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Showing posts from 2013

Why You Should Donate NOW to the disaster victims in the Philippines?

UPDATE: Dec. 17, 2013 Our first fund-raising effort was a success! We collected over 10,000 pounds of clothing. The total funds raised = $3,260. For updates about this and future projects, please visit . --------------------- The Philippines has experienced multiple tragedies in the past few months: ·          Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in November ·          7.2 earthquake in October ·          21-day siege in Zamboanga in September. Tens and thousands of people are homeless, injured, or dead. You've seen the photographs and videos of the devastation, and you want to help, but you may be reluctant to donate your hard earned money out of concern that it will not get to those who are in need of help.   You may have also heard that the US Assistance for International Development (USAID) has sent supplies, relief staff, and $100,000 in foreign aid to the Philippines . So you may feel that your donation may not actually make

No words. Just Images. Life Is Beautiful.

Photographer: Michael-Rex of

Why I Love To Walk #zenwalk

There are various forms of exercise and walking is one of the ways you can be healthy - mind, body and soul. I love to walk. Walking is simple. A daily walk is one of the ingredients in my happy, simple life recipe. For 18 years, I've seen my elderly neighbor walk every single day. And it doesn't matter if she's walking by herself in the winter, spring, summer or fall. 

If you can make a difference in the world with one click, would you? Vote for A Liter of Light

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” ~ David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas What if you can make a difference in someone's life, or better yet, to millions of people, just by voting through Face Book?   I know what you're thinking, "It's another one of those Face Book voting awards!" However, this time, your vote will help bring more light to communities around the world, especially in the poor neighborhood. (photo credit: Michael-Rex of ) We take for granted the luxuries we are blessed to have. Other families don't even have access to basic needs such as light. Illiac Diaz , a social entrepreneur, hopes to bring clean, affordable light to millions of homes in the Philippines and other under privileged areas using recycled plastic bottles. He's empowering people to create - be independent! Here's the article written by Fred Sam Lazaro as publ

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?" "Who says I want to grow up?"

Praying for World Peace, Short Shorts and the Holy Rosary

What do you pray for? I was headed to church when   my son asked me what I pray for. "I say thank you for what we have and guidance for what is to come. Sometimes I add a little bit of requests such as good health, jobs, and silly things like passing a test." I said. "You mean you don't pray for world peace?" my son asked. "Not necessarily. I assume God already knows that we want world peace." I answered. "Mom, that's why there's so much violence and wars going on. You're not specifically praying for world peace,"   my son exclaimed. "Nah. I pray and thank God for His graces. World peace is a given, I don't think I need to enumerate every requests, do I? " I asked. This conversation went on back and forth, so I decided to agree to specifically pray for world peace.

Arbonne Pure Mint Deodorant - is it good as they say it is?

I run. I clean. I work. I network. I clean. I walk. I do volunteer work...and yes, I'm on television! (that's something new!) Every day I walk at least 5 miles just to get from one place to another. I'm always walking or running from one train station to the next, and I've been cleaning the house for the past 4 weeks! And like everyone else, I don't like to sweat. I have tried quite a few deodorants and not one seemed to work -- keeping me dry, smelling fresh and safe to use, until... A few months ago, I was having breakfast with my dear friend, Maria. And I noticed that her skin was flawless. She smiled and said that she takes care of her skin , don't we all?  So anyway,   I just thought she's born with it, so we went with our regular conversations about our college-bound kids. And then a few weeks ago, we were having our monthly breakfast with friends and I noticed how beautiful her skin was (again) and that's when she mentioned a

Yes, this is the end...

By Marie Aunio “ And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” Khalil Gibran Five years and eleven days. After all those years, I finally sobbed and said, “I love you. So much. So much.” In the midst of tears, I began whispering to myself all the things I loved about him and, as I did, waves of gratitude and affection come over me. Then I knew our life together would soon be over. Completely.

Our College Admission Process

Like many mothers, 12 months ago around this time, I was reminding my college-bound son to finalize his list of colleges to apply to. Even though this was the third time I was sending my child to college, the process was different and nerve wracking. There were a lot of what if's.   So in order to narrow down our choices and make the process not as stressful as it could have been, we did: 1) Start Early. Our college selection process started when my son was a freshman in High School. We documented every extra curricular activities and community service. We had a spreadsheet of how many hours he spent on each organization and how many hours he spent giving back to the community. This spreadsheet helped in filling in the college applications. It was my son's responsibility to spend time going over the colleges' websites, identifying admission requirements, deadlines and academic curriculum. We visited various universities. Our list consisted of school

How We Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

by Jenjen Furer and Roz Furer, as published in The FilAm magazine I am blessed to have been married to a Jewish family. My four children get to experience a little bit of the Filipino Catholic tradition and a little bit of the Jewish family tradition. Mom, as I call my husband’s mother, was born and raised in Brooklyn. Her parents came from Russia and passed through Ellis Island before settling in New York. Mom’s the driving force on why we get to celebrate the Jewish holidays. She believes that tradition and culture need to be passed on to the next generation. Just like her own mother, Mom loves to cook. The kitchen is her favorite room in the house. Weeks before any holidays, she’d be baking and cooking and if she knew that it would make you feel better, she was going to do whatever she had to do to deliver her delicious matzah ball soup. In September, our family celebrates Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. So I asked Mom about Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest

Selfless Happiness

by Marie Aunio I’ve always hated dolls, crowns, the idea of being a princess, castles and prince charming. Maybe it roots to having three brothers and no sisters. I loved (well, still do, actually) climbing trees, the idea of motorcycling and tattoos. I also love books, conversation about metaphysics, quantum physics and anything philosophical in nature. (photo credit: This morning as I’m getting ready to go to my Accounting job and do the 50 minute commute, it occurs to me what an elitist S.O.B. I am. Not good or bad. Just what’s so, you know? I look upon myself as a more elevated form of a human being because I prefer reading and intelligent conversation over coronations, beauty pageants, parties and parades. Substance over form, please!

Amma, the Hugging Saint, Boston Retreat 2013

by Marie Aunio The operative word in my life for the last year has been one: overwhelmed. Often not visible on the outside but within, it is there. As soon as I complete what’s needed, double comes back. It’s the Blob eating everything in its path and getting bigger with each thing it eats! How do I escape and stop this?!? Going on a retreat last week was my answer. Ironically though, in being with my guru, Amma, it reminded me instead of the world I left behind. What a contradiction! Here is Amma outwardly constantly and famously in action. As of recent count, she has hugged over 30 million times and has produced more philanthropic initiatives than any other in this day and age. Inwardly however, she is immovable, silent and centered. Just like the first time I saw her in 1998, Amma sat for endless hours in the morning and evening giving darshan. She hugs every single person, weeps and comforts their woes, plays with them, gives a caress, says a prayer or song in their ea

365 to 50 : Happy. Simple Life.

Happy. Simple. Life. As I turn a new chapter (which for me is every morning), there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for. From an awkward, shy and tomboyish girl from Paranaque who wanted to be a Benedictine nun to a blessed mother of four wonderful children, married to a very thoughtful man who loves me more than anything in the world; Interesting. I was prepared to list down all the blessings I had in the past 10 years but my family seems to be the one important gift that drove everything I do. Nothing else mattered. I'm lucky to be born to a family who would stop at anything to help one another. I'm lucky to be married to a family who loves me no matter what. Lucky. Something I never thought I was. But despite the challenges my family had been through, I am definitely thankful for being me. Turning 49 drives people to review the past decade. Just like what I did 10 years ago, when I turned 39 (duh!) So in that tradition, here

Nikka: TV Broadcaster, Mother and Baker

by Veronica Cleofe-Alejar (Nikka with her husband and children) Hello everyone! I am Veronica Cleofe-Alejar, Nikka for short, 37 years old. I am a broadcaster by profession; a mother of four, all spaced roughly three years apart, by vocation; and a baker by passion. Our eldest, Therese, is pretty and demure and turns 9 this December; followed by mischievous yet sweet Andre who turns six this October; then chubby and charming Reuben who had just turned three this May; and lastly, lovely and smiley Isabelle who is eight weeks old. Quite a handful, eh? Being the elder of two girls, I never thought that I would outnumber my parents in terms of how many children I would or could pop out. The magic number for them, as my Papa revealed to me one time, would have been FOUR, but due to Mama’s health problems and Papa’s perceived budgetary constraints, they only had TWO – me and my sister, Erica. Mama was never able to see any of her grandchildren, having passed away when I

Largest Can Pyramid: Guinness World Book Record of Cans with a heart!

(photo credit: Cranford Teen Advisory Board ) A group of teenagers had an idea and they made sure it happened. These young social entrepreneurs from Cranford Teen Advisory Board Collected 25,585 cans Built the largest Can pyramid Broke the Guinness World Record Donated the cans to the victims of Super Storm Sandy. Their recent world record has been selected by Guinness World Record for this week's Fans Choice contest. Show them your appreciation for what they've accomplished and visit the link below and scroll down and vote for “Largest Can Pyramid”. Let's help them to be this week's Fan Choice winner: (photo credit: Cranford Teen Advisory Board )

Unconditional Love: To lean back so others can lean in

“I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you - yes, you - have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead That's a quote from Sheryl Sandberg but when I read it, I heard my Mom's voice. Those words of wisdom were something my Mom kept reminding me, my 5 brothers and her 17 grandchildren.

Light Bringer - Psych-K Reflections

by Marie Aunio I came back from a course called PSYCH-K last month. Jen, intuitive soul that she is, sensed there was a shift that happened. I agreed to share it but wasn't sure where to begin until now. Nothing to gain Nothing to lose Never was there an I Nor was there a You There is only Completeness Living in the Emptiness Fullness in the Void Sages in their Silence Beacons of Being Their Nothingness Source of the All Unites the All Is the All of All

For my Dad, thank you for the gift of love

When I became a mother in the U.S., my Dad was the one who helped me with the kids. He would visit every day and look after my children. For more than 10 years he watched over them while I commuted from my home in New Jersey to New York City, where I worked. On Friday nights he would stay up marinating beef with his special BBQ sauce, knowing the joy that each delicious bite would bring to his children and grandchildren. At least once a week, he would cook his signature chicken and pork ‘adobo,’ the only Filipino American dish that my four children still eat. Dad slow-cooked the ‘adobo’ in a way that I could actually bite into the bones, savoring the garlic, soy sauce and vinegar flavors that were fused into the chicken bone marrow. Dad taught my children how to play the piano, to love God and to value the gift of giving. His eyes twinkled at the sound of their giggles. I miss my Dad. It’s been seven years since I last celebrated Father’s Day with my Dad, Serapio Dompor J

Fatherhood: Is it a blessing or a burden?

by Al Furer For some men the prospect of fatherhood is a blessing. For others it is a burden. I was on the burden team. Some men have a drive to pass on their genes. I do not have this drive (especially since some of my genes are questionable). I married the cutest, most intriguing, most desirable girl I had ever met and I loved her unreservedly.   I was willing to give her anything she desired within my power. What she wanted was children , so I agreed. The conception process was nothing but fun, games and pleasure. The outcome, a boy and girl, was something else again. To many people in this world   babies are cute and adorable. To me, any human creature, big or small, that goes to the toilet in their pants, has disgusting table manners and spits up its stomach contents at any given moment, is far from cute and adorable. I am not a baby person! We had the Girl and then the Boy, and my life took a radical change. Where before my beloved wife’s affection shone on me

The Price of Dry Clothes | Our Day at SELF's Workout in the Park

by Dawn Nicholas As thunder rumbled loudly overhead, a waitress scrambled among the tables to collect payment from those of us who had been enjoying a lazy late afternoon lunch in Central Park.   My 16 year old daughter and I dashed through the trees and onto the city streets, our large, overstuffed goodie bags bouncing against us, just as warm , heavy drops of rain began to fall.  With less than two blocks to cover before reaching the subway station, the downpour began, and we were among the unprepared, laughing as we surrendered to our fate. Months earlier, I had come across an ad in Self Magazine announcing the 20 th Anniversary Self Workout in the Park.  This event is held yearly in cities across the U.S. to promote health and fitness to women of all fitness levels.  During this outdoor event, a wide variety of mini fitness classes are held every 20 minutes from 11 am – 3 pm, taught by a group of energetic instructors.  For a $20 entry fee, each attendee is permitted t

A friend told me I was "broken"

by Sonia Lopez Simpson “Friends are the family you get to choose”  It’s interesting that coaching sessions on friendships have been showing up for me lately along with blogs and conversations on the topic.  You see, at the beginning of 2013, one of my intentions was to surround myself with women who are supportive, loving, kind and who are willing to put forth the effort to build beautiful friendships.  And it’s happening, with effort from both parties.  Like any relationship, friendships require work towards growth – at least the good ones do.  Recently I had a session where a client reminded me of my own growth in the friendship department.  She was getting all up in her head that a good friend had become distant and she didn’t know why.  She made up scenarios that were VERY creative and VERY untrue. Which she later discovered.  In this session, my own friendship buttons were pushed.  A few years ago I lost a friendship of 20+ years.  Sad but true.