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Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Monday, November 30, 2020

Pandemic Diairies: Work Life

It has been nine months since this pandemic has started affecting the country. So much about our daily lives has changed, work-life included. We were off to a bumpy start at first: I was allowed to work from home at the beginning, then I was no longer allowed to work from home two months later. It was giving me so much anxiety to be at the office with limited space and being around so many people at the same time. At that point, I knew that I was actually more productive at home than I was at the office because my mind was busy worrying more than working just in the first month back alone.

Thankfully, after two whole months of being back at the office, my boss decided to allow me to work from home on the condition that I would be reporting to the office once a week and on days when my physical presence would be necessary for several work requirements. As an added bonus, he decided to adjust the work schedules of everyone at the office so that we would not all be there at the same time, which was a relief since that meant there would not be that many people whenever I reported to the office.


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Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Sunday Update 15: Cha Cha Cha

 How has everyone been doing? How was your week? We are nearing the end of a long weekend here in the Philippines, I hope everyone is taking the time to relax and enjoy the time with loved ones. 

As for me, I have been staying home, as usual. My sister and I were talking about how everyone seems to be moving forward and acting like COVID no longer exists. That photo going around of crowds of people in Divisoria doing their Christmas shopping gives me so much anxiety just by looking at it. I understand the need for people to try and to want to get on with their lives. I know that we all want to get back to normal as soon as possible, but can we at least do it safely? Can we at least put on our masks, do proper social distancing, and wear our face shields? I would gladly go out if I knew that the people around me are careful. But that is just the thing: with the way things are going, even if the people around me are careful, the people we will run into outside might not be. This is why we prefer to stay put at home as much as we can. We would rather not add to the problem or make COVID our problem if we can avoid it.

It sometimes feels like we are all doing the Cha Cha, we step forward, then back, idle around side to side as we try to navigate our way around this pandemic. We make progress because the number of new infections has lowered, but we are being held back by the fact that after a while, cases come back because people think that just because cases have gone down, it is alright to go back to the way things were. I do not think it ever will go back to the normal that we used to know, and I think people need to learn to accept that. As experts have been saying worldwide, even if we get the vaccine, we still need to take the precautions we are taking now. Not only that, but they have also said that this may not be the only pandemic we will experience in our lifetime, so we need to be aware of that. Sometimes I feel like people need to be required to watch the movie Contagion so that they can see just how bad this can get if we do not follow the precautionary measures that are being given to us.

I was watching the news and in London, there were people on an anti-lockdown march, all protesting against the lockdowns implemented because of the rising cases in Europe. All those people crowding together, no social distancing, and without masks…and we wonder why this pandemic has not ended yet? This is not just happening in one country; this is happening all over the world. If many people will blatantly defy the rules about wearing masks and social distancing, people who will continue to think along the lines of conspiracy theories and not believe in the existence of COVID, and if there will continue to be people who take advantage of the pandemic for the advancement of a political agenda, we will still have a long way to go. 



The air at night is starting to get really cold…Christmas season is really here. It is sad to think that things will be different this year, but I am just happy and grateful that my family and I are all healthy and happy and that we are here for each other during these trying times. I can only hope and pray that this time next year, things will be many times better.


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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Plot Twins: The Plus One Pact and Holidate

The Plus One Pact by Portia Macintosh is one of the new books that I managed to finish recently. It is about Cara, who is having a hard time finding someone, not for lack of trying. With a list of events that would require a date, she agrees to an arrangement with her new friend Millsy to be each other’s date for their respective events. No commitment, just friendship, and a person to be with during the events they need to go to. Sounded simple enough until it was not.

Credit: Boldwood Books

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Review: Deerma Handheld Wireless Vacuum Cleaner

This pandemic has made me obsessed with acquiring items for use around the house. I think that should not be a surprise considering that I have probably spent more time at home this year than I have ever done in my lifetime. After I purchased an air purifier and a dust mite vacuum, I decided to purchase the Deerma VC20 Handheld Wireless Vacuum Cleaner via Lazada.

I have seen several celebrities and some of my own friends showing off their purchase of a Dyson cordless vacuum. As interested as I was in purchasing it, the price of the product turned me off. I did not feel it was practical to buy something that expensive for what I needed it for. Besides, I believed I could find something that would do the same job without being that heavy on the pocket.

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Pandemic Diairies: Homeschooling

For the past few months, my nephews and niece have been getting their education at home due to the pandemic. My younger nephew has been studying in a private school, a choice his parents made since he is still in elementary school and needs a good educational foundation in his younger years. My other nephew and my niece, on the other hand, are in high school via the public school system, something many parents have opted to do in our area since the cost of private school education even when homeschooled stayed the same as when they were physically going to school, which does not seem practical considering the economic situation most people are in because of the pandemic.

It has been difficult to watch the kids trying to learn given the current circumstances. My younger nephew is feeling frustrated with having to learn online via Google Meet. It is a challenge for the teacher to give students the proper attention that they need in that setup. My sister says that sometimes my nephew is upset to the point of tears due to the setup but there is nothing they can do about it. 



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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: COVID 19 Scare

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but a few months ago I was blogging daily and then I stopped. I was having a difficult time processing my thoughts and I could not write anything. I was not sure about what I was feeling and I did not know if I had it in me to say my piece about it. This is because a few months ago, an officemate of mine who I work closely with revealed that her sibling was positive for COVID and that she was going to get tested. Until we found out her results, I was technically also possibly infected.

At first, I was not that worried about it. As I mentioned before I was only at the office once a week and by the time she informed me that her sibling was positive I had not seen her in five days. She assured me that the last time she saw her sibling was a week before that, so it was not a problem.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

My Dear Youth: The Coffee Prince Reunion

In the early years of Korean dramas making their way to the Philippines, one of the series that I completely fell in love with was the show First Shop of Coffee Prince, aka Coffee Prince. Starring Yoon Eun Hye and Gong Yoo, it was a love story that revolved around a coffee shop where the lead characters worked. It was a show that made me a fan not just of the story, but of the actors involved in the series as well. Naturally, I screamed with delight and excitement when I found out that they were doing a cast reunion.



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Monday, November 23, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: Song Club

A while back I got an email from someone from Republic Media thanking me for my review of Ronan Keating’s album 2020. In the email, several artists with new albums were shared that I might be interested in. I was curious about the album featuring various artists called Song Club (aka Chris Gilford’s Song Club), which is themed around the pandemic. Luckily, I was given a chance to listen to the album before it was released last October 23.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Sunday Update 14: Options

If I could describe the past week in one word it would be about options. I think that is the recurring theme of the week. 

At the office we discussed the option of my division moving to another space in our building to ensure and improve proper social distancing between employees. It would cost money to make it happen, something which we may not have just yet given the additional expenses that we’ve had because of the pandemic. Having to weigh on the factors that will be affected by the move or non-move is not easy. As important as it is to make it happen, we do not have the funds to make it happen right now.  It is all still up in the air, hopefully, we can come up with a plan that everyone can agree on soon.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Netflix Picks: Emily In Paris

I have a confession to make: I was only interested in Emily in Paris after watching the trailer and seeing Lucas Bravo in it. My head was running with thoughts that sounded like this: “Ooh who is that cute guy? What is this show? When is it coming out on Netflix? But really, who is that guy?” Since I had no idea who he played in the show I decided that watching the series would be the only way to find out how long his role was in the show (the answer: long, but not long enough). 




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Friday, November 20, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: Lasco Smart Air Purifier

Early into this pandemic, I started having rashes on my skin. I attributed this to stress initially but then started to wonder if my childhood allergies were acting up again. I had been allergic to dust when I was younger and had similar rashes when a place was dirty/dusty. I would have asthma attacks from too much dust as well. I decided with the pandemic and the respiratory issues that it brings that I should take extra precautions. This was when I decided to buy an air purifier. After searching for and comparing many brands and their features, I decided to buy Lasco’s Smart Air Purifier.


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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Netflix Picks: Timeless

One of the things that I find comfort in these days is looking back on tried and tested favorites. I have been re-reading books I enjoyed in the past and I have been re-watching TV shows and movies that I had previously enjoyed. 

One of the shows that I found myself re-watching recently was the 2-season TV show called Timeless, which is currently on Netflix (Philippines).




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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review: Worth Waiting For

I have not read that many new books this year. Most of the books that I have been reading have been ones that I have read before -- which has more to do with me wanting to face something familiar under these stressful times. I have tried to read a lot of new books this year, but several of the books that I have started have unfortunately ended up on the do not finish pile. One of the few new ones that I’ve read this year (and finished) is a book called Worth Waiting For, which, if I am to guess correctly, is inspired by the story told by the song The Man Who Can’t Be Moved by The Script.


Credit: Bookotoure

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Movie Review: In My Dreams

A few years ago, while I was watching TV on a now-defunct cable channel, I remember seeing this Hallmark movie that I fell in love with instantly. It was a romantic movie starring Katharine McPhee and Mike Vogel called In My Dreams. I have been a fan of Katherine since her American Idol days, so it was an easy choice to want to watch this movie. I never heard of Mike Vogel before this one, but I was later a fan because of his work on the TV series The Brave (which I wish could have lasted longer than it did).




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Monday, November 16, 2020

Book Review: American Royals Series

What if the United States did not have a President, but instead had a King? What if for the first time, the country was about to have a Queen? What kind of world would that be? The book series American Royals by Katharine McGee.




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Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Sunday Update 13: Wild Week

The past week has been troubling for me. I feel that with all the things that were on my mind I needed to do something to make myself feel better and lift my spirits up. I think we all need to do something every now and then to uplift ourselves and get us in a better mindset. This pandemic is far from over and the problems that it brings will keep on coming, we need all the positivity and mental strength that we can get. For me, blogging has been my outlet. It has been my way to de-stress and unpack my thoughts. Carrying it around would just be too much during these times. This distraction has been a good way to help me keep calm about all this. 

Image by free stock photos from www.picjumbo.com from Pixabay

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: Cherry Home Dust Mite Vacuum

The pandemic has made me so paranoid about so many things. When I had rashes during the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I had investigated every reason I was having them. One of my main suspects was my childhood allergies for which I later bought an air purifier. Before that, however, I decided to buy a vacuum cleaner for my bed because I had also suspected dust mites.

I remember buying this vacuum cleaner after my search for one that I can use exclusively for mattresses and pillows, the living room couch, and related items.  The size of the vacuum was small enough that I could hold it with one hand as I went over everything. It was also at an affordable cost that I knew I could try it and not regret the purchase in case it did not work.


Photo Credit: Cherry Home


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Friday, November 13, 2020

Netflix Review: The Babysitter Movies

Haven’t you ever had those moments where you were working, and you needed to have something -- anything -- playing in the background just to carry you along? That happened to me recently. Sometimes working from home can be good but there are times when things could be too quiet that you needed something other than white noise.  I decided to pick a couple of movies on Netflix: The Babysitter and The Babysitter: Killer Queen (warning: spoilers ahead).

If the titles were not a giveaway, the two movies are connected to each other. One was released in 2017 and the other in 2020. It is the story of a young boy who discovers that his cool babysitter made a pact with the devil and was going to make a ceremonial offering so that she and her friends could have their wishes come true.




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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Documentary Review: This is Paris

I always wondered if people on reality TV sometimes had some sort of public persona that they present of themselves, some sort of image they project because it sells. With her documentary, This is Paris, original influencer Paris Hilton reveals that what you see is not necessarily real, as she shares the reason for this image and the life she has behind the scenes.




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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Netflix Picks: Enola Holmes

Who has not heard of Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective? I have never read any of the books, but I am familiar with him. One person that I was not familiar with was his sister, Enola. I did not realize that there were also books about this young woman who is depicted to be just as good a detective as her older brother. The film starring Millie Bobby Brown playing the titular character Enola Holmes was my first introduction to the rest of the Holmes family, and it was a very entertaining thing to watch!

From what I have read online this movie was supposed to be shown in the cinemas but switched to Netflix because of the COVID 19 pandemic. It was a smart move that resulted in it being one of the most successful films on Netflix to date. So much so that there have been rumors of Netflix looking into possibly more Enola Holmes movies and Sherlock Holmes films featuring Henry Cavill, who gave a memorable and different spin to the character.




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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Netflix Picks: She Was Pretty

My K-Drama binge-fest on Netflix during this pandemic was stalled a bit with a show that my cousin recommended, the romantic comedy titled She Was Pretty. Starring Park Seo Joon and Hwang Jung Eum, the story revolves around Kim Hye Jin, who was supposed to meet up with a childhood friend after many years of not seeing each other. When he did not recognize her when they ran into each other, she assumed it was because she was not as beautiful as she was when she was younger. As a result, she made her pretty best friend meet him in her place.  


 

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Series Review: Upload

If you had the chance to extend your life by being uploaded into virtual reality would you do it? What would your afterlife be like in it? What kind of complications would that kind of existence bring? That is what is being tackled in the Amazon show called Upload.




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Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Sunday Update 12: Catching Up

It has been a while since I did a Sunday Update post. The last one was, if I am not mistaken, during the first month of the lockdowns here in the Philippines due to the pandemic. Those were easier times. Since then, it has been a challenging and stressful nine (gasp!) months…so far. No one knows when this pandemic will be over (although a lot of people are certainly acting like it is already), so the term “new normal” may really be the norm for the foreseeable future. It really feels like life will never be the same again.

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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Book Review: Shine

With the popularity of K Pop groups these days, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of these groups and how they were formed? By now K Pop fans are familiar with the fact that South Korea’s musical groups are strictly trained before they are formed and launched. The book Shine, by Jessica Jung of the girl group Girls Generation, is about a Korean-American girl who is training to be a part of one of these K Pop groups, sharing the story of her training up to her launch in a girl group.




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Friday, November 6, 2020

Movie Review: Project Power

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? If you could be given the chance to have a power of your own, would you take it? The movie Project Power shares a world where people can have their own superpowers via a pill that releases your unique powers for a limited period of time -- five minutes, to be exact.

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Movie Review: Over the Moon in Love

Watching feel-good, wholesome movies has always been a guilty pleasure. There is something about watching people have their happily ever after without any violence or heavy drama that will always appeal to me. During this pandemic, movies like this have been a source of comfort for me. Stressful times call for non-stressful entertainment, especially feel-good romantic ones. When I found what seemed like a Hallmark movie called Over the Moon in Love on Amazon, I decided that it was something that I wanted to watch.




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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Netflix Picks: The Social Dilemma

Have you ever wondered about how much you have shared online? Have you ever thought to yourself: “How much is too much?” I have. After watching the documentary titled The Social Dilemma, I am wondering if it is time to try to pare down on the sharing or if it is too little, too late.




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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Book Review: A Simple Wedding

One little white lie. It seems so simple. Until it snowballs into something bigger and bigger that you end up having no control over how it tramples on everything and everyone because of it. That is the dilemma that Jenny has when she travels to the popular wedding destination Heart’s Landing to plan her movie star cousin’s secret nuptials in the book A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan.


Credit: Hallmark Publishing


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Monday, November 2, 2020

Review: Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2

It seems just like yesterday that Rihanna was singing during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  Now she has her own lingerie line and is having fashion shows of her own via Amazon for her Savage X Fenty line. This year she just released her second show with Amazon, and I decided to take the time to watch it.

When I saw Rihanna’s first fashion show on Amazon, I admired the fact that they showed how much input Rihanna had with the designs and the fabric and every single detail of her show. This is something that was hers creatively and not just something that she put her name on to sell. 




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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Netflix Picks: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

Is it just me or is there nothing good to watch on TV these days? It seems like every time I watch TV it is the same shows over and over again. I know that I cannot put the blame on the TV stations/channels about this since COVID 19 has affected every industry, entertainment included, and that it is so difficult (and no doubt more expensive) to make movies and TV shows these days. Because of the lack of new things to watch, I have found myself looking for shows or movies I have not seen yet on streaming sites. That was how I discovered the three-season series called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.




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