Thursday, April 30, 2020

A joyous labor: Jennifer Lopez on the necessity of working and how she deals with working-mom guilt

I need that pink bag!

Even though I follow @jlo on Instagram, it's only now that I saw her videos for the Coach Spring 2020 campaign called "Originals Go Their Own Way". At 50 years old, Jennifer Lopez is having a really good year (good for her) that kicked off with her jaw-dropping performance at the Super Bowl, nominations for her role in Hustler, and her numerous brand endorsements. And yet, as her famous song goes, she's still Jenny from the block and her every interview just shows a woman who is warm and funny and real. Which is exactly what I want to always be!

I'm loving her little NY Minute interviews for Coach. This one, where she talks about being a mom, is especially inspiring for me as a working mom.

The best thing that happened to Jennifer is not her phenomenal career. It was her twins, Max and Emme. I remember covering this story for OK! magazine way back in 2008. As the editor, I was hell-bent on getting the photos and exclusive interview. And we got it! It was a beautiful feature but one I—as a newlywed with no desire for kids—didn't understand.

In London for the 2008 OK! annual conference and so proud of our cover.

Now that I have my own kids, I can appreciate Mommy JLo better. She says in her Coach video, "Your whole perspective on the world changes.  It's all about [the kids]—how you can be better for them, how you need to be better for them. [With] my type of work, I'm lucky that I can have [my family with me]. Because when they're there, they empower me to soar. I want to make them proud."

For Jennifer, being better means never getting complacent, which kinda stung because I wasn't dreaming anymore. I've already had my dream career come true before so I believed that I can't get greedy. I'm lucky I had that. Now I can be a nobody, just be there for my family, dream for them not for myself. But what JLo said stirred something in me. The old me. Perhaps the real me. I want to dream again! I want to conquer something again!

And if the new dreams make life as a mommy harder? Jennifer says, "I think they wish I didn't work as much but I think they also appreciate all they have because of it. Just like anybody's life, it's not perfect but we make the best of it. Just like every working mom... there's not just enough hours in the day sometimes but it's a joyous labor making it all happen."

A joyous labor. I love it! I finally have the words to describe what motherhood is. It's so succinct. So perfect. Motherhood is hard work and the work never ends. But it is also joyful and though we're exhausted all the time, we can't imagine life without this joy.

Here's Jennifer being interviewed by People magazine's Jess Cagle in 2017 [full interview here]. He was asking her about her comeback way back in 2011, when she was a new mom and she was 42 years old (ancient in Hollywood) but that was when she launched her mega-successful album LOVE? and invaded homes everywhere as a judge on American Idol. Jennifer said she was a new woman and the world needed to see the new JLo. "Here's what changed in my life: I had given birth. I had given birth and the kids honestly gave me a new direction. They just made me realize what was real and what wasn't real... They just changed everything."

And instead of feeling, as I did, that motherhood means retreating from the world, for JLo, it meant conquering it. She said, "It's true! There is a thing that happens and 'On The Floor' honestly was me [going]: 'Get back out there. You're an animal. You're a beast! Pull up your panties and get back out there!'"

"Here's what happened: I had the kids, and I started working on some more music and I started thinking about life in a different way. Like I said, I started asking more questions of myself, of love, of what was right and what was wrong, all because I wanted their life to be great, too. And I knew for their life to be great, my life had to be great. I had to fix some things."

And boy did she fix things. Actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer, author, and businesswoman. And mother! Jennifer does all that she does while she's a devoted mother. I am so inspired! Of course I'm aware our situations are different. I know I'd be able to work better if I had household help, for instance. But just dreaming again is a big step, I think! I want to do something again apart from motherhood, for myself really, that my kids will see and be proud of. 

As moms, we all know our children are our priority. That's a given. It's so easy to get lost in motherhood, however, and we forget we are more than moms, that we were someone before we became moms, that we can be something else, too, while we are moms. It's been a struggle for me to go beyond motherhood because it's easier for me to focus on just one thing. But I want to always push myself to work. For my own fulfillment, yes, but also for my boys. I need my sons to see me as more than their mama, because that will color how they see women for the rest of their life. I need them to see women as more than just a devoted wife and a nurturing mother, but as a fully realized human being with dreams and goals and ambition and drive and power. 

That is my joyous labor. I'm so excited! Now let's dance to some 20 years of JLo tunes!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

4 home-based business ideas that actually make money

Many moms ask me how I earn from home, especially now that many of us are suffering a loss of income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I earn money from just writing. I contribute articles to websites and magazines, my blog earns from sponsored posts, and I get paid for links and guest posts. There are many more ways to put up a home-based business. Today's guest post tackles 4.

GUEST POST - Whether you’re saving up for a huge purchase or looking for a supplementary income, starting a business can be a profitable side hustle. With the available technology today, you don’t need to rent a commercial space, hire employees, or even leave your house to establish a business.

You can earn an extra income just by staying at home and making use of the resources that you have (e.g., your skills, expertise, or hobby). Or you can also find a reliable manufacturer that will supply you with products to sell.

Either way, you can earn money while running your business at home and with minimal capital to start. If you’re looking for inspiration for a home-based business, here are five profitable ideas to try.

Sell Your Handmade Products

Are you a crafter? You can earn money by selling your creations online. Handmade and personalized products are popular gift items, which means there is a market for them. With you making the products, you have a lot of control over the production process. You can tailor products for a particular audience, find ways to make them more cost-effective, or innovate methods to improve quality.

Then you can sell your handmade products through a marketplace, social media, or your own online shop. Certain products, particularly those that ingested or applied on the skin, are regulated under laws. These include makeup, skin-care products, food, and beverages. Be aware of the legalities and permits you need to apply for if you’re planning to sell such products.

Here are some examples of handmade products you can sell:
  • Artworks
  • Dolls and toys
  • Home accessories
  • Jewelry
  • Knitwear
  • Party favors
  • Pet accessories
  • Wedding supplies
Making your own products takes a lot of time and energy, but you have full control of how many you’re going to sell. You can also stockpile your creations before opening the shop. Many crafters take commission work to avoid getting overwhelmed. 

Try Drop Shipping

According to Big Commerce, drop shipping is “an order fulfillment method that does not require a business to keep products in stock.” The business is more like a distributor who does the selling and marketing and then passes on the production and fulfillment to a third-party supplier.

Drop shipping requires significantly less effort on the business’s part, but you have to make sure that your supplier can consistently provide quality customer experience. Otherwise, your business’s reputation will suffer. 

This business model also creates a minimal opportunity for personal branding and customization. One way around this issue is to curate products from various suppliers to provide quality items for a specific niche.

(Note on drop shipping vs. affiliate marketing: As mentioned above, drop shipping allows you to sell other people's products as your own while affiliate marketing is you promoting other people's products and you earn a commission from each sale from your promotions.)

Sell Your Skills or Expertise

Do you specialize in a specific field or have a marketable skill you can sell? Monetize your skills or expertise by starting a service-based business. 

Social media managers, writers, proofreaders, editors, designers, and developers can take freelance projects or sell their skills to marketers, agencies, publishers, companies, or individuals. 

If you’re an expert on a certain field (e.g., finance planning, medical billing, college applications, and SEO marketing), you can publish courses or e-books and sell on your website or platforms, like Udemy, Teachable, or Podia. Or you can start a consulting business and market your skills to companies, organizations, and individuals.

Monetize Your Blog

Create a blog, and choose a specific niche so that it’s easier to find your audience. Pick a niche that you’re knowledgeable in and passionate about. Then publish quality content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience. Engage your readers so that they’ll spend a lot of time consuming the content you create. 

Here are some ways you can monetize your site:
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Advertisements
  • Sponsored content
  • Email marketing
  • Selling digital products like e-books
  • Selling coaching services
  • Sponsorships
The bigger and more loyal your audience is, the more you can earn from your blog.

My blog earns money from brand ambassadorships, too!

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a freelancer, earning a living has been made easier through today’s technology. Anyone can now run their own home-based business and earn money by selling products or services or monetizing their knowledge and skills.

So if you’re interested in starting a home-based business, here are a few ideas you can try:

1. Sell handmade products online.
2. Start a drop-shipping business.
3. Sell your skills or expertise.
4. Monetize your blog.

Making money is hard work, but it can be made easier by using the resources that technology and the internet have made available to everyone. You only need to put it in work and find the right opportunities. 

*This guest post was written by Melissa Page. She writes for a living and goes bowling for fun. Follow her on Twitter: @melissapage90If you want to place a guest post on this blog, please email

*Photos from the Biogenic Alcohol campaign 4 years ago! Don't forget to wash your hands with soap and water and sanitize surfaces with alcohol. Stay well and healthy! 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Where to get immunity-boosting Welch’s 100% grape juice (and why!)

Public service announcement, mamas! While we all know that Welch's 100% Grape Juice is available in all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores, you can have your favorite health drink delivered right to your doorstep! Visit website: or place your order in the following online groceries:, Lazmart, and

In these strange days of the novel coronavirus, it's even more important to keep ourselves healthy and strong. So exercise and stock up on fruits and vegetables! That's what I've been doing. Sometimes I make a fruit shake when I bought too much fruit. Or I just let everyone drink Welch's. It's convenient for mommies like me to let a fruit’s nutrients can be enjoyed by my entire family through fruit juices. Regular consumption of 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes such as Welch’s is really part of our diet.  

Doctors advise that the best ways to fight the Covid-19 disease are: 
(1) regular handwashing - make sure to do so for at least 20 seconds to really kill germs
(2) social distancing - this is to lessen the chances of spreading the virus
(3) avoid touching one's face - because our fingers can have the virus and it gets into our system through our noses and mouths
(4) strengthen one’s immune system - a lifestyle of getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced diet is basic!

A daily diet full of fruits and vegetables is not easy for me. Expensive, hard to store (they ripen quickly in our tropical climate), and needs to be prepared so that my kids will eat it. They're not the kind of kids who just bite an apple or pop a berry in their mouth. I have to make a salad, a smoothie, bake it into bread or cake. So tiresome! 

But I can't give up! So queen-of-convenience me always has Welch's 100% Grape Juice in the house! The Journal of Medicinal Food published a study that said, “Regular consumption of Concord grape juice benefits human immunity.” 

Welch’s juice is full of polyphenols, a natural plant nutrient that plays a key role in supporting a healthy heart. It's packed with Vitamin C, which helps the body recover from infections. Grape juice made from Concord grapes contain natural sugars that are low in the glycemic index. So a refreshing glass can be enjoyed with all the benefits without the guilt.

From left: me, makeup artist Carmel Villongco, Erika Rodriguez of Welch's, and Aliza Apostol at the 150th-anniversary party of Welch's last year
Erika Rodriguez, VP for Marketing of GEMCo, the Philippine marketing agent of Welch’s International, said, “Welch’s juice uses the entire dark purple Concord grape – skin, seeds and all – to release the plant’s true polyphenol power. In fact, at least 20 grapes are squeezed into each 4-ounce glass. Imagine the vitamins and minerals in each glass of Welch’s that can help boost your family’s health especially during this time!" 

Erika has become a friend and I admire her for her devotion to her family. She's also committed to making Filipino families healthy through Welch's! I'm with her on her mission because these are scary times and we mamas must make an extra effort to make sure our families are healthy. I hope you are all safe and well! 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Homemade recipe: Atsarang talong (pickled eggplant)

I shared this photo on my social media last week and even though I said it looks horrible, I got a lot of requests for the recipe. Apparently, there's a lot of us who love eggplant! Yes, this is atsarang talong, a.k.a. pickled eggplant. The great thing with pickling is you can pickle any vegetable. So if you have lots of veggies and don't know what to do with them, pickle them!

Atsarang Talong (or Pickled Eggplant)

2 eggplants, sliced into strips (I used the long Pinoy eggplants)
2 tbsps salt for water
water for boiling
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsps salt

1. In a pot, pour enough salted water to cover eggplants. Boil for 10 minutes.
2. Drain eggplant slices.
3. Combine eggplant slices with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Marinate overnight.
5. Eat with happiness!!!

The great thing with atsarang talong is the unique smoky-sweet flavor of the eggplant that balances out the sourness of the vinegar. It tastes amazing! My husband, who has known me for 2 decades, was pleasantly surprised that I knew how to pickle stuff (thanks, Home Economics 101!). He was so happy with this recipe! It tastes great as a side dish to pork chops, adobo, fried fish, pork barbecue, anything inihaw. Try it, too!

Friday, April 17, 2020

How I knew Vince was serious about me (plus old couple photos from before we were married)

Tomorrow is April 18. It's the 21st anniversary of when Vince and I fell in love and our 13th wedding anniversary. So exciting!!! There are no plans haha. I'm just excited at the fact that I've been in love for this long!

My Loyal Readers sometimes ask me, the girl who said she'd never get married and have kids, what changed my mind. Well, Vince did. He didn't force me to do anything I didn't want, okay. He just made me see things his way! And I'm glad he did! I have never been happier. I'm just so glad he didn't give up on me haha

Anyway, as an anniversary gift to you, you who have been following my love story for as long as this blog's been alive, I'm sharing these photos I unearthed recently! My kids, bored from being indoors for weeks now, asked one night, "Mama, how did you and Papa meet?" So I told them and they laughed and cringed and then said, "Pictures! Where are the pictures???" And so I asked their Papa to take out the heavy red album and we all took a trip down memory lane, all 21 years of happiness.

All of these are old photos, in no particular order, from before we were married and I wanted you guys to see. Because you always ask me about my love life, married life, sex life... Thank you for being so interested! It keeps me interested, too, hahaha.

One question I get from time to time is how did I know Vince was serious about me. Well, I knew from the start. He made it clear from the very start. 

And here are my little stories from the many times he showed me just how serious he was about me.

On our first date in Manila (we already had a few in Baguio), instead of going to the mall, he brought me to meet his parents first. That was a complete shock since I wasn't dressed for it and wasn't ready at all. I wore a thin sleeveless shirt and tight jeans—definitely not what I'd wear to impress the parents of a guy I just met. But he said, "You should meet them! Our house is on the way."

"Really? I'm not ready to meet your folks."

"Why not? They'll love you!"

"I'm not... dressed."

"You look amazing!"

And that's how I met his parents. I think everyone was surprised but Vince just smiled throughout the whole thing. Like, he literally didn't say anything. He just let me and his dad do all the talking! He later said in the car, "It's nice to see you with my parents. It looks right."

He asked me, "Do you want to be a June bride?" in May, a month after we met.

He surprised me in the car by suddenly singing to me: "I want to take you home, I wanna give you children, and you might be my girlfriend, oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!" That's from Babies by Pulp. We had just started dating and we weren't even girlfriend-boyfriend yet so babies were not anywhere in the realm of my consciousness so that was pretty scary haha

I lived in Antipolo back then and it floods in the Cainta-Marikina intersection all the way up to the rise to Masinag. His low Toyota meant he won't be able to visit me during the rainy season so he bought a big pickup truck that roared through the flood.

When I started working for the Senate, I was dismayed to find out that they hold your salary until you're regularized. You get all of it in one big bulk but I figured I'd look for another job because there was no way I could survive that long without income. Then Vince said, "I'll support you until you get your money. No problem. It'll be like practice for when we're married."

I paid him back when I got my money, which I think offended him haha

He took me house-hunting. After every house we checked out, he asked, "Did you like that?" And I would say, "It's your house. It doesn't matter what I like." And he insisted, "But it does because it's going to be your house."

I have a plethora of little snippets of how he felt for me. I looked through my diaries recently. Apparently, my 2004 diary tells me I did want to get married after all. It also told me why I resisted. Even though I knew he was the one for me, I didn't know if I was the one for him. He wanted the marriage and the kids and because I had endometriosis and was possibly barren, I didn't want to disappoint him. Well, after all that resisting, it turns out I didn't have anything to worry about.

Sharing with you these last two photos, one from my diary and one from my Facebook Memories.