Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SoMoms #BetterMe on Donya Problems

We've come of age when yaya concerns always seem to crop up whenever we talk to our friends.

My friend Karrots even started the catch phrase "Donya Problems", which encompasses all our domestic woes.

From funny stories like that of the yaya who poured Coke on a tray because she was told, "Yaya magdala ka ng Coke please, paki lagay sa tray!", to sob stories when everyone's favorite yaya leaves, to horror stories we read on Facebook that we pass on to friends so that everyone is forewarned, there's no denying that our household staff has the power to make our lives a whole lot easier, OR a whole lot more stressful.

This Christmas, I thought I'd gift you with my learnings from our Coach Pia session, so that your relationship with your yayas will be more pleasant and harmonious. 

Because when you've got good people, they are a blessing from above and we've got to take good care of them the way they take care of us.

Some valuable insights:

- Be aware of your employer style. You need to be aware of your leadership style because sometimes, you may come across as bossy, demanding, or worse, a weakling without knowing it! How you lead influences how effective your staff is at home. So if you find yourself frustrated with your staff, you might need to start looking at yourself. Eeeep, right? Find out what kind of boss you are, HERE.

- Start off with the values important to you. Why is this important? Because this is what you will always revert to when explaining the tasks associated with it to your helpers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Sangobion Christmas

Sangobion made Christmas a lot more special, not just for their invited guests, who were treated to another hilarious show by Giselle Sanchez as the Sangobion Salaminkera,

but most especially for the families affected by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, who were endowed with a generous donation via the Philippine National Red Cross.

Janette V. Alcaraz, Director of Fund Generation of Red Cross with Ramonito Tampos, President & Managing Director of Merck

This, on top of earlier donations they have made during the height of the typhoon relief efforts.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to see friends I've made along the way, before the holiday craziness took over!

Had fun catching up with Jenni Epperson, Rowena Wendy Lei, Jackie Go & Jane Uymatiao

Thanks so much Sangobion for hosting a fun & unique Christmas celebration, and especially for remembering our fellow Filipinos who need our help the most!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

PowerApp with Smart this Holiday Season

Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is giving its more than 56 million subscribers nationwide free mobile access to the latest social networking apps and sites through its revolutionary new service called PowerApp, a mobile application that bring\s the most affordable unlimited Internet bundles to users today.

By installing PowerApp on their phones, users can get free access to the app and mobile sites of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Path and Waze until January 15, 2014.

Subscribers can use these mobile apps with no need to worry about hidden charges as they are notified every time they access a site or app that is outside their current package subscription. And with free unlimited notifications from running background apps, they are assured that they will not incur unexpected data charges while using the service. 

PowerApp is the world's first mobile Internet storefront which gives users the ability to access their favorite mobile apps and sites without the need for a WiFi connection, making the experience truly mobile.

“A number of smartphone users today only use their smartphones for calling or texting, or wait till they reach their homes or offices to connect to the Internet. Through PowerApp and its affordable Internet bundles, subscribers can confidently keep posting, liking, or tweeting everywhere they go without the need for a WiFi connection,” said Michele Curran, Data and International Services Head at Smart.

The service is initially available to prepaid and postpaid Smart and Talk 'N Text users in the Philippines.

To activate the free unlimited access to social apps and websites, subscribers simply have to download Smart’s PowerApp via Google Play or and register for the Free Social Package, originally priced at P20 for one day (Social20) or P10 for 3 hours (Social10).

iOS and feature phone users can also text FREE SOCIAL to 5555 (for Smart Prepaid, Postpaid, Infinity and Talk ‘N Text) 9990 (for Smart Freedom Plan subscribers) or 7577 (for Smart Postpaid All-In users) to avail of the promotion.

“With PowerApp, users can continuously enjoy these 7 social networking apps and services absolutely free. PowerApp provides free and unlimited notifications so users can continue to receive updates from background apps without having to incur additional data charges,” Curran explained.

Friday, December 20, 2013

WeChat up the Holidays

Over the holidays, Berry & I discovered WeChat, the world’s 5th most-used smart phone app, and #1 in messaging apps.

It has grown so fast that it only took WeChat 433 days to reach the 100mn user milestone.  Consider this, Twitter and Facebook required 1,400 and 1,600 days get to the 100mn mark.

As of November 2013, there were 300 million users on WeChat.

It's so huge, even brands are part of it, and you can subscribe directly to their WeChat accounts to be first to hear about updates, exciting news, and get product info.

Just like Viber & WhatsApp, it's a fun way to banter online with friends, make chismis in real time, and send silly stickers. But it provides a new way to connect online, in more ways than one.

What makes WeChat different is it's location-based feature which allows you to find fellow WeChat users in an event, at work, or in school via scanning a QR code, shaking your phone or just searching for "people nearby". 

It's a great way to connect especially this holiday season, making it easy to gather family & friends together, for better or worse, haha.

Apart from just cute Christmas stickers, that other messaging apps are also into, WeChat makes connecting over the holidays a lot more fun.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. WeChat allows users to send digital Christmas & New Year cards! Even a version with your voice recording on it!

These fun cards can be sent out to family and friends via WeChat Moments or via the ‘Share to Facebook’ button.

2. Organize reunions easily with WeChat's Group Messaging that allows you to gather a group of up to 40 friends via text, voice, or video. WeChat's location-based feature allows you to send maps of the party venue to friends in seconds. No more excuses of getting late to the party because they got lost on the way!

3. Complete shopping lists and send out your own wish lists by inviting family and friends to post their Christmas wishlists via WeChat's Moments feature, while you also give them the down low on what you want. That's hitting two birds in one.

4. Call relatives abroad via the WeChat Video Call integrated in the application.

5. Tell your holiday story via StoryCam for WeChat. So you never have to miss out on the details, WeChat pins down your stories for you with Storycam, which is developed by Tencent solely for WeChat. StoryCam allows everyone to share their stories through themed photos including Featured, Place, Weather, Food, and Lifestyle. 

With StoryCam, users can start by capturing a photo, enhancing it using up to 15 free filters, applying real-time location, weather, and date updates, and even placing watermarks wherever you want on the photo. 

WeChat not only brings friends and families closer together, it allows us to do it in real time, and better than ever!

About WeChat

WeChat is an innovative mobile social communications application designed for smartphone users. WeChat is free for download from app stores running on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone operating systems*. 

It is the most downloaded mobile social app in many markets with more than 300 million registered accounts in international markets. WeChat users can add friends via a wide range of innovative actions and methods, including scanning QR codes, connecting users’ phone books and activating location-based functions such as “People Nearby” and “Shake”. 

 The platform enhances social interaction by supporting exchanging of text, voice and video, stickers, and photos with their friends over data networks or under Wi-Fi environments. Users can choose to communicate one-on-one, or within their closed social network through “Moments”. 

WeChat also comes with comprehensive privacy setting functions, which enables user to tailor their security level as needed.

For more details and application download, please visit www.wechat.com 

*Some features are limited to certain operating systems due to the product development cycle. 

Twitter: @WeChatPH

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Affordable Luxury #2: Cadentia Colognes

Rica de Jesus, better known as Heart to Heart online, loves colognes, and it was for this reason that she & her husband James brought in a line of eau de cologne products from France that are as sweet smelling as they are delightfully affordable!

Clockwise from L, Row 2: Nature Fraicheur Intense 250 ml, Nature Fraicheur Lavande 500 ml, Eau de Cologne bebe, Eau des Collines, Nature Anti-Moustiques

These scents are from Laboratoires Cadentia, a French company that has been developing colognes in Aubagne, at the heart of Provence, since 1945. 

Known for their fresh & timeless fragrances that evoke wellness, relaxation and health, they continue to do so today by  only selecting natural essences of fruits, flowers, herbs and essential oils in their purest forms.

I splash Nature Lavande after a bath on myself and Berry and I just love how the scent lingers.

When I bury my face in Berry's neck, I am pleasantly surprised by her sweet baby girl scent, never mind that she's sweaty from running around.

A bottle of Nature Anti-Moustiques is a mommy essential. This is a bug repellant at its finest.

I spray it on liberally because it's practically cologne, a fresh smelling one made with tea & citronella, that also happens to repel mosquitos.

At Php375 for a 250 ml bottle, it not only makes a wonderful gift, it's practical to have a bottle in every room at home so you can spray whenever, wherever to keep mosquitos at bay, and gets you ready for a hug, any time of day.

Cadentia Colognes are available at:
Rustan's Supermarket
Rustan's Flower Shop and More
Robinsons Supermarket
Saddlebrown Manila Polo Club and Rockwell Club
Mpulse Makati Medical Center
St. Lukes Bonifacio Global City and Quezon City
Online: seektheuniq.com

Get Curves

I do not have the discipline for exercise. Ningas cogon? That's me in ratty work out clothes. I will be like, gung ho the first month, and then, totally delinquent the next.

If there is one exercise I see myself doing regularly, it would be the Curves workout. Here's why:

1. Women only. Curves is especially focused on us women, and how our bodies respond to exercise and weight loss programs. Also, if you're the type to feel most comfortable in the company of other women, or you simply hate having to share equipment with sweaty, hairy guys, this is your kind of place.

2. No sugarcoating. This instrument is your frienemy. It measures your body fat and BMI. Before you start off at Curves, you are faced, if not slapped, by reality. Nothing will jolt you to the realization that you need to do something about your health stat than numbers that don't lie.

Here's mine.

Within range, but I do need toning, and I need to up my strength & endurance.

3. Self-reflection & Goal setting. I was forced to assess where I was and where I wanted to go. After all, there is no greater incentive than seeing yourself coming closer to your targets.

But of course, everything is set on paper.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pre-Book AirAsia Zest Hot Meals When You Fly!

The last time I flew in a budget airline from Singapore to Manila, the in-flight meal I ordered for Berry tasted so artificial, almost medicinal, that I had to spit it out. Poor Berry had to make do without a real dinner during our flight because it was just not edible. 

Suffice it to say, we never flew budget again after that. You really get what you pay for. It was such a traumatic experience for me that I would rather pay extra for Singapore Airlines or PAL than ride a budget airline again. 

So it was with a curious and inquisitive journalist’s eye that I attended the AirAsia Zest Blogger’s Dinner where they presented their line up of rice meals, sandwiches and desserts along with the beverages they serve, both hot & cold in flight. 

We started off the evening with Chicken Caesar and Roasted Chicken with Sundried Tomato sandwiches that were quite delicious and fresh. This is the same quality passengers get when they board an AirAsia flight. 

There was also a choco banana pound cake that was moist and studded with generous sized chocolate chunks that quickly became a favorite that night. 

The sit down dinner followed with hot rice meals and a pasta dish, some of which are championed by an AirAsia Zest executive, hence the names: Chicken Adobo ala Mariles, Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak, Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice, Junior’s Korean Beef Stew and Maan’s Pasta Arrabiata. 

  passengers get 15% off on their meal plus a free 100ml bottle of water when you pre-book HotMeals at AirAsia.com via Manage My Booking 

Maan’s Pasta Arrabiatta

Of course, it cannot be faulted that I found a favorite that I would happily recommend to AirAsia flyers, even order myself. Heck I would probably fly AirAsia just for their Nasi Lemak alone: 

 Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak could easily be at par with many a Singaporean’s favorite nasi lemak hawker stall, even the one I’ve had at the Singapore Island Country Club 

For those with sweet tooths, apart from the choco banana pound cake, AirAsia Zest offers cinnamon bread sticks, fudgy brownie bars and chewy chocolate chip cookies: 

Apart from tasty airline meals, AirAsia also offers inflight shopping merchandise, where passengers can bring home model planes, keychains, and collectible stuff like pencils with slip on rubber characters, as you can see in my Beef Stew photo below: 

These AirAsia HotMeals are available for both domestic and international flights originating from Manila & Cebu and the people responsible for these have truly outdone themselves in offering food that does not compromise on taste and quality.

At AirAsia, you don’t have to worry about eating chips, peanuts or instant noodles on your flight. 

Or heaven forbid, those horrible tasting rice meals from budget airlines that shall not be named, that up to now leave a bad taste in my mouth. 

Flying out soon? Book your flights now at airasia.com. AirAsia Zest, The Right Way to Fly. 

For more on AirAsia Philippines, Like the AirAsia Philippines Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines and Follow AirAsiaPH on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AirAsiaPH

Hair Free Diary: Leg Hair Laser Removal, Session 2

Between us online friends, I just wanted to show you what 1 session of Laser hair removal at Wink looks like.

I am pretty impressed. There are bald spots already where hair has not grown back, and the ones that have grown are much thinner than they used to be. The stubbles that you see, where hair has not sprouted out yet in this photo eventually came out, but it took a while.

I kind of went over my 6 week appointment and came back just yesterday, so I kind of shaved it off a couple of times already. Hair did grow a bit coarser after two to three shaves but I am pretty much happy with how there really is less hair growth after just 1 session.

Keep you posted after my 3rd and 4th session! I am supposed to see results after the 4th visit!

Wink Laser & Wax Studio
3rd Floor C2 Building
7th Ave for 28th Street
Bonifacio High Street Central
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Tel: +63 917 303 9465 or +632 808 7258
Email: hello@winkstudio.ph

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lotte Xylitol Gum Giveaway!

Lottle Xylitol & I are giving away 3 bags filled with LotteXylitol gum!

Because with all the sweets you are eating this season, you better make sure the whole family is armed to the teeth against cavities! Simply join by using the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open only to residents of the Philippines or those with a Philippine address. Winner will be announced on December 18, 2013! 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Spruce Up Your Holiday with a SPRUCE Giveaway!

Racking your brain figuring out what to give the health nut in your life?

Or maybe there's someone you care about and you want him/her to start living and eating healthy?

Well, I just have the best gift idea. The sort that keeps on giving. 

Presenting, the SPRUCE gift card. Tadaaaa!

Part of sales proceeds from the SPRUCE Gift Cards will go to "BaHaiyan" a student led initiative focused on rehabilitation for those affected by typhoon Yolanda. 

The SPRUCE Gift Cards comes in Php1500, Php1000, Php500 and Php250 denominations: (Php1500 - 6 bottles (or a one day cleanse); Php1000 - 4 bottles; Php500 - 2 bottles; Php250 - 1 bottle) includes a Christmas Greeting Card 5x8 in size w/ envelope, so you can tailor fit the amount you give based on your budget. Here's the skinny:


Text 0917.897.2108 or email contact@drinkspruce.com and provide the ff details:

- Name
- Mobile
- Email
- Order Quantity
- Delivery Method (Pick-Up at select locations or Delivery by Courier (P100 fee))

Bulk / Corporate discounts are available. Gift cards have no expiry and payable via bank deposit. Cards should be ready in 2-3 days.


Recipient just needs to text 0917.897.2108 or email contact@drinkspruce.com to order preferred juices at least 2 days in advance. Juice will be delivered free of charge anywhere in Metro Manila for the Php1500 GC only. Pick-up at Plaza Cafe, Legaspi Village Makati for the Php1000, Php500, and Php200 GC's.

And now, for the GIVEAWAY!

Since it's the season of giving, SPRUCE & I are giving away 1 Php1500 GC to one lucky reader, for you to keep or give to a loved one who deserves this special treat!

Just leave a comment on this blog post, answering "Who would you like to give SPRUCE to?",  LIKE SPRUCE on Facebook, and Follow @drinkspruce on Instagram and Twitter.

Join by using the Rafflecopter Widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends on December 18, 2013 and winner will be announced on December 19, 2013. Enough time to make it to Christmas, woohoo!

Mobile: 0917.897.2108
E-mail: contact@drinkspruce.com
Website: www.drinkspruce.com (Coming Soon)
Facebook: facebook.com/drinkspruce 
Instagram: @drinkspruce
Twitter: @drinkspruce

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


I have really passed on my love for clothes to Berry. She just loves to play dress up. There are days when she insists that we wear similar outfits, and she always, always has an opinion on what I have on – from disapproval:

“I don’t like your skirt, Mom.” 

To styling advice:

“You know Mom, you should wear these shoes with your dress.” 

To full on gushing mode:

“Wow, I love that outfit Mom, you look nice!” 

When she saw the pictures I took during MANGO’s Fall/Winter fashion show featuring the MANGO Kids line a couple weeks back, first thing she asked me was, “Why didn’t you bring me?”
 MANGO Kids for Girls

MANGO Kids for Boys

Well, first, it was a school night. Second, isn’t it much more fun dressing up with the actual clothes than seeing it on a mannequin, or say, on other kids? 

In fact, when I saw a gorgeous boho skirt at the MANGO Girls section, I immediately put together this outfit for Berry in my head, complete with the scarf and fringe booties. Very Isabel Marant! 

 Berry, head to toe in MANGO Kids 

To be honest, I kind of wished they had adult versions of Berry’s sweater and skirt too! 

But when I saw a tunic dress at the women’s section, in the exact same shade of coral as the stripes on Berry’s skirt and the tassel on her scarf, I just knew Berry would love for us to wear these outfits together. For that French bourgeois boheme aka “bobo” look.

 Berry & Me in complementary outfits

Because clothes from MANGO Kids are designed as mini versions of pieces from the adult line, they also had “downtown” edgy looks for little girls. Something like what Aila Wang would wear – say, black skinny jeans and a grey sweatshirt. 

I even found a faux leather jacket!

Now if only Berry can do that French “I don’t care look”, not to say she doesn’t look adorbs with her cutesy Asian pose, heehee.

I mean, I was inspired by Berry’s outfit. I even came up with a mommy version, each piece also from MANGO, which in my head is what something Emmanuelle Alt would wear – dark skinny jeans, the perfect slouchy tee and a fitted jacket.

 Berry & Me going for the French Voguette look. Well, we tried. Haha 

Seriously, if you’re looking for fun pieces for your kid to wear, you’ve got to check out the MANGO Kids line. 

I found so many chic finds for little girls and boys that would really make dressing up with moms, ninangs and aunties so much fun. 

It’s like everyday is meant for Mini Me dress up days!

Follow MANGO! 
Facebook: http://facebook.com/mango.com 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Mango 
YouTube: http://youtube.com/mangofashion 
Instagram: @Mango
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mangofashion
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