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Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Review: Love & Gravity

It is a love story that transcends time. A young Andrea is playing the cello when a wall in her room suddenly cracks open to reveal a young boy from another time. She tries recreating this moment several times after that (sometimes successfully, sometimes not), to the point where she questions her sanity. It is only years later when she discovers that the young boy she saw was Isaac Newton – yes, that Newton who discovered the laws of gravity. She then starts to receive letters from Newton, which eventually guides her to more encounters with Newton, which led to her being transported in time to be with Newton himself. 

love & gravity
Cover credit: Penguin Random House

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Thinning Hair Solution

One problem that I had recently has been thinning hair. I think I’ve had hair fall issues my entire life. It was not a big deal back then because my hair was thick and whatever amount of hair fall I had didn’t affect how much hair I had on my head. I don’t know the reason for the hair fall but the thinning hair could either be one or all these things: my thyroid condition, old age (yes, 41 is old for me), or the fact that I often color my hair.

I only realized that my hair was thinning out when my sister colored my hair. She commented that I didn’t seem to have as much hair as I used to. I always wear my hair up in a ponytail or in a bun so I never really paid much attention to it, but I became very self-conscious about it when my sister brought it up. There aren’t any bald spots or anything like that, but when I let my hair down I did see that it wasn’t what it used to be. 

Maybe it is just natural for my age to not have the thick hair that I used to have when I was younger. Maybe it’s just a phase. I don’t know, I never consulted a doctor about it. But like any person who lives in this day and age, I googled it. I went online to look not for reasons but for solutions to my problem. I’ve discovered a fair share of pricey scalp treatments, serums, creams, shampoos, and vitamins that are supposed to help with hair fall and thinning hair. There is a lot to choose from, but most of them do not have real-person assurance/experience that this or that product will work. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wanted: Cheap Small Air Conditioner

(Reposting an older entry from an earlier version of my blog because someone has been looking for this!)

The holidays are over and summer is just around the corner. I promised myself over the holidays that I would buy a window type air conditioner for my room that the kids can use for the summer when the heat gets unbearable.

Last month I went on the lookout for a cheap, small air conditioner that I could buy. I had a feeling that air conditioning units would be expensive during the summer season so I decided to buy one over the cold holiday season. That decision paid off when I found a .6 HP window type air conditioner from GE. It cost less than P8,000.00!

GE MABE .6HP Air Conditioner
The AC I bought post-installation. I think I need some paint for those edges.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Money Saver: Kindle Freebies

I’ve loved reading books for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I loved sitting in a corner and reading until the sun went down. My paternal grandmother would have to turn on the lights for me as I struggled to read with what little light was left from the window in the afternoons. I was that hooked to reading. It can be an expensive hobby/interest, but it is worth it.

When e-books became a thing, I wasn’t sure if it was something that I would be interested in. After all, part of reading the book was the experience of having one. The feel of the pages on your fingers, the smell of a new book, the creases that develop from a well-read one…it’s just a different experience from the eyestrain and the need for gadget charging that is involved with e-books. I remember owning an early-era Kindle, which I eventually bequeathed to my niece when I discovered that I could install Kindle on my phone, along with other apps where I could acquire e-books from. 

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Memories of My Childhood Home

I’ve moved around in the last 40 years of my existence. I’ve lived in several places but there is only one place that I still call home: our family home from back in the 80s and 90s in the south of the Metro. I know it’s cliché but there really is no place like home. I grew up there, my formative years were spent there. That was where I dreamed of the person I wanted to be and slowly grew into the person that I have become today. So many memories were made in that house, both good and bad. I will always love and miss that place.



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Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Trike Experience

It’s been 17 years since I moved from Metro Manila to the rural setting that I am based in nowhere in the province. It has been a big change, but I have adjusted to it fairly well. In fact, I have gotten to the point where if given the opportunity, I would turn down a good job in the city if it meant leaving home and the province that I have become so used to. Life here is simpler, quieter,, and peaceful…plus the traffic in our neck of the woods is virtually non-existent.  Who would want to give that up? 

One of the things that changed the way I live my life here in the province is my mode of transportation. Back when I was living and working in the city, I was used to taking buses and cabs to go all over the place. Now I take a tricycle to get around town because it takes me to my destination directly compared to a jeepney and it is much more practical to take instead of bringing your own vehicle to and from anywhere around here. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when you do need to take your own car, ride a bus or a jeepney but those are for longer trips to other cities or municipalities in the province. But for where I’m from, the tricycle will do just fine. 

tricycle


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Saturday, March 24, 2018

My Guilty Pleasure: Twinings Tea

Most of the people who know me would be aware that I am every bit of a coffee girl. I love coffee, mostly when there is no cream on it and just a little bit of sugar. Not having one cup daily is a challenge for me because it feels like the one thing that gives me energy and wakes me up in the morning so that I can start my day right.

Someone once asked me if I would ever switch to tea in the morning instead of coffee. I said no. For me, tea is equated to times when I don’t feel well and my father would make me drink it to help me feel better. I also tend to think of those diet/laxative types of drinks when I think of tea. It’s a weird thought to have but it’s what made me avoid tea for some time. I always thought of tea as just one flavor: the lemon-ish Lipton kind. I wasn’t aware of the other variants/flavors until I had a panic attack and someone brought me some Chamomile Tea.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Confession: I Was (Am) A Fan of Dennis Trillo

It’s rare for me to be a big fan of any celebrity. I may like one celeb here and there but no one has ever made me go on the whole “showbiz fan” ride except for one actor: Dennis Trillo.

The first time that I noticed Dennis Trillo was in his role in the move Aishite Masu 1941 back in 2004. I thought his portrayal of Ignacio/Inya was amazing. I was such a fan of his performance that when I learned that he was going to make an appearance at a nearby mall, I had to drag my sister over so that I could have my DVD of the film autographed. I met and befriended a few of his fans from that day and it all just went super crazy from there. Dennis Trillo movies and TV shows became an addiction for me.

I watched Dennis Trillo in Mulawin (TV and movies) and in all the other shows where he was made into all sorts of supernatural or superhero characters, no matter how corny some of the shows may be.

fan pic
First time I met him.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Love for Peanuts Characters

One of my favorite McDonalds memories was when they came out with some Peanuts character merchandise as part of their Happy Meal. I remember pre-ordering the entire set to make sure that I could have all the characters. I’m always on the lookout for where to buy Snoopy stuff (hopefully the affordable kind) so this was something I had to grab while I could. I remember that my sister was so amused at how happy I was that I had the entire set when we picked it up. I know it’s weird and maybe slightly immature for someone my age, but I can’t help it!

Peanuts Collection from the McDonald's Happy Meal

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Custom Cakes from Karenina's

When most people are thinking about custom cakes online or birthday cakes to order or for delivery, several TV shows come to mind. Ace of Cakes, Cake Wars, Cake Boss…all these shows that feature custom cakes that you once thought would be impossible but end up getting made as cakes. 

For me, when I think about custom cakes, I think about my cousin Karen, who has her business called Karenina’s Cakes. 

wedding cake
A Wedding Cake from Karenina's Cakes





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Saturday, March 17, 2018

My Attempt at Eggs in Hell

Whenever I poke around on Pinterest I can't help but pay extra attention to recipes that I would like to try. One of those recipes that I saved and tried was Mario Batali's Eggs in Hell.

Eggs in Hell is an egg and vegetable recipe that is based on the North African and Arab meal called Shakshouka. An Arabic word that means mixture, Shakshouka/Eggs in Hell is a mix of eggs cooked in tomato sauce, chili peppers, and onions. 

Mario Batali is an American chef (who has had his share of sexual misconduct allegations recently) who shared this recipe on the TV show The Chew. 

The recipe he shared serves four but it can serve more than that since it does include 8 eggs. Here are the ingredients and instructions as shared by Batali (with some changes I made on it):
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Birthday

I recently celebrated my birthday. It was my 41st. I have gotten to the age where I know women shouldn’t even be saying their age anymore, much less celebrating their birthdays. I know that it seems a bit much but this year, I truly did not feel like celebrating.

Like most of my birthdays lately, I spent the day with my family. I shared meals with them, blew the candle from a cake given by my sister, and just stayed home. The following workday I went out with my workmates for coffee to celebrate. As much as I appreciate the fact that people were celebrating with me, I can’t explain it, but I just felt empty. 



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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Kate Was Here

Blogging isn't what it used to be. Back in the day, they didn't seem like the online magazines that they are now. I used to write about anything and everything under the sun no matter how boring they might be but that doesn't cut it anymore. 

That being said, there are way too many blogs these days for me to follow, compared to the select few I used to back in the day. Sometimes some blogs and "influencers" end up writing about the same thing every time and it gets tiring to follow so I've decided to limit my reading to a select few. Kate Was Here is one of them.



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Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Not So Perfect Life (A Review)

I know it’s an old saying but I think more than ever, this is something that applies: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Back in the day this would refer to us not negatively judging someone because of their appearance but today I think it should be the opposite. We shouldn’t accept the beautiful, bright, and shiny at face value because, in this age of social media, these perfect lives are not so perfect. This is what Sophie Kinsella’s book, My Not So Perfect Life, is all about.

Cover credit: Penguin Random House

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Friday, March 9, 2018

My Spotify Time Capsule

Sometime last year I got a notification from Spotify that they had prepared a playlist for me called "Your Time Capsule." I have no idea how they came up with the list since my saved music is a mix of really really old to the latest pop hits. It's creepy to think about how accurate they are with their list! What kind of algorithm do these people have? What more can they find out about me through my music?

photo from Pixabay

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thomas and Friends Games

My young nephew is a big fan of the Thomas & Friends characters. For some reason, he isn’t interested in superheroes and other cartoon characters, he just loves vehicles and trains in particular. It is because of this interest that I tried to look for Thomas & Friends games and other train games online that he would love. I was looking for something that would be entertaining but would also be educational at the same time – if that was in any way possible.


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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Living the Hypothyroid Life

It all started 18 years ago. I was in a bathroom at a restaurant when my cousin commented that there seemed to be something protruding from my throat. I didn't notice it before but when I was staring at it in the mirror it did seem that there was a small lump. My mother told me to go and see a doctor, which I did. 

I found out that I was hyperthyroid and the lump on my throat was possibly nodules due to the disease. I took the required tests (T3, T4, TSH) and I took medication that the doctor prescribed until the tests resulted in normal thyroid levels, otherwise known as euthyroid. My doctor then told me that I would be fine.

A cousin of mine told me that thyroid disease is something that you live with for life and that my doctor (an ENT) was wrong about me not having follow-up appointments. She recommended her doctor, an endocrinologist who upon seeing my latest tests told me that I didn't have any thyroid disease since my levels were normal.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Digital Loss

Last year I kept putting off buying an external hard drive to back up my photos, videos, and documents. I thought those things were just too expensive for me and that there was still enough space for my files on my laptop. I had been planning to upload everything on the cloud since I have a cloud account with a large file space but with the way internet speeds are these days, I haven't gotten around to it.

When my year-end bonus came along I decided to finally buy myself that hard drive. A friend of mine said that Seagate was a good brand, so I bought that from Lazada. I was happy because I got it at a discounted price and it was big enough to fit all my files (and then some). It was two days after Christmas when I finally transferred all my files to the new hard drive. The following day I tested the drive and was satisfied that it was working. Still, I did my best to be careful with the drive and kept it in the case it was delivered in and I put it in the bubble wrap-filled envelope it came in.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

My Japanese Aunt

Back when I was a young girl my uncle, who worked at one of the once-popular resorts in Cavite, met and married a Japanese national named Yoko. Looking back, I realize that I don’t even know what her last name was before she married him, just that she was supposedly a model and was at the resort at the time to do a photoshoot when she met and was charmed by my uncle. It is because of her that I can say that our family has a Japanese connection, although that was a long time ago.

family
Tita Yoko with my sisters and cousins in the 90s

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Quick Trip to Iloilo

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Iloilo for work. My niece and nephew are part Ilonggo, so it was nice to see the province where their grandfather came from. They were able to take the trip over a few years ago and I have been curious about what the place was like.



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Friday, March 2, 2018

When Your Nephew is From The Juans...

(A post from a year ago, reposting for the benefit of those looking for this entry!)

Growing up, my parents made sure that members of their respective families were always welcome at our house. They would stay for vacations during the summer or even live with us while they were in the process of moving from one place to another. One cousin of mine once lived with us for a while when I was younger with two of her boys. One of them is now grown up and a member of a local band signed with Viva Records.

Jason De Mesa, The Juans
The Tita and the Pamangkin

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Adulting: Real Estate Tax Edition

One of the realities I was not prepared for as an adult is the payment of taxes. I mean, I am aware that as an employee I am supposed to pay income tax but the other types of tax I was not prepared for.

An example of a type of tax I wasn't ready for was Real Property Tax. Technically I shouldn't be worried about this because I don't have my own house but since I live at my parents' place I have taken it upon myself to pay for it.

Here are some lessons I learned about paying for this tax through the years:
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