Sunday, October 22, 2017

Peek inside CBTL's The Giving Journal 2018 (plus, a giveaway!)

If you clicked on this link with a thrill in your veins, then I have two guesses about who you are: (1) You are a planner junkie like me, and (2) You love Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, like I do, too! 

Well, I've got two surprises for you today! First, I'll give you an inside look at the pages of CBTL's anticipated planner, The Giving Journal 2018. Second, I'm going to give it away!!! Oh, happy day!


CBTL celebrated the 10th anniversary of The Giving Journal with a special theme: Leave a Legacy. The coffee company wants to encourage and empower everyone to live a life of purpose, excellence, and service—that's the kind of legacy all of us should have! Being equipped with a great planner like The Giving Journal will help make us stay on the course. When you write down your dreams, goals, inspirations on top of the daily tasks and important details, it truly is easier to live a meaningful life.

Here's what's inside The Giving Journal 2018: 

I like that there's a poem inside! Life should have poetry.
Advocacy info: The Giving Journal supports The Real LIFE Foundation, which helps less fortunate Filipinos get an education.
Every month starts with an artwork and an exhortation to succeed.
The weekly planner comes in two layouts: blank and grid, with inspirational notes, too.
The front and back of the planner have sheets of coupons for great deals on food and drink at CBTL.
At the back is a roomy pouch with stickers. There ought to be MORE stickers!

To get The Giving Journal 2018, just go to any CBTL shop and buy a drink, a Ready Coffee box, a CBTL Capsule box or the CBTL Single Serve Beverage System to collect stamps. Just 12 stamps and you get The Giving Journal 2018 for free!

Or you can have mine! I'm a bullet journalist (for two years now!) so I make my own planners. That's why I'm giving away my own copy of The Giving Journal 2018!!!

Here's how to get a chance to win my Giving Journal 2018:

1. Just post a photo of you and your family on your Facebook or Instagram. Why a family photo? So I know you're a mommy! Doesn't matter if you're a working mama or not—in my opinion, every mom is a working mom.

2. Write this to accompany the photo: "To win the 2018 Giving Journal of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf from Topaz Horizon, I must share the legacy I want to leave. I want my legacy to be... [answer here]. http://www.topazhorizon.com/2017/10/peek-inside-cbtls-giving-journal-2018.html"

3. So I can easily find your FB/IG posts, use this hashtag: #THGivingJournal2018Giveaway.

4. I guess it will also help if you tag me! I'm @TopazHorizonBlog on both FB and IG.

I'm going to randomly pick the winner so there's no need to ask for likes or to post an entire essay. I'll announce the winner one week from now, so that's October 29.

Winner must have an address that Xend ships to. Please please please give a real address because I've had many packages sent back to me because the winner refused to give their correct address (for security purposes daw). The winner can also either pick up the planner (and meet me!) or authorize someone else to get the planner.

That's it! Good luck, mamas!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Feeling Comfortable In Your Skin: Tips For Success



Feeling comfortable in your skin is not a science. It is an art. Also, despite the title of this post detailing ‘tips for success,’ success is often defined in a much different way than any other form of goal setting. Feeling comfortable in your skin is not measurable. It is more of a felt experience, something you take stock of every day and become better at as your life develops.

It is a dynamic process which you must maintain at all times. It is something which can give you the means to pursue your goals with confidence. It could simply be standing up for yourself in a conflict. The only complete and total result you can bet on however, is the ability to feel satisfied in all avenues of your life.

Here are some tips for fostering this comfort:

Pay Attention To Your Health
While accepting your unhealthy lifestyle might give you peace from a mental perspective, your physical health will always be a cause for concern no matter who you are. Improving your health will result in your body feeling wonderful, Acceptance of a changeable flaw is always inferior to pride in what you have achieved. This could be as simple as following a diet plan, or working out in the gym three times a week to stay active.

People will often tell you that you should never change and instead accept yourself, but those people miss out on the joy of self-improvement, and the intrinsic confidence that brings. We need a burden to bear as humans, or we are not physically or mentally normal. Unless you are subject to a disease or your physician recommends you abstain from eating healthily and exercising, these two tips can go a long way in making your body feel a much more friendly place.

Consider Your Social Etiquette
How do you come across to people? Have you ever reflected on this fact? Most of us marvel at the prevalence of rude people in society, not thinking that we could ever be one of these people. Watch yourself and your interactions with people. How do you feel on the surface? How do you react to people around you? How do you communicate? Are there psychological or language barriers which keep you from fully integrating into the world around you?

This is common for people living in a society who are having trouble speaking the native tongue. Services like those offered by AJ Hoge can provide you with the tools and techniques to make a silver tongue part of your arsenal, not a weakness to make you feel insecure.

Dress Sense
Our clothing is not merely superfluous. It is something we wear every day, something which allows us to express ourselves. This can help you feel comfortable in your skin, because the clothing may as well be part of your form it’s so utilized. Clothing helps express who we are, how we’re feeling, among a whole other range of important emotional variables. If you don’t usually put much thought into your dress sense, consider working towards it and developing a sense of style you can be proud of. Not sure about your current look? Switch things up? Before long you might see your clothing style as a method of artistic expression, rather than the ‘vain adorning’ you may have previously considered it to be. When you find that perfect garment, you will feel the most confident wearing it than you could ever have done before.

With these tips, you will certainly feel more like yourself, and more able to enjoy your life.

*Photo from Pexels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Grooming Guide For Gorgeous Husbands

I’m sure your husband or partner knows the basics of keeping clean and hygienic, because you wouldn't have been attracted to him if he was a slovenly pig. But does he know how to stay impeccably groomed? I'm writing this because these articles with variations of the title "A good barber is like a plastic surgeon" have been popping up on my Facebook feed and... Have you seen it? Here's a glimpse:

Click here for more amazing makeovers!

So inspiring, right??? Makes you want to drag your husband to the barber stat!

Good grooming is the very foundation of looking good. Thankfully, I'm married to a man who likes to keep himself well-maintained. Thankfully also, it's accepted these days for men to pamper themselves. Gone are the days when men were expected to look horrible to be called real men. Hubbies like David Beckham who likes sampling his wife's skincare products have made good grooming a good thing. Thank the heavens! 

Now if your hubby needs a few extra pointers on good grooming, you should pass on this guide to him.

Use the Right Hair Products
There is no doubt that you will have spent plenty of time trying to figure out which hair products work best for your hair. But has your partner? I wrote about the importance of knowing your hair and scalp type before buying products on Calyxta.com [How to Achieve Volume for Your Hair Length], in case you need more convincing.

Anyway, there are lots of shampoos and conditioners out there for men but, aside from the packaging and fragrances, they're not much different from products for women. Knwoing this, you can help your guy look for the products best for his hair and scalp type. The wrong ones could cause his hair to get too oily or dry.

Find A Barber
Why? Exhibit A above. There is no way your man will get a good haircut if he doesn’t go to a barber. My husband goes to a proper barber and I always find him wildly attractive after a haircut and shave. Truth! A barber can give your man a proper shave with a cutthroat blade—this shave will be a lot closer to the skin, so the hair will take longer to grow back. Smoother longer. Just run your hands all over that smooth face and neck mmmm.

Bare All Down There
A look at the article "Should Men Shave Their Legs? [https://99centrazor.com/trend-should-men-shave-their-legs/ ]" will make you see that this isn’t such a strange question at all. In fact, many men wonder about this one, especially if they're really hairy. And my trips to the waxing salon also tell me that men really do care about going completely bare down there. The waxing girls tell me that the guys believe a hairless groin makes the penis look bigger and the balls cuter. Well, we learn something new every day!

So should your hubby shave or wax, too? The truth is that it doesn’t really matter if they should or shouldn't unless they and their ladies care about hairiness. Going hairless doesn't serve any purpose except for aesthetics or for sexual pleasure. Yes, sexual pleasure! Let your hubby try going smooth and bare and see if you'll both like it. I bet you will! 

Don’t Forget Feet
Ok, so not many people will see your husband’s feet, but it’s good for him to get into a good care routine for his feet as it is good for hygienic reasons. Using a pumice stone [tips here: The Correct Use of a Pumice Stone] can help keep the skin on the feet smooth and soft, and it will also prevent callouses from developing. 

One of my favorite parts of my hubby's body is his feet. They're much nicer and softer than mine! He says it's because he drinks water a lot and he wears socks and shoes when he goes out. Unike me and my sandals and high heels and tight shoes.  

Always Moisturize
Think moisturizing is only for women? Think again! Everyone with skin should moisturize on a daily basis. So if your partner has this organ called skin, throw him a tub of moisturizer. It will help prevent his face from getting dry and will also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age lines. My husband says to exfoliate, too! A good marriage rests on good grooming, my mama friends, because the longer you look your best, the longer your marriage will last! Hahaha



Joking aside, keeping your hubby looking perfectly groomed isn’t so difficult. Just stock up on good hair and skincare products, find him a great barber, and maybe ask him to try going bare once in a while. Have fun!

*photo from Pixabay

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Maternity clothes now available at UNIQLO!

I've never been invited to a UNIQLO event, mamas. Well, when I was a magazine editor, yes, I was, but as a blogger, no. So when I got invited to an event launching the maternity wear of UNIQLO, even if I'm not pregnant and have no plans on getting pregnant ever again, I just had to go! Why? Because my whole family loves UNIQLO! We have lots of shirts and shorts and jeans from UNIQLO. I want to be their friend!!! Funny lang because I have no proof I went. I attended the intimate gathering at Stacy's BGC with my bunso, Piero, and he kinda made it impossible for me to take photos!

So I'll just very quickly share with you, preggy mamas, the new maternity clothes the Japanese brand has for you. I also want to share my thoughts as the event's host and UNIQLO Mommy Iya Villania talked about her search for maternity wear.


Yes, UNIQLO has a mommy ambassador! Why? Because UNIQLO introduces the latest addition to its LifeWear line: the Maternity Collection. Like all its LifeWear pieces, the maternity clothes are comfortable, sturdy, non-restrictive, functional, and are designed to accommodate the growing pregnant body.

I realized something about myself as I listened to Iya talk about how she resisted buying maternity clothes. For one, I did the same thing with my first pregnancy—I didn't want to buy preggy clothes because I thought I'd only do this whole pregnancy thing once. Another thing is there's some sort of shame in wearing maternity clothes. As Iya pointed out, there's so much pressure on women to look good, whether she's a little girl, a teen, a young woman, a wife, pregnant, mommy, middle-aged, and up to when she's a grandma. We always feel this pressure to look pretty and/or hot. Pregnancy, because of the many changes it brings to our bodies, makes us feel ugly. So some of us (or at least I did) some of us insist on squeezing into our pre-pregnancy clothes to, I dunno, to somehow convince ourselves and others that no, we're not fat or manas or boobsy or ma-pwet.


But things are changing so much now. When I first became pregnant just 8 years ago, there wasn't a lot of clothes that celebrated pregnancy. Everything I found in the maternity section were designed to hide the blooming body. But by my second and third pregnancies, the pregnant form is celebrated. It's wonderful! It's so nice to find all these comfortable, functional and nice clothes made especially for moms-to-be!    

The maternity clothes of UNIQLO are on the basics side, lots of solid colors and simple lines. For a harried pregnant woman, especially a working mama-to-be, that can be a blessing because you can just go about your day without worrying about your clothes! It's great! Here's a look:


Women's Maternity Ultra Stretch Jeans 
The Women’s Maternity Ultra Stretch Jeans is made with a cotton ribbed material to gently fit the stomach. It also has a widened hem design to prevent leg compression.

Women's Maternity Leggings 
Another essential piece is the Women’s Maternity Leggings. This item is highlighted by a double fabric layer that protects the stomach area from chills.


Women’s Maternity Leggings Pants
The Women’s Maternity Leggings Pants is designed with a waist adjuster that provides additional comfort in the midriff region with its adjustable buttons.

If you're a mama-to-be, do check out the Maternity Collection of UNIQLO. It's available at the following stores: SM Mall of Asia, C3 Annex, SM Makati, Robinsons Magnolia, U.P. Town Center, SM North EDSA, SM Aura Premier, and SM Megamall.

P.S. The Fall collection for the Kids and Baby line is also now available at all UNIQLO stores. So expect to see leggings, shirts and pants made of thicker material. There are onesies and tulle skirts—really quite adorable! Must visit soon since my kids love their UNIQLO clothes and it's time to add to their outfits. 

For more updates, customers may visit UNIQLO Philippines’ website at www.uniqlo.com/ph and social media accounts, Facebook (facebook.com/uniqlo.ph), Twitter (twitter.com/uniqloph) and Instagram (Instagram.com/uniqlophofficial).


*Photos courtesy of UNIQLO.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How I made peace with homework

I never liked homework when I was a kid. I hated it even more when I became a parent of school-age kids. Many reasons I was dismayed at the task of helping my kids with homework: 

1. As a working mama with no yaya and kasambahay, I’m super busy with work, chores and errands.
2. My kids and I are already tired from a long day at school and work.
3. Weekends are supposed to be spent relaxing!
4. Aren’t I supposed to be done with schoolwork already???

I was so upset with homework that my husband Vince offered to take over the job, but since I’m the parent who’s in touch with the teachers and fellow parents, it’s actually easier if I do homework duty. We take turns now, or we handle specific subjects. Homework duty did lighten up but I still resented it, until I realized recently this very important fact: My kids’ school is not in charge of their education—I AM.

Vince and I decided to send them to this school because it’s considered as one of the very best in the country. Why should I then be upset if the school gives my kids lessons??? 


Yes, we’re being forced to spend time with our children but we’re spending that time doing something valuable: learning together. We have the incredible privilege of sharing our knowledge and wisdom. For example, our kindergartener Iñigo had homework about family. We don’t know how it happened but that turned into a discussion on how to make babies. Who better to teach our boys about sex than us, their parents?

The school is just the guide on what our kids should know academically, but when it comes to their real education, it’s up to Vince and me. In school, they are limited to 30 minutes per subject and lesson plans. At home, we take those lesson plans and expound on it. It’s Vince who patiently taught our sons to read, for example. The school may teach colors but I teach application through cooking and painting. The school teaches them handwriting but it’s Vince who strengthens the boys’ hands and fingers by making them play with Legos and and Play Doh. Their lessons don’t remain on the page because we make them come alive through daily teaching and practice. 

My activity sheets take a lot of time and effort so that lessons will be fun.

I realized that in many ways, we’re homeschoolers who send our kids to a learning institution for a few hours each day so that the boys have friends and learn to relate to people outside of family. But other than those few hours, their education rests mainly on Vince and me. Homework is homeschooling and, as parents and their first and most important teachers, I should never resent homework. 

Never underestimate the power of rewards!

I admit I still do! So we have little things that help ease the strain: We use their Legos for math lessons, we watch Batibot YouTube videos to learn Filipino, we play video games on the iPad to learn left/right/up/down/jump (and in Tagalog, too!), we test our knowledge on colors, counting and grouping when sorting the laundry, and all finished homework is rewarded by their favorite Nickelodeon TV show, three pieces of their favorite brain-fortifying Scott’s DHA Gummies, and a hug!


Always worth it to be my kids' teacher!

How about you, mamas? How do you feel about homework and how do you deal with it? If you have any tips on how to make homework easier for parents and kids alike, please share! 


Scott’s DHA Gummies is available in packs of 3 (a daily dose at P24.00), 15 (five days of healthy sweets at P117.50, and 60 (good for 20 days for just P433.00). You can find Scott's DHA Gummies at Mercury Drug, Watsons, and leading supermarkets nationwide.

For more information on how DHA helps your child's brain development, please go to www.scottskids.com/ph. You can also like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ScottsPh/.

This post is brought to you by Scott's DHA Gummies.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fancy a Solaire Staycation

It's sem break soon and I'm planning a staycation for my family. With all the hustle and bustle of being a working mama, I'm really looking forward to some rest and relaxation. Some peace and quiet. Some time together with the hubby and the kids and we're not doing homework or household chores. But because travel can be just as exhausting, a staycation is the perfect solution.

I've been checking out hotels in the Manila area. That would be Pasay, Metro Manila, Parañaque—basically the whole area facing Manila Bay. It's by the sea and far enough so it looks like we went somewhere different, but it's near enough so we won't die of the stress of travel. Wow, there are a lot of hotels there! And I'd love to stay at the Solaire Resort Manila.


When we watched the much beloved musical The Sound of Music a couple of weeks ago, that was my first time to go to Solaire ever. It was actually my family's first time ever to even go to that area of the city. It was so big and so vast and so peaceful. I couldn't believe Roxas Blvd and EDSA were just a few minutes away!


So I checked out Solaire's website and, mommies, they have a special offer if you watch The Sound of Music! The Theatre Night Staycation! So after your lovely time at the theater, you can sing every song your heart just heard in your ultra-luxe room overlooking the bay or the city.

Theatre Night Staycation


A Theatre Night Staycation is available exclusively to TicketWorld ticket holders and only while the show is running—so you have one week left! The package includes buffet breakfast for two grownups and two kids. And it's 15% off best available room rate!

I haven't seen the rooms personally but I have seen the Theatre at Solaire and watched The Sound of Music with my boys and it is a real must-see, mamas. My husband and I loved it! My boys—even the little 3-year-old one—loved it! The Sound of Music is showing until Oct. 22, 2017.


Please buy your tickets now at TicketWorld!!! And if you fancy a Theatre Night Staycation at the Solaire after your musical experience, book here.

Solaire Staycation



Now if you're like me and have either already watched Sound of Music or just prefer a quiet holiday, then there's the Solaire Staycation package, which is perfect for families. That's the one I'm looking at. At P16,000++ a night, the staycation feels a bit lavish, but we get to enjoy the luxurious amenities, fill up at the breakfast buffet and excellent restaurants, and enjoy a massage. Mmmmm... To know more about this fancy family holiday, click here.

Both Staycation packages include P1,000 Food and Beverage Credit. So you can choose to treat your family at Yakumi, Finestra, Red Lantern, Waterside Restobar, or Fresh International Buffet. The Solaire Staycation adds Solaire Pool Bar and The Patisserie to your choices.


And if you feasted too much, you can burn off all those calories at the fitness center, indoor jacuzzi, wet and dry sauna, and the massive swimming pool by the sea!

Sounds superb! Really thinking about a staycation at Solaire! Have you been there, mamas? Do tell what it's like!

*photos courtesy of Solaire Resort Manila 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My 5 tips on how I keep our clothes looking new

One of the things on my bucket list this year is to buy new clothes for Vince and me. That’s because we buy clothes just for the kids. I’m sure my mama readers know this! We always buy the kids’ things first and if there’s any budget left, then we shop for ourselves, right? 

Thing is, for the past so many years, even when there’s shopping money, Vince and I would rather buy experiences—we’d buy books and games, watch movies, try out a new restaurant, go on staycations—than buy clothes for us. After all, we stay the same size anyway (well, aside from the three times I was pregnant!) so there’s no urgent need to get a new wardrobe.

So I’m going to share with you a few tips on how I keep our clothes looking new! 

1. Wash clothes inside out.
It’s an extra step, I know, but I really believe that when the outside of the clothes are protected from the friction caused by washing, the clothes last longer. Buttons, embroidery, patches, designs. The only pieces I don’t do this to are jeans because jeans are supposed to fade.

2. Don’t use hot water.
My fantabulous Electrolux front-loading washing machine is my favorite appliance. It has so many functions that I can access through its computerized panel. So sophisticated! I noticed that its washing modes always uses hot water. Hot water expands color molecules, resulting to fading of colors faster. So when I wash our colored clothes, I always adjust the wash modes to cold wash and spin dry. The only time I don’t do this is with the whites.

3. Use a good laundry detergent.
I use Ariel, which really gets into those stains. That means I don’t have to use bleach on colored clothes and scrub at stubborn stains (scrubbing damages the material).  

But I make babad whites in bleach. It not only whitens whites but also kills germs in your washing machine.

4. Use fabric conditioner.
I’ve always used Downy Anti-Bac. That’s the anti-bacterial variant. Because it kills odor-causing bacteria, the clothes smell fresh longer and we can wear them for more than a day. I know that sounds gross but do remember that we work from home, with the A/C on all day, too, so my husband and I hardly ever sweat! And, of course, I really believe in how fabric conditioner protects threads and strands from fraying, and elastics from stretching too much. Plus, I read somewhere that Downy specifically has Color Protection Technology, so colors won't fade even after lots of washes. And I do believe it works because a lot of our clothes are at least 5 years old and they don't look faded and worn at all.  

5. Dry in a windy—not sunny—area. 
I grew up being told that freshly laundered clothes need to hang on a clothesline under the sun. This is how you kill germs, I was told. But I also know from my science classes that nothing is worse on color than the sun! The sun bleaches colors away! So, since I live in a condo with a big utility area, I always hang our clothes with the whites near the windows (whites are good with being sun-bleached!) and the colored clothes at the back. Thankfully, the big windows let in a lot of wind so the clothes dry real quick. Plus, fabric conditioner makes clothes dry faster so there’s no “kulob” smell even now when it’s the rainy season. As for killing germs, well, it helps that the Downy variant I use is already an anti-bacterial! 

So those are my simple steps to keeping our clothes looking like new! Do you do the same things, mamas? Please share your laundry tips! Thanks and happy weekend!

Friday, October 13, 2017

What I got from the 8th anniversary sale of Quirks Novelties & Curiosities

It's the 8th anniversary of Quirks! I'm really happy that the novelty store is going strong. I remember meeting my friend and the co-owner of Quirks, Zerl Chan, at a coffee shop a few days before the opening of the first Quirks store at Power Plant Mall. It was such a tiny shore. Parang cabinet lang siya. Does anyone remember that tiny Quirks store??? But even though it was small, it was filled to the rafters with the most fascinating finds!

Now, 8 years later, there are five big Quirks stores all over Manila. And to celebrate its 8th anniversary, Quirks is having a big sale!

From now till Oct, 15, it's...
10% off all regular items!
15% off when you buy 2 or more items!

From October 16-31, it's...
Pick a prize for a minimum purchase of P800!

This is storewide and site-wide. Yes, even their online store has the anniversary discounts!!!

Want more Quirks perks? Become a Quirks VIP member much faster because this month, you get double stamps on all purchases!

Here are three Quirks goodies for my family:



It's a ladle/wooden spoon/etc holder. Obviously, it's for me. But my bunso Piero thinks it's Spider-Man's hand so he says it's his and my little chef, Iñigo, says it must be his since he cooks. So we decided that when Iñigo cooks, it's his. Beyond cooking, it's Piero's.



It's a big tin for keeping memories, like photos and letters. I gave it to my husband because between the two of us, Vince is the sentimental one. He keeps EVERYTHING. Like, you can not KonMari method this guy because everything sparks joy. I love that man I married!


This is such a fabulous lunch box but my kids are going to store their Legos in it instead. Taking after their father, I see!


Vince's favorite Quirks item is the Sun Jar. It's a rechargeable lamp—you just put it under the sun and it soaks up all that light then you have naturally powered light all night. Vince LOVED his Sun Jar so much and then I broke it accidentally. He was a lot heartbroken about it. But now because of the sale, I think I'll go get him a new Sun Jar!

You can visit Quirks at Power Plant Mall, SM Megamall, SM Aura, UP Town Center, and SM North EDSA. You can also shop online at https://www.quirksph.com.

Happy 8th birthday, Quirks!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cheesy quesadillas made healthy with Gold Seas Tuna Chunks

Hi, mamas! Today I'll share with you another recipe Chef Rosebud Benitez taught us mommy bloggers last week. These cheesy quesadillas are so delicious and so easy to make—definitely a snack (or even a lunch) you and your kids will love.

(Check out the first recipe: Shepherd's Tuna Pie.)



All the ingredients are easy to find at your favorite supermarkets, too. And it's quick to make! Working mama me was delightfully surprised! And instead of ground beef, Chef Rosebud used Gold Seas Tuna chunks, which are lighter on the tummy and much healthier, too. Happy cooking!

TUNA QUESADILLA
  • 1 pack spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pack flour tortilla, small size
  • 500 grams mozzarella cheese 
  • 250 grams button mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 cans of Gold Seas Tuna in Water
  • Olive oil for pan frying (optional, not needed when using a non-stick pan)
FOR THE SALSA:
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Ripe mango, diced
  • Olive oil 
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Spread some spaghetti sauce on a tortilla. Don't put too much since this will make your tortilla soggy.

2. Top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and tuna flakes. 

3. Fold in half and toast in a frying pan until golden.

4. If you used a non-stick pan, no need for oil. If you had to use cooking oil and fried your quesadilla, rest your quesadillas first on tissue paper to remove excess oil.

5. Serve with lots of tomato salsa on the side.

This was really so good! As in, super tasty, malinamnam, and also easy and quick to eat. That last part can be a problem because I ate so much! I just  happily pushed the cheesy tuna quesadillas in my mouth one after the other—chomp, chomp, chomp!


Sarap na sarap ako haha It's a good thing tuna and salsa are light and healthy! All that cheese, though...

Thanks so much, Gold Seas Tuna Chunks, for inviting me to join Chef Rosebud and the mommy bloggers to this fun cooking class. I really enjoyed myself! Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is now going to be a regular ingredient in my cooking!

Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is the pure, healthy, and chunky tuna choice for you and your family. With only premium tuna caught through sustainable fishing practices, every can of Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is filled with wholesome tuna goodness you will enjoy to the last bite. 

Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is available at all leading supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores and are offered in 90g (solo) and 185g (sharing) variants. To get the latest news and updates, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @goldseastunachunks.

This post is brought to you by Gold Seas Tuna Chunks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ladies, Forget Flexible – Be A Free Agent Instead

I just started a new job as beauty editor at L'Oréal. Yes, hooray!!! I'm so happy! The beauty giant has lots of major skin care and cosmetics brands under its umbrella like L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Kiehl's, Garnier, Kerastase, and many more. Lucky me, I get to work from home because I was hired as a consultant, and I'm so happy I registered my writing services as a legitimate business because I was able to get this dream client! Instead of getting a flexible job, which I had been hoping for these past year, I got a client that let me work wherever I want, whenever I want, as long as I submitted what they needed every month. It truly is a dream come true! Thank you, God!

Testing out lipsticks at home.

Flexible jobs appeal to women, especially mothers. A mom not only needs to be able to get her career on track, she also has to raise a child/children at the same time. People call working mamas supermoms but we all know none of us can be the best at both job and motherhood at the same time.

That's why I've been exploring income-generating pursuits like blogging, consulting, and hopefully one day, selling real things for working mamas. The farther I get away from my employment days, the more I see that entrepreneurship is the way for us mommies. You don't have to put up a brick-and-mortar store. A free agent, a.k.a. freelancer in our parts, can be your way to a life of satisfying career and devoted motherhood.

Here are the benefits of going freelance:

1. I Have Unlimited Options
Women will not and should not stop until the glass ceiling is gone forever. Until that happens, it is essential to understand and accept that it exists. Fellow feminists might see this as a slight, but it is far from it. By recognising that a glass ceiling is apparent in a particular company, you can move to a business without one. At the least, you can go to an organisation where the limit isn't as low and there is room to grow.

Freelancers get to take advantage of better opportunities merely because they are, well, unfaithful. We were raised to believe that happiness lies in finishing college, getting a job in a big company, getting married and having kids, and retiring from that same company 20 years later. Loyalty to that one company till you die! Looking around for work, getting rakets and sidelines, going freelance—these were frowned on. But I know that staying in one company limits you. It limits your professional circle, it limits the skills you know, it limits your pay. I should know because the last 5 years were WILD! But I've learned more as a freelancer in the last 5 years than I ever did as a magazine editor for 10.

I said yes to many things, like hosting an event with RJ Ledesma. I'd never have done this had I stayed employed!

2. I Can Make More Money
The gender pay gap has been an issue of debate for years. In 2017, organizations such as the BBC still don’t pay women as much as men. It’s a feature of the industry which is as infuriating as the glass ceiling for women. 

Thankfully, your role as a free agent lets you earn as much as possible. Too many men and women stay in workplaces where the opportunity for promotion is low. Ever read that Forbes article, "Employees who stay in companies longer than 2 years get paid 50% less"? Again, it’s a loyalty thing which we can’t seem to get over. As a result, an average person’s wage stagnates and gets lower as the rate of inflation increases. 

Women who are willing to switch roles give themselves the best opportunity to avoid low wages. As long as you take an offer with a higher yearly salary, there is no reason to get paid less than a man. In fact, what I love about being a freelancer is I earn more now than I did as an employee. Sure, there are stressful times like when clients don't pay on time, and so my husband and I are not averse to looking for employment, just some little job that can pay us every 15 days, while the blog and the writing business continue to be the main income source.

I learned to paint for a client. They paid me to paint my walls so why say no???

3. I Can Build My Life Around My Kids
Moms don’t have it easy because the cost of starting a family is high. Not only do we women have to spend so much on pregnancy, child birth, and child care, but we also lose out from a career point of view. Businesses may provide maternity leave and pay, yet a mother’s career is bound to languish because she has to take nine months off. Then there is the difficulty of being a mom who has a full-time job. 

Being a freelancer won’t solve the first issue, but it can help the second. Mothers who are not tied down to a position don’t have to build their life around their job. Also, because free agents pick and choose, it is possible to secure a position with flexitime. Coming in late and leaving early is an excellent way to make sure the kids are safe and secure. 

This is my life now really—family first, then whatever spare time I have, that's when I work. And crazily enough, this has resulted to more money! What! Didn't they say you have to work 10-14 hours a day just to get ahead? Well, when you're a freelancer, you don't have to work that hard. Just work smart... whenever you want to!
Like Cheka Kramer, I'm a mommy who puts her family first. It's so wonderful that prioritizing our kids worked out so well for us!

4. I Can Meet More People Who Can Propel Me Forward
As you can tell by the tone of the article, there are lots of roadblocks for women and mothers in the workplace. So it makes sense to try and hurdle as many of them as possible. Many of the obstacles are ingrained in the industry and really hard to jump over. 

However, you can sidestep any obstacle with the right people by your side. All you need to do is call them and ask for a favor. In my case, I've had to ask people how I can help them or how we can work together. That was how Ginger Arboleda of Manila Workshops and Taxumo created the Boss Bellas workshop series. She had an idea but she didn't have time to devote to it so she passed it on to me! Even my L'Oreal job came to me because I sent an email to a former colleague, just asking for a favor to put in a good word for me. She did and I got the job!

It shouldn’t come as a shock, but staying in one job won’t help your career. Yep, I said it. Women who move around the industry are more likely to meet new people in varying sectors of business. Should a free agent need help, their little black book will be full of potential candidates. Yes, it is possible to network while staying in a job, but it takes a lot of effort for moms to go to events after a hard day at work.

Ginger and me at our first Boss Bellas Workshop this year. God bless my working mama friend!

5. Life's Exciting!
The reason freelancing is an excellent option is the excitement factor. Yes, it might be frightening at times, but since you never really know what each day has in store, freelance life can get the blood pumping. Rather than rolling out of bed in the morning, dreading another boring day at work with people you despise haha, you will jump out refreshed and ready to tackle the day because who knows what will happen today??? 

The problem with this, however, is I have a hard time keeping my schedules straight. Like yesterday I told my accountant, "I don't know if I can see you this week because I don't know what my week looks like yet." She is endlessly frustrated with me, I know! 

I also know many freelancers who work not just from anywhere, but from fantabulous locales, too. They work while traveling, or their work sends them all over the world. The idea of making money while living near a beach is an enticing prospect. Lots of people ask questions such as “how do I become an international nurse?” or, “how do I find a job abroad?” Pretty cool except that, personally, as a mama to little boys, traveling doesn't excite me. That's why I took on this life so that I won't have to leave my kids, right? Well, us new moms may not be tempted to travel any time soon, but kids do grow up. Maybe one day, when the kids are busy with school and friends, I can be more mobile without any hassle. It's an exciting prospect, right? But if you're employed with a set number of leaves, you don’t have the chance to exploit the globalisation of the industry. 

"We'll have to meet on Skype, Felicia, since I'm working from this fabulous AirBnB in Canada!"

Ultimately, women and mothers need flexibility in their careers. There are other ways to secure it, such as sticking with a job which offers a balance between life and work—but this kind of job is very rare. In my experience, being a free agent not only provides flexibility but pays more and increases opportunities. 

Try exploring it, mamas! If you can provide a service or product, offer it to friends and family. They'll spread the word. Sooner or later, you just might have enough raket to actually make it your legit biz. That's how I did it! Good luck!