Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guess where I am!

Was invited to an exclusive sneak peek at a soon-to-open store. It's so frikkin' exciting!

I tried on the sunglasses...

I tried on the shoes...

Fellow blogger Shen's Addiction was just as excited!

But we can't shop yet till this long-awaited brand from L.A. opens this Friday. Yes, this Friday!

I have so many more photos and updates and even price points but I'll be too busy this week with my magazine deadlines to post them all. But I can tell you that a few select bloggers are already posting about this store launch so if you go around Pinoy fashion cyberspace (or join the brand's Facebook page), I'm sure you already know what store I'm talking about!

Ack! So exciting! Ladies, get your wallets ready and make sure you wear comfy shoes and leggings and tank tops (so that it's easy for you to just try on stuff without needing to go to the dressing room)! This coming weekend is all about serious shopping!

UPDATE!
Click to see fun details of where I am (Part 1 and Part 2).
Click for the VIP private party.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Busy weekend!

Hi readers! Just doing a quick drop by before I drag my pregnant ass out of the house today. In just a few weeks, I'm going to pop out a baby boy and I'm not really ready yet! So today we're off to see the OBG for the bi-weekly checkups, then I'm off to the mall for an exclusive bloggers sneak peek at a soon-to-open store. While I'm there, I guess I'll check out the baby section to see what a newborn baby needs. One of the things I'm hoping to find is some good allergy bedding--Vince and I are highly allergic people so maybe the baby might be the same so need to check that out. What else? What else? Oh, and we'll visit my in-laws, too, because my sister-in-law has tons of baby stuff to hand-me-down to the little Jelly Bean. So that's it! I'll update again soon!

Meanwhile, my mommy blog and my beauty blog are updated, and you can join my Topaz Horizon Facebook page whilst I'm away. And now I am off and I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Super fun weekend at Sofitel

Okay, the real official name is "football" but in these parts, if you say football, Filipinos think you mean American football so for the benefit of those who don't know any better (ehehe), we will use the term "soccer."

Vince and I spent the long Independence Day weekend at Hotel Sofitel with the Sales family to watch World Cup. That's Vince pretending he's being chased by a giant soccer ball! Cute, cute, cute.

Well, at least that was the plan. But when we sank into the famous Sofitel MyBed, soccer was the last thing on our minds. This king-sized bed is just so huge and soft and comfy, you just fall asleep! It's like the best bed I've ever slept in. Ever! In fact, Vince just slept and slept and slept. And we found out that you can actually buy the special lining of that bed but that it was out of stock but as soon as it's available, we are definitely getting one!

This is me in the spacious bathroom and I caught a Peeping Vince! Naughty Vince!

We love the bathroom--towels were fluffy, shower was huge, and there were luxe bath products from L'Occitane for our use. Love it!

We also love that each room has its own balcony and that the views of the bay and the city skyline were cool. Too bad it was raining that weekend so we didn't get to see the famous Manila Bay sunset. 

That didn't stop the kids from enjoying the pool, though! Doesn't that look so inviting? I didn't take a dip; people might think I'm a whale! When I told this reason to Vince's niece, she looked at me and with all her 9-year-old wisdom gently said, "Auntie Frances, you're not fat; you're pregnant."

Sweet girl! Well, if we ate at Spiral's amazing buffet every day, we'd need some apidexin coupons to lose weight! I didn't take a lot of photos (hungry! hungry! hungry!) but we started with...
... all sorts of sushi and ended with a bevy of yummy desserts.

If you had eaten at Spiral, you'd know those two photos above do it great injustice. There were sooo many food stations--Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mediterranean food. The grill station was groaning with sizzling meat. The seafood station was piled high with huge mussels, prawns, oysters. And here's Vince again at the dessert buffet with chocolate soccer mascot sculptures behind him!

Oh, what a lovely weekend! We're definitely doing that again. If only it wasn't so expensive! We can't stop thanking Mom and Dad for the Sofitel treat. Now we have to start saving for another weekend there!

Outfit details: I'm wearing a silk jersey Diane Von Furstenberg ladybug dress, Vince, a Threadless.com t-shirt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another picture essay of a foodie date (this one, the food's better!)



Outfit details: gray Gingersnaps dress, Liz Claiborne rose quartz necklace, Wristaker watch, Victoria Marin ring

A picture essay of a foodie date because I'm lazy to type today!

Belatedly discovered this very popular hole-in-the-wall place recently...


So he got this yummy bacon-covered thingamobob...

I shouldn't be overindulging because...

Yet that didn't stop me from ordering...

With this disappointment...

And we were there because...

Have a happy rainy day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Men don't like skinny girls

Ladies, if you're looking for some ravenous male attention then maybe you want to hold off on those quick weight loss diets because I now truly believe men like their women fleshy. Let me tell you something that's really been bothering me lately. Stay with me, okay, because I have a long wind up to my main point.

I've been skinny my entire life. I like it that way--my body's light and I can fit into anything and I can wear low-cut dresses or mini skirts without worrying about looking too sexy. I will also confess that I have never heard a wolf whistle directed at me. Ever. I know that's because I have no breasts, no hips, no booty so I look like a pre-teen or, if my hair's cut very short, I look like a boy even.

So imagine my shock these days! I walk to work and almost every day, I get a wolf whistle, a "Hi sexy!", a lewd comment now and then, and I get to even stop traffic. I'm not saying that to show off, people. I am honestly enraged!!! I am pregnant, for heaven's sake!!! Perverts abound and they give me the creeps.

Being pregnant, I've put on 20 lbs, and my body has definitely filled out. So I understand that the new curves are grabbing male attention. But I'm also sporting a huge tummy. With a child in it. I don't understand why men will find this body interesting at all. It grosses me out. I've already taken to wearing long dresses and clothes that cover me up and it still doesn't help! No matter how much you hide, I guess men just zoom in on "Oh boobies! Oh booty!" 

Truth to tell, I'm just not used to male attention. The perverted kind of male attention. I don't like it. It's scary. The only male attention I love is from my husband, who thankfully prefers skinny girls, but still looks at me differently these days, too! So, much as I appreciate my new curves, I'll be relieved when I finally give birth and lose these breasts and thighs and butt. I just don't want to be scared all the time!     

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Public service announcement and a stern word from me

Our company's looking to hire a lot of people so if you're job-hunting, click on Jobstreet's list of available jobs in Summit Media.

As you can tell from the list, OK! magazine is currently not hiring. So please do not send me your CVs. I've been getting application letters recently and while I wish you the best of luck, I really have nothing to offer. But the other magazines need help and so do some of our websites so go go go!

The OK! staff is always happy! Is it because I'm wonderful? No. It's because they are!

Another thing I'd like to say is please do not tell me you want to work with me because you've been reading my blog and think I'm such a nice person and you'd love to work for a nice boss. First, I am not flattered because this blog just presents an aspect of me which I choose to show you. That means I try not to show the mean and nasty me! Second, how do you know I'm a nice boss anyway? You'd be surprised! An intern has called me "dragon lady" and even Daphne Osena Paez joked, "Miranda P, is that you?" But so no one gets surprised, let me offer you a peek into how I am as a manager.

Remember when I was looking for a fashion and beauty editor? I talked a bit about employment screening there. I will nitpick everything--from your cover letter to your resume and sample work. If I so much as find a spelling error, a grammatical mistake, an awkward adjective or a profusion of adverbs, your CV goes straight into the trash. No, I will not even think of meeting you. Why? This is a magazine--it's an industry based on the written word so if you do not know how to write then you have no place here (unless of course you're applying for a styling or art position!).

If the writing is okay, then I go ask for a little chat. I'm very businesslike when I'm working. And once you do get hired, I always tell my new staff, "You're here to work, not to make friends, not to have fun. It's called work for a reason. If in the course of your stay here you do have fun and you do find friends, then that is fantastic. But the bottom line is meet your deadlines and do a good job. If you can't do that, you can go." This unnerves people most of the time, especially since I have a teeny tiny voice and a big smile. I look so harmless!

I have a reputation for making people cry. I have been known to rip up drafts of articles I find stupid and ridiculous or lazily done. I am very difficult to please. I have raised my voice quite a number of times. I have a quick temper. I have very little patience. Now, can you imagine working with me day in and day out? Terrible, isn't it.

And yet I know my current staff are devoted to me and their work. I know they're having fun. And ask them if I'm a good boss and I know they'll say I am. But that's because they are amazing. They are even better than me, to be honest. Because a good manager hires people who are spectacular! Because I work with a fantastic team, I am a very good boss to them. So if you think you're just as special as my incredible staff and you have something fabulous to offer the magazine industry, then we can work together!

Except that... ooops, OK! isn't currently hiring!

Multiple universes

All the pregnancy books and websites say that when a woman is pregnant, she has the most vivid dreams. Now, even though I wasn't pregnant, I've always been the type who dreamed the most awesome and fantastic dreams. Now that I am pregnant, the dreams have taken on such a realistic quality that I am often awakened and disturbed, wondering if what I dreamed really did happen. So now my memories are befuddled--I don't know sometimes if something was real or not.

Recently, I dreamed that I traveled to a parallel universe. Before you say, "Well, that's definitely a dream!", science has not dismissed this hypothesis and is in fact mulled over by quantum physicists till now. I've always been fascinated with the multiverse theory and my favorite TV show, Fringe, happens to deal with the topic very well. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy also presents parallel universes in a most spellbinding way but he didn't end that story so well. Anyway, I'm not going to discuss quantum mechanics, TV plot lines and book reviews here; instead, let's go back to my dream.

In my dream, I went to a universe where Vince was an editor for a small-town newspaper. His life was peaceful, he lived in a lovely cottage furnished with beautiful heavy wood pieces. He was very much like my Vince except that he had a girlfriend that was pregnant and he didn't know if he wanted to marry her. That isn't like my Vince at all!

Of course, when he met me, well, you can't argue with destiny--he felt like all the pieces fell into place and he wanted me to stay in his world and marry him. I became alarmed! I said, "Vince, I am already married to the other you." To which the other Vince replied, "Then it isn't wrong for us to be together because the me you married is also me." I shook my head and said, "You have a girlfriend here and you're expecting a child. I don't belong here. I don't belong to you here."

I hope that in the other universes, the other us-es are just as happy.

The dream ended there and when I woke up, I felt so sad for the other Vince. He seemed so lost and grasping for happiness. And I wondered, "Where was the other me? Why aren't they together? Was the other me lost and unhappy, too?" I spent the rest of the day grieving for the other Vince and the other Frances, two souls wandering about their universe, looking for each other.

Yes, it was just a dream but I couldn't shake off the feeling that, here in this world, if Vince and I hadn't found each other, if we had allowed petty fights to separate us, if we had been less responsible with our future, we could also have ended up unhappy.

And so because little decisions can unravel one's life, I will be more careful and be more grateful. We worked so hard for this happiness and it can be undone just like that! I will treasure what I have even more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My house is a star!

Okay, so I know I've been gone forever! Blasted Internet connection! And darn busy schedule, too! But I am back now with very happy news. This is what's thrilling Vince and me to bits this week:

That's Real Living's latest book and my house is the cover!!! Of course, the photo looks much better than the actual thing (see here). That's because they had to style that little space so that it'll be more photogenic. So they fixed the curtains, grabbed the garden stool from the foyer, the crystal vase and Rustan's orchids from beside the TV, the suitcases from under the coffee table, the felt rabbits from the shoe cabinets, and the editorial assistant's bag from her shoulder... Et voila! Now it's cover worthy.

Grab your copy of Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions from your favorite bookstores and magazine stands now for only P195 a book. I'm definitely getting a few! My home just became a star!

Update: The book will be officially launched on June 23, Wednesday, at the SM Megamall Atrium at 4:30 PM. I'll try to be there, of course! If you want to attend the launch and get a free book (Book 4, though), do send an email to abigail.pinili@summitmedia.com.ph to register.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Check out my other blogs!

Happy Monday, y'all! I haven't been updating here because all my updates are in Topaz Mommy and Beauty For A Living. I wrote about my surprise baby shower, gifts from NIVEA Baby and my 4D ultrasound results; and also the latest offerings from Kenneth Cole, Revlon, Ferragamo and LUSH. So if you'd like to know what's up with me lately, do visit my other blogs. Thanks!

You can also join my blog's Facebook page. Just click on the badge on the sidebar!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

On shopping budgets

Based on recent blog posts, it looks like I'm swimming in money. So I guess it's kinda strange when I start talking about how baby stuff are so expensive, I don't want to spend on baby clothes, and all my gasps and exclamations over the cost of having a baby. Well, I'll tell you a secret: I really set aside a budget for everything!

I'm not an impulse buyer. I will sleep on something I saw in a shop window for days, weeks, even months! If I really want it, I take out envelopes and mark them: "Topaz Ring," "Maternity Dresses," "Sunglasses," "Eyeglass Frames," etc. So, for example, my budget for maternity dresses is 10K. Every pay period, I will slip in 1K or 2K or P500 in that envelope, whatever amount I can set aside after paying the bills. When it finally reaches 10K, BAM! Off to the stores I go and so it looks like I went on a wild shopping spree!

Then when I say, "I don't have money for that breast pump!", it's kinda true. I just mean the envelope marked "Breast Pump" isn't ready yet. 

Here's another secret: When I go on a spree, I don't bring the cash. I usually charge it to the card so that I collect points. So even though I amass a collection of those therma receipts from Epson TM-T88IVs, I don't despair because I have the cash to pay for my credit card purchases. And I always pay the balance in full to avoid fees and other charges. Of course, I can afford to do that because I've already spent a lot of time saving up for it!

I also usually don't get money from my salary. I use the money I earn from blogging, eBay and writing projects. The money that comes from the paid blogging network I belong to is the best because I feel I get it for free. I just write posts and I get $5 for each blog post. It's a small amount but after a month or two, it really adds up. That's how we buy our Threadless shirts from the US and film nerd tees from London. Blogging money!

So though I might appear I'm throwing away money, I'm not. I scrupulously save every extra peso (emphasis on "extra"!) so that I can shop! It takes a lot of discipline and patience but the reward is oh so sweet!

Got a haircut

First, let me establish that I love coloring my hair. That's me in October 2009, the last time I had a color job done at Louis Phillip Kee in Greenhills.

When I was a young girl, I absolutely adored supermodel Linda Evangelista because every time I saw her in magazines, she'd have a different hair color. My Mama was the same. In her family, you see, white hair appears really early so she colored her hair in various shades of brown and burgundy all the time. She was gorgeous!

So when I started sprouting white hair when I was 15, I begged for color. My parents allowed me to do so on my 18th birthday and I've colored my hair ever since! I've been blue black, mahogany, blonde, chocolate, chestnut, strawberry, magenta... The only colors I haven't been are green, pink, platinum and purple!

So my chief agony all the time I've been pregnant is I have been forbidden to color my hair! I've been complaining complaining complaining nonstop about my roots. While other mom-to-be's are happily busy with shopping for bottles and baby clothes or worrying about their health and asking around for medical insurance quotes or even maybe exercising and taking Lamaze classes, I've been obsessing over my roots.

I'm normally not a whiny girl but these past few months, I've been whining about it constantly. My OBG and my hubby refuse to be moved by my whining, however. They are adamant: You CANNOT color your hair!!! So after agonizing over recent photos like this...

... I went to a salon and had most of my hair chopped off! I now look like this:

I actually wanted a Carey Mulligan crop so that all the colored hair will have disappeared but the hairstylist said gently, "You're hormonal. Let's do this gradually." So we agreed that I'll drop by every month for a trim so that by the time I give birth, I'd only have an inch or two of blonde tips.

Argh, il est vraiment horrible! I swear that my first beauty act after giving birth is a complete hair color--deep magenta with strawberry red highlights and mahogany lowlights!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Meet the winners of this blog's Facebook page raffle!

There are benefits to reading this blog, people. Most say they get entertained, some say they are moved and cry, while others get to win prizes! Now, if you're a fan of Topaz Horizon's Facebook page, then you know I held a raffle for the first 150 likers. These were the prizes:
Kenneth Cole overnight bag

Body Shop Sweet Lemon line

NARS eye shadow and lip pencil

Tani Villamora won the bag. Very lucky girl! I said on the FB wall that it was a Kenneth Cole Reaction; it's actually a Kenneth Cole New York.

Kristine Dianne Millet won the Body Shop loot. She was super delighted!

Mina Gonzales-Politte won the NARS stuff but since she's based in the US (and I specified that the winners have to personally claim their prizes from me), she graciously said that the next name on the list can have her prize.
So Bea B. Panti-Gonzales won the makeup by default. However, she hasn't claimed her prize and I really have become too busy now to go meet her so I don't know what to do.

I met up with these beautiful ladies in Red Mango at Greenbelt 3 so that I can get to meet my readers. I chose the yogurt place because I've heard about how yummy the froyo there is and I wanted something healthy so I wouldn't need a Lipofuze after I give birth!

Anyway, it was so nice that we hit it off immediately, like we'd known each other for years! Well, they have an advantage since they've been reading my blog so I will confess that I felt a little shy to meet them. If you're a regular reader, you'd know I'm a bit of an anti-social most times. But I must say Tani and Tin made me feel so comfy that we were soon sharing stories--from heartbreaks to Brazilian wax!

Congratulations, Tani and Tin! Thanks for reading my blog and for making the time to meet up with silly old me. Enjoy your prizes!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Keys to the heart (or, more correctly, very pricey keys to a bejewelled heart!)

I'm the sort of girl who appreciates gifts like a clothes steamer, a top-of-the-line blender or a 7-piece all clad copper core cookware set, but hey, I won't say no to these beauties... Presenting the Tiffany & Co. Filigree Heart pendants!

This design is actually resurrected from 18th century French and English jewelry. In Tiffany’s version, a delicate heart is filled with a pattern of seven petals around a keyhole. Of course, there's a key attached to the pendant.

Filigree Heart Diamond and Gemstone Pendant 
in 18k rose gold with 18-inch chain ($5,600)

Heart Diamond Pendant 
in 18k white gold with 18-inch chain ($6,000)

Now, if you prefer a bigger key, or maybe just a key, then nothing can trump Tiffany's Keys Collection. The keys here are from the new collection, and these range from the simple to the intricately bejeweled!

Now if you're wondering why anyone would have a key for a pendant, here's the history: In the olden days, people locked away their jewelry, photos, secrets and other precious possessions in beautiful boxes. Even albums and diaries had locks! And of course when people traveled, they had steamer trunks and train cases. The safest place to put your keys is around your neck! 

Oval Key in Sterling Silver on small beaded chain ($200)
and Trefoil Key in 18k Gold on Oval Link Chain ($1,075)

Petals Key with Diamonds set in Platinum on Pendant Chain ($11,500),
Quartrefoil Key with Diamonds in 18k Gold Oval Link Chain ($1,275) and 
Crown Key in Sterling Silver on Pendant Chain ($250)


I adore them all but my heart is set on a certain topaz ring that I want for my 34th birthday. I have 6 months to save up for that ring. So these pendants will be for another occasion... maybe when I'm super duper rich!

Tiffany & Co. is exclusively available in Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-la Plaza Mall. 

Photos courtesy of SSI and Visions & Expressions.