Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The ordinary instant

I've thought sometimes that if life were maybe like the movies, maybe it would be useful to know if something bad was about to happen. Omens. Premonitions. They would maybe help us make better decisions or at least prepare us for the consequences of bad ones.

When I was 11, maybe 12, I read about a Trojan priestess of Apollo's temple. Her name was Cassandra and because she rejected Apollo's sexual advances, he cursed her to see the future but no one will ever believe her. She warned the Trojans not to trust the gift of the Greeks because it will bring destruction to Troy. Of course, they didn't believe her and Troy fell, as she predicted.

Even as a child, I knew the moral of that story is foresight and prophesy were not gifts. I don't want to know the future. I guess that's why I choose to believe in God even though my prayers are, many times, a battle with Him and my doubts of His existence. In the end, weary of my fears of the pandemic present and eaten away by anxiety at what dangers life can bring (choking, slipping, falling) to me and my boys, I give it all up to God so I can sleep and face another day. 
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives
Anyway, I just started reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. She died last week so I figured I should read up on this famous essayist, considering I'm female, a feminist, and an essayist. I've never read her work, which is a shame and a surprise. It had to take her death for me to read her.

But a few paragraphs in and I had to put the book down. I think I'll read it another day. She was talking about the "ordinary instant."
"It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened... I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred."
Didion's book is about the death of her husband and then the grave illness of their only daughter. And when she wrote about the ordinary instant, I knew exactly what she meant. I wrote in my blog post Of boys and school buses and my breaking heart, "How many of us have the painful privilege of seeing a chapter closing?" Not all of us so maybe when we do feel something is about to end, that can be a good thing.

Mama and Papa in happier times. If they had known how unhappy their marriage will be, would they have married still?

When Papa died, it was such a beautiful day. We were surprised because he had started feeling better, well enough to leave the hospital. But I wasn't really surprised, in hindsight. On the day he went home, we waited for the elevator to bring us down to the basement parking. Papa's nurse was pushing the wheelchair, and he was quiet. Papa told him thanks but he joked, "I hope I never see you again!" And the nurse should've laughed haha. Instead, he gripped Papa's shoulder and just bowed his head, and I knew I knew I knew then and there that Papa was going to die.

But I brushed it away. And a few days later, back in the hospital again, this time with no brain activity, Papa lay in his bed, surrounded by family and friends who laughed, cried, and sang his favorite songs. And I looked out the window at the brilliant blue sky with the dazzling white clouds and thought, "Such a beautiful day to die. You'd never think someone was dying today."

Mama's death came as a surprise, too. Her death came on a rainy day, the type of day movies say is the day when people die. But it was September, the rainy season, and rain is an ordinary event. My husband and I were in our new home putting up a large print of a woman looking at a cherry blossom tree when my younger brother called, which was not ordinary. Mama was in the hospital, hurry. And I hurried to my closet and thought, "I'll wear the orange dress that she likes so she'll cheer up when she sees me." Choosing what to wear. What an ordinary thing to do on such a horrific day of the most terrible of surprises. 

But I wasn't really surprised, in hindsight. That week, at the office, two of my co-workers' mothers died. As my staff and I were having merienda, I said, "They say it comes in threes. Who do you think is next?" And we all shuddered then nervously laughed. 

As I went back to my desk, I got this overwhelming feeling of dread and I heard a voice in my head say, "Call your Mama." I wish I made this up because then I wouldn't feel bad (to this day) about shaking off that awful heavy feeling and thinking, "Woah, weird. I'll call her tomorrow after lunch." The next day, after lunch, Mama was dead.

Omens. Premonition. Foresight. A gift or a curse? Maybe both. If only I had listened to that strange voice, I'd have talked to Mama one last time. But there's no use crying over spilled milk. It's done. What matters is learning from the experience.

In The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien wrote, "A divine 'punishment’ is also a divine 'gift’, if accepted, since its object is ultimate blessing, and the supreme inventiveness of the Creator will make 'punishments’ (that is changes of design) produce a good not otherwise to be attained."

In the Christian view, death is the divine punishment for sin. As we are all sinners, we all have to die. So in that sense, no death is ever a surprise. We all know that's where we're all headed. If only life would also grieve with us when the not-actually-unthinkable happens. As that song goes, "Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? I wake up in the morning, and I wonder why everything's the same as it was. I can't understand, no, I can't understand how life goes on the way it does." If only the world acted like death was a punishment, right? But if it did, then we would never see a blue sky with dazzling white clouds again. So perhaps the world knows that death isn't actually completely a bad thing.

In the spirit of Christmas, we know that while we celebrate Jesus's birth, we also know that His ultimate mission was to die on the cross for our sins. I don't know how the wise men knew that because they gave him myrrh, an embalming oil, as a gift. A very alarming gift to give to a baby, right? And of course, Jesus knew His earthly end and so the Bible describes Him as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). And yet because He also knew that His death will bring all who love Him eternal life, Jesus was also happy. And He wanted to share His joy! "I have told you this that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11). It's one of my most favorite verses and reminds me all the time to have joy despite all of life's tragedies.

Jesus the man knew His terrible future and yet He treated it as a gift because He devoted His numbered days to serving God and His will. He made His life count.

Our inevitable death is a divine punishment. But if there's anything the deaths of my loved ones have taught me, it is this: Death is also a divine gift. We have to choose to see it that way, however, for it to "produce a good not otherwise to be attained" by a happy, carefree life.

And this is something I don't say aloud because it sounds terrible but if my mother had still been alive today, my life would not be this amazing at all. Her death made me softer, kinder, more compassionate, and humble. It was the one thing that made me hold on to God with all my might. Before she died, I relied on myself and myself alone. I was fine on my own and I didn't need God for anything. But there's nothing like your mother's death to shatter your heart and your bones. So if Mama hadn't died, I truly believe I'd not have been a good mother. I don't even think I'd be a good person. So the best thing that happened to me and my children, possibly, is Mama's death, which is also the very worst thing that happened to me.

A divine punishment, a divine gift. 

That said, I still don't want to die. I still don't want anyone I love to die, especially not my babies. I want my ordinary life to stay as uneventful as possible. But knowing that all our futures end in one guaranteed event should teach us to love now, forgive now, laugh now. Especially now. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Celebrate Christmas with Welch's Sparkling Juices and their perfect food partners

Christmas is a week away! Have you got your recipes ready? If you're thinking of something new to add to your traditional menu, try these recipes that CCA's Chef Trisha Ocampo made. Created to be dishes that will go well with each of Welch's Sparkling Juices so that you can fully enjoy your meal with the perfect drink.

A complementary drink not only refreshes your palate, but it also brings out the flavors of your dish better. So if you're wondering what drink goes with what food, here's Chef Trisha's quick guide:

Welch’s Red Grape Juice has a natural sweetness and slightly bold flavor. A tomato-based or tangy meal balances out the sweetness of the Red Grape Juice. Hearty dishes like Pork Tenderloin Roast with Romesco Sauce are one of the best pairings – in a snap of a finger, it immediately brings an Italian vibe to the table!

Chicken Picatta Cream Fettuccini is the perfect pair for your Welch’s White Grape Juice. The light bubbly sensation of the sparkling juice balances out the creaminess of the pasta and is the ultimate refresher in between bites.

Welch’s Sparkling Rosé has a crisp and sophisticated taste of ripe summer fruit with subtle sweetness, so a refreshing fruity dessert is the way to go. Made with fresh strawberries, tarragon, baguette, ricotta, and cream cheese, Chef Trisha’s Strawberry and Tarragon Mousse Crostini will cap any meal with delight and joy.

Here are the recipes and procedures on how to recreate Chef Trisha Ocampo’s easy to follow festive dishes:


CHICKEN PICATTA CREAM FETTUCCINI

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
4 pcs boneless chicken breast fillet
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken stock/broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/3 cup parsley
500 grams fettuccini noodles, cooked as per package instructions
Parmesan cheese, shaved

PROCEDURE
1. Season chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. If chicken breasts are too thick, pound a little to ¼ inch thick. Dredge in seasoned flour on both sides and shake off excess.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. Remove and set aside.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add broth, lemon juice, heavy cream, and capers. Bring the sauce to a boil and return to medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Allow the sauce to cook and bubble for about 3 minutes.

4. Serve the chicken over cooked pasta and spoon the sauce over both. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.


PORK TENDERLOIN ROAST WITH ROMESCO SAUCE

Yield: 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS
250 grams red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeds and membranes removed
350 grams tomatoes
4 pcs large garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup roasted almonds
1 to 2 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp red wine
1 kg pork Tenderloin
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup olive oil

PREPARATION
1. Preheat the broiler and line the baking tray with foil.

2. Place the tomatoes on the baking tray, and place them under the broiler for two to four minutes, until charred on one side. Turn over and broil on the other side for another 2 to 4 minutes until charred. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Peel and core.

3. In a food processor, put in red peppers, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and roasted almonds.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the olive oil in a slow steady stream.

5. Add 2 tablespoons of red wine, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, thick, and creamy. NOTE: If it is too thick add 1 or 2 tablespoons of red wine. If too thin, add olive oil, pulsing a few more times.

6. Taste and adjust seasoning, by adding salt or red pepper flakes as desired. Let the sauce stand for an hour at room temperature before using.

7. Meanwhile, generously season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Put in a roasting pan then line with aluminium foil. Brush with olive oil and put in a 350℉ oven for 45 min to 1 hour.

8. To serve, slice pork tenderloin to 1/8-1/4 inches thick. Arrange in a serving tray and pour Romesco sauce on top leaving some to serve on the side.


STRAWBERRY AND TARRAGON MOUSSE CROSTINI

Yield: 20 pieces

INGREDIENTS
20 pcs fresh strawberries, cut in half or quarters
1 pc baguette, sliced into ½ inch rounds
8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2cup cream cheese, softened
2 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 tbsp balsamic glaze

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat your oven to 190°C.

2. In a food processor, mix your ricotta, cream cheese, fresh tarragon, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper, until fully incorporated. NOTE: This can keep in the refrigerator for 7 days until ready to use.

3. For the crostini, slice your baguette ½ inch thick, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven, until golden brown.

4. To assemble: Pipe the ricotta tarragon mousse on the baguette, followed by sliced strawberries, then drizzled with balsamic glaze.


Welch’s Sparkling Juices is for any occasion, especially the holiday season. It's the perfect celebratory drink for individuals who are health-conscious, non-alcohol drinkers, and even kids. Since it has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup, there’s no guilt in having a glass or two.

Christmas for Welch's means “Sharing the Sparkle.” Celebrate the holidays with Welch’s by trying out Chef Trisha’s recipes or even creating your own Welch's Sparkling Juice pairings, whether it's with meat, seafood, or poultry.


A product of the USA, Welch’s products are available in retail stores. To learn more about Welch’s Sparkling Juices and recipes, visit www.welchs.com or follow Welch's PH on FB and IG.

No need to leave the safety of your home, too. You may have Welch’s Sparkling Juices and other Welch’s juices delivered at your doorstep by visiting https://acefoodservice.com. Or place your order on the following online groceries: metromart.com, Lazmart, and waltermartdelivery.com.ph.

*Press release and photos from Moist PR. Plating by Chef Miguel Antonio Lorino from CCA.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Review (haircare): HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum

Hello to everyone, but most especially a huge hello to those with thinning hair like me! Today is a great day for you because I have great news - I have found a serum that will address our hair situation. Yes, I'm sharing with you my new find: HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum. Here's my happy review:


But first, this is me with my long hair. I haven't cut my hair for one year na. Usually, I keep my hair short, shoulder-length, collarbone-length max kasi manipis lang hair ko. As in my baby hair never grew up. It's as thin and fine as the day I was born.


So here I am - no makeup, no blowdry, no hair dye. Actually, no suklay din yan haha I don't think I've ever been this natural-looking since I was in my teens. Hindi ako ma-makeup talaga but as soon as I turned 18, I colored my hair and I've colored it since. Then the pandemic happened and here I am - with graying, thinning hair. 

It's middle age. It could be me approaching menopause. It's the natural events unfolding (a.k.a. AGING haha). I took biotin and that helped. I found tiny baby hairs growing on my hairline. However, I saw the effects on my nails more (stronger, no more peeling), which is good so I continued taking the supplement. And then last July, I discovered HairReve!


HaiReve Serum moisturizes scalp so it's healthy. Effect sa akin: No more itchy, flaky scalp.

It strengthens hair follicles. This is true kasi I was using it, diba, and then I noticed less hair fall nga. But around mid-August or September, I stopped kasi I was super busy. Aba, my hair was falling out again! I started using HairReve asap! Hindi na ulit OA my hair fall.


So what's making all those nice changes to my hair? HairReve is infused with plant-based extracts from Rosemary, Green Tea Leaves, Larch Tree, and Zinc. How do those help? Here, I did my research:

Rosemary - "It works by stimulating scalp circulation and can be used to grow longer hair, prevent baldness or stimulate new hair growth in balding areas. Rosemary oil also slows the graying of hair, promotes shininess and prevents and reduces dandruff, making it a great tonic for overall hair health and beauty." - source

Green Tea - "The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea may prevent hair loss by inhibiting the activity of hormones that induce hair loss and promoting hair regrowth by stimulating hair follicles." - source

Larch Tree - "The larch extract: conditions hair to improve manageability and combing, reduces hair frizz in humid conditions, reduces static and fly-away hair, protects hair from heat damage and reduces breakage. It is suitable for all hair types, including ethnic hair." - source

Zinc - "...plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly." - source

Spray, spray lang for great hair!

I really like HairReve! Here are more reasons:

1. It's so easy to use. Just spray on! No applicators, no vials, no need to measure anything. Just spray away! 

2. It's a standalone product. Other hair-thickening systems demand that you use their shampoo and conditioner. Ang mahal ng three products, ha! HairReve is Php 1,399 a bottle. Not cheap but it lasts a loooong time so cost per use, okay na. And yun nga, mag-isa lang siya na product effective na.  

3. It smells good! I remember this famous hair thickening product we had to review for a magazine. Hindi ko ma-take yung amoy! So I asked a guy friend to try it. Sabi niya, "Effective naman pero ang kapal nga ng buhok mo, type daw ng mga girls, pero wala ka namang sex life kasi ang baho ng ulo mo." Hahahahaha!

4. It's not yucky. Yes! Aside from the pleasant smell, it's also just a liquid. Not oily or creamy so your hair doesn't look greasy. And it's so easily absorbed. Spray, massage, done! Ilang minutes lang, tapos ka na. 

5. It's clear. I don't need gloves. I don't need to protect my clothes. It doesn't stain anything!

But is it effective in thickening hair???

Okay, I will admit that I don't use HairReve every day. Once or twice a day ang advised but I wash my hair twice, thrice a week lang. Nasa bahay lang kasi ako. So I really didn't think it was going to work. But look at my hair before:

My hair part is wide.
The top of my head is nakakalbo na.

But look at my hair part now! 


Hindi na kita scalp ko, diba? Wala na rin yung bald spot ko. Also, ang dami kong baby hair! And I guess HairReve is also the reason my hair now is so long. I can grow it kasi before, basta mahaba na hair ko, nalalagas. Mabigat kasi, hindi kaya ng roots. But lately, my hair stays put so napahaba ko siya.

Now, I've been using HairReve since July, stopped for a few weeks, then started again. Also, I haven't been using it daily as recommended. And yet the positive effects are still there. Visible effects!

So I really should use it every day. Maybe the effects would've been sooner and more dramatic! Still, I'm very happy. I highly recommend HairReve!


HairReve Hair Rescue Thickening Serum is available at select Mercury Drug stores, at Shopee, and at Lazada. Visit www.hairreve.com.ph for more information.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Family fun at the Mountain House at Antipolo


We went on our first vacation in years! Yes, it was just a quick one, an overnight stay at The Mountain House in Antipolo, just a drive of an hour-and-a-half from our home in the middle of the city. But since halos dalawang taon na kaming nakakulong sa bahay, that drive felt much looooonger! But malapit lang talaga pala siya.

Inulan kami during our stay so I don't have review-type photos, and so I wasn't planning to blog about our trip anymore. But sayang naman our happy weekend! And if you found this post because you Googled for a review of the Mountain House, let me tell you about our experience. 

The Mountain House is a one-hectare property right by the side of Calawis Road. May malaking bahay na bato right at the entrance. You can't miss it kahit na maliit lang yung sign. Basically, i-Waze mo yung Mount Purro Nature Reserve - nasa kanan yung Mount Purro, nasa kaliwa ang Mountain House. You won't get lost, promise.

Pero ginagawa pa yung roads getting there so medyo stressful because our car hasn't really gone for long distances for 20 months so medyo scared kami na may mabali or ma-flat kami sa lubak-lubak na road.

From Marcos Highway, turn left when you see this.
We're driving on the wrong side of the road because half of it isn't done yet. 

Anyway, the parking is right inside, by the gate. Then the property slopes down into a moderately sized garden bounded by a bubbly creek. The garden has a small playground (just a swing set really), space for camping and a bonfire, and two glamping pods sitting almost on top of the creek. Also in the garden is an outhouse with a sink, toilets and showers. Plus an outdoor kitchen where you can cook, get water, and wash dishes. Yes, there's plumbing and running water naman.

This is the garden and camping area. At least I think that's what those circular platforms are for.
Secret pathways!
The two glamping pods

The big house has 5 bedrooms and looked beautiful but it was booked for that weekend. Sayang. The photos of the main house look great. Plus, my friend who stayed there with her family said there's hot water. And that's why my review will look different from other reviews you'll find online because theirs feature the gorgeous house, while mine will be the, uh, affordable version haha 

Since there were just 5 of us, I had planned to book the glamping pods but I was told the pods can accommodate only 2 people, 3 max. So they told me they had a Standard Room for 4 people. I booked that. When we got there, well, it's more of a room for 2 people soooo buti na lang payat kami! No aircon but grabe ang ginaw sa gabi!

The Standard Room was P4500 a night. Maliit lang yung room. Para siyang gardener's shed actually so nagulat ako dun kasi ang standard room sa hotel is at least 30sqm and this room was smaller. Lima kami, remember. But it was comfy enough for us. Malaki naman kasi yung kama. King-size siya, plus may two-seater sofa where our youngest boy slept. May electric fan. That was enough kasi maginaw nga. I wanted to turn it off nung mga 2 a.m. sa sobrang ginaw but if walang fan, the noise from the road isn't muffled. Yes, diba sabi ko sa tabi mismo ng road yung The Mountain House? It's a busy road, even in the middle of the night! You'd never think you were in a mountain. You can hear the trucks, tricycles, etc etc. 

That's where we stayed - the room to the right. The main house is behind it.

I know my pictures make it look less than stellar but it super rained while we were there so it looks damp and gloomy. But it's really a beautiful place! And it's great it can only accommodate a few people. I was really looking for a place na walang ibang tao because, hello, may COVID pa. And we hardly saw anyone, except during the bonfire, which we shared with another super nice and generous family. No checkpoints, no need for rapid antigen tests, no vax cards to present. So hindi siya complicated na trip. 

Oh, this is the best surprise for me! The food. Okay, you can bring your own food. No corkage fees so that's fantastic! But I highly recommend you get your food from the Mountain House. Ang sarap ng food nila! Pinoy food lang ang nasa menu - sinigang, pritong isda, adobo, laing, inihaw na liempo, tocino, longganisa, plus may fresh fruit, and drinks. Simple lang but I don't know if it was the fresh mountain air or they really cook well (I think both!) but the food was soooo good. 

And ang dami! You have to order in advance (all payments are done in advance, too). I ordered only for 3 people (P1,100 per head for 3 meals plus snack) kasi hindi naman kami malakas kumain pero hindi rin namin naubos. Daming food! Sarap! Napakain talaga kami.

Breakfast! Sarap kumain sa labas - chilly morning air tapos mainit yung food!
Lunch namin was in the kitchen ng main house kasi umulan nang pagkalakas-lakas.
 
Okay, what to do at The Mountain House. Well, there's not much to do, which is the whole point. If you just want to be surrounded by nature and get your kids away from the gadgets and the internet, go there (meron wifi but I didn't tell my boys that hehe). 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Review (book): "Seeds of Hope" by Tiny Buds


I got a Tiny Buds press kit last week. Inside the box, I found three baby-care products, a growing kit (pot, soil, seeds), and a book to read to the kiddos. Honestly, when I saw the cover, I didn't think much of the book. "Oh, just another baby book, not for my school-aged kids." But my youngest boy wanted to read it anyway, and he read it aloud, and we LOVED it! That's why today, I'm going to do a book review of Seeds of Hope by Tiny Buds.


Seeds of Hope tells the story of three tiny seeds that are happy and cozy in the soft, warm earth. After my son read the book, he instantly grasped the metaphor. "Mama, the three seeds are just like me and my brothers. And the earth is our home!"


Now if you think it's all happy-happy-joy-joy, nope. In fact, the seeds experienced many hardships. To the point that two of them said that it's better to just stay deep in the earth, safe and warm forever. But one of them insisted that they should have hope and still go out and learn to face their challenges. The world may be a harsh place but this little seed needs to grow and eventually adapt to or overcome the difficulties.

After he read the story, my boy said, "Mama, that's like you saying you're teaching us many things now because we need to be ready for life later!"
 

I'm telling you this Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds is really good! It's short, easy to read and understand, and teaches important lessons on resilience, courage, determination, and - of course - hope. I highly recommend it for you to get for your kids!


How to get? It's FREE! Together with the Tiny Grow Kit Set, the Seeds of Hope book is a FREE GIFT from Tiny Buds when you buy a minimum order of P1,111 on 11.11 (Nov. 11). That's today! This promotion is happening on the Tiny Buds official Lazada, Shopee, and Edamama stores.


If you still have babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I'm sure it's easy for you to rack up P1,111 worth of Tiny Buds products hehe They have soooo many great quality products for your kid and for mommy, too.

To be honest, since my kids are big na, I don't buy Tiny Buds anymore. But I will say that until now, I buy the After Bites Natural Soothing Gel and the Natural Baby Fabric Softener. After Bites is my favorite. It really works! Kawawa my kids when they get bug bites and I've tried a ton of creams, oils, and whatever. Tiny Buds After Bites is the one that made the itch and the swelling go away fast. Best! 

As for the fabric softener, actually, Downy user ako forever but last year, I tried the Tiny Buds Natural Baby Fabric Softener for our undies. I love it. I love it super. Gentle and hindi matapang ang amoy (lakas ng amoy ng Downy kasi). So this is my recommended fabcon not just for baby clothes but also for the delicates of the whole family.

Okay, that's my book review and product recommendation for today! Do get the Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds, mommies. It's super nice. We really loved it as a family. You will, too!

Follow @tinybudsbaby on Instagram, @tinybuds on Facebook, and through its official flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee. You may also join the “Tiny Buds Family” Facebook Community to learn more.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Kate and Meghan twinning!

The Kate Camp and the Meghan Camp like accusing the duchess they don't like of copying the other but goodness, if I wore a yellow dress tomorrow, would that make me unoriginal? Neither duchess copyrighted any OOTD so let's give it a rest and just enjoy how both beautiful women styled their looks!

Here's what I think:

Meghan in Brandon Maxwell (July 5, 2018)
Kate in Dolce & Gabbana (July 15, 2018)

Sunny yellow! I love both dresses. I love how Meghan's showed off her toned arms and warmed her skin. I think it should be 2 inches shorter though and the waist cinched a little. Also, it's a wee bit too simple. Earrings would be nice or a statement necklace.

I love how Kate's hugged her bosom and waist, for example. And showed off her legs, too. I wish Kate would dress this way again! She's been in high-necked, long-sleeved, midi dresses for a looooong time.

Kate in Alexander McQueen (January 19, 2019)
Meghan in Burberry (February 13, 2018)

Love Kate's coat here. The fit, the tailoring, the length. Perfection! Love the black tights and gloves. It's such a sleek look. Very feminine power. Love!

Meghan's coat added bulk to her slender frame. And she has a penchant for wearing pants that are too long. I think that's really her style. If you lived through the 90s, you'd know the puddle pants trend was huge. Our parents hated us for looking sloppy haha. But I also wish Meghan fixed her hair. But this is also another style of hers - her messy hair. If you're going to look sloppy, you polish the other parts of your look - your hair and makeup. This looks just messy all around.

Kate in Stella McCartney (June 18, 2020)
Meghan in Victoria Beckham (March 5, 2020)

Possibly my most favorite Meghan look ever. Even if her dress is riding up her hips, I don't care. She looked AMAZING. The hair, the makeup, the red lip, the matching clutch and pumps - perfection. The way she didn't wear jewelry to distract from her showstopping dress. The way she used other shades of blue for her accessories - love it!

As for Kate, well, her look is bland and boring here. It's something any of us would wear to brunch or the mall. But like I keep saying, I miss it when she wore shorter hemlines. She has fabulous legs. She should show them off more.

Meghan in Black Halo (April 19, 2018)
Kate in Roland Mouret (Nov 10, 2020)

Okay, I know I mentioned I don't like Meghan's messy hair but this casual bun is sooo pretty. Love the hair, the dress, the slim belt, the laced up heels. SEXY!

Kate wore a similar dress - same color, same asymmetrical neckline - but hers is the matronly version. Again, she'd look better in a dress ending at just below the knee and sleeves maybe ending at just above the elbow.

There you go! Just a few styling tips from me today. Maybe I'll do this again! This was fun. Happy weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Love the Hare House! Look look!

Meet The Hare House. This is a super popular tiny house that I discovered last year through Levi Kelly's YouTube channel that features beautifully shot tours of tiny houses and Airbnb destinations. So matagal na siyang draft sa blog ko kasi literal na one year ago ko napanood this tour. I just fell in love with it because it's perfect. And also because I love rabbits!


It's literally just a rectangular box. It has a living room, a dining area, a serviceable kitchen, a surprisingly spacious (for its tiny house size) bathroom, a storage room, a bedroom, a pocket walk-in closet (!), and a balcony. All that on such a minuscule area of just 91 sqm! 

Check out the pics:






Ganda, diba? Small but mighty. You can see the rest of this super cute house in Levi's tour below. Love it super! Easy to maintain. Maybe one day magpagawa ako ng ganyan when the kids have left. 


Do you have a tiny home you like? I have lots! Share ko rin dito sa house tours ko. I know I've been featuring local houses for sale and the huge Mid-Century Homes I dream of, but I spend more time watching tiny homes actually. Share ko mga favorites ko. Share niyo rin sa comments below if you have fave tiny houses, too!

Happy weekend!!!

Monday, October 18, 2021

My hobby: Solitaire card games! (plus a confession)

Let's get the confession out of the way: I play online games while I'm working! Yes, and it's okay. Much of my work as operations manager of a communications agency based abroad is waiting for submissions to come in from our writers and artists. So when I approve copy and wait for the artist to lay it out, I switch to the tab where Solitaire is on and I play a few card games. 

It's better than toxic Facebook, believe me! Social media reels you in and you go up the heaven of cute corgis and kittens or down the hell hole of news and negative comments, and then you're too distracted to go back to work. So I've gone back to my childhood hobby of playing cards, but this time online.

I actually still have a deck of cards on my bedside table and I play solitaire sometimes on the bed as I chat with my husband. If he's reading or working and can't talk, I sing the Carpenters' song, "Solitaire" while I play. It's one of my favorite sad songs. 

Solitaire is a game my grandparents taught me to pass away afternoons, listening to radio dramas. My Lola said you can ask the cards a yes-no question and if you win the game, then it's a yes. So that's another confession. I ask the cards stuff!

So anyway, let me tell you about my new find, Solitaire.org. It has dozens of free solitaire games like Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, gin rummy, crazy eights, hearts, and more. Like a LOT more. But I usually just play solitaire because it's my favorite. It calms my mind and helps me focus. Makes me better at remembering deadlines and editing work. So it really is a good way to while away the time when I'm waiting for work to come in.  


What doesn't calm my mind is another game on the site called Zuma Ball Shooters and oh my goodness it drives me crazy! It's only 10 levels and I'm on Level 8 and I just can't get past that level! The goal of the game is to line up 3 balls of the same kind which will make all those balls disappear. I'm supposed to shoot out all the balls before they get to the end. It's so maddening!!! 

I don't dislike it. In fact, I play it every day because I just really want to get to Level 10! But I definitely don't play this game when I'm working. It doesn't relax me. It brings out all my killer instincts and I just want to blast those balls to kingdom come!!!

So let me reiterate that I don't play Zuma Ball while I work. Instead, when I'm not playing solitaire, I play this: Candy House. It's like Candy Crush but slower and more mellow. So again, makes me feel calm. which is great when I'm working.

There are dozens more games at Solitaire.org. Sometimes I let my kids play the games, too. For school! Patterns are part of math, you know! I highly recommend these games for your kids as a fun way to recognize patterns. 

And that's my little secret! And my new online find. Try Solitaire.org, too! Happy Monday and I hope you have a great week, everyone!