Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Vito is 6 and my heart is glad

Before this wonderful month ends, let me share with you a few photos from my eldest son's birthday party a few weeks ago.

I wasn't supposed to post the party actually. I had decided a long time ago that when my kids turn 6, I won't post photos of them on social media anymore. But one day, soon after Vito's party, he came up to me and said, "Are you showing my party to your friends?" When I said no, he exclaimed, "But I want your friends to see my party!" So here it is, folks, a little peek at Vito's 6th birthday party!
Look at the wonderful boy! Happy birthday, Vito! 
For once, no one was fighting over blowing out the candle. Huhu, my boys are big boys na!
We know what his wish was. He's been wishing it for months!
Drowsy mama and baby with the long-awaited gift!
He can read now, folks. He read my loooong card all on his own!

And here's the birthday boy with his wish come true: a LEGO Dimensions game!

Wow. Six years. I can't believe I've been a mommy for 6 years. It still feels like yesterday. I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Well, I have a lot to say about this part but I'll save that for another day. For today, we celebrate Vito. And I celebrate you, my dear Loyal Readers, for being here all these years!

Thank you all so much for being there for Vito, even before he was born. Thanks for the gifts, the warm wishes, the friendship, and the love you've shown Vito. Thanks for saying hi to him when you see him in the mall, in the supermarket, at the pedia clinic, on the street, and in football stadiums. We really truly do feel your love and we are so grateful! Apparently, Vito is grateful, too, because he wanted you to be a part of his birthday celebration. Thank you and God bless you for making him feel so loved!

Let's take a walk down memory lane! Here is Vito's...
5th birthday: Vito is 5 and that is a most wonderful thing
4th birthday: Vito is 4
3rd birthday: Vito is 3!
2nd birthday: Vito's 2nd birthday party (part 1, part 2, part 3)
1st birthday: Vito's 1st birthday party madness! (part 1, part 2, part 3)
birth day: Vito's birthday

Monday, August 29, 2016

Meet my new Skechers GO STEP shoesies

Now that I'm fetching two kids from school, I no longer live in heels. Well, okay, I've stopped doing that when my eldest started walking in 2010 haha but I just wanted to stress that I now live in Skechers sneakers (I have 7 pairs!) and that's just a snippet of how my life has changed. For the better, too, and I mean my feet feel better. They even look better, to be honest.

But I'm still maarte when it comes to shoes and that's why I'm so in love with my new Skechers GO STEP, which I got early this month. Look at it!

I actually asked my followers on Instagram and my friends on Facebook to pick a pair for me when I was at the store shopping. The pink was the crowd favorite but I picked the black (so bakit pa ako nag-crowdsource, no???) because my feet looked slimmest in them.

Seriously, I'm giving style advice here: Don't wear rubber shoes that look like space ships unless spaceman is the look you're going for. Choose styles as sleek and slim as possible. When the sneaker is sleek, you can wear it with more outfits and look casual instead of sporty. Yung tipong people will say, "Ang cute mo!", and not, "Saan ang laro natin?"

That's why I love my Skechers GO STEP! It's a slimmer version of Skechers GO WALK, which I love and use in the gym or when I'm going to do a TON of walking. But for everyday outfits, I wanted something just as comfy but not too heavy-duty. Skechers thought of people like me and designed the GO STEP. Thank you, Skechers! Here's what the other GO STEP shoes look like:

Ang ganda ng legs nila. Grabe!

What I like about the GO STEP:
  • More styles like slip-on flats for a casual look, lace-up for a more sporty look, maryjanes for preppy #ootds, and bright colorways for a more youthful and fun vibe. 
  • You can wear them with skirts, dresses, shorts, jeans, and, yes, with athletic outfits, too.
  • It has GOwalk 3’s platform, which was specifically created for athletic walking, but slimmer so it isn't as bulky.
  • The shoe’s midsoles and outsoles also have the GO Pillars technology that absorbs shock and supports arches—very important to me because I have high arches. 
  • There's the Integrated Ortholite anti-microbial® sockliner so feet don't slip around inside the shoe and feet don't become stinky either!
You can check out Skechers GO Step at Glorietta 2, TriNoma, Ayala Fairview Terraces, SM North Edsa, The Annex, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Gateway Mall, Lucky Chinatown, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, SM Fairview, SM Dasmariñas, Paseo Sta. Rosa, Ermita, Ayala Center Cebu, Marquee Mall, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Clark, SM Davao, SM City Cebu, SM Seaside Cebu, Centrio Mall CDO, and LimKetKai Mall CDO.

To learn more about Skechers, visit their Facebook page and follow @SkechersPH on Twitter and Instagram.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Come with me to a weekend of luxe beauty from BDJ Box!

I got invited to a weekend of beauty! The best part? I get to take with me three Loyal Readers!!!

Hello everyone! Next weekend, September 3-4, the BDJ Box Beauty Bootcamp is happening at Palm Grove The Rockwell Club. It's by my friends over at BDJ Box, and, girls, we have gotta check it out! Who wants to come with me???

Here's what to expect:

  1. Two whole days of beauty workshops!!! I'm going to the contouring workshop because I cannot, for the life of me, understand how it's done. But I want to learn!
  2. A BDJ Box of luxurious products from prestige beauty brands, Guerlain, Shiseido, and Elizabeth Arden. The box is filled with P4,000 worth of products!
  3. Pampering services! A makeover and a hand massage!
  4. Shopping discounts galore! There's a beauty fair, ladies, and the kikay goodies will be on sale. Up to 70% off, I saw on the BDJ Box website. So get ready to do some serious shopping!

The BDJ Box Beauty Bootcamp: Luxe Edition is still offering tickets. The ticket is just P1500. That gets you all of the above so it's a pretty sweet deal. I mean, sa workshops alone, sulit ka na. So CLICK HERE to buy a ticket!

But if you want to go for free, you can join my contest! Please note that BDJ will give each winner a free ticket and a free pamper session. The BDJ Box Luxe and workshop aren't included. If you'd like those anyway, join me next weekend! Just leave a comment below answering any (or both!) these questions:
  • What beauty tip did you learn from me?
  • What beauty product or beauty service did you try because I recommended it?
That's it! I won't publish the answers until the end of contest (para walang gayahan ng sagot haha). Contest ends on August 31, Wednesday. I'll announce the winners that day, too!

Have a happy and beautiful weekend! Next weekend will be even more beautiful... as long as you go to BDJ Box Beauty Bootcamp!

For more beauty news and reviews, follow BDJ and BDJ Box online: 
BDJ Planner Community website
BDJ Planner Facebook page
BDJ Planner Twitter
BDJ Planner Instagram
BDJ Box website
BDJ Box Facebook page
BDJ Box Twitter
BDJ Box Instagram

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ask Frances: I'm a working mom. Should I quit my job?

"Ask Frances" is a monthly blog series where I will answer questions from my readers. The chosen question will receive a prize. This month's prize is a Kipling Art S tote bag.

It is soooo nice! Thanks, Kipling, for sending me this really nice bag when you opened your new Megamall store a few weeks ago. I think it makes for an excellent diaper bag, mom bag, overnighter, or carry-on luggage. It's so versatile and handy, stain-resistant, and when you unzip certain zippers, it becomes bigger! This is what it looks like:

And here are some photos I grabbed from the Kipling website:

Isn't it such a nice bag? I wanted to keep it but I already have lots of totes so I've never used this. It's best to just give it to another mommy!

Our question this month is...

I'm happily married with 4 kids aged 16, 6, 5 and 2. I recently just got back into the corporate world after being a full-time mom for 7 months. I'd been working 13 years before my stint as a full-time mom. And because of the financial difficulty, I decided to go back to work. Thing is, I work nights. We don't have a helper. And while so far, I've survived with 3-4 hours of sleep, I'm starting to think about whether it's the right decision. The income is a huge factor especially given the fact that we have 4 kids to put through school and feed. But without a helper, I am doing two full-time jobs. It's hard to look for a trustworthy helper. I've had experience where one left my then-3-year-old daughter at home all by herself and stole from us so it's become a phobia. The house is almost always messy now because I just don't have the energy to clean as I used to. 

Do I keep the job and just struggle some more? Or is it not worth the health risk and the messy house? What would you do?


I'm going to answer the "What would you do?" question. What would I do? I'd keep the job. If my family has a "financial difficulty," then I need to work. In fact, I do work now. How about the messy house? Well, if I had a husband I'm happily married to and four kids—one being a teenager—I'm going to enlist everyone to help. Yes, even the toddler can help!

D.M.A., I can answer your question in all confidence because that's my life. Since I was a child to now that I'm a mom, household help was a great help but not necessary.

My mother was a working woman but even her salary couldn't pay for household help, so my parents decreed that as soon as one of us (that would be the eldest) hit our teens, no more maids. I've been cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry for as far back as I can remember. I learned how to cook rice in a palayok (no joke) and wash my own clothes when I was 7. My father did the cooking and the childcare while my mother did the earning and the cleaning. Everything else they didn't do, my three siblings and I did.

Now that I have my own family, we also have our own chores. For example, my 6-year-old Vito helps with setting the table, loading the washing machine, and shining shoes. My 4-year-old Iñigo helps cook our meals, from prepping to washing dishes. My 2-year-old Piero packs away toys and can be counted on to fetch things. My husband cleans the house, I cook, and we both take turns taking care of the kids so we can work.

I'm saying all this to assure you that it's possible and that it's good for everyone to help around the house. It is especially important for us to impress on our kids that they need to contribute to keeping the house in order. I like to tease my kids, "If you can't pay rent, you have to do your chores!"

Iñigo making chicken in balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Your family needs the money so you're not being a bad mom by working. Your family needs you to work! What you need to do is get everyone to help around the house. That's their duty for living under your roof. If they don't keep it clean, they shouldn't live there! Joke! But you also know I'm kinda serious, right? Hugs! As a fellow mom, I know how hard it is to work and care for a family at the same time and keep the house clean, too! When the house is messy, why does no one blame the daddy and the kids??? It's always the mom's fault and that is unfair because she's not the only one living there. So make everyone help you!

A family needs to be a team. You work together. You help each other. You succeed together. It's not just for your own good; it's for the kids' own good as well. Chores teach kids responsibility, team work, accountability and independence! So make them do their chores and then email me your address so I can send you your prize from Kipling!

Kipling stores can be found nationwide. Follow their Facebook page for promos, sale announcements, and a complete list of their branches.

* * * * * * *

If you have a question for me, send an email to with "Ask Frances" on the subject.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

At the Mommy Meet Up by Pampers Pants and Gymboree

This post is brought to you by Pampers Baby-Dry Pants.

Last Sunday, my second son Iñigo and I trooped over to Glorietta 5 to check out the Mommy Meet Up event thrown by the new Pampers Baby-Dry Pants and Gymboree. At 4, Iñigo has long stopped wearing diapers but he tagged along anyway, as proxy to his baby brother Piero, who was napping that rainy afternoon and so stayed home, snug in bed.

What Iñigo and I saw:
  • A mom-and-dad-and-baby-packed event! 
  • A cute play area plus fun activities for kids by Gymboree, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. Happy anniversary, Gymboree!
  • Pampers Ambassadors Andi Manzano and her baby girl Olivia demonstrating the powers of the new Pampers Baby-Dry Pants.
  • Gymboree moms Andi, author Teresa Dumadag, and actress Say Alonzo talking about motherhood.
  • Snacks like sorbetes, pop corn and fries for everyone!

And here's what we learned about the new Pampers Pants:
  1. When baby becomes a toddler, changing his diaper can become an Olympic event! I've been chasing after naked toddlers since 2011! That's the secret to my slim physique haha. 
  2. After catching your toddler to put on his diaper, the struggle to strap him in is again a Herculean challenge! All you want to do is put his diaper on while all he wanst to do is play! Now playtime is vital to baby’s development so let's keep the diaper interruption as brief as possible!
  3. This wasn't talked about at the event but I'm adding it: Pants help our kids signify their readiness to potty train. How? If they can start pulling down their pants! That's one of the markers that a child is aware of the need to go to the toilet. So put him in pants! 
Even though the event was to launch Pampers Pants to the public, Piero's actually already been using the Pants for a weeks now. I'm writing a review for so watch for that review there. Meanwhile, here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the new diaper:
  • Step 1: STRETCH IT! It features an all-round stretchy waistband and flexible leg cuffs that ensures a snug and comfy fit so baby can move around without fear of spills! The Magic Gel absorbs liquid 30x its weight while the Soft Touch-Dry Layer and breathable back sheet keep baby's skin free from irritation.
  • Step 2: PUT IT ON FAST! Just put one leg at a time and pull up. Pants!
  • Step 3: TEAR OFF QUICK! Just tear off at the sides and throw away.
If you have a toddler in the house, #MoveUpToPampersPants! Yes, it's a hashtag. I'm guessing it's for when you want to show off your little one's tushy in pants on your social feeds. Like this pic, for example:
Piero and his Papa lounging. My bunso is a big boy now. Time to #MoveUpToPampersPants!

Pampers Baby-Dry Pants is available at your favorite supermarkets, grocery shops and drugstores at these prices: 
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Medium (20’s): 204 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Large (18’s): 214 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants XLarge (16’s): 214 PHP SRP
Pampers Baby Dry Pants Large (14’s): 214 PHP SRP

Monday, August 15, 2016

Unboxing our new favorite treat: the TWG Tea mooncake

The weekend was full of sweet things. It was my eldest boy's birthday, and my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law also celebrated theirs. So we had a lot of glorious sweets to indulge in! But we started the weekend sinking our forks into TWG Tea mooncakes.

Okay, just so you know, my husband and I love tea. I like coffee more than tea actually but my husband can't stand coffee. He likes a beer but I don't drink alcohol. So the only drink we agree on is tea. And Coke haha. One of my favorite dates with Vince is sharing a pot of tea over smoked salmon sandwiches at TWG. The warm light, the dark wood, the white linens, the muted clink of forks on porcelain, and the fragrant aroma of teas... Vince and I must go on a TWG date soon. However, since that hasn't been possible in a while, we had a TWG breakfast at home instead! Let's unbox:
I love that orange box!
Pretty and mysterious.
Gorgeous really!
Okay, somebody got impatient!
Oh, that sweet glaze! 
That vivid green! 
We got two cakes: the Constellation from the Traditional Collection and the Jade from the Moonskin Collection. 
I love the crunchy melon seeds embedded all over the soft sweet brown filling, which surrounds the salted egg heart! 
It's soooo soft!
And so chocolatey!

Since it's the Mid-Autumn Festival (that's exactly today, August 15), we got to try the special TWG Tea mooncakes. TWG Tea has two new collections of four special mooncakes each—eight exquisite mooncakes for you and your family to enjoy.

Here's how TWG Tea describes each mooncake:
TWG Tea Traditional Mooncakes 
Constellation This iconic signature of the mid-autumn festival holds within a golden crust a smooth and elegant Singapore Breakfast Tea infused brown lotus filling, a scattering of roasted melon seeds and an embedded salted egg yolk heart. A timeless favourite.  
Jewel Encased in a rich chocolate brown crust, this exclusive TWG Tea mooncake boasts a luxurious dark chocolate orb surrounded by a white lotus paste scattered with decadent Amarena cherry chunks and infused with Paris-Singapore Tea.  
Ruby Wrapped in a perfectly baked bold red crust, this surprising TWG Tea mooncake features lemon zest and dried mango chunks in an Ivory Palace Tea infused brown lotus paste contrasted by a unique kaffir lime and almond paste heart.  
Midnight Wrapped in a sumptuous baked crust as dark as the night, this exclusive TWG Tea mooncake showcases an aromatic almond paste centre with crunchy blackcurrants cradled by a white lotus paste infused with Blue Lotus Tea and scattered with dried cranberries. 
TWG Tea Snowskin Mooncakes  
Flame Emanating the warm glow of a lantern, a brilliant orange snowskin mooncake embellished with a precious gold leaf, conceals a Festive Night Tea infused citrus mousseline that cradles a lavish heart of cherry ganache.  
Jade Decked in a skin of creamy celadon, this grand mooncake features a lustrous Sencha infused mousse ornamented with chocolate crumble pieces encasing a milk chocolate ganache centre.  
Pure An ethereal satin white snowskin mooncake encases a smooth dark chocolate mousse inflected with the fruity and flowery notes of 1837 White Tea, revealing a heart of tangy blackcurrant marmalade and white chocolate.  
Illumination Concealed in a black snowskin, this exquisite mooncake reveals a brilliant composition of a light, nutty praline infused with 1837 Black Tea and an oriental burst of glowing orange marmalade in a white chocolate heart.
My little Piero loved the Jade mooncake. He destroyed it with satisfaction!

TWG Tea says it's best to enjoy their special mooncakes with their Festive Night Tea, a green tea blended with cherry blossom, red fruits and rose petals. Must definitely visit a TWG Tea salon this week!

A set of four Mooncakes retails at P1,840 for Traditional and P2,140 for Snowskin. Individual mooncake gift boxes retail at P475 for Traditional and P550 for Snowskin. Prices may vary in Cebu. Available at all TWG Tea Salons & Boutiques in the Philippines.