Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lessons on delicates from Wacoal (plus, a contest with a P20K prize!)

I spent a Saturday a few weeks ago at a Wacoal workshop learning a whole lotta stuff about underwear. And, boy, was it such an eye-opener! All the girls who attended the workshop were horrified at how our body ages and how the wrong underwear can make you look awful. We were also inspired to take some action on that!

But let's start at the very beginning. My friends My Mom-Friday and Mommy Fleur and I were invited to the Wacoal workshop and found it quite amusing that we were surrounded by very young fashion bloggers (more on them at the end of this post!). I mean, seriously, with such lovely skinny bodies, what do they need shapewear for? Well, we were all (yes, even those fabulously perfect girls) in for a surprise!

Since 99.9% of my blog readers are girls, I’ll share with you what I learned because I’m so helpful that way. Trust me, after this post, you’ll want to ditch all your bras and panties and get proper ones!

So let’s begin with how our bodies age. When you’re in your teens and 20s, your breasts and butt look like this:

Yes, they defy gravity. It’s not just muscle tone that makes your boobs and butt perky, it’s also your super elastic skin. But if you aren’t careful (you get fat, you abuse your body with a bad lifestyle, you’re lazy, you’re exposed to the sun, etc), you’ll start to see some sagging in your 30s, like so:

When I hit my 30s, I still had the body of a young girl. Mostly because I rarely ever went to the beach (no sun exposure!) and I remained slim. But then I got pregnant and I breastfed. The resulting rapid expansion of my chest, tummy, hips, butt and thighs was a shock to the system. I’ve never quite gone back to my pre-preggy body. My boobs have definitely started to go south, my tummy bulge is there to stay, and my thighs are thicker. I am glad to report that my butt has remained perky!

At the Wacoal workshop, we learned that exercise and a healthy lifestyle will delay aging but it won’t stop it. So no matter how healthy you are, your boobs and butt will sag. Like this:

What’s a girl to do? Turn to great underwear! And that’s when Wacoal showed us the importance of not just cup size but also how different body shapes need different structured underwear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking for health insurance for my family (because I'm all grown up that way!)

Posted this over at Twitter recently:

Yep, I'm still looking for health insurance! If you've been reading my blog long enough, I started looking for a private health plan for my family when the TMC disaster happened. By private, I mean it's a service that we pay for and not provided by the company I work for. Almost all of the recommendations I get from blog commenters and Twitter followers are the health plan providers that their company works with. The company I work for has health benefits, of course, but I'm looking for something more comprehensive and one that would cover all the members of my family, not just me.

So I've been researching and I've narrowed down my choices. I won't say what those are yet since I'll still give them a call and check them out. They might not look as good on paper, you know. What I'm really looking for is the kind of health plan my family got when my Mama was employed at Meralco. It's almost as good, if not better, than health plans in the US before the current health crisis. As a child, I was sick constantly. Like, I'd be confined at a hospital maybe 3-4 times a year. Not once did Mama have to take out her wallet to pay for my bills. Our dental needs were also completely covered, unlike today when only cleaning and temporary fillings are covered. Back then, we were assured that we can have everything from a filling to a root canal and not worry about the cost. Even cosmetic treatments (braces, bleaching, etc) were covered up to 25%. Absolutely frikkin' awesome. That's the kind of plan I want for my family!

Of course, that means I've been apprehensive about the cost of personal health plans, thinking that there's a reason why companies subsidize them. But I am happy to report that we actually have cheap health insurance here. My research shows that for just P10,000 a year, a family of four can get good coverage--private hospital room, good accredited hospitals, annual physical exams, dental check-ups. If you add another 5K-10K to that amount and you get absolutely fantastic coverage, the type that asks no questions, just pays your medical bill.

That plan, even if it may be P20,000 a year, I like very much. It's really not a lot of money. Just divide 20K by 4 (that's me and my three adorable boys!), and that's just 5K a family member for an entire year. That covers dental work, annual medical checks, and should someone get sick, great medical service and treatment. For peace of mind, 20K is nothing!

Someone told me, however, that the best health insurance is money in the bank. She doesn't believe in insurance, you see, thinking that it's all a scam. She said, "How many times does one get sick anyway? Once, twice? As long as you live a healthy lifestyle, you'll be fine. And for those times you do get sick, nothing beats cash." I do agree with her somewhat, especially since when I gave birth, both times were completely paid for by cold hard cash. There's a certain sense of pride knowing we were able to save up for a hospital like St. Luke's Global.

Still, if there's cheap health insurance available here anyway, I don't see why we shouldn't avail of it. What do you think? Should I or shouldn't I? Do you have personal health plans or is yours provided by your company?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Viral videos weekend

Everyone I know seems to be talking about the "Call Me Maybe" vid of Manila's most beautiful people so I'm glad Karrots blogged about it because I had no idea what all the fuss is about!

Well, all I can say is Georgina is head and shoulders above all the other girls. And that's saying a lot because all the girls are gorgeous, but Georgina, grabe, ang ganda-ganda niya! Too bad the video was so dark. It would've been nice to see their gorgeousness in all their glorious detail!

While that was a fun video, this next one was what really made my weekend. It's also a lip-dub vid but this one had a wonderful purpose: Get the girl to marry him! It is so sweet and fun and happy and full of LOVE!

When he said, "You've given me a lifetime of happiness. Will you let me spend the rest of my life with you?" I so know what he means. Vince did that to me. In the first year we spent together, in the first month even, he already changed my life. Even if we hadn't ended up together, he'd still have given me a lifetime of happiness. So being together all these years, with all the laughter, the adventures, the love, the kids, my life is absolutely filled with happiness. Thanks, Vince!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My tufted headboard

I've been sooooo busy with my new mommy duties that I've absolutely forgotten to show off (hell yeah) my new Ethan Allen tufted headboard!

I won it first week of April (see happy post here). But after weeks of waiting, I was beginning to think maybe it was a joke haha. I was really just hoping that the headboard arrives before the baby does. And, thank goodness, it did! The headboard arrived first Saturday of May, yup, exactly 3 weeks ago. Here it is!
Now we need a complete bedroom makeover!
Still pregnant when the bed arrived.

It looks amazing. Amazing! But it made our coffee-and-chocolate bedroom look bad haha. Must have a complete bedroom makeover. New paint, new curtains, new sheets, maybe even new side tables and lamps. Oh my!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yep, I STILL want something from Tod's

I've made it no secret that I want a Tod's D Bag. But as I said on my blog post here, the too simple design is making me hesitate. I mean, don't you want something more spectacular for 70,000 pesoses!

So Tod's came out with these goodies for their Spring/Summer 2012 collection!
This D Bag comes in snakeskin, which will look really good with...
... these matching Gommino driving shoes!

Or if you're not the matchy-matchy type (I'm not),
try these driving shoes in bright colors.

I love the color orange and this D Bag in bright citrus
and rough textured leather is love!
The perfect shoe with that orange bag? This heeled lovely in
smooth buttery leather!

But since I'm a mommy now and I run after a toddler, these penny loafers
are better for me. Except that I am so not the loafers type! 
So if I must go with practical flats, then I should go wild with the bags!
Just look at these luscious colors and skins!

So there. After all this time, I'm still lusting after anything Tod's. Well, a Tod's D Bag more than anything else since I don't drive so I don't need their iconic driving shoe nor am I the loafer-type (but Tod's does have adorable ballerina flats!).

Anyway, Vince keeps telling me to just end my misery and go buy a bag already (and if I remember right, every year, the Italian brands at Greenbelt 4 go on a mega sale). But I keep feeling guilty over that price tag. I think I need more blogging raket and eBay sales to finance my Tod's obsession!

*photos courtesy of Visions & Expressions

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The reason I've been missing

... from the blogging world is this cutie:

Say hello to my second son, Iñigo Julian Amper Sales. As with tradition, the very proud Papa Vince wrote about the birth (which happened almost 2 weeks ago) over at my mommy blog.

I've been, quite understandably, up to my eyes in new maternal duties. It's harder this time around because I have a newborn and a super active (and whiny) toddler. Plus, we had to let go of the new yayas (see previous post) because their medical exams came back and both tested positive for tuberculosis. So newborn plus toddler plus no help whatsoever equals mega-exhaustion!!! Hence, no blog updates.

But we're slowly getting the hang of it. And we hired a new yaya (with a clean bill of health!) so I think I can start blogging again. See you around here soon and thanks for still being around! Mwah!

Monday, May 07, 2012

New yaya, new woes

So I haven't been updating here. Sorry, sorry! I've been updating Topaz Mommy instead. I'm very near my due date so of course I'm all about mommyhood now so if you're interested in what I look like pregnant, what birthing options hubby and I are considering, what's in our hospital bag, etc etc, hop on over to my mommy blog now!

Anyway, I've also been busy hiring and training my two new yayas/maids. Ya know, I've always thought that whoever does the training should be the one getting paid. I hire these people to do a job for me so if I'm teaching them to do the job I hired them to do, shouldn't they be paying me for the education? Sigh.

Anyway! So many new complaints with my new yayas, but between them and the last one, they're waaaay better so okay na lang, sige na lang. Train, train na lang me. But kanina (oy, napa-Tagalog ako bigla!), after dinner, muntik na akong manganak sa stress. Etong nangyari:

Me: So bukas ng umaga pakilinis yung kotse.
Yaya Rose: Okay, ma'am. Ang dumi na nga naman talaga.
Me: Oo nga. Actually, last week ko pa sinabi sa iyo na kailangan nang linisin yung kotse, diba?
Yaya Rose: Opo.
Me: Eh di bakit di mo lininisan?
Yaya Rose: Ma'am, ang sabi nyo kailangan nang linisan. Hindi niyo sinabing linisin ko!

Stress! Mega! Sa sobrang shock ko, hindi ako nakasagot! Why why why am I so stupid? I think I'll go lie down now. Good night.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Happy 6th birthday, Topaz Horizon!

What a big month this is for me! I'm giving birth any day now and I'm celebrating this blog's 6th birthday! Check out my Facebook page's cover photo:

I actually started blogging in 2005, over at Friendster (do any of my readers still remember Friendster?). But I decided to go over to Blogger the following year. I had 20 visitors every day for 2 years, then it became 50-70 in 2008. Then my visits jumped to 200-300 in '09. Last year was my big year--that was when I finally hit an average of 1,000 visitors a day. Now I have about 45,000 page views a month.

Took me 6 years, folks. And I know I'd get more if I just promoted my blogs more, did more giveaways, did more SEOs, optimized, professionalized, etceterized! But... the plate is very full so I'll just let it grow organically. I'm happier this way!

I had also wanted to do major giveaways but I'm giving birth this month. I figured I won't be able to handle a new baby and a big contest at the same time. So we'll do a mega big huge one on our 7th year! Here's hoping you're still around by then!

I really do appreciate your readership, your support, your encouragement and your friendship. It's been absolutely amazing how loved you've made me and my family feel--from our wedding, my mother's death, my pregnancies, my adventures in marriage and motherhood, my rabbit's sickness and death, my victories big and small, and my defeats both silly and crushing, you've been there for me. You are all a great blessing. Thank you!