Thursday, September 30, 2010

Have A Party In Your Pajamas...Forget You're Mom (For Awhile)

Okay, I'll say it for all those who feel guilty for even thinking it: Yes, I want to forget I'm Mommy and get REALLY happy drunk JUST ONE TIME.

Especially when the kids just came from being sick, one after the other twice over, coupled with teething tantrums for a total of not one, not two, but *drumroll please!* FOUR WEEKS OF PURE PARENTING H*LL. Minimal sleep at night, toddler meltdown, throwing up, infant crisis (damn teeth won't just come out and get it over with!) and another two front teeth coming out. Oh, and starting solid food too.

Yeah, yeah, some people have it rougher but I'm not other people. You know you've thought it too.

Some days you just want to have a happy buzz at the end of the day like you used to when you were still a working stiff doing 8am-5pm and happy hour starts at 6pm. Just enough time for a good dinner and then off to the videoke bar for your favorite poison.

Nowadays, Happy Hour is when the little tots fall asleep. Buuuuuut, you usually fall asleep ten seconds after they do. Bwahahahaha :D

However, for those with older kids...Well, my friends over at LaForce sent me a heads up about this French liqueur. Mmmm...just saying French and liqueur is making my taste buds buzz! Sounds so smooth, rich, creamy and sooo heady! :D
Intensely unique and inviting, Alizé liqueurs infuse premium French Vodka with nectars of luscious fruits from the world's most exotic regions, from the jungles of Brazil, the lush hillsides of Chile to the tropical shores of pacific islands. Alizé is delicious on the rocks or served in martinis, cosmopolitans, margaritas and mimosas. Uncork the possibilities with Alizé!
NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2010) -- Alizé, the original premium passion fruit liqueur imported from France, is pleased to announce an exciting brand enhancement of its popular line of passion fruit based liqueur products. Seamlessly transitioning to a vodka-based spirit, the portfolio of Alizé’s distinct, all natural fruit flavors will provide superior mixibility without compromising its signature taste. Due to overwhelming consumer demand, the full line, which includes Alizé Red Passion, Alizé Gold Passion, Alizé Wild Passion, Alizé Rose Passion and Alizé Bleu Passion, will now be made exclusively from exotic passion fruit, all natural exotic fruit juices and remarkably smooth premium French vodka.
Introduced to the United States from France by Kobrand Corporation in 1986, the Alizé product line boasts five delicious flavors made from all natural ingredients that stand alone or blend beautifully with other premium spirits and mixers. Whether blended into margaritas, shaken in martinis, used to elevate dangerously delicious punches or drizzled atop Champagne, Alizé is a must-have for any quality bar or club.
"Alizé is embraced by a contemporary, multi-cultural audience while enjoying an Urban edge and universal appeal” says Alizé Brand Manager Cheryl Talley. “The Alizé consumer is sophisticated, successful and sexy – true tastemakers that are always several steps ahead of the next “it” thing, whether it be in fashion, music or nightlife. We are pleased to offer a fresh spin on our classic line of products in an effort to continually meet the specific demands of our discerning consumers.”

All Alizé products are 16% ABV and retail at $19.99 for 750 ml and $23.99 for 1 liter. For more information on the Alizé product line and recipe ideas, please visit
So, for all you Mommies and Daddies who can grab these lovelies, please toast to us who are breastfeeding (hence an alcohol ban) and would be stuck fantasizing about this for the time being! Check back on me as I'll be posting some recipes you can easily whip up with Alizé and common household weapons - er, ingredients :D Mix 'em, put your feet up and drink 'em down :D Or turn up the radio or the iPod (to a safe, sleeping-child-sensitive volume) and dance in your pajamas and let your inner diva out of hibernation.

Just for awhile. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mead Johnson Nutrition: Alactagrow and Sustagen Junior are SAFE

I'm reposting this for the benefit of concerned parents:
Mead Johnson Nutrition clarifies issues on Philippine FDA order

Responding to an administrative recall order from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove current supplies from distribution and sale, Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) Philippines assured consumers that there is no safety issue with the products Alactagrow® and Sustagen Junior®.
The Philippine FDA has issued a Class III order, the lowest level, which is used for products that have technical compliance issues. The regulatory definition of a Class III order specifically states that the use of or exposure to the product “is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.”

“Safety is Mead Johnson’s highest priority and the company spares no effort to comply with the laws of all of the countries in which it operates,” said Paul Richards, President and General Manager of Mead Johnson Nutrition Philippines. “All of the company’s products are produced in accordance with the CODEX Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Children.”

The Philippine FDA said it was issuing the order because the fat content in the products is below the new standard listed in the revised CODEX Standards for Follow-Up Formula, which it has recently adopted in the Philippines.

Richards explained that when the Philippine FDA recently adopted additional CODEX regulations applying specifically to follow-up formulas, Mead Johnson proactively cooperated and has stayed in frequent communication with the Philippine FDA to ensure that Mead Johnson products would continue to be available for the families that use them, and in compliance with the new regulations. The process of reformulating the products so that they comply with the new CODEX regulations is elaborate and requires considerable time so Mead Johnson requested a renewed Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) prior to the end of the product’s term. CODEX is an international organization that develops and promotes food standards.

"Our company is committed to bringing safe, effective, nutritious and high quality products to meet the nutritional needs of the Philippines’ children," said Richards.

Richards said they were surprised by the recall orders, but said they are committed to resolving the issue with the Philippine FDA so that Mead Johnson can continue to offer the children in the Philippines the many nutritional benefits of Alactagrow and Sustagen Junior.

Mead Johnson stressed that all of their products currently sold in the Philippines, including Alactagrow and Sustagen Junior, have passed stringent Philippine FDA health and safety requirements and are considered to be safe for consumption and of high quality. While the fat level requirement does not relate to the safety or quality of the product, Mead Johnson is taking steps to meet that requirement also.

Mead Johnson is launching today a reformulated version of Alactagrow that meets the new regulatory requirements. Work is also underway to develop an updated version of Sustagen to meet the revised standards.

Richards emphasized that Mead Johnson is committed to its mission to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life. Mead Johnson is involved in efforts to address malnutrition through a country-wide feeding and growth-monitoring program called Feeding Hope in partnership with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the non-government organization Kabisig ng Kalahi. In addition, since 1991 Mead Johnson has provided sustained support to children afflicted with rare metabolic diseases.

Consumer health and collaboration with the government and the Food and Drug Administration are Mead Johnson’s top priorities. The company has been for some time and is currently in regular contact with the Philippine FDA regarding the recall and the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) for the affected products.

A Price On Your Head

Being a mom really rewires your head somehow. For the survival of the species, I suppose, parenthood produces organic mind-altering drugs and suddenly makes the synapses in your brain fire differently from what you thought was already your hard-wiring.

I always thought along the lines of, 'I'm an artist, math is not my friend and I have no head for business.' Not so now, because of the kids.

In the first place, being an artist is never a reason or an excuse not to know your rights and your own commercial value. It's part of protecting oneself and ensuring that you have resources to maintain a quality of life comfortable enough to enable you to keep on doing what you enjoy.

Knowing your rights protects you from greedy and unscrupulous people out to make money from your honest sweat. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Read up on Intellectual Property Rights, that's a start! What's a few hours spent on reading compared to a lifetime of regret? Find out how to register your work, be it an idea, invention, process, tangible or intangible. Watch out for seminars on the subject and talk to people, especially lawyers. Hire a lawyer if your stature demands it or you can well afford it.

Philippine Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines
Intellectual Property Protection in the Philippines

When you're aware of your rights, it will be easier to determine your correct commercial value. I know it sounds like you're a piece of meat. Well, make no bones about it, YOU ARE. And it's a competitive market out there. You are selling yourself, your service, your product.

Under or overvaluing yourself are huge problems for any artist. Market value stems from studying your rights, your product or service AND your competition. Slash current market trends.

What the heck do I mean?

When you undervalue yourself or your product, and you sell cheaper than you should, you only send the message that you're insecure about your skills. Especially when people see how incredibly talented you are. That's sad in itself, really. You open yourself to being taken advantage of, being arm-twisted into lowering your prices because you seem desperate for the job. It's putting them in control of the situation wherein there should be a mutual respect and balance in the first place. There would be doubt as well that even if your portfolio looks impressive, you may not be giving it your all since you're throwing it away for peanuts. You also bring the floor price of the entire industry down. The thought that someone managed a huge job on a few pesos causes a lot of problematic questions. Most of the time, quality suffers and people are forced to bring their prices down even if overhead expenses stay the same. Loss or lugi. And beware your personal safety and reputation when people find out you're the juggernaut that started the crash.

Of course if it's discounts and personal favors for a job we're talking about, that's a different story. But beware of that too. People love to haggle or assume that you would automatically give a discount or even do it for free especially when you're friends or when you're just starting. Treat discounts and freebies as you would a secret super power. It's a power you would only use when the occasion merits it and with utmost discretion. You're running a business, not a charity. Spot the free loaders and sic some good verbal kung-fu on them. Don't forget your manners, okay? Be polite, firm but gracious as you need to maintain a good image and you don't need the bad juju :) Don't give in to the pressure or fear that they won't buy from you. You are not begging for patronage. The world is a huge place, someone ought to like or need what you have. It also makes people feel special when you do give freebies and discounts. They're more likely to come back for more and bring others with them because you were able to make a special connection with them. I hope that made sense!

Overvaluing or overpricing on the other hand could drive customers and clients away. Of course there's the off chance that you could single-handedly drive up industry prices but unless you're God's gift to your particular job description, don't bet on it. You can be easily replaced by a dozen with the same skill set and cheaper demands. Besides, there's the bigger pressure for performance according to how much you're being paid. If you really deserve it, props to you! But if you don't, the resulting fall can reverberate through the next few jobs. You don't want that, right?

So how do we put a price on our heads?

Read. Research. Talk to people. Use the net. Find out how much others are charging. Look up the highest and lowest asking price and hit an average. Compare your folio with these people and see what pricing bracket you could fall under. If you're starting but think you can compete with the ones asking for higher pay-out, go for it! :)

Attend business seminars to find out how MONEY WORKS FOR YOU. You'll be amazed at so many simple solutions rooted in common sense out there remain unused. Break out of the mentality that you have to work for your money and turn it around to work for you.

Always price right!

Mathematics isn't even a problem. That's what calculators are for! Lolz. And accountants too, by the way. Aside from lawyers, talking to accountants reveal a lot you can do to augment the income you generate on a monthly basis. Any bank would be happy to accomodate your questions if you don't personally know an accountant. And those paycheck deductions that go to your housing, social security and health insurance funds? Ah! You DO have so much, you just don't know it.

So in a nutshell, I thought I wouldn't ever have a head for business until my kids showed me otherwise. When you're a mom, you want to ensure your kids have what they need for a good future. And let's face it, you need money to do that.

Educate yourself. Know your rights. Know your value. Empower yourself.

Philippine Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines
Intellectual Property Protection in the Philippines

Online Copyright Protection

I Got A Gazillionaire Mind

To quote Money On My Mind Lyrics by Lil Wayne, "I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind!" Or Billionaire by Travis McCoy and Bruno Mars, "I wanna be a billionaire so freakin' bad..."

Well, why not? And why stick to mere millions? Go big time while you're at it! Upsize to billions! Upgrade to trillions! Boggle the mind with bazillions! There ARE no limits. Those stop signs only exist in your fears. And while the right kind of fear keeps you safe, the wrong kind stops you from seizing opportunities. Sometimes these things require a leap of faith, to jump before you're sure you can fly. It all starts in your head though. Once you realize EVERYTHING, even seemingly negative events, detours and uphill climbs, are all OPPORTUNITIES, nothing can stop you. Keep your eye on that cheese and move with it when it moves, all the while steadily moving closer to it until it's all yours. Believe in opportunity and keep moving!

Sure money doesn't grow on trees. But who said it can't? Who said you can't carpet the floor with it, roll around in it and make like a ticker tape parade raining money confetti on you while you make money angels on the floor?

What a dream, ain't it? :) It's up to you to make it real. Dreams are the first step. Have the fire to give it life! Everything around us started that way. Even this blogging application. Someone somewhere dreamed this up and is now making money angels in his or her living room. Heck, Facebook and SM started with a dream.

So what are your dreams and what are you doing to claim that cheese?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Sunsilk Co-Creations Hairfall Solution
Enriched with Soya Vitamin Complex
Co-created with Dr. Francesca Fusco
SRP: P89.00/200mL bottle
 This is the shampoo I'm using right now.

Sunsilk Co-creations, enriched with Soya Vitamin Complex to nourish and reinforce hair from the roots to the tips, it gently cleanses weakened, easily-broken hair without harming my scalp. Sunsilk teamed up with world-class dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco from NYC to come up with this formulation.

She believes that the delicate scalp should be treated as an extension of the skin on your face. For her, a woman's hair is truly her "crowning glory" and is dedicated to giving every girl the best head start possible to getting glorious hair through scalp care. “The secret to addressing hair fall,” shares Fusco, “is nourishing that first inch of hair that emerges from the scalp.”

Now why am I blogging about this?

I love my hair.

I love my long, curly, unruly, glorious, layered, colored hair.

And I'm a losing it.

I didn't use to even like it in my painful high school years when I was still searching for acceptance. I had naturally curly waves that were as awkward as the ugly duckling's feathers were. As a result, I kept it short as was the fad but hated that it made me look so unfeminine. Upon entering college, I finally decided to throw all caution to the wind and let my hair down, so to speak.

Growing out my hair was the most liberating experience I ever had among all the liberating experinces of college life. I layered it, colored it, moussed it but I never really got into the fad about straightening as I loved being unique in a sea of rebonded hair. I got it into my system that I wanted to refer to my full head of hair as "tresses" and "locks". I would have been in absolute hair nirvana if it were really thicker though. That's my only peeve.

When I gave birth to Oona, my hair started falling out big time. At first it was just when I brushed or ran my hand though my hair. Then I woke up to find my hair all over the pillows and falling by themselves as I walked. After the natural shedding that came after pregnancy, it never got any better. It got even worse when Olly came so I had no choice but to cut my hair really short for the very first time in 26 years. Yes, I had boy-short hair when I was around 5 years old.

Well, I can't say I don't like my hair now, but I'm not crazy about it either. Given that I'm as round as a dumpling, without my long hair, I look even rounder. Haha. I felt like a goddess with my long hair but with my short hair, I feel anything but pixieish.

No other help for it but for the body to catch up with the hair (read: lose the excess inches so the body can match the hair). Wrong "full-bodied" reference! :P

Meanwhile I would have to take extra care of the precious few I have so the search began for good hair care products THAT WOULD NOT EAT INTO MY BUDGET. Yes, all caps. I'm a mom so splurging on myself will be accompanied by days of shopper's guilt over what could have been used to buy my child's milk or diapers.

I used to buy this really great homemade purple hair soap and gugo/kalamansi extract shampoo that was mild on my hair and scalp. But I can't find it anymore *sob!* Other popular brands only gave me dandruff, scalp irritations and brittle, dry hair.

Then, like a bolt from the blue, the universe sent me a surprise package! Quite literally. My mom told me that a package arrived for me and that it was quite heavy. When we opened it (Oona buzzing around me in excitement over the "Supise, Mommy! Sur-pise!"), I was laughing so much because I saw that it was enough shampoo to last the entire household for months! And there was one type for everyone! Oona designated herself the "Official Arranger On The Shelf Of Shampoos" and Olly pounced on the bag so I appropriated it for her toys. :D
Meanwhile, the other shampoos went to the following:

 ANTI-DANDRUFF for Daddy. He uses hair putty a lot so hair product + sweat + skin cells = build-up. Enriched with ZPT Citrus Complex, it thoroughly cleanses and refreshes while purifying the scalp from the first wash and protect the hair’s natural condition from dryness. Formulated by Dr. Francesca Fusco again :D I so love her now.

STRONG AND LONG for my sister Diday. A student with a very active life since she works too, hair can get really stressed from all the commuting and stuff she puts on it. Enriched with Active Fruitamin Complex, the rich moisture formula gently cleanses and refreshes hair, while penetrating it and fortifying hair fibers so it becomes up to 10x stronger*+ and 3x smoother+ with boosted shine. Sunsilk teamed up with Paris-born Teddy Charles, creator of some of the world’s latest runway and premier fashion magazine looks, to co-create Sunsilk’s most advanced Strong & Long formulation for strong* and smoother hair. Well, she *does* look like a model, anyway. Or maybe it's just our genes! (Nuksnumuuuun! :D)

 SOFT AND SMOOTH for my Mom and Dad. Enriched with Ceramide Macadamia Complex, it gently cleanses and conditions even the driest and roughest hair, while acting as a softening agent to rebalance hair condition. Sunsilk teamed up with Bobsoho Salon, founded by Thomas Taw, famous for resuscitating dry hair, to co-create Sunsilk’s most advanced Soft&Smooth formulation for hair that is silky soft to the touch.

We still have the rest of the line to try out:

STRAIGHT AND SWAY enriched with Amino Collagen Complex, it cleanses your straight hair and gently relaxes your hair bonds, providing softness and suppleness to give natural movement ++ to your artificially straightened hair. Sunsilk teamed up with Paris-born Teddy Charles, creator of the world’s latest runway and premier fashion magazine looks, to co-create Sunsilk’s most advanced Straight and Flowing formulation for ideally straighter hair full of natural movement.

DAMAGE REPAIR enriched with Olive Serum Nutri Complex, it gently cleanses and gives care to the most damaged hair, while reconstructing beneath the hair surface and filling damaged cracks deep inside – layer by layer, strand by strand. Sunsilk teamed up with Bobsoho Salon of London, founded by Thomas Taw, famous for resuscitating damaged hair, to co-create Sunsilk’s most advanced Damage Repair formulation to give back extreme smoothness and health to your damaged hair.

SMOOTH AND MANAGEABLE, enriched with Keratin Yogurt Nutri-Complex, it gently cleanses and coats hair strands to smoothen fluffy hair. Sunsilk teamed up with Yuko Yamashita from Japan, creator of YUKO Hair Straightening, turning hair from unruly to manageable, to co-create Sunsilk’s most advanced Smooth and Manageable formulation for extraordinarily smoother++ hair that stays beautifully in place all day long.

We also got Cream Silk Conditioners! Yay!

I can't wait til my hair grows long again! With the care I'm getting from what I'm using right now, I'm pretty sure, I'll have a full head of gorgeous hair again!
Now which ones are you going to try out for your crowning glory? :D

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sanity Blogging

In between snorting down food like a vacuum cleaner, sprinting to the bathroom for personal necessities whenever the kids permit, attempting to sidestep parenting pitfalls with raising the toddler and being the infant's chew toy, I somehow manage to blog.

How the hell does one fit blogging among all the million other things already crammed into the day?

I have NO frikkin' idea.

All I know is, if I can update my stat messages, I can probably blog. I realized I've been micro-blogging at plurk and facebook anyway, so might as well REAALLY blog, right?

Besides, if I don't create some quiet space for myself, I *will* go nuts. I mean, I love being a SAHM but when you begin spending the day in pajamas, smell like stale milk (and don't even know it), tune out when the kids do a hyperactive chorus and you can't wait until the sweet little things are knocked out for the day, IT IS TIME FOR A BREAK.

It can really get overwhelming. With all the love in the world alive in your heart, you will still have days when you just want to scream. Or not talk at all. Silence can be so precious when you have a toddler who has just realized the wonder of words and how to generate an endless stream of questions.

Blogging makes one feel connected to the self, like you can hear your own thoughts again. You somehow feel connected to other people too when someone comments and shares sentiments with you, albeit online. It's also a fine substitute to talking to yourself if you're hankering for adult company. At least with blogging, nobody's going to think you're cuckoo because you're pretending to talk to someone at an attempt at adult conversation. So, I blog.

But if you find yourself hearing voices or your babies begin sounding like Stewie to you, GET HELP. Lolz.

I do envy the super moms who can breeze through the day without a crease, frown or wrinkle on perfect faces, dresses or figures (nor a prescription for sedative of choice). While I'm lucky enough to have my family around me to help and I married a man who's brave enough to face laundry, I still wish there were more hours in the day AND there was two of me. AT LEAST two, with an option for a third clone. Someone please tell me the perfect home maker does not exist without a battalion of nannies, secretaries, aides and maids!

If budget permits, my conviction says I would hire a maid as support staff, but not a nanny. I still feel that my kids are mine to raise, fuss over, yell at and with.


So. How sane are you today?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Parallel Universes - What If?

Let's play pretend.

In a parallel universe far, far away, I am still single at 31. I may or may not have a steady boyfriend, but I sure am not lonely. I go out with friends, officemates or by myself to clubs on most nights just because I can. I'm a known regular, on first name basis with the doorman, bartender and staff of more than one bar and I have my own tab.

I'm an executive at an advertising agency or a production house. I do paperwork but can pull my own weight on the field. I secretly want to be Indiana Jones so I'm taking up my anthropology masters degree.

When I'm not at work, school or living it up, I can be found at home. I have my own pad. Small but all mine. Next door are my best friends. We bought the property and divided it among ourselves. I read, write, paint or draw when the muse so moves me. I enjoy a glass of wine on the patio and a good conversation when my friends are around as well.

On weekends, I go to the beach whenever I can. Surfing season finds me leaving work on Friday to head straight to the surfing camp four hours away. I arrive at night, have a good dinner and sleep til dawn when I wake to catch a good wave.

My family lives in the same house we've lived in since we were kids. I spend weekends there every other week or they go to the beach with me. I have nieces and nephews and godchildren galore so the family home is a riot especially on sundays.

I retire by 45, squirreling away funds to buy property and set up a business. I grow to a venerable old age living on an island 5 minutes by outboard from the mainland, surrounded by trees, ocean and my p's: poetry, pantings and pottery. I die peacefully in my sleep.

A nice, tidy, colorful existence. But no RF. And definitely a given, no Oona or Olly. I wouldn't even have known how it would feel to wake up at odd hours, be bone tired or as frustrated as Oona in the middle of a communication crisis. I won't worry about pedia visits, vaccines, hospitals or natural remedies. There would be no child-made messes, poopy diapers and I would always smell good. Not like right now, you'd know I'm *this* deep in milk, toddler snot and diapers!

But it would be a given too, that there wouldn't be good morning kisses or hugs just because. There wouldn't be silly nonsense games where you both end up laughing. No tickling before bed. No amazement at every little thing. No excitement and wonder that comes so easy for children and how generously they share it with you.

I guess it depends on how you look at it. On one hand, ignorance could be bliss. On the other, I may have lost something infinitely better and was never the wiser for it. Who knows?

Anyhoo, that's one parallel universe for me. I know I got a lot of alternate realities in existence out there.

So what's yours? :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Seventeen Again

I am losing weight. I will have my 17-year old body back, with the strength and stamina to keep up to the physical demands of a toddler and an infant hell-bent on conquering gravity. All this is possible, attainable and on a timeline of one year. From now. And no, I'm not crazy or suicidal.

Let's break it down.

At first it started as a desire to be more present as a positive figure for the kids; to be more active and not just cope with my role as mother and homemaker. I wanted more energy to lead a more productive, positive life to set an example for our growing girls. Lately I've been feeling so run down that I haven't been at my best. I mean, I have a strong personality and can be cantankerous. But lately I've been cranky, short-tempered, easily frustrated and impatient. More than usual! Especially since the girls have just had a bout with the cold bug, I'm just plain exhausted. I do have help from my family, but I still feel drained at the end of the long, long day.

Things kind of snowballed from there. I realized that I wanted so much more for the kids, for RF, for our family. From life, for our life! For myself! Self-examination really does cook up a lot of food for thought! One small decision makes a lot of ripples, affecting everything in our lives. One small change makes a huge difference.

I know it's not going to be overnight nor is it going to be easy. But I also know it's going to be interesting and so worth it, a year from now!
Even reaching just half my goal at that time would be fantastic. I'm not sabotaging my motivation, mind you. I'm just being realistic. I'm keeping my eyes on that cheese but I won't kill myself over it. Also, I'm still going to be breastfeeding Olly. All changes would have to consider her health and well-being as well.

Now, at 31 years old, I weigh about 180 lbs. at my height of 5'1. (Ugh. I just revealed to the world what, until now, only my medical records know!) At 17, I was 120 lbs. Wow. Saying 14 years of poundage sounds better than saying by exactly how much I'm over the right weight!

Good GOD.

That there, are 60 lbs. of bad food and bad habits, sneaking up on you. You'd think 4 lbs a year wouldn't be so bad!

So my goal is to lose 60lbs in 12 months. 5 lbs per month, 1lb a week.

*long pause*

Can I lose in 1 year what took me 14 years to gain?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Miss You, Mom.

Oona said it in such a clear, small voice with the simple sadness as can only come from a child. I suppose my heart will just keep on breaking whenever I recall how forlorn she looked, complete with trembling lower lip and tear-filled eyes.

I sometimes forget how much of a baby she still is and that she still drinks from a bottle.

She amazes me so much, each and every day.

It's my fault she also says she's sad a lot these days. I know I'm tired all the time and I've been caring for Olly more than I've been able to attend to Oona. It's no excuse. It's not that I've been neglecting her, I just don't have as much time, energy and patience as I used to. I know that other moms are busier but are successful at the balancing act but I'm just barely keeping it together.

I really wish I could split myself in two equal parts now that Oona's growing up and simply exploding with energy, questions, new ideas and emotions. I really wish my powers could extend my physical, emotional and intellectual stamina to encompass both of the girls. I really wish I could change relationship gears at lightning speed between adult, toddler and infant. I really wish there was more of me to go around. The BEST of me always.

But right now I feel really horrible. I'm such an ogre when I lose my temper. I yell, I lash out. I can be such a bitch. Yes, to a three year old.

Now this same forlorn little girl just carefully covered me up, sharing her big blanket because she knows it's cold and my feet freezes. Then she snuggles up to me under the covers and says she wants to hug.

I really, really, REALLY feel guilty now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How's Your Baby Sleeping? And Free Gift From J&J :)

Oona and Olly hadn't been sleeping well lately due to their recent bout with the cold bug that seems to be going around. What helped them through the nights of stuffy noses, occasional fevers and general discomfort was a drawn out bedtime routine. That, and a lot of paglalambing. You know how it when anyone's are sick, they really love being babied! :D

Now that they're better, the bedtime routine is somewhat back to its normal pace. Some quiet play before washing up or a bath (depends on their level of activity before bedtime), brushing teeth (for Oona), change them into pajamas, a fresh diaper for Olly and then our lights are dimmed. Sometimes Oona picks a book to read with me or we just lie down talking about the day quietly while Olly rolls around, expending the last of her energy and winding herself down. Then Oona has a small bottle of watered-down milk to drink (I'm gently weaning her from having it at nighttime) and Olly breastfeeds, both nodding gently off to sleep as we cuddle all smooshed together in bed.

I really appreciate that I have all the help I can get from everyone around me and everything I use to help them feel better really works. There's the aciete alcamforado, the aciete manzanilla and the J&J Baby Bedtime Wash and Oil. The scents relax me too so all of us are more relaxed before floating off to sleep and we wake up really refreshed in the morning.

Yes, I could do with longer sleep myself. But without the help I get, I can't imagine how much more frazzled I'd be and how much the quality of sleep my babies get would suffer.

To help J&J, please participate in this survey for all moms concerned with products for our babies. There's even stuff to be had at the end! :)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The OLAY Woman

Strong, resourceful, driven but never forgetting to be a lady, beautiful inside and out. That is the Olay woman to me.

My grandmother, apart from having a glass bottle of Oil of Olay on her vanity before I was even born, is a fighter, a survivor and above all, a lady in every sense of the word. She grew up during the Japanese Occupation, orphaned when her mother was shot crossing a river with wares she was to sell on the other side. Relatives brought her and her siblings up and educated her. She was also the local beauty queen until showing a streak of daring, she eloped with and married my grandfather. She said it was not much of a scandal in those days and that the elopement was prepared for by everyone. When my grandfather brought her to his mother's house, all she had to do was put on the prepared wedding gown and go to church in it!

My grandmother, the beauty queen!
She was also a true entrepreneur, holding a puwesto at the Monumento market selling dry goods and operating a canteen. She was a byahera, travelling by boat to buy premium items in Hong Kong, transporting them here and selling them. Clothes, fabric, make-up, perfumes, around the 60's I guess that was when she first picked up Oil of Olay, as it was known back then. She was able to send all her 7 children to school, help her husband, my grandfather, purchase land, build their house and live a life of modest, debt-free means.

Through long, grueling days and late nights at the palengke, my lola nevertheless kept herself fresh and beautiful. She may be tired or her surroundings weren't exactly glamorous, but I don't remember a time when she wasn't neatly dressed, powdered, smelling like flowers and smiling with painted lips. My lola was neat, simple and proper but always pustura. Even as she grew old and stopped travelling. Even as she gave up her spot in the market. Even as we would just visit her at home, she would always be simply dressed but powdered, lipsticked and smelling so nice and fresh.

I actually remember her when I think about Olay, as it is now simply known. She had a nightly beauty routine which included gently massaging her face with the pink beauty fluid. I was supposed to be writing about my Olay experience but I can't help writing about my grandmother or even my mother, for that matter, since my experience encompasses theirs.

My mother on my youngest sister's baptismal.
My mother naman is just as driven as my grandmother, her mom. To help augment my father's income while raising us five kids, she took a leaf from my grandmother's book and sold stuff as well. She did school bazaars, operated a school jeep, even sold jewelry for a time. I remember how tiring it must have been for her. But she must have inherited her strength from my grandmother along with her beauty routine!

Alas. I could not find a picture
of the old Oil of Olay bottles
so I'm making do with these.
Apart from being pustura like my grandmother, I noticed how every night, my mother would put Olay on her face. On heavy make up days, she might even use it to remove her make up. I remember, as a child, I'd be so curious about that glass bottle with the pink cream that I'd open and smell it every time my mom wasn't around. I really loved that smell. The bottle, pink beauty fluid, the scent, the Olay name became a symbol of womanhood as much as make up and high heels were. I knew I was continuing tradition and becoming a woman as soon as I had that bottle of moisturizing lotion on my adolescent vanity.

Feeling and being beautiful in these modern times is made even easier by technology. I'm glad that this time, tradition is easier to celebrate. Olay came out recently with a new line of truly luscious soap bars! Now, I can have the luxury of the Olay experience all over my body! I had understood that the lotion was a luxury for the face and hands so I carried the habit of using Olay sparingly. But now, I can literally bathe in it!

I still consider myself a new mother even if I'm on my 2nd child. I can't even begin to compare myself to veterans like my mother, let alone my grandmother. Even with help from family (because we don't have a nanny or a maid) I still feel like I'm drowning in babies, diapers and milk everyday! I seriously don't know how they did it. In lipstick, no less! And they were able to put in a beauty routine every night! I'm lucky if I get 10 seconds to go to the potty all by myself! So you can bet my beauty routine is non-existent by now.

That's why the new Olay soap bars are such a blessing. I can bathe, refresh myself and pamper my entire body with the Olay beauty routine simultaneously! Maybe someday I'll learn how the mothers before me achieved balance between caring for their families and caring for themselves. Until then, I'm only too glad to be able to indulge myself with the Olay soap bars. It's like I'm swimming in the Olay beauty fluid every time.

(1) Green OLAY Fresh Reviving. It goes beyond cleansing, delivering OLAY deep moisturizers to the skin while helping to wash away dry surface cells. So after you dry off, all that's left is skin that feels clean and revived.

(2)  Orange OLAY Ultra Moisture is specially formulated with creamy, OLAY lather and Shea Butter. It goes beyond cleansing, delivering OLAY deep moisturizers to the skin while helping to wash away dry surface cells. So after you dry off, all that's left is skin that feels clean and petal soft.

(3) Blue OLAY Age Defying Bar. Each bar is formulated with creamy, OLAY lather.

These OLAY soaps are gentle enough to use on your face.You can try everything and see which OLAY bar is for you. 

We all still use Olay. There are a lot out there to try but we keep coming back to this beauty fluid to keep our skin soft and beautiful.And with their full range of skin care, skin LOVE products, it's easier to be a strong, beautiful woman, inside and out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm A Believer

The wonderful people of Nuffnang and Yehey! invited me and other moms to participate in the Bedtime Discoveries of J&J. For the first few events, I was sadly unable to go as I was 1. Near my due date! 2. In labor, and 3. Recovering! Lolz :D How incredible was that? I heard it was really fun and the events were a success.

Fortunately, I was able to catch the very last event celebrating the value of good sleep in babies' growth and development. I was able to see some of my friends, make new ones and feel assured that I AM on the right track concerning the steps I take to ensure my girls get a good night's rest.

Mommy Leirs, whom I haven't seen for over a year!
Pretty Mommy Erlyn and Mommy Leirs!
Doting Mommy Josephine with a sleepy Olly :D
Oops! Someone took Mommy Erlyn's pic and the flash was too bright!
Olly's thought bubble seems to be, "Whut?"
I was able to bring Olly while Oona and Daddy dropped by Lola's for a quick visit. As you can see, Olly was  sleepy for her mid-morning nap but because it was a bit noisy at Aquaknox (yummy vietnamese food!!!), she couldn't settle down. She was sleepy but it was also very exciting for her. She kept looking around, smiling and cooing at everyone who talked to her. Lolz! My baby's first event! :D

The complete Bedtime line!
We got the Bedtime bath, lotion and powder :) Yay!
I wasn't able to take a pic of my swag though as I had my hands full with Olly :D
I was also very happy when J&J thoughtfully gave us Bedtime Gift Packs with the bath, powder and lotion so we can put into practice what we learned about establishing routines for our babies to wind down for sleep. During nighttime sleep is when our bodies regenerate, heal and in our babies' new bodies, develop  (There was a very lovely, durable bag too, waterproofed with purple plastic inside so it's perfect to hold baby stuff!)

I've always been a J&J baby so now that I have kids of my own, I use J&J on them too. Of course there wasn't a Bedtime line in my infancy but the principle of touch therapy and bedtime routines have been part of the family tradition for as long as I can remember. It's reassuring and refreshing to know that tradition is fully supported by science and modern studies. What makes this routine even more special is the influence of aromatherapy in the formulation of this line. Lavender does have a calming property and its essential oil is good for the skin. Perfect for babies, toddlers and me too! :)

Go to, people! Find out more about what good sleep can do for your kids. Check if you're already doing it! :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moving To The Front Row

Change seems to be the theme for the rest of the year for me. Not just any change, mind you. Significant ones.

While I've had many, many changes in my life, both big and small, I can only count a few that I've truly decided upon, taken charge of and did not just leave up to fate.

Oona, Olly and Mommy
When Oona blew out the candles for her 3rd birthday last August 15, I couldn't help feeling that my baby was growing up too fast for me! Huffy puffy Mommy trying desperately to catch up with her mile-a-minute mind, rapid-fire questions and road-runner legs. Let's not forget 6 month old butterball Olly, challenging time and human evolution by constantly trying to crawl and stand ahead of schedule and fly off the bed, in defiance of gravity. It takes all the mommy powers I can muster to last the day with these two bundles of energy! So as Oona's candles poofed out, the idea of a change that MUST happen flared to life. I wanted to be more involved in the laughter and fun in their lives. I don't want to just exist from chore to chore, duty to duty, stretching what I had to cover what needed to be done for the kids. I wanted to have more out of the relationship we share. I didn't want to be too tired to enjoy being with them.

Really, most days, I'm too pooped to be fun, I'm short-tempered and more of an ogre than I care to admit. Sound familiar, anyone?

Like most mothers, our priorities revolve around the kids, our husbands and partners, our families. We put ourselves, by default, in second, third and even last place. But our roles, quite by paradox, always demand that we be at the front line of everything for the family. Yes, like soldiers.

We barely even have time for ourselves like we used to because there's the guilt that every available time and attention should be invested in the kids, the husband and the family or else you're not being a good wife or mother.

That's not fair, is it? Does that sound like your internal dialogue?

Let's be realistic. We can't expect others to take care of us. It would be great, yes! But we have to take the initiative to do things for ourselves. We can't expect martyrdom or a shaft of light from heaven transforming us into perfection. You'd have to be dead, I think and I want to be alive to enjoy myself.

In a nutshell, I want enough of me to go around and have something left for ME. I don't want to feel run down
anymore because I should be enjoying myself and the time I have with the kids. I know they won't be babies for long and sooner than I would like to, they'll be spreading their wings to fly solo. So for a change, I think I ought to put myself in the front row of my life, our family's life!

I want more. I want the place of privilege I know I deserve.

To be there not just as a frontliner at the trenches, but sitting pretty, joining in the fun and laughter, making good, happy memories, watching my kids and my family bloom and grow from my plush front row seat.

I am daring to be in front.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Somebody said that changes in our lives are perceived differently by those around us. To others it may seem to be the death of your loved one or a triumphant event that changes you. However, the significant moment for you could be the simple shutting of a door, the glimpse of a small, secret smile or a leaf falling. For me it was a small strip changing color that rendered my universe virtually unrecognizable to me.

This is Oona, my first born daughter. She celebrated her 3rd birthday last August 15 and as she blew out her candles, I couldn't help feeling that my baby seems to be growing up too fast for me.

Was it only a few years ago that I was “Boss Laya”, driven workaholic, weekend wanderer and tough bar regular?

With kindred free spirits!
My life has never been the same the moment I found out she was coming. I always felt I was too much of a free spirit until I met my husband, but it was only in 2007 when the home pregnancy-kit showed two pink strips did my world totally turn upside down. I actually never thought I'd get married, let alone have a child!

At first I felt numb, shell-shocked as I heard it to be. Then, nervous and not just a little afraid. Suddenly all these questions, insecurities and issues started popping out from nowhere! Would I be a good mother? Am I ready to be a parent? What do I DO now? I started to reach for a cigarette but caught myself in time. I quit right then and there, cold-turkey and sucked on a mint instead. Drinking booze and coffee went out the window too. Sooo many things to consider, adjust, change!

For pretty much the whole 9 months, I was in a state of mental and emotional upheaval. Not to mention the physical changes that terribly upset me. I felt that I lost all sense of control. My world had spun off its axis, I was at such odds with myself and my body had betrayed me: the dizziness, the mood swings, the bloating, the aches and pains, ad infinitum, ad nauseatum.  My morning sickness did not just attack in the mornings, by the way, nor did it limit itself to just a month. Bleh.

surprise baby shower at the office
My beloved hubby RF and I had been married two years, living on our own in a small apartment in Makati. Life had a hectic regularity of work, home, occasional breaks and more work from our BPO jobs. It was an awakening for me how sharply the feelings of isolation this new state of being could bring me. At work I was surrounded by kids just out of college and most friends my age were like me, worked hard and partied even harder. All self-possession and confidence deserted me as I could not find anyone to relate to and I felt so alone even as I felt the tiny being grow inside me. I think it would have helped if I was closer to family but it was impractical given my delicate condition and unforgiving working hours to be commuting everyday.

Make no mistake, though, we were really happy to find out we were pregnant. It was all just so unexpected for me, so unforeseen that I, the girl scout, was caught unawares.

I was also so very hungry and thirsty all the time! It was horrible when the food cravings or paglilihi started because not only was I very picky, the mood swings coincided with whether or not I got what I was craving for at the moment. Blame it on the hormones and the intense feelings these new changes brought about, but I truly craved the wholesome, home made comfort food of my childhood. You know how it is at times of uncertainty when you hark back to a simpler, uncomplicated, secure time, right? Home, childhood, the warm womb of family...What I remember was that I craved Dinuguan like my granduncle in Mindoro made, the Sinigang Na Baboy only my mother makes and the Nilaga my grandfather used to cook when he was still alive. Tall order for my poor hubby or the Kuya I asked to find me lunch everyday! They would try to find these in the nearby restaurants or eateries but it wasn’t everyday that any of these choices would be available.

Goldilock's Pasong Tamo, my saviour!
Strolling home one evening I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a nearby Goldilocks branch. I remembered their Mamon and decided to buy some. When I entered, I found out that Goldilocks not only served cakes, pastries and breads, they had also begun serving full meals! At first I was skeptical but I couldn't resist when I saw right up there among the food choices were the meals I had been hungering for. Sinigang! Nilaga! Dinuguan! There was even Kare-kare! Oh, I was so very HAPPY! I couldn’t make up my mind what to try first!

Nilagang Baka
After what seemed like forever, I went with the Pork Sinigang, being pregnant and wanting something sour! I was happy with how much their servings were and my first spoonful of that soup sent me reeling back to a warm, happy place! Happy me! Happy belly! Happy baby! I ordered Dinuguan and puto (and extra rice) next (yes, I pigged out!) and for my take home baon, I had Nilaga wrapped up. Perfect for when I woke up at 3am, hungry for something warm and soupy!

I went home with a bellyful of happiness. I know, I sound unbelievably shallow when I say that food stabilized my teetering world! But it did, that night. All was right again. Imagine, I could have a taste of home any time I wanted to now! Apparently, on a deep psychological and emotional level, I equate food with comfort and security (like every other creature! Haha!). How the universe provides for us, doesn't it? It was a big bonus for me too that this branch in Pasong Tamo closed late so every time I was on night shift, I'd buy enough food to last me until the wee hours of the morning! 

Of course, it was still different when it was my mom's cooking or my grandparents', but Goldilocks gave me a sense of what a home away from home is like, giving you comfort, a sense of security and that everything will be alright through all the changes you may go through. 

Oona, Olly and Daddy
So all throughout my pregnancy, Goldilocks nourished not only my baby, that little girl Oona, but also nurtured my sense of well-being and reminded me of family. The family that surrounded me, reaching through time and distance and the family I was about to have, assuring me that I wasn't alone, I would be fine and that these changes are part and parcel of the celebration of life.

My beautiful, intelligent, spunky little daughter is the spice of our lives! (She's now a doting Ate, by the way!) She's got as much personality as the Sinigang, warms your heart up like the Nilaga with her sweet ways and is as incredibly interesting as the Dinuguan is to a foreigner who's never had that dish. Hahahahaha! :) 

Thank you, Goldilocks! We probably should have named our daughter after you! :D