Saturday, 30 May 2015

DIY Simplifying: One Makeup Case

Guess what I'm going to do.  I'm going to share a working mama makeup trick today.  
(The world is not ending, I promise.)

For those of you who know me and see my bare face daily, I give you permission to laugh. 

You see, I literally rush out the house everyday so it's much easier to whip out one makeup compact wherever I am and put on my face. I try to, at least.  15% successful attempts.

But I like to pretend I'm more professional and grown-up with this in my bag:

 image from

I've lived with it for a year and it's great, but it's not a perfect solution yet.  What this kit doesn't have is what I need most: liner, concealer and lip balm.  Come to think of it, that's more of my ideal everyday face than the stuff in this compact!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Squeezing a Play Area Behind the Couch

If there's one thing I make room for in the house, it's play areas squeezed here and there.  You won't find beautifully elegant rooms in my home, no ma'am.  Signs of a child are in every random place possible.

I can't say enough on how having play within reach makes it easy for this working mama to create magical moments with my daughter at home; and how it helps her explore and learn even while I'm at the office.  This is the story of the play space behind our couch.  

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Perfect Corporate Meeting

John Maxwell was my fresh-grad corporate hero.  But many years later, I have wisdom of my own.

Well, one can always dream.
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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Leave-Behind An Easy Geography Lesson

Geography is one of the things in my daughter's Montessori curriculum that surprised traditional old me.  How is geography basic preschool fare?  

It's a little genius though.  Montessori philosophy believes that children must first learn about the physical world around them - to use their senses to explore and to know that everything has a name so that children tend to want to learn everything.  
Of course my usual dilemma is finding the time to recreate all those wonderful homeschooling lessons, like this one from the truly amazing Pinay Homeschooler.  So yet again, here's one of my working mama solutions.  

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Philippine Montessori Center Preschool : A Review

The most-asked question I get is where my daughter goes to school and why I chose it.  I answer those questions privately on email but now that she has graduated let me now answer that safely on the Internet.  Objectively, that is.

I can relate to the thirst for information when hunting for a preschool - so I hope this helps put some out there for fellow corporate moms who narrow the choices through an Internet search rather than actual school visits.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Coping With Corporate Meetings

By the time you hit motherhood in your corporate life, you've been around long enough to go through a lot of big corporate meetings.  Why is it that you put 15 brilliant people in the same room, and everyone always thinks they could have done so much more with their time? How many times have we snuck in some work in the middle of these things?

I'm afraid motherhood jacks up the stakes a lot more : time isn't just money, time is family.

So this is what I do:

I've become very good at spotting a point that sounds like it could have high impact but inevitably falls short of anything truly actionable.  The motherhood statement.  Usually preceding a very long justification without ever really saying anything.  When you get really good, you can quickly spot the generic speakers early and tune them out five seconds into their speech.

 I switch to blessed autopilot for a few minutes of working.

Usually it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.

Take last week.

I was at a multi-country meeting representing the local business.  By the afternoon of day one, I knew when it was safe enough to switch to auto-pilot.  Until: "so what does the Philippines think?" snapped me out of it.  Crap.  I had to ask to repeat the question.

My auto-pilot mode needs work.  Truth is, I'm horrible at multi-tasking.

Give me some advice, folks!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Make A Map Real

Sometimes a weekend play idea just comes naturally if you have some ready-play materials hanging around.  Here's how some of the play ideas I wrote about before came together like fate: our sensory tub of rice, tree trimmings, a map from a zoo trip and some random toys.

I would like to say that this is great spatial intelligence practice, but heck it's just something I wanted to play with myself.  When I was a kid, the setup was sometimes more fun than the actual play.

I was so distracted, I didn't get a chance to snap a shot of the play invitation.  The idea was to make a small-world zoo using the map we have as a guide.

I had put out those clear acrylic boxes to use as an aquarium, but it was entirely her idea to cut up some blue origami paper to use as water.  She and I went back and forth inside her room to grab supplies she thought of in the middle of the setup. 

The feel of the rice in the bin is so addicting:

Here's part of the River Safari Zoo in Singapore.  With her favourites red panda and panda amid the forest enclosure - old tree trimmings from the Christmas tree scraps I saved:

Left: panda enclosure.  Right: aquariums with river life

She used her wooden blocks to make the African animals area:

Finally, she wanted to make the polar bear enclosure with water beads:

Yes we have this box of water beads (Orbeez in toy stores) ready in her toy closet.

And ice:

Until she said it was ready for the polar bears to move in:

The zoo is ready for play!

I put the zoo bin back in the roll-out drawer for ready access for a few weeks, but this is one time the process of play trumps the result.

Unless the result is this, that is!

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