Monday, January 31, 2011

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Hoping the predictions are correct!

I don't believe in astrology. But because of the Chinese New Year coming up in a few days, I've been inundated by horoscopes left and right. And... I'm a likin' what I'm readin'!

In the year of the Metal Rabbit, I, a Fire Dragon, will have unbelievable luck. Well, Dragons are always lucky because it's supposed to be a very powerful sign. But in 2011, my horoscope says I'm to expect good fortune in my career, finances, relationships and health. Hey, that's just about everything! The only thing that's supposed to be bad for me is water sports. And here I was thinking of taking up swimming! Well, scrap that!

Then there's the Western influences on the Eastern year. That means I, a Scorpio, can also check Aries as my horoscope since Aries is the Western equivalent of the Dragon. Huh? Did that confuse you? See this list!

Anyway, so according to this seer, this is what I should expect in 2011:
Scorpio—A year of much entertaining and socializing. Financial gains are indicated. And you are able to consolidate your position to a very high decree. Obstacles are still there but no major obstruction.
Aries—Calm is restored to you in the Year of 2011. The winds of fortune blow on your sails again. Home life is settled and finances are stabilized.

Wow. Looks like a fun year for me! Entertaining, socializing, money coming in, work going well, and calm. Deep blessed calm. As some of you know, 2010 was a year of high drama for me--the joys and fears of new motherhood, and the anguish of having someone so utterly selfish in my life. Ugh, I don't even want to think about the latter one. Anyway, if 2011 will bring calm to my highly strung emotional state, then I welcome this year with open arms!

Vince, since I know you're reading this, I've taken the liberty of reading your horoscope (and please stop rolling your eyes!). You're a Wood Tiger and your Western sign is Aquarius. The Western equivalent of the Tiger is also Aquarius so I didn't get very confused looking you up.

According to this, 2011 is a good year for your career. But it also says you will put in a lot of work for that to happen. And you'll laugh and say, "That is why it will be a good year because I have to work my ass off dammit!" I know, right?! Anyway, lotsa money, lotsa good opportunities, lotsa socializing from May to November. Weird! I honestly cannot see you socializing!

And as for your Western predictions,
Aquarius—A happier year is in store for you. Love and business affairs are in the upswing and things are generally more rosy and any obstacle is easily overcome. Good news is forthcoming.

I love good news! Happiness, love, rosy future, easily overcome obstacles--why, that's just fab!

Vito is a Metal Tiger, a Leo and an Aquarius (Western equivalent). So he will enjoy his home life this year. Well, with you and me as his parents, Vito will most definitely have a fabulous home life!

That's it! I don't believe in this astrology business but I am more than willing to believe that in 2011, everything will be alright. I don't even need the foretold money and career heights; I just want that peace and calm and goodness.

Have a good and blessed year, everyone!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blogger integrity

Someone asked me, "Why are you so quiet about the Big Bad Blogger issue?"

First, I promised to keep this blog about silliness and shopping and fashion and frivolity.

Second, if you noticed, I don't really comment on issues. I didn't campaign for anyone in the elections, I didn't say anything about the bus hostage tragedy or about Hubert Webb's release... I just don't. The few times I did write about serious stuff (the Maguindanao Massacre and Ondoy), I got some negative comments.

Third, I address the sponsored posts issue in my FAQs.

So anyway. Here's what I have to say about that whole brouhaha:
click to enlarge

That's all.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On hand-me-downs

There's a huge Baby Co. sale at Megamall right about now and I've been wanting to go except that I am sick. A cold that started three weeks ago finally took a dramatic turn for the worse and I have taken to bed.

Anyway, I don't really need anything for Vito. Being the youngest boy in the male-dominated Sales family, he's inherited a ton of clothes and baby things from his cousins. I just wanted to get foodie things like a bowl, a sippy cup, a rubber-tipped spoon, a food grinder and... Well, I just wanted to check things out! I also wanted to go to the department store and get cheap chair slipcovers to protect the white leatherette of our dining chairs. With Vito about to embark on solid food in a couple of weeks, our lovely house is in danger!

My onesies, socks, bibs, stroller, carrier, bath tub... all for free!
Anyway, I also wanted to shop because I've been dealing with this nagging feeling that I'm not getting Vito new stuff. You know? His stuff. It was Vince who started it. He's the youngest in his family and he always got his brother's hand-me-downs. So even though he likes it that we haven't spent anything on Vito's clothes and stuff, he also feels bad that we aren't even trying to get him new things.

I'm no stranger to hand-me-downs either. Because my family didn't have much when I was growing up, I got the clothes of my cousins. And oh those clothes were so beautiful! So I have a good experience with second-hand stuff. Hence, my fascination with eBay!
DVF silk ladybug shift dress from eBay!
Miu Miu by Prada silk dress
from eBay!
H&M belted LBD from eBay!
But then I have friends who also gave birth this year. And they tell me about how the onesies here are so cute or the bibs over there are so clever or how the strollers now are so high-tech... and I get insecure. There are so many nice new things out there! Should I rush out and get them for my Vito? After all, he is my first born. My only child. Should I try harder? Am I taking this save-the-planet thing a bit too far? Am I relying too much on the kindness and oh so wonderful generosity of my Sales family? (Thanks, Anj! Thanks, Lizelle!)

I really don't want to care but it's so strange how a little baby changes everything!

And I thought I thought it up!

I am not as clever as I thought!
Alas, I didn't invent the word 'tweetheart'!
It says so here.

I'm on Twitter! Well, I've been a Twit for sometime now but haven't really been Tweeting. Tweeting is best done from a mobile phone but since I am not a mobile phone person (people hate that I don't answer calls and texts. And if I do, it takes me hours or even days to reply!), the Tweeting isn't that easy.

Well, since I'm in front of the computer most times, I realized I can make this Tweeting work! Follow my Tweets, my friends! I'm kinda getting the hang of it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blog resolutions

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to change the look of my blog. That black thing was getting very old.

Well, now that I've changed the look, I've been feeling like changing some other things, too. Herewith are my blog resolutions:


  • I will really try to reply to comments I publish this 2011. Maybe not every comment, though!
  • I will answer questions from my readers. Real questions!
  • I will put an outfit post every week. I admit that this is very hard. I'm not a fabulous dresser and I don't have a lot of clothes. All those fashion blogs out there are intimidating. Granted, this isn't a fashion blog but it's my hope that a fashion post will make me work harder to lose the baby weight (and start dressing my age)!
  • I will do a day-in-the-life post maybe once or twice a month. It'll be fun to give you a peek at what I do on a random day!
  • I will promote blogs more. There are so many nice blogs out there! No one used to read silly me but now I get 500 (or more!) of you daily. So I'd like to support other bloggers, too.

How about you? Any blog resolutions?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simple meals

I promised this post on my Market Day! entry so here it is--simple dishes with just a few ingredients.

Tortang Talong
Grill eggplants until soft and skin is peeling off. Peel skin then mash the eggplant. Whisk some eggs and dip eggplant into eggs. Fry. Serve with ketchup. I like the spicy one of Del Monte.

Steamed Veggies
Looking for a diet pill that works? Try this instead! Slice up carrots, sayote and beans. Or broccoli or asparagus. Steam for about 5 minutes--more if you like your veggies soft. Serve with fish or any meat dish. Personally, I prefer roasted veggies. They're more flavorful!

Beef and Beans Stir Fry
This is beyond simple! Stir fry beef strips and green beans in a wok. Add oyster sauce to taste. Serve!

Omelette
This is what Vince and I eat for breakfast twice a week. Saute chopped onions and tomatoes. Beat eggs then pour into pan. Fold when edges start to bubble. Serve with toast or fried rice.

Upo't Miswa
My Lola Auring taught me this--it can feed a crowd because an upo is so big! Slice up a big upo. Saute garlic, onions and ground meat (beef or pork). Pour in a few cups of water. Once it boils, put miswa noodles. Simmer till noodles are soft. Serve.

Gourmet Fries
Here's a tasty snack! Slice potatoes into long strips. Deep fry or bake. Drain onto a paper towel. Smother with parmesan cheese and ground pepper.

Adobong Kangkong
Saute lotsa garlic. Add kangkong leaves and stalks (cut 1-inch). Add half a cup of vinegar and soy sauce. Serve! You can also just stir fry kankong with bagoong. So easy and delicious!

Tuna Pasta
Always have pasta in your pantry and when guests arrive, here's the perfect easy dish to whip up! In olive oil, saute garlic, onions, quartered tomatoes and tuna flakes. If you like olives, add those. Mix with cooked pasta. You can add basil leaves, too.

Mac and Cheese
The kids will love to cook and eat this. Cook macaroni. Drain. Add butter and cheese and stir gently until cheese melts. Yum!

Potato and Egg Salad
Boil potatoes (you can keep the peel, just scrub a dub dub!). Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Boil eggs. Quarter eggs. Toss very gently with mayonnaise. Chill in fridge. You can add bacon bits, chopped raw onion and celery, too, of you want more flavor.

There you have it! There's a lot more you can cook and I didn't even include roasting, grilling and baking. Believe me, cooking is the easiest and healthiest thing you can do! For more easy tips, check out my friend Mariel's post on eating well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Topaz Horizon Gift Guide

Just before Christmas, readers were asking me advice on what gifts do I suggest or they were curious about gifts that I do give to my loved ones. Because I had such a busy schedule, I wasn't able to reply. I really wanted to write a good post because, my dear readers, I take gift-giving very seriously!

Now, this post isn't too late. After all, Valentine's Day is coming up. And lotsa birthdays, weddings and parties, too! So here's my ultra-long post on gift giving. But before that, I'll give you a peek at what Vince and I want.

For Valentine's Day, I don't have anything for Vince yet. But for his birthday, I got him a set of really cool toy lens for the Olympus E-PL1.

For me (ahem ahem), I'd love one (or both!) of these:
Baby giraffe ring holder 
Vince knows I love rings but he will get why this
particular animal--and not rabbits!--is so perfect for me.
Necklace with hand-stamped pendants
So charming and sweet and simple! And I love
hand-stamping. I made a pewter bowl and
hand-stamped it with our names. My necklace
would read Vince, Frances, Vito
Vince and I are very good gifters. I think regular readers know this fact! We have certain rules when it comes to giving gifts.

1. They must not be useful. 
By that we mean, they have to be fabulous! When our friends Mariel and Alvin got married, we didn't give them a rice cooker or a wall clock, we gave them a fondue set. Frivolous, I know, but fun!

We don't give socks or underwear or mouthwash. Gifts aren't supposed to be stuff your loved ones can buy for themselves.

2. If they must be useful, they must be OTT. 
That's Over The Top. This past Christmas, my sister-in-law Lizelle wanted a card holder to organize her many credit and discount cards. I searched far and wide till I found an exquisite card holder made of supple Italian cowhide. The awesome smell of leather was seeping through the gift wrapper! She loved it!

So if the newlyweds asked for cutlery, give them silver-plated heavy ones. If they asked for bedsheets, give them the high thread count. If your friend asked for a journal, give a Moleskine.

3. Add a little extra. 
Some people really know what they want so if you give them something else--no matter how fab--they might not appreciate it. My family-in-law is very specific. Vince's niece Elizabeth wanted a Sylvanian doll. Vince gave her a pair, and since Elizabeth is a musician, he added a little baby grand piano and vintage microphone for the dolls. Elizabeth was delighted!

So if your friend asked for a book, give the book and throw in personalized book plates. If she asked for a pen, have her name engraved on it. If she asked for a blender, add some fruits!

4. Personalize it.
And I don't just mean the engraving and monogramming part. My sister Jacqui, being 21, wants clothes. But I don't want to choose her clothes for her because young women that age don't like to be told what to wear! So I got gift certificates from Forever 21 and The Ramp so that she can shop for herself. It doesn't have to be GCs. Remember my new Kate Spade Sutton Place Marielly bag? Sutton Place is a New York suburb. I have a stylish friend who lives in New York City named Mariel. So I bought her that bag. She loves it!

So for your foodie friend, buy her a dinner at a nice restaurant. For your spa-holic sister, get her a massage session. For your movie buff brother, get him passes to a 3D theater.

Giving gifts is an exciting thing to do. I always enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift. I like making people happy! Gifts that are whimsical, frivolous, fun and entertaining are a joy to give and receive. Here are more suggestions for certain occasions that always befuddle people:

For a housewarming
Scented candles
Make sure the recipients aren't sensitive to scents!
Monogrammed throws
Choose neutral tones like white and cream.
Picture frames
A collection of simple ones looks nice. Or you can
get one fantastic piece in silver or enamel.

For the hostess of the party
Potted flowering plants or herbs
Do not give a bouquet because then she'll have to find
a vase and water them when she should be with her
guests. Potted plants will be enjoyed way after the
party's done. 
Dessert
Guests usually volunteer to bring dessert but these
chocolate-covered strawberries are best because your
hostess won't have to bring out plates and spoons
and knives and wash up!
Wine decanter
A bottle of wine is a usual hostess gift, too. Why not
add a little extra? This graceful decanter set is love.

For a baby shower
Turtle night lamp
A night lamp is very useful--for parents getting up in
the middle of the night to change diapers and for
little ones who're afraid of the dark. Remember to
add whimsy to the usefulness! 
Baby bath robe
Again, very useful. So make sure the robe is the
softest you can find and personalize it with the
little cutie's name or initials or nickname.
Matching cuffs
Maybe not for the shower but for a new mommy to
a little girl. This will definitely be a prized set!  

Then there are truly some gifts that are useless. Figurines, for example! Try not to give those unless you are positively certain that the recipient collects them!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kate Torralba did it first

KT, sweetheart, I'm sure you've seen Chanel's Resort St. Tropez Collection 2011. This particular cashmere mini dress with guipure details caught my eye:
The dress is GBP 1,652 or USD 2,600
On Clemence Poesy, ES Magazine
On Emma Roberts, Marie Claire Nov 2010 issue
On Jessica Alba, Elle Dec 2010 issue
I'm sure, Kate, you know why that dress piqued my interest. In 2007, you created the most fabulous flowergirl-and-bridesmaid dresses for my wedding. Yes, it's different and yet very very similar. Chanel's base is pink while yours is brown.
Bridesmaid Mariel (second from left) and the coolest Summit Media girls!
The flower girls and junior bridesmaid
I like what you did better. Yes, I prefer yours over Chanel!

Now I'm sick!

Hubby was sick last weekend, then yesterday I caught the bug, too. That's what happens when you sleep together! And in this case, I mean sleep literally.

I don't think my coughs and colds will be as bad as Vince's, though. I've fortified my system with gingery broths and lemongrass tea (make your own!). I've even gone to Murad for my skin treatment that includes Vitamin C serum for the face so that if any germs settle on my skin, the anti-oxidants will kill it. Just a silly theory--don't quote me!

Still, no rest for the weary. I have a lot of work to do, errands, events. And then there's the big baby, who is, thankfully, better. He caught the bug too but because I am breastfeeding him, he gets the antibodies my body's producing to fight this cold. And now Vito's like the Energizer bunny! He's super cute. Go to my mommy blog for more photos of this baby in red.

So there. Just an update! I got a lot of feedback in my previous post, and some have emailed me asking for recipes that have just 3 ingredients. These are from exhausted wives/moms who are looking for quick and inexpensive meals to make. Single women living in the big city have also emailed with the same request. And I will answer in my next post. For now, I will sleep!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Market day!

When I was growing up, I used to go with my grandmother to the wet market and watch her haggle away for the freshest meat, fish, veggies and fruits. Up until I moved out of my parents' house in 2001, I bought our family's food from the palengke. Every morning, Mama gave me P100 and I had to buy enough food to feed Papa, Mama, myself, my younger brother and sister, my older brother, his girlfriend (eventually wife) and their then two kids.

Count that. A hundred pesos for nine people. And that's for lunch and dinner! So while there are millions of people spending millions on diet pills because they eat too much, I had to make do with very little to feed a lot! Of course this was when a kilo of chicken cost P35 (yes, I am that old).

Believe me, I made that hundred pesos feed a large family easily. Here are a few tips:
  • Cook vegetable soups. If you must have meat, veggies with just 1/4 kilo of pork can go a long way!
  • Ask for the pork fat. The butchers usually trim these and throw them away so you can get them for free. Put the fat in the skillet and voila--instant cooking oil and chicharon!
  • Tofu is an excellent meat extender. 
  • Make everything extra spicy. Or salty. I know, I know. But when food is heavily seasoned, you eat more rice and less ulam
  • If all else fails, make lugaw. Just throw rice in a large cauldron of water, together with garlic, onions and ginger. Season with salt and pepper and you have a satisfying meal.

Yesterday, I brought Vito to the palengke for the first time. He was very... quiet. I guess all the colors and smells and noise overwhelmed the little guy. But I want him to get used to the wet market because I want him to know how to cook food. When you know how to cook, you'll never go hungry.
This guy sells fish so fresh, he made salmon sashimi. Yum!
That's yellow fin tuna. 
The chicken is so fresh. Yes, freshly killed. See guy at right.
I watch those documentaries of poor people lamenting over the fact that they earn just P100 a day then they buy instant noodles, which costs about P20 and can feed just 3-5 people. I get really upset. I tell the TV, "Buy kangkong! A bundle costs just P7! Buy 3 bundles, cook it adobo style and you have ulam for the whole day. Healthy pa!"
A kilo is just P50. Throw into a pot with garlic, onions, tomatoes and ginger.
A few minutes later, a delicious and nutritious mussel dish!
I don't really buy into the excuse that poverty equals poor food and nutrition. My grandmother lived through the terrible war and she taught me a lot of tricks on how to eat well even if you have just three ingredients. So I may have grown up poor but I was never hungry. And I ate so well!

Please, Universe, let me win these prizes!

Power Plant is giving away a Benz. And I want it!
Yeah. But can it fly?

All you need to do is exchange your receipts for a raffle coupon. If you spent P2,000 in any shop in Power Plant, that's one coupon, P3,000 at the supermarket is also one coupon. Because Power Plant is our favorite mall, we got not a few coupons. Yey!

As you can see, there's enough receipts up there to burn out receipt printers! Now, I gather all receipts--yes, even P40 parking fees--so I can also join BIR's promo:

The prizes are phone loads (which we don't need) and cash that range from P25,000 to a million pesos!!! Now, cash I definitely want! If you have receipts lying about, here's encouraging news:


I will digress a bit. Vince doesn't like it that I'm always saying I want money. It doesn't sound nice, he says. It reflects badly on me (as a woman) and on him (as a provider). To clarify, I am not money-hungry and Vince provides more than enough for our family.

It's just that late last year, someone who has always been most selfish took a lot from Vince and me. Financially, emotionally, you name it. I never talked about it in this blog (although I dropped hints here and there) because I was so devastated by this event. My closest friends know the story and they feel very badly for me and my new family. There is impotent fury all around, but it's not something I can share publicly. That's how bad it was.

Vince and I have recovered somewhat from the catastrophe. Evidence: the shopping we enjoyed! We were resolute in the decision that we will not let this person ruin Vito's first Christmas. But, sad to say, Christmas wasn't a very happy time because of the terrible emotional strain.

But it's a New Year! While we can't turn our backs on this person, we've decided to just work super hard so that no matter what happens, Vito's future is secure. But a million pesos and a nice new car will definitely make us feel better!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend report

Well, I am a tired woman right now. Spent all of yesterday listening to my kid's yaya talk about her daughter's disappearance (she took her three sons with her so Ate Marita's worried sick about the grandkids, too). To cheer her up, I told her to go to the mall and shop. She came back excited about--you'll never guess--LCD TVs! Samsung and a Chinese-sounding brand being her top choices. I was, like, "Ate M, an LCD TV is expensive!" Mebbe she wants a raise (again?!), you think?

So I sent her home early because she wanted to hunt down her daughter and grandsons. That left me alone with Vito, which was okay, until Vince came home feeling very much under the weather. Uh oh. We were expecting company, too. Well, everything went well last night but today, Vince felt really awful. Plus, Vito was extra fussy. I tell ya, it ain't easy to take care of a baby and a sick hubby all by my lonesome. But they're finally both asleep and I am nursing a mug of coffee. (Decaf. Sad, I know.)

I haven't had a shower. My hair is all mussed up. My body is aching all over. There are dishes to be washed, fresh laundry to be folded and put away, clutter to sort... I am exhausted. It's hard to be a homemaker!

The trouble with having kids late...

... is I have no more friends who'll get married in the next three to five years. That means Vito won't ever get to be a ring/coin/Bible bearer. It would've been so cute to see him in a little suit or barong, walking most seriously (I imagine him to take his duties most seriously!) down that long aisle. I'd be such a proud momma!
Vince's cute nephews Kevin and Zo at our 2007 wedding
Well, I did propose to Vince that we could renew our vows when Vito's 3 or 4 or 5 years old. That way, Vito gets to be a ring bearer and I get to have new wedding jewelry! Definitely a fantastic plan! Now if only I can fit into my gown again...
Nope. I didn't diet or exercise to fit into that dress.
I was really just thin. Now my birthing hips are impossible! 


And it's a whole new look for 2011!

Readers, I hereby present Topaz Horizon's new look!

I used Blogger's Template Designer and then when I realized that a ton of stuff was disappearing from my blog (widgets, links, Nuffnang codes, the Facebook like button!!!), I stopped in sheer panic!

Vince doesn't like it ("It's mustard. And there are birds. Birds are eeeeevil."). I'm still getting used to it myself. I do like it, though. I like the oranges and browns. I also like the birds since they look like they're flying on the horizon. Get it? I do think the font size is rather huge. It looks like I write for very old people. But, hey, if it makes this blog easier to read, right?

So tell me what you think! I really don't want to mess with the html codes anymore since I am so very afraid I'd delete everything but if some stuff doesn't seem to be working, kindly alert me. Thanks!

P.S. Check out my FAQs page! I finally finished it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Am about to disappear for some technical updates

I'll be gone for a while. I'm tired of this dreary black thing going on with this blog. I did that because a black screen doesn't consume as much energy as a white screen. So I like to think that you save energy while you read my blog. But if your eyes get stressed, what is the point of reading?!

Anyhoot, I will experiment for a bit. Clean up. I want to be minimalist for 2011. Life is getting really messy lately. As life tends to be. But blogs, hair and houses shouldn't be! Be back sooooon!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The smell of leather intoxicates me!

And right about now, it's everywhere! Remember when I was going on and on about this bag?
Kate Spade Marielly Sutton Place Cross-Body Bag
Well, blog reader Eper left a comment on my Facebook page saying she found a fabulous deal for me: Kate Spade was on sale and the Marielly was 50% off! I immediately clicked on the link she sent me and, indeed, Kate Spade was on sale! So I bought... TWO! (Thank you, blogging money!)
I woke up to the heavenly smell of leather
and the sound of crinkly tissue paper!
It's such a cute bag!
And it opens up to a tote if you need more space!
One for me and one for my dear dear dearest friend Mariel! I figured she should have a bag that has the same name as hers. Besides, it was her birthday and it was Christmas, too. So Mariel and I both had a merry Christmas!
That's just-woken-up me! Good morning indeed!
I love my new bag. Soooo much! Will post an outfit photo soon!

Monday, January 03, 2011

I didn't get my Alice fix!

I was bidding on this, but quickly withdrew from the heated bidding war because I just didn't have the money for it.
It's a 1900 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It's quite rare. I really wanted it. A few friends said I should check the authenticity of the books first (ask for a photo of the copyright page). Another one said I'd need a special viewing case and a dehumidifier because in our very humid and tropical climate, such old books will disintegrate.

Well, after all that, I lost the bid. Well, I didn't even try after the bids went way beyond what I was willing to pay for it. I was a tad disappointed because I collect all things Alice. So, to make me feel better, I'm thinking of bidding on these:

This is an exquisite collection of figurines modeled after the illustrations of Sir John Tenniel. It's a limited edition created by Kaiyodo. I love it!

This is whimsical wall clock depicting the mad tea party scene. And look at the time! It's backwards!

They're not cheap either so I'm a bit hesitant to bid. But it would be ever so nice if I added these to my collection. Big sigh!

5 tips on how to find your prince (thanks, Kate Middleton!)

Remember my post about my radio tour last month? I talked about "How to Find Your On Prince" or, since there are very few princes in the world, "How to Snag a Rich Guy." Hahaha! Let's look to Miss Middleton for tips!

Hang out where the rich hang out. You’ll never snag a rich guy if you never meet one.
     Kate Middleton may not have a drop of aristocratic blood in her veins but she was at the right place—she and William were not just classmates, they lived in the same dormitory, too.

You need to look great. Face it. You’ll be arm candy. Unlike regular men, rich men have more options simply because there are more women who want them. And because they have positions of power, they’re naturally going to need someone who will look good beside them. Be beautiful, gracious and elegant. Slutty is not what rich men want!
     Kate was voted the Prettiest Girl in Sally’s, their residence hall. Even better, because she’s so fit, when she participated in a fashion show and she walked out in a see-through slip, she got William’s attention.

Be nice and sweet. Believe it or not, rich men need love, too. And again, believe it or not, really rich men are actually quite boring people. They want a wife who will not make trouble—spending extravagantly, being scandalous, isn’t discrete, or is emotional and bad tempered. They don’t want a troubled marriage because he spends all day at a stressful job making all that money. So he wants to come home to a nice and quiet place. Plus, he won’t remain rich if he divorces you and will have to give you half his wealth!
     Kate was shy and quiet and down-to-earth. She grew up in the country so she was a simple girl who liked outdoor activities. She and William started out as friends—she took down notes in class if he had to be away, they would run or bike together, discuss schoolwork. She kept a low profile. In the eight years she’d been William’s girlfriend, she never gave interviews, never caught by paparazzi drunk or in compromising situations.

Have plenty in common. Rich men have different pursuits from you and me simply because they can afford it. Golf, car races, collecting vintage books, yachting, art, travel, karaoke machines or video game consoles in every room, you name it. If they’re going to share their life with you, you better know what they’re passionate about and share that passion, too.
     For Kate and William, it was sports and healthy living. They like to ski, swim, eat healthy, hunt, shoot, do simple things (do the grocery and go on picnics) and travel. They also share the same sense of humor.

Make him buy the cow. Yes, this refers to that old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Don’t be easy. There’s already a lot of women giving him (or selling him!) their favors. Be everything above but most importantly, be someone he can commit to.
     When William first tried to kiss Kate, she pulled away in shock (nice move, girl!). Also, when William paid attention to other girls, she made it clear she wasn’t waiting around for him—she’d spend her weekends at home or she won’t text or call him. She wasn’t always available. She also made plans with her life—finishing college, getting a job (accessory buyer). She showed William and the world that she wasn’t just waiting around to become a royal wife (even if she was).  But because she still showed that she was discreet, loyal, dependable, trustworthy and committed, William saw that she was a keeper. And he finally proposed!

What a year 2010 was!

Ahh, the holidays have officially come to an end. Tomorrow, I hit the ground running with several interviews on the radio to promote the January issue of the entertainment magazine I edit.

Then I'm off to the first class of Barre3 at Power Plant because I plan to lose this big bowl of Jell-O that's sitting around my middle since... forever. I can't diet yet since I'm breastfeeding and I have to make sure I have enough fat and nutrients in me to make healthy milk. So it's all exercise for me! I also hope Barre3 will help firm and strengthen my flabby arms and thighs because Vito is growing very fast and very heavy. Poor little me, at a measly 109 lbs., is toppling over!

But before we dive into 2011, let's take a look back at 2010...
I got pregnant. And wasn't very happy about it, too! I was hormonal and weepy and irritable, especially when people told me to stop drinking Coke. Looking back now, I wish I hadn't been such a bitch. Everyone's been forgiving, dismissing my apologies with, "You're pregnant. Bitchiness really happens." But still. If I ever get pregnant again, I want to be really nice, mostly because everyone was so nice to me!
Yep, people also told me to stop wearing heels but stubborn me insisted. No harm done! The past year was also special because I got to spend a lot of time with my darling friends Nicole and Mariel. It was a big year for them, too. Nicole resigned from her cushy job to freelance and Mariel got married!
Mariel had one of the happiest weddings I've ever attended. It was all heart--lots of
friends and family and love. I'll never forget this beautiful beach wedding! 
There's our friend Kate singing at Mariel's reception. As with my own wedding years ago, Kate not only designed
the gowns, she also sang at the dinner. Kate, thanks for always being so generous with your talent!
We love you and miss you!
Another wedding I'll never forget is Nicole and Bernard's. This was such a stylish affair.
We were knocked off our feet really. And to see two of the kindest and sweetest people
I know commit to forever is really something special.
When I was 5 months pregnant, I caught pneumonia. I think I almost died there but I was too busy worrying about my unborn child. If you'd been following this blog (and my mommy blog), you'd know the horror story. But the doctor apologized, I was okay, and most important of all, the Jelly Bean came out perfectly healthy four months later!
Oh, and this was also the year we said good-bye to commuting. Yes, we bought a car and named it Zoom Zoom. 
They said pregnant women are lucky but I tell ya, I didn't win any raffle this 2010! I did
win some fine hair accessories from Daphne's blog contest!
Who swallowed a watermelon?! Me! Funnily enough, it was my pregnancy
that landed me on Style Bible's stylish mommies list. To my great
amusement! I'm very proud to be on that list, mind you. I don't take it
lightly at all. I have spent all my life trying to be smart and talented.
The result of that was I spent no time grooming and styling!
I had always been a terrible mess. So Style Bible's decree is most astounding!
Ya know, I always wanted to be a cover girl but, having achieved absolutely nothing of great import,
I'll have to be content with writing the cover stories. My house did become a cover star!
I'm mighty proud!
I am still amazed that even with my pregnancy, I still found the time to be with
my friends. I guess it was the fear of being stuck at home when the baby
 finally arrives that pushed me to go out out out. But then I needn't have
worried that I'd lose my friends because Nicole and Nikki took the
time to visit me when the baby came!
And here he is! 
Having a baby is HARD. I used to think, "How hard can it be? I run a magazine and a household. I  can stay up till 4am. Babies can't be that hard." Boy, was I wrong! There are days I can't even eat, go to the bathroom, take a shower, etc ad infinitum! A baby demands so much time! But I quickly adjusted, am still adjusting actually. And I don't really mind spending nearly 24/7 with the little guy...
Just look at him. He's beyond adorable. I'm madly in love.
Now, I haven't forgotten the man I'm madly in love with! This year proved to be a good one for our marriage. The pregnancy, the child birth, the baby, the troubles and trials that came our way (and that I won't talk about because if I told you about them you'd get really explosively angry at my father)... all these things really strengthened us. 
Yes, it's been a fabulous year! Great joys, great trials. And we survived! Now it's 2011. I can't help but get giddy with anticipation and hope. I feel this year will even be better. I'm sooo excited! Happy New Year!