Sunday, September 28, 2014

What free Internet means to Filipinos

Last Friday, PLDT chair Manny V. Pangilinan himself announced the astounding news that the giant telco will be providing free Internet services to all the prepaid subscribers of Smart, Talk 'N' Text and Sun Cellular.

That's news, entertainment, social media, complete mobile communications (ya know, email!), and online transactions suddenly available to 66 million Filipinos. That is huge.

It's not forever, however. The promo will last only until November 30. I guess it's an experiment for the telco, to see how many of its prepaid subscribers will like surfing the web on the go. Mr. Pangilinan said, “We are launching this initiative to provide a much larger number of Filipinos the opportunity to try out and experience the Internet, enjoy its benefits and, as we at Smart like to say, live more.” 

So there. It really is an experiment, one that I hope will be successful because I strongly believe in the power of information at your fingertips anywhere, anytime. He added, “This special offer is specifically designed to assist our prepaid subscribers who make up the bulk of our population. Many of them already have the mobile devices capable of accessing the internet but have yet to use them to go online. In this way, Smart can effectively promote digital inclusion and spread the benefits of the Internet in the fastest and most effective way possible.”

The free Internet isn't unlimited. It's up to 30MB a day. That's not a lot. And yet, for people who have never had Internet on their mobiles before, that's enough. I should know. I used to have limited Internet before and even then I felt so amazed. Like, "Wow, I can check my email anywhere! Wow, I can't tell my boss I was stuck in traffic and didn't see her email!" Heehee.

Okay, so what does 30MB get you anyway?

You can check and update your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), read news/entertainment/magazine articles online, manage your emails, stream music, shop online. You can do a lot naman. Just not unlimited use. So maybe the "I didn't see your email," excuse might still work. Heehee.

Now, some people think what's the point of offering Internet to the masa. I've seen some comments on social media go, "Do they even have email? Do they even have clothes for #OOTD? Do they have bank accounts for online transactions? Do they even read?!" 

Grabe.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fashion Friday Find: The best Instagram account on #OOTD!

I just discovered what is perhaps the best account on Instagram that's all about style, glamour, shopping and travel!

Folks, follow Barbie's Instagram account!
Selfie!

Outfit posts!

Travel pics!

A day in the life of a working woman!

Incredible fashion from top designers and stylists!

It's very new. Just one month old but Barbie is so delighted that she already has 300,000+ followers. I can only dream of 300,000 followers. Fashion IG accounts seem to be very popular and I'd do OOTDs but, with my current job description (mom of three little boys), good luck to any outfit surviving a day without getting barfed/vomited/wiped/smeared on!

How about you? Who's your favorite fashion Instagrammer?

*photos from Barbie's Instagram account

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Friday, September 19, 2014

How to really give baby a no-more-tears bath

I think Johnson's Baby has put a trademark on "No more tears" because of their baby wash. So when Nuffnang told me that Johnson's Baby wanted to visit me and my new baby boy Piero and show me how to care for his skin, I thought, "Oh, they'll just tell me about their famous no-more-tears formula." 

As a mom of three little boys, I didn't think there was anything I needed to know about taking care of babies. I considered myself a mommy pro, ya know! But I did have questions on sun exposure since the pediatrician recommended sunbathing Piero. I was concerned about sun damage. Since Johnson's Baby said they will talk about skin care, I figured my concern qualified as a skincare issue so I invited them over.

I'm so glad I did! Johnson's Baby brought Merna, a midwife from the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines, and she showed me how to give Piero a stress-free bath. Now, if you're a mommy of newborns, you'd be familiar with how they absolutely hate baths. The pregnancy and baby bible What to Expect said newborns hate to be naked. They feel cold and insecure. They need to be held and tucked into a ball, and baths just don't have a part in that picture. So I usually rush through bath times with my kids. They scream like they're being tortured, you see, no matter how nice and warm the water is or what soothing song I sing. Everyone's upset! They only start enjoying their bath when they're around 4 to 6 months old. 

So how do we give newborns and infants a real no-more-tears bath? With Swaddle Bathing!

The video showed the baby wrapped in a towel but Merna used a lampin with her demo doll. I think that a lampin (or muslin) is also more advisable because a towel will soak up too much water and be heavy. You don't want to be handling unwieldy things when you're bathing an infant.

After the bath demo, Merna showed me how to... 
  • dry baby (pat, pat, and make sure all folds are wiped, too!) and apply lotion
  • put on a diaper (fold the top of diapers outward to prevent it from scratching baby's skin)
  • massage baby to promote growth and relieve stress.
All of these tutorials are in the new microsite of Johnson's Baby. It's a cute website that helps us moms care for our baby's skin. As the first barrier against infection and germs, skin has to be healthy. Yes, more than being soft and touchable, what really matters is our skin's good health, especially our baby's skin. Johnson's Baby has made it their mission to be moms' partner in baby's healthy skin development. They assure us moms that their products — recommended by the World Infant Care Authority, and rituals – developed in partnership with the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines — are safe, mild and effective.

I used the Swaddle Bathing tip when I bathed Piero after the Johnson's Baby visit. True enough, Piero wasn't scared, stressed, and he didn't cry! It works! We're so happy! So, mommies, make sure you study the swaddling video so that you and baby will have a real no-more-tears bath!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Loving how the MUJI Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser makes my house smell great!

I love home fragrances. I have a collection of scented oils, scented candles, stick diffusers, aromatherapy sticks, and home sprays. What I haven't tried is electric scent diffusers and so I was happy to try the Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser that MUJI lent me one weekend.

Why was I asked to try out this aromatherapy device? Because MUJI is launching its Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser here in the Philippines, and they picked the right person for the job because I love home scents! The diffuser is one of their bestselling items for the home and, after experiencing it, I can see why. 


Here's my review:
  • Using ultrasonic technology, the diffuser sends a scented dry mist all over your room. In our case, it sent the fragrance all over our 100+ sqm two-bedroom condo unit so I can say that it's pretty potent, considering the diffuser I got was the smallest size. 
  • All it needs is 100 ml of scented water (make it with a few drops from the Muji Home Fragrance line, a collection of essential oils designed to refresh, relax or power up your mood). 
  • Though the scent solution is hardly enough to fill a cup, the diffuser turns it into a super fine mist that can last up to three hours. That's three hours of your room (or home) smelling like a relaxing spa, a garden in bloom, or a rejuvenating forest.
  • I love that I can leave it and never worry about fire. I love scented candles, you see, but I can't fully relax because I have to always remember to put out the candles!
  • The diffuser has a nice, warm adjustable LED light that gives our room a soft glow. Makes me feel relaxed, cozy and sleepy. And romantic!
  • It's so easy to clean. Just wipe dry! 
  • It's a humidifier. It doesn't say so in the press release but, as someone who grew up with chronic asthma, I've been around humidifiers to know what it is. So I like that it helps me breathe while I get aromatherapy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

On blogging and not blogging

Hi everyone! Remember when I used to blog regularly? Like, several times a week? No? Ya, me neither.

I'm going to ramble today about my blogging life. If you've noticed, I haven't been blogging much. There are pretty good reasons why:

1. I have a new baby.
2. I have two other fairly newish babies.
3. I blog when my kids are asleep. Well, Vito has stopped napping ("I sleep when Mr. Sun is asleep."), Iñigo has decided to follow his older brother's example, and the new baby, well, Piero sleeps all the time but he must do it in my arms while breastfeeding. Kinda hard to tap away at the keyboard with a 6-kilo weight!
4. I was bullied last year by some bloggers so I lost a lot of blogging mojo. I wanted to leave blogging. Yeah, I was so affected, I was willing to accept defeat and just disappear. So thank goodness for my sponsors because, well, I have commitments to them so I couldn't kill the blogs. I'm okay now. It took a year for me to get over that whole fiasco, but my mojo is back. Except that with the mojo came the new baby so I'm still having a hard time blogging hehehe!

Where I'm blogging now. 

Anyway, like I said, my mojo's back. I still think of my blogging as a hobby; hence, my endless surprise that it's my main source of income. My blogger friends have been advising that I can do and earn so much more if my blogs become professional. So I've been talking to someone who can move my blogs to Wordpress (all the pro bloggers I know said it's time to leave Blogger). I've also been thinking of merging all my blogs into one because one blog is easier to maintain. I have separate blogs because of Nuffnang, you see. Nuffnang, the ad platform that handles Topaz Horizon, requires that we can't publish a new blog post for a number of days after a sponsored post. This is to give the sponsored post more mileage. Totally understandable. Didn't really bother me that much since I had Topaz Mommy and (the now dead) Beauty For A Living. If I wanted to blog, I just hopped on over to the other blogs. The bonus also is Topaz Mommy started earning on its own so now I have two income-generating blogs. Good times!

Then the kids arrived! Oh my goodness. I could handle my blogging/writer/married/mommy life when there was only one child. But with three kids within 4 years... I'm just going to let that trail off.

Can't complain! I'm very happy. In Rick Warren's Daily Devotional he asks:


I'm tired, but a happy tired. I'm tired because I'm a mom of three little boys. They can be a handful. But they make me happy, the work I do makes me happy. I'm happy. You know how when you're doing something you really enjoy, you may be exhausted but you love it anyway? And you hate being interrupted from your work because you enjoy it so much? That's how I feel about every aspect of my life now! I just need to find that balance so I can enjoy everything and sleep, too!

I'm so overwhelmed, yes, but since I'm happy, I know the solution to this overwhelmed state is not to cut back. Not this time. The solution is for me to finally GET ORGANIZED! I'm very chill, very come-what-may, very bring-it-on. But I never quite have a battle plan. This really surprises people because I come across as very on-top-of-everything. Well, I used to be, when I didn't have kids and I had a job in print publishing. But since leaving the corporate world, I've lost structure. That's the great thing about being an employee. You have a boss, she tells you what to do, you do it, you get paid. There's structure. When you're freelancing and blogging, there's a lot of busy today, relaxed tomorrow. There's no schedule. It's so weird!

The good thing about all this no structure is I said yes to a lot of things I wouldn't have been doing otherwise. For example:
1. When people approach me to be their brand ambassador, I go, "Sounds interesting. Okay!"
2. When I was asked to collaborate on bag design, I said, "I've never designed a bag. Let's do it!"
3. When I was offered to be market editor for Baby Magazine, I went, "Well, I've never actually done fashion and product shoots before (I was immediately management with OK! magazine, I didn't work my way to the top). But I'm in!"

So that's another reason I'm MIA here. I've got a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Can't complain again! I'm pumped up with work. Work always makes me happy. More than cooking and arranging flowers and planning meals and cleaning! I'm really a career woman. I'm not a domestic goddess at all (although I seem to give off that vibe. Strange!). But I'm choosing to stay home and work from home—even if that means a huge pay cut!—so that I can be with my baby boys. I'm really happy I can do both!

But for me to do both, I have to get organized. I just can't wing it anymore. I have enough projects that I feel I'm really working again. No more donya mode! I just don't know how to do it! So I want to ask all the freelancers, work-at-home moms, bloggers with day jobs, and full-time bloggers: How do you do it???

And with that, I just heard my preschooler and toddler fighting so off I go. Don't forget to share with me your tips on how to be organized! Mwah!

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

PLDT Home launches new fun app and a gadget grab giveaway!


Okay, this announcement is for all the Pinoy families who...
  • like (or need) to keep in touch with each other
  • enjoy apps in their smart phones
  • like to have fun with their conversations either with stickers, emojis and video calls  
  • believe in value for money
  • are PLDT subscribers.
Yes, PLDT, as in landline! Because now you can have the same conveniences of a landline on your mobile phone! PLDT just launched the heyÜ app and when you download it, you get these:
  • consistent and clear connections
  • free and unlimited voice calls to other heyÜ subscribers and PLDT landlines
  • free and unlimited video calls to other heyÜ subscribers
  • inexpensive rates when you call Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun numbers 
  • inexpensive rates when you call abroad (US, Hawaii and Canada)
  • instant messages made more fun with unique and quirky stickers and emojis
  • group chats
  • multimedia attachments like audio, video, photos and location
  • secret messaging
  • auto-buddy matching
  • application geo-locking and application geo-blocking

The heyÜ app is so perfect for families and barkadas! You can keep in touch all day in many fun ways! Download the app from [is this available for both Apple and Android devices?], register your PLDT account number, and create an account. For more details, go to PLDT Home's website now.

CONTEST! CONTEST!

Monday, September 08, 2014

I'm now a Beauty BDJ Box Beauty Minister!


I want to share with you my new gig: I'm now part of BDJ Box's Beauty Ministry! BDJ Box is a beauty product subscription service brought to you by the makers of Belle de Jour Power Planner. They have an online magazine managed by a roster of beauty experts and enthusiasts and I was asked to join them this month. Check out my first article: My Favorite BDJ Box Finds.


I'm now a Minister. Very important job title, right? Heehee. I'm the token mommy in the group. Nicole's the beauty editor, Barbi is the top makeup artist, Tara is the corporate working woman, Kate is the artist and traveler. I'm the mommy! Yes, because moms need to be gorgeous, too, and I am here to impart sage beauty advice to moms everywhere!

Check out all our articles and videos on our favorite beauty finds, product reviews, tutorials, tips and tricks, and everything beauty in BDJ Box! Click here!

You can also meet all five of us (yes, like in person!) this Sunday, Sept. 14, at Sky Dome, SM City North Edsa, at the BDJ Box Beauty Social: Camp Gorgeous! 

The event is an all-afternoon affair with booths from fabulous beauty brands. There will also be interesting talks from the beauty industry's top professionals so that we can all learn a thing or two (or more!) on how to get gorgeous.

While the event is open to everyone, only those who are registered can participate in the talks, get a loot bag, and have their photos taken. 


And because I love you, I'm giving away VIP tickets!!!

Three (3) lucky readers will get two (2) VIP tickets each to the Camp Gorgeous event. VIP means you get to attend all the talks and get the yummy loot bag, too!

Here's what you have to do:
1. Like our Facebook pages: BDJ Box and Topaz Horizon.
2. Share this blog post on YOUR Facebook wall. Make sure to set it to public so I can see!
3. Tag a friend you want to bring to the BDJ Box Social. Tag Topaz Horizon, too!
4. Deadline is tomorrow, on September 9, 12 noon!!!

Join now! Enjoy an afternoon of beauty with me and the BDJ Box Beauty Ministry at Camp Gorgeous this Sunday! See you!

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Topaz Clutch in real life


Meet my gorgeous sister-in-law, Rose. She loves the Topaz Clutch by Ni-QUA. I love it, too. I love the girl carrying it, too! Thanks so much for being my first known customer, Rose! Mwah!

If you bought my clutch collaboration with Ni-QUA, send me a photo! I'd love to see how you styled it! I want to take photos of myself with it, too, but I'm still kinda pudgy in my mid-section haha. Let me lose the post-pregnancy flab first!

Anyway, please click the links to shop for my Topaz Clutch. It's only P1,395!
I want the brown!
I want the pink!

P.S. I have a giveaway, too! Just scroll down to the next post to find out how to win your very own Topaz Clutch!


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Monday, September 01, 2014

Meet the Topaz Horizon x Ni-QUA clutches

Dearest loyal blog readers, you've been telling me over and over again in the last three years to sell bags again. So, because you love me and I love you, meet the Topaz Clutch!

I'm so thrilled to finally show them to you!

The Topaz Clutch was born from a collaboration with local brand Ni-QUA. If you've been reading my blog recently, you'll be familiar with Ni-QUA because I super love their leather products. Genuine leather, quality craftsmanship, friendly prices. I've stopped longing for foreign brands because local ones are really amazing! That's why I just had to ask Ni-QUA to make my dream come true with this collaboration!

Look at the first two bags from my Topaz Collection:
Brown and basic. For the classic woman who doesn't want a big bag to hide her outfit.
Made of soft and smooth, buttery sheep leather. Features a tassel and gold hardware.
Fits all your essentials! (These are mine!)
The pink version is for the woman who loves a little whimsy.
The pink leather tassel adds fun and flair!
Fits an iPad and a lipstick. Two of my other essentials haha!

They're so pretty, I can't stand it! I love them both so much! Please love them, too! Buy a clutch or both from Ni-QUA! Each clutch is only Php 1,395. Pretty inexpensive for something so pretty and perfect!

Click the links to shop:
I want the brown!
I want the pink!

Thanks! Now, Ni-QUA and I are feeling generous and we'll give away two clutches. One brown and one pink! Here's all you need to do:

  1. Be a fan of Ni-QUA! Like their Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter. Follow them on Instagram. I'm going to check if you liked Ni-QUA, okay?
  2. Grab any photo from this blog post and share it on your social media accounts. Tell us which bag you want and why. 
  3. Use these hashtags: #topazclutch and #niquashop. It's so we can see your entry!
  4. You don't need to share on all your social media accounts (we don't want you to spam your friends), but it will help me a lot if you can leave a comment below telling me if you shared on FB, Twitter or on IG.  

Ni-QUA and I will pick one winner of the brown clutch and one winner of the pink clutch. Contest ends on September 15. Contest is open only to those with a Philippine address. Okay, that's it. Good luck!

Meanwhile, if you don't believe in luck, just buy straight from Ni-QUA's online shop and be one of the first with a Topaz Clutch!

CONTEST IS CLOSED.

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