May is for Moms!: Expo Mom 2012 and the Mommy Matters RealMom Campaign

I love Expo Mom! The fair is always a chance to check out new products and meet the moms behind the businesses that make life so much easier for us. This year Expo Mom celebrates The Best of Modern Motherhood as its theme. I’m sure we can all relate to at least one or even all of the following statements.

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No matter what kind of mother you are, we all have the same goal – to be the best mom for our kids!

Along with the media kit, Mommy Mundo also sent a goodie bag with a sampler of some products that Modern Moms love.

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Thank you Hatch & Latch, Momtrepreneur Shop, Tiny Tots and Mommy Matters for the goodies! I’m so excited to see what else is new at the bazaar. Aside from these mompreneurs, you will also see Manila Baby Shop, googoo&gaga, Mama Baby Love, Indigo Baby, Chubby Cheeks, Spinkie and loads more!

Mommy Matters is also launching their brand new #RealMom campaign! I’m so excited to be part of this project and I’m honored to be with these lovely ladies.

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L-R: Kris of OC Mom In Manila, me, Paola of Mommy Treats and Martine of Dainty Mom.

We had so much fun at the shoot! The #RealMom materials feature our #RealMom statements.

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We will be onstage at Expo Mom on May 5, 4pm to talk about real motherhood. There will be a contest on our blogs soon too!

Share your own #RealMom statements! Tweet and tag @PaintersWifePH and @MommyMattersph. You can also share it on Facebook! Tag The Painter’s Wife and Mommy Matters. We’d love to hear what you have to say about being a #RealMom.

See you at Expo Mom 2012!

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Basti’s Birthday Getaway: Boracay!

Instead of spendings several thousands on a birthday party that will last 4 hours, we decided to spend it on something that will last 4 days. We celebrated Basti’s upcoming birthday in Boracay!

E. Coli, commercialization, crowds, I-used-to-go-to-Bora-when-there-was-no-electricity… WHATEVER. I love Boracay. While it was my 5th time to go, it was everyone else’s first. I’m always excited to go to the beach anyway.

We stayed at the Boracay Regency Hotel, chosen because of its location which was right smack in the middle of all the Station 2 action. There were so many events going on the weekend we were there, with so many celebrities supposedly also on the island but I didn’t see a single one. We also chose Boracay Regency because it had several pools. I love staying by the pool when it’s way too hot to be at the beach.

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But never fear, Tine of The Yellow Mustard Seed sent Basti his swimming set of shorts and a rashguard from LuvGear. It has this special feature that lets you know if the UV rays are way too strong to be swimming outside. Once it glows red, get in the shade! They come in really cute designs too. It came in really handy, since Basti spent the better part of the first day just staring at the water, figuring out why he suddenly had such a big bathtub and why the floor was all sand.

We spent our days lazing out by the pool, playing by the beach, pigging out at D’Mall and D’Talipapa. The Painter spent most of the time walking up and down the beach taking reference pictures for paintings. As I mentioned before, there can be no play without work for my husband.

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Like a lot of moms, I had body issues after giving birth, and I was lamenting how I wouldn’t be able to wear a bikini till I got in shape. The day before our trip, I said, to hell with that and bought a bikini that was more suited for my, um, state. As Martine said, it’s so liberating to wear a bikini in my mommy body, caesarian scar, stretch marks, little pooch and all.

I love my headbands from The Headware. They sent me three styles before the trip.

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I made good use of them on the island. They’re so useful to keep your hair in place and look awesome at the same time. Hassle-free, and works for when your hair is dry, wet, or any stage in between. Hugely popular with travelers and outdoor sports enthusiasts, Headware is great headgear for moms like me. I’m sure any mom can relate when I say that when the whole family travels, it’s mom who’s in charge of EVERYTHING. With Headware, I was able to cross off “do not look like a hag” off my Boracay reminders list. You can even use it as a beanie, a face mask, a scarf and so many other ways!

Sadly, I lost the blue-striped one. It flew from my head when I took my hat off for our island hopping boat ride. I want to get another one in the exact same pattern.

Babywearing is always a fixture when we travel. My Next9 sling was, again, a lifesaver. Strollers are close to impossible, even on the densely-packed sand pathway of the Boracay beachwalk, and carrying a toddler on uneven ground is no easy task.

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Spotted at Boracay Regency Lagoon Hotel: The Korean podaegi in action.

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I took a moment to #LiveMore by my blog sponsor’s booth.

With my blog sponsor

Here are the Boracay “must-do”s that we did not do:

  1. Get henna tattoos. It seems everyone and their grandmother got one. We were also conscious of the very big sign in the hotel that said they were going to charge us for any henna stains on towels and linens. I did want one done on Basti but I was afraid he would mess around with the henna and stain everything.
  2. Get a massage on the beach. They have “massage areas” now and having a Boracay massage is not the same anymore. I miss the manangs who walk up to me to offer a massage. That was the point of it all, in my opinion.
  3. Take jump shots. No. N-O, NO.
  4. Get braids. I used to get my braided every single time. Back then I would have to find a girl who someone said could do it for me and look for her in some bar somewhere. Now, it seems everyone has trained their children to do cornrows.
Inspite of the commercialization, the presence of fast food joints, Starbucks on the beach, the ferris wheel and the algae, we absolutely loved it. Two days later, The Painter’s brain is still in Boracay. We both love people-watching and the whole island is perfect for it. He was brimming with ideas. He spent most of the day walking back and forth from Station 1 to 3 and back again, and we took home thousands of shots. He loved it so much we actually spent the morning of our second day scouting for possible long-term lodging arrangements. At this point, they’re all just plans, but if everything works out, Basti might spend a good part of his 3rd year of life on the island. I’ll believe it when I sign the lease. Living on the island would be quite an adventure for all of us.

For now, I will hug the memories of Basti playing on the beach, The Painter looking more relaxed than he ever has in months, bonding times with my mom, sister and nephew and keep it close for a few weeks. I haven’t let go of my flipflops and Jelly Nellys, and I’m still walking around in cutoffs.

Happy birthday Basti! You are such a gift to us.

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LuvGear swimsuits and rashguard/shorts sets are available at:

  • The Yellow Mustard Seed Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theyellowmustardseed
  • The Yellow Mustard Seed Multiply site: www.yellowmustardseed.multiply.com
  • All Babyland outlets – Glorietta, Eastwood, Shaw & Festival Mall
  • Kuku Duckbill – Market!Market!
  • Rustan’s Department Stores
  • More than Gifts Gift Shop – The Gardens, Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City
  • Expo Mom 2012 on May 5 at Manila Baby Shop’s booth. (Post on Expo Mom coming soon!)

Check here for the nearest Headware distributor in your area. Chances are, your favorite sports shop, yoga studio or bike shop has them!

 

Tales of the Spa Fiend: My Early Mother’s Day at Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay

The spa fiend strikes again – in Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay! This time with Basti in tow.

We’d prepared for the visit to Nurture Spa Village weeks and weeks ahead. The only way I could tag along this road trip was if Basti could come along with me. At the last minute, my yaya-for-a-day (i.e. my mom’s maid) was suddenly let go. I got an even better deal; my mom came along instead! And because of that, my trip to Nurture Spa became a really special mother’s day treat!

We wanted to relive our high school days when the whole batch would bus it to Tagaytay for our yearly retreat. Hindi naman malayo sa highschool, diba?

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Michelle, Martine (thanks for organizing!!), Jen, me, Basti, Neva and my mom!

Nurture Spa Village is no ordinary spa destination. They are distinct in offering “ecotherapy” or healing by and through nature. Their level of quality service is evident in the careful training of their staff and therapists. While they use international brands such as Algotherm and Biodroga, their massage oils and room amenities are especially blended by their partner, Spa Essentials, using only the best materials available. More than just a spa, they also have wellness packages that use natural healing methods. It is also a place that is distinctly Filipino; the staff are dressed in uniforms made out of Ilocano handwoven fabric, the treatments have names such as Aruga, Ginhawa and Maharlikang Lubos.  It’s a really special place, and the world has noticed. They were named as one  of the 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia by CNN Go (June 2010), and one of the Top Seven Spas of the Philippines by Asia Spa Magazine (May-June 2010 issue).

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There were wonderful touches of inspiration everywhere that lent to the overall experience of Nurture Spa Village.

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We were welcomed by a band playing traditional Filipino instruments, and a spot of tarragon tea that helped us shake off the road trip from our heads. At the pavilion is where the socialization happens. I particularly loved the sungka areas. It was my favorite game when I was a kid.

We were shown their organic garden areas where my mom and Martine gamely picked the ingredients for our lunch and snack salads.

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I had to take pictures of the buildings because this is exactly how The Painter and I envisioned our future farm resthouse. I totally loved the outdoor facilities where you can have your facial or footspa. I could sit here all day! You can choose to stay in a standard room with names like Pag-Ibig, Payapa and Revive. Nurture Spa is famous for their Ulog accommodations, which are actual huts from Banaue.

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Basti enjoyed being there and couldn’t get enough of the greenery and the fresh air. He loved the giant chess set and was only too happy to finish off what remained of our chocolate fondue.

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Speaking of food, the meals were YUM. The best items on their menu are the ones that have ingredients that come from the garden. I loved the salad and the yummy dressing, and the Kakaibang Lumpia which I didn’t take a picture of because I ate it all. Just before we left, they let us sample two items from their raw food menu. Even junk-foodie me couldn’t resist these yummy rolls and choco balls. My beef steak, though good, paled in comparison to all the other healthy-yummy-freshness menu items that were enhanced by the whole Nurture Spa environment. I dare you to read their menu and not think yummy thoughts.

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I think what I like most about Nurture Spa Village is that while they promote wellness, organic eating and natural healing, they are also accommodating to the ones who still drink Coca-Cola people like me who are not quite ready to embrace the whole lifestyle yet. I was glad to see meat, coffee, soda and sweets on the menu too! (And yes, they have beer!)

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Both my mom and I had massages (which were excellent, by the way), ate some great food, and got a chance to take the city-boy-Basti for some fresh air. It was a great day for bonding with my mom and I’m so thankful I also shared it with some very cool girlfriends. I would highly recommend this place for a Mother’s Day treat! Come for the day or stay the night. Either way, you’ll come out healthier and happier than you did coming in.

Thank you Ms. Cathy Turvill for treating us to a wonderful day at Nurture Spa Village!

Read what my spa-mates had to say about our day!

Dainty Mom: http://daintymom.com/2012/04/moms-nurture-spa/
Manila Mommy: http://manilamommy.com/2012/04/nurture-spa-tagaytay/
J and the Three Boys: http://jencc.blogspot.com/2012/04/nurtured-by-nature.html
My Mom Friday: http://www.mymomfriday.com/2012/04/moms-wellness-retreat-at-nurture-spa.html

Shopping for A Summer Stroller? Inglesina is On Sale at Mothercare!

Easter is always my personal signal that summer is finally here! I had my own a while back. Even though I wear Basti all the time, I loved having a stroller. It was basically a giant bag, for everything else but the baby. As Basti grew older he began to like staying in the stroller for longer periods, which is good for me and my back. (I’m no spring chicken, okay)

Budget was a huge concern for me. Oh if only this sale was on at that time that I was looking for a stroller! I would be so in so much trouble. Inglesina strollers are on sale at Mothercare!

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Inglesina has gorgeous strollers. I’m so tempted to replace Basti’s umbrella stroller with The Inglesina Swift:

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Tempting me even more is the Inglesina Trip, which now just costs as much as The Swift’s full price!

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And then, there’s the Inglesina Zippy. I’d buy one, but then I’d have to get pregnant again to justify the purchase. Wink wink. Haha!

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Now’s the time to get the Inglesina strollers if you’re looking to buy! Hurry! Sale’s on till supplies last!

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Visit Mothercare at Abreeza Mall, Active Fun Bonifacio High Street,  Greenbelt 5, Robinsons Galleria, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, SM Masinag and Trinoma!

 For more information, visit www.facebook.com/MothercarePhils.

 

A Life To #LiveMore: A Smart LiveMore Post

I’ve always been a little on the tongue-in-cheek-shrug-the-shoulder kind of gal. I breezed through school without a care for achievements and what-not. I breezed through my youth in the same way. I lived and loved and I always tried to Go For It.

I was ready to take on this la-la-land mindset for the rest of my single life. Once upon a time, I thought I was never ever getting married, never having kids, and I embraced a future of single, selfish living. But God had other plans.

In a whirlwind romance that lasted 3 months, from the moment I met The Painter to the moment I said “I do”, my whole world was changed. On the surface, it seemed like a fairy-tale; the girl who married the artist, the one who would be his muse, to live a life of romance, art, sunsets and passion. It was like that for a little while, until real life set in. Most married women will tell you there is that one moment in your marriage when you realize your life isn’t yours anymore. When that moment comes, you do one of two things: you eat lots of chocolate, or you go insane. I went for the chocolate.

That moment came to me one hot, humid day in May. I was tired, I was stinky, I had a flab of skin hanging above my waist, and I was carrying a wailing newborn baby boy who wanted nothing else but to nurse 10 million times a day. I felt alive and dead, useless yet used, running on empty and wanting for things I actually needed: a bath, a decent meal, and please please Lord, just two straight hours of precious precious sleep.

And that’s when I started writing. Blogging. With fury and honesty and sometimes a foot in the mouth I went on a quest to #LiveMore – still myself, but as a wife, a mother, a parent, a breastfeeder, a babywearer… and after some time I realized my life at that point has become so much more than anything I ever imagined. And it had only been a couple of months.

I still have my tongue in my cheek and  I shrug my shoulders a lot these days. It’s all because everyday of my life I get to witness my little boy #LiveMore along with me. I get to see The Painter have wordless conversations with a brush, a palette and an empty canvas, and I see the result of that in glorious, heart-wrenching beauty for the rest of my life. It is not a perfect life, but perfection was never the goal. Living more to me never was about living and walking on a straight line.

So how do I #LiveMore? I have a rough formula: a hug a day, kisses on demand, laughter whenever possible, understanding the need to be alone, bacon, a stick of butter and letting go of the expectations of what being a wife, mother and a couple should be.

So how about you? What’s your #LiveMore story?

** This post is sponsored by Smart Communications

Because We All Need This: Teleserv’s Citizen Services

Seriously. Who doesn’t need a copy of their birth certificate? Or marriage certificate? Or a passport? These are essential to anyone, everywhere, anytime, and needed for a whole lot of reasons. I for one, always keep copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificates, plus photocopies in that sudden instance that I need them. I’m glad I do this, because there was one time I had to produce Basti’s birth certificate to verify that he was my son to claim a package. Whew.

I remember the time when getting a copy of your civil registry documents or renewing your passport was something that needed major planning – emotional, physical and mental. We had to endure long lines, boredom, misinformation, fixers, hunger.. sometimes only to be told to come back the next day and do it all over again.

Well I’m glad those days are over. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you would know that I actually have A Job. A work-at-home job, but still a job. I do social media consultancy for Teleserv.

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Long before I started working for Teleserv, I’ve been their longtime client. Birth certificates for requirements, my OEC for each and everytime I would come home from China, the CENOMAR for our marriage license, our marriage certificate, Basti’s birth certificate and most recently, Basti’s passport. They practically documented a huge chunk of my life!

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We held a brunch for a handful of bloggers last April 14 at the new Harvest Gastropub at The Fort. Thank you to Teleserv for all the images on this post.

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Top: Cai of Apples and Dumplings and me at registration; OC Mom In Manila and Jen Tan of Next 9.
Bottom: Michelle of Mrs. Martinez’ Raves and Rants, Rowena of Animetric’s World; Harvest

We wanted to share this important information that everyone needs to know about some of the most essential documents you always need. And unlike the old days of hardship, getting your birth certificate, marriage certificate, CENOMAR or passport is as easy as a phone call or through Teleserv’s online facility!

We had a yummy lunch of world comfort food with a table-full of daquiris and mojitos (non-alcoholic, darn it, hehe).

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Top: Neva of Manila Mommy, Jane of The Philippine Beat and OC Mom In Manila; the mom bloggers’ table.
Bottom: Travel and lifestyle bloggers’ table; The Teleserv directors with Director Lourdes Hufana of the National Statistics Office.

Teleserv’s Director for Marketing, Raffy David, gave a presentation of Teleserv’s products and services. Also present was Mrs. Lourdes Hufana, Director of the NSO. We had tons and tons of questions for her! The NSO plays such an important part in our lives, even when we don’t realize it. They carry the documents that prove that we are who we are, and the information that was presented during the brunch was very enlightening and very very interesting.

For instance, did you know that most establishments will not take a copy of your civil registry documents when not printed on security paper? That document printed on plain white paper just won’t do. Also, they change the paper itself and alert institutions of the change when they do. Some places, like embassies, will only take documents that are printed on the latest run of security paper. This was super important information for me; I have a habit of keeping a copy each of our birth certificates and marriage certificate. It’s also comforting to know though, that if you need one of these documents, Teleserv can facilitate the request and deliver them to your home in just 3-5 days! Totally hassle-free, you gotta love it!

Teleserv also runs a blog called Master Citizen, filled with facts, information and new developments about procuring your NSO documents.

To order birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) documents, go to birthcertificates.com.ph. We were told that CENOMARs were very much in demand last Valentine’s Day. Make sure your lovey is not yet a hubby, ladies! Hehe.

To process POEA OEC clearances, go to oecdelivery.com.ph. Very useful for your relatives or friends who work abroad. This was such a life-saver for me when I was working in China.

To book an appointment for passport processing and renewal, go to passport.com.ph. Basti and I went through this last December and it was such a breeze. Tip: Renew your passport along with your baby’s so you get prioritized. Heehee. Oh, bring a sling!

Payment for the documents can be made through a bank deposit at Metrobank, Bayad Centers, Bancnet ATM, Bancnet Online or credit card.

We all had a lovely time and Teleserv even held a raffle!

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Top: Raffy David, Director for Marketing, Teleserv; Neva won a GC for The Spa!! Lucky woman!
Bottom: Cookie of Scrooch Chronicles won a digicam and Michelle won a DVD player!

Thank you everyone for coming to the brunch. Till our next event!

Babywearing Meet 4 Was A Blast!

First of all, I would like to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who came, supported and contributed to Babywearing Meet 4. The support is so very encouraging and you guys are sure to see more events like this in the future! We are a work in progress, so please bear with us if there are issues with registration, venue, etc. We’re learning as we go along. By the time we hold Babywearing Meet 12 in SMX (naaaaaks!!!) we would have figured it all out already.

The Filipino Association of Babywearers (more on this in the coming weeks!) would like to thank the vendors (Next 9, SaYa, Ruxpin, Ergo Baby, Numa, Bosom Buddies, Tickled Moms, Bailey’s Comfort) and the raffle and giveaway sponsors (Mothering Earthlings, Manila Baby Shop, Green Sproutlets, That’s D’ Pointe, Medela Moms, Mamaway, googoo&gaga, Eden, Roots & Wings Trading, Mommy Treats, Thrifty Mama, Caleb’s Closet, Celestina & Co.) for their generosity. Your contribution really made the meet so much fun and people were so delighted with all the wonderful prizes they won!

We missed Abbie of Maya and Denise of Indigo Baby. I hope to see you guys at the next meet! I would also like to give special thanks to Jonie of Mamaway, who gave so much of her time, resources and energy to the meet!

Here are a few pictures. Jenny of Chronicles of A Nursing Mom has more and she’ll be sharing those with you guys really soon. Thank you to our “official photographer” Stan Ong, for taking wonderful pictures!

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1. Buding and Bianca for Ruxpin Baby Carriers
2. The SaYa booth (Buding again!) and Belle of Cruisin’ Mommyhood
3. Numa and the Boba Carriers
4. Ergo Baby with Jay, the babywearing dad.

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5. Naima and Anya’s little sari-sari store provided refreshments
6. The Next 9 booth is so lonely without the bubbly Jen Tan
7. Naima babywearing her doll! How cute is that!
8. Jonie of Mamaway, Chronicles of A Nursing Mom‘s Jenny and me wearing Basti.

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9. Buding and Biance kicking off the demos with the Ruxpin Mei Tai
10. Registration
11. Babywearing mommas!
12. The crowd.

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Hands free!!!!!! Photo by Stan Ong.

We had such a wonderful time. Till our next babywearing meet!