Our Best Holiday Interruption

Imagine this.  

You are frantically finishing your work as the year-end deadline approaches, you still have a number of Christmas gifts sitting unwrapped in your living room, you barely have time to attend your next get together with friends.  Then just as you have finalized your hectic schedule, your perfect plan gets interrupted. 

About two weeks ago, I was re-introduced to a parable that I have heard a hundred times in Sunday School. It was the parable of the good Samaritan.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” 
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


In Christine Caine's book, Undaunted, she tells of how God spoke to her through this parable by emphasizing the phrase found in verse 34. "He went to him" 

Four simple words.  But that was all it took to set the Samaritan apart from the priest and the Levite.   Christine shared how the Lord impressed a message upon her when she read this verse (I have rephrased it a bit but the message remains the same):

“The only difference between the Samaritan and the religious people was that the Samaritan crossed the street.  The Samaritan was willing to have his plans interrupted.  He did not only stop but stooped down to help the broken man.  Stopping and Stooping are two very different things.  Because compassion is only an emotion until you cross the street. Then it becomes an action.” 

The priest and the Levite were not necessarily evil people. They were just busy people who refused to be interrupted.   
We do not always welcome interruptions. Unfortunately, through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the last thing that we allow ourselves to be interrupted with are the unspoken (or sometimes spoken) requests of our children to stop and spend more time with them.  When you go home tired with a thousand and one things on your to-do list, playing football for an hour or redecorating your daughter's dollhouse for the nth time do not rank high on the priority list. Often times, our children get whatever is left of our time and, more often than not, have to contend with a stressed out parent.

With that realization, Dens and I made a conscious decision this year to spend more fun, un-stressed, and un-interrupted time with the kids.  Regardless of the season, they do not deserve our spare time. This does not mean we will skip Christmas dinners with friends. It simply means we aim to arrange our schedule wisely so that there is still sufficient time spent with the children.

This holiday season, let us build beautiful Christmas memories for our Children.  Let them not remember Christmas as a time when their parents are most stressed out.  Spend more time with them. They are the interruptions that matter the most.

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Losing Tyler

It was a Saturday morning, exactly 10 years ago, when I picked up that dreadful phone call.
 
For those of you whom my husband and I have only met recently, you may not know that we once had a baby boy named Tyler.  We lost him when he was only two months old due to a congenital problem that affected his heart and brain development.

To say that the months following Tyler's death was difficult would be an understatement.  He was our first child, the first nephew of my sisters, and the first grandchild of my parents.  While losing Tyler meant grieving the loss of our son, to me it also meant losing my chance to finally call myself a mother. 
 
Immediately after losing Tyler, we went to see the doctor to check if I was healthy enough for another pregnancy. After some tests, we were told that it may be difficult for me to conceive naturally due to my polycystic ovaries.  But I knew that my God is greater than any medical limitation.  So we trusted in Him and waited for his perfect time.

Throughout the months after God took Tyler home, I found solace in God’s word. I read it like I’ve never read the Bible before. I was reminded of verses that I have read over and over as a child. They suddenly became anchors for me to be still at a time when my heart felt very confused.  Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” – this verse was not new to me but it was a promise that I held on and claimed repeatedly as I prayed to the Lord.

I decided to surround myself with God's word.

Literally! 

I would write down countless verses that spoke to me on yellow post-it notes and stick them on the wall above our bed. Verses such as Philippians 4:6-7 which reminds me not to be anxious about anything.  But by prayer with thanksgiving, I just had to present my requests that God. And He promised to give me peace that transcends all  understanding.  I would read each of them before I slept and then again as soon as I woke up.  They were a constant reminder that regardless of the season we were in, our Savior is a good good father.

God’s word powered me through life and his promises unfolded one by one.  On that beautiful morning in March of 2008, I once again held a tiny baby boy in my arms. This time, a very healthy and normal baby. We named him Troy.  The Lord fulfilled Jeremiah 29:11 that day.  I saw hope and the beautiful future he had planned out for us in the eyes of our child.

And contrary to expectations, I was not afraid all throughout the pregnancy. It was supernatural how I was not anxious. It was supernatural how I was not worried that our baby would have the same condition as Tyler. I was overjoyed with His blessing. And I was at peace. It was the kind of peace described through Philippians 4:7. It indeed transcended all understanding. Again, another promise unfolded.

God's word is always true. He may not have healed Tyler physically, but He healed our hearts.  I have shared this before and I want to share it again. My mom would constantly remind me of God's promise through Psalm 30:5 after Tyler's passing. "Weeping may last for a night, but His joy comes in the morning".  And indeed, another joy came to us one early morning in 2011. We named her Dawn.

It has been almost 10 years since I was told that motherhood seemed loss for me. But God’s promises prevailed. Every morning I wake up and I see two little miracles sleeping beside me.  They will always be a reminder of how much God loves me. They are a testament of God’s power and love. His word is always true. His promises will always be fulfilled.

Whatever season you are in right now, I encourage you to go to His word.  Find the peace that only He can give.  Claim His promises. And watch your beautiful future unfold.

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A21: Walk for Freedom this Saturday!

I have seen too many movies on human trafficking and heard countless stories. I have felt empathy for the women and children who have been abused and turned to sex slaves. But while I felt sad hearing these stories, they were just that to me. Stories. 
 
Then I was told of how Christine Caine, founder of the A21 organization, talk about rescuing many children who have been on the "Missing Children" list of the police for so long. Then it became more real to me. Those children were probably stolen under their parents' watch. In the malls, in theme parks, while they were on vacation. Those children could have been your children. Those children could have been mine.
 
Children who grew up in the human trafficking environment are not even called by their names anymore. Even the children forget and identify themselves by a  number. It hurts me to think of my own children forgetting they have a name and an indentity. They are not a number. These children are someone's child. Their parents probably thought long and hard before deciding on their name. They are not just a number.
 
A21 is a non-profit, non-government organization that work to stop individuals from becoming victims of human trafficking by educating families.  They rescue and provide a safe environment for the survivors by running restoration programs in their aftercare facilities.  Watch videos of their stories here .
 
This Saturday, October 15, 2016, you can help this cause by joining us in celebrating the freedom of the survivors. From 9am to 12nn, we will be walking in BGC to raise awareness of human trafficking and wake people's hearts to these cruelties happening around the world. Walk with us. Celebrate their freedom and raise awareness to stop human trafficking.
 
There are four ways you can  help:
 
(1) Walk for Freedom.  If you would like to participate, you may register online HERE. The event is free but you need to register in order to join. Wear a black shirt for the walk.
 
(2) You may purchase A21 shirts and caps by contacting walkforfreedomph@gmail.com or dropping by the merchandise booths during the event on Saturday.
 
(3) If you would like to help further through sponsorship or donations, you may also do so by sending an email to walkforfreedomph@gmail.com
 
(4) Finally, you can pray. Pray for the victims who have yet to be rescued and pray for those who are currently going through rehabilitation,.  Pray for A21 that God will continue to use them and provide for their needs. And pray for protection for all of our family members.
 
So you see, these stories are no longer just stories to us. They are real and we need to do something about it.
 
Join us as we #WalkForFreedom this Saturday.
 
 



 

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WOW 02: A Hotel Room with No Walls

Following last Tuesday's post about going barefoot in New Zealand, here's another interesting travel post from Switzerland. I think this may be the start of a new blog series called WOW: What in the World! where I will feature fun facts about places all over the world. Yes, why don't we do that? (I have just added 'WOW 02' on my post title.  WOW 01 being the post on "Barefoot in New Zealand").
 
So there's a hotel in Switzerland that has re-opened last July 2016 called  Null Stern Hotel. To fully experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps, designers Frank and Patrik Riklin, together with hospitality professional Daniel Charbonnier came up with a hotel that allows you to sleep in rooms with no walls. That's right, no walls!
photo source
Sleeping with no walls means you get an unobstructed view of the swiss alps during the day and you get to sleep under a canopy of stars during the night. The room just comes with a bed, night tables and lamps. You have a butler on hand who can serve you breakfast in bed and address your other requests. However, the nearest toilet and bathroom is about 10 minutes away.
photo source
Staying at the Null Stern Hotel costs 250 Swiss Francs per night and they only accept guests during spring and autumn seasons for obvious reasons. They also allow for last minute cancellations due to bad weather.

Interested to experience sleeping in the wild? Check out their site here.


#WOW Series: What in the World!

 

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WOW 01: Barefoot in New Zealand

I have not been to New Zealand.  It has been on my travel list for quite some time now but the dream has not come to pass. When I think of New Zealand, I think of beautiful views, sheep sheering activities, and a lot of cows and nature. It sounds like an ideal place to have a vacation.  Beautiful and relaxing.
 
Last week I learned something that made New Zealand a tad more interesting for me. A lot of locals (kiwi) leave the house on barefoot. It does not matter whether it's a trip to the mall or you're heading to school, it's okay to go shoe-less.
all photos from Pinterest
Now isn't that another reason to visit New Zealand? I want to see how they do it, why they do it and, if I am brave enough, dare myself to try it. There's seems to be so much to learn about their culture.
 
Cheers to New Zealand!  You are definitely climbing the charts on my travel list.

#WOW Series: What in the World!

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Stop Your World From Spinning!

So I had Vertigo a few years ago. When they say that Vertigo makes you feel like the room is spinning, I never thought they meant it as quite so literal. When I had my first Vertigo attack, it was the strangest thing.  The room was really spinning!  I did not know how to make it stop and felt even worse when I closed my eyes. It was like I was in a ride that never ends.

I went to see the doctor and learned that Vertigo is often caused by an inner ear problem.  I have always had congested nose which often translates to congested ears. The feeling is akin to getting your ears closed when an airplane is landing.
 
Vertigo is often triggered by a change in the position of your head. This explains why I can no longer tumble like I used to without getting dizzy (why I still try to tumble at this age will remain a phenomenon).  Furthermore, this means that I will  have to carefully select the rides that I take at theme parks to avoid spoiling my day. Now this becomes an issue for me because I love enjoying roller coasters and amusement rides with my children.
 
I did some research and here is a list of foods and beverages that we need to avoid to help ease our Vertigo symptoms:
  • Foods and beverages that are high in salt or sugar.
  • Caffeine. This includes coffee, caffeinated tea, and chocolates.
  • Alcohol
  • Aged cheese and meats such as salami, pepperoni, liverwurst, Swiss cheese, brie, cheddar and ricotta cheese
  • Bananas
  • Nuts and seeds
It's not easy. I still drink tea, eat bananas, nuts and cheese almost every day.  But I will consciously try to avoid them when we're about to visit theme parks with the kids. I think that's more manageable for now.

You may learn more about Vergito here.

     

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Don't Live in Hindsight

photo source
The alarm clock sets off and you realize it's Monday morning. You start wishing and counting the days before it is Friday again.
 
Then there's the perennial need to have a vacation after a vacation. You come home from a vacation immediately hoping and anticipating for the next one.
 
We all love to do this, don't we? While it is not wrong to look forward to events, we must also not dread the 'in between'.
 
Life happens whether we like it or not.  If we remain passive about it, we are simply wasting our lives away.
 
I love what writer Jennifer Lee says. "Let's not wait until we come across an old photo, only to realize we walked right past the happy that was in front of us all along". It's so true, isn't it? We rush the days ahead yet we look back with longing hoping to turn back the time. The irony of our lives.
 
Don't waste your life wishing for a better tomorrow and regretting yesterday's mistakes.
 
Hindsight is a painful teacher.
 
So whether you are reading this post on a Friday or a Monday, I pray that you enjoy Today.





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It's Showtime!

I almost wanted to call this post "The Day I Guested in Showtime"...but that would be too deceiving. Because the truth is, the day I visited Showtime - I was one of the Madlang People!!!
 
One thing that many people may not know about me (okay, fine, maybe a lot of you do know) is that I love seeing movie stars in person.  It fascinates me to see how they look and act beyond the magic of the camera lenses.  I rarely watch television these days and am not updated with the new movie stars. But I know the ones that have been on screen for a while now and stalk follow some them on Instagram.

So when my sister got us VIP tickets to watch the popular noontime show, It's Showtime, I happily joined her.  Amidst my excitement, I was still hoping to conceal my chaka-ness and wished oh-so-hard that we will not appear on television. Well, the wish was not granted and we got our 30 seconds of fame.
photo taken by my friend, Cathy
Let me take you back to the morning of the taping. About an hour before the show, we were ushered to the holding area for all VIPs. We did not enter through the same entrance as the rest of the Madlang People.  
While waiting to enter the studio, we walked around and saw these signs on some of the doors. Dressing rooms!  Of course we did not attempt to go in. Baka mahuli pa kami ng guards (and besides, wala si Anne Curtis!)
After about 30 minutes or so, we were asked to enter the studio. The studio was a lot smaller than I imagined it to be.  My mind was panicking thinking that the chances of us being seen on television were pretty high.
We tried our best to sit somewhere inconspicuous only be asked to transfer to the seat near the aisle on the second row.  Oh well...
 
Then they started prepping us for the show. They told us how to cheer, raise our score cards, dance, and sing the Showtime song. Chaka overload. They threatened to move us to the back if we did not participate.  Much as I would not mind to be placed at the back (i.e. less chances of camera face time), I also did not want the embarrassment of being asked to go to the back (a.k.a. walk of shame).

And as we were looking around the crowd, we spotted the guys from the You Tube sensation Hey Joe Show! If you have not seen them, you need to visit their channel. They do really funny interpretations of the Filipino traditions and speak bisaya fluently! So without hesitation, Tammy and I went and had a photo taken with them.
And then the show started. And while we were singing and dancing the Showtime theme song, the Duterte look-a-like stood beside me. I had to stop dancing and get my phone for a quick selfie.
Amidst our kakahiyang television exposure, watching It's Showtime was really fun. More than the show, I particularly enjoyed the commercial breaks (and, of course spending time with my sister! hello suan!). That was when you get to see the stars in their natural element.
So that was our Showtime experience. I'm happy to have enjoyed that day with my sister.    It was a memorable day and definitely one for the books.


 
 
 



 

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Honey Oatmeal Bars

My 5-year old daughter and I love to bond in the kitchen. We love to cook, bake and whip up new creations together. From our usual Banana Pancakes to our newly discovered Oatmeal Cookies (thanks to my friend Tin). 

I'd like to share this very easy no-bake dessert that we have been making the past weeks. It's only made up of 3 ingredients.

Oats
Honey
Spread*

*The choice of spread will determine the flavor of your oatmeal bars. Here are some tried and tested spreads that you can use.


You can use any honey. I have tried all types from processed, raw and even Manuka honey. I won't recommend the latter since Manuka has a distinct taste that not everybody appreciates. Raw Honey is my safest bet.

Step 1: You mix your honey with the spread and warm it in a pan or microwave
Step 2: Once melted and warm, you mix in the oat until the oats look cooked
Step 3: You spread the mixture in a flat dish and leave it out to cool
Step 4: Once the mixture is no longer warm, you put it in the refrigerator to harden overnight
Step 5: You cut into bite-size squares and serve!
Try and and experiment different flavors. My 5-year old daughter can actually do most of the steps herself sans Step 1 with the pan and microwave. It's super quick and easy to make. Perfect for that instant dinner you are hosting or your kids' snacks to school.

 

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The Fun Thing About Swimming

One Sunday in August, we brought the kids out for a swim somewhere down south. Since I do not like to bother myself with having to shower all over again, I decided early on that I would not swim. Dens brought his swim gear just in case but was also pretty much undecided. The kids, of course, were ready with their suits and pool paraphernalia.
 
When we got to the pool, the kids changed and asked why Dens and I were not changing. I told them I did not bring my swimsuit anymore since I was not really planning to swim. Dens, on the other hand, said he will just rest for a while.
 
So I brought the kids to the pool.  I sat and watched the two of them swim and play with their pool toys. They looked like they were enjoying themselves the whole time. After about twenty minutes, my 8-year old son came up and asked me to check on their dad.
 
Troy: "Mom, can you see if Papa is already done resting?"
 
Mom: "I think he's not planning to swim anymore. Maybe he just wants to rest."
 
Troy: "But I really want papa to swim with us"
 
Mom: "It's okay, Troy. You and Dawn are having fun naman"
 
Troy: "We were just playing our toys so that we won't get bored while waiting for Papa. The fun thing about swimming is being with you, Papa and Dawnie."
 
My heart broke a little when I heard that.  I almost wanted to jump in the pool in my sundress. Needless to say, Dens immediately joined them in the pool.
 
I realized then that being around them does not necessarily mean spending time with them. We need to engage with them and do things that they love.
 
Since then, my husband and I have intentionally spent more "active" time with the kids. Dens has learned to dress up a Barbie doll and I am still trying my very best to learn how Minecraft works.
 
Being a parent involves a lot of intentional hard work.  We must not allow the time to pass and then realize one day that our kids have grown up too fast. Let's make sure we engage with our kids and not just 'be present' for them.  Just being in the same room with the kids does not count.  Learn what your children love and do those things with them. It's time to pick up the [Lego] pieces and build memories with them. Yep, pun intended.
 

 

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How the Tornado Strengthened My Son's Faith

Contrary to my recent post about ordinary weekends, last weekend was anything BUT ordinary. 
 
My husband and I were on our way home when my 8-year old son called my husband's mobile phone.  His opening line was "Mom! So grabe what happened to us!" I was not alarmed. At least not yet. I just asked "Why? what happened to you?"   Then he said "Well, I was playing Wii in the room and the TV suddenly shut down. I went out of the room and checked the big window [from our hall].  Then I saw a tornado coming towards our house!"  I was a little concerned but I thought 'it could not have been a tornado!' So I prodded further and asked "Who were you with and what did you do?" Then he said "I was with Dawn (my 5-year old daughter) and we called Yaya". Then the three of us hid behind the door of your room because the roof of the basketball court behind us was already flying into the tornado." Okay. That got my attention. And it made me want to be home with my children as fast as I can.
To my knowledge, it is the first time a tornado in this scale has ever hit Manila. Seeing the uprooted trees and fallen posts outside our house was surreal. I could not believe this happened in our city. Floods are frequent and we even prepare ourselves for possible earthquakes. But a tornado is not in the list of natural disasters that we worry about in Manila. The videos that were recorded look like clips from a movie. It was unbelievable.

The tornado has definitely hit Manila big time. But in our own little world, the big tornado was also a big God encounter for our little boy.  You see, a few nights ago while we were having our family Bible study, Troy told us that sometimes he wonders whether God is indeed real. He said it's not always easy for him to believe because he cannot see God. Dennis and I assured him that we understood his concerns. We explained that this is where faith comes in. We told him how answered prayers are God's ways of showing us that He is real. Our son did not look convinced but he said okay. Then we prayed together and Troy prayed that God will help him believe. It's an ironic prayer but isn't that the same prayer uttered by the father of the little sick boy in the book of Mark? "Lord, help me overcome my unbelief"

Then last weekend's tornado happened. That same night, as we were about to sleep, we stayed in bed talking about the tornado. Dawn said "It's the worst day ever!". Then Troy said "You know, Dawn, it's the worst day ever but it's also the happiest day ever!". So I asked him why he said that. He said "Because, mom, Dawn and I could have been hurt by the tornado but we weren't. That makes this the happiest day ever, right?" And I said "You're actually right! Okay, so let's just call this the happiest day ever then".  Then he said "You know, when I saw the tornado coming towards our house. I was thinking the glass in our window will not be strong enough to protect us. But I was not so afraid. I felt that God was like a force field there protecting us."  And right there and then, my son encountered our God, His protector.
 
That night, the tornado cut through the power lines so we did not have electricity. When we got home, my daughter asked if we can pray for the electricity to be restored.  In our prayer, my son said "Lord, please please restore our electricity even while we are praying". I had to do a double prayer to ask God to please please answer his prayer so that he won't be disappointed. But our prayer concluded and the electricity did not come back.

Before we slept, my son prayed his usual bedtime prayer. He thanked God for protecting our family and prayed that nobody got hurt. Then, to my surprise, he thanked God for restoring the electricity.  After he prayed, I asked why he thanked God for restoring the electricity when it clearly hasn't happened yet. Then he said "It's okay. I know God heard us and He will bring back the electricity later". I hugged and kissed him. And tears filled my eyes. I knew God has awakened the faith of our little boy.
 
The tornado last weekend may have uprooted our trees, destroyed our roof, and cut off our electricity. But we will not allow it to destroy our faith. As Genesis 50:20 says "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Amen. Thank you, Lord




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Ordinary Weekends

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We do not have big things planned this weekend. And that's all right.
 
Our weekends start slowly on Friday with an early date with my husband.  That is usually followed by a movie date at home with the kids when they can sleep a little past their usual bedtime. Saturday and Sundays are filled with the kids' extra-curricular activities, church and visits to the mall.  We pretty much have a standard weekend routine. Nothing grand unless we are invited to an event or we're celebrating an occasion. But that's perfectly all right. We thrive on routine and celebrate the ordinary.  
 
You see, there will come a day when the kids will have their own families and spending time together means having to schedule an appointment. Those are the days when these lazy weekends will become a sacred memory. I would hate to look back and wish I that I had paid more attention to the ordinary days. Cherish the season and enjoy the moment.
 
I'd like to end this post by sharing an excerpt from Katrina Kenison's book "The Gift of an Ordinary Day".  
 
"The bookshelf in my own living room is full of photo albums, nearly twenty years worth of well-documented birthday cakes and holidays,  piano recitals and Little League games.  But the memories I find myself sifting through the past to find, the ones that I’d give anything now to relive, are the ones that no one ever thought to photograph, the ones that came and went as softly as a breeze on a summer afternoon.
 
It has taken a while, but I certainly do know it now–the most wonderful gift I had, the gift I’ve finally learned to cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days."
 
Here's to a beautiful ordinary weekend.  TGIF!
 
 

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The Honest Crop

I wish I can stop my kids from eating chips. I really do.  But since I love eating chips myself, I have no right to deprive my children of the same. With that in mind, the next best thing is to look for healthier alternatives that will taste just as good. I have ordered from several companies that produce healthier snack alternatives but none of them appeal to my kids (or even me!).  Well, to be honest I did find a few good ones but they were way too expensive to sustain in our weekly grocery shopping list. So I had to keep on looking.
 
Last week I have finally found the perfect combination of healthy + reasonably priced chips through The Honest Crop.  They are a local company that sells 100% Real Vegetable Crisps baked in Coconut Oil.  And I have to tell you, they taste sooo good! My close friends and sisters would always tease me that when I recommend any snack to them and say 'It's healthy!', you can almost always be sure it tastes like cardboard. I promise you, these do not taste anything like 'healthy'!
 
 
photo source
 
I tried the sea salt, BBQ, Cheese, and Sour Cream flavors and cannot choose a favorite. They are all very very good. Most of the chips come in two bag sizes ranging from P45 to P160.

If you would like to try them, you may follow their order instructions here or reach out to them directly at the contact details listed below.

Viber/Mobile: +63947 899 8904

Try it and let me know what you think!

 

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What is Your Comfort Food?

Mine is not exactly food. It's a drink.
 
It's a cup of Chai Tea Latte. I like mine non-fat, extra hot, no foam
 
My love for Chai started in Hong Kong back in 1999. I was on a business trip and my colleagues treated me to lunch at an authentic Indian restaurant. I am not a fan of strong spices so the food did not impress me too much. But the drink was definitely a game changer. I stepped out of that restaurant without remembering the name of the drink that would soon haunt me. After my trip, I had cravings for that spiced milk tea that I did not know the name of. I just knew there were hints of cinnamon and ginger mixed into the hot drink.
 
Six years later I was on a business trip to Australia and found a small café that was popular for their Chai Tea Latte. I did not know what it was but the description of the drink enticed me to give it a shot. Lo and behold, it was the same drink I tried back in 1999! And so my love affair with Chai began.
 
The only problem then was that Chai was not readily available in Manila. I would drink it only during my business trips to Australia. It was my safe haven in between and after stressful client meetings. I would drink multiple cups in a day just as one would be addicted to coffee.
 
Years later, Chai started becoming increasingly available in the popular coffee shops in Manila. It has, since then, been my almost-daily stress reliever in the office. It reminded me of those cool and sunny days in Martin Place where I would review my notes prior to my client meetings. It brought me back to those days when, for once, I do not mind sitting alone in a restaurant.
 
Several years later, Chai remains to be such a comfort drink for me. I now have new memories of Chai. Enjoying a book in Starbucks while waiting to fetch my daughter from ballet practice, movie dates with Dens, and good times over Chai in Coffee Bean with friends and family.
 
Funny how a simple drink has so much history. One sip is all it takes. And just like that, it's 1999 all over again.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




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Potential Cause of Your Hair Fall

Last week I had a little scare. While I was taking a shower on Monday evening, chunks of my hair started to fall. The same thing happened on Tuesday while I was removing my hair tie. During those days, I was starting to feel very weak which I initially thought was just muscle pain from my Monday workout. But by Wednesday, I did not have any appetite anymore and only craved for cold food such as pineapple and iced candies.
 
I started to do a little research on what may possibly cause this sudden and severe hair fall and weakness in my body. My research lead me to one very simple but accurate answer.

Dehydration

I realized that the symptoms started after my 30-minute run last Monday. I remember forgetting to bring my water bottle and only drank tea when I reached the office. I got busy at work and totally forgot to hydrate the whole day. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was drinking tea all day which was practically a diuretic. 
 
As soon as I learned about the effects of dehydration on my hair, I started to intentionally drink liters and liters of water.  I noticed the weakness in my body slowly going away. By Friday, my hair fall was back to the normal number. No more chunks of falling hair.
 
We are often encouraged to drink water to flush out toxins from our bodies or to achieve supple and beautiful skin. But we often overlook the fact that each hair shaft is made up of 1/4 water.  This means that when we become dehydrated, our hair functions 1/4 less effective and becomes weak. Thus, causing hair to fall. Imagine how simple that was! 
 
If you are experiencing severe hair fall, try drinking more water. You may just be a drop away from saving your tresses.
 
 

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