Thursday, August 31, 2017

Empowering mamas is what I want to do (plus, a giveaway!)

CONTEST CLOSED.

One of the best things about having a blog is I get to know a lot of other women and their stories. Many of my Loyal Readers tell me they're inspired by my own stories, which really surprises me because that's how I feel for my readers' stories! Many times, I seriously don't know how to navigate this life but many of you always give me advice, offer tips and tricks, and share times when you went through what I'm going through and then tell me I'm going to be okay. It's so nice that we help each other, encourage each other, and just cheer each other on with our experiences and wisdom. Thanks, mamas!

Empowering women (and men!) is why the Boss Bellas workshop series exists.

I think it's wonderful that we live in a time when we women are now more encouraging of each other. Women are always pitted against each other. We compete with each other on who's prettier, sexier, has the best guy, best nails, best kids, best bags, best whatever. I used to be that way—envious, petty and mean. I admit it and I regret it.

But now when I see posts on social media, it's not envy I see but a "You go, girl!" attitude. When we see other women looking amazing, we say, "You look amazing!" When we see other women making their dreams come true, we leave comments like, "You deserve this! Congrats!" When we see other women talking about feeling low, we always send virtual hugs and hearts. Of course, there are still trolls, but I see more love than hate, and I so love that women are now getting together and supporting each other!

On a more personal note, I'm seriously inspired by you all. Even when I'm whining or ranting or being maarte, you always always always cheer me up. Even when you disagree with me and what I write, you ladies engage me in such a way that either we agree to disagree or I change my mind! Thanks for inspiring me, encouraging me, and empowering me. I hope I do the same for you, dearest Loyal Readers!

Anyway, ang haba ng intro. I'm writing this — and this is not a sponsored post! — I'm writing this because Avon told me that August is when they celebrate empowered women everywhere. Now, I'm sure you all know Avon. Avon is a direct-selling company that attracts women because it allows women to earn from home. This has changed a lot of women's lives. Wives help their husbands earn, easing the men's burden to provide. Mothers get extra income for their families' needs. Mothers can quit their office jobs, be with their children, and still make money. Single moms can provide for their families — no men needed. A working woman is an empowered woman! And an empowered woman makes great changes in her family and in her society.

Avon celebrates the empowered woman in two ways: First, this video of their beautiful ambassadors, Ruffa Gutierrez, Jodi Sta. Maria, and Jennylyn Mercado, who happen to be working mamas. Avon believes that Ruffa, Jodi and Jennylyn will inspire other working mamas because they've overcome many struggles — failed relationships, career setbacks, vile gossip. Here's the short video:


Second way that Avon is celebrating empowered women is by offering four must-have products that will help all women stay on top of their game all day, every day. Thanks for sending these to me, Avon! Here are the photos and descriptions from the press kit with my own comments after (I was supposed to take the photos myself but, mamas, I'm so busy with childcare and household chores! Hindi na kaya. Ewan ko ba. I need to be empowered, too!):

Imari Bold
Described as a warm and sophisticated scent that evokes passion and control, Imari Bold’s captivating smell is the easiest way to add a touch of understated class to your look and stay confident all-day long. 

I love this! Imari is my second-ever perfume (the first one is Sweet Honesty, also an Avon scent). Imari has other variants now and I really like Imari Bold because it has a sweet fruity-floral fragrance. I bring it in my purse every day! I love that it's my favorite color, too. 

Buy it—now only P399!



Cassandra Underwire Cami Bra
Looking for a bra that literally changes depending on your needs? Look no further! Avon’s Cassandra Underwire bra with removable/movable high neck lace cami lets you wear it in different ways. And the best part? It comes in a beautiful purple shade that complements just about any other item you have in your closet. 


It's nice, no? You can wear it two ways—one for showing off cleavage, and one for covering it up prettily. Two bras in one!

Buy it—now only P479!



Love Yourself Bangle
A simple but gorgeous imitation-gold half bangle with the phrase “Believe in Yourself” that aims to serve as a daily reminder to all women to always appreciate and assert your worth. Buy it!

Okay, I love this. I want to make a lot in gold, silver, and rose gold and emblazon them all with empowering statements!

Buy it—now only P349!


Briana Shoulder Bag
A tasteful two-tone leatherette bag that can fit all your everyday essentials without sacrificing style, it’s also perfect for adding a pop of color to your ensemble. From work to play, this bag is the perfect companion for modern women who are not afraid of stepping out of their comfort zones in the name of pursuing their passion. 

A tote bag in my two favorite colors! It's nice and roomy, too, and adds a pop of color to corporate uniforms or, if you work in a creative environment, it's bright and fun. If you're a mommy, this is perfect for all your mama needs.

Buy it—now only P549!



GIVEAWAY!

That's why I'm giving away the Briana shoulder bag to one Loyal Reader! Just post on the comments below an empowering experience as a mother. I'll publish all the comments when I announce the winner* on September 4, Monday. Hooray!

Thanks, Avon, for sending me these wonderful gifts. God bless you more for empowering so many women all over the world!


CONTEST CLOSED!
CONGRATULATIONS TO ANGELIE CUNA!

Don’t have an Avon Representative? Shop online at http://avonshop.ph/. Visit www.avon.ph or like Avon Philippines on Facebook to find out how you can get in touch with a Representative. 


Want to order Avon on-the-go? Download the Avon Brochure application from the Google Play or Apple Store to start browsing our latest brochure today! The Avon Brochure app will connect you to a nearby Representative, so you can enjoy personalized service.

*winner must have a Philippine address that Xend delivers to. Winner may also pick up the prize at my home. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Frances Finds: Stylist in Pocket fashion-styling-at-home service

A few months ago, professional styling service Stylist in Pocket came over to my house to help me shop for new clothes. If you have a Facebook account, you must've seen all their ads. In fact, they also featured me in one of their ads, and that is why I'm getting sooooo many questions about the styling service.
My new favorite dress from SiP! Wearing it here at a National Book Store event.

So, dahil maraming nagtatanong and para hindi na ako paulit-ulit sa pagsagot, I'm writing this blog post and then sending this link to anyone who asks.

What is Stylist in Pocket?
It's an online styling service. So perfect and convenient for us busy working mamas! They have a stable of stylists who will help us buy clothes that will look good on us and will suit our lifestyle. The service is so personalized and customized and amazing!

How do I get an SiP stylist's service?
First, you register at their website, StylistInPocket.com. You then have to fill out your profile—this is quite tedious because you have to answer all these detailed questions on your dress sizes, preferred colors, styles you can't wear, etc. So set aside time for this.

After you fill out the form, you can now request for a home visit. You just click on "Book a Home Visit" button, and then you tell them when you're free. Within 48 hours, a stylist will confirm with you your visit. My stylist was AJ and he's really good at his job!

What should I expect from a SiP home visit?
I was so amazed, mamas. AMAZED! First, the stylist will really arrive on time. He/she will have two assistants and they'll bring a full-length mirror and one or two racks of clothes. Shopping talaga siya! One rack will have the clothes you say you like, and the other rack has the clothes you might consider.

Yes, your stylist will bring clothes that have colors/prints/styles you say you don't like! Why??? Because when you hire a stylist, you have to open your mind! Madalas kasi we get stuck in a style rut. Like me—always black. Some women wear just jeans and a t-shirt. Some moms wear yung mga skintight clothes they wore nung dalaga pa sila kahit na nag-iba na ang shape ng mga katawan nila. Kaya nga we hire a stylist so they can get us out of that rut!

So you go through the racks, pick out styles you like, the stylist will then suggest other styles. Then you try on the clothes, and the stylist will show you how to wear them. Like my stylist AJ. He showed me that if I tie a belt a certain way, my waist will look smaller. He also suggested what kind of shoes to match with the outfit. Mga ganyang helpful tips!

A visit can take about two hours. Mine did, but yours may take shorter or longer. So do set aside a lot of time kasi you really don't want to rush this styling session.

After you pick the clothes you like, you can pay either in cash or credit card. Yes, may dala silang credit card machine!!! Ang efficient! May resibo pa! And if you want P250 discount next time you shop, donate your old clothes to their charity—they will forward the clothes to less fortunate communities.
They also bring FREE iced tea!

How much are their clothes?
In your profile questionnaire, you'll also tell them your preferred budget range. Me, I put mga P1500 to P3500 per dress so when AJ came over, the dresses he brought were in that price range. Since I bought three dresses, I spent around P7,000+. Don't worry, SiP will really work with your budget!

Do I need to pay a service fee?
Nope! Styling is free! So if wala kang nagustuhan na damit, there's no obligation to buy. But, here's the thing—you'll really like the clothes SiP brings. They're customized kasi to your taste, plus there's the fact that your stylist will show you how to wear the clothes well, so mapapabili ka talaga!

Okay, here are the outfits I tried on.
These were really nice shirtdresses. They come with a belt so you won't look shapeless. I like how AJ styled the belt, too. I looked like I had a figure!

Ooooh, I loved this outfit soooo much! That's a white sleeveless dress and then AJ draped a soft pink blazer around my shoulders, then pinned a brooch on my chest. I want this whole #ootd but mahal masyado. Sigh!

I liked this one a lot, too! But AJ pointed out that the color made me look washed out. He advised that I shouldn't pick hues that are too near my skin tone. In hindsight, I agree with him because I always look best in bold colors or dark tones. My closet is full of black, green, red and navy.

Speaking of navy, here's the Espada dress that I bought. I really liked how comfy it is, and how it fell over my curves (hid my bumps actually haha), and then when I found the pockets... SOLD!

Oh, I loved this dress, too! But it was too small! I mean, look at my tummy! SiP can get a larger size, by the way, or you can have clothes altered.


I bought three dresses: the navy dress, a sexy black dress with slits on the sleeves, and a beautiful marsala dress. Can't wait to wear those two dresses but I haven't found an occasion yet!

Before I go, here's a few tips:
1. Wear your good undies. If you normally wear a seamless bra and a girdle, wear those. I do but for my SiP visit, I just wore regular undies kasi nasa bahay lang naman ako. Thing is, when I was fitting the clothes, I couldn't appreciate how they fell on my body kasi my tummy was hanging out a lot haha
2. Fix your hair and face. First, because you have visitors. Second, so you can see yourself dolled up na in the outfits. Ako kasi, hindi ako nag-ayos (see photos above), so I didn't look too good in the mirror. I was trying hard to imagine what I'd look like when I have nice hair and makeup on. Next time I do this, I'll fix myself up talaga!
3. Prepare a big space for the SiP team. Like I said, there's three of them and they have racks of clothes and a mirror. So malamang you'll do the fitting sa living room mo. If you have a huge walk-in closet, that's great, because you can all hang out there. Anyway, basta plan ahead, like saan sila pupuwesto, saan ka magbibihis. Hirap kasi if, let's say, you'll park them in the living room tapos aakyat ka sa kwarto mo para magbihis, multiply by how many outfit changes... Kakapagod! 
4. Line up your shoes. In fact, get your accessories ready in the fitting room — shoes, bags, belts, etc. Again, if you're doing everything in your walk-in closet, this is not an issue. But if you don't have that space, prepare your shoes where you'll do the fitting so that hindi ka patakbo-takbo changing your shoes to match an outfit.

You can see SiP's other styled clients at their Facebook page. And you can create your own profile at their website so you can book a home visit and styling session soonest! Use this code to get a P250 discount: alan2513. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Before Your Business Rushes Into Its Next Big Project, Here's What to Consider

I briefly mentioned our Beauty Biz Bliss business in my invitation to my Boss Bellas workshop this Saturday, and a few Loyal Readers couldn't help but send me notes mourning a business that failed to fly. You know, I also feel bad about it but, like I said, Ginger and I are now sloooooowly going into it again, calling our same endeavor Boss Bellas now. It may have taken a year of delay, but it's happening! And we're now doing things better. Still, I'm going to do a short post today on the things I learned about launching a big project.

Undertaking a big business project always presents a challenge for your company. On the one hand, you want to dive in and get to work right away because this could be the big thing that drives your company forward and helps it to move onto the next level. But there are some important things that need to be considered before you can do that. Here are the questions to ask before rushing into your big project:



Has your team got the right range of skills?
First of all, you need to think about the team that is being assigned to this project. Whether it’s a big team or a small one, it needs to have people in it who possess the required skills. If your team is short on skills that are going to be needed, you probably won’t see the outcomes that you want from this whole project. You don’t want a group of people who are all good at the same things and bad at the same things. Instead, you need a mix of talents, abilities and backgrounds in order for things to turn out well.

With BBB, we were all women with different skills—Ginger would be in charge of the business side, I was assigned the content side, and Martine was going to do the branding and marketing job. So it was supposed to work! I'll tell you later what didn't.

Do you have a plan for managing it coherently?
Managing your project is going to be a big deal. You should have one person in the team who is assigned the role of project manager. If this is a really big project, it might even be necessary to hire a project manager for the duration of the task. That might sound like a pretty drastic move to take, but sometimes, that’s what’s required. It needs to be managed in a coherent and organised kind of way. Alternatively, you could send a team member to a Project management class. There, they will gain the required skills.

For BBB, we hired a wonderful project manager, RJ Dancel, who is the most capable woman in the world. You tell her what you want and she will execute it. No whining, no complaining, no constant clarifications, and always on time. She's a dream and now she's working with Mommy Mundo/Creative Juice. They are so lucky to have her!

Is your schedule really realistic?
Schedules can be tricky to manage because no one is capable of predicting the future. You don’t know how things are going to plan out or which snags you’ll fit along the way. But you do need to make sure that your schedule and timescale are as realistic as they can be. That’s especially important if those things will have a knock-on effect on what the business does afterwards. Be realistic and be cautious. Don’t expect things to go according to plan at every turn because that’s rarely the case.

This was our trouble—we had planned a workshop, a brand activation, and a meet-up with the community every month. It was the one that made the most business sense. Unfortunately, all three of us in BBB were extremely busy last year with our own individual projects and personal dilemmas. On my part, I was juggling my blog, my kids in school for the first time, a toddler, and no household help and yaya! I simply couldn't take on more commitments. That was a tough realization for me—just because I want something and am qualified for it doesn't mean I can get it if I can't commit the time to it.

What outcomes do you want to see?
Finally, you should think about the outcomes. It’s not a good idea to jump into a business project unless you know how you want it to pan out and how you want the business to be positioned when all is completed. You should have a very clear vision of what you think success should look like for the company. And that’s a vision that should be shared with your whole team. You want people to be on the same page throughout this process.

This was another crazy thing that happened to us at BBB. It was supposed to be a simple workshops-for-working-women business. But as word got around and people got excited to work with us, we veered away from the initial goal and added many other goals and dreams to the drawing board—with the to-do lists that came with them! We were simply overwhelmed!

All of these questions are really important, and they will certainly all need to be answered before your company can get underway with its next project. If not, things could start to get messy before you’ve even begun.

With all that we've learned from last year's failed attempt, Ginger and I decided to take things slow this time with Boss Bellas. We had a simple goal—workshops for women who work, want to work or start a business. The schedule is really forgiving—a workshop every two months. And this time, Ginger decided to take Boss Bellas under her Manila Workshops wing so that we're working with her extremely efficient team. And the results? The first workshop was a success! The second workshop is this Saturday! We're planning the next few workshops and we are so excited! In fact, people are again eager to work with Boss Bellas, but we're pacing ourselves, only taking on what we can handle. And this time this big project feels just right!


I hope you learned a lot from this post! Don't be afraid to fail, mamas. That's what Ginger assured me. She wasn't even fazed at all when I confessed I was so discouraged and embarrassed about the whole thing. She just shrugged and said, "Let's try again!" And we did.

*image from PixabayThis post has affiliate links.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bianca Gonzalez Intal is Sanicare's first ambassador! Plus, my 7 kitchen towel hacks!

Mommies, I had such a fun afternoon with other mamas when Sanicare invited us to a lovely little party to welcome Bianca Gonzalez-Intal as their first ever brand ambassador.

L-R: Shari Macainag, Bianca Gonzalez Intal, Sarah Tirona and me

Sanicare is a line of kitchen, bathroom and personal care paper and cotton products. So that's kitchen towels, toilet paper, facial tissues, and the like. In my home, we've been using Sanicare maybe around 5 or 6 years ago. When we had kids and our grocery receipt now featured items like lots of wet wipes and paper towels, my husband Vince decided we needed to look for quality items that are still affordable. Para hindi masakit every time we pulled out a tissue or wipe! Like, seriously, why are kids such a messy affair???

Bianca, being a first-time mom, is now acutely aware of keeping her home clean and using hygienic products. And even though she probably earns more than an average mom does, that doesn't mean Bianca doesn't care about cost. She made sure she picked Sanicare kasi affordable ang products nito. But even though hindi sila kamahalan, sobrang excellent ang quality.

I can attest to this because I'm very maarte with the stuff I use. Sanicare paper is very soft and smooth, sarap to use, but hindi siya madaling mapunit. The baby stuff are free of harmful ingredients like parabens, alcohol and perfume. The cotton they use is 100% cotton talaga —walang halo na ibang materials. The towels are extra-absorbent and are free from chlorine and other bleaching agents, plus they are made from 100% virgin pulp.

With the lovely (inside and out!) Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, who hosted the event

You know what makes me love Sanicare even more? Dun sa event, Marketing Director Lea Sio Pacis revealed that the brand started as products her dad invented for her mom. Yes, Lea is the daughter of Sanicare's inventor, and yes, Sanicare is a family business. Lea said her mom has very sensitive skin and being a mommy, syempre, her days were filled with keeping her home and her kids clean. Problem was the products she used those days made her skin sugat-sugat kasi allergic siya. Lea said her dad couldn't let this happen to his dear wife so he made products that were soft, durable, and didn't have harmful chemicals. Sanicare! Grabe, diba? Aanhin mo ang Taj Mahal, supposedly the world's best physical demonstration of a man's love for his wife? This is waaaaaay better!

So anyway, speaking of husbands, it was Vince who discovered Sanicare Interfolded Hand Towels. We use it everywhere! Sa dining table, may naka-park na pack for wiping up spills and wiping down messy mouths and hands. For the kitchen, I use it to cover dishes that I heat sa microwave so that the inside of the oven won't get messy from the splatters.

And since we're on the topic of Sanicare's many uses, Beach Born entrepreneur and fashion and travel blogger Sarah Tirona of The Fashion Eggplant, Rory & Sloane entrepreneur and beauty blogger Shari Macainag of The Misty Mom, and myself were invited by Sanicare to share how we use their products.

Sarah was in charge of the mommy hacks. She also showed us the fabulous Large Cotton Buds that were shaped so that it doesn't penetrate the ear. No need to worry about harming eardrums, mommies!

Shari shared her beauty and grooming tips using Sanicare products. For example, when she applies makeup and her mascara smudges, the Mini Cotton Buds can get that smudge off your face without ruining your makeup.

Meanwhile, I shared 10 ways I use Sanicare kitchen towels in my kitchen and dining room. I'm not going to list here what I made chika na to the mommies at the event. Para fresh, I'll list a few more of my kitchen hacks!

1. Clean mushrooms. Washing mushrooms will make them absorb water. A moist paper towel helps clean dirt from mushrooms better.
2. Dry meat before seasoning and cooking. Thawed meat or washed meat must be patted dry first so that salt and pepper and other seasoning can adhere to it. Patting meat dry before cooking also prevents spectacular oil explosions.
3. Heat bread in microwave. Bread should be reheated in an oven or toaster but when I'm in a hurry, I use the microwave. I just wrap/cover the bread/pizza/pastries in a damp towel first to prevent it from drying out.
4. Clean stovetop after cooking. Since ako ang labandera, I don't want my cloth towels to get greasy. Spraying isopropyl alcohol on the paper towel helps to break down the grease! 
5. Dry the inside of my kids' water bottles. I just roll up a towel like a straw then poke around inside the bottle.
6. Absorb oil drippings from fried food. Layer two towels in a dish, put the friend food there to rest, then transfer the not-so-oily-anymore pritong pagkain to a serving dish.
7. Absorb excess oil from pizza. Just pat, pat, pat!

Aaaaand here are the mommies enjoying the super delicious food at Makati Diamond Residences and the fun games that Bianca and Stephanie made everyone do.

Every mommy went home with a big tray of Sanicare goodies. Hooray! Thanks, Sanicare!

To see what happened at the event, here's a video from one of the mama bloggers who attended my workshops before (hi, Reign!):


So ayan, mga mamas, get Sanicare products na! I'm listing down the complete line below and I added a few comments on some of them. Funny kasi very comprehensive na yung product range, diba, but being kikay us, Sarah, Shari and I asked for cotton pads (square or circular and embossed!) for removing makeup. Sanicare said they'll consider it! Kikay mamas, rejoice! I really love Sanicare. Sobrang sulit, sobrang galing, sobrang recommended ko and ni Bianca Gonzalez Intal pa! Bili na, mga mommies!

Product line:
Kitchen Hygiene Line
1. Kitchen Towel Regular
2. Kitchen Towel Jumbo
3. Facial Lunch Napkins - I think kaya siya "facial lunch" kasi pwede siyang table napkin and panyo!
4. Mood Dinner Napkins

Personal Hygiene Line
1. Facial Tissue Boxed
2. Facial Tissue Travel Packs
3. Cleansing Wipes - I can't live without these! Here's my review.
4. Cotton

Bathroom Hygiene Line
1. Bathroom Tissue 2-ply
2. Bathroom Tissue 3-ply
3. Interfolded Hand Towels - I love these, too! Like I said, it's the very first Sanicare product we bought. I think it's the most versatile because you can use it sa bathroom, sa dining table, sa kitchen! If you must buy just one Sanicare product, eto na yun!
4. Disposable Toilet Seat Cover
5. Handipack

Baby Care Line
1. Baby Wipes
2. Baby Underpads - This is the newest product and I'm excited to use it because we're toilet-training Piero. I always use an underpad when I let the toilet-training kids sleep without a diaper.
3. Jumbo Cotton Balls
4. Cotton Buds Mini
5. Cotton Buds Large

You can buy Sanicare products at all supermarkets nationwide. For more information on Sanicare, visit their website and like their Facebook page.

*This post is brought to you by Sanicare. Most of the photos are courtesy of Sanicare.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Piero is 3!

Piero is 3 years and 6 weeks old today. Yes, this is a birthday post 6 weeks delayed! A big part of the reason for the delay is Piero himself. In the last 6 weeks, his development has been huge—he's suddenly talking clearly, he's drawing real drawings (not scribbles), he's agreed to take baths without screaming bloody murder, he finally agreed to get a haircut (so we booked that salon appointment ASAP), he's asking TONS of questions and he won't let you go unless you answer them. It's been a fascinating few weeks, everyone!

We're so grateful that the Terrible Twos are over!!!


Today, I'll share with you a few photos from his little birthday. As usual, we had to have the cake early in the morning. We've given up dressing up the boys for the pictures—dressing up really early in the day just for pictures puts them in a bad mood so we're all in sleepwear with unwashed faces and unbrushed hair here. My mother would've been so disappointed haha She was very particular about keeping up appearances!

If there's one thing motherhood has taught me, however, it's you need to pick your battles. And much as it would be lovely to be like one of those stylish Instagram mommies with their stylish Instagram kids, my kids would rather be sloppily happy. So be it!

Piero's obsessed with Spider-Man now so he wanted a Spider-Man cake. We got one from Goldilocks. And he loved it!

He leaned in close to blow out his birthday candle...

And got cake all over himself!!! Sticky icing everywhere! Cake destroyed! Brothers amused! But I saw Piero start to get upset that his Spider-Man pajama top had frosting so I whisked him away and changed his shirt (thank goodness we have LOTS of Spider-Man shirts!), washed him up, tried to get as much icing off his hair as I could, and then we went back and blew out that candle again!

And had some cake. Hooray!

Disaster averted! Birthday party rescued!

Now for the gifts!


Piero got gifts from his brothers and his Mama and Papa and he was super happy. But he was even happier when we all piled into the car and went to Kidzoona!

We have soooo many photos of the birthday boy and his brothers enjoying Kidzoona! They were so happy! But little boys need to rest their excited little bodies so we all went back home for Piero's favorite - ube ice cream!


Dear Piero, you're such a character. Always bossy, alway loud, always filling up the room with your personality, always insisting that you must have your way in a house where everyone is bigger than you. You never let anything make you feel small and you never give up or give in. While you're just like your parents, we have a sneaky suspicion you're going to be so much more than Papa and Mama will ever be simply because you insist on being gigantic in every way.

I pray that you'll always be stubborn and assertive. I'll just need to ask God that He show me and your Papa how to teach you to be a very good and righteous man so that you can use that stubbornness and aggression to fight for the weak, the small, and the downtrodden. I see big things coming your way, little boy. And you will take them on like the giant that you are! I can't wait to see this happen, my dearest Piero! Happy birthday, Mr P! We LOVE you!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The luxury of principles

I almost got hit by a taxi today. I was very careful, crossing the street, but the taxi sped up to overtake the asthmatic jeepney chugging uphill and the taxi driver didn't see me till the last second but thankfully I saw him and stopped. Because I have a really bad temper, I raised my fist to smash his hood but I saw that he had passengers—a woman and small kids—who all looked frightened. So instead of getting mad, I stood in front of his car and wagged my head and finger at him like he was a naughty boy. Then we both went off to wherever we needed to go.

See, this is my life these days. There are so many things happening in my industry, in our country, in the world, and I want to raise my fists, march on the streets, write scathing articles, scream! But I don't. Two reasons: (1) As a working mama of three small children and with no household help, I'm too busy and too tired; and (2) As a working mama of three small children, I've been warned that being critical of the government and being basically disagreeable may hurt my career. While this second reason doesn't matter to me (if you refuse to work with me because of who I am and what I believe in, then why would I want to work with you?), it has tempered my fury and so I sit quietly.

I've been sitting here quietly while thousands of my fellow Filipinos are murdered (see the latest on the drug war's "bloodiest night" here), while mommy bloggers are insulted (Cat Antonio rages against this here), while all bloggers are sneered at (Earth Rullan breaks it down here), and while the most convenient means of transportation for me and my children was taken away from me and many other working people (you can read about that here).

But for me, I keep my head down and do my mommy work. These days, all that matters is peace and quiet.

These days, I also keep thinking of this Mel Gibson-helmed movie called The Patriot. It's about Benjamin Martin, an American war hero who retired to be a farmer because he just wanted peace and quiet with his family. When conflict with the British government threatens this peace, he refuses to fight and he gave this reason: "I'm a parent. I haven't got the luxury of principles."

Ironic, right? Parents, the moral compass of their children, not having the luxury of principles. And it's true. I see it on my Facebook feed. The ones who are most vocal, the ones who march on the streets—they're not parents. They're the single people, the childless couples, the ones who don't have a lot to lose, except maybe their lives, which isn't much apparently in these times when you fight for people's rights and then you get threatened with murder.

And that's why parents can't have principles. If we lose our jobs or our lives because we dared to fight for what is right and decent (as what happened to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which reportedly suffered an ad boycott and then had to be sold because they were critical of the administration), then what happens to our children?

I'm not defending my inaction. To be honest, I don't even know what action to take. I have protested many times on Facebook but that honestly feels like impotent rage. I have discussed what upsets me with many people that don't share my anger and I initially thought that was more effective except that they haven't changed their minds at all. So I guess dialogue doesn't work either. So these days, I've calmed down, I've gone on living. I've kept the peace.

In The Patriot, Benjamin Martin is told, "You have done nothing for which you should be ashamed." And Benjamin replies, "I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed."

Despite all his precautions, Benjamin's family still suffered unimaginable consequences. When there's a war, after all, no one is spared. Even those who survive it.

Now here's the thing: My motto has always been: "The brave may not live forever, but cowards never live at all." My one defining trait has always been courage, but now that I have kids, I want to survive. It frightens me that to survive, my principles are the first casualty. What frightens me even more is the gnawing worry: Will doing nothing actually save my family? In the deepest part of my soul, I know the answer is no because they will grow up knowing their mama kept her head down when she should've been rising up, and they will feel ashamed.

Well, there is one brave act I do with my head down. I pray. Prayer is an act of courage because you choose to believe when there is no hope left. Some people will scoff that that's the most inactive activity to do in times like these. Maybe. But I've been vocal, I've fought back, I've discussed respectfully, I've shared real news and informative articles, I've done what I can and those didn't feel very effective in the face of looming evil and economic despair. In my life, however, I've seen that prayer works and that God moves quietly and mightily. I've never prayed for our country before, never really prayed for my career before, but now I do. It's the only thing I know I can do, the only thing I believe will work.

And you, even if we don't share the same politics, I'm sure we share the same love for our country, our fellow Filipinos, and our children. If you also share my faith in God, let's pray that His will of perfect love and true peace reign over our nation. Maybe that's one principle—our belief in faith, love and peace—that we can have together and work with together.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Turn your blog into a business! Sign up for the next Boss Bellas workshop!

I'm doing another workshop for Boss Bellas, mamas! This time we'll talk about turning your blogs into a real business—something I know very well!


If you recall, last year, my friends Ginger Arboleda of learning company Manila Workshops, online tax filing tool Taxumo, and mom blog Mommy Ginger, and Martine de Luna of blissful lifestyle blog, branding services and workshops Make It Blissful created a business called Beauty Biz Bliss. With it, we wanted to pool together our knowledge and help other working women create passion businesses, juggle work and family happily, and prioritize self-care while doing all that. We called our little community Boss Bellas.

After a fabulous launch, we went on a very slow start and then fizzled out. Last year was very busy for all three of us, individually. This year is just as busy but Ginger and I are finally focusing on Boss Bellas again and we have a few workshops lined up for you!

The first Boss Bellas workshop was Mompreneurship 101, a gentle and encouraging get-together for moms who want to start a business or had just started one. Iyakan kami buong workshop hahaha. What a lovely and honest gathering! But hindi lang warm and fuzzy feelings siya. We also discussed lots of practical tips for overwhelmed business mamas and addressed questions on taxation. I was so inspired!

Here are a few photos I'm sharing from Photography by Lianne, the official photographer of our workshop. Photography by Lianne actually takes photos—not of workshop events haha—of the most adorable family and baby portraits so do check them out.

Ginger and me! Si Ginger ang totoong boss bella kasi marami siyang companies. Ako, boss ko sarili ko and sarili ko rin ang inuutusan ko haha

My new friend, Lique! She is such a gentle soul. And so talented! For your design and branding needs, please check her out at http://liquedimayuga.com/.

Oooh, I learned so much from Monique. She is a superwoman! She's also the founder of Klaseko so if you want to enroll your kids in school or enrichment classes from the comfort of your own home, visit https://klaseko.com/.

Now here are the working mamas who joined us that fun afternoon!
All of these wonderful women—though they look nice and gentle—they are formidable. They take care of their families while managing businesses. They are not just bosses, they are women who made their dreams come true and work hard every single day despite criticism and discouragement, physical and mental exhaustion, and the most crushing mom guilt! Gosh, I'm so inspired by these mamas!




For the second Boss Bellas workshop, we'll be helping bloggers make money from their blogs. If you're a blogger (and by that, I mean you already have a blog that you update regularly) and you want your blog to make money, do sign up! I'll talk about getting brands to work with you, how to make a media kit, how to pitch to brands, how to respond to proposals from brands, how to behave properly as a blogger, and how to register your blog as a business and pay taxes.

The Boss Bellas: Blog Your Way into Business will be a fun afternoon on August 26, Saturday, at Pen Brothers co-working space at Makati. The workshop fee is P1,800, but if you register before August 16, you get the early bird rate of just P1,200. And that's me giving away all my secrets!


Okay, can't wait for this workshop! I've a TON of secrets to share. You're going to learn a lot and we're going to have super fun. See you there, blogger mamas!