Keeping the Optimism

Refusing to dwell on the bad vibes around us, how do you keep the optimism?

There are people who are just born negative; their presence seems to emit dreadful energy. There are also scenarios in our everyday lives that can poke grim feelings. Some random message and call can tweak a good mood. Sometimes even the sound of Outlook or Viber can become a drag. What are your hacks to stay uplifted? 12 months with the pandemic and I’ve learned 12 ways to stay afloat.

  1. Resist gossiping.
  2. Practice gratitude.
  3. Go away from a rude group.
  4. Spend time with those you love.
  5. Think of ways to help and act on it.
  6. Ask people how they are and listen.
  7. Be the kind of friend you wish to have.
  8. Prefer kindness and flash a genuine smile.
  9. Avoid those with the I-Me-and-Myself Syndrome.
  10. When sudden dark thoughts plague the mind, pray.
  11. Find an activity that you enjoy and make sure you allot fair time to do it.
  12. Be forgiving and nice to yourself. Laugh if you wish even if it distorts your face. Take a break if you are tired. Sleep if it calls you.

There are days way tougher that the other and it can become a real struggle to remain on the bright side of things. At times it may even feel like a battle—who do we wish to win? The buoyant or the melancholy version of ourselves? It is our choice and choosing who’s who may require daily work and validation. Aim to stick on the positive space no matter what and if it becomes a challenge (as it normally does for me), I randomly picked one from my 12 hacks; my favorite immediate action is always #10. While in the gloom, dive into that corner of our hearts and discern what makes us spark.

keeping the optimism and finding our spark

How to Set the Sanity Rules Without Being a Turn Off at Work?

Many Consultants and Freelancers have this small luxury to provide a service at their home office and I have been living with this set-up years before people are required to do it. I used to go out once in a while to meet a client or work in various cafés for long hours. It was fun. Given series of practice, I learned to separate time (and corners in the house) for family and work.

But the routine seemed to change when pandemic got in our way.

  • Clients started messaging during wee hours, on weekends, and even holidays.
  • Several meetings are conducted without prior schedule. It must happen NOW!
  • Deadlines are always in a rush. What used to be done in a day or two is suddenly required to be submitted NOW with the thought bubble: you are just at home anyway.

how to keep sanity at work

It is like WFH has permitted us to be available 24 hours and many of us are now functioning in this environment.  I understand that urgent tasks can occur once in a while for rush projects but it cannot be the next new normal at work. On rare occasions, there will be days that we probably need to send a report on Saturday night but it cannot be every weekend. You don’t have to always answer an inquiry sent at 2am. No need to spend a New Year’s Eve revising a content. If we go on with this, it can make many of us go crazy(!) It can also lose our drive to excel, to be creative, and to remain productive.

When writing this, let me make it clear: it is not for us to refuse a job or whine about it, no. But we can define the boundaries with our clients, boss, colleagues and they must respect it. We are not grabbing the role of  that difficult-to-work-with officemate. We are just protecting ourselves because burnout is firing near. How to set the sanity  rules without being a turn off?

  1. Acknowledge that we are very thankful to have the job despite the pandemic. We pursue quality output but the recent limitless orders are starting to take a toll.
  2. Give the assurance that you will continue to provide the expected result but it cannot be achieved on a basis of a daily rush.
  3. Gently reiterate the agreed hours. When starting a new work or onboarding a new client, stipulate the schedule in the contract as validation when they question your request later on.
  4. Work is valuable. So is our family and the other aspects of our lives. Make them appreciate that there are other to-do’s that aid in keeping our sanity—pursuing online food business on weekends, being a plantita/plantito, trailing our hobbies, bonding with the furbabies, or just having an uninterrupted afternoon on Netflix. Remind your fair time off so you can focus on other equally-necessary parts of life. You need this to refuel and get back the enthusiasm for the next work week.
  5. Keep the delight of spending the weekends and holidays away from work like having the excitement of seeing #WalangPasok trending on Twitter for the students.

Be honest. Stay patient. Show the right attitude. The situation we are in must not permit us to over work and become slaves. We all need to watch each other’s back while waiting for COVID-19 to disappear and attempt not to get lost in the process. Life after quarantine is going to happen and our whole happy self should be there when we return to the real normal.

For your peace of mind, go after what keeps you emotionally and mentally happy. You cannot maintain the fire at work if you are always exhausted. It is in our hand to stop the burnout.

stop burnout

Favorite Food from East of the Metro are Now at BF Homes

The stretch of President, Aguirre, and El Grande Avenues in BF Homes, Paranaque is still an ideal spot for people with hungry tummies. Some stores are still open but sad to know that there are a lot of restaurants now marked as “CLOSED” due to COVID-19. Many establishments included on my previous blogs are no longer in operation. When passing along, you get to see empty spaces, fewer people dining, and an oddly quiet Friday night vibe.

Yet eating remains an adventure when going around BF Homes. Some favorite restaurants originally from Quezon City, Pasig, San Juan, and elsewhere are now within reach! No need to battle the traffic to address the craving. Pandemic or not, good food is still a must to have and people are willing to buy as long as it is worth spending. Here’s what help ease up our quarantine life in the South.

Lola Nena's Pansit and cheese donuts

Address:  Unit 1B #287 Aguirre Avenue

Line is usually long but patrons stay patient on their queue just to get their tray of pansit palabok or canton bihon mix and a box of old-fashioned cheese donut.

Pomodoro Cremoso Pizza and Cheese Lasagne

Address: #106 Aguirre Avenue

It is a surprisingly affordable and no frills  pizza/pasta place. The formaggio cremoso (white sauce, four cheese and garlic) is the heart-throb. It can’t get too cheesy by having the formaggio lasagne, as well.

Grub in a Box Cheese burger and buen nachos

Address: #386 El Grande Avenue

One of my favorite food packaging with your order placed in elegant black boxes! A bite of  the cheeseburger deluxe with bacon and onion rings literally makes you drool for more while the nacho buen is real hearty snack.

Eat Fresh Laksa and sweet sour squid

Address: #69 President’s Avenue

We seldom get a nice service here (same with their Greenhills branch) and servers can sometimes appear disoriented but we just don’t let them get into our nerves! Because their menu especially the laksa really gives a good, hot slurp while the salt and pepper squid is the ideal side-kick making your forget everything else.

Writing this and seeing the photos makes me hungry! What’s your favorite?

Note: All collage images c/o the establishments’ Facebook page.

Strange Terms We Use while Living with a Pandemic

2020 has introduced us to new strange words and people have learned to use it as if it is the most common terms ever created.  The things is, we all need to adjust and get familiar with it as part of our ways to understand and win over COVID-19. At first, we probably heard of these key phrases from creepy Hollywood dystopian movies.

Some of these words appear scary, even apocalyptic, when you hear it prior to the pandemic. Who would have thought that these will become part of our daily household conversations and that saying it will just be a matter-of-fact—not a narration quoted from a sci-fi film?!

But really, if you hear these words a year before… what would be your top-of-mind impression?

  • When the streets are empty and all stores are closed… like there was an alien invasion or zombie attack!

lockdown during covid19

  • A reminiscent of entering a school premise: No ID, No Entry. Our survival seems so dependent on the mask and the shield.

wear face mask

  • This mandatory has been a struggle for most of us. Not everyone is keen to put on a distance.

social distancing

  • And this is what we do now, getting our temperature check and lining up on the establishment gate before entering. I miss those times that we just go in and out without worries.

completing the contact tracing form

  • When government is talking of the second wave when the first one is not yet settled.

second wave of the virus

  • To protect our children, we relied on ODL to continue their studies without going to their actual classrooms. There are days my son would randomly say, “I miss going to school. I miss seeing my teachers and classmates”.

online distance learning

  • The answer on how to completely stop COVID-19 is not yet presented even if vaccines are on the way… so how to flatten the curve especially now  with the reported mutation and that this new variant is considered to be more transmissible?

flatten the curve

  • The perfect time to wish that our house is really a home.

  • The way we live has changed.

new normal

  • It feels like a mortal sin to go out but if we think about it, we can really protect lives if we lessen the trip outside. This is our reality now.

stay home save lives

  • More of this flashing on the news screen as it constantly reminds us of the danger; these numbers are real people whose lives drastically changed.

covid-19 total confirmed cases go up everyday

  • Occasionally wearing face masks and face shields is an agony, what more to those who are wearing it every day for many hours while their lives are on the edge? Thank you is an understatement.

  • Hold on to the people we love as we celebrate the holidays with the virus still very present around us. Let’s mean it when we say this:

We Are All In This Together!

In time of COVID-19, Connect and Empathize

2020 has been a tough year with COVID-19 at the forefront of our struggles plus typhoons wrenching parts of the country. Now with just a month left, I wonder if the year will change its course and treat us with a brighter path somehow. Our “presence” and by just “being there” to someone may not be the solution to their problems but being “present” can come as a huge help somehow. When did you last say, kamusta? How are you? Then follow it through by listening wholeheartedly. We have to keep each other within sanity zone as we are press to live our lives with the pandemic. Where we are now is definitely not an easy scenario yet we have to push our unique ways to cope, respectively. Connect and empathize.

Talk to someone. LISTEN.

How are you doing?

I talk remotely to family and friends, chat daily with few girlfriends, walk around the neighborhood, and sneak for a quick night drive over coffee with the family.  There are days sadder than the other while there are happy moments too. The battle happens daily as we individually try to remain optimistic and COVID-free.

What do you miss?

There are things I sorely miss like having a cup of coffee and chatting with friends face-to-face. I miss embracing them tight. How I desire to walk freely without a face mask and face shield in malls and parks. I hate the feeling of being terrified seeing crowded people yet we have to avoid mass gatherings for now.

What else worries you?

And other than the gloom of COVID-19, this year I lost two special people… my cousin last September 11 and college friend last October 14. It was a sudden and painful event brought by their past ailment. Until now the idea that I will never see them again pinch so hard.

Then comes the typhoon, some friends who devoted their lives to build a nice home woke up and realized that they lost most of it because of Ulysses.

What do you plan to do?

Keep tune with what’s important, remain optimistic, and aim to still be productive regardless of what’s happening. The buzz about the possibility of having a vaccine is here but trials still need to take place. We might be seeing the end of the chaos in months (or maybe in years) so this will still be a while… a long while. Hold on to real good people who really mean when they say, “we are in this together”.  Call someone. Capture the moment. Connect and empathize… every day.

capture the moment

Spending Community Quarantine with Kids

We are still on Community Quarantine. Most parents are still working from home while the kids are studying online. No movies yet. No Timezone games. No out-of-the-country travel in the schedule. These have been the reality for seven months now, no freedom to go out.

How do you talk to your children about being stuck at home? They deserve to go in the playground, learn in school, be with their classmates, and spend a weekend with other family members and friends! But certainly, not yet. Not while COVID-19 is lurking everywhere.

My son randomly saw a photo of his last year’s intrams event and suddenly cried. “I miss school,” he said out-of-the-blue.

It was a surprise because I had never seen him so sad this whole time. He understood why we are on home quarantine and why we can’t leave a normal life yet. I let him cry a bit then listen to his stories—what he missed the most; what will he do when back in school; the schoolmates and teachers he would love to see.

I told him it is normal to feel down because of the pandemic. We all feel the same and we all aim to go out and live like before… but not yet. So while we are on this challenging setup, let us try to make happy memories together worthy to share to others when this global infection is over! I added telling him, “perhaps even something good to mention to your children and grandchildren when they ask, how was your life during COVID daddy?”. Then he grinned. He liked the idea of making something meaningful while at this difficult scenario. “You would not like to tell your kids that you cried for months and you were in mostly bed staring at the ceiling shivering in fear,” I added in hyperbole.

Our activities at home might not be grand but what matters are the small things we enjoy doing together.

  • Sudoku.
  • Badminton.
  • Baking cookies.

baking cookies and brewing coffee

Pesto Made Fresh

  • Exploring new recipes.
  • Attending online mass.
  • Adopting abandoned kittens.

Adopting abandoned kittens

  • More time for our dog, Waffles.

More time for Waffles

  • Unplanned stay-at-the-car city trip.
  • Walking around the neighborhood.
  • Trying community home-made food.
  • Since we all long to munch fresh cinema popcorn, hubby bought a popcorn maker and we sure to get individual snack bowl when glued on a Netflix weekend.
  • A lot of talking of just about anything. Acknowledge the story of each member of the family and listen sincerely. Some days when conversations are deep while others may come to be as simple as what food do you like to eat!

Family bonding

It is a hard time and nothing can ease up the burden that we are continuously experiencing due to the coronavirus but feeling down and pessimistic will not help our kids stand properly in life as they face this invisible enemy. Give them the assurance that we understand what they are going through. As parents, let’s just try to make the most of where we are and create special moments with our children.

Delivery Rider Mischiefs

We avail of the courier service as part of our small business routine (and for other personal meal purchases, too). Thankful to the many good riders who are courteously and safely transporting our product to our buyers. The experience is mostly positive BUT there are a few that cause real headache. Rather than help, these drivers create unnecessary worries so good for us to be cautious all the time. I wrote a general description so we can share the same thought as to what they represent, I hope you will not get a chance to personally meet these guys (and for us to never transact with such type again):

1.

The App Blamers demand additional fee as they point these 3 issues:  (1) it is the app’s fault that the price is set at a specific rate given the short route (2) yet the rider cannot follow the itinerary (3) because it is a gated village requiring private sticker to enter. This has been frequently occurring from our location for nearby deliveries and we have been reporting about it. The courier companies must really fix their map and clarify entry permissions so they don’t hassle both their riders and clients.

Another reason for drivers to ask for payment on top of what is stipulated on the app is heavy traffic or long restaurant order queuing BUT should this be part of the process and add-ons not necessary? Anyway, many are giving tips freely when service is superb.

App Blamer - Delivery Rider Mischief

App Blamer

2.

The Cancel Specialists cancel the job order out of the blue, they will ask the client to drop the request with their endless reasons. To begin with, why would they accept the task if they are uncertain if they can commit to it (or not)?!

Cancel Specialist - Delivery Rider Mischief

Cancel Specialist

3.

You gave the package to the Careless Bearers with all its beauty but it was transited without care arriving to its destination all haggard and filthy.

Careless Bearer- Delivery Rider Mischief

Careless Bearer

4.

You already paid the delivery service as sender but the Double Chargers still billed the recipient. With this scenario, it is a must to always communicate who’s paying so we won’t be deceived.

Double Charger - Delivery Rider Mischief

Double Charger

5.

This batch seems to have forgotten good manners and right conduct. From how they harshly take your call, ring your doorbell, receive your item, and the rudeness go on for the Foul Players.

Foul Player - Delivery Rider Mischief

Foul Player

6.

The Imaginary Flash immediately confirmed to the app that the item is  picked-up or delivered even if it is not yet done. You will be surprised to know that after about 20 minutes and you personally called to check, rider is still far from the drop point even if you were advised by the app and text message prompt that it is already accomplished.

Imaginary Flash - Delivery Rider Mischief

Imaginary Flash

7.

When all the details and requests (landmarks, color of gate, store to meet the recipient, handling of package) are already provided but the Passive Readers  did not absorb anything and remains clueless on what to do.

Passive Reader - Delivery Rider Mischief

Passive Reader

8.

The Persistent Wanderers are not following Waze or Google Map. He called you asking for direction but not listening to your instructions either. It appears like the rider is traversing to a different planet.

Persistent Wanderer - Delivery Rider Mischief

Persistent Wanderer

9.

When the word on the way is overly used. Slow Joe assures you that he is OTW an hour before but in reality, he has not even moved from where he is (this is quite alarming  especially for perishable items in transit). Where is the sense of urgency? Very unlikely to drive slow but probably he is just waiting to pool more customers on his way.

Slow Joe - Delivery Rider Mischief

Slow Joe

10.

Did you encounter any from the list? There are many more terrible stories and glad that we have not experienced more of it.

Delivery Rider Mischiefs

Who else did you meet?

Some who did big awful stuff are actually highlighted to social media by their victims so people are aware of the misconduct. Depends on the gravity of their action, take time to report the drivers so the courier company becomes aware and hopefully raise a fair warning. I am eagerly hoping that the incident will not be repeated to others.

How many did you ban? I’m sure the number of banned is less than a handful compare to the number of successful transactions, right?

We should not give those few bad riders the reason to taint the image of the many helpful, honest, and dedicated drivers who are doing their job the best they can.

Let’s rather help out and not take advantage of one another. 🙂

Let’s Keep that Common Courtesy for Buyers and Sellers

We have all been accustomed to buying online and many have initiated to sell in order to (financially and even emotionally) survive the pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Rakuten Insight last May 2020, 41%  of respondents from the Philippines stated that they purchased more online during COVID-19.

Add to Cart has increased

Our family has also started a small business with Pesto Made Fresh. Most of our supplies are ordered online, paid through bank transfer, and shipped via independent courier. Other personal items we got since March 2020 came from “add to cart” and “check out” system, too. Despite the digital ways of doing “buy & sell”, communication still plays a huge role and the human-way of interacting is still vital. Occasionally answering the messages from FB and IG, I realized that many Filipinos are naturally polite but there are a handful filled with rudeness. So here are just some reminders to keep it cool:

  • Respect the rules. If you don’t agree with it then don’t proceed with the transactions and try not to end up saying harsh words.

Some sellers are taking Cash-On-Delivery while some are not accepting COD given the merchants’ own valid reason, accept it. Some can be amiably negotiated but if they refuse to do COD then what is the sense of saying: “It is your big lost that I did not buy. You are losing opportunities if you don’t follow my demand. You will not succeed with your business. You lose a buyer”.

RESPECT.

  • Open your phone lines and get ready to receive calls in case the rider/courier seek your help to locate your place.
  • Be nice. There must be no room for sarcasm when inquiring for items you like or when answering the queries of the buyers.
  • When products did not arrive as expected (late, incomplete, or damaged), report objectively with proof and resist having a war-mode tone at once. Most sellers are doing their best to have their items dispatched in perfect condition but shipping or other outside issues can break it.
  • If you get complaints, listen to your buyer. Understand what happened and find ways to help rather than be overly defensive. Drop the blame game and face the problem.
  • Read the text of the product advertisement. It does not make sense to ask “hm” when the price of the item is already mentioned or “loc” when location is already pinned on the caption. Let’s save each other’s time by being an active reader.
  • Don’t give false hope. If you have no plans of buying, then say so. If supplies will never be available again, then be honest about it. No point of saying you will purchase next week when you know at the onset that next week is going to be never.
  • Take the entire process seriously. Small as it may appear, this is real business and commit to buy or sell only if you are serious about it. Don’t make a reservation if you will not get it. Don’t promise a delivery date when it can’t be accomplished.
  • Reply to sensible messages or calls as soon as you can. Resist the seen zone.
  • Stop Spamming and spreading negative vibe.
  • Say THANK YOU.

Let’s keep the ecommerce environment happy and healthy for all of us to have a vibrant online shopping experience especially in the midst of the global health problem.

healthy ecommerce experience

The COVID-19 Reminders That We Tend to Ignore

Seeing a lot of news about COVID-19 and witnessing how the number is rising every single day can be really terrifying. As of writing this, we have 14.5 million confirmed cases worldwide and almost 70,000 in the Philippines. At some point, we personally know people who have been inflicted and we can only do our part to send prayers for quick recovery. Moreso, we need to plot our battle strategy with the members of the family; it is a pendulum effect—one person gets positive, everyone has a huge tendency to catch it too! Instead of drafting series of precautions (which we have all been bombarded already by mainstream and social media), I’ve collected beautiful online images; these are particularly important to remember during the time of pandemic. Sure we know this but many tend to remain forgetful, putting our guards down, or simply (sadly) being careless. No one is immune and no one is above the virus. Let’s always stay cautious and put up our defense wherever we are.  Note to self: seriously pushing on protection is NOT an exaggeration. Better to overact than underestimate the invisible foe.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.9.

10.   Still…

Aren’t all these images a familiar reminder? Aren’t the  health experts always telling us to wear mask and to stay at home but why are we not consistently following?! Now is not the time to be hard-headed and to feel superior. We are all at risk, so please let us do our part and sincerely care for one another. God bless us all and stay safe.

What are Your Home-Made Adventures while (still) on Quarantine?

What are Your Home-Made Adventures while (still) on Quarantine? Such a painful reality: even if Metro Manila is on General Community Quarantine, it is still not safe to frequently go outside. For our peace of mind and if not a matter of importance, it is a must NOT to leave. Home is a real refuge at this time of COVID-19 pandemic. The many ways we keep ourselves sane during the indefinite long haul at home is very important. It may be a struggle at times feeling stuck but as optimism calls for it, stick on the bright side. Perhaps now is the ideal time to do what we have been hoping to accomplish (but we could not since we have always been out of the house).

I’ve seen some people adding more stress to the scenario by digging on the fact that they are not as productive as they should… yet I insist, better stay optimistic. As long as we don’t sleep all week, lounge in bed for days then maybe let’s just be thankful for what’s there is and that we are healthy. The activities we dive ourselves into may come as spontaneous and may not always mean a major task. To get by, yes. Or better, to make use of this time for things we won’t otherwise prioritize to do.

How are you spending the community quarantine?

Clean the closet. Paint the wall. Fix the garage.

Netflix marathon. We are now a big fan of anime especially Spirited Away,  Demon Slayer, Tales from Earthsea, A Whisker Away, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, Arriety, Howl’s Moving Castle, From Up on Poppy Hill and the list continues…

There is more time now to exercise or dance or even hula.

Relive an old hobby and/or find a new one. Writing is my first love and other than doing that for work and on my blogs, I am recreating some personal notes lately… things I used to do every day in my younger years.

Learn a new recipe. Just went back to cookie baking after ten years and now exploring banana bread and other sweets.

Homemade cookies by WriteNowNa

My freshly baked choco walnut cookies and dolce gusto hot americano

Attend a webinar. There are many free virtual online trainings happening now, take a pick and join what interest you the most.

Bring out the entrepreneur in you. Think of how many FB friends you have that started their small online business… selling cakes, korean chicken, masks, and almost everything else. Support them if you can. This is a small way of helping each other to financially (and emotionally) survive while the virus is persistently around.

Drop the gadgets once in a while and play board games! Jenga, Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders, Scrabble are the oldtime favorites. Now we are equally enjoying Spot It! and Exploding Kittens.

What are Your Home-Made Adventures while (still) on Quarantine? Play Jenga

What keeps you going? Would love to hear chunks of your home-made adventures, too! 🤩🥰