‘All The Bright Places’ explores love and loss in a beautiful yet tragic story

Trigger warning: This book contains topics on suicide and mental health issues. If you are easily triggered by these, I suggest either reading the book with caution or delay reading it until you’re more mentally-prepared.

As someone who has struggled with her own mental health issues, it took me a while before I could pick up this book. In truth, I might have even delayed reading this novel if it weren’t for my friend who suggested we discuss it for our book club.

So, with a bit of courage (and caution), I went forward with reading it; and little did I know, All The Bright Places would become one of my most memorable reads for 2022.

For those of you who are not familiar with Jennifer Niven’s 2015 novel, it follows Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, as they find love and solace with one another all the while dealing with their own personal traumas.

It’s a heart-wrenching and tragic love story that will leave you drowning in a pool of your own emotions (God knows how much I’ve cried while reading this novel).

More than just a romance, this book has substance, since it explores the reality and gravity of mental health issues today.

Through Violet’s and Finch’s alternating perspectives, readers get a glimpse into how their struggles can affect their mental health and lead them towards less-than-pleasant situations. It also stresses the importance of checking up on the people you love because you might never know the extent of what they’re going through and how it’s greatly affecting their overall health and well-being.

You’ll never know unless you ask. Via GIPHY

Although this book is classified as young adult fiction, I think a lot of people––whether they’re a teen or an adult––will greatly benefit from its messages, which are:

– There’s more to a person than what you see on the surface.

– Help is available to those who seek it.

– Everyone is going through struggles of their own, so it’s important to be kind.

Overall, I consider this another five-star read and I can’t wait to see more of what Jennifer Niven has to offer in her other novels.

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Here’s why you should read ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes

Trigger warning: This novel mentions scenes about animal testing and contains slurs that are considered derogatory in this day and age. It’s important to remember that this book was written in 1959––a time when animal testing may not have yet been questioned and people were not as socially-conscious of the words they used to describe individuals with disabilities. Given this, I’d like to mention that I don’t condone some of the words and scenes mentioned in this novel and that I take it solely as a work of fiction. 

At least once in your life, you might have encountered the idiom of “putting yourself in another person’s shoes” in order to understand them. 

Whether this saying was told to you by a friend, colleague, or family member, you’ve most likely taken their advice and tried to imagine yourselves in other people’s situations. Oftentimes, this gives you a clearer picture of what the other person is going through and allows you to better empathize with them.  

This particular sentiment is exemplified in the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.


It’s a story that explores the mind and experiences of Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old man with a learning disability who undergoes surgery in an effort to make himself “smarter” and more “normal.”  

Through Charlie’s progress reports, you (as a reader) will get to witness all the challenges, accomplishments, and emotions Charlie goes through as he experiences the effects of the surgery. And when he notices Algernon––the mouse that has undergone the same experiment as him––seemingly regressing long after its surgery, it begs the question: will the same fate await Charlie in time? 

Flowers for Algernon is a beautiful yet somewhat heartbreaking story that most people should read about. In fact, here are a few good reasons why you should consider picking up the novel for yourself: 

The writing is great and immersive

The book begins with Charlie’s entries before the surgery. Through these initial reports, Keyes shows readers how Charlie is quite different from the other people around him. This is emphasized in Charlie’s earlier progress reports, wherein he would often misspell words and use the wrong grammar and punctuation in his sentences. 

However, as the book progresses, you’ll slowly see the change in the writing, highlighting Charlie’s increased mental development after the surgery. And the way Keyes wrote this was so gradual that it’s only when you focus on the words on the page, you’ll notice a big difference in the way Charlie documents his progress. 

It’s this aspect of the book that really allows you to see first-hand how the surgery is affecting Charlie and how it’s changing the way he views the people and the places around him. This, in turn, makes the book immersive and draws the reader in towards the story. 

You’ll be turning every page until you realize you’ve actually finished the story! Via GIPHY

And I’m not the only one who feels this way about the book. A number of people reported on the book review platform Goodreads about being affected by the story. 

One reviewer wrote, “I am finding it hard to put into words the vast range of emotions I experienced while reading this tale of hope, perseverance, truth and humanity.” And another online user described it as “captivating and heartbreaking.” 

The book lets you think about the question: What makes a person human? 

One aspect the book frequently touches on is the idea of what makes a person human. It begs the questions: Is it their IQ that makes them human? Is it measured by their ability to process emotions?  Is it gauged by the accomplishments they have? Or is it just the fact that they’re alive and breathing that makes them a person worthy of love and respect? 

These questions all come to mind as the reader sees how other people interact with Charlie, especially before his surgery. In the early days, you can clearly see how badly Charlie was treated; and when he got his surgery done and he was getting more and more intelligent, people around him started viewing him differently. 

The truth is Charlie was already human even before his surgery––capable of feeling emotions and making memories. And this point is clearly emphasized in the many events in the novel. 

Moreover, it shows that even people with disabilities can leave their mark on the world. Through the character of Charlie, readers can see that any person (with good intention) can make a huge difference to those around them. 

In Charlie’s case, it was about helping others like him who may undergo the same operation.  As Charlie said, “If I can find out and if it adds, even one jot of information to whatever else has been discovered about intellectual disabilities* and the possibility of helping others like myself, I will be satisfied. Whatever happens to me, I will have lived a thousand normal lives by what I might add to others not yet born. That is enough.” 

Overall, it is a meaningful and timeless story that deserves more attention from today’s generation. And it easily is one of the five-star books I’ve read this 2022. 

Here’s to hoping you’ll give Flowers for Algernon a try! 

 (*word was replaced to make it more politically-correct

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‘The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue’ is a five-star read that you’ll surely remember

I’ll be honest–it’s been a while since a novel has drawn me in and excited me. Many of the books I’ve recently finished have all been three-star reads, interesting enough but not memorable. 

However, when my friend recommended The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab for our book club, little did I know, this would become my first five-star book read of 2022. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue tells the story of twenty-three-year-old French girl Adeline “Addie” LaRue who sold her soul to the darkness to gain her freedom. Unbeknownst to Addie, this exchange comes with a terrible price; because along with her freedom comes the catch of being forgotten by everyone she meets. 

You see, when Addie talks to a friend or family member or makes a connection with someone new, she inevitably faces the future of them not being able to remember her. And even when she tries to leave her mark–via written notes or drawings–she will find them being erased and returned to its original blank slate. Because of this, Addie isn’t able to leave a mark, making her almost “invisible” to everyone she comes in contact with. 

For 300 years since she made that deal, she has struggled with this type of existence… that is, until she meets bookstore seller Henry who is unfazed by her curse and remembers every little encounter and detail about her.


Describing it as a mix between The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’d say Addie LaRue is a page-turner that will leave you feeling all types of emotions, from sadness about Addie’s situation to a sense of hope when she finally meets Henry. It’s a literal roller coaster ride that will have you experiencing “all the feels.”

I was literally crying by the end of this novel. Via GIPHY

Moreover, V.E. Schwab’s writing style is so descriptive and immersive that you will feel like you’re actually in the story. And with the time jumps, you, as a reader, can really envision that specific point in history wherein Addie’s story takes place and see how it’s affected her life. 

Schwab also uses alternating viewpoints between chapters, so you’re able to empathize with these fictional characters and remember them for all their beautiful, messed-up, broken, and (very) human experiences. 

In fact, Stardust author Neil Gaiman describes the book, “for someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality.”

Lastly, I found a plethora of wonderful and relatable lines throughout the course of this novel, and I think this is a testament to Schwab’s wonderful storytelling. I particularly loved the following lines from the novel: 

“Books, she (Addie) has found, are a way to live a thousand lives––or to find strength in a very long one.” 

“The nicest days are always the ones we don’t plan.” 

“Nothing is all good or all bad. Life is so much messier than that.” 

It reportedly took Schwab ten years to complete the novel and her hard work really shows just how great the story came to be.

Via GIPHY

I really encourage everyone to go and read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I can’t wait to read more books from the author moving forward. 

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I finished watching Stranger Things season 4 volume 1–and I have thoughts about it

Warning: This blog contains spoilers from volume one of the fourth season of Stranger Things

Fans have long awaited the return of the Netflix show Stranger Things since season three ended back in 2019. However, because of the pandemic and other reasons surrounding production, the release date for the fourth season was moved to May of this year. 

Luckily, May has since passed and we’re already in the first few weeks of June, so viewers (like myself) can happily binge-watch volume one of the fourth season. And let me tell you, it’s one hell of a ride!

Seriously, you might not be ready for it! Via GIPHY

This fourth season introduces viewers to the stronger, more powerful supernatural being called Vecna. This creature can inhabit the minds of people with trauma and cause them to hallucinate and eventually die. And with the deaths piling up in Hawkins, the gang must find a way to defeat Vecna and stop him from ever reopening new portals in their small town. 

With the characters divided into different groups including Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who is still figuring out a way to restore her powers, only time will tell if they can succeed and save their home town from yet another attack from the Upside Down.


Overall, it was a solid half of a season… but I did have some thoughts about it while watching. Here’s what came to mind while streaming the series: 

It had a slow start but picked up by episode three 

The first two episodes, in my opinion, were a bit slow. Although I understand the showrunners needed to establish what the characters have been doing––especially since some of them did already leave Hawkins––there were scenes where it felt slow and could’ve picked up the pace a bit. 

However, when episode three came, the flow of the story felt gradual and the build-up to episode four was great. 

I appreciated the parallels with ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’

Vecna’s method of killing is very similar to that of Freddy Krueger on Nightmare on Elm Street, wherein Krueger would trap his victims in their dreams and then kill them there. Vecna acts similarly by invading his victims’ mind and then slowly killing them in their possessed state. 

Additionally, I liked the idea that the producers cast Robert Englund, the actor who plays Krueger in the horror film franchise, as Victor Creel in the Netflix show. It’s a good nod to fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and an interesting easter egg for Stranger Things viewers. 

Max was the star of this season 

This season’s plot gave Sadie Sink’s Max a story arc that allowed her to showcase her acting prowess. From portraying a sister traumatized by her brother Billy’s death to becoming a young lady that finds new hope in her friends, Sink’s ability to express emotions on screen is admirable and it’s what keeps you on the edge of your seat while watching the first half of this season. 

I’m not a fan of the whole Steve and Nancy rekindling their relationship 

Personally, I think the ship has sailed for a Nancy-Steve relationship. Fans, like myself, have seen Nancy (Natalia Dyer) choose Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) over Steve (Joe Keery) in the past seasons; so the fact that the showrunners are starting up this whole Nancy-Steve-Jonathan love triangle again is just repetitive and (sorry to say this) just plain boring. 

And I’m not the only one who thinks this. In an article written by Therese Lacson for the Collider, Lacson describes the idea of putting Nancy back in a relationship with either Jonathan or Steve as “unnecessary.” 

“She’s (Nancy) a strong enough character to stand on her own, something we clearly saw in the most recent season. The series should focus on cultivating her platonic relationships and framing her as the lead detective of the group,” she explains in the post

Moreover, I think the show creators and writers should just keep the Nancy-Jonathan pairing and give Steve a love interest that can complement his character’s growth and give him a happy ending in the series––and let’s be honest, Steve, of all the characters, deserves it! 

Steve better NOT die in volume two of the fourth season 

Speaking of Steve, the writers better not do us dirty and kill him off in the second half of the season. 

The reason I’m bringing this up is because we saw Steve get attacked by those bat-like creatures in the first half of the fourth season. This left him with a massive wound on his abdomen area, which Nancy bandaged to stop from further bleeding––a potential sign that he might not make it to the end of the show.

This theory is supported by this Pop Buzz article, which explains that it can be a likely scenario because Steve has been a little “too heroic” in this new season. And as fans of the show have come to find, characters who become a little too selfless end up dying––like Bob Newby (Sean Astin) and Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). 

The Duffer Brothers have also since chimed in on this rumor, saying that fans should be “concerned” about the characters in the second half of this fourth season. 

“It feels wrong to say ‘excited,’ but I’m excited that people are concerned. And they should be concerned going into the final two episodes [of Season 4] — for everybody,” Ross Duffer tells TV Line in an interview about Steve’s fate in the show. 

Like the multitudes of Stranger Things fans, I’m not sure I’ll forgive Netflix or the showrunners if they kill off Steve in the next half of this season.

How us, fans, will react if Steve dies in the second half of the season. Via GIPHY

We need more scenes with Amybeth McNulty 

As an Anne with an E fan (or kindred spirits, as we fans call ourselves), I know just how amazing and diverse an actress Amybeth McNulty is. So, when it was announced that she was cast in the fourth season of Stranger Things, I was excited for more people to see just how talented McNulty is. 

Unfortunately, McNulty only had one scene in the first half of the fourth season, wherein she was introduced as Robin’s (Maya Hawke) love interest. That’s why I’m definitely hoping she’ll have more screen time in the second half of the fourth season and perhaps, even more scenes in season five! 

The series has been exciting throughout its seven episode run, and I am hopeful that volume two will just be as explosive as this first half. Here’s to hoping Netflix won’t disappoint us this coming July 1, 2022!  

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Here’s my problem with the ‘Morbius’ movie

Warning: This movie review contains spoilers. 

Last month, production house Sony released the film Morbius, starring Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto, as the vampiric anti-hero Michael Morbius. Although the trailer made the movie look gritty and promising, the film itself seemed to be a let-down for many critics—garnering it a 16% rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Some of these reviews cited the movie as being “generic as hell” and a “poorly-produced comic book adaptation.” 

Photo Credit: MorbiusMovie via GIPHY

While a lot of these critics’ points are understandable, the movie itself was not too bad. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t great either–but it was action-packed and entertaining enough to watch through. Leto and Matt Smith also gave great performances as Morbius and Milo respectively, and the action scenes were well done as well. 

However, the problem I had with the film was the forced Spider-Man storyline. I understand that this was the production house’s attempt to further develop the Spider-Man universe, but in my opinion, this move just threw away Morbius’ character development. 

Here’s why: Morbius didn’t like hurting people. He knew after he was injected with the bat DNA and felt its side effects that it was a mistake. He had difficulty controlling his thirst for blood and had the potential to kill more people if left unchecked. He even went so far as to fight his best friend and “brother” Milo (Smith)—who was also inoculated with the serum—in an effort to stop the bloodshed. Given this, why would he team up with the Vulture and cause more chaos? It just doesn’t make sense.  

Also, what does Morbius have against Spider-Man? There was no prior interaction or build-up of the feud between Morbius and the young Avenger throughout the movie, not even a mention of it at the start or the middle of the film. It felt like a forced move on the part of the studio just to integrate Morbius into the Marvel universe and (for me) defeated the purpose of his origin story as a new Marvel character. 

And it seems like I’m not the only one who feels this way. In an article from The Direct, writer David Thompson clearly explains how this was a failed attempt by the studio to continue the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.  

Thompson writes, “Morbius offers no connection, no explanation, just a dead, insulting post-credits scene that retroactively makes No Way Home a worse film.” 

According to a tweet by DR Movie News, the Spider-Man line has reportedly been deleted in some of the movie screenings. 

As the tweet reads, “In the (stupid) mid-credits scene, Vulture flies up to Morbius, thanks him for meeting w/ him, & says ‘it has something to do with Spider-Man’. The Spider-Man line has inexplicably been removed from every single print at ALL of my local theaters.”

Only time will tell if the production house continues with a Morbius sequel or if they choose to scrap the franchise altogether. Until then, I’d probably give this movie a 6/10 given that it’s watchable but not exciting enough to continuously watch on repeat. 

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Unboxing my 2021 limited edition Funko POP! figure of Mose Schrute 

Disclaimer: This is not a branded post. The item reviewed here was purchased using my own money and I do not receive any commission or payment on the links in this post. 

Sometime last month, I finished watching the entire nine seasons of The Office (US version) and truth be told, I’m still not quite over the series. Because for the past few months, it’s kind of been my stress reliever. There, I could always count on Michael and Dwight to make me laugh, swoon over Jim and Pam’s blossoming romance, and enjoy the crazy antics that happen at the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch. 

In a way, the series became a safe place for me to unwind and relax and it helped me a lot in forgetting my anxieties. That’s why after finishing the show, I couldn’t help but check local collectible shops for The Office Funko POP! toys. Since then, I’ve bought the collectible figures of Jim Halpert, Kelly Kapoor, and Angela Martin. 

Recently, I decided to splurge a little more on a limited edition figure of a quirky yet lovable side character in the series. In this blog, I’ll be unboxing and reviewing the 2021 Funko Exclusive Fall Convention vinyl figure of Mose Schrute. 

Viewers of The Office will remember Mose (who was played by Michael Schur) as Dwight’s strange cousin who lived on his beet farm. Although the character had little screen time, a lot of people (including myself) enjoyed his over-the-top actions and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his unusual mannerisms. In fact, there’s a whole compilation of clips on YouTube that’s all about Mose–proving just how much fans love him!

This Funko POP! figure highlighted a funny scene between Mose and Ryan in season 3, wherein Dwight, as part of Ryan’s initiation to becoming a salesman, asked Ryan to fight his cousin Mose in an attempt to “wrestle fear to the ground.” 

I purchased the figure through the Big Boys Toy Store website for 1,100 PHP (excluding shipping fee). It arrived a few days later, well-packed in bubble wrap and the store’s box covering. After removing the plastic and box, I saw Mose through the clear POP! box protector.

I unpacked the figure from the box (which had a 2021 Fall Convention sticker) to reveal Mose Schrute. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t fangirl while unboxing the figure. It looked exactly like the character did in the scene, complete with Mose’s bushy black beard, ‘Fear’ shirt, and gray pants and overalls.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the figure with a screengrab of the scene from YouTube

Unlike other Funko POP! figures in the series, Mose doesn’t have a clear base plate. The figure, however, didn’t need it since it could balance well on its own. 

At first glance, everything seems to be in place–the figure’s a good size, it stands well, and twists easily from side to side.  

But upon closer inspection, the figure had a few paint defects. Mose’s hands, in particular, didn’t look smooth and well-put together. And there were some minor paint mistakes in the front and back of the figure.

The collectible toy brand Funko has addressed issues like this on their website, stating that they “cannot control slight manufacturing variations and are not able to replace items based on these variations, including but not limited to minor paint flaws or figure positioning.”

Personally, I don’t mind these minor flaws since they’re not super noticeable in the figure. If they were bigger, then that would become an issue.

Via GIPHY

Overall, I am satisfied with this special edition figure and would probably give it a 9/10 based on character accuracy and design (removing one point over those paint flaws).

It’s on the pricey side for a Funko POP! (compared to other The Office figures) though, so only get it if you’re a really big fan of the character or just can’t get enough of The Office-related merchandise.

Until the next blog!  

See y’all soon! Via GIPHY

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From ‘boob mugs’ to makeup, here’s a review of my most recent online purchases

Just like many millennials nowadays, I like to look through online shopping websites for new items or accessories. Most of the time, what I buy are necessities like toiletries or stuff for my dog (and yes, I do classify those items as essential). But this time around, I was lured by the much-awaited payday deals of these local, online platforms–and I (inevitably) ended up giving in and checking out some items.

Via GIPHY

Here’s my review of those purchases: 

  1. Boob Mug 

I’ve been eyeing the boob mugs of peek a boob ph ever since I saw them on Instagram. They were cute and quirky; and they celebrated the feminine body in all its imperfect glory. 

They even stated in one of their posts, “Our boob mugs are meant to express the value of women in our lives–how individuals, represented in boob form obviously, are perfect in all shapes and sizes.”

Given this, I was excited to get one of these mugs… and as luck would have it, the store offered a 10% discount on some of their on-hand items. Through this month-end sale, I was able to purchase a medium-sized Birthday Sprinkles Boob Mug for only 630 PHP (original price was 700 PHP). 

The ceramic mug measured at around 4 inches tall with a diameter of 3.5 inches. According to the brand’s post, it can hold 300 mL of liquid.

What I liked about it was that you can clearly tell it was handmade. It had a large handle that drooped down and a pair of sculpted breasts that were not 100% symmetrical (just as most boobs are). But it’s this rustic look that makes it that much more unique and special. 

I also liked how it was handcrafted by Filipino artisans. This just goes to show how innovative and creative many of our artists are.

I’ve been drinking from this mug for a few days now and I enjoy it’s size and its colorful appearance–it really does make my morning coffee sessions that much more enjoyable! 

2. Benefit lip tints 

I’ve been a fan of Benefit Cosmetics ever since I tried their eyebrow gel in 2017. Although I absolutely love their products, any makeup enthusiast would tell you that their items are NOT cheap. 

Thankfully, National Lipstick Day happened and with it, came an awesome deal for their lip tints. Because for the price of 1,190 PHP (and free shipping), I was able to receive (1) 6.0 mL BeneTint, one (1) 2.0 mL ChaCha Tint, and one (1) 2.0 mL Love Tint. 

These lip tints all came safely in a colorful Benefit box. 

I first tried BeneTint, which had a see through, light red hue to it. What I liked about this product is that since it’s water-based, you can easily build color by dabbing some more of the liquid on your lips and cheeks. 

It’s also long-lasting–I barely had to reapply throughout the day–and it has an addicting rose scent to it. 

I highly recommend this product for those looking for natural-looking and buildable lip and cheek stains for their virtual meetings.  

Next, I sampled the Cha Cha Tint from the package. It had a light orange hue and was much thicker in consistency than the BeneTint. 

It also had a pleasant mango smell and when applied, it gave your lips a subtle peach color. 

This item is definitely for people like me, who like to rock the subtle makeup look.

Lastly, I tried the Love Tint. This lip and cheek tint had a thick, dark red color to it and definitely gave your lips a striking scarlet look.

Personally, it’s not my favorite color out of the three; but it is very pigmented and easily buildable when worn both as a lip tint and blush. 

Overall, I am very happy with the Benefit products I received and will surely use them during many of my virtual meetings.

Via GIPHY

Here’s to hoping my next shopping haul can be as nice and awesome as this one! 

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Here’s why I can’t get over Ben Barnes’ soulful cover of the ‘Friends’ theme song

British actor Ben Barnes may be known for his many roles in film and television; but one thing some viewers might not know about him is that he’s an insanely talented singer and musician. In fact, the Shadow and Bone actor often posts his music covers and song collaborations with other artists on his Instagram account.

Just check out this duet he did with singer-songwriter Anoushka Lucas.

Recently, Barnes thrilled his followers with a soulful rendition of the Friends theme song–and it’s so good that you’ll be left in awe and utterly speechless.

Screengrab of the song cover from Ben Barnes’ Instagram.

The one-minute and 51-second cover has a slower tempo compared to the The RembrandtsI’ll Be There For You track. This allowed Barnes to take a more soulful and emotional approach to the original song–making it seem more personal and sentimental rather than fun and upbeat.

Couple that melody with Barnes’ clear vocals and smooth falsetto and you’re left with song cover that’s worth fangirling over.

This is definitely me after watching the video. Via GIPHY

Understandably, I wasn’t the only one to admire Barnes’ version of the song. A lot of his followers also left positive comments on the video praising the actor’s vocal abilities. One Instagram user even wrote, “So much talent [in one person] should NOT be allowed.” While another person posted, “Ben, you blessed us so much with this [cover].”

As of this writing, the video has garnered over 560,000 views on the social media platform. And hopefully, it continues to increase in views as fans still continue to gush over Friends: The Reunion.

Watch the song cover for yourself below:

Here’s to hoping we see and hear more songs from Ben Barnes in the future!

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I bought a few sustainable jewelry pieces online–and here’s what I think of them

I first learned about sustainable jewelry back in 2018, when I came across a news report that said Twilight actress Nikki Reed partnered with Dell to create a line of accessories made from recycled computer parts. Curious to understand how this could even be possible, I started to do further research on this topic. It was only then that I discovered the existence of sustainable jewelry. I then began to understand that it was more than just recycling discarded, old pieces of gold and silver–it was also about processing the source materials in an ethical and more environmentally-conscious manner. 

With this in mind, I became intrigued with the concept of sustainable jewelry and was definitely on the lookout for stores that supplied this type of accessory.

How I probably looked like scrolling through my feed in search of sustainable jewelry pieces 😂  Via GIPHY

Then, just last year, I came across a Facebook advertisement for Penny Pairs. There, I discovered that the brand not only offered a variety of cute, stackable earrings but they also had a line of sustainable jewelry. And when they released their “Buy One, Get One at 30% Off” Mother’s Day promo earlier this month, I decided to purchase a few of their sustainable jewelry items for myself. 

Here’s what I thought about their sustainable jewelry pieces: 

On Packaging 

When the package arrived at my residence, I was pleasantly surprised to see the words written on the “plastic”. It read, “this [is a] 100% biodegradable cornstarch bag.” And my excitement only continued to grow when I opened the bag and found that my order was wrapped with honeycomb bamboo paper–an eco-friendly alternative to the typical bubble wrap packaging. 

So, right off the bat, the brand was already taking the initiative to reduce plastic waste by using a compostable bag and a biodegradable protective covering (major plus points IMO). 


After unwrapping the bamboo wrapper, I then found a plain white, canvas zipper pouch. The contents of this pouch included the two jewelry pieces I ordered–each stored in an individual pull-out box and pink pouch–and two information cards that discussed details about the items and how it impacted the environment. 

I particularly appreciated the brown card as it had Spinach seeds ingrained inside; thereby allowing you to plant the card once you’re done reading through it.


Moreover, the pull-out boxes seem to be very strong and sturdy–assuring the products’ protection while in transit–and the small pink pouches make for easy storage (especially when you want to pack these pieces up for travelling).

On the sustainable jewelry items 

Now, the items I have ordered are the following: one (1) Flora Gold Necklace and one (1) Mini Baguette Ring (Gold). So, with this, I’ll be starting off with the necklace… 

The Flora Gold Necklace was stored in the bigger box and featured a 1 centimeter (cm) cubic zirconia flower pendant. The necklace chain is 39 cm-long but can be extended to 44 cm depending on your desired length. 

Upon closer inspection, the item seems to be very sturdy, with the cubic zirconia stones firmly placed inside the pendant and the necklace chain strong. The item is also very shiny and would honestly make you wonder if it is really made out of 100% recycled silver! (It is though, according to the website’s product description).  

And what I like best about it is its extendable chain that allows you to layer it with other gold-colored necklaces to achieve a more chic look. 


The gold-colored Mini Baguette Ring was also a stunning piece of jewelry. It featured a slim 10k gold-coated silver band and a small, rectangular cubic zirconia stone. It even has an “open back” to allow you to adjust the size if you need to.

Also, since the stone isn’t too big and imposing, you can even choose to wear it together with your other rings. It really is the perfect piece for everyday wear!

Overall, I am very happy with the sustainable jewelry pieces I have ordered. Both items are very dainty and work well with my other pieces of jewelry. And just by looking at them both, I would have never even have thought that they were made out of recycled materials–further proving the excellent quality of these items.  

On pricing  

Penny Pairs prides themselves in providing “affordable, well-made jewelry,” as stated in their website. Although their items are well-made (based on what I’ve seen in my recent purchases), I would have to disagree with the idea that it’s affordable. 

Of course, the concept of affordability differs from person to person. But personally, I would consider the brand a bit higher-priced than other “everyday wear” jewelry shops. 

Because an affordable piece of jewelry, for me, would be one that ranges from 100 to 500 Philippine Pesos (PHP), but the items I purchased here each went over 800 PHP–to be exact, the necklace costed 2,399 PHP and the ring amounted to 839.30 PHP (original price was 1,199 PHP but I got it at a lower price because of the discount). 

Wait, it’s how much? Via GIPHY

So, even though I don’t doubt the quality of the items they make, I do warn you that it’s also not as cheap as you think it is. 

My overall assessment 

Through it all, I absolutely do not regret the sustainable jewelry pieces I bought from the shop. I would also definitely consider buying more from them in the future… but only when my budget would allow it. 

My thoughts exactly. Via GIPHY

If you want to know more about the brand’s sustainable jewelry initiative, you can check out the Penny Pairs website. And to better understand the concept of sustainable jewelry (in detail), I suggest visiting Sustainable Jungle.

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In case you missed it, ‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’ turns 10 this year

Back in 2006 to 2008, kids and teens alike were obsessed with the movies and songs of the High School Musical franchise. Because of this, Disney created multiple projects centered on the pop culture phenomenon. This included a North American concert tour, sing-along and dance-along versions of the films, and even a 2019 Disney+ drama series inspired by the movies. And until now, fans (including myself) continue to sing the songs and talk about the movies–especially since the first film turned fifteen in January of this year.

However, there is one High School Musical spinoff that does not necessarily get as much attention as the television series and the original three movies–and that’s Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

As you can already tell from the title, this 2011 film focuses on the life of the East High alum Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) as she moves to New York and attempts to make a career in Broadway. But when things don’t go according to plan in the Big Apple, Sharpay is left reassessing her goals and dreams as a theater actress. What happens next is a journey of rediscovery and love that will remind Sharpay (and viewers) why she deserves to be in the spotlight.

It’s a lighthearted and fun movie that more High School Musical fans need to be talking about. And this April–particularly today, April 19, 2021–the movie officially turns ten!

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, I’ve rounded up four reasons that make this High School Musical spinoff worth watching (or rewatching). Here they are:

Sharpay finally gets to shine in this movie

Let’s face it, back when we were younger, a lot of us thought that Sharpay was the villain of the movies. Though, now that we’ve grown up, many of us have come to realize that she was actually robbed of recognition during her high school days. I mean imagine this, you and your brother work tirelessly for days practicing and rehearsing for the musical and then, some newcomers show up and immediately take your spots onstage. Annoying right?

Via Giphy

But in this film, we get to see Sharpay in all her much-needed glory on the stage. And finally (after three movies), her talent and dedication to the art gets recognized by the world, albeit after some less-than-pleasant events.

Sharpay is finally seen as more than just a spoiled drama queen

In the first High School Musical film and in the first half of the second movie, Sharpay was portrayed as Ryan Evans’s (Lucas Grabeel) narcissistic, spoiled twin sister who was obsessed with getting everything she wanted no matter the cost. But in the latter half of High School Musical 2, viewers finally got to see the goodness that was inherent in her character–especially when she decided to give up her duet with Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) so that he can patch things up with his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens). This particular scene also showed viewers that there’s more to this pink-obsessed queen than meets the eye. In fact, in Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, we get to see different facets of her character.

For one, we got to see her generous and selfless nature, which was evident when she chose to share her dog Boi’s stage time with his canine competitor Lady, even after going through so much trouble dealing with her handler.

Second, we got to see her learn to adapt and make the best of her situation–especially when it came down to improving her living arrangements.

Third, we got to see her openly admit to her mistakes. In this movie, she wholeheartedly acknowledges her wrongdoings against Peyton (Austin Butler) and becomes a better person from it.

Honestly, her character development alone makes this movie worth the watch!

Sharpay finally gets a love interest that’s worthy of her

Throughout the first two High School Musical movies, we saw her character constantly obsessing over Troy Bolton (Efron). And in some parts of all three movies, it was hinted that she might have had a romantic fling with the baking-basketball player Zeke (Chris Warren). However, none of these two boys seemed to truly appreciate her character and dedication for theater.

In Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, she gets introduced to Peyton Leverett (Butler), the son of her mother’s friend–and finally, Sharpay finds a love interest that’s worthy of her!

Not only was Peyton very attentive and helpful towards her, but he also never tried to change her or force her to be something she was not. Instead he embraced her as the overdramatic (and somewhat, high maintenance) go-getter that she was.

Moreover, he encouraged her love for the theater and even helped her gain back confidence when it was initially lost. It’s because of him that she was even recognized by theater producers as a possible lead for the musical. Without him, she would have never made her debut performance on Broadway–so yeah, he really was a great catch!

The Evans twins finally get the endings they deserve

Earlier, I mentioned that Sharpay finally got her spotlight in this movie. But another thing that I absolutely loved about this film was the fact that it gave viewers a look into Ryan’s (Grabeel) promising future as well.

In the ending credits of the movie, Ryan makes a surprise appearance wherein he congratulates his sister for her success and shares that he’s been touring the country starring in a musical.

This is the perfect ending for two siblings who have worked hard to master their craft and go after their passions!

Via Giphy

So after reading this, I really hope you watch (or rewatch) the movie on this special anniversary. And to Ashley Tisdale and the rest of the cast and crew of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, happy ten years!

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