By this time, most of you are probably getting tired of reading about the Apple Watch.
It was the stuff of rumor, one much speculated on long before it was officially announced. In fact, it was about two years ago when Tim Cook coyly dropped a hint at the Code Conference: “I think the wrist is interesting.” It wasn’t just the technology press who buzzed about it; even the fashion press was excited at the official launch. And, it has been covered countless times by both traditional and online media outlets since it was made available.
Surveying the expanse of the media landscape a few weeks on, just as most early buyers are about to get their very own Apple Watches, the sound and fury surrounding the Apple Watch remains quite loud.
I’d understand of course if you can’t stand another review of the Apple Watch. However, I’m hoping to be able to convince you to read on, to see what I think about the Apple Watch mainly because of a few things you haven’t come across before.
So, what would make my review different from everyone else’s?
Currently, just about everything you may have read or know so far comes from professional tech writers: Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, Ed Baig of USA Today, Nilay Patel of The Verge, Geoffrey Fowler and Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal, Joshua Topolsky of Bloomberg Business, David Pogue of Yahoo Tech, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Serenity Caldwell of iMore, and Jason Snell of Six Colors.
And if you’ve read as much as I have, you may have noticed that their primary focus was on the features of the watch: features they think are missing as well as what they think Apple should do for its next iteration of the watch. Their personal experience with the new device is almost an aside.
Despite the imperfect nature of product reviews as Brian X. Chen and Snell respectively noted in The New York Times and Macworld, reviews have been, generally, quite useful. Likewise, we have learned much more about the Apple Watch from a compilation of tips and hints posted by enthusiasts on online forums along with videos on YouTube.
There is, however, something that most write-ups haven’t quite pointed out: how the watch fits into the daily life of an ordinary person like you and me who bought the watch and will actually wear and use it, and will be living with it. Sure, a few professional reviewers did their best to fill us in with the most useful information; some even went so far as to share their own personal experiences and insights while using it. However, there are a few things that weren’t exactly covered. And yes, I’m here to do just that and other users will most likely do as well.
So, in addition to the extensive coverage by both the tech and fashion media, social media’s general noise now comes into play. As more and more Apple Watches snap onto the wrists of real people, bits and pieces of information from actual users are coming to light. In some ways, these user-generated reviews and feedback offer equally important details regarding the Apple Watch, a somewhat poignant way of perfecting the imperfect product reviews.
And you know what’s coming: this is going to be one of them. Let’s get started …
I got my Apple Watch a day under four weeks since I pre-ordered it online at the Apple Store, first thing, very early on the morning it became officially available. I was dismayed to learn that I was already in a long queue to receive my watch—after four to six weeks. I probably would have gotten it much sooner if I ordered during the very first hour of its availability. As it happened, I had to content myself with the long wait—and for someone really excited about it (points to self), it was a really long wait!
I unsuccessfully tried to distract myself, reading and trying to learn as much as I could about the Apple Watch. I even went into an Apple Store for a personal demo. You can probably imagine that, once I finally got my own Apple Watch, I was more than amply informed and prepped with what to expect, what it is all about, and what to do with it.
From an extensive selection of material configurations, I chose the 42mm Apple Watch with Milanese Loop. I also liked the one with the Link Bracelet, but since I already own a mechanical watch with a Milanese Loop that I like very much, I opted for yet another Milanese Loop. Besides, I find the novelty of owning a Milanese Loop with that newfangled magnetic strap interesting enough.
When worn, the watch is quite comfortable. The Milanese Loop did not disappoint; in fact, it is far better, finer, and more fluid than the Milanese Loop of my other watch. However, I noticed that the magnetic strength of the grip doesn’t seem to be strong enough to hold the watch in place for long. No, it has never unclasped; it does stay magnetized and really mostly stays in place—that is, if I do not move a lot or if I only move slowly; but as I wear it and normally move about, I’ve noticed that the strap loosens up a bit (up to almost a quarter of an inch, in my estimate). After around three to five hours, it would be loose enough that the weight of the watch would drag down enough to turn it slightly around. The loosening of the strap may be an issue for people who wear it low on the wrist, are generally active and animated, tend to gesticulate vigorously with their hands, and those who may even have extraordinarily silky smooth or even oily skin. Unfortunately, I wear my watch low; my daily tasks require many hand gesticulation, and I have the kind of skin that needs to be moisturized more than normal. I’m not really bothered by this, and it’s easy enough to re-tighten the strap to its original snugness. What concerns me though is that, as it gets loosened from the wrist, the haptic feedback may become less responsive. More importantly, I am somewhat concerned that the sensors that monitor and record vital signs throughout the day may become less accurate. That said, I am not averse to the idea of finding an alternative strap that’s more secure with clasps that ensure that the watch stays in place.
Fashion-wise, while the Milanese Loop pairs generally well with almost everything I wear every day, there were times and occasions when a different band would have been more suitable. Right now, I’m already going over the selection of bands offered by Apple. I’m thinking of getting a sports band for working out or even just for generally active use; maybe even a strap that’s ideal for weekend wear. I’m also looking at one of the leather band options as well as the link bracelet for evening functions or formal events. On top of the Apple’s offerings, I’ve also been looking at whatever third-party options are available or will soon ship. Not all that I’ve seen are as elegantly designed and crafted as the ones directly from Apple, but there are a few that look great. I do hope, in time, there will be more beautifully designed and excellently crafted alternatives within a more attractive price range.
It’s a given, and nobody really thinks about it, but basically, the Apple Watch is designed to be worn on the wrist. The question is, can I live every day with something strapped to my wrist all the time? I’m thinking that maybe I’d like to wear it in other ways, like turn it into a pendant or a pocket watch, possibly clip it to my clothes. I yet have to see necklace or pocket chain adapters. Wearing the Apple watch differently will, of course, diminish some of its touted functions or affect the auto-lock screen. Nevertheless, I can live with those limitations if I can carry my Apple Watch with me at all times to access it for different reasons while enabling me to wear my other watches on my wrist.
The very first day I strapped on my Apple Watch, I immediately realized that many of the reviews I read were pretty spot on. I immediately sensed and understood much of what they tried to say in their reviews.
I have been using Apple products for number of years now (since the iPod), and I have managed to surround myself with all sorts of Apple-branded devices along with a galaxy of accessories designed for these products. Oddly enough, and maybe even because of the large dose of Apple-centric media materials I’ve consumed and Apple products I’ve used, I was never really as excited as I was over the launch of the Apple Watch. While I generally get excited with every new Apple product that goes on the market, this is the first time I went totally crazy about one particular product. I know it’s silly because, in the general scheme of things, owning an Apple Watch isn’t exactly the most important thing in the world. I can only attribute this to the high desirability factor that’s been invested into the Apple brand all these years. Maybe it’s because I’m truly satisfied with the Apple products that I’ve been using, even if these are a lot more expensive than other brands, and how I perceive these to have contributed to the general improvement of my productivity, standard of living, and lifestyle, as well as the general immunity, so to speak, from computer viruses and malware.
Allow me get one thing out of the way, as it might be a little hard to believe: Not to sound prophetic, but during the early days of the iPod, I recall writing in an Apple users’ group I used to be active in that I wished Apple would come up with a watch. (You can verify my claim by going through the archive of that particular forum.) That was years ago, and, naturally, nobody paid any attention to it. It was a pie-in-the-sky wish that even I, at that time, wasn’t really all that convinced Apple would produce a watch. Yet, here we are today with the solid reality of an Apple Watch.
For me, the Apple Watch experience begins with the unboxing. For many Apple users, the unboxing is a significant part of the experience of owning an Apple product. And yes, the excitement of the unboxing of the Apple Watch is not much different from the unboxing of other previously owned Apple devices. So, first of all, Apple paid the same attention, care and consideration for the packaging of the Apple Watch, as much as they did with all their other devices. The way Apple products are packaged tells me how much the company values this special moment of introduction—it’s what happens first and it only happens once for every product. Many non-Apple products I’ve unboxed tried to approximate the Apple unboxing experience, but few have succeeded. It generally doesn’t come anywhere near how Apple does it. And even now that Apple’s packaging is much smaller and uses more recycled materials because of environmental awareness, this hasn’t diminished the delight of the unboxing experience.
However, despite my general joy, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that Apple no longer provided the white stickers that come with every product out of the box. The white stickers are one of the first things I look for inside the packaging, treating it like a seal of authenticity. As far as I can remember, ad from personal experience, this is the first Apple product I have unboxed with missing stickers.
I asked Jason Snell about this on Twitter and he immediately confirmed that the white stickers are no longer included. This fact was never mentioned in any of the reviews I read. Generally, the absence of Apple’s white stickers is no big deal and certainly doesn’t qualify as a deal breaker. I imagine that individual stickers don’t cost much, but I’m sure it all adds up when shipping millions. I can only guess that Apple includes the stickers to serve as a promotional tool. I’ve used mine on cars and other items, though I doubt if other people actually use theirs. Besides, at this point in time, there’s probably no more promotional value in the stickers as majority of buyers probably don’t actually use them. The way I see it—it no longer serves a practical purpose. Still, for hardcore collectors of kitsch such as myself, I value those stickers. Even if I don’t stick them, I lovingly collect them, not just as a proof of purchase or a seal of authenticity, but as collector’s items. I know that, on eBay for instance, several people sell and trade their Apple stickers, much as they would any other Apple paraphernalia, both old and new, which can fetch quite a handsome price. With the absence of Apple stickers in days ahead, their value on eBay may have consequently just gone up a tad higher.
Despite what may seem to be more than average that I’ve already read about the Apple Watch, there were still many gaps in what I currently know. The interface is quite new: how to input, how to gather information, how to interact with and use the information. It’s totally different from the other Apple devices that I’m already familiar with. I thought, being Mac-savvy, I could do it on my own without consulting either the official manual or any one of the many users guide online. It’s humbling, but it was far easier and so much quicker to get help from the online guides. And to get to the information that I needed right away, I learned that the online manual and video guides made available by Apple on their website, which you can also download as an iBook and read from your Mac, iPhone or iPad, was actually the best way to go. If you have an aversion to hard-to-read manuals, you’ll be happily surprised that the manuals and guides for the Apple Watch are a truly easy, fast, and even delightful way to learn about your Apple Watch. The manual is written clearly and simply. The instructions are brief and to the point. You’ll be able to follow along easily and do what needs to be done. Both the manual and guide are written in a way that sounds as if a real human being wrote it instead of a computer. And if you find the written instruction manual fun, you’d be happy to note that the official instructional videos on the Apple website are really great fun. I was learning and doing things on the fly.
What made it a bit harder for me, though, was the fact that I setup my watch not in English but in French. I started learning French a few months ago, and that’s the language I’ve set up in all of the Apple devices I own and use. Naturally, I chose to set the language of my Apple Watch in French as well. Other than the daily instructions I’m getting from Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, and a couple of apps on my iPhone and iPad, and from building vocabulary by brute force through straight Google search and translate, I found out from an article that I recently read that one of the best ways to augment learning a new language was to set up tech devices in the language I was trying to learn. I found this strategy to be so helpful, and I so I’ve set the languages of all my Apple devices in French. But because I have to learn the new words from the instructions of my French-speaking devices, it took me more than twice as long to learn things. I could have learned things much easier and faster, but I would have lost the opportunity to learn more about French, I therefore decided to stick with it despite the higher learning curve involved. And actually, even as I’m still trying to master the Apple Watch, I’m glad I did.
After going through the watch setup, the very first thing I did was to choose a watch face that I like.
From several readily available options, I instinctively chose the Utility watch face, and personalized it. I took a very good look at each of the watch face options, and I can say that there are three others I find to be quite interesting, unique and different. While I could’ve gone with any of those, I decided to pass up on them for now because none presented the bulk of the information (complications, they call it) that I could glean from the Utility watch face. Still, I am open to the notion of changing the watch face on the fly. When I get the chance to show off my Apple Watch to my gadget-oriented 7-year-old nephew, or when I finally get to go to Disneyland, I will most likely go with the fun Mickey Mouse watch face—which to me would also be an homage to the very first wristwatch I’ve owned and used when I was a kid, a real Mickey Mouse mechanical watch that was bought in Disneyland.
It’s not really surprising that the screen on the Apple Watch is like the screen of the iPhone and the iPad. It’s somewhat usable under bright sunlight, workable under bright but shaded conditions, but impressively clear, beautiful, and stunning indoors or areas with controlled or low lights. I think this is generally alright with most people as almost no one ever really stays under glaring sunlight for long.
There was one day in particular when I wore my Apple Watch for over 12 hours. I started wearing it before the sun went up and wore it long after sunset. That was the day when I went on a 6-hour road trip, therefore fiddling and using it a lot more than usual. I’ve come across many reviews of how surprisingly great the battery life is on a single charge, and I wondered if I would experience the same thing. Is it really going to hold up during that one particularly long day of extended use? When I checked the battery status as I charged it right before going to bed, I was happily surprised that it still held a 33% battery charge. On a typical day for me, I only get to use about 50% of the total charge. I stopped worrying about the watch’s battery life.
While I mainly consider my Apple Watch as a utilitarian item, I nevertheless see it as a fashion accessory: an accessory that could even be considered as a kind of status symbol. It’s not inexpensive to begin with, and it was designed not just to serve utilitarian purposes but also as a fashion accessory. I might as well treat it as one. Can I wear other wrist accessories along with my Apple Watch? I will most likely start wearing it on the wrist with bracelets of smooth beads and threads, but I’d probably think twice wearing metal bracelets with it. Luckily, that will be what my other wrist is for. While I’m sure the materials are strong enough (as has been clearly shown on several Apple Watch videos), I don’t want to risk scuffing it as it rubs with the other metals, or even possibly disrupting its haptic and magnetic functions.
One of the first things I was eager to try on my Apple Watch was Apple Pay. After setting up and registering the credit cards on my Apple Watch, I headed to the nearest establishment in my area that accepts Apple Pay (the exact same place I went to when I first tried out Apple Pay on my iPhone): McDonald’s.
At the counter, I placed my go-to McDonald’s order, brought up Apple Pay on my watch, drew it close to the terminal, and felt a tap confirming my payment. I looked at the person who was still expectantly waiting for my payment and I said, “I’m done.” Somewhat confused, she reluctantly looked and tapped on her terminal, and that’s when I saw a huge smile of surprise on her face. “Wow!” she said. “How’d you do that?” I told her that I paid with my Apple Watch. It was obvious that this was the first time she encountered a payment made and processed this way. I was having so much fun and I was so excited at the whole thing myself, but I wasn’t sure if I was more excited with how I successfully paid for my meal or with the order-taker’s reaction. “Hey,” she excitedly called out to others, “this guy just paid with his watch.” Some of the staff members behind the counter looked at her and one in particular, whom I can tell was trying very hard not to be impressed, approached us and said nonchalantly, “Yeah, that happens. That can be done.” She then casually walked away, pretending to resume her work.
The fluidity and flawlessness of the transaction made me wish that many more establishments will take Apple Pay. I didn’t have to pull out my wallet and rummage through my credit cards. With a tap, I was able to pay. It was really fast and convenient, which is exactly what happened at a rest stop on the road trip I took—seeing that the vendo machine accepts Apple pay, I punched in my selections, put my watch up to the NFR symbol reader, and I was munching on a Funion and drinking out of a can of Coke in no time—all so much easier than transacting with a credit card or in cash, and safer too. I’m actually excited at the idea of doing this on a vendo machine in front of my 5-year-old niece and my 7-year-old nephew—ask them to pick out something and pay for it with my Apple Watch—just to see their reaction. But knowing these kids, reared in the finest digital traditions, they’d probably not even notice how I paid for it. They’d most likely be excited with getting the treat.
Do I use my iPhone less, now that I have an Apple Watch? Yes and no. Yes, because many things I’ve come to depend on from my iPhone such as looking up for the time, weather, text messages, I can now do on my watch. But no, because, while I now use my Apple watch for many of these things that I used to use my iPhone for, I now use more of my iPhone for activities that can only be done on an iPhone such as reading ebooks, listening to podcasts and music, and, of course, taking phone calls. In short, I use my iPhone more for what it can and should do, and my watch for what it should and can do. One thing I’ve noticed though is that I no longer feel the nagging compulsion to check my iPhone often. I’ve set up and fine-tuned the notifications on my Apple Watch just right, slogging through French words, for things I want to get notified about (yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all included), and I trust that my Apple Watch will notify me the moment something really important comes up, exactly the way I’ve set it up. So far, it has done a very good job of doing just that: text messages from family and friends and a couple of news sites with snippets of the latest updates, among other things. I can glance at my watch as soon as a notification taps me, and, I usually respond on the fly. If it’s something that needs to be attended to in a more thoughtful and thorough manner, I decide if the iPhone, the iPad, or MacBook Pro can handle it best. Among my MacBook Pro, my iPad, my iPhone, and the Apple Watch, I’m now in the process of refining my use cases and scenario. It’s a balancing act of sorts: what to do on which device. I’m certain that there will come a time when I won’t have to think which one to use for whichever purpose.
One of the many wonders of the Apple Watch is its so-called Digital Crown. It’s a fantastic new input mechanism. Out of the gate, I think Apple certainly got it right. Despite the fact that I have fat fingers that make me rather clumsy when holding and operating small objects, I’ve never encountered any difficulty controlling the watch by operating the Digital Crown. The same can be said with the side button below it. Both input mechanisms work really, really well. But between the two, I was wrong to think that I’d be using the touch screen less often. In fact, I noticed that I use the touch screen just as much as I use the Digital Crown and the button. And, because I have buttery fingers and despite the oleophobic properties of the sapphire glass surface, I end up smudging the surface, and consequently make it look dull. I have to wipe clean the glass surface at least twice or even thrice a day to keep it looking pristine. It may just be me; others may not have this kind of problem.
With constant, daily use as I go about my usual routine, I tend to be careful not to bump the watch on hard surfaces. But I don’t always succeed. There were instances when I forgot I was wearing the watch and only became conscious of it whenever I bump against surfaces. I check for scratches, but so far, I’ve been lucky that I’ve inflicted no visible damage. I’ve been tempted more than once to buy one of the protective coverings or cases which I’ve seen from several online stores but I kept postponing it because neither the designs nor the bulk of these covers appeals to me. I might regret it in the long run, though.
On top of the one-year standard limited hardware warranty and 90-day support, it is possible to extend both to 2 years by purchasing the AppleCare+ Protection Plan for $69. It’s not a small amount but it’s also not too significant an expense considering that a piece of wearable tech such as this will generally be prone to accident no matter how careful one tries to be. I keep thinking, though, that I can use the $69 towards the purchase of something more fun. I didn’t purchase the AppleCare+, although I know I should, and I’m still debating whether I should. I consider myself a responsible enough person to properly take care of my personal belongings, but there were a couple of incidents in the past when I wished I bought protection for my other Apple devices—something that could have saved me both expense and grief. In my many years of being an Apple user, I’ve made an appointment with a Genius only thrice, and, despite the absence of AppleCare protection, my experience has been generally positive. In any case, I have about two more months to go to decide whether I should get AppleCare.
One particular accessory that I bought is the night watch stand. When I take off the watch at night to charge it, it used to just lay flat on the bedside table, and that isn’t exactly an elegant way to put it away for the night. I think the Apple Watch deserves a stand of its own. The box that it came with seems like a pretty good solution, but it’s not ideal. I got a good price (which coincided with a Memorial Day sale) for a beautiful, simple, and elegant Spigen-branded stand and charger. I’m using it now and it serves its purpose, though I have to admit that I can’t stop thinking about the Nomad stand and charger.
Now that I’ve been using the Apple Watch for a few days, can I live without it? Again: yes and no. Yes, because I will still be able to do everything that I used to do on my iPhone. But in terms of real, on-the-fly efficiency, specifically during moments when things get really hectic, the Apple Watch serves its purpose.
Will I buy a second, third, perhaps even a fourth generation Apple Watch? Yes, because not only will its usefulness and functionality improve in time, but I’m willing to bet that later models currently in development in Cupertino will be incredibly better. How often will I upgrade? Perhaps as often as Apple releases a new one. What do I do with my old Apple Watch? Many people sell them, and they get a very good resale value. But I’d most likely do what I usually do with all of the Apple stuff that I replaced with new ones: give them to members of my family who are only too happy to take them off my hands and use them. I feel that I get better value by handing them down to family members, or sometimes friends, who end up using them a whole lot, than merely selling them.
Right now, the Apple Watch works best with the iPhone. Do I want my Apple Watch to be effectively decoupled with the iPhone? Yes, if the product development of the Apple Watch runs concurrently with that of the iPhone, then I’d upgrade just as often. However, if they decide to decouple the watch, I’d probably buy less often. I might not buy an Apple watch as often as I do a new iPhone.
Since I started wearing the Apple Watch, I want to wear it all the time—at least, during all of my waking hours, if at all possible. I feel that constantly wearing it is the only way to get the most out of the wonderful technology that’s embedded in it. Unlike all other previous Apple devices, the Apple Watch is so different that it doesn’t do me any good if I’m not wearing it. One particular use case that has become very important and meaningful to me, especially because I’ve grown more health-conscious, is generating comprehensive and consistent health measures (among other things of course). Yet, as in all things that we put on, we will have to eventually take off at one time or the other, and the Apple Watch, is no exception.
After wearing the Apple Watch for most of the time, I felt some instances when it seems like I’m wearing a handcuff, granting that it’s a “golden handcuff,” and I just want to take it off. When it comes to wearing the watch at all times, and even as I’ve become so used to it that I don’t mostly notice it, there have been instances when I wanted to have nothing at all on my body, just like tearing all clothes off at the end of the day, just to feel free. I have experienced moments, sometimes during the middle of a particularly stressful day, when I wanted to have nothing strapped on my wrist, to be unshackled. There have been reported incidents where users experienced some form of skin irritation while wearing an Apple Watch. Even Apple’s official support page has noted the possibility of some people experiencing some kind of skin rash despite extreme precautions of having used only the finest materials for the strap. There is standard advice, of course, as to what to do and how to deal with it. Nevertheless, the psychological irritation and distress of having something constantly strapped to one’s wrist has not been addressed at all. I’m sure this phenomenon is not exclusive to wearing the Apple Watch, and may equally and potentially be problematic with anything that’s strapped to the wrist or worn on any part of the body for an extended period of time. I did a quick online search, but found nothing of this psychological distress in relation to constantly wearing an Apple Watch was ever mentioned. As far as I know, no tech writer or blogger has brought up this potential issue. Since I’ve had a personal experience with this, whenever I feel like I’m beginning to feel unduly constrained or feel some kind of psychological distress, I just take off the Apple Watch for a few minutes. I usually gently massage and rub my wrist, and also rotate my wrist both ways a few times. Those few minutes of relief, of having nothing strapped on to the wrist, immediately eases my discomfort, and I feel better as I strap the watch back on.
Now that I wear my Apple Watch on my wrist almost all of the time, will I buy other watches? I would probably not consider an Android or some other digital watch that mimics the Apple Watch, of course; but, possibly, other mechanical watches. I used to own several watches, and I used to wear a watch everyday. When the iPhone came along, I generally stopped wearing watches. But now, the Apple Watch has rekindled my interest. Even before it came out, with all the rumors of its imminent release, my interest in wearing a wristwatch was actually rekindled. I’m thinking of picking up again on my interest and actually adding watches to my collection. I’m interested again in looking at antique watches, as I am with current models. There’s one particular watch brand that I’ve always wanted to own, and now it’s within my radar of interest again. My birthday is still a few months off, but I’m planning this early on buying it as a birthday gift to myself, that is, if I can discipline myself not buying another fountain pen.
In any case, there are other watches with brands I’ve never heard of before that I’m becoming interested in. And pushing the whole thing a bit further, I’m generally now more interested in fashion, starting with accessorizing. That can lead to nowhere, or hopefully, somewhere. So, in a sense, the influence of Apple Watch on the public goes a bit further beyond the tech world and the world of horology. Its influence reaches out into all sorts of indirect directions, connecting with many other unexpected things in largely unexpected ways with largely far-ranging but certainly unquantifiable benefits to a diverse array of industries and people.
Is my life going to be better because of the Apple Watch? I think one of the general and pervasive existential paths that humanity is on, slightly above the level of survival, is the idea of general improvement. In general, people do things to improve their lives, and the lives of others. As we do this, we follow the process of continuing to build from what has come before. Now, Apple’s watch is just a watch, if not for anything else, and there’s really nothing it can do that couldn’t be done before it even existed. But, as the idea of the Apple Watch becomes a staple and even if it only improves humanity’s lot in a very tiny fraction of a general measure, its very existence affects how we march forward, in time, as a human race, and that, for all intents and purposes, is no small measure.
Note: My thanks to Midge K. Manlapig for editing this piece. Midge K. Manlapig is an advertising professional and public relations specialist from the Philippines. Her kitchen exploits are online via her blog Midge in the Kitchen at http://sybdive.wordpress.com. She is currently working on her first novel.