#CosmoMoveIt 2016

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My friends and I were able to attend the second and final part of the #CosmoMoveIt by Cosmopolitan Philippines that was held on April 21, 2016 at the BGC Amphitheater.

 

Cosmo shirt that you can style any way that you want, Fruit Magic’s Pure Nectar, Jergens and Belo products were given away on that day! FREEbies! All the booths were very engaging as well! 🙂

Our group along with the other bellas were also selected to participate in the Jergens’ game before the Body Jam and Hip-Hop dance workout sessions. Joanne and Pao were able to bagged the first place! 🙂

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We have totally enjoyed the whole event! Thank you Cosmopolitan Philippines for hosting such a fun and fit event. 🙂

#SquadGoals
#SquadGoals

“We Don’t Sweat, We Sparkle”

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We Live To Explore

In my previous blog, I have shared that I bought my first camera, Fujifilm X-A2! The Fujifilm X-A2 is a mirrorless camera that is good for entry-level and upon research, these are the key features of X-A2:

  • 175° tilting LCD screen with face and eye detection (hello, selfie!)
  • 16.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Newly-developed Eye auto focus (AF), Auto Macro AF and Multi-Target AF
  • 5.6fps burst shooting
  • Built-in wi-fi (photos from the camera could transfer immediately to mobile phones)
  • A pop-up flash and external hotshoe
  • Classic Chrome film simulation mode
  • Full HD video recording capabilities at 30 frames per second and a multiple exposure mode

I am currently using the new XC 16-50mm II (24-76mm) F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom lens, which I think is the most basic kit lens of X-A2 (correct me if I’m wrong). What I also like about this camera are the built-in range of film simulation modes and creative effects, which helps me to take better photos. 🙂

Last week, I have spent my off-days to get lost and wander with my camera, just so that I could try out its different features… They think I’m crazy for doing it, but no! You know how much I like going out, right?! Haha! That’s why the title of this post is “We Live To Explore“. With that being said, let me share with you the unedited photos that I have taken. SOME of the photos that I have uploaded on my Instagram account are edited and filtered using VSCO app. However, if you’ll look at the unedited photos, there’s no need for filter anymore. 🙂

Any thoughts, comment or suggestion about my shots? 🙂 If you haven’t noticed, I like playing with sunlight and shadows. <3

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My Life Lately: February and March

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Supposed to be a monthly series by I have missed to post “My Life Lately: February” so I’ll just post it together with the month of March. 🙂

1. I was so ecstatic about my U.S. Tourist Visa being approved so I have shared it immediately in my blog. Even though every detail was already there, a lot was still asking me about it. I guess it excites them too!

2. I went to Baguio with two of my office mates. It was an unplanned one! We didn’t even know that it was the start of Penagbengga Festival. Haha. The unplanned trips are one of the awesome trips. 😉 Makes me want to try a solo trip soon.

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3. I will be opening a business and this one is still a secret. Don’t worry, I will reveal it soon! 😛

4. Went ice skating at SM MOA with my office mates. I missed my skates and also being inside the ice skating rink! I somehow regret selling my skates. Ugh.

5. Bought my first camera, Fujifilm XA-2 Mint Green (Yes, my favorite color). I was eyeing the XT-10 model, but the price is too much for me. 🙁 So I’ve made up my mind to buy a cheaper one yet with a good quality and will just upgrade after a year…sss. I also met a guy who is a solo traveler, he will be in Europe for 3 weeks. I’m so envious! I wonder what camera did he bought after I convince him to choose Fujifilm instead. Haha!

6. I’m happy to see that my blog views are still high even though I’m not updating it consistently. Though my Alexa rank and statistics went down, big time.

7. Two of my closest friends went back to PH so yeah, got to celebrate their homecoming!

Photo with my girlfriends using my new camera Fujifilm XA-2

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U.S. Tourist Visa Application Experience

US Visa

Getting U.S. Tourist Visa is one of my goals for this year! It was January 15th when I set a schedule for my visa interview and the earliest possible date by that time was February 2nd; I chose February 5th at 8:00AM (Friday).

For Non-immigrant Visa application, these are the 3 steps:

  1. Go to www.ustraveldocs.com and answer the DS-160 online form (Note: You will need to upload your picture, preferably in a neutral facial expression).
  2. Pay the visa fee, which costs $160; keep the visa fee receipt because you will need it during the appointment.
  3. Schedule your visa interview thru their website or call center agent. Remember, gadgets are not allowed so better leave it at home.

I’m ecstatic about the interview, so I kept on Googling about U.S. Tourist Visa blogs and then I have noticed that these are the questions that the consular commonly ask:

  1. What is the purpose of your visit?
  2. Do you have any relatives or friends in the U.S.?
  3. How long will you be staying?
  4. Countries you have visited for the past 5 years?
  5. What is your work?
  6. How much is your monthly income?

U.S. Visa Appointment Day

My boyfriend (he only accompanied me) and I have arrived at the US Embassy around 6AM and I think I’m the 6th person in the line for the 8AM appointment. At 7:45AM, we were on our way inside the embassy.

Once inside the embassy, the first step would be a pre-interview (checking of printed DS-160/appointment form) this is also your last chance to change any answer in your form, the second step is a fingerprint scanning and lastly, the start of a waiting game for your number to be called for the interview.

Calling out of the number is randomized, as what the guy staff explained, it is random because the number that was first to enter into their system after the fingerprint scan will be called immediately, so don’t get mad if you saw the last person in your line to be called first. 🙂

I wasn’t wearing a watch on that day (because I thought it is also prohibited) so I assume that it took me an hour before being called. Maybe I’m just lucky that there were fewer people went for an interview on that day, other people waited for 2-3hrs. (Tip: Bring a book that you want to read while waiting because it might take hours before you’ll be called).

The consuls looks nice, approachable and good anyway, unlike the stories that I have heard. Before my turn, I could hear a lot of people being interviewed and most of them got approved.

The Interview

I was feeling nervous while waiting for my number to flash in the screen, but during the interview, my nervousness suddenly went away!

Consul: Hi, how are you?
Me: Good morning, I’m good. *smiles*
Consul: So, what’s the purpose of your visit?
Me: I will visit my relatives
Consul: What is your relationship with them?
Me: My aunt and my grandmother
Consul: How long do you plan to visit?
Me: For 2 weeks
Consul: So you work in *********?
Me: Yup
Consul: For how long?
Me: For ** years
Consul: From which department?
Me: From **** department
Consul: Oh, the **** store. What’s your work?
Me: *explaining my work*
Consul: Who will pay for your trip?
Me: Myself
Consul: Okay… So you’re saving up for yourself?
Me: Yes

And that’s how I got my U.S. Tourist Visa application approved! 😀 The excitement and the visa fee are all worth it! Haha. After 5 business days, my passport was delivered to our house… The US Embassy gave me 10 years! I think most of the questions were about my work because it will be the main reason why I’ll return here in the Philippines. Also, they didn’t ask for any supporting documents during the interview. My ultimate tip for the interview would be:

BE HONEST AND BE CONFIDENT

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Philippine Map Pinboard

Philippine Map Pinboard

Isn’t it fun to know where you’ve been and haven’t been by marking it on a pinboard map? Listing down the mountains that you have conquered? A pinboard that will help you remember the moments you had in a certain place. Memories that will be remembered forever.

Just finished my Philippine map pinboard today; it may have look simple, but the point of it is to let me remember where I have been. More than 20 years living in Philippines and as you can see, I still have a lot of Philippine provinces to visit! I’m not even in the half yet! Haha. On the left side, I plan to list down the mountains that I have conquered.ListsWhat else do you think should I add to it? Were you also able to track down the places you’ve been? Comment below. 🙂

Materials:

Cork Board | Wooden Frame| Construction Paper | Dressmaker Pins | Glue | Pencil | Scissor | Permanent Markers (Black and Silver)

PS: If you are interested to have one, just send me a message. 🙂

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My Life Lately: January

1. No blog posts and gala for me recently because I had my lazy days. Apart from that, I got sick and had Dysmenorrhea so, my bum days just go on.

2. Two days on a sick leave so most of the time I’m just lying on my bed, watching TV series. I recently signed-up for Netflix‘s one month trial and I already finished Jessica Jones and Dare Devil; next would be Breaking Bad.

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* I’d like to have Jessica Jone’s body! And gosh, Dare Devil is so damn handsome and hot. Haha!*

3. Started a Philippine map pin board project and is still in progress, will just show a photo of it once done.

4. Uploaded a song cover on my SoundCloud account — One Call Away by Charlie Puth

5. Re-invested in Farmon.ph 10th cycle.

6. It’s normal to have those lazy days, right? Half of the month already have passed… Being sick and stuck in bed makes me think that my time is wasted.

Must be my period.

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5 Things I’m Thankful For In Year 2015

2015 is a special year for me because it is the year where I know and felt that I’m the one in charge of my life. A year full of adventures, out of comfort zone experiences, learnings, realizations and memories that will be remembered forever; unlike the past years of my life wherein I don’t even know what I want with my life, I just go with the flow.

Let me share with you the 5 things I am thankful for the year 2015:

1. The start of my own blog site

Finally had the guts to start my own blog site and a lot of my friends probably were wondering, why?

Perhaps, they do not know that I’m already bogging during my college days, but not a serious one! Just my happy thoughts, rants and about random things. Then 2015 came and I stumbled upon iamaileen.com by Aileen Adalid, a travel blogger that shared her story of how she left the corporate job in the Philippines at the age of 21 to travel the world. The way she lives as a digital nomad and how she shares her travel stories, that’s what I want too. After reading her story, I became inspired and motivated to chase my own dreams too. With that, I told myself to be brave and that there is nothing to lose when I get serious with blogging; I might help somebody else with my posts too just like Aileen. 🙂

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May 2015, I bought my own domain name aurikamatias.com and started my own blog site with the help of my two blogger friends Dianne and Zek. Thank you guys for supporting me! Haha. ‘xo

2. Travel around Philippines

So 2015 is definitely the most adventurous year of my life. I may not have traveled outside the Philippines but at least, I was able to travel locally. My first hike, surf, cliff dive, spelunking and a lot more firsts happened in just one year! And I thank God for keeping me safe during those activities. We should keep in mind that the Philippines has a lot of things to offer that we do not know and haven’t experienced yet. #LoveLocal

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3. The frugal life

The normal scenario: Earn -> Spend -> Save what’s left. It took me a one working year in a corporate job to realize how much I have spent a lot of my money with unnecessary things! My oh my, I feel sad whenever I think about it, but I’m glad that I’m already done with that phase and learned how to budget. Living a frugal life is not easy, especially if you cannot let go the things that are unnecessary in your life. Learn to pay yourself by saving up first before spending the extra cash.

P.S. I’m proud to say that I already have stocks and investments! Hoping for more! 🙂

4. Online and real life friends

One of the advantages of being adventurous and also a blogger is meeting like minded people! Online world made it easy to communicate with other people and letting them become a part in your circle of friends is a good side of it. I have personally met some of my online buddies and honestly, getting to know them in real life is not that awkward. Just a little chit-chat would do but still, be cautious enough to know if they are harmless or not. As for me, I’m glad that I met harmless people through online! I also have newly found friends through a common friends. 🙂

5. More about myself

A year where I get to know more about myself by reading self-development, inspirational, motivational books and applying them. They helped me to know my goals, dreams and how to handle different life situations. I see life more positive now than before and I could say that this is a new me. Of course, there are also real life experiences that made me realized these things. Just like the old saying, “You’ll never know until it happened to you.”. My life has a direction now.

It’s hard to say goodbye 2015, you’ve been oh so good to me! But it’s time to move on and I’ll just hope for more adventures and learnings with year 2016. Happy New Year!

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Closing Time sung by Semisonic

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My Life Lately: December

My Life Lately

December just started out but a lot already happened… or not, really. Looking back on what happened for the past few days, here’s the list of my life lately:

  1. Attended at the very early office Christmas Party (seriously? Christmas Party on first week of December?! Haha) and I was unexpectedly awarded as the best “Goth” costume since our theme was First Day High. Hooray for P1,000 that I got. Meh.
  2. Been meeting a lot of close friends lately to celebrate their promotions and birthdays. I’m happy for them! So if I’m not at work then I’ll be somewhere else but home.
  3. Eating a LOT! Like, I do not get full or satisfied with what I eat – may it be junk foods or real foods. Why oh why. I this normal? Or am I still normal? LOL.
  4. During my shift… of course, I’m working! 😛
  5. Yet I why do I still feel like I’m missing out a lot because of work? Hmm. Plus, I have to work on 25th and 31st of December – Night shift! SMH.
  6. Re-budgeting, jotting down expenses, random thoughts and ideas.
  7. Reading the book A Work In Progress by Connor Franta. Connor motivates and inspires me. I love you, Connor! 🙂
  8. Torn between if I should get Fujifilm XT10 or not because I want to save yet I want to have that expensive camera. The battle between wants and needs. Could just someone please give this to me as a gift?! Haha
  9. Planning on what business should I start? Where to invest?
  10. Too much time spent on Social Media.

Eww, did I just used a lot of emoticons and abbreviations? LOL. Am I just overthinking or making my life complicated? I hope not. Well, I also hope that I’m still on the right track and that I could start a business, soon! 🙂

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My 23rd Birthday

A week full of junk foods

3 days have passed since my 23rd birthday and I’m still ecstatic about it. Unlike last year, I did not take an EH (Elective Holiday) in my work because I just got back from my trip to Surigao and I was out of the office for 9 days. Haha!

Even though I’m on a night shift and it means I’ll have to celebrate my birthday in office, my teammates never failed to surprise me with a cake! I wasn’t expecting anything on that night yet they still managed to make me feel that it’s my special day. 🙂

I’m so happy that I was able to celebrate my birthday with different set of friends! Thank you for the gifts, surprises and birthday greetings! You made my day extra special, I love you all!

Thank you, God, for all the blessings that you have given me and for giving me another year of life.

P.S. Will have a triple birthday celebration (mine, my sister’s and my brother’s) with my family on weekend. <3 Happy birthday to us.

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Weekend at Quezon City

I was invited in a photoshoot by my cousin’s friend, Kuya Jay Exiomo, for his personal project “Metro Manila Diaries”. I’m still happy for being part of this project, spreading the beautiful and historical parts of Metro Manila. You may check his wonderful works in his travel blog Pusang Gala. 🙂 P.S. You might drool over his beautiful shots and the places he had been to!

Photos were taken in some of the famous places around Quezon City: Quezon Memorial Circle, Maginhawa Street and UP Diliman. Below are some of his shots:

Quezon Memorial Circle

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I was still in High School the last time I visited Quezon Memorial Circle and as far as I can remember, there were only parks and sari-sari stores around. I’m amazed by how much it has changed! There were now interactive museum, restaurants, court, fitness equipment, and a lot more! We need more city parks like this, please. 🙂

Maginhawa Street, UP Village

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I bet no one gets hungry here in the famous food street, Maginhawa Street. lol. Photos were taken specifically at StrEat and Cat Cafe Manila. Instagram-ish stores that offers a different variety of foods, who wouldn’t want to come here? 🙂 It may be scourging hot outside but I don’t mind, I could chill here any time!

UP Diliman Campus

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The home of UP Fighting Maroons. Best place to have any photoshoot theme, jog and train, stroll, eat street foods or just relax over the weekend. The sun light, forest like surroundings – UP Diliman Campus will make you feel like you’re far from the busy city. You’ll love everything about here.

So aside from Kuya Jay’s photos, I also have my own random photos. Haha!

Touring around Quezon City made me realize that each city has its own beauty and history that I need to learn and to know more. 🙂

Click here for Kuya Jay’s photoshoot blog post. 

Looking forward for more photoshoot, random photos and weekend like this! Hope you had an awesome weekend like mine! 🙂

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