Showing posts with label Celebrities & Entertainment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebrities & Entertainment. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

I blame just one person for all this melodrama

As per the last time I blogged about these people, their names are not mentioned so this won't appear on Google search. The photos should tell you who they are but I won't write their names, okay. Why? Because fans of the older brother and his wife leave abusive messages and threats. I'm not even the younger brother and his wife and I experienced a tiny bit of the vitriol they get every day. I can't imagine being them. 

Have you watched this docuseries on Netflix? You should! The first chapter (3 episodes) is so romantic and nakakakilig. Watch!

But I'm a storyteller. I know what they're doing. They're softening us up because this week's chapter is going to be hard-hitting, explosive, shocking... all the adjectives you see on tabloids! Exciting!

But let's get serious. Let me tell you something that's been bothering me ever since the start of this whole circus. But no one has actually commented on it.

But first, I want to establish I'm firmly on Team MM. Not even Team H&M. Just Team MM.

Everyone's mad at MM, assigning her the Angry Black Woman trope. But it's PH who has an axe to grind. PH is the one angry, the one hurting, the one whose mother was killed, the one who had no special protection deal with the press, the one with the explosive secrets, the one publicly struggling with mental health issues, the one who has been hounded by tabloids for almost 40 years, the one whose wife was bullied relentlessly by the press and countless men and women all over the world. He has every right to be angry.

MM? Why would she be angry? She said herself she had a happy childhood, that even though her parents were divorced, her mom and dad doted on her, that she was a daddy's girl. She studied in an exclusive girls school, had a good acting career, was busy with her humanitarian causes, has tons of friends who adore her, had a lifestyle website that made good money, and was never in any scandal. Her haters say they never heard of her. That's easily explained - only the scandalous ones are talked about. The good girls in Hollywood are boring. And MM is a good girl. So good that even when the tabloids offered money to her castmates to say they slept with her, they said no. 

MM's life was PERFECT. Then PH came along and she lost her sweet career, her beloved website, her relationship with her dad, her squeaky-clean reputation, and her peace of mind!!! 

The third date was camping with no bathroom, shower, or toilet anywhere. MM, you should've run away! 😂

She's so unused to bad things happening that she had suicidal thoughts when things got tough. She didn't know what to do. Her life was the most negatively affected by this romance, not PH's. Because PH's life has always been hell. His parents had their affairs all over the tabloids, his former family treated his brother better, his parents had an ugly divorce, his mother was killed, he had to comfort a grieving country when he was just 12, then his father married the woman who tormented his mother, his normal teenage adventures of parties/girls/alcohol were gossip fodder of an entire nation (possibly the world), and his girlfriends were hounded by the paparazzi and eventually chased away. 

PH has always hated his life. He repeatedly said in interviews when he was young: "I don't have photos of my family here in the army unlike the other soldiers; I don't want to live in the UK, I want to live in Africa; I'm angry at the tabloids, etc." 

PH is angry and he's not going to shut up until his anger is spent.

And yet we all blame the woman! It's always the woman's fault even though she hardly has said anything. It's PH who's always dropping the bombshells about his original family. But, of course, who do we blame? The woman. The way we blame rape victims, sexual harassment victims, or when a man cheats, kasalanan ng babae kasi nagkulang siya. 

Bakit laging babae may kasalanan? Wala bang sariling pag-iisip yung lalaki? Hindi ba siya marunong mag-sariling desisyon? Why do we treat PH like he's this innocent young boy? He was frikkin' 32 years old when he met MM! 

It's misogyny that we blame MM. Because why blame her when it's PH who rushed her to marry, who didn't prepare her for the role, who didn't protect her from his family and the courtiers, who revealed the (not so) shocking tidbit about a racist family member? MM never even heard that skin-color comment herself and PH should never have told her. She was already mentally fragile tapos gagatungan pa ni PH???

I've always blamed PH for all this shit. Buti na lang mahal siya ng asawa niya. Kung ako si MM, walk out ako agad. The hate is never worth it, kahit sinong Prince Charming pa siya.

Anyway, all that said, I'm glad PH is now making it up to MM. He took her and their kids out of that toxic environment. He looks like he's completely besotted with her. He's a happy daddy. He's working hard to be financially independent (unlike the RF that still depends on the taxpayer to pay for their palaces, designer gowns, helicopter rides, etc). And though it's distasteful, he's defending his decisions (yes, HIS decisions!) even if it puts his former family in a bad light.

Ya know, if my father also had a torrid affair, caused my mother torment, divorced her and stripped her of protection which eventually had a hand in causing her death, I'd hate him, too. If anyone goes after my husband, maybe I'll stand back muna kasi he's an adult but if foul na, I'd defend him tooth and nail, too. 

But if anyone dares go after my children, I'd be out for blood. No one touches my kids. And the abuse the kids of H&M get from the tabloids and the rest of this evil world??? I don't care if anyone will call me inelegant, classless, walang modo sa reactions ko. Nanay ako. Come after my kids and I will do everything to destroy you.

I'm sure any good parent will understand. And that's why I'm Team MM. And maybe Team PH... Nope. I still haven't forgiven him for finding a perfectly happy-on-her-own woman and then changing her life for the worse.

Then again, there's this viral Tiktok that jokes that that's what men do. But of course, it's the woman's fault for letting him, right? 🙄😠

UPDATE: Finally watched Vol 2 and I was right!!! 

P.S. The most asked question sa akin about H&M is, "Bakit dami nilang kwento eh diba they wanted privacy?" They NEVER said that. Whenever people ask me that, I judge them severely: "Aha, you're one of those people who only read the tabloid headlines, don't click to read the full article, and don't confirm your sources."

Here's what they said in 2020, with my edits and notes in italics: 
After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution [within daw, sa loob, hindi sa labas!].

We intend to step back [step back, not step away] as ‘senior’ members of the RF and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support HM The Q [as in they won't stop their public royal duties but W didn't allow this at the Sandringham Summit].

It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.

We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Q, the Commonwealth, and our patronages [again, their original plan was to still work as public royals].

This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity [space daw, not privacy].

We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with HM The Q, The PofW, The DoC and all relevant parties [collaborate daw, but this wasn't allowed].

Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.
Reading comprehension matters!

And because people keep screaming "Privacy!", their global press secretary, A.H., accused the British tabloids of inventing this lie and last week told The New York Times
[H&M's] statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties. Any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series. They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion. The facts are right in front of them.
So there's my answer to that "we want our privacy" lie. 

P.P.S. Am I against W&K? Ya know, all I'll say again is I'm Team K. Why do I support K? Because MM said on their O interview, "K is a good person." 

That means that K didn't treat her badly. As for W... That's a post for another day!
He's a senior journalist who had to delete this Tweet because someone from the Palace threatened him, which means the RF actually does have a say on what's published about them. It's not true they maintain a "dignified silence."

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

That time Taylor Swift inspired me to write an essay on cottagecore full of her songs

Exactly two years ago, we were in the grip of a deadly global pandemic, quarantined, and afraid. What got me through that was Taylor Swift and her album Folklore. Her surprise album made news because she used her time trapped indoors to be productive. That really inspired me to write my very first book, Not Invisible, because if Taylor can create something at a time when we were all threatened by destruction, then I can create, too. I felt my mortality acutely so I wanted to leave something behind and that's how I became an author (thanks, Taylor!)

I was also writing for the beauty website, Project Vanity, and being a Swiftie grateful for the creative inspiration, I wanted to write an article about Taylor's new album and new aesthetic and then do a totally Taylor thing - insert Easter eggs into my writing. She said she loved doing this because her writing is the most important thing to her and putting secret clues in her songs makes her fans pay more attention to her writing. So I wrote an article for PV and asked the PV community to look for Taylor's song titles. And they were so happy to find them all!

Here is the unedited article, with 25 song titles! The published version was edited for length and I took out sentences that felt forced so only 16 titles survived the edit. Since it's been 2 years, I decided to share with you the original article and tell me how many you find!

(CLICK "Read more" for the answers with the songs linked to their YouTube vids). 

* * * * * * *

Freckles, focaccia, and Taylor Swift’s Folklore: Have you jumped on the cottagecore aesthetic trend?

Taylor Swift very recently surprised everyone the world over with an indie album made while she was in quarantine. Not only was Folklore completely unannounced until 24 hours before it dropped, but Taylor also debuted a different sound and look. Gone was the dip-dyed blue hair of 2019. Even "that classic red lip thing that I like" - kaput. Instead, we have a bare-faced Taylor, with a mop of unruly blonde curls, clad in an old nightgown, a gingham shift, or a bulky cardigan.

Was Taylor introducing a new style and beauty trend? No. Her Folklore look is nothing new. She just brought it front and center. This aesthetic is called cottagecore and in the age of a global pandemic when everything has changed, it is everything we want.

What is cottagecore? Cottagecore is an online aesthetic that romanticizes the simple life. It’s all about escaping the urban jungle for a cottage in the woods. It’s being lit up by the warm light of a fireplace instead of the cold light of a laptop. It’s being free from the trappings of capitalism and living simply in a state of grace. It’s also been around for a few years, with a cult following on Tumblr and Instagram, but it erupted this year on TikTok when TikTokers stuck at home shared calming videos of baking bread, arranging flowers, and knitting sweaters.

It’s understandable why people are enchanted by cottagecore. Trapped indoors because of the pandemic, a peek at an uncomplicated life where your biggest concern is what herbs from your windowsill garden will go on the focaccia you’re about to put in your oven invokes feelings of being safe and sound. Since we know all too well that the world right now is confusing and terrifying, the cottagecore dream is having a moment.

If you’re unaware of this trend, check your Facebook feed again with eyes open. I see it everywhere on my social media platforms. The plantitas fussing over their plants. The work-from-home guys now baking sourdough bread. The women knitting ear-savers for the frontliners. The style influencers who used to travel the world now posting OOTDs from their gardens.

The cottagecore beauty trend

Of course, cottagecore has a beauty aspect, too. It’s not just Taylor giving off that natural vibe. For her “Daisies” music video, pop star Katy Perry is barefoot and pregnant in a white lace dress, with her black roots showing through her blonde locks. Singer, feminist, and activist Halsey is happy at home, posting selfies of her freckle-filled cheeks and wild curls. Star of Stranger Things and Enola Holmes Millie Bobby Brown basks in the daylight with her dogs, her hair loose or in braids, her flawless skin without a stitch of makeup.

What this means for us regular folk is a focus on skincare and haircare! A big reason why celebrities and influencers can get away with the cottagecore look is their skin and hair are gorgeous. They use the best pampering products because their career means they can never be invisible.

We don’t have to buy the same expensive stuff to stay beautiful, however. A regular skincare regimen of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and protecting is forever and always the simplest and best beauty secret. Because we have a lot of time now, go a little extra in loving your skin and hair.  For example, weekends are dedicated to me! That's when I put sheet masks for dewy skin, I deep condition my hair, and do my own mani and pedi. Since quarantine started, I don’t remember the last time I used my blowdryer so my hair’s really been feeling soft and amazing.

While cottagecore is all about showing off bare skin, a makeup lover doesn’t have to despair. Tinted lip gloss is a big deal, so are natural brows and delicate lashes. If I must wear makeup for Zoom meetings, I like wearing CC cream with a glossy lippie and cream blush in dusky rose hues. I use brown eyeliner, brown mascara, and brown brow pencil because cottagecore colors are browns, beiges, and warm pinks. My freckles have faded (thanks, anti-aging creams!) and at my age, freckles mean sun damage but I can easily fake freckles by using brown liquid eyeliner.

Of course, we can all just jump on the cottagecore bandwagon as an escape from what has been a truly cruel summer (and beyond) of living with the novel coronavirus. But this trend has given me an epiphany. I hope cottagecore makes us all aspire for a way of life that is built on self-sufficiency and sustainability. We don’t literally have to live in a cottage in or out pf the woods. Growing our own food in our urban backyards, baking our own bread, even repurposing and making our own clothes - these are signs that we can begin again, but this time in a truly mindful and meaningful way.

* * * * * * *

How many did you find? 


Friday, April 01, 2022

Obsessed with Honeyjubu's apron and tea strainer

Quickly popping in to share my new obsession, Honeyjubu's YouTube channel! It's just total domestic bliss, her life. That's never been my dream. I never saw myself as happy at home, making a happy home. 

Yet here we are! More than two years in quarantine, it's finally dawned on me that maybe I should make an effort and clean up and buy nice things like a butter plate, a creamer and sugar set, placemats and charger plates, plush rugs, fresh flowers in vases ... basically things that make a house a home. 

So I've been obsessively watching Honeyjubu's channel and I was seized by this ridiculous belief that if I wear an apron like she does, I'll be transformed into a total domestic goddess. She has many aprons, some for cooking, some for cleaning, most plain and simple, some have ruffles and prints. It's so quaint and I've fallen in love with it. Aprons!

Check out these aprons in my Lazada cart. Look and choose for me! Or maybe get them all?

Gray, P283
Apricot, P429
Pink, P1,035
Black, P684
Green, P529

And then one of Honeyjubu's videos shows how they drink their breakfast tea. And it's so elegant and beautiful! Just look at that tea strainer!

And of course I found the exact one on Shopee! I am soooo delighted! I literally danced for joy when I saw the listing haha Honeyjubu breakfast tea ceremony, here I come!

Leaf tea strainer, P86

Anyway, I guess I'm cleaning this weekend. My husband will think that's my April Fool's joke haha But I do clean and keep house well enough. It just looks like I don't because the house isn't as spotless and orderly as, well, as Honeyjubu's house. That's not what I aspire for (to thine own self be true!) but I am inspired! Must buy an apron first!

Happy weekend, mamas!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Why do people hate her?

At lunch yesterday, Liz Lanuzo of Project Vanity said she can't understand why people are so angry at the woman in the photo below.

(I edited this blog post to remove her name and will replace it with MM because anyone defending this woman gets so much hate! And I don't want that shit on my blog or in my headspace. So if you know who she is, you know her name. If you don't know her, that's okay!) 

Here is my explanation, which I wrote on Facebook but decided to put here instead because Facebook instantly flags as racist and hate speech many of the words in my explanation below (and that tells you all you need to know about the people who hate MM!):

Reasons why people hate MM

1. She and Prince H are in an equal and loving marriage and people don't like that. A woman who is respected by her husband, who doesn't know her place, a woman who has her own voice (vs the husband speaking for her), and her own money "diminishes" the man.

They also can't believe H would choose his wife over his original family. 🙄🙄🙄 So they think MM is making H her puppet simply because he loves her. 

2. People think that MM is not worthy to belong to the upper crust of society. She's a foreigner, not an aristocrat, a woman who works, a divorcee, and - shocker! - a Black woman. In imperial UK, they see MM as a descendant of slaves. They think she pollutes the blue blood of the royal family. 

3. Despite being "unqualified" to marry a prince, MM did marry into that family and, unlike her middle-class sister-in-law Kate who kept her head down in acknowledgement of her unworthiness, MM spoke out, fought back, and left. To their eyes, she was ungrateful.

4. And last and worst of all, you never go against the family. You never reveal the secrets. You never cut off the relationship. You always respect and obey your parents, even when you're already married. No matter how much they abuse you, you're supposed to take it (as a sign of loyalty) and be quiet (as a sign of gratitude). Any protest, every negative story is automatically labeled as a lie. H and MM did the unforgivable by setting boundaries and when those were crossed, they left. 

And that's why people hate MM. She is a powerful, intelligent, rich woman who will not tolerate bullshit, who will not be silent when abused, who will fight back, who is happy, and - worst of all - she has a husband who loves her. The love and loyalty of a man (and a beloved prince, too!) validate and legitimize her existence and her decisions. To society, women like MM are a threat to old traditional values. And that's why they hate her.

Aaaaand that's how I know hindi pa tapos ang laban para sa mga babae! Silence always helps the abuser (families are the worst abusers of all). Discrimination and biases are still working against women, even if those women are our very own mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. Sarili kong magulang kept putting me down kasi "babae ka lang, wag kang mayabang, wag kang ambisyosa."

Stop this! Women are people, too. We deserve love and respect, too. I have it now from my husband and sons, all of them feminists I am so proud to say. They are so secure and confident in their masculinity that a strong woman in their midst is not a threat at all. 

We need to change the world, people. A world that values women will be a better world not just for women, but for all of us - yes, even men and families everywhere, too ❤️❤️❤️

One day, I truly hope we no longer need an International Women's Day because honoring, respecting, and appreciating women will be so commonplace that we do it every day. Till then, HAPPY WOMEN'S MONTH! 

Friday, November 05, 2021

Kate and Meghan twinning!

The Kate Camp and the Meghan Camp like accusing the duchess they don't like of copying the other but goodness, if I wore a yellow dress tomorrow, would that make me unoriginal? Neither duchess copyrighted any OOTD so let's give it a rest and just enjoy how both beautiful women styled their looks!

Here's what I think:

Meghan in Brandon Maxwell (July 5, 2018)
Kate in Dolce & Gabbana (July 15, 2018)

Sunny yellow! I love both dresses. I love how Meghan's showed off her toned arms and warmed her skin. I think it should be 2 inches shorter though and the waist cinched a little. Also, it's a wee bit too simple. Earrings would be nice or a statement necklace.

I love how Kate's hugged her bosom and waist, for example. And showed off her legs, too. I wish Kate would dress this way again! She's been in high-necked, long-sleeved, midi dresses for a looooong time.

Kate in Alexander McQueen (January 19, 2019)
Meghan in Burberry (February 13, 2018)

Love Kate's coat here. The fit, the tailoring, the length. Perfection! Love the black tights and gloves. It's such a sleek look. Very feminine power. Love!

Meghan's coat added bulk to her slender frame. And she has a penchant for wearing pants that are too long. I think that's really her style. If you lived through the 90s, you'd know the puddle pants trend was huge. Our parents hated us for looking sloppy haha. But I also wish Meghan fixed her hair. But this is also another style of hers - her messy hair. If you're going to look sloppy, you polish the other parts of your look - your hair and makeup. This looks just messy all around.

Kate in Stella McCartney (June 18, 2020)
Meghan in Victoria Beckham (March 5, 2020)

Possibly my most favorite Meghan look ever. Even if her dress is riding up her hips, I don't care. She looked AMAZING. The hair, the makeup, the red lip, the matching clutch and pumps - perfection. The way she didn't wear jewelry to distract from her showstopping dress. The way she used other shades of blue for her accessories - love it!

As for Kate, well, her look is bland and boring here. It's something any of us would wear to brunch or the mall. But like I keep saying, I miss it when she wore shorter hemlines. She has fabulous legs. She should show them off more.

Meghan in Black Halo (April 19, 2018)
Kate in Roland Mouret (Nov 10, 2020)

Okay, I know I mentioned I don't like Meghan's messy hair but this casual bun is sooo pretty. Love the hair, the dress, the slim belt, the laced up heels. SEXY!

Kate wore a similar dress - same color, same asymmetrical neckline - but hers is the matronly version. Again, she'd look better in a dress ending at just below the knee and sleeves maybe ending at just above the elbow.

There you go! Just a few styling tips from me today. Maybe I'll do this again! This was fun. Happy weekend!

Monday, October 04, 2021

This is mine.

Hello! I'm alive. And I am sooo alive! As a royal watcher, busog na busog ako the last week of September. And it looks like the feast isn't going to stop! Why? Well, now that the US and the UK have their vaccination programs in full swing, life has gone back to a kinda pre-COVID normal. That means the royals are out in full force! 

First, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in TIME's 100 Most Influential issue and I am so here for Meghan's pantsuits. New Sussex Brand look, guys!

If you disagreed with TIME, well, sorry na lang but tama sila because a few days later, Meghan came out of her year-and-a-half hibernation and maternity leave to take on New York with Harry for important and high-profile meetings and events. They helped raise over a billion dollars for global vaccine equity. That's measurable influence, guys. A BILLION DOLLARS' worth of influence.  

Then hindi pa ako nahimasmasan when Kate Middleton came back from their summer vacation in the most fantastic fashion! You'd think she went to the premiere of James Bond GoldenEye, Goldfinger, or Golden Gun instead with how dazzling she looked. 

This is the very BEST Kate has ever looked. Ever! The movie premiere was for charity but wala akong mahanap na news outfit that says how much money the Cambridges et al were able to raise but bet ko hindi siya a billion dollars.

So let's give the "Harry and Meghan are irrelevant" schtick a rest. 

But I'm not blogging today about the fantabulous fashion show both duchesses put on. Or their charity work. I'm actually here to kinda talk about me. Yes, because this is my blog, not a royalty blog! For my royal updates, follow me on my IG Stories - @francesampersales - because it's masaya and chismis-y there!

Today on the blog, I want to talk about how such high-profile women doing so much good and looking so good in the process aren't projecting confidence and power. 

Look at how Madam Duchess was covering her body. People speculated she was hiding her baby weight. Ako naman feeling ko hindi lang yun. I feel like she was hiding herself, hence the coats in not-chilly New York. After all, she's the target of so much online hate and this was her first time to be seen publicly since March 2020. I can imagine the fear.

But even when she wasn't a royal yet, diba parang lacking siya ng absolute confidence when she's in public. In photoshoots, yes, galing niya mag-project (refer to TIME shoot above). But when she's meeting people IRL, may air of terror siya. Also may people-pleasing air about her (like Kate). That's not a bad thing, okay! I'm just saying she kinda looks like she's hindi pa siya sure sa nangyayari sa kanya. Even at her wedding.

Eto naman si Kate same din. My goodness. She looked AMAZING! Absolutely amazing. But hindi niya carry yung dress. She's not used to that level of high fashion. Yes, she's worn many designer clothes but she's always chosen the elegant, the safe, and the boring. This is the first time she wore dazzling and while she had the face and body and stature for it, she didn't have the attitude for it. She didn't wear it; it wore her. She couldn't even walk properly in it. She kinda shuffled along when such a dress needed its wearer to glide, stomp, and strike a pose. 

I know you'll disagree but celebrity watching and entertainment journalism used to be my job. I'm professionally trained to study how celebrities carry their clothes and project themselves on the red carpet. And, no she's not a Hollywood celebrity so she's not trained in glamour but gosh, it's not so hard to study glamour. She can watch a few red carpet events or she can study her own mother-in-law! 

Diana knew how to wear a dress. And she also knew how to charm the public and the media. She had this signature move - as she's about to enter the venue, she'd pause, turn back slightly to look at her adoring public, and smile. Connect with your audience, show another angle of the dress, smile for the cameras. That's a celebrity. She had the confidence to know she looked good and that everyone was there for her. She knew how to bask in that glory of adoration.

And that's what's bugging me about me. Nag-start ito a few weeks ago when the Venice Film Festival happened. I loved how all the stars were owning that red carpet. Like I said, celebrities know how to bask in glory. And I was enjoying the show until I saw this:

That's Zendaya. I have always loved how stylish she is. She's always had fun with fashion (no safe and elegant with this woman). And she's so young but she has always had this innate sense of self. She's so aware of her body and how it looks crazy good in clothes. She has a confidence that should've come from years and years and years of living life. But she's always had it. 

I don't have that. Si Kate and Meghan din, obviously wala. Can you imagine the duchesses with the Zendaya attitude? Nope. Hindi ko sinasabi na dapat magsuot sila ng ganyan. Not even saying they should pose like that. Just the attitude of "I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time." Yun ang wala.

I wish I had that. too. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Lean In Circle Session (join us at Lean In Manila!) of Awaken Women. I spoke with the ladies about how to be visible. It was a talk inspired by my book, Not Invisible. At the start of my talk, I said it's not always good to be seen. I mean just look at Kate and Meghan and the unforgiving scrutiny they get. Do we seriously want that? It was my attempt to reassure everyone that invisibility isn't always a bad thing, that it's okay to be a nobody sometimes, and I said I'm okay with diminishing myself.

But their Circle leader Charl Banzal, who is a life coach and digital entrepreneur, asked me why someone like me still feels imposter syndrome. Someone like me? Charl listed down all I've achieved and hearing her say my long list of accomplishments sounded so good. It also sounded like she was describing another woman, not little old me.  

Argh. I just denied myself. What a betrayal. Why am I like this? Did you know that every time a brand asks me to work with them, my first thought is, "Me? Why me? I'm nobody." Even when I was putting my book together, every time I promote it now, I agonize with thoughts of insecurity. And I hate feeling this way. I'm so proud of my book! I think every mother and everyone who has a mother should read it. My attitude should only be: "I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time."

I read somewhere that our first thought is the voice of the people who raised us. So if your first thought is racist, sexist, homophobic, hateful, self-defeating, then be aware that you can own that thought, dismiss it, and change it. You don't have to let the voices of your childhood be your own. So whenever I think, "I'm a nobody, I'm not worthy of anything," I immediately arrest that ugly thought. Then I have to tell myself, "I'm amazing. I'm so smart. I'm gorgeous. I have the best life. I have accomplished so much. I got this!"

That usually gets me out of my insecure thoughts. But I don't do it all the time. It's exhausting to life coach yourself haha. But when I do, then the public me comes out. The public me is my alter ego - The Journalist. When I'm on The Journalist mode, I'm curious, sociable, and conversant. Yes, like Beyonce, I have my own version of Sasha Fierce. I'm very much an introvert. Any and every social setting gives me anxiety. But when I'm on journalist mode, then I transform. I'm very good at what I do so I let my "woman who works" alter ego take over. Yes, even at family reunions! That's still me anyway. I'm not being fake, I'm just being another version of me. 

But I do wish I don't have to pep-talk myself all the time anymore. For heaven's sake, I'm a middle-aged woman! Hindi bagay sa edad ko. I want to be Zendaya 24/7. Or JLo. Rihanna. Charlize Theron. Beyonce. I suspect even they have a public persona, though. Can they really be owning it 24/7? I guess every one of us has an alter ego. Do you? 

I don't want to have to keep calling on my alter ego all the time, though. I want to own my success and be proud of what I've achieved and who I am. I want that version of me to be the default me because that is me. I worked so hard to get here. I'm supposed to be here. This is my space. This is my time. This is mine.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Cambridge Family brand color

Blue, blue, their world is blue!

If there's anything that stamps the Cambridges as millennials it's this: They made themselves into a brand. It's such a millennial thing to do - everyone is a brand now. Even I'm told by PR agencies that my brand is the "raw and authentic mama" and my blog color (which used to be nothing) is orange because topazes are orange (uh, they also come in clear, blue, pink, brown, purple, and green). I'm not a millennial but, sure, okay, I like the branding created for me so let's go with it. 

Anyway, back to the Cambridge family. William and Catherine made themselves officially a brand in 2014 when they registered their selves as businesses. According to the Daily Mail, "Kate’s firm is called CE Strathearn – from her names Catherine and Elizabeth and the Countess of Strathearn title awarded by the Queen. William’s is APL Anglesey – after his middle names Arthur Philip Louis and the Welsh island where he and Kate lived after they married." 

Oh, William. What a romantic!

This is the first time a royal family made themselves into a brand (the second one is Harry and Meghan, and they were severely criticized as usual because apparently, only W&K can do it but H&M can't *roll eyes at tabloids and haters*). Their brands are supposedly not about making money but "more about creating a vehicle that could be used in future for specific situations. It is not necessarily about making money – it could be about protection such as the issue of trademarks for example." Their spokesman added, "APL Anglesey and CE Strathearn have been set up to house the intellectual property rights of the Duke and Duchess."

What that means is they won't stop businesses from making commemorative mugs. But if someone uses their image or names and presents them in a bad way (say, in a gossip site or in a show called The Crown), they can sue and stop these shows, movies, tabloids from profiting from them.

Still, their spokespeople don't deny that the Cambridges may create official items that they will sell. Prince Charles has Duchy Originals, an organic farm that sells premium organic goods, for example. So if Catherine ever decides to start a fashion line or launch a photography book (and she has) or William wants to start a  helicopter royal tours thing, they can.

Obviously, a brand needs colors that will establish its identity to its consumers. Coca-Cola is red, Nickelodeon is orange, McDonald's is yellow, Spotify is green, Barbie is pink, and the Cambridge official color is blue. 

I don't know when it started, or if it was consciously decided on. Maybe it was Diana's sapphire ring that became Kate's engagement ring that started it. At that time, I don't think they thought of themselves as a brand yet. But through the years, whenever they are presenting themselves officially, they come out in blue. 

In fact, when there were rumors that the Cambridges will release photos to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, I told my friends, "I bet all the sales of my book (buy a copy!), they'll both be in blue." And I was right! Well, I'm not a betting woman and it was a safe bet because those two and their kids are always in blue.

Okay, they're not always in blue. They do wear other colors. I love Kate in bright pink best. Maybe I should do a post on Kate's rainbow wardrobe! But blue is their dominant color. 

I would love to look through Kate's closet and count how many blue things she has! I mean, just look at a few of their royal tours. I love how they usually arrive at a new country in blue OOTDs. 

When their firstborn and heir to the throne, Prince George, was born, the new family was in blue. All their official family photos and Christmas cards? Blue. 

Blue is the official Cambridge color. I like how they're so aware of their branding. It makes them so modern. I wonder how they'll move the ancient and archaic monarchy forward when they finally become King and Queen. Can't wait to see that!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

My only ambition

I'm still on an anniversary high. And also feeling melancholy because of Prince Philip's death. He wasn't my favorite royal. My favorite is Diana, Princess of Wales. I'm very much like her - honest, truthful, rebellious, impetuous, and so open with my affections and opinions. Very unroyal haha

Royalty demands loyalty to duty. That's it. Even if that means suffering in silence. Like Diana, I don't believe in suffering or silence. Harry and Meghan are exactly like Diana. So am I! So you can tell who my new favorite royals are. I didn't really like Meghan before - she was so outspokenly feminist and then she joined the royal family and she became voiceless. Meh. So I like her now because she spoke out. I like it when women speak up. 

However, I also believe in how, when, and where we speak up. I don't think Diana's Panorama interview and H&M's Oprah interview were good ideas. But I'm not a public personality so who am I to say the proper when and where, right?

I know people like dignified silence. It's not for me. As a survivor of abuse, I know that silence is what allows abusers to continue doing what they do. Society has made silence a virtue because how else can evil be perpetuated if we all speak up? On a lesser scale, if not evil, then all the little things that make us unhappy in our job, our family, our marriage, our church, our society are forced on us. How then can life become better if we just accept everything that makes us unhappy?

So I like how Prince Philip did it. He wasn't quiet, mind you. Like I said, silence won't get you anywhere. And Philip did raise a fuss. He resented his "kept man" status, the humiliation of not being allowed to give his last name to his children, and the fact that he had to give up his naval career for his more important role as royal spouse. He may have complained but he and his wife (the Queen!) managed to navigate those bumps and create meaningful roles for him. So even though he didn't like certain things about his life, he was able to make changes so that he eventually liked it. I mean, just because you chose something doesn't mean it's perfect. So you speak out, talk it out, make compromises, and smooth out the rough parts until you find a life that you love and cherish.

Much like how Prince Philip wrote here:

In my middle age, that's also now my only ambition - combined existence and a profoundly joyful one, too. All I want is to have a happy family, a stable home, and to make sure my kids are fed and happy and one day be wonderful members of society. 

It's not a shallow ambition. As we all know, that's actually hard to achieve. I've been married 14 years and not all of those 5,110 days were happy (my husband will always say every day was happy - gosh, I love him). Vince and I had to do a lot of adjusting and fighting and talking and compromising and crying. There were days of silence, too, but that just made things worse. Always speak up! Maybe not all the time, and maybe learn to choose a good time. I know, for example, to never bring up anything bad when he's hungry and to back off and shut up when things get too volatile, because he'll just clam up and he won't talk to me anymore haha So we've learned to gauge each other's silences - not to keep silent, but to learn when it's time to talk. Because that's the only way we can fix things and move forward. 

See? A combined existence is not easy for anyone, not for ordinary people like me and Vince. Not even for power couples like Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Even the love and devotion they famously had for each other didn't mean everything was smooth sailing for them or for their family. Two people becoming one is not easy. Two people adding little people into the mix while those two people are still figuring each other out is a bit insane, too. So it's a lofty ambition and one that I am determined to see through.

Just like Prince Philip and his queen did. I want that more than anything in the world.

Monday, March 08, 2021

What we can learn from the circus around Meghan's yet-to-be-seen Oprah interview

In my neck of the woods - that would be Facebook and Instagram Stories - I have been talking non-stop about the upcoming exclusive interview of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with Oprah Winfrey.

I won't rehash all the stuff I said on FB and IGS (please follow me @francesampersales!). I'll just say this hours before the much anticipated/dreaded/hated interview in recent memory airs: 


I'm guilty of my own theories. I just loved chatting with fellow royal watchers, whether they're fans of Meghan or not, about all the possible things the Duchess could reveal to Oprah. But when this video came out, I realized I should just wait!

Shame. Shame.

But I feel ashamed, too, since I've been gleefully jumping to conclusions. For the record, I love anything British royalty - Diana, Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Harry and Meghan! I don't have any teams. I love all of them. Yes, even Camilla! Now, there's a ton of juicy items coming out on the reasons why the Palace would gang up on Meghan (a very strong reason is to bury any news items on William's alleged cheating and Andrew's confirmed pedophilia). But do we actually know what Meghan and Harry will share???

No. Not until 9 AM Manila time. And till then, I've been controlling my emotions, too.

What I was reminded of by all this hullabaloo was this time when I was in college. Someone told me my boyfriend at that time (not the abusive one) was spotted talking to this girl. I shrugged it off, didn't really think much of it. But then my friends were freaking out. I said, "I'll ask him about it." But they started telling me all about how he was spending way too much time with her. And I couldn't talk to him because I didn't have a mobile phone and neither did he. So I spent 2 days agonizing over this issue. Finally, when I got to see him, I was an angry, emotional mess. I asked him if he was cheating on me. He said he was just tutoring her on some math. And I felt so bad because I had made a huge issue over nothing. 

We broke up anyway. I never loved him and I'm pretty sure he didn't love me. So the emotional distress I felt that time was curious. Why was I upset over something I didn't really care about? It was because I got infected by other people's drama, that's why.

The lesson I learned there is unless I have proof, unless I see it myself, and even then until the person admits it, I shouldn't overthink it. Do I still overthink things? I do. But I mindfully tell myself to stop. It's gotten to the point that I refuse to let my imagination get away with me. My husband says I'm so literal. I have to be or else I'll never trust anybody!

So back to Meghan and Harry (he joins the interview mid-way, I hear)... 

Can we calm down and stop putting words in his and her mouths? I think we've all become infected with hysteria. My favorite Duchess of Cambridge Instagram accounts are already declaring war on Meghan. They are so sure Meghan will spill ugly things about Kate. I'm sorry but at this point, does Kate even count? It's not like she makes any important decisions concerning the Sussexes.

So there. We go through so much grief with unknown entities. "My boss wants to meet - I'm getting fired! My husband hasn't picked up my calls - he's cheating! My friend went shopping with this other friend - she must hate me! This meme says Leni said she has three daughters and they're all girls - she must be stupid!" It's crazy. I go through this all the time actually. I'm anxious all the time. Well, I use to be. That's why I forcefully stop myself from reacting. I tell myself, "Calm down. Investigate." 

With this Megan interview and with all things in life, maybe we should wait and listen and watch. Then when we get all the facts, then we react to the facts. Not to the hysteria, not to our fears. That is all!

P.S. I am soooo excited to know what the Sussexes have to say! Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

That most famous engagement ring and a few stories about it

Forty years ago today! On February 24, 1981, Prince Charles presented his future bride to the press. They had just gotten engaged 21 days prior and Diana, all of 19 years old, and hidden away from the world in her aristocratic life, didn't realize what she was getting herself into. 

For their engagement announcement, the future Princess of Wales wore an inexpensive off-the-rack dress from Harrod's and one relatively affordable sapphire ring from the engagement rings collection of the Garrard holiday catalog. Yes, not a jewel from the royal collection because Charles couldn't even be bothered to commission a special ring just for her. That sapphire ring was just £47,000, or $60,000 today. Not even the Kardashians will wear that!

With Camilla, his then-mistress and now-wife, he thoughtfully customized a ring to reflect the Art Deco design he and Camilla like. He chose a special family heirloom diamond that belonged to the most special woman in his life, the Queen Mother.

Diana had a ring from a catalog. Oh, Diana. 

To be fair to Charles, he has always liked the huge sapphire brooch that belonged to the ladies in his family. A century and forty-one years before he proposed to Diana, another Prince gave his bride a sapphire. On the eve of their wedding day, Prince Albert presented to Queen Victoria a brooch that was a huge deep blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. She loved it so much, she wore it on her bridal gown as her "something blue." 

In fact, Victoria loved it sooo much, she declared the brooch as a Crown Heirloom piece. That means only future Queens can wear it. So far, we haven't seen Camilla or Catherine wear it. Diana never got to wear that brooch either. That must mean it's an extra special piece for the Queen!

Anyway, back to Charles. So he liked that extra special brooch his mother loved. It's said Diana's extraordinarily blue eyes reminded him of that particular sapphire brooch so he thought the Garrard ring was perfect for her. So I guess that's romantic, too.

Diana's eyes look exactly like her famous ring.

It's so sad how that marriage went. So sad that sapphires symbolize faithfulness but, as Diana famously said, "There are three of us in this marriage so it's a bit crowded."

Nevertheless, I always wanted her exact ring for my own engagement ring. I told Vince about this but he replied that it was a bad luck ring. "Look at what happened to that marriage," he pointed out. So he gave me a diamond. And I bought myself the ring I wanted.  

I actually like it better, that I bought it myself. It's more meaningful because I bought it as a Diana fan haha There's no romantic love involved at all. Just like Charles and Diana's marriage haha huhu

No, no, that's not true. For a while, they were happy. Look at these photos I found on Diana fan accounts on Instagram:

Holding hands while whispering sweet nothings
Despite all their worries about the wedding, happy to meet at the altar
Honeymoon! Diana's pregnant here.
Touches, looks, and smiles
Charles said he's always loved Diana's humor. She always made him laugh.

I found more actually! Fellow royal fans love tagging me on Diana posts on IG! I'll share more soon. 

Sigh. I loved Diana and Charles together. I really wanted that fairy tale to end in happily ever after. And it could've, in a way, if fate hadn't intervened. After they divorced, they actually got along better. Charles would visit her for tea, for example. How strange. Maybe some people are better off as friends. It's always sad when marriages end. But if a friendship happens after, then that's also a beautiful thing. Too bad Diana died just one year after her divorce. Who knows? Maybe she and Charles could've gotten back together? At the very least, they could've been great at this co-parenting thing. Oh well. We'll never know.