Sunscreen haul

Lupus & melasma means (1) using only mineral / physical sunscreen (2) that has a high SPF bec of photosensitivity, (3) that doesn’t cling to your dry patches caused by your medications, and (4) doesn’t make your tinted moisturizer or foundation pill.

My latest sunscreen haul includes:

 

 

Goodbye Korean skincare

As I get to know my skin, I slowly veer away (unconsciously) from Korean skin care products. When I look at my shelf, it’s now mostly Taiwanese, Japanese, Western & prescription products.

I’m grateful though for the entire K-Beauty industry as it was pivotal in opening the doors for me in getting to know more about skin care.

But having said that, I’ve been so far disappointed with the formulation of K products when compared to the likes of Japanese or Taiwanese skin care products. Possibly because K products seem more diluted, seem to have more fragrance than necessary, and seem to be more particular about packaging than anything else.

But another possible theory is that maybe my skin is just not yet ready for Korean skin care. Maybe they are really geared towards those with very few skin problems to begin with.

And I’m definitely not normal:

  • Melasma (a result of my Lupus medications, and further compounded by my pregnancy)
  • Extremely dry (with all the flakes and everything)
  • Sensitive
  • Wrinkled

But it’s not totally goodbye:

  • I still have Banila Co. Clean It Zero (although I’m just trying to finish it up)
  • I plan to try out Mizon’s peptide serum
  • I still love Tony Moly’s cute packaging (although I only buy them so that my toddler can play with them)
  • Trying out their Konjac sponge (but it’s too early to tell if it’s better than __)
    Currently loving their Espoire silicon sponge

Even if my workhorse skincare products is not anymore Korean, I still am one of its biggest fans.

I got ripped off by Italiannis BGC on their Bistro Card

Before anything else, let me be clear that I did try to contact Bistro thru their website. I only complain publicly about a service if I contacted a company directly, and have not received a reply in return.

Last Saturday, I was in Italiannis BGC with my mom and my daughter. As expected, a Bistro card salesman went to our table and offered us the Bistro card. I immediately said no.

But he was insistent, and truth be told, it had been a perfect day so far, so after 3 years, I decided to give this guy a chance to give me the pitch.

After the sales pitch was over, I told him that the reason why I don’t get food discount cards was because I always eat just with my mom, and we both have food discounts anyway (she has her senior citizens and I have my PWD).

He assured me (take note, he vouched for this in front of my mom, who by the way, never lies) that Bistro was the only card who honors both senior citizens/PWD discounts on top of their standard 20% discount.

It is, to wit, “the only discount card which does that!”

My mom was ecstatic. She is known to be very protective of her senior citizen discounts. If my mom was happy, I was happy. I was sold.

I noticed though that he kept holding some sort of black small brochure which he didn’t give me until I paid for our bill. But I was feeling trusting, and like I said, it was a perfect day.

When I got home, I checked out that little brochure and was surprised that it explicitly stated there that the Bistro card does not honor senior citizens discount.

Dear Bistro/Italiannis BGC, please refund my P2,500. Let me know how to go about this.

I’m perfectly willing to pay back whatever discount you gave me on that one meal. I expected more a restaurant I have patronized for years, and I don’t expect to eat in any of your establishment ever again.

Jollibee Talk & Blush Doll — Got One!

Jollibee's Talk & Blush Doll
Jollibee’s Talk & Blush Doll

It’s funny how Jollibee becomes a big part of a parent’s life as soon as their child reaches 2.

Since Gabby now adores Jollibee, I just got her a Talk & Blush Doll. It costs me P420, a Happy Meal, and later on, three AA batteries.

A cousin gave us one of Jollibee’s older plush toys. This new one looked exactly like the older version, except that this could speak in English and could say more phrases. Definitely Gabby Approved. And if Gabby approves, Mommie approves.

Oh and yes, it’s Talk & Blush — not Talk & Plush. The doll talks, but it definitely doesn’t blush. Thankfully no one really cares about the names of these toys. I have no idea why I even do.

Here’s a photo of the toddler with Jollibee

Gabby & Jollibee
Gabby & Jollibee

Happy Anniversary

It was 1998. I saw you, but you didn’t see me. We only knew each other then via email.

I wanted to introduce myself, but the press and everyone else wanted a piece of you. You were the big website hotshot, and the award you just won affirmed it.

I shyly walked away, nudged my girl friend, and just said “I have a feeling I’ll end up marrying that guy anyway.”

More than a decade passed before I got the guts to tell you that story. Ang labo, you said. You laughed. I laughed.

Happy 17th year anniversary, babe. Wishing everyday that you were here.

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Solo Parenting

I immediately felt the effects of being a widow.

The simplest things would rip my heart into pieces:

  • Checking “widow” for the first time when I had to state my civil status
  • Writing only my name beside “From” when giving gifts
  • Being the one to drive the car while someone else would sit & play with the baby
  • Wanting to try out a new restaurant and having noone to go with you

The realization and the heartache was (and still is) a real physical pain.

It took me a long time to take control of my health & finances — two things I’ve identified as critical for our survival.

Health

Health just recently became a challenge. For some reason, ever since Jim passed away, my lupus would flare up sporadically. And since I have been in remission for such a long time, I had to relearn what to do.

Finances

Getting a grip on our finances was hard. We are now living on a single income. And as far as I’m aware, there is no financial help coming from either my family or my late husband’s family.

I immediately divided our remaining savings between mutual funds and high yield time deposits. I decided to live on my employment salary alone, which does not amount to much for our day-to-day needs.

I decided to start budgeting every peso I receive. Gabby came first on all things — food, clothing, and comfort. I stopped buying anything for myself. I cancelled all planned vacations, and decided to make do with whatever is affordable (i.e., malls). I stopped buying clothes for myself. I started eating whatever is remotely edible in the cafeteria.

Big decisions I’m seriously contemplating on:

  1. Whether or not to sell our condo
  2. If we need to move somewhere where there will either be more income opportunities, or less cost of living

It still feels weird handling all these alone. But I’m getting there.

Jim

It's been almost a year since Jim died.

I did a lot of staring into space. A lot of crying. A lot of sleeping.

I did a lot of reading about near death experiences. I also started slowly veering away from Catholicism. Started meditating. Exploring other beliefs. Seriously contemplated on seeing spirit mediums so I could communicate with him.

I read & listened to Conversations with God multiple times. Read about Buddhism. Saw a spiritual guide. Had an angel card reading.

I still believe in God. Religion, not so much. I still believe in kindness, in love. Even more so now.

I still cry.

It doesn't really stop as they say it would. I'm doing a better job of hiding it now. I'm more conscious especially after I received judgement from one of my colleagues.

Someone asked what I would do for his first year anniversary. I unhesitatingly said "Nothing."

I want to do something that would make Jim happy. And until I find out what it is, I would do nothing. No get together, no reunion, no laughing with other people while reminiscing fond memories of Jim.

This grief is my own. I am still hurting.

Of Writing and Protection – Some Basic Tips

As this is a productivity blog, it makes sense that choosing the right industry to be in will make us become more productive. Here, we will share some nice lifehacks regarding internet writing, as well as give you some practical safety tips.

Writing Copies to Make a Living

Want to make more money as a book autAre you ready to embark on the writing journey?hor or freelancer? One of the most lucrative fields is ghostwriting and co-authoring, yet most writers know little about this niche. What do you need to get started? What makes ghostwriting more challenging—and yet more rewarding—than writing your own books?

The author has something to share, but may lack the time, inclination or skill to attempt the writing task. A writer helps bring out what the author wishes to communicate. The skilled twriter presents the viewpoint of the author, with the final piece rightly belonging to the author and not to the writer.

To be a good writer, you need to ask narrow, specific questions. Questions like “Did you sell your business for more than $50 million or less than $50 million?” show that you need specific information. You can start here and work your way up to more general topics.

How to Physically Protect Your Writting Assets

As we all know, laptops are expensive and in fact it takes some people the greatest part of their savings to get one for a cogent and exceptional purposes like projects, internet, reading and any other means of learning and productivity. A good laptop is a must for a good ghostwriter, and that is why you need to take extreme care in protecting it. Now, we all know that you need good antivirus and antispyware software, but a lot of people neglect to actually physically protect their laptop.

Physically locking your laptop to an immovable object isn't exactly the coolest thing you can do, but it works. Just about every laptop on the market is equipped with a small lock slot that works with laptop locks. These laptop locks work just as bicycle chain locks do: You find a large, immovable object, and wrap the metal cable around it.

Never leave yA simple key can go a long way.our laptop out in the open, even in the privacy of your own home. In fact, majority of home bulglaries happen in this manner: the bulglar breaks in, sees and snatches the most valuable thing available and runs off. Only in extreme rare cases (and in movies) do bulglars prowl around the house, checking whether there is a safe behing every portrait. That is why you need to keep your laptop hidden, and locked.

Now that we are on the subject of locks, there is usually a little you can do to improve the safety of your laptop after you double lock it. Double locking is just that – keep your laptop in a cabinet or safe or a safely locked room. A thief will probably won’t waste his or her precious time attempting to lockpick two locks in a row, as it would be against his or her better judgement.

At some point, you might find yourself in the awkward position that requires the attention of a locksmith on the move. If you can’t access your safely locked laptop, you are unable to locate your car keys, you will be relieved when a locksmith shows up in no time. That is why you should follow this link – don't hold until it's too late!