Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Slooooow down

My husband keeps telling me now, "Say no to all meetings and events. Donya mode ka na from now on. You have to take care of yourself and the baby."

Yes, I'm about to give birth, and I dunno, maybe because I know my life will stand still na naman for at least 3 months so I'm trying to make siksik everything before my due date. It's around mid-July but I think Baby Chicken might come out sooner because my last ultrasound showed his head's at the ready position, and my tummy is hanging low now, at 34 weeks. Oh my!

So I'm distracted. Finalizing blog partner contracts, scheduling meetings with people like my new accountant, listing down stuff we still need to buy, to do, to clean. Argh! My two little boys are "not helping." Ohhh, I know that sounds horrible, and I do feel horrible, but there I am in the middle of sending emails and making calls and telling the maid to wash the baby clothes and sorting out stuff for the new baby, and there's Vito and Iñigo, saying, "Mama! Mama! Let's play! Come here! Read this! I want cookies! I want my bread hot!" and then I get nothing done and then I get really annoyed and then I just get frustrated and sad and I feel awful because my kids need me but I need to do other things as well. There's too many things that need my attention and there's only one of me and only 24 hours in a day.
They were supposed to be in bed but one complained he was hungry and then the other wanted to play. So cute!

Then I read this today:

Slow down, mummy, there is no need to rush,
Slow down, mummy, what is all the fuss?
Slow down, mummy, make yourself a cup of tea.
Slow down, mummy, come and spend some time with me.

Slow down, mummy, let's put our boots on and go out for a walk,
Let's kick at piles of leaves, and smile and laugh and talk.
Slow down, mummy, you look ever so tired,
Come sit and snuggle under the duvet and rest with me a while.

Slow down, mummy, those dirty dishes can wait,
Slow down, mummy, let's have some fun, let's bake a cake!
Slow down, mummy I know you work a lot,
But sometimes, mummy, it's nice when you just stop.

Sit with us a minute,
And listen to our day,
Spend a cherished moment,
Because our childhood is not here to stay.



Okay. Okay. Mama's slowing down. Mama's slowing down and focusing on you, Vito and Iñigo and sweet new baby boy we're so excited to meet!

*Poem by Rebekah Knight at https://www.facebook.com/slowdownmummy1

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Iñigo's happy 2nd birthday: a preview

My second son turned 2 two weeks ago and I still don't have the energy to write about his awesome party because I'm still tired from it! And it wasn't even a big party! I'm so pregnant and it's so hot kasi!

Anyway, let's just do a teaser today then. A little sneak peek at how fun our teeny tiny party was:

This was me making Iñigo's cake:


This is Iñigo doing... I really don't know what he was doing haha while his brother and guests were wrestling:

This is when the boys went crazy:

Here's the video of that:


Sobrang gulo. Sobrang saya! Sobrang nakakaloka!

I'll blog about Iñigo's super fun kiddie party soonest!!! Meanwhile, enjoy the weekend, mommies!

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Super loving SMART's international roaming services

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

Ah, the end of summer! Where did you go this summer? I didn't go anywhere because I'm just waiting to pop out my baby. Still, I can't wait to go traveling again! It's always fun traveling with my baby boys. Anyway, many of my friends are still not done with their international trips. That's not surprising since summer for countries in the upper northern hemisphere (like the US, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, UK, et al) starts in June, so lots of people schedule their trips from June to August.

Here's a tip from me and my blog sponsor, SMART: Get SMART's international roaming service. Before I made the switch to SMART, I kept my phone off when I was abroad. My first ever international trip was to London and I was alone. So before I slept at night, I'd give Vince a brief call. Hardly no texts ever and no Internet ever. Halfway through my trip, I was informed by my service provider that I have exceeded my credit and my line was cut. I freaked out. When I got home, I got the bill and it was huge! I hardly used my phone service! Crazy. That's why I always kept my phone off whenever I traveled.

But when I switched to SMART late last year (just in time for our family trip to Hong Kong Disneyland!), I was finally able to use my phone! For example, I shared with my followers this funny video of Vito:




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shopping for breastfeeding clothes on Elin

I'm officially 32 weeks, which means I am 8 months pregnant! Ohhhh, I can't wait to meet the little guy.

Vince and I are busy preparing the house for the new baby. Vince set up the crib and made space in a closet for the baby's clothes. We've given away tons of stuff just to make space but we still need more space! I've taken out of storage the very few baby clothes and blankets we kept from our first two boys and had them washed. The new ones, too. I'm so grateful for the new baby clothes that the sweetest people are sending to our home. We're slowly getting ready and I'm super happy that people I've never met are so kind and loving to send wonderful things for Baby Chicken. What else? I still need to buy bottles and sterilize the breast pump and milk storage containers. Oh, I need to take out my nursing clothes, too!

Sigh. It's so nice that Iñigo weaned on his own just this March, when he was 22 months old. I was afraid he'd go on forever. I'm so happy he just decided to stop nursing one day. I can now have my body back for just a few months before the third baby claims it. Hooray!

I'm already looking at new breastfeeding clothes from Elin. These are my favorites:
Stella P1450. I love both maxi dresses! Love the colors. I love that the cinch at the waist makes a post-preggy body look more shapely. And I love that they don't look like breastfeeding clothes, too.

Maggie P1250. Again, I like the cinched waist. But I need to fit it first to make sure the bunched up material won't make my tummy look bigger!

Cecilia P995. I already have this in gray! The blue one looks cute, too. I have variations of this design from other brands. It's a classic! But I like how Elin's take is made of lighter, softer cloth. Makes sense in this terrible heat.

Ellie P695. Super cute top! For when I can wear jeans again! Or a full skirt. I love the pale lilac. This will look amazing with my pearls!

For more nursing tops and dresses, check out Elin.ph!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pahinga muna sa sponsored posts with this message

Now that I'm a full-time blogger, people ask me all the time how to get featured on my blogs, Topaz Horizon and Topaz Mommy. I'm lucky to have regular sponsored posts coming my way. If it were not for them, I won't be able to enjoy my current status of earning while being with my kids 24/7. Anyway, I welcome sponsored posts and, though I'm not pa-importante, I do have some criteria:

I'm mapili with brands I work with. The brand must be something I use or believe in, for starters. I'm okay with posting announcements and press releases and doing event coverage for free as long as the brand is aligned with my blogs and who I am (and if I have no kwento haha kasi ngayon na nasa bahay na ako palagi, it's not like my life is SO EXCITING!).

Helping promote Pampers sound sleep campaign

But if hindi ko type ang tono ng email, I say no. If the email starts with "Dear blogger/mom blogger/webmaster" and "To whom it may concern," I say no. If demanding si brand/PR ("Tell your readers to like/follow us, use all these hashtags and keywords, we want X number of posts plus social media campaign") at ang daming pinapagawa tapos "Thanks!" lang ang kapalit, I say no. I write well and I do spend time and effort, plus blogging time means time away from my kids so I do expect to be compensated. But that doesn't mean mukhang pera ako. For example, I can't resist small businesses, especially if they're run by mommies of small kids. Kahit walang bayad ang Ni-QUA and Elin sa akin, because natuwa ako sa mommy at sa business nila, game ako. Yes, even if I don't even use the product just as long as I believe in it, I support mompreneurs! Well, not ALL mompreneurs but basta bottom line pa rin is if I don't use/like/believe in the brand, it's really a no.

Being makulit with fellow Sangobion brand ambassador Cheska Garcia-Kramer

You know, I wish I could say yes to every proposal sent my way. If I did, mayaman na siguro ako. Kung pera lang ang criterion talaga, go lang nang go! But sa lagay, hindi pa rin ganon kalaki ang kita ko from blogging dahil feel na feel ko yang integrity ko!

I've heard that my being mapili has been misconstrued. You know, I'd rather be called a snob than be accused of compromising my integrity. Kasi in the end, my blogs reflect who I am and if it comes out na snob ako, well, kung ganyan kayo mag-isip eh di ganyan kayo mag-isip. Okay lang, kasi may pagka-maarte naman talaga ako minsan haha. Pero hindi ako fake at hindi ako sinungaling. Itaga niyo sa bato yan.

A video I did for NIVEA Baby's CSR efforts to help Fabella Hospital

Blogs are so tricky. Nung nasa magazines ako, tanggap lang nang tanggap kasi pera yun para sa company. So kahit na hindi bagay ang toilet cleaner and fungus medication sa glamorous Hollywood magazine, okay lang, i-feature asap! But blogs are an extension of the blogger. I seriously believe no amount of money should buy a blogger's integrity.

But I also won't judge bloggers who do it for the money. Hindi ko ever ma-gets yung mga blogger diyan na kung maka-judge ng mga bloggers who earn from their blogs, akala mo they poop gold dahil hindi raw for sale ang opinions nila. Well, good for you. Some of us need to make money, you know. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed. My opinion is never for sale, either. Nakahanap lang ako ng paraan para kumita ng pera in a clean and decent way. So to each his own. I live and let live and enjoy blogging!

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

#ThankYouBaby for creating me!

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

I'm still on a Mother's Day high. And on an Iñigo's second birthday high. Mostly because this past week, gifts from brands arrived for both of us (thanks so much, everyone!) and so the celebration was extended.
My flowers dried beautifully. Now I can keep them forever.
I love this Mother's Day. It's different because this is the first year the flowers came from my sons. Of course it was Vince who actually came up with the idea and bought me my beautiful bouquet but this year, the boys went with him to the flower shop, and they all surprised me, and the little boys were so giddy at the secret they had to keep and they were thrilled at my pleasure.

I love being a mommy really. Sure there are days when I just feel like we've been fighting with the kids all day long (and they seem to be winning more often now). Sure I get tired and spent from all the loving and trying to be the grown-up. But there is never a day that I wish I wasn't a mommy. Every single day, even the difficult days, I am grateful.

I'm not going to bore you with the ways motherhood has changed me profoundly. You know, the things like "I never thought I could love like this" change since I think this is a universal experience for all of us mothers. Let me just share with you how motherhood has changed me in the most surprising ways:

Thanks to my Vito, Iñigo and Baby Chicken...

I am now more beautiful than I ever thought I could be. I love my body. I love how it made my babies. I love how it gave birth so easily. I love how I was so good with the pain of childbirth (the pain of migraines and breastfeeding is worse!). I love how I healed so quickly. I love how my body snapped right back even as it bore stretch marks and scars and bigger hips and wider feet. I love how powerful I feel knowing I have created life and how tender I feel knowing I can nurture life. I finally believe I am beautiful on the outside and in the inside, too!

I became a better lover to my husband. Must be that confidence mentioned above. It's just ironic that now that my body is imperfect, I love it more. Also, because we have such a difficult time finding the time to do it, sex took on a thrill, not unlike hiding from your parents but this time, we're hiding from our kids! Seriously, though, we don't have sex as often as we'd like so we make up for it when we actually do do it. Quality over quantity, I say, and this has done wonders to our marriage!

Friday, May 16, 2014

HOLA! magazine celebrates my favorite royal mommy


Presenting Kate Middleton, more famous now for her official moniker, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William and mother of Prince George. That makes her a very important royal since she's married to an heir and is the mommy of another heir!

I like her because she's not like me. I'm all sorts of awkward and loud plus I suffer from constantly spilling my guts all over myself. She's discreet, patient, graceful, athletic, funny, compassionate, tall, stylish, and she does an amazing job of getting her way without antagonizing the status quo. How she can stand all the pressure and criticism and be as gracious and unperturbed by it all is beyond me. She's my peg!

So imagine how thrilled I was when HOLA! Philippines asked me to write this month's cover story on Duchess Kate!

This is one of the easiest articles I've ever done, mostly because I enjoyed doing it. Plus, since I follow Kate (yes, I'm a fan!), the subject wasn't so alien to me. It was like being asked to eat candy!

Grab this month's issue of HOLA! Philippines! Happy Mother's Month!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Sangobion wants mommies to love themselves!

This post is brought to you by Sangobion.

I started writing this as Mother's Day drew to a close. All day yesterday, my Facebook and Instagram were filled with photos of moms. It was fascinating looking at everyone's mommies and then reading what made them special. Usually the tribute talked of their mothers undergoing a huge amount of sacrifice and giving up of one's self to make their children happy.

As a mom, I understand this. As a daughter, I wish my mother—who passed away more than five years ago—had enjoyed life just a bit more. Even when I asked her to go shopping with me or get a massage or just eat out, she was plagued by guilt and her endless to-do list. There was always someone to take care of, errands to run, bills to pay, chores to do, and everything to clean. I still wish she had set aside the guilt and the duties that haunt all mommies and enjoyed being a mommy, even maybe a day of every week, or an hour of every day.

So I promised myself that I'm going to be a relaxed mom who loves the mommy life. But as I confessed in a brutally honest and sad post a few weeks ago, as my children and responsibilities add up, so does my stress. I was allowing myself to be drowned in the duties. I was forgetting to see the joys of being a mommy to my utterly adorable children!

This was what we talked about at Sangobion's Go Love Life event last week. Just like me, Sangobion believes that moms need to take extra TLC of themselves so that they can be at their best for their families. It's very hard to give and give and give when we are running on empty, mommies!

Sangobion is an organic iron supplement that's also full of multivitamins and minerals. It's aimed at mommies because moms are so busy taking care of others they forget to take care of themselves (but anyone can take Sangobion, men especially because men need more iron than women!). Taking Sangobion every day is a simple way of caring for our bodies—the organic iron helps keep our blood healthy, our immune system strong, our minds alert, and our skin glowing and pretty. When we're at our best, we can give our best!

The stage all lit up in pink and red!
Lots of media people attended the event.
We all indulged in the red velvet cupcakes and healthy food at the Makati Shangri-la buffet.
Just some of the mommies who promised to Go Love Life!
Can you find me?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The real reason why mothers are happy on Mother's Day

It's not because you love us. It's because we love you!


Today was Iñigo's birthday. We had so much fun! We gave him two major gifts so he was so excited and happy.
We had a cake, and then the brothers started fighting over one gift, and there was a lot of shouting and crying and pushing and wrestling to the ground and biting, and then there was hugs and apologies and kisses and love. So it was a special day and an ordinary day in many ways. I wouldn't want it any other way!

My kids make me tired and excited, exasperated and thrilled, angry and moved, funny and serious, faithful and afraid. My kids make me truly alive because they allow me the privilege of loving them. So my Mother's Day is a happy day because I am blessed to have kids to love.

Happy Mother's Day to us all!

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

SMART partners with Uber for Mother's Day!

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

I love using Uber car service. It's what makes my life as a work-at-home mom possible. I don't drive, you see, so I need to commute. But because of all the scary taxi stories, I'm scared to take cabs. I was okay to use the MRT and the buses but since becoming pregnant, I don't really want to run after buses, squeeze myself in the train, and get exposed to germs especially with all the measles outbreak. So Uber's been the amazing solution!

Uber: Topaz Mommy approved!

Now, I'm happy to announce that SMART, generous sponsor of Topaz Mommy, has partnered with Uber to make mommies feel extra special this Mother’s Day with Uber Loves Moms!

Uber Loves Moms is the first ever Uber On-Demand service in the Philippines! This Sunday, May 11, with a push of a button, Uber will deliver a special gift basket full of wonderful goodies directly to your loving mom (or you can make your husband read this so he can send the goodies to you!). Don’t spend time running around looking for a present this year, let the present come to you! Uber and SMART will do all the heavy-lifting! Hooray!

How it works:

1: Open the Uber app on Mother’s Day, May 11th
2: Between 9am – 8pm, select the “uberMOM” option
3: Using the map, pin the exact location where you want your gift basket delivered
4: Watch live as our "Hearts" deliver your gift basket to your mom within minutes
5: Please keep in mind, availability will be limited so good luck!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Big hearts

After lunch today, Vito was calling his Papa, who was locked up in the bedroom, writing. Vito wanted to play even though he knew that after lunch is his father's work time. So I went over to play with him and he said, "Not you, Mama. I don't want you."

"I know, baby, but you also know that Papa's working so it'll have to be me."

"But I don't want you here," he puffed, annoyed. "Only Papa."

"Oh," I said.

He saw me standing there awkwardly and then he sighed almost sadly. He put down his toy, went up to me, pulled me down to him, and put his hand on my shoulder. "Mama, I love you but I love Papa more. Are you okay?"

And funnily enough, as my heart swelled to see the great love my son had for his father, I realized that I was telling the truth when I replied, "Yes, that's okay. I'm very okay with that."

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Iñigo's turning 2!

And that is why Topaz Mommy hasn't been updating! The mommy me has been very busy. Our little boy is going to be 2 years old this Sunday. Proud papa Vince has been giving Iñigo a gift every day this week (we did the same to Vito when he turned 2 so we have to do it to Iñigo, too!). He's such a sweet, funny, naughty little boy, our Iñigo. Just one of the very best things that ever happened to us!

Anyway, we're throwing him a little birthday party with the neighborhood kids. As usual with our family, we're just keeping the party tiny and simple. But this time, I'm so excited because we're trying out Eats Happy party food service. Eats Happy is a baby of Almost Gourmet. Remember Almost Gourmet? I got them to prepare the food for Vito's first and second birthday parties because their food is super yummy and generous and not expensive. So I was so thrilled when I found out that they are doing kiddie treats now!

We haven't decided where to buy a cake. Malamang we'll get from Red Ribbon, the simple chocolate one, nothing fancy or specially ordered. So we'll just get a simple cake, let the boys decorate it with candy sprinkles and M&Ms, then we bought a Lightning McQueen cake topper from eBay. Yes, Lightning McQueen! Iñigo's just as crazy about Cars as Vito was so I'm hunting for the highway I made for Vito's party and recycling it for Iñigo's party. If I find it. I have a sinking feeling I already threw it away!

Let's see. What else? What else? The usual party decorations from Celebrations Party Central are out and we'll put them up tomorrow, although Iñigo already saw them this morning and he got so excited. I took out my paper bags that I bought years ago from Paper Chic Studio and I'll be stuffing them with goodies for the little guests tomorrow night. That's about it, I guess. Simple, hassle-free, fun. Just like me!

Anyway, we celebrated Mother's Day on Wednesday with a lovely lunch of steak and tempura and oysters because this weekend is going to be all about Iñigo. I'll tell you all about Iñigo's birthday party next week! Happy Mother's Day, mommies! Mwah!

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Because it's May 4

We got the kids light sabers from Tokyo.

(Thanks so much, Kristine, for buying them and bringing them back here!)

The boys are so happy! They can't stop playing with the light sabers!


And here's the best part:


May the Force be with you all!

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