Happy Anniversary Gingersnaps!

Last week, Basti and I attended the 20th anniversary fashion show of Gingersnaps at SM Aura.

Other than presenting the spring collection of Gingersnaps (which is awesome, by the way), the fashion show was also a celebration of Gingersnaps’ 20 years in the business. From its humble beginnings in department stores, Gingersnaps is now a top-of-mind brand for children’s, teen’s and maternity clothing, and have expanded their operations internationally.

Hosted by Daphne Oseña-Paez, the fashion show featured the kids who topped the Gingersnaps Kids Model Search, who were spectacular in their walk down the runway. Direction was by top fashion show director Robbie Carmona and styled by Pam Quinones.

Host Daphne Oseña-Paez; President of Gingersnaps, Mr. Jerry Uy

Little Miss MFO had her own moment on the runway. You were awesome Berry!!!

The SoKids were the real guests. Us #SoMoms were just the drivers and bantays, really.

Jenny of COANM and Naima, Michelle of Momma In Manila and Gellie, Manila Mommy Neva with her beautiful family, Jackie of Go Jackie Go with cuties Gabbie and Juro, Patty of Nonstopbabble and Sabine, Mommy Fleur and Anika.

Basti and I have been big fans of Gingersnaps since he was a baby. The clothes are great quality and are of the highest standard when it comes to safety. I also love how the clothes are stylish yet don’t make your kids look like people in small-sized adult clothes. Before the fashion show, Gingersnaps was very generous to treat Basti to an outfit of his choice to wear to the event. It was a very hard decision.

Basti’s at the age though, when he’s starting to pick his own clothes, so it wasn’t up to me. This is what he picked out. FLORAL. My boy knows his prints!

Congratulations Gingersnaps! Here’s to 20 and more years of beautiful clothes for kids!

 

Join LATCH!: LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 5

My journey as a peer counselor with LATCH started two years ago when I went through the training seminar as part of LATCH Batch 3. Since then, my life has been intertwined with LATCH in more ways than one.

Apart from the talks, classes, breastfeeding testimonials, projects (Snuggle Wuggle Wee, Nanay Bayanihan and Dr. Jack Newman, y’all), there’s something about belonging in an organization full of like-minded women who care about a cause as much as  you do. We are all different, but all sisters in the name of breastfeeding.

We did LATCH Peer Counselor Training Batch 4 recently in Cebu.

The excitement and fire from the participants prompted us to schedule the Manila training leg sooner than later.

So do you wanna be a LATCHer? Check out the details below. The LATCH peer counselor training will be held on two whole Saturdays this March. (Click on the image to enlarge)

There will be an interview and all applicants will go through a screening process. As with all organizations, it’s good to know whether LATCH is a fit for you and what you represent and how you want to be represented. Let’s talk! Sign up to be on the candidate list on http://bit.ly/LatchManila5.

I hope to see your name on the list!

The #BetterMe Sessions: Better Relationships with Household Helpers

I have been trying to write this post for weeks but the mojo for it was hard to come by. Well, there’s no better time to write about it than now. I am, once again, household help-free. Our 4-year yaya went on vacation last Christmas and didn’t come back. Don’t freak. I am not upset by that fact. I am no stranger to a yaya-free environment. But this incident got me thinking back to the session we had with Coach Pia of The One Core on having better relationships with household helpers. It was a long morning, but I wanted to share with you guys the points that I took home with me, and hope that these will help you in your domestic dramas (don’t we all have them).

Wants vs. Needs

Coach Pia first had us make a list of characteristics of our ideal home. We had similar lists – organized, safe, environmental, etc. We were then asked to list down the tasks involved in making this list happen, which area of the house needed the work, the specific tasks involved to do it and importantly, WHO was in charge. With this we then determined which characteristics were “Wants” versus “Needs” and if the person involved in doing this work felt it was a “Want” or a “Need” as well.

In my own home, one of my needs was to a spotless and organized kitchen. To my helper, this was not a need. It was not even a want. We had constant disagreements and I felt I was endlessly reminding her of how I wanted the kitchen to be kept. To me it was important; to her I was being OA. What could’ve worked was for me to explain why this was a need for me, for her to understand the reasons behind my nitpicking and to communicate how important it was to me.

This is not just for your household helpers, but for the rest of the family as well. It works both ways too. As mothers who run the house, we sometimes feel we have a say on what goes for EVERYTHING and fail to see that the other members of the family have needs as well. So if the husband asks for a bike rack, doesn’t want it, but NEEDS it, then by jove, let’s try and make that happen. Being able to meet and compromise on everybody’s wants and needs is the first step to a harmonious household.

Willingness vs. Ability

When it comes to household helpers, there are varying degrees of willingness and ability we have to live with. We also have to figure out what levels we ourselves can live with. Check if your helper is:

  • Willing and able
  • Willing but not able
  • Not willing but able
  • Not willing and not able

I think I’ve encountered kasambahay in all these levels of willingness and ability. Sad to say, most of my friends who have trouble with their household employees have people who fall under the “not willing and not able” category. For me, I am quite content with “willing but not able” because then you can train them how to handle things in your household. I will never have anyone who is “not willing but able” stay with me because from my experience, they are smart-ass, eye-rolling, complaining, sass-mouthing people who will leave you at the drop of a hat with no consideration at all.

So once you’ve assessed your helper, assess the tasks that need to be accomplished in your household. Are these tasks well within the scope of her willingness and ability? Maybe you’re asking and expecting too much.

Go back to the values.

In line with needs, wants, willingness and ability, it’s very important to explain the core values of the family to our helpers. If you are a working, breastfeeding mom, for example, simple directions about the storage and handling of milk sometimes will not suffice. I have heard many moms literally cry over spilled and wasted milk. But, if you explain the benefits, the care and the effort you put into expressing milk, then she might be able to understand why she should thaw with care, check for spoilage, not throw leftover milk, and so forth. That is, if she is WILLING and ABLE.

+++++++++

It was a really fruitful morning, and we were fortunate to have the session, thanks to the wonderful people of Marca Piña Cheeseballs, Tonkita by Arix and Gustare Kitchen as the venue. We took home some very useful household cleaning implements from Tonkita (homemaker’s goody bag dream items, hear hear). I really like this two-well bucket. #homemakerjoys

The food at Gustare Kitchen was so yummy! I especially liked this squid ink sotanghon, which reminded me of my lola’s recipe. They also have packed meals ready for takeout. Perfect for condo-dwellers, small families and people who just need a break from cooking.

We also learned about Marca Piña Cheeseball (which was the perfect companion to grapes and made an awesome snack during the session). We had this session right before Christmas last year, so the timing was perfect. Who doesn’t get giddy over cheeseballs during Christmas season?

I think all of us went home that day with a bit of wisdom on how to handle our household. I hope there will less domestic drama for all of us this year!

Thank you Coach Pia! Looking forward to the next #BetterMe session!

 

Quick Post. I’m Still Alive.

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! Happy Three Kings! Happy Valentine’s!!!

I just wanted to take a breather and say hi. Chichika lang ako. I’m super loaded these days because I am moving for the nth time in my life. Anyone who has ever moved know that I am half-insane right now.

I do have so many things that I want to share and this 2014 is a time for new beginnings for this blog as well. I have been contemplating about where this blog is going, where I want to go versus where it needs to go, and I’ve decided to do a revamp. I already have some ideas for the design, themes, topics and I can’t wait to launch it.

Before that though, well, I have to finish moving. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Catch you guys soon from my new blogging corner in our new home!

Lock N Lock: New Store, New Stuff

You know you’re a mom when…

An invitation from Lock N Lock to visit their new store at the East Wing of Shangri-la gets you all excited. The last time we had an event at their store on Araneta Ave. in Quezon City, it was a frenzy! Then, I went all crazy over their Boroseal containers. I was very eager to know what they had for us this time.

So what’s new?

First thing I noticed was a wall full of baby stuff. Cuteness. Silicone bibs and sippy cups.

Then, here are containers from the Interlock series. Stack them up as high as six containers on top of each other with no danger of falling over. What a space saver!

Then there’s the Sound Lock series, a container line that gives a definitive sound to assure you that all your food is locked up in airtight goodness. Little Juro shows us how showcasing is done.

I am saving up for these drawers. Perfect for office supplies, and for me, makeup organization. Mega-super-duper WANT.

Then this. The Speed Cook series. Non-stick, ultra-light, super-fast heating time. It’s the stuff my homemaker’s dreams are made of. No need for oil, and it cooks up your food in half the time. Holy high-tech cookware Batman!

This is what a table full of hungry SoMoms looks like.

Over lunch at Wee Nam Kee, these two #SoMoms, Tin and Tina, had a pancake showdown. The woman with the most pancakes wins. Can you see the glint in Tin’s eyes?

And the Speed Cook Pancake challenge winner is Tin! She gets to take home the pan that sealed her victory.

Back at the store, more stuff took my fancy.

An old favorite – ceramic cookware.

An updated version of the salad server my mom used for our DIY salads/pasta/taco meals when I was young. The cover makes it perfect for picnics and potlucks.

A sealed ice-cube mold. BPA-free. Perfect for guarding your ice from the other elements in your freezer to prevent contamination. You know what else it could be for right? Breastmilk storage! Just pop a few cubes into your feeding implement and thaw as little or as much as you need.

I just recently got into bento for Basti, and I like this partitioned food container and lunch box.

While Lock N Lock is readily available in supermarkets and department stores, you have better chances of finding the more interesting selections at a Lock N Lock store. Not only that, you can take advantage of sales going on that are in-store only. They’ve got one going on right now at the new Lock N Lock store at the Shangri-la Plaza East Wing until December 31, 2013. It’s a great way to spend your Christmas loot money, hehe!

Thank you Lock N Lock! We had a great time, as always.

I will be back for you. I promise. You will be mine.

 

8Cuts Burger Blends at UP Town Center

There are days when I wish I was back in school at the Ateneo. Back then our choices were very limited – Full House, Kamirori (remember the ice cream crepe??), Abuelo’s, Sweet Inspirations (note to self: go back for tapa and Mongolian BBQ), liempo or porkchop at the Covered Courts. Now Katipunan Avenue is a virtual food hub. Bad for traffic, yes, but the choices are awesome. UP Town Center just opened up in the area just past La Vista and there are a bunch of restaurants worth a try.

8Cuts Burger Blends invited me to try out their menu. What an awesome excuse to trek to one of my favorite areas of the metro and meet up with friends on that side of the world.

8Cuts is run by the same group behind Burger Bar (which I’ve never tried. But I’ve heard lots of good things about it), so I was very excited to try the food.

You can choose a burger from the Tributes specials, or make your own. You can choose the meat blend for your burger according to your taste. They’ve even got a vegan patty. I love sides so we ordered a couple as well.

There are more items on the menu – pasta, chicken, sandwiches, etcetera. There’s something for anyone in case a person or two in your group doesn’t feel like a burger.

So we got the skin-on steak fries, the sweet potato fries and the onion rings.

I am addicted to the onion rings. I need to eat them again soon.

For burgers it was the Four Cheese, the Piggy and the Rising Shroom. Among the three, the Shroom was my favorite.

VG also ordered their Salted Caramel Shake. I had a sip. YUM.

And then there were the desserts. Die. Caramel Vanilla Bread Pudding, Molten Chocolate Bottoms, and the Blueberry Cheesecake. So heavenly!

What I liked about 8Cuts Burger Blends:

  • Relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Reasonable prices
  • Great desserts
  • ONION RINGS
  • ONION RINGS
  • ONION RINGS
  • Plenty of options for anyone

Thank you for the invite 8Cuts Burger Blends! I’ll be back with Basti and my family. My little brother will love it there, I am so sure of it. (Well he’s not little, he’s 32. But he’ll always be little to me)

It was nice seeing my makeup girls Val, Abie, VG and Marj.

Thank you 8Cuts for accommodating our looooong lunch and pardon to the college students who found the “titas” so noisy.

Till next time!

Preparing for the Power Rate Surge: Meralco’s Electricity Saving Tips

Who does not dread the electricity bill? I do, especially during the summer. During a luncheon hosted by Meralco I attended some days ago, I was enlightened on the surges in power charges and what we can do to cope. Did you know that regular maintenance of power plants (usually every couple of years) results in an increase in generation charges at this time of the year? That was news to me. From now on, I will expect that extra cost and duly prepare for the increase in rates come November.

At the luncheon was Alfred, their resident Energy Baron (see what they did there?) who shared with us some pointers on how to make our home more energy efficient. But first let’s take some time to pay tribute to the Beef Muscovado of Grace Park. Oh yum.

Now on to the tips.

Get one of these and do not overload it.

I’ve always known that unplugging electrical devices helps in cutting electricity costs. But I’ve always been lazy to always do it so I end up not unplugging appliances and devices very often. To add to that, the extra heat generated by electrical devices on standby is extra work for your airconditioner, resulting in extra power consumption as well! A surge protector like this, with the on and off switch can solve that problem with just a flick of your finger (or in my case, my big toe). But then, do not overload your surge protectors and compromise the safety of your homes.

Time it.

Put anything that’s on for an extended period on a timer. In our case, it’s the airconditioner, which I always forget to turn off. One idea I got from the luncheon is this: Christmas lights on a timer! Not only is it energy-efficient, it’s safe too.

Pay attention to the yellow tags.

The yellow tags attached to the aircons, refrigerators and other appliances is actually an indicator on how energy efficient that machine is. The higher the Energy Efficient Factor (EEF), the better.

Let there be light.

Bring up those curtains and let natural light come in! It’s also a good thing that incorporating natural light into home design has become a trend, and one that’s here to stay it seems. It will cut down on your electricity by eliminating the need for daytime use of your houselights (which you should remember to turn off when not in use – a simple tip that we always forget!) If you’re still using incandescent bulbs at home, then it’s high time you switch to CFL and better, LED. Check out this chart to see how much energy you save with CFL and LED – 40 to 62%!!

Keep your cool without the costs.

We all love cool environments, but did you know that setting your aircon thermostat to even just a couple of degrees higher can efficiently cut down on electricity costs? So consider bringing up the temp to a comfortable 23 to 25 degrees instead of 16-18 degrees. Help your airconditioner as well by reducing outside heat when you turn it on, and that means lowering the blinds and making sure all openings are sealed. Positioning also helps. Avoid putting any appliances or devices that generate heat near your airconditioner (like a TV) or it will make your aircon work harder to compensate.

Speaking of cool environments, they also told us that they know of people who turn off their refrigerators at night, thinking they could save on electricity. (Seriously???) This actually costs more, because the extra work it takes to cool down the interior of a refrigerator will cost more. Safe concept for those who turn off their airconditioners every 2 hours only to turn them on again after a couple of hours.

Maintenance is key.

Get your airconditioners regularly cleaned. Defrost when 1/4 of ice has formed in your freezer. If you have a frost-free refrigerator, good for you! (But manual frost-frees take more electricity. Go inverter for refs!) Clean your lamps and bulbs for better light output.

Meralco also introduced us to their app, Move. Move stands for MeralcO Virtual Engine. It’s a cool app you can download for your smartphone or tablet that gives you information on power maintenance schedules, locations of BayadCenter bill payment facilities, a directory of Meralco offices nationwide, the Meralco AppCal (where you can input your energy bill and see which appliance is consuming the most energy) and view your latest Meralco bill.

It’s also got this interface with power saving tips and cute animation that’s great for sharing energy efficiency with your kids.

Siya ang nag-intro ng app. OKAY LANG.

Like this post if you think I look like Jollibee in this picture. Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday.

Juaco of the Loyola Meralco Sparks football team.

Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday.

Thanks Meralco for hosting the lunch! Hopefully with advisories and tips, we can all weather the surge in power rates until everything goes back to normal. Until then, let’s do this!

So with these tips, let’s hope that you and I will weather this surge in power rates. Things will normalize early next year. Till then, let’s do this!

*This post is sponsored by Meralco.

Nanay Bayanihan

I’m sure I don’t need to explain why I haven’t been writing lately. My thoughts and emotions have been on a roller coaster. I’m sure you guys can relate. Every since the weekend of Typhoon Yolanda, all of us have our own stories to tell. I’ve shared bits and pieces of Nanay Bayanihan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and I finally have the mojo to actually write about it.

Nanay Bayanihan all started with a mother’s concern. Camille was in Villamor fetching survivors and found herself in the midst of the action. In the early days of the relief operations, there was hardly anything. She saw the babies, she saw the formula donations, she saw the arbitrary distribution without assessment and decided to sound off to Jenny of Chronicles of A Nursing Mom (see Jenny’s own post on Nanay Bayanihan here). Mommy Camille asked if LATCH can send counselors and facilitate donated breastmilk. Jenny contacted Doc Lei, who contacted Doc Mianne and they agreed to mobilize. Doc Lei and Doc Mianne also have an organization – Kalusugan Para Sa Mag-Ina, Inc. – and their expertise and knowledge was essential in putting up the facility at VAB. Along the way, there was a call for formula donations from the DSWD, which frustrated Doc Mianne and prompted Dr. Zeka Tatad-To call out for donations that initiated The Cold Chain Project. It is meant to facilitate the point-to-point transport of donated breastmilk to the frontline of the disaster-stricken areas and make breastmilk available to those who need it. The Cold Chain Project evolved into Bayanihan Para Sa Mag-Ina, the blanket organization that embraces both the Cold Chain and Nanay Bayanihan. Along with LATCH, the entire breastfeeding community moved, from the members of Breastfeeding Pinays, to other breastfeeding advocacy groups, to breastfeeding mothers and community health workers. A single mother’s concern became an entire community of mothers’ concern.

In the weeks that I’ve participated in the effort, I saw how  Nanay Bayanihan truly was moving in the spirit of bayanihan. Both strangers and friends, mothers or not, came together and brought Nanay Bayanihan to life. I’m a little lost for words at the moment, but here’s a slice of my tale in pictures.

There were light and fun times, opportunities to interact with like-minded women.

With fellow volunteers at the Nanay Bayanihan tent. Doc Mianne (in red) giving us a few reminders when handling the mom and baby pairs who come into the tent.

There were times I wanted to cry.

This is baby Andrea, whose mom was rushed to the hospital for a heart complication. She’s only three weeks old. We took turns nursing her until the DSWD fetched her and her dad to be with her mom at the Heart Center. I pray she’s doing well.

There was frustration.

When the order was given to move out of Villamor and transfer to Aguinaldo, the entire operation was packed up and set up. We set up all day in Aguinaldo, resulting in our nicest tent yet. We were told three hours later to transfer back to Villamor. Because all our things were set up in Aguinaldo, we had to scrounge around VAB for any cartons, blankets and whatever we could find just to accommodate the babies coming in the midnight flights.

There was lots of fatigue. But there was also lots of joy.

This baby came in with her mom at approximately 3am. I wore her while her mother slept off her exhaustion from the trip. Babywearing works wonders!

And a little bit of showbiz too!

I couldn’t believe it when they announced over the PA system that Alicia Keys was at the grandstand! I sprinted when I heard her voice over the mic.

Nanay Bayanihan was overwhelmed with the amount of support received in the form of donations, volunteers, and coverage. In light of the many discussions and heated arguments about milk donations and distribution of milk in relief centers, I believe Nanay Bayanihan was able to make a mark and extend the awareness of why the Milk Code, UNICEF and the World Health Organization specify not allowing milk donations in times of crises and emergencies.

The operations have waned but the tent remains. Even after our country has weathered Yolanda, Nanay Bayanihan will still remain. Again, this group has no “agenda.” They are not being idealistic. It aims to protect all babies, breastfed or otherwise and aims to shatter all myths and misinformation about infant feeding and nutrition.

To learn how to help and to know more about the ideals of Bayanihan Para sa Mag-Ina, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bayanihanIFE

Sharing: Our Photo Shoot at The Picture Co.

It’s been a while since Basti and I had a picture session at The Picture Co. Basti was 9 months when these were taken:

Three years later, we’re back! The SoMoms were invited to have a picture taking session just in time to produce cards and tags for the holidays. We were very excited. And when I say “we”, yes I really mean Basti. Contrary to his pensive and serious nature, Basti actually loves photo shoots. Note, I say “photo shoots” and not “having his picture taken” because those are two entirely different things to him. My little man has model tendencies, so it seems.

I wasn’t in the best of moods coming into the session. I had just come from an all-nighter at the Nanay Bayanihan tent and I was tired, cranky, somber and bothered. But being in the shoot really lifted my spirits. How could it not? The pictures say it all.

Basti had his turn in his favorite outfit – hat and bowtie.

And had a messy fun time playing with paint.

Then Basti and I had a mother-and-son picture together.

And this is my headshot. I haven’t had one in a long time. Is this a sign of my stage comeback? (Comeback talaga?)

The photos we took will also be laid out for Christmas postcards and tags. Truth is, I’m not much of a Christmas person (a Scrooge to the hilt), but I must say the cards were ones that I can live with. I’ll Instagram them once they’re ready. The samples were really cute.

So right now, they have an ongoing promo. Free family photo sessions!! Yey! You can bring up to eight (8) family members to have a free photo shoot at any The Picture Co. branch. The promo is only till December 15, 2013, so call the branch of your choice and book your session now. Print out or take a screenshot of this coupon to avail of the promo. Have fun!

Thank you The Picture Co. – Podium for the lovely photos! Follow them on Twitter at @TPCPodium and @thepicturecoph.

Find them on Facebook too!

The Picture Co. – http://www.facebook.com/ThePictureCoPH

 

 

 

Milk for Wilbert

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of things, one of them being the Nanay Bayanihan tent in Villamor, something that I will write about a bit more on another post.

I want you guys to meet Wilbert.

He’s one of the babies that we took in at the Nanay Bayanihan tent. He was breastfed from birth, until his mother died during Typhoon Yolanda. He was rescued, floating in the flood waters, and is now being cared for by his aunt, uncle and grandmother in Manggahan, Pasig.

At the tent, we took turns nursing him – me, Mye and Emily – and he fell asleep while I wore him in a sling. He’s a happy, giggly, little boy, and all the volunteers fell in love with him in the few hours he spent at the Nanay Bayanihan tent. His grandmother and his tita were oriented by Dr. Wang on cupfeeding and appropriate infant nutrition for his age and beyond, and his family is willing to do what they can. But Wilbert needs our help!

We are hoping to be able to sustain his breastmilk to at least the 6-month mark. We are accepting pledges for breastmilk donations. The goal of this drive is sustainability, so not all donations will be picked up right away. We want to make sure that Wilbert gets enough breastmilk in the coming weeks – enough for his use, enough to store it properly and enough so that we do not get donor fatigue.

If you would like to enlist yourself as a breastmilk donor, please fill up the Google form below. If you have milk you want to donate right now, do still fill up the form and then please shoot me an email at eliza@painterswife.com and I’ll coordinate with you for the drop-off points.

Note that this breastmilk drive is a straight-from-the-heart donation and we cannot expect the family of Wilbert to replace your milk bags, storage containers or ask them to pick up milk from the ends of the earth. Let’s do what we can to help the family and help them to cope with everything they’ve been through, starting with Wilbert’s milk.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you in advance.

If you cannot see the form below, click on this link: http://bit.ly/BMforWilbert

Life as a wife, a mother and a muse