Archives for December 2017

5 Things You Should Do to End the Year Right

Another year is coming to a close, for better or worse, but as the song goes, “baby, it ain’t over til it’s over”! I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s been a really big year for me personally, both in terms of business and for my family. And while there have been ups and downs, I’m determined to end this year with a smile on my face.

So whether 2017 was the best year ever, the worst year ever, or something in between, there’s still time to close this chapter on a positive note. Here are five things you should do before the year ends:

This is what my 4-year old daughter wrote! haha!

Show your gratitude.

It’s so easy to think of gimmicky #gratitude efforts, but the truth is, heartfelt gratitude is a powerful tool that helps lift up not just the person you express your gratitude to but also your own spirits. According to Forbes.com, gratitude improves physical and psychological health as well as sleep, self-esteem, and mental strength, and it also makes you more open to new relationships.  

Showing your gratitude can be as easy as posting a message on someone’s Facebook wall or sending them a PM. You can also just pick up the phone and tell someone how grateful you are that they are in your life. Or, if they are someone you see often, like your partner, kids, parents, siblings, kabarkada, and so on, make sure you take some time out the next time you see them to thank them for their role in helping you to become who you are, as well as for more tangible ways they have supported you over the years.

If you’re reading this, I’m going to take this opportunity to say thank you for following me and being such a great audience this year. I really appreciate all your comments, your likes and shares, and the time you take to read my posts.

Pay off a debt.

Some people like to say that you should end each year debt-free, but let’s be practical here—when that debt is something like a mortgage or a business loan or any large amount, that isn’t always possible. But if there are little debts you can afford to pay off (or even if it’s just advancing a little more than usual on your credit card payments or any other bills so you don’t have to worry about them at the start of the year), I’d suggest that you do it.

There are also cases of non-monetary debts, like when a friend has done you a favor and you know you’re in a position to do one back in turn, or to pay it forward.

Take a few minutes, an hour, even a day or two before the end of the year to work on balancing the scales a little more.

Share your blessings.

Apart from balancing the scales, you can tip them in your favor by sharing your blessings. Are there good deeds you can easily do for people you know or even for perfect strangers? Or maybe you can take time out with your family and friends to volunteer, perhaps to play with kids at an orphanage or do some sort of last minute charity work before the year ends.

Also consider that the holidays are coming up, and not everyone can afford a feast to celebrate Christmas or New Year. Consider contacting local homes, shelters, orphanages, and such and asking them what you can contribute toward their holiday meals. Or even what you can contribute to them in the long term.

Do a post-mortem.

If you’re going to make sure next year is better than this year, take a little time to sit and reflect on the year that’s passed. Do a little soul searching. Are there goals you failed to meet this year that you need to revisit next year? Are there things you achieved that you can take one step further? Are there things you didn’t prioritize that need to take a bigger role in your work or personal life?

Even just sitting and thinking these things through will help a lot already, but for best results, I would recommend writing these down, even if no one buy you sees them. Even better, if you can ask your friend, sibling, or spouse to be your accountability partner going into the new year and do the same for them, that’ll help you ensure that not only will you have support for achieving your dreams next year, but you’ll also be helping someone do the same.

Treat yourself.

Last but definitely not least, make sure to indulge a little! Especially if you’re a mom. With the holidays coming up, the pressure is on to make sure presents are bought and wrapped, parties are planned and food prepared for the many get-togethers sure to be scheduled, and the house looks gorgeous going into the new year.

But all that effort is no good if we start the new year stressed or, worse, haggard! So make sure to schedule a spa day for yourself, or even just a staycation for Netflix and chill. Leave the kids with their grandparents for their weekend and book a room at a hotel or just take a road trip. Do whatever helps you rejuvenate so you can start the new year with a smile on your face and the energy to face another 12 months of awesomeness.

 

Don’t know what to Serve? Discover Purefoods Heat & Eat!

As a mom and entrepreneur, time management and convenience are my top priority. Still, I always make sure that I choose delicious and healthy meals for my family.

But thinking of a meal plan every day can be a challenge. No matter how creative you are, there will come a time when you’ll run out of food ideas. This is especially true when you have a four-year-old toddler who can be a bit picky at times.

So whenever we go to the grocery, I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting food that is tasty, healthy, and easy to cook. And today was a lucky day! I found a new line of ready-to-eat meats that will surely satisfy even the pickiest eater in the family.

For decades, Purefoods has provided families with delicious favorites like Tender Juicy Hotdogs and Purefoods Corned Beef. Today, Purefoods brings us another awesome line of delicious, and easy to prepare food that’s just in time for the holiday season: Purefoods Heat & Eat.

Purefoods Heat and Eat

It comes with two variants that every Filipino family will love: Crispy Pata and Lechon Kawali. What used to take days to prepare is now available to you in minutes. And what I love most is that I get extra time to spend catching up with my loved ones instead.

For only P325, you get scrumptious Crispy Pata cooked to perfection. You can also get Lechon Kawali without the fear of being splattered all over with hot oil for only P230. Each pack of Lechon Kawali is good for 3-4 people, while the Crispy Pata can feed about 5-6 persons per bag.

All you need to do is pop it in the oven or a Turbo broiler or heat it in a non-stick pan for about ten to twenty minutes and voila! You’ve got a restaurant grade Crispy Pata and Lechon Kawali! Just make sure you stock up on lechon sauce when you get this because it’s gonna be a sure hit.

If you get tired of fried Lechon kawali, you can switch it up and make Lechon paksiw instead.

Here’s a recipe my friend shared with me for the Easiest Lechon Paksiw Ever:

Ingredients:
½ kilo Lechon Kawali
1 cup of water
1 quartered onions
1 pc bay leaf
Peppercorns
Lechon Sauce
2-3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

You start with sauteing garlic, onions, Lechon Kawali, and bay leaf together in a pan. Once the meat browns, add water and lechon sauce. Stir a bit and cover for five to ten minutes or until the meat is tender.

After that, put about 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and leave it to boil for five minutes. Leave the pan uncovered and do not stir. Once you the smell of the vinegar mellows down, add a bit of sugar, salt and peppercorns to taste.

Having Crispy Pata for dinner? Don’t throw away the bones just yet. Add it to a pot of boiling water along with some carrots, onions, potatoes, and cabbage and you’ve got yourself Pork Bone Soup. Just add some salt and pepper to taste.

Purefoods Heat & Eat will be an awesome addition to your grocery list and your holiday menu. It’s easy to prepare, easy to cook, and most of all, it’s an affordable option for all occasions. Whether you’re feeding a family of four, or hosting a party for six, Purefoods Heat & Eat are a definite must-have in your fridge.

With Purefoods Heat & Eat, siguradong sarap lutong anytime, all the time!

Check out the Native Section in major supermarkets in GMA (Robinsons, Landmark, Puregold, Hi Top, and South Supermarket) or visit your favorite Monterey Meatshop in Luzon to get yours today!

Check out fb page: https://www.facebook.com/purefoodsheatandeat/ and their IG page: https://www.instagram.com/purefoodsheatandeat/

Gift the Child, Gift the Parent

Five gift ideas for kids that will make their mommies happy too

Christmas is a time of giving, and oftentimes that giving is focused on the kids we know—which is just as it should be. But when you get to be a certain age, you find that you might have a lot of kids to get gifts for (mga pamangkin, inaanak, and more) when really it’s their parents who are your friends.

So recently I got to thinking, why not kill two birds with one stone and get your friends’ kids gifts that their parents will really appreciate too?

Of course, this got me thinking, what kind of gift would this be? To get ideas, I went back to my marketing roots and asked myself, “What’s the one problem every mom, myself included, suffers from?” And the answer was obvious—lack of mommy time!

That is to say, just about every mom I know wishes there were more hours in the day because we are all so busy. Not only are we charging forward with our careers, whether we’re employees or self-employed, but we’re also busy managing our households and families.

Given this problem, it was easy to think up a solution: get gifts for kids that keep them active and creative… and out of their parents’ hair! That way, while the kiddies are enjoying, Mommy and Daddy can take a breather.

So here are a few ideas for these kiddie gifts that are actually gifts for the whole family:

KidZania passes

I’ve been a KidZania Manila fan since the child-sized city opened in Bonifacio Global City a couple years ago. It’s not just that it’s fun for kids between the ages of 4 and 14 to get to experience their dream jobs in areas that look like scaled-down versions of actual workplaces. It’s that they learn a lot about themselves and also the challenges adults face, which helps teach them responsibility and creative thinking.

Oh, looks who’s one of them? 🙂 hehe!

Zeeka created her own comic strip at Metro!

Learn more about KidZania Manila via their website. http://manila.kidzania.com/en-ph/

Ticket prices range from P900 to P1100 for kids aged 4 to 17.

ActiveFun

Another play and activity center kids are guaranteed to enjoy is ActiveFun, which has branches in Bonifacio Global City, SM Megamall, The 30th Mall, Power Plant Mall, and Evia Lifestyle Center. In fact, if the members of your barkada all have kids around the same age, it might even be cool to make a fun day out of it so the kids can exhaust themselves on the slides, in the ball pits, and more, while the mommies can have a spa party.

Learn more about ActiveFun via their website. http://activefun.ph/

Admission rates for unlimited play are P480 per child.

GummyBox PH

Just a couple months ago, I discovered Gummybox, which offers themed activity boxes containing everything kids could want or need for a hands-on crafting or science project—something sure to keep them occupied for at least a whole morning or afternoon.

To learn more about Gummybox PH, check out my previous blog post or the company’s Instagram account, @gummybox.ph. For inquiries, email kfunkidstoys@gmail.com or text +63 939 551 1501.

 

Workshops and Kiddie Courses

Who says learning can’t be fun? There are workshops all around the metro to cater to a whole rainbow of kids’ interests. SparkleLab.ph alone offers courses on game development, toymaking, robotics, film and animation, and more.

Know any MasterChef Junior contenders in the making? Check out the kiddie courses at the Red Apron Cooking Academy. Dolldalita offers dollmaking workshops where kids can learn what goes into making toys they love. Or if you know any kids set to become the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, check out the courses at Jack.com.ph. And kids with an eye for style and beauty can learn a lot from the programs at KidzArt.

Craft Supplies and Kits

Know kids who love to get hands-on with crafty materials? Feed their love for these types of activities by getting them age-appropriate art and craft supplies, such as watercolor, calligraphy and lettering, or scrapbooking sets. Some places to shop include The Craft Central, Hey Kessy, Craft Carrot, and National Book Store.

Do you have other suggestions on gifts that will make both the parents and the kids happy? 🙂 Share it with me in the comments section below.

8 Locally Sourced Gift Ideas for Titos and Titas

When it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts, we mommies can often find it easy to shop for kids and find it hard to shop for the titos and titas in our lives—especially as we become titas ourselves. Recently, though, I’ve been embracing the idea of the #lovelocal movement, where we are encouraged to support local businesses who in turn support local communities.

So I thought, why not make a list of Christmas gift ideas guaranteed to make titas of Manila like me happy? Plus, if you check out my list below, you’ll notice many of the gifts can be bought in bulk, which is a great way to get your Christmas shopping done in record time.

For the fashionistas

*From the Renegade Folk website

Who says footwear can’t be comfy, high-quality, and fashionable? Certainly not the people behind Renegade Folk, who sell leather footwear designed and handcrafted by local artisans from Marikina.

Check out the Renegade Folk website for more information.
(https://www.renegadefolk.com/)

For the eco-conscious

If your tito or tita talks the talk and walks the walk about being more eco-friendly, one thing you might want to gift them a set of reusable straws, the better to help them reduce their use of plastic on a daily basis. The stainless steel straws from Go Zero can be ordered with tikog pouches made by Leyte locals.

Visit the Go Zero PH Facebook page to learn more about their products and order a few sets.
(https://www.facebook.com/GoZeroPH/)

For those who like to keep things organic

*from the Human Nature Facebook Page

Social enterprise Human Heart Nature doesn’t just work on helping Filipino communities who need it; they also have created an extensive line of organic personal care, beauty, and home products perfect for titos and titos with big hearts themselves. Check out their Natural Hand Soap and Coffee Body Scrub.

Check out the Human Heart Nature Facebook page for more information.
(https://www.facebook.com/humanheartnature)

For chocoholics

Who doesn’t love chocolate? And even if the tito or tita on your Christmas shopping list is watching their sugar, you can still gift them with unsweetened options. And the products from Davao brand Malagos Chocolate aren’t just delicious—they have also won multiple times at the Academy of Chocolate Awards in London, UK.

Check out the Malagos Chocolate website for details on where to buy their products.
(http://malagoschocolate.com/malagos-chocolate/)

For coffee addicts

*Image from Bo’s Coffee website

If your favorite tito or tita can’t face starting the day without a freshly brewed cup of coffee, why not encourage them to go local with premium coffee beans from all over the Philippines? You can easily source packs of barako beans at the supermarket, or you can head to your nearest Bo’s Coffee branch to buy a bag of their Philippine-origin beans from Sagada, Benguet, Mount Matutum, and more.

Visit the Bo’s Coffee contact page to find the branch closest to you.
(http://www.boscoffee.com/contact-us/)

For the health conscious

Snacking can be tough if you’re watching your weight, your cholesterol, your salt intake, and more. Which is why the snacks from Founding Farmers are such a godsend for anyone looking to eat healthier—something we should all be doing this coming year! While the original product, their Mixed Veggie Crisps, are still a best seller, you may also want to try their Shiitake Mushroom Crisps.

Visit the Founding Farmers website for more information on their products.
(https://www.foundingfarmerssnacks.com/shop)

For the kikay titas

*Image from the Happy Skin Website

Happy Skin makeup and skin care products are sure to please any kikay tita, with the local brand’s unique formulations for sensitive skin and oh-so-cute packaging. Their Disney Princess lippie line is perfect for grown-up princesses, though their Shut Up and Kiss Me Matte Lippies are great too.

Go to the Happy Skin Cosmetics website to learn more about their products.
(http://www.happyskincosmetics.com/)

For those who need a break

Is your favorite tito or tita always on the go? Treat them to a massage package at a spa with branches close to their home or work. Or, if you’re a little shy about offering them a full-body massage, why not treat them to a mani-pedi somewhere convenient, such as a nearby Nail Tropics branch?

Learn more about Nail Tropics via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NailTropics/

Got other local gift suggestions for me? Please leave a comment and tell me all about them!

5 Tips for Stress-Free Meals During the Christmas Season (with a Sanicare Giveaway!)

The biggest holiday of the year is just a few weeks away, and this is a particularly hectic time for mommies like me. Apart from working on my businesses and blog, there are friends to meet, reunions to have, and shopping to do. On top of that, there’s the usual family activities, like play time and study time and, of course, meal time. And while it’s easy to eat out, nothing quite beats a yummy meal at home for family bonding, even though it can be tough to make time to prepare and serve food when there are so many other things to do.

If, like me, you still want to make the effort, though, here are a few tips to make your life a little easier:

  1. Batch cook and pre-portion.

Freezer meals are often a busy mommy’s best friend. There are so many recipes you can find online for dishes you can make ahead and serve days, even weeks, later. As an extra step, make sure you portion these out before freezing so that, on busy days, you can just heat and be ready to eat in minutes.

  1. Share the load.

Having someone to help you around the house is a godsend, but don’t just rely on yaya all the time. You can also get your partner and your kids to help with the meal preparation. In fact, having your child help prepare the food she eats is one tried-and-true way to reduce the chances of her becoming a picky eater. When she has a hand in making the food that goes on the table, she is more likely to want to try her creations. Plus, it’s a great life skill to teach early on.

  1. Clean as you go.

Keep the kitchen clean as you cook, and don’t let dishes and cookware pile up after meals. While it can be tempting to procrastinate, a dirty kitchen isn’t just an eyesore, it’s a breeding ground for bugs and bacteria. To liven up the cleaning process, I’ve been using Sanicare’s special edition Christmas print towels, which also have the benefit of prettying up my kitchen counter.

  1. It’s not a sin to order in.

Of course, there will be days when you run out of freezer meals and are just too tired or busy to take time out to cook, and that’s fine. That’s exactly why there are so many food delivery options to choose from. Plus, these days, you’re not limited to fast food for delivery. You can get meals from your favorite restaurants just by making a call or using an app on your mobile or on a webpage.

  1. Dress to impress.

By this, I don’t mean that you can’t come to the dinner table wearing your comfiest pambahay outfits. I mean that you can level up your meal appeal by making the effort to prettify your table. Even when you’re serving takeout, use real plates, glasses, and cutlery. Pick pretty placemats and add decorative table elements. One thing that’s on my dinner table is my Sanicare Liwanag Christmas Box, which holds tissues for easy access and features a pretty design by artist and MovEd founder Alex Eduque.

In case you haven’t seen them yet, they’re super pretty and showcase designs by an up-and-coming local artist.

One design is inspired by parols, or star-shaped Christmas lanterns. This is uniquely Filipino and, according to the artist, is a symbolic representation of a sense of promise and unification.

The other design is inspired by the stars. Alex Eduque herself says that this is “a constant reminder that we share the same sky and, despite the stark differences and circumstances in all corners of the world, that each one of us has a star shining brightly within.”

Isn’t that a great thing to remind ourselves of, especially at Christmas?

Anyway, if you haven’t picked up a Liwanag Christmas Box yet, here’s one reason to do so the next time you’re at the supermarket: Sanicare is having a promo! The grand prize winner will get four all-day passes to the Dream Play and Lunch buffet at The Café at the Hyatt City of Dreams Manila. Ten consolation prize winners will also receive P2000 in Sodexo gift certificates.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Take a creative photo featuring the Sanicare Facial Tissue Liwanag Series Box.
  2. Post it on your Facebook timeline. Start your caption with the phrase, “My Christmas is extra bright this year because _____!” and make sure to use the hashtags #SanicareLiwanagSeries #Sanicare and #SCPA
  3. Tag three other friends in your post, then publish.
  4. Go to the Sanicare PH Facebook promo post then click on the link provided to submit your entry.

The promo runs from November 22, 2017, to January 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on the Sanicare PH Facebook page on January 15, 2018.

Good luck and happy posting!