Saturday, April 09, 2016

My charmed life

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

We have a new helper finally. So I can finally sleep in now, and I can cook happily now because the dishes and pans are all washed and clean now, and the floors aren't sticky anymore now, so basically I'm not so tired anymore now. Still, since she's new, I've had to teach her how to clean, how the machines in the house work, and many other minutiae like you can't vacuum until you've thoroughly swept the floor and looked through the cushions because there are definitely tiny Lego parts there and everywhere. Stuff like that. Adjustment period but if she proves to be masipag, masinop and mapagkakatiwalaan, I believe life would be much easier soon.

So anyway, one time, while we were chatting, our new helper observed, "Ma'am, ang yaman-yaman niyo siguro. Kasi parehas kayo ni sir na nasa bahay lang."

"Oy, hindi kami mayaman. At may trabaho kami," sagot ko. I always get alarmed when our household help speculate on our financial state. I've heard stories of helpers going through trash cans looking for shopping receipts, credit card slips and payslips, and then showing these off to their fellow kasambahays. Then I explained, "We're writers. Manunulat. Yung mga sinusulat namin ay mga libro, mga articles para sa magazine, sa website, sa blog."

"Trabaho po yun?"

"Oo naman! Basta may bayad, trabaho yun."

"Pero hindi mukhang trabaho yung trabaho niyo!"

And there, my dear friends, lies the secret of my charmed life.

Just a few years ago, I'd never have believed that I can do what I love, earn from it, and do it from home, too. So much of my life is so different from what I thought it would be, and far better than what my parents dreamed it to be, because of technology. With just a computer, a smart phone and an internet connection, I can work, I can play, I can entertain, I can learn, I can teach, I can keep in touch, I can go places. My life really changed when I chose to change it with technology.

I'm grateful that SMART helped change my life. The new gadgets I got (available with their gadget plans) like the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 have made it easier for me to live a lifestyle that isn't parked behind a desk—even though I write for a living. I Uber everywhere and I work from everywhere because my iPhone and my SMART LTE connection allows me to reply to important emails and messages while stuck in traffic. That's also when I update my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with sponsored posts. No time is wasted in traffic at all. Speaking of traffic, it hardly figures in my life because I work from home most of the time anyway. I can be a working woman and a mommy at the same time—Googling recipes for my blog sponsor Jolly canned food while teaching my son to cook is just one example.

Even though I love this work-at-home arrangement, I do have plans on going back to the corporate world, especially now that I have two boys in school—I'll have more time and I'll have a regular income. Through social media, I'm already sending out feelers, tapping and making connections, just in case! And just in case I do go back to working in an office, I can rely on calls and messages with my family to keep us connected throughout the day.

What a huge change this is from just a few years ago! And the world keeps changing. Sometimes I think my kids wouldn't need to go to school anymore because all the knowledge in the world is at their fingertips. I just need to guide them to love learning and to know what to search for. In fact, I know a lot of parents who homeschool their kids and every time I look at the traffic outside my window, I see why this is an option that gets more attractive each day.

Which now reminds me of our other helper. She and I also had that exact same "ano trabaho niyo?" conversation. When I explained to her the many things that technology has changed in my life and in the world, she was amazed. Then I handed her the iPad Mini that SMART gave me and said, "Eto, mag-enroll ka sa mga TESDA courses. Libre yun. May computer programs sila. Pwede ka rin mag-certificate courses sa mga colleges sa ibang bansa. Biruin mo, makakapag-aral ka sa colleges sa Singapore, sa US or sa UK pero nandito ka lang sa bahay!"

"Pwede po yun? Makakapagtapos ako ng college?"

"Oo and kung may bayad, pwede kitang tulungan. Pero marami ka nang mapag-aaralan na subjects at courses na libre lang. Game?"

And then she looked at me and said she'd love to do it. So I gave her the WiFi password and the links to online learning schools. However, she just ended up downloading apps for my kids to enjoy and watching funny Facebook videos that made her happy. Well, at least she's happy! And at least I know that when she's ready to change her life, she now knows it's possible. Oh, how her life would change!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Review: Physiogel Calming Relief range

This post is brought to you by Physiogel Calming Relief.

Hi everyone! I'll just do a review of each Physiogel Calming Relief product today because I keep getting questions from readers and I sometimes find myself staying up way too late just chatting with my dear readers about Physiogel. So I'll do a big review so that every time a reader asks me about Calming Relief, I'll just send them this link!

If you're new to this blog, then let me just explain why the questions about this line. I started using Physiogel Calming Relief when I was invited to be part of the Physiogel Inner Circle and attend the launch at Bangkok. Then I showed my readers the huge improvement in my skin after just 14 days of use, and then I explained how the new skincare line works using BioMimic Technology.

Apparently, my scary no-makeup/no-filter photos impressed quite a bit of my readers. Some have told me they bought Physiogel Calming Relief immediately (yey!), but there are some readers who still want a thorough product review. So here it is!

Physiogel Calming Relief Cream Cleanser, P850

This cream cleanser has a milky texture and goes on smooth. While there's no fragrance in the ingredients, this smells a bit like fresh coconut. It's really faint but I'm sensitive to smells. It's a good thing I find the scent pleasant.

This is a no-suds cleanser so it doesn't foam up when you cleanse your face. I'm not used to that since I like bubbles, but I'm trying to get used to this because I recently found out that bubbles means detergent. You don't want to use detergent on your face!

This is also a no-rinse cleanser. You just wipe it off gently with tissue. I'm also trying to get used to this. I like washing the dirt off my face and seeing it go down the drain. Wiping off the day's makeup and grime feels unsatisfactory. What I do is use this cleanser in the morning or when I just stayed home all day. But when I was out that day, exposed to sweat, oil and pollution, with a full face of makeup, too, I use this cleanser as a makeup remover then I use the soap from my acne treatment regimen for extra measure.

My face does feel clean when I use this cream cleanser. Plus, it's soft and smooth. It doesn't feel tight and dry and raw, which means it's gentle and moisturizing.

Physiogel Calming Relief Face Cream, P800

This is what I use during the day. I super love it! Before I started using the Physiogel Calming Relief Face Cream, I was undergoing treatment for my acne-ridden skin. I'm still going through it actually. I think acne will be with me forever. So anyway, my skin was red, raw and flaking off from the facials and medicines, but after just one application of the face cream, my skin instantly felt relief. The pain and sensitivity disappeared, the redness and flakiness were toned down. By the 10th day, my face felt and looked better.

Physiogel Calming Relief Face Cream Rich, P850

I got this tube and the cream cleanser at the Bangkok event so I only got to use the cleanser 12 days after using just the face cream and the Face Cream Rich after a month of using the normal variant. That's because the Rich variant is for very dry skin and I don't have dry skin. In fact, my skin is really oily and sensitive so I didn't think I needed this product. But one time, my toddler played with my beauty products and I couldn't find my Face Cream so I used the Rich cream and I woke up with super supple, soft skin!

So now I use the Face Cream Rich, but only at night or if I'll be home all day. Why? It's really very moisturizing so my face looks and feels oily after using this cream. For just an hour really and then it gets absorbed. I think this is specific to me because I'm really super oily. At first, I was worried I'd become oilier and break out, but that didn't happen at all. In fact, my skin just became super supple. My skin feels younger, I think!

So I really love and recommend Physiogel Calming Relief face products. 

Just a few more notes based on the FAQs of my readers:
  • The Physiogel Calming Relief is not an acne treatment. This skincare line is to make skin strong and healthy. I am still getting pimples but they appear less and are fewer. Plus, I noticed that my pimples, the few that do pop up, they get "hinog" faster. Unlike before, my pimples used to take a week to even two weeks to get "hinog." So the pimples get redder and bigger and more painful over such a long period of time, resulting to deep acne scars or dark pigmentation because the skin suffered trauma. Now, my pimples are "hinog" in three days, they don't get very big, they're not painful, and they dry up quickly. 
  • You can use other skincare treatments with the Physiogel Calming Relief products. As mentioned, the main purpose of the line is to make skin strong and healthy via its remarkable BioMimic Technology. But if you have other skin concerns like sun protection, lines, acne, pigmentation, you can still use them with the Calming Relief products. I find that it's made my acne treatment more effective, for example. 
  • You can use the Physiogel Calming Relief products under makeup. I thought the creamy texture will make my makeup slide around. But I feel it makes my makeup easier to apply and makes my makeup last longer. The cream acts as a hydrating base, plus since flaky skin is reduced, the finish of the makeup looks better. 
  • Anyone can use Physiogel Calming Relief products. It's safe, gentle and hypoallergenic. It's free from fragrances and ingredients that can irritate skin. It's so safe, even people with eczema and dermatitis can use these products. My skin is very sensitive. I flare up, get rashes, get really itchy and develop acne if the face products I use are not safe. But my skin has never reacted adversely to this line at all. I'm also really oily so I was afraid of the emollient oils in the products but my skin has not gotten oilier and more pimply. Just better!
Oh, and additional info for the photos above: every product has a dispenser. I love that! I really hate products that come in jars because every time I dip my finger into the cream, I contaminate it. The active ingredients also evaporate every time you unscrew the cap. Then you never really know if you're putting enough or too much product. But the Physiogel Calming Relief products are tubes with dispensers so every pump delivers the right amount of product every time. The product doesn't dry up or gets contaminated so it lasts longer and is safer. I love it!

The Physiogel Calming Relief range is available at Mercury Drug and Watsons. Here are my affiliate links to the Physiogel Calming Relief products:

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

New Belo Baby for baby's best skin

This post is brought to you by Belo Baby.

Today was all about babies for working mommy me. First, up early to get ready for a photo shoot for BABY Magazine. We featured the most adorable little girls wearing fashion inspired by iconic women. I can't wait for you to see the fashion editorial in our anniversary issue!

After the shoot, we—that's me and my bunso Piero—rushed to the launch of Belo Baby at Museum Café. Yes, skincare giant Belo Medical just entered the baby-care market with its own line of bar soap, hair-and-body wash, face-and-body lotion, and colognes.

Museum Café was transformed into a lush garden for our lunch. I'm guessing this is to reflect the fact that everything in Belo Baby's products are from nature.

Belo Baby was especially formulated to be gentle, safe and natural. It's made with all-natural ingredients that will be tough on germs but tender on baby's sensitive skin. And I think another thing mommies will love is the fact that even though these are made with the best ingredients, they're affordable. The soap is P79.75, the hair-and-body wash is P219.75, the face-and-body lotion is P224.75, while the colognes are P79.75 each.

Its key ingredients are shea butter, cocoa butter and sweet almond oil. 

Shea butter nourishes skin and hair by healing, moisturizing and protecting it. It's known to heal eczema and diaper rash. 

Cocoa butter is rich in antioxidants. It strengthens skin from within. It's also anti-inflammatory so it relieves rashes. 

Sweet almond oil exfoliates, stimulates healthy skin development and locks in moisture.

There's a trio of colognes, too! As with the rest of the products of the new Belo Baby line, the colognes are also free from harmful ingredients like tetrasodium EDTA, magnesium sulfate, sodium tallowate, phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, tetrasodium etidronate and dmdm hydantoin. Well, I am so glad I'm writing this down because I have no idea how to pronounce a lot of those terms I just typed!

Anyway! Back to the launch. I was late so I had just a wee bit of time to eat this salad and the main dish of fish. Meanwhile, Piero played and played and played.

Cristalle Belo Henares did a great job explaining how her new baby was created—with a lot of science and research! She really wanted to create a skincare line that cares for the most sensitive of skins, and she's proud of Belo Baby. She said she and her team did not stop until they created products that were far superior than the other baby brands available.

Here's our table with the dessert. Oh, I wanted to eat that fruit! But I was too busy with Piero and with taking pictures. Oh, what's in the bag? Suncare products! Everyone got a bag of sunscreen because it's summer. Although any dermatologist will tell you that sunscreen is necessary even when it's cloudy, raining, winter, and even when you're just inside your house.

We also got to see the rough version of the Belo Baby TVC that will be shown next month.

Belo Baby picked the hosts of online show, "Eat, Drink, and Be Married" as the ambassadors of their new baby brand. From left are Nicole Hernandez De Los Angeles, Patty Laurel-Filart and Kelly Misa-Fernandez.

I've been lucky enough to have interviewed these ladies for magazine articles—Nicole when she was still a college student, Patty when she was newlywed and then again when she was a new mom, and Kelly when she was a newlywed, too. So I know these women are smart, hardworking women who are also madly in love with their husbands and utterly devoted to their babies. Basically the pegs of most women today! Belo Baby chose well!

And here's Cristalle with the mombassadors.

All of us bloggers took home a set of the Belo Baby line plus a stuffed sleeping lamb. As I type, my three little boys are having their evening baths. They like their baths with Papa because Vince is fun while I'm mechanical haha. So I'll give a review (and maybe a giveaway? What do you think?) in my next post.

For now, do check out the new Belo Baby line. The website is, the Facebook page is belobabylove, and it's @belobabylove on Twitter and Instagram. It's available at your favorite supermarkets and grocery stores. Soon, it will be at drugstores, online shops, and even sari-sari stores nationwide.