Sunday, September 28, 2014

Physiogel wants women to be free in their skin

This post is brought to you by Physiogel.

I don't know if you've seen the new Physiogel commercial starring model Patti Grandridge. It's been making the rounds on YouTube videos, you know, the ad that comes before the real video you wanted to watch is played. Here it is:



I like how honest she is. You know me—Little Mrs Honesty! I'm glad that she confessed that perfection is actually harming us women. Especially me, now, as a mom and all these mom bloggers are coming out and the homes and dishes and children they're parading are all perfect. For a while there, I wanted to be that perfect, too. To my amazement, my own blog readers tell me I'm perfect! Which strikes me as crazy because every single day, I feel like I'm failing. It's everything from my hair and skin not looking their best to managing my household and how I treat my kids. And to be seen as "perfect" (whatever that means!) is also stress-inducing because there's pressure to keep up appearances.

Finally, I just told myself (okay, I still keep telling myself!) that it's okay not to be perfect and to not be affected by other people's perception and expectation of perfection. Otherwise, I'll feel trapped by what people expect of me as a mother, a homemaker and a woman. And really, who wants to feel trapped? That's no way to live!

And that's where Physiogel's new campaign, the #FreeInMySkin Movement, comes in.

Here's Patti Grandridge again. In real life, she looks delicate. Very fine-boned and, well, perfect. I could hardly believe that this is the girl in the video talking about feeling insecure because of her dry, itchy and sensitive skin. I guess we really all go through self-doubt.

In my case, I am more insecure now as a wife and mother than I was when I was single and childless. I've never really felt insecure because I didn't care what people thought. So even though I knew my acne-ridden face was bad, my dry skin made my legs scaly, and my clothes were cheap, I showed up where and when I was needed and advanced in career and life. Despite what I looked like or what I lacked, I didn't want anything to hold me back.

Then I got married and I worried. I worry about my looks, how I want to be more beautiful than ever before, because I want my husband to not just love what I make him feel but also to appreciate what he sees. I worry about my rough skin and cracked heels because I want my husband to feel only soft and smooth skin when he touches me.

Then I had kids! So now of course I want my hands to be soft so that when I touch my babies, change their diapers, wash their bums, and hold their hands, their delicate skin won't be scratched by my roughness.

I want soft and smooth skin to touch my babies' soft and smooth skin! And you know what—and this isn't a sponsored opinion—since I started using Physiogel two weeks ago, grabe my skin is sooooo nice na!!! Like, my legs and butt and feet and elbows are so touchable!!! I don't feel insecure anymore. I'm free!!!

How about you? Did you have insecurities caused by not looking your best? Or because you didn't believe you were perfect? How did your perceived physical flaws hold you back? How did you overcome them?


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spending my birthday at Taal Vista Hotel!

For months now, I've been telling Celine Arenillo of Taal Vista that I'm definitely spending my birthday at the historic hotel. We love Taal Vista so much because it's from the olden days, when hotels were for vacations and the grounds were extensive, when hotel staff was courteous and gracious and discreet and ever so helpful. So Taal Vista has a certain glamour to it.

Oh, I'll admit it: We really just love the huge space because the kids can run, run, run!!!
This was July last year and Iñigo exercised his new running legs on the grounds of Taal Vista.
That's Vito climbing up and rolling down the hilly slopes.

Plus, it's beside Sky Ranch.
The highest wheel in the country!
The carousel. Always a magical ride.
The park's best attraction? The breathtaking view.

And the hotel really does have the best views of the famous volcano.

Vince and I have been talking about going back to Tagaytay for a while now but have been intimidated by the fact that we're now outnumbered by our kids! But let's see how traveling with three kids goes! We're super excited for my birthday celebration!

Meanwhile, get to celebrate your very own milestones, too, at Taal Vista Hotel! The iconic hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and they're offering Diamond Deals to everybody!!!

Room rates are discounted to start at just P5,000 a night, and that already includes breakfast for two! They're even throwing in P500 credit for the food and drinks at Café Veranda!


Everyone is also invited to check out the touring exhibit called, "Taal Vista Hotel: History and Heritage." The interactive multimedia exhibit curated by renowned cultural scholar and former National Museum director Corazon Alvina highlights the historical milestones, the superb service, and significant experiences in the 75 years of Taal Vista Hotel. It is currently touring select SM Malls from September 18 to October 29, so check if the SM mall nearest you has the exhibit. Why? Well, because special discounted Diamond Deals will also be offered! You can get P500 off weekend rates, complimentary upgrades on weekday bookings, and up to Php750 Food and Beverage credit at Café Veranda! Sulit! Book na! Kami, booked na and we're celebrating my 38th birthday in beautiful and historic Taal Vista Hotel!
      
For more information on Taal Vista's Diamond Deals and to reserve, please call (+632) 917-8225, (+6346) 413-1000 or (+63917) 809-1254. Their website [www.taalvistahotel.com] is also very nice. I think it got spruced up recently. You can also like their Facebook page [www.facebook.com/taalvistahotel) and follow the Twitter and Instagram feeds (@taalvistahotel). 

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Planning planners

It's mid-September and this means two things for me:
1. Must do my Christmas list!
2. Time to start shopping for planners.

Yep, even though there's computers and smart phones and iPads, I still rely on paper planners to plan my life.

I use the Moleskine Weekly Planner. It's super simple. It just has the yearly calendar, the monthly calendar, and then each week on the left side of the book and a lined page on the right. I use the monthly calendar to plot out my blog posts. I use the weekly page for my schedules, then I write my To Do list on the right side of the weekly page. Very simple. No bells and whistles.



But lately I've been looking for more. More blank pages for notes, ideas, gift lists. Pages for menu planning and grocery lists. Color, I want more color. And blank pages for doodles and photos of my kids. I'm a mommy now and I need to be more organized. The stark simplicity of the Moleskine just isn't working for me anymore. I've resorted to another notebook for meal planning, recipes and grocery lists. Another notebook for my magazine work and article assignments. Another notebook just for the blogs. Then I misplace a notebook and I dissolve into a messy pile of inactivity! I need one planner that can do everything for me!

So I saw this and was wowed!

Erin Condren Life Planner


Okay, maybe that's too much color. But I love that line: "Let's get things done so we can have more fun!" It's a fun planner, but maybe a little too fun. I may be busy but the Life Planner is way busier. I don't want to have a planner busier than me! It sure is pretty, though.

So let's look at the next planner...

Day Designer by Whitney English
This whole tableau is so me!


Soooo gorgeous!!! I love it! It's so elegant. It's also a lot expensive. Yikes.

Okay, let me just say I discovered the world of planner reviews last night and I watched and watched and watched till 3am. Crazy, right?! Just look at this one from Pretty Shiny Sparkly:


Filofax. That's so '90s! I didn't even know they still existed! I loved my Filofaxes!!!

Maybe I should make my own planner—blend in the simplicity of the Moleskine with the fun features of the Life Planner and then package it all with the elegance of the Day Designer. All for a much affordable price! Hmm, what a great idea! Would you like me to create a mommy planner??? The Topaz Mommy Planner. I love it!

How about you? What planner do you use? What features do you want in a planner? Do you bring your planner along everywhere? Do you have a planner for yourself, your family, your meals or do you have one planner to rule them all?

To shop:
Erin Condren Life Planner
Day Designer by Whitney English

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Making mom friends

Story of my mommy life!



I need mommy friends! Thank heavens for blogging. Most of my mom friends now I met through my blog. So I didn't have to, you know, drop a burp pad or a teether just to make a new friend!

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blogging in the time of babies

I read somewhere recently that parents shouldn't be allowed to divorce if they have kids under 5. It was a funny article, the author meant to be half-kidding, but I did see his point when he said that parents of young children are under extreme stress, with joyous emotional highs and crushing emotional lows. There's the sleepless nights, the constant vigilance, the no-sex life, the everyday struggles of figuring out what your non-verbal/not-so-verbal kids need, the pressure to provide and make ends meet, so on and so forth. He joked that anyone going through what parents of young children go through will complain that this is torture. It's easy to lose sight of your marriage, of anything actually, and so to make life-changing decisions during this time—whether it's leaving your spouse and kids to buying a house—should be deferred to when you can think clearly.

You know, I don't think I've heard myself think in the last few months, which makes blogging difficult. In fact, if it weren't for my blog sponsors, I think I'd have given up mom blogging. Some of my readers say they miss my brutally honest posts and some complain that my blog has been taken over by sponsors, but really there would be no Topaz Mommy anymore if I hadn't been forced to write creating content for my partners. I still put myself in my sponsored posts so believe me, I'm still honest. But I have consciously pulled back, hidden away. Mostly because I'm overwhelmed and I feel like if I blogged about what I'm going through, you'll start to think I'm unhappy! So I had to be careful!

Well, I'm poking my head out of my self-imposed "brutally honest blogging" exile today.

My silly boys 

I'm really having a hard time lately, moms. I think all I do is yell all day at my two older sons. They're constantly fighting, whining, bickering. And I'm constantly trying to mediate and reconcile. Our entire day is eaten up by this. It's driving us crazy! The yelling happens because when Vito and Iñigo are in the thick of killing each other, no sweet words or soothing tones or hugs and kisses can distract them. It's only shouting on top of their shouting that we get their attention. Am I proud of this? Am I okay with this solution? No and no. I've never hurt the boys. Not even to spank them. They may upset me but I don't think they'll upset me enough to actually make me physically hurt them (I hope!). I read once that a loving spanking is actually better than angry yelling. I've also read all the articles on the harm yelling does to kids. Well, ya know, I think I'll write an article about the harm yelling does to the parents, too. We feel upset and furious and emotionally drained, and then the guilt, oh the guilt! It crushes us. It robs us of the joy of being parents!

I don't want to blog about this. I don't want to put on the Internet what is (possibly, hopefully) just a temporary phase. And yet I feel like just blogging about how wonderful my kids are (and they truly are) is ignoring my reality. And my reality is this: I am tired. I am upset. I am guilty. I am afraid.

Naughty Iñigo! Poor Piero! Happy Vito! 

Of course, not all our days are so ugly. The boys can be best buddies, too. They are so smart and funny. They make us laugh. They make each other laugh. They dote on each other, they are affectionate to us. They are as heavenly as they are hellish! They can be a challenge, yes, but they are also absolutely our entire world! We may be struggling every single day to be better parents, to just even be good parents, but we love being parents to these amazing little boys.

I guess part of me wants to just put the joys of motherhood out of there and none of the pains of it. Not because I'm crafting an image for the world but because I want my kids to believe I've got it all together, you know? Like, when they're older and they can read and maybe understand, they'll see this blog and be amazed at me. "Wow," they'll marvel. "Mama was really hands-on with us. She never got upset with us even though we were so naughty. She was so loving and patient. She was so gentle and kind. She was so generous with her time. She devoted herself wholly to us. She is the best mother in the world!"

Sadly, I'm not. I don't think anyone can be the best mother in the world, but I want to be that best mother in the world for my kids. I'm so blessed to be given these beautiful and amazing little creatures and all I do is be upset with them.

My big-hearted boy, Vito.

Tonight, my babies are sleeping around me, their little bodies quiet save for the occasional snore and talking in their sleep. I kissed and kissed their soft and chubby cheeks, whispering my apologies for another day of failures.

They always forgive me, you know. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, that they'll punish me for being short with them. But they always hug and kiss me and say they're happy and that they love me. I know they still see the love that I really do have for them, despite all this stress of parenting. They never seem to take me seriously when I'm angry, you see. In fact, Vito acts like I'm the child having a tantrum! He's the one that breaks my heart with his kindness and magnanimity of tenderness and understanding. Iñigo, the naughty one, will not apologize for hitting his brother/stealing Vito's toys/etc, but he'll make things right by making cute faces and saying, "Mama, be happy. I'm happy!"
My fun-loving Iñigo.

And that's why it's so hard to blog now because I am happy. I am grateful. Under all the extreme stress of parenting young boys is the solid foundation of happiness. The stress may drive me crazy but the love and joy is what keeps us sane and going. So I want to blog with honesty but I also want my kids to know that when they were babies, their mama was just amazing. Full stop. No tears, no frustrations, no uncertainties, no fears, no anger, no guilt. Just a mommy who enjoyed every second of being their mother. I want that out there—that I'm happy, blessed, grateful, overjoyed. But that's what's underneath, for now. What's actually seen is something close to misery!

Well, I can't have my cake and eat it, too, right? I promised I'll always be real on this blog. I guess this means I'll also have to be just as honest to my kids. And maybe by being honest to everyone, my kids will see that some of the best things in life can actually be difficult, maybe even painful, but it's always so worth it.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Learn how to keep our babies safe!

The most difficult thing about being a parent is the fact that your heart no longer belongs to you. Little people hold it in their hands and all we want to do is protect them because if anything happens to them, our hearts will shatter and will never recover!

I blogged about my daily Prayer of Protection over my kids before. While we can do everything we can to make sure our kids are healthy and safe, we can't be there 24/7. Sometimes, even when we're around, accidents still happen. So I ask for God's protection over my kids first and foremost. But that doesn't mean I can just let life happen to my kids! I still have to do my part to make sure they're safe!

I know you mommies are the same! That's why I'm inviting you to educate yourself on the everyday dangers that our children may encounter and how we can protect them from these dangers. Babyland Baby Stores and Halo SleepSack Philippines bring us parents “Safety Zone.” This community charity event brings together all the trusted brands that help safeguard our kids, aims to educate guests on what every parent must know to keep kids safe, while raising funds in support of Children’s Hour.



In celebration of Baby Safety Month this September, “Safety Zone” will be an afternoon of experts talking about the latest recommendations on baby proofing, safe sleeping, feeding safety, bath and skin care safety, healthy living and environmental safety. Enjoy great savings on a private sale of pre-selected brands that are certified safe and eco-friendly. Healthy snacks, games, raffle prizes and loot bags worth over P10,000 will be given away!

The learning fee is only P150 per person, so you can go with hubby, lolo, lola and yaya! That's still just P750 for all five of you! Everyone learns how to keep the kids safe and, since 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hour, you all help other kids, too! To register for "Safety Zone", simply fill up the Registration Form (click here!).   

FREE TICKETS!
Halo Philippines, distributor of the award-winning and doctor-recommended Halo SleepSack wearable blankets, will make a donation on your behalf for any purchase from their official website (shop here!). This donation entitles you to one free event ticket. Just indicate “Safety Zone” in the comments section when you check out. This offer is valid for orders paid from now until Sept 10, 2014.  

FREE EXTRA PRIZE!
In order to help spread awareness for this charity event, Halo Philippines is giving away a Halo SleepSack product of your choice to one lucky blog reader!  
This is newborn Piero in his very own Halo SleepSack Swaddle Blanket. It keeps him snug and warm but I don't have to worry that he'll suffocate because of the SleepSack's design! I'll talk more about this on the blog soon. Meanwhile, Halo and Topaz Mommy will give away a SleepSack product. Here's how to join:
  1. Go to the Safety Zone Event Page (click here!)  and:
    1. Click the “Invite” button and share the event on your wall with the hashtag #SafetyZoneEvent. (Make sure your post is set to public in order to qualify).
    2. Invite at least 5 friends who might benefit from this event.
  2. Like Halo Philippines on Facebook. Follow Halo on Instagram @halophilippines and Twitter @halophilippines.
  3. Share this blog post on Facebook with a comment “I want to win a Halo SleepSack from Topaz Mommy and Halo Philippines." Tag Halo Philippines and set your post to public. 
The winner will be announced on Sept 10, 2014.  This contest is open to all Metro Manila residents.  The winner should bring a valid ID to claim her prize at the Safety Zone event. All unclaimed prizes will be raffled off at the end of the event.  

Good luck if you're joining the contests! But I do urge you to just buy tickets to "Safety Zone." Remember that it's not just a learning event, it's a fundraiser, too!

*quote image from Etsy

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