Posted in Lifestyle

Current Obsession: Terrace House (Tokyo 2019-2020)

Konbanwa!

I’m a fan of the show Terrace House. I’ve started watching back during the Aloha State season (2017). Now I’m hooked with the show. Currently, I’m watching Tokyo (2019-2020) and it’s my current series obsession. It’s the only reality show that I find fun to watch. I like how the members give sincere advice to each other. I guess it helps me and the viewers have an insight that they can also apply in their life.

Terrace House is a reality TV Show from Japan. It comprises of six members, 3 males, and 3 females. They all live in a beautiful house with 2 luxury cars. No scripts at all (or as they say). They still go on with their normal lives while living in Terrace House. They’re not locked up in the house, they just simply live together with different people.

Most of the members who join Terrace House are either looking for love or simply want to show the viewers their pursuit in life. I like how they introduce themselves in the beginning and get to know each other and see them settling in the house.

Their general day to day life, asking someone out, cooking dinner for everyone and dating is what makes the show unique. It shows an authentic human experience. The drama that comes with the show is something I do enjoy watching. It’s not something that we face every day to talk about issues with people we live together.

The Panelists

The panelists are also a great addition to the show. They give their impressions of the members and make the show more entertaining with comedic humor and comments.

Peppe

What’s also interesting about the show is there are different people with different cultures. Some are local Japanese and some are foreigners who live in Japan. Viewers get to see how foreigners interact with the local Japanese members and how they adapt to the Japanese culture.

The show is inspiring in a way that each member has a goal in mind on why they join Terrace House. We get to see how they reach for their dreams and how they support each other.

Terrace House is available on Netflix.

Posted in food

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

My boyfriend has been craving sweets a lot lately so I decided to bake him some chocolate chip cookies for Valentine’s Day. I got this recipe online but I adjusted some of the ingredients base on what I have at home.


Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter
1 ¼cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee powder
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½cup (80g) dark chocolate, chopped

Instructions:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium or large saucepan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Bring the butter to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the butter has turned a nice nutty brown, remove from the heat and pour into a large liquid measuring cup to stop the cooking. Allow it to cool down for a minute or two, give it a stir, and carefully add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the butter to bring it back up to 1 cup (240 ml) of liquid.

Set aside to cool to room temperature. You want to make sure the butter is still liquid when you’re adding it to the dough later on, so make sure to remove after 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the sugars, vanilla, coffee powder, and cooled brown butter. Mix well together. Add the egg and yolk and beat until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients, about ⅓ of the mixture at a time, and beat between additions until just incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, fold the chocolate chips and chunks into the dough.

roll the dough into balls and place onto the baking tray with oil. (You can also refrigerate the dough for optimal flavor or, even better, overnight). Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Evenly space the dough 3 inches (8 cm) apart from one another. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate chip cookies made with love ❤️

Posted in Beauty

Daily Skincare Routine

Great skin is hard to achieve. it does not only involve skincare products, you also have to take note of your daily habits like diet, exercise, and stress. Not only am I aware of the products I use for my skin, but I’m also conscious of what I put in my body. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible, and I work out regularly. I combine these with my basic skin care routine to achieve that clear skin that everybody wants.

Here I will share my morning and night time skincare routine.

Morning Routine

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

First Step: Cleanser
For cleanser, I’m using Cetaphil. I bought this when I had chickenpox and I needed a mild cleanser for my sensitive skin. It is very mild, cleanses my skin, but nothing special about this cleanser. It is just a basic cleanser for your skin. I might need to find another cleanser specifically for my skin type once I finish this bottle.


Available at Watsons

Human Nature Hydrating Face Toner

Second Step: Toner
I’m using Human Nature Hydrating Toner with Moringa Seed Extract. I’m already at my 2nd bottle and I already bought a bigger one. That’s how I love it. I don’t spend a lot on toners because I always thought toners are unnecessary. It doesn’t contain alcohol and doesn’t leave my skin dry.

Available at: Human Nature

Melano CC Serum

3rd Step: Melano CC Serum

Of all my skincare products, this one is my favorite! 🙂 The packaging comes in a grey tube with small tip that only releases a drop of the product when you squeeze the tube. Very economical. It lightens my chickenpox scars and whenever I’m having a new pimple, I’ll just apply this to the area and it will be gone the next day.

Available at: Shopee

Cosrx Advanced 96 Snail Mucin Essence

4th Step: Cosrx Advanced 96 Snail Mucin Essence
A lightweight essence perfect for the humid weather. It easily absorbes by the skin. Not sure if it made any difference to my skin I just like to use this together with the Cosrx Snail Cream.

Available at: Shopee

Cosrx All in One Snail Cream

5th Step: Cosrx All in One Snail Cream
Another staple product of mine is the Cosrx All in One Snail Cream. I have oily/combination skin and this cream moisturizes my skin without the sticky feeling. My skin feels soft and smooth the whole day.

Available at: Shopee

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

6th Step: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA+++
Sunscreen is a skincare must! I love this sunscreen for my daily use. It doesn’t leave a white cast and leaves my skin smooth. It doesn’t feel sticky when applying.

Available at: Watsons

Night time Routine


For my nighttime routine, it is the same with my morning routine except I skip the sunscreen and Melano CC instead I use

Cosrx AHA Power Liquid


Cosrx AHA Power Liquid. I just incorporated this into my routine this January. I read about good reviews about this product before deciding to get one. I have a lot of whiteheads especially in my nose area which bothers me a lot. And I’ve read that AHA, helps in managing clogged pores and exfoliates dead skin cells. I use it once a week then the following week I use it 3 times a week. I didn’t feel any sting or redness on my first use. I thought it didn’t make any difference to my skin. It’s very runny and liquidy. You can apply this with a cotton pad but I apply it with my hands and pat in my face. Then I wait 5-10 mins before applying the next step.

Weekly Routine

Sage and Tera Icky Green Goo Detoxifying Mask

Sage and Tera Icky Green Goo Detoxifying Mask
I use this clay mask once a week to deep cleanses my skin. This one smells peppermint and quite cooling in the face. I feel like it sucks all the oil and dirt in my pores. Planning to buy the other variant from the brand next time.

Available at: Shopee

Dewytree Deep Mask

Dewytree Face Mask
I still have a few sheet mask in my stock that I only use when I need extra “tender loving care” or I have a special event the next day. Currently I’m using Dewytree Face Mask. Dewytree has a wide range of face mask in different variants. I’m in love with their Deep Mask and Melting-Chou Mask line.

Available at: Shopee

Posted in food

Breakfast at Rustic Mornings

I’ve been into breakfast dates a lot lately so I’m in the hunt for a breakfast place with a homey and relaxing ambiance. I stumbled upon Rustic Mornings by Isabelo Garden in Marikina. I read promising reviews about this place which entices me to pay a visit.

Entering the place, you are welcomed by the beautiful garden area. The tables are divided into different areas of the garden and each table has a “unique” feel to it. The dining proper are well divided, giving you and the other guests a more intimate feel with your certain someone. We opted to be seated in the garden area, but they also have an indoor room if you prefer air conditioning. I am also surprised by the different decorations around the garden area. Interestingly, the area is decorated with recycled materials such as seashells, seasoning containers, and wine bottles.

Rustic Mornings serve breakfast theme platters, Filipino, American and Italian breakfast. They are specially famous for their Filipino food items and their buttermilk pancakes.

Me and my boyfie ❤
Americano (P65)
Cafe Mocha (P85)
Beef Tapa (P290)
Sweet and salty beef tapa perfect with their rice and vinegar
Toast, Eggs, Sausage, and Hash brown (P300)
I like how golden brown the hash brown is.
All Veggie Omelette + Salad (350)
Blueberry Pancake (P240)
The omelette is cooked lightly perfect to sandwiched with the bun and butter
Pancake is ❤ really soft and has blueberries too inside
(their butter was really good too!)

Our food arrived after almost 20 minutes, but we didn’t feel like we waited for that long. The ambiance was relaxing and we were just chatting the whole time. That’s how I like the feel of this place. You won’t be anxious even though you waited to be served that long.

We bought some of their coffee grounds and pancake mix available in the cashier area. The only downside of the ground coffee according to my boyfriend is that the packaging is not resealable.

Overall, I’m really in love with this kind of place. Chill and cozy ambiance with a homey feeling. I recommend it if you’re looking for a unique breakfast place for your next date. 🙂

Rustic Mornings is located at #11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RusticMornings/

Instagram: @rusticmornings

Rustic Mornings by Isabelo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in finance, Lifestyle

10 Money Saving Tips

The topic of “Financial Responsibility” can be intimidating for some, especially if you’re a young professional like me. But as we get older, it is inevitable that we reach the stage of setting our priorities straight and thinking about plans and goals. It would be advantageous to be aware of your finances in this stage of your life and to start budgeting and investing for the future.

Growing up in a typical Chinese household, the practice of being frugal with handling money has been pass on to us since we were young. In light of being “financially responsible”, I would like to share my top 10 money managing rules that I apply in my life:

  • Settle your “fixed” expenses before anything else

Your fixed expenses are your monthly bills like rent, utilities, groceries, etc. These are the expenses that meets your physiological needs. Such cash outflows, however, may be adjusted depending on market and situational changes such as increase in utility bills and mandatory change of lifestyle; mandatory meaning that these changes are necessary such as a sudden inclusion of maintenance meds and such in your expenses. These are the expenses that are a “must” for you to live your daily lives.

Some may say that it is a “must” for them to have Starbucks every morning. Please get real and be honest with what should be included as “fixed” expenses.

  • Save at least 10% of your earnings

Regardless of how much you earn, practice to save at least 10% of it after your fixed expenses. For example, if you earn Php 10,000 a month and you have fixed expenses worth Php 2,000, save 10% from your net income (which is Php 8,000) amount to Php 800. The percentage could be adjusted depending on your profile, but the sweet spot for me is 10%, and it won’t be difficult to calculate what portion of your net you have to save.

  • Set aside a percentage of your earnings as emergency fund

How much you set aside for your emergency fund will vary on each individual. A good rule to follow is to set aside at least 6 months of your income for 1 year. Going back to our example, we should save at least Php 60,000 from our net for 1 year. This would mean that we should save at least Php 5,000 a month for emergency fund (this is following 12-month salary).

  • Live below your means

Whatever is left of your earnings is the money you can use to spend. Try to live below your means while you’re young and minimize spending especially on “material” things that you’ll regret spending money on.

Going back to our example, after saving 10% of your net income and setting aside emergency funds, we’re left with Php 2,200. This Php 2,200 will be your disposable income per month. You should live below the capability of your disposable income. A good habit I practice is delayed gratification. I will hold on to the Php 2,200 and let it accumulate until I purchase something I really want, or sometimes even better, in a future date. Delayed gratification will also set you up in the habit of really thinking about your purchase, making sure that you won’t just squander your long saved cash for something not worth it. Delayed gratification is better compared to spending all of my disposable funds in something that would only satisfy me in the short-term.

  • Invest your savings

It is best to invest your money while you are young. In my case, I opened a time deposit and a money market account. These are low risk and are suitable for me since I’m not an aggressive investor. My boyfriend, however, has a more aggressive risk appetite and invests his savings in stocks and equity backed UITFs (Unit Investment Trust Funds).

Before investing, you should check your risk profile, how much liquid you want to be, and what would be your investment goal. For me, I have a low risk investment profile but liquidity is not an issue that is why I opted for time deposit with longer terms and a money market account which I don’t have plans of liquidating soon. My boyfriend has a high-risk profile and also plans to keep his investments for the long-term. According to him, the longer you keep your money in high-risk high return investments, the more chances of greater capital appreciation.

Going back to our illustration, we save Php 800 per month. Invest these savings rather than keeping them under your bed. Let your savings work for you, slowly and exponentially multiplying them through investment channels.

  • Apply for a credit card

Applying for a credit card has its perks. With the right card, you can earn rewards for each purchase that could get your cash rebates and great offers. You could also purchase without the use of cash, which is a plus nowadays that we’re shifting to cashless transactions. Another benefit of using a credit card for purchases is having a credit record. Usually, financial institutions use credit profiles to engage you in future financing products like housing loans. However, the advantages of having a credit card may also cause if you’re not responsible enough.

Since using the credit card does not entail the physical or tangible feeling of cash out flow, some may feel that they’re retail immortals when using the credit card. Having this kind of mentality is what drowns people in credit card debt. Use your credit card responsibly and instead of using it as a tool to purchase whatever you want, use your credit card to teach you financial discipline. Which leads to my next tip;

  • Use your credit card wisely and only buy things you currently afford

Use your credit card only for things you can afford AT THE MOMENT. For example, if your itching to buy that new smartphone, only use your credit card in making the purchase if you have sufficient funds to meet the phone purchase. The logic here is to use your credit card as a payment substitute for cash and not as a debt generating mechanism. Avoid using your credit card if your funds are insufficient that smart phone purchase.

Some may say that the main reason they applied for a card is for the ability to pay for things through debt. This is a big mistake since for credit card purchases, there are higher bank costs and higher interest rates as compared to housing loans and car loans. Personally, I just use my credit card as a payment channel and get reward points.

  • Pay your credit card bills in full

This is another tip in using a credit card. You may say that you have sufficient funds to purchase that new Coach Bag since you could meet the minimum monthly credit card payments. This is a big no no practice.

Always try to pay your credit card bills in full. One way that credit card companies earn from others’ defiance of this rule is through, again, higher bank charges and interest rates. If you accumulate all the interest rate payments you made, you might as well have bought two Coach bags instead of the one you have right now.

  • Track your expenses

Always make an effort of tracking your expenses. You could opt to use a spreadsheet for this or download expense tracking apps. The purpose of tracking expenses is to benchmark and compare your saving efforts and to formulate strategies on how to make your spending more conservative.

Tracking your expenses also gives you the ability to realize some of the certain luxuries you could minimize or avoid all together. For example, when keeping track of your Php 500 a day expense, you could see which expense items you could let go to lower your expense to Php 300 per day.

  • Build financial intimacy with your partner

Money is a common cause of quarrels in relationships. The worst-case scenario is that this may lead to violent break-ups or, for married couples, broken families.

I advise you to be open with your financial situation with your partner. Whatever it may be, if he/she is a great partner, they would stay by you and would even help you in your financial goals.

My boyfriend made a cash budget spreadsheet that we both can use to track our expenses. This helps us monitor our own expenses and to help us budget dates. If we could not afford to go out, we could just hang out and chill with Netflix. This is better than giving your partner the illusion that you could give them the best time of their life all the time without disclosing that you are already financially in distress just to give them that best time.

Communicate with your partner regarding your finances so that both of you could grow and meet your financial goals.  

I hope that these money-saving tips give you an idea on how to manage your finances effectively. 🙂