Harry Potter MOTW: Least Favorite Book

The cover is fabulous, but I’m sorry Fawkes, I just can’t love this book! (Warning: numerous HP references ahead)

Thanks to the amazing Hayley at A Stitch To Scratch for opening my eyes to a fantastic new feature on one of my favorite subjects: Harry Potter. I kid you not, I am an avid rabid fan of the Golden Boy and his posse, so discovering the Harry Potter Moment of the Week gave me the emotional equivalent of a Fizzing Whizbee.

Anyway, down to this week’s big question: Out of the heptalogy (it’s a legit word, you learn something new everyday), which one is my least favorite book?

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A Two-Fold Return!

These past couple of weeks have seen me come and go from the front of this computer. packing and keeping track of your stuff is bearable but it definitely isn’t fun, especially when all I want to do is eat good food and write my heart out. The week went by so quickly though, so here are two posts that are overdue.

 

Another week of the Partner Challenge under my belt, and I’m feeling really good about it. This week was Undas week in the Philippines. Undas, or All Saints’ Day, is a BIG DEAL when you’re a Filipino. If it falls near a weekend, prepare for mid-week traffic. This whole shebang starts on the 31st of October, which is a half-day off already. If you don’t get ahead of the crowd, you’ll be stuck in it. Everyone does their best to go back to the provinces, or to wherever their dear departed are resting at the moment, so they can be with them and honor them the way we know best: by throwing a feast! Make way for the lechon and Tanduay rum!

At the cemetery.

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Blog Trawl Thursdays: Huzzah For A New Feature

Yaaaay, a new feature! I’m so pleased that I made a pretty icon for it. Isn’t it cute? *self-applause*

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Nowadays, we spend a huge amount of time online. Convenient information is at our fingertips: what does the new foodie place serve that’s good, what’s on the runway in Milan, who are the non-sadistic dentists. Here in the Philippines, we’ve got Instagram, we’ve got Twitter, we even have Looloo (a local Yelp). We can scrutinize a business right down to its humble beginnings in just a matter of minutes. That first virtual contact can make or break a potential client, sort like a first date. An online  presence is now a must-have for any smart business owner, which is why people in Public Relations now include social media marketing on their resume.

In essence, it’s a funny old new world and it waits around for nobody. Anything ANYTHING is possible nowadays, if you’ve got the right marketing.

So, the scenario is this: You are a person with an idea a good person with a great idea. You want to share it with the world and make a little money BUT you don’t have the money to put up an actual physical store. That’s no problem, there are thousands of online stores. If they can do it, so can you.

There are a couple of bumps though:

  1. You have absolutely no money to spare for your business
  2. You have limited time because of a full-time job/a full-time baby/laundry everywhere/your game’s not going to play itself/reasons
  3. The internet is a scary place to be
  4. So little time, so many distractions (I’m looking at you FarmVille 2)
  5. Did I mention you have no funds? Zero money, for serious.

With all that in your way, is launching an online business even possible?

Hells yeah.

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Trans30: First Week of The Partner Challenge

Fez knows what’s up 🙂

First week of my challenge over! This week was a toughie too, starting with the fact that we stayed over at my father-in-law’s, which does not yet give me that ‘home’ feeling. Then I caught a killer cold from my sister-in-law. Usually I don’t get sick, so when a bacterium does get past my defenses, it just kicks my ass three ways from Tuesday: headaches, lead-filled limbs, throat-spasming dry coughs, and both a stuffy and a drippy nose. The only thing I could do for two days was breastfeed my baby. Then, when the headache released me from its clutches, Houdini got her shots and fussed up a storm. Then my husband and his aunt got sick.

Damn. We got through it though, and by remembering to write down one good thing my husband’s done each day, I’ve come to realize something: He doesn’t meet all my expectations as a perfect father or husband, and there are things he does that annoy the heck out of me BUT for a relationship as nouveau and topsy-turvy as ours, we’re doing as well as can be expected.

I would’t describe us as an unconventional family, for the simple fact that there are more ‘shotgun’ weddings in the Philippines than our government would like to acknowledge. Of course, our dear networks like to wrap it in drama and sell it as afternoon romance, but execs gotta make money, right? If our life was a tv show however, it would be more ala-Friends than Gulong ng Palad (Wheel of Fate), no matter how much of a kontrabida I am.

Kontrabida: The villainess of the show. There are two kinds: 1) The one who craves the man/company/hacienda and machinates  her evil plans with a full red lip and artfully arched brows or, 2) The selfish one who takes every minor slight as a major insult. The last one is particularly devious as they can come in any size, color or age. No one believes that they could possibly be a kontrabida, not until the final two episodes. The most discerning watcher knows that the only way they can be distinguished from the hapless hero/ine is by the perpetually pinched skin between their eyebrows and a quick constipated look when something good happens to someone else.

Who then, therefore, gives a crap about how much he isn’t perfect, when I am a dysfunctional evil-doer? Thankfully I haven’t yet unleashed any plans. I’m even more thankful for the fact that, even after a year of being together, my dear resilient husband still puts up with my ways. And he gamely brings me the one thing that can lift my bad moods: a Snickers bar.

Chocolate. That’s how you stop a villainess, showbiz.

This is a good start, I think. We’ll see what else I learn about myself next week!

The Newbie Blogger Awards! (Part 4)

Part 4??? I made a commitment and stuck to it! Hooraaaaaaaaaaaay! Let me celebrate!

*blows the cobwebs off*

Dealing with a house full of sick adults is not a fun situation to be in, especially when I’m trying to field those evil germs from my little girl. And it wasn’t even my house, so as I hacked and sneezed my way through an entire roll of kitchen tissue, my computer and blog languished here. Nevertheless, with an awful cough, a headache-y husband and a sniffles-stricken baby, I RETURN!

A big apology to my Blogging201 classmates, who were nice enough to drop by my blog last week. Don’t worry guys, I’ll catch up soon!

BUT FIRST…

I STILL MADE IT TO PART 4!

So Happy!

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve done so far:

  • Thank the blogger/s who have nominated you for the award
  • Share (insert number here) facts about yourself
  • Answer the nominating blogger/s questions
  • Pass it on to (insert number here)
  • Ask your own soul-searching (or not) questions for your nominees to answer

So now we draw close to the conclusion of my first multi-post. Therefore, it’s time for some introspection, so grab wine or coffee (but not together, unless that’s your jam) and sit a spell.

Like I said in Part 1, these awards are part of a baby blogger’s welcome into the blogosphere. They are the cup of sugar, the warm cookies, the casserole from your neighbors who have been here a while and are happy to see a new face. When you write a response and visit around the other nominees, you pump up readership (the lifeblood of a blog) and if you’re lucky, you garner some comments (endorphins, gotta have that). However, once that post is done, what next? You’re a newbie blogger in a strange neighborhood, unpacking is daunting and everyone wants their dishes back.

I know it’s a pain to think about what else to write, and with no one to commit to, your ideas tend to collect dust in your Drafts cupboard. I think I may have a solution though, and its name is The Newbie Blog Award.

Newbie Blog Award

Yes, I did just take two other awards and smoosh them together to make a new one. It’s evolution!

This award is more than just a pretty icon to grace your side bar, but more on that later. Let’s get down to the rules first, shall we?

  • Answer the questions set by your nominating blogger
  • Nominate FIVE bloggers who have not yet reached 30 posts on their blog or have less than five months of archived posts
  • Ask six questions of your own for your nominees and your nominator to answer
  • Choose ONE weekly feature to do and stick to it for a month or choose ONE monthly feature to do and stick to it for six months (or do both!)
  • Add your FIVE bloggers to your feed immediately (if you haven’t already done so) and comment on their features
  • Remember to tack it on to your sidebar so you don’t have to do a do-over (unless you want to)

Promoting more interaction as well as whisking away any excuses not to post, always a win in my book. Just to make sure you’re not overwhelmed, at the end of this post are a couple of links to my latest discovery: downloadable blog planners. Who’s raring to go?

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Trans30: The Partner Challenge

Remind yourself of your love story- Write down something positive about your partner everyday.

Here's your heart back

Be honest: Have you ever looked at your partner and think “Why’d I marry you in the first place?”

I do. I’m guilty.

It’s not as if I don’t love my husband because I really do, as much as I love any member of my family. It’s just that sometimes everything gets too much and I have to find someone to blame. It’s not the mature thing to do, but hey that’s why I’m doing this challenge!

As part of my new format, the opening of each challenge will deal with three questions:

1) What does it entail?
2) Why am I doing it?
3) What do I hope to learn by the end of four weeks?

Let’s get started!

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Trans30: End of the Yoga Nidra Challenge

Another month, another challenge under my belt. But not really.

I said I would be honest, and I am. I really do want to change my life for the better and be able to tell Houdini that I’ve done things, so here’s the awful truth: This challenge was total bust.

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So disappointed in myself…

It seemed so easy too: Take 30-45 minutes to switch off your mind, concentrate on your breathing and relax. Yeah, with a baby who doesn’t want to be put down, a husband who’s tired after work and my parents’ little side comments? Not to mention the guilt trip I’m putting myself through because depression doesn’t really care about the Trans30.  Also, scheduling Yoga Nidra during a baby’s 3rd month and doing Blogging 101 was definitely not a good idea for me.

This month wasn’t a total waste though, because I did learn a few things about myself.

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The Newbie Blogger Awards! (Part 3)

Part 3? Where’s the rest? What’s going on? Rest easy, friend, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 for you. I’ll wait til you’re all caught up.

Now Meg (from The Making of Mediocre Meg) had her own Lovely/Liebster questions, so here we go:

1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Creating images to put on my blog posts! No lie, I’m prepared to lose my entire morning in the quest for my post’s perfect pic (alli-of-the-day). But, since I’m just a beginner, I’ve only recently started to look into all the fun and different ways to do that. I’ve mostly kept to Meme Creator and Giphy in the interest of saving time. On those days when I’ve got help with Houdini or when I’ve decided the sleeping is overrated, it’s PicMonkey and Photoshop all the way.

2. Do you have pets? Why/Why not?

No. Wow, this is an unexpectedly painful question right now. I’ll just say that, before I was married, I used to have a dog and a cat but members of my family forced me to give them up. Aagh, my chest is aching right now.

3. What’s your biggest regret in life so far?

Another unexpectedly difficult question! Hmm, well since I couldn’t answer the pet question properly, I should put a little effort into this one. I would have to say that the root of all of my regret right now is that I wasn’t able to save enough money before I got pregnant because now I am solidly indebted to my parents and I feel it like chains around my soul. ‘Nuff said.

4. What is your proudest achievement?

My precious daughter, Houdini! She’s a champ and I can’t praise her enough.

5. What’s your signature dish?

A toss up between omelets (omelette? agh) and CBTL’s Roast Chicken and Mushroom Fusilli. Two years I used to work the hotel’s breakfast station, two full eggy years. The creation of the perfect omelet, and indeed the perfect scrambled eggs and an effortless fried egg with the yolk still whole, that kind of stuff sticks with a girl. As for the pasta, it was the only reason I went to Coffee Bean as a child, so I made my own recipe.

6. What is your strangest talent/hobby?

I used to be able to bend my index finger all the way back so that it would reach the back of my hand. Hyper extension, I think it’s called? I can’t do it any longer because my skin isn’t as pliable, but I can still bend it back further than anyone else I know.

7. If you could have any super power, what would you pick, and why?

Flight! I’ve always wished I could fly, and I’ve had dreams about it since forever. Buuuuuuuut… I’m afraid of heights. Heck, I’m even afraid of swimming in deep pools, because when I look down and see the floor very far below me, I feel like I’m falling.

8. Where do you picture yourself in twenty years’ time?

Living in my quaint little Bed n’ Breakfast, with chickens out the door, ducks in the pond, bees in the trees and goats in the field. I would own a little cafe in the town proper where I could sell bread and honey and goat cheese and Peking duck and Lebanese shawarma *happy sigh*. Don’t second-guess yourself, you read those last two right 🙂 Also, someone has to call Hallmark, they might want their happy ending back.

9. What are you reading at the moment?

This. It’s a procrastinator’s saving grace.

10. If you sat with your own brain, how would you picture it? Cheeky monkey? Child? Well-oiled machine? Spacious, light-filled room? Something else?

I have a strange notebook obsession. They vary from cheap to colorful to something I scribbled on years ago but with plenty (read: almost all) to write on. At the start,they have their own designations: Random Notes, To-Do Lists, Ideas, Future Goals, Recipes. Sooner or later though, they start to merge. I’ll grab the nearest notebook and I’ll scribble in some must-buy groceries, or I’ll come across some gem on the internet and I’ll jot down some key points on a piece of scrap paper and stick it between two pages for later. I have a lot of scrap paper too, so much so that they have their own folder, but I still find some sandwiched in between notebooks I unearth from our closets, along with napkins with indistinguishable notes and pages ripped from magazines.

Right now, I have five notebooks in rotation. Five. There are pens everywhere.

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My brain, ladies and gents.

11. Do you enjoy receiving this attention or are you currently cursing my name?

 There’s going to be attention given? You don’t say? Leaving this blog to languish puts serious dent-age in readership #bloggerproblems.

Funzies, Meg, thank you!

Alrighty-roo, almost done!

The Newbie Blogger Awards! (Part 2)

Part 2 of my (very very long) acceptance speech for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Liebster Award. If you want, have a gander over at Part 1 to see why on earth I was awarded (still can’t believe it myself).

On to the question and answer portion! The brainy blogger behind Still Life With A Grad Student (or Alex) had these soul-searching queries for me to ponder:

1. Pea-green nail polish, edgy or icky? (Bonus points if you get the reference)

I had to wiki it (Have To Know Everything-itis). Color me (pea-green) interested! As for the actual nail polish, I don’t really wear a lot but I wouldn’t mind that particular shade.

2. Tea or coffee?

I’m partial to instant coffee which, in my country, is just instant mocha with varying levels of kick. If it were up to me though, I would have vats of masala chai with real vanilla pods. You have not lived if you haven’t yet had a proper cup of spice tea.

3. Favourite holiday?

I don’t have one, meep. I’m not much for holidays. I even look upon my birthday with ambivalence. I don’t know why. They seem like so much fun from a distance but I’ve never really gotten into the celebrating groove.

4. List three of your hobbies.

Collecting recipes and Terry Pratchett books, as well as making fanfic crossover plots that I’ll never have time to write. No, wait, I will have time. When my baby’s in college and my fandoms have been forgotten in the mists of time. Ah, motherhood.

5. What’s your favourite genre of music?

I don’t really have one. Recently though, I’ve found out that I like to write to the sound of the USS Voyager idling in the intergalactic garage. Crazy, you say? Have a listen here. Another go-to is piano music, and The Piano Guys just win in every respect.

6. What’s your favourite genre of film?

Comedy, definitely. It’s a very broad spectrum, I know, but I can’t handle movies that are too introspective. I have a tendency to get way depressed so I try and keep a permanent no-go zone between me and a potentially dark, dark abyss. As Heath Ledger’s Joker says: Why (it gotta be) so serious?

7. What was your favourite subject in school?

Engrish, oh yuss. It was the only subject I understood completely with little effort. It’s why I think I’m a good writer 😀

8. Impulse purchasing: Fess up, do you do it?

I used to. I try very hard to resist, and to make sure, I only go out with a small amount of cash. I do carry my debit card with me, but I put it in a creaky new wallet (notorious for tight difficult cardholders) which is in a zippered pocket on one of three organizers that are in one section of my big mommy-appropriate bag SOooo when the impulse monkeys tug on my brain and I begin to reach for my bag, I suddenly realize what a pain in the ass it is to take out my card 😀

9. What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?

o.0 How could you make me choose? I would say that it most definitely must have nuts. Aside from that, I really can’t narrow it down: Butter Pecan, Rocky Road, Double Dutch and whatever else. Also, Rum Raisin and Chili Chocolate.

10. On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (very, very much), how much of a procrastinator are you?

I’m a 9.2, maybe? The more I’m pressured to do something, the more I rally against it, especially if it’s my parents trying to make me go and do. So immature I know. I also know it’s much better for me if I sit down and concentrate on just one thing, but somehow I can’t keep my focus on one thing for more than half an hour before  I get distracted. The best I’ve ever done was wrangle myself down to maybe a 3.8, when I was writing Harveste Addams. Two whole weeks to bang out 100,000+ words, running on nothing but coffee and cigarettes. It was my greatest achievement!… and then I got distracted (*le sigh*).

Fun questions, Alex 🙂

Onwards to Part 3!

The Newbie Blogger Awards! (Part 1)

I admit it, I’m an absentee blogger. I don’t write as much as I’d like to, and I post about half as much as I write. It was exactly why I joined Blogging 101 in the first place. I had a blast, and finding new friends was never easier (I’m pretty introverted, meep). The course only lasts a month though, so as the end drew nearer, I grew more and more apprehensive. What would I write about afterwards?

So I bail for a few days to try and figure out what a sort of posting schedule would be feasible for a new full-time mom, fully expecting readership to die down and be once more adrift in a sea of nobody-knowing-who-the-heck-I-am. Imagine my surprise when I come back to three (three!!!) notifications that I’ve been gifted with these babies:

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Awards?! Are you kidding me? EHMIGERDZASDFGHJKL!

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This was my face for most of the day, for serious 🙂

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