Thursday, May 31, 2018

Let's unbox my back-to-school finds at National Book Store!

I am DONE with my back-to-school shopping! Uniforms, check! School books, check! School supplies, check!


I went to a shopping event at National Book Store a few weeks ago just to complete our school supplies list and here are a few of the things I picked up:

Index card and index card boxes for flash cards. My kids are learning spelling, multiplication, and Chinese at their school and my friends tell me flash cards really really really help. So we're giving that a try this school year.

The whiteboard markers are for the kids. They use that in school for their math subject.

Sticker labels for all the notebooks, books, and school stuff I need to put their names on.

The photo paper is for those times the teacher suddenly asks for a family photo or vacation photo. We print those ourselves. More convenient than going to the mall.

These exercise books are for the older boys. Multiplication and division for 2nd grader Vito, addition and subtraction for 1st grader Iñigo. I bought the time-telling book because of that article that says kids these days don't know how to tell time on a proper clock.

My youngest boy, Piero, is going to school for the first time this June. I'm preparing him by giving him exercises for his writing, coloring and counting. I hope he likes school!

This whiteboard is so useful! I've only had it for a couple of weeks and already we've used it to list chores, explain science, do maths, draw. It's the best thing and it's only P149!

These Eric Carle books aren't exactly for their back-to-school needs. But I always have to buy books for the boys whenever we go to National Book Store. One of their favorite things in the world is when we read to them. 

We also have the lunch bags that are just P75 for every P500 single-receipt purchase of participating products. So affordable! And so compact yet roomy. You can fit baon for recess, lunch, and merienda pa! Just look at it:


I also like that it folds flat. Yung mga lunch boxes kasi ng mga anak ko last year, they take up so much space sa kitchen shelves ko. So the fold-flat feature is fantastic for me. And because it's made of reinforced nylon, the bag is light and easy-to-clean. Super sulit siya, mamas. My boys approve it. I highly recommend it! It's got the Topaz Mommy seal of approval!


If you want to make your shopping a better experience, shop and learn at the Grand Back to School Fair this weekend at Glorietta Activity Center. Look at all the workshops and talks you can join!


If you can’t find the time or the energy to go to the store, just shop at  www.nationalbookstore.com! Right now, there’s a dedicated back-to-school section where you can shop by grade level. You get to see the recommended supplies for each level, choose what you need, check out, and have the items delivered to your home. Orders worth P1,000 or above get free shipping.

You can also call the delivery hotline 8888-627 if you’re too busy even for online shopping!

Okay, mommies, good luck on your back-to-school shopping! I highly recommend National Book Store—affordable and useful finds, aircon pa!

So there you have it, mamas—my back-to-school finds! Share yours, too! Use the hashtag #BacktoSchoolwithNBS and tag @nationalbookstore on Instagram and @nbsalert on Facebook and Twitter. NBS is also on Viber and YouTube. 

*This post is brought to you by National Book Store.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why working mama me can't wait to watch The Incredibles 2


As a mom, I've watched all the Disney Pixar movies. Every single one. Multiple times. Bought the merchandise of several films, too. Loyal customer here! But as a WOMAN, there are a few of them that I actually liked and The Incredibles is on top of the list.

In case you didn't watch it, this superhero movie is about the post-hero years, when normal people began to be afraid of supers, forcing them to hide their superpowers and live a normal life. This doesn't sit well with Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) because he wants to fulfil his purpose, which is to use his superstrength to help people. So he secretly goes on missions, neglecting his greater purpose which is to be a husband and father to his now-confused family of supers. It ends well, of course, but before they get there, all sorts of dangerous events happened (the plane blowing up tops my list of most horrific scenes for a parent to ever watch on screen!). If you haven't watched this movie, you have to!!!

I loved The Incredibles because of that scene when Helen Parr (a.k.a. Elastigirl) confesses to Edna Mode her fear that Mr. Incredible was having an affair. Here it is:



Helen: Now I'm losing him! What'll I do? What'll I do?

Edna: What are you talking about?

Helen: Huh?

Edna: [shouts] You are Elastigirl! My God... [swats Helen with a newspaper] Pull yourself together! What will you do? Is this a question? You will show him you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who YOU are. Well, you know where he is. Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win!

I remember watching that scene and feeling so EMPOWERED! It didn't tell a wife to forgive and be long-suffering. It didn't tell her to confront the other woman. It told her to remember WHO SHE IS. I love that so much! I apply that to many times of doubt in my own life. When I think no one's going to hire me anymore, when I torture myself with thoughts that I'm old and Vince may not be attracted to me anymore, when I'm so tired from mommying and think nobody sees me, I slap myself with an imaginary newspaper and think, "Remember who you are!" And I stand up a little straighter and hold my head a little higher.

As moms, we forget that we are a woman first and foremost. We give and give and give that we forget that under all these ratty clothes, cellulite, piles of laundry and chores, and endless service to family, we forget that we are our own person. Never forget who you are and your own power, mamas!

I am so excited to watch the second movie because this time, Elastigirl is a working mom!



I want to see how they treat her status as the breadwinner and how they treat her husband's status as homemaker. As you know, for 5 years, that was Vince and me. We may look like it was an amazing time but we struggled with the perceptions and judgment of people and we also had to confront our own gender biases. Happily, it all worked out!

That's why I really support movies that show a non-traditional family. It's about time working mothers are celebrated (instead of vilified) and caring dads are appreciated (instead of mocked). I'm not saying roles should be reversed, that dads should stay home now. I'm saying that if a family is better off with a mom who works and a dad who's better with the kids, we should embrace that. I'm saying that if a woman earns more than a man, that shouldn't be a big deal. I'm saying that a mother and father should be able to choose what's best for their family instead of us imposing roles on them.

I'm really hoping The Incredibles 2​ treats this matter well. For my sons especially who will watch it and maybe see our family reflected on that screen, I hope they will love what they see.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My never-before-seen mama faces revealed!!!

I love May because it's the month we celebrate Mother's Day and my second son Iñigo's birthday. It's one of my most favorite months now. Remember when Mother's Day used to make me sad? Oh, don't click the link. It's too sad. I cried just reading it again. Let's not get sad on such a happy month!


Adored by boys. That's me! They also order me around and annoy me and make me deaf and give me massive headaches. Let's not kid ourselves. Motherhood is not easy. But I'll take it any day and every day for the rest of my life. Okay, let's not get too amazing. I'll be there maybe till they're 22. After that, I'm kicking them out because I'll only allow one man to live in my house and that's their daddy haha.

Anyway, just a short Mother's Day post that I forgot to do because I was busy being a mommy blogger and doing all these sponsored posts! But thanks so much for all the greetings from my fantabulous mama community! You guys really lift me up. You don't know how much I appreciate you. Madalas kasi wala akong kausap na matino hahaha If we're not homeschooling or talking about life at bedtime, puros Minecraft and Roblox lang ang topics of conversation namin dito sa Casa Sales. So my Facebook community of working mamas really make me happy. Thank you!

So today I just wanted to show you a few of my never-before-seen mama faces. The ones I don't share because they're not Instagram-worthy haha I want to share them because we all know motherhood is hard and wonderful and exhausting and amazing, but one of the very best things about being a mom is how FUNNY life suddenly is. Every day is a laughing day, right? Every single day, these critters make me smile and laugh. How lucky am I?

Well, this lucky:
When no one wants a picture...
When you want him to smile for the camera...
When your face isn't ready and he clicks...
When you're trying to fix their hair and they think it's the worst thing ever!

When they show you what they really think of you!

Kids. Can't live with them. Can't live without them. They definitely make life interesting. I'd do this gig all over again. It's the best! I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day, mamas! God bless us all!

Monday, May 28, 2018

7 Gift Suggestions for Father's Day

Father's Day is around the corner. Yep, our Mother's Day month is almost over and (typical of us mommies) we're already thinking of how to honor the daddy of our kids! There are a lot of amazing stuff out there that your husband may want to have. Mine wants a PS4 and/or Lego Star Wars sets. Medyo mahal haha I'm still working on it, Vince!

How about socks? I think dads love socks—funny socks, bold-print socks, any socks!

Anyway, what does your husband want, mamas? I always like finding out what other women give their husbands for their birthday, Christmas, and Father's Day. It says a lot about the man, their marriage, you know? I have a guest post today by Clarissa Caouette where she lists 7 gift suggestions your husband may want this Father's Day. Check it out:

* * * * * * *

You know how much your husband does for you and your family, so you know that he occasionally deserves a reward. However, buying gifts for your husband can be a challenge because he seems to have everything he wants. The old saying goes “What do you get the man who has everything”? If you are having trouble deciding what to get your husband, this guide will definitely help you. There are going to be some things in this list your husband probably didn’t even know he wanted. 

A New Phone 
Your husband may appreciate the phone he already has, but is is always good to have that shiny new upgrade. It is even more useful if his phone is already a few years old. In that case an upgrade can really make a difference. In a day and age where our phone is used for everything, this will really be appreciated. 


Fitbit Wristband If you’ve never heard of these little wristbands, they basically track your workouts, the amount of calories you burned, the distance you traveled, how many steps you’ve taken and the number of minutes you have been active. They also track how long you have been sleep as well. These are great for the health conscious husband or a husband trying to get in shape.


Amazon Echo 
The Amazon Echo is one of the most revolutionary pieces of consumer technology that has been released in a while. It is completely voice activated and can give you the answers to pretty much any question that can be answered on the web. You can even use it to order things online, play music, and even turn the lights on and off if you get the proper equipment. It’s pretty cool. 


Slip-on Loafers 
If he does not have these, he needs them. If he already has them, he needs more. Slip-on loafers are just great to have, quick and easy to slip into and he can wear them on any occasion. You can even slip them on to go check the mail if you chose to. 


A New Wallet 
A wallet can seem like a boring, unthoughtful gift. However, men’s wallets are always falling apart and it is nice to have a wallet that your money will not fall out of. No man wants that to happen. He will definitely appreciate this gift. 


Over-Ear Headphones 
Earbuds seem to be the most popular these days. However, you really do miss out on sound quality and part of the musical experience when you use earbuds. You will get a more balanced sound than you usually get with in-ear headphones. Using over ear headphones is an entirely different experience that your husband will appreciate, especially if he is a music lover or audiophile. You can go tho this link for more information on picking headphones


A Diamond Watch 
Watches are always great for every occasion and make the perfect accessory. Diamond watches are even better. The best part is that he will always think of you whenever he looks at the time. You can get the best deal on real diamond watches by shopping online. 


There are a lot of options out there and deciding what gift to get can be tough. However, don’t stress. These are just a few options, but you really can’t go wrong with them. Have fun shopping, your husband is going to be happy with whatever you get him. 

*This post contains affiliate links. Photos by Eddie Garcia, Stephen FrankAndres Urena, Alex Andrews, Charles Deluvio, iabzd, and Marek Prygiel from Unsplash.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Here's why you should do your back-to-school shopping at National Book Store

I am done with my back-to-school shopping, mamas! Haaay, nakaraos din! If you're in the midst of shopping for the new school year or hindi ka pa nakapag-uumpisa hehe, head on to National Book Store, the best and most convenient one-stop-shop for everything your child needs for school! Here's why:

1. They have a Grand Back to School Fair that will make shopping for school supplies easier.
National Book Store is inviting everyone to complete their back-to-school shopping at their Grand Back to School Fair. The first leg is happening right now (May 25 to 27, 2018) at the TriNoma Activity Center. The second leg is from June 1 to 3, 2018, at the Glorietta Activity Center. 


2.  National Book Store has everything!
Pati uniforms! Saan ka pa? From all sorts of pens imaginable to paper of various thicknesses and colors, from affordable notebooks to the fanciest journals, from the practical to the sosyal—lahat yan nasa National! 

I know there are many places that sell school supplies but I like the ease and convenience and locations of NBS. Usually sa malls so there's aircon, parking, there are nice places to eat, and they're relatively safe for families. 


3. You get freebies and fab deals!
I love the Grab & Go packs! Starting at P145, these are bundled supplies for every grade level. So instead of me hunting around the store for glue, scissors, eraser, etc, I just grab and go the pack I need. Haaaay, sobrang dali! There are also Backpacks to School, conveniently filled with student the essentials like brown envelopes, notebooks, pens, pencils, and more. Two kinds are available: one for Grades 1 to 3 (P329) and one for Grades 4 to 6 (P399).

And yes, may rewards, mamas! You can get a free tote bag for every P1,000 worth of purchase. Get a drawstring bag for only P99 for every P300 worth of purchase. Get a lunch bag for just P75 for every P500 worth of purchase of participating items. 


We totally love the lunch bag! It's compact but roomy so kasya ang lunch, merienda and water bottle. It's light and stain-resistant because it's made of nylon. And it comes in those bright and happy colors! Winner in my mama book! 

May I take this moment to share the news that my son Vito is a model for National Book Store's lunch bag??? I haven't seen the final campaign photos yet but NBS sent me one outtake:

He's looking at me! #lookoflove
So another reason is to please tell me if you see Vito's photos anywhere in the NBS branches and please please send me pictures!

3. Because everyone shops there!
From the most wais-tipid mommies to the most glam mamas, everyone shops at National Book Store especially during back-to-school season! Mga ilang beses na rin ako nakakita ng mga celebs sa NBS, usually if I go to the Power Plant Mall and Shangri-la Plaza branches. So one perk can be celebrity sightings while you're buying notebooks and plastic covers!

Celebrity mom-barkada: Nicole De Los Angeles, Patty Laurel-Filart, Kelly Misa-Fernandez, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso

There you go! Three reasons why you ought to do your back-to-school shopping at National Book Store!

Remember: This weekend, the Grand Back to School Fair is at TriNoma Activity Center for the northerners and easterners. If you're from the south and west, go to Glorietta Activity Center next weekend because the Grand Back to School Fair will be there. Registration starts at 10:00 am and continues throughout the day. Admission is free!


I'll share my back-to-school haul next week. Share yours, too! Use the hashtag #BacktoSchoolwithNBS and tag @nationalbookstore on Instagram and @nbsalert on Facebook and Twitter. NBS is also on Viber and YouTube. You can also shop through their delivery hotline 8888-627, or online at www.nationalbookstore.com.

*This post is brought to you by National Book Store.

Friday, May 25, 2018

4 things our kids need for a healthy and happy childhood (+1 they don't need)

I'm not a pediatrician so I feel weird when people ask me what multivitamins I give to my kids. On one hand, I love sharing my mom finds. On the other hand, I still think mamas should ask their child's pedia first before giving kids any supplements. But if gusto niyo talaga malaman, I give my kids probiotics (sometimes), iron supplements (with great difficulty but I have to because the kids are anemic), Vitamin C with Zinc (for increased resistance to germs and faster healing), and multivitamins (for general good health).


Their vitamins now is my new find, FERN Kiddimin. I just discovered this new product this summer when I was invited by my friends at FERN C to check it out. Because of my mother n law, my husband Vince and I have been taking FERN C for about 8 years now. So when FERN C kidz came out mga two years ago, we got for our kids. Yes, loyal FERN C family! Yun nga lang, walang multivitamins ang FERN so when I was told na meron na, of course I got for my kids! That's how much I believe in FERN, mamas!

Yes, bilib talaga ako sa FERN C. Joke yan lagi ni Vince na kaya kami nabuntis kasi binibigyan kami ng FERN C ni Mom. Okay, hindi fertility pill yan, ha. What he meant is I've always been a sickly girl. Underweight, asthmatic, in the hospital once or twice a year—that's me! Si Vince din, because of stress sa work and unhealthy habits, he also didn't feel like he was in top form. Kaya siguro hindi kami nabubuntis. Then Mom gave us FERN C and after mga 3 months, we not only looked and felt better, nabuntis pa ako! So if you see me gushing over these vitamins, it's really because we feel we owe them a lot!

Anyway, back to FERN Kiddimin! At the intimate event for mom bloggers at Museum Café, the FERN family treated us to a really enlightening talk by Dr. Rita Paz Rowena A. De Guzman, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician. She's such a good speaker, mamas! Nakinig talaga kami sa talk niya. Ramdam na ramdam namin na she cares for kids and for parents, too, that she's a partner talaga in raising healthy and happy kids.

Dr. Rita discussed with us how we can make our home a wonderful environment for our kids to flourish in. And, mamas, may mga points siya na natamaan talaga ako. Here they are!

FERN Kiddimin has a tasty orange flavor. Doesn't taste medicinal.

1. Time: quality or quantity? 
It shouldn't be a contest! For example, I'm a working mom so I'm with my kids a lot. But because I'm doing chores and working on articles and blog posts naman, I'm not actually spending time with them. Other parents naman, because they work all week, every weekend bakasyon grande to compensate for the time they don't spend with their kids. Beach! Staycation! Hong Kong! Or mall buong araw at mega shopping. Pagod ang buong family, magastos pa. 

Our kids need our time and presence. They don't need us to be there 24/7, but one day a week isn't ideal either. Let's try to spend an hour or two with them, talking with them, reading books, playing games. Simply sharing a relaxed and hearty meal every day is great!

2. Talk, talk, talk!
Dr. Rita said our kids need to hear (exchange?) 30,000 words a day to develop a good vocabulary and to learn comprehension and the ability to express themselves. So we need to talk with our kids! My kids LOVE to talk so I usually sit in when they're chatting and insert my opinion here, correct grammar there, define a word here, answer life questions there. Then there's my husband who loves to read books to the boys at bedtime. So 30,000 words? Check!

3. No screen time! 
For kids 2 and below, no TV and mobile devices because it is linked to speech delays. Why? Well, when kids are just watching, they don't speak. When we don't engage them, they don't learn to talk.

Me, because I'm with my kids a lot, I let them watch TV and play games on the iPad, and then I guide everything. "What's happening to the princess? Where's the hero? What color is the dragon? Why is the villain angry?" For games and apps, it's "Turn right! Jump up! Go down! Tap all the color red! Let's sing ABC, too!" I guess that's why my kids are so madaldal because I was there all along talking and talking with them!

However, now that they're older, I'm seeing bad behavior when they're on the iPad. They fight mainly. So we're lessening the iPad use anyway.

4. Play, play, play! 
For kids, play is work. That's when their muscles and bones develop, their balance and agility honed, their reflexes sharpened. Now, we live in a condo, and our playground and recreation areas are under renovation for 2 years. So the kids have been indoors for months. I feel so guilty about this! I know sometimes when they're super magulo sa bahay or they fight a lot, that's because hindi nagagamit ang energy nila. 

Bringing kids to Kidzoona or to ballet class isn't enough, however. Dr. Rita says the kids have to play outside. Kids (and parents included) these days belong to what is called the "indoor generation." We play in indoor playgrounds. We exercise in gyms. We use tanning lotions to get a tan. We need the sun! Sunlight is needed to produce Vitamin D. Sunlight also improves our mood. Behavioral problems, depression and other mental illness are eased when we are out in the sun.

5. Eat healthy.
We all know that everyone needs a balanced diet. Every plate at every meal should have a combination of fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains. This is not easy! Especially when you're a busy mom with busy kids. Meal times are such a challenge for me because I try to serve vegetables but the kids pick at them. Or if bigyan mo ng banana or mango, akala mo lason ang pinapakain mo. Sobrang ayaw ng fruits and veggies! Nakaka-iyak siya! 

To make sure their nutrition isn't compromised, I have to give them vitamin supplements. Hence, my happiness at dicovering FERN Kiddimin! It's a food supplement with Vitamin B Complex, Lysine, Vitamin D3, Chlorella, Vitamin A, and Taurine. All of these vitamins and amino acids help our kids have a healthy appetite, develop and strengthen their bones, and promote mental acuity. So my kids will be "Magana, Matangkad, and Matalino" with FERN Kiddimin! Plus, my kids love the orange flavor.

Since Vito is 7, he takes 2 teaspoons of FERN Kiddimin every day.

So what do our kids need for a healthy and happy childhood? Time, talk, play, and good food. And they don't need screen time! Good luck to us, mamas!

FERN Kiddimin is available in 60ml (P88.00 SRP) and 120ml (P158.00 SRP) bottles at drugstores, supermarkets, and FERN kiosks nationwide. For more information, like their Facebook page or visit www.fern-inc.com

*This post is brought to you by FERN Kiddimin.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

5 Ways Blogging can Bring in More Income at Home

As you all know, a chunk of my income comes from blogging. I've even registered my blog business with the BIR and pay taxes through Taxumo. I'm very proud of this, mamas. I think everyone who's turned their hobby into a legitimate income-generating venture should celebrate that fact and also encourage others to do the same. After all, as the adage goes, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life!"

That's not true. Work is still work haha! It can still get exhausting and frustrating many times. But at least since it's work that you enjoy, then it doesn't hurt so much! 

Blogging brought me many opportunities I'll always be grateful for.

A lot of mommies ask me how to earn from blogging, too. Aaaaand that's why I have blogging workshops! Well, I haven't done any this year yet. Too busy with my work as beauty editor at L'Oréal, but I do miss doing blogging workshops. It's so nice sharing with other people how to make money from blogging. I want my success to be every blogger's success! Especially if it's a mommy blogger. Any income is always welcome to moms, right? And if it's enough income that lets you stay home with your kids, then it's the best kind of income!

Since I'm not doing a blogging workshop soon, let my guest writer Clarissa Caouette share with you 5 ways blogging can earn you extra money. Take notes, mamas! 

* * * * * * *

Is your budget a little tight at home? Perhaps you aren’t working right now in order to take care of kids and there’s only one wage earner in the house. But you want to contribute to that take-home pay. How can you do it? Taking a job outside the house kind of defeats the purpose. It means paying for gas and parking, lunches out, new clothes and shoes, so that income can be eaten up in added expenses. What you really need is a way to earn money at home.

One way to make some cash at home is blogging. Yes, you can make money at it, although it is certainly not guaranteed. But if you want a flexible method that lets you stay home, this one fits. So first thing to do is to set up your blog, then we’ll talk about how it can bring home some cash. 

Getting Started 
This is the short version, so make sure to check out a more in depth tutorial if you need one. First two things you need: your own domain and a web hosting service. Often the hosting company will offer domain registration as part of their charge, so factor that into your research. Make sure you get a domain that you own, don’t go with a free hosting service with a tacked on name. Either you control your site or someone else does. Free sites can be shut down at any time and have many restrictions on how you can make money from them. Take control, you’ll be glad you did. 

Now install WordPress, it’s by far the most common blogging platform and very easy to use, and a framework. Consider a premium framework, they aren’t very expensive and come with a much better design which is easier to use and more powerful. Choose your topic and your schedule and start writing. You’ll need some articles posted, content as it’s known, and some readers before you can really make much money from your blog. So post useful articles and draw as many people to your blog as you can. 

Affiliates 
Once you’ve got some readers, you can start with one of the easiest ways to ‘monetize’ your blog, affiliate marketing. Simply put, you sign up for an affiliate program for a company you like and direct your readers to it to purchase things there. If they do, you get a commission. Your reader doesn’t pay any extra, the commission is directly from the affiliate. A common example is Amazon. Reviewing or recommending products that are available through Amazon lets you earn that commission if your reader uses your link to buy the product you talk about. 

Pretty simple! Make sure you would honestly recommend the product or you may lose readers who feel you are simply pushing those items to make money. And be sure to disclose that you are an affiliate and are earning a commission. It’s best to be upfront and honest about that. 

Digital Sales 
Another great way to go is to create a digital product, an eBook, video seminar, or artwork for example, and sell that through your blog. Digital is a great way to go since there is only the initial cost of creating the item and you don’t have to manufacture it each time to sell it again. Be sure the product is something worthwhile, something valuable to your audience. One way to convince people to buy is to offer a free item first. A short eBook where the only cost is signing up for your mailing list for example. Then market your longer books later on. 

Physical Sales 
If you do crafts or are willing to buy items wholesale for resale, you can sell physical items over the internet as well. Be sure to budget in shipping costs, but as long as you set it up properly, you can still manage most of this from your home. Another option is setting up a system where you take orders then have them drop shipped directly from the producer to your customer. Selling physical items does have some extra expenses associated with it, shipping, inventory, materials, etc., but if you are willing to invest in those you can make it work. 

Memberships 
If your blog itself is enough of a draw, you can charge a membership fee for people to access it. This is usually a way to earn from either a very popular site, or one which has a great deal of expertise and experience behind it. If you happen to have experience or training in a field you could set up a members only site for your most useful articles. Some pay sites will allow any reader to see the first few paragraphs but ask for registration to see the rest. As with any of these tips, there are several ways this could work. 

Advertising 
Finally, there is simple advertising. Placing ads along the border of your blog is an easy and low maintenance way to bring in some income but be prepared for it to be small. Click through ads only deliver a small amount each time a reader uses them, and CPM ads need huge numbers of viewers to return large amounts of money. Most internet users pay little attention to ads, although if an inappropriate one appears on your site you will probably hear about it. Be sure to screen the companies on your ad feed to prevent offensive content. 

As you can see, all five of these allow you to stay at home and work from there. There is a fair amount of work to be successful, though. You may need to spend several hours a day researching and writing your articles, so don’t over commit to your blogging schedule. If you can only manage one post a week don’t say you’ll do more. Missing your schedule is worse than having a relatively long update cycle. Now that you know what to do, get to work! Set up your site and blog!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why we switched Piero to pull-up pants

I'm a mommy of three boys and the third one, Piero, is still not ready to be toilet-trained. We've talked about it, been super enthusiastic, tried bribing—nothing's working. What worked with his two older brothers is not working this third time around. So we need all the help we can get, mamas! Leave your toilet-training tips in the comments below!

"No toilet until I'm 5, Mama!"

One tip I saw at the start of summer was to use pull-up pants, or training pants. I've not used pull-ups before because my first two kids took to potty training fast. Like so: "Hey, you want to use the toilet now like a big boy? Yes? Great!" Three days later: "We're done! Good job!"

With Piero, it's taking a bit more time and tools so we got BabyLove Premium Gold Pants (you can check out my reasons for switching to BabyLove here and my review of the Premium Gold Pants here) to help us out.

If you're wondering how pull-up pants help with potty training, it's really for two simple but big reasons:

1) Pull-up pants mimic the pull-up/pull-down action used with briefs/panties. Once your kids know how to pull down their pants to go weewee or poopoo, they can transition faster to the real thing; and

2) Pull-up pants make babies feel grown up. That change in mindset is what's essential to transitioning them from diapers to real underwear.

Piero loves his BabyLove Premium Gold Pants so much. He likes them because they're soft and smells good and has "cute dwawings on the fwont and on the butt, Mama!" I'll update you when we finally successfully potty train my last baby. So wish us luck!

If you want to try out BabyLove diapers, too, there's a current promo now at Shopee. From May 21-24, 2018, the first 100 customers buying any BabyLove diapers will also receive a free sample of a preschool milk as well as a voucher discount for the next purchase of other milk supplements with the value of P350.

Shop here!

Check out the Facebook page of BabyLove Philippines for more info!

*This post is brought to you by BabyLove Diapers.

Monday, May 21, 2018

My favorite moments from Harry and Meghan's oh so perfect wedding

Yes, perfect wedding! It's the most perfect wedding I've ever seen. Everything about it was Harry and Meghan. It was deeply British and very African-American. It was royal and Hollywood. It was traditional and modern. It was so elegant and stylish. Every moment was studied and yet also candid. How is this wedding so amazing?


They're so happy! And so adorable!

Okay, I have too many favorite moments. Like, I can't count! But here are a few that were documented by my favorite Instagram fan account of Meghan and Harry, @meghanandherprince.

Meghan walking down the aisle on her own. You know that I am such a huge feminist so to see a woman walking alone to the man she chose with no need for approval from any other man in her life is so empowering! And then I loved when Charles got her halfway. On one hand, he was making her sundo for his son; on the other hand, he has always wanted a daughter. In fact, when Harry was born, Charles was disappointed and Diana said something in her died that day.


Harry meeting Meghan.
A post shared by Harry and Meghan❤️ (@meghanandherprince) on 


When Harry unveiled Meghan. Apparently, this is the duty of the father of the bride. But since Meghan's dad wasn't around, it was Harry who had to do it. Check out when he said, "Hi!"


Harry playing with Meghan's ring! And staring at her the whole time! Hoy, makinig ka sa sermon, Harry!


Ehem ehem. Tigilan niyo nga yan! #kilig


This scene straight out of a James Bond movie except that in this story, the guy married the girl!


I also loved Bishop Michael Curry's sermon. It was so apt for a couple who have devoted their lives to public service, human rights, and love for fellow man.



It called to me so much to forgive, serve and love. Love lang talaga! Ang hirap kaya niyan in this world of hate and fear. But I heard you, Bishop Curry, and I will follow the way of love. As his chosen verses said, "Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that doesn't love knows not God for God is love." (I John 4:7-8) So let us love one another. Always choose love! Just like Harry and Meghan. Through everything that happened in their life, they always chose to respond in love.

I'm so inspired this weekend, mamas! If you follow me on my Facebook page, you'd know I'm on a royal wedding fever high. I'll blog again about other things this week. Let me just get down from my happy loved-up cloud.

Please follow @meghanandherprince for more updates on Harry and Meghan!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How a great vacation can inspire your home décor

My favorite holiday ever will always be in London, UK. First, it's the first country I traveled to all by myself. A solo trip—even though that trip was for work—is always unforgettable. Second, it's the city where Vince and I spent our honeymoon. That's why London will forever be my favorite foreign city, and I like to keep mementos of my time there around my house. For example, these throw pillows that baby Piero is resting on.

Everything in this picture sparks joy!

This is a guest post, by the way. I think my working mama readers will like this topic because Filipinos are such tourists and we love putting souvenirs of our travels all over our homes. Enjoy this little post!

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If you are someone that likes to travel, you may already be intertwining your travels and memories with your home décor. Traveling to different countries can be an excellent source of inspiration. People have varying ideas and cultures that may make their indoor spaces unique and invite. By taking some of those ideas home, you can incorporate your memories and experiences into your living spaces and, ultimate, your lifestyle. Here are some of the things that you can do to let your vacations inspire your décor. 

Souvenirs 
During your vacation, you may buy some items or artifacts to remember your trip. Naturally, you would want to put these items on display. By adding some relevant décor, you can accentuate the personality and atmosphere your souvenirs provide to your living space. If you, for example, bought a little replica of the Statue of Liberty during your time in New York, you can draw some attention to it with a framed photograph of the Manhattan Skyline.

Ref magnets are the cheapest and most functional souvenirs!

Culture 
There are many different cultural aspects to interior decorating that you can apply to your own home. Feng Shui, for example, originated in China and claims to harmonize you with your living space. You may gather some ideas that you may like that are engraved in a society’s lifestyle and use it as inspiration for your décor. 

Prominent features or export products like oriental themed décor and patterned rugs can transform your room into the place that you came to know and love. 

Plants 
As far as décor is concerned, you can hardly go wrong with some plants. It is also the perfect way to use your vacation as inspiration for your décor. If you spent some time at, say, a tropical beach, you may find a nursery that sells plants that grow in those areas and use them as décor in your living room or even your home office. You can also compliment the plants’ presence with wallpaper that has floral or bamboo themes or even a souvenir that you bought like a lay or a portrait of a fish or a beach landscape.

Next time I go to Baguio (where I met my husband), I want to get a pine cone!

Patterns 
Many countries have decorative patterns that are unique to their societies and lifestyles. Scandinavian pine tree patterns can, for example, easily be incorporated into your interior space’s features and décor. Simple patterns like squares or V-shaped patterns may seem conventional but can change the atmosphere and personality of a room completely. One of the best ways makes patterns part of your décor is to make use of rugs, wallpaper, or curtains. 

Functional décor 
One of the more practical ways your vacation can inspire your décor is with functional pieces such as serveware, woven baskets, or racks and hooks. Trays, bowls, and plates can be the ideal way to bring your vacation into your décor. Some countries have little teaspoons that many people like to collect. Storage accessories such as wine racks or hat stands can also traditional to a place that you visited during a holiday. 

You can tell that the person who lives here loves the sea.

Color schemes 
Sometimes, interior spaces are dominated with the same color scheme. If you like a particular color scheme or hues, why not use in your room’s decorations? Tropical destinations with ocean views and sandy beaches have typical blue, light brown and sap green elements that you can easily bring into your home with natural elements. 

You may also have to use features that are already available in your interior space like a window with a view over a garden or a big piece of blue sky. By simply adding one or two additional decorative features, it can establish the color scheme that you saw and experienced during your vacation. 

Interior decorating styles 
There are many different interior decorating styles all over the world. Whether it is mid-century modern, industrial, minimalistic, or Scandinavian, chances are that you will find a style that has prominence at the place where you had your vacation. The French are known for their love of shabby chic, and when you do a little research, you may find a lot of attributes to a particular style that looks familiar and inviting. 

Many times, modeling your décor to a specific style will inspire you to incorporate the things you experienced during your vacation into your interior space.

*Photos from Unsplash: @filios_sazeides, @sunyu, @danedeanerThis post was written by Clarissa Caouette and contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 14, 2018

How I deal with mommy guilt

I had a long day. That was my excuse, but all moms have long days so is that really an excuse to lose my temper and be unkind to my children? All my days are long yet I can usually hold my exhaustion at bay, at least until 9 p.m. when the last kid finally dozes off and I can also relax. 

On this particular day, however, I was worn out because we were on vacation. The kids were too excited about the new environment, and I was worried about my deadlines. We may be on holiday but my work didn't care about that! It was way past the boys' bedtime in a new room at a new place and I was feeling old and stretched thin. Without warning, I snapped. 

I yelled and then I cried. They were stunned. In that silence, I knew instantly I was wrong and I apologized. As soon as I said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean those bad words," my sons hugged me and cried in relief. I didn't feel relief, however—I felt even more guilty! Waking up the next day greeted by love letters decorated with flowers made me feel even worse. I felt like a bad mother.

Many moms wrestle with that thought. "Am I a good mother? I got mad at them—am I a bad mother? I gave them junk food. I didn't give him a bath. I fed her formula milk. I gave him the iPad. I let her watch TV. I hired a yaya. I work. Am I a bad mother? If I'm not a bad mother, why do I feel so guilty?"
 

Let's talk about guilt first. The dictionary (Merriam-Webster) defines guilt as "the fact of committing a breach of conduct especially violating a law and involving a penalty." Guilt means we did something wrong. Guilt is a fact, not an imagined offence. 

In many cases, mothers don't do wrong when we make decisions we feel are best for our family. Whether that's being a working mother and hiring household help to skipping a bath (because the baby's not dirty anyway!) and letting the kids watch TV (because you need some peace and quiet). Yet even though we didn't commit a crime, we still feel guilty. 

I do. I feel guilty all the time. But I can easily squelch that guilty emotion when I remind myself of two facts: (1) I'm doing my very best, and (2) I love them so much! Everything I do is because I love my kids and that alone makes me a good mother.

Then that day happened. The uncalled for yelling and the cruel words that broke my kids' tender hearts. Yes, I was doing my very best giving my kids a holiday (so they can have fun) and trying to meet deadlines (so I have their tuition money). And yes, I love them very much. But I was wrong to say what I said. And I was definitely guilty.

When I commit a real offence—no matter the reason!—there are only two ways to deal with the guilt: (1) Apologize immediately and sincerely, and (2) forgive myself.


I hope saying sorry shows my kids that their mama makes mistakes and realizes it immediately. I hope they see that by sincerely apologizing and not blaming them for my mistakes, I admit that I'm not a perfect mother but I try so hard to be a good mama anyway. Lastly, I hope they see that I will always try again and again and that I won't ever give up being their mommy. That means I need to forgive myself when I do wrong so that I can get up and give motherhood another go.

I'm lucky my kids are the most forgiving people in the world. They are so quick to hug me and say, "It's okay, Mama! We love you!" Their love makes me realize I'm not a bad mommy. A flawed one definitely but a good enough one nevertheless. And I shouldn't feel guilty about that.


*This was published in Juana.com.ph for Mother's Day 2017.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

How to get your start up off the ground

I have a confession to make: I really want to sell something! 

When you're a mommy blogger like me, lots of little mommy businesses ask for help in raising awareness for their brands. I'm always happy to help. As a mompreneur myself (my business is blogging), I know how it feels to want to financially contribute to the family, scratch that creativity itch, and be with the kids all at the same time. It looks great from the outside but it's not so easy to do. So whenever mamas ask me to help them by posting about their product on Instagram or on Facebook, I help. 

But back to my confession. I will confess that starting a brand that sells beautiful and useful things for working moms is a huge dream of mine. Whenever mompreneurs approach me about their brands, I always feel a twinge of envy. Not envy in a bad way, but envy in a "Look at all these amazing women putting up their businesses. When are you putting up yours???" way and sometimes it makes me sad. But then I have to remind myself, "No! You will be inspired! One day, you will finally put up that working-mama brand. One day!" I call this my "inspired envy" emotion. It's a good emotion because it drives me to work harder!



So I've been slowly learning about starting a brand. Not just the flowery and inspirational parts of it because everyone talks about following their dreams but no one talks about funding and BIR and taxes, right? I remember going to a workshop before and this mommy who sells baby stuff was the speaker. And she goes, "Well, I really love expensive things for my babies and no one was selling [this brand] here so I decided to sell it myself." And someone asked, "How did you get funding and the rights to distribute that brand?" And she said back, "Oh, I don't know. My dad took care of everything." 

Sorry but sobrang negative infinity points na siya sa akin. Not inspirational at all. Not encouraging at all. Not helpful at all. May asawa't anak ka na, umaasa ka pa rin kay rich dad for everything. So, in that case, I didn't feel my usual "inspired envy" at all. 

Thankfully, I know more women who started their businesses from their own savings, from asking for a loan from the bank or from their family and friends, or they used their money from their retirement. That's how I started my blogging business, by the way. I relied heavily on my retirement pay from the magazine industry.  

Nowadays, you'll find even more people who can help you start your business. That's because more and more people are turning to running their own small businesses rather than following career paths of employed positions in other people’s businesses. It’s not all too surprising. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be their own boss? Plus, the success of online only stores (which are a whole lot cheaper and easier to set up than traditional brick-and-mortar stores) is inspiring, especially to us mommies. So, if you’re planning on creating a start up of your own, there’s no better time than the present. Here are a few things that you will need to cover to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Funding Your Project
The first thing that you need to secure when it comes to setting up a small business is funding. After all, without cash at hand, how are you going to get the ball rolling? Everything requires investment and ideally you should be able to access the cash quickly rather than having to wait on gathering savings. If you don’t have money behind you from the start, you should consider a business line of credit loan. This will give you access to money within your credit limit as and when you need it, allowing you to pay the sum back in smaller installments down the line!

How do you get a nice bank loan? Well, you must establish good credit. How does one do that? Well, a bank account is a good start. A credit card or two that's always paid in full and on time helps a lot, too. Plus, a good business plan. 

Of course, I'm talking about regular people. There are many other people who have tons of money to throw around and funding is never a problem. If you have friends like those, you can ask them for help. Just make sure you can pay them back!

I'll just make kwento. I was attending a women entrepreneur seminar, and a woman shared how she started her business. "Oh, I went to China and I was bored so I went shopping and charged everything on the credit card and then just told them to ship it home. One month later, my husband called. 'Customs is asking about this shipment! What did you buy that cost me 600,000 yuan?!' [That's P5 million] Haha sorry I don't understand Chinese so I just said yes yes yes to the shop owner. And that's how I became a businesswoman because I had no choice but to sell all those things I ordered!"

Buti pa siya. For us regular folk, we'll have to work harder to get funding. Thankfully, a lot of home businesses don't require a lot of money to put up. You can sell mobile phone load cards. You can buy stuff from Divisoria and sell them online. You can bake extra cupcakes. You can buy extra woven bags from your bakasyon grande sa probinsya niyo (or whatever crafts your hometown is famous for) and sell those. 

If you don't want to get into debt just to start a business, you don't have to start big and expensive. Whatever your funds at hand can buy, then that's what you sell. Just be patient! 

Taking Care of Legal Business
There are all sorts of legalities that come with becoming a small business owner. Depending on where your business is based and where it intends to operate, laws will differ. But generally speaking, there are a few things that every business will require. 

Making Your Biz Legit
When you're making at least P5,000 a month from your business, it's time to register with the BIR. Okay, no one likes paying taxes. I don't know anyone who is thrilled to part with their hard-earned money and give it to a corrupt government. But pay taxes we all must. 

On the bright side, when your business is BIR-legit, it's easier to get more and bigger clients, raise more funds, to scale up, to rent an office/warehouse. When you also pay taxes, it's easier to get visas if you need to travel since an ITR is one of the documents needed to get a visa. As you can see, there are more benefits to paying your taxes so register your business with the BIR and pay your taxes (let Taxumo* do that for you!).    

Business Address
When you register your business with the BIR, you will need an official business address. Ideally, this shouldn’t be your personal address, as it may be required for correspondence and could also be distributed publicly. If you don’t have a commercial property to start with, there are plenty of packages out there that allow you to purchase a physical business address or a PO box. This gives you more privacy.

My business address is my home address but this year, our homeowners association changed their rules and now I need a new business address. It's been very stressful! So if you're about to start a home-based business, look for another place to register with the BIR. Even if it's okay with your condo/village/etc now, it may not be okay in the future and you don't want to go through the hell I'm going through now. Your options are you can ask a friend who has a brick-and-mortar store for help. Just ask her if you can rent a table. Yes! The BIR accepts that! If you don't want to inconvenience a friend, there are virtual offices who offer this service. They'll be your business address and they'll even accept mail and packages for you. 

Open a Separate Bank Account
It’s also likely that you will need to open a business bank account. These accounts offer you the same services that you will be used to with your personal account, but they allow you to deal with more withdrawals, cash more checks, and deal with a generally increased cash flow in and out of your account.They also have the benefit of helping you to separate your personal finances from your professional finances. This makes processes such as tax returns at the end of the year a whole lot less complicated.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property
By the time you’re ready to start selling, you will have put a whole lot of time and effort into creating your brand and products. So you want to ensure that they are protected from theft and reproduction. Protect your intellectual property by copyrighting and trademarking as much of your intellectual property as possible.

These are just a few things that you should consider when you plan to start up your own independent business. But taking care of them sooner rather than later will make the whole process a lot more smooth and simple! Good luck, mamas!

*Use my code FRANCES when you sign up with Taxumo.

**This post contains affiliate links. Photo from Pexels.