Monday, July 16, 2018

What I wore last week

Here's the next episode of my OOTD details! You know, I'd actually watch a show of my favorite style stars talking about how they put their outfits together. I bet it would be so fun plus it's going to be full of tips on what goes with what. Why is there no show like this???

Anyway, till that happens, we'll just do my OOTDs! Not because may balak ako maging fashion blogger. To be honest, the last 7 years or so, wala na talaga akong pakialam sa damit ko. Comfort and efficiency above all! I don't think I dressed too sloppily but it is a slippery slope when you live in daster and sweats, diba? So I was looking through my Instagram last year and I think I slowly realized I looked like crap hahahahahaha

We're going to sloooooowly change that this year, mamas! Again, I have no plans to become a fashionista. No budget! Lahat ng budget napupunta sa grocery and tuition kaloka! So I'm going to have to get creative with what's in my closet. Here's what I wore this week with the clothes I've had in there for years:

Lunch with family! I paired my favorite Topshop pajama pants with an off-shoulder blouse from Casual Chic Manila (shop here). I used to just wear these pants with t-shirts but my husband Vince said I look like I'm going to go to sleep so he suggested I pair it with nice tops para hindi ako mukhang nakapambahay. And so I did. What do you think of this look?

My favorite piece ever since lumaki balakang ko: midi-skirts! These are full skirts that cinch the waist and make hips and butt look sexy not fat. I got this skirt from Zalora and I love its deep pockets. Every woman in the world needs pockets! The shirt is from Uniqlo. The ballet flats are Mango. This is one of my go-to outfits.

Sundo duties means dapat comfortable ako. I usually wear a t-shirt and shorts when I fetch my kids from school but I leveled up with a silky blouse. Problema lang is mainit so dumidikit talaga siya sa pawis so maybe I'll wear this blouse kapag aircon lang ang pupuntahan ko. Scallop-hem shorts are Mango, blouse is from Cole Vintage, backpack is H&M.

I use my backpack a lot now because my spine is bending to my right side because heavy bags. Moms always have heavy bags. Plus, with 3 kids in tow every weekday, I need my hands. This is one of my mommy uniforms. Simple and easy to throw on. But if I didn't have my kids with me, I'd wear it with a big belt, chunky necklace, platform heels, and a tote.

Here's another of my mommy uniforms—shirt and shorts! That's a knit sleeveless top from Zara, shorts from Zalora, Melissa sandals (kasi minsan lang ako may pedicure so ipakita!), and my Kate Spade tote. Super pambahay look hehe Usually, I wear a bright lipstick to offset the pambahay outfit but sobra akong tamad this day! 

Hindi ako tamad this day, though! I really like this top I'm wearing! It's a cowl-neck blouse from Pastel and Paisley (shop here). Cowl necks, turtlenecks and long-sleeved shirts (and let's not forget silk blouses) are usually not a good idea in our climate but since this is made by a local brand, it's manipis and magaan so hindi mainit. I paired it with Mango jeans, Dune flats, and my Fino doctor's bag that Vince gave me 10 years ago. I wish I used another photo na mas cute si Piero but a manong guard took this photo and he said one picture lang daw kasi baka mapagalitan siya.

And that's this week's instalment! If there's anything I'm learning from my OOTD updates is I need to add more color to my wardrobe and I have to make my mommy uniforms more interesting! Okay rin pala ang naka-document ang outfits ko on Instagram (follow me!) kasi I become more mindful of what I wear. I hope this makes me strive to look my best!

Friday, July 13, 2018

10 things the kids can do indoors on a rainy day

The rainy season is here! For us moms of young kids, that means a lot of school days will be cancelled because of heavy rain, floods, and typhoons. Of course, when excited little kids are stuck at home all day and you can't send them out to the garden or the playground to give you a little peace and quiet, you need to figure out what to do with the kids. Well, mamas, here's what I suggest for the kids to do!

1. Study.
It's actually still a school day, even if classes got cancelled. So if they have a test coming up or I feel hindi pa nila gamay ang isang topic, we review review review!

2. Watch Netflix.
Yep. I'm not going to pretend I'm a perfect mom. I do it—I park my kids in front of the TV, turn on Netflix, and I chill. LOL. Ako talaga ang nag-chill. I love Netflix. It has 5 profiles, one each for every my member of my family. The boys can only their kiddie shows and movies, so I feel secure in letting them watch any show they want.

Of course, I hang around to supervise. Lots of the shows I heartily approve: Storybots, Trollhunters, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Puffin Rock, Team Umizoomi, Harvey Street Kids, Oddbods, Peppa Pig, Pocoyo, Paw Patrol, Boss Baby. Lots more actually. I just can't remember all the shows my kids and I have watched together. I'll do another post next week with mini reviews, but here's a preview of the truly enthralling Trollhunters:

3. Watch a movie.
Since I let them watch TV, you bet I let them watch movies, too, and watching movies is best enjoyed on a suddenly-there's-nothing-to-do day! There are a TON of movies on Netflix, mamas! The kids' favorites are from Disney (Pixar and Marvel), of course. So we're enjoying watching The IncrediblesBoltLion KingWreck-It RalphBrave, and Happy Feet.

Sometimes the kids want to watch movies that are not for their age group. We allow it if we're watching with them. So we move over to the grown-up profiles of Mama and Papa and all the Avengers movies on Netflix, Jaws, Real Steel, and Pacific Rim are on repeat in our house.

4. Read a book. Make a book!
We should read more books really. But when the school year starts, they put away the books because there's homework to do. How ironic! I really think homework should be illegal. So on nights there's no homework, we read a book. On days that classes are cancelled, we make books. Here's Piero and his book on Pacific Rim jaegers battling alien kaiju monsters!

5. Play video games.
School days mean no mobile devices. Sometimes, we do relax that rule when they have absolutely no homework, or they just finished a week of tests, or if classes are cancelled. Here they are relaxing with the iPad that Netflix gave us last Christmas. Thanks, Netflix! Yes, we can stream Netflix through our iPad, too!

6. Play the piano.
One of my joys is that every single day last summer, the kids pound away on the keyboard. It's not always music to my ears, but every day they practice it becomes less noise and it's lovely seeing and hearing my sons enjoy playing music. So whenever walang pasok, I urge them to play the piano again.

7. Play with their toys.
Now that school is here, the kids spend most of the day on campus, then when they get home, they do their homework. Then it's dinner, bath time and bedtime. On cancelled-classes days, they can get to enjoy their toys, like this set of building blocks that Netflix sent them. Thanks, Netflix! I love it that you send tons of activities for my kids that actually take them away from the TV. I guess you're that confident they'll be back haha

8. Play with pets.
My kids play with our bunny Blue every day but they're especially makulit with her kapag walang pasok. I seriously think Blue wishes there were classes every day because my sons are cariño brutal with her haha Just look at Piero making gigil sa rabbit!

9. Do science experiments.
Okay, we don't do this all the time. If we're going to do messy experiments, magluluto na lang kami hehe. Buti na lang they have a father who is more enthusiastic about making a mess that they can't eat. They've made slime, watched volcano eruptions, and recreated the water cycle. The boys love it!

10. Help with the chores.
Last but not the least, and actually the most important for me, I ask them to help around the house. Help with the laundry, pack away their room, little things like that. Just look at Piero when he was a wee toddler cleaning up his mess! Okay, I didn't make him sweep the floor. He volunteered to do this himself and actually made even a bigger mess! But you know what I mean about getting the kids to help out at home when they have no classes.

So there you have it, mamas! I obviously love it when #WalangPasok happens! Of course, I can do these because I'm a work-at-home mom. I'd love to know what moms who work at an office have lined up for their kids on days classes are cancelled. Please share! I'm sure we can all help each other make the #WalangPasok days a great time for the kids.

*Enjoy Netflix, too! Click here to see how to subscribe to the best streaming service of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. There's always something for you and your whole family to watch!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

5 Tips to Battle the Cons of Working from Home

As I write this, I am cradling my sick toddler with my left arm while I type with my right hand. Literally on one hand, I am a writer and on the other hand, I am a mom. Being able to work from home makes me both at the same time.

Many moms envy women like me who can simultaneously earn a living and care for their family 24/7. I know how they feel because I used to work in an office and leaving my baby every morning was heart-wrenching. I wanted to be a work-at-home mom (WAHM). Working from home is indeed a blessing, especially for moms of little ones. However, like all jobs, working from home isn’t all roses. There’s thorns in there, too. So if you’re a mom thinking of earning a living while taking care of your kids, here are five tips my friends, Martine de Luna and Jean Javier, and I came up for you. 

First, an introduction. Jean is the woman behind the lifestyle brand, Simple Mama. She makes scented candles, bath products, skin care lines, and many more lovely things in her own kitchen.

Martine is a brand coach. On her Facebook page, she calls her work as "Transformational Personal Brand Life Coach." What is that? She offers business management services to “women-centric brands as a branding coach, a content strategist and copywriter.” She also conducts personal branding workshops under her Make it Blissful brand. 

I’m a writer for print and online publications, I’m currently a beauty editor for L'Oréal Paris and a contributor to beauty website I am also a professional blogger.

Yes, we’re very busy women and so it isn’t true that when you work from home, you’re doing nothing. That’s an annoying misconception that you might run into once you set up shop at home. So here are a few tips to help you in case WAHM despair hits.

Jean featured in Town & Country.

1. See your friends. 
When we find the time, the three of us meet at a café to talk about work, family, and womanly concerns. The first con of being a work-at-home mom is there are hardly any other adults around to chat with. So these catch-ups over coffee are so important for us WAHMs.

Aaaand that’s all the cons my friends admit. Jean and Martine truly enjoy being WAHMs. Jean says, “I am a homebody. I enjoy being at home, I enjoy homeschooling my children, I enjoy tending to my garden and creating with my hands. So it can be said that working from home puts me in my element because it is where I am happiest.” Martine also enjoys the bliss of home and she adds this other benefit: “I like that I can create my work hours.” 

2. Hire household help. 
I have a harder time with working from home mostly because I don’t have household help. My day starts and ends with me being a mommy and homemaker. So I can only truly work when the kids are asleep, which means I hit the pillow at 3am only to wake up again at 6. This isn’t very good for my health! 

“I am now of the belief that ‘I can't afford to do my chores,’” Martine says. “Why? Because trading off work for chores means trading off income-earning hours. So we get our laundry and ironing done outside, so that's two chores off my list. We get a cleaning lady to come in once or twice a week to deep clean. I don't need to do much at home except cook, then I just do general maintenance cleaning every day.”

Jean is also grateful to have help. “I have house help who has been with me since my firstborn was still small and so I delegate the chores, which is a huge load off from time management.”

Martine in her favorite pink.

3. Get your family’s cooperation.
Even with household help, if your family keeps barging in on you, there is no way you can get any work done—something that happens to me all the time! So it’s vital you set boundaries. Designate a special area and a certain time for work, and firmly tell your family that they have to respect that time and place. Martine says, “When I have to work at home, I separate myself from the kids and go to my workspace on the second floor. When they see me at the desk, they know it's DND [do not disturb] time. Of course, my toddler tends to ignore this rule!” 

Jean says it’s also a huge plus if your family supports your work. “My husband does the aspects I cannot, like back-end computer work. He always stops what he's doing when I ask for help, and he definitely spends time with the kids when I have particularly heavy loads of production work to do.”

Martine also has the support of other family members. “Twice a week, my husband and I reserve for our new business, and we leave the kids for the day at either of the grandparents’ houses.” 

4. Work somewhere else.
For me, one of the most difficult things about working from home is that it’s my happy place. There are my books and TV shows, the chocolate and cookies, the always enjoyable chats with my husband, and the cuddle time with my kids. Plus, my bed is always tempting me with a nap! How can anyone work with so many distractions? Well, work somewhere else! Working from home doesn’t mean you literally have to be inside its walls. I like going to the convenience store of a gas station to work—unlike a coffee shop, patrons here don’t linger so there’s never anyone around!

Martine says, “Now that my kids are bigger, I actually don't do a lot of work at home. So during the day—especially if I have meetings—I don't work from home. On days I need to strategize and create for my clients, I work in quiet coffee shops near our home.”

Me, always working on my phone. 

5. Remember the reason why you’re working from home.
Working from home isn’t as easy as it looks. Still, there’s a ton of reasons why I love it: I don’t deal with traffic, I don’t need to spend on fancy clothes, I’m the boss, and I get to be with the people I love most in the world! There are days I complain about it but I like how Jean reminds me to focus on the good. She says, “I really believe that it is all about perspective, and this is what I know in my heart I want so nothing about it is displeasing to me. At least I try not to have thoughts like that. Because we can all find something [to whine about] and I choose not to. I am so blessed to be able to do what I do in the set up that I have.”

Martine encourages work-at-home moms to remember their purpose. “Be clear on why you want to work from home, because you will go crazy some days and forget why,” she laughs. “Seriously, though, consider your big ‘why’ for wanting to, and that will keep you going on the challenging days.”

Which brings me to today, a challenging day, typing this article with one hand and caring for my poor baby with the other. I’m worried about deadlines but I’m more worried about my boy. And I realize that even though I’m having a hard time juggling today, I am also incredibly lucky that I can be with my kids when they need me most. And that’s why I work from home.

*This article was published for last year and is published as is except for to reflect the current work of Martine and myself, too. Photos from @rawpixel at Unsplash, Facebook pages of Simple Mama and Martine de Luna. Please click the links to shop at Simple Mama and to consult with Martine. Thanks!