Friday, October 28, 2011

What I want for my 35th birthday

In exactly 10 days, I'm going to be 35. I find it terribly exciting--the 30s for me has always been a woman's sexiest age, the time when she's most confident, free from the insecurities that the teens and 20s were plagued with. I'm also looking forward to my 40s because that is when I think a woman is at her most powerful. Exciting times!

So what do I want for my milestone?

Well, I do have everything I need. I still have a lot of wants but, as they are wants, they don't bother me so much. But let me just tell you what they are!

Stuff I want:
1. A year's subscription to Glamour and Vanity Fair. Vince already gifted me with these! Thanks, babe!
2. A few days at the beach with my hubby and little boy, plus yaya. I'm not a beach person but what is it about kids that make you want to play in the sun and sand?
3. A year's worth of facials so that my acne will finally go away! Calling all my friends in the beauty industry! Wink, wink!
4. Shopping sprees at Mango, Karimadon, Zara, SM Forum and K&Co.
5. Shopping sprees at Mothercare, SM Baby, Rustan's Baby and Gingersnaps.
6. Red velvet cake from Karen's Kitchen.
7. Carrot cake from my friend Mariel, who I dearly miss and who will not be baking me cakes because she's in NYC.
8. A girly day at a nail salon with my girlfriends, who I also miss. This bed rest is so sad.
9. A MacBook. Either Air or Pro. Still can't decide!
10. An assistant!

Of course I have other less frivolous things on my mind, like...
1. I wish the subchorionic hemorrhage in my uterus would disappear so that my little Wiggle will be safe and I can get out of the house again. I whine a lot about being stuck home but I do that so I don't worry about Wiggle. Sometimes when I'm being shallow, it's really because something else vastly more important is pressing itself against my mind and my heart and I need to set my sights on glittery shiny things to not drown in the darkness.
2. I pray always for the safety, protection and good health of Vince, Vito and myself. And the yaya and maid! I don't think I utter a prayer more often than this one. Protect us, keep us safe, make us invisible to evil, keep us healthy. Sometimes, that's all I say to God. It must be maddening!
3. I wish all the kinks in this bag business will get ironed out. With Uncle Buck old and working slow and the leather supply running out because of the floods in Bulacan, I may have a ton of interested customers but if I can't meet demand... It's just really very frustrating for me.
4. I wish that all our plans for the magazine I edit will go spectacularly well in 2012. We're doing very well actually--both in advertising and circulation--but I want it to be bigger!
5. I want my blogs to become bigger than ever, too. They're actually great--thousands of views, steady growth, steady stream of advertisers and sponsors--but I'm ready to go HUGE.

That's all. I am beyond blessed and I thank God often for the life I have. I worked hard for it, sure, but I believe the right people and the opportunities were also sent my way and that I was smart enough (or I was advised well) to recognize them. And I am happy and completely content. Yet I am ready for more. I'll be 35 soon. In 10 days! I'm ready to do more!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Ate Frances

This year, something very strange happened to my inbox. It became filled with letters from blog readers asking for advice. Love, career, relationship, college, life--all these serious questions! Look, there is a reason I keep this blog silly--so you won't take me seriously, y'all! But strangely you all seem to think I'm some wise old woman. Hmmm. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or right!

Two weeks ago, I got two similar letters asking about marriage. "Dear Ate Frances, how do I know if I'm ready for marriage?" Dear kids, I don't know! My friend Kat of Kat Dy Finds offers her wise words: "If you're asking that question, then you're obviously not ready!"

But here is my explanation on why I don't know:

I'm nearly 35 years old. I've been madly in love with the same man for 12 years and have been married to him for 4. What do I know?! I'm just living life every day and learning something new each day, just like the rest of you. Marriage is hard some days, marriage is easy most days (at least, for me!). But I think that holds true for most things. But because you think I seem to have all the answers, I'll try to talk you through your woes.

Too young?
Dear L, you said you're 22 and graduating this March. Your boyfriend since 2nd year high came up with the romantic idea of marrying right after graduation. You love him intensely but you're worried you're too young and that you might meet someone else. So what are you to do?

L, I think "too young" is any age below the legal age. But a few years ago, I'd have heartily agreed with you. I know too many people who got married in their teens and early 20s and are separated now. "What were they thinking?", I always snickered. But recently, I've met wonderful people who are happily married (or living together) and they tell me they married at 19, 21, 22, 24. I know a couple, both 35,  who had an arranged marriage and they are sickeningly disgustingly all goo-goo eyes for each other since they were 14. Like I said, what do I know?

As for meeting someone else... Well, of course you'll meet someone else! Unless your husband plans to lock you up in a tower for the rest of your life, expect to meet guys who are richer, cuter, smarter, funnier, etc. Marriage certainly hasn't stopped a lot of people from falling in love with someone else. So it's up to you if you want to be true to your vows.

I've always believed that you should marry for love but that love shouldn't be the foundation of a marriage. It should be commitment. Because if it's love, well, what if one day you wake up and you don't love him anymore? Or he doesn't love you? Commitment and respect. That's what marriage is all about. If he is someone you respect and if you believe you and he are capable of a huge lifelong commitment, then what's age got to do with it?

Marriage is a hindrance to success?
Dear K, you're 27 years old and you're enjoying your career. Your boyfriend of 2 years is going to propose. You know this because you're a snoopy girl and you saw text messages between your guy and a jeweler. You're thrilled and scared because you love him madly but you're afraid marriage will end your career.

Well, K, I can totally relate. Vince asked me to marry him a month after we met and I turned him down because I was fresh out of college and haven't done anything in my life. My mistake there was I had thought Vince would be just like all the men in my family, who think women are meant for the kitchen and the bedroom. So I didn't want to get tied down. What I failed to see all those years was Vince is a wonderfully unconventional man. In fact, most of my career successes were his doing. He was my cheerleader, my guide, my mentor. He pushed me to work hard, to maneuver, to pick my battles, to win most of them, to advance up, up, up.

After Vince and I got married, my career blossomed even more. For one thing, people took me seriously. I think they think married people are more responsible so my boss gave me more responsibilities. Also, when you're married, you have a two-income household (I'm assuming you don't want to quit your job because of all your protests). With all that money, life is incredibly easy.

So what am I saying? K, if your guy is an open-minded man who isn't insecure about his woman's success, then you have nothing to worry about. It's much easier to go through life and a career with a man who believes in you, who has your back. But if he's the sort of guy who thinks little of women, believes you're only good for sex and service, and can't stand it if you're a success, well, then run away!

Love advice is hard to give because each situation is different, each intensely personal. I've learned not to give advice because if the situation doesn't end well, then I'm blamed. Girls, it's your life. Think it over and think well. It's good you're asking people what they think but in the end, it's your life and you're the only one responsible for it. So choose well! Good luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

These earrings from Payless can save someone's life!

I've not bought anything from Payless yet. I know a ton of people who shop there constantly for the inexpensive shoes and I've been meaning to check the shop out ever since it opened last year but I never seem to have the time to pass by. Well, now I want to go there because of these earrings!

These are special limited edition earrings that are priced at a mere P175 per set of two. Yes, you get the two pairs for just P175! They'll look really pretty on anyone's ears and since I'm the kind of girl who never leaves home without earrings, I'd definitely love to have these. I'm super loving the pink one. So pretty!

The best part about these earrings is P50 from each sale will go to the Cancer Resource and Wellness Community (CAREWELL). You see, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and buying these earrings is a lovely way for us to help out the people who are fighting this deadly disease. In fact, I suggest we all buy the earrings (they're just P175!) and give them away as Christmas gifts with a card that says, "This gift is really special! It comes with a donation to CAREWELL that I made for you."

And here's a secret: It also comes with a gift for you! Payless will give you 10% discount off on your next purchase just because you supported this great cause! What will you buy now that you have that special discount?

Payless branches: Festival Mall in Alabang, SM Megamall, Ali Mall, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Shoppesville Greenhills, Power Plant Mall, Robinsons Galleria, Market! Market!, Marquee Mall in Pampanga, Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Laguna, Trinoma, SM Manila, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Masinag, Abreeza in Davao, SM Southmall and Nuvali Solenad 2. More stores are set to open this year in Metro Manila, as well as in Cebu.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Please report this Facebook profile

Today, I received an email from a very concerned reader, Amina, who told me that someone named Jamie Palanca is using my photos on her Facebook account and passing them off as her own.

Since I wasn't friends with this woman, I couldn't see her other photos but Amina told me that in the other photos, Ms. Palanca claimed Vito as her own, except that she named him Savannah Lauren. And as you can also see from her comment below, she also claimed Vince as her husband.
Talagang angkinin ang asawa't anak ko, ha!

I am not very upset. This is something unexpected, after all. That's one of the consequences of putting your life all over the Internet. I was telling my friend Jill that it's kinda funny, kinda creepy, kinda flattering (although why did she use that unflattering photo?!) but mostly very sad and pathetic. So, guys, don't worry. I'm cool!

My cousin Diana pointed out, however, that while it's great I'm not blowing my top over this, she said that Ms. Palanca is an online seller. If she happens to be an unscrupulous person (and she very well may be because if she can lie about this then she can lie about anything), then she might be running off with people's money. And then what if a swindled customer saw me or my family somewhere and gets angry and attacks us? Put that way, that is a very scary scenario.

Well, folks, please do me a HUGE favor and report this person. Kindly go to her Facebook page (click here) and, on the left side of the profile, somewhere under the profile pic, click on "Report/Block" and say this person is pretending to be me. Thank you!

P.S. Please don't post harsh words on her wall. I know some of you are very protective of me (thanks!). I think it's a very sad thing she had to do this so let's just wish she finds a great husband and make gorgeous babies and have a fabulous life so that she wouldn't need to pretend to be me!

P.P.S. I wouldn't have known about this if it weren't for Amina. Thank you! You know, despite this, I'm still very glad I blog because I have people all over the world who truly care for me and my family. I am very blessed!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What happened last Tuesday

If you've been following me on Twitter, you'd have known that I've been ordered to rest by my doctor. As I have never been one to do as she's told, I've still been going to work, playing rough with my toddler, and attending events here and there.

Last Monday, I came home from work at 9pm. The next day, I went to the office early to check on the bible (that's the mock issue) of the November ish before we sent it to the printers then Vince and I drove to Sofitel for Sony's event.

When I got home at around 4pm, I wasn't feeling well. So I decided to skip Jimmy Choo and Bvlgari. But confronted with a super playful Vito, I took him to the playground. After a few rounds, I started feeling dizzy and  very unwell so off we trooped for home.

At 6ish, Vince and I had dinner, but mid-way through, I got up from the table and ran to the bathroom. I had a terribly upset stomach. That was also when I saw there was quite a bit of blood down there. Not in the back but at the front of down there. I was alarmed. I literally felt like fainting. I wiped and wiped and there was still blood. There wasn't supposed to be blood. You see, I'm pregnant.

Vince and I rushed to St. Luke's Global. I called my OB and I was instructed to go directly to the labor room. Vince deposited me at the ER then he drove off to park. "I'll meet you at the labor room," he said.

I walked into the ER and said, "Hello, how do I get to the labor room?"

A cute young man said, "I'll bring you there myself, ma'am. Do you have a relative giving birth?"

"No. I'm the patient."

He glanced at my stomach very quickly and seeing that I had no belly worthy of labor, he very politely said, "Oh! Would you like a wheelchair?"

"No. I need to walk off my nervousness. I'm pregnant, you see, and I started bleeding."

He looked alarmed. "Ma'am, you need a wheelchair!"

"Nah. Just walk with me. Labor room. Now."

Elevator doors opened and we stepped in. Silence. Then he said, "You're very... calm."

And I said, "No use worrying." And I smiled at this young boy who looked like he needed more assurance than I did.

At the Maternity Floor, he very quickly looked for a nurse to assist me. I was taken to the labor room. Vince arrived, looking worried. An OBG did an internal exam and said--to everyone's relief--"Your cervix is still very hard." That means my cervix is still closed, which means a miscarriage is not in progress.

We had to wait a good long while for the sonologist, who was called away from dinner at home. While waiting, Vince wondered aloud, "What does a very hard cervix feel like? I don't feel anything hard in there." And I said, "Well, you're not going anywhere near my cervix!" We laugh, haha, nervous laughter. But it's good to laugh when you're scared. That's why, girls, you marry a man who has a sense of humor!

Finally, the sonologist came and checked on the baby. Baby was alive. Baby had a strong heartbeat. Baby wiggled. It wiggled its little butt! We laughed. We're fine. We're fine!

And this is me at the lobby of St. Luke's. We had just finished paying for our bill. I'm having a cup of milk tea (free at the admissions section), which I had to get to soothe my frazzled nerves. I'm very happy now. Vince, too. He was completely stressed out, poor daddy. So now I'm on complete bed rest. Please please keep me and the little new one in your prayers.

Oh, and we've finally come up with a name for the baby: Wiggle!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My so-called glam life

This week, I got an email from a reader who demanded I stop writing about my satchels (buy one now!) and go back to writing about my glamorous life. Sweetheart, my satchels are part of my glamorous life! Because of my satchels, I can now call myself designer and entrepreneur! That's a lot cooler than the nerdy writer, right?

Sigh. The problem with blogging only about the nice parts of my life is people only see a tiny aspect of me. The so-called glamorous part and then everyone thinks I spend my days drinking champagne, marinating in the salon or the spa, shopping away, attending parties every night, la di da. Ugh, how boring. I honestly don't know why any woman would want to spend her life like that!

Most days, I don't brush my hair or put on makeup.
You know what my life is like? It starts at 5 in the morning, washing the poop off my son's butt. Then I spend the day chained to my desk, writing and editing and approving photos. I'm in meetings talking about circulation figures and ad revenues and how to meet financial targets. I'm hunched over my computer, answering inquiries about my bags, sending invoices, checking balances. At the end of the day, I blog or work on my other writing projects. And most of the time, I haven't brushed my hair at all!

Of course, every once in a while, I'll have to attend meetings with brand managers and advertising clients. I'll have to attend events and product launches. Then I'll have to blow dry my hair, slap on the makeup and put on a nice dress. But while you may think that this is fun, events aren't parties--they're business. So I don't get drunk, I don't throw my hands in the air and dance with abandon, I don't flirt. I just meet the people who can help my magazine, ask what they want from me and my magazine, then go home.
Even when I go out, I choose comfort first.

But I know, I know. That sounds so boring and familiar. You wouldn't want to read about that because it sounds a lot like your day. I guess I just find it strange that people will take my blog at face value. That what you see here is what you think my entire life is all about. There are no books here but that doesn't mean I don't read. I hardly talk about my son here (read about him on my mommy blog!) but that doesn't mean I don't think about him every minute. There's nothing here about our government, divorce, the RH Bill and gay marriage but that doesn't mean I don't have very strong opinions on those issues.

I don't talk about those things because I  confess that I am not a very agreeable person. I am highly opinionated, terribly articulate and have a bad temper. I'm confrontational. I'm reactionary. If I wrote about controversial things, then I'll get into trouble. I've already gotten into trouble actually (mostly over stuff I've said over Twitter and Facebook). So to be safe, I just keep things light and happy here.

But please don't ever think I'm all sunshine. I will continue to talk about the lovely parts of my life because I enjoy doing that but please don't demand things from me. I'm aware that I might've created some sort of illusion but I'm afraid I'm not an escape, a role model, a style icon, a success story or whatever you project on me. I'm just me, and believe it or not, I'm very much like you.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Happy bespoke leather satchel owner: Em

I super duper love this review of Em of Akira and Everything Nice!

A lot of girls shy away from buying my satchel because they think nothing will fit in it. Well, as Em will happily prove to you (click on the link in the first sentence!), the 11" satchel is ready to bring all your essentials and more! Actually, when I saw all the stuff she had, even I got nervous. So I was SO HAPPY all her gadgets, baby stuff and kikay kit fit!

Thanks, Em! You are the second person I know who said she dreamed of the satchel. I think that's amazing that your dream has come true! I also want to thank your hubby for insisting you get the satchel. That makes him just like my hubby. Em, ang swerte natin sa asawa grabe!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

About the blogging break

I've been neglecting the blogs. I said on my Facebook page (like! like! like!) that I ought to have a blogging schedule: M-W-F for Topaz Horizon, T-TH-S for Topaz Mommy and Sundays for Beauty For A Living. Well, even I balked at that!

I do apologize for the lack of regular updates. September was... interesting. That should prompt you to ask, "If it was so innerestin, then why ya not bloggin?" Well, I don't want to say yet although my Twitter followers (follow me!) have guessed correctly the BIG REASON why I've been cocooning myself. If you want to guess, then check out Leona Panutat's blog which featured me as her Yummy Mommy for October. Judging from my recent photos (especially the pink Versace dress), I think you can deduce why I've been hiding: I'm fat. Haha! Actually, there's a reason for the plumpness but let's talk about that another day.

Then there's work, the bag business, and of course, my little toddler who is running around so fast and I just can't keep up. As Leona describes me, "Wife. Mom. Editor. Blogger. Entrepreneur." Whew. I got exhausted just reading that.

And I was actually telling Vince the other day, "I want to add humanitarian or activist or philanthropist!" To which he dryly replied, "You gotta be really rich for the philanthropist part." He also added I'm crazy for wanting to even put more on my already very full plate.

I just can't keep up. That sums up my life lately, I guess. So much is happening and I can't seem to keep up anymore. Everyone is telling me, "Step back. Slow down. Relax." So I am. Wish me luck!