Thursday, October 26, 2017

Light therapy benefits on skin: Do they work?

Big confession: Before I get any treatment done, I devote a ton of research to it, but when I went to Flawless Face & Body Clinic for the Flawless Rejuvelite Mask Facial, I had been so busy I just said yes to it without knowing what it was. So when my aesthetician positioned what basically was a lamp on my face and I was bathed in blue light for 15 minutes, I went, "Okaaaaaaaay, what's this supposed to do?"

What just happened was my first every LED therapy. LED means light-emitting diode. These diodes are in the mask and they emit infrared light. There are different kinds of wavelengths per light, which is seen in the color of the light. Here's the list:

White reduces inflammation
Red promotes good blood circulation and lymphatic drainage
Amber stimulates production of collagen and elastin
Blue kills acne-causing bacteria on the surface and deep in the skin

The light is not your usual light because this penetrates deep into the skin and causes skin-beneficial reactions. And nope, this light doesn't damage skin at all. Because my main skin concern is acne, I agreed to the recommendation of Flawless to try the Flawless Rejuvelite Mask Acne Control Facial.

As you can see in my photo above, the light is blue. Blue light is beneficial to acne sufferers like me because it kills the bacteria present on the skin and also the ones deep in the layers, the bad bacteria that cause all the cystic acne that's so painful! I will admit that 15 minutes bathing under blue light was, well, not thrilling for me. But when I read the report made by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that blue light therapy does wonders to pimply skin, I was sold because I love science!

Here's the excerpt from the article on the NCBI website:
"Phototherapy with visible light, specifically blue light, has been shown to improve skin condition in cases of acne and blemishes. It is further reported to control the condition before an outbreak occurs. This blue light therapy is clinically shown to control acne without harsh chemicals or prescriptions and improves the skin’s appearance. "

I'll do a proper review soon since I just started Rejuvelite and I want to see its full effects after a week or so. Meanwhile, to learn more about the LED light therapy that Flawless is offering, read this and then maybe you should give it a try! Right now, a few days after my first Rejuvelite Mask Facial, my skin looks really glowing. I think I've found my new favorite Flawless treatment!

Come back soon for my review!

JAN. 2018 UPDATE: Sorry it took a while but here's my review!

*This post is brought to you by Flawless Face & Body Clinic.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Feeling Comfortable In Your Skin: Tips For Success

Feeling comfortable in your skin is not a science. It is an art. Also, despite the title of this post detailing ‘tips for success,’ success is often defined in a much different way than any other form of goal setting. Feeling comfortable in your skin is not measurable. It is more of a felt experience, something you take stock of every day and become better at as your life develops.

It is a dynamic process which you must maintain at all times. It is something which can give you the means to pursue your goals with confidence. It could simply be standing up for yourself in a conflict. The only complete and total result you can bet on however, is the ability to feel satisfied in all avenues of your life.

Here are some tips for fostering this comfort:

Pay Attention To Your Health
While accepting your unhealthy lifestyle might give you peace from a mental perspective, your physical health will always be a cause for concern no matter who you are. Improving your health will result in your body feeling wonderful, Acceptance of a changeable flaw is always inferior to pride in what you have achieved. This could be as simple as following a diet plan, or working out in the gym three times a week to stay active.

People will often tell you that you should never change and instead accept yourself, but those people miss out on the joy of self-improvement, and the intrinsic confidence that brings. We need a burden to bear as humans, or we are not physically or mentally normal. Unless you are subject to a disease or your physician recommends you abstain from eating healthily and exercising, these two tips can go a long way in making your body feel a much more friendly place.

Consider Your Social Etiquette
How do you come across to people? Have you ever reflected on this fact? Most of us marvel at the prevalence of rude people in society, not thinking that we could ever be one of these people. Watch yourself and your interactions with people. How do you feel on the surface? How do you react to people around you? How do you communicate? Are there psychological or language barriers which keep you from fully integrating into the world around you?

This is common for people living in a society who are having trouble speaking the native tongue. Services like those offered by AJ Hoge can provide you with the tools and techniques to make a silver tongue part of your arsenal, not a weakness to make you feel insecure.

Dress Sense
Our clothing is not merely superfluous. It is something we wear every day, something which allows us to express ourselves. This can help you feel comfortable in your skin, because the clothing may as well be part of your form it’s so utilized. Clothing helps express who we are, how we’re feeling, among a whole other range of important emotional variables. If you don’t usually put much thought into your dress sense, consider working towards it and developing a sense of style you can be proud of. Not sure about your current look? Switch things up? Before long you might see your clothing style as a method of artistic expression, rather than the ‘vain adorning’ you may have previously considered it to be. When you find that perfect garment, you will feel the most confident wearing it than you could ever have done before.

With these tips, you will certainly feel more like yourself, and more able to enjoy your life.

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email for my rates. Photo from Pexels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Grooming Guide For Gorgeous Husbands

I’m sure your husband or partner knows the basics of keeping clean and hygienic, because you wouldn't have been attracted to him if he was a slovenly pig. But does he know how to stay impeccably groomed? I'm writing this because these articles with variations of the title "A good barber is like a plastic surgeon" have been popping up on my Facebook feed and... Have you seen it? Here's a glimpse:

Click here for more amazing makeovers!

So inspiring, right??? Makes you want to drag your husband to the barber stat!

Good grooming is the very foundation of looking good. Thankfully, I'm married to a man who likes to keep himself well-maintained. Thankfully also, it's accepted these days for men to pamper themselves. Gone are the days when men were expected to look horrible to be called real men. Hubbies like David Beckham who likes sampling his wife's skincare products have made good grooming a good thing. Thank the heavens! 

Now if your hubby needs a few extra pointers on good grooming, you should pass on this guide to him.

Use the Right Hair Products
There is no doubt that you will have spent plenty of time trying to figure out which hair products work best for your hair. But has your partner? I wrote about the importance of knowing your hair and scalp type before buying products on [How to Achieve Volume for Your Hair Length], in case you need more convincing.

Anyway, there are lots of shampoos and conditioners out there for men but, aside from the packaging and fragrances, they're not much different from products for women. Knwoing this, you can help your guy look for the products best for his hair and scalp type. The wrong ones could cause his hair to get too oily or dry.

Find A Barber
Why? Exhibit A above. There is no way your man will get a good haircut if he doesn’t go to a barber. My husband goes to a proper barber and I always find him wildly attractive after a haircut and shave. Truth! A barber can give your man a proper shave with a cutthroat blade—this shave will be a lot closer to the skin, so the hair will take longer to grow back. Smoother longer. Just run your hands all over that smooth face and neck mmmm.

Bare All Down There
A look at the article "Should Men Shave Their Legs? [ ]" will make you see that this isn’t such a strange question at all. In fact, many men wonder about this one, especially if they're really hairy. And my trips to the waxing salon also tell me that men really do care about going completely bare down there. The waxing girls tell me that the guys believe a hairless groin makes the penis look bigger and the balls cuter. Well, we learn something new every day!

So should your hubby shave or wax, too? The truth is that it doesn’t really matter if they should or shouldn't unless they and their ladies care about hairiness. Going hairless doesn't serve any purpose except for aesthetics or for sexual pleasure. Yes, sexual pleasure! Let your hubby try going smooth and bare and see if you'll both like it. I bet you will! 

Don’t Forget Feet
Ok, so not many people will see your husband’s feet, but it’s good for him to get into a good care routine for his feet as it is good for hygienic reasons. Using a pumice stone [tips here: The Correct Use of a Pumice Stone] can help keep the skin on the feet smooth and soft, and it will also prevent callouses from developing. 

One of my favorite parts of my hubby's body is his feet. They're much nicer and softer than mine! He says it's because he drinks water a lot and he wears socks and shoes when he goes out. Unike me and my sandals and high heels and tight shoes.  

Always Moisturize
Think moisturizing is only for women? Think again! Everyone with skin should moisturize on a daily basis. So if your partner has this organ called skin, throw him a tub of moisturizer. It will help prevent his face from getting dry and will also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age lines. My husband says to exfoliate, too! A good marriage rests on good grooming, my mama friends, because the longer you look your best, the longer your marriage will last! Hahaha

Joking aside, keeping your hubby looking perfectly groomed isn’t so difficult. Just stock up on good hair and skincare products, find him a great barber, and maybe ask him to try going bare once in a while. Have fun!

*photo from Pixabay

Monday, October 16, 2017

How I made peace with homework

I never liked homework when I was a kid. I hated it even more when I became a parent of school-age kids. Many reasons I was dismayed at the task of helping my kids with homework: 

1. As a working mama with no yaya and kasambahay, I’m super busy with work, chores and errands.
2. My kids and I are already tired from a long day at school and work.
3. Weekends are supposed to be spent relaxing!
4. Aren’t I supposed to be done with schoolwork already???

I was so upset with homework that my husband Vince offered to take over the job, but since I’m the parent who’s in touch with the teachers and fellow parents, it’s actually easier if I do homework duty. We take turns now, or we handle specific subjects. Homework duty did lighten up but I still resented it, until I realized recently this very important fact: My kids’ school is not in charge of their education—I AM.

Vince and I decided to send them to this school because it’s considered as one of the very best in the country. Why should I then be upset if the school gives my kids lessons??? 

Yes, we’re being forced to spend time with our children but we’re spending that time doing something valuable: learning together. We have the incredible privilege of sharing our knowledge and wisdom. For example, our kindergartener Iñigo had homework about family. We don’t know how it happened but that turned into a discussion on how to make babies. Who better to teach our boys about sex than us, their parents?

The school is just the guide on what our kids should know academically, but when it comes to their real education, it’s up to Vince and me. In school, they are limited to 30 minutes per subject and lesson plans. At home, we take those lesson plans and expound on it. It’s Vince who patiently taught our sons to read, for example. The school may teach colors but I teach application through cooking and painting. The school teaches them handwriting but it’s Vince who strengthens the boys’ hands and fingers by making them play with Legos and and Play Doh. Their lessons don’t remain on the page because we make them come alive through daily teaching and practice. 

My activity sheets take a lot of time and effort so that lessons will be fun.

I realized that in many ways, we’re homeschoolers who send our kids to a learning institution for a few hours each day so that the boys have friends and learn to relate to people outside of family. But other than those few hours, their education rests mainly on Vince and me. Homework is homeschooling and, as parents and their first and most important teachers, I should never resent homework. 

Never underestimate the power of rewards!

I admit I still do! So we have little things that help ease the strain: We use their Legos for math lessons, we watch Batibot YouTube videos to learn Filipino, we play video games on the iPad to learn left/right/up/down/jump (and in Tagalog, too!), we test our knowledge on colors, counting and grouping when sorting the laundry, and all finished homework is rewarded by their favorite Nickelodeon TV show, three pieces of their favorite brain-fortifying Scott’s DHA Gummies, and a hug!

Always worth it to be my kids' teacher!

How about you, mamas? How do you feel about homework and how do you deal with it? If you have any tips on how to make homework easier for parents and kids alike, please share! 

Scott’s DHA Gummies is available in packs of 3 (a daily dose at P24.00), 15 (five days of healthy sweets at P117.50, and 60 (good for 20 days for just P433.00). You can find Scott's DHA Gummies at Mercury Drug, Watsons, and leading supermarkets nationwide.

For more information on how DHA helps your child's brain development, please go to You can also like their Facebook page:

This post is brought to you by Scott's DHA Gummies.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My 5 tips on how I keep our clothes looking new

One of the things on my bucket list this year is to buy new clothes for my husband and myself. That’s because Vince and I buy clothes just for the kids. I’m sure my mama readers know this! We always buy the kids’ things first and if there’s any budget left, then we shop for ourselves, right? 

Thing is, for the past so many years, even when there’s shopping money, Vince and I would rather buy experiences—we’d buy books and games, watch movies, try out a new restaurant, go on staycations—than buy clothes for us. After all, we stay the same size anyway (well, aside from the three times I was pregnant!) so there’s no urgent need to get a new wardrobe.

So I’m going to share with you a few tips on how I keep our clothes looking new! 

1. Wash clothes inside out.
It’s an extra step, I know, but I really believe that when the outside of the clothes are protected from the friction caused by washing, the clothes last longer. Buttons, embroidery, patches, designs. The only pieces I don’t do this to are jeans because jeans are supposed to fade.

2. Don’t use hot water.
My fantabulous Electrolux front-loading washing machine is my favorite appliance. It has so many functions that I can access through its computerized panel. So sophisticated! I noticed that its washing modes always use hot water. Hot water expands color molecules, resulting to fading of colors faster. So when I wash our colored clothes, I always adjust the wash modes to cold wash. The only time I don’t do this is with the whites.

3. Use a good laundry detergent.
I use Ariel, which really gets into those stains. That means I don’t have to use bleach on colored clothes and scrub at stubborn stains (scrubbing damages the material).  

But I make babad whites in bleach. It not only whitens whites but also kills germs in your washing machine.

4. Use fabric conditioner.
I’ve always used Downy Anti-Bac. That’s the anti-bacterial variant. Because it kills odor-causing bacteria, the clothes smell fresh longer and we can wear them for more than a day. I know that sounds gross but my husband and I work from home, with the A/C on all day, too, so we hardly ever sweat! And, of course, I also believe in how fabric conditioner protects threads and strands from fraying and elastics from stretching too much. I also read somewhere that Downy specifically has Color Protection Technology, so colors won't fade even after lots of washes. And I know it works because a lot of our clothes are at least 5 years old and they don't look faded and worn at all.  

5. Dry in a windy—not sunny—area. 
I grew up being told that freshly laundered clothes need to hang on a clothesline under the sun. This is how you kill germs, I was told. But I also know from my science classes that nothing is worse on color than the sun! The sun bleaches colors away! So, since I live in a condo with a big utility area, I always hang our clothes with the whites near the windows (whites are good with being sun-bleached!) and the colored clothes at the back. Thankfully, the big windows let in a lot of wind so the clothes dry real quick. Plus, fabric conditioner makes clothes dry faster so there’s no “kulob” smell even now when it’s the rainy season. As for killing germs, well, it helps that the Downy variant I use is already an anti-bacterial! 

Let me show you my favorite black dress, which I've had for almost a decade now. The black is still very black and the fit is still amazing—it hasn't loosened and neither has it gone threadbare. Alagang-alaga! 
Pregnant in 2009
Dress still looks good years after!

So those are my simple steps to keeping our clothes looking like new! Do you do the same things, mamas? Thanks and happy weekend!

UPDATE! Hi to all the mommies who are dropping by to read this particular blog post! Thanks for making it my most popular one. I didn't realize malakas pala ang labada topic. Sige, I will write about my labada tips more =D Thanks again for reading!

Friday, October 13, 2017

What I got from the 8th anniversary sale of Quirks Novelties & Curiosities

It's the 8th anniversary of Quirks! I'm really happy that the novelty store is going strong. I remember meeting my friend and the co-owner of Quirks, Zerl Chan, at a coffee shop a few days before the opening of the first Quirks store at Power Plant Mall. It was such a tiny shore. Parang cabinet lang siya. Does anyone remember that tiny Quirks store??? But even though it was small, it was filled to the rafters with the most fascinating finds!

Now, 8 years later, there are five big Quirks stores all over Manila. And to celebrate its 8th anniversary, Quirks is having a big sale!

From now till Oct, 15, it's...
10% off all regular items!
15% off when you buy 2 or more items!

From October 16-31, it's...
Pick a prize for a minimum purchase of P800!

This is storewide and site-wide. Yes, even their online store has the anniversary discounts!!!

Want more Quirks perks? Become a Quirks VIP member much faster because this month, you get double stamps on all purchases!

Here are three Quirks goodies for my family:

It's a ladle/wooden spoon/etc holder. Obviously, it's for me. But my bunso Piero thinks it's Spider-Man's hand so he says it's his and my little chef, Iñigo, says it must be his since he cooks. So we decided that when Iñigo cooks, it's his. Beyond cooking, it's Piero's.

It's a big tin for keeping memories, like photos and letters. I gave it to my husband because between the two of us, Vince is the sentimental one. He keeps EVERYTHING. Like, you can not KonMari method this guy because everything sparks joy. I love that man I married!

This is such a fabulous lunch box but my kids are going to store their Legos in it instead. Taking after their father, I see!

Vince's favorite Quirks item is the Sun Jar. It's a rechargeable lamp—you just put it under the sun and it soaks up all that light then you have naturally powered light all night. Vince LOVED his Sun Jar so much and then I broke it accidentally. He was a lot heartbroken about it. But now because of the sale, I think I'll go get him a new Sun Jar!

You can visit Quirks at Power Plant Mall, SM Megamall, SM Aura, UP Town Center, and SM North EDSA. You can also shop online at

Happy 8th birthday, Quirks!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cheesy quesadillas made healthy with Gold Seas Tuna Chunks

Hi, mamas! Today I'll share with you another recipe Chef Rosebud Benitez taught us mommy bloggers last week. These cheesy quesadillas are so delicious and so easy to make—definitely a snack (or even a lunch) you and your kids will love.

(Check out the first recipe: Shepherd's Tuna Pie.)

All the ingredients are easy to find at your favorite supermarkets, too. And it's quick to make! Working mama me was delightfully surprised! And instead of ground beef, Chef Rosebud used Gold Seas Tuna chunks, which are lighter on the tummy and much healthier, too. Happy cooking!

  • 1 pack spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pack flour tortilla, small size
  • 500 grams mozzarella cheese 
  • 250 grams button mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 cans of Gold Seas Tuna in Water
  • Olive oil for pan frying (optional, not needed when using a non-stick pan)
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Ripe mango, diced
  • Olive oil 
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Spread some spaghetti sauce on a tortilla. Don't put too much since this will make your tortilla soggy.

2. Top with grated mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms and tuna flakes. 

3. Fold in half and toast in a frying pan until golden.

4. If you used a non-stick pan, no need for oil. If you had to use cooking oil and fried your quesadilla, rest your quesadillas first on tissue paper to remove excess oil.

5. Serve with lots of tomato salsa on the side.

This was really so good! As in, super tasty, malinamnam, and also easy and quick to eat. That last part can be a problem because I ate so much! I just  happily pushed the cheesy tuna quesadillas in my mouth one after the other—chomp, chomp, chomp!

Sarap na sarap ako haha It's a good thing tuna and salsa are light and healthy! All that cheese, though...

Thanks so much, Gold Seas Tuna Chunks, for inviting me to join Chef Rosebud and the mommy bloggers to this fun cooking class. I really enjoyed myself! Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is now going to be a regular ingredient in my cooking!

Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is the pure, healthy, and chunky tuna choice for you and your family. With only premium tuna caught through sustainable fishing practices, every can of Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is filled with wholesome tuna goodness you will enjoy to the last bite. 

Gold Seas Tuna Chunks is available at all leading supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores and are offered in 90g (solo) and 185g (sharing) variants. To get the latest news and updates, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @goldseastunachunks.

This post is brought to you by Gold Seas Tuna Chunks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ladies, Forget Flexible – Be A Free Agent Instead

I just started a new job as beauty editor at L'Oréal. Yes, hooray!!! I'm so happy! The beauty giant has lots of major skin care and cosmetics brands under its umbrella like L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Kiehl's, Garnier, Kerastase, and many more. Lucky me, I get to work from home because I was hired as a consultant, and I'm so happy I registered my writing services as a legitimate business because I was able to get this dream client! Instead of getting a flexible job, which I had been hoping for these past year, I got a client that let me work wherever I want, whenever I want, as long as I submitted what they needed every month. It truly is a dream come true! Thank you, God!

Testing out lipsticks at home.

Flexible jobs appeal to women, especially mothers. A mom not only needs to be able to get her career on track, she also has to raise a child/children at the same time. People call working mamas supermoms but we all know none of us can be the best at both job and motherhood at the same time.

That's why I've been exploring income-generating pursuits like blogging, consulting, and hopefully one day, selling real things for working mamas. The farther I get away from my employment days, the more I see that entrepreneurship is the way for us mommies. You don't have to put up a brick-and-mortar store. A free agent, a.k.a. freelancer in our parts, can be your way to a life of satisfying career and devoted motherhood.

Here are the benefits of going freelance:

1. I Have Unlimited Options
Women will not and should not stop until the glass ceiling is gone forever. Until that happens, it is essential to understand and accept that it exists. Fellow feminists might see this as a slight, but it is far from it. By recognising that a glass ceiling is apparent in a particular company, you can move to a business without one. At the least, you can go to an organisation where the limit isn't as low and there is room to grow.

Freelancers get to take advantage of better opportunities merely because they are, well, unfaithful. We were raised to believe that happiness lies in finishing college, getting a job in a big company, getting married and having kids, and retiring from that same company 20 years later. Loyalty to that one company till you die! Looking around for work, getting rakets and sidelines, going freelance—these were frowned on. But I know that staying in one company limits you. It limits your professional circle, it limits the skills you know, it limits your pay. I should know because the last 5 years were WILD! But I've learned more as a freelancer in the last 5 years than I ever did as a magazine editor for 10.

I said yes to many things, like hosting an event with RJ Ledesma. I'd never have done this had I stayed employed!

2. I Can Make More Money
The gender pay gap has been an issue of debate for years. In 2017, organizations such as the BBC still don’t pay women as much as men. It’s a feature of the industry which is as infuriating as the glass ceiling for women. 

Thankfully, your role as a free agent lets you earn as much as possible. Too many men and women stay in workplaces where the opportunity for promotion is low. Ever read that Forbes article, "Employees who stay in companies longer than 2 years get paid 50% less"? Again, it’s a loyalty thing which we can’t seem to get over. As a result, an average person’s wage stagnates and gets lower as the rate of inflation increases. 

Women who are willing to switch roles give themselves the best opportunity to avoid low wages. As long as you take an offer with a higher yearly salary, there is no reason to get paid less than a man. In fact, what I love about being a freelancer is I earn more now than I did as an employee. Sure, there are stressful times like when clients don't pay on time, and so my husband and I are not averse to looking for employment, just some little job that can pay us every 15 days, while the blog and the writing business continue to be the main income source.

I learned to paint for a client. They paid me to paint my walls so why say no???

3. I Can Build My Life Around My Kids
Moms don’t have it easy because the cost of starting a family is high. Not only do we women have to spend so much on pregnancy, child birth, and child care, but we also lose out from a career point of view. Businesses may provide maternity leave and pay, yet a mother’s career is bound to languish because she has to take nine months off. Then there is the difficulty of being a mom who has a full-time job. 

Being a freelancer won’t solve the first issue, but it can help the second. Mothers who are not tied down to a position don’t have to build their life around their job. Also, because free agents pick and choose, it is possible to secure a position with flexitime. Coming in late and leaving early is an excellent way to make sure the kids are safe and secure. 

This is my life now really—family first, then whatever spare time I have, that's when I work. And crazily enough, this has resulted to more money! What! Didn't they say you have to work 10-14 hours a day just to get ahead? Well, when you're a freelancer, you don't have to work that hard. Just work smart... whenever you want to!
Like Cheka Kramer, I'm a mommy who puts her family first. It's so wonderful that prioritizing our kids worked out so well for us!

4. I Can Meet More People Who Can Propel Me Forward
As you can tell by the tone of the article, there are lots of roadblocks for women and mothers in the workplace. So it makes sense to try and hurdle as many of them as possible. Many of the obstacles are ingrained in the industry and really hard to jump over. 

However, you can sidestep any obstacle with the right people by your side. All you need to do is call them and ask for a favor. In my case, I've had to ask people how I can help them or how we can work together. That was how Ginger Arboleda of Manila Workshops and Taxumo created the Boss Bellas workshop series. She had an idea but she didn't have time to devote to it so she passed it on to me! Even my L'Oreal job came to me because I sent an email to a former colleague, just asking for a favor to put in a good word for me. She did and I got the job!

It shouldn’t come as a shock, but staying in one job won’t help your career. Yep, I said it. Women who move around the industry are more likely to meet new people in varying sectors of business. Should a free agent need help, their little black book will be full of potential candidates. Yes, it is possible to network while staying in a job, but it takes a lot of effort for moms to go to events after a hard day at work.

Ginger and me at our first Boss Bellas Workshop this year. God bless my working mama friend!

5. Life's Exciting!
The reason freelancing is an excellent option is the excitement factor. Yes, it might be frightening at times, but since you never really know what each day has in store, freelance life can get the blood pumping. Rather than rolling out of bed in the morning, dreading another boring day at work with people you despise haha, you will jump out refreshed and ready to tackle the day because who knows what will happen today??? 

The problem with this, however, is I have a hard time keeping my schedules straight. Like yesterday I told my accountant, "I don't know if I can see you this week because I don't know what my week looks like yet." She is endlessly frustrated with me, I know! 

I also know many freelancers who work not just from anywhere, but from fantabulous locales, too. They work while traveling, or their work sends them all over the world. The idea of making money while living near a beach is an enticing prospect. Lots of people ask questions such as “how do I become an international nurse?” or, “how do I find a job abroad?” Pretty cool except that, personally, as a mama to little boys, traveling doesn't excite me. That's why I took on this life so that I won't have to leave my kids, right? Well, us new moms may not be tempted to travel any time soon, but kids do grow up. Maybe one day, when the kids are busy with school and friends, I can be more mobile without any hassle. It's an exciting prospect, right? But if you're employed with a set number of leaves, you don’t have the chance to exploit the globalisation of the industry. 

Ultimately, women and mothers need flexibility in their careers. There are other ways to secure it, such as sticking with a job which offers a balance between life and work—but this kind of job is very rare. In my experience, being a free agent not only provides flexibility but pays more and increases opportunities. 

Try exploring it, mamas! If you can provide a service or product, offer it to friends and family. They'll spread the word. Sooner or later, you just might have enough raket to actually make it your legit biz. That's how I did it! Good luck!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Why we believe all kids—yes, even boys!—belong in the kitchen

This is my husband, Vince, showing our three boys how to cut up a whole chicken. The kids are both fascinated and freaked out so there's a lot of shrieking and laughing coming from the kitchen now. 

Forgive the pambahay look and the messy kitchen. The hubby and the boys aren't bloggers haha! I just heard all the ruckus, saw what was happening, and grabbed my phone to snap a pic.

I wanted to share with you, mamas, this photo so that you know how we care for the food we eat. As much as possible, we want to eat homecooked meals. We love fast food, of course, but it matters to me that my sons see what food looks like before it is served hot on a plate. I want them to see the plants and animals before they got cleaned, sliced, chopped, fried and baked. I believe it teaches them about our place in the circle of life, that lives of animals and plants were given for them, and that will hopefully teach them to be mindful of what they eat and not waste their food.

For example, Vince was cutting up the chicken because he wanted the spine, neck and butt. He was going to use those to make chicken stock because he wants to cook miso soup and risotto. Instead of buying canned stock, he will make it. Our boys see that every part of the animal will be used, even the ones they don't want to eat. 

That's the blessing of cooking your own food really. You're connected to your past because you usually cook dishes taught to you by your family. And you really are confronted with the fact that you're part of the food chain because you are literally handling animals and plants that used to be alive. I know it sounds so mumbo-jumbo but for me, the only way we can honor that sacrifice is to not waste any of the food we eat. 

It also matters to me that the meat I buy is from ethical farms. That means the animals were kept in a clean environment, fed with good feed and clean water, and slaughtered as swiftly as possible. That's why the chicken Vince is chopping now is Magnolia Fresh Chicken because the chickens are raised in a clean, spacious farm, fed good food and water, not injected with antibiotics and other suspicious things, and are slaughtered swiftly.

I used to chop the heads off of chickens myself. Yep! I'd buy live chickens from the palengke. Super fresh, right? But one time, I chopped off the head of a chicken (with great difficulty because the manok was malikot), drained the blood, then put it in a big pot of boiling water to make plucking the feathers easier. Guess what??? The headless chicken jumped from the pot and ran around our backyard and... That was the last time I did that!!! That was also when I truly understood that funny phrase, "run around like headless chickens." Totoo pala yun! Now I want my animals slaughtered as swiftly and as humanely as possible. 

So if you cook, mamas, I hope you also teach your kids to cook! It really helps our kids to be more mindful of their food and to keep wastage at a minimum. And in this world of excess and waste, we have a moral responsibility to teach our kids to go against that lifestyle of consumption and avarice. 

Yes, I take my food very seriously! Food is life. There's so much one can understand about life when you cook, I believe! 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Why so hard to look for pantulog? (Note: Medyo NSFW)

Okay, so matagal ko na gustong mag-pajamas. Konting kwento muna bago ko i-share yung adventures ko this Sunday haha Okay, since putting on weight after I became a mother of three, my body bothers me when I sleep. Before, it was the swollen pregnant tummy, then the leaky breastfeeding boobs, and now it's just... I dunno, the naked flesh of my thighs brushing against each other. It sounds sensual but when you're a working mama who just wants to sleep, you don't want to feel sensual (or malagkit actually).

Obviously shorts are out of the question so I tried leggings and okay naman siya but hapit siya sa legs, you know. Gusto ko maluwag. That means pajamas. I've looked at malls for pajamas and ayoko sa kanila because they look like scrubs. Depende sa pattern at material, pwede siyang yung suot ng mga medical personnel or ng mga yaya. So instead na I'll look like I'm going to sleep, I'll look like I'm going to work. Gusto ko pantulog talaga.

I realized only last night that I should be able to find pajamas online! Silly me. So I logged onto eBay and Lazada and here's what I found:
Penguin pajamas
Winnie the ?oo? pajamas

These actually look very comfortable but at my wonderfully mature age of 40, they'll just look ridiculous on me. Malamang hindi naman importante what I look like considering patay naman ang ilaw, but hindi siya talaga kaya ng matrona me.

Then my search took a surprising turn when under the keywords "ladies sleepwear" and "ladies pajamas," these came out:
Bondage, este, sleepwear
Black lace that promises to be itchy with matching panties
Pink see-through nightie with matching thong

Sa first page pa lang ng search results yan! Ang dami pang sumunod. I have nothing against sexy things, ha. In fact, I have a few tucked away in my underwear drawer. But hindi pajamas yan! I dunno whoever thought that these things would be comfortable enough for any woman to sleep in! And sa totoo lang, kung ganyan ang pantulog ko, hindi ako patutulugin ng asawa ko! Amiright???

Eventually, I did find some lovely pajamas. Check these out, mamas:
Nude pajamas
White pajamas
Red pajamas
Pink pajamas
Very nice! I like that the last three were the fashion trend for Spring this year:

I'm ordering a few for my birthday! Finally, the search for pajamas has ended and I can sleep!!!

*Catalogue photos from Lazada Philippines; celebrity and street style photos from Pinterest: Selena Gomez, Ryan Gosling, black with silver flowersblue with orange flowers, white pajamas

Friday, October 06, 2017

Frances Finds: Homecooked hash browns using frozen US Potatoes

My kids love hash browns and twister fries. I think all kids like fried food and finger food. Hash browns and french fries just happen to be both so every weekend, we order from McDo. But our food deliveries every weekend cost about P700. We don’t buy just the fried potatoes, you see. Syempre, we also buy burgers and spaghetti. Anyway, P700 or so every weekend, aba, that’s P3,000 na every month!

So last weekend, I went to the frozen veggies section of Rustan’s The Marketplace to buy frozen fries and hash browns so I can save some money. And, mamas, there’s a wealth of US Potatoes I found! 

Okay, first, let me tell you the brands of US Potatoes: Carnation, Park Lane, Dane, Lamb Weston, Island Valley, Food Service Pack, Alexia, American Maple Leaf (hindi siya bacon haha), Golden, and Frenchies. There are many shapes and kinds available, too: wedges, thin slices, crinkle cut, basket weave, tater tots, and of course the ones I need, hash browns and loop/curly (a.k.a. twister fries).

All are reasonably priced even though they’re from the US. I’m particular about that because the United States is the only country that is required by USDA Grading Standards to ensure food safety by using state-of-the-art technology to instantly freeze potatoes to lock in the flavor and nutrients. 

Okay, now that you know how careful I am with the food I buy, here’s what I got: Carnation Mini Hash Browns and Golden Crinkle Cut Fries.

Here was the kids’ breakfast:

Crisp and crunchy outside, soft and moist inside. Tasted slightly buttery, too!

They loved brekkie! Thank you, US Potatoes, for making me feel like a smart, money-savvy mama! 

US Potatoes are found at major grocery stores like Cherry Foodarama, SM Supermarkets, Rustan’s The Marketplace, Robinsons Supermarkets, and S&R. For more recipes and information, like the Potatoes USA Facebook page.

This post is brought to you by US Potatoes.