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Bond with your kids with “Miracles From Heaven”
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I love watching movies with my boys. Ben, 14, appreciates anything I watch—including Tagalog and subtitled movies.
He’s kind of deep like that. Ben and I used to cuddle in bed while watching movies with headphones, but his dad is a light sleeper. Plus Ben is already 5’10” and occupies so much space.

Markus (12) on the other hand, prefers more age-appropriate movies.
After having enjoyed Heaven Is For Real, which is about a young boy who dies, sees heaven, and comes back to life, my boys have been looking forward to Miracles From Heaven, which recently became available on iTunes.
Chris and Jeroen weren’t interested, so Ben, Markus, and I plopped into bed and watched this movie.

Miracles from heaven

I thought I’d be playing Candy Crush while watching, but I found myself drawn to the true story of a young girl (Annabel Beam) who is diagnosed with a motility disorder which has no cure. I could truly relate to her ordeal because 12 years ago, I was confined at St. Luke’s Hospital for what was initially suspected as a motility disorder. It turned out I had adhesions after two C-sections and a myomectomy (long story).

Like Annabel, I also had a nasogastric tube from in my nose-throat-stomach for more than a week. The pain was unbearable, I wished myself death—except I had two babies and a husband I had to live for.
Twelve years later, I have to remind myself I’m so lucky to be alive and healthy.
If you’re a parent, you can certainly relate to the torture of seeing your kids suffering and bargaining with God when they are sick.

I have no daughters, but I’m glad to have boys who can watch movies like this with me, even if it is the story of a girl and is Christ-centered. Keep the tissues nearby. I cried three or four times.
If you have kids and believe in miracles, I highly recommend the movie, even though some parts may be cheesy. Try to see the movie as a whole and not focus on the cheesy parts. 🙂

To know more, go to http://www.miraclesfromheaven-movie.com/

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Certified organic Neal’s Yard Remedies now at Rustan’s
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Neal’s Yard Remedies, the world’s first health and beauty brand to score a perfect 100 for ethical practices by the global Ethical Company Organization, is now in the Philippines, brought in by Rustan’s.

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Started over 30 years ago in Covent Garden, London, the independent and family-owned Neal’s Yard Remedies is a pioneer in natural and holistic health, beauty, and well-being in the UK.
It’s also the first certified organic health and beauty company and the first high street retailer to launch certified organic essential oils.

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To officially welcome the British brand, Rustan’s invited guests and media to a ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Director of International Sales for Neal’s Yard Remedies Calum Mackay and Rustan Commercial Corporation VP for Store Planning and Expansions Michael Huang, along with Assistant International Partnership Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies Amy Wise, Rustan’s VP Operations Val Khodaverdi, Rustan Commercial Corporation Division Manager for Key Brands April Marquez, and Brand Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies Aiem Ong.

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After the ceremony, the group headed over to Sonya’s Garden, Cavite, where guests were treated to a healthy and organic lunch, as well as informative and pampering activities where they got to try some of Neal’s Yard Remedies products.

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Labeling a beauty product “truly organic” means it must have legally acquired certifications and complied with laws and regulations enforced by various agencies, such as using ingredients that have been grown and processed under a very strict code of cleanliness, naturally without pesticides or fertilizers, and without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms, among many other requirements.

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A label can’t just claim it is organic without acquiring such certifications.
Neal’s Yard Remedies products have always adhered to these strict standards, apart from ensuring its ingredients are sustainably sourced.
Discover the award-winning, certified organic health and beauty products of Neal’s Yard Remedies, exclusively available at Rustan’s Makati.

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How to declutter your closet and donate to H&M’s recycling program
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One day I hope to move to a big house with a walk-in closet just for me. But for the time being, I have very limited closet space. I constantly need to remove old or unused clothes to make space for new ones.
Here’s what I usually do:
1) Garage sale but usually the maids get first dibs and send to the province.
2) Donate to my friend Rem.
3) The stranger pieces of designer clothes I used to consign to my friend JP.

But JP is always traveling. Some of my clothes cannot be garage sold because nobody gets them.
What to do with threads you no longer need?
Luckily, Dan Mejia from H&M Philippines told me about their recycling program.

H&M has special boxes at their stores where you can drop off any kind of fiber—be it one sock, a placemat, retaso, unused fabric, pieces of clothing, scarves, etc. which they collect, clean, and transform into new fibers to make new garments. Much better than ending up in landfills.

H&M recycling program

I decided to drop off my first batch during World Recycle Week at H&M Megmall last April.

H&M recycle

The recycling box is located on the 2nd level.

H&M recycle

Best to go on a weekday. No tao.

H&M recycle

There’s the recycling box.

H&M recycle
H&M recycle

In exchange they gave me discount coupons worth 15% each. That means each coupon can be used to get a 15% discount off one item when you shop at H&M.
I ended up using mine at H&M Magnolia because I adore H&M Home.
My designer friend Patrice donated tons of unused fabric she no longer needed and got two booklets of discount coupons.

World Recycle Week is over, but you can donate any time of year to H&M’s recycling program.
If you’re a fashion designer who wants to unload fabric or samples you no longer need, I can hook you up with H&M Philippines. Just email me at chuvaness@me.com.

Watch this video to understand better what happens next to the donation process.

To know more about H&M’s recycling program, click HERE.

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Happy Father’s Day to the one who shares my load
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You know those old movies where the husband typically demands a son from his wife?
The opposite was true for me and my husband.
My husband Jeroen grew up with just one brother and always wanted a sister. He even begged his parents to adopt a girl, but it never happened.
When we got married 15 years ago, I really wished I could give him a baby girl. We even had a name for her. Then Ben was born.

Newborn Ben

Ten months later, I was pregnant again. We really prayed for a daughter. Imagine the tears when the ultrasound once again revealed a scrotum.
Markus was born.

nursery

After my second C-section, my doctor said I couldn’t carry any more babies, but I still wanted another one.
We decided to adopt a baby girl. But then things don’t always happen as we plan. When we went to the orphanage, I was drawn to yet another pair of balls.
We adopted Christian.

Christian

In the beginning, I was scared to have boys. I was afraid to screw them up. I even bought books on how to raise boys, but Jessica Zafra told me not to read them. She said I would just figure it out, and I did. But to be honest, I couldn’t do it without my husband.

My husband is Dutch so you can imagine we were raised very differently.
I grew up with maids and learned how to do chores only when I went to college in New York.
I learned how to cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry, commute, pay my bills, among other things.
Jeroen, on the other hand, grew up without maids, but his mom did most of the cooking, laundry and cleaning—on top of being a nurse.
Jeroen helped out by taking out the garbage, cleaning his own room and bike, mowing the lawn, feeding the rabbit… (he is actually dictating this)

As a married couple, I’d say we are a great team. We divide responsibilities. While I take care of most of the kids’ needs, Jeroen is there to do the stuff I can’t, such as sports and morning activities. He also cooks a lot for them. Jeroen is a hands-on dad. He’s not afraid to show his love, and though he scolds the boys, I have never seen him lay a hand on them.

Ben still sleeps on our bed when there's no school the next day
daddy love
Back at home!

He can also tell when I’m sad or having a bad day. That’s when he takes time out to comfort or pamper me.
Marriage is a partnership. If there is one thing I wish for our kids, it’s to be like their Dad. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner for me, so this coming Father’s Day, I want to thank Jeroen for helping me raise the kids and #ShareTheLoad.

I recently saw this touching #Ariel video that shares the same idea.
Set in India, a tired mom comes home from work and goes straight to taking care of her family’s needs. Her visiting father sees it and starts to think about what kind of children are we raising by example?
Should the women do most of the work and serve the men in the family, or should the load be shared by all?

Why aren’t gender roles evolving with the times? Maybe it’s time to #ShareTheLoad

Posted by Ariel Philippines on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy Father’s Day from #Ariel.

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