Monday, May 24, 2021

What's so good about my 2021! Plus, tell me yours for a chance to get a prize!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Hi everyone! I'm so thrilled to be doing a special giveaway this month. As you might know, it's my blog's 15th anniversary today. Yes, TODAY! Exciting! So Welch's wanted to celebrate by sponsoring a giveaway for my Loyal Readers! 

Thanks so much, Welch’s! 


I know it's only May and the world is still in the grip of the pandemic. But we're not going to let 2021 happen to us, ladies. We're going to make things happen instead!

Already, half the year is almost done and there's still much to be grateful for even in this, the strangest year in my living memory. I'm making today a chance to celebrate what I can be grateful for and because Welch's tag line is #ShareWhatsGood, I'm going to tell you three of the many reasons I thank the heavens.

Let me share with you what's so good about my life lately: 

1. My Not Invisible book 

My first book came out on Amazon in January, was on the bestseller list on its first two weeks, then came out as a paperback here in the Philippines and I've had hundreds of orders. I'm all sold out now! My author's heart is so happy. Thank you!

What's really good: 

I've been so grateful for is all the support, the encouragement, and the orders! People who bought my book shared their thoughts on Facebook and Instagram, some even did a review on their blogs. I've gotten lots of messages about how my book made them cry, made them feel they're understood and not alone. That means so much because when I was a new mom, I also thought I was so alone in all my feelings. So thank you for reading my book, telling everyone about it, and for telling me how you feel about Not Invisible.

2. Lean In Network Manila

Mommy Ginger and I started the local arm of Lean In organization, the global support network for women who want to succeed in life. We celebrate our anniversary this May, too! In the last year, I've met women who are so admirable and inspiring, so raw and honest, funny and encouraging. The miracle is every woman was like that even though all of us were struggling with the difficulties brought about by the pandemic. 

What's really good: 

I look forward to our monthly meetings because not only have I learned so many things and shared so many stories, I also found new friends at a time of isolation. So if you want to be part of Lean In Manila and meet new women who are all about encouragement and empowerment, please join us!

3. My blog!

I guess it's the pandemic. Maybe people are home a lot and they have more time now to read blogs? I don't know what it is but my page views have gone up again this past year. With the advent of social media, my blog's stats went down over the years but now readership is up again. I dunno what happened. I didn't do anything different. But I'm grateful!

What's really good: 

Well, it's the 15th birthday of Topaz Horizon. That means 15 years of happiness as a writer! My blog also made it possible for me to have a new career when my magazine one died, allowed me to stay home and be with my babies because of the brand sponsorships I got (thanks, brands!), brought me to many fun and beautiful places with my family, and made me able to experience new products and food I'd never have imagined or only dreamed about. Thank you! 

Most of all, I met so many friends online who became my friends IRL. You, my dear Loyal Readers, made my dream life possible. Thank you so much!

There are many other wonderful things about this year. Our pet hamsters have given us so much joy. My neighbors have formed a close-knit community we didn't have before quarantine. I've reconnected with old friends I've previously been too busy to talk to. I've probably chatted with my Amper family more than I ever have in years. And of course, my husband and my little boys - they've been so great! 
   
Now it's your turn!

Tell everyone what's so good about 2021. Just one thing! And you will get a chance to win these:


The prize includes:

1. 1 big bottle of Welch's 100% Grape Juice - for your heart health! 
2. 2 small bottles of Welch's 100% Grape Juice - to boost your immune system! 
3. 2 bottles of Welch's Cranberry Juice Cocktail - for your daily dose of antioxidants!  
4. 1 bottle of Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice - to celebrate your win! 
5. 1 copy of my book, Not Invisible: A Memoir - for a sneak peek at my life as a wife and mom for the last 10 years! 

I will also slip in a surprise beauty product!!! 

How to join:

If you have Instagram, do these:

1. Share a photo either as a post on your IG feed or even in your IG Stories (please set to public so Welch's and I can see!). That photo represents your answer to my question: 

"What's so good about 2021?"

2. Tell everyone about what you're grateful for this year. It can be a person, a pet, a thing, a place, an event - anything! As long as it's a good thing and worth celebrating. Your post can be short or long but make sure you...

3. Don't forget to use the hashtags: #Grateful #ShareWhatsGood. Very important!

4. Follow @welchs_ph and @francesampersales. Tag us on your post so we can see!

If you have Facebook, do Steps 1-3 above but kindly follow and tag the pages of Welch's PH and Topaz Horizon Blog instead.

I'll choose 3 winners* on May 31, 2021. One from Instagram, one from Facebook, and one from my Facebook Live tonight at 9 pm! Yes, just head on over to https://www.facebook.com/TopazHorizonBlog for my 15 Questions Answered live streaming! 

That's it! Thanks in advance for sharing your story of hope and gratitude! Can't wait to see you #ShareWhatsGood about your year, too!


UPDATE: Announcement of winners!

CONGRATULATIONS!
Yvette Carla Soriano         Mafeth Madrigal-Molina          Iza Therese


*Winners must have a Philippine address.

This post is brought to you by Welch's. 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.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Keds is on sale and I so want to buy!

First, this isn't a sponsored post. I wish it was haha! Anyway, Keds. If you've been following my blog for a while now, you'd know I love Skechers. It's really the most comfortable shoes and busy-mommy me needs comfort! But around 3 years ago, busy-mommy became I-want-to-be-stylish-again mommy and so I got Keds. (I still have Skechers for working out and for days I need to run around all day.) 

Well, my husband bought me the plainest white sneaker of Keds. He wanted to get me something more special but I was thinking about how I can wear that plain white Keds with absolutely anything - jeans, slacks, dresses, even a satin-and-lace outfit that I didn't get a photo of! So its basic simplicity allows me to be stylish and comfortable so it's really the best Keds shoe anyone should own.

Anyway, I'm subscribed to their online shop. I wish I wasn't because every week I torture myself with looking at their shoes. I love ALL their shoes, especially when they had collabs with Taylor Swift and Kate Spade. So gorgeous! Okay. Maybe not all. Not a fan of their boots because I'm not a boots person. But everything else I wish was in my shoe closet.

This week, my inbox declared that Keds was on sale. And so I clicked on the email. And then I clicked and clicked and clicked! 

So many fabulous shoes on sale! Sadly, most of my choices were already sold out on my size. I especially want these:

And this was the last click:

Hala! Should I buy all three? Or all nine haha? Parang dapat one only kasi I don't go out of the house naman. Three pairs are too much for quarantine huhu. Tell me which one to get! Thanks!


Friday, May 14, 2021

Mama of littles, you can blink, you can breathe

Possibly one of the best pieces of advice given to me when I was a new mommy more than a decade ago was, "Don't blink." 

It was also one of the worst. 


The advice was meant well. Don't blink. All this is fleeting. You won't want to miss anything. Your kids will never be this small again. Stay present. Don't blink.

And I really really tried hard not to blink. Even when I had yayas, I couldn't let my guard down. I didn't want to miss anything. I didn't sleep for 8 years! So when despite all that, when the boys' first words and first steps were witnessed by their Papa or their yayas, instead of me celebrating the milestone, I anguished over the guilt of not being the one to see it first. Because I was their mother. I'm supposed to be the one to see it all happen. I'm the front and center. I'm the hands-on, must-be-there mama. To miss anything means I was a bad mom.

Well, fuck that. All that pressure was the one making me a bad mom!


I finally realized I'm not just their mother. I am more than their mother. And even if motherhood is probably the most important thing I'll ever do in my life, I'm not going to be a good mother if I don't sleep and if I don't let other people help me.

So I blinked. In fact, I slept. I trusted my husband to be a parent, too. I trusted my kids to be on their own and to do things on their own. And I found that I could finally breathe, free from the pressure to be forever present, to never blink.

Listen, young mama. It's true. All this is fleeting. Tomorrow, your not-talking baby will suddenly say, "Dada." Tomorrow, your crawling baby will stand up on wobbly chubby legs and walk. Tomorrow, your child won't need you to spoon-feed him, or wash his butt, or dress him. He'll want to talk to his friends instead of you. He'll close his bedroom door. He'll forget to kiss you goodnight. 

And that's okay. I love Facebook Memories because I get to be reminded of how adorable my kids were. What those pictures fail to show is how desperately exhausted I was from keeping my eyes wide open all the time. I know now it's not healthy to obsess about missing any of it. I had to look away from them and look at me, look at my husband, look at the rest of my life, and also take care of those aspects of myself. And when the other parts of me were flourishing, my kids looked at me, too, and saw more than just a mama. That's important, too.

People told me all the time back when I was going insane with the sleepless nights and the "don't blink!" guilt-inducing comments, "You will miss all this! Just you wait!" Well, almost 11 years later, I am happy to say I don't miss it at all. I'm relieved. I'm glad it's over. I'm happy I'm no longer stressed out with the constant vigilance. I'm healthier because I sleep now. I did it. I succeeded. I survived. And while I will always love my boys' baby and toddler years, I am so happy that part of my life is done. 


Next: pre-teens, then the teenage years. I'm going into this next chapter blind but also determined that we, all of us, will survive it, too. I'll just tell myself that while all this is fleeting, I need to take a step back once in a while, relax more, trust more. Breathe.

That said, this song remains one of my favorites. It's about making the memories last but also letting go. It's okay. Let go. That's what parenting is all about anyway.