Monday, November 09, 2020

I'm 44!

I had a great birthday weekend and thank you all so much for the hundreds of well wishes over at Facebook and my DMs and Instagram! You guys! You made my 44th so happy. Thank you! 

I said on my birthday post on all my social media platforms that I was going to make myself pretty. I was going to put on makeup, blow out my hair, and put on a brightly colored dress because I want to document that my turning into a middle-aged woman (wait, I've been one since 4 years ago haha) is still oh so fantabulous. 

But motherhood happened. I was sleepy, my boys told me to nap nap nap, and so I did. And so this is 44 - chaotic, unshowered, hair in a messy pony, and TOTALLY LOVED!

Well, fine, I did draw on my eyebrows and swiped on lipstick so that I won't be too ugly haha but I'm 44 and I've learned that appearances may matter but I'm okay to let that be the first to go in exchange for a nap! And for hugs and kisses from the best little boys in the world!

Speaking of what I've learned, let me just quickly share with you 4 things I've realized now that I'm in my 40s.

1. Slow down. 

Maybe because I'm a mommy always telling my kids, "Slooooow down - you'll get into an accident. Gentle hands only so you won't break it. Take your time so you won't make mistakes. Slow and steady wins the race, guys." Maybe because I say those so often I've had to practice what I preach. 

I've mostly been setting goals since I was 13. I had planned on having all my dreams come true by the time I'm 30. And yep, they did. And you know what? It's not that big a deal after all. What do you do when you get everything you want and more and you're only 30? You set more and bigger goals. Well, that can be an endless pursuit of happiness that will forever elude you. 

So I slowed down instead, settled down, had babies. I opened myself up to what the world said I should try next and for the first time in my life, I started being generous with my life instead of taking from others. I just go with the flow now. It's much more fascinating and surprising, and oh so fulfilling.

2. Watch. Listen.

Oh, this was because of the 2016 elections. It's no secret I'm not happy with the current administration but we are a democracy so no matter what I feel and believe, I'm going to let this administration run its course. But to survive the disappointment, the shock, and the anger, I've learned to stop, watch, and listen. I won't yell at you anymore. I'll listen. 

Because of this, I've learned a lot about other people's lives and why they picked their choices. I may not be convinced they made the right choice - yes, even after all that observing and listening - but at least I can see where they're coming from. And really, it's a place of fear, anger, hate, and a feeling of being ignored for so long. That's why they wanted change, even if that change was for the worse for the nation as a whole. But individually, their lives improved or at least they felt seen and heard. For the first time, these people felt important. 

That's powerful. The lesson I took away from that is to make every single person count. Then their choices will be informed by validation, not by desperation.

(Blogged on Nov. 10, 2016: This is all our fault.)

3. I'm not important. 

I know that sounds terribly low self-esteem haha but if you at all know me, I have a really healthy self-image, to the point of conceit (at least that's how some people see my self-love). But the older I got, the more I understood that making my little self matter in this big world is not the point of my existence. What's more important is making this big world smaller so that no one ever feels little.

4. Love truly is the solution to everything.

It's my faith in God speaking. Or maybe my being a liberal hippie. Or maybe because I'm a writer and I truly believe in love, truth, beauty, and freedom. Maybe it's all of the above. You see, the older I've gotten and I've seen more of people and the world, the more I've learned that love soothes, comforts, heals, encourages, sustains, breaks through, lifts up, and changes every single thing in the world. Love for self, for others, for the planet. If we truly love, the world will be so much better.

I don't know why others grow old in hate, ignorance, and fear. I bless my age because it has given me wisdom and made me see that love solves every problem in the world. And it may look like there's so little of it now but if I just look, really look, and also pray (because it is not easy to love!), then there's so much love that I can give! 

And receive! Just look at my life! There's my dearest husband who has loved me for more than 20 years. There's our darling boys who shower me with hugs and kisses and the most honest conversations in my life. I have my family, my in-laws, my neighbors, my friends, and I have you! You who have stuck around even when I was so selfish and unlovable. It's all of you really, the reason why I've become a better person. 

Love is the answer to everything. It may have taken me 44 years to see that but I finally have. I am so grateful! 

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

My 5 steps to becoming a freelancer

Hi everyone! Just dropping by to share with you this video I made for my friend Ginger Arboleda's Love The Leap project. It's all about me sharing my 5 steps on how to become a freelancer. 

I gave this presentation to a Taxumo talk earlier this year (when the pandemic was just a murmuring in the shadows) and I decided I'd share it with my own dear Loyal Readers. Please watch it! I may be able to help you with my tips. I've heard from quite a lot of people that my seminars pushed them to take the leap and put up their own businesses. And let me tell you - they're more successful than me now! Wow! I'm so happy I was able to help so many people. I feel like my life is not a waste haha

Anyway, this is the very first video presentation I ever made. I was so stressed out haha. Do you think I can put up my own YouTube channel? I actually have a YT channel: Topaz Horizon. I only have my brand campaigns there because the brand required it, but there's really nothing there yet. If I start vlogging, what kind of videos would you like to watch? 

Okay, please watch the video I made for Ginger! And please tell me what you think! Thanks, everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Healthy Halloween ideas while quarantined

We may all still be quarantined because of the COVID-19 pandemic but that doesn't mean Halloween has to be sad. We can still make Halloween fun for the kids by celebrating at home! But because there's the novel coronavirus going around, let's make an extra effort to make this candy holiday a wee bit healthier.

My creepy and cute kids with their DIY Jack o' Lanterns and favorite healthy candy.

Don't get me wrong - Halloween needs candy! My constant sweet treat in our house is Welch's Fruit Snacks. Every gummy treat is made with real fruit and is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and E. Each 80-calorie pouch is free of gluten, fat, and preservatives. 

Kids love sweets so why deny them that happiness, especially on the candy holiday of the year? I won't advocate for a candy-less Halloween ever. So even if this post is going to be about having a healthy Halloween, it will still be a sweet one. Just healthier! Here's how:

1. Create your own Halloween decorations. 

You don't have to go all out. Just have your kid do one creepy artwork to get into the mood. For busy parents, it's perfectly alright to order the spooky decor online. It's just as fun to receive the packages and decorate your home with your kids! The point is getting the kids to get creative, move around the house, stretching up to hang decor, have fun. 

Their Papa and the kids made our DIY Halloween decor!

2. Make small candy bags. 

Kids loooove candy but since they won't be going around the village or the condo complex this year collecting treats, you don't need a big bag for candy. You can just get make a cute creepy bag for the candy haul.

3. Keep ’em on their feet. 

You may be at home but you can still include plenty of physical activities. Look for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video and have a zombie dance contest (winner gets candy!). Or how about dress up like a monster and chase your kids around haha

4. Serve healthy snacks. 

To offset all that candy, create munchies that are healthy, like banana ghosts, veggie-meatball monsters, pizza with ghost-shaped cheese, apple monster mouths, and deviled eggs topped with black olives shaped like spiders. Make sure to wash it all down with Welch's 100% Grape Juice!

5. Choose your sweets well.

Like I said, it's okay to buy candy! Just mix the candy with healthier options like caramel popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, candied nuts, and gummies made with 100% fruit juice and no extra sugar, like Welch's Fruit Snacks. Sugarless gum (just look for the ingredient xylitol) is a favorite. Chocolates, especially dark ones, are great, too. Our dentist says she prefers sweets that melt away or can be washed down with a drink of water. 

Treats to avoid: cake, muffins, and cupcakes. The carbs and starches get stuck in between teeth. Lollipops aren't a good idea either because your teeth get exposed to the sugar for around 10 minutes whereas other sweets you eat and swallow within seconds.

We are so excited for Halloween! We're going to have a treasure hunt for the treats, maybe do that Thriller zombie dance-a-thon, then watch a mildly scary movie while munching on Welch's Fruit Snacks. Make sure you grab boxes of Welch's Fruit Snacks, too! Yummy and healthy treat for Halloween and all year long.

*This post is brought to you by Welch's Fruit Snacks. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Juice Cocktails, Sparkling Juices, and Fruit Snacks are available in all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. You can have your favorite health drink delivered right to your doorstep! Visit the Ace Food Service website, or place your order in the following online groceries: Metro Mart, Lazmart, and Waltermart.