The GM Diet, Take 2!

Because of the upcoming photo shoot, Geo and I feel the need of shedding a few pounds. Most of us, myself included, look a lot bigger on screen. So, I have decided to try GM Diet again. I tried it a few years ago and shed 1.5kgs in a just week!

To those who haven’t heard of the General Motors Diet or GM Diet, it is a weight loss program that could help you get rid of excess pounds within 7 days. I don’t and will never aim to have an A4-waist, that crazy “beauty” standard going around China (I don’t find it beautiful by the way). Also, I don’t think I would ever achieve that. I just need something to kick-start my decelerating metabolism.

What I like most about GM diet is that it helps me with detoxification and get used to eating veggies and fruits. For someone who is not really fond of eating veggies, this is a huge help. The last time I tried GM diet, it helped me overcome my Coca-Cola addiction.

I will be eating just fruits and veggies and strict amounts of meat and rice this week, so I took the advice mentioned in the website – consume starchy food the day before the targeted week. So, behold, today’s dinner:

GM Diet preparation
I’ll temporarily say sayonara to you…


So, what’s for my meals in the next few days?
GM Diet preparation

Yup, only these fruits and veggies. Since winter has just ended, we don’t have much options. And these cost me a lot, around 50USD! :( I am a bit worried about not finishing the one-week plan due to budget constraints (payday is still a few days away). But we shall see. Wish us luck! 😉

For details on GM Diet, visit: http://www.gmdietworks.com/

zChocolat’s Easter Duo : Back to basics yet heavenly taste

I have never tried Easter Egg hunting yet, my excitement when I received this package could be comparable to being in one.

zChocolat's Easter CollectionzChocolat's Easter Collection

I instantly became a fan of zChocolat when I took that first bite! This one came with that booklet explaining their chocolate varieties. I often savor each piece, try to guess what made those bursts of flavors inside my mouth, then look it up. Everything in those treasure boxes were like masterpieces. So, will I have the same reaction as the other collections?

Behold, zChocolat’s Easter Duo:

zChocolat's Easter Collection
Box #1: Shaped into seashells with no fillings are the three most basic varieties: white, milk, and dark
zChocolat's Easter Collection
Box #2: Shaped into eggs and animals are still the three most basic types but with the same nutty fillings

I would like to think that this combination was made just to remind us of having a new beginning. It is Easter, after all! And if you think that this made these pieces less impressive than ones listed in the booklet, you’re gravely mistaken. Because there are no other infused flavors, you get to enjoy how creamy the milk chocolates are! I maybe biased because I love dark chocolates, but these pieces are the best dark chocolates I have ever tasted. I like how the bitterness explodes in my mouth and it stays there for quite some time. The milk chocolate is somewhat in the middle – it tasted like the perfect combination of the milk and dark chocolates.

I was curious so I ate these three flavors one after another. Depending on the order, the experiences were not the same yet comparably delightful.

The ones with the fillings were even more delectable. The nutty filling and the white chocolate shell blended so well, from the first bite down to the last. The white chocolate did not mask out the taste of the filling but enhanced it. It brought out the feeling of being enveloped by bubbles – comforting, heavenly and light!

The milk chocolate shell made the nutty filling even more nutty. As I savored each bite, it felt like the nutty taste would never go away. It felt like falling into a deep well. The only frustration that I felt was when everything in my mouth completely melted away. And my favorite in this collection: dark chocolate shell with the filling. I tasted more of the dark chocolate shell, but every time the nutty flavor came up, the experience becomes more enjoyable. The nutty flavor became something I looked forward to. The nutty taste disappeared first but then I love dark chocolate.

Easter is still a few days away. Getting one of these collections is definitely worth it. This would be something that you and your family would enjoy. I am definitely gonna gift my family and my special someone boxes of zChocolats!

It’s White Day in Nagano. Literally.

It is White Day in Japan! So, I got these delicious yet I-am-so-gonna-regret-later-for-eating goodies!

White Day sweets from colleagues

To those who haven’t heard of White Day, I would like to call it as the ladies’ day. Here in Japan, ladies give chocolates to guys on Valentine’s Day. Then guys, in return, give something to the ladies on March 14, the White Day. Though in most cases, these exchanges do not imply romantic interest. Women usually give out “giri-choco” or “obligation chocolate” to co-workers on Valentine’s Day. I just love giving out chocolates to both male and female co-workers because that’s how we do it in my country.

But what came as the real treat for me was… lots of snow! Growing up in a tropical country has developed my longing and love for snow. Two winters here in Nagano and I still love snow despite my small accident a few weeks back. Not to mention I am having a harder time to catch my train in the morning!

It started snowing last night and it kept snowing until a few hours ago (it is 10:30PM already). You can’t blame me for loving snow. Just look at the magical views it creates:


White DayWhite Day

I might be staying here in Nagano for a while, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I would not come to hate snow. Not before I get to try skiing or snowboarding!

Finding Shiera

I won’t say that I will be blogging more often from now on. You wouldn’t have noticed anyway. But, it is great to be back! We are still in the first quarter of the year, so a 2015 recap is not yet too late, I guess.

My 2015

I was in an emotional turmoil, almost completely accepted that no one will ever find me. Then out of the blue, I met someone, fell head-over-heels in love, followed my heart and my instincts, and made a life-changing decision. 2015 was a roller coaster ride yet I was able to find myself again. Or should I say, someone made me find myself again. With the grace of the Lord, 2016 is and will be a year to treasure.

1st and 2nd Quarter : Lost

I don’t want to write about the first half of 2015, nor do I want to remember it. I was hurting a lot. I was so broken. I was very lost. I loathed myself.
I would rather pretend that the first half of 2015 didn’t happen. But it taught me a lot.

3rd Quarter : Getting back on my feet

I heard my self screaming. I needed to heal before I reach the point of no return. It had already been a year of depression but it was never an excuse to self-destruct. Self-destruction was the easiest way out, yet the most desolate path. I decided that I must find myself again while I still had time. Then I got introduced into Brazilian Jiujiutsu (BJJ). It was a slow healing process, but BJJ played a big role in making me like myself again. I started wearing real smile again. On the other hand, I was losing hope that someone would ever find me.

4th Quarter : Loving and being healed
With a small glimmer of faith, I posted a shout-out in my Twitter account. It was a link of a song for someone I have been waiting for. A few hours later, I received a LinkedIn connection request. Yeah, I didn’t know that LinkedIn is for those who are trying to find love as well. Pardon me for that cheesy line. Anyway, he didn’t know about my shoutout as he cannot access Twitter. I do know one thing – I am so glad I accepted the request! Even during our first casual chats, I never received one-liners. When I shared a photo or two, I got back a dozen. When I shared a cover, I got back a couple of his.

In all those barrage of message exchanges, I repeatedly told myself, “Here is a guy who knows how to care. Someone who might truly appreciate me for who I am. Someone who will most likely never ignore me nor take me for granted. Someone whom I have been waiting for… I pray Lord, please make him be The One.

We must have passed by each other in our university days but we had never really met. Yet somehow, I felt so sure. I felt so at peace. I find myself smiling a lot. I am finally home…


I started learning Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ) and loving it

It’s been almost a year since I came back to Japan to work. I have some friends in Osaka and Tokyo but here in Nagano, I am often alone. I love having “me time” but having too much is kind of lonely. I was also in a pretty bad shape last year emotionally. Moving forward, I wanted to do something that would give me back my self-love, my identity.

I was first interested in learning belly dancing. I have to admit, I am always mesmerized by belly dancers. I love to dance (though I am not good at it). I think that belly dancing has too much emotion on it and I wanted to experience that. So, I checked out the nearest dance school. To my disappointment, the fee is just too much. It would cost me around 25USD per lesson and they only give it twice a month! I also need to pay for the registration and the three months lesson. I’d rather look at YouTube videos and try to learn on my own.

Then I gained a new friend who’s been learning Brazilian Jiujitsu. I was invited to join the trial lesson and I said yes because I have always been a people-pleaser! So I tagged along, scared and convinced that would be the first and last time. I have always been scared of physical pain and I always worry about how people would see me.

So how was my first encounter of BJJ? My friend lent me his spare gi. I didn’t even know how to wear the kimono nor how to tie the belt! The people in the class were really nice. I almost fainted after completing the warm-up. It was so awkward because, yeah jiujitsu. You have to get too close, way too close to your practice partner. I learned a few techniques. I observed the sparring session. Honestly, BJJ sparring isn’t as impressive as that of kung-fu or karate. But after an hour, I surprised even myself when I signed the registration form!

That was the start of my BJJ journey. I am still a beginner so I got the cheapest gi. The training venue is too far from any train station. Learning how to drive and getting a car would mean more chances for me to join the training sessions.

It’s been 4 months and I have no plans of stopping. I tried yoga and pilates. But I feel happier doing BJJ. I love sparring. I love the feeling of being in a tight situation yet being able to break free from it. That feeling when you feel that you have nowhere to run to, yet if you just do your best to get back on your guard.

Last Saturday, I got my first stripe! I will be 40 in a few years and one my goal before I reach that stage is to at least get a blue belt.

I can only attend the Saturday classes but I try to do some BJJ drills many times a week. The drills help me keep my weight at bay and it helps me shake off some tummy fats. I still don’t remember most of the techniques and it is frustrating sometimes. But I just have to keep going.

The best chocolates for that someone who has the toughest job in the world

A video has been circulating in Facebook about the toughest job in the world. You have to work 24 hours a day, yet you don’t get paid. And if you have seen the video, it is the job of being a mother. I am a mother, too. Even if I don’t like it, I am alone in this foreign land away from my princess. I will save my story for another post, but May is only a few days away! It means that the special day for moms is also around the corner! Have you already decided on the gift for that special, brave woman?

If not, let me give you a great idea. It is something that every woman loves (maybe even you). It is perishable yet it could give that special woman blissful and exciting moments while eating them! Yes, I meant CHOCOLATES! But, I don’t mean just any chocolate… try zChocolat from France!

I had the privilege of receiving zChocolat’s Mother’s Day collection. Even by just looking at the packaging made me feel special already.

The collection had 30 pieces of uniquely-flavored chocolates and a booklet that came with it describes each piece. Each piece had a distinct taste and each bite will give you a unique experience!

30 pieces is just too much for me and I felt that it would be a greater experience if I share them with friends, so I did. Savoring the taste while guessing the flavors was so fun!

I have put together some favorite comments from my friends and myself. Take a bite of one of these gems, and I am sure you will also be singing the same tune! And be warned, once you’ve tasted them, you will never forget about them!

  • Chocolates 1, 3, 8, 20 and Z-white
    • “All of them were to die for”
  • #23, a silky ganache of 62% dark Venezuelan chocolate
    • “Really good the flower stuff really comes through… tastes a seduction chocolate!”
  • #24, 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate ganache
    • “Very smooth chocolate, reminds me of easter morning chocolate. Just like kind of that childhood dream of chocolate when you were still small and chocolate was the center of the universe…”
  • #15, a refreshing and acidulous lemon-almond paste
    • “At first, it didn’t taste that good. But when the lemon taste came out, it felt like opening a very nice present.”
  • #21, a tender almond paste perfumed with a delicate hint of rose
    • “The hint of rose slowly kindled some kind of emotion and while the flowery taste slowly left my taste buds, I felt so relaxed. The sensation was like that of a very good massage!”

  • Z, the flagship Z chocolate
    • “With two levels of taste, the cream of caramel flavor was just the right sweetness and very delicious. It was the most delicious chocolate I ate recently.”

Mothers, by nature, love to share even to the point of having nothing left for her. So don’t skimp on the gift! Make her feel special not only on Mother’s Day but everyday. And yes, I am pretty sure she will share the chocolates with you. All the more reason to buy this Mother’s Day collection, don’t you think? 😛

You still have a lot of time! The delivery is so fast that you will be able to receive it in two days after placing the order!

Matsumoto Castle and Cherry Blossoms

My new favorite photo subject is the Matsumoto Castle. It is just so beautiful that you don’t need an expensive, powerful camera to take good photos. Every time I see it, it never fails to impress me. Now that the cherry blossoms are out, they “light-up” the trees around the castle, making the scene even more breathtaking. Just look at the photos below and I think I don’t have to write anything more.



The Sakura trees in front of the castle are not lighted up, making the castle glow all the more. If you are planning to do a hanami party in front of the castle, make sure to bring something for lighting.

I love how the castle is reflected on the water!

The castle ground is open to everyone now because of the Sakura “light-up”

At the back of the castle.

All photos were taken using Samsung NX2000, small enhancements using Fotor.