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Friday, May 31, 2013

Feet Up Friday

I miss Zeff's baby feet so terribly. They're really round and fat and quite meaty! Haha He's started walking so he's losing those baby fat. And I miss them so much!

His feet are still cute but they're not the same. Silly me. Haha I am glad that he's walking! His feet may no longer be as fat and cute. Seeing him walk around the house just gives me so much joy. :)

Seven month-old baby feet

Barefoot in the veranda

Dirty but Happy Feet :)

Feet up, Zeff!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthday Gift from Co-workers

Because they think I'm the devil... LOL

I wanted these on Christmas and put it on the wishlist at work (for my Baby Zeff) but I got Walking Wings instead. Now, on my 30th birthday, they got my baby some Berenstain Bears. Yay! There's nothing like turning 30 and getting stuff I love for my babylove!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Life Story and the Life Events that Defined Me

I was born at 10:30 on a Wednesday night to a public school teacher and a private employee. The fourth in a brood of five, I have always been the bullheaded and the defiant one.  Up until this very day, I still remain the most hardheaded among the siblings.

My formative years were far from perfect. My family is not rich but my parents made us feel like we're quite well-to-do. We always had enough food, we lived comfortably (although, not always) and our education has always been my parents' top priority. Needless to say, I had a normal, not-too-dysfunctional-to-cause-irreparable damage kind of a happy childhood.

High school happened. I was thrown into an endless pit of academic and extra-curricular activities. Going to a science-oriented school meant I was privileged and at the same time it also meant that I am responsible for keeping my grades above average. I have always been grateful for that educational opportunity. I was among the 'cream of the crop'. It was hard living up to the expectations but it opened a lot of doors.

Then it was time to go to college. I thought of studying nursing but I had to be closer to a relative's house so I ended up choosing Broadcast Communication at UP Diliman. Fortunately, I got accepted at the country's premier state university. I thought it wasn't a big deal but meeting others who were also called 'cream of the crop' from different regions of the country changed everything. It made me rethink things, made me feel like I was lucky to be in UP. 

I thought high school was tough but college was tougher and it was a whole new playing field. I was living by myself, without my parent's constant guidance. I learned everything that I know now from those four short years at Diliman and for which I will always be grateful.

But college ended too soon. It was now time to be an adult and be responsible for everything, for my own finances and also time to extend help to the family. It was now time to 'serve the people.'

I served the American consumer instead. They were my first employer. It was the call center boom. I got a call a month before graduation from a giant call center company and they offered me a job. It was hard to say no.

I was working full time at 20 years old with a salary that was relatively higher by other industry's standards.

Then came the Koreans. They flocked to the Philippines to study English and I found myself teaching the language. I had so much fun teaching and at the same time learning about their rich culture.

I just turned 23 when my Korean student offered me a 'partnership' at establishing  a startup company that offers online English classes. At first I was hesitant, this was probably not even legit. And I felt inadequate. I thought I was too young to manage people.  But my student's friend (the one with the money) came to the Philippines to start this business and the prospect of helping manage a startup company seemed all too real

A colleague, (Julie) and I helped them with all the papers needed for a foreigner to invest and put up a business. The two of us started operating from a condo unit with three students, teaching classes in the condo kitchen from our laptops while looking for an office space.

My student's friend is a very good businesman. In less than two months, the number of our students more than tripled. Mr. Kim insisted it's because Julie and I were very good teachers that students extended their enrollment for a longer term and also enrolled their kids. But it's his marketing skills that really gave the business a boost.

I had a very demanding boss and the risk of failure was really high. So much money was at stake. It felt like I have the weight of the whole world on my shoulders. I have only been in the workplace for three years. I was only 23 but I felt that I have been working for years. The experience was exhilirating.

The establishment of an office space was inevitably expedited. The number of enrollees was steadily increasing. I should say that
Julie and I were a such great team. Julie was such an inspiraton and a great help. 

We literally started from scratch. We picked the office space ourselves. We called up the internet provider, the telephone company and the water company to have our business up and running. We shopped for the carpet, the furniture and the blinds, everything! The computers came from Korea but I had a hand in putting them together, using my very limited knowledge in computers at that time. Mr. Kim believed in maximizing resources. He didn't mind that I was down on my knees with the IT Administrator tinkering with the PCs, the cabling  and installing software on the computers. It was that time that I realized I had to own this business to make it work. I treated it like my baby, my very own project.

I was the Head Teacher cum IT-IT han cum admin cum teacher cum trainer during the first year and then as we were able to hire more people, my role was devoted to managing the teachers and creating the curriculum.

All good things must come to an end. I felt I had to move forward. I left the company after three years and worked at a computer company. It was during this time that I met my husband.

The circumstances of our meeting was hilarious. It's not what you would call your usual encounters. Hehe It was one of the things that made me think of God's wonderful ways in turning our life around. But as much as I want to spill my gut here in my blogging space, I want this part of my life known only to my very few close friends and to my family. Hehe Aside from the fact that I don't do love stories (weh? haha), I think I have not yet reached that stage where I feel the need to overshare. I still have reservations in that department. Such a paradox in the blogging world huh? Haha Anyway, this unexpected meeting of two different people resulted in a great friendship, a marriage that's full of love and laughter and a baby that fills us both with gratitude and so much love.

Wow! I never thought turning 30 could make me open up and clam up at the same time. Haha I'm way past overthinking other people's expectations of me. In my 'younger years', I have been prompted and pressured to act in certain ways but now that I'm 30, I am now more confident and more self-assured. There's nothing like turning a year older and finding yourself already in the 30s. I feel I've grown older and a lot wiser. Hmmm. Hahhaha

I should end this lengthy post with a 'Hope for the future'.

God's faithfulness has empowered me to reach my potential and has been helping me become the person He designed me to be. I look forward to another 30 years with God guiding me every step of the way. Thank you, Lord. :)

Me and my husband :)

Me and my baby buchukoy.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An Email from a Former Student

It always gives me so much joy whenever I hear from former students, especially from those who would like to resume their online English classes with me. Hehe

That's because It means more raket for me! I also got a little scolding because I dropped the class without notice. (This happened during my pregnancy and I had to back to my hometown to give birth).  

Now, all I need is time so I can squeeze them in my schedule. 

Sharing this email here to remind me that I should be grateful for opportunities (especially income-generating opportunities) that are coming my way. 


Interested? Visit for more info. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Zeff's Fun Time at Timezone and His First Ever Movie Date with Mom

While waiting in line for Iron Man 3

Zeff's First Movie Date with Mommy

Zeff's First Time in Timezone 
I have a strong feeling that a lot of weekends with Zeff will be spent here

'I'll soon find out how this works'

He loves the grocery rides!

I Love My BDJ 2013 Planner!

I'm a convert! I have been an owner of a Starbucks planner since 2008 before I discovered the Belle De Jour Power Planner. I just love this new discovery! The past four months have been lovely, organized and just chic. Me? Chic? Alright, this planner just made me feel like I'm really dapper. Haha

Kidding aside, this power planner indeed gave me back wasted time, organized my day and in general, my life. No more forgotten 'small tasks' and errands. Every single thing is listed down, even work meetings! No more wondering about what's the next thing to cross out on my To-Do List because I bring it with me everywhere. I even bought a Beabi case that perfectly fits this planner because I didn't want to break the spine. (I'm OC that way.)

There's also a cash flow tracker included which works perfectly with my debt-free spending plan. There's this detailed menstrual tracker (not designed for birth control, according to the BDJ team) that's just made for us girls. And to top it off, there are discount coupons for every kind of service and product a girl could think of! (Even my baby loves this planner. He always wants to hold it whenever he sees it.)
It really is the perfect power planner for the empowered woman. 

Where can you buy one?

I've searched for this everywhere! I even tried buying this online but the online shop went out of stock at that time so I had to look in bookstores. 

It turned out I didn't have to look far because it was available in our friendly neighborhood Fully Booked branch at Eastwood Mall. I soooo love Eastwod Mall!It's my new love and my baby's new favorite mall.

I know, I sound like a fanatic. I used to be an SM North kind of gal. It's just one ride away from UP Diliman. It's perfect for post-exam  chilling and weekend gala. It's true, I spent most of my college days at SM North. If I'm not in school/library, I'm probably at SM North or sleeping at home. 

 Now that we've moved to a new place. It's only right that every little thing I need can be found at Eastwood Mall, including the most coveted planner of this century. Sounds grand, but I like it! Haha But I digress.

So, I have the best planner in the world and I live close to the best mall in town. What more can I ask for? Hehehe Life is good!
Monday, May 13, 2013

Belle De Jour 2014 Planner Survey

It's only May but I'm already excited about the BDJ 2014 Planner!

I subscribed to their newsletter and I received a survey. I just had to answer it! I had a little time off from work so I went ahead and put in my two cents. The survey's a bit long and I wanted so much to talk about stuff that I want added but I had no time. I hope they get a little something from my feedback to help improve the power planner. 

There, done with the survey! I know I'm no fashionista but I'm definitely a go-getter!Hahaha

BDJ 2014 Planner Survey

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tintin 2.0: 30 New Things on My 30th Year | The List

Photo Source

The little tyke is asleep so I got time to post. It's time to show the stuff I listed on my Tintin 2.0 30-Day Challenge (rather 30 New Things To Do on your 30th). The ones that are crossed out are done. And like I said, this is random and isn't supposed to be a daily thing for the next thirty days. I'm a mother of a one-year old who constantly wants his Mommy by his side so I made it do-able and gave myself the rest of the year (my 30th year) to complete.

30 New Things on my 30th Year

1. Join an online contest.
2. Start a reading journal.
3. Deactivate your Facebook account. Go on a Facebook Fast for 30 Consecutive Days (starting May 12th, I return to FB-ing right before Independence Day. Brilliant!)
4. Attend a live taping of a TV show.
5. Do a craft project.
6. Design a T-shirt.
7. Decorate the apartment.
8. Get a loud manicure/pedicure.
9. Try Zumba.
10. Get a Brazillian... Blowdry :)
11. Bake a cake.
12. Grow something (an orchid perhaps?) Ask Nanay for tips. 
13. Run a 15K.
14. Learn how to draw something.
15. Get a make-over.
16. Travel to three different Philippine cities in a week.
17. Visit the oldest building in the city.
18. Visit a city library.
19. Stay in a local posh hotel for a staycation.
20. Plan a party.
21. Write Zeff's birth story.
22. Get pampered for an entire day.
23. Take driving lessons.
24. Wear a dress to an event.
25. Travel abroad with Baba and Zeff.
26. Go for a professional photoshoot with my baby and hubby.
27. Watch a play at my old school.
28. Create a bucket list.
29. Treat myself to 30 carats worth of some bling bling.
30. Make a list of 30 restaurants I've always wanted to try and over the next year visit each one with my husband.

Hoping to check more stuff off of the list in the coming months! :)

Spotted: Little Boy at the Grocery

He's now a part of the weekly trip to the grocery. :)
Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Non-Apology Apology

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I thought new mommies are supposed to be strong. I didn't think you were capable of crying. I am not even sure if you're supposed to cry in front of your kid. Ideally, mothers are not supposed to cry, only babies and wussies do that. There should be a no-crying policy for mothers. 

People saw you crying and they think you're a bad mother. It's not good. You're unfit to be a mother, that's what they would say. You signed up for all these and there's just no room for wailing like a newborn. Even if it's just because of sheer exhaustion. Exhaustion from your stressful job, from the household duties that awaits you and all the other areas in your life that just seemed so difficult to juggle. Because in between work and the task of looking after a baby and managing a household, you're supposed to just keep your cool, every freakin' time.

You cannot cry just because a voice in your head would want you to have some 'me time'. Me time? What does that even mean? You have to forget about yourself. Forget about your own dreams and aspirations because there's a little person who needs your attention. There's a baby who would suffer for every time you think about your own selfish thoughts, even if it would keep you healthy and would make you more able to care for that child. Even if you think it would make you a better person, a better mother. You just have to forget yourself. Think of the baby. Always. 

Those last three paragraphs? Forget I said it. Yes, you should always think of the baby. There's no question about it. But you? YOU deserve some ME TIME. If you have to stay away from people who think otherwise, by all means, do so.
Sunday, May 5, 2013

Marriage and Project Management

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I attended a Project Management training at work last Thursday, May 2nd. I must say that I learned a lot. It's one of the more helpful and more practical trainings I've gone to. Not only is it useful in my role as a Bid Manager but the concepts of Project Management can be used outside of work and can help us improve our lives! I'm all for doing things that I can actually use in real life, so I was all ears the entire duration of the training.

The facilitator got my attention the moment she defined the word 'project'. She said that it is a 'temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service'. She addressed the class and asked for the meaning of the word 'temporary'. (I hate the part where concepts are defined because I often make a stupid mistake of using the word being defined in my own definition. We all know that  'definitions' do not work that way.)

The class was quiet. I didn't raise my hand but I said, loud enough to be heard, "It's time-bound." She responded, "Yes, it has a beginning and it has an end.

She gave examples of projects and then she asked, "Would you call a marriage a project?" Everyone laughed. I said, "Sometimes, it is." More laughter.

And then she went on to discuss the working definition of project management. The different phases of PM followed and all those other concepts which I am already slightly familiar with (e.g. risk management, procurement). I liked that the facilitator was very engaging and knowledgeable about the topic. She was a Project Manager, herself, so that was great. Absolutely no BS. I have an uncanny ability to see through trainers/facilitators, (even people managers) and can tell whether they're all just talk and all BS.

For the application of the concepts that we have learned, we were divided into small groups. We were to create a project charter. There were four of us. My team composed of a people manager, an accountant, a bid support specialist and myself. 

We all had different backgrounds and we all belong to different departments. The inputs were varied. The accountant focused on the numbers, of course. He made a compelling statement/projections on the 'mock project' that we were planning. He definitely did his math. We all had contributions. I criticized our work, played the devil's advocate and it sure helped in making sure our presentation came out loophole-free and it was indeed well-thought of. 

It was great working with mature and intelligent people who think the way I do. (I claim it, I think very maturely (hehe) and the intelligent part? I'll get there. hahaha)

I won't bore you with the details of our project charter but ours was about 'developing a continuous education program for capability improvement'. We were up against one team who will plan a 'deployment of a black belt six sigma champion' and another who will 'design a rewards and recognition program to improve motivation and performance'. The black belt six sigma champion should have been a guaranteed success but there were loopholes. Needless to say (hehe), our mock project was the one that got approved (by the stakeholders). Yay!

It was fun! I can't remember having so much fun in a training class. That could be because I usually take online trainings because of my workload. 

The best take away, though, from the Project Management training (at least for me) was that short remark made by the trainer: about marriage and project management. A marriage and a project have a lot in common. But a marriage is not time-bound. It is not temporary. It has a beginning, yes. But it's not supposed to have an ending. Marriage only ends when you both leave this physical world. It's supposed to last until death do you part. 

Cliche, right? But the core message resonates with me. I would always find a connection between work and my personal life. That makes learning fun. (In this case, nag-daydream na naman ako about my own marriage while on training. Haha I am cheezy that way). 

I am a married woman. I have fears (unfounded though they may be) that my own marriage will suffer in the future, because of the distance, or other factors that other marriages have suffered, like growing old together but growing apart. (I'm a cynic like that). 

That's where COMMITMENT comes in.

In a project as well as a marriage, commitment is needed to reach your goals (to stay together through bad times and good times) and see it through to completion (the vow made in God's presence and in our case, the Judge's too, (hehe): till death do us part).

I probably don't make sense anymore. Haha I shall leave you with a quotable quote from, no less than, Peter Drucker himself.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Envelope System

It's the start of the month again and my head throbs from balancing the checkbook. Yes, my head hurts, literally, from all the mental effort of tweaking budget allocations to make sure I don't overspend or worse, touch my husband's allotment. 

My husband made sure I get our monthly allotment and I had access to his bank account. But I insisted that we live on only one income while he's away. Upon my suggestion and because I take pride in my budgeting skills, (haha) I offered to not touch the allotment and instead live on my salary alone. I also wanted to make sure that we are able to save enough for the house we're planning to buy. I have a vision. And I will move heaven and earth to make that a reality. 

At first I thought it was easy. I have been living on my own income, without a baby, without a household to run and without a credit card and I did fine.

Today though, I am managing a household, a nanny and a baby, (still without a credit card). I did fine. I even had money set aside for Zeff's schooling and an insignificant amount for savings. I did more than fine. 

Except I no longer eat at fancy restaurants. When I was working in Makati, I used to freqent Momo Cafe, Banapple, Apartment 1B, Amici, Chicboy, Yakimix, Bonchon, North Park, Dome Cafe, the other coffee shops, name all the restaurants within the vicinity and I am sure to have eaten there.

It's been months since I had coffee from Starbucks. I don't even know what Serenitea tastes like anymore. The last cup I remember drinking was a Winter Melon Tea from Gong Cha and it was free, courtesy of my husband's cousin, back in December 2012. I don't take home Krispy Kremes for meryenda anymore.  

It was difficult. I felt deprived and I have been envious of my friends on Facebook who regularly post their gastronomic adventures. I told myself, "that was me over a year ago, over aeons ago, before the pregnancy". I was a huge fan of food porn and I used to hang out with officemates and friends who love eating out. 

But I had a "been there, done that" moment and I checked myself. I had to. I had to remember why I made a decision to live a frugal, debt-free life. I glanced at my baby who's playing with his yaya and all of a sudden, I felt better. 

All of a sudden, I no longer miss the old spending me, the old me who needed to have the latest gadget, the old me who needed to go to the coolest places. I have everything I need when I stay home. For fun, I don't have to go out and eat out and be seen at the coolest places, my son is a walking entertainment showcase. I get a good laugh without spending a dime plus I get a hug and a kiss every time I ask for it. It's priceless!

For now, I will deal with the headache and the stress brought about by the mental stretching of the peso (and the dollar). I will just keep stuffing in my budget in the envelope while silently praying that I won't have to deal with another headache if I overspend or if my son decided to drink more milk than his usual 45 ounces a day, for the next two weeks. ;)

And when window-shopping, I would have to stay away from stores that have signs like: Lovely to look at, delightful to hold, but if you break it, we consider it sold. God help me if I break stuff and they take me downtown. LOL