January in 8 Photos

Raise your hands if, like me, you woke up and wondered where the heck January went. Guys, grabe, February na! Parang ang bilis, right? 

The first month of 2018 may have been quick, but it sure was awesome. Here are a few snippets from the month that was.

One of several changes happening at home this year is an intentional (but gradual) shift towards less waste. We have a serious garbage issue here in Manila, and I really feel that every small effort counts. I’ll be writing more about this transition to less waste living over the next few months. You can also check out my IG feed and stories to see the little day to day things I do to produce less waste at home.

For now, here’s a look at the current state of our freezer. Eventually, I hope to eliminate plastic bags and disposable packaging in there completely. While I’m still unable to do that, I wash, dry, and cut up the plastic bags and use them to stuff eco bricks instead. 



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On the subject of change, I’m also making some to my daily and weekly routines this year. Time management has never been a strength of mine but I know that it’s time I get the whole “sticking to a schedule” thing figured out. Also, I really need to set aside more me-time and time with people that matter. This is me, stopping to smell the roses, guys!

This January brunch with my mommy buddies (and Nino and Rman) almost happened without me. But I forced the issue, and my schedule, and I made it. I was super duper late, but I made it. God knows I needed all the laughed-so-hard-we-cried moments we shared that day. I am so much better at life after get-togethers like this one.

Bacon. After a really long time, we had bacon for brunch at home. I don’t usually buy bacon because it’s so, so bad for you. But this one is a little bit better (or at least, I’d like to believe that it is) because it’s organic, nitrite-free, and preservative-free. In case you wanna try this better-bacon, I bought it from Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe in Westgate Alabang.

And finally, the perfect segue from Jan to Feb. I picked up a beautiful early-Valentine’s event invite from my Mothers Who Brunch friends a few days ago, and right now it’s sitting by the phone in my living room. I love how it adds color to this little corner of my home.

Thing is, though, if you look across from here to the other side of the living room, you’ll see that my Christmas tree is still up, complete with unopened and undelivered holiday gifts, plus an assortment of things we brought home this past month. Clutter central! Oh well. That’s real life for you!

So that was January.

I can’t deny that I’m excited for February because it’s my birth month. As far as I’m concerned, in February, I am the queen and no one can tell me otherwise. 

In my world, February is one big party. There is always cake. Sometimes more than one. There’s time spent with family and friends, with food, fun and laughter. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me this month! And I can’t wait to share it all with you guys, too.

How was your January?

My 2018 Reading Challenge

Fact: I write better when I read more.

Reading also helps me relax and unwind, especially after long days spent in front of the computer. I’ve found that I sleep better, too, when I choose to read before bed instead of watching TV or playing games on my phone. 

Generally, I’m better when I read. And so it’s kinda odd that I stopped.

I used to read a lot when I was younger. I would read all the time, actually. Even in the shower. With the water running. I mastered the art of the one-handed bath when I was 12. I know, it sounds gross, but I promise I was always clean. See, I wasn’t kidding, I was always reading.

Then came motherhood, and adulting, and work, and life. I had to make time for everything else. In doing so I lost time for my books, and in effect I lost time for myself. For several years my book collection sat neglected, tucked away in drawers in my old room.

Then, weeks ago my mom went on a mad cleaning spree because my sister was coming home from New York, and would be needing that old room in the Alabang house. Whatever stuff the boys and I left there had to be pulled out. And so, my books finally came home with me. 

Seeing them all felt like reuniting with a bunch of old friends. There were some still wrapped in plastic, unopened and unread. Some, I had actually forgotten that I had. Other books remained unfinished over the years, abandoned for one reason or another. And then there were the old favorites – Angela’s Ashes, Interview With The Vampire, The Green Mile, The Godfather, and others that I would love to read again. 

So this year, I’m challenging myself to read more. I owe it to those books that I spent all that money on (and those that my dad and MrC spent on, too!) And, more importantly, I owe it to me. I owe it to myself to make time to read because I know that I’ll be better off if I do. The mere thought of it excites me.

Seriously, my idea of me-time is an afternoon on the couch with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a plate of cookies. Oras lang ang puhunan, guys. All I need to do is make time for it, and make time I shall. 

24 books is the goal this year. I’ve already finished one, and I’m currently several chapters into the second. Here’s my running book list for 2018:

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (January 2018)
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (January 2018)

I will update this list as I finish more books.

Now, an after thought: I’m thinking about posting little reviews about the books I’m reading this year because that would be a good writing exercise. The question is, would any of you be interested in reading those reviews? Let me know so I can decide if I want to do it or not, okay?

The Year That Was – 2017 Edition!

Hi, everybody! Happy New Year! I can’t believe that 2018 is actually here!

I don’t know about you guys, but I always see the start of a new year as an exciting time. I, personally, look forward to filling in loved ones’ birthdays and important dates in a new planner every January. I love the whole idea that we have another 365 days to fill with milestones and memories.

The first few days of a new year is also a great time to look back on the year that’s just passed. And what an amazing one 2017 was for me and my family.

January began with a double dose of happiness on the Cuyugan side – Lola Bandel (aka MrC’s mom, nicknamed Lola Bandel by the kiddo) was home, and the family welcomed brand-new baby Luna. 

As for my de Castro family, we got treated to a double dose of happiness in January, too. The first was a surprise visit from one of my favorite cousins, Bolito. He was here for only a few weeks, visiting from Australia, and I love that our  home was one of his stops during his trip. Then, we celebrated the 91st birthday of our Tita Glo, the last living sibling of my Loli. She has no kids of her own, and so we all sorta belong to her in a way, my cousins and I.

February is always special because it’s my birth month. My sister-in-law was in town, and there was lots of family time, friend time, and food time. All the things I love! Lol.

One memorable super blooper from March was the day I got locked in our downstairs bathroom. It took about an hour, and my best friend’s dad bringing a locksmith over to get me out. 

My father-in-law arrived in Manila at the end of that month, too. He was the last of our Cuyugan Balikbayan series of house guests for the year.

In April, we celebrated Little MrC’s birthday with his cousins at home. I love that we were able to do this! It reminded me of all the fun at-home birthday parties my siblings and I had when we were little. This year, I think we’re gonna take all the kids out to see a movie. There are a lot of nice ones coming up, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will be showing on this boy’s birthday week.


Cousins are the best! #LittleMrC11th

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The boys and I got to go to the beach for a day in May, yay! I think it’s great that Batangas is only a couple of hours away, and we can drive down there whenever we want to. This was a nice end to a long summer, and a great way to celebrate MrC’s birthday.

It was back to school time for the kiddo in June, and MrC moved to a new company. Meanwhile, I got surprised with an unexpected work trip to El Nido. It’s been years since I was there last, and it was nice exploring the newly developed areas in Lio. I had a monster eczema attack, though, so I was really uncomfortable the whole time! Hassle lang.

July and August were nice and quiet, a welcome change from the eventful first half of the year.

And then in September, the husbandry and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  With food. Obviously.

I also ended the month with another surprise trip, this time to Davao. I’m really happy about this because I got to spend time with friends and relatives I hadn’t seen in a long time.


When in Wildflour. #notglutenfree #carbs #sorrynotsorry

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I couldn’t leave Davao yesterday without making time to see friends and family. πŸ’• Typically, I request for the earliest possible flight home when I have to work out of town, but this time I decided to take a day for myself instead. I’m happy I did. It was so nice catching up with everyone. I’m glad I got to spend time with my aunts and cousins who live on the other end of the Philippines. Last time I saw them was nearly 10 years ago, I think. Spending time with relatives, even just for a few hours, really gives me a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling. It’s so important to me that I get to do this, and that i get to know them. Sana, next time around, can go with my family in tow naman. πŸ’š I also love that I got to try a new, chic restaurant for lunch. Bon Apetit’s grilled tuna steak is πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ. It was so nice hanging out with old work friends, reminiscing, and making chismis. I’m glad for friends like these, na even though we don’t see each other often, we just pick up where we left off each time we do. Minsan talaga, taking just a few hours to do our own thing can be such a sanity saver for busy moms. And spending time with people who matter makes the experience extra sweet. Thank goodness for husbandries who understand that need, and pick us up pa when we’re good and done. And for grandparents who take our kids, too, so we don’t have to worry while we enjoy our me-time. Hastag blessed nga naman! Now, after all that, I’m so happy to be home. Tired but happy. Heart is full. Back to regular programming. Good morning! #kwentooftheday #damingsinabi #thismomlife #momlife #ohanameansfamily #freindsarefamilytoo #toomanyhashtags #whenindavao

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October came, and the family got together to cheer for daddy in his first-ever Historic Mini Racers race. He did as well as could be, for a beginner, but more importantly he had an awesome time. I’m glad we were there to see it.

And then there was Halloween, which is always a fun occasion at my mom’s house.

In November, I got a flat tire for the first time. I didn’t know how to change a tire (I still don’t) and I was lucky that a kind trike driver helped me find a guy to change the tire.

On the upside, I got to start the holidays early with my Mothers Who Brunch friends, too. Plus I won a Severin Mr. Twister Spiralizer at the event. Lucky duck!


Oh my gosh this car. This car. We have been through so much together. My first accident (I was rear-ended by a texting mom. Lightly lang naman.) My first stupid self-accident (I hit the gate and wall of our garage. Remember that giant dent+scratch @mommanmanila @manila.gent? Hahaha!) And then that one time when the transmission failed on me and I had to drive home with acceleration/deceleration issues. Nadiskargahan narin pala ako ng battery once, in our garage. And I found out when I was about to take the kiddo to school. And now my first flat. Thank God we were inside the village already and not crazy Alabang Zapote. Thank God I have so many relatives who live close by (thank you for the help Ate @margsflorendo!) And thank God for the manong trike driver who took my “Please manong hanap ka ng makaka change ng gulong ko. Please please please?” damsel in distress act (which really wasn’t an act haha I didn’t learn anything in automotive class) seriously, and came through with a guy with a jack and a tire iron that he picked up from who knows where. I am now eating ice cream in my kitchen. Ayoko na umalis. Ever. That is all. #kwentooftheday #ihatedriving #driversweetmother #adulting

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Big winners at the Mothers Who Brunch event!

December came and all the festivities began. In the middle of it all, on Christmas Eve, our cat of 20 years, Sasha, passed away. It was sad, but I’m also glad that she’s no longer in pain.

We ended the month, and the year with Baby Luna’s first birthday party, and finally with a family dinner to welcome 2018.

Now that I look back on it, I realize just how full my 2017 was. It’s the kind of happy, fulfilling full, though, and not the rushed, busy, hectic type. I’m glad that we chose to spend our time the way we did last year, ups and downs included. 

Here’s looking ahead to a spectacular 2018.

Mommy Bloggers and Nutri10Plus Vitamins Send Love To Kids In Marawi

Moms have this innate need to provide quality nutrition for their children, agree? It’s just one of those instincts that kicks in along with our mysterious and amazing maternal instinct. At least that’s how it happened with me. 

In our home, as in most households, providing adequate nutrition means choosing healthy, balanced meals over junky snacks and processed foods. It also means being well-stocked with vitamins and supplements that are able to sustain and nourish our growing family needs. In Little MrC’s stash we made sure to include Nutri10Plus.

Nutri10Plus Syrup, a multivitamins packed with Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), Taurine, Lysine, Zinc and Vitamins C, A, D3 B1 and more, has been assisting mothers all around the Philippines in developing children with strong bodies, active brains and healthy appetite.

In the effort to help our co-mommies and their children in war-stricken Marawi, 100 Mommy bloggers from the Mommy Bloggers Philippines community collaborated to bring boxes of Nutri10Plus Syrup and DayCee Vitamin C Syrup, plus toys to 100 kids in the area.

This was done in partnership with SinagTala, a non-profit organization headed by Ms. Kaye Koo. SinagTala has helped villages in Marawi since the conflict began, sheltering hundreds of children inside their Playroom, which served as a mini-school and play area.

Through the Nutri10Plus Syrup, DAYZINC vitamins, and the toys that were sent over, we hope to uplift these children’s spirits and help restore their health. This is especially important now, as they start to pick up the pieces of their lives as families.

The MBP moms all wish to thank WERT for this campaign, Kaye Koo of SinagTala and all the staff who have helped in sending the vitamins to Marawi.

To learn more about the benefits of Nutri10Plus Syrup, check through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nutri10Plus/

I am proud to be one of the moms who participated in this campaign. It feels great to have been able to use this blog to help bring hundreds of pouches of Nutri10Plus Vitamins to the children in Marawi, together with all of these wonderful mommy bloggers: