Sunday, June 29, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 114 - Plans and Discoveries

Just like last week, I thought I wouldn't be able to post for my Sunday series. I was occupied with freelance work last Saturday. I went to bed at 5 am on Sunday and slept the entire morning. I wanted to give myself that 8-hour sleep. I barely slept and instead of attending to my teaching preparations, I had my regular dose of Korean drama series marathon. ;) Late afternoon, I finally decided to leave bed, take a shower and get things done. By the time I'm ready to blog, it's already 8 pm. I'm quite in a rush because I still have books to read and lectures to prepare. A big good luck to me!!! :)

Before I face my reality, let me share the few good things that made my week.

The comeback of the food posts ;)

Graham Balls - It's finally available again at the workplace's canteen. These are powderized graham crackers with marshmallows. I hope I'll get a free pack from being a loyal customer one of these days. ;)

Houseblend Iced Tea - Another comeback because all the kids have reported back to school.

Chewy Jr. - Huge cream puffs I took home after a client meeting. Thanks for the promotional offer because I got the box for only Php 165.

Guess what is the last item in the photo? - A vintage Minolta camera I accidentally discovered at home. I want to find out if the camera is still working. Problem is, where to buy the 110 film? :)

Blessings of new work

Major Project for our Candy Buffet Business - Yes! Hopefully, everything will push through with a major client.

Another project at the workplace - I'm challenged! I love it when an opportunity forces me to move out of my comfort zone.

I'm back to teaching -  I have new subjects to handle this semester. 

The return of the Index Cards - A new pack of index cards means meeting another set of college kiddies.

Hello again to gloomy and rainy mornings! Except for the hassles of commuting and flooding, I love the colder temperature brought by the rainy season.

Minutes before I sleep - I know it's not healthy to stay awake the entire night and sleep before sunrise. I don't know but I can always find my working pace from night till dawn. I'm more productive when the entire environment is so still and quiet. This also convinces me that I'm fitted for freelancing with US based clients. I haven't seriously thought about it but my appreciation with freelancing is heightening over time. I'm including this in my long term career goals. If given the chance and assurance that my earnings will remain stable, I would opt for part time teaching and full time freelancing. But of course, this is way far from reality yet. I love my day job and I need to survive my family.

Pardon the lousy post, my mind is so occupied with books and lectures I have to prepare. Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 113 - Infinities

I almost thought I wouldn't be able to write my Sunday post. I usually start writing every Saturday night. I was unfortunately stricken by intense headache and dizziness after a client meeting. I decided to sleep and rest early. Come Sunday, I spent the entire day loading items in my eBay account. ;) Despite the experience in the previous post, I was able to successfully sell some of my clothes and bag. Hence, I was encouraged to sell more. Pardon the shameless plug, you might be interested to view my items. ;) You can visit my eBay store through the link in my side bar.

One of the highlights of the past week is my article feature from Papemelroti. A few weeks ago, I won their leather canvas set giveaway. Papemelroti surprised me again when my little "sentimental fool" story :) was featured.Thanks again Papemelroti!

My week started with an out of town work. I attended the team building activity of the little committee headed by the Big Boss. It was held in Camp Allen Training and Development Center in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It was quite far from Manila. We have to battle the traffic and travel time. The long wait was worth it because the place was so quiet and relaxing. It helped that we were the only clients last week so we were the priority of their most accommodating employees.

 Let me share a few photos from the beautiful and relaxing Camp Allen Center.

We were greeted by the towering Royal Palm Trees.

 Our home away from the city

 Yes to log cabins!

The view as soon I as move out of our room. It reminds me of the houses in the historical Korean drama series I've been watching. Haha 

Open spaces and greenery

 The site is surrounded by Rambutan trees

About to ripen, I almost wanted to take these home

Looks inviting but everyone enjoyed the team building activities so no one dared to swim

I thought they were grapes, but according to my colleague, these are not edible

The first day of our team building activity ended with this 

Heehee the rare booze ;)

Let me end this post with this quote 

Have a great week ahead!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Good and the Bad : My First ebay Experience

The experience started when I had an impulse attack to declutter last weekend. My usual targets are my bags and clothes. I started with three bags, a Longchamp Le Pliage, leather tan bag from Warehouse and a laptop bag I accidentally discovered. I also added two blouses from Kamiseta. I took photos of each, uploaded, assigned prices and enumerated my terms and conditions.

I never had positive expectations about my items. I'm prepared that nothing is bound to happen. My posting will expire without anyone bidding. A few minutes after getting things done, I was surprised with a notification from my email. Someone decided to buy my Longchamp Le Pliage. The buyer didn't attempt to bid. The buyer took the bait of my selling price.  

Being a stranger to ebay, I navigated and discovered that I need to send an invoice and further instructions. I did what I learn and felt like I was a successful entrepreneur. A few minutes later, someone showed interest for my two blouses. I followed the same process and was looking forward for a fast, quiet and smooth transaction. All the while, I was convinced that ebay is heaven for me. 

My happiness subsided when my patience was tested by what I thought as "heaven sent" buyers.

Case 1 - The buyer of my Longchamp Le Pliage became a pain in the ass a challenge. Let me enumerate the series of unfortunate events.

1. After getting the notification of purchase, I immediately sent the invoice and payment instructions to this buyer.

2. A day after, I didn't get any reply from the buyer. I learned that I can report a non-responsive buyer after two days. I decided to send the buyer a private message. I asked the buyer if she is really serious in buying.

3. Buyer replied that she can't pay because she is attending an out of town work. She is part of the team that handles the filming for this local soap opera. (Insert Filipino Figurative Language: I felt strong winds and an upcoming storm. But really, I don't feel impressed at all.)  She promised to ask her PA (Personal Assistant or Production Assistant?) to process the payment.

On a personal and unrelated note, I don't admire bosses who ask their staff to do personal errands. But who do I care? At some point, I also have a feeling that I might be selling an item to an actress?!? Whatever, haha

4. After this conversation, it was already her PA who communicates with me. I initially felt bad for the PA. Unfortunately, my unsolicited sympathy for the PA turned to annoyance. 

5. I was out of town when the buyer or her PA settled the payment. I gave them a lead time until weekend. PA's text messages became demanding. PA was claiming that I should  ship it immediately. This happened around 11 pm. @#$%^  I wanted to tell them, READING IS FUNDAMENTAL. I clearly stated in my ebay's terms and conditions that it will take 3 to 5 days to ship the item. I don't want to display a rude and sarcastic image. To avoid further stress, I promised to ship the items the day after.

6. The PA does not realize that I also need to sleep. She kept on asking questions. Where did I buy my Longchamp? Where is the care card? etc etc etc I was getting pissed off. I was almost in the brink of telling her READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!!! You should have read my terms and conditions. I admitted that my Longchamp has minor stains. It has been used! It has flaws. Why the sudden interrogation? You should have bothered me before hitting that "buy now" button. 

I kept my composure but deep inside, I want to scream and vent out. WHY DO I HAVE TO TRANSACT WITH TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE? READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!

7. I had the item shipped tonight. I have a feeling that this PA will complain for the Boss. Despite all the warning in the item description, I will not be surprised if PA will pester me. (I'm praying it won't happen.) Even though I declared NOT to accept return and exchanges, I might give in if the PA and her Boss will complain. I hate arguments. I hate dealing with unreasonable people.

Hopefully, this story will totally end.

Case 2 - The buyer of my Kamiseta blouses

1. She asked for further discount. I gave in because she seems to be nice.

2. I gave her all possible means of payment. Unfortunately, she failed to settle the payment after two days.

3. I gave her the deadliest deadline. We agreed Friday. Hopefully, she will really pay. Otherwise, I have another case of bad experience.

So after the encounters with my first two buyers, here are some things I learned from being a newbie ebay seller.

1.  The following provisions are a MUST in the item description, even though eBay already requires you to input these information. 
     1.1  lead time for delivery
     1.2  forms of payment
     1.3  methods of delivery
     1.4  time for responding to queries - Otherwise, oblige yourself in answering text messages or emails 24/7.

2. eBay only provides maximum of 6 photos for the free posting. In case 6 photos do not suffice, use photo hosting sites and linked it to the description box. Be sure to capture sharp and clear photos.

3. Show all the flaws of your product. This will save you from unnecessary complaints.

4. Place a limit to your compassion and understanding to buyers. Don't give in to all the demands of the buyers. Learn from my experience. Unless you chose to project a desperate seller image to your buyers.
5. Insert this clause, "Once buyer decides to buy or bid for this product, it signifies acceptance of the terms, conditions and flaws of the items"

Despite the dominance of the negative experiences, I still intend to continue selling in eBay. I just hope that my succeeding experiences will yield better and happier experiences.

Anyone who has been selling items in eBay? I would appreciate tips and advices. :) 

PS You can access my eBay shop here. Pardon the shameless plug, I'll have more items uploaded over the weekend. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 112 - Hakuna Matata

Work at the office is getting stable. I have one week to savor my relaxed scheduled because classes start the week after. I don't want to think about it because I will surely miss going home early. I haven't checked my adjusted schedule that will surely extend until 7 pm. Hearing myself saying these already makes me feel so lazy Haha As always, hakuna matata, I'll allow things to settle on their own.

Aside from work, there was the rare Friday the 13th. I'm trying to convince myself that bad luck only exists in the mind. True enough, my mind gave me some trouble last Friday. I forgot to pay my credit card bill!! I overlooked the due date so I'm really dead with the late penalty fee. Can I be forgiven for this? ;)

Setting aside my little misfortune, here are the few good and beautiful things that happened last week.

I was able to watch The Fault In Our Stars with dear friend A. As always, the book is always better than the movie. The movie has a great soundtrack both from the big screen and my seatmates, who were continuously sniffing. Hahaha I felt a bit distracted but no complaints at all. I still enjoyed the movie!

I seldom watch movies at Ayala malls because they are far from either work or home. One of the things I look forward in their cinemas is the bag of potato chips from Taters.

I fell in love with this cupcake house. This beautiful corner is owned by Vanilla Cupcakes in Glorietta. I wanted to try, but the store is about to close. I ended up taking these photos and promised myself to schedule a next visit.

I would love to stay in this place with my newest read from Book Depository. Can someone guess what book?

Waking up with some good news - I woke up with an email confirming that my first bag from Kate Spade is on its way to Auntie A's house. I was expecting problems with my order because of the difference in my shipping and billing addresses. I used a PH issued credit card and had it shipped to Auntie A's house in US. I tried the same scheme in Macy's and Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW). My orders were eventually cancelled. Although I have a better experience with DSW. After a live chat with one of their sales associates, everything was resolved. 

My experience with Kate Spade was way better. I was anticipating the cancellation of my order so I emailed customer service and explained my situation. Less than four hours after my email, a sales associate replied and assured that everything is working well. I slept and woke up with another good news. My order has been shipped! Hooray for great customer service.

Temptations from Cath Kidston - I'm struggling to fight the temptation for another bag. :) I should no longer be acquiring another item from Cath Kidston because my first bag is yet to arrive in July, courtesy of Auntie A again. Although the bag was purchased from ASOS, another online store that offers authentic Cath Kidston items. However, I was unfortunately blessed (haha) with Cath Kidston sisters. (Hello Ms. Ellen and Leah!) So there, I decided to wreck myself with a new wallet instead. Haha

I'm addicted to Magnum Gold - Blame our Big Boss! He treated me once and the expensive addiction thrived in me.

My working table is organized again - Follow up question, until when? Haha I finally had the time to throw away the unnecessary papers and sort my active files.  

Huge cut fries -  What's the point of posting? I deep fried them by myself. Oh yes, simple frying is already an accomplishment for me. Haha That explains why some fries were burned. :)

Gelatissimo! - My first time to try this Australian Gelato. 

Cupcakes!!! - I ruined everything. But hey, they are still edible haha This only proves that I can never be trusted with buying and carrying these delicate treats. I'm only good at taking photos and eating them. 

Wishing everyone a Beautiful Sunday and a great week ahead!

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Bad Experience about Sponsored Posts

I'm not sure if some of you have noticed the sponsored posts I made last year. I used to be connected with Bucks2Blog. Unfortunately, Bucks2Blog ceased operations early this year.  I ended up deleting all the posts I made for them. I was compensated for a minimal yet reasonable fee. 

After Bucks2Blog, there was this US based company who tapped me prepare a sponsored post. They were launching a new product line and planned to have a mass release of promotional articles. As I see it, they want influence and web presence. I agreed to help them because they are a start up business and their products suit my blog's personality. There was no form of compensation involved and I didn't mind because I was willing to help. 

Months after, I received an email from the sponsoring company. They were asking me to remove the links in the sponsored post. Turns out, an internet authority warned them about spamming and using websites to stimulate online presence. They specifically pointed the repeated contents of posts among the bloggers and websites. It appeared to me as a special case of plagiarism that translates to heavy spamming. As consequence, the company will  be equally penalized.

The email made me feel upset and disrespected. I courteously told the company representative that I didn't "copy-paste" the post uploaded in my blog. Even though the company gave me a fabricated post, I opted to make a unique article.  I ensured that my post is way different from the article provided. I courteously emphasised my dissatisfaction by telling them that, their email provides me an impression that no one bothered to read or even check my original post

Seriously, why would you include someone who made an original post to your spam contributors? The company should have tracked other bloggers or websites, who published their ready-made article. They were the ones who caused the heavy spam alert. They should make the initiative to counter check before sending that mass produced and accusing email.  

In addition to this, the company's lack of appreciation to a volunteer blogger aggravated my level of irritation. I never received even a word of gratitude after submitting my post. At first, I thought that the marketing people might be occupied with other concerns. However, when the email requesting to delete the post came in, I realized that the company needs a full lecture about professionalism. At the very least, I was expecting a simple "thank you" for the support and cooperation rendered. 

Despite the negative experience, I'm not closing my doors to other similar writing opportunities. I just hope that next time will yield a better experience. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

30 Things Life Taught Me # 16 - The Major Work Project @ 30

Fine, I still can’t get over the accomplished documentation project at work. It’s been a week and part of me still can’t believe everything is over. Did we really make it? Truth to be told, there are still more work ahead. My wish and constant prayer then is just a chance. I’d like to keep mum about the details of that “chance.” If we succeed, it will be a win-win situation for me, the Big Boss and the company. If we don’t, I will feel devastated but no regrets at all. An elder friend once told me, God does not deny the purest intentions. I grew up holding on to that belief and my life has been a living testament that God indeed hears prayers. I had my own share or doors closed and later realized that bigger and better doors of opportunities are coming my way. I leave the outcome of our documentation project in the same way.  

I guess I’m being too dramatic and sentimental. Heehee The real reason why I’m writing this is to document another set of unique workplace realizations and learning experiences. I have to warn you, this post will get boring and uninteresting.

Workplace Friends are instrumental in getting things done 

We needed the support and cooperation of other offices. In the latter parts of the project, we needed data in the soonest possible time, like within the day. If I have not been friends with the responsible colleague, it would be impossible for us to beat the deadline. It really helped that I have friends who are willing to help. 

I appreciated all the support my friends extended on me. After the project though, I felt guilty for somehow taking advantage of our friendship. It shouldn’t be that way. As much as possible, I don’t like to be labeled or identified by other colleagues as someone who uses influence, power and friends to get things done.

There will always be insensitive colleagues

Don’t get me started. Haha While me and the Big Boss are trying to move mountains, someone is busy looking for a live NBA stream on his perfect and high resolution desktop. Maybe I don’t have the right to impose and demand help. Call me selfish but if I were in his shoes, I would have volunteered myself to help. This actually makes me miss my former colleagues from the other department. When someone is getting overwhelmed with work, it was natural for everyone to offer assistance in any form. My former colleagues might not share the tasks, but they are more than willing to ease up your work. They would offer to buy lunch, run errands from other departments and clear up things for you.

I'm not the worst employee.

My tardiness records make me feel I’m the worst. To be honest, I’m starting to feel exhausted about working everyday. The mojo that thrived in me 10 years ago is gone. I’m starting to believe that I’m beginning to become a liability than an asset for the company. 

The last week made me prove that I wasn’t after all the worst. I still love my job and I will do my best to make things happen.  

There are still more work ahead. Whatever it is, bring it on! I AM READY!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 111 - It's over!

I kept mentioning about the documentation project I've been working. I promised in my past Sunday post that it would be the last time I will write about it. Please forgive me this time. The saga continues this week. Haha 

I was fully aware of our Wednesday deadline. In fact, we were thankful about it. The deadline was supposedly Friday. It was moved to Monday and turned out on Wednesday. It was a huge relief for me and the Big Boss. We thought that everything will turn out fine last week. We will meet our consultant on Monday. We will revise the report on Tuesday. We will be printing several copies on Wednesday morning. When afternoon comes, the Boss will drive us to Makati for the submission. Surprise of surprises, we underestimated everything.

The consultant almost killed us. The paper was screaming with revisions. The Boss and I agreed to divide the work. Even though there are two of us working together, the entire day was not enough. We both rendered extra hours of working. In my case, I even took home the job. It was my first attempt to become awake and working for 24 hours. When I reported for work the next day, the printing and binding tasks were exhausting. As much as we would like to outsource the job, we were worried about the confidentiality of the information contained in the report. We skipped our breaks. I was standing and walking the entire time. I begged for printers from other offices. My right abdomen suddenly felt some stabbing pains because I haven't had my much needed kidney break for an entire day. Despite the sacrifices, worries, pressure and fear of not making it, we were able to submit all requirements. Hallelujiah! 

This photo perfectly captured everything about my life last week.

Credits to iquotes_ph's instagram acount

LOL Because I was too occupied beating the deadline, I literally ignored everyone who's trying to get on my way. Sorry friends if I've been too snobbish last week.

And as expected, I failed to capture anything interesting for this Sunday post. The past week has been filled with these

 Crunch time! Kalat here there and everywhere ;)

 I learned how to operate the binding machine this week ;)

Two printers attached to my tiny laptop :) If only my laptop has more USB ports, I would have borrowed more printers from other offices. 

It was the roughest and most exhausting week I had in my entire working life. Along the way however, there are still a few beautiful things that came.  

Magnum Gold - Magnum didn't appeal much to me. The Boss treated everyone with the newest flavor before going home. It was the best! I would definitely buy one ... when the next payday comes. ;) I'm quite broke these days.  

Aside from the Magnum, the Big Boss has been feeding us with calories, sugar and carbs. We always have J.Co. doughnuts every morning. We have pizza in the afternoon. After delivering the documents to the accreditors, he even treated us for a great recovery lunch. Too bad, I never had the energy to take photos.

The second bag arrived in my Auntie A's house :) -  I had a great online shopping experience with DSW! I had minor credit card and shipping address issues that were excellently resolved by their online support representatives. I had the bag shipped to a US address and paid using a locally issued credit card. I will blog about the experience soon. :)

Papemelroti is love! - In the middle of the week, I was able to beat the mall's closing time. I was able to claim my prize from Papemelroti's giveaway. Thank you Papemelroti!

Thank you Papemelroti!

This deserves an individual blog post.

It's not everyday that I win giveaways. 

Thank you Papemelroti!

PS You have the best employees in your Gateway Mall branch. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Beautiful Sunday # 110 - Last for May

I promise, this will be the last time I will write about my documentation project. :D The upcoming week will be the deadliest deadline. The Big Boss and I had plans of working over weekend. It entailed a little sacrifice because Monday is the big day for us. Surprise of surprises, we were granted another extension. Hallelujiah!! We were given until Wednesday to submit!! But since we have another meeting scheduled on that day, we are aiming for Tuesday. I took home all the work and planned to accomplish everything on Saturday. But you see, my mind and body are conditioned that Saturdays are meant for zzzzzzz Hence, the queen of procrastination in me prevailed. I'm typing this post on a Saturday night and I plan to sleep more. LOL But seriously, I promise to do the work on Sunday. I have to because we are meeting our project consultant tomorrow to finalize everything. Hopefully, my plans would materialize and all the hardwork from the heavens will enter my body. Haha

Setting aside this boring and serious aspect of my life, let me share the few beautiful things that made my week. 

Delimondo Corned Beef - The little expensive corned beef raved by some food bloggers. I have to try it for myself even though I'm not a supporter of the family who owns the brand ;) My verdict? It tastes like one of those imported cans of corned beef.

Cake from Mother's Friend - Thank you Tita C for sending an advance birthday gift for Nanay. 

Potato Wedges - Sorry for the repetitive photos of this french fries every Sunday. I'm obsessed with this brand.

Indian Mangoes - My mother is blessed with generous friends. :) Thank you for these newly harvested mangoes.

Multitasking in the dark ;) - I planned to answer a few emails from my freelance works. While checking my email, I played my favorite Korean drama series in the background. Can you guess what drama series? ;)

Instant TV - Our cable service provider is trying to ruin my weekend. Seriously, no TV over the weekend? Good thing the internet connection was efficiently working. My Nanay can watch her favorite episode of Dear Ate Charo #MMK haha

Jacob!!! - The photo has been uploaded in my IG account two weeks ago. I can't get over my nephew's cuteness.

Boxer Shorts from Bench - I can wear and live with this forever! This is one of non-sense things I look forward at home. "Braless" in my softest cotton shirts, boxer shorts, white and soft bed linens, this is life! ;) 

Meet my carpet pants LOL - Yay or nay? I purchased this last December, wore it once or twice in January and totally forgot its existence . This pants would either become a hit or miss from the few people who would notice it. This pants was a product of my dream to wear printed and floral pants. Unfortunately, they don't complement my ginormous thighs. So when I saw this pair days before Christmas, I was convinced that this was my only to chance to wear printed pants. Actually, the pants are not really printed. The patterns are embroidered and a bit delicate to wear.

Sssssh, I wore the pants twice this week - Can you blame me if I feel lighter and thinner whenever I wear it?

While waiting for my turn in the ATM machine - The place where I work is a historical landmark in Manila. Since I came here to work, I never had the chance to explore and take photos. I've been promising it for the longest time. Consider it as one of my blogging objectives before the year ends. :) 

Antique lamp for only Php 70 - I got this from (would you believe?) Toys r Us! I would have wanted it to function like a real alcohol lamp. It's rather operated by two huge batteries. This can become useful when we have unexpected power interruptions or a possible client for the candy buffet business requests a vintage or shabby chic theme. 

Who can beat my colleague's table? - He really ensures that his table is clean and empty before leaving. I just don't know about the work. Is he really completing everything before the day ends? Haha

The best I can achieve! - I cannot achieve a totally clean table because (my excuses), I'm using a laptop so I just leave the nasty cords around. I still use a mouse because I'm afraid of ruining my laptop's delicate touch pad. My calendar has always to be around. (non-negotiable) and I can't live without my 1.5 liter water bottle. I have to finish two full servings of water, otherwise I'll perish. Yes, I'm exaggerating. 

Texas Barbecue Pizza from the Big Boss - My ever generous Big Boss! There was never a week without a pizza delivery. Hence, the weight gain and expanding belly.

J.Co's Alcapone - Another blessing from the Big Boss! Others may find me weird but sorry I'm not a big fan of J.Co's doughnuts. This is the only variant I love from them. Good thing, the Big Boss was able to sense it. ;)

The other things that made my last week of May:

Words of appreciation from this cute and dainty blogger. Hi Theresa!

Lee Woo Jin of The Voice Kids South Korea is my ultimate kid crush. Haha Please head over to You Tube and watch his rendition of Mulan's My Reflection. 

My Cath Kidston bag finally arrived in my Auntie's house. Thanks Auntie T for letting me use your US address. :) 

DSW is a haven for shoes and bag addicts like me. Hence, this discounted floral tote waiting to be delivered to my Auntie A's house.