Friday, February 28, 2014

Topaz Fashion: Cole Vintage's work-ready line

It's March tomorrow! Graduation month! New career kids trooping out to join the workforce! And to some of us who already have careers, March is a new reason to shop for clothes (because, wala lang, who needs a good reason to shop anyway?!)! 

As you all know, I love wrap dresses. It's so flattering to us women. It's such a simple design, so elegant, timeless... Every girl should have several in their closet! (I have several in my closet!) It's great for job interviews and for days at work. It's great for lunches and family gatherings. It's even great for dates (depending on the print)!

Cole Vintage knew I'm a fan of the wrap dress so they gave me this:
Becca wrap dress, P1,099
I love it! It's orange! My favorite color!!! Thanks, Cole Vintage! I love the black and white, too!



I can't wear it yet because I'm kinda really pregnant right now but when I am back to my old body, I am so going to whip that orange-and-white wrap dress out of my closet. Yep, even if I wear it 6, 8 or 10 months from now, even next year, even 10 years from now, it never goes out of style!

Cole Vintage told me that this simple elegance is "the inspiration behind our two toned mini collection.  These pieces are definitely in it for the long haul—they’re here to stay."

If you're a new grad going job-hunting and want to make a good impression, try the Becca wrap dress from Cole Vintage. They also have this chic sheath dress that you can wear from the office straight to dinner with friends or even on a date! Just wear a blazer at work to look professional, then when you go out for the night, take off the jacket, put on a big metal cuff and some sparkly earrings!
Mallory dress, P1,299
Their totes are two-toned, too. Totes are a must for working women. We carry so much stuff! 
Jacques tote (black-brown), P999
Jacques tote (silver-mocha), P999

Cole Vintage is available at The Ramp Trinoma, The Ramp Shangri-la, The Ramp Glorietta, SM North Edsa, SM Makati, SM Mall of Asia, SM BF Paranaque, The Podium, and at the Archaeology Power Plant Mall. Visit our website www.colevintage.com

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My novel for February is John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

I only wanted to read it because the movie's coming out and I only wanted to watch the movie because of the guy playing the romantic lead. I first saw Ansel Elgort in the remake of Carrie, and though it had Julianne Moore and Chlöe Grace Moretz in it, it was Ansel who caught my eye. That kid can act!

So since I wanted to watch the movie, I had to first read the book. I read it just before Valentine's Day so I was feeling very loved up. The book, very easy to read (in fact, you can finish it in a few hours), is not intimidating at all. Intimidating? Yep. It's about teenagers dying of cancer, a story not everyone finds thrilling. But read it read it read it!

The story begins with a girl and a boy meeting at a cancer support group. Hazel Grace Lancaster has thyroid cancer and Augustus Waters has bone cancer. She didn't set out to fall in love. She just wanted to live the rest of her life in peace, not wanting to form any relationships because that means more people will get hurt by her eventual death. But Augustus broke down her walls with this:

OMG. I can't even go on talking about the book! You'll just have to read it yourself! It's so funny and so sad. I cried so much, my son Vito was alarmed. He said, "Why cry, Mama?" And I said, "This book is sad. People are dying." And he said, "Not good book."

Oh, but it is. It is!

I think I'm going to tell you another story. On the day I started reading this book, my friend said that her son asked her, "If God knew that man would sin against Him, why did He still make man?" And she said she didn't know what to answer really, but I was very quick. "Love!"

Love is the only reason. When I was a kid, I didn't understand why people got married and had kids. All the married people I know and all the parents I know were miserable and always complaining about their spouses and their kids. Seriously. If marriage and kids made everyone so unhappy, why did everyone insist on getting married and having kids?

Then I met this woman at a salon. She was having her hair done for her 10th wedding anniversary party that night. She told me that in all their 10 years married, maybe they were only really happy for just two years. I was flabbergasted. "What's to celebrate then?!" And she said, "Even if we were only happy for a day, I'd marry him all over again."


Now that I'm married myself, I understand. Not every day is a happy day. Vince and I fight. We get annoyed at each other. We get fed up, exasperated. We say hurtful things. A marriage is not easy, and mine is no exception. But when I think about Vince and me, all I really see is the laughter, the passion, the long whispered talks in the dark of night, the shared looks, the quiet way he slowly slips his hand into mine, our secret words. And if I believed before that my life was horrible, I now don't because all my life was leading up to what Vince and I have. If all the terrible-ness of before meant I could have that one day when Vince kissed me or that day when he said, "You really are special," or that day he married me, then all the terrible-ness was worth it.

Life is even more spectacular now with our kids, Vito and Iñigo. Sure there are days I want to scratch my eyes out because it gets really difficult. Sure there are days I just want to curl up in bed and sleep till the kids are leaving for college. Parenting is not easy. Not at all. But all the clichés are real. I really do live for their smile, I really can stare at them all day, I really do feel my heart will explode from the love. And if the exhaustion and stress and helplessness means that I was with my kids, then it's okay. Because, really, my life is all about loving my boys.

So I know that when God created man, He didn't even hesitate because He saw in His omniscient and sovereign way that the love and goodness and wonder of man will still overcome our evil. He still created us because He loved us (I John 4:19). And that's all the reason He needs.

All that I thought of when I read The Fault in Our Stars! I just came away from the book celebrating life and love, that no matter how short our life is, love is truly eternal. Don't worry, it's not a theological book. It's not even a book about tragedy. It's just a lovely little book about love and loss and, ultimately, about life. Go read it now!

*quotes images from 8tracks and Rebloggy

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Topaz Beauty: How I care for my red red hair

Everyone loves my red hair. I love it, too! Even if it's such hell to have it! For one thing, red has the largest molecules so it bleeds the most—it stains everything: towels, bedsheets, clothes. A big reason why I've taken to wearing black is because of my red hair. Red also fades the fastest. Many of my friends and readers who color their hair red (because they loved mine, naks!) complain that the color is gone as early as the third week. 

Yep, red is very high maintenance and I wouldn't recommend it to busy moms like me. But... I love it! I think it's me! It matches my fiery temper and passionate personality.
Newly colored.
Now, 5 months after coloring.

Yep, it's been five months since I had my hair colored. It's not an angry red anymore, more like a red brown. With 2 inches of roots yuck! For someone who insists on coloring her hair red, I don't go to the salon as often as I should. I go maybe every 6 months. Yep, just twice a year! So people ask how I can care for my red hair. Here's how:
1. I use hair products specifically made for colored hair. My favorites are Kerastase, Kiehl's and Pureology.
2. I don't wash my hair often. Every time hair gets wets, color molecules are washed out, so I try to wash my hair just twice a week. This is possible because I'm just home all the time so I don't get sweaty or my hair doesn't get exposed to pollution.
3. I use cool water for my hair. Hot water opens up the hair shaft, making the color seep out faster.
4. I don't go under the sun. The sun's rays bleach color!


I wrote more about taking care of colored hair in Working Mom's July issue last year. Dedet Panabi, the editor-in-chief, definitely picked the right girl for the job since I've been coloring my hair since I was 18! I know what I'm talking about!

I really think girls (and boys!) should just have fun with hair color. Try a different color every now and then. It's just hair! And when you find the perfect color for you, you'd be amazed at how it can completely change everything—your attitude, how people perceive you, your looks, your confidence!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Topaz Fashion: Camille Co for Cole Vintage

I'm blogging about this because while I love the idea of bloggers collaborating with brands, I want to point out that Camille Co is actually a real fashion designer. She designed and sold clothes under her Coexist label way before she became a blogger. I've also wanted to do brand collaborations before, mostly create maternity and nursing wear, but since I have no fashion design background, I just don't know if I can actually do it (Elin.ph, maybe we can discuss this? Haha).

Now I don't follow Camille's blog but I don't really follow fashion bloggers waaaaaay younger than me. I know of her because I've read about Coexist in magazines and I admire her talent and business acumen. So when I talk about Camille Co designing a line of dresses for Cole Vintage, it's because I know it's a good collaboration!

The dresses were launched a few weeks ago but are still available today. Here they are:

 And here is the dress I'm dying to have but can't because it's no longer available on their online store!
I love the flirty hem, the bold color, and that deep deep V in the back! Dear Camille and Cole Vintage, please please please make one more like this for me!

The Camille Co line is exclusively available at Cole Vintage stores at The Ramp Glorietta, The Ramp Shangri-la Plaza Mall, The Ramp Trinoma, SM Makati, SM North Edsa, SM Mall Of Asia, SM Aura, SM BF Paranaque, and at The Podium Mall. Visit www.colevintage.com to see more colors and the prices.

*images courtesy of Cole Vintage

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Two weddings, one love

We started 2014 super giddy with love because our dear friends Kat and Pat got married. It was such a love-filled and style-infused wedding! I don't remember attending a wedding where everyone was soooo thrilled and well dressed!

But let me begin with a few details:
Last June, Kat and Pat visited our home to ask Vince and me to be their ninong and ninang sa kasal. We're not much older than the soon-to-be married couple so we were surprised but Kat said that she's inspired by our love story. She also said that, if the time comes when she and Pat would need marriage advice, she wanted it to come from people she actually talks to, not some geriatric people who occupied important positions in society but not in their hearts.

So of course Vince and I said yes! We booked the flights to Cebu, we booked our room at Mövenpick, we bought a navy suit and a gold dress (the wedding colors were navy, gold, blush and cream), and then, on January 2, 2014, we woke up before dawn and flew to Mactan island.
The boys greeted the sun at the airport.
Enjoying the cool sea breezes and diffused bright light at the Mövenpick lobby.
Kat and Pat had toys for the kids so that the boys will be entertained during their stay. So thoughtful!
The grown-ups got fish crackers. Haha, no no, we got a big bag of goodies filled with
maple syrup lollipops, designer grooming products, and bottles of water! 
So after we settled in our room (more about Mövenpick at my mommy blog), we dressed up to go to the chapel wedding. This was the first wedding—only family and ninongs and ninangs. It was a pretty chapel with large windows of green glass. Hehe, now I know what it feels like to be a Sprite or a Mountain Dew!

In the tradition of my wedding posts, I'll just talk about my experience. I don't want to steal the story from the bride. Once Kat settles into married life and gets back to blogging again on Kat Dy Finds, maybe she'll tell you the story of their magical love and enchanting wedding.
I am wearing a tablecloth. No joke. The nun said my wrap dress was indecent and
then gave me a tablecloth to cover myself up LOL
The long lingering first married kiss! 
Gorgeous couple! I love Kat's outfit super!
Everyone's so happy! 
The reception was at La Maison Rose. Such a charming place with really good food! 
Since there was just a handful of us, Kat and Pat sat at every table and chatted with everyone. So intimate!

The next day was the big wedding. It was held at the hotel's garden by the beach. It was truly gorgeous! My goodness, every guest looked like they stepped out of a fashion magazine! I'm sorry I don't have photos here! I'm sure Kat does. I hope she blogs about her wedding soon!

Here comes the bride. Her skirt has a high slit. Really sexy!
The groom was so excited to see his bride. He was literally giddy, clapping and laughing!
Iñigo and I with my fab friends: new beauty blogger Nicole and new mommy Nikki. 
My family. The kids are sick here actually. Poor bunnies.
(Look to the left of the photo. Kat and Pat are so sweet!)
We have a gazillion photos but baka maloka kayo. Vince uploaded a lot on his Facebook account so try making friends with him so you can see the photos haha!

Anyway, after the ceremony, cocktails were served then everyone moved to Ibiza Beach Club, which lies right above the water, for dinner. Oh, the food was divine! Absolutely delicious! The speeches were heartfelt and fun. The newlyweds were hopping from one table to another, engaging everyone in talk, hugs and laughter. This was absolutely the funnest wedding ever! I wish her wedding had been a whole week instead of just two days!

Nic and me at dinner. 
After dinner, the guests all indulged in some really serious dancing. I had to go back to our room because the kids were sick. But I heard the next morning that the dancing lasted way into the night!

Dear Kat and Pat, thank you for inspiring us with your love. Thank you for making me and Vince your ninang and ninong. Thank you for being so relaxed and chill and giddy and totally cool at your wedding. We all felt the celebration! Since it was how our year started, I feel like it's affected the course of 2014—I want my year to be just as loved up and relaxed and stylish and sexy and fun as your wedding was! Cheers!

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Friday, February 07, 2014

Mommy fun at the PLDT Home Bro Brunch

Nuffnang and PLDT Home Bro invited me and several mommy bloggers to a special brunch recently. It was my first blogger event for 2014 and I thought it's so apt that it was all about bringing better Internet connection to the Filipino home.

First, a few photos from the brunch:
Brunch was held at Borough at the Podium Mall.
What we ate. The cookies and milk were sooo good!
The decor was in my favorite color: orange!
Fun games for the moms!
Crafts activities for moms and kids.

Now here's what PLDT Home Bro wanted us to share with you:

As a writer, blogger and mother, I strongly believe that every family will benefit from Internet access at home. I'm not just saying that because this is a sponsored post. I'm very connected—from my iPhone and iPad Mini (kindly provided by Smart!) to all the computers we have. When I worked as magazine editor and now as a freelance writer, being connected is vital. As a stay-at-home mom, I don't feel isolated and alone because I have my friends and family around virtually.

My kids will benefit from having Internet at home, too. I truly believe in child-driven education more than the traditional form of school-dictated curriculum, mostly because that was how I learned—from reading books and magazines that were waaaaay age-inappropriate and watching documentaries. Of course I went to good schools but I never enjoyed classroom learning. I found it boring and tedious. Education scientist and winner of the 2013 TED Prize Sugata Mitra said in this TED talk, "Children will learn to do what they want to learn what to do," and he quotes scientist and science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke: "If children have interest, then education happens." A computer and a fast Internet connection make that education possible.

If you're worried about your kids' access to dangerous sites, then it's even better that they do all their Internet use at home! You can monitor the sites they visit, block the sites you don't want them to see, supervise their use and the amount of time they spend online, and be available for support. You can't have all that if they use the Internet at some computer shop! Plus, a computer shop charges P30 an hour but with PLDT Home Bro's Family Bundles, you spend as little as just P36 to as much as P60 a day. Taking into account all the other expenses such as the commute, gas, etc, this is still waaaaaay cheaper and safer than sending your kid to the mall or the corner Internet shop!

Home Bro's Family Bundles feature Plan 1069 (with HP Deskjet printer) and Plan 1799 (with landline and SIM), and Plan 1799 (with HP notebook and HP Deskjet printer). Whatever plan you get for your family, you will definitely benefit. At the PLDT Home Bro Brunch, this quote caught me: "Home Bro is the great equalizer of Filipino families nationwide." This is true. Knowledge, information and education—no matter if you're rich or poor—really levels the playing field. Suddenly, everyone has a fighting chance to succeed. We can make that happen for ourselves and our kids when information is available right at our fingertips and in our own homes!

To learn more, visit the PLDT Home Bro page.

P.S. 
PLDT Home Bro is hosting its Panalo Mall Tour this February 6-9 at SM North the Block! Tell all your friends about the spectacular mall event filled with fun family activities. On Feb. 9, watch Luis Manzano host the Home Bro Panalo Gameshow from 3-5pm! Get great deals, join fun activities, and get a chance to win big raffle prizes – including a 1-minute grocery shopping spree! That’s what I like about Home Bro—it gives families opportunities to bond and enjoy activities together!

For those of you who won’t be able to catch the Home Bro Panalo Mall Tour this weekend, don’t worry—the mall tour will have six more stops nationwide at the following dates and venues:

February 11-16
 at SM Bicutan and SM Dasmarinas
February 18-23
 at SM Pampanga
March 3-9
 at SM Baguio
March 4-10
 at SM Cebu
March 17-23
 at SM Davao



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