Category Archives: Life

Curtain Call

After five amazing years on PaintersWife.Com, I now write my last and final entry.

My journey on this website has been nothing but awesome. My growth as a mother and a person in the last five years is chronicled on these pages, and I will always refer to them whenever I’m feeling nostalgic. Basti grew up here as well. This space will always be special to me.

To all my readers who were with me from the beginning and even way before The Painter’s Wife, a heartfelt thank you. We’ve shared many things together.

To new readers who I have only recently reading my site, I hope you can follow me to the new one. I promise it will be worth the ride.

To the brands and companies who have been so supportive of painterswife.com in the last years, I am truly grateful.

To my fellow bloggers, especially the SoMoms, your support, love and friendship kept this relevant, special and meaningful. I love you all.

So are you ready for this?

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MoMaMa.Me is coming to you live on Monday! I’m excited to go on this new journey with all of you.

This is The Painter’s Wife. Signing out. See you on the other side.

 

Patty.

How the internet brought together a group of moms from different backgrounds is the story of my fellow co-bloggers, lovely women who I know are my friends for life. Patty was one of them.

I don’t recall the exact moment when we met or how we started talking. It was her reaction to chemotherapy and my insomnia that brought us together, long chats that lasted till 6am, talking about everything and anything. From chismis to problems, life and relationships, trivial things – there was no end to our conversation. Patty was the rare person who I would call friend at this time of my life when I already think I have enough friends.

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Oh we laughed. Our combined laughter was loud and sometimes embarrassing, but it was always heartfelt and warranted and we never cared. Laughing with Patty is one of my favorite things to do, and we did it often.

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She loved Basti and Basti loved her. She and her daughter Anissa often talked about Basti and his art of dedma. Her girls, Anissa and Sabine are two of the most wonderful young ladies you will ever meet and she talked about them so often that I am protective of them. Patty knew that. Patty loved all our children.

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When I separated from my husband, Patty held my hand through it. She kept me strong and kept me focused. It amazed me how someone who’s fighting her own battle had enough strength to share with me during my own trials. But that was Patty. She was a rock – honest and strong, thoughtful, sweet. She loved life and she loved well, and it hurts my entire core to know that she’s gone.

Oh Patty. I wish to God we had more time together. You are finally at peace, but it will be a while for us you left behind. I love you, I miss you and your Non Stop Babble will always be in my head and heart.

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Till we meet again.

Pole Dance Fitness is Ouch (and Love)

Whatever your notions of Pole Dance Fitness are (it’s sexy, it’s daring, I could never do that, etcetera, etcetera), throw it out the window. RIGHT NOW.

I’ve long wanted to try pole fitness. It looked like a hell lot of fun, but I had all sorts of excuses that kept me from trying it. Basti was still too alagain, I was too busy, I need to get more fit, I need to lose weight for it because I was too fat to wear short shorts. Of all the reasons, being too heavy was the most compelling one for me. My sense of insecurity from the pounds I’ve gained from pregnancy and motherhood is a heavy weight on my shoulders, yet I could never find a workout or a routine that inspired me. Yes, I’m that kind of person. I can’t just bank on discipline and a picture of my former fit self to get me going.

I first met Ciara when I was working as part of the hair team for 9Works Theatrical’s Grease, and it was then that I promised her I would try it out. Someday. A very non-committal “someday.” Months later, I have yet to show my face at her pole dance classes yet the thought was very much poking at the back of my consciousness.

And then I saw this video:

And the last bit of the brick wall caved in. As serendipity would have it, my friend Myrene invited me to join her pole class for a trial. Fate was pushing me to the pole!

After my first pole class with Ciara and Myrene. I was hooked after one session!

From that first class, I started taking pole fitness classes twice a week. Every week, I feel myself getting stronger, getting more flexible, gaining more confidence and getting more comfortable on the pole. Not to mention getting used to the pain, the pole burns and the bruises. Ouch. It’s all part of the process. I think I’m losing weight, but I’m having way too much fun to check as of the moment.

And so, along with a few mommy friends of mine, we now have a regular group of pole fitness fanatics. Not happy with the not-mommy-friendly schedules of the different pole classes in the metro, I dragged a handful of friends to form our own group so we can take classes at our convenience. This beast is our teacher.

Teacher Jen, just hanging out on the pole like nobody’s business.

Nothing’s more fun than getting back to shape with your trusted friends in an encouraging environment.

Pageant pose, sige na. With my pole classmates, Daniela, Paola, Chinky, Joyce and Teacher Jen. Yes, I hid behind her.

So from my first day when I couldn’t even lift my legs up while holding the pole, I can now do this:

And if I can do it, so can you.

Looking to trying out pole fitness to get yourself back to shape? Check out these places:

Movement Dance Studio

Polecats – at Strata 100

Beast House

Stardanz Fitness Studio – GF, Landsdale Tower, 86 Mother Ignacia St., Brgy. Paligsahan, Quezon City; 0917 408 7170

 

 

Shakin’ My Groove Thing at Priscilla Manila

I posted a status message a few weeks back on Facebook. It’s something Basti said:

“I don’t love mama anymore. I will live with lola na. Lola is my new mama. Mama, you go to work na lang.”

Awwwwwww right?

Well it’s because I have been engulfed, encompassed and enamored by the stage spectacular that is Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Resorts World Manila. Since the last week of April, my life has been all about this musical. Well, the hair and makeup of it all, that is. My friend Myrene is the heart and soul behind the hair and makeup design, and I took on the challenge of being her assistant for the production. It was a good time to dust off my production manager skills from the baul and put it to good use. If you must know, the wig changes for Priscilla are, for lack of a better word, NAKAKALOKA.

It’s a good stint for me. I love learning about hair and wig design and management. Hair styling is not one of strong points or my passions, and building this skill is something I’ve been wanting to do. Myrene’s team is composed of some people who have mad hairstyling skills. She chooses her people well. They are a fun, kooky bunch and it’s pure joy to be working alongside them. Along with the hair team, I am privileged to be working with my favorite makeup brand, MAC, as a guest artist for the makeup of Priscilla. It’s one of the best parts of working for Priscilla Manila, really, getting to know the other MAC affiliate and guest artists. Such wonderful people. The slots are rotated for each show, and it’s nice to see different people coming in for makeup duty.

Putting on makeup for Red Concepcion; some of the MAC makeup artists for Priscilla Manila; the hair team out for a meal; my workstation.

I had to attend a workshop on drag makeup (kung saan pinagpawisan ako ng malamig) and learn about the differences between the features of men and women, and the technique on how to make a man look more like a woman. Fascinating stuff. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do the drag makeup for OJ Mariano and Jon Santos for the show. It still needs work, but I think I’m getting there!

I hardly get the chance to put makeup on boys, so this is a great opportunity to hone that. I love doing Red’s makeup most of all.

Victor Sy; Thou Reyes; Red Concepcion

My main drag (pardon the pun) is assisting with the changes for hair and makeup backstage. It’s a whirl of activity for me and the other four people on board for each show. In Act 1, I’m mostly with Red Concepcion’s character, Adam/Felicia, and some of his costume and wig changes are lightning fast. We’re talking 30 seconds to change into a whole different outfit from head to toe. Even with the frenzy of activity on and off-stage, it’s all done in good spirits, lots of camaraderie and…. lots of selfies. Har har.

It’s tedious, tiring and it takes its toll, not just on me, but on Basti as well. I feel bad that I have to leave him to the care of my mom and dad every weekend when I’m off to work. Grandparents are the best. I don’t know how I could do this without them!!! As bad as I feel, I am never apologetic, though. I want him to see me work and value work, and not to see it as something to be despised or forced upon someone. Most of all, I want him to see how good it is to be passionate about what you do. My little boy will be a hardworking man someday. I think it’s working. He doesn’t pout anymore when I say I’m off to work again. He now says that maybe he will wear all black too, go to work with mama and help me put on the makeup on the people. Hahaha!

It is theater, and that has always been and always will be fuel that gives life to my spirit. One weekend, it so happened that my acting teacher, Ana Valdes-Lim, came to see the show and visited backstage. She saw me, and said, “Oh you’re here! Are you performing?” And I was like, “I do hair and makeup.” And she said…. “You HAVE to perform.”

Sniff. Maybe one day, someday, I will again. But right now I know I’m where I should be at this point in time. I believe that striving to be a better person makes you a better parent, and that we shouldn’t give up certain aspects of our life for the sake of our children. “Give up” is not the term. “Reinvention” is more apt.

I found my reinvention in doing makeup. Though some people may see it as frivolous, I have seen how makeup can transform and empower. That’s for a totally different blogpost though.

So, everyone – watch Priscilla Queen of the Desert!!! It’s running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World until July 13. If you do watch, do give me a shoutout! Tag me on Instagram at @painterswifeph. I’d love to see how your own Priscilla experience went. Enjoy the show!!!!

Limbo

I haven’t written much lately. More of I haven’t written at all. These days I feel like I’m on a state of suspended animation. Morning comes, I wake up, make my coffee, check my email, check my pages, get ready, do what it is I have to do for the day and go home. Blah blah blah. No matter how my afternoon went, how exciting and fun it was, my day just ends grey, dreary and flat. Why? Basti is on vacation. :(

He’s been gone in the last two weeks, visiting the Cebu relatives in their little corner of Eastern Cebu. He’s having the time of his life. I’ve called his vacation the “Tunay Na Lalake” vacation because he’s been doing all sorts of things he can never do here in the city.

 

He’s feeding goats and chickens, washing the car, fetching water at the water pump, taking walks by the river and the sea, and sleeping in a nipa hut. He’s also got more cousins than he can count (because he can only count up to twenty right now) so everyday is a party.

While I’ve been enjoying my Me Time, I’m also missing him terribly. He doesn’t come back for a few days and honestly, I’ve had enough Me Time, I want my little bugger back. This house is just too empty without him.

Before Basti left, I had all sorts of stuff lined up. I was going to organize, and top of the list, I was going to blog. Sometime in the last few months, I lost my blogging mojo and my blogging voice, and I’ve been struggling to find it again. I thought I would find it while Basti is gone. I thought I would have the time and the silence to really give the blog some thought and think about what it was then, what it is now and where I want it to go. I am not succeeding.

What I do know is that with Basti gone, a part of me left with him. What I did realize that finding my voice will always and forever include his. That is the mother I am, and Basti’s presence in my life is part of what defines me. I didn’t know it, but my blogging mojo never left. My blogging mojo was always there. Basti is my blogging mojo. And it took a vacation to make me realize that.

The Painter’s Wife is on its last legs. We’ve had a good run, this blog and I. But it’s time to move on. I do have a new website in the works. I’ll announce it soon, and hopefully I’ll have lots of stuff to share to celebrate its launch.

Do any of you want to guess what it’s going to be like?

The #BetterMe Sessions: Better Relationships with Household Helpers

I have been trying to write this post for weeks but the mojo for it was hard to come by. Well, there’s no better time to write about it than now. I am, once again, household help-free. Our 4-year yaya went on vacation last Christmas and didn’t come back. Don’t freak. I am not upset by that fact. I am no stranger to a yaya-free environment. But this incident got me thinking back to the session we had with Coach Pia of The One Core on having better relationships with household helpers. It was a long morning, but I wanted to share with you guys the points that I took home with me, and hope that these will help you in your domestic dramas (don’t we all have them).

Wants vs. Needs

Coach Pia first had us make a list of characteristics of our ideal home. We had similar lists – organized, safe, environmental, etc. We were then asked to list down the tasks involved in making this list happen, which area of the house needed the work, the specific tasks involved to do it and importantly, WHO was in charge. With this we then determined which characteristics were “Wants” versus “Needs” and if the person involved in doing this work felt it was a “Want” or a “Need” as well.

In my own home, one of my needs was to a spotless and organized kitchen. To my helper, this was not a need. It was not even a want. We had constant disagreements and I felt I was endlessly reminding her of how I wanted the kitchen to be kept. To me it was important; to her I was being OA. What could’ve worked was for me to explain why this was a need for me, for her to understand the reasons behind my nitpicking and to communicate how important it was to me.

This is not just for your household helpers, but for the rest of the family as well. It works both ways too. As mothers who run the house, we sometimes feel we have a say on what goes for EVERYTHING and fail to see that the other members of the family have needs as well. So if the husband asks for a bike rack, doesn’t want it, but NEEDS it, then by jove, let’s try and make that happen. Being able to meet and compromise on everybody’s wants and needs is the first step to a harmonious household.

Willingness vs. Ability

When it comes to household helpers, there are varying degrees of willingness and ability we have to live with. We also have to figure out what levels we ourselves can live with. Check if your helper is:

  • Willing and able
  • Willing but not able
  • Not willing but able
  • Not willing and not able

I think I’ve encountered kasambahay in all these levels of willingness and ability. Sad to say, most of my friends who have trouble with their household employees have people who fall under the “not willing and not able” category. For me, I am quite content with “willing but not able” because then you can train them how to handle things in your household. I will never have anyone who is “not willing but able” stay with me because from my experience, they are smart-ass, eye-rolling, complaining, sass-mouthing people who will leave you at the drop of a hat with no consideration at all.

So once you’ve assessed your helper, assess the tasks that need to be accomplished in your household. Are these tasks well within the scope of her willingness and ability? Maybe you’re asking and expecting too much.

Go back to the values.

In line with needs, wants, willingness and ability, it’s very important to explain the core values of the family to our helpers. If you are a working, breastfeeding mom, for example, simple directions about the storage and handling of milk sometimes will not suffice. I have heard many moms literally cry over spilled and wasted milk. But, if you explain the benefits, the care and the effort you put into expressing milk, then she might be able to understand why she should thaw with care, check for spoilage, not throw leftover milk, and so forth. That is, if she is WILLING and ABLE.

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It was a really fruitful morning, and we were fortunate to have the session, thanks to the wonderful people of Marca Piña Cheeseballs, Tonkita by Arix and Gustare Kitchen as the venue. We took home some very useful household cleaning implements from Tonkita (homemaker’s goody bag dream items, hear hear). I really like this two-well bucket. #homemakerjoys

The food at Gustare Kitchen was so yummy! I especially liked this squid ink sotanghon, which reminded me of my lola’s recipe. They also have packed meals ready for takeout. Perfect for condo-dwellers, small families and people who just need a break from cooking.

We also learned about Marca Piña Cheeseball (which was the perfect companion to grapes and made an awesome snack during the session). We had this session right before Christmas last year, so the timing was perfect. Who doesn’t get giddy over cheeseballs during Christmas season?

I think all of us went home that day with a bit of wisdom on how to handle our household. I hope there will less domestic drama for all of us this year!

Thank you Coach Pia! Looking forward to the next #BetterMe session!

 

Preparing for the Power Rate Surge: Meralco’s Electricity Saving Tips

Who does not dread the electricity bill? I do, especially during the summer. During a luncheon hosted by Meralco I attended some days ago, I was enlightened on the surges in power charges and what we can do to cope. Did you know that regular maintenance of power plants (usually every couple of years) results in an increase in generation charges at this time of the year? That was news to me. From now on, I will expect that extra cost and duly prepare for the increase in rates come November.

At the luncheon was Alfred, their resident Energy Baron (see what they did there?) who shared with us some pointers on how to make our home more energy efficient. But first let’s take some time to pay tribute to the Beef Muscovado of Grace Park. Oh yum.

Now on to the tips.

Get one of these and do not overload it.

I’ve always known that unplugging electrical devices helps in cutting electricity costs. But I’ve always been lazy to always do it so I end up not unplugging appliances and devices very often. To add to that, the extra heat generated by electrical devices on standby is extra work for your airconditioner, resulting in extra power consumption as well! A surge protector like this, with the on and off switch can solve that problem with just a flick of your finger (or in my case, my big toe). But then, do not overload your surge protectors and compromise the safety of your homes.

Time it.

Put anything that’s on for an extended period on a timer. In our case, it’s the airconditioner, which I always forget to turn off. One idea I got from the luncheon is this: Christmas lights on a timer! Not only is it energy-efficient, it’s safe too.

Pay attention to the yellow tags.

The yellow tags attached to the aircons, refrigerators and other appliances is actually an indicator on how energy efficient that machine is. The higher the Energy Efficient Factor (EEF), the better.

Let there be light.

Bring up those curtains and let natural light come in! It’s also a good thing that incorporating natural light into home design has become a trend, and one that’s here to stay it seems. It will cut down on your electricity by eliminating the need for daytime use of your houselights (which you should remember to turn off when not in use – a simple tip that we always forget!) If you’re still using incandescent bulbs at home, then it’s high time you switch to CFL and better, LED. Check out this chart to see how much energy you save with CFL and LED – 40 to 62%!!

Keep your cool without the costs.

We all love cool environments, but did you know that setting your aircon thermostat to even just a couple of degrees higher can efficiently cut down on electricity costs? So consider bringing up the temp to a comfortable 23 to 25 degrees instead of 16-18 degrees. Help your airconditioner as well by reducing outside heat when you turn it on, and that means lowering the blinds and making sure all openings are sealed. Positioning also helps. Avoid putting any appliances or devices that generate heat near your airconditioner (like a TV) or it will make your aircon work harder to compensate.

Speaking of cool environments, they also told us that they know of people who turn off their refrigerators at night, thinking they could save on electricity. (Seriously???) This actually costs more, because the extra work it takes to cool down the interior of a refrigerator will cost more. Safe concept for those who turn off their airconditioners every 2 hours only to turn them on again after a couple of hours.

Maintenance is key.

Get your airconditioners regularly cleaned. Defrost when 1/4 of ice has formed in your freezer. If you have a frost-free refrigerator, good for you! (But manual frost-frees take more electricity. Go inverter for refs!) Clean your lamps and bulbs for better light output.

Meralco also introduced us to their app, Move. Move stands for MeralcO Virtual Engine. It’s a cool app you can download for your smartphone or tablet that gives you information on power maintenance schedules, locations of BayadCenter bill payment facilities, a directory of Meralco offices nationwide, the Meralco AppCal (where you can input your energy bill and see which appliance is consuming the most energy) and view your latest Meralco bill.

It’s also got this interface with power saving tips and cute animation that’s great for sharing energy efficiency with your kids.

Siya ang nag-intro ng app. OKAY LANG.

Like this post if you think I look like Jollibee in this picture. Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday.

Juaco of the Loyola Meralco Sparks football team.

Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday.

Thanks Meralco for hosting the lunch! Hopefully with advisories and tips, we can all weather the surge in power rates until everything goes back to normal. Until then, let’s do this!

So with these tips, let’s hope that you and I will weather this surge in power rates. Things will normalize early next year. Till then, let’s do this!

*This post is sponsored by Meralco.

The One About Separation Anxiety

Can I make a prediction? In 5 days’ time I will be crying my eyes out. Forget the prediction. This is a fact. You guys want to know why?

The Painter and I are leaving. I will be gone for two whole weeks. WITHOUT BASTI.

So when I’m talking about separation anxiety, I mean me. Basti and I have never been away from each other overnight. And now, I’m suddenly leaving him for two whole weeks. The excitement of the trip is being overshadowed by my feelings. We go to sleep in a hug and we wake up in a hug. Basti is my alarm clock. He wakes me up wanting to cuddle and nurse and that gently eases us into the curse called morning.

But no. I owe this trip to The Painter. The last three years have been focused on Basti and this time, I will devote my full attention to being his wife. But that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t breaking.

Let’s refocus. I am going to the greatest city in the universe with my husband, with no kid. Just him and me. I’ll just think about that. I’m going to focus on where I want to go, what I want to do and the things I’m going to see (and buy).

Of course there’s the MoMA.

Photo c/o The Guardian.

And Orley will probably spend like a whole month in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Not leaving till I get this. I’ve wanted one for so long.

I hope to watch at least one show here.

And then there’s the mothership.

Sephora Times Square

I’m not leaving till I visit this store.

Inglot on Broadway

So much makeup madness.

But most of all I’m excited to be in New York with Orley. I’m more excited for him than me, actually! This is a huge step for him as an artist, for both his personal growth and his career. Oh wow, all the art he will see, feel, hear and experience. It gives me goosebumps!

I don’t know what to pack. I have been discussing this with friends over the past week. It really all boils down to life’s most important question: style or substance? I can’t even decide what shoes to wear. Even though it’s supposed to be fall, my friend Cheryl says it’s still hot and humid, but gets cold at night.

So Basti, I’ll really miss you. I’ll have super loads of fun, but I’ll miss you. I promise next time, you’ll come. We’ll go see the penguins in Central Park.

 

I Wonder. Can Fun Birthday Ideas Cure My Birthday Party Phobia?

This is no secret. I have birthday-party-planning-phobia. I attribute it to laziness, sometimes nonchalance, but really it’s plain old fear of failing. I sometimes hope that Basti will never, ever, ever, EVER ask me for a birthday party, but I know that’s close to impossible. I know Basti will ask for a party, even just once. And even then, I’m still dreading it.

To think there are so many cute things, ideas and themes for parties these days. I mean they are all over the place. There are so many things you can do to spruce up an intimate party and make it special. I read this article on Babble and liked these ideas:

They’re totally doable and I could make good use of the washi tape I have been hoarding from Paper Chic Studio.

Speaking of washi tape, I saw some cute ideas over at another website for party ideas, and the theme was entirely washi. If you’re my age (ehem), you remember what it was like to drink chocolate milk from glass bottles. Well, these just brought me back to that memory.

I’ve been seeing wooden disposable utensils in the supermarket. Here’s a fun way to spruce them up.

You can even go full-blown on the washi-crafty theme and use washi tape, baker’s twine, paper cups, and other crafting supplies as a birthday party activity.

More birthday party browsing led me to the Marks & Spencer website. Custom cakes are all the rage, but Marks & Spencer brought it to the e-commerce level and took it online. You pick your cake, choose the options, type in your message, pay up then collect from an M&S store in seven days. Cool huh?

This sudden interest may be stemming from how Basti has changed and grown in the past few weeks. School has been good for him. He’s conversing, interacting, reacting, and becoming more cheeky and mischievous. Birthday parties have been held in his class, and we’ve attended a few recently as well. I see the recognition and expectation in his eyes. I already know I’m doomed to plan a party for his next birthday.

I’ve got a few months. I can do this!

Scary Saturday: Guilty Mama Moment

So there I was, trying to battle through my writer’s block and hoping to get some work done. Basti kept poking me.

“Mama, come, look please.”

“Basti wait. Mama’s finishing something. Later please.”

Sige na mama. Please, please, sige na.”

A few more exchanges of that and I finally sighed, stood up and unenthusiastically let Basti drag me to whatever it was that he wanted me to see.

This is what he had for me.

“Mama, I cooked food. Let’s eat please. It’s eating time.”

Shame, shame, shame.

I will never ask Basti to wait again. *tear*