Migrating Content

Hello Everyone!

I’d like to thank all of you who have been consistently following the Pepperiboo blog, even if my posts have come almost to a standstill this year.

I will be posting on my original site: SandyRubias.worpress.com from now on, and I will also migrate choice content from this blog to the old one.

I have decided to maintain only one blog, rather than multiple sites which is quite hard to keep track of. I hope you understand and will continue to journey with me as I travel life’s highways, byways, and dead-end streets.

Love and happiness always,


Hagupit, Haiyan, and Extractions

As the Philippines braces itself for another super typhoon, the anxiety is very real, I want to puke. I’ve been tracking Hagupit’s birth and was shocked it grew so big, so fast. Less than 48 hours and my city will feel it’s destructive powers. I came here to write and sort my thoughts because part of me just wants to flee these islands and its never ending storms. But a huge part of me is keeping it together and plan to come out of this storm safe.

I want to tell you more about how the Phil. Gov’t geared up for this shit storm, how many people in the possible eye of the storm are being, and had been, evacuated. How even the army reservists were activated and waiting. How the Official Philippine weather bureau’s website has been down since early this morning. But they have a temporary site up!

I want to write coherently but can’t because my mind is filled with visions from last years catastrophe when haiyan, a category 5 super typhoon hit Philippines. I have my horror stories when it comes to storms and floods. The worst being pounded by rain as I swam for safety with my youngest child in my arms, trying to fight the current of the rising floodwaters.

I thought i could put these things behind me but every time there’s a red alert for super typhoons, the fear rises and it’s difficult to push it way back down when all I want is someone to tell me it will be ok. I am so tense my shoulders hurt. I clenched my teeth and immediately the site of my extraction bled. oh well. ice time!

30 minutes from now I will be going over my checklist because I’ll be evacuating to my mom’s place, which sits higher than where I am. Since this typhoon is moving slower than Haiyan, I think it will pack more rain than winds, or both. I’ll secure my house, put stuff on higher shelves, cover furniture and appliances with plastic cover, and hope the roof doesn’t get blown away.

So far, these is what I’ve accomplished:

1. My drains and gutters cleaned. The edges of my roof secured, because wind will work it’s way through the eaves, plus the aluminum sheets over my house is older than me by about 20 years. This house is more than half a century old.

2. Prepared/charged all electronics. Extra rechargeable flashlights/real flashlights with real batteries and extra batteries,

3. Everything at the bottom half of the house has been elevated/shoved/placed at higher locations/shelves/hooks etc.

4. Done shopping for food and other perishables we might need for two-three days.

5. Packed toiletries including bug spray.

What else should I do?

1. Place all my books in plastic tubs and cover with plastic, they’ll float in case  flooding. Oh dear gawd. This tears me apart more than anything else. I lost more than 2k books back in 2008 to the flood. I should learn to love the digital format, but it’s not the same 😦

2. Need to pack clothes for myself and the kids. I need to take a break from worry, I know I know!

3. Have to line up all medicines and pack them up, including first aid kit, which I hope I’ll never ever use!

4. Transfer linens. or not.

Before I leave the house I must:

1. Turn off all appliances

2. Turn off the gas.

3. Turn off the main switch.

Cross my fingers, and prepare for the worst.

Oh, and I’ve another extraction scheduled for tomorrow. I can skip it but I don’t want to because I need to have only this one cycle of antibiotics as per the dentist’s advice.

Writing and SEO

Ask me what I do and I’d automatically reply, “Write online.” The truth is, the act of writing takes about 25% of the bulk of my work. The other 75% is focused on Search Engine Optimization or SEO. For clients, I do keyword research, off-page optimization, on-page optimization, content curation, content creation, content marketing, social media management and then some. What ties them all together is that each task is targeted to rank my client’s site on search engines.

Recently, my client’s website reached Google’s first page, and occupied the first four results for some of the keywords I’ve targeted. I was ecstatic because I’ve reached this much without any tricks but through quality content, optimized pages, and adherence to Google’s policies. I’m also a neophyte when it comes to SEO. I’m no guru or ninja or whatever fancy title is out there. Everything I’ve learned so far and put into practice, I’ve read on the web, and some came from precious advice of seasoned SEO specialists.

Understand that this client had no SEO from inception and was far, far below in Alexa rankings.  I was hired to create content for a blog and that was fine with me. Later on I realized my client needed more than a blog to help promote his site. But adding a blog was simply lacking when he wanted to rank on search engines. I didn’t want him to spend money needlessly on content, which would not address the issue at all.  I asked him to have his site audited by an SEO specialist. To this day I’m glad that he’s a receptive person and can act accordingly.

What made me pursue helping out this particular client is that he is  human. He  listened to my input and acted on it. Communication is always open and frank, updates and feedback are realistic, and I work in my timezone. I liked working for him even more when he told me it was ok to mess things up from the backend of his site, rather than not try. A mess can be fixed. That gave me the green light to give as much as I can, learn more than I do, and apply what I’ve learned.

Being on the first page of Google is important if you want people to find you, and your business. Being on the first four or five results on the first page? Even now I think I need someone to pinch me. Haha!

So if you have a personal website you’d like to get ranked by search engines, a bit of SEO helps! You can always PM me if you need resources too. 😉

I’ve always thought that if I just apply myself a little more, eventually I’d figure out how things work! Maybe it’s time I update my skill set on freelance sites. SEO is very exciting and reading this, you can tell how my happy heart is doing cartwheels, can’t you? 😀

(Written with utmost restraint or my heart will pop right out of my mouth!)

Do I Have The Potential to Become A Freelance Writer?

“Anyone can be a freelance writer.”

Many ask me the same question and I give a generic answer. I’d say: “Practice writing everyday and you’ll get there eventually.” In hindsight, this was such a crappy answer that had I been the one to ask the question, I’d be disappointed because there’s no takeaway there, merely a command to write.

My story is that I’ve never even considered a writing career. I stumbled upon it like a drunk, weaving in and out of the traffic during rush hour, not knowing which way is south, or even up or down. 

An aunt asked if I could write, I answered heck yeah! Because I was so proud of my college essays. I was cut at the knees upon my first article submission. It’s not what the Internet was looking for. OUCH! But I powered through, I learned, and I wasn’t scared of criticism. I made the feedback mine and worked on writing the hell out an article and refining it, editing it, critiquing my work harshly. (Which I do until now.)

So how did I really become a writer? I was a lonely child who loves to read. I disliked sports, and other kids in our community think I’m weird because like Belle, my nose is literally stuck in a book. All the time. When I was in elementary school, I took home 3-4 books every Friday or as much as the librarian would allow. That’s aside from the one or two books I’d borrow daily.

I was fascinated with the etymology of words and I ate up all the grammar I could have in high school. I was obsessed with the correct order of adjectives. Why is Black stubborn big cat wrong? Because it’s Big black stubborn cat.

Writing isn’t just about putting one word after the other. Like any craftsman, you need to learn the basics and master them. Master grammar rules by practicing on grammar workbooks daily aside from writing. Add to your vocabularly not by using the online Thesaurus but by using a dictionary.

Read publications, books, magazines, the tabloid, newsletters, the label on the ketchup bottle. Write down all the words you don’t know. Find the meaning of those words, use them in different sentences, in various context. Say them out loud. Own those words. 

Get familiar with English idiomatic expressions. It’s an accurate predictor that a writer isn’t a native English speaker. So don’t let the cat out of the bag that you’re in the dark when it comes to idioms and their usage. When in doubt, don’t use idiomatic expressions you’re not familiar with.

Lastly if you want to write for the Internet, it’s not all about content. You need to learn a few other things too. Such as a formatting your content, a bit of SEO, and most important, profiling your targeted audience.

Be the writer you can be by mastering the basics first:
Improve your grammar daily with a grammar exercise book. 
Brush up on your vocabulary, have a notebook with you. 
Get intimate with idiomatic expressions
Observe people carefully. In fact observe everything with eyes opened wide and senses receptive to minute details.
Write daily and do not edit your work until the next day or the day after. Write from experience. Write what you know, what you’re passionate about. Write from your unique point of view. Don’t forget to share your work. Be open to criticism.