A cup of tea

Well, it’s a chilly mid-week morning today. As I sit into my cubicle with my hot cup of Moroccan tea while browsing the net, I noticed that I haven’t visited my blog for EONS of years (hehe)! So, where have I been eh? No, definitely not visiting the Queen. 

Seriously, I was just busy on several projects that I neglected to write (sorry…). However, my hiatus has given me opportunities and more experiences that I will share here (promise). For starters, I have started two personal projects that have taken a lot of my time and effort for the last few months. 

Be Fit

Admittedly, I had neglected my health for several years that resulted to health complications and obesity. I started this year with a goal to lose at least 20 lbs this year. So I drag myself to the gym, started working out and choosing healthier food options. And I am so happy that I already achieved my goal in just 6 months! 

From 200 lbs in 2016 to a 180 lbs by June 2017 😉

 Be Ready for Rainy Days

I realized that I am not young anymore and that I need to be more disciplined with my finances if I want to retire in peace when I am in my senior years. That is why I have set up my financial goals this year and push myself very hard to save and invest. And that means learning to curb my spending and be more financially literate. So my first step is build my emergency fund by opening a savings account and take on the 52- week challenge. So far, I stick to my savings plan and now I am reviewing several policies for other investments such as VULs and mutual funds. ✌

Less spending, more savings 👌

In between these two things, I still have my 9am to 6pm regular jobs and family to take care of so my hands are really full. Nevertheless, I am back. 😉

It’s a Planner Thing (& You Wouldn’t Understand)

I’ve recently discovered the art of kawaii planning and I was hooked since the first time that I tried it. Now my IG feed is full of pictures of my planners (yes, I am using multiple planners! 😊) with my personalized and fully decorated monthly and weekly spreads. 


My partner somehow stumbled upon my new hobby (thanks to the messy stickers and washis), scratched his head and asked me if I still really use my planner for the purpose of planning. Well of course I do and my planning gets even better each day. Not sure how to react, I told him that “hey, it’s a planner thing you wouldn’t understand”.

For some of you who has no clue on what I am talking about, planner decorating or kawaii journaling is a way of creatively putting in entries to your planners or journals rather than the usual black and white scheme (which admittedly gets so boring more often). It is in a way a personal work of art with mixtures of different media,paper and pen. And you may ask, what do we gain from it? Let me give you my reasons why I am so obsessed with it now.

It gives my planner its own personality


Decorating my planner not only beautifies every plain pages but also gives it  a personality of its own. Oftentimes, it is a reflection of my own thoughts and emotions. Thus, it is no longer just a Happy Planner or Erin Condren, it has become me. 

It makes remembering things easy and pleasing to the eyes


I am a visual person and I easily remember things by what they look. Thus, when I decorate my planner it is easier for me to remember things  and events by having a visual reference. Plus, when the going gets tough and I have a very bad or toxic day, I have something beautiful to look forward to to lift my mood. 😉

It makes me goal-setting a breeze


I use my planner not only for daily schedules but to set short- term and long term goals. Thus, decorating it with my favorite things create an on the go vision board for me. Planner decorating makes me stick to my goal even more than when it was just the plain black and white it used to be. 

It unleashes my inner Van Gogh


I must admit that I am a frustrated artist.I love arts but because of my busy corporate schedule, I haven’t got the chance to fully explore my artistic side. Planner decorating gives me the license to be creative and to use every pages as a canvass that I can carry with me wherever I go. 

I gain new friends

Planner community is growing fast.And because of social media, planner junkies can easily exchange ideas, share their works and encourage each other. Joining the community opens me to a more diverse perspective and gain new friends who share the same passion. Isn’t that the biggest plus? 😙
I can still think a thousand reasons but it would take a lifetime to enumerate them all. I am grateful that I discovered this hobby. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

Happy Kalat! 😉

Five Useful Hacks for the Busybees

Are you the type of person who easily gets overwhelmed by the tasks that you need to tackle? Or do you always forget the things that you need to do so you end up not doing your top priority? Maybe you lost track of time and you have to hurry to get into your appointments so you feel less prepared. 

If your busy schedule is already driving you nuts, here are some tips for you, busy bees, to save you from insanity because of tight schedules and gigantic task.

Plan Ahead

Nothing beats good planning everytime you have so much things in your hand. Set a side a time to sit down and write down all the things that you need to do for the whole week. Determine how much time you need for each task and decide for the best day to do them. Start from your top priorities to things that can wait. The best thing to keep track of your task is jotting them down in a planner. You will be surprised that after you’ve written down your plans, they are less daunting to tackle anymore. 😊

Put together a capsule wardrobe

(Image: http://www.decoist.com)

Half of the time, the reason why we are late for an appointment is that we cannot decide what are we going to wear. And this is true when you are faced with a closetful of clothes. The best thing to do is put together a capsule wardrobe in one part of your closet. This is a collection of a no brainer, classic and versatile pieces of clothing and accessories that you can throw on when you are running late. 

Keep your things in strategic place

(Image: http://www.thatgirlcathy.me)

Assign an area in your house or even your room to place the things that you almost always need to bring with you when you leave the house. This can be near your door or on your bedside table, wherever it is handy for you to grab and go if you are in a hurry. 

Invest in a bag organizer

Changing your bag when you are trying to keep up with your busy schedule may freak you out especially if you cannot find all the things that you need to bring with you. Buying a good size bag organizer that will fit most of your bags is definitely worth the investment. You can easily put everything you need to bring in all its compartments- wallets, keys, makeup kits and other essentials- and have your things easily transferred to another bag in no time if you need to change your purse.

Edit your makeup kit

Looking your best is one thing that you need to maintain even on a very hectic day. But lugging too much makeup can be so distracting as well. Keeping your makeup kit to a minimum is the best way to address your beauty needs without goig overboard. Use products that are multi-functional and can take your look from day to night so you can pare down the number of palettes and tubes in your kit. If you want to throw in some extras, you can keep a small stash in your office drawer or car compartment, just in case you need a little more. 😉

Learning a few tricks to lessen your prep time will definitely improve how you look into your busy schedules. Once you master these tricks, tackling your daily tasks will never be stressful again. 

The dog that gave me another shot at life

I grew up loving dogs. Our family had 4 mixed breeds and they were a loving bunch. But when I went to college, my interaction with dogs became less since I was too busy studying. And after several more years, our dogs that I grew up with passed away one by one. Up until then, I seem to lose interest with dogs but I do pat one in the head whenever I find a pup that will not bite.

Two years ago, my partner has convinced me to buy a dog from a K-9 service company that was closing down. Having almost always alone in the house at that time (my partner’s work assignments at that time were out of the metro) I agreed to get a dog. When we came to the kennel to pick up a dog, I immediately took a liking at the matured, big labrador dog that the keeper brought out from the cage. So we brought Tetay home with us at that day. 

The robust dame is a retired bomb explosive sniffing dog and her demeanor is calm and submissive. This has been one of the factors why we get along well. But there were episodes that she got bored and chewed everything in the house. 😣 

Day by day, we grew up to like each other. We took walks together when my partner is not around. She would be up all night making sure that no one would force their way inside house. We would even eat together. But more than anything else, Tetay has saved me from my lowest point in my life.

I had so much pressures at that time- work, relationships, family. I had so much in my plate that day by day, I started to go down the dumps. I initially thought that the blues were temporary. However, my anxiety attacks grew worst especially when I was home alone. I would not sleep until the wee hours of the morning and by the time I got to shut down my eyes,nightmares would woke me up shaking and crying. 

Through these trying times, Tetay would come inside the room, put her head in my shoulders and tried to comfort me. She would never leave my side until the anxiety attacks were over, until I got back to sleep. Maybe she sensed something was wrong at that time because she refused to leave my side. She was always there for me. She has become my comfort. 

Those episodes have longed passed. And the more I think of it today, the more I appreciate the value of friendship that I developed with my dog. She treated me as her own family, not only a bestfriend. And as she starts to grow old, I cannot and will not give up on her until the end because she did not give up on me when I was about to give up on myself. 

How to avoid being trapped in a never ending meeting

Have you experienced being left in a middle of a maze and you cannot find your exit even if you’ve been searching for it for hours? Makes you want to cry, right? It is the same feeling that you can get every time you attend a meeting that seems to be a labyrinth of discussion. It is tiring, frustrating and seems to be wasting your precious time. So how can we avoid this? Here are some tips:

Have an agenda and stick to your topic

Meeting would be useless if you do not have a topic to discuss. In this case, planning your agenda or subject that you want to tackle during the meeting is important. However, planning alone would be useless if you will not stick to it during the meeting. Do not allow yourself or anyone else during the meeting to divert from the topic of the discussion to avoid long meetings. If someone raises an issue during the meeting that is not part of your agenda, take note of it in the minutes and inform the person that his concern will be discussed in another forum.

Make a topic outline to disseminate to attendees

 Create an outline for your agenda and determine how much time do you need to discuss each subject. It is ideal to breakdown your topic to not more than five subtopics to avoid clutterinv discussion. Send the outline to all participants so the can prepare ahead of time. 

Limit the number of attendees to key personnel only

When you meet to discuss something, it means that you need to decide on some concerns. So  make sure that you invite only those key personnel that can give decisions on issues that will be laid in the table. Limiting the number of participants to those that can decide is one way of ensuring that you can wrap up your meeting successfully.

Don’t forget the minutes

Taking notes on the discussion is essential so you have a documentation of what have been discussed and agreed to during the discussion. Take down all the essential points as well as the actions to be taken and the agreed timeline to resolve some issues. It is important to have these in your minutes so you can have something to refer to once you make follow ups. Make sure that you send it  out to all participants  immediately after the meeting.

 

 

 

Things Not to Say During Job Interviews

We all go through job hunting process at some point of our lives and we all know how difficult it is to secure a job this day.  But no matter how brilliant your scholastic record is or how skillful you are at your chosen field, your chance of getting hired depends on how you tackle the the interview questions that the recruiter may throw at you during the interview. 

Most of the job hunters are unconcious about some interview boo- boos that they are committing, thus killing their chances of getting the job.  Here are five interview mistakes that you need to avoid.

When asked why you are late you reply ” Traffic po kasi eh (traffic is horrible).”

First, it is a mortal sin to be late during job interviews as it leaves bad impression on your would be employer. But if you arrived late even if you did your best to be early, don’t simply say that you are late because traffic is horrible as it says more about your lack of planning skills. Tell the interviewer in your sincerest way how sorry you are for being late and mentioned a little how you prepared to come early but you were caught into horrible traffic. 

When asked about your accomplishments, you say ” I was an honor student/ recipient of xxx awards…”

It is right to be proud of your academic accomplishments since have worked hard for it. But just citing an award as your accomplishment won’t impress your interviewer. Instead, cite an example on what you did to get that particular award and how have you worked hard to overcome difficulties. This will give your interviewer a chance to see how well you deal with setbacks and hardships.

When ask why should we hire you, you say ” I want to gain experience.

Even if you are just an entry level employee, don’t simply tell your interviewer that you are applying for the job to gain experience. You don’t want your would- be employer to feel that you are just hoping to have a training ground to further your career. Instead, talk about how the job is aligned with your set skills and how can you contribute to the company’s growth. You may also mention how passionate you are about what the company does. Companies love to hear employees talk about sharing tje same ideals/ goals with the company and also keen to those that can contribute to their success.

When ask why did you left your previous job, you say “My boss/ the company is horrible”.

Whatever happened to you in your previous job, do not bad mouth a former employer as it tells more about your character than your previous boss. Saying bad things about your previous job signals that you are immature, unprofessional and potentially difficult to work with. 

When ask if you have any other questions, you say “No, I don’t have any questions”.

The interviewer does not expect you to know all about the company so they are anticipating questions to be thrown back at them during the interview process. Not asking even a single question at all during the interview, signals that you are not interested with the company at all. Thus, it is bettee to do your research about the company prior to interview and draft several questions that you may potentially ask your interviewer whenever he/she gives you a chance to do so. 

The next time you sit for a job interview, be mindful of how you answer the queries of your interviewer. As the saying goes, “everything you say may be used against you”. 

Resume No-no for Entry Level Applicants

You just got out of college and you are determined to start a career of your own. But although you almost sent all your resumes to companies with available job openings, you still did not get any call so you start to doubt yourself. Have you tried to look for the culprit yet? Your resume might be the problem, not you.

There are many resume writing mistakes that go unnoticed especially for entry-level applicants. These boo-boos are the reasons why your application does not pass through the initial screening process. If you are a newbie and is already in agony of not getting a call even for a single interview, maybe you should need to review your resume and try to spot these common mistakes so you can correct them.

Unprofessional-looking email address

Your “cutegirl008@xxxxx.com” email address is not so cute anymore as you try to break into the professional world. In this digital era, your email address is one of your main contact points from would be employers. Thus, you need to have a professional looking emaill address to start with. A good professional email address must contain your name. In this way, headhunters will easily recognize you as the same person whose sending the CV.Besides, having a “cute” email address signals that you are not mature enough to step into the corporate workforce. 
Your CV is more than one page

Unless you have worked while studying and have relevant work experience, your resume must not be more than one page. Many entry level applicants commit mistakes by putting irrelevant and unneccesary information in their resume hoping that these info will help them land a job. In reality, irrelevant data does not help you at all. So avoid putting your high school clubs, hobbies, activities, achievements or too much personal information so HR personnel will be able to concentrate on those details that will make you a good candidate for the job.
Posting a selfie photo

Many people are so obsessed at taking selfies and posting them in social media but do not risk your chance of landing a job by posting a selfie photo in your resume. Instead, get a professional looking photo in a photo studio to attach to your CV. You can always ask for a soft copy of your ID pictures so you can have it reprinted just in case you need more.

Typo errors

Mosr resumes end up in the waste basket because of too many typo errors. You must bear in mind that your CV Is your tool to market yourself. Whatever you put in your resume says something about you. A resume full of typo errors and misspellings sends signals to your recruiter that you are not responsible enough for the job. Proofread and edit your resume before sending it out. If you are not sure if it will pass the HR reviewer, ask someone to proofread it for you.  

If you found one or more of these mistakes with your current resume, better start re-writng it.