Monday, January 14, 2019

Looking for a condo? Check out the Camella CoHo lifestyle

One of the places my family and I love to visit is the All Home complex along Libis in Quezon City. We don't go there often since it is out of our way, but when we do, it's always such a happy place. Just look at these kids!

The Libis complex is a taste of the CoHo lifestyle. That's what Camella calls their new real estate phase of building Camella Condo Homes all over the country, with each development having its own commercial complex with lifestyle amenities its residents will love.

I know this because I got a big brochure (more like a magazine) and I got interested in investing in maybe a small condo unit in Tagaytay, a place we love. Actually, Vince and I were thinking of a house in Tagaytay but when I looked through the CoHo Lifestyle magazine, I remembered why I'm a city girl. I love living in a condo and having everything I want and need steps away from my door! Just read this:

"What is the CoHo Lifestyle? It means living just a few steps away from a luxury mall that offers global retail selections. It means having world-class cinemas as your home theater. It means having a beautiful coffee shop as an extension of your living and working space. It means having an innovative, fun and fresh supermarket as your pantry."

Sounds like the life I love!

The CoHo lifestyle means having a complete and affordable home store and a modern and convenient supermarket right outside my residence. Just look at the boys testing out chairs. We gave away our old chairs and now I'm thinking I need a new one for my work desk. (I can feel Vince rolling his eyes once he reads that sentence hehe.)

The CoHo lifestyle means having a wonderful café and pastry shop a few feet away from work-at-home me so I can always run down and out if I need a java jolt or just a change of scenery but without dealing with traffic.

Plus check out how gorgeous Coffee Project is!

Their cakes are a bit too rich, though. But that makes them go well with the coffee, I guess, so it's okay.

At Libis, the boys and I discovered that there's actually a showroom hidden way at the back of the second floor.


The boys were delighted at this new "playhouse" (and here's me yelling, "Don't run around! Don't break anything!").

The condo unit is quite small. Definitely not for a big family like mine. But my kumare, realtor Kabbie Alipio, said that it's perfect for OFWs saving up for a retirement home in the city, or for parents looking for a place for their college students to stay in, or for newlyweds or young professionals. All CoHo developments are near or are in urban areas all over the country, so they really are perfect for those who want to be in the center of it all. Like me!

I checked the Camella CoHo website and, depending on the property, meron naman daw units na 1-BR, 2-BR and 3-BR. Yun nga lang, the place I want — The Pine Suites at Tagaytay — only has 2 bedrooms in 48sqm. That's very cozy, but okay na for when we visit on weekends, diba?

What do you think? Have you seen any of the showrooms yet? Did any of you buy??? Vince and I are thinking of a home outside Manila but still in an urban setting since we like living in a city.

Anyway, something to think about this 2019! I have a good feeling about this year. May we all have a really great year!

Friday, January 11, 2019

My word for the year is cheerful. I'm going to be cheerful in 2019!

Yep, it's CHEERFUL. My word for the year is cheerful. It came to me on my birthday last November when I was thinking about my new year. "Lord," I prayed. "What do you want me to be this year? What should I do for You and my family and the people around me?" And this verse blossomed in my head:

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

So I was focusing on BOUNTIFUL, you know, because I want to be inundated with money, blessings, and lots of good things this 2019. I wanted to stop worrying. I believed if I just had more, I'd be less anxious. But I just kept gravitating towards CHEERFUL. Not even "cheerful giver." Just CHEERFUL. And I realized - BAM! - I was being convicted by the Holy Spirit because I've been so masungit and fearful and depressed the last few years!

I struggled with that word. I didn't like that word. It was too, I dunno... It doesn't sound like me. I have a big smile but I'm not a sunny person. Cheerful sounds like someone else. Cheerful sounds so immature and undignified. And then another verse came up a few weeks later:

"She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25

Okay. So God replied, "You can laugh and be dignified at the same time. Cheer up first and then watch Me make things happen."

Jelly Bean

And so I finally said yes. Yes, God, I'm going to be cheerful na! And if you read my 42nd birthday post, you can see that my attitude had already changed. I'm willing myself to be happier now, to just focus on the good—nope, not to ignore the bad but not to be blind to the goodness of life either. So there, mamas. Join me on my mission to be cheerful this year! That's my word and I'm going to obey and I'm going to be grateful and happy with what I have and what's to come. This time, I'm not going to be "I'll be happy when the world is finally a better place." This time, I'll be happy no matter what!

I will confess that I'm afraid I'll have a hard time sticking to this CHEERFUL word. Let me explain why.

In 2013, my word of the year was SIMPLICITY. I had just lost my dream job as a glamorous magazine editor and it was a blow to my ego. I prayed for a similar glamorous job but God impressed upon my heart to let that go. It was a time for diminishing, for becoming humble, for simplicity. Well, I tried but my blog picked up big time and it got to my head. I became even more mayabang than ever.

In 2014, my word was FAMILY. I was going to be a mommy of 3 boys this year! But I was also in the thick of my new career as a professional blogger. I wanted to work work work, especially since so many new bloggers were coming into the scene. But again God told me to focus on what matters: my family. So I said, "Okay!" But I didn't really obey. I said yes to so many projects this year—on top of my burgeoning blogger campaigns, I had my Manila Bulletin column, my articles, and Baby Magazine. Guess what happens when you disobey God? Bad stuff. Overwhelmed with work and three young children, I failed in everything I did! Even as a wife and mommy! I was finally humbled because I was so embarrassed by my failures.


In 2015, my word was COURAGE. It had to be. I needed courage to face a year where my career prospects were non-existent and so I had only my blog to rely on for our family's income. I wasn't a very good mommy nor was I a great wife. With three small kids, I was overwhelmed and exhausted and all of that frustration came out as rage. I just wanted to give up really. So I told myself I've always said courage was my biggest and best trait. And that year, courage to face another day after mistakes and failure is why I'm still here today, with my boys, still incredibly blessed. Courage and hope—these are the best things in life!

In 2016, my word was LOVE. With a toddler in his fiercest tantrum stage ever (his two older brothers never had tantrums like this last one) and then the elections where I got into terrible arguments with family and friends, you can bet love was a very hard word to embrace. To apply it in my life? That year, I felt it was impossible. I have never felt so much hate, anger, disillusion and fear in all my life. I guess that's why God impressed upon my heart for "love" to be my 2016 word, to prepare me for what's ahead. But did I love people? Nope. Not at all. I was a disgrace.

So in 2017 and 2018, I had no words. I was just too angry, disillusioned, upset and afraid. I was also aware that I haven't been living up to any of the words I've been supposedly using as the guide for my year. Obviously, this "word of the year" is nonsense for me. Or hopeless for me. But God worked on my heart and renewed my mind. I let go of a lot of anger and hate slowly. In its place, gratitude and hope and faith took over. I had to believe that the world is still a good place, for my children's sake! And I had to ask for forgiveness because I wasn't a very good person these past 2 years. I needed to work on myself and it's slowly happening. I think I'm a better person now.

And so here we are in 2019! I'm going to choose happiness this year. Not really positivity. I detest that word or attitude. It's come to mean ignoring the evil around us or refusing to acknowledge suffering (others' and our own) just to keep the peace. I will still fight for what's right. I will still use my anger for good change. I will still point out what's wrong and what's bad. I will never stop talking about problems - especially of women and mothers! - because we must never be blind or deaf or unfeeling for the sake of positivity. But I will also not allow the evil of the current times to dampen my spirits and affect my mental health. I'm going to have fortitude this year! I will draw on the joy and peace that passes all understanding to choose happiness this year... and hopefully for every single day of my life.

Baby Chicken

So here's to cheerfulness! Wish me luck! I'm such a grumpy person I don't know if I can do this haha And I wish you all the joy and happiness, too, my dear friends. God bless us all this 2019! Let us all laugh without fear of the future!'

P.S. Which of my happy boys look most like baby me??? That was a rare smile, I was told. Even as a child, I wasn't a cheerful one. We'll change that about me!

P.P.S. That's just chocolate on Vito's teeth. He has clean teeth - no cavities!!!

Monday, January 07, 2019

Backstreet Boys' song "No Place" brings up all sorts of love for mamas

If you grew up in the 90s like me, you're most likely a fan of the Backstreet Boys. If not, that's okay. You'll like this new song of theirs anyway, if you're a mommy like me, or if you want to have a family, or if you just want a home. Yes, dearest readers, Backstreet's back with "No Place" and it's bringing up all these warm and fuzzy feelings in my wife-and-mama heart.

Now, I haven't followed the BSB for a long while now. Like them, the past decade of my life has been focused on making a family, too. So it was a huge delight for me to see them all together, singing... and with their families! I can relate so much! The "No Place" single is from their new studio album, DNA, out on January 25. I already know this is my favorite song because of this video!

I love all the sneak peeks at their homes and family lives! I love going behind the scenes and tours of celebrity homes. It was sooo nice seeing their kitchens, for example haha

If I loved them before for being so hot, I love them even more now for being so much hotter! Devoted husbands and fathers are the sexiest men in the world, am I right???

Their kids are sooo adorable! And they're mini me's of their daddies, too! Especially the kids of Nick and AJ. I love looking at families. I'm one of those annoying people who go, "Wow, you look so alike!"

More than looking alike, it was also nice seeing the kids reflect their daddies, too. For example, Kevin's son who was singing and dancing to the song. That kid looks like a future entertainer! Or Brian's son who was playing the guitar with his dad. That boy looks like he'll be a teen heartthrob soon (if not already).

Don't you just love seeing the wives and kids being so alive and present? How they interact with each other—that's real. It almost feels like a home video. It feels so intimate. I love how Howie looks deep into his wife's eyes, or how AJ and his wife sing together, or how Kevin sings to his wife while they slow dance, or how Brian gives his wife a quick peck (such a married kiss haha).

You know what I love best about their song and video? It celebrates family. Family isn't something they left behind because they had to work. Family isn't holding them back. You know how people go, "I'd rather travel the world than have kids because kids will prevent me from doing what I want/seeing the world/go places/achieve greatness/etc"? I just want to say that traveling is so much better with your spouse because love makes the world more beautiful (no kidding!). And traveling with kids is so much more fun because you see the world through their eyes! And kids make every endeavour more meaningful! Making money and building dreams have a resonance it never had before when you're doing it for the loves of your life. At the end of the day, at the end of a trip, at the end of your life, there's still no place like home. You got that right, Backstreet Boys. Thank you for making what's so real and practical and ordinary so romantic and special.

Aaaaaaagh I'm such a fan! Please watch!!!