Reaction: 13 Reasons Why

‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’

-Fredrick Douglass

I do not really write reviews professionally but this TV series which I have just finished today recalled so many past experiences. I can identify to it at a personal level and now that I am a parent – I would recommend it to every concerned parent to watch it as well.

Let’s talk about demographics, according to International Suicide Statistics, over one million die by suicide worldwide each year. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. In the Philippines, seven Filipinos commit suicide everyday. This is a troubling rate stating that one person commits suicide every three and a half hour.

This issue is very close to my heart because I have attempted and thought about committing suicide when I was in my teens. I was a bubbly person on the outside, a stellar student and have bunch of friends. But there are demons in my head when I am alone. I was experiencing some troubles with my family during that time and I am so fed up with it that I want my misery to end. For some reason, even if other people see my problem as ‘not that bad’- for me it was magnanimous. I don’t think that anybody could fully understand what I was going through and I just decided to shut them out. I have went through faintly  slashing the surface of my arm with a blade for several times just to see if I could take it. I would play so many scenarios in my head on how to end my life. I did not even thought about leaving a suicide note because I want my death to be mysterious.

I very well  know what the demons in my head meant. I was just too afraid to admit it and confide to my friends that I was depressed. Part of the reason that I don’t want others to know was because I don’t want to appear fragile and weak. Above all, I don’t want others to think that I am crazy. I was so afraid of the stigma that it has almost cost me my life.

Why am I still here? Because I took on a pursuit of understanding myself. Took a course in Psychology and later realized that being depressed is not being Crazy . I have channeled my demons through writing, reading, listening to music and helping others. My subjects in counseling were my favorites. I learned to listen and I listened more. It felt great. The more I listen to the miseries of others, the more I read their stories and interact with them online – the more awareness I get from my condition. ‘Misery love company’, stayed true to me in a good way.  I have become an empath and I like to touch lives. This is my life’s purpose.

Going back to my reaction: all the series of unfortunate events in Hannah Baker’s life in  the TV series has just made it too unrealistic. No one in real life could be that unfortunate.  But all of the issues are real. Being called a slut because of an imperfectly timed shot, mean girls, mean jocks, date-rape, cyberbullying, stalkers, petty crimes, bad rumors…. Being a teen is a hard life. If I would be given a chance to re-live it again. Hell no, I will pass that ‘opportunity’. Just so glad to be over with it. So what is the issue now?

We have put emphasis on physical health and have strongly incorporated it in our children’s school curriculum and yet so little is being done in boosting mental health of individuals. Right now is the best time to talk about depression. Right now is the best time to truly listen with a heart.

If you have young kids: shower them with love, support, warmth and understanding. While I was conquering my demons, those were some of my realizations. I promised to myself that if I become a parent, I would do things differently. I stayed to that promise now that I have three kids.

Do not shelter your kids, instead expose them to the truths of the bitter world but be there for them. Help them understand that even if the world is cruel there is a whole lot of things to be grateful with. Your hugs and kisses may  mean so little now but they will need all the happy memories when they grow up. Create a relationship  where you are open to listen to even the silliest stuff that they like to talk to you about.

 

Product Review: Lenovo VIBE Shot Z90A40 32GB. Best phone priced under AED 1,000

I have always been a very satisfied Nokia Lumia 920 user. I have been using my Lumia for 4 years before I decided to switch to a new phone. My judgment basically revolves around how good the phone is in taking pictures. I LOVE taking pictures. I like to document as much as possible the memories I have with my family. I have to honestly say that Lumia is very good and crisp in taking pictures. In taking them with low light, it could actually put those overpriced and high-end phones to shame. If you are interested to know if I had a hard-time using a Windows phone OS, the answer is NO. I really like WP and Onedrive. We have also Xbox 360 at home so it just works perfectly with everything we have. 

I was considering in getting the Lumia 950 XL and Blackberry Priv. Lumia because I just want to continue my fanaticism with WP and Blackberry because I was once an avid BB Rim user years back.  If you have noticed by now, I am not a great fan of the Samsung and Apple phone products. I have never considered them as either of my alternatives because I am the kind of person who would like to go against the flow. 

lenovo-vibe-shot-531


 And so the moment came when I really had to buy a phone but  I got short of cash. So I had to look for a cheaper alternative below 1000 AED but I  would not settle for anything that would turn out to be a disappointment later. That’s when I bumped into this Youtube review about the Lenovo Vibe Shot. 


This is pretty sleek with a 3 gig RAM and 32 G internal memory. This is already dual sim and running in Android Lollipop when I got it. I recently updated it to Android Marshmallow a few days ago. Just like my Lumia, the battery is non-detachable and pretty fast when playing high res games. If there is one thing I am greatly impressed with this unit,  it has to be the camera features. The main camera is 16 MP  and 8 MP front camera – this has got to be the ultimate selfie phone. At a price of AED 1,200 at that time, I was totally happy when I got it. 


Then I just saw this offer in Souq that they have lowered it down to AED 629, so if you are looking for a phone under AED 1,000, this is the perfect phone for you. No need to thank me later, you will not regret it. I have used it for over a year already and you can visit my Instagram account because most of the pics and videos I have posted there were taken from my Lenovo Vibeshot. I even do all of my image, video and audio editing using my Vibeshot. You be the judge!

See you in my next review!

 

 

 buy

April Glambox : Beauty by Nature

Last March, I received four items from ‘The Rituals of Sakura’. All of the items smelled so deliciously good, fresh and relaxing. But among all, the body cream was my personal favorite. I could bathe to a tub full of it and stay there forever.

DSC_0850

For April, I received a total of eight products ranging from body scrubs to hair keratine treatment. I will be enumerating the nine items just in case you would be interested in buying them. Below is a brief slideshow of the items that I got for this month.

 Avene – Cleanance Micellar Water

DSC_0049

Ignore the fancy name, this is just a make-up remover. The gentle ingredients it contains will effectively remove makeup and impurities. Dive into this refreshing no-rinse cleansing experience.

Avene – Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser

DSC_0046

This is a Soapless Gel Face and Body Cleanser. Its gentle cleansing base will cleanse our skin leaving it smooth, clear and refreshed.

Body Boom – Coffee Scrub

DSC_0042

Discover the Yummy universe of Bodyboom Coffee Scrubs. This delicious scrub is made with 100% Natural ingredients and can be applied on both face and body.

It promises to smoothen and nourish your skin and help reduce cellulite while delighting your senses with it exquisite scents.

Derma | E – Purifying Detox Scrub

DSC_0034

Say Hello to a softer skin with the Derm | e Purifying Detox Scrub! Gentle enough for daily use, this natural detox scrub will lift away micropollutants and impurities while promoting oxygenation that will leave your skin a fresh and healthy radiance. Enriched with the most powerful minerals and natural toxin fighters from the earth and from the sea this amazing scrub will boost your skin will boost your skin purity for a refreshed and glowing complexion.

Palmer’s – Coconut Oil Body Lotion

DSC_0044

This Palmer’s Coconut Oil Body Lotion contains ethically and sustainably sourced Coconut Oil and Tahitian Monoi Oil, infused with Tiare flower petals. These raw, natural ingredients deliver luxuriously rich moisturization to grant you a decadently pampered skin showing off a radiant and healthy looking.

 

Palmer’s – Olive Oil Body Lotion

DSC_0032

Pamper your skin with the highly beneficial Olive Oil extracts with the Palmer’s Olive Oil Body Lotion. This creamy lotion will leave your skin soothed, softened and nourished to perfection.

Phyto – Phytokeratine Mask

DSC_0035

This product works miracle at first usage. You don’t have to go to a salon just to have your hair treatment done. At the comforts of your bathroom, the Pythokeratin Mask from Pytho will restore the original health and beauty of your weakened and damaged hair. Fear not because its gentle natural formula is paraben-free, sulfate-free and phthalate-free and does not contain silicone or sodium making it very safe to use at home.

Tree Hut – Body Butter

DSC_0039

The tropical scent of  Shea Body Butter from Tree Hut makes me miss the Philippines even more. The  Coconut and lime extracts will help to naturally condition dull and neglected skin. This thick body butter, infused with Certified Organic Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, was designed to seal in moisture, providing your skin with a deep hydration.

I am very satisfied for the April  Glambox. This has made my subscription all worth it. All women deserve this and I always psyched in looking forward to what I will receive in the coming months. If you want to give someone their much-deserved #glambreak, head to the Glambox site and this will be the perfect gift for your significant loved ones and friend. See you next month.

App Review: Mobizen Screen Recording for Android Kitkat

mobizen1

Today, I decided to make a simple tutorial for desperate mothers out there who wanted to help their children in their pursuit of being a Youtube star.

A few months ago, we got our son a new tablet – Xiaomi Mipad 2. For the basic specs, I am already quite impressed for a price of 299AED(Php 4000) – memory is 64 GB with a 2 GB ram running on Quad Core 2.2.4 Ghz. This tablet is worth every penny. He is an avid gamer and likes to record his gaming sessions in his tablet using AZ Screen Recorder. However, we realized that with the new tablet which is running on Kitkat version(Android 4.4), the AZ Screen Recorder and so are the other recording apps in Google Playstore are not compatible with it. He has searched far and low for a screen recording app and was frustrated enough to finally ask me for help.

I am an average techy mom, but I can read instructions. So one day, after trying out so many apps and failed, I went to the forums for some ‘professional’ help. I should have exercised extra caution when I tried out one of the advice. But I was out of time, thinking about preparing dinner and so desperate to get it done with. One of the advice was an instruction to root the tablet and install a zip file to update the software. I must have done something wrong along the way that I ended up crashing my son’s tablet. It would no longer boot the launcher, android process and the rest of its operating system.

I thought about my son and the disappointment he will get after he will realize that to bring his tablet back to life, his 60+ apps needs to go. I was a bit surprised with his reaction, ‘That’s OK Mom. I love you more than my tablet’. Such a good kid.

So the ultimate rule when things go bad when you tweak your android device, you need to restore it to factory settings. I have done this so many times, so this time I know what I am doing. So you need to do it using the Volume + & – buttons and the power button. This will vary from device to device. But for our Mipad 2, simultaneously hold down the Volume + button with the power button and wait for the Mi logo and the recovery options to appear. Here’s a video below for the complete tutorial.

 

After I have restored the tablet to its fresh version, I headed back to playstore and downloaded the Mobizen Screen Recorder.  You need to connect your Android phone or tablet on a PC  and the on-screen instructions will guide you along the way. First, you need to go to the Mobizen website and download the Screen Recorder Booster file so that you can run it on Adroid 4.4(Kitkat). Once you are successful with downloading the file, you can now proceed with the installation. Then, voila! Problem solved! Sharing below is a  short video tutorial on how to use the app.

 

This is a valuable learning experience. As a parent, I realized that I could not put limits on myself when it comes to helping our kids. As a mom, I realized I have raised a well-mannered eight year old who is quite adept at handling frustrations and disappointments. It has eaten at least three hours to sort out this predicament. But all in all, it was all worth it.

Al Ain – Abu Dhabi Food Festival

Last December 8, we attended the Abu Dhabi Food Festival that was held in Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain. This annual event is something that every foodie should attend and look forward to. We did not only enjoy the food, but the entertainment as well. Do not worry about your kids, they have also installed play houses and bouncy castles so that you can leave them there and enjoy the various delicacies. There were several food trucks ranging from local, Asian, Meditteranean and Western cuisines.
We, as a family, will surely look forward to it this December 2017.
                                           

 

 

Toddler Wonderland

Play is my toddler’s full-time job. Among all types of play, her most favorite is Pretend Play. As much as possible, I would like to document all the personas my 3-year old daughter wanted me to characterize. I am always her accomplice in her trips to Wonderland.

One day, she got so fond of Mario that she wanted me to be Princess Peach. She would cutely say it like this, “I yam Mario, you Mom is, Princess Peach!”. So I asked her if her brothers were any part of these escapade which she would fondly reply, “Kuya Tatan is Bowser. Kuya Kiki is Luigi and Papa is Dragon.”

7c1a2581e6369f2961b174e68b3b3351

Other than Mario, sometimes she would want me to be Maui and she would let me shout at the top of my lungs, “It’s MAUI time!”. Then she would belt-out, ” I am MOANA!”. This normally happens at least 4 to 5 times a day.

moana-maui-2

If you are familiar with ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’, then we are on the same page on this. She likes to be ‘Foxy’ and me, her ‘Mangle’. There is a song that she likes to incessantly play on her tablet and for most of the time we need to act it out. OK, I am not really talking about a 3-minute song, it is like a darn play.

hqdefault

If you are familiar of the movie ‘Coraline’ then take a wild guess who she decided me to be. Hhhmmmm… I think you guessed it right. She always wanted me to be the ‘Other Mother’. She always want to go to sleep as ‘Coraline’ uttering these specific lines every night:

Majika(as Coraline) : Goodnight, Other Mother!

Me: Good night, Coraline! Seeee you soooon!

efe7147c8409d77f0ad6ac5750b1be1f

Her pretend play is firing up in all cylinders but I am not complaining. This is a significant milestone for her and we as a family is very supportmaxresdefaultive. I will never get tired of being ‘Maria’ from the ‘Book of Life’ and she as the galant young ‘Manolo’. Nor  would I ever get tired of being the ‘ Little Red Hair Girl’ in ‘Peanuts’ with my little munchkin acting out as the awkward ‘Charlie Brown’.

 

As many as she wants me to characterize, she will always play the best lead in the acting role — and me will forever be with all-out support, her Best Supporting Actor/Actress.

May you read this when you grow up munchkin. We love you.

 

Homeschool Skedtrack

Enrolling to a homeschool provider gives you the convenience of getting away from the admin tasks normally entailed while homeschooling like grading, assessment and keeping the transcript of records. But what if you are just like me, not exactly unschooling – more like eclectic homeschooling and a control-freak. Worry not! This website is heaven-sent to families who are independently homeschooling their kids.

Homeschool Skedtrack is a FREE online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. The heart of the system is the automated scheduling of activities that frees you from the headache of rescheduling everything once an activity/lesson is missed.

The whole system is a personal virtual school that features:

Easy record keeping from PK-12 for each student.You can access your virtual school from anywhere around the world. Offers flexible scheduling of your child’s activities/lessons per year, per month, per week or as you go. Has an automated display of daily homeschool activities/lessons per course. Also, has automated tracking of a total number of hours/days completed. You can also schedule and track field trips, schedule vacations and declare holidays. You can create a school calendar for each student and a resource list per course. The greatest thing that I am thankful for is the tests recording and automated grade calculation. Moreover, you can generate report card in pdf format and transcript generation in pdf format ( two columns or by subject ).

Khan Academy

This is our go-to site for practically everything about Math, Grammar, History, and Science. Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, believes that anyone around the world should have FREE access to quality educational materials. This is a non-profit educational organization who produces short lectures in the form of Youtube videos to engage the learner. Their tagline, “You can Learn Anything” has greatly inspired us to name our Homeschool “Growth Mindset Academy”.

I strongly believe in their advocacies and I promote it to my friends who are entertaining to homeschool their children. “Yes, you can teach your kids!” – is my encouragement to parents who feels derailed by the thought of expensive schools and curricula. For everyone who wants to homeschool their kids, please be informed that we have access to world-class education — great thanks to kind-hearted and innovative people like Sal Khan, who believes that Education is a Right, not a privilege.

The website has a user-friendly interface that my kids find very easy to navigate. Below is the screenshot of my son’s Khan Academy account. He finished his 3rd grade Math as early as January(we started Homeschooling June of 2016). He is currently doing 4th Grade Math because he just loves to do it. Moreover, he has accomplished all the Grammar lessons as early as November of last year.

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 2.01.00 AM

This is self-paced learning and I believe that this is perfect for my kids and for every kid in this generation. I don’t push them to do Khan Academy every day – but out of habit, they know that they are to do their Mastery Missions every day and they are so excited looking forward to those badges to unlock every time they achieve a milestone. That kind of discipline that was honed in my kids while doing Khan Academy is something that I am greatly grateful with.  I am very proud of them having that kind of discipline at an early age of 6 and 8 – always hungry for learning.

If I am to write everything about Khan Academy – one blog post is not enough. I would not be too verbose to elude you from boredom. I will, however, leave you with the Youtube videos that have greatly inspired me to use Khan Academy with my kids.

Till then, ‘You can Learn Anything’.

Let’s use video to reinvent education | Salman Khan

Let’s teach for mastery — not test scores | Sal Khan

Khan Academy on the Gates Notes