Unique Places to Visit in Vancouver

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Vancouver may be deep in the tech world, but it still can be as fun and quirky as Victoria, British Columbia. Instead of art boardwalks and endless sweaty lines for carnival rides or beach games: consider exploring these parts of the city. Each is unique and maybe your new favorite thing the moment you try it.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden
Sometimes it can feel like every park and garden you see is starting to melt into one floral-scented blob of memory in your mind. If you’ve visited one English garden, it feels like you’ve seen all of them. That’s what makes Sun Yat-Sen’s garden so unique. Not only does he go above and beyond with presentation, but he also creates a magical new space. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s garden is a breath of fresh air.

This garden tucked away behind private walls that hide it from the street is like a breath of fresh air. Beautiful and striking red and gold decor mingles with the beautiful fanned-out plantlife. Countless herbs, flowers, trees, and other greens are growing here, each expertly chosen for its specific position. This is a garden unlike most people in Canada have seen!

Bloedel Conservatory
Visible from nearly everywhere in the city, the Bloedel Conservatory is a gorgeous glass and metal dome that sits like a crown above the main parts of the city. Stepping inside away from cold winters or hot summers, your breath will be taken away by how comfortable and warm the inside of the dome is.

Filled to the brim with lush greenery, it can feel like you’re slipping off into a rainforest to explore. Coffee trees and fig trees fill the space with a delicious smell, and your eyes will have no choice but to dart excitedly from plant to plant as you take it all in.

There’s a unique walking trail that allows you to be amongst parrots and other winged friends for those who love animals. The childish wonder you’ll feel from walking in here will be enough to make you want to look at homes for sale in Vancouver.

The Marine Building
Sometimes the actual work of beauty is the building itself. This art-deco-style building is so intricately designed that you can look at it every day for years and still find something new. Within this building’s lounge, framed photos of the multiple projects used this building as their backdrop. Used for DC movies and shows centering around Superman, this building was capable of showing the ostentatious energy of the 20s without having to create a replica. When the sunlight pours into the city in the afternoon, the reflective surfaces of The Marine Building shine brightly, ushering in more guests through its door.

Vancouver is more than just a movie city that’s trapped between a mountain range and the ocean. It’s full of creative people, beautiful art, and enough gorgeous plants and buildings to make you want to move at the moment you can.

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Entertaining the kids during this pandemic.

gamingThis pandemic has brought out the creative and skillful in us. Can you imagine a time in our lives when majority of the adults are working from home and the young ones attending their classes online? To be honest, I am still reeling from the changes that this virus has brought in our lives.

In our home alone, two kids are attending their classes online. Both classes are in the morning. My younger sister teaches her pre-school classes online as well. And then two of us accountants are also working from home. Can you imagine the chaos when we are all using the internet and then the speed suddenly fluctuates? You can only imagine the noise when the lot at home shouts for the internet connection to be checked and restored. At night, when everyone is relaxing already, the television is on, most are on social media through their mobile phones, the kids are playing video games… that’s when it hits you. This pandemic has given us a chance to spend more time together and it is one of the positive things that we should be grateful for.

So, anyway, I am sure the adults in your home are struggling to entertain the kids so cabin fever won’t set in. I will share two ways that we skillfully thought of in order for the kids, and the kids at heart, to have fun while stuck at home to avoid exposure to the virus.

Super-TetrisBond over online games. Friendly competition is the name of the game, my friends! I have a seven-year-old nephew who is very competitive and would really learn ways on how to defeat everyone who plays against him. He knows some of the newest video games these days but I thought how much fun would it be to teach him some of the classic games from my generation. Pac-man, Galaga, Super Mario, Street Fighter… Just some of the games that I got hooked on when I was younger. I am grateful for smart television these days, you can easily play online games while lounging on the sofa in the family room. That’s what my nephew and I have been doing the past several months.

We discovered online Neon Invaders, Pac Rat Game, and Super Tetris! Ah, Tetris. My nephew was hooked the first time he played this! We would spend hours beating each others’ high scores. My heart skips a beat whenever I see my nephew enjoying a game from my youth.

I believe most of us older ones know how to play Tetris. You just have to use arrow keys in order for the pieces to fit in and create a straight line. Fit until you find yourself racing against time. It’s so simple that you won’t feel pressure while playing. You can easily play again and again. Trust me, you’d think it was a no-brainer game, not as much fun as other games out there, but you will be surprised at how much time you will spend lining up those falling bricks.

Get those thousand pieces puzzles. And slowly fit the pieces to complete it. Believe me, the kids will go crazy finding every piece that matches the ones that are already sitting in their places. Ah, the hours you will spend just doing it…

Need more skillful ways to entertain the kids?

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Is this cabin fever?

What is cabin fever? I Googled it and this came back:

cab·in fe·ver
/ˈkabən ˈfēvər/

noun INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN

irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter

Truth is, I’ve been feeling all of those things and more. And it is not winter in this part of the world where I am in. In fact, the weather is hot and humid. But this part of the world is still very much being attacked by the virus that is making every person in the world worried and angry. Our lives are dependent on a bi-weekly announcement from the president.

Is this cabin fever?

cabin-feverI should get it out there that I am one of the lucky few who get to work from home and be with my family almost daily. I go to the office once or twice a week, only when there are absolutely necessary tasks to be done. Most days, I work from home and my schedule depends on what I need to do. Yes, I am lucky that I am earning while being able to stay indoors.

But being cooped up inside the house is getting to me. I admit it now. I feel restless, worried, anxious, and angry. I cannot stay put in one place nowadays. And the weather is aggravating my emotions. You can find me sitting on the epoxy flooring, on the stairs, on my stomach on the sofa. I cannot work as peacefully as I used to.

When the pandemic was in its first few weeks, my sister and I would go to the market every Sunday morning. It became a routine until a few sellers got infected with the virus so the market was shut down. Now, every few days I go to the grocery store to buy essentials. The number of cases are still rising so there is more anxiety in going elsewhere. I don’t. I stay put indoors unless I totally need to go somewhere. It is my way of contributing to the welfare of frontliners who are exhausted and about to give up since last year.

Maybe, I will go out very early to walk around the block. Maybe. We live near a hospital so I am not sure about the situation. I will ask around first. But I will do something about this ‘cabin fever’ because it is getting to my head. And I don’t want to start feeling sad about the situation. I can overcome this. I can find a way. We all can. We just need to find alternatives to what used to be our daily routines so we can stop feeling anxious and listless.

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Sofa for everyone.

sofaAre you one of those families that converge in a single place at home even though there is a lot of space to sit or lounge at? I belong to one of those families.

My sisters and I love chatting. Even our sister-in-law loves to chat. Since we all live in a single house, we often chat. And we love to do it while eating. Also, when we are in front of the television in the living room. You can just imagine the abuse our chairs would get from us. We would sit there for hours at times, even the nephews love to relax and play with their tablets while lounging with us around.

Just last night, I realized just how much we are in need of a new sofa for the living room. A sidearm is already broken while several sweat stains can be found on the chocolate brown sofa. We are in need of a trip to the furniture store Fredericton soonest.

In choosing a sofa for your home, here are two things to make sure you check: lifestyle and dimension.

When buying a sofa, make sure you choose the right dimension. You don’t want to get a bulky sofa for your small living room. Right? It might eat up all the space you have in that section of the house you want to put it in.

What to do? Measure the space where you plan to put the sofa at. Make sure your measurement is correct. When you are in the store, give your measurement to a store assistant to help you find the right sofa. Check available colors and fabrics. And count the number of people who can seat on it.

We always choose neutral colors. We used to have a gray sofa then we chose a chocolate brown one after. We also always choose leather. Easier to clean and maintain. The fabric ones can easily get broken especially when there are kids at home. Just a pen or scissor can tear one apart.

And, then, consider your lifestyle. Some people love entertaining at home. You choose a roomy sofa, easier to clean and maintain, and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. For people like us, a sofa is really for lounging, a place where we can sit for hours. It is what we use to chit-chat, watch television, read a book, and just chill. Some buy a sofa for aesthetic purposes and nothing more.

Also, consider if you have kids at home. Better choose a sturdy one even if it is pricier than most. Kids tend to jump on anything soft so you know that the new sofa will be used as a trampoline of sorts.

What’s your choice?

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The cost of freedom.

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When the neighborhood where we used to live became too much for us, we decided to sell our house and move somewhere else. It was not an easy decision since we grew up in that place, it was also the place where my parents spent their childhood. But the new neighbors brought a lot of issues with them that our peace of mind kept being threatened daily. We did everything to prevent us leaving that house we loved so much but it became a priority for us to keep our sanities intact so we left.

It took us quite a while before we were able to find a buyer. We pushed back on the idea, thought of getting a custom home builder to turn our old house into a sound-proof one. Just a day or two after talking about it, we were back to finding a buyer. When we finally found one, it took us less than a month to find a rental. We moved out of our old house and moved into the rental in a week’s time.

There are a number of concerned relatives who told us to find a new permanent home because we are wasting our money in rental payments. I refused to believe that. You know what we are paying for in this rental home we have been living in for the past few years? Peace of mind. Tranquility. Security. Accessibility.

It had been years that we tolerated the noise and nightly ruckus of our previous neighbors. We had enough of those, especially now that we have two kids, nephews, with us. The rental payments are nothing since it translated to our freedom! That is the best thing that our move brought us. We were free from all those issues that made our blood boil almost daily back then. We were wasting so much money going out whenever we could. We would frequent the malls. For those of us working nine to fives, we would stay as late as we could so as to avoid going home early. We would feel guilty leaving our Dad at home, taking care of the house and the dogs. It was such a mess back then! No amount of cajoling, demands, and everything in between worked with our neighbors. In the end, we surrendered and it was the best thing that we decided on and did.

The rental home we moved into? It was an old three-storey house located in a busy street. It is by a big road. Old floor boards, big windows, a tiny kitchen, and two rooms. Not enough space but the rent is reasonable and the neighbors are peaceful and quiet like us. It is so tranquil that most of the time we feel like just lounging and doing nothing. Netflix and reading with lots of eating in between are the best in this house! We can come and go as we like. We can even have deliveries at night without the need to walk past neighbors chitchatting at their doors and looking at us like we were gluttons for eating late at night.

Ah, freedom.

There really is no price for it. And rentals, it can be assets, too. Just like ours.

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A home upgrade in this crisis: doable or not?

home-upgrade Like any other large family out there, our family also struggle with space. Currently, our home is a three-storey, fully-functional old structure that we first rented out before we purchased it. The ground floor is being used as home office, the second floor as dining and living area combined, and, the third floor has the bedrooms. What we love about the old house is that every space inside it is being utilized by every member of our family. No space is wasted.

So, why the thought of upgrading the house, then?

This side of the world was put in lockdown back in March 2020. Scary times. Also, being stuck inside, it became a time when you zoomed in every little thing at home. Number one thought: why haven’t someone from the family noticed how cramped we are with the space we have now? Every sound echoes and can be heard in your meetings and online classes. Every space is being occupied by computer tables/desks, laptops, printers, and even writing areas. With three kids in the family and a couple of adults all in Zoom meetings every few hours, the cramped space is making us crazy!

Thus, the thought of an upgrade. Several considerations have to be discussed amongst family members, of course. Finances, for one. Timeline. And, there’s also the matter of a temporary house for everyone while the upgrade is being done. If you are considering a home upgrade like us, here are three considerations we are currently mulling over.

Financing the home upgrade. These are scary times to be shelling out our hard-earned money but this is also a time when banks and other lending institutions are lenient in loans. Why not take advantage of it? Interest rates are down, amortizations are more affordable. We are actually considering a home remortgage. Remortgage the house to upgrade and repay it in a couple of years. One idea is to use the space above the garage. We can convert it into two rooms to be used for online classes of the kids. Another idea is to put up a fourth floor which will give us ample space a room for home office and two rooms for online classes. We are tossing the ideas and we have been computing, using a mortgage calculator.

With the budget for the upgrade secured, how long will it take for the construction to finish? Timeline is another big consideration. Time is money. The time for the upgrade to complete is the money we will have to spend. We are also reading up on help with the home upgrade. We are weighing the pros and cons of a bigger budget and shorter timeline, or a smaller budget and longer timeline.

A temporary shelter for all of us should the upgrade begin. We are a large family consisting of six adults and three kids. Work and school will be interrupted with the internet connection being affected, plus, the noise of a home construction will cause havoc in our online meetings. This is another consideration being weighed by the adults in the family. We might rent out a house temporarily or stay with a relative but it will put a dent on the upgrade budget.

This pandemic has put so many things into perspective. That is one positive outcome of the lockdown, being inside the house 24/7. You see issues and you find ways to solve it. Every problem is now being zoomed in because we all have time, and that’s great, if you think about it.

So, is a home upgrade in this crisis doable? Yes, I believe it is. Just make sure the whole family is on board the idea and every little aspect will be discussed and decided on.

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Thinking Out Loud…

I have this idea of creating either a new blog (new domain and all) or a sub-page of this blog of mine.

What do you think?

thoughts
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Two ideas for specific topics I have in mind:

Architecture: Interior design included.

Entertainment: specifically, Netflix movie, TV series, documentary reviews. And something about books!

Maybe, I’ll go for new domains. Fresh start and all.

We’ll see.

Stay tuned!

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Blogging, A Lifestyle

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When I think of blogging, three significant contributions that it brought to my life come to mind: a creative outlet, a passive income, and a brand-sharing platform.

Blogging as a creative outlet.
If you are the type of person who love to write down their thoughts, blogging is one of the perfect platforms for you to do just that. You can share your thoughts not only to those who know you but also to others who will come across your blog. If you love to share your opinions and observations on just about anything, you can use a blog so you can be heard.

When I began blogging back in 2003, I just wanted an escape from all the stresses and frustrations of my life. When I feel burdened by life, I would write it down. Blog entry after blog entry, I would tell whoever would come to read my blog about what was happening in my life. I would also write essays about topics dear to my heart. Home and family, money matters, health and lifestyle. Blogging became a creative outlet for me and a way for me to escape reality even for a few minutes or hours in a day.

Blogging as a source of passive income.
A computer in good working condition, a decent internet connection, a few hours a day. You need it to be able to establish your presence online. Create a blog, write blog entries on topics you have knowledge of, and establish yourself as a source of information on those topics. Make sure that you are sharing information that are backed by facts. Then, find legitimate sites where you can earn through blogging.

I am an accountant by profession. I have a nine to five job that I love and pays well. But I have this idea in my mind that I cannot rely on a single source of income. I need to have another source, a passive income. And since I have been blogging when I am not doing accounting work, what better source of passive income but this side hustle I’ve been spending time on!

And blogging has been so good to me these past several years. I have earned a lot from doing something that I love and it is amazing, to say the least. I was able to send my youngest sibling to college with the money I earned from sharing my views about products and services on the web. And blogging continues to be the source of passive income for me to date.

Blogging as a brand-sharing platform.
This is in connection to blogging as a source of passive income. With blogging, you can share to the world wide web all the brands you patronize. You can review products and share it in your blog. That is one of the ways that I earn from blogging. Over the years, I have become an influencer through all the products and services that I share with my audience. You need to be authentic in the reviews you post for you to become an influencer. Your content has to be legitimate.

I can proudly say that my audience know the quality of my blog posts. They know what kind of blogger I am and how the quality of content, the authenticity of my reviews, have remained the same throughout the years.

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Slowly easing into the new normal.

Life is slowly going back to normal now that vaccines are being administered to almost every person around the world. The “new normal”, as most call it. We go about our daily routine but with face masks on and doubly cautious of every step we take. We can still get infected with the virus, yes, but with proper care and caution, we can go out of the house like we used to. No, we can’t go to salons and spas yet. Those places are just too risky to go to right now. But we can get the services of a professional for auto body repair Woodbridge so our vehicles are in tip-top shape. We can also go to places of worship, malls, and other places we used to avoid during lockdown, but still with extra caution.

new-normal
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When the pandemic broke out, we were not prepared. We were jolted out of our existence into a period of our lives we only read about in school textbooks. All of a sudden, we were told to stay inside our homes and to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. We were told to wear facemasks which we only see being worn by medical personnel. We were told to disinfect, use alcohols or any sanitizer effective on viruses. Tissues, paper towels, and wipes were flying out the shelves because people were anxious to stock up on anything that could fight off the virus. It was a period of chaos and we were afraid.

It is a good thing that humans are made with a built-in resiliency. Majority of us can easily bounce back from any setback. We fall down but get back up to dust our selves off. We are born to withstand whatever life throws our way. Of course, not everyone can bounce back no matter how much they want to. But we give it our best shot, fight until we can.

A woman’s parents tested positive with the virus. The Dad turned out okay but the Mom was hospitalized. She is still in the intensive care unit, fighting for her life. The virus turned out not only to be life-threatening but also a huge money pit. The medical bill is piling up, every person in the family has been contributing hugely just to cope up with all the payables. They are also now raising fund, asking friends and relatives for any amount. It is heartbreaking to see them struggling. I am sure majority of those infected by the virus and hospitalized are experiencing the same scenarios right now.

As we slowly ease into the “new normal” let us remember the lessons this pandemic has taught/still teaching us. Value the people who love you, especially your immediate family. Spend time with those who truly matter. Save! It is always best to have a fund for periods such as these.

We really don’t know what life will bring so we better be prepared, even 75% prepared, to battle it out with whatever comes along.

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An ace up the sleeve.

ace-IT What do we do if we know that competition is stiff? We reveal an ace up our sleeves! To be able to do that, you need to actually have an ace up your sleeve, and by an ace I mean something that will make you outshine your competition.

This is exactly why IT people should learn more about isaca spoto. SPOTO, which stands for Service, Professional, Outstanding, Teamwork and Obtain, is focused on IT certifications like CISCO examinations. You know you are partnering with professionals who are very much adept and knowledgeable in cutting-edge technology and who can help you with those IT certifications you need in your portfolio.

Most people would try to make it on their own. They would review for their isaca cism exam and think that they would make it without the help of professionals. A small push from people who know can give you a much-needed drive and motivation to do much better than you can imagine. You can pass the exams in your first try simply because you have the best help you can get. With SPOTO, you can practice with 100% real exam practice tests in a 100% real exam environment. A 100% passing guarantee is what you get with teams of professional tutors helping you review.

So, when you think of getting a guide to the isaca cism certification, go to SPOTO. Join and get certified in no time! You know that an IT certification will surely give you the edge you need to win over your competition. And an IT certification can be your negotiating tool in getting an increase in your compensation and benefits package in the company you are working for.

These days, if you want to become a better worker, someone valuable to the company you are working for, you need to improve yourself. You need to have a portfolio of your achievements and certifications.

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