Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Selling my old things soon!

I'm about to give birth and so I'm in the middle of making space in our 2-bedroom condo unit. We need more space for the baby! And, I have to admit it, I need to make extra money, too, since I won't be able to do any work for a few months after the baby arrives. So I'm going to hit the proverbial two birds with one stone: I'm going to sell my old things!

First thing that has got to go? My clothes and shoes! I'm already taking down descriptions and measurements (see below) and then I'll take nice photos of my stuff this weekend.

I've held on to my clothes for years hoping my body will return to size 2, size 4 on my fat days. But, after three consecutive pregnancies, I must admit that my body will never be the same again. I actually do go back to my former skinny self but the breastfeeding breasts and the birthing hips just don't squeeze themselves properly into my old clothes. So the clothes will have to go! As for the shoes, well, thankfully, my feet also always go back to normal but my lifestyle has changed. It's ridiculous and dangerous to wear 6-inch heels when I'm a mother of three wriggly little boys. So the shoes will have to go, too! The bags will also need to go. All I ever use these days (for the past 4 years!) are tote bags and clutches made of sturdy leather and canvas. That's what motherhood has done to my closet!

Check out what I'm selling:
Just a few of what I'm getting rid of. Everything in my closets must go!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Good teeth is everything. Everything!

In the last 7 years, I often get asked by people from the past (ah, Facebook, where people you don't care about pop up often) if I've had anything done to my face. You know, nose job, Botox, face lift, I dunno. That means said people think I now look great. That also means said people think I used to look like crap haha. When I say that I didn't have anything done at all just my teeth, they still can't believe me.

Teeth, my friends, say a whole lot about you. If you have bad teeth, people assume you were poor and couldn't afford braces and the countless visits to the dentist. And you all know naman that I grew up poor. We only went to the dentist when we had a toothache and talagang kailangan ikamamatay na yung pain bago pa kami dalhin sa dentist. That was how much we scrimped on money. There's an episode in 30 Rock where Jack Donaghy sizes up Liz Lemon and tells her that she can act all smart but he knows she's insecure because she grew up poor. Flabbergasted Liz asks how he knew that and Jack says her bad teeth gave her away.

It's true. Straight, perfect, white teeth is all you need to look polished, sophisticated and rich. You can be toting a designer bag but if your teeth are crooked, your whole look is ruined. On the other hand, you can be in a simple tee and jeans but flash a bright and beautiful smile and you instantly look like a million bucks. Observe:

For more examples of celebs who look loads better with better teeth, click here!

My turn:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kids say the darndest things

I was going through my Facebook photos showing my kids what I looked like BEFORE I had them. This photo made the boys sit up. "Mama, click it, click it!" So I did.

Vito: Wow, Mama. Is that you?

Me: (very pleased at the awe in his voice) Yes, this was after I married Papa.

Vito: Woah. You're bigger now! Big bigger now!


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Monday, May 19, 2014

Pahinga muna sa sponsored posts with this message

Now that I'm a full-time blogger, people ask me all the time how to get featured on my blogs, Topaz Horizon and Topaz Mommy. I'm lucky to have regular sponsored posts coming my way. If it were not for them, I won't be able to enjoy my current status of earning while being with my kids 24/7. Anyway, I welcome sponsored posts and, though I'm not pa-importante, I do have some criteria:

I'm mapili with brands I work with. The brand must be something I use or believe in, for starters. I'm okay with posting announcements and press releases and doing event coverage for free as long as the brand is aligned with my blogs and who I am (and if I have no kwento haha kasi ngayon na nasa bahay na ako palagi, it's not like my life is SO EXCITING!).

Helping promote Pampers sound sleep campaign

But if hindi ko type ang tono ng email, I say no. If the email starts with "Dear blogger/mom blogger/webmaster" and "To whom it may concern," I say no. If demanding si brand/PR ("Tell your readers to like/follow us, use all these hashtags and keywords, we want X number of posts plus social media campaign") at ang daming pinapagawa tapos "Thanks!" lang ang kapalit, I say no. I write well and I do spend time and effort, plus blogging time means time away from my kids so I do expect to be compensated. But that doesn't mean mukhang pera ako. For example, I can't resist small businesses, especially if they're run by mommies of small kids. Kahit walang bayad ang Ni-QUA and Elin sa akin, because natuwa ako sa mommy at sa business nila, game ako. Yes, even if I don't even use the product just as long as I believe in it, I support mompreneurs! Well, not ALL mompreneurs but basta bottom line pa rin is if I don't use/like/believe in the brand, it's really a no.

Being makulit with fellow Sangobion brand ambassador Cheska Garcia-Kramer

You know, I wish I could say yes to every proposal sent my way. If I did, mayaman na siguro ako. Kung pera lang ang criterion talaga, go lang nang go! But sa lagay, hindi pa rin ganon kalaki ang kita ko from blogging dahil feel na feel ko yang integrity ko!

I've heard that my being mapili has been misconstrued. You know, I'd rather be called a snob than be accused of compromising my integrity. Kasi in the end, my blogs reflect who I am and if it comes out na snob ako, well, kung ganyan kayo mag-isip eh di ganyan kayo mag-isip. Okay lang, kasi may pagka-maarte naman talaga ako minsan haha. Pero hindi ako fake at hindi ako sinungaling. Itaga niyo sa bato yan.

A video I did for NIVEA Baby's CSR efforts to help Fabella Hospital

Blogs are so tricky. Nung nasa magazines ako, tanggap lang nang tanggap kasi pera yun para sa company. So kahit na hindi bagay ang toilet cleaner and fungus medication sa glamorous Hollywood magazine, okay lang, i-feature asap! But blogs are an extension of the blogger. I seriously believe no amount of money should buy a blogger's integrity.

But I also won't judge bloggers who do it for the money. Hindi ko ever ma-gets yung mga blogger diyan na kung maka-judge ng mga bloggers who earn from their blogs, akala mo they poop gold dahil hindi raw for sale ang opinions nila. Well, good for you. Some of us need to make money, you know. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed. My opinion is never for sale, either. Nakahanap lang ako ng paraan para kumita ng pera in a clean and decent way. So to each his own. I live and let live and enjoy blogging!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

I wrote the cover story for this month's HOLA!

I want to plug this only because someone asked me recently, "So you don't do any work now at all?"

She looked really disappointed in me, too. Heehee. So I said, "Yeah. I don't do any work at all. I'm living the donya life!"

That is kinda true. I don't see my blogs as work. The writing I do for my blogs' partners is just so easy, I can't believe it sometimes. It's like being paid to eat candy! I'm grateful this is my life. I can be with my husband and kids full time and not be afraid of the future. But once in a while, I say yes to real writing jobs and this one is my favorite. Why? Because I love Duchess Kate!

For more on Kate, other chi-chi mommies, and the luxe lifestyle, grab this month's issue of HOLA! magazine!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cooking, serving and eating made more fun, healthy and affordable!

My blog partner Kitchen World, distributor of CORELLE, CORNINGWARE, PYREX and VISIONS, would like to invite all the domestic gods and goddesses to check out their sale from May 15-25, 2014, at Kitchen World, Eastwood Mall. Everything is on sale, with up to 70% off! So you can cook, serve and eat food in a stylish and yet more affordable way!

For those still undecided, let me tell you more about the products of Kitchen World:

CORELLE is the leading dinnerware brand in the U.S. It is made from Vitrelle, a unique 3-layer laminated glass that won’t stain, fade or chip. Because it is non-porous, it never absorbs food particles or stains. The color pigments used to decorate all CORELLE dinnerware are approved by the U.S. FDA. They are of the highest quality and do not fade, so you can be sure that there will be no inks or dyes that will bleed into your food.

CORNINGWARE cookware is both for stove top and oven use. Made of pure white, high-tech Pyroceram material, you're sure that your cookware won’t stain, fade or crack even when subjected to extreme temperature. The glass is non-reactive and non-porous so it won't absorb stains or odor, and there is no way for contaminants and toxins from previous dishes to leach into your food. The glass material also makes it easy to clean. Because it looks so nice, you can also use it from stove to table! So convenient, right? You just need one dish to cook and serve and even store! Such an attractive feature for us who live in tiny condos, I think, or for those of us who are too busy to be chained to the sink!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer activity: Decorating mamon!

One of the joys of mommyhood is finding ways to be entertained on lazy days, and being resourceful and creative. What's the joy there? The main joy, of course, is making my kids happy, but I'm going to be honest with y'all: If I weren't a mom, I'd just sleep all day and then I'd never realize how fun and creative I could be pala!

One such afternoon, Monde sent over their Monde Special Mamon and Cream Puffs. They've been doing this regularly for over a year now (thanks, Monde!), but this time the pastries came in a big box with decorating tools and toppings.

The kids and I were so excited! We love cupcakes but I just can't get over the astronomical prices those little confections come with. Tapos wala akong hilig mag-bake. It never occurred to me to use mamon! I love it because mamon pa is so big! More yummy bites and more space for decorating! Plus, Monde Special Mamon is really masarap because it's made of fresh and premium ingredients like real eggs, imported wheat flour, and milk.

So my little boys Vito and Iñigo decided to celebrate an afternoon of summer bonding and decorated our very own mamon! The first Mamon-It-Yourself recipe we made is Chocolate Mamon a la Mode!

First, we started with the chocolate mamon. Look how big it is!

Then I scooped a big dollop of strawberry ice cream on top and let the kids loose on it!

Marshmallows and candy sprinkles and a few M&Ms and voila! A perfectly perfect mamon delight!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Shop shop shop! Big sale of CORELLE dinnerware ongoing!

After our wedding seven years ago, we got multiple dinnerware sets as gifts. We could've exchanged them for gift certificates at the department store where we were registered but we didn't. We had three reasons: We like to have guests over, we think serving our guests food on paper plates is sad, and plates break so it's good to stock up on replacements.

But when I saw this ad from my blog partner, World Kitchen, my first thought was: I want to buy new dinnerware sets!

I heard CORELLE is selling their limited edition sets, too. You've got to check out the sale because pretty plates are perfect gifts for your mom this Mother's Day.

Why get CORELLE for your kitchen and dining needs?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Topaz Beauty: My Shiseido facial massage

Everyone's saying my face looks thinner these days. Considering I'm packing on the pregnant weight, I can only surmise that my face isn't ballooning because of the facial sculpting massage I learned from Shiseido.

I've been doing this for about a month now. My steps are cleanse, soften, eye serum, eye cream, moisturizer then massage. Six steps. Add one step in the morning for sunscreen. Yep, my facial regimen is becoming more and more Japanese/Korean, which is 8-11 steps. I'll have to add toner and face serum soon. First time I heard about the many-steps regimen, I balked. I mean, seriously, who has the time? But since I've been adding more steps to my facial care system, the skin of my face has really improved. Vastly.

Here's the massage I learned from Shiseido:

This massage is the big reason why I think my skin is firmer. I have cheekbones now and my eyelids don't droop so much. Plus, the skin of my neck isn't so loose anymore. Yep, I finish the massage with six strokes upwards so my massage is actually seven steps. Try it!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mother's Day gift idea from Ni-QUA

Omigosh, Mother's Day is upon us! What are you getting your mommy to show her your appreciation? If I may make a suggestion, check out Ni-QUA's Mother's Day gift: a piña cover-up and a mother-of-pearl and leather necklace!
The gift comes packaged like so: the cover-up in a pouch of the same material, and the necklace in a satin-lined suede envelope. Yes, it's two gifts in one!

The necklace features five pieces of golden mother-of-pearl linked together with golden chains. You tie this around the neck with soft leather bands. It's very light on the neck and the gold hues really flatter your face.

The piña cover-up comes in two colors: black and taupe. I got taupe. It's light enough to wear even here in the tropics but the weave does offer warmth when the night (or the office) gets cold.

 Here's the cover-up and the necklace on a real mommy: me!

The back flows behind you like a cape (because moms are superwomen, diba?). You can wrap it around your body when it gets cold or when you need coverage (for breastfeeding your baby, for example).

Get one for your mommy now! Only available at the online shop of Proudly Pinoy brand Ni-QUA. Shop now!

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Monday, May 05, 2014

Topaz Beauty: Lancome Absolue Golden Glow

Good Monday morning, beautiful readers! I know all my posts lately have been about beauty products but I promise this isn't turning into a beauty blog. It's just that I've been mostly at home being a mom (for those adventures, you can check Topaz Mommy!) so I just write about the stuff that's making this pregnancy a beautiful one: beauty products!

Anyway, I did venture out of the house last week because Lancôme, one of my favorite brands in the world, invited me to an intimate brunch at Manila Peninsula to launch the new Lancôme Absolue Golden Glow, its latest luxurious skincare line created after 20 years of research into skin stem cells. Skin will look younger with a distinct golden glow. I'm super excited to try this line!

Here I am with Sasu Hurme, Lancôme's product manager. He was amazed that this was my third pregnancy, and said very kindly, "Your husband must be so very happy." He is, he is, Sasu! That's why I need to make myself beautiful for him because he makes me happy, too!

Here are a few products from the new Absolue Golden Glow collection. Inspired by nature's endless regeneration abilities, this skincare line uses precious oils from flowers, extraxts from linseed and chlorella, and Pro-Xylane technology which produced Lancôme's most effective anti-aging molecule.

Oh yes, there's makeup, too! This is the foundation but it's really a skincare product because it contains the same ingredients as the Regenerating Oleo-Serum so with each use, your skin becomes more radiant, wrinkles and fine lines fade, skin is infused with a healthy glow.

We also had a chance to check out the other anti-aging products from the Lancôme family:

(black bottle) There's Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, to use after toner and before serum. This is what Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, uses!

(blue products) The Visionnaire line boasts that women who use it stopped or delayed cosmetic clinical procedures! This refines skin—pores and fine lines seem to disappear, texture improves and smoothens.

(black jars) Absolue L'Extrait. These are skin elixirs for erasing lines. A clinical study showed that with just 11 weeks' use, there was remarkable improvement in forehead wrinkles, frown lines, crow's feet, undereye wrinkles, nasolabial fold, and lines around the mouth.

(white and gold products) Absolue Premium promises extreme moisture to plump up skin.

At the event, we also got skin consultations and luxe facials. I didn't avail of the facial since I've already bought facial treatments at Lancôme Shangri-la Plaza. Drop by the Lancôme counters/shops and ask about their facials. They are so relaxing and makes me gorgeous!  

Anyway! Here's my Lancôme loot from the event:
A small vanity kit in gold leatherette.
Golden boxes inside!
Oh my! I die! I die!
The Absolue Sublime Rejuvenating Essence Foundation. A full size tube costs Php 3995.
The Absolue UV Global Youth Protector SPF 50, Php 3595. I love Lancôme's sunscreens! They're some of the best!
The Absolue Yeux Global Multi-Restorative Eye Concentrate, Php 6995. Can't wait to try this!!!
The Hypnôse Star mascara. Lancôme's mascaras always make it on the favorites of beauty editors and makeup artists!
I'll use these products after I give birth and I'll give a proper review.

For more information, visit the Lancôme website, or their shops and boutiques at Greenbelt 5, Rustan's Shangri-la Plaza, Rustan's Makati and Rustan's Alabang. Like the Lancôme Philippines Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram (both @LancomePH).

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