Category Archives: Features and Reviews

New Perfume Scents from Clean: Rain and Skin

What’s a scent that sends you straight to comfort? Mine is the smell of hotel sheets, and Basti after a bath. That feeling is the essence that perfume brand Clean has been trying to capture (and quite effectively, I may add) since the launch of their line years ago.

I attended the launch of their newest scents last week. The old favorites were on display.

Original, Ultimate, Warm Cotton, Fresh Laundry, Shower Fresh and Outdoor Shower.

I wish you guys could be in that room that day. It smelled heavenly.

But of course, the stars of the show were the two latest scents from Clean.

Clean Skin and Clean Rain. They actually don’t need much of an explanation. I think that’s part of the charm of Clean.

Clean is available in Rustan’s, SM, and all other leading department stores. The 60ml bottle retails for P2,950.00 and the 30ml is priced at P1,650.00.

This is my everyday scent now. I’m kinda obsessed.

 

Blanca de China Lifestyle Spa: A Piece of Peace in San Juan

My new place-to-be is San Juan. I say that not out of choice but lack of it. Basti’s school is in the area, so I find myself in the area, five days a week, three hours a day. At least. Oh what to do, what to do?

At the very least, I’ve got one place to go to in the area when I’m feeling tired and ragged around the edges. In the quiet little corner of P.Guevarra and Ibuna is a quaint little spa called Blanca de China. It’s in a pretty cool area of San Juan. The street itself is quiet, tree-lined and devoid of the usual rush and rage that is of this very busy street. This is the facade.

Tell me this scene doesn’t make you want to take your shoes off, put on your headphones and surrender your hands and feet to their very competent therapists.

There are tiny little bits of  inspiration everywhere.

Inspiration you may take home with you, if you wish.

They even have a tandem room where one can have a massage while the other is getting hand and feet treatments. Perfect for couples or girl friends who want to chit-chat while getting pampered.

For that day, I got their Ivory facial, which had me dozing off in no time. I plan to go back very soon for a massage and a mani-pedi.

To cap off your treatment session, you get a pretty little tray with tea and a cookie. Duma-Downton Abbey.

Thank you Joanne of Blanca de China for my wonderful afternoon! I’ll see you  guys again real soon.

Find Blanca de China on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlancaDeChina

Blanca de China is located at 259A, Ibuna cor. P. Guevarra St., San Juan, MM.

Cantonese Food Happiness at Jasmine New World Hotel

If there’s one thing common to all SoMoms events, it’s our obvious love for food. Oh, we love to eat. Some more than others. (Yes, that’s me)

Patty issued out an invitation to the SoMoms with these keywords: dinner, Chinese food, Jasmine, New World Hotel. My answer: Yes, yes, pretty please, yes!

I had missed the first invitation to Jasmine a couple months back, and I was really looking forward to this night out with some of my favorite ladies.

This was our menu:

And these were the dishes for real.

jasmine.001

Top: Tropical Fruits, Golden Scallops, Waguy Beef Roll; Deep Fried Fish Fillet, Salted Egg Yolk, Steamed Egg White; Fried Rice, Diced Chicken, Chinese Sausage. Bottom: Four Treasure Soup with Conpoy; XO Prawns, Sotanghon in Claypot; Beef Short Ribs, Black Pepper  Sauce.

These are some of the menu items that make up the Jasmine New World Hotel Fine Cantonese Signature Sets. Headed by Chef Wong Kam On, this is a chance to have an authentic Cantonese dining experience.

Jasmine launched their signature set dishes a while back, and will feature them till August 2013. The set menus are good for a minimum of two people and feature some well-loved Cantonese dishes that are so familiar to us Pinoys, plus a few items here and there that aren’t that common and makes the meal a unique experience. The prices range from PhP750++ to PhP1,450++ per person.

They also have this lunchtime Eat-All-You-Can Dimsum thing for only PhP660.++!!! Oh one of these days I have to try that out. I looooooove dimsum.

Stuffed and happy.

The SoMoms with New World Hotel’s Nini Icban. (Thank you Nini!)

Thank you for having us for dinner Jasmine! It really was such a wonderful evening.

Driver-Mom Lifesavers: CDR King Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad

So, Basti started school yesterday. It’s still the adjustment period, so the class is still shortened to about an hour before going full schedule into 3 hours a day, which won’t happen till a couple of weeks from now. He was fine in the beginning, and I was happily making chika with my co-parents outside the classroom when I heard a child go, “Mamaaaaaaaaa!” And oh yes, it was mine.

But even with the shortened schedule, I already had an inkling of what my life will be like for the next 10 months. It will be an everyday trek and an everyday 3-hour wait for Basti. I already scouted the area for things I can do to spend the time: facials, mani-pedis, restaurants, supermarket, banks, gyms. But we’re talking 5 days a week here. I will eventually run out of things to do, not to mention how expensive it will be if that’s all I’ll do.

So hey, I thought, I could just spend the time blogging. I will pull a Samantha Sotto and use the time waiting to write. No, I’m not aiming to be the next great novelist. I just want to blog more, which is something I’ve been promising myself I’d do in the past few months. (A resolve which I am taking care of – do you guys notice I’ve been trying to post more often?) But here’s the dilemma – I am not a laptop user. Not only that, I am a Mac-only user. So, ibig sabihin kailangan Macbook Air pa talaga ang bibilin ko diba? #siraanngwallet

I do have an iPad, but I’m the type who can’t write without a keyboard. Well, a side trip to CDR King yesterday solved my problem.

O diba? Problem solved. Blogging continues. This is a Bluetooth keyboard and power bank in one. You can even charge your cellphone! Laptop ang effect! Win na win! This will do until I get megabucks to buy myself a Macbook Air. As to the matter of how long it will last, we shall see. For the cost, I’m willing to give it a chance.

Want one? The CDR King Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad at any CDR-King branch for PhP 1,880.00.

Nostalgia Time: Full Circle

Now allow me to tell you a story of me and my first “baby.”

Once upon a time, I had a little girl named Faith. This is her:

Photobucket

Check out my firewire-connected vintage iPod, y’all. My desktop wallpaper is a poster of Alias, the TV show. I loved Alias so much back then that my username on PhilMUG is “freelancer”, which is one of Sydney Bristow’s codenames. People thought it was because I was a freelancer. Which I was. But that’s not the point.

After a couple of years, I got Layla and I sold Faith to my friend Monica. This is them turning over files to each other.

Photobucket

Before you think I’m crazy, any die-hard Mac user will tell you going sentimental over their Apple products is perfectly normal. You’re the weird one if you don’t think so.

Since Faith I’ve had 2 more iBooks and 2 iMacs. This was the one I lost to Ondoy. Sigh.

New baby
My iMac now is a heaven-sent gift from my very wise choice of a Twitter name in 2006 that paid off in 2009. I’ll tell you that story in private if you’re curious because I heard that what happened for me to get that expected windfall is, apparently, not allowed anymore.

Years and years later, this arrives on my doorstep.

My baby came back home! Monica upgraded her Mac years ago but never sold Faith. The good friend she is, she thought it would be nice to just send her back to her original owner.

Thank you Monica for returning her. You and I will be the only ones who know the meaning of Faith coming back home to me. She’s old and practically useless, but she’ll always be my first baby. It’s good to have her back home.

Basti Loves: Funky Feiyue Shoes!

When I was living in China, I would see Feiyue shoes in the malls, but wasn’t really able to check them out. At that time, my awareness of sneaker brands was very limited, and I only knew of the few brands I came to know while growing up. A while back, I saw Feiyue pop-up store in Rockwell, and my interest in it started to grow. As kismet would have it, the SoMoms were invited by Feiyue to try out a pair from their collection. Basti was so excited when I told him we were going to get him some new kicks. He loves shoes!

Feiyue’s roots are in Shanghai, China. It was established as a brand in the 1920s and was well-known for its style and comfort. It was in 2006, when a group of sneaker freaks from France took over the brand, that Feiyue experienced a total style rebirth. Feiyue has got some awesome collaborations with other brands and artists. Celine, Shin Tanaka, LCP, Stereo Panda and Agnes B are some of the names that collaborated with Feiyue.

So off we went to their flagship store in San Juan to pick out a pair for Basti, and for me! Thanks to my size 9 feet, I was able to choose from a special box they had at the back. These were my top seven picks. Believe me, it was not easy! They’re all so cute.

Even Basti had a hard time choosing between these two super cute pairs.

In the end, I couldn’t resist being matchy-matchy with Basti. How often do I get to match with my little boy? Almost never!

He loves his Feiyue shoes so much, they made him smile. Those who know Basti know this is a rare occasion.

Sometimes he’ll even wear them around the house. He’s so proud of his shoes. These Feiyue sneakers are now Basti’s official pair for school. They are so comfy, I kid you not. He will have an awesome time playing in them.

The Feiyue concept store is at Sekai Center, Ortigas Ave., San Juan. It’s right by the gate of Northeast Greenhills, if you’re coming from Greenhills Shopping Center. It’s the building with BnT Mexican Kitchen. Which was yum, by the way. We had a snack there because picking the right pair made us hungry. #excuses

Thank you Feiyue! I guarantee we’ll be back for another pair!

Follow Feiyue on:

Facebook: Feiyue Philippines
Twitter: @FeiyuePhil
Instagram: @FeiyuePhilippines

 

The Way of the Cloth and Cup

I haven’t exactly been the “go-green” type. I would say that I am somewhere in the “trying” zone of the environmental awareness spectrum, with our reusable bags, and segregation of trash. But, I would have to admit that there are still many, many aspects of our lifestyle that could use some tweaking to be a little kinder to our planet.

Part of this effort was my decision to use cloth diapers on Basti when he was younger. We used Chino Pinos, along with a Thirsties Duo diaper cover for when he was home from birth till he was about 6 months old.

At that time, the cloth diapering movement was not that active yet, and I lost the drive when our one helper started to complain and the rains came. Now, at 3 years old and in the potty-training stage, I put Basti back on cloth at home. I recently purchased some Babyleaf trainers from Mama. Baby. Love., and a few from Cluebebe as well. Basti still uses his one and only next9 cloth diaper too. I just like the trainers to get him more used to the idea of underwear.

Top: next9; Bottom: Babyleaf, Cluebebe

I joined the Modern Cloth Nappying Pinays Facebook page last year, and was exposed to the world of cloth diapers and the fantastic practice of group buying. As moms, we always find a way to get what we want at the best prices possible, right? The prices are much lower than retail, the process is easier (you order, you pay, you wait. That’s it!), and you can buy things not available in local shops. It was through a group buy that I bought Basti’s Sunbaby trainers.

Oh how I wish the pocket diaper trend was alive and well when Basti was a baby! I think I would’ve made more of an effort to purely use cloth!

Another effort I’ve made is for myself.

NOTE: The rest of this post talks about reproductive health, specifically, menstrual period, and I understand if some are not comfortable discussing or reading about it. Consider yourself warned.

I’ve been a tampon user since I was a teenager. Having a very active lifestyle necessitated it. I also do not like the feeling of pads. They are so uncomfortable. I heard about menstrual cups back when I was still single from a friend of mine. It didn’t really register to me as an option because the whole concept seemed alien to me.

Menstrual cup, did you say? So what is it? This is it:

The idea? You use it to catch your flow. Yes you put it inside. How does it feel? Like nothing. So comfortable that I forget it’s there. No fuss, minimal mess, and there’s nothing to throw away. It’s reusable, and if used properly, can last you for years.

Not so bad right? You have to punch in the side for insertion.

I cannot say enough about how this invention has made my period irrelevant in how I plan my life. Having my period is now the lamest excuse I can think of for not doing something. Uh-oh, now if I tell someone I can’t go because “I have my period” they’ll know I just don’t want to go and I’m lying.

This one if from Lunette, and I bought it, again, from Mama.Baby.Love. Along with adopting the menstrual cup, I’ve also gotten rid of disposable pantyliners. I now use cloth pantyliners as well. For those who are not comfortable with “invasive” methods, Jenny also sells cloth menstrual pads at her store.

Interested in cloth diapering? Check out the Modern Cloth Nappying Pinays Facebook group page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mcnpinays/

 

Basti’s Big Boy Cup Contest {A Philips Avent Trusted Moms Giveaway!}

As an exclusively, directly, breastfed baby, Basti went from boob to baso. Not without the thrills and spills of course. He didn’t really take to those spout cups very well, maybe because he was not used to sucking on anything other than human milk containers.

When I saw this new product from Philips Avent, it made me so annoyed. Only because I was miffed that it didn’t exist at the time when Basti would have loved it the most.

This is the Philips Avent Natural Cup. Notice anything? No spouts, no teats, nothing! It’s recommended for use from 12 months onwards, that age when our babies love copying the way we do things. With the Philips Avent Natural Cup, your little person will drink from any part of the rim, just like the big people. The edge is lip-activated!! No spills! I’m totally geeking out on this.

Even though Basti is already three and totally capable of drinking from a regular glass, he’s also at that age when throwing gives him the thrill of his life. The Natural Cup is totally my best friend right now. It comes with a cover, so we bring it out with us as well. The Philips Avent Natural Cup is now available wherever Philips Avent products are sold for PhP899.75.

BUT! Get a chance to win one for your child right here! I’ve got three Philips Avent Natural Cups to give away to three readers. Please enter through Rafflecopter below.

Mechanics:

  1. All entries will be recorded and drawn via Rafflecopter.
  2. The contest will run from May 25, 2013 to June 5, 2013. Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm of June 5, 2013. Winners will be drawn and announced within 3 days from the end of entry submission.
  3. The contest is open NATIONWIDE.
  4. Entries may be gained from “liking” the Philips Avent Philippines Facebook page, sharing this contest on social media and commenting below.

Good luck!

Enter the Philips Avent contest by clicking here!

 

Curses! Foiled Again! {The Glorietta Midnight Madness Challenge!}

As an avid fan of The Amazing Race, you cannot tell me that we’re going to have a racing challenge and expect me to noo-nee-noo through it all. NO. I am going to take it pretty damn seriously.

And so, when the SoMoms were called upon to take the Ayala Malls Glorietta Back-To-School Challenge, I went back to the year 2005 and put on my uniform of that era: one of my Threadless tees (that thankfully still fit, albeit a little snug around the tummy), jeans, and sneakers (thank you Feiyue!). All the more to outrun you with, you scrappers!

Friends pa kami dito.

Top: Marc/TheFatherland; Jenny/My Mommyology; Kris/OCMomInManila; Patty/Nonstopbabble. Bottom: Me; Jackie/Go! Jackie Go; Tin/Manila Fashion Observer; Cai/Apples&Dumplings

So we were tasked to visit a few participating stores around Glorietta, snap up some back-to-school bargains and get back in time to prepare a themed presentation. Points were given for originality, ability to keep within budget, the theme, relevance and presentation. The prize at hand: a Hello Kitty mp3 set that would be such a cool thing for me for Basti to have.

The teams:

Ready…

Set…

Go!!!!!

We had to go around Glorietta, post on Twitter and Instagram, go to participating stores, shop, make sure we were on budget, and rush back! Exercise galore! There were so many good deals!! Majorly marked down tops at Gingersnaps and Kamiseta, a Baby Couture bag at half-price, sensible flats at Janylin for 399, etcetera, etcetera, ubos pera!

Serious kami ni Jackie. We even did change costume and everything! Along with Patty and Marc, we were in the running for first place.

And the winners are…. PATTY and MARC???? PFFFFFFT.

Haha! Kidding! Congratulations to our new SoMom and the first ever SoDad! You deserve it! They won because they kept within budget and had a wide variety of cool yet affordable things.

Thank you to Baby Couture, Basics for Kids, Big and Small, Gingersnaps, Janylin, Just G, Kamiseta, Mayoral, Papemelroti, Payless and Pinkbox for being so patient with us.

This race was in preparation for Glorietta’s Midnight Madness happening this weekend! On May 31 to June 1, stores will be open till 12 midnight, with huge, huge discounts of up to 70% off! On June 2, the stores will be open till 9PM. It’s the perfect time to go shopping for your back to school items!

 

Thank you again Ayala Malls! It was really fun.

How I Fund My Makeup Addiction: Online Jobs!

You know that saying, “If there’s a will, there’s a way?” Online work is the perfect example of that. Not too many people are aware that I actually work on other things aside from this blog, and make a pretty decent living out of it, too. There’s also a part of me that can’t let go of making even just a little bit of money on my own. I was just too used to the affirmation and satisfaction of getting paid for a job well-done.

I found online work to be perfect for me because:

  1. I could choose when to work and what to work on,
  2. If I get bored with something, I have the freedom to choose something else,
  3. No extra expenses. I spend all my time in front of the computer anyway, so why not earn while doing that as well?,
  4. The work is relatively easy. Any mother will tell you extra stress is not welcome in life.

And so, I just wanted to share with you guys how I earn extra money at home. Note that there are many many ways to earn from home, and these are just the few things that I like doing.

1. Rarejob

Rarejob is an online English-tutoring service that caters to Japanese citizens who reside in Japan. Since the time difference isn’t that huge, the work hours are doable (no graveyard shifts!) and best of all, flexible. You’re the one who sets your teaching schedule, the number of classes you want to teach each week and adjust as life dictates it. Sometimes I’m able to teach every afternoon, everyday. Sometimes I only teach one class a week! They are perfectly legit, very professional, and the support given to the tutors is wonderful.

Requirements:

  • College graduate of school in Rarejob’s list of accepted universities
  • Fluent English speaker with minimal accent
  • Previous teaching experience is a plus, but not required
  • Broadband connection and Skype account.

All my teaching experiences have been quite enjoyable so far. The age range of my students is from 7 to 65, and I’ve learned a lot from teaching as well. To apply to become a Rarejob tutor, visit their website for applicants here.

2. Writing

I actually don’t do this much anymore, but I just wanted to share. There are a lot of websites in the world, and these websites need content. There are also specialized jobs that needs specialized knowledge. I started to explore content writing while I was pregnant with Basti upon the suggestion of my cousin. I was bored out of my mind and looking for something to do. I was able to get my first clients through Freelancer.Com. My style was, I would get just a couple of clients who could give me work on a regular basis and then take the negotiations out of the website. My account is dormant now. I think some people would prefer to stay active in their accounts and build their profiles on these contractor sites so they could get high ratings and better offers. That would be good to do, especially if you are looking at finding work on these sites on a long-term basis. Recently, I also did a few writing projects for an independent virtual assistance firm referred to me by a friend. Pay for these projects can vary, depending on the work required. It can be as low as $2/article, but it can also go to $15. Again, this would depend on your own working style. Some writers like getting jobs by the bulk, projects of 10-20 articles at $2-$5/article, while some prefer the projects that require some research and longer work, but do pay higher by the hour. Sometimes you will get that dream project of a very good rate on a range of topics that you can write in your sleep.

3. Transcription

This is one “racket” that I just recently got into. I wanted to save my writing mojo for this blog, so  I wanted to do something else that didn’t require the same juice. I recently signed up for another contractor site called oDesk.Com, where I was recruited by an Australian firm that contracts transcribers from the Philippines. It’s quite fun – you listen, you type, you submit, you get paid. Along the way, you get to learn about topics you would never otherwise think about. One misconception I had about transcription is that is was all about medical or legal stuff. Not true! I’ve recently listened to stuff about gillnet fishing, chocolate, teaching for the hearing impaired, and engine maintenance. It can be quite interesting! Outside of oDesk, I was also given an opportunity to do subtitling for movies for a local firm that specializes in audio production. So I’ll be basically watching movies and typing up the dialogue. That’s not work to me, because I LOVE MOVIES. Transcription projects start off anywhere from $7-$15 per audio hour, while there are some projects that pay by line.

4. Social Media Management 

Social media marketing is a relatively new arena. My first taste of it was handling the customer service Twitter account of a telecommunications firm. Some of you may have actually sent me a tweet complaining about your connection. I promise I didn’t take it personally. 😉 Other than “Twitter-jockeying”, there’s also management of Facebook pages. Facebook community management is also relatively new, but quite important! It seems when you have a business these days, having a Facebook page is as imperative as having a phone number. It can get busy – messages, wall posts, complaints – and they need someone to monitor it regularly and respond promptly. The opportunities that came to me to manage Twitter and Facebook accounts came from personal contacts, but you can find postings for these kinds of jobs online as well.

 

Even though this kind of work is not really the focus of my time, I find it a good diversion and a painless, stress-free way to get a little extra money at home. I am not the model of an online worker. I’m not vigilant about building up my profile and I don’t mind if negotiations are taken off the site. This is not a good practice because to be offered jobs, it’s better if everything you do is recorded on your profile so that clients will see how much work you’ve done and be confident about your reliability. For those who want to make it their career (and I know some people who really make a substantial living out of working from these sites), you stay active, build up your profile, get feedback, take in more clients and soon enough you will build a good reputation that will consequently result in a higher rate. You can actually command a per hour or per project rate. It can be rewarding, career-wise and money-wise.

So there, I just wanted to share. I know some moms out there are looking for ways to earn while at home. Whether it be out of necessity, or out of boredom, know that there are opportunities lurking in corners. All you have to do is look for them!

Happy hunting!