Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Luscious Dare: L-Carnitine and Green Tea, Grapeseed Oil and Malunggay

I decided to lose weight to keep up with the demands of having a toddler and baby running around the whole day. I hated being sluggish and how cranky I was from having such low energy. Having come from childbirth and its complications, poor diet, no exercise and being overweight to begin with, it was high time for a change and reclaim my life from unhealthiness.

With eating smart, eating right and balancing my diet, I decided to support my weight loss with health supplements as my body had just come from childbirth and I am still breastfeeding Olly. It is important not to deprive the body as it could do more harm than good. Instead of getting your natural metabolism in gear, it could slow down further as your body thinks it's being deprived due to a famine. It's a normal response of the body protecting itself and why crash diets don't work in the long run. You stand to gain twice what you initially lost. You may think it's working but what you're losing is just water and mass.

L-Carnitine and Green Tea Extract seemed to be my best bet as I needed the energy boost and the anti-oxidant. I was apprehensive about it at first but a quick email to my OB put my mind at ease. She even sent me this link and surprised me by saying pregnant and breastfeeding mothers do need the supplement as these are high energy activities. Even babies needed l-carnitine that they get from breastmilk! Sometimes the body expends more than is produced because of this, so capsule intake may be prescribed.

I did not want to take just any supplement with appetite suppressants as eating less would interfere with my breastfeeding. So I decided on Luxxe Slim as it only had l-carnitine and green tea and no other unfamiliar ingredients in their formulation.

L-Carnitine converts body fat to fuel, metabolizes sugars, starches, and other carbohydrates. It promotes good circulation of the kidney, pancreas, good digestion and replenishes bone mass. Protects the heart from damage, clears the bloodstream and can be used to supplement breastfeeding mothers.

Green Tea's antioxidant qualities promote increased metabolism and fat oxidation, detoxification, enhances immunity and has cancer prevention properties.

Luxxe Protect's Grapeseed Oil on the other hand is 20 times more potent than Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E.

It is good for the skin and vision and is an antihistamine, anti-inflamatory and lowers cholesterol level.

Malunggay or Moringana Olifeira capsules are packed with natural multi-vitamins many times over than artificial multi-vitamins. It also promotes lactation and keeps up my milk supply for Olly.

Calcium and Iron multivitamins are also usually needed as I'm a breastfeeding mom. Most of my supply are being transferred to Olly that's why my teeth, bones and hair are suffering for it. My period also resumed after being absent for so long so I need to build up my iron reserves. I felt so weak and dizzy on my first day from the blood loss!

Luckily though I've been taking malunggay. Imagine how weak I would have felt if I wasn't. After my period stops, I can stop the extra calcium and iron and just stick to the malunggay and other supplements.

So far, these are the supporting health supplements I take with lots of water and a regulated diet.

How Do I Feel?

With the extra vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants flooding my body for about a week now, I definitely feel better. During the first few days though, when my body began to give up the toxins it had accumulated, I had a cold. I also itched, sweat a lot, felt tired, sleepy and cranky. My period also resumed after several months of amenorrhoea.

I read up that the colds, the sweating and the skin itching I had were due to the normal expulsion of toxins. Our skin and respiratory systems are organs that help eliminate our body's waste. My sleepiness and lack of energy was due to my monthlies whose recurrence I would put down to the metabolic boost the supplements gave my body. After all, that's part of the body's cleansing process.

After my body got used to the new balance of things, I felt much lighter, cleaner and definitely less cranky. Losing 5lbs worth of toxins after a week is definitely progress! :D I can't wait to see how much I lose again after another week!

Previous: How To Start
Next: The Diet

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Have A New Blog! *drumroll* LIVING LUSCIOUSNESS

I decided that my soul-searching merited a new blog.

living lusciousness
 Mainly for my health, wellness and beauty rants, raves and food for the soul, this will also chronicle my very own personal journey to inner and outer beauty, self-acceptance and a positive self-image.

It was just a small topic that blossomed as my introspection grew. I guess after years of feeling ugly, and denying myself the affirmation of my own inner light, I'm done with feeling like a victim. I am moving from the backseat and taking control of my life.

Being a mom can really open up so many things for a woman.

Though I have gone through so much and really lived it up in my colorful youth, I want to be a good role model for my girls now that I'm a mother. Someday, I want them to be proud of the woman I am now and when they're old enough to actually be embarassable in school, I still want them to be able to say, "Yep, that's my Mom!"; my wild child youth included in that statement of pride.

So without further ado, please visit and leave some love at Living Lusciousness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Precious Moments Showroom, Gift Shop and Tea House

Do you guys remember those little tear-drop eyed dolls and illustrations of our childhood? Those distinctive faces that are both so innocent and a touch sad?

From the face of a beloved child, the famous features of the Precious Moments dolls and drawings were born in 1974. Samuel Butcher is the American artist who created the brand based on American-Christian themes. They were first seen as drawings in greeting cards, then as porcelain figurines and vinyl dolls. It was when Sam's company J&D outsourced the dolls in Asia that Sam fell in love with the Philippines. Being a Christian missionary as well, he visited the Philippines often and was able to set up a hotel resort in Aklan to provide employment and training opportunities for the Aklanon and students from other provinces in Western Visayas.

Today, Sam shuttles between his resort in Aklan and his Precious Moments Showroom, Gift Shop and Teahouse in Palanan, Makati City.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfares, this place is DEFINITELY well worth the trip!

Happily Lost

Tucked away in a quiet little street
is an awesome surprise waiting to be discovered!
4227 Laredo Street, Palanan, Makati City

My mother and I were driving around with the girls one late afternoon after dropping off RF at his office and my Dad at a presentation in Makati. We were trying to make our way to Cash and Carry for much needed food near the highway when I made a wrong turn. Keeping my eyes on the road, my mom was the one who was able to catch a glimpse of the showroom's tarp. They had just opened so there wasn't a signboard up yet. I told my mom that under no circumstances was she to let me buy anything! I loved Precious Moments and I am a confirmed shopadiva. So driving around the block and parking on the quiet, residential street, we entered the unassuming red brick house. I was intrigued though, to see that the tarp advertised a teahouse as well as a gift shop (I was hungry and breastfeeding Olly).

In the foyer, we saw people snipping away at doll hairs and packing them into boxes. I really wasn't expecting much since most showrooms I've seen were quiet, stuffy little places crammed with products and boxes. And the teahouse? I was expecting little pastries, cakes, coffee and overpriced tea.

But then, with a beaming smile, the waitress led us into the main area and I walked into the amazing Christmas mornings of my childhood.

And the food? Well...I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, I felt like I was in my grandmother's house on Christmas when my grandfather was alive. The place was bright with warm lights and there was christmas decor every where. There were amazing dolls of all shapes and sizes, display cabinets of figurines and christmas trees hung with glittery baubles. Tables were set as if they've been waiting just for you all this time. It's really hard to dress up an entire floor with the Christmas theme without overwhelming and intimidating people, but this place drew you in and embraced you. It was beautiful without being tacky and comforting without being cloying. It was exactly like *your* grandparents' sala and dining room, all set for the Christmas festivities and your entire clan would be coming in any minute bearing gifts, greetings, laughter and joy!

And let's not forget the food! REAL FOOD. Freshly cooked, served piping hot. In servings you could feed a battalion with, and soup in a bowl you can swim in. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but really, the servings are big enough for more than two people.

With the cooking expertise garnered from their hotel resort in Aklan, the Teahouse boasts of a killer menu that doesn't kill your budget. I'M NOT KIDDING. You can bring a date and impress her. You can bring your entire clan plus your out of town relatives and impress them. And I promise you, your wallet won't run away screaming.
Spareribs! Juicy!

Their full menu boasts of a huge variety of appetizers, entrees, hot pots, noodles and the Teahouse Specials consisting of mouth-watering seafood. Vegetarians will have no problems choosing what to eat as their vegetables are also very good.

Their famous Spinach Seafood Soup!
This is just 1/5th of their usual serving.
One order of any soup serves at least four people!

My mom and I ordered for hototay since we were thinking of a light snack and I was lactating (hence the soup). Their specialty is actually the heavenly Seafood Spinach Soup which we ordered on another day (when that picture was taken). 

We added a burger meal with chips and a drink, just in case the soup wasn't enough. It wasn't much, we thought then too...BUT when our order came out, my jaw literally dropped. I asked the waiter, "How are we supposed to finish all that?!" For the price I was paying for, I was expecting a bowl, not the whole potful! Thank god Oona had an appetite and she was able to finish half a serving, but my mom and I were hard pressed to finish because it was such a shame not to finish it all up, such wonderful soup! It was the best hototay I've ever had in a long long time! It reminded me of the hototay we had in Chinatown when I was a child and sadly, nobody makes hototay like that anymore. We were able to finish it only after two heaping bowls each and one bowl for Dad (who caught up with us after his presentation was done).
Don't be fooled! This plate is huge.
The burger feeds at least two people.

Oh, and they didn't stint on the juicy burger either! It was as large as my face, with real, crisp potato chips sliced paper thin! We quartered the burger and one slice was enough for one person. After the soup though, I had to struggle with my slice :) Mom too, so we had to have the rest of the burger wrapped. But Dad attacked it and demolished it when he arrived. After all, he just had one bowl of hototay :D

While I was feeding Oona and myself, my mom carried Olly around and chatted with Warren, the store manager. It turns out that they were the ones selected to make the limited edition P-Noy inaugural dolls! So those were the dolls we saw being packed in the foyer!

The P-Noy Inaugural Doll

And why they were snipping away at the hair of the male dolls? The staff shared that the dolls had to look like P-Noy and since the dolls had long hair...they had to match his hairline! LOLZ :D It turns out that Sam Butcher gave then-President Cory Aquino a special look-alike doll many years ago. So now that her son was being inaugurated, Precious Moments was given the privilege to make a special doll for him. :D
The Cory Aquino Doll

We were also able to meet Jojo, Sam's honorary son :) He filled us in on the Precious Moments history, the artist's background and how he came to be in the Philippines.

He told us that they were able to put up a Christmas town in Aklan where the resort was. Now, along with this showroom, tea house and gift shop, they want to be able to put up a Doll Museum too! They are currently looking for a place large enough to house the extensive doll and figurine collection just waiting to be seen and loved by everyone. They will be opening it to the public, especially to children and for school tours. Whoever wants to feel like it's Christmas any day they wish, only have to walk through their doors!

All in all, the venue is awesome, the food is incredible and won't break the bank! Lovely serviceware, linens and yes, good, clean washrooms your kid can use! They are able to host parties, gatherings and the casual walk-ins like us. They also deliver and cater as long as you call in your orders beforehand.

The staff are very efficient, warm and accomodating. They will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, as if you are truly a member of the family coming to visit.
Olly and Ate Jinky

Plus, VERY CHILD-FRIENDLY. To think that it's a gift shop, they were not afraid of Oona looking around and occasionally touching things (she's been taught to be very careful so, hooray for that!). As a mom, knowing that they're child-friendly automatically puts them in my most loved places to be! One of the waitresses, Ate Jinky, even took care of Olly for awhile! She confessed to a love of children even if she didn't have her own yet :)

Okay, details! :)
Open Daily 9AM to 10PM
Address: 4227 Laredo St., Palanan, Makati City
Contact Numbers: 856-6615 and 387-1092
Landmarks: Near Cash & Carry Makati

Food: Pork, Beef, Chicken, Seafood, Pasta, Hotpot, Noodles, Vegetables
Drinks: Softdrinks, Iced Tea, Coffee, Juices, Water

Budget: Affordable! Value for your money!

Available for: Dine-In, Take-Out, Delivery & Catering

SO GO VISIT THEM! It's fast becoming popular among the Makati lunch crowds so you might want to go early if you plan on lunching there on a week day! :D Whether you're going to eat, shop or just enjoy the beautiful dolls while having coffee, I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience as much as we did.

++Some pictures of us on our other visits :) 
Oona hams it up!

Mommyluscious, Oona and Dad
Having a precious moment: Oona and Dad :D

that's a real painting by the artist Sam Butcher!
Lola and Olly

yummy spaghetti, chips and chicken fingers snack trio with drink!
Another beautiful painting by the Precious Moments artist!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Luscious Dare: How To Start

Before I even started on this, I had to prepare myself mentally and physiologically. I didn't want to start abruptly and then stop because I thought up of an excuse I could live with or physically, my body would be in cahoots with my reasoning and feel *something* even vaguely justifiable. Yes, I am playing mind games with myself. If this sounds crazy, it's not a result of a starved brain. This is a normal day in my head.

Seriously, any venture has to be thought out before it's started. Especially the ones that require this much commitment. You have to be sure that you'll stick to it no matter the setbacks you'll encounter, criticisms you'll hear or the impatience you might feel over time. Why you are doing this has to be crystal clear and embedded firmly in your mind. In my case, I do this for my kids. I want to be more for them, to live longer and better so that they can have more out of life!

Of course I talk about it in dieting and health terms but it is also applicable to the other changes in my life that I am preparing to undergo. :)

Physical preparations included getting my OB's go signal to diet and use supplements while I breastfeed. Never start dieting, taking supplements or medication and going on an exercise regimen without consulting your GP, OB and other specialists if you have a condition. Anything is possible by human will but you have to be sure the body is willing too!

To say it's all in the mind would be correct. You have to get your mind right first :)

I find that making a list helps me keep things in perspective. So here's my list for a good start.

1. Set your goal.
Reach as far as you can! Aim for the stars! Put in a crazy number if you like but just be aware that you shouldn't have unreasonable expectations.

2. Be clear about your motivation.
Why you are doing this, why you are daring yourself to make a change. More importantly, are you doing this for yourself or for someone else's idea of who you should be? Address your issues and don't be afraid to face them once and for all.

3. Commit to a time line.
Again, be reasonable and leave room to adjust. Be sure it's a schedule you will be able to live with. I would suggest nothing too radical so that whatever you do would be able to mesh well with the rest of your normal everyday activities.

4. Create a reward.
Claim it when you achieve your goal. Though your good health is the best reward you could ever have, material rewards are also good :) A dress, an event or even a trip where you can flaunt your hard-earned change!

Health First!

5. List down the steps you will take.
Evaluate accordingly. Is it safe? Is it feasible, reasonable and achievable? Don't set yourself up to fail by being unreasonable.

6. List what you should avoid.
This not only means bad, unhealthy food, but bad habits that don't contribute to your goal as well.

7. Enlist the help and support of friends and family.
Having a support group will help you through the tough early days when you're just starting to break habits and when you feel like giving up.

8. Check in with your doctor.
Your health and safety is of paramount importance. Have a complete check up and let them know your plans. Bring along whatever medication or supplement you wish to use. Ask for recommendations and advice.

9. Be ready for the adjustments your mind and body will make.
At first it won't be good as your body eliminates toxins with the help of the supplements, the healthy diet and activities. You'll also experience mood swings as you detoxify. It's only temporary. Stick to your guns and know that it's the bad stuff coming out of your system.

10. Start.
I know it sounds like a long list but these are the stuff I started with. It's my way to throw myself completely into this "project". I study, read, prepare and prepare some more. I am committed and the two major reasons for this are sleeping sweetly as I type this to seal the commitment. This is parenting and motherhood for me, striving to be the best I can be for these kids.

If I can do it, I'm sure you can too! :D

Previous: The Luscious Dare
Next: The Supplements

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Devilish Cocktail Recipe >:D

It's Saturday night. What are you up to?

If you're anything like me, you'd be in pajamas with Dr. Seuss, two babies and their Daddy. partying tonight for this Momma!

Buuuuuuuuut....I would love to try this one out sometime after Olly's weaned (which I don't think I'm ready for yet!*tears* I'm the one with separation anxiety!)...Maybe this recipe will ease the pain! :P

So for those who can try this, bring out the li'l devil in you with this mix I got from the luscious Alize!

Devil's Punch

2 parts Alize Gold Passion
2 parts Bacardi Limon
Splash of Canton Ginger Liqueur
Splash of Cranberry juice
Splash of Lime juice
Splash of Ginger ale

Have fun and party for me! :D *sigh* Sometimes I really do wish I was a happy hour martini mom!

My Body Is Really A Wonderland

With apologies to the songwriter :) But yes, to my kids it is their own wonderland, strictly membership access only.

As I write this on my mobile, it is close to afternoon nap time. We spend winding down time in bed as it's easier for them to nod off. Oona sings to herself, reads her picture books or pops up with random questions, comments and stories to tell briefly before she sleeps. Olly practices standing up and maneuvering her body while gumming anything she can get her mouth around.

My place is between them. I lie in the middle of the bed or else they'd wind up playing together instead of winding down to sleep. And inevitably there would be crying because they accidentally hurt each other and they're too tired to be forgiving. Nevertheless, they both are doing their own thing snuggled up to me.

I become trampoline, bridge, jungle gym, monkey bars, swing set and bean bag. My head is Olly's activity ball with my eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hair to be poked, prodded, examined, peered at, pushed, pulled, pinched and slobbered over.

Of course there's the requisite love bites, head butts, flying kicks, elbow jabs, sucker punches and gut busting tackles the sweet little girls don't mean to hurt. I don't know if any little boy could be more rambunctious than these two!

It's like what my good friend Armin said when I was griping about not being able to wear heels anymore. She reminded me that we just traded one body ache for another. Wearing heels and carrying our babies are both bad for our backs and h*ll on our hips but we love 'em anyway.

Then, when they have finally expended all that energy and sleep claims their eyes, I am pillow, blanket and lovey with babies piled all over me. Did I mention I'm also teether, feeding bottle and nursing companion?

I am my children's wonderland.

Blog Action Day 2010: WATER

So simple, so common, but holding such sway over our existence.

Ondoy flood
We'd all die with too much of it all at once or an absence of it.

el nino drought

Our bodies are made up of more than 60% water. We can survive for weeks without food, but live no more than three days without any form of liquid.

Too little, we die. Too much, we die too.

How ironic then is it that the planet is two-thirds water but there is not enough good, clean drinking water to nourish and sustain earth's children?

manila bay.
Every drop is precious, every action counts, every person matters.

DO something to help conserve water. Not everybody has the privilege you have. And just because it's available to you, it doesn't mean you can take it for granted.

One leaky pipe means thirsty children somewhere.

It can just be as simple as turning the tap off when you don't need it or calling the plumber to fix drippy lines.

Or you could also help lobby to make clean drinking water available to people everywhere.
Get involved.

Make a difference!

The life you're saving is your own.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WACOAL Celebrates 10 Years of FI(GH)T FOR THE CURE

I've always loved Wacoal.

I believe my first push-up bra was a white embroidered Wacoal bra with detachable straps. It always made me feel confident and all grown up. Now I'm loving them more for the advocacy that they have been actively promoting through their collections. They forwarded this press release as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and thanks to movements like these, to awareness, positive action and progressive research, we are nearer to a cure now than we were over a decade ago.

New York, NY – Wacoal, the intimate apparel company renown for providing the ultimate in fit and comfort, is so passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer that they have diligently fought for the past 10 years with their landmark initiative Fi(GH)t for the Cure®. Through a long-time partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Wacoal has swept the nation educating and fitting almost a half a million women about the importance of bra fit, foundation and breast health. If you have bought a Wacoal bra in the past 10 years you, too, have helped to knock-out breast cancer.

The partnership started with just one bra—the Awareness® bra—and expanded into a nationwide event series with more than 10,000 Fit for the Cure events to date and almost 500,000 women across more than 718 cities in all 50 states proving that doing something so simple can help so many. For every woman who receives a complimentary fitting from a trained Wacoal Fit Consultant during one of the events, Wacoal donates $2 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and another $2 for every Wacoal or b.tempt’d by Wacoal bra or “Hope On A Hanger” shapewear piece purchased. Additionally, the Support the Girls® program, which takes place in October, furthers Wacoal and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®’s crusade by donating $2 for every bra purchase from popular Embrace Lace® and Awareness® collections.

“Wacoal encourages women to embrace their figures, be proud of who they are and flaunt what they have” says Liz Smith, Wacoal’s National Spokesperson and Fit Expert. “Over the last 10 years, our goal has been to go beyond that; reach as many women as possible and teach them that the simple act of getting fit or buying your favorite bra will not only empower them, but impact all women. It is our hope, that in another 10 years, Wacoal and Susan G Komen for the Cure® will be celebrating the end of breast cancer”

“Through their long-standing partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Wacoal has shown a real passion for our promise to end breast cancer forever,” said Katrina McGhee, Vice President of Marketing for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. “Not only has Fi(GH)t for the Cure® generated millions of dollars to Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s mission, a true milestone, Wacoal has also inspired thousands of women to take charge of their breast health through the Wacoal Promise.”
Please visit Wacoal's website or the nearest outlet and find out how you can be part of Fi(GH)t for the Cure®. You can also get involved by donating time, money or effort to the various Breast Cancer Awareness charities like Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Or it can be as simple as coming in for a mammogram and a check up. The best prevention is always early detection. Visit Pink Ribbon, the official website of international breast cancer awareness and funding.

Spread the word, generate awareness, tell the women in your life. The person you save from breast cancer could be someone you love!

I'm Feeling A Bit Put-Out

Motherhood and making a home can sometimes feel like you're living in isolation.

Take today for instance. Since I'm housebound and the 98% willing prisoner of my darling duo, I try to have a life online. So opening my various social networking websites, I find status messages littered with the excitement of having a life offline. Events, dates, trips, shopping sprees, spa adventures, parlor appointments, marathons, book sales, seminars, forums, lessons and cooking classes. You name it, I've probably read about it on someone's status message.

And I am green with envy and blue with longing.

It didn't use to be this way. Probably that's why sometimes the funk hits me extra hard.

Time either flies or stops
when you're a SAHM.
Staying home was an unforseen development in my present incarnation. I quit working when circumstances pulled the rug from under me but I really opted out of pursuing anything career-oriented afterwards. After all, I've been working for almost half my life so I felt it was as good a time as any to "retire" for awhile. I stayed home to raise the girls and be homemaker, mommy and wife. No yaya. After the episode with Oona's willful yaya, I'm fine with asking help from my mom and sister. (If the girls are going to pick up any bad habits, let it be mine. I'm working on not having any too, by the way! Helluva job, but that 'What the hey!' Oona picked up from me means trouble in the future, I just know it.)

Stripping away the work element exposed more woodwork and forced me to really define myself without the external veneer of the titles I used to hold. It wasn't easy and it scared me at first. Working had been most of my life and gave my days purpose. What and who would I be without it?

Embracing the change took awhile and it's still a work in progress. Generally I'm happy to say I have never felt lighter in years. I was surprised that I would come to look at it as an exciting interlude. An adventure before another adventure begins, after the kids are grown and I can do some serious damage to the creative world again.

But then there are days like these when life out of the career lane feels like the world is just passing me by. The mommy lane feels faster sometimes when I have to deal with running after the girls, running after schedules, running the house and most often, running late with everything! Always running. Then suddenly everything quiets down and I fall right smack into this funk when I realize that all that running I do is in a small circle revolving around the girls.

My life is a one-ring circus. Sometimes. Like today.

*Sigh* I think I'll go lobby for a hug. Offline.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sparx Up Your Life And Win An iPad!

Let's be honest.

We're afraid to get insurance because it's intimidating, costly, seems complicated and all those paperwork seem designed to get you lost in red tape.

But we want to because it ideally sounds like a good thing to have for emergencies. Getting insurance, I mean. It's a good thing to have.

Especially when you have kids and you're not getting any younger. Having a good employment package, SSS, PhilHealth and an HMO just isn't enough. You want to push your hard-earned money as far as it can go to ensure your future and their future are secure.

I totally agree!

So when Pioneer Life Insurance came out with Sparxx Maxx, I was happily surprised to find out that not only was it so affordable and easily obtainable, I didn't get a nosebleed trying to understand exactly what I was getting into!

Sparxx Maxx is "bite-sized insurance and savings" because it is the easiest and most affordable insurance plan ever! It costs a mere Php 550 a year! Your account is guaranteed PHP100,00 in personal accident insurance coverage, PHP50, 000 for cash burial assistance benefit – all good for an entire year, and PHP300 start-up savings with guaranteed interest. ANYONE can start their insurance and savings easily! You can increase the value of your insurance by purchasing additional cards and build your account up to as big as you can make it!

Conveniently, you can get Sparxx Maxx at selected 711 outlets, Petron Treats outlets in Dasmarinas Village, Bel-Air, Filinvest Alabang, Diego Silang, C-5, and Katipunan, QC.  and any Pioneer Life branch.

You can even make purchases online and have it delivered right to you! :) Visit Sparxx Max’s official website and the Pioneer Life’s website. They're also on Facebook! Look for “Pioneer Sparxx and just “Like” to receive updates and buy cards there! 

What's more, buying online gives you a chance to win an iPad! Sparxx Max just launched "The Sparxx Max Christmas iPad Giveaway" - one of its newest online promos where twelve (12) lucky people get a chance to win an iPad out of the 12 iPads that Pioneer is giving out this Christmas!

From December 1, 2010 to January 7, 2010, Pioneer’s Sparxx Max will be raffling off 12 iPads for 12 VERY lucky winners, every week for 12 awesome weeks! All you gotta do is make a minimum purchase of initially two (2) Sparxx Max insurance in order to secure a raffle entry for the promo. If you decide that you want MORE entries (for a lot more chances of winning) then go ahead and splurge on more Sparxx Max insurance and give them to all your friends and family members! And it’s a lot easier after your first purchase since one additional entry is already equal to one Sparxx Max purchase.

And to those who made offline purchases don't fret! All you have to do is hit up the Sparxx Max Facebook page and register there. Hurry, because submission of entries is from October 5, 2010 to December 5, 2010!
So yes, I AM getting myself one of these and purchasing cards for the entire family. After all, I have been looking into the kids' future and I don't want to worry that they won't have something for emergencies. Who knows, I might even be able to win an iPad! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

No Awards For Me Yet

Hubby's on a business trip, I'm on a diet and me and the babies are sniffly, coughing and feverish.

Sick kids love being babied and my girls are like any other kid in the world. They're fussy, drooly, snotty and will generally drive you insane. They wake up all hours of the night and when they BOTH have fevers, you run the whole gamut of human emotion from annoyance, pity and exasperation to joy and relief when the temperature goes down. Now when they both cry, you either run for the hills or pick them both up.

Such was my drama for the past week. Daddy was in Malaysia for work so when my mom, dad and sister are asleep, it's for me to stay up and be Florence Nightingale. I also started my diet so adjusting to the new state of my food intake has shortened my temper and patience. I still count the three times I lost it this week as progress though. With the usual stresses coupled with the new factors present, I think I did pretty okay. (Just don't ask my mom who's usually the witness to my tirades.) More often than not, Oona and discipline issues are what get me really fired up. She doesn't mean to be willful, but she's quite the little chatter box pixie! I swear she wears me down! It's frustrating for me that I can barely keep up with her speed and energy.

She makes me think of actually getting a nanny. My mom, on the other hand, reminded me that if I lose patience with Oona, I can't expect the nanny to have more of it than I can give. That's true, that's why I've been working on my temper issues. Not for the nanny, but for Oona, so that I can teach her how to properly channel her frustrations, tantrums and hyperactivity. And not fly into a passion as I and others in the family are wont to do.

Children are really mirrors of how well we act. They can't help it, they will imitate and emulate what they see and hear from the established role models. Being parents, it's our responsibility to set good examples of the values we want them to grow up with. We watch every word, every action and every scenario to block out the bad, affirm every good lesson and run a darn good explanation why some things are contradictory to what you teach but are still okay. Like, it's bad to say "What the hey!" when she says it but it's better than saying "What the h*ll!"...So much for pressure, huh?

I'm really envious of moms and dads who are so in the parenting zone. Even RF's more in the zen of parenting than I am, although I still think the girls have him wrapped around their little fingers. It's exasperating how Oona would appeal to his softer nature with tears in her eyes and wobbly lip after I dissuade her from something. It's adorable but exasperating :) I keep saying I'm the court of last resort and no one's higher than the Supreme Court. Not even the grandparents, my parents, can top my decisions regarding them.

While I do understand that I'm teaching Oona that there are limits and rules, I still lament the fact that I deplore my own short fuse.

I want Oona to be better at life than I am but she seems to be growing up faster than I'm maturing. Don't you ever wonder who's really raising who? Is it you bringing the kids up or other way around? I can't say it's her fault for being my first born, my first foray into parenting and it's her luck to be the guinea pig. It shouldn't be like that and I find it a poor excuse or reason.

Maybe someday I'll find that I did do right by her and Olly and that my trying to be a good parent worked after all. Maybe someday I can look forward to those "Best Mommy Awards" and feel that I really do deserve it. For now, all I can do is try to wing it one day at a time, hold on to my temper, stretch out my patience (diet or no diet) and understand that though it may be my first time to parent, it's Oona's first time being a kid and I should show her that it's great to be one!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Can You Stand Being Waterless Even For A Day?

I can't.

But I can perfectly imagine how life would be like without water. It would be h*ll on earth. Especially when you're fully loaded with kids! The absence of water would result in my sanity packing its little suitcase and abandoning me to my water-less fate.

Apart from the obvious health and sustenance issue of life without clean, drinkable water, I depend on water's versatility to get us through the day.

Oona loves her rice, noodles, macaroni and twisty pasta. She usually helps me cook them by adding in the pre-measured salt and putting the pasta into the boiling water under full supervision. I find that she has a better appetite when she's helped me in the cooking process. It's a simple thing but it teaches her so much.

Without water, I would not be able to nourish her, bond with her, teach her about how food is cooked and the value of nutrition. I wouldn't be able to show her how we can show our love and affection through food preparation; what hot is and how important it is to be careful in the kitchen. There's chemistry, math and history there too. Everything is a learning opportunity and without water, I'd be left high and dry trying to teach Oona stuff.

I keep the kids clean and well with water. I keep their environment safe and habitable with water. Food, house, clothes, toys, books et cetera... Nothing would exist for them if not for water being involved in their manufacture, processing, growth or formulation.

To be morbid about it, here's my waterless doomsday scenario.

Without water, Oona would be back at the hospital, dehydrated beyond belief like last January 2010. It only takes a day for dehydration to leave its mark on a child. Sunken eyes, dry, cracked lips, feverish skin and labored breath. She won't have tears to cry, saliva to swallow or sweat to perspire. She will be weak and listless, too feeble to fight the painful invasion of an IV on her arm. Her toy dog would be by her pillow and she would barely move. Without water, my baby would linger and die.

Drought in Ethiopia. That's a dead animal right there.
Now imagine that's YOUR child.
Photo from
 Olly would go faster because she's smaller. They would both be loud and cry until they would be too thirsty and parched to make a sound. It would be a mercy if they died quickly, but thirst is evil and malicious in claiming its victims.

I would probably go crazy trying to find water to give them both. I would try to breastfeed Oona too and pray that even if I have nothing to drink, my body would still have enough to give my children. And beware mother bear, I'll kill anyone then over a cupful of water if it were the last drink on earth.

I can imagine life without water and it is only death spelled out in lingering torture.

Imagine that happening everyday, all around you. Everyday, many times over. Children dying of thirst, parents fighting for a mouthful.

I taught Oona early on as I was teaching her to bathe, about keeping the faucet closed. I told her the fish won't have a home if all the water ran out. I said she won't be able to wash then either. Then like the bright little button that she is, she followed through on the thought and named everything she did with water that we would not be able to do anymore. No more brushing teeth, washing away dirt, poop or pee, no laundry, no drinking or eating, and so on. She then asked, 'Paano na?' or, 'What happens then?'.

Looking at that perplexed little face, I didn't know what to answer for a moment. I really wanted to tell her that Mommy's looking into migration to another planet where people took better care of their environment.

Anyway, I told her that the best we can do right now is save what water we have and not be wasteful. We only use what we need and try to recycle our bath water for watering the plants or cleaning the bathroom floor or driveway. Little things, but would hopefully make a difference.

I just hope, collectively, we won't be too late.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Have Kids, Will Road Trip

Healthy White
SPF 24
Vaseline came out with Vaseline Healthy White SPF24 Triple Lightening last summer along with the Vaseline Road Trip of a Lifetime contest. The lucky winner Trina Samaniego got to take friends along on a road trip to various vacation spots in the Philippines! Oh, lucky lucky kids!

At the time, I just gave birth to Olly so I was house-bound for quite some time already and raring to be out and about! Of course, I shouldn't be so I didn't. I know I'm no spring chicken and child birth is equivalent to any extreme sporting event on the planet. Recovery is as important as the before and main event, especially since my body would never be called athletic by even the most tactful person. Lolz :D

Anyhoo, the roadtrip thing really sent me dreaming as I rocked Olly to sleep, confined to our room. I mean, I always wanted to travel and before we had kids, RF and I tried to take every available opportunity to go where we haven't gone before. I always fantasized about having a map on the wall and throwing a dart with my eyes closed. Then we'd go where it landed. God forbid I hit RF accidentally with that dart! We'd have nowhere to go but the ER then!

Another fantasy of mine is to pack a bag with the basics, go to the bus station, pier or airport and play travel roulette there. Not with the dart of course! Maybe pick a random detail like a number or color then hop on the corresponding transportation or destination, wherever it may be! :) lolz, mystery location! Fun for adventurers everywhere!

Ah, such excitement! But alas, such games of chance are no longer mine to play :) I got a hubby, a toddy and a baby.

Nowadays, I have to research target locations, rate for child-friendliness, pack ten suitcases a week in advance, book pack donkeys, camels and sherpas and secure maps with every available CLEAN toilet and hospital known to mankind. And that's just for two days.

My vacations nowadays are the sort I need a vacation from AFTER we get home. The following are a few pictures and what I learned from our Bolinao Road Trip earlier this year taken with my mother's side of the family to celebrate our Lola Mommy's 80th birthday. We went to Puerto Del Sol a little after summer so there wasn't a crowd to contend with :)

1. Location, location!

Choosing where to go and spend more than a day at, is the first challenge. Ratings largely depend on the hotel or resort's child-friendliness: safety, food availability/variety/palatability, activities, accomodation comfort, cleanliness, convenience and proximity to emergency rooms and pharmacies.

Research is the key. Go online, ask around and if you can afford it, check it out yourself first before dragging everyone to a place you've never been to. It wouldn't be fun if you found out that the hype didn't match the reality. Be flexible though and have some room for adventure :)

L-R Oona, eating biscuits; Daddy RF;
Mommyluscious Laya;
and Ollypolly, caught in the middle of a yawn.
 2. Transportation

It's a huge relief if you got your own private vehicle. No worries about rushing to stick to a schedule that doesn't revolve around your kids. Imagine riding a bus, taking a potty break at a stop-over and coming out to find your bus gone. Or colic strikes and the rest of the passengers are ready to riot and throw you and screaming baby out the moving coaster.

Private vehicles and kids are the *lurve*.

Just be sure that when you're driving, you have ample supplies in the car, enough gas/gas money, toll gate cards/money/tickets, your driver's license, a good navigator, a map and a substitute driver. I drove for ten hours straight from Bolinao, Philippines to Manila, Philippines. My spirit was willing but my body was weak. I will *never* do that again. 

3. Budget

Do I need to say more? With kids, whatever budget you had for splurging is automatically rerouted for emergencies. Absolutely no splurging unless you have a buffer reserved for that. I wouldn't recommend buying too many keepsakes either as this would just eat up precious space in your bag, extra weight to lug around and added mess you don't need at home. Pictures, a seashell or a cute shirt for the kids would be fine. Oh, and help the local industry and buy local delicacies to eat and bring home. They would make great pasalubong instead of those overpriced "I was at *blank*" shirts that would most probably get worn just once in their lifetime :)

4. What To Bring

EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE POTTY! RF, my husband, always teases me that I'd take the kitchen sink and refrigerator if I could fit them into the car. I think he should pack his stuff himself next time and if he needs a toothbrush or an extra pair of fuzzy socks, he can just go sailing back home to get one. I'm not giving up mine or the kids' to warm his stinky toes.

Seriously, sometimes it's better to over pack a few things than have to trudge all the way to civilization to buy something you already have in the first place.

Basic needs first:

Kids: Diapers, Bottles, Formula Milk, Bottled Water, Snacks, Clothes (Climate appropriate but bring jacket with hood for emergencies), blankies, little pillows, maximum of 3 toys, bath wash, toothbrush, alcamforado, manzanilla, sunblock, swim shoes

Adults: Clothes, toothbrush, Vaseline Healthy White SPF 24, slippers

Towels and toiletries are provided for by the resort already so that takes off some weight from your luggage!

First Aid Kit should include:

Medicine for Kids and Adults: Antihistamines, Paracetamol, Anti-diarrhea, Rehydration salts, calamine lotion, sunburn lotion

Ethyl alcohol, betadine, band-aids, cotton, gauze, cotton tips, tweezers, swiss utility knife, medical scissors, thermometer (better to pack both digital and mercury type) and all pertinent medical records of the kids.

Emergency numbers: Pedia's name and numbers, Blood type, known allergies and taken medication.

Jollibee Play Area at Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac
Lunch Break/Play Break
5. What To Do

Stop-overs. Frequent stop-overs. So you take your journey in increments for food, stretching, potty stops and general boredom breaks for the active toddler.

On the road, you play "I Spy" games, sing songs, count cars and include the little ones in the conversation. Be curious, appreciative and excited about the whole journey and the kids will take their cue from you. 

Oona in her floater :)
When you get to where you're going, any SMALL CHILD-friendly activity will do. No hiking or para-sailing or bunjee-jumping yet! Wait til they're ten years old at least for the more adventurous and semi-life-threatening expeditions.

Child-friendly means railings to dissuade curious toddlers from running into the tides, a swimming pool with a lifeguard, wading pools and little mini teeny tiny water slides.

Oona, Mommyluscious
and cousin Dame
Go for PRIVATE resorts as opposed to the huge, heavily populated popular public resorts as the contaminants would spell disaster for your child's sensitive skin and expose them to infectuous bacteria and viruses. Think people pee. Spit. Snot. That UFO: Unidentified Floating Object. In the swimming pool. Gag much yet?

Private resorts make me worry less about germs and help me concentrate on having as much fun as I can.

Which brings me to...

Oona and Daddy having a moment by the sea :)
6. When To Go

When everyone else and their aunts are home. Then YOU go. The rates are lower because it's off-season and you get to monopolize the whole place and the staff. With kids, you need all the help, service and attention they're advertising and you're paying for. You're also not going to fear that your kids are going to get lost in the crowd and get picked up by child-traffickers (so you can forgo the GPS implants for now).

Travelling with the kids isn't really as horrible or as hassle-ridden as this post sounds. It just depends on what you're focusing on.

Olly and Daddy on the hammock!
When it's the adventure of it that you're enjoying, the wonder and excitement that you see in your kids' faces as they cross the threshold from familiar sights to the unfamiliar, and the joy you hear in their laughter over new discoveries, nothing can be too bothersome for you.

Sweet Daddy and Olly
It's really the memories that matter. And as long as you PREPARE, you have nothing to worry about. All you would have to do is kick back and let the children you brought into this world show YOU how wonderful every little thing is :)