My 3 Best Dads

Reposting this photo of my 3 best Dads ?

Yesterday was really family day for my husband and me. First up was a big lunch with the Ocampos in Fairview. And then it was dinner with the Apitanas all the way in far Pasay. Hehe ?

I have truly been blessed to have grown up with fine examples of Dads. Papa and Daddy showed me that ‘good provider’ was not just about bringing food to the table but being a real presence. That love for family came first, but so did serving the bigger community.

My husband has always had big shoes to fill because these guys, my Kuya included, set a very high standard. Hindi naman din sya nagpapahuli.

Tho we are still working on that baby project, Pawrents naman kami to our four-legged babies. And sya ang primary caregiver. I just know he’ll make a fine Dad himself, given the chance.

To all Dads – a belated Happy Father’s Day! Know that you are loved and appreciated, every single day of the year ?

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Where to Get Fresh Produce Online: Homegrown Organics

Ratings and feedback on products and sellers influence my shopping behavior, so when I find companies or online sellers that make me a happy customer, I try to spread to word.

Today let’s feature my latest source of fresh produce:

Homegrown Organics

@myhomegrownorganic on Instagram | Shop

I just love how you can get fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables delivered to your door! The price and quality is way better compared to what you’d find in the big grocery chains.

Where to Get Fresh Produce Online: Homegrown Organics | Stitches & Words http://verabear.net

This is already my second order. I was so happy with the first batch of mixed greens that I just had to go and order more before I ran out. The greens stayed fresh longer, and also tasted so good.

Carrots came with our first order, and I grabbed one pack of their free tomatoes.

We got avocado too. They are not yet ripe upon delivery but they include a tip sheet so you don’t accidentally cut through the fruit before it’s ready (but I still did, Ha! Excited much?).

On this second order we’re also trying their Sweet mangoes (still waiting for those to ripen), and Indian mangoes (sarap!).

Although there’s a bit of plastic packaging included, I think they are trying to minimize that as best they could and that is truly appreciated. For my next order I’ll have to remember to tell them to go paperless – I have no use for the printed invoice, and though I appreciate the tip sheet and their message to customers, I can just view those online.

Ordering Experience

They have a shopping cart system on their website. They’ve got good pictures, FAQs, and detailed description for each product. Delivery date (tentative) is clearly displayed on the site, and they also send you an SMS to confirm. I received my text confirmation a day before scheduled delivery, and they ask you to respond. Since I know I’m talking to a live person, I also let them know my time preference.

If you would like to place an order, be sure to check their FAQs.

Mode of Payment

Cash on Delivery. As mentioned above, you already know the tentative delivery date even before you order so it’s very easy to plan to have someone available to receive the produce, and pay. Sweet!

They offer free shipping for orders above PHP 450 otherwise, shipping costs PHP 75.

They don’t deliver everywhere, but have a specific delivery coverage which covers most of Metro Manila. I understand this is to ensure the quality and freshness of their products.

Happy Customer

Let me be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I have not received any compensation in exchange for this – I am just a happy customer spreading the word.

In this social media-driven world, where customer service horror stories abound, I try to share something positive every once in a while. 🙂


Eating Well at Work

Working at night makes it a bit more challenging to find options for healthy eating outside the home, but it is not impossible to eat food that will truly nourish our bodies even at 3AM.

BYOB |Bring Your Own Baon

Many times this has meant bringing my own baon.

Doing this has made it easier to keep away from white rice and bread – because it’s nearly impossible to find Red or black Rice in a restaurant, much less in an office pantry or a convenience store.

Eat Well at Work: BYOB | http://verabear.net

Eat Well at Work: BYOB | http://verabear.net

It’s been fairly easy to bring packed lunch, thanks to a husband that cooks. 🙂

This also saved me a lot of lunch money (that I redirect to getting new clothes that would fit better now ?).

I used to skip lunch a lot – because I was too busy to have one – and thought I was saving money then. But it only meant over eating on the next meal which tended to be fast food, and very un-healthy.

For those times though that I don’t get to bring packed lunch, I just do my best to make the better choice.

Convenience Store Find: Gourmet Farms

At our Makati office, where I go 2x to 3x a week, I’ve looked forward to getting my meals at the Lawson convenience store nearby.

I didn’t expect it, but I was so thankful to have found that they offered Gourmet Foods.

Eat Well at Work: Gourmet Farms | http://verabear.net Eat Well at Work: Gourmet Farms | http://verabear.net


I would have to admit, the salads at 99 pesos are NOT cheap. Paired with the chicken or tuna wraps, or a banana, they could be quite filling.

On Tuesday, my lunch of Chicken Mexican Wrap and Sicilian Chicken Salad cost 178 pesos. Mahal if you compare it to pantry food, or a one-piece chicken meal at Jollibee. But it’s fresh, and organically grown. So that’s a price I’m willing to pay occasionally, when I don’t bring my own baon.

And if you think about the long-term benefits, okay na din to spend a little bit more diba?

If only it didn’t mean having to dump all this plastic packaging:

It is possible!

Yes, it is possible to eat better at work. It just takes some planning, and a whole lot of resolve to make informed food choices.

What are you having for lunch today?

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A Week in Winter

Visiting Ireland is high on my travel goals; reading A Week in Winter gave me a strong reminder NOT to forget. Maeve Binchy once again transports us to a wonderful place in her last novel, published posthumously.

Why do I love reading her books?

Hope. It always seems to be at the core of her stories. Hope that if you put in the work things will get better.

And that it’s never too late to make a change. That it’s always a good idea to take a stand for your dreams, and follow your heart.

It also helps that her stories are set against such a beautiful and idyllic background. Do you also see the movie in your mind’s eye as you read a book? That happens for me a lot, which makes reading Binchy titles such a delight. She has a way of painting beautiful pictures with her words. I guess when you grow up around amazing landscapes, you also learn the words to describe them well.

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Saying NO to Plastic Straws

Saying NO to Plastic Straws - overcome challenges to making the switch to reusable straws — http://verabear.net

Have you ever seen that viral video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose? Check it out here, if you haven’t. If that doesn’t convince you to SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS, I don’t know what else will.

A few months ago, we finally got our own set of reusable steel straws. I ordered mine from @metalstrawph on Instagram. Although it has been pretty easy for me to transition to using it, I recognize that there are challenges to making this Earth-friendy transition.

Sipping thru steel

Sipping thru a steel straw takes some getting used to, specially to a straw biter like me. I mean, you could very well lose your teeth if you bite thru that. ? But you do get used to it after a couple of sips. It also doesn’t really affect the taste of any drinks, at least none that we’ve noticed.

Remember to take it with you

On a quick trip at the start of summer, I totally forgot to pack our steel straws. I think I had just washed them and then forgot to put them back in my bag. Because I didn’t want that to be an excuse to keep using plastic straws, I convinced everyone riding with me on that trip not to use any with the drinks we ordered from a fast food drive-thru counter. ?Good thing they agreed! But really, it was a bit challenging to drink from the cup in a moving vehicle. But what the hey, my car, MY RULES! ??Since then, I’ve been pretty good at keeping the straws in my bag.

Refuse the plastic straw

Sometimes, establishments still make it hard to refuse the plastics.

When we order food for delivery, we request that no plastic straws and utensils be included in the order. Sadly, they still pack them with the food.

There are also restaurants who automatically serve drinks with plastic straws already in them. Now that is just sad. Whyyyyy?

Don’t accidentally throw it in the trash!

A few weeks ago, we decided to order in for lunch. Our choice: McDonald’s. (We’ve been doing pretty well with eating balanced meals but once a week, we give in to our cravings – ugh, defensive much?)

Before going to bed, I remember seeing two large soda cups on the kitchen sink, with the steel straws still sticking out from the lids. When I woke up, they were gone, along with the day’s trash. I figured the hubby took the garbage out before leaving for work.

Did he remember to keep the straws? I messaged him to find out. Here’s our conversation:

So I left home without confirming with my own eyes that the straws were just there somewhere. After a long day at work, I came home and couldn’t help but take a peek at the trash bin outside the house – yesterday’s trash was there, and it looked like someone had gone thru them.

As soon as I stepped thru the door, I asked – “Nakita mo?” (Did you find them?). He owned up to it right away, he had to retrieve them from the bin! We still laugh about that – a LOT!

But over Mother’s Day weekend we spent time with his friends and their families at an amusement park before heading to a resort. Before leaving, he needed another drink and got us a large cold Milo. Knowing na paubos na yung Milo, and as we walked out of the park, I kept telling him – “Babe, yung straw ha,” as a reminder NOT to throw it away.

We stopped for the obligatory group photo by the theme park entrance and then left.

While in the car, he remembers too late, that he had thrown the straw away. I’ve been giving him a hard time about that, haha.

Then yesterday, it was my turn. We ordered fruit shakes with our meals – because it’s soooooooo hot you just HAD to have one. I used my straw, while he chose to drink without one. To cut the story short, I left it at the restaurant! But no worries, I called it in, and went back for it this morning.

So, don’t leave home without it AND remember to take it home too!

These challenges are all so easy to overcome, and the reusable straw options are affordable too – specially since you’ll be using them many times, and for a very long time.

There really should be no reason NOT to switch to reusable straws. As in anything else, when you do, you just have to COMMIT TO IT AND BUILD THE HABIT.

When it comes to helping save the planet, no act is too small. What are you waiting for? Reduce single-use plastic waste, and SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS!

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