January 31, 2022

My Home Office Corner

 

Last year while I was isolated for several weeks due to COVID, one of the things I did to pass my time was to improve my bedroom - decluttering, re-arranging, and this - fixing a work from home corner since this pandemic is still not planning to end anytime soon.

Piece by piece last year, I started with purchasing a new monitor since the company loaned one was too small for my productivity. So I purchased this AOC 27 inch monitor for my spreadsheeting and data analysis work. Not too big but definitely not small which gives me a good maximized view.

Xiaomi Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

It has long gone since I decided to use a wireless mouse and keyboard because I hate my old wireless mouse which I thought was too heavy but I'm glad I got this cheap duo from Xiaomi which is not too bad with battery usage. It uses two AAA batteries, one on the keyboard and another on the mouse. Changed the mouse a couple of times already since September (but I used a cheap battery before but now got an energizer one which has now been a couple of months old now and still going).

Edifier Speakers and my "second life" clock

Next one I got for the setup were these speakers from Edifier. This is not a "need" for my productivity but just something I really want since I really like some good music while I work especially that I work alone and at nighttime. It has multiple connection compatibilities including the traditional 3.5mm, the red and white connection thing (forgive me for my terms, not a sound engineer or what), coax and even a fiber optic option. But the one I use often is the Bluetooth connectivity so I can simply play music from my phone and still use the laptop's 3.5 mm jack in case I need to use my headset for conference calls. And of course the retro design, love it!

One thing I love about my setup is this clock. It's actually my dad's old phone that is already super slow, so I thought of installing a clock app and boom! Second life for the phone and making it functional.

Different lamps gives needed lighting and fixes the mood as well.

I have several lamps as well on my setup. I use a cheap light strip with colors that can be controlled on a remote depending on which color you want. More expensive lightstrips come with an app so you can choose a wider variety of RGB colors but it's way beyond my budget haha

Above the monitor, I waited for the online sale to get that Xiaomi Monitor lightbar. It helps so much with eye strain when working in front of the screen for long hours, plus I use it when taking photos of stuff on my desk (see the keyboard photo?) plus it has a wireless remote (see the round thing on the lower left part of the photo above) which controls brightness and also the light temperature whether you want a warmer white or a cooler daylight.

Also love this Architect's lamp given to me by one of my best friends at work which definitely adds character and a cute aesthetic to my over-all setup! I purchased just a regular 4.5-watt bulb in IKEA so it won't be too strong in case I want to open it. I do turn it on and bounce the light to my black walls just to add mood lighting when I feel like it.

Things that give me needed energy

To keep my desk clean, I cleared all other stuff and make sure I don't have too much peripherals. But these two, I don't think they are simply peripherals but needs. Years ago my Dad went to Paete, Laguna and he got me this beautiful wood crucifix which has always been with every workspace I had since he gave it to me. 

Then last November, I treated my dad to a staycation and on our way home, we passed by a garden and he got me this swiss cheese plant (Monstera adansonii) which I always wanted and lovingly it's still alive and growing.

Having a good workspace setup especially if you are working from home, is truly essential. It's where you make your money and at the same time, spend most of your waking days. Mine is just on my room but I made sure I have a space dedicated to it where I can also relax at and do my blogging and paperworks for Grad School. 

I hope you enjoyed my mini-tour of my desk setup and may it inspire you to look for the beauty and pinpoint improvements on your space whether it be a full sized office room or just a corner desk like mine. Why not make it your little project this February?

Never Stop Working!
Stevenson

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I would like to thank everyone for their warm comments on my last post after being quiet for quite some time. Sending you all love and good vibes from the Philippines. Been not feeling well again since last Monday with headaches and body pains, hoping and praying this goes away sooner.

January 6, 2022

Hello 2022!

01.02.2022

Happy New Year to all of you my dearest Blog friends! I wish you all an amazing year ahead and all the blessings, much more than you require to live and be happy!

I would like to thank my dear friends and also to say sorry because I haven't been blogging or at least checking on my blog in the past few months. Especially to my sister Iris all the way from Germany and Beatrice from the US who sent me messages and comments that I might have made them worried, though I very much appreciate and am touched by your thoughts my dear friends. 

Thank you all so much and I have been doing well lately just been busy with work, school, and family gatherings especially this past holiday season. But know that I always think of you all and pray for your families. I'm being healthy but yes, these past gatherings made me pack back my lost weight throughout the year haha but I'll go back in track to my mindful diet and movements.

Omicron is on the lose this time and I ask each and everyone of you to stay safe and never drop the vitamins and hydration routine. Be well and be safe, sending hugs to all over the world!

October 24, 2021

Another Dream Achieved

First of all, I am so sorry for not being here for quite some time, I had a series of bad luck in my health in the past two months, which includes, well a strain of this pandemic. But I have recovered by the end of last month, still struggling with fatigue that it left my body but all is better now.

When I was in high school, even if my parents will not allow me because I was entering college very young, I still took the entrance exam for the University of the Philippines. It is the most prestigious university in the country because it is very hard to get in as the screening process is very tight. It is the country's topmost state university so a lot of students fight for a spot to be one of the "iskolar ng bayan" or Scholars of the Nation.

Long story short, my UPG or university projected grade failed me to get a spot on my two campus choices. There are a few more campuses that will consider my UPG score though they are quite far and my parents will just not let me (or I even I think I can't live that far) because I was just 15.

I accepted my fate and taught to myself that my dream was over. The dream that someday I will have a portrait of me taken with the "Sablay", UP's official costume that replaced the usual black toga and mortarboard which is used during college commencements in the country.

Decades passed and I still find myself editing my photos into UP "sablay" photos of random people just to make it seem like my dream came true even on a photo (I still have that fake photo HAHA) Fast forward to my 27th birthday, I had this conversation with Ate Carm and what she said struck me, "Everything ends and begins with a solid desire. Be clear on what you want then push yourself towards that direction". So I tried again, this time for Grad School, got accepted. It was a challenge to work full time and study at the same time but I am lucky to have the best manager in the world, Miss Sheryl, who was very encouraging. 

And with God's grace and all the support, there it is. Not fake or photoshopped, Real and True! My University of the Philippines Graduation Photo. And yes, it even came with a degree. Too bad it will just be an online Graduation this December due to COVID, but still looking forward to it!

Never EVER stop Dreaming!
Stevenson

July 18, 2021

Upland Kafé

Upland Kafé, Silang, Cavite

Just along Aguinaldo Highway, located at the back of a Shell station is this new hidden gem! I mean just look at how cute their place is! Nestled under decade old trees, everything is made inside a whitewashed container van. 

We were so happy when we arrived. We looked for it because the place was starting to trend on facebook and when we stepped out of the car, it was even more beautiful than the gorgeous photos that are posted on social media. Silang has a milder climate compared to the rest of the province so coffee will never be out of fashion (even for warmer days, a cup of ice cold will do the trick!)

Machuca-style Tiles and Neon Signs

Team Puti or literally white team in English is a design movement that is very popular in social media nowadays here in the islands. It's clean and minimalist finish is applied to this cafe's interior which made the tiles and neon signage (two of my favorite things) really pop! Machuca Tile is the largest and oldest manufacturer of handmade cement tiles in the Philippines dating back 1903. 

      
(L) Their signature Blue Pea Latte and (R) Caramel Macchiato 

We were not shy to ask for their best-sellers especially it's our first time so we wanted their hits, a thing my friend RJay taught me. So both him and I tried their Blue Pea Latte, as per their facebook page is the very first concoction here in the Philippines! It's made by using the Blue Ternate flower as a tint, and I have to say, it was really good and yes, very colorful! It was sweeter compared to my cousin Judy's Caramel Macchiato which has a stronger coffee:sweetness ratio

Me pretending to be the cafe's Model

We stayed to enjoy our drinks because we felt comfortable to due to its al-fresco seating, and though it just rained, the owners and crew were so kind to clean us some seats and tables which we didn't really use because we can't stop taking pictures of the place! It's just really beautiful. We tried two more drinks, this time we tried a Frappe and an Iced Tea. 

      
(L) Strawberries and Creme Frappe and (R) Lemon Lychee Iced Tea

Since I am getting older (certified Tito), I'm starting to refrain from sweet drinks so the strawberries and creme frappe will not be a choice on my next visit but this Lychee iced tea is like sunshine on a cup! It is sweet but only the right amount! I can taste a hint of brown sugar, perhaps they use it as a sweetener? But the lychee extract they used gave me bolts of energy from the inside even if it was a grey and gloomy kind of day! 

 

Now the question is, am I gonna go back? A big YES! For so many reasons - their coffee, their fun concoctions, but most especially - the ambiance! being there gives me this relaxed feeling, on the levels that you just can't get from the usual cafes because Upland's edge will always be them being so close to nature. No other mural can beat the views of being under the embrace of strong trees that gives out natural air conditioning! Will definitely be back Upland!

***

This visit to Upland Kafé very much inspired me to start an Instagram project wherein I will share and review coffee and experiences from café to café! May I take this chance to share with you all Cafe Hunter PH and join me in my café adventures across the islands!

You can visit and follow it on https://www.instagram.com/cafehunterph


Never Stop Nature!
Stevenson

***

Upland Kafé
Shell Select along Aguinaldo Highway
Silang, Cavite
0927 917 9690

July 11, 2021

Serenidia's Kitchenette

Lumpiang Shanghai (Spring Rolls)

Nestled at the same location as Antonia's Garden, Serenidia's Kitchenette caters Filipino food as you roam around a garden shop where you can get your indoor and outdoor plants. Named after the late mother of the cooks, Serenidia's serve Pinoy comfort food that will surely touch your hearts and fill your all-day breakfast cravings.

 
Serenidia's Kitchenette, Amadeo, Cavite

At the moment, they are on soft opening, serving our favorite "SiLogs". Silog is a Filipino colloquial word (usually used as a suffix to a shortened version of a meat name which it is paired with) that stands for two combined words, sinangag or Garlic Friend Rice and itlog which literally translates to egg. So these silogs are very popular as breakfast meals since it's a complete meal with rice and egg plus a meat item whether it be pork, chicken, beef, or even fish. 

Tapsilog (Php 130)

The most famous "silog" meal is the Tapsilog. It stands for three food items - Tapa which are thin slices of beef cooked in savory soy sauce and garlic + sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg). Every home has their own version of Tapa and they can even be made with pork or chicken. Some make their tapa sweet by adding some brown sugar, some adds a bit of Calamansi (local lime) to the marinade to give it a tangy kick, or as it is traditionally, dried it for a few days under the sun to give it a drier but tastier finish.

Tocilog (Php 120)

Probably the second most popular on the big silog family is Tocilog. Rice and egg is paired with sweet slices of friend pork or as it is called, tocino. Both Tapa and Tocino are food items we inherited from the Spanish culture and is part of our everyday breakfast plates across the islands.

Lumpiang Shanghai (Special order)

The one above is my plate, I had it specially prepared for me since I haven;t been eating rice for a month now (I got really big so I am on this low carb diet now. Been losing 16 pounds already so hooray me!) This is basically two orders of their Shanghaisilog minus the rice, as you can see it also has two eggs! Inside these spring rolls are ground pork and vegetables, my favorite! If you have Filipino friends and were invited to a Filipino party, I am very sure you have tried Lumpia already!

Ate Judy (my cousin), RJay (my best friend), and yours truly!

***

Soon, they will now serve everything from their menu and I am just so excited to try other of their recipes! For parties within Cavite, they also cater food trays, just order them in advance and they even deliver to you at your cost. I have tried their Chicken Alfredo pasta before, it was heavenly!

To see their full menu plus food tray menu, click on the images below for a bigger view. Contact information are included.


Serenidia's Kitchenette
Banay-Banay, Amadeo, Cavite
+63 977 833 3736