Thursday, October 28, 2010

Avoid The Crowds - Shop Online

We were at SM San Lazaro when they had that 3-day sale in the beginning of the month, during the time when they were offering the 10% additional discount for the first 2 hours for SM Advantage card holders. Oh, what a crowd! It was the first time in ages that we've seen this mall packed, as in sardines-in-a-can type of crowded! We were there to get a gift and ended up empty-handed. We were trying to do our shopping before the time we had to pick up Benjo and the line we were in didn't seem to be moving. So we just left what we wanted to buy and decided to go back the next morning. Then two weeks later came another sale at SM Megamall. I had thought that since this mall was bigger, it wouldn't be as packed. But how wrong I was! Jojo could already see by the way that some cars parked along the street that we would have a hard time getting a place to park. So strike 2, we made a u-turn and headed for Greenhills, less crowded and surprisingly, also had sales where I ended up buying a few gifts from my Christmas list (check-check, it feels good to see the list getting shorter).

Since the bazaar list that I have on this blog is the most read, I thought of offering another list, this time for those who don't want to worry about traffic, crowds and other time-consuming hassles. Yes, there is such an option and it's called online shopping, browsing and buying right in your own home (or office for those not-so-busy employees). I bought from ebay several times, both when I was still in the US and also here in the Philippines. I also got to sell several items on, which was a lot of fun and profitable.

I will continue to add to this list as I find more sites online.  (Most of these sites are based in the Philippines with Philippine-made products.  Buying locally helps the environment, less travelling time for your product means less use of fuel.  Plus you will be helping a talented and deserving entrepreneur/kababayan and our local economy.)  - Buy gifts and accessories made from native products online - Bid on an item at this local version of the popular online shopping site, - Similar to ebay but most sellers have hand-made products for sale
Human Nature - Organic health and beauty products, from a group of socially-conscious entrepreneurs helping local farmers (founded by the children of Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga)
National Bookstore
Shepherd's Voice - Bo Sanchez's Kerygma products, such as Didache and Companion.  You can also donate to their ministry online.
Suelas Shoes - Flatten it, Fold it, Roll it - fashionable, comfortable shoes

  • Check your seller's profile and selling records (for ebay and etsy) before buying. 
  • There are several options for paying for your items - paypal and gcash are a couple of options.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The True Reason For The Season

All the hustle and bustle has already begun... shopping here and there, sales galore, stress level getting higher with the number of days 'til Christmas getting lower.  But why does it have to be this way?  Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.  This I would like to believe, though another glorious time, and this maybe even better than Christmas, is Easter.

As we go about trying to buy gifts for our loved ones this Christmas, let us not forget the true reason for this season... the birth of Jesus, our Savior, our Hope, our God who comes to us to be like us...

Amidst the busyness of this season, let us make room for Him, give time for Him, leave a special space in our hearts for Him...

Another Way To Wrap Gifts

Here's another gift wrapping idea...

You may have seen these in the stores or the tiangges.  I got these for P12 each wholesale at one of the first stalls I saw at 168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria, but after walking further I saw another stall selling the same pouches for P8 each.  Another lesson for me is to canvas the items first, if you don't mind doing a little walking, to find the same items at a lower price.  And something I've noticed too is that the stalls or paseos that are nearest the entrances are usually the ones with the higher prices.

The pouches come in different sizes, colors and designs.  They're made of some nylon fabric and are see-thru.  So in terms of making the gift a "surprise", you may have to add tissue paper or some other thin material to cover the actual gift.  What's great about these pouches are that they're reusable, therefore environmentally-friendly and easy to use, just put the gift inside and pull the string to secure.

Related links:
Gift and Gift Wrapping Idea

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Music Inspirations

I was going through the paper this morning as part of my usual morning routine.  This time in our bedroom, taking peeks from behind my paper to see what Joselyn was up to.  She had her own show going, playing this time with these markers, putting them on top of the other and finding that they stack together and she can actually balance several markers without them falling.  She's enjoying her 2nd day out of school because of Bagyong Juan.  We continue to pray for our countrymen who have been directly affected by this recent typhoon.

As I was saying, I was reading the paper and glanced upon the Top 10 list of best-selling CDs, something that I don't usually take notice of.  But I noticed that in the OPM (Original Pilipino Music) class, there are 3 Christmas CDs on this list!  I was actually thinking of purchasing a new Christmas CD and it seems like that I'm not the only one who wants to add to that "Christmas spirit" by listening to sounds of Christmas tunes.

For now, I'm contented playing my old Christmas and Christian music CDs or listening and watching some tunes on youtube.  I have not entered the world of the iPod yet, but I don't think I'm missing much.  Here's one of my favorite songs which I love listening to.  It's not one of our traditional Christmas songs, but it sure emcompasses the spirit of Christmas ...  "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant:

While I'm in this inspirational, musical mood, let me share with you another of my favorites.  Composed and sung by the late Rich Mullins - "If I Stand"...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Colorful Touch To Our Sofas

I wrote about wanting a living room makeover a month ago, but have only done minimal work in making this "wish" a reality.  I've looked over several home design magazines and have pondered countless times on what I would love to do to make our space more lively and attractive.  I've added small touches, but haven't done the major makeover, such as to change the sofa covers.  I want to try to sew the covers, but I'm not sure if I have talent nor time to sew this project.  The next best thing was to add cushions to add color to the area.  When I went to Divisoria, I found these covers for P75 a pair...

I love how such a small addition has added color and life to our blah sofas.  Getting the inspiration from these covers, I think I will choose the color of the sofa from one of the colors on the covers, maybe the maroon or the yellow-orange, or something similar.  I'm setting a goal for myself... to either sew the covers myself or to have someone else sew them before my birthday on November 28, a birthday gift for ... moi... from moi!  Hopefully blogging on this will make this goal more concrete.  We'll see...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gift and Gift Wrapping Ideas

Christmas draws near with only 73 more days, but less considering the time when we actually distribute gifts.  For our school friends, it will be on the last day of school before Christmas break, so that's approximately 63 days left.  I already have a wonderful gift idea for our close school friends.  In our many outings this past year, I've accumulated countless pictures with the kids and their parents.  I'll put this on CD and print out a few, one I'll put in a frame.  So one item on my list, which I've checked off today is to buy several photo frames.  I specifically wanted a wooden frame since I'm trying to stay away from plastic products this Christmas and be more environmentally conscious.  I got a great deal on these frames which I bought at 168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria for only P25 each - wholesale price (at least 6 of the same item)!  I had found a smaller frame at one of the first stores I entered and they were offering the smaller sized frame for the same price,  so I consider myself lucky to find a better bargain.

In my previous blog, I wrote about finding alternative ways to wrapping gifts.  Another great idea is to use handkerchiefs, which you can purchase for P10 each or buy in packages of 12 for less than P5 each.  Wrapping the frames or any other gift is quite simple as illustrated in the following pictures.  Use a fabric ribbon and tie a bow to secure the gift and make it extra attractive...
Spread out handkerchief.  Choose bright, colorful prints.

Put the gift item in the center and fold each corner of the handkerchief towards the center.
You don't have to use any fancy folds, the print of the handkerchief and the ribbon will give you the
decorative elements you need.
The final product.  Simple and elegant, yet cheap and environmentally-friendly.

Related links:
Another Way to Wrap Gifts
Using SM Eco-Bags To "Wrap" Gifts

Monday, October 11, 2010

Using SM Eco Bags to "Wrap" Gifts

I've been thinking about different ways that we can package the gifts we give out this Christmas.  Getting gift-wrapping paper or gift bags are usually the norm.  But with the amount of waste we accumulate after all the gifts have been opened, we need to be more creative in wrapping our gifts in order to reduce waste and help Mother Earth. 

A great idea, and I'm probably not the only one who's thought of this, is to buy an Eco Bag from SM.  I've seen them displayed in different stores around SM.  I saw their ad in the Sunday paper and was surprised how cheap they are. The canvas bags are only P35, which is about the same amount you would pay for some paper gift bags.  The bags are colorful and fashionable and would fit most gift sizes.  (I'm not trying to promote SM and am not affiliated with them except as a shopper.  I do honor SM though for their goals to be more environmentally-friendly.)

By using the SM eco bags, we are actually giving 2 gifts in 1 - the gift and the bag!  This would be great for gifts like clothing, books, toys and other gift items that would fit in the bag.  It may not be so practical for smaller gifts.  For smaller items we could use recycled paper and wrap it with string instead of using plastic tape or plastic ribbons.  I've yet to find a supplier of recycled paper.  I'll post it here once I do find one in the area.

October 13, 2010...
We were at SM yesterday and I didn't want to leave without buying the said eco bags.  I bought the set, a total of P140.  The canvas material is quite thin, not as sturdy as I thought they would be.  The designs would look better on cotton, but hey, considering it only costs P35 each this is still a good deal.  Joselyn wanted one of the bags, but I told her that it was going to be used to "wrap" Christmas gifts for our friends, and she had one of her moments.  I am thinking of going back to get some for ourselves.  The orange is my favorite, but I think the other designs and colors are just as great.

I was at Divisoria today and found some great alternatives to wrapping gifts, plus other finds.  I'll write on this on my next blog...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reviving My Passion For Running

Oh I felt it, after so many years... I could almost hear the noises from days of old ...  "On your mark, get set, GO!", someone shouts as the gun goes off and we runners sprint as fast as our legs could take us, our whole body and being focuses on that one goal, the end of the 100 meter track.  It's been so long.  I was still in elementary, competing against my schoolmates at Duffy Primary School in Canberra, Australia.  Then selected to be one of the representatives our school and one time getting to be part of the city's inter-district competition.  Walking on that field I could almost feel my heart beat as it felt when I was eleven, twelve - so nervous that it seemed my heart was next to my ears, then feeling the wind blow against my face and the feel of either grass or ashphalt on my bare feet.  I didn't have good running shoes back then and I seemed to run better without shoes, but that ashphalt sure stung my feet.  But oh, the competition, the adrenalin, the feeling of being victorious, some of the time.  Mostly I came in second, our relay team sometimes coming in first.  It was at the city's track and field competition that I was humbled.  I didn't even make it to the championship round.  But it was there that I felt that I got to experience what real track and field was, the modern stadium with the tracks just as modern, with lanes numbered and measured to perfection.

This was different though.  I was brought back to reality.  This was the Philippines and it's almost 30 years later.  The stadium is old, a repaint job the least of their worries.  The tracks, oh the poor tracks.  I felt it and it was far from that rubbery material that I felt in that stadium.  Rough, worn-out.  This was concrete - broken and cracked.  I could imagine how many runners were victimized by these cracks.  But still it served those willing to train in this stadium, for a minimal fee.  Kids with a dream of maybe one day competing in the Olympics.  At the long jump field, some kids were practicing under the heat, jumping higher and longer.  Games, maybe, but some were serious in doing better than their last jump.

I wanted to run on that cracked and worn-out thing they called a track.  But what kept me from running?  I didn't have the right shoes, yes, but that never stopped that once 11-year old from running.  There was a shyness in me, conscious of the stares from the older folks, folks my age, that were watching on the bleachers, scared of looking foolish.

That feeling of wanting to run again hasn't left me.  We will go back to that broken and old track.  Then I will be ready, both with my shoes and with my self-confidence.  It will not be for that ribbon nor trophy any more.  It will be just for me, to find out if my body is still in shape to run, or to start an exercise regimen to make me get in better shape.  I was a runner then and I feel in my veins, even on these worn-out tracks and in this worn-out body, that I am still - a runner.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Food For Thought

I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish this blog in one sitting.  I'm writing under pressure.  In less than 10 minutes, I'm going to hear the doorbell buzz, buzz and buzz again notifying me of the arrival of my big bundle of joy, my 5 year and 10 month old girl.  She'll be bringing with her stories of her day in school, the new lessons, songs, sounds that she's learned, plus funny stories like "mabaho si so-and-so, umutot siya" ("So-and-so is smelly, he farted!"), along with a laugh that sends her in fits.

Now, I'm definitely not going to finish this blog, 'cause I'm totally off my topic.  Which was???  Okay, let me refresh my thoughts, try to relax and think that I have infinite time to write...

Happy Monday!  The sun is bright, promises of a very warm afternoon.  I got in my inbox this morning an email from Bo Sanchez' Soulfood Newsletter.  A very inspiring message about the importance of making our wishes (goals, dreams, etc.) clear.  Read the message and you'll understand what I mean.  Oh, here's my bundle of joy now...

Just want to share this link for the meantime.  My thoughts on it will follow...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Letting My Hair Down

Kulot, kinky.  Just two words that best describe my hair.  You can't tell most days since I always have it in a ponytail.  I don't go out without mousse thus giving me that sometimes wet look.  But last Saturday when we went out to SM, I decided to not put my hair up but just let it hang loose.  It was cool enough.  Part of the reason for putting my hair up is the weather, I hate sweating from the heat and having my hair down causes more sweating especially at the back of my neck.  Plus we were going to the mall where it would be air-conditioned.  I put on more mousse than I would usually put, so as to make sure it wouldn't just spring into an afro!  And you know what? I felt so free with my hair down.  I always felt that I'm a little stiff (maybe it's that "teacher/Miss Tapia" look) with my hair in a ponytail.  And I have glasses to add to the conservative image.  But with my locks down I had such a carefree feeling.  And I don't know if it was my imagination, but I got more looks from boys and girls alike.  But then again I don't know if it was one of those "she looks weird/strange" looks or "she looks different in a nice kind of way" looks.  But hey, I'm 40 and very much taken, so it doesn't (or shouldn't) really matter.