Baby Sleep Coach Lists 7 Sleep Mistakes New Parents Make

We are not given an instruction manual when we welcome our little one into the world, a situation already prime for sleepless nights and a feeling of helplessness. And baby sleep can be such a mystery to many new parents and can remain so for even the most experienced moms who are having their third or fourth child.

What makes the magic happen for a full night’s uninterrupted sleep? As a sleep coach, I always focus on making sure that a baby falls asleep on his own, and he soothes himself back to sleep when he wakes during the night. Many parents are always surprised their baby has the potential to be this, well, independent. What did they do wrong, they ask.

From the work I do as a sleep coach, here are a few observations:

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#1 Parents introduce a pacifier too early.
The recommended time to introduce a pacifier is around 1 month of age to avoid conflict as you try to establish a successful breastfeeding routine. Your breasts need to be on center stage from day one. The pacifier should not be used as a substitute for feeding at the breast.

By the way, parents can unintentionally “force” a pacifier on their baby, resulting in pacifier dependency. It happens when you put a pacifier back into your baby’s mouth after she has spat it out. Putting it back reinforces the idea that she needs it.

I use pacifiers as a sleep aid during times when a baby needs comfort, but it’s done on a temporary basis. If you are choosing to bottle feed from birth, the pacifier is less detrimental, but it is still unnecessary that early.

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#2 Many parents consider pacifier use okay, but they frown on thumb sucking.
I have many clients who hate the idea of thumb sucking, but they are fine with pacifier usage. Too much thumb-sucking will have the same effect as pacifier dependency.

However, your baby controls his thumb, unlike a pacifier that he would never have known unless you give it to him. He uses it to comfort himself, which is good because “he’s finding ways to make himself feel better without your help.”
The thumb becomes problematic when he grows up, primarily because it can cause dental problems.

#3 You disregard the use of a “lovey.”
As a new parent, you’ve probably received a lovey as a gift, but you didn’t see it that way. In a previous article on SmartParenting.com.ph, a lovey is defined as a “transitional object” that you can introduce during bedtime. It can be anything as long as it is considered safe — a blanket or a soft toy like an animal head attached to a blanket. Your baby needs this little friend as a self-soothing aid. Babies love to feel something soft on their face or snuggle up to it.

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Give your child the object before bed, and your child will associate it with you, a feeling of security and sleep. When your child wakes up in the middle of the night, the object can take your place as a soother.

#4 You continue to rock and carry your baby even when he’s deeply asleep.
Rocking your baby to sleep is unavoidable in his first few months of life. And, in fact, the skin to skin contact, hearing your heartbeat and breathing and feeling your warmth are all highly beneficial in parent-child bonding.

Overdoing it, however, can foster dependency. Put your baby down the moment he is asleep, rather than continuing to sway him in your arms for the duration of the nap.

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#5 You pat your baby to sleep.
I’m not a big fan of this action, especially for newborns. Doing it during your baby’s first three months creates a dependency. It can also interfere with your baby’s ability to drift off to sleep on his own when his body is ready to do so.

When a baby is ready to sleep, he will do so during these first few months of life without your help, which brings me to the next point.

#6 You ignore your baby’s sleep cues.
Babies show many physical signs that they are sleepy. You’ll see them yawning and rubbing their eyes. They become fussy. Some just stare out into space. We need to keep an eye on these cues throughout the day because they will often lead to a pattern, and it will help you create a sleep schedule.

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When we miss these cues, we push our baby beyond his physical limits. It can lead him to be overtired, resulting in poor feeding and growth.

#7 You assume that you and your baby has the same sleep needs.
Our required sleep is very different from that of infants and toddlers. We need to respect their physiological needs by fitting yourself into the baby’s sleep schedule, rather than making it fit into yours.

Parenting is a job you learn with experience, so it’s easy to commit missteps. Don’t also dismiss the fact that every baby is different. Forgive yourself and move onto making it better. Don’t feel guilty if you feel you need help — and don’t be afraid to ask for one either.

Sleep coach Gabrielle Weil trained with two UK-based baby sleep trainers using various sleep training methods. You may reach her at babesofbliss@gmail.com.

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You Could Franchise Kris Aquino’s Nacho Bimby for P2M

She’s been called the Queen of All Media and many other titles, but for the past two years, Kris Aquino has been busy learning the ropes of running a food business as an entrepreneur. Her newest venture is Nacho Bimby Pilipinas Corp., a food cart concept that serves tortilla chips topped with a variety of dressings and pulled beef. Aquino named the business after her second son, James Yap Jr., whom she affectionately calls Bimby and whose favorite snack is Tex-Mex cuisine.

“It was an experiment and then I didn’t know that it could grow into something like this,” Kris said in a video posted on her Facebook page. “Mayroon pala akong ibang kayang gawin.” ([I realized] I can do something else.)

Aquino made headlines last year when she announced she was leaving ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., the country’s biggest television network by revenue, where she worked as a top talent for 20 years. In late 2016, she launched an online show called Heart to Heart with Kris, capitalizing on her huge social media following. As of mid-August 2017, her Facebook page has 579,000 likes while her Instagram account has 3.1 million followers.

But even when she was still on TV, Aquino had been investing in several food brands as a franchisee. She co-owns different branches of Chinese fast-food chain Chowking, chicken barbecue chain Mang Inasal as well as famous food cart Potato Corner.

Nicko Falcis, business manager of Nacho Bimby, told Entrepreneur Philippines that Aquino was supposed to invest in another franchised branch of Potato Corner in 2015. In another video, Aquino said she was encouraged by her business partner, Dom Hernandez, to develop her own brand instead.

In September 2015, Aquino opened the first branch of Potato Corner + Nacho Bimby (PC+NB) in Promenade Mall in San Juan City.

“It took us 18 months to perfect the business model for PC+NB. The first year taught us how to maximize our operations,” Falcis shared via email. “We took the calculated steps and opened PC+NB across different mall chains to fully assess our potential.”

Potato Corner + Nacho Bimby now has eight company-owned branches across Metro Manila, a majority of which are located alongside mall cinemas. Falcis said the company chose to partner with Potato Corner as it aims to be as big as the brand, which reported Php1 billion-worth of sales in 2015.

And just like its partner, Nacho Bimby aims to expand through franchising. In fact, Nacho Bimby has three more stalls that were set up by franchisees, bringing the snack food chain’s branches in Metro Manila to 11 stalls.

“We have two set-ups: a partner store is a joint venture between the mother company and franchisee. On the other hand, a full franchise store is 100 percent owned by the franchisee,” Falcis explained.

The brand has different store formats that range from 30 square meters to 45 square meters in size, with investments ranging from Php2 million to Php3.5 million. The packages already include the construction of the branch, store equipment, staff training, marketing support and initial inventory that may last for up to two weeks of operations.

While the first batch of Nacho Bimby branches stand beside a Potato Corner stall, franchisees may opt not to have the latter and just serve the NB brand.

In a video posted online in July, Aquino shared that the investment payback period for most of NB’s branches has been quick. “The investment is not so big so we got the ROI (return on investment) quickly. From our experience, it’s about 30 months,” Aquino said.

Falcis says that the company is bullish with its targets as it expects to close 20 franchising deals by the end of 2017 and plans to open new branches in Cebu and Davao in the next 12 months.

*****

Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz

This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.ph.

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

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I Was Always Tired. I Asked My Hubby for Help. Here’s What Happened

Moms are always, always tired. We just have levels of tired: carry pa, sungit mode, and OMG I need a glass of wine.

I used to think it was my fault. Maybe I just needed to manage my time better or drink one of those power breakfast smoothies that I’d saved on Pinterest but never had the energy to make. Maybe I just needed to speak up and ask my husband to help.

So I did all three, and guess what? Managing my time helped, and the smoothies were delicious but didn’t turn me into Wonder Woman. As for asking hubby to help, well, the results were mixed, and I think it’s why many modern moms are running on empty — we need to, well, manage our expectations.

Dads think moms are the home managers.

Men will help out with parenting and the house, but that’s all they will do: help. You still need to tell them exactly what you need. It’s like you’re running a company, and you have an intern who’s only giving you two hours of work each day, and maybe five hours on weekends.

Hubbies think that the home is our domain. They won’t interfere or volunteer. So moms aren’t just doing housework or child-rearing — we’re planning, troubleshooting, and making big decisions that impact the family’s daily routine. We’re constantly thinking of the Big Picture. Moms are the House CEO. And it changes a lot about how we deal with tasks.

Dad posts picture of him cuddling the baby: 500 likes, and comments like “Wow, you’re such a sweet dad!”

Meanwhile, 99 percent of mom life is never posted on social media: the midnight feedings, toddler tantrums, projectile vomits and tedious arguments just to get them to brush their teeth. Kids are hard work, and maybe there’s tiny window of cuteness when they’re not screaming, hungry or making a mess.

Guess what they’re doing then? You guessed it: taking a picture with Dad.

“Why do you take so long at the supermarket?” my husband complains.

The few times I send my hubby to the grocery, he’ll come back feeling smug and special: “See, it only took me half an hour.” Oh, young Padawan, you have so much to learn.

Supermarket shopping is a science and art for budget-strapped moms. You follow a list. We make that list — and it’s based on a hundred things. Meal plans that accommodate the preferences of picky eaters and your cholesterol and sugar levels. Brand prices vs. benefits (plus we read the label). On-the-spot changes whenever we see a sale.

Plus, the supermarket is our shopping therapy, and you should be glad we’re spending time and money on food and not mahjong.

Dad cooks one meal, and everyone thinks he’s freakin’ Gordon Ramsey.

And that may be true because he thinks there’s an entire support staff to prep and clean up after him. The trail of pots and pans, open jars, and vegetable peelings take more time to clean up than actually making a chicken tinola yourself and calling it a day. But you need to make your man feel that he’s “helping out in the kitchen.”

In a way, getting husband to cook is like agreeing to bake with the kids. You agree to make them feel good and maybe get a nice photo op, but you’re secretly relieved that they don’t do this every day.

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Definition of hands-on dad: Drops off kids, attends PTC meetings, joins Family Fun Run.

Definition of hands-on mom: Monitors school performance daily, coordinates with the teacher, volunteers for the PTC, buys school supplies/baon/costumes, listens patiently to all the after-school stories (or tries to extract them if your child doesn’t say anything). And despite all this, is still silently judged if the child doesn’t get the A or play well with friends.

In the great Parenting Report Card, dads will get an A for minimal effort, and moms will never be able to do enough.

It is true for working moms who contribute equal or greater to the family income. Dads are excused for “providing for the family” (being involved with the kids is extra credit!). Moms who spend a whole day at the office still have to find time for daily school work, or they “don’t have the right priorities.”

Ever feel that you study harder with your kids than you ever did when you were a student? I think schools assume that there’s a parent who’ll help with the homework, and that usually means Mom. Raise your hand if you’ve ever printed a reviewer, made a diorama, or Googled how to make a costume/recycled art project/props from cardboard and plastic jugs. See, this is why moms cry at Moving Up ceremonies. We feel like we’re graduating too!

Dads will do one job, and just that job, and go back to watching Netflix. Moms will go around like a factory supervisor, troubleshooting what’s left behind.

For about two years, we had no regular yaya or household help because we couldn’t find anyone who stayed longer for a month. Hubby was forced to help out, and to be fair, he was good at laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. In a pinch, men will do their share – if they’re told what to do exactly.

While we tried to divide the major tasks equally, anyone who’s run a home and raised kids knows there’s a lot of small but time-consuming details — changing toilet paper, washing the basahan and floormats, disinfecting the kids’ toys. The list goes on. We don’t bother assigning it because it’s easier to take care of it on the spot. “The sofa feels sticky. I’ll wipe it down now… and since I’ve already got the disinfectant out, I might as well clean the garbage cans and hose down the garage.”

Dads will feel like a superhero after taking out the garbage, but Moms can’t sleep at night thinking about how long it’s been since we’ve defrosted the fridge.

For every other holiday, moms actually work harder.

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Gina Alajar and Gracia Lopez Are Lolas Who Understand Boundaries

If you’re already a grandma, but you don’t want to be called lola, you can get creative and take a cue from Gina Alajar and Samatha “Gracia” Lopez. Gina is called Madz by her grandkids Madz, while Samantha is Mamita to her only apo.

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Gina, who’s been an actress since she was 8 years old and who, at 58, now also directs TV drama series, has three sons: Ryan, Geoff, and AJ Eigenmann, the real family name of their actor-father Michael de Mesa. Ryan, an actor, and his wife Cathy have a daughter, Catalina, 7, and a son, Ruis, 5. AJ, a former actor and currently a licensed veterinary technician based in Las Vegas, U.S.A., has a son with his wife, Rosetti named Azi, 2.

Gina says there’s a big difference between being a mom and grandmom. “Kasi mas mahal mo ‘yong grandchildren mo,” she says we think in jest . “Basta iba sila. Iba ‘yong lambing nila sa grandma. Iba ‘yong responsibility mo. I feel I have the responsibility dahil, you know, kailangan maturuan rin sila ng magandang asal, especially when they’re with me. Hindi naman puro na lang ‘yong ‘Okay lang.’ Spoiled, gano’n. So, kailangan disiplinahin.”

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Disciplining her grandchildren includes on-the-spot reminders, such as, “if they’re getting rowdy in a party ‘ta’s takbuhan na lang silang nang takbuhan,” and then she just tells them to stop. “Pero I spoil,” she admits, grinning.

Gina regularly sees Catalina and Ruis when they all go to church every Sunday. She bonds with Azi when she gets the chance to visit Las Vegas. Gina dotes on them and enjoys being their refuge when they get a scolding from their parents.

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“Nagsusumbong sila sa akin,” she explains. “’Tapos it becomes our secret. Pag nagsabi sila ng, ‘Madz, Madz, don’t tell Mom and Dad,’ I tell them, ‘Okay, it becomes our secret.’ Siyempre, ‘tsaka na lang sila makakampante.”

Among her three grandkids, it’s her first, Catalina, whom she considers her favorite. “Pero siyempre,” she hastens to add, “’yong kapatid niya na lalaki [si Ruis] is growing up to be a very sweet boy. ‘Yong anak naman ni AJ [si Azi], isa ring little sweet boy. I just love them all!”

For first-time lolas, Gina shares some words of wisdom: “Just love your grandkids, but remember they’re not yours. Have that space. You may get very, very close to them, but you should always remember that hindi pa rin sila sa ‘yo. Meron pa rin silang nanay at tatay, who have the last say if they want to make pahiram to you the baby or not.”

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Samantha Lopez is gradually learning the role of lola. She had shot to fame in the 1990s as Gracia, the showdown girl in the noontime show Eat Bulaga!, but she has now established a career in the real estate industry in New York, U.S. She has a daughter, Kaye, 24 who gave birth to Lucas just last March. They reside in the Philippines.

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“Mas masarap talaga maging lola,” Samantha exclaims. “Di ikaw ‘yong nagpupuyat, di ikaw ‘yong nagbe-breastfeed, you know? Di ikaw ‘yong twenty-four hours na nando’n. Ito [as a lola], puwede mong makita whenever you want, ‘tapos nai-spoil mo.”

She believes it’s quite normal for a lola to spoil her apo. But, she adds: “Practical naman rin ako. It’s not about mga material things, you know. But ‘yong spending quality time, ‘yong mga gano’ng bagay.”

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Being a grandma for merely five months, Samantha can’t believe that she’s reached a new phase in her life, but she’s happily navigating her way and enjoying every minute of it. “I’m just excited!” she says. “And, yeah, at 48, medyo young to be a lola. No preparation at all. I mean, you know, excited lang na maging lola. I’m happy.”

As early as now, though, the first-time grandma knows her place in her grandson’s life. “You have to set your boundaries kasi,” she explains. “Lola ka talaga, and meron silang parents.”

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Preschool Teachers Reveal 7 Discipline Hacks to Get Kids to Behave

“Your son is such an angel!” his preschool teacher gushed. “He listens attentively, eats alone and packs up without being told…and he’s always smiling!”

Uh, are we talking about the same kid? I can’t even get him to brush his teeth without screaming. The only time I get him to pack up his toys is if I threaten, “I’m going to tell Teacher!”

Clearly, preschool teachers have found a formula for getting a roomful of kids to be on their best behavior. So I asked some of them for their discipline hacks for toddlers and preschoolers because if they can manage a classroom, they can help me manage my child. (By the way, #7 made me cry.)

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#1 Give age-appropriate rules
Every school year, preschool teachers give a list of classroom rules that they reinforce every single day – no exceptions. However, don’t set your child up for failure by asking him to do something that’s not age-appropriate. “A three-year-old will be a messy eater, so a fair rule would be ‘Wipe the table after eating, not ‘Don’t spill your food,’” says preschool teacher Aileen Gomez.

#2 Give kid-friendly reminders
To teach kids to stop shouting, junior nursery teacher Anna Cordero uses the words “Indoor Voice” and “Outdoor Voice.” She uses hand signals to remind her class when they’re getting too loud. She will also remind them before an activity: “Okay, everyone, Indoor Voice!” Constant reinforcement turns rules into habits.

It’s the same principle Cordero uses when they go out to the playground. “Loving hands!” she says, which is their code word for no pushing or hitting. She taught this rule with a story about what our hands can do. “We can use them to hug or to hit. We can use them to make people happy, or make people sad.” This helps explain the rule and create a phrase that reminds her students about the rule.

Praise them when they follow a rule!

#3 Make it easy to succeed
Packing up is easier when the boxes are within a toddler’s reach, and it’s clear where to return something after it’s used. Here are some preschool setups you can recreate in your playroom:

  • Install low shelves and fill them with labeled plastic boxes. (Example: the word LEGO and a picture of lego.) This helps teach them to read and where to put things back.
  • Store books in wicker baskets, so it’s easier for kids to find the book they want.
  • Hang eco-bags in low-lying hooks for small toys and accessories.
  • Cover their art table with plastic, so it’s easy to wipe up paint or water spills.

Preschool directress Sharon Alfonso says that having too many toys and books invites the mess. Store some of them and bring them out one batch out at a time, rotating every month. “They don’t get bored, and they’re able to organize what they have.”

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#4 Catch them when they’re good and help when they’re not
Praise them when they follow a rule! Positive reinforcement helps – and also gets other kids to follow because they want to be praised too.

And yes, those stickers and stamps on the hands work really, really well. You can get them at bookstores and craft stores. Use them on charts, so both you and your child can see your weekly progress. “If you see your child keeps getting a ‘Sad Face’ for cleaning up, then that means that’s a rule you both have to work on,” says Alfonso. If it means you have to wait 30 minutes for them to put away their toys before going to bed, then stick to it, because that’s your child’s Lesson for the Month.

#5 Keep calm and get them to calm down too
You’re the adult. Act like one. When kids are screaming, disobeying, and generally being little monsters, you need to take a deep breath and stay in control. Count to 10, kneel in front of them, and with a firm voice and maintaining eye contact, say: “Stop.”

“Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of lectures and punishments.”

That’s it. Don’t over explain the rule or get them to do something when they’re having an emotional meltdown (and you’re pretty close to having one yourself).

Get them to the point when they’re actually listening – that’s what Quiet Time and Corner Time are for – and then explain what you want them to do.

Veteran preschool teacher assistant Lorraine Angeles says that’s what’s worked for every meltdown she sees in the classroom. “Huwag mo sabayan ang bata. Hindi siya makikinig. Quiet time for five minutes and then talk when both of you are okay na.”

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#6 Put discipline in perspective
Alfonso says that sometimes it’s better to focus on reinforcing one or two positive habits than nagging them about a dozen things. “Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of lectures and punishments! Tackle problems one at a time. This is a child, and you have many years to learn together. Be consistent, but don’t stress out. Learning is a process!”

She says that parents have to see parenting as a journey. “I always cry at graduations because I remember the kids when they first entered my school in junior nursery and how much they have learned and changed by the time they leave kinder. Some of them had very difficult behavioral problems that took years to correct. Most of them have strengths and weaknesses that you have to work with.”

She says parents have to see that every child is unique, and discipline is really about bringing out the best in your child while accepting who he is. “I have been teaching 20 years, and I have students who visit me after 10, 15 years and I think, ‘Aah, this is what God meant you to be.’ My super kulit preschoolers with lots of questions turned out to be science scholars. A slow reader who preferred to talk with classmates during Book time is now student council president because she’s so charismatic. There are so many ways to succeed.”

“Kids will always be ‘better’ in the classroom because it’s a classroom!”

#7 Remember: you’re the …read more    

5 Home Repairs You Can Do Without Calling Manong

Whether you’re a first-time nester or a seasoned homeowner, it’s important to learn how to accomplish basic maintenance tasks — after all, it is your home and it is important that you know how to take care of it. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of common home dilemmas and handy guides for damage control. Check them out below:

Screens are incredibly useful for letting the air in while keeping the bugs out. However, over time, it gets more crisp and can have holes. Believe it or not, you can actually replace these panels yourself. All you need is a new sheet of screen, a screwdriver, a cutter and our handy guide to help you through the process.

How-To: Changing Window Screens


When we wash dishes, food remnants and other debris pool in the kitchen sink. This holds true for the bathroom sink, too. Just in case something gets stuck, you can unclog your drain with a plunger and a little bit of vinegar.

How-To: Unclogging a Drain


The amount of water wasted when you have a leaky faucet accumulates over time. Save water and money by learning how to fix a minor leak—begin by turning off the water supply, replacing the O-ring and removing sediments from the stem.

How-To: Fixing a Leaking Faucet


It’s no secret that painting is the simplest way of adding color to a room. You don’t have to hire a painter, as you can do the job by yourself. First, prepare everything you need: a steel brush, paint brushes, a paint tray, a roller, a putty knife, old newspapers, masking tape, thinner, and a ladder. Then, feel free to color your walls away!

How-To: Repaint Your Home in 8 Simple Steps


Holes in walls can be an eyesore and can ruin beautiful decor. Try and solve it by yourself with a little bit of cement adhesive and a ready-to-mix concrete patch.

How-To: Patching Up A Hole In The Wall

This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph.

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

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You Can Now Listen to Your Waze Directions in Filipino

For Metro Manila motorists, Waze has been nothing short of a godsend in the past few years. Aside from helping us navigate the city’s confusing streets and detours, it has also proven itself useful in rerouting us from congested roads whenever possible. The app’s developers must have sensed how much we love their product, because they’ve just included an option for the voice commands to be spoken in Filipino.

The voice command’s name is Adora, and she’ll gently remind you things like ‘sa dalawang-daang metro, kumanan sa Julia Vargas Avenue.’ It couldn’t come at a better time, too, considering that the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is now in full enforcement on the streets.

Besides enabling motorists to hear directions without getting distracted, this new voice function will also hopefully help more drivers to understand the directions better and avoid scenarios where they get confused in the middle of an intersection.

For their next trick, we’re hoping that the developers add more voice options for the Filipino commands. We’d love to hear Liza Soberano tell us to ‘Make kanan na here,’ or Mike Enriquez say ‘Kumanan na po kayo!‘ in his unmistakeable cadence. Or, better yet, maybe we can get Xian Gaza to help us tick off our baket list on the road. On second thought, you might end up throwing your phone out the window the first time you hear him say ‘Nyeeeeam!’

Have you guys tried out the Adora option yet?

This story originally appeared on Topgear.com.ph.

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

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Your Favorite Books Are Now Tote Bags and They’re Too Cute for Words

Book lovers, we found adorable tote bags that we’re pretty sure you’re going to fall in love with: Out of Print Clothing is a New York-based company that takes your favorite books and makes them wearable by turning them into shirts and tote bags! Here’s a cool bonus: one of Out of Print’s missions is to help fund literacy programs.

Take your pick from The Little Prince, Goodnight Moon, A Clockwork Orange, and more. All tote-bag designs are inspired by their respective book covers, letting you wear your love for them loud and proud.

Check them out:

Wonder

The Little Prince

The Alchemist

A Clockwork Orange

Goodnight Moon

Alice in Wonderland

Each tote bag is available for P950. You can shop them at Fully Booked stores and through the Fully Booked website.

For more information, log on to Fully Booked’s Facebook page

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

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

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6 Important Tips To Remember When Shopping in Divisoria

Everyone loves a good bargain — whether you’re frugal or you love to splurge, no one could say no to beautiful pieces at reasonable prices, and every seasoned shopper knows these can be found in Divisoria. However, shopping in this spot can be a little tricky. Aside from being ready to brave the crowds and face sweltering heat, here’s how to prepare for a trip this weekend:

  • Make sure to dress down and bring only the essentials. The goal is to look “normal” in order to afford more haggling privileges.
  • Anticipate a lot of walking; wear comfy and waterproof flats. Remember that most streets in Divisoria can easily turn into a mud party when it rains. Bring a small umbrella as well.
  • Tote a small shoulder or belt bag with closures where you can stash your cash (don’t put all in your wallet). Swing the bag in front of you at all times, and avoid fumbling at it while walking. It’ll make you look distracted and thus, an easy target for pickpockets. Bring a foldable canvas tote for your purchases.

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    • Haggling is encouraged, but know when to stop. Some temperamental stall owners might get miffed if you offer to buy their products for ridiculously low prices.
    • While ATMs are aplenty around Divisoria, it’s better to bring enough cash, broken into smaller bills. If you must withdraw, choose a machine that’s enclosed in a mall.
    • Thoroughly inspect your desired items before buying them. Unless they’re your suki, most stores in Divisoria don’t observe actual return and exchange policies.

    Read the original article (“My Divine Divi”) in the March 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.

    This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph.

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

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    10 Awesome Cake Artists to Try for Your Child’s 7th Birthday!

    A child’s 7th birthday is usually a milestone event in the Philippines. It might mean a big celebration, a beautiful theme, and of course all the fun details. A stunning cake is a staple party centerpiece, whether you’re having a small or grand party. So if you’re looking for a delicious work of cake art, here are 10 cake artists who can make your sweet cake dreams come true.

    Cuppy Puppy Bakehouse

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/1pPNOSjUFJ/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/uNlwimDUFK/]

    Joanna Romero makes beautiful works of art including beautiful giant fountain cakes and hanging upside down cakes. She loves to try new things so you may find her a great partner for something unique yet fun cake. Email: inquiries@cuppypuppy.com

    Swell Sweets

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVUCE2HjEmj/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVPXk53Du5w/]

    Gel Colet specializes in delicious cakes with fun and quirky decorations. She is very talented in creating pretty icing designs both in buttercream and fondant as well as fondant figurines. Call: 0917-5367827 / 946-6163

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    The Bunny Baker

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BV_0T0_Foyq/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVCuBG_FldD/]

    Delicious flavors and a keen eye for detail are staples of the Bunny Baker. They love making detailed and cute designs and can make cakes to suit any theme. Email: cakes@thebunnybaker.com Call: 622-3326

    Cakeshop by Sonja

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BIfKuApjzo1/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BOURTHUBTeH/]

    Everyone loves her cupcakes, but Sonja’s bakery makes beautiful and delicious cakes as well. In fact they make a fun staple rainbow sprinkles cake that would look great at any party! Email: cakeshop@cupcakesbysonja.com Call 0917-535-3451

    [ArticleReco:{“articles”:[“13917”]}]

    Yummy Piece of Cake

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/_c3O2JCNg0/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/_P3rTjiNjO/]

    Naked rustic cakes, beautiful flowers, and other fun designs are staples creations by Yumi Castrillo. She also offers a wide range of dessert table sweets. Email: pieceofcakebyumicastrillo@gmail.com Call 0917-805-4063

    The Delightful Miss Joyce

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVYqId6lwFJ/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BUBNrV2FT63/]

    Joyce is known for her beautiful cakes and signature clean and minimal style. She also offers a to-die-for cheesecake and gorgeous mini cakelets. Email: thedelightfulmissjoyce@gmail.com

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    Marta’s Cakes

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BV-bDpjAXDX/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BWEy8q4ArcP/]

    Marta makes super fun cakes. Known for her delicious signature pound cake flavor and colorful buttercream ice cream, she can make designs in any style. She also offers delicious cupcakes and cake pops. Call: 556-2240

    OC’s Kitchen

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVyOGrZAmus/

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BVHM0RfAoZT/]

    Ana Sarmiento loves to make unique eye-catching and awe-inspiring creations. She likes testing the boundaries and trying new things and she can turn fondant, buttercream, and cake into the most adorable kiddie designs. Email: littlemissoc@yahoo.com. Call 0917-812-6833

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    Lovelots Cakes

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BTVyMFiA5UW/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BQIcoq3l1x7/]

    Melissa Pedreña does beautiful fondant and buttercream cakes. She can make fun sculpted designs or simple stylish ones. Either way, Melissa like collaborating with her clients to make cakes unique for every occasion. Email: hello@lovelotscakes.com

    Goldilocks

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BRAjOAjjVxB/]

    [instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BTLTLWIjkES/]

    This classic cake maker has been a favorite for years, and while they have a catalog for you to choose character cakes, keep in mind they do custom cakes, from birthdays to weddings. Call 532-4050

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    …read more