Monday, October 31, 2016

Mama's regrets

Because it's All Soul's Day, I am thinking of my mother.

I think she'd be really proud of who I've become - and I'm not talking about career here as I don't have a career anymore. I think she'd be surprised at that part, too. I'm rather surprised at myself actually. I think I'm a good wife despite growing up with parents who didn't have a happy marriage. I think I'm a good mother despite being raised by an unhappy mother.

One of my last conversations with Mama was about regrets. She said, "If I were to live my life all over again, I'd never have gotten married. I wouldn't have had all of you but maybe that would have been better. I'm sorry." She was very sad when she said that and that's why I didn't feel hurt at all. In fact, all I felt was sadness for her.

When I was a teenager and started going on dates, Mama told me she regretted marrying and having kids. So it wasn't like her confession above was a surprise. She loved us but she always said that if she were to live life all over again, knowing what she knew, she'd say no to marriage and kids. I feel sad for her but grateful that she never walked away. Now that I'm a mother myself and massively relieved I don't feel what she felt, I feel sadder for her still. As a modern society, we shouldn't impose marriage and motherhood on women. On anybody! Mama loved us sooo much but maybe she'd have been happier without us.

Mama was unhappy with many things, mostly with Papa, and that affected our everyday life. She loved him, there was no doubt about that, but she regretted that love because it didn't bring her happiness. It also gave her children who never... I don't know. It's not that we weren't enough. I think we were just too much.

As I gain more experience as a mother, I empathize more with Mama. I appreciate her sacrifices. I feel her shame whenever she had to borrow money or groceries. I feel her desperation, her sadness, her misery, her complete exhaustion and bewilderment. I feel her fear and her fury.

I'm a mother, too, and this duty is no fucking joke. I love my kids, okay, but every day is tough. I don't know if it gets better but right now, with three small children and I'm forever running around feeding them, washing butts, picking up toys, yelling for them to stop hurting each other, not having time to shower or poop even, not having time to read books (my great love once upon a time), not having any time for my great love who is my ever supportive but neglected husband... I mean, motherhood just sucks the life out of you!

I'm still learning how to be a good mother and sometimes I fail, sometimes I'm selfish, sometimes I want to just curl up and sleep for 10 years. But I get up and do this mothering anyway because, to be honest, despite all my whining, I absolutely love being a mommy. I love it! I feel like I hit the jackpot of life really. And maybe that's why I complain a lot, to balance it somehow because I still can't believe how lucky I am. I have this irrational fear that the Universe will spot my joy one day and say, "Wait a minute. She's too blessed. That can't be right," and then strike me down, so I try not to be too smug so that maybe if I downplay my unbelievable luck - my husband and my children! - I''ll get to enjoy it forever.

I wish Mama had this joy, too. I really wish she had enjoyed it as much as I do. But you know what, I admire her completely now. I feel this enormous gratitude that despite her regrets, she always showed up anyway. She did the work, she gave her all, she never gave up. That's true love. And I love her for that.

Anyway! Something to think about if you're still single, ladies. And gentlemen, I guess. If you don't want marriage and parenthood, that's okay. It's amazing for many people (like me!) but it's not the be-all and end-all everyone insists that it is.

And then, for those of you who do feel trapped and yet you carry on serving your family and treating them with love and respect, thank you. Thank you for not walking away. May you find peace and joy in motherhood. God bless us all.

For further reading: I Don't Like Being a Mother. What do you feel about motherhood? 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Blog Biz: 3 ways you can use social media to build your blog audience

When I started blogging 10 years ago, getting on anyone's radar was a dream. I only depended on someone stumbling on my blog posts to actually get some visits. That all changed when Facebook and Twitter exploded on the internet. Sharing posts means just a few extra clicks and reaching an audience is so easy now! I even told my students at my recent Blog Biz Blogging and Chika Workshop that it's absolutely impossible for anyone these days to say, "No one's reading my blog!"

As social media continues to advance and grow in popularity, bloggers have started using it to their advantage. It’s become a simple but effective way of driving traffic and strengthening a blog audience. From Pinterest to Instagram, there are countless social media sites you should be using to promote your blog. Using these sites not only engages potential readers, they make it easier to communicate with your loyal followers. But if you’ve only used social media for your personal life, you might be unsure how to use it to better your blog. So to help you feel less overwhelmed, use my three social media tips for bloggers.

#1 Use your blog name everywhere
When signing up for multiple social media sites, it’s vital that you use your blog name consistently. So the handle you use on Twitter should be the same on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, too. This can help to avoid confusion while also providing promotion to your blog. I've already started doing this by changing my Instagram handle from @francesasales to @topazhorizonblog.

Another benefit of doing this is that you are making your blog easier to find across multiple platforms. This is important as you start to establish yourself on both your blog and social media. Obviously, there may be instances where you are not able to use your exact blog name on social media sites. It might be taken by someone else or be too long, for example. That's why I haven't changed my Twitter handle to @topazhorizonblog because that's already 17 characters that will take up my tweets! In which case, you might have to experiment with alternatives that are as close to your blog name as possible.

#2 Promote other bloggers
While it’s important to promote your own blog content on social media, it can get repetitive for your followers. If you do this too regularly, it may even force people to unfollow you as a result. So mix it up by promoting the work of bloggers you admire. Focus on sharing the content of bloggers who create similar content to your own. This can add more variety to your feeds while still being relevant and interesting to your followers. 

A big possible plus is the blogger whose work you have shared may also reciprocate and promote your content. As you both create similar content, it’s likely their followers will be interested in reading your blog, too. This can give your audience a much-needed boost while also helping you forge positive online relationships. I can attest to this because most of my friendships today began with sharing of blog posts, comments on each other's blogs and Instagram pics, and then back-and-forth messages on Facebook. Et voila! I am now real-life friends with bloggers I used to just admire virtually!

#3 Make your icons prominent
If your followers aren’t able to find your social media icons on your blog, it makes it almost impossible for them to connect with you. So always make sure these icons are in a clear and prominent place on your blog. Popular positions are at the top and bottom of your blog homepage. Mine are at my sidebar. Just look to the right and then follow me!!!

You should also make it easy for your content to be shared by your followers on social media. This helps you earn more Facebook and Instagram followers while also increasing the number of visits to your blog. So make sure your blog content has a sharing capability that can be found and used easily. Mine are at the bottom of this blog post—please share!

And there you have it! My three little tips on how to use social media to build your blog audience. Social media and blogging go hand in hand. You just need to know how to combine the two effectively. So take what you have learned from this guide and start getting more clicks today.

If you want to learn more Blog Biz tips from me, sign up for my upcoming Blog Biz Blogging and Chika Workshop next month! I'm looking at November 17 or 18 (yes, a weekday!) at Bonifacio Global City. Follow my Facebook page for more details!

*image from Pixabay

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Big savings for my little boys with Security Bank's Junior One savings

This post is brought to you by Security Bank.

Hi mommies! Just wanted to share my latest mommy find—Security Bank! I've been meaning to open savings accounts for my boys for a while now but something always comes up and going to the bank to wait for my turn and fill up lots of forms, not to mention the traffic I'll put up with, just didn't appeal to me. So when a mommy friend told me about the online and home services Security Bank has, I signed up immediately when I opened Junior One savings accounts for all my little boys.

Yes, you can open an account online (click here). Or if you're a diva like me, you can try out their new Human Switch Kit service. Hehehe, no I'm not a diva! I really just wanted to review this new service and asked Security Bank if that could be my specific topic! Why? The Human Switch Kit means I can make the bank go to me instead!

Let me give you a step-by-step guide:
1. Go to
2. Click on Accounts on the menu.
3. Look at the bottom right of the page and you'll see a little window there that says these:

4. Click on that window and you'll get directed to the Human Switch Kit window.
5. Leave your name, number and email address, and indicate the branch nearest you.

That's it! You'll get a call or an email within the day and you can schedule the visit. We met at my home. This is Xyla. She brought with her the bank forms, and I was so grateful I was able to fill them all up (they were a lot) in the comfort of my own home, in the comfort of my house clothes, with one eye on the form, the other eye on my super kulit kids!

That's it! Xyla can't accept money so I still needed to visit the branch and deposit the money myself. She said I had two weeks to a month to do so. Because I was so busy, my schedule freed up after three weeks! I went to the branch with Iñigo and after just a few minutes, all three bank accounts had money. Hooray!

We opened a Junior One Savings Account for each of my boys because at .50%, the interest is higher than other banks. To open a Junior One Savings Account, you'll need:
1. One (1) valid I.D. of the parent.
2. One (1) valid I.D. of the child. In our case, we used the passports of the boys.
3. Birth certificate of the child if they are 5 years old and below and if they don't have I.D.s yet.
4. Initial deposit of P100.

That's it! I really loved the ease and convenience Security Bank's Human Switch Kit for opening the kids' Junior One accounts. Thanks so much for this service! Moms, if you're too busy to open a savings account for your kids or for yourselves, do try the Human Switch Kit service. They can go to your office or your home. They can go any time of any day (well, a reasonable time and day!). I highly recommend it!

For more information, visit the Security Bank website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Choose good candy this Halloween! Choose Vita Cubes like I did!

In my family, candy is a staple. Yep. Because my husband's blood is fizzy soda, his bones are made of jawbreakers, and his skin is gummy candy, he passed his sugar-loving gene to our boys. We always have a supply of candy in the house, but don't worry for my kids just yet. Access to candy is regulated by the one person who prefers savory to sweet—me!

One of my recent yummy discoveries in the candy world is Vita Cubes. Okay, this isn't new candy. My kids and I have been seeing the TV commercial for months and months, and they've been begging me to buy Vuta Cubes but I always say, "Nope," because I thought they were vitamins.

No, Vita Cubes isn't vitamins in candy form. They're candy... with vitamins. There's a difference! And I only recently discovered this because I was looking for candy for my boys for Halloween (the most exciting holiday of the year for lovers of sweets) and for the first time ever, actually read the label.

Read the label, moms.

I usually do. I read the label, compare volume vs price, check where the product was produced, stuff like that. But candy, well, we usually just grab the most colorful and most popular ones. So I'm glad I took the time to finally check out the label of Vita Cubes when my middle child (the one with the sweetest tooth and disposition) reminded his Papa to buy Vita Cubes. It's really just candy!

Pretty candy, too. Look at how happy they make me:
The red is strawberry, the orange is orange, the yellow is mango, the green is apple, and the purple is grape. Don't they make you happy just looking at them? Yes? Then you oughta try popping them in your mouth!

Here are the reasons why I, as a mommy, now prefer Vita Cubes for my children:

1. Vita Cubes are candy—not vitamins. 
I don't like vitamins in candy form because the dosage indicates you can only give one a day. Two max. And anyone who ever gave candy to kids knows that you can't give just one piece of candy to kids! They will ask for more and of course, because you have to follow the dosage, you can't give in to their requests, and so for me vitamins disguised as candy is a bad idea.

2. Vita Cubes are better than other candy. 
What makes Vita Cubes better than other candy is it's fortified with vitamins. Okay, let me walk you through the reason why it's not a supplement—the vitamins in Vita Cubes are all water-soluble. That means you can never overdose on them. Each colorful cube is packed with Vitamins A, B complex, C and E, plus Lysine and Zinc. These are good stuff for growth, immunity, and healthy body. But let me reiterate—Vita Cubes are not vitamin supplements!

3. Vita Cubes are better for teeth than other kinds of sweets. 
Kids and candy go together like peanut butter and jelly. So I'm not that strict when it comes to sweets. I give them to my kids in moderation, I don't make a big deal out of it (I don't use it as a prize nor do I ban them), and I make sure the kids rinse their mouths after eating sweets, and of course brush their teeth every day.

It helps that our kids' dentist says that candy like Vita Cubes are better than sweet treats like cake or cookies—these get stuck in between teeth. Vita Cubes basically melt away in the mouth so, after a drink of water or a mouth rinsing, your teeth are good!

4. Vita Cubes taste great!
They do! They're jelly candy that's soft yet firm. I prefer them chilled so that they're firmer. I also find that chilled Vita Cubes taste better—the juicy flavors of strawberry, mango, orange, grape, and apple are magnified. So yum! My kids' favorites are strawberry, apple and orange. I like grape and mango. I love the mango actually—it's like a juicy dried mango. You gotta try it to know what I mean!

Last Saturday, I had such a fun time sharing with other moms why I love Vita Cubes. Hi, mga mommies!!! It is always a lovely occasion when I meet other moms especially when they are Loyal Readers!
With Neri Ann of Nheng's Wonderland.
With Nedy Clazo of Nedy.
With RJ Dancel of The Millennial Panda.

At the Vita Cubes 2 Good Fun Day, mommies, daddies and kids were treated to fun games, lots of activities, play time, good food, and of course tons of Vita Cubes! Thanks so much, Vita Cubes, for inviting us to a day of good fun. I had a good time meeting moms and their babies, plus chatting with many other mommies. An afternoon well spent talaga!

Anyway, if you haven't tried Vita Cubes, please do! Especially since Halloween is right around the corner and wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the candy holiday with the better candy? It's so affordable at just P12 a pack. You can find it everywhere, too—Robinsons Supermarket, SM Supermarket, Waltermart, Landmark, Pure Gold. Even in Mercury Drug and Mini Stop! You can also check your nearest sari-sari store because there are P1 individual packs. Bili na for Halloween!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What exactly is a supermom?

I've been called supermom by a lot of people and I always ask, "Why do you say that? You don't live in my house!" I laugh. The person I'm talking to laughs and I sometimes get these answers:

"You cook!"
"You have no yaya!"
"You work and you're hands on!"
"You don't look like a mom!"

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you can't look like a mom. Whatever that means.

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you have to have a career AND be the sole caregiver of your kids.

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, fire your yaya right now. Pati yung katulong at driver!

So, moms, if you want to be a supermom, you have to do all the cooking yourself.

I'm not ungrateful for having my efforts as a mother praised. Thank you. But you don't see my struggles, my laziness, my impatience, my temper, my self-pity. You don't see me when I'm crying because I got caught up in work and lost track of the time and suddenly it's lunch time and I'm running around the kitchen feeling like an absolute failure. You don't see me when I'm yelling at the kids because they just won't stop fighting and hurting each other. You don't see me in my ratty shorts and shirts with breastmilk stains and wondering when I can take a shower.

But who wants to see that? Even I don't want to see myself that way. It's just not... super. It's all sorts of sad and frustrating and exhausting.

This photo is from a previous oh-so adowable post

And yet today, I will agree that I am a supermom. Today, I woke up after just a few hours of interrupted sleep to make breakfast for my kids. I did two loads of laundry (whites and uniforms first, colored clothes next). I washed the dishes and cooked lunch. I breastfed the baby and put him down for a nap. I set the table, ate lunch with my family, then helped Vito with his homework. Then after a little rest, I slapped on foundation and kilay, threw on an old shirt and comfy mommy jeans so that my family can troop to the mall and have a snack. Oh, and get food for a school picnic and buy a steamer, too, because I absolutely hate ironing.

It's Sunday. God calls it rest day. But no mother rests on a Sunday. Every supermom I know gets up every single day and gets through the day. Whether she has a job or not. Whether she has household help or not. Whether she's married or single. We take care of everything. We're supermoms. Every mom who works hard to make her family happy and healthy—though there will be times she will fail!—is a supermom.

And if you're a mom and you don't think you're super just because you don't look the part, or because you don't cook, or because you have a career, or because you need a village to help raise your kids, think again. Your love for your babies is your superpower.

Now isn't that super?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What's inside my Bobbi Brown collection

Hi to all my beautiful readers (and you are all beautiful!)! This year is Bobbi Brown's 25th anniversary so I was inspired to share my Bobbi Brown makeup collection. A little sneak peek because I want to celebrate my love for the brand and for the woman who started it all.
I always loved the simple font against the black.

I learned to do my own makeup when I visited the Bobbi Brown makeup counter at Rustan's Makati almost 10 years ago. Never knew how to put on makeup, never could afford makeup, and the few makeup products I tried back then always gave my face a rash. I guess that's because I could only afford cheap makeup haha. Then I became a magazine editor and a major job requirement was to attend all these glam events. So I did. But the PR people kept mistaking me for some kid trying to gate crash their events! So my beauty editor friends said I needed to put on a bit of makeup and dress up a little. So I did.

My first stop was Rustan's Makati because they had a lot of chic beauty counters. But that also meant they were incredibly intimidating to me, someone who never used makeup. The Bobbi Brown makeup counter had a little sign that said they offered makeup lessons for free. For free! No purchase necessary! So I nervously sat down and asked for help. And help me, they did! I was gently coached on what shades looked good on me, what my basic kit should be, and how to apply makeup.

Changed my life!

Not a lot. Just the basics!

I started collecting Bobbi Brown makeup, I got all her books, I try to support Bobbi Brown every chance I could even if I don't really get anything from them save for lovely samples now and then. I like to help them because they helped me first. I don't think the girls at Bobbi Brown Rustan's Makati in 2007 realized how they helped me find my confidence as a new editor trying to make it in a world I didn't belong to. That one hour in their beauty counter helped me rise in my career because in that glam world, beauty matters.

I'm no longer part of that world but beauty still matters but now it matters not as a tool to climb the career ladder. It now matters to me because I like looking pretty. Full stop. I don't do it for anyone or for anything. It's just for me! I don't even put on makeup a lot. Just foundation, concealer, eyebrow powder, and lipstick. Basics. I'm not very good doing more than that!

Anyway, that's my little story for today! Happy 25th anniversary, Bobbi Brown! Thanks for changing my life!

Friday, October 14, 2016

What my kids do while they wait for me to dress up

Now that my boys are a wee bit bigger, I can now spend more than 5 minutes in my bathroom. I can shower now, I can brush my teeth now, I can apply my moisturizer and eye cream and makeup, I can blow dry my hair. I can now feel gorgeous again!!! I mean, joking aside, the last 6 years have taken a toll on my skin and hair and teeth. The pregnancies. The sleeplessness. The missed meals, the wolfed-down meals. The rushed pooping (yep, it's hard to poop when little hands are banging on the bathroom door). The rushed, sometimes missed, brushing of teeth. The skincare regimen... what skincare regimen???

But now my kids are older and that means they leave me alone for a bit now. That means I now spend about 30 to 45 minutes in the bathroom. And it is a glorious 30 to 45 minutes, my friends!

I always assumed that in that span of time, my kids play or watch TV. I found out recently that they and their Papa are up to something else.

First, Vince dresses them up in much better outfits than if I did it. My sons always look like they rolled out of bed when I dress them up!

Then, all cute and handsome, the boys do a photo shoot for their Papa.
And they laugh and joke and play and laugh and sing and dance and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Then the boys start getting a wee bit impatient and start looking for me. 

"Where's Mama? What is taking her so long? Why is it taking such a looooong time?"

I know this because I dress up with the bedroom door ajar and my kids talk really loud and I can hear them chattering away.

And Vince says he doesn't know what's taking me so long but then he also says that Mama must be really pretty by now and the boys all agree that Mama is pretty, even when I haven't showered or even when I'm without makeup or even when I'm dressed in my ratty rags.

And I go all melty inside. Until Iñigo says he thinks I'm prettier with lipstick on.

So I quickly swipe on a lipstick and then hurry out of the bedroom and the boys all go, "Finally!" And they look at me and then they say, "Mama, you're pretty."

And my head knows I've had other days in a distant glamorous past when I've been waaaaay prettier than I look now as a harried mom of three, but my heart feels more beautiful now than I've ever felt before because three little boys and their daddy love me love me love me no matter what.

I love being a mommy!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The fear that all moms share with Kris Aquino and how I deal with it

This post is brought to you by Ariel.

When I saw Kris Aquino at the Ariel Wash Your Fears Summit at the Shooting Gallery in Makati, she looked every inch the formidable superstar that she is. Dressed in a figure-hugging green dress, sparkly black platform pumps, jewels dripping from her ears, wrists and fingers, and her hair in a tumble of waves all over her creamy white shoulders, Kris had a particular air about her—a "Don't mess with me" air and we all found out why soon enough.

Kris Aquino with host Bianca Gonzales.

Kris's first order of business—aside from discussing the state of Filipinas and how to overcome fears—was to address the rumors about the jewelry she wore at a dinner during the APEC Summit. Some nasty person started a nasty rumor that Kris stole the necklace from the sequestered jewelry of nasty former First Lady Imelda Marcos. Kris brought the necklaces onstage and showed them off to everyone, saying the necklaces are not diamonds but cubic zirconia. She also advised us that hindi lahat ng tsismis ay dapat patulan because mauubos talaga oras mo, but she just had to stop this particular rumor because it left an ugly stain on the memory of her mother and on their family name.

Everyone loved that! I loved that! I went through being gossiped about, too. I think lahat naman tayong babae pinag-usapan at one point or another. I'll talk more about this on my Facebook page this week but for now and for here, all I want to say is sometimes you have to bravely confront falsehoods and clear your name. It may be a lot of trouble to do it but some things you can't take sitting down.

Speaking of bravery, the whole event by Ariel was to celebrate the courage of the Filipina. The theme was confessing our fears and washing them away. It was a vulnerable moment for all of us who attended.
First, we were all given white shirts and a sample of the 100 stain-causing agents (blue ink, gravy, catsup, lipstick, etc). 

Second, we were asked to name our biggest fear and write it down on the shirt. This is my biggest fear, moms: illness on any member of our family. I don't even want to write down the particular diseases I'm afraid of but basta sakit, ayoko niyan. As long as we're all strong and healthy, everything else is just a silly worry. Death and illness is never silly.

Third, we had to drop our shirts of fear in a bin for Kris and the other brave women Ariel was honoring in their Wash Your Fears Summit to wash later.

Kris was joined by author Miriam Quiambao, advocate for peace and development Amina Rasul, advocate for health and environment Anna Kapunan, advocate for children's education Alou Chua, journalist Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, entrepreneur Mandy dela Rama, lifestyle columnist Mons Romulo, pilot Aimee Carandang Gloria, founder of The Cravings Group Badgie Guerrero-Trinidad, executive director of the Philippine Commission on Women Emmeline Verzosa, and chief of the women's center of TESDA Maria Clara Ignacio. All of these women shared stories about how they succeeded in their work, how they help other women make a better life for themselves and their children, and how they faced their fears. Yes, these brave women are also afraid every day!

The panel of women confessed their fears one by one (and yes, they also wrote their fears on white shirts!) and their fears were profound. Miriam said she was afraid she won't use her life for God's purpose. Samira and Amina were afraid of prejudice on them as Muslims and women. Anna was afraid that the world will use up all its resources and we will all die. Valid talaga lahat ng fears nila, but when Kris said her one fear in life was for any harm to befall on her family, all the women in the room nodded in agreement.

Most of us in that room are moms. To be very honest, wala na akong fear for myself. I'm one of the most fearless people I know. Yes! Wala talaga akong takot, lalo na nung bata pa ako. But it's not very wise to always be so fearless kasi kung wala kang takot, madalas wala ka ring hiya. I was never afraid to say what I think, to do what I want, to go where I please. While I'm happy I live life fearlessly, I'm aware that some people have been hurt in the process, my parents especially.

Now that I'm a mother, I confess I'm assailed by fears every day, that's why I tread more carefully now. But these fears are not for me. All my fears always concern my kids. Dear God in heaven, I am afraid every day for my kids' health and safety! But helpful fact, mommies: The Bible says, "Do not be afraid" 365 times. That means God is telling us every day to trust in Him!

So does this mean that because we moms are afraid every day, we can no longer call ourselves brave? Of course we can. In fact, that only means we have the best kind of courage because we get up every morning and face our fears and stare them down and live a meaningful life for our kids even though we're exhausted and spent and worried all the time! I've learned to manage my fears this way:

1. Raise them to God. When our funds are running low, I start having sleepless nights computing away. Now I try not to do that and instead pray! "Dear God, I'm worried about the tuition. I know You said You will provide so I'm sorry for my worries. I trust in Your promise of provision."

2. Ask Him to please handle the source of the fear. My fear stems from the fact that the checks aren't coming in as expected. Yes, life as a freelancer! Minsan kasi hindi ko naman pwede sabihin kay God na He doesn't provide when ang dami kong projects. Hindi talaga Siya ang nagkulang. So I ask God to take care of whatever it is that's holding up His blessings. "Lord, please make the processing of the checks faster. You know our needs and I will wait for Your provision in Your perfect time."

3. Welcome fear as a prompting of the Holy Spirit for prayer. Sometimes out of the blue, fear grips my heart. Has that ever happened to you? You're working or you're in traffic or you're out with friends when suddenly the thought of your kids in an accident enters your head. It's so strange, diba? I've learned to deal with it by immediately praying for that fear. I really believe in the prompting of the Holy Spirit, that He talks to you and that you just need to know how to listen. Maybe that unreasonable fear that suddenly comes to me is God's way of warning me of danger. That's why I immediately pray for whatever it is that the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart.

4. Release it and don't think about it anymore! In the immortal words of Queen Elsa, "Let it go!" Holding on to the fear means that even though you prayed na, you don't really believe that God will take care of things. So believe!!!

At the Ariel event, the women in the panel said they dealt with fear by simplifying it, avoiding other complications, and focusing on the problem directly in front of them. Wise words! Kris even said that the only way to deal with fear is to accept it. Tama siya kasi kung tatakbuhan mo ang fears mo, di mo ito mahaharap at hindi mo siya kayang labanin. Like I said, welcome fear!

And that's what Ariel wanted to address in its Wash Your Fears Summit! Louie Morante, regional communications manager for fabric and home care of Proctor & Gamble SEA, said, "Empowering Filipinas is at the core of what Ariel stands for, and we continue to find ways to drive conversations that can inspire more Filipinas to succeed in life."

A hundred fearless Filipinas take on a hundred stains!
Laba-laba muna on Samsung washing machines habang may panel discussion.

As an Ariel user, I've been helped by the laundry detergent simply by making my mom life less complicated. Instead of me bent over the laundry all day long, treating stains, whitening whites and making kusot, I just load the clothes in the machine, put Ariel in, and step away to conquer my day! I can work, I can care for my kids, I can shower!

Louie added, "Ariel recognizes that Filipinas are now fearless in seeking new opportunities to propel them forward in life. This summit for women celebrates 100 fearless Filipinas who have demonstrated that fears are just stains that we have to be brave enough to remove. Be fearless like Ariel—tested and proven to remove 100 stains in one wash!"

Bianca and Kris marvel at the wall of freshly washed shirts.
No more stains! No more fears!

True enough, after the panel discussion, the shirts that we all drew our fears on were hung on a wall and they were all stain-free! The advanced nano-molecules make Ariel more effective in targeting hard-to-remove substances like grease, mud, food stains, drink stains, and all the stains that assail our clothes! I've been using the powder form (here's my review) so I'm excited to use the new Ariel Power Gel. This is a super concentrate so you need less detergent to tackle even the most stubborn stains! Magaling na, matipid pa!

And by the way! If you didn't catch it, Louie said Ariel was celebrating 100 fearless Filipinas! Guess who made it to that list? Me! And here are a few of the other women on that awesome list:
I'm with three of the biggest bloggers in the country: Woman in Digital, Mommy Levy, and Mommy Pehpot.
My fellow brand ambassadors of other campaigns this 2016! Good year for The Misty Mom, Go Jackie Go, and me! 

Thanks so much, Ariel, for acknowledging the bravery of mothers everywhere!

Ariel Power Gel is available at all supermarkets nationwide. A 45ml sachet is P8.75, a 360ml Freshness of Downy Passion pouch is P75, a 400ml Sunrise Fresh pouch is P75, a 900ml bottle of Freshness of Downy Passion is P175, and a 1 liter bottle of Sunrise Fresh is P175.  

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The food at Ascott Makati is sooo good!

Yesterday, I told you all about our wonderful stay at Ascott Makati. Today, we'll talk about the food. Oh oh oh, the food! This is going to be glorious!

We stayed at Ascott Makati a few weeks ago to go shopping at Glorietta. There was no plan to eat at the hotel since we wanted to try the many restaurants at the mall. We hardly ever go to this part of the city since the mega traffic jams have made Makati inconvenient for us to visit, so we really wanted to explore the area. Visit Ayala Museum, go to Salcedo Sunday Market, run around Ayala Triangle Park, and eat eat eat. Well, we liked the food at Ascott's Café on the 6th soooo much that we ate every meal at the hotel!

Here's what we indulged in:
Homemade pancakes, P380. We got the buttermilk pancakes served with fruits and this syrup that I swear must be made of muscovado. It was sinfully sweet! I dipped all the fruits in it and gobbled them all up!

Carnivore pizza, P520. This is an extremely thin herb pizza crust heavy with chopped Hungarian sausage, Italian garlic sausage, smoked ham and bacon. All that meat is held together by mozzarella cheese and a rich pomodoro sauce. The kids LOVED it!

Lasagna, P580. This isn't your regular lasagna. This is a lovingly baked dish of U.S. Angus ground beef, fresh tomatoes, and creamy bechamel sauce layered between lasagna pasta and oozing with mozzarella cheese. Yummy!

Ceasar's salad, P330. Crisp lettuce. Crunchy croutons. Freshly grated Parmesan. Generous sprinkling of bacon bits. Briny flavor balanced out by a squeeze of lemon. Perfect start to a meal!

Spaghetti with bolognese sauce, P380. This is the best spaghetti I've ever had. I usually prefer bolognese that has less meat—this one was chunky with it—but it was really a very tasty and meaty sauce on al dente noodles. Best spaghetti I've ever had!

Rib-eye steak, P1,450. This is a thick 12.5 oz. slice of juicy goodness served with red wine peppercorn sauce, and perfectly cooked vegetables. It's wonderful. It's huge, too. I don't know why that slab looks small in the photo!

Chicken and pork adobo, P440. This is served with garlic rice but since my kids prefer steamed rice, I asked the restaurant to tweak the dish. I like it, my kids like it, but my adobo is better.

Spicy shrimp fusili, P480. My favorite! Vince loved this, too. Definitely worth coming back for this! The pesto olive oil sauce was full of flavor—the spiciness didn't drown out the freshness of the basil or its nuttiness. This is seriously an amazing dish! I can eat this all day!

We also ordered the Chef's Burger combo but we don't have a photo of it. I don't remember why! Maybe it was that good that we gobbled it all up? It's a 6. oz patty of Angus beef with blue cheese, sautéed balsamic onions all resting on a bed of fresh lettuce.

Uh oh. I gained weight eating all that food from Café on the 6th*! Burp!

To burn all that food (I tried, okay?), we went shopping and then we played at the Cubbie Kids Club.

The Cubbie Kids Club is a cozy, newly refurbished room just off the lobby and past the restaurant. It's small but it has all the things kids will love—a play house, books, musical toys, an activity mat, a TV, a ball pit, and tons of toys! There's also a big comfy couch for parents and caregivers. I don't know how they fit that all in that amazing room! As you can see, my kids loved it!

And that's our wonderful staycation at Ascott Makati! I hope you enjoyed looking through our photos. We had so much fun. We can't wait to go back!

To book a stay at Ascott Makati, click here. For promos and contests, like their Facebook page.

*Café on the 6th will be replaced by Myron's this October. Watch for its opening!