The Day My Daughter Taught Me What Real Beauty Means

As preparations are underway for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, so is my 10-year old daughter busy primping her hair, as if she were a contestant on the show. Lately, she has been busy preening in front of the mirror, and practising her beauty queen walk down her makeshift ramp inside our cramped condo unit.

I’m pretty certain that every mom like me dreams of having their daughter win a beauty contest. Who wouldn’t want to see their girl, all dolled up and admired by a cheering crowd?

For some mothers, they feel it’s important for their daughter to have perfect doe-like eyes, or skin like Snow White’s. Others make a huge deal out of their daughter’s innocent smile or angelic voice. So many factors work together to make a beautiful girl, but what really matters to me when it comes to prettifying my daughter is hair! In my opinion, one’s hairstyle can make or break the entire look.

I can still vividly remember that horrific day when my daughter trusted her hair to the hands of the hairdresser from hell. I brought her to this salon to have her hair cut in preparation for her fifth birthday. Because I was mindlessly wrapped up in a phone conversation with a friend, I didn’t notice that the hairdresser was snipping away at my daughter’s tresses like he was Edward Scissorhands on Prozac. He cut her hair way too short.

I was about to throw a hissy fit and lash out at the hairdresser when my little girl calmly said to me, “It’s Okay, Mama. I’ll just wear a lace front wig that will make me pretty. It’ll go nicely with my birthday dress, and my friends will not laugh at me.”  And then I remembered that wig I bought just a month ago from the veryhair online store.

In the middle of that hair crisis, my daughter thought of a solution to the problem. Instead of being overcome by fury- like I was- she came up with the idea of the wig.

I felt as if a shower of fragrant petals descended upon me, washing away all my anger. I couldn’t have been prouder of my daughter at that moment. A five-year old girl just taught me the true meaning of beauty. I put priority on hair, when what really counts when it comes to beauty is the ability to handle unforeseen circumstances.

What my daughter displayed was grace under pressure. And that, my friends, is the true mark of a beauty queen.


From Blip to Baby: How I Came to Terms With My Unplanned Pregnancy

Is it just me, or is everything simply whizzing past in a dizzying blur? Things are happening at lightning speeds, that it’s becoming increasingly stressful to keep up with the pace.  In the midst of all this daily frenzy at home and at work, it’s always refreshing to hear good news (not gossip!).

I just got word from an old friend who now lives in Australia, that she had an ultrasound in Adelaide which confirmed that she’s 8 weeks pregnant. How exciting is that!

This brings me back to nearly two years ago, when I found out I was pregnant. When I saw that tiny blip on the ultrasound machine, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was shell-shocked, to say the least, as it was an unplanned pregnancy. The last thing I wanted was a baby with a man I had just broken up with. A tsunami of thoughts and emotions wiped me out: How was I going to raise this kid alone?  Will I have enough money to make it through this? How is this going to affect my older daughter?

After turning to friends and family for emotional support, sanity then took over. The torrential rains inside my head started to die down, as I embraced the fact that I was going to have a baby.

Even as my little one was still inside my womb, I showered him with all the love I could possibly give. I watched what I ate, and tried my darndest to always think happy thoughts. I regularly tracked his development as he grew inside my 40-year old uterus. When he was finally born, i had a newfound sense of what true happiness meant.

Sometimes, life plays funny tricks on us and jolts us out of our mundane existence. It’s not the end of the world when things don’t go as planned. As long as we believe that we have what it takes to pull ourselves through any situation, we will come out whole again- sometimes, as better versions of ourselves.

And then when it hits you that the seemingly impossible CAN be possible, you get a renewed faith in the cliche that there is a reason for everything.

All About Authentic Assessment


Naturally, all educational institutions differ in the way that they cultivate their young. But only the best international schools in the Philippines – who understand the importance of accommodating their students fully – can truly adapt to the needs of the children. This in turn allows them to learn at their own pace. The way they learn will also affect how much they know, so it is imperative that they completely understand their lessons.


Authentic Assessment, a method used by Reedley themselves, is a form of assessment which calls upon students to display their knowledge by performing real-world scenarios.

Understanding Authentic Assessment


Authentic assessment is carried out by immersing students in controlled, real-world scenarios where they can apply the things they’ve learned in a non-artificial way. For example, literature can be practiced by keeping journals, writing letters, or discussing books. Note that failing these activities do not really have consequences, but doing them does bring in practical experience.


In effect, the experience they gain from performing such tasks are authentic, real; it helps them better understand how they can apply the things they’ve learned from school into actual real-life situations.

What Authentic Assessment can guarantee


Authentic assessment is a practical educational tool that results into several positive outcomes for its users. Its best result is that it will develop productive, self-sustaining people who are capable of performing tasks and solving problems on their own while learning from whatever mistakes they may have made. Those who have undergone authentic assessment will also be capable of confidently overcoming challenges and executing their thoughts whenever needed, leaving them fully capable of driving themselves into action.
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A quick look at Traditional Assessment


What is Traditional Assessment and how does it compare to Authentic Assessment?


Traditional assessment is more conventional in the sense that testing is done through the use of written documents such as exams, quizzes, papers, and the like. Rigid, pre-determined tests with correct answers are the norm. While it may be effective when used on fact-centric subjects which only require a knowledge of the topic, it does not do so well when used for subjects that require a more practical touch. The likes of physics, literature, and physical education are better off demonstrated or experienced altogether.


On the other hand, authentic assessment focuses more on performance and in-depth problem solving with no exact right or wrong answers – just effective or non-effective ones. In the end, its goal is simply to provide practical experience.
other terms

Other terms for Authentic Assessment:


Authentic assessment can also come in other forms, and while the names differ, the outcome is the same.


  • Performance assessment – like its name implies, instructors need to score students against a set standard to measure how well they did in performing a task.
  • Alternative assessment – this type of assessment centers more on portfolios or projects, which are clear indicators of what a students know and what they can do with that knowledge.
  • Direct assessment – is called as such because it provides a direct evidence or proof of an individual’s development. This can be seen most when learning something new such as a skill or a language.

In conclusion, Authentic Assessment is a great method for teaching students the realities of the world. Its greatest draw is that it is a type of education that is not bound by academic standards, which gives it the freedom reminiscent of the real world. The best part is that whatever experience they gain, they will have with them for the rest of their lives.


About the author:


Katrina is your average gal living inside the metro who has passion for writing, travel and photography. She admires nature at its finest and always wants to be part of it.  She dreams of living the Cinderella life one day: humming with the birds, dancing with the clouds.

Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet



As one year comes to an end, another rises from the ashes like a phoenix. A new year gives us a new clean slate, the opportunity to start fresh and the motivation we need to get to where we want to be. But don’t just make meaningless resolutions, take steps to ensure 2017 is your best year yet.


Reflect on Your Goals

To know where you’re going in life, and to make sure you’re on the right path, it’s important to reflect on your goals. Each new year is a fantastic opportunity to do this. Tick off any short-term goals you have managed to achieve, and write down new ones which will get you closer to your long-term goals. If anything has changed, you’ve adjusted your sails and want to do something different to what you originally thought then write it down. Work out manageable steps that you can take throughout the year to get there, this gives you something to focus on and prevents you from going off track.


Get Healthy

Few things in life are more important than health. Make 2017 the year where you kick your bad habits once and for all, and embrace a healthier lifestyle. You could quit smoking, reduce your alcohol consumption and eat a balanced diet filled with fresh produce. You could drink more water, sort out your sleeping pattern and discover an exercise routine which you actually enjoy doing. It could be a sport, a class or working out with a friend. Either way, these are all things which will hugely improve and benefit your life.

Spend More Time With Loved Ones

Friends and family are so important, but when we lead busy lives, you might find you’re not in contact with them as much as you’d like. Have a chat and arrange to do something that suits you all. For example, you could arrange to get the whole family together once a month for food and drinks to keep in contact. Or you could organize a bi-weekly coffee break or shopping trip with a friend. Having a plan in place means you can organize your schedule around these visits and you’re more likely to keep to them. Other commitments can mean time is tricky, we never seem to have enough of it. But it’s important to make the time for our nearest and dearest. For friends and relatives who live far away, be sure to keep in touch via Skype or by phone. The internet makes it so easy to stay in contact these days, but ensure that it’s real communication rather than just a like or favorite on social media.


Speak to a Psychic

Talking to a psychic can give you clues as to what 2017 may have in store. Psychics are highly intuitive so are able to give you guidance, and also objective advice on any issues that you might have. If you don’t have time to visit a psychic for a phone reading, phone psychics are a convenient way to get a reading. Psychics can offer insights into careers, finance, relationships and more. Having hints about the future means you can adjust your sails accordingly.


Learn Something New

Learning something new is good for your mental health, boosts confidence and could lead to all kinds of other opportunities. For example, an evening class learning about a new subject will introduce you to like-minded people, and if it’s a craft of some kind you could even set up a business and make some extra cash. Learning new skills stops life from becoming stagnant, just because you’ve reached adulthood doesn’t mean there’s not a whole world of things out there to be learned and enjoyed. You could take a class, an online course, read books or just wing it and teach yourself something new.


Stress Less

Life can be stressful at times, but if you let stress consume your life then it passes you by, and you love the enjoyment from it. If you’re a chronic worrier and it’s affecting your health, consider speaking to your GP. Otherwise, develop ways of de-stressing which help you to wind down. Things are never going to be perfect, so it’s important to know how to deal with worries when they crop up. It could be through exercise, meditation or just taking a long soak in the bath. Writing a ‘worry journal’ is useful for some people too. This is where you designate a few minutes a day to worrying and write it all down. After that, you have to put your worries out of your head until the next session. This can prevent you from worrying about and dwelling on things all day.


Knowing where you want to be in your life and taking steps to get there is how you can make 2017 your best year yet. So enjoy it, have fun and embrace changes and challenges.


Are you excited about the new year?


Slow Down: Simple, Mindful Ways To Reclaim Your Life

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Through all the hustle and stress of modern day living, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. It’s a common occurrence and something that happens gradually. It begins with something simple like a new job. At first, it’s exciting and a new challenge. Your employers are busy, which you see as a good sign. To make a good impression you work a little overtime. Nothing significant at first, just working through lunch and staying a little later. But that soon becomes the norm, and you’re lucky if you ever leave on time. And then there are the kids. They have busy social lives and need rides to see friends and attend classes. The house needs to be cleaned, and meals need to be cooked. When did it all become so busy?

It’s often when things go awry that you realize how much of a treadmill life has become. It might be through illness or stress, for example. But it’s good to be aware of these things before they become a problem. If you feel as though you don’t have enough time to think, then it’s time to take action. There are simple things you can do to slow down, take stock and reclaim your life.


Figure Out What’s Not Working

Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and think carefully about what’s not working. Is it your job, home life, both? Or is something completely different? Why is it no longer working for you? What do you need to change to feel happier? This is the first step to turning things around. If your job is the issue and you’re sick of staying late, then speak to your boss. Be absolutely clear on what you’re prepared to do and establish boundaries. If you agree to work late once or twice a week, make sure you leave on time for the rest of the week. If you work late, set down exactly what time you will be leaving. It may seem difficult at first, but you’ll get used to saying no.
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Ditch The Tech

I’m only joking. You don’t need to get rid of your technology. Not fully anyway. But be aware of how much you use it and rely on it. Is it serving you well? Do you tend to communicate with friends only via Facebook or text? If so, it’s time to schedule some time to meet up. Talk in the flesh rather than from behind a screen.

Discover letter writing again. Forget about 140-character tweets, let your creative juices flow and get in touch with old friends and family. Even if it’s just a quick thank you card it will be appreciated. Enjoy the feel of a beautiful fountain pen on fine stationery. Tapping on a screen just can’t compete.


Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been around for centuries. Significant research has been carried out in the last few years. Results indicate that being more mindful improves happiness, reduces stress and makes us healthier. It’s not just about meditating. It’s about being present in the moment. For example, if you go for a walk, don’t spend it texting your friends and taking photos. Take time to appreciate your surroundings. Think about what you can see, smell, touch, etc.

Do What You Love

The best way to reclaim your life is to do what you love. Find out what makes you happy and do lots of it. You can’t change or control everything. But you can decide to put your health and happiness first. And this will make the rest more bearable.

8 Unique Ways to Celebrate Your Summer Birthday

Summer birthdays yield some really fun options for celebrating. With school out and vacations abounding, people have more time to plan and attend parties—more time than they might have at any other time of the year. So if your birthday is coming up, treat yourself to a good time. You deserve it! You work hard day in and day out on top of raising kids. So, how do you throw a party that’s really special and that stands out from the crowd? First, think about all the things your friends have been doing and then make sure you don’t do any of those things. Instead, check out some of these ideas.

  1. Celebrate Christmas during the summer. There’s a little less than 6 months until Christmas, so lots of people like to now celebrate a half-Christmas in the summer. If your birthday falls sometime around then, this could be a fun and unexpected way to celebrate your birthday. If you’re accepting birthday gifts, put them under a fake Christmas tree. Check out some ugly Christmas sweaters from Tipsy Elves for fun outfit ideas (bonus: a good ugly sweater will carry you through many holiday parties to come) and get antlers for the dog or bells for the cat. Instead of a flag or tassel banner, use some old Christmas ornaments. Serve summer versions of favorites like cold eggnog, iced (and spiked!) hot chocolate, and snow cone snowmen.
  2. Have a champagne brunch. Invite your friends over earlier in the day for an at-home, upscale meal. Take some long tables out to the porch or yard and decorate for a fancy summer garden party. Ask that guests come dressed to impress and decorate your table like a fancy spread from a magazine: folded napkins, pitchers of lemonade and iced tea, and mason jars of flowers at each place setting.
  3. See a show, attend a concert, or check out outdoor music festivals and street fairs. The summer is always full of these kinds of great outdoor activities so find out what’s going on nearby or wander around a popular area in the city to see what’s there. If you can find a concert or a show in the park, bring along some picnic lunches for a lazy afternoon of yummy food, drinks, and music.
  4. Take a tour of something interesting in your town: the historic sites, the famous landmarks, the museums, etc. Or check out local breweries for a tasting tour. And keep a watch out for block tours. Sometimes areas with lots of restaurants will have tasting tours where you can pay in advance to stop and sample something at every participating restaurant. This could be a fun stand-alone activity or a good complement to a brewery tour or bar crawl.
  5. Go for a bike ride or a hike. Getting your friends out into nature will be a really refreshing and enjoyable experience, especially if you have a few guests who aren’t normally that interested in exploring the great outdoors. Keep it simple and not too intense, but make sure to pick a route with lots of scenic views.
  6. Take a mini trip. If you don’t feel like throwing a big party for lots and lots of people, consider trimming down your guest list to just a few and taking everyone on a little road trip. Pick a fun destination like a nearby beach or mountain range, and make sure to stop at some fun attractions along the way like diners, roadside attractions, and landmarks. Download the Roadtrippers app to make sure you don’t miss out on any of these attractions.
  7. Have a craft party. If you and your friends are already the craft types, invite them to bring over projects to work on. Otherwise, spend some time on Pinterest and other DIY sites and find some fun and easy crafts to make. Set up little stations in your yard or living room with lots of fun and simple crafts to do. Ideas might include: learning to knit or crochet, making terrariums or hanging cactus gardens, making jewelry, or making scrapbooks or decorated frames.
  8. Have a cooking or baking party. If you and your friends love to cook, then don’t let them miss out on the fun of preparing your birthday menu. Invite them over early to help you with all of the stages of cooking and preparation. Be sure to pick out some fun playlists of good cooking music, and decorate your kitchen to make it festive. Go with some classic party themes like banners and balloons (but tape everything to the walls and ceilings to keep them out of the way while you cook).


Planning a really special and unique birthday celebration is all about figuring out what will be most fun and memorable for you and your guests. Think about the activities that you and your friends really enjoy and go with that! There’s no reason to throw a party that you don’t really want just because you think it’s the way birthday parties are supposed to go. Be creative and unique for a really memorable summer birthday.


Your Kids Don’t Come First

Change is good.  It always is.  And I have to say that I just recently had an epiphany of sorts, and it has altered the way I think and feel in ways I could only previously imagine.

I feel that I have always been overly dependent on my daughter.   I almost feel sorry for putting her in a position where she was my wellspring of happiness and self-worth.  I knew that on a subconscious level, the reason “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” from Frozen keeps playing inside my head is that I have associated it with my daughter.  Whatever she likes, I like too.  It’s as if I’ve lost my identity and wrapped myself emotionally and mentally around her.  That’s just totally unhealthy.

She was my number one.  Everything else took a step back.  But when I started reading the Wealthy Single Mommy blog, I learned how important it is that we don’t put our kids first.

Now before you feed me to the lions, hear me out.

Yes, I love my daughter.  I love her to the moon and back.  But that doesn’t mean that I live for her.  That she’s the reason for my existence.  Eventually, she’ll grow up and have a life of her own.

My job now is to be an example to her, to show her what it’s like to live a full and rich life.  I have to show her that it’s not her obligation to make me happy, that I can do that by myself.

I realize how my old mindset has carried over to my just-recently-ended romantic relationship.  Probably one of the reasons it didn’t work out, was because my then boyfriend saw how much of a doting mother I was to my daughter.  He felt out of place.  He felt less than important.  If I knew then what I know now, it would have made a whole world of difference.

My daughter is staying at her Dad’s for two weeks.  I’m at the halfway mark, and I’m proud to say that I no longer achingly pine away for her.  The gassy anxiety spells I used to have are now a thing of the past.  I enjoy my time alone, like a normal and healthy adult should.

If and when love comes knocking on my door again, I’ll know better to give him the attention he needs and deserves.  If he asks me out to a Gin Blossoms concert even on a weeknight, I’ll go.

Happy parents make happier kids.  If you know how to take care of yourself, then you’ll be better and more effective at taking care of your children.  That’s how it all adds up in the parenting equation.

The Obligatory Valentine’s Day Post

I was never big on the whole Valentine’s Day thing.  Even when I was younger, I simply loathed this day.  I was the Scrooge of Valentine’s Day incarnate.  I remember wearing black every February 14th.  It’s not that I hated being in love, or that I wanted to shoot down every hand-holding couple in sight.  The whole commercialism of the occasion just rubs me the wrong way.

But if I must write about love and all it’s cracked up to be, I have to say that right now, I think I’m in love.  I am in love with myself, although not in a narcissistic way.

I have started my journey towards eating healthier.  I gulp down green smoothies everyday and eat less and less processed food.  I made a pact with myself to eat more of the good stuff.  I want to stay away from any life-threatening illnesses and enjoy life to the fullest.

Yoga is slowly creeping into my system.  I enjoy how I challenge myself to get into those intense poses.  It’s empowering how I’m able to do things I never thought I could do.  Physically, I love how my body is changing.  Seeing my belly fat gradually vanishing gives me a sense of fulfillment like no other.

Taking care of me is the greatest manifestation of love.  Love not only for myself, but for the people I hold most dear.  If I live to be 90, and still look and feel 40, then the people around me wouldn’t have to worry about taking me to the hospital or spending a fortune on medical treatments.

This Valentine’s Day, I ask you… Do you love yourself?  What have you done for you lately?

The Joys of Adult Playtime

The best days of my life were my childhood days.  Life was so simple then, stripped of the complications of technology and soap opera-inspired drama.  All a child needed to thrive was having these four basic needs met: food, shelter, clothing and play.  I could say with absolute certainty that, luckily, I was one kid who had all these needs satisfied.  Although I may have been on the waifish side, I was never lacking in play.

I couldn’t care less about getting my skin burned to a crisp as I spent hours under the sun.  If I wasn’t out on the streets, playing skipping rope with the neighborhood posse, I was diving and splashing at the village pool.  When the homework was done, I’d grab a quick snack and once again convene with the neighborhood kids for a session of role-playing games.  We’d play teacher-student or husband-wife-with-kids.

And then this question begs to be recognized: Do I still play as an adult?

Since it may seem awkward- maybe even ghastly- to see a woman in her late thirties take to the streets and jump up and down on a skipping rope (bobbing breasts, notwithstanding!), I have chosen other alternatives to play.

After a long and tiring day at work, I sometimes pick up the guitar and play a few ditties.  Alice Cooper would’ve been proud.  On days when I don’t feel so musically inclined, I instead try to do a bit of yoga.   When inspired, I write.  These days, anything that’s relaxing is play to me.  Going on Facebook, by the way, hardly qualifies as relaxing (just a side note!).

We all know that all work and no play makes for a dull person.  Find whatever it is that brings you joy and indulge yourself.  The last thing you’d want to be is dry and lifeless.

Religion Bites

About two weeks ago, I did something which I haven’t done in ages- I went to church.  I went through the motions like I always have.   Growing up in a Catholic school, making the sign of the cross and clutching the rosary used to be part of my everyday life.

And then something happened… I cried.  Not the bawl your eyes out kind.  It was more of the silent, sniffy, discreetly-pat-your-eyes-with-a-tissue type of crying.

When I was a kid, I remember feeling a sense of calm and comfort whenever I went to church.  I felt that same comfort that moment I cried, but I knew something was amiss.  For the life of me, I don’t know exactly why I cried, but I just felt deep down inside that I was still looking for answers to questions.

No doubt, I believe in God. But I just want to be guided correctly.  I don’t want to fall prey to empty pagan practices.  I want to believe in what is true.

I don’t have anything against the Catholic religion- or any religion, for that matter.  If it’s religion which gives people hope and strength, then I’m all for it.

Faith, they say, is believing without knowing (or something like that!).  Does the fact that I want some sort of evidence of what is real diminish my faith in God?  Am I going to be fed to the lions now?