Sunday, December 31, 2017

Beauty begins at home with Flawless acne control skin care products

And a new year is upon us in 10, 9, 8, 7... ! Okay, sa Monday pa but I'm telling you now that if there's one New Year's resolution you should have, it's to take care of your skin. Yes, eat healthy, drink water, do some exercise 30 minutes a day, but if your skin is shot, no one's going to believe you're healthy. Yep. I stand by what I just said.

I know a lot of fitness enthusiasts, for example, who exercise under the sun and don't wear sunscreen. You may have a healthy body but you gonna get skin cancer if you keep doing that. Okay, let's not get morbid? You're gonna look like a wrinkled old lady even if your body age says you're as fit as an 18-year-old virgin.

As a 41-year-old woman who's always had bad skin, I know for a fact that people judge you the first second they see your face. Unfair but true. So two years ago, I started going to Flawless Face & Body Clinic and for the first time since I was a child, my skin is beautiful. Finally! I'm dewy and fresh, I have a glow, and my skin is smooth and pimple-free. Hooray! I still have ice-pick scars from decades of acne and freckles from those years I didn't use sunscreen, but they are improving with each visit to Flawless.

The visits to the clinic addressed my main skin concern, which is acne, but at home I had to maintain my skin care because I can't go to the clinic every day. Even though Flawless is super affordable, a daily visit will still cost a lot! That's why I was sent home with these products!

This SAS Soap, P140, is great at controlling oil production. I have to rinse my face quickly, though, because if I lather up too much or too long, my skin gets really dry. So I remove makeup first with an oil-based cleanser, then work up a lather between my palms before quickly washing my face. Rinse and pat dry.

This is great for deep pore cleaning and for removing makeup and other dirt that may have escaped the SAS Soap. And it's only P330!

I just need a tiny amount of this to dot on the pimple and it's dry and flat the next day. Get a tube for P360.

This is the P290 moisturizer. I spread just a small amount (like maybe a scoop of my ring finger in the pot) all over my face and it helps lighten dark scars and pigmentation caused by the sun.

And here's the Skin Protect Gel, P290! I love how light this is because when you have oily skin like me, anything thick and greasy—which sunscreens tend to be—is just terrible.

So last year's New Year's resolution was to eat healthy, drink more water, and have clear skin. Done! Hooray! This year, I plan to continue this until I have the fabled glass skin of the Koreans. I don't know if that's achievable, being 41 and all, but I will definitely give it a try! I also plan to get fit and eat less (yes, I may eat healthy but I eat a lot). The peg is impossibly fit Jennifer Lopez who is 48 but looks amazing vs fitness buffs Gwyneth Paltrow, 45, and Victoria Beckham, 43, who are sadly looking lotsa wrinkly. I still love Gwynnie and Posh, though!

Grabe, talagang JLo ang peg. Super hard to achieve! You know, I also thought gorgeous skin is impossible for me. It took me two years but it was done. Let's do this!

Now, since my skin has improved a LOT, I want my oily-skinned readers to experience beauty at home with these Flawless products, too. Check out my Facebook page this weekend as I plan to do a giveaway to welcome 2018—the year of flawless skin!

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

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas is a time machine

When Christmas is all about family, how do you deal when the one you most love is not there? Well, I'll get there but let me first tell you how I was feeling this Christmas. I wasn't feeling Christmasy, that's what. I was sick. What is this nasty cough-and-colds bug going around??? Everyone except my never-sick IƱigo got it. I also had work plus the never-ending projects and requirements from my kids' school. So I just wasn't feeling it.

But sometime in the middle of December, it finally kicked in—my excitement for the season. I was still sick, the school was (and is actually still) sending homework, and my clients did not pay me at all (so no money huhu) but I didn't care. Christmas was here! Joy to the world! 'Tis the season to be jolly!

This should be my 2nd Christmas =)

I was telling Vince that mothers is what makes Christmas possible. Yep. Who makes the lists, shops for the gifts, wraps them beautifully, plans all the activities, decorates the house, puts up the tree, wakes everyone up for church (if you go), cooks and cooks and cooks, hosts the parties, collects all the money and gifts in her bag, and then posts the photos on Facebook? Mommies. Always mommies! Okay, Vince was the one who posted the photos on Facebook but only because I reminded him to do it haha.

So you see, if mothers decided to boycott Christmas, Christmas as we know it won't happen. And so you see, if you're like me and you don't have a mother anymore, Christmas can be a shock to the system, a yearly reminder that the woman who made this season so magical is no longer there.

Mama's garden was still in the making. She got busy making babies first! 

Christmas has always been Mama's season. She loved it! She put up the tree early. She wrapped all the gifts. We had fabulous holiday decor of felt and glitter and tinsel all over the house. We had different colored lights permanently installed on the soffits of our roof. We always went to ALL the parties and family reunions. And she loved the fruit cake, the fruit salad, that dessert that was a cake topped by gelatin with fruits suspended in it—she loved it all.

It was so funny when we became Born Again and somewhere along the way, we learned that Christmas is a pagan holiday because Jesus ought to have been born around the harvest and that falls around the end of September, but December 25 was decreed the date of Jesus's birth because people were already celebrating the birth of a pagan god and it was just easier for early evangelists to transition to that date. Etc etc. So basically, our then-pastor said, when we celebrate Christmas in December, we were actually worshipping a pagan god.

This was not okay with my mother. I think it was a crisis of faith haha. I remember her upset at the dining table talking about this with my father and Papa was, like, "To hell with facts!" (My papa was never a believer in facts haha). So finally she decided it's the thought that counts because we continued to celebrate Christmas anyway. And that was that.

Christmases at my aunt's QC home was a mandatory thing in those days.

Around the time I was in college, however, Mama decided she wasn't going to do Christmas anymore. I don't know why this happened. Maybe it's because her children were angsty, ungrateful teens. Maybe because by then we had absolutely no money. She told us there will be no tree, no decorations, no Noche Buena, nothing. She just didn't feel it. So we all agreed because we were teens and Christmas was for kiddies, right, but when that week of Christmas rolled around and nothing was happening, we all felt it. Where was Christmas?

We didn't have a tree anymore—for years!—but Mama still kept the vital Christmas traditions alive, which was church, family reunions, and gifts. She always gave gifts. Even when we didn't have money! I remember one Christmas her gift to me was she and my sister arranged all my photos (that had been in a box) in a cheap photo album. And I looked through that album and I was crying because it was such a wonderful gift. It was the gift of time that she gave me. She gave me her time arranging all those photos chronologically and she gave me a time machine because photos are always a trip down memory lane.

And that's all I have of her this Christmas and every Christmas. Photos and memories. Typical mother, she was almost always never in photos so I have very few photos of Mama at Christmas. The ones you see here, that's all I could find. I'm sure there are more. I remember vividly one photo of Mama in an Afro and electric blue eye shadow. Must have been a groovy Christmas!

Our last Christmas together and we didn't know it. The tree was Vince's gift because he thought my family should have one.

When Mama suddenly died in September 2008, we were seriously dreading Christmas. Like, WHAT NOW?! I didn't even want to go home and see that she wasn't there. But my sister Jacqui saved us all. She put up the tree because that's what Mama would've wanted. She said she was making fruit salad and asked what's our contribution.

And so we showed up, all of us except my older brother because it must've been still too painful for him. The tree from Vince was all lit up with Mama's pink decorations (so now you know why my tree is pink) and we ate and laughed and gave gifts and it was okay.

It was okay. We were going to be all right.

Our first Christmas without Mama.

And I know for people like me, people who no longer have mommies on Christmas, this season can be very difficult. We keep seeing who's no longer there. But for me, it's kinda nice. It's like a time machine. It's at Christmas I remember my Mama most. I remember Mama's excitement and singing and how she loved to eat and be with family. She was so happy at Christmas, wrapping gifts. She taught me how to wrap gifts and to make my scissors glide on that wrapping paper like a dream.  Most of the year, I'm too busy and brush aside memories of Mama. On Christmas, she comes back FULL FORCE.

I've learned to open up myself to these memories, to embrace the season, and to step into that time machine. Because New Year is coming up fast and then I will be swept away again by the urgency of small kids and work and marriage but on Christmas, amidst the whirl of it all, Mama comes back and I welcome her home.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear fellow orphan. We are so lucky to have been so loved. What a gift!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Take a look inside the pages of the BDJ Planner 2018

What's a great Christmas and New Year's gift? A planner!!! I gave my brothers and sister, my nieces, my sister-in-law, and my officemates planners. I truly believe that a planner—one you write on with pen—can change a life. What a gift!

One of the most popular planners this past decade is the Belle de Jour Power Planner. And I have two! One I opened up so we can take a peek inside, and one I'm giving awaaaay! Happy New Year!

Here's the deluxe edition with the velvet leather cover. It's 5.9 x 8 inches, light and compact and can fit into a busy lady's bag. I tried those huge planners and, nope, not for me. I need something I can bring around everywhere.

Okay, let's look inside:

This page always makes me sing that song from Land Before Time. Does anyone even remember that dinosaur movie from the 80s? It's the Diana Ross song, "If We Hold On Together" and it's such an appropriate song for the New Year.

Don't lose your way with each passing day 
You've come so far, don't throw it away 
Live believing
Dreams are for weaving 
Wonders are waiting to start 
Live your story
Faith, hope and glory 
Hold to the truth in your heart 

Dibaaaa??? Okay, mamas, this year we must believe that wonders are just waiting for us to discover them, that dreams are going to come true, that our life is worth telling!

Anyway, more BDJ planner pages before I get downright distracted...

At the very back is a roomy pocket. Don't you just love planners with pockets? And stickers???

In the pocket is a surprise! It's the Perks of a Bella booklet! Inside is your very own BDJ Lifestyle Card.

There's over P40,000 worth of discount coupons for shopping, eating, beautifying (lookcoupons for Flawless!) and more! Super worth getting a BDJ 2018 planner, right?

This BDJ 2018 Power Planner in velvet leather is P680 at bookstores. If you want it customized with your name, order now at

I'm going to give away this BDJ planner this weekend, mamas. Follow my Facebook page and I'll announce the details there. Exciting!

P.S. Because na-LSS na ako, listen na to the song and believe in your heart that if we hold on together, our dreams will never die! Happy New Year, mamas!