Monday, October 08, 2018

Good-bye to my fashion blogger dreams

LOL I don't have any fashion blogger dreams. But I did want to do more #OOTDs on my Instagram because waiting for my kids at dismissal time is boring and I figured it would be fun to pass the time with outfit posts. Like this:

Okay, I usually don't dress up when I fetch the kids. I had an event to go to after my school run so I put on something prettier than usual. The silk top is from Australia. I forget the brand but a reader sent a big box of goodies to me and there were a lot of clothes in the box. This blouse was one of them. The pleated skirt is Zara. The pleated flats are Dune London. The bag is my very own. The earrings are Rory & Sloan.

Now this is what I usually wear when I get the boys: Uniqlo torn jeans, basic top I bought from Zalora, my worn out super comfy Skechers sneakers, and H&M back pack.

Some days, I switch it up with ballet flats and a hardy tote. But the shirt and jeans stay. My shirt is Uniqlo. My bag is from IG: @themodernfolkph. My favorite black ballet flats are Mango. The belt is just a black ribbon I used to make my outfit look more feminine. Poor Piero. His face! I wanted to take a better photo but he refused so I need to respect that.

I came from a meeting here so I had to wear a nice top from IG: @casualchicmanila and my favorite Topshop slacks. But since sa BGC yung meeting and kailangan ng maraming walking and chasing after taxis dun, I wore my Skechers sneakers.

This was a rainy day ensemble. So I threw on a satin jacket from Evernew over my chiffon blouse. The blouse is from that same box of goodies from my Australian reader. My flats are Bata. My jeans are Uniqlo. I was wearing a cream belt, by the way, but I took it off nung nag-banyo ako kasi hindi ako makahinga LOL

This day, I didn't fetch the kids. My husband took time off from work so I can attend a vlogging workshop care of my Nido family. I wore a Zara coat over my Bench shirt and Topshop pants. This is really comfy!

So why bye to my "fashion blogger dreams"? Well, again, wala naman talaga akong balak maging Camille Co of the mommy universe (I'm so excited to see her mommy-and-baby OOTDs one day, though!). Gosh, si Cams talaga ang peg kapag fashion blogger. All her posts are FANTASTIC. So since siya ang peg, hindi na ako nag-attempt. Masyadong impossible haha

But I did enjoy the OOTD pics I posted recently. Sadly, that has come to an end as my photographer, my 6-year-old son Iñigo, has decided he no longer wants to take my pics. Cryyyyyy. I guess I should pay him. Maybe that will change his mind. But as of now, no more OOTDs from me! Thanks for indulging me, though!

Check back on Wednesday for a new post! Have a great day!

Friday, October 05, 2018

9 helpful real estate tips to learn from Netflix's Stay Here

Do you have a condo unit, a townhouse or a house that's sitting empty and you'd like to rent it out to vacationers? Then you MUST watch Stay Here on Netflix!!!

Stay Here is a show hosted by real estate expert Peter Lorimer and interior designer Genevieve Gorder. Together, they traveled across the United States, picking properties from dilapidated historical homes to a house boat to transform and market as a short-term rental, a.k.a. an Airbnb gem.

My husband and I have watched all the episodes. We like home design shows a lot. Our recent favorite is The World's Most Extraordinary Homes and it's also on Netflix and it's also a must-watch! We like home makeover shows, too. I mean, nothing is better than watching decorating experts transform a terrible piece of property to an astounding house! We learn a lot of design advice and we picked up a few tips and tricks in all the years we watched shows like decorating-budget-is-from-selling-old-stuff Clean House to the insane sky's-the-limit-budget of Million Dollar Decorators.

What makes Stay Home the kind of makeover show that made me take out pen and paper is it's also a business plan for people who want to make money on Airbnb. Airbnb is the most popular and the biggest accommodation-sharing service in the world. Whether you have an extra room or an extra house, you can rent it out to travelers. Airbnb makes this possible for millions of property owners and tourists out for a unique experience. It's also made tons of money. So if you want a piece of that pie, here's where Stay Home comes in.

In every episode of Stay Home, Peter and Genevieve check out a property, assess its income-generating potential, renovate it to a wow-inducing piece, and help the owner market it online. The renovated properties make so much money after, it's crazy! So let me share with you my Top 10 helpful real estate tips I learned from Stay Here:

1. Research the competition. How much are the hotels and rentals in your area? What do they look like? What can you offer that they don't? This information can help you decide on how to decorate your place, how much to charge, and how to market it.

All Malibu beachfront properties have this view but only The Beach House on Malibu Road has this deck to soak it up! 

2. You have to be better than the hotel in the area. Guests know they're staying at a home so they usually won't expect a hotel-like experience. But when you give them 5-star accommodation and service, that will make them leave you a glowing review, refer you to friends, and they will return. Peter always says, "Referrals are the lifeblood of short-term rentals!" So if people like you, they'll recommend you forever, which means free marketing for you.

Why choose a bland hotel room when you can sleep in this blissful blue bedroom in the Palm Springs Time Machine?

3. Target families. Most everyone who chooses Airbnb do so because they're a big group. Hotels infamously limit occupancy to 2 people per room, or 2 adults with 2 kids aged under 12. So people like me who have 3 kids, or families who like traveling with the grandparents, or those who bring along their pets are dismayed at hotel restrictions. So here's where you—dear property owner—come in. Target families! They are willing to pay more especially since hotels don't offer them space and a home-y feel. Look at your amenities with a mother's eye. Make it child-safe and child-friendly. Make them feel it's a true home away from home. Peter said, "Ninety percent of vacations are booked by moms." Moms are who you need to impress!

The loft in the second bedroom of DC Firehouse 4 can accommodate 2 kids while the wall of curtains can hide baby stuff like strollers and car seats.

4. Highlight the uniqueness of your property. Always tell the visitor the history of your rental and your neighborhood. All properties are the same anyway in that they offer the traveler a roof over their head and a pillow under it. Spotlight what makes your property unique. Tell its story because stories add to its appeal. Add these stories and photos in your listing. 

The Palm Springs Time Machine offers a sexy bar, psychedelic rooms, a fabulous pool—all in their original 1969 glory.

5. Make the entry impressive. If your property is a home, make the gate and/or the front door stand out so that guests—especially those arriving in the middle of the night—won't miss it. Genevieve always emphasizes the importance of the entry way. It has to cheer up the weary traveler and make them excited for their stay. Even if your property is a condo, you can still make your guests feel you care for them by making your entry hallway warm and welcoming. Make it bright. Make it intuitive—meaning your guests will immediately know where to drop off their luggage, take off their shoes, etc.   

Expect this cheerful living area to greet you when you book  a stay at the Yellow Block Bed & Breakfast.

6. Stock up on essentials. Do as hotels do and offer coffee, water, snacks, grooming products, towels. Peter suggests putting together a welcome basket of treats you can find in your neighborhood for local travelers. For foreign tourists, fill that basket with native goodies like dried mangoes, piaya, polvoron, and the like. Spend 10% of what you charge for the night on the welcome basket.

The Yellow Block B&B has cereal, the local favorite rainbow bagels, and its own Yellow Block bagel for guests to enjoy.

7. Include a tourist guide. Places to go, transportation tips, shopping malls, unique shops, bars, banks with ATMs, landmarks. Guide them to a great local experience.

Families seated at that generous table can plan their itinerary using the Yellow Block B&B Wall of Attractions.

8. Don't take pictures of your rental with your phone. The biggest mistake of all! Please use a real camera. Better yet, hire a professional photographer. You've got to have great pictures if you want to sell your property. Take pictures of the neighborhood, too. 

You can't miss DC Firehouse 4—on the stretch of colorful homes, it's the one with a firetruck!

9. Make your rental social media friendly. If it's Instragammable, you get free marketing when your guests take selfies and photos. Genevieve says it's not enough to make your place look nice, it has to have a feature that will make your guests take out their phone and snap a selfie. She calls it "a social media moment." That's a fabulous wall to pose against, a crazy pink bedroom, a historical piece. Peter says, "Create a hashtag!" In the time of Instagram, but of course!

At the Palm Springs Time Machine, a #selfie in this fantastic pink bathroom featuring a crazy sunken bathtub is a must! 

You have to watch the show, mamas! If you're thinking of a business that allows you stay at home, then Stay Here will help you make your dreams a reality with concrete business advice. Truly a must-watch show in the time of businesses at home, room-sharing, and social media!

Stay Here is exclusively showing on Netflix. All photos here were grabbed from the websites or Airbnb listings of Yellow Block B&B in Brooklyn, Palm Springs Time Machine in Palm Springs, The Beach House on Malibu Road in Malibu, and DC Firehouse 4 in Washington DC.

Check back on Monday for a new post! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Working mom dream: A career that lets her be with her kids

At one of my blogging workshops (the super successful one held at the beautiful corporate offices of Flawless Face & Body Clinic), I was so happy to see moms bringing their babies. While I was speaking, sometimes a kid cried or talked loudly or had to breastfeed. I didn't mind at all. I brought all my babies to work so I totally understand how life is with kiddos. And that makes me constantly dream of a work environment that allows mothers to be mothers.

I wish more work places allowed kids to be with their mommies and daddies. Yes, I should change my title to "Working PARENT dream: A career that lets moms and dads be with their kids." Kids may be a distraction when you're working—as a work-at-home mom, I know this so well—but worry over them and guilt at spending too much time away from them can be a distraction, too.

At Summit Media, I brought my kids to events, radio tours, and to my office. I don't know if that was allowed because I was OK! magazine's editor-in-chief, though! Of course in Baby Magazine, my kids always tagged along to my shoots. Now, in L'Oréal, I sometimes bring my kids along and my co-workers get so excited to see little people in the office. In fact, the past 8 years that I've been a mom, I've always had my kids around when I work (for better or for worse!). I'm truly grateful for this privilege.

At an interview and a shoot for my Manila Bulletin column, I shot my OOTD... and my Iñigo!
Vito (in yellow) at a photo shoot for Baby Magazine. He wasn't a model, just a bored kid at mama's office!
Piero enjoying a photo shoot for Halo Sleepsacks

I'm grateful that my work now as a blogger allows me to earn money while I'm home. But this career is like a freelance job - sometimes the checks don't come in for months. I may be working on so many campaigns, which impress the heck out of everyone, but our bank account is screaming, "Show me the money!!!" The bills come with frightening regularity and with three kids now in school, the expenses have shot up. That's why my husband went back to an office job and I got a regular editorial gig at L'Oréal just to match the schedule of the bills with a reassuring monthly pay check. But we're already missing what we had just last year - 24/7 with our boys! Our life was so amazing. But we had to give it up.

It's not so bad, okay. Our kids spend a lot of time in school anyway, plus our jobs now allow us a lot of flexibility. We're not complaining. In fact, we're grateful we're allowed so much time for ourselves and our family while also earning a living. Many parents don't enjoy what we have.

Parents are such hard workers. And we'll work better if we knew our kids are safe and happy. For many of us who have wonderful yayas and relatives to care for our babies, that's great! But some of us, like me, who have no help at all from either kasambahay and family, work is almost impossible if we can't bring the kids along.

I wish companies can have daycare centers. Or a family room. Or offer flexible working hours or work-at-home options to all its employees, parent or not. It's a changing world anyway. Moms and dads are great employees because they need the job more, ya know? Employers can take advantage of that by taking care of the little kids, too. Parents spend a good chunk of their day at the office so it would be lovely if it would be a home away from home!

Kids also benefit from seeing their parents at work. I will never forget walking into my mother's office and observing the respect and good will towards her. I mean, to me, she was just Mama. So to see that she's more than that, that she's actually important to other people, was eye-opening. So bringing kids to work can be a good idea!

Dream dream dream away! I don't know how this can be done but I have an unshakable feeling it will be the future. And we'll be the generation of moms who will make it happen, if not for us but for our kids.  I'm so excited for my sons and future daughters-in-law!

Check back on Friday for a new post! Have a great day!