Wednesday, April 29, 2009

love at first sight

26-inch wheels: check
ergonomic suspension seats: check
curve appeal: check
basket: check
seriously not from the youth bike rack: check
seriously not from the youth bike rack: check
seriously not from the youth bike rack: check

oh... and did i mention this is not a youth bike? : )

Monday, April 27, 2009

Having Kids Can End Marital Bliss?!

Is this going to scare the shoes off me?

Researchers at the University of Denver published an 8-year study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that 90% of 218 couples experienced deterioration of marital satisfaction after the first child was born.

I don't have a take on this one. We're still planning for our first kid late this year or early next. I just figured this was a rather interesting share.

Full article:

Friday, April 24, 2009

And the Search Goes on for My Perfect Girly Bike...

I want a bike. Not just a bike. I want a girly urban bike. Dainty, pastel, long slim handle bars, rattan basket... the whole shebang. Good for my heart. Good for our earth. I have scoured the city for my perfect girly bike... to no avail. : (

On this side of the border, people celebrate outdoors once the mercury hits 20degC (77degF). In spring. Tomorrow's forecast is giving me the itch to continue my search for my perfect girly bike.

You see what pains me, with my height, the only bike that fits me... is nothing looking like this:
Why oh why are these bikes not deigned for a girl standing 5 feet tall? I can't bike with my stilettos on!

Can I?

Guess Factory Store & Banana Republic Coupons

Posted just in time. This coupon may be used until May 2, 2009 in Guess Factory Stores both in the US and Canada. I got e-mail subscription from the Guess Factory Store cashier in Burloak after some purchases.

This one, I got from my Banana Republic subscription (to subscribe: It may be used only in Canada.

Earth Day Freebie

Did I tell you that I got this free reusable shopping bag last Earth Day? Thanks to my Longo's Thank You card.

I find it too cute to bag seafood and meat (those are the only items I buy in Longo's). All the more reason to use it.

I heard they gave away roast chicken some time ago. I'm thinking it was before I got my Thank You card.

I should have posted this last Tuesday for the Longo's Thank You cardholders out there. Too late the hero.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Week Old Blogger

It has been two weeks.
As I follow the many thoughts, rants, raves...
blogging is now becoming part
of the inertia that is my life.

The best thing for me I guess,
In phrases sometimes so few...
I get to discover a world unfold
in someone else's shoes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How I Cut Our Electricity Bill in Half

I simply made it a practice to unplug (not just switch off) appliances when not in use. When they are still plugged-in, even if you push the remote off, they consume stand-by power.

But since unplugging so many appliances before I leave for work became tedious, I got me surge suppressors (some call it surge protectors). Put simply, it looks like an extension cord with a switch, so I use them in areas of our home where I can plug together idled appliances. I have one in our living room- where our tv, home theatre system, wii and cable receiver are all plugged in; one in our bedroom- for our tv, dvd player, and cable receiver; and one in our office table- for our modem, wireless router and printer. My surge suppressors not only protect my appliances from voltage transients, it also made unplugging a whole lot safer and easier for me. Because rather than unplugging X number of appliances directly from voltage outlets, I simply turn off three power switches.

Good for our wallets. Good for our earth. Let's make everyday, not just today, Earth Day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Should We Join Bank Accounts After Marriage?

Dr Phil's quick take on joint account after marriage - "It depends." It depends on the couple's lifestyle, financial attitude and principles.

I learned from experience that when you money merge, logistics are simpler. However, since every financial activity becomes visible to each other, transparency is required. I found that this can bring a deeper sense of openness and honesty in a husband-wife relationship.

Maintaining separate accounts, on the other hand, celebrates freedom and independence. I learned, also from experience, that contributing responsibly to a 'household account', while maintaining your own personal savings gives you a sense of autonomy and accomplishment as individuals.

Yes, the hubby and I experimented on both to discover what better suits us. My quick take? There shouldn't be any hard rule on whether to join accounts after marriage or not. You should go with whatever works harmoniously, as a couple, in your family. Money is an aspect of married life we should discuss in a healthy open-minded manner. After all, whichever road we couples take, everyone's just working on the same goal- situating our families in a good financial position.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Love Languages

The recent Lenten season was timely to re-read pages of Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. This book was recommended by our Pastor to supplement our pre-nuptial counselling sessions two years ago.

According to the book, there are five love languages we use to express our love and feel loved.
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch

To each its own. Especially in giving and accepting love. The fundamental concept was for me to discover my partner's love language, then leverage it to express my affection towards him. This way, he feels loved according to his definition of being loved, hence making his love tank is full. The objective is to continually use his love language to keep his love tank full. Otherwise, he may start looking for 'alternatives' to compensate for his half-empty love tank.

After discovering each other's love language, I can say that our love tanks have been kept to a healthy level so far. But our marriage is young that we need to constantly be reminded... If we don't fill each other's love tank up the right way, someone else might just will.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Can I Substitute Butter With Margarine in Chocolate Chip Cookies?

With my hubbie's cholesterol level higher than normal, I had to find ways to pull in more nutrition value to our meals. Since butter is cholesterol in a bar, I had to test if margarine can substitute butter for baking cookies.

I searched for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter baking sticks, but couldn't find any here in Canada (yet). So I used Imperial. I tried it on Chocolate Chip, Butterscotch Oatmeal and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.

Yes. It is a good substitute. My margarine cookies actually taste as good. I noticed, though, that they're less creamier, less oilier, and a bit saltier. These I can live with as long as they're healthier.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Recession-proof Grocery Solution

During our first few married months, I'd pick up grocery items in random, I'd care less about prices, and I'd do the grocery shopping wherever, whenever! But after coming up with my grocery shopping system, I end up buying only the things I need, making me spend less time and money. How'd I do it?

1. Set up a grocery list. I have a notepad and pen in my kitchen. So every time I run out of kitchen supply, yes even in the middle of my cooking, I can easily jot it down on my list. I buy only what's listed. Nothing is forgotten. Shopping time is cut short.

2. Set up next week's meal plan. That way, I buy only the ingredients I'm surely gonna use.

3. Set up a grocery frequency. During my carefree grocery days, the more time I spend in the grocery, the more time and money I end up spending. I reduced my grocery frequency from thrice/twice a week to once a week and learned 1 week is a good duration for properly stored fruits, vegetables, dairy and bread to remain fresh. Saturday was my grocery day last winter. But with summer just around the corner, I changed my schedule to Tuesday to free our weekends for travel.

4. Find a price-friendly supermarket. I used to grocery hop, thinking I could save more by buying sale items in different stores. But on top of burning more gas money, I end up so exhausted that grocery shopping has become a dreaded half-day chore! So I gave my loyalty to Longo's Fairview for the quality of their fresh food, and No Frills Brant for their reasonable prices. Store loyalty cut my shopping time too, because as I got accustomed to the store layout, I spent less time searching.

5. Get a points card. Since I frequent Longo's and No Frills for our groceries, I got myself a Longo's Thank You Card and a President's Choice Mastercard. They're free. Plus, with my points accumulating with my purchases, my next bag of groceries will be free!

Monday, April 13, 2009

MY HOT BUY: The Netbook

I have a love-hate relationship with my Notebook. I think I'd dump it for a Netbook in a heartbeat.

Three laptop computers in a two-head household seems impractical at the moment. But it hasn't stopped my going back to Best Buy time and time again. There's only one reason why I'm salivating over this Netbook - It's computing portability at its best (so far). I love my bags and I love-hate my Notebook. Having a computer in my bag, without actually feeling it in my bag.... and that's my perfect Christmas morning!

I totally get that in order to achieve such small geometry, functionality will be compromised. It is underpowered, it runs on last year's technology, and it doesn't have a dvd drive. But since this wife in stilettos have mediocre personal computing needs (and Vista has its way of getting to her nerves sometimes), I think it would suit her just fine.

Any regretful Netbooks owners out there?

Some technical specifications:

What is a Push Present?

Push presents were discussed on The Mom Show the other day and the idea was all entirely new to me. Apparently, recent gift-giving tradition in North America entitles wives to receive push presents from their hubbies after childbirth. And these gifts are not meant to be wrapped in frugal packages, mind you. They customarily come in forms of luxe and glitter.

Though I feel that the miracle of life should transcend all forms of lavish gifts, it's a gift I wish to open one day of course! After all, I don't mind accepting a memento that would always make me remember how I was appreciated for getting past the hardships of pregnancy and childbirth....... especially if it comes in 24 karats! Wink wink!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Did My Marital Bliss Ruin My Career?

The longest vacation I had in my 6-year career was during my wedding and honeymoon. Coming back to work, my honeymoon bliss became heroin, shaking my professional performance to shambles. The newly-married wife in me reasons it's normal and acceptable. The engineer in me thinks otherwise. The dilemma was to achieve an agreement between the two.

What did I do? I flashed three faces in my head.

1. My husband's. This is an excerpt from my wedding vow: "I will work by your side to achieve the things we value and dream of." For a couple starting anew, a career was fundamental in making goals come true.
2. Everyone else's. Because I'm a firm believer that you will continue to be blessed as long as you continue to be a blessing to others.
3. Mine, of course! After all, bidding goodbye to my career is bidding goodbye to vacation and shopping altogether. Now if that doesn't give me a good shake, I don't know what will : ).

Can marital bliss ruin a career? Personally, if the bliss can be steered in the right direction, it can be a catalyst of motivation. So every time I feel work's stresses getting to me, the wife in me would flash those faces in my head, so that the engineer in me could channel the motivation to productivity.