Haircut Problems in America

Getting a haircut is never a problem in the Philippines. For just 50 pesos, you can get one from your friendly neighborhood salon or barbershop like Reyes Haircutters, Bruno’s Barbers, or your friendly neighborhood unbranded barber. If you’re feeling like a star, go to Bench Fix, David’s Salon or some other high-end salons for men and women–either way, you’d probably spend a maximum of P500 for a haircut.

In the USA, the process is more tricky. When we first arrived in Nashville, and I needed a barber, I searched for one on Google Maps. After reading reviews of the closest ones, I picked one and decided to visit the next day.

My barber in the Philippines is a guy named Glenn who worked at GQ Barber Shop at Waltermart North EDSA. I would just tell him I wanted a short-cropped hair–maikli lang sa gilid at naaayusan ng gel sa taas. He understood what I wanted. If I had additional instructions, I would just tell him in Tagalog or demonstrated with my hands.

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Exploring Porto, Portugal on a Bike

In September 2017, I had a chance to visit Porto, Portugal. It’s a beautiful city–Portugal’s second largest after Lisbon–known for its bridges and port wine. I didn’t sample their wine, but I explored the city and saw all its majestic bridges! I did that while riding on a bike.

Rent a bike in Porto, Portugal

Renting a bike in Porto is easy. I simply opened Google Maps on my phone and searched for bike rental shops. After reading reviews and comparing costs, I decided on going with Biclas & Triclas, which is on the bank of the Douro River. I was able to rent a bike online, specified the pick up time, and showed up there the next day. Sweet and easy!

Get a Map and Ask for the Best Places to Visit

Pablo, a friend who also attended the same meeting I was in decided to join me. It made the exploration doubly fun. Before setting off, the owner of Biclas & Triclas briefed us on the nice places to visit, where to get lunch, and where the bike paths were. We hit the road and went to the general direction of the city. There was no uphill pedaling for us. It was all flat roads as long as you stay on the paths near the river and along the beach.

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Where to buy groceries in the USA

In the Philippines, we usually bought our groceries from the Hypermarket at SM North EDSA The Block or at Waltermart Munoz (North EDSA). For fruits and vegetables, we went to the nearby palengke.

After more than 2 years of staying in Nashville, TN, in the USA, we have come up with a system of grocery shopping that involves 4 different stores: Aldi, Kroger, Sam’s Club (or Costco), and Asian Store (or World Market).

We have compared our options for buying the goods we need and looked for the best grocery stores to shop at. Take a look at our family’s grocery list and what we buy from each of the stores below:

What to buy at Aldi

Before we discovered Aldi, we bought our meat, meat products, and most of our groceries at Kroger. But we discovered that several things are affordable at Aldi.

  • Meat (pork, chicken, beef) and meat products (bacon, hotdogs, etc)
  • Eggs and dairy products (eggs, milk)
  • Some fruits and vegetables (cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, carrots, corn)
  • Canned goods

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6 Tips for Parents on Kids’ Use of Smartphones or Tablets

Parents of young kids often wonder how to regulate the screen time of their kids. It’s no longer a matter of whether kids should have access to tablets or smartphones. It’s now a matter of regulating that access.

Kids as early as one are now watching videos so their parents can do their chores or work at home.

Here are some tips for parents on kids’ smartphone use.

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Free WiFi and Other Things I Loved about Flying with Jetblue

Most of my travels are usually with Delta. I have accumulated quite a lot of miles on their Sky Club program, which makes my travel more convenient. I am usually one of the first passengers to board and I enjoy an occasional upgrade.

This time, though, the Portugal Embassy in Washington, D.C. did not send my passport back in time to book a flight with Delta. By the time I received it, the airfare shot through the roof at over $2,500. We explored other options and settled on Jetblue and TAP Air Portugal for my trip to Porto. (I was going to attend a meeting of our partner organization there.) By doing this, we saved $1,000 on my airfare! Not bad for a reservation done, 2 days before the flight.

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Review of Dough Knights and Dragons

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

“Dough Knights and Dragons” tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a dragon and a knight. The knight stumbles into the lair of the dragon and starts cooking. Instead of being eaten by the dragon, they developed a friendship through their mutual love of cooking and baking.

But there is a problem. In their world, dragons and knights do not become friends with each other. They are supposed to fight and kill each other. As they cooked and baked, they devised a way to save each other. They baked dough knights and dragons and ate cookies in the shape of knights and dragons. They ended up keeping their friendship, ending the tradition of killing each other, and forged peace and friendship in the land.

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How to buy a car: Guide for Filipinos Who just Arrived in the USA

Public transportation is not very good in the United States. Only the big cities have excellent train and bus systems. In most cities, like Nashville where we live, you need a car to move around.

Here’s a quick guide to buy a car if you have just arrived in the USA.

Borrow or Rent a Car before you arrive.

If you have friends or relatives, borrow a car from them for 5-10 days right after your arrival. If you don’t have any friends or relatives, you can rent a car through RentalCars.com, Expedia.com, or Priceline.com

When we first arrived in August 2015, I rented a car for 5 days. That time frame was enough for me. It meant that I had to visit several dealerships and test drive some cars over this period. But it worked out and before I returned the car, I bought a 2012 Kia Forte.

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Review of Brave by Stacy McAnulty

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

“Brave” by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff is a celebration of the many ways that kids can be brave. Kids can be brave simply by seeking adventure, by staying calm, by fighting for justice, standing up for truth, and through many other courageous acts.

The book also celebrates kids’ bravery in the presence of other kids and adults. It also shows kids with disabilities being brave and doing things that many kids do. In the age of superhero movies, it is great for kids to be reminded that simple acts of kindness can help other people, too.

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My DIY Productivity Journal

My last paper-based planner-journal was the one I got from Starbucks after drinking too many cups of expensive, oftentimes sweet, coffee in 2011. After that, I saw the power of Google Calendar on my browser and on my Android phone. So I went full digital and ditched my paper-based planner. It wasn’t too difficult to train myself to adjust to a full digital planner and calendar.

Enter appointments on the app and it syncs everywhere!

If I had an upcoming meeting, deadlines, or any appointment, I just swipe my smartphone open, pick the date and time with a description of the appointment and it syncs with all the devices where I installed the calendar app. For the record, I have only ever used Google Calendar since then. I use Outlook’s calendar every now and then for work, but that’s the only setting where I use another calendar app.

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Review of All My Friends are Fast Asleep

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

All My Friends Are Fast Asleep” tells the story of a boy who couldn’t sleep at night. To help him sleep, he decides to get some help from his friends. The boy uses his imagination to try different positions to sleep based on how animals sleep. His friend the bat sleeps hanging by his feet, a horse sleeps while standing up, the whale sleeps on the waves, the lark up a tree, the mole in a hole, and so on. In the end, he goes back to his room where he started from and decides to sleep like a boy.

The book can be read as one long poem with a chorus and needing help to “help me fall asleep.” In fact, the author has provided a song for this book, which I found on Soundcloud and embedded below. While the song is not exactly a lullaby, it is fun to read, thanks to its rhyme and rhythm.

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