15 May 2019

We Are Switching to QPants Baby Diapers and Here’s Why

With a 9-year gap between my two girls, Sophia and Samantha, I feel like I'm a new mom again. It's fun to actually experience it now that I think I'm a bit wiser but it can be quite challenging, too. With all the baby essentials that are available in the market, it's just so hard to choose what's really best for our children. This is why I'm thankful to be a parent at this time and age of social media where we can find comfort and answers from other moms with same dilemma as ours with just a few clicks on our phones.  

So to help my fellow mommies, who are in dire need of a diaper brand that perfectly suits their lifestyle best, I'm happy to share with you that I just found out about this new player in the diaper scene — QPants Baby Diapers! It's from the same company that makes Sunmed Adult Diapers, if you're familiar  with it. They used to just distribute within Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon only but because online shopping happened, QPants are now available nationwide via Shopee and Lazada! I'm sure those two e-malls are also your go-to shopping sites just like every mom with internet access. 


When I received my hefty supply of QPants Baby Diapers, I immediately changed Sammy's nappy to give it a road test. Coincidentally, she was using another brand that gets super soggy with just little pee. How disappointing. My valid excuse for buying? Well, we came from the camp, where my military husband is assigned, and that was what we bought in the commissary there. Good thing QPants arrived a few days after we got home. And guess what  I was pretty amused by its performance! 


30 April 2019

The fangirl in me wants to know — is John Lloyd Cruz really coming back?

As a fan girl, of local and international celebrities altogether, I got so excited to have seen the teaser of a well-loved shawarma brand in the country, Turks. I already knew who the mystery man was. I've seen most of his movies, I have kind of mastered his every angle. John Lloyd Cruz, Popoy to a lot of his fans, is back.


The teaser video posted on Turks' Facebook page has garnered huge number of comments and reactions from netizens who apparently missed seeing JL in the limelight. And it now has 3.2 million views since it was posted. Yesterday, Turks released the full video of the ad entitled Ang Pagbabalik on their YouTube channel. John Lloyd looks like he sincerely loves the life he lives now.

12 April 2019

What Parents of Toddlers Should Know About Walking

When Sammy has started sitting on her own, everyone was excited to see her walk already... And now that she has perfectly mastered her strides, who's following her, pacing with her all the time? It's not everyone, it's just me! Where are they now? Oh, they're chilling on the side, laughing and saying how cute she is. Haha! Well, if not for the summer heat, I wouldn't complain as I felt like I lost a lot of weight by doing so. But then again, the weather just makes me want to scoop her up and carry her as long as my back can handle. 


Don't get me wrong, mamas. I would love my terrific toddler to have as much freedom as she deserves but let's be real, running after a toddler isn't easy. It requires many underrated traits and character that parents and caregivers should embody. Would you like to know some? I got a few basics here.

08 April 2019

How We Make Our Marriage Happy

At 23, I was every inch of what I wanted myself to be  a fun and free college graduate who was working in the biggest broadcasting network in the country. Also, I had a cute military boyfriend who loved me back as much I loved him. I wasn't rich but I had everything I needed to be happy. For me then, my life was perfect. Things have changed dramatically, though when I got pregnant out of wedlock. Sadly, the boyfriend (who became no longer cute for me lol) and I had opposing views about the situation; it was expected that we didn't get married. Worse, I didn't have a job for the whole 9 months of carrying my little human. Just imagine how miserable I felt every time I craved a burger and I don't even have money to buy the cheapest kind.


While my mother took me under her care, I knew I had to do something for me and my baby. So during my first trimester, armed with resourcefulness and guidance from the Lord, I sold my huge magazine collection to a magazine store near our house. My collection of mostly Summit Media magazines was really that huge that I was able to buy myself fruits, maternity house dress and vitamin supplements. And just before my first trimester ended, my boyfriend (who became cute again lol) and I reconciled and decided to become partners in building our dream team. We knew we would never have our fun and free youth back but having a baby gave our lives so much meaning.

02 April 2019

Fish Escabeche

I may look like I know a lot about food but guys, I am just actually learning so much from the people I follow on Instagram! Take for example, Joey of @chichajo. I was watching her Stories when I saw the tagged online shop that sells seafood. Wow. I mean, who would think that you can now buy fresh seafood online, right? Search it, it's called @marvsboqueria.ph. You're welcome. Marvs sells different kinds of seafood! He also has an awesome package that includes prime beef steak, tiger prawns and salmon. It's quite costly; I'm still saving up for that so I can cook them on my birthday. Or maybe on our wedding anniversary. 


Anyway, I bought crab meat, tanigue fillet and steak and bakoko. I never encountered bakoko in the wet market so after I did a quick consultation with Mr. G, I decided to buy that. If you are following me on IG, you'd know that I made a lot of dishes using the 500-gram crab meat. With tanigue, I made kilawin from some of it for my husband. As for my new fishy friends, I made escabeche.

28 March 2019

HK's Hui Lau Shan is now here in the Philippines!

I just love attending blogging events that is all about deliciousness. Yes, when it's all about food and how the brand came up with it, my foodie heart is utterly happy.


I was completely amazed at how Hui Lau Shan, a global dessert chain based in Hong Kong, has actually started. Would you believe that they use Philippine mangoes in all of their stores across the globe? And they have over 300 branches! It's no longer a secret that our mangoes are the best but I felt like a proud mother hen when I knew about it.

19 March 2019

Chicken and Pork Adobo

Is there any meat-loving mammal here who don't eat adobo? If that's you, why are you even here? 

I mean, remember the time celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay chose pork adobo burger over a bison and chorizo double stacked burger in the American TV program Good Morning America? What about when Anthony Bourdain learned how to cook adobo? I won't go further and stress the importance of these two gentlemen in the food industry but if they loved adobo, why anyone else wouldn't?


When I became a full-time homemaker, adobo has always been my saving grace. Adobo gave comfort to my husband after a tiring and long travel from the camp. Its thick and flavorful sauce has been my eldest daughter's first experience in appreciating Filipino cuisine. A huge chunk in our family and food stories will always be taken by adobo. 

10 March 2019

Every Day’s a Weekend With Uniqlo's New Minions Collection

For a lot of families, weekends are exclusively intended for doing things together—be it errands, grocery shopping, out of town trips or any extra curricular activities the kids have. But for us, who've been a military family for more than a decade already, most weekends are just like any other day. In fact, there was a point when our army dad didn't come home for 3 consecutive months! Those 12 weekends without him were dragging and dreadful. I prayed so hard to Jesus to never let it happen again. Glad that we're luckier now; every day's a weekend as long as hubs is home.

#TheRayalas love Uniqlo! ♥ 
So when Uniqlo Philippines invited us to a family day, I was ecstatic! Not only we were complete but we also got to help promote a brand we love. We are totally not a fashionable family, it isn't up our alley, but with Uniqlo, looking polished and presentable is easy. It was really a fun day! Uniqlo launched the new summer designs of their graphic tees. Say bello to the Minions!

09 March 2019

Bistek Tagalog

If there's one thing that I can't just easily minimize the consumption of, it has to be beef! I'm a beef-lover since I learned how glorious bulalo is. Then as I grew older, I have always loved my mama's beef caldereta. Its savory sauce made of rich tomato paste, pork liver and some chili was a perfect match to the beef's taste and texture. And one day, after a long and tiring trip along EDSA, my husband and I found ourselves parking in front of a beef pares joint near our house. Yes, instead of going home directly, we stopped by to eat pares—our ultimate post-carmageddon meal. But that's not the recipe I'm sharing here today. Sorry for the confusion, haha.


I got carried away with my beef stories that I went that far. It happened that my husband came home with a big bag of white onions from their farmer friends. The ones we got were actually market rejects. It was still perfectly edible but they came in odd sizes so it's not good to sell anymore. And since white onions rot fast, I needed to consume it before it does. Bistek Tagalog enters the picture. 

19 February 2019

Vegetable and Macaroni Soup with Crispy Bacon Bits

My toddler Samantha is such a joy to feed! She now eats table food and almost everything that I serve to her big sister, Sophia so that means kitchen time is back to easy for me. I no longer make separate food for the tiny one. No more boiling and mashing and storing. My baby foodie now eats freshly-cooked food. Thank God for daughters who love eating as much as I love cooking! It's not always a walk in the park, though. There are days when one of them, or sometimes both, feel like being judgy as if I'd feed them something gross. Well, I've made myself a general rule when it comes to my relationship with food and motherhood—while I enjoy seeing my kids finish their plant-based meals, I still acknowledge the fact that they are humans who deserve to enjoy 'delish dishes'. 


What I mean by delish dishes are food our generation has always loved when we were kids (uhm till now actually). Like spaghetti, burger, fried chicken, pizza, and what-have-yous. Back then, it's every child's dream to eat those on a regular basis. Jollibee was like the god of happiness in the 90s! But not me. As a kid, I was happier to have nilagang baka, pancit and chicken macaroni soup. In fact, I knew my mama, who's a widow, has extra money when she makes us creamy and hearty macaroni soup. She paired it with fried fish or breaded pork chops. It was one of the best memories of my childhood... watching my mother cook for us. Her version of macaroni soup has julienned carrots, shredded cabbage, chicken pieces and sliced hotdogs. I loved my mama's soup but now that I'm a grown-up and have learned the risks of eating hotdogs regularly, I have almost taken that out of our grocery list. Also, pink soups mean there's food color. But guys, this recipe still has processed meat. Why? Duh, bacon!

07 February 2019

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Just like how special bulalo is to me because it brings many memories of my father, this dish is also close to my heart. You see, my mama had a canteen near a college school in Quezon City when I was around Sophia's age. During those times, I learned about a lot of different dishes that we don't usually eat at home. And one of them is Sweet and Sour Meatballs! Yes, would you believe that she didn't serve it to us then that I needed to hang out in her canteen to know what it is? Haha, I'm sure she'd roll her eyes dramatically and might say I just can't remember it. Well, please remind me to ask my older sisters to clarify.


Anyway, so in the canteen, she served this dish with big, juicy meatballs and with thick red sauce unlike most cheap eateries where sauce was too orange and balls were small and full of flour. Too sad that she had to close the canteen. I saw how successful it was! I loved hanging out there and helping her with whatever. Many students liked it there, too because of the delicious and generous serving of food (and also, maybe because my eldest sister was an attractive teenager, lol).

25 January 2019

A Job Well Done by GoodWork.ph

The new year was welcomed well here at home. We began with sorting out our clothes; I taught our househelp to do the KonMari folding. She did it happily 'cause I told her she'd get the ones that no longer look cute to me. We also fixed the kitchen cabinets and miscellaneous shelves. One of my goals as a homemaker is to have a fresh, clean start, which I hope to maintain for the rest of the year. I'm glad I have her onboard with me through all these. I'm not a super mom and I'm so happy God blessed me with a hardworking and kind maid. She's a blessing to our family but I'm aware she cannot do everything. Well, she sweeps and mops the floor every day, she wipes whatever has dust, and she changes our curtains regularly. But still, we felt there was something wrong in our room. Oh, there was one thing she can't do—clean the air conditioner properly! 


Glad I knew about GoodWork.ph. I mean, think of Honestbee for service providers! Amazing, right?


So I gave it a shot and booked a weekend appointment to have our air conditioner cleaned, stat. I knew that the dusts accumulated the past months were partly to blame for the dreadful colds we had. 

23 January 2019

Almondigas

Feeding a growing toddler may be quite tricky given their food limitations and experience. But once you get into the groove in knowing what your kid likes most and what she can eat, serving her nutritious and delicious food can be your second nature. I have three simple tips to achieve that! First, it has to be soft or soupy. Nothing that can choke them or can make their milkteeth hard to chew. Next, it should be a complete meal—think of go, grow glow. Toddlers have unlimited energy and they need well-balanced meals to refuel. Lastly and most importantly, it has to be irresistibly yummy.


Misua con Patola or Almondigas easily tops the list of dishes that we can serve our toddler and the whole family. It's a legit hit especially when it's breezy cool like today. For those who don't know yet, Almondigas came from the Spanish word Albondigas, which means meatballs. So yes, this soup is meatballs-based but loved well if it has patola and misua. There are more savory versions from other countries but here in the Philippines, Almondigas is known to be light and comforting; perfect for sweater weather or when someone's down with a flu.

21 January 2019

Love My Party-Ready Look by Maja Blanka Makeup Artistry

Ten years ago, on Sophia's first birthday party, I only had powder and lipstick on. I know I'm more kikay than most women my age but I was really clueless about makeup. Worse, my hair was tied in a tight ponytail. And to make the look more loshang, I wore a headband with it, haha! It was very humid that day, okay. Mother Nature was having her PMS 'cause six days after the party, Ondoy happened. But I told myself that it's not going to happen again on Samantha's first birthday party.


I'm so happy to have hit that vain goal of mine! I may have unwanted fats here and there but at least, I looked polished in each and every photo, candid or not. Beauty isn't a priority for some moms but I hope this post will make you change your mind. I mean, look at the huge difference!

19 January 2019

Filipino 90s Party for Samantha's First Birthday

We never do real time here on my blog, I bet you already know that. So I'm sure you understand why I am only sharing this now when it actually happened a month ago. Okay, before you start saying, "But one-year-olds don't actually know that it's their birthday!", I have said in my welcome speech in the party that we did this for us and the guests and not solely for Sam. And because it was for us, my husband R and I thought of a theme that will be an instant hit to our crowd. We only invited family and close friends. I only had one from college, R had four from the military and the rest are our families. We knew that they will appreciate Filipino 90s theme.


It was around first quarter of last year when we planned out how it was going to be—a party like when we were kids. What was it then? Well, nothing fancy schmancy. The only difference was it wasn't held in a garage but in an events place called Sweet Madie's.

18 January 2019

5 Key Reasons Why It’s Important to Invest in Quality Clothing for Your Family

Filipino values always emphasize family, and taking care of your loved ones should be on the top of any person’s list. There are tons of things to budget and account for when you have a family, such as food, tuition, transportation, and other bills. One of the biggest expenses in a family can be clothing, especially if you’re dealing with kids who are still growing, and it might be tempting to just buy cheap clothes and pray that they don’t fall apart right away. But investing in quality clothing is incredibly important, and here are some of the reasons why.



THEY LAST LONGER

With how much children love to play, sometimes you can’t avoid the need to pull out your sewing kit. Like this article from Quartz illustrates, clothes from good brands fray less, and are usually made of materials that are sturdier and more durable than fast fashion items. This means fewer extra tasks for you, and more freedom for the kids to run around and enjoy themselves.

15 January 2019

One Word, One Year: 2019

After a week and so of trying to balance homeschooling, taking care of a toddler and managing the household while being down with flu, I realized how my one word last year still has its effect on me. Well, it doesn't really apply to my general mood (malalaos ang mga nagro-road rage sa akin haha) but it was when I'm calm that Sophia better understands a Math problem, Sammy loves it when I'm calm and being calm is the best way to keep a hardworking helper. So yes, choosing a word to work on your life definitely gives good results. Hence, still doing it this year.


I've been choosing one word every new year for five years already, except in 2015 when my goal then was to rebrand (from a hot pink Bebengisms to a quieter, cleaner Royal Domesticity) and my process has never changed. I still pray before I finally decide on what to put here. One Word, One Year may just be a blogging trend but for me, it's all spiritual. I always seek for what the Lord sees in my heart. I got stuck for a few days thinking of what word to choose but after I prayed, I knew what it's going to be. 

In 2014, I chose faith.
In 2016, I chose purpose.
In 2017, I chose humility.
In 2018, I chose calm.
And for 2019, I choose GRATITUDE.

04 January 2019

Shopwise products can now be delivered via Honestbee!

One of the many jobs a mother has to regularly do is to run errands for the family. Aside from tons of chores at home or work in the office, there's paying the bills, setting medical appointments, grocery shopping and a whole lot more. With heavy traffic, high cost of fuel and allergens around—in a perfect world—it's best to basically just do all those at home. Eureka! There were superbly exceptional people who invented apps and services that can make our lives easier. There are online banking and virtual wallets for paying the bills, home services for our basic medical needs and Honestbee for grocery shopping. I mean, of course, we're still not living in a perfect world but we really can use those help. Right?

Shopwise and Honestbee gave me this basketful of awesome goodies last Christmas! Thank you. ♥ 

In fact, I really think that Honestbee is heaven-sent for moms with clingy toddlers like me. Can you imagine how long it takes us to prepare before we leave for grocery day? My little Sammy Bear directly breastfeeds from me; I really can't leave her yet. If I loved doing the groceries before 'cause it's my time away from my then only child Sophia, well now, I dread it. Pushing a heavy cart while carrying a 10-kilogram toddler isn't fun, you know. Hence, when I read from fellow bloggers I follow on Instagram that Honestbee is here to save the day of helpless moms like me, my heart rejoiced!

I downloaded the app immediately and checked how it works. Honestbee has kept on adding merchants from time to time and I'm glad Shopwise is now included! You see, Shopwise offers a wide variety of imported brands that other supermarkets don't have, not even the membership-only ones. So, yass!


If you're interested to know more about Honestbee, you can tinker the app on your own. It's free via Google Play and Apple App Store. You can also read Mommy Pehpot's no-nonsense helpful review here: Honestbee Philippines Review or this informative article by Manila Times: Honestbee expands PH reach.

HONESTBEE PHILIPPINES
Website: www.honestbee.ph
Facebook: honestbee
Instagram: @honestbeeph

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Honestbee but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

02 January 2019

Moving Forward

Well, well, well. What do we have here? In the past three years, my first post of every new year was all about looking back the past year. It's not entirely a bad thing but this year, I decided to celebrate our now and maybe get more excited for the days to come. So...

This is TMI but my girls and I haven't taken a bath yet and the sink's still full of dirty dishes from our brunch earlier. Also, as of this writing, our househelp hasn't come home yet from her New Year's leave. I'm kind of expecting the worst already; I just don't want to wash the dishes yet. After all the festivities, from four Christmas parties in the camp to cooking two batches of seafood paella and lechon belly here at home, my skin and bones are yearning for this blog. Like I said in a previous post, I will be blogging for me. So dirty plates, you can wait.

Took this photo inside the camp using my husband's office camera.

Upon checking the Blogger dashboard, there are posts saved on my drafts from 2012, the year I started blogging mainstream (I had an online journal no one has ever read), that I still haven't published till now. Yes, 7 years later, it's still there. What happened, you ask? Simple—procrastination. That giant evil blob of a word has led me to many of my failures, blogging and life in general. It's tough to avoid it but this year, I am seriously hoping to never invite it to my parties. Hence, typing away now like a hired thesis typist. 

I have a few solid plans for this lovely space but basically, I just want you all to know that you'd be reading a lot of my ruminations from now on. As in, like writing in my LiveJournal in 2003! I enjoy sharing hacks, tips and new products for families to try but writing my random ramblings is what I love doing the most here. Kinda sounds selfish, I know but that's my truth. I wish you won't get tired of reading it, though. 

OK. My allotted minutes for the blog are over! I can hear the girls' laughter from the room, don't want to miss the fun. Next post will be about grocery shopping then my one word for 2019. Laters! ♥