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A Toast to 2012.

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Bring out the wine glasses, pour the champagne, and let's get the ball rollin'!
Cheers to the New Year! 
May 2012 be filled with hope, peace, and love for all of us.
Ever onward!


How to Make the Little Man Smile.

My son has the sweetest smile in the world. And it doesn't take much to elicit that from him. He takes his frivolity after me; both of us find joy in the simplest little things.

One of his cheap thrills, for instance, is going to the mall. (Although when you think about it, the mall is not really a very cheap place to go to. Haha!) Mention the word 'SM' and his face will instantly brighten, like Christmas lights that have just been plugged into the socket.

Dress him up in his 'going out' clothes, and he'll be happier even more. Especially when he's wearing his Spiderman sneakers, his most favorite shoes at the moment. That way, he's pretty much convinced that you're really going somewhere and you're not just saying 'SM' for kicks.

Stylin' and profilin'.
On Yue: Future England Captain shirt and pants set from  Umbro, Spiderman hi-cut sneakers by Reebok.

When at the mall, take him to any of his favorite fastfood restaurants. Get him some fries, chicken or chicken nuggets, a glass of iced tea (sans the ice), and he's sure to wolf down everything in one sitting.

Regular faces at Mc D's. Because we're crazy about their Happy Meal toys.

Swing by the department store, and make sure to buy him something - anything. It doesn't matter if it's on sale or the price is astronomical (the latter is always the last option, haha!). For as long as he likes what you're going to buy, that's fine with him.

Yue's haul from last Wednesday's shopping trip: My First Words Sticker and Activity Book, a pair of Phineas and Ferb flipflops, and a blue body scrubber.

This kid absolutely loves stickers. I think it's something that all kids have a penchant for at some point in their lives. I'm glad that Yue doesn't put his stickers on the walls; thank Heavens he's a bit of a neat freak like me!

Thumbs up, Mom!

After a stressful day, nothing beats seeing the little man all beaming and happy. One look at his smile and my hunger goes away, my stress gets relieved, and I feel like the most accomplished woman in the world.

Sticker happy!
I'm glad that I chose to be a stay-at-home Mom. In my three years of being one, I've never missed a chance to see that pretty boy smile of his. He looks more and more like his Dad each day, especially when he flashes his Dad's signature killer smile. :)

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Organic Goodness, and Human (Heart) Nature.

Two years ago, in my quest to find the perfect mosquito repellent for my little one, I came across this cute little logo in a local advertising magazine.

I was immediately drawn to its tagline - 100% No harmful chemicals. As a mother who prioritizes her child's health and safety, this really caught my attention. I looked it up online, and a few Google searches after, I found this - organic products at its finest.

Their wide array of products really impressed me. One look at that Citronella Bug Spray and I was totally sold.  But beyond that, it was their three core principles of being Pro-Poor, Pro-Environment, and Pro-Philippines that struck a chord in me. It was an advocacy that I gleefully and willingly embraced.

From there, I became a Human Nature dealer - selling the goods online (via my Multiply store) and offline (to relatives, friends, our family doctors) as well. At the same time, I ditched my chemical-laden bath essentials and  skincare products and went totally organic. 

To date, I'm still a proud Human Nature dealer. Not as active as I used to be (my sales achievements were once very important to me, especially during month-end), but still a stalwart advocate of organic products. I can proudly say that at least 80% of the stuff that we're using at home are free of disease-causing chemicals.

Earlier today, I finally had the chance to visit the Human Nature branch in our area. I've been meaning to drop by since last week, but the erratic weather (and my malady) deterred me from doing so. I'm glad today's weather, albeit blustery, was pretty good.

Good enough to go out and go hoarding for organic goodies. Take a look at what Yue and I took home today.
Clockwise from L-R: Moisturizing Shampoo 200 mL, Moisturizing Conditioner 200 mL, Citronella Bug Spray 100 mL, Tangerine Kids Shampoo & Body Wash 50 mL, Sunflower Beauty Oil 50 mL.
These are bath and body staples in my home. The moment I sense that I'm running low on any of these, I scurry to our Human Nature branch right away.

Now this is my wonder worker. 

Beauty in a (little) bottle.

I use this primarily for my undereyes - to lighten the dark circles around it (perhaps from watching one too many Kdramas), and as a moisturizer . I've tried it on my stretchmarks, and on my knees and elbows as well. It works as a makeup remover, too. And an excellent one at that! Even my waterproof mascara is no match for this; I am amazed at how thorough it can be when it comes to wiping all that gunk off your face.

The best part about today's haul was the presents we got from Ms. Elaine. She's the owner of HN's Laguna branch, and one of my good friends in this side of the planet

Plantex Organic Detergent Powder. (Perfect for  Laundry Day!)
Both Yue and I received one, complete with a gift tag and a gold ribbon tied around it.

Enrico and Kayley are Ms. Elaine's kids. :)
This Angry Bird fan is one happy camper.

Happiness spelled all over the little man's face. 

And once again, Human Nature delivered 'only the good' - in more ways than one. Thank you for the gifts Ms. Elaine! :)

I'm planning on getting some make-up for my next haul. I really want to try the mineral lip gloss, seeing how I'm almost out of it, too. Hopefully by then, there'll be a new magalogue, and (fingers crossed) new items in the makeup section. (Do I hear a BB cream in the works?) Hopefully. :)


It's SALE Season Again at SM Supermalls!

Wondering where to spend your Christmas money? Make your way to the nearest SM mall and enjoy huge discounts on their End of Season Sale!

It's SALE season once again!

Happening now and runs until January 15 next year. Time to bring out all those red envelopes!


Christmas is the Best Time to be the First Grandchild.

There's a distinct privilege to being the first grandchild in the family. I know that for a fact, because I'm a first grandchild myself.

For one, you almost always get anything you want. As a child, I practically got almost everything that any little girl would desire - pretty dresses, fancy hairclips, Barbie dolls, and all the latest toys featured on Uncle Bob's Lucky Seven Club. (If you're a kid of the 80's I'm sure you know what this is. LOL.)

Another thing, you always get brand-new stuff. I never got hand-me-downs or second-hand anything since there's no one ahead of me.

Also, you get everybody's undivided attention - unless you're born with a twin, that is. And since I don't have one, I once enjoyed being the star of my Mum's household.

I was lucky enough to have a (late) grandfather who used to work abroad. He showered me with all things wonderful, as I was the apple of his eye. And I have a stage lola for a grandmother. She enrolled me in practically all summer workshops available during my time. And made me join all sorts of contests and kiddie pageants to boot. She's Anabelle Rama and Lolit Solis all rolled into one. Haha!

This same privilege that I basked in some xx years back is the same privilege that my son is enjoying right now. Not only is he my Mum's first grandchild, he also happens to be my Grandmum's first great grandchild. Just imagine how pampered and doted upon my little man is in this side of the family.

To give you an idea, here's his Christmas loot. And all that came from just my Mum, my brother, my sister, and my cousins from London.

The only thing that came from his Dad and I is that Cars pillow, which is a last-minute substitute because our real Christmas present got stuck somewhere in the Bureau of Customs. Bah, humbug.

He had too many presents under the Christmas tree that it took us until 3am to open them all. Yes, we have the traditional Noche Buena (midnight dinner) here - glazed ham and all. And this was my most favorite photo of Yue from that night.

That's the reaction you get when a child loves the present he got.
Eyes widening in delight when he saw those three familiar letters. Written on the shirt and pants set that he got from my Mum were G-A-P. Haha! This kid knows brand names already, thanks to his Lola Mama.

The little man still has a few more presents on their way, aside from the ones that got stranded. They're from his godparents who never forget to send Yue their love. (I have the most amazing friends, you know.) I have a feeling those presents will elicit the same response from John Cena's number one fan. That's a dead giveaway as to what gifts are coming.

How was your Christmas? I hope you (or your kids) had an eye-widening, jaw-dropping gift-opening moment, too. Cheers to the Holidays!

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Sending Some Christmas Love!

Christmas is just a few hours away! So before I get wrapped up in the hoopla that is the Holidays, (I'm sure the rest of you will all be pretty preoccupied, too) allow me to greet you all a very Merry Christmas! May you all have a blessed and meaningful Yuletide season!


Much love from our family!


Friday Fun and Christmas Luck!

Pardon me for this late post. I may have reveled too much in the triumph that is the Suesh Holiday Giveaway. Yes, I won that kick-ass LED-lighted 3-way mirror, the 7-piece brush set, and a pretty purple palette!!! How's that for an early Christmas treat? Pretty awesome, right? I'll blog about them some other day. Once I've claimed my amazing prizes. Hee.

So, on with this post. I've just discovered two fun Friday activities, thanks to Heather. She's one of the mommy bloggers that I follow via GFC, hence I was easily able to spot her blog entries for today. And with that, I give you my take on InstaFriday and my first shot at Fill in the Blanks Friday.

My boys!

That's Stalin, our four-year-old Shih Tzu x Poodle. Had him groomed a few days ago, so he's all spruced up for the holidays. And he now smells good, too! So good that we now let him sleep in our bed again. He actually has his own dog bed, but for some reason, he prefers squeezing in with us.

1. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to be, in itself, happy! Think positive thoughts, imbibe all things good. Good vibes, good times!

2. The thing I love most about Christmas is the happiness and excitement that it brings to my son. I love seeing the sparkle in his eyes!

3. The holiday season is a time for giving and sharing, and being thankful for all the blessings that we've received all year.

4. My favorite thing to eat at the holidays is lechon kawali, buco salad, and vanilla cream puffs! Bring on the calories!

5. I’ll be spending Christmas with my family. Will do the customary visit to my in-laws, too.

6. Tis better to (give or receive?) give. But I won't deny that I like to be on the receiving end, too.

7. I’m dreaming of a complete Christmas. I've been Christmas-ing without my husband for the past three years, and yes, it gets pretty sad. But I have to set the blues aside because our son comes first. Here's hoping that the year after the next will a complete Christmas for me. :)


Holidays 2011: My Last-Minute Wish List.

Prioritizing Christmas gifts for Yue, my family, and my in-laws, I didn't had the chance to really buy anything for myself. With the erratic weather, plus the cough and colds that have been pestering me for days, I neither have the time nor the energy to spare for some all-out shopping.

At the very least, I was able to round up a last-minute Christmas wish list. I'm going to post it here for reference, in case some benefactors would be willing to dish out a couple of bucks for me. Hi Santa! I hope you are reading this! :)

Drumroll, please.

1. Super Junior 2012 Diary. ($19.99) Gone are the days when I'd wheedle my best friend for help with those Starbucks stickers. This one's waaaaay better. You can get it without the extra Christmas calories, too.

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2. Super Junior SS3 DVD + Photobook. ($39.99) Relive the boys' 3rd Asia Tour with this 2-disc + photobook package. Includes a poster, too. A must-have for every ELF.

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3. Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream. ($16.95) With its sun protection (SPF30+) and anti-ageing properties, this BB cream should be a staple in every woman's vanity kit. And this has nothing to do with my addiction to all things Korean. I'm not lying about my age, as you can see. And now that I'm way beyond quarterlife, taking care of my skin has become more important for me. Gotta age gracefully! :)

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4. Urban Decay Naked2 Palette. ($50.00) This captured my attention because most beauty bloggers have been raving about and attesting to it. Plus the fact that its predecessor, Urban Decay Naked remains a huge bestseller up to this very day. I badly need this one because the last time I checked, my browns and neutrals are almost empty!

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5. Clinique Happy Heart. ($57.99) My most favorite daytime perfume of all-time, next to Vanilla Musk by Coty. I'm almost out of this, too. I do have several other perfumes, but this one is something that I shouldn't run out of. I love it that much. Hehe.

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6. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 in Yellow. ($80.00) Because I love Onitsuka Tigers. I originally wanted the Tai Chi pair, which was the one worn by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. But they're a rare find these days. Rare = ridiculously expensive. So I'll settle for the next best thing. The Mexico 66, which I love the most.

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7. Canon EOS Rebel T3i. ($798.99) While I can take spiffy photos with just my point and shoot cameras (currently using a Fuji Finepix J150W and a Sony Ericsson Satio), it would be nice to finally have a DSLR. All the more now since I'm working on a photo blog. I love how the T3i is not an ordinary entry-level camera. It grows with you as your shooting skills are honed. And its creative filters? Sold. :)

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8. Spampering. ($6 and up) Getting a massage is one of my cheap thrills. I used to get massages at least once a month, but that was before I got pregnant and became a full-time mommy. I badly need one now, after all the stress, backpains, and bodyaches the holidays have brought me. Home service is not an option since Yue might end up riding on my back. LOL.

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9. Tickets to Super Show 4. ($76 and up) There's no announcement for a Manila installment of this concert tour, so I'm really shooting for the moon with this one. The nearest and most accessible concert venue would have to be in Singapore, and that's on February 18, 2012. Benefactors, please be kind enough to throw in some plane tickets, too.

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10. Korean Visa + Plane Tickets. ($1250 and up) My husband has been working in Korea since early 2009, so technically this would be my third Christmas without him. Pretty sad, since Yue was barely five months old when his Daddy left. How I would love to go to Seoul and pay him a visit! Seeing idol stars, watching Music Bank live, and shopping at SPAO while I'm there would be an added treat.

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My list is pretty reasonable, right? I hope I've enticed someone - anyone - to surprise me with any of the above. How about you, what's in your wishlist this year?


House of Flair: Another Win!

In their recently concluded '12 Days of Christmas' giveaway, House of Flair gave away 12 wonderful prizes to 12 lucky winners. And what do you know... I was one of them!

The contest giveaway kicked off last December 1, and commenced on December 12. During this period, House of Flair posted random questions everyday on their Facebook fan page. To join, participants only had to answer the question for the day. Each day had different prizes, and each day had a different winner. The winners were chosen via and were announced last December 13.

The fun part about this giveaway were the questions itself. They were mostly about beauty, and answering them was a piece of cake. Take for example the question on Day 6, in which I won that day's prize: What is your makeup routine? (How do you go about putting on your makeup?) A very easy question, right? Not too hard for one's neurons. Hehe.

Now this was what my answer got me.

A Buf-Puf Body Sponge! My prize arrived last Monday; it came just in time because I was scheduled to replace my existing body scrub within the week. 

The handwritten note from Ms. Suyen gives a more personal touch to it. And her penmanship is pretty, too!

I've been using this product for two days now, and I love how my skin feels super soft and smooth after each bath. The sponge feels a little hard and prickly upon first contact with your skin, but you'll get used to it after a few scrubs. Goodbye, dead skin cells! Haha!

Thank you for this wonderful prize, House of Flair! And I really appreciate the personal note, Ms. Suyen! Looking forward to more exciting contests and giveaways, too! :)

For the latest on makeup and other beauty finds, visit House of Flair on Facebook and Multiply. The best part? Free shipping on all orders. Now isn't that great?  


Byzmo Win, and another Onitsuka Tiger.

Last May, Byzmo, one of my favorite online stores, turned two. In celebration of its anniversary, the store opened its very own Facebook page where a contest and a raffle was also held.

The mechanics were pretty simple. For the contest, all you have to do is post a photo of your Byzmo-bought products. The picture with the most 'likes' wins. For the raffle, submit a testimonial for Byzmo and whoever gets picked by via random draw wins.

The prize? Two $50 gift cards - one for the photo contest and one for the raffle draw. These gift cards can be used to buy items from any of the US pre-order sites frequented by Byzmo.

I've been a regular costumer for about a year, so I sent Jaimee (the woman behind Byzmo) this photo of my son. I included a small description of this photo, which served as its caption. It read: Bought a surprise gift courtesy of Byzmo. Yue's Perry the Platypus is the envy of many. :)

Since I did this out of goodwill for Jaimee, I didn't bother rallying for likes from Facebook friends. For me, it was returning her the favor for the trust and accommodation that she has given all this time. On top of that, I've never really had much luck with raffles and contests. Remember those Red Cross raffle tickets from grade school? I never won in any of them. Not even a consolation prize. And those raffle draws during company Christmas parties? Zilch. The most that I have won from those was a not-so-expensive pressure cooker. TV set? DVD player? Never.

So imagine my surprise when Jaimee broke the news in her Facebook wall. My name got picked in the raffle! I won a $50 gift card! I knew right away where to spend my prize - Zappos! Here's what I got:

Onitsuka Tiger California 78, baby! Another one to add to my collection!  I've fallen in love with them since my first Mexico 66. My feet are most comfortable when I'm wearing OTs. :)

These shoes are beyond cool. It's low-profile design and super sleekness adds even more to its charm. And yes, they're authentic. Check the tag. It's like a mini-booklet, and it's tied with a rope. The counterfeits use plastic safety tags instead of the woven rope. They don't have the mini-booklet as well.

This win from Byzmo has definitely ignited my fire. Now I join blog contests and giveaways, with hopes that I'll get lucky again. And luck has indeed been very good to me, as I won in another online giveaway a few days ago. But let's save that for another entry.

To sum it up, my hats off to Byzmo, my heartfelt thanks to Jaimee, and... my Onitsuka Tigers rock! ;)

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