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With a 9-year gap between my two girls, Sophia and Samantha, I feel like I'm a new mom again. It's fun to actually experience it now that I think I'm a bit wiser but it can be quite challenging, too. With all the baby essentials that are available in the market, it's just so hard to choose what's really best for our children. This is why I'm thankful to be a parent at this time and age of social media where we can find comfort and answers from other moms with same dilemma as ours with just a few clicks on our phones.  

So to help my fellow mommies, who are in dire need of a diaper brand that perfectly suits their lifestyle best, I'm happy to share with you that I just found out about this new player in the diaper scene — QPants Baby Diapers! It's from the same company that makes Sunmed Adult Diapers, if you're familiar  with it. They used to just distribute within Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon only but because online shopping happened, QPants are now available nationwide via Shopee and Lazada! I'm sure those two e-malls are also your go-to shopping sites just like every mom with internet access. 


When I received my hefty supply of QPants Baby Diapers, I immediately changed Sammy's nappy to give it a road test. Coincidentally, she was using another brand that gets super soggy with just little pee. How disappointing. My valid excuse for buying? Well, we came from the camp, where my military husband is assigned, and that was what we bought in the commissary there. Good thing QPants arrived a few days after we got home. And guess what — I was pretty amused by its performance! 


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As a fan girl, of local and international celebrities altogether, I got so excited to have seen the teaser of a well-loved shawarma brand in the country, Turks. I already knew who the mystery man was. I've seen most of his movies, I have kind of mastered his every angle. John Lloyd Cruz, Popoy to a lot of his fans, is back.


The teaser video posted on Turks' Facebook page has garnered huge number of comments and reactions from netizens who apparently missed seeing JL in the limelight. And it now has 3.2 million views since it was posted. Yesterday, Turks released the full video of the ad entitled Ang Pagbabalik on their YouTube channel. John Lloyd looks like he sincerely loves the life he lives now.

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When Sammy has started sitting on her own, everyone was excited to see her walk already... And now that she has perfectly mastered her strides, who's following her, pacing with her all the time? It's not everyone, it's just me! Where are they now? Oh, they're chilling on the side, laughing and saying how cute she is. Haha! Well, if not for the summer heat, I wouldn't complain as I felt like I lost a lot of weight by doing so. But then again, the weather just makes me want to scoop her up and carry her as long as my back can handle. 


Don't get me wrong, mamas. I would love my terrific toddler to have as much freedom as she deserves but let's be real, running after a toddler isn't easy. It requires many underrated traits and character that parents and caregivers should embody. Would you like to know some? I got a few basics here.

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At 23, I was every inch of what I wanted myself to be — a fun and free college graduate who was working in the biggest broadcasting network in the country. Also, I had a cute military boyfriend who loved me back as much I loved him. I wasn't rich but I had everything I needed to be happy. For me then, my life was perfect. Things have changed dramatically, though when I got pregnant out of wedlock. Sadly, the boyfriend (who became no longer cute for me lol) and I had opposing views about the situation; it was expected that we didn't get married. Worse, I didn't have a job for the whole 9 months of carrying my little human. Just imagine how miserable I felt every time I craved a burger and I don't even have money to buy the cheapest kind.


While my mother took me under her care, I knew I had to do something for me and my baby. So during my first trimester, armed with resourcefulness and guidance from the Lord, I sold my huge magazine collection to a magazine store near our house. My collection of mostly Summit Media magazines was really that huge that I was able to buy myself fruits, maternity house dress and vitamin supplements. And just before my first trimester ended, my boyfriend (who became cute again lol) and I reconciled and decided to become partners in building our dream team. We knew we would never have our fun and free youth back but having a baby gave our lives so much meaning.

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I may look like I know a lot about food but guys, I am just actually learning so much from the people I follow on Instagram! Take for example, Joey of @chichajo. I was watching her Stories when I saw the tagged online shop that sells seafood. Wow. I mean, who would think that you can now buy fresh seafood online, right? Search it, it's called @marvsboqueria.ph. You're welcome. Marvs sells different kinds of seafood! He also has an awesome package that includes prime beef steak, tiger prawns and salmon. It's quite costly; I'm still saving up for that so I can cook them on my birthday. Or maybe on our wedding anniversary. 


Anyway, I bought crab meat, tanigue fillet and steak and bakoko. I never encountered bakoko in the wet market so after I did a quick consultation with Mr. G, I decided to buy that. If you are following me on IG, you'd know that I made a lot of dishes using the 500-gram crab meat. With tanigue, I made kilawin from some of it for my husband. As for my new fishy friends, I made escabeche.

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I just love attending blogging events that is all about deliciousness. Yes, when it's all about food and how the brand came up with it, my foodie heart is utterly happy.


I was completely amazed at how Hui Lau Shan, a global dessert chain based in Hong Kong, has actually started. Would you believe that they use Philippine mangoes in all of their stores across the globe? And they have over 300 branches! It's no longer a secret that our mangoes are the best but I felt like a proud mother hen when I knew about it.

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Is there any meat-loving mammal here who don't eat adobo? If that's you, why are you even here? 

I mean, remember the time celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay chose pork adobo burger over a bison and chorizo double stacked burger in the American TV program Good Morning America? What about when Anthony Bourdain learned how to cook adobo? I won't go further and stress the importance of these two gentlemen in the food industry but if they loved adobo, why anyone else wouldn't?


When I became a full-time homemaker, adobo has always been my saving grace. Adobo gave comfort to my husband after a tiring and long travel from the camp. Its thick and flavorful sauce has been my eldest daughter's first experience in appreciating Filipino cuisine. A huge chunk in our family and food stories will always be taken by adobo. 

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For a lot of families, weekends are exclusively intended for doing things together—be it errands, grocery shopping, out of town trips or any extra curricular activities the kids have. But for us, who've been a military family for more than a decade already, most weekends are just like any other day. In fact, there was a point when our army dad didn't come home for 3 consecutive months! Those 12 weekends without him were dragging and dreadful. I prayed so hard to Jesus to never let it happen again. Glad that we're luckier now; every day's a weekend as long as hubs is home.

#TheRayalas love Uniqlo! ♥ 
So when Uniqlo Philippines invited us to a family day, I was ecstatic! Not only we were complete but we also got to help promote a brand we love. We are totally not a fashionable family, it isn't up our alley, but with Uniqlo, looking polished and presentable is easy. It was really a fun day! Uniqlo launched the new summer designs of their graphic tees. Say bello to the Minions!

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If there's one thing that I can't just easily minimize the consumption of, it has to be beef! I'm a beef-lover since I learned how glorious bulalo is. Then as I grew older, I have always loved my mama's beef caldereta. Its savory sauce made of rich tomato paste, pork liver and some chili was a perfect match to the beef's taste and texture. And one day, after a long and tiring trip along EDSA, my husband and I found ourselves parking in front of a beef pares joint near our house. Yes, instead of going home directly, we stopped by to eat pares—our ultimate post-carmageddon meal. But that's not the recipe I'm sharing here today. Sorry for the confusion, haha.


I got carried away with my beef stories that I went that far. It happened that my husband came home with a big bag of white onions from their farmer friends. The ones we got were actually market rejects. It was still perfectly edible but they came in odd sizes so it's not good to sell anymore. And since white onions rot fast, I needed to consume it before it does. Bistek Tagalog enters the picture. 

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My toddler Samantha is such a joy to feed! She now eats table food and almost everything that I serve to her big sister, Sophia so that means kitchen time is back to easy for me. I no longer make separate food for the tiny one. No more boiling and mashing and storing. My baby foodie now eats freshly-cooked food. Thank God for daughters who love eating as much as I love cooking! It's not always a walk in the park, though. There are days when one of them, or sometimes both, feel like being judgy as if I'd feed them something gross. Well, I've made myself a general rule when it comes to my relationship with food and motherhood—while I enjoy seeing my kids finish their plant-based meals, I still acknowledge the fact that they are humans who deserve to enjoy 'delish dishes'. 


What I mean by delish dishes are food our generation has always loved when we were kids (uhm till now actually). Like spaghetti, burger, fried chicken, pizza, and what-have-yous. Back then, it's every child's dream to eat those on a regular basis. Jollibee was like the god of happiness in the 90s! But not me. As a kid, I was happier to have nilagang baka, pancit and chicken macaroni soup. In fact, I knew my mama, who's a widow, has extra money when she makes us creamy and hearty macaroni soup. She paired it with fried fish or breaded pork chops. It was one of the best memories of my childhood... watching my mother cook for us. Her version of macaroni soup has julienned carrots, shredded cabbage, chicken pieces and sliced hotdogs. I loved my mama's soup but now that I'm a grown-up and have learned the risks of eating hotdogs regularly, I have almost taken that out of our grocery list. Also, pink soups mean there's food color. But guys, this recipe still has processed meat. Why? Duh, bacon!

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