The New Year Starts After The Birthday

It’s the day after my birthday and today, I am beginning my 16:8 intermittent fasting journey.

My best friend told me that, combined with squats, she lost 10 lbs in 22 days (if I remember correctly). It was encouraging news, but I didn’t try it then.

What happened was, a week ago I told my brother about it and he started it. Without an app, just plain started eating at 12pm and didn’t eat anything after 8pm. And then when I saw him again on my birthday he told me his shirts are already feeling a bit more loose? So I figured… why not try? Am I scares? Actually I’m scared of getting disappointed.

I am already on a no rice diet and I follow a walking for weight-loss program and to be honest, although I feel good exercising, I never lose any weight. So trying stuff isn’t new to me and it would be nice to finally find something that works.

I’ve also started with making basic macrame plant hangers with jute strings I buy from Japan Home. At first I thought it was going to be easy, since I used to make friendship bracelets, but after maybe 30 minutes of trying to figure it out without watching any Youtube guides, I realized I needed 8 strings, not 4!

DIY jute macrame plant hanger
My first jute macrame plant hanger

It is so plain I can hardly call it macrame hahhahaah but it is functional. So tonight, I made a couple more after I finished FINISHING my kitchen project.

The kitchen project

When the house was being built, I didn’t plan my kitchen well. I actually never had a house built before, so I had no experience and since we are not likely going to have a second house… I am stuck with my current kitchen layout.

That means I have no exhaust hood. And I have no proper backsplash. And because oil splatters look so bad on paint, I decided to cover the wall in aluminum heat-resistant self-adhesive wallpaper.

I procrastinated for a very long time but today, I finally finished it 🥳 Below is a picture of the underside of the shelf that I needed to cover. My mom told me to cover it because oil would find its way up there above my stove. However I am afraid of heights and I need to stand on a stool to reach it and I guess that put me off of doing it. (Excuses, excuses!)

Aluminum self-adhesive heat-resistant wallpaper. Is that a circuit breaker box near my stove, you ask? I wish that weren’t true but yes it is.

And here is the small plant hanger I made for my propagated string of hearts. I had purchased a string of hearts together with a string if pearls. For some reason, I killed the string of pearls 😂

String of hearts

Maybe one day I’ll make more stylish plant hangers but for now, I quite like to keep it simple 😊

Propagating My Alocasia Amazonica

It’s just a test. I found a little offshoot in the pot that was a few inches away from the mother plant. One of my cats has bitten off a piece of it 😓

I scooped it out with a spoon. Found some very thin roots on it as well as another offshoot growing from it.

Then put some clay pebbles in a pot (I forgot what they’re called!), mixed some potting soil, coarse compost and leaf mold, and put the soil on top of the clay pebbles. Then I deposited the baby plant in the middle and watered it. 😁

I don’t know if this is the right way to do it but I did pretty much the same thing with my alocasia frydek and that one is still alive two months later.

Baby alocasia amazonica
Please be alive tomorrow! 🤞

The Face Shop Anti-Aging Face Mask

I never had a complex skin care routine. I just washed my face and put moisturizer. I brushed my face while I showered, to exfoliate. Lately though, I noticed that all the moisturizers I’ve tried, didn’t make my skin look very hydrated. It didn’t look ‘fresh’ anymore. I drank a lot of water, too!

I mean, I knew I wasn’t young anymore, what with all these aches and pains after gardening! But I just didn’t realize that my skin problem was part of aging, lol!

It’s kinda fun becoming more kikay again in my late 30s, so aside from now using toners, collagen pills and vitamin c for my skin, I’ve now added face masks, too!

I had purchased some kasoy oil (cashew oil) for my dad and as I was opening the package, I had accidentally cut through a face mask, that I didn’t know was included by the seller as a freebee.

Cucumber face mask Cucumber face mask by Prince’s Secret

Since the pack was leaking, I decided to use it. It was cool on the face and the result was good! My skin really looked hydrated. I decided to add face masks to my skin care regimen.

Actually, I had a face mask in my fridge from last Christmas. (Yeah, I really wasn’t into it!) Tried that tonight and uh… it was weird. It was a 2 piece mask, with foil and a mesh 😳

Aluminum face mask
Anti-aging face mask by The Face Shop

I thought I could link to the product in Lazada, but I couldn’t find it there and I’d already put the pack in the trash 😑

It gave me a very very slight warm sensation between my lips and my nose, like putting alcohol there. It has no smell, at least none that I can recall, minutes after taking it off.

I rinsed off the rest from my face because I can’t go to bed with a slimy face 😂 I rubbed the excess liquid on my neck and arms and it’s a little sticky.

I don’t know how much more effective this is than the cucumber one, since anti-aging isn’t exactly something you can see, but I don’t think I will use this mask again, especially since it costs almost 200PHP. It was fun, though 😁

Our Cat Maxi Can’t Pee

Our cat Maxi is confined at the vet for feline UTI. His bladder was full and he couldn’t pee. I believe it’s been a few days since he’d been having trouble, but it was hard to tell since he’s an outdoor cat and doesn’t really use the litter box at home.

Maxi, weakened from blockage in the urethra
I made him a bed but he didn’t want it. He laid himself down in the middle of my kitchen mess, like he was really, reaaally tired

Two different vets tried to examine him but they couldn’t, because he wouldn’t let strangers touch him. He trusts only myself and my husband. The only way to examine our angry cat was to sedate him, and they didn’t want to because he might die.

Luckily, one of the vets recommended we try Wags & Whiskers in Silang, Cavite. We were told they had better anesthesia and a pet handler that could work with our cat.

Wags & Whiskers in Silang, Cavite

Wags & Whiskers reception desk, Silang, Cavite

I love our local vets, they are kind and do their best to treat pets, but they don’t have a lot of equipment like xray machines, incubators, machines for blood chem and urinalisys, etc. Also, there’s not much room at our local vets…

Imagine, they along with my husband, were attempting to examine Maxi who was scared to death and hostile, and then the door opened and two men came in with a German shepherd and two half-German shepherd puppies! Our cat could have panicked, scratched my husband to ribbons 😭 and/or bolted out the door and got himself run over by cars 🥺

So we were pretty impressed with what we saw at Wags & Whiskers. We’ve been to Animal House in Alabang before, and I was under the impression that their clientele was mostly from the affluent neighborhoods around Alabang, and they had good equipment and their prices were very much higher (we went there also during an emergency), but what we experienced at Wags & Whiskers was better!

I mean, the place was smaller but it had a small seating area, and very importantly, the front door was always locked! A receptionist would let people in/out. They also have a couple of examination rooms, also with doors. There were doors everywhere, actually! I felt reassured that a terrified animal wouldn’t be able to flee that place.

They also didn’t seem to mind, that we brought in a local cat, a puspin. I have been to some vets (and talked to various people ) and they seemed to be incredulous that people would care so much for a puspin. I mean like, why the hell would we treat our Siamese cats differently from our puspin cats?! I don’t understand the snobbery!!! Someone even asked me we fed the puspins rice and gave the Siamese all the cat food! If you adopted a light-skinned human child and a dark-skinned human child, would you feed them differently? Of course not, they are both your children!

And one more thing, the place was clean and it smells like a hospital. I mean, it smells cleaner than some hospitals I’ve been to!

The only place that had a smell was that one room where a small dog was let loose, and he had peed and pooped on the floor. (Later, he was put in a big cage, so I assumed that he was let loose before because he didn’t want to poop inside his cage.)

They were able to do an x-ray, blood chem and urinalysis all within 30 minutes, and none of them got bitten or scratched. Granted, Maxi was so weak he couldn’t stand anymore, they also didn’t have a hard time putting in a catheter.

And so he is confined there right now, but I’m sure he is in good hands. If he wasn’t, we would’ve taken him home. We’ve lost a cat and a dog at a vet, and we don’t want to lose another pet while we aren’t there with him. Our pets are our children.

As you can see, there is blood in his urine. In the dead of night before we had brought him there, he howled and howled and then at around 7am, he had forcibly removed the blockage and was able to pee a bit, but he had hurt himself so bad that he was bleeding.

The vet said not to worry, the catheter will ensure he keeps on peeing, and that soon there will be no more blood.

Finally flu-free!

I was sick for three days during which time, my husband took care of me, the house, and our eight cat-children while working from home.

When I finally emerged from my blanket cocoon, my caladium secretly grew two new leaves, my mushrooms have spawned and died and something has started eating my basil 🌿

Two new leaves on a caladium thai beauty

I find my caladium Thai beauty to be a bit fussy when it comes to sunlight requirements, but what keeps me motivated to take care of it (aside from its beauty hehehe) is that as soon as you cut off some dying/struggling leaves, it will start growing new ones a couple of days later 💚

So basically, it isn’t as delicate as it appears to be 😉

Oyster mushrooms, some dead, some aliveMy plants, my responsibility. My husband never told me to stop buying plants and has never complained that I have too many. So I let my mushrooms get neglected while I was sick.

It wasn’t a big deal though. I have 20 fruiting bags. 3 mushrooms died ( no worries they will grow back) but 4 mushrooms appeared on bags that didn’t have any before I got sick 🍄

So all in all, it was still a good harvest 😁

Growing Sweet Potato Vine In Water

The problem with being a webmaster is that you know what seo is, and thinking about seo makes me feel like blogging is work!

So starting now, I’m going to ignore those thoughts and really just tell you the story of my life. Just kidding! Today I just want to tell you about these sweet potato vines.

I have this plastic pot next to the fridge. I had attached it to the wall before the fridge was moved next to it, and now that it’s there, I didn’t know what plants could survive there!

I had a bird’s nest fern there. The fridge generates quite a lot of heat and it’s also sometimes drafty in my kitchen. The pot is also about 6 feet from the east-facing window. Even though I put an eggcup with water there and sphagnum moss as well to keep the fern moist, the leaves just kept getting crispier until I had to remove it and it later died.

So I decided to try sweet potato! I propped up two sweet potatoes using bamboo barbecue sticks and added aquarium water and bam! The roots grew and keep on growing.

I actually saw a video on YouTube about a guy growing this in his aquarium and it looked great. Well, actually the roots looked great. I don’t know about you but I find roots fascinating and I love seeing roots behind glass, like in an aquarium or a glass pot.

The vines grow very fast! Look at these photos which are about 10 hours apart:

And later that day:

It’s been 15 days since I took those pics and I’ve pruned the plant a few times since then.

Some people have heart-shaped philodendrons, but I have heart-shaped sweet potato vines 😂

I don’t know if I’m going to keep this, but since I don’t have a replacement plant yet, I’ll let it grow for now.

An Unwanted Guest Audiobook Review

An unwanted guest audiobook cover

Disclaimer: I’m not a book critic, I’m simply describing my experience listening to this audiobook 😊

Instagram keeps introducing apps to me! I finally succumbed to subscribing to Otto Radio, because their slogan said “just like Netflix, but for books”. Audiobooks have been around for a while now, right? It’s just that…. the Amazon Audibles are just a little on the expensive side and I didn’t even buy books on Kindle anymore, so I never signed up for it.

So when I found out about Otto Radio, I was thrilled! (Thanks, Instagram!) I can now listen to a lot of books, at an affordable price! I can download them as well, so I can listen even when I have no wi-fi!

Otto Radio is now called Hibooks (just in case you’re interested 😆)

So how does one review an audiobook? I don’t really know, so I’ll just comment on 1)the story and 2)the narrator’s style 😁

The story

Have you ever heard of a game called “Until Dawn”? The setting of the story reminded me of that.

It’s just a prank, Han

(A famous line from Until Dawn)

But we’re getting sidetracked here 😂

So there’s a lot of snow around the hotel, and this is a murder mystery, so you can imagine that there’s going to be a murder. 😬

But seriously, as an non-native English-speaker, Shari Lapena did a wonderful job using vocabulary that is easy to understand.

Frequently, when reading books, I have to stop and google the meaning of certain words. While this undoubtedly expands ones own vocabulary, it can yank you back into reality and interrupt your immersion into the story.

Era of the story: contemporary. Iphones were mentioned in the book.

Does the story remind me of another story? No.

Character depiction: were you able to visualize these people, were they believable, were you able to distinguish their personalities from the others?

About 50% of that was done by the narrator, so…

I don’t think I can tell what everyone’s hair color is, but I did have a specific face and hair imagined for them. Did I find them believable… uhm there’s only a few parts that bothered me.

The story was written from the point of view of nearly all (if not all) the people mentioned in the book. Whilst I can easily understand that the female characters analyze their thoughts and clearly describe their feelings, I somehow find it less believable when the men in the story do the same. I just find it hard to believe that a man would describe his feelings and explain them. I know it’s for the benefit of the reader and it’s probably a personal bias but still…maybe other ways could have been used to convey feelings?

Anyway. I was able to correctly guess who the murderer was, but not the reasons for murder.

Audiobook narrator

(That’s not her picture, by the way)

This wasn’t the first audiobook I’d ever listened to but somehow, I was still surprised to hear her voice.

Wow! A professional is reading me a story!

The quality of the recording was of course very good, with only very very small hints of noise cancellation.

Hillary Hubert’s narration was great. She did impressions (?) of each character: she does deep voices for men, super deep gravelly voice for grandpa, and so on. I didn’t expect that at all and was really very pleasantly surprised 😊

Would I recommend this audiobook? Absolutely! I listened to it while I was doing things around the house, it’s like watching tv in your mind!

Comment below if you were able to guess the murderer’s identity!