Pinoy Highlights: Mark Jeffrey Santos, Pop Surrealist

In a world made of floating pizza and edible terrain, lived these vivid creatures who delighted in chasing sushi townsfolk and smoking cigars.

Yes, this is the kind of art that excites you. Makes you curious. And hurts your head as you desperately try to make sense of it all.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing to everyone Mark Jeffrey Santos. Aside from being a Filipino pop surrealist, he's also the creator of this yummy universe and the father of the psychedelic sasquatches--these cute colorful beasts I'm sure you'd want on your shirts or up your walls.

What inspired you to be an artist? Describe your early beginnings as an aspiring artist 
"I was a freelance multimedia artist before I started painting, at the same time I was employed as a booth designer and a  powerpoint presentation designer in an Ad Agency. doing stock Icons, infographics and illustrations for corporate clients was really good and it was really paying me a lot financially. But I realized that I'm not going to be happy doing it for the rest of my life. Yes, it paid my bills but the lack of fulfillment in it didn't stop me from leaving my job. Being exposed to Art was one thing that brought me to this path (thanks to my friends and Mr. Zuckerberg) but There are these aspirational people that I look up to made me believe that I can do it."

Kindly describe your style of art. (Medium, Process, Inspirations)
"I like to get the feeling of being in a bizzare place. The feeling of being in a place you've never seen before for the first time. I like to combine weird things and come up with something. It intimidates me to try a different medium so I just use acrylics for my paintings. I dont have any specific way of how I make my paintings, sometimes it just comes out of me naturally, or a memory pops into mind." 

How did you come to choose a furry fictional creature as the central theme of your artworks
"It's actually an accident. Me and my friends were trying to put up a clothing business and we want it to be character based designs. so every single day I tried to come up with atleast 1 character. I was aiming for something simple and flexible until I came up with an ape looking cactus and decided that its a sasquatch later on."

What's the one unforgettable moment you had that involved art?
"When I told a buyer the colors will not fade even if you put the painting in an area exposed to the sun."

What do you think are three things that hinder creatives from exploring their talents?
Lack of observation.

Is there a personal/social advocacy that you wish to portray through your artworks?
"To be honest my art is very personal, I've actually never thought about any advocacies."

Name 3 artists you look up to and why they inspire you.
"I admit I'm a fan of Jeff Soto, my art style was actually inspired by his works. I also like Dulk's work, I'm fascinated by how he distorts his characters. And lastly, Jared Nickerson, he was one of the artists I look up to that pushed me to make art."

As an artist, what would be your grandest aspiration?
"To be a full time artist that can support my family and make art until I can't."

3 pieces of advice for creatives going through a creative block.
Draw whatever's on your mind.
Listen to music.

Mark Jeffrey R. Santos is a Pop Surrealist painter residing in Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines. He studied BS Multimedia Arts and Sciences (MAS) in Mapua Institute of Technology where he began his ventures in the creative industry. He studied traditional to digital art, photography, graphic design, and specialized in the field of Film and Video not knowing that these are just stepping stones to become an aspiring artist/painter. As of now, his art focuses mainly on his own experiences and fantasies. He usually exhibits scenes of his own real life episodes translated into his own vivid world full of bizarre creatures.

Valentines Day Treats 2016

Happy Valentines' Day everyone! I'm wishing everyone all the love and everything peachy this day of love. No bitterness, no grief, no jealousy, only love, love and more love. Valentines' Day is not all about couples anyway. It's about Love per se. Whether platonic or romantic, Valentines' Day is the perfect day to celebrate relationships--with yourself first, and with the people who matter the most to you. This will be the first Valentines' Day, after a long time, that I'll be celebrating with my mom (for a change). I feel extra grateful because I don't really get a lot of opportunities to treat her out. It's always been Mico and I. The universe has given me this golden opportunity to shower my mom with love outside the typical Mothers' Day, and I'm really, really grateful.

To kickstart my I Love My Mom Day, I decided to get myself on Pinterest and collect the best Valentines Day Treats that's not only sweet but well thought of. I think this is the second time I've shared food inspirations in my blog and I really hope I become consistent on this. LOL

Whoever you may be spending this day with, even if you're part of the larger statistic of people who'd rather spend Valentines' Day alone, it's always an amazing gift to yourself to stop stressing out and have a little fun for once.

It's time to get bitten by the love bug and get bakin'!

Red Velvet Oreo Trifles in a Jar
via lifeloveandsugar

Red Velvet Chocolate-Swirled Brownie Bars
via averiecooks

Shot Through The Heart Cake Pops
via hellolittlehome

Smores Lava Cakes
via lecremedelacrumb

Fluffer Nutter Stuffed Oreos
via thedomesticrebel

Valentine's Day Cutest Chocolate Covered Pretzels
via thepaperpinata

Mini Triple Chocolate Cheesecakes
via garnishandglaze

Mini Coconut Raspberry Valentine’s Day “Naked” Rosette Cakes
via minibaker

Valentines Day Marshmallow Wands
via twosisterscrafting

Valentines Heart Macarons
via livforcake

5 Romantic Anime Series to Watch over the Weekend

I’ve been bingewatching romantic comedy anime for the past months and it has come to a point that I can no longer find any other series at par with these ones I’m about to recommend. I’m a recovering anime addict and I’m a little obsessed with how anime brings out that nostalgic high school feel of falling in love for the first time. The confusion. The intimidation. The feels. I know Naruto and Attack on Titan are taking forever to come up with new episodes.

In the meantime, why don’t we indulge in a kilig sesh with these RomCom anime series over the weekend?


Nana is a story about two girls with the same name, both bound for Tokyo, but with different personalities and goals in life. One dreams of being a rock star and the other dreams of finding love. Nana is a tale of love despite betrayals, friendship despite differences and hope despite difficulty.

It’s the kind of anime that doesn’t have to try so much to catch attention with plot twists and stuff. Its relatability is what sets it apart from other romance anime. The trouble of finding love: falling for someone you can never have, getting cheated on and being sexually taken advantage of, all seem like the ton of shit younger vulnerable women go through.

Leaving the province to look for a better opportunity in a city is a real situation a lot of people have been in. A lot of artists have made it big through this risky leap of faith of taking their passions to a larger audience in a city. It’s the so-called American Dream that pushes everyone to keep going. All these goals and dreams coupled with reality and a dose of serendipity all make for an intense bingewatching action. The emotions in every story, predictable as some may seem, still haunts me to this day. I still cry to A Little Pain by Trapnest.

Kimi ni Todoke

Kimi ni Todoke revolves around a girl named Sawako who, all her life has subjected herself to be that anonymous person in class that everyone is scared to be around with. Her extremely awkward personality has garnered her a reputation that of Sadako, that long black haired poltergeist from the popular horror film, The Ring. All it took was for Kazehaya to see her kind and gentle nature, beyond that ridiculously creepy behavior.

This is a really cute high school romance story that can drag on for so long. It’s the spring of young love that’s smothered in awkwardness and incapability to openly express one’s feelings toward the other person that it took two seasons before they finally admit each others’ feelings to each other.

Yes, the romance part was that painfully long. And Sawako’s naivete annoyed me at times. Despite that I still love this anime series simply because it reminded me so much of the social issues I’ve been in back in high school. Yes there were girls obsessed with popularity and boys who delighted in others’ social mishaps, and also there’s the whole class that delights over someone sharing his/her assignments to everyone. Some were bullied for being different, and some were victims of rumors. But through all that, there’s always the good part where you find your real friends, and if you’re lucky, that guy you like. And that’s the best thing about high school.

Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Wolf Girl and Black Prince is such a quirky romcom story about a girl who was that desperate to show off to her friends. One day all her friends were talking about their boyfriends so she decides to lie about having a boyfriend as well. She gets further within her lies when she unknowingly took a photo of a guy she randomly saw. Unfortunately, he was also studying in the same school as her. She had no choice but to further cover her lies by entering a contract with Sata. Little did she know that Sata has this evil side to him that no one else in the school has any idea about. A pathetic lier and an evil opportunist. Makes for a real troublesome romantic story that’s entirely fun, at least for us viewers.

This series has no dull moments. Kyoya is a real hottie and I guess Erika was meant to create the lies she spread about her and Sata. Although it was totally annoying to be in her situation, eventually she ends up discovering another side to Kyoya, and truly falls for him. Sorry for the spoiler. Bottomline: If you think you’ll find the love of your life with lies, go for it. The odds are limitless.

Lovely Complex

Lovely Complex is a romantic comedy series that seeks to kill the notion that boys should be taller than girls in order for a relationship to not look ridiculous. This truly was a huge dilemma during high school. Risa Koizumi is 14cm taller than Otani Atsushi. They’re known to be the notorious Hanshin Kyojin of the class, taking after a popular comedy duo of the height differences as them. They’re also the best of friends despite relentlessly teasing each other. I guess it’s inevitable for this kind of friendship to develop into romance.

Confessing to your best buddy’s a real nerve racking feat. This is considering that for most part of your friendship, you haven’t really seen each other as anything like a romantic partner. Add the height difference to that demise.

Lovely Complex is a ridiculously funny series that will tug into your heart strings, especially if you’ve ever had a friend you almost fell for (not that I’m implying anything personal). So many things that play on this type of situation. That kind where you have to choose between saving your friendship and taking a leap of faith and not knowing whether he will reciprocate or not. And don’t get me started with the awkwardness of it all.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama

Most anime plots are all about an insignificant girl falling for a popular guy. Kaichou wa maid sama is not that type. You’ll be so delighted to watch a non-stereotype kind of romance for a change. Misaki, an uptight president of a former all boys school ends up falling for Usui Takumi, your average high school Mr. Perfect. Misaki is a dreamer and a hard worker. Usui is laidback and, well for the lack of a better word, perfect. This is why he doesn’t try so hard at anything, and why he annoys Misaki.

Not every kid is fortunate enough to have education. Some had to work their asses off both in their academics and their part time jobs after school. Misaki is one of those students. She balances her time being the president of her school and being a kawaii maid server at a Maid Cafe. Aside from that, she also works hard at keeping this job from her subordinates because it would totally ruin her reputation at school. This is my favorite out of all romcom animes so far. Not entirely because of Usui’s incredibly hot and all around perfection (although it was the one thing that got me into watching this), but because despite their clash of personalities, Usui’s damn persuasive. This totally gives off the kind of poetic justice powerful women are clamoring for. Not all men fear powerful women. And not all powerful women prefer being single.

I think I’ve watched more than 15 romance series already LOL These 5 I think are the best so far. What’s your favorite romantic anime? Let me know because I’m running out of series to binge watch during my free time. 🙂

I Love Me February Loop Giveaway

After creating an Instagram challenge for everyone who's into a little sprinkle of self love this February, I also decided to host a giveaway that will further inspire loving one's self this month of Love through to Women's Day come 1st week of March. I know, trying to hit two birds with one stone has never been this sweet.

 'Tis not the month to give in to the pressures of dating and finding Mr. Right. I mean come on. He'll come when it's time. Right now, while we're all still enjoying our Me Time to the fullest extent possible, why not use this valuable moment to be yourself, tap into your inner goddess, and figure out a hundred reasons why you're worth la dolce vita.

Dramatic Backless Wedding Gowns by Cocomelody

While this month-long unpaid "Love" holiday may be the spring of prom and first dates, it may also be the perfect time to collect your balls and ovaries and finally seal the deal with that ultra special someone. February will always be that one month in the whole year when Love is remembered and celebrated. What more clever way to avoid forgetting your anniversary in your 50's, right?

 More than a thousand couples get married every single day this February and while some brides may have everything figured out, others are still batshit confused looking for that perfect gown, or in rare cases, the perfect seamstress. If you're one of those brides who are still cramming for your wedding dress and can't find a decent seamstress who gets your style, then February is also the best time to get your hands on these fabulous backless wedding dresses by Cocomelody

 Wedding gowns are now created with stylish and elegant cuts that make for a sexy bride. Classy and sassy at the same time, baring a little skin on the red carpet to forever is the current style trend of modern brides. Whether you're the type of bride that's into lace or satin, having an open back wedding dress could definitely add the "Elegant on the front, flirty on the back" kind of flavor to your most memorable day. 

"Once upon a perfect night, unclouded and still, there came the face of a pale and beautiful lady. The tresses of her hair reached out to make the constellations, and the dewy vapours of her gown fell soft upon the land."
-Kit Williams

 Cocomelody is currently giving out discounts up to 70% on back interest gowns. Imagine that, the perfect dress at a perfect price. And no monthly fitting schedules. Your dream backless gown on a click of a button. Hurry up and grab the sexiest backless wedding dress you've been eyeing on now.

5 Etiquette Tips for Bloggers

via Zhang Jingna Art

In my 5 years of blogging, it was only last year that I was exposed to bloggers' Facebook groups. Despite being a little antisocial, I discovered a new world where proactive bloggers are out on the go and advertisers and event coordinators are actually fishing for online influencers. It was a fun experience signing up for events, meeting new people and receiving freebies but it was also this time when my eyes were opened to a few injustices both bloggers and advertisers have to put up with. 

If you're a newbie blogger, you have to really suck up to the coordinators, shelling out your own money for transport, etc., for a loot bag that's sometimes not even worth the endeavor. If you're a blogger with an established readership, advertisers would really suck up to you and sometimes, in a realm of opportunities and options, you tend to develop a sort of diva complex.

I also just realized how advertisers had to kill the extra time searching for the right bloggers in a pool of spam commenters in Facebook threads and how they have to deal with no shows and freeloaders.

Naive as I was, I allowed myself to be sucked into such a messy system, forgetting my initial purpose as to why I'm blogging. I recently realized this so I opted to write about how I wanted to change my behavior towards advertisers, and hopefully create a ripple of change in a quite unruly community of bloggers in this generation.

1. Don't be a comment spammer
I've had a personal encounter with these comment spammers. 

Even when the promotional post is requiring them to sign up on Google Forms or to message the person directly, still they would plop their email addresses and blog URLs on the comments section. Some don't even bother reading the promotional post. If an advertiser is looking specifically for beauty bloggers, even if that's outside their niche still they would enter their details, making it harder for advertisers to sort everything out. 

I know how comment spamming works for some bloggers. Believe me, I've been a professional spammer in a past freelance job. It's a way to get people to open their website. They don't care if their blogs have any relevance to the job description posted. They just want their blogs to be seen. It's an addition to their page views, regardless whether the visitor was pleased or pissed after viewing. This is a desperate, not to mention annoying, marketing strategy.

If you want to be invited to events, receive product samples and gain the trust of people who are looking to build their business with bloggers, please be responsible and professional with your social media etiquette. Read first. Decide whether the promotional is relevant to your blog or niche. Understand the fine print of the post. It would be really hard to look stupid when the advertiser contacts you and you have no idea what you signed up for. 

Finally, treat the comments section as a way to market yourself as a professional blogger. Some advertisers blacklist, you know. Even if you've somehow established your own brand, to some of these advertisers you'll still be that blogger who knew nothing, and was too desperate. BURN.

2. Schedule upcoming projects and events before signing up
To the previous advertisers I dissed in the past months, I am deeply sorry. That was totally irresponsible of me. I never thought it'd be so frustrating to have 100 people sign up for your event and have only 10 attend. And what's more irritating is that they have another event for an excuse.

In Facebook, not everyone who clicks "Attending" will actually attend, and not everyone who plops their email and blog url on the comments section (as per Tip#1) have the slightest idea what's going on. Some delight in signing up for every event they come across while browsing blogger groups, without any commitment in mind. Well, most of the time we couldn't blame them either because they just had to take a chance and wait for the advertiser to consider them over everyone else who signed up. And sometimes the ads don't contain event dates. "Just an upcoming thing", as most of you might have read over and over, like revealing the name/date/time of the event will kill anyone.

Sometimes, you just can't help but be tied up between two big events in a day because of these little miscommunications. The least we can do is to use a planner or calendar to note the events we're already planning to attend so that just in case a promotion contains a specific date that may coincide with another event, we would know better than to sign up for that anymore. This is also to save you from being a no show.

3. Be a polite communicator
Okay, so just in case you're caught in the previous situations, the one thing you can do, for the sake of common decency and world peace, is to be a polite communicator. This means replying in a professional manner to emails and/or personal messages that are sent to you by the advertisers. Whether you're interested or not, let them know. Whether the proposal is relevant to your niche or not, let them know. Whether you'll be late or won't be able to attend due to whatever excuse you may have, let them know. I've elaborated on this in "How to Reject People without the Unnecessary Guilt".

Also if you have questions and clarifications, ask politely. You can't blame people for things you didn't have the balls to ask about. Even if they were the ones who invited you, still it's your responsibility to know the answers to the things you are unsure of. Ignorance is never a good excuse.

I know, I too am guilty of seenzoning people in Facebook over the years, especially when I'm not interested or I'm too embarrassed to say No. I would usually be contented with the thought of "Silence means No", and that people will get that but I wouldn't have realized I were this ill-mannered until I experienced being seenzoned myself. It sucks. I never thought it would be as annoying to have to present what's going on and be left with nothing. Not even a rejection. Just plain dead air. Imagine the effort it took to market something plus that one piece of precious internet time wasted. 

For this I would really like to commend our dear advertisers and event coordinators. I don't have the friggin' patience to deal with this shit. This is the ultimate thing that got me really fired up pissed over some undisciplined bloggers of today. I even ranted about this with a friend and she's like "That's really how it is." Unruly and disrespectful bloggers are like the majority nowadays. It's just frustrating.

Please be a polite communicator. You don't need to be the god of grammar to be able to communicate properly and in a way that you're letting your real thoughts come across without being rude.

4. Write about the product you received or event you were invited in as soon as possible.

Okay, another thing I'm guilty about for the past year. Sometimes I just attend an event for the heck of it without any intent on blogging about it later. I know, I hate myself too for that.

Guess I didn't know how much money and effort it took to organize events and promote products until I remembered marketing my own product to a few bloggers. I'm making and selling Pocket Nursing Guides, and in 2014 I decided to have bloggers from a medical niche to write about it in exchange for a free sample. I thought that bloggers who own high ranking blogs would be more professional about this but this one especially annoying blogger fucked with me. She's a great communicator on email, mind you. She showed real interest in my product so I decided to send her a free one. After that was blah. No post. No email reply. Ziltch. And she's still currently updating her site. I'm not sure blabbing about this person will achieve anything but just to ignite your curiosity, her blog has the initials N and G in them. If you have any nursing related business, never deal with this person.

Don't be a blogger that's all about tokens and loot bags. There's a responsibility behind all that. These people are sucking up to us with payments in cash and in kind, the least we can do is help them with their marketing campaign. Who knows, one day they'll come up with blogger contracts and sue the crap out of you if you fail to write about their product.

With that said, I hope we'll be more considerate of how advertisers and event coordinators put up with no shows and freeloaders. Brands are paying them to market their products. For us bloggers, as part of the online media, not blogging about an event or product will cost advertising companies their clients. That's a lot of money and manpower lost for being too lazy to post about their product. And you'll never hear from them again. Notice the way I couldn't forget that person who scammed me, advertisers too will remember those lazy freeloading ones.

5. Never display an attitude of arrogance
Being an arrogant a-hole is like the holy grail of people nobody would ever want to work with. Reality is, not all events that bloggers are invited in will be giving out cash or loot bags. And not every event that promises those will give them out on time. I'm talking about irresponsibility on the end of some advertisers: overselling something and cheaping out on the pay. That's a given. In this day and age, there will always be those freelancing scammers taking in pay from brands, hiring bloggers, and running away with the pay.

Despite that, some high and mighty bloggers, who have their heads up in the air and their asses in their faces, have the audacity to complain and throw a world class fit in front of everybody simply because the event or the pay didn't meet his/her expectations.

Expectations versus reality, right?

I couldn't emphasize more that for us bloggers, Image is Everything. Nobody likes an arrogant and demanding brand ambassador. Even bloggers roll their eyes at these types of people. Self-entitlement is a trait that may offend others. I'm all for equal opportunities so these people who feel they're entitled to better things in life get in my nerves.

It's true that sometimes some of us have to put up with those kinds of advertisers. Especially newbies who are trying to establish ties with brands. But there are also these circumstances when someone just happen to have the balls to speak out and complain against an abusive or suspicious organizer. It's possible that he/she may look like an a-hole to the rest of the bloggers who are willing to lick these petty scamming advertisers' butts for loot bags (#sorrynotsorry), but I believe there's a peaceful way of calling out someone's crap without arrogance. 

I think this is the perfect time to quietly walk away and save yourself or talk to the person directly and air your sentiments. Who knows, they may not be scammers after all. It's also possible that delays are on the end of the brands. Consider every possibility and weigh the situation before deciding on a politically sound action. You could either be the hero that stood for your fellow bloggers or you could also be the self-entitled a-hole.