Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Frances Finds: delicious holiday hampers from Marks & Spencer

Everyone wants to give amazing gifts and while some of us are very good at it, many of us need a bit of help looking for the most wonderful gifts. And because we're all soooo busy and because the traffic is soooo horrific, we want to do our shopping with ease and convenience.

And that is why Marks & Spencer food hampers are super popular! I always get Marks & Spencer food baskets every Christmas. It's one of my favorite things to give and receive. They're always so well curated, every product from cookies and candies to savory cooking ingredients are gourmet, and everyone eats everything in a Marks & Spencer holiday hamper! Well, I know I do!

I got a sampling of the goodies that are already in the Marks & Spencer shelves so that I can tell you all about them. Thanks, M&S! We think the penguin tin is adorable. (It's on my Instagram Stories today! Check it out here: @topazhorizonblog)

Here are the other holiday hampers you can shop for this Christmas (descriptions by M&S):
Remind someone to live the good life and indulge only with the tastiest and most thrilling treats with the Divine Pleasures (P4,995) hamper. If you’re going for gold and want to impress, this hamper won’t disappoint as it comes with Domaine Mandeville Shiraz, Belgian Metropolitan Biscuits, Wild Flower Honey, Christmas Coffee, and more!

Another luxurious treat is the Holiday Haven (P5,995) which can instantly lift up any mood with its delectable yuletide selections. The hamper contains Italian Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, Christmas Pudding Biscuits, Cherry Liqueurs, and Sparkling Clementine & Cranberry Presse, among others.

Perfect for when you want to let your loved ones try the best at home is the Lavish Luxury (P3,495, in photo). Just imagine them curling up with some hot Cream of Chicken soup on a relaxing day or munching on Milk Chocolate Teacakes while sharing a laugh—totally worth it! The Sumptuous Selection (P2,995) on the other hand has indulgent drinks, treats, and a savory soup that food lovers will surely appreciate. You’ll also never go wrong with Timeless Favorites (P2,495) which has a collection of much-loved food like the Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Traditional British Porridge.

Marks & Spencer has something for every health nut in your life as well. The health conscious can enjoy Gluten-Free Delights (P1,995) for gluten-free options and The Wellness Collection (P1,995) with items that are perfect for when one wants to relax. You can even gift the flavors of Italy with Italian Escape (P1,995, in photo) which comes with culinary essentials that will bring the authentic Italian food to life.

Smaller boxes include the Tea-Time Treats (P1,495), Sunrise Bliss (P1,495), Chocolate Indulgence (P1,995, in photo), and Sweet Nostalgia (P1,495). Wine lovers can also enjoy the wine gift sets and make Christmas gatherings extra special.

Extra special indeed! I love love love M&S holiday hampers! If you're planning to give me a gift, I would love anything yummy from Marks & Spencer. Well, except wine. I don't drink alcohol really, although I will admit that their wine is so perfect when paired with the pasta and sauce in their baskets! 

And extra news for shoppers who love a discount! 
December 4 to 31, 20% off on champagne
December 11 to 24, 15% off on bags of sweets and chocolate bars
December 25 to 28, 20% off throughout the store including food and wine, and double points for Loyalty cardholders.
Reward and Premium members and BDO cardholders: , enjoy up to 50% off on selected items plus additional 5% off sale items for  up to January 5, plus an Exclusive Sale Preview for Loyalty Members on December 29

Marks & Spencer is a super British retailer that sells clothing and home products that are not just stylish but are also of good quality. Its food products are delicious (my favorite is their caramel candies!) and are responsibly sourced from around 2,000 suppliers globally. Really a good choice if you're looking to give gifts of food baskets this Christmas. 

You can find M&S branches at Alabang Town Center, Eastwood Mall, Gateway Mall, Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 5, Power Plant Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM City North Edsa, Trinoma, Central Square, Estancia at Capitol Commons, Abreeza Mall, Marquee Mall, Ayala Center Cebu, Lim Ket Kai Center, Paseo de Sta. Rosa Outlet Store, Subic Harbor Point Outlet Store, and SM Lanang Premier. Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Oh, what fun we had at the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp!

This post is brought to you by Alaska Milk.

Last Sunday, my little superheroes Captain America and Iron Man were absolutely pumped to go to the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp. I imagined a day of chaos for me but, boy, was I mistaken! The Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp was AMAZING!!!

The Mission Camp was held at SMX Convention Center at SM Mall of Asia. I don't know why I got the idea that it would be held outdoors but I slathered the kids in sunblock, brought towels and a change of clothes, and boxes of Alaska Choco milk. When we were ready, we piled into a taxi and then zoomed all the way to MOA. There's no traffic on Sundays so we did literally zoom there. Once we got there, the kids got even more excited seeing the crowd. They immediately started playing with the other kids while we were still lined up.

With Momma 'n' Manila Michelle Aventejado and her daughter Gelli.

Inside, we did a tour first, so we can develop a game plan. We wanted to experience everything that the Mission Camp had to offer! There were four main areas:

(1) Kids Activity Zone for the younger kids. This is where they can busy themselves with arts and crafts activities like coloring, cutting out masks, building with blocks and bricks, stacking Alaska Milk cartons to make a tower, face painting, and playing memory games.

(2) Disney Mission Zones for kids 4 and up. There are four Mission Zones: the Marvel Zone where the kids skate, stick to the wall, hit a target, and crawl through a tunnel; the Frozen Zone, which is basically a big skating rink; the Ultimate Zone, which is a big obstacle course where kids test out their skills in balancing, jumping, climbing, and other major physical exertions; and the Alaska Zone, which also has lots of activities to test your kid's strength and agility, plus there's a big dome the kids enter and inside they experience virtual reality.
Safety briefing from secret agents at Marvel Zone. 

(3) Parents Zone, where grownups can learn about making coffee with Kreme Top, making desserts and cooking with Alaska Evaporated Milk, Alaska Condensed Milk and Alaska Crema Whipped Cream. There was also a Toy Kingdom booth which peddled Disney and Marvel goodies.
Waiting for the coffee-making workshop to start. 
Pop-up shop for Disney toys

(4) Entertainment area. In the middle of it all was a big stage where games, song numbers, and educational talks were presented for the entire family.
My kids in front.

Look at what my kids did:

Listening to Ate Secret Agent finish briefing the kids.
Iñigo is Spider-Man! Sorry for blurry pic. All parents had to stay outside and
we can only look through these little windows.
Just finished their Alaska milk refreshments and about to go to the Ultimate Zone.

The obstacle course at Ultimate Zone was physically challenging!
Enjoying the ball pit at Alaska Zone.
They just missed the cupcake decorating workshop! My boys weren't happy about that but oh-so-adorable 
Selene (unica hija of The Misty Momjust jumped up to check out what new activity she can do!

We had soooo much fun! More importantly, my kids learned to be independent because the Mission Zones were parent-free. The brothers had to take care of each other and Vito was really looking out for Iñigo. So proud of my boys! They also learned how to listen carefully to instructions, and bravely take on all the physical tasks. They weren't that easy, but they did it anyway! I'm especially impressed with Iñigo because he usually has lots of reservations when it comes to new places and new things but he jumped into each new activity happily. I am oh so proud!

I'll let my kids tell you about their experience at the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp:



It definitely was a winning day for my kids! As a parent, I am also happy to report that the event was so organized. I've been to other events where the organizers were just overwhelmed with all the kids. The Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp was well staffed—there was a LOT of them to make sure every kid and parent is attended to. The staff knew what every activity was so if you ask a question, you get an answer fast. The zones were all safe and secure, and they controlled the number of kids in each area so that it doesn't get too crowded and the staff can manage the kids better. Should accidents do happen, there was a medical team in a very visible area.

I had been a bit apprehensive when I found out that the mission zones didn't allow parents in, but when I saw how safe and secure the areas were and that the staff was in control of everything, I relaxed and allowed myself to have just as much fun as my boys! In hindsight, I should've not been so scared because Disney was involved in the event, and Disney has the ultimate credentials when it comes to giving families an exciting yet safe experience for all.

Tired but happy little boys.

I'm so happy that Alaska and Disney mounted this super fun day. Thanks soooo much for inviting us, Alaska and Disney! Thanks also for providing Alaska Milk for all the thirsty kids at the event. I saw that all the kids (and the parents, too!) enjoyed the delicious and nutritious milk drinks. They liked pointing out the beloved characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, and even Olaf whenever they pop a straw in a box of Alaska Choco, Alaska Sweet Milk (my favorite), and Alaska Yoghurt! The drinks didn't just refresh them and sustain them for the day of physical activities, it also provided them with the essential vitamins and minerals and, with the yoghurt drinks, even good bacteria for their tummies. As a mom, I am oh so happy with all that!

I'm hoping that Alaska will have another Ultimate Mission Camp next year. Pleeeeeeeeease do it again! My kids can't wait to go again. It was the most fun they've had in recent memory, so thank you and please do another one soonest!


For more information on Alaska Milk, visit www.alaskamilk.com; and like their Facebook page, Alaska Milk, to be updated on promos and other activities.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Blog Biz: Don't forget these 4 social actions to promote your blog

Hello everyone! I am fresh off my latest and oh so successful Blog Biz workshop last Friday at The White Hat Yogurt at Fully Booked BGC, and I am so happy with how smart and enthusiastic my workshop attendees were. I am confident that their blogs (when they finally start blogging!) will be bigger than mine! I am so sure of it!

One of the topics we discussed at the workshop was blog promotion. If you run a blog, you want people to read it. Whether you're sharing your opinions on politics or the latest fashion, or you might be writing tutorials or talking about your daily life—whatever you write about, you need to get people to pay attention. 

There are lots of ways you can promote your blog, but social media is one of the best methods. You can connect with a community of other bloggers and blog readers. There are several channels you can use, from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Instagram. If you want to get started, there are several things you should do.

1. Automate your sharing
Once you have social media accounts set up, it can be a lot of work to share your posts. I devote about 10 minutes just sharing away everywhere! Twitter, Instagram, my Facebook friends, my blog's FB page, the FB groups I belong to, and Linkedin. If 10 minutes sound like a lot of time and you're on Wordpress, you can make it much easier by setting up automated sharing. It's simple to do this using various tools. 

Do keep in mind that you may not be able to use the same tool to share to different accounts. For example, Instagram lets you share to Facebook, Twitter, etc. But when you look at an IG post shared on Twitter, it doesn't really look nice. It just redirects you back to Instagram. So now I just post on Twitter itself. I no longer use IG's sharing tool. 

2. Connect your blog and social media channels
As well as doing your own sharing, you want others to share your posts, too. Sharing is caring as they say! Make sure that you have sharing buttons on your blog. Put them on the main page and on your individual blog posts, too. Make it easy for people to share your content to their own accounts straight from your website. 

You can also put widgets for your social media pages on your site. For example, you can have a stream for your Twitter feed or show your latest Facebook post. I haven't done this myself but that's one of the design tweaks I plan to do soon. 

Oh, and don't forget to link to your blog on your social media channels! If you look at my Twitter, Facebook accounts, and IG, all of them links back to www.topazhorizon.com. Make it easy for your followers to find your blog!


3. Paid ways to improve your reputation
If you have an advertising budget, you might want to use paid ways to grow your audience. There are tools you can use on social media to boost your reputation. One thing you can do is use advertising and promoted posts. These are available on a number of channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I just started doing this on my blog's Facebook page. I select a post I really really really am so proud of and then I boost it. My budget is usually just P200 and that reaches around 2,000 people. I've only done this to four posts so far but my page's likes went up dramatically in a month. So it works!

Now this next suggestion is a bit controversial and the attendees of my workshop last weekend discussed this at great length: You can buy followers and likes for your accounts. Yep. The advantage of that is when people see you have a large following, they might get curious and follow you because they want to know what the fuss is all about. My friends in PR revealed to me the Instagrammers who bought their following and, well, their padded numbers definitely helped make them successful. The disadvantage is when Instagram does a purge and then you're exposed as a fraud. But if you're willing to risk it anyway, you can use sites like buycheapfollowersfast.com/facebook/ to do this. Me, I don't want to risk it since I've built my reputation on being real. But I will judge no one who does this!

4. Connecting with your followers
Promoting your blog on social media isn't just about sharing your stuff. You also need to engage with people to encourage them to get involved. This is my favorite part of blogging—engaging with my Loyal Readers! I love replying to comments! I used to do this religiously but now that I have kids, I can't do this like I used to. But I try! 

Engaging with your readers tells them you want to show them the personality behind your blog and prove that you're interested in them. Get to know your readers and they will love you for life! Many of my dearest friends now started out as my readers before! 

You should find ways to connect with people on social media. For example, you might ask them questions or start a hashtag game. My friend Martine de Luna of Make It Blissful did this so well with her #makeitblissful community. I'm trying to do the same with my own #authenticmama challenge. Yes, show me your struggles and honest revelations on Instagram with the #authenticmama hashtag so we can all cry and laugh together! 

Social media can help you boost your blog if you know how to use it. Remember that it's a two-way street and requires you to communicate. I'm still learning myself so if you have more tips, please share in the comments below!

*images from The White Hat Yogurt and Pixabay

Want to know why no one reads your blog? Watch my Facebook Live broadcast!


Friday, November 18, 2016

See you at the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp this Sunday!

This post is brought to you by Alaska Milk.


Hello, all you mommies who have kids who love Marvel superheroes and the walang kamatayan Frozen! There's a special day for us and our kids this Nov. 20, Sunday, at the SMX 4 at Mall of Asia—the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp!!!

Here are my kids getting all excited about the camp:


We're so excited!!!

At the camp, there will be Disney Mission Zones for kids to complete special assignments that are fun and educational. All the activities in the Mission Zones are for kids 5 years old and up. These zones are for kids only. Don't worry—Alaska made sure the missions and the areas are safe and secure.

There will be activities for moms and dads to enjoy, too. I believe there will be cooking and food tasting goodies for us to enjoy. Hooray! I love cooking and eating!

But if you bring kids aged 4 and below (like my Iñigo and Piero), well, you'll need to be with them when they enjoy the other activity zones.

Kids may come in costume but since costumes may restrict vision and movement (hello, capes and masks and gowns and crowns!), it's much better if they come in comfortable attire.

There will be snacks and Alaska Milk drinks (of course!) so just enjoy all the fun stuff lined up for us because Alaska Milk will take care of everything. Yes, even the entrance fee. There is NO ENTRANCE FEE! It's free! You just need to register at the Facebook page of the Alaska Ultimate Mission Camp up until 11:59 pm tonight!

See you on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Between the proposal and the wedding: How to enjoy being engaged


Exactly 10 years ago, Vince was planning to propose to me. But because I bought him an expensive gift (the first models of the Sony PS3 were pricey back then), I impulsively decided it was too much of a gift to give to just a boyfriend. So I dropped down on one knee and proposed to him instead! Two weeks after our engagement, he proposed to me properly with a proper diamond ring because that's what proper people expected us to do. Nah, just kidding. Vince really wanted to propose but the ring took longer to make than anticipated so I ended up doing it first!

Anyway! Lots of people are getting engaged these days, as my Facebook feed attests. So here I go dispensing advice you ought to follow: Enjoy your engagement! Being engaged is a strange time in your life. It often feels like you’re playing the waiting game until you actually get married, at which point your life with your partner will really begin. But between the proposal and the wedding, is planning the wedding all you must do? That can be really stressful. I know a lot of couples who were tempted to elope! Yes, us included! So why not try to really enjoy your engagement? It’s a time when you’re planning your future with the love of your life. Here are some tips to help you enjoy—not stress about!—your engagement.

Go on vacation
Okay, so you should probably be saving for your wedding right now. But why not take a trip? Even a short trip away from all the wedding planning will make you even closer—get some sun, lie by a pool, eat some great food, and spend a lot of time talking to your partner. While you’re there, you could talk about planning your honeymoon or future vacation spots you’d like to visit one day.

Go to couples’ counseling
More than anything, you want your relationship to work. When you get engaged, you are effectively telling each other that you expect to stay together for the rest of your lives. However, that’s easier said than done. If you go to counseling before you get married, you’ll be able to sort out any issues you might have before they arise – like taking a vitamin C supplement to make sure you don’t get a cold before you even feel sick! If you plan to get married in a Catholic church, you'll be required to attend some sort of marriage seminar anyway so try to choose one that will help you realize if you and your fiancé share the same family values and life goals.

Set aside an evening with no wedding talk
It’s so easy to allow your wedding planning to take over your life. Make sure that you set aside at least one evening a week in which you don’t discuss any wedding planning at all. Hang out with your partner and fully enjoy his company, without any of the stress of wedding talk. Make dinner together and curl up on the couch to watch a movie, or go on a double date with your best friends, or do some home improvement. Just make sure you relax together!

Get an engagement shoot
Sure, some engagement shoots look kind of cheesy (and that's why we didn't do it haha), but lucky for you, you’re not that kind of couple. Or maybe you are, and if so, you should embrace that! Get the look here to figure out what you want from your shoot. Getting an engagement photo shoot done will be a lot of fun for you and your husband-to-be, and it will also provide you with a photo album full of great memories. If you like your photographer, you could also consider hiring them to shoot your wedding—treat it as a trial run for that!

Explore your neighborhood
A lot of couples plan to have children after they get married. Although children are, of course, a blessing and a joy, I'm telling you now that they are also undeniably a huge responsibility. So while you don’t have kids, you should go out and fully explore where you live, or where you will both live when you're married! If you live in the province or the suburbs, take a trip to the nearest city for a couple of nights. Go out for dinner, take a bus tour, and hit the clubs to party all night, and make the most of being together.

Remember: You're not just planning a wedding, you're also preparing for a marriage. And that contract ends at "till death do us part." So use your engagement period to really get to know each other. Once the wedding preps really kick in and the moving into the new home happens and the integrating into each other's families start and especially when the kids arrive, it's hard to focus on each other. All that I mentioned are wonderful phases in your married life but they can distract you from what's truly important—your marriage. So use this precious time to really lay the foundations of your union. Congratulations and best wishes!


*photo from Pixabay

Monday, November 14, 2016

Frances Finds: Christmas #GiftsTheyllLoveAtNBS (that's National Book Store!)

This post is brought to you by National Book Store.

I'm halfway through my Christmas gift shopping! I spent the day after my birthday shopping for gifts for other people. Yes, when you turn 40, you start thinking of others first! I shopped a lot at the newly redesigned SM North Edsa store of National Book Store. The place looks so bright and beautiful, you'll be super encouraged to shop. I know I was!

So I want to show you what I shopped for. It wasn't easy to decide on these—there were just sooooo many amazing items at National Book Store that I wanted to buy even more! If only I were a gazillionaire! But I thought of my family and what they'll like and I'm very happy with what I got for them. Have a look! 

For Vito: Paper Bots because my little boy is sooo into paper these days. He's folding them into planes and making books. He will LOVE this book!

For Iñigo: Funky Things to Draw: Animals. My preschooler loves to draw. He's really good at it. He will enjoy all the easy tips to draw. And all the pencils and erasers he'll ever need! No more borrowing from me and his Kuya Vito! I can't wait for him to open this gift!

For Piero: My Learning Library Kit: First Words. This is a box of board books, word puzzles, and blocks. At just over 2 years old, Piero is the one who talked soonest (compared to his brothers). He loves stories and chatting and singing. He is going to enjoy this box of learning tools so much!

For all three kids: Dr. Seuss pop up books. I just had to get them these books because I grew up with the most amazing pop-up books. They make reading so much more fun because it's interactive.

For my husband me: Color Chart by Itoya grid journal because I am a new convert to bullet journaling!!! I actually got into bujo (yes, that's what they call it) because of Vince. He wanted to try it out and I've long known about bujo but thought it was boring. Then I checked it out on Instagram (#bujo and #bulletjournal), and I was swept off my feet! I've been doing bujo since September and, yes, I have found planner peace at last!
I love Color Chart by Itoya because the pages are the smoothest pages in all the world. And it lies flat. Look at that! I'm still planning on giving this to my husband but he insists I should have it because I'm THAT in love with it.

For Vince: Color Chart by Itoya pencil case. I love how clever this is because it attaches to your notebook! I'm giving this to him as a partner to his Color Chart by Itoya journal and because green is his favorite color, but since he says I should have the journal, I don't know what to do. Oh, I know! Buy another set!


For my sister: Chameleon pens. This set will be perfect for my sister who loves to draw and do calligraphy. Chameleon pens are special alcohol-based markers because they gradually darken, so she can add gradients, highlights and shadings to her drawings and calligraphy projects automatically! Check this video out to see how it works. Amazing, right? She will love this!

For my parents-in-law: Lapoché luggage organizers. These are the very best of travel pouches and will be very useful for Vince's parents who travel all over the world. They'll appreciate the roominess, the zipped pockets, mesh compartments, and how sturdy these pouches are! They're water-resistant in case grooming products leak. I like the hooks because they make carrying easy, plus when you need to make space on the bathroom counter, for example, you can just hook it—and your toiletries!—up! Cool organizing tip, right? For more organizing and packing tips, click here.

For my nieces: a Querkles Colour By Numbers book. This a huge book with more than a dozen portraits of historical figures to fill in. I'm pretty sure just one portrait will take hours to make so I hope my three smart nieces will share this book and learn a thing or two about the characters in it.

For Papa: Caran d'Ache Supracolor Colour Pencils and Classic Water-Soluble Pastels. Caran d'Ache is the luxury brand when it comes to writing and art materials. I plan to give these to my Papa because he used to draw nudes and landscapes and portraits. Now, he's obsessed with Facebook (aren't we all?). I've come to think that Facebook is making us all stupid especially lately so I hope these luxury art pencils and pastels will make him draw again and make him spend his twilight years doing something beautiful again.

There you go! National Book Store is most definitely the gift destination of the season! Well, of every season since they offer lots of things everyone will love. Books, magazines, journals, pens, arts and crafts materials, stationery supplies, and little things for the home. Definitely more than a book store!

You can check out what other shoppers have found at National Book Store by following @nbsalert on Twitter and Instagram and checking out the hashtag #GiftsTheyllLoveAtNBS.

P.S. I'll tell you more about the shopping event that National Book Store held for the media next week. I have videos of influencers shopping at NBS and tell you more about the NBS Gift Generator, a special shopping app you'll find useful this Christmas!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

This is all our fault


First, let me say I did not want Duterte to be our President. I never wanted to put politics in my blog but I have something to say and I will say it now. 
This last year has been filled with so much anger and fear and hate. I don't remember being so upset during an election, after the election, and 100 days after the election. But I've always prided myself in listening. And I have listened to my friends who supported Duterte and I still don't understand them entirely but at least I no longer view them as "the other." While I'm afraid and angry now, they've had to live with their fear and anger far longer than I've had. And it is not a good place.
In the last year, everyone's been blaming everyone else for the shit hole we're in. It's the fault of the elite and the oligarchs. It's the fault of the church (and that means Catholic, Born Again, INC, etc.). It's the fault of the government. It's the fault of the 16 million. It's the fault of Duterte. But no one ever owned up and said, "This is a terrible world we live in and it's MY fault."
We allowed this to happen. We let 16 million people and their families suffer for so long. We allowed the oligarchs to do their musical chairs game with the government positions. We continued to vote for corrupt and ignorant and greedy people. Or we didn't vote at all. Pinayagan natin bastusin ang mga kababaihan natin because that's just how men are—bastos. We agreed that gays are worse than animals. We let people fan the flames of hate and fear in the name of free speech. We allowed a dictator and his family to not just return but we also placed them in positions of honor in government and society. We didn't demand for our money back. We broke the law, we didn't pay our taxes, we didn't obey traffic rules. We never demanded for our government to do their job and we didn't punish them when they didn't. We approve the murder of our fellow Filipinos simply because we think we're better than them.
We let things slide. We fell asleep. We didn't care. This is all our fault.
You know how on critical comments on Facebook posts about Duterte, all of his supporters always reply with, "Dami mong satsat pero may nagawa ka na ba para sa bansa natin?" May point sila. Ano na nga ba ang nagawa natin para sa bansa natin? Let that be a challenge to all. Although I used to think paying my taxes, being a good citizen and a good person is enough. Now, it's not enough. It's not enough pala. 
Let us all rise to the challenge! Change hasn't come and it will not come while we're all fighting each other. I'm not saying we should just shut up. We can fight each other (I always love a good fight) but at the end of the day, we also have to work together. And—lame, corny, and hippie this may sound—we have to love each other, be kind to one another, help each other. It's the only way we can get out of this pit of hate, anger, malice and fear.
I'm tired of the finger-pointing, the blaming of others for what's happening to our country and the world. I'm tired of being angry and afraid! I'm going to do something about it. This is on me. I have to make the world a better place. My sacred duty! As a mother, I have a huge responsibility to raise boys who won't grow up to be bastos, women-hating, pussy-grabbing jerks. I'm going to teach my kids to be loving and compassionate, to treat girls with respect, to treat everyone with respect. I'm going to teach them courage to always stand up when life knocks them down, to trust in their fellow man, to have faith in the goodness of man. And then I'll have to teach them to love learning, to ask the right questions, to think critically, to always listen and understand their fellow man even if they're vastly different from each other. 
And then outside my family, I will have to be kinder now. No more angry rants on Facebook! Wala namang natulong yan. I must find ways to help others. I don't know how considering I'm neck deep in childcare right now and we are just making ends meet, but I will figure things out. I'll start with this blog. I'll use my voice and whatever influence people say I have to encourage love, kindness, compassion and courage; to rally mothers of boys to raise them to be great and feminist men; to help working mommies like me get through the day with grace and strength. And then maybe when I have more time, I can go out and do something for my countrymen, especially our poor fellow mothers struggling to survive. 
I don't know yet, but for now I'll start with my own family, with myself. And I encourage you, too, to do the same, dear Loyal Reader. Our kids are growing up in a world on the brink of war. There's a lot of work to be done and we need to start doing the work now. God bless us all!  

*photo by Nina Strahl from Unsplash

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

New look

I'm agonizing over my blog's new template. The fonts are all over the place. The size of the fonts of old blog posts are tiny and the size on new blog posts (starting with this one) is a larger size. I don't know if I have the energy to edit all 1,200 past posts!

Please be patient as I fix the bugs. Or if I don't haha. Maybe I should just start a new blog altogether! The inconsistencies in the posts from before the new design is driving me crazy!

So anyway. What do you think? Do you like Topaz Horizon's new look?

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Penguin fight and the best comment thread ever

Bust out the popcorn, folks. National Geographic just rolled out the fight video to end all fight videos. Well, not really. But you gotta watch it and then read the comments anyway. That's what the popcorn's for!
Watch it HERE.
So here's a recap:

Mr Penguin came home from fishing one day to discover that his wife was with another penguin. Let's call him Pablo. That's him up there with Mrs Penguin.

So Mr Penguin and Pablo get into a fight. They beat each other up with their beaks and flippers. 

And the neighbors are all like, "Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Then, before they get to the point where they might actually kill each other and they're like, "Dude, we don't have to kill each other over a ho, right?," they both call for Mrs Penguin to choose between them.

And to everyone's shock, she picks Pablo. It gets worse, guys. Right in front of her husband, she takes Pablo's flipper and says, "Come home with me." Home being the house Mr Penguin built for her, where all the adultery had been happening! Grabe!

This drives Mr Penguin insane and he goes in for the kill. He chases the cheating pair, drags Pablo out of his house—yes, his own house!—and proceeds to peck his eyes out. Mrs Penguin watches as the two men in her life battle it out.

But Pablo—either he's too macho or well rested because his day had been spent in bed with Mrs Penguin while Mr Penguin had been out all day swimming and hunting in the ocean, ya know, being a good husband!—Pablo wins. Mr Penguin calls on his wife to stay true to the penguins-mate-for-life thingie but Mrs Penguin says, "Go away! I LOVE HIM!"

And Mr Penguin walks away, bloody, defeated and without a wife and home. The end.

So let's now get to the fun part. The comments! Here are my favorites:

Tragic.

Mr Penguin better get a DNA test.

So true! Don't forget the hashtag: #AnimalFightNight!


Let's look at that again:
Tragic!

May twist sa end. Uso yan ngayon sa movies.

Clever! I totally LOL'd because nerd.

Well, Heidi, you're in for a treat because Mrs Penguin just opened up on Twitter!

Sorry I called you that, Mrs Penguin.


Well! Love in a hopeless place! What do you think??? Team Mr Penguin vs Team Mrs Penguin? I can't decide!