Saturday, January 20, 2018

Questions to ask yourself before deciding on a career change

When a new year dawns, most of us think of making changes. One of those changes probably involve a career shift. I know this because I've been seeing resolutions on my Facebook friends' updates and many of them talk about starting a business or hoping to work abroad or even to work from home.

This is understandable. I think that when faced daily with the terrible Manila traffic, the worsening political climate, and the changes caused by technology, people are wondering, "What's my next move?" To me especially and to people like me who are from media (print and online), we're always dreading if this is the year we go hungry. 

If you are not getting enough job satisfaction or recognition, or you are worried that your company or entire industry is going to disappear in a few years’ time, you might want to change before it is too late. That's what I did years ago when magazines started dying off—I focused more on my blog even before my own title was killed. That way, when the magazine shuttered, I had actually already started another career online and so I wasn't so annihilated. 

No matter if you want to start a new career, or a business, it is important that you complete a reality check, and you are aware of the risks and challenges ahead. Find out more about what you should be asking yourself before making a final decision.

1. Are you ready to learn?
To enter a new work environment coming from a different industry, you are likely to have to complete some kind of training. No matter if your new job doesn’t require a degree, you will still need to learn. For me back in 2010, when I decided to focus on blogging, I did a ton of research on how other successful bloggers were doing it. I read up on all the blogging tips I could find. I asked established bloggers for their secrets—not all were helpful haha that's why I promised myself I'll always give blogging tips and do blogging workshops!

Now, if you're looking for another career that's not blogging, that's okay. Maybe you can ask your company if they offer on-the-job training and say you're expanding your skills set. You can also check out if your company (or another company!) will pay for your education in case you want to get extra training or a master's degree. Some people who want to go abroad train for an entirely new career altogether. I know nurses are paid well in the US, for example. Getting a family nurse practitioner degree can take a few years, but will pay off long term. You will, however, need to be committed to studying new subjects you are not familiar with. 

2. Can you afford a new career? 
If you need a degree or accredited qualification to do a new job, you need to find out two important things: how much it will cost, and if you can fit in learning in your current schedule. To be honest, I had thought of taking classes in marketing and public relations in the digital age. I looked at Coursera and there were lots of free classes offered. Why did I think this? Well, around two years ago, I was told that advertisers now prefer Instagram and vlogs. I'm a words person, not a visual or video person so I knew I couldn't compete. I don't want a massive following from pictures or videos. I want people to follow me because of what I write. So I thought maybe it's time to shift to a career in digital marketing. 

Here was my problem: With babies and a blogging business, I just couldn't find the time to study again. Thankfully, I was able to find my job as beauty editor at L'Oréal. I don't know if this job will be mine 20 years from now or even next year, however, so maybe I should start learning something new! 

So there: Think of the money involved in taking up a new career. If it's the same industry but in another part of the city, think of the transport costs. If you aim for a more prestigious position, will the extra hours spent in the office be worth it? Mothers find it hard to balance family and work life, so if you have small children, you might not have enough time to study, for example, not to mention the financial side of education, travel, and taking time off. If that's the case, maybe you should stay put first in your job and wait it out. 

3. What are your career chances?
Before you decide on changing your career, maybe you should read industry growth predictions, to make sure that you will have a job 10 years from now. If you're dreaming of becoming a magazine editor, I hate to break it to you but it's not going to happen anymore. A moment of silence please for magazines. 

It's not just print media that's in trouble. Some jobs are likely to disappear, due to the development of information technology and artificial intelligence. For example, the accounting of my business is currently handled by both Pinnacle Sources and Taxumo. Pinnacle does my business permit renewal and other things that involve talking to the government; Taxumo does the automatic payment of my taxes. Thing is Taxumo is adding more to their menu of services, and that means I'll let go of Pinnacle Sources in two years, maybe as early as this year. 

Some processes in different industries are going to be completed by robots, and you don’t want to end up being redundant after a few years, due to industry and technology changes. Build transferable skills, such as management, communication, languages, and so on, so you can change your career path when needed. 

So before taking a leap into another company, check the jobs currently advertised, the benefits, salaries, and career progression opportunities. You might want to have a chat with some of your friends who work in the sector and ask them about their experiences, so you don’t end up disappointed. 

4. Will you enjoy your work?
Chances are you would like to change your career because your job satisfaction level is low. You absolutely must make sure that you will enjoy your new vocation, and you will find continuous challenge and learning opportunities, as well as recognition.

If you find yourself fascinated by programmers that work behind what people see in the internet, you can enroll for courses that will enhance your logical and coding skills. This will eventually open opportunities for you as you start to find a software engineering job

This doesn't have to mean bigger pay, funnily enough. A lot of us moms are okay with smaller pay if it means having more time with our kids or not having to go through traffic every day, or if there are other benefits like traveling opportunities with the kids. Sometimes, we'll be happier if we start a business or leave the city and start a farm. Some of us want to do meaningful work—usually with no pay. Or maybe some of us moms will be happier if we decide to NOT work and be a housewife. No shame in that!

Good luck, mamas! Happy new year and may this be the year your career dreams come true!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I put the Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick to the 16-hour test

I have found the lipstick of our dreams, working mamas! Last week, I was able to get all 10 shades of the Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipsticks. I love all the shades since they're all wearable. And by wearable, I don't just mean the colors look great on everyone and for daily use; I also mean the wear super stays put all day long.

It's my best beauty find of the year and I know it's only January but I'm really in love with these lipsticks!

Okay, so the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipsticks were launched in the US last year and now it’s finally here in the Philippines!

The Matte Ink Liquid lipstick comes in a tube with the best kind of applicator—a diamond-shaped sponge with a hole in the middle so that it grabs a lot of product and then makes it so easy to apply. That said, you don't really need a lot because it's so pigmented.

The texture is creamy and takes a while to dry, but when it does, you never need to worry about reapplying because what you put in the morning is enough to last you the whole day. No transfer, no fading, no nothing anymore!

When they slapped Super Stay on the label, they meant it. My lipstick survived a lunch of greasy burgers and fries, kissing my kiddos, making out with my husband, snacks and dinner, and even a nap and I woke up and my lipstick didn't stain the pillow at all!

The lipstick isn't drying at all. It's best to exfoliate your lips first before application because when it dries to a semi-matte finish, crusty lips will be exaggerated.

Look at that burger, mamas. No hint of lipstick at all. Amazing! The lipstick will stay put all day, like I said, because they are that permanent. I don't know if all the shades are like that (I didn't test the dark ones) but I feel confident that all the shades will stay put. In fact, even when I wiped my lips vigorously with a napkin after eating, the lipstick didn't transfer at all. In the evening, I really had to use an oil-based makeup remover to wipe off the Matte Ink.

Check out screencaps of my IG Stories when I tested Matte Ink last weekend. I got so many DMs because of this asking me to reveal the mystery lipstick! Well, I'm wearing the Lover shade of the Matte Ink line and I LOVE IT!

Anyway, watch this!

My favorites are Loyalist, Lover (my absolute must-have!), Pioneer, and Voyager. But I'm planning to buy more if and when the other nude shades come to our shores.

These lipsticks ara available on Lazada now. GET THEM ALL! In fact, as I type this, my lipsticks from Lazada just arrived. Too a while. I ordered them Sunday morning and they arrived 4 days later. Anyway! This is not a sponsored post. I didn't even get any free lipsticks. I just got to try them for my job (I'm a beauty editor at L'Oréal Paris) and once I tried it, I just knew I had to share my fantabulous find with you! Buy now!

Monday, January 15, 2018

What an accountant can do for bloggers, freelancers and small business owners

It's January and that means it's time for me to renew my business permit. It's no joke starting and maintaining a business in this country. It seems like the government hates businesses, what with all the hardships and documents and fees and taxes to pay every single month for as long as the business is up. It's also no joke closing a business here because to do so is quite expensive and such a painfully long drawn out process.

So yes, I sometimes regret starting a business but because my business has allowed me to work with huge brands like Smart and L'Oréal Paris, I really can't regret it. I didn't want to be small-time. I wanted the big guns and so I had to open a writing business. It's thriving and providing for my family so even though I hate all government transactions, I am willing to go through all the hoops required.

Unless, of course, someone else will do it for me!

Because I am always on the look out for things that will make my life easier, I have found that hiring professional accountants from a reputable company is the best way to make my businesswoman experience better. Emphasis on "professional" and "reputable" because I hired an accountant before and he was unreliable and I am still dealing with the mess he left. 

I'm so grateful for Pinnacle Sources Global Consultancy Inc. They are a team of qualified accountants who provide end-to-end business solutions for start-ups. They will handle everything from business registration, HR and recruitment to all the nitty-gritty of accounting services that streamline a business’ accounting tasks to help us reduce costs and maximize profits. Through a team of skilled Certified Public Accountants, Pinnacle Sources will not only keep track of expenses but help the business create and manage budgets, forecast future revenue and track the financial health of the business. 

For me, Pinnacle is more than a service. They are so kind and patient with me especially when I'm so stupid and just can't understand all the hows and whys of what the government requires. Even when I've lost my resolve and given in to despair, they encourage me. Even when I am so ashamed and say, "I don't have money now," they tell me what we can do. They are more than professional. They care.

If you're a business looking for accounting services, if you're just starting out and need a professional accountant to manage your bookkeeping and taxes, you must give Pinnacle Sources a call. You will not be disappointed. They will really take care of you. I think they're one of my best finds as a businesswoman. Because of them, I don't regret starting a business anymore. In fact, they've made me believe I'm doing a good job. Thanks, Pinnacle!

Anyway, if you're still hemming and hawing about hiring a professional accountant like Pinnacle Sources, let me share with you what they told me which convinced me to hire them:

A qualified team of accountants will not only keep your books in order; they can help your business save by offering cost-efficient spending solutions or even help your business earn by helping you make accurate financial forecasts.

Yet for businesses that are just starting out, it can be difficult to allocate time and resources for accounting personnel as you focus on getting your company off the ground. That is why for small to medium enterprises or new business owners, outsourcing is a viable solution to fulfilling your accounting needs. Here’s a closer look at the specific advantages outsourcing your accounting:

Financial Savings 
Money can be tight when your business is just starting out. By outsourcing your accounting, you can pay for the specific accounting services you require without incurring the additional cost of hiring an employee. This will help you save on expenses like benefits and insurance and also on work space, office furniture, computer and software that you may not be able to afford just yet. 

Outsourcing your accounting also gives you more flexibility in terms of scale. Whether you are looking to grow your business or suddenly have to cut back, you have a team who can help provide different plans and options to achieve your goals, which in-house accounting can’t provide. 

Time Savings 
Think of the weekly hours it will take to manage in-house accounting staff—taking away from the time you can spend on business. Outsourcing your business’s bookkeeping operations frees up valuable time that can be put into better use for the company, such as improving your operations, product or marketing. Entrepreneurs also don’t have to deal with the typical headaches involved with recruiting, hiring, retaining and overseeing staff because that’s what the outsource service provider will handle.

Expert Services 
Outsourcing gives you a great way to have full-time knowledge on your team without having to pay for it around the clock. By putting your books into the hands of highly skilled staff who understand the best practices, your job becomes a whole lot easier—and efficient. Accounting service providers also have to constantly hone their skills to keep up with the competition, ever increasing the quality of their work. This means when you go to an accounting service firm, you can trust that your accounting will be handled well. 

Access to top systems 
Outsourcing your accounting operations gives you more access to the top tools in the industry. Most businesses can’t afford to pay for the extremely expensive bookkeeping programs nor can they afford to spend the time keeping up with changing laws and regulations. By outsourcing, you’re essentially purchasing those tools and that knowledge by proxy. In addition, these top systems create nightly backups and keep organized records and books for years, ensuring that you will have access to reports and will always be ready should an audit be required. 

Contractual Obligation 
Accounting service providers face higher liability than in-house staff, which makes them less of a risk for your business—they’re more likely to follow through on their obligations because they have more to lose if they don’t. Furthermore, dealing with the contracts or agreements of outside providers can be much easier than dealing with the hiring negotiations, employee management and other human resources issues involved with employees.

One of the companies who offer outsourced accounting services is Pinnacle Sources 
“Accounting is something that every business needs whether it is small or large. When you outsource your accounting services to us, you are assured of a team of Certified Public accountants that will help you make better financial decisions that will grow your business,” said Pinnacle Sources’ Managing Director Christine Li.

To find out more about Pinnacle Sources and their services, visit their website, or their office at 32/F BPI-Philam Bldg, Ayala Ave., Makati. You can also send them an email: 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review: Flawless Rejuvelite Mask Acne Control facial

It's the new year and you know what I'm so excited about? People telling me my skin looks so good! You can't imagine how happy that makes me feel and I'm here to tell you that the Flawless Rejuvelite Acne Control facial is giving me that glow. Literally a glowing facial, mamas! Look at the mask Flawless uses on me:

Look at it glooooow!

There are four Rejuvelite Mask facials Flawless offers: Oil Control, Acne Control, Age Defy, and Whitening. Each facial uses a different kind of LED light energy to address your specific skin concern. Since mine has always been controlling my acne, that's what I tried.

To be very honest, I was skeptical about this facial. I mean, light can cure my acne? Get out of here. But I read up on it, read dozens of reviews from happy beauty bloggers and credible beauty editors, even looked up scientific papers on LED therapy (check out my research here), and so I gave it a go.

The Flawless Rejuvelite Acne Control Mask Facial is a full treatment that will take about 2 hours. It starts with cleansing, steaming and pricking and then the cold Oxygenating mask is applied to my face for 15 minutes.

Here comes the LED mask part. For my skin concern, blue light was used for me. Blue light kills pimple-causing bacteria and calms and soothes inflammation. I'll have to admit that I lay under that blue light-emitting mask, I was still a doubter. I guess I was so used to physical manipulation that to just lie quietly under light was unnerving.

After 15 minutes of my LED light therapy, I was free to go. I didn't notice anything different right after (maybe because it was dinner time and I was hungry) but I woke up the next day looking glowwy. Yep! I looked great. I thought, "Nah, it's just the usual facial."

But when I had that glow even after two weeks, and then the few pimples I had calmed down and disappeared and no new eruptions occurred even a month after my facial, I was convinced! I am now a LED light therapy enthusiast! I highly recommend it and if you should ever try a facial this year, mamas, the Flawless Rejuvelite Mask Facials are a must!

Every subsequent Rejuvelite facial I got made me even more smooth and young and glowing. Look at me now (this is just my phone camera):

The Flawless Rejuvelite Mask Facial is P1,100. There is a faster and more affordable option, the Flawless Rejuvelite InstaFacials (Calming, Boosting, Healing, and Firming). Each is only 30 minutes long and just P480. That's what I want to do next!

From the oily, pimply woman I've resigned myself to look like forever, I now look so much younger and better because of my glowing skin! Thank you so much, Flawless!!! Thanks so much for sponsoring my blog and my skincare last year, thank you for believing there was a beautiful woman under all those pimples and scars and wrinkles, and thank you for convincing me that beauty inside and outside can co-exist and be a wonderful thing.

I'm so happy my skin is so much better. I feel a new confidence and, now more than ever, I can't wait to conquer 2018!

To know more about Flawless services and promos, like their Facebook page, follow their Instagram account, and visit their website.

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

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

5 tips for mega moms: How to keep the work-life balance in your favor

I've been a working mama for more than 7 years. I can't see myself not being one, to be honest. I enjoy working. Sometimes I dream of taking a long break—maybe 6 months to a year of just being a housewife and see if I take to it, you know? But I like it that there's a part of my life that is separate from motherhood. I know a lot of moms work because they have to provide for their family. That's one of my biggest reasons for working, too. But I'm also lucky to actually enjoy what I do. I don't enjoy deadlines and enduring the traffic and staying up late at night writing, but I've adjusted my attitude towards the unpleasant parts of my career so that I can continue appreciating the work that puts food on my table and my sons in a good school.

From 2013 to this day, my constant work companions: my kids, their toys, my coffee.

You see, that's the dilemma that many working mothers face. You need to work but you also want to be with your kids. You love your job but you feel crushing guilt when you're missing family time. You want to have it all but when you're just too exhausted, then is it all worth it? Well, after 7 years of triumphs and failures, I have a few thoughts on how to make this work-life balance work.

First things first: There's no such thing as work-life balance. The sooner you get that into your head and accept it, the happier you'll be!

Balance means everything is equal. That means literally giving everything the same amount of time and energy. Let's divide your 24 hours, mama. You need to be a wife, a mom, a career woman, a friend, a homemaker, and yourself. You need to sleep, too. That would mean 3 hours being with your husband, 3 hours with your kids, 3 hours at your job, 3 hours having lunch with friends, 3 hours cleaning the house, 3 hours at the spa, and 3 hours of sleep. Plus at least 3 hours in traffic, of course. Sounds ridiculous.

What you just need to know is everything has a time. It's time for lunch, then eat. It's time to sleep, then sleep. It's time to work, then work. It's time to go home and have dinner with your family, then for heaven's sake go home and eat dinner with your family, put the kids to bed, and spend some time with your husband. Easier said than done, I know. I'm still figuring it out myself because once I get a schedule working, my life changes—kids suddenly don't have classes, husband has a new job, my deadlines suddenly moved earlier—and so I have to re-organize and re-prioritize. It's constant juggling!

Huge perk of bringing my kids to work: Celebrities I interview warm up to me fast!

I've learned a few things about keeping this working mama life enjoyable, though. Here are five and I hope they help you:

1. Don't multi-task.
So how to juggle? I don't believe in multi-tasking, mamas. I believe in focusing at what or who is on front of you. Yes, that's my first tip. Focus on the task or the person in front of you, take care of it, then move on to the next. When you're running all over the house, answering emails while cooking lunch and changing diapers, you won't feel in charge, you'll feel like a disaster. So focus focus focus!

2. Make a family schedule.
A family calendar is a must for every busy family and is especially useful for family groups where a parent has returned to work or school. No more forgotten appointments or inability to organize family time or date night. There are plenty of calendar apps available for download, some for free. I'm a bullet journalist. Yep, nothing like pen and planner! My husband has a white board calendar on the back of our bedroom door.

I'm the social calendar keeper in my home—pedia check-ups, play dates, kiddie parties, family visits. My husband takes care of the financial calendar—when bills are due, when they're paid, what checks are expected. I've now put a calendar in my kids' room, too, so they're aware of important dates. It's really helped everyone stay on top of (instead of buried under) their lives!

3. Ask for help.
This I know for sure. Everyone calls me a supermom because I have three little boys, juggling many jobs, and no household help. Let me tell you something—I feel like a failure most of the time! And I also realized one thing: I earned more and was happier when I had household help. My life now is not impossible because I'm obviously making it work, but is it easy? Nope.

Spare time for working mamas, if can even you find spare time, is so precious. School and work aside, there is a considerable chunk of time taken doing seemingly small chores and activities that can take time away from your family. Cleaning, meal prep, personal admin, these can all take time away without you thinking twice. There are some simple ways to regain those marvelous minutes.

Cook and freeze meals on the weekend to be eaten together during the week, or you can order meals from Use ride-sharing services like Uber so that you can answer emails on the way home. Hire a cleaning service like Happy Helpers to come in once per week.

You know what works in my family? Everyone chips in. My husband does chores. No such thing as "domestic duties are for women" BS in our home! All the children have a task to do—packing away, making beds, setting the table, cleaning the car, sorting the laundry, cooking. Don't think you can do it all yourself. You can have it all but only if you don't do it all. You can quote me, mamas.

4. Make time for you.
When you are tired, both physically and mentally, you will be less inclined to sit and enjoy family moments. This is why I know I need household help, mamas! I'm always so cranky and mean when I'm tired. Guess what? I'm always tired! But this year, with the youngest boy finally weaned and my two older boys in school, I now have a little time for myself and my mood has improved a little.

Taking care of yourself can be as simple as eating. Yes, mamas. Don't forget to eat! Something as simple as a yogurt or banana is excellent if you're too busy to eat anything else. This year, I am so grateful because I can now take baths again. I don't have to rush through my showers anymore because the baby is crying, and that is a big deal! I also get a mani and pedi once a month or a massage as I wait for my kids to be let out from school. I have also gotten more sleep since my youngest stopped breastfeeding. I'm so happy! From 4 hours of sleep since 2010, I now sleep 6-8 hours! This is monumental for me! This 2018, I've started doing 10 minutes of exercise every day, and I'm hoping I won't just become a stronger and healthier mother but that those endorphins will also make me a more cheerful one.

5. Never stop learning.
Sometimes, you really just have to accept you can't have a normal job and have a fantastic family life at the same time. Many moms I know had to quit their jobs and started a career from their home. They became real estate agents, insurance agents, freelance writers, graphic designers, artists, makeup artists, and bloggers. Sometimes, it's the other way around. You haven't been employed because you devoted 5-10 years to your kids and now they're all in school and you want to go back to work. What to do???

Whether you're going back to work, quitting your job, want to start a business, or planning to work from home, you can still be a mega working mama by learning a new skill that can help you become better at your job or propel you to a new career. The best part is technology makes it possible for you to do this from home or on your spare time! You can sign up for the Master Class courses (the ones taught by celebrities!), attend workshops (like the Boss Bellas ones I do with Manila Workshops), or enroll in online MBA AACSB accredited courses. 

At a photo shoot with two kids in tow. Possible but not easy! Still, I'm grateful for my life!

When you're a working mama, you'll likely feel tired and overwhelmed. Your family won't always be as supportive as you need them to be as they struggle to adjust to your new job or the ever-changing demands on a working mother. But your work is not just for putting food on the table, it's also for your personal happiness, so don't ever think you're not being a good mother just because you have a career and are overwhelmed. You can do this, mamas! 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

This one time I got penis-envy

It's 2018! Happy New Year! As with everyone alive on the planet, I decided I was going to be healthier in 2018. Again heehee. But this time I mean it. So I started the year doing cardio and push-ups and crunches and hip thrusts and squats. I did well, too, doing four reps of ten for each exercise. I felt so strong! So proud so proud.

But then I wake up and my whole body is freaking out, right? My whole body literally can't move. I think I injured myself. I crawled out of bed. My eldest boy was worried enough to say he can borrow the trolley from our condo so he can push me around. Heehee so cute! Anyway, after stretching my limbs gingerly, I felt well enough to hobble about.

So here's the thing. As part of my new healthy lifestyle, I'm now drinking 8 glasses of water. I'm so proud of myself, guys. But you know what that means—more trips to the bathroom. So imagine me hobbling to the toilet and when I get there, I CAN'T SIT DOWN. Frikkin' thighs and ass are SCREAMING. I'm gasping the F-word every single time I sit down!

I just want to pee standing up. I wish I had a penis after every leg exercise day so I won't have to sit and die every time I pee.

It's January 3 and I already want to give up. But I won't. I'm going to do this! Last year, my goal was to have pimple-free skin and eat healthier. I did that. Yes!!! This year, I'm going to get fit and strong. So even though my body is hating me at this point, I'm going to keep tough loving it.

Don't worry. I'm not going to turn into a fitness blogger (unless may sponsor hahahahaha #keepingitreal). But if you can give me tips on how to pull off getting fit when my working mama life  is already so full (especially since I have no kasambahay to watch over the kids while I hie off to the gym), that would be a huge help!