Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Road To Recovery

I can't remember how long, but if I had to guess it’s probably been over a decade since the last time I saw my brother. Being the youngest in a family of six, I was really determined to make the most out of life. It's been years, but I can still remember how my brother's life was shattered into pieces due to the wrong decisions he made.  His marital problems coupled with bad influences from his friends pushed him into drugs and a back injury for which he was prescribed powerful pain meds sealed his fate.  I was still young then but I remember how he suffered and how his life fall apart.  

I didn’t know much then, but I knew enough to know that it was easy for him to get into that terrible rut but it’s very difficult to get out. He lost his job and his family, his health deteriorated and he became emotionally and mentally stressed.  My elder siblings went out of their way to do everything they could to help him to no avail. He needed professional help.
My brother needed professional help and after a lot of research, we finally found a place that we felt could help him.  The minute my brother checked in to Origins Recovery Center even he knew it was the right fit. Their program is state of the art but also focuses on healing the soul, not just the body. We knew his road wouldn’t be easy but at Origins he finally had the help that he really needed. And we could all finally rest easy.

Sometimes, recovering from a nightmare or from an unpleasant experience brought about by drug addiction is indeed a painful task. A person in this situation may feel alone and hopeless and treatment may seem to be out of reach.   He may experience setbacks and pitfalls, even discrimination on some extent but change is not impossible especially when you have the right treatment and support.  Although I acknowledge the fact that the biggest leap to recovery is accepting your wrong decisions and getting yourself ready for a change, still, it cannot be discounted that reaching out for a support from the right people will definitely make a big difference.  Choosing the right center that would cater to an easier road to recovery is very important.  A home that provides a safe and supportive place to live during the recovery period is very vital for that big change.  

On a final note, I would say that giving my brother an assurance that we will always be there for him no matter what happened is an added factor.  We do make wrong decisions in life, everybody does, what is important is that as a family, we continue to work together for a common good.  Love, support and understanding are so far the greatest gifts we could give to a recovering family member.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gifts For Mika

This is quite a late post but better late than never! :)  I just want to share the fun and excitement that my pretty daughter Mika had experienced opening her birthday presents after her recently concluded debut party.  She received awesome gifts from her friends and relatives and she cannot contain her excitement seeing those for the first time.  We stayed over night in the hotel where her party was held, so we just sent all her gift back home right after the party.  She just had the chance to open the gifts the day after.   

Mika was not the only one excited about her gifts, her kuya Edmar has been asking her to open her gifts right after we arrived home.  Actually gifts are just part of the fun but the most important gift that Mika received is the memory of having shared her 18th birthday to the people who matter most to her.  The gifts that she received range from decorative pieces (which we love since we are committed to have her room renovated come February), accessories, watch, bags, clothes, lamp, books, and other DIY gifts from her close friends.  She was hoping to get one from musician friend, probably a guitar but sorry, there was none (lol).  She is a certified music lover and loves to play guitar, that's why.

Now that we are currently on the process or renovating her bedroom, these gifts will really be of great use!  As a Mom, I am very happy that I was able to deliver what's best for my daughter even in the absence of her Dad (he wasn't able to get a leave from work).  Her successful 18th birthday celebration is just a solid proof that we are bound to give her the best of everything that she deserves. After all, the sacrifices and hard work that we are doing all through these years are directed towards giving a bright future to both our kids.

Again....I hope that we made you very happy on your special day anak!

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Makes Tomatoes The Super Food?

Tomatoes are versatile as they can be consumed in just any form. You can have this fruit raw, add it to salads, or use it for gravies. This wonder fruit tomato is not just the taste-maker but it can be used for various other reasons too. Many foodies understand that tomato is good only because of taste and color but the fact is quite different. This sour fruit is nutrition packed and can be consumed to meet many of your daily nutrition needs.

While tomatoes are commonly used in almost all dishes, it is significant to know more about its health benefits.

Bottomless health benefits of this super fruit

Loaded with vitamins

The red tangy fruit is loaded with vitamin A and C. These vitamins have vital role to play in your immunity boosting. Your body needs these vitamins to fight against various diseases. Including tomatoes in your daily diet would provide you of these essential vitamins. The folic acid in tomato is also known for overall growth of your body’s defense mechanism.

Tip - Consume it raw or cooked according to your personal liking.

Packed with antioxidants

Antioxidants will take your life into reverse direction. You can stop the ageing process by regeneration of cells. Tomato gets its red color from Lycopene which is one of the most active antioxidants. This antioxidant keeps your skin young and flawless. Lycopene is also known for its cancer fighting properties.

Tip - One glass of tomato juice in the morning will rejuvenate your body with its antioxidants and vitamin content.

Helps in Diabetes

Alpha-lipoic acid present in tomato will convert your body glucose into energy. The energy thus formed will help you feel energetic throughout the day. Those suffering from diabetes or at higher risk of diabetes would get substantial health advantage by tomato consumption as the blood glucose easily gets converted into energy and hence keeps the sugar levels in control.

Tip – Add tomatoes to all gravies as they will add to taste and would also help you cook with low oil.

Weight loss

If you are aiming at weight loss then you will have to control the fat deposition. The tomato consumption will never add calories to your diet but it will keep your tummy full for long. The minerals and vitamins present in this fruit will control the fat deposition too. The glucose conversion will also reduce the fat deposition. Another major content of tomato is choline which aids the fat absorption in the body. All these contents together make tomatoes better for weight loss.

Tip - Make your each meal healthier by adding sliced tomatoes as accompaniment. This will make you eat less while reducing the fat deposition.

Better Sleep

If you find difficulty in sleeping then choline in tomato would solve this issue. Choline reduces the inflammation and transmits the nerve impulses. This will allow you to sleep better as your brain will be calm and cool.

Tip – Have tomato soup at dinner time as it will affect your nerves positively. If you have acidity then add celery stalk to it.

Tomatoes can turn out to be wholesome food if you consume it in the right combination with your other favorites. The best part is that they are tasty too!

Carol works as full time article writer and is passionate about healthy lifestyle and overall wellness.  Presently she is writing for Garcinia Cambogia Extract US, an online store for pure garcinia cambogia extract that aids in burning unwanted fat from the human body.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mika @ 18 .... Bits and Pieces

My daughter Mika celebrated her 18th birthday last January 4 which is nearly two weeks before the papal visit, which I think is a sign of good luck for her. Actually, we are having second thoughts on whether we are going to throw a big party for her due to a number of unforeseen events which took place last year. Mika herself is half hearted about her party but finally all of us in the family, (her dad and kuya included) decided that our princess deserved to have one. We came up with this decision for a number of reasons.  One, she is our one and only daughter, second, she proved to be a nice and disciplined girl, not giving us any head aches (winks) and lastly, she constantly get good grades in school. So, we just thought that giving her a nice and decent party wouldn't be a bad idea after all.

We spent nearly two months choosing the venue and conceptualizing the whole thing.  We are a family who loves designing, crafting and everything that's nice and pretty, and to top it all, we wanted to come up with unique ideas for her party.  You know, something that we haven't seen in other debut parties yet.  In short, we really wanted to make this event a very special one for her.

First, we came up with a unique concept on her invitations.  We thought of having some print outs together with a flip flop.  By the way, we have chosen her motif to be white and pink and so, we bought white flip flops for all the guests. We have chosen a pool side venue, so her kuya thought that this idea would be a perfect fit.  So there we go, we had the details about the party printed out and enclosed a piece of flip flop with the intention that the other half would be claimed by the guest right on the day of the party.

here is what we actually have:

After we have chosen a unique invitation for her, our next step was to plan for her photo and video shoot.  My son and the debutant herself are fond of making videos and they even joined school competitions on video making.  My daughter, with her group actually won first prize for this on a national competition and so, it is just expected that we will be coming up with a lot of video presentations all throughout the party and so we did.

We didn't hire a designer to decorate the venue, we did it ourselves.  The hotel just took charge of the basic set up of the venue and the foods, the rest is up to us.  We've chosen a simple but elegant design for the stage.

This is the night effect :

We also design her dessert table according to the color motif.

The table set up is plain and simple and was just adorned with twigs, fresh flowers and tea light candles.

The other half of the pair of slippers were distributed to the guests at the venue entrance.  We've inserted a thank you note which was personally signed by the debutant.

The guests were so excited to claim their slippers other half to be worn during the party.  it's so cute to see everybody wearing white slippers. :)

We also had a dedication table where guests could write down their birthday wishes and advises to the debutant and these written messages were all dropped inside a glass jar.

Instead of renting a photo booth, we made our own where guests could take photos of themselves.

We added simple decors all over the venue and the pool was just adorned with pink and white balloons.  We like it to be that simple.

Here are some of the other photos during the party:

 Her brother and cousins all dressed in white, all wearing their white slippers.

 Me in my white maxi dress. :)

Her last dance was her kuya since her dad wasn't able to come home due to work

Mika's opening dance with her escort

A souvenir shot with her best friend

Taken in the hotel lobby with the emcee doing the final touches on her hair

I considered my daughter's 18th birthday celebration to be a successful one based on the feedback we've received from our guests and relatives.  They were all pleased with the foods served on the buffet table and they all complimented the unique set up and concept of the party as well as the program.

I'm so happy and grateful that I was able to deliver a pleasant celebration for my one and only daughter.  She was so happy with the outcome of her party and can't thank us enough.  Her Dad was equally happy knowing that everything turned out well even in his absence.

Ahhh ... another manifestation of a mother's love!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014.....A Year End Review

First of all, I would like to greet each and everyone of you a happy and prosperous 2015!  I know this post is kinda late.  We are already on the 2nd week of January and I am just making my post for my year end review for 2014 (sigh).  Pardon me but I was very very busy on the preparations for my only daughter's debut party.  I was a hands on Mom you know (wink) and I would do everything to ensure that every detail in my daughter's party would be super planned and organized.  Anyway, back to my year end review....

Actually, I consider 2014 as a challenging year for me.  Why did I say so?  It's because this is the first year that I would be staying and working at home.  It is a kind of life that I'm not used to as I was a slave of the corporate world for about 20 years, I guess.  I'm used to the challenges and thrills of handling people at work, facing pressures, working with people of different nationalities and of course, living away from home for about 7 years.  I told myself beginning of 2014 that if I'm able to surpass 2014 without facing financial problems, going into debts and going out of my comfort zone and the kind of lifestyle that I used to have, then that means, I made the right decision to stay at home and enjoy life doing what I enjoy most and being with the family.  I was quite worried at first as this will be the first time that I will stop working as a full time employee.  My husband is still employed but we used to share expenses at home and we both finance every project that we have at home like repairs and improvements.  

But as I've said from my previous post, there are few things which happened unexpectedly this 2014 like the death of my brother followed by my Mom.  My Mom was under my care for about 20 years and obviously I was in charge on basically everything about her.  When she was hospitalized up to her burial and interment, I shouldered 95% of all the expenses.  I spent quite a lot and this translates to touching my emergency fund.  Then there came the 9 days, the 40 days, All Souls day, Christmas, New Year and just recently, the debut celebration of my only daughter.  You could just imagine what I went through financially. :)

To my surprise, everything passed just fine.  I was not really financially burdened.  I did spent a lot but surprisingly, my emergency fund was not totally depleted.  I had occasional online gigs which add up to my fund and I was able to manage household expenses quite effectively that I could keep some spare every month.  It's not really big but it does add up to my fund, so it's not at all "money out" which is a good thing.

What I've learned from this experience is to believe in myself and trust the Lord. Before I resigned from work, I did consult HIM and He gave me His answer.  Then, I trusted my decision because I knew that it is with God's approval.  What I went through this year is no joke.  I've been through a lot, but I managed to face everything without much difficulty.  I grieved on my loss and everything that goes with it but everything seemed to pass off so easily.

Now, I'm even more inspired to welcome 2015 as I knew that my journey in life will continue but God will be there with me all the way.  If I'm able to go through these things that happened to me in 2014, what more in 2015?

I'm just so excited about it......just believe!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Timing Is Everything

My hubby's colleague is getting married this coming February to his foreigner boy friend.  This is actually her second marriage as the first one, for some reasons failed.  She already got two daughters from her first marriage but she also wants to start a new life with her fiancee and have another baby with him, if possible.  She's a bit worried about this baby issue as she is already in her late 30's.  She knows for a fact that having a baby at this age is quite risky.

Timing when to baby dance is one of the most important thing to take note when you’re trying to conceive. The best time to get pregnant is when the woman is fertile. How will she know she’s fertile? There are many options nowadays to detect ovulation. According to, a woman can detect ovulation by using a basal body thermometer to track her temperature, she can also use an ovulation predictor kit or an OPK, and she may also use a free fertility calculator app available online. Whatever a woman uses to track her ovulation, what’s important is when she knows she’s fertile, it is important to not lose that opportunity to try to get pregnant. That is the best time for the sperm to be able to catch the egg for more chances of conceiving. 

As a friend, I just want to wish her good luck as me and my hubby witnessed how she did her best to give love a second chance and start a new life with her new found love.  I know that being a mother is so precious and having children is indeed a blessing from the Lord.  Our friend deserves to be happy and we'll do our part to advise her on whatever is necessary to ensure that she would have a new baby.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Dinner

What I long to experience this time is a Christmas dinner complete with a stage performer preferably a ballad singer who could entertain me with his or her songs.  That, together with a sumptuous dinner will be perfect for a Christmas celebration.  I've been telling my kids that I am looking forward to watch a dinner concert in the near future.  This type of concerts are usually held in Manila, so it very unlikely for me to attend one unless I happened to be at the place during a particular concert that I like.  Hopefully, one could be organized to be shown at Subic, so I could attend and this will be a simple dream come true. :)

It won't be much to my kid's preference, but I also love to watch a show with artists playing saxophones.  You know that type of saxophone using synthetic reeds? That would be awesome!

Anyway, a series of mini concerts will be held at the River Walk of Harbor Point Ayala Malls this whole month of December, so probably it would be nice to be able to see one.  I will certainly mark my calendar for this series of shows.

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