Not So Peachy

ImageHi all. Sorry for the long lull in my posting. I have been going through a difficult time in my life, and unfortunately everything’s NOT SO PEACHY in my world right now.  I am in the midst of sorting through a lot of things which is why blogging may not be best for me at the moment (unless I want to turn this into a rant page).  As soon as I get past the messiness of “whatever this is”, I will go back to blogging.  And maybe by then things will be all bright and peachy once more.  But for now… I will be still and wait this out.

Thanks for the understanding! See you soon (i hope)…

Parenting Lessons from Our Heavenly Father

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13)

My daughter is sick.  She’s been with a bug called the Coxsackie virus for almost 5 days now which causes super painful throat blisters and makes it extremely difficult for her to eat.  Her fever has gone down but the stinging feeling whenever she swallows remains, and so swallowing hard foods or even really soft porridge, causes her a great discomfort.  She’s been really cranky lately, whining and whimpering, and I don’t blame her because as a mom I definitely don’t want to see her down and in pain like this.  And knowing what she is going through, I need to carefully decide on what she should and shouldn’t eat because choosing the wrong kind of food may aggravate the pain in her throat and just lengthen the agony even more.  Which is why it is with great sadness that I have to say no to her even when she begs and pleads for chocolates, donuts and sweets that she enjoys.  As an adult and a parent, I know already that giving in to her cries would benefit short term, but there will be great consequences in the long run.  Because of experiences, as parents we already have the wisdom to know ahead of time what will be good and bad for our children and so we prevent ourselves from giving into what they sk for especially when we know that it will cause more harm to them than good.

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My sick baby girl :(

This got me thinking about how God is with me.  As our heavenly parent, God, Our Father, sees everything — our past, present and future. He is omniscient. He sees even far beyond what we think we know about our children’s future.  And why not, when He created us and knew us even before we were born! “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). And this explains too why so many times I pray and don’t get what I ask for.  Several times I complain to God, whining and whimpering like a child, crying out for what I want but instead I get a “no” in response.  In these instances I see myself just like my daughter.  I don’t understand why God won’t just give me my request when at the moment I see no harm in Him doing so.  But my limited view sees only my current needs, while God, my parent, sees the consequence of me getting what I ask for especially when He knows it could only bring me harm.  And just like us earthly parents, He says no not because he wants to punish us or to be mean, but simply because he loves us and he doesn’t want us to get hurt or experience pain.  As parents ourselves we ask our children to trust us to know what is good for them so we try to explain to them that our wisdom as adults is what they have to hold on to.  Think about all the times when we questioned God’s decision to hold off on giving us what we ask for because he sees something we can’t, and yet we don’t trust Him enough to know better!

So the next time we are tempted to harbor feelings of disappointment with God when our prayer requests receive a clear “no” or “not yet”, try to remember the moments when we say no to our child’s request for that bar of chocolate in the midst of a sore throat, or when our teen asks for the car keys in the middle of the night to visit a friend.  Trust in His parenting skills — believe that He is a better parent than we can ever be!  And know that He loves us and He sees our today as well as our tomorrow, and when the right time comes, His no may just turn into a yes!

The Little Things: Post #2

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As you may have noticed, I have been out of touch with the blogging world for a few weeks.  For those who follow my blog (I am imagining that I do have “hundreds” of followers, lol), well, our country was pretty much devastated by storms and have been experiencing rains, floods and intermittent internet connection for weeks.  So I have been out of sorts (and quite frankly, gloomy) that I had no energy or motivation to blog.  The dark, dreary and wet days just got to me and I honestly didn’t want to leave my bed for a whole week because everything around was just to depressing :(

Anyway, I was reminded that I promised to do a “The Little Things” post on a regular basis to be reminded of what made me happy in the past and to look out for moments that brightened my day.  It was quite difficult to think of anything “bright” and the world around was literally so dark and gloomy. Which is why the extra effort to come up with this list was important, because it taught me to keep my eyes open enough to see beyond the darkness around me and pick up the big and small things that I might have missed!

The Little Things Banner

1.  Praying mantis inside my house.  For some reason, pollution, overly-developed subdivisions and global warming seem to have caused a lot of common insects to disappear through the years.  I haven’t seen a firefly in more than 10 years already! Isn’t that just sad?  I hardly see any beautifully-colored butterflies or those giant patterned moths flying around anymore, along with a host of other creatures. All I see are spiders (UGH) and cockroaches (ACK)!  So to find a bright green praying mantis stuck to our home’s foyer door was a pleasant surprise!  My hubby quickly called our two kids to check it out because our fully-urbanized kids have never one before.  Even I was amazed at the sight of it.  We kept it in a bottle for a few hours just so my kids could get a closer look at this unique insect without freaking out.  By evening I set the mantis free, just filled with the joy of knowing that there are still beautiful creatures that may come out and visit us every now and then.

The mantis was praying for the rain to stop too!

2.  Play-Doh Time.  Being stuck indoors for 9 days straight was no fun at all, especially for a hyperactive 5-year old!  Cabin fever was creeping in and nothing else (at that time) spelled fun than making a delicious spread of make-believe desserts out of Play-Doh!  It gave my daughter and I a fun bonding moment and it definitely lifted up our already damp (pun unintended) spirits.

Girl time!

3.  Baking.  I never claimed to be a kitchen goddess. I love cooking because I love to make dishes that I know my family don’t usually eat except in fancy restaurants.  In short, I pretend to be a chef in the hopes that I can bring home a delectable meal without paying a waiter to bring it to the table, haha. But baking is another story.  Baking is something that my dad is extremely good at and I have watched him whip up amazing cakes and pastries in their kitchen all my life enough to know the basics.  I usually “bake” stuff I buy that are in boxes already where all I have to do is add an egg and some milk into a pre-made batter then bake straight away.  I was recently challenged by my daughter to make cookies that were not available in pre-made packs at the grocery.  Long story short, I did.  I made White Chocolate Cookies and I must say for a first-try-from-scratch attempt, they tasted really good! You can find the recipe I used here.

Chunky and sinful!

4.  New shoes.  If you are a girl, and you are reading this, then no more words are needed :D

Tory Burch is ♥!

5.  Dreams coming true.  Two years ago my hubby missed out on watching Tears For Fears when they came over for a World Tour concert.  He is one true blue fan, and I mean a real FAN!  He knows all the lyrics of their songs, knows what albums they are from, knows the band’s “state of minds” when they wrote their albums, and actively communicates with Curt Smith on Facebook! Yes THAT kind of fan.  So can you imagine what it felt like for him to not watch their concert and see them live?  But God heard his prayer and felt his disappointment. I told him that God loved him soooooo much, that he made sure that hubby had that chance again.  Fast forward to last Saturday, we found ourselves at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, screaming and dancing to TFF’s music!  It was truly my hubby’s night, and I could feel the joy and excitement burning through him.  I was so happy to see him happy!  Can you see how happy he was in our pic? :D

Smiling ear to ear :)

All Access Pass autographed by Curt and Roland themselves

Note: All photos taken by me and downloaded from Instagram.

How about you? What were the little things recently that made you happy? Share them with me!

Illuminated and Thinking Randomly

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I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I have been nominated for a blog award!  I have only been blogging for a few months now in my new residence here in WordPress, and I am so happy that somebody enjoyed my posts enough to nominate me! Thank you so much to Food Stories for nominating me! Guys, check this blog out for yourself as it is filled with great food stories and tons of amazing recipe recommendations that are always useful to mommy bloggers like me :)

Now on to something a little more random to say about myself… I am a BEATLES fanatic! I have been one all my life, but more than just being a fan of the fab four (isn’t Paul McCartney just beautiful???), I am an absolute fan of their music.  I will never get tired of listening to their albums!  My influence has rubbed off greatly onto my son, which is why you would always here Beatles music blasting away in his room.  I am also a collector of Beatles memorabilia, though not at all a hard core kind of collector, I have a few amazing pieces that I can proudly display in my living room.  Here are just a few of the pieces I have collected through gifts from friends and purchases I’ve made:

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I actually had another post planned today, but due to this nomination, I will save that post till next :P  Again, thanks to FoodStories! :D

Here are a few of the blogs I follow and I would like to nominate as well (a mix of food, lifestyle and spiritual musings).

•  I HEART ORGANIZING

•  THE BAGHAG DIARIES

•  BOBBY QUITAIN SETTING HEARTS ON FIRE

•  A LOT ON YOUR PLATE

•  MY CHIC AND CHARMED LIFE

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If you are nominated then you have been awarded the Illuminating Blogger Award. Just follow the steps below:
1.     The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom.(This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
2.     The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
3.     The Nominee should include a courtesy link back to the official award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) in their blog post.
4.     Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
5.     Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award. Many people indicate that they wish they could nominate more so please feel free to nominate all your favorites.

6.     Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/).

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Outfit of the Day Post: Black is black

I don’t particularly like wearing a black ensemble at 9 o’clock in the morning unless I was attending a funeral. But for this Sunday morning’s event, my charismatic community Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, who was celebrating their 37th year anniversary, called for our group to be “Men (Women) In Black” for the various presentations prepared … Continue reading

The Little Things: Post #1

Life can get really crazy for a WAHM / SAHM, what with kids to look after, a hubby to please, a household to run, two online businesses to manage, design deadlines to beat and finding time to take care of myself even if it means just an hour of “me time”.  We all need to step back, take a good look at our life, and try to zero-in on “The Little Things” that make our day lighter, put a smile on our faces and bring warm feelings to our hearts.  I plan to do a regular “The Little Things” posting for me to be reminded of what made me happy in the past (just in case life gets so overwhelming that I forget) and to constantly look out for moments that brightened my day — even in the smallest, most unexpected way.

The Little Things Banner

1.  Clothes Folding Board.  I saw this being sold in another group buy deal, and at only P299 it was so worth it! My husband can attest to the fact that I absolutely abhor folding clothes simply because I suck at it.  But with this new “toy” of mine, clothes-keeping is a breeze, even my 5 year old can do it! *Bliss*

Even my baby girl thinks it’s fun!

2.  Fashion Spice.  I like to spice up my clothes once in awhile, especially if my mood needs a picker-upper.  On few occasions, I would wear something totally out of character such as animal prints.  In moderation of course.  And pair these up with bright colors as opposed to my usual safe palettes which are the black and browns. The look brings back the fun in my mood and a wink from the hubby, hehe.

Rawrrr!

3.  Orange Panna Cotta – My bible study bud served us this super refreshing dessert at our last class and I must say it was a perfect ending to a sumptuous lunch!  I am looking for a similar recipe that I can follow, and I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com.  It was one of the most refreshing desserts I have tasted recently, and I am hoping I can somehow replicate it with this recipe. Mmmmmmmm….

Yummy orange panna cotta prepared by my friend Maite.

4.  Unicorn Notebook – I am a collector of all things unicorn.  This just made my day. :)

Unicorn notebook

My unicorn notebook which I now use in my Bible study classes :)

5.  Snoopy Fair iPhone App -  After a long and stressful day, this is the only game in my iPhone which I feel the need to play on a daily basis.  First of all, I love the Peanuts gang.  Secondly, it is the only game I don’t get bored playing. Seeing the Peanuts gang in action again just brings back fond memories of my childhood when I would read their comic strips with my grandpa Charlie.

Snoopy Fair

A snapshot of my Snoopy Fair (all images owned by United Feature Syndicate)

What were the little things today that made you happy? Share them with me!

Quickie Question #1

I have always loved bags (but not as much as I love shoes, which deserves a post all of its own), and the quest to find the “perfect” bag is one that no woman I believe has ever attained yet in her lifetime.  I’ve had hundreds of bags come and go, in and out of my closet.  Most of my bags are “sinful and guilty indulgences” but I prefer to call them my “rewards for hard work” :P.  The rest of my bags have no real “value” given that most women I know see their bags as actual “investments” than the accessories they really were meant to be.  These are the fun, colorful, quirky bags I found on some online store or at a local bazaar and the moment called for me to get them, just because.

Today I am in another hormonal mood (aka. days where I think of nothing but shopping — in this case bags — even when I should be working) and my mind has wandered off to thoughts of Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga.  These thoughts were triggered by online friends who have been chiding me to make very unnecessary and expensive decisions (which may not necessarily be expensive if I had the money, haha) such as buying two gorgeous bags — the Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Trevi PM

Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Trevi PM (photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton website)

Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Trevi PM (photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton website)

and the Balenciaga Velo Anthracite.

Balenciaga Velo Anthracite (Photo courtesy of Balenciaga website)

Balenciaga Velo Anthracite (Photo courtesy of Balenciaga website)

Balenciaga Velo Anthracite (Photo courtesy of Balenciaga website)

I have always been an LV fan because I think their designs will always be classic and their bag styles I believe are so easy to pair up with almost any kind of outift, whether casual or semi-formal.  On the other hand, the unique design, the edgy look and the funky colors of Balenciaga bags have always intrigued me.  I have owned quite a few Louis Vuitton bags in the past, opting for the “safe” Monogram Canvas design over the Damiers.  I have yet to discover what it is like to be a Balenciaga owner if and when I decide to deviate from my usual bag preference.

So here comes the quickie question for the day:

Let me know what you think!

The Eshiko Experiment

I am not a make-up expert. I don’t know enough about make-up brands to recommend any to anyone, but I do know what works and doesn’t work for my skin type. I have been wearing make-up ever since I started working, as my job as a public relations account executive required me to be in the presence of well-dressed, beautifully made-up people from time to time. But this didn’t mean wearing make-up all the time meant I knew what I was doing or that I actually spent time learning how to use them. I was never much of a “kikay” girl in the area of hair and make-up as I was always really busy and I felt that fixing myself in front of the mirror took up too much of my time. I think I would spend a total of 15 minutes tops doing both my hair and make-up on any given day, and maybe about 30 minutes for a more dressier event (I think my hubby knows more about make-up than I do because he is more vain that me, haha!)

My normal make-up routine would have me applying tons of concealer (to hide my freckles and dark under eye circles), then covering all that up with a pressed powder (I’ve been using Maybeline a lot recently because I obviously do not know better), then proceed to line the top of my lids with an eyeliner (usually a retractable pencil since I hate sharpening them), dab a bit of blush (again, Maybeline), then end the whole process quickly with some kind of matte-finish lipstick (I’ve been using L’Occitane’s Tourbillion Cerise recently). For this post, I would like to zero in on the foundation, concealer and powder part of this process as I spend particularly more time doing this (all of 10 minutes, haha!).

As I mentioned earlier, I focus much of my make-up time dabbing concealer on all the problem areas of my face. I have very dark under-eye circles brought about by ruptured blood vessels — due to chronic allergic rhinitis made worse by my ungodly sleeping habits. Then I have dark, grayish freckles on the apples of my cheeks, due to thyroid medications that I’ve been taking for more than a decade. And to top it off, I have small patches of chicken pox and pimple scars that contribute further to the total unevenness of my skin. Lately I have become extremely unhappy with how my make-up turns out by mid-afternoon. I either end up with a cake-y, cracked face when I put both the concealer and powder on heavy-handedly, or I end up bare-faced with all traces of make-up gone particularly after a long (and probably sweaty) day. Thus began my journey to find the perfect product to put an end to my cover-up miseries!

First on my list: ESHIKO FACE POWDER.

My Eshiko purchase sent through courier

I first read about Eshiko in a local female forum while I was browsing through topics on make-up. I read that what made Eshiko a much sought-after face powder was that it wasn’t actually make-up, but rather a product made of transparent hydrated silica reduced to a size of 10 nanometer (as opposed to a normal face powder which has a size of 10,000 nanometers). The website describes 10 nanometers to be the size of smoke! Due to this, Eshiko supposedly glides easily when applied on the skin and promises to make the skin pores smaller which in turn creates a smooth and radiant effect almost instantaneously. Wow that sounds like magic! After reading quite a number of good reviews, I looked up several online stores that carried the brand. I could have ordered it directly from the Eshiko website since they offered free shipping anywhere in the world, but I found the sale price offer to still be expensive (US$29.50 sale price), and I was in a hurry to try it out! I found a Multiply store than offered it at 50% discount (CLICK HERE) for only P600! I immediately placed an order for it and received it the following day!

I also read somewhere that Eshiko worked best when used on top of a BB cream, especially for blotchy skins like mine. I wasn’t completely convinced by this statement because the Eshiko website gives the impression that the powder alone can already make your skin look flawless. Just the same as part of my experiment, I decided to use the powder on its own on my bare skin, and I also used it with my recently purchased Total Repair Age BB cream (on top of the Collagen Moistful moisturizer, both purchased from Etude House) to complete what become my “phase one make-up set”.

My moisturizer and BB cream set from Etude House

The website gave specific instructions on how to get the best out of using your Eshiko Face Powder:

“1. Wash your face with mild soap and water. Ensure that no peeling dead skin is present by gently rubbing your face with your fingers in circular manner. Use a facial scrub if necessary.

2. Tone your skin. Use a mild toner and gently rub it against your skin using a cotton ball or a cotton pad. Avoid excessive rubbing.

3. Wait around 5 minutes before putting on your moisturizer. Avoid moisturizers that contains fragrance. Use a mild, fragrance free moisturizer.

4. Using a kabuki brush, gently dab a small amount of ESHIKO™ and brush it all over your face in a circular motion.

5. Reapply ESHIKO™ as necessary. You need not remove oil and sweat from your face during retouching as ESHIKO™ works best in the presence of oil and sweat.”

10g Eshiko Face Powder and my trusty Bobbi Brown kabuki brush

Me with no makeup. Dark circles. Freckles. Blotchy face. UGH!

After more than two weeks of using Eshiko Face Powder together with my collagen moisturizer and my BB cream, here are a few of my feedback of the product:

THUMBS UP:

  • Eshiko is indeed very light and “airy”, so when applied onto the skin it doesn’t feel like you’re putting on make-up. I guess the use of a kabuki brush helps make the spread of the powder feel lighter on the skin as opposed to most pressed or loose powder where you actually feel them settle on your skin’s surface. In short, using Eshiko doesn’t make my face feel sweaty and grainy the way normal face powders do.
  • In an extremely hot and humid country such as ours, the hydrophilic qualities of Eshiko work best for our skin. This means that with sweat and oil, Eshiko is at its best because it melts into your skin, creates an illusion of having a matte-finish and gives off a certain kind of glow on the skin. When I tried using it without the BB cream, by midday my skin looked fresh — not cracked and dry — like I wasn’t wearing any make-up.

Before (my bare skin) and after (with Eshiko alone)

THUMBS DOWN:

  • Since my main issue was all about coverage, I felt that using the Eshiko face powder wasn’t enough to solve my problem just yet. I still needed my BB cream to cover my freckles and mildly create the illusion of flawlessness. This was a bit of a disappointment to me because I was hoping that the powder alone could make skin imperfections become non-existent as seen in the before and after pics posted on their website. The powder seemed to have photoshop-ped all their faces! :P

1st pic: Face with light BB Cream applied; 2nd pic: Face with Eshiko on top of BB cream; 3rd pic: The full effect with eyeliner, blush and lipstick. See any improvement???

I was starting to rethink my repurchase of Eshiko as I haven’t really seen a major breakthrough in my search for the perfect “flawless skin” product. But a good friend who I haven’t seen in quite awhile recently complimented me on my “younger” looking skin and pointed out that my skin looked fresh and even glowing! I hadn’t told her about my Eshiko experiment, so I was hoping (and eventually was quite convinced after she mentioned it a few more times during our meetup) that it was Eshiko that gave that effect. That feedback indeed lifted my spirits! I guess if other people see something positive from the use of this product, then I guess that’s all that matters, since they are the ones who see my face more than I do!

Over-all I think Eshiko is a good face powder. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I would give it a 6.5 based on what I see, and maybe a 7 based on feedback from others. I believe it really works best on oily skin than on dry skin to be able to create that healthy glow effect that it promises. For some people it might actually be the only answer to their skin woes. But I wouldn’t describe it’s effects as AMAZING as other reviews have stated repeatedly. I still have to try out other similar products to actually make a comparison. For now I am sticking to my use of Eshiko, especially for my everyday outdoor wear, until I find another brand that I can experiment on.

And so the journey continues…

Decluttering Day 2: Every Bag’s BFF!

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In my fantasy world, i have a walk-in closet bigger than every room in the house.  My bags and shoes are all neatly displayed in glass cabinets and shelves, free from dust, moisture, and all kinds of pests that could potentially endanger the very existence of these leather babies which some people put more value on than their own children (the guilty may now leave this page! LOL).

Back to reality.  I do not have such a closet.  I have a walk-in “warehouse” where I guiltily throw my bags into after a long day, not really giving much thought to their plight after several days of doing so.  To all of you who take really good care of your bags (and I know quite a number of people who are extremely obsessive-compulsive with their bags), kudos to you!  I envy the innately organized woman who lives and breathes order and neatness in every aspect of her life.  She probably could organize a closet with her hands tied behind her back! But for the neat-challenged like me, external help is needed.

I began the arduous task of fixing my bag shelf.  Note: To the faint-hearted, you may not want to proceed with looking at this next photo (bag-lovers, please do not start sending me hate mails!).  This is what I had to face whenever I opened the door to my closet…

Bag shelf before

Before

Yes, I know, it’s an embarrassment.  It’s sacrilege to my bags! I don’t deserve to own any, I get it! And i realized that after I had to dig under several piles of bags to get out my mangled, dusty, “supposedly practically-new” Coach Studded East / West shoulder bag and stared at the horrifying state that it was in.  I needed help! And I needed it fast!

Thank goodness for my online shopping addiction pastime, I found my newest bag best friend!  MY SINFUL INDULGENCE carries clear, sturdy and classy storage boxes for bags which I believe is a Godsend to people like me.  They not only protect bags from dust and other harmful elements, they are amazing space-savers!  I initially bought 5 pcs to give them a test-drive and see how well they fit into my bag shelves.  My big bags fit perfectly (my Louis Vuitton Galliera PM inside its dust bag slid snugly into the box) while my small and medium-sized bags shared ample breathing space inside a single box without scratching their hardwares.  I managed to keep a total of 11 bags in these boxes, and I still had space left for my stuffed bags (filled with bag stuffers I purchased from LOVE MY BAGS years ago).  I was so impressed with how big a difference these boxes made to protect my bags and more importantly, save shelf space!  And now bag lovers, here is how my shelf looks today:

After

After!

Impressed? I am too!  I have a new batch of boxes arriving soon, and for the first time in my life, I am actually looking forward to fixing my closet!  I may not have the dream closet I’ve always wanted, but at least I no longer face the nightmare that I had a week ago!

Check out my new bag BFFs here and here!  Happy organizing! :D