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, 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 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, too! Happy Monday and I hope you have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Allergic to citrus fruits? Here's where to get your Vitamin C

If you're allergic to oranges, pineapples, and other citrus fruits, you may think, "That's it, we'll have to take supplements now and forever," take heart. You can still get your daily dose of Vitamin C from a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables. It's not a vitamin exclusive to citrus fruits at all.

Two of my kids are allergic to oranges. Their lips get red and puffy. I'm allergic, too. My tongue gets itchy and sometimes I want to scratch out my throat. Most of the time, the allergy manifests as an upset stomach. So oranges and orange juice aren't always on my grocery list (but it finds its way there when my husband and middle boy remind me that they're not allergic haha).

So for us citrus-allergic folk, is it Vitamin C supplements from now on? I know this is a concern of yours because ever since the pandemic started, my blog post on Vitamin C has consistently ranked on my Top 5 posts and I regularly get questions about Vitamin C supplements for kids. Mommies, you don't have to resort to that. First, any supplement for children should be prescribed by your child's pediatrician. 

Second, you'll be happy to know that vitamins and minerals are best absorbed and used by our bodies when they come from food.

Third, you can get good sources of Vitamin C from your local supermarket! Add these to your grocery list (I included citrus fruits anyway!):

  • banana
  • cantaloupe or melon
  • grape
  • grapefruit
  • guava
  • kiwi
  • lemon
  • lychee
  • mango
  • orange
  • papaya
  • pomelo
  • pineapple
  • strawberry

  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • chili pepper
  • kale
  • parsley
  • potato
  • spinach
  • sweet potato (camote)
  • thyme
  • tomato
As you can see, lots of local Pinoy fruits and vegetables are great sources of Vitamin C. I'm grateful that our supermarkets also stock up on many other fruits and veggies grown abroad. It's really easy to get your daily dose of Vitamin C!

Yes, it has to be a daily dose because our bodies don't store the vitamin. And we need it to protect our cells from damage, help heal wounds and infections faster, and keep our skin and bones strong and healthy. 

When I'm cooking meat dishes and don't have fruits and veggies at the table (it happens!), I just make sure I drink Welch's 100% Grape Juice. Because it's not citrus, no allergic reactions from me. Happy mouth and tummy, happy and healthy body! 

That's another thing I'm GRAPE-ful for: One bottle of Welch's 100% Grape Juice can meet my Vitamin C needs for the day. Plus it's full of antioxidants and with no added sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial color and flavors. Just Real Grape Goodness!

A year and a half into the pandemic, I'm so grateful my family has been spared so far from COVID-19. To be honest, last summer, I got a bit sad about being stuck indoors for who-knows-'til-when and kinda ate and ate my way through my depression. So I gained weight! Yikes! But last week, I realized it's exactly one month before my 45th birthday and I want to get healthy for that big day. So I started exercising, I'm still trying to eat less hehe, and I've replaced my soda with just water and Welch's 100% Grape Juice.

Being alive is a great thing and being healthy is a blessing we can't take for granted anymore, especially in these times. So wish me luck as I get on track again to good health with a proper diet and fitness regimen and Welch's 100% Grape Juice!

*This post is brought to you by Welch's. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Juice Cocktails, Sparkling Juices, and Fruit Snacks are available in all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. You can have your favorite health drink delivered right to your doorstep! Visit the Ace Food Service website, or place your order in the following online groceries: Metro Mart, Lazmart, and Waltermart.

*Reference: NHS

*images by @allecgomes (grapes, papaya, strawberry), @mockupgraphics (broccoli, cabbage, chili pepper, parsley, tomato), @dainisgraveris (melon), @deonblack (banana), @ikredenets (bell peppers), @alexgruber (kiwi)

Monday, October 04, 2021

This is mine.

Hello! I'm alive. And I am sooo alive! As a royal watcher, busog na busog ako the last week of September. And it looks like the feast isn't going to stop! Why? Well, now that the US and the UK have their vaccination programs in full swing, life has gone back to a kinda pre-COVID normal. That means the royals are out in full force! 

First, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in TIME's 100 Most Influential issue and I am so here for Meghan's pantsuits. New Sussex Brand look, guys!

If you disagreed with TIME, well, sorry na lang but tama sila because a few days later, Meghan came out of her year-and-a-half hibernation and maternity leave to take on New York with Harry for important and high-profile meetings and events. They helped raise over a billion dollars for global vaccine equity. That's measurable influence, guys. A BILLION DOLLARS' worth of influence.  

Then hindi pa ako nahimasmasan when Kate Middleton came back from their summer vacation in the most fantastic fashion! You'd think she went to the premiere of James Bond GoldenEye, Goldfinger, or Golden Gun instead with how dazzling she looked. 

This is the very BEST Kate has ever looked. Ever! The movie premiere was for charity but wala akong mahanap na news outfit that says how much money the Cambridges et al were able to raise but bet ko hindi siya a billion dollars.

So let's give the "Harry and Meghan are irrelevant" schtick a rest. 

But I'm not blogging today about the fantabulous fashion show both duchesses put on. Or their charity work. I'm actually here to kinda talk about me. Yes, because this is my blog, not a royalty blog! For my royal updates, follow me on my IG Stories - @francesampersales - because it's masaya and chismis-y there!

Today on the blog, I want to talk about how such high-profile women doing so much good and looking so good in the process aren't projecting confidence and power. 

Look at how Madam Duchess was covering her body. People speculated she was hiding her baby weight. Ako naman feeling ko hindi lang yun. I feel like she was hiding herself, hence the coats in not-chilly New York. After all, she's the target of so much online hate and this was her first time to be seen publicly since March 2020. I can imagine the fear.

But even when she wasn't a royal yet, diba parang lacking siya ng absolute confidence when she's in public. In photoshoots, yes, galing niya mag-project (refer to TIME shoot above). But when she's meeting people IRL, may air of terror siya. Also may people-pleasing air about her (like Kate). That's not a bad thing, okay! I'm just saying she kinda looks like she's hindi pa siya sure sa nangyayari sa kanya. Even at her wedding.

Eto naman si Kate same din. My goodness. She looked AMAZING! Absolutely amazing. But hindi niya carry yung dress. She's not used to that level of high fashion. Yes, she's worn many designer clothes but she's always chosen the elegant, the safe, and the boring. This is the first time she wore dazzling and while she had the face and body and stature for it, she didn't have the attitude for it. She didn't wear it; it wore her. She couldn't even walk properly in it. She kinda shuffled along when such a dress needed its wearer to glide, stomp, and strike a pose. 

I know you'll disagree but celebrity watching and entertainment journalism used to be my job. I'm professionally trained to study how celebrities carry their clothes and project themselves on the red carpet. And, no she's not a Hollywood celebrity so she's not trained in glamour but gosh, it's not so hard to study glamour. She can watch a few red carpet events or she can study her own mother-in-law! 

Diana knew how to wear a dress. And she also knew how to charm the public and the media. She had this signature move - as she's about to enter the venue, she'd pause, turn back slightly to look at her adoring public, and smile. Connect with your audience, show another angle of the dress, smile for the cameras. That's a celebrity. She had the confidence to know she looked good and that everyone was there for her. She knew how to bask in that glory of adoration.

And that's what's bugging me about me. Nag-start ito a few weeks ago when the Venice Film Festival happened. I loved how all the stars were owning that red carpet. Like I said, celebrities know how to bask in glory. And I was enjoying the show until I saw this:

That's Zendaya. I have always loved how stylish she is. She's always had fun with fashion (no safe and elegant with this woman). And she's so young but she has always had this innate sense of self. She's so aware of her body and how it looks crazy good in clothes. She has a confidence that should've come from years and years and years of living life. But she's always had it. 

I don't have that. Si Kate and Meghan din, obviously wala. Can you imagine the duchesses with the Zendaya attitude? Nope. Hindi ko sinasabi na dapat magsuot sila ng ganyan. Not even saying they should pose like that. Just the attitude of "I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time." Yun ang wala.

I wish I had that. too. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Lean In Circle Session (join us at Lean In Manila!) of Awaken Women. I spoke with the ladies about how to be visible. It was a talk inspired by my book, Not Invisible. At the start of my talk, I said it's not always good to be seen. I mean just look at Kate and Meghan and the unforgiving scrutiny they get. Do we seriously want that? It was my attempt to reassure everyone that invisibility isn't always a bad thing, that it's okay to be a nobody sometimes, and I said I'm okay with diminishing myself.

But their Circle leader Charl Banzal, who is a life coach and digital entrepreneur, asked me why someone like me still feels imposter syndrome. Someone like me? Charl listed down all I've achieved and hearing her say my long list of accomplishments sounded so good. It also sounded like she was describing another woman, not little old me.  

Argh. I just denied myself. What a betrayal. Why am I like this? Did you know that every time a brand asks me to work with them, my first thought is, "Me? Why me? I'm nobody." Even when I was putting my book together, every time I promote it now, I agonize with thoughts of insecurity. And I hate feeling this way. I'm so proud of my book! I think every mother and everyone who has a mother should read it. My attitude should only be: "I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time."

I read somewhere that our first thought is the voice of the people who raised us. So if your first thought is racist, sexist, homophobic, hateful, self-defeating, then be aware that you can own that thought, dismiss it, and change it. You don't have to let the voices of your childhood be your own. So whenever I think, "I'm a nobody, I'm not worthy of anything," I immediately arrest that ugly thought. Then I have to tell myself, "I'm amazing. I'm so smart. I'm gorgeous. I have the best life. I have accomplished so much. I got this!"

That usually gets me out of my insecure thoughts. But I don't do it all the time. It's exhausting to life coach yourself haha. But when I do, then the public me comes out. The public me is my alter ego - The Journalist. When I'm on The Journalist mode, I'm curious, sociable, and conversant. Yes, like Beyonce, I have my own version of Sasha Fierce. I'm very much an introvert. Any and every social setting gives me anxiety. But when I'm on journalist mode, then I transform. I'm very good at what I do so I let my "woman who works" alter ego take over. Yes, even at family reunions! That's still me anyway. I'm not being fake, I'm just being another version of me. 

But I do wish I don't have to pep-talk myself all the time anymore. For heaven's sake, I'm a middle-aged woman! Hindi bagay sa edad ko. I want to be Zendaya 24/7. Or JLo. Rihanna. Charlize Theron. Beyonce. I suspect even they have a public persona, though. Can they really be owning it 24/7? I guess every one of us has an alter ego. Do you? 

I don't want to have to keep calling on my alter ego all the time, though. I want to own my success and be proud of what I've achieved and who I am. I want that version of me to be the default me because that is me. I worked so hard to get here. I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time. This is mine.