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…)

CHRISTmas

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)

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This morning, I went to visit an orphanage with Bianca and there, we found the baby Jesus in the persons of 3-week-old Agnes, and 1-year-old Marge, Margaux, Jason, Ashley, Angelo, Precious, and Krisha. I feel blessed to be in the company of such happy, loving kids and honored, in fact, to feel needed by them even for just a day. It was a joy to breathe in their baby scents, to cradle and wrap them in my arms. A delight to hear them laugh, see them smile, and feel them reach out for my hand. I may not have personally witnessed the Nativity scene or paid tribute to the King of all Kings with gifts of gold, incense, and myrh but this morning, in that small room tucked in the corner of that little orphanage, where dreams of a permanent home hung thick in the air and hope for a family they can call their own lingers, it truly felt like, I did. 😌

Look and feel your best this holiday season

Christmas is upon us and for us Filipinos, it only means one thing – endless gathering and reunion parties with our family and friends! It’s that time of the year when we take our minds off deadlines and concentrate on spending quality time with our loved ones. Since we will be seeing friends and family members we probably haven’t seen in ages, it a must to keep skin flawless and acne-free.

While others are simply blessed with a naturally good looking skin, some (me included) are not spared from acne. Breakout is a reality we constantly face everyday. As we know, acne can put a big blow on our self-confidence and can hold us back from being our usual carefree and fun self. This why we need a good product like Proactiv as an ally so we can look good and feel good this yuletide season.

How to achieve acne-free skin this holiday season?

Simple. But first, let me just say that just when you want to look blemish free and beautiful on christmas, your skin gets the holiday blues. Why? It is because shopping frenzies, binge eating, and endless late night parties that we so love to do during christmas can take a toll on our skin. And since there’s too much going on, we tend to neglect our skin causing it to break into acne.

Good news is, the Proactiv Solution Combination Therapy Kit System can help our skin battle against the stresses of the season. It helps clear existing acne and prevents future breakouts. And what’s more this skincare regimen only takes 5 minutes to do, so it is easy to integrate it to your daily skin care routine.

What is Proactiv and how does it work?

Proactiv Solution Combination Therapy Kit System is the No. 1 acne treatment in America. Recommended by dermatologist, it is a combination therapy system that work together to cleanse and heal damaged skin as well as fight the current and new blemishes from forming.

It consist of Step 1, a deep cleaning prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide in the form of Proactiv’s Renewing Cleanser that quickly penetrates pores and heals blemishes fast. This smooth tiny beads gently exfoliate dead skin cells and other impurities. Step 2 is an alcohol-free Revitalizing Toner with soothing botanicals that works to gently balance skin tone and remove excess oil for a clearer and fresher skin. Step 3 consists of the Repairing Treatment, a light, oil-free skin-clearing lotion that heals blemishes and helps prevent new ones from forming.

Proactiv Bonus:

Each Proactiv kit comes with a free Refining Mask that’s sure to keep your skin clear and acne-free this merry season. Formulated with Sulfur, a proven acne- fighting ingredient that reaches deep into the pores, the Refining Mask gently unplugs pores, pampers inflamed skin, and softens the skin’s texture.

Save yourself the unnecessary stress, let Proactiv Solution do the work of getting rid of your blemishes so you can confidently share the love this season.

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

Christmas Gift Suggestions: 100 pesos and below

If you are on a tight budget this christmas yet still want to give meaningful gifts, here are some gift suggestions priced at 100 pesos and below. My daughter and I gave them away to friends this christmas and they liked them for their usefulness.

Muji pens for 85 pesos each

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Character socks for 100 pesos each

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Fab Manila coin purses for 35 pesos each in assorted prints

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Succulents for 90-100 pesos eachimageHappy christmas shopping!

Dear Mrs. Dela Cruz

My students love to give me presents. They are a thoughtful bunch. But then, more than the material gifts, it is really their letters that I always look forward in receiving every year. Whenever I begin to question wildly if I am in the right profession or not…when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration (yes, teaching can do that to you), their letters keep me sober and pull me back. Here are some of my favorite ones, from the most touching to the downright funny and insane…

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imageIn my students’ eyes, I have become a legend….

Christmas Gift Ideas: Airees Creates

I have been meaning to write about this artist I have been following in IG and her beautiful watercolor creations. To say that I am a great fan of her work is putting it mildly. I am fascinated with her artwork because one, she paints from the heart and it reflects in all the character figures she makes with her brush. Two, I have never been good in Art and well, she paints the way I used to wish and imagine myself painting had I been an artist myself. And three, she’s a busy mom like most of us yet she deliberately finds time to pursue her passion.

I am talking about Airees, the artist behind @aireescreates in IG. I do not really know her personally and we have not met yet. So, I am just sort of like a fangirl here writing about her girl crush, or in this case, art crush. What’s not to like about Airees?! I mean, the art journals and paper wallets she creates are all made from abaca fibers that were treated organically so they become tear resistant. And, she not only creates with her hands but also supports local women, specifically artisans from Mindanao, who used to be fisherfolks and housewives. All her products are fair traded too and promise to be sturdy and durable. I am an art lover and a sucker when it comes to social enterprises and anything handmade and sustainable, so I support Airees 100%! You guys should too.

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Recently, she launched her very own She Calendar for 2016 which features some of her beautiful artwork. It is a desk calendar that you can put on top of your office, study, or bedside table at home. Each page contains a unique watercolor painting of a girl that Airees herself joyfully and lovingly created plus an inspiring quote from a famous personality to get you motivated. It definitely has good vibes written all over.

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If you are looking for a perfect gift to give to a friend or loved one this christmas, this is it. Her products are not only creative, eco-friendly, and proudly-pinoy made, they bring delight to anyone who receives them. If you want to see Airees’ complete product offerings, head over at aireescreates.com or follow her in Instragram (@aireescreates). You can choose from a wide variety of artsy journals and wallets there plus of course, the super nice She Calendar 2016. Merry Christmas shopping!

Photo Credit: @aireescreates

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