Friday, September 30, 2016

Ask Frances: How should I use my inheritance?

"Ask Frances" is a monthly blog series where I will answer questions from my readers. The chosen question will receive a prize. This month's prize is the Avon Anew Retroactive line because our letter sender is a bride.

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Our question this month is very long and detailed so please read carefully. I feel ill equipped to answer her question so if you have better advice (preferably legal advice!), please leave your advice in the comments. Thanks! Anyway, here is our question...

When my Dad died years ago, he left us, his children, some money and some properties. He and my mom were not married. The money were in accounts under our names, but the properties were either named after our relatives or still after the owners he bought them from.

Three of the properties were left to me. One is the family home, still named after my aunt who owned the lot, and my Dad bought it from her. Another is a condo named after my cousin, but that project didn't push through at dahil fully paid na, until now we're still waiting for the kapalit. The third one is a former preschool na dilapidated na ngayon, still named under the original owners kahit nabili na ng Dad ko. The owners are both dead and I don't think the kids are aware the property is still under their parents' names. 

The titles were with my mom because I was still young when my Dad died. Through the years, my mom blew through my inheritance and developed a gambling problem. Ang ending sinanla niya yung titles for the family home and the preschool. Matagal na rin di nababayaran yung amilyar (10 years). 

My relatives are telling me sayang yung mga property kung mapupunta lang dun sa mga pinagsanlaan since they could easily hire someone to fix the titles and change it to their names. I can pay the taxes and penalties, and have the properties developed and rented out later on. Yun talaga ang gusto kong mangyari. Plus the thought that My Dad worked hard for those properties. 

Now this is my dilemma. I still have some money left from my inheritance. But I'm going to use some of it for my upcoming wedding, and it's in a mutual fund that's earning a good dividend. Nanghihinayang ako to withdraw a huge sum from it para lang pambayad ng penalties na hindi naman ako ang may gawa (my mom should've paid them). I also have to spend to transfer the titles under my name. Tapos wala rin akong funds to destroy the structure in the preschool at magpatayo ng apartments, and improve on the family home that's long been abandoned. So di ko rin mababawi agad yung pera. Wala rin akong mahiraman from my relatives, I won't qualify for loans because I don't have a regular job now, and wala rin ganun kalaking halaga si fiancé. 

I've made a lot of bad financial decisions in the past and I'm scared of making one again.  

But if I don't do it, mawawala naman ang properties na iniwan ng Dad ko. 

What should I do? :( 

R.P.

Dear R.P., 

You have to do the math. You only have X amount and you need Y amount to pay for the transfer of titles, pay penalties, and renovate the school. Plus, you need Z amount for your wedding. The math will tell you if you can do everything you want, but I think you already know that you can't do all of the above.

I don't know the legalities of the issue but it sure sounds like you have a complicated case. Please consult a lawyer as soon as you can. Or do I have a reader who can advise R.P. about her case? Please help us!

Anyway, what I observe are these:
  • You have not needed those properties all these years so this isn't an urgent issue. If you've waited for so long, what's a few more years?
  • Your relatives are the ones making you kulit about the issue. Why? I'm concerned that you said, "They could easily hire someone to fix the titles and change it to THEIR names." Why their names? Why not yours kung sa iyo naman yung mga ari-arian? 
You know, I may not have smart advice because I'm not aware of the laws on inheritance and properties, but I'll say something anyway (because you asked!) and this is driven by sentimental reasons.

You're getting married. You don't have your daddy to walk you down that aisle but you do have his generous provision. He provided well for you and I'm sure he would have loved the thought that he helped pay for your wedding. Every good father would be proud to say that he paid for his daughter's wedding. Your father still has that ability! So I think you should invest in your wedding. You don't have to use all of the money. No need to be extravagant; you want to stretch that money out for as long as you can. But it's a nice sentiment to know that your father helped with your wedding even though he's no longer around. It would be like he's still around, right?

As for the properties, you'll make a better decision about those after you've talked with a lawyer, and when you have all the money to do what needs to be done. Till then, there's really nothing to do but get married! 

I hope you use the Avon Anew, R.P.! Don't let the stress of real estate, inheritance, and wedding preps dull your glow. Now, email me your address so I can send you your prize.

Avon Anew Retroactive is exclusively available through Avon representatives. Visit www.avon.ph. Like Avon Philippines on Facebook. Download the Avon Brochure app from Google Play or App Store.

* * * * * * *

If you have a question for me, send an email to frances@topazhorizon.com with "Ask Frances" on the subject.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Where do mommies go walking?

Everywhere! Especially me because I have three little boys and tons of errands. With the terrible traffic, I don't like using our car. I commute and walk, even run, everywhere. That's why I've ditched my heels a long time ago for comfy but chic footwear. Any moms here traded in their six-inch heels for flats and sneakers? High five, right? Haha.
I chose Skechers because they're the No. 1 sneakers brand in the U.S.

So where do you go walking? I walk around the city a lot. I may not be visiting the gym lately but I feel like all the walking I do helps keep me trim. Here's a peek at where I've been walking around this week:

Going out with the family. I'm learning how to wear color on my feet again. My husband, Vince, says that because most of my clothes are either black or white, I should have more fun with my shoes and bags. So I'm trying it out with my new purple Skechers GOwalk! I love the material and the print—almost like a Missoni print!

Shopping. Oooh, I love wearing my Skechers GOwalk when we shop. It's so lightweight that my feet never feel tired or painful even after hours of walking around the mall and chasing after little boys!

Fetching kids from school. Because the traffic jams are horrible around my son's school, I usually tell Vince to drop me off a block or two from the school gate and then I just walk to school. Many days, when the traffic is especially bad and we're late, I make a mad dash! Never a problem because my sneakers have these things called Goga Pillars that make me bounce with every step.

Running errands for work and home. I'm a working mommy so I'm always out and about, paying bills, doing the grocery, bringing my kids to the pedia, attending meetings and events, collecting checks. I seriously wish I had an assistant who can do all these things for me! Since I don't, I'm just grateful that I have comfortable shoes to carry me through the day. I love the Goga Mat insoles of my Skechers GOwalk because I feel like I'm walking on pillows all day long.

My latest GOwalk shoes (yes, this is my second pair!) are purple. Like I said, I'm learning to wear color on my feet again. My kids picked them out for me. I usually pick just neutrals for my footwear but my husband teased me about that, you know, like how I should add more color to my mommy life. Because all I wear now is really black, white and gray! And navy. And red. Well, there you go—I still wear color!

The Skechers GOwalk collection comes in many colors. And in many styles for men and women, too, like slip-ons, lace-ups and sandals! Check them out:

You can check out Skechers GOwalk at Glorietta 2, TriNoma, Ayala Fairview Terraces, SM North Edsa, The Annex, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Gateway Mall, Lucky Chinatown, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, SM Fairview, SM Dasmariñas, Paseo Sta. Rosa, Ermita, Ayala Center Cebu, Marquee Mall, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Clark, SM Davao, SM City Cebu, SM Seaside Cebu, Centrio Mall CDO, and LimKetKai Mall CDO.

To learn more about Skechers, visit their Facebook page and follow @SkechersPH on Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The end of Brangelina and how it's made me think of marriage

I should be blogging about our recent staycation at the beautiful and wonderful Ascott Makati. And I should be blogging about my cooking and mealtime and dining tips because of my blog sponsor, Jolly. And I should be getting my Ask Frances post up and ready for publishing tomorrow... but I'm not. I can't. Because Angelina and Brad are no more!!!

To most of you who have been following this blog, you'd know that in my past life, I was the editor-in-chief of OK! magazine. My stint in OK! began during the wildest days of Hollywood—Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's reality TV marriage, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's whirlwind romance, and the never-ending Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie-Jen Aniston saga. My goodness. Some of the very best days in my life!

So I just can't remove myself from all the gossip sites this week because Angelina just divorced Brad! And in the most ruthless and shocking way, too—just like what Katie did to Tom.

If Angelina does it like Katie, Brad will never see those kids again (Although he'll fight for custody, says TMZ). Yes, didn't you know? Katie annihilated Tom in such blitzkrieg fashion that he agreed to all her terms of the divorce within a few weeks and now he hasn't seen Suri in years. Years. His only biological daughter. And we used to say Katie was a brainless zombie.


I'm pretty sure Angelina will demolish Brad, too. She's doing it now in the media. Master manipulator Angelina Jolie is one of the very few who came out of a lurid affair splashed all over the tabloids as a saint. Remember her moniker in the height of her mistress days? Santa Angelina. However does a mistress become a Santa Angelina??? Easy. Befriend media, send gifts, always be available for calls and clarifications, but always have a story about your charity, UN work, movie work, dying/dead mother, and beautiful kids. Change the story. I know this because I was in the thick of it in an international OK! conference, where the editors of the other OK! franchises were stunned at how Angelina always made the story about her goodness, not about the affair. And all those millions upon millions she and Brad made whenever they got pregnant, gave birth, and adopted! Brilliant!

I don't hate Angelina, okay (even though I'm Team Aniston all the way!). I have utmost respect for her. In fact, I think of her whenever Taylor Swift flounders about controlling her image. I always think, "Learn from Angelina, Tay!" The only person I can think of these days who is master at manipulating media, controlling her image, and milking said image for millions of dollars is Kim Kardashian West.

And Angelina's doing it now again. She released news of her divorce on a Tuesday, so all the print media have gone to bed and now can't really come out with the story till next week. So again she gets to control the narrative. Brad is left reeling and angry, upset that her wanting to have sole physical custody and then insinuating that Brad has a nasty temper and uses drugs implies to all that he is a danger to their kids. Wow! What a nasty reason to end a marriage, if true! And no, it's not because he allegedly cheated on her (not true at all!), but it's fascinating that the cheating news came out almost exactly the same time Angelina allowed TMZ to break news of her divorce. Hmmm.

It's getting ugly. And that makes me sad. There are kids involved. Six beautiful kids. And didn't this story start in such a—er, breaking up the Aniston-Pitt marriage aside—didn't this love story start in such a beautiful way? Two gorgeous and sexy people meet and fall in love, do charity work together, and raise a family together, while traveling the world as possibly the coolest family ever.

Woah. All this Brangelina news is seriously giving me intense Throwback Thursday feels. It's also making me terribly sad because while I wasn't a fan, those kids and their obvious affection won me over. I love a love story. Don't you?

My takeaway from this (and from every Hollywood divorce) is this: Don't forget your love story, don't forget why you fell in love in the first place (the past), don't forget the plans you made together (the future). Marriage is hard. I know. I'm married! Vince and I have gone through struggles. We're changing, our life is changing. It's so easy to drift apart. That's why you have to commit every day. Sometimes, I refuse to commit. That's when I complain, I bitch, I refuse to serve him. Sometimes he doesn't commit by doing the same thing. It happens. No one's perfect! But when we both fail to commit every day for days and days, then that's when real trouble sets in. And we have to guard our marriage against that. Let's make a stand to protect our marriages!


Monday, September 19, 2016

I see you, mommy

There's this beautiful poem by Abi Oborne of the blog Like Real Life going around the mommy circles and I'm reposting part of it below. Please read the rest of it on Abi's blog!

It's made me cry because I've felt that sometimes, that nobody sees me—the mama who is awake in the middle of the night, checking if her kids are cold, patting them softly back to sleep when they wake from nightmares, praying over them, breastfeeding, working in the dark so the kids won't wake up, crying and praying when the clients don't pay and the bills are here, chatting with the kid who wakes up and asks questions about life at 3 a.m., rising again when another kid asks for water, and basically not sleeping at all.

My nights are always chaotic but sweet.

But I also know that people do see me, the mommy me. Because I go on Facebook or Instagram in the dead of night and I post a status or share a photo and guess who likes and comments? Mommies, too. Yes, all of us moms awake in the wee hours of the morning. We silly, wonderful, exhausted, tireless, blessed mommies!

I see you. Thanks for seeing me, too. If only on Facebook! If only here on my blog. Thank you, fellow mommy.


Nobody saw you
Nobody saw you,
nobody at all
at 3am when
they woke again.
Nobody saw you
picking up the peas,
wiping up the beans,
emptying the laundry basket,
taking out the bins
again
and again.
Nobody saw the crust of toast
that fell out of your bra when you got undressed at night,
such a glamorous life
being mum
wiping noses
washing faces
trying to stay calm.
(for fuckssake)
Nobody saw you
when you were so bored of playing princess ninja pirate turtles
but you said, ‘ok,
just five more minutes,
just one more time,
just one more go,
just one more round’
and then said it again ten minutes later.
Nobody saw you
holding the toddler who wouldn’t be put down
but also wouldn’t go in the buggy
but also wanted to walk but only in the opposite direction
and ‘oh look!
a stick/discarded lolly/dog poo/pebble/cigarette butt/the sky!’
Nobody saw you holding the sick bucket in the night
or on the way back from school
nobody saw you holding a jacket,
a rucksack, a book bag, a sunhat,
a scooter, the baby, a half-eaten apple
and an art project made out of three cereal boxes taped together
and covered in glitter glue,
holding soft little hands at bed time,
holding angry little bodies still kicking and shouting,
holding it together,
holding on,
holding a hungry little head
to a boob as hard as concrete
in those early days
of chaos.
Nobody saw you winding the bobbin up
and winding it back again
and pointing to the ceiling
and pointing to the floor
and pointing to the window
and pointing to the door.
Nobody saw you when it was raining again
and the kids were sick
and you didn’t leave the house for three days.
Nobody saw that.
Nobody saw how many times you watched ‘The Gruffalo,’
on the third day,
how many times you read about what happened to igglepiggle’s blanket
or the one about the inappropriate pets
sent by the zoo.
Nobody saw you in the car
when you dropped the baby off for the first time
when you promised yourself you wouldn’t
but you cried all the way home
all the same.
Nobody saw when you were empty
but you gave something
but you made something
but you thought of a game
but you said sorry to a little face
for being cross, for snapping again.
I haven’t seen you for a while
we haven’t chatted for too long
but I when I see those lovely pictures of your kids
you post sometimes
I feel like I am seeing you,
(continued here)


Good night, dear mommies! Try to get some sleep. God bless us all!


Friday, September 16, 2016

My 6 staycation secrets revealed!

My family is going on a vacation. Hooray! We've been so busy this year, we never had a chance to plan a proper holiday. But now we found a free weekend and we blocked it off for some family fun time. It's just a staycation actually. When you're a mom of little kids, travel is both fun and exhausting. Some parents don't like traveling with their young kids because it truly can be a stressful experience—lots of worrying, luggage and money involved haha. 

When I was still a new mom, I had actually planned on avoiding travel with my kids until they were 8 or so. It seemed like a waste of money because in my mind, they're not going to remember anything anyway. But when Vito was 7 months old, we had to fly to Cebu and my family had such a fun time. Then when he was 11 months old, we had to go to Bali for a wedding, and Vito's brain and motor skills seemed to progress faster. Then when he 2-and-a-half, we went to Tagaytay and his verbal skills were suddenly on display when he was confronted with animals in a zoo. Yes, our previously non-talking child was forced to speak because he had to tell us he was afraid of animals! So even if I really don't like traveling with kids, I see the huge benefits traveling has on the kids' development and the family dynamics. So... we travel!  
Vito's trip to Cebu was full of firsts: first plane ride, first hotel, first beach.
Bali hai! Our first family trip abroad was to Indonesia. Vito loved Bali!
Our first family trip together (when we were still just four!) was to Tagaytay. That road trip forced Vito to talk!

We've gone to many places near and far since but for this short weekend coming up, we decided on a staycation in the city. I'll tell you why in a bit as I reveal my 6 staycation secrets!

#1 Research for attractions.
My first step is always asking myself and my kids, "What do we want to see or do?" For our upcoming trip, I had to consider these: (1) Vince wants to go eat at Antonio's and I want to check out Tagô so that means Tagaytay; (2) the boys want to go back to Peacock Garden in Bohol and I needed to restock on my favorite Bohol Bee Farm honey so that means Bohol; and (3) I saw that we had a lot of gift certificates that needed to be used and we wanted to eat the President's steak at Myron's so that means Makati. I decided on the last because the kids and I haven't been feeling well lately and maybe it's a good idea to stay near home and hospital, so Makati staycation it is!

#2 Look for hotels nearby.
Makati is teeming with hotels but I wanted a hotel that's super near where we wanted to be. Like, we wouldn't need to go take the car anymore. Especially because of the traffic and the parking! 

Because I know Makati almost like the back of my hand, I immediately knew my choices will be limited to hotels attached to or walking distance to Glorietta. So that's Ascott Makati, Holiday Inn, Dusit Thani, Fairmont, Raffles, Discovery Primea, and Makati Shang.

If I'm visiting a new place, however, Google is my friend! Booking sites like Traveloka have filters in their search tool so you can easily narrow down the hotels you want. 

#3 Check if these hotels are kid-friendly.
It's not enough that the hotel is near. When you have a family, especially with little ones, a hotel needs to be family-friendly. That means no-smoking floors, a kiddie pool, a play area, and even a babysitting service (although this isn't my concern because we just bring the kids with us everywhere!). 

Something I also look for is if the hotel is okay with feeding little people for free. Or even letting kids stay in the room. Some hotels really don't want kids around. Don't pick those hotels and then insist on bringing your kids. It's just not going to work out!

What helps me determine if a hotel is family-friendly is the hotel website itself. Look at the pictures of the pool. Check how many people the room can accommodate. Travel blogs also offer a ton of reviews. I love travel blogs!

#4 Book online.
Soooo many discounts online! Hotel websites will always have a promo or offers to entice you to pick them over the others. Booking sites also have huge discounts. Some of the hotels I found on Traveloka have discounts of up to 30%! 

It's especially cheap now because it's off season, being the rainy season, so you can find lots of goodies online. Easy, convenient, and fast! I love shopping online!

#5 Bring your kids' favorite things.
Don't bring them all, and don't bring the toys that will fall apart (no Legos!). But do bring one thing from home that will make them not miss home too much.

#6 Plan but be flexible.
It's always good to have an itinerary when you're somewhere new since this will keep you from wasting time asking each other, "Where will we go? What will we do? Where will we eat?" But whenever there are kids in the party, it's also a good idea to be ready to throw out those plans. Kids are known to get tired, fall asleep standing up, and throw tantrums. When that happens, you need to let go of the plans and go back to the hotel room. After all, that's what room service is for!

I hope you liked my tips! They're not so genius but they are practical, especially for moms. I can't wait for our staycation. I'll definitely tell you all about that holiday. Have a good weekend!


P.S. I like writing travel articles! Maybe I should do travel blogging!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blog Biz: Come to my super fun blog and chika workshop on Oct 8!


I'm finally doing it, Loyal Readers! I'm doing a blog workshop again! This will be so much fun because I'm going to be so madaldal and I'll tell you everything I know about blogging. And when you've been blogging for 10 years like I have, you'll know plenty! And I want to share it all!

So let's do the Topaz Horizon Blog Biz: Blogging Chika Workshop!!!

Here's what you'll get:
  • Tips on how to start a blog and create content that clicks with readers.
  • Tried-and-tested ways to grow your blog. After this session, you have no excuse to say that no one reads your blog!
  • How to make your blog make money. I'll teach you how to make a media kit, pitch to brands, and work with brands.
  • Blogger etiquette on the blog, at events, and while working with brands.
  • Style and beauty tips to look like a professional blogger, not like someone who never leaves her computer!
  • Free facials from Flawless because you want to polish up your look!

What a fun afternoon we'll have! I'll be revealing secrets and we'll do a bit of chika and I'll also raffle off some freebies which I get all the time as a blogger!

Regular fee is P750 but from today till Sept 25, you can use this discount code to pay just P600: THBLOGFUN.

Just email me between now and Sept 25 with the discount code and pay via BDO or PayPal on or before Sept 30, to reserve a seat. Slots are limited! I like to keep the class small so we can really talk.

Sign up now! Email me at frances@topazhorizon.com and let's have fun learning how to make blogging money!!!

Thanks so much to FLAWLESS Face & Body Clinic for generously providing us their own office to host my workshop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why we shouldn't ignore our children

This is the Still Face Experiment.

It shows that when we don't react and interact with our children, it upsets them and hinders them from learning. Their emotional, mental and psychological development is severely compromised.



And that's why I now feel bad that I'm a work-at-home mom!

Working at home is really hard because I need to focus on the tasks. Like, really focus. Anyone who works knows that! After all, writing and editing articles, replying to emails, talking to people on the phone, doing accounting—these things can't be done while distracted. And while there's that adage that truthfully says, "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work," it was said at a time when mothers didn't work and weren't expected to work (the quote is attributed to writer C.S. Lewis). Things are much different now.

Oh! I'm making excuses for my behavior.

Many moms tell me how lucky I am to spend time with my kids and work at the same time. I always agree (and I really do!), but I also feel guilty because I may be with my kids but I'm not really with them when I work. And lately, I've been getting irritated a lot at my sons when they demand my attention. "Look at what I draw, Mama! Look at what I eat, Mama! Look at the funny guy in TV, Mama! Look at me, Mama!"

And I snap, "Yes, yes! Stop bothering me. I'm working!"

I feel horrible.

Do any of you work-at-home moms do the same thing? How do you deal with this? I've tried not working when the kids are awake, so I work really late at night. But it's my health that suffers. I seriously don't know what to do. Except maybe go work in an office, like I used to. Back then, when I did that, I worked when I had to work, then left the work at the office so I can really pour my attention on my kids. But the traffic scares me.

I don't ever want to ignore my kids. Ever. I've seen the hurt in their eyes and I always justify it with "We need the money so I have to work." But my kids need me now so what now? If only love can buy the things we need!
 

Lord, thank You for providing for our needs by giving us work. Please never let me forget that my work is for You, my kids and myself. Please always remind me to put You and my family before work. And bless my children for their forgiving hearts. May I deserve their love by becoming a better mommy to them! Amen.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dry air, dry cough, dry skin? Crane humidifier to the rescue!

Hallooo, everybody! I am alive! My kids got sick again, on the very day I published my last blog post, which was 10 days ago. So Vito first, then Iñigo, then Piero, then Vito again (!), then Piero and then Iñigo, and then finally me. I guess all the sleepless nights lowered my immunity and I succumbed to the sick germs my kids were spewing all over our house.

While I thank the Lord, homeopathy, modern medicine, and my dear husband for nursing us all back to health, I want to take this opportunity to thank Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist humidifier. Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to do this blog post because I'm so grateful that we're feeling much better now, and part of the reason is our nifty humidifier.

We've had our Crane humidifier for a few months now. To be very honest, when we first got one, I didn't think much of it because our country is already so humid. Why on earth would we need a humidifier???

Because we have aircon, that's why.

The cold air from the A/C is very drying. It dries out our hair and our skin so we wake up parched, wrinkly and looking more tired than we should be. It dries out nasal passages and airways so those who suffer from asthma and allergic rhinitis might have their conditions triggered, which is what happens to us from time to time if we forget to use the humidifier. If your young kids suffer from nosebleeds, the dry cold air might also be to blame.

So as you can see, our humidifier's been a godsend—health-wise and beauty-wise!

Cool mist so you won't have to worry about hot steam burning your kids!
The unit is quiet and instantly produces mist. No waiting! No noise!
Easy to use—just pour distilled water and turn on!
It turns off automatically when there's no more water. You can really forget about it!

I included Crane Ultrsonic Cool Mist humidifier in BABY Magazine a few issues ago. Yep, mommy-and-magazine editor me highly recommends it! It comes in many fun designs, too, so your kids can enjoy having it in their room, although I got the classic drop design because I wanted to be able to use it around the house.


You can get Crane humidifiers from Rustan's, Toys R Us, Babyland, S&R, and from online shops Lazada and Key West Internationale.

Friday, September 02, 2016

My kids' vitamins is now FERN-C kidz. Here's why.

This post is brought to you by FERN-C kidz.

My kids have been going to the hospital one too many times this August. That's because they were sick. Right after Vito's birthday, the kids fell ill. Fever, coughs and colds. Then we found out that half of Vito's class was also absent that week. Poor boys!

But they got better and here they are for their follow-up visit at the pedia, just to make sure they've recovered fully. They got vaccinated, too. Better make sure their bodies' immune systems are strengthened!

We've also added a better immunity booster to their multivitamins and we picked FERN-C kidz. Why FERN-C kidz? Okay, you're going to find out a secret: Whenever Vince and I took FERN-C—yes, the Vitamin C for grownups—we got pregnant! It's not a fertility booster haha but we think it made our bodies super healthy so making babies was easier. I don't know, okay. All I know is we were never sick whenever we took FERN-C so when they came out with a Vitamin C supplement for kids, then our kids better take it!
My kids love FERN-C kidz except for the fact they keep insisting that the smaller bottle is for girls =( 

I found out about FERN-C kidz because of celebrity mom, Danica Sotto Pingris. She didn't tell me herself but I saw on Facebook that she and her husband, basketball player Marc Pingris, were endorsing it.

Danica and I used to be neighbors. When she and Marc joined the garage sales at our condo complex, the yayas and drivers would go crazy. But I only met her at the Mom-ME event Baby & Breakfast threw for moms a couple of years ago. Danica sat beside me and she is the most gracious and humble woman. I knew who she was but she introduced herself anyway: "Hi, I'm Danica. I'm a cook." And I had to pretend I didn't know she was a celebrity!

More than a celebrity, Danica is a mommy. And just like any mommy, she doesn't want her kids to get sick. She wants her children, Mic and Caela, to have the best possible care, in the best and safest way possible. That is why she chose FERN-C Kidz as her children’s Vitamin C supplement. You know my reason for choosing FERN-C Kidz. Here are hers (which became mine!):

It's better than ordinary Vitamin C. 
FERN-C Kidz is not Ascorbic Acid. It's Sodium Ascorbate. That means it's not acidic and won't harm little tummies! Hooray! I didn't even know that! Danica says, "We want to make sure that it's made of high quality ingredients and that it is safe and effective [for our children]." Every bottle of FERN-C kidz also has the Quali-C seal, which is only given to Vitamin C products that are made of the highest quality ingredients and are effective.

It's more than Vitamin C.
FERN-C Kidz is formulated with Zinc. Zinc is an important element that not just wards infection but also aids in healing wounds. This added protection made Danica favor the supplement even more for her children. "Knowing that FERN-C kidz has added Zinc to their vitamin C lessens my worries when it comes to my kids being exposed to viruses and other diseases. This will give them extra protection on top of the Vitamin C," Danica says.

It tastes good!
You know, no matter how amazing a vitamin supplement is, it's useless if it isn't inside a body. How many battles have we fought with our kids? How many teaspoons of syrupy hell have been spilled? With FERN-C Kidz, no problem. My kids love the yummy orange flavor! Danica says this is important to her, too: “[My] kids should be able to take it with ease.” She wanted a supplement that her kids will drink every day without any complaints. When asked if her children liked the taste, Danica said, “They love it! In fact, they even remind us that it's time to take their Vitamin C.”

Danica says that her children's health really improved when she gave them FERN-C kids. "They are happy and healthy kids! FERN-C kidz helps my kids keep [up] with their daily activities."

So be like Danica Sotto Pingris and me and the many moms that are now switching to FERN-C kidz! 


To know more about FERN-C kidz, like their Facebook page or visit their website. FERN-C kidz is now available in leading drugstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and FERN kiosks nationwide for P62 for the 60ml bottle and P119 for the 120ml bottle. FERN-C kidz is from the makers of FERN-C and a quality product of FERN.

*The dosage information says FERN-C kidz is for kids 4 and up. So I only give this to Vito and Iñigo. Please ask your pediatrician for supplements for infants and toddlers.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

NEW SERIES! Topaz Talks to 100% Whole Moms Cheska, Rica, and Marilen

Hi everyone! I'm starting a new series yet again. This time, I want to share with you conversations I've had with the people I've just met, have known for a while but I've always been curious about, and my own beloved friends. They'll all be working moms. This is for me really, because I've been looking for mentors, inspiration and community. So I'm going to look for working moms who inspire me and have a little chat with them... and share those chats with you through Topaz Talks!

For our very first Topaz Talks, I'm sharing with you a snippet of the lives of the 100% Whole Moms Cheska Garcia-Kramer, Marilen Faustino-Montenegro and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio. They invited me and other moms to a little afternoon of fellowship a few weeks ago and it was hosted by Moleskine journals. We had a fun afternoon of sharing each other's stories as moms.


After sharing our stories and eating really good food at Vask Tapas Room, the celebrity moms that form the trio that is 100% Whole Mom then launched into what 100% Whole Mom is all about—caring for a mother's home, beauty and heart through workshops. Marilen, an interior stylist, shared tips on tabletop decor with H&M Home and flower arrangement with Fiora Manila. Cheska, popular endorser with her family, the social media phenomenon #TeamKramer, gave tips on mommy beauty with help from Inglot and Brow Haus. Then Rica, a devoted pastor's wife, reminded us all about being intentional about our mothering, which could be helped a lot through journaling (on Moleskines preferably!).

Rica's question to moms was, "How are you today?" This is a question no one asks us moms really. Us moms, we're just supposed to be super, to be on top of everything, to never drop the ball because if we do, the whole family will suffer. This kind of pressure is insane! But do we stop to ask ourselves, "How am I today? Am I okay? Am I happy? Am I grateful?" Do we stop to ask other moms this? No one does really.

Oh, but wait. I was asked that by my friend, Jing Lejano of Urban Mom, once at an event. I had stopped to chat with her, me all chipper and bubbly. Then she asked, "Kumusta ka na? Yung totoo?" And I just broke down. Like, then and there. What a mess! I was okay, okay? But the surprise of the question, of someone actually caring enough to ask how I really am, was so overwhelming, I cried.

Rica exhorted us moms to ask ourselves that every day, to listen to ourselves and to our own needs. Write it down! Reflect on what you wrote. Set goals. Take action. Take care of our own needs and dreams. That's how we take care of ourselves, and when we do that, we can truly care for others.


So of course, for Topaz Talks, I talked to Cheka, Carla and Len about journaling. Listen in!
What do you use your Moleskine journals for? 
Marilen: I use my journal to talk to God. Pour out my heart, write what I learn from my Bible reading. Sometimes I've written to people that hurt me, then I throw it away! Haha!
Rica: Everything. I am a person full of thoughts. I might actually speak more to paper than to people. So I jot down everything in a single notebook—from essays in progress, to cinematic lines, quotes from favorite authors or people, to grocery and packing checklists. Hahaha!  
Cheska: Writing my poetry, favorite sayings, verses, my doodles... Just basically my thoughts. 

How does writing down your thoughts, prayers, dreams, goals (or whatever you use your journals for!) help you as a mother? 
Marilen: When I go to the journal, it allows me to really slow down and reflect. It organizes my thoughts and priorities. I create steps to my goals in a journal or planner also. When I am "fixed" inside as an individual, I can be a better mom and wife.  
Rica: It helps me discern patterns of seasons and my life in general. I believe God has written my days already and it's just a matter of finding out which path He has set out for me. I think that when I write down thoughts, prayers and dreams, a certain pattern or message kind of emerges and it partly helps me get to the revelation of God to me about my life.  
Cheska: I grew up where my mother encouraged us always to write our thoughts and to write poetry. It was a form of release for me during the time my parents were separated. I never really wrote "diary style" but wrote poetry instead. So that carried over to this day—now I write my journey, love, sayings, goals that I am going through. Poems for my kids that maybe later on when they can understand better, they will know how much I love the three of them. Always been my way of release and another way to express myself. Sometimes we have a hard time telling people what we feel and it's easier when we write it instead. 

With the advent of blogs, apps and smart phones, why do you still use pen and paper? 
Marilen: I really still prefer paper because I am a visual person. I delight in writing. In creating different strokes with different colors. I retain more when I see it.   
Rica: Retention is still better when there remains to be something physical and tangible, I guess. I also cannot completely give myself over to the virtual way of things. It's hard to feel fully when you have nothing but an image and no materiality or spirituality. 
Cheska: I never really got the hang of technology... I always have my husband to tell me! Till this very day, I write it first and then start typing everything when done writing my thoughts. A lot of work but I'm really most comfortable with a pen and paper. A pen and journal at that!

Thanks for the little chat, Whole Moms!


To sign up for 100% Whole Mom workshops, join the community on Facebook.

I wanted to focus on journaling because that's something I can't seem to do well. Mostly because I noticed I become really negative when I write and it's only myself that's the audience. When I blog, of course I'm always honest but I rein in the negativity that overwhelms me sometimes because I have to think of my readers. People think I'm a sunny person but I'm actually quite the pessimist. I'm very critical of myself—that's why on this blog you'll see me write stuff like, "I'm gorgeous! I'm amazing! I'm a supermom!" mostly because I need to tell myself that or else I'll drown in my personal drama.

So, like Cheka, I don't journal in a "Dear Diary" way. But, like Marilen, I've found that when I write my prayers instead, that helps me a lot. Prayers take my focus from criticizing me to how God sees me—and God sees me so lovingly. Prayers make me write down my weaknesses, sins, and problems but I can't stop there because then I offer them to God for Him to make them right. Prayers turn my negativity to positivity because when I see myself, my life and my sorrows in God's light, then they are diminished and they disappear. So prayer journaling works!

I won't share my prayer journals, though! Instead, I'll share with you my new project: the bullet journal! I'm using the Chapters journal from Moleskine. I'll do a separate post on that soon... and maybe we can do a bullet journaling workshop together! BuJo is super fun!


*workshop photos by Sheila Catilo