on the walls, lists of tasks and inspiration boards.

For those reading this, it would sound like a description of the room. But for me, it describes the person who occupied it. Someone who had things in order, who had plans in mind, who had a sharp focus on her short-term and long-term goals.

Someone so unlike me.

I admire my sister for that. I must admit that, somehow, I am envious of that trait of hers, too.

I’ve never been the kind of person who looked beyond. I was always content of the here-and-now. But now, as a married person and a parent, it’s dawned on me that it’s not enough to just concentrate on the present. Looking around my sister’s room and what she’s left here, I realized that it’s important to channel my focus on the future. Mine, my family’s, especially my children’s future.

That’s why this 2017, this is my mantra:

Focus

Focus. Made with canva.com

FOCUS on creating short-term and long-term goals, and meeting them.

FOCUS on increasing our savings.

FOCUS on maintaining our emergency fund.

FOCUS on ending debt.

FOCUS on stability.

FOCUS on getting the job done, in the best way possible.

FOCUS on maintaining good health.

FOCUS on having a happy, nurturing family.

FOCUS on being patient and kind.

FOCUS on continuous self-improvement.

And oh, FOCUS on finishing building my new blog.

That are the points I (and the Mr. and the whole family) will focus on this year.

I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. But I think it”s important to have some sort of goal for the year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fulfill most, if not all, of the focus points for 2017.

Kinda late for a new year’s greeting. Still, have a blessed 2017. And yeah, Xin Nian Kuai Le, too.

2016 Starbucks Red Cups feature two Filipino designs

Remember the furor over the Starbucks 2015 Red Cups? (Crazy, seriously. I’m Roman Catholic and I was not offended in any way, nor did I think the company was waging “war on Christmas”. Whew, people are so agit.) It sparked an idea wherein the red cups became a blank canvas for customers to create their own artworks. And last December, Starbucks invited people to share their designs on Instagram. From among over 1,200 submissions from around the world, the company chose 13 designs to feature in this year’s Holiday Red Cups.

2016 Starbucks Red Cups

The 2016 Starbucks Red Cups

Dena Blevins, creative director for Starbucks Global Creative Studio, shared: “We were surprised and inspired by the amount of incredible art submitted by our customers, the designs were beautiful, expressive and engaging. We quickly realized that there was potential to use the customer created art for our holiday cups.”

Among the chosen designs are two from Filipinos: “Ornaments” by Anz Soza and “Birch Forest” by Chloe Deogaygay. If you’ve been purchasing your Starbucks Holiday Beverages, you’ve probably gotten hold of their creations. 🙂

Anz Soza Starbucks Red Cup Ornaments

Anz Soza with her “Ornaments” design

Anz, an interior designer now based in Dubai, made a hobby of doodling Starbucks cups, collecting more than 75 creations. She uses her designs to prove that sometimes, all we need is a change in perspective.

“Every time I draw on my cups, I always imagine myself as another person using the cup I designed. It’s like talking to them through my drawings. I want the other person to feel that whatever situation he/she is in right now, everything’s gonna be okay,” she said. Her winning design, ‘Ornaments,’ shows the joyous holiday season through dream catchers.

Meanwhile, Chloe, a nurse now based in Chicago, created a wintry design which reminds her of her home in the States. “I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with winter since I moved to Illinois. Even though I’ve experienced a blizzard, getting stuck in snow, and extreme winter temperatures, I have come to appreciate the beauty of trees and fields all covered in white snow,” she said.

Chloe Deogaygay Starbucks Red Cups Birch Forest

Chloe Deogaygay with her Birch Forest Red Cup

Chloe also studied multimedia arts and have always been into graphic design. As an avid Starbucks card collector, she shows her creativity by designing envelopes with washi tapes and white pens to surprise fellow collectors she swap with.

The Holiday Red Cup designs, inspired by the stories of Starbucks customers from all over the world, feature traditional Christmas lights and ornaments, snowflakes, and winter landscapes that express the shared spirit of the Yuletide Season.

“We loved how the red cups with white designs naturally created a collection. They hang together as one idea but each expression is unique,” said Blevins.

Take home Anz’s and Chloe’s designs, as well as the other artsy Red Cups, when you visit a Starbucks store near you.

Post-birthday musings and political stuff

Officially 3 years away from the big 4-0, when they say life begins.

Does that mean 3 years more in inception stage?

————

A day before my birthday, Ferdinand Marcos was buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Stealth-mode preps from the family. Of course, once Filipinos got wind of the situation, the 21-gun salute was going on and a sort-of SDE (hey, drone shots!) was already posted on his daughter Imee’s Facebook.

Outrage online. Gatherings at the People Power Monument and on the streets of Katipunan. A lot of things have been said, spewed, spitted out.

#MarcosNotAHero. #NeverAgain. #NeverForget. These were the popular hashtags as of late. And black boxes as profile pics are in.

Being born in the twilight years of Martial Law, I can’t say I have experienced the atrocities then first-hand. But my parents and older relatives have their share of stories about what happened then until February 25, 1986.

To be honest, my clear memory of that time was my sister’s birthday. Papa went out the morning February 23 of that year to get the pre-ordered cake from Goldilocks in Shaw. He came back at around 6 pm. The cake was a mess in the car — the icing had melted. He said that he just went to look around the EDSA area. Oh well.

That aside, I will agree with the first hashtag #MarcosNotAHero. So let’s say he’s not directly involved in the EJKs or the Desaparecidos. But it was his men in uniform, whom he had control, who carried those acts out. And he didn’t call them out. That’s not a way of the leader. That’s not the way of a hero.

People say #NeverForget. That’s true. But I don’t think that telling the Filipinos that moving on shouldn’t be done is right, either. Hear me out on this: MOVING ON DOESN’T MEAN FORGETTING. Really. Just because people say “move on” that doesn’t mean throwing history out of the window. Seriously, people can rant all they want. But after that, what now? People can say they don’t want Marcos to be buried there, but then what’s your solution? I say, we move FORWARD from this issue WITHOUT FORGETTING the past. The solution: we teach our children about the past, the bad and the good, for them to learn to shape the future.

[Calls have been made to exhume the body. But really, is disrespect the way to go?]

————

The playwright George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” I do hope that for us, Filipinos, this isn’t the case. We have to remember that there was a man who brought us to an era of darkness. Yet, at the same time, we should go forward and bring this knowledge, this part of history, to the consciousness of the young ones so that they will work hard for this not to happen again.

And yeah, you don’t have to be born/live during Martial Law to call out what’s wrong with the issue.

Shop for Kids’ Christmas Gifts with Groupon

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post. The opinions expressed here are all my own based on my experience.

It’s approximately 7 weeks before Christmas. Have you started your Holiday shopping yet?

Me, I haven’t. But as early as now, I have gifts in mind for my little ones.

Christmas Gift

Christmas shopping is just around the corner! Photo from www.pexels.com

Since my daughters are aged 7 and 1, I’m leaning towards giving them toys for Christmas. Of course, what kid doesn’t want a new toy as a gift, right?

This year, however, I’m thinking of giving them toys that are unique. Toys that are not just playthings, but also educational tools. Toys that will help them learn and use their imagination. Toys that cultivate intelligence and creativity.

I know there are parents who would like to give unique toys to their kids as well. But sometimes they come at a not-so-affordable price.

For parents like me who want to buy gifts for the Holidays but also want to save on shopping, deals from Groupon Coupons and the like are sure to help in keeping within the budget.

What’s great about sites like Groupon is that they have amazing deals that you can take advantage of for your Christmas shopping. Plus, Groupon has a wide selection of items that are perfect presents for every one at home!

You can use your Groupon Coupons to get special discounts on different shops and items. One of these is Kiwi Crate — a brand that makes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) projects fun for kids of all ages. Just look at one of the Kiwi Crate boxes that’s great for kids 5 to 8 years old:

Kiwi Crate

This Kiwi Crate for kids 5 to 8 years old is sure to stimulate their creative thinking

And for those with very young children who are beginning to learn to read, you can use the Groupon Coupons to purchase something like this Sight Words Tub from Scholastic Teacher Express:

Scholastic Teacher Express

Sight Words Tub from Scholastic Teacher Express, great for little kids who are starting to learn to read

There are other brands wherein you can use Groupon Coupons to shop. So this Holiday Season, take the stress away from shopping. Let Groupon help you in getting the gift you want for your loved ones while you save up on expenses and keep within your budget.

Learn more about Groupon: follow it on Facebook and Twitter.