My mom, like most mothers, is in charge of household accounting. She keeps all her stuff in this attache case (I love this term, it’s so 80s) that’s bursting at the seams. Even if my sister Yapi bought her a laptop, she prefers to keep her records in a planner and still writes everything down in a huge notebook. We’re all used to mom and her “portfolio” as she likes to call it (the same reason people call toothpaste “Colgate”, my sister thinks) and she always has it, even when we’re on vacation. I wish I could take a picture of it, but it so happens that the family is currently in vacation in Baguio and she took her “portfolio” with her, of course. It looks something like this:
Well now that I’ve taken the very same role that my mother plays in my own household, I began looking for my own “portfolio”. These are what I need to put in it.
iPad in a Dodo Case
A receipts organizer with (what else) receipts, bank books, deposit slips from Fabmanila
A notebook because sometimes you need to write stuff down
A case with my charger, Post-Its, earphones, pens and other office kuchi-kuchi.
Over dinner last week, Cecile showed me her new online shop and I fell in love with the bags. I got mine last Sunday.
Such a nice brown color. I actually was debating to get the pink or red, but I decided that I was not hip and happening anymore the tan one fit me best.
And this is all my stuff, with a lot of room to spare. A bag of chips maybe.
Want one? Hop on over to dotcomme or visit Madison Rockwell to get your own.
I had to write the blog title in Chinese because this post is dedicated to my good friend Oli. We practice our Mandarin over in Twitter, along with Jen, Cai and Eileen. He convinced me to get a Kaboost Portable Chair Booster for Basti. (What a salesman, I tell you)
Basti is beginning to dislike his highchair and prefers sitting with me on the table. This ingenious contraption puts him at almost the same level as the big people.
Basti loved the box and wouldn’t let it go.
I put it to the test in our kitchen using just regular monoblock chairs. It was easy to slip on, and it held firm and steady, even if I lifted the chair to move it to a different spot on the table. (Without Basti, of course) Very effective I must say! Basti stayed put in it longer than his highchair. I do have to be there to make sure he doesn’t slip off. I still use the highchair when I have to do stuff, like cook or prepare his food (he complains and glares at me the whole time) but the Kaboost is great for our meals together.
Basti feels he’s one of the us.
In triumph he raises his snack pod and proceeds to gobble down. Not in picture: Our helper with outstretched arms, ready to catch.
The Kaboost will be useful all the way till he’s about six years old. I actually wasn’t considering to buy right now, but this deal was too awesome to pass up.
“Fifty percent off” is sweet music to my ears. I took this picture at about 3am earlier, so you’ve got less than 10 days to grab it! Find the deal at Kids-Agogo.Com.
You can also buy the Kaboost from the Quirks Marketing Philippines online store.
*Kaboost product shots courtesy of Quirks Marketing Philippines.
*Kids-Agogo deal photo from Kids-Agogo.Com.
My siblings and I are a crazy lot. One of my brothers, Carlo, is a bit loony and a total Star Wars freak. He has a Darth Vader Potatohead.
And oh yeah, he’s an outstanding chef.
After working at The Legend Hotel and at the Pico de Loro Resort, my brother is now taking the helm at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila. After our Sunday pig-out at our grandma’s house, the whole family decided to pop-in and see what’s going on.
There’s going to be a cafe on the ground floor specializing in churros.
Here’s the lobby, the terrace (spectacular view of Manila!) and the hallway. My sister and I were going for a The Shining-esque effect.
The premier rooms are decorated in four color schemes. Teal is my favorite.
They also have a superior suite and twin rooms. All rooms will have WiFi. We couldn’t take a peek at the Presidential Suite because it’s not done yet.
And finally, we went to the Penthouse lounge for refreshments. I had the best iced tea I’ve ever had. I cannot wait to taste my brother’s menu!!
We also took a look at the kitchen. We saw this appetizer display thing-y.
The Bayleaf is also home to the culinary and HRM school of Lyceum. At the back of the hotel is the very nice looking staff canteen, which will also be open to anyone who wants a good, affordable meal. I like the idea. There’s a McDonald’s back there too.
The hotel promises 3-star prices, 4-star amenities and 5-star service. Knowing my brother’s track record, it’s going to be a great place to stay, relax, and most especially, EAT. It opens in September. Bro, you better invite me to the launch. I wanna taste your food!!!
First off, this area is perfect. Ample street parking, and lots of places to hang out – Banapple, White Hat, and even a soon-to-open Power Mac Center.
Nail Spa Lounge is located on the Lower Ground Floor.
This branch retained the sink on the floor, which I love. I reiterate that I hate seeing the girls lug around big tubs of water to and from the sink.
Plus points for providing a comfy armchair for each customer. I hate sharing a couch with a total stranger, especially when I’m in a let-it-all-hang-relax mood.
Overall, the place is so nice. Well lit, but still great for relaxing.
Martine got the Prima Donna Hand/Foot Spa Treatment while OC Mom and I got the Royalty Hand/Foot Spa Treatment.
Here’s OC Mom’s paraffin-ed arm, and my paraffin-ed feet.
My thoughts on the services:
Wonderful therapists – clean and careful; they ask for preferences (to cut cuticles or not?), they don’t make unnecessary small talk (unless you want to) and they take their sweet time with your nails
All tools are sterilized in individual packaging
They only use Orly and OPI polish, and they don’t charge extra for it.
Super comfy chairs and I must say it again: FLOOR SINKS.
For an extra touch, they place a scarf on your lap. It offered a bit of warmth, modesty and a buffer for my iPad.
Another extra touch: OC Mom was wearing skinny jeans, and they had shorts she could change in so she could have her foot spa in comfort.
My manicure held up well – polish was barely chipped after one week and my cuticles grew out without too much drama. (Yes, I get them cut. So sue me.)
Price-wise, they’re competitive compared to other premier nail salons. The level of service, comfort and professionalism is well worth the cost. Aside from nail services, they also offer massage (with a shower room!), threading and waxing.
Nail Spa Lounge is definitely my top-of-the-list place for nail therapy now. I think I have to go back next week, not just for nails, but as a reward for trying out Bikram Yoga, which is right by the next building. That blog post should be interesting.
Nail Spa Lounge by Ellabell Upper Ground Level, Northeast Square, Connecticut St., Greenhills firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. No. 6556368
Full disclosure: I got my treatments for free. I treated my mom, though. She deserved a much-needed pampering. Many thanks Sheila of Nail Spa Lounge!
A Gymboree co-teacher showed me a blog entry last week. In it, the mom recounts her experience with a certain dance school where she took her 3-year old daughter for her first ballet class. In a nutshell, the little girl’s ballerina dreams were crushed because the dance teacher said things like, “Put her in her place”, “I am getting mad”, “She does not know how to obey” and finally…
“We will show her we are disciplined here and naughty kids go to Gymboree.”
WOW. Three years old. She was lifted off the class floor and unceremoniously dumped in her mom’s arms, from what I gather. “Give her mom a refund”, the teacher said.
Needless to say, the poor child was heartbroken and my own heart was crushed. All she wanted to do was wear a tutu and pink slippers and dance, dance, dance. Apart from that, my eyebrows shot up a mile with the statement regarding Gymboree. We’ve always been proud in the way we relate to children and their parents. We’re very hands-on and their children become a part of our lives. In my ten years of being a Gymboree teacher, never have I heard that Gymboree is for “naughty children.” It was said so pointedly and even the other children were parroting it – “Naughty children go to Gymboree!!”
In Gymboree, we sing a welcome song, clapping our hands, encouraging the children to do the same. Some of them will do so, but most of them will not. Most of them will stand up and dance the Welcome song instead. When I ask my kids to roll the ball down the slide, they sometimes throw it over the side in delight. When I ask them to walk in a circle, they sometimes wander off to sit on the Rocky Horse or stand by the bridge and watch us from there. We don’t raise our eyebrows at them, or ask them to put their hands behind their back while they stand. How can we, when us teachers sometimes look like this:
Hey don’t get me wrong. I am ALL for discipline and I abhor self-entitlement. But I believe there’s an appropriate disciplinary style for each stage in life. And asking a three-year old to stand still and “behave” while she is in a beautiful pink tutu and ballet slippers with beautiful music filling the room is not just wrong, but cruel.
In Gymboree we encourage our children to explore with their senses – to feel, to see, to hear, to sing. We guide them up foam steps and over wooden platforms, go under boxes and peer through rungs while pretending to be a sleepy bear. We fly parachutes over their heads and tickle their tummies with streams of bubbles and feathers and foam. We stamp their hands, feet, foreheads and noses, paint their fingers, faces and arms, getting splashed with color from head to toe. Along the way they learn to grope and to grasp, not just with their hands and fingers but also with their minds and hearts. We sing at the top of our voices, make silly faces and animal sounds, throw scarves in the air and hide in tunnels. The children learn that a circle is not just a shape but also a place to gather with friends. They discover that foam blocks can turn into igloos and skyscrapers, that balls can be apples today and pumpkins tomorrow. What we call socialization, dynamic balance, concept development and fine motor skills, they call play. For us teachers, seeing these babies blossom in front of our eyes is a privilege and a gift.
The children love music and they love to dance. They love to sing, they love to paint and they love to jump off platforms. So would that be the definition of “naughty”? Then if that’s so, well then.. C’mon naughty children!! Let’s all go to Gymboree!!!
I am so tired from everything that we had to do today. I will not even write so much about it because even just typing hurts my brain.
First was OC Mom In Manila’s baby shower. No pictures from me, but all the DIY stuff that her friends prepared were so adorable and so touching. They’ve always been that way since college! Had so much fun.
Then we had to attend my friend’s twins’ birthday party in Makati. The theme was Star Wars. They had stormtroopers!
And the kids were led by a Jedi master through their training. Can we all say “feel na feel”? I love it!
Their mom, Malou, went along with the fun and dressed up as Princess Leia.
I love the care and effort made on the details. Award!
Tummies full, hands painted and face glittered, we headed over to All About Baby in Rockwell. Please come and see the LATCH exhibit, which will be moved into the mall and shown till the end of the month. Photographed by Stanley Ong.
Whose bright idea was it to put me on the same panel as Bianca?
And of course, the shopping finds.
The perfect in-the-car and in-the-stroller pillow for Basti. And believe me, I’ve looked everywhere!
This batik outfit for Basti from the Indigo Baby booth.
If you have to know why I bought this outfit for Basti, here is why.
Like father, like son.
And I went home with something for myself.
Michael Antonio’s shopping bag gets full points for “audience impact”.
Basti was still bragging about his painted hand when we got home.
This weekend is the annual Mommy Milkshake Run! I wasn’t able to join last year’s because of the newborn baby situation. Now I still can’t join because, frankly, Basti and I are not the earliest risers on the block.
(Click on the image to go to the Facebook Events page)
But! Basti and I will try and make it to the Breastfeeding Expo at Mercato Centrale. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday, don’t you think?
Learning about the Aquasana water filter product line was inevitable for me as air. The local distributor, OC Mom In Manila, is a longtime colleague and friend, and I heard about it almost as soon as she launched it in the country.
Didn’t mean I rushed out to get one though. As a lifetime resident of a developing nation,the idea of showering in filtered water was not a top priority. Heck, my husband’s hometown still uses deepwell water for everything, including drinking water (read: poso with matching timba). As for water for consumption, we’ve always made do with delivered water and got by just fine.
OC Mom’s advocacy for a clean and healthy environment is infectious though. She posts about water safety, the dangers of plastic bottles and the dangers of the water inside plastic bottles, plus other OC stuff. Now that I’m in charge of a little person’s welfare, I’ve had to think long and hard about how this present world was affecting him. The “back in the old days” argument doesn’t hold water anymore. (Hold water.. get it? Hehe.)
I was actually hoping to win a shower filter from a blog contest on the Manila Fashion Observer, but as no-luck-in-raffles would have it, I didn’t win. I decided to get my feet wet with Aquasana (Pun again! I’m on a roll!) starting with a shower filter.
Since we have one of those handheld showers, it took a little McGyver-ing by the indefatigable Mang Ef (OC Mom’s go-to-guy and lifesaver) to install the filter in the bathroom. Don’t fret if you want one and your shower is some weird contraption. Mang Ef will find a way!
After a couple of weeks of bathing in filtered water, here are my comments, observations and general thoughts:
My skin is softer. I don’t itch after I shower and I no longer get that whitish dry skin after taking a bath.
My face is glowing! My pores are smaller, too!
I have skin asthma, and my rashes dried up and no new ones are forming. For this alone, every penny of the Aquasana shower filter was well worth it.
After a bath, Basti no longer has reddish eyes as if he just took a dip in a swimming pool. OC Mom told me this is because the filter removes a huge portion of the chlorine and chemicals used to treat our water.
I filled a dipper with water straight from the tap and another one with water from the filter and I could really smell the chlorine in the unfiltered water.
Because there are less chemicals in the water, my hair isn’t dry anymore. It’s not frizzy anymore, either! Since the water becomes PH-balanced, your hair products now work the way they should. There’s actually a product sold in SM branded as a Jonathan shower filter. This hair expert only uses filtered water when doing models’ hair during shoots because doing so yields different, better results. Said filter is actually an Aquasana shower filter. OC Mom told me that her mother-in-law’s falling hair problem was solved using the filter! It’s perfect now that I’ve decided to grow my hair back.
As OC Mom said in her post about bottled and delivered water, you don’t really know what goes on between point A and point B until it’s staring you in the face. The proverbial straw that broke my back was finding sediment in the containers of our supposedly purified and clean water we have delivered from a well-known water delivery franchise.
I asked OC Mom what the difference was between the Aquasana drinking water filter and the ones you find in hardware stores for a fourth of the price. She said, “First off, this is made in the U.S.A. It has passed several tests and have certifications:
– NSF-certified on standards 42 and 53 for Drinking water treatment units
– Certified performance data sheets from Underwriter Labs on the contaminants Aquasana is able to remove
– Certified by the California Department of Public Health Services”
Sounds good to me.
Mang Ef came again to deliver and install the product. He’s so nice.
There’s a certain freedom about drinking water that comes straight from your faucet. The countertop filter actually comes in a model that doesn’t have a pre-filter, but judging from the bits of sand and what-not that I occasionally see on the bottom of our pails, I got the one with the pre-filter. These pipes are old. The pre-filter works to take out any teeny-tiny bits that shouldn’t go into the water you drink.
I’m now an Aquasana convert. When The Painter and I finally build our dreamhouse, this will definitely be in the budget:
If you guys do decide to buy an Aquasana filter and found about it through my blog, I would very much appreciate if you drop this purchase code: thepainterswife. Referral points go to earning Messy Bessy product baskets, which we love too!! 😀
In honor of Global Breastfeeding Week, let me share something I got in my inbox about UNICEF’s campaign. The parts that are underlined and in bold are my doing. They’re the parts that caught my attention in particular.
Manila, 4th August, 2011 – During World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF joins global partners in calling for the benefits of breastfeeding to be broadcast beyond clinics and delivery rooms to the public at large, ensuring that young people both in the developing world and in wealthier countries understand the importance of breastfeeding long before they become parents.
Breastfeeding is directly linked to reducing the death toll of children under five, yet only 36 per cent of infants under six months old in developing countries are exclusively breastfed. In the Philippines, only 34% of mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for 6 months, and the number drops to 2% at one year. One of the factors is the lack of a strong enabling environment that supports breastfeeding mothers.
“With so much at stake, we need to do more to reach women with a simple, powerful message: Breastfeeding can save your baby’s life,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “No other preventive intervention is more cost effective in reducing the number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthdays.”
The powerful benefits of breastfeeding for child survival, growth and development are well known. Scientific evidence has shown that breastfeeding could lead to a 13 per cent reduction in deaths of children under five if infants were exclusively breastfed for 6 months and continued to be breastfed up to two years.
Breastfeeding also plays an important role in preventing stunting (low height for age), a condition that can cause irreversible physical and cognitive damage, and which is viewed as a key indicator reflecting inequities in society. Given its critical importance, UNICEF firmly supports all efforts to accelerate comprehensive action to improve breastfeeding rates globally, in every country and with a particular focus on reaching the most disadvantaged and hard to reach populations.
“Breastfed is best fed, whether the baby is born in Uganda or England, the Philippines or Canada,” said Lake.
Women generally have received information about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding when they go for antenatal care visits, or after they deliver their babies. That is why community health networks should have staff that not only possess updated knowledge and skills to support mothers to start breastfeeding, but also offer guidance and clarification on how to sustain exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and to continue to breastfeed until two years and beyond.
Yet, while breastfeeding rates in the developing world are on the rise in two-thirds of countries with data, millions of infants are not benefiting from this life-saving practice.
In the Philippines, UNICEF is working with the government, the private sector, NGOs, breastfeeding advocates and mothers to create an enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed. Through continuous advocacy, helping peer support networks, reaching out to mothers in communities and workplaces, supporting human milk banks and enforcement of the Milk Code, UNICEF helps promote a breastfeeding culture in the country.
‘It’s clear we need to take breastfeeding awareness to every corner of the country, from cities to rural communities. Not just mothers, but fathers, in-laws, teachers and business leaders all have a role to play in supporting a breastfeeding culture in the Philippines. In doing so, they are giving infants and young children the best possible chances of a healthy, secure start in life’, said Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF Philippines country representative.
UNICEF embraces the idea of using all possible means of communication and encourages others to do the same, using the opportunity of World Breastfeeding Week to trigger action the whole year round. UNICEF Philippines will have a month-long celebration with the Department of Health, the World Health Organization, other government agencies, corporate partners, NGOs and mothers to spread the word about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond.
This year’s celebration emphasizes the role that every member of society, especially fathers, can play to raise awareness about breastfeeding – a natural and nurturing start to life for infants and mothers. It also emphasizes that communication on breastfeeding should take advantage of non-traditional and newer communication tools such as social networking, blogs, mobile phone technology, the arts and flash mobs.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
In the Philippines for over sixty years, UNICEF works through partners to reach disadvantaged children and communities to ensure children are healthy, educated and protected from harm. UNICEF is quick to respond in emergencies to ensure affected communities are reached and provided with services from local governments and other service providers.
There are so many parenting blogs and articles online that go by the way of “organic parenting” as I call it. You know, the no-tv-wooden-toys-only kind.
Well, this blog isn’t one of them. Not by a mile.
Sure I also dabbled with thoughts of not exposing Basti to technology early in life. But how could I? I have an internet love affair. Literally, a love affair with the internet and all things tech.
I have been online for as long as I can remember internet being available in this country. I started with a measly 14.4kbps modem tied up to my Pentium PC, and had a dedicated phone line installed so I could avail of the unlimited log-in time of my then-internet service provider. There was a certain comfort to hearing the modem dial-up, hiss, pop and whistle until that unmistakeable moment of connection.
I met lots of friends from my IRC days. I became an op of some channels, attended EBs, the works. Some of them are still my friends to this very day. I even found a way to incorporate my internet addiction into my college thesis. It was titled, “Internet Relay Chat: Defining A Sub-Culture.” I was lauded for introducing new research techniques to the Psychology Department (read: Yahoo! search) and no one could understand what I was talking about because my professor or any of the members of the panel of peers even had an email address. I got an A.
My switch from PC to Mac brought my addiction to a whole new level. It was around the same time DSL residential lines became available, and I was brought into the world of e-groups, chat and user forums. I was fiercely active in the Philippine Macintosh Users Group or PhilMUG, even getting on the board of directors. Yes, there is such a thing.
The internet became my lifeline when I lived in China. Inspite of The Great Firewall, it connected me to my family, friends and the outside world (thank you proxy servers). When I got back, it seemed like no time passed at all.
Going through baby blues, Twitter became my shrink, Facebook, my connection to the outside world and my blog, my sanctuary. Dr. Google was helpful for times of extreme paranoia, and through my blog, found like-minded mothers who share the same passions as I do.
Basti spent a good portion of his days as a newborn worn in a sling while I was in front of my Mac. Now at close to 1.5 years old, he likes to play with my keyboard and mouse (I got him his own so he doesn’t accidentally send a gibberish email to my boss), and he can unlock my iPhone and play music. He can also take Hipstamatic pictures, sometimes much better than I do.
Now that I have an iPad (droool), Basti’s got a ton of stuff to play with. In case you are in the same boat as I am, here are a few of Basti’s favorite apps and activities. If you have any of your favorites to share, please do!
“The Wheels On The Bus” is high up on Gymboree’s most-requested songs, with its interactive lyrics and fun melody. This app is Basti’s ultimate favorite and I had to get it right away when OC Mom In Manila used it to keep him still while we had our nails done. It features interactive elements, the music in several languages and a record feature so you can have your baby listen to your own voice singing “The Wheels On The Bus” as they play the game. The bubbles go pop pop pop, the people jump up and down, birds hop and sing, dogs bark, at the touch of your child’s poke-poke-poke. So cute! Available for both iPhone and iPad.
Why is it that no matter how many toy phones you buy, they always want the real thing? Basti loved using the call and text messaging functions of my phone that someone actually wanted to be textmates. This app builds on that curiosity and creates similar environments and other fun stuff without accidental calls to your client or boss.
It’s got a phone with the matching tones:
It’s also got a compass, fake SMS center, a function for learning letters, and a drawing palette. If you make the in-app purchase, you’ll also get a few more fun things for your kid to enjoy. The free version though, is more than enough to keep your toddler occupied. Available for both iPhone and iPad, though the app on the iPad makes it look like a giant phone. Hehe.
Toy Story is Basti’s favorite Pixar film. This interactive book is so jampacked with features, I can’t believe it’s free!
You can choose between the built-in read-along feature (with the original voices from the movie) or you can record your voice! Some of the pages also transform into coloring sheets. I wanna get the others too, but they’re not free. I have to stop myself from purchasing all these apps.