Saturday, July 27, 2013

A glimpse of my survival and not-so-vanity kit

After leaving corporate world, the bits and pieces inside my kit have lessen. I look at it in a positive way because that means I am saving?!?, being cost effective?, yay! -  or basically I've learned to purchase things that I need rather than I want (naks!).  I usually follow make up bloggers to keep myself updated with new make ups, skin care, hair care, etc., I would often check all other related blogs to that specific product before I make the final verdict whether to buy or not to buy. And so, when I started working in a full time home based job, I still follow and read blogs; however, unlike the hay days - I can go to the nearest mall to see the actual product which therefore heightens the temptation to buy. Ineffective decision making, err. 

Now that I'm home based I get to filter stuffs which are staple part of my kit. You see being home based you still need to prettify yourself and prepare (at least) like you are basically going to work. For me, I think this sets your mood and especially your mind that you've got a job to do. So, what do I have inside my "home-based inspired survival/vanity kit"  whenever I start a day at home:

Daily bread/ Francis Kong book: The ones I have are from 2012. It may be outdated but still works for me. Daily bread have the version online too. Reading a phrase that is positive, frees the mind and at the same time feeds the soul. Francis Kong's One Day at a Time  is truly an inspirational book. I've got the 1 and 3 edition. Very helpful and keeps you going. Great way to start the day.

To- do List: Very helpful. You can think of the things you need to do, write it down so you can reflect and check those that you have accomplished and see what are those that are still pending.

A dose of Music. Yes, for me music is almost-always related to what our mood is everyday. So something that can perk up my mornings is very important. On the days I need to work more faster than the usual, I always needed to at least have something on my playlist that will keep me going and keep my senses on track to finish my tasks.

After taking a nice bath, Moisturize!. This will provide nourishment to skin, prevents it from getting dry despite whatever tasks I need to do for the day. I either use Cetaphil moisturizer or Celeteque (depends whether I use cetaphil or celeteque as my facial wash).

Sunblock: A good way to avoid wrinkles/early aging apart from moisturizing is to wear sunblock. SPF 50 at least according to my dermatologist. Nivea is the one I trust for this. For me, this is a very light, non greasy sunblock perfect for everyday use.  This keeps my skin moisturize and protected from harmful sun rays as I always accompany my kid to school. 

Trusted Lip Balm. The ones I have is from Snoe, - Beso Balm. I like this lip balm because it keeps my lips from getting dry,and chapped. Very affordable and reliable lip balm.

So there, those are the basic stuffs I have on my everyday survival go-to kit. 

On the days, I am out with my family, the usual, very basic things I have in my bag are:

Camera: Yes, I know having a camera phone is already handy but nothing beats having a good point and shoot camera to capture moments. 

Maybelline BB Cream and Maybelline 2-Way Cake: Maybelline has been my holy grail. I think I've been using Maybelline since 2005. The Maybelline BB cream is part of my routine since 2010. A friend introduced this to me and being a Maybelline user for quite a while, I did give it a try. I've used other BB creams such as Snoe BB cream. Snoe being a organic BB cream has good coverage but does not last the way Maybelline did. So -Maybelline is still on the top  of my list.

Of course - Snoe Beso Lip Balm.

A good pair of ponytail elastics - always handy when you have a very active kid. it helps to have my hair in place.

Prokids Baby Wipes- this is light scented. not too strong and does the job.

Enfant Hand sanitizer: My son has been an enfant user ever since - powder, lotion, shampoo, oil and even the baby clothes washer. Enfant is not "uber" expensive but it leaves a very nice "amoy-baby" smell, does not irritate my son's skin and very much available almost in all department/baby stores.

Green Cross Hand Sanitizer:  For me, this is by far the best sanitizer just because it doesn't dry out skin and yet it really leaves a very clean feeling.

Aside from the obvious things I have inside my kit such a towel, a mini-towel, comb, and kids stuff - these are the very basic things that I make sure that are always present in my bag whenever I go out.

How about you, what's on your list? Mine are very basic yet essential things I consider, which will always be staple things inside my kit. 

*Images aside from my to-do list are grabbed from google images.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

WANDER ENCOUNTERS : The Mountain Hikes and Euphoria

Ok, so this activity happened not so long time ago but a few weeks back after my son mentioned something while watching a TV news program, I suddenly felt the longing, and the push to probably set this event again this year - Mountain Climbing/Hiking/Trekking (whatever you want to call it (",) ).

We were having dinner and the TV flashed the news about Mt. Pulag. My son just got really excited and exclaimed "Mommy, mountain - WOW!". So I asked, "Gusto mo, punta tayo diyan (referring to Mt. Pulag)". Then, without any further questions or comments he said "Gusto ko 'yan,". And so the nostalgic ME sets in.

It was after college graduation - era of 2005 when me and the rest of our Psychology class decided on having a get-together, more of trekking and beach galore before every one of us will become busy looking for jobs, getting into med school, etc. Since my boyfriend, and now- husband has a friend who have climbed mostly all of the mountains here in the Philippines, we asked him what level- or more of what mountain beginners like us can conquer. Initially one of our batch mates' mentioned Mt. Makulot but then our mountaineer friend disagreed saying Mt. Makulot  is a bit commercialized already. So he suggested - Mt. Manabu. 

Mt. Manabu is considered to be a minor climb, perhaps level 2 for trail class.  Situated in Batangas (Sto. Tomas? can't recall) this is a perfect location for a trekking (overnight) and getting into beach/sands after. So, we planned everything, bought stuff we really need - water (i can't remember but 6 liters may be the standard amount for a hike), rice, canned stuffs, camping gears, trekking outfit, etc. We rode a commuter bus in Lawton and once in Batangas, we hired a jeep to get us into the jump off site.  The travel going to Batangas was really exciting and seeing all the good stuff nature has to offer really got us more excited. 

The trek to the peak lasted about 3 hours and the more we are near we are to the peak, despite the sweat and the exhaustion, the more we are so thrilled to see the view from the top. It was past midday when we started trekking and we really are looking forward seeing the sunset from the top.  And so we did. The majestic view from the peak really gave an almost teary moment, just seeing the most beautiful, simple, calming scene ever in my life. The cool breeze, the fresh air is therapeutic and healing. I felt that after our tedious thesis and defense, dreaded exams, meeting our deadlines for requirements and OJT- the entire experience of this climb is a great way to end the college journey as we embark ourselves to the real world.  

We rest for a bit, set our tents, before the sun sets in, took photos (too bad, fb, instagram not yet around that time plus digi cams are still using AA batt, SLRs??) and prepared everything we need to cook dinner.

What did we have for dinner? Adobo, moondish canned laing - best tasting laing or was it because I was so hungry? I tried buying moondish a week after the trek and it didn't taste the way it tasted when we were at the climb. We also had of course - canned tuna, pork and beans, and spicy sardines. It was a hearty meal served with rice. Good thing, our mountaineer friend has a complete cook set and this made our lives easier. 

And so the night went by, and during the wee hours- it was completely cold, totally icy cold. We cannot even sleep because the wind that's blowing in our tents is too strong that we felt, it may even tore our tents apart. I felt that there's a huge animal within the campsite. I thought I was paranoid or something but my fellow batch mates felt the same way too. We survived the very cold night, the eerie imagination and the dawn of the new morning is about to rise.

Morning came; of course we are up early to have a fantastic view of the sunrise. The phase before the actual sunrise is the most breathtaking. We saw the actual -sort of "morning dews" forming in some of the plants around -Awesome! Then, we had some coffee, and decided on just having a light breakfast before descend. Our mountaineer friend mentioned that he knows a bahay-kubo located somewhere descend where we can spend some time while he cooks spaghetti. Yup - SPAGHETTI.  Cool!

I cannot count how many times one of our friends slip, slide, and fall. Though we didn't want to really find it funny- we cannot help ourselves and laugh. There was like a minute or 2 of interval and he will slide in a pile of plants (balance issues, perhaps) but it was fun, and takes away the exhaustion and length of time we are taking while trekking from the peak.  And we reached the bahay kubo. 

Our mountaineer friend didn't fool us - he really cooked spaghetti for everyone. Though he used canned corned beef instead of the usual beef it was so tasty. One of us made chopsticks out of the bamboo stem that is easily found around the hut. After a hearty meal comes a very inviting moment to - sleep. Yay!. So we took a couple of hours for a quick nap.  Then down to descend. 

We headed to the beach, I just forgot the name. Overnight again, eat a good food. Unfortunately one of our batch mates had an injury (which was a recurring injury already in the shoulders, which may have been aggravated by a super harutan in the beach). So the last stop we had was at the hospital. 

This is truly a memorable experience.  A very nostalgic one. I've got another mountain climbing adventure to tell, and this one is the mountain we climbed in Bataan but I will share that in a separate post since this one seems to be lengthy already.  That particular climb is also a story worth to tell with all the eerie/weird scenarios we have been. To be continued.. 

Photos below: (I am about to scan other photos but seems my scanner is having those days again, will add pics once scanner is back on track)

nap time inside the bahay kubo.. 

at the beach (bf-gf stage pa, yihee!)

On our way to the summit

At the hospital. Bandaged.

Campsite - tired but all smiles

Monday, July 8, 2013

iBLOG9 Summit: Experts and Bloggers Unite

May 31, 2013
Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law

Attending the iBlog Summit is a whole new experience to me.  I do have a personal blogsite but I never really place a really serious touch to it except that I am more like using it to express my insights, and quite like my very own online diary. So therefore, coming to this event I am very excited knowing that I might meet people behind the blogs that I follow. I came here, exactly with a mindset that I need to build network, possibly get CVs of those who are interested to work for us (Writers and Sr. Graphic Artist) and basically get an insight on what are the profiles of the bloggers here in the Philippines.

I came in early, around 8:30am and this gave me the privilege of at least scouting people. I got my registration kit, food stub and raffle stub (which really got me excited, because I feel I will have a moment to win a prize). Upon entering the Malcolm Theater, there aren’t many people yet; few people who are rather seated a row apart which got me thinking that a lot came here alone. 

Around 9am, seats are occupied, groups of people came in. Probably these people know one another by their blog sites or have met in small blogging forums/meet ups.  The summit started with the introduction – each blogger/participant is given an opportunity to tell something about themselves, their blog site and what is the nature or subject of their blog sites (food, travel, beauty, tech, business and finance and etc.). 

The first speaker was late so we started with the second speaker – Ben Francia.

Ben Francia started blogging through business and content marketing. He basically helps small and medium businesses in terms of marketing needs. He is also a life coach and currently has his own consultancy with 7 staff. I was able to talk to Ben during the break, and came to know that we have a common friend who was a former colleague in an advertising company.  His topic is interesting in the sense that it focuses on the blogging as an effective content marketing tool for business and he highlights the efficacy of the blogging as follows:

1.       Communicates without selling
2.       Non Interruptions
3.       Provides Value
4.       Rewarded with Customer Loyalty and
5.       Trust

He also mentioned that a good content marketing should cover the following:

1.       Provide answers and solutions
2.       To be personal
3.       Tell your story
4.       Use videos
5.       Be remarkable

Understanding the Blogger’s Psyche is also a topic to note. Jonel Uy is the speaker for this topic. Jonel is about to launch bloggers circle website (focuses on digital marketing) wherein he will have a pool of bloggers to basically work for him in specific projects/PR needs.  Based on his talk, he summarized the key behaviors of bloggers:

1.       Bloggers are opinionated.
2.       Bloggers are critics.
3.       Bloggers are passionate.
4.       Bloggers are a varied lot.
5.       Bloggers are people too.

Generally, his talk is short but sweet and cited that bloggers do blog – because of a trending topic, paid marketing/PR sponsorship or lastly because it is their passion.

Third speaker was Jeoff Salas, a part time teacher and digital marketing consultant. His topic focuses more on how usually bloggers are tapped for marketing /PR Stuff, how much would you expect to pay bloggers for a project and also how the “blog posts” effectiveness are measured. In a nutshell, he discussed that typically bloggers are paid from the range of Php 5k and above per project.  However, the price is basically also dependent on several factors:

1. Statistics: based on viewership , these can be obtained through Social Baker, Google Analytics, Alexa Page Rank,
2.  Number of posts / followers / testimonials/ awards/citations that could justify credibility of the blogger.

Jonha Revesencio’s topic is well suited for PR/Specialists who may want to tap bloggers to write about startup companies, SMEs, etc.  She was able to point out quality keys in getting bloggers as influencers:

1.       Tap into their specific readership / specific demographics.
2.       Third Party Credibility
3.       There are countless ways you can work with them.

How to reach out to bloggers:
1.       Tailor your message
2.       Don’t copy paste
3.       Keep it short
4.       Be honest
5.       Be polite
6.       Be accurate

She also mentioned specific websites where to tap specific bloggers:
1.       PitchPigeon – specific to tech bloggers.
2.       Presspassme – directory of journalists
3.       Buzzstream-  link building and digital PR Tools

As the summit ends, the last speaker is Ms. Janette Toral – whom a lot of bloggers considers as “The mother of all bloggers” since she basically started the advocacy in uniting all bloggers, took initiative in setting up digital boot camps in order to educate bloggers or future bloggers.

Ms. Janette Toral is also the mind behind the E-commerce boot camp in the Philippines, founder of DigitalFilipino, manages blog network and also one of the key people in setting up a certification program in Ateneo De Manila - Certified Blog and Social Media Entrepreneur Program.

The summit ends with a raffle and as I predicted – I really had a moment. I won a shirt but apart from winning the shirt, the valuable experience of being with topnotch bloggers – those who are experts in blogging industry of the Philippines. Gaining new friends, and expanding network.  I was able to speak with at least 3 speakers – Ben Francia, Joeff Salas and Joney Uy. 

The profiles of the bloggers who have attended the summit today are basically full time employees who do blogging on the side. Very few are full time bloggers and they are maintaining 2 to 3 blogs for their business.  Some of the bloggers are actually writers before who are converted to bloggers.

On the whole, iBlog summit is a very good experience for me not just for what my purpose really is in attending this summit but more of learning from the experts, gaining new friends and at the same the motivation to pursue blogging. Not only for my own personal use but also to share my own insights, for a better cause/purpose.

my iblog experience - memorabilias

see I was there - jotting down notes _ pony tail

credits to iblog 9 photo album c/o official fb page of iblog

My Kitchen Wannabe: Pantry and all the good stuff

What does being a mom and wife entails? Apart from nurturing and taking care of stuffs at home, I believe "cooking" is one of the skills that has to be mastered. Not really on the "masterchef" level but more of really providing nutritious at the same time delicious meals. So, this post basically highlights to what I really want to have in the future. I crave to have these:

A white kitchen

image c/o
A wide-selection of pantry

c/o of google images

Spice Rack - ala Mccormick

A complete cooking set (image c/o google)

By looking at these photos, I can just simply imagine how fun it will be to cook. Having all these good stuffs to work with, is simply a haven for moms who really devote time to cook meals for their family.  

I was not really into cooking before, I usually jot down recipes and enjoy watching cooking shows however what amazes me is how simple ingredients and a few herbs/spices can really elevate the flavors of a single dish. So probably, in the future I will post some entries which feature the meals I will prepare for my family. Being budget and time conscious, I will share some of things I usually do to prep meals. This may also be a good way to pay tribute to my late grandmother who is really a good cook and lucky for me she left some really good recipes to try. 

I have a 4 year old son who is very much energetic and loves to eat chicken, noodle based meals, pancakes, and fruits. What I usually do is to make a meal plan. This planner is very useful in setting up menu for each day, to ensure that I am giving him healthy and balance meals.

So there,  I hope to share a thing or two about the recipes that I will try to recreate and share with you the joys of preparing meals for your own family.