Wednesday, October 18, 2017

First Uniqlo in (Metro) Vancouver

We were at Metropolis at Metrotown (or simply, Metrotown Mall) last Saturday (October 14) so we finally got to "experience" the hype on the newly opened, first ever Uniqlo in Vancouver.

This store is actually not in Vancouver but in Burnaby. But I read somewhere that they are looking na rin for a Downtown Vancouver location na may malaking space at di gaanong mataas ang rent (haha, meron kaya nun?).


Anyway, I like Uniqlo. I used to buy shirts and a lot of fleece jackets from there before. Gusto ko rin ang tela nila for kids' shirts. Kaya natuwa talaga ako nang malaman ko na magkakaroon na sila ng stores dito sa Vancouver. Ang alam ko may dalawa na silang naunang stores sa Greater Toronto Area eh.


I was so excited to look at their merchandise kaso sobrang dami talagang tao, nakakahilo! Kasama ko pa ang mag-ama ko kaya hindi ako makadiskarte. I want to compare prices din kasi, kung mas mura pa dito o sa Pinas. Ang hula ko ay sa Pinas, cheaper labor and business costs.


No doubt na dadagsain talaga ang Uniqlo kasi napakaraming chekwa and other Asians dito who are familiar with the brand. Parang wala akong gaanong napansin masyado na Caucasian.

Pinaikot ko lang ang mata ko sa prices and my conclusion -- MAHAL! Mahal sa standards ng Canadians/Westerners na sanay sa outlet stores at sale items. Kung taga-Pinas ka at gusto mo ng winter jacket kasi magta-travel ka, bibili ka sa Uniqlo kasi saan pa ba? Pero kung taga-dito ka, andami-daming pwedeng bilhan ng jacket noh. Nandyan pa ang pang-masang GAP at Old Navy.

Oh well, marami nga palang mayayamang chekwa dito. Siguro sa kanila, kebs lang ang presyo haha. pero sigurado ako, mamamahalan ang mga puti sa Uniqlo.


October 6 lang nagbukas ang store (one week pa lang when we visited) so talagang nandun pa rin yung hype. I wonder kung hanggang kailan kaya. Parang nung nag-open ang Muji, ilang weeks na pipila ka sa labas bago makapasok.


I'd probably go back on November na to further 'observe' lol. Maga-antay din muna ako ng sale bago bumili. As far as I know, ok naman ang prices nila kapag nagse-sale.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

#LatePost: Nathan's First Halloween (2015)

Halloween is just around the corner and I am so excited. Then I realized that I haven't posted Nathan's first and second Halloween experiences pa pala. Sobrang dami kong kailangang ipost, kailangan lang ng time haha. So please bear with my #LatePosts every now and then.

Anyway, we were in the Philippines on October 31, 2015 and I wasn't happy. Mas masaya kasi syempre ang Trick-or-Treating sa Canada, mas authentic kumbaga. Hindi naman kasi uso ang celebration ng halloween noong kapanahunan ko sa Pinas eh, medyo recent lang sine-celebrate due to western influence. Kung nasa Canada kami, we would have had a lot of fun because I have so many friends there with kids. Sama-sama kaming rarampa at mangongolekta ng M&Ms at Snickers.

I regretted din not getting a nice Halloween costume in Canada before we went home (on July 2015).  Konti lang kasi ang choices sa SM. I didn't look anywhere else kasi SM girl lang talaga ako.

I remember getting Nathan a cute french fries costume which was on sale but he refused to wear it. Nang makita pa lang, nagwala na. Nasayang tuloy, buti na lang Php150 lang. My son wasn't the type to wear anything "bulky" or "weird" so I had to look for something that has a 'normal feel' for him. When I saw this pumpkin outfit, sabi ko pwede na ito. Maiisip niya na sando at pajama lang ang suot niya. Di ko na maalala kung magkano ito pero basta namamahalan ako, parang Php600-700 yata. Eh very simple lang naman ang cut at tela.

No shoes or slippers because he was naiinitan. Mainitin si Canadian boy!

Objectively, Nathan wasn't looking at his best that time. His hair was too long na but we couldn't cut it yet because we were waiting until he turns one (his birthday is November 13). Alam nyo naman, wag daw papagupitan ang bata kapag wala pang isang taon. Sinunod na lang namin kahit hindi naman talaga  kami naniniwala.

Also, three weeks before his first birthday, sinimulan na siyang atakehin ng lamok. Ayan ang dami-dami niyang insect bite marks sa face hay. Talk about timing talaga.

To be honest, hindi ito ang na-envision kong first halloween ng anak ko. I wanted a very fancy costume for him that will match his cute flawless face. Oh well, things do not always go as planned. Pabayaan na nga lang.


We live in the province so we had very little choice on where to celebrate Halloween. In fact, sa SM Marilao nga lang talaga. I know that there are places in Manila that held fancier celebrations (like in hotels, for a price of course) but TanTan was too young then so naisip ko keri na sa SM na lang (saka super trapik pa noh at wala rin kaming kasamang ibang bata). Basta mairaos lang namin ang Halloween.

We were at SM na by the time it opened. Sobrang daming tao. Talagang kinakarir na rin ng Pinoy ang pagti-trick-or-treat.


Some shops were giving out candies. Syempre pinagkakaguluhan. My son was so serious the whole time, nakapa-oblivious sa paligid haha. Mas ako pa at si Ate Lani (our kasambahay who helped me take care of TanTan) ang na-excite haha. First trick-or-treat din kasi namin lol.


There were so many kids who were in costumes, pero marami ring hindi (and I could see envy in their eyes). How I wish all Filipino kids could be whatever they want to be during Halloween. Ang saya kasi nun sa pakiramdam di ba.


 The ambiance at the mall was very festive. Naisip ko, ba't nga ba walang ganito noong bata ako?


Nathan wasn't walking yet so he was in the stroller the whole time.


The lines to the stores that hand out treats were very long. Pinakamadaming tao sa Jollibee, as expected. Hindi na kami pumasok kasi siksikan talaga. Hindi ko na tuloy nalaman kung ano ang meron sa loob haha.


If only Nathan could already recognize candies that time, bibilhan ko na lang siya para mapuno ang basket niya haha.


SM Marilao isn't big at hindi lahat ng stores ay nagbibigay ng candies kaya ilang piraso lang talaga ang makukuha ng kids. Sobrang dami pang bata kaya talagang malaki ang demand sa maliit na supply kaloka.

I seriously had this thought pa nga -- sana bumili ako ng maraming candies tapos umupo ako sa may foodcourt at nagpapila ng mga bata. Pwede kaya yun?


After going to just a few stores, hindi na kami nakigulo. Nag-window shop na lang kami. 


Buti kasama namin si Ate Lani or else hindi ko kakayaning mag-isa.


We got hungry after 1 1/2 hours so we searched for a place to eat. Kaso sa sobrang dami ng tao, wala na halos kaming makainan. We ended up at Wendy's na lang.


Lalong dumami ang tao later that noon. I felt bad for kids who came in late, lalong wala na silang naabutan. If your are going to 'public places' like SM for trick-or-treating, dapat nandun ka na agad pagbukas pa lang.

change-outfit na :)
I know wala pang appreciation ang anak ko sa Halloween that time pero kaya nga may pictures naman. Someday, he will go through all these photographs and and learn that once in his life, he became a little pumpkin. :)


And if you are curious, here's what Nathan took home from his trick-or-treat adventure. Three candies, toink! Awang-awa tuloy ang daddy niya haha. Even his Ninang My felt bad for him that she promised to fill his bag/basket the next time they see each other haha.


My Sugar Pouch

Meet my sugar pouch. Ang cute noh haha. My husband has been teasing me, aliw na aliw daw kasi ako sa pouch na ito.

I bought this pouch at Daiso for $2 (plus 12% tax)

You see, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a common yet scary effect of diabetes. In my case, there was this certain medication (Glyburide) that throws my sugar off balance. Simula nang inumin ko yun every morning after breakfast, ayun palagi na akong nanginginig sa gutom, nagpa-palpitate at pinagpapawisan. During one hypo attack, I tested and my glucose level was only 2.2 mmol/L or 39.6 mg/dl (normal must be at least 2.9 mmol/L or 70 mg/dl)! I literally ran to the refrigerator to get a regular pepsi! I was so nervous, nakakatakot sa sobrang baba. And to think na hindi pa ganun ka-severe ang pakiramdam ko noon ha (kaya nga nakapag-test pa ako). There were days na hindi na talaga ako makapag-isip nang tama at parang magko-collapse na ako.

Hence, I never leave the house now without my sugar pouch. Mas mahirap kasi kapag sa labas naabutan ng hypoglycemia, hindi laging may access sa food lalo na sa fast-acting carbs like candies and chocolates.

I always have something to eat naman dati pa sa bag ko but I just put them on the pockets, or minsan sa diaper bag ng anak ko. Ang problema, minsan nagkakadurog-durog o napipisa. Kumakalat pa sa bag. I also change bags often kaya ang hassle pa maglipat. So this pouch is the perfect solution. I like that it's transparent pa for easy viewing.

A small juice will fit pa nga in this pouch kaso ayaw ko ng beverage na hindi malamig kaya wag na lang.

Aside from chocolates (I wasn't able to buy candies yet), I always make sure too that I have crackers with me. Again, ang hirap kapag nasa labas at hindi ka makakain sa tamang oras. Kailangan ng pantawid-gutom.

And just today pala, I also added Twin Sugar (calorie-free sweetener) in my pouch. I realized na dapat laging ready just in case may gusto akong kainin/inumin sa labas na kailangan ng sugar, like coffee or mais con yelo.

So there, I guess I'll have a sugar pouch for the rest of my life.

--------------------------
NOTE: I finally found the courage to stop taking Glyburide, since last Monday (October 9) pa. Thankfully, my numbers are still good. =)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thankful

It's been (almost) four years since I came to live in here Canada... and I am still amazed by this...


My life here is Canada wasn't always fun. I've had my share of ups and downs.

But at the end of the day, I am thankful.Because with all objectivity, Canada is indeed one of the best (and beautiful) places in the world to live in.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Guilt-Free Pasta

I cheat when it comes to my diet, but I never cheated with carbs. Takot talaga ako dyan. I still eat a lot of protein because it doesn't raise my blood sugar level pero talagang maingat ako sa carbohydrates. So far, so good. My numbers are now very normal, normal for person without diabetes na nga.

Hencem I haven't eaten pasta since I got diagnosed with diabetes -- except just a few days ago because we found this nuPasta at Save-On-Foods.

Grabe ha, sobrang low calorie naman nito! Twenty-five (25) calories lang per pack! Parang too good to be true haha. (Please go to their website na lang to know why.)


And when we checked the nutrition facts, WALANG CARBS! Whooaaah!

It actually says 6g of carbs but when you deduct 6g of fiber, eh di zero na. I learned from my dietitian dati na kailangan i-deduct ang fiber (which is a type of carbohydrates) from the total carbohydrate count kasi included na yun dun. Our body can't digest fiber so it doesn't affect our blood sugar level.


This nuPasta is already precooked na nga pala. Nakababad ang pasta sa water so you have to rinse it muna bago haluan ng sauce at initin. Mukha siyang konti pero nararamihan na ako sa kanya (o dahil lang nasanay na rin akong konti kumain?). Half lang muna ang kinain ko (I put the other half in the fridge) so bale 12.5 calories lang. Guilt-free talaga.

Picture taken from nupasta.com

Yun nga lang, sagana naman sa protein lol. I deliberately put a lot of meat para nakakabusog. Dinner ko na yan so pasok pa rin sa calorie/carbs meal allowance ko (kasi may carbs din ang sauce di ba).

Taste-wise, parang medyo crunchy siyang kainin pero ok na rin. Daanin na lang sa sauce lol.

*For the sauce, I just used Del Monte Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce, ground pork, and Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs

Aside from spaghetti, my fettuccini at angel hair variants din sila (and organic and non-organic)

I am not into pasta naman talaga pero I am glad na meron na kaming option ni hubby everytime mag-crave kami. Sadly, my husband was also diagnosed with diabetes last September (waaaah).

One pack of this pasta costs $4.29, ang mahal kung tutuusin. Pero sabi ng ni Ford: "Mahal o patay? Dun na tayo sa mahal." Ang morbid ng reasonig ng asawa ko kaloka. Pero sa totoo lang, ang pricey talagang magpaka-healthy noh?

Friday, September 29, 2017

On buying toys for Nathan

I've been reviewing our expenses for the past three months (I started making a list since July 1) and was shocked to realize that we've spent quite a lot on Nathan's toys. Around $300 na, hindi pa included yung mga happy meal toys and other educational materials.

At ang dami pa naming naka-line up na bilhin for his birthday and Christmas ha.


I honestly have no idea kung normal ba yun o we are going overboard na. How often should we buy new toys ba?


Now that Nathan is exposed with toy reviews in Youtube, ayun panay na ang request. And mind you, very expensive toys yun ha. Dati-dati kahit isama namin siya sa Toys R Us eh wala lang, ngayon talagang may mga specific toys na siyang gusto.

Mataas pa rin naman ang EQ niya. He's willing to wait. He's expecting us to gift him with a huge Paw Patrol Lookout on his birthday and an animal farm toy set for Christmas. Puwera pa yung requests niyang Peppa Pig House from Lola Lucy and "big" hotwheels from Grandpa. Tapos me batman ang spiderman pa na nadagdag, nakakaloka!

For Christmas, I am planning to wrap at least five toy gifts for him. Para marami siyang bubuksan kasi wala naman ibang magbibigay sa kanya dito. Ngayon pa lang iniisip ko na kung anu-ano ang mga yun at kung magkano ang budget haha.

FORD: "Kaya pala maraming toys si Oliver (his cousin) noong bata. Tingnan mo mukha ng anak mo."

The challenge really is how to control ourselves from buying toys for him. I know that there are many other parents really who spoil their children, but Ford and I grew up in simple families kaya hindi kami sanay sa maraming toys.

Here are the reasons why we keep on buying toys:

  • Nathan has no other playmate. I need things to help me entertain him.
  • Nathan now appreciates toys. He knows na what he wants. Ford made a promise to him when he was a baby that he will buy him toys pag naglalaro na talaga siya (ayan tuloy, napasubo siya).
  • Kahit kami ni Ford, natutuwa sa toys. Dahil nga ba fixated din kami? Katulad sa microwave na ito, ako ang aliw na aliw. And Ford couldn't wait na mas lumaki pa si Nathan para mabilhan niya ng toy soldiers at yung lumilipad na helicopter.
  • Toys are relatively cheaper here in Canada kumpara sa Pinas. I am a sucker for great deals, kapag nakakita talaga ako ng mura eh nanghihinayang akong hindi bilhin.
  • Because it's hard to say no to your child when you can afford naman yung pinapabili.

Siguro yung last reason ang talagang struggle. Sinabi ko nga yun sa mother ko dati, na mahirap tumanggi sa anak lalo na at may pambili ka naman. Lalo na dito sa Canada na maliit ang denomination ng pera at hindi thousands lol. Parang ang mura-mura lang tuloy ng $49.95 na toy haha.

When I was a kid, I got used to my mom's saying "no" whenever I would ask her to buy me a toy from the market (oo sa palengke na nga lang olats pa rin). Ok lang naman because I knew na wala nga yun sa budget. Hindi naman ako bitter. Kaya nga noong lumaki ako eh saka na lang ako nagbibili ng toys ko. Seriously.

So now that I have a son, ONLY SON mind you, syempre gusto kong malaro niya lahat ng gusto nyang laruin. Isip-isip ko, minsan lang naman siya bata. Saka kinikita naman (ng asawa ko lol) ang pera, ang saya sa mukha ng bata, priceless talaga.


I am thankful though kasi nga hindi pa naman dumarating sa point na nagi-iiyak o nagwawala siya kapag ayaw naming bilhan ng toy (except for the toy vacuum when he was one year old kasi gustung-gusto niyang gayahin ang daddy niya kapag nagva-vacuum). Napapaliwanagan pa namin siya na hindi palaging pwedeng bumili ng toy agad agad and that he has to wait kung may gusto siya. So far, happy na siyang makapag-ikot-ikot lang sa Toys R Us or Disney Store.

Hope he maintains that attitude. I would like to believe that he has his dad's Ilocano blood, matiisiin at matipid haha, kasi pag nagkataon, mapupunta talaga sa kanya ang malaking bulk ng budget namin. Sabi ko naman sa inyo, hindi ko yan matitiis. #BadParenting, I know.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kate Spade Outlet in Vancouver

I am so happy!

We went to McArthurGlen Designer Outlets (near Vancouver Airport) last Saturday and guess what, Kate Spade is already open! It was still under construction the last time we were there eh.


OMG! Di pa rin ako makapaniwala na may outlet na talaga ang Kate Spade dito! One of the reasons why I like to cross border in Washington is because of Kate Spade (in Seattle Premium Outlets). Ngayon meron na rin kami dito sa Vancouver yebaaah! No need to pay in US dollar pa.

And our store is bigger ha! Mas maraming tinda. Parang mas malaki pa nga ito sa outlet sa California na napuntahan namin last May. Tapos hindi pa ganun karami ang tao, unlike in Seattle na pipila ka pa sa labas. Hindi kasi accessible ang McArthurGlen sa mga public commuters. Ewan ko lang kung may free shuttle from the airport.


I promised my BFF Raxie na uuwian ko siya ng Kate Spade this January. Sakto talaga kasi kapag nasa US outlets kami, I couldn't message her (and send her pictures of the bag so she can choose) kasi wala akong data plan outside Canada. Saka kung wala kaming magustuhan, we could go back some other time kasi mga 25 minutes away from our apartment lang ang McArthurGlen.

I wasn't able to take some pictures inside (pero ang laki niya talaga ha), na-excite kasi ako. Mga black bags lang which I sent to Raxie na di naman niya nagustuhan haha! Sabi ko naman sa kanya, Kate Spades are known for their bright purses nga di ba.

Pero wag ka, natempt na din akong bilhin ito for myself. I am partial to saffiano leather, ewan ko ba. Saka I realized na konti lang ang black bags ko kaya parang I need this in my life haha.


I have a boring taste, I know. Binabagay ko na lang din sa edad ko. Saka classic bags lang talaga ang gusto ko, para hindi mawawala sa uso.

Oh, I love Kate Spade bags! Simula nang naging nanay ako, ito na lang ang naa-afford ko (and occasional Michael Kors) lol! Keri lang naman kasi type ko talaga ang colors and designs ng Kate Spade. Super mura pa sa outlet, kailangan mo lang pumili ng sossy na design kasi meron ding obvious na obvious na from outlet lang.

We will definitely go to McArthurGlen on Thanksgiving weekend (October 7 to 9). Sana maraming good deals. =)