[Unboxing + Review] All-new Kindle 10th Generation (2019)

Finally! I got the Kindle Basic 10th Generation 2019 or the All-new Kindle 10th Gen (2019), I'm not really sure what's it called officially aside from "Kindle" so to be more specific I call it the Kindle Basic.
 



In this blog post I'm gonna share a review of the product, its specs and features, why I chose it (over the Paperwhite), where and how I download ebooks, how I removed ads (special offers), and finally its price and availability.

You may also watch my Youtube review here:



Unboxing



The box contains a paper sleeve containing the Kindle, some paperworks, and a USB charging cable (micro USB end). That's it! There's not much to the package.

If you notice, the Kindle shows a static screen where it tells you where the Power On button is. I thought it was just some product pamphlet but that's actually the screen already. And for some reason it came active?

Interesting. I got curious about why it came with an active screen, even more curious when I powered it on and found the factory charge at 42%. I was expecting it to be drained.

Then I learned that the Kindle doesn't actually eat battery life when the page is still because e-ink display only consumes power when you're turning pages. Amaaaazing! 

Specs and features

  • Model no.: J9G29R
  • 6" glare-free screen
  • 167 ppi resolution
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) - 16 x 11.3 x 0.87 cm (6.3 x 4.5 x 0.3 in)
  • Weighs 174g
  • 8GB storage
  • Adjustable front light
  • Audible support
  • Wi-fi connectivity
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Comes in black and white

How to remove special offers (ads)
The Kindle I got is an ad supported version so there are special offers and sponsored screensavers like these...


The ads aren't really annoying, they're not that instrusive. At least they don't pop-up while you're reading. Though you can still have it removed if you want, just simply chat with an Amazon Customer Service agent online. How?

Login to your Amazon account and chat to a CS rep here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/contact-us/ref=csl_contactus

Mention that you would like to have special offers removed because you're from this and that country and the ads are irrelevant to you (which is weird cos the ads are actually tailored to your behavior on Kindle).

You could also lie and say it's inapproriate for the (non-existent) minors in your household to see book suggestions with topless men with v-cut abs on the cover lol. I'm not really sure what the right reason would be but it's just a matter of trying and trying until you get an agent who will agree to remove the ads for you for FREE as an exception. I tried a total of 3 times before I was able to have them removed, here's my experience:

Attempt #1: I chatted with an agent, told him I'm from the Philippines and would like to have ads removed because blah blah blah. He took my serial # and said that upon checking, my Kindle is registered at Amazon Japan so I should take my business there instead. I didn't bother taking it to Amazon JP beause it would mean I had to create an account there and it's too troublesome navigating a Japanese website. So I let it go.

Attempt #2: This time the agent referred my concern to Amazon JP by creating a ticket for it. So I just waited through email for the result of my appeal. It was denied. They explained that they couldn't remove the ads because the device was bought that way. Bummer.

Attempt #3: The agent said that there's a $20 fee for the ads to be removed. I asked how come some people were able to have it removed for free? Blah blah blah. Eventually he agreed to remove it for me for free, as an exception. I wasn't angry okay hehe, just trying my luck, if there's any, and there's some! So yeah, during the session he removed the ads on my Kindle and asked me to restart the device. Et voila!



Don't forget to be nice and thank them for their effort hehe. They're not really obligated to remove it and you're just asking for a favor so yeah, be nice and grateful that no unsolicited torrid cover shall ever grace your Kindle screensaver ever again.

Why Kindle Basic (over Paperwhite)?
Here's a comparison table among the three popular Kindles. 


On paper, the Paperwhite (pun intended) is the clear winner with most of its features being an upgrade from the Kindle Basic. It has an option for bigger storage, has higher screen resolution, more light options, has an IPX8 rating (waterproof), and option for wifi + cellular connectivity. 
 
The thing is, for $40 more I didn't need that much features, so I stuck with the basic.

On storage: I wouldn't need 32GB of storage since I only read books in text. I also don't listen to audible, and if I want to, I would rather use the Kindle app on my phone for that. I don't read image heavy files like comic books or magazines. So yeah, I wouldn't need that much storage. In fact, 8GB can very well store over a thousand books already and that's more than enough to last me my lifetime.

Resolution: Depends on the type of media you consume, Kindle Basic's 167ppi resolution is actually good enough. I mean they wouldn't come up with an e-reader you can barely read from. You're welcome to read comic books too. But if that's your main cup of tea I suggest you go for the PPW instead cos that's where the 300ppi would matter more.

Battery life: Amazon was never specific about how much battery its Kinde devices can hold, all we know is that it lasts for weeks, thanks mostly to e-ink technology which only consumes power when you're flipping the pages.

What I like about the Kindle Basic


Product design! The Kindle basic has a sunken screen compared to Paperwhite's flush surface, they both look good to me but I just prefer how the Kindle Basic is built. The body has a matte plastic finish and the Kindle logo at the front is etched unobtrusively in a spot gloss. I also love how the logo at the back doesn't contain the wordmark "Amazon" haha.


Reading progress! You can set the footer to show your reading progress. You can see time left in book, time left in chapter, location in book, page in book, and your overall % progress. This feature actually encourages me to read more!

Page layout! You can customize your reading experience according to your preference. You can choose the font family, font size, orientation (portrait or landscape), margins, spacing, etc.

Display cover! There's an option in the settings that allows you to turn the cover of the book you're reading as a screensaver. I disabled this feature cos it doesn't always work in sideloaded books but it's a nice feature still hehe.

Dictionary and vocabulary builder! One of my favorite features. You can press and hold an unfamiliar word and the dictionary will pull up with its definition. Also, that word will be added to your Vocabulary Builder, which is a list of all the words you looked up. You can check it out and see flashcards of its usage, and you can also mark it as mastered if you're good with the word. Awesome!

Highlights and notes! Very handy for quotable quotes!

So! If there's one thing I want improved with the user experience, that would be the accesibility of the brightness settings. Right now it takes 2 clicks to get there. I would appreciate it if there's a shortcut to it just like how you can pinch the screen and the font will automatically zoom in or out. Other than that I'm good! :)

Sideloading ebooks
There are so many ways to load books on your Kindle but I can only share one way cos this is the only way I know haha. I get my books from Z-Library at https://z-lib.org and I only use my phone to transfer it.

How? First make sure you have the Kindle app on your phone, it's free to download and everything you got in your library will sync to your Kindle device, so this is a key step.

Go the the z-lib website, look for a book you want, and download a MOBI version of it.

Once it's downloaded, open the file, choose the app where you want to launch it, and look for Kindle, it should be there. You'll be prompted with the Send to Kindle dialog where you enter the author's name and hit send. Make sure to toggle "Save in Kindle Library" on.



The book will appear in your Kindle library shortly, and on to your Kindle device as well. That's it, no need for cables!

Finally
Got the item from Lazada Philippines for ₱4,620.00

Reading on the Kindle is a whole new experience for me. It's super light and easy to hold. It's even lighter than my phone. The e-ink display is remarkable, it's easy on the eyes, you don't even need to turn on the front light if you're reading in a bright environment. It's as if you're reading straight from the book. Navigation is very different from a smart phone, mind you, specially when it comes to flipping the pages. But that's expected with e-ink display. I'm happy with my purchase and can't wait to read more books! :D

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My High 5 Test Results

I took a High 5 test just now and here are my uhm high 5's?



It's a free personality test by the way, an alternative to Clifton Strengths Online Talent Assessment which costs at least $20 to take. It's usually company sponsored but I got curious and didn't wanna pay so I sought out an alternative. Anyway... here's what the results mean:

Time Keeper


Your objective is to set timelines and deadlines. Because of your dislike of surprises, you love to plan. You don't necessarily need to control everything and everyone, but there must be order and predictability in the world around you. You unconsciously impose the structure onto everything by setting up routines, timelines and deadlines. If you set up plans, you make sure you follow them through thoroughly. Your need for structure becomes very useful in a team or a project since you can bring order and discipline to maintain progress and productivity.

Deliverer

Your objective is to take responsibility. If there is a person who is emotionally bound to follow through on all promises - then it's you. Your strong ethical principles do not let you to simply write missteps off on excuses and rationalizations. It holds true no matter how small or large is the issue you are dealing with. Your name and reputation depend on you being responsible for your commitments. That's why people love to have you in their team. When assigning new responsibilities, they look at you first. They are 100% sure that what'll get on your desk - will get done no matter what.

Thinker

Your objective is to think. Some get excited by exercising their biceps or triceps, you - by stretching your 'brain muscles' through deep thinking. It does not necessarily mean you are a very focused person. It just means you enjoy the mental activity and meaningful conversations. For your mind journeys, you perceive yourself as the best companion. This introspection allows you to digest complex information and ideas before communicating about it with the surrounding world. Who wouldn't like to have a team member who can simplify even most sophisticated concepts in a way that a 3-year-old would understand?

Problem Solver

Your objective is to solve problems. Any breakdowns are normally demotivating to the majority of people, but not for you. At the contrary, when something does not work the way it should be, it provides you an opportunity to analyze symptoms of a problem, identify what's wrong and find the solution. In other words, you are a great problem solver. What makes you particularly special is that instead of abandoning - your goal is to restore something to its true glory. In a team, everyone knows you as a person who does not shy away from a problem, but actually fixes things to their normal functioning.

Empathizer

Your objective is to be empathetic to others' emotions. No one can step into the others' shoes better than you - it comes so naturally to you. You might not agree with every perspective and emotion, but most importantly you are able to understand what the person is going though. It allows you to have personalized approach to everyone, to see their differences and specialties, to include them and to treat fairly. Naturally, it draws others to you, as you know exactly how they feel. In a team, such a strength based on kindness can be essential for mitigating conflicts by making sure all team members are aware of each other's emotions and challenges.

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Hay

I've been compulsively twisting my hair ever since idunno when and it's becoming a problem (to the people around me at least). I want to stop but it doesn't always occur to me to stop lol. It just feels... relaxing, you know, twisting a lock until my scalp burns and tips of unlucky strands dry and fall out. Until my arm hurts from reaching my head and my neck stiffens from this chronic urge. It's the same spot on my head ever since the habit recurred. Fortunately it hasn't grown to a bald spot yet, that I'm only on the twisting phase, not pulling yet. But who knows. Yes, it recurred. It started when I was in college. I couldn't remember when, but most likely during thesis days haha. Then it stopped for a while, I'm not sure actually. Maybe it never stopped, I just didn't notice cos no one's constantly telling me off back then.

I'm twisting my hair as I write. No, I'm twisting my hair in between thinking what to write next. I should probably keep typing to keep me from reaching up. Damn.

It's most probably work. I mean, what else could it be. I've been stressed at work a lot lately. There's this project, this team, that I really want to stop dealing with altogether because the tasks are too complicated and impossible to implement properly. Urgh. That's it. That's my problem. I don't wanna deal with them anymore. But I also know I'm not gonna be free until I face this problem. There's no way to escape this feeling of dread. Huhu.

I'm also having some sort of social media identity crisis, if there's such a thing. If there's one thing I'm deathly afraid of overdoing on social media, it's promoting myself. I would hardly invite people from my own network to come visit my channel or come read my blog. Mostly because I'm afraid of being judged. That's why I made separate The Blahger accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Because I wanted to isolate myself from my content. Thing is, my content is drawn from my personal life so it's hard to keep them apart without being redundant. Anyway.

Yeah. Just want to let this out first thing this week. 

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On the lookout for a nice looking ergonomic chair

My aesthetic nordic chair totally unscrewed last night so I'm on the lookout for a real office chair. One that's ergonomic that could still be aesthetic (if it's not too much to ask). For reference here's my current workstation without a chair:


So see I don't really have much space for big chairs that has a lot of frills. I just want a simple, height adjustable chair that has nice legs haha.

By the way this is the chair that broke on me.


Remind me to avoid these type of chairs forever. The screws have a way of loosening over time until you fall on your ass.

So what are my prospects?

I'm looking at FlexiSpot TaskChair OMEGA but it's currently out of stock:



I'm also looking at Stance Philippine's BetterWork Lite but the armrests aren't adjustable haha

Fursys is a good brand according to this ergonomic chair Facebook group I'm in (gosh yes there's a group for every WFH essential now haha) but it's hella expensive. this Fursys Around chair is one of their cheapest and I like all the features! Adjustable height, armrest, lumbar support, and seat depth.




If you notice I'm partial with nylon legs hehe since it looks better and less clunky than the aluminum ones that are curved and bulky haha.

Anyway. Hope to get a good office chair soon (that I can afford!). 

Back to work!

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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 (here's a small one)

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 with 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 ends up getting itchy. So pag kumati, di ko mapigilan magkamot, so lalong nangitim ua ko. If you're familiar with Lily's Touch Miracle Cream, sobrang pareho sila ng effect and even the consistency, magkaiba lang amoy hehe. Both hindi ko bet.

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 (6 weeks later - 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: May 18, 2021 (9 weeks later - Podium branch)

My 3rd session was 3 weeks overdue because NCR went back to EQC and Wink had to close for some time. The recommended interval between sessions is 4-6 weeks only so I was worried na baka mawalan ng kwenta yung previous session 'cos it's been so long.

Before the session:

Right and left

Not much difference no? This 3rd session was a laser whitening one and it's a bit more painful as they increased the intensity. Baka dahil overdue na nga ako. The nurse assured me that it's okay na medyo late pero I doubt kasi tinaasan nila yung intensity haha baka pambawi? Honestly kung pwede nga iforfeit yung previous session and ulitin yung laser whitening that's good for me, but I'm nore sure if it's good for the business lol. Looking foward to my next sesh. Sana wag na magsara ulit lecheng gobyerno to now they're getting in the way of my vanity?!?! Hahahaa


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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