Every Mom's Guide to Social Media Usage

Moms of previous generation were mostly domesticated divas who juggle their time between raising children and managing the household. Modern day mommas however, are as right at home on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram today as they are in the kitchen, uploading perfectly executed photos, updating online statuses, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts.
While the social media networks have admittedly brought us together in ways that were not possible before, we, moms, however should always keep in mind that even in these environments we continue to be our children’s role model. Therefore, we should act accordingly. Here’s are some social media etiquette that every online mom should know when conducting themselves in facebook, twitter, and instagram.
Practice “cybercivility”
Anything we share online, may it be comments, images, articles etc. give others a collective snapshot of who we are and what we value. Our children,most especially, watch, read, and absorb all that we do digitally. Sad to say, if you go over the comment section of almost any controversial article in the internet, you will be surprised at the number of rude and cruel comments from adults themselves. For our children to grow into respectful and caring individuals who knows how to use technology responsibly, we have to behave appropriately, constructively, and respectfully in the online community too. Kids especially teens become the example we set for them.
Avoid oversharenting
Facebook, twitter, and instagram have made it easy for moms to document children’s milestones and share the joys and challenges of parenthood. In fact, they have successfully made updating and uploading our life in the internet a social norm. However, all these sharings come with a price. Stories of how excessive sharing of personal information has compromised families’ most especially children’s safety, with the worse being digital kidnapping, have been rampant in the news lately. As a parent, we are responsible for our child’s protection and privacy. We need to be mindful of what we share and how much we share in social media because once it is out there, it is hard to undo. Anyone can access and use them no matter how strict our privacy settings are. They become part of our child’s digital footprint too.
Show respect and courtesy
Gina, mom of China, 13 and Sophie, 15 shares, “One time I felt nostalgic, I shared an old photo of my girls when they were about 7 and 9 years old. I never realized how much this upset my girls until China came up to me one day crying, ‘Mom thanks to you, my friends are now calling me chubby chinchin.’ I made the mistake of uploading and tagging my girls in the photo of them wearing bathing suits!” Respect and courtesy also applies in social media. Just because our children are cute in the photo does not mean that they would love seeing it on facebook or instagram. We still need to ask their permission first before sharing a post, video, or image of them because no matter how cute, funny, or inspiring their images and experiences are, they are still not ours to share. Not all parents of our children’s friends also would welcome seeing photos of their children in social media for privacy and security reasons. It is best to ask clearance from them first before posting or tagging them in photos with their children.
Parent Offline
Although social media provides us with an ingenius way of connecting with family and friends in an instant, it still can never replace personal interaction when it comes to parenting kids. Nothing beats spending quality time with your children offline. They appreciate us more when we are not lost in our smartphones and screens or too busy liking and commenting on their posts and pictures. Let’s face it, what may be a supportive action for us may be embarassing and instrusive for them when we do it online. Compliment them, call their attention, and discuss issues and concerns with them in person rather than in the comment box of their facebook, intagram, and twitter accounts. Be that kind of “invisible mom” in social media and you are guranteed to receive a million likes and love from your children, especially from your teens.

5 Tips to Boost Your Immunity This Christmas

Although the cold crisp air that signals the start of the christmas season excites us, I cannot help but feel a little bit worried of the changing weather once again. Not because I just like being the grinch of christmas (although my daughter says that to me all the time) but because this also means the start of allergy/asthma season for my kid.
My daughter was diagnosed with asthma when she was only 6 months old. It was worse when she was growing up. But then after receiving radiation to cure her of thyroid cancer about a year and a half ago, it went on remission. Lately, she’s been getting again the hives, allergic coughs, and colds which sad to say are her asthma triggers. What we do to control and manage it is to drink double dose of our favorite Vitamin C. This way she can enjoy the holiday season to the fullest minus the stress of being sick. You might be wondering how else do I shield her and the rest of the family from these holiday health woes. Well, we do these five simple things:
1. Get enough sleep
A good night’s rest ensures a healthy body. Sleep promotes cell repair and cell regeneration. If our cells are healthy, all the organs in our body function well. It takes the load of stress off our shoulders when we know that we are strong and ready to face the rigors of school and work tasks especially this holidays. Its actually a yay for me this season since getting everyone to sleep isn’t that hard to do given the bed weather we’re having lately.
2. Eat more (organic) fruits and vegetables
Eversince my daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we became very particular with the food that we eat. As much as possible, we choose organic produced fruits, vegetables, and even meat. Since less to no chemicals were used to grow these products, you’re guranteed to absorb all natural vitamins and minerals when you eat these kind of produce. Although a bit expensive than the local ones in the market, you won’t have to worry about handling and safety issues.
3. Exercise
My daughter and I love to run. The first thing that my daughter’s cancer doctor/ endocrinologist doctor encouraged her to do was to exercise. As much as possible, she needs to be in optimum health so she can easily fight off the pesky cancer cells that are still present in her body. And, what better way to do this than to maintain a regular excersice routine. Running and other forms of exercise promotes blood circulation. When more oxygen circulates our body, we detoxify easily.
4. Meditate and Reflect
The most effective way to destress is through meditation/self-reflection. I know it sounds so Buddhist but it is really quite simple and easy to do. A few minutes of silence, spiritual reading, journalling, painting, or even listening to soft music will do. Studies show that people who tend to self-reflect has less chances of getting one of the life threatening diseases such as heart attack, cancer, etc. than people who don’t. It is because self-reflection/meditation are the mind’s natural way of purging itself from mental toxins and negative vibes. Advent, Christmas, and New Year are perfect to reflect and take stock of our blessings don’t you agree?
5. Drink Fern-C
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My daughter and I have been drinking Fern-C for years. We don’t drink any food/vitamin supplements other than Fern C. My acidity level is high that is why it is my no. 1 choice of vitamin C since its sodium based. When my daughter had cancer two years ago, I put her on Fern C as well. It is because cancer cells thrive on two things, acid and sugar. We need a vitamin C that won’t add more acid in her tummy and would balance the PH level in her body. We found that in Fern C. You can say, I experienced first hand how effective Fern C is as an immune-system booster and how potent it is as an anti-oxidant with my kid. My daughter isn’t cancer free yet. BUT, since she’s been healthy and getting good tests results these past months, thanks to the kind of lifestyle we keep and of course Fern C, we know she’s getting there. I’m proud to say Fern C has become our ally in fighting the Big C and STRESS this holiday season.:)
I say, boost your family’s immunity this Christmas too, drink Fern C!
To learn more about Fern C, visit their websites:
Fern-C Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fernconline/
Fern-C Twitter: https://twitter.com/FERNCOnline
Fern-C Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ferncofficial/

Luxury of Time

What I miss most about my life before is having a lot of time in my hands. I don’t have the luxury of that anymore. A typical day for me is waking up at 4:00 in the morning to prepare things, heading out of the door as early as 5:40 to pick up my carpool kids, working till 4, and dropping off carpool kids again before heading home. And well, my day doesn’t end there. When I reach home I barely have enough time to change before I leave again for tutor. If I’m lucky, I get to be home by 8:30 to face the other tasks that await me. By 11, I am ready to call it a day. Weekends are pretty much the same except for school. When I am not teaching, I am doing my lesson plans, writing articles, and running errands. My friend asked me one time how I manage to do all these things without loosing my sanity. It is quite simple actually, I do it all in the name of Jesus who gives me strength. I must agree, life this way is kind of stressful but it is a happy kind of stress. You have steady work, you can provide for the family, you get to help people, make them happy, not everyone gets to be blessed like that. When you see things this way, you’ll appreciate more the things that make your life “crazy.” And well, there are a thousand ways we can thank and glorify God in return. One way is by performing our tasks with all the cheerfulness and gratefulness that befit His true servant.

Beauty Hacks by Alex Gonzaga

As an actress, comedienne, and TV host, it is part of Alex Gonzaga’s job to take good care of herself, especially her skin. Being on the limelight, her face has to be camera-ready at all times. The 27 year old actress knows that to maintain a clear and radiant skin, she has to keep a healthy lifestyle, from what she eats to what she does off-cam.
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Alex graciously shares some beauty hacks guranteed to keep face acne-free. Here are some of them:
1. Get as much sleep as you can
Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep has been proven to reduce one’s stress level. Stress which causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil leads to the formation of acne. Alex explains, “Sleep helps the skin recover after a long tiring day so I make sure I get enough rest every night.”
Personal Tip: Studies have also shown that cell regeneration happens between 10 pm to 2 am, so make sure to sleep no later than 10 so your body can benefit much from skin cell regeneration.
2. Drink lots of water
Increasing the amount of water you drink is a great way to hydrate skin and flush out internal toxins from the inside out. Alex shares that she always keeps a bottle of water to keep herself hydrated during long hours of shoot.
Personal Tip: Add lemon to your water to balance the PH level of your body for a more glowing skin.
3. Exercise
Physical activity cut down stress and improves blood circulation. Exercise efficiently distributes oxygen to skin cells and carries wastes away. Alex adds, “I do pilates regularly. It is fun and a great way to relieve stress.”
Personal Tip: 20-30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise everyday is enough to improve blood circulation. You not only glow, you burn (fats) as well.
4. Sleeping without makeup on
No matter how tired she is after a long day at the set, Alex religiously takes time to remove all traces of makeup from her face to make sure her pores are not clogged with sweat, dust, and dirt.
Personal Tip: Choosing the right make-up is important as well. Some make-ups have strong chemicals and harmful ingredients that can make skin react thereby causing breakouts. Make sure to check the active ingredients in the product before you start using them. It is always safe to choose organic and hypoallergenic.
5. Invest in over-the-counter product
Alex swears by Proactiv, the leading anti-acne treatment product which is safe and effective to use by almost everyone. Alex shares, “Proactiv has always been part of my beauty regimen for six years. Its specially-formulated ingredients help treat and prevent acne.”
Personal Tip: Composed of the complete 3-Step System to knock out acne, Proactiv is very economical, safe, and easy to use:
Step 1 is the Renewing Cleanser, an oil-free, soap-free medicated exfoliating cleanser with U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide that kills acne-causing bacteria.
Step 2 is the Revitalizing Toner, a refreshing alcohol-free toner that refines and purifies pores.
Step 3 is the Repairing Treatment, a feather-light, invisible medicated treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria.
Every Proactiv kit comes with a free Proactiv Refining Mask, a rich, deep-cleansing mask formulated with sulfur, a proven acne- fighting ingredient that reaches deep into the pores where blemishes begin.
As Alex puts it, “Proactiv use only requires less than five minutes a day. It’s convenient and it works!” Take it from her, she sure knows her way to a smooth and acne-free skin.

Dear Sweetheart

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My sweet man, I will forever mourn for “us” and for the happy years that will never be. I may have learned to live with this pain but I will never completely get over your loss. Everytime I hear a too familiar song, chance upon our favorite spot, or catch a whiff of your perfume…everytime Bianca and I celebrate a milestone or make a dream come true, you still come alive in my heart. There is no end to my grief because there’s no end to my love for you. Know that wherever this life takes me, I will always carry you in my heart.???? Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

Happy Halloween

First, happy halloween to all! I know Halloween is not something unique to us Filipinos but like all things American, we have wholeheartedly embraced this tradition like it is our own. I know of a lot of people who spend tons of money in order to achieve the perfect halloween look. Children and adults for that matter look forward to this holiday because one, they get to dress up and be the fantasy character of their dreams, and two, they get to throw parties and eat all the sweets too.
Now, who says only normal kids can dress up and enjoy halloween! Children with special needs can join in the fun too. Check out this heartwarming Buzzfeed video of Oregon dad, Ryan Weimer, who started a nonprofit to build kids in wheelchairs amazing Halloween costume. Now, be ready to be touched and be inspired.

Go to MagicWheelChair.org if you want a kid on a wheelchair to have his dream costume. Happy Halloween!

The First Filipina Face of Proactiv

I got word from my brand partner, Proactiv, that they have finally found the perfect Filipina who embodies the brand. Last month,27-year-old actress and comediene, Alex Gonzaga, joined the roster of Hollywood elites as the first Filipino endorser of Proactiv.
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Although I am not particularly fond of Alex, I have to admit that her charm and not to mention her loyalty to the brand makes her a perfect Proactiv endorser. Shares Alex, “The Proactiv 3-Step System has been an important part of my daily skin care routine for years! It is effective and easy to use. I am so thrilled to be the first Filipina face of Proactiv and tell everyone all about my experience using it.” She further adds, “It’s mild formulation gently exfoliates my skin, removes excess oil and delivers powerful acne-fighting medicine.”
Being an in-demand celebrity, she knows first hand how stress and fatigue can take a toll on the skin. She spends long hours taping, doing shoots, and attending to mall shows. She also puts on pounds of make-up which can cause damages on the skin such as zits and breakouts. If there is one person who can sincerely and credibly share how Proactiv’s dermatologically tested ingredients make skin clear, radiant and acne-free, it is Alex.
I was quite impressed when I learned that even with her frenetic schedule, Alex purposely finds time to do her Proactiv’s simple and easy 3-Step System. She explains her step by step beauty regimen as:
STEP 1: “Before going to sleep, I apply Proactiv’s Renewing Cleanser. You can feel it gently removing impurities in your skin with its exfoliating beads.” Akex shares.
The Renewing Cleanser is an oil-free, soap-free medicated exfoliating cleanser that kills acne-causing bacteria. It has U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide which are ultra-fine micro-crystals that penetrate the pores fast while being gentle on the skin.
STEP 2: “I follow it up with the Revitalizing Toner,” Alex continues.
Proactiv’s Revitalizing Toner is a refreshing alcohol-free toner that refines and purifies pores. Its Glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells to help keep pores unplugged while its botanical-rich formula soothes and hydrates acne-prone skin.
STEP 3: “I just squeeze a pea-sized amount of Repairing Treatment on my palm and spread it on my face,” she adds.
The Repairing Treatment is a feather-light, invisible medicated treatment that kills acne-causing bacteria preventing zits and acne.
Proactiv is available in 30-day kit (P 2,495.00) and 60-day kit (P 3,995.00). It is exclusively distributed at all Watson stores nationwide. Each Proactiv kit comes with a free Refining Mask. This Refining Mask makes a great leave-on spot treatment at night for better complexion in the morning.
Alex was warmly introduced as the new Proactiv brand endoser during a Press Launch last September 29 at Buddha Bar Manila. Says Proactiv Philippines General Manager, Mari del Rosario “We are proud to have Alex Gonzaga as the first Filipina face of Proactiv. She is beautiful, spontaneous, and hip. She fits the brand perfectly. With Alex heading our local campaign, we hope to reach out to more Filipinos and encourage them to take a step and fight acne today.” Welcome aboard, Alex!

Chloe

When I took this little girl under my wing a few years ago, I knew right away that she’s totally different. She was grade 2 then. For one thing, she can’t sit still or stay inside the classroom for long. She’s quite something else too. She had no qualms speaking her mind, didn’t care one bit about her classmates or teachers’ opinions, and worst she would cry and beg every morning for me to send her home because she misses her mom. She was like this for 3 straight years.
Her teachers would often find themselves at their wits end trying to figure out a way to make her sit, listen, follow, and focus in class. Her fourth year in school was almost the same minus the crying episode. While the rest seemed to have given up on her, her mom and I never got tired believing that one day, she’ll make a complete turn around. Faith, hope, and love, we gave her a lot of that.
And my dear Chloe, she did not disappoint. On our fifth and last year together as mentor-mentee, and on her final year in grade school, she made it happen. She managed to make herself be what her family and I hoped and prayed for her to be. Clearly not perfect but right enough to make the Lord equally proud and happy too.
My Chloe, she has since moved to high school. I thank the Lord that she made her different than the rest because through her I witnessed yet another one of those amazing miracles that would make me continue to believe that no matter how uncertain things may seem at the start, with faith, hope, and love, all shall be well in the end.

Gawa ni Femi

One thing I love about instagram is that it provides a visual feast for the eyes. One account I follow there that never fails to make me smile everytime it post update is Gawani Femi.
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This account is owned by Femi Cachola, an artist and crafterpreneur, who does amazing things with pots. She paints and gives each of them a character, and calls them potheads. The result is pretty amazing especially when you match them with the right succulents or cacti plant.
Here are some samples of her artworks:

Mimi an Otaku who is passionate about all things Kawaii

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Lala the Karaoke Queen who is crazy about musical theatre and singing contest
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Jojo who just love real and made-up stories

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Vivi who finds uncommon exciting and weird amazing

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Popo the real man’s man with his love for action movies, tools, old spice, and bacon
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Dada the bookworm
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They look good together too!
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These are just some of the potheads that Femi cleverly and skillfully created. She organizes and facilitates craft parties and workshops as well. Her products are available online and at some selected stores.
Femi and her potheads are also doing the rounds of art festivals and fairs. You can connect with her in instagram here and facebook here to get the latest updates on her potheads’ whereabouts.:)
With the holidays coming, I am sure all of us are looking for a unique gift to give to friends. One that would make them squeal in delight and amazement. Gawani Femi potheads are perfect christmas gifts. I mean, who would not fall in love with them, they are quite charming plus they are proudly Filipino made. Let’s support local art!

Saturday Reflections

“What we are, is God’s work. He has created us, in Christ Jesus, for the good works he has prepared.”
I remember when I was a kid, I dreamt of becoming big someday. At least that somebody whose very presence is admired and sought by many. I envisioned myself many times conquering the stage, the courtroom, the boardroom. Well, I must say that reality is actually a distorted version of fantasy. One that is really quite funny if you think about it but also a bit enlightening in a way.
One of the things I am proud of in my 37 years of existence is that, I have managed to become that somebody at least to my loved ones. I am Mom to Bianca, Mrs. Dela Cruz to my students, and wife to Nan. I have conquered many places too, the stage as Bianca’s stagemom, the classroom as the funny SS teacher, our home as the former wife of Nan who is now resting in peace with the Lord, the road as the running mama, and the publising world as a writer/contributor for parenting magazines.
I have become sought after too. Kids come knocking at the faculty’s door looking for me when I am running late in class. And my very presence, well, it isn’t lacking in admiration especially among grade school children. A simple dance routine in clubs or an intersting powerpoint presentation in my class are enough to earn me a standing ovation. People, 7-9 year olds to be exact, call out my name, stop to say Hi, and even request for a picture.
When we find ourselves living a life different from what we imagined or taking a path different from the one we originally planned, know that it wasn’t accidental, we didn’t make a wrong turn. This is actually all part of the God’s grand master scheme for our life. We are exactly where God wants us to be right at this moment because He believes that this is the best way we can carry out His mighty plans. So where ever you are, whatever you have become, live out God’s amazing purpose for you.