Mommy Lace: Mommy Blogger|Philippines
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Flourish Pilipinas: Nationwide Baking Competition 2016

Culinary arts and hotel management course students, here is your chance to join and experience a nationwide baking competition. Make and bake your dreams happen by joining Flourish Pilipinas: Bake It Happen! Nationwide Baking Competition 2016.

Here’s how to join:

1. Submit your original recipes in the breads or cakes categories

2. Baked creations should incorporate a non-functional ingredient and make use of any of the URC Flour brands. These are Blend 100 Flour, Continental All-Purpose Flour, Daisy Cake Flour, FibrA+ Whole Wheat Flour, Globe First-Class Flour, My Rose Soft Flour, and Sampaguita Soft Flour.

3. Shortlisted teams will vie in the regional competitions that will be held at the University of Mindanao in Davao City and Center for Culinary Arts in Manila.

4. All finalists will be given a challenge and a surprise ingredient to use during the bake-off.

5. Complete contest mechanics and entry forms will be available for download at the Flourish Pilipinas 3 Facebook page. Deadline for submission of entries is on September 30, 2016.

What it’s like to join Flourish Pilipinas: My Experience

Universal Robina Corporation (URC) recently created a small competition for bloggers like me who bake. I have always dreamed of joining cooking or baking contests, I know a lot of moms do especially when we watch cooking competitions on TV.

Just like the mechanics of the real Flourish Pilipinas competition, contenders were given a recipe with a secret ingredient. For our competition it was the kiwi fruit that needs to be incorporated in a chocolate cupcake recipe. Aside for this challenge of a secret ingredient, I also did not expect how hard it is to move, prepare, and bake inside a different kitchen with limited space and with other competitors.

The experience was humbling and although me and my partner did not win, I am equally proud of our chocolate kiwi cupcake:

Mommy Lace tip: If you are a student joining this baking competition, be sure to have plenty of rest, eat properly, and have peace of mind. I skipped lunch before the competition, lacked sleep because of mommy duties and found myself enduring migraine during the contest. It made baking more challenging and I learned from that experience that baking is not just about skill – baking is really putting our heart and focus into our creations and we need lots of inspiration for that.

For the real baking competition, trophies, certificates, and more than P300,000 worth of prizes await winners. Regional grand champions will also receive internships with one of the country’s prestigious hotels, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and a feature in Yummy Magazine.

Good luck young bakers and bake it happen!

BeautyMNL Online Shopping Experience


BeautyMNL online buys for all members of the family

Mommies, I discovered a new online shopping site that will keep us up at night. I stumbled upon BeautyMNL on Google while looking for a particular brand of CC cream called Farmstay. The online store offered the best price for it at Php 500 versus another popular shopping site at Php 750.

How to Shop at BeautyMNL

It’s easy to sign up and shop at BeautyMNL, I even received a free shipping offer:

Just provide the usual details like your name, email address, and birthday and skin type (yes!). BeautyMNL’s effort in asking users their skin type and skin tone is a lovable gesture. If you don’t know yet, knowing your skin type (normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination) is winning half the battle to healthy skin. I have sensitive skin prone to acne and blemishes. If you are like me, seriously consider using and switching to organic and hypo-allergenic beauty products that are also available in BeautyMNL’s online shop.

Organic Brands & Products at BeautyMNL

It’s so refreshing to see all the organic choices at BeautyMNL. If you haven’t switched to organic products, I hope you take the time to read up on the advantages of doing so and how it can save both your health & beauty.

1. Farm Stay All-In-One Galactomyces CC Cream
2. Jarful of Goodness Decadent Coffee & Dead Sea Salt Scrub
3. Zenutrients Mild & Gentle Baby Shampoo
4. Zenutrients Smooth & Shine Coconut Shampoo
5. Zenutrients Luxurious Goat’s Milk & Oatmeal Soap

Here you can shop organic for all members of the family. The prices are competitive and it will save organic mommies a lot of time looking for and traveling to specialty organic stores in the metro.

FREE shipping when you shop Php 2,000

Because I live outside Metro Manila, shipping fees do eat into my shopping budget. Instead of cashing out for delivery fees, it’s always a good idea for me to take advantage of free shipping and use the expense to add more products vs. paying for shipping. And because BeautyMNL is mommy friendly (yahoo!) it’s not easy to fill up the virtual shopping cart with products for the whole family.

Because of the many selection of organic brands and products inside BeautyMNL, it was very easy for me to avail the free shipping offer.

FREE items when you shop at BeautyMNL

Free shipping and discounts are already usual but receiving tangible freebies like samples and a full bottle of lotion is something I never expected:

1. Golden Cup balm in tin cup sample
2. Vaseline deep restore lotion
3. Snail cream sample

BeautyMNL payment options

I paid a total Php 2,000 for all 5 items via Mastercard. BeautyMNL has cash on delivery option too but it’s not yet available for non-metro manila residents like me. This online shop also accepts PayPal, bank deposits, among other payment options. For me, paying via credit card is the easiest method.

Waiting time

Here are my online shopping buys delivered after just 2 working days, I live outside Metro Manila. I am not just happy that my purchase arrived earlier than expected but very happy to see all the freebies for real.

Of all the freebies, I like the Golden Cup Balm the most. Like other moms, I also suffer a lot from lower back pain which can be caused by standing for too long (when paying bills, doing the grocery, cooking, and cleaning). This balm which is popular in Thailand feels very good when rubbed on painful areas of the body. Unlike other calming & relieving balms, the warmth and relief lasts for a long time.

Happy shopping mommy!

Travel Madness: Singapore Airlines & MasterCard Promo

If you want to travel the world with your family, one of the best saving tips is to plan for your destination several months ahead. This allows you to not only save up but take advantage of promo fares. Take note that promo fares are not just limited to local destinations and neighboring countries anymore.

For instance, Singapore Airlines and MasterCard will offer all-inclusive round trip promotional fares for destinations like Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Here is a list for the Economy Class promo fares starting July 8:

Singapore USD180
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong USD230
Cambodia, Myanmar USD250
Dubai, Australia USD600
India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka USD650
Europe, South Africa USD850
New Zealand, Amriaca USD950

There are also premium economy and business class fares available. The travel period is from July 8 to March 31, 2017. Now you have to also remember that some of these countries require travel VISA so book dates that give you enough time to process this requirement.

How to book promo tickets

To avail this particular promo from Singapore Airlines, you must have the following:

1. Any MasterCard credit card which you will use in paying for your tickets
2. KrisFlyer membership – you can sign up for FREE anytime at krisflyer.com

On July 8, Singapore Airlines will announce the promo code on their Facebook Page. Once you get the promo code, you can now book your promo tickets online starting July 8 at www.singaporeair.com. I recommend doing this online versus braving the Travel Madness Expo on July 8-10 at the SMX Convention Center.

I am currently saving for a trip to Australia, it’s not the cheapest destination but my sisters are all there. The promo fares being offered by Singapore Airlines are indeed very attractive. Plus, I like how their economy class is a lot more comfortable compared to other airlines. Theirs have generous leg room and an LCD screen.

I flew to Sydney once (8 hours) for work and it was a relaxing flight even for someone who is afraid to fly like me. I slept very well and when I was awake, I distracted myself with shows available in the Krisworld Flight Entertainment. I heard that some flights even have Internet connectivity for economy class.

Good luck to all of us who are saving for travel and may we all get the best deal and flight experience!

How to cope with family moving abroad

For 26 years, my youngest sister and I lived together. We shared the same house until I got married, gave birth, and when the time came – when she became a Mrs. herself. Her recent marriage was a happy day for me, it did not make a dent in my life because she and I would continue to live together – just like nothing happened. Her spouse worked abroad and flew a few days after the wedding.

My not so little sister Liza and her temporary home in Australia

For the longest time my sister and I happily shared stories and bills.  And when we were just getting the hang of being a financial duo in managing household finance from electric bills to Internet bills, her immigrant visa to Australia got approved. Suddenly, both my sisters are now in Australia. I, the middle child left all alone in a house that used to be filled with girl sounds of sisters chattering, laughing, and bickering.

Money changes when family members move abroad

No matter how hard I tried not to cry and be lonely when she boarded the plane, tears could not be controlled. What I can control though is my mindset and what better way to distract oneself than with the thought of saving more money. I love my sister but at this time, the thought of reduced electric consumption, trips to the grocery, and faster Internet connection were more welcome thoughts versus living in the past.

It’s just like how the song goes, now that you’re gone I have more room in my closet. In the case of bills, I’d like to think that having one less individual in the house would mean more room in my budget. If you are in the same situation like me, focus on this thought and not the thought of paying “all by myself”. Now that you are alone, you are more in control of the expenses and how you want to reduce them.

Some ideas:

1. Is it okay to downgrade your Internet connection now that there’s one less person using it?
2. Does your cable subscription need to remain on the same plan now that one less person is watching the TV?
3. Are you willing to rent out the now empty bedroom to a qualified bed spacer?

Using Apps to Manage Household Expenses

Although there is no app to cure the heartbreak of being left behind, there are now apps that can offer support in managing expenses. This app came highly recommended by personal finance expert and #Money4Life mentor, Aya Laraya. It is called Wally (available in iOS and Andoid) and it allows users to enter every single expense made on a daily basis. Aya says that listing down expenses is one of the first steps towards financial literacy.


I use Wally to record all household expenses, even purchases from the sari-sari store

My sister and I never listed down expenses, we were so focused on how to split and pay them. That is how comfortable living with siblings are, you know there’s always each other to count on (and blame) that you get away not paying attention to details. Well today, I no longer have the luxury to be lax about expenses.

Taking Financial Responsibility

With both my sisters now working abroad, it is always a passing thought that I lost the race, that relatives will see me at the odd one out. According to Aya Laraya, it is common practice for OFWs and migrants to offer financial support to family left in the Philippines. Many offer to support the education of nephews, nieces, and younger siblings.

Aya Laraya to OFWs: “It is not wrong to say no. Make relatives responsible for their own finances.”

While the prospect of lounging around the house doing nothing and waiting for money transfers and pera padala sound amazing, the more dignified road to take is one that develops responsibility and ability for one’s finances. There’s a saying, it’s not how much you earn but how much you save. Regardless of your location and the currency of your income, it is not impossible to improve your financial situation and quality of life.

Setting a Clear Financial Goal

Many of us already know how to save, maybe even invest in financial products like mutual funds. The question is, do you have a clear financial goal? I always told myself, I don’t have any goal because I don’t want to buy anything.  I just want to have enough for my son’s education, our healthcare, and my retirement. But how much would these costs? I am sure it would be a LOT of money, so huge of a number that I am afraid of even thinking about it – hence I always answered to my financial advisor that no, I don’t have a specific number in mind.

Now that I am in the cusp of change (much like our country with the new incoming president), change should also begin with ourselves. When it comes to financial goal setting, I challenge myself to start putting numbers beside each of my financial goals. #Money4Life coach Aya Laraya recommends to start with something small and rewarding, maybe a trip to Australia to visit my siblings?

Example of a short-term financial goal:

In the next 6 months, I want to have enough money to visit Australia with my son. For this I will need Php 100,000 (cost of 2 roundtrip tickets). I am willing to save x amount every month.

This will not only inspire me to be financially responsible but one that can allow me to actually be with the sisters I dearly miss. To be continued.

How about you, what do you want to achieve in the next 6 months and how much are you willing to save for it? How do you feel about investing? Please share your thoughts on your own financial journey :)

Watson’s Storebrand Products vs. Leading Brands

It’s the second half of the year Mommies, have you already switched to using storebrand products? Just a recap, using storebrand products are one of our favorite frugal tips. Storebrand means products that are labeled by the store itself like Watsons. When you step inside any Watsons store in the Philippines – you will notice how there are Watsons hand soaps,  Watsons body lotions,  Watsons body scrubs, and even other personal care essentials like Watsons toothbrush.

WATCH #SwitchTest: Watsons Storebrand Products vs. Leading Brands

I’d really like to save up this year so I can visit my family in Australia. Storebrand products just like Watsons’ allow shoppers to save up to 80% without sacrificing quality. Watsons claim that their products even exceed the quality of more expensive leading brands.

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In our household, we already use the famous Watsons Liquid Hand Soap. I buy this when Watsons is on sale and offers buy 1 take 1 on their storebrand products. The liquid soap is P149 for 2 which makes 1 bottle only P74.5 each.

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Just recently, I discovered that Watsons liquid soaps also come in refill packs that are only P99 for 2 packs. That is P50 savings! Now I make sure not to throw away the liquid soap containers and re-use them not just to save money but also the environment.

Watsons Storebrand Toothbrush

Watsons also expanded their product line with items like the Watsons toothbrush. Many shoppers chose this toothbrush over a leading brand during blind tests. I will make sure to try and save on this too. Remember you need to change your toothbrush every 3 months!

Watsons Storebrand Facial Tissue

Since becoming a mom, I realized how handy facial tissues are (the big ones) beyond wiping my oily face with it. Think spills and spots in the kitchen, living room, and I also use it to wipe my son’s mouth during meal times. Do like your favorite hotel rooms and make these soft tissues available in busy areas of your home.

This doesn’t need to be expensive because Watsons now has their own and cheaper facial tissue. There are switch tests happening in several Watsons stores where you can test how strong these tissues are vs. other brands, plus it’s a lot cheaper! Strong tissues mean you will use less and make whatever you are doing with it more efficient.

Watsons Body Scrub

One of the best beauty realizations I had this year is how I need to use body scrub every 2 days. This regimen made my skin less prone to body acne and a lot smoother & softer especially after sweating a lot. I am currently using an organic brand which I really like but the price is not very friendly – no one knows how long I can afford it.

Maybe this Watson body scrub will work the same? It comes in the same cocoa and butter smell of my current brand. I am compelled with the reviews and the shopper blind test so this is on my shopping list as soon as I run out of body scrub.

Which Watsons storebrand products are you currently using? Please share your favorite via comments below :)

Starbucks for Matcha Lovers! Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Beverage

My observation is that some people either really love matcha or green tea or totally dislike it. The good news is that matcha lovers turns out to be the silent majority! The green tea beverages of Starbucks namely the Green Tea Latte hot beverage and the Green Tea Frappucino are underrated in my opinion. Finally, green tea gets the limelight it deserves and just before summer is over.

Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino, Tall P175

I learned about the news on Starbucks FB page, for a limited time only matcha lovers’ favorite Green Tea Cream Frappucino Blended Beverage get an update. Until July 25 only, enjoy the Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino infused with crunchy Java Chips layered with a smooth chocolate sauce at the top and bottom of the cup. It is then topped with whipped cream and a light dusting of Green Tea powder.

Starbucks Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino

It was my first time to enjoy it in Starbucks SM Bacoor and I appreciate how enthusiastic our barista was in explaining the new “adventurous” ingredients of the new frappuccino. I agree the chocolate sauce at the bottom is very pleasant to the taste and the texture is also fun – a but gelatinous that makes you wonder what it is exactly. The Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino is a perfect end of summer beverage. For busy moms like me who never had the chance to enjoy summer at the beach, this blended beverage is all we need to cap our summer season just as good.

I’d like to think I am a Starbucks expert when it comes to pairing food, but you know what? Be easy on yourself and check Starbuck’s chalkboard!

Starbucks Sausage and Spinach on Foccacia Bread

I tried one of the newest food items and it’s also GREEN – as in leafy and healthy. This is the Sausage and Spinach on Foccacia bread, perhaps the healthiest sandwich that Starbucks has ever offered? The spinach is not hard to enjoy because it is very creamy. The sausage is meaty and flavorful, I like how chewy it is without being tough to bite. Ask for your foccaccia sandwich to be warmed for best results :)

Other new food items you must know include the best selling (and always out of stock) Chicken Milk Bun, Purple Yam Cheesecake, and finally – Starbucks introduces real Breakfast Pancakes!

Chicken Milk Bun P75 – soft and toasty milk bun filled with mouthwatering smoked sesame chicken fillet topped with sweet cookie crumbs. Best served warm/

Purple Yam Cheesecake P140 per slice – A silken smooth, yet light cheesecake swirled with purple yam and red mung bean and macapuno. An indulgent dessert!

Breakfast Pancakes with maple-flavored syrup, butter and jam P95 - The perfect meal to start your busy day. Three light and fluffy breakfast pancakes served with maple-flavored syrup, butter and jam. Best served warm

Starbucks Go! Lite Chips

If you love to enjoy your sandwich with crisps, Starbucks now gives us this option. Just look for the new Go! Lite Chips, I know chips are not the healthiest food on earth but I do enjoy them on the sides especially with a hot mug of brewed coffee. Try it and you’ll see why. Also, the Starbucks Go! Lite Chips are “guilt-free” at just 100 calories per bag. The Go Lite! Sweet Maui Onion Cassava Popped Chips are gluten free and trans-fat free.

I saw these chips as I exit the store so now I am enjoying them at home with a freshly brewed cup of Starbucks Colombia beans. It’s a perfect ending to a busy weekend – and finally a mother like me gets to enjoy these treats in silence while catching up on my favorite TV shows.

Matcha lover or not, you deserve a coffee break.
Enjoy your me time at Starbucks, Mommy!