Hobbies and a passion for cooking.

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I think it is safe to say that one of the good things that came out of this global pandemic is that a lot of individuals have discovered their passion for cooking. It can be baking breads and pastries, and to pasta making. I am sure one of your family members, friends, relatives have suddenly developed a passion for anything kitchen-related. Am I right? My sister discovered that she is actually into baking. She began just last year. She started baking loaves. Her banana loaf bread is to-die-for! She is now selling her baked goodies online which includes customized cakes.

I remember when I was asked to clean and repair your stove by my other sister. I thought she was just being nit-picky about stuff around the house but it turned out that my sisters had been talking about putting up an online bakery for the goods baker-sister was slowly trying out and producing. We prepared the kitchen, bought an oven, gathered baking tools, utensils and bowls, as well as baking ingredients. We made sure there is enough storage for my baker-sister to use. And, then, it all began.

I once read that a person should have at least three kinds of hobbies: an investment/money-making hobby, a physical hobby, and, a creative hobby.

Investment/Money-making Hobby
As the name suggests, this type of hobby should be a source of a passive income for you. A potential to become a big business in the long run would be best. I love writing. I once dreamed of becoming a journalist but, well, life interfered and I became an accountant. But nothing can stop me from doing what I love the most. I began writing articles several years ago. Writing became a side hustle for me.

Physical Hobby
It could be any sport you feel like participating in. Or a exercise. Maybe, hiking or walking. It can be any kind of hobby that will enhance your physical well-being. Dancing can be one, too! This kind of hobby is obviously for your health.

My physical hobby is walking. I just love it! But I have another in mind that I would want to try… yoga. I feel like I am too overweight for it. Well, there’s no harm in trying. I believe I will learn to love it because it will make my aching joints loosen. It might be a way for me to reach my weight goal this year.

Creative Hobby
This kind of hobby is for the mind and soul. Reading for me has become a source of peace and quiet. It became a haven when my mind, body and soul is exhausted from life. It became an escape for when I couldn’t deal with life yet. Find one creative hobby which will make you feel like your happy place.

I know you have your own hobbies but make sure you have at least three as I mentioned. Lucky you if all three is in just one hobby of yours. I think cooking can be fall under those categories. Right?

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A wall pleasing to the eyes

Home Wall Mural – Tulum, Mexico

Home is where I find solace and peace. For me, it is a haven where I can seek comfort and feel safe all the time. It is a place where my family and I can spend time together to create memories that will last a lifetime.

That is why whenever there is a chance to further beautify it, I grab the chance to do so. Deep cleaning, new curtains, fresh paint. Astek Home’s Home Wall Murals. Anything to make it more homey and inviting. To bring in positive energy.

Lately, I’ve been interested in custom wall murals. I just love those scenic murals for the home that I see online. You know how majority of individuals nowadays work from home. I do, too, three days a week and on weekends. So a home mural wall covering of a beach will be very pleasing to the eyes, a respite when already tired and overworked. I can already imagine myself staring at the home mural of Tulum, Mexico and slowly calming my tired body and soul… Or maybe that of Big Sur, California

I work hard not only for myself but also for my family. I must admit that there are days when the work gets to be too much for me. During those days, I find solace in a dimly-lit room with a mug of hot coffee, and some relaxing music in the background. I can’t wait to include a lovely wall mural for the home in the days to come.

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Save on electricity costs

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I have been researching on how to lower our electricity costs. I realized that we are paying too much when our house is not even that big and only a few of us stays at home for more than eight hours a day on weekdays. I figured it has something to do with the time of use of major electrical appliances.

I did my research and here’s what I came up with. Here are three major electrical appliances often used by most households and the best way to use them to save on electricity.

Air Conditioning and Heating. Set your thermostat in such a way that the AC/heater can cool/heat the room faster and then set it on low just to maintain the cold/warm temperature while using the room. Learn to utilize blinds and curtains to throw off the heat during warm days. Use jackets, blankets, and any type of clothing to keep you warm during the winter days and nights. Check for leaks and issues with insulation. Have someone check the HVAC regularly in order to keep it at its best working condition.

Basically, learn to fully utilize the HVAC depending on the season. Regular checks and maintenance are keys to its best use.

Washer and Dryer. According to my research, it is best to run the washer and dryer very early in the morning or at night, possibly when everyone is asleep and nobody’s using any other major appliance at home. The hours between seven and nine in the morning are the highest in terms of electricity consumption so it is best to avoid using the washer and drying during those hours.

If it still uses a lot of electricity, better hire a local pro to check your dryer and washer, too.

Water Heating. I think it’s safe to say that 80% of families use water heating especially during the cold months. I mean, even at home, we use hot showers at least twice a day. I know that it consumes a lot of electricity but when it’s cold or after work when you feel like de-stressing in the shower, the water heater comes in great use.

So, my research says that when not in use, it is best to turn off the water heater completely as it still consumes electricity even when it isn’t being used. Turning down the thermostat and making sure you are using the right size of water heater help in lowering your electricity costs. And the best advice in lowering the electricity usage of your water heater is to use less of it! I think it is best to use it only when it is really cold.

I have already started implementing these at home. I want to cut down on our electric consumption. It will not only save me some cash but also help the environment in the long run.

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Side hustle idea: Bake by batches

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One of the things that came out of this pandemic that hit the world was the ability of majority of individuals to come up with additional sources of income. I personally experienced this. Back in 2020, the company I am employed at cut our basic salaries into a very minimal amount. There was no cash flowing in and fixed expenses still needed to be paid, I was truly grateful I still got paid even with no work to be done. So, to augment the loss of income, my sister and I came up with the idea of selling food. We started with packed lunch and dinner. When that didn’t really panned out and we figured it was more work and little profit, we brainstormed on another business idea. Baking came to mind.

So, we went to fix the oven issues quickly. Our oven was an old electrical one. We got it fixed right away but we also bought a new gas oven just to be sure we wouldn’t incur too much on electricity.

Omo! cakes and pastries was born.

My sister is the baker and I am the one-woman support. We used to focus on it full-time but when businesses opened again and my sister and I had to go back to the office, we made it a side hustle. My sister would bake by batches. We stocked on baking supplies, made sure we have enough of it because we don’t have time to go back and forth to the stores, and my sister would bake on weekends. She baked cookies and pastries that’s why she can bake by batches. On weekdays, we would sell it through our social media accounts.

The idea of selling food came from a family friend who told us that everyone gets hungry and craves for different kinds of food. There will always be someone willing to taste what you have to offer.

The profit is not that high but nothing beats steady cash flow. You can bake by batches just like what my sister does. For cookies like what we offer, as long as you have a good storage space, it won’t spoil. It cake stay fresh even a few days after. If no one buys, then my nephews have cookies for snacks.

If you can find something you love to do, something that makes you happy, turn it into something you can earn even a little from. It could be baking or painting, or writing. It could be anything! These days, with the power of social media, you can promote anything you want to earn from through it. And, believe you me, you can really earn from it. Think of all those vloggers who had nothing to offer but their voices and their idea of what’s interesting for them. Think of the bloggers who earns from their platforms. There are so many ideas you can come up with. All you have to do is push through with it and follow through like what my sister and I did.

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Planning for an early retirement.

One of the things I am currently obsessed with is planning an early retirement. I want to retire by the age of 50. I don’t want to wait until I turn 65 before I stop working to enjoy the fruits of my years of toil. The idea of retiring early came to me when the pandemic hit. I know it’s cliché but life is truly short. You never know when you would stop breathing so I figured that I will live, love, and laugh.

I have my vision board at my home office to motivate me to work harder and smarter these days. Debt-free. Insured, invested, and with a fat savings account. On vacation perpetually. Happy and contented.


Let me tell you the three things that I have began doing since the pandemic hit and this idea of an early retirement came to me.

Slowly changing my lifestyle. I am eliminating things in my life that is taking a toll on my health and overall well-being because what is the point of planning an early retirement if I will not be able to enjoy it being sick. Right? I am eating healthy by saying no to junk food. Yes, I still eat processed food from time to time but these days I am really working on being friends with greens and whole grain food.

I am trying to stay in shape by walking for, at least, an hour a day. I make sure to absorb as much sun as possible before nine in the morning. I am not a fan of working out religiously but walking and just basically moving around so my whole body is getting an exercise of sorts is totally find with me.

Organizing my finances. I currently three bank accounts: expenses (bills, etc.), savings, and retirement fund, I have set up a retirement fund separate from my savings account. I have a goal to save for that fund as per the retirement calculator from SavingsCalculator.org. In the past, before this pandemic, I haven’t really thought about setting up a retirement fund, even when I was reminded by a good friend of mine to do so. She told me that I would need it if I want to really enjoy my retirement and not to think about a life without cash flowing in as much as it used to. She’s right, and now I have one.

I have said goodbye to a few credit cards that I had for quite some time. I have chosen one that gives me cash back for every purchase and another one that I can use when I travel abroad. I seldom use my cards nowadays, though. I made a promise to myself that if I don’t have extra cash with me, then I won’t buy anything that is really not a necessity.

Working smarter not harder. And by that I mean working for the hours I am being paid to. In the past, I used to work beyond eight hours. I would spend the time in the office to work a little, socialize, do stuff that was not part of my job but favors asked of me. Then, I would go home and work my ass off at night. These days, I work the eight hours in the office. When I go home, I do side hustles that give me a bit more earnings that I can save up.

I have a couple more years to do these things but I am happy that I am slowly building the life I want to live by the time I turn 50.

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Safety in commuting.

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My sister’s boyfriend commutes to work from Mondays to Fridays, early evening. He is on a perpetual night shift working as an auditor at a well-known 5-star hotel. He has a sedan sitting at home but he figured it would be quicker to go to work riding the bus or the train. He almost always chose the bus because it’s more convenient he could take a nap while on the road. But commuting to work has its disadvantages and one of those things is riding the public transportation with pickpockets. His mobile phone was taken from him. Twice! Even when he thought that his belongings were safe.

After the second time that his mobile phone was taken, a brand new one at that, he resolved to drive to work. Good thing that traffic is light at night. He just had to check car detailing services prices and avail of one because his car had been sitting in his garage for some time and had been used sporadically before his decision to drive to work daily.

But with the high prices of gasoline and diesel products, his transportation budget is getting a killing. He is thinking of going back to commuting and, maybe, driving to work twice a week instead. I commute to work daily so he asked me how I stay safe while inside the bus or the train.

Here are two things that must be done while commuting to stay safe.

Be aware of your surroundings. There are days when a ride is truly safe. You can feel it in your gut and I do trust my instinct. I don’t sleep. I used to but it has become a no-no especially when the pandemic hit and a lot of people lost their jobs. Many have become desperate and you can’t truly fault them because hungry people will do everything in order to eat. I also make sure to tuck my bag at my side where I feel it is safe. These are not fool-proof ways to stay safe but being aware of your surroundings, getting a feel of the people around you, are just steps to secure yourself while inside a public vehicle.

Wear your mask and know your stop. Safety in terms of health is also a must when commuting through a public transportation. So, wear your masks. There are sick people who don’t show outward symptoms. Always keep that in mind. You should also know your stop so that you know when to get up from your seat and wait for the bus to stop. A lot of people are getting robbed while getting off the bus or the train, when they are rushing off because they miscalculated their stop. Again, keep that in mind.

And say a little prayer whenever you go out of the house. I come a prayerful family so that is one thing that I always do as well.

Again, not fool-proof ways to stay safe but, based on my experience, effective ways to adopt to avoid pickpockets and the like.

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Android versus Smart TV: Pick one!


There is an on-going battle amongst fans of android and smart TV on which one is the best. I am also wondering which one is the best for our family. Our current TV, an old traditional one, has retired so a new one is about to come join our family very soon. It is imperative that I find out which one is better to make an informed decision before I go buy one.

Smart TV

A Smart TV is any television that can connect to the internet. It is very user-friendly as it comes with pre-installed apps like Netflix, Youtube, and even Facebook so there are no more complicated set-up needed. It is basically plug and play when you buy it.

The thing with Smart TV is that when you want to connect to other apps, you might not be able to. This television is not upgradable so new apps coming out won’t play in it. If you truly want to access new apps, a new Smart TV might be needed. Will you buy a new one just because you can’t access one app or two?

Android TV

The Android TV is basically a smart TV, one that can also connect to the internet and comes with pre-installed apps when you purchase one. But with an Android TV, Google Play Store gives this television a big edge compared to the Smart TV. Just like with Android smart phones, additional apps can easily be downloaded and upgraded. A vast array of apps from the play store can be installed and easily accessed on the TV remote control. It is just like a smart phone actually. And there’s the Google Assistant, too, and the Android box.

The only disadvantage of this type of television is that if the buyer is not tech-savvy and not too familiar with Android, installation and set-up might appear complicated and confusing.

Well, there you go. Basically, if you know Android, then the latter one is for you. If you want something very simple and with no complicated upgrading or installation, the former one is best.

As for me and my family, our pick is the Android TV. Adults in the family are familiar with Android as we all have that type of smart phones. And good thing we have a go-to repair man. The benefits of hiring a same-day appliance repair expert is something that all of us need to know. It comes handy especially if you have people relying on specific appliances at home. In our family, aside from TV, two of my sisters rely on the oven for their side hustle.

So, what’s your pick?

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