Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10 Reasons Why I Love the De'Longhi Dedica

These days, it seems that every self-respecting adult in my peer group has a coffee machine. 

From the standard Nespresso to a fancy Italian espresso machine with all the bells and whistles, they could easily serve a decent cup of coffee if any of their guests wanted one. 

In fact, I can sheepishly say that Dada and I were probably one of maybe three couples amongst our friends who still served 3-in-1 coffee to our guests. Ahihihi. 

At first, I was owning it you know. 

"Oh we're not really coffee drinkers", I'd say graciously, almost apologetically to visitors. Then offer a wide array of tea from my shagreen tea storage box, as if I could dissuade a caffeine addict from my selection of flavored tea bags.

But I knew in my core that good hosts should be able to serve good coffee to their guests. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a good cup of cappuccino or latte every now and then? 

Or maybe that was my excuse when I saw the De'Longhi Dedica machine at the De'Longhi event I attended a few months back. It was love at first sight, that I decided we needed one in our home, stat. So I went to the De'Longhi concept store, D&K Kitchen Essentials at Shangrila-Mall to get our own machine.

While there were fancier, more awe-inducing machines, I knew in my heart the Dedica was for me.  

1) For one, it uses ground coffee, and not those disposable coffee pods that just add litter to the growing piles of garbage we get rid of on a daily basis. No carbon footprint guilt here.

2) Its the perfect size given the limited counter space at our buffet table, being the slimmest machine in the market at only 15 cm wide

3) Yes it's very compact, and yet so powerful. It can pull excellent shots of espresso that tastes just as good as the ones from your favorite coffee shop. 

4) It's so easy to use once you get the hang of using the professional filter holders like a true barista (thank God for my Starbucks marketing stint = required barista training, that sure came in handy!). Just press a button and voila! Well, while I still will not be able to do latte art, I'd like to think I can offer a latte or a foamy cappuccino sprinkled with cinnamon, or chocolate powder. Flavor wise, still quite an enjoyable cup.

5) Speaking of cappuccino, yes it can steam milk and can make seriously frothy foam to top your espresso with. 

I need more practice obvs, because this is how it looked during the demo....

6) The steam wand can also dispense hot water for tea, if you have guests who prefer a cup of chamomile or matcha over a handcrafted coffee beverage. 

7) It's quite easy to clean, with detachable parts that only require rinsing.

8) The top part can be used as a cup warmer, and the Dedica's Thermoblock heating system only heats enough water for your coffee serving, so you get the right water temperature crucial for brewing the ideal coffee. This reduces warm-up time, so that your coffee machine is ready for use in seconds, and is more energy efficient.

9) Did I mention they come in the most attractive color ways?

10) And so affordably priced at just about Php16,500 thereabouts?

It was hard to choose a color between red, silver and black, but I decided the silver went best with the vintage inspired De'Longhi Icona toaster and electric kettle I brought home with me. Oh yes, I was so kilig imagining these on our buffet table/breakfast nook.

Three months later, I still get kilig to this day, when I offer to make coffee to our guests. Heehee. I feel like the consummate hostess now. No, 3-in-1 coffee for visitors now, promise!

For more about the De'Longhi Dedica, read up here. For more information about the distributor, Concept Specialist Inc., Like and Follow De'Longhi Philippines on Facebook and @delonghiph on Instagram.

You may also check out their showroom at 72 Sct. Dr. Lascano, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City. and concept store at D&ampKitchen Essentials at L/G East Wing, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

H&M Supports WWF

United in a common vision for a sustainable future for people and nature, this Autumn 2016, H&M and WWF have joined forces with a children’s collection that aims to inspire people all over the world to care for our planet. All the garments are organic cotton-based and recognizable by their realistic prints of iconic species at risk. The collection is H&M stores worldwide and online since the 29th of September. 10% of the sales price of the collection will support WWF’s work in conserving species at risk.

The kids’ collection features animal prints of species such as the tiger, panda, snow leopard, polar bear and the finless porpoise, that are facing many threats including habitat loss, water pollution and the impact of climate change. The collection mainly consists of comfortable and easy to wear organic cotton-based items such as long sleeve sweaters, T-shirts, dresses, tights, trousers and pyjamas for babies and kids between 0 and 14 years old. The garments have been designed in a neutral colour palette of beige, grey and off-white with some accents of blue, emphasizing the realistic portrayal of the species. Some of the items also include inspiring messages like “Roar for wildlife”, “Protect my habitat” or “Let’s go wild”.

The aim of the collection is to inspire H&M’s customers to care for the planet. The campaign links to our transformational partnership with WWF, which started in 2011 and has now been extended an additional five years. The larger transformational partnership focuses on water stewardship and climate action, as well as strategic dialogue related to both H&M’s and the fashion industry’s broader sustainability challenges.

Read more about the collection and the transformational partnership at: and

Sunday, October 23, 2016

5 Kid-Approved Healthy Snacks You Need in Your Pantry

Getting my kids to eat healthy is easy, maybe because I started them young. But then, I also take extra effort to serve snacks that are not only good for them, but fun to eat too. If all else fails, I get them involved in preparing their food, from cutting fruit, spreading peanut butter on bread, or sprinkling cheese over homemade pizza.

If you are serious about feeding your kids right, you don’t need to overhaul your pantry straight away. Start off with these 5 snacks my kids approve of, and then work your way to other items as your kids develop their palette. 

1. Fresh fruits

My kids love fruits, and a big plus is having the fruits cut up, portioned and packed in tiny containers if they are to eat them as baon. They love apples, oranges, grapes, dragon fruit, pineapple, watermelon, melons and berries. They also enjoy eating local fruits like bananas, lanzones, rambutan and santol. I find that to make it attractive for them, it really helps to serve fruit peeled and already cut into bite size pieces. It comes out more colorful and appetizing for them, rather than serving it as halves or peeling it in front of them. Of course, when it comes to fruits like bananas and lanzones, peeling it is part of the fun!

Our current fave of the season, lanzones straight from my parents’ farm. As much as possible, they go to the farm to join in the harvest, so they know where their fruits come from.

2. Milk, better yet, Chocolate Milk

I switch whole milk with chocolate milk, and Selecta Moo is a favorite. Apart from the milk chocolate-y taste, the packaging makes drinking it more fun. There are games at the back of the box, and for some reason, having their favorite characters like Ben10 and The Powerpuff Girls seems to be perceived as a stamp of approval. Nutrition wise, Selecta Moo is packed with vitamins ( Vit. A, D3, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12) and minerals (Calcium, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Zinc). And now it’s been made even better with higher level of Magnesium plus the addition of Choline to support mental functioning and ability. I’m down with that.

Selecta Moo comes in 4 sizes, 100ml at P12.50, 180ml at P18.50, 245ml at P23.00 and 1L at P70.00. Save more when you buy the promo packs.

3. Homemade healthy baked goodies

The best way to hide vegetables and grains in food is via baked goodies! They’ll undoubtedly snub that granola bar, but hide those oats in an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and they gobble it up happily. We make muffins at home, and hide dried blueberries, grated carrots and mushy bananas in there with no complaints. I recently came across a triple chocolate pumpkin loaf and can’t wait to test out that recipe. 

Recently, I discovered @babygoodph cookies and mini muffins, and loved how the mommy baker behind it, Lara Leal, would artfully conceal flaxseed, moringa and other healthy food ingredients like coconut oil in her cookies and mini cupcakes. They taste so good, the kids wouldn’t know otherwise.

4. Yogurt Pops

We received an ice cream pop mold as a present and we did not waste any time making yogurt pops with it. My daughter would line sliced strawberries in it and pour strawberry yogurt in the mold. The result is a cool, healthy treat she’s proud to have made herself.

5. Say, Cheese! 

Like any wine and cheese loving adult, cheese is equally as addictive for kids. In a good way of course. From mini Babybel rounds, spreadable cream, your run of the mill cheddar cheese, to soft Brie and ooey gooey mozarella, cheese is a runaway hit all the time. Serve it with bread, crackers or sprinkled on pizza dough. Come to think of it, I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like some form of cheese!

Parents I have to remind you, don’t let your food biases color your choices. The journey to healthy eating can be fun, and it’s such a joy watching your kids try new textures and flavors. Eat your way through different tastes each time, it’s a great way to bond with them too!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Meet Fifi & Co

Fun fact for folks who live in San Juan! Did you know there's a chic kid's clothing store right on Wilson Street?

That would be Fifi & Co., named after the owner, Michelle Lao's two daughters who she also loves to dress up.

The store is filled with pretty dresses, t-shirts, cotton tops and culottes. Which I loved and got for Berry.

It's such a joy to shop in store too, because apart from the fact that the prices are so affordable, as in most pieces cost nothing over Php1000, the interiors feel like you're going inside somebody's play room.

Most of the items are sourced from Korea, and last I went, these were some of the pieces that caught my eye:

Went home with an outfit for Berry on the left, and that shirt and drop crotch pants for Tepper. I got Xavi a matching shirt like Tepper's  but couldn't find bottoms that would fit him. Definitely a place to get clothes for girls, and unisex items for babies, not so much for little boys.

The shopping bag is so cute too, it's pretty enough to hand over as a present when you need to dash quick to buy a gift for your kids' classmates. Prices start at about Php250 for a shirt, and goes to about Php800 and above for a dress.

Oh by the way, there are plenty of wooden toys like this balance scooter...

...and this Math board that I got for Xavi as well. Michelle's husband Patrick is a Math enthusiast and Michelle shares this was a great way to introduce math operations to kids as early as preschool. True enough, Xavi learned how to add different ways to 10 in such a short time, and has showed interest in numbers already. Being a Math geek too, I was pretty pleased with this purchase the most!

Fifi & Co
197 Wilson St cor P Guevarra St
San Juan (beside Sharetea)
Tel: +632 501 6883
Mobile: +63926 054 3962

Friday, October 07, 2016

How to Pursue Your Passion Without Going Broke with Security Bank

When Em Sulit of Game Changer PH asked me to do a talk for an event she was planning for  Security Bank, where I had to talk about my passions and how it ties in to investing, I kind of had to do a double take. I couldn't reconcile both topics.

Passions are usually equated to expenses. Like traveling, eating well, buying cars, collecting jewelry, shoes or bags, working out, even reading books or watching movies and plays. 

A slide from my presentation, it's true diba?

But Em clarified, "Like you can do KonMari and invest at the same time. Savvy shopping but still invest. Share tips in shopping mindfully, buying only what you need, then investing the rest of the money instead of going to impulse buying."

With that put into context, I said yes. While I do enjoy traveling and shopping, I like to think I do so mindfully. I believe in thoughtful consumption, and that we can live a quality life now, without sacrificing our family's future and squandering resources. 

So I prepared myself for the event, where the other speaker was Monica Manzano of My Little Globetrotters and Flow Retreats. I loved her talk. I've always been a cautious person, always calculating risks. Meanwhile, Monica is the sort of free spirit who will pack up her family and set up a home in remote Palawan, because that's what her heart tells her to.

She shared how they didn't have a Plan B, and how they had to head back to Manila when funds had run out. It was an eye-opening experience for her, that made her take stock of the realities of life, and forced her to look at how she could balance her passions without going broke.

Which was exactly what the topic was for that day.

To be honest, weeks before the talk, I started off unsure of how to tackle the topic. But then, I found myself enjoying myself as I prepared the slides. It made me reflect on what I've done and what I could do better career wise and financially. Here are some of the highlights from my presentation:

1. I shared how I was able to convert my passions in writing, fashion, shopping and recently, KonMari (aka decluttering) into earning opportunities.

2. I realized that when we are passionate about something, we invest time and money in it. I spoke about how we should also invest in ourselves by way of taking courses, going to graduate school, or accepting an unpaid internship, if it means gaining valuable knowledge and experience along the way. Indulging in passions doesn't have to mean throwing money at it. If approached straegically, it could pay you back as well.

3. I also shared some of my tips on my thought process/approach to shopping and spending:

- Before buying, ask yourself, "Will this end up as kalat?"
- It's ok to accept hand me downs, or buy second hand.
- Spend only on what sparks joy.
- Buy quality, spend on things that last.
- Make it a habit to save a portion of your income.
- Donate, give, share! It comes back to you.

4. If I were to drill down my philosophy on spending, I'd echo Vivienne Westwood who famously said:

5. Of course, spending carefully and saving regularly will never really be enough to prepare us for big expenses like buying a house of having enough for our twilight years, hence, the importance of investing.

In fact, if we really want to be able to pursue our passions well into retirement, the secret really is in investing.

6. And that means, starting NOW, investing REGULARLY and investing in the LONG TERM.

While I have a working knowledge of finance and investments, I am not totally equipped to talk about the rudiments of investing with the audience. Ninotchka Sulit and Martin Belgado of Security Bank Trust Division where there to shed light on the different investment vehicles, most especially, UITFs available to depositors.

With Monica, Ninotchka Sulit and Martin Belgado of Security Bank and Bloomberg anchor, Regina Lay

What's a UITF? It stands for Unit Investment Trust Fund, which is an open-ended, pooled trust fund that is operated by a trust entity, in this case Security Bank. The pooled funds are invested by a team of professional portfolio managers in various deposits and securities. Read more about UITFs, HERE.

Martin is the head of Security Bank’s Asset Management Group’s Retail Sales and Marketing Team. Prior to joining Security Bank, he was with ATR KimEng Asset Management as a Business Development Officer and with ING Investment Management Philippines as a Funds Marketing Officer and Product Development Analyst. He graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Engineering and a minor in Finance, and earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Boston University.

Ninotchka is VP and Head of Sales and Marketing for Security Bank Trust Division. She has over 20 years of bank sales and relationship management experience in both Asia and North America with focus on high net-worth clients. Prior to SBC she worked in the financial services industry in New York for 15 years. She was with JPMorgan Chase New York for 11 years as a Relationship Banker, VP for Personal Financial Services with over 150MM dollars in managed relationships and Chase Private Client Mortgage Banker with over 100MM dollars in booked complex loans. She also worked in HSBC New York as AVP in their Premiere Relationship Department and was a Financial Advisor in Morgan Stanley New York. Her investment credentials include Capital Markets Qualification, Life and Health insurance license, Investment and state licenses and managed futures. She graduated from University of Asia and The Pacific with a degree in Business Administration. 

At Security Bank, you only need Php10,000 to start investing in a UITF, which can be topped up in increments of Php5,000. All of us moms here opened a UITF account that very same day. Kasi diba, invest NOW.

Really, if you are serious about preparing for your future, consider investing and opening a UITF account.

For existing Security Bank clients like me, it's just a matter of filling out a UITF Account Opening Kit.

If you don't have a Security Bank account yet, just stay put, go to your computer and Click to Switch at An account officer will go to you and help you set up your account.

So there ha, no excuses not to invest because it's so hassle free!

For more about Security Bank and their hassle free services, visit, Like them on Facebook and follow @securitybank on Instagram and @securitybankPH on Twitter.

For more information on UITFs, email or call 8887371 or 8887372.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Creativity and Lifelong Learning with 79 Light Bulbs + Supporting the High Ability Kid

As a mom of three young kids, I sometimes ask myself, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Parenting is not an easy task. It's a HUGE responsibility. It's more than just feeding, bathing, playing, educating at home and then sending our kids to school. Those are just the rudiments of parenthood. On a deeper level, I believe that God gave us our children to teach us how to love unconditionally, and at times it may seem, to test our faith. 

I look at my three young kids and see them as untainted works in progress. But as well-meaning parents, we cannot shield them from what is wrong with the world. Instead we should raise them to not just survive, but also thrive in an environment that is uncertain. It is our job to nurture them in a home where they will feel safe, where they will be taught to discern what is right from wrong and then think for themselves, learn to accept consequences, disappointments and failure with grace, have a strong faith system that allows them to understand God's wisdom and concept of timing. On the practical side, we also have to guide them to discover work that brings them fulfilment, teach them how to handle finances, how to deal with different people, how to think creatively and work around problems and never back down from a challenge.

If we are mindful and deliberate about raising our kids to fulfil their life's purpose, hone and support their talents, guide them so they can overcome weaknesses and accept them for who they are, I think we can rest safe in the knowledge that they will be happy with themselves and can stand on their own, and that we have done our job well. Yes, even in these uncertain times when it seems many people  are not thinking right and doing right.

I think it is this desire to raise my kids right that led me to meeting Joy Sua Go of BrainRX, KIT101 and now, 79 Light Bulbs. She has come up with the most amazing programs that are a blessing to both parents and children alike. Why a blessing to us? I asked her to share how her passion for learning and love for her kids have come together to offer these programs that will allow us, in her own words, "courage in self-expression and an open, adaptive mindset" which she believes will allow us to continuously grow in mind and spirit in the best and worst of times. This also serves as an invitation to attend their first ever event, "Supporting the High Ability Kid" which will help parents and educators understand and support gifted children. Please read on.

Creativity and Lifelong Learning with 79 Light Bulbs + Supporting the High Ability Kid 
By Joy S. Go

There is something about being in the driver’s seat of my mini-me’s uncharted lives that I find so daunting yet exciting. 

I’m a mom to a young teen and a tween. Balancing that desire to respect my kids’ wants and that conviction to do what my husband and I think is right and needed for our kids’ future is a tough yet delicate work-in-progress. One thing is sure: I discovered I very much enjoyed teaching my kids, understanding how their minds work plus why they act the way they do, and guiding them to improve what needs to improve. This revelation came only after I became a mom, and it totally changed my perspective on my values. Eventually, this paved the path for me to introduce the BrainRx cognitive training program from the US,

BrainRx brain training programs consist of intense mental exercises that sharpen the core skills the brain uses to think, learn, read, reason and pay attention.

BrainRx is especially helpful for struggling students, kids with ADHD, seniors who want to sharpen their memory and those who have had brain injuries and just about anyone who wants to stay sharp, as the exercises help improve thinking, memory, reasoning, and focus.

the KIT101 art program

Tin: This was Berry during her trial class at KIT 101. She was first taught the fundamentals of drawing a face using grid lines. Then she moved on to actually painting a portrait. 

I was amazed at what she could do in one session, with guidance from the art teachers at KIT101 of course

She was made to choose the colors she wanted for her portrait, they even taught her the concept of shadowing.

With Teacher Taka of KIT101, guiding Berry through the finishing touches of her portrait. We signed up for the Exploration program right after. It was amazing seeing how Berry's drawing and painting skills improve in just one class. 

and now, 79 Light Bulbs.

79 Light Bulbs offers quality activities promoting creativity and lifelong learning. It aims to inspire new ways of thinking and living, so we can be "the best persons we can be by our own standards." According to Joy, it will help us parents in our journey to raising our kids to become happy, productive and creative adults.

Friends ask how I come up with these ideas. To be honest, I just do what I feel is right. While I love being curious and learning so I can improve myself and my kids, it turns out that I have been incorporating the same passion in the three programs I’m doing—albeit subconsciously at the start. Beyond their common goal of improving minds, they’re really all about empowering parents and kids.

If there’s a ‘reason for being’ for 79 Light Bulbs, it’s this phrase that popped in mind one day: “Creativity is the wellspring of authenticity.” When we listen to our inner voice and let our creative essence (a.k.a. soul, creative spirit, chi, or mojo) flow and shine in the way we think, speak and act, through our choices and decisions, we honour and are being true to our selves. 

I created 79 Light Bulbs to help promote the value of creativity and lifelong learning, with the underlying goal of empowering ourselves and our children. It really takes a village to raise a child, much more a creative child. I hope to engage friends, parents, teachers, support personnel—all guides in our children’s lives to participate in a learning journey to raise our children into happy, productive, creative adults. With courage in self-expression and an open, adaptive mindset, I believe we can continuously grow in mind and spirit in the best and worst of times. 

Our upcoming event “Supporting the High Ability Kid” on October 15 focuses on an area where few trainings are available locally. This is not about making the brightest kids become brighter but rather, learning how to support and manage them as they experience their challenges.

Our speaker, Ms. Clarinda Choh, is the gifted program director of Hwa Chong Institution, one of the 6 known independent schools in Singapore that attract the top 5% of their national cohort.  With over 16 years of experience in teaching, administration, policy and leadership programmes in various schools, she is most happy to engage with us.

We hope to attract parents and educators to listen, learn, converse with a highly knowledgeable resource speaker, and get ideas that we can perhaps use in our lives and communities. What does it take to guide and support a high ability child? How should we address their cognitive, social, and affective needs? This workshop will take both parents and educators towards understanding the pathways of a high ability child including the foundation support for holistic development.

For details & registration, please visit
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