Friday, May 31, 2013

Topaz Fashion: Sperry Top-siders for Vince

Vince's favorite new shoes is his Sperry Top-siders. He was waxing nostalgic about his old Top-siders when he was a kid and he said he wanted a pair again. So he's been browsing Zalora for weeks and we finally bought him new shoes. Here's the unboxing:

I shoulda taken pictures of the giddy Vince hehe. His face was much more interesting!

Anyway, Vince absolutely loves his new Top-siders. He wears them all the time! They're so soft and comfy. He's always saying, "My shoes are so comfy!" He's so cute! Now soft and comfy, those are words mommy me loves! So I checked Zalora if they had Sperrys for girls and, nope, they don't. Too bad!

I was especially interested in the Katama espadrilles.
The Katama espadrilles feature breathable canvas (I'm loving the anchors-on-navy print!), padded heel and adjustable rawhide laces with gold and silver eyelets (I love that touch of posh!). Must visit a Sperry shop this weekend! I'm really liking the blue one. It will look perfect with my mommy uniform of shirts and shorts! I kinda need a new kind of footwear since I'm in ballet flats all the time. They're not actually very good for chasing after little boys!

P.S. Sperry Top-Sider stores are at Bonifacio High Street, Trinoma Mall, Glorietta 3, Harbor Point Subic, SM North EDSA The Block, Robinsons Place Manila, Centrio Mall Cagayan de Oro, SM cebu Northwing. Also available at Complex Lifestyle Stores in Eastwood Mall, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall; Shoe Salon outlets. Hide Out in Greenbelt 5 and select deoartment stores, like Rustan's. Check out their Facebook page if you'd rather stay home today hehe.

P.P.S. Father's Day is coming up! Shop at Zalora for great gift ideas!

*Katama photos courtesy of Castro PR

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Loving the anti-aging facial at The Spa

Gorgeous simple design of The Spa
I got a really lovely treat last Monday—a luxurious anti-aging facial at The Spa Bonifacio High Street. The facial is called The Spa Signature Age Defense Treatment. It's a Mother's Day treat that The Spa so graciously gave me.

My gosh, I felt so special! I arrived at the soothing and minimally designed lobby of The Spa BHS for my facial, and I was welcomed warmly by the wonderful women from The Spa.

C'est moi! This is just before I fell asleep. Ack! I know. I was meaning to do a review, like tell you all the steps, the smells, the pros and cons but the facial was soooo good, I fell asleep while getting my face steamed. But I'll tell you what I know. The facial was done in the executive room, a cozy, darkened space with two sink-in-heaven soft reclining chairs. Much better than those hard facial beds!

The Signature Age Defense Treatment uses a special cocktail of pearls, caviar and phyto-extracts to plump skin with moisture, improve elasticity, reverse sun damage and do all the magical stuff to make me look young and fabulous. Anyway, the treatment started with soothing sips of hot ginger tea. Another thing I love at The Spa is their hot ginger tea! I always have a cup before and after any treatment. Sooo relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time. Plus, ginger tea is very healthy. We should all drink a mug daily!

After tea, I lay back comfortably and my face, neck and decolletage were cleansed. Then an exfoliating serum was applied. Then I was steamed for about 10 minutes. That's all I remember! The ambiance, the soothing massage, the gentle movements and the nature sounds were so relaxing, I dozed off! When I woke up at the end of the treatment, my therapist, Claudy, said she did a bit of extraction on my face (she said there wasn't a lot to extract yey!) then massaged the special serums, lotions and moisturizers. Ohhhh so heavenly! I should do this more often!

To see the full effects of the Signature Age Defense Treatment, I should go twice a month. By the sixth session, I'd be glorious! Well, just look at me after the first treatment: all tight and firm and flawless!

Maybe if I do this often enough, I'd end up looking like Angel Aquino!

The Spa Signature Age Defense Treatment is available in all The Spa Wellness branches in Alabang, Eastwood, Greenbelt, Rockwell, Trinoma and The Fort for P2,700 (Executive Room) and P2,900 (Suite/Villa).  

For inquiries at The Spa Wellness Fort, you may call 856-5858 / 856-6868. The Spa Wellness Fort is located at B8, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For more info, visit 

Anyway, I wish I'd gone to have this facial earlier this month. I found out that The Spa has a fabulous promo now that ends this Friday!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

First love

A friend and I were chatting one day. She was about to get married. I teased her, "Is he your first?" And at our age, we all know what "first" means!

"Yes," she replied. "As far as I'm concerned, he is. He's my first love because he's my true love. All the other so-called loves before him don't count."

And I laughed, long and loud. "You're so silly!"

But I know what she means. I've had boyfriends before Vince. But it was only with him I felt completely alive. Only with him, I saw my future. Only with him that I wanted to have children.

I've been kissed before but when Vince and I kissed the first time, I thought my soul opened up and soared and my skin tingled like it was hot and cold at the same time and and my heart, I thought it actually stopped. And after we kissed, I looked at him and said breathlessly, "You're my first kiss!"

And Vince laughed, since he knew I've been kissed before. But I knew in my heart—and my body knew it, too—that that kiss wiped all other kisses off the face of the earth and I was reborn. I knew then and there that I was gone.

He knew it, too. He asked me to marry him about two weeks later. I said no because his eyes scared me. His eyes said forever. I've never seen that in a guy's eyes before. So I knew I was his first love, too, because he may have had many girls before me but forever only happens once and his forever happened with me.

1999, Baguio. We didn't know each other when this photo was taken. We just happened to be sitting together.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Topaz Fashion: My summer tote is Cole Haan

Remember when I said that this year my word is simplify? Then remember when, as a result of this simplification, I went through my stuff and gave away tons of stuff to my sister and niece? Well, under all my stuff, I found my brand new, unused and still redolent of leather Cole Haan tote.

Yes, I had forgotten about it. So yes, I really should simplify my life! Who forgets bags they just bought?! Crazy wasteful woman.

I'm so glad I found it again. It's no longer available in stores now because I think this was from the 2011 summer collection. My friend Dada bought it abroad for me some time ago because it's a lot more expensive if you buy it here.

It's so cuuuuute! So bright and happy and so Pinoy! It's like a coño bayong haha. It's very roomy, too. It's now my diaper bag. I like how the coated canvas resists dirt and the wet. So perfect for my busy mommy lifestyle!

Sorry no real photos of the bag. I find the boy in the photos much much cuter. Sooo adorable! He and his brother and their father are making my weekend happy. Hope yours is bright and happy, too!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Camay Girls + Cosmo Hunks

Back when I worked in magazines, the most exciting time in the office is when Cosmo starts auditioning men for their Cosmo Bachelor issue. The lobby and hallways are filled with good-looking guys and the office girls giggle a lot. I also used to go every year to Cosmo's Bachelor Bash. Crazy party! Every girl should go to a Cosmo Bash at least once in their lives.

So when Camay asked me to write about their new social experiment involving Cosmo Hunks, of course I said yes. Actually, I also wanted to see who these Cosmo-Camay hunks are. Being happily married, I haven't really been looking around, you know! But anyway. Here are the Cosmo Hunks:
Mikael Daez

Alden Richards

Daniel Matsunaga

Joseph Marco

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Top 10 Favorite Things (a.k.a. Buy this month's Real Living!)

I'm in this month's Real Living. Like, as me and not as a contributing writer. Like, my face and not as a byline haha.

I talk about my favorite things at my home. The font is tiny so you can't click on the photo and try to read. You'll have to get a copy! I promise you it's a good read—I have a story for each piece. Yep, that's why the font is so small. The artist was forced to do that to make all my words fit!

It's also a great issue filled with beautiful, airy, sun-filled homes. One day, Vince and I will build a house with huge windows to let sun and fresh air in. And it will have a large garden for the kids to run around in and where Vince can plant a garden and where I can nap under the trees. Sigh! I'm so inspired to work for our dream house now. That's what I love about shelter magazines!

Thanks, Real Living! Thanks to the editor-in-chief, my friend Rachelle! And thanks so very much to the writer Kaye for being patient with me!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Okay, this is more of a Topaz Mommy post but since I promised my mommy readers over there that my next post there is the second part of Iñigo's birthday, I kinda had to put this one here. I just wanted to show you my birthday boy's favorite game to play.

That little Iñigo! So silly and naughty and cute! And his Kuya Vito is just as cute in his absolute love for his baby brother! I'm a happy bunny. So happy!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Topaz Fashion: My favorite breastfeeding dress

I get a lot of questions about clothes I wear that are fit for breastfeeding. Mommies ask me that all the time because frankly, there's not enough stylish nursing clothes in Manila. I've been able to get a few nice ones but here's my current favorite:
Ashley Smocked Dress from Dote Studio, Pedro gray pumps, Longchamp clutch

It's a gray empire-waist dress with flared sleeves from Dote Studio from Singapore. I bought it and another nursing dress from Brandsfever. I won't be doing that again. The dresses cost me P4,197.63. Then when they arrived at the post office, I had to pay P1,786 for customs duty, EVAT, IPF, CDS and BIR stamp. I have no idea what the last three are but pay I must so pay I did.

Anyway, I love my Dote Studio dresses! They're made of really nice cloth unlike the many nursing mommy clothes out there, which are usually made of this horrible thin cotton-like thing that clings to every post-preggy lump. Just look at it. It doesn't even look like a breastfeeding dress!

I wore it to a lunch date with Vince at Circles, Makati Shangri-la...
My hungry husband.
I told ya I never brush my hair!

... and to coffee with my Wine Night friends at Apartment 1B in One Rockwell.

I'll blog about my other breastfeeding dresses and tops soon on August! Hehe, that's Breastfeeding Awareness Month. I want to take better pictures of my nursing clothes so that you mommies will see that your style doesn't have to suffer when you breastfeed!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Topaz Mommy and Mom & Me


I have another blog called Topaz Mommy. I made another one when I got pregnant way back in 2009 because I knew most of Topaz Horizon's readers are young, professional, single, childless women. I didn't want to alienate the readers so I made a new blog just for mommies.

For a good long while there, I thought I just doubled my blogging stress haha. Ya know, two blogs to update, two sets of readers to entertain haha. But now I'm glad I made two blogs because each blog has its own personality and each blog attracts different readers and different advertisers. So both blogs earn me money, instead of just one source of blogging income. Hooray!

And now my blogger profile just got a big boost. I'd like to say that Topaz Mommy is a proud media partner of an event. It's my very first time to be a media partner! I'm so stressed out!!! Kidding! I am thrilled no end because Topaz Mommy is the ONLY BLOG partner of Mom & Me. My mommy blog sits alongside such media heavyweights like Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping, K-Zone, Total Girl, Disney Junior, Disney Princess, Business World,, Highlife, Kristn and Southern Living. I feel like I, as a blogger, have finally made a dent in the media, not just blogging, industry.

If you look at the official poster below, my blog logo is the rightmost logo under the Media Partners section. I knoooow I'm being so easily excitable but this is a big deal, y'all!

Mom & Me is a special event that promotes fun activities for moms and kids to bond over. There's fitness activities like yoga, Zumba, taekwondo. There's health stuff like cooking and talks on nutrition. There's storytelling, a fashion show, face painting and other fun art activities. For more about Mom & Me, please check out my Topaz Mommy post.

Anyway, I gave away free tickets to the Mom & Me event over at Topaz Mommy. But the Mom & Me organizers are feeling generous so they said I can give away more!!! I have two more tickets to give to two lucky moms. All you have to do is Tweet this: "I want to go to the @MommyandMePH event! @FrancesASales, pick me! Pls RT!" Easy as pie! Actually, pies are not easy to make.

So let's do this! Tweet away and I'll pick a winner by Friday! Good luck!

UPDATE: Winners are @tatacarms and @lynileo. Both have been contacted via Twitter. Congratulations!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Living on a free tank of gas!

I'm sure you've seen this super fun prank but I can't stop watching it so you might as well watch it, too! It just brightens up anyone's day!

Gotta love people who are game for anything, right? With the high price of gas these days, I do believe people would do anything for a free full tank of the stuff. But these two amazing people should get even more just for being so fabulously entertaining!

Vince said as he watched the video, "You know what they say: Behind every successful man is a woman laughing hysterically." I love this couple!

Happy Monday!

P.S. Speaking of free gas, I'd like to thank Pilipinas Shell for sponsoring our gasoline. We really do love the racing fuel!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reader question #2: Why are you so humble?

That's from an anonymous reader who I suspect I actually know in real life because look at her full question:

"I'm inspired at how you gave up your glamorous career to be a full time mom. You were at your peak but you chose to stay home and be with your family. What's so inspiring about it is you did it with so much joy that you make the housewife career so glam! I'm not surprised because you always are so down-to-earth. At events, you're so friendly and approachable, unlike other magazine editors who act like they're such a big deal. How do you stay so humble?"

First of all, thanks for the kind words. You're very sweet!

Second, I don't know any magazine editors "who act like they're such a big deal." I think they're just misunderstood. Many of them are actually very busy or very shy. Yes, shy. They're writers. Writers are shy. Plus, believe it or not, editors don't really like going to events, especially events at night because they've been at work all day and they're tired. Making a magazine is not easy, no matter what the movies say. Then while the rest of the workforce is on their way home to their kids and a nice hot dinner, editors have to dress up and put on uncomfortable heels and attend events that start way too late and serve very little food and... It's not the best part of their job really. So if they look sour and are short with you, make a mental note to plan the next event during the day!

Actually, if you do meet editors who act like they're such a big deal, just do the math. Let's say a magazine has a circulation of 40,000 copies. Multiply that with its newsstand price of, say, P100 and that's a total of P4 million a month. Multiply that with 12 issues and you get P48 million a year. That's just circulation. We haven't added the profit from ads. Now a magazine staff is usually just a few people so these 5 to 7 people make millions upon millions of pesos for their publishing company. So if some magazine editors act like they're a big deal, that's because they are a big deal!

Third, I'm not as humble and friendly as you think haha. Especially since I became a mom, I think I've become very impatient with people because I don't want to waste my time. Time spent with other people, whether at meetings or at events, means time spent away from my babies!

This was taken 19 years ago!

Fourth, how do I stay humble? Well, let me share with you a chat I had with an old friend about our upcoming high school reunion next year. Background: I studied in Manila Science High School. It's a really good school for really smart kids. But I don't think it's a good school for soft hearts. It was tough, fiercely competitive. I still shudder when I think about my high school years. It was not an easy time. But, hey, I graduated. That makes me smart! So back to my conversation with my friend.

Friend: Why aren't you going? It's our 20th year! Don't you want to go and see how everyone else is doing?

Me: That's what Facebook is for.

Friend: But don't you want to let our classmates see you're big time now?

Me: I am so not big time! I'm a lifestyle writer. I write about fashion and beauty products and celebrities. I don't even design or make anything. Meanwhile, our classmates are doctors, surgeons, engineers, scientists, researchers, mathematicians, professors. Me? I'm ridiculous!

So, to finally answer your question, I stay humble because I know my place in the world. It's a lovely place, I'm very grateful, but I haven't really done anything that will change the course of history. I'm from a family of talented musicians and singers but I can't play any instrument or sing. My friends now are entrepreneurs while I'm still figuring out how to start a business. In the great scheme of things, I'm not really hot shit. And that's why I'm so friendly and approachable!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I want bangs again

I was watching Channel V and saw Taylor Swift's video, "Begin Again," and totally fell in love with all her dresses. All of them. I'm in the middle of revamping my wardrobe and I think I've found my style peg.

I think, because of Taylor, I also want bangs again.
image from's story on bangs

Now before you say that my hair peg shouldn't be a kid, I also want to say I watched Iron Man 3 last night and I want Pepper Potts's bangs, too. Bangs can be pulled off by glamorous, powerful women, too! I've liked Pepper's hair since the first movie—the red, the bangs. Here's Pepper in the second movie—shorter hair but still blunt fringe. 
image from

I used to have bangs actually. I loved them! But they are very high maintenance. You always have to blow dry them so that they are full and you always have to put product so that they stay put. Clearly, with my hectic schedule as a work-at-home mommy with no maids and yayas, bangs are not a good idea. 

But looking at this old photo from 2008, I kinda think I'm ready for a makeover. Even Vince approves of the look! Should I go for the snip? 

Friday, May 03, 2013

Topaz Fashion: What we wore to the pool

Vince and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary (and 14 years together, too!) with a lovely stay at Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. You can read all about it on Topaz Mommy. For this blog, I chose to write about our pool outfits!

I was fretting about what to wear. The last time I wore a bathing suit was before I got pregnant and when I tried on my bikinis, well, let's just say the stretchmarks all over my tummy was not a pretty sight. So I had to get a maillot. At the photo shoot for my newspaper column, we were shooting Holly Chang of Wink and I was happily chatting away with one of the PR girls, Janlee Dungca, when I mentioned to her that I was about to go swimming and I had nothing to wear because of my new mommy body. She immediately said, "Soak Swimwear!" And thank the heavens for her because I absolutely LOVE my new Soak maillots!

Vince loves this. He thinks I'm so sexy in it. I love it for these reasons:
1. The color blocking is so bold and graphic.
2. The high waist actually makes my tummy look small.
3. The white band gave me a waist!
4. The super deep front (it's almost down to my tummy) emphasizes my mommy boobs! Plus, it makes breastfeeding Iñigo super easy!
5. And, of course, because it made my husband think I'm hot!

I told my toddler Vito that if I just add stars to the blue and a gold belt, a crown and cuffs, I'd be Wonder Woman. Haha! That's why I matched this with my sons' starry bottoms. Sooo cute!
The shorts is Old Navy, the briefs are Rustan's Baby. I'm so happy they look exactly the same! Don't my little stars look so cute in them?

For our second day, I wore a Soak black maillot with a shirred gold cover on the front and back. It really is perfect for a mommy tummy! Sayang I don't have a full body photo of this one but it really camouflaged the tum-tum.

The boys wore i play swim diapers and shorts. I love these! They are reusable, water-tight, cool, comfy and summery! They are every kid's summer staple! You must get them for your babies!!!

And here's my latest fab find: Babiators! They are soooo cool! They are baby-proof. Yep, we inadvertently tested it when the boys grabbed one temple each and started pulling it apart. It didn't fall apart! Bravo!
Too cool. Too cool! My boys and I had so much (stylish) fun at the pool!

You can buy Soak Swimwear at Retail Lab at Power Plant (that's where I got mine), Cabana on Gamboa St. Legaspi Village, and at Wink Wax & Laser Studio (where I do my hair removal). You can also shop online.

You can get info on where to buy the i play swim diapers and shorts from their Facebook page.

I bought the Babiators from Taste Central. There are a lot of colors but they're mostly sold out.

Have a stylish summer!!!