Friday, July 24, 2015

Our Minions weekend!

This post is brought to you by Monde Mamon.

If you're a parent of young kids, you probably have seen the Minions movie by now. I mean, really, it's like the hottest thing in kidlandia these days. My kids, especially my second boy IƱigo, can actually speak Minionese.

How crazy is that!

Naturally, when Monde Mamon invited my family to watch a special screening at Greenbelt, we cleared our schedule and watched the Minions movie.

The movie was fun, more slapstick funny than smart funny the way the Despicable Me movies were. And we missed Gru. As a parent, I kinda worry about kiddie movies that glorify the bad guy: Wreck-It Ralph and Maleficent, for example, but they turned out to be heroes. Since Gru became a parent, he's really a good guy, which makes him a hero in my and my kids' eyes. With Minions, well, I won't spoil the ending, but because there was no real good guys here, there was no hero for my kids to look up to. I mean, sure, the Minions saved the day but they weren't heroes really. Still, the kids loved the movie, and they're too young to look for a moral (and, I'll be honest, I don't like movies with morals but that had to change when I gave birth to my own minions!) so watch Minions!

Anyway, we loved the Monde snack box we all got—a pretty white box with a chocolate chip muffin and two pieces of waffles. I wish I had gotten a picture but it was too dark in the theater by the time we opened our snack boxes. And we ate everything up immediately! Soooo good!

Then we brought home bags of Monde Mamon goodies and Minions lunch box and tumbler!

Their favorite part of the giveaways? Why, the Mamon-It-Yourself Minion kit, of course!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Three reasons why blogging isn't for everybody

I'm giving a little talk on Sunday about my blogging journey and I hope you show up! Powerbooks and Enderun's The Study said all I need to do is talk about how I started blogging, how I got my following, and how I'm earning from blogging. That's the general outline, but they said I'm free to talk about anything I like as long as it's about blogging.

So this past weekend, I've been trying hard not to be nervous for Sunday haha. I'm deathly afraid, to be honest. I have horrific stage fright. I don't suffer from stage fright when I do presentations for other things, say the magazine I used to edit or a project for a company. I'm very good at presentations. But when I started blogging professionally, I found it so weird to sell myself. Does anyone feel the same way?

Anyway, so I was thinking about my talk on Sunday and I remembered that all my friends who wanted to blog asked if I recommend it. You know, they'll ask, "Do you think I should blog?" Which always struck me as a strange question. It's like, "Do you think I should get married? Do you think I should have kids?" I think if you need to ask people about it, then maybe you know within your heart that it isn't for you. Here are a few reasons why blogging may not be for you.

But before I discourage you, let me encourage you!  

Blogging exposes you.
Putting yourself out there attracts attention. Most of the time, it's a good kind of attention because you attract people who are interested in the same things you write about. Many of my friends today I met because of my blogs. They liked my humor, they liked my stories, they liked how I lived my life. And when I visited their blogs, I found that we were sisters from another mother—that's how alike we are!

But then sometimes, especially if you talk about things you believe in, you attract negative people. They will tear you down, criticize your beliefs, spread bad things about you, and basically find you so disagreeable, they can't help themselves. They just want to hate. Now, I have nothing against criticism. I'm not perfect and I'm not an expert. Plus, sharing how I live my life will invite opposing opinions. That's how life is. But I don't believe in hate. We can disagree but I don't understand why I have to be hated just because I don't live the way others do.

This used to bother me (like I would cry about it, and I don't cry easily!) until I realized that my blogs have brought me more love and friendship than hate. In fact, putting myself out there is one of the best things I've ever done! I have so many friends now. I have so many gifts from complete strangers who love my family! I gained work opportunities. My life is so much better all because I put myself out there.

But if you're the kind of person who can't deal with negativity, criticism and opposition, then think again if you want to blog!

Blogging may get you in trouble with your loved ones. Or your work.
This is mostly an issue with bloggers who talk about their personal lives or share their opinions on politics, religion and anything deemed controversial. So food bloggers, fashion bloggers and beauty bloggers are safe (correct me if I'm wrong!).

What you say online may affect your family or your employer. Both have happened to me. I had a big falling out with a member of my family because of something nasty that I said carelessly (the relationship is now healed). I also periodically get scolded by older family members for talking about my parents or for scandalizing them when I talk about sex (why does sex with my husband scandalize people?). So I'm more careful now, less reactive, less stupid, less emotional, less sex. At least online!

I also got in big trouble at the publishing company I used to work for because I gave a bad review of a product and the brand happened to be a major advertiser. I argued that my personal lifestyle and opinions shouldn't affect my professional life but I learned the hard way that, yep, they do.

I understand now that every part of my life affects each other, so I can't just blurt out everything in my head and heart. I must measure every word and judge how it will affect others, especially my family. I used to not care about these things because I thought that if I believed in it enough, then I must say it. It's my truth, and blogging is a terrific channel for expressing my truth. But now I understand my truth must be tempered with compassion, and sometimes compassion says, "Don't say it."

So if you're willing to ruffle feathers, go ahead and blog! But if that doesn't appeal to you, then start a blog that will be just fun but not personal. Examples are recipes, DIY, arts and crafts, home management tips, toy collections, and the like. These can still be incredibly successful!

Blogging can be incredibly intrusive.
Well, that's because when you share your life so publicly, you invite people into your life, whether you meant to do so or not. People who read your blog feel that they know you now and that they are your friend. In many ways, they are. I have so many friends now that I met online!

But there have been instances when a stranger came up to my husband and teased him about something I blogged about and Vince was smiling and all but inside he was uneasy because I'm the blogger and he's the private person so he felt invaded. My kids have also gotten weirded out when people will shout, "Hi Vito!" and try to pinch him. Oh, and I remember when someone blocked my way with a grocery cart at the supermarket and the woman greeted me happily. I was glad that someone I don't know was so happy to see me but at the same time, I felt, "Woah, you frightened me!"

I'm no celebrity. So I don't go around assuming I have fans. Oh haha that sounds so wild! But I do get thrilled when people say hi and ask for a picture or comment kindly about the kids. It doesn't go to my head; it goes straight to my heart! Thank you! So while I gave up a bit of my privacy (I don't reveal everything, you know!), the trade off is I allow more people to love me and my family. It's a beautiful exchange.

But if your privacy matters to you intensely, then maybe blogging is not for you.

Now if these reasons don't deter you from starting a blog, then you can drop by my talk on Sunday and learn more about blogging! I promise you it will be fun. And it's free! There will be a Q&A after so you can ask me anything you want about blogging!

Okay, I think I'll do a good job on Sunday. My nerves relaxed when I wrote this post. Now all I'm worried about is... What will I wear?!?

See you there!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blog event! I'm talking about blogging on July 19!

I'm so excited! Enderun's The Study and Powerbooks invited me to talk about blogging! This will be at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4, on July 19. Yes, that's this Sunday! I'm a little surprised at how quickly this happened but I'm thrilled to be given the chance to talk about my passion for blogging and to meet my readers, too!

Yes, you're all invited!

Please do come! Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about blogging (especially my blogging journey), you can ask me there! Or you can ask me in the comments below so I can be prepared haha.

See you all on Sunday!

UPDATE! I forgot to say this is FREE! So come one, come all!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Just checking in!

Good morning! This is me this morning right before I got up from bed, sent the boys to school and the playground, and had breakfast and devotions alone and in peace.

After my devotions, it was impressed on my heart that I should really blog with a higher purpose. Aside from sharing my life honestly and aside from earning money from it, I also ought to meet the desires of my readers (I'm calling you Loyal Readers from now on!), and that is they want to leave my blog with nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. I struggled with this request before, but I realized shortly thereafter that your request isn't a bad thing. It could possibly help me become a better wife, parent, human being! So let's do it!

Thing is, I'm struggling with blogging. Period.

First, two blogs. Keep both? Keep one? Make an entirely new one? I'm not updating Topaz Horizon regularly anymore. With my life now more focused on motherhood, it's my parenting blog Topaz Mommy that gets updated. It also gets more visits, obviously, and this blog's stats are on the decline. It's still high enough to attract sponsors but the numbers are definitely not up there anymore. I feel sad about this but I don't know what to do.

Second, my life is consumed by parenting so Topaz Mommy is what I enjoy updating. Should I just focus on parenting then and give up lifestyle blogging altogether?

Third, I also used to turn on my computer and just blog here when the writing bug hits me, but now that I'm older, I feel that that isn't wise anymore. I don't want to react to news anymore, to say my opinions while issues are developing. I've realized that many times I don't actually have an opinion because the issue doesn't affect me but because everyone is talking about it on Facebook, I'm forced to think about issues that seriously do not matter to me. What a waste of time and brain cells! And if I blog about my knee-jerk opinions (for page views since what's current will always attract more readers), then what a waste of time and energy, too!

So what does this mean? I don't know haha. I still like writing about current events, especially about entertainment! But then there's also a lot of concern now about images, and that putting credit and linking to source just isn't good enough. (In fact, I am slowly going through both blogs deleting pictures, even posts!, that have images I just grabbed from Google searches.) So if I can't afford to buy images of celebrities, then it's so corny of me if I talk about them and there are no nice photos!

So anyway, a few months ago, I asked on my Topaz Horizon Facebook page what I should do, and my readers said I should just keep one blog. Easier to maintain for me, easier for them to follow. Everyone said to ditch Topaz Mommy and blog about motherhood on Topaz Horizon because motherhood is on my horizon anyway. I'd do that except Topaz Mommy is so high up in the stats game so it doesn't make sense to me to give up the blog with the high stats! My friend, blog coach Martine de Luna, says that shouldn't be a problem. In fact, she says I can even start a new blog—new name, new look, new brand—and trust my Loyal Readers to follow.

I love my Loyal Readers!

Will you follow me when I create a new blog? Yes, when not if. The only thing stopping me is I can't come up with a name!

Then again, I'm so scared!

Anyway, I'm working on it. I'm thinking of a new name, a new look, a logo. I'm talking to someone about migrating all the content of Topaz Horizon and Topaz Mommy to that new blog. I'm also still setting aside money for the great migration and I don't exactly have a budget for that right now.

So no budget means I shouldn't do it haha.

Maybe I can just keep Topaz Horizon and move the Topaz Mommy content here, right?

I can't decide! But definitely I want a new look. Something cleaner yet happier. Wish me luck, Loyal Readers!

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