The Don’t Buy List

Do you have one? A list of items NOT to buy?

For a two-person household, grocery-shopping doesn’t need to be a weekly affair. It’s become a fortnightly husband-wife bonding activity to walk through the aisles of the grocery store and debate about what makes it to checkout (like how many bags of chips he’s allowed to have).

Having a grocery list is really helpful (as I’m sure you would already know) – it keeps us from adding unnecessary items onto our cart. Every once in a while I remember to write a short list of must-buy items after asking the husband what pantry items need to be replenished – he would know better because he’s the Master Chef in this family. I’d really hate for him to get frustrated when he starts to cook only to realize he’s missing an ingredient or seasoning (also, if that happens, it’s his fault. Haha!).

At other times we just don’t have a list at all. What for? Even with one we end up going thru each aisle at the store anyway. Lately, I felt like we’ve done a better job at making wiser choices – the tape receipts are getting shorter and we’re getting closer to sticking to the budget. There are also sections that we ignore and old favorites that we’ve stopped bringing home (our purchasing habits changed a bit since I made the choice to take the path to true wellness – hope to write about this soon!).

A few weeks ago, while at the kitchen sink, I noticed that we had one too many bottles of ketchup. Then a quick check revealed that we also had one too many bottles of a few other items. We had a good laugh about this, but I knew, there was a lesson there somewhere.

We’ve also had too much toilet paper, bath soap, etcetera, etcetera.

That’s when I realized that we needed a Don’t Buy List.

The Don’t Buy List is for items we are well-stocked on – at least for the next two weeks. Having such a list becomes handy when there are on-the-spot decisions about the next week’s menu – do you want spaghetti? how about tuna-macaroni salad? At least we can check our list and know that, for example, we don’t need to buy more canned mushrooms or pasta.

But the list isn’t comprehensive and isn’t an inventory of every grocery item we still have in the house. What get’s on the list are just those obvious ones that we already have too much of, or won’t run out in the next month. Certainly, we don’t mind having extras – but too much at a time just means we could have used the money for something that would have been more urgent. With a small living space, it also means we’re not storing too much of what we don’t need right now or in the immediate future.

What do you think about the Don’t Buy List?

3 of 100, blogged!

30 Days of Thankful – November 2017

Finally, after years of just watching from the sidelines, I have completed a 30 Days of Thankful Album <happy dance!>.

Every November since 2012, Cathy Zielske has done this project “to help (you) remember all that is good, from the tiniest of things in this life to the most humongous, to everything in between.” Every year, I follow her posts with the full intention of joining in. In 2014, I even got as far as signing up for the private Facebook Group created for anyone who needs inspiration and support for completing their projects, yet year after year, I end up with nothing.

It doesn’t matter that it took me five months to complete an album that was meant to be done in 30 days – what matters is that I did it!

Here’s a flip-through video of my completed album:

I loved working on this album and being reminded to find joy in the smallest of things, and to be grateful always.

This project also helped me come to terms with how I’d like to approach memory keeping:

  • I love memory keeping and the Project Life system. I almost chucked off scrapbooking as something I would never really get around to doing. I have a lot of physical products, and I also have the App. It seemed like I would start an album, make a few pages, and then never finish anything. I thought it was something I already needed to give up and get off my plate so I didn’t have to feel bad about not accomplishing anything. Completing this project changed my mind.
  • Having a home printer is important for me to stay on track with documenting life. By the end of the first week, I had completed my cover and the first six pages. Then I ran out of Paper for my Canon Selphy printer. That really set me back big time. I know fully well that I can still build my title Cards and journalling, then add the photos later – but for me it needed to start with the printed photo. Not having the printed photo felt like a mental block from going forward with what needed to be done.
  • Color coordination and embellishments are not all that important to me. Although I had always admired scrapbookers who do great embellishments, and have cohesive album pages – I realized that mine didn’t have to look that way.
  • Stamps are wonderful tools that you can use over and over again for your pages, but I just can’t stamp effectively. Maybe my ink pads are low quality, or maybe they‘ve dried up or lost their pigment after I’ve had them so long and not used them. I don’t know. I may really just be awful at stamps.
  • Alpha and number stickers are LOVE. I don’t have a lot. When the self-imposed moratorium for spending on hobbies is lifted, I am getting more. Gifts are WELCOME too. 🙂
  • Maybe not everyone can read my handwriting but I’m not about to let crappy handwriting stop me from adding journalling to my pages.
  • Speaking of journalling – I didn’t plan it, but it just came naturally to journal in English. Next time, I’ll try to express myself in Filipino or TagLish (Tagalog-English).
  • Great photography would be awesome for my pages! But not having great photos is just another roadblock I’d rather not stop me. Not all my photos are great, but they are photos that show what life is right now, and THAT’s what’s important.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE DOING THIS ALBUM? I really, really do.

Supplies: 6×8 album, photo pocket pages, and assorted cards from Project Life by Becky Higgins

2 of 100 done!

#100DaysofBlogging Kickoff



Today marks the beginning of the fifth annual 100 Day Project (check out the home base for more information about this Global Art Project).

In 2017, I decided to undertake two actions for a hundred days – Hand lettering, and Yarn projects. Sadly, I didn’t see it through to the end for either one.

I did learn a few things:

  • I realized I didn’t yet have the patience, nor the interest in doing detailed and elaborate lettering work.
  • I do not want to completely give up on this creative activity. I still would like to hand letter when using my Passion Planner, and for my Project Life journalling or filler and title cards.
  • I really love both crochet and knitting and would love to stitch more pieces as gifts for friends and family.
  • Learning a new pattern and/or stitch excites me!
  • YouTube tutorials are awesome! Specially when I get so confused with written patterns. Diagrams are the next best thing.

Despite the non-success (I wouldn’t want to call it failure) of last year’s projects, I have decided to jump in and participate again this year. This time, it will be a return to blogging – what used to be my number one favorite form of Social media (before Facebook and Instagram). This Blog used to be a big part of my life and even a source of shopping money :). Now, I hardly ever Post. In fact, I have been thinking about shelving the Blog and redirecting the money for hosting fees to something more relevant and/or important. I just could not make myself do it. Some days I think about starting a different, more focused Blog altogether. Then I remember that I may not actually have the time – or ideas – for a new one.

So, here’s hoping that writing for 100 days re-ignites my love affair with blogging. Hopefully, by the end of this exercise, I would have a better idea on the direction I’ll be taking for this platform.

Are you also doing the 100 day Project? Do leave a link so I can follow along 🙂

There! That’s 1 out of 100 done!

UNICEF Color Run Manila 2017

At the annual fiesta of the Seminary compound I grew up in, there used to be a Fun Run for different age brackets. I was never athletic, but I remember joining at least once. I’m not sure if I finished all the way ’round the designated area, and even if I did, I probably walked for the most part.

Now, guess who signed up for this year’s Color Run Manila for UNICEF?

Oh yes! Together with my girlfriends, I registered to join this 5k fun run in support of UNICEF Manila’s programs.

This is the first time any of us will be doing this. There are many such events in and around Metro Manila, some even with shorter distances, but none of us have ever joined one. What got into us?

Why are we doing this?

  • At first it was the attraction to the unicorn- and rainbow-themed freebies 🙂
  • There’s also the opportunity to support UNICEF in it’s programs for Filipino children while having fun!
  • For me, it was yet another challenge to take on. I’ve found myself pushing my limits lately in my own wellness transformation, and participating in a 5k marathon is sure to keep things exciting and fresh!

But seriously, do we really know what we’re getting into?


There’s no turning back now. We have registered, paid up, and we have received our race kits (image courtesy of RunRio website)!

Sadly, the deluxe kits ran out before we could register so we aren’t getting the cute plushie and socks. But that’s okay. There’s more to the race than the freebies 🙂

The excitement is really building up. We run (or walk, more accurately) on September the 3rd, just a couple more days away. To prepare, I’ve been following this 3-mile/5k power walking workout on YouTube and it’s been great.

I’ve even convinced to get the hubby to workout with me a few times. Progress. 🙂

Hands up for those who are also joining the Color Run

Any tips for me? What should we do before the run and after? How do we not injure ourselves?


Good Friday at The Infinity Tower Suites

The Guevara-Apitanas have a family tradition – spending Holy Week at the Guevara home in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte and participating in the Holy Wednesday procession of saints with their very own San Andres dressed, lit up, and surrounded by a sea of flowers. I had the privilege of taking the trip with the family and spending the hot but happy few days of Holy Week the summer before we got married, but I have yet to go back. We thought it would be this year, but we weren’t so lucky. Work obligations didn’t permit the husband to take a long vacation so we had to make our own plans. My side of the family also couldn’t get away, so it was really just the two of us. 

Thanks to Deal Grocer, we found a discount voucher for a night’s stay at a one-bedroom suite at the Infinity Tower Suites. All our asks checked out – a pool, separate living area and bedroom, fully equipped kitchen. The hotel is in Makati, which we could reach traffic-free on a Good Friday. I called the hotel before purchasing the voucher to confirm availability on our check in date. I wouldn’t have had to do it normally, but we had a very specific date in mind (Good Friday), and it was four days away when I made the purchase. As soon as I got my voucher number, I called them back and made the reservation official. 

On our way to the hotel, we realized that the vet where we leave the dogs to room and board while we go on vacation was closed for Lent. Even another pet hotel we checked out wasn’t available anymore. The website showed no pet policy so I called the hotel and was gladly informed that they can make an exception for us jut this visit – we could definitely check in with our two dogs! Though we didn’t have to bring our pets after all, it was nice to know that the hotel could make such accommodations for us. That’s a huge plus for the establishment. 

Waze showed us the way to Infinity Tower Suites, although I had to ask the staff out front where the parking entrance was (on the other side of the building). Check-in was a breeze. We were instructed to bring a print out of the voucher but I had no access to a printer and they accepted the digital copy I showed them off my phone. Our suite was at the 12th floor and though the furnishings were quite dated, we loved how spacious the rooms were. Just like every other time we are in hotels, we kept imagining what we’d do with the space if it were our home own home. There were double sliding doors that led from the living room to the bedroom. There was plenty of space for a craft area and computer area before you reach the bed. They could also convert an area to a good-sized walk-in closet. It was really just a very big room. 

Right away, we felt like throwing a party! I messaged my friends saying they were welcome to drop by. I even extended the invite to our family in case anyone could make it. As expected though, everyone else had their own plans and we had the place all to ourselves. 

We reserved the visit to the pool and gym area until after dinner. Good decision, the place was deserted!

Just like the room though, the pool area could use some updating. The pool was only 4 ft deep and the water was very cold. They also probably prepared for a lot of guests because it smelled heavily of chlorine. The water in the jacuzzi was a bit warmer than the pool’s but it too was cold. 

There seemed enough equipment at the gym and both the hubby and I went on the bike and treadmill for a few minutes each. Mostly though, we just had fun. 

The hotel didn’t have a restaurant so there was no room service, but overnight accommodations included breakfast the The Wholesome Table located at the ground floor of the building. Food was good. There is a separate menu for hotel guests so be sure to ask for the regular menu if you’d like to order additional dishes/drinks. The pancakes I had wasn’t enough to satiate my hunger (we were considering it brunch) so I asked if they had fruit or fruit shakes but I guess the waitress misunderstood me because she said no. I asked for a regular menu and ended up ordering a grilled cheese sandwich. I would have just been okay with a fruit shake though, which were apparently available but were on a different beverage menu. So I ended up being very full having had the pancakes, grilled cheese sandwich, and a fruit shake. The husband had a rice meal plus his own refreshing fruit shake. The restaurant deserves its own review. The decor felt very organic but my phone had no battery so sorry, no photos. We also had celebrity sightings!

Overall, it was a good overnight staycation. Just what we needed after months of focusing on just work. We spent the rest of the weekend with friends at another staycation as if one was not enough to recharge for another long stretch at work. 🙂

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