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Long time no Life Lately so here's a long one!

❱ Reading

Still not finished with Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, I'm way past the climax and I can't even read through 'til the end. What's wrong with meeee... I don't think I'm ever gonna finish a book this year. :(

On another note, I received an email from Joy of Satan Ministries (whuuuut) via my blog's contact form and I'm kindof looking into the links they gave me. For the love of God I'm alarmed at how they found my blog and even considered sending me reading materials exposing the faith I subscribe to. As a curious Christian, I don't mind reading about other faiths, so I'm onto those links no matter how dark and occult they sound.

❱ Watching

Goblin is doooooone, OTK. This series gave me the most intense roller coaster of emotions I've ever had in my entire KDrama watching life. I'd be laughing like a madman then bawling in grief in a snap. Arguably the best KDrama of 2016. It's made of all the right triggers, unleashing the lunatic in me.

Everything is so cinematic, the music is well-thought of, the lines were written excellently, the songs hit straight to the heart, and of course the cast is daebaaaaak. I will miss this series so much! Congrats to everyone who worked on Dokkaebi! Kamsahamnidaaaaa (감사합니다). Ah yes, a syllabic word and its Hangul counterpart, how could I forget to mention it means Thank You,

Legend of the Blue Sea I didn't finish because Goblin took all of me, might resume sometime.

Jealousy Incarnate, totally forgotten! But whenever I resume I feel oddly glued, until it's time to prepare for work. Argh.

Source: kdramasanonymous.wordpress.com

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
 I finished in two days 'cos it's super swaaaaaaag. Light, fun, and with an adorable mix of characters. Both of the leads have grown so much as actors and I feel so happy watching them in the spotlight at last. Both Lee Sung-Kyung and Nam Joo-Hyuk were in Cheese in the Trap, who would've thought they'd make a great pair! I've watched LSK in Doctors too and her character was so different there. NJH - I didn't really expect him to land a lead this soon 'cos there's nothing too stellar about his role in CITT and Scarlet Heart but maaaan he's quite a revelation this time!

I'm saddened by the fact it did poorly in ratings though because it went against Legend of the Blue Sea's timeslot. I mean, guyyyssss did you even watch?! Legend has a freaking lot of boring segments and while we have Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji-Hyun in it, WFKBJ is still tons better than LOTBS! I even left it for Goblin (understandably so 'cos that drama is just on a different level altogether lol).

Hay, reminds me of how Scarlet Heart: Ryeo fared badly in national ratings because Love in the Moonlight trumped it so hard. LITM is good, but SHR really had a better story, and a more engaging love triangle... square? pentagon? Such a fine reverse harem they got there.

There goes the stark contrast between local and international preference.

Right now I just started with Hwarang, bored by the first episode, but thankful that the plot is starting to pick up on the following eps. ❱ Listening
I don't have a specific playlist right now but whenever I need to focus I listen to AC/DC.

❱ Thinking

About which P/V (photographer/videographer) to get for our wedding. Initially we didn't have a budget for it 'cos we had no idea how much it would cost. Until one of my friends from college gave us a quote of his services and we thought it's reasonable so we kept him on the list, and took note of his rates as our budget. But now, after looking at numerous suppliers we realized our budget is actually too tight! If we had a bigger budget I'll get Sidedish Project because I love their color grading haha.

❱ Smelling

My smelly jacket

❱ Wishing


We had unli wedding funds haha. Now, what if we were given half a million to spend for our wedding?

We'd be able to invite 200 guests then, so Don Jose Heights Clubhouse will be tight. Will change venue to Oasis Pavilion or Elements at Centris. Get KbyC for catering. Get Veluz or Rosa Clara for my bridal gown, Book Sidedish Project for PV, Amelia Blossoms for flowers, Cruella & Co for the entourage gowns, Unit 406 for the band, EDSA Shang suites for preps, and Team OSS for the photobooth. I haven't covered everything but those are my top of mind dream suppliers.

Now that I'm imagining it, a 500k wedding is too bongga for me, so nope. An event that big without me overseeing it hands-on makes me too worried! Will just keep it simple and save the rest for a bonggang honeymoon instead! <3

It's crazy how I really didn't have any supplier preference until I started looking and reading about them haha. Now I realize how big the wedding market is. A single bride-to-be would probably google a hundred times about it, looking for pegs, suppliers, venues, reviews, etc. What a great opportunity to improve SEO ranking, though of course, competition is hella tight already so I'll just keep writing and do my best containing my wedding blabber in a tag haha.

❱ Wearing

Hoodie, shirt, pants, and sandals.

❱ Loving

My new camera! I bought a Sony a5000 two weeks ago and I got busy exploring it while we were at Singapore last last weekend. I was hunting down the Fuji x70 originally, but I learned that it's been discontinued and the remaining stocks here cost too damn much.

It's a good thing I saw Sony a5000 though 'cos it's a cheaper alternative sporting everything I love about the x70 (compact, mirrorless, and with a flip-up screen). Excited to learn more about photography tuloy lol. During our SG trip I went ahead and shot everything in manual mode, randomly adjusting ISO. shutter speed, and aperture, whatever those are. For the most part I was just looking to get the right exposure for my shots, beats me why I have to adjust so many terms.

Must. learn. more!

Thankfully Sony offers free digital photography workshops to their customers, you just have to sign up here. They have regular schedules at SM Megamall, Glorietta, Filinvest Alabang, and Ayala Cebu. :D

❱ Wanting

To post a Singapore Photo Diary series but I'm too lazy to work on it lol. Hopefully this week!

❱ Needing

To sell a couple of things but I'm too tamad to post them online arg. Anybody interested in a Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam? It's a crazy good webcam, I'm selling mine for 3,500. Brand new condition. Opened for testing only. Bought from Amazon US, shipped via Uskoop. Perfect for vloggers. RFS: of course I need money and I just bought a new camera so I won't have any use for it. :D

 Feeling

No sense of urgency for this script I'm working on due two days later. It's hard and I'm in quite a slump, makes me want to forget and abandon it entirely, kindof what I'm doing right now by procrastinating on it, but course it won't last long. Will have to deal with this eventually! Haaaay.

Hope you're doing great! :D The company gave us tikoys last week along with our Chinese horoscope for the year and mine sounds pretty good. Love, wealth, and career look promising. It even mentioned it's a good time to get married this year lol. My health forecast reads accurately too, beware of injuries from metal objects and exercise regularly. At the rate of my physical activity the only chance I'm getting injured from a metal object is from falling off my brass bed. Regular exercise, yep, that has always been in my annual horoscope, I mean new year's resolution.
Since we kindof splurged on the catering, Jeckie and I thought we couldn't afford to get a venue over 20k. It's a great relief though that we found Don Jose Heights Clubhouse! It's near our place, and is very affordable :D Capacity is up to 200 guests.

This is the main entrance facing the driveway. Beautiful right? It's simple, wide and the walls are glass so it's super bright in the morning. :D 


Here's a panoramic of the facade,




View from the outside...


And a view from the driveway


Now let's go in! Ceiling drapes are included in the venue, and so are the small chandeliers. I think it's already beautiful on its own. The only thing that needs styling here is the bride and groom's stage area and of course, the tables. <3


I love panoramic shots lol.


And another view. Normally I would want a straight path from the entrance to the stage but in the case of this venue it's going to be very short if I put the stage parallel to the entrance haha so I guess I'm okay with an L carpet with the stage area on the left side. :)


It's not the most glamorous of venues but it surely is charming in its own way. There's another entrance  in front of the admin office with a lobby wide enough which you can use for other purposes, like a photo booth and registration area. The space at the back can be used for an additional cost. Usually when the guests are over 200, the admin advises to place the buffet spread outside.


And look, they have a holding room! Free for use for 1 hour, just let the admin know beforehand when you're arriving so they can prep it for you. It's not a bridal room okay, but it's already a pretty good place to retouch when you need to haha.


Aside from the beautiful venue itself, here's a couple of things I liked as well:

✔  They're very responsive to inquiries, online and offline :)
✔  There's enough parking space outside. 
✔  There's no corkage fee! 
✔  Restrooms are new. LOL I'm just assuming okay 'cos they were renovating it when we visited haha.
✔  No sponsorship required - you can book their venue even if you don't live inside Don Jose! :D
✔  One event per day

Rates (2017)
✔  Weeekdays - ₱20,000
✔  Weekends and Holidays - ₱25,000
✔  Reservation fee / Security deposit - ₱5,000
- non-refundable in case of cancellation
- refundable after the event, but subject to deductions when damages/violations are incurred
✔  Less 10% for homeowners and clients with endorsement.
✔  In excess of 5 hours - ₱2,000/hour

Payment terms
✔  ₱5,000 to reserve
✔  50% due 2 weeks after reservation
✔  50% due 2 weeks before the event

After checking the venue we booked it immediately because we didn't want to look anywhere else anymore. Our desired date was already taken huhu but since we really liked the place we settled for a different date haha. As much as we want to explore other venues, we don't have the time and resources for it na hahaha.

I asked one of my friends who live there to endorse me so I could get a discount. So yeyy for ₱2k off! <3

Location and Contact:
Address:
59 Dona Carmen Ave., Don Jose Heights Subdivision, Commonwealth Ave., Brgy. Greater Fairview, Quezon City, 1121

Contact:
(02) 428-4069
(63) 922-842-0527
(63) 917-883-3261

Facebook:

Related:
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 80lbs, and my hand carry luggage weighed 20 lbs haha. For someone who came in with only 28lbs 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