Friday, December 29, 2023

Tips for Choosing the Right Coworking Space as a Digital Nomad


Now that modern technology has begun redefining the nature of work beyond the traditional office-based 9 to 5, the life of a digital moment is becoming increasingly appealing to many people. Embracing this lifestyle gives you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world and to choose spaces that maximize your productivity. The quest for the right coworking space is akin to finding a second home whose environment is conducive to doing your best work.

Of course, it’s no walk in the park to find the ideal coworking space. You want more than just a workspace that looks pretty—you’ll need an environment that aligns with your personal working style and also meets your professional needs. This choice becomes especially important when you consider the amount of time you’re likely to spend in your chosen coworking space. Fortunately, this handy guide offers some expert tips for choosing the right one.

1. Consider Your Internet Needs

The internet is an indispensable lifeline for workers in pretty much any industry today, but it’s especially important for digital nomads. A fast and reliable internet connection will make it that much easier to complete your tasks and communicate with your clients and colleagues. Hence, making quality internet one of your foremost considerations when choosing your coworking space is imperative.

While most coworking spaces boast high-speed Wi-Fi, it's always prudent to test the connection yourself. Additionally, consider supplementing the coworking space's Wi-Fi with your own mobile internet solution. In this regard, you’ll need to choose the right postpaid mobile plans. These plans can provide a backup for when Wi-Fi is less reliable, or you find yourself working from a location where the coworking space's internet doesn’t reach. This is to ensure that you always have a seamless online experience that allows you to work without interruptions or connectivity issues.

2. Choose a Conveniently Located Coworking Space

Ideally, you should choose a coworking space that’s situated in a convenient, accessible, and secure area. Think about how you will commute there. Can you reach it easily by public transport? Is the area well-lit and safe if you find yourself working late? Proximity to essential services like cafes, eateries, and even leisure spots can also enhance your workday experience by providing opportunities for breaks and informal networking.

3. Look for a Workspace Environment That Suits You

The ambiance and environment of a coworking space can significantly influence your productivity and well-being. Different spaces cater to different work styles: some are buzzing with activity and collaboration, while others offer a more serene, focused atmosphere. It’s important to consider what environment makes you most productive. Are you someone who thrives in a lively, social setting, or do you prefer a quiet corner where you can concentrate without distractions?

Try to visit any coworking spaces you’re considering before committing to a membership. This gives you a firsthand experience of the noise levels, the ergonomic comfort of the workstations, and the general vibe of the place. Some coworking spaces also offer additional amenities such as standing desks, private phone booths, or outdoor areas which can contribute to a more comfortable and versatile working experience. Remember, the right environment can fuel your creativity and motivation, turning the coworking space into a catalyst for your success.

4. Consult Reviews and Recommendations

When searching for the perfect coworking space, don't overlook the power of reviews and recommendations. These can provide valuable insights into the experiences of others and help you gauge what to expect. Look for reviews on independent websites, social media platforms, and coworking space directories. Pay attention to comments about the internet reliability and the atmosphere, as well as the responsiveness of the management team.

You can also expect to get equally helpful information from word-of-mouth recommendations. Reach out to fellow digital nomads or local online communities for their experiences and suggestions. They can offer unfiltered opinions and practical tips based on their own usage of the spaces. While a coworking space that works well for one person might not necessarily be the right fit for you, understanding others' experiences can guide you in making a more informed decision.

5. Check for Flexible Membership Plans

Adaptability is essential for digital nomads, whose work locations can change frequently. Therefore, it's important to find a coworking space that offers flexible membership plans. These plans can range from day passes to monthly memberships and provide the freedom to choose based on your current needs without the commitment of a long-term contract.

When evaluating membership plans, consider the cost in relation to the amenities the space provides. Does the plan include access to meeting rooms, printing facilities, or complimentary beverages? Is there a provision for accessing the space during weekends or outside of standard business hours? These factors can greatly affect your daily working experience. It’s also worth considering if the coworking space has multiple locations. It can be a huge advantage if you travel frequently, as this provides you with a familiar environment in different cities.

In conclusion, the journey to find the right coworking space is as unique as the lifestyle of a digital nomad. It's about balancing practical necessities with personal preferences to create an environment where your productivity and creativity can thrive. Hopefully, the tips above should provide you with a solid checklist of things to consider when choosing a coworking space that fits your needs.

*photo by Jason Goodman from Unsplash.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Scenes of Christmas past

As I was very busy with my day job, all the holiday prep, and parties - these on top of all my usual chores and daily tasks, I totally forgot to put up my Christmas tree. Loyal Readers know I always have the tree up on my November birthday. This year, December 20 arrived and the house was not at all Christmasy. And my kids finally noticed.

"Mama, when are we putting up the tree?"


"Mama, I took out the boxes of Christmas stuff so you can start putting up the tree."

"Thank you. Tomorrow, I'll do it."

"Mama, we need the tree for all these gifts."

"Yes, we do but I'm too tired."

And finally...

"Mama, can we do the tree today?"


And so they did. 

And they busied about happily, making lots of noise and mess, chatting about everything and nothing, and I glanced up from my laptop (this time, I was checking emails from their teachers), just to quickly check on how my baby boys were doing.

My eyes went to where I expected them to be - near the bottom of the tree, with chubby hands trying to grasp slippery glass balls, fascinated with glitter on tiny fingers, and their eyes alight with wonder, their toothy grins wide with excitement.

Instead, I had to look up, my old, weary eyes sliding up higher, higher to watch my boys now nearly as tall as the ridiculous pink tree my then-new husband gave me as a first-married-Christmas gift. And our boys were now surrounding it, hanging the little trinkets they made from Christmases past, no longer needing our help to lift them up so they could place a sparkling star on the very top.

They can do it on their own.

And I burst into tears. And my boys looked at me in surprise. And I blubbered out some silly melancholy sentimental nostalgia and they looked at each other awkwardly like teens and tweens do. And I cried harder and they started chuckling and they patted me on the shoulder. 

There, there. It's okay, Mama.

Does the heart ever recover from this dizzying mix of joy and sadness, pride and longing? No? Never. And this will be my Christmases forever.    

Oh, my heart!

Merry Christmas, mamas. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

8 Wedding Planning Tips During the Holiday Season

The allure of a holiday season wedding captivates many couples and might even compel them to plan their weddings during the most wonderful time of the year. Imagine saying "I do" surrounded by the twinkling lights of December or during the fresh start of a New Year. Indeed, the yuletide season offers a magical backdrop for a wedding.

However, tying the knot between December and January in the Philippines comes with its own set of challenges. From competing with holiday events for venue bookings to navigating the whims of the chilly weather, planning a wedding during this time can seem daunting.

But don’t fret! If you and your partner have decided to wed amidst the bustle of the holidays, you can achieve the perfect wedding through thoughtful preparation and embracing the season's unique opportunities. With the tips below, you can orchestrate a celebration of your love that resonates with the warmth and splendor of the season.

1. Book Your Venue Early

The holiday season is synonymous with parties and other large gatherings, making it a peak time for venue bookings. So, for your wedding, start your search early and make your reservations as soon as you can to ensure you get your dream location. Popular wedding venues in Cebu and other large cities should be booked a year or more ahead, especially during prime dates like the holidays. To further avoid the holiday rush, consider booking midweek days as they offer more availability and lower costs.

Booking early also allows you to send out save-the-dates sooner, which is crucial for a holiday wedding when guests might already have other plans.

2. Plan for the Cold Weather

In the Philippines, the holidays are often marked by cooler weather, intense rainstorms, and sometimes even typhoons. While the country doesn't experience the freezing temperatures of a typical winter, the weather can still pose unique challenges for December, January, and early February weddings. If you’re considering an outdoor ceremony, it’s crucial to have contingency plans. Consider venues that offer both indoor and outdoor spaces so you can quickly move your celebration inside if a sudden downpour occurs. Providing umbrellas or raincoats can be a thoughtful touch for guests moving between different parts of the venue.

3. Budget Wisely

Budgeting for a wedding during the holiday season requires extra attention as prices for venues, catering, and other services can be higher. It’s better to be transparent with your vendors about your budget and look for creative ways to maximize it. For instance, your venue might already be decorated for the holidays, offering a festive atmosphere without the additional cost. Also, consider the timing of your purchases. Buying decorations or attire off-season can lead to significant savings.

4. Confirm Vendor Availability

With the Christmas season being a busy time for everyone, it's essential to confirm the availability of your vendors long before your event. These include caterers, photographers, florists, and entertainment. Be clear about your expectations and their ability to deliver on time, especially around peak dates. It's also wise to have a list of backup vendors in case of last-minute cancellations or changes.

5. Ensure Your Guests Are Informed and Comfortable

It's essential to inform guests about the wedding details well in advance because, as mentioned, many of them may have pre-existing holiday plans. Consider creating a wedding website or sending information cards with your invitations months before the wedding so they can prioritize your event. Make sure to include details about accommodation options, transportation, and any planned activities.

To enhance guest comfort, especially in colder weather, provide amenities like blankets or a hot drink station. If your venue is remote or is prone to be affected by the weather, consider arranging transportation to ensure everyone arrives safely and on time.

6. Embrace Holiday Decor and Seasonal Colors

The holiday season naturally brings a palette of rich colors and festive decorations. You can integrate these elements into your wedding theme to create a harmonious and spirited ambiance; doing this can also help you save on decor costs by utilizing the venue's existing decorations.

For something more unique, think beyond the traditional reds and greens; consider winter whites, blues, silvers, and gold for a sophisticated twist. Use lighting to create a warm, inviting atmosphere: fairy lights, candles, and lanterns can transform a space into a winter wonderland. Remember, the goal is to complement, not compete with, the holiday décor.

7. Capture the Holiday Magic in Your Photos

Your wedding photos are a cherished keepsake and a holiday wedding offers opportunities for breathtaking photographs. Collaborate with your photographer and take advantage of the holiday magic in the air by reflecting it in your photos. From snowy landscapes to twinkling lights, these elements can add a magical touch to your photos. Consider a mix of daytime and evening shots as well to take full advantage of the varied lighting during the holiday season. Don't forget to capture candid moments of guests enjoying the festive atmosphere—these spontaneous shots often become the most treasured ones.

8. Anticipate and Plan for Delays

The holiday rush can affect everything, from vendor deliveries to guest arrivals. Communicate with your vendors about contingency plans for late deliveries or other unforeseen events. If guests are traveling from afar, remind them to plan for possible travel disruptions. This foresight eases stress and ensures that your special day runs smoothly.

With these 8 tips, it should be easier for you to plan your wedding during the holidays. It's everyone's season to celebrate love and joy, and that includes your wedding! 

Your special day is a joyous occasion that can be magnified by the enchanting background of the yuletide season. While it can be challenging, the hurdles you might encounter when planning a holiday wedding are mere stepping stones to creating an event filled with warmth, love, and cheer. Follow these tips to help you weave the season's charm into your special day. Your holiday wedding can be a beautiful blend of romance and holiday spirit, leaving you and your guests with memories that will sparkle for years.

*photo by JESHOOTS.COM from Unsplash.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Our LEGO haul from Rustan's!

Whether it's summer time or school time, sunny or rainy, day or night, it's always LEGO time for my family! And when it comes to gifts, I can't emphasize enough how amazing LEGOs are to give! Here's my gifting spree to my boys at Rustan's Shangri-la! 

Piero fell in love with the Super Mario sets. We watched The Super Mario Bros. Movie and it's really fun and entertaining. And I speak from total ignorance of the game. I thought I wouldn't like it because I have no idea what it is. But I loved it. So imagine how much my boys LOVED it! Naturally, when Piero saw the Luigi LEGO sets, he grabbed them immediately.

Another movie the kids enjoyed this year was Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse. I'm not a fan (all the flashing lights and the malikot na paikot-ikot gave me vertigo and a headache) but my husband and sons LOVED it. So Vito just had to have this Miles Morales spidey.

Iñigo had a harder time choosing what he was going to get. There are SO MANY kinds of LEGOs, you see, not just TV and movie merchandise. Although he did end up getting a Harry Potter Hogwarts set anyway hehe

Here's another movie haha Yep, we just couldn't get enough of our favorite movies in our favorite toy! And our absolute favorite place to shop for LEGO sets is at Rustan's Shangri-la. My husband and kids always head over to the toy section to check out what's new whenever we're at Shang. So while I'm picking out clothes, socks, undies, and shoes for the boys, they're just a few steps away fully immersed in all things LEGO!

I also love how Rustan's has the nicest staff. They're so helpful and great with suggesting sets we might like. But they don't hover. They even obliged us when we asked for a family photo! Moms and dads, buy your LEGOs from Rustan's! Ganda ng stock nila and mababait pa ang mga tao. We've been buying LEGOs from Rustan's Shang for a decade or so!

Anyway! Before I go, here's a little peek at the LEGOs my kids got:

Yeah, I should show more pics but my kids won't let me borrow their sets long enough! So anyway, if you're still looking for gifts to give your sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, grandkids, husbands, brothers, and boyfriends, grab them some LEGOs!