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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bags and books for sale! All for Mio's benefit!

I love my readers--you're very good people! So far, we've raised P36,482.32 for Mio's leukemia treatment. Well, since chemotherapy is very expensive, our fundraising efforts are far from over!

So my fellow editors have donated these bags! These are all authentic and unused. As editors, we get a lot of sample stuff from brand managers and we're just grateful we can make room in our homes and offices and help Mio at the same time!

SOLD!
BLACK & WHITE LOGO SHOULDER BAG
DKNY

12" x 2" x 5"

P350 (+ P80 shipping)

SOLD!
BLACK LEATHER & CHAIN SHOULDER BAG
MARITHE FRANCOIS GIRBAUD
10.5" x 3" x 6.5"

P400 (+ P80 shipping)

WOVEN GOLD LEATHER TOTE
MERCER & MADISON
17" x 8"
handle is damaged, see photo
P350 (+ P80 shipping)


SOLD!
LAPTOP BAG
TiSH
P600 (+ P80 shipping)
15.5" x 12" x 1"
with detachable shoulder strap and pouch for power cords and charger

Costs P900. YOU SAVE P300!


CORALLO BAG
MELISSA
P2,000 (+ P80 shipping)
11" x 16" x 2.5"
melissa heart has a yellow dot, see photo

Costs P2,495 at Rustan's. YOU SAVE P495

Pete Lacaba--multi-awarded writer, poet, screenwriter, journalist, translator and a fellow editor--also donated his book, P380, to Mio's cause. I have 4 copies. All signed!

ALL COPIES SOLD!

Please send an email to frances@topazhorizon.com if you wish to buy. Tell me the product/s you want, your name, delivery address and phone numbers. Please also tell me how you wish to pay.

I accept PayPal, G-Cash and deposits to my BDO bank account. Once payment is received, I will send the stuff straight to your doorstep.

All proceeds of the sales made in this blog post will go to Mio's leukemia treatment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mio's benefit concert moved

In the midst of all the tragedy that Typhoon Ondoy brought, I haven't forgotten the little boy I've adopted in my heart. I'll be posting new stuff for sale for Mio's chemotherapy later this week--let me just visit my family (the roads are finally clear of floodwater!) and then we'll get down to the business of fighting cancer.

To those who bought tickets or was planning to go: The Mio Fights Cancer Benefit Concert has been moved to October 9.

I don't really know why this cause has affected me so much since cancer hasn't actually touched me (asthma, endometriosis and migraine are my health issues) but I just suddenly felt that cancer in all its forms (leukemia, breast, bone, stomach, lung, etc!) should not be anyone's problem anymore. There's enough pain in this world and then we have children, mothers, fathers, people we love dying because their bodies have turned against them. It's not right and we should all fight against it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Manila after the typhoon

This is what Typhoon Ondoy did to Luzon: 140 dead and scores more missing, with millions of pesos worth of property destroyed.
Well, the country has been galvanized into action! In the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, everywhere there is tragedy but everywhere, too, there is the amazing spirit of the Filipino people! People are emptying store shelves and their own closets to donate to the needy. People are flocking to relief centers packing and distributing goods. Millions of pesos are currently being raised by telethons. Dollars are pouring in, too, thanks to the efforts of our overseas Filipino workers and by Hollywood stars, too! Our own celebrities, too, have been quite the hero (Cosmo.ph has the story)!

Here are more photos:

The little children. They're the heartbreaking part. And yet, look at them. So adorable and so calm in the face of it all. Look at that last photo--the girl in the hoodie is so cute! Please send more food and medicines, especially for diarrhea--we wouldn't want these lovely healthy children to look like they downed a bottle of Fastin diet pills! Let's help them out--food, medicines, blankets, clothes and disinfectant needed!
Poor animals. They're victims, too. PARC Animal Shelter in Marikina is accepting lost pets. PAWS, too (contact Nita Lichauco 724-1986 to help/donate pet food/adopt).
The rescue! There's this story of a man on a rescue boat who suddenly asked, "Sept 28 na ba ngayon?" ["Is it already Sept 28?"] and when the rescuers replied yes, he sadly said, "Birthday ko na pala." ["Oh, it's my birthday."] The rescuers who were paddling looked at him in surprise then they all loudly sang him the birthday song! Oh God, I love my country. Thank you for making me a Filipino!
I'd also like us to keep praying for our fellow Filipinos, especially for those who lost their loved ones. May they find comfort in the kindness of strangers. Let us also remember those who gave their lives to save others. They are heroes, and if you're helping out in any way at all--and I know there are hundreds of you helping!--you're my hero, too.

I hope my readers are safe and warm and dry. I know most of you live in Manila (yes, I check out your blogs, too, and Sitemeter says so) and because my blog's hits went down drastically since the storm hit, I worry that you've been swept away, are homeless or shivering somewhere in the cold. My heart is broken for you because last weekend, I also was frantic with worry when I couldn't reach my family and friends in Antipolo and Cainta. Now, despite losing their homes, they are alive and safe--I almost fainted with relief. Please know that I have you in my prayers and even though we only know each other through cyberspace, you are my friends and I think of you all the time. God bless you.

*photos from Tanya Escaler's Facebook album. More photos from Time here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thank you, my Magnificent Women!

To my Magnificent Women, this month is my tribute to you and to who you are to me. Thank you for showing me that there is grace in humility, freedom in forgiveness, beauty in kindness, joy in generosity and power in unconditional love. Because of you, I want to be a better person. Please know that you are an inspiration and a source of joy to me.

So... I wanted to save this surprise for Christmas but I've learned the value of not saving lovely things for another day when I can make your day lovely today! Hence, I'm giving you all a little token of my appreciation!

To Jacqui, here is the latest KC Concepcion-designed hoodie*, for all your adventures! It symbolizes protection and warmth and hugs because you're going to need those in life, and I may not always be there but I pray you'll always be safe and warm.
To Rose, so that your loveliness will glow even better, here's a gift certificate to a diamond peel at Aesthetic Science! May your goodness shine through for everyone--including the blind, like I once was--to see!
To Lizelle, shop away at The Body Shop with these gift certificates! I know you are always caring for others but I hope you can choose some stuff to pamper yourself, like a bath gel, a rich lotion or scented oils.

To Anj, for that special occasion (and I know you and Lit like to take some "just us" time), have your makeup done professionally by the artists at Make Up For Ever. So you can look even more gorgeous!
To Reza, here's a gift certificate to a body scrub and massage at Aesthetic Science. May you always find time for yourself since I know you devote all your time for your boys!

To Mommy Digna, I got you Ina Garten's book. I know you are a fantastic cook but Ina reminds me of how the best things in life are simple and usually found right underneath our noses and our roofs. You taught me that, too.
To Mariel, here are gift certificates to VNC because when it comes to shoes, we're sisters! May our shoes take us to more adventures and pleasures and places!
Ladies, please indulge yourselves a bit! Thank you for helping fill the hole that another Magnificent Woman left in my heart when she passed away a year ago today. She always wanted me to be a good person and because of her and because of you, I think I'm finally on my way there. Thank you.

Magnificent Woman 1: Jacqui
Magnificent Woman 2: Rose

Magnificent Women 3: Lizelle, Anj and Reza

Magnificent Woman 4: Mom

Magnificent Woman 5: Mariel

*Buy a BAYO hoodie specially designed by KC Concepcion and help feed hungry children. Proceeds of these limited edition hoodies and shirts will go to the UN World Food Programme, of which KC is an ambassador.

The sun is shining bright

The flood waters are quickly receding. It was like yesterday's storm never happened. Until the news reports said that there are 72 dead, 21 missing. While I feel bad about that, considering how huge the storm was and the devastation it caused, that number is quite low. Thank God for Filipinos and our innate instinct for survival! Still, as the waters recede, that number will most likely still climb. And then there's the loss of and damage to property to reckon with.



It was surreal looking at images from all over the city--maybe this is how the country will look like when global warming reaches its zenith. In Cainta, a huge town that was, according to its mayor, "one hundred per cent underwater," the Coast Guard had to help with the rescue operation. The Coast Guard! Cainta is by the foothills of the Sierra Madre!

Still, when I look at news reports and photos, I can't help but giggle. While Filipinos are waist deep in murky water, tired, hungry, cold and wet, when they see the cameras, the first thing they do is--wave and cheer! "Hello!" they shout happily, jumping up and down. You just gotta love a people who can laugh at the face of such disaster! Vince said, "This is why we get all these terrible things--we can take them all!"

My family is safe--they were able to save a few things, and are now busy with inspecting the damage. They're funny actually, laughing and joking with me over the phone. They're okay but the damages are huge. Still, we rejoice that we are all alive and safe and talking again. I'm frustrated, however--I can't even get to them because of the floods! I spent the night awake with worry but at 3am, the skies were so clear, I can see the stars, then I knew in my heart that despite what the satellite images showed and what the weather bureaus said, God had swept away the storm clouds. Thank you for your prayers!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Praying praying praying!


That used to be a street. That's Katipunan Ave. and that's happening all over Manila right now. I'm feeling really bad because of Typhoon Ondoy flooding the city. The entire Luzon area (and that is huge!) is in a state of calamity. Just found out that Typhoon Ondoy is bigger and stronger than Hurricane Katrina. Yes, that Hurricane Katrina. (see BBC report here)

Typhoon Ondoy is not done with the Philippines yet. Weather bureaus say that it will leave the country on Monday. Monday! The region is almost underwater already!

My family is in Cainta. In Edward VII St. in Kingsville Subd. to be exact. They are flooded in. The entire first floor is underwater. The cars are underwater. In some areas, the flood is 10 feet deep. Mobile phone services are down, and even if it were running, there's no electricity so I'm sure they won't have their phones ready.

I'm fine--I live in a condominium high above the city. In fact, we're so fine, we didn't realize what was happening to the rest of our countrymen. Cable service was down so we weren't updated with the news and no one in my family was calling me or texting so I assumed everything was okay. Turns out they were too busy salvaging their possessions and fleeing the flood. This is one time that the adage "no news is good news" simply was not true.

They are currently fine now, at the second floor of a neighbor's house. But they are surrounded by water. And if the weather bureau is correct, then the storm isn't over yet.

I believe in the power of prayer. So I am praying with everything in me that my family will be okay, the storm will go away sooner, the floods will go down and the sun will shine again. Soon!

Eastwood City's streets are submerged...

So is Taft Ave. (this is in front of La Salle University)

Katipunan Ave. in Loyola Heights has become a river.

If you are reading this, then thank God you are somewhere warm and safe and dry. Please please please pray for my country!

*photos taken from all over the Web (blogs and Facebook). Not mine!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Do check out my beauty blog

I know Beauty For A Living is where I sell beauty products to help raise funds for a little boy's chemotherapy but it's also a fun beauty site!

Check out what I wrote about one of the best wrinkle creams on the planet. In fact, it's the most expensive moisturizer on the face of the earth because it boasts of using platinum as its key ingredient! Not feeling like putting metals on your skin? Then how about flowers instead?

You can also find out what my signature scent is and what variation of it I'm currently enjoying. You can also see how my recent salon trips have been disasters one after the other.

I'm also inviting you to go have a weekend of health and relaxation that my friend Monica is organizing in November. And of course, buy products to raise money for Mio's chemo! Okay, that's enough PR for Beauty For A Living!

I am happy. This test proves it!

DisorderYour Score
Major Depression:Very Slight
Dysthymia:Very Slight
Bipolar Disorder:Very Slight
Cyclothymia:Very Slight
Seasonal Affective Disorder:Very Slight
Postpartum Depression:N/A
Take the Depression Test

Got this test from RanRan's blog. Like her, I am a very happy, well-adjusted person. But that can just be me deluding myself, you know?

I also sometimes think my steroids and asthma medication make me hyper and chirpy--why? Well, during summer or when I'm anywhere that has fresh air and I don't need my asthma meds, I'm usually subdued! (Well, my test results do indicate that I have a "very slight" chance of getting depressed. So there's still a chance, even if it's very slight!)

Vince thinks my asthma meds are like uppers. Chuckle, chuckle. He does have a point there; when I'm not pumped with the meds, I'm really quiet! So is my happiness because of asthma meds?

Nah, I'm happy because I have a wonderful man who loves me, a beautiful home, a fun job, few but fantastic friends, magnificent women who inspire me, adorable wabbits to dote on and my books. But even without those (and yes, there was a long time I didn't have any of those!), I've always been a glass-half-full person and I truly believe that's all because of my faith in God and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of God's sovereignity, I never lose hope and I never feel that all is lost. Because of Jesus, I never feel alone. And that is why I am happy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Meet my neighbor--the nicest girl in the world!

I know that all the women in my Magnificent Women Series are members of my family. Well, God gave me fab women in my family and then He decided that I needed friends. This is where Mariel enters the picture.

Mariel is my angel. I never thought we'd be friends--first, because I wasn't friendly and, second, because she seemed to like food too much. She sat beside me at work and she was always happy and chipper, greeting me every morning with, "Hi, neighbor!" in that bright sweet manner of hers. She'd also always offer me snacks which I'd refuse because I don't like eating when I'm working! Finally, I began eating with her and talking with her and I discovered over sushi and chocolates and pasta that right before me is one shining soul, so bright that God must've lit her from within. I was just so focused on myself that I was blind to the wonderful woman right in front of me!

I love Mariel because she's good. Period. Yes, she's funny and smart and generous and lovable and honest and candid. But what I really love about her is she's a good person with a kind heart and a gentle soul. This is a harsh world we live in and when you meet a good person, it's insanely refreshing.

Mariel is insanely refreshing.

We also talk about everything under the sun--from discussing beauty products, fashion finds and entertaining at home to what we really want in life and the complexity of relationships. We even talk about stuff that aren't under the sun, like what heaven must be like. That was a lovely discussion, by the way! Now that she's about to get married, I can't wait to talk to her about married life--from happy stuff like decorating the house (and choosing between porcelain or stone sinks can merit an entire day of ruminations!) and sharing recipes to the more serious matters like handling money as a couple, fighting fair with the hubby and how to have great sex with the hubby, too!

Dear Neighbor, thank you for the friendship. I am lucky to have met you and even luckier to have shared meals with you. I know I have become a better person since the day you became my friend. You have inspired me with how you love people unconditionally. Because of you, I learned how to forgive my Papa and focus on what he's done for me instead of what he failed to do because I saw how you just accepted people into your life simply because they're there. So I stopped pushing people away, stopped being choosy with who I talk to and be friends with, stopped being a snob because of you. You are beautiful in every possible way and I want to be as beautiful as you. Love ya!


Be inspired by my Neighbor, too! Check out her wonderful blog, NY Minute Now, right now!

Magnificent Woman 1: Jacqui
Magnificent Woman 2: Rose

Magnificent Women 3: Lizelle, Anj and Reza

Magnificent Woman 4: Mom

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm blessed to have a second mother

Let me tell you about my mother-in-law. While most people complain about their in-laws, I have the miracle that is Mommy Digna. She is the sixth woman on my Magnificent Women Series but she is certainly very very important! It isn't hard to love her because she's like a female replica of Vince!

Mommy Di is the kind of woman who just absorbs everything you give her--your worries, your pain, your helpless flailings in the face of life's blows. Then she will do everything she can to help you out. Whether we need a recipe or curtains or help with where to buy car accessories and dehumidifiers to the really really big problems, Mommy Di will find an answer to our every need.

And it's not like she isn't busy already--she's not one of those rich housewives who spend their retirement traveling the world, shopping and pinching young men's butts; Mommy Di devotes her days to caring for her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her siblings, her friends... and still she'll find time to call me and Vince and ask in that adorable halting way of hers if we want to have lunch out.

While she looks soft and vulnerable, she isn't--she is fierce and strong and we know she will defend us from whatever threatens us. Nothing's too big for Mommy Di and she has proven to me that a woman's strength is in her femininity and in her family.Mom, thank you for welcoming me into your family and for loving me. So thank you for the lunches, dinners, vacations, food (especially the caldereta!), gifts... but thank you most of all for loving me like your daughter. Every time I fall in love with Vince because of how wonderful a man he is, I remember that he is what he is because of how you raised him. Thank you super duper for Vince--the best gift ever!!!


Magnificent Woman 1: Jacqui
Magnificent Woman 2: Rose
Magnificent Women 3: Lizelle, Anj and Reza