The Fairy flies to Cambodia

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The Khmer experience is one I would never forget. First out of country travel with mom made it so memorable. A side trip to Vietnam was an added bonus.

Traveling with a family and a friend has always been an exciting combination. You get the best of both worlds! More so, Cambodia is a “Kingdom of Wonder” – full of historical architecture and masterpiece of nature.

In every trip we undertake, we do some researching. This holds especially true with my good friend, MJ.

Phnom Penh

In this trip, we were too much on long bus rides (we took the border trip from Vietnam). And when I said long, it means 7-9 hours travel by land. Wow! Only time I did that kind is traveling to Baguio, Philippines which happens only maybe once in 2 years.

Arrival / Departure card to be presented at the Immigration Border

We took the Mekong Express (named after the Mekong river surrounding Cambodia) which seems to have organized, well-maintained bus lines. Thankfully, our trip was comfortable, the bus was clean, with portalet at the end of the bus. They even gave as free bottled water and a box of coconut biscuit, which surprisingly tastes good.

Our bus attendant cum tour guide

Arriving in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, we were greeted by a downpour. Gladly, our accommodation was near from the bus terminal.

The Mad Monkey. It was indeed mad as we were soaked and cold upon arriving. The Mad Monkey is a typical backpackers’ accommodation. Nothing fancy, registration done at what seemingly looks like a garage. We had to wait for quite some time to do our check in as there were also guests who arrived same time. After finishing, we were surprised to know we had to transfer to another gate where our room will be.

The Mad Monkey signage

Check in area of The Mad Monkey

Colorful artworks on the walls of The Mad Monkey

Seriously?!

So we again had to carry our bags to the tuktuk waiting  and brave the rain. You can only complain to yourself though. One of the things I learned through traveling is that you must follow how locals do it or else, just stay where your comfort zone is.

After settling in our room, we changed our wet clothes and prepared to go out, get some lunch and explore Phnom Penh. When we arrived at the  market area, we noticed most of the stalls were closed…

Holiday! Wow, I was like “Is this for real?!” We only have a day to spend in Phnom Penh and it’s holiday. As said earlier, we do a little researching, and MJ was advised October is the best time to visit Cambodia. I am not sure how holiday and rain will be the best combination or is it really signs of  times and climate changes?

Fortunately, while  strolling around with the raincoat we managed to haggle, we saw an open boutique.

Entrance of Fairly Traded

Fair enough, we went inside and see what we can get our hands on. True to its name, the items are really good buys, from bags, purses to scarves and keychains. We spent hours trying to figure out how to save on for souvenirs later as every piece is so unique and designed well that we wanted to buy each kind.

Unique designs and various products of Fairly Traded

The best part of Cambodia in whole is that they use dollars for everyday transaction. No need to look for a money changer. Yey! At the end of our buying spree, we were truly happy for our purchases.

Mama and me

The area was a bit quiet or perhaps because of the holiday in town. Until the evening, there were raindrops but that did not stop us from exploring the city. Below are some places we went to.

Photo of a pagoda

Mama and I in front of a lighted pagoda

Taking a pose at our service tuktuk

Enjoying our welcome drink on the rooftop of The Mad Monkey

Phnom Penh is pretty much an active city at night with a lot of lights, shops and restaurants coming alive.

The following day, we were bound for another city of which offers many historical wonders.

Siem Reap

Off we went to Mekong Express again. The trip is shorter than the travelling time  from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh. Out of our 6 days trip, we would be staying here for 2 days but due to unexpected circumstances, it totaled 3 days.

Siem Reap is more laidback than Phnom Penh.  The province is full of nice people, willing to help and the view is as amazing as their locals.

Siem Reap Rooms Guesthouse. We were fetched through a tuktuk at the terminal going to Siem Reap Rooms. The hostel is located in a quiet neighboorhood. The facade looks like a huge house with only a signage that alerts you it is there.

Upon entering, we immediately felt the warm welcome of the  2 gentlemen which acts as the front desk agents as well. We were asked how our trip was and they were in full smile like we were close friends for so long. Our welcome drink arrived as soon as we sat down. Interior is made of wood as well as their furniture. It seemed like we would be staying at a log cabin. Nevertheless, it felt comfortable.

Facade of Siem Reap Rooms

Check-in desk near the front door

Lounge and the stairs leading to the rooms

A view of the outside

We booked a room with two double beds which is just located at the 2nd floor.  It was quite clean and the turn down service is done everyday. They also gave reminders to keep our personal belongings safe as there might be incidents of stealing. Oh well, in any place, you must always be vigilant and responsible for your own things.

Our bedroom

Turn down service

 

We were truly excited to start our Siem Reap journey just right after putting our luggages down.

And indeed, in the hours that came, every minute was an adventure. Our photos were proof of how rich this peaceful Siem Reap town is. All those to be witnessed on my next posts.

 

 

 

Loving Belle de Jour’s New Look

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Every end of the year,  I am not only occupied by the holiday fever but also the search for the perfect planner. Each year, I take time to browse the net and just check the most promising release there are.

In the past years, I have always ended up with Belle de Jour Power Planner (BDJ) , and always, everytime, I did not regret it.

You may check all my past posts about Belle de Jour and how this power planner truly empowers me and every girl out there who would like to strike a balance in their lives.

This year marks an exception of all Belle de Jour planners I had on my desk. Yes, BDJ still has that pretty, positve, cheerful and vibrant girl on cover whom I always assume is the representation of all the girls that have BDJ power planner in their lives. They still have the choice of smythsewn and spiral at Php 598.  They even added the  customization feature where you can order with your name on cover for an added cost. Really eye-catching. However, despite the always amazing cover of BDJ, something caught my eye.

Exclusive Gray Leather.

Yes you heard me. Belle de Jour has introduced an exclusive gray leather limited edition. Maybe it is part of maturity that pulled me towards the sleek design of this Belle de Jour. As soon as I saw it on their website, I wanted one. It is  bit formal that I can actually bring it to work, take it to meetings and serious discussions and still has that girly, exciting inside pages that I have always loved. There is also a black garter attached at the back which serves as the planner’s lock.  It feels so durable and the pages are held like the smythsewn type. What is also nice is that they still have the pink ribbons for the bookmark purpose and now it’s two!

Belle de Jour Exclusive Gray Leather

Back of BDJ Power Planner

At Php 680, I am ready to buy this planner to try this new design. And being very lucky, BDJ team extended a one day promo slashing 20% off the price! I did not waste this chance and bought my planner on their website. One thing I was really happy about was the improvement of the shipping. Xend had become so fast that in less than 3 days, I already have this nice planner on my hands.

Xend Express

I will let you into a glimpse of the best pages and the new ones that will become part of your daily doodles.

First Page

Coupons

This planner always manages to give us treats with their special discounts from various shops. There are several buy one take ones, slash off the price, free tokens and all other useful coupons to minimize your spending throughout the year.

Coupons inside BDJ

Share Happiness

This is one of the new pages of the BDJ planner. Share happiness is like paying forward. You can list down the things that can make others around you, be it living or non-living thing, happy. Spreading happiness is just like painting your world colorful.

Share Happiness

Events Tracker

This is an improved Events Tracker page . Mall of Asia events were incorporated so I am sure for those who wants to stroll in MOA, you wouldn’t miss their festivities. And specially, the BDJ fair is also written here so every Bella won’t have an excuse  to miss it. :)

This is also best in remembering people’s birthdays, anniversaries, trips and some important events to go to in every month.

Events Tracker

Random Thoughts

Another clean page where you can freely write your thoughts and all ideas that you want to constantly be reminded of. Just scribble along the different categories and make the entries as creative as possible.

Random Thoughts

Menstrual Tracker

One of my favorite pages of this power planner. The menstrual tracker page helps me plot my periods so easily and aids me also in anticipating my next red days in one glimpse. I do not need to flip pages of each month just to check the previous ones. The left side also has some reminders, notes and  where you can jot down symptoms you had experienced. This is helpful to check the regularity of your menstrual period or if there is any abnormality.

Menstrual Tracker

Focus/ Finish

This is a goals page introduced in the latest BDJ power planner. Almost same with the good habits page, this one gives you more freedom to list down things you want to focus on and how you will be able to finish it. I believe one can never run out of things to achieve. This page allows you to be reminded of those goals.

Focus/ Finish Page

Weekly Layout Page

These are the pages you go through everyday and write on. The first weeks of my January had become so text full already. This is because the Belle de Jour weekly layout has a great amount of space, easy to read and go through your schedule for the whole week. I love to write and write on it. Not only has it a space for your daily schedule but the usual favorites are still there:

  • Professional Priorities box
  • Major Goals
  • Personal Errands
  • This week’s list of
  • This week I’m grateful for
  • Most Important Tasks (MIT)
  • Bottom box for listing random things

What’s also nice is that at the bottom of the page, you can read inspirational messages that looks like crawlers.

Weekly Layout Page

Cash Flow Tracker

This is so helpful to us who wanted to see where our earnings go OR if we really save on anything. This is were you can record your income every month. The savings you had and a small treat for achieving your savings target also has a space there. The Cash Flow tracker is paired with the Bills Tracker which is found a page ahead of the cash flow tracker. Bills Tracker is dedicated to listing all your monthly bills and other bills you paid that particular month.

Cash Flow Tracker

Gifts Tracker

Another special page of BDJ power planner which helps you prepare for that special occasion. You won’t ever get confused of what to give if you plan your gifts here. They even have thorough details such as status of gift (bought,wrapped,sent) and the store you bought it from and price of the gift.

Gifts Tracker Page

Freebies

Below are some of the nice treats included when you buy the Belle de Jour Power Planner. These are added features which makes BDJ planner a consistent gift to all Bellas out there.

The ever useful BDJ Lifestyle Card is your key to get discounts from all partner stores of BDJ.  It’s just like having unlimited coupons!

BDJ Power Planner Lifestyle Card

Stickers  are the all new added treat to spice up your planner and make it very entertaining.  You can stick them anywhere to remind you of different appointments and schedules.

Stickers

Belle de Jour still is packed with alot of other feature pages and all -time favorites like the Dream Board, Vacation Planner, Checklist,Health Plan and Monthly Layout. You may find the review of these on my previous posts of BDJ Power Planner.

For every hesitant girl out there, you may want to try and explore the Belle de Jour Power Planner as indeed, their mantra for this 2014 will help you achieve it through their planner. ♣

2014 Mantra of Belle de Jour

The Year I LEARNed to Let Go

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Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life.

That is an anonymous quote which from the moment I read, I felt the connection.

Whoever said that may have felt the same hope in letting go.

Letting go is always equated with sadness, bitterness, frustration over failed dreams and just feeling of resentment on most cases. The year of the Water Snake, that is 2013, taught me alot about letting go and how it is not so bad after all. Surely, I have felt all negative emotions when letting go. When I look back at my year, I had been through major decisions of letting go. This is not the typical me, but due to that, I had been tougher, made of steel. Faith tested, faith empowered.

credits from: http://bwest.ca/

The year 2013, I have let go of my dreams, twice.  I have had in my hands my dream, I was in it already. It was mine, but I  chose to  let go.  Indeed, doing so needed all the courage in the  world. And I did not know where I got all my courage. When the thing you have to release is something you asked for all these years, something you want in the coming years, something you worked hard to get, it is really mind-boggling.

Regret is your enemy. When finally you let go, that  moment you felt peace, that is when regret slowly creeps in. Regret questions you over and over if that is the best thing you had done. But as I mature, I realized that letting go is not a big bad monster that haunts you in your dream, it is regret-which you created in your mind- that makes it hard for you to move on.

When I have flashbacks, surely there were times regret wins me over. Why did I not continued? Why did I not fought on? I could have closed my eyes and went ahead.  And the only answer I could give is that I wanted to be happy. In moments when you felt like Atlas, when everything is too heavy to carry, letting go is the best decision to make. That is what I tell regret, and indeed, regret vanishes in a flash. I feel lighter, I feel the burden gone.

credits from :atlas shrugged

Even letting go of the grudge and pain, I learned. It made me way lighter. When you are letting go of someone who has brought you some unwanted emotions,  you felt free. I felt free.  People can come into your lives and stay for years, some for a season and can bring you too many emotions.Yet, when they leave, you cannot cling on to those emotions they gave you. Those feelings must also go with the person that brought them. It is not for yours to keep and nurture.

I was able to do that. I may have not have quickly emptied all the feelings yet,at least 90% had left. And I felt I could breathe so much easy.

Let me list the valuable lessons I learned by letting go:

1. Letting go gives you back your happiness. You lost it while trying to cling on to something.

2. Letting go gifts you peace of mind. You breathe easily and sleep comfortably without any worries.

3. Letting go deepens your faith. When you felt you’ve lost everything, you still have faith.

4. Letting go makes you appreciate what you have. It makes you see and thank the things you took for granted when you where busy holding on.

5.Letting go offers you too many roads. You suddenly see the path to take, less bumpy, shorter ways.

6. Letting go pays you with a pot of gold. You lose some to gain more.

7. Letting go teaches you to worry less and be fearless. If you already lost something, you are brave to face anything, knowing you have nothing to lose anymore.

8. Letting go rebuilds your life. You start fresh, you are given another clean canvass. Do not hold on to an already full one.

These lessons worked well for me. They were all positive. Lessons that makes me proud.  If anyone had been through a tough choice of letting go, be proud. You are now one notch tougher and wiser  than your previous self or even others  whom you think always have the stroke of luck.

I will stand by these lessons and say “I am thankful I let go“.♣