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!

Monday, November 30, 2009

In the classroom again

I don't know if you know but I'm a teacher. I started by teaching Sunday School. I was also a preschool teacher ten years ago. Today, I may be a magazine editor but I still teach my staff (and other magazine staff!) about making a magazine. It comes very naturally to me, teaching. I like getting knowledge and I like sharing it as well. And I've been blessed that some people have actually called me their mentor. That's such a big role and to be called one is amazing!


So when Theodore P, a DLSU student, requested that I visit their college class and give a talk about the celebrity magazine industry, I was excited. And nervous. Well, part of the jitters came from looking blotchy because of an allergic reaction to an acne treatment facial I had a few days before the talk, but I was nervous because I haven't been in a classroom as a teacher for so many years. Thankfully, the allergy subsided the day before my talk.

When I entered the classroom and everyone started taking their seats, I felt a tad more comfortable. But it was when there were a few latecomers that burst in--this is a pet peeve!--the old Teacher Frances snapped back and I was in business.


I had a lot of fun at my talk. Theodore warned me that their professor can be intimidating and will grill me about magazines. I assured him I'd be fine; she may be teaching it but I'm living it. And at the talk, their professor was such a sweetheart! She and her class asked a lot of very good questions. They were difficult questions, too (I love difficult questions!), which says a lot about their level of interest and intelligence. I could've gone on and on and on but, alas, we only had an hour and a half.


Well, I found the experience so invigorating that I really don't mind doing it again! It's so lovely to be surrounded by young people. They're so beautiful and they don't even know it. Remember when I said that my hubby says I can still be mistaken for a college student? I used to believe him until I actually saw hundreds of college students at the DLSU campus. They're so young and perfect--the bright eyes, the taut skin, the shiny hair, the swift grace of limbs, the refreshing unsophistication and (I envy most of all), the flat tummies!



If you're a student (or a teacher) and would like to have me over and talk to your class, drop me an email! If I have time, I'd be glad to go. To Theodore, Bianca and Pau, thank you for inviting me to your class. I really enjoyed myself and I'm glad your class had fun, too. I wish we had more time, though! I'll keep an eye on you three--I have a feeling you'll be big names in the media one day!




Friday, November 27, 2009

Celebrate life!

While this indeed has been a terrible month, I do want to say that life is still a most wondrous thing. Like the rest of the country, I am saddened and outraged by the unfolding horror story of the Maguindanao massacre, but there are also stories of triumph I will not ignore.
First, Manny Pacquiao made sports history--winning seven world titles in seven weight divisions. Sure, his triumph was tainted by allegations of an affair with a certain plain starlet (Manny, take notes from Brad Pitt--if you must leave your wife, make sure you're leaving her for someone spectacular. It doesn't make it less despicable but, as Angelina has smugly proved, it makes it almost reasonable), but Manny is now a true international supernova. I don't think anyone in the Philippines can claim that!

Second, CNN honored Efren Penaflorida as their Hero of the Year. I voted for Efren, not because he was a fellow Filipino but because I truly believe in his work. As you may know about me, I came from a poor family but because my parents valued education, I've come a long, long way.

Efren brings the classroom to poor children. Not only does he teach them reading, writing and arithmetic, he also teaches them about hygiene. This is very important! I heard that Efren's really tough about cleanliness. Is that necessary? Yes! Keeping yourself clean and well groomed means you value yourself and the people you relate with. There can be no progress if there is no respect--for oneself and for others. So by teaching kids to be clean, he's taught them the most important thing of all: respect. Bravo, Efren!

CNN also awarded Efren's efforts with USD 125,000. That's PHP 5.9 million! And he's pouring all of that money into his Dynamic Teen Company. I hope he can build a place with a roof and nice sturdy contemporary furniture. Because he operates out of a pushcart, rainy days, of which there are many in this tropical country, can be a big deal. But a school with walls, a roof and a library, oh, that would be heaven!

Third, Ismael Mangudadatu, whose wife and relatives were the main focus of the barbaric attack last Monday, today filed for candidacy for the gubernatorial position that had cost him grievous loss. He had been threatened in the most unimaginable way for pursuing this post and, instead of fleeing for his life, he continues to bravely oppose the Ampatuan clan, current rulers of Maguindanao and believed to be the masterminds of the massacre.

Today, he rode down that same road where 57 innocent people, which included his family, journalists and travelers, were butchered just four days ago. It was lined by people, their fists clenched and raised in support and defiance. Ismael was encouraged and said, "I hope this will be the start of our liberation."

The Maguindanao tragedy may have diminished us all but because of Manny, Efren, Ismael and the rest of us who still toil on to make this earth a better place, hope springs eternal. And life will still be a cause for celebration. Mabuhay ang Pilipino!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mourning in November

My favorite month in all the year is November. It's my birthday month and I love getting older. I usually spend the entire month celebrating.

But this year is different. First, Galady was fading away. Then she died.

Then I was also sick for a good two weeks, on my birthday in fact, which meant I had to hide away from the world. Being sick that long made me think that growing older isn't so nice after all. Then various aches and pains manifested themselves--a chronic pain in my right forefinger's joints, feeling gassy and tummy achy, the usual headaches, a strange feeling of emptiness in my sinuses. I wonder why this is happening all of a sudden. I do have a hormonal imbalance (I've been looking up bioidentical hormone replacement. Austin, Texas has a facility that offers it) and I haven't been back to my doctors for my usual check-ups. That's because I've been feeling invincible these past two years. Now, at just 33 years old and 19 days, I feel old and tired.  

Then some intrigues happened. I won't explain further but I'm hoping that that's finally done.

Then a truly horrible event in my country occurred just this Monday. In Maguindanao, a province way down south, at least 54 people were massacred for election-related reasons. The killing of one person in cold blood is horrific; imagine seeing bodies upon bodies piled on top of each other. The women were mutilated and sexually abused before they were riddled with bullets. The men were shot multiple times, too. Then there were people who just happened to be driving by--they were gunned down, too. This was no simple execution.

Seeing the earth by that sad roadside reddened by so much blood, I can actually feel my own blood responding, curdling in my veins, pounding in my head. The horror, the shock and the outrage I feel, that my countrymen feel and the world feels... This is just beyond comprehension.


After such knowledge, what forgiveness?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Excited to give a talk!

My dearest Topaz Horizon readers, I know I haven't been updating as often as I usually do. Been melancholy since Galady died and also been busy entertaining Matilda who is now a lonely wabbit. Then there's stuff happening at work (sorry, can't disclose) but suffice it to say that these have been interesting times. And if you're Chinese, you know that that's actually not a good thing!

Hello, my name is Mozzarella. I'm Frances' teddy bear.



I'm also going on a hypoallergenic diet. Had a bad allergic reaction to a facial this weekend (the seaweed mask did it). So I should avoid everything that I'm allergic to so that my skin won't get worse. So good-bye chicken, eggs, seafood, milk, chocolates, citrus fruits and everything else that makes life worth living!!! Man, I really hate hypoallergenic diets! Some people recommend a complete colon cleanse to flush away all the allergens in my system but I'll stick to drinking water. I just had my last two squares of brownies actually and, at dinner, a few sips of spicy chicken soup. Yum! So now I'm itchy again but... only for tonight. Tomorrow and for the next week, I'll be good.

This is what Frances looks like when she's blogging.

No pictures obviously. So my darling Mozzarella will pretend to be moi. Indeed I look ghastly. Splotchy and red. So upsetting since I'm giving my first ever classroom talk on Wednesday. I'm sooooo excited! Except that I look like a cooked lobster so now I'm not so excited to face a roomful of students as the representative of the glamorous world of magazines. No way can anyone look glamorous with a swollen, red, bumpy face. But they invited me because of my credentials not because of my skin or the clothes I wear. Still, please pray my skin will calm down by tomorrow.

I'm really excited about my talk. It will be in De La Salle University and I'll be telling some college kids all about the celebrity magazine industry. And, honey, y'all know I love my job! Goodness, it's like being paid to eat candy really. Ya, some days it's cloying, some days it's sickening but most days, life is oh so sweet. And to tell kids about it is really something I'm looking forward to.

Now the question is what shall I wear? I wanted to wear my usual skinny jeans-comfy tee-and-sexy heels combo but my hubby says I should look professional. But that's what I wear when I go to work! Vince says I should put on the arsenal of dress, heels and makeup so I won't look like a student. Aww, ain't he sweet? He thinks I can still pass as a student! I love you, Vince!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chuck!!! Chuck!!! Chuck!!!

Forget about Christmas! I suddenly can't wait for this year to end! January 10 never felt so far away! Chuck is baaaaaaack!!!



Sigh. I'm so excited! Chuck and Sarah's budding love affair (and sexual chemistry!) is like a nice heated blanket on a bitterly cold day. Makes me feel all warm and toasty from head to toe. And is it just me or is Chuck getting cuter and Sarah's getting hotter? Is that even possible??? Love Chuck! The countdown has begun! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now this is one "twilight" I like

I am now in the process of making my wish list for Christmas. A Wii maybe so that I can be encouraged to do some exercises, a Philip Stein Teslar watch so that my headaches and stress will be tick tocked away, a pair of Jewelmer pearl earrings and the pink Sony Cybershot TX1. I know. That's some wish list! Gosh, I need to make more money to buy myself these expensive things!!!

Vince and I love this commercial for the Sony Cybershot TX1:


We love the song--it's called "Firefly" and we really want to know who sang it and if it's a full song.

UPDATE: The wonders of Google led me to Emma Pask, an Australian Jazz singer. She sang at Nicole Kidman's wedding! Anyway, she sang this especially for the Sony TVC. So it's as short as that. What a shame. I love that song! Here are the lyrics:
When the twilight sings, it's washed away
Way by the sea, open up your eyes
Believe the dream
You see how I feel
That feeling something's just not real
We are drifting through the stars
Floating here to Mars
Believe the dream

Wow. That did not make any sense at all. It's like something you'd find on Japanese stationery. I love it! Anyway, the camera will be loved for its ability to capture sharp and clear images at night. They call it "handheld twilight" and this feature allows you to take photos at night without the need for a flash! I need this! My photos with flash are always washed out and ugly.

Sony!!! If you're reading this, please send me a TX1 (pink please)! I live in a Sony world--PSP, PS2, PS3, e-Book Reader, Sony Ericsson phones, voice recorder, camera, Bravia... I really really want the TX1 (and the star pendant in the commercial, too!).


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vince and Galady

Well, what do you know, it's almost Christmas. The pink tree is up, the gifts are starting to collect under it and I'm going through the first of many Christmas party invitations. It's a bit sad that we won't have our Christmas mascot around this year, though. Well, we'll have to force Matilda to pose for pics then!
Galady is actually Vince's baby girl. I was just the adopted mom so Vince was very sad when Galady passed away. He was really heartbroken. Still is. And he wanted me to add these photos of them so you all see how much he loved Galady:

I love both their noses!

Vince misses his fat stuffed toy...

... and his super soft pillow!

I try but I just can't compete with
her huggableness and photogenic talent!

Poor Galady wanted that cabbage leaf very much!

Look at how round she was! That's why seeing her so thin and old really killed us. Vince has tons more photos of his baby girl. But I guess that'll be all for now. Hope you don't mind the photo tributes to Galady. It's just hard for us to let go...

Uniquely Singapore: I spent P10,000 on food and food alone!!!

Let's continue with our Uniquely Singapore Series, shall we? This is me at the Royal Selangor cafe in Singapore having chai and a siopao. This was my breakfast. The siopao was so tiny, I almost wanted my money back. It's a good thing the chai was amazing. Rich and bitter and sweet and full-bodied. Wonderful way to start any day!

When you're in Singapore, you have to try the chili crab. That's what everyone told me and, because I always have to eat the best when I'm somewhere new, I let my friend Ana (that's her in black in the middle of the photo) lead me to No Signboard. That's the name of the restaurant. And if it looks like a posh place, then your eyes aren't deceiving you.
This chili crab was the bomb. It looks tiny in the photo but the crab was actually as huge as a dinner plate. It was also frikkin' expensive. I literally felt the crab crawl up my esophagus when I saw the bill. I just slipped my credit card to the waitress, hoping my husband won't kill me. When I did get home, still stuffed with crab and the amazing mushroom salad, and told Vince about my wildly expensive meal, he said, "Was the crab good?"

"Unbelievably good."

He smiled, "Well then, that's okay."

OMG. I tell you I have the best husband. Ever!!!


It's a good thing then that the chili crab was last on my to-eat-in-Singapore list because I still had a huge appetite for these:
Marinated Smoked Tuna
with Feta and Balsamic Olive Oil salad


Light Cream of Asparagus with Green Peas
topped with Chive Mousseline


Rosemary Marinated Chicken Breast
with Saffron Cheesy Mash Potato


Praline Hazelnut Gateau with Raspberry Jelly
These were all served at the Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards. And they were all a delight. Thanks to Franny Haw for the photos!

Now, not all of my meals were so haughty. We bloggers feasted on the hawker stuff--cheap and edible but not exactly the kind that would make your eyes roll in ecstasy, like this bland pork rice topping meal I had (I could tell Anton Diaz was disappointed with my safe choice!).But that nasty-looking crab that's insanely priced? Heaven. I spent an indecent amount on that crab. Well, it was worth it!

I would like to thank Nuffnang and the Singapore Tourism Board for this Uniquely Singapore Series.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stressing out!

This is Figaro Cafe on Emerald Avenue in Ortigas Center.
It's dark and cool and quiet. It has the feel of a gentleman's library, with the dark paneled walls and deep leather couches. I love the coffee here and the pasta and the vanilla pudding. I love how being here relaxes me. These photos were taken last month. I should've gone there today. I should've hidden away from the world.

Woke up today to urgent messages on the phone but couldn't really call back. Our apartment is strange--even though we're in the heart of the city and surrounded by cell towers, the signal is incredibly weak. So not being able to call back to other people when they're freaking out adds to my stress.

Then this day wasn't so cool... although it ended much better than how it started. I hope this means things will indeed get better. Since Galady got her stroke and then recently died, I've been feeling melancholy and easily bothered and annoyed. Then stuff has been happening that I can't disclose just right now and I am now more agitated than usual.

This of course meant I said some things to some people that I shouldn't have had. Even though what I did say was true, sometimes it's best to just shut up. Unfortunately, when I'm feeling sad and crabby, I'm not the best person to be with.

I should also just avoid Facebook. Or maybe I should just erase all my relatives on Facebook. Or maybe I should just grow up and not be fake and just erase all the people I don't like but accepted as my friends anyway. Why am I pretending we're friends anyway? Why do I let people bully me into accepting them just because we're related or we met at some obscure time in my life?

I am not in a good mood. I think I'm going to shut off my phones, avoid Facebook and my email, and just blog about happy things. Because my life is actually happy. If only some people didn't belong in it or meddle with it, it would be perfect!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

OK!'s November issue out now

My favorite story is the one on the third wedding anniversary of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Read that again--third wedding anniversary. Imagine that! The photo album we made on their marriage shows the couple so in love that I was ashamed for thinking they wouldn't last a heartbeat. Oh well, I do like to be proven wrong and seeing a happily married couple go on and on being happily married is always a good thing.

The November issue is also our Power Issue so we gathered the juiciest trivia about how many Hollywood celebs are just so demanding! It's fascinating! And a little disgusting, if you ask my honest opinion. Remember my fury a few weeks back? Get the November issue to find out who the star was!

Right now, the staff and I are starting on 2010. We're planning a more exciting OK! magazine for you--featuring anything and everything Hollywood plus how to get that celeb look and lifestyle! Yes, expect to see more beauty tips and tricks, fashion how-to's, and thorough reviews on everything from the perfect shade of lipstick and the most trustworthy medical spas to how to burn belly fat and buy the best running shoes!

Anyway, I wasn't able to go on my monthly TV guestings and radio tours to promote this issue. I've been feeling very depressed since Galady died and just can't work up the energy needed for TV and radio. So I'll just share these pics from my radio tours for the October issue at one of my favorite radio stations to visit:Danielle and Rico are sweethearts. They make my job easy. I hope you also all help make my job easy and make me feel better by buying the November issue. Thanks everybody!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good-bye Galady



Galadriel Amper Sales Rabbit finally said good-bye to us yesterday morning. Since suffering from a stroke in August, Galady hung on because every day I asked her to stay. On my birthday, we stayed home all weekend because she was slipping away but when my birthday came and went and she still greeted us with those big brown eyes, I thanked her for staying with me still.

But she was tired. I knew that. And with half her body paralyzed, that was no way to live. Vince and I sat by her in her final hours and when she started crying, we told her, "It's okay, baby. You can go, you can go." So at 2:40 AM, she finally followed the exit signs she's probably been seeing since August and went on her way.

The last 7 years and 6 months were filled with cuddles and love from the most adorable rabbit we've ever had. For once, I can't find any words to describe the heartache Vince and I are suffering. She was our baby girl. And we miss her so.

Galady 7 years and 6 months ago
Galady at the prime of her life

Wearing her Sony Bravia shirt

Her favorite pastime after eating? Sleeping.

Her favorite thing after food and sleep? Cuddles.

Christmas 2006
Christmas 2007

Galady, Mommy, Daddy and Matilda love you and miss you. We hope you're running free again in a land that's hopefully filled with all the Haagen Dazs ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, carrots, apples and bananas that you can eat. And be nice to Gandalf when you see her again. We miss you so.