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Backstory: I won ₱3,000 shopping credits from joining this Nuffnang PH contest. I was excited to use it before thanksgiving season ends because Uskoop has a couple of Black Friday discounts up that time.

Uskoop PH is an e-commerce site that connects you to top US online merchants like Amazon, Macy's, Newegg, Walmart, etc. so you can buy their products and have them shipped to the Philippines at a very transparent cost. I'm stressing transparency out 'cos Uskoop quotes your items in real time, based on the value and dimensions from the product page, so it's easier for you to set money aside for it. 

Using it is pretty straightforward, you may read my post here to learn more.

And now to my package!


Aaaaah, the nostalgia of receiving Amazon shipments. This one came in the original packaging, the tape wasn't tampered, meaning they didn't open it. 

Since I bought a peripheral gadget (webcam) I was worried about the signs of wear the box sustained during transit. You can see that sides were quite dented. Buying this gadget was a risk for me simply because I couldn't test if it's functioning.


But so far, my item was safe and sound inside. And thankfully, it has no defects! Yay!


Here's an order tracking summary, to give you guys an idea how "fast" the entire thing went for me. This can be found from Uskoop's tracking page.

Status Date
Order Received November 29, 2016
Order Processed November 30, 2016
Order Shipped By Merchant December 7, 2016
Order Arrived International Warehouse December 19, 2016
Order Shipped (To Philippines) December 27, 2016
Order Arrived (In Manila) January 6, 2017
Order Arrived Local Warehouse January 9, 2017
Order Out for Delivery January 11, 2017
Order Delivered January 11, 2017


That took a month and 13 days to be exact. Sounds okay to me.

Pros
  • Hassle free shopping - you don't need an Amazon account
  • Easy tracking
  • Great for those without Credit Card because you can pay using DragonPay
  • You pay everything in Philippine peso
  • Shipping is okay considering items came from the US
  • They also support a couple of UK merchants and brands
Cons
  • They don't consolidate - which isn't good for multiple items. I quoted for 2 pieces of the same clothing item once and the shipping cost was doubled. Imagine if they consolidated that by opening the package and combining the two items together, then I would only have to pay for a single shipment
  • Shipping price isn't that low, I quoted against LBC shipping cart and Jinio by Xend and Uskoop is higher by at least ₱500
  • They don't seem to have Amazon Prime. From merchant to their international warehouse, it took 12 days. The item I bought is available in Prime so it can be shipped within 2 days. They could've saved 10 days from the turnaround if they invested in a Prime account. Just saying. And you know, when I asked on their Instagram page if they have Prime, they told me to DM them instead. And I was like, okaaaay, whoever their social media manager is, doesn't even know if they have prime or not. That's like a yes/no question. So I didn't bother anymore lol.
Tips
  • Use Uskoop if you don't know or don't want to create accounts for US online stores
  • Or if you don't need your items in a rush
  • Use it for items that are not fragile (like apparel, but just one cos they don't combine, boo) because who cares if the box gets thrown around at cargo
  • I won't suggest buying gadgets and makeup with this. Gadgets may come in defective, Makeup - you may want to risk it, but pressed products may break, and bottled ones may burst. Since Uskoop doesn't open your boxes, you wouldn't know the condition of your item. If it was Jinio or LBC Shipping cart, you can request to return the item once they're found defective.


Will I use their services again?

Probably not, 'cos I still find it expensive. I'm not new to Amazon so I don't mind transacting there directly and shipping my items to a virtual US address. I haven't tried it yet though!

What do you think, have you tried Uskoop? :)
My current KDrama obsession, starring Gong Yoo (Train to Busan, Coffee Prince), Lee Dong Wook (My Girl), Kim Go-eun (Cheese in the Trap), and Yoon In Na (My Love from the Star).

The plot is great, the cast is awesome, the music is perfeeeect. I mean, OMG, I love love love the music I even made a piano cover of one of their BGM "The Path of the Deceased". Check it out here in my instagram. :)

I've been looking for HD wallpapers of their silhouette scene but I can't find any so I just downloaded a 720p copy of Episode 3 and screenshot the hell of that epic scene. You know what I'm talking about!

Here they are, I dunno if these would pass as wallpapers but the dimensions are around 2500 x 1300 pixels, the size of my screen hehe.




The chills this segment gave me. The menacing strides, Goblin's tear-shot eyes, the fog and lights. Aaaargh.
I haven't figured out how to write a year in review post, so as usual, I'm gonna go back in time by visiting my 2016 posts to see how it has fared.

To be honest though, 2016 started out really dull and slow. 2015 was still one of the best I've had, I'm considering it a quarter-life reward lol, the so-called crisis I have yet to encounter, not that I'm looking forward to it hehe.

So what happened in 2016? The first few months I was still in the US and for the most part I dreaded coming back. Sure I missed my family, my boyfriend, my friends... but you know, life in the US (at least in Minnesota) was so chill. I mean, it's a place I wouldn't mind settling down into. Another reason I didn't want to go back (yet) was that I haven't saved enough money for my parents. I promised I would save up a certain amount for them but my overspending at Amazon took my promise away. Also, I haven't lost all the weight I gained (20lbs) since I left, and I didn't want to face anyone with my obesity. Arg.

So March 19 of 2016 I was headed home. It's not like I can extend my stay, my visa was only good for 6 months and I'm already a month (and a day) short of overstaying, so I really had to go home. In fairness I took a lot with me lol. Apart from the FOREX box I shipped to Manila, my total check-in luggage weighed 80 kgs, and my hand carry luggage weighed 20 lbs haha. For someone who came in with only 12.5kgs of stuff, I sure packed a lot! In my defense, there were two vacuumed sealed stuffed toys in my bag, and winter coats are heavy okay?

And just like that, I was back. 

No more cold winter air, no more shoveling the driveway when it snowed, no more Amazon, no more free flowing brewed coffee in the office, no more snow, no more cheap steak, and most importantly my salary is back to Philippine peso. But it's not all bad. When I came back, I was greeted with a new car! I may not be able to save that much, but I've saved enough to get a new car for the fam so I thank God! :)

The months that came after are quite uneventful and unlucky though,

☢ I got a driver's license, and with it followed three accidents - one with a motorcycle, another with a truck, and one with a freaking parking post. Have I mentioned I'm writing as a ghost right now? Kidding. So yeah, put those three plus a couple of minor (I mean stupid) bumps here and there and I can only curse at how much I've spent on car repairs already. But still, if it weren't for insurance, I'd be dead poor right now.

☢ My US visa application got denied. I wrote about it here. I already felt greedy for wanting another US stint right when I just came back, but well, an opportunity presented itself so I'm more than free to hope for the best right? Sure.

Those were the blows, add the fact that I'm not getting my pre-US weight back, midway into 2016 and I'm all about concluding my star sign has lost alignment and I've out of favors with the universe. I don't even subscribe to the horoscope anymore.

Until my birthday came, and my boyfriend of 5 years proposed to me with a sparkly black ring that I so love. That was the only highlight I can think of (plus the new car), and man was it fleeting.

The thought of finally living together, moving out, starting a family - oh Lord, my life has finally started moving again.

Except it's not that easy.

Weddings are a fuss. People don't really care about it unless they're the one getting wed, or they work as a coordinator. Even when Jeckie and I have been talking about getting married someday, I never really looked into what goes into a wedding and all that. It's just a ceremony, as he says, it's the marriage that's more important. I agree.

It doesn't make it less expensive though. Saving for it is crazy. Looking for a cheap and nice gown is hard. Losing weight is a hassle. Flowers are expensive. Imagine spending ₱1,000.00++ per head just for food? I'm not even that generous with my close friends lol. I'm quite concerned because it's going to be my biggest expense yet, and divided into two, it's still the biggest we have to save for. Anyway... not to turn this into a rant, all my wedding blahs can be found here.

But it's all good. Life is good. My life is moving in the right order.

Becoming an adult, nobody really prepares for it, it just happens. If you told me five years ago I'd be paying for a car, a condo unit, and would soon become a wife, I would've laughed at you real hard. That's too much, then I'll cringe. But here I am, doing all the exact things a 21-year year old me wouldn't even dream of doing. Paying amortizations, saving for a wedding, buying investment plans, and for some reason, despite all my rants, it's not too daunting as what I had imagined it to be.

I don't really have a wish for this year. I just want to be able to carry on our wedding without getting stressed out of our wits (and broke). Actually, last night I dreamt of our wedding day, I was walking down the aisle and noticed that there were very few people in the venue. Then I realized, oh Lord I forgot to send out the invites.

Que horror.


Just now I stumbled upon a new (?) writing platform called write.as and man does it look intriguing. Layout is super neat and clean, and kinda tells you to start writing, whatever it is, right now. I like it. It's free from the distraction of buttons, tags, and a whole bunch of fields you have to fill out to ensure a space at Google search results. Of course I'm thinking it's targeted at those who don't really care about SEO and stuff, which is partly me, so I gave it a shot.

Maybe you should too. 
Well, it's not like I'm moving there. I'm just saying I really like how it looks. Very minimalist. Takes me back to when the blogosphere was filled with people who just want to write about how their day went. So much has changed since then. I've lost comfort in blogging to be honest. What was once a small and close-knit community was riddled with capitalists, urbanized in no time. Now instead of personal accounts of how much our day sucked, we feature the things we have, the places we've been to, and the restaurants we ate at instead. A lot less human and a whole lot of advert. 

Is it time to move to a new town?

Of course not, I'm totally caught in this system. Have you read about my latest beauty rave? :P
❉ First of all, Happy Holidaaaays! Here's a square card for ya! The watercolor elements are part of a freebie pack at Creative Market. Font used is Trendsetter. :)


❉ Apart from that card I also made a couple of others after snagging some free design resources yey. Here you go:


Fictional couple, date, and venue.


This could be for us, I'm just experimenting with black. The date is set but the venue isn't final yet lol. What do you think? :D

❉ Most of my favorite lifestyle bloggers have not updated in weeks/months 'cos they're too busy travelling and posting snaps instead. Also, they're all kindof moving to youtube, doing this vlogging thing. Of course, I'm on to it too. Charot. But no really, I just ordered an HD webcam at Amazon via Uskoop (which is taking too long already...) so I could try vlogging too HAHA. I'll sell the thing if it doesn't work. LOL

❉ You know when you consider yourself an introvert and people think you like to be left alone in thought. And they think you're this kind of person who's really deep and shiz cos yeah, that's how quiet people are, right? Nope. I just realized I'm this kind of dumb quiet person who likes to be left alone. Just that. I don't really ponder upon things and humanity and philosophy and blah. Which makes me kindof sad. I always thought I was a thinker, turns out I can only think lol.

❉ On to the wedding preps! Thinking about my friends and family and the possible people I could ask to become our ninongs and ninangs, I realized that gooooosh am I really so withdrawn to people? Reading through my guest list I can see that oh wow I know A LOT of people, but when I ask myself if I want to see them on my wedding, I get second thoughts. Haha! Errr...

Truth be told, I want to get Oasis Manila as our venue, but it's just too expensive. I've already settled into a very simple theme, a simple gown, and a simple setup overall. But if we upgrade the venue, my gown will look too simple, my styling too weak, then suddenly we have to upgrade everything! Aaaargh. Bakit ba kasi ang gastos magpa-kasal lol. To be honest, if we weren't both paying for a car and a condo at the same time we'll be able to save up for a more bonggang wedding lol, not that I'm gunning for one but Oasis is really that lovely huhu.

❉ By the way, I started the HCG diet last week. What right timing no. I can't say if it's working yet but it does work as a fab appetite suppressant without the caffeine! I've been stocking on bags upon bags of frozen broccoli florets (from Landers!) too because part of the program is to consume a lot of greens and eat just 500 calories a day. I KNOW RIGHT. I'm killing myself again. But let me just work on this right now and see if I'll lose weight haha!

❉ I'm watching First Kiss for the Seventh Time and it's so freaking oppa overload! I hope they included Song Joong Ki though! I still don't understand how the story works and how ate girl became acquainted with all the boys but I couldn't care less 'cos it's only a short series and those men are but fantasies! Except maybe for Lee Min Ho who's not part of the cards! OMO <3 

So, if I were to pick just one of the 6... I'll probably choose Lee Joon Ki 'cos he's the one with the most realistic angle, he's a church oppa, and they (uhm, we. haha) go way back in childhood (who cares if I don't remember lol). 
  • Park Hae Jin is also realistic, but he's too workaholic for me. 
  • Life will be too dangerous with Chang Wook, though I'm tempted because who doesn't want instant martial arts skills? 
  • I don't care about Kai at all, I don't want to learn Chinese either. 
  • Hard to let Taecyon off because he seems so sincere, willing to give up everything he has, but then I didn't want him to break off with his family because of me (ang haba ng hair ko ok), and I also didn't want to get kimchi slapped. So, nope.
  • Oh and finally, I love Lee Jong Suk! He's just so charming and perfect and everything but it's gonna be a pain getting caught in his showbiz affairs LOL
Lotte Duty Free must have spent a fortune producing this! Waiting for Lee Min Ho's episode!

❉ Another thing I'm watching right now is The Legend of the Blue Sea starring Lee Min Ho and the immortal Jun Ji Hyun. It's so freaking hilarious! And LOLOLOL at Jo Jung-suk appearing and all the Jealousy Incarnate references HAHAHA. ♪ ♪ ♪ No no no no noooo ♫ ♫ ♫ I swear SBS is doing well with these unsuspecting crossovers haha.

❉ I wanna go home naaaa. I just filed for a leave tomorrow and the next day (30 is PH holiday but it's not in the US so... sad) even though I don't have enough leave credits anymore huhu but I don't care lol.

❉ This snowflake bullet is super cute.