When I was younger, I was guilty of abusing my skin. Seriously. I would not care to put on sunscreen, and immediately bask in the sun during beach trips. I wouldn’t care if my skin was dry and scaly. I wouldn’t care if during some months, I would break out, too. My face would be incredibly filled with pimples.

But now, I know better. I am more sensitive to what my skin needs, and I have researched a lot of ways to keep it looking fresh and fab. Not a lot of people consider me as a beauty blogger (since I don’t really blog about make-up that often), but I am a skin care addict! haha! My friends know this fact.

I would spend time researching about products that I’d love to try out. I even have a notebook with a long list of the products that I intend to use and experiment with later on (three pages long! Yup!).

So when I heard about Eau Thermale Avene, I really wanted to try it out and see for myself if the product works.

Why I wanted to try Eau Thermale Avene?

I wanted to try Eau Thermale Avene for the following scenarios:

When I walk to work, I always feel sticky after. The weather is humid at times that using Eau Thermale Avene is just what I need.

I go to the gym, too (just recently) and using this product after I workout is a great pick-me-upper. I love how fresh I feel after.

I always get red skin after a session of threading or waxing. The spray helps soothes the pain and helps with the redness and inflammation.

I also use it also just before applying make up!

More about Eau Thermale Avene

  • Originated from the mountains of Cevennes in France
  • It is non-irritant and has soothing properties
  • It has the lowest mineral content on the market and neutral pH7.5 to maintain a perfect balance of the skin
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic
  • Suited for all types of skin, even sensitive skin

So to use the product, spray the mist onto the skin. Leave for 2 to 3 minutes then gently pat dry.

I was impressed with the Eau Thermale from Avene that I also tried the other products.

In the evening, I use the Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum followed by the Hydrance Aqua Cream-in-Gel (Yup, I’m a “layers” kinda gal when it comes to skin care). The Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum contains a patented Cohederm that is a lipidic trio that helps restore coheive skin barriers and prevent water loss. It contains hydration-boostin microspheres that gradually release Avene Thermal spring water and Cohederm to keep the skin replenished at all times. I noticed that this works well for people with dry parts of the skin, like the side of the nose (I told my husband to try it out… hehe!)

In the mornings, I would use the Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum followed by Hydrance Light Emulsion. Since I didn’t want to put on too many layers of products in the morning.

Overall, Avene products are perfect for people with sensitive skin and for those who just want a simple skin care regimen that they can follow. For me, it’s beauty is in its simplicity.

Try the products out and let me know what you think!

There has been much talk about whether parents should let their kids play with gadgets. I’ve come across millions of articles when I searched kids and gadgets Philippines. Some of these are…

Noemi’s column: https://www.manilatimes.net/2018/07/29/business/columnists-business/are-digital-gadgets-good-for-our-kids/424235/

The Asian Parent’s Article: https://ph.theasianparent.com/being-smart-about-kids-and-gadgets

GMA’s feature: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/scitech/technology/657754/experts-warn-parents-gadgets-expose-children-to-cyber-risks/story/

I read these and some other articles, and this topic now becomes one of the most difficult conundrums for the parents.

Our personal belief when it comes to using gadgets is to limit screen time. Ever since she was 3 years old, she was exposed to playing with games on her iPad. She was never the type who would freak out when we take her gadgets away from her. When we would tell her to stop, she would.

She would then grab and read a book, or play with blocks, pillows, dolls or toys within her reach.

Being in the tech industry, too, we know that there are some games and applications that can help enhance creativity. We also play with her while she’s playing these games (usually Minecraft and Roblox). This way, we can monitor and see what she’s up to since we’re in the same game (we see who she’s chatting with, etc.). We know she’s a digital native, and later on, knowing how to use technology will be as natural as using a spoon and fork for her and her peers. We don’t want to stop her, too, from understanding how things work. We do our best though to guide her (teach her about privacy, etc.).

I was curious to find out what other moms think about this topic. Here are some of the replies.

Mommy Berlin Domingo

Mommy Berlin is the mommy of five boys (Gabriel, Miguel, Daniel, Yael, and Samuel). Follow her at https://momiberlin.com and FB, Twitter, and IG: @momiberlin

Do your kids have personal tech devices?
Yes, they have their own devices. They have a laptop which they use at school but the mobile phone, they have to surrender to me on weekdays.

Do you think we should keep gadgets away from kids?
Yes, during school time and before bedtime to lessen temptation to use.

How do you limit the use of gadgets?
Mobile phones are with me on weekdays and they can have it on Friday after class until Sunday before bedtime. At home, Saturday is help day and after all the cleaning and errands, they can have their mobile phone and laptop with them.

Mommy Ley Reinares – Almeda

Mommy Ley is the mommy of Addy (10), Arriana (3Y) and Amanda (almost 2Y). Follow her at www.leyalmeda.com and Instagram: Instagram.com/mommyplannerley

Do your kids have personal tech devices?
Addy at 10 and in Grade 5 has no Cellphone. When I asked if he wants a cellphone, iPad or laptop, he answered that he wanted a laptop, so he can do his projects and research at home without waiting for me.

Do you think we should keep gadgets away from kids?
Yes! But it depends on the kids personality pa din. All of my 3 kids naman practice less screen time.

How do you limit the use of gadgets?

With Addy, since I was a single mom, it was hard. So talaga Disney sya; plus, I was a first time mom. When he was 2, I would notice that he kept on blinking his eye, so I stopped him from watching TV and using the iPad.

So with, Arriana, I decided na no gadget talaga until 2 years old. I was homeschooling Addy at that time, so I make sure to include Arriana with the activities. We have a messy house but it means quality time with them while learning. We have iPads at home and a nintendo switch, but even during weekends, they don’t clamor to use them.

They want to play outside instead. Addy on the other hand became interested with sports, particularly basketball. Since he was 3, he’s has been training (not formally thou). My husband taught him. Arriana naman was exposed to arts as early as 6 months.

When Amanda came it was easier! We dont turned on our TV na nga. And of course, we lead by example. We limit the use of cp when we are all together. It is a big factor talaga. Its easy to raise multiple kids when you have a good role model as they mirror eh. So now, the 2 girls copy Kuya Addy.

Mommy Donna Donor

Mommy Donna is the mommy of Kib (13YO). Follow her at www.donnaandkib.com and Facebook www.facebook.com/donnaandkib

Do your kids have personal tech devices?
Yes, he does.

Do you think we should keep gadgets away from kids?
Yes, because they tend to be disctracted and ignore things around them. It causes hearing problem (pag tinawag mo, hindi sasagot.. haha!).

How do you limit the use of gadgets?
He can only have gadget privileges when he is done with all his daily tasks.

Mommy Ciara Magallanes

Mommy Ciara is the mommy of Olivia (1YO). Follow her at www.mommydiaries.co , Facebook https://facebook.com/MommyDiariesPH and Instagram: https://instagram.com/ciaramagallanes

Do your kids have personal tech devices?
No. my kid doesn’t have one.

Do you think we should keep gadgets away from kids?
Studies show that excessive use of gadgets has negative effects on kids such as impaired learning development, delay in speech development, attention span is shorter, and less socialization to name a few. So we really limit the use of gadgets. Most of the days, no gadgets at all talaga. But in times of desperation haha or whenever I need some breather, I’d allow her some screen time but it is limited to 30 minutes a day only.

How do you limit the use of gadgets?
He can only have gadget privileges when he is done with all his daily tasks.

We are advocates of actual play. Kids learn through play. In fact, we conceptualized this what we like to call P.L.A.Y. formula for kids to reach their optimum potential. This stands for Pretend Play. Limitless. Adapt. Yipee.

All this are about letting kids explore the World. They are pint-sized scientists, and they love to experiment to learn how things work. Their potential is limitless!

Mealtime Confessions

In our household, one of the things that we are strict with is that we don’t allow gadgets during mealtimes. Zeeka can only use her iPad again after eating. And admittedly, getting her to focus on having a meal with us was hard at first.

We looked at what would make her or kids interested in eating a meal together with us or their parents and we noticed that kids who love eating and conversing had a FUN time with their parents. Everyone at the table was engaged in a conversation, because everyone was PRESENT (no thoughts drifting to finishing work stuff, etc.).

We also need to do our part as parents to make kids interested with things offline as much as they are interested with things online.

Today, I’m sharing a video that we (The Arboledas) shot during one of our dinners. It’s called Mealtime Confessions. We were inspired by the videos that featured real conversations over dinner (like the one of Chuckie and Ella): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ysMe-C1DwI

Hope you like it!

We invite you talk to your kids during mealtimes. You can also do your own version of #MealtimeConfessions.

What our children need more than the material things that we give is our love and attention. Let’s give them that 🙂

Are you familiar with what HMOs are? Healthcare Maintenance Organization or HMOs are organizations that provides or arranges managed care for individuals or employers at a fixed fee / premium or prepaid contract. For the entirety of my “employed” life, I think I always had a health card from an HMO provider.  

The best provider that I encountered so far (I think I have experienced 2-3 providers) was Maxicare. This was the HMO that my dad dealt with to give health cards to the employees of the family business. 

I wanted to get a health card when I resigned from my corporate job last 2012. so the first thing that came to mind was to get from Maxicare. I heard from my friends and family that Maxicare’s services were expensive. This perception of the product stopped me from researching about it, and since I started becoming busy with my business, getting an HMO card became least of my priorities.

My family then would get occasional colds and cough, nothing that worrisome though. So I continued living like this, comforted by the fact that no grave disease or serious illness will fall upon any of us in the family. I also thought that I would always have enough, so I could just pay for any hospitalization or medicines that we would eventually need.

In 2018, Zeeka, my daughter had her first episode of benign febrile convulsions. For kids who are younger than 7, our pedia mentioned that they are prone to have convulsions when their fever reaches 38 degrees celsius. The child will then have convulsions and will have to be monitored constantly until temperature drops. Zeeka was confined for 7 days twice that year. Since we didn’t have HMO, we had to pay Php 75,000 for 7 days of confinement. We had to dip into our savings and these health issues really hit our finances hard.

I started scouting for a Healthcare Maintenance Organization or HMO that I can trust. During my research, I came across the brand that I was initially curious about, Maxicare, and went to the Maxicare Philippines website.

When I checked out their products, I was surprised to see a plethora of products and services that would suit one’s needs. And hey, it wasn’t that expensive at all. 

For those considering which HMO to go with, here are the top three things that made me decide to go with Maxicare Philippines!

I want to go with an established HMO!

Do you really want to worry about service when you’re sick and rushing to the ER? With Maxicare, they have 30 years of solid healthcare expertise. With this, I’m assuming that in terms of service and internal processes (haha! I sound so nerdy here!), they’ve encountered all kinds or concerns and inquiries from their members. They have more than 1000 accredited clinics and hospitals and they have more than 56000 doctors and specialists nationwide (more than 18000 warm bodies). 

I want to go with an HMO that really understands my needs!

If you go through their products and services, they have full HMO products and they have prepaid products that suit your needs! I really just wanted to enumerat these here but I will try to explain them in succeeding posts.

Full HMO / Full Risk Products

  • My Maxicare: For individuals and Families
  • Maxicare Starter Plan: For Businesses with 3 to 99 employees (Best for start-ups like Taxumo!)
  • Maxicare Plus: For Businesses with 10 to 99 employees
Check out other Maxicare products here:
https://www.maxicare.com.ph/healthcare-program-for-me-and-my-family/

Prepaid Products

  • My Maxicare LITE: A prepaid health card which provides one-time Confinement coverage for eight (8) identified illnesses (Including Dengue!)
  • Maxicare EReady: A prepaid health card which provides a one-time coverage for Emergency related cases
  • Maxicare PRIMA: Maxicare has what they call Primary Care Centers (PCC) and PRIMA offers unlimited Outpatient Consultations, and availment of laboratory and diagnostic procedures in these PCCs.

I want to go with a company who innovates!

Yup, this is actually important for me. I want to know my balance or whatever credits I have availed from my plan. With Maxicare, they have a member gateway that contains the member info, the availments, emergency contact, Online Letter of Authority or LOA Request (print online; available for 3 days after printing), etc. You’ll also see that Maxicare always tries to improve their products and services.

So that’s it… these are the things that made me avail of Maxicare’s services. I’ll be writing more blog posts and posting more information on social media about Maxicare and its products and services, since health and “outbreaks” have been constantly talked about.

Feel free to comment on the section below for anything that you want to know!

*Full Disclosure: We were impressed with what Maxicare offers! Hubby and I decided to become agents! If you need help deciphering which of these you need, you can comment below and I can get back to you. You can also message me on my Facebook page. 🙂

For prepaid cards, head over to the Maxicare store: https://shop.maxicare.com.ph/ Please type gingerarboleda as your agent 🙂 Thank you!

Dear Life,

It’s been 39 years of both exhilarating and boring moments.

Even with the boring and the not-so-great moments, you’ve wheedled your way into making me love you more with the charm of true love, the excitement of a new born child, the thrill of building businesses and the passion for writing and blogging.

First of all, I thank you for introducing me to a jocular and charming man. To be honest, EJ was not quite whom I expected to end up with for a life partner. You always had me end up with the “brute” and not the “brains” (no offense to my ex’s whom I am all friends with…). After months of getting to know him though, I knew he was THE ONE.

Me with my silly husband, EJ 🙂

And after several years of marriage, I still think him to be the man who inspires me to be the best that I can be. I love how smart and funny he is. I’m such an intense person that I thank you for giving me someone who’s more chill. Let not his “chillness” be mistaken for lack of drive. He is the most driven person I know with great leadership skills. I really admire and respect him. He’s a great father and a great leader. He could challenge me at anything, and there never is a dull moment with him. I am grateful for showing me the path that led to him.

The next thing that made me love you more is the minute I laid eyes on this feisty little baby, who could not be swaddled. Looking into Zeeka’s eyes makes me think that I have nothing to worry about. She has the confidence, the values, the inquisitiveness and curiosity, the drive and the attitude to take on the world by storm.

Sweet Little Zeeka and Moi!

She’s so sweet and loving that sometimes I wonder “what did I do to deserve such an amazing little girl?”. Life, I am so proud of her and this is something that I know I will be for the rest of years and decades together.

Life, you made me love you more when you introduced me to my purpose. My purpose of helping other business owners and freelancers introduced itself to me like an effulgent sun. Everything was clearer. I knew and know exactly where I want to be in the future.

With these businesses, you tested my values, grit, tenacity and perseverance. You also taught me to be a guide for different people from different walks of life who make up teams I love so dearly (#TeamManilaWorkshops and #TeamTaxumo). Yes, there were moments when I wanted to give up (several and too many to count) but you always showed me the reason why I shouldn’t. With these endeavors also, you introduced me to amazing people who are continuously helping me make the world a better place. You introduced me to a lot of amazing partners and new friends whom I know I will cherish for life.

Last but not the least (and definitely not the last reason why I love you more, Life), thank you for making me discover blogging more than a decade ago. Thank you for introducing me to something that I really enjoy doing. Writing is a break from everything. It’s what I love doing for my ME-time.

Me writing down outlines and ideas for my blogs before writing on the laptop… yup, old skool! hehe!

This is where I could express myself. Thank you for introducing me to this tool where I can share my thoughts, experiences and views on mompreneurship, women in the workplace, parenting, business, taxation, productivity, finance, beauty, etc.

There are so many more reasons why I love you so much more than I did before, Life. And as I enter this 39th year of being with you, all I wish is that you continue to be patient with me and stick with me as I have so much more that I want to do!

Make me love you more!

Love,

If you take a peek into my life, you’ll find out that it’s so… “full”. I can’t seem to find the right adjective. Full seems to be the closest to describe what my life is.

Everyday, I race (sometime literally run) from one meeting to another. I successfully meet deadlines for the things that I have to write about. At the same time, I need go through stuff for Taxumo and Manila Workshops that need my attention. To add to that, I need to check if Zeeka (daughter) has assignments and quizzes that she needs to study for.

My “full” table with my new Air Optix Colors Colored Contact Lenses

Even with the things that I have to accomplish, I always take time out to relax and do things that I love to do.

One of the things that you can do is to go and stay for a while in a place where you feel relaxed. What we do is we go on a staycation and stay in a hotel over the weekend. You don’t necessarily need to go on a staycation. Staying in a quiet cafe, sitting in a hotel lounge or hanging out by a pool can be enough of a change of scenery.

The other thing that I like doing when I feel stressed is doing new things! haha! I try new restaurants and dishes. I go to new malls or stores. I sometimes suddenly dye my hair to another color or buy clothes I wouldn’t normally choose (since I’m not really your fashionista friend.. haha!). I also try out new gyms, learn new things, read new books or play new mobile rpg games or boardgames.

Recently, to destress, I wanted to try out a new look. I always wanted to try colored contact lenses! For the full 38 years of my life and the 23 years of which I wore contact lenses, I have never ever tried colored contact lenses. I was always intrigued by them though!

Having gone through eye injuries before, it made me very careful in choosing the kind of contact lenses to use. Alcon is a brand that I trust and they have a brand called Air Optix. Air Optix is called such because it has a technology that makes it breathable contact lenses. Air Optix Colors and the other Air Optix products are made with a highly breathable material that allows nourishing oxygen to flow through the lens so your eyes stay comfortable and fresh all day.

Yours truly wearing Air Optix Colors in Honey

Me not wearing Air Optix Colors

Me wearing Air Optix Colors!

I finally got to try the Air Optix Colors in Honey! At first, it felt weird to be able to see the contact lenses as you put it on. I was so used to transparent ones… ones that sometime fall from the palm of your hands because you can’t see them (BTW, I use Dailies Contact Lenses… also from Alcon). haha!

When I used them, I could immediately see the difference. I felt so polished, even if I was in an ordinary shirt and loose pants! Feeling ko bigla akong gumanda! I felt like even if you didn’t have make up on, people would just look at you and stare at your eyes. haha!

I got Honey (color of my lenses), which looks natural and is close to the color of my eyes. I was thinking, if I feel this way with this new, natural color, imagine the confidence I would gain if I my eyes were blue or green! I actually can’t wait to try it.

What I like about it is that it’s easy to wear and it’s very comfortable, too. It’s a bit thicker than my Dailies contact lenses, but both feel light and comfortable. I actually used the contact when I went to the gym after!

So slight changes in your life, can be such “uppers” of mood. A slight change in the color of your eyes can make you see the world from lighter, more positive perspective. A slight change in the way you look can make you more confident and ready-to-face the world again.

So in times when you feel stressed or lonely, just breathe a little.