Shopping Diary #10: Apple Crazy

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a shopping diary. Still, I’ve bought many different things throughout 2013, both for myself and for others. I just decided not to share all of them here. For the last quarter of the year, however, I rewarded myself with some truly wonderful items… all a product of hard work and year-long savings.

Anyway, I went a little Mac crazy and purchased the latest in Apple gadgets and accessories. Take note, though, that I didn’t buy all these in one day; and I didn’t dump all my savings into these “gifts.” These were budgeted and planned according to what I could afford (which is what everyone should do).

GLOBE
iPhone 5S Space Grey

My Best Ever Super Plan plus Cash Out (24-month lock-in)

It’s been 2 years since I got my iPhone 4S; and it hasn’t been working as great as it used to. After all, it fell into the water over a year ago and certain functions (such as the camera and the silent mode) aren’t at their optimal performance. I decided early on to recontract once my plan expires. Enter iPhone 5S.

Despite its confusing and more complicated billing plan, I stuck with Globe for convenience. With a little cash out and an upgraded plan, I now have the latest Apple smart phone that has so far delivered in terms of performance (great speed and screen quality) and features (amazing camera with slow motion, touch ID, etc.).

KIMSTORE
iPad Air White/Silver

I’ve been eyeing the iPad Mini since March; and I promised myself that I will buy the latest model once it comes out this year. However, my plan suddenly changed when I held an iPad Air in my hand for the first time (courtesy of a director who bought one for himself). I was convinced. With a bigger screen size and its much lighter weight (compared to older iPads), I just had to go for the Air. Its screen size is perfect for reading my magazines (Zinio, Newsstand), editing my documents (Evernote, DocsToGo) and playing games (Sims Freeplay, Bejeweled, Scrabble, Secret Passages). I would have been constrained by the iPad Mini when it comes to these apps.

The iPad Air has become a fitting alternative to lugging my laptop to work everyday. I just love it so much… by far my favorite gadget now.

POWER MAC CENTER
Lab.C USB Case for iPhone 5/5S

Php1,690

I just love multifunctional accessories; and the Lab.C iPhone 5/5S case is exactly that with its innovative design. Aside from protecting my iPhone, it also has an 8gb USB built into the case. This way, I can bring my important files with me anywhere; and since the USB is virtually part of my phone, I’m always reminded if someone has borrowed or is using it… No more leaving my USB anywhere.

DIGITAL WALKER
Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens

Php3,250

I love taking photos with my phone; and the Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens elevates the quality of my shots with minimal effort. Despite its simple design, I get four different lenses in one device: fisheye, wide, 10x macro and 15x macro. It’s so much fun experimenting with the lenses and the effects they create. Definitely a must for any iphoneography enthusiast.

With technology like what we have right now, there’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the last time I’ll go gadget crazy. The important thing is that they were well thought out purchases, all of which I have no regrets spending on. I’m absolutely happy to have them… Merry Christmas to me!

Advertisements

the IT list #11

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #11

#ONE
It’s been a summer of really entertaining blockbuster movies; but the one that stood out for me so far is Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. I’ve watched it twice. Once in IMAX 3D. Once in the good old 2D format. Either way, the movie is just pure awesomeness wrapped in robots versus monsters goodness. Go watch it.

#TWO
It was one LONG month before I got this; but the waiting was worth it! I’ve been wanting to buy a pocket WiFi device of my own. Thankfully, I held out long enough for LTE to arrive in our shores.

The Smart LTE Prepaid Pocket WiFi kit is worth Php6,995. It includes a ZTE MF93D unit and LTE Sim. I’ve been using it for almost two months and I have no regrets. I’ve only gone up to 12mbps at the most, but it’s even faster than the WiFi in my house! And that’s saying a lot. With the prepaid kit, I get to control the amount I put into my device — no contracts, no lockout. What’s even better is that the unit allows up to 10 users at a time! I can also avail of unlimited LTE in Php50 (1 day), Php299 (7 days) and Php995 (30 days) denominations. That’s a really great deal especially since there’s no data cap.

Visit smart.com.ph/bro/lte for more details.


#THREE
I’ve been watching this YouTube show for a while; but Kids React (TheFineBros) got some mainstream media attention because of a recent episode that showed us how some kids could be smarter than most adults when it comes to viewing race and equality.

I love watching this show… as well as its other incarnations: Teens React and Elders React. It’s a simple concept; but it’s entertaining and it makes you think. Highly recommended.

vmars
#FOUR
The movie is finished shooting. A sneak peek has been released. It’s really happening! I am one of the proud backers of this Kickstarter project; and I’m SO EXCITED for the finished product. I’ve been getting a number of updates related to the movie and so far, things are looking pretty good… definitely worth the $50 I shelled out to help make it a reality. The Veronica Mars Movie will be out early 2014. I can’t wait!!

#FIVE
I haven’t had a chance to watch a concert or a theatrical show this year (and it’s already July!). What I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going on staycations. Last Holy Week, we stayed at Manila Hotel. For my sister’s bridal shower, I treated her to an overnight stay at Ace Hotel & Suites. Just last week, I tagged along with my brother’s family and stayed in Sofitel Philippines.

Needless to say, I LOVE the staycation experience. Getting to stay in a luxurious hotel… Not having to clean up after yourself… Best of all, two words: breakfast buffet, which is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s my way of getting some rest and relaxation without leaving the city.

Japan 2013: Kobe & Dotonbori

DAY 2 IN JAPAN

My first day in Japan mostly involved travel. We arrived at our hotel at almost 5:30pm. There wasn’t much time except eat dinner and do a bit of walking around. I was so tired… didn’t really feel all that well that evening. So DAY 2 was my first FULL day of walking, eating and sightseeing.

KOBE: Chinatown and Ramen!

It was a very cold two degrees outside. I wore between 2-4 layers of clothing; but it still felt a bit cold. We wasted no time and headed straight to Kobe to visit Chinatown (Nankinmachi and Motomachi areas). I saw an arch that is all too familiar in any Chinatown. Of course, I had to take a picture.

There were also a lot of shops lined up, ready to be explored!

We ate at a nearby Ramen place for lunch. It had a vendo machine outside where you could select then pay for your order. A slip of paper will come out; and that’s what you’ll hand in to the cooks inside. I ordered a bowl of pork chashu ramen and it set me back a mere 780 Yen (cheaper than some local ramen restaurants). The bowl was pretty huge but I finished it. It was so delicious! Perfect comfort food for the cold weather.

the vendo machine where we placed our orders and instantly paid for them. no need for waiters!
the interior was just one deep hallway where customers sat next to each other.
if you think this tastes as good as it looks, you’re absolutely right!

There was around two hours to kill after lunch; so of course I went shopping! First thing I bought (which I didn’t really plan on)… a Canon EOS M mirrorless camera. This is one of my wish list gadgets; and my brother suggested I check it out. The tag price had quite a huge difference already compared locally, the added discount for travel tax made it even cheaper! It was the right decision to purchase it right then and there. The seller gave me a free 4GB SD card to boot.

I bought the white Canon EOS M model with both lenses and flash attachment.
the store where I bought the camera from

After doing a bit of shopping, we took a taxi and headed to Europe Town (Kitano Ijinkan Foreign Residences). As the name implies, the tourist spot featured a couple of Western-style houses and structures that are really pretty. We didn’t really have time to go in; so I just took pictures. It seemed like I wasn’t even in Japan!

We then walked to the station heading back to Osaka; and I saw some more pretty sights, including a really pretty set-up for a Starbucks branch.

cute Starbucks branch

IMG_4809

MIDOSUJI: An Apple Store and A Beard Papa

Back in Osaka, we split up. My sister-in-law and I walked along the Midosuji Avenue, hunting for the Apple Store. We were buying an iPad Mini for my mom. Along the way, we stopped to buy Beard Papa Cream Puffs, which were absolutely wonderful (warm on the outside, cool and creamy on the inside). I don’t know why the franchise here in the Philippines doesn’t have the same quality.

Jackpot! found the Apple Store where we bought an iPad Mini
Beard Papa: best cream puffs I’ve ever tasted (so far)

DOTONBORI: Sights and Food Food Food

We walked back to Dotonbori where we stopped by H&M, walked along the many shops calling our name, ate authentic takoyaki and waited for the Glicos sign to light up in the evening. Beautiful!

just one of the many huge and colorful shop signs around Dotonbori
yummy shrimp takoyaki
infamous Glicos sign in the evening

Afterwards, we had dinner at a famous local restaurant. I had some beer and ate okonomiyaki. At this point, my stomach was really full with all the scrumptious Japanese food I had! It was a great final meal to cap off a tiring day.

okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake with  a whole lot of stuff inside
okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake with a whole lot of stuff inside. you top it with sweet or spicy sauce and a drizzle of mayonnaise for added flavor. it really went well with the beer.

Next up, I’m venturing on a solo trip; and I promise to share the experience.

Previous Post – An Overview
Up Next – Kaiyukan Aquarium/Shinsekai

the IT list #10

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #10

01kindle

#ONE
I never intended to buy a Kindle for myself; but getting one from my brother and sister-in-law as an early Christmas present was pretty awesome. It can contain tons of books for a small, thin and light gadget. It’s easier on the eyes (compared to the iPad) for reading. It’s perfect for a bookworm like me. I’m looking forward to bringing it along with me everywhere in place of thick and bulky paperbacks.

02palladium#TWO
I’ve been wanting to buy leather boots for a while; and I came upon the brand Palladium at The Flat Shop in Glorietta. It’s made of durable, high quality leather. You can wear it two ways. And with the right attitude, you can wear it with almost anything. I love it.

03mindyproject#THREE
I’ve decided that The Mindy Project is officially my favorite new show this season. It started off as another comedy to pass my time; but I’ve grown to really like it. The humor is quick and witty. Mindy Kaling is hilarious. The many different guest stars are great as well. Hopefully, the show will be allowed to grow an audience so we can witness more workplace craziness in the future.

04pitchperfect#FOUR
I watched this when it came out last October. Now, the DVD is out and I can’t get enough of Pitch Perfect. It’s “Glee” in college; but much funnier. Plus, with The Sing-Off canceled, this film gives me my a cappella fix, aside from Pentatonix of course.

05weddingband

#FIVE
Wedding Band is about… Well, a wedding band. This series is simply entertaining and fun… more so as the episodes progress. It’s just a bunch of guys rocking it in different kinds of events (weddings, high school parties, adult proms) and the craziness that ensues. I also love the cover songs they do. Here’s hoping that the comedy continues well into future episodes because I’m really liking it.

Shopping Diary #9: Spree

I just went on a much needed shopping spree. It’s my reward for working so hard the past month. Remember that big project I mentioned a couple of posts ago? It has just finished; and I’ve been catching up on rest, watching new shows and buying beautiful stuff with my paycheck.

Here’s the damage I’ve done at Trinoma:

PENSHOPPE
blue top

Php569

I’ve recently discovered that this loose, comfortable style suits me quite well. I also like the lace-like detail because it’s girly yet casual. Paired with a light racer back and shorts and I’m good to go.

DIGITAL WALKER
WhateverItTakes.org Notebook Wrap Designed by Coldplay

Php2,050

It’s been a while since I last bought a notebook cover. This one is perfect because it’s unique (the wrap design looks really cool), it’s blue (my favorite color), it’s designed by Coldplay (one of my favorite bands) and it’s for a good cause. Royalties for the design have been waived by the celebrity donors in support of Whatever It Takes, an artwork campaign that contributes to a number of causes. (Learn more about them from their site.)

PROMOD
tomato red cardigan

Php1,500 — from Php2,295

I love cardigans. I pair them with anything and everything; because it’s just so comfortable. It will also keep me warm in the coming (cool) months. I particularly liked this one because of the color (I don’t have a red one yet), the loose pockets on the sides and last but not the least, the sale price!

MANGO
camel blazer

Php1,450

Blazers are the perfect weapon to style up any outfit. I already have two black ones (Freeway & Bayo) and a green one (Cotton On). And with a price like this, I just had to buy this camel-colored one. I especially liked the pinstripe detail when you roll up the sleeves. Paired with a plain shirt, jeans and a simple necklace… Instant casual chic. Nice.

LANDMARK
wall clock

Php419.75

The wall clock in our room hasn’t been working for weeks. It’s about time I found a replacement. After looking at expensive models from stores like Dimensione, I decided to check out the selections from the nearest department store — Landmark. Lo and behold… Here’s a design I like at an unbelievably cheap price!

PABDER
soft leather handbag with shoulder strap

Php7,980

I usually splurge the most on bags. Needless to say, this item did the most damage. It costs more than everything else combined. Still, I have no regrets buying it. I first saw this bag at their Gateway branch. I didn’t buy it at once because I wanted to look at other bags first. In the end, I couldn’t find anything else that matched this in terms of price and design. (The other bag I was eyeing is close to Php15,000!!! Scary!) Anyway, I love the soft leather material and its simplicity is just my style. It’s my first time to buy from Pabder so I hope the quality will speak for itself in the long run.

And that’s it… Six items. One blissful day of shopping indulgence. With that, I have to take a break from spending because Christmas is just around the corner and shopping for others will soon be on the agenda. It’s going to be crazy and fun. Wish me luck!

Life Tips

You gotta love the Internet.

Think of almost anything you can imagine; and you’ll probably find it there. Recently for me, two valuable tips I’ve found on the world wide web have helped me a lot. These are simple, everyday solutions to problems and emergencies that just might save you money and a whole lot of stress. I really want to share my experiences here; because I hope to teach you some stuff in the way these other sites aided me in certain situations.

CRISIS # 1: Tight Flats

Three months ago, I bought a pair of flats that fit fine when I tried them on in the store. However, after walking in them for less than an hour, the shoes hurt and bruised my ankles. It’s too tight for everyday use! They were then hidden away in the back of my shoe closet.

Thanks to Pinterest, which led me to Coffee Light & Sweet, I found my solution three weeks ago; and I’ve been sharing this tip with my friends ever since.

What you need: thick socks (or a number of pairs of socks) and blow dryer
What to do:
– Put on the thick socks (or at least two layers of socks) and wear your flats.
– Aim the blow dryer in the tight spots, wiggling your feet as you heat the shoes so that it loosens up. Do this for a couple of minutes.
– Keep the shoes on as it cools down.
– Once cooled down, remove your socks and try the shoes on. Repeat process until shoes are comfortable for you.
Other applications: This is a great technique to break in your shoes. You may also try it with your leather shoes and heels. I’m currently trying this technique out with a pair of rain boots I bought from the US, which is tight around the calves. (It has loosened up a bit; and I’ll try doing the technique again for the next few days.)

CRISIS # 2: Wet iPhone

This is probably the most common emergency that may happen to anyone with a mobile phone. I am one of the recent victims. Let me share my story first. The other day (on my birthday nonetheless), I had an accident and my precious iPhone got soaked. It was in the water for about 2-3 seconds before I fished it out. Common sense told me to turn it off at once, which I did. I then immediately shook the phone for excess water and used paper towels to dry it off outside. In the back of my head, I know I read something about using uncooked rice or silica. I ran to my computer to search for a solution and got my confirmation.

These sites popped up in my quick search: CNET and Appstorm. They also suggested the uncooked rice trick; so I rushed to get some and immediately put my phone in it. A few minutes later, I also found a paper clip, removed my SIM card, then put the phone back in the rice. All of these were accomplished in less than 20 minutes.

When I got home, I found the packs of silica I saved up and added them in the container where my phone was drying out. I also briefly blow dried the phone (in cool setting) before putting it back in the container.

Next thing I did was wait overnight. (It was one of the longest nights of my life!) By the time morning came, my phone has been in the uncooked rice and silica for approximately 15 hours. I plugged in the phone while praying for a miracle to happen. About 8 minutes passed before I finally heard the sweet sound of the iPhone booting up with the Apple logo appearing. At this time, angels were singing in my head.

Next step was to try out the functions. Thankfully, I found no glitches! I only saw some fogging in the lamp and the front-facing camera. To be safe, I put silica packs in my iPhone case for the rest of the day. I also put my phone in uncooked rice again overnight. In the morning, the fogging was gone and the phone still works! Hallelujah!

image from http://www.gadgetreview.com

What you need: paper towels, uncooked rice (or silica packs), lots of patience!
What to do:
– Turn off your phone immediately. Shake it out to remove excess water, then dry with cloth or paper towels. Don’t forget to remove the SIM.
– Put your phone in uncooked rice and leave it there for at least 12 hours. Depending on how soaked your phone gets, others suggest leaving it there for 24 hours to 3 days.
– After waiting, remove any uncooked rice that got into the nooks and crannies of the phone. Use a pin or brush to get them out.
– Plug the phone in and wait.
– If it turns on, test the functions of your phone immediately: battery, screen, touch screen function, home button, sending and receiving calls, texting, speakers, earphone jack, Wi-fi, 3G, camera, games & apps. This will help you determine the extent of damage to your phone. Since getting wet will void your warranty, you might as well get your phone repaired if any problem pops up.
– If it doesn’t turn on, try to put it back in the rice for a longer time, maybe weeks, before trying it again.
*Side note: This technique doesn’t guarantee that your iPhone will spring back to life. This is just one of the most effective ways to dry out and possibly salvage your water-damaged phone. It really depends on the extent of damage or the length of time that the device has been in the water.
Other applications: This can be applied to most electronic devices. If you can remove the battery, be sure to do so and dry it out before putting all parts in uncooked rice.

It’s only been a day or two since the accident; and I have yet to see any problems with my iPhone. I’m really thankful. It was just a matter of acting fast and finding a solution as soon as possible… thanks to the Internet.

the IT list #7

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #7

#ONE
I’ve bought my ticket; and I can’t wait to attend Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball, which is presented by Ovation Productions. It will be held at the brand spanking new Mall of Asia Arena on May 21, 2012. I missed her concert the first time she came to Manila; so there’s no way I’m passing up this opportunity to watch her live. I believe it’s going to be epic. I can’t wait!


#TWO
This brilliant app is like Pictionary among friends; and it has provided me with endless entertainment the past few weeks. With such a simple concept, it’s terribly addictive. If you have an Android or Apple device, this is the app you should download now. Connect with Facebook and play with friends! You don’t need to be a brilliant artist to play this, though some sites may make you insecure about your drawing ability. (See: Best of Draw Something) Still, it’s a lot of fun to try to draw as well as guess your friends attempts to draw. It’s another way to connect with people and share something with them without ever having to meet face-to-face.


#THREE
I’ve been wanting to buy this gaming console for a while; and I finally gave in… So far, I’m loving this toy. Kinect allows you to play games that make you move, dance and jump without a need to hold a device in your hand. It’s a lot of fun for the whole family. Games like Kinect Sports, Dance Central and PowerUp Heroes have kept me preoccupied the past Holy Week. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever owned in my life.


#FOUR
You either love it or think it’s “too gay;” but I’m personally loving Smash. I believe it’s an engaging portrayal of what it takes to stage a Broadway musical… from the producer to the director to the writers to the talents. As with any series, there are characters I could do without (Ellis, please!) and I could survive without the personal drama that borders on cliched (adultery, mean girls picking on the new girl, boyfriend drama). What I like is how the musical Marilyn/Bombshell has taken different directions… just like any production in real life. It also doesn’t dwell too much on performing as many songs as possible. And when they do perform a song, original or otherwise, it’s organic to the scene and it’s beautifully done. I’m glued to the show and I hope it only gets better from here.

#FIVE
I’ve known of this site for a while; but it’s only been recently that I got addicted to reading every entry on 9Gag. What can I say? The submissions make me laugh… most of the time. It introduced me to derp and derpina. It made me know about Ridiculously Photogenic Guy before anyone else. Bad Luck Brian, trolling, “Bitch, Please!” and everything in between… They’ve got it. It’s a good source of entertainment when I’m idling by with nothing to do while on the computer.