Thursday, August 31, 2017

Empowering mamas is what I want to do (plus, a giveaway!)


One of the best things about having a blog is I get to know a lot of other women and their stories. Many of my Loyal Readers tell me they're inspired by my own stories, which really surprises me because that's how I feel for my readers' stories! Many times, I seriously don't know how to navigate this life but many of you always give me advice, offer tips and tricks, and share times when you went through what I'm going through and then tell me I'm going to be okay. It's so nice that we help each other, encourage each other, and just cheer each other on with our experiences and wisdom. Thanks, mamas!

Empowering women (and men!) is why the Boss Bellas workshop series exists.

I think it's wonderful that we live in a time when we women are now more encouraging of each other. Women are always pitted against each other. We compete with each other on who's prettier, sexier, has the best guy, best nails, best kids, best bags, best whatever. I used to be that way—envious, petty and mean. I admit it and I regret it.

But now when I see posts on social media, it's not envy I see but a "You go, girl!" attitude. When we see other women looking amazing, we say, "You look amazing!" When we see other women making their dreams come true, we leave comments like, "You deserve this! Congrats!" When we see other women talking about feeling low, we always send virtual hugs and hearts. Of course, there are still trolls, but I see more love than hate, and I so love that women are now getting together and supporting each other!

On a more personal note, I'm seriously inspired by you all. Even when I'm whining or ranting or being maarte, you always always always cheer me up. Even when you disagree with me and what I write, you ladies engage me in such a way that either we agree to disagree or I change my mind! Thanks for inspiring me, encouraging me, and empowering me. I hope I do the same for you, dearest Loyal Readers!

Anyway, ang haba ng intro. I'm writing this — and this is not a sponsored post! — I'm writing this because Avon told me that August is when they celebrate empowered women everywhere. Now, I'm sure you all know Avon. Avon is a direct-selling company that attracts women because it allows women to earn from home. This has changed a lot of women's lives. Wives help their husbands earn, easing the men's burden to provide. Mothers get extra income for their families' needs. Mothers can quit their office jobs, be with their children, and still make money. Single moms can provide for their families — no men needed. A working woman is an empowered woman! And an empowered woman makes great changes in her family and in her society.

Avon celebrates the empowered woman in two ways: First, this video of their beautiful ambassadors, Ruffa Gutierrez, Jodi Sta. Maria, and Jennylyn Mercado, who happen to be working mamas. Avon believes that Ruffa, Jodi and Jennylyn will inspire other working mamas because they've overcome many struggles — failed relationships, career setbacks, vile gossip. Here's the short video:

Second way that Avon is celebrating empowered women is by offering four must-have products that will help all women stay on top of their game all day, every day. Thanks for sending these to me, Avon! Here are the photos and descriptions from the press kit with my own comments after (I was supposed to take the photos myself but, mamas, I'm so busy with childcare and household chores! Hindi na kaya. Ewan ko ba. I need to be empowered, too!):

Imari Bold
Described as a warm and sophisticated scent that evokes passion and control, Imari Bold’s captivating smell is the easiest way to add a touch of understated class to your look and stay confident all-day long. 

I love this! Imari is my second-ever perfume (the first one is Sweet Honesty, also an Avon scent). Imari has other variants now and I really like Imari Bold because it has a sweet fruity-floral fragrance. I bring it in my purse every day! I love that it's my favorite color, too. 

Buy it—now only P399!

Cassandra Underwire Cami Bra
Looking for a bra that literally changes depending on your needs? Look no further! Avon’s Cassandra Underwire bra with removable/movable high neck lace cami lets you wear it in different ways. And the best part? It comes in a beautiful purple shade that complements just about any other item you have in your closet. 

It's nice, no? You can wear it two ways—one for showing off cleavage, and one for covering it up prettily. Two bras in one!

Buy it—now only P479!

Love Yourself Bangle
A simple but gorgeous imitation-gold half bangle with the phrase “Believe in Yourself” that aims to serve as a daily reminder to all women to always appreciate and assert your worth. Buy it!

Okay, I love this. I want to make a lot in gold, silver, and rose gold and emblazon them all with empowering statements!

Buy it—now only P349!

Briana Shoulder Bag
A tasteful two-tone leatherette bag that can fit all your everyday essentials without sacrificing style, it’s also perfect for adding a pop of color to your ensemble. From work to play, this bag is the perfect companion for modern women who are not afraid of stepping out of their comfort zones in the name of pursuing their passion. 

A tote bag in my two favorite colors! It's nice and roomy, too, and adds a pop of color to corporate uniforms or, if you work in a creative environment, it's bright and fun. If you're a mommy, this is perfect for all your mama needs.

Buy it—now only P549!


That's why I'm giving away the Briana shoulder bag to one Loyal Reader! Just post on the comments below an empowering experience as a mother. I'll publish all the comments when I announce the winner* on September 4, Monday. Hooray!

Thanks, Avon, for sending me these wonderful gifts. God bless you more for empowering so many women all over the world!


Don’t have an Avon Representative? Shop online at Visit or like Avon Philippines on Facebook to find out how you can get in touch with a Representative. 

Want to order Avon on-the-go? Download the Avon Brochure application from the Google Play or Apple Store to start browsing our latest brochure today! The Avon Brochure app will connect you to a nearby Representative, so you can enjoy personalized service.

*winner must have a Philippine address that Xend delivers to. Winner may also pick up the prize at my home. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Frances Finds: Stylist in Pocket fashion-styling-at-home service

A few months ago, professional styling service Stylist in Pocket came over to my house to help me shop for new clothes. If you have a Facebook account, you must've seen all their ads. In fact, they also featured me in one of their ads, and that is why I'm getting sooooo many questions about the styling service.
My new favorite dress from SiP! Wearing it here at a National Book Store event.

So, dahil maraming nagtatanong and para hindi na ako paulit-ulit sa pagsagot, I'm writing this blog post and then sending this link to anyone who asks.

What is Stylist in Pocket?
It's an online styling service. So perfect and convenient for us busy working mamas! They have a stable of stylists who will help us buy clothes that will look good on us and will suit our lifestyle. The service is so personalized and customized and amazing!

How do I get an SiP stylist's service?
First, you register at their website, You then have to fill out your profile—this is quite tedious because you have to answer all these detailed questions on your dress sizes, preferred colors, styles you can't wear, etc. So set aside time for this.

After you fill out the form, you can now request for a home visit. You just click on "Book a Home Visit" button, and then you tell them when you're free. Within 48 hours, a stylist will confirm with you your visit. My stylist was AJ and he's really good at his job!

What should I expect from a SiP home visit?
I was so amazed, mamas. AMAZED! First, the stylist will really arrive on time. He/she will have two assistants and they'll bring a full-length mirror and one or two racks of clothes. Shopping talaga siya! One rack will have the clothes you say you like, and the other rack has the clothes you might consider.

Yes, your stylist will bring clothes that have colors/prints/styles you say you don't like! Why??? Because when you hire a stylist, you have to open your mind! Madalas kasi we get stuck in a style rut. Like me—always black. Some women wear just jeans and a t-shirt. Some moms wear yung mga skintight clothes they wore nung dalaga pa sila kahit na nag-iba na ang shape ng mga katawan nila. Kaya nga we hire a stylist so they can get us out of that rut!

So you go through the racks, pick out styles you like, the stylist will then suggest other styles. Then you try on the clothes, and the stylist will show you how to wear them. Like my stylist AJ. He showed me that if I tie a belt a certain way, my waist will look smaller. He also suggested what kind of shoes to match with the outfit. Mga ganyang helpful tips!

A visit can take about two hours. Mine did, but yours may take shorter or longer. So do set aside a lot of time kasi you really don't want to rush this styling session.

After you pick the clothes you like, you can pay either in cash or credit card. Yes, may dala silang credit card machine!!! Ang efficient! May resibo pa! And if you want P250 discount next time you shop, donate your old clothes to their charity—they will forward the clothes to less fortunate communities.
They also bring FREE iced tea!

How much are their clothes?
In your profile questionnaire, you'll also tell them your preferred budget range. Me, I put mga P1500 to P3500 per dress so when AJ came over, the dresses he brought were in that price range. Since I bought three dresses, I spent around P7,000+. Don't worry, SiP will really work with your budget!

Do I need to pay a service fee?
Nope! Styling is free! So if wala kang nagustuhan na damit, there's no obligation to buy. But, here's the thing—you'll really like the clothes SiP brings. They're customized kasi to your taste, plus there's the fact that your stylist will show you how to wear the clothes well, so mapapabili ka talaga!

Okay, here are the outfits I tried on.
These were really nice shirtdresses. They come with a belt so you won't look shapeless. I like how AJ styled the belt, too. I looked like I had a figure!

Ooooh, I loved this outfit soooo much! That's a white sleeveless dress and then AJ draped a soft pink blazer around my shoulders, then pinned a brooch on my chest. I want this whole #ootd but mahal masyado. Sigh!

I liked this one a lot, too! But AJ pointed out that the color made me look washed out. He advised that I shouldn't pick hues that are too near my skin tone. In hindsight, I agree with him because I always look best in bold colors or dark tones. My closet is full of black, green, red and navy.

Speaking of navy, here's the Espada dress that I bought. I really liked how comfy it is, and how it fell over my curves (hid my bumps actually haha), and then when I found the pockets... SOLD!

Oh, I loved this dress, too! But it was too small! I mean, look at my tummy! SiP can get a larger size, by the way, or you can have clothes altered.

I bought three dresses: the navy dress, a sexy black dress with slits on the sleeves, and a beautiful marsala dress. Can't wait to wear those two dresses but I haven't found an occasion yet!

Before I go, here's a few tips:
1. Wear your good undies. If you normally wear a seamless bra and a girdle, wear those. I do but for my SiP visit, I just wore regular undies kasi nasa bahay lang naman ako. Thing is, when I was fitting the clothes, I couldn't appreciate how they fell on my body kasi my tummy was hanging out a lot haha
2. Fix your hair and face. First, because you have visitors. Second, so you can see yourself dolled up na in the outfits. Ako kasi, hindi ako nag-ayos (see photos above), so I didn't look too good in the mirror. I was trying hard to imagine what I'd look like when I have nice hair and makeup on. Next time I do this, I'll fix myself up talaga!
3. Prepare a big space for the SiP team. Like I said, there's three of them and they have racks of clothes and a mirror. So malamang you'll do the fitting sa living room mo. If you have a huge walk-in closet, that's great, because you can all hang out there. Anyway, basta plan ahead, like saan sila pupuwesto, saan ka magbibihis. Hirap kasi if, let's say, you'll park them in the living room tapos aakyat ka sa kwarto mo para magbihis, multiply by how many outfit changes... Kakapagod! 
4. Line up your shoes. In fact, get your accessories ready in the fitting room — shoes, bags, belts, etc. Again, if you're doing everything in your walk-in closet, this is not an issue. But if you don't have that space, prepare your shoes where you'll do the fitting so that hindi ka patakbo-takbo changing your shoes to match an outfit.

You can see SiP's other styled clients at their Facebook page. And you can create your own profile at their website so you can book a home visit and styling session soonest! Use this code to get a P250 discount: alan2513. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Before Your Business Rushes Into Its Next Big Project, Here's What to Consider

I briefly mentioned our Beauty Biz Bliss business in my invitation to my Boss Bellas workshop this Saturday, and a few Loyal Readers couldn't help but send me notes mourning a business that failed to fly. You know, I also feel bad about it but, like I said, Ginger and I are now sloooooowly going into it again, calling our same endeavor Boss Bellas now. It may have taken a year of delay, but it's happening! And we're now doing things better. Still, I'm going to do a short post today on the things I learned about launching a big project.

Undertaking a big business project always presents a challenge for your company. On the one hand, you want to dive in and get to work right away because this could be the big thing that drives your company forward and helps it to move onto the next level. But there are some important things that need to be considered before you can do that. Here are the questions to ask before rushing into your big project:

Has your team got the right range of skills?
First of all, you need to think about the team that is being assigned to this project. Whether it’s a big team or a small one, it needs to have people in it who possess the required skills. If your team is short on skills that are going to be needed, you probably won’t see the outcomes that you want from this whole project. You don’t want a group of people who are all good at the same things and bad at the same things. Instead, you need a mix of talents, abilities and backgrounds in order for things to turn out well.

With BBB, we were all women with different skills—Ginger would be in charge of the business side, I was assigned the content side, and Martine was going to do the branding and marketing job. So it was supposed to work! I'll tell you later what didn't.

Do you have a plan for managing it coherently?
Managing your project is going to be a big deal. You should have one person in the team who is assigned the role of project manager. If this is a really big project, it might even be necessary to hire a project manager for the duration of the task. That might sound like a pretty drastic move to take, but sometimes, that’s what’s required. It needs to be managed in a coherent and organised kind of way. Alternatively, you could send a team member to a Project management class. There, they will gain the required skills.

For BBB, we hired a wonderful project manager, RJ Dancel, who is the most capable woman in the world. You tell her what you want and she will execute it. No whining, no complaining, no constant clarifications, and always on time. She's a dream and now she's working with Mommy Mundo/Creative Juice. They are so lucky to have her!

Is your schedule really realistic?
Schedules can be tricky to manage because no one is capable of predicting the future. You don’t know how things are going to plan out or which snags you’ll fit along the way. But you do need to make sure that your schedule and timescale are as realistic as they can be. That’s especially important if those things will have a knock-on effect on what the business does afterwards. Be realistic and be cautious. Don’t expect things to go according to plan at every turn because that’s rarely the case.

This was our trouble—we had planned a workshop, a brand activation, and a meet-up with the community every month. It was the one that made the most business sense. Unfortunately, all three of us in BBB were extremely busy last year with our own individual projects and personal dilemmas. On my part, I was juggling my blog, my kids in school for the first time, a toddler, and no household help and yaya! I simply couldn't take on more commitments. That was a tough realization for me—just because I want something and am qualified for it doesn't mean I can get it if I can't commit the time to it.

What outcomes do you want to see?
Finally, you should think about the outcomes. It’s not a good idea to jump into a business project unless you know how you want it to pan out and how you want the business to be positioned when all is completed. You should have a very clear vision of what you think success should look like for the company. And that’s a vision that should be shared with your whole team. You want people to be on the same page throughout this process.

This was another crazy thing that happened to us at BBB. It was supposed to be a simple workshops-for-working-women business. But as word got around and people got excited to work with us, we veered away from the initial goal and added many other goals and dreams to the drawing board—with the to-do lists that came with them! We were simply overwhelmed!

All of these questions are really important, and they will certainly all need to be answered before your company can get underway with its next project. If not, things could start to get messy before you’ve even begun.

With all that we've learned from last year's failed attempt, Ginger and I decided to take things slow this time with Boss Bellas. We had a simple goal—workshops for women who work, want to work or start a business. The schedule is really forgiving—a workshop every two months. And this time, Ginger decided to take Boss Bellas under her Manila Workshops wing so that we're working with her extremely efficient team. And the results? The first workshop was a success! The second workshop is this Saturday! We're planning the next few workshops and we are so excited! In fact, people are again eager to work with Boss Bellas, but we're pacing ourselves, only taking on what we can handle. And this time this big project feels just right!

I hope you learned a lot from this post! Don't be afraid to fail, mamas. That's what Ginger assured me. She wasn't even fazed at all when I confessed I was so discouraged and embarrassed about the whole thing. She just shrugged and said, "Let's try again!" And we did.

*image from PixabayThis post has affiliate links.