Tuesday, March 30, 2010

T'was the Night I Saw Planet Saturn

I was fortunate to have been invited to the re-launch of Seven Suites Hotel Observatory last Saturday, March 27, 2010, which also marked their 13th anniversary. Upon reading the Noite de Carnival invite sent through my email, I couldn't help but feel excited. I immediately told myself that I had to bring my hubby and my two daughters to this educational, colorful and fun event. It would be our first time to attend a carnival-theme party and experience star-gazing using the hotel's 12" diameter telescope.

It was hard to think of an outfit to wear. I wanted to wear something with a "carnival" touch -- colorful, fun and glittery.

Seven Suites is the only hotel observatory in the Philippines. It practically boasts of having a 12" diameter telescope, not only the 4th largest but the most powerful telescope in the country. An in-house astronomer is on hand to give fascinating facts about the stars and the planets.

After touring and taking pictures of Seven Suites' facilities, we stayed at the hotel's dessert/snack bar, Sugar, where we excitedly waited for the programme to start. What caught my and our two daughters' fancy were the cute and sweet table centerpieces with lots and lots of lollipops in a see-through glass container. Those centerpieces will be my inspiration for my daughters' birthday celebration this June.

My tot couldn't resist these sugary temptations.

Mexican, Spanish and Latin American food abound. I personally like their paella and the green organic salad, which they harvested from their very own organic garden. The live entertainment provided by Ms. Eileen Sison of Guarana and her sexy entourage was nothing short of spectacular. They were feast for the eyes!

Ms. Ellen Sison of Guarana provided the night's live entertainment.

The hot samba dancers. Watching them groove to the beat of samba, bossa nova and other Latin tunes would leave you enthralled.

But what made our night truly spectacular (if I may use the word again) happened at the hotel's observatory. I saw the moon up-close and planet Saturn! I have never seen the moon as close as that. I could literally see the craters. Amazing! And seeing Saturn was surreal!

The spectacular view from Seven Suites' Observatory.

This is truly what sets Seven Suites apart from all the hotels we have been to. After seeing what we saw, my hubby even wanted to buy a telescope and make stargazing as one his many hobbies. He and my eldest suddenly became so fascinated with the heavens and the stars.

Thank you, Seven Suites, for this fantastic experience. Truly, Noite de Carnival was a celebration marked by a night of music, good food and the stars.

Below are some photos of the hotel's facilities:

The Hollywood Steakhouse

The facade of Seven Suites Hotel Observatory

Sugar - a dessert bar

The pool side

The courtyard

If you want to find out more about Seven Suites Hotel Observatory, visit their website at http://www.sevensuites.net/

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to Gain the Respect of Others

I stumbled upon this certain inspirational blog by Sri Chinmoy. True to the nature of his blog, one can't help but be inspired with all the topics he posts there. Here is one such post lifted from his blog. I couldn't agree more with all the points he stated here.

It is interesting to consider why we instinctively respect some people, but others can be very hard to appreciate. Respect doesn’t necessarily mean we have to agree with everything they say; respect comes from people’s inner life, and the values and beliefs they hold. If someone is sincere, honest and self effacing it is easy to respect them, even if they believe in a different life philosophy. If we can understand why some people instinctively gain respect, we can learn to implement these characteristics in our own life.

Talk Less
We do not command respect by excessively talking. The oft repeated saying "actions speak louder than words" is very applicable here. If we do the right thing and become the right person, we do not to justify our actions with words. Talking less does not mean that we ignore the power of the spoken word; it means that we speak when necessary. Don’t get worked up by every small incident; intervene only on important events. If we are judicious in speaking people will give more importance to our words. If we speak loudly on every minor issue, people will just start to swtich off.

True words aren’t eloquent;
eloquent words aren’t true.

Wise men don’t need to prove their point;

men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.

- Lao Tzu.Tao Te Ching Verse 81

Listen More
Everyone likes to have their own say. If we can patiently listen to others they will appreciate our concern and attention. Even if it is a little boring and repetitive, there is no harm in listening to what others have to say; listening to others shows that we are interested in them as a person. Listening more is the perfect complement to talking less. When we talk we try to influence others, when we listen we appreciate others; it is important to get the right balance.

Sincere Appreciation
There is a big difference between sincere appreciation, and flattery which hopes for similar words to be repaid in kind. Take the time to look for people and actions which really deserve appreciation and be generous in offering it to others. It is also important to be judicious in offering praise to others; if we do it all the time it starts to become insincere.

Non Judgmental
It is easy to build up lists of people we like and people we dislike. Our mind gets drawn to the faults of others, but if we are always picking up on the limitations and faults of others, it will diminish our own standing. To be non judgmental and accepting of others is a very powerful trait to develop. In society there can be a certain peer pressure to join in criticising others; there is a peer pressure to accept the gossip of the world. However, if we can be detached and non judgmental people will subconsciously respect our attitude a lot. To be really non judgmental, we should not even start criticizing people who started the gossip. Our attitude can be – We have enough problems to deal with ourselves, without worrying about the failings of other people.

The importance of honesty cannot be underestimated; if you gain a reputation for being ’slippery with the truth’ it will be difficult to gain the genuine respect of others. It is easier to be dishonest than we may imagine. When things go wrong there is a temptation to look for someone or something to blame. It takes a certain amount of courage to just be honest and accept things didn’t work out as planned; in the long run, this honesty will be appreciated.

Leave Praise To Other People
To gain the respect of other people, it will not help to remind people of why they should admire you. Good deeds will be rewarded; there is no need to force the issue. Respect often comes to those who don’t chase after it.

Self Respect
To gain the respect of others, it is important to have faith in yourself. This is not an egotistical pride, but modest self respect and faith in your inner capacities.

I simply do
What many dream of.

I simply do
What others talk about.

I simply become

What others dare not

Even to imagine.

-Sri Chinmoy

To gain the genuine respect of others it is important to be detached from misfortune, praise and criticism. Praise can easily go to our head and bloat our pride; this diminishes all the good work we have done before. On the opposite side, we should not get flustered by criticism. There is a great dignity in being able to just ignore unjust criticism. Some people can get easily offended at the slightest criticism and then respond in an ugly manner. If some ignorant people criticize us we diminish its importance simply be ignoring it. If we can maintain the highest principles despite any provocation people will come to appreciate and respect your inner values.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
If we have a feeling of indispensability and our own importance, we will rub people up the wrong way. If we can be self-depreciating and aware of our own limitations, people will respect us more. It is important to avoid taking yourself too seriously, but it is also important to avoid an exaggerated false modesty which can be just as irritating.

Sympathetic Oneness
We can easily respect someone who has magnanimous heart. If we have a large heart, we tend to tolerate and identify with the failings of others rather than making a big deal out of it. Sympathy should extend to all and not just a select few people.

Principles Above Money and Power

There are numerous opportunity to increase our financial well being and personal influence at the expense of personal values. But, if we make progress at the expense of others we will lose the respect of others. Sticking to higher principles and placing others above any temporary monetary gain is a powerful way to gain the lasting respect and appreciation of others.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday Date Nights

Our latest Friday night date at Texas Roadhouse Grill (Boni High Street)

It was sometime in 2008 when my hubby and I decided to reserve Friday nights exclusively for the two us. Friday nights would be our date nights. If I could recall correctly, that decision stemmed from a fight that we had one Friday night. We were suppose to celebrate a special occasion that night (I can't remember if it was my birthday or our wedding anniversary) when a disagreement arose. I wanted very much to call off that dinner date and just go home. Good thing, we immediately patched things up and forgave each other. From that point on we committed to have date nights every Friday night.

Dinner at Tender Bob's Greenbelt

There were many times that we would spend our Friday nights watching a movie. Thanks to Citibank Free Movie Pass promo (I'm glad it's back), we were able to watch lots of movies without spending too much for the tickets.

Dessert time one Friday night at Gelatissimo

And there would be times that we would squeeze in some grocery shopping after having dinner in a nearby resto.

It pays to have date nights. Really. It's nice to just chill out with your husband and enjoy the company of each other.

I read from a book that having date nights with your spouse is an effective way to nourish a relationship. It may hurt your pocket a little (just imagine the cost of watching a movie or having just a simple dinner, nowadays) but I believe it to be such a worthy investment!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nisi's 10th Birthday at Sofitel

Days before her birthday, I told our eldest daughter, Nisi, that we would check in at Sofitel for her 10th birthday celebration. She screamed in delight, oh well, almost! Just like me, she loves checking in at hotels. Well, I haven't checked in at Sofitel and I was just as as excited as she was.

I'm privileged to be a first-time Advantage Plus card holder, Sofitel's membership. And as a member, we are entitled to a one free night stay at their Standard Room (w/o breakfast), which was what we availed during our stay. Another benefit from being a member is that you get at most 50% off on dining privileges. And when you're dining at Sofitel's Spiral, you better have this membership or else dining here will cost you an arm and a leg. Lunch and dinner buffet at Spiral can cost about P2,000+ per person.

We requested for an early check-in which they gladly accommodated. We were there at around 12 noon. I opted for 2 single beds in our room instead of 1 king size bed as I was expecting their single bed to be as big as a queen size bed. I was wrong. It was really just 2 single beds placed beside each other (which appeared to be 1 king size bed).

We had a room with a balcony overlooking the bay. Nice! The room was spacious with a nice computer desk, sort of an office desk. It had a sitting area with two chairs and a round marble-tiled coffee table. It even had a glass minibar. The bathroom was modern but had no bath tub. I was okay with that since the shower area had a big rain showerhead, which was so cool. I would love to have that in our bathroom.

Just after a few minutes of staying in our room, we decided to check out the pool area. We took lots of pictures there. Upon seeing their swimming pool upclose, Nisi and Noelle got so excited and wanted to take a dip already.

We were suppose to have dinner at The Spiral but since it was fully booked that Saturday night, we just had dinner at Aristocrat with Jun, Lala & Luis who came by. I bought Nisi her birthday cake at Aristocrat.

The next day, we had breakfast at The Spiral. Nisi and Noelle and of course, Nala were free of charge - another benefit you get when you're a member. We also availed the free birthday cake voucher from Spiral.

Buffet breakfast at The Spiral

Happy birthday to our big baby, Nisi!
We love you very much.

Nisi told us that she would like to spend her 11th birthday again at Sofitel. Oh, I would love that, too. If our budget will permit it next year, why not? But in the meantime, I'm just as happy that she enjoyed her birthday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

GUESS and COACH Handbag Giveaway

Bag, bags giveaway!! If you're like any other girl, you surely like bags. So, here's a giveaway for all of us....

XBeautyBowX is giving away a Guess and Coach handbag. Read the mechanics below:

1. You MUST be a FOLLOWER of her BLOG !!! or you will be DISQUALIFIED!

2. You MUST make a post about my contest You can just write "Guess and coach handbag giveaway" and put the above picture with a link back to her page.

3. If you don't have a blog add her on twitter www.twitter.com/xbeautybowx and tweet about my giveaway.

4. This giveaway is open to anyone world wide.

5. If you are under the age of 18, please get guardian consent. Parents must send a email to her saying they allow you to enter!!

Her giveaway started last Feb. 09, 2010 will end on March 10, 2010.

Click here for more details about this giveaway.