Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

Before I begin, I just want to apologize for not having the chance to update this blog for over two weeks except for the occasional posts here and there. Life happened and Instagram came. Dub me the Latecomer as I have just discovered the beauty of this social network.

Because of that, I installed a good plug-in so you can still be updated with my life. Yes, I'm talking to you, my three loyal readers.

I have also just devised a way to organize my schedule without compromising time with family, work deadlines, personal enrichment and blog-writing (in that particular order). Allow me to explain: My day starts at 5:00 am after Laika's crying for milk, then I start pumping milk, praying, sleeping a little until husband wakes me up for breakfast. The whole morning is dedicated to Laika until she takes her morning nap and in the afternoon, I enjoy lunch with the husband (who conveniently works in the hospital right in front of our apartment), take Laika for a bath, and play with her until her afternoon nap. That's when I get some work done. Evening is for dinner, exercise time (because I really, badly need to get back to my pre-preggy weight), and then that's when another round of work is done until I sleep by 12 midnight, if I'm lucky, or 2 am, if insomnia strikes.

Phew! That's a whole lot of explaining for an I'm-sorry-I-don't-post-as-frequently-now post. That is to say I hope to be a better blogger next time. I'll be lucky to get a post done a week now but I will try.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, where was I? Right, the Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. Remember my favorite bloggers, John and Sherry Petersik? Well, they are the bloggers behind Young House Love and they are the awesomest dork bloggers ever!

John and Sherry posted a Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge in their blog and I heard myself thinking, "challenge accepted!" So I dragged my sweet husband to the nearest Thrift Shop. As in five-blocks-away-from-the-house near.

The challenge says to bring $20 and because in the Philippines, that means P814.30, I prepared myself to bring in stuff for the house.

See, I have never, for the life of me, thrifted for things for the house. Clothes, sure I have. Other than that, nada. Zero. Zilch.

On the drive there (yes, five blocks and we still brought the car. What? I don't know if we were going to buy something massive), we heard, for the first time might I say,  the Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, on the car radio. True story.

When we got there, as it was after office hours, we were clearly losing natural lighting. That is to say, "sorry for the crappy photos, I did not think to set my camera to the correct settings".

As soon as we got there, the first thing that caught my attention was this beautiful cabinet made of rattan. I would marry it if I could. Sorry, Saud. Good thing for him, it costs P4000 (about $100) and that's about 5 times more expensive than what I brought. So, goodbye, gorgeous cabinet. I wonder what could have been?

I continued browsing, not even knowing what my P815 can buy. Saw a lot of things with potential. And then it happened. My husband's jaw-dropped.
Yes, that's genuine and pure awe. I stole this shot and I heard him say, "if I see a Gameboy and a Pokemon here, I am going home with them." Gotta love that despite having our own, he is still a child at heart.

Unfortunately, he found none.
I was also in dreamland as I found a place with lots and lots of furniture. I always had to remind myself that we had barely a 50-square-meter apartment.

To make the Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge turn into a genuine Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge, I photographed two things in the list. Two, because I cannot bear to do silly things in front of the camera (bonus points for that?)

But! Unlike my husband, I did not go home empty-handed.

Two wonderfully-patterned vases for P300 each and a nice oriental tray for P200 (I haggled from P250). Oh yes! Challenge done!

And here they are in our dining table.
photo from my Instagram. Yes, I'm an addict. Get me to the rehab.Fast!

And to prettify our new kitchen stuff, we bought flowers from the nearby Dangwa. I love our neighborhood!

How was my Thrift Shopping? I had fun! Too much fun that I swore I will come back. This time, I want to sell stuff. Goodbye, clutter-in-our-house!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Things I Learned from the It's A WAHMderful Life Workshop akaYou-are-not-a-good-writer-unless-you-know-Strunk-and-White"

No more introduction. Let's make this short and to the point.

1. Invest. Now is the right time to set aside money for retirement. Income minus savings must be for expenses. Whatever is left off when you subtract your savings from the income, that's only how much you spend. In our case, my husband takes care of the bills; I am in charge of the savings. At least we know the limit of our expenditure.

2. Refine your skills. I wanted to be a writer and I thought having content is enough. Writing is a craft as what Martine de Luna would say. If going back to high school English is what it takes to improve, do it. I am contemplating enrolling at a writing school. I will keep you posted on this.

By the way, always self-edit!

3. Organize. Freelance writing is difficult as you always need to discipline yourself into focusing on the job. From now on, no more procrastinating. Do things now!

4. Working at home does not mean being a freelancer forever. You can always make a career out of writing-at-home. Impress your clients, they might just hire you for the long haul.

5. Build your resume. Market yourself. Submit portfolio to companies. But never, ever give them a document containing your work. Screen cap is good enough.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Papa's Version of a Fairy Tale

I grew up with seven siblings in our humble abode in Taguig City. As such is the case, I am used to a simple lifestyle.

Living in a two-bedroom bungalow, us five older ones had to share one room while my parents and the younger ones co-sleep in the other room. Every night, while Mama tends to the bunsos, Papa goes in our room and talks to us about our day. Having to take care of eight kids is no joke. How they managed us, I would not know. You can just imagine the riot even during sleeping time. Add to that that there are five girls who love to talk! Because of that, Papa had to think of ways to get us to sleep.

One of his ways is through story-telling. Some kids know Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I got to know them in school. Who I am familiar with is Prophet Adam (as), Prophet Moses (as), Propher Muhammad (saw), and others. Papa introduced them to us at a young age. Now that we have a little Laika, I hope we get to talk to her and to her future siblings about the prophets in the future, too, in shaa Allah (God willing).

What am I doing now and the It's a WAHMderful Life Workshop

Now that I have quit my full time job in the university, what am I doing at present?

I am officially a WAHM. A work-at-home mom. So, what am I working on aside from being a mother to Laika and a wife to Saud?

As I have said before, I am now doing writing gigs for my clients' different needs. I am also helping out on the marketing aspect of my family's little business. And, of course, being a professional, I am doing landscape architectural projects again.

Now that I think about it, juggling different jobs, I am busier than when I had an 8-to-5 work. Allow me to say that I am enjoying where I am at present.  

Being new to this territory, the working at home one where I get to do my job even on my pajamas, I still have a lot to learn and a ton of things to look forward to. At times like this, I know I need a support group. Good thing my friend, Lique, owner of Honeybaby, introduced me to Manila WAHMs Group in facebook. There, I get to see how fellow WAHMs like me balance their family life and work life. I am looking forward to meeting some of them face to face.

On that facebook group, I got to know about It's a WAHMderful Life Workshop. I was looking forward to attending the first one last October but then, I have just given birth and I have not resigned from my job then.

Fortunately, another workshop is being organized by Manila Workshops and this time, I was given the opportunity to sign up.

My only dilemma at first was figuring out if I should attend the Virtual Assistant session or the Freelance Writing session. But now that I know my goal for the future, I have decided on attending the writing group.

Have you signed up for this workshop? Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thankful Tuesdays: Technology and more

Thankful Tuesdays will feature things that I am grateful for at the moment. It is a reminder that every week, every day, every minute, every second, there is something we can be thankful for. It can be something as big as having my daughter (yes, Laika was born on a Tuesday) or as shallow as a cheap find in the mall. Click this link to read on the other Thankful Tuesday posts.

iPad mini. It has made blogging-on -the-go possible. And the apps! I especially love Newsstand and Zinio apps. Discounted magazine subscriptions without the clutter? I am in! What's more, you can delete the magazines and it gets saved on the Archive and you can download your purchased magazine again for free. I do not regret selling my iPod Touch for this. And it has saved my marriage being that I have stopped stealing my husband's iPad3 (I especially love that the Mini is so much lighter).

photo source
Robinsons Magnolia. This is my favorite mall at the moment. It replaced Trinoma Mall in my heart. I know, I know, very melodramatic. But you have to understand, I spent most of my pre-labor days in a mall. I have not stopped being thankful yet (I kid, I kid). What is it I love the most about Robinsons Magnolia? Aside from the fact that it is the former Magnolia Ice Cream House, there are very few people even on weekends! Plus they have wide hallways perfect for the stroller. Yes, I've found my sanctuary.

photo source
Simple dates with the husband everyday. Breakfast and jogging date. Even if we have not had any sleep the night before, we make a conscious effort to wake up and eat together in the house while Ate Sharon takes care of Laika in the other room. These are the things that we do so that, even if there is a baby in the equation now, we still get to talk, one on one.

I get to hear my baby's hearty laughs.

Seeing my husband dance with our daughter. It makes my sappy mommy heart go awwww...

During Sam dela Cruz' 1st birthday
Friends who make us feel as if we are family. Thanks to the dela Cruzes, Medinas and Mangalindans :D

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My four-month love affair

Remember when I told you about my wanting a new gadget? How about when I said my husband already got me a better one?

Well, last month, I sold my Nikon D50 and I could not be any happier as I see the one who bought it deserves it much better than me.

I could not photograph well to save my life. I tried. Oh yes, I did. I even attended classes from a renowned photographer. But sadly, no, I cannot do it. Though it was no fault of his.

And besides, I am too lazy to whip up my camera when there's a Kodak moment.

So how is my love affair with my Lumix LX5 camera going so far?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5: The camera for the lazy people
photo source
The Lumix LX5 is a compact camera that can produce up to 10.1 megapixel photo quality. It also has an ultra wide 24mm Leica DC lens comparable to Leica cameras and a 3.8x optical zoom. As an added bonus, it comes with a hot shoe to make accessorizing easier; and has an internal memory of 40 MB plus an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot for expanded memory allocation. 

This gadget is the perfect camera for lazy people who cannot be bothered to adjust their camera settings. Most cameras normally come with an Automatic setting for this function but what makes the Lumix LX5 different is it produces high-quality, DSLR-like photographs without the bulk associated with this kind of camera.  Aside from all these magnificent features, the camera can shoot up to 720p high-definition movies which makes it the perfect gadget for a new mommy like me. Although it performs well on low-light environment, it comes with a built-in pop-up flash to provide for more options.

A light-weight, great function camera, the Lumix LX5 is a great camera for non-pros. And even though Panasonic already came up with a Lumix LX7, this camera, along with its many superb functions, is still a great gadget for first-time mommies and non-camera pro like me.  Mommy approved!
photo source

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Moodboard: Living-on-a-High Living/Dining Room

I was awarded Ms. Moodboard by my students last Teachers' Day as I always require them to have one. I am a believer of putting all your ideas in one place. It doesn't matter if you will create a hodgepodge of an image. That's how you know if the design will work.

Someone very close to me asked me to design his one-bedroom condominium unit. As the space is small, we had to plan the space strategically. His unit is in one of the topmost floors. I have already made my schemes and I would like to show you my favorite among the two.

P.S: I am not an interior designer. I only do this for people who are very close to me. I believe in professional courtesy. If you have a place you want done and we are in no way close to each other, please contact a licensed interior designer. 

The Space

The space is a one-bedroom condominium unit located in one of the topmost floors of the building. The site is at the busiest city in the metro.

  • The bedroom has a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the city. 
  • The unit comes fully-finished once it is turned over.
  • It has high ceilings.
  • There is no window in the living/dining/kitchen area.
  • The space is small. 
  • The bedroom has space for one occupant only. 

The Solution

  • I reconfigured the bedroom to make it bigger and to accommodate a bigger bed and a bigger closet. 
  • I designed a customized bedroom door to avoid a space-consuming standard one.
  • I rearranged the recommended furniture for the living/dining area.

The Moodboard

This is what I envision the living/dining room area to look like.

  • Light grellow (green+yellow) walls all over to make for a sunny room. This is essential to compensate for the lack of natural lighting.
  • A wall-mounted table to act as a dining table for two. The TV will be mounted on the wall as well to save space.
  • Three tall mirrors will be put on the walls to emphasize the height and to give an illusion of space.
  • A two-seater sofa bed for emergency sleepovers. 
  • A teal (or any striking color) pouf to give a pop of color to an otherwise very neutral room. It can also be a coffee table if you put tray on top of it or it can also be an additional seat. 
  • A sunburst mirror to bounce off more lights.
  • A bamboo rug to differentiate the living from the dining area. Bamboo is essential as the owner is asthmatic and may be allergic to other kinds of rug.
There's my vision for the living/dining area. I will be posting more on the bedroom soon. 

Why I decided to be a stay-at-home mother

Many people find it hard to believe that I have chosen to quit my work to be a stay-at-home mother. "Sayang pinag-aralan mo". "Malolosyang ka sa bahay". "Ano na gagawin mo?"

I can't seem to answer them. Not because I don't have an answer. It's because I have so much to say that I don't know where to begin. This poster summed up what I wanted to say perfectly.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


from Cathe Nadal's Facebook page. Photo taken during my college friends' get together in our house
As a Muslim, I don't drink alcohol. I don't know why my friends find that hard to believe. We are known not to eat pork but the no-drinking-alcohol part always comes as a surprise to some.

Every last day of the year, my family stays up together to wait for the midnight. We used to do that to celebrate the New Year and Papa's birthday. But since Papa is gone and we learned that celebrating New Year is haram, we started scrapping the idea of a New Year. This year, we just took advantage of the season to dress up, display our cooking skills, and take pictures as a family. I have to admit, it was so much fun not having to stay up late. By 10:30pm, we were all in bed.

(I have to remind everyone that this no-celebration-thing is my family's choice. Nobody is forcing it down anybody's throat)

Anyway, back to the original intent of this post, the mocktails. Mocktails is a coined term. Mock cocktails. A fake cocktail drink if you will. The practice of serving this every family get together was my older sister's idea. All the fun without the hang over.

Must haves: soda, sparkling juice, grenadine juice, lime juice, coconut cream

Directions: The fun thing about this is there are no instructions! Just mix whatever you want to mix. Experiment. Drink. Be merry :)

WARNING: This is very addicting and fattening.

ANOTHER WARNING: No need being defensive. Or judgmental. The first time we had this, people were becoming concerned as to why we were drinking alcohol. Us, defensive. Them, judgmental.

Have fun with your drink!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thankful Tuesdays

I hate being a lazy blogger but there are times when planning for an entry is too time-consuming that just thinking of what to write is becoming a zzz-fest for me. However, I know that I have a lot of story to tell. Enter a new segment on this blog, Thankful Tuesdays :)

I have written before how I am so contented and happy where my life is now. So much so that I find it unbelievable how somebody who used to take things for granted can be receiving much at present. Thankful Tuesdays will feature things that I am grateful for at the moment. It can be something as big as having my daughter (yes, Laika was born on a Tuesday) or as shallow as a cheap find in the mall. 

I am thankful for my wonderful family and in-laws. I may not be one to celebrate Christmas or New Year (yes, I have stopped celebrating New Year this year), but the season gave us a reason to get together with the people who matter the most.
My daughter who just turned 16 weeks last week. I am thankful that she is the jolliest baby that I know (although she has been fussy this morning because of colic). As early as 15 weeks, she has been showing progress and I feel like I cannot catch up with her. She can now pull herself to a sitting position when you offer her a hand. She also wants, nay, insists on standing up every chance she gets. Strong bones, baby. All milk coming from momma.

The smile on my daughter's face whenever she gets to sit on her Tiny Tots Baby Dock Seat. Words cannot explain how happy she gets when she is seated. Although there are times when she needs a break and being confined on the seat is too much for her, I am thankful for the few minutes of bliss that I see.

My cheap finds from Dapitan Arcade. Of all the things I bought, I am most in love with this P100-cake stand and the three-pieces-for-a-hundred-peso porcelain plates.

How about you? What are the things you are grateful for?