17 December 2014

Winning in the McDonald's Community Draw

Several months ago, I joined the McDonald’s Community which is a forum where people can share their ideas, join discussions, answer surveys, etc. about McDonald’s products. Each month, they have a draw and the winning member receives a prize which varies from iPads, meals, game consoles, etc. I remember one question raised was what prizes we think could be given away, and one of my suggestions was a DSLR camera. Although I hoped that they would consider this, I didn’t really expect that I would actually win it.

The day I found out I won last month’s draw had actually begun as a crappy day for me. I was stressed from work, my brother in the Philippines had serious problems and Mama was crying because she was worried about him, which made me worry because of her high blood and heart ailment, plus so many other things.

During our lunch break, I happened to log in to the Community site to see if there were any new surveys or topics, and I saw this
It took a few minutes for me to think clearly before I thought about checking my personal e-mail. And when I did, there was the congratulations message from the Community Administrator saying that I won the prize and asking for my details.

I could hardly believe it! I would finally own a DSLR camera! I could (partially) cross off this item from my bucket list! Hurray!

They didn’t tell me when or where I could get the prize, though, so I just waited. I did send a message after a week when I found out I won the tickets to Sarah’s concert (you know, because it would a great time to use the camera), but they didn’t reply.  There was nothing to do but wait.

Finally, yesterday (approximately two and a half weeks after I was notified), a manager from one of their branches called to say that I could collect the camera from them. Actually, I missed his calls because I was in a meeting; when I saw my phone with a number I didn’t recognize, I just called back.

So immediately after work, Hubby and I headed to that branch, I showed my Emirates ID for their verification, and their manager Mr. Sahir gave this box to me.

I highly encourage everyone in the GCC to join the Community. You’ll have fun, have a say in the future of this global brand, and of course, win very attractive prizes…just like I did =)
Thank you, McDonald's Arabia, for my early Christmas present =)

16 December 2014

The Past Week and More Goodies!

I didn’t blog as much as I wanted last week but I have two good reasons. One, because it was our company Year-End party last Friday. And two, because Hubby and I had an exam last Saturday and we were cramming to prepare for it.

Just like last year, I was responsible for everything for our annual event. Yes, I was practically a one-woman show again.  Unfortunately, despite all the planning and preparations, our company party wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be. Not my fault, though. The problem was the venue and their operations department. And because of their miscommunication, the program was delayed for an hour and a half, I became angry and was in a foul mood (although I did try my best not to show it because I was the host and needed to be all happy and gay), there were several lapses and we needed to move some parts of the program around, and I didn’t eat eat much even though I was really hungry.

It’s a good thing our top managers were understanding of the situation and just took everything in stride. There was even a time during the party when I forgot what happened earlier because I could see our managers and a few guests enjoying themselves as they followed the moves of the Just Dance video. That was fun! But I was still upset, and as soon as I went back to work last Sunday, I informed our contact person at the hotel what happened and expressed how disappointed I was.

As for the exam, we’ll know the results after a couple of weeks. I think I did well in 3 sections, but I'm not that confident for the last. I do hope I was able to make up for some parts of it, though. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve been receiving more goodies lately. Two colleagues arrived from trips to Thailand (one for vacation and another for business), a guest visited from Japan, and the other is actually not for me, but for Sophie.

These came from my colleague who went to Thailand for a 5-day vacation:
She said everything was really cheap there, so she brought a whole bag full of mangoes, packs of dried mangoes, Haw Flakes, small jars of tamarind candies, and keychains for each for us.

These came from the other colleague who was there for a 3-month assignment:
He knows I like to collect magnets, so whenever he goes on a business trip to another country, he never fails to bring me one from the place he visited, and other treats for our other female colleagues. He’s the same one who gave me the magnets from Texas.

This morning, a manager who joined us from Japan brought these colorful boxes of yummy mochi of different flavors
And Sophie received this cute handmade card through the mail from the daughter of a n@wie for our Christmas Card Exchange.
It's not really obvious, but these were made with fingerprints! =)
I know she may be too young to understand the meaning of the Exchange and appreciate the thrill of receiving something handmade and via snail mail, but I’m sure she will when she's a bit older. At least next year, she’ll be able to make one herself and really take part. This year, Caila was the one who participated for both of them, so she had to send 2 cards and gifts to my daughters’ assigned recipients.  She didn't mind, though.  She found it fun.

Oh, one last thing! I just received a call a few minutes ago telling me I can collect a prize I won through another draw I joined. Yaaaaaaayyyy!!!!! I’ll be collecting it tonight after work and I promise I’ll blog about it as soon as I can. For sure I’ll tweet about it later when it’s in my hands, so if you want to see what I won, follow me on Twitter.

I’m so excited!

14 December 2014

Video of My Fresh Adventure with Barakat

Remember my post last month of My Fresh Adventure?  Well, here's the video of the journey we had that day.

Looking back, I really had fun and I learned a lot.  It was definitely a wonderful opportunity to discover new things about Barakat.

07 December 2014

Sarah Geronimo’s Perfect 10 Concert in Dubai

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I was at Sarah Geronimo’s Perfect 10 concert last Monday night…by winning two tickets from Gulf News Tabloid!

Imagine, my second December to watch a concert courtesy of tickets that I won! (My first was last year.)  I couldn’t believe it myself. Here’s how it happened…

During our lunch break last Sunday, I was browsing my Twitter feed when I saw Tabloid’s contest. I casually mentioned it to my colleague who told me to join. However, since our KFC family was having its Christmas Party the next day, I was reluctant to do so. She kept insisting for me to enter; there was nothing to lose and I didn’t really think I would stand a chance, so I finally gave in. Just before 5pm, I heard my tablet give a notification alert…and when I checked, I saw this
Needless to say, I was shocked. It took a moment for me to realize what happened because the win was totally unexpected. Even when I gave my details to Tabloid! I still couldn’t believe it.

When it finally sunk in, I was torn between going to the concert or attending the Christmas party. Even on our way home when Hubby and I talked over it, I was still undecided. In the end, I chose Sarah. Sayang naman kasi, di ba? But instead of taking Hubby with me, I went with Yaya Jovy because I knew she would appreciate it more. And besides, it was her birthday in a few weeks so we used the concert treat as our gift to her.  Hubby on the other hand, attended the party with Caila and Sophie.
tickets in my hand
I admit I’m not really a Sarah G fan. I know she sings well, that she coached Lyca and Darren who were the top 2 winners of The Voice Kids, and I really liked her movies with John Lloyd, but that’s it.
However, when I saw how professional and great she performed at the concert, I became in awe of her. She could belt out high notes and sing low notes with ease...even while sitting down!

During each song, you could see that she gave her all and internalized the lyrics. She was so good! As in really, really, really good! And she could dance well too!
I also liked that she would share a few words to introduce most of the songs she would sing. It allowed us to know why they were significant to her. Naturally, she sang Celine Dion’s To Love You More, which was her winning piece on Star for a Night eleven years ago, and Forever’s Not Enough, her first hit single.
Her guests were Ronnie Liang and Top Suzara. They were pretty cool, going down so that even the fans who paid Regular tickets could see them up close and personal.

Ronnie even took a selfie!
Another thing I like about Sarah is that despite becoming famous and being a multi-awarded artist, she still remains humble and simple.

I know it’s a pity I missed the KFC party, but I’m so glad I gave it up for something else that was really Perfect 10.  Even if it meant rushing and cramming with the other concert-goers to ride the last metro train.
Yaya Jovy, me, and my colleague
Hmm...I wonder whose concert I'll win tickets to next year =)

*Pictures of Sarah G and her guests taken from The National, Pinas Music Zone, and Cube 8 Events

04 December 2014

Get-Together with My Original SFC Family at Intramuros

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had two consecutive dinners with friends early this week.

On Sunday, it was another dinner with Ivy, along with the rest of our original sisters and leader from SFC at Intramuros.

Just to backtrack a bit, Ivy and I belonged to the same original household when we joined Singles for Christ. Soon after ‘Nay Rose got married, some stayed active, some had to return to the Philippines, two also got married, while the rest lay low. When I became a leader, I “adopted” Ivy so that she could have a household again, which is why she was part of the dinners at Carluccio’s and Intramuros. Actually, she was the reason why we had the dinner at Intramuros…to celebrate her finally deciding to take the plunge.

That dinner was a very sudden plan. It’s a good thing most of us were able to make it, because usually when our group plans get-togethers, they either don’t push through or majority can’t attend because our schedules don’t jive.

Anyway, there were eight of us who came, including Ivy’s fiancĂ© Barry, who met the others in our group for the first time that night.
At first we talked about what has been happening with each other’s lives, but when Barry left because he had to meet someone somewhere, that’s when we grilled Ivy about their relationship and the wedding preps. We all let loose and joked around and laughed…just like when we were still singles.
And of course before parting ways, we did what we always do…have our group pictures taken! =)

03 December 2014

Dinner at Carluccio's with December Brides-to-Be

I spent two consecutive dinners with friends from my SFC days last Saturday and Sunday. This post is about the first night which I spent with my former household members at Dubai Mall.

It had been a while since we all got together, and since two of them were getting married this month (one on the 22nd and the other on the 26th), we all agreed to meet up for dinner on the 29th of November.

I met up with Carol and Ivy, the two brides-to-be, before we proceeded to Carluccio’s to wait for the others. There were a lot of diners in the restaurant when we arrived, but fortunately we were attended to right away and we settled in a booth/table where we enjoyed a great view of the Dancing Fountain. Mitch arrived later and she was soon followed by Joanne.

Since Carol had three Entertainer Vouchers, we put all of them to good use by ordering two of each of the following:
Chicken Saltimbocca
Salmon Pesto
Seafood Linguine
waiting for the others
Was the food good? Well, there were five of us and six main meals…and we managed to eat everything. So you can tell we liked what we ate.
It was funny looking at Carol and Ivy and listening to them talk. Both were calm and relaxed, but while Carol was really hands on and very detailed with everything, having accomplished most of what needed to be done, Ivy still had so many things to take care of and decide on…but still she was calm. Unbelievable!

In between, they would ask the three of us how our wedding day went, any advice or small but significant things they needed to do, what happened the days and weeks after getting married, and most importantly…the wedding night. There was one word we told them to remember: "Shameless!" =)

It was a dinner of laughter, memories and advice…and Michael Jackson! Hahaha! Yup, you read right, although of course you’d have probably guessed it wasn’t really him.

Earlier, while the three of us were chatting and waiting for our orders (the two hadn’t arrived yet), someone who dressed and looked like Jacko casually walked in the restaurant with his friends and sat down at a table near us.
MJ is alive?!?!?!
We were hesitant to ask for a picture because although we knew he wasn’t the real thing, we thought it would be fun to get one; on the other hand, he might not want to be disturbed and/or didn’t want to have his picture taken. But when we saw another diner approach him for a picture, we found the guts to approach the King of Pop impersonator who willingly smiled for a couple of photos.
Now that’s a dinner I won’t easily forget! =)

02 December 2014

Pasalubong: Donuts and Japanese Goodies

J.Co donuts is an Indonesian brand that’s famous in the Philippines, and I was curious to find out why people back home were going crazy over them.

Fortunately, when Hubby arrived last week after a short visit to the Philippines, he brought these
a dozen J.Co donuts!
The next day, 2 Japanese guests arrived. One of them brought this for us to share
And the other guest who frequently visits left a wrapped parcel on my desk.  When my girls opened it later at home, we found these inside
So many yummy goodies in 2 days!

Now if you see me looking plumper than usual, you’ll know why =)

01 December 2014

Authentic Emirati Food at Al Fanar Restaurant

It was the 27th of the month last Thursday, so as we always do, we went out for dinner to celebrate our family day. We hadn’t been to Dubai Festival City for a while, and since UAE National Day is coming up, Hubby and I opted to go Emirati and try Al Fanar Restaurant.  I’ve read and heard good reviews about it, so I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be disappointed.

The canal and surrounding areas were under renovation but fortunately, the DFC branch of the first and only local Emirati cuisine restaurant in Dubai (according to their website) was open.
We were in awe as we walked through the restaurant with life-sized statues depicting scenes of traditional Emirati life. It gave the restaurant a more authentic ambience.

Choosing the majlis-style seating, we had to remove our shoes before settling down on the cushions. It was a bit weird at first, but the girls instantly found it fun and interesting…mainly because it was different from sitting on chairs.

The waiter was friendly and helpful, and within a few minutes of ordering, we were served bowls of complimentary chickpeas.
And a few minutes later, our food was served.
Sophie caught on camera!
Robyan Mashwi (grilled jumbo shrimp)
Samak Magli-Shaari (fried shaari fish, which was served with rice)
Tekat Deyay Emarati (chicken kebab marinated in Arabic spices with yogurt)
Khoboz Wagafi (bread) which came with the Tekat Deyay Emarati
We all found the food delicious…even Caila and Sophie who particularly enjoyed dipping the bread in yogurt…making me wonder for the nth time why we never thought to try Al Fanar Restaurant before then.
The food was really good, and the diorama-like theme surrounding it was entertaining and educational as well. See for yourself how Sophie amused herself.

Now that we’ve tried Al Fanar Restaurant, I’m sure we’ll be back one day soon. It was definitely a great choice for us for Emirati food.

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