Friday Favorites: Kindle Paperwhite (sort of) Review

Can you believe that in a few days it is already April?! Not too long ago, I was agonizing about my ridiculous sleeping pattern because of my love of reading before bedtime. When I made a life changing decision of switching to digital materials (school and leisure books, as well as my school notes, and light bullet journaling), sleeping, due to the blue light that any screen emits, has been harder. I thought I could peacefully read books off of my iPad, and journal in bed using GoodNotes, but I realized later on that too much screen time was becoming more of a hassle than beneficial for me. With that, I began my search for a better way to read and relax while on bed… and alas, I found the Kindle Paperwhite 2018 edition.

What I love best about my new Kindle Paperwhite is its E-ink technology; which means that it’s less straining (and less stimulating) for the eyes when I’m reading on bed before sleeping, and also it’s almost glare-free when I’m reading outdoors. It seriously blew my mind when I was reading inside the car at 4PM and I realized that the screen brightness was at 1 out of 10! My second favorite thing about it is how I’ve been able to read for long periods of time because the Kindle feels just like an actual book. It is not at all harsh to my eyes, and also because it is an ebook reader, I do not get periodical notifications unlike when I was reading on my iPad, and I am able to concentrate on the literature better and for a significantly longer period.

Kindle in a hotel room
Oh, the great joy of reading in a quiet hotel room! @ The Villages at Ocean Edge

The new edition is also now waterproof! I brough it with me to the pools by the villa that my boyfriend and I stayed in for the weekend and I had the peace of mind while reading, “52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You” by Brett Blumenthal, in a jacuzzi. However, I still don’t recommend submerging it into the 100 degrees water for obvious reasons.

A lot of people from the reviews that I’ve read before purchasing the device had issues with the price at $129. I, myself, also think that it’s quite a splurge considering that I bought most of my leisure books before from thrift stores for 25c a piece. However, because I’m trying to minimize the things that I buy little by little, I think its price can come a long way. Also, I bought mine during an Amazon‘s Reading Awareness Month sale for $100. Take that price and an option to pay in installments for 5 months, now it comes down to $25 per month! (including taxes) It doesn’t seem like a splurge now. (or I may just be saying that to make myself believe it)
Kindle in a hotel room
The new Kindle Paperwhite also now lets you listen to audiobooks! While I was obsessed with audio books just a few months ago, I find that this feature won’t be something that I’ll use often since I just started driving by myself. It is nice to have that option though in case a long bus or train trip in NYC. Keep in mind, there is no jack in the Kindle and audio books only work with Bluetooth headphones and speakers.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, and you love reading, like I am and I do, then it makes perfect sense for you to get a Kindle ebook reader! Prime members get A LOT OF FREE BOOKS and some audio books. Just there. Any time, anywhere!

It may be hard to believe this because of how I’m talking up this humble device, but I was not at all paid to write this post. I don’t think I can be paid to write anything with my current style, but I’d definitely someday want to write for a living. For now, I’m just going to read a lot and learn.

How do I sleep (and wake up) with my busy schedule?

This has been my everyday question to myself since the new school semester has started. I cannot begin to fathom how I’ve still managed to be alive (and be quite healthy)  after not missing a day of work and school. With the neverending high level of anxiety that comes with trying to juggle performing well at work and at school, I often find myself having a hard time falling asleep and therefore having the hardest time getting up in the morning. While I’ve tried a lot of “solutions” for this dilemma, here is a list of the ones that have worked best for me.

Cat Lamp

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.

I know. I KNOW. This may be the hardest thing to establish, but this is the first thing that must be done. Without a set routine, everything else under may fall apart.

Pre-2019, I go to bed by 10:30pm, read a few pages of Reader’s Digest in an upright position, while getting a Shiatsu massage for 20 mins. After the massage pillow automatically turns off, I go to sleep. By then, it is easy for my eyes to rest and my body to relax enough to make me fall asleep quick. I try my best to stay away from any light from TV, laptop, or even my cellphone at bedtime because the bluelight from your phone has some adverse effects on your sleep.

However, since the spring semester started, I could barely get home till past 9:00pm. And since I had to leave work earlier at the end of the day to make time for my school schedule, I also had to come in earlier in the day. Hence, my 8AM to 9PM work-and-school schedule. THAT’S NOT EVEN INCLUDING THE COMMUTE TIME! OKAY. I’m trying my best to not make this a rant blog anymore. Basically, my goal is to get back to my rhythm pre-school semester. And yes, even if it means I won’t get to bingewatch any more of my shows like before.

  • Have a night routine before bedtime.

Having an effective bedtime routine can be just as efficient as having one in the morning when starting your day. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth and then massaging your face with a soothing facial wash. I’ve done this routine so much that I get sleepy when I brush my teeth in the middle of the day! HAHA! But on top of that, I’ve also done the routine I’ve previously mentioned above. For now, just getting all of that started again can be a big step for me because finding the time to do all of it is already a challenge.

  • Make your bed.

There are a lot of reasons why one should make their bed in the morning. For me, it’s symbolical. It means I’ve accomplished my first task for the day; and it only took me 2 minutes to do so! You may be thinking that you’re too busy to do it. Besides, why do it when the whole point of this blog post is to catch more zzz’s and making your bed will make you lose at least 5 minutes of it. I found myself having more energy and a better mindset when I followed the 2 things above, and making my bed became a final touch to what I’m trying to work towards.

  • Have an effective morning routine.

This one sort of goes without saying. Also, this one is something that we may all have already but I need to stress that it has to be a “good” routine. I recently read the book, “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg (in fragments) and one thing out of many that I’ve learned in it is that anything is a habit, but it is a matter of sticking to the good ones and not the bad ones. Constantly snoozing your wake up alarm on your phone can later on turn into a bad habit. Even coming in late for work or school may have been a habit that’s embedded in you for a while already. But at the same time, reversing these bad habits and forming new good ones is never too late! (Pun intended!)

In an ideal world, I would like to NEVER hit the snooze button. This has been a struggle for me since I share a bathroom with my boyfriend and when I know that he’s still in the shower, it gives me an excuse to not get up from the bed yet. However, I know deep in my mind that I could’ve gotten up and made coffee, or prepared food prior to doing my shower and after shower routine.

After Shower Routine
The list reads in 2 columns (after deo, dress up) and the last step in the hairdo.

My goal is to be like those people who can wake up at 6AM and be at peace with that decision. I’m the type who likes to take time to get ready in the morning, and sometimes my routine suffers when I end up rushing through them because I hit the snooze button and wake up late.

Do you have any suggestions in mind to make my routine even better?

Being in the objective world of science at work and at school, the most creative part of my day (if I dare say) is my make up routine. There will be a blog about that soon, too!

Friday Favorites #16

It’s the first day of December 2018. My last blog post was on September 16 of 2018. I cannot believe I haven’t blogged for almost 3 months when I used to blog every day! It’s not even like I have been writing on the side and just not posting them on a blog publicly. It’s like I just haven’t written anything at all!

A page from my digital bullet journal using GoodNotes

Bullet journalling has been the closest thing to writing that I’ve done in the past couple of months. At first, I was doing it on a $5 bullet journal that I got from Michael’s right around before the summer semester started, but because I’ve digitized all my school notes and almost everything else that I can so far, it didn’t make sense to have a planner that is on paper when it’s the most urgent thing that I need to be digitized! Enter iPad 2018 and an Apple Pencil plus an app called GoodNotes.

GoodNotes, only available in the Apple store, unfortunately, is probably one of my reasons for switching to Apple after being an Android user in the last couple of years. It’s everything that I wanted the touchscreen + stylus technology to be. No palm detection was a big plus because I’ve used a passive stylus in the past on my Samsung Tab E but in the end, it didn’t work out because of how old the device was (and cheap) and for how advanced the things I wanted to do with it were. However, Samsung has released a couple of tablets that use active styluses (and they even come with the device instead of buying separately unlike iPad and Apple Pencil) and I wonder why GoodNotes is still not in Play Store.

Switching to Apple has most likely been my largest splurge for this year. Because of my minimalism / being a “broke” college student phase, I haven’t shopped for clothes or shoes or bags so buying something worth as much as an iPad didn’t feel too bad. I got myself an iPhone 8 after the iPhone XS came out so I was able to get it at a really good deal. I’m still using a Windows desktop because of my video gaming and I don’t see myself using a MacBook in the near future. It seems much right now but in the past that I’ve used Apple products, they do last (at least for me) for a long time and it doesn’t seem like a splurge if it’s for a reliable product that I’ll definitely use every day for everything.

I haven’t been on WordPress in such a loooong time and I am very confused with the whole new “block formatting” but I intend to blog more again and write more again. Just a quick update, I now have a full-time job in a neurologist’s practice as his medical assistant. I just realized that I stopped blogging around September of this year which was around the same time that I started the job as well. It took a while for me to catch up in my DO boss’ busy office but now that I feel like I’ve caught up I’m looking forward to spending time with myself again and with reading and writing again.

JB Hook’s

After a tiring hike around Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, MO together with my younger sister and my mother’s friend, who offered to give us a tour while my mother was at work, we went to JB Hook’s, a steak & seafood restaurant known to be the best around the area.

JB Hook's

The restaurant was suggested by my mother’s friend. It was quiet around 4pm, the time we arrived, but the bar and tables started to get packed up by the time we were leaving. The place is popular for its steak and seafood and for the fact that it’s overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks. Because I was soooo tired and hungry from the hike that we did earlier that day, I was fortunate that I gave myself a chance to take photos of the food before eating.

Crab Rangoon
Crab Rangoon

For appetizers, my sister and I shared a dish of crab rangoon. Yes, it was fresh, as compared to most that I had from Chinese restaurants around New York, but it was mediocre. If I picked the right time to order a lunch special in my local Chinese place, I could’ve gotten the same dish for a third of its price.

Not to simply “dish” out comments about this dish (lol) but I’ve had better and I’ve always disliked overpriced food. 

Fried calamari with homemade sauce

With the calamari dish, I just can’t stop snacking on it! Given its bigger portion compared to the crab rangoon, I wish I ordered this with my sister instead of what we originally got. I’m not sure if I’ll come back to this place the next time that I’ll be around Camdenton, MO but I appreciated that my mother’s friend brought us to a high-quality restaurant with great views and extraordinary customer service. I also like fish and seafood in general so this was definitely a good treat for me after a long morning of hiking.

Fish Fillet
My dish, Fish ‘N Chips with coleslaw (not in the picture) and a raspberry chipotle sauce

Since I started my transition into minimalism, I’ve been meaning to turn my diet to around and be pescatarian. While I’m not being too strict on myself, if given the option between fish and other meat, I always pick fish or other seafood. It wasn’t a decision based on health but more on wanting to gain more weight and I found that I am more likely to eat more when I’m having food that I like (duuuh) and I just happen to like fish and seafood.

What’s your favorite (kind of) dish? Is it something that you cook at home or order from a restaurant?

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my other posts about food:

I went to a farm + No Make Up Day

Gehlert’s Farm @ Belle, Missouri

My long-distance friend and PS4 playmate, Jim, owns and tends to this amazing farm in Belle, Missouri, which is an hour drive from Jefferson City. Jim gave me, my younger sister, and my boyfriend a tour around his family’s x-acre field, where we saw a number of wooden bridges made by Jim’s father as well as some hunting spots built up for the hunters’ protection and a better view of their preys.

Yes, everything in this photo is still part of Gehlert’s Farm

Coming from NYC, everything here was refreshing to see. It was a peaceful scenery. Speaking for myself, I was a bit scared of the unfamiliar sounds that I heard. A nearby herd of cows, a sudden rustling of leaves from not too far away, buzzing noises near my ears but were definitely not coming from bees, etc. It was definitely not something I will come across to on a normal day in the city.

I feel like I play too much video games to the point that the real world scares me. When I hear sounds that I’ve heard from either the National Geographic Channel or from Skyrim or Monster Hunter World, I freak out. My mind starts imagining a giant rock from afar as a bear instead. This trip (and the whole vacation in Missouri, in general) made me come to realize that I should spend more time outdoors and with the real world.

Before our trip, Jim warned us to wear clothes and shoes that we’d be willing to get mud on. As usual, I wasn’t dressed up properly for the location and the activities that we did on the farm. My sister and my boyfriend went inside a chicken house (where the hens lay eggs) but I couldn’t go inside because I was wearing sandals and it was muddy on the doorway getting in. I was wearing an ankle length leggings which would’ve been fine for most occasions but we were trailing on grassy fields where the grass brushed against my ankles and so it was very uncomfortable. Also, I was wearing a black shirt on a very sunny day.

Moral of the story: DON’T BE ME.

One thing I wore that day was a bare face! Totally no make up all day. Except for sunscreen with SPF 30 without BB cream, my face completely bare. There were some breakouts on my face which I’m still not sure why/how but it didn’t seem to bother me because it was such a fun day to be myself, face my fears of being outdoors, and learn the hard way to always listen when being told of what to expect in an unfamiliar setting.

Hello y’all from Gehlert’s Farm! (w/ @LawERod)

Friday Favorites # 15

Last weekend, I went to DHAVEN in Woodside, NY to watch my sister and her band, Q32, perform Filipino songs for a diverse group of people. It was bizarre in the best way to watch and listen to OPM songs that I’ve heard as a child as the entire audience sang along to it. The Q32 band also sang English songs, but the contrast between the two types of music made me appreciate OPM even more.

Carel Mendoza (@carelmendoza) vocalist of Q32 (and my sister!!!)

While Dua Lipa’s song, “IDGAF” talks about how she doesn’t care about her ex anymore, Kitchie Nadal sings, “Wag Na Wag” which basically talks about how she loves her ex so much and that’s why she was willing to give him his freedom. Beautiful.

I’m not saying that Filipino music is better than the US’. No genre is better than any. Music is music, and it is a matter of preference. Because of the band’s amazing performance that night, I’ve redeveloped my interest in OPM.

Last, last week for my Friday Favorites entry, I talked about how I was looking forward to a “Treat ‘Yo Self” Day with my girlfriend/twin from college. The day went SUPER!!! I found out that my friend is pretty much living the same life that I lived in the past two years, watched and loved the same shows, read the same books, likes the same stand-up comedians, AND THE LIST GOES ON. I did alright with the shopping part of our day having spent way less than budget. For some reason, it felt like I didn’t know how to spend money anymore because I haven’t done it in a while (which is a good thing).

Uniqlo top and bottom, Marc Fisher sandals

I didn’t buy everything on the same day but they’re all bought this summer. What I love about this outfit: (a) everything that I’m wearing goes with my capsule wardrobe in the process, (b) top and bottom are highly versatile and go with any weather condition, (c) the shoes are comfortable, and it’s my first pair of its kind.

Friday Favorites # 14

Hello everyone! Welcome to another segment of Friday Favorites, courtesy of my lazy self who – if I followed the original posting schedule I planned – should’ve been posting Friday Favorites # 31.

First and foremost, I didn’t want to be too hard on myself anymore. When I started my transition into minimalism, the goal wasn’t to get rid of material things. It was more of a mental minimalism. I wanted to have a more peaceful way of life, and I thought that the way to do that was to deal with fewer stressors. I am in the process of creating a capsule wardrobe by getting rid of some pieces of clothing, NOT buying which I believe can make me get ready in the morning faster and stress-free! Then when I realized (through the 4 apartment moves that I did in the past 4 years) that I owned way too many items big or small, I know that I didn’t want to deal with that kind of distress anymore and so I started purging my closet and my desk space. Second and last, I created Friday Favorites as my new year’s resolution for 2018, and I read somewhere that most new year’s resolutions are dissolved by the 14th week of the year (I read that from a book, but I forgot which one because I kept up with my new year’s resolution of reading at least 1 book/novel for fun every month lol). I don’t feel too bad that I wasn’t as consisted as I planned, and it’s not like I totally abandoned what I started strongly at the beginning of 2018.

If you want to see more of my Friday Favorites entries, I separated them into a category in this WordPress blog called “Friday Favorites.” DUH

For this new FF entry, I want to talk about my recent purchases. Most of my money goes to everyday food and groceries, according to Spendee app. I particularly looooove this app more than the other budgeting apps that I tried before because in Spendee I can add cash transactions. You can connect your bank account to the app if you prefer that better, but I didn’t like using Spendee this way because it seems like I’m doubling my monthly transactions when I pay my credit card bill using my debit card. Besides, adding transactions manually (and daily) gives me a better sense of how I’m using my money.

My July 2018 transactions as of today

For July, mainly because it’s summer, I did spend more on the “Friends Hangout” (31.8%) category. This category consists of entrance tickets, activities, cafes, jello for jello shots and vodka that I made for my friends, etc. On top of usual things that I spend when I hang out with friends, I also put in this category food/dinner transactions when I spend more than my usual budget because I was having a meal with a friend. I’ve always been a social eater and drinker, so I really do tend to overspend on food when I’m enjoying the company that I am with. (AND I’m also trying to gain weight.)

My most recent purchase as of today is a clay eyeshadow palette “necessary nudes” and an eyeliner pen from Elf. While I was shopping with a girlfriend today, I realized how badly I need new makeup. The ones that I’ve been using are more than a year old already and I guess I was waiting for an excuse to buy new ones (I moved again and I cannot find the old ones yet) because I would hate myself if I were to waste the ones that I already have.

A total of $9 for makeup combo that I’m positive I’ll use every day in the next 2+ months.

These purchases, among others that I’ve made, aren’t totally bad purchases. Suddenly I’m being too hard on myself againMy transition to minimalism is backfiring. I am now getting stressed out before making ANY PURCHASE because I want to be absolutely sure that each new purchase is something that I NEED and not just something that I WANT.

Tomorrow I am going out with another girlfriend and we’re going to make tomorrow a “Treat ‘Yo Self” Day. (Like myself, she’s also a big fan of Parks and Recreation.) We’re going to a huuuge mall on Long Island. I’m planning to take her to Uniqlo and Muji, two of my current favorites store that both coincidentally happen to be Japanese stores, and I’m also going to show her my “minimalistic” ways because it took her interest the moment that I started talking about my “journey.”

I really hope I don’t get stressed out tomorrow as much as I did today.