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March 31, 2007

Cake Decorating Course 1 Lesson 1

I was excited when I learned that Wilton Method of Cake Decorating will be offered in Doha. But the course fee is QR 700 ($200) for four 3-hr sessions so I was hesitant. I think it's expensive considering that the course is very basic. Heny Sison offers cake decorating for only P4,000 (Course 1)for a two day class (16 hours) including all the ingredients. Finally, after much thoughts, I gave in and signed up for Course 1 (the first of three courses). Afterall, everything is more expensive here than in the Philippines (except gasolilne). I paid the course fee rightaway after I made my decision. I chose a Saturday schedule (10 AM to 1 PM) because I work full time during weekdays.

Today is the first of four sessions and since my Saturday activities are affected, I decided to accomplish a few things before proceeding to my class. Between 730 AM and 10 AM, I dropped my brother to work, had a car wash, had photos taken for passport renewal and US visa application and I booked a flight for our planned vacation. I arrived a few minutes before the 10 AM schedule; but to my surprise, lessons have already started. I was so upset because I was not informed that the schedule was move from 10AM to 930 AM. By the time I came, the instructor have already demonstrated how to mix the buttercream icing, which made me more upset because I missed one of the most important part of today's lessons. The instruction for mixing the icing is easy to follow and I already have a background of basic cakes and icing, which I learned from Heny Sison. But then, it's always good to watch actual demonstration because there might be new techniques, which I could learn from the instructor.

We were taught how to make a buttercream icing, the different types of icing consistency, how to color the icing, proper positioning of the hands and decorating bags, how to cut a cake crosswise, how to cover the cake with icing, etc. ;) Different tools were introduced e.g. icing tips, coupler, decorating bags, cake slicer, etc. For our practice, we were provided with a prepared icing and a small cake. Following the techniques, we learned, we iced the cake. It's not as easy as it seemed, but it was fun! I was just a bit disappointed that the cake provided for our practice was almost inedible. It was so hard you can knock on it ;) Okay, it was exagge.... but it's a waste of money because the iced cakes just went straight to the bin!

Our assignment for next week is to bring an 8-in round cake iced with light blue buttercream icing and medium consistency icing (red, orange, green and violet) for the decoration. I am thinking of baking a chocolate cake or a mocha chiffon cake. Wow, yummy...

Second disappointment is I didn't expect that we will be providing our own cake and icing for the next lessons. I think the course fee of QR 700 for four sessions is really expensive and should include the ingredients already. The course provider should have at least informed us that ingredients is not included in the course fee and provided us a list of recommended tools, which are not included in the kit. It's not required to buy all the tools but everyone did and they seem not to mind the price (probably because they are spending their husband's money?).

To save some money, I did not buy the complete set of cake decorating tools. The complete set would have costed QR 540 just for the tools exlcuding the cake cuddy (QR 65), the revolving cake stand (Qr 53) and other miscellaneous materials e.g. piping gels, icing colors, etc. Besides, I don't think I need all the decorating tools for this course. But despite my money saving strategy, I still ended up spending QR 500 ($137) for the tools and accessories! Now my simple hobby turned out to be an expensive vice. I cannot believe I spent that much money for a hobby (which is currently not in my budget and not a priority) at the time I am cutting down my expenses and I am so hook with personal finance! How ironic, isn't it? On the positive side, these tools will make cake decoration a lot easier.

Now I know why I had second thoughts...I should have followed my instinct and just put off the lessons after our vacation! But I can't turn my back now. I'm already trapped! The only way to justify all my spendings is do my best and to make the most out of this course.

March 30, 2007

Spending Weekend

Our typical weekend is nothing special. We usually go to the mall to shop (most of the time - window shop) and watch a movie or simply stay home and do some office work. Yeah...quite boring! Sometimes, we run out of malls to go to and we get tired of seeing the same shops and boutiques ;) But I like Fridays because it's a good time to catch-up with family and friends (especially those who are online during weekdays only) and I can surf the net to the max.

As much as possible, I prepare our meals during weekends to make up for not cooking during workdays ;) Usually, I cook Filipino dishes and snacks - either pasta, noodles, or any typical Filipino "mirienda" and when I got spare time, I bake cookies, brownies or cakes.

Today, I cooked lunch, surfed the net, chatted with some friends and my Aunt. In the afternoon, we went to Doha City Center because my brother wants to buy an HP printer but unfortunately the model he likes was out of stock. Carrefour didn't want to sell the last piece on display. Isn't it weird? I mean, not all buyers would be willing to buy a last piece item. We went home empty handed :( Then, we watched The Protector (starring Tony Jaa), It's a nice movie, I enjoyed it! It's a bit violent but tolerable (at least for me) as compared to Kill Bill and Gangs and New York.

That's it - nothing special... Tomorrow will be busier and hopefully exciting!

March 29, 2007

Pennyless Payday...

It was a lazy Thurday as usual...Today was particularly different though because today is the last working day for this month. We are supposed to get paid today. But sadly, for the nth time, we didn't receive our salaries on time! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

I'm tired of this game, sometimes ON TIME sometimes DELAYED.... I'm really pissed, very pissed!!!!!!

But I am thankful that our Office will have its own accountant very soon! ;)

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

March 27, 2007

The Smash Hit Musical Mama Mia in Doha!!!



The smash hit musical Mama Mia is indeed a smash hit!!! The performance was great!!! I hope that there will be more play and musical in Doha even after the cultural festival.

It's amazing how the Ritz Carlton tennis court was converted into a make-shift theater for the Mamma Mia performance.

March 21, 2007

Inquirer Blog: pay yourself first and mutual fund for the dummies

I've been following Salve Duplito's blog about personal finance in Inquirer Blogs. This week, she published two very interesting entries.

The first is about paying yourself first:

http://www.inquirerbloggers.net/moneysmarts/2007/03/21/pay-yourself-first/

and the second is about mutual fund for the dummies:

http://www.inquirerbloggers.net/moneysmarts/2007/03/23/mutual-fund-investing-for-dummies/

Check it out!

March 20, 2007

Undecided

I was enticed to sign up a few days ago because I read about the potential revenue from blogging by adding Google AdSense to the my blogs. I told myself, why not try it? Still, it took me a few days to do my first write-up as I am a bit hesitant to move my existing blog that is linked to my friendster account in this site. Additionally, Google AdSense declined my application so what's the point? On the second thought, one of the reasons cited by Google AdSense is diificult navigation of my account - probably because it's empty so there's really nothing to see.

After debating with myself, I finally wrote my first piece. I feel good that somehow, I could write even if I'm not very good at it.

From now on, I will write my thoughts and publish it here so watch out and happy reading!