POP QUIZ: How I Learned To Save My Money

If you asked me 2 years ago what I knew about money, I would say I was pretty much like Rebecca Black’s awkward friend in her music video for Friday.

"I have no idea what I'm doing"
“I have no idea what I’m doing”

I had an accountant who deposited my checks and reminded me when my taxes were due. All I had known was that my bank account would be replenished and I would have enough to spend on food, clothes, etc.

Can you believe that I used to spend for gas monthly that amounted to as much as my driver’s monthly salary?! I had a parking slot in my condominium in Eastwood but I would send my car and driver to mom’s house in Antipolo because that’s where he stayed-in. I didn’t realize I was wasting so much money until I complained about my expenses and Jim said that I was definitely overspending. It’s these things that add up to the reason why I wasted so much of my hard-earned money all these years.

Aside from my ate Unna, everybody else in the family took up arts in college and we weren’t required to take up accounting. The only money-related thing I knew how to do perfectly was writing a check (thanks, mom!). In fairness to my mom, she’s also the one who taught me how to open my own bank account back in college and how to enroll it to access online banking. Long story short: as long as my bank account would never reach zero, I was good. I was doing great, or at least that’s what I thought.

Unlike me, Jim is GREAT with money. Slowly, he’s been trying to teach me how to manage my expenses to build a secure future. Nakaka-in love, diba?! I just want to share some of the tips I learned from him just in case you’re as clueless as I was before.

CLEAR YOUR DEBT

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As much as possible, DON’T use your credit card. If you must, make sure you pay for it in full every month. DON’T pay just the minimum fee. I did this for years not realizing I was losing so much money on interest fees! I told you I was pretty dumb with money. Huhuhu. If it’s too late and you absolutely can’t afford to pay the bulk fee, follow the next tip but instead of setting aside money for savings, when you get your income you have to prioritize paying for your credit card bill first. Try to pay at least half of it, maybe you’ll be able to get rid of it in just 2 months. If you must, only use your card for fixed expenses. I use mine for gas and I enrolled my Internet and TV cable bills to automatically be charged. My online subscriptions including Zinio and Audible are also charged monthly on my card. I’ve gotten rid of the shock that comes whenever my bill arrives because it’s always around the same number monthly. Side tip: make sure you actually use all your monthly subscriptions — otherwise, UNSUBSCRIBE!

INCOME MINUS SAVINGS EQUALS EXPENSES

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When you get your income, you set aside part of it for your investments. Only then should you pay for your fixed expenses and budget for your variable expenses. Sample scenario for working girls: you get paid 25,000. 10,000 you keep in your mutual equity fund account, 2,000 you set aside because you’re saving up for new running shoes. 8,000 you use for fixed expenses (electricity/phone bill/rent), the remaining 5,000 you budget for variable expenses (groceries, movie dates, and whatever you want). No guilt if you finish it all because you already set aside your savings! YAY!

HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND

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Just within the past year all of these things occurred: I got dengue, I got repeatedly punched by a bunch of drunk party crashers (remember??), I severely sprained my ankle (stupid manhole cover was in the way), and Joey got bladder stones (FvCK SODIUM!). I got a hospital bill of around 50k, needed to get a CT scan for the punches I took worth 14k, had to get my ankle x-rayed and underwent physical therapy for a total of around 12k, paid for Joey’s operation and meds worth about 20k. These are just a few of the things that took me and my wallet by surprise. Life won’t always be peachy, there are really some low points and you’ve got to be ready for them. That’s why Jim and I have been tucking away a little bit of our income to make an emergency fund available for such situations. Try to do the same and make sure you have at least 3-6 months worth of your salary on standby. I highly recommend opening a bank account for this. Do NOT touch for bags or shoes. Haha! This is also very useful in case you lose your job — you will have enough money to keep you adrift while looking for the next job opportunity. If you don’t have a fixed income (if you’re freelancing like I am) then you have to calculate your monthly expenses and how much you need to live comfortably for the next 3-6 months — that’s how much you should have in your emergency fund.

TRACK YOUR EXPENSES

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It’s a pain in the ass but it’s really effective if you’re diligent. Download an app on your phone. Jim and I use EXPENSE MANAGER. The interface isn’t as pretty as YNAB (You Need A Budget) but I haven’t mastered YNAB and he prefers the other app. Since he takes care of the budgeting for now, I just input my expenses and export it via e-mail whenever he asks for it. He then makes an expense report and we have monthly budget meetings just to discuss how we did for the current month and what to expect for the next. Believe me, we dreaded these budget meetings at the beginning because we would always end up arguing. I would get upset because I wouldn’t understand the process and I would just always give up. I am allergic to Microsoft Excel files. Jim had to talk to me and reassure me that just because I’m the woman in the relationship it doesn’t mean I have to take care of the budgeting for our home. He was happy to do it and all I had to do was listen. Now we pour ourselves some wine while discussing the numbers and we’ve been doing better than ever with our finances! YAY, TEAMWORK! If you’re not in a relationship with someone who’s good with money, I suggest you try to understand the You Need A Budget app because it comes with a lot of tips too. I promise I’m gonna master budgeting someday… Maybe today. Haha. After I finish this post. LOL. I am so much more conscious about my spending because I have to write it down now. When I’d go into Topshop I used to just blow a ton of money on clothes but now I think twice, even thrice, if I REALLY REALLY like something as much as Carly Rae Jepsen likes her crush.

GIVE YOURSELF A CASH ALLOWANCE

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I was so used to spending all my money without realizing it. It used to be that as long as there was a number greater than zero in my account, I would spend. I liked sharing my blessings too and I don’t think that’s all bad but looking back, I used to treat my friends to a lot of food, drinks and even trips out of town! My sister Maxx is still like that today hahaha! We all love her for it but I’ve been trying to help her understand that her money could be going elsewhere. We obviously got it from our parents: mom always encourages us to “go buy it!!” and my dad always liked living in the moment. The fact that we like to make everyone feel comfortable and happy enough for us to spend on making priceless memories is not bad at all. I just think we can make invaluable memories for much less. I decided to withdraw ONLY what I’ve budgeted for my variable monthly expenses so that I am forced to stick to it.

I am still learning a lot about money and how to be wise with it. Once in a while I like going back to my old self and telling Jim he should buy the shoes he wants. As long as we work hard, we should be able to make room in the budget for fun stuff! You gotta be careful: there’s a fine line between being wise with your money and being way too stingy. Even if you save a ton of cash, you don’t want to end up being The (Lone) Wolf of WALEY Street. LELZ.

♥,
Saab

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Cinema Woof

It’s day 2 of Pet Week – a week-long celebration of JoeyBear turning 2! Today we talk about movies featuring dogs I loved growing up!!

Lassie

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Admittedly, I don’t remember much from the classic movie but I remember falling in love with this collie! Definitely need to re-watch this! Also, look at how cute Michelle Williams was a… lass!

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In the original 7 Lassie films, a collie named Pal played the lead. Apparently for the TV series, they kept it in the family and cast Pal’s descendants to play Lassie!

Milo

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Milo from The Mask is so iconic!! Isn’t he the cutest wearing the mask?!?!?!!?!?! Jack Russells are so adorable, my friend Cholo has one named Pogo and he jumps VERY high!!

Beethoven

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Beethoven got so famous, it spawned 6 sequels!! I remember the hamburger-eating contest in Beethoven 2!! Hahaha!

Petey

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Petey is the American Pitt Bull Terrier part of the He-Man Woman Haters Club from one my favorite movies, The Little Rascals which celebrated its 20th anniversary just recently!

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Hachiko

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Hachiko is known as the most loyal dog ever. He is an Akita from Japan and though I haven’t seen the original Japanese movie, I did watch and cry my heart out while watching the American one starring Richard Gere.

During his owner’s life, Hachikō greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Each day for the next nine years Hachikō awaited Ueno’s return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station. (via Wikipedia)

They put up a shrine for him in Shibuya station and I visited it when I went to Japan!♥ Please try to un-see my tiyan in this pic.

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Lady and The Tramp

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Ah, the classic poor boy – rich girl love story retold in a dog setting. Who can forget the famous spaghetti scene?!

Slinky Dog

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Toy Story’s resident dog… toy! He’s a dachshund – very apt for a slinky toy because they’re very long dogs! We used to have a beautiful long-haired dachshund named Coolie who died a few months after my dad passed away :( My BFF Candy has a short-haired one named Schublig Bunless and is very very cute as well!!

Zero

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Zero is the most adorable ghost dog with his glowing pumpkin nose, very much patterned after Rudolph. He is owned by The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Skellington!

Note: I refuse to watch Marley and Me because I don’t think my heart can handle it. Who are your favorite movie dogs?

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A Few of My Favorite Dogs

The Internet has been a vessel for letting yourself be heard all over the world, connecting with your dearest friends, and more importantly: flaunting your pets.

In high school, I was super into Emily The Strange so naturally I thought I was a cat person. I was set on getting a black cat and naming her Saabbath. How narcissistic, right?! Actually, I was more of a copyCAT – Emily’s favorite was named Sabbath.

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But while we were living at home with our parents we weren’t really allowed to have pets of our own. I tried to bend the rule when I bought a turtle but then it died the next day. Rest assured my parents did not murder it to teach me a lesson. God, no. It was just floating upside down in the deep part of its aquarium/terrarium the next morning. I was so sad, I didn’t think I deserved to ever have a pet again. :(

Until 2 years ago when I babysat Maxx’s dog for her and if you’ve been following me for a while now, you’d know the story. I fell in love with Charlie the Yorkshire Terrier and I cried when I realized I had to give her back. When Maxx heard about how upset I was, she surprised me with a beautiful baby pomeranian and I cried even more!! Shout out to my sweet sister, Maxx!! Shout out talaga?!?!? Ano to, radyo?! Chos.

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As we are celebrating #JoeyBear’s 2nd birthday this Saturday, I want to dedicate this entire week to pets leading up to her special day!! Okay, well, maybe not the ENTIRELY about pets but I’m aiming to do at least one post a day about pets!! I turned out to be a dog person after all so I want to share some of the Internet’s most famous dogs with you guys!

Boo

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Boo is officially the most searched dog on the Internet with a whopping 15 million likes on Facebook! His worldwide fame started in 2006 because of his unusually large head and cute haircut! He’s appeared on TV shows such as Good Morning America and Anderson Cooper’s RIDICULIST! He and his brother Buddy are super fluffy and cute, Maxx and I have been sending each other screencaps of their Instagram page for years! Follow them here.

Ginny

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Ginny used to be homeless, tied to a gate left for dead. Now she has over 300,000 followers on Instagram where her owner posts random photos of her. Her rescuer, Chelsea Hope-England says she started Ginny’s Instagram page, “because I am obsessed with her and to be honest she has a far more interesting life than I do.” Cute!!! Follow her on Instagram.

Menswear Dog

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Menswear Dog is a 5 year old shiba inu living in NYC with a penchant for all things style. His interests include never washing his selvage denim, lurking around Soho for someone to notice his steez, and sniffing fine a$$ bitches. (source)

Note: Internet meme DOGE is also a Shiba Inu!

Beast

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Beast the dog is a Puli, a type of Hungarian Sheepdog, and is most famous for being The Facebook Dog. Why is he called The Facebook Dog? Because he is Mark Zuckerberg’s dog!! He lives in Palo Alto with his billionaire parents. Be part of his 1 million plus followers on Facebook.

Marnie

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Marnie is another famous rescue dog. Adopted at 9 years old and is well-known for her Hanging Tongue Syndrome. My favorite photo series of her is that of her copying James Franco’s selfies!! Follow her on Instagram: @marniethedog.

Other notable dogs you can follow on Instagram:

Any other Internet dogs I missed?! Let me know so I can follow even more cuties online!! I know cats are fierce and all that but dogs are just so malambing and Joey showers me with love every chance she gets. I can’t believe she’s turning 2!!! Huhuhu!!!

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POP QUIZ: 5 Favorite Productivity Apps

I’ve gotten some requests to list down my favorite iOS/Android apps so here I am keeping my word and writing them down! I’m currently using a Samsung Galaxy S5 (yup, this is my nth leap from iPhone to Samsung) so I’ll be sharing the Android apps that I find especially useful for my own productivity. FYI, all these apps I’m listing down are also available on iOS!

1. Any.do – Any.do lets me do, well, anything. So I list down whatever random thing comes to mind that I need to get done. It can be for today, tomorrow, next week, next month, someday, WHENEVER. Just list them all down and everyday at 9AM the app will prompt you to plan your day. A few swipes will help you build the day’s to-do list. I’ve found this to be VERY helpful considering what a scatterbrain I am. It keeps my priorities in check. TIP: it’s also accessible from the web if you want to see your lists on a bigger screen via http://web.any.do

2. Cal – I am such a sucker for clean, minimal apps and this calendar app is from the same makers of Any.do. I use it to write down my schedules and the best thing about it is the event planning thingy. Ugh, I forget what it’s actually called but here’s the gist: you input your meeting/party/whatever and you can include the location and the people you’re meeting. It automatically sends an e-mail to remind people of your get-together. You can set many personal alerts for your meeting – I set mine 2 hours, and 30 minutes before I leave. A 2-hour lead time lets me get ready at a leisurely pace, 30 minutes means I should make sure Joey is all set to stay alone in my condo, I’ve brushed my teeth, the trash is thrown out, and the couch is nice and clean for good vibes when I get home. I usually leave an hour before my meeting to anticipate traffic. Best thing about the event planner is that it automatically goes to Waze when it’s time so you don’t get lost on the way to wherever! That’s 5 minutes off my usual GPS-setting pace everytime I get in the car. I love efficiency!

3. Waze – You all probably have this already, do I even need to explain? If you don’t have it yet, what is wrong with you?! Chos. Find the best route to wherever you’re going minus the traffic. I love that the voice now says street names. Any.do should buy Waze and call it Any.waze. #waleyz

4. Uber – I had to let go of my driver, it’s been almost 2 months now. Okay lang because I don’t have a TV show right now anyway so I don’t stay up until 5am – I can drive myself. I actually really enjoy driving, listening to music and singing while stuck in traffic… Pretending I’m not emotionally singing along to Sam Smith when the truck driver beside me looks at me funny… But sometimes when I don’t feel like driving, I just get an Uber. It’s pretty hard to get one when you’re in Pasig/Libis. Ubers are more for the sosyal areas like Fort or Makati haha. So sometimes I resort to GrabTaxi which is okay lang but the car is a literal taxi as opposed to Uber’s super nice cars AND I pay more for the taxi so it doesn’t seem right. GrabTaxi has GrabCar as well if you want a nicer car but it’s way more expensive. You’re lucky if you get their special taxis with the characters that take you to places for free. I also like that Uber is connected to my credit card so I don’t need to have loose change on me and I can just get out of the car when I get to my destination. UberX, the more affordable option than the usual Uber black car is now in Manila but I haven’t had the chance to get one. ANYWAY if you want to try it out pls use the promo code uberSAAB to get a P300 coupon! Do it cos I get a P300 coupon too if you do!!!

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5. YNAB – You Need A Budget helps me keep track of my expenses. I’m only recently learning how to be frugal and careful with my money because I’ll have a family of my own soon enough (calm down, I don’t plan to have a baby until I’m like 30 haha) so I need to make sure I have money set aside. What happens is that you set your budget for the month and each time you make a purchase, you input what you spend and see how much you have left for a certain category. For example, if you overshot and spent more for groceries this month, you’ll have to sacrifice part of your allotted “clothing” money. Because not everybody has clothing allowance ifyouknowwhatimean. Check it out. The phone app is free and the desktop software has a free trial. Have to admit interface is better on the iPhone though.

BONUS: I also just discovered the app MediSafe that helps me remember to take all my medicine. I just got out of the hospital from dengue and am on a lot of stuff, now it’s mostly for my allergic rhinitis and (TMI, sorry) constipation that leads to UTI. My immune system is just a little off right now but I’m a strong girl and by taking all my medications at the right time, I’ll be 100% in no time.

I hope I helped you find new apps you can use to boost your productivity!! Let me know your thoughts, concerns, and if you want to share other apps with me and my readers by leaving a comment below ;)

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Pop Quiz: Rainy Day Essentials

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Yesterday’s OOTD was brought to you by Bagyong Inday! Here are my rainy day essentials!

BOOTS – Well, I wear these rain or shine but they’re especially useful in the rainy season! One of the worst feelings in the world is getting your feet (or worse: socks) wet outdoors!

SWEATER – I’m very sensitive to temperature changes. I sweat easily when it’s warm but I get very cold when there’s a breeze! I like wearing sweaters because you can just take it off when you’re feeling hot! Plus, wearing it allows you to eat a bit more of that rainy day comfort food ;)

LIP BALM – Beware of windburn! Even if it’s the wet season, it’s easy for skin to get dry so make sure you pack some moisturizer in your bag as well! I tend to bite my lips when I’m stressed (i.e. traffic because of the rain) and lip balm keeps my anxiety at bay.

MUSIC – Whether you’re safely indoors or you’re stuck in traffic (as a passenger, of course), the rain gets you in an emo mood so don’t try to fight it. Listen to those records or put your iPod on full blast. I-iyak mo lang yan, teh! Or if you’re not in the mood for drama, ask people to come over and have a small party. The rain shouldn’t dampen your plans! Unless it’s a really big storm then wag ka na umalis ng bahay mo. Lol!!

CUDDLE BUDDY – What I need most on a rainy day is a good cuddle! It can be my mom, my boyfriend, my pet, or my pillow!

Hugs all around!!

♥,
Saab

POP QUIZ: Things I Learned This Morning

News and trivia rounded up by yours truly. You’re welcome!

lana-del-rey-performance-price-kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding__oPtLana del Rey got $2.8 million to sing 3 songs at Kanye and Kim’s wedding (PerezHilton)

barack-obama1The White House totally f-ed up by mistakenly revealing their spy in Afghanistan (Mashable)

burgerHow to evenly cook the sides of a burger patty (Lifehacker)

jamie_berube_07aIt’s very difficult for the disabled to find employment :( (AlJazeera)

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.30.24 AMThe first trailer for The Equalizer, in which Chloe Grace Moretz plays a young prostitute, is up online (EmpireOnline)

big hero 6Disney is coming out with a new movie called Big Hero 6 (based on Marvel Comics but not tied to the Marvel universe) and the trailer is so cute!! (EmpireOnline)

entertainment weeklyJessica Alba has a baby but still looks better than everyone I know (EntertainmentWeekly)

pennyhartzPenny Hartz (Casey Wilson) just got married in real life! Aww Year of Penny! P.S. I miss Happy Endings huhuhu (PerezHilton)

I should do this round up everyday…

Pop Quiz: Embarrassing Childhood Memories

This week’s topic suggested by: thebookishowl

The Time I Lied About Baguio

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My friend (I don’t even remember which one, I think it was Mikki) in 3rd grade called me over the phone and she said her family was going to Baguio. I said, “oh, my parents are going to Baguio too!” – I think that was the only truth on my end. She said her family would be visiting relatives. I asked for names and after each name I said, “ay kilala sila ng parents ko!” and she asked her mom for a list of people they were going to see in Baguio and I just kept saying my parents were going there to see those same people. I don’t know why the heck I did that. In the end I told her I wasn’t telling the truth and she said, “Saab, my mom says I can’t be friends with you anymore.” We still stayed friends after that. I mean, how can you resist having a good liar as a friend, right? Ugh that was unnecessarily embarrassing in retrospect.

The Time I Said Approvement

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I was Editor-In-Chief and founder of my high school paper. I used to get so stressed because my writers and contributors refused to meet their deadlines. I did everything from editing to laying it all out and printing it on my personal printer before finally getting it photocopied for the whole school. Yup, I was a nerd, get over it! Anyway, one time at a meeting – I was telling the team off for submitting late. Let me remind you that I am the worst at confrontations, I get so nervous when everyone’s eyes are on me and when I get angry I cry. I started tearing up and my heart was beating so fast and I said “If you really want to be a part of this, you have to submit on time!! Siyempre your articles need time for my approvement before we print it!!” I realized it just as I said it but I was too caught up in the moment to laugh it off because HELLO I was crying and making a statement. It was so ground-please-swallow-me-alive embarrassing. But now it’s a good story for the LOLZZZ.

The Time I First Started Wearing A Bra

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I was in 6th grade, a late bloomer. My mom got me my first training bra from Marks & Spencer – it came in a cute pink box with instructions and stuff. So I ditched my sando-under-my-uniform for my training bra. Days into it, I was playing chinese garter with my classmates during lunch break and apparently my training bra bunched up ABOVE my pre-boobies. You know how some girls’ school uniforms are made of super thin material? Ours was like that in Assumption. I noticed a bunch of my friends being jerks in a corner whispering and super laughing looking at my chest. Hahaha! Joke’s on them, I’ve got what I think are the perfect breasts. LOLOLOL. I was so embarrassed ;_;

Can’t think of much right now.. I think more embarrassing things are happening to me as an adult haha.

Pop Quiz: American TV Series

One pop quiz each week, not necessarily TOP 5 stuff but things that pop into my head under a specific theme. You can submit suggestions through my /ask box (click here)!

This week’s topic suggested by: @babypolkadots

FRIENDS

Seriously can’t count how many times I’ve seen all 10 seasons… I’m still not satisfied and I still laugh at the jokes. Perfect cast!

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Amazing writers and actors – this was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

LOST

This was so fascinating… I feel like it became a part of me and I felt for all the characters the longer I watched it. Bravo, JJ Abrams.

BREAKING BAD

When I watched this, I was as captivated as I was by LOST. Don’t you just love it when actors were born to play a certain role?!

THE OFFICE

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Pop Quiz: Chocolates

One pop quiz each week, not necessarily TOP 5 stuff but things that pop into my head under a specific theme. You can submit suggestions through my /ask box (click here)!

This week’s topic suggested by: strawberrychescake

KITKAT

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Strangely, I found cutting the foil with my fingernails very thrilling as a young girl. It was like magic. And the chocolate’s delicious too.

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

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Peanut butter huhuhuhu sarap

MALTESERS

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Droooooool…

CHOC NUT

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I could eat this all day everyday

HELLO PANDA

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A burst of chocolate in every bite. Not overwhelming chocolate, just a very small amount that leaves you wanting more.

That was a very hard topic. I love chocolate.

Special mention: TWIX <3<3<3

Pop Quiz: Cartoon Characters

One pop quiz each weekday, not necessarily TOP 5 stuff but things that pop into my head under a specific theme. No pressure, nothing serious. You can submit suggestions through my /ask box (click here)!

Topic suggested by blissfulangst

Not including comic book characters but purely TV cartoon characters, here is a list of 5 cartoon characters I love!

Lumpy Space Princess (Adventure Time)

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LSP’s voice makes me so happy. OH MY GLOB.

Stewie Griffin (Family Guy)

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I feel like Stewie is a descendant of Arnold (Football Head) from Hey Arnold! – A very evil version. He’s very disturbing; definitely not for the weak-hearted.

Eugene, Alfred, Dennis, Vincent (Ghost Fighter)

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No explanation necessary. KALOKA!!!

Chacha (Akazukin Chacha)

I absolutely loved Cartoon Network shows as a kid (well, even until now because of Adventure Time!!) and outside of Cartoon Cartoons, Akazukin Chacha was the funniest! It was dubbed in English and I can’t seem to find it on YouTube. In english, they say “faith, hope and love” instead of “love, courage, hope” – can you just imagine being a little girl that can transform into a hot magical princess (holy up) whenever you wanted?! I also laughed the hardest watching

Dexter (Dexter’s Laboratory)

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Like I said, Cartoon Network’s Cartoon Cartoons was my favorite!! Johnny Bravo, Courage The Cowardly Dog (that evil chicken episode was creepy!! And Ringo Starr voiced the duck brothers!), Cow and Chicken, The Powerpuff Girls, Ed Edd n Eddy, etc. But I watched Dexter’s Lab the most, I guess because it was being shown on rotation because it was one of the more popular ones.

Henry and June (KaBlam!)

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I know I’m over 5 cartoons now but this is the hardest list – I can seriously keep going!!! KaBlam! was one of the best shows on Nickelodeon!!! I think shows like these really helped shape my sense of humor. It had mini-shows within the show like Action League Now, Prometheus and Bob, The Off-Beats (a very hipster cartoon haha), The Girl With Her Head Coming Off, etc. I tried to Google The Girl With Her Head Coming Off but there were no images huhu just disturbing YouTube clips!!

Shin Chan

Hahaha tagalog-dubbed, IBC13! LOL!

Oh, childhood! Thanks for the topic!