5 Things I Love With My New Work-At-Home Role

I keep on asking myself if I miss my corporate life. During my first month, the answer of course was a resounding YES. But now, that desire is becoming a little fainter.

If there is one thing I miss most working in the office, it is the unlimited interaction with a lot of people. To some, this could be a burden, especially for anti-social people. Those who know me though, know that I am a social butterfly. I love talking to friends in the office, conversing during office breaks, even talking to my team about a project or to my boss about a great vision. This is was my way of learning. Of course, I cannot do that now at home when all I have with me is Sachi and her eyes can only implore. I really wish she could talk. Haha. I try to compensate it though by bugging all my friends over Viber.

While I miss working in corporate, I am having a new-found love working at home. It has been two months (already!) since I have quit work and so far, so good.

Since I started staying at home, I was able to increase my shop‘s sales because I finally had the time to focus on it. I was also able to land several writing jobs (which I love, by the way) and it comes almost every week. I have a marketing consultancy work which I attend to once a week and just this week, I landed a virtual assistant job for an awesome Australian company (which I got from a network of awesome work-at-home moms in Facebook, thank you sooo much!)

So yes, I AM BUSY 🙂

While it may not look that stable for me yet, working at home looks quite promising. One things that gives me a lot of confidence is when I hear stories of many WAHMs (work-at-home moms) who have been very successful in providing for their family without having to join the rat race.

So without further ado, these are my five reasons while I love my new work-at-home role:

1. I spend my time more productively and more efficiently.

Time Flies by Robert Couse-Baker
Creative Commons License 2.0

I don’t have to pretend that my mind is working when it is still dozing off. As of the moment, I am required to do four hours of work each day for my role as a virtual assistant. Everything that I do is results-driven without the burden of doing it at a specific time of the day. I was told that I could do things on the time of the day that I am most productive. As long as I deliver what is required, everything is okay.

Isn’t that awesome?!

For me, this has been the most liberating and more daunting task. Liberating since you don’t have to do the usual time-in and time-out but it is daunting because you have to be accountable for everything that you do.

At the end of the day,  your integrity plays a major role because offshore clients trust that you are doing your job during the times that you said you were.

2. I learn new things every day. 

Learning by Anne Davis
Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0

I thought my world would end when I quit corporate. My fear was for my mind to become senile. No more spreadsheets, no more presentations. But alas, there are many new things that I learn. Every day.

Learning is everywhere.

It does not need to be contained in the office. Now that my work is based online, I get to expand my horizons more. I have discovered the amazing world of Google apps. All awesome social networking tools.

What’s more, I get to upskill myself even in the areas not related to work but to my role as a wife – homemaking 🙂

3. I have three additional hours per day and because of that, I can do more. 


What I hated most when I was working (as I am sure, with everyone else who has to endure the same) was the traffic. It took me around an hour to get to the office in the morning and it was just thirteen kilometers away!!! The worse part was the drive home — almost two hours.

By the time I arrived at home, I was already deadpan tired.

Now, I have saved three hours just because of that — enough time to be able to cook for my husband and play with my Sachi.

And yes, an additional hour for a little stretching or reading a chapter of a new book is not bad, too.

4. I get to rest. 

I can definitely say that I have slowed down which was my doctor’s requirement when she asked me to quit. Whenever I feel tired, I take some power naps. I still maintain my 6:30 AM waking hour though. But I think the naps really help and this set-up, really, is causing me less stress.

5. I actually save more because I spend less. 

Save Money by 401 (K) 2012
CC BY-SA 2.0

It is quite ironic that I get to save more now with a fifth of my previous salary. But staying at home means no expenses at all. No expensive lunch outs. No gas money. No toll fees. No office clothes, high-heeled shoes or makeup to buy.

It has been a short while so I really do not know where the roads will take me yet. I am not closing any doors and I am always open to opportunity. However, for those who are forced into this stay-at-home situation for whatever reasons, there is so much things that you can do. It is not the end of the world. This I have learned.

It is all a matter of maximizing the skills that you have. What would be nicer is to do the things now that you are most passionate about since you have the option to choose what road to take. In my case, I am grateful that I am able to write again and even get paid for it.

Quitting corporate is not bad. Not bad at all.

xx,
Balot

My First Ultralight Experience

Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price. -Amelia Earhart

I have mentioned in my other posts how I loved my previous work so much. It gave me the opportunity to grow myself in so many unimaginable ways. I have met a lot of people and got to try activities from a grueling one-day on-the-spot contest, to a trip to Japan with some press people and even flying! Yes, you heard that right! FLYING!
I still could feel the exhilaration when I had my first ultralight experience during one of the PWD (Photography with a Difference) projects we had with the Philippine Air Force and the Angeles City Flying Club (ACFC). It was sooo fun!
Ultralight aviation (called microlight aviation in some countries) is the flying of lightweight, 1 or 2 seat fixed-wing aircraft. Some countries differentiate between weight shift and 3-axis aircraft, calling the former “microlight” and the latter “ultralight”.

[source 1=”<a” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_aviation” 2=”2="2="target="_blank">Wikipedia</a>""” language=”:”][/source]

Was wishing I could still take photos while on air. Haha. Remained a wish!
Buhay pa!
Holding on to dear life!
Take me away!
Gone too soon!
But fun, nevertheless!

The Angeles City Flying Club is the premier ultralight flying club in the Philippines. It is a non-profit, non-stock corporation certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Its outstanding facilities, aircraft, and international membership make it like none other in the world. The club offers sport pilot Training, ultralight rental, large hangars and maintenance facilities.
We have been operating since 1993 and we have some of the most experienced ultralight pilots and maintenance personnel Asia. We have three, 230 m2 hangars, a club house with office, training room, canteen, and a swimming pool with bamboo huts to shield you from the sun. This is all in a clean country atmosphere.

[source 1=”<a” 2=”2="2="href="http://www.angelesflying.com/">www.angelesflying.com</a>""” language=”:”][/source]

If you are interested to have this experience, visit ACFC website here. Their most basic package for a trial introduction flight is at PHP1,650 (USD36++).

With a trial introduction flight, together with one of our experienced instructors, you can experience ultralight flying at its best, before making the eventual decision to become a full member and take up flight training. Each introduction flight comes with a one-day trial membership to experience the ACFC and its facilities.

If you are interested to have the adrenaline rush, visit their website today!

Century City Cinema and Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen Experience

So last Saturday, husband and I finally went to Century City for our scheduled Mockingjay movie date. We haven’t been there yet so we figured we check the place out.
I booked a ticket online because I didn’t want the hassle of lining up at the ticket booth. However, you can only reserve seats at the website but still have to pay at the cinema. You also have to be there two hours prior to your movie schedule to pay for the tickets. If not, they will give your reserved seats to someone else. Hmm, that’s a little disappointing, don’t you think?
Since we didn’t have anything to do, we went around the mall and loitered. (Two hours! Geez!)
We, then decided to have an early dinner instead and I asked Edzel if he was  up for some ramen action. We decided to eat at Ikkoryo Fukuoka Ramen.

I remember the best ramen I’ve had in my life. It was in a very small ramen place in Dazaifu at Fukuoka Prefecture which sold for 700 yen.

I like the vibe of the place. The attendants are also very nice 🙂
The place kind of reminded me of this famous Starbucks at Fukuoka (en route to Dazaifu).
The husband, of course, ordered something spicy.
Why so glum, babe?
He got the Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu which consists of spicy Tobanjan (a spicy, salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soybeans, salt, rice, and various spices) paste at PHP380.
Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu which the husband claimed to be not that spicy.
He has really high tolerance for spices though ^__^
I ordered the Chef’s Special Ajitama Tonkotsu which was topped with a special half-boiled egg that was fully marinated with a special blended soy sauce base (also at PHP380).
Ajitama Tonkotsu
We totally enjoyed our little ramen dinner that we even forgot to take a picture of their gyoza (PHP150) which Edzel liked! For the first time (read: he is not a fan of gyoza). Hurray for happy tummies!
Shop Information:
CENTURY CITY MALL
Level 3, Century City Mall, Century City,
Kalayaan Avenue, Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City
Telephone Number
811-0333
Operating hours:
Monday – Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday & Saturday 10am – 10 pm
Sunday 10am – 9pm
Visit their website here.
xx,
Balot

Singapore Shiok!

I have been in and out of Singapore for some of my stay in Canon because it used to be our regional office. I never got to go around though because the days were primarily spent in meetings. Last year, I was fortunate to accompany five handsome Canon photographers *wink* for a trip sponsored by the tourism board of Singapore.
With Mark Floro, PJ Enriquez, Edwin Martinez, Jay Jallorina and Jo Avila.
Arrival at Singapore with our tour guides 🙂

One of the places we visited was Sentosa, of course. This was at the S.E.A. Aquarium.

Photo by PJ Enriquez
At the S.E.A. Aquarium™, you can observe more than 100,000 creatures from 800 species like sharks and sting rays. They are all swimming in 45 million litres of water!
One-day pass would cost you S$38 or a little over PHP1300 for adults. Operating hours can be found here.
I also visited one unassuming place, Yong Siak Street and there I found my little heaven. A bookstore called Books Actually!
I fell in love with the place instantly. Not only does it feature local authors, it also has a very creative feel.
Cute cookie brooch!!!
I love this so much!
And of course, I had to take some home. 🙂
We also visited Gardens By The Bay. The photo below is a shot of the Supertree Grove. According to their website, these Supertrees have canopies with environmentally sustainable function such as harvesting solar energy to light the trees at night while others serve as air exhaust receptacles. To learn more about the Supertrees, click here.
Photo by PJ Enriquez.
Gardens By The Bay is located at 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953. Check out ticket rates and how to get to the gardens here.
We also visited the MegaZip Adventure Park in Sentosa. I was caught unprepared. I thought we were just taking pictures around Sentosa. [Un]fortunately, we also had to ride the MegaZip.
According to their website, MegaZip is at 75 meters high, 450 meters long and heart pounding speeds of 60 KMPH.
I am not really frazzled by heights. In fact, I take every opportunity to ride ziplines because of the adrenaline rush it brings. Unfortunately, the shoes were not appropriate for the occasion.
I was just trying to look bored. Hahaha. But really, I was hanging on to my dear shoes.
From the jungle, I landed at Sentosa Beach. Haha.

For my last feature for this trip, I present to you my second most favorite destination on my list (after the bookstore, haha) – Marché 313@somerset!

Marché is a self-service Swiss restaurant that is supposed to mimic the warm and cozy ambiance of the Swiss Alps.

According to them, they shipped original Swiss chalets from the highland around Bern, Switzerland.
Sorry for the blurred photo.

Marché has a very wide selection of gastronomical offerings ranging from their own fresh bakes, salads, an open grill, pizza, anything you can think of! Each guest is given a card which you use to “purchase” your food at the different stations. You will surrender the card and pay at the end of your meal. Pretty awesome!

Creamiest mushroom soup ever!
 
And yes of course, the dessert that comes with coffee!

Burp! Marché 313@somerset is located at Level 1, Discovery Walk, 313 Orchard Road, Singapore 238895. You can check out their website here.

I stayed at Park Royal Pickering and I realllyyy loved the hotel. Unfortunately, I was only able to take very few photos of the hotel (my bad!). But just to show you how it looks like, I got some free to share photos from a Singaporean photographer, Erwin Soo to show you how beautiful this hotel is <3

By Erwin Soo.
(Flickr: LIME restaurant at Parkroyal on Pickering.)
[CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Erwin Soo.
(Flickr: Closer to nature than to stone.)
[CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On the way to my room.
The roof deck.
My own lousy phone shot of the infinity pool at the roof deck.
Twin bed rooms cost S$290 or around PHP10,000.
Park Royal on Pickering is located at 3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289.
So there goes a little throw-back about my Singapore trip last year. To know more, visit Singapore Tourism Board’s website at www.yoursingapore.com. Shiok!
xx,
Balot
PS. According to urbandictionary.com, ‘Shiok’ is commonly used in Malaysia & Singapore […] it essentially is used to convey a feeling of sheer pleasure and happiness. For example, if you really enjoyed a particular dish, the way ‘shiok’ would be used is ‘Wow! This dish damn SHIOK, man!’.

Tanzan ATBP: From Trash to Treasures

I am sure that everyone of you who has heard this saying — one’s man trash is another man’s treasure. Today, I am telling you a story of a work-at-home mom who has made this the core of her home business. 
I met Sheryl through the community of WAHMs (work-at-home-moms) that I recently joined. She offered to send me a sample of her product and I gladly accepted after learning how ingenious her idea is. 
Sheryl makes keychains, bracelets and other accessories out of tanzans (or bottlecaps). Most people would just throw these away but with lots of creativity, Sheryl was able to make this a very unique product to offer to people. 

Asked about what her inspiration is, Sheryl answered:

“Everytime i see things na patapon na. Laging may nagpa-pop sa isip ko to make something new about it. At dun nga pumapasok ang “may pera sa basura”. I love creating things out of the box and as a mom pag naglalaro kami ng baby ko, dun lumalabas ang pagiging bata at creative ko. My daughter usually helps me put up some of the ideas na nilalgay ko sa mga tansan and hindi lang sa tansan, pati sa packaging nito.”

Over the past few days that I have become a work-at-home wife, I have a new-found respect for those who juggle everything at home, their kids and still try to create the best situation while at home. While many opportunities have sprouted to pave way for moms to be able to generate income while at home – through writing and other online jobs such as online tutoring, social media management and the like –  it is a totally different monster to start building a business. You put your heart and soul in it because the risks involved are all your own, all to provide for a family that you promised to take care of. And I salute those who do have the courage because it is so hard. I should know! *wink*
PS. please do check out Tanzan Atbp Facebook and Instagram page to know more about this innovative product. 
xx,
Balot

Provision

In the meantime, I trust. I trust that He will provide what it is that I need.

How about you, love? Have you ever been propelled to an entirely different direction because of a dream you want to pursue? Being thrown off out of your comfort zone? How did you go about it? 

 
I love this verse from Matthew 6:26. It gives me the assurance and comfort that everything will be okay despite the fact that I do not waddle in the corporate world anymore [read: steady income down the drain].
I didn’t know that my writing would somehow matter in these times. I always thought that it was for my personal consumption. But I have been getting some trickles of writing jobs here and there that allow me to contribute even a little to our household expenses. Edzel has been awesome, providing for everything that we need in the house but I cannot stop feeling guilty sometimes. Again, I know that it is my pride talking.
I have recently joined a community of work-at-home moms on Facebook. I envy how they got it all figured out. Bounce me in any corporate matters and I will rise by it with flying colors but this whole “figure-this-as-you-go-along” thing — oh man!
But yes, God provides me with sanity, one day at a time. It could be a writing job or a friend talking to me the whole day or an incessant chore that I need to do (and would usually occupy one whole day). Just this morning, I landed a part-time job offer for an awesome Australian company — I was looking for something to do at home, exercise my brain cells and save a little. This was another of God’s answers. And there is another bonus — this company is all about health and wellness and how to improve your lifestyle. Isn’t it Providence?

I may not be doing what I want to do for now, but I am sure that this is what I should be doing at this point in time.

I may not be doing what I want to do for now, but I am sure that this is what I should be doing at this point in time. Staying at home makes me more attuned to my role as a wife as I get to talk to my husband more during the day, cook for him and take care of making our home a wonderful place to go home to [hopefully]. It also helps me focus on that one dream that I want more than anything else, the main reason why I have quit anyway and that is to prepare myself to hopefully have a baby.
Have I slowed down according to my physician’s orders? Yes, I think so. In a significant way, if I may say. Am I still learning despite the fact that I just stay at home? Yes, I do. In a whole new perspective but still learning — to cook, to bake — and admittedly, I have a looonggg way to go.

How To Make Paper Bags Out of Old Magazines

Welcome to another how-to Mondays. Today, I will run you through a little green trick I have “mastered” last week in time for my first bazaar last Saturday — how to make paper bags out of old magazines.
Here goes:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=myjX5ELboUI%26source%3Duds
Check out the step-by-step instructions (with pictures) here:
1] Look for pretty pages in magazines. Something with captivating photos and preferably less texts. Fashion ads are the best *wink*. Using a cutter and a ruler, cut the pages neatly.
2] Glue the horizontal edges together. In my case, I only needed small paper bags for my bracelets. If you want bigger paper bags, you can glue two magazine pages together.
3] Fold the left and the right side of your folded magazine pages in same width.
4] Open them up and tuck down on each side, folding the crease inwards to make an accordion effect.
5] Fold the bottom of the bag around two to three inches.
6] Create another fold for easier folding later on.
7] Open the bottom part.
8] You will see a triangle of folded paper on the sides.
9] Fold the left and the right sides of the rectangle open.
10] You will be getting an octagon-shaped bottom.
11] Fold the top and bottom part of the octagon towards the center and glue overlapping edges.
12] You got yourself some nifty, cute paper bags! *big grin*
Hope you liked this little tutorial on how to recycle those old magazines! Go green!
xx,
Balot

On Waiting

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing what to do is the worst kind of suffering.” – Paulo Coelho

All our lives, we are always bound to wait. Wait for our planes to arrive. Wait for a promotion long due. Wait for the right one. Wait for the wrong one to realize he is the wrong one because you do not have the courage to break his heart.
Or there are times that we choose to forget.
To forget that we have that one dream that we long for. Forget that we wanted to travel the world when we were younger. Forget that there is more to life than the one that we have.
And the worst part, yes, it is the worst part – when you do not know what you have to do.
Over the past few days, I have been floating in a limbo. Again. It is so hard to wait especially for someone whose patience is not her strongest suit. It is hard to battle the “baby lust”. So every month that I am not yet pregnant, it pushes me back into my black hole.
I am very blessed to have friends who keep on reminding me that everything is going to be okay. I am very blessed that I have a husband who supports me in all aspects of our relationship and does not mind that he has to take care of everything, for now.
There are just moments that I break down because I do not know what to do anymore. Do I stay at home, continue being a housewife, and wait that one day, it will come? Or do I get back to my old corporate life and just let things run on its course?
Yes, it is probably my pride [or ego] talking. I have never felt so helpless, clueless and fully dependent on someone all my life. I plan my life well and at this moment, there is nothing to plan. There is nothing that I can do but to wait because there is no option for forgetting this dream that I want.
And so, this continues. Good luck to me, then.
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