Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Last Sunday, The Husband noticed pale red bumps on my back which I quickly dismissed as nothing. It turned out it was SOMETHING - a pretty huge something. I developed a 39.6-degree fever Monday at dawn with chills. I thought my head was going to explode.

In the morning, the bumps had spread all over my body and the fever was still sky-high so I was rushed to the emergency room. (I am so HAPPY we live five minutes away from the hospital) They drew blood and I was asked to submit a urine sample. An hour later, we got the results and the ER doctor said I had viral exanthem signifying German measles.

I was told to go home and rest up and take plenty of fluids. I was more than happy to oblige because I felt so tired, like I-fended-off-a-gauntlet-of-rabid-Fifty-Shades-of-Gray-fans tired, and my joints were six kinds of sore. I had no appetite and everything I did try to eat tasted like cardboard. The doctor told me viral infections of this sort just went away on their own. Where could I have gotten it, you ask? Well, they couldn't say because it could've been from anywhere, basically. We were also told to just control the fever so paracetamol had to be taken every four hours. Worse, they told me I could be contagious. Worst, they're also considering the possibility of dengue. Apparently, these viruses are tricky to pin down and they don't want to take any chances.

Well, two CBCs, three sick leaves and four doctor's check-ups later, I'm recovering well. If I wake up tomorrow with no fever then I can go to work.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baby Products I Swear By

I spent yesterday SMSing two friends - one was a bride-to-be, and another was a first-time mom. The former was asking me how to word her invites and the latter was asking me what to do for diaper rash. I'm no expert on both subjects even if yes, I've been a bride twice (can I say that on the grounds that I got married twice? To the same man, mind you, because we had a civil wedding ceremony in 2005 and Catholic wedding rites in 2009) AND I'm a mom. Well, I realized I just like helping out my friends. My mom-friend then texted, "Thanks for the help. Know what, you should write a blog entry on this." Well, I did, and here it is.

Here are some baby products which helped save my sanity when I was mom to my newborn (and I was twenty-two and didn't really know much):

1. Desitin 

We didn't let our little girl wear disposable diapers too much when she was just at home. We let her wear the washable cloth ones from Chino Pino. Still, she developed diaper rash. Hers was the mild kind, thankfully, and her pedia said that it's because baby's skin is super sensitive so it's pretty common. A neighbor gave us a tube of Desitin and the diaper rash healed and cleared up in no time. It's mild and soothing, and I've been recommending it to my friends ever since.

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Our little one developed red bumps on her cheeks. My mom bought her a big pump bottle of Cetaphil. It's so mild and gentle, and so effective that the red bumps went away without any trace. We used this for her body too. Kaelana continued to use this until she was about five. Now, we've switched to Nivea Tenderly Soothing Soap and J&J Baby Soap.

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We used this for Kaelana's hair when she was a baby. Her hair was, and still is, thick and healthy. We used this until she was five. Now she uses those ones with Disney Princesses on them.

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Babies don't really need lotion but I used this to give Kaelana a baby massage. I found baby oils to be a bit too greasy for her but this worked wonders.

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Kaelana went on her very first airplane ride at five months old and we didn't want to bring a separate body wash and a shampoo. This saved the day. We use this up to today when we travel.

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When a baby Kaelana got sick - those teething periods will make you cry, too - with a fever or a stuffy nose, this came to the rescue. We gave her sponge baths using this. It greatly helped.

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We used this for going out and for going to the beach. Now because, the little princess is seven we use the regular variety - still SPF 50 but not the tear free formula anymore. She wears sunscreen everyday.

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There you have it. Go and give your babies some lovin'!

* Please consult your pediatrician before using these products with your little ones. It's good to listen to other people's advice but one must first trust her instincts and most importantly, the advice of experts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I live in the Philippines where we don't celebrate this American holiday. However, I work in an American business process outsourcing company so we're very familiar with it. I also trained American English communication and culture for eight years in the same company (I was a trainer before I moved to my current post as instructional designer) so yeah, I'm very aware of it, if I may say so. Heh.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful, and being with family and friends. There are so many things I am thankful for. I thank God for:

♥ The little girl

She is my inspiration, my greatest love, my all. I am thankful that she is a consistent honor student ever since she started school, that she has many friends, that her teachers adore her, that she is being a little girl - concerned about her bike, her toys and One Direction.

She has an ear infection right now (otitis media) and is feverish but we hope and pray her prescribed antibiotics zap the nasties away. Get well soon, love.

♥ The Husband

Despite being a grumpy old man sometimes, he really comes through for me, for us. When he does something, he always does it with me and his daughter in mind. Like, he'll buy grapes out of the blue because he knows we love them. Or he'll go for a resto of our choosing, no matter what. He makes sure the car's in tiptop shape, the shower's working perfectly and we're safe and secure. He sees to it that that his family is comfortable, well-fed, and happy.

♥ My parents and my family

They are the most doting, sweet and generous grandparents a little girl can ask for. They take Kaelana to Timezone, paint with her, and tell her stories. They're not JUST grandparents who spoil their granddaughter with gifts and material things, but they really spend TIME with her, stay up late when she's sick and go to all her school activities. My mom brings Kaelana to her prayer meetings, to grocery shopping and to her office. My dad gives Kaelana piggyback rides, draws with her and calls her just to say he loves her.
My siblings and my nephew, Lucas - Kaelana's absolute best friend in the whole universe - love her dearly and we are just extremely blessed. 
My aunts and uncles, my grandparents and my awesome cousins just really make me feel to be so lucky to have been born into a family who supports each other and who values togetherness. Why do you think we have yearly reunions in December? Did I mention that this year it'll be in Boracay? Also, it'll be our second Boracay reunion. Ye-hesss.

ze parental units

my family minus my antisocial brother, Francis, and with my cousin, Joan

with a third of my cousins at last year's reunion at our grandparents' ancestral home in Iloilo;
photo by my cousin, Erik

♥ a job that I love

I loved training with all my heart but I felt the need to try something new because I believe in always broadening your horizons and upgrading your skills. Ultimately, I want to be in Talent Development, and I've always been very vocal about that. For now, Instructional Design is my happy place and I'm learning a lot.

♥ true friends

I don't need to elaborate because they know who they are, and I am thankful to have them. 

Can you believe Jaycel and I have been friends since we were toddlers? She was four and I was five, and we didn't even know what 'friends' meant at that time. I guess you can say we're practically sisters.

the Triangle of Trust un

the Triangle of Trust deux

spot us three with The Husband and our other good friends

my secret-keeper/personal make-up artist/go-to gal pal, Alveel

I love my friends!

♥ Lastly, I am grateful for the goodness in people, for dreams that inspire, for the blessings we constantly receive and for the gift of life.

Happy Thanksgiving, world!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Letter to My Daughter

My darling Kaelana,

Today, I got to thinking about how fast you are growing. I read somewhere that, when you become a parent, you should never blink. You should always keep your eyes open, you should always be an awed witness to your child growing up and becoming her own person - the person she was always meant to be. I know I will write you a lot of letters over the years but today, I want to tell you seven things I hope you will remember. These are not guidelines on how I think you should live your life because, by all means, write your own rules, and chart your own course, my love. These are just things I want you to hold dear to your heart because they will always, always be true.

1. You will always have a home to come to.

No matter where your path takes you, and wherever your dreams and aspirations bring you, know that you will always have a home to come to. True, home is where the people who love you most are, but in your case, it comes with a roof, too. Our happiest memories as a family have a physical, tangible cocoon borne out of the hard work of your parents, and I hope you know we're part of the lucky few. Home for you is not just felt, but also touched. That's a blessing.

2. You can talk to me about anything. And I mean anything.

We are only 22 years apart, anyway. There is nothing too embarrassing/crazy/horrifying for the woman you have already threw up/spit/pooped on. Tell me, I can take it. I will pass no judgement, I will listen, I will always be on your side. Always. Even if it doesn't become obvious right away. I am wired to love you unconditionally and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Which leads us to...

3. I will be your mom first, though, and your friend, second.

Trust me when I say "When in doubt, don't." If you feel uncomfortable and iffy about it, or weirded out by it - whatever "it" is - , then firmly say no, and walk away. It doesn't make you any less beautiful, smart or popular to stick to your guns and stand up for what you believe in. Believe me, girls who didn't know how to set clear boundaries for themselves and ended up regretting their rash decisions are a dime a dozen.

4. Please, for the love of God, and all things good, marry someone like your dad. Or someone like your two lolos. A combination of these three wonderful and amazing men would be golden.

Marry someone who loves you and isn't afraid to show it. Marry someone who will go to the ends of the earth for you. (Your father quit smoking for me without going back to lighting up - ever. Do you know that?) Marry someone who makes you laugh, who encourages you, who believes in you. Marry someone who cannot live without you. Marry someone who is a good provider. Marry someone who will dream and aspire with you. Marry the love of your life, your absolute best friend in the universe. I did.

5. Wear sunscreen, good underwear and real jewelry.

SPF 50, my sweet, should be part of your skin care regimen forever. There's a reason you have been wearing sunscreen every day since you were three. Wearing good underwear is a must. There is no rhyme nor reason for that. It's just what a proper lady does. And for you, my dear Kaelana, I will forego shopping for too many Charles and Keith shoes that will just fall into disrepair after three seasons. Instead, I will continue to grow my jewelry collection because someday, I will pass them on to you.

6. You are beautiful.

No matter what Hollywood, fashion magazines, the scale and the mirror tell, and will tell you.

7. You don't have to be anyone else but you.

I promise to continue to guide you and cheer you on. I will not live your life for you. I will also not live vicariously through you. I promise to let you blossom into the person and the woman that you are destined to become. I will let you make your own choices. I will protect you and I will always be there.

I wish you a happy, long, healthy, prosperous, adventure-filled, meaningful and fulfilling life.

You are my everything, and I love you so, so much.

Monday, November 19, 2012

This is not how I want to start my week

Bouts of asthma. Tremors due to nebulizations. I had to take a much needed sick leave. I'm working on a very important project right now and I need all the focus I can get. I was pretty much knocked out the whole  morning. I just got up to pick the little girl up from school with The Husband. He bought us milk teas to make ourselves feel better. I actually contemplated going to the emergency room but I have to listen to my body and just rest.

Thankfully, I had a weekend chock-full of family time. Saturday was spent sleeping in then taking the little one to the story-telling session sponsored by Adarna House at Parkmall. We didn't catch it because we were an hour late but the little one didn't mind because Adarna House participated in her school's book fair. She and her classmates were able to listen to a story there. She did catch the face painting, glitter tattooing and coloring sessions so she had a blast. Plus, my college friend, Ergoe, who works for Adarna House, sent her a package full of Adarna House goodies - books, markers! Thank you, tita Ergoe! We had lunch at the mall then we went home to watch DVDs and I cooked my family dinner. I must say, I'm getting pretty good at preparing them homemade meals.

Sunday. Well, I made them breakfast and we told stories and lounged around. In the afternoon, well, I'll let the photos do some of the talking.

We went to mass at the National Shrine of Saint Joseph. The Husband then took this photo because the church was so packed, we had to stand outside. Doesn't he have a good eye? 

Then we went to SM to scout for Christmas presents for our godchildren. We also wanted to have a look at their Christmas tree. Every year, they put up massive ones and they're always a sight to behold. This year's tree didn't disappoint. Look at that!

Of course, the little girl loved it! On a side note, she's wearing the same dress from last weekend. I'm letting her wear her dresses that I know she'll outgrow very soon. She's getting so tall!

We then spent some time ogling the Christmas Village of Hope for Kythe. Everything looked Christmas-y! Look! Look! Look!

Dinner followed and it was at family favorite Simply J's. The Husband had baby back ribs, I had cream dory with salsa and the little girl had seafood pasta. Banoffee was for dessert.

And here's me sans makeup but with my greatest pride and joy - the little person who makes my days - weekends or not - COMPLETE and HAPPIEST.

Here's to more rejuvenating weekends from my loves to yours!

How was YOUR weekend?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Random Memories Quatre

- I rode on airplanes alone - well, with my brother - as a child. My dad was an OFW and there were no direct flights from outside the Philippines to Cebu then so it was custom for us to meet him in Manila when he would come home. There were times my mom would fly ahead to Manila because she didn't want my brother, Jhzryl and I to miss school. She'd book us a different flight and we would fly to Manila - just my brother and me - without any adult. We would fly Philippine Airlines and because we were unaccompanied minors, we got special treatment. We wore badges pinned to our shirts that said, "I am a PAL junior jet setter!" My brother was twelve and I was seven. We sat in front and the flight attendants gave me coloring books and crayons and stuffed animals. They gave my brother gum. Ha. One time, we were allowed to go and see the pilots in the plane's cockpit. My mom and dad would then meet us at the Manila airport.

- When my sister, Lynnth, was five years old, she got lost in Robinson's. I was the one tasked to watch her and she had wandered away while I was looking at cassette tapes. I was terrified my mom would get mad at me over what an irresponsible older sister I was. I was more terrified of the fact that my sister might have gone to a dressing room where the floor opened up to make her fall into a pit where she was eaten by Robinson's giant snake. We later found her sitting under a mannequin, unharmed and oblivious to the scare she put us through.

- I never learned to ride a bike. I tried to learn, but I just couldn't do it. I'm just not wired to do it.

- I had Ninja Turtles shoes when I was ten. They were leather and looked like oxfords. They were black and had neon green laces. I loved them.

- I wore retainers in high school. My mom had to have them replaced twice because I would lose them. How? I took them off before eating somewhere not at home and placed them in tissue. I'd forget about them and of course, the waiter would come and throw them away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have always been drawn to people who were intelligent - not just in an academic sense, mind you. I have always been captivated by individuals who were multi-faceted (like cut diamond!) and not one-dimensional. I am beguiled by people whose interests are varied, who are gung-ho about living their lives to the fullest, people whose minds are as vast and open as the ocean.

The people I hang out with and I don't necessarily have to have the same interests. In fact, we don't even have to have much in common. That's the beauty of the relationships I cultivate. My friends and I are not clones of each other. After all, I like having friends, not replicas of my self.

My friends are passionate, humble and funny. They have razor sharp wit and an awesome sense of humor. They like to learn and laugh and love. They are compassionate and caring. They are down-to-earth and have no few hang-ups (don't we all have chips on our shoulders? At least, they're humble and self-aware enough to admit that they do! Ha.) Most importantly, my friends are real.

I am very honored and grateful to be their friend.

Real friendships should be nourished. Real friends should be treasured.

"Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart - one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.
- Marvin J. Ashton 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Last Saturday.

Pizza and milk tea night.

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” 

I agree.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stocking Stuffers

I am a huge fan of Christmas shopping. I think I stopped believing in Santa when I was ten. I kind of had an idea that my mom was behind all the presents I got from 'Santa' but I refused to let go of the fantasy. Ha. Christmas is about sharing and giving and I believe in giving very personal gifts for close friends and family.

But what about the nine girls you work with? Your boyfriend's three sisters? Your 18 first degree cousins on your mom's side? Your friendly neighbor? What do you give them?

Well, fret not, dear readers. I have some gift suggestions for you.

1. food

A container of cookies, a package of brownies, a jar of homemade jam, a box of cupcakes. It's up to you.

It's good to support local businesses. It's healthy and environment-friendly (because when you buy locally, nothing has to be shipped from somewhere far away saving fuel and other resources) to patronize entrepreneurs in your neighborhood. Gifting food makes people happy, and what I love most about giving it as a gift is that it is meant to be shared. And you don't have to think about the gender of the recipient! It's also a gift for an entire family and not just one person. My dad's office gives away gift baskets full of grocery items to their associates. Last year, we gave our neighbors boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I'll buy local this year.

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2. books

Books, for me, are extremely personal gifts. I like receiving them myself. 

They can be tricky to give because if you have friends who read a lot - I'm talking about you, Alveel, Belle, Niko and Arvy - then you'll need a bit of research to find out what they have and don't have yet. The Husband, when he gave me Koushun Takami's Battle Royale for my birthday had to conspire with my good friend, Alveel. I found their text messages to each other on his phone weeks after. If you're giving a book to someone this Christmas, it's recommended that you do a bit of sleuthing first. Books are such an amazing gift. And yes, it's okay to give second-hand. 

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A good tip would be to give them a gift card to a their favorite book store. It's an awesome no-fail plan. My favorite book stores are Fullybooked and La Belle Aurore. I also like going to Book Sale.

3. grooming and beauty stuff

Bottles of cologne, pretty pots of lip balm, jeweled compact mirrors, tubes of lip gloss, nail polish, colorful packs of hair elastics or clips... The possibilities are endless! Forever 21, Bench, Accessorize and the SM Department Store's accessories section are treasure troves!

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4. accessories 

A girl can never have too many so accessories so these make great presents.

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5. gadget cases, passport holders, bags, satchels and pouches

What girl doesn't like them? If you're crafty, then you can make them yourself. It's an extremely sweet gesture. There are a lot of local stores that handcraft and sell these. The quality is really good too.

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6. journals and planners

My friend, Graeco, gave me a journal from New York. I haven't used it yet. I really like receiving them and I also like giving them. My bridesmaids' gifts were red leather bound journals with a heart cutout on the cover.

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7. a donation to a cause or a charity in the recipient's name

This is a great gift for the elderly who tell you they 'don't really want anything for Christmas.' You can give them a Christmas card with a note that tells them a donation has been made in their name. It's such a thoughtful present.

8. tickets

To a gig, a show, a movie...  You're the boss. In our office, movie passes are given out all the time. The Husband and I sometimes get so many - the most we had at one time was eleven - that we give them away. This is a good gift for your household help. Give her two so she can bring her friend. Tell her the latest John Lloyd-Bea starrer is on you.

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9. gift certificates

To the gym, the spa, to a store, to a restaurant... GCs are so fun to give. My friend and co-worker, Ann, surprised me with one to SM and I was really psyched. I bought a black peplum skirt.

10. time

Nothing beats spending time with your family and friends and co-workers. My friends and co-workers and I have yearly Christmas dinners. 

Christmas 2008 
L-R: Nicole, Arvy and me

Christmas 2008
L-R: George, me, Arvy

Christmas holidays at my grandparents' farm in Iloilo with 1/3 of my cousins

Christmas with the boys, Dan and Graeco

'Tis the season, indeed!