I have been in an awful funk lately where I’m feeling like nothing is going my way. It’s so bad that whenever I see emails cross my inbox, I’m already prepared for the worst. The contractor we hired is backing out. The career coach I wanted to work with realized she doesn’t have time to take me on. Rejections for jobs I’ve applied to are finally coming through. I feel blah. I look blah too.

Normally when I’m feeling down, I could take care of myself by sleeping in or going on a weekend getaway, but stuff like that doesn’t happen anymore now that I’m a mother. This added burden of being a parent is all-encompassing because Franco’s needs supersede my own, obviously. I’m also hyper-sensitive to his crying and fussiness. I’m not one of those mothers who’s easy-going!

Further, because my parents take care of Franco full-time (equivalent to 50+ hours a week), I refuse to add to their schedule by asking for date nights or weekends.

Adding insult to injury are all forms of social media, which I should probably ban when I’m feeling down. Here is what I’m thinking whenever I browse Facebook or Instagram.

  • WTF, they’re on vacation again?!
  • Seriously, did they hire Martha Stewart to plan that birthday party?
  • Did they just leave their kids for a week while they went on vacation? Who does that?!

I would love to see some Instagram pictures of people red-in-the-face with thermometers in their mouths and tom yum soup on their nightstands. What happened to reality and authenticity?

Then because I am overly sensitive, I think about the Oregon shooting victims or the image of the Syrian toddler who drowned, and I’m like, have some perspective. Wake up and be grateful.

Anyhow, I am contemplating a mental health day sometime soon because I need some serious rest and relaxation ASAP.


  • How do you keep a balanced outlook on social media?
  • What are some things that you do to take care of yourself when you are overwhelmed, but still have responsibilities to attend to.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I am in pain.

Considering I gave birth drug-free and have run races (including marathons) on a whim with little to no training, comparatively-speaking, I have a pretty high pain threshold. So when I say I’m in pain, I’m genuinely, tragically in a lot of pain.

As a working mom with zero work from home privileges, I’m a sucker for shortcuts and timesavers, which is why most of the books I ‘read’ are actually read to me. I can commute/walk and ‘read’ at the same time, which is totally awesome.

On my commute, I’ve seen people zipping by in scooters and I got the zany idea that I could do the same. It would essentially shave 10-15 minutes off my commute! A no brainer, right?

The problem is that I can be sort of a klutz, coupled with the fact that I have atrocious hand-eye coordination. The first day I brought my nephew’s Razor to work, I confidently zoomed half-a-block before I hit a groove in the Financial District and launched my 90 pound frame into the air. I instinctively threw my hands in front of me to cushion my fall and ended up spraining my left hand and deeply skinning the knuckles of my right hand. You know how cartoon characters have stars circling their heads whenever they crash? That’s exactly how I felt. I swear to God my vision twinkled over with stars. I sat on the pavement, stunned, scraped, bleeding…pretty much incapacitated for a few minutes.

Ever since, I’ve been trying to give myself some TLC and also nursing a bruised ego. I am not a kid anymore. I am freaking 40 years old. Walking is good. Anything beyond that is off-limits!

The Sunscreen You Should Have Used this Summer

Just because it’s no longer summer doesn’t mean you can put away the sunscreen! Especially here in the Bay Area, we tend to have Indian Summers. However, we’ve already had several strange and unusual heat waves, so who knows what the weather will actually be.

This is my go-to sunscreen recommended by every dermatologist and esthetician I’ve seen. It’s Colorescience Sunforgettable and it’s (gasp!) a powder that’s really easy and convenient to apply. Because let’s face it, the sunscreen that’s easiest to use is the one that you’ll actually put on.

My whole life I was allergic to sunscreen. Always broke out in a rash whenever I dabbed any on. Sadly, I’m also allergic to the sun (yes, the f*ing sun) so I was miserable during the summers. A dermatologist finally figured out that I was allergic to chemical, but not physical sunscreens.

15 years ago, there weren’t many physical sunscreens (those containing Zinc and Titanium) in the market which meant I looked like Casper the Friendly Ghost when I applied them. But now it looks like it’s mainly physical sunscreens (which are way better for you) that are being sold and they come in a variety of textures and opacity.

Colorescience Sunforgettable is much more expensive than regular sunscreens, but hey, you pay a premium for quality. Active ingredients are Zinc Oxide at 24% and Titanium Dioxide at 24%. I challenge you to compare these percentages to your brand of sunscreen and I’m confident you will be impressed.

Have you heard of the Environmental Working Group? They publish several consumer guides and maintain databases of products with an assigned safety rating. You can lookup and research sunscreen products here.

Do you have a favorite sunscreen?

The People’s Pope

If you haven’t gleaned from reading my blog, I am very Catholic. I say that with a wince because even though I’m proud to be Catholic, I am not one of those religious fanatics who follows the letter of the law. People think that when you say, I’m very this or that, that you adhere to a certain set of rules. I’m not like that. Against the backdrop of the Catholic faith, I follow my own set of principles and values that work for me. As an example, I am pro-choice. Who am I to tell someone else what they can and cannot do?

My son’s name Francisco came about for a variety of reasons. The name is common in both Italy and the Philippines which is Dean’s heritage and my heritage, respectively. Also, the kid was born in the city of San Francisco. The patron saint of San Francisco is St. Francis and the pope chose to honor St. Francis and his mission to serve the poor by taking on that name. For all of those reasons, Franco is so named, but mainly he is named after Pope Francis. Here is a recent shot of my 16 month old baby ringing the bell in front of Maria Lanakila Catholic church in Lahaina, Maui.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that the holy and humble Pope Francis has ascended to lead the Catholic church. Even from the beginning, he eschewed the upgrades in clothing, transportation and lodging provided to the pope. He opted to live in a guest house outside the papal palace. This is unprecedented, but so welcome by his followers. Finally! Someone who is following in the footsteps of Jesus. Makes sense, right? And his actions and message of openness and humility are obviously resonating with legions of people.

“God has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone…even the atheists, everyone!”

Here is the leader of a major religion who cares about all of humanity, not just his own religious congregation. “In a world where different forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or as I mentioned before, try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices calling for peace, tolerance, respect for the dignity and rights of others.” I love the picture above of Pope Francis with other religious leaders. This is the way it should be. Everyone praying for each other.

Another thing I love about this man is how he asks for our prayers. Most priests and religious leaders bless the people, but Pope Francis constantly asks for our prayers in return. To me, he is saying, I am a sinful man. I am not without fault. I need your prayers too.

In his speech to Congress, Pope Francis said the following in regard to immigration, but obviously meant it in all aspects of our lives. “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Many blessings and prayers for this amazing leader who is spreading messages of love around the world.

PS. I have to throw out there that I saw Pope John Paul II in his popemobile in the Philippines in 1995. The crowds were shockingly large since the Philippines is a very Catholic country. Nevertheless, as short as I am, I got to see him! I am hoping we will get to see Pope Francis one day.

SOS from Hawaii

A quick note to say that I will be offline for a while as we are vacationing in Hawaii right now. Note to self: next time I travel with a toddler we need to either: 1) stay in the same time zone which would be ideal, or 2) vacation in a time zone that is ahead.

Hawaii is 3 hours behind California. So when little human alarm clock Franco buzzes awake at 6am California time, that means it’s 3am in Maui. You know what’s happening in Maui at 3am? Crickets are chirping!

Now let’s say we were in Montreal and Franco wakes up at 6am California time, at least we could go to a cafe and drink hot chocolate and eat croissants because that would be 9am Montreal time. No one told me that changing time zones would be a big red flag. Pretty much everything I read said that kids adjust easily. Haha! That’s bullshit. But we’re only a few days in, so we shall see!

We went to one of the few places that was open at 7am Maui time and the place was packed with tourists. Anyone need a business idea? Open restaurants in Hawaii with very early hours. Guaranteed business!