Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Haircut day for the girls

The girls were united when they told me they wanted shorter hair. So on Friday night, after school, we headed to Emphasis Salon in Rockwell. This is where Neal has been going for many years now. His stylist, Mary, also cut the girls' hair.

I was so tempted to get something done instead of just sitting around and waiting for all three of them. But I've vowed to grow my hair just a little bit more so I can add more layers to it.

The girls were so happy with their new hairstyles

I promised Mary that on Neal's next appointment (which should be about a month from now), I would go with him and let her style my hair. Gulp. That translates to disloyalty to my stylist of about 2 1/2 years now. But I really loved the way Mary cut the girls' hair so I'm definitely going back.

The rainy long weekend

This was a welcome respite from the crazy days I've been having.
After watching the DLSU-ADMU game at the Araneta Coliseum last Sunday (which I choose not to blog about), we headed home and packed our stuff for the drive to our 2nd home in Subic. The weather was erratic. It was raining on and off going there, mostly hard. But we welcomed the cool weather and lazy hours ahead. We knew it would be impossible for the kids to go swimming like they normally do. So staying at home would be the agenda for the next 2 1/2 days and I was really looking forward to that!

We couldn't, however, pass up on the opportunityto go Duty Free shopping at Pure Gold. This has become a habit everytime we're there. How can anyone resist? From the cart full of stuff we got, here are my favorite finds

M&M's Peanut Butter
This is Reese's in a much better form
I love Reese's to bits but sometimes it's a bit too messy to eat
M&M's is just perfect as long as you don't allow the color to run on your hands

We're all loyal users of Sterilium, but when I saw this, I had to grab a couple for the kids
At $0.99 each, I couldn't go wrong. This is perfect to take with them to school.

I had never seen the Goody stand before but when I did, oh boy!

I like wooden hair brushes. I have a paddle type which I got from the salon and it was quite expensive. But this one was only over $2.00

Anissa grabbed her own Goody hairbrush too, same price as my wooden one

The store also has this in hot pink and aqua

After shopping, the kids got hungry but it was pretty close to dinner time. Walking out of the store, you can't help but notice all the people lined up for S&R's pizza. So we gave in and got our favorite Garlic Shrimp

Going home, the kids were fast asleep but I wanted to show them these

Rice fields submerged in flood waters, thanks to Typhoon Mina (int'l name Nanmadol) which battered the North and is now wreaking havoc in Taiwan.

The girls were sad, as usual, when we left. They've always loved it in Subic. When's the next long weekend, anyway?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lazy day outfit

I've mentioned time and again how tired I am of having to dress up for work every single day and how thankful I am that I no longer have to. Monday night, we had dinner with the in-laws and the weekly dinners usually take place at SIL's home. No need to wrack my brains deciding on what to wear. Nowadays, if I'm comfortable, I'm really happy.

Speaking of comfort ... I think I may have found my best pair of bottoms to date.


Harem Knit Pants from H&M

They're so comfortable, I can sleep in them!
My white shirt is from Fashion Dime (look for them on Facebook)
Flat thong sandals from Charles & Keith, one of my favorite pairs

P.S. I got the pants from eBay ... an absolute steal!

It's been a crazy week

Monday, my kids' Yaya (for the past 15 years) left for her hometown somewhere in the South for her annual 2-week vacation. We usually get a reliever, always the same girl whenever we need a pair of extra hands. But we weren't so lucky this time. She backed out of the commitment at the very last minute ... last minute meaning, Sunday evening. We were so not ready for this and I didn't want to get someone I didn't know.

More than a week ago, my Dad had an unfortunate accident. As he was getting out of his car to go to a weekly meeting, he slipped and fell and landed on his left knee. He was in pain and couldn't take even a tiny step. I had to rush to where he was then rush again to Medical City. There, we were told that he had to be in a leg immobilizer until the swelling on his knee settles. I had never seen a knee so swollen before. Then just yesterday after a Wednesday follow-up check up and MRI requested by his orthopedic surgeon, we were informed that he would need surgery to correct the injury. Something had definitely been torn and dislocated.

Sometime during the last 7 days, my 5-year old had a bout with a very bad cough which gave her high fever for 2 straight days. On the 2nd day, I decided to bring her to Cardinal Santos Hospital for a Complete Blood Count. Fortunately, we ruled out the dreaded Dengue. But she's still on anti-biotics because during a check-up with her pediatrician, the doctor discovered a mouth sore near her throat, and suspected the onset of hand foot and mouth disease.


I was overwhelmed, to say the least. I've had to cook all our meals so far (take note : me spending time in the kitchen is not something you see everyday), take care of a sick baby girl while worrying no-end about my Dad's condition. I've been unable to physically help him and my Mom out because of the circumstances at home.

This hectic week is finally ending today and the 4-day weekend is only hours from now. I've since settled into my daily routine and the toddler went back to school yesterday. We just need to go back to the pediatrician tomorrow for (hopefully) a final check-up. Dad is just waiting for his ortho and cardio to see eye to eye regarding the knee surgery (he's hypertensive and diabetic).

Amazingly, I didn't run out of positive vibes despite the chaos. I'm praying though that next week will be more relaxed and peaceful.

Here's wishing all of you a fun-filled 4-day weekend!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Helpful tips

I've been reading up on work-related stuff lately. I was a full time Sales and Marketing professional for over 2 decades until I decided to focus on being a full time Mom and partner. Although I now enjoy a pressure-free life, I never stopped wanting to learn.

One thing that I've been thinking about is going into business. I've never managed anything bigger than an online store. I did that for over a year after I gave birth to my youngest child, and let it go when I went back to corporate life.

While looking for topics online, I chanced upon this website and I have to admit, I never really spent much time reading up on Entrepreneurship, much less Venture Capital-related articles.

Both Sides of the Table is a startup blog which brought me to unfamiliar territory, yet I found myself clicking endlessly on the topics there.

Mark Suster, the blog's author/owner, provides in-depth information and valuable tips for those who are interested in starting a VC. From sourcing funds to using social media platforms to sales & marketing advice. He obviously knows what he's talking about.

Check it out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comebacking styles take me back to my younger days

I can't believe it. Most of today's fashion styles are repeating themselves.

Wide-legged or Palazzo Pants

Cropped Tees

Loose shirts (or what people now call Boyfriend shirts)

(I remember getting them from the old Whistle Stop store in Makati and they were imported directly from Spain)

I've never thought of myself as stylish. I just really know what I want and regardless of whether it's in fashion or not, when I know I look good in something, I'll put it on.

Here are a few things, however, that I'm sure will never ever go out of fashion :

The classic white shirt
This one's from The Gap. But there are many other brands that carry good quality white shirts now. Mine are from Zara, Mango and Banana Republic.

The classic white tee
They're the most comfortable and versatile piece of clothing I own. I have them in branded and unbranded ones. My favorites are from The Gap, Old Navy, Forever 21, Zara and Mango. Among the local brands, I've found really good ones from HerBench, Folded and Hung, Bayo and even from online sellers in Facebook.

Skinny jeans and cigarette pants
I'm praying to God that I can forever get away with wearing these. I'm blessed with stick thin legs so right now, I'm okay. I can't live without them, really. I also have skinny trousers. I have a plethora of these from both local and imported brands. As long as the fit is right, I grab!

Ballet Flats
The number one reason I love them? They go with everything!
Shorts, jeans, skirts, dresses (sheath or circle), trousers ... blah blah blah.

Honestly, I don't know how many pairs I have. My most noteworthy ones are from Steve Madden, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Nine West, The Gap, Old Navy. I even have a few pairs from local stores like Shoebox and Ichigo. I'm forever in love with ballet flats.

Yves Saint Laurent said : Fashions fade, style is eternal. If I were to take that statement seriously (and I do), I would interpret it to mean that it doesn't matter whether you follow current trends or not. Style is inborn. You either have it or you don't.
Once you have it, nobody can take it away from you.

It's almost the weekend. Have a productive Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Early morning stress

Things went haywire when I got a call from my Dad just after 9am yesterday. It was a Tuesday so I knew exactly where he was. But I didn't expect him to deliver bad news. He slipped as he was getting out of his car and busted his left knee. According to him, he couldn't walk and he was still in the car at the time of the call.

We ended up at the Emergency Room of The Medical City, which was nearest to where he was. He said he was in pain but he hardly showed it (typical of him). But I knew he was telling the truth because he had to be assisted, he really was unable to take even a little step.

It's a good thing Anissa's orthopedic doctor and my sister-in-law's college barkada (the one who diagnosed her mild scoliosis and sees her about it from time to time) has a clinic at The Medical City and on the same day, too. What a divine coincidence!

He came down as soon as he learned we were there and took charge as soon as the xray plates were available for reading. NO FRACTURE SEEN. Thank God! This was what we were so afraid of and I was so relieved when he confirmed it. But the swelling was so bad, Dr. Sia said he needs to check further. After examining Dad's knee for a few more minutes, Dr. Sia told us he tore a ligament and may have a slight dislocation as well. This is what's causing the major swelling. There was no need to admit Dad, but Dr. Sia wanted to drain fluid from the knee before sending us home.

That's all the blood they drained from Dad's knee. Quite a bit. Sorry if this photo makes anyone uncomfortable. Dad had to be given anesthesia before this procedure was done.

He's now back home and recuperating but the doctor emphasized that he needs to be immobile for about a couple of weeks. To make sure he doesn't over exert himself, he needs to wear a knee immobilizer all the time.

I could tell that this was the part my father didn't want to hear. At 69 years old, he refuses to get a driver and can stay out late more than I can. He's the most active senior citizen I know. And that is why taking care of him will be a huge challenge. Spell STUBBORN? Lol.

I'm glad we were out of that hospital in a few hours. Don't read this the wrong way. I have nothing against The Medical City. I don't like hospitals, the smell and all. Being in a hospital never fails to make me feel queasy and sometimes, even nauseous.

I'm hoping that future trips with Dad to have his knee checked will be few and brief.

Please get well soon, Daddy!

I'm a white tee & jeans kinda gal

After wearing corporate outfits 5 out of 7 days for more than 2 decades, I've seriously gotten tired of it. I'm so glad I now get the chance to wear whatever I want, whether it's a weekday or not. When it comes to casual wear, I'm definitely a denim person. Shorts, pants or a mini skirt. Anything, as long as it's denim.

Here's a typical everyday get-up for me ...

Jeans from The Gap (straight cut but I like to make them look like boyfriend jeans minus the super loose fit), Tom's Glitter in black, printed canvas belt from Old Navy and a super comfy white t-shirt which I bought online for *drumroll* P250.00. Nylon tote from Marc by Marc Jacobs w/c I got from the flagship store in HK.

Even when I was still a working Mom, I refused to wear heels on weekends. Reason being, I was in heels the entire week and I wanted my feet to get that much-deserved respite. Being a stay-at-home Mom/part time consultant has allowed me the luxury of not wearing heels at all. I'm not sure I can still pull them off.

Note : this white shirt is so comfortable. I've had it washed a few times and it still looks like I just bought it. Makes me wanna go back to the seller and get a couple more colors. She has them in about 7 or 8. Check her out in Facebook, do a search for Fashion Dime.

Hope everyone's having a good week so far!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A win and a loss

What a tiring weekend that was!

Saturday, we were out of the house before 9am to watch our teenager and her Pep Squad compete in the 2011 Milo Little Olympics. The venue was the same as last year's, so we were prepared : with water and my huge fan to comfort us in the morning heat. On the way there though, it began to rain real hard, so we had to bring an umbrella as well. I was worried about the weather being bad all throughout because the girls will compete outdoors. If the rain didn't stop, there would simply be no competition whatsoever.

God probably heard our prayers because the sun came out soon enough and gave the organizers a chance to dry the floor mats and make sure all competing teams can safely perform on them.

To cut a long story short, guess who won?
And not just that, this is a back-to-back championship title we're talking about. Not just for Anissa's HS Pep Varsity. The Grade School Pep bagged the same back-to-back success!

The St. Paul College, Pasig HS Pep Varsity in their final pyramid
They worked so hard on this new routine for weeks before the competition. Anissa was so excited about it and I now understand why.

Watching these girls in action always gives me a high.
That's my big girl in the middle.

But here's my favorite photo from the event ... the girls rejoicing as soon as their school's name was announced as the champion. Look at how high Anissa jumped!!!

Weeks of hard work paid off big time and I can't be any prouder.

To the St. Paul College, Pasig HS and GS Pep Varsities ... congratulations on this achievement!

The perfect way to start the school year!

Unfortunately, that high was somehow dampened by the loss that the De La Salle Green Archers suffered in the game against Adamson University the next day. ONE POINT. They could've won by that. Oh well, on to the next game.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

First Up : 2011 Milo Little Olympics

As most of you know by now, my 15-year old has been a cheerleader for the fourth year in a row, since she was in 6th grade. Today signals the beginning of her competitive "career" (this schoolyear) in cheerleading with the opening of the 2011 Milo Little Olympics at the Marikina Sports Complex. The St. Paul College, Pasig Grade School and High School Pep Varsities are defending champions and thus, face quite a bit of pressure today.

They've been working hard on their routines for the past weeks, ending their school days at 7pm. I take my hat off to these girls who manage to balance their academics alongside rigid traning exercises, especially when a competition is forthcoming.

Thursday night, Anissa stayed up to finish working on her pom poms. Yes, the girls make their own and I can only watch with pride as she did.

They also have new uniforms each year, which she excitedly brought home and showed all of us

Thank goodness the skirts are shorter and look like normal cheerleader skirts! LOL! The nuns at school have been quite strict about it these past years. It was like reliving my own school days in a Catholic, all-girl school.

As I type, she and the teams are preparing to board the bus to the venue and I'm praying for all of them to just have fun ... no injuries, please!

Meantime, I'm (nervously) doing my stuff on the internet and waiting to get ready for this all-important Saturday. After all, I am my children's biggest fan.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tiger Mom?

Before Sabine was born, I never had to deal with a tantrum. Anissa was such a quiet child. She would sit still and never fuss. The tantrum experience was alien to me until Sabine came along. No, she's not a brat. She's spoiled, but not spoiled rotten. But between my girls, she's the feisty one. She's the one who, at this very young age of 5, reasons out and asks questions. She has difficulty taking "no" for an answer, whereas Anissa would stop at two attempts to change my mind and then just march off to her room and sulk.

For the first time in a while, Sabine had a mild tantrum yesterday. She was acting bratty towards her Yaya, who merely told her to wait a few minutes while she folded the laundry, before they could resume playing. She resented being reprimanded for acting bratty and decided to take it to the next level by scattering our throw pillows on the living room floor. When I gave her the "stare", she stared back. Is feisty an understatement?

Much to my disappointment, I had to resort to pulling rank. I told her to march upstairs to the master's bedroom so she could go into a timeout. She started to cry, perhaps in an attempt to make me reconsider. Although very difficult, I had to resist the urge to give in. I was determined to make her see the error of her ways.

She sat here for the next 20 minutes or so while I watched her. Like any parent, I was so close to picking her up and forgetting all about punishing her because she was sobbing intensely. But needless to say, I had to do the right thing. Anyway, I did pick her up eventually because she was starting to fall asleep. By this time, I just felt really sorry for her and put her on the bed beside me to continue her nap (while still sobbing boo hoo!).

Corporal punishment is now being discussed here. It's ridiculous if you ask me. While I feel that there's no place for child abuse in any decent home, I think corporal punishment is a bit too much to consider. I am not a spanker. Not to say that I haven't spanked my children at all, because I have, in extreme situations. But these occasions are very rare and I drowned in guilt each time. I vowed to never make it a habit.

Disciplining our kids is perhaps the toughest part of parenting. I hate it, but someone has to do it. My motto? Hate me now, thank me later. So far, I think it's working.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Snooping around

A writer friend has asked me to answer a survey about snooping on kids, particularly on teenage kids. I have a 15 year old so I was more than willing to participate.

The main question was : do you snoop on your child. Why or why not?

My answer to that would be a resounding, THANK GOD I DON'T HAVE TO.

Sure, my girl is a typical teenager. Typically hormonal at times, typically embarrassed to be seen around me when in the company of friends, typically into things a normal teenager likes (music, the internet, her Blackberry, fashion, etc). Although it's these things that cause our arguments most of the time, I'm thankful she's pretty normal.

Parenting a teenager is probably the trickiest thing to do. Not to mention challenging, too. I have to be her friend, and at the same time remind her that first and foremost, I am her mother. I go crazy trying to be both. But I'd like to think I'm doing okay, so far.

Just recently, she came to me with a concern which we dealt with for days. It was really a reassurance that my girl still feels the need to talk to me and values my advice. So even if I was slightly rattled by the problem (isn't this so normal for a parent to feel?), deep inside I was truly grateful for the chance to be part of the solution because she chose to come to me.

It's these situations that remind me that I don't have to snoop. Atleast, not yet. I'm really praying that I won't ever have to, but that's a long shot for any parent. If the time doesn't come at all, I'll be extremely grateful. Only a serious issue can make me let go of the "no snooping" rule, so I'll continue to pray that I won't have to cross that dreaded bridge.

My advice to parents of teenagers is quite simple : keep the communication lines open. And by this, I don't mean a one-way kind of thing. Parents must also learn to listen to their children and not over-manage them. Give them a venue to speak and LET THEM SPEAK without interruption. Hard to do? Maybe. But they have a right to say what they feel. As long as they do it within reason, they should be allowed to speak for themselves. But toe the line on respect, I think that goes without saying.

Here's to all of us parents of teenagers who continue to toil while loving our roles.
Parenting is such a thankful job, so don't believe anyone who says otherwise.
We get our rewards when we look into our children's eyes and see what great persons they've become.

A happy Tuesday to all!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday Family Style : Komrad

Last night's family dinner was at a new place in Eastwood Mall. KOMRAD, serves Hunan and Sichuan dishes so be ready to take in all that spice! My family loves to eat spicy food, but we also had to be careful because the kids were with us. Not everything on the menu is spicy, though, so it was all good.

The place isn't so big and surprisingly, it was packed last night, despite the fact that they were only on their 2nd day of operations. This wall mural is so prominent inside the restaurant. When I took a closer look, I kinda laughed at the idea to put Mao Tse Tung in a chef's uniform.
It was so cute.

Ready to see what we ordered? We don't scrimp on food and we have a tendency to order more than what we can handle. The fact that 80% of our orders were spicy also made it quite a challenge for us to finish everything!

Mapo Tofu (P255)
Spice factor : 3.5 (out of 5)

KOMRAD Fried Rice (P198)
We had 4 of these!
Spice Factor : 0

Steamed Fish Fillets w/ Black Bean Tapenade (P288)
Spice Factor : 4
(especially if you swish the fillet around the oil before biting into it)

Kung Pao Crispy Pig's Ears (P188)
Spice factor : 4

Fujian Noodles (P265)
Spice factor : 0

Kung Pao Shrimp Balls (P325)
Spice factor : 3.5

Chilled Tofu with Pork Floss (P125)
Spice Factor : 4

General Tso's Chicken (sorry, forgot to note the price)
Spice factor : 2

Please note that the spice ratings are solely based on my opinion. This would naturally depend on your tolerance for spicy food. But unlike in other places where the dishes are too spicy, you hardly taste the food itself, we really enjoyed all of our orders. The only comment I have is that it took a while for them to prepare our bill. This was largely due to the absence of a POS (point of sale) system, so they had to manually add everything up. I'm sure they'll be able to iron this kink out in no time. The manager was kind enough to explain the hold up and the waiting time was bearable, so it was really a non-issue for us.

Can you tell how much we loved our visit? Just look at all the empty platters and bowls!

KOMRADE is on the 2nd level of Eastwood Mall, beside CYMA and near the bridgewalk to Citywalk. After Googling a bit more, I discovered that this is another one of Marvin Agustin's restaurants. Kudos!