Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: Flawless Biotulin FNT facial

Exactly one month ago, I tried the Biotulin FNT facial that's exclusively available at Flawless Skin & Body Clinic. So today I'm writing a review. Spoiler alert: I love it! I look sooo good!

As a birthday gift to myself, I decided I needed a more intensive facial. Because Flawless had taken such good care of my skin, my terrible acne has disappeared and I've been getting just a simple facial every 6 months or so. As in wala na talaga akong pimples so mga once a year na nga lang ako bumisita sa Flawless, just for cleansing my pores of whiteheads and blackheads. But since I was turning 42, I wanted something more powerful, more anti-aging, something that would really brighten and perk up my middle-aged face.

Pasok: Flawless Biotulin FNT facial!

Biotulin Supreme Skin gel is an organic and plant-based gel that promises hydration that plumps up skin and relaxes lines so that skin looks smoother and firmer. You can buy Biotulin but I like how Flawless administers it—through their Fractional Needling Therapy (FNT) method. 

FNT is also called microneedling. This treatment entails piercing the skin hundreds of times with tiny needles to stimulate collagen and elastin production. The tiny wounds trigger the skin to heal itself resulting to plumper skin, with dark acne marks fading and/or filling up. It also makes it easier for products to penetrate the skin. 

My Flawless dermatologist has been recommending FNT to me since 2016. She says that now that my acne has calmed down, FNT can fade my scars fast. I always say no, however, because I'm scared of needles. But when I read that Biotulin is popular among Hollywood celebrities, like Madonna and Kim Kardashian, and that Michelle Obama's makeup artist revealed that the former First Lady uses it upon the advice of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, then I HAD TO DO IT!

Here's what to expect from the treatment:

Face is cleansed, steamed, and pricked. I find this part very relaxing and usually nap while this is happening.

Next, a topical anaesthetic cream is applied all over the face. This is necessary because FNT is a treatment using tiny needles to break the skin, infuse the serum into the deeper layers while also stimulating collagen production. So masakit siya kung walang anaesthesia.

I wait 40 minutes for my face to go fully numb. I should've brought a book or checked Facebook. Well, I napped again. I'm a mommy. I nap whenever I can! So if you're a mom who wants to sleep, magpa-facial ka. Guaranteed nap na, maganda ka pa pag gising mo haha

Anyway, when my face was numb and ready, the dermatologist applied Biotulin serum all over my face and used the FNT needle-tipped wand to puncture my skin. Because of the anaesthesia, I didn't feel any pain. Just pressure from the wand. I do feel something when the derma works the wand around my eyes, like my eye areas are being scrubbed by sandpaper but hindi naman masakit. Then when she did my nose, nakaka-sneeze yung vibrations ng machine. Other than those feelings, nothing much was remarkable.

After my whole face was done, I asked, "When will I feel my face again?" I was told mga 2 hours. I was glad. I was scared I'd feel pain if the aneasthesia wore off too soon.

At home, I stared at my face. Well, I was no beauty queen. My skin was really red and a bit puffy especially my eye areas and cheeks. My kids didn't notice anything was amiss, though, so I figured I either don't look too bad or my kids never look at me haha.

Over the next week, the irritated skin and red pinpricks faded rapidly. And despite those, I could already see my skin was starting to look plump. By the end of the week, my laugh lines had disappeared and my crow's feet had softened. My dark acne scars also faded and my ice-pick scars didn't seem so deep anymore.

Day 1 - Red marks all over my face and a bit swollen.
Day 4 - Red marks have faded, no more swelling. 
Day 6 - Pores have all but disappeared! But I still have red marks around my eyes so I wore shades.
Day 15 - My face is slimmer, firmer, poreless, even toned. Even my racoon eyes have disappeared!

Every week, I looked better and better. Skin was tighter, smoother, plumper. My pores have all but disappeared (meron pa rin but lumiit sila super). I also have a radiance that made everyone say, "You do NOT look 42!"

Now, a month after, I love my face. My 42-year-old face! I think I look younger today than I did a few months ago! Also, when I look at just my face—parang pumayat ako. And I know from the weighing scale that hindi ako pumayat at all. I'm guessing this slimmed face is the lifted results from Biotulin's Botox-like ingredients. 

I was told I can do the Flawless Biotulin FNT facial every month but may kamahalan siya at P12,900 so baka twice a year lang ito magaganap, mga friends. Or maybe every birthday! I wish I could do it every month, though. It's so nice seeing my face like I've never seen it before—truly flawless!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Importance of the Mother-Son Relationship for Young Boys

I have three little boys. Everyone says I must be enjoying being the only female in my home. Okay, I love my kids and how sweet they are to me but I'm also very aware that that there's a huge divide between me and my sons, simply because of our gender. One, I don't think I'd ever understand their obsession with their penises. Two, I don't get why they're gross and why they love gross stuff like boogers and poop and stinky feet. Three, I can't fathom why they have to be yelling and running and jumping and darn near killing themselves and destroying the house to have fun. This has to be a boy thing because I don't know any girl kids doing these things!

I can't even begin to imagine what life would be like when they're teenagers and hormonal and dating. I pray I'll be a great boy mom in every way. Many Pinoy men have moms who doted on them to the point that Pinoys think women are created to serve them. Many Pinoys don't know any household chores and display toxic masculinity. I believe the parents—both mothers and fathers—are to blame for this. Fathers and mothers who don't teach their sons to be tender and kind, to help around the house, and who encourage sexism and violence and sexual irresponsibility. Hence we're surrounded by emotionally immature, angry, confused, sexist, violent men.  

As a mom of three future men, I always pray I'm doing the right thing with my sons. I'm very devoted to them but not devoted enough to serve them hand and foot. I'm actually very stern and strict with them. They love their mama but they won't become mama's boys, that's for sure. There are no gender-specific roles in our family. We are very open and honest and talk about everything from God and spirituality to sex and the evils of the world. It is my hope that raising them in a safe environment where both mother and father are simultaneously strong and vulnerable, honest and brave, fiercely independent and yet working as a team will turn them into men who are emotionally stable, not afraid to love, and secure in themselves to be whatever they want to be.

As you can tell, this is very important to me. It's one of my personal advocacies—to encourage fellow moms of boys to raise feminist men! I'm very passionate about this!

Anyway, I have a guest post today about how important it is for moms to have a good and loving relationship with their sons. Please read! We boy moms have a very important mission: to love our boys so well that they grow up to be real men, not mama's boys or women haters.

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A child’s development is highly subjective to factors such as heredity, environment, hormones, nutrition, geographical culture, and familial influence. Both boys and girls experience physical and mental changes throughout puberty. Boys tend to develop and mature later than girls. According to a study conducted by Newcastle University, girls can develop and begin maturing at the age of 10, while boys can be as late as 20.

The late maturity of boys can be a factor as to why they tend to act childish up until a certain age. Familial influence can be a determining factor as to how a boy will develop as he grows into manhood. To be specific, the mother-son relationship greatly contributes to his emotional health and development. This relationship will serve as the foundation of his character that he will carry throughout his life. To give more clarity on the significance of this connection, here are some important facts of the mother-son relationship. 


Boys who have a close bond with their mother will likely turn out to be a confident person. According to a study, when a male child experiences unconditional love, care, and acceptance from their mother they develop a sense of reassurance that they are worthy of love, affection and acceptance from others. They start to build a good basis for positive self-image. They become confident about who they are, what they are, and where they come from. Apart from this, when they are under the care of a loving, understanding mother, they develop into a warm, acceptable, and friendly individual. 

They are Better at Resisting Hypermasculinity 

When a strong bond between mother and son is present in the family, the child develops their own perspective of what being a man truly is. They do not buy into hypermasculinity and tend to stay away from aggressive behavior. For them, manliness is more than just fist fights, action figures, and color-bias gender. They also become more in touch about their uniqueness, and tap into their feminine side, making them better appreciate their emotions. When a person knows how to appreciate and use their emotions, they become more of a stable individual. In addition, they are also not afraid to tap into their artistic side. 

They Learn To Respect Women 

One important result of a close bond between mother and son is the child’s development and understanding of respect. At a young age, they will already form as assumption, that later becomes their life principle, about the importance of a woman’s presence in their personal life and society as a whole. Therefore, they will see women as an equal counterpart and show respect towards them. 

This kind of characteristic will help your child be more inclusive about the friends they make. They do not get shy around girls their age, or tend to develop awkward behavior around the opposite sex. Instead, they will learn how to appreciate and compliment a girl’s habits, like wearing pretty clothes, being beautiful, graceful, and independently strong. 

They Become Academic Achievers 

When a boy is under the loving care of a mother, they tend to develop great interest, respect and a positive outlook toward schooling and academics in general. Mothers are usually our first teacher, and they tend to encourage us always about our school work. Mothers often teach their kids, especially the boys, to become in touch with our own opinions and feelings, giving us the assurance that it is okay to be transparent about expressing our thoughts. Therefore, this develops certain skills fit for academic excellence, like reading and writing. When a boy learns to express his thoughts and feelings, he can comprehend the content more precisely, and attune to the emotions of the book or article. In return, they become more articulate in their own speech and conversations.

* * * * * * *

Next time, let's talk about the great importance of fathers in their sons' lives, too. I'll write that post myself because I want us moms to insist on our partners to take on a bigger role in parenting. Most of us moms—I noticed this!—don't allow our husbands to be more hands-on with our kids. Dads are vital to our children's identity and development! Let your husbands be fathers!

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

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Why I chose Nido 3+ for my preschooler

My mama followers ask me why, of all the preschool milks out there, I give Nido 3+ to my bunso, Piero. To be very honest, it started as a sentimental decision. I drank Nido as a kid, and I gave Nido Fortigrow to my first 2 boys, Vito and Iñigo. Since I turned out more than okay and his brothers are smart and healthy, it just followed that Piero would drink Nido, too. 

But here’s the thing: As a mommy blogger, I get offers to try this milk or endorse that milk. So I did. One milk made Piero break out in a horrible rash all over his body and we had to detoxify and apply creams for 2 weeks! Another milk made tummies go bad. Others were tasted once and spat out kasi hindi masarap haha (one was actually maalat!). Others naman just didn’t seem complete enough when it came to the nutrients I believed my kids needed to be healthy and strong. 

When we tried Nido 3+, it ticked all my boxes: (1) Piero wasn’t allergic to it; (2) his tummy had no problems with it; (3) it was delicious; and (4) it was nutritionally complete. Nido 3+ not only has all the benefits of normal milk (calcium), it’s also fortified with vitamins and minerals (Vit A, Vit B, Vit C, iron, zinc, selenium) that boosts his immunity, growth and development. He’s smarter because he also gets the brain-boosting benefits of DHA. His respiratory system is stronger because of the live lactobacillus protectus. Because of Prebio3 probiotics, Piero’s tummy can absorb all these nutrients better. So I know Piero is better able to resist infection, fight germs, and develop the full potential of his brain and body. 

It may be just milk but I’ve seen a difference. He’s healthier, stronger, and faster at making mind connections. Like, I was surprised when we went to Kidzania a few weeks ago and had to solve a “crime” using a secret code. He decoded it all by himself. He just started school! I was so amazed! Good job, Piero! "Good job, mama,” I told myself. Good job, Nido! 

Ask your pediatrician about preschool milk. For more stories of my fellow Nido moms on why we love Nido, follow the hashtag #LoveThatProtects on Instagram. For more information on Nido, like the Facebook page, NIDO Advanced Protectus 3+

Speaking of Kidzania, do visit the career-play place for the NIDO 3+ CITY CHALLENGE! From Nov. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018, you and your child can enjoy activities that are both educational and fun—like Piero and I did washing windows, solving mysteries, and pretending to be grownups! It was such a wonderful bonding experience especially since it was just him and me (his brothers stayed home with their Papa). I really just focused on him and discovered how smart he truly is! 

Since there were also many activities that required him to do the challenges on his own, trust was important. I had to trust that he’ll be fine on his own, without me to help him understand instructions and do the job and to protect him from the bigger kids. He also had to trust me that I was going to be where I said I would be. Our play date was such a great experience!

Share the same adventure! Check out the NIDO 3+ CITY CHALLENGE event page on Facebook for more information and to buy tickets. Have fun!

*This post is brought to you by NIDO 3+.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

5 tips on who to include in your wedding guest list

Some time ago—I can't remember if it was last year or two years ago—my three little boys were looking at our wedding photo album. They said it was beautiful, everyone looked great, but "Where am I, Mama? Why didn't you invite me to your wedding?" Each boy asked this and no matter how I tried to explain that they weren't born yet when the wedding happened, they just couldn't grasp the terrible fact that their own parents didn't invite them to our wedding.

It's so adorable and hilarious!

You know, a guest list is really such a stressful part of the wedding planning. Our initial guest list only had 80 people (30 for my family, 30 for Vince's family, 10 each for his friends and mine). That was all we could afford. So Vince's parents said they'll foot the reception bill so we could invite 250 people. And we did! 

Well, only 160 showed up. I guess only 160 people really cared for us haha. No hard feelings! But that definitely changed how I related to many people, especially those who said they didn't show up because they had work. #AlamNaThis

Anyway, if you recently got engaged or are already in the thick of sorting out your guest list, here are a few tips based on my own wedding planning 11 years ago.

1. Talk to your partner first and foremost.

You spent so much of your life being single that it may be hard to understand that your separate worlds are now becoming one. That means talking about who in your barkadas, office, communities, and families will be invited. Don't promise invitations to the entire barangay if your groom is planning an intimate wedding. 

So talk it over first. The venue is a huge factor—a cathedral can fit hundreds, for example, while a chapel can accommodate maybe 30. Budget is another thing to consider. You may be dreaming of a 3-day feast for all your friends from preschool to present day but if your budget is only P100,000, then that dream will remain a dream. This is also a good time to talk about who you don't want to see at the wedding (exes, people from work, certain relatives, etc).

2. Talk to your family.

Now that you've both agreed on the important matters regarding your guest list, you need to talk with your immediate family next. Tell them what you and your groom talked about so that they won't get carried away with their own guest lists. Or, like in my case with the budget constraints, maybe they can offer to help out. Your parents will make sure you don’t miss any beloved relatives and key members of your community (if that kind of thing is important to them). 

Your parents' opinion - especially if they're footing the bill - matters a big deal!

3. Evaluate your groups.

Now that the families are happy with your guest list, you have to think of your friends. You might feel pressured to invite everyone in your prayer group, the whole department at work, and every single person in your college org because you fear for those who might feel left out. But what you really need to decide is who has been there for you through thick and thin. Think of the people who you know are going to be around for the long haul. Those are the ones you invite.

4. What’s the rule on other halves?

Nowadays guests often expect to have a plus one included with their invite, but that simply shouldn’t be the case. You can never guarantee that boyfriend-girlfriend (BF-BF, GF-GF) relationships are going to last so why spend on the plate of someone you don't know or may probably not be around for your friend by next year? Okay, hard to judge anyone's love life so the one and only rule on other halves is this: If they're married, invite the spouse, too. Some people also invite their guest's fiancé/fiancée. But if it's just a BF/GF, no need to invite them. 

5. It's okay to have 2 guest lists.

How does this happen??? Well, some couples get married abroad. Some couples have a civil ceremony. Some couples have their heart set on a tiny chapel. Some couples, like me and Vince, have different religions and quite a lot of my Born Again guests refused to attend a Catholic service (another story for another day). In those cases, you can have a ceremony guest list and an evening guest list

Vince thanking our 160 guests who made our wedding such a wonderful memory.

Now that you've trimmed your guest list, you can spend more on your luxury wedding invitations. I think a beautiful wedding invitation sets the tone for your wedding and gives your guests an idea on how big/casual/formal/fun/serious it's going to be. So don't go cheap on the invites! 

Your wedding is going to be one of the most special days of your life, so you want to celebrate with the people that truly mean the world to you. Don’t rush the creation of your guest list. Take your time and make sure you are completely happy before sending out those all important invites.

P.S. Anyone getting married soon? Can my littlest boy be part of the entourage??? He's the only one who's not been a page boy and I'm getting desperate haha

*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, November 12, 2018

"Always an adventure with Mama!"

My husband tells my kids when we get home later than usual, "Did you have another adventure with Mama?" And my kids will yell, "Yes!" Then they'll tell him where we went and what we did, and while Vince is amused, I know he's also a bit worried that sometimes I take his kids unexpectedly to unexpected places.

My kids' favorite adventure? Jeepney rides. 

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They also like the bus, but only when it's not crowded. They like the MRT. And tricycles. And they like walks.

So why do we go on "adventures," as Vince and the kids call them? It's never intentional, to be honest. Most of the time, we can't book a Grab so I haul them to the bus stop and commute. Sometimes, one kid gets hungry so we check out restaurants near the school.

Sometimes the weather's not friendly (too hot or a downpour happens), so I pull them into a building and we explore whatever's there—an art gallery with weird paintings one time (they were not pleased), a quiet garden with a pond full of curious tortoises another time (they were thrilled).

Sometimes I notice they need a haircut and so they get a sudden buzz. Sometimes I remember they need new shoes so we go shopping. Sometimes we just squat on our haunches on the sidewalk and peer at the shrubbery. Sometimes a kitten is discovered and we feed it. Flowers are picked and offered to me. Caterpillars and cockroaches are pointed out (yes, we found caterpillars along our city roads). Graffiti is studied. And always always strangers become friends. 

People ask me all the time how I can commute with 3 little kids and their huge school bags. I do so because strangers are kind to us. Every day, people help me carry their bags, lift the boys on and off buses, hold a child's hand when crossing the street, share an umbrella when it suddenly rains, hail a taxi (and even give up a taxi) for us.

So we come home from our adventures tired, hot, and smelling of sweat and smog, but we always discover beauty in this ugly city and my kids learn the kindness of strangers. And that is definitely the best kind of adventure!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My one and only birthday wish

I'm 42 today! It's a great day! Thank you for all the love all these years!

Today, being a school day, the kids will be in school and my husband will be at work and I'll be doing chores. It's a regular day really but I feel extra blessed today because I have a better attitude about life today than I had with my 40th and 41st birthdays. I'm sharing the photos of my 41st birthday here.

I've always been excited about my birthday. It's the only day I'm allowed to be selfish! So I've always announced it to friends and blog readers a full month before the day to make sure everyone remembers. I never asked for gifts, I just wanted people to greet me. I like tiny parties and because I have an instant guest list of 5 (my husband Vince and our kids, Vito, Iñigo and Piero, plus my sister Jacqui, the only one in my Amper family who celebrates me!), my birthday parties are guaranteed.  On my birthday, I'm always so very happy!

Last year, however, was not such a good year. There was the residual shock and horror from the 2016 elections, which affected my friendships and relationships. Last year was also when two sons entered big school. Their tuition hurts so much because I've never earned so much in my life but it's just not enough. So there was the endless hustle for work work work. While before I enjoyed work because it was fulfilling and paid me lots of money, now all that work and money just seems to slip through my fingers like fine sand.

There was the fact that we are now two years without household help, and that's been really really difficult because I have three small children and juggling so many jobs. And then there was me breaking my toe. There was my asthma—gone for nearly a decade—returning with a vengeance. Then a strange and constant itch on my ankle area drove me crazy. There were many more things that made 2017 a bad year.

I guess that was why when my 40th and 41st birthday rolled around, I did not have the right attitude to celebrate. Last year, especially, found me depressed. I had no money because I had just paid the third quarter tuition. I was too busy with deadlines and chores to come up for air. I remember the morning of my birthday saw me staring into my cup of coffee and feeling worn out and tired. "So this is how 41 feels like—worn out and tired." I am in very many ways so very blessed but on that particular day, I didn't feel it.

I'm a little sad now, remembering that day, because even though it started with me weary, it got better and I wish now I can go back to that sad woman staring into her cup of tepid coffee and tell her, "Snap out of it. Today is your day and it's going to be a great day!"

And it was a great day. It was a great year! Never lose sight of all that is good, I remind myself. Despite my sunny smiles, I'm actually a half-glass empty kinda person so I have to constantly remind myself: "What's the good that happened? What am I grateful for? What do I say when I say thanks to God when I pray tonight?"

And ya know what? I have PLENTY to be thankful for! I loved being 41. It was such a good year! It wasn't the best year, no, since my situation didn't change. I still have to pay tuition. I still have asthma. I still don't have household help. I'm still sooo tired haha. But my attitude changed over the course of the year and with that change came gratitude and opened eyes to what is really an amazing life!

And to remind me that every year means more blessings to look forward to, let me honor the people who make my life truly a gift:

I want to thank my husband (I love you, Vince!) and our wonderful boys (Vito, Iñigo, Piero!) for the constant love—even when I was unlovable.

I want to thank the very few friends and family (special mention: Ginger, Dada, Claire, Kabbie, Jacqui, Theodore, and my Sales family!) who always reach out to me even when I closed myself off because of my exhausting mommy life.

I want to thank my blog readers (especially my Loyal Readers!) for staying through my blog's evolutions and for the comments and encouragement and support.

I want the brands who send us food (Harvest Meals most of all!) and toys and clothes and fun stuff (Netflix the best!) to know that for them it may just be PR but for my little family, your gifts are appreciated so much!


I don't know if you noticed but if you've been reading my blog for a while now, you might have noticed that all my past birthday photos were taken in daylight. I always wake up happy on my big day! When I turned 41 last year, however, I was only happy enough at the end of the day. So that was when we took out the little red velvet cake (thanks to my sister, Jacqui), gathered round the one pink candle, and made a wish.

My husband and kids teased me for taking forever with my wish, but I wasn't really wishing. I kept my eyes closed for a long time because I was stopping myself from crying. I was feeling guilty for not appreciating my wonderful life, overwhelmed with love from my family, and grateful—so incredibly grateful!—I'm alive for yet another year, surrounded by the people I love and who love me.

So I finally did make a wish—for more of these years!—because after coming out of my funk, I saw again how my little corner of the world is so perfect and that my time here is so short and that all I must ever ask from God is more time. More time to be a wife, more time to be a mommy, more time to repair and build relationships, more time to do my work, more time to be grateful.

When I finally opened my eyes, I saw my family (just look at those cute wriggly little boys!) through my tears and blew out that candle thinking, "More time, Lord. I'm going to make this time count!" And He gave me my wish. One more incredible year with the ones I love, with more provisions, with everything we need. Thank You, Father God!

Birthdays are always a new year. My 42nd year on this good earth is about to start and I'm sooo excited for all the new things coming my way! My birthday wish, however, remains the same: Please give me more time to enjoy this life and the gifts of love and friendship, and may I have time to give back that love. For now, as I turn 42, I just want to celebrate how blessed am I to have the most precious gift of all—time!