Sunday, February 28, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 201 - Last for February

I thought everything will be easy. This is probably the best sentence that summarizes the past week. I embraced freelance works in the academe. I thought it was my turf, only to later discover that I've been deceived and underpaid. I accepted a blog related work that I thought was refreshing and relaxing. It's still work but I love the different avenue and expertise. Only to late realize, everything still consumes time and effort. For my day job. I thought I was done with my recent project. I discovered the real weight of the work during its concluding stages. I'm so dead. Hahaha I have to wrap up everything tomorrow.

Still about my freelancing, I discovered a not-so-good incident involving someone I know. It relates some issues about the unwritten rule and ethics in freelancing. Most of the freelance works I secured entailed becoming a ghost writer. The kind of work I scored over the past years did not require me to sign contracts or any form of written agreement. This was probably because I only had short lived freelance works. Despite the absence of a clear cut contract, I have been very conscious in delivering my output and being discreet about everything. I mention the status of my freelance works here but I never detailed anything. I respect my clients and I knew my place beforehand. I was paid to ghost write. I was paid to write and keep my mouth shut. 

A few days ago, someone I knew spilled the beans of her ghost writing gig to someone else. Problems is, that someone else is an expert in cooking a major disaster plan. Next thing that happen, the person who hired the ghost writer was placed in a negative light. I felt bad. Although part of me feels pissed off to the ghost writer who failed to undertake her major responsibility... keeping your mouth shut. The prevailing events would not have happened if the ghost writer respected the unwritten rules in freelancing. Oh well, the mess has been created. I cannot imagine the succeeding events because surely, it feels like another set of bridges will be burned.

And because I have been a good freelancer hahahaha a client gifted me with a box of doughnuts as a bonus. :-)

The weather has been a little cold every morning this week. Then here comes afternoon feeling like summer. All in all, these temperature changes resurrected the nasty and inconvenient colds. Walking towards the workplace, I noticed the scenery. I'm not sure if it's only me, but the walls and garden looked like from another country. Hahaha

Those dreams about another country maybe brought by my intensifying dream to visit Hong Kong or Singapore again.. It didn't help that I always receive souvenirs from these countries over the past weeks. What's with the early months of the year? People within my immediate environment are traveling everywhere.

Before the week ended, I dropped by National Bookstore and purchased another useless item. Hahaha I got this butterfly puncher just because I wanted it. Hahaha

Postcards from Marieken - My dear friend Marieken from Netherlands is maintaining a lovely brick and mortar shop called Druk and Vorm. Please visit my friend's site and if possible, don't just window shop. Hahaha Let's support independent sellers.

My eyelids are beginning to feel heavy as I'm typing this post. I better be going to sleep now. Meanwhile, our neighborhood is busy for this

the town fiesta... but my family is the only one who seems to be unaffected Hahaha But according to my mother,we will have a nice lunch. In the afternoon, I'll probably make up with our favorite Dear Darla and Spicy Chicken Wings from Yellow Cab. :-) 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 200 - It's been four years

200!!! I never realized that I will be writing my 200th Sunday post. I only recognized it when I was starting to transfer photos to my laptop. The name of my past folder series read 199. Had it really been four years? I wanted to celebrate by ordering some unhealthy food delivery again. Hahaha But as always, blame my struggling wallet. ;-)  

Been listening to Paula Abdul's playlist. My current mood prefers Cold Hearted Snake, which also has a version in the TV musical, Glee. I grew up in the 90s but for some reason, I adored the music of the 80s, together with my older female cousins. I love Wilson Phillips, Madonna, and I have to admit, even Rick Astley. Hahaha Paula Abdul has kept me company while doing my "new" job every Saturday morning. Oh yes, my ambitious self embraced another role apart from my freelance writing works.  I wish I could relate the details, but my identity and connection with the company has to be concealed. I don't receive cash for the new job. I'm receiving product samples instead. I figured out this was better because I love the company's products, which I cannot afford. This makes me realize how my shopaholic hormones converted me to a full time slave. My wish is that the owner would eventually allow me to reveal my connection with them. Likewise, I can collaborate with them using the name of my blog. #WishfulThinking Hahaha But for now, I have to content myself with being a "ghost" employee.

While the past week has been about my day job project and this freelance work I wanted to close, there were events, stories and experiences that happened along the way. One is my failure to pay my credit card bill only because I overlooked the due date. It was an honest mistake. I felt a bit disrespected because the company sent me a letter with a threatening tone. I felt bad because this was the first and only time I missed a payment due date. While typing this, I remembered that I even called a few days ago. I explained my case and was trying to ask for waiver about the late payment fee. See, I don't have deliberate intentions of running away. And because of this, I think I have to close my account with them. Never mind if the card offers the best features when travelling abroad. I don't like remaining on relationships with trust issues. (#Hugot Hahaha) 

During the entire week, my Facebook's news feed has been filled with status messages to what seems like an essay writing contest. Mostly contained reactions from the LGBT group, arising from the politician's lousy response. While I equally respect the members of the LGBT, I hate it when some people use the issue as an opportunity to make themselves look highly intellectual and gain the sympathy of the public. 

Setting aside all my shallow drama, let me share the few beautiful things I had over the past week. 

Because Cath Kidston is love. This rainy day boots on sale finally arrived with no surprising customs fees. I only paid what I needed to pay for. ;) 

Signs of becoming a full fledged #TitaofManila - I've been enjoying H&M... not the clothes and accessories, but their Home Section. I swear, I love the look of the entire H&M Home. I love the white, gray and bare cement floors of their branch in Gateway Mall. I was able to score this golden pineapple mini-tray and table runner with vintage inspired print. Although honestly, I find some of their items a little expensive. 

Love from the USA - Thank you Jeannie and Terra!

I have a little interesting story with the wooden signage. You might not believe me, but I got the wooden plate from a waste basket. I saw broken pieces of wood placed beside a huge trash bin. My curiosity led me to explore and later, take home this wooden plate. Never mind if I don't understand what was written on it. Hahaha Only to later confirm and discover that it used to be a part of a crate of a bottle of French wine. 

The box of Royce Chocolate is love! - Oh how I wish someone will give me this bar of almond chocolate. This was given by a freelance client during our last meeting. And as much as I don't want to admit it, I finished half the box by myself. 

I'm typing this post at 12:40 am, feeling a little tired and sleepy. The past week has been a little tiring, mostly because of this freelance work that doesn't seem to go away. Closure please! Added to this, I felt a little annoyed with a former client. Some people just don't realize that professional services are way different from ordering mass produced goods. As much as I try to avoid them, I have been reluctant in accepting freelance works from colleagues. Truth to be told, the abusive freelance clients come from the segment of my colleagues and relatives. The irony. The only thing I can wish for now is for these projects to finally conclude. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Reviewed: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I cannot remember when and how I discovered the book. Was it from Goodreads or another blogger? What I know for sure, I was again drawn by positive reviews. I even landed on a blogger, who beceame so attached with the KonMari principles. She was able to organise a grand garage sale with her friends and soon after, surrendered her life to become a true disciple. :)

Truth to be told, I'm not a fan of self-help books. The irony. :) I'm not comfortable with the usual preachy and imposing atmosphere of this genre. I've been deceived by some inspirational books claiming to transform my life in 365 days, only to later feel bored and irritated. If not because of the positive reviews, I would not have purchased this expensive hardback.

I have a number of thoughts and realisations while learning the KonMari approach. I hope I'll be able to relate everything in one post. Let me start with the structure of the book. The first chapters related Marie Kondo's personal experiences on decluttering. It progressed with the different techniques and principles in decluttering, which she trademarked as the KonMari approach, emanating from the author's name. The book ended with explanations on how decluttering can actually lead our path to the life-changing happiness.

I find the principles presented by the KonMari approach realistic, manageable and convincing to some extent.  However,  not everything appeared innovative and impressive for me. An example is the vertical arrangement of clothes in storage spaces. By principle, vertical arrangement has always been the solution in space saving problems.

What I love most about the KonMari principle is the rule of thumb in decluttering. More often than not, our primary basis on decluttering is usefulness. Items that are no longer useful should be thrown away. The KonMari principle presents a different approach. KonMari's first step in decluttering stems from the question, does this spark joy? If an item does not anymore spark any degree of joy, then it's time to part ways.

Contrary to the usual basis in decluttering, I appreciate the consideration of every person's emotional state in the process. Marie Kondo presented a more humane and realistic approach. An example is the baptismal gown worn by each child in the family. If we are dealing with the element of usefulness, there's no reason to keep it. The KonMari principle is rather forgiving. We're allowed to keep items that still spark joy. Although along the way, Marie Kondo gives more reasons why sentimental factors are sometimes deceiving. There are examples on how to gradually move away from sentimental value.

I was expecting that Marie Kondo will highlight the root cause of all clutter....accumulating unnecessary items. Impulsive shopping and hoarding... I was surprised that Marie Kondo never mentioned anything about suppressing our shopaholic hormones. The KonMari principle did not enforce a shopping ban or preventing further purchases. I appreciate this approach for the simple reason that it's realistic. Marie Kondo remained focused on her major concern of decluttering alone. However, the core of the KonMari approach will later provide compelling reasons that will discourage readers to engage in excessive shopping.

Another principle I learned from the KonMari is the system of decluttering by category and not of location. If we decide to declutter books, other items at home should be set side first. Gather all the books not just in your room, but all books contained in your house. Same goes with clothes. If the focus of the decluttering is clothes, then everyone's clothes should be subjected.

The concluding chapters of the book revealed my most awaited part. Marie Kondo's explanation of how a well organised home can lead us to this "life-changing" stage. There were discussions on happiness and self-discovery. Marie Kondo related how one client actually discovered her real passion in life after adapting the KonMari lifestyle. (and yes, Marie Kondo has developed seminars, trainings and consultancy projects from decluttering) I was hoping to find the link between decluttering and happiness. There were explanations provided, but I still find it a little weak and insufficient.

Despite the minor disappointment, I have to admit that Marie Kondo's first book is one of the limited self-help and inspirational books I like. I may not be totally convinced of the life changing impact, but I believe in the principles taught. In fact, I felt the sudden urge to clean up my closet while reading the book. I was able to update my eBay account again.

Even without the life changing impact, I'm more than willing to live and apply the KonMari principles. And as it appears now, it looks like I'm another disciple in the making :) 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 199 - Random Finds

I've been overwhelmed with the amount of work in my list. I'm still struggling with my day job. That long lost productivity! I'm progressing but I'm not contented with my working pace. That one last freelance work whose closure remains elusive. But who am I to complain when there's a little money in the bag.

There's nothing new going on with my life now. Obviously, my face is screaming WORK. In between the busy week, I finished Marie Kondo's book and I was able to squeeze in some decluttering. However, I knew that this sudden decision is contrary to the KonMari approach,which emphasizes that decluttering should be done in a one time big time basis. More of this in my next post. I felt the need to write my thoughts about Marie Kondo's book. 

A few days ago, I have encountered a number of blog posts about Hong Kong. I miss the place. The place maybe overrated but as my friend D. Coleen said, there's something about Hong Kong that makes it worth coming back. More than shopping, I actually enjoy the food, trains, the rare mountain ranges to Ngong Ping and surprises along the way. In my immediate environment, I heard friends and family members booking their trips to Hong Kong. Now I feel more envious. I don't have travel plans this year. There are other priorities except if there's something that arises from work.  

It's 1:00 am in the morning. I've been switching TV channels, no good movie, documentary or drama series to entertain me. I ended with the Tagalized version of Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality. This made me remember the piles of movies in my devices. Why does watching a movie feels like a chore now. Hahaha Before I bore and annoy everyone with my monotonous life, let me share the few good things that made the week.

Random and impulsive buy from Dulcinea - The pastel colors of these sinful meringue cookies are too hard to resist. Happiness that costs Php 50 and more than a thousand calories for my belly. Hahaha 

One of the reasons why I gained weight is my lack of sleep. I have read a number of medical books explaining the correlation of the two. When you lack sleep, the body is deprived of rest, which is essential for its normal functioning. In my case, sleep has been ruining me since January. A body that lacks sleep creates different adverse effects. One of which is my resistance to everything sinful. One medical practitioner even explained that our body becomes too "needy" when we lack sleep. We become demanding in all aspects... which in my case covers FOOD... sinful food to be exact. Because I always feel so tired and sleepy, I often end up rewarding myself with as you can see in the photo, Cath Kidston and milkshake. Hahahaha  

And food again - A few days ago, I felt the need to drop by an insurance company along the historic Escolta Manila. I decided to have lunch in the old Tropical Hut. How many can still remember? Food may not be great but for some unexplained reason, I love this food chain. Its last few branches in Marikina already shut down operations. I miss my favorite chicken sandwich including the waiting time for every order. Hahaha Everything is freshly prepared in this food chain.

Another find in Escolta - This studio always have the quirkiest and out of this world display. 

Unexpected finds from Book Sale - Hello Mother E! I've been looking for the classic hardbound series of Nancy Drew. I'm glad to have found at least one. As bonus, I love the black leaves. :)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is another all time favorite. This is one of those books I love but never had the chance to own a copy. Finally!

Thank you for the postcard Marieken! I have been receiving something every week from my dear friend. Thanks M!

A sudden ensemble of my favorite color... can you guess what? Hahaha

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fat Cousins at Fat Cousins Diner

A few weeks ago, I had an unexpected trip to the mall with my "fat cousins." I spent the entire afternoon with them and before we parted ways, someone's generosity hormones were activated. Haha We decided to cap the night with a belly heavy dinner. 

Unlike me, my cousins have been to Fat Cousins a number of times. Everyone was raving about the steak that comes with unlimited rice and drinks. I'm a sucker for everything unlimited. Haha I was about to ask even if the same rule applies to the steak. Hahaha 

It was Sunday night and as expected, we were greeted with the flock of customers. The place was jampacked. This may look inconvenient on our part but like what everyone says, a populated restaurant is an indicator of great food. 

The menu is quite limited. On the positive side, this makes the selection process easier. I decided to have t-bone steak. While waiting for our orders, I took time to explore the place. I thought the entire restaurant was limited to the air-conditioned area. The place extends to a backyard that offers al fresco dining experience. If given the chance, I would have chosen the wider space outside. I learned that the restaurant also allows private events in the secluded backyard.

It took around 15 minutes before our orders arrived. Don't be deceived with the small size of my t-bone steak. What I thought as a thin and shallow steak came with overflowing strips of tender meat. While my cousin's baby back ribs is no doubt, filled with the much needed taste and servings. 

All value meals come with unlimited rice and drinks. So given the price tag, I believe the prices are more than reasonable. Same story goes with their customer service. Despite the bulk of customers, the service crews were accommodating and responsive. And the interiors of the place, I love the industrial theme! Everything is instagram worthy.

Fat Cousins Diner
BG Molina Street
Parang, Marikina City
Facebook / Instagram 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Beautiful Sunday # 198 - This long weekend

This weekend! I badly needed it. I have been deprived of sleep for two weeks already. My remaining freelance work is challenging me to the fullest. I have yet to regain my long lost productivity for my day job. I'm taking a little break even though there are still a number of tasks in my list. 

I'm loving my laid back weekend. I had more than eight hours of sleep. When I woke up, it started to rain. The temperature turned a little colder. I love it! I had home cooked meals. I captured a few photos in the afternoon, while listening to Amy Grant's playlist. My favorite has to be The Lucky One. I plan to end the day watching some feel good movies. I'm tempted to call food delivery. But when I checked my wallet, I felt the biggest heartache. Hahahaha Me and my wallet have to survive until the 15th. Hahahaha I might as well content myself from what's inside the fridge. Only to later see kang kong (water spinach) string beans, tomatoes and sweet potato. Talk about having another heartache. Hahahaha Before I finally die of heartache hahaha, let me share the few beautiful things that made the past week.

A few weeks ago I complained about my sore throat that usually mutates to colds and ends with cough. I thought I was well after a week. Monday came, I woke up with another case of sore throat. I thought I will have my usual sickness cycle again. Turns out, I will be nursing the worst case of sore throat. I didn't anymore take lozenges. I don't want to buy another bottle of Bactidol. I felt that all the commercial medicines are failing me. I remember reading somewhere about the benefits of honey and calamansi.  I started the honey + calamansi juice last Friday. I started to feel better in the afternoon and much to my surprise, the sore throat was gone on Saturday. Problem is, I'm starting to feel cough and I started to sound different. Hello bedroom voice. Hahaha I have that hoarse sound again. 

It was only last week when I realized the power of these two tubes. I have been reading great feedback about VMV products. I bought this last year only to have it set aside because I love the tub of Innisfree sleeping mask from my Korean friend. I decided to bring this at the workplace instead. 

I have this unusual habit of washing my face as soon as I arrived at the workplace. I cannot start work unless I have washed my face. Unfortunately, my skin will later feel so rough and dry. My face will eventually refuse any powder or make up. I remember the unused tube of VMV moisturizer at home. This can probably help me address my little problem, especially after my skin has been bombarded with two hours of sleep. Much to my surprise, VMV served me well and came with additional benefits! My skin felt soft and supple. Now I understand why most beauty advices emphasized the need for moisturizers.

Neutrogena's Deep Clean Brightening has become my trusted and favorite facial wash. It's quite expensive at least for my budget. A few months ago, Watsons sold each tube 50% off its original price. I tried it and since then, I never used any other facial wash. I love the instant lightening effect. Yes, I swear to its capability to turn my skin a shade lighter after just one wash.

Testing another Tsubaki product - I'm using Tsubaki's conditioner for damaged hair. It was the scent that captured my attention. But honestly, I don't care much about the dominating scent. I hope this works well because... its price tag almost killed me. :)

 Thank you Marieken for the vintage postcard again. Love the photo of the kids!

Loving the rare cold and rainy weather!

I started writing this post on a Saturday night. I didn't notice that it will be Sunday in a few minutes. I more than thankful for this quiet and relaxing weekend. But I will surely be more thankful when someone will treat me for a great and sinful KFC delivery. Hahahaha