Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fun Things to Liven Up Your Work Space

Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry I've been gone for so long. We had an impromptu trip to Singapore as my SIL needed us. When we got back, I got swamped with work. My schedule has been so hectic and I've had a few life changes over the past couple of months. It has been both a blessing and a challenge.

Anyway, I saw this Unicorn Tape Dispenser in one of my emails and I thought, how cute! That could really lighten up the work space. So, I thought of getting some ideas around the Net to keep you guys motivated to work in the coming year.





Eric the Memo Elephant from Quirks (this is imported from the UK so all you UK readers might find it in one of your local stores)

Glasses Pad from National Bookstore (Now you'll never lose your glasses!)



I hope these products will keep you motivated to work in the new year! I know it's hard to get back to work mode again after a long vacation but maybe these 'toys' will do the trick and add fun to your work space!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Where am I?

Hi guys! I have been MIA again because my laptop broke. It will take some time to recover my files. All my blog stuff is in there so please bear with me for a few more days. Meanwhile, you can search the archives for recipes, baby care tips and homeschool activities. See you guys soon!

Friday, November 13, 2015

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Home Clean and Organized when You Feel Overwhelmed

Affiliate links have been added for your convenience




Moms...they are wonderful. They seem to never run out of energy...well, probably because there is no end to the things they need to do! Keeping the house organized is one of the top items in every mom's checklist. I know I have a problem keeping our house organized but I try, thanks to a lot of products in the market today.

I am so thankful that I live in a world with abundant technology. Instead of spending hours sweeping the floor, dusting furniture, getting rid of the dust in our fans and AC, I can just use a vacuum cleaner. It's fast and efficient. Here are some of my picks.

Another thing that bugs me are shoes and slippers strewn all over the floor so I use an over the door organizer and another organizer like this one to keep them corralled. If you don't allow shoes in your home, stick one of these by the front door or in the garage.

Shelves are also another amazing and very versatile piece of furniture you can have in your home. Aside from storing books, I use them to store my son's toys and display his art work. I like having different sizes of shelves and racks at home.



For a rack similar to this one, I bought a few baskets and organized the contents into toys, gifts, my son's old clothes, etc. If I see stuff lying around, I just dump them in the basket. No need to spend several minutes organizing them.

I used an old diaper organizer to hide more toys (upper left)

Another sanity saver are clothes racks. I really get ticked when  I see clothes lying around. Having a clothes rack handy allows my husband to toss his clothes over it. Well, I can't expect too much, can't I? I keep a set of hangers close by so that I can hang the clothes properly. This is also useful for drying clothes. Hang your clothes properly while drying so they don't end up with wrinkles and creases. Most of our clothes don't need to be ironed out because of this method. Another time saver!

One item that goes out of control in our house are my son's toys. We have an abundance of them. We regularly give some away but there are still a lot. Well, I only have myself to blame. To keep them organized, I use this kind of drawer:



I have two of these drawers. I use one for toys and the other one for crafts, arts and home school stuff. I chose this instead of the plain ones so that I could teach my 2-year old to clean up after playing. He knows which color drawer a specific toy goes into. I put his favorites (cars, trains, blocks) on the bottom drawers so that it will be easier for him to get them. I use the upper portion to store Play-Doh and other toys that need supervision when playing. 



Minion madness!




These are just some of the things that help keep me sane day-to-day. Being a SAHM and taking care of a messy family is hard work! I do my best and I am really thankful for modern conveniences such as these. I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know what products keep you sane in the comments below. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Project Pie

I was finally able to try the food at Project Pie about 2 weeks ago. Cousin C was kind enough to treat me after the Clinique event. If I remember correctly, this is the number 4 pizza. 


Project Pie is just that. You choose the toppings for your pizza. They have a wide variety of toppings to choose from. Vegetarians are also welcome. You can also choose from a pre-set menu. That's what I did. 

I'm not sure if the drinks are refillable though but it's a self-serve setup. 


The pizza was great, however, I feel that it's too expensive for its size. I think they have to make money somewhere after offering all those toppings. They have a standard price for a pizza and you can go crazy on the toppings. Cousin C and I shared one pizza but it was definitely bitin especially if you are starving. I'm not sure if I'll go back. It seems too expensive to buy 3 pizzas for myself, my husband and son when I can get a decent sized and priced pizza from other pizza places. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hello Kitty Doughnut Chocolates


I'm pretty sure I already blogged about this but for some reason, I couldn't find it anywhere in my blogs. Anyway, I found this at Daiso Japan. These are wonderful doughnut-shaped chocolates that are not overly sweet, just the way I like them. 


There are different flavors -  chocolate (or chocolate almond), cookies and cream, banana, strawberry and a custard, I think. My husband and son devoured these. I stuck with the plain chocolate and tasted the cookies and cream one. I haven't seen these since. I hope to see them again so that I can grab a bag or two!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Dermatologist-Approved Skin Care Regimen for Working Moms and SAHMs

Hi, everyone! Last Saturday, cousin C and I went to Clinique's event entitled The Doctor is In. We had the privilege of talking with Dra. Gina Banate, a licensed dermatologist and member of the Philippine Dermatological Society. I asked her what skin care regimen she can recommend to working moms and stay-at-home moms. Here's what she said.



Start with a clean face by washing it with a mild facial soap with a pH of not less than 5.5. This level protects the natural environment of your skin. 

Next, use a toner that is perfect for your skin type. Toner normalizes skin and brings back what soap has stripped away.

Lady E's Quick Tip - If you don't know your skin type, visit the Clinique counters at Rustan's Makati or Shangri-La Mall and mention me or my blog to get a free Treat or Teach You Time service wherein you can experience the products and get a free consultation. 


Next, apply your favorite moisturizer. Lastly, don't forget sunscreen. It should have an SPF of at least 30. Apply the amount of half a teaspoon to your neck and face 30 minutes before sun exposure. And don't forget about the backs of your hands as they get bombarded with sunlight too. 

You can now apply your makeup. If you are off to the office, make sure to wear and/or bring sun protective clothing. 

SAHMs, you should also follow these steps even if you are at home most of the time. If you are like me and you are constantly in front of the computer, you are also being bombarded by UV rays according to the doctor. So, it's still a good idea to apply sunscreen even if you are at home. 

Don't be lazy if you are a SAHM. The more you need to put an effort to skin care and making yourself look and feel more beautiful. It's easy to get into a rut or burnout as a stay-at-home mom. I know, I've had my share and if you can remember, one of the things I do is to pamper myself. Finally, do it for yourself and not for anybody else. 

I hope you learned a lot in today's post. Please stay tuned for more tips from our beautiful dermatologist. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Deck the Halls with.. Daiso Japan!

Christmas is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Are you ready? Preparing for Christmas on a budget is easy with Daiso Japan. Here are a few things I found at the Shangri-La Mall branch.


I love these candies! And don't forget about the stars!


I'm really glad that Christmas stockings are becoming more and more available here in Manila. Christmas stockings are a huge part of our Christmas. It took me such a long time to find our first ones. 



I really like these two but I bought 3 new ones last December and we haven't used those yet. But who knows. I just might buy these before Christmas. 




These figurines are also great to decorate your Christmas table. Just buy a few and you're all set. 





Just look at Santa with that light-up ball. 





And how can you go wrong with snow globes! I love snow globes. 


And don't forget about your pets!










I'm excited for Christmas! Are you?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

BOGO Halloween Items at Daiso Japan Shangri-La Mall

If you like decorating your house for Halloween or you're planning a party, Daiso has the perfect items for you.


They have wall decals and different pumpkin figurines. 


These buckets are great for trick or treaters. 


Store your candies in these colorful candy dishes.



Stay tuned for more Daiso finds!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

7 Q's with Ms. Verna Marin

Ms. Verna Marin is the Chief MUA of L'Oreal Philippines. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend her workshop. If you missed that post, you can read all about it here.

I was able to ask her a few questions and today,  I will share with you some of her beauty wisdom.

1. What's your favorite makeup and why? (blush, lipstick, etc.)
For now it’s mascara, I’m a girl and I have mood swings!!! Or maybe because the Voluminous Million Lashes of L’Oreal that I’m trying out is super good it opens up the eyes with thick long lashes. It’s coming out soon!

2. Modern moms lead very busy lives that they tend to forget aboutthemselves. What's the most important thing they can do before leaving the house to look more polished without exerting too much effort?
Develop a 10 or even 5 minute makeup routine! It can be concealer mascara, blush and lipstick routine for everyday wear.  Concealer for the imperfections ,mascara to open up the eyes, blush to look healthy and lipstick for confidence!

3. What makeup should women splurge on? save on?
Splurge on foundation if synonymous to your skin. Splurge also on mascara and don’t ever share it with anybody. Save on blush-on buy peach shade it can work on varieties of lipstick colors.

4. Aside from cellphone and wallet, what are the 3 things you always have in your bag?
Tooth brush, tooth paste and lip balm or my favorite lipstick

5. What's the greatest thing you learned in the industry?
The makeup industry is constantly evolving, better products bettertechniques don’t be afraid to try new things and upgrade you skills :)

6. Who is your dream client?
 I am blessed with the most wonderful clients in the industry from personal, bridal, editorial, corporate, stage and TV, if i’m to wish for more it’s for a couple of personalities I see on TV that I know can benefit from a better makeup… let’s not name them. I just love the challenge!

7. What's the best makeup advice you can give to anyone?

One face to live with love and learn as much as you can about it! Try the makeup you like on the magazine or billboard but have a reality check. We all have different facial structures you may look best with less or more makeup it’s all about trying and finding out ;)

Thank you Ms. Verna for giving us the time and sharing with us your knowledge!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Doctor is In

Clinique Shangri-La Mall will be having another The Doctor is In event this coming Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 2 pm.

The guest dermatologist will answer your beauty and skin questions. There will also be a Teach or Trick activity and a giveaway. Food and drinks will also be served. You can reserve a slot at the Clinique counter.

See you there!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Zac's Meals

I avoided this kind of post for a while because I was burning out. I just fed my son the same food that we ate. There's nothing wrong with that really but I like making an effort to prepare my son's meals. He also likes variety as I've mentioned many times before. So here's me, giving myself a kick to crawl out of my rut.


scrambled eggs//ham//dried cranberries//English muffin with sandwich spread//cheese triangle//chocolate milk


For snacks, I had homemade granola and he had pumpkin seeds.


cubed pears// rice// sizzling tofu // yakisoba


snack - mixed nuts and raisins




apple cubes // Honey Bunches with Oats


Watermelon cubes // hash


breadstick // watermelon cubes // corned beef and ham macaroni soup


Vienna sausage // buttered fish English muffins // cranberries // eggs 


breadstick // creamy chicken and stars tomato soup served with Thomson grapes below


I hope you found inspiration for your little ones!



Monday, October 5, 2015

Hey, Busy Mom! Get Ready in a Flash with these Tips



When I was younger, it would take me an hour to take a bath, get dressed and basically get ready before going out. Now that I'm a mom, it takes me even longer to get ready, not because of my beauty routine but because I need to prepare my son's things aside from my own things.

This is especially hard when we need to prepare for church and our doctor's appointment. So, I made a few changes to my routine and I'd like to share them with you today.

First, get organized.

My grandfather used to tell us, "A place for everything and everything in its place." That kinda stuck with me growing up. I'm not perfect but I try to organize as much of our stuff as I can. (And with a preschooler, that's kinda hard).

I make sure to have a place for everything so that when I am in a rush, I know where to grab things.

Put essentials close together

Instead of running around all over the house, I group going out essentials in one area. I can prepare and pack the sippy cups, milk, water, snacks and straws in just 5 minutes.

I plan our outfits the night before

or at least take them out of the closet. I don't like ironing clothes in bulk. We only iron them when we need them. I decide what I'm going to wear and what my son is going to wear the night before. Come morning, I only need to iron the clothes. Sometimes I also try on the outfits first to see if I'm comfortable in them. This way, I don't have to do a "fashion show" in the morning.

Have a go-to outfit

I like skirts so when I'm in a rut, I just wear a skirt and a shirt. Other times I just wear jeans and a polo. These are my no-brainer outfits.

I get our bags ready

You know how it is when you have a child. You basically pack half your house or in our case, our room. I like being prepared. Although my son is older now, we still carry a big bag for him. It's filled with toys and activities plus the usual diapers and extra clothes. I also bring snacks, water and milk.

I get this bag ready in the evening. I also get my own purse ready. I need to change purses from time to time depending on my outfit and where we are going and who I will be with. If it's just my son and I, I need a bigger purse. I leave his bag because it's impractical for me to carry two bags and chase after him.

Before leaving,

I make a final visual sweep of our room to make sure that I have everything I need. It also doesn't hurt to make a list ready for times when you have too much going on in your plate. Stick this list on your command center and mentally check it before leaving the house.

I hope these tips were helpful! They have made my life easier and less hectic.





Sunday, October 4, 2015

Torch at Circuit


Mom and I took a stroll through Circuit last Friday. There wasn't much to see. There are two restos open and one of them is Torch.

Torch has a wide menu to choose from. They have pizza, pasta, chicken, salads, soups,etc. I ordered this combination 5-cheese and Philly steak pizza. You can order combination pizzas. You will pay for the higher priced variant.

The 5-cheese was okay. It was a bit bland but it had bursts of flavor when I bite into the tomatoes.

The Philly was delicious. The meat was tender and very flavorful. I ordered this to-go so it was already a bit cold when we got home. I reheated a few slices the next day but they were too soggy. The slices were also too big and not uniform so if you are eating as a barkada, one might get a huge slice and another a small one.

Price points are great. This pizza costs 374 pesos. Service is super slow. We waited around 30 minutes or so for this one pizza and we could see a kitchen-full of chefs and cooks just joking around and chatting. There weren't very many people when we arrived so I was really surprised that the food took so long to arrive. I think there were just 3 tables occupied and one party left about 5 minutes after we sat down. Billing out was also a long process.

There was also an abundance of flies. My mom and sister went back yesterday and my sister said that she won't go back because of the flies.

The food is good and the prices are right. I might give this place another shot in the future. But please, do something about the flies and the service!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Let's Talk: Dealing with SAHM Burnout

I've been thinking about how to position this blog as my other two blogs have become active again. I put up this blog so that I only have one avenue to write in. Turns out, my readers still want my food and beauty blogs to be active. In time, I found out that this blog has been popular with moms. So, I think the best way to go is to transform this blog into all things mom and family. This was, after all, put up after my life made a 360-degree turn when I became a mom.

Today let's talk about SAHM Burnout which for me, is a very sensitive topic. I am a Stay-at-Home mom and I'm proud of that. I gave up my career and a lot of my plans and dreams are put on hold just so I can be with my son 24/7. In this day and age, not many women can make that choice especially when living on only one income is very hard. So, I consider myself blessed. We live on one income and it's hard but we make ends meet. There are months when we don't know how we will pay the bills but God is good and He continues to provide for us. The important thing for my husband and I is that we see our son grow and he grows up in our teachings. We don't want to miss this very important stage of his life where he is developing and learning new things. We want to be there every step of the way. I want to be there. I want to build a foundation in him that cannot be shaken and I believe only mothers and fathers can do that.



The best things in life are free


Being a SAHM has a lot of up moments. I get to homeschool my son. He is officially enrolled in a school for gifted children under the homeschooling program. I am blessed to have a twice exceptional child. He is both hyperactive and gifted. I will talk about that more in the following days.

I also get to make him meals. There are times when he asks me to cook a specific dish and I am happy to oblige. Like the other day, for example. I made some doughnuts on a whim.  I don't think I'll be able to do that if I work 9 to 5 as I will be exhausted by the time I get home.

I get to play with him all day. He has a very vivid imagination and he includes me in almost all his play scenarios. Sometimes we pretend we are race car drivers. Sometimes we are constructing buildings. He also likes playing Candy Crush with me.

I get to watch him sleep like I do now. He is napping as I type this. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when I realize how big and 'grown up' he has become. I didn't miss anything. I was there for every milestone of his life - first step, first tooth, first time to eat solid food, first time to sit on his own and to stand on his own and his first words. I witnessed all his firsts.  I can still remember how tiny he was when he was born and now, he is running and playing, making new friends and learning new things every day. I am amazed at this miracle God gave me.

I get hugs and kisses from him all day. My son is very malambing, very passionate in everything he does. There are times when he just comes up to me and kisses me. Sometimes he just embraces me. Sometimes he tells me, "thank you mommy" and then kisses me out of the blue. These moments are precious.

The Ugly Truth


However, not everything in life is perfect. I also experience SAHM burnout. There are days when I miss having a career. I was once a very busy entrepreneur, juggling several businesses all at once. On days when I'm worn out from all the chores, I think about this past life of mine. I used to talk to clients every day, email people, work on presentations, etc. Now I talk to my son's doctors, check mommy emails and work on school presentations. I think about the grocery list and the menu for the week when once upon a time, I thought about these for my budding food business.

There are also days when my sweet little son turns into a horrible monster. Oh, yes. I know you moms out there know what I'm talking about. If you say that your child is a sweet little angel all the time, okay. Good for you. Perhaps you shouldn't be reading this post  as you are probably not experiencing SAHM burnout. Anyway, during those days when my son just wants to scream at the top of his lungs while jumping on the bed and spilling water or milk or juice every where, I just want to get away. There are times when he takes his drawer of toys from me (which I just filled up with his toys from around the floor) and spills them again all over the place. There are times when he is just a pain. I just want to leave him in the room and go out and do something for myself. But I don't. I remind myself that he is my son and that I love him and that it is just a phase, a part of growing up.

Signs


What are the signs of a SAHM burnout? Fatigue, depression, not wanting to do things that you used to love doing, not taking care of yourself anymore, thinking about getting away, thinking about violent thoughts against your child or family, etc. It varies from woman to woman. I've also read that there are 5 stages to a burnout. The last stage involves violence or just plain giving up.

If you are experiencing any of these things, welcome to my world. You need to read up and be aware of what's going on with you before you do something you will regret. You also need to reach out and ask for help.

Most people think that I have it easy, staying at home and just watching the kid. They are wrong. Aside from taking care of my son, I prepare his meals six times a day. I prepare our meals, my husband's baon (packed lunch), I take care of the chores, I pick up toys God knows how many times during the day, prepare his lessons, prepare our materials for homeschool, etc. etc. etc. I am very busy that I often take naps with my son because my day starts at 6:30 am and by the time he naps, I am also exhausted so I sleep for an hour or two. Aside from that, I don't want my body to become super tired all the time as I might suffer a relapse of polymyositis which I never want to experience again.

What I do


Until I can get a vacation, I think I will be in this phase for a while. However, I don't let it consume me. I do a few things to help lighten my load physically, mentally and emotionally.

One  

I go shopping. Shopping is my vice but over the years I have learned to tame the beast. I am very careful when it comes to buying stuff as I have a budget to maintain. So, what I do is schedule a shopping trip where I only buy essentials. That way, I have the satisfaction of having the experience but without breaking the bank. I get to come home with bags full of cotton balls, diapers, wet wipes, etc. 

Two


I read. I dusted up old books which have never seen the daylight. I immerse myself in another time and place for just a few chapters. I also read about fashion and beauty news which have always been a source of inspiration for me. I stopped reading for a few years when my son was born. I am also lucky that one of my BFFs is my e-book pimp who provides me with any e-book I request. 

The Bible is also a very good source of rest and inspiration. Christian books about motherhood and being a wife are also great places to start. 

Three

I have a DIY spa day. This is usually at night or on weekends when my husband is here to take care of the little one. I just buy products I like or test new products and for a few minutes or an hour, I can relax. I also take long showers especially at night. This is my 'me time' and I take advantage of it.

I also try to go to the salon when time permits. I've also re-ignited my love for makeup. I get dolled up even if I'm just going to the grocery. 

Four

I write. Writing is both my job and my passion. I started blogging because there's so much that I want to share with people. I didn't care if anyone read what I wrote as long as I know that I did my part to share what's in my heart and in my mind. I knew I wanted to write about SAHM burnout for the longest time but I just needed the right time and that time is now. 

Five

I hang out with other people. My cousin has resigned from her job so now we can hang out together more often. She brings our niece here so that we can all bond together. 

We've also gone on a shopping trip last Friday, just she and I and it was wonderful. It lifted my spirits. 

Six

Schedule a date night. My hubby and I haven't been on a date for so long. I am still finding the right schedule and the right babysitter. But I will definitely do this. I have several posts about date night ideas here in my blog. Here's one.

Seven

I have become more serious with planner decorating. Yup. I still keep a planner. I like the feel of paper on my hands. I like to write and see what I'm going to do for the day on paper rather than on a screen. I am very crafty. I like crafts so I use my supplies to make my planner pretty. If I'm going to be stuck doing wife/mommy duties then I might as well enjoy looking at my schedule for the day.

Find a hobby. I also crochet, make scrapbooks and a lot of other things. Here in Manila, adult coloring books are all the rage. It helps your creativity and relaxes you.

Eight

Talk to someone who understands you. I have a handful of friends that I trust with my life. I talk to each one of them about the different aspects of my life. One of my best friends moved to the States with her husband and 3-year old. When I need some mom support, I send her a message. We talk about being SAHMs. We talk about our struggles and we give each other support. If you are experiencing mommy burnout, don't talk to single people about it. They won't understand you and they surely won't be able to give you good, practical advice. 

Nine

I take a time out. I call my mom to takeover for a while and I do some other stuff like check my email, blog, chores, whatever. I take some time off. I do this especially when I'm already losing it because my son has spilled his milk all over the place. 

We also have a 30-second hug practice where my son and I just hug each other for 30 seconds while singing a song. It helps calm us both down. 

Ten

At the end of the day, I drop to my knees and pray. I ask God to forgive me for losing patience. I ask him to give me more of it, to give me wisdom and to guide me to raise up my child in His way. I also ask him for strength - physically, emotionally, mentally. Being a SAHM is very hard work. My mother was not a SAHM because she is a single mother. She single-handedly raised my sister and I plus our extended family. I will perhaps never know her struggles but I salute her for all her sacrifices and hard work for us. I have chosen a different path and she told me that I am lucky I get to be with my son all the time. 



Please click on the photo to enlarge


I guess that's the end of this post for now. I hope you found some helpful things today. If you are experiencing SAHM burnout or depression, you are not alone. Being burned out does not make you a bad mother. It only means you are human but you can get through this. Just reach out and ask for help. There are people who can understand you. 

Have you experienced SAHM burnout? How do you cope? Please share your thoughts in the comments section so that you too can reach out to someone.