Saturday, November 19, 2011

Funny girl!

This video has been making the rounds on Facebook. I tried not to watch it for fear it may be one of those porn spam everyone's been freaking about (Well, can you blame me? The screen cap showed a really sexy woman!). But after dozens upon dozens of recommendations from FB friends, I watched it and had a good giggle. Meet Ashleyslips:

I love her funny accent and her sense of humor. But I'm totally loving her body! So gorgeous in that bandage dress, which is, by the way, not a hot trend anymore after having been worn to death everywhere. Sad since I was dreaming of wearing one (with chandelier earrings, charm bracelets and sexy heels!) after I got a curvier body, but then I got pregnant. Anyway, back to Ashleyslips. My goodness, those armpits! Some deodorant brand should get her as a model--her pits are perfect!

Since I've only gone dancing twice in my entire life--in 2003 at Malate with Vince (quite hotly!), and in 2005 at Embassy with my friend Kate--I couldn't really relate (though I did find her funny). So I checked out her other videos. While I didn't watch No Other Woman, I find this parody of that silly movie hilarious!

I'm spending the evening watching her other videos. I just know I'll have funny dreams tonight, although I hope I don't wake up with her accent!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recording the passing of the years through really great photos!

Thank you to everybody who loved my photo shoot for my 35th birthday! You are all too kind. Some of you said that an annual photo shoot is a fab birthday gift to oneself. So let me share with you the other photos from the past years.

When I turned 30, I discovered to my delight that I looked better at 30 than I ever did in my teens or 20s. Maybe it was because at 30, I finally started a skin regimen and had my hair done by a real stylist (thanks, Mariel, for nagging me for months to get a makeover and bombarding me with beauty tips and skin products!).

Since then, I've tried to document what I look like around my birthday. I want to see a progression so I'll usually have a photo shoot done around October or November.

31 years old
I was a newlywed here. Vince says I looked my best the first year we were married haha. Must be the honeymoon glow! This is one of my favorite photos ever! It was taken by Willy Saw. I don't remember who did my hair and makeup. The golden brown hair was by Louis Phillip Kee, as always! We shot this at Rustan's Makati because we liked the festive decor. I had just turned 31 here.

32 years old
This was taken by Willy Saw, makeup by Mimie Bautista for L'Oreal Paris and hair by Ogie Rayel. We shot this on a cloudy day by the window of Dimensione at Bonifacio High Street. This was also the last year I was 100 lbs. I miss that waist. I miss those arms!

33 years old
Photo by Willy Saw, makeup by Ces Guerrero, hair by Ogie Rayel. We obviously like working with Willy and Ogie. Willy will not rest until he gets a fantastic shot of you. Ogie knows how to work with hair and personality. He always makes my hair look thick and lush, like he worked in that Bumble and Bumble product Hollywood is crazy about. If you see my hair on a real day, my hair is just the flattest, thinnest, wispiest thing you ever saw! Plus, he keeps my style simple because I'm a no-fuss hair girl. All the other hairstylists always try to give me big curls, which will always always fall flat within 30 minutes.

34 years old
I had given birth just over two months before this shot. I took this photo myself. I came from a photo shoot but didn't really like the results (I looked a decade older) so as soon as I got home, I took out the Olympus, held it at arms' length and shot away. I like the other shots from this on-my-own shoot because some of them really really look like my son, Vito. Yup, because of my chubby cheeks! We have the same eyes and smile. I also like that I don't look 34 although Vince says I look like a toddler here.

35 years old
Photo by Sara Black, makeup by John Pagaduan for shu uemura. You already know the story behind this shoot. Vince says the photos from here are his favorite shots of me yet. Well, he liked the black-and-white nude pic, that's why! I'm already pregnant here so Sara said she wants to take photos of my belly when it becomes huge. I haven't decided yet if I want a preggy photo shoot. What do you think?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Death and the wonder of God's promise

Tito Lito Calzado at my wedding in 2007
My Tito Lito died yesterday. I wasn't close to him but my Papa and Tito Lito were almost like brothers when they were growing up. Then his children, Dash and Iza, have always been very sweet and nice to us so his death makes me sad. I know how it is to lose a parent and Iza was very beloved by Tito Lito. It is always heartbreaking and gut-wrenching to lose a love like that.

But wakes in our family have always been... Hmm, the right word escapes me but "fun" is what comes to mind. There's lots of food and conversation, lots of singing and musical performances, lots of funny speeches, definitely lots of tears but there's a ton more laughter. I grew up going to wakes and funerals and thoroughly enjoying them, even the one for my own Mama. All of my friends told me that Mama's wake was the only wake they attended that made them actually want to stay, that when they left, they didn't feel sad or scared. They felt entertained and warm and fuzzy and even happy. Yup, that's my experience, too!

My sister Jacqui, cousin Iza and sister-in-law Rose
at Mama's funeral in 2008.
You can say that it's because the Amper family (and Calzados and Dadaps) is a family of musicians, singers and actors. Every time there's a crowd, we all rise up to the occasion and try to make everyone happy. Even at our wakes! But the real reason our wakes are such happy events is because we're Born Again Christians and we see death as a graduation from this miserable life. There is more envy than sadness at a loved one's passing. And there is that wonderful peace that passes understanding, and the shining hope that we will be reunited one day with our beloved.

When Mama died, my eulogy was based on Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" When someone you love dies, it's very hard to think of the future. How can life go on after this? So that promise, that this painful experience is not meant to harm me, truly did give me hope. I said in my eulogy, "Mama is dead but she doesn't belong in my past. She is in my future because we will surely meet again one day."

Peace, hope, joy. Sure, there is that awful grief but there is also the comfort of such wondrous peace, hope and joy. I wish you all that same peace, hope and joy, even in the midst of your darkest night, even in the face of death itself.