Ask and It’s Given is authored by Jerry and Esther Hicks, books writers who want to help people create the life they truly desire. When the authors pertain to ‘desire,’ nonetheless, it refers to the natural positive force within all of us. As such, every individual has their desires though it varies in level and intensity that leads that individual towards frustration and disappointment when not achieved. Indeed, the book’s message is that it would be challenging for any desire to materialize unless the individual will learn to ask and receive whatever a person wants to be, to do, and to have. 

Ask and It’s Given is a compilation of messages that were channeled from Abraham. Expectedly, no new information can be found in the book. Please do not underestimate the book because it contains all the important messages that will inspire its reader. In a very warm, conversational tone, the book speaks of how any individual may attract the life s/he so wanted. The book is very intriguing in such a way that the discussions are in-depth about changing one’s life for the better. The book gave new meaning to what positive thinking is.   

As Ask and It’s Given is channeled, you cannot, and must not, complete the book in one sitting. Instead, please read it in passages, reflecting after reading a passage. Though implicitly, it advises the readers to take some time to meditate and think about their own life’s current status. With a clear mind, you have to work with your emotions and energy towards creating the positivity that seems to lurk deep into your memory. You have to draw ‘supernatural inspiration’ and apply this in your own context. The book contains profound truths that are manifested in desires. Just when you thought that you are done here, you will suddenly feel that there is nothing you cannot do after reading the book.

Equipped with simple and practical exercises, Ask and It’s Given is not your typical how-to book. The truth is there are how-to books that are lip-service. This book is a culmination of all how-to books that focus on life and living positively without meaning to do so. As the book gives highly utilizable exercises, no book is informative and inspiring than Ask and It’s Given. If there is one manifestation book worth buying that is Ask and It’s Given, you will never regret that decision. Ever!

This is a sponsored posta collab with the PUNK RAVE clothing store in the UK. It sells punk, gothic, and Lolita clothes and accessories for men and women. Check their gothic dress collection!

Lolita fashion
a subculture in Japanese street fashion, highly influenced by the Victorian clothing styles, particularly from the Rococo period

Our recent encounter with the Victorian-esque era is Bridgerton—the most-watched original Netflix series. The series is based on ‘ton’ novels written by Julia Quinn. The Regency romance (more about the period below) happened when debutantes are presented to society through a ball.

The series premiered on December 25, 2020, and became an instant hit in 83 countries, including the UK. Yep, reports claim that even the British royals are ‘obsessed’ with Bridgerton.

Who is Daphne Bridgerton?

Daphne Bridgerton comes from an aristocratic family. She is the fourth child and the eldest among four daughters. Daphne also has four brothers.

She is set to marry after being presented and favored by Queen Charlotte—Daphne was dubbed the “diamond of the season.” She accepted suitors until she met Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings. Simon also happened to be the best friend of his eldest brother, Anthony.

If there’s one thing that stands out about her character aside from her flawlessness and ever-inquisitive mind, it’s her elaborate style.

Daphne wore empire waist, cap-sleeve, three-quarter length sleeves, embroidered, coat over layer, bodice, white gloves, puffed short sleeves, silhouette, embellished, beaded, rounded square neckline, sheer sleeves, wrist-length gloves, sheer sleeves, and many more throughout the eight-episode first season.

And she has a total of 104 costume changes!

Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer, made sure that Daphne will stand out.

Georgian, Regency, and Victorian fashion

For accuracy, Bridgerton is a period drama set during the Regency period or from 1811 to 1820. The Regency period is sandwiched between the Georgian and Victorian eras.

People search for Georgian era clothing, Regency dress, or Victorian era clothing to know how women dressed during those periods. Skeptics would say that to claim that Bridgerton dresses are Victorian is inaccurate. But hey, even Mirojnick claimed to put a modern twist on Regency attire.

There’s a hint of truth in there. And so is the claim that the Regency period combines the late Georgian era fashion and the early Victorian era fashion.

Georgian ladies wore stiff corsets with an “eschelle (or échelle) stomacher,” a triangular adornment at the front of the corset, and a gown underneath. A printed neckerchief and rattan or cane petticoat or underskirt completed the look. They also wore knitted stockings and mittens. Women also wore a crown hat as part of a formal dress.

Georgian era dresses are usually made from Welsh wool. White lawn, batiste, and muslin fabrics were also used.

Regency women wore floor-length dresses with a high-waisted bodice, square and low neckline, and small puffed sleeves for the evening gowns. This is called the empire silhouette. White gloves or a hat or bonnet were also worn.

Day gowns, on the other hand, were characterized by a higher neckline and long sleeves. Women also wore chemisette.

chemisette /n/
an undergarment like a camisole worn for filling an open-necked dress or blouse

Regency gowns and dresses typically used lightweight fabric.

Victorian fashion is characterized by corsets, bustles, petticoats, top hats, and bonnets. Victorian gowns have boned bodice, slanted waistlines, and full skirts. The bodice and skirt appear as one piece, but they are actually separated The petticoats are made from muslin fabric because they can support the skirts.

The sleeves are another feature of Victorian gowns and dresses, which were three-quarter length. Bell-shaped ruffles emerged in the latter part of the period.

Victorian goth dress ideas to try

Hands down, the Victorian period dominates when it comes to clothes and styles, more so from the modern women’s perspective. Shall we focus on Victorian fashion but with a twist? Goth, that is.

Just when you thought you’d never hear or read the words ‘Victorian’ and ‘goth,’ came Victorian goth. Yes, it’s a thing! In fact, it’s an alternative subculture. The Victorian Gothic era that happened from 1832 to 1901.

Victorian goth fashion is easy to understand, putting a dark twist on Victorian clothing styles. So there! If you’re feeling Daphne’s vibe but want to make it goth, here are your choices of a dress and accessory.

Gothic sweetheart neck jacquard corset (£80.00)
Gothic women palace floor-length split skirt (£83.00)
Women gothic Lolita long sleeve medium long velvet coat (£99.00)
Victorian stretch dark embossing solid color velvet gothic dress (£115.00)
Victorian gothic off the shoulder long sleeve lace-up dresses (£130.00)
Victorian steampunk long linen lace up corset suspender dress (£136.00)
Gorgeous Victorian royal vintage layered gothic coat with stand collar (£157.00)

And for the accessories…

Complete your Victorian goth look with any of these accessories.

Goth dark night vine gloves neck cover three-piece set (£27.00)
Goth lace sun protection shirt (£33.00)
Victoria ruffle lace decoration collar (£39.00)

Victorian dresses are very elegant and fancy. Unleash the goth goddess in you while channeling Daphne Bridgerton! Or, is it the Queen? Whoever it is, these Victorian dresses are here for the taking.

Grab yours now!

When I learned that I am pregnant with my first child, Sasha, the first thing that came into my mind is: will we (my husband and I) able to give our child the future that he or she deserves?

Well, I guess parents always think of a bright future for their kids, including sending him or her to the best school possible. That’s the burden we had to carry until we see our sons and daughters graduating. But, of course, it’s a burden that we, parents, are so willing to accept.

In the Philippines, however, quality education doesn’t come cheap. What’s worse, the cost of schooling is bound to increase in the coming years. And this may compromise our plans of sending our kids to the best schools like Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), University of the Philippines (UP), or the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

The annual tuition fees of these institutions today already range from Php50,000 to Php200,000. What more 10 to 20 years from now?

When she needs to go to college, we might have to shed at least ₱100,000 per year. Education is so expensive here in the Philippines. In 2014 alone, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) approved a 6 to 14% increase per unit for 287 private colleges and universities.

I kept on hearing about educational plans. Could it be the answer? I want to know, too.

What are educational plans?

Educational plans are guaranteed cash benefits. The policyholder may use the money to cover tuition fees, textbooks, and other learning materials. They usually offer flexible payment terms such as 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. The guaranteed cash can be obtained annually when it’s time for your child to enter college.

Some educational plan providers even provide another guaranteed cash upon the graduation of the beneficiary (colloquially known as the policy bearer). The policy payor is the parent or guardian paying for the monthly contribution.

One good thing about these policies is the life insurance feature. For instance, the payor suddenly met demise, the educational plan will still be active without the need to pay for the remaining years of your chosen term. This means that even without you around, your kid may still have access to guaranteed cash to fund and finish his or her education.

How do educational plans work?

Obtaining an educational plan for kids not yet attending school is possible. Parents can apply for more than one educational plan. The monthly contribution will depend on your capacity to pay, although there is a minimum. The minimum is usually below Php2,000. Of course, if you want to send your kids to prestigious universities, you need to pay higher than usual.

Experts say that the best time to start applying for an educational plan is even before your child’s first birthday. An educational plan can be the best solution to the rising cost of education in the country. Nonetheless, it would be best to talk to the real experts.

Don’t worry because insurance companies themselves provide an in-house insurance agent.

What is the best educational plan?

We have so many choices, but there is no best educational plan based on what we’ve read. It’s up to you what you deemed best for your child, and for us, that’s the AXA Academix plan.

With this also, I am not in the position to tell you which is the best one. I chose AXA because it aligns with my value about education. Its website says, “Education is the best gift we can give our children. It is a treasure which cannot be taken away from them. Make most of the luxury of time, with years to save for their college fund and secure their future ahead.”

There are two options available: education fund with investment growth and education fund with guarantees. The first one covers the child’s expenses until graduation while also offering built-in protection benefits. The second one, called Academic eXential, is a more affordable plan that covers a guaranteed fund for the child’s education.

So really, your choice will depend on your financial situation.

Are educational plans worth it?

I firmly believe that there is value to preparing for your child’s future. That’s why my husband and I decided to get Sasha her educational plan. We have yet to obtain one for Adele, though, she is also a beneficiary under her ate‘s plan.

ate is the Tagalog word for older sister

Of course, while paying for the monthly premium, you still have to save. You shouldn’t think of having a college educational plan as a way to slack, thinking that your child’s education is covered. Well, we are just talking about the tuition fees and there are many other expenses. The price of each book alone, depending on the chosen course, can go as high as ₱1,000.

So, being prepared is the best way to combat the surge of educational expenses in the future especially if you have more than one child.

If you are a parent like me, you might as well approach a provider and ask about their educational policies. Just make sure that you are dealing with a reliable provider. Remember that it is your child’s future at stake here.

Making a mistake in choosing the right provider will only further compromise your child’s future and definitely, your hard-earned money.

Traditional bullying transcends more into virtual forms, giving birth to cyberbullying. Studies on cyberbullying focus more on the abusive behaviors and actions and the consequences of such. But now is the perfect time to determine how to respond to cyberbullying, especially in the workplace.

If a cyberbully is currently victimizing you, here are some steps to respond to cyberbullying in the workplace setting.

Cyberbullying is more associated with schools and young adults. However, the employers must also be aware that employees who received or are currently receiving offensive email messages, chat messages, phone calls, and text messages from co-workers or customers are victims of workplace cyberbullying. Workplace cyberbullying increases due to the firm’s reliance on interoperable technologies, including email and messenger.

Here’s how to respond to workplace bullying in a more effective manner.

Ways to respond to workplace bullying

If you are the employee, you should:

1) Gather the workplace cyberbullying evidence

Electronic information can be stored. Cyberbullying thereby has an essential element of permanence. The information is often difficult to remove, especially on social media sites. While such permanence is very painful for the victim of bullying behaviors, the information can be used in documenting the behavior and trace the perpetrator. So, keep a journal of events indicating the exact date, time, and location.

Save, print, and keep a copy of all the pieces of evidence, including messages, posts, and comments. Save them on your computer, smartphone, USB, memory card, etc. Due to the surge of emotions, our initial reaction is to ignore or delete the messages. You cannot complain to your boss that you are a cyberbullying victim if you cannot present proof. So, make sure that you document everything. Keep the documents relevant by not exaggerating the details.  

2) Report the incidence of workplace cyberbullying

There must be clear and proper reporting procedures. The common hierarchy is reporting to the team leader, manager, supervisor, or department head. However, there are instances that the bully is the boss, manager, co-worker, etc. You can, nevertheless, report the incident directly to the employer. When reporting, though, include all the copies of your proofs. If the employer is unwilling to cooperate or unresponsive or the perpetrator himself, you may consider filing a police report.

Contacting the police is more necessary if the acts of cyberbullying include harassment and threats. Death and physical violence threats are against the law. Thus, they must be reported at once. Report any harassment, especially those that are continuous and lasts for a certain period. Include all the proofs and correspondence when filing the report. Specifically, you should report to the police anonymously. Often, the police have all the necessary tools and types of equipment in tracking the doer.  

You may also report to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) if the cyberbullying occurs through your personal devices. Some employers chose not to meddle with cyberbullying situations that occur beyond the workplace. So, it is plausible to report the cyberbully to the ISP. If the bullying occurs while using a social network, you may also report or block the perpetrator. This brings us to the next action.

3) Cut all communication with the cyberbully

Before you do so, communicate with the bully most openly and honestly that you found the messages or comments offensive. It must be clear that you are offended by the other party’s actions. Ask him or her to stop it. If he or she insists on doing the bullying acts, take the case to the proper venue and move to the higher chain of command.

Consequently, report the bully to the site itself if you are on Facebook, unfriend, and block the user. Un-follow the user if you are on Twitter. You may also choose to close/deactivate/delete your account. However, be reminded that the perpetrator may always look for new ways or platforms to bully you. Anyway, we are talking about cyberbullying, which means aggression and harassment occur in the virtual world.  

If the company has filtering software that allows you to communicate with the persons on your ‘safe’ list, use it.

4) Respond to any cyberbullying behavior wisely

Sometimes, the best way is to refrain from responding. Cyberbullies aim at getting responses, so don’t give them one. On the other hand, there are instances when responding more compassionately is needed, especially when your work/employment is involved. When a boss or co-worker attacks you, gather your thoughts first. Calm yourself first before responding. In this way, you are not going to react in anger. Instead, respond to the attacker more reasonably.

If possible, approach and talk to your attacker in person but in the presence of another co-worker. Personal conversation removes the emotional ambiguities inherent in the Internet. Nevertheless, do not shout, curse, and accuse the person; otherwise, the entire office will witness the heated exchange of angry words between the two of you.

How the cyberbully chooses to attack you is beyond your control. However, you can decide how to respond to online attacks. Think about the proper way of handling the situation. You can report or request to be transferred to another department. It would be best if you psyched yourself first before making any move.

Cyberbullying has many consequences, one of which is the inability to perform optimally. However, quitting your present job will not and will never be the solution to bullying. You will only give your attacker the chance of controlling you and attacking another co-worker in the future.

Further, cyberbullying at work impacts an employee on various levels:

  • The immediate impact is diminished psychological and physical health and overall wellbeing.
  • The continued abuse results in lower levels of self-esteem which also affects personal relationships.
  • The further abuse affects productivity level and thus future career advancements.    

If you are the employer, you must:

Review Internet, email, and social media policy

Any workplace must establish a cyberbullying prevention program, part of which should be dedicated to the policies regarding the use of the Internet, email, and social media. Employers can develop their own Internet, email, and social media policies or incorporate them into the existing ones. The policies should provide guidelines on how to use these communication tools appropriately.

Further, the policy must apply to all employees at all times in their capacities as professionals. The employees must be prohibited to utilize the Internet, email, and social media in discussing or commenting on the physical appearance of other employees; making offensive or discriminatory comments about other employees; making inferences about other employee’s gender, age, race, sexual preference and disability; and communicating abusive or offensive languages.

Consistently, remind the employees that they are entirely responsible for how they conduct themselves on the Internet, email, and social media. This can be done through memos or email newsletters and during meetings and small business gatherings. Once any of them breaches any clause in the policy, the employer or the department having jurisdiction may take disciplinary actions, including the suspension or termination of the employment.

Cyberbullying is almost always serious. Nevertheless, you need not put up with workplace cyberbullying. There are many ways that you can stop cyberbullying. Consider this list as a guide in responding to a cyberbully more appropriately.

Anxiety can get the best of any one of us. Anxiety manifests in different ways, physically and emotionally. We have our apprehensions and scary predictions, most of which are baseless and not real. Good news. Managing the symptoms of anxiety daily is possible. Here are ten of the easiest ways to minimize daily anxiety.

Different ways to beat anxiety without medication

1) Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep is one of the most significant contributors to the onset of anxiety. Then, it turns into a vicious cycle wherein the anxious feeling disrupts your sleep at night. When you feel anxious, it is best to sleep at least seven hours every night to get rid of such feelings.

2) Smile and laugh

Smiling is a feel-good habit. Laughing is a proven way to reduce various symptoms of anxiety and stress and depression. For jittery nerves, why don’t you re-read your funniest email or watch funny clips on YouTube? 

3) Say ‘thank you’

Regardless of how bad your current situation is, it would help if you practiced gratitude. A study claims that expressing gratitude helps in reducing anxiety. Whispering a simple thank you that you’re given another day to live would be enough. Better yet, change your mindset by becoming more appreciative. 

4) Eat right

Did you know that caffeine, sugary and processed foods increase various symptoms of anxiety, leading to a panic attack? Avoid those foods and eat foods that are rich in Vitamin B and Omega-3 fatty acids. Add some whole-grain carbohydrates to your diet because this helps regulate serotonin levels, the feel-good neurotransmitter. These foods can keep your overall mental health good. 

5) Breathe properly

Short and shallow breaths are indicators of anxiety and stress in the body. Shortness of breath also signifies palpitation. Breathe consciously instead. Lengthen and strengthen your breaths to signal the brain that it is time to relax.

6) Disconnect for a while

Plan at least one me-time throughout the day. Start small, like five minutes per day of total disconnection – no phone, no computer, no TV, no Facebook, nothing. These are noises that boost stress levels. Just leave them all behind for a moment. 

7) Worry

Allow yourself to freak out for 5, 10, or 20 minutes; it’s up to you to create your own worry space. If something will happen, it will. However, you can always preempt the moment by thinking about all the possibilities and figuring out a game plan. Put it on the alarm so you’d not overthink the situation that often leads to frantic judgments. 

8) Hang out

Don’t forget to socialize; it could be eating lunch or having a little chit-chat with your officemates. Socialization requires our body to produce more oxytocin, a hormone with anxiety-reduction effects. That’s why people with lots of friends tend to react to anxiety less negatively than introverts. 

9) Talk to yourself

Have an inner dialogue. Keep a positive mantra. For instance, tell yourself, “everything’s going to be okay.” Repeat it until you find comfort in it. Dr. Ilona Boniwell, a psychologist and senior lecturer at East London University, says that positive thinking results in positive physical impacts. Couple this with a 10-minute recap of what went well during the day, and you’re on your way towards an anxiety-free tomorrow. 

10) Cocoon

Cocooning is a simple technique of ‘hiding’ for a while from all the distractions. This technique is very useful when you feel overwhelmed. Just close your eyes and put your palms on your face with the fingers covering your eyes. This quietens your mind, blocking the distractions in the process, even just for one to two minutes. 

All these should make your anxious feeling go away. If it won’t go away and if you feel that it is serious, you might as well consult a psychologist as you might be dealing with a disorder. A psychologist can give you an accurate diagnosis and devise a proper treatment plan for you. 

Times are tough economically. Despite this, we need to be proactive, with our future in mind and that of our loved ones. Sure, it is not always easy to save significantly if you have no idea how and when the monthly bills are piling up. Still, we all know that we’ll eventually reap the benefits of saving if we’ll start now. Saving more means earning more from our hard-earned money.

What’s more, when you have extra cash, you can start investing for more leverage. For instance, you may invest in a condo to rent out for extra money that you can devote to savings.

If you are struggling to save and invest, here are some practical tips to help you with it.

How to invest your money wisely

1) Always look for the cheaper alternative

This doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of the products and services you may need and want. Your first option is to determine whether you can get something for free. If not, can you get it for less, perhaps through negotiating or haggling or delaying the purchase until it goes on sale? Or, is there a substitute for it? Is an ex deal possible?

2) Embrace the concept of budgeting

Not all of us have a working budget. Some even loathe the idea, thinking that their lifestyles will be restrictive. What we didn’t know is that even millionaires are living on a budget. A budget is technically a spending plan, so you’d know where your money goes. With this also, you’d stick to establishing priorities and accomplishing your financial goals.

3) Pay bills on time

There are various consequences when you don’t pay your bills punctually. First, you need to pay more because they may incur penalties and interests. Second, your payment defaults are reflected in your credit score. Paying bills promptly helps you in going into more debt.

4) Avoid bad credit

Speaking of debt, there are good forms of credit, and then there are what we call bad credit. A perfect example is opening a credit card through a retailer and getting a high discount on your first purchase. This can hurt your credit score. If ever you’ll need a credit card, make sure it’s a major card. Don’t max out the card limit too.

5) Pay debts

If you have outstanding debts, pay them now. You need not pay them at all once if you cannot do so. You must list down all your assets and liabilities and determine which you can liquidate among the former to pay the latter. Prioritize your payments as well through paying those debts that incur the highest interest rates and fees for non- or delayed repayments.

6) Shop in a prudent manner

When you go shopping, watch your wallet and bring a budget and anything that can remind you that your shopping time is up. For instance, set your phone alarm clock to stop shopping after one hour. In this way, you’d be able to avoid overspending and impulsive buying.

7) Build an emergency fund

No one knows what will happen next. Thus, an emergency fund can help when that time comes. The rule of thumb is to have a fund up to six times your current monthly expenses. Nonetheless, at least a three-month cash cushion will do. If ever you used up the fund, make sure that you replenish it once you get back on your feet financially.

8) Avoid getting into rich quick schemes

Also called Ponzi schemes, these are structures that lure a person to invest with promises of high returns in a few days. These are not true investments. Instead, put your money on tried and tested financial products. Some examples are stocks and properties such as a condo unit, as already mentioned above. While at it, avoid playing too many lotteries and other betting games.

9) Learn the process of investing

As true investors would say, focus on the process, not the products. Your strategies will not be based on products but the process. For one, you must learn to buy the right products for the right reasons and at the right prices. Do so too when selling them. Learn when to hold the products in your portfolio to reap the highest returns possible.

10) Mix up the investment portfolio

Savvy investors know the value of mixing up their portfolios. The reason behind this is spreading the risks among their investments. These investors understand the risks, but they make investment decisions based on calculated risks. With that, don’t be overconfident, too, since complacency is the death knell of every investment strategy.

Saving and investing take time; there’s a learning curve involved. The goal is to learn how to maximize the returns on your investments, perhaps with the use of money that you’re able to save and maximize the savings once your investments start paying off. Now, that’s a wise strategy.

Yoga has such immense benefits that once realized, one would continuously want to infuse it into your daily living. And why not? Yoga can be incorporated into our daily lives effortlessly. Here are three ideas on how to do just that without the need for a yoga mat.

How to incorporate yoga into your daily life

1) Take deep yogic breaths

Breathing is an inevitable part of our lives, so it would not be challenging to infuse our normal breathing with yoga. Do it every time you have the chance to – in the office, at the grocery store, in the bank, etc. Yogic breathing is not only for you but also for those people who are around you.

Generally, taking yogic breaths soothes your nervous system, and specifically, it relaxes your heart rate. As you take yogic breaths, more oxygen is carried out to your brain. The process clears the mind and the heart, leading you to think wisely and feel circumspectly. In the end, you will feel more capacious, and you will feel better when you back to what you are doing.

2) Practice short meditations

Meditating, further, also calms the mind that leads to a more productive workday, for instance. There are numerous meditation techniques that you may try one at a time throughout the day. Taking deep yogi breaths is just one technique. Other techniques that you may try are focusing on a particular mantra as well as lighting a candle. Practicing santosha is also recommended. Santosha refers to changing your perspective about something. This invites peace as well as abundance in your life.

We all carry an inner dialogue with us, whether we are deliberating on doing something or buying something, or delaying it for another time. While carrying such dialogue, took notice of how you react with the way you think and with the things you are thinking. Try to ponder on the things that affect your decision-making, for instance. Not only will you know how to reflect on things, but also to reflect on your priorities in just five minutes or so.

3) Practice stretching

Stretching brings positive energy into the body and mind. This is most useful when faced with an uncomfortable situation or when you are feeling stressed. Other than deep breathing, stretching can release the tension that your entire body is feeling. The goal is to veer away from the stress or even fear that you are feeling at the moment.

Stretching relaxes the muscles, specifically when the pressure is being equally distributed in your body. Many simple stretching techniques do not require a yoga mat, such as marichyasana and gomukhasana, both of which can reduce or remove mental and physical fatigue. Backbending is also advisable as it stretches tired back muscles.

These are just three of the many ways to infuse yoga into your life. The goal of breathing, meditating, and stretching is clearing the heart, mind, body, and soul, bringing in peace, abundance, and positive energy in the process you may use to battle stress, anxiety, and fear.

Weddings are momentous. In the Philippines, June is not the only wedding season. January, February, and December are also considered as wedding seasons in the country.

If there is one thing that your guests will remember for years, that would be your wedding theme. A theme serves as a backdrop for any wedding. Thus, choosing a theme that is truly you is critical! To help you with wedding planning, here are some tips for choosing a wedding theme and make your wedding a day to remember.

Tips in choosing a wedding theme

Classic or modern

When choosing a theme, you must start with the broadest down to the most specific. And with broad, it is always a toss between a classic and a modern wedding.

Many a themes is possible in any of these major themes. Nonetheless, you need to tour the venue to determine its suitability to your chosen theme, whether its overall ambiance is traditional or contemporary.

Beach, tropical, summer

Depending on your chosen date and, importantly, your chosen season, your choices of wedding themes may be limited. It’ll be one hell of a bank breaker if you choose a tropical paradise theme in mid-April or August. 

Your choice of a theme, therefore, must coincide with the season your chosen wedding date falls and work the other details of the big event accordingly. Think of how nature would look (i.e., field and foliage) when generating a vision for your wedding.

Shabby chic or rustic

A vision of your wedding theme starts to materialize once you saw your venue. Ultimately, the chosen wedding venue must help in reinforcing the mood. Given its setting, some of the wedding themes on your mind will be automatically nixed. For one, a rustic barn doesn’t always work with a black and white tie wedding. 

There may be instances that your chosen venue may dictate the theme. No matter what, just don’t choose a theme because of the availability of the venue on the agreed date. Also, the venue is not just a place, but your wedding’s setting.

Bluish or deep purple

Nowadays, any couple can make any color work with anything. Remember, however, that wedding themes are about creating a cohesive concept that ties all the elements together to reinforce a particular (of course, joyous) mood. Proceed with choosing a theme based on evident associations. For example, brown is commonly associated with country and rustic chic weddings. 

Like so, if you want to work with a particular color combination, consider only those themes that are associated with your chosen palette. Also, your choices are monochromatic, analogous, or complementary. 

Monochromatic has only one hue but with different shades, tints or tones. Analogous colors are colors adjacent to one another in the color wheel, while complementary colors are opposite one another. Look for mood boards if you are still not sure of your wedding hues.

Here’s a piece of advice, though. Don’t you ever think that a wedding palette is enough to pull together the wedding theme that you desire. Colors can also do so much, but if these are paired to motifs, fonts, and textures, they can often exude something specific to the eyes and minds of your guests. 

Look for inspiration

Consider Pinterest as your best friend. Just looking at wedding boards will somehow illuminate the right theme for your wedding. Grab those pins that speak to you so you may define the theme details. You may also opt to search for specific themes on Google, and it will return hundreds to thousands of images for such a theme. 

When your board is full, you should be able to describe the theme in your mind. The perfect examples that you might’ve already heard are shabby chic, distressed vintage, and rustic elegance.

Be uniquely you

Trust your family and friends; they can surely give suggestions for a wedding theme. They know both of you and what your relationship special. Make your wedding an extension of your personality, but ensure that both of you gravitate towards the most meaningful theme that you may come up with. 

You may choose to convey your story as a couple on each element of your wedding. If you aren’t sure about the suggestions, you may sit down and write down the would-be details for each suggestion. 

Put simply, following what your heart wants for a theme will never go wrong. Some popular choices for a wedding theme are tropical, vintage, country, western, oriental, and retro.

Make it meaningful

Speaking of choosing a meaningful wedding theme, you need to look at yourselves as individuals then as a couple. Would you want to incorporate his Cebuano or Chinese culture? Do you want to use a family heirloom? Are there any family traditions you want to include? 

Your answers to these questions can be pulled into a single theme if both of you want. Additionally, heritage almost always makes a perfect theme.

Think of the budget

Some themes are more expensive than others. Usually, formal wedding themes may require a bigger budget compared to vintage weddings. Then again, the elements of a wedding will make even the informal weddings as expensive as the formal ones. 

Consider those resources that are already available to you if the wedding budget will get in the way of your choice of a wedding theme. Focus on at least 2 to 3 wedding theme ideas. Go through each of the ideas. In this way, you may narrow down your budget so it’d be devoted to a theme that the two of you agreed.

Interestingly, the overall cost of a wedding will be divided into all the design elements required to pull off your preferred theme. 

Don’t go overboard with the wedding theme. Nevertheless, you can incorporate it into specific aspects, including the invitation, program, flower, centerpiece, cake, décor, tablecloth, favor, place card, menu, and table number. 

In sum, when choosing the perfect wedding theme, it would be advisable to start at the end. How do you envision your wedding day? What do you want to see on that special day? Would you want your guests to party all night long? Keep this vision in mind, and other wedding elements will eventually come, such as the mood and style of the wedding. 

Bottom-line, the wedding should be so you. This is your wedding–own it!

We eat to live, but we can always eat to live longer. Adding more years to your life is as easy as changing your diet. Well, some might be skeptical about the whole process, but you won’t mind these changes for sure.

Diet changes for a healthier you

1) Go meatless

A study conducted by the Loma Linda University claimed that those who consume less meat tend to live longer. They eat less saturated fat and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are mainly rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that our body needs. For emphasis, saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol to dangerous levels.

Eat fish as well. Salmon, trout, and herring are rich in omega-three fatty acid, which is good for the heart. If you are not fond of eating fish, try walnut, spinach, or flaxseed. Speaking of spinach, you may eat up to seven cups of such in one sitting but only consume 100 calories only.

Considerably, you may embrace a plant-based diet. Plant foods are rich in antioxidants, a chemical that fights the damages caused by free radicals and pollution, stress, and other environmental toxins.

2) Eat healthy fat

Monounsaturated fat is the direct opposite of saturated fat, which means it’s a healthy variety. It helps lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol in your body. Nuts, olives, and avocados are high in monounsaturated fat.

While you surely haven’t forgotten that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, did you know that avocado is regarded as “the new apple?” Avocados contain a good level of anti-inflammatory fats that help in reducing aging in our bodies.

Olive oil, further, is perhaps the most popular good fat available nowadays. It is not only good for heart health but can also prevent cancer and improve the brain’s health. Consume two tablespoons daily.

3) Eat fruits and vegetables

Have you heard of the Okinawan diet? In Okinawa, Japan, people eat nutritionally dense food such as tofu and sweet potatoes. These foods are rich in protein and beta-carotene, and vitamin C, respectively. They also lower their calorie intake; hence their live a longer life compared to that of other cultures. Their risk for age-related diseases is generally low as well.

With this, the importance of eating fruits and veggies often can’t be emphasized enough, particularly those high in vitamin C. Vitamin C protects our body from illnesses. Regrettably, it is water-soluble; hence it is not retained in our body. The secret is to eat fruits and vegetables multiple times every day to maintain a good level of vitamin C in our cells.

Mix up your meals to include fruits and vegetables. Also, go for fruits in-season such as watermelon. Watermelon contains high levels of lycopene, a nutrient that combats cancer and heart diseases. Eat some cranberries, too—they are known to promote longevity.

4) Eat slowly

Our parents told us to slow down at the table. There is value to this since people who eat slowly can detect whether they are already full or not compared to other people who eat hurriedly. Hence, they eat less because they stop eating once they feel full.

This is more so when you are eating a low-calorie meal. A calorie-restricted diet is proven to improve a person’s overall health, extending his or her lifespan in the process.

Also, calories manifest in our body as excessive weight. It’s all about body mass index (BMI), wherein a higher BMI means a higher risk of developing cancer and heart conditions.

Even when your BMI is low, and your current weight is considered healthy, it would do you good if you’ll further lower your daily caloric intake by one-third. The goal is to eat less and slow while ensuring that you are eating foods that are chock-full of nutrients.

5) Drink some wine

Red wine, that is. Moderate consumption of such slows down the onset of cardiovascular diseases, especially age-related ones. That’s according to American Heart Association (AHA). It reduces the risks of heart diseases by 75%, adding about six years to your life on average.

Drinking no more than a glass of red wine each day for women and no more than two glasses for men also improves the cholesterol level. It also does good in enhancing the inflammatory responses of our body.

These are the main health benefits why red wine is considered one of the seven superfoods. Others are dark chocolate, garlic, fish, nuts, and of course, fruits and vegetables.

Premature deaths are inevitable, but people can avoid them. The good news? You can enjoy a healthier, longer life by introducing some changes to your diet.

If you’ve been doing these things mentioned above, good for you. If not yet, adhere to these changes now and reap the benefits in the future.

The Department of Education (DepEd) requires the submission of a PSA-stamped birth certificate. PSA, formerly NSO (National Statistics Office), stands for Philippine Statistics Authority.

Schools like Joyland Playschool Childcare and Learning Center need this when registering the student for his or her LRN or the Learner Reference Number.

LRN is the 12-digit number DepEd assigns to a student enrolled in the Philippines’ primary education system as his or her unique and permanent identifier. This is part of the initiative to issue a national student identification number to each student—one student, one LRN.

Schools generate the LRN after inputting the student’s information in DepEd’s database. At times, the LRN is indicated in the student’s report card.

Also, the students are expected to use LRN until college (or beyond).

You may learn more about this system in this article in Teacher PH.

Moving on, our directress at Joyland required parents to submit the PSA birth certificate by September 30. I only have exactly two weeks to acquire Adele’s birth certificate. I was thinking …

Where can I get my PSA birth certificate?

I asked around. There’s a PSA branch in Antipolo (Rizal Provincial Statistical Office), but my mother said that the issuance of certificates is beyond its jurisdiction. That’s my supposed first option.

My second option was asking through Facebook groups that I am a member of. I previously saw someone post about providing assistance. I searched for her name and asked how much it would be. A single copy costs Php660 for one to two weeks of processing. Expensive!

On to my third option—PSA Serbilis!

What is PSA Serbilis?

PSA Serbilis is PSA’s online facility where Filipinos may request copy issuance of their civil registry records, including birth, marriage (and no marriage certification or CENOMAR), and death certificates.

PSA Serbilis also forms part of the Civil Registry System IT (CRS-IT) Project. It is a 12-year long, multi-phase computerization project of the PSA’s civil registry operations, involving converting millions of documents into digital format.

Through this, the Authority streamline its process and service capability.

The agency partners with Unisys Philippines.

How long does it take to get a PSA birth certificate?

The next question is how fast will the PSA Serbilis delivery be. Based on its website, it takes three weeks to process requests and delivery within Metro Manila and Luzon and four weeks for Visayas and Mindanao. This is to accommodate delays caused by the pandemic in certain areas.

I received my daughter’s birth certificate in just one week. I filled out the PSA online form on September 16 and received the copy via 2GO Express on September 23. The delivery can be earlier than the published timeframe.

Also, for those asking whether the PSA birth certificate is the same as the NSO certificate, they are technically the same. However, some entities like schools are now requiring PSA copies.

Things to remember when obtaining a birth certificate from PSA Serbilis

  • You must be the owner or a duly authorized representative
  • If getting the cert for a minor, you must be the parent, guardian, or institution legally in charge of the child
  • If the person is already dead, you must be the nearest kin
  • If you cannot receive the document by yourself, you must authorize a representative who must present
    • The signed authorization letter
    • Your valid ID (not sure if a copy would do)
    • A valid ID of the authorized representative
  • You cannot cancel the request nor request for a refund

FAQs about getting a birth certificate through PSA Serbilis

How do I order a PSA online?

There are three major steps when ordering a PSA birth certificate online:

1) Fill out the online application form

You will be asked to provide your name, delivery address including zip code, telephone number, and valid email address where the system can send updates.

For the birth certificate request, you should prepare the following:

  • Name or maiden name if married
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Purpose of request
  • Relationship to the birth certificate owner
  • Date of registration for late registree

You will be asked to indicate the number of copies you are requesting.

You will receive an acknowledgment email that your online application is already submitted. The email contains the reference number, delivery information, request summary, and payment and delivery instructions.

Wait for the email first before proceeding with payment. I got confused at first, requesting my birth certificate instead of Adele’s. So I had to go through the entire process again.

2) Pay through accredited payment channels

You may pay online via credit card directly through the website, BDO online banking, and Union Bank online banking. You may also pay over the counter through any Bayad Center outlet.

Once you are on the acknowledgment page, you will be prompted to click Pay online via credit card, Pay via BDO Online Banking now, or Pay via UnionBank Online Banking now. Accept the terms to proceed.

You will be asked to enter the Batch Request Number or the Request Reference Number if paying for all the requests or a particular request, respectively.

I paid through Union Bank. Tap Pay Bills. Then, Select Biller. You will be directed to the Biller List. Scroll down until you find PSA Serbilis (Unisys), or search for it using the search bar.

Then, input the request or reference number and your contact number. Tap the Next button. Put the amount and proceed to payment. You will receive a payment confirmation via email.

3) Wait for the delivery of the birth certificate

If you’re wondering how long the PSA delivery takes, it depends on the location. If within Metro Manila, you may receive the document four to six working days after payment, not after the request date. Outside Metro Manila, the delivery is between six and eight working days.

I received a text message regarding the delivery of Adele’s birth certificate on the day itself. I was asked to present a valid ID. A signed authorization letter is required if the requester is not able to receive the document.

How much does it cost to get a PSA birth certificate?

A copy of the birth certificate costs Php330.00. You need to pay the same amount if getting a copy of the marriage and death certificate.

A copy of CENOMAR costs Php430.00.

How do I pay my PSA in 7-11?

You may pay through the 7-11 CLIQQ kiosk. Tap Bill Payment then, search for PSA. Fill out the information (reference number, contact number, and amount) then, click Next.

The machine will dispense a receipt. Proceed with the payment at the cashier.

You will receive a payment confirmation via email.

Can I pay PSA Serbilis thru GCash?

Yes, you can pay PSA Serbilis through GCash. Go to the app then, tap Pay Bills. Tap Government under the Biller Categories. Scroll down until you find PSAHelpline.ph, or search for it using the search bar.

You will be asked to provide the reference number, contact number, amount, and email address. Tap Next after filling out the required fields. Proceed with the payment.

The payment is posted in real-time.

How do I track my PSA Serbilis delivery status?

If you want to check the status of your request, go to psaserbilis.com.ph. There’s a field at the bottom right for tracking purposes. Enter the request or reference number then, click Go.

I was able to submit on time. 😌

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