Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dreamplay!

Dreamplay is City of Dreams Manila's answer to family-friendly entertainment. It's an indoor interactive play center that celebrates the characters of well-loved Dreamworks films like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, and more.

My husband and I took our kids on a no-work Friday to see what all the raves were about. 


As expected, it was our son, Jaden, who thought the place was awesome. At 4 years old and taller than the 100cm height requirement, he was able to try out many of the attractions and activities Dreamplay offered, most of which were educational and good stimulators of creativity.

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Our 2-year old Sophia didn't get to maximize the place that much as most activities were designed for older (taller) kids. She did have lots of fun in Shrek's Swamp Stomp, though, and was pleased just to be walking around Dreamplay with us. 


I was approached by a Dreamplay staff member and was asked if I could please fill up a satisfaction survey? No problem. The place had big potential for great family fun, but  I felt there was so much room for improvement.

I loved the concept--the theme and the goal of making it educational and interactive--but they'd do better if they could tweak some of the attractions to accommodate smaller kids too. Also, they NEED to improve the food inside the park. I get the economics of jacking up the prices when inside places like this, but please give us decent food. :)

So for now, my number 1 tip for families who'd like to visit is: come in with tummies full! 

I'd also suggest coming early. We arrived at Dreamplay around 10:45am and the lines were quite long already. When we came out before 3pm, the queue stretched all the way outside the premises!

For the tickets, I think one can see and experience more than enough (possibly all!) with 2-hour passes. But of course 4 hours is always better for kids! Full day, maybe not so much. The place isn't that big anyway. (Click here for ticket prices)

All in all, I'd say our family enjoyed our time in Dreamplay. Perhaps we'll wait some more time til we come back, but definitely a second visit will be planned :)


DREAMPLAY is in CITY OF DREAMS MANILA
Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard
Entertainment City, Paranaque
For inquiries, please call +632 808 0909
Dreamplay is open from 10AM-10PM




Monday, August 10, 2015

Blissful with Fuji Film

When Make It Blissful and Fuji Film Lifestyle announced their first Blogging & Photography Workshop together, I knew I wanted in.

The ever-gracious Martine de Luna and the team of FujiFilm Lifestyle welcomed us to J Cuppacakes, our picture-perfect venue for the event.



We were introduced to one of Fuji's babies--the X-A2, which is just perfect for lifestyle photography! It delivers x-series color and image quality, and is said to be very easy to use. The team of Fuji showed us samples of the camera's photos and I must say, they were awesome!


After we oohh-ed and ahh-ed with the X-A2's features, Martine took the stage and gave us pointers on taking good photos. Then we were asked to "go forth and shoot!" Naturally, as a scared newbie, I stuck beside my friend Sheila Catilo so that I can "cheat" and come out with nice photos! Akala ko kasi contest. Hahaha.



Pwede na, diba?! Hehe. Thanks to the girls who styled this flat lay, it became pretty easy for me to capture nice photos! ;)

As a young girl, I often posed and smiled for numerous photos with my sisters, our father acting as our photographer. Our Papa always insisted on taking so many photos of our family. He would lug around this huge and heavy camera of his whenever we took trips.

Fast forward to today, I'm the one asking my kids to smile for the camera!

Between then and now, so much has changed indeed. I've realized the value of beautiful photos--after all, I've become a mother and a witness to how my own kids grow in the blink of an eye! I now treasure pictures that capture my children's smiles, laughter, and even their deadpan looks.

My heart will always memorize these images, but a photograph preserves the memory a bit longer...and the bliss, a little bit better :)


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Mane Matters: The W Elite Gold Series Hair Tools

"Ang kapal ng buhok mo!"

This is a comment I have heard probably a million times in my life! From hairstylists to acquaintances, this has been said about my mane, which I fondly call "my Lion King hair". Hehehe.

Since childhood, I've always had big, thick, wavy, and oftentimes frizzy hair. Sa sobrang dami kong buhok, I waited in eager anticipation for that infamous post-pregnancy hairfall... alas, konti lang nabawas! LOL.

But really, at 32, I've actually come to terms with my hair already. I attribute this to maturity, acceptance, self-confidence... and amazing hair products and tools! ;)

Two of my must-have's for good hair days are a proper hair dryer and a hair iron. Unlike lucky girls who can step out with dripping wet hair, I need to dry my hair well if I want to avoid the Lion King look. On some days, I also follow up with a little styling with the use of an iron.

Because of my frequent use of hair tools, I make it a point to work only with those that were made with quality lest I damage my hair irreparably.

Currently, I use W Elite Gold Nano Ceramic Hair Dryer and W Elite Gold Curl N' Straight Nano Tourmaline Styler. I love that these tools are made of ceramic, which effectively styles your hair without "toasting" it.
GOLD IS GOOD. The W Elite Gold Series hair tools have such a luxurious look and feel :) Also in this photo are Watson's Heat Active Hair Serum (in red bottle), plus my favorite nude lippies from Happy Skin & Loreal (scored from SM's Lipstick Festival) and my daughter's sparkly sandals!

Last Saturday, during our weekend getaway in Clark, I let my sisters, Laura and Angel, try my new toys and see for themselves why they're fast becoming my favorites!

Like me, Laura (aka Lauren/Nen/Tita Nen) has thick hair too. Amazingly though, she can keep it this long! 
This is my youngest sister Angel! I think she has the nicest hair quality among all of us, but of course, being a girl she still likes it styled to reflect her mood too!
Nen chose to use the Styler as a curler. I've never tried this myself but after seeing how easy it is, I am now excited to do it on my hair!
Meanwhile, Angel used the Styler as a hair iron.
What I like about the Curl N' Straight Nano Tourmaline Styler is that it heats up quickly--as fast as 60 seconds! It has variable temperature settings too, so you can adjust the heat level. You can easily see how hot it is with the LCD Display on the side of the handles. The best thing is, I can use it as a straightener and curler. Pretty neat!

The Ceramic Hair Dryer, on the other hand, is also so easy and light to use! Like the Styler, it gives the user options--it has 3 heat settings and 2 speed settings, plus a cool shot feature. To top it off, this hair dryer has an ionic function that makes your hair smooth and silky as you dry it. 

And now, THE RESULTS!

Vavavoom! 
Angel as sweet and simple dalagang Pilipina :)
Aren't they so pretty?? #stageAte

If you're like me and tend to use styling tools often, I would recommend not just the W Elite Gold Series, but also Watson's Heat Active Hair Serum. This maximizes the smooth-and-shine effect of the tools, and also protects your hair from the potential damage of heat. As a matter of fact, it claims to harness heat to activate a wonder called Nano Repair to deliver restorative and protective benefits to your hair. Nice no!

I will never stop thanking heavens that technology like this has come upon us and is so easily accessible. Imagine, years ago, "regular girls" like me all had to go to a salon to achieve good hair. Today, all we have to do is go to Watson's or The SM Store Beauty Section, grab the tools, and style away!

Here's to good hair day, everyday!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Parenthood Shared: The Launch of The Parenting Emporium

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining the launch of something that is close to my heart: The Parenting Emporium.


Here's the backstory. Around two years ago, during a particularly sleepless night, I accidentally plugged my Medela breastpump in the wrong voltage. As expected, it damaged the motor and I was left panicking--as a work-out-of-home mom, I heavily relied on my breastpump.

I immediately texted Medela Moms and asked if they can repair my pump. I was worried at first because, you see, I didn't purchase my unit from them (I had it bought from the US). Bing got my call and with no hesitation assured me that they will fix my pump first thing in the morning.

I drove to New Manila the next day with my broken pump. Beng welcomed me to the Medela House as if I was a valued client. In minutes, they fixed my pump and then I was off to work.

I didn't get to tell Beng then, but that act meant so much to me. It seems so simple, but you know us breastfeeding moms--we melt at the little things that help our breastfeeding journey. Beng's welcome made such an impression on me and I remember thinking, they're here for moms, not for money.

That was Medela House to me. When I learned that Maricel and Beng were committed to growing with their community as parents and are launching The Parenting Emporium this month, I couldn't help feeling a swell of pride. My little breastfeeding sanctuary is growing!

Cutting the ribbon with Maricel and Beng were Sen. Bam Aquino and wife Timi
As I entered the place on the morning of the launch, I was pleasantly surprised at how everything looks now and it excited me to see that many of the brands I love as a mom are on their shelves. 






More than being a one-stop shop, though, the Emporium is now also a hub for social enterprise as it supports various advocacies at the grassroots level.

My purchase from the launch is a set of handcrafted Little Prince toys that were made by the women of Payatas, through the help of Esensya
Finally, the Emporium promises to continue providing much needed support for daddies, mommies, and caregivers in their parenting journey. They've formally partnered with various individuals who are equally dedicated to making parenthood a successful and joyful endeavour.

It does take a village to raise a child, and as a mom, I cannot be grateful enough for communities who are devoted to ensuring our villages are well-equipped, loving, and strong! As the Emporium proudly declares, it's all about "Parenthood Shared" :)

With Maricel Cua, one of the two superwomen spearheading the Emporium
Congratulations, The Parenting Emporium!

Visit THE PARENTING EMPORIUM
No. 29, 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City
Follow them on Instagram: @theparentingemporium

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hello, Monday!

Hi everyone! How was your weekend?

I found it difficult to get up this morning. After the (unexpected) long weekend, I felt like I didn't have the energy to go back to work yet.

But I dragged myself out of bed nonetheless, prayed, and brewed coffee. Then rushed through the rest of my morning routine.

Image grabbed from Pinterest

I'm already at my office as I type this. Before plunging into my paperwork, I just wanted to take some time to look back at my weekend.

As I said, it was long and rainy, but as I reflect now, I see that it was pretty special.

Because we were stuck at home, my kids and I had lots of opportunities to play. I am reorganizing Jaden's room (again) so that it'll be more conducive to his kind of play (and learning) these days. He's a real preschooler (and Grade 1-wannabe) now, so I wanna make sure his room has enough toys, books, and activities appropriate for his age. He's also been asking for a bunk bed (he thinks it's cool) and I think I'm gonna give in if that's the way he'll enjoy sleeping in his room.

My time with Sophia was equally precious! I wish I could say we did something fantastic, just the two of us, but we really didn't. I feel, however, that this weekend was extraordinary for us as mommy and daughter.

I blinked, and suddenly she's no longer a baby...

In a rare moment, I felt so strongly connected to her and I finally saw clarity in what I can do for her as her mother. I've always wondered--no, second-guessed myself--if I was doing the right thing for Sophia. You might think I've figured it out long ago because she's already my second child, but hey, she's a different person altogether. You know that Letter to my Second Child, which went viral among moms? Well, hagulgol ako dun because it resonated in me so much. For two years, I struggled with doubt and even guilt for not being the kind of mother that I was to my firstborn--the OC type who memorized by heart all the firsts, posted every picture of my child on Facebook, went on and on about milestones, and gave only organic/natural superfood.

I think it's time to admit I am a different mom with Sophia.

And that I'm finally okay with it.

My daughter is, as I said, a person all her own, and I now understand that she deserves a mom all her own too :)

So there you go. My musings for this Monday morning. Wrote them down for posterity... and inspiration. :)

Have a blessed week!!!
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