Friday, December 24, 2010

The Reason For The Season

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

This year marks Oona's first real, "conscious" Christmas season. She's finally noticed the profusion of Christmas decorations, the big kids caroling from house to house and the stuff we're buying and wrapping for friends and family.

Shopping with two kids and my mother in tow are both a fun experience and a nightmare as Christmas Eve nears. The malls are open until 12 midnight but the sheer volume of rabid shoppers will beat you down. So it helps to have a solid game plan when you're out and about: have a list, target a store, go in and out in ten minutes. Total TOLERABLE shopping experience a day: Two hours a location. Whew!
Going to Pier 1 helped a lot. I was able to get ideas for BOTH kids and grown-ups! I picked out a couple of great bargains I've both seen in-store and on the website! So hint, hint...if anyone still doesn't have something for me, take a peek here and rest assured, anything from here would send me to the moon :D

Bath Yum For Mom, Teddy For Baby!Although, the gift that is my fast growing up Oona is enough for my little momma's heart. She really did me proud! She picked out stuff that she thinks "our" friends would like, including wrapping paper we'd use to wrap the holiday gifts. She also thought of specific family members and offered her opinion on what she thinks they'd like ("That ____ is his/her favorite. He/She will like that, Mom!"). And best of all, when it came to the toys and goodies for other children, she merely asked for whom they were for and did not appropriate them for herself! She didn't even ask if there was anything for her. She was happy that we have things to give even to the carolers and the people going door to door asking for help and some holiday cheer. She would always proudly say with a huge smile, "Mom I gave the kids biscuits! I'm sweet!"

I'm happy to say that the true meaning of Christmas is living in my baby's heart. Sharing, giving and loving! We're teaching her that giving of ourselves is also a great gift, much more than the tinsel and the boxed gifts. Help continue this holiday cheer by supporting Toys for Tots by dropping off unwrapped toys and/or making cash donations at the Pier 1 register. OR, 'Like' Pier 1 Imports on Facebook! For every new fan they get, they will donate $1 to Toys for Tots. Make a lot of children happy with a new Christmas lovey to hug on Christmas morning!

Share the reason for the season! Happy Holidays all! :)

Visit Sponsor's Site

Gift Giving Inspirations

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every year, picking out presents seem to ping-pong from extremely easy to extremely hard and never in between! What was perfect for someone one time is now a huge no-no: the child who liked dolls now rolls her eyes at Barbie and would love a make-up kit even if she's just twelve years old. *Sigh* Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, sweetie!  

Stocking stuffers and gift baskets are the best solution, it's really a handy dandy kit or care package to show you care about the person's needs AND wants. It also says a lot about the thoughtfulness of the giver (ME! haha :D). I love the idea of little handy, useful things that one can just grab in the nick of time. Stuff people won't just stick in the back of their closets or recycle for next year's gifts like lip gloss, a handy mirror, a mug, coin purses, catch-alls or even those cute paper clips for receipts. Pier 1 has great bargains in-store and on the website that would make your toughest gift enigma get all googly-eyed!

As for wrapping, the container should be as useful or reusable as the holiday gifts that keep on giving :D Forget about the paper bags, the bows and boxes! Minimize your carbon imprint and help reduce pollution (Do you know how much waste material is generated after the holidays? TONS! Imagine how much gift-wrapping paper is disposed of in one single Christmas weekend!).

A Christmas Boot!I like this one to hang on the mantel for myself rather than the old-fashioned Christmas stocking! Well, for the kids, the huge, happy snowman decorated socks would be fine but for adults, THIS IS IT. I'm sure Rei, my best friend, would agree! A high-heeled boot, no less. But no, you can't wear it.

Stuff this one with pens, a small notebook (I'm old-fashioned that way for for jotting down grocery lists and pediatric appointments), a small pair of earrings (to go from Frumpy to Dressy in an instant), a bracelet, eyeliner, a purse hanger and whatever else moves you to give a Mom with kids to make their life a little easier and a bit more special and Oomph-ier (Scented Bubble Bath goodies and Aromatherapy candles!).

If it all don't fit in the boot, take the boot and stuff a basket or a bag instead! Since there's more space, there's more room for goodies a Mom can be shown how much she's appreciated :D

Like this bag of Mommy treats, for instance ... Scented goodies, tea, a mug, an ornamental accessory organizers, bangles, a purse and I'm pretty sure there's a shawl, a book and other surprises in there somewhere!

Plus the bag is huge and durable enough for the tough duties Mom bags go through in the course of a day!

Whatever gift you give, no matter the monetary value, just be inspired by the person you're giving the gift to. I'd like to think that during the course of the year, from one Christmas season to the next, our family and friends are sort of "provided for" with the little thoughtful things we felt would help them through every day. Be it a practical sort of thing, or the kind that would make them feel a little better after a long day.

After all, it's always the thought behind the gift, right?

And while we're at it, let's continue the holiday cheer by liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook! For every new fan they get, they will donate $1 to Toys for Tots. You can also go a step further and drop off an unwrapped toy at any Pier 1 outlet or make a cash donation at the register. Spreading a little love is always the best gift!

Happy holidays all! :)

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Escaping With A DOVE®

With my two little bosses on an afternoon out
at the Sunken Garden, UP Diliman.

My little girls are growing up strong, fast and furious.

Keeping up with them has been tough and quite the challenge I never dreamed it would be. Needless to say, I run out of time and energy to take care of myself. For moms like me not to lose our sanity and to remain efficient, it's really necessary to have some me-time  for a relaxing breather. Though few and far between, we learn to maximize these precious moments, be it the lull while the kids are napping or the quiet playtime when they're both preoccuppied and satisfied that I'm just within view.

My favorite time is during late afternoons while they're napping. We lie under thick blankets in bed, arms wrapped around eachother, listening to the quiet, steady hum of the AC and our soft, rythmic breathing. Oona finishes her bottle and Olly drifts off to sleep, feeding at my breast.  

That small window of time stretches infinite for me with the many possibilities I'm suddenly free to indulge in. Will I read? Watch a show? Will I surf the net? Do I nap too? Or, do I indulge myself with a nice, luscious treat?

Ahhh...breaking out a bar of DOVE® Dark Chocolate or DOVE® Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut, Almond &  Raisin while reading a book is my ultimate Me-Time Moment. I am in my own little world, lost in another dimension of adventure, taste and excitement, far removed from the everyday routine. One bar lasts me as long as my babies sleep and my energy reserves are replenished.

Sometimes though, they sleep longer than usual. So that leaves me free to have one more! :D   

Little glorious bars of silky, smooth DOVE® chocolates are designed to last and linger. Epitomizing precious, peaceful and personal Me-Time Moments that women on-the-run so often crave, DOVE® chocolates are packaged in a single serving bar to-go.
DOVE® is available at all local supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores. retails at P45 and is available in:

DOVE® Milk Chocolate (43g): Enjoy a pure moment with silky smooth DOVE® Milk Chocolate.

DOVE® Dark Chocolate (43g): Yield to the devilishly dark DOVE® Chocolate.

DOVE® Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut, Almond & Raisin (43g): Get luxuriously indulgent with DOVE® Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut, Almonds and Raisins bar

DOVE® Chocolate with Crispy Rice (4og): Enjoy mouthful of surprises with DOVE® Chocolate with Crispy Rice
What's your favorite Me-Time Moment with your favorite DOVE® chocolate?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting Ready For The Season's Eating!

As of today I have lost 16lbs. since I started on my Luscious Dare. I plan to continue losing more with the proper diet and the exercise I have added to my daily routine. Moreover, I am unafraid and unfazed at the temptations I'd have to face with the upcoming holidays :D
It's important to stay fit ESPECIALLY during the holidays with its parties, holiday food and generous gifts of sweets and Holiday goodies. There's really no need to fast or keep yourself from enjoying what the season has to offer. What's important is only putting on your plate what you really want to eat and can finish. You can always go back for seconds anyway, but bear in mind that you should eat in moderation and only until you're full.

Also, don't let your exercise routine go on holiday either! From my friend Jessica at Gymsource, here are 10 Easy Exercises we can do to enjoy the holidays and not regret it after!
So, what's the best form of exercise? The one you'll actually do!

As long as your fitness program:

A. Raises your heart rate

B. Has a strength training component

C. And is done at least thirty minutes a day five days a week – you'll experience significant health benefits.

Variety is the spice of life; it keeps you motivated and works better for your body by working different muscle groups. You don't need to go to a gym and use fitness equipment. In fact, here are ten simple, yet effective exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home that can help prevent putting on holiday weight:

1. Take a Hike/Stroll

It's also simple, low-impact and easy on the joints – just put on a comfortable pair of shoes, step outside and walk at a fairly brisk pace around your neighborhood. It's a great way to clear the head and improve your mood – it may be cold, but will give you an opportunity to enjoy all the lights and decorations for the holiday season. 
If you have babies like I do, break out the stroller and push away at the nearest park. It'll give you the chance to show your kids what the world looks like during Christmas season. Just be sure to bundle up the little ones, pack biscuits and water, hand sanitizers and wipes. (Oh, diapers too!)
2. Jump!

Act like your kids on Christmas morning! Jump up and down, or do some jumping jacks. They're a great way to get the heart pumping and the limbs loosened up. 15-20 repetitions with a minute or two of rest between sets for thirty minutes should be sufficient. This will increase endurance and work on toning your thighs.
Jump with your hyperactive toddler or let her do the counting with you. It's a great way to teach her how to count!
3. "Drop and Give Me 20, Soldier!" 
While the babies are playing on the floor, you can join them by having your own floor time workout.  
Push-ups confer all the same strength-training benefits of bench presses with barbells – without the risk of handling heavy weights and need for a "spotter." You can adjust the intensity by elevating your feet. Push-ups do more than work your arms, they are a total body workout.
4. Lift That Leg

This provides a strength training workout for the thighs and adductors (muscles that attach the upper leg to the hip). If you can't manage leg lifts with a straight leg, bend the knee. I actually do this while breastfeeding Olly, sitting in the rocking chair or lying on either side on the bed.

5. Washboard Abs?

You may not get "ripped" by doing crunches, but you'll definitely work your ab muscles – and this will award real benefits to your back as well, and you will see an improvement in toning your abs.

6. You Can Keep Running In Place...

...and you should. This is an exercise you can do while watching TV, making the "boob tube" actually good for something. You can also do it while stringing popcorn on the string for the tree.

7. The Squatters...

No, we don't mean settling land that isn't yours – it's what you do every time you sit in and get up from a chair. Just do it several times until you "feel the burn...", and for added weight training, you can do it while you carry the baby around. I do this every time with Olly and she falls asleep to the rhythmic motion.

8. Household Weight Equipment

Cans of food, milk and water jugs, sacks of flour (even the baby!) – you'd be amazed at how much weight training equipment is just sitting in your pantry or refrigerator. (Who knew your could actually lose weight with using your holiday baking ingredients?)
I actually use two cans of corned beef and a can of luncheon meat in a plastic bag as weights. They don't sound like much but after a few reps and sets, it's what my aching muscles would call a "heavy meal"!

9. Roll Up The Carpet

The latest craze is dancing off the weight, but not all of us can get to the classes when they are offered and the videos cost more than Christmas. Instead roll up the carpet, and crack up the tunes, whether it's Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" or whatever is on the radio, dancing will increase your aerobic hear rate, and help with endurance training.
My three year old Oona is the best dancing partner anyone can ask for. She's just a bundle of infectious energy and joy that it's impossible to feel tired when you're dancing along with her. You keep laughing too so that's an added lung workout!

10. Steppin' Up

Finally, you don't have to buy a bench step and sign up for a step class to do step. Chances are you've got a step or two around your home. So while those cookies are in the oven, run the stairs a few times. The timers will make great intervals and keep you fit while baking!
Again, doing this with Olly every time. She's kept amused by Mommy bouncing up and down, I get added weight training, and Oona can play with her towers in peace (Olly loves toppling things now as much as Oona loves piling her blocks as high as they can go).

The fact of the matter is, that all of these are not difficult, and do not require patience, or a long drawn out explanation. They are simple and they WORK. So maybe you aren't getting fit on treadmills, or ellipticals, but the end result is the same and you will have a lot of extra cash to go and spend it on holiday gifts, or a treat for yourself!
There are really a lot of ways to fit getting fit into your schedule. It's really just up to you to decide what you want for yourself. I really want to be healthier and physically fit to enjoy my children's childhood with them, that's why I'm doing this. It's not an overnight thing, but keeping at it really works. That, for me, is the best holiday gift ever!

Happy FIT Holidays! ;D

Monday, December 13, 2010

Toddler Theatrics

And the Award for Best Actress
in a Dramatic Role goes to....
My three year old has decided that life is her stage and she is determined to throw herself into the ultimate performance of her young life. Watching her, I'd have to say that she really does have potential to be her generation's best dramatic actress! She immerses herself so totally in her role that she IS the role! Her method of portrayal, her characterization, is so complete that she convinces her audience and herself of the reality and depth of the performance. All in all a powerful, moving and disturbing thing to watch.

For the first time in her life, our Oona has been afflicted with a mouth sore or singaw as we call it. And her 10 decibel pain, is my pain, is everybody's pain within a 3 mile radius.

She is The Pain.

We've all moved, as a family and as individuals, from various degrees of involvement and varying emotional reactions.

First, pity for the child who's never experienced the stinging pain of a mouth sore and its medications. Then, distress as she starts crying when it becomes unbearable for her to suffer in whimpering silence. Next, stress levels escalate in worry as nothing seems to soothe her anguish and a quick remedy isn't quick enough. Nerves begin to fray when one realizes that the child is playing it to the hilt. True it hurts but not enough to warrant full waterworks and each sentence to be punctuated by an empathic 'Owww!'. Extreme annoyance hits at this point when one realizes one has been had and the actress in question continues to ham it up for the audience that matters: Daddy (who gives in to demands to be carried around like a baby) and Grandpa (who hovers in worry, growling that his granddaughter is suffering and something MUST be done!).

Mommy and Grandma roll eyes and facepalms.

Normally when she does her whining and theater exercises, I run the gamut of talking to her through it, scolding, or ignoring it until she stops. On bad days when I'm running short on temper and she can't seem to stop, I get mad, we have a scream-fest and I ultimately send her to the corner. She usually stops, says she's sorry and says she's tired that's why she's starting to act up. We talk, make up and have quiet time or sleep.

This time, with the mouth sore, of course it's different.
Mouth sores are caused by bacteria and can happen to anyone. Oona bit her inner lip by accident and the little nip got infected. Falling asleep with her milk bottle still in her mouth and forgetting to brush her teeth did the rest. Yes, I do feel guilty for not being extra vigilant. Just this one time when I thought I could relax a little, the sore happens and we pay for it!

At first I made her gargle Bactidol, Listerine, and a salt and water solution. It was ok but then she seemed to get worse so we went to my dentist Aunt Grace who gave her an oral care gel. It seemed to work until night hit and her lip seemed to be swollen. By midnight, she couldn't fall asleep anymore as her mouth dried and as she yawned in sleep, the sore stretched and she kept waking up in pain. She even woke up Olly with her crying and as they both started crying, I wanted to cry too. It had been going on ALL DAY, the crying, whining, owww-ing...I was getting so irritated, I knew I'd reached my absolute limit. Poor RF woke up, dazed and tired because the little girls were crying and I was yelling for Oona to stop ("It's going to hurt you more!") but Oona was too far gone: really sleepy, tired, in pain, frustrated and unable to stop herself.

I wanted to go out in the middle of the night to try and find the new-fangled instant remedy that I saw at the drugstore earlier. I would have bought one right then just to give Oona some relief and us some peace, but it was out of stock. RF and I were looking at each other, my extreme annoyance breaking into exasperation and inexplicably, I felt a stupid smile on my face. The things they don't tell you about parenthood! Haha.

Desperate times. We decided for desperate measures.

I was hoping not to have to resort to the all-time favorite, old-skool remedy of putting ground tawas (alum) on the sore or gargling with it in salt and water. Hurts like h*ll but the sore would be banished in an instant. I was afraid it might further traumatize her, but in this case, prolonging the pain was probably worse. Plus, she woke up the whole household, growling Grandpa included ("Tell your Aunt to give her the strong medicine! It'll hurt once and then she'll be fine! Tawas doesn't work!").

Aunt Gly was thoughtful enough to give us a mixture already prepared with kalamansi. She squeezed kalamansi juice over ground alum and when it dried, it looked like golden brown sugar crystals. Oona was screaming, her theatrics turning into hysterics when I asked her to open her mouth for the medicine. I told her it was going to hurt but it would utlimately make her feel better.

Just a pinch but it *did* hurt like hell. And if she could swear, Oona would have put a sailor to shame and I would have grounded her for life for being a potty mouth. But all she bravely did was keep her mouth open like I asked her to while I put on the tawas, RF holding her while she cried and cried and cried :(

After a few moments, we had her gargle with water to wash out the alum. And almost instantly, the pain began to fade as her lip went numb. In a few minutes, she was quiet and when I asked her if she felt better, she was already able to reply (whimperingly) yes.


It took two more applications before the sore was gone completely. She still cried and groused about having to put medicine that she knew would hurt, but she was very brave and trusting enough to let me put it on her.

Writing this down now, I feel like I want to cry. It sometimes sucks to be the one to dole out the tough love. Deep down, even while she thrashed, yelled and cried, Oona trusted my word that what I would do would heal her even if it hurt her badly. Her faith in me makes me feel so small and humble. I'm sorry that it hurt or that she had to have that sore in the first place, but I'm sorrier I have to hurt her first to make her feel better.

Now she knows better than to go to bed with a bottle and without brushing. She drinks more water, especially after eating and drinking milk or juice. She says it's so her teeth will be happy and her mouth won't have germs anymore.

We now have some peace, of course and she's her sweet but spicy little self again as opposed to Olly's totally sweet nature. Her theatrics have gone back down to almost nil or only when she hasn't had her afternoon naps. What hasn't changed though, I've noticed, is that the theatrics come on when Daddy's around or Grandpa's eligible to be dragged outside to play.

Whenever that happens, I leave the menfolk to her "tender" mercies and I tune out to save my sanity! After all, that doesn't require tawas and Mommy's tough love to deal with.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas is just around the corner and we at my mommy group were hankering for a partay! Of course the inevitable exchange gift was discussed and it put in mind what one would want for christmas aside from peace, love and hope for all mankind.

For myself I'd like:
A Laptop, capable of graphics work
Wacom pen tablet, the reliable graphire would do if they still make it!
A small, fast external portable hard drive, a terra most preferably!
A dslr with a tripod, macro and zoom lens, flash and hood.
Portable sewing machine, child and idiot proof!
An adjustable easel, since I gave mine away or it got lost.
Aquarelle watercolor since gouache is too heavy for me.
Nice, heavy textured watercolor paper and paper tape
Watercolor brushes, since i gave the good ones away and the ones i have left have given up the ghost.
Child-safe paints for mural painting with thick brushes for small hands.
Rembrandt chalk pastels in that nice wooden box and paper in eggshell and cream.

Makeup. By mac and nishido or mary kay.
Hair makeover with highlights.
Shoes in wedge and like espadrilles, with lots of ribbons for tying up. Think amazon goddess. Worship or die! Black betty boop pinup heels won't hurt either.
Frilly undergarments. I like frills.

Bikes for me, rf and oona with safety gear.
Skechers shape up rubber shoes for me.
Ab rocket. Haha.

*** will continue as the days unroll :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

Choosing A Holiday Ham: The Premium-Cut Ham

One of the most important food of the Noche Buena table is the holiday ham. While there are a number of meat brands everyone is familiar with, there are three things that makes the the premium-cut ham a cut above the rest.

First, the Holiday Ham should be made from one whole boneless meat from the hind leg, the best cut of pork for hams. Hind leg ham is tastier and meatier compared to the more common shaped hams. Shaped hams are already processed and although brands would use meat from the other parts of the pork, nothing can beat the goodness found only on the hind leg of pork.

Second, the net marks attests to a high-quality smoked ham. Only whole-meat hams can be smoked in ham nets because if it isn’t, pieces would fall off.

Lastly, no extenders. The appearance, taste and texture tell the truth. The ham is meat, juicy, and flavorful, and consumers really get the best value for money.

Learn more about Holiday Ham on and ‘Like’ it on Facebook

Apple iPad up for grabs

To make the holidays a cut above the rest, Holiday Ham will be giving out an Apple iPad tablet computer. Interested parties need only to register with their name, Facebook page URL, mobile phone number, and email address. It’s that easy!

The registration is on the Holiday Ham website and is open until December 20, 2010.

MAINTENANCE! Transferring to a new host :)

I love blogger :) But I have to transfer spaces for expansion purposes! Mommyluscious goes dotcom! Watch out for a new, revamped site in a few days! MWAH!

You're Invited To ACTIVE FUN SM North's Christmas Party!!!

Active Fun SM North EDSA is inviting us and the kids to their Christmas Events on Dec 16 (Thursday) and 17 (Friday). It's a whole day of FUN for the children. They'll enjoy Unlimited Play, a Whimsical Magic Show, A Photo Op with Santa (receive a FREE 5x7 photo), face painting, photo booth, snacks, games, prizes, loot bags and so much more!
So it's a sure day of FUN FUN FUN!

I'm hoping those yummy Soyami snacks would be available too! :D

See you all there!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Lights Up Cubao

When we were kids, my family made a yearly Christmas season tradition of going to Cubao to see the lights and the annual COD Christmas show.

We'd have an early dinner, bundle up in christmas themed sweaters and pick up cousins, aunts and uncles in the family jeep. We'd join the crowd milling in front of the Araneta mall, looking for a good place to park, where our view sitting on the roof of the jeep would be unhindered by anybody and anything. We'd be munching on chips and sipping cold Coke in plastic bags, trying not to gobble everything up before the show even started. Below us, a sea of people expectantly watch for signs that the show was about to start, as vendors with balloons and cotton candy weave through the crowd. Other enterprising souls set up shop in the fringes of the crowd selling popcorn, hot street food and cold drinks. Sometimes though, we'd be out of luck and the jeep would have to be parked out of the line of sight, us kids would take turns getting shoulder rides from our fathers and uncles when the mechanical wonder show began.

When the lights come on and the music starts, there would be a babble of excited voices, young and old alike, yelling, "Ayan na! It's starting!". And all eyes would turn to the tableux way above our heads, mouths agape in wonder. There would be angels, kings, giant toys, clowns and flying animals in bright lights, music and an amazing background with snow, candy canes and gift boxes.

I could only gaze in wonder at the magical scene before me and long after the show was over and we'd be in bed, we'd still be talking about it in the dark. For us, the COD Christmas show was the great sign that the Christmas season had truly begun. From there, we could properly do the countdown til Christmas day arrived with its presents, parties, family gatherings, food and various Christmas family traditions.

I'm sure many of my generation can remember those days and can empathize with how I felt when COD closed down. Of course, now that I'm older, I know that nothing lasts forever. I still couldn't help but feel so sad that a childhood symbol of my Christmas would be nothing more than a fond memory to share with my kids.

At least the Christmas lights and displays of the Araneta Center still continue according to tradition these days. Now that Cubao is being spruced up and energized by new developments and malls, it's heartening to see that the Cubao of my childhood is not going to be lost to grime and neglect. (I was so happy that the Giant Christmas Tree tradition was still on!) My rediscovery of Cubao and the many Christmas memories I can share with my kids coincides with Coke's newest slogan of shaking up and waking up happiness. The COD Christmas show may be gone, but there are still other Christmas traditions still alive to enjoy and new ones to make with this generation.

I find it comforting, as if recovering a part of my lost childhood, that Coca-Cola's Christmas Caravan kicked off with the annual Araneta Center Giant Tree Lighting last November 12, 2010 at the Araneta Coliseum parking lot with "Shake up the happiness. Wake it up, wake up the happiness. It’s Christmas time!". 

From our friends at Coke :)

Kicking off the day’s funfair was a grand parade led by a convoy of Coca-Cola Christmas trucks carrying Coca-Cola ambassadors Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee with teen celebrities Empress Schuck, Joseph Marco, Matt Evans and the Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash of 2010 housemates Ivan Dorschner, James Reid, Ryan Bang, Bret Jackson, Tricia Santos, Jenny Sol, Devon Seron and Fretzie Bercede, Starstruck idols Kris Bernal, Steven Silva, Rocco Nacino Enzo Pineda and Diva Montelaba along with the Philippine Navy Band which marched along and rocked out the Araneta Center with lively renditions of popular Christmas jingles.

Right after the caravan spread cheers across the upbeat hub, more and more surprises were opened up as the energetic duo of Nicole Hyala and Chris Tsuper welcomed guests to the various game, activity and photo booths lined up by Coca-Cola just before the official tree lighting ceremony started. The renowned Love Radio tandem DJ’s bonded and shared an early Noche Buena feast with the celebrity guests, granted some of the guests’ heartfelt wishes and gave away raffle prizes to lucky folks all through out the afternoon.

In no time, all the rush and thrill finally led to the much-awaited lighting of the Giant Christmas Tree situated at the heart of Araneta Center, a celebrated custom since 1981. The exciting countdown to the “it-moment” was joined in by officials from the local government, Araneta Center and The Coca-Cola Company along with Kim Chiu and Enchong Dee along with other personalities and celebrity guests. Standing at almost 100ft. this year’s tree is bedecked with more than 10, 000 lights and hundreds of stars and Coca-Cola Christmas balls, with huge ribbons and colorful gift boxes as accents. Through the years, it has been a beacon of hope among the Filipinos; a most cherished icon that signals the beginning of the holiday season and reminds us to always believe in the magic and happiness it brings, the same way Coca-Cola inspires.

Unlike in the previous years, Coca-Cola gave the amazed partakers more reasons to light up happiness among themselves and others around them as it held the first-ever simulated lights and sounds show. The magical harmony of lively Christmas anthems and dazzling beams that sparkled among the Coca-Cola caravan up to the giant tree culminated to a fireworks display, which left guests in high spirits.

Indeed it was a day of wonderful surprises, moreover when Coca-Cola also launched the Coca-Cola Contour Glass promo. “The Coca-Cola contour glass is one of this season’s fun, ultimate merry must-haves that will surely complete our Noche Buena bonding and allow us to keep refreshing ourselves with the deliciously fizzy cola drink we all love. It’s available in five perky colors such as red, yellow, violet and green and the latest addition to the bunch, the aquamarine contour glass. Let’s make moments count this Christmas by sharing them together. Let’s make it more colorful with an ice-cold Coke and these cool contours,” says Coca-Cola ambassador Kim Chiu.

It’s so easy to take home all five Coca-Cola Christmas Contour Glasses: Buy Coca-Cola, Coke Light, Coke Zero, Sprite or Royal Tru Orange in any of the 500ml, 750ml, 1L, 1.5L and 2L packs. Look under the Santa cap for the “Coke Glass” text and collect 2 more regular Coca-Cola Santa caps and exchange these caps for one Coca-Cola Christmas Contour Glass from any 7 Eleven store, selected sari-sari stores or public markets and Coca-Cola Sales offices nationwide. You may redeem from November 15 to December 31, 2010 only.

This Christmas, let us all open and celebrate magical moments together shared with nothing less than the irreplaceable sparkle that uniquely refreshes and makes us happy- Coca-Cola. Energizing Christmas Spirit.

Open Coca-Cola, Open Happiness.

*Greenhills has a Christmas On Display show every night.
*Ayala Triangle has a light and sound show too!

Make your own Christmas traditions :) Watch the shows with friends and family, share the special moments and keep the Christmas spirit alive!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Own Your Beauty, My Babies! Starting My Girls Early :) came out with a campaign to change the way conversation goes when beauty is the subject. I blog about it too at Living Lusciousness. It sits so close to my heart because I'm on a personal journey to claim my own beauty from low self-esteem, bad body image and a lifetime of distorted beauty concepts. Usually, conversation centers around stereotypical concepts of beauty: "Am I pretty enough?", "Am I white or tanned enough?", "Am I skinny enough?", "Are my breasts/butt/waist/nose/height/weight/etc okay?"...

Ah, the perception of perfection. Isn't it about time we stop measuring ourselves against other people's perception of beauty?

It helps to know I'm not alone and that women all over the world are learning that it's never too late to love oneself and touch other people's lives in beautiful, positive ways. It's so heartening to note that some beauty products in the market are taking note of this surging campaign where the emphasis is on celebrating YOU, your successes, dreams and your authentic self regardless of age or ethnicity.

I know, they're trying to sell beauty in a bottle, but the message emphasis is at least on healthier living, taking care of yourself and appreciating yourself. (Let's not delve deeper than that into marketing and sales strategies, okay?) At least they're not hard-selling (that much) anymore.

On the issue of personal beauty, I've long established myself the guardian against shackling my kids to stereotypical perceptions of beauty that culture inadvertently inflicts on young minds. I don't dress them up in age-inappropriate clothes or shoes for the sake of looking trendy. Revealing tube tops, miniskirts and backless blouses?! They might catch cold or dengue. Or worse, the eye of some pedophile. Heels on kids damage their developing legs and hips, people! Unless they really need it, medically speaking! Grown women can't tolerate heels all that well either, what makes you think your toddler can?!

On that note, have you seen Toddlers and Tiaras? It's a reality-based show where beauty pageant kids are featured with their parents and the lengths they go to win. Some are as young as two years old. They are made-up, primped, bleached, put on diets and pressured to perform. The kids' baby voices asking if they're pretty enough would break your heart! The parents say that it's what the kids want, but are they even old enough to decide that? Or are they merely convinced that it's what they want because their parents have drilled it into their heads? I don't want to judge but there has to be a line somewhere. You don't just project your illusions on your kids. It's just plain wrong. Childhood is fleeting enough without you speeding it up for them!

I also steer the conversations around them AWAY from meaning-laden comments that imply sexiness or comparison with other kids ("You're so sexy!" or "You're prettier than her!"). I could get really obnoxious especially with negative stereotyping comments ("Her bridge is not high enough!" or "You're too brown!") that usually come from other people outside our usual circle. I try being polite but I'd rather be called sensitive than have ideas put into my kids' heads as tabula rasa as they are. I mean, come on, Oona's three years old and Olly's 9 months old, do we have to impose perceptions of adulthood and sexiness this early? They're only just starting gender identification, for crying out loud!

I want my kids to be proud of their strong, healthy bodies that they own and use to celebrate the life they choose with joy. I want them to be happy that they can sing, dance and play. I want them to be confident and brave enough to face the world in the healthy skin they're in, with bright shining eyes, tossing their hair, straight or curly, in the breeze, breathing through functional noses, laughing and smiling, secure in their uniqueness.

I want them to be able to focus on character rather than physical characteristics, on intellect and emotional maturity rather than if they can join beauty pageants. Sure, many would say I'm only saying this because I already know my kids have an edge over others since they're pretty, lively and bright as new pennies (Imma proud momma!). All the more should any parent be vigilant lest misplaced values go to their heads and we'll be sorry for it when they're older.

The world we live in judges by looks, that's true. But that only goes so far. You can't pretend to be more than just a face or a body for long. Sooner or later, the face value fades and bodies sag and if there's no substance to hold who you are up, it's a sad day for you.

Let's teach the kids that they better have something else to sustain them through anything that comes their way after wrinkles or an intellectual challenge appears!

And if joining a beauty pageant comes to be part of their personal journey, let it be for the right reasons and their choice rather than my own projections of frustrated dreams.

In the meantime, let's let them be kids and cherish their childhood as it should be cherished, teaching them to own their unique beauty and individual perfection!