[Review] Aroma Naturale Essential Oils Diffuser

If you're new to essential oils and want to try it out first without shelling out too much, then this product is for you. I'll cut to the chase and say that this essential oils diffuser is probably the best starter kit for EO newbies like myself. It's only ₱899 if you buy the diffuser and 5 essential oils as a bundle. Individually it's around ₱500 for the oils set and ₱600 for the diffuser. Just look around Shopee for Aroma Naturale diffuser.

Move over, Muji.


There's a similar diffuser from Muji that sells at a ridiculous price of ₱3,500. It would've been okay if it's bigger or something but what the heck, IT'S EXACLTY THE SAME. Same size, same light and mist settings, same buttons, same everything, except for the bottom part. What a shame right? So don't let yourself be scammed.



I know there are tons of other diffusers out there but I chose this one majorly because it's cheap, looks simple and classic, and the branding is cute. Other diffusers have ugly light settings, lakas maka-cheap sorry haha, this one only has warm light in two modes. I know you can turn off the light but wala lang ayoko yung iba-iba yung kulay ew hahaha.

Moving on...


The Premium Essential Oils set has 5 scents: Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemongrass. They're 10ml each bottle. Again if you're starting out, this set is a good choice. EVERYTHING SMELLS SOOO GOOD.


If you want the specifics on this product, Muji can cover that for you here. Seriously hahaha I think they got the same Chinese manufacturer. Grabe the power of branding no? Anyway,

  • Capacity is 100ml
  • Good for small rooms only like the bathroom or if your bedroom is between 9-12sqm.
  • Has 4 timer settings: 30, 60, 120, 180mins (then it will auto-off)
  • Has 2 light settings: a dim and bright warm white
  • It's not rechargeable so you have to keep it hooked to a power source
  • Power source input: DC to USB

Here's how the water tank looks like


 And this is how the underside looks like


Like any diffuser, be cautious when using it. There's a manual in the box that tells you of basic do's and don'ts to preserve the quality of the product. Important things to note are:
  • Do not open the tank when it's running (I did this once and it's a mess)
  • Do not turn on the diffuser if the water level is below minimum
  • Careful about water drops entering the side of the tank as it could reach the circuit
  • Do not put too much oil drops, recommended is 4 drops per full tank (I don't follow this though, I put ~10 drops most of the time and the product is still okay? haha)

That's pretty much it! It's a great product, I've been using it for more than a month and so far so good. I'm only in for the aromatherapy for now and not much for the ~healing~ properties of the oil but yeah maybe we'll get there someday? This tita is new to the EO realm.

Where to get one?

I bought mine at Shopee, just search for 'Aroma Naturale diffuser'. There's also a store in Greenbelt 1 called Technopop that sells this (found them through Shopee), but you have to inquire if they have stock. :)
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Perfect Party Snacks

Photo from Pixabay

Preparing food for a party has never been easier. Thanks to the hundreds of recipes online and the catering options in your local supermarket your options are incredibly broad. So what options are there for making your own party food to give your event a little bit of a personal twist. Here we are going to take a look at some of the ways you can develop your party food to have your own touch.

Dips
Now, one of the things that has happened over the past few years with an improved selection of dips in supermarkets is that it has become easier to get lazy with our dips. A collection of store bought selections can sit on the table, but there is nothing special about any of them. However, you can make a dip relatively easily and it will give your guests a little talking point around one of the supplementary foods on the table. A popular choice for a party dip is Nomad's Marketplace recipe for hummus because it is straightforward to make and can also be served with pitta bread for an authentic feel. Hummus has become very popular in the past decade or so and will go down great with your guests when they learn that you have handmade it.

Photo from Pixabay

Sausage Rolls
Once again there is a tendency to rely on the supermarket when it comes to sausage rolls. That might mean the frozen cocktail variety or some from the butcher. The difference between making your own sausage rolls and relying on the store is night and day for this staple of the party food genre. The options that open up in front of you when you decide to make your own sausage rolls means that you can add all sorts of different flavors to make them extra special. Try making these sausage, bacon and cheese pastries from Nigella Lawson and give your guests the gift of flavor. You can even make vegetarian rolls as well to make sure you cater to everyone’s needs.
Party Food
The most important thing when you are arranging party food is to make sure there is a broad selection so that all of your guests are satisfied. That doesn’t mean you have to make everything on the table, that might not be entirely practical. But you can explore the options that are out there for you to get making your own food and making it part of the fun of a party. You will be surprised at the warm response you get to some of the savoury items that you make when you are hosting. And you should always be prepared to bake cakes and cookies when you have guests coming over, there is nothing better than homemade desserts.

Just make sure you prepare well in advance and make enough time to create your party food masterpieces. After all, you deserve to let your hair down and have a good time as well.
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Life Lately

I can't begin to express how stressed I'm feeling lately.

For sale

First, and I don't know if I've already mentioned this: we lost almost 300k worth of investments after the business owner (who was my ninang and a close family friend too) died unexpectedly last December 31. The impact it made to me and my husband is pretty big, as the money we invested in there was meant to generate a monthly profit enough to pay for our car's amortization. Now we have to re-budget and allocate whatever extra we have to pay for the car for the next two years. Also, we placed our entire 13th month pay in there, so it's frkn depressing. Don't ask me about the black and white of this whole thing, there weren't any written contracts. We only have hand written "receipts" of the cash we put in. God knows how much fighting chance we have with that. Especially that we don't know what's left of my ninang's estate. But thank God we're not totally broke. Since my salary adjustment last year, we've been getting a pretty decent amount of extra money which, quite coincidentally, is just enough to cover for the car's monthly amort. How cool is that. But then that puts us at a break even phase right now, where everything we earn gets zeroed out in minutes. Hay.

And theeeeen. I already feel bad that we lost money, but I feel worse for my parents who lost much more. My family has been investing with her since 2007 and never did my ninang fail to return any profit. That long history of trust and reliance made them pretty dependent with her business. Putting in a lot of money, and looking forward to the monthly return. They even loaned an amount from their credit card, and invested it to further her business operations. My ninang never failed to pay the monthly dues. But now that she's gone, the liabilities all fell on my parent's shoulders. And they're paying close to 100k every month for that loan, which isn't ending til March next year. Jsqlrd.

It pains me to watch my parents struggling right when they're supposed to be planning for their retirement already. I wish I was earning a hell lot to cushion these kinds of unfortunate events, but I can only thank God we're not left empty handed. There's still hope, we just have to work harder.

And now, an unexpected trip to Singapore threatens to empty our savings. We could've opted not to push through with the trip but we didn't think that far ahead. Late last year my husband and I applied for a software testing role at New Zealand / Australia. I passed the initial steps and was invited for an exam at Singapore, hence the unexpected trip. With ticket prices soaring and Airbnb banned in Singapore, our budget has to be at least 60k in order for us to survive the week. And that's not something we're at a liberty to burn.

So another stress point apart from all our financial hulabaloos is reviewing for the technical exam, which will make or break my application. The exam, according to some tips I found online will test our knowledge of testing fundamentals, so I'm kindof cramming reviewing the entire ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus. Why the heck am I not certified for this?! I'm not expecting to pass the test, to be honest, but I gotta try at least.

My fear is that everything goes to waste, specially our hard earned money. It's bad enough we're letting this trip eat up a big chunk of our savings, and what's worse is that I may actually fail the exam and not proceed to the next steps. Silver lining, we get to explore SG. Also, I get to read about Testing Fundamentals, which is a freaking eye opener. I'm learning a lot here.

If anything I think we're kinda rushing it. I should've waited for the next recruitment roadshow, and let my husband try again. Who knows he might get in this time, and then we can both take the exam together. That's the ideal scenario. But what have you, I already bought tickets before I realized that. I also didn't think they'd re-consider me for the next roadshow if I can't make it this time. Oh well. I'm like setting up myself for failure argh and also wasting money. Jusko babatukan ako ng manager ko if he gets wind of this. There's no harm in trying though!

My parents have been thinking of selling the house because of this whole mess. We can only hope to recover some of our money, but if I were to choose I hope they'd pay back my parents at least for the loan she made on my ninang's behalf. My parents need it more. They don't deserve this. Hay Lord.

Oh Lord, here's to hoping everything falls according to you will.

Lessons learned.
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What a nightmare

This is so stressful. Today I made a 30k deposit at one BPI Cash Accepting Machine around 1:24am. Up to now the money has not been credited yet. I already reported the complaint to 89100, emailed bpiexpressonline about my problem, and went to the BPI branch it happened to personally file a complaint.

This isn't the first time it happened. But this is the longest I'm waiting for it to get resolved. I wonder what gives.

The terminal didn't show any error messages. The transaction completed, it was unable to print a receipt but I continued anyway, which was my bad. But still, the transaction seemed to went through but when I checked the app the balance didn't change.

My fear is that the money in the machine would not be found and that they cannot find my transaction logged in the CAM. Or that the machine didn't take my money and the next depositor found it on the tray and took it. Is that possible? That money is intended for our Singapore trip in 2 weeks. And I couldn't sleep properly because of it. So much that I literally had a nightmare, not related to it, but a nightmare nonetheless.

In my dream my husband and I were walking along EDSA guadalupe area in what seemed to be a post-apocalyptic scene, the atmosphere was grim, the world is in Sepia. We were headed to our car which was parked along the road, when we passed by this man who was wailing about his son who got killed in a freak motor accident. The body is still on the ground. Head to chest he was sliced perfectly. And get this, the bust is trying to walk. The father was crying and walking along with him. As we went ahead of them I said sorry. Then I cried afterwards to my husband.

Really hope to get my money back as soon as possible. :(

UPDATE (Jan 26, 5:24am): I got my money back! Thank you Lord!
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Hey, how are ya?

The weekend was pretty eventful. We did more than the usual grocery, church, and lunch with the family hehe. Saturday morning I drove the car to Toyota BGC for its 25k PMS.


Everyone there was so friendly, even the person who attended to me didn't seem to be fooling me with the quote. I even got a discount. The PMS was supposed to run for an hour only but heck, I came in at 9:30am and left the center at 2pm. What the hell, right? I expected as much. But that's okay. Their lobby is comfy and they offer free coffee (Nescafe classic only lol), snacks, and candies. Not much really but at least meron haha.


Thank God I spotted a 7-Eleven across the street. I was able to relieve my burning hunger with a rice meal, siopao, and City Blends Prima coffee.

I love City Blends Prima!

Jeckie followed me to BGC after finishing his driving school orientation. After having the car checked, we went straight to Shangri-la Plaza for my dentist appointment. I had 3 cavities pasted! Then we went home to pickup our stuffed toys 'cos we were supposed to have them cleaned this weekend.

It was so frakking hard to give them away to the cleaners! They won't be back until after 5 days. T___T But what can I do, they're all stinking dirty already haha.

See you soon bbs.

The next day, we went to church, ate lunch at our tita's house, then played badminton! After a bajillion years goys.


If I had a better schedule I'd get myself a trainer. It's been so long since I sweat this much hahaha. After the game, we ate dinner at my parent's house at Fairview then went to fetch my sister at the airport. She's coming home from a short trip to Taiwan.


I'm really excited about it because she got so many treaaats! Love it! 

Another thing, my cancelled Shopee order got delivered by 2GO that night. After being marked as lost and getting my refund, apparently they were able to find the item and proceed with the delivery. 


Now I have 2 extra diffusers (which I gave to my parentss).

That's it for the weekend! How are ya?
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How to Stay Safe During a Lightning Storm

Photo from Pixabay

A lot of people know that it is not safe to be outside while a lightning storm is occurring. There may be some people who feel that it will be cool to walk or even play under the rain. This can be fun as long as there is no lightning. If there is lightning, you should not hesitate to seek shelter. The moment that you hear the thunder roar, you already know that you should find a place where you can stay safe. You can know more about the weather by checking the professional weather station. This normally makes use of different sensors that will predict when thunder and lightning may arrive in your area. It will help to know the different tips that you can follow so that you can stay safe during a lightning storm:

  • If you have some plans to go outdoors but lighting warning systems show that lightning is imminent, you should postpone your plans for the time being. Who knows, the weather may improve in a few hours and you may continue your trip then. If not, there are always other days when you can do your trip.
  • Finding a safe, enclosed shelter should be your main priority. This is one of the things that will ensure that you will stay safe.
  • Let us say that you have heard the last clap of thunder only 10 minutes ago. Do not go out just yet. Wait for at least half an hour before you go out. This will signify that the lightning storm is already a bit far.
  • You may need to avoid using water while you are indoors. You may think that bathing is safe but there are times when the lightning may affect plumbing systems. Postpone your bath for the time being.
  • There may be a need for you to stop watching television and other electronic devices while the lightning storm is occurring.
There are lightning detection systems for sports fields when you are outdoors but staying indoors is still your best bet so that you can stay safe during a lightning storm. Lightning strikes may not be very common but they can happen. It is best for you to stay safe.
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2018 Wrapped


One day, I asked my husband about how the year 2018 was for him because I was curious what he considered his highlights were. I thought maybe I could pull from his wins, after all we're a couple hahaha! But really, I was having a hard time crafting this post because top of my mind I couldn't think of anything exceptional about 2018. It seemed like one of those steady years where nothing extraordinary happened. Sakto lang. But once I started looking back, I realized that ooooh it's quite an eventful year naman pala. I guess it's because nothing really rattled me personally so it's easier to rate 2018 as a sakto lang year. It's as if I measure a year by its negativity lol. Looking back I could say 2018 was actually a stress free year and a very positive one too. And that's new coming from a usually pessimistic person. I also realized that most of my highlights involved the two of us as a couple and not just me, and that kinda struck me differently. Like, okay, there's a man in my life now and our lives are merging. What now?

My life is becoming more about US now and I guess I'm still adjusting to the change. I used to be very selfish you know.

So what the hell happened in 2018?

  • In March
  • In April
    • We sold our condo unit and earned a sizable profit from the sale
  • In May
    • We invested in agribusiness
    • And also invested in a family friend's business
  • In June
    • We took the car and leased a parking space
  • In September
    • We celebrated our first anniversary at Sofitel
  • In October
    • I was offered a 6-digit position at another company
    • My current company responded with a c-o
    • Aaaand I took it
    • Also, I hit the 6-digit mark from my sidelines!
  • In November
    • I drove to Tagaytay (first long drive) to celebrate my birthday
    • Completed the NO LATE NOVEMBER challenge
    • Received my 13th month pay

Thank God for the good year that was.
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A Year in Design

Here's a recap of most of my design projects in 2018! Logos, invites, merch, and for the first time -- videos and branding. I'm learning goys yeheyy!
Logos

Smart Farms PH

This is one of those projects where I regret not learning Adobe Illustrator earlier. I should make it a point to learn AI this year haha. This would be easier in AI, but I'm more comfortable in Photoshop. Don't be like me.


Snapsolutely

This is so cute, I enjoyed this one! I didn't know how to create videos but the client gave a Youtube tutorial so I said I'd try. Here's the output! 



Wedding Invites

Rickett & Rose Anne



James & Monique



Other Invites

Bianca Nicole's Magical Birthday Party



Edison's The Little Prince Printable Party Kit

The Pinspiration is real on this one.




Branding

Quest Adventure Camp

Trifold Brochure


Business Card


Visual Brand Guide

I considered myself to be in a design rut when 2018 started. I wasn't doing much, not learning anything new. Until one of my friends asked me to create a business card for her company. I said sure. Then it got followed by a lanyard design, a brochure, a tarp, pens, notebooks, etc. And I'm like ohkaaay this seems like a corporate design thing, if I'm doing more of this I needed a brand guide. They didn't have one, so I made one. Scratch that, I learned to make one.

It's actually kindof weird for me to create one because it should be part of the logo design package (whoever made theirs), but nonetheless I had to make something for them otherwise the brand would be a visual disaster.


Merch
I only got interested in designing shirts when my Merch by Amazon account got approved. But it's been a year and I've never made a sale on the platform. It's a freakin saturated marketplace and I'm finding it troublesome to learn the ins and outs (for now).

FIFA World Cup


It was too late when I started making themed shirts. I was only able to finish Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and France lol. Check out the rest of them here.

Cat Holic


Never sold any of these but I had fun drawing them! More here :)

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2018 Online Income Review


My online income increased by 24% in 2018. Thank you Loooord! Overall I earned around ₱117,000 which is something I'm extremely grateful for considering I'm not actively looking for opportunities and I only have one client giving me a steady flow of tasks hahaha. As usual, let's break it down!



On the average, I got around ₱9,700 per month. But it doesn't really feel like it because I don't withdraw money on a monthly basis. I receive payments on my local bank accounts and Paypal and I don't consolidate them, so yeah the extra money I receive just goes to my allowance haha. 

This year though, I want to try keeping my Paypal funds for as long as possible just to see it grow. I tend to withdraw as soon as it reaches 10k because we can already use that for a staycation or a date night hahaha but yeah, I want to be more mindful of where my money is going starting today lol. Uhh wish me luck.

My lowest month was in July. It's not really a depressing month, it's just a normal month for me hahaha. My highest was in April, and that can be explained. That was the time I offered a branding package to one of my clients, hence the spike.


In terms of work, my Writing gig still eats majority of the pie by 56.6%. I wrote 172 articles in 2018, that's 294 so far (since 2017!). I don't know how long they intend to keep me in their roster but well, I want to keep writing because this one's stable haha.

On Blogging, I honestly wasn't able to write that much valuable content in 2018. Of the 73 blog posts I published, 26 are sponsored (ie. articles that don't rank but pay), and only 15 are actual personal reviews (ie. articles that matter), the rest are personal drama hahaha.

On Designing, nothing much. Just the usual... logos, invites, shirts, and some other layouts. Something new I learned - creating brand guides and simple graphic design animations. :)

There's a part of me that wants to lay low on accepting work this year so I could rest more and enjoy doing nothing at home when I get back from work. But there are times I still get bored so why not use my free time to earn money lol.

So yeah, here's to another productive year!
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Take Your Fitness Routine to the Next Level in 2019

If you have started the new year with the goal to be fitter and to take your fitness and training to the next level, then where do you start? Of course, you can just carry on doing what you are doing. But when there aren’t any more hours in the day to train for longer, it can really be a struggle. There are several aspects to taking your training to the next level, though, and they aren’t all around the actual exercise that you are doing. There can be training around the physical changes that you should be making, as well as the mental side of things, and what you can be doing at home in preparation. So with all of that in mind, here are some simple practices to help you to make 2019 your year for fitness goals and for getting to where you want to be.

Photo from Pixabay

Eating Plan
It is important to have a meal plan that works for you as part of your fitness regime. A lot of your success with training will come down to how prepared your body was for the exercise, having the energy to do it to the level that you need, as well as how you recover afterwards. Protein is something that is great for recovery, but there are things like supplements that you could be taking pre and post workout, depending on your goals and aims. A site like The Diet Dynamo could shed a little more light on what supplement would be best for your needs, but really, taking some time to research to see what is going to be best for you can help your training a lot. A meal plan that work for you will help to get you to where you want to be, as long as you stick to it, of course.

Photo from Pixabay

Get Outdoors
Training in a gym does have its place, and can really play a part when the weather is pretty dismal. But when you train in a gym it is a really unnatural environment. Take triathlon training, for instance. If you are running on a treadmill it is very unlike what you might experience outside, due to uneven ground and so on. The same for cycling and swimming; the gym versions of those things are nowhere near what it will be like when it comes to the actual event. Being outdoors can offer you other stimulation too as there is more to see, as well as the benefit of fresh air and vitamin D.

Get Enough Sleep
There is no set amount of sleep that is going to work for everyone, simply because different people have different needs and what they can cope with. But as long as you are getting enough sleep for what you need, then that is going to make a big difference. Your body can repair well when it is rested, as well as leaving you with all of the energy that you need to get your training done.
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[Review] Big Skinny Monte Cougar Red Women's Wallet

I don't know what hocus pocus Big Skinny does to its products but true to its claim, it really did slim down my usually bulky wallet! I knew I had to rave about it too because I'm really impressed at the quality of this thing. Nevermind that I didn't like their logo, when I got the item and finally held it in my hands, I'm like "Oh wow this one's a keeper." The fabric is soft and smooth, made of nylon microfiber. And the color is just right, not too red, almost maroon. I love it.


I had so many doubts about this product but all of them got crossed out, as in. I carry more than 20 cards with me and a lot of other miscellaneous paper things like receipts, calling cards, and GCs. I also always carry cash and I keep coins too. This is how my old wallet looks like:


I love this wallet. It has served me for a long time now and I never really thought of replacing it until the zipper broke. And even then I wanted to get the exact same model. It's a black leather Seiko wallet I got on sale more than 2 years ago. To be fair, my old wallet was great. It's not that bulky even when it it's super full, and because of the full body zipper, it doesn't blow up even when I put my phone inside. 

But now that it's showing signs of retirement, I had to look for an exact or even better replacement. And that's when I chanced upon Big Skinny. I can't remember when I first heard of it, I guess it's on Facebook and from the ads too?

Anyway. Their catalog is full of interesting choices, all thin, but not everything is pretty hehe. I wanted to visit their shop at BGC to see how the wallets really look like in person but my excitement got the best of me so I purchased one blindly 'cos I can't wait any longer. The reviews are all good, and the photos look true to life so I'm hoping my judgment would spare me of an expectations vs. reality moment.

And by God, I wasn't disappointed.

Does this comparison matter? Haha

It's so freakishly thin.


It's maroonish, which is okay. The logo looks bearable now, too.


It's so soft to the touch. And being made of nylon microfiber, it's light, smooth, water resistant, and washable too. I was afraid putting multiple cards on the same slot would make it hard for me to fish em out, but nope, not getting stuck.


It has a coin compartment as well. Yeyyy!


So yeah, as soon as I got it I went ahead and switched the contents from my old wallet, making sure to do obligatory shots of before and after, side by side, and so on hahaha. 

Overall I'm so pleased with my Big Skinny!



Want one?
You can purchase yours from Big Skinny PH for ₱2,450. I got mine from Shopee for much less tho!

For more details:
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