Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Ring of Regret


I was so good at squirreling money away into our home improvement fund, reaching 70% of my target amount before 2013 ended. And then we decided not to get the next door unit because staying debt-free was more important than getting my interior decorating fix on (although it also helped that we had access to my mom's empty unit for the baby to move around in so getting additional space was no longer that big of an issue).


I knew that it was the best decision for us, but I was still frustrated nonetheless because I was in a  serious nesting frenzy. It was at this stage that my alahera suddenly showed up at the office offering to design a ring for me. Before you could say impulse purchase, I had signed up for a white gold ring with a solitary diamond, which I paid for using some of the funds from my home improvement fund.


Now I really regret the purchase because even if we didn't get the unit next door, we still had plans of sprucing up our current unit, and what I spent on that ring could have easily paid for window treatments as well as new shelves and bookshelves. Or maybe even take care of a huge chunk of our kitchen budget. Argh!


The Ring of Regret


I was so good at squirreling money away into our home improvement fund, reaching 70% of my target amount before 2013 ended. And then we decided not to get the next door unit because staying debt-free was more important than getting my interior decorating fix on (although it also helped that we had access to my mom's empty unit for the baby to move around in so getting additional space was no longer that big of an issue).

I knew that it was the best decision for us, but I was still frustrated nonetheless because I was in a  serious nesting frenzy. It was at this stage that my alahera suddenly showed up at the office offering to design a ring for me. Before you could say impulse purchase, I had signed up for a white gold ring with a solitary diamond, which I paid for using some of the funds from my home improvement fund.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy in Hanoi


I have a sneaking suspicion that I enjoy planning a vacation more than the actual vacation itself. 

First, there's deciding on the destination which is usually heavily influenced by the Travel and Living Channel (TLC) and books.

Next comes browsing accommodations, researching on things to see, places to visit, food to try etc. Then comes hunting for airline tickets that will fit my budget (although recently, this has become the first step in my travel plan. Buy a heavily discounted ticket and then plan everything afterwards) and when that's done, finalize accommodations and make an itinerary. Fun, fun, fun!

Our recent vacation in Hanoi was extra special because it was the first time that my husband and I traveled abroad and it was also the baby's first trip abroad. I foresee lots more traveling in the future for my little brood, but Hanoi will always be special.

I took note of what we spent for our week-long vacation so let's talk numbers, but let me just preempt myself by saying that I was pleasantly surprised at the total figure.

*Tickets - Php8,128
Hotel room - Php18,000
Halong Bay overnight cruise- Php16,200
**Pocket money - Php13,500
Total: Php55,828

Admittedly, we could have saved more by getting cheaper accommodations, but since we had a baby with us, I knew that we couldn't be on the go the entire time and would need lots of breaks in between sight-seeing. As it turned out, the baby got sick during the middle of our vacation and we ended up staying in our hotel for three days. It was then that I truly appreciated our spacious and comfortable room in Hanoi Charming 2 Hotel.

Breakfast came free, we had a PC in our room, the wifi was strong and the hotel staff was great. If I go back to Hanoi, I'm making a beeline for Charming II.

The Halong Bay cruise is very, very touristy and again, there are other cheaper alternatives, but I didn't want to get a party boat, so I opted to pay extra and it was well worth it.



We stayed in the Paloma, which was a mid-level boat. Not quite rickety raft but it's no luxury liner either. We were bumped up to the family suite (thanks!!) which meant that we had a slightly bigger room and a patio.

The food was amazing! And although I enjoyed chatting with our Serbian friends, I kinda wished it was just my husband and I sharing the table so I would have more of the shrimp for myself. teeheehee

We were supposed to go on a food tour (USD25/pax) back in Hanoi, but had to cancel because the baby had a fever. I swear, that food tour is enough reason for me to go back to Hanoi. We also weren't able to check out the West Lake area, including this fashion boutique that all the expats raved about.

My takeaways from this vacation are: (1) My husband and I make good travel partners (yihee!) and (2) Traveling doesn't have to be expensive after all.

I was amazed that what we spent for a week's vacation in Hanoi is equal to a round trip ticket for one person to Europe. Which means that traveling around Asia is very doable and my European fantasy will have to wait for several more years.

It helped that I was able to get dirt cheap tickets (Piso fare!) and that Hanoi in general is not an expensive city. A steaming bowl of pho costs less than a hundred pesos, while this noodle dish I still dream of was also only a hundred pesos or so. Food trip talaga.

Hay naku, I'll be back Hanoi. Promise.



*For 2 adults and 1 infant on lap via Cebu Pacific
** I didn't keep close track of what we spent for food, cab fares, souvenirs etc., but I only had USD$300 exchanged for our entire stay and had about a few dollars left after our vacation.

Happy in Hanoi


I have a sneaking suspicion that I enjoy planning a vacation more than the actual vacation itself. 

First, there's deciding on the destination which is usually heavily influenced by the Travel and Living Channel (TLC) and books.

Next comes browsing accommodations, researching on things to see, places to visit, food to try etc. Then comes hunting for airline tickets that will fit my budget (although recently, this has become the first step in my travel plan. Buy a heavily discounted ticket and then plan everything afterwards) and when that's done, finalize accommodations and make an itinerary. Fun, fun, fun!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hello February!


My week-long absence was brought about by our recent vacation to Hanoi Vietnam where we played tourists to the hilt and included a trip to Halong Bay in our itinerary.

I'll post more about our trip in my next post, but let me just say that I need a vacation from that vacation and that regional travel makes my frugal, yet travel addicted, heart very, very happy.

Happy Monday everyone!



Hello February!


My week-long absence was brought about by our recent vacation to Hanoi Vietnam where we played tourists to the hilt and included a trip to Halong Bay in our itinerary.

I'll post more about our trip in my next post, but let me just say that I need a vacation from that vacation and that regional travel makes my frugal, yet travel addicted, heart very, very happy.

Happy Monday everyone!