Sunday, October 30, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 237 - Better and Happier






I'm typing this post with the heaviest and painful arms after torturing myself from some physical exercise. I've wanted to start this post with another set of thoughts, but the pain is so overwhelming. Borrowing John Green's words, pain demands to be felt. This is a screaming proof that I'm really overweight and the lousiest. I thought the everyday commuting adventures which include climbing the stairs, maintaining my balance inside the train, prolonged standing while waiting for my turn for the UV express, can equate to this one-hour cardio activity. I underestimated everything. Initially, I don't have intentions of mentioning this much needed physical torture. Over the last years, I noticed that whenever I blog about my efforts to exercise, laziness will soon overpower me. Sustaining has always been my struggle. With my nth attempt to exercise, I hope I will be successful. I want to become someone who can't live without any workout routine. At this stage, I'm just someone who can't live without cake, chips and Coke. Hahahaha 

Everyone here is looking forward for the long holiday break. I also have plans, a lot! I want to clean my room. Finish another Korean drama. Visit a good old friend. But before anything else, I need to work. Teacher related duties like checking of examination papers, encoding grades while praying that I will not make any kid cry. Hahaha No failures, please. :( Or is it the other way around? It's me who should be prayed and spared from crying. I hope I'll be able to finish everything before November comes. I want everything to be considered done before entering another month.

Setting aside all these serious and not-so-interesting aspects of my life, here are the few beautiful things I compiled for this post

Nick Bantock's series - It finally arrived! Anyone who loves handwritten letters and postcards will love this Nick Bantock's trilogy. I can't anymore remember where did I discover Nick Bantock's works. I think it was from another blogger as well. I wanted to acquire the books via Book Depository or the local bookstores. Unfortunately, the prices prevented me. Each book ranges from $ 17 to 20. Local bookstores sell each at Php 999. It took me some time to find alternatives, specifically second hand bookstores. Fortunately, I discovered Thrift Books. I got all three titles for $ 10! Never mind if they are second hand copies. Everything arrived in good condition. I'm the happiest! I started reading the books and I have no regrets at all. I love the mystery, words and more importantly, the featured artworks. This is one of the rare times I get to appreciate abstract paintings too. These books deserve another post. And as of writing this, I'm wishing to acquire the remaining books of Nick Bantock. If anyone here has second hand copies, please message me :)!

Thank you Terra! - Another postcards, another addition to my Beatrix Potter collection :) 

I miss sending out postcards and doing the lost postcard series. Apologies to my fellow postcrossers, especially to Terra and Marieken. I've been a terrible friend this month. Promise, I'll make it up to everyone.

Happy Halloween! - We had the regular trick or treat happening at the workplace. For my friends who are lucky to experience four seasons, I hope you are enjoying fall. 

Forever blue - This hand knitted bear is love. How I wish it belongs to me. It would make as a nice Christmas gift for the kids and all the kids at heart. 

This will be my last post for October, which came with a minor accomplishment. Achieving it was quite expensive, added to it the effort to push myself to bounce back. I'm not sure if I'm on the right track though. Complicated. Like probably my wish last year, I hope to spend the last months of the year better and happier. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 236 - The Trade-off





I'm reporting for work today. Given that next week means a week long break, I don't mind giving up Sunday. I can't wait for the next week. There will surely be family reunions during the All Saints Day. Although I tend to avoid some relatives who never fail to verify when will I get married. I'm all done with the explanations. Hahaha While waiting for the vacation, I hope to accomplish all pending tasks on Friday. If schedule and resources allow, I wish to have a great dinner with my Friday friend, MFA :) I can already smell buffalo wings and jalapeno sauce. Hahaha 

The upcoming week marks the trick or treat season. I hope the workplace continues the tradition and my cousin's family as well. I'm excited to see kids in different costumes and shopping for candies too. Speaking of shopping, I hope to complete my Christmas shopping before December arrives. Although it's impossible, I wish that my regular salary will be sufficient for all the gifts. I wanted to preserve my 13th month pay for other priorities. Any freelance work will be also a welcome addition. :) 

Recently, I've been wanting to write about my most read blog posts and how it gave me insights on how to become a "popular" blogger. At least in my domain, popular meant regularly gaining hits and visitors. My posts that dealt with reviews such as LBC Shipping Cart, eRase solution, black pearl soap, Longchamp bags, Cath Kidston and my attempt to spot a fake vs. authentic Lacoste, emerged as my popular posts. Blog posts that concentrate on reviews is not a frequent topic I write. The irony. :) As much as I wanted my photos and sentiments posts to become more recognized, things work out differently. 

I enjoy writing reviews but lately, I discovered a trade-off. Writing product reviews will give hits and establish the much needed popularity indicators. Unfortunately, reviews have a way of attracting .... negativities. My post about LBC Shipping Cart for instance has drawn "below the belt" comments. I went to the extent of blocking comments that contained "foul" language. Everything started when LBC Shipping Cart started to have problems in their operations. Just because I had a great experience and others didn't, makes me biased and misleading. This I believe is unfair. Same as with my attempt to compare a fake and authentic Lacoste. I even received a long email from a reseller, who defended that Lacoste have legit shops that offer defective products for a discount. I didn't bother to explain. The worst I can remember was a husband planning to give his wife a Lacoste tote. He was forcing me to identify the reseller who gave me the fake tote. Because I was so agitated, I went to the extent of becoming a little personal. I told him if he really loves his wife, he wouldn't allow his wife to use a fake Lacoste. He will be man enough to spend a store purchased and authentic Lacoste.

These experiences will not prevent me from writing reviews though. However, I have to prepare myself for the trade-off. 

Meanwhile, here are the few beautiful things that made the past week. I believe I had more than enough introduction. Hahaha

My favorite inspirational signage  - Scored this wooden bookmark from Robinsons Metroeast. Lately, I've been buying small items with inspirational quotes

Postcard from Terra - Thank you dear friend for spoiling my addiction to Beatrix Potter! Part of me wants to become Beatrix Potter. She is one of my inspirations. 

Disney postcard - Thanks again Terra! :) Disneyland is no doubt one of the happiest places on earth. I want to come back but hopefully in Tokyo Disneyland. 

Arlo is love - I don't often watch Disney movies but one thing sure though, I always end up loving their production. Lately, it was Arlo from The Good Dinosaur that awakened the kid at heart in me. Through the help of my friend A, I was able to acquire the Funko Pop toy for Arlo. A little expensive... and threatens to become an addiction. As proof, I wanted to acquire Sadness  (Inside Out) and Spot (The Good Dinosaur) versions.

I'm typing this post while watching a horror Thai film, Senior. I highly recommend the film, even for those who are like me, have the weakest heart for anything horror. Hahaha Truth is, it's not frightening at all. It involves some mystery solving stories. 

My face is starting to feel oilier, must be because of some worries over the next days ... starting with the bills to pay. Hahaha Wishing everyone a beautiful Sunday and a great week ahead!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Away from them


I've been wanting to write about this incident a few months ago. I believe so many things happened and my attention was diverted to something and somewhere else. As much as I wanted to forget, it would definitely not help when I see the person involved everyday. It's a screaming reminder. 

I was having a conversation with B about an unexpected workload. It was B's superior who requested the work. Like probably everyone here, we have that innate obedience to follow our superiors. While I don't have intentions to refuse, I asked B why I was chosen. B told me that her superior strictly wanted me to handle it. Okaaaaaay. Before we ended our conversation, B left a parting joke, magaling ka kasi, kaya ikaw ang gusto ni Boss. (The Boss thinks you are good, so she wanted you to do it.)  I just smiled in return. 

What I didn't notice, another superior was approaching. Unfortunately or fortunately, superior X overheard the last part of our conversation, "magaling ka kasi kaya ikaw ang gusto ni Boss." Superior X heaved that classic boisterous laugh. It was an insulting laugh. It was a clear message of sarcasm.

Truth to be told, Superior X is one of those persons I only respect by virtue of her position. I have some history with superior X. Most relate negative experiences that extended to other people. While not everything directly affected me, I felt a degree of hatred when superior X committed something that led to the oppression of some. Superiors and managers who are so whiny also never fails to irritate me... just like one of the senators whom I find too whiny for a male being?!  That is if that senator is really a member of the male populace. Hahaha  It will surely feel good to describe all the negative traits of Superior X. Hahaha I'm leaving everything on the aspect of that forced respect.

I wanted to write more. But I'm taken aback by my previous Beautiful Sunday post. I was claiming that I stopped writing about people that relates to my work. I have to eat my words. :D 

I have long conditioned myself that my existence will never be defined by my capability to impress other people. However, this principle only exist in my ideal world. In reality, working hard meant gaining admiration of other people ... especially those above us. This has become a lifelong struggle because I have been raised by a family, who doesn't really require having notable achievements. I don't feel compelled to compete, overpower and impress other people. While I appreciate my parents for not pressuring me to excel, I sometimes wonder if this parenting style made me too relaxed and lousy. What I can confidently claim though, I had the best childhood in the comforts our own home. I always felt loved, even when I don't bring home any award or recognition. I grew up in an environment where love, respect and appreciation are not in any determined by achievements and all other means to impress other people. 

I think I have said a lot here. I need to end this grown up rant. Haha Unfortunately, this is one of those posts I'm eager to start but I'm struggling to end. I wanted to say I've learned something but truth is, this is another recurring cycle. I would love to claim that I have become a better person but in reality, I lacked the maturity to ignore another useless villain. :p Yes, Korean drama feels! Hahaha And since I always compare my life to a drama series, I will not deny the fact that I wish to discover and become one of the best in my domain. But unlike the typical story line, I don't wish to get back to my antagonists. I just want to be happy ... away from all my antagonists. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Experience Taiwan’s best brands at Market! Market! on October 21 to 23

Throwback in 2011, my last days in Taiwan

On October 21-23, Taiwan's best homegrown brands will once again be showcased in a trade exposition at Market! Market! Activity Center in Taguig City. The activity will be spearheaded by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, as part of their efforts to promote the innovative, reliable, and durable brands that beat the seal of Taiwan Excellence. This excellence seal is exclusively awarded by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1992, through the Bureau of Foreign Trade and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

It is expected that more than 150 products from 55 different brands will be showcased in the event. Products include are within the category of information and communication technology, household goods, sports and leisure. 

Participants can expect performances, fashion shows, games, raffles draws, and brand demonstrations. Local artists such as Hot Spot, Julie Ann San Jose and Erik Santos will be performing on October 21 to 23 respectively. A few brands like Asus, FECA, MSI, Tatung, Thermalike, and Transcend will be selling item with generous discounts.



This is a sponsored post. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 235 - Transformation

I'm typing this post with a huge smile on my face. I'm just happy. I was able to accomplish a lot during the weekend. Some surprises also came along the way. I was able to complete my series of dental appointments. I had a great day with my friend A. We watched Miss Peregrine's Home for the Peculiar Children. It was a great movie! Before Saturday ended, I was able to respond to a freelance client's needs. A request I made from a government agency was successfully processed. I was able to score discounted items that will make as gifts for friends this Christmas.  And lastly, my cousins came over at home for my special brother's birthday. While I'm struggling with the other aspects of my life, my heart is more than thankful for these blessings and sources of happiness. Point of realization: My life is a beautiful mess and borrowing a common line I often encounter from my happy and gay friends, and that is more beautiful. Hahaha I sound so pointless.  

I wasn't able to create lay outs of my favorite things last week. I miss doing some layouts and making some therapeutic photo edits. Yes, for some weird reason, editing photos has become a relaxing past time for me. Armed with my self-taught editing skills, I enjoy the entire trial and error process. Sometimes, it would only take me seconds to get my preferred edits. In some instances, I've been running around the same process for more than 30 minutes, ending with nothing I like. What I currently wish for, better and additional knowledge in photo editing. Dealing with cases of bad lighting, pale colors, or probably having a new camera may help. My current point and shoot camera is starting to malfunction. :( It's quite a challenge to secure a decent auto focus. Most of the time, I accumulate nothing but blurred shots.   


Live Laugh Love - Forever mantra! My favorite has to be the LAUGH! :p 



Petunia Doll from Papemelroti - Don't blame me if this doll will always appear in my blog and IG feed. The minute I saw this doll posted in Papemelroti's Facebook page, I knew I had to get it. I just wish that the shop will came up with male versions too. Another new favorite is a wooden bookmark with an inspirational message from Robinsons' Department Store.


As I was saying, expect the doll to be overused in my blog and IG feed. Haha In the photo are postcards and stamps given by a family friend from Malaysia. Thanks S!


Postcard all the way from the Netherlands - Thanks Marieken!


Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit forever!!! - Thank you Terra for the Peter Rabbit cards and Mother E for the stamps.

A few days ago, I intentionally distracted myself from work. I was overwhelmed with the endless excel formula programming I've been doing for weeks. I checked my blog posts over the past years. Some posts made me laugh. It brought back some of the happiest and silliest memories. There were also posts that made me cringe. I can't believe that I made such stupid posts, including the worst photo edits. I can't understand that I preferred those heavily cross processed photos. The original shots were way better, but I decided to play with heavy edits. Hahaha 

In my mind, I always claim that  nothing changed in my blog. I always complain about my weight problems, financial management that needs improvement, foodie indulgences.... everything is repetitive here. My boring life = my blog What I didn't notice, I have been unconsciously implementing some changes. I lessened mentioning people at the workplace. Even though I conceal their names, I avoided including them in my blog posts. I don't anymore share my posts in my Facebook account. I used to do it to generate or "beg" hits for my blog. I don't anymore participate in blog linky parties.  I used to write a lot about my family. But lately, I rarely upload photos of them. I seldom capture and upload food photos, including the products of my shopaholic escapades. My recent shopping finds are often small items that look good in Instagram. Hahaha While there are a few topics I don't write and share anymore, there are new interests that emerged. Very evident is the postcard series. Apart from blogging about all the postcards I've received, I started to write the "used and lost" postcards. I started doing and become addicted with flat lays. 

I'm not sure of my self-claimed transformation? Hahaha Some people who have been reading my blog for the longest time (if there are hahaha) might not really noticed the changes. More importantly, I'm not sure if these changes made me a better or at the very least, a more interesting blogger.

I have a lot of related but unorganized thoughts running in my head. I will however admit that these thoughts emerged from my own observations and experiences with other bloggers. Years before I regained my interest in blogging, I was an avid blog reader. I have my own bookmarked links of blogs that I love. Sadly, most of the blogs I used to love gradually lost its luster on me. It didn't help that one of the used-to-be-favorite blogger posted an article partially blaming the readers. According to this blogger, her blog did not change. It transformed to something brighter and better. It's the readers who have changed instead. Oh well, I don't want to elaborate anymore. But really, how can readers change when their role is limited to reading and commenting. Between the writer and reader, it's the writer who has more control over the current and future situation.

So after writing down my thoughts, I feel more confused and useless. Hahahaha I'm starting to feel that I just overanalyzed everything. Paralysis by overanalysis is for the win! But really, I would appreciate any feedback from my readers..if there are. :) It would be great to know how readers perceive me and my blog. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 234 - Traditions

For a change, I will not be posting flat lays this week ;p I didn't have the time to arrange anything. My weekend was loaded with activities away from home. Checking out my schedule, my next weekends will be the same. I didn't see this coming. I'm used to devoting weekends at home, especially now that the traffic condition anywhere in Manila has worsened. It's a given fact that traffic is everywhere. But over the last months, travel hours here has become unforgivable. My cousin who works in BGC has to leave home around 6 am to reach her official time at 9 am. Three hours on the road!? My travel time to Manila demands more than 2 hours, given that I'm already taking the train. As much as I want to demand something from the responsible authorities, I guess this is another hopeless case. Traffic is the society's own cancer. There's no available antidote. Prevention is even out of the question because, admit it or not, some of us still emerge late for work even when leaving home way ahead of time. 

Okay, so much of my rant. Hahaha Here are the few beautiful things that made the past week






It's that time of the year again. Every year, I get the chance to visit this historical church in Quezon City. We attended the morning mass last Thursday and had a great lunch with my friends. The shrine itself is already magnificent. But my favorite part of the church is the spacious garden near the convent. Years ago, the space was filled with more plants. It appeared to me like The Secret Garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett's book. I guess the convent's management had other plans, the space was cleared up. It looks more of a park today. Nevertheless, I still love the place.




This Sunday, we will be joining the annual procession. I hope the weather will cooperate. The carriages have already been cleaned and prepared. I'm looking forward to continue the tradition with colleagues and friends. 

I also had the chance to finally try the newly opened Mary Grace Cafe near the workplace.









Everything inside Mary Grace Cafe is so instagramable! Too bad, my camera failed to capture in great details. I also felt quite uneasy capturing photos because the diners were starting to arrive. While I love everything about its interiors, I have to commend the great customer service. Hats off to Team SM Manila! The last thing I noticed, there seems to be a lot of Papemelroti products in the place. Another plus points for me. :)  

Last week also marked the celebration of Teacher's Day. If I'm teaching Elementary or High School, this will surely be a big deal. And I'm not talking about receiving gifts and other material stuff from students. Heartwarming messages to the most humorous greetings are more than enough for me. I was quite surprised that I received a few greetings from my former students. My quiet Twitter account has suddenly received some mentions.  During special occasions former students would always pester me and my long lost / never been found love life. Hahahaha If only all my former students would pray for me (that would mean more than 200 petitions), I guess the heavens would be boombarded enough to finally grant that wish. Hahahahahahahahaha  Once in a while, former students would also refer me to their friends in the lower years, especially those who are about to enroll in my subjects. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans. My teaching load was reduced to one section. This also meant that I don't anymore teach the subjects I used to handle. But just the same, I have always been thankful for this opportunity. 

Three more weeks in October.  Then here comes another busy month on November. And just like that, another year is about to end. Wishing everyone a great week ahead! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 233 - They make the difference





I have so much to write, but I'm quite confused on where and how to start. The past week has been a whirlwind of both the good and bad things. When life seems to be so unfair. When all the hardwork led to disappointment. When despite of everything, everything feels like nothing. It's surely not the first time I've been on this road. Unlike the past times, today was better because I'm in the company of the best people in the world. I have family and friends. The people around me makes all the difference. What I learned in my years of existence, I don't have to wish for all the best in the world. Sometimes, being in the company of the best people is more than enough. I maybe messing up in other aspects of my life. But whenever I'm with them, all the bad things do not seem to matter anymore. 

While I'm more than grateful for my support system, I will not deny that my contentment sometimes transverses to fear. There are days when I'm plagued with all the "what if" worries in the world. While I'm making a conscious effort to discover and nurture new friends, I will end up gaining stories of painful betrayals instead. The only silver lining I gain from this experience, I develop more trust and appreciation to my good, old, trusted and tested friends.

This weekend, my grandfather finally had this much needed operation. In God's grace, all is well now. I spent my entire Saturday with him and my cousins in the hospital. It was one of those rare weekends I woke up early. I first met a freelance client early in the morning. I went straight to the hospital and there, I was reunited with my cousins. All the disappointments last week just went away. I was happy, everything else didn't matter anymore. Best of all, I even had a great dinner with them a few hours ago. It was the best way to end this weekend. 

Aside from the happiness brought by my family, here are the other beautiful things that made the past week

Unexpected Gifts - Craft supply and goodies from Typo! Thank you S for the craft supplies all the way from Malaysia. :) 

Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter is love - Thank you Terra for the postcard and Mother E for the collector edition stamps. Anything about Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter never fail to make me happy!

Happy Mail - Vintage postcard from my friend who equally loves vintage cards and bikes. Thank you Marieken!

Current read : The Smell of Other People's Houses - I ordered this book via Book Depository last July. I almost thought it wouldn't arrive. Two months is too much given that I used my address in Manila. Never mind the wait, I'm enjoying reading it. 

Another book to love - Fans of The Little Prince, you might want to consider buying this book :) I first saw the book from a fellow shopper at the Manila International Book Fair. As much as I wanted to ask, I was aware that I already overspent. Days after the Book Fair, someone at the workplace mentioned the book. We wanted to purchase, but we were clueless of the seller. Both National Bookstore and Fully Booked don't carry the title. Even Book Depository and Amazon don't have it. Through social media, my workplace fellow found a Facebook user who posted a copy of the book. My stalker / detective hormones worked. Hahaha I checked the profile of the Facebook user and learned that he was connected with St. Paul's Publication. I checked out St. Paul's store in SM Manila and voila! The rest is another shopaholic story.

Hours before publishing this post, our internet connection at home conked out. Turns out, we already exceeded our allocation. Haha I don't want to frustrate myself so I decided to finish the post tomorrow. Never mind if I can't upload the post before Sunday ends. But I have another cousin who took care of everything. Thanks RA! While there are a lot of people who never fail to disappoint me, I have my own share of those who never fail to surprise me. Like what I said from the start of this post, it's people around me that makes all the difference. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Personal Guide to Independent Online Sellers


I think it was two years ago when I started to become an independent online seller. Independent meant using free online selling platforms and managing the entire business by myself. I usually sell my own things. Clothes that don't fit anymore. (Story of my life! Hahaha) Bags I no longer use. Books I eventually disliked and other personal items.

I tried the different selling platforms. I signed up for the defunct Ayos Dito, even Multiply and Olx.ph. None worked for me. I got impatient attending endless text messages that did not convert to actual purchases. The platform that made it for me was eBay. I appreciate the more organised system, buyer and seller protection and best of all, the feedback system. 

When I first signed up in eBay I thought it might be another unsuccessful story. Much to my surprise, I was able to sell an hour after my first post. On my first few months, I have sales every week. A year after, my eBay sales slowed down. But once in a while, I will be surprised to discover that my eBay listing didn't expire. There were several bids that converted to successful sales. 

What I didn't anticipate as an online seller, I would sometimes switch on the role of an online buyer. On those times I became a buyer, I had my own share or negative experiences. I'm not sure if being an online seller became a disadvantage. It was hard for me to understand rude and inconsiderate sellers, given that I'm a seller who does everything to please my buyers.

Given all the experiences I had both as a seller and buyer, I'd like to highlight key factors that I feel defines a customer oriented seller. I wish this can also serve as a guide for anyone who have intentions of engaging in online selling.

1. Open a bank account, preferably BDO or BPI - This is a wish for all online sellers. Parang awa niyo na, open a real bank account. When I say real, it's a savings account not a reloadable cash card account. 

Some sellers use LBC Pera Padala or Palawan Express as their payment facility. While these money transfer mechanisms work, I find the transaction fees too much for the buyer. Buyers already shoulder the shipping fee. Making them incur additional expense arising from the transaction costs is too taxing already.

I highly recommended opening a real savings account from BDO or  BPI. Not that I'm promoting these two institutions, there are reasons why I prefer the two banks. We can't deny that BDO has a lot of branches. The branches are everywhere  and even works on extended hours, so this fulfills convenience. BPI is also a good option because of the absence of regional fees. If you are buying from a seller stationed in Manila and will deposit payment from Mindanao, BDO usually implements regional deposit fees. In BPI, regional transaction fees are eliminated.

Another reason why I chose the two banks, they have the best web based and app based access. Buyers who have BDO or BPI accounts can easily transfer money to another account at no cost. It can be done online or even using atm machines. On the side of the seller, accessing and monitoring transactions online for the two banks are also easy.

I also don't recommend having cash cards. Cash cards work like LBC or Palawan Express. There are transaction fees involved whenever one deposits cash to a cash card account.  

Some might argue that maintaining a bank account is costly. There is a minimum deposit to maintain. It means additional cost but then again, sellers have to bear in mind that there is no such thing as profit from zero cost. Maintaining a bank account is part of the expense or I should say, investment of being an online seller.

At some point, I can understand why some sellers can't open a bank account. They are probably students who took advantage of their spare time to earn additional money. However, if you have been selling and earning for years already... it's quite unreasonable to say that a bank account is too expensive. 

2. Answer inquiries ... whether you are a Globe / Sun / Smart subscriber - One of my pet peeves among some sellers, they don't answer SMS from other networks. They prefer to answer via Viber or direct messages in IG. The unfortunate thing is not everyone has wifi access. Some buyers, especially the older ones, prefer to communicate via SMS. You don't need to buy three different sim cards for each network. Even a prepaid sim with unlimited texts can work. I find it a little rude that some sellers reason out its additional cost. Everything goes back again to our principle, even Warren Buffet will tell you that there's no business that survived without incurring any cost at all. 

3. Admitting mistakes - Apparently, this is the hardest to ask among sellers. I've had my own share. Allow me to relate some of my experiences...

Case 1
The seller underestimated the shipping fee. I bought an item via eBay and was issued the invoice containing the total payment due. After settling the payment, the seller was asking for additional payment. Turns out, the seller underestimated the shipping fee.  It wasn't my fault as the buyer that the shipping fee was underestimated. The responsibility of the buyer is to pay on time and provide the necessary shipping details. All other things, it's the responsibility and consequence that a seller has to bear. 

Case 2
I once purchased from a seller in Instagram. I went to the usual process. Inquire-pay-confirm-wait for delivery. Weeks passed, nothing arrived. I checked the tracking number and much to my surprise, it belongs to another name. I informed the seller and she committed to make follow ups to the courier. Heck, the follow up will be useless because I was given the incorrect tracking number. At that time, I started to believe that she didn't really ship the item. I sent gentle follow ups everyday. Her reply that sealed everything, she just wanted to refund my money. She was claiming that her earnings from my purchase was not just enough to cover the stress she experienced. How selfish and self-centered. And for the record, this seller never admitted any single mistake. 

4. Don't overprice shipping fees - I once bought that Funko Pop Vinyl toy from an ebay seller stationed in Manila. The entire package stood not more than 10 inches in height. I was charged with shipping fees of above Php 250. Hell! Since I'm also a seller, I'm quite familiar with the rates imposed by different couriers. I can't accept paying more than Php 250 for a package stored in a pouch, with value of less than Php 1,000 and will be delivered in the same region. I shipped lunch totes in a small box using the same courier. I paid only Php 220, same destination, same declared value and I even used a box. I will never believe that pouches cost more than boxes. 

Sellers, let's not place so much burden to buyers. Try to be on their shoes, you surely don't want to pay for items with overpriced shipping fees.

5. Get a trusted courier - If everyone will rely to the top three couriers in the country, LBC, Air21 or 2GO, shipping fees will be expensive both for the buyers and sellers. There are other couriers that offer same service at a cheaper rate. However, I admit that this entails doing a trial and error process. What I learned over time, there are couriers that deliver faster in certain regions. I also learned that some of the cheaper couriers (LRC, A-best and the like) subcontract their shipping services via LBC or 2GO.  In my case, I usually use JRS Express. Not the lowest rates, but cheaper than LBC or Air21. For expensive items, I choose to play safe. I opt for LBC or Air21. But since this costs more, I sacrifice part of my possible earnings for the shipping fee. I don't place the entire burden to the buyer. 

6. Don't impose too much rules - I encountered this seller who posted around 2 paragraphs of terms and conditions for buyers. Nakakaloka. I didn't anymore bother to read. I decided not to buy anymore. I was trying to understand the seller. Maybe she had negative experiences with other buyers that forced her to assign rules. But for the sake of other honest buyers, it can be a real turn off. I believe sellers should not impose too much rules on buyers. At the end of the day you only need to establish the following

a. deadline of payment - how long can you wait for a buyer to settle payment
b. means of payment - where and how to pay?
c. lead time for delivery - how long can you process the item for shipping plus the estimated lead time from the courier

All other things, I think it's best to handle everything on a personal or case to case basis. When the item arrives defective, courier does not deliver within the prescribed period, buyer did not pay within the payment deadline.... this can be handled on a case-to-case basis. 

7. Don't upload photos of bogus buyers - This destroys your Instagram feed, assuming you sell items via Instagram. As one of my friends said, nakaka-jologs. Nakaka-cheap :-) For me, this practice appears like posting photos of your enemies and hated people in the gates of your respective homes. Lakas maka-chaka khan d ba? Hahahaha I have my own share of buyers who only committed to pay. The real payment didn't however happen. As much as I feel annoyed and irritated, I left matters with eBay's policies. I don't leave negative comments. I don't send hurtful SMS. I hold on to eBay's system of flagging buyers with unpaid purchases.

8. Apologize when needed - I once purchased from food items from a fellow blogger. Truth to be told, I'm not comfortable dealing with her because of a previous negative experience. This blogger actually taught me a great lesson, WYSIWYG does not always work in the blogosphere. I set aside my personal sentiments because my cousin wanted to avail the products of this blogger. I did the purchase and was hoping for a positive experience. Unfortunately, I'm quite regretful that I gave this blogger a second chance. The buying experience was not something I expected based from the positive aura she reflects on her blog. Why I ended regretting doing business with this blogger,

a. She doesn't have a savings account. Either I pay via LBC, Cebuana or those payment facilities that implements transaction costs,

b. The payment deadline was too tight. But since this blogger was selling food, I understood it because everything needs to  be prepared and ingredients have shelf life.,

c. I immediately sent my payment. While I did my part, it took her days to confirm my payment. #TurnOff Strike 1 ... ,

d. Shipping the items took more than a week.... She was blaming the courier. Alright, I understand.

e. I can understand that sometimes the courier ruins the business' lead time. What I cannot accept, this blogger / seller ignored my follow up inquiries. I once sent an SMS. No response. I sent an email. No response. When the one week time frame was over, I sent my final words via email. I told her, I wasn't expecting anything from her. She may have her own reasons but at the very least, I would have appreciated any feedback from her end.

My orders arrived a day after I sent my "final words." I sent her an email and finally, she managed to reply. The length of her reply was almost one paragraph. I was willing to forget everything when I realised, I never saw any words of apology. No "sorry" or "apologies" from the lengthy reply. She just mentioned, if she was in my shoes, she would equally feel the same. I.am.speechless.

Off topic: A friend who knew my story told me to check out a recent post from this blogger. All the more I felt bad after reading the post. No, she didn't blog about me. Haha I learned that this blogger had a bad encounter with another seller. Change roles?!?! Her sentiments were justified. But publicizing the seller who disappointed her, I find it way too low and unbecoming especially when your blog description states.... I'm a part of a community that aims to spread positivity and women empowerment.

9. When selling via Instagram, please make your accounts public and indicate prices & shipping fees - I can't understand how some sellers operating in IG choose to make their accounts with restricted or permission access. At first, I saw this as a strategy for sellers. They wanted to generate more followers and potential consumers. I find this inconvenient and time consuming, unless otherwise the IG seller is online 24/7. I also felt that making a private account is like opening a store that always bears the "CLOSED" sign. :p I also have issues with sellers who don't post prices of their items. I understood this state for some sellers selling rare and expensive pieces. But for the rest, I hate the inconvenience of having to message and wait for the response of the seller just to establish the prices and shipping fees.

10. Be friendly :) - Customer service counts! I had experiences of encountering sellers who offer the cheapest price and shipping fee. Almost perfect, not until I discovered the poorest customer service skills. Sellers who speak like they were reprimanding buyers. On the contrary, I can't count how many times I ended with a seller with relatively expensive goods, but offers the best customer service experience. Bottomline, I don't care spending for better customer service experiences.



*Photo not owned by the author*

Manage your Life with Taiwan Excellence Products

Taiwan will always remain special to me because it represented so many firsts milestones in my life. My first trip abroad, short working stint and the opportunity to showcase my hard earned research. I never had the chance to fully explore the country. In the future, I hope to return and explore it again.

Over the last years, I've been hearing a lot about the Taiwan Excellence Products. I learned from other articles that the country, particularly the Bureau of Foreign Trade, an office reporting to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, have been awarding the seal of Taiwan Excellence Honors. This symbol of recognition recognizes innovative products based on excellence in design, quality, marketing, research and development and manufacturing. The award has gained international acceptance as well. As of date, the seal of Taiwan Excellence is recognized in 100 countries.

Aside from the recognition that can inspire and motivate companies to achieve excellence, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) was created to assist local businesses to achieve that extends to the level of international competitiveness. TAITRA is a joint effort of the government, industry association, and several business organizations. It's sister organization, Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC), has also provided assistance by implementing different promotion related strategies. 

One of the product lines being supported by the Taiwan Excellence Products include the segment of sports and leisure products. This product line does not only aim to promote sports and support athleticism. For Taiwan Excellence, sports and leisure products are designed to help people achieve their much desired work-life balance. A few of the products and its respective goals are as follows:

Developing daily positive habits

Commuting occupies a large chunk of one’s daily life. Why not schedule a “bike day” going to work? Take the versatile Link B7 from Tern for a fun and different urban transport. It would cut commute time while simultaneously adding minutes to one’s daily workout. The Link B7 can make your travel more convenient as it folds compactly in 10 seconds and has adjustable handlepost to find the right height ride.



Breathe

It's difficult to navigate the high demands of one’s career. Work can get so challenging and may lead to anxiety and stress. Avoid this by finding an alone time to regroup one’s thoughts and reenergize for the next tasks. Reflecting, however, is not limited to finding a quiet room. Try clearing one’s mind using Johnson’s Adventure 5 treadmill. A good reflection over a productive work-out session can be a rewarding treat after a long day.  



Try new leisure activities

It’s no fun being stuck in a routine of work-sleep-eat-work. Start simple and try to look for new leisure activities. People who prefer more outdoor activities can commit to swimming classes during the weekends. Before diving into this new activity, make sure to get the must-have items, such as sunblock, comfortable swimwear, and goggles like the waterproof Vision & Vision Jr. goggles that have quality optic lens and multi-colored frame.


Get Moving

Being static makes the body accumulate pent up energy. Let that energy loose by working out. With many available work-out equipment in the market, one can easily perform a do-it-yourself work-out at home. For instance, Ucheer offers compact and portable kinetic energy dumbbell that combines muscle training and body kinetic energy. Those interested in weightlifting can check Victory’s 5-kilogram bumper plate, which combines durable rubber and plastic in its design for a quality and convenient work-out. Products like these can help maintaining personal health, which should be the priority to the modern generation.




Take responsibility for your own decisions

You are responsible for your own self. So when it comes to making smart decisions, remember to be always guided. Like a trusted friend, Taiwan Excellence-accredited products aim to enhance the quality of living. Choosing from its variety of sport and leisure products can help in being a step closer to getting a work-life balance.


For more information on Taiwan Excellence accredited products, you can visit http://www.taitra.org.tw/ or like Taiwan Excellence on Facebook. 


This is a sponsored post.

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