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

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.