Monday, January 04, 2021

New year, time to clean! Stock up on cleaning essentials!

The last 2 weeks of the old year and the first 2 weeks of the new year is when my cleaning spirit is resurrected and I scrub and wipe and sweep and freak my husband out who goes around the house asking, "Who are you? Why are you doing this? Where is my wife???" Hahahaha my poor husband having to live with messy, cluttery me.

I actually enjoy cleaning but having kids is so defeating. Like, what is the point of cleaning when they mess up everything within seconds? So I just do what I can to keep the mess at bay, but during that short period when the old year dies and a new one is born, I clean! And I love it!

Here are a few of the cleaning items I used:

Thanks so much to Clorox, Defensil, Smart Spray, and Aller Plasma Nano+ for the cleansing products! I had a grand time cleaning because of your gifts. Here's why:

With all the rubbing alcohol out in the market today, a gift of bottles upon bottles of Defensil was amazing! Especially since Defensil is 70% Solution Isopropyl Alcohol. Yes, not all alcohol is created equal. It needs to be in concentrations of 60% and above to be effective at disinfecting your hands and surfaces. I had to check if alcohol actually kills the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. According to Healthline, yes it does but it has to be in high concentrations, or pharmaceutical grade. So no, mouthwash, gin, beer, perfume, Eskinol - these will not protect you LOL.

Defensil 70% Solution Isopropyl Alcohol kills 99.9% of germs on contact. That said, the NCBI notes that "alcohol is flammable [so] limit its use as a surface disinfectant to small surface-areas and use it in well-ventilated spaces only. Prolonged and repeated use of alcohol as a disinfectant can also cause discoloration, swelling, hardening, and cracking of rubber and certain plastics." So the best and safest way to kill germs is still good old soap and water and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

For more information on how to stay protected, the Defensil Health Defense Council is inviting Filipino families to visit the Defensil Isopropyl Alcohol’s Facebook page.

Here's an old and credible brand I trust! Clorox! I think we've been using Clorox since I was a kid. And I'm in my 40s so that's a long relationship we have.

Bleach is a truly effective disinfectant and, yes, it can kill the coronavirus! Yes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it. Its active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite and it can destroy bacteria, fungi, and viruses at full strength. But at full strength, bleach can be irritating to skin and the respiratory system. That's why we dilute it with water. As long as you use the recommended dilutions, that won't lessen its effectivity but it slows it down, disinfecting within 10–60 minutes' contact time.

Since you're not going to use bleach to wash your hands, this is fine. I use bleach on household surfaces like the kitchen, bathroom, and tiled or linoleum floors. I also use it on the laundry (Clorox has a color-safe bleach) to make sure our clothes are completely disinfected.

I love the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, by the way! They don't contain bleach, but they are EPA-registered to kill SARS-CoV-2! So make sure you stock up on these wipes. Please note these wipes are for disinfecting surfaces, not for your face, nose, or private parts.

For more information, like the Facebook page of Clorox Philippines.

For those who are wary of chemicals, why not make your own chemicals? But first, I just want to establish that I'm a great believer in chemicals as everything on earth is made of chemicals. Your whole body, the air, water, the earth, our food (even organic food), every single thing you can see, smell, touch, and taste is made of chemicals. Chemicals are good. 

It's toxic chemicals that aren't good. Let us all use the correct terminology! But for those who don't want to buy bleach, make your own with Smart Spray. It's a simple bottle that uses electrolysis technology to transform water and salt to sodium hypochlorite. If you read my Clorox write-up, you'd recognize that term as the effective ingredient of Clorox bleach. 

I haven't actually used this gadget much because I have real bleach on hand but I read that the homemade disinfectant Smart Spray makes can be used to clean fruits, seafood and meat, bottles, phones, furniture, school and office supplies, car interiors, toys, packages, and all other surfaces at home. Woah. That's a lot and even on food! And it won't harm wooden furniture. 

Okay, the American Chemistry Council says that sodium hypochlorite is safe for food preparation. You can even add it to drinking water. I just don't know the amounts so until I'm sure, I'll use my Smart Spray on surfaces that we put our faces on - pillows, phones, the sofa, dining table, and the like since I don't use bleach on those things. But I'm happy that now there is a safe disinfectant for those!

For more information on Smart Spray, please go to

Okay, this is our new nifty gadget for fighting off viruses and bacteria in the air! Meet Aller Plasma Nano+ Sterilizer. We did the research and cold plasma technology kills viruses and bacteria suspended in the air. And, according to Science Daily, plasma can kill SARS-CoV-2 cultures not just in the air but also on surfaces in less than three minutes, destroying most of the virus after 30 seconds. 

We love it! I'll do a more detailed review next week. Just all I want to do now is buy 2 more units of this small hero so that our entire condo can be sterilized.

For more information on Plasma Technology and Aller Plasma Nano+, you may visit, like the Aller Plasma Sterilizer Facebook page and Instagram: @allerplasma.

There you have it - my cleaning essentials to start off 2021 right! Check them out, too!

Sunday, January 03, 2021

All I want in life now really

Well, it's the third day of the new year. I dunno about you but everyone seems to be treading softly. It's not celebration I can feel in the air, but an overall feeling of exhausted relief. "We made it. We're still here. We hope to stay this way throughout 2021." Seems like everyone's goal for the year is to stay alive. On any regular year, most of us will think that's the bare minimum. But with a contagious disease spreading insidiously all over the world, that's the biggest goal.   

That's mine, too, for me and my family. And then I have a second one. It's not a goal really. More of a wish. It's a wish because I don't know how I can make it come true given the pandemic and the loss of projects. What's my wish? I want to have our whole condo unit renovated.

My husband and I have been talking about it once in a while over the years. Our eldest son will be a teenager in a few years. Well, all three of our boys will be teens soon so we need to give them more space and privacy. Our home is almost 14 years old so things need to be updated - the air conditioners, the TV, the kitchen, the floors. I want more lights. My eyesight has gotten worse with age and I need more light, especially when I cook. My husband wants to freshen up the walls with paint and wallpaper. He also wants a bigger TV for the gaming devices he just bought and will buy. I want a big Persian rug in the living room, new curtains, new beds, new sheets, new closets. 

I want shelves in the living room so I can move all the books from the boys' room outside. Loyal Readers will know that the boys' room used to be our home office so all our books are on one whole wall. I want to move those out. When I was a kid, my parents used to drag us around to visit the homes of their hundreds of friends. I remember that the one thing that impressed me among all those houses was a wall of books in the living room. So I want one in my own home.

But talks of renovating remained just that - talks. When we were quarantined last year, however, I became more acutely aware of our home and everything that needs to be fixed and upgraded. I'm also aware that even if I had the means to have our home fixed, the pandemic makes that complicated. Our condo admin is leery of letting non-residents in the complex so good luck getting any renovating done. 

So let's strip down my wish, shall we. My home is actually quite wonderful. Sure, it needs a little freshening up but our home is so nice that my family - even the kids! - didn't feel the desire to go out at all for the last 10 months. I've mentioned this before. Because my husband is an introvert and I hate traveling, we've built our home to be complete in entertainment, comfortable and cozy. Video games? Books? Movies? Board games? Toys? They're all here. We've been cooped up for almost a year and we haven't gotten bored yet.

So what's my itch to renovate all about? Well, it's the thought that the vaccines won't reach our shores for months. So that means at least half a year or even a year inside our home again. I don't know if we can distract them for yet another year.

All I want in life now really is for my kids to be safe and happy. Safe from the virus. Happy with just us. So all I want to do is make our home not just a refuge and respite but also an even more fascinating place for them, a wonderland to make them forget the world outside, if only for one year more.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

30-Day Blog Challenge accepted! What to expect this January 2021 on Topaz Horizon

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm starting 2021 with a challenge -  a blogging challenge! Many of my blogger friends did the 30-Day Blogging Challenge years ago. I never did it because I can't even bring myself to blog regularly, not even twice a week sometimes, so how can I even do 30 consecutive days? Well, that's why it's called a challenge!

I'm treating the next 30 days as my one and only time I'll share everything I think about every single day. This is why I don't want to do the blog challenge before. To create daily blog posts means I'll have to share more than I'm willing haha But that's also the beauty of blogging, right? I'm aware that in the past few years, I've held back. Many reasons. I'm changing, my life was changing, and I really didn't want to talk about things while I was processing them. 

But since I've finally settled down and I'm calmer and wiser now, I decided I can blog every day and share more of myself! I'm so excited! I've actually already made a head start. The next 30 days have already been planned. To make it easier, I followed a general topic list:

Mondays - Marriage and motherhood

Tuesdays - Press releases, shopping finds, product reviews

Wednesdays - Beauty finds and reviews

Thursdays - My work (including sponsored posts) and working mom issues

Fridays - Celebrities and entertainment

Saturdays - Anything goes!

Sundays - Thoughts and faith

Although I guess I'll publish whatever post is ready. Take a peek!

Tentative lineup schedule

What I also hope to achieve with this daily challenge is to figure out which topics my Loyal Readers are most interested in. And which days your schedule is free enough to read my blog. So if you have any suggestions or which topics you'd rather see more or less, please leave comments throughout this month!

As you can see, almost every day is already plotted out. I haven't finished these posts yet, however, so that's the challenge. Some of them are already outlined. Some of them are written but have no photos yet. Some have photos but aren't written yet. So let's see if I can get them done. Wish me luck!