Life Lately and why did I stop learning

Heya.

I'm feeling very anxious right now

I fear that one day, someone really close to me will get severely infected and I wouldn't be able to do anything because I don't have enough strings to pull to save a life. Cos that's what it comes down to right? Every hospital is full and you don't stand a chance if you're not well connected. You need connections to get a hospital bed. Connections to loan money for treatments. Connections to charter you to the nearest hospital. Life is especially unfair in this godawful corrupted motherland. God help us. 

On another note, I just checked out a Kindle

I've been contemplating on getting a Kindle for a long time but I was worried it'll be put to waste. I remember getting an ipad mini because I wanted to draw more and read more, but it's been a year and I'm not proud of my progress.

Speaking of progress

View video progress on my IG: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNKFSZvHBFf/

I'm back on Skillshare and is slowly learning my way through Procreate. The class I joined is: How to paint food in Japanese watercolor style and create digital sticker pack in Procreate. The original project was to create watercolor style sticker packs, but I did another to show what's in my bag. I really like how it turned out! It's both exhausting and rewarding. I learned a lot!

If you're interested in joining, you can sign up using my link to get free Skillshare Premium trial. And if you happen to like the premium classes you can join for as low as ₱1,190/year. Yup, that's the annual fee I got for signing up using the mobile app. It's usually $99/year or almost ₱5k which is too hefty for me so I was surprised there exists a lower rate!

Anyway, if you don't wanna spend money there are still tons of free classes you can join at Skillshare, in fact the class I shared above is a free one! :)

Work-wise I still feel the same...

You know, stuck. I always feel stuck. Like I'm only good enough for this company and not anywhere else. I'm kinda plagued by the lack of options I have should I decide to leave. What am I gonna do? Everything is outdated in my armory. From web development, software QA, performance testing, and UiPath development... I'm a restaurant quite a menu but no specialty. If only I could focus on just one thing and be incredibly good at it. Hay. When did I stop learning. Why.

The good news (aside from God's saving grace) is...

I'm still young and capable, in other words I have time and energy. It's bad enough that we're stuck in just one place (our home). Fortunately the home is a great place to start. Lol I just felt encouraged with my own post haha.


Hope you're all feeling well and healthy.
Trust God. Keep moving.
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5 tips on choosing the best shapewear this 2021

Shapewear works by improving your figure to make it look more presentable. They're undergarments that compresses, firms, and lifts certain body parts so they appear seamless. With a variety of options, it could be challenging to choose one.  Luckily, you're at the right place. Here are five important tips you should know in getting the best waist trainer belt, body shaper, or undergarment that is suitable for you.


1. Know your size and stick to it


Shapewear comes in different sizes. If you're ordering online. it's important to note what your waist, bust, and hip sizes are to get the perfect shapewear.  If you have time, try on some pieces from a physical store to identify your size. That way you have reference for future purchase.

Once you know your size, by all means stick to it. While it's tempting to size down to get a firmer, perhaps slimmer look, you only risk appearing bigger because of unwanted bulges. It's also generally uncomfortable wearing something smaller. So yes, identify what size you're comfortable with and let the shapewear do its magic.

2. Know your body shape
The key to enhancing your shape is to identify what your body figure is. There are several ways to identify your shape just by looking at your figure in front of a mirror. There are shapes based on fruits: apple, pear, cherry, banana. There are also shapes based on geometry like rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, and hourglass. Knowing your shape will help you choose the correct structure for your slimming bodysuit.

3. Identify your target areas


What do you want to hide or enhance? Is it your waist, your buttocks, your legs, or your overall body? Whatever your target area is, there is a specific shapewear for that. Check out this FeelinGirl Review to know your options. If you want smooth lines on the upper body, you can go for a torso shapewear. If you want to lift your buttocks or abdomen, you can go for shaper panties. If you want to shape your waist, you can opt for active shapewear like a waist trainer that you can use during workout.

4. Consider your outer wear
Shapewears are designed to complement specific sets of clothing. For instance you don't want to wear a waist trainer underneath a body fitting gown because it's thick and hot. For daily use, go for something seamless and comfortable so you can go about your day with ease. Always take into account what you're wearing outside of your shapewear so you can plan your outfit better.

5. Choose the right fabric


Comfort is very important when donning a shapewear. Most bodysuits are made of nylon and spandex material, which tend to be hot and uncomfortable. It's good for cold weather to keep you warm, but it's not exactly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Fortunately, modern clothing technology has allowed manufacturers to create shapewear that are thin, light, and breathable. For a more comfortable experience, feel the garment and choose shapewears made of cotton-blend and lighter materials.

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[Review] My Wink Laser Studio underarm whitening experience

Note: This is an in-progress post, I'm updating this as I go along. :)


So! Remember I shared my experience about SkinSation's underarm diode laser hair removal? I got the 8+1 promo package and it was great. It's been over a year and there's barely any hair growth in my ua now. Unfortunately, I'm still struggling with whitening my underarms. After getting my skin cleared of hair, I went to try several products to see if anything would work but to no avail. Napagod lang ako kaka-try.

I tried using Amira whitening cream for a while. It's very mild and it worked for me when I was younger, but now I barely see any visible effects. Either they reformulated or di nya na kaya underarms ko haha.

Then I also tried Fresh Formula's Sgt at Arms, which is all the rave online but still it didn't work. I find it too strong my ua always ended up getting itchy. Then inevitably I went on a scratching spree which made my underarms darker.

So I stopped. I quit trying whitening products and just settled on using Deonat aloe vera tawas deodorant instead. It definitely helped repair my darkened ua, but it doesn't whiten completely.



That's when I decided to go for laser treatments. I was eyeing SkinStation's Axilight procedure for my next step but people online said Wink Laser Studio is better, albeit more expensive. After some deliberation and computations, I decided to get their Laser hair Removal/Laser Whitening package. 

Pricing

Underarm area falls under medium size. I thought it was super expensive at ₱2,500/session but actually one session covers both underarms naman pala. So not bad! And if you get the package price of 12 sessions for ₱22,500 the price per session comes down to ₱1,875 only. Good deal!

If you use BDO or Metrobank credit card pa, you can stretch the payment for up to 6 months with 0% interest.


I only have BPI credit card with me though and it's not eligible for 0% interest installment. 
So with interest and at 6 months term, my total installment amounts to ₱23,849.51. 
That's ₱1,987.46/session. Still not bad considering it's originally ₱2,500/session.

What you need to know about the package

  • Package prices are always available, it's not a limited promo thing.
  • You can use the 12 sessions for either hair removal or whitening, or both, whatever the nurse suggests after assessing your skin
  • Observe 4-6 weeks gap between sessions
  • You can share it with a friend as long as its under the same category (medium areas)
  • As mentioned above, 0% interest for up to 6 months installment is available only for BDO and Metrobank credit cards, but you may still use other cards for installment pero with interest na
  • Discounted packages normally have a 5-year validity, but they're flexible naman just talk to them

Sessions and progress
✱ 1st session: January 30, 2021 (Podium branch)

The nurse inspected my underarms first to see whether I could proceed to whitening already or do hair removal first. Since my last underarm treatment is more than a year already, there are still some small and thin hair growth that needs to be addressed. She recommended to do laser hair removal first to make sure no hair growth would get in the way of my whitening. So that's what we did, my first session is a laser hair removal one.

Related: [Review] SkinStation Underarm Diode Laser Hair Removal

After 4-6 weeks I'm to come back for my next session, which is still subject to the nurse's assessment. I can't wait to start with the whitening procedure lol.

Unlike diode laser, the machine they used (Gentle YAG Pro-U) didn't require a cooling gel. It also targets much deeper into the skin so there's less chance of regrowth. There's pain but nothing too much. It's like being pricked repeatedly but the pain doesn't linger and quickly subsides. My underarms were very red immediately after, which is normal daw hehe.

Before the session, to show you the amount of damage they're working with hehe:
Right and left


✱ 2nd session: March 13, 2021 (Podium branch)

Nurse Lhett checked my underarms and decided we can proceed to laser whitening already, yehey! The machine used was Revlite. There's still some growth although onti na lang like 3 very thin strands on each underarm.

Before the session:

Right and left

I'm showing before pics because it's basically the result of the previous session. No lightness of course since the last session was a hair removal one. The Revlite procedure doesn't show instant results, mga after 1-2 weeks pa daw, so I'm not showing the after pics anymore. The only difference is some redness.

I find this less painful than the hair removal procedure but the pain is different. With the YAG, it felt like I'm being continuously pricked. With Revlite naman it felt like my skin is being rapidly heated one small area at a time. Kakati then hahapdi at times but it's tolerable. :)

✱ 3rd session (tbc)
4th session (tbc)
✱ 5th session (tbc)
6th session (tbc)
7th session (tbc)
8th session (tbc)
9th session (tbc)
10th session (tbc)
11th session (tbc)
✱ 12th session (tbc)
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[Review] New normal staycation at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort


Heya! We recently stayed at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort, BGC and here's what I think of it! I also uploaded a tour on YouTube so feel free to check it out.


Rapid Antigen Test
Protocol says we are to present a negative COVID test before we're allowed to check in so that's what we did. Shangri-la has an onsite testing facility that offers RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests. 


My husband and I took the Rapid Antigen test for ₱1,800 each and waited 10 minutes for the results. It's our first swab test, thankfully it wasn't painful!


We both came out negative, thank God! The results are emailed to us and a copy is also sent to the front desk.


I have to say, this is the most posh place we've stayed in. Everything looks so elegant and high-end. The location is perfect as well. They're facing high street, there are tons of food options around, malls here and there. It's an urban paradise, if you dig that kind of scene. 

Deluxe King Room
Here's our room, a Deluxe King Room at the 26th floor.


I thought it was gonna be small because it's their cheapest accommodation. But at 45sqm, it's really spacious! Heck it's bigger than our entire home haha.


I love everything in this room. The 49 inch TV, king sized bed, the desk and sofa, and most specially the wide windows with the sheer drapes and blackout curtains.


Hotel rooms are pretty much my dream master layout. There's storage everywhere, and switches and outlets are positioned conveniently. Oh to live in a room like this.

There's a care kit for guests too, containing alcohol, wet wipes, and surgical masks. Surprisingly there's no branding here. I thought Shang would be conscious about that. When we transferred to a different room the tissue is from Sanicare and the alcohol is Watsons hehe. No biggie.


Oh right. We requested to be moved to a different room because our toilet didn't have a bidet. I actually just learned about it now. Meron naman palang rooms na may bidet. Ask ka lang. Unfortunately, it's the type that's attached to the toilet seat, not the handheld one. I wouldn't have bothered you know but I have my period and I'm wearing a cup and a handheld bidet is just more convenient to work it. Anyway, since that didn't work out I just used empty water bottles as my tabo hehe.

Oh yeah, knowing it's my husband's birthday, they welcomed us with fruits and cake!


If I had to pick one feature of this room to magically appear in our house, that would be the shower system. Oh my goodness, the pressure, the heat, the spotless Grohe chrome fixtures, aaargh. I could spend a whole day in the bathroom.

Breakfast at Samba
Breakfast was good. Complimentary set breakfasts are served at Samba restaurant daily. No buffet. For day one I got the Filipino plate. Not a fan of their coffee hehe. The fruits and pastries are good though!


Samba actually reminds us of Balesin Islander restaurant at The Alpha Suites Makati. Especially the outdoor area with the pool view. Maybe it's because of the Filipino theme!


The next day I got a traditional breakfast and I super loved it even though the crust of the rye bread was so tough hehe. I could look forward to this everyday hehe. Sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, fresh fruits, hot cafe latte, aaaahhh.



Jeckie got avocado toast one morning, it's the healthy option. It's our first time tasting this, after all the hype! haha Masarap naman pero ang healthy haha. Their greek yogurt is delicious!!


Kerry Sports Manila
Finally, Kerry Sports Manila.


We took a look around. It's super spacious and has a looooot of exercise equipment. It has a ton of space for you to do drills. I especially liked this buddy over here. Such a unique punching bag. Every part is numbered so you can make your own sets. Looks so fun! Unfortunately I got too lazy to hit the gym during our stay.


Kerry Sports has a lot of amenities. There's a basketball court (indoor and outdoor), tennis court, swimming pool, squash courts, and dance studio. The place is 2 floors big and all the equipment are spaced far enough for you not to worry about social distancing. I mean there aren't a lot of people in anyway. You can watch our tour of Kerry Sports Manila here.

Finally


We really enjoyed our stay at Shangri-La hotel at the Fort. The customer service is superb. The amenities are great. The room is super clean, spacious, and functional. A couple of notes:

  • Yup they accept leisure bookings now
  • We stayed during quarantine season so expect the rules/prices to change
  • Deluxe King Room costs  ₱6,950/night that time, not including taxes and service fees
  • Negative Rapid Antigen Test is required before check in and it costs ₱1,800/person
  • The contact tracing app they use is Stay Safe PH so make sure to download beforehand
  • No buffet breakfast. Set breakfast is served at Samba every morning.
  • Use of pool and gym is by reservation only. You can book via QR or at the front desk.
  • To limit contact you can download the Shangri-la app to manage your bookings there. You can check-in and check-out from the app itself. Just collect your key cards at the front desk.

That's it! Hope to be back! :)

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What's uuup

Nothing, just random updates...

✱ I'm excited for the weekend but I don't wanna jinx it so you'll just hear about it! Clue: it's Jeckie's birthdayyy

✱ For the past few days I've been contemplating on getting a Skillshare premium account but heck I just joined right now after noting how the rate is different on my phone vs on desktop.

I noticed that I was offered $99/year on the website, but on my phone it only says ₱1,190/year and that's after the one month free trial. The $99 rate only comes with 7 days free. How cool is that? If I didn't notice the difference I would've waited longer.

I feel like a subscription will push me to create more projects on Procreate and finally learn the darned thing. I bought the ipad mini because of it and it's about time I make use of it right? I mean it's almost a year hahaha.

Look, I made this project last week after finishing a free class on Skillshare: 
How to paint food in Japanese watercolor style and create digital sticker pack in Procreate 




Isn't it cuuute? It's the first Procreate tutorial I joined and I'm really glad how it turned out. It's not perfect but it's something!


✱ I need to get an appointment with an ortho soon. My back is killing me. I got a curble chair in hopes of correcting my hunched posture but it only gave me more pains. It does work to straighten your lower back though but because of my sad excuse for a spine all the tension just went upwards and now I have a sore upper back. And my lower back feels a different kind of pain. Sure it could be a correcting process but I'm probably a more serious case and needs more help? Urgh.

✱ By the way I'm finally monetized on Youtube! Hooray! That said I'm laying low on all enrichment activities like w2w or sub2sub. That's how I got the numbers honestly, on top of organic views naman. I wouldn't have bothered rushing it if I wasn't getting anything organically. But some of my videos are getting quite a number of views so I thought it would be a waste if I wasn't earning from those. So yeah, the goal was to really just get into the partner program then mellow down. I don't have a lot of reviews in the pipeline, but I'm consistently uploading my Weekly Monotonies! Yep, the boring bits of my channel haha.

✱ Oh I finally got my driver's license updated with my married name! Finally! After 3 years! When I renewed my license after getting married I was told that I had to process my married name at LTO main pa. Sobrang hassle naman so I kept my maiden name na lang and just waited for the opportunity to go to East Ave. After all my license is good for 5 years pa so no rush. 

Then LTMS (https://portal.lto.gov.ph/) rolled out the revision of records feature where I could just apply online instead of going to the main branch! I just filled out a form, uploaded the required docs (marriage and birth certificate), set an appointment at my preferred LTO branch, and paid through GCash. IT WAS SO EASY. After sending in my application I just went to LTO to get my new driver's license. I didn't have to bring the original docs with me cos everything was already uploaded. The LTO guy still asked me to email him my docs though so he could print it daw but no biggie. It's just weird though cos he could've just downloaded them from my online application, but oh well.

✱ Good news, we're finally done paying our car ammortization! What a relief! Yeah, but then we just bought two studio units for investment so there goes our budget! Haha

Alright, that's it! Hope you're doing well! :)

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TGIF

This was such a tiring tiring week I can't even even. 

We're doing migration after migration after migration of several systems because we're expected to vacate our old office by next week. By vacate I mean pull out all servers, shut down all PCs, and move it to the new office which doesn't have network connection yet. The plan is to route everything to one of our data centers in Singapore while waiting for the network to be installed in our new office - just a block away from the old one. Safe to say it's a busy time for the whole tech team.

I mean I'm not even the main guy for the whole thing, we're just one of the teams affected by the local network downtime. But because our robots are all hosted locally, we have to move them somewhere safer and more stable. Like a virtual machine hehehe.

The most exhausting part of this whole move is really the amount of coordination to be done. Talking to stakeholders, explaining things, filing requests to different teams, following up, looking for people to help me with my issues. Oh my goodness. Sure I can communicate, I'm fluent enough, I write good emails, but the rate at which my energy depletes after each send is extremely high I'm a dead battery so early in my shift, my half-life is halving ridiculously the more I interact with people. Helppp.

I just want to recharge. Thank God it's Friday.

Thank God. 

Thank God. 

I can't believe I mean that now. 

Thank God. 

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[Review] My 35k PMS experience with Shell - Toyota Vios

We went to Shell for our car's 35k PMS. It's my first time to try at a gasoline station and here's how it went!



Why Shell?

My choices were really just Shell or Petron. I asked on Facebook and most of them said Shell, so Shell it is! Toyota isn't an option because it's too expensive and they make you wait an entire day for your car, it's ridiculous. Our last PMS was done at Patch Power but unfortunately they already closed down. :(

I was pretty excited to try Shell actually. I'm not car savvy, but our car is already 5 years old and I feel like it's a point where I need to pay more attention to it because I don't want to run into an accident and not know what to do? Hahaha wala lang I think it's about time I learn more about our car yun lang hahaha. Hey I still don't know how to change a tire haha.

The Shell we went to is at Dahlia, Fairview, Quezon City.

What we got and how much?

We got the oil change + PMS package for ₱4,999.00

Actually for 35K mileage you can do with just the oil change package because it already includes the oil filter, flushing liquid, labor, and free performance checkup. The price depends on the type of motor oil you want. It could range from ₱1.7k to ₱4.7.  But just to be sure we added the PMS bit because we don't know what we could be missing haha. Turns out the only difference is they added brake cleaning and adjusting hehe.




Oil change package:
    Fully synthetic motor oil (Shell Helix Ultra 4L) - ₱3,917.00
    1 Oil filter
    Labor
    Free performance checkup
    Flushing oil - ₱187.00
Additional:
    Brake cleaner - ₱295.00
    Labor (clean/adjust brakes) - ₱750.00
Less:
    Shell Go+ App discount - (₱150.00)*

Total: ₱4,999.00

*Download Shell Go+ App to either get points or redeem rewards and discounts. I chose to get a 150 discount. You may also use your SM Advantage Card to earn points.


What they did:

Here's a video I uploaded on Youtube covering the whole thing! We're allowed to watch at the service bay so I thought it'd be a good experience to record it to see what's up. 


In bullets:
  • I drove the car into the service bay where they aligned the jacks they'd use to lift the car up. 
  • The mechanic started by dusting the engine bay with compressed air.
  • Then he poured flushing oil and started the car
  • Car lifted a bit.
  • Checked A/C filter. Still good so it was just cleaned with compressed air.
  • Fluids checked. Still good.
  • Car was raised higher.
  • Mechanic proceed to flush the engine.
  • Tires checked. You can request to have your tires rotated. Advise is every 10k. 
  • Found a screw stuck in our front tire huhu
  • Sanded and sprayed the rotor disc
  • Break pads still good.
  • Shocks still good.
  • Put back the drain plug.
  • Replaced oil filter.
  • Put in motor oil.
  • Started the engine. Sounds good.
  • Checked the screw on the tire. Luckily it didn't go through, yey!
  • Done!

What I liked

It was definitely more affordable than having it done at the casa, although I think ₱5k is still pretty pricey for a minor PMS but that's because we got a fully synthetic oil which costs ₱3.9k already. You can get your PMS for as low as ₱2k if you go for the conventional motor oil.

The entire service took barely an hour which is great, and I only had to wait 1 car for my turn. The lounge is cool and clean, as well as the ladies' CR. 

Everyone who assisted us was courteous and professional. I really love the treatment. I hope all Shells are consistent this way so we don't have to drive all the way to Fairview hehe

What I didn't like

Nothing much, I guess the lack of snacks and coffee is a bummer. No one offered eh!

What I learned

Oh man I learned a lot just by observing what the mechanic does. I learned that PMS is majorly just oil change and a couple of performance checks. I learned a couple of parts and how they look like. Drain plug, oil filter, flushing oil, cabin filter, engine flush, rotor disc, brake pads. Still can't change a tire though haha.

That's it! Hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts as well! :)

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Oh shoot

Ok I actually found this sitting in my drafts and thought why the heck have I not finished telling this story? So here's you go, the story of how I got into a digital ad with Condura last year!


So around first week of December someone reached out to me to shoot content for Condura. They must've found my Unboxing and first impressions video of Condura CNF-201i and thought I'd be a good cast for one of their campaigns. It could be a scam I thought, but the inquiry looked legit. I mean what could they possibly get from me? They even asked for my rate. So I replied with interest and sent in my rate. Two days later I'm on a Zoom meeting with the prod team where I was given pointers on what to say. I also gave a little virtual tour of our house so the director, Ms. Janina Manipol, could figure out how to shoot. It's getting real.


I didn't know what to expect, actually. It was the first time I received an inquiry as an ~influencer~. Sorry I don't really have much regard for the term haha. So yeah they gave out key questions and pointers, and also asked for wardrobe options. We scheduled the shoot morning of December 9. I remember not getting enough sleep.

And it shows pala no? My eyes, my hair, my entire face looks tired lol. Ang hirap pala itago nun no kahit mag-makeup ka. And speaking of make-up I didn't have any camera ready makeup with me, I remember decluttering them all cos it's no use this pandemic haha. I only have tinted sunscreen and pang kilay hehe. Sana may concealer ako huhu!

The technical crew came lugging in a lot of stuff, mostly shooting equipment and also a lot of food to supplement what's in our ref. The best thing? They left all the food they put in! Which is a lot. We had frozen meat, eggs, and vegetables the whole week. They also gave breakfast and lunch cos the shoot took so long, like 6 hours long. And my husband slept through all of it lol.

You can watch snippets of the shoot from my vlog here, it starts at 2:02 (I already marked it!)


It was so tiring, the whole thing. I thought it going to be easy cos I already had the questions and answers in mind, but we had to repeat a lot of things, for safety, for clarity, and so on. During the shoot I realized I was focused more on the product than my own experience of it, and that's what they're looking for. It was a challenge having to redo my whole thinking because I wasn't prepared to be super open and spontaneous. I wasn't doing an infomercial, I was doing a testimonial video and a freaking ref tour haha.

But yeah, thank God we powered through and here comes the output.



No one told me it was for a digital ad, I just know it was gonna get featured on Condura's page, until one of my friends saw me on a Youtube ad! Hihi


I guess that's all! I just want to share the experience lol. It was my first time to appear on a digital ad and it was surreal! I'm not really comfortable being identified as a vlogger, let alone The Blahger but what the heck right? I only had 600 something subscribers that time so I definitely don't qualify as an "influencer" but I guess they're looking for real life customers and just happened to stumbled upon me who identifies as a vlogger hehe.

It's also my first time working with a production team. The coordination of it all is very impressive. I was being directed on Zoom by Ms. Janina who was super kind and encouraging, and the technical crew with me were both very helpful and supportive. Really professional, I love it!

Aaand that's it! :)

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October 2020 draft

Okay I'm not really feeling happy today but let's try to force this list!


1. Done with our timekeeping system server upgrade. This was last week and I'm so glad I finally got it over with. Urgh.


2. Done developing the main functionality of this robot I was given two weeks to work with. I procrastinated so hard at this task I only started doing it the day before our follow up meeting. I was that confident I can do it. And I did. Client doesn't seem that impressed though. Turns out this robotic functionality is not the most critical part of their request, and that the other part is out of the scope of our team's capabilities. Falls under macro development. Still, I'm gonna try looking for solutions argh wish me luck. Hey where's the happy part in this again? Urgh.


3. I just ordered a webcam because I'm tired of using my phone or tablet for video calls.


4. We finally have a new ref. A small 2-door no-frost inverter ref that's the perfect size for our home. Been wanting to get a new ref ever since our old one (a single door super-hassle-semi-auto defrost ref) started showing signs of uhm, ageing? Basta it frosts too quickly and we have to defrost it every week na, sobrang hassle lol.


5.  Currently watching It's Okay to Not Be Okay on Netflix. Ang cute nya hehe


6. Getting more and more convinced to get into YL. Is that a happy thing? It's gastos eh. Still a bit skeptic about it I just wanna try it for aromatherapy plus the owl diffuser is so cute and parang less hassle gamitin kasi isa lang yung cover na tatanggalin mo haha. Dati I want the desert mist pero looking at reviews parang hassle pala and too big hahaha. So yeah we'll see.

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Beautiful Monotony

I created the Weekly Monotony vlog series simply to document little snippets of my life all year round. I actually thought it had a negative ring to it but I didn't mind because admittedly I know my life is mostly boring lol. Before lockdown started I would wake up, brew a cup of coffee, take a bath, finish a cup while drying up, get dressed, wait for Grab, go to work, eat dinner with my officemates, go home, wait for my husband, cuddle, then sleep.



When we shifted to working from home nothing much has changed. Aside from losing the commute, I now make 6 cups of coffee daily (don't tell mommy). My husband and I would wake up at the same time. I start working in the afternoon while he lounges in the living room. Then he starts working at night. Before going to bed, we'd try to squeeze watching a movie or a couple of episodes together. Every day that's how it went, my vlogs make it evident.

I thought my days were slow and uninteresting. My life is nowhere near exciting and my vlogs are a testament to that. But it's in those moments, those seemingly dragging iterations, that I forget to see God's work in our lives. 

He sustained us. All year round He did. That fact that I was able to carry out the same routine day after day shows that He provides 24/7. That I'm able to start the day as usual is proof of His protection. He protected our jobs. His omnipresence is felt not just in rejoicing when we celebrate and say Glory to God, or in suffering when we draw in prayer to cast our burdens. He too exists in between, when there's not much happening, when there seems to be nothing too positive to thank God for, or too negative to cry out to God to. Today I'm reminded to let His presence fill my life, no matter what season I'm in. 

Vlogging made me look for the highlights, and when there's none I try hard to make one. I was focused too much on looking for things to complete my day, my videos, without realizing that I only have to look at who made it to make my heart full. It's not about my day, it's about who made it. And we know who did.

This is the day that the Lord has made; 
let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:24


I thought having a steady, nothing-new year was so unamusing, but no. I found that there is beauty in monotony when you have a God whose steadfast love and mercies renew every morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23


This year I want to reclaim my spirituality and be grateful always. I have lost touch with the Lord for the longest time that whenever I read a verse from someone or somewhere, it always sounds cliche. Today I felt God, and learned that when your heart is in the right place, His word hits the right aches.


Happy new year everyone!


Watch my 2020 Weekly Monotony here:

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[Unboxing and Review] Xiaomi Mi TV Stick Android Streaming Dongle


Heya! Finaaaally I got to publish this long overdue review on YouTube. The clips of this video have been sitting on my phone for months now and it takes up a lot of memory so it feels really good to finally have it out there. We've had the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick for around 3 already and I remember shooting the unboxing immediately, then totally forgot about it. 


The video covers some of the basic stuff you need to know about the Xiaomi Mi TV stick, what's in the box, specs, setup, and my general feedback about the product, which is good. So this blog post will pretty much be just a repeat, but with more details about the pros and cons I encounter along the way.

Let's go.

What's in the box


  1. Mi TV stick
  2. Voice remote (2 AAA batteries required - not included)
  3. English user manual
  4. Power adapter
  5. HDMI extension cable
  6. Micro USB power cable

Specs
  • 1080p@ 60fps  max output resolution
  • Quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU
  • ARM Mali-450 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage
  • Android 9.0 OS
  • Wifi 802.11
  • Bluetooth 4.2

You may also check the full overview from Mi Global site

Feedback
I liked the Chromecast feature a lot because it lets me listen to Spotify

We normally just watch on Netflix, Prime Video, or Youtube so in terms of memory and capacity, we're not overloading the stick given that it has a pretty low RAM. My hopes is that Disney+ will be available soon in the Philippines so we can download that as well!


I like how simple and minimal the remote looks, but it's a downer that it doesn't have an infrared blaster so I can't control the TV with it.

That said, you have to turn on the TV, then turn on the stick. I don't remember if I could launch the Mi TV stick directly with the TV off.

Google voice assistant is pretty cool, but it doesn't work on all apps and it's not that accurate too. 

It can be a bit sluggish when navigating.

It's not 4k ok? But that's ok for us. It's not like we have a big TV hehe.

It buffers a lot at home, which is weird because we're on Converge's 25mbps plan. We've tried it twice elsewhere and we didn't have any problems. We've tried it both on bigger TV's and slower internet speeds (hotel wifi and mobile hotspot) and it works flawlessly, so I wonder what gives.


I love how I'm able to connect my airpods to it so I can listen privately while watching. The only problem is it doesn't let me reconnect once the device is already paired. For example I just linked my airpods to the Mi TV stick, then I used it on my phone, then I want to get back on the TV. There's no option on the screen to reconnect. But somehow sometimes, it pairs automatically. It's so weird. So whenever I want to get back to listening on the TV, I have to unpair and pair my airpods again. Hassle lol.

Youtube buffering is bad. I rarely watch Youtube using the Mi TV stick because of how it buffers. The audio and video will just go out of sync, with the video paused while the audio keeps going, and then it catches up by fast forwarding the video until it's caught up with the audio. It's so bad lol. I'd rather have the video pause entirely instead of having the audio and video racing up to each other.

I wish it had a LAN port.

Overall it's still a pretty good portable streaming stick as it's very affordable. I mean, don't expect much for its price. If you're willing to shell out some more there's Roku!

It's a great staycation buddy. Now we don't have to bring a laptop to hotels anymore! Haha It's not our main though, to be honest. We have a Smart TV that's hooked up on LAN so it still gives the better experience.

Price and availability


I got the Xiaomi Mit TV Stick at Shopee Philippines for ₱1,699
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[Once in a lifetime promo] We stayed 24hrs at Victoria Court's Princess Jasmine themed room. Is it worth it?


Lol I'm learning to make titles like a socmed manager haha. But don't worry this isn't clickbait hehe.

So. My husband and I claimed our Once in a lifetime voucher from Victoria Court last week and here's a quick look of the thematic room we chose: Princess Jasmine!


This is the second themed room we tried with VC and as usual, it was a visual feast! Our first one was the Venice themed room which we tried earlier this year, check it out here!

Back to the Once in a lifetime promo, the voucher entitled us to a 24 hour stay at any room we want so of course we went for a thematic room haha.

Princess Jasmine room features:
  • King size bed
  • Magic carpet
  • Big smart TV (yeyy for Netflix and Amazon!)
  • Karaoke (1 microphone)
  • Twin jacuzzi
  • Couples massage area
  • Sauna room
  • Separate urinal
  • Shower room
  • Room service w/ limited menu



We really enjoyed this room. It's smaller than the Venice room but it has more amenities. Interior design wise though I still prefer the Venice room. I was actually expecting the Princess Jasmine room to be more violet and gold themed ala Aladdin but it's actually very warm and Moroccan, even Indian, inspired. It's still beautiful though but I guess I'm just looking for more texture and ornaments like the Venice room. Oh well, we still have a lot of rooms to explore with Victoria Court hahaha!


We bought a bubble bath specifically for this staycation because we wanted to enjoy the jacuzzi. And yes we did! We bought Marks & Spencer's lavender bath essence and my goodness it smells heavenly! I have now added it to my official bath favorites, on par with Neutrogena's light sesame body oil. They smell so frkn amazing. First time namin mag-bubble bath sa jacuzzi so mejo napadami yung buhos ng bula hahahaha nakaka-panic kasi bigla na lang nag-umapaw yung bubbles hahaha.


Because it's quarantine, restaurant room service is only until 10pm and with a limited menu. Massage service is not available as well. I'm not sure about housekeeping but they don't seem to be up 24/7. And unlike before where you can walk-in whenever you like, now you have to book a reservation and check in at 2pm. But because we're staying 24 hours, we requested to be allowed in as early 6am, good thing they agreed.

24 hours, are you crazy?

Yeah, the voucher can't be split into multiple stays so there's that. So is it worth staying 24 hours naman? To be honest, no. Victoria Court is not a hotel per se so therefore it doesn't offer hotel like accommodation. Here's what I didn't like about our stay...
  • The blanket is very thin, hindi sya pang overnight. Pang cuddle lang yung nipis nya para mag-yakapan talaga kayo ng partner mo pero di sya cozy!
  • And when it got too cold I found that I can't control the aircon kasi walang remote haha. I had to call maintenance to turn off 1 a/c for me hahaha. May switch naman pala yung isang aircon di ko lang napansin kasi...
  • It's too dark. Alam mo yung the lights are sexy-time dim, not cozy dim. So di ko maaninag yung mga buttons sa aircon...
  • There's no good place to lounge by the TV, we had to move the chairs by the dining area just to get proper seats kasi nag-marathon kami sa Amazon.
  • The magic carpet looks fun but it's creaky and uncomfortable and the carpet looks very old. It's really just a decorative feature. Same with Venice's gondola. And I bet all of their thematic rooms have that one big beautiful prop that's only good for eye candy and maybe a quickie hehe.
  • Extra towels cost extra hehe. 20 each sya. We had to request because they only provided 2 bath towels and we didn't have floor rugs so ang kalat when we're moving from the jacuzzi to the shower.
  • I had a hard time sleeping because it's so noisy outside. We slept during the day by the way, so it worked that it's very dark, but then I can hear the traffic outside. Di ako makatulog, plus yun nga nilamig ako ng bongga haha.
  • And when I did get some sleep and finally woke up, lutang ako sa paligid. With no windows and no natural light coming in I have lost all sense of time and it's kindof disorienting. I don't like the feeling!

Bat ka naman kasi nag-staycation sa motel?! Hahaha

Don't be mistaken though because I'm not taking it against Victoria Court. I'm well aware their thematic rooms aren't meant for overnight stays. I guess the magic just wears off over time. After 5 hours you start experiencing things like what I mentioned above. Then you start noticing some details like may mga maduming corners pala tapos mapapansin mo mejo hindi na pala maintained yung interior hahaha. Tapos yung karaoke songbook kalat kalat yung pages?! It didn't really matter to me kasi pag may karaoke I always check the brand tapos download ako ng app nila so I can search for songs numbers on my phone instead. That's a life hack! Hahaha



Anyway we had so much fun, of course, *wink*. We also came here for the food because Victoria Bites offers a really delicious menu, and they did not disappoint kahit na naka pang-takeaway ang packaging at plastic ang utensils haha! And even though they reduced the options this time, the important thing is may Legendary Crispy Pata parin! Yung sinigang na baboy nila ang sarap din!!!

Okay that's all! Til next time!
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Tagaytay Staycation: Taal Vista Hotel Premiere King Room


We booked a weekend staycation at Taal Vista Hotel last month to celebrate my birthday. We've been meaning to go to Tagaytay ever since it opened to tourists on September, but the rules kept changing so we held off. Eventually we were able to push through with the trip, lucky enough to have come during a period when requirements weren't that strict. No need for travel pass, health certificate, and the hotel also didn't require a negative COVID test. The only requirement is that you fill out a health declaration form when you arrive, and wear your face mask and face shield at all times. They also don't allow Monday check-ins at this time so do note that when you're planning to go to Tagaytay. LGU has ordered establishments to shut down on Mondays for disinfection.

Here's a video of the room tour! Please watch, like, and subscribe! :)



On to the blabber...

I really like the room that we got. It's a Premiere King Room with a lake view and it's stunning!



  • Super comfy king sized bed
  • Big windows with roller blinds
  • Large cabled TV
  • Amazing Taal view
  • Basement and open parking available
  • Room service
  • Swimming pool (not sure if heated)
  • Fitness gym
  • Viewing deck
  • Restaurants
  • There's Casino Filipino and McDonald's across the hotel





There's also a water pitcher by the desk that you can refill from the water station by the hallway.



Yup! There are water stations placed along the hallway for your drinking water needs. It dispenses hot and cold water and it's just so convenient. I actually love this feature because we didn't need to buy our own water or keep asking for water bottles from housekeeping.

The TV is big but the smart feature is disabled, meaning you can't watch Netflix or Youtube or whatever. Good thing we brought our Xiaomi Mi TV stick with us so we were able to binge watch Parks and Recreation during our stay!


They also have a hygeine kit like this, containing face masks, alcohol, and wipes.


These are the bathroom essentials...


Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are fixed on the wall


Breakfast buffet is served from 6am to 10:30am (IIRC) at the Veranda restaurant...





When we stayed over the weekend, I was actually concerned that we have a neighbor. I thought hotel occupancy is limited and guests should be at least one room apart from each other.


It gets noisy when someone hangs out at the balcony. You can literally hear them and it's very easy to peek over at their side as well. You can see through the balcony windows and people can look up to you when they're down at the open area. It's a bummer that we weren't able to enjoy the balcony that way. It's noisy and not that private. :(

Hallways can get pretty noisy with footsteps as well. The room we got has a connecting door too, so that's less sound barrier for us. Privacy tip: Try to get a corner room and make sure you don't get a connecting room hehe!



We had a chance to walk around the hotel and found how expansive it is! The Lake View rooms are separate from the Mountain and Ridge view rooms. 


That's where the other guest rooms are. It's a long walk from the Lake View area, and tbh the building looks old. I'm sure the rooms are upgraded though! Hehe the facade reminds me of a dorm though. The pool and gym area are near this side so if you're up for the pool, this area is cool! Maybe it's quieter here? Hmm...





Yeah I guess that's about it. Despite the noise and lack of privacy at the balcony, we had a very enjoyable stay. We ordered twice from their room service and in fairness, ang sarap and the price is reasonable too. The staff are very courteous and nice and I would love to stay here again in the future.

We got the Premiere King Room for ₱6,500/night (promo).

Taal Vista Hotel
Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City
https://www.taalvistahotel.com/
+63 (7917) 8225 | +63 (46) 413 1000
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