Happening today: True Value’s Annual Super Sale

Dont miss out on the biggest sale of the season! TRUE VALUE Shangri-la Mall is having its annual super sale TODAY! It is already in full swing as you read this, but good news: they will be open until midnight tonight so you still have time to shop. 3/5 of the Baby Barangay moms: me, Cat Juan-Ledesma and Bianca Santiago-Reinoso dropped by yesterday to scope out the wares and my golly, we went crazy. Everything from home appliances, kitchen wear and flatware, tools, home improvement items, car accessories, Christmas decor, and pretty much anything home-related is all discounted just for today. And discounts range from 10, 20, 30, 50, 70 to even 90% off!!! This is seriously the best time to do your Christmas shopping, and even shop for your home.

I ended up going home with ceramic pans (time to replace those scary Teflon ones we were using), organizing containers, a mandoline for the kitchen, a Philips air frier, a spiralizer (the only way we can eat pasta these days: zucchini/cucumber noodles), a glass surface protector for our glass shower (to avoid streaks and soap scum), a ton of cinnamon-scented pinecones (to feel Christmas in the home), a cold brew coffee maker for the husband and many, many more items–all at 50% to 70% off!!! Seriously, I got shocked with our bill because I was expected it to be super high. And I love that True Value offered me to pay in installment (6 months to pay) so I really wont feel it when I pay for my credit card. Super sulit! Put on your shoes and drive there NOW!!!!

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My shopping finds at All Home Daanghari

Carlos and I are doing some home improvements at the moment, so pretty much every weekend is spent in home specialty stores to seek quality home basics, like furniture, storage, fixtures, lighting and gardening items. At this point, I feel like we’ve visited every other home store out there, but I have to say, one superstore has stood out in terms of value for money, great options and variety, and plenty of space.

All Home is a massive home superstore that carries pretty much everything home-related, including food items, toys, and all kinds of home accessories. We spent more than a few hours exploring the branch in Daang Hari and came home with a very full car (we even had to load the back seats). They have everything you need and more, and their staff are very accommodating and helpful. If you are in need of bathroom fixtures, they have Japanese brand INAX, and Italian brand Iris Ceramics for your tile needs (their selection is chic and timeless)–both are exclusive to All Home.

Scroll down to see my top picks from our recent shopping trip!

                  

10 things I look for in a grocery store

I have to admit, I never really cared about what was in my local grocery stores or supermarkets until I got married and began managing my household. I took the fresh produce, meat and seafood aisles for granted, as I left it to my mom to plan and shop for the weekly menu. Instead, I stocked up on snacks like chips, chocolates, pop and juices, which ironically, is now a rare thing in our household. Now that I think about it, my idea of a complete grocery store is totally different now that I am a mom in my mid-30s compared to how I was back in my teens

The change definitely came when I gave birth to my son, Tristan. I grew more aware of the value of eating my greens, organic vegetables and fruits, as I wanted my son to grow up eating nutritious food. I became more aware of sneaky unhealthy ingredients that make it to the “healthy aisle” and began buying more fresh and colorful food. Especially now, that my whole family is on the ketogenic diet (no sugar and no carbs), we have made it a point to only buy good, wholesome food. And so I decided to share my top 10 picks for choosing a grocery store.

1.) Accessible and close to my home. I don’t like having to drive a long way to do my groceries. First, because of the traffic–it is just not practical to waste time and gas on the road just to do the groceries. I prefer to drive a short distance so my groceries stay fresh, and the items that need to stay chilled or frozen gets to my refrigerator or freezer right away.

2.) Has a huge fresh produce section. One major requirement for me is a nice big section dedicated to fresh produce. A wide selection of vegetables and fruits is a must, as that makes up most of our groceries for the week. For vegetables, the more colorful, the better! This is really where I spend most of my money. And though admittedly it can be quite expensive (can someone please explain to me why vegetables are so expensive), I think of it as an investment because food = medicine.

3.) Carries organic vegetables and fruits. “Organic” has become a normal thing over in our home. We try our best to buy pesticide-free vegetables, and make sure everything else we consume is  free-range, anti-biotic free, non GMO with little to no sugar. I love that more and more groceries have dedicated big sections for organic vegetables and fruits. This is a must when choosing a grocery store, because it means they have made an effort to supply you with healthy alternatives.

4.) Has a wide selection of meats. When I shop in a new grocery store, I usually scan the meat section (after the produce section) so I can see what they offer. If I see that they have a good assortment of beef, pork and chicken in different cuts, then that is a huge plus for me. Also, it is so important for the meats to look and smell fresh!

5.) Has a wide assortment of seafood. Another important staple in our keto diet is seafood, so if the supermarket has a great selection of fish, crabs, shellfish, shrimp, etc, that is a good indicator of a grocery that’s worth going to. Though it is totally understandable that not all can be available at all times, having a variety of fresh seafood at a given time is great.

6.) The dairy aisle has a good selection of butter, cheese and creams. My family loves cheese and butter (also a necessary keto food group), so having a variety is super important to us. I love being able to find my favorite cheeses in one grocery–especially when they have the brands I love.

7.) There’s ample space to move around with your cart. One pet peeve I have when grocery shopping is when the aisles are too narrow and there’s always cart traffic inside the supermarket. I don’t see the point in having to deal with it (we already deal with traffic everyday), so my go-to grocery has to be spacious and well-designed/planned. I always bring my son with me to do grocery-shopping, so this is important to me.

8.) I can easily find my favorite brands/products. We all have our brands that we are loyal to, and of course, we want to easily find these in our local grocery (having to shop in two or three groceries per week can be time-consuming and tiring). If your supermarket carries all my go-to brands, that is a huge check in my book.

9.) There’s numerous cashier/paying aisles, to prevent long lines and waiting. Long lines can be tiring! I love it when I find a grocery that has plenty of cashiers to accommodate its customers.

10.) Well-lit and properly designed. Lighting plays a key role in grocery shopping. It allows you to see the fresh produce, meats, seafood, etc. properly, so you will be able to buy the best for your family. Also, it helps prevent tired eyes from scoping out what you need. A well-lit grocery allows you to happily shop and even take your time while shopping.

I am happy to share that the newly opened Landmark Alabang passed all 10! I was quite impressed with how well-designed it is, and since its launch I have been going back to do my weekly groceries there. I have always loved shopping in Landmark Makati, but since it is too far from my home I haven’t been able to go back. Which is why I am ecstatic that Landmark opened in Alabang, which is near my home! My weekly grocery shopping experience has definitely improved, and I am looking forward to seeing what new developments Landmark Alabang has in store for us.  ❤

READ: I Wish They Taught Money in School

How come the concept of money isn’t taught in school, and why do we know so little about managing it? These are the questions that have boggled my mind for years, and while I am not expecting schools to change their curriculum any time soon, I have brought it upon myself to know more about money management so I can be financially literate.

I recently picked up these books and was impressed by how simply money was explained and broken down so it can be understood by everyone. Money is definitely an intimidating subject to some, and I love that the authors, Clarissa Seriña-de la Paz and Sharon W. Que, have made a conscious effort to create these books using familiar terms in easy-to-understand context. It even has illustrations and graphics to creatively emphasize their points on money management.

Financial literacy is actually a timely advocacy to pursue, especially since the Philippine economy is rising and studies show that a majority of Filipinos are clueless about financial management. With this in mind, the authors have written these books on money management and personal finance.

I Wish They Taught Money in School. The book was launched in 2013 and made it to National Bookstore’s Top Best Sellers list for five consecutive months. Written in two perspectives, one from an employee’s standpoint (I Wish They Taught Money in School: So I’m Not Dependent on My Paycheck) and another from an entrepreneur’s (I Wish They Taught Money in School: So I Can Start My Own Business Right Away), the book seeks to educate Filipinos of all ages on money matters like learning how to value money, how to make money work for you and to encourage budding entrepreneurs to start their business journey now.

Money Grows on Trees. This book was written to complement the first one. Here, the authors reveal how they handled their money, and gave tips on personal financing. They received an outpour of feedback from it, with many people eager to tell them how they have helped upgrade their lives. At the same time, many others asked for advice as they couldn’t figures out how to get out of a rut. It dawned on the authors that however many tips they shared, it will not amount to much without the real prerequisite to wealth, which is a mindset of abundance. This book is again, written in two perspectives, with the authors sharing personal stories of their own money blueprint and how they wish to inspire readers to learn more about money and how to increase their knowledge about financial literacy.

If you want to know more about money management and learn how to maximize your paycheck, well, these books are for you. I have learned valuable tips and advice about how to make the most of my money, and even learned how to invest.

These books are available nationwide in leading bookstores as well as their online shop (with free nationwide delivery) www.lifestyleupgrade101.com. To find out more about the authors and their books, click HERE and HERE

How I keep my family safe from germs and viruses

So, this happened–I was visited by the terrible Germdugo at home and the Shower Rangers came to my rescue! It was quite surreal to have these famous Hygienix characters in my home, especially after I had just watched them in their latest commercial. But, it was done in the name of cleanliness, so I was all for it!

I was actually more than happy to know more about this newest germ-killing bath product as I’ve been looking for a protective bath soap for my family. This one definitely fits the bill, as it promises to kill 99% of germs, viruses and bacteria without causing the skin to be rough or dry. Also, it smells good! We’ve actually been using this soap at home since this visit and I am happy to report that we are so happy with it. I’ve been recommending it to my mommy friends ever since.

While I am hoping I wont get another visit from the dreaded Germdugo, I am happy that I can easily fight him off as I have Hygienix Germicidal Soap and the Shower Rangers on my side. Try it, if you haven’t yet. ❤

 Hygienix Body Care Pure Defense Germicidal Soap is clinically-proven to kill 99.999% of disease-causing bacteria. It has a non-drying formula and long-lasting fragrance the whole family will love. Available in 65g and 125g bar soaps. 

Why you should invest in lighting your home

I never realized how important lighting is in a home until we moved into our very own house.

A little backstory about the house we are living in now: we were living in a much smaller townhouse at the time and we weren’t looking to move (we had just signed to lease the place for another year). But then we decided that my mother-in-law had to move in with us as her condition was getting worse and she needed to people to watch over her round the clock (she has early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease). And so we began looking for a house.

One house we visited was really spacious and had a nice clean structure. However, it was very dark and quite old, and to be honest, it had a scary vibe to it. We brought our good friend Macky Lim, who works for Philips Lighting to check it out, and the first thing I asked was: “is there a way to make this house look less scary? I want it to look new and modern. Can you do it through lighting?” Macky laughed at my question, but he assured me it can be done. Like a doctor, he wrote a prescription of lights we should get from Philips, and because of his assurance, we got the house.

It truly was the best decision, ever. We absolutely love this house we are living in, and it has become our very own happy home. I never thought lighting could make a difference this huge, but it has. The old and scary house looks homey and inviting now, thanks to the LED lighting we installed from Philips. We enjoy eye comfort lighting on a daily basis, thanks to Philips and seriously, I can never use any other lightbulb after this. Philips truly is the best!

Of course, I was more than happy to share my story during a recent Philips Lighting event. The brand unveiled their Eyecomfort campaign that aims to showcase the importance of proper LED lighting in Filipino homes. Along with architect Paulo Alcazaren and top makeup artist Jigs Mayuga, I talked about how essential it is to invest in great lighting, especially in a reputable company like Philips.

One of the highlights of the launch was the Philips LED SceneSwitch (which I use at home). It comes in two types: the three-step brightness lighting is capable of adjusting light levels; and color change allows you to switch from warm to whole day light. This is a simple analogous dimming option that is easy to install and doesn’t require a dimmer.

This is the kitchen setup, which is quite similar to my kitchen at home. All the lighting here is LED, which is bright, efficient and wont cause a dent on your electric bill (if you haven’t changed your lights at home to LED, well, there is no better time to do it than today).

Jigs Mayuga, talked about the importance of lighting the bedroom (vanity) to be able to relax and apply makeup properly. He shared his experiences he had with lighting and applying makeup, and stressed how imperative it is to use lighting that mimics natural sunlight, which Philips Lighting can provide.

And for the kiddos who go to school, Philips offers a study lamp that wont hurt the eyes. They are actually very comfortable and allows you hours of study time without straining the eyes (not sure how excited the kids will be about this haha, but the parents surely will invest in this).

It is always great to catch up with Jigs. We started out in the fashion industry at the same time, so we have worked together many times before. He is so good-looking right? He is my fitness inspiration!

Landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren talked about the importance of finding a versatile but efficient lighting that will cater to the productivity, mood and comfort of the family. He showed us how a living room should be lighted, thanks to Philips.

Philips Lighting, specifically their LEDs are really unbeatable. They offer the brightest LEDs that are gentle to the eyes (and the wallet). It makes sense to light up your home with Philips, because you wont need to replace your lights for a very long time, and you wont have to worry about quality. In the end, you would have saved more money because of its efficiency and quality.