Alex Gonzaga Goes “Mellow”

Nope! TV show host extraordinaire, actress, and certified funny girl Alex Gonzaga did not shed off her feisty persona! Lest you get mixed signals, let me set the record straight. She just recently visited the radio station of Mellow Touch 94.7 in order to promote her latest endorsement, Proactiv, a top skin care product.

Exhibiting a young and vibrant charm, Alex, a loyal Proactiv user, wowed her hosts with her trademark wit and candor. She candidly and effortlessly explained how Proactiv’s 3 easy steps makes it the best choice in daily skin care routine:

Step 1: Use the Renewing Cleanser, an oil-free medicated exfoliating cleanser that kills acne-causing bacteria with benzoyl peroxide.
Step: Apply the Revitalizing Toner, a refreshing, alcohol-free toner that refines and purifies pores, with Glycolic Acid that exfoliates dead skin cells to help keep pores unplugged.
Step 3: Follow it up witn Repairing Treatment, a feather-light, invisible medicated treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria preventing zits and acne.

Alex is one of the top TV hosts in the country today and the first Filipina face of Proactiv. Watch her full interview here: http://youtu.be/qhnq7HPzkl8.

Proactiv Solution comes in 30-Day kit (P2,495) and 60-Day kit (P3,995) and is available at all Watsons nationwide.

Eclipse

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Sometimes I think of the sun and the moon as lovers. Though they rarely meet, they continue to chase each other but almost always, miss one another. But once in a while they do catch up, embrace, and kiss. When this happens, the world stares in awe of their eclipse.

40 Day Lenten Devotion (including the 4 Sundays of Lent)

To prepare myself this lent, I decided to start this 40 day lenten devotion. Starting Ash Wednesday till Easter Sunday, I will be writing a simple prayer/reflection that is based on a verse from the bible or gospel reading of the day. I will be sharing them here with you in the hope that these will help you in your own lenten preparation as well. This list will be updated daily.

1. “Lead me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” (Psalms 115:35) May my heart always finds its way to you my Lord, for there is where true joy lies.

2.”If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me.”(Luke 9:23)—Reading the gospel today reminds me of the late Fr. Lisa, former chaplain of Paref Woodrose. He used to say, “With joy, not a single day without the cross.” St. Josemaria Escriva explained it as a day without a cross is a day without God. Our own cross that we bear with so much love, strength, and grace is what keeps us close to the Father. And as we carry this cross, this burden, and follow Him everyday, we’ll be surprised at just how easily His own cross takes it all and how abundant his shower of blessings is on us in return.

3. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Dear Jesus, I know that the “little deaths” I experience as I bear my own cross everyday are nothing compared to your own sufferings on the cross. In your grace, may I always find the strength to overcome adversities and through the light of my own faith, see them as opportunities to love and glorify you.

4. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands.” (1 Timothy 2:8)—Prayer makes us closer to the Lord. It is in prayer that we cultivate a grateful and a giving heart as well as a heart that desires to give up wordly things for the Lord. Prayer puts meaning and joy into fasting and almsgiving. Without prayer, they merely become actions we do out of tradition. This lent, lets persist in praying. #threepillarsoflent

5. “Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14)—Lord, help me find ways to show your love.

6. “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)—The hardest question that’s often asked of me is, “How did you get over the pain of losing your husband to death? I am always at a loss for answers when people asked me that because honestly, painful isn’t the word I would use to describe it. I wasn’t screaming or crying because it hurt all over. When it happened, I felt the opposite instead. I felt numbed all over. Loneliness and sadness to this day yes, but pained never. Maybe because the Lord in His wisdom, wrote my name on the palm of His hand even before I came to be. He did so such that when this tragedy finally strikes me, the pain from the wounds that his hands incurred from being nailed down would already be enough to save me from unbearable heartache. He took my pain with Him when He suffered and died on the cross such that I would never feel burdened by it forever.

7. “Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)—Dear God, thank you for always anticipating my needs..for lining up solutions to my problems even before I bring them to you…for being one step ahead of me all the time…for blessing me with so much more…Knowing that you hold my future, that you have complete control of my life, brings me peace.

8. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me in quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)—Dear God, life is tough but, you and I together are tougher. Thank you for getting me through anything and for providing me with the strength I need during times when I feel like I’ve nothing left. I am grateful for your showers of miracles and blessings everyday. They assure me of your presence. I also appreciate your staying with me even long after the storms in my life have passed to do much greater things. You have kept your promise of a life made victorious on the coss. In return, I pledge to keep my heart turned towards you always and to speak only of nothing but faith and victory.

9. “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!” (Psalm 86:11)—Dear God, teach me wisdom that I may strive to understand and respond to others only with kindness and respect. Help me grow in maturity that I may to learn to accept others’ preferences, choices, faith, and beliefs even when they run contrary to mine. Show me the way of humility that I may learn not to force my own or insist that mine is better than rest. Amen.

10. “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 30:7)—Dear Lord, teach me patience so I may learn to joyfully wait for your answers to my prayers. Show me the beauty in waiting so that my faith and trust in your own perfect plan and timing will continue to blossom and grow.

11. “So you see, a person is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)—Dear God, I know that more than hearing me profess my faith, what will bring you true joy is seeing me transform my faith into actions. Do bless me with your grace so that I may continuosly give life to this faith by doing good deeds that will help, inspire, and touch others.

12. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10)—Dear God, strip me of bitterness, stubborness, laziness, anger, and pride. Teach me instead the way of love, compassion, obedience, patience, and humility so I may become like you.

13. “Let the greatest among you be the servant of all.” (Matthew 23:12)—Over the years, I have met a lot of people who have made it their business to help. People who would graciously and generously offer their time, skills, knowledge, and expertise simply because doing so makes them happy and also because they genuinely care. I’m thinking that if all of us would just transform ourselves into this kind of people, we wouldn’t see a thousand different faces in the crowd. Instead, everywhere we look we would only see one face, that of God’s.

14. “She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” (Matthew 20:21)—Dear God, may I fully learn to entrust my fate and surrender my future in Your hands.

15. “Blessed is the man who puts his trust in Yahweh and whose confidence is in him!” (Jeremiah 17:7)—Dear God, I oftentimes give in to fear especially when things I cannot understand or control happens. I tend to forget that I only have to call on you and blessings and graces will come marching right down in front of me from heaven. When I am beset with worries, bless me with the eyes of faith so that I may always see you at work in everything. When I am consumed with fear, calm my restless heart so I may find rest in your unfailing love. Amen.

16. “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:18) Dear God, may we learn to find joy in the midst of sorrow and peace in the midst of suffering. May we always see our cross as our way to heaven and our opportunity to live and receive your graces. Amen.

17. The father said, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But this brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found. And for that we had to rejoice and be glad.” (Luke 15:32)—Dear God, no matter how frequent we break your heart by sinning and falling into temptation, you still contine to love us. Nothing seems to make you love us less. Your love indeed is the only one that is perfect. It remains constant, unchanging, endless, and complete even if at times we are underserving. Thank you for being that amazing.

18. “God called him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!” (Exodus 1:13)—Dear God, if there is one thing I learned from the story of Moses, it is that you certainly have a plan for each one of us and that there’s really no getting away from that plan. You will eventually call us and use us for greater things and purpose. Let your spirit drone out the voice of worries, self-doubts, and fears in our heads then so that when you call us to lead or do what you have set our hearts to do, we can boldly and FaithFULLy say YES to you like Moses.

19. “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)—Dear Lord, when I start to compare myself with others, please send your Holy Spirit to stop me from doing so. It is because I realized that if this will always be the case, even the big things that I or others do will never be enough to make me happy. Remind me instead to use only you as my measure, to approximate my thoughts, words, and actions with that of yours so I will always stay humble, content, and grounded unto you. You are greater than me and I am nothing next to You.

20. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways, says Yahweh. For just as heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isiah 55:8-9) —Dear God, I can never out think you. I can never figure out the plans you have for me. No matter how much I demand, dictate, or insist on something in prayer, if it is not what You want for me, it will never happen. This is why I constantly ask you to bless me with the grace to accept and embrace your will as my own so I may learn to take delight in your wisdom and ways.

21.”On the other hand, whoever obeys my commands, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)—Dear Jesus, I often wonder why in the gospels, you always implore your disciples to follow you right away, like the time you commanded them to lower down the nets even if they adamantly told you that there’s hardly any fish in the sea. Now, I understand. Had the disciples refused to lower the nets and depended only on their own understanding, they would’ve missed the great catch that awaited them. You are always insistent when it comes to our obedience because you do not want us to miss God’s blessings. Please show us your way then Jesus so that we may know how to quickly respond with obedience at the Lord’s promptings.

22. “Walk in the way I command you and all will be well with you.” (Jeremiah 7:23)—Dear God, please continue to bless me with an obedient heart that longs to please you so that I may continue to live the blessed life that you have promised. Amen.

23. “You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)–Dear God, I woke up today with the same set of problems and worries. The pile of work that I need to finish did not disappear overnight like how I wished they would, and my family and life struggles still remain. But for some weird reason and despite all these, I woke up feeling happy. If this is what it means to live in your grace Lord, with gladness, I look forward to everyday. Thank you.

24. “Let us strive to know Yahweh.” (Hos 6:3)—Dear God, sometimes we get lucky and meet friends who’ll make us feel like we just had the best conversation with you after being around them. It is because when they speak of the faith, their words ring with sincerity, wisdom, and truth. They live out the faith with so much passion also, they radiate joy. I just want to say thank you Lord for blessing my life with this kind of friends. Friends who help me grow in faith, and make me appreciate and love you.

25. “Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)—Dear God, you’ve been attentive and faithful to my every need, how can I not feel loved by you?! When I feel small and insignificant, your grace moves me to do great things. When I feel discouraged, your spirit fills me with joy. When I feel worthless, I only have to look at you on the cross and I’m reminded of my value. Your sufferings and death alone show just how important I am to you. Clearly, I belong to you and for that, you have my heart forever

26. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.” (Proverbs 31:25-28)—Dear God, with your grace make me into this kind of woman everyday. Firm yet loving. Strong yet compassionate. Fearless yet wise. Gentle yet tough. Turn me into this kind of woman who is not afraid to fully embrace triumph and defeat, and joy and sadness in her life. Inspire me to be this kind of woman who deliberately work at creating for her family a home of quiet refuge, where faith, hope, love, and charity thrive.

27. “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (John 4:48)—Dear God, teach me to find miracles in the mundane and ordinary so I won’t have to demand big things from you before I believe in your capacity to meet my needs. Train my eyes to see the blessings that you so generously give everyday so I won’t need convincing of how a great a Father you are to me. Open my heart and mind so that I may understand that the wonders and signs of your love aren’t always spectacular. In fact, it is nothing but simple and poignant, you dying on the cross to save us.

28. “Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)— Dear God, teach me how to demonstrate love in big and small ways. Teach me how to value people the same way you value me. Teach me how to show genuine mercy and compassion towards others so they may always see and feel your love through me.

29. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)—Dear God, help raise a visionary child. Help me mold my daughter into the kind of person who can dream big things, desire good things, and do great things not only for herself but for others as well. Bless me with your grace so I will be able set good examples to her on how to be God-seeking instead of self-seeking in her pursuit of happiness and success in life.

30. “Led by mistaken reasons they think, “Life is short and sad, and there’s no cure for death.” (Wisdom 2:1a)—Dear God, when Nan died I was so consumed with grief I thought I will never be happy again. I’m grateful that you’ve met every occassion of sorrow in my life with grace until there’s nothing left for me to feel but joy in your presence. Thank you for making me see everyday that though life is short by human standards, every second of it is still worth living and that the cure for death is simply a whole lot of prayers and faith.

31. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)—Dear God, train my eyes so I will learn to see the beauty in others. Train my tongue so I will learn to speak only the language of love and respect. Train my mind so I will have nothing but good thoughts about others. Train my heart so I will learn to forgive and understand easily their shortcomings and mistakes. When I thread the path of self-righteousness, Lord, let your Holy Spirit enlighten and lead me back to you.

32. “You know all things even before they come to be.”(Dn 13:2)— Dear God, you clearly own my tomorrow. I have complete trust in your great design for me. I know you always have my best interest at heart. You’ve brought me this far so I am sure that you have prepared a bright future for me as well and that, you’ll take me even farther than my hopes and dreams.

33. “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:2) Dear God, when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration, I am glad there’s always heaven to look up to and you to call on. Thank you for being my 24/7 hotline and lifeline.

34. “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Psalm 18:30) Dear God, amazing how everything falls into place when it is your plan. I’m sorry if I allowed doubt to creep in and fear to grip my heart when I was trying to work things out on my own. Forgive me because I tend to forget sometimes that I need not do things alone because I always have you to run to.

35. “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trust.” (Psalm 27:6)—Dear God, thank you for turning my battlescars into victory marks. Wounded, blessed, loved, and healed. That’s me after you took over my fights.

36. “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)— Dear God, today I realized that even the little things that you called me to do have meaning and purpose. And that, when done with the same amount of love and effort as the big important tasks, they become my simple yet significant way of loving and glorifying you.

37. “Faith is the way, and all is given, by grace.”(Romans 4:16)—Dear God, my faith is what allows me to move forward despite life’s many setbacks, and your grace is what connects and propels me to the greater things that you have in store for me. Thank you for the gifts of faith and grace, I’m truly blessed beyond measure.

38.”He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:7)—Dear God, today I realized that what will bring me to heaven is not so much the gravity or weight of my own cross but the way I carry it with so strength, cheerfulness, and grace. Make me like Jesus Lord so I may learn to lovingly accept and embrace my own cross everyday.

39. “Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.” (Isaiah 30:20)—Dear God, though it may seem like I’ll never recover from the blows of life, I realized that I can. I can heal from the ache, bounce back from the hurt, and get up from a fall. If I just draw near you, if I just live under your shadow and bask in your light, I can.

40. “I went to those who were not looking for me, I was found by those who sought me not.” (Isaiah 65:1)—Dear Jesus, there are times when a cross appears without my looking for it. When this happens may I recognize that it is you seeking me out. May I learn to fully embrace this cross and offer my own “little deaths” on it for your glory. May I learn to serve and save others in my own unique way as well and make your death on the cross truly worth it everyday.

41. “And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)—Dear God, thank you for making me realize that, though the cross often signifies death and suffering, it actually means so much more. A shot at heaven, a chance at my own resurrection, and a way to show my deep love for You. So even if my cross is heavy, even if it pains me, I will try my cheerful best to embrace it with open arms, close to my heart. Truly, my cross is sweet because if I allow it, it will open a lot of opportunities for me to live and receive your graces.

42. “O all you that pass by the way, look and see, was there ever a sorrow to compare with my sorrow.” (Lamentation 1:12)—Dear Mama Mary, I never really knew how painful it was for you to see Jesus suffer on the cross until I stood beside the recovery bed of my own suffering child after her surgery. My sorrow even then was nothing compared to your sorrow. As I watched my child cry in pain, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I can only imagine what your own heart must have felt like seeing your own child die on the cross to save us. As I venerate the cross today Mama Mary, I venerate you as well for giving birth and raising our reedemer, our savior, Jesus Christ. You are the perfect example of deep courage, humility, and trust. May I learn to be a perfect handmaid of the Lord like you. May I learn to carry grief and sorrow gracefully, and may I learn to submit myself and surrender my child graciously to the will of God like you.

43. “But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find him here. He is risen.” (Luke 24:1)—Dear God, your easter message is not lost to us. There is no easter surprise like what the easter egg hunt or some easter bunny has been claiming about only an easter promise fullfilled. The promise of a new beginning after that somber ending. We will make sure to rejoice in that.

44. “The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him.” (Matthew 28:8-9)—Dear Jesus, I am still able to smile despite difficulties because you, my Lord and my Savior, has shown me that at end of each season of suffering comes resurrection. Victory is indeed ours, thanks to you.

This ends my 40 day lenten devotion, thank you for praying with me. Happy Easter.☺️

Updated: March 27, 2016

Proactiv Success Stories

I chanced upon a friend who I have not seen for a long time the other day and she remarked how she’s been missing some of my selfies in Instagram. I hate to admit it but my struggle with adult acne have put my face off social media for a while.

It’s true that acne tends to create a wall between you and the world. When you have acne, you avoid social events and shy away from situations that would put your pimples on spotlight. Case in point, I cannot count the number of times I have to save myself from an embarassing conversation that started out as nice but ended up awkward because the person I was talking to cannot help but remark about my breakouts. I know its rude but I mean, how can they help it when I have big angry pimples screaming, ACNE!

Anyway, Acne influences a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence in ways a person with a perfect skin won’t even understand. Even mild breakouts have a negative impact on how a person with acne feels about herself. Trust me, I know.

But for the Acne warriors out there like me who’s been battling with this skin disease for a long time, here’s a word of advice. Carry on, don’t give up because Proactiv Solution is here to help us win the fight! Proactiv Solution is the only acne management system that successfully combines medicated ingredients to treat and control acne. It uses several ingredients in one system to address the blemishes you have now and help keep new ones from forming. With Proactiv, you’ll get back the control you once have over your skin in no time.

Here are some inspirational stories from ordinary people who have won over acne and who are now enjoying the life-changing benefits of clear, beautiful skin.

Alex Gonzaga

alex gonzaga

I’m really thankful I gave it a try. I use Proactiv everyday and it’s amazing. It really works! It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean especially after a long day at the studio. Now, I have balanced skin and my acne is under control. No more oily cheeks, no more dry skin and best of all, no more pimples.”

Know more about Alex’ full story here: ALEX’ STORY

Nolin Dela Cruz

Nolin Dela Cruz

“After six weeks of using Proactiv, my skin improved. Ngayon, mas confident na ako…”

Watch Nolin’s full story here: NOLIN’S STORY

Lourdes Agcaoili

Lourdes Agcaoili

“Nakita ko agad ang resulta. Nag-heal ang mga pimples at na-lessen ang oiliness. And then nung umuwi ang husband ko from abroad, he said, Wow ang ganda mo ngayon. You look great!”

Watch Lourdes’ full story here: LOURDES’ STORY

Mark Chuahiock

mark Chuahiok

“After using it for three months, my friends began noticing that my skin was improving. Then after six months, my face cleared. I recommend Proactiv to my friends. Now, I am the one inviting them for photo shoots.”

Watch Mark’s full story here: MARK’S STORY

Mike Irapta

Mark Irapta

“Of course I will recommend Proactiv, talagang effective siya. Makikita nyo naman wala na yung acne ko.”

Watch Mike’s fullstory here: MIKE’S STORY

Start your own succes story, use Proactiv now!:)

Awesome

Dear Bianca Angela,

This is mommy’s way of saying…don’t just do what makes you happy. Instead, do what brings you great joy no matter how uncomfortable, hard, scary, or even crazy it may seem to others. Remember that you can only become amazing when, with bold faith and purpose, you do something that others won’t even dare to do. So when you find yourself wanting to make a dream happen or to relive a dream again, listen only to yourself. When your heart says YOU CAN and your gut screams DO IT, GO FOR IT! You owe yourself a second (or even third and a fourth) shot at awesome.

Love,

Mommy

Mindful Mom Re-Treat by Mommy Mundo

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Mindful Mom Re-Treat organized by Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo. It is an off shoot of the Mom Manifesto that she co-created last year with Mommy Mundo Head of Content, Jing Lejano, and registered psychologist and counselor, Michile Alignay. The series of Mindful Mom Re-Treats happening this year, in the words of Janice herself, “are all focused on helping moms be more mindful of where they are in their lives right now so that they can consciously live out their mommy mission amidst the joy and challenges of motherhood.” It is the perfect venue for re-centering and re-energizing for moms.

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Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo

A quick rundown. During the Retreat, Mom Manifesto co-creator, Michel Alignay, walked us through the different mindful activities that had us reflecting much about ourselves in a way that we had never before. In the first activity, she had us charting our daily schedule to know whether we are letting ourselves run our day or letting our day run us. Most of us, surprisingly, found out that if we just mindfully go about our day, we need not bend ourselves backwards trying to juggle everything. We can in fact, strike that balance in all areas. In the second activity, Michele had us examine our life scripts, the things that we had ourselves believing and now naturally, doing. This was actually the part where most of the realizations came in. Moving to the third activity was quite easy for most of us then after having had a clear understanding of how we were wired and programmed growing up. The way Michele made us understand our weakness and the way she encouraged us to give more importance to our strengths in the third activity was truly self affirming. By the time we were in the fourth activity, it was pretty clear to most of us who we really are as an individual and as a mom, our special chracteristics and unique talents, and what we want to personally attain for ourselves.

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I had a lot of take-aways from this retreat. Personally, it made me realized that I should love myself better so I’ll have more to give to others. It made me see that I shouldn’t be apologetic of my weaknesses because they are often met and matched by one or two of my strengths. It encouraged me to break free from the trappings of societal norms and expectations often blown out of proportion by media, and measure and align myself only against my own life goals and aspirations. Right now as I am writing this, I am pretty excited to start my own Vision boards. I cannot wait to sit down and start affirming my strengths. I cannot wait to make personal breakthroughs and create my mindful plan of action.

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Kudos Janice Villanueva, Jing Lejano, and Michele Alignay and all the sponsors for a very insightful and inspiring Mindful Mom Retreat! I am looking forward to the next one already!

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(Photo grabbed from Mommy Mundo)

Oooops, before I forget, this Re-Treat is definitely a TREAT because of the ah-mazing treats! Thank you Pampers, Monogramstyleph, Trollbeads, Botanicals in Bloom, Moringa O2, Pylones, Photobooks Philippines, Philips Avent, Celebrity Mom, Urban Ashram, Brow Studio, Oscar Mejia, Blo Blow Dry Bar, Ogalala, Marie France, and Facial Care Center for filling our loot bag with goodies! It was a joy to dig inside the bag!

The Truth About Acne

Acne is not only common to teenagers, nearly everyone experiences acne at some point. Some may have it for a few months while others may have it for years. Trust me, I know. I had relatively smooth skin up until I hit my thirties then it went downhill from there. I have what dermatologists call adult acne.

What exactly is acne? You might ask, and how exactly does it develop?

Well, an acne blemish begins approximately 2-3 weeks before it appears on your skin’s surface. While it may seem like you get a pimple overnight, what you’re actually seeing is the final stage of a much longer process.

Acne formation starts in your sebaceous hair follicles – the tiny holes you know as pores. Deep within each follicle, sebaceous glands are working to produce sebum, the oil that keeps your skin moist and pliable. As your skin renews itself, the old cells die, mix in with your skin’s natural oils, and are sloughed off. Under normal circumstances, these cells are shed gradually, making room for fresh new skin. In the case of acne prone skin, these dead skin cells block the pores resulting to over accumulation of oil underneath. Bacteria that live on the skin naturally begin to grow and multiply on this site, triggering an inflammatory response that causes the red, angry pore that we see as pimple.

What triggers acne?

Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by eating too much chocolates or oily foods, nor does it occur exclusively during puberty. Acne is a cyclic process that everyone experiences at any age. Stress, hormonal imbalance, climate changes, cosmetic products (comedogenic), drugs, and industrial chemicals are factors that trigger acne formation.

How do you prevent acne from forming?

There are certain skin types that are naturally predisposed to acne formation. While you might probably be one of those who might inevitably experience it (like me), there’s a lot you can do to prevent it.

Nourish. There is no perfect diet to clear acne than a healthy, balanced diet. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods and daily hydration of at least eight glasses of water a day, or more when you exercise, can work wonders on your skin.

Cleanse. Sticking to a daily acne-fighting skin-care routine helps maintain a clear skin. Washing your face gently with a soap-free exfoliating cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells helps balances skin’s ph level. Just a bit of a warning though, excessive washing can cause skin to dry out and produce more oil so make sure you don’t over do it.

Protect. While small amounts of sun exposure may seem to clear acne at first, the sun actually dries your skin causing it to produce more oil and dead skin cells. This creates an ideal environment for blemishes. Avoiding excess sun exposure and wearing at least SPF 15 sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy, prevents skin from drying up and oiling.

Rest. A good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) does magic to your complexion. This boosts the immune system responsible for fighting infections too such as acne.

Exercise. The skin benefits from an increase in blood flow and oxygen when you exercise. If your body is prone to acne, just make sure to wear loose-fit and breathable clothing when you work out, and shower with an acne-fighting body wash soon after.

Relax. Hormones control the sebaceous glands that produce the protective oil that keeps skin soft and supple. Psychological stress, sad to say, affects hormone levels. Too much stress therefore, causes these glands to produce more oil thus triggering acne. So relax and do what makes you happy. If walking, running, dancing, or yoga calms you, do it!

How can Proactiv Solution Combination Therapy stops acne?

Proactiv is safe and effective to use by anyone with mild to moderate acne. It heals current breakouts and prevents future breakouts. It clears complexion quickly and prevents blemishes from leaving behind permanent scars.

Proactiv combines mild concentrations of antimicrobial acne medicine with botanical skin-care agents to gently remove excess oil and dead skin cells. It kill acne causing bacteria inside pores and soothes redness and irritation. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Proactiv Renewing Cleanser (Step 1) works by removing dead skin cells to ensure that the pores don’t get clogged.

2. The Proactiv Revitalizing Toner (Step 2) removes excess oils.

2. The Proactiv Repairing Treatment (Step 3) kills the bacteria and prevent proliferation.

3. The Refining Mask helps reduce the inflammation and swelling.

Proactiv is designed to attack acne “proactively” by delivering the right concentration of medicines and acne-care agents in the right order and concentrations. It helps control the acne cycle before breakouts occur. If you have acne, Proactiv Solution is the key to a clear complexion.

Proactiv Solution comes in 30-Day kit (P2,495) and 60-Day kit (P3,995) and is available at all Watsons nationwide.

Moving On

“The best way to move on is from the inside out. It is when you live out the grace of God from the core of your being.” (Bo Sanchez)

Over the past three years, I have to endure listening to the same well-meaning comments/advices from friends and people I know, “You are still young…you should be open to love again…get married…start another family…move on.” I cannot count the number of times I had to politely smile my way out of such conversations. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder whether these people would eagerly fall for the next guy that comes along or readily jump at a chance at love had our situations been reversed, or if, they actually know what they are talking about.

Surprisingly for others, “moving on” simply means falling in love again. But, I beg to disagree because my faith tells me differently. Stripped of its romantic notion and all the drama surrounding it, “moving on” is best described in the Serenity Prayer. It is, by the grace of God, “having the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can, and wisdom to know the difference.” It is “living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, and accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.” It is “trusting that He will make all things right if you surrender to His Will, that you may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him, forever in the next.” Finding love or tying the knot again has nothing to do with it.

By this measure alone, I’d like to think that I have serenely moved on. As what John said in the gospel, my joy is now complete. And, I believe the decision of whether or not I get another shot at love someday is not mine or even others to dictate or predict. It is the Lord’s. So please, next time you speak to a widow, do her a big favor, wish her true joy and peace instead, and leave the rest to Cupid.

Dear You

I hope your 2016 will be filled with love, light, and laughter…and a little bit of passion, a little bit of madness. Dream as only you can this new year. You have 365 days to make it happen this 2016. Live every minute of it. Don’t just take chances, embrace them. Don’t just grab opportunities, seize them. Don’t just chase dreams, single-mindedly go after each and everyone one of them. And, whereever you may find yourself this year, make sure to be all there. I tell you, you will be hurt again but then you will be affirmed many times over as well. I am pretty sure you will lose again but you will be blessed in many ways too. When things get tough, hang on tight, and just remember, everything is ready in the plan of God. No need to worry ’cause the Lord’s plan is as always nothing short of great. Be happy. Love fiercely. And sometime this year, surprise yourself once again. Happy new year to us!

For the love of running

I welcomed 2015 with the right attitude…motivated, inspired, and eager to make my dreams come true. I had my eyes set on finishing my first full marathon at that time so I had something to look forward. The image of myself crossing that finish line and earning my first full marathon medal were what psyched me and kept me on my toes. And, run and finish it, I did. It was an exhilirating climb towards that goal, that dream. I knew with all certainty that I would reach it and yet can’t quite believed myself when I actually did.

I thought it was enough to make me love running more but sad to say, it wasn’t the case. Somewhere along my recovery period, I lost it, the heart to run. I didn’t listen to logic and reason. I didn’t give myself enough time to rest. Instead, I pushed myself to the limit. I let the desire and lust for running get the better of me. I hurt myself in the process.

It took awhile before I was able to run again and when I did, it wasn’t the same for me anymore. I was back to square one and after having gone through the struggle, I detest doing it all over again. The mere thought of investing long hours (again) just to get my speed back, just to get my strong back, tired me.

Somewhere along my recovery period, I also lost it, the drive to run. I found many excuses not to. Even fate seemed to agree with me because everytime I think of running, as if on cue, I get sick (or feel sick). I am ashamed to admit it but I let the bed get the better of me as well. Many mornings, I simply ignored that nagging little voice, telling me to get up and run. I didn’t listen to my body crying out for exercise.

I remember it clearly, that one afternoon when I rocked a baby and felt a snap on my hip. I tried to dismissed it as nothing until the pain became persistent. The doctor put me off running for weeks while I was nursing that hip injury. What I hate most about it was, I didn’t have a choice. It was forced on me. I have never felt more weak and sick in my entire life. The thought that I would never run again scared me. Suddenly, I miss everything about the sport, the adrenalin rush, the burn, and that sense of pride and accomplishment after completing even just a short run. At that time I realized, I would give anything just to get back on my feet again.

Simply running, that’s what makes me love the sport more because it is pure, unadulterated bliss to do so. It wasn’t the marathon. It wasn’t race to the finish line. In fact I realized, the competitive spirit of the sport makes me hate it. A steady run on a quiet morning or chilly afternoon…a wild, crazy run while beating the sunrise or chasing the sunset…a long, invogorating run after half-consciously dragging yourself out of bed….a slow, rusty run that ends up in a smooth stride…these are what gives that warm, wonderful feeling of being truly alive and strong. Now, if this isn’t love, I don’t know what is.:)

Maybe it is not running for you. Maybe it is something else like yoga, swimming, or biking. Whatever it is that makes your heart skip a beat, I hope you never take it for granted because every single chance to do so is a gift in itself.

Happy new year! Now, Go out there and, RUN! (or swim…or bike…or yoga…)

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