March 30, 2015

Yuri Turned 3, I Graduated, and Other Stories

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! As what is becoming usual for me nowadays, I don't have a proper post prepared again. I'm just so busy, and while I'm thankful, I don't want to neglect responsibilities!

I actually just came back from a vacation, which turned quite ugly for me midway because I had food poisoning. I know, right? And all I ate were the same with what the rest of our group ate. I will surely write about our adventures and misadventures in Baguio, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, Manila, and Cavite soon.
(For my friends in Manila, I only set foot there for hours and most of them were spent inside a car.)

Oh I will write about the trip and every important thing that I need to write about. Just as soon as I get to finish everything I need to do today! Reality surely didn't waste its time making its presence felt.

You see, the week before our vacation, I didn't receive important emails and didn't even receive a single email from my regular client. So I wasn't very productive that week.

However, during the trip, a barrage of important emails came crashing in. My client emailed me about a change in our strategy, I got several blog invitations and offers, and I even got a job inquiry and an invitation for interview. I had no choice but to respond and say I will be available to handle their concerns as soon as I'm back in good ole Davao. (My client knows I'm on vacation though.)

But really, I was like, where were you when I was bored and idle? Where were you?! Just kidding.

March 27, 2015

I'm back!

I was actually back last night pa, but I didn't have the time to do anything including blogging. Even now, I'm just squeezing a bit of time to update my blog.

So... Did you miss me? Aminin! No? Okay. :(

Haha to be honest, I'm lying down on my bed now next to a sleeping Yuri because I had a massive headache this morning that I needed to sleep off. If I didn't know better, I couldn't have sworn I was hungover!

But I'm just sooo tired. Like every muscle in my body is tired. I think even my ears are tired haha. You see, half of the trip, I was puking and pooping (oops) my guts out due to food poisoning. After which we had to take hours of road trip (like, 8 hours), and I am already car-sick on the first place. Parusa!

But the trip was also fun. Imagine, in just 5 days, I was able to visit 4 provinces in Luzon, not including the countless ones we passed by during the endless road trips? It should have been 5, but I skipped the trip to Ilocos Norte because of food poisoning. More details about that in a future post.

I'll try to write about the trip next week, hopefully. In the meantime, I'll focus on recuperating, resting, and swearing off long road trips forever. It feels so good to be back at home and in my bedroom!

March 20, 2015

Trying Out Soul Kitchen

I always make it a point to try new healthy restaurants and culinary destinations in the city, so when I learned that Soul Kitchen opened in the heart of the city (was it last year?), I really wanted to try it.

I follow Soul Kitchen on Instagram and have encountered their products (juices, salads, even overnight oats) at different bazaars, but somehow, I was never able to try them.

Serendipitously, our brokerage class takes place in a venue near Soul Kitchen. However, our class starts early, and they're still closed whenever I pass by. Also, we don't have to go out for lunch because we already have lunch provided for us. But last Saturday, our morning session ended a lot earlier than expected (10 am!), so we decided to go out and take care of some errands.

We went first to Brokenshire Hospital, which is in the same compound as our venue, to set an appointment with a doctor. Then, because the doctor was out, we went to OMF Literature bookstore because I wanted to claim my membership card. As luck would have it, my card wasn't available yet. Because it was still early and lunch wasn't served yet, we proceeded to try Soul Kitchen.I really liked the ambience of the place. It is not a restaurant, just to be clear, but more of a posh takeout counter. They serve different kinds of cold-pressed juices, which they make themselves, salads, overnight oats, meat loaf, etc. The prices of the food range, I think, range from 180- 300.I wanted to try their salads and the meat loaf, but I know lunch will be served at our venue (and we do have generous servings there), so I settled for a bottle of juice to drink during class. Because they offer a lot of blends, I found it hard to decide which one to get. In the end, I followed the lady's suggestion and bought a bottle of Cleanse juice.Here are the ingredients. I liked how it tasted. You will taste the acidity of the fruits first and later, the kick of celery and spinach. It actually reminds me of the smoothies I used to make at home, only it's easier to drink with the pulp removed. It's P180, by the way, and according to the label, no preservatives were added. In fairness, I felt energized throughout the afternoon even during the dreaded siesta hour! 

PS: Sorry for the extra watermarks on my photos. I'm doing this post entirely on my phone, and I experimented with watermark apps. I didn't know the app would also watermark itself, and I'm too busy to repeat the process hee hee. 

March 17, 2015

Have You Tried YouTube Kids?

So my son uses my phone. I'm sorry, mom police, but I surrendered to the pressure of being a single mom (don't tell Job), a working mom, and a yaya-less mom altogether. Educational games and kid-friendly YouTube videos became one of my saviors.

Before I became "help-less," meaning when we still had a yaya, my son would very rarely touch a gadget. But now, because it's just my son and me and I'm frequently busy, it's virtually impossible to stop him from using gadgets. So I let him use them provided I'm right beside him and can monitor what he does.

With that shameless admission (please don't judge me), I was so excited when news of a special YouTube app for kids came out called YouTube Kids. I couldn't wait to try it! However, when I checked Play Store, I saw that it wasn't available in the Philippines. Boo.

So I downloaded an APK file instead. Kung gusto, maraming paraan. I successfully installed YouTube Kids on my phone, and here are my observations:

1. The feel and appearance is different from the regular YouTube app.

I initially thought that it would just look and feel the same as regular YouTube, but from the time you open the application, you'll know you're opening a special app for kids.

2. It only has a horizontal orientation.

Which my son likes, but I don't like. Since he's the one using it, it's okay.

3. It has parental controls.

March 13, 2015

How I Lost 4 Pounds in 3 Days

Let me share with you what I did in order to lose pounds quickly. It may seem like crash dieting (which, depending on the person, is possible), but in my case, it didn't feel like crash dieting because I still needed to watch what I eat afterward.

If you're interested in dropping a few pounds before an event or a trip, you can try doing what I did: Military Diet.

No, military exercises are not needed, although the diet encourages exercise of any form. In my case, since I am really really really busy nowadays, which is also one of the reasons why I gained weight, I didn't have time to do formal workouts but I still tried to move around.

It sounds like crash dieting in a way that your calorie intake will lessen. But unlike other diets, it does give you the nutrients that you need.

This week was my second round of Military Diet. During the first week, I followed it religiously. But I got hungry all the time, so for my second round this week, I decided to modify it according to my needs.
I repeat: This is a MODIFIED version of the original Military Diet, allowing for afternoon snacks.
First, here's the menu for the original Military Diet, which I followed to a tee last week:
Image from Vicki Tuell on Pinterest

I began my diet on a Monday, and I was 60 kilos then (ouch). On Thursday morning, after completing the diet, I was only 58 kilos. I lost 2 kilos or 4.4 pounds.

Another vital component of the diet is that on the days following it, you should not exceed 1500 calories a day.

This week, I slightly modified the diet and allowed some snacking in the afternoon. I also replaced some foods into more filling ones (e.g. saltine crackers to whole wheat bread). Here are photos of (almost) everything that I ate during the 3-day diet:

March 11, 2015

Are You a Nagger? (Review of "Motivate Your Child" by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller)

Sometimes, I have no choice but to subscribe to the nagging and bribing academy of parenting.

When my toddler was still a baby, I swore I will never nag or bribe because I know these will never result to anything good. But now, out of desperation, I find myself either nagging to death or bribing my son with a toy or a treat to make him follow me.

The book, "Motivate Your Child" by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN BSN, is what I need.
Image from Amazon

The book basically focuses on how many parents today are using external methods of motivating their children. Yes, these include nagging and bribing, and these are very misdirected. These result to short-term effects where the child obeys just to either avoid punishment or get the reward.

Nagging is tiresome. On the other hand, if your child was exposed to a reward system that is basically bribing, you have no choice but to "outdo" the last reward. I actually see this in my sister today who, before obeying, will ask, "What is in it for me?"

The book then ultimately says that the best way to motivate a child is to motivate them internally. The writers call this form of parenting "heart parenting." What does it mean?

This approach entails removing the external reward-consequence system and looking into the root of the matter: the heart.

March 6, 2015

How to Get Your NBI Clearance Online

Disclaimer: This photo is taken at Brokenshire Convention Center, the venue of our classes, not at NBI.

In my city, the words "NBI Clearance" are often met with dread. This is because the office always manages to be full every day, with people. The lines tend to spill on to the streets, and people begin lining up at 4am just to be first!

I haven't gone to NBI in, like, almost four years because there wasn't any need for me to go. But because I will be taking up a board exam this May, I have no choice but to get a clearance.

It's such a great thing that they have the online option now!

I didn't think much of it mainly because I was aware that you still have to go to the actual office to claim your clearance. However, when my schoolmate from UP, who is also my classmate in my real estate brokerage class, said that she used the online option and she needed to be at the office for only 5 minutes, I was sold. Since I know most are either not aware of this option or do not how it works, let me take this opportunity to be your guide. Let's begin!

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March 5, 2015

What I Learned from BrainFit Studio's Seminar

Last Wednesday, I attended BrainFit Studio's introductory seminar. I was excited to attend this because I have heard a lot of good things about this enrichment center. After doing some errands in the morning, including a trip to the NBI, we went to the venue, which was in Park Inn at SM Lanang. Here's what we wore:
Anyway, even after doing a couple of errands, I still arrived there early - at least earlier than most. With me were my mother and this little boy: 
My mom wanted to go, too, and I thought it was because she wanted to enroll my sister in BrainFit. Di pala. She wanted to recommend it pala to our neighbor (village president, too) and family friend whose son got diagnosed with ADHD.
While waiting, Yuri made a friend in another little child, Sophia. At first, they were not minding each other, but when the seminar began to start, they were suddenly inseparable. Or at least my son wouldn't part with her. He wouldn't even sit beside me! I wasn't able to take a photo of them because I didn't have the energy to run after them haha.

Sophia's mom told me that she found out about the seminar through my blog, but unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to get her name. (Feel free to comment if you're reading!)

Here are the things that I learned from the seminar:

March 2, 2015

Here Comes March!

Can we just take a moment and revel in the fact that it's already March (yesterday)? I mean, didn't we just celebrate Christmas and New Year? Time flies!

February was truly a roller-coaster ride for me. First, my Comprehensive Real Estate (Brokerage) classes began last February 7, and even though I never imagined myself being in this field, I found myself enjoying every day of "school." Sometimes, I dread them especially when Atty. Raymond Batu (our lecturer for the legal aspects of real estate) threatens to hold an oral recitation, but I still enjoy our classes generally. I also realized they were nothing but empty threats haha, or maybe we just always run out of time. (I wrote a post about my life as a student here.)
A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on
I love dressing up for school.

On the other hand, I have also done major career decisions last month. I had an almost month-long hiatus from work because I needed to decide whether I want to stay with my current job or explore new opportunities.

In the end, after the hiatus and many prayers and much self-reflection, I decided to stay with my current job but drastically reduce my hours. I explored new opportunities, and now, I'm a writer for a Christian company (I'll write about it in the next days) and a freelance writer for Writer Bay. I'm enjoying my new setup so far!

However, the downside of my career move last month is the loss of income.
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