Saturday, March 26, 2016

Greenfield Weekend Market is a Saturdate staple


One of the good things about living in Flair Condominiums is its proximity to the Greenfield Weekend Market. Almost every Saturday my husband and I would find ourselves here. And this is because of the so many wonderful things about the place.

1. The festive, yet relaxing vibe of the weekend market reminds me of my childhood. When I used to stay hours going around provincial festivals checking out interesting items and food for sale. The group of friends, kids, families and couples having a lovely time in Greenfield are always a pleasure to see.




2. The music from the live quartet is an event in itself. I will spend time and money just to watch them play. The times I saw them, they played instrumental renditions of new and old songs. Any song they played, I loved tremendously. 

3. And of course, the awesome selection of food and what-nots

Suman

I am a sucker for rice cakes and this Suman is soooo good. Plus, the sellers have superb customer service. One time my husband's piece unfortunately had a piece of small rock in it. Thankfully he didn't break a tooth when he bit into it. I mentioned this to the saleslady and without batting an eyelash she gave me four pieces of sumans to replace the sumans I bought the week before. I know it won't affect the fact that there may still be rock pieces in them but still I liked that she was sorry for our experience and replacing them was her way of appeasing me. 

Squid sisig 
Chef Bab's sisig is one of our favorite dinner go-tos. They make different kinds of Sisigs-- chicken, pork, squid, etc. And since my husband only eats chicken and seafood-- it was such a great find for us. We had always gotten the squid. Though I suggest being there upon opening for fresher squid. We had once experienced squid that seemed near expiration already. 

Fresh fruit drinks 

The fresh fruit salad is my husband's choice while for me it is the guyabano. I am a sucker for guyabano. And buying fresh guyabano is always a challenge. Most of the time I end up getting rotten or overiped produce. Having it in juice form is just perfect. 

Pasta 
Almost everything in the pasta stand is tasty, although they were a bit stringy in the meat department. Try to ask for samples for taste tests-- they offer that. 

Books!

The book stand is headed by three lady bookworms. Whatever questions we had about novels and writers, they had answers. They also had 90% of the hard-to-find books my husband is looking for. We are always impressed by how knowledgable they all are and as a result they sold to my husband easily. We now have a number of books waiting to be read at home. 

Classic music records 

Some records are as low as P100! And since my husband has just renovated their old record player-- he ended up buying a lot of affordable music records, too. 

Local artists

Kudos to the organizers of Greenfield Weekend Market for supporting local talents. 

Aside from rice cakes and Sisigs and fruit juices; there are also cakes, dairy products, bagnet and Paella.




4. And last but definitely not the least, the  weekend market is always kept clean.

So, if you don't know what to do on a Saturday night, try Greenfiend Weekend Market. It's worth to experience at least once in your life.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Garage Sale Tips


Our booth is awesome!


I was in my early twenties when I first ran my own bazaar stall. I thought it was cool that I had my own business and I was my own boss. I sold clothes, bags, accessories, toys-- stuff I found in Divisoria that would easily sell. At least I hoped the items would be bought immediately. 


My stall catered to those who were looking for nice affordable pieces and quality may only be third or fourth consideration. I priced merchandise inexpensively, so people would not think twice when buying. Well in most cases that was the case. In the end, I tripled the amount I invested. 

Last week I was given a chance to have my own stall again. There was a condominium-wide garage sale organized in where I live. It was a 3-day event where tenants were allowed to sell dry-goods and food. This was very timely because my husband and I had to dispose a lot of our household items, clothes, shoes and what-nots. 

My husband joined in setting up, manning and closing our booth

I really had fun. Aside from earning from selling our old things, the event reminded me of my childhood. When I used to spend whole days, and sometimes even nights, in provincial fairs and I try out all the interesting food being sold. 

For those planning to hold their own garage sale, these tips might help:

1. Price merchandise competitively low. 
Garage sales have a variety of consumers: those who can afford to buy condominium units, toddlers who easily gets what they want by whispering to mommy or daddy, teenagers who already have allowances, retired and working individuals, household helps. But although different in status, one thing's for sure, all are in the look out for nice inexpensive items. Remember that your main goal for holding a garage sale is to dispose items you don't need anymore and somehow get a few bucks from it. My most expensive apparel was P150, majority was P100, and lowest was P10.

2. Be flexible with prices 
For each item, know how low you can go. Example for a 100 peso apparel, you can go as low as 80. So when someone asks for a discount, give it. Be extra flexible if your consumer is a househelp. It will mean a lot to them and make you feel good inside. 

3. Make sure prices are easily seen
This is a no brainer. Put your signages big and bold. 
Not my signages, but my neighbor stall's. Mine was just hand written on the spot. 

4. Display nicest, most eye catching pieces upfront
You have to make visitors look at your stall and make them think that there is something in your stall worth checking out. 
My (used to be) colorful dress that doesn't fit me anymore displayed up front

5. Display all items for sale
So first you try to get their attention, now you make sure that their experience will be smooth. Not everyone has time to go through your items on a pile. Make it easy for them by hanging clothes, displaying items. 
Add caption

6. Know all the items you have
Just like any salesman, may it be for gadgets, automobile or real estate, you should know what you are selling inside and out. This will come in handy when customers are looking for something specific. And you want to proactively offer to a repeat customer.

The view from inside our booth. Good thing I love people watching. 

7. Set up early and close late
Be available as much as you can. You'll never know when a big buy will come. 

8. Make sure that someone is manning the booth at all times
Same as number 7, you wouldn't want to miss a possible sale.
I invited my friend Tet to share our booth and she made a number of sales, too.
9. Be approachable
This can be challenging because there are different kinds of people. I usually just stay on the sidelines and talk when asked. Don't go asking what the customer is looking for. That is annoying. But always be genuine and warm when approached. 

10. Have fun! 
Well, apply this in everything you do and life would be brighter.
Peace out! No to clutter. Sell your old stuff! 






Sunday, September 6, 2015

California Highway 1 Road Trip


My husband Paulo and I during our California Highway 1 road trip
One of the many highlights of our one-month long U.S. vacation/honeymoon was our road trip from our home-base, Fontana, to San Francisco via Pacific Coast Highway.


California Highway 1
The view from the highway was always breathtaking. My husband and I were so happy we did the road trip. 
Beautiful California Highway 1 road and view
Paulo on the driver's seat of the Lexus NX 300H
We went on the road trip mid-March and the weather was generally nice. Although  late afternoons to early mornings were biting cold, so a thick jacket was essential. I also had a light hoodie, scarf and beanie in tow, which I was able to put in use since I am sensitive to the cold. 


Matching blue hoodies
Along California Highway 1
Our automobile for the road trip was the Lexus NX 300H. My considerations for an automobile were very simple--comfort and reliability. The NX 300H did not disappoint at all. Legroom was more than enough and more importantly, the chairs were adjustable and very comfortable. The seats also had a heater and cooler. Which I think was essential with how the weather fluctuates from hot to cold in the west coast. 



The Lexus NX 300H and I in Asilomar Beach, Monterey

The Lexus NX 300H and sunset in California Highway 1

The road trip started at 4:45am. We set Solvang as our first destination on Waze and was there around 7am-- just in time for breakfast.
Charming Solvang windmills

Solvang was very charming. It is the Danish capital of America. Breakfast was also good at Paula's Pancakes, which was recommended by a friend. 

Bacon, eggs and hash brown breakfast in Paula's Pancakes, Solvang

After Solvang we were officially on Highway 1. We followed the California Pacific Coast Highway via Waze. Waze will always want to use the best, shorter route-- most of the time it will choose the freeway. We set these destinations one after the other: Morro Bay, San Simeon, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, San Franciso, to make sure that we were always on the Highway. In times where the internet connection was down, for as long as you we were beside the ocean, we knew we were on the right track. 


California Highway 1

The trip to San Francisco took us two days. We had to stop every now and then to enjoy the scenery. We really took our time. The Earth is really beautiful along Highway 1. 


Breathtaking view of land and water from California Highway 1 



Mother nature and I along California Highway 1
A cliff on California Highway 1
Elephant seals on California Highway 1
More of Earth's wonderful creatures seen on California Highway 1

Paulo on California Highway 1
Sunset on California Highway 1
Along California Highway 1



Railroad along California Highway 1
We spent a night in Monterey. There was a strip of mid-range hotels in Monterey and so the more practical thing to do. It would have been great to stay at Big Sur but rates were too expensive for us. Monterey's Days Inn rate was $60 per night with breakfast for two already; while Big Sur rates were $150++, no breakfast. 

Our plan was to drive via Highway 1 going to San Francisco only and use 
the freeway going home. But my husband enjoyed it too much that we also drove back via Highway 1

These were the things that made our trip easier and more fun: 

1) Reliable automobile

2) U.S. Phone line for easier coordination with family and friends and access to Internet, we got an AT&T sim
3) Waze on our smart phones
4) Snacks and water
5) Sunblock
6) Thick clothes for the cold
7) Shades
8) Money, credit card
9) Camera; there were lots of photo opportunities! Although my iPhone camera phone worked well for me already
10) Wonderful companion


Paulo and I on California Highway 1

Paulo and 1 on California Highway 1
I will always treasure our Highway 1 experience. The road trip was an event in itself. And more than anything, I was with a very cool, wonderful person-- my husband. 

As Leo diCaprio said in The Beach, "...it's not where you go. It's how you feel for a moment in your life when you're a part of something, and if you find that moment... it lasts forever..."

Maximizing Small Spaces with Customized Cabinets and Shelves

I love cabinets and shelves. Even more now that I am forced to live efficiently, because my husband and I live in a one-bedroom 41 sqm condominium unit in the city. We have to maximize spaces. Which is why our couch has a storage compartment and bed has drawers and built in shelves. 

We recently had cabinets and shelves installed in our condominium unit and are really happy with them. 


The dining area

We transformed a free space into a cabinet for storing items we don't use on a daily basis. This also eliminates the clutter at home, because we can now hide them neatly inside the cabinets. 
The construction workers prepping the cabinet location

Preparing for the installation of cabinets

The cabinets were already pre-fabricated based on our agreed design.
The construction workers just need to install them.

New cabinets in our dining area. 

The living room 

My husband and I felt bad that we weren't able to take a photo of how our TV area used to look before the new rack and all. It would have been very nice to compare it with the new improved living room area. The before looked really messy--the cords were all over the floor, which ended up easily catching dust. Now there are shelves for the consoles, DVDs and even books that are attached on the wall, and it easier to sweep the floor. The place also looks bigger and more organized. 
Before the installation of the TV rack
TV Rack with shelves and mood lighting
Our new and improved living room

The installation only took around five hours, as everything was already pre-fabricated based on our agreed layout. The design, however, took us three meetings-- including agreeing on the design, measurements and color. 

Our contractor is Carlo Blanca of A'Quinto Personal Furniture. He is very professional, respectful and most of all, delivers quality service. You may reach him at (0917) 534-4946.