When Life Gives You Lemons..Seek Therapy

Every one of us encounters problems on our daily living. It's part of the challenges that we have as human beings. Problems can be big or small, depending on how we view each and every one of it.  Problems are not for adults only; even children can have problems too.

How do you handle problems?  Some people would view problems as a way to improve themselves.  Some would view problems as something that pulls them down.  Some consider it as a test of character.  The way one handles problems depends on their upbringing.  

Some people break down when they face problems.  It's not wrong to break down at times because it only means that we acknowledge that we are weak and we need help.  Sadly, not all people around you will understand what you're going through and will just say that you are just overreacting.

When you can no longer handle problems on your own and it already causes stress and disrupts your daily living, there is nothing wrong if we seek therapy.  

Sadly, people who are consulting mental health experts are often viewed as crazy people.  There are cases that we need to consult experts not because we are crazy, but we need help to sort out our feelings and thoughts because if we don't, we will end up crazy.  Consulting a mental health expert is one way of preventing us to further entertain negative thoughts.

In the Philippines, sadly, people rarely see a mental health professional on the early stages. In reality, taking care of our mental health can be costly that is why people do not pay much attention on mental health.  We can hear cases of some individuals who were locked like an animal by their family in their houses because they do not know how to handle them.  The family would rather spend their money on buying food to eat than to send their mentally-ill member to an institution.

With the increasing number of mentally-ill patients, there is also a need for experts who can help them out.

Now, we have an option to consult professional help through online counseling.  

Some people are too busy to put in their calendar a visit to a counselor, but with technology, we can do more things at the click of the button, including an online appointment with a counselor.

I have come across this website, BetterHelp.com, which offers online counseling to people who are troubled and need someone to help them out sorting their emotions and thoughts.  BetterHelp is not only available in the United States; it's also available in other countries including the Philippines.  You can be assured of confidentiality and anonymity all throughout the process.  It is also affordable compared with man-to-man consultation.  When you subscribe to their services, you can have unlimited consultation with the counselor matched to you by chatting, speaking, and video conferencing.

If you're troubled today and would like to talk to someone, try BetterHelp's services.  Build a profile at https://www.betterhelp.com/start/.

LG Electronics Makes Your Life Happy and Healthy

Every start of the year, I always make it to a point that I write down my faith goals so that I would be guided on what I want to happen in my life.  I always start the year with prayer and fasting and pray for my goals fervently.  Towards the end of the year I reevaluate my goals and see which have been answered by the Lord and not.  Those were not answered by the Lord were written again on my next year's goals.  I don't give up, I know the Lord will give my heart's desires on His right timing.

One of the goals that I have this year is to stay happy and live healthily.  I am already in my 40s and I need to be extra careful with my health.  I went back to exercising and watched out my diet.  As much as possible I stay away from posting negativities on social media and if there's something I need to air my frustration, I just send a message to my close friends.  I also read online articles to help me improve myself, like the articles from BetterHelp.  You may check HERE for the list of the articles that I revisit every now and then to help me keep my sanity.

Of course, we also wanted to live in a comfortable home.  We wanted our home to be a place to build happy memories with out loved ones.  We wanted to live in a home where we can feel safe and secure.  We wanted to live a convenient life using the modern technology. 

Speaking of modern technology, I am happy to maximize the use of it to make my life at home easy.  Being a work at home mom I do not have luxury of time to do household chores, and to be honest, I also hate doing household chores, haha.  As time passes by, a lot of upgrades were done to make our lives easier than easy, providing tome saving, user-friendly, and even energy-saving devices that are meeting the needs of consumers rather than simply serving as the latest techie gadgets.  Home appliances are constantly evolving into nifty, consumer-centric machines that make our lives easier--and our homes considerably cleaner.  From vacuuming to clearing the air of pollutants to helping us cook in the most efficient way, these intelligent gadgets allow us to automate time-consuming actions, freeing up our time so that we can do more things and to make time to do the things that we really enjoy.

LG Electronics, one of the leading brands in providing home management solutions, has recognized the changing landscape of our homes.  LG Electronics has been constantly providing ingeniously designed solutions that encourage families to pursue a healthier and more productive lives.  LG Electronics offer energy-efficient motors, intuitive add-ons and sophisticated designs which make home appliances and kitchen gadgets fulfill almost any domestic wish and assure that no one will see housework as a chore again.

Check out these new innovations from LG Electronics:

1.  LG Hom-Bot--a robotic vacuum that can clean floors and carpets while you're away and go back to a clean and dust-free home.  

2.  LG DualCool airconditioner--a green home machine with an Auto Clean feature that prevents the growth of bacteria and mold, thus providing a cleaner and more pleasant home environment.

3.  LG InstaView Door-in-Door fridge--has a mirrored glass panel that lights up with two quick knocks and allows you to see inside an easy access compartment without opening the door, thus reducing cold air loss to help keep food fresher longer.  It also has FRESHBalancer feature that keeps your fruits and veggies in optimal condition by adjusting the right amount of humidity.  It also has Moist Balance Crisper that maintains moisture levels, and Hygiene FRESH+, a five-step air filter that eliminates up to 99.9% bacteria, as well as bad odor.

4.  LG Smart Oven--these handy helpers are equipped with settings that cook food more efficiently, lock nutrients in, and keep unhealthy fats and sodium out.  Moreover, LG's Lightwave Oven Technology offers a multi-heating system that allows you to prepare healthier, gourmet-standard food with the minimum amount of fuss.

These smart appliances from LG Electronics are really worthy investments!  It'll make your home management system efficient.  It'll make you enjoy staying at home more and just have a bonding time with your family.

For more details on how LG Electronics can help improve your life, visit www.lg.com/ph.  You may also follow LG Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.

My Musings on Turning 40

Nowadays, people say that 40 is the new 20...well, I will only have to partially agree with that.  

Because of technology and changing lifestyles, a lot of people in their 40s don't feel like they're old.  Most people in their 40s have a desire to keep their youth by having dermatological treatments and taking supplements.  They also keep their health on a regular check because they want to still do the things that they have been doing when they were younger.  On the other hand, there are some people in their 40s who already looked more than their age, maybe because of poor lifestyle and stress.  People are also expecting that once you reached your 40s, you're in the pinnacle of your career, and when you haven't reached anything on your career by that age, you won't get anywhere anymore until you reach your retirement age.

Being 40 is not the same for everyone.  It is unfair for us to compare our lives with each other because each and every one has his/her own time zone.

I must say that I also observed some changes when I turned 40 last year.

1.  I developed allergies.  All throughout my 39 years of existence I never had any allergies.  When I turned 40 I suddenly had this itch on my armpits and neck.  At first I only thought that the ingredients in the deodorant that I'm using give me that itch, but when it reached my neck, I already got worried.  I consulted a dermatologist and she confirmed that I had eczema.  

I found out that eczema appears when it's too hot or too cold.  My eczema appeared when we were in Ayutthaya last November and it persisted until December because of the dry weather.  It's so itchy and when it dries up it leaves a dark spot.  It also appeared when we had a winter vacation in Hong Kong last January.  I put sunflower oil to lighten those dark spots and religiously put moisturizer.  I already asked prescription for my eczema because there are days that I can no longer tolerate the itchiness.

2.  My energy level isn't the same anymore.  Before I can last the whole day, going from one place to another.  I am a certified curacha because of my jampacked schedule.  After being out in the daytime, I still have the energy to work at night until past midnight.  Now, when I got tired from doing errands in the morning, I'd rather take a rest than push myself to work.  

3.  My metabolism got slower.  I started 2017 with a slim figure, but I ended up gaining weight even if I didn't change my eating habits.  This year, I am trying to get back in shape so that my metabolism will work faster as if I'm a young woman.  Wait for my transformation, wink, wink!

4.  I am now worried about retirement.  Yes, I am a forward thinker.  I already want to prepare for my retirement so that I won't be a burden to my son.  I want to build a retirement fund so that I would be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I am not complaining that I'm already 40; it's just that there are things in my life that I need to pay more attention.  Being in 40s means that there are more to expect as you grow older.  Being in 40s doesn't mean you're getting old; it's a reminder that you have enjoy life while you can (when you are still healthy) and to also start preparing for the future.  We must not take our lives for granted.  Stay positive, healthy, and financially free!

Cheers to being 40!

Bringing Kids At Work

It is always a mother's concern on where to leave their kids while they need to do some adult stuff like doing groceries, doing errands, and even going to work.  Mothers always have a hard time being away from their children and they would often check on them if they are okay or not.  Mothers even sacrifice their me-time because they need to attend to their children's needs first.  Worse comes to worst, when mothers are tied up with the responsibility of taking care of their kids and no help is available, they have no choice but to tag along their children with them at work, at doing errands, among others.

We have seen a lot of viral photos on social media about women bring their children at work.  One famous photo is of Licia Ronzulli, an Italian MEP at European Parliament, bringing her 6-week old daughter Vitorria at work.  Licia Ronzulli is known for her advocacy on women's rights.  She took advantage of the relaxed rules that allow women to take their baby to work with them.  

We also have seen a lot of movies with mothers bring their children at work.  One movie is Erin Brockovich.  Erin (played by Julia Roberts) brought her three kids with her while she is doing field work.

The difficulty of taking care of children while earning for the family is real.  It happens not only in first world countries but also in developing countries like the Philippines.

Some families are lucky enough to have someone to look after their children while mothers are away from home.  It may be a nanny, a relative, or in-laws.  Some mothers leave their children at play areas for few hours to do some errands or even take the opportunity of doing these things while children are at school.  But there are really instances when mothers are left with no choice but to bring along their children with them even if by theory, children aren't allowed on those places.

It has always been an issue and a point of criticism to those mothers who tag along their children in their work.  Some people would immediately judge the mother who brought along their children at work without really knowing the reason first.  Some would even point out unprofessionalism.  Some would even give unsolicited advice to the concerned mother. 

Yes, I always bring along my son with me wherever I go, whether it may be doing errands, attending meetings, or doing my job.  I am a single mom and no one will look after my son at home.  I don't want to hire a nanny because I have heard lots of horror stories about nannies.  It is by choice that I want to be hands-on to my son.  I decided to work from home and to homeschool him so that I would be able to monitor him and see him grow.  I have already written on my previous blog on how difficult it is to live in a single parent home and everyday, it's a struggle for me to balance being a mom and being a worker.  There are instances that our schedules are conflicting and I have to find someone who will pitch in for me to attend to my son's needs, and as soon as I am done from my own appointment, I go and catch up at my son's appointment.

While I am on camera during my TV guesting at PTV-4

 I have also asked several mothers for their reasons on why they bring along their children at times when they work:

1.  They are exclusively breastfeeding.  Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children have difficulty leaving their babies for few hours because of the erratic feeding schedule of their babies.  There are some mothers who prefer direct latching over expressed milk because they do not want nipple confusion of their babies. 

2.  There is no one to look after their children while they need to be away for few hours.  Now that hiring a nanny becomes difficult these days, mothers are having a hard time leaving their children at home without any adult supervision.  Sometimes, we can ask help from relatives, but of course they also have their own lives to live so if they have something to do, we cannot force them to put it aside for the sake of looking after your children.  

3.  Child is sick and tends to be clingy.  It's a general rule that children should stay at home when they are sick but there are some cases the mothers have no choice but to bring along their sick children with them because they do not want to be taken cared by any other person but the mother only.  

4.  There is a conflict in schedule.  Sometimes the mother finds it impractical to go to and fro just to make ends meet.  Now that the roads are congested, it is more practical to bring along the child with her and attend to another appointment right after work.

5.  Safety is at risk.  Now that we hear a lot of stories about kidnapping, mothers are more vigilant in keeping an eye to their children.  

It's a general rule that the concerned mother should ask permission first before bringing her child at work.  But there are times that it is already a hidden rule especially if the request has already been done on the first instance that she brought along her kid with her. 

With this, do you think the mother who brings along a child at work is unprofessional, disrespectful, and abusive?

Some people will say yes because the office is not a place for children.  Some will say it depends if the mother is doing her job without any lapses and continues to deliver quality output.  Some will say no because the mother is not doing it all the time and only brings kid at work due to some unavoidable circumstances.

Sadly, it is easy for others to judge the mother who brings her child at work and see the child as a nuisance in the workplace.  Most of the time those who judge are those who have extra help at home, single, and whose kids are old enough to be independent.  

Now, what is my point here?

This is just a gentle reminder not to easily judge these mothers who bring their kids at work.  We really don't know the real situation or the arrangement the mother did to allow their kids at work.  As long as the mother delivers at work, I guess there is no problem about it and as long as the mother ensures that her child doesn't disrupt the workplace.  

Let us all be encouraging and supportive to the mother who brings along her child at work.  She might just be quiet, but in reality she really needs help.  

Hong Kong Travel Tips for First Timers

One of the first international destinations of Filipinos is Hong Kong because of its proximity.  It only takes 1 1/2 hours from Manila to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong may be small, but it can overwhelm you.  Hong Kong is a first-class city so coming from a developing country, one can get a bit scared as soon as you set foot at the airport.  You will be amazed on how big Hong Kong International Airport is compared to our international airport in Manila.  As you walk towards the main exit of the airport, your anxiety starts to creep in.  You don't know if you can survive in the urban jungle with few people speaking English fluently.  You fear getting lost and being ripped off by locals and even by your fellow foreigners.

One thing that I can assure you, you can survive Hong Kong on your first travel, just like how me and my son survived it too!

Here are some tips for you to survive your first trip in Hong Kong:

1.  Purchase Octopus card.  Octopus card is a multi-use prepaid card which you can buy near the Airport Express station at the airport.  You can use this to pay fares (except in taxis), buy at vending machines, and at some establishments in Hong Kong.  There are different colors of Octopus card: rainbow for adults, pink for children (up to age 11), and green for senior citizens (60 years old and above).  Make sure you present ID to the clerk before purchasing to give you the right Octopus card.  You can surrender the Octopus card at any train stations or at the airport and your deposit will be refunded to you.

2.  Get in and out of the airport via bus (A20 route).  While the fastest way to get out of Hong Kong International Airport is via Airport Express, it is also expensive.  You may try getting out of the airport by riding a double-decker bus.  You can go the airport bus station as you walk left of the Airport Express station.  

There are lots of buses at the airport.  You can check the bus routes here, but if you will be staying in Kowloon, you can ride the A20 bus.  Bus fare is way much cheaper than Airport Express (only 35HKD).  Get off at the bus station that is near to your hotel.

3.  Visit Hong Kong during summer.  We have both experienced going to Hong Kong in summer and in winter.  While it is a good experience for Filipinos to go to a place where there is winter, there are no available outdoor water activities during this time.  If you are staying in a hotel with an outdoor pool, you cannot use the pool as most hotels take this opportunity to do maintenance in their pools.  Also, in theme parks, water rides are also closed.  

Anyway, summer in Hong Kong is not so hot compared in the Philippines.  It is windy and the days are longer (7PM in Hong Kong is just like 5PM in the Philippines).  However, it is still advisable that you put on sunscreen lotion and bring an umbrella when you go around the city.

4.  Bringing luggage while shopping is normal.  Shops in Hong Kong charge for shopping bags, so either you just put the items you bought in your bag or pay extra for shopping bags or bring a luggage with you so that you don't have to carry a lot of items when you shop.  It is common for locals to bring luggages with them when they shop, so don't be shocked.

5.  Try different modes of public transportation.  Hong Kong is a mix of old and modern culture, so try to ride different modes of public transportation when you go around.  Ride the subway, the ferry, the tram.

6.  Eat fishballs.  Hong Kong has street food too, so don't miss tasting their own version of fishballs.  It comes in both regular and spicy variations.  

7.  Bring water tumbler.  Bottled water is expensive in Hong Kong, so make sure you fill your water tumbler before you go out of your hotel for sightseeing and shopping.  In addition, not all restaurants serve water, most of the time they serve warm tea. 

8.  Eat at Tim Ho Wan.  Michelin star restaurant Tim Ho Wan's origins are in Hong Kong.  While you already have experienced eating at Tim Ho Wan in the Philippines, I would still recommend that you still experience eating at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong.  Make sure that you have cash when you dine at Tim Ho Wan because they do not accept credit card payments.

9.  No need to buy local sim to have Wi-fi access.  Most places in Hong Kong have wi-fi access, so if you are a person who does not need to be connected all the time, there is no need to buy a local sim card.  You can also rent a pocket wi-fi so that you don't need to remove your phone's sim card.  I will tell you about international pocket wi-fi on my blog soon.

10.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Going around Hong Kong entails long walks, so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes so that your feet and legs won't ache and you can last the whole day touring the city.  While the best walking shoes are rubber shoes, you can also try wearing shoes with memory foam or shoes that take the form of your sole.

Trumpets Playshop Celebrates Its 25th Year with Resounding Summer Workshops!

It's once again the time of the year when kids can have a time-off from school and learn new things apart from academics!  Hello summer vacation!

To make summer vacation worthwhile, parents engage their children to workshops to discover and learn new skills and talents.  They take this moment off from school to help their children unleash their hidden abilities and to prepare for the coming school year as well.

Two of the popular summer workshops for children is acting and modeling, and Trumpets Playshop is known for honing these skills on kids and teens.

Now on its 25th year, Trumpets Playshop has decided to come full circle as it gathers all generations of Playshoppers from its conception till present to celebrate its silver anniversary.  In celebration of their 25 years of existence in the industry, Trumpets Playshop aims to remind the old and educate the new of what Trumpets Playshop is truly is and their humble beginnings.  This year, Playshop will be #ResoundingTrumpets, as it breathes life back into TRUMPETS Ic., bring back the old and celebrating the new with its upcoming workshops starting April 16th:

Children's Theater (4-6 years old) and Children's Musical Theater (7-12 years old)
Musical Theater for Teens and Adults (13 years old and above)

If an individual had been a Playshopper for a while now and would like to step it up without advanced classes, start preparing for PLAYHOUSE to be led by Francis Mattheu of Twin Bill Theater and Sweet Plantado-Tiongson of The Company.

Toddler's Hiphop (4-6 years old) and Streetdance for Kids (7-12 years old with Dan Cabrera of Dance Royalties)
Basic and Intermediate Hiphop for Teens with Mike Arda of the A-eam (13 years old and above)

Modeling led by Ms. Patty Betita 
Public Speaking and Hosting by Ms. Kata Inocencio

Apart from the basic classes, there will be master classes too!

Acting by renowned Theater Director Jaime Del Mundo
Audition Techniques by Mr. Audie Gemora, the King of Theater

In addition to the singing, dancing, modeling, and public speaking workshops, this year Trumpets will also introduce Mobile Photography!

Enrollment is ongoing!  So what are you waiting for?  Be part of Trumpets Playshop and have a blast this summer!

Workshops will be held at The Shangrila Plaza Mall, Kidz City at SM Aura, and Alabang Town Center.