Friday, August 31, 2012

My different kinds of scars

Yes, I'm going to talk about scars in this post because I was given a tube of Hiruscar, the scar solution from Switzerland. Warning, may mga kadiri parts! But because I'm vain, I'm going to spare you visuals haha. So here goes: My list of my different kinds of scars!

My stupid scars
We all have stupid scars. Mine happened when I was 14 and absolutely in love with our neighbor, Jay, who wasn't in love with me. Not even close. Every afternoon, I'd hop on a bike and cycle up and down his street, in front of his house, hoping for a glimpse. One glorious day, I finally saw him coming out of their gate. I was so excited, I didn't see a big stone on the pavement. So sumemplang ako. The seat of the bike flew out and the exposed seat post almost deflowered me! Buti na lang it embedded itself in my right thigh instead!

That was one ugly wound and my Papa wept over it. "Hindi na pang-Miss Universe ang hita mo!" Of course I never told him why I got that horrible wound kasi malamang binatukan niya ako at sinabihan ng, "Ang landi mo kasing bata ka! Buti nga sa 'yo!"

I should be grateful that the scar is now just a shadowy inch. I didn't get a keloid or anything bad. It's hardly visible. What a relief!

My medical scars 
When I was 15 and living in an orphanage in Calaca, Mindoro (that's a story for another day!), boils grew in my left kili-kili. The medical term is hidradenitis suppurativa. Basically, my hair follicles got infected since I used a rusty razor (I couldn't find new razors in the orphanage). I tried to ignore them but every day, dumadami at lumalaki sila. After two weeks, the boils got so bad, I couldn't lower my arm na. As in, para along naka-perpetual royal wave! The little Calaca health center didn't know what to do anymore so I had to go back to Manila. I went straight from the bus station to Manila Doctors Hospital.

At the ER, I was looking at my poor namamagang kili-kili when the doctor came in. OMG. Kamukha lang naman niya si Aga Muhlach! He said, "Let's look at your armpit." Syempre, two weeks na akong hindi nagshi-shave! I die. I die. The guy didn't even blink his beautiful eyes. He just took a scalpel, sliced open my armpit, drained out all the pus, Betadine-d the whole area, slapped some gauze on it and sent me away.

I should be grateful that the scars are in my armpit so they're hidden away. The skin had been so traumatized that it had darkened and the scars had become keloids. Thankfully, his incisions were tiny so they're just these little bumps. Still, I'll never ever get to star in a deodorant commercial!

More scars after the jump...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Over at my mommy blog

I know the posts here have been irregular. I have three blogs and I've been updating Topaz Mommy a lot lately. That's because my Vito celebrated his second birthday. The house was a mess. We spent quite a bit. The party was crazy. It was the most fun week ever! We're actually sad it's over.

Monday: mini family celebration!
The invitations for our fun mini-party!
Friday: Vito plays with the highway I made for him.

Head on over to my mommy blog to read more about the happy mess my life has been!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bloggers on Preview cover

Well! This is a surprise. Hmm. Maybe not. It's a new world, friends. Bloggers are seated front row at fashion shows, have their own special events thrown for them, are asked to endorse brands, and are now featured on the covers of real magazines.
The September issue of Preview

Times, they are a-changin'!

When will my magazine cover happen??? LOL

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why I'm getting fat and forgetful

I need to sleep! I'm getting stupid and that's never ever ever a good thing!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My online budgeting tool is driving me crazy

I mentioned recently that hubby and I are thinking of investing. To prepare for that big financial leap, I've signed up for Expense Register. I know I could've used Excel but I'm on a new MacBook and I don't have Microsoft Office programs yet so I just looked for a budgeting tool online.

Anyway, I figured if I knew where all our money is going, I can pinpoint where we overspend, cut that and funnel it to investing instead. Well, lemme just tell ya, we're spending too much on food!

A huge part of our money goes to meat, veggies, bread, milk (a LOT of milk!), fast food deliveries, cookies, cakes, Coke, etc etc!

The "Other," which is the next biggest piece of the pie, is actually gifts and donations, tips for waiters and delivery boys, and the kids' vaccinations. So we're a generous family. But seeing it on that pie like that makes me want to stop giving gifts! Or just stop eating out and ordering in so we won't have to tip!

The "Personal" slice covers shopping for clothes, shoes, haircuts, etc. But for this particular month, that meant our life insurance policies. Hmm. Maybe I should put insurance policies under another category.

The "Recreation" slice is only huge because this month, we spent a lot on Vito's birthday party. Normally, recreation is books, movies, travel. Since procreating, we've not been recreating (sigh!) so normally, we don't spend a lot on leisure stuff anymore.

So now I'm wondering where I can shave off money so we can invest in mutual funds or stocks. Gifts? Service tips? Dining out? Ordering in? Chips and candy? Coke? All of the above? This is driving me nuts! I don't like budgeting at all!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Which Cuzo bag should I buy?

I just discovered Cuzo, a fabulous Proudly Pinoy bag label! Remember when I used to sell bags? I was gunning for Cuzo levels! Well, actually, I was thinking Hermes haha but that was in my outer-space dreams. In my realistic dreams, I was thinking of selling bags the way Cuzo's doing.

To those former customers who kept asking me to make satchels in different colors, I present to you Cuzo's adorable satchels:

But since I have had my fill of satchels (haha!), I'm more interested in a nylon tote. You see, I walk to work and my bags aren't faring well in this horrid rain. The cloth ones get drenched and the leather ones are getting ruined! So I was thinking of buying a Longchamp Le Pliage but it seems everywhere I look, everyone has a Longchamp and I'm really not into blending in with the masses.

So when I saw these fabulous nylon hobos on Cuzo, I got super excited!




They're called the Jess Coat Nylon Bag. The photos don't do it any justice. At all! I got the brown bag for my mother-in-law and it is super fabulous! The shape is so classic, the handle is comfortable, there are so many pockets inside and its bottom is protected by leather. Truly a fantastic bag! When Mom saw the bag, she loved it, too!

So now I want to buy a new Jess Coat bag for myself. Which should I get: basic black, goes-with-anything blue or that amazing green?

There are more bags at Cuzo's website. Shop shop shop!

Follow @CUZObags on Twitter
Like CUZObags on Facebook

P.S. Get P100 off purchases worth P1,000 and above just by using this special voucher: 08152312topa. Valid from today till Aug. 23 only! Shop shop shop!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What toothpaste can teach us about relationships (yes, toothpaste!)

Let me just tell you a story I remembered while I was brushing my teeth earlier.

I think this story was from a pastor's sermon a loooong time ago, when I was still a teenager. The pastor said that a married couple came to him for counseling. Their marriage was most definitely on the rocks and it was all because of toothpaste. Toothpaste! Husband can't seem to remember to twist the cap back on the tube despite wife's repeated reminders, and the sight of that cap on the sink just tells her that he doesn't pay any attention to her.

So the pastor said all the usual pay-attention-to-your-wife and be-more-patient-with-your-husband advice but clearly that kind of advice just wasn't going to work. So finally the pastor gave up.

A few weeks later, he noticed that the couple were happily chatting. He went up to them to ask how they found a compromise. The couple said, "Oh, we didn't compromise. We found another solution!" Ladies and gentlemen, this saved their marriage:

Any relationship expert will tell you that for a relationship to work, you both have to find a middle ground, to compromise. Well, folks, sometimes there is no such thing as compromise because seriously, how can anyone be happy if no one got what they wanted?

I think that sometimes you have to give in, sometimes he has to give in. There's no such thing as 50-50 in love. It's always 100%! Some things you have to accept will never change and you'll just learn to live with it. Is it so hard? Not really. That's when love comes in! Or, in the case of the flip-top cap, creativity!

For the record, this isn't a sponsored post. We just really use Colgate! Well, Vince is a loyal Colgate guy. Me, I always buy whatever's cool and new! Yes, Vince and I have two tubes of toothpaste since he, ever the OC guy, carefully uses up the tube from bottom to cap. I squeeze it right smack in the middle.

Vince likes the plain, no-nonsense, pasty kind. I like flavors and gels and claims of instant teeth whitening, 24-hour freshness, and other empty promises! So in our case, compromise is never going to happen. And that's okay!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our gift for Vito is a secure future

Happy birthday, Vito!

Today is my firstborn's birthday. Two years ago, my life was profoundly changed by a little boy that I always thought would never be for me. But life has a funny way of surprising us and it sure gave me a big surprise—a wonderful, magical surprise named Vito.

You know what's funny, too? Even though I always insisted I was never going to have children, my actions said otherwise (and I didn't even realize it!). When I was 26 years old—that's 10 years ago!—I bought myself a life insurance plan from Sun Life. Part of my policy is maternal benefits. Yes, I get money for each child I bear! And when I die, I also listed "future children" as my beneficiaries.

I know it's such a morbid thought but I've always had a great attitude towards death. It comes from being a Born Again Christian, methinks. Once you've prepared for the end (and the eternal life that comes after!), you get to enjoy life better. There is no fear, no uncertainty, no darkness that clouds your daily life if the future is secure.

That's why even before our sons were born, Vince and I prepared for their future by making them the beneficiaries of our insurance policies. We're also talking about investing in mutual funds for Vito and IƱigo with our agent and financial planner, Sun Life's Kendrick Chua (if you want his number, leave a comment and I'll DM it!). We just enjoy securing our sons' future—once that's done, makakatulog na kami nang mahimbing and we can truly enjoy life to the fullest!

Now, when Sun Life asked me to write about their new campaign, "Experience Sun Shorts," of course I said yes!!! Vince and I are very happy Sun Life policy holders so it's no problem to share with my readers our experience. But first, let me tell you about the campaign.

Sun Life asked five renowned film directors to interpret the insurance company's motto, "Life's brighter under the Sun." This is my current favorite:

You know, yesterday morning, I was watching Toy Story 3 and I cried during the opening montage that showed Andy growing up—playing with his toys, teasing his sister, celebrating birthdays... Oh, birthdays! As a mommy, I know all too well that life is so frighteningly fast and brief. When I watched this Sun Short, "A Life in a Day," I was again reminded of that. Especially that part where the couple is walking and parang every few steps, lumaki na anak nila, nag-aral, nag-graduate, nag-asawa... I know Vito's only 2 years old now but it was only yesterday when I gave birth to him!!! It's just too fast, how time flies.

But we're enjoying every single day. And we're preparing the boys' future—kahit ano pang gustuhin nila! Good schools, travel, medical needs, a life without their parents. Because isn't that what good parents do—we prepare our kids for that bittersweet day when they'll no longer need us.

That's why I firmly believe in financial security and preparedness. It's not so hard. It's just setting aside a thousand pesos a month, investing a little, discipline, control and a resolute eye on a bright future. I think "A Life in a Day" showed that we all have bright shiny dreams for the future but that nothing's certain except death. And that's not supposed to be a bad thing, you know. Let me quote one of my favorite authors:
"Man's mortality remains a gift which goes to the very heart of his being and points his will in the right direction... From a Christian perspective, the 'ultimate blessing' of the gift of death was not the extinction of life but, paradoxically, the fullness of life... Life, like death, demands the surrender of all."J.R.R. Tolkien

The gift of death is the fullness of life. My life is full. So very full, my puny heart can't contain it! Our future is so bright and amazing because we've prepared for it. We're ready for it. And I hope you think about preparing for your future, too! I strongly urge you to just have a chat with a Sun Life agent (call Kendrick!!!) so that you can talk about your dreams and fears and how to have a secure tomorrow.

You can also visit Sun Life's website,, to know how you can make life brighter.

Oh, and do watch the other films. They're on the website, too (click the link above!). If you watch the films, you just might get the chance to win a trip to San Francisco! Nothing to lose, everything to gain!

Now excuse me while I prepare for Vito's weeklong birthday celebration!

For more mommy moments, check out my parenting blog, Topaz Mommy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Knocking on your hearts again!

I'm doing this for a friend's friend. I don't know who Girrard is but he's 16 years old and he has leukemia. That's all I need to know. I have sons. Seeing sick children, especially our own--nothing breaks a mommy's heart more!

To help Girrard's fight against the monster in his body, his family and friends have started fundraisers. Today at 5:00 PM at Power Plant Mall, a special screening of The Bourne Legacy will be held for Girrard. A seat is P500. You get to watch the action movie shot here in Manila a few months ago, you get a special giveaway from the sponsors, and you get to help a young man live.

It's a win-win for all!

Speaking of winning, let me offer you a chance to win these tickets!

To support Girrard's chemo, I bought 2 tickets to The Bourne Legacy screening later. But since I'm a breastfeeding mommy, I can't watch movies yet. So I'm giving them away!!!

Just email me at Subject of email is: "My legacy is to help Girrard!" Email me your full name and phone number. That's it! Your phone number is important so I can contact you right away. Remember: the screening is tonight!

I'll text/call the winner at 3 PM! Yes, so you have until 2:55pm today to email me!!!

Or you can just show up at Power Plant with your girlfriend, boyfriend, parents, friends, etc etc, buy tickets and watch the movie! Help Girrard in his fight! To know more, click here.

UPDATE: I changed the deadline kasi raw to announce at 3pm doesn't give the winner and his/her date enough time to prepare to go out. Oo nga naman! So I'll text the winner at 12 noon! Thanks to all those who joined!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

I'm now blogging from CNN

Well, not really. But I posted a photo on Facebook last night and my Wine Night friend, Nicole NB, suggested I submit it to CNN iReport. So I did!

Click here for the story

Funny how a photo, once it has CNN attached to it, suddenly becomes awesome!

What's more awesome? The sun is finally out! The sun is up, the sky is blue. It's beautiful, and so are you, Manila. So are you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


My blogs are now as simple and as clean as possible.

I'm having a major weirded-out feeling when I look at them. So far, the new look, which I applied on all three blogs, is working for Beauty For A Living, but for this blog and Topaz Mommy... I'm still adjusting to the starkness.

I'm planning a redesign next year. Something simple but pretty. Clean. Grown up.

Talking to a really talented artist right now. Just waiting for her price quotation. Crossing my fingers I can afford her!

So please bear with the super simple look. It's kinda nice, I think. The photos stand out like crazy!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

What soundtrack goes with this great photo?

The Philippine Red Cross has already deployed the amphibian rescue vehicles! And they are kickass! I feel hope and pride looking at this photo. Kailangan niya ng soundtrack!

Here are some suggestions from my friends on Facebook and Twitter:

From Vince: Voltes V

From Pyro Wanoy: Indiana Jones

From @touringkitty: Darth Vader Imperial March

From Vince again: A-Team

Stay warm and dry and safe, dear Manila! Help is on its way. Praying for us all.

Monday, August 06, 2012

My secret to looking good

It's very simple really. I put curlers in my hair and slap on some makeup (more here)! Usually I look crazy like this:

Haha, yes, that's my son, Vito. Anyway, that's how I usually look like but when I have to go out of the house, I make an effort to run a brush through my hair and pat on some concealer and powder. I end up looking something like this:

Much better, right? That boy is just so cute. Ryan Gosling lang naman ang peg!

I talk about this because someone I used to know, like waaaaay back when I was a kid, sent me a message over at Facebook and said, "You've blossomed into a beautiful young woman. May pinagawa ka ba?" Hahaha! The nerd!

But seriously, meron talaga ako pinagawa. Yes. My teeth. I got braces when I was 26. Simple as that. I had too many teeth apparently, which was the reason my teeth stuck out in front and was sungki-sungki pa. I looked like a horse. So the ortho removed 4 teeth. Yup, count them and weep. I darn near fainted the day she pulled them out. But when the teeth were pushed back in and aligned--just in time for my wedding!--I looked ohhhh so much better. Look how nice my smile is:

So if you want to look better, forget the boob job, nose job, whatever job. Go to an orthodontist first and get your teeth looked at.

I actually need to have my teeth fixed again. My two pregnancies kinda made them move--there's a widening gap between my left incisor and whatever the tooth next to it is called. And my front teeth have started to stick out again, as you can see here:
With Good Housekeeping beauty editor Pia Rojas at the Tod's A/W 2012 presentation

Ugh. Must see an ortho asap! How about you? Have you had something done?

P.S. Speaking of beauty, do check out my newly resurrected blog, Beauty For A Living!