What Do Titas Want for Christmas?

Last Friday of the month:  Mom-Finds / Shopping / Gifts

I have a list of "wants" in my head right now that I don't know which one I would like to have first. Oops, I got a bag na pala, heehee. But I am wishing for more, and most are the same as what my friends want too! =) Christmas is the perfect season(excuse) to indulge, to reward ourselves, and at the same time, extend generosity and charity as well.  It's really a time to be merry. For today, instead of featuring a shopping find, I thought of sharing what my fellow moms are wishing for this holiday season. None of that world peace kind of wish, okay?! Let's all be frivolous, at least for this feature. To make it more interesting, I only asked friends who are in the 40 and above age bracket to give me their top 3 wishes.


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Fun Friday: Mothers Who Brunch Holiday Potluck Party

Third Friday of the month: Celebration / Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and I am frantically drawing up my list for gift-giving, and blocking off dates from my calendar for get-togethers and events. If you're one to celebrate Thanksgiving, then you need to plan your menu now. Here are some ideas on potluck party preparations, from food to table settings, during the Mothers Who Brunch Holiday edition held at the Viking Range Showroom in Alabang.

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Family Friday: On Raising a Tween Boy

Second Friday of the month:  Parenting / Kids 

I was a first-time mom to a healthy baby boy almost twelve years ago. In less than two weeks, my boy will turn twelve, and according to him, he's already a "tween"... since he was 10! I don't want him to turn 12. I don't feel it yet. Or maybe I am just in denial. Whatever. I am not ready to raise a tween!
Summer 2015

So, how do you raise a tween boy?
Honestly, I feel as clueless as I was when I had him. I don't have the right answers to that. I'm still figuring it out while trying to educate myself by reading parenting stuff online and asking friends with teen boys. It's a scary stage for me, this puberty thing, even more than the baby phase.

With puberty, you don't know what they're thinking and feeling na kasi, so extra attention is needed. He's an inquisitive and sensitive boy, and has challenges on the socio-emotional level so I know we have to listen more and be mindful of what we say to him.

There are days na hindi ko pa rin siya matimpla even if we are always together, homeschooling for over a year now. He's not the type to bring up a topic and try to converse with me, unlike my girl who is naturally chatty. =) It's really an effort to open up and initiate a conversation with him kasi we don't have much in common. And then there's sex education. We haven't touched that topic yet. I'm scared!!! When? I don't know yet. I have to know what he knows first, and will take off from there. I know that J has his one-on-one moments with him and it's easier for them kasi they can talk about boy stuff on top of some philosophical discussions about life in general, which is great. In my time, I had none of those moments or conversations with my parents. But I got by and I think I turned out okay. =)

Puberty -- the awkward stage. A time of transition and self-discovery. The signs are there. The changes are happening. His character and personality are taking shape. He's growing up -- emotionally, intellectually, and vertically. But he lacks maturity for his age. Feeling ko I am scared to enter this new phase coz I'm unsure of my "plan of attack". 

To give me a better grasp of this transitional stage, I asked a few friends who have teen boys about their experience on how to raise a tween. The common advise I got is to make time and really be present for my tween. Here are the valuable tips and insights that they generously shared with me, and can be applied to all tweens, boys and girls:

Rose Fausto, mom of 3 boys (ages 25, 22, and youngest turning 19 next month)
My big tip is really for parents to BE THERE. 
Be there from the very start...
to teach them the values your family stands for
to implement rules
to see their strengths and what makes them tick
to have fun and to gain their trust
...so that when they grow older, they’ll continue to be open to you. Can you imagine a tween boy asking for your advice about matters of the heart or bullying or anything for that matter if you had not been there all these years? No way, it would be very tedious for him to give you the entire background of the long story that you missed! ☹ 
Learn more from Rose at: FQ Mom
Rose wrote a poem entitled BE THERE and she shared this video with me. Listen to the heart-warming poem here: 

Jen Tan, mom of 2 boys (ages 14 and second turning 11 next month)
Try to spend as much time with your teenage boy. I never believed in quality time naman talaga but quantity time is so much more important now (because) I feel they hardly talk! So spend as much time as you can. Kasi if they're not talkative, you want to be there when they do talk.
Also, learn to listen. And think before you speak. 
One thing I learned from a talk by Bo Sanchez is that there are 3 stages for parents:
  1. Parent - as in, lead your child and teach your child
  2. Coach - you stay on the sidelines and watch your kid learn
  He can make mistakes too, but you're just there to "alalay" (guide/support). You can also call him to be able to give tips (like a coach).
  3. Consultant - you only give your opinions when asked
Learn more from Jen at: Attached At The Hip

Janice Villanueva, mom of 2 boys (ages 18 and 16) and a girl
1. Make time for a one-on-one with your tween.
Even if or when he or she seemingly becomes secretive or anti social, just keep setting dates with them to keep the bond and to communicate to them that you're always around no matter what. 
2. It may be difficult in certain stages and if your child is the opposite gender, but it's good to find some common interest. It can be major things, like learning a new sport together, but it can also be something minor and mundane, like when my eldest and I went thru a milk tea phase. 
It's also good to show interest in something they like. If it will entail your learning a bit of Minecraft, do it. If you need to get on YouTube to find out who their fave stars are, then take some time to do that too. These will not only give you something to bond on and talk about but will also make you stay the cool mom that you are. =)
3. Now more than ever, parent according to your child's personality.
As your child goes from tween to teen to adult, these little seeds you plant of talking and bonding in small ways will go a long way! (It) builds trust and connections even as they go and find themselves.
Learn more from Janice at: My Mundo

My heartfelt thanks to these rockstar moms -- Rose, Jen, and Janice, for your words of wisdom.

I also want my boy to learn good values and more life skills, to have a more positive outlook in life, to have courage and take some risks, to be more respectful and in tune to the world around him. This article from Huffingtong Post that I recently came across on FB really hits the bullseye. I can definitely relate. Please read 10 Things I Want My Son to Learn Before He Becomes a Teenager, by By Shannon Ralph. This is like a wish list from a mom with a tween boy and she basically summed up what I want for my boy too.

It's a tricky stage we're in. There are still so many issues to tackle and I'm overwhelmed at this point. Ang hirap maging magulang! First, I think I need to be nicer to him and to listen more, so he'll be more open to me. =)

Did you learn something from these moms? I know I did! And I will really try to heed their advice. Effort na kung effort. Do you have tips for me too? Please share!
Pray for us and wish us luck on raising our tween!

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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Foodie Friday: Eggless and Alcohol-Free Tiramisu

First Friday of the month: Recipe / Dessert

The other day, I stopped by Santi's Deli to buy a few stuff and spotted a tub of mascarpone cheese. I instantly craved for tiramisu! I already made it once before and I want to make it again. Without second thoughts (ang mahal na pala nung cheese!), I grabbed a small tub and paid for my items. The ingredients for the cake started running through my head. I had no time to buy all ingredients so whatever is in my kitchen will have to do.

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B Hotel: A Hip and Stylish Boutique Hotel in Quezon City

Industrial, contemporary, hip, spacious... just some of the words that popped up as soon as we entered B Hotel Quezon City. We don't frequent this side of town so this modern structure in the middle of the bustling Scout area was a welcome surprise for locals like me. It's like a different world once you enter the hotel. My family enjoyed a laid back staycation last weekend, courtesy of B Hotel, so check out these eye candy and take this virtual tour of the newest boutique hotel north of the metro.

B Hotel Quezon City is the newest baby of The Bellevue hotel group, with it's first branch located in Alabang. With eleven floors and over 100 guest rooms, B Hotel QC offers value-for-money four-star accommodations, catering to the business traveler, companies, as well as families and groups that simply want to unwind and not leave the QC area.

What makes B Hotel different is it's ultra modern industrial design, the cool ambience -- in Tagalog, maaliwalas, and stylish interiors. The design elements and minimalist furniture pieces make every spot and corner picture-perfect -- or what millennials may call "Instragrammable".

We skipped the usual halloween weekend revelry and checked-in last Friday. The hotel still has minor construction going on. They are currently re-building the ramp leading to the main drop-off point by the lobby, finishing the function rooms and pool side facilities as well.

I learned that the hotel is still on soft opening, only two months in operation, and according to the front desk officer, they will have their formal launch in December. I guess this feature is sort of a sneak peek na rin for everyone since bagong bago pa ang B Hotel. =)

Check out the main lobby and cafe, with it's high ceiling, mood lighting, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and windows, iconic chairs, and splashes of bold colors against clean lines and polished concrete. The outdoor seating area by the lobby's balcony (right side of photo above) is the designated smoking area which overlooks Scout Rallos.

You surely won't miss these eye-catching wall accents by the elevator. From the time you step inside the elevator until you reach your floor, the sleek industrial aesthetic remains consistent. This is a complete departure from the usually warm, wood-paneled, elegantly styled interiors of traditional hotels that we're used to seeing, which J prefers. The hip vibe and ambiance here is actually quite refreshing, I like it.

B Hotel QC currently offers Superior Twin Room and One Bedroom Suite.

We were initially accommodated at this Superior Twin Room, which was nice and comfy. I was expecting two queen beds, but the twin is ideally for two only. I requested if we can be transferred to a room with a king, plus extra bed. Me and kids on the bed, then J on an extra single bed -- that's our usual sleeping arrangement whenever we stay in hotels, at the very least, unless they have two queens or a family suite.

Thankfully, the hotel was kind enough to accommodate our request and the staff prepared another room for us. Later in the afternoon, we moved down from the 7th to the 6th floor with the same room layout, but with the beds joined together. It was perfect for the boy, the girl, and myself to sleep in.

Since they still don't have extra beds available, they asked if a mattress would suffice.  I thought that was even better since they have big thick mattresses! =) We're fine with the mattress set on the floor for J. Extra pillows and towels were also requested since all the rooms are set for two. Here's the new set-up.

The guest rooms are equipped with basic amenities for a comfortable stay:
  • Minibar
  • LED cable TV
  • Free high-speed internet access, hotel-wide
  • In-room safe
  • Writing desk
  • Cabinet with hangers
  • Washbasin and mirror set in the room - with soap and toothbrush set for two
  • Glass-enclosed toilet and bath -- roller blinds can be pulled down for privacy
    • Two shower heads, with soap and shampoo; toilet has a bidet
  • Room slippers for two

One of the distinct features of B Hotel is it's use of iconic chairs. I'm guessing they are replicas of the designer chairs and you can find them all around the hotel.

I'm not sure about the names of these chairs, but they look designer to me. =) That black one was surprisingly very comfy to sit on!

While the new room was being prepared, J and I went to the Lobby Cafe to look around. He ordered coffee, and cheese pizza for the kids. More designer chairs spotted at the lobby...

Harry Bertoia chairs at the coffee shop...we have a similar pair at home. =)

Spot the Le Corbusier sofa, Mies Van der Rohe's Barcelona and Hans Jacobsen's Egg chairs

Let's move on to the gastronomic delights...

Snacks while waiting for room transfer -- J and I got one slice each at the cafe before we brought this up to the room. This Quatro Formaggi pizza was wiped out even if the kids said the cheese was stinky, hahaha! Blame it on the gorgonzola. =)

After we got settled in the new room and showered, we headed down to the Lobby Cafe for dinner.

For starters, my girl had this creamy Mushroom Soup while I had this more flavorful Tomato Cream SoupSarap with the break stick! 

The boy went straight for The B-Burger, served with fries and coleslaw. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles were removed. He wanted it plain with just cheese, no frills, so that's what he got.

The girl was craving for Pancit canton so we ordered one for sharing. We love the generous serving of shrimps with the noodles.

J devoured his Grilled King Prawns with a side of mashed potatoes, while I had this deliciously tender specialty -- Beef with Black Pepper Sauce. With rice siyempre! Yum-yum!!!

We were all full from the meal that I regret not leaving room for dessert! I would have wanted to try their Creme Brulee or Choco Lava Cake sana. The food and service were pretty good. They just need to add a few more food attendants to be more visible to dining guests.

For breakfast, we didn't see a buffet spread when we went down around 9 am. There was just a cereal station, fruit platter, congee station, coffee and juice corner.  

We were offered the menu for the a'la carte breakfast meals instead. The kids were happy to have their usual Pancakes, which were fluffy and huge, by the way. J got toast and Omelette, while I went for the Beef Tapa with garlic rice and egg.

After our morning meal, the family went back to the room while I toured the rest of the hotel. The kids changed their mind about swimming and opted to just laze around and play in the room. Buti nalang they didn't want to swim na coz the pool was undergoing maintenance pala so guests can't swim din.

The infinity pool is 4ft. deep only and hotel is still having improvements done around the area.

"B Hotel Quezon City is more than just comfortable ambiences and sleep-inducing rooms.
You can also conduct business meetings, spend chill afternoons, and make dull nights into something more colorful."

More amenities at B Hotel QC:
  • Business center
  • Ballroom and function rooms
  • Lobby Cafe
  • Mezzanine Bar
  • Wi-Fi in public areas
  • Room service
  • Car park
  • Gym
  • Salon by Jing Monis (opening soon by the pool side)
This is the coziest place I found at the hotel -- the Mezzanine Bar, with warm tones, leather arm chairs and wood flooring. Perfect place to hang out and have drinks.

At the opposite end of the lobby from the bar is this meeting room, right above the cake and coffee shop. It has a long conference table, projector, and a glass wall which allows you to view the whole lobby from the room. It's a nice venue to hold business meetings and intimate presentations.

This was a different kind of halloween weekend retreat for my family and staying at B Hotel QC was a delight. Hope you liked the "tour" as much as I enjoyed sharing this with you.

Do check out B Hotel and avail of their Opening Rate for only PhP 3,600 net, until December 31, 2015! Visit their website for details: http://web.b-hotel-quezoncity.com

View the spacious lobby of B Hotel QC

For promos and updates, follow B Hotel QC on Facebook
B Hotel Quezon City
14 Scout Rallos Street, Barangay Laging Handa
South Triangle, Quezon City

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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Help Raise Kids with Healthy Smiles

Every year, we schedule a visit to the doctor for general check-up, and also to the dentist for our bi-annual prophylaxis. Since my kids were toddlers, we do this as a family in the hopes that when they grow up, they'll learn the importance of maintaining overall health and wellness. Even in their bedtime prayers, we always include asking God to bless us with good health. But when you think about it, oral care is often overlooked and usually not considered part of overall health planning. Minsan once a year lang ang cleaning, or totally nakakalimutan talaga. I know so many people who are like this, which leads me to believe that Filipinos, in general, lack awareness on oral care.

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Mom-Finds: My First STRIP Encounter with Cucumber Wax

Last Friday of the month:  Beauty Services

Have you ever tried waxing? How about threading? IPL perhaps? These are all safe and effective options for hair-removal from different parts of our body. I've tried them all over the years from different salons and from the derma clinic. Recently, I was invited to a Brow Wow Birthday Bash at Browhaus and Strip for a special waxing treatment with friends.

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News Flash: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are Coming to Smart

OMG!!! The new iPhones are coming next month! Wala pa nga akong iPhone 6 and eto na ang latest model! Smart will offer the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus starting November 6 so pre-apply now!

Once again, I'm sharing you the good news from Smart as they bring in the most advanced iPhones ever, beginning next Friday, November 6, 2015! Mark your calendars.

Christmas came early so add this to your gift list or wish list. I am wishing for gold or rose gold iPhone. =)

Get the #SmartiPhone6s by pre-applying here now: www.smart.com.ph/iphone.  Share this awesome news to family and friends na! Ubusan nanaman yan ng units! This is also available for re-contracting subscribers.

For more information about the new iPhone, visit: http://www.apple.com/iphone.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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The Girl and Her Tangle Angel Baby Brush

My girl has fine limp hair and she never bothers to keep it groomed. Ever since she grew her hair long, it was a challenge to comb or brush her hair, whether after bath or even before leaving for school! She's never tangle-free. Never. Knotted hair pa nga! =( We always have to remind her to brush, or we just do it for her para matapos na. A few weeks ago, we got a gift which was heaven-sent. Well, from heaven nga siguro kasi angel eh! Say hello to this ├╝ber cute Tangle Angel Baby Brush!

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Travel Smart, Connect and Surf Abroad for Only P550

The last time I traveled abroad was when my boy was just six months old. I went to Singapore with J and my good friend. Gosh, that was almost twelve years na!!! At that time, we need to buy a phone card just to call or connect to the internet. These days, having easy access to surf is as essential as having your passport. And as a bearer of good news, we can now live the Smart Life and enjoy worry-free data roaming with Smart Surf Abroad 550!

Noon wala pa akong blog and IG. Now, as a blogger and IG addict, it would be a thrill to share my travel experience in real time diba? I wish we can fly out of the country this holiday season. Sigurado, my hubby and I will be maximizing our #SmartSurfAbroad 550 data roaming package with all the sight-seeing and shopping in our chosen destination.

Why is it important for me to have #SmartSurfAbroad?
  • To stay connected with my loved ones
  • To be able to instantly share travel moments and shopping finds
  • Access email
  • Access Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networking sites
  • Chat on Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, etc.
  • Hail an Uber car for transpo convenience anywhere
  • Access Google maps for directions on-the-go or use Google Translate
So how does Smart Postpaid Surf Abroad 550 work?

  • Initially available to all Smart Postpaid and Smart Infinity subscribers
  • Flat rate of Php550 per day from 12AM-11:59PM of the visited country
  • Wider coverage: 112 countries covered (including top destinations like Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, US, France, Germany, Brazil, India, etc.)
  • Hassle-free -- No need to register
    • No need to manually select roaming network, Smart will automatically connect you to it's partner network
  • No bill shock
    • New network lock feature does not allow roaming usage on non-partner roaming networks = No unwanted data charges
Smart Postpaid Surf Abroad 550 worry-free data roaming and ready to surf in just 2 easy steps:
  1. Turn on your phone to update location
  2. Turn on your data roaming - no need to key in special codes or text registration
Once the service is active, you can start surfing! You'll also get timely notifications and update of your subscription.

So, when going abroad, travel smart. Live the Smart Life with Smart Surf Abroad 550! Sulit!!!

Visit http://smart.com.ph/postpaidsurfabroad for more details and complete list of countries and corresponding roaming partners.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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Fun in Baguio, Day 2 and 3: Tree Top Adventure and Wright Park

Our Baguio adventure continues after a beautiful first day of driving around Session Road and touring BenCab Museum. Despite having car trouble on day one, we were still able to visit some sights with a rented van the next day and enjoyed ourselves for the rest of the trip with amazing outdoor activities for the whole family to remember.

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Hot and Cheesy Makes an Angry Whopper

Not all burgers are created equal. In my family, we have our own favorites from each burger shop we dine at. For fast food burger chains, this is the only one that got me hooked on it's unique flame-grilled, cheeeeesy, spicy, juicy whopper of a burger. Yep, I'm talking about the one and only king... Burger King! And look, I found a new favorite -- mouth-watering Angry 4-Cheese Whopper!!!

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