Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On love, hope and faith (plus lots of famous quotes!)

Last week, I got an email from a reader asking me for advice. Now I said I don't like giving advice but she was sincere and sad and desperate so I believe I had to say something. Here's what she asked (I edited it a bit):
Dear Ms. Frances,
My boyfriend and I have been together for five happy years. He said his New Year's resolution is to marry me. I'm very afraid of marriage because my father cheated on my mother constantly. How can I tell if my boyfriend, when he's my husband, won't cheat on me? You said you were also afraid of marriage but you never said why. How did you finally agree to marriage? How do you know Sir Vince will be faithful or that you yourself won't ever cheat on him?

Dear Fearful of the Unfaithful,

First of all, I think your guy is awfully cute. I've never heard of a New Year's resolution like that! The problem with his resolution, however, is it all depends on you and you happen to be resolute in remaining unmarried.

I think that it's unfair of you to keep him waiting, considering that you have, as you yourself described, five happy years as proof this guy loves you and you alone. But I am familiar with this fear of marriage so I won't condemn you.

The past is a powerful thing. So witnessing your father's infidelity and your mother's suffering can leave a horrible scar. Maybe it hasn't even healed. And now it's a wound that continues to hurt you... and your man. Look, your boyfriend is not your father and you are not your mother. Not all men are scumbags and not all women take shit. So don't let someone else's past affect your future!

I was afraid of marriage because, like you, I saw my mother suffer. My father never really took care of her--he didn't put that roof over her head, didn't provide for her and her children. But my mother never left him because she believed, as I do, that marriage is till death. Besides, he was the one man who made her laugh. However, she kept telling me, up to the last time we talked, that if she were to live her life all over again, she would never have gotten married. That's why I was deathly afraid of marriage. So you and I may have different reasons, but it led to the same results.

How did I finally agree to marry Vince? Well, I loved him. Still do. I believe I always will. Still, it seemed love wasn't enough of a reason to take that plunge. What made me finally marry him was my realization that life will never be perfect but, with Vince, it's going to be pretty darn close!

Still, it haunts us, my indecision. One time, I told Vince that that famous line from When Harry Met Sally made me cry: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Vince replied, "Then why did you wait so long?"

That hit me in the gut. Why did I wait so long when I knew from the start he was The One? Because I was afraid, and fear, as a wise old Jedi once said, is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. And you, my dear sad frightened girl, are now suffering. You're afraid of the past. You're afraid of the future.

How can you tell a guy won't ever cheat on you? Well, you can't. It takes faith to marry. Faith, as the Bible says so eloquently, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So in marriage, all you have going for you is hope--hope that he'll be true to you always, hope that you'll honor your vows, hope that your love will last forever. And hope, as Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption defines, is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Aside from that wonderful word "happy," you didn't describe your relationship a lot but I think what you and your man have is a good thing. Don't let that good thing die. I think you know that, too. And I think you know exactly what to do.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Black is slimming. Stripes make you look fat.

So say the style rules. But pregnancy, in its usual exasperating way, changed the rules yet again.

I looked like a stuffed sausage in black...
Zara shirt, Gingersnaps leggings, Anthology flats,
Kate Spade bag, Vita Fede gold-studded leather bangle,
plastic earrings from tiangge

... but I looked really cute in stripes!
Zara tee, Gingersnaps shorts, Anthology tweed flats.
Longchamp clutch, Vita Fede gold-studded leather bangle,
pearl necklace


Will post more pregnant pics soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It's my year!

I was born in 1976, which makes me a Fire Dragon. I'm not Chinese but every time I tell a Chinese person that I'm a Fire Dragon, they get really impressed, and I haven't even told them all my other accomplishments yet! Seems to me that, to them, to be born a Dragon is a huge accomplishment in itself. Then when they find out that I'm giving birth in the year of the Water Dragon to a male child no less, my Chinese friends get all wild and happy and envious and full of wonder. They think I'm the luckiest woman alive!

Well, I don't believe in astrology but I won't say no to good fortune. And if a huge number of people think I'm incredibly lucky and powerful and blessed, then so be it! After all, my life does seem to be pretty fantastic. Whether or not that was destined, I am grateful.

Anyway, to usher in the year of the most powerful astrological sign, many companies have some awesome stuff lined up. They have deluged my inbox with press kits and, only because I'm a Dragon and 2012 is supposed to be my year, I'd like to share with you some of the more interesting stuff I got!

Party with Sun Life! 
The Dragon is believed to be the mightiest member of the Chinese astrology animal pack. The Dragon year is said to always be a lucky year because of the fierce energy it brings to everyone. Well, considering how terrible last year was (Japan earthquake and tsunami, political upheavals, Sendong), I say we need all the powerful and positive energy we can get this 2012!

Sun Life Financial (that's my family's insurance provider!) is celebrating the Dragon year with a truly terrific party! The morning of January 24 will witness a thousand-foot dragon dancing at the heart of the Chinese community in Binondo. It will parade through to Manila City Hall then Jones Bridge then end its dance spectacularly at Plaza Lorenzo. Why a dragon that's 1,000 feet long? Sun Life says it represents the "long and steady years that w ehave been of service to the Filipino and Chinese communities."

In the afternoon of the same day, the party continues in Bonifacio Global City. There will be performances by drumbeaters and zip and poi dancers. Plus, there will also be a special show called the "Fung Show," the highlight being a talk on improving your wealth, health and prosperity in the mighty year of the Dragon.

Bloggers who have those huge cameras (get an Olympus Pen, dammit! No, seriously, you don't need those mega-cameras in this day and age. Sa totoo lang talaga, hindi porke malaki camera mo, maganda na ang pictures mo) will definitely enjoy the chance to capture this colorful event. Families, too! Yes, everyone's invited! So if you're free on January 24, head on over to Binondo and BGC and enjoy the activities Sun Life lined up for you!

Welcome 2012 with Dunhill's Dragons!
I wrote that title myself since the press release had a rather prosaic one: "Chinese New Year 2012 - The Year of the Dragon." Parang mas masaya yung sa akin!

Anyway, Alfred Dunhill himself designed these lovely little pieces. Intricately carved in solid sterling and hand finished (and you know I'm a sucker for anything handmade), the collection consists of cuff links, key fobs and ties.
Exquisite key chain
Good luck charm for your phones
An incredible gift to your impeccably dressed man. Or for yourself,
if you like dressing up in crisp button-down shirts!
Press kit ends with "The Dragon sign is associated with bravery, honesty, pride and self-sufficiency. Dragons are irrepressible free spirits and enjoy grand gestures and ambitions." Sounds an awful lot like me! If you know a Dragon (ahem! ahem!), drop by Dunhill (Rustan's Makati, Newport Mall, Rustan's Tower) and get him/her a trinket.

I'd like the key chain please. Thanks!

Marks & Spencer celebrates the Chinese New Year 
with yummy treats!
There will be tons of celebrations next week and if anyone wants to invite me and my two Tigers (Vince and Vito were both born on Tiger years) to a party, drop me a comment below! I already know what gifts to bring the host and hostess and they'll be from Marks & Spencer.

I appreciate the very Britishness of Marks & Spencer so I think it's kinda cute that they prepared special treats (like gold coins, toffees and mints) for a Chinese holiday.

Hmm. Okay, so they're still nowhere near Chinese (not even close!) but, hey, who says no to sweet treats? Oh, you guys on a diet. Seriously, even on a happy holiday? Ditch the diet this long weekend! If you really can't, Marks & Spencer has some digestive biscuits. I actually like those a lot!

So there! Enjoy the long weekend with festivities, trinkets and treats! Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

What I want this 2012: a new bed!

Except that it might have to be a king since Vince, Vito and I all tumble into one bed and the little big boy takes up too much space (seriously, how can someone so tiny take up so much space?!). Now another baby boy is on his way and we'll need a new bed.

Last month, I was finally able to visit Ronac Art Center. I know everyone raves about it so I was a tad disappointed that I didn't see any art. I was kinda expecting it to be a museum or a gallery, not a mini mall. Oh well. I still liked the place, especially when I discovered the Uratex beds!

I actually was in the premises for an event but the event was running suuuuuper late because some celebrities must've gotten the memo that the affair starts at 6 instead of 4pm, the time the rest of us were told. At least that's the excuse I always give these celebs. Anyway, I wandered about while waiting and as soon as I saw rows of mattresses, I did this:
Kicked off my heels!
Lay on the beds!
The Uratex memory foam pillows are better than Muji's. And much cheaper!

I tried out all the mattresses! I lay on them, rolled around, bounced. I sure gave Goldilocks a run for her money. I liked the Perfect Serenity mattress best--it's the perfect balance of firm and soft. Some of the mattresses were like sinking into clouds, which is a good thing for some but for me it felt like I was being suffocated. Some of the mattresses were very firm but that's because they're orthopedic. Perfect Serenity was just right.

The best part is the mattresses are not expensive at all! The Perfect Serenity queen is a mere P15,000. I'd have bought it then and there except I remembered I have a husband who must be consulted on purchases above... hmmm. I actually really don't ask Vince for permission to shop because he spoils me like that but I figured that since he'll be sharing the bed I wanted to buy, he had to have a say!

And this is what he had to say: "Let's wait."

The reason is we had just bought a major piece of furniture (I won't say what it is!) so he advised me from buying yet another one, even if the bed doesn't cost as much as the aforementioned major piece of furniture. Good idea. So we'll wait. But Perfect Serenity mattress, I'm coming for you soon!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I'm scared of the BlackBerry

My phone fell twice in the toilet last year so it's been dying on me. I've been asking people on Facebook what phone to get for months now. I always get very passionate answers on why I should get the phone they think I should get. I noticed that people in the creative fields (arts, publishing, etc) said, "iPhone!" and the rest of the world said, "BlackBerry!" Since I'm a magazine editor and a writer, the answer is obvious but I still hemmed and hawed.

Before I could decide on it, my office decided for me and gave me a BlackBerry. I think it was ready for pick up by November. But I only remembered to claim it last week. That's almost 2 months of forgetting I have a new phone. And now it's been an entire week since I got the phone. Finally, the Third World Nerd took it out of the box and charged the battery a few hours ago. I still haven't touched it.

It's not that I'm tech-challenged. Part of the reason is I'm really not a phone person. I have two phones--for my Globe (personal line that I've had since 2003) and for my Sun (free from my work). People who know me or work with me get exasperated with me because I seldom answer phone calls, I rarely reply to text messages and I always misplace my phones. For the entire month of November, I forgot to charge my Globe phone. Then I forgot where I kept it for the whole of December until Vince found it under a pile of papers last week.

My phones are almost always on silent so when I misplace them (which is often because my toddler plays with them!), I never could find the damn things. And I never feel the need to look for my phones when they're missing. And when they run out of battery power, I forget to charge them. On weekdays, I almost always ignore my phone after 6pm. On weekends, my phones are forgotten.

But now I have a new BlackBerry. And I am not excited to use it because everyone tells me, "You'll LOVE it! You'll be so ADDICTED to it! You CAN'T LIVE without it!" That enthusiasm makes me very apprehensive. And now I'll confess why.

Late last year, I became addicted to Twitter and Facebook. To my horror, I found that I spend 2-3 hours just refreshing for updates, replying, commenting, sharing, RTing. That's 2-3 hours every single day. That's 2-3 hours a day that I could've spent reading a book, reading the magazines (a year's subscription to Vanity Fair, Glamour and Allure!) my husband bought for me as a birthday gift, writing, blogging, cooking healthy meals, putting on lotion, deep conditioning my hair, doing my own mani-pedi, seeing friends, sleeping. Sleeping! I could use those extra 2-3 hours of sleep every day dammit! But no. I spend those precious hours on the social networks.

It would've been okay if I earned money from all the Tweeting and Facebooking. But I don't. If you noticed, I don't blog that often anymore. Blame my addiction to social networking. Blogging makes me money and I've neglected it just because I'm stalking people (really, that's what social networks are for). I have to stop. Obviously. I'm not disciplined enough and it's controlling my life.

So just as I resolved to wean myself from Tweets and FB updates, the BlackBerry arrives and everyone says I can now Tweet, update my FB, check my email anywhere and everywhere. "Isn't that so great?!" they trill. That's like giving a recovering alcoholic a free pass to a fully stocked bar.

I'm in trouble.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Up for air!

Yes, folks, I'm still alive! Happy New Year! Happy 2012! Happy everything!

I'm just drowning in work, motherhood and house management (new yaya!), hence the absence of updates. But I will be back soonest. I have tons of stuff to share and give away!

Meanwhile, I update regularly on Twitter and on Facebook. See you there!