Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Evita Peroni prizes from Daphne's Diary

I recently won my first contest while pregnant! That deserves to be mentioned because there's this belief that pregnant women are lucky, so since getting preggers I've been joining contests and raffles left and right, whether for an Xperia X10 phone (a Sony Ericsson raffle), a Tamaraw FX (a Mercury Drug raffle) and, yes, almost all the blog giveaways I can find and... I haven't won anything! Till now!

Daphne Osena Paez of Daphne's Diary made me the winner of the second prize and I was thrilled to just get one Evita Peroni piece. But she surprised me even more by giving me three pieces! These hair accessories are expensive so I... well, if I could've jumped up and down, I would've; instead I just clapped my hands very loudly and happily when I finally opened the bag.

Now for my loot...

This is the Kezia band (P585) and it's in pink! Love it! It's very comfy. I'm a migraine sufferer so headbands aren't a favorite but I've heard that Evita Peroni headbands are painless and the rumor is correct!
I usually avoid headbands with teeth because my huge forehead will be exposed (ya, I can give Tyra Banks some stiff competition in the forehead department), plus with my recent pregnancy-related acne problems, I'm pretty much convinced I should hide my face since I'd be perfect for those acnepril reviews and research. But I do believe this Kezia band makes me look pretty!


This is the Stina Beaded Soft Band (P2,850). Very pretty and, again, very comfortable. My strands don't get caught in the beads at all.
Must wear this to an event soonest. The thick band helps to hide my roots, too! Although my large ears peek out. Well, they always do. Vince thinks my big ears are adorable.


Look at this marvelous Eila Pelican fascinator in teal (P3,480)! I didn't realize it was this big! I don't even know how to wear it (I think I'm wearing it upside down?).
I told Daphne that the clips won't go to waste and that I was really going to wear them. Well, I truly will! I'm planning to wear this with my black dresses so that the piece can really stand out.


Love them all to bits! I'm already planning outfits to go with them and will definitely post photos here when I do get to wear them out in the world.

My super thanks to Daphne and Evita Peroni! Daphne, the card was lovely and your handwriting is beautiful. Vince--who happily took these photos--thinks the Evita Peroni pieces look fab on me so thank you, too, for making my hubby see me yet again in a different light.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Everyday Exotic, a new cooking show I like!

Discovered a new cooking show today. Well, it's been airing for a while now actually but I usually spend Saturday afternoons asleep so I never catch this show. But today I woke up just before the day turned into evening and caught it. It's called Everyday Exotic and it's hosted by chef/musician Roger Mooking.

Today, his special ingredient was lychee. He made grilled pork chops with potato pancakes and lychee salad served with a refreshing lychee cocktail.

The potato pancakes were interesting--he basically made a pancake batter, mixed in garlic powder, mashed potatoes and scallions, browned both sides on a buttered pan, then slid the pancakes into a hot oven for about 10 minutes.

Pork chops are always a very simple thing to do. I just season it with salt and pepper then fry them on a skillet. Perfect and simple all the time. Roger, meanwhile, marinated the meat in hoisin sauce for 30 minutes then put them on a grill and, I swear, my mouth just watered. I've never grilled anything in my life before and I love grilled food. Vince loves it even more than I do! Which makes me wonder why on earth don't we have a grill!

Well, I do know why we haven't gotten one--we live in a high-rise and we've always just thought that charcoal and smoke with a small enclosed space is a very bad combination. But when I saw Roger's tabletop grill, well, now I want one, too! Yep, an outdoor electric grill will be on my to-buy list now--just look at that photo above. Yes, that's my future. With that, I'll be able to grill pork chops, barbecue, steak, kebabs, fish, prawns, burgers and even fruit slices! OMG, now I'm really really hungry!

Beauty For A Living updated again!

Hi, allow me to just promote my beauty blog, Beauty For A Living.

Since I've been attending a lot of fabulous events lately, I have a lot of new stories. I've only written about a few (soap, designer wedding rings), but I'll be adding more over the weekend.

I also have been getting a number of beauty products which I'm very excited about (like this amazing new cream that promises to banish dark circles around eyes!) so I want to tell you guys about that.

Lastly, I'll be holding a beauty giveaway soon. Yes, and y'all know I can be very generous with my prizes! I'll announce it when I'm ready but I'll already give you a hint on what you'll need to do to win such a fabulous contest: First, you have to be a nerd. If you're not, then let's hope your friend/boyfriend/husband/brother/sister is! Because while the contest will be held in my beauty blog, it's really to celebrate my husband's new blog, Third World Nerd! Second, the prize is very Japanese. Curious yet? Exciting times!!!

Meanwhile, check out Beauty For A Living! Thanks and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pretty purple piece tied around my neck!

Lookit my new favorite thing!

It's an Infiniti bib necklace I got at Glorietta 5. Ain't it purty?

I just love the big semi-precious stones and the crystal beads. Depending on the light, the stones look either pink, purple or magenta. So they feel alive.

I've always loved bib necklaces but found them terribly expensive. So I've lusted after them for quite a while now. So when I found this beautiful piece for a mere P3,600, I just had to have it!

Here's how I wore it:

Wore the necklace with my favorite Gingersnaps t-shirt dress and Kenneth Cole purple peep-toes. To see more cute preggy photos and understand a big reason why I love this necklace, go to my Pregnant Pics at 6 Months post at my mommy blog.

Anniversary post still: A little night of music

On the eve of our third wedding anniversary, Vince and I drove all the way to old Manila for a symphony concert by the FILharmoniKA orchestra of Gerard Salonga.

My younger brother, Theodore Amper, happens to be part of it! He's a cellist and we're very thrilled that he's with the FILharmoniKA group. Exciting times for everyone!
Theodore, me and Jed--Theodore's wife's precocious nephew 

Theodore and his wife, Rose

For the concert, the orchestra played Antonin Dvořák's Cello Concerto with guest cellist Richard Bamping. He was great. The first violinist was amazing. The whole orchestra was fantastic!

Vince and I had such a lovely time, just letting the music sweep over and through us. I literally felt my soul swell with the music. And the little Jelly Bean? Well, he kicked about every time the orchestra builds into a crescendo so I think he got excited when the music got louder and faster and... well, he took after his father then. Vince likes his music loud and strong!
 

Theodore is also part of the string quartet Manila String Machine, which performs at weddings and other special events. They performed at my wedding three years ago so I highly recommend them. Book them now!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anniversary post still: What we got for the third wedding anniversary

The traditional gift for the third wedding anniversary is leather. Vince and I had been toying with the idea of giving each other bags--he needs a laptop bag and I... well, I don't need a bag but I definitely will not refuse one!

Instead of bags, however, we found ourselves getting these throw pillows:

They're embroidered black leather pillows from Dimensione, about a P1,000++ each. They come in other designs and there's also white versions. We like how they ground the look of our living room, which has started to look too feminine. Plus, you just need to wipe them clean!

P.S. That's my old teddy bear, Mozzarella! You can tell he loves the new pillows, too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What a happy anniversary!

This past weekend was just lovely. Vince and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary and the 11th anniversary of when we fell in love! I'll update soonest with a proper post, but for now here's a look back on that very special day:

Tessa Prieto-Valdes a.k.a. The Sea Princess wrote about our wedding in her column. I totally forgot where I put the news clipping of that! But here's another from the Inquirer (click photos to enlarge):
 

I'll have the Wedding Essentials magazine feature and Cosmopolitan mention scanned so you can take a look, too. I wish I'd also recorded the bridal feature on Kate Torralba's wedding gowns of some TV show. I heard that we had really nice photos from our wedding shown there. Oh well! Have a nice week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fast updates!

Suuuuuper busy! Here's what I've been up to:

1. Just came from a Sony Ericsson event to check out the new Experia phone, which will be featured in Vince's fabulous blog Third World Nerd. I love this blog!

2. Just sent the May issue of OK! magazine to the printers and it should be hitting the newsstands by next week. Meanwhile, we're simultaneously doing the first batch of pages of the June issue. Ack, it never ends!

3. Blogged about beauty stuff in Beauty For A Living. There's a Paul & Joe event this weekend you might want to check out.

4. Got royally pissed off at HPPI, the worst HMO in the world. I'll talk about it more in another post. Right now, I'm feeling murderous.

5. At the same time, I'm also feeling very happy! Finally won in Daphne's Diary's fabulous series of blog contests! She's got the most amazing prizes--jewelry, dresses, eye surgery!!! I won hair accessories from Evita Peroni. I'm so happy!

6. Had a surprise visit from my dear friend Mariel yesterday! She's back from the US of A! And we had a lovely long chat over coffee and cheesecake and chocolate cake. So so so happy she's back.

7. And I have to pay the bills. Will get to that!

Oh, and the baby boy I'm carrying is kicking like he has plans to be the next great football player. He will not stop! I'm like, "Settle down in there!" Of course we're so excited. At the same time, he has such powerful kicks, it hurts!

So I'll blog again soonest with more details. Meanwhile, I hope y'all are having a nice week!

The pulmonologist aplogizes

I never mentioned his name in my posts about my recent hospitalization at Medical City but he somehow found out about my blog and he called to apologize. Since I was in a place with hardly any signal, I couldn't hear him well so I asked him to text me instead. This is what he said:
"I just read your blog and I called to say how very sorry I am for causing you and your husband and family and friends so much stress and worry and pain. That was not my intention at all. I understand if you don't want to speak to me but I wanted to apologize personally and also thank you for giving me feedback so I may render better service in the future. If I can make amends, please let me know."
I haven't replied simply because I really don't know what to say. On one hand, I'm okay already and it's over and done with so that's fine. In fact, when I went for my checkup a few days after my release, I pushed the incident from my mind so I can be polite and cheerful when we talked.

On the other hand, when I got his message, I became upset because I remembered what happened. I'm also wondering how he found out about my blog and I know if I talked to him, I'd ask about it and then that would mean making conversation and then I might end up becoming friendly because I'm just like that, trying to make friends with the entire world, and I just don't want to be a wuss like that so I'd really rather not talk.

But, if you're reading this, doctor, apology accepted and appreciated. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mean girls on TV

I don't like these commercials on TV. Makes women look so petty, shallow and mean.

A girl tells her friend giddily that her guy, Ian, got her flowers. Instead of the friend becoming happy for her, friend tells the girl that "Paolo got me gold!" And she was texting on her phone the entire time! Like her friend doesn't even matter. Well, obviously.


Kim Chiu--who endorses everything from biscuits and toothpaste to acne facial cleansers and shampoo--is at a shoot and the wind machine blows her hair into a mess, but she smooths this away with just her fingers. Girl producer says mean comments about Kim, while shooting dagger looks of pure envy. 

Well. Fine, anyone--not just women--can be mean. We criticize and mock appearances, opinions, beliefs, faiths, choices... In fact, I get enough catty comments on my blogs and on my Facebook wall (mostly from relatives and some people that I wish I wasn't FB friends with but you just can't "ignore" because they were a part of your life) to convince me that people are really not nice. So I'm not being naive... right?

Okay, so I'm Pollyanna in the flesh! I just don't like nastiness being shown on TV commercials. I mean, I can be nasty myself, and when I'm bad, I'm very very bad (although now that I'm older, I'm very careful not to be nasty in writing. As the adage goes, "Print and be damned!"). This doesn't mean I take pleasure in nastiness. I actually like happiness and positivity and all things good and nice. Is that so bad? And is it too much to ask that our commercials remain free from nastiness?

In my mommy blog, I ask the same question: Can't fellow parents be nice?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Pregnant pics at 5 months


I still haven't bought maternity clothes. I just went to my usual dress haunts and got a medium (I'm usually a small) or a size 6 (I'm usually a 4). From the front, I don't even look pregnant. From the side, well, there you go—the big baby belly bump!

The secret to looking slim while pregnant is black, black, black! Y'all know that black can make you look like a model for weight loss pills, and pregnant Hollywood stars often turn to black to avoid looking too big.

If you don't like black, stick to one color since it fools the eye into thinking there's one long length of you. I like dark green, navy blue, gray and white! I am especially fond of this Karimadon with a big red bow on the chest--makes my new chest look even bigger, but in a sweet way!
 
From the front
From the side

Busy patterns, which pregnant women seem to be fond of, just widen you. So avoid them. If you do like patterns (like me!), get the small kind—you know, tiny flowers, little paisley swirls. Do not get clothes with huge circles, big teddy bears, big flowers. Also, remember that you're carrying a baby; you're not the baby. So choose sophisticated touches, not prints that toddlers will wear.

Choose clothes that are tailored—yes, it's possible to wear tailored clothes even while pregnant. Just look at this black dress again.
This is again a Karimadon (which I wore with Vita Fede bangles and Schu flats) and it came with a big belt. No need to wear the belt but after I give birth, I can still use this dress and wrap the belt around my waist, which will hopefully reappear by Christmas!

You don't really need a lot of maternity wear anyway. I think I rotate about 10 dresses. Silk jersey dresses, soft knitwear, comfy cotton—clothes that flow over the body or those that show off just the boobs or the tummy celebrate your new shape without making you look dumpy and fat—even if we are! The trick is to look slim, not be thin. A lot of women just buy maxi dresses—they look so romantic. Some women I know wear jeans and short shorts--they look so damn hot! I'm not that kind, though (wish I were!). If I want to look sexy, I just bring out my mini dresses.

So just because you're going to be a mom doesn't mean you cease to be a woman. After all, you got pregnant because someone thought you were sexy enough to sleep with! Don't forget that sexy creature!

The business of SEO and blogging

I mentioned in this blog before that some bloggers earn a ton of money from their blogs. Their secret is an understanding of search engine optimization. I have no idea what that means. Well, I do know that it means using words and phrases that makes your blog appear high on the list of search engines. And for me, that's just cheating. I've been to some blogs that have manipulated the SEO and, gee, their blogs are boring.  Why would anyone want to read a blog like that? But because they're clever, they've learned how to cheat the system so that their blogs go up, up, up on the search.

Well, they may be boring but those blogs earn cold hard cash! Well, mine does, too, but not so much so I'm glad I have a job that makes me really really happy, both monetarily and in everything else! 

SEO also means having a lot of links to your blog, which is time consuming to say the least! That's going to dozens, even hundreds, of other blogs and making friends with them so that they'll visit your blog, maybe like it and then link your blog to theirs. You see, the more links your blog has, the more popular it is, and obviously that would make it climb up the search engines. There are some people who bypass this process by using a directory submission service, but I personally prefer making friends, however time consuming that may be!

Of course, since I'm a very busy woman, I really don't have the time to do this! I usually spend my weekends browsing blogs and leaving comments. I've made friends this way (ladies, you know who you are!). But since getting pregnant, I'm sleepy all the time! So thank you for still visiting my blogs and linking up and leaving your darling comments here. You are appreciated! I may not earn a lot of money from my blogs but I've earned friends. And that is priceless.


*image from the web. can't say which website really since several sites used it!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Impromptu anniversary date

Yesterday, April 5, was the 11th anniversary of the day Vince and I met. Yes, just the meeting. Normally, people don't celebrate that kind of anniversary but we do because, well, it changed our lives!

We met at the U.P. National Writers Workshop. When I got in the fellowship, I was so thrilled. It's every Filipino writer's dream to become a fellow in this prestigious workshop! And I got in! I knew those two weeks in Baguio, with the country's best writers, will change my life. Little did I know how--I was going to meet the man who would become my husband!

Those two weeks were just magical. I was soooo happy to be with writers and, at the same time, I was falling in love fast with the long-haired quiet guy with the big grin, who wrote heartbreaking stories and played the guitar, and can engage me in the longest, deepest conversations. Yup, we fell fast and hard. In fact, by the end of those two weeks, April 18, Vince and I were inseparable.

So yesterday was our 11th meeting anniversary. We didn't want to celebrate it actually because there's a big anniversary coming up--the wedding one on April 18. But after we visited my OBG and got a private tour of St. Luke's Global City, we figured we'd go have dinner out anyway!

But first, we had to check out the furniture stores. Of course! Vince is such a home decor geek and he really wanted to inspect the leather sofas in Natuzzi and the shelves at Jesse.
 

After deciding that Italian leather sofas are way beyond our budget now (big sad sigh there), we figured we'd have Italian food instead!


We just ate at Italianni's. Nice big place and we haven't eaten there recently so in we went! I like the old photos on the walls, the murals and the big iron chandeliers reminiscent of Murray Feiss lighting.

We first had a nice basket of warm bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then we had a big crisp salad. See? We're eating healthy now!


Then I had a minestrone soup. I liked it--filled with chunky veggies swimming in tomato goodness. Very hearty!

Then we had this salmon dish that wasn't so good. It was tired and tasteless. Salmon should be firm and fresh and have that hint of saltiness.So I just had a bite since I didn't like it. Vince didn;t either but he ate all of it.
Then Vince finished things off with a big lasagne. These are huge servings, by the way, so I'm mighty impressed with my husband's appetite. I didn't even have the pasta dish anymore since I was happily eating the bread (I love carbs!).

So there! That's how we celebrated our mini-anniversary! Oh, then we went home and had a Big Bang Theory marathon with mugs of Selecta's Hazelnut Brownie ice cream. Burp!

New blogs I love

And they're written by old friends!

Well, one of them by my bestest friend in the world who also happens to be my lover! Do check out Third World Nerd and recommend to your techie friends. Vince talks about gadgets, music, TV, cars, books... ya know, nerdy stuff! But he's one of the few people in the world who can talk about the nerdy stuff in a funny and engaging way. So many geeky blogs out there just bore me to tears. Third World Nerd is nothing like that! Hooray!

The next blog I adore is All My Sugar, written by the sweetest girl that ever walked this earth--Mariel! You see that photo? That's homemade noodles. It's Mariel's almost insanely loving attention to detail in everything she does, especially food preparation, that makes her such a wonderful read. You always learn from her--and in this new blog with such a saccharine name, foodies will be blown away!

The third blog I'm currently enjoying is Here, Tishie Tishie by Good Housekeeping's new editor-in-chief Tisha. This girl is the bomb. She's sporty and sexy, smart and funny, stylish and casual... she's the kind of girl you want to be your friend forever, the kind you also slightly secretly envy because she's got it all. Now imagine this kind of girl writing a blog about her life!!!

Do check out their blogs, my friends. They're very new so the posts are not too many, but do give them a warm welcome!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Time to work hard for the money! A baby is coming!

I'm feeling much much better! Been sleeping and eating all day, just resting and getting stronger by the day. Thank you to everyone who wished me well and prayed for my Jelly Bean. If it's not too much to ask, please still include this little boy in your prayers, just a quick little breath of blessing as he's only halfway through his journey out my tummy and I wish him all the love of the universe--yours!

So just a tiny update on the preparations for the little one! One sentence: We've just about depleted our savings for him! While we haven't bought anything for the nursery yet--no crib, no changing table, and definitely no toys like foosball tables --we did splurge on these:
Li'l blue Mazda 2 that Vince named Zoom Zoom. It's blue! Vince can't wait to take his son for a spin in the blue car he bought the little guy. 

An Eames RAR rocker. Its curved runners are made of really hard wood that our parquet floors--made of softer wood--get marked! Hence, the rug underneath it. I guess we ought to replace the floor. Sigh.

The hospital bills. Another big sigh! Thanks so much for all your concern, folks. I do want to say that TMC wasn't such a disaster--I am, after all, better so they did their job well. It was just the pulmo and the health insurance that caused us pain.

We've also finished furnishing the house! Well, maybe we need to replace that old sofa, but for now it will do. Here I am, organizing my magazine pile. Vince is very keen on getting the house in order for his son's arrival so, aside from the cleaning, he's also bought pieces of furniture that have finally made our house cozier than ever.

Vince and I really wanted the house to be complete before the baby arrives. Everyone warned us that when the kid's here, it's all going to be about him so we kinda rushed to make sure we've gotten everything we wanted. And now everything's ready!

Well, we haven't started with the nursery. We figured we'd wait till we meet the little guy first. After all, what if we decorate his room baby blue, then he arrives and turns out to be a brooding no-nonsense creature of the brown and black sort? Yep, we'll wait till we meet him!