Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's resolutions. Again!

I have a sinking feeling that my New Year's resolutions are the same every year (see here and here). And this is when I look in the mirror and say, "You disappoint me, Frances." Well, here's a progress report:

The Good
  • I am eating healthier (because I got pregnant, breastfed and am pregnant again).
  • I'm going to the doctor a lot for health check-ups (but that's because I'm pregnant and, honestly, I'm sick of seeing hospitals and doctors!) and the good news is I'm very healthy. 
  • I've worn red lipstick (it really does wake up the face!). 

The Bad
  • I was exercising but then my second pregnancy became delicate so I had to quit so now I'm all flabby again. 
  • With a baby and another on the way, sleep has become a thing of the past.
  • I'm still not drinking enough water.
  • I'm still pimply! My skin had actually cleared up, but then I got pregnant and the hormones are wreaking havoc on my poor face.

The Never Mind
  • I don't have to eat fruits. I already eat tons of veggies anyway!
  • I've resolved that some relationships are toxic and that it's better for me (and them) to just step back and not be involved. Especially now that I'm a mother and have very limited time to spend with anyone who doesn't deserve my time.

So now it's 2012 and I have a (kinda) new list of things to do:
  1. Drink more water!
  2. Exercise as soon as I hit my 6th month of pregnancy and then six weeks after I give birth. Not because I want to lose weight (it's never about the weight), but because I want to be strong and healthy for my children.
  3. Let this be the year my skin clears up!!!
  4. Use the lovely things I get for free (like luxury skin creams, eye-lash growth products, creamy lotions, etc) and try to go to the derma and salon more regularly so that I'd look even better! I'm already 35, with a growing family and career. I can't let myself go! 
  5. Spend more time with the people I truly care about and who care about me. I actually do--I'm very proud of that!--but I want to spend even more time with them. I don't know how I'm going to do that with all the things on my plate but I will!
  6. Go into business again. I tried this year and failed because of unreliable people (more on this soon). I have learned a lot and I will do better! But I'll do this after I give birth.
  7. Grow the blogs. Bigger and better this 2012!
So there! What's on your list? And do you ever get to resolve your resolutions? Do tell!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The gifts that I gave this year

... weren't my usual fabulousness, but that's because it's Christmas! I'm a better gift giver for birthdays, weddings and housewarmings because those are personal occasions but Christmas is just, well, it's a LOT of gifts to buy! So Vince and I give tokens instead, little somethings, ya know, a "Hey, we thought of you!" thing. Here are some of the stuff we gave to family and friends:
hardbound books from Fully Booked and candy from Candy Corner
science kits from Toy Kingdom and beauty/grooming sets from Bench
And the gifts I always give on Christmas: Body Shop Christmas collections!
Just cute little things, right? Now that I'm a mommy, I find that I just can't spend too much time away from my son. So we brought him along to the shops, which wasn't a good idea since Vito's a little devil, sweeping things off shelves and begging and whining for all the brightly colored things that fascinate a little boy. And since I'm pregnant, I'm not fast enough to stop him! So we did all our shopping from three shops. And that already felt like too many shops!

Anyway, this year, I didn't do any gift wrapping. With no household help, I just didn't have the time. So I figured I'd just put them all in brown bags and give them like so. After all, aren't brown paper packages tied up with string a few of our favorite things?
I think I'll do this again next year. It's simple and cheap!

I used to be a fantastic giftwrapper kinda girl--I'd do artsy folds, tie ribbons, add mistletoe and glitter. The works! Last year, I had the utterly insane idea of recycling magazine pages. Yes, it's a good green idea but I just had to take it up a notch and customize. For example, if the gift was a toy car, I looked for ads of cars and used those. If the gift was nail polish, I used nail polish ads, beauty product-beauty pages, book-book review section, food-recipe section, etc. I did not realize how hard it was to actually look for the perfect pages to match the gift! I am never doing that again!

I'll talk more about the holidays soon. This was a lovely season for my little family--even after we had a big scare right before Christmas Eve--and I want to tell you all about it. My Facebook page followers have a bit of an idea; I'll talk more about it here this week. Plus, I want to share my blessings! I've been preparing a blog giveaway but haven't gotten around to doing it because, well, you all know my reason: I have no household help! So stay tuned, folks!

From our home to yours, we wish you all the love, joy, peace and prosperity in the world!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Almost done with the Christmas shopping

There are gifts under my pink tree!
It's a week before Christmas and my Twitter and Facebook feeds are all screaming about the horrible traffic jams and crowded malls. I'm glad that we didn't need to go out and shop since last month, we had already bought toys for the kids, gift sets for friends and neighbors, and little cutesy stuff for co-workers and forgotten relatives (haha).

Oh wait. I forgot that I went to Megamall a few days ago because I still don't have gifts for my nieces. They had asked for new clothes and this has left me stumped. For one thing, I hated getting clothes when I was young (even now actually). The clothes gifted to me are usually not my size and not my style.

Well, I asked my nieces what their dress sizes are and even then, at the mall with my sister, I was paralyzed. What do teen girls wear these days anyway? I was looking around the girls at the mall and was just horrified. They're either in the most unimaginative clothes or they're dressed indecently.

So my sister suggested we shop with the girls. Seemed like a good idea until I remembered the time I shopped with my niece for her prom dress. One dress, one pair of shoes--6 hours. I guess you'd say that's not so bad but regular readers know I hate shopping at the mall. The longest I'd spend at a mall is 2 hours, and half of that time is spent eating. So the 6 hours spent looking through racks upon racks of gowns was torture. (SM Dept Store truly has everything, by the way, from size 0 chiffon gowns and cheap plus size cocktail dresses to tacky nightmares and intricately beaded works of art!)

But, Y, if you're reading this, I want you to know the torture you put me through was worth it since you looked absolutely perfect in your lavender gown and silver strappy heels. And the cherry on top is you ended up as Prom Queen! But... I will not go through that again! So can I just give you gift certificates so you can shop for yourself?

I may abhor shopping but Vito makes going to the mall fun!
Hmm. Do you think gift certificates are a no-no gift? Some people say it's a lazy gift. Well, I love GCs! I love cash gifts, too! But in this case, I truly honestly have no idea what kind of clothes my nieces want and where to buy them. Where does one buy stylish clothes for girls 10 to 16 years old anyway? The ones I've seen so far either bore me to tears or shock me. I saw an adorable dress for a 10- to 12-year-old girl, for example, but when I took it from the rack, it was backless. Backless!

So I have a week to buy my nieces new clothes. Or just give them shopping money on Christmas. If you were a teenage girl, which would you prefer?

Not done with your shopping? Check out Unarosa's Top 10 Fashion Finds!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Juggling work and home. Whew!

Haven't been able to update because, well, you all know the household help abandoned us last week and, boy, it's been tough to juggle caring for the baby, the house and the job! But you know what? It can be done! The past few days have been incredibly exhausting but super incredible, too. I'll talk more about that over at Topaz Mommy but I will say that I am lucky to have the job I have because my hours are flexible and I get to bring Vito to the office!

Tonight was the office Christmas party, by the way. I wasn't able to go because of my yaya-less situation. I feel a bit bummed--very slightly--because the Christmas parties of the company I work for are insane. Being a media company, we're populated by highly creative, very expressive, super fun lunatics. Some people are decked out in lingerie, some wear costumes like cheerleader outfits, nurses uniforms and all incarnations of Johnny Depp's movie characters. Some guys have attended as women, some women have attended as... well, let's just say their mothers wouldn't have approved! All in all, our parties are fun to attend if only to see what crazy outfits people come up with.

But I haven't gone to an office party since 2009. That year I was suffering intense nausea and fatigue as I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. Last year, I didn't go either because I was a new mom and was just overwhelmed and tired. This year, well, I had no one to leave Vito with (I'd have to bring Vince because no way am I going to a party without a car, not with the hellish traffic we've been suffering this season!).

Am I sad to not have gone? Well, a part of me wanted to see all the craziness again (it has been a while!) but a bigger part of me just wanted to cuddle the baby. It's not sourgraping. It's just being a mommy, I guess. I get a lot of crazy from my 16-month-old child all day anyway!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Now I know why I got fat

And it isn't because of my pregnancy. It's because I employed maids since August 2010, Vito's birth month. And the no-housework life has proved to be my body's undoing!

I haven't lived with a maid since I was 13 years old. So that's 20 years of doing everything myself. Even though I say I'm a cluttery person, that's really just in comparison to my ever-so-neat husband. I'm actually pretty clean! So the most difficult thing about parenthood for Vince and me so far had been the fact that we had to hire help. Mahirap makisama, right? Especially if you know how Vince and I are--we're not the sort who make pakisama, but for the past one year and three months, that's what we've been doing.

And now that's over and done with! The yaya and maid left abruptly last Friday. The yaya's eldest daughter abandoned her three kids last week and so yaya had to go home. Since she had no idea how and when that mess would be fixed, she resigned. The maid, who is yaya's niece, has a jealous husband and when he found out that the yaya won't be with the maid anymore, he ordered her to resign as well. So there!

(I'm digressing!)

So this weekend, Vince and I did all the chores--cooking, cleaning, washing up, the laundry--on top of taking care of the baby. Boy, are we tired! But I was surprised when I was doing the laundry and my arms started to hurt by the third article of clothing. The third! How flabby and weak I'd gotten! I used to do full loads of laundry, rinse and rinse again, hang dry, fold and iron, and no muscle ever complained! Well, my back muscles usually, from bending over and over the washing machine, but I'm used to household chores. Rather, I used to be. Now my whole body is screaming in pain!

So I guess I know now what my secret to being slim all these years is--housework! Twenty years of tidying up, scrubbing toilets, doing the laundry, ironing, running to the supermarket, cooking, dusting, polishing have helped keep me trim. And when I stopped doing the chores, my body got fat and flabby fast. I guess this means I better get off my ass then! It will be harder with a toddler and a baby on the way (on top of a career and blogging!) but I can do this!

Even when we do hire help again, I really have to stop depending on the maids. I just don't want this screaming-flabby-muscles thing to happen again. It's alarming actually. So until the new maids arrive, I'll get busy strengthening my body.

Meanwhile, I have a secret weapon: Vince! He's beyond fabulous when it comes to tidying up. There are huge benefits to having a husband who can't stand dirt and disarray and whose favorite thing to do is clean up! I sure am a lucky girl!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

On deep dark secrets

In one episode of HBO's truly magnificent gangster series Boardwalk Empire, a badly burned agent woke up in his hospital bed and told Agent Van Alden, "I see you. I know." Those cryptic declarations sent Van Alden in a whirl of panic. On paper, Van Alden was a God-fearing, laced-up, Bible verse-spouting Prohibition agent. Behind that facade, he's actually a lying, cheating, adulterous, murderous man. And when the burned agent said those words, "I see you. I know," he set off a chain of events that led to the guilty and frightened Van Alden's undoing.

There's this story I heard--and I don't know if it's true--that a long time ago, the writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame, played a simple practical joke on English society. Legend has it that he sent anonymous notes to the five most powerful families one morning with these words: "Your secret is out. Flee!" By that evening, the families have fled. Interesting, right?

What I'm driving at is the terrible secrets that we all seem to have. I've been mulling over this because of the whole Piolo-KC and Mo-Rhian thing. Piolo's supposed to be gay and Rhian's allegedly had at least one abortion. For a while there, I was as riveted as everyone but finally, I was just scratching my head. So what if he's gay? So what if she's had an abortion? I'm not saying I heartily approve, I'm just saying that we all have our secrets and too bad theirs came out.
KC and Piolo
Mo and Rhian

I will confess that I have no secrets. My life is an open book. I guess that's why I took to blogging so quickly. My mother always hated my indiscretion--that's her term--but I just don't see the point of hiding things. If you ask me a question, I will answer it. And never ever tell me your secret because I will not keep it. I won't spread it but if someone asks, I always find myself blurting it out with no guilt whatsoever. My friends have learned very quickly. They never tell me anything!

There is one secret I've only told my nearest and dearest but that's because it isn't my secret. It's a family secret--it isn't mine, it's someone else's. I don't see anything wrong about sharing it but my Mama made me promise not to blog about it. So I won't blog about it.

Other than that, I have nothing to hide. Yep, no sex tape (yet!). And I promise that if I do have a secret to confess tearfully on national TV, I will do so in a designer dress, with salon blowout hair and fabulous makeup! Well, maybe no mascara. Just kidding!

Seriously, there is such marvelous freedom and lightness and beauty at having absolutely no secrets! That doesn't mean I'm blameless and spotless. I've done things that would make you blush, that the absolutely conservative ones will frown upon and condemn. But I never hid them away. I always stood up for what I think is right, for what I am passionate about, so I've always talked about my life openly because I'm not ashamed of it. It's not perfect but I believe my life is very well thought out, very well planned, and very well lived. I have no deep, dark, dirty secrets--whatever dark or dirty deed I've done, it's all accounted for, confessed, forgiven. I am free!

So if you're young, please just don't let life happen to you. Take charge. If you've made mistakes, acknowledge them, take responsibility and move on. If you are doing something that you truly believe in is good and right but others don't understand, fight for it. If you had a nose job, boob job, don't lie and say you blossomed. You have to rid your life of the baggage of secrets! You have to stop living a life of lies and deceit and shame. Then you can avoid the disastrous scandals our local stars are wallowing in!

And on that note, I am done with local showbiz! I am much happier delving into the life of Hollywood celebrities. Not cleaner, not at all, but definitely less messy. There's something to be said about Hollywood's fierce publicity machine. It makes everything so fake but ain't it pretty?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Malling with my boys

I usually write about my family, my son especially, over at Topaz Mommy. I figured that since a lot of single girls with no kids read this blog, you wouldn't be interested. But it's Christmas and I just want to share a little escapade we had at Power Plant recently.

My cutie patooties! This family date was a couple of weeks ago. Since then, Vito had outgrown his uber cool adidas Star Wars Boba Fett shoes, Vince had had a haircut, and I have gotten even more preggy-looking!

Vito checking out the reindeer. Here he said, "Dede!" Funny boy. He doesn't breastfeed anymore--he weaned, on his own, when I got pregnant--but whenever he sees bare chests (men, women and, in this case, animal!), he chuckles and says, "Dede!"

Vito taking in the huge entrance of Toys R Us. I think that is the look of an overwhelmed little boy.

And this is us at Cibo Bimbi. We're trying our hand at coloring. I even bought a sketch book and big, toxic-free crayons after this. But it's a bad idea. I've put away the crayons for when he's a little older and understands that walls, sheets and floors aren't to be colored!

And here's my little boy trying out a plane ride at... you know, I have no idea what the name of that amusement place is. It's the one right beside Bimbi. Anyway, Vito's never been on a ride before and I thought he'd enjoy it...
He did. For two seconds. Then he got dizzy. Poor baby! But he's soooo cute even though he's dizzy!

And there you go! A tiny peek at a day in our life! As you can see, we don't really dress up, we don't bring yaya. I don't even put on makeup or brush my hair! We just have simple family fun. Well, we shop a lot. We used to shop a lot, before Vito. But he's such a handful now that there is just no way for us to go shopping! So we just play and eat and play and eat! That's about two hours then off for home. Life's gotten much simpler but more fun!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Singin' in the rain. Finally!

I've been blogging about the Loeffler Randall boots for a while now. I said I wanted them in last year and, finally, a few months ago, I finally bought a pair of rain boots and... I forgot to tell you about it!

I did take photos of when they arrived so these photos are old. My hair is still short and I'm not pregnant yet. Because I was also not very presentable (I didn't even brush my hair), I also got shy to post the photos so I forgot about the boots until the unseasonal rainy weather arrived!

Oh, and I apologize for the mess. My house is very orderly and clean thanks to my husband, Vince. But unfortunately for Vince, he married a messy and cluttery woman. The compromise we have is the rest of the house stays perfect but he gave me pockets that I can mess up--a corner here, a corner there. This is one of those corners!

Anyway! The unboxing!
The boots were ordered online from Loeffler Randall's shop. A few days later, Johnny Air texted to say I have a big box waiting at their Megamall office. So off I went! And yes, it was a BIG box.

I love that there was a personal, handwritten note from the staff! I mean, seriously, who does handwritten thank you notes from a high-end designer brand? Hmm, come to think of it, they should always include a note with your purchase since it makes it all the more special!

And here are my boots! Taupe rain boots that I super duper love!

These boots look oh so much better in real life, too! Everybody who has seen my boots always stop and comment on them. They ask if it's leather (it's rubber of course!), they ask where I bought them, they say the boots are gorgeous. And they are!

Here are photos of me wearing them to the office a few weeks after unboxing (I just found out I was pregnant when these photos were taken!):   

I always do that to my skirt! I love pocketsy dresses, you see, but whenever people take my photo, I get giddy and do that to my skirt. It totally ruins the dress!

Now if you want your own stylish rain boots, I highly recommend Loeffler Randall! My taupe pair is currently on a mega sale--from $195 to just $98! They also have the boots in black and green. They have rain booties, too.

If you're wondering how you can order from the US, I just have to say that we love the service of Johnny Air. Vince talks about how we buy from US online shops on his blog, Third World Nerd.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Beyonce shows us wives how to do it

Have y'all seen Beyonce's "Dance for You" video? The song talks about how she wants to show her man some appreciation for all the wonderful things he's done for her and given her.

My unmarried friend Irish asked on Facebook, "Are wives expected to dance for their husbands?"

I replied, "Well, of course." (And I expect my husband to do a strip-tease for me, too!) "What wives aren't expected to do is bring sexy back-up dancers like Beyonce did!"

Hope you're having a sexy weekend, girls!