Celebrating Motherhood with Trollbeads

7 May

Mother’s day is right around the corner and as the date draws near I usually get asked what I would want for mother’s day. This is my 19th Mother’s day, and every year, the wish just gets simpler and simpler. I just want time with my family, that is really all. But then the special gifts still come in, as every child, and my husband Gary, family and friends, want to make sure the day won’t pass without me feeling special. That’s such a blessing, isn’t it? So what among these gifts stand out? Usually it is the one that is given with much thought, one that is personalised, these things help make mother’s day an extra treat.

Thoughtful and personalised, one such gift I received is Trollbeads. Trollbeads is a precious set of jewellery, one which allows you to mix and match beads on bracelets, with each bead symbolising a special moment in my life, or a special feeling one wants to convey. I also feel that Trollbeads matches my lifestyle and personality, I prefer simple and understated pieces, I am a super sentimental person, and one who loves keeping memories and remembering moments. I was happy to be invited to this special lunch with Trollbeads and two of my mom friends, Jackie and Rowena.

In our marked seats, were personalized bags which had this touching message: Celebrate Janice. It tugged at my heart because this felt like an occasion really made for me, to celebrate me, to celebrating me as a mom.
Trollbeads

I was excited to open my gift, the “unboxing” of a very thoughtful present.
Trollbeads

I love the special leather Trollbeads case, and of course my bracelet with a very personalized selection of Trollbeads beads
Trollbeads
[…]

Being a Balanced Mompreneur

5 Apr

It’s my favorite time of year! Summer is here and leading to this, I was just so excited I was giving Reese random hugs every day as we counted down the days till summer. Having the children home is such a joy for me, but I also know that with them having more free time actually comes a bigger challenge for me to balance my time even more.

It’s a blessing that as a mompreneur, we can relatively control how much of our hours we spend for work, home, family, and self. It is not always the case though. Responsibilities crop up and there are instances when you just can’t say no. Yes, my schedule revolves around my children’s schedule. meaning I can set appointments when the kids are also tied up and don’t need me to be present, or I can have them join me in some meetings or events where the venue is a mom-friendly one. However it is just being realistic to know that there will be events, presentations, meetings that we can’t bring them along, when we HAVE TO be away from them at a certain time and those times happen to be in conflict with family time. So what does one do?

Here are some of my own tips I’d like to share with my fellow mompreneurs on how to know we are living balanced days and how to make sure we are:

1) LET GO OF “THE FEELS”. The first thing to do is to throw the mom guilt out the window. Yes we want to be there for the kids as much as we can, but face it, we can’t. It isn’t realistic nor fair to ourselves to put that emotional burden on ourselves, and you know what, we don’t have to and we shouldn’t. My tip is to think of ways on how to use emotions in a positive way. It just takes a slight paradigm shift.

Feel the mom guilt creeping up on you? Instead of letting it hit you where it hurts (because it will if you let it) use it as an internal “check and balance”. Just know right away that if you’re feeling guilty then yes it may mean that you need to spend more time with them. Just look at your coming schedules and make the time. Don’t dwell. Just know the feeling is there, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, just move on and deal with it by taking steps for the better.

2) BE PROACTIVE. How do you deal with it? The only solution is really to bring back your focus on your priorities. If your priority is the children, then quickly assess where you are at the moment, recalibrate and take steps towards making improvements.
When there are times that I keep forgetting to send my kids’ reply slips on time, or I forgot to buy the materials for my son’s project, or when Reese’s baon got left behind at home, I know I am imbalanced and I have to recalibrate. Yes I feel bad, but I try to be proactive and focus on making things better. I check what I’ve been spending time on and see if I was living life productively or on time wasters. Then the most important solution: make the time with the kids. Plan those pockets of time. It doesn’t have to be formal, nor elaborate, not even lengthy. Here are simple things I’ve done lately with the kids whenever my inner compass, “mom guilt” rears its ugly head, or when I’ve felt the need to recalibrate:

Walked with Reese and Jagger to the park one afternoon
Kids

Cooked up some pancakes with Zach
Kids
[…]

The Coolest Way to Slim Down

1 Apr

It’s been a year of being taken cared of by Marie France and I’ve felt a big difference in my body since I started my program with them. My Marie France visits have been part of my #selfcare regimen. It’s a conscious taking an hour or so off, to give time for “me”, to refresh, while improving myself.

Marie France set 3

The first treatment that was prescribed for me is the FMS treatment, or Fat Mobilization System. This is the treatment that Marie France has been known for. I’ve seen and witnessed for myself drastic weight loss success stories just from FMS alone- the closest to me was my cousin who really trimmed down when she did this program some years ago.

The first step in all Marie France sessions is measurement. On the very first session, in order to get a starting point, we are measured via the Tanita machine and some manual measuring using tape measure. In succeeding sessions, your weight will be monitored closely every time you visit. Then if I’m not mistaken, the Tanita and manual measurement is done again after 7 sessions of FMS.

Marie France

Here I am, all wrapped up and ready to go. The wraps are actually long swatches of gauze soaked in a solution. Yes it is cold but even for “ginawin” me, it is bearable. There are days that I feel more sensitive and I solve that by keeping in motion even when wrapped up.

Marie France

Underneath I wear a sports bra so that I stay comfortable and secure even when soaking wet.

Marie France

Marie France

Seeing this sign gives you motivation and comfort. A 25-min session of FMS makes you lose .5195 lbs or 2000 calories in one go.
Marie France

Admittedly, when my work sched becomes busy, it becomes challenging to make time for my Marie France #selfcare appointments. I solve this by working while doing FMS sometimes! No excuses:) Marie France

How does FMS work? How can treating your body to low temperatures actually make you lose fat?

FMS speeds up the body’s metabolism. By controlling your body’s core temperature, fat is mobilized and broken down through a process called thermogenesis, and this happens even while the body is at rest.

Speaking of rest, the new FMS was introduced last year and this makes FMS an even easier way to trim down.

This “thermo extraction” machine features rubber matts into which cold air is pumped in and temperature is controlled.
Marie France set 2

The mats are wrapped around your body and you can just lie down and relax. It is of course still cold but this time, unlike the previous FMS, it is not wet therefore it is more comfortable. When I feel too cold, they give me a blanket.
Marie France set 2

Ideally, FMS treatments are done twice a week. Avoid going if you are overly stressed or sleep deprived. For those who just gave birth, you can go 2-6 weeks after as long as you are cleared by your OB.

In my case, I noticed after several treatments, I noticed there is less excess (jiggly) fat in my thigh area (my problem area!)
Marie France

and really just a slimmer silhouette overall.
Marie France

The doctors at Marie France say that if coupled with diet and exercise, fat reduction can mobilize even faster. FMS also works best when coupled with other Marie France treatments! Cool right?

Ill share more on this in my coming posts!

For more info on Marie France, visit http://www.mariefrance.com.ph/treatments/ or their social media pages:

Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

You may also visit any of their centres for free consultation.

Les Miserables in Manila #SmartInfinityLesMis

28 Mar

I’ve always wanted to watch this classic on a live stage. We didn’t get to do that during our last trip to New York because the family voted to watch the newly staged Spiderman Broadway musical instead. So when I got an invitation from Smart Infinity to attend the gala night of Les Miserables in Manila, I was very excited and looked forward to another memorable evening courtesy of Smart.

IMG_5251

For those of you who are not yet familiar with “Les Miserables”, this popular Broadway production is actually based on a novel by Victor Hugo. The book was brought to life through music and lyrics composed by Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Bublil, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Yes, the same brilliant team that may have awakened the Filipino’s love for musical theatre when they first cast our very own talents, starting with Lea Salonga, for their Miss Saigon production back in 1989.

IMG_5242

If I’m not mistaken, Les Miserables can be considered among Broadway’s biggest and longest running musicals, with several of its songs being widely recognised and performed in and out of theatre. Just last year, Les Miserables was brought life in Hollywood through a film where major stars like Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, further extending the reach of LesMis to a wider public. Even my own kids, especially Zach, appreciated the movie very much, so much so that the entire time I was watching Les Mis in Solaire, all I was thinking was how Zach MUST see this show!

IMG_5258

IMG_5264

Among the recent musicals that have come to our shores, I would have to say I enjoyed this one the most. The cast is excellent! My favorites include Simon Gleeson playing Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert, and I also admired the performance of child actor Kieran McGinlay who played Gavroche. Without biases, our very own Rachelle Ann Go was an excellent Fantine!

Here is a video of Rachelle Ann performing “I Dreamed A Dream” from @Kumagcow :

Stage design and production were striking and fascinating with its ever-transforming sets, special lighting and effects adding more spectacle to the already moving soundtrack featuring LesMis’ classics “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “On My Own,” and more.

IMG_5293
With my fellow Smart Infinity ambassadors, Rica, Victor, and Paul, and James Chi of Smart Infinity (extreme left)

IMG_5294
This time with Smart Infinity’s head, Julie Carceller. Thank you Smart Infinity, especially to Abbie Real Dimaano!

Even, the curtain call during the gala night was such a treat, with Cameron Mackintosh and Claude Michel-Schonberg making an appearance and expressing their gratitude for the love they have received from Filipinos all these years.  Watch here:


At 1:12: “…the love story with your country, the Philippines, and for being so kind with our work for many, many years, I would just like to say ‘Salamat Po’. Thank you, Philippines.

[…]

Barkin’ Blends: Dog Lover Haven

16 Mar

Last week, amidst my busy schedule, I found myself with a free pocket of time so I got off my laptop and phone, and invited Reese to a short trip to Katipunan. The car was on its way to pick up Zach so since our fun destination was on the way, it was a practical and workable surprise for her.

I think it was on TV that I heard there was a “dog cafe” somewhere in the vicinity of the boys’ schools. I wasn’t really paying attention but I took a mental note of it of course because my dog-lover-daughter will surely enjoy a visit there. So I googled “Barkin’ Blends’ and found the location. It was right across McDonald’s on the side street perpendicular to Katipunan.

First step is to go to the Barkin’ Blends cafe also known as the “human zone” where you buy your tickets and order your drinks. Each ticket comes with one cold beverage or frap (thus the name “Blends”!). We opted to order our drinks after our dog visit. After you get your ticket, just a few steps away is the “dog zone”.

Barkin Bites

Barkin Bites

They provide lockers where you are required to place all your belongings, slippers to change into and hand sanitizer to clean up your hands.

You’ll find the gallery of dogs here
Barkin Bites

It was amusing that when we got there around 3pm, all the dogs were napping. The “humans” were sitting around chatting and the dogs were lying on their laps or beside them in deep slumber.
Barkin Bites

The sleeping dogs would not wake up no matter how much you stroke them. Only these two guys were awake and playing with the visitors.
Barkin Bites

Barkin Bites
This is Piolo. Cute din.:)

Everyone else were knocked out. I guess if you stayed in a cool aircon room the whole day and had people stroking and petting you at every moment, anyone would just be so relaxed and earily doze off. You can imagine how Reese became so happy when Wookiee the Shih Tzu crawled over and slept on her lap
Barkin Bites

This is Martha, the Irish Setter, look at her pretty and glossy ‘do.
Barkin Bites

Barkin BItes dog cafe
Amazed at her (long and heavy) leg

Around 30 minutes later, they started waking up one by one, Martha included.

Look how tall she is!
Barkin Bites

Biwwy the Basset Hound
Barkin Bites

The Enrique the Schnauzer was my fave (although I thought he was a Scottish Terrier!)
Barkin Bites
[…]

Of Dressed-down, Jeans, Tee and Bucketfeet days

5 Mar

If I had a choice, I’d have more jeans, tees and sneakers days. Having spent growing up years in Trets, Dragonflies, Chucks, and Keds, there should actually really be more time in comfortable, dressed-down attire now that I’m a mom who always needs to be active on her feet. After all, even as a mompreneur, there are ways to stay chic in casual clothing and that would still make me presentable for meetings and presentations, right?

When it comes to sneakers, you’ll probably agree, there’s always room for another pair, especially ones that are not only comfy but also make a statement. One such brand is Bucketfeet.

Bucketfeet Ph

My feet got a treat when I fit my very first Bucketfeet pair last year. I visited the Coalition store in Eastwood and I got high seeing such a visual fest of art on shoes. I felt like I was in a street art festival of sorts, but the art came in the form of footwear.

There’s a Bucketfeet pair for different tastes and styles…

Bucketfeet

Bucketfeet

Bucketfeet new

Bucketfeet

Bucketfeet

Bucketfeet

Bucketfeet

Holding one pair in my hands and checking out its features more closely made me an instant fan.
Bucketfeet

It’s a real work of art because Bucketfeet shoes are not only pretty on the outside
Bucketfeet
[…]

Helping My Kids Balance their Days

2 Mar

Two out of our three children are in progressive schools. While I do think the traditional school system also has its advantages and our son who goes to a trad school is happy and thriving, one things I value in the progressive education system is that the kids have more time to play and to explore their interests and passions.

With much of the learning and studying done during school hours, and less load of homework, progressive schooled kids have more time to explore hobbies, interests, sports, or even just time for leisure. With this free time however comes the need to also be more conscious about keeping a balance amidst their days. Since progressive schools have a relatively gentler approach to academics and the grading system, guarding our kids’ academic performance lies also in the hands of the parents. While our kids are pursuing their passions and interests, it is also up to us to safeguard that they take academics seriously as well so that overall learning and development will not be compromised.

Everything has its season
Everything has its time. 
Show me a reason and I’ll soon,
show you a rhyme.

One thing I’ve realised is that In both school systems, whether there be a heavier or lighter load of school work, there is still a need for us to teach our kids how to balance school and play time.  With our eldest, our college kid, he’s come to realize the demands of college life while being a member of the fencing varsity team.  School plus varsity practice is demanding on time and energy so  his gimmick time with friends, gaming events, etcetera relegated to the weekends, but only Saturday because Sunday is our family day.

Parenting
For my kids who are in progressive schools and find more time in their hands, the challenge is to not give in to “lazy days” where they just while away their free time on “time wasters”.  For my son in the traditional system, the challenge is in squeezing in time for activities that will nurture his passions and talents outside of academics.  

It seems that life was much less hectic during our time, so I never though I would have to teach my own children about the principle of “work life balance”. Time was when this was just the problem of a multi- tasking working mama, and not that of a child.  So, now I’m just relieved that I have some of my own balance strategies that I can now use with my own children, such as these:

Parenting
This chalkboard shelf system has become an organization tool for Reese. (Made by Miss Spacemaker)

• Calendar it.  On Reese’s bedroom wall, we have a white board calendar and she also has a chalkboard on her shelf that she uses to plan her day. We plan out each month and write down activities that are set such as school activities, special occasions, etc. Then we start plotting in our extra curricular classes like her CMA sessions, tennis etc.  Lastly we write her fun activities like sleepovers, or when we will play card games, or our little projects like fixing the frames in her room or painting and biking.  From this simple calendaring activity, Reese has learned to value her time, and also set pockets of time for things she likes to do.  Tip: you can use a different coloured marker per type of activity then you can see in one glance how balanced your month will be.
• Assign days. Assigning days ahead of time lessens arguments and struggles between parents and children. For my teens who have been going out, we have an agreement that Sundays are strictly for family time. If we have a family activity on other days, we tell them ahead of time so they don’t schedule other things on those days. For my 9 year old, her iPad days are only Fridays to Sundays. During weeks of tests or exams, computers and ipads are really set aside to lessen distractions during this period. Hopefully this no-gadgets rule will help them focus more on their studies plus giving them Propan TLC also helps because of the mineral Taurine which helps in brain development and memory.

With these pre-set, simple rules, we rarely argue about their “going out too much” or if she is “on her ipad too much.”

Parenting

• Choose your battles.  I used to have lengthy conversations with my boys about how much time they spend on their laptops and this was clearly our “friction point”.  They tried to make me understand how their video gaming is only a small chunk of how they spend their time, and seeing how indeed they were spending even more time studying and indulging in sports, I saw their point. So while I wish they learned to make music on a piano rather than pressing on keyboards with their gaming,  I let them have their gaming time because I know they are still living in a balanced way.

Parenting
[…]

Top Mom Picks for Dealing with Cough and Colds

1 Mar

We’ve been having bipolar weather lately as the seasons shift from the relatively cool weather of the holidays, to the approach of summer. Been hearing my boys perennially clearing their throats, then progressing to full-blown coughing. Zach even ran a fever for 2 days and got sent home from school. Reese was sniffling at one point, then she would even have nosebleeds in school. I myself succumbed to the bug which started with an itchy, scratchy throat, progressed to a cough then a slight fever too.

It really is no fun to be sick, moreso to have sick kids! So I, like most moms, have my own arsenal of cough and cold “defence mechanisms”, first aid, relief and arsenal. When my throat or that of the kids just starts getting itchy, the type that feels like you’re coming down to something, I immediately use one of these throat sprays:

cough and cold remedies, crane
Ilog maria (from Echostore) and Kamillosan spray (from leading drugstores) in photo. I also start taking Berocca (vitamin C++ effervescent tablets that dissolve in water) to give my immune system a big boost.

If the condition progresses to a sore throat and cough/ cold, I start using these, especially in the evenings.
cough and cold remedies, crane
Vicks Vaporub or its more natural version, Vapor Soove or the Euky bear rub. These are all effective and super soothing.

Then I do water therapy by gargling warm water with salt or swich a few pumps of this Gargoyle oil around my mouth, an “oil pulling” technique that Denise of IndigoBaby taught me.
cough and cold remedies, crane

Then if I have to be out, and especially when I have to meet people it is essential to keep a scratchy throad soothed, these also come in handy:
cough and cold remedies, crane
Vicks cough drops and Manuka Honey suckles

Then I’d like to share with you the latest in my sickness prevention + sickness management arsenal: tadaah..the Crane Humidifier.
Crane humidifier

I first came across this product when I went to the NY baby show two years ago. I noticed the uber cool designs- a definite stand out in the humidifier scene, much less the appliance industry. But honestly didn’t pay much attention because, I guess I didn’t fully understand its need nor use, or I thought I didn’t really need it because my kids did not really have any respiratory conditions that needed “air conditioning” apart from our usual room cooling functions. But when I read up on the uses of the humidifiers, I realize it may be just what i need especially because I really shy away from taking or giving cold medicine unless it is really, really necessary. Humidifiers add moisture to the air in rooms and it does not only help a person with cough and colds breathe easier, it also helps prevent illnesses because it cleans 99.9 percent . In fact, Crane is bold enough to say that its humidifiers could be recommended non-medicinal alternative to cough and cold medicines- that certainly resonates with me!

Crane humidifier
The units are wrapped in plastic when you first open the box

Crane USA is a relatively new brand, having been founded in 2015 and I love that they have taken initiative to adding fun and character to otherwise ordinary looking, even boring, home appliances.. What i like about it is that it does not require a filter, taking away the expensive consumables nah tis normal with air filters.

Crane humidifier

Humidifiers and air purifiers:

– are the best ways to control indoor air pollutants and improve air quality.

– Eases breathing problems during illness because it moistens nasal passages and soothe dry cough

– Promotes better sleep because it relaxes the senses

– The added moisture in the room hydrates the skin, especially good for those with eczema or psoriasis

For babies:
– Babies are nasal breathers in the first 4-6 months so the extra moisture in the air is soothing for them – It also helps soothe their dry skin, chapped lips and other skin irritations.
– Cool mist helps ease symptoms of croup, a viral infection that affects young children. It causes swelling in vocal cords resulting in a barking cough.

The gallon tank in my Crane humifier can run 24 hours, and it has an auto shit off system so you don’t have to worry about it drying up. While I wish I didn’t have to clean and refill the tank every day (if i leave it running the whole day), the effort spent is nothing compared to being able to prevent any illnesses in our family. It is actually quite simple to use and instructions are easy to comprehend and clear:

Crane humidifier

Plus they really look sleek and modern and blends in with anything, even these cuckoo characters:
Crane humidifier

That’s not all! The design of my Crane humidifier does not even properly represent the whole collection. There are so many other cute designs, check this out:

The Adorables and the Horribles
Crane humidifier
[…]

How I Practice Parenting to Raise Life Champions

11 Feb

The great thing about the new year is that you get another chance at becoming the very best that you can be. Whether you want to be a better wife, friend, daughter, or mom, you’ve got 365 days to work on it!

I want to be a better mom.

Parenting

Being a better mom can mean all sorts of things for all sorts of people. But the mom that I’d like to be is the mom who’s more attentive to the needs of her children, whether these needs are actually communicated or not; who’s more mindful of her thoughts, words, and actions, despite her busy schedule; and who’s intent on helping and inspiring her children to become champions.

Last December, I attended the opening of the 20th Alaska Football Cup Championship, one of the biggest sports events in the country which gathered over 422 teams and 6,150 players from all over the country, including Masbate, Baguio, Negros, Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Legaspi, Laguna, Batangas, Bukidnon, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ilocos, Bicol, Romblon, Davao Sur, Quezon, Cavite, Albay, Pangasinan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Mindoro, and Metro Manila.

Alaska Football Cup

Some of the football players were only six and seven years of age, but already, I could see that they were not only disciplined and determined, they also knew the values of team work and sportsmanship.

Alaska Football Cup

I was impressed no end about how the Alaska Football Cup could instill such values in children – through the trainings and preparation they learn how to become winners in life. This I vowed to do the same for my own.

And so this year, I want to be a better mom to my children by inspiring them to chase after their dreams and coaching them towards success.

I know that this is better than said than done. After all, I have three children, each of whom has his own dreams and aspirations, character traits and personalities. So my game plan is to coach each child taking into account his goals and personality.

Parenting

Coby is my college freshman. He’s always been into sports, and is actually a member of his university’s varsity team.

Parenting

[…]

#SmartKids : Awesome Tech Bundles for Kids

28 Jan

“Digital natives”– that’s what kids born in the last 5 years or so are called. They are children who were born into a world wherein mobile technology, tablets and smartphones, the subject of sci-fi movies of yore, were now mainstream and actually a standard in most households already. This adds a new dimension to parenting as we challenge ourselves to make technology our friend and something that will be positive in our children’s lives, and not the opposite.

In my friend Michele Alignay’s book (co-written with Dr. Queena Lee Chua, Maribel Sison-Dionisio, and
Nerisa Fernandez), “Growing Up Wired“, here are some tips which she share on the Mommy Hacks show of Cheska Garcia and Rice Peralejo.

Allow only what is age-appropriate. From knowing which platform is appropriate, to the time they spend on gadgets, to the activities and material that they view and use online, these must be determined based on their age, stage, personality and inclinations.

Set internal regulations. Our own kids should be trained to be “critical media literates”. Ask them how they feel about certain content. Communicate what is right or wrong. Know your child and what his interests are. Be present and set rules.

Keep up. Parents should also try to keep updated and be aware of how technology works. Knowing about technology will give us another thing in common with our kids, plus it also gives us an idea on how to set the necessary controls to make sure they are safe.

Establish a relationship with our kids. The most important thing is to be able to establish a relationship with our children not only so that we can really know them and what motivates them, but also so that we can communicate our expectations and regulations. We will have an easier time implementing rules when we are connected to our children.

With our support and close monitoring that leads to responsible technology use, children can gain much from being connected. Add to that these bundles and new plans from Smart plus Smart Bro’s fast and reliable connection they can get the best form of learning through educational apps, videos, and sites. As an extra treat, Smart Bro’s awesome gadget deals come with FREE 30-day subscription and FREE 1.1 GB data for top entertainment apps like iFlix, FOX via Viewstream, and Spinnr.

Here are the hero plans to check out for our families:

2 Acer Iconia One 7 + 4G Pocket WiFi at Plan 599

Smartkids tech talk

2 units in one application. If you have two children, they can actually have one each and explore the online world individually, and they can also play virtually with each other through wifi connectivity.


[…]