Minimalist Living

13 July 2017


A Minimalist Living is basically life running under the "less is more" perception. Simple Living.

We started this kind of approach the moment we had our eldest son. Like every family, life began from the very bottom. We get by from paycheck- to- paycheck. This kind of situation taught us to become wiser and smarter. We saw the positive effects in "having less" in all aspects. Lifestyle is the key player in our lives. Its impact takes effect on us in an instant. Sometimes it stresses us out and there are moments that inspire us.  As our family moved forward, we continued to apply the "less" perspective in everything we do. 

We buy items that are only needed.
We use air-conditioning on "as needed" basis only.
We choose not to buy a new car because our old car is perfectly fine.
We buy food as to what is just needed in a week to avoid wastage.
When we go out, we bring food to snack on so we don't have to spend so much.
Less shopping.
We watch movies that are worth watching on the big screen.
Don't get too sentimental.
Don't ponder too much.
Don't over think and
Live in the moment.

At Home

  • My goal everyday as a stay at home mom is to make and keep a well- balanced home. It all starts within the four walls of our house. Having a conducive environment at home helps one overcome the mess that is outside, like a downpour of work.
  • The reason why we bought a condo is because it is more manageable. Less maintenance, less headache. It's smaller than a house but it is still spacious enough to decorate and play around with the interior. A basic square cut is always recommended so in times you want to rearrange or redecorate your condo, it's easy.
  • Get rid of old items especially those that are not being used. Toys, clothes, shoes etc... Not only you get to declutter but you also get to wear or keep newer things. In our case, we donate to the church my parents work for. 
  • Avoid excessive decorating. 
  • Have plenty of storage and store items you want to keep properly
  • Build a personal space in a corner of a room.
  • In the kitchen, I also have the basics. Baking tools are on a set basis only.  When I got my KitchenAid mixer, I gave my old stand mixer to my mom. 
  • I have 2 sets of plates one for formal dining and another for everyday use.

These are just examples, the list goes on.

Benefits:
Less clutter, less stress to the eyes and mind.
More room, more space for meditation or quiet time.
Less clutter, less dirt, less bugs and pests.
A clean house dictates clean living or a healthy lifestyle.

Food

  • The main goal is to avoid wastage and to equip your kitchen with your preferred essentials.
  • Buy the ingredients or items for cooking that are often used. In a week, I was able to practice to come up with a menu good for 4 and that becomes basis for my grocery list both perishable and dry goods. Not only you avoid wastage but you replenish your fridge with fresh goods at least every week.
  • Establish what is needed to be bought in bulk and in minimal amount. 
  • One of the things I love about the products we have here in the Philippines is the "value pack". It gives the exact amount you need in one cooking or recipe.
Closet/Clothing

  • Let's say, for some of us, it is when we go shopping we greatly damage our budget or savings. One of the perks of being a homemaker is that you're not required to dress up everyday. Shopping for new items for events and gatherings is one of the benefits I enjoy with having less or just the basics in my closet.
  • For whatever season it may be, "invest" on the basics and just do mix and match.
  • When it comes to footwear, storage can be an issue. Shoes have a life span whether it is often used or not. I personally have "one pair" of what I think is essential. A pair of flat shoes, strap- on/ sandals, flip flops, slip-on, walking shoes, running shoes and I always have a heavy duty pair like Dr. Martens.
  • Accessories, make- up, perfume: Basic, what you prefer of course,  and just enough to consume at a certain period of time so you can treat yourself to a new set again.
Most of this basically hits on the amount we tend to buy and keep for a long time.

Travel

  • One of the things I keep in mind when I travel anywhere with my family is to pack light. On our recent trip to America, even if we were given an allowance of 2 50lbs each (x4), aside from our personal bags, we opted to check- in 3 large suitcases only: 2  for our clothes and a luggage filled with pasalubong/ gifts. With kids in tow, it's always best to travel light especially for long haul flights.
  • It's a different case when you've done shopping at your destination. For us, we ship the items we shopped for ahead of the time of our departure.
  • Wear the most comfortable clothes and shoes, the set of clothing you're willing to let go or you'll often use throughout your travel so you don't have to pack it.
Social

This is going to be more on a personal perspective.  In 2015, my husband and I got rid of our personal Facebook accounts. Many wondered, a lot made speculations... and it's just Facebook! Whatever accounts we have now are just active for communication purposes only. We don't post stuff, we don't like or make comments.

For me, the only active accounts I have is Instagram that is on private and with chosen few as my contacts plus my blogs.

The moment we deactivated our accounts, it felt like a huge chunk was taken off our shoulders. We did not even realize that it brought that level of heaviness until we got rid of it. The thing we don't like about social media is prying, and there's too much negativity going on.

We choose the people we hangout with as well. It's cool to have a few friends that you can trust and be open with, than a lot you barely know or a bunch that give you second thoughts.

When it comes to social media or on mingling, filter your activities. You don't have to get rid of your accounts, just filter everything and be wise on what you post and share online.

Simplify your world online.

Like I said, this is on a personal perspective. It works for us without hurting or stepping on anyone.

The main reason why my husband and I are able to achieve goals and meet them on our specific timeline is because we live with the "less is more" theory. It works for us and I am very grateful for that. I'm a stay at home mom and yet we accomplish things as if I'm also earning. Being a minimalist helped us achieve our goals and dreams as a family even if with just one person working. Not only we get to save more money but it also teaches our children how to live a simple life. No one is getting deprived, it's just simplifying things. 
It gives a humbling feeling that radiates assurance and respect for all things in life.

World of Coca- Cola Tour

16 June 2017

Location:265 Park Ave W Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30313, United States

The World of Coca- Cola is situated within the Centennial Park District. It's just a few steps away from Centennial Olympic Park that was built for guests during the 1996 Olympics. It is right beside the Georgia Aquarium.

The World of Coca- Cola was the 2nd tourist spot we went to in Atlanta. Aunt Mel treated our whole family to the World of Coke as a welcome gift, but we were able to go during my eldest son's birthday last September.

 I love Coke! It's my go- to drink if I want something refreshing on a hot day or just to unwind and while watching a great movie. This tour was one of the highlights of our US trip last year because we visited the home of Coke, where it all started.
John Pemberton Founder of Coca- Cola
Information Booth for interested guests
The Lobby

Here, folks will welcome you with Coca- Cola drinks.

This is also where you will find the Coca- Cola bottle sculptures and the waiting area that will lead to---
 The Loft

The tour officially begins at The Loft. You will find memorabilia that represent the 125 Years of Coca- Cola from 30 different countries.

Our tour guide was very excited and asked each guest of their country of origin. It was amazing that the groups and families that we were with was composed of travelers and tourists from around the world. Switzerland, Korea, China, USA and even Greece. Of course, we got very excited to announce to all that we're from the Philippines.
Coca- Cola Theater
At the theater, a short film called Moments of Happiness was shown. It revolved around stories and moments of people from around the world with different cultures, how they celebrate and share their most valued journeys with Coca- Cola. It was a heartwarming film about love, life and family. The joys a drink can bring to our hearts.


I did not feature some of the other places we went to during our tour because we weren't able to take pictures. But you can visit: https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/ for details.

Pop Culture Gallery


Bottle Works

 Coca- Cola Polar Bear

The finale of our Coca- Cola tour was the Taste It! Experience. Here, we're able to taste over 100 Coca- Cola products from around the world. I guess, on what we've tasted so far, a country or continent's beverage is represented based on their culture or way of living.

Coke dispensers from places around the world: North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America
I took note of the following drinks I've been eager to try:

Japan- Vegitabeta ( not too sweet, refreshing, a bit bland)
Madagascar- Bonbon Anglais (unexplainable hehehe!)
North America- Gold Peak Sweet Tea (my new favorite in GA)
Korea- Joy (fruity)
North America- TAB ( gave me a nostalgic feel, milder taste compared to Coke)
Italy- Beverly (it's like vodka with sparkling water)

Over-all, I'm amazed on how Coca- Cola was able to recognize and come up with the distinct flavors that made each destination unique. I am proud to say that Asia has the most balanced set of beverages.
 My eldest son trying Coca- Cola products from Europe

Aside from the Taste It! experience, a section was also made available for other Coca- Cola products we're more familiar with. Keep your cups cause you might want to extend your Taste It! journey with some Coke Life, Cherry or Vanilla Coke, or with the Original Taste we all love. My second best choice was Raspberry Coke!
 Happy Me in My Happy Place
 More Coke for take home!
 Coca- Cola Store
We truly enjoyed our visit at the The World of Coca- Cola. It's one of our most memorable in this tip. It introduced a greater meaning than just recognizing and drinking a bottle of Coke. This whole experience showed us the other side of a famous soda brand, how it brings joy to everyone. I am very grateful to have experienced The World of Coca- Cola with my family. I mean, we love Coke!

Personal Tips On Getting Your Dream Condo

07 June 2017

It has been 2 years since we've officially moved to our new home and I'm loving every moment and everything about it. I decided to make this post about our new home purchase so I can shed a little light on what basis should you use in order to get your money's worth on purchasing a condo unit. At least coming from an ordinary person's point of view.

I've been a stay at home mom from the very beginning. My husband has always been "the provider". To acquire this property with just one of us working is a big deal (in a good way) and that's exactly what our bank manager told us. It only means that we can afford it. Some look down at families where the mom is full time at home or they just like the idea and perception that there's more money if both husband and wife are working.

 People, we will not be in this situation if we can't afford it.  As long as you know you have the money, go ahead, plan and make it happen.

I've talked to certain individuals who were having difficulties on weighing things if they should get a condo or a house and a lot. First of all, an investment will depend on your perception or simply what you feel will work for you not only now but in the future as well. For me and my husband, throughout our married life, we've been staying/ renting in a condo. We saw the practical side of condo living, but we still plan to invest at least on a lot property if not a house and lot. We need to remember our personal reasons and purpose why we want and need to make this investment.

This whole entry will focus on our personal basis and experiences on choosing the right developer, the condo must-haves, location and other important things as buyers.

The no.1 rule we learned on making an investment is not to rush into things. Take time and do research, do ocular and inspect the exact location of the building itself.  Usually, developers have model units, don't hesitate to go and ask around. Share your plans and goals with trusted people you think can help you, especially those who already made a good investment.

Purchase a property that will not give you headaches or any inconveniences.

It took 5-6 years for us to finally land at the hands of the right developer. We almost bought a property that we're not sure of. We went to several loops on choosing and making an "almost" bad decision. But from a casual talk with my husband's friend from work who found out about our intention, he gave us some points. It all began with that simple conversation, and now we're living in our dream home.

Location:

It's an investment, take into consideration the location. It's accessibility whether you have car or none. A lot of condos are being sold for an irresistible price, don't get hooked! There's a compromise. It's cheap but location- wise it's not family- friendly or it's situated near a slum area or low lying area. Worst of all, it may be resting on top or beside a fault line.

Accessibility is important, "as much as possible" find something near your work place. Look for nearby grocery stores, sari-sari stores even, banks, churches, schools, hospitals, commercial establishments. Check whether it's linked closely to major public transport such as trains and terminals. Lastly, make sure that it has ample parking space.
Our location is in a prime area of Quezon City. We're near major establishments. There are schools, and hospitals nearby. We're just a jeepney ride away to Cubao, we can walk to a known shopping location. We're beside major roads. All these, yet we get a nice, family- friendly environment. Once we get inside the premises of our condo it's quiet and peaceful. We have a jogging path, a swimming pool, a playground and an outdoor gym. We basically feel like we're in a resort.

Developer:

Once you've set your mind on the perfect location. Look for a developer. Be aware, most agents like profiling.  How you dress up or what car you drive is one of the things they look into and it's a sad, pathetic truth.  Be honest, show them who you really are, don't clothe yourself to impress. Anyway, just the thought you're interested on investing makes you a very capable person.

This can be tricky, but usually, the best in the business has something built in major locations. It's an investment right? spend on a good/ best developer. The one who can guarantee to meet your expectations. When I say guarantee, it means the developer has money that they don't wait for down payments to pay for the construction of the building or just to finish a building. With that, pre selling offers will come in handy. They can give you flexible terms. Just like what happened to us. Since our developer has money, they can afford to adjust according to our terms. Of course, that is with further study and approval. This goes with a reliable bank the developer is linked with.

Here are other important things to look for:

Amenities:

We're basically looking for a home that can give you more than a clean environment. Nowadays, a community offers amenities such as a pool and a playground. Look for these. It will add as a good find with the investment you're about to make. In our case and as mentioned above, aside from a swimming pool and a playground, we also have a clubhouse for events, a jogging path, an outdoor gym and a grotto where mass is held on special occasions. Make sure that the amenities are already available for use when you move in.

Cut of the condo units with major fixtures included:

This is one of the reasons why it took us quite some time to finally nail the right condo. We've been to several condos and one of the things that greatly bothered us was the unusual cut of the units, which I think is the trend nowadays. We were looking for a condo that can give us the feel that we're living in a house. It's small yet a basic square cut can give us room to make adjustments or plan our interior properly.

Choose a condo that already have the basics: a clean cut unit with dividers, working bathroom fixtures, kitchen with a sink or at least shelves. Look for a grease trap as well.

Balcony:
Get a unit with balcony.  It will serve as your garden or special nook.

Water:
Look for a condo where water is not affected when power is down. If you get the best developer, piping and all are at its finest.

Emergency Power System:
A condo with emergency powers is a plus. There's a working elevator, you can use an outlet, the fridge is running when power is down. We have all these in our condo and it will make you feel secure when there's an emergency.


Maintenance of the building:

A building has a life span. Imagine a "not so well maintained" one. We're very fortunate that our developer handles the building maintenance. Clarify with your developer on who'll provide maintenance. There are instances that the homeowners association is the one in- charge. There are cases when there's not enough funds, they skip this process, so through the years, the unit owners end up with an old- looking, cracked up building.

Our building is new, but you know what, they just repainted it. Our community is composed of 5 towers, and each are repainted and maintained properly. The oldest tower, looks new.

Security 24/7:

Make sure that the condo you choose has reliable, strict security services. Each tower in our community has its own lobby, concierge and security guards. We're also equipped with CCTV cameras. Aside from that, we have guards and an emergency personnel roaming around the premises, a guard at the walk- through entrance and several at the main gate and parking.

Housekeeping and In- House Maintenance:

Housekeeping does the internal stuff like cleaning and garbage disposal.  These are 2 essential roles that does internal maintenance 24/7. If you need something fixed in the middle of the night or day, they come to aid you.  That extends to the amenities.

These are just points I want to share for future buyers. As a stay at home mom,  with our first 2 years in our new home, I'm at peace with this investment. No regrets. I feel that I got everything I was looking for when it comes to condo living. Life is easy, it's not heavy in the pocket too. My family gets that "resort type" environment. Staycation? No need to go out, I have everything in my humble unit, better than a hotel.

It's a good investment for those working or living abroad who does frequent visits in the Philippines. Especially those who like to stay in a decent place without spending too much.  It's something worth coming home to in the Philippines.

Whatever I shared here are just based on our experiences when we purchased our condo. Most of you might ask who our developer is. For security reasons, I will not mention our location and the exact property we purchased, but we are proud to share how happy and satisfied we are with Ayala Land.

 
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