Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Sofitel summer staycation

Last week, Vince and I suddenly decided to hie off to Sofitel and escape the terrible heat. We were looking forward to the super sink-in-heaven king bed, the amazing cuisine, and the fantastic pool. The one thing I wasn't looking forward to was the cost (haha). Sofitel's one of the priciest hotels in the city but Vince told me it was his anniversary gift to us so I should stop looking at the cost (which always takes away my enjoyment!) and just scratch the credit card (and whenever my hubby says that, he gets sexier haha!).

We were also anticipating Vito's enjoyment. Last time our son was in the pool was at Shangri-la Mactan (a very hard act to follow) and he seemed to love the pool then so we were hoping for another happy excursion. Well, we were not mistaken! Just lookit that face!

Here's Vito stripped down to his board shorts. He likes trying out his words so here he's saying, "Wa-ker." That's his word for water. He totally loved splashing about the toddler pool. Poor Vince had to stay in the toddler pool, too!

The pool wasn't enough for our Vito. He just had to run around everywhere. He was in full explorer mode. Never mind that the ground was hot--he just sprinted over it even if Vince kept running and I waddled after him, concerned about his baby feet.

The slide's actually for older kids but, back home, the slide at our playground is much higher and he already conquered that so up he went this one. 

Then he went to the sand box. Their sand box is soooo small. Back home again, the sand box is huge. But the sand at Sofitel is beach sand whereas the one at home is construction sand, which hurts the feet. So barefoot Vito had a great time digging away and flinging sand at me.

Here we are exploring while Vince enjoyed a really cold Pale Pilsen (he does not believe in light beers) by the pool. I'm pointing out the helicopters flying overhead at regular intervals. Can anyone tell me why there are so many helicopters flying by this part of the bay?

I had planned on dipping in the pool myself, but since our decision was so sudden, I didn't have time to buy a maternity swimsuit. I figured my bikinis would do but, oh my, I'm so huge now (I'm 9 months pregnant!) that the cloth triangles just couldn't contain me. I was a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen! So I hid my blue bikini under my coral dress and just waded. The cool water was awfully tempting, though!

After our afternoon swim, we retired to our cold room (ah, sweet relief!). We ordered room service because we love room service! Oh, and because we had Vito, a.k.a. the Tasmanian devil, around so a peaceful romantic dinner was never going to be possible.

Vince had lamb chops with mashed potatoes, buttered vegetables and an extra side of potato gratin. I had a bowl of Korean something. It was very good. Vito and I shared the bowl and we still weren't able to finish it--that's how large the serving is!

Sofitel also sent us a surprise! Our own anniversary cake! This cake is pure chocolate delight. Vince, Vito and I enjoyed our surprise dessert. Thanks, Sofitel!

Time for bed! Vito stayed up waaaaaay past his bedtime, so excited was he. But soon, finally, he dozed off. Vince and I had been planning to get romantic--well, no more sex this late in the game so just cuddles!--but we were so tired from our swim and Vito-chasing that we just lazed about in bed. Sofitel's beds are soooo comfortable. The best hotel beds ever. Except that since my body is so heavy now, I had little panic attacks--I felt like I was sinking too much!

Another thing that prevented me from sleeping was the event at the tent outside (Sofitel has two huge tents). OMG. For what felt like forever, the performers at said event just blared away singing. The speakers were on full blast so that it felt like the singers were standing on our balcony. With megaphones. But finally, the event finished and Vince and I slipped into blissful sleep.

The next day was buffet breakfast! Too bad the famous Spiral restaurant was closed for a major renovation. It was devastated by Typhoon Pedring late last year, so we all had to line up at Le Bar. The food's still amazing, of course, but Le Bar is like a fourth in size as Spiral so the line was long. And I'm the kind of person who gets pressured by lots of people waiting so I scarfed down my breakfast. It would've been nice to just sit back and savor my coffee.

Anyway, after Vito's morning nap, off to the pool we went again!

Vito's wearing a special diaper meant for swimming. If you want to win one for your kid, click here!

So there! We had a wonderful time. Well, we were beyond exhausted, too. It's hard to have a super active toddler tagging along. I don't even know why Vince and I thought we'd have some time alone to celebrate our fifth anniversary. So it's a good thing we already had some special time on the day itself. But we don't regret anything--Vito may have been the focus of our little getaway that was supposed to be our mini-honeymoon but he was also the big reason why we had so much fun. It's nice to be a family. It really truly is.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm still here!

Halloo halloo halloo!

Due to insistent public demand (on Twitter hehe), I am going to pop back in here and say, "Dearest readers, I am still alive!" Nope, I haven't given birth yet either. But, boy, every day already feels like labor day because it takes so much work for me to get from Point A to Point B, even if A is the bed and B is the bathroom (that's like 3 feet apart). And in this horrid heat!

So my last post was almost 10 days ago. That's like eons in blogging! Here's what's been happening:
  • We had to stop the presses because Brad and Angelina got engaged. Or, rather, Brad finally got her a ring since sources say he actually proposed over Christmas. So imagine the huge hullabaloo of pulling out pages, writing, editing, choosing photos, etc for the May issue of the Hollywood celebrity magazine I edit, while the production and printing teams were breathing down our necks.
  • It wasn't just work deadlines that were killing me. I also had an article to write for Good Housekeeping and sponsored posts for my blogs. I'm not complaining, though. Well, I know I keep complaining but in my heart I'm glad. 
  • I also fired the yaya/maid just before Holy Week so it's been really difficult minding the toddler, the house, the career. But ya know what? Life ain't easier but it's so much better!
  • I was also caught in a flurry of activities in preparation for the house renovation. Yep, we're such crammers. We decided--super last minute!--to fix up the house and add storage space because of the new baby (we can't wait to see you, Wiggle!)
  • I've also been crying a lot because I've been elbow-deep in Vito's old clothes, taking out kimonos, mittens, booties and cloth diapers for Wiggle. Each item holds a beloved memory! I've been overwhelmed with emotion. If I'm like this with baby clothes, I don't know what I'd do when the kids go off to college or get married! 
  • In the middle of all that, Vince and I quietly celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and the 13th anniversary of our first kiss. It was a most beautiful day! But I won't talk about it. Let me just say I'm more in love than ever.
  • We also suddenly decided to go to Sofitel. This heat is unbearable. So the boys soaked in the pool. I wanted to but... well, that's a story for another post!
I'll try to blog more often this week, here and on Topaz Mommy. I have so much kwento! Enjoy your Sunday! Try not to melt or boil!

Friday, April 13, 2012

10 ways to travel in style, with inspiration from Emmy Rossum

Summer time, travel time. Everyone's Facebook updates and Tweets are all about where they went during the long break and where they're going to next. My little family and I had a staycation. We always stay in the city during Holy Week, especially this year with my advanced pregnancy! Oh, we totally loved the quiet of Manila. But... I've been itching to leave the city for a good long while now. And when I saw Emmy Rossum's travel outfit, I felt the itch even more!

That's how I usually look when I travel. A comfy outfit but one that will get me through immigration without experiencing that judgmental look immigration officials just love to give people. The first time I traveled abroad, I was so scared I'd be sent back home--I was a young, single Filipina traveling alone. Supposedly, that sets off alarms with immigration officials. You're either looking for a foreigner husband or you're a prostitute. Grrr! And, I was told, we Pinays don't help because we dress like slobs when we travel. Or we dress in skimpy outfits.

"So what should I wear?" I wailed. Here are the tips I got:
  1. Wear comfortable clothes. But not too comfy, like mini-skirts, pajamas, ratty shirts and jeans, and the like. Emmy's look is a great example. I also like a tailored shift dress or a jersey wrap dress--it's wrinkle-free and easy to lift when I need to go to the tiny plane loo. 
  2. Dark jeans that have a great fit can pass off as slacks. See how Emmy's navy jeans look almost formal.
  3. Always bring a tailored jacket or blazer. Toss this on and it instantly upgrades your outfit. Just look at how Emmy's red jacket makes her jeans-and-tee ensemble extraordinary!
  4. Your shoes should be comfortable, the type that won't hurt your feet when you're navigating through huge airports. But don't wear slippers.
  5. Don't wear shoes that are hard to take off. Emmy's lace-up oxfords is an example.
  6. Wear your jewelry. Real gold doesn't set off the metal detector. Jewelry isn't safe in your luggage. You'll look better (and richer!) with jewelry on. Check out Emmy's big earrings!
  7. Don't wear metal. Like belts with big buckles. Emmy didn't wear a belt at all.
  8. Be well groomed--powder, lipstick, mascara, whatever. Not too much (you have to look like your passport photo). See how Emmy looks so clean and fresh and respectable? That's what good grooming looks like. People treat well-groomed travelers better. 
  9. Hairstyle should be clean and unfussy. A low ponytail or bun is manageable and won't get in the way when you lean your head back on the seat's headrest.
  10. Your tote should be big enough to hold your travel documents, money and mini toiletries, like a hand sanitizer, a toothbrush, lotion, whatever you need to freshen up after a long flight. Plus, there should also be room for a scarf in case the plane gets cold. And a book--always travel with a book! I like Emmy's basic black bag. It's structured yet roomy!
So there you have it! Now you know my travel style tips! What are yours?

*photo from VPQV

Thursday, April 12, 2012

He's the only Edward for me!

For me, there's only one Edward who's unnaturally white, undead and perfect.

Sigh. I miss Johnny and Winona!

P.S. For the kiddies, that's Edward Scissorhands. Watch it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tons of ideas from Michael Kors's Facebook page

I'm getting really frustrated with all this Timeline business! My blogs' Facebook page still looks pathetic. I seriously do not know how to create a cover photo and profile photo for my blog because, with the new Timeline feature, I have to present my blogs as a brand. It's not a brand. It's just a silly blog and I'm just silly me!

So when I saw this cover photo of Michael Kors's FB page, I was really inspired:

And envious. He's got a million fans, folks. And counting. Topaz Horizon has 824 fans. So strange since I have about 45,000 page views every month! You have to start liking my page, guys!

Anyway, I like Michael Kors. A lot of it is because of Project Runway. Vince and I were watching a recent episode and he said, "How come when I watch the judges of this show, I believe them? I don't find the judges of the other franchises credible." Tee hee. Yep, I like the model-fashion designer-fashion editor team of Project Runway. It's the perfect combination. Heidi talks about how a woman will wear the outfit, Michael talks about the structure and design, and Nina talks about its appeal to the market. They got all bases covered, that team.

Now Michael also has his Facebook page covered. It looks really good. He knows how to tickle his fans with updates on his brand and his life. He gives fashion tips, he has celebrity looks, he gives a peek into his life, he shares his favorite quotes, he tags magazines and celebs (which of course helps him get more fans), and he always ask his fans their opinions.

Hmm. So that's how you get a million fans! Now I should plan my cover photo and daily updates! Thanks, Michael Kors!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I won the tufted headboard from Ethan Allen!

Yesterday was just unreal! That's because Ethan Allen announced the winner of their design challenge and I won!

I've been in a cloud of happiness. That's such an apt term since Vince and I named our design as "Life in the Clouds." As I keep mentioning, the whole room was really Vince's idea. Of course I had input here and there but I am amazed at how talented my husband is! He tweaked my design, gave helpful suggestions... I'm lucky I'm married to a man with discriminating taste!

And while some people tell me that I won because I had the luck of the pregnant woman, I beg to differ. I researched rooms with tufted headboards for inspiration. Vince researched color palettes. I studied Ethan Allen's design aesthetics to come up with a room that reflects their brand. I recalled the way Real Living styled our home when they featured it twice (easy tip: always have fresh flowers). Vince planned which photos will personalize the space without competing with the headboard. I even steamed the sheets and pillows! So it was a lot of hard work. And it paid off!

Here are a few of the room inspirations I put on my mood board:
As you can see, tufted headboards seem to inspire the same room elements: mirrored chest, sunburst mirrors and white lamps! I can't wait to turn our bedroom into something like the rooms up there. Except nerdier (books are always present in our home) and child-friendlier.

I feel like this is all so surreal since we've been wanting a tufted headboard for years. I even prayed about it. And now this! I was telling Mommy Fleur today that God may take His sweet time answering prayers but when He does, oh how He does! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd own an Ethan Allen piece. And now I do. Thank You, God, for giving me more than I ever asked for.

Thank you to everyone who campaigned for me over at Twitter and Facebook. Thank you to everyone who voted. And thank you to everyone who sent me encouraging words. I had fun doing the Ethan Allen design challenge but I had more fun seeing the overwhelming support you gave me. Whatever had been the outcome of the challenge, I already felt like a winner. Thank you!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

I love Lucy

... and Lucy loves me!

Lucy Torres Gomez reads my blogs! OMG! I am so thrilled! I can't even begin to describe how delighted I am right now. So I'll just pat myself on the back for a job well done. So stoked!

P.S. We're talking about the Ethan Allen design challenge, by the way. Lucy helped campaign for my bedroom (Thanks, Lucy!). Contest results will be announced tomorrow. I do hope I win it, but even if I don't, I'm cool. The consolation prizes are pretty amazing, too! Happy sunny Sunday!

P.P.S. Follow me and Congresswoman Lucy on Twitter!

April 3 UPDATE: I won!