Friday, December 24, 2010

Well, this was a huge surprise!

I opened this month's Cosmo...

... and was idly reading this story...

... when one of the stories quickly started feeling strangely familiar...

My heart just melted. This is a wonderful Christmas gift. Thanks, Vince!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My New Year's resolutions

Being a ripe old age of 34, I noticed that my New Year's resolutions list has gotten shorter and shorter through the years. But these things have been on my list for ages:
  1. Reduce clutter and mess.
  2. Get fit.
  3. Drink more water.
  4. Wear red lipstick.
  5. Be free from acne and pimple marks and have more even-toned skin!
I'm already working towards making those come true, by the way. First, I have begun purging my closets and organizing my things. Second, I have enrolled in Barre3. Third, well, I'm already drinking water. Fourth, I've enlisted the help of my friend Nicole in finding (and wearing) the perfect red lipstick for me. And last, Neutrogena gave me the complete line of their Fine Fairness collection.

Monday, December 20, 2010

And the winner of my Christmas giveaway is...

Liz of Manila! And, for the benefit of those who didn't know I had a contest, this is her prize:
Estee Lauder Lip Collection with mini croc purse
This was her answer:
My favorite Topaz Horizon post is New Things from Old Things. It was very touching how you and your sister looked over your mom’s stuff. I could also relate with the sacrifices your mom made in order for you to get a good education. My mom was the same
When we were younger and Dad still had a job, she would tell me that she would give all her jewelry to me, the only daughter. However, when Dad retired early, before the three of us got to high school, and he invested and lost money in lame business partnerships, Mom had to pawn all her jewelry, even their wedding rings, and never got to redeem them, just so we could have money for tuition.
So when I started working, I promised myself that I would buy her jewelry and I would treat her out and pamper her. And I did, as much as I could. I know these were nothing compared to her sacrifices up till the time we finished college and beyond.
If ever you choose this comment, I would give one of the lipsticks to her because it’s the only make up she puts on her face, aside from Johnsons Baby loose powder. The other one I would give to my friend who has ovarian cancer.
I liked it that she's going to share the prize with two other people. Because that's what Christmas is all about. Well, that's what life is all about--giving and sharing! In fact, I envy her because she got to give back to her mom. I never had the chance. So maybe this is my way of pretending that I'm making my Mama happy, too. So Liz of Manila, congratulations. Email me at frances@topazhorizon.com for details on how to get your prize.

Thank you to all of you who wrote in. I liked each and EVERY answer! And I rediscovered posts that I'd forgotten about. Some of you remembered very old posts so I guess you've been around here for a good long while. Thanks for sticking around. I promised to keep this blog silly and shallow so it always surprises me that there are still readers. Thank you. Your readership means a lot to me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Money makeover

We have new money! And I'm excited to get my hands on it!
image source

I know some of you don't like the new look but, hey, progress is progress. How is this new look progress? Well, the new money has more security features that makes it difficult to counterfeit. Plus, with distinctly Philippine landmarks on the back of the new bills, they'll make me feel proud to be a Filipino whenever I go shop for stuff. Yep, now buying anything from Vito's diapers and onesies to Vince's candy to maybe a new PS3 (!!!) will feel like a patriotic act!

The new bank notes will be out this month but I have yet to see them. I really really wish they're like Singapore money--the plastic-like paper makes the Singapore dollar smooth, silky, dirt-resistant and moisture-proof. And very very first world. Ya, I know that doesn't change the fact that we're woefully third world but maybe this new money can usher in a new era of wealth and good fortune to us Filipinos!

And with that, I wish y'all a holiday season that's showered with tons of money! Yes yes, love is good but money is a good thing, too. And I for one would love to have more. 

P.S. Don't forget to join my blog contest!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What made me go "WHAT! WOW! HAHA!" today

1. The Golden Globes announced their nominees. Box office bomb and totally unfunny and unmusical film The Tourist got a nom for Best Comedy/Musical. Why?!

2. Hollywood is Splitsville! First, Dexter stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter. Then Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Then the Sexiest Couple Alive is no more! Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds just split?! Who's next?!

Got this from Chuvaness.
3. You can now reach God through cell phones. What's His number? Is He with Globe, Smart, Sun?

4. Gwyneth Paltrow. When I grow up, I wanna be Gwyneth Paltrow. Seriously.

And last, but most certainly not the least...

5. The two men in my life. What a treasure!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Christmas to my lovely readers!

Last week, I posted my wish list. What's on yours? I'm sure it has anything from a vacation to luxe items like designer bags, new phones and maybe even an HDTV (get one! It's totally changed the way Vince and I watch TV!). Anyway, if you're also looking to add a nice designer purse and some pretty lipsticks to your list, let Santa Frances make your wish come true.

I'm giving away this exclusive Estee Lauder Pink Ribbon Collection Lipstick Set. Estee Lauder gave it to me a few weeks ago. It's a special edition set for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (that'll be October). A portion of each sale will be donated to breast cancer research in the hopes of finding a cure. Since it's not available locally, this was just given to me as a token. And what a pretty token it is!

The lipstick shades are all pink (Candy, Rubellite, Tiramisu) and they all come packaged in a mini croc-print  purse. The shades are really pretty. Honestly, I find it so lovely that I want to keep it! But I'm not a lipstick person so I'm giving it to one gorgeous fantabulous wonderful Topaz Horizon reader!

Here's what you have to do:
1. Leave a comment on this post by finishing this phrase: "My favorite Topaz Horizon post is..." and say why.
2. No Gmail or Blogger or OpenID account? Then you can leave your comment on this Facebook post.

That's it! I will be pick the winner on December 20 (yes, I am the one and only judge. This isn't a raffle! I'll read each and every comment and choose my favorite. Wheee!). Then I'll send the prize just before Christmas so that my lucky reader will have a very pretty pink holiday!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Memories of Meralco

I mentioned in this blog somewhere that my Mama used to work for Meralco. All her life! So part of my childhood was spent growing up on the vast grounds where the main office stands. Mama was always loyal to Meralco because the company really took care of its employees. The benefits they enjoyed were beyond amazing--comprehensive healthcare, financial help, free theater tickets...

I know that Meralco took a beating this year from irate consumers but I can never feel angry towards the company that put food in my tummy, sent me to school, put clothes on my back and, because of the healthcare, saved my life more than a few times. Besides, like I mentioned in this post, because Vince and I are very smart with our electricity consumption, our electric bill is a lot lower than most people's bills.  

So when I was invited to Meralco's Christmas party at the Ortigas compound, I just had to go. Last Thursday, Meralco turned on the lights of its giant Christmas tree to usher in the Yuletide Season. This year, they're offering the public more attractions: a life-sized electric toy train and a candy-colored Toy Town. I've always loved the giant manger scene made out of copper wire, though, so seeing it again was enough for me.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gift shopping hasn't really started

Aside from three gifts, that is. My husband's family members have exchanged lists of what we all want for the holidays. Yes, we're practical that way. We just email each other "So-and-so wants these, and so-and-so wants those, and I want these..." and we just pick what we give. That way, everyone gets what they want. It's not a surprise but it definitely makes gift shopping easier. Plus, everyone anticipates opening their gifts because everyone gets exactly what they want.

But my parents-in-law... They want nothing because they already have everything. What do you give people who have everything? Chuvaness suggested flowers. I have always believed beautifully framed photos make a great gift. Photos of the recipient, not the giver!

What's on my list? Well... I want a lot. Here are a few:
Haagen Dazs
Kate Spade Sutton Place Marielly
Mulberry Bayswater

Lanvin Eclat d'Arpege
A weekend at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Creme de la Mer 
Jewelmer pearls
Karen's Kitchen Red Velvet Cake

Hmmm. My wish list is a bit pricey. Well, that's why I work hard! These are the things I want to buy for myself. I don't really want to ask others to get them for me (Yes. Really, Vince!). I like it that I can buy myself stuff. Used to be a time I couldn't even buy anything.

What's on your list?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Radio tour!

Haven't done a promotional tour for the magazine in months. Got pregnant--was usually nauseated in the morning, when the radio guestings are usually scheduled. Then gave birth. But now Vito's a big boy so I can go do my job again.

Outfit details: Zara jacket, Topshop tank, Guess skinny jeans
For more about the jacket, click here!
Was at Mellow 94.7 yesterday at 8am. Talked about "How To Marry Your Own Prince" a.k.a. "How To Land A Rich Man The Way Kate Middleton Did!" Tee hee.
Buy the December issue now!
Talking to DJ Vince G
And this is me talking about Tip #1. Forgive my squeaky voice!


That was fun! I like doing radio tours. A big part of being an editor-in-chief is promoting the magazine (ya, we don't really edit so our title shouldn't be "editor-in-chief" but "magazine manager") and now that I'm back to doing what I do best (PR), I feel like I am actually back in the saddle again.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Decorating tips I got from Heima

Little fairy lights aren't just for Christmas. They look romantic
strung over your bed or magical as pretty outdoor lights. 
Your chair doesn't have to match your desk. 
Beautiful fabrics add drama to simple shapes. 
A fresh coat of paint, preferably in bright colors,
 gives new life to old furniture.
Blue on blue isn't boring.
Same colors can actually unify a space.
You may have a lovely house but if there's no love in it,
it's not much of a home.
Heima is on the second level of LRI Plaza along N. Garcia St., Makati.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bag sadness

Forgive me for being boring but I am seriously in love with these basic black bags:

Mulberry Bayswater, $995

Kate Spade Sutton Place Marielly Cross-Body Bag, $295

I think P43,461.60 is waaaaaay too much for a bag as simple as the Bayswater, and yet because I'm sure I can wear it every single day till forever, the cost per wear definitely makes it very cheap.

Now the Marielly was just love love love. And when I found out that it was selling for $145 last Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, I totally freaked. Sadly, a zillion women must've felt the same way because it was sold out within hours. I found it on eBay but it was sold out within hours, too. I guess it isn't meant to be. Well, P12,885.47 for a simple black bag is a bit too much, no? Yup. Wasn't meant to be!

*photos from Net-a-Porter and Kate Spade

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hair hair everywhere!

Vince: "Hey, did you cough up a hair ball?"

Me: "Waaaaaah! I'm sorry my hair's all over the place!"
Every morning, I wake up to this. More fall off in the shower!
And when I say it's all over the place, I mean, it's EVERYWHERE. It's embarrassing. My hair line's receding and I have little bald spots by my temples and the crown. This postpartum hair loss is alarming. I know I already talked about this a few posts ago but there is no happy resolution anytime soon. Even my beloved hairstylist Louis Phillip Kee told me while we were lined up at the Zara sale, "Women really do lose their hair from 12 to 16 months after giving birth." Great. That's just great!

Meanwhile, P&G Beauty sent me this little package:

News of my hair disaster must have reached them! And I quickly picked up this bottle:

That bright golden sticker just yelled at me, "98% less hair fall within 14 days!" Aha! I knew it. I knew it. That mystery shampoo I was talking about in my previous post on the same unfortunate topic is indeed Pantene Pro-V Hair Fall Control. Well, I know I didn't put my guess in the post but the blindfolded woman looked exactly like Claudine Barretto and that just gave it away.


So I just wanted to tell you that if you're also suffering from hair fall, maybe you'd like to give Pantene a try. Who knows? You just might win a trip for two to Boracay!!!

First, you have to try out the shampoo. Second, you have to take a photo of your transformed hair (yep, the Pantene promise is transformed hair in 2 weeks!). Third, like their Facebook page (it's here!). Fourth, upload that fabulous photo of yours so that other girls can see how gorgeous your hair is (that photo to the left was my glossy hair when I was pregnant. Sigh.). And last, cross your fingers and hope you win a trip for two to the absolutely amazing Discovery Shores Boracay!

Contest mechanics here: I Commit to Change.

*The Pantene promise of less hair fall is for those who lose hair due to breakage. If you are suffering from hair fall due to stress and hormones (like I am!), we’ll just have to wait it out. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

The hair loss has begun

Post-partum update: It's been three months since I gave birth. The skin discolorations have nearly all faded away. The tummy is still a bowl of Jell-O but smaller and firmer now. The stretch marks are there (forever) but I find that I can live with them after all. What's freaking me out is the dozens of hair strands on my pillow, in the shower drain, on my brush, at the back of my shirt, and once on poor breastfeeding Vito's face! I hate post-partum hair fall!

Then again, even before I got pregnant, I've always had a problem with my flat, thin, prone-to-falling hair. Stress! As Claudine Barretto complains, "Hate na hate ko talaga yung nakikita ko ang buhok ko kung saan-saan nakakalat!" Claudine, I feel ya.

Now because of my job, I get to bring home dozens of haircare products. I've tried a lot of shampoos targeted towards hair fall but so far none has helped. Well, L'Oreal's kiddie shampoo Tendresse did but it's such an expensive shampoo that I don't think I can use that again. Inquirer's beauty director Ria Francisco Prieto says someone sent her this icky black herbal soap that helped with her hair fall but since it didn't have a name, she doesn't know where I can buy it.
Vince and I have our haircuts done at home.
Call Shuji Kida-trained Michael at 0939-888.7860.
Sigh! My fellow women, especially mommies, how did you deal with your post-partum hair fall? Did you cut your hair really short, take supplements, eat something different, get scalp treatments, use a fabulous shampoo, or did you just cry it out???

I know that hair fall is a common problem with us women because I came across this website, BlindTest.com.ph, that reports a survey on women's hair problems. Nearly half of the women said that it's hair fall that troubles them most. The site also says (teasingly and maddeningly!) that there's a shampoo that can prevent hair fall (yep, 91% of the women surveyed said so!) but that the big reveal will be on Nov. 28 and that we'll have to wait to find out what this mystery shampoo is. Meanwhile our hair will keep falling!

Hmmm... I think I already have an idea what the shampoo is, and I'm just basing it on the blindfolded woman's nose and half-smile, but I won't put my guess here because I may be mistaken (although I'm pretty sure I'm not!) and then I'd get embarrassed. My fellow blogger friends have the same bet. How about you? What do you think this amazing hair-fall solution is?
I'm losing my hair. Just look at the top of my head!
I hope it's a real solution. The amount of hair I find everywhere is alarming. Even my yaya says to my son, "Hay naku, si mama mo nakakalbo na!" Cry cry cry!

Rock Band parties shall commence immediately

Well, will commence as soon as we pick up our Rock Band 3 cymbals and keyboard this weekend! Oh yeah. The Third World Nerd and I have been haunting all the gaming shops for weeks now and they all have no Rock Band 3 instruments! Major fail! So we bought ours online.

Soon after that purchase, I got tons of Black Friday sale emails. Argh! Black Friday sale is a huge electronics sale in the US of A right after Thanksgiving. What's Thanksgiving? It's an American holiday that involves turkey, pumpkins, pecan pie, cranberries and, oh, thanksgiving! So anyway. The huge sale. Maybe we should've waited? A little itsy bitsy part of me wished we had waited until I realized that Rock Band 3 is super new and no way would it ever be on sale. So I'm happy!

I may be gone from the blogging world for a while, okay? It's time to rock!

Vince, your favorite show is here!

And this year, it looks like it's going to be so much funner!

Looking like they swallowed some very effective diet pills, the Victoria's Secret Angels are back (minus Heidi Klum)! And I think I spied the newly married but always naughty Katy Perry in the vid. She must be this year's music artist! Will she be in lingerie, too? Ooh!

I'm sooo glad we have HD TV! But I think we should go for the 3D TV next year!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

William & Kate made my dream come true

Since I was a wee little lass, I have always been moved by movies that showed the drama and urgency and excitement of a publisher screaming, "Stop the presses!" I always thought, "One day, I'm going to do just that." I have always always always dreamed of doing that.

Last week, as I watched the news channels trumpet the happy news of Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement, I felt my blood quicken as I realized that the December issue was at that moment queued at the printers, ready to be printed in thousands upon thousands of copies with the wrong cover. "This engagement," I thought frantically, "This engagement is THE cover! I have to stop the presses!!!"

So I did.

Thank you, royal lovebirds.

Friends, go grab a copy now!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Out with the girls

Since giving birth to Vito Gwapito, I really don't go anywhere far from my house. Sleepless nights have made me look and act like a zombie so I don't look very presentable most days. My goodness, when will I ever have a good night's rest again--maybe when Vito's 18? Argh, that's a whole set of worries by then and I guess I'll have to resort to some potent sleep aids to get any rest at all. Readers who want to have babies, be warned!

Anyway, the real reason I don't venture far from the house anymore is because I breastfeed Vito. I express milk but there's not much milk that gets expressed (only about 3 oz a session) so even if I have a few bottles stored, I still get paranoid that Vito will drink all the milk while I'm away and then he'll starve. Ya, I'm crazy stupid like that.

But last Friday night, I was able to steal away for four hours to go shopping with my girlfriends Nicole and Nikki at the newly opened Kiehl's boutique at Mall of Asia (more on that soon at Beauty For A Living). Let me tell ya, it was soooo nice to just chat away with the girls. From silly things like Topshop finds and yummy things like traditional Thanksgiving dishes to really serious and sad stuff that I won't talk about here.

Instead I'll talk about the light and fluffy! Like my outfit! Woot! Outfit post! Now when was the last time I did that?! Anyway, I am wearing my Gap shirt, my Guess skinny jeans, my black suede peep-toes I bought from eBay and my Fino bag.

Simple enough outfit but I'm just glad I can button that shirt over my tummy area, fit into those jeans and wear heels again! See that skeleton behind me? I used to be that thin! And here's Nikki and Nicole...

If you're wondering why Nicole has her hand in that begging pose, it's because of this:

Freaky! Nic just came from an acupuncture session, a regular treatment she does that really helped her health. I've only done acupuncture once, as a last resort to a terrible cough that lasted for weeks and wouldn't go away whatever I did and no matter how many doctors I saw. So off I went to a Chinese clinic, had a detox, an acupressure massage, an acupuncture session and a total physical diagnosis using magnets. I was half laughing and half coughing the entire time. "This is crazy shit," I said to myself. But that night, my phlegm loosened and by morning, my cough was gone. Gone!

So I've digressed from my story! Anyway, I'm just glad I was able to go out. Being a mom is all about giving, giving, giving. It saps the life out of me sometimes. So it's good to be able to steal away now and then and just recharge. I should do it more often actually. Vince has been complaining about my temper recently. Sigh.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ang gandah ko!

Well, y'all must know about the controversial new tourism campaign of DOT. I don't like it either, but I do like that someone came up with this app:

Now this one? Loves its to death super! Make your own logo, too. Now na!

Don't know what the fuss is about? Let Tita Noemi fill you in: Country Branding the Philippines

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm wearing my sapphire today

In honor of this!

He gave her his mother's ring. Aww.

Congratulations to the happy couple! Kate tried to hide it but she obviously is giddy! Happy engagement and, more importantly, may they have a happy marriage that lasts till death do them part.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I have a thing for men in skinny suits

Ya, I like men with sharp cheekbones, bulging Adam's apples and you know that part in the hip area and the bone can be seen peeking out of their jeans? Or, let David Beckham illustrate for us, peeking out of his tighty whities?

I like those parts. Yum! I don't like fleshy men. I like my man to be long and lean. I also like men to be smooth all over. Hairy men, flabby men, tummy men, doubly-chin men... let's just be friends, okay?

So anyway, I was browsing through Gucci's Fall Winter 2010-2011 collection and I am sooo crushing over the guys. Skinny! And you know what I love love love? The skinny suits! Skinny suits are very chic and it takes a lot of panache to wear them--definitely not the kind serious men with bank, academic, or IT jobs would wear. Men in creative fields, like fashion, advertising, publishing, will wear skinny suits. Hmm... Well, I guess no matter what field a guy's in as long as he's confident. And skinny! Like my hubby, who'd look absolutely gorgeous in these:
 
 
 
 
 

Must head over to Gucci in Greenbelt 5 to check these suits out. Vince, let's gowwww!

For the bags I liked from this collection, click here.

*runway photos courtesy of Visions & Expressions. Beckham's photo from the web!