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.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, I am one with the thousand others in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wether it be in remembering every cancer patient, family, relative, or friend who has lost their battle to breast cancer or honoring the survivors and those who are still courageously fighting with the disease.
I know first hand how physically, emotionally, and even spiritually trying this disease can be both for the sick and her family. My only daughter, Bianca, was diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, Papillary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer in layman’s term) back in 2012. Sometimes the memory of her difficult experience during surgery and RAI treatment still knock the wind out of me. The fear alone that this lifetime disease would recur in the future is enough to stress the life out of anyone.
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My daughter is not cancer free yet but we are certain in time, she’ll be. I am sure a lot would agree with me when I say that when you have invested enough in this fight, you’ll do everything to achieve victory. That’s what my daughter as well as the other cancer patients, survivors, and care givers I know have been doing. And it is for this reason that I have nothing but deep admiration for them for remaining positive and strong in the face of this dreaded disease. Their tenacity, will power, and faith during and after the ordeal are truly inspiring.
Despite the heartache, I still must say that I would always see cancer as a blessing rather than a misfortune in my family. It is because it has become a way for us to receive God’s amazing grace and boundless blessings. It also continue to serve as a great reminder for us everyday to celebrate life and its many big and even little yet significant victories.

Chronicles of a Reluctant Widow: Grief

To grow old with her beloved and to pass from this life together are the prayer and longing of every wife that loves. Not all get lucky though and are granted a happy-ever-after, some are simply blessed in a different way. Yesterday, I listened with a heavy heart as a dear friend recounted painfully her last few days with her husband. While she was sharing, it suddenly occured to me that grief is never the same for everyone for the very reason that we each have our own unique story of love and the breadth and depth of that love can’t be compared with another. So it is not right, even for me to say, I know exactly how she feels. I also realized that from the many stories of love I heard from fellow widows, one thing seems to be certain. It is, when there is love there is no such thing as too much, too little, too long, nor even too hard. And it is always, you are, we are, enough.

Chronicles of a Reluctant Widow: Inertia

 
nanblancs3 years later and I still remember everything like it was just yesterday: how I watched helplessly as the doctor shocked your heart back into rhythm. How I willed the flatlines to move. How I waited with bated breath for the current to bring back the light in your eyes. 38 years of momentum and then suddenly, a complete stop. I imagine the force it took to silence the last beat of your heart. It must have been so great because it flung you out far, too far where I can never reach you, except by remembering. Someday, death will come to stop me too, and I will give him a big fight. He will have to drain the entire universe of every star to hold my body down. And like how I planned it all along, I will be flung out to the heavens too at fullspeed, I will defy gravity, change tides, and slow down light. And I will search every inch of heaven until I find you.

Music

imageMy dear Bianca Angela,
Quite frankly I really do not know where your talent in music comes from. It can’t be from daddy, he’s tone deaf or from me, I can’t carry a tune. But then you being good at it is no surprise considering how earnestly you danced and moved inside my womb before everytime you hear sweet beatiful music play. It must be that your ears were trained early to listen and respond to the melodies of your heart or my heart. There’s a certain kind of music, a certain kind role in the world that only you can play. I hope you will always find the passion to express and fullfill it.
Love,
Mommy

Make It Happen

Build a small house with a rose garden. Be owned by cuddly dogs. Surround myself with my little and my big loves. Fall asleep to butterfly kisses and wake up to warm hugs. Grow old with the person I hold dear in my heart. Write and then write some more. Smile and laugh a lot. This life. It won’t be perfect and it won’t always be easy. But, it will be mine and I will be happy. That’s the plan. That’s the want.