What to Do When Your Jeans are Too Tight or You Can’t Button Them Up

After your annual holiday food binge, it’s only apt to accept the inevitable: weight gain. The first victim of holiday bloating? Jeans! But, fret not because you don’t need to go on a crash diet (that’s dangerous and ineffective!) or buy a new pair of denim pants. Check out our quick solutions below:

Extend your waistband:

If you can’t button your waistband, loop a hair tie in the buttonhole and latch the elastic on the button. Take a look at this video to see how it works:


Stretch your pants:

When you can’t get your pants past your thighs, try this: Spray lukewarm water on the pants, lay the pair on a flat surface, and then stretch the pants horizontally while they’re still damp. Here’s a video to serve as visual reference:

This story originally appeared on FemaleNetwork.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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A Dad Made an App That Helps Non-Verbal Children ‘Talk’

Communication plays a big role in understanding our children. But it can be a struggle for parents of non-verbal children with autism. One dad wishes to change that with an app he created especially for his daughter. Thankfully, it’s now helping parents and kids from all over the world.

Rob Laffan, an engineering student in Ireland, is dad to 5-year-old Sadie who falls under the non-verbal autism spectrum. To help her express herself and communicate with him, he created an app that allowed her to choose images on a screen, convert the images to text, and send it via SMS to his phone. He called it TippyTalk, and Sadie uses it to talk to him whenever and wherever he is.

The messages can read, “Hi Daddy, my belly hurts,” “Hi Daddy, I want to watch T.V. please,” and also “Hi Daddy, I feel mad.”


Before the app, Laffan says the family used printed out pictures that Sadie would point to or hold up to show what she wanted. But he says it got damaged and lost, which only left him and Sadie frustrated.

So the eureka moment happened. “I saw that I could incorporate Sadie’s pictures onto these screens, and link those pictures to programmed text messages that would be directed out either to my wife’s phone or my own phone,” he told UTV Ireland.

Once programmed, Sadie helped test it out. “It was intuitive enough that she knew exactly where she was going. When she saw her pictures, she saw what she wanted.”

The app is simple and operates using just three screens. The first screen shows pictures of who the child wants to talk to like mom or dad, for example. Pick one, and it leads to the next screen that shows a set of images indicating desires, wants, needs or feelings. Choose the image for “food,” and it leads to the third screen with a wide selection of food like an orange, an apple, milk, etc.

All the images are customizable so you can use pictures that your child will be able to understand best. The pictures area also are set in big icons against a simple white background.



Laffan shared his and his daughter’s everyday experience with the app. “I was in the garden and she communicated with me and on going through the screens she pushed on an image of the Parkway Shopping Centre,” he told Irish Mirror. “This is where she wanted to go, and we went there. She was able to let me know that she felt very happy.”

The app is now available in 48 countries. It offers a 30-day free trial where you and your child can test it out and see if it works for you family. If it does, the app requires a monthly subscription rate. It does cost money as it uses SMS to send an unlimited number of messages from your child to your phone. The app only needs to be installed on one device — the one your child uses — and family members or caregivers will be able to receive the messages on any mobile phone.

Laffan wrote on the TippyTalk website, “As a parent we can all relate to the overwhelming need, want, and desire to protect and provide a better quality of life for our children.” And with TippyTalk, parents with nonverbal children are given a tool that makes it possible.

TippyTalk can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices.

Sources: The Mighty, UTV Ireland, Irish Mirror

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How to Look Great in Pictures Even If You Aren’t a Celebrity

As we spy on celebrity and model photos, we can’t help but wonder how they always look perfect in every shot. After much observation, we discovered that besides their good looks, they just know how to work the camera. So yes, even us mere mortals can be photogenic, too! Read on to find out their secrets:

1. Determine the look you want to project.

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Sum up words to describe the way you’d want to look in the photo. Do you want it sultry, cute, classy, or pensive? You may also take the easy and most effective route: by being yourself. If you’re a naturally funny girl, then go ahead and post wacky faces. And if you’re a sophisticate, a coy smile (or a pout) would do.

2. Find your best angle.

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Since you know the look or the vibe that you want, go to Instagram, Pinterest, and magazines for inspiration, and observe how other women project. Practice the facial expressions in front of the mirror while adding your personal touch (see item number one) until you nail your go-to look. Find your angle, the side where you look extra pretty. It also won’t hurt if you enhance your facial features with a bit of makeup.

3. Take note of your posture.

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Besides your facial expression, you need to pay attention to your posture. To look taller and slimmer, put your leg in front of the other. You can also place one arm on your waist or forearm to look more relaxed.

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If it’s a shot from the waist up, refrain from slouching because you’ll look shorter and a few pounds heavier. Play with your hand or do as the celebs do: the T-rex pose, as seen above.

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4. Check your lighting and background.

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Your backdrop and lighting can make or break your shot. Do a test shot to see if kalat can be seen in your frame, or if the background is photogenic enough. Plus, inspect if the lighting casts too many shadows. It’s always better to shoot facing the light source than going against it. Also, natural lighting is always the best.

5. The position of your camera matters.

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If it’s a selfie, raise your camera slightly above your line of vision to make your face appear smaller. When taking an #OOTD shot, ask your friend to shoot you from below to lengthen your body. (Just make sure that you don’t lose your neck by looking down too much!)

6. Level up your confidence!

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Own it! If you aren’t confident, it’s going to show that you are unsure of yourself. Avoid looking awkward and channel your #GGSS self (just for photos!).

This story originally appeared on FemaleNetwork.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Jinggoy Estrada seeks court nod for knee examination

Detained former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has sought the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division’s permission to undergo medical tests for his aching left knee.

The post Jinggoy Estrada seeks court nod for knee examination appeared first on Inquirer News.

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Bettina Carlos Reveals She Had Cancer Scare

Bettina Carlos may look like she has all the energy in the world with her active lifestyle. If you follow her on Instagram, you would see her daily adventures with daughter Gummy, how diligent she is in doing her exercise routines, and how hands-on she has been with her pastry business.

But, unknown to many, Bettina got severely ill from June to September of 2016. This was what the celebrity mom revealed in her writeup for Manila Times on January 2, 2017.

On Instagram, the host and actress said she decided to share her story “because I was reserving it for when the purpose of the pain has finally been revealed. The only reason why I am telling this now is because my God will be glorified by it.”

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Bettina recounted, “I was in and out of the hospital for a series of blood works, check ups, and even biopsy—at one point the doctors considered the possibility of having me checked for the Big C.”

There were times when she couldn’t stand up due to “countless lumps on the soles of my feet, and I had suspicious nodes on my left axilla [her armpit],” and she “could neither do tapings nor bake.” The six nodes, which, she wrote, felt like “small tomatoes,” scared her because her paternal grandmother had breast cancer.

During those months, Bettina was juggling “three TV shows, a child I send to school and tutor and cook for myself, a home-based business, a column and a blog to maintain.”

She resumed, “And the fact that I had eight different doctors and they could not put their finger on what was wrong with me, put me in much more agony.”

Bettina couldn’t help but wonder why a young woman like her had to go through such uncertainty. She knew that “pain always has a purpose,” but she constantly worried about Gummy. “I cried silently at night with my daughter sleeping soundly in my arms, not knowing if I may already be afflicted by cancer then. The thought of leaving her so early saddened me, the many milestones I may never witness, the future I may not be able to secure.”

It was an immunologist who confirmed her illness as “extra-pulmonary TB [despite my TB tests and histology revealing negative for TB and lupus].” Bettina elaborated, “He said that I probably had TB [like primary complex] when I was younger and the strain just slept and was awoken by my very low immune system [from lack of sleep because of work and overfatigue, work-related also, hence the reason for resigning from taping soap operas].”

The ordeal became a wake-up call for the 28-year-old single mom. “Was He asking me to slow down because I was taking in more work than my physical body could manage?” The ordeal also gave her “rest for my soul and more time for Gummy to focus on my calling as a parent,” and taught her important lessons.

“I realized that we are not put on this Earth just to work and overwork ourselves for bills and our increasingly high cost of living. God also wants us to enjoy. And joy is found in so many things outside of an established career or a big bank account.” These life lessons are the reason why Bettina still considers 2016 her best year despite, and a “rich one,” at that.

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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4 Crazy Beauty Products You Can Find on Instagram

Avid Instagram users know that the photo-sharing site has also become another online storefront for entrepreneurs. There’s an array of hard-to-find products being peddled on IG — among them, some unusual personal care products and cosmetics.

That’s not surprising, as personal care products and cosmetics always sell — no matter what state the economy is in.

In true tiis ganda fashion, many women seem to be buying these so-called unusual personal care products and cosmetics, which, in our opinion, could seem intimidating.

Below are some of the products that made us go, “Ha? May ganyan pala?”

A nose job in seconds? Why not?!

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There’s a gadget and a supplement that allegedly assist you in getting gravity-defying boobs.

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Then, there are creams that make your nipples pink in a matter of days!

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Finally, there’s a capsule that vows to tighten your vagina.

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Based on these offerings, it would seem that a good number of Pinays want to have aquiline noses, perky boobs with pink nipples, as well as “virginal” vaginas.

It’s not for us to judge those who want to have these physical attributes, but if you wish to try them, do make sure that they are safe to use. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to using Instagram filters for “instant beauty” fixes and Kegel exercises to keep those lady parts in good shape.

Remember: While tiis ganda has its moments, you have to draw the line somewhere.

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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No Holiday Ulam Left Behind! 5 Ways to Transform Leftovers

Nothing like a holiday that test the strength of our refs and dining table. And once over, it is a challenge to make sure everything gets consumed before the food expires. But, if you have an adventurous palate and an experimental mind, you can transform leftovers into another delicious meal for your family. Here’s are five ways to do it.

Get saucy
Roast meat makes the best leftover meals. Not only is it highly versatile (it’s basically just cooked meat), it’s already tasty. The simplest thing you can do? Make a sauce, and turn it from a simple roast chicken dinner into a tastier version with a different gravy served with it. Or gently simmer it, and serve it smothered in a gravy or on top of fries. Yum.

Make hash
Roast beef or pork can easily turn into a beef hash similar to the breakfast favorite — corned beef. Just shred or chop up small, and sauté in some oil with some potatoes, carrots, beans, or leftover vegetables. Just remember to season to taste before serving with a sunny-side up egg and garlic rice.

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Batter it up
Have leftover vegetables? Chop it up, add to a simple thick batter of flour, milk, and seasonings, and drop by the spoonful to pan fry into fritters. Easy and tasty — the perfect snack to sneak veggies into your kids’ tummies.

Create a filling
Adobo makes the best leftover meal ingredient. One can make many dishes with the tasty ulam, and the best part is it’s a universal palette pleaser. So don’t just reheat it; up your culinary game with some Adobo Empanadas: Shred the tasty meat, spoon into pie crusts cut to size, crack a quail egg over each, press closed, brush with a beaten egg, and bake until done. Reduce any remaining adobo sauce until thickened before drizzling on top each empanada before serving.

Just shred it
Ever had caldereta so cooked so long the beef chunks fell apart? That’s exactly what you should do to leftover stew. Short on time? Use forks and shred the meat and mash the veggies. Then, it’s just a matter of stuffing it into hot pandesals in the morning. What a breakfast!

Roselle Miranda is the food editor of Good Housekeeping Philippines.

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Is Eating Rice Really Bad for You?

You may have heard that eating a lot of food with a high glycemic index (GI) causes acne breakouts. An example of a food with a high GI is rice, our dining table staple. But more than causing blemishes on your skin, the amount of high GI foods you eat can has an impact on your health, particularly on your weight.

According to Harvard Health Publications, “the glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels.” High glucose levels increases your likelihood for kidney failure, obesity and the diseases that can come with it like diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

There are advantages and disadvantages to eating low or high GI foods. Those looking to lose weight often go for low GI foods and those looking for quick energy boosts, like marathon runners or individuals who have just finished a workout, go for high GI foods.

But, what GI doesn’t tell you is how high your blood sugar can actually go, which is dictated by how much carbohydrates is in the food you’re eating. Think of it this way: GI tells you how fast a food will release sugar into your blood while the amount of carbs in the food will tell you how much sugar will be released. Combine these two, and you get your food’s glycemic load. “A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high,” says Harvard.

Foods low on the GI scale releases sugar (or glucose) more slowly into the blood, and high GI foods release sugar more rapidly.

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Let’s give an example. According to a list provided by Harvard, rice has 150 grams of carbohydrates per serving (that’s high), and a GI of 72 (also high). Which in turn, gives it glycemic load of 29. Yikes. And, based on the list, it comes out as one of the foods with a very high glycemic load.

Other foods that may pop up a lot in your diet that are actually high in glycemic load include: raisins (glycemic load of 28), spaghetti (26), instant oatmeal (21) cornflakes (20) and the cereal brand Coco Pops (20).

However, all this doesn’t mean you should skip carbs altogether, and stick to a strictly low GI foods diet. “Fruits tend to have higher glycemic indices, but they’re also good for you and a great to eat for a snack,” Dr. Barbara V. Howard, senior scientist at MedStarHealth Research Institute and professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, told the American Heart Association.

“Following the principles of low-glycemic-index eating is likely to be beneficial for people with diabetes (whose bodies cannot process sugar efficiently). But reaching and staying at a healthy weight is more important for your blood sugar and your overall health,” says Harvard.

Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. They give us the energy we need to be able to work, study or play. In fact, we need a good serving of it in every meal. The problem lies in picking poor sources of carbohydrates. Find out how much serving of carbs you need in every meal and what good sources of carbohydrates are here.

Sources: Harvard, Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association

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Make a New Year’s Resolution as a Family! 6 Steps to Make It Work

Perhaps you have made life-changing goals for the new year: return to a pre-baby body, start a business you love, travel to a place you’ve never been or get that promotion at work. But have you ever thought of setting a New Year’s resolution for your family? If a resolution is defined as an intention to make this year better than the last through concrete actions, then this possibility is open not just for a personal change but positive transformation even for the people you love and live with.

It sounds daunting. How are we supposed to control the actions of our family, especially if they’re already adults? Look at your resolution to be less about control but about intention and action, so you can make the changes you want in your family life.

Here are six steps to setting a family intention for the new year:

1. Visualize an ideal day in your family’s life.
Take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Envision an ideal day. Be clear about the details. Where are you? What are you doing as a family? When you wake up in the morning, what are you doing? What activities fill the rest of the day? What makes this day so special? How does this day make you feel? Bask in that feeling for a while.

Open your eyes. Write what you had visualized in your journal. Write about it in the present tense, as if it’s already happening. Talk about how your ideal day made you feel. You can also draw this or find photos that represent this day.

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2. Summarize your year in a word.
With your vision of the ideal day, think of a word that will encapsulate it. This word is your intention for the year, and it will guide the actions you want to take.

Take a look at what you had written and see if there are any words that pop. Maybe the feeling you had at the end of the visualization is your word. I invite you to dig deeper than choosing “happy,” “hard working,” “achievement,” “success,” or “wealth.”

While these are all worthy goals, what your family needs may be more immediate and specific. Here are some words to consider:

ADVENTURE: Maybe there’s a desire to travel more, to go beyond your comfort zone, to do something new.
CONNECTION: This could be a need to get off your devices and social media and start talking to each other again.
CALM: This could be anything from less shouting to a more peaceful, less cluttered environment.
WELLNESS: Maybe it’s time to start some healthy habits — more nutritious food, exercise, outdoor activities, increased water intake.
KINDNESS: Little acts and words of kindness could be something that your family is craving for.
GRATITUDE: Instead of comparing yourself to others, look at the gifts that your current life already has.

If you’re still struggling to find your word, consider the following questions:

  • What are you looking forward to doing as a family this year?
  • What didn’t you like about your family life last year?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • Are there activities that you used to do together that you miss and wish you could do again?
  • Where qualities do you want to nurture in your family?
  • At the end of 2017, how will your family have changed?

Ask your husband and children to share their own resolutions. You might find a common thread.

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3. Consider how you can put this word into practice.
Let’s take the sample words above.
If it’s ADVENTURE you seek, plan a series of trips, visit an unexplored part of the city or try a new hobby together.
If CONNECTION is your word, mobile phones, and devices will no longer be allowed at the dining table. You can also write birthday love letters to your kids and husband instead of just a generic tag on their gifts.
For CALM, create an altar or read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for tips on de-cluttering.
For WELLNESS, remove junk food from your grocery list or drink an extra glass of water.
KINDNESS could mean a list of words that can no longer be used at home.
GRATITUDE can be a simple sharing of what each member of the family is grateful for during Sunday dinner.

4. Share your word.
Gather your family. Explain to them why this is important, why you chose your word, and your vision for your family in the new year. They might also have suggestions on other words that they can better connect with.

Get their buy-in.

Ask them to think creatively about how this word can be made real. Make a list of 10 ideas and implement the simplest one. Create a poster highlighting your chosen word. Post it so you can see it regularly — on the refrigerator door, on everyone’s mobile phone lock screen, above the TV. Make it fun.

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5. Be the change. Be the word.
It’s difficult to change others. As Gandhi so wisely pointed out, “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If you want your family to adapt your word-resolution, be the first to put it in practice. Model the behavior you want. Remind your family gently that you have made a commitment towards this intention.

6. Do monthly check-ins.
Ask yourself: How did we put ADVENTURE into action this month? How did we improve our CONNECTION? How did I infuse CALM into my family life? How did we make WELLNESS a priority? What KINDNESS activities did we do together? How did GRATITUDE show up?

If you were unable to make your word a priority, be gentle with yourself and your family and remind yourself that you can start again. You can also evaluate if the word resolution still works. You can change it mid-year if it doesn’t resonate anymore. A year is a long time, and we can renew our commitments to positive change over and over during its course.

Aurora M. Suarez is a certified Courageous Living life coach, a holistic US-based 10-month …read more    

Nuggets of Wisdom from the Book ‘Letters to my Children’

The following are excerpts from the new book ‘Letters to my Children’, a collection of 35 personal letters by known personalities addressed to their kids. Their inspiring messages of love and goodness are sealed with the hope that one day, when their children get to read them, they will live as their parents had hoped they would, and in the process make a difference in the world.

“On nights when I can’t be with you, I’m glad you have your books with you. They are great life companions as they show you worlds and possibilities. I love how you both write your own poems and stories now, and I am amazaed at the power of your imagination. I hope books continue to open your minds and explore the depths of ypur hearts and souls. Our library of books and the time we read together are my gifts to you. One day when you are all grown up, you will open those same books and share them with your own children. And within those pages, you will think of me, and know that I love you forever.”
Xandra Ramos-Padilla is the managing director of National Book Store and the President of Anvil Publishing. She wrote this letter for her children S and F.

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“I’m not sure which path you will choose when you are older, but I promise you that I will support you and help you grow as best as I can, and help you pursue your own dreams. I want you to know that you were loved by your Nanay and Dada from the very first moment we knew of your existence, and we will be there for you to cheer you on, be it from the bleachers or any other kind of arena in life. I only ask that in all your endeavors, do aim to put your heart into it, and always act with well-placed courage and generosity. You may only be a baby now, but I can already feel so much inner strength in your spirit. Use this strength wisely, and fall not into the trappings of material success. Focus instead on higher rewards — that which will make you a greater human being.”
Ani de Leon-Brown was the first Filipina to qualify for the IronMan Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii in 2008. She has a son, Dashell Daniel, and a daughter, Amaya Rosa, for whom she wrote this letter.

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“My high school barkada is called the UDC, short for the Ugly Duckling Crew. After seeing our old high school photos — with our overbite teeth, braces, excess facial hair, pimply round faces, oily skin, ill-fitting clothes, and horrible haircuts, sobrang pangit namin! But, I rose above my flaws. Classmates would make fun of me because I was dar-skinned, skinny, and shapeless. After receiving so many labels, I accepted these names — and transcended them. I made it my mission to be the best model people could work with. Today, we continue to call ourselves the UDC. It’s a wonderful reminder to never be insecure of how you look, no matter how pretty you think your friends are. You’ll later realize that you have turned from that seemingly ugly duckling into the prettiest swan of them all!”
Rissa Mananquil-Trillo is wife to Paolo and mom to Enzo, Celestia, and Audra. She is also a Philippine Star beauty columnist and co-founder of homegrown makeup brand Happy Skin.

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“When I think about you growing up, this is what comforts me: If you have Christ in your life, you will be okay. You will have His peace, joy, grace, hope, power, and presence. This means that you will have everything you need to persevere and to overcome the obstacles and challenges you will face. Best of all, you will come out of these life lessons and tests stronger, better, and wiser. Your Dad, your siblings, and I may not be physically present everywhere you go (even if we would like to be), but God will ALWAYS be with you. Know that I love you always, through everything. And no matter where you are or where you go, remember that I will be praying for you , entrusting you to the One who is able to uphold you and shield you.”
Joy Mendoza is a mom to five children. She and husband Edric are homeschooling advocates and inspirational speakers. She wrote this letter for their firstborn Elijah.

Letters to my Children is available for P295 at all leading bookstores nationwide.

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