Category Archives: Green Living

[LINK LOVE] The Spend-Less Holidays Blog Carnival 2012

Spend-Less Holiday Blog Carnival 2012

Sharing is caring. I’m not part of this Blog Carnival of the Work-At-Home-Moms group I’m a member of because I failed to write one and missed the deadline but I want to share the numerous great tips provided by the other mommies.

I shared with you my 12 Shopping Tips For a Merrier Christmas already and that DIY Christmas Decors. Here are more helpful tips for you to have a meaningful Christmas without having to spend a lot. Enjoy!

 Merry Blog-hopping this Christmas!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

12 Shopping Tips For a Merrier Christmas

Christmas shopping at Siam Paragon in Bangkok

Aaah, Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year. The list as to why I love the holidays is endless but I’m not about to enumerate them.

Yes, we all know that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. Still, some people get caught up in all the Christmas rush. You know, shopping, shopping, food, gifts, parties, and yeah, more shopping. Despite the stress, traffic jams, and overdrafts, people still fight their way to the malls and ‘tiangges’ to do their Christmas shopping.

Seriously, it’s one of my favorite activities in the world but because of the recession, I feel it’s time that I be more practical and spend wisely. Better yet, as my husband would put it, “Don’t spend”. But hey, I can’t just change overnight so instead, I made a list of tips on how to shop just a little more wisely this Christmas. Here they are:

1. Make a Christmas list. By this I mean a list of people you want to give gifts to and not your Wish List. There’s a huge difference between the two. The former is more important. Write down those very special people who are dear to you so you won’t miss anyone.

2. Set a budget. This one is also very important. You can’t risk going over your budget. Even if some people say it’s okay to splurge, don’t. Stick to your budget. If you can, pay in cash. Don’t just swipe, swipe, swipe. You don’t want to be paying for Christmas gifts until June, do you?

3. Brand matters-NOT. When buying gifts, don’t shop at designer stores or boutiques. Brand doesn’t matter, really. What’s important is the quality. There’s a better alternative to the malls too. Hello, Divisoria! (And Tutuban, Quiapo, Greenhills, etc…)

4. Buy in bulk. During Christmas, most stores offer promo packages. “Buy one-take one” or “3 for 100”. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you buy wholesale as compared to getting individual items.

5. SALE signs are not always godsends. Especially to the ladies – don’t be deceived by the big red signs hanging in the malls. Sure, Christmas is the only time you can justify splurging but remember that there are more important things in life than getting a new dress for you, your children, or whoever. Stick to your list; you don’t have to buy everything you see.

6. Plan your trip to the mall. I would suggest a one-time, intentionally planned ‘trip’ instead of several unplanned, last minute trips. It would be best if you go to the mall just one time and do all your shopping then. That way, you can save on transportation, food expenses, and avoid those terrible, terrible traffic jams.

7. Use recyclable bags. More shopping means more plastic bags which, we all know are harmful to the environment. You can do your share of saving our eco-system by bringing your own paper bags. Better yet, why not use eco-canvas bags? Or, if you have a large bag, use that instead. You can just put all your purchases inside that. After all, that’s what big bags and tote bags are for.

8. Stay safe. It’s no secret that more people get robbed and mobbed during December, especially in the Philippines. Make sure your money is safe. Belt bags are advisable to use when doing extreme shopping.

9. Shop during off-peak hours. Avoid the Christmas rush. Malls in the Philippines are usually crowded during the holidays especially after the 13th month pays and bonuses have been given. If you can, file for a one day leave so you can shop earlier in the day.

10. Shop online. Try eBay or consider the countless online shops in Multiply and eBay. If you’re feeling generous, you can buy from US-based websites and have them items shipped to Manila via Johnny Air. It’s hassle-free and some would even offer free gift wrapping. You can also save on shipping sometimes.

11. Save receipts. Don’t just throw them away as they are the best way to keep track of your holiday expenses. Also, you never know if you might need to return some items.

12. Don’t wait until the last minute. It’s never too early to shop. Avoid the Christmas rush. Prepare weeks before, not the day before. This way, you’ll be more than prepared, you won’t have to fight crowds, wait in long lines, or have to settle for the leftover, limited merchandise. Avoid stress.

So there you have it – Christmas shopping tips for 2012. Remember though that while shopping can be therapeutic (especially during these hard times), the Season is not all about that at all. Remember that the best gift you can give to anyone is still your LOVE.

Merry Christmas Shopping to you!

*wrote this article 4 years ago

House of DuoDeco Studio by Elle Uy

I recently got interested in home, living, and interior design when we moved to this two-storey townhouse two years ago. It was only then that I was given a chance to decorate our place having very limited space before.  Becoming Martha was I guess natural because I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and an Architect dad. I remember I would always look at my dad’s architectural and interior design books when I was young. I found them months ago at my parents’ house and I plan to bring them home with me soon.

For inspiration, I read Real Living Philippines. I usually narrow down my magazine choices to local editions because at least I know I can achieve and afford some of the pieces featured inside. Online, is my favorite website. Locally, my favorite is Switcheroom by Elle Uy. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Elle Uy’s website but I guess it’s because she’s been featured in the magazine a lot of times already. I instantly loved her style in decorating that I ended up reading all her blog posts in two days!  I like that she’s very transparent with her designs. Simple but stylish. Pretty and fun. What I like best is that any person who is not a professional interior designer can also achieve her look. I know it’s not easy to design and decorate but Elle can transform any boohoo to woohoo (her words…hehe).

I told her I’d want to hire her when we move in to our own house someday. I just wish we’d be able to afford her. If not, maybe consult? Someday.

She also did Jenni Epperson’s kitchen:


Continue reading House of DuoDeco Studio by Elle Uy

Amazon Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Earlier this month, I ordered The Brick Bible books and a red tricycle for Noah. My husband’s boss was visiting Manila from the US so we asked if he could bring the stuff. I placed my orders on a Monday, they arrived on the address the next day because I chose the One-Day Shipping option, and by Friday night, the items were in my hands.

Ordering at Amazon was easy and efficient. It’s a bit different from buying from eBay but is as convenient. This was the first time I ordered directly from Amazon which meant the items I purchased would be coming from Amazon warehouse and not from the sellers. Those are two different things unlike in eBay where you would be buying directly from the sellers.

Amazon offered free shipping on the items for Prime members. I forgot where exactly I chose the Frustration-Free Packaging option but I chose that one. I heard about this “greener” option offered by Amazon years ago but it’s only now that I got to see how Amazon packaged the items.

It’s true. Frustration-free as the books didn’t come in a big box or excessive packaging, they came wrapped in plastic and with a cardboard to hold them.


As for the trike which was bulky, it came in its own packaging. It was only in the SFO airport where it was packed in a bigger box–twice its size! Continue reading Amazon Certified Frustration-Free Packaging