Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The BDJ2014 Survey

Despite the onslaught of technology and tech-savvy people, there are still those folks who stick to the traditional way of planning - with the use of a reliable paperback planner. I am one of those. Yes, I do have a smartphone, but the only use of my smartphone's calendar is to remind me of people's birthdays. :-D But when it comes to planning out my day (and my life), I still rely on the handy dandy old-fashioned planner. Perhaps, I am just one of those people who prefer to scribble down notes than pressing keypads and swiping touchscreens. And having a lot of things to plan for - deadlines at work, parent-teacher meetings and school activities of my son, and my personal "me" time (i.e. trips to spa, nail and waxing salon), I consider my planner an extension of my own memory.

Finding a planner that suits one's lifestyle is definitely a good catch. I was able to do so when I was introduced to the Belle De Jour (BDJ) PowerPlanner back in 2010. When a good friend gave me a BDJ Planner as a birthday gift, I fell in love with it instantly. And since then (2010), I have always been an avid fan and supporter of this planner. Now you might wonder why. Well.. Aside from the usual pages containing the days and the time table, the BDJ Planner also contains sections which are very useful to the busy ladies like me, such as, the 2013 Goals, 2013 Checklist, Bills Tracker, Cash Flow Tracker, Vacation Planner, and Menstrual Tracker (very useful!!). Aside from these sections, another thing which I love about this planner is the BDJ Lifestyle Card and the discount coupons that come with the planner. The lifestyle card can be used in several establishments, some of which offer special promotions and discounts (separate from the discount coupons inside the planner).

About 2 weeks ago, I got an email from the BDJ Team informing me of the annual BDJ survey. This survey gauges the interest of existing BDJ subscribers - what they like about the planner, and what areas need improvement. The survey also accepts suggestions on what the subscribers wishes to see or find in the next year's planner. Being fond of answering surveys, I completed mine and sent the results. To my surprise today, I received an email from the BDJ team. According to the email, I was one of the first 500 survey respondents who will receive one (1) BDJ FMN Ideas Journal and one (1) BDJ FMN To-Do-List/Cash Tracker (see screen shot below).

I have always been an avid supporter and fan of the said planner, and being chosen as one of the winners for their survey is definitely touching on my end. It shows how the BDJ team appreciates our opinions and insights on the product. I hope more products would do the same. Thanks much and more power to the BDJ Team! :)

Email received from the BDJ Team. Excited much for the BDJ FMN Ideas Journal and Cash Tracker. :)

Washi-tized Phone Case and Charger

Last week, I ordered a couple more rolls of washi tape from Hey Kessy and Bee Happy craft shops. As the rolls of tape arrived, that feeling of excitement crept into me as I slowly gazed into each roll of tape - each having a unique design. I was initially planning to use them to cover my son's school books - or at least the spine and edges - as these are "fragile" parts of any school book.

As I was preparing the books, the paper covers, and the rolls of tapes, I got a phone call from a friend on my mobile phone. As I picked up the phone, I noticed how plain-looking my phone case was. Though I like the blue green color of my phone case, its plain-colored appearance seems dull and boring. So immediately, after ending the call, I decided to use one of the rolls of washi tape to decorate my phone case. I chose a tape design that would complement my phone case's blue green color, and one that wouldn't look so girly and cutesy (heaven knows I am not really a fan of all pink, and flowers, and girly stuff like that).

I decided to decorate my phone, but a sense of simplicity should still be present. As such, covering the entire phone case with washi tape was not really an option (besides, washi tapes in Manila are not readily available in local bookstores and the prices are not like the ordinary scotch and masking tapes). So I just spread the tapes across each other forming a cross on the back side of my phone case.

As I was still in an excited state after decorating my phone case, I also decided to apply some washi tape on the plain white portion of my phone charger. I decided to use the same roll of tape for the charger so that they (charger and phone case) would be match. Fortunately, my hands and my fingers did not fail this time. And even though it was just a simple one, I can say that this first washi craft of mine was something I should be happy about. Looking forward to more washi crafts in the near future. :)

My "washi-tized" phone case and phone charger.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The 2013 Election and My Vote

This post should have been done and posted yesterday (May 13, 2013), the actual election day here in the Philippines. But due to the lack of internet connection in our other home, I will only be able to do so now. Oh well... Better late than never.

My family and I went to the polls yesterday morning - around 8AM. As expected, as soon as our feet landed on the street where the local school was, hordes of supporters came rushing, most of them handing us flyers, leaflets, and sample ballots containing the name of the candidate. Some who were more well-off handed cardboard fans containing not only the name, but even the faces of the candidates. I received one of the flyers with a name of candidate who I do not know. The middle-aged lady who handed me the piece of paper said "Iboto mo neng.. Magaling yan.. " (i.e. Vote for him. He's great). I looked at the piece of paper and found nothing but the candidate's name - not even his political party, much more his public service record. I then looked back at the lady who gave me that sheet of paper and asked her, "Paano nyo po nalaman na magaling, wala naman nakalagay dito (in the sheet of paper) na plataporma man lang nya?" (i.e. How did you know he's great when there is not even a plan of action written on this (sheet of paper)?). The lady frowned at me as she turned away. Perhaps, she was irked by my questions. Oh well...

The elections in our precinct (in Novaliches, Quezon City) this year was definitely better than the one we had 3 years ago (2010) - the first time an automated election was held in the Philippines. There was a separate line for the senior citizens, pregnant women, and PWD (people with disability). There were also volunteers who managed the lines to ensure that order is maintained. The lines for the regular voters were really long, but since a holding area was present, everyone had the chance to sit down while waiting for their turn to vote. Most of the voters too were smarter this time (smarter in the sense that they do not seem lost, dazed, or confused) that they brought with them valid ID cards, and they knew their exact precinct and voter's number when they reached the election precinct chairman. That was really helpful and a great time-saver because there was no more need to search an entire folder of registered voters looking for a single name. Of course, there were those 1 or 2 or 3 individuals who pretended they do not know where the end of the line is, but the more vigilant voters were able to reprimand and direct them to the "correct" end of the line. Even the teachers who man the ballots and PCOS machines were more knowledgeable this time. The process of signing forms, handing the ballot, receiving the accomplished ballot, and feeding it to the PCOS machine seem to be smoother this time, than it was 3 years ago. Overall, as a regular voter, it took me about an hour and a half to complete the entire voting process (i.e. searching for the location of my precinct and voter's number, falling in line, and the actual voting itself). For my parents, who were both senior citizens, it only took them 30-45 minutes, as they have a separate line. The one and a half hour total was nothing compared to the 3-4 hours I've had when the first automated election happened in 2010.

Upon reaching home, my 7-year old son came to meet me. Upon seeing the indelible ink mark on my right index finger, he asked me if I have already voted and what was the purple ink for. I answered on the affirmative and told him that the purple ink is placed on the right index finger to mark that a particular person had already cast his voted. He then asked me what was my criteria in selecting who to vote and why it was important to vote. Kids can ask the darnest questions... I had to search both my mind and my heart in answering these.

To the first question (what was my selection criteria) I answered..

"Nung una akong bumoto, pinipili ko yung mga candidate na sa palagay ko mananalo, kahit na yung paniniwala at paninindigan nila eh hindi kaparehas sa akin. Sayang naman kasi kung boboto ako sa hindi naman mananalo. Sa pagboto ko kanina, pumili ako ng mga candidates na gusto parehas ng puso at isip ko - kahit na alam kong malabo silang manalo dahil hindi sila kilala at sikat - mga candidates na naaayon ang paninindigan sa sarili kong prinisipyo at paniniwala."...  

To the second question (why it was important to vote), I answered,

"Tungkulin ng bawat Filipino ang bumoto... Sa pagboto, binibigyan mo ng kapangyarihan or power ang sarili mo na iparating sa mga lider ng Pilipinas kung ano ang gusto o ayaw mong mangyari sa bansa... Sa pagboto, sinusulit mo ang buwis or ang tax na binabayad mo bilang isang manggagawang Filipino... Sa pagboto, pinapakita mo na mahal mo ang bayan natin kasi pumipili ka ng mga taong sa palagay mo ay magpapaayos at magpapaunlad sa Pilipinas... Sa pagboto rin, pinapakita ko na mahal kita anak, kasi pumipili ako ng mga taong kayang magbigay sa yo ng isang maayos at magandang kinabukasan..  "....

My right index finger marked with purple indelible ink -
a proof that I have exercised my right as a Filipino. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

3 Lessons From my Mama

It's a few more days before Mother's Day (May 12). As I watch my mom go through her daily routine, I realized how fast time flies. So fast, that I also realized I am now a mother myself. In my 30++ years of being with my mom, and the 7 years of being a mom myself, there are 3 character-defining lessons which I learned from my own mother:

Fight fair. My mom and I has always been the feisty-in-the-right-sense type. As an old local saying would go, "kapag may katwiran, ipaglaban mo..." (i.e. If the reason is valid, fight for it). Our school had raised us that way. We would not usually take things sitting down, especially if the fault was obvious. But despite her being feisty, my mom would always remind us not to take advantage of the situation, even if we had the upper hand. Fight fair and be fair. Listen to both sides of the story before passing judgment. Think of what the other person will feel if you were in his/her shoes.

Respect the differences among people. People have different views and opinions on different things. If a person's opinions are different from the mainstream, it does not necessarily mean he/she is wrong. Perhaps, he/she is just dancing to a different beat. There were instances at home wherein the family is divided over a certain topic. Being the conventional thinker and the head of the family, my father usually speaks his mind and his views are usually the traditional conservative response. My mother, on the other hand, is the non-conventional thinker, the "challenger" to my father's POV, saying that there could be other circumstances that  led to the particular situation or issue to happen. The admirable thing about this is, she is able to do so in a manner in which mutual respect and open-mindedness is still maintained.

Live without any regrets. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what makes you genuinely happy. That kind of "genuinely happy" wherein you don't mind what people think of you, or what the norms or the standards are, as long as you find  happiness in it, and that you did not step on other people's feet just to reach that happiness. When I decided to take a shift in my career, I knew my family and some of my friends would think different of it. My mom simply asked me 2 questions, "Magiging masaya ka ba sa gagawin mo?" (i.e. Will you be happy with your decision?) and "May matatapakan ka ba sa magiging desisyon mo?" (i.e. Will you be stepping on someone's foot with your decision?). I answered the first question on the affirmative, while the second on the negative. I explained what my priorities are which made me decide on the career shift. After she heard my answers and my explanation, she just nodded, as if saying that I have her blessing. No more further questions asked.

To my everdearest Mama (a.k.a. Mudra, Mudrakels, Mamuuu), I now understand how difficult yet fulfilling a mother's role is. For all it's worth, I would like to thank you for all your sacrifices and for the wisdom that you've imparted to us your kids, most especially to me, your daughter who's now a mom myself. I hope that when my own son grows up, I too, can raise him the way you raised us. Nobody's perfect, but I guess you did an awesome job as a mom. Whatever values I possess now, I definitely learned it from you. I will always cherish all these and will always love you. Advance Happy Mother's Day! :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Initiation to Deco and Washi Tapes

As school opening draws near, I am looking for ways to cover and decorate my son's books (their school does not allow the usual plastic cover) so that it would last till March 2014 and at the same time will make it more interesting for my son to read. As I was searching the internet for craft materials and craft projects for my son's books, I stumbled upon the decorative and washi tape products.

Decorative tape is like your typical scotch tape, except that it has designs. A usual roll is about 5mm in width and the entire roll is about 6-10 meters long. I was able to buy my 3 rolls from a local bookstore (National Bookstore). Each roll costs about P60-P70 pesos, and there are a wide array of designs to choose from.

On the other hand, washi tape is said to be Japanese masking tape (i.e. from washi paper). It is like your usual masking tape, but the texture is a bit softer, and there a LOOOOOT of designs to choose from. There are a lot of sizes for washi tape - i.e. 15mm (the normal width), the slim 5mm, and the wider ones that measure from 18mm, 20mm, 25mm, and there are even the 30mm width. The length of an entire roll is usually 10m. Unlike the decorative tape, the washi tape is not readily available in the local bookstore. I had to search some online stores, in order to buy my first 3 rolls (got my first 3 rolls from Hey Kessy). Depending on the tape's width, the shop's pricing and shipping fees, the price range of washi tape is about PHP75 to PHP120 per roll. As there are a lot of online stores that offer washi tape, it is important to check which designs are being offered by which store, at a much lower price. I also suggest to check the shipping fees charged by each online store, as there are those whose shipping fees are much higher, so it might be wiser to place all your orders under one package.

Incidentally, my first 3 orders from Hey Kessy came with a freebie postcard. I really found the postcard cute and adorable. Being a sun worshipper - i.e. I prefer the sunny summer weather than chilling rainy days - the Mr. Sun and the Cloudy Men design of the post card is always a great reminder of the fun-filled days of summer.

Watch out for future posts showing how I will put to good use all these (and probably more) deco and washi tapes! :)

The Deco and Washi Tapes from National Bookstore and

Freebie postcard (for April) from

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thumbs Up for Facebook Team

While browsing through my Facebook account's News Feed yesterday evening, I chanced upon 2 obscene pictures from one of my FB friends. I am not sure if his account has been hacked or tampered, but surely those pictures were waaaayyyy overboard indecent, and should have not been posted to Facebook or any other social networking site - to be honest, I think he should not have taken those pictures in the first place.

Despite the fact that I am a modern-minded individual, I still found the pictures offensive. I am pretty sure that the person who posted those pictures, have other friends who are only in their early teens or near adolescence, and whose parents will definitely go berserk once they found out that their kids are able to see those indecent pictures. As such, I decided to unfriend this person, as I am concerned that he already has the tendency and potential to post such obscene materials. I also decided to report these pictures to the Facebook team, so that the necessary action can be taken so as to remove those indecent pictures. Fortunately, when I checked on my Facebook account today, I received an email from the Facebook team that the said pictures were taken down. It was stated that those pictures violated their Community Standards.  They (FB team) also informed my used-to-friend that those pictures were removed, but they did not divulge who reported the incident. Two thumbs up for Facebook for doing this! :)

Facebook's response to the complaint I filed regarding the obscene picture

In this time and age where people of all walks of life are very much into technology and social media, it is still important to note that decency and respect are values that should still be present anytime and anywhere. In as much there is freedom of speech (and posting of pictures), we should still be responsible for our actions and for the things we do. In as much as there is freedom to say and do whatever we wish on our social networking pages, we must still take into account the values and the rights of the people who will see those posts. Responsible posting should be everybody's duty.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Blog Revival

Okay... here I go again... For the nth time, I will try revive this blog. Well, I tried to revive it back in 2011, and tried to use in my Project 365 (one photo a day). Unfortunately, due to my hectic schedule at work back then, I was not able to complete the entire project. Project 365 turned out to be Project 60-or-70-something, as I was only able to maintain the project for about 2.5 months.

This time, I will try to make this my personal blog - wherein I can share my reviews on things and products which I happen to interact with. I will try work on and revive my other two blogs (hell yeah! I have 3 blogs... all of which seem to appear neglected because of work... oh my.. ) - one is a travel blog wherein I feature my first hand experience on the places I've visited, and the other is a digital scrapbooking blog. The latter seems more difficult to maintain, because it would mean that I need to brush up on my digital scrapbooking skills, which means downloading digital scrapbooking kits and new fonts again. :)

Oh well.. I hope I can do all these this year... Wish me luck!!! :)