Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On love, hope and faith (plus lots of famous quotes!)

Last week, I got an email from a reader asking me for advice. Now I said I don't like giving advice but she was sincere and sad and desperate so I believe I had to say something. Here's what she asked (I edited it a bit):
Dear Ms. Frances,
My boyfriend and I have been together for five happy years. He said his New Year's resolution is to marry me. I'm very afraid of marriage because my father cheated on my mother constantly. How can I tell if my boyfriend, when he's my husband, won't cheat on me? You said you were also afraid of marriage but you never said why. How did you finally agree to marriage? How do you know Sir Vince will be faithful or that you yourself won't ever cheat on him?

Dear Fearful of the Unfaithful,

First of all, I think your guy is awfully cute. I've never heard of a New Year's resolution like that! The problem with his resolution, however, is it all depends on you and you happen to be resolute in remaining unmarried.

I think that it's unfair of you to keep him waiting, considering that you have, as you yourself described, five happy years as proof this guy loves you and you alone. But I am familiar with this fear of marriage so I won't condemn you.

The past is a powerful thing. So witnessing your father's infidelity and your mother's suffering can leave a horrible scar. Maybe it hasn't even healed. And now it's a wound that continues to hurt you... and your man. Look, your boyfriend is not your father and you are not your mother. Not all men are scumbags and not all women take shit. So don't let someone else's past affect your future!

I was afraid of marriage because, like you, I saw my mother suffer. My father never really took care of her--he didn't put that roof over her head, didn't provide for her and her children. But my mother never left him because she believed, as I do, that marriage is till death. Besides, he was the one man who made her laugh. However, she kept telling me, up to the last time we talked, that if she were to live her life all over again, she would never have gotten married. That's why I was deathly afraid of marriage. So you and I may have different reasons, but it led to the same results.

How did I finally agree to marry Vince? Well, I loved him. Still do. I believe I always will. Still, it seemed love wasn't enough of a reason to take that plunge. What made me finally marry him was my realization that life will never be perfect but, with Vince, it's going to be pretty darn close!

Still, it haunts us, my indecision. One time, I told Vince that that famous line from When Harry Met Sally made me cry: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Vince replied, "Then why did you wait so long?"

That hit me in the gut. Why did I wait so long when I knew from the start he was The One? Because I was afraid, and fear, as a wise old Jedi once said, is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. And you, my dear sad frightened girl, are now suffering. You're afraid of the past. You're afraid of the future.

How can you tell a guy won't ever cheat on you? Well, you can't. It takes faith to marry. Faith, as the Bible says so eloquently, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So in marriage, all you have going for you is hope--hope that he'll be true to you always, hope that you'll honor your vows, hope that your love will last forever. And hope, as Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption defines, is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Aside from that wonderful word "happy," you didn't describe your relationship a lot but I think what you and your man have is a good thing. Don't let that good thing die. I think you know that, too. And I think you know exactly what to do.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Black is slimming. Stripes make you look fat.

So say the style rules. But pregnancy, in its usual exasperating way, changed the rules yet again.

I looked like a stuffed sausage in black...
Zara shirt, Gingersnaps leggings, Anthology flats,
Kate Spade bag, Vita Fede gold-studded leather bangle,
plastic earrings from tiangge

... but I looked really cute in stripes!
Zara tee, Gingersnaps shorts, Anthology tweed flats.
Longchamp clutch, Vita Fede gold-studded leather bangle,
pearl necklace


Will post more pregnant pics soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi! It's my year!

I was born in 1976, which makes me a Fire Dragon. I'm not Chinese but every time I tell a Chinese person that I'm a Fire Dragon, they get really impressed, and I haven't even told them all my other accomplishments yet! Seems to me that, to them, to be born a Dragon is a huge accomplishment in itself. Then when they find out that I'm giving birth in the year of the Water Dragon to a male child no less, my Chinese friends get all wild and happy and envious and full of wonder. They think I'm the luckiest woman alive!

Well, I don't believe in astrology but I won't say no to good fortune. And if a huge number of people think I'm incredibly lucky and powerful and blessed, then so be it! After all, my life does seem to be pretty fantastic. Whether or not that was destined, I am grateful.

Anyway, to usher in the year of the most powerful astrological sign, many companies have some awesome stuff lined up. They have deluged my inbox with press kits and, only because I'm a Dragon and 2012 is supposed to be my year, I'd like to share with you some of the more interesting stuff I got!

Party with Sun Life! 
The Dragon is believed to be the mightiest member of the Chinese astrology animal pack. The Dragon year is said to always be a lucky year because of the fierce energy it brings to everyone. Well, considering how terrible last year was (Japan earthquake and tsunami, political upheavals, Sendong), I say we need all the powerful and positive energy we can get this 2012!

Sun Life Financial (that's my family's insurance provider!) is celebrating the Dragon year with a truly terrific party! The morning of January 24 will witness a thousand-foot dragon dancing at the heart of the Chinese community in Binondo. It will parade through to Manila City Hall then Jones Bridge then end its dance spectacularly at Plaza Lorenzo. Why a dragon that's 1,000 feet long? Sun Life says it represents the "long and steady years that w ehave been of service to the Filipino and Chinese communities."

In the afternoon of the same day, the party continues in Bonifacio Global City. There will be performances by drumbeaters and zip and poi dancers. Plus, there will also be a special show called the "Fung Show," the highlight being a talk on improving your wealth, health and prosperity in the mighty year of the Dragon.

Bloggers who have those huge cameras (get an Olympus Pen, dammit! No, seriously, you don't need those mega-cameras in this day and age. Sa totoo lang talaga, hindi porke malaki camera mo, maganda na ang pictures mo) will definitely enjoy the chance to capture this colorful event. Families, too! Yes, everyone's invited! So if you're free on January 24, head on over to Binondo and BGC and enjoy the activities Sun Life lined up for you!

Welcome 2012 with Dunhill's Dragons!
I wrote that title myself since the press release had a rather prosaic one: "Chinese New Year 2012 - The Year of the Dragon." Parang mas masaya yung sa akin!

Anyway, Alfred Dunhill himself designed these lovely little pieces. Intricately carved in solid sterling and hand finished (and you know I'm a sucker for anything handmade), the collection consists of cuff links, key fobs and ties.
Exquisite key chain
Good luck charm for your phones
An incredible gift to your impeccably dressed man. Or for yourself,
if you like dressing up in crisp button-down shirts!
Press kit ends with "The Dragon sign is associated with bravery, honesty, pride and self-sufficiency. Dragons are irrepressible free spirits and enjoy grand gestures and ambitions." Sounds an awful lot like me! If you know a Dragon (ahem! ahem!), drop by Dunhill (Rustan's Makati, Newport Mall, Rustan's Tower) and get him/her a trinket.

I'd like the key chain please. Thanks!

Marks & Spencer celebrates the Chinese New Year 
with yummy treats!
There will be tons of celebrations next week and if anyone wants to invite me and my two Tigers (Vince and Vito were both born on Tiger years) to a party, drop me a comment below! I already know what gifts to bring the host and hostess and they'll be from Marks & Spencer.

I appreciate the very Britishness of Marks & Spencer so I think it's kinda cute that they prepared special treats (like gold coins, toffees and mints) for a Chinese holiday.

Hmm. Okay, so they're still nowhere near Chinese (not even close!) but, hey, who says no to sweet treats? Oh, you guys on a diet. Seriously, even on a happy holiday? Ditch the diet this long weekend! If you really can't, Marks & Spencer has some digestive biscuits. I actually like those a lot!

So there! Enjoy the long weekend with festivities, trinkets and treats! Happy New Year, everyone!