Monday, January 02, 2017

What 2016's most popular posts can tell us about blogging in 2017

Happy New Year, everybody!

Indulge me for a moment: I want all my Loyal Readers who are bloggers to check their stats and see which of your blog posts ranked the highest. List them down and then study that list. I'll tell you why in a bit but first, here are Topaz Horizon's most popular posts in 2016:

#1 Review: Flawless Advanced Anti-Acne Facial
#2 Mama's regrets
#3 What exactly is a supermom?
#4 I saw my future in an instant
#5 Frances Finds #GiftsTheyllLoveatNBS
#6 Topaz Horizon is now officially a mommy blog
#7 Review: Physiogel Calming Relief range
#8 Life changes this year with the new school year 
#9 Is blogging even still relevant this 2016?
#10 Raising kids in the time of blogging

Beauty reviews, motherhood, marriage, blogging, and shopping finds. Those are the topics that my readers liked the most. Although I'm a little suspicious about the National Book Store post because I think NBS promoted that.
Or maybe this was a popular post because people love to shop? What do you think?

In November, as I turned 40 years old, I launched a new look and a new direction for my blog. The look was cleaner and more professional yet still feminine. The new direction was my blog will now be a working mama's journal, a working mother's life shared with other working moms! It is my hope we can create a community supporting each other. That's the goal. Thing is not one career-oriented blog post made it to my popular-posts list! What to do?

Well, I've decided to marry what my readers want with what I want. I will still continue to talk about beauty, motherhood, marriage, and shopping but all in the context of working motherhood. To tie it all neatly together! So I've found my niche (working mamas unite!) and I'm so excited to blog this 2017!

You see, last year was a bit of a limbo for me. I decided to kill my mommy blog so I can stop mommy blogging and be a lifestyle blogger. However, my lifestyle was very much dominated by my kids—from what I wore and what I ate to what I read and watched! What else am I going to write about?!? As a writer, I have always been told by my writing teachers and mentors: Write what you know. And all I know now in this stage of my life is being a mommy so here we go! Mommy blogging again! But I needed focus. And after many tries, I found it, I found my focus! Working mamas unite!

Throughout 2016, I also experimented with different topics seen in blog series. I did Ask Frances, Frances Finds, Topaz Talks, and Blog Biz. Here's what you'll still see in 2017 and what will stay in 2016:

Ask Frances was an advice column but I quickly found out that I couldn't sustain it. First, the questions sent were too hard—marriage trouble, OFWs resenting their families, mothers resenting their kids and their husbands. I'm sorry if I didn't answer your questions, readers. I didn't because I couldn't. Second, the questions were mostly sent anonymously so when I ended each Ask Frances post with a request for contact info so I can send their gift, only two replied and got their gifts! So that didn't fly.

Frances Finds will continue! I have lots of products and goodies to tell you about!

Topaz Talks is fun—it's me chatting with other working mamas and they reveal tips and tricks about work and motherhood, plus information relevant to the season. I have three Topaz Talks lined up! I just haven't been able to transcribe my interviews because the holidays were much too much! Stay tuned for those!

Blog Biz was my favorite series! I was only supposed to do that every other month but I liked talking about blogging so much, I did it every month. I even did two Blog Biz broadcasts on Facebook Live! I realized I love sharing my blogging secrets, and I really want everyone to have a blog. I like telling stories and I love reading other people's stories so let's all write our stories! Plus, if I can help other people, mommies especially, to earn from blogging like I do and be able to stay home with their kids like I do, then my blogging has been worthwhile!

So there you go! My blogging strategy for 2017! Focusing my blog to be by and for working mamas will also help me with everything—from the sponsors I work with, the workshops I'll do, and the speaking engagements I hope to get. It's easier to explain my blog to brands now! I'm so happy that after 10 years, I've finally understood what to do with my blog! Imagine that!

Okay, now tell me what you plan to do with your career and your blog this 2017. Tell me about your blog's most popular posts and what it told you. I'd really love to know!

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pollution spoiling your skin? Physiogel Daily Defence to the rescue!

This post is brought to you by Physiogel.

This weekend, I'm starting a new skincare regimen using Physiogel's Daily Defence range. I actually tried the products a couple of months ago but after a few days, habit took over and I reached for my usual Physiogel Calming Relief products. But because 2017 is going to be a lot different from 2016, I'm switching to Daily Defence. Here's why:

1. Thanks to Physiogel's Calming Relief line, my skin has already calmed down. Literally. Just look at what my skin looked like before using Physiogel! 
After 2 months' use, my skin calmed down and felt relief!

Scary. But now that my condition has improved, I can move to another skincare line. But Physiogel pa rin! Since my skin is now healthier and stronger, I need to protect it from the harsh environment. Hence, Daily Defense!

2. This coming year, I'll have two kids in big school and my plan is for them to get involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. Because they'll be in school and also because my youngest son has finally weaned (hooray!), I can now focus more on my work. Whatever it will be! That means I'm changing my safely-working-at-home lifestyle to one that's out and about. So working mama me needs extra protection from pollution, UV rays, and stress!  

3. Well, it's New Year's Eve this weekend and the pollution will be extra thick so what better time to start a skincare regimen that aims to defend skin from the environment, right?

So let's talk about environmental pollution. As a working woman in the city, I'm well aware that pollution posts high risks on our health—our lungs and our skin most especially. I breathe in the city air every day. I get exposed to skin-damaging UV rays even when I'm in the shade because the glass-and-concrete buildings and the pavement reflect the sun's harmful rays. Pollution brings with it dirt, irritants, germs. Add sticky, oily sweat and you've got a recipe for skin disaster. I should know because my skin is super oily and extra sensitive so I break out at the slightest excuse! 

I actually didn't know my skin was sensitive. Akala ko super pimply lang talaga ako. Yun pala I have sensitive skin that's highly allergic to practically everything! Dirt, dust, allergens, makeup, perfume, my own husband's stubble! My skin reacts immediately—redness, rashes, pimples. Ang arte!

Living and working in the city hasn't helped my skin either. Especially in a megacity like Manila. Megacities are urban areas with at least 10 million people. I learned this from Physiogel: 

"Air pollution in megacities can be up to 15 times higher across the globe than recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. When pollution comes into contact on the skin, the particles’ tiny size – which could be up to 20 times smaller than pores – allows them to infiltrate deeper layers of the epidermis. The breakdown of skin barrier functions at a cellular-level can make skin extra sensitive, and can cause skin irritation, dryness, dehydration, premature aging and dullness.

"Based on the 2016 report from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the worsening air quality in Metro Manila, 80% of the air pollution in the country is to be blamed on mobile sources such as vehicles, and 20% of pollutants from stationary sources such as buildings and factories."

Jon Lee, Head of Skin Health & Nutrition, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Philippines, said, “We are talking to women who are driven by the megacity lifestyle. Studies have provided data linking the fast development of megacities like Metro Manila with the rapid increase in city pollution. And alongside that, the problem it brings to sensitive skin. It’s hard to escape pollution and other environmental aggressors, so it’s time to properly defend the skin.”

And here's where Physiogel Daily Defense comes in. 
Physiogel Daily Defence is a complete day-to-night facial skin regimen that promises to defend the skin against pollution and environmental irritants. How? Through a unique triple-action formula!
1. Physiogel BioMimic Technology® to repair and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier
2. broad spectrum UV protection to help protect against harmful UV rays
3. Antioxidant Complex to neutralize free radicals caused by pollution and radiation

Physiogel picked new brand ambassadors for Daily Defense: Liz Uy, Fay Hokulani, and Martine Cajucom. I know Liz from my past life as a magazine editor and she's shot through the sartorial stratosphere as a celebrity stylist, fashion editorial consultant, and international street style star. Liz said,  “As I travel to different megacities around the globe, I used to never really care about city pollution – not until I started noticing the visible changes on my skin. Sun spots, skin dryness and sensitivity, and practically aging faster are the effects of urban-living.” 

Liz started using the entire Physiogel Daily Defense line: Start with the Physiogel Daily Defence Gentle Facial Cleanser, which effectively removes makeup, dirt and other impurities while respecting the skin’s moisture barrier then finish with Physiogel Daily Defence Replenishing Night Cream to strengthen and repair the skin's moisture barrier function while you sleep. In the morning, use Physiogel Daily Defence Protective Day Cream Light with SPF 15 (or Physiogel Daily Defence Protective Day Cream Rich with SPF 15 if you have extra dry and irritated skin).

After just two weeks, women who tried the Daily Defense regimen noticed visibly healthier skin! Liz said, "To all women living and enjoying the megacity lifestyle, and to those who will pursue this path in their careers, the best decision you can make for yourself is to carefully defend your skin. So go out there and let Physiogel Daily Defence take care of your skin.” 

Oooh! I totally believe Liz because I'm a Physiogel user! I can't wait to start using Daily Defense! I'll do a review at the end of January. Watch for it!

For more information, visit: and their Facebook page,

Monday, December 26, 2016

A truly adorable Christmas story

For my sake, I'm sharing this absolutely adorable Christmas story that's gone viral, so I can always have it on my blog and I'll always watch it whenever I want to. But I'm also sharing it with you if you haven't seen it yet because, mommies, you have GOT to watch it! It's not accurate but it's still true. And hilarious! And soooo adorable.

Dearest mommies, the Christmas story according to kids:

So now my kids think that Mary was doing laundry when she got pregnant with the baby Jesus. Oh well! Be ready to explain a lot to your kids when you watch this with them. We had to talk about the whole Christmas story, like the real one in the Bible, after watching this, and my sons still insist they like the part of Mary doing laundry when she got the good news. So we're still talking about that. We all do agree on the last line of the video:

"The new baby is going to change the world."

Oh yes, yes He did. He changed mine and I hope He changes yours, my dear Loyal Readers. May you accept Jesus Christ in your weary, wonderful hearts and let Him lead you to a life of abundance, joy, and peace that passes all understanding.

From our family to yours, we wish you, "Merry Christmas!"