Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Windows 10 helps me do great things!

This post is brought to you by Microsoft Windows 10 OS.

This month, I got an early Christmas present: I got a new Acer hybrid laptop! It's also called a 2-in-1 device because it can be a laptop and it can be a tablet. So if I need to be on the go, I just remove the keyboard and stash the screen (actually, the tablet) into my bag and off I go!

My Acer fits in my little bag.

I'm telling you this story because two simple photos I posted on Instagram of my new 2-in-1 device generated shock curiosity from my followers, especially iOS fans, because they know I'm a Mac user.

Moving slowly from Mac to Windows.

I don't understand why this is an issue haha because I am perfectly comfortable on both systems! But this year, my blogging business went up a notch, maybe even a few notches. I started offering workshops and I started pitching to brands (versus passively waiting for brands to approach me). I found that I needed Microsoft products because there was simply more people in the corporate world who were using it than iOS.

Writing my articles for BABY Magazine.

In the three short weeks I've used Windows 10, I'm happy to report that it truly does make me do great things! Let me count the ways:
  • I now use Word. I know! Doesn't everybody? Only if you have Windows in your computer! I used a different word processing program before but now the extra step of converting my file to Word so that my clients can open my files was removed! Hooray! As a writer and magazine editor who also happens to be a mom of three little boys, I appreciate simplicity! Anything that saves me time is a godsend!
  • I made workshop presentations using PowerPoint. What a relief! I remember the looooong and embarrassing delay at my Powerbooks blog talk and again at my blogging workshop at The Study by Enderun all because I couldn't get Keynote to work! 
  • I am also making a blog media kit using PowerPoint so that next year, when I present to clients for my blog and for Beauty Biz Bliss (my business collaboration with Make It Blissful and Mommy Ginger), my presentations will be spiffy and fab!
  • I'm really liking the browser Edge. It doesn't have the clutter and clunkiness of Chrome. It's a simple and clean browser so it's faster. It really does feel faster, and that's so important to me when I work because time is everything to me!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Going crazy over Skechers x Star Wars shoe collection!

And my kids have their very own pairs of Skechers X Star Wars shoes! We watched Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens last Thursday because we were so scared of spoilers, and we LOVED the movie. Well, we had major disappointments but I won't talk about those here. Instead, let's talk about the cool shoes my kids now own!

This one's for Vito. It's the Boys' Star Wars: Dynamo-Continuem, Php 2,495.

This one's for Iñigo. It's the Boys' Star Wars Tossers-Keplar, Php 2,890.

The shoes come in specially designed shoe boxes, too, in case you love all things Star Wars and collect everything Star Wars and maybe you want Star Wars-themed boxes to put your other memorabilia in!

You can really feel the the force awaken in your feet with the new Skechers x Star Wars collection! Its intergalactic inspiration plus Skechers comfort and style. There's characters, vehicles, and themes from the beloved Star Wars universe, so expect to find the heroes Skywalker siblings, Chewbaacca and Yoda, and the dark forces Stormtroopers and Darth Vader on sneakers and slip-ons. Select styles also have light-up effects so there'll be no such thing as walking on the dark side!

Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers, says, “When it comes to iconic properties, there’s nothing in the entertainment world bigger than Star Wars. For nearly 40 years, this franchise has spanned box office successes, animated TV shows, books, and video games to build a dedicated fan base. 

"Skechers is the second largest footwear brand in the U.S., and for two decades our kids’ character footwear has been an important part of our strategy. Now Star Wars will further grow our presence in this space. We plan to do some really fun and unique things for these young fans of the saga and we can’t wait to play in this world.”

And they have. Check out a few of the styles which are now available at Skechers stores in the Philippines:
This is the droid you're looking for - the Star Wars™ Skechers: Damager III - Astromech shoe. Leather, synthetic-and-mesh fabric upper in a slip-on sporty casual light-up R2-D2™-themed sneaker with fun light-and-sound effects.

May the Force be with you while trooping in the Star Wars Skechers: Dynamo - Continuem show. Smooth leather, synthetic-and-mesh fabric upper in a slip-on sporty casual sneaker with stitching and overlay accents.

Track down some cool bounty-hunter style in the Star Wars™ Skechers: Eulon - Synergy shoe. Durable synthetic and mesh fabric upper in a one-strap front athletic sporty sneaker with Boba Fett™ design and Memory Foam insole.

Master the skill of being adorable, he will, wearing the Star Wars™ Skechers: Vert - Wise One sneaker. Smooth trubuck leather, synthetic-and-mesh fabric upper in a two-strap front casual high-top sneaker with plush Yoda™ head and fun print designs.

Hit your target with awesome style in the Star Wars™ Skechers: Jagged - Starfleet shoe. Soft woven canvas fabric upper in a lace-up casual high-top sneaker with stitching accents and overlay accents.  Luke Skywalker™ or Darth Vader™ classic character and cool airbrush-look mural designs.

In the Philippines, you can purchase your Star Wars pair at Skechers stores in Glorietta 2, TriNoma, Ayala Fairview Terraces, SM North EdsaThe Annex, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Gateway Mall, Lucky Chinatown, Market Market, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, SM Fairview, SM Dasmarinas, Paseo Sta. Rosa, Marquee Mall, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Clark, Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM Davao, Centrio Mall, Cagayan de Oro, and LimKetKai Mall CDO.

To see more Star Wars styles, visit the Skechers website.  For more updates, visit the Facebook page of Skechers Philippines and follow @SkechersPH on Instagram.
Star Wars and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

P.S. There are styles for grow-ups, too! 

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Friday, December 18, 2015

We loved Hi-5 House of Dreams in Manila! (Plus, my 5+1 tips on how to enjoy the show)

We had the most amazing time watching Hi-5 House of Dreams this afternoon! Look at our fun adventure!

"Hi-5!" Here at the huge and absolutely beautiful Performing Arts Theater.
We met Stevie Nicholson! We were starstruck!!!
The show is about the Hi-5 girls and boys having a sleepover. They talk about their favorite dreams before sleeping... 
... and their friend Chats uses a magic dreamcatcher to make their dreams come true.
Here's the magic dreamcatcher. It also adds a twist to the dreams, by the way!
Stevie dreamed of becoming a king, so Chats made him King... of the Jungle!
Jess dreamed of flying so in her dream, she was turned into a fairy!
We love the way the cast interacted with their audience while performing with all their hearts!
Tanica dreamed of riding a unicorn. Instead, in her dream, she became a cowgirl!
Their energy was incredible. They sang and danced enthusiastically while singing! 
Ainsley dreamed to be a rock star. In his dream, he was a lob-star! 
"So come with me under the sea! And we could be under the sea!"
Look at the kids going crazy over the bubbles!
"L, O, V, E. I love you and you love me!"

  1. Go early. There's a lot to do. There's Hi-5 merchandise to buy. Stevie is doing a book signing and photo op with his fans. And Alaska Choco is giving away free chocolate drinks!
  2. Buy Stevie's book, Super Dudes. It's pricey at P700 a copy but you get to have it signed by Stevie himself, and you get to have a photo with him, and it's a really fun and funny book! My kids loved it when we read it to them twice this evening!
  3. Eat and drink before the show. Food and drink aren't allowed in the theater. There's a 15-minute intermission but that's barely enough time to eat when you have little kids running around!
  4. Go to the bathroom before the show. The comfort rooms have only 6 stalls. So when the moms and kids pour out of the theater during intermission and after the nearly two-hour show, the line is looooooooooong.
  5. At the end of the show, all the kids will be allowed to run up to the stage (not to the stage itself) and the Hi-5 team will bend down and give high-fives to the kids for one minute! So get ready to run up! 
Sinong kinikilig???

Oh, we had such a great time! Even Vince and me! Can't wait for the next time the Hi-5 House visits Manila. I think they're coming over again next year!

Moms, Hi-5 House of Dreams will be playing live at the Newport Performing Arts Theater until Dec 21! To watch this year's show (and I highly recommend that you do!), visit Tickets start at P2,400. There are discounts if you're an HSBC cardholder. We got the VIP 2 tickets (P3,800) which is near enough the stage. But you can get the less expensive tickets. I saw that the theater people allowed a lot of the kids to go up to the VIP 2 area because there's a big space there for singing and dancing. Yes, another tip! Enjoy!

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Review: Storytell Prints photo printing app

I'm really liking Storytell Prints, this app I downloaded from the Apple Store a few months ago. It's a photo printing service you can use straight from your phone. That way you won't even need to save photos to a memory stick. Just pick photos from your camera roll, Instagram and Facebook, pay for it, and get your printed photos in three days.

Here's a walkthrough of the app:

These are the formats available.
These are offered, too, but were in the "Coming soon!" category.

Once you picked the formats you want, you pick the photos from your
phone camera albums, Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

You can edit the photos!!! Minimally but pwede pa rin!

The Polastyle lets you write captions!

My cart at checkout.

My total.

Photos uploading. Can take a while so make sure your Internet
connection is super strong.

How to pay.
Three days later (or was it two?), my order arrived! That was fast!

Bubble wrapped.
Protective wrapping.
My Polastyle shots! 
I also had my favorite quotes I found on Instagram printed.

So how did I find Storytell Prints? Here's my summary review!

What I liked:
1. Easy to navigate app.
2. Cute formats to choose from.
3. Ease of payment.
4. Fast delivery.
5. Convenient everything.
6. Instant photo album with me everywhere.

What I didn't like:
1. The photos come out washed out. And they crop pics, too.
2. It's expensive. Unlike a lot of people, my husband and I actually go to the photo shops to have our pictures printed out. A print costs P7. 4R na yun. Storytell Prints photos in the Squares format is P450 for 24 pieces. That's P18.75 a piece!

My takeaway:
Even though I said it's expensive, I think the fact that you skip so many steps to get photos printed more than makes up for the cost. Imagine: I don't need to save photos to a USB, go to the mall, wait for an hour (or two) for the printing to be done, eat and shop while waiting for the photos, pay parking, and then fight the traffic just to go home. For all the convenience given me, I'm going with Storytell Prints.

Storytell Prints is available for download FREE on Apple Store and Google Play. Like Storytell Prints on Facebook.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: 7 reasons why I love the Electrolux Ultramix Time Manager washing machine

I'm so in love these days. In love with my new washing machine!!! Let me introduce you to my latest baby: the Electrolux Ultramix Time Manager.  

Hehe sorry it's not "styled." I took these photos while we were actually doing the laundry! Here's what it looked like when it was fresh out of the box:

I'll make this review easy for all of us by enumerating my likes and dislikes.

What I liked:
1. It's small and compact. 
Since I live in a condo, space is everything. Granted, I have a roomy laundry area (with a big window, too!) but every square foot counts in a condo! 
Plus the top of the machine is a sturdy workspace! 

2. It's so high-tech!
I confess it is so high-tech, I let the machine sit in my laundry room for a week before I did the laundry! In fact, I called the Electrolux service center first to send someone to help me use it. I know, I know, that's what the manual is for but I was sooooo intimidated. Ayoko siyang masira!

There's a dashboard of functions, which you can see on a screen. Here's a list of what the washing machine is programmed to wash: 
  • Cottons
  • Mixed
  • Delicates
  • Quick 18 (just an 18-minute wash for moms in a hurry)
  • Refresh (not for washing but for freshening up clean clothes that have been in storage, for example; can also be used for taking out wrinkles!)
  • Vapour (extra two rinses and a vapor promise to remove allergens from your clothes)
  • Baby (gentle wash in warm water, plus an extra rinse a la Vapour function so that baby's skin is extra protected from allergens and chemicals)
  • Energy Saving (faster wash and in cold water so less power and water are used)

At a push of a button, the whole machine turns on and the screen tells you what function you chose. A sensor also tells you how much detergent to put based on how heavy the load of laundry is. Yes! Sooo smart, diba??? What's also cool is I can customize the settings so, for example, super mabaho or madumi (I have little boys!), I can adjust the washing time for longer. 

3. It's so easy to use!
After I figured out the buttons—and that took maybe 2 minutes, promise!—I saved the settings that suits my family best by pressing the “Favorite” button. So our maid just turns on the machine, loads the laundry, and presses "Favorite," and leaves it. It's that simple! It's soooo simple even my 5-year-old son has done the laundry twice!

A photo posted by Frances (@francesasales) on

4. It's hardworking. 
It can take 11 kgs of laundry, mommies! That's a lot! We never fill it up to 11 kilograms and we're already a family of 5! That's why now we only do the laundry once a week.
Wash and wash and wash away!

5. It's easy to maintain.
Just leave the door open after each laundry session so that whatever moisture is in the machine will evaporate. We also wipe the rubber inside the door.

6. It saves me money.
I separate our laundry into two piles: one for clothes and another for sheets and towels. Our old washing machine couldn't handle big loads so we sent the sheets and towels to a laundromat every two weeks. Now, we just let the Time Manager do everything! Well, except the duvet and the rugs.

Considering that we're doing more laundry now and with a more powerful machine, I expected our electricity bill to go up. It didn't!!! That means I'm doing more laundry but with a more efficient and energy-saving machine!
The machine also tells me how much detergent and fabric conditioner to use!

7. It saves me time. 
Today, laundry day is not a correct term for us. It's really more like laundry minutes!!! We press the button on, load the laundry, put the detergent and fabric conditioner, turn the tap on, close the door and then we forget about it!!! About two hours later, we come back and the laundry is done! That's a whole day I can now devote to my family or my work, or to relaxing activities like sleeping!
It really lives up to its name!

What I didn't like:
NOTHING. I love my washing machine so much, I cried the second time I used it. The first time kasi, natatakot pa ako gamitin. So I was stressed hahaha. But the second time I used it, my preschooler sons were watching and they were so impressed with how amazing it was. And then I did see that it was amazing and I got teary-eyed imagining how easy my life will be from now on!

If you're planning to use your 13th month pay on an appliance, this is it!!! The SRP for the Electrolux Ultramix Time Manager EWF14112 washing machine is P57,995. It's totally worth every peso! 

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