Sunday, November 26, 2017

An ode to Iñigo's funny tongue

I was scrolling through my Instagram photos the other day. It's a messy place, full of not IG-worthy photos. I don't have a color motif, a favorite filter, a thoughtfully curated grid. What I do have are photos of my beautiful children. I may have removed the adventures of my kids from my blog, but they are still on my IG and they are love!

Today, I was inspired to share with you something I noticed and made me and the boys laugh. Iñigo's tongue! I'd forgotten that when he was younger, he liked sticking out his tongue when he posed for my camera. Here's a collection of his tongue portraits, dear Loyal Readers, because I know you followed Iñigo from tummy to toddlerhood and love him so.

1 year 8 months old 
1 year 8 months old
1 year 9 months old
2 years 5 months old
2 years 5 months old
2 years 8 months old
2 years 9 months old
2 years 9 months old
2 years 9 months old
2 years 11 months old
2 years 11 months old
The eve of his 3rd birthday
3 years old

3 years 2 months old
3 years 6 months old
3 years 8 months old
4 years 3 months old

My silly boy!

He was never a difficult baby. He was quiet, well behaved, and so happy. My readers and followers always say he's naughty because all you see are the photos of him being silly. In reality, he was the baby who made life easiest for me. He was happiest making us happy. Oh, he had tough times, too, of course. Terrible two's. Everyone has them. But his tantrums never lasted long since all he ever wanted in life was to make us laugh. And that silly little tongue of his sure made us laugh a lot!

We love you, Iñigo! Stay silly and happy and perfect all the days of your wonderful life!

Friday, November 24, 2017

I support World Vision! Plus, news on their recovery aid for returning families in Marawi

Hello, mamas! I'm happy to announce that I have decided to support a worthy cause—the education and literacy of children, especially our underprivileged fellow Filipino kids. I've been thinking about this this year, now that I have two sons in big school. Education is expensive. Tuition, books, school supplies, uniform, baon, projects, the trips back and forth every school day—it's terrible!

There have been a few times these past few months na napapaluhod ako sa takot kasi the tuition is due and wala talaga kaming pera. I'd pray, "Lord, Lord, sabi Niyo hindi Niyo kami pababayaan. Tuition na next week and the checks haven't come. Help us!" I remember nitong August lang, I was praying so hard again and the next day, a blog sponsor called and said the check is ready and the amount was just what I needed to pay my sons' tuition! Coincidence or answered prayer? You know what I believe, mamas!

These instances have made me think na ako na nga who is privileged in so many ways get frightened by the expenses, paano pa yung wala talaga? I remember my poor mother getting into mountains of debt just to send us four kids to school. I think of my own three kids and that I need to work soooo hard for at least 20 more years just to give them a good education. Honestly, it crushes me, those years stretching out before me. Nakakapanghina.

But I trust in a God who is King and He will provide for me and my children. There is a verse in the Bible that says, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. [Psalm 37:25]," and it comforts me. My God will not forsake me. My children will never beg. I claim this promise! 

And because God provides for me, I will share His blessings! And because I am acutely aware of how my own education has saved me from poverty and the fact that I work so hard to send my kids to school, I know that what our country needs to prosper is the good education of all our children. So let's help send other kids to school, mamas!

That's why I now support World Vision. Kapag may extra ako, I donate money to buy a Learner's Kit, a cheery orange backpack filled with school supplies! At P600 a kit, yan pa lang ang kaya ko. One day, I hope to be able to sponsor three scholars the same ages as my kids. 

I also talked with World Vision and said one way I can support them is to be an advocate and share with my readers their work. So, mamas, once in a while, I'll tell you about World Vision, okay? 

Today, I have great news: World Vision commits to support early recovery efforts for Marawi as thousands of its displaced families start returning to the city. The city was attacked by armed groups last May, displacing about 400,000 people and affecting more than 80,000 school-aged children. It disrupted the livelihood of more than 69,000 farmers and around 118,000 workforce. Now that Marawi is liberated, our work—yes, it's our turn!—our work begins. 

Mommy Raisa is one of the many displaced women who now face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from the rubble. The 39-year-old mom of three is also 5-months pregnant. "Some people were afraid of us after the Marawi crisis started so more than the relief items, it matters that people come here, talk to us and listen to us," shares Raisa.

She has been attending World Vision's women and young child space (WaYCS) in the outskirts of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur. "The 10-day WaYCS has also been a good venue for me to mingle with other mothers and get support as I take care of my children, especially the baby inside me," she explains. Her child Hanzela, also joined the child-friendly space and was given a Learner's Kit.

World Vision says, "To date, the organization, through its local partners Ecoweb, Mindanao Tri-partite Youth Core (MTYC), Rawaten, Lanao Youth Council and Tapukan Farmers' Movement for Progress and Concord, Inc. has reached at least 40,000 people through its multi-sectoral interventions. 

"About 20,000 children were served through setting up of 14 child-friendly spaces and provision of learner's kits while 4,000 families or approximately 20,000 people were given hygiene kits that included toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear for both children and adults, sanitary napkin, nail cutter, malong, bath and laundry soaps and other non-food items like mosquito net, fleece blanket and plastic mat. World Vision, through the departments of education and social welfare, has provided 12 temporary learning spaces and 1,000 5-gallon water."

Rommel Fuerte, World Vision's National Director in the Philippines, promises, "We will continue to stand with the people of Marawi, especially with the children who are at the heart of our response."

To help World Vision, visit their website. God bless you, mamas!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

7 makeup products (+ 3 treatments!) that my oily skin loves

It's no secret that I've been battling acne for the last three decades. Because of Flawless Face & Body Clinic, my face is finally clear!!! Smooth and radiant for the first time in the longest time. Does this mean I've been cured? Well, no. I still need my monthly facials to manage my acne-prone skin. Notice I now say "acne-prone skin" and not "acne-ridden face." I'm soooo happy!

Anyway, since I'm still an oily-skinned woman (yes, even though I'm already 41), I'm here to share with you how I manage to look fantabulous even though my skin had suffered from oil, breakouts, dark pimple spots, and ice-pick scars. How? With the right makeup!

You'll be happy to know that I don't use a ton of products, too. Here they are, my tried-and-tested makeup for oily skin:

I only use primer when I have a whole day of events or when I have a speaking engagement. Primer creates a smooth base by filling up pitted scars and fine lines (acts like masilya haha) and also makes makeup adhere better, longer. I've tried a few primers. The Bobbi Brown Skin Smoothing Pore Perfector, P1,780, is my favorite. Two thumbs up for helping me look pore-less, line-less, and scar-less.

Available at Bobbi Brown boutiques

A huge perk of my job back then as editor at was we Calyxta girls could sample the tons of products our beauty website sells. I've been happy with Maybelline Dream Mousse foundation until one day, testers of L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR foundation dropped at Calyxta HQ. I tried it and our art director, Ming, said, "What are you wearing? You look great!"

This was a huge deal for me, guys, because when I was working at Calyxta, I couldn't do reviews that showed my face—I had sooo many pimples and dark scars. L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR foundation, P700, covered that all up! Even better, the foundation dries to a matte finish and my face stays shine-free all day long. I love it!

For really dark spots and for those days I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep (and when you're a mother, you never get any of that!), Pink Sugar Our Lil Secret Concealer, P349, always rescued me. Pink Sugar is a local brand. Yes!!! Support local!!! I love that it's local because its formula takes into consideration our tropical climate. This concealer covers all blemishes and it stays on those blemishes all day. This concealer does not budge! It comes in a tiny tube but that's okay because it's a thick product. Just a tiny bit goes a long way. I love it!

This is another fab find. I love the Malissa Kiss Super Black Ultra HD Eye Liner, P349. Malissa Kiss is a Thai brand. I used to skip eyeliner because it always smudges. Always! I always end up looking like a raccoon. But here comes this liquid eyeliner from Thailand, sporting an extremely fine point that makes for precision lining. The ink dries quickly so blinky-eyes me won't even need to fan my eyes for the liner to set. And when it sets, it's there forever. I love it!

Eyebrow Pen
Behold—the Malissa Kiss Super Shape Ultra HD Brow Pencil, P349! It's so easy to use. Just brush up brows with the built-in spoolie, then draw on your arches with the crayon on the other end. The crayon is waxy so it acts like a pomade and keeps brow hairs in place. Best part? The crayon is deeply pigmented, smudge-proof, sweat-proof, and oily skin-proof. I love it!

Pressed Powder
Innisfree No Sebum Blur Pact, P759, is a revelation. It really does blur imperfections so that I look like I'm glowing (not shiny!). I use this to set my makeup and then I find that I don't need to powder my nose anymore, no matter how long my day is. The fine powder made from Jeju clay combined with other minerals absorbs oil and controls oil production, too. It's so amazing. I love it!

Blotting Paper
For extra hot days or if I want to freshen up, I don't even need to bring out my powder. I just use Happy Skin Tickled Pink Skin Perfecting Absorbent Charcoal Blotting Sheets, P149. It's my favorite because it's huge. When you have oily skin, it's oily everywhere, not just on the nose. So I appreciate how big the paper is because one sheet is enough to suck up the oil on my entire face. I love it!

I'm still looking for a mascara. When you have oily skin, the mascara smears on lower lids every time lashes brush against the oil. Yep. Think about eye makeup remover—what's it made of? Oil. And oil on my skin is abundant. So the search for mascara continues! If you have any recommendations, please share!

Now I want to happily say that as my skin improves with every visit at Flawless, I've found that I no longer need makeup. Oh yes, it's true! Shout out to my derma, dear Dr Boyles of Flawless SM Light, for taking care of my skin! I am super grateful. She walked me through my Flawless treatments—first the Advanced Acne Control Facial with Salicylic Acid Peel when my skin was volcanic; next was the Glycolic Acid Peel when my skin had calmed down, and now my Rejuvelite Facial (Acne Control) to maintain my now-almost-perfect skin!

We still need to address my ice-pick scars, and for that Dr Boyles recommends the Fractional Needling Therapy (FNT), which celebrities regularly get. It's a therapy that uses micro needles to resurface skin and push powerful skin-nourishing serums deep into the dermis. Because needles are involved, there's downtime—your face will be really red for days, which is why I haven't said yes to the FNT yet because as a working mama with no yayas and maids and who picks up my kids every day from school, I don't have the luxury of hiding away from the world as I wait for my face to heal. I should've done it during the ASEAN holiday!!! If I ever do FNT, I'll update you!

Meanwhile, I'm already happy with my pimple-free face and content that my fab makeup finds helps me achieve that flawless look!

This post is brought to you by Flawless Face & Body Clinic.