While sifting though pictures on Instagram (which I often do), I couldn’t help but feel admiration and sort of envious of what other people have. How do these people have perfect bodies? How do they get to travel often? How do they have so many things — things I couldn’t have? These have become thoughts that I would often think of every time I would open social media platforms. So yesterday, just like any other time and after my numerous observations (haha!), I set my phone aside and went on doing chores and living my own life.

Then that evening, my family talked about the seven deadly sins. I still haven’t memorised these sins, but I still do remember some episodes of the movie SEVEN which was shown last 1995. One of the sins, if you haven’t memorised it, too, is envy. I quickly shifted to a state of panicking a little, as I thought of the those times on Instagram, when I would “envy” other people on social media. Was I “sinning” during all those times? 🙁

But before delving into my feelings and what-not, let’s go back to the definition of envy.

From Merriam Webster, the definition of ENVY is a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.

This morning (since I was really bothered), I was reading articles on the different things associated with envy, jealousy, benchmarking, comparing, the ethics behind these concepts, etc. I wondered if the changes that’s happening with tech, social media platforms, etc. have made us more envious of other people’s things and lives. I wondered if feeling like this was really bad.

After reading a lot of articles I have drawn my own personal conclusions (and please indulge me a bit on this).

Looking through social media and feeling a little bit envious of how other people’s live look can either lead to…

1) encouraging you to be a better version of yourself so therefore this little dose of “envy” becomes a source of inspiration.

2) negative feelings of hatred and resentment which lead you to action like backstabbing, spreading gossip, etc.

3) being apathetic about it — which can either be good or bad. “Let him/her live our own lives. I have to fight my own battles, so kuddos to him / her!” (good) or “I don’t care… (dismissing the fact that you still feel some jealousy and harbor some sort of ill feelings still… which I think is bad if you don’t confront the feeling/s).

So I think that thinking of wanting to be better because this concept is presented by another human being on Instagram or Facebook isn’t bad. If it encourages you to channel your feelings to doing good, to becoming a happier, more productive person, I don’t really think that this makes it a sin.

At the end of the day, if you don’t hurt anyone emotionally or physically, and this statement includes yourself (please don’t torture yourself, too), it’s not something bad.

What do you think about this? What are your thought on envy and jealousy. Do you have tips on how to be less envious of others?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Recently, during the “sale” season of the online stores, I bought a few beauty and skincare product. One of the things that I bought online from one of the stores is a sleeping mask under a popular brand that I usually buy. I love this brand, so I really wanted to buy it during the sale season.

I went online and saw the official store of the brand, but of course, being the typical consumer, I wanted a better deal. I searched for the cheapest product and found one which was sold in another “store” at 20% cheaper. I added that into my cart, and after a few days, it was delivered to me.

When I got the product, I was so excited. I finished the entire bottle of what I bought in the brand’s store in a mall, so I really wanted to use it when it arrived. When I slashed through the bubble wrap, I saw the box and something did not feel right.

I’m an avid beauty (mostly skin care) blogger and I know what this product looks like. I immediately had a feeling that what I bought wasn’t the real deal. The box didn’t look like the one I had before. When I pulled out the container, the seal wasn’t sealed thoroughly. And when I opened it, it’s smell was close to the original, but the color and the viscosity was not quite as how I remembered it to be.

I immediately went to my husband, and mentioned that I didn’t feel quite at ease with the product. He told me not to use it. Obviously, I didn’t use it in my face, but I thought “sayang naman” (I spent money, so at least use it somewhere else) so I used it on my leg. I didn’t get any allergies or anything. That was the only time I used it.

Then, a week after, I saw the series on Netflix called Broken. The first episode was about the counterfeit beauty products that are being sold.

That’s when I realized how dangerous these counterfeit beauty products are to your health. I decided to throw the product that I bought.

I highly suggest that you check out this series.

Have you ever been a victim? Share your story with me 🙂

Moving forward, personally, I will check if the store is either the online store of the brand itself or at least the official distributor of the brand.

Sharing this so that we can all be aware that there are counterfeit beauty products out there.

UEC Philippines is hosting Young Authors National Competition, a scholastic writing contest specifically made for Filipino young authors and writers.

Exciting prices and awards await the lucky winner. But most importantly, aspiring young writers get the chance to learn more about creative writing through the event. 

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Young Authors National Competition.

Young Authors National Competition helps boost your young author’s confidence

It’s one thing to teach young authors creative writing. It’s another to get them motivated to write.

That’s why kids need to be a part of a young author’s program.

Writing competitions are a surefire way to help kids do better. Having a goal that drives them to do better can do wonders for their skills. It also helps them build their confidence. 

And Unique English Classroom Philippines does just that. 
UEC Philippines is not your traditional English program. They offer a range of unique programs that helps kids fall in love with reading and writing in the English language.

One of which is preparing kids to become better at creative writing through contests and competitions. 

Creative writing is a skill. The more you practice, the better you become. And with the right feedback, kids can be better communicators and writers in the long run. 

Better communication skills boost one’s confidence levels and also help improve their self-image. 

Because of this, children will be more open to trying new opportunities and taking more calculated risks. 

Writing competitions open doors of opportunities for your child

Networking at a young age can do wonders for your child. It allows them to meet kids with the same interests and also open doors for them. 

Writing contests like the Young Authors National Competition also connects kids to potential mentors.  

These mentors can provide young authors and writers with the necessary feedback and guidance. 

Professional writers, guests, and judges get the chance to see your child’s work. This gives your kids access to golden nuggets of knowledge that can greatly improve your kid’s writing skills and style. 

Who knows, your young writer may just be the next best selling author the world is waiting for?

Parents get the chance to show support for their young writers

In between work, raising kids, and paying the bills, most parents struggle to spend quality time with their kids. 

Events like these help parents show their support to their children’s passion and bond with them at the same time. 

It means a whole lot for kids to know that their parents encourage their dream. It boosts their confidence and increases their willingness to try new things. 

Competitions, whether it be physical or mental, can have outstanding effects on children.

Pediatric neuropsychologist Timothy Gunn puts it in perspective. According to him, competitions and contests help kids learn the value of hard work and consistency. 

It also teaches them self-efficacy and cooperation among their peers. 

Kids with parents who encourage healthy competition also have a better chance of participating in events and activities again. They also win and lose gracefully. 

Losing is never easy, especially when kids have given it their all and fall short of winning the top prize. But with their parents’ support and encouragement, kids get to process the loss easier and faster. 

Competitions help kids create a process for writing

Here’s a confession that I know most writers relate to. I tend to edit what I write while I’m writing. 

And it’s one of the worst tendencies to have as a writer. 

When your brain edits as you write, it hinders the creative process.

The goal of the first draft is to let your thoughts flow like a spring. Once you’re done, that’s the time you polish. 

Writing camps help correct this kind of tendencies for young writers. 

This training will help young authors sharpen their skills and introduce them to new and better ways to write. 

For starters, kids get introduced to brainstorming techniques. They also get tips on the best research tips for developing plots and characters. 

Kids develop patience, humility, and resilience through continuous feedback and handling revisions. On top of that, they also learn how to self-edit, review, and polish their ideas to make their stories better. 

How to join the Young Authors National Competition 2020

Do you have a child that’s interested in becoming the next best selling young author? This is your chance to make it happen! 

The journey starts on January 11, 2020, Saturday, 9 AM to 11 AM at UEC branches near you. 

This writing competition is open to UEC and Non-UEC students aged 9 to 16 years old. 

Each participant is expected to write a 1,500-word short story with a theme to be announced on the day of the competition. 

Judges for the event will be coming from the UEC Philippines head office and UEC Singapore. 

Three top winners will be chosen and given a chance to compete on the national level. And a special Reader’s Choice Award will be given to one. 

This event is free. All you have to do is to click here to register and compete

The next Young Authors Competition will be on a nationwide level and comes with a 2-day creative writing boot camp. 

So what’s in it for you and your young writer?

The event will be facilitated by none other than Unique English Classroom’s Catherine Khoo

A joining fee of P1,500 will cover the two-day writing boot camp plus snacks. 

What’s great about this national essay contest? Even non-UEC students can participate and learn more about creative writing. 

Students will get the guidance they need to create better stories and a much-needed confidence boost before they participate.  

The contest winner will get an all-expense-paid trip to Singapore for two. The top three winners will also be invited to be a part of the prestigious International Youth Author’s Club. 

They will also learn how to become better writers through a free month mentorship from the UEC founder and head trainer. 

What a steal! 

Signing up is easy. All you have to do is register here

You can check out the payment details in their flyer below.

I recommend this creative writing boot camp for kids. 

In today’s world, cultivating your kid’s creativity and imagination is no longer an option. It’s a necessary element in ensuring their future success. 

Want to know more about the Young Authors National Competition? Check out their website today. 

Wouldn’t it be great if each one of us can go to and have regular check-ups with doctors anytime we need to? Imagine a world where we need not think about financial constraints and just freely have ourselves checked when we feel sick. Admittedly, one of the reasons why I don’t have myself checked is that I think if I can solve it from home (by resulting to self-medication), it will save me a lot of money. I only go to the doctor if I’ve gone from feeling bad to feeling worse. 

Maxicare recently introduced a service that will save us a lot of stress and worries. For a minimal amount of Php 4,999 for individuals 0-59 and Php 12,999 for individuals 60 and above, we all can have unlimited check-ups! Yes, you read that right. We can enjoy monthly, weekly or even daily check-ups if we want to by availing Maxicare Prima!

Maxicare Prima is one of the cards that Maxicare released as part of their Maxicare prepaid cards. Each card if for a specific need so you need not pay for things that you feel you don’t need.

What is the Maxicare Prima?

The Maxicare Prima card is the Maxicare card that you need when you want to have unlimited consultations, unlimited lab tests and and diagnostic procedures! Most of the time, we can afford the consultations, but what drains us are the expensive lab tests and diagnostic procedures!

There are two Maxicare Prima variants:

Maxicare Prima Silver at Php 4,999

This variant is for individuals who are 0-59 years old. They can have their out-patient  consultations at any Maxicare Primary Care Centers, and lab tests in 4 Maxicare Primary Care Centers — BGC, Bridgetowne, Cebu IT business park, and SM Clark Pampanga which just opened last November 27.

Maxicare Prima Gold at Php 12,999

This variant is for individuals who are 60 years old and above. They can have their out-patient  consultations at any Maxicare Primary Care Centers and MyHealth Clinics. They can also have laboratory and diagnostic tests in 4 Maxicare Primary Care Centers — BGC, Bridgetowne, Cebu IT business park, and SM Clark Pampanga. Lucky them as they also have emergency coverage of Php 20,000 Annual Benefit Limit (ABL) per year. Doctor services, X-Rays, laboratory and diagnostic examinations, and other medical services related to the emergency treatment of the patient is covered.

Here is a list of the Maxicare Primary Care Centers: https://www.maxicare.com.ph/contact-us/primary-care-center-and-helpdesk/

Here is a list of the MyHealth Clinics: 

What kind of doctors can we see for the consultations?

Maxicare has this really cool branch or Primary Care Center in BGC at W City Center Bldg (close to my home). But their are also other stand alone clinics, too! In the PCCs (including Bridgetown, SM City Clark and Cebu) and in all MyHealth clinics, you can see the following doctors:

  • Internal Medicine (IM)
  • Obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN)
  • Ears-Nose-Throat (ENT) 
  • Dermatologist
  • Pediatrician (for Silver members only)
  • Ophthalmologists

In Maxicare PCC in W City Center and PCC – Bridgetown, you can also have free lab tests if it’s prescribed by the physician. For Prima Gold (Senior citizens), lab tests in MyHealth are also covered. The list of the lab procedures are the following:

https://www.maxicare.com.ph/healthcare-program-for-me-and-my-family/prima/covered-laboratory-and-diagnostic-procedure/

Then for the other PCCs, you can have consultations with Internal Medicine (IM) Doctors.

Why I like Maxicare Prima?

Cost Efficient Way to Get Check-ups in a Familiar Location

I usually go to St. Luke’s BGC, so anywhere in BGC is perfect for me when I intend to go for a check-up. When I saw the amazing Maxicare Primary Care Center in W, I was completely sold and purchased a Maxicare Prima Silver right away, especially when I learned about the unlimited laboratory and diagnostic tests! For the price of Prima, Maxicare is giving us such a great deal!

So if you go to any of these hospitals for check up…

  • Cardinal Santos
  • Centuria
  • Chinese General Hospital
  • Makati Medical Center
  • St. Luke’s BGC
  • St. Luke’s QC
  • Medical City 
  • Bridgetown

You’ll be happy to know that there are Maxicare Primary Care Centers in these hospitals, too. Super sulit talaga!

So convenient for Senior Citizens!

The usual plans for Senior Citizens (aged 60 above) are expensive. The Maxicare Prima Gold is the best deal for them! Php 12,999 a year is really not that bad. This may be the reason why people are scrambling to get this product for their loved ones!

Everyone gets FREE Dental Services once a year

Dental services includes the following:

  • Mild oral prophylaxis (cleaning)
  • Full mouth panoramic X-Ray
  • Dental consultation
  • Emergency relief of dental pain through medication
  • Cosmetic or oral rehab treatment planning
  • Dental nutrition and counseling
  • Dental health education
  • Preparation of dental certificates
  • Safekeeping of dental records as required by law or client

With Maxicare PRIMA, you can get exclusive discount from Maxicare Lifestyle partners listed here, MyHealth is already included there
https://www.maxicare.com.ph/lifestyle-partners/health-partners/

I’m convinced! How do I get a card?

Here are the steps to shop online at http://shop.maxicare.com.ph

If you are from Metro Manila, you can also send me a message so that I can have the cards shipped to you or sent to your office. Please take care of shipping cost. 🙂

How do I activate my Maxicare Prima card?

It’s actually the same as how we did it for Maxicare EReady cards. If you haven’t seen my video on activating cards, please watch this!

So if you haven’t purchased or considered getting a Maxicare Prima, it’s time to check this product out. Give everyone, family and friends, the gift of health this season! Check out Maxicare Prima Gold and Maxicare Prima Silver (https://shop.maxicare.com.ph/)!

We are a family that loves to play board games. For those who don’t know, aside from the board games that we usually know like Monopoly or Pictionary, there are a plethora of tabletop games that you can play with different themes and from different game makers and publishers.

My husband has been collecting board games since 2015, and at home, we have close to 100 games piled up on an already-wobbly shelf.

With this many board games, we have regular game nights at our home. I always wondered why preparing for house guests was a thing to the previous generation. I now know that being ready for house guests, my friend, is a skill!

When we first started accepting house guests, everything was in disarray. We sometimes didn’t have enough glasses for them. We didn’t have enough food, so we had to scramble to buy. Super daming FAIL! (A lot of things went wrong!).

But I think, after four years, I have developed a system! Yup, a system that works like a charm.

Let me share with you the top three things that you need to do when preparing for house guests (and these are three things that you can do right when you just have a one-hour window from the time you come home to when guests arrive).

Fix The Bathroom

You’ll notice that because of traffic in Metro Manila, the first thing that guests would ask is “may I use your bathroom?” Of course, with the limited time given, you can’t afford to scrub the entire bathroom clean. So these are the hacks that I personally do.

Wipe Surfaces — make sure that you wipe off any visible surfaces, from mirrors to the countertop to the walls of the bathroom. If you can’t go through the entire bathroom, just look for spots where water has left a mark and dried out. You can use a glass cleaner and a surface cleaner.

Sweep floors and take out the trash — make sure that the floor has been swept. I personally love having a bathroom mat. When we are expecting guests, we change the mat into a clean one. Also, be sure to take out the trash. You want to rid the room of anything that smells funky. 

Replenish toiletries — make sure that you have enough toilet paper in the bathroom. I always leave two rolls. 

Prepare the toilet — first, clean your toilet properly with your trusty cleaner. And then, keep your clean and fresh for longer by using Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs. The gel disc helps fight stains that harbor germs with every flush. It also leaves a protective shield that helps keep limescale away! I also love how fragrant it is. Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs make my bathroom smell (and feel) as if I clean and scrub more regularly than I actually do. Hehe!

It’s super easy to use, and you won’t even need to touch the toilet with your hands (unlike when you put the usual deodorizing rim blocks). All you need to do is load, stamp, and flush!

Here is a video on how to use Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs!

How to use Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs

Prepare a Food & Drinks Station

Usually, the main dining area and sala are the parts of the house where guests stay and talk to each other. In our case, the dinner table is even reserved for playing.

What I’ve noticed is that a lot of our friends stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Hours after dinner, most of them get hungry or thirsty. I set up a designated food & drinks station, which I refill every time we expect to have house guests. We have chips, biscuits, cookies, and nuts.

For the drinks station, you will always want to have tea and coffee. These are two things that friends usually ask for. 

Also, one of the problems that we had before (especially when you have five or more people in the house) was that glasses tend to get mixed up. You end up drinking from your friend’s glass or vice versa. Sometimes, either one will just suggest that you both get new glasses.

Prepare Music

People underestimate the value of playing music. Good music keeps everyone in a good mood. When we have guests, we make it a point that we have music that matches what we’re doing. We have Spotify and a speaker ready all the time.

When we play, we even have matching sounds for whatever theme we’re playing — a sci-fi playlist for when games have space themes, scary music when we’re playing a horror-themed game, etc.

These are the three things to consider prepping for when you are expecting house guests. If you have other tips, feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me!

Enjoy!