Four Options for Remembering Your Cremated Loved One

Cremation has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as the cost of a traditional burial has skyrocketed. However, deciding what to do with the cremains can be difficult. If your loved one has expressed a desire in cremation or you’re researching cremation for yourself, here are four of the most popular options for placing cremains at rest.

A Niche in a Columbarium

Columbariums usually resemble broad hallways lined with spaces for urns. Some columbariums seal the niche with a remembrance plaque, while others leave the niches open to showcase the urns within. Costs range wildly, depending on size of the niche, where it’s located in the columbarium, whether or not a plaque is required and where the columbarium is geographically. Purchasing a niche will create a public space for all friends and family to grieve, making it an attractive option.

Home Display of an Urn or Urns

It is also perfectly acceptable to display urns in the home. This is an especially attractive options for families who move frequently and don’t want to leave loved ones’ remains behind in another city. Ashes can also be split among two or more urns. For example, if a parent dies and the children wish to each have an urn, there’s no problem with splitting them. Containers range from handsome bronze urns to hand-made pottery urns to attractive steel boxes.

Scattering of Ashes

While this may seem romantic and freeing, the legality of scattering depends largely upon local laws and is considered littering or polluting in some areas. Most crematories crush any fragments in the cremains, but it’s not unheard-of to find teeth and bits of bone still intact. This could be cause for alarm should they be found, so any scattered cremains should be pulverized. If you want to scatter human cremains, check your local laws and regulations before doing so.

Burial of Cremains

If a loved one has been buried in a traditional plot, it may be possible to have cremains interred with them. Some people also choose to bury the cremains at home, or at a place the deceased loved. Others plant a tree over the ashes, so that the tree will stand as the beloved’s marker. As with scattering, various laws exist regarding the practice of burying ashes, whether contained in an urn or not.

Cremation is becoming more and more common. What to do with the cremains, however, largely remains an issue of personal preference and the will of the deceased’s survivors.

How to Throw the Perfect Boodle Fight

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From sending invites to making sure you have food and drinks enough for everyone, planning a party can be quite an arduous task, no matter how much you enjoy having people over. And although having one ‘pot luck’ style is a good hack, your guests would much rather prefer that you, as the host, took care of everything.

The ‘boodle fight’ is a great way to check at least one of your party preparations off your list—setting the tables—because a boodle fight only requires a single long table and a lot of food.

Few know that we have the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to thank for the concept, as the boodle fight originated from the military’s practice of members of the army, regardless of rank, gathering around a long table and eating food spread over banana leaves with their bare hands.



A typical boodle fight layout. Photo from <>


As primal as it sounds (‘boodle’ fight is military jargon for ‘attack the food’ after all), a boodle fight need not be so messy. Just follow these tips to make your boodle fight the talk of your barkada:

boodle21.  Have a theme.

Few things are more fun than themed parties, and your boodle fight’s can be reflected in the decorations, activities and, of course, the food! Prepare a lei for each guest, and serve kalua pork for a Hawaiian luau; spice up your guests’ evening with a Mexican fiesta, complete with tacos, enchiladas and margaritas; or go organic and serve only vegetarian delicacies!


  1. Come in costume.

Have your guests come as opposing characters, and prepare for a real fight! Heroes and villains, nerds and jocks, #TeamNicki and #TeamTaylor—the possibilities are endless! At the end of the night, award the guest with the best costume and prepare a consequence for that one friend who was just too lazy to dress up (oh come on, we all have one).

  1. Create food stations.

Encourage guests to move around and mingle by creating food stations—meat in one area, seafood in another, and desserts at the end. You also have the option of creating several stations of the same mix of food items, so guests don’t crowd the table. Print cute labels and directional signage for your stations so your guests don’t get lost in all the food!

  1. Have an accessible wash area.

Since you’ll be eating with your hands (as much as possible), your guests will appreciate a wash area complete with hand soap, lotion, and the works. Surprise them with a masseuse giving free hand massages to make it more special!

  1. Have food delivered.

Save time and have food delivered instead! With foodpanda, you can order food online from over 1,000 restaurants of different cuisines (Like Greenwich, Andoks, Omakase, Cibo, Pepper Lunch etc) and have them conveniently delivered to your doorstep via or the foodpanda app.



So gather your friends, order food, and have the best boodle fight! That’s one match you won’t mind having with one another.

A Single Mom’s Guide to Career Advancement

This is a guest post by Jenn Lyons, a working single mom who kicks ass!


It was one of those days… rushing to pick up my daughter from daycare, scrambling to make dinner, dealing with an after-hours call from a new boss to discuss an important initiative, while at the same time my daughter was excitedly asking me to come join her for a tea party. That’s when it hit me: I was a true single, working mom.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in2012, more than 80% of 12.2 million single-parent families were headed by women. That means there are 9.7 million of us dealing not only with the mundane issues of getting the oil changed and folding laundry, but fears about our career options, our personal lives and that question any parent on a career path faces, “How can I foster professional growth when I have to foster my child’s growth?”

While there is much debate if working mothers can “have it all,” single moms go out and “make it happen.” There is no other option. Achieving career growth, even under the best of circumstances, requires self-awareness, strategic thinking and careful planning. But there are steps all working moms with professional aspirations — single or married — can take to achieve their goals. Here are five guideposts that will help keep single mothers (or any working parent) on the path to professional, personal, and parenting goals.

1. Find an advocate
Find someone in your company who is your advocate — better yet, work for that person. When I was offered my first job out of college, I informed the hiring manager that I was concerned I might not be qualified. She replied that it was personality traits and intelligence that she needed; the skill set could be learned. She saw something in me from day one that she fostered and encouraged. Because she saw my potential, I was able to pursue my dream career. Everyone needs that kind of champion — find that person!

My next step up the ladder was working for a chief marketing officer at a Fortune 500 company. This CMO became my greatest advocate (and mentor to this day), helping me realize my strengths and capabilities and apply them to my career. She pushed me toward roles that were challenging and even some that were intimidating. Through her guidance and encouragement, my skill set, and simultaneously self-confidence, grew significantly. That confidence has served me well as a single, working mom.

2. Learn how to prioritize
Before having a child, I let nothing drop. I was as Type A as they came, balls perfectly balanced and all in the air. As I awaited the arrival of my daughter, many warned that things would slip and that would be OK. I thought “OK for you, but not for me!” Then as I became a mom and subsequently head of a household, I was surprised to see that I could continue to meet deadlines and objectives.

What I learned (often the hard way), was how to prioritize and stay laser focused on critical tasks.

When it comes to managing the workloads of today, data, demands and deadlines come at you all at once. It’s easier to duck and take cover than to stop and take stock. Be very clear on what you need to know to achieve your goals versus what is simply “noise” — meaningless data or even unnecessary tasks that simply distract and disrupt.

3. Surround yourself with good people
“It takes a village…” translated into your career means finding experts to ask for business or problem advice over coffee, lunch or at after-work gatherings. It is a waste of energy to reinvent the wheel, so talk to the experts who have been there and done that. You may find them at your company, at your gym, maybe even your next-door neighbor. Ask how they have handled tricky situations and use their wisdom to help solve your own problems as you move forward.

4. Stay true to who you are
It’s easy to lose sight of yourself as a person with hopes, dreams and goals when all your time and energy is spent on job, family and other responsibilities. But take the time to make a list of who you are and who you want to be.

Knowing who you are and what you want to achieve is important as new career opportunities arise. At some point you may be offered that job that’s not quite what you want, but it is close to home, or one that is a great opportunity, but requires too much travel. When considering career opportunities, avoid settling for less. That little voice in your heard that was concerned about the role will inevitably surface in reality and become a bigger deal than you had expected. Instead, honor your work-life balance priorities and be confident that your career can dovetail with your goals, not clash.

5. Flexibility is a necessity, not an option.
It is true that being a parent, especially a single parent, is a full-time job in and of itself. Flexibility is no longer a ‘”nice to have” — it is a must-have. The good news is many workplaces now offer flexible hours and/or the ability to work remotely a few days a week. Find a place that can accommodate your schedule so you maintain control over your work/life balance. You will feel better and your kids will too!

6. Changing the definition of “all”
There has been a lot of discussion of late about the question of can working women “have it all.” I wish I had the time to read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, but I simply don’t have spare time to read about people waxing philosophical about the balance between being a mom and a career woman because I’m a single mom, which means I’m both — a full-time mom, full-time marketing executive — full-time everything.

With everyone from Drew Barrymore to Hillary Clinton weighing in on the topic, the question is: Can working single moms have it “all”? For that matter, can any working parent, single or married, male or female? Sure, but the key lies in defining what “all” means to you. If all means always having the time to get away from work every day to have lunch at school with your child, and staying on the career fast track , let’s be real — that likely won’t happen. However, if “all” means achieving the realistic yet, desired, items on your list of goals and priorities, then of course, on your terms it can be done.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that being a single mom is a challenge, but it is not a career limitation. A sense of accomplishment and fulfillment does not need to be sacrificed in the face of single-parenting demands. With an open mind, smart prioritizing and savvy decision-making, single mothers “make it happen” every day and as a result, they truly do “have it all.”

This post originally appeared on

Travel, Set, Go: The Smarter (and Cheaper) Way to Travel

Life has just thrown me another curve ball.  It’s a shock which has totally caught me unawares.  I will divulge in forthcoming posts.  For now, silence will be my weapon.

I would almost like to believe that it’s true what they say- there’s a reason for everything.  Well, reason or no reason, all this dodging of curve balls has made my body and soul weary.  I am in dire need of a break.

If you yourself feel that you deserve a hiatus from the daily grind, then don’t think twice, pack your bags and travel!

Let me make it easier for you, my dear blog follower, by giving you a complimentary VIP membership ($99 Value) to Travel Set Go. Travel Set Go is a world-class discount travel service provider that offers amazing discounts on hotels, cruises, condos, and rental cars world-wide.  Travel Set Go guarantees its hotel rates with taxes included will always be lower than Expedia, Kayak etc. or you will be refunded 110% of the difference.

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You Can Start Receiving Your Travel Discounts Immediately!

To redeem your new travel benefits online


Enter Password: tplvip99


So get out there and experience life the way you’re supposed to.  Happy Travels!

“WeChat Stick-It-To-Win-It PROMO: Your Movie Date is Free!”

During the time of our Neanderthal ancestors, whenever they pined away for someone, they’d look to the stars and make a silent wish to see them again.  In this day and age of technological advancement, we no longer have to turn to the heavens to connect with the ones we love.  Thankfully, we have various social media to help us keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world.   WeChat is one app which fulfills that role of linking people to one another.

I stumbled upon this press release from them:

“Popular social network and messaging app WeChat is giving away an early Ber-months treat to its mobile users from September 22 to October 6, 2014 via its new “Stick-It-To-Win-It PROMO!” Simply share your favorite WeChat stickers with friends for your chance to win free  movie tickets!


To join, follow these simple steps:

1)   Download the WeChat app for free at

2)   Send stickers to your friends and loved ones in any Group Chat (at least 3 friends per group, valid within promo period).

3)   Winners will be notified immediately within the WeChat app with an SM Cinema e-coupon code.  Redeem the promo code for movie tickets at any SM Cinema branch nationwide.

WeChat will be giving away 1,500 SM Cinema e-coupon movie tickets worth P200 each. So download the app today and send stickers everyday to increase your chances to win!

*For extra bonus prizes, like the WeChat Facebook page or share and tag us! (Details below)

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Created by Tencent, one of the top 3 largest Internet companies in the world, WeChat is changing the way social-media-savvy Filipinos communicate with their friends and family all over the world.”



About WeChat


WeChat envisions and innovates new ways for people to connect, communicate and share. A mobile social communication app designed for smartphone users, WeChat is the world’s fastest growing social app with 438 million monthly active users. WeChat empowers users in fun dynamic ways by bringing together communications, social and gaming in one seamless, interactive experience, with comprehensive privacy and security settings that can be tailored as needed.

WeChat is available free for download on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows operating system. For more information visit: Like us on Facebook: And check out our official Chatterbox blog:



Keep Calm and Watch Movies

What movie made you fall in love with watching movies?

Art imitates life.  Oscar Wilde would probably pelt me with rotten tomatoes, as I’m not really in a philosophical mood right now, so I’ll just hastily say that this means that art is a depiction of what real life is about.

Movies, I’d like to think, are a form of art.  Movies are not so much about being a form of escape from reality, as they are about imitating life.  Life is about self-expression, and movies- as a form of art- provide an avenue for that.

I’m one who has always been a sucker for this form of art.  And the movie which started it all, which made me fall in love with watching movies, was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  It warms my heart to this very day whenever I think about this sci-fi movie about a lonely boy who befriends an alien stranded on earth.

Image source: here

Since E.T. has served as a springboard for my movie addiction, I knew that I simply must have an app which feeds this “cinematic hunger”, so to speak.  Lo and behold, I stumbled upon GMovies which they say is the “ultimate pocket app for your movie fix”- and for good reason!

GMovies, the first of its kind here in the Philippines, is a free app powered by Globe Telecom which acts as a one-stop shop for movie tickets.  Here, you can view showtimes, book the best seats, and buy movie tickets without breaking a sweat.  Long lines at the cinema ticket counter are now a thing of the past.

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GMovies on my phone

You can fully enjoy the GMovies experience by following their social pages:
– GMovies on Facebook
– @GMoviesApp on Twitter
– @GMovies on Instagram
– GMovies on Youtube

Even with an unassuming movie like E.T., art does imitate life.  Although the existence of aliens is still debatable, what E.T. as a movie imitates about life is the poignant friendship the boy had with an alien. If that’s not what life is all about, I don’t know what is.

How about you?  What movie made you fall in love with watching movies?


20 Ways You Can Be the Best Friend Ever

The first time in my life when I felt like a celebrity was when I turned 18.  At my debut party, my closest friends from school surprised me with their a cappella rendition of James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend.  I thought that was really sweet, although I wanted to cringe from all the attention I wasn’t so used to getting.

So, this got me to thinking about how one can be a good friend.  The term BFF has become so popular these days that I wonder if we really know what it means to be somebody’s best friend.

Off the top of my head, here are 20 ways you can be the best friend ever:

  1.  Sing her a song for her birthday.  This could be any song in your vocal chord range.  Even You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story should work.
  2. Cheer her on at her pole dancing recital.   Supporting her just when she needs it speaks volumes.
  3. Tell her she looks fat.  Instead of sugarcoating things, be honest and tell her when her excess fat is bursting at the seams.  Better you tell her than somebody else, right?
  4. Correct her grammar.  A true friend wouldn’t want her friend to be embarrassed when in front of many people.  So while it’s just the two of you, go ahead and tactfully improve her flaws.
  5. Eat together.  There’s nothing like dining with your friend to bring you two closer.
  6. Drink together.  So if she unintentionally gets drunk, you’d be there to drag her puke-infested body home.
  7. Listen to her.   It helps ease the pain when you share the burden just by listening to your friend vent.
  8. Give her space.
  9. Don’t be jealous of her other friends.
  10. Be honest with her.  Never lie to your friend.
  11. Fix her hair.  If you have a knack for hairdressing, have a primping session with your friend.
  12. Be there when you say you will.
  13. Stand up for her.  Show her that you’ve got her back.
  14. Email or Skype regularly.  Bridge the gap from long-distance friendships by constantly communicating with your friend.
  15. Don’t flirt with her boyfriend.  Seriously.
  16. Don’t flirt with her husband.  Even more seriously.
  17. Do little things for her.  Offer to look after your single-mom-friend’s kid while she’s away doing errands.
  18. Laugh with her.  Share the silliest, foot-stomping jokes with her.
  19. Trust her.  Trust her with your darkest secrets.  Trust that she’ll also be there for you when you need her.
  20. A real friend calls.  Coincidentally, Globe Telecom has an ongoing promo which lets you make calls for cheap.  “With GoUnli20, it’s now easy to call without a need for a prefix and it’s just P20 for unli calls, 15mb of mobile surfing, and 20 texts to all networks! Kaya if you need a friend, don’t call me, I’ll call you!” 

Children’s Book Campaign Reunites Son with Father after Seven Years

Here’s a heartwarming story to bring out the holiday spirit in us all:

StarBoy is a children’s book, written and illustrated by Ventura-based community storyteller Noah Crowe, about growing up missing his father, rites of passage, and belonging.

Free Web ProxyWell on Wednesday, December 4th, Noah’s kickstarter campaign to publish his book yielded an unexpected result:

His father called.

After seven years without any contact, the news of Noah’s book, StarBoy: The Boy Who Traded Clothes with the Stars, reached his father’s ears. When he learned about the book’s subject, his father reached out with a simple and heartwarming request. He wanted to read it.

“It jolted me in a way I wasn’t expecting,” Noah said. “I didn’t expect that the energy in the story about embodying the love of the father inside, would become about reconnecting with my father personally, nor did I know it was even possible.”

Recently, Noah reached out to me and my blog to see if I could share his campaign with anyone that might be interested in helping him out.

The StarBoy campaign ends in 19 days and still needs to raise 84% of its funding for the book to be published. Any donation is greatly appreciated, even just $1 to raise the number of backers and bring the campaign to a wider audience.

The book is to be printed on recycled or even tree-free paper, and for every book sold a tree will be planted, to set a new environmentally conscious standard for children’s media, and stress the importance of how we share our stories.

To make a donation, check out the StarBoy book, or offer Noah any helpful tips, just go to:


Sticky Icky Booger Bugs: A Review

It’s been a while since I last read my daughter a bedtime story.  When she started telling me about her crush at school- and how she’d grin from ear to ear while talking about him- I knew it was the start of the end of innocence for her.  She’s growing up, and making that clear to me.  Stories of princesses and fairies which used to appeal to her no longer struck her as interesting.

One night, I tried to engage her in a children’s book which had a theme which she- or anybody, for that matter- will never outgrow.  After being sent this awe-inspiring book, I knew I simply had to read it with my daughter.

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That book is called Sticky Icky Booger Bugs by Sherry Frith.  It’s a picture book which seeks to explain to kids ages 0-7 what living with cystic fibrosis- a genetic disease which causes mucus to fill the lungs, and other parts of the body, such as the digestive tract- is like.  The entire book revolves around a day in the life of a child with cystic fibrosis.  That child happens to be Kory, the author’s son.

After both her sons were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Sherry Frith came up with the idea of writing a book to help them better understand the condition they were in.  She wrote it in a way that her kids- and other kids in a similar situation- can relate to.

The book illustrates the daily struggles Kory goes through as he deals with cystic fibrosis.  His every puff, cough and sneeze helps control his disease and keeps the hospital at bay.

The author manages to get through to her young readers, because she writes it all as a kid would.  She uses kid terms such as using the “shaker” to get rid of the “booger bugs”.

It’s nice how Kory still lives a normal life, despite his condition.  He still goes to school, plays video games and soccer with his friends just like your average kid around the block.

This book is a gentle reminder for us to be thankful for the blessings we have… the gift of good health and family.  It also inspires us to be strong and rise above adversity- whatever age you are.  Kory is my daughter’s new super hero.




Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Guilty.  That’s what I am.  Yes, I’m guilty of once again daydreaming at work.

For the longest time, I’ve had this job-dissatisfaction bug pester me.  It’s not something I can easily shake off, I’m afraid.

At some point in your career, you just inevitably hit a roadblock, a seemingly dead end.  You can’t move left, right or upwards.

So, what does it take to quit one’s job?  A boss straight out of hell?  Crappy employee benefits?  If only it were that easy to do a Jerry Maguire and walk out of the office with goldfish in hand.

If you do decide to make a cadaver of your present job, make sure you have a backup plan.  They say that it’s important to have at least 3-months’ worth of your salary to help with your expenses during your employment downtime.

Take stock of your skills and talents.  Is there a career which could give you a chance to earn while doing whatever it is you’re good at?  Do an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and find a job which these fit into.

Take a shot at talking to your boss about your discontent with your job, and maybe he or she can help spice things up a bit for you at work.  He can give you more challenging projects to work on, and you’ll

Then again, maybe all you need is a major paradigm shift.  Try seeing your job in a different light.  You might learn to appreciate it more, instead of heading out the exit door.

Your happiness will play a huge role in your productivity at work.  Be sure to assess everything before making a life-altering decision.  You should at least wear a smile if you want to keep being part of the rat race.