Category Archives: Life

Hello from Writer’s Block Land

Hey world, I just wanted to drop a line. Wala lang.

My blogging mojo is on a break. The words are swimming in my head. I want to write but I can’t get the words out. It’s very inconvenient considering I have so many posts I want to share but they’re all stuck in Drafts right now.

When this happens to me, I do this. The mind dump. Random, thoughtless, no-purpose writing. Kind of how it is when it’s a rainy day, when you’re lying on the couch with a huge bag of chips and no agenda for… well, for your life. That’s what my brain is right now.

Partly because I’m actually quite busy. The busier I get though, the more drafts pile up, and I’m swimming in them right now.

Can I give you an upcoming-blog-posts montage?

 

Those, and the many many things swirling in my head, plus other things that have come my way ever since I started this blogpost. Yes, even this random-thoughts-flying-out-of-my-brain post is victim to the writer’s block.

Oooh, can I share? (Of course I can, it’s my blog. Pfft.) We had Basti’s first PTC. His strongest points? Art and music. I’m not surprised and I’m very pleased.

Aside from the everyday journey of school, another thing that’s been sucking up my mojo is makeup class. I’m almost done! It’s been an enjoyable process, but I’m also looking forward to downtime Saturdays with my family.

Movies I’m looking forward to watching:

 

I grew up watching Mary Poppins over and over again, so Saving Mr. Banks is going to be an out-of-body experience for me, I predict. Not known to many, juvenile fiction is one of my preferred genres for reading (not to mention trashy novels. Just keeping it real), and the Hunger Games series is one of many I’ve enjoyed reading. I wonder if they’ll ever make movies out of the Bartimaeus books? Have you guys read those?

I watched Wolverine last Monday, White House Down the other Monday. Next Monday? I don’t know. What’s coming up?

Sorry guys. I did tell you this was going to be random.

Thoughts from Mommy-Driver

It’s 11am, and we’re just about ready to go into our get-ready-for-school routine. The baon is packed, Basti’s had his early lunch and the house is humming with activity. Normal.

Basti has really adjusted to his school life. He is excited to go to class everyday and he is overflowing with stories when I pick him up after class. I’m happy for him. As for me, I’m still adjusting.

In the 4 years that I’ve been married to Orley, I’ve turned into a homebody. It’s in the little aspects of my life that you see the transformation. I surrendered my iBook for an iMac. Sandals and slippers dominated my shoe collection, and the wedges and the stilts got pushed to the back row. I couldn’t leave the house two days in a row without feeling disoriented. Now I am out 7 days a week, and it’s driving me nuts.

This week was the beginning of Basti’s full schedule, and the start of my three-hour waiting time. I spent Monday’s waiting time watching a movie. It was a bad idea because I watched World War Z alone. I felt sorry for the couple that sat beside me. To those people, sorry for all the cursing and screaming I did the entire movie. Serves me right for watching WWZ when I know I’m so duwag. But I must say: Brad Pitt, wala kang kakupas-kupas.

And then the other day I tried out Yen Yen on Wilson. I had Taiwanese beef noodles and fried dumplings. Mega-YUM. It reminded me of the food I had gotten so used to while I was living in Northeast China. I want to go back and sample all the items on the menu. After, I dropped by Mobler, bought some Ikea stuff, and checked out the new Rustan’s Fresh on P. Guevarra.

Yesterday, I chanced upon a parking slot and decided to wait out at school. I hung out a bit at the office and was able to score a slice of puto from Teacher Lizzie. Do you guys think that’s weird? It’s because I am a hybrid. Having been a teacher in  Basti’s school many years ago, I am both parent and teacher, so there’s no need to be formal with me, hehe. Along with my puto, my snack of the day was one of my all-time favorites:

Banana-cue and fishballs. Found in a little canteen in San Juan.

Today I will go for a facial at DermaPro. Tomorrow? I don’t know.

So I therefore conclude that by the end of the school year I will be either broke, overweight, have really good skin, or all of the above. If I run out of things to do, I’ll just sleep in the car. Ubos ang glamor.

Adventures in Preschool: Basti’s First Week

So there I was, sitting on a kiddie-sized bench, with my legs almost to my chin, white-knuckled from clutching my bag in anxiety, while slow bullets of tension-laden sweat were dripping from my brow. Why? Because Basti was wailing behind closed classroom doors.

My heart wrenched with every cry and I wanted to cry myself. I wanted to barge in and tell Basti that I was right there but I knew that wasn’t going to be good for him. I kept waiting for the teacher to come and out and ask me to come in, but it didn’t happen.

So I waited. For an hour I heard him cry. Endlessly, painfully, despairingly, desperately cry.

And then after an hour, the doors opened and the kids came out. I was expecting a tear-stricken, red face led by an exasperated teacher. Instead, out comes a jolly, excited toddler who gives me a big hug and says, “Mama! I want to eat cookies!”

Huh?

So it turns out, all his crying was tearless. He did all the activities – ALL of them – painting, drawing, singing, reading a book, playing with dough, playing with toy animals – WHILE CRYING. With no tears.

Oh you little scrapper you.

Tomorrow will be better.

And as a result, my usual goofy passenger looked like this on the way home.

Serves you right, you little bug.

Juicing, Day 4

Right now, I hold my personal record for being the most unfit and heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life. It’s been a total downhill slide for me since I got pregnant. I used to run, play badminton, scuba dive, go to the gym, swim, etcetera, etcetera, but all that disappeared when I got pregnant. Even though everyone was saying I should get some form of exercise while on the way, I was too lazy. Breastfeeding helped in the early days. I lost a bit of weight, even if I had a voracious appetite. The thing is, when Basti’s feeding waned, my appetite didn’t.

Recent events have caused me to rethink my current lifestyle and I am painfully admitting that some changes are in order. Not just for looking good, but for Basti’s sake. He cannot have an unhealthy mommy; we have many years of adventures yet to come.

And so, I’ve taken up juicing. This is a thought I’ve been toying with for years now. “Toying” is the word to describe my efforts because I never really pushed through with it. Last week, I finally dug out a juicer my grandmother lent me many months ago and juiced beets, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, lemon, and apples. I posted it on my IG and called it my Chamba Juice. It tasted like a meadow.

It was such a messy experience so I buckled down and got a proper juicer from Rustan’s. I was going to get Hurom slow juicer, but it was out of stock, so I bought the Breville Juice Fountain Max instead:

photo courtesy of breville.com.ph

I’m pretty happy with it, the pulp is quite dry and it’s very efficient. My first juicing experience with the Breville is this glass that I call Salad In A Glass. It was carrots, apples, lettuce, and cucumbers.

I have my juice for breakfast and dinner everyday, and I only eat food for lunch. If I get hungry in between meals, I munch on fruits and almonds. It’s only Day 4, so let’s see what will happen to me in a month. I’m surprised I don’t feel as hungry and weak as I thought I would feel. I actually feel better in the morning and I’m beginning to sleep better at night. I’m hoping the changes to my skin and hair will manifest soon. Here’s hoping!

Next time I’ll share with you guys how I’m doing on the exercise side of things. Arrgh.

How I Fund My Makeup Addiction: Online Jobs!

You know that saying, “If there’s a will, there’s a way?” Online work is the perfect example of that. Not too many people are aware that I actually work on other things aside from this blog, and make a pretty decent living out of it, too. There’s also a part of me that can’t let go of making even just a little bit of money on my own. I was just too used to the affirmation and satisfaction of getting paid for a job well-done.

I found online work to be perfect for me because:

  1. I could choose when to work and what to work on,
  2. If I get bored with something, I have the freedom to choose something else,
  3. No extra expenses. I spend all my time in front of the computer anyway, so why not earn while doing that as well?,
  4. The work is relatively easy. Any mother will tell you extra stress is not welcome in life.

And so, I just wanted to share with you guys how I earn extra money at home. Note that there are many many ways to earn from home, and these are just the few things that I like doing.

1. Rarejob

Rarejob is an online English-tutoring service that caters to Japanese citizens who reside in Japan. Since the time difference isn’t that huge, the work hours are doable (no graveyard shifts!) and best of all, flexible. You’re the one who sets your teaching schedule, the number of classes you want to teach each week and adjust as life dictates it. Sometimes I’m able to teach every afternoon, everyday. Sometimes I only teach one class a week! They are perfectly legit, very professional, and the support given to the tutors is wonderful.

Requirements:

  • College graduate of school in Rarejob’s list of accepted universities
  • Fluent English speaker with minimal accent
  • Previous teaching experience is a plus, but not required
  • Broadband connection and Skype account.

All my teaching experiences have been quite enjoyable so far. The age range of my students is from 7 to 65, and I’ve learned a lot from teaching as well. To apply to become a Rarejob tutor, visit their website for applicants here.

2. Writing

I actually don’t do this much anymore, but I just wanted to share. There are a lot of websites in the world, and these websites need content. There are also specialized jobs that needs specialized knowledge. I started to explore content writing while I was pregnant with Basti upon the suggestion of my cousin. I was bored out of my mind and looking for something to do. I was able to get my first clients through Freelancer.Com. My style was, I would get just a couple of clients who could give me work on a regular basis and then take the negotiations out of the website. My account is dormant now. I think some people would prefer to stay active in their accounts and build their profiles on these contractor sites so they could get high ratings and better offers. That would be good to do, especially if you are looking at finding work on these sites on a long-term basis. Recently, I also did a few writing projects for an independent virtual assistance firm referred to me by a friend. Pay for these projects can vary, depending on the work required. It can be as low as $2/article, but it can also go to $15. Again, this would depend on your own working style. Some writers like getting jobs by the bulk, projects of 10-20 articles at $2-$5/article, while some prefer the projects that require some research and longer work, but do pay higher by the hour. Sometimes you will get that dream project of a very good rate on a range of topics that you can write in your sleep.

3. Transcription

This is one “racket” that I just recently got into. I wanted to save my writing mojo for this blog, so  I wanted to do something else that didn’t require the same juice. I recently signed up for another contractor site called oDesk.Com, where I was recruited by an Australian firm that contracts transcribers from the Philippines. It’s quite fun – you listen, you type, you submit, you get paid. Along the way, you get to learn about topics you would never otherwise think about. One misconception I had about transcription is that is was all about medical or legal stuff. Not true! I’ve recently listened to stuff about gillnet fishing, chocolate, teaching for the hearing impaired, and engine maintenance. It can be quite interesting! Outside of oDesk, I was also given an opportunity to do subtitling for movies for a local firm that specializes in audio production. So I’ll be basically watching movies and typing up the dialogue. That’s not work to me, because I LOVE MOVIES. Transcription projects start off anywhere from $7-$15 per audio hour, while there are some projects that pay by line.

4. Social Media Management 

Social media marketing is a relatively new arena. My first taste of it was handling the customer service Twitter account of a telecommunications firm. Some of you may have actually sent me a tweet complaining about your connection. I promise I didn’t take it personally. 😉 Other than “Twitter-jockeying”, there’s also management of Facebook pages. Facebook community management is also relatively new, but quite important! It seems when you have a business these days, having a Facebook page is as imperative as having a phone number. It can get busy – messages, wall posts, complaints – and they need someone to monitor it regularly and respond promptly. The opportunities that came to me to manage Twitter and Facebook accounts came from personal contacts, but you can find postings for these kinds of jobs online as well.

 

Even though this kind of work is not really the focus of my time, I find it a good diversion and a painless, stress-free way to get a little extra money at home. I am not the model of an online worker. I’m not vigilant about building up my profile and I don’t mind if negotiations are taken off the site. This is not a good practice because to be offered jobs, it’s better if everything you do is recorded on your profile so that clients will see how much work you’ve done and be confident about your reliability. For those who want to make it their career (and I know some people who really make a substantial living out of working from these sites), you stay active, build up your profile, get feedback, take in more clients and soon enough you will build a good reputation that will consequently result in a higher rate. You can actually command a per hour or per project rate. It can be rewarding, career-wise and money-wise.

So there, I just wanted to share. I know some moms out there are looking for ways to earn while at home. Whether it be out of necessity, or out of boredom, know that there are opportunities lurking in corners. All you have to do is look for them!

Happy hunting!

Dinner With Madam

So my husband had an exhibit that opened last April 11.

It was a huge success and the response to his work was overwhelming, encouraging and humbling. I was so proud of The Painter.

At the exhibit we met Fr. Matthew, an art enthusiast who has been trying to track Orley down in the last 4 years. They finally met.

We had a great conversation and he invited us to have dinner soon after the exhibit. He said, “Madam” might join us. I didn’t think anything of it and looked forward to a nice evening. Little did we know we were going to have dinner with an icon.

The quotable quote of the night: “It’s very hard to be hated. But it’s even harder to be envied.”

She gave Orley this plate with a print of her portrait by Claudio Bravo.

Whatever your politics may be, it doesn’t change the fact that Mrs. Marcos is a compelling, charismatic, warm and gracious lady. I have respect for her and the way she values art. Support for the arts in this country has never been the same since her time. I will always admire her for that.

Thank you for the unforgettable evening, Madam. I do hope we meet again someday.

Catch the tail-end of “Into The Light” featuring paintings by Romulo Galicano and Orley Ypon at the Altro Mondo Gallery. The gallery is located in Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati. Exhibit runs till May 10, 2013.

The Painter Wins “Best In Show” at the Art Renewal Center Salon 2013!

I am so happy to share that The Painter won a painting competition again! I’ve already shared this on Facebook and Twitter, but I am still so very much on a high that I really just have blog about it. Bear with me. I’m so so proud of my husband I would rent out a billboard on EDSA to shout it out if I could.

The competition is the same one I blogged about last year, which is the annual Art Renewal Center Salon International. Last year, he won first place in the Figurative Category for this painting:

“Resurrection”. Oil on canvas. Private collection.

This year, he entered this painting:

“Interregnum”, oil on canvas. Private collection.

Out of 850 artists and thousands of work submitted, “Interregnum” was awarded Best In Show. BEST IN SHOW. When I read the email I couldn’t stop squealing!!

This same painting was entered into the Borobodur Auction in Singapore earlier this year, and did very well considering it was Orley’s first time to participate. I think this win is so well-deserved as I saw first-hand what it took to create it. If I didn’t know any better, I would say it is my husband’s blood on that painting instead of paint.

I am so proud of you Orley!

To know more about the Art Renewal Center and this year’s winners, check it out on their website here: http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/salon_winners.php?contest=2012-2013%20Salon&page=Main

Myrene Santos: Mom, Makeup Artist

Myrene Santos and I met as cast members in the 2002 run of Trumpets’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She was a hag, I was a bear.

There’s something about being in a theater run together that bonds you for life. Even after the curtains closed and the time we spent together became less and less as we went on with our lives, we always remained very good friends.

Our common passion was makeup. We spent many times huddled together backstage, applying animal makeup, theater makeup, after-show-gimmik makeup, sharing stories, girl talk, and lots of secrets, as girls do. She is a fabulous, bubbly, fun person to be with and motherhood has not changed that about her at all.

Myrene has an amazing stage performance profile. She’s been in countless productions and has worked with Repertory Philippines, Atlantis Productions, Trumpets, Stages, among other theater groups and events production outfits all over the country. Among her performances are roles in The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde, Fame, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Dreamgirls. She also worked as part of the entertainment cast of Hong Kong Disneyland for a number of years. She is a talented singer, actress, and dancer, a true musical theater artist at heart.

When Myrene got pregnant and couldn’t perform, she began to rethink her goals. She knew that having a child would change her world; long rehearsal hours, early call times and evening shows that run till late were not the ideal for the life she wanted for her family. It was during this period of introspection that her husband suggested that Myrene go into makeup professionally. When her little boy Zach was 8 months old, Myrene entered Maquillage Professional to study makeup artistry.

After a year of doing odd gigs, she found herself entering The Makeup Academy in Robinson’s Manila to apply for a position to teach Theater Makeup. She instead ended up teaching Makeup 101, a class she truly enjoyed. When Makeup Academy closed, she and a partner took over the space and opened The Makeup Secrets School. Now, aside from teaching, she is a guest artist for MAC, head of hair and makeup design for The King and I at Resorts World Manila, does hair and makeup for Piaf under MAC, does makeup for magazine shoots, editorials and website features, and is making a name for herself in the bridal and wedding circles.

Clockwise, from top: Sheila Valderrama in The King and I; Migs Ayesa for Rock of Ages; Michael Bolton. Makeup by Myrene.

She is enjoying herself immensely, being able to do what she loves and still gets to spend enough time with her adorable Zach.

I love Myrene’s story of rediscovery because this is my own journey too. Often when I say something like, “Oh I wish I could still do <insert something I used to do here>”, some people will say, “You still can,” with a look that reads total unawareness of what a mother goes through. It’s a fact of life – mothers make sacrifices, sometimes at the expense of their own ambitions and dreams.

Myrene gives me inspiration that even if there’s a part of ourselves that needs to take a backseat, there will always be another part that can shine through. We can reinvent ourselves, find new passions, or rekindle long-dormant interests or even the little “what-if-I” moments that you pushed at the back of your head. It’s never too late to have new dreams!

Thank you for being such an inspiration to me, Myrene! I look forward to growing in the world of makeup with you as my teacher.

Contact Myrene for your makeup inquiries here:

Myrene Santos
email: makeupymyrene@gmail.com
website: http://myrenesantos.lens.ph
0917-8714359
 
MAKEUP SECRETS SCHOOL
4th floor, Midtown Wing
Robinson’s Place, Ermita Manila
(02)5598481

 

The SoMoms Say “Sige Sa Mantsa!” (Plus a Giveaway from Breeze!)

It’s soooooo hot. So hot that there are days that I don’t want to move for fear that all my energy will be sucked right out of me. I am equally scared of heatstroke and summer electric bills, so sometimes Basti is running naked around the house in nothing but a diaper.

The first of the #SoMoms summer #sessions was a welcome escape from the urban heat. The wonderful marketing team of Breeze Philippines sponsored us for a day in Nuvali. It was a pleasant, early drive to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where the #SoMoms and some invited bloggers were gathered for some fun activities for the kids, outdoor time, swimming and catching up with the others. It was a #SigeLangNgSige Day!

Teacher Anna and Teacher Kara of My Masterpiece Movement led a yoga session for the kids that didn’t stop the moms from joining too!

Basti got the be the bright, cheery and super enthusiastic Mr. Sun.

He was so very ecstatic. #hindihalata

The kids went totally nuts over the painting session. Teacher Kara laid out a plastic sheet, dribbled some paint over it and let the kids go crazy! Paint was everywhere! Kids were stained from head to toe, shirts, shorts, socks and everything in between!

We all helped to lay a sheet of paper over the painting afterwards and this was the result.

It became the base for our #SigeMoms and #SigeKids declarations! I think Basti and I will copy this at home. It’s going to be tons of fun making our own messy masterpiece.

Here we all are! (Yes, we have a SoDad!)

From L-r: Marc of The Fatherland, Me, Teacher Anna, Jackie of Go Jackie Go!, Belle of Cruisin’ Mommyhood, Janice of Mommy Mundo, Candy of The Corporate Housewife Mom, Patty of Non Stop Babble, Tin of Manila Fashion Observer, Christine of Mommy Journey, Jenny of My Mommyology, Kris of OC Mom In Manila, Cai of Apples and Dumplings, Teacher Kara.

 

We couldn’t leave without taking a dip in the pool. The water was irresistible!

The day was all about letting go and just letting the kids have fun. Breeze Philippines’ new campaign “Sige Lang Sa Mantsa” was the perfect collaborative theme for our day’s activities. Having fun can get messy and sometimes being messy is the fun itself!

We ended the day by declaring our Sige Sa Mantsa statements.

This is something I have to remind myself everyday. Even though I am pretty lax compared to others I’ve met when it comes to mess, I do sometimes wince when Basti turns his shirt into a paper towel. I don’t want to be that mom anymore!

We all walked away with a gift pack filled with goodies from Breeze.

The good news is, I’ve got two more of these Breeze gift packs to give away! Two of the blog’s readers will get to say #SigeSaMantsa too! Please join via Rafflecopter below. Entries will be accepted till next Monday, April 22, 11:59pm. The contest is open to all readers nationwide. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beauty Instead of Madness

So you guys might be wondering (or maybe not) why I am suddenly so agog over beauty, makeup, etcetera and etcetera. No really, it’s all I’ve talked about in the last few posts, on Twitter and on Instagram (And for a few more posts to come, I must warn thee). Truth is, if you’ve known me long enough, you would know that this obsession, fascination and addiction to makeup goes a looooong way back. I started with makeup at a younger-than-average age and I will be into it ’til I’m old and grey.

But why the amplified fascination now? Why not from the beginning of the blog? Well here’s my confession: I need to focus my energy elsewhere or else I will be one hot mess. Because…

Basti is weaning.

*I will pause here because again, tears are beginning to flow*

I first started to feel the end of our nursing relationship on the day Basti did not ask to nurse for 12 hours. 12 hours became 20, 20 became 24. And then just a few days ago, 24 hours became 2 days. Two. FREAKING. Days. I had to stop myself from asking Basti if he wanted to nurse. I wanted to ask him, no, BEG him to nurse, to become my little baby again, just so I could smell him, hold him, cuddle him and remind him that he’s my little itty-boy and he doesn’t have to grow up if he doesn’t want to.

But he is growing up as children do, and I am the bigger baby than Basti because I am such a SAP. So there I was a couple of days ago reading an email sent to me by Basti’s school. He’s entering nursery school in June and the email was just to outline the enrollment procedures and schedule; nothing major, nothing particularly inspirational, just your regular administration and principal stuff. But what did I do? Like an idiot, I was crying my eyes out. OVER A FREAKING ENROLLMENT PROCEDURE LETTER! Can you imagine me on the first day of school? At a PTC meeting? Moving up day? Prom Night? I’d be lucky if Basti still wants to be seen with me when he’s 13. I’m going to be the most embarrassing mother ever.

Do you guys want to know the last time I wore Basti in a sling? Well don’t ask, because I can’t tell you. I can’t remember. I haven’t worn Basti in weeks. My carriers, save for two, are all in storage now. I still keep a couple out just in case I hear the sweet words “Mama, carry Basti” again. My heart isn’t ready to give up babywearing my big boy even if my back is celebrating.

So because of all this mothering madness, I am choosing to focus, to channel, to regroup. I am choosing to focus on me.

I am choosing to focus on my passions, to channel my energy into things that make me happy in order to be a pleasant presence in Basti’s life. It’s also my way of getting to know myself again, after two years of virtually thinking of no one else but this little boy. The makeup kit is being revived, the heels are coming out, and there is finally a little room in my heart and my life for a bit of self-indulgence.

Basti is turning three years old next month, marking my 3 years of being a mother now and forever. This period is going to be like hard candy to me – sweet, jarring, awkward and irregular, seemingly unchanging and endless, until one significant crack makes the hardness go away. And then I’ll find myself holding hands not with a little boy, but with a tiny young man ready to take on the world and mark it with awesome. I hope he’ll still let me hold his hand.

So forgive me, readers, friends and stray-Google-search passerbys, if the Mommy is becoming a Mom-Me. It’s the most I can do to keep my wailing at bay. We have to brace ourselves for more Madness. Our kids may be growing up, but they’ll turn into babies when they need us to be their mommies. Let’s look amazing while we do it, shall we?