Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The better choice isn't always the easiest choice

Contrary to what the title of this post may evoke, I'm not going to talk about morality issues. I'm talking about shopping. Yes, shopping!

As you all know (well, at least my Loyal Readers do!), I have always wanted a Tod's D Bag. But I never could bring myself to buy it because:
A. It's frakkin' expensive. Even though I can afford it, I just can't bring myself to fork over P100,000++ for a bag because...
B. I abuse my bags. Place them on the floor, throw them on the sofa, make them pillows. Plus, as a writer, I am always with a pen and I always end up accidentally writing on my bags or with ink spillage, which is sooo painful because...
C. See Reason A.
Well, now that I'm a mommy, another reason has come up:
D. Something always comes up.
Tuition fees. Vaccination fees. Maids who suddenly need to borrow money. And—the real culprit—our delight in spoiling our kids silly. Legos and it's not even your birthday? Sure! Cute Avengers pajamas? Sure! You like all those books even if you can't read yet? Sure!

Sigh. My husband Vince and I really enjoy making our sons happy. We spoil them with our presence (we both work from home so we are with the kids practically 24/7) and we spoil them with gifts because it is so much fun. It's for us—we enjoy the toys and costumes and games together so the money lavished on our family is always worth it.

So anyway, today, after a lunch with the Baby Magazine staff, as I was on my way to meet my Uber car, I passed by Tod's. And found this:

A Tod's D-Bow Bag in the perfect pink, the perfect size, and this time with gold accents. Total cost: P115,000.
Photos from Tod's Fall-Winter 2015 D-Bow Collection

A woman who was also shopping told me, "Don't Instagram it if you're not buying it. Someone will see your post and buy the bag."

It's not the exact D Bag I wanted (I always wanted the greige one) so it was easy enough for me to laugh at her warning and put it back on the shelf. But as I walked out of the shop, I looked back at the pink cutie and thought, "It has my name written all over it. Maybe... maybe..."

But my Uber had arrived and I hopped in because I needed to see my dentist. On the way, I suddenly decided, "Sure. Why not? Sure, it's Reason A but I'm earning more now than I ever did when I was an employee. And, sure, there's still Reason B but I'll take care of it because of Reason A!"

Then, as always, Reason D happened.

At the dentist, I learned that I needed to have my wisdom teeth extracted, a bridge made, and braces installed. Total cost: P111,000.

Perfect Tod's D Bag: P115,000

Perfect teeth: P111,000

You know what I picked, right? Yup. I've already scheduled the procedures. But the braces, I'll need to ask permission from my blog sponsors first because I have videos and photo shoots to do. They might not like the metal mouth. Not only am I practical, I am also considerate. Right? Right. Yey me!

And yet, at the dentist's chair, as I stared at the bright spotlight aimed at my mouth, I fought with this unreasonable sadness. When I was poor, I always had to pick what made sense—what product I can afford, what service is worth it, what will benefit more people (a.k.a. my family), which more often than not meant I had to do without. I didn't have a choice since I had very little money. Now that I'm a lot better off, I have choices but I'm still picking what makes sense. In many ways, this is why my husband and I live the way we do—no debt, comfortable life. We hardly ever lived beyond our means. We are always practical. We aren't miserly at all, okay? In fact, we have quite the cushy life! But the unnecessary things like designer bags and designer shoes are just deemed impractical, even illogical. We do have designer furniture but everyone benefits from furniture so those purchases made sense.

I always made sense.

People tell me, "Ganyan talaga pag nanay na." But I've always been like this. Ever since I was a little girl. And it's served me well so it's okay.

But earlier today, as that unreasonable sadness threatened to overwhelm me, I fought with the thought: "Why don't I ever just throw caution to the wind? Why must I always always be practical? Am I boring? Am I old? Have I always been boring and old?"

Thankfully, my sensibility overpowered that stupid voice inside my head as I penciled in my next dental appointment with the clinic's secretary. I made the better choice, I said. And I did.

I guess I'm just sad because I realized my poor upbringing still makes me think I'm poor. I take care of myself but I don't spoil myself because that's just, you know, frivolous. When my husband brings me to a nice restaurant, I always pick the cheapest item on the menu. I shop for my clothes on eBay. Almost all my clothes now are freebies from brands actually. I refuse to let my husband buy me gifts. I hold on to trash because what if I'll need a square of leftover gift wrapper? I smooth out aluminum foil so we can use them again. When I make sandwiches for my husband, I pack it with slices of cheese and ham or salami but when I make my sandwiches, I put just one slice. When I make Biscoff sandwiches for my kids, I slather the spread on thick, but my own Biscoff sandwiches, I just scratch on a thin layer. Why oh why do I do this?!

Of course, my dental procedures are just as costly as the Tod's D-Bow Bag so I'm not making the less expensive choice. I guess the sadness—the first time I've ever felt this way over a shopping choice!—surprised me because it made me wonder—for the first time ever—if I'm taking care of myself right. It made me realize that I think nothing of spending lots of money on my boys but when it comes to me, I think I don't deserve it. And that's sad. Sad that I think it. Sad that I don't allow others, from my husband to my friends, to spoil me. Sad that I—self-proclaimed feminist/pro-woman/girl power advocate—believe that I don't deserve to have nice things, after all.

Sadness, begone! My teeth need to be fixed! That's still caring for me! Right? Right. Silliness over. A perfect smile is waaaaaay better than a pink bag. Right? Right.

The better choice isn't always the easiest choice, I said, but it is still the better choice. I'll just keep telling myself that!

P.S. Can someone buy me the Tod's Small D-Bow Bag in pink abroad??? It's just P81,000 abroad!

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Topaz Learning Workshop: Philosophy pampered my friends (plus, join the next one!)

What's been happening?! Well, a LOT. That's why I've disappeared! Lots of exciting things happening to y little corner of the world! But lemme share with you one fun one. Together with skincare brand Philosophy, I threw a little beauty party for my friends recently.

But first, naloka ako sa "well-known beauty maven" sa invitation. As in hahahahaha! Thanks, Philosophy, for calling me that even though I'm not exactly Miss Universe! Far from it! But, because of my current skincare regimen, I have the best skin I've ever had in all my 38 years. So, let me share with you what Philosophy products are making my skin look amazing, then I'll give you a peek at my little skincare party, and then I'll invite you to the next Philosophy pretty party!

Philosophy products I love
I only started using Philosophy this summer. As many of my blog readers know, I had been using and loving Shiseido's Ibuki skincare line. Now, Ibuki is designed for people in their 20s but it had worked for me anyway. Unfortunately, at the start of this year, hindi na yata nakayanan ng Ibuki ang almost-40-year-old skin ko. So I began using a drugstore brand touted for its regenerating abilities. Unfortunately again for me, the only thing it regenerated on me are pimples!!!

Left with dark pimple spots all over my face, I was looking for something to slough off the dead and tired skin layer and a brightening moisturizer. I've been getting facials at the Aivee Clinic but because I wasn't following instructions (OxyGeneo facials should be done every 10 days and my schedule was always too full for me to follow that strictly), my skin would go back to being dull. I needed something I can do at home. This is the miraculous answer:

My skin is always super soft and smooth after using this. I use this once a week. I'll do a full review next month. Anyway, love love this but because I'm 38 na, I need to exfoliate more than once a week so I added this:
This is kinda sticky and it stings a little since it's a chemical peel. But it really adds a glow! I'll do another review of this, too, next month!

Then because I have dark acne spots and freckles (also known as sun damage!), I added a brightening line. Within two weeks, my spots started lightening up!

Because the spots situation is being managed, I started using this last week. It's the anti-aging line of Philosophy and I can see changes in my skin!
Reviews soon! Oh, I'm really planning to blog regularly now! Kahit once a week man lang, or photos man lang! I miss my readers!

Anyway, my dear Loyal Readers, why don't we have a fun afternoon together, finding out about skincare, getting pampered, and getting fab Philosophy products? Just like how my friends did one fine afternoon when I invited them to a small party at Philosophy Mega Fashion Hall! Here's what happened:

The fun Topaz Horizon x Philosophy workshop

Friday, August 07, 2015

My blog talk at Powerbooks, plus join my next blog workshop!

I'm so excited to report that my blog talk at Powerbooks Greenbelt that was done upon the invitation of National Book Store and The Study by Enderun was a SUCCESS!

I was so nervous because it was a public space. But my husband, Vince, who was there, said despite a few foibles, I did well! Hooray!
At the registration table.
I got a celebrity to attend my talk! Boys Night Out Tony Bueno
is seriously considering becoming a blogger.

If you missed my talk, Jennilyn of the wonderful book blog Rurouni Jenni Reads has a detailed recap. If you read her post, it's almost like you attended my talk!

Now I've been doing workshops recently. I've had two with Bobbi Brown, one with Philosophy, and then this blog talk for Powerbooks and The Study by Enderun. I'm a newbie in this workshop business but I'm quickly getting the hang of it. I've also learned a few things from my workshops:

1. Arrive early.
I'm usually early for my workshops because I anticipate problems. For example, for the blog talk, I had brought a Macbook and their projector can only work with a PC. Buti na lang Vince was there because he told me to save my Keynote presentation as a PowerPoint one and then save that in a USB stick, which thankfully saved the day. Thanks, Vince!

Being early also helps calm my nerves. And most importantly, it allows me to do the next lesson...

2. Mingle with the attendees.
When I'm early, I get to chat with the participants. We get comfy with each other, which really helps make the workshop successful because a friendly atmosphere is established. They will actively participate! Plus, chatting with everyone informally helps me understand what they want to learn, and this is a big deal when I'm finally talking in front of everybody.

I hate to confess that I arrived very late for one workshop and I really felt the difference. The participants were annoyed, I was rushed, and the workshop just didn't start off well. I'm never repeating this mistake!

3. Personalize the space.
While I don't yet have the budget to decorate the venue of my workshops, I've decided that I need to put something of me or my blogs in the space where I'm working. Scented candles will help, especially because one venue smelled bad! I liked it when National Book Store sent me beautiful orange Leuchtturm journals for my participants—orange is the color of Topaz Horizon and writing is my work. So me!
Or maybe print huge tarpaulins with my face on it hahaha

4. Bring water!
Oh yes. What a mistake that I keep forgetting to bring water to my workshops! When I'm talking non-stop, my mouth just dries up. And when my mouth dries up, so does my brain!

5. Put notes on note cards! 
And write in big letters! And use a big, black marker!!!

Now that I know all that, I'm pretty sure my future workshops will be much, much better!

Speaking of future workshops...

Want to know more about making blogging a business? Then you're in luck! I have another blog workshop called "The Next Level Blogger" coming up on Aug. 27, Thursday, from 10am to 1pm at The Podium, Ortigas Center.

To know more about my fantabulous blogging workshop, click here.

Slots are limited since I really want to interact with my participants. Register before Aug. 15 to get the early-bird rate of P1,500. After that date, it's P2,000 na.

Oh, and I know the curriculum says I'll be talking about building your blog and making it look pretty, but I'm focusing more on making your blog earn money. How to make a media kit, how to work with brands, how to pitch to brands—basically stuff that established bloggers want to know. That's why my workshop is called, "The Next Level Blogger," because we're leveling up!

I hope to see you at my blogging workshop at The Study at Podium Mall in Ortigas Center! Please share with your blogger friends!

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