LITTLE NOTE!

I'm doing a series of giveaways on my Facebook page, dear readers! Just visit my page for a chance to win some fun prizes!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Papa!

I wasn't able to spend Father's Day with Papa last Sunday because he had a fever. With that A(H1N1) flu spreading, Papa told us to stay away from him. Turned out it was nothing and so today we kids (ha!) spent the day with Papa for a Belated Father's Day party.

He's looking much better now than a few months back. Mama's death was pretty much a shock and Papa, though he always offered a joke to show us he was fine, well, Papa had lost a lot of weight and was looking very not fine. So when he said he wanted to travel all over the country early this year, we let him go.

Now he's back home and as jolly as ever. I tease him, "Just don't get anyone pregnant. I can deal with a stepmom but not new siblings!" And he always responds with, "Who'll want an old man like me?" The thing is, though my father is not young and not rich, he has a deadly charm. No one can resist him when he turns that on. At Mama's wake, Papa was the consummate host. When he delivered his eulogy, he had everyone laughing and crying. We were all captivated. A friend of mine even remarked at the wake, "Your dad is so cute!" Yikes!
Yes, Papa's cute and funny and very smart. In one of Mama's journals, she wrote, "What do I love about Jules? He makes me laugh." She listed more reasons but that topped the list. Why did she write that list? Because preceding that list was a painful confession of how she found marriage and motherhood difficult. And that list of what she loved about Papa was her way of reminding herself just how wonderful Papa can actually be if she--and we--just opened our eyes.

You see, my father was always between jobs. That's why we grew up poor. He can never hold down a job and my mother got us deeper and deeper into debt as she struggled to feed us, clothe us and send us to good schools. She always resented that Papa failed to be a provider. I felt her resentment and I adopted it. I was angry at Papa for as long as I can remember.

A few years ago, Mama implored me to forgive him. I replied, "Ma, I have so many issues--I'm scared to get married, I'm scared to lose my job, I'm always insecure about money. We could have had a better life! It's all his fault!"

I told Vince about this exchange and he quietly said, "You told me your dad taught you to read. He gave you books. He encouraged you to write. You wouldn't be who you are and where you are today if it weren't for your dad."

It was only then that I saw past my anger and saw that while Mama worked late nights, Papa was the one who cooked our dinner, read me fairy tales and tucked me in bed. He helped me with school work and went to the PTA meetings. He taught me how to cook and clean and be a good homemaker. I was a painfully shy kid (believe me--I still get nervous about facing people today) and I used to cry and get vomit-y when I'm about to talk in front of a group of people. I can't even recite in class. But Papa always assured me that I was smart and beautiful and he coached me on how to be witty and charming and even compelling. His encouragement helped me overcome my public speaking anxiety.

Papa bought two sets of encyclopedias and I finished reading those when I was 10. He allowed me to read his spy novels and historical novels, biographies and art books, Reader's Digest and Time. I was familiar with Shakespeare and world history and scientific principles while my friends dawdled over their dolls. When I was 11, my favorite book was Alex Haley's Roots, that powerful novel on slavery and freedom, while my classmates read Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. He would quiz me daily on word meanings and challenge me to use a new word every day. And when I was sick at the hospital, it was Papa at my bedside with books, newspapers, magazines and crossword puzzles... and jokes and endless stories. He was a storyteller. Little wonder then that I became a storyteller, too.

Today, Papa goes everywhere with a copy of my magazine. He's very proud of me. He tells everybody, "This is my daughter. She's the editor-in-chief of this magazine." No one believes him. They think, How can he have a daughter like that? Well, maybe he didn't realize it but by nurturing my brain, he raised a woman who may never need to depend on a man for the rest of her life, the way Mama expected him to do so for her.

Papa may not be much to everyone's eyes, but for me, now, he is the reason why my siblings and I are smart and funny and perhaps overconfident with our talents and abilities. He could never hold down a job because he wanted to spend his every waking minute with his kids. He kissed away our boo-boos, advised us on our problems, cried with us over our heartaches, lavished us with hugs and praises. Papa was, in a lot of ways, our mother. And he braved society's ridicule just so he can be a doting dad. I still don't think it's okay that he shirked his responsibilities of providing for his family but I don't want to spend one more day resenting him for what he failed to do when he's also done a lot.

Mama, bless her heart, though she loved us, she can never bring herself to give us a hug or to comfort us when we were kids. She was always the strict iron rod of discipline, distant and aloof. That all changed when she became a Born-Again Christian later on. She slowly transformed from this severe woman to this wonderful creature of love, compassion, affection and patience. I do believe Jesus changes lives!

Mama reminded herself of what made her fall in love with my father. And towards the end of her life, she'd remind us, too: "Your Papa is so funny... so smart... so affectionate... so tender... so loving... so romantic... so happy... so clever... so kind..."

I see that now, Mama. I see that now.


This is my younger brother's
post on Papa a month before Mama died.
And this is Papa singing the song
he sang at Mama's wake, accompanied by the Manila String Machine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

And the winners of the fab Maybelline makeup are...!

First Prize
Mineral Makeup Collection worth PHP 1,597
I Am Kaith

Second Prize
Eye Makeup Collection worth PHP 1,157
Quintessential Babble
Third Prize
Lip Color Collection worth PHP 797
A Day in the Life of This Miss

Congratulations, ladies! Please send me an email at frances@topazhorizon.com so we can discuss how I can send you your prizes.

Thank you to everyone who joined. I really enjoyed discovering new blogs so thank you for linking up. Don't feel too bad because I have another new contest in my beauty blog, Beauty For A Living. The prize is PHP 10,000 worth of facial and body treatments! Wow!

Rest in peace, MJ.

I still can't believe Michael Jackson is dead. He died from a heart attack but speculation is rife. It must be all the preparations for his concert tour next month in London. Concerts are so exhausting physically, hence performers train every day so that their stamina and strength will be at an all-time high. Just look at Madonna, Fergie, Gwen Stefani, the Pussycat Dolls... even Britney shed the weight fast when she started her Circus tour.

Reports say that Michael, after years of inactivity and ill health, had been training for the tour. Maybe he overdid it? He was not a healthy 50 years old. And he was also allegedly taking prescription drugs for back pain. Maybe drugs and a suddenly active body just don't mix. We'll know soon since the autopsy is scheduled tomorrow. For updates, go to TMZ.

I feel so sad. He was reportedly going to debut a new dance move! And I was looking forward to his comeback (see my post here where Britney and Michael drive an audience crazy--amazing performance!).

His poor kids, too. Recently, paparazzi got a photo of his kids without their masks. We were going to run it in OK! but--since it's such a rare photo--it was incredibly expensive. Anyway, just look for it online and you'll find it.

Today is a sad day. For Michael's fans, music history and the entertainment world. What's even sadder is I can already imagine the distasteful circus and battle that will most definitely happen over Michael's property and kids as soon as he's laid to rest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Got an early Twilight: New Moon surprise

This is a post script of sorts to the previous post. Just had a meeting with Mr. Wilson Yuloque of Pioneer Films, the distributor of Twilight Saga: New Moon here in the Philippines. I told him that there's a cardboard Edward in Megamall and that girls are lining up to have a photo with him. It's pathetic but look who had a fun time with it! (Oops, bad hair day!)Mr. Yuloque found that hilarious. I guess it's hard to believe that Rob is such hot property these days that he nearly got run over by a taxi as he was fleeing crazed fans recently. Anyway, Mr. Yuloque said he just came back from Cannes and was at a party with none other than R-Pattz himself. He told me that:
  • Robert Patterson is very tall (cardboard Edward is not life-size), very funny, very polite, very clean and smells really nice. So to that rumor that the guy doesn't shower and is filthy, well, it's not true!
  • In the whole of Asia, Filipinos are most crazy about Twilight. Yup, it's the Philippines, not Japan, that is Twilight's biggest Asian market. The franchise--book and film--is making crazy millions upon millions (of dollars!) from us Filipinos.
  • There are only 50 original film posters currently available in the Philippines and OK! magazine now owns one!
Outfit is a Bench tank top, a Kate Torralba skirt,
black platform pumps, and a brass-and-turquoise
ox skull pendant I bought from Benjie Angeles.

Lana, our Managing Editor and the Twilighter in OK!, is absolutely in love with the poster.

Me? I'm in love with my shoes. They're Delicious from Anthem at the Power Plant. They're 5 inches high and just utterly comfortable. I think I'll wear them all week. Oh, end of the week is when my beauty giveaway ends. Make sure you join!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I love bunny ears!

Now, before anything else--I have a blog giveaway going on! While I'd love to be raffling off free family trips to Disneyland, shopping sprees at New York or free vacations, I'm starting with free beauty loot from Maybelline! Scroll down to the next post for details. You have 5 more days!

Now back to regular programming.

Bunny ears are so cute. They twitch about constantly. Even when my rabbits are asleep, their ears are like satellite discs that turn to find the slightest sound. They seem to have a mind of their own really!

Now, Louis Vuitton had come out with their silly Bunny Ears for their Fall/Winter 2009 collection. On the runway, the Bunny Ears looked fab.
On the cover of Vogue Russia and atop the head of my favorite model Natalia Vodianova, the Bunny Ears looked fierce.
On my rabbits Galadriel and Matilda, the Bunny Ears (just stiff paper!) looked adorable.
Galadriel suffers my playfulness ever so patiently. She's used to
me putting ridiculous stuff on her for photo sessions.
Sure enough, after a few shots, I take the Bunny Ears off
and she looks relieved.
Matilda comes to bully Galadriel again.
So I "punish" her by putting the Bunny Ears on her!
Galadriel looks pleased.
Matilda is very very upset at this point.
Matilda attacks the offending object!

Now, the Bunny Ears on Madonna...

Hmmm. Let's just say Bunny Ears are for the young and effervescent!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beauty giveaway!

CONTEST IS CLOSED.
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED
IN 6 HOURS.
Thank you all for your entries!

I know I promised a blog contest last month--it's this blog's 3rd anniversary last May and I was hoping to give away some loot to reward my dear readers.

Thanks to Maybelline, I now have some cute beauty products for you! This contest is so exciting, you'll feel like you won't be able to eat until it's over.

So Maybelline sent me some fabulous makeup that three of my lucky readers will most enjoy.

For the third prize,
one lucky reader will get:

Fruity Jelly Lipgloss worth PHP 129
Moisture Extreme Pink Lipstick worth PHP 299
Watershine Collagen Shimmers Lipstick worth PHP 369

Lip collection is worth PHP 797! (USD 16)

For the second prize,
one lucky reader will get:

EyeStudio Vivid & Smooth Eye Liner worth PHP 359
EyeStudio Eyeshadow Quad worth PHP 449
Unstoppable Curly Lash Extension Mascara worth PHP 349

Eye collection is worth PHP 1,157! (USD 24)

And for the first prize,
one lucky reader will get:

Clear Smooth Minerals Liquid Foundation worth PHP 499
Clear Smooth Minerals Powder Foundation worth PHP 599
Clear Smooth Minerals Blush worth PHP 499

Mineral makeup collection is worth PHP 1,597! (USD 33)

Here are the guidelines:

1. Write about the contest in your blog.
2. Make sure to link your post to this post.
3. Leave a comment informing me of your post.
4. Wait for 7 days because I'll announce the winner next Friday, June 26!

The winner will be drawn randomly. Of course, I'll be checking if he/she also did a post on his/her blog first! And yes, I will ship to anywhere in the world--shipping's on me!

Good luck and thanks for joining! This is super duper exciting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wine Night with the girls

Joanne, Kat, me, Nicole, Nikki and Jimboy

My uber chic and smart and fabulous friends Nicole, Kat and Nikki and I convene every month or so for a night of cheese, crackers and bottles of wine. We don't drink as much as we talk; that's why Vince calls it Whine Night.

Nicole and I love cheese with fruit and crackers
with a cold glass of white wine

Nicole and Nikki ham it up. I can't explain the silly pose.
It's a private joke!

Nikki just got engaged and we're all very excited for her. Kat just got herself a boyfriend and we're just as thrilled for her. Nicole and I, well, we're both happily married ladies so, seriously, it's not whine night!

Wine Night isn't exclusively for us four, however. Sometimes, we swell to about 10 people--we just draw up a chair for anyone who wants to join the conversation. One time, a palm reader came along and told me there are three children in my future. Another time, this incredibly self-obsessed person joined us and all he talked about was how great he is. It's always entertaining and, funnily enough, despite the bottles that we empty, we never get drunk.

We're planning a shopping trip to Bangkok, just us ladies. It will definitely be loads of fun and I'll have a ton of fantastic photos for you! I'm really hoping the trip pushes through soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So happy with my eBay finds!

Thrift shopping is fantabulous! While Vince dislikes it that I thrift-shop for my clothes ("It's not like we don't have any money!"), I really prefer to buy my clothes vintage or second-hand because I am absolutely sure I'll never show up at a party or an event and some other girl is wearing the exact same dress.

I just want to show you girls my latest thrift buys from eBay:

An H&M belted LBD that I wore to my last Juicy TV guesting. This fits me like a glove and it may be black and simple but because it hugs me in all the right places and that belt just cinches my waist, I feel very severe and sexy in it.

A Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. I haven't worn this yet. It looks even better in person than the photo. It's such a classic! And I totally adore that it's in silk jersey so I never need to iron it. Vince likes this dress, too.

A Hugo Boss cotton dress in beige. Nude and neutral colors are very in this year, and I just had to get this dress because, aside from the on-trend hue, it looks formal enough to wear to meetings but feels very comfy. When I wear it, I look like a Gap ad from its current collection by Alexander Wang and Vena Cava... except that I'm wearing Hugo Boss!

Then today--yes today!--I won this cute Diane Von Furstenberg ladybug dress! This adorable A-line dress came down the runway for the Spring/Summer 2007 collections. Yeah, it's old but I just had to have it because ladybugs are special to Vince and me.
Ten years ago, a golden ladybug landed on my wrist. It refused to fly away! So Vince placed his hand over mine to take it away; instead the ladybug just kept crawling from my hand to his and from his to mine and by the end of that afternoon, Vince had asked me out on our very first date. One year later, Vince gave me a necklace with the cutest ladybug pendant and it's been around my neck for over 9 years!
I actually had a similar ladybug dress from Zara. Bought it in 2007 and wore it just once (when my staff and I went to Subic and met some native Aetas). I found out soon after the trip that DVF had come out with the design first and I just didn't want to buy a knockoff--even if it was a Zara knockoff!

While I love finding vintage dresses and bags, there are some things I like buying brand new. Furniture. Jewelry. Shoes. Especially shoes! My goodness, shoes are my downfall so they better be spankin' brand new!