Category Archives: Entertainment

Busy mom reads again

In the many years I was at school, I was an avid reader of fiction. I enjoyed classic novels and detective stories. Rest, for me, meant curling up with a good book. Even when I go out, I’d always have a book in my bag so that I could read during any lull time in the day.

But after graduating, adult responsibilities came, so I had to make adjustments—as would any! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do enough leisure reading in the process. I knew I needed to read but I had to get into the groove with the rest of life first.

Years passed, I started a business, married a literature teacher and creative writer, and we had two kids. I’m busier than ever. But I want to pass on my love for reading to my kids. How will I be able to do that if I didn’t read myself? I had to get back to reading for leisure. But how? I can’t handle paper books much because my babies are at the age where they still seek a lot of sensory input, i.e. THEY LOVE TEARING PAPER. Besides, my bag’s already too bulky with diapering items to still hold a paperback. And to top that, I don’t even have time to sip my coffee in a leisurely way, so how am I supposed to even read for a good amount of time?

My solution: have ebooks in all my devices and read whenever I have even a few minutes. My husband writes fiction on his phone in five minute bursts, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to advance on reading with the same tools and time period.

I’ve installed the Kindle app on my phone, iPod Touch, and Windows tablet. Amazon has a lot of free classic works on the Kindle store and I could get more from Project Gutenberg. Amazon also holds my ebooks in the cloud and allow me to sync my reading across devices. If I have my own ebook files or documents, I just upload them to my account and then download it to every device. When I have the opportunity to read, like when I’m breastfeeding my kids, I grab the nearest device and read.

But a paper book is still different, you say? Of course. I also find it hard to read for leisure using a phone or tablet, and even more so from a laptop or monitor. These devices can distract me as well because there are other things on them that vie for my attention. So, I went on a hunt for a second-hand Kindle reader. I later found a neighbor selling a first generation Paperwhite.

Our first generation Kindle Paperwhite as I was reading the Alex Rider books

Kindle readers are great for reading because of their e-ink screens. Reading from one feels like reading from paper. Another great thing about them is that they last long, and are still quite useful even if many newer versions have come out. Hubby and I have been reading from this for nearly a year now. It’s still working well! I use it when I could afford to read for longer periods, like before sleeping, or when I accompany my husband to a meeting and our baby’s napping.

When my baby’s asleep in the carrier, I prop up the Kindle like this so I could read easily.

Using this new setup, I’ve been able to read about six entire novels and a few nonfiction titles in a year. Not bad for a busy mom. It will still be years until I could curl up for hours just reading a book, but in the meantime, I hope to pass on my love for literature to our kids by reading from books they can’t tear.

Looking for a Kindle reader? I recommend getting them from either NelsonKRX or Lazada. But if you’d like to buy a pre-loved unit, like I did, I suggest checking OLX or the many buy and sell groups on FB. I’m lucky there’s one for my neighborhood and that spared me from the cost of shipping or meeting up.

My movie slash foodie date nights

I’ve barely had time to go out these past few months. Aside from the fact that I really need to save up, work’s been consuming most of my waking hours. I seriously wonder how working moms do it. I’m not a mom yet and still I feel like I’m always exhausted at the end of the day. Truly, these women deserve an award.

On with my story. I love watching movies. But ever since I started with my new job, I’ve already missed more than a dozen films. I already don’t cook regularly and now, I’m also missing my movies?!? I guess “frustrated” is an mild word if we’re talking about how I feel these days.

I’m thankful for the Internet because at least, I get to watch videos once in a while. Don’t worry, I don’t like to illegally download stuff. I’m content with whatever’s available in the Internet for free. And believe me, there’s a lot. Cable TV helps too. Most of the foreign channels show recently-released movies, and I’m happier when they show those independent ones. I’m a sucker for foreign Indie movies. So, since I can no longer go to the movie houses, I end up bringing the movie house to the comforts of my own room. Well, to be precise, to the comforts of my living room.

That’s because I eat while watching and I don’t like bringing food inside my room. I feel like if I eat inside my bedroom, aside from the smell sticking to all its four corners, ants will definitely appear out of nowhere. And that I seriously abhor.

My normal movie night will consist of junk food, water (I avoid drinking soda) and sometimes chocolates or pastries. But nothing that will produce so much crumbs. I don’t want to end up with crumbs all over my shirt after the movie. I also like fruits, but they take a little more preparation because I have to peel them before the movie starts. That and they make me feel full easily so I end up asleep before the movie ends.

But, in my opinion, fruits and movies are a good combination for people who need a vitamin boost. My sister isn’t fond of fruits. But whenever I prepare them for our movie night, she’d end up eating most of it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that for your kids? Make them watch their favorite cartoon shows while you give them something healthy to munch on. They wouldn’t notice it, believe me! My sister is my perfect example of that.

While watching a movie too, I can multitask. I don’t know how I do it, but even when I’m doing 2-3 things at the same time, I can still focus on the movie. Since I bring paperwork home, I find myself working more effectively when I’m in front of the television. But this is just me. Kids shouldn’t be watching TV when they’re doing their homework. For working people like us, though, sometimes time is really the enemy. If you can multitask, then I think that’s an advantage.

I realize that complaining and sulking about my now-busier life won’t do me any good. I can still do all the things that I love—I just need to learn how to compromise. Life is never just simple and it really isn’t that complicated either. We just have to learn how to put things in perspective. Now, on to my next movie.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

Naming my children: celebrity and Christianity

I believe that it is our obligation as parents to give our babies beautiful and Christian names. Many parents nowadays get caught up in naming their children after celebrities, with no reference anymore to their Christian faith.

My own daughters are nicknamed after celebrities—Reese after Reese Witherspoon, and Cate after Cate Blanchett. But Reese’s real name is Therese after St. Therese of Lisieux. When I was pregnant with her, I used to pray frequently to Our Lady of La Leche whose image was right beside St. Therese’s at our parish. Once Jack and I had decided on the name “Therese”, we’d pray before both their images.

Reese and Cate
Reese and Cate

Cate’s Christian name is Catherine. She is named after St. Catherine of Sienna, a woman of great strength and courage. When I was pregnant with Cate, I was working on a book on teaching values and addressing common issues that teens have. During this time, I prayed to St. Catherine of Sienna—that I might effect change in the lives of the students for whom I was writing the book.

If I have another girl, I’m thinking of naming her Elizabeth. Then, she’d be nicknamed Elle. If I have a boy, we’re thinking of naming him Andrew. But I have yet to find him a celebrity nickname. Maybe Andy after Andy Garcia, whose character I absolutely loved in the movie When A Man Loves A Woman

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.




Funny videos: banana potato song (Despicable Me 2) and covers!

The minions singing Banana Potato (Despicable Me 2 Trailer)Did you like Despicable Me? Whether you did or not, I’m sure you’ll like the trailer of Despicable Me 2. The video’s just perfect for those few minutes of rest 😀 If you figure out what the lyrics mean, do tell us in the comments.

And in case you’ve thought of memorizing that song and performing it yourself, you should know that you’re not the first! Check out these covers. Most of the ones I’ve found on YouTube were lip synchs, but these brave women memorized the lyrics and sang the song themselves.

Is this song original, or does it follow the melody of another song? I remember hearing an 80s song that had this melody but I can’t recall the title.

Need louder audio? Check out the X-mini

My laptop has tinny sound. That’s horrible because when I find a funny YouTube video and share it with people nearby, they totally miss out on the punch line. That’s why I decided to look for a portable speaker that will give me decent audio (bawal ang lata!) for a good price. I knew I’d have to go well over CD-R King prices, but for the sake of my social life, I was willing to make the investment.

I did my research online. After days of due diligence, I decided to go for the cheapest variant of the X-mini, the X-mini v1.1:

X-mini v1.1 closed
Yes, I'm a speaker. I'm the X-mini v1.1!

The X-mini v1.1 fit my requirements for volume, portability, and price. It has very loud sound for such a little thing. You don’t need to plug it into a socket, since it has an internal battery which you can charge. Great for a laptop and a portable music player! I got it for Php990 at Hello—three times the price of a pair of computer speakers at CD-R King, but hey, I’m happy because I got the quality I paid for.

X-mini v1.1 beside a 5-peso coin
X-mini v1.1: I'm curled up beside a 5-peso coin
The X-mini v1.1 opens up to expand and expose the diaphragm.

X-mini v1.1 opened
Here's how I look when I'm open. Remember to open the lid, because otherwise, the audio will sound terrible.


The X-mini v1.1 has a short 3.5 mm stereo cable that tucks neatly underneath the unit.

The bottom of an X-mini v1.1, showing the 3.5 mm wire
I keep a wire under me which you'll use to plug into your computer or audio player.
X-mini v1.1 opened and wire uncoiled
When you uncoil the wire, I look like a robo-rat.

Ports and controls are at the bottom area of the X-mini v1.1.

X-mini v1.1 volume control
That's the volume control at the bottom. Start with low because I can scream really loud.
X-mini v1.1 mini-usb
I have a mini-usb port which you can use for charging and audio output.
X-mini v1.1 mini-usb cable
I come with a mini-usb cable which you can plug into a USB port for charging. The cable also has a 3.5 mm audio plug, which means you can also use it as a longer audio out wire if you find the one under me too short.


What I find most interesting is the X-mini’s buddy jack. It allows you to plug another audio output device into the X-mini, which means you can string a series of X-minis to get really LOUD sound!

X-mini v1.1 buddy jack
I have a buddy jack for use with, errr, my buddies.
X-mini daisy chain
Here's me with my buddies. Guess where I am! 😛 Watch out because we're really loud when we party!

Of course, you can use the buddy jack to plug in a pair of headphones, and you’d hear audio through both the headphones and the speaker. I just don’t know why you’d want to do that 😀

Overall, I’m very happy with my purchase. The X-mini v1.1 fulfilled my requirements perfectly.

X-mini v1.1 closed
Demo done! What do you think of me?