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Foodie Goodie | Ala Fiesta.

Whenever we're not busy with our kids' school activities (drafting lecture notes and mock exams, procuring materials for projects and the like), my mom squad and I would most likely be at the mall, shopping for groceries or school supplies (because you can never have too many ballpens and art materials) or at some restaurant, eating to our hearts' content. The latter is our favorite bonding activity (you can see it in our waist lines), and our way of de-stressing from housework and school-related brouhaha.

Our latest food discovery is Ala Fiesta, a casual dining restaurant in Lipa City, Batangas. One of my mommy friends chanced upon an Ala Fiesta ad on her Facebook news feed, and the next thing we knew, our squad of four (plus our kids) was en route to Lipa for another food adventure.
Ala Fiesta in Lipa City, Batangas.
Truth be told, it was the Crossover Buffet that prompted us to make that 45-minute drive to Ala Fiesta. The restaurant's latest food offering, the Crossover Buffet features classic Filipino dishes, Japanese and Asian dishes, Italian favorites such as pizza and pasta, as well as a smorgasbord of desserts. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet at a budget-friendly price of Php 499 per head.
All-you-can-eat Crossover Buffet at Ala Fiesta.
Php 499 on weekdays, Php 599 on weekends. 
Here's a glimpse of what they offer at the Crossover Buffet.
Mongolian/Szechuan Stir-fry.
You choose the ingredients and the chef will cook them for you. I regret not trying this, huhu.
Pork Hamonado and Ala Fiesta's specialty, Kare-kare.
Lechon Belly + veggies for the Kare-kare.
Ala Fiesta takes pride in their house specialties Crispy Pata and Kare-kare, and true enough, their Kare-kare is one of the best I have tried. Their Lechon Belly is also a winner with its tender meat and sinfully crunchy skin.
Pan-seared Tuna and Chicken Barbecue.
Roasted Baby Potatoes.
Crispy Pork Belly.
Their Japanese dishes are also a must-try - from the delicately crunchy Tempura to the savory Takoyaki. They also have an assortment of sushi which was a hit among the mom squad.
Sushi assortment.
Tempura and Takoyaki.
Red and white sauces for your pasta.
Veggies for nachos.
Veggies for salad.
As for the kids, they loved the nachos and pasta so much that they even had second and third servings of each. Sinulit nila yung Php 499, haha!
Fresh fruits and fruit salad.
Ala Fiesta's Meringue is to-die-for!
Red Velvet, Meringue, and Brownies.
Ala Fiesta's dessert selection did not disappoint, either. They had a spread of fresh fruits and fruit salad, halo-halo and ice cream, and sweet treats such as meringue, brownies, and Red Velvet bites. Our hands-down favorite dessert would have to be the meringue. The server kept on filling up the dessert bar with meringues because we kept on piling our plates with it, haha!
Happy (not-so) little customers!
With its wide selection of great-tasting food, courteous and friendly staff, relaxed ambiance, and reasonable price, Ala Fiesta is mom-squad approved! Even the kids enjoyed dining at Ala Fiesta, and they're already looking forward to our next visit. There will definitely be a next time, and we'll make sure to try the Mongolian stir-fry when we return!

*The Crossover Buffet is available during lunch from 11 am to 2 pm, and during dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm.

Ala Fiesta
Brgy. Pilahan, Sabang Rotonda,
Lipa City, Batangas
(043) 757 6201


Creative Ways To Celebrate the Holidays.

Time-honored traditions are fine in their place. Every once in a while, however, it can be fun to try something new. Who knows, a creative celebration that you try this year may become a new tradition.

You may have several celebrations with different groups of people: family, of course, but also friends and/or co-workers. The celebrations you hold with each group are likely a little different from one another. However, you can find creative ways to celebrate with all three.
Christmas at Lotte World. :)
Anyone Holiday gift baskets are appropriate in almost any context. They can be customized to the occasion. Click here to learn more.

Another great idea that can work with almost any group is to work together to do something charitable during the holidays. There are plenty of ways to spend time together while supporting a worthy cause, such as a toy drive, a bake sale, or serving food to the disadvantaged.
A very Korean Christmas basket.
The holidays can be a touchy time at the office, especially if your workplace is particularly diverse. However, you can change this perceived negative into a positive by holding a multicultural festival. Just about every culture has some sort of celebration this time of year. You can ask workers to bring traditional dishes and take the opportunity to learn more about the backgrounds of others.

An ugly sweater party is also a fun way to celebrate without privileging any one culture. The popularity of such parties has given rise to a whole ugly sweater industry, and looking silly together at a gathering puts everyone on the same level.
Lee Dong Wook makes an ugly sweater look good. :)
In 21st-century America, people tend to associate costume parties with Halloween. Traditionally, however, masquerade balls were held during the winter holiday season. With post-Halloween markdowns, you and your friends should be able to find inexpensive costumes easily, and for a touch of class, you can rent a ballroom and hire a DJ for the occasion.

During the festive time of year, people in communities all across the country decorate their houses with lights to create some stunning displays. It costs very little to find or rent a car for the evening, drive around, and dazzle yourselves.
EXO Christmas!
One great way to spend time together as a family is with a holiday-themed read-aloud. These can be the traditional seasonal stories, but they don't have to be. You can choose new favorites as well. You can stretch this activity out over several days or weeks, allowing each family member to choose a book to read.
Yue loves Christmas in Korea! :)
You do not need to confine the decorations to one or two areas of the house. You can help your kids decorate their own rooms for the holidays and encourage them to get creative.
Creative celebrations are a good way to remind yourself and those around you what is important this holiday season: spending quality time with people you care about.


Spotlight | Vice Cosmetics x BT21 Collection.

Local beauty brand Vice Cosmetics dropped a bomb a few days ago and the K-Pop community, most especially the ARMYs, went wild! I'm pertaining to the Vice Cosmetics x BT21 collaboration, which has been the talk of the town ever since Vice Cosmetics started posting teasers of the new collection in their social media pages.
Vice Cosmetics x BT21 collection at SM San Pablo.
The Vice Cosmetics x BT21 collection was launched at Vice Cosmetics stores and kiosks nationwide last October 5, but this buzz-worthy collaboration had an early launching at BeautyMNL on October 1. And just as the husband predicted (lol), I was among those BTS stans/K-Pop fans/beauty junkies who were up at midnight, frantically adding to cart and making a mad dash for the checkout page.

Ironically, my orders arrived the day after Vice Cosmetics x BT21 collection's nationwide launch. It took BeautyMNL almost 48 hours to verify my bank deposit, which should not have been the case had they accepted my credit card payment in the first place. Oddly enough, all four of my active credit cards (which are also in good credit standing, by the way) were rejected by their website. I've already raised this concern with the BeautyMNL customer service, and I'm still waiting for their response regarding the matter.

Moving on, here's my Vice Cosmetics x BT21 haul. The complete collection includes an eyeshadow palette (the first-ever from Vice Cosmetics), four blush and highlighter duos, four liquid lipsticks, and four lip tints. I skipped the eyeshadow palette because I hardly wear eyeshadow these days; instead, I purchased two blush and highlighter duos, two liquid lipsticks, and one lip tint.
My Vice Cosmetics x BT21 haul! :)
The BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo (Php 245) is a compact which contains a powder blush and a highlighter. I got the Universtar duo which features a peach blush and a peachy gold highlighter; and the Prankster duo which contains an orchid pink blush and a pink highlighter.
BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo - Universtar (left) and Prankster (right).
I love the smooth, buttery texture of both blushes, and how nicely pigmented they are. Prankster has a deeper shade which may seem intimidating from the pan, but it looks lovely when blended on the cheeks. The bright, orchid pink blush will work with most skin tones, while the lighter, peachy blush of Universtar will suit those with fair to light skin tones.
BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Universtar.
BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Prankster.
As for the highlighters, they're soft and finely-milled which leaves little to no room for fall-outs. Both shades give off a nice, luminous glow without looking too shimmery.
Swatched - BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Universtar.
Worn - BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Universtar.
Swatched - BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Prankster.
Worn - BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Prankster.
The BT21 Phenomenal Velvet Single (Php 225) is a 'modern liquid lip color' with a soft, matte finish. Like the Phenomenal Liquid Lipstick, the Velvet Single has a creamy, long-wearing formula, opaque texture, and flat matte finish. However, they don't have that subtle, chocolate scent that the Phenomenal Liquid Lipstick has. Still, I love the velvety, non-drying formula, and the intense color payoff of this product.
BT21 Phenomenal Velvet Single in Shooky.
Shooky - a natural, nude color that's perfect for everyday wear.
BT21 Phenomenal Velvet Single in Mang.
Mang - a perfect plum shade which gives major autumn vibes.
Finally, we have the BT21 Water Gel Lip & Cheek Tint (Php 175) an easy-to-blend, water-based tint for the lips and cheeks. Its formula is the same as the regular Vice Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Tint - not too runny, not too watery, nicely pigmented with buildable color. It also has the same fruity scent and long-wearing formula which I love.
BT21 Water Gel Lip & Cheek Tint in Chimmy.
Chimmy - a gorgeous old rose shade (more like berry to me)
that can be worn gradient or full lip.
Here are the swatches of all the lip products in the Vice Cosmetics x BT21 Collection. It's the reason why I visited the Vice Cosmetics kiosk here at SM San Pablo a few days after the nationwide launch. The lip tints and most of the liquid lipsticks (save for Koya and Mang) were already sold out by then. I hope they will restock soon for the benefit of those who were not able to buy online and had planned to buy them in-store.
Swatches (L-R top): Koya (Blushing Pink), Shooky (Natural Nude),
 RJ (Brick Red), Mang (Perfect Plum);
(L-R bottom): Chimmy (Old Rose), Kooky (Deep Red),
Van (Terracota), Tata (Red Orange).
If you're a fan of BTS, BT21, or simply a fan of affordable, good quality makeup, the Vice Cosmetics x BT21 collab is a great buy. Sure, they're a tad pricier than Vice Cosmetic's regular line, but I'm sure BTS/BT21 stans wouldn't mind shelling out a few extra bucks for this limited edition collection. On that note, Vice Ganda surely knows which market to tap and which demographic has purchasing power, lol.
Wearing BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Universtar on my cheeks +
BT21 Phenomenal Velvet Single in Shooky on my lips.
Wearing BT21 Aura Blush and Glow Duo in Prankster on my cheeks +
BT21 Phenomenal Velvet Single in Mang on my lips.
The Vice Cosmetics x BT21 Collection is available at Vice Cosmetics stores and kiosks nationwide, at the Vice Cosmetics official website, or at the Vice Cosmetics flagship stores in Lazada, Shopee, and BeautyMNL. They're selling like hotcakes so act fast! These limited edition babies might be gone before you can even sing 'oh my my my... for a boy with love!' :)


Understanding The Necessity Of Disability Insurance

Far too many young working professionals disregard the importance of having disability insurance. While this is mostly because no one believes that they are realistically at risk of becoming disabled or injured at a young age, it is logically impossible to rule out the possibility of accidental injuries. Unfortunately, you should consider the unfortunate reality of becoming permanently or temporarily disabled and how it would affect every aspect of your life from caring for your children to performing at work.
Kim Won Hae in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (2017).
Financial Implications
Not being able to work as a result of an injury can be a massive financial setback. Depending on the severity of the situation you may even be unable to work. Rather than maintain a misleading belief that you are excluded from such an unfortunate possibility, you should prepare for potential loss of income. In addition to this, it is also a notable aspect that treating an injury will be a costly affair, which means that the initial financial costs would be crippling.

Benefits To Rely On 
Disability insurance policies differ greatly, which is why you should take the time to assess what different insurers are offering by comparing quotes and reading policy details. You would need to determine which policy is most applicable to your individual situation as short-term policies are not suitable for everyone, although there are instances when short-term cover is the best solution. Some insurers may be willing to supplement up to 60% of your lost income, while others may provide less alluring benefits. You should also ensure you are opting for a policy with benefits that will assist with the medical costs of your injury.
Do Kyung Soo and Jo In Sung in It's Okay That's Love (2014).
Emotional Impacts Of Physical Injuries
While the physical impacts of an injury or a physical disability are most focused on, the emotional turmoil that can result is often overlooked. Considering an injury that keeps you from work will likely restrict your general abilities, coping with the rollercoaster of emotions may be the hardest aspect. Even temporary disabilities can have a massively negative impact on an individual's quality of life. Therefore, while you are comparing quotes for the best cover, it would be wise to determine how you would be able to handle the emotional impacts. As mentioned, assessing policy details is crucial when comparing quotes as some insurers may be willing to cover costs of therapy while others may not.
Park Seo Joon in The Divine Fury (2019).
Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle
Preparing for the worst-case scenario is vital for peace of mind, although, the effort of maintaining a healthy lifestyle will essentially reduce your risks of accidental injuries. Even though strength training, regular cardio, and a balanced diet will not completely diminish the chances of becoming injured or disabled, leading a healthy life will aid your sense of well-being. Whether you are concerned about the possibilities of becoming ill or injured, exercise and diet are able to improve almost every aspect of your daily life regardless. There are several ways to plan for potentially crippling situations and ensuring your financial situation is taken care of is an assertive way of caring for the future of you and your family.


Top 5 Mountain Biking Destinations in Colorado.

When you think of the top destinations for mountain bikers, Colorado is commonly included since it features numerous mountain bike trails. Whether you’re looking for sky-scraping mountains, thousand-mile singletrack, or challenging bike trails such as the ones in Breckenridge, Aspen, or Vail, you’ll definitely include Colorado in your bucket list.

Here are five of the best mountain bike destinations in Colorado that will surely take your breath away.
Photo credit: Pexels.
Breckenridge or Summit County
Summit County is popular for being one of the best skiing sites in the U.S. It features the spectacular, high alpine single bike track. From Breckenridge or Summit County via a single track, you can also ride across nearby towns such as Copper, Leadville, Keystone, Silverthorne, Dillon, and Breckenridge. Summit County features over 250 miles of singletrack within its borders. Nevertheless, the general count is at least 812 miles of mountain bike trails within a 25-mile radius in Breckenridge.

It’s quite challenging though to deal with the mountain-scaling black diamond single tracks and low-lying starter trails in Summit County. You can also observe lift-serviced DH trails, dirt jump parks, pumptracks, and bike parks.
Crested Butte.
Crested Butte
Crested Butte is most popular as being one of the pioneers of mountain biking as a sport. The bike trail at Crested Butte though is incomparable to any bike trail outside Colorado. This mountain biking destination takes pride in its magnificent high-alpine bike trails that go for hundreds of miles.

Most of the bike tracks at Crested Butte though are old-school 750-mile singletracks. Nevertheless, modern flow trails and DH are being adopted because of the continuous expansion of Evolution Bike Park at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Crested Butte also features two unique in-town parks and progression bike parks that continue to blossom every night.
Grand Valley.
Grand Valley
The Grand Valley is considered a geographic area in the Western Slope of Colorado which also includes the towns of Palisade, Loma, Fruita, and Grand Junction. The bike trail in this area is mostly desert singletrack, which is ideal for a spring, winter, or autumn riding trip. Grand Valley though does not have high-elevation singletrack, and this accounts for Colorado’s diversity in terms of its bike tracks.

Trails are constantly being built in the Grand Valley. Tourism has also been improved through certain establishments like micro-breweries and restaurants. Grand Valley also features Powderhorn, a ski resort situated on the Grand Mesa. A new bike park was also opened in Powderhorn to draw more riders from other regions in Colorado.

Durango is considered one of the first mountain bike towns that have hosted the first UCI mountain bike world championships. This town also features the oldest mountain bike shops in the country, the Mountain Bike Specialists. There are about 300 miles of bike trails that can be accessed within 30 minutes in Durango. These bike trails are basically high alpine singletracks above treelines and dry, desert in-town trails.

Fort Lewis College in Durango is regarded as one of the most legitimate mountain bike race programs in Colorado. It has constantly produced world-class athletes as well. Durango also features about 20 trailheads, shuttles, five local breweries, six bike shops, bike paths, a new bike park, a skate park, and a BMX track.
The Arkansas Valley located in Salida is known for its diverse climate zones. You can go cycling above the treeline in Salida’s high-alpine singletracks down to the desert area on the valley floor. Because of its unique ecosystem, Salida is an ideal mountain bike destination during winter or hot summers.

In just 45 minutes of driving to Salida, you will see about 500 miles of superb bike-legal singletracks and miles of doubletracks and jeep roads. There are also three main long-distance trails that intersect Salida and a range of bike-packing routes.

Colorado has a lot to offer when it comes to adventure through its spectacular mountain bike destinations. It is just a matter of discovering the various singletracks, trails, and routes that are quite hidden in the state’s alpine mountains and valleys. However, mountain bikers should take the necessary precautionary measures, especially if it’s their first time. But if you do get involved in a bicycle accident, know that you can recover from your injuries and get compensation for it through the help of legal experts such as a personal injury attorney. So remember, be safe and have fun throughout your journey!