Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trying out the new toy

Blogging from my Samsung Galaxy Note II and trying out this Blogger client. :)

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.10

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Farewell, Multiply

The other day, shocking news went around social media. At first, it was Multiply Indonesia that released a statement that it was closing down. I remember seeing job openings for Multiply Philippines very recently so I thought, maybe it won't happen here. But just minutes later, it was confirmed. Multiply is shutting down PERIOD. 

All throughout the day, reactions from my favorite sellers, mompreneurs, even friends I met there were all over Facebook and Twitter. It was sad! I started blogging in Multiply. I only moved my blog here because it was getting crowded there and it was slowly becoming a marketplace. But despite my transfer to Blogger, I continued to keep my Multiply account for shopping purposes. I know that so many others did the same thing. In fact, even when sellers started to put up Facebook pages, a lot of online shoppers still preferred the comforts of the Multiply Marketplace. With the new shopping features, it was so much more secure doing business there. 

People went nuts when they announced their planned upgrade and removal of their blog/sharing platform. They wanted to turn it into a shopping site and all of us users had to save all of our photos, lest they be deleted permanently. I don't think I was able to keep everything though, because I just had too many photos in there. I don't even want to think of what I've lost. 

It feels like the end of an era, with Multiply closing shop. Many sellers I know built their brands and became popular online shopping names in this place. Many are saying it was the upgrade that really caused everything to fall apart. True? I'm not sure. We'll probably find out more later on. As far as I know, even their staff is still trying to recover from the shock of losing their jobs all too suddenly. I wish them all and everyone else terribly affected by this closure well. 

Thanks for the memories!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I'm on Facebook!

I didn't think it was necessary, even if I've had a personal account in Facebook for forever. 

I thought it was a huge thing ... for Non Stop Babble to have a Facebook page.

Honestly? I didn't think I had the right to be there ... NOT YET. 

But things have a funny way of happening. Actually, not really funny. It's really exciting. SUPER EXCITING. I can't begin to describe the feeling. After blogging for years (since 2005 pa pala!) and even if it was never in my plan for my blog to be anything more than an online notebook and sometimes shock absorber, I am so glad that things are taking a really good turn. 

Sorry to sound so cryptic but I have to be on "gag order" mode right now. Eeeeeep! How hard is that for someone as talkative as I am?!? Hahaha! Very very hard! Disclaimer : No one told me to shut up hihihi. I just have to wait a bit before saying anything.

Anyway, yes Non Stop Babble is on Facebook. Kindly look to your right, on the sidebar, to find the badge you have to click to follow the blog there. 

Hope you're all having a really good weekend so far!

Sabine's 7th : The Cake

When I decided on the French Patisserie theme, I immediately started looking for ideas for the cake. At this point, I still didn't know that my party planner's sister is in the dessert station business. I was ready to go to a cake supplier to have the cake and matching themed cupcakes made. 

On the internet, I found several options in blue and pink, which are our main colors for the theme. I saved photos for future reference. One of the designs that really caught my fancy is this. I've never seen a ruffled cake before. 

Minus the roses. I wanted it plain with the wordings on buntings just like this one.

Soooooooo cute!!! 

Well guess what? When I started to play around with the idea of having a dessert station, Olive of Let's Party (my party planner) told me that this was her sister's business. Rather than having to deal with someone I don't know, I trusted my gut and went with her. When it was time to discuss the cake (everything was done via email), it's like these girls read my mind because the cake that they thought of recommending to me was the ruffled one I had in mind all along! That moment deserved a huge, loud high five! This sister tandem has been working overtime to prepare for Sabine's 7th and I can't be more thankful that I was introduced to them. 

Something tells me I'm in for a wonderful surprise tomorrow when I see it along with the entire set-up. I don't know who's more excited, me or the birthday girl! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

How to start your day

It doesn't take much, does it? 

Thank you, Lord, for this new day. I lift every thought, word, action. May everything I think, say and do be pleasing to you. Protect me and my loved ones throughout the day. Amen. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just because

It's almost the weekend!

Sabine's 7th : Other Printed Matters

Just 2 more sleeps before the party. The birthday girl's excitement is building up. Last night, she jumped  up and down and danced around when I reminded her about Sunday. I'm wrapping up discussions with my party planner today, and making sure everything is all set for the big day. I want Saturday to be steady and relaxed (meaning, it will be mani-pedi-footspa day!) so I can wake up fresh and excited the next day. 

Other than the invitation, I also asked Trisha of Paper Treats to do these for me: 

Sticker Labels for the loot bags
Buntings for the Dessert Station
Menu Cards for the main buffet set-up and the Dessert Station

Other details : 

Loot bags - I didn't have to worry about them or their contents because the person providing the Dessert Station included these in her package. The kids (and most likely, some of the grown-ups) will be allowed to choose their take away loot and pack them in their own bags. Anissa says it's a really cool idea and her friends will surely jump at the chance. These are 16-17 year olds we're talking about haha!

Game Prizes - There should be no doubt about where to get these. I went to Divisoria recently after 2 long years and found myself in wholesale heaven yet again. Although the traffic going there and going home was awful, it was absolutely hassle-free the moment I arrived. I got off at Lucky Chinatown Mall (upon the advice of a lot of people) and asked the driver to just park there and wait for me. The short walk from the mall's back entrance/exit to 168 Mall was a relief. I was afraid I'd have to walk in the heat for a while but I didn't. I left around 3 hours later with way more than what the party planner told me to get hihihi. It's that easy to get carried away in that place. 

Everything else - the styling and decorations, caterer (I can't go wrong with Verleo, can I?), entertainment (Jive --- so excited to have them!) - is included in the party planner's package.

By the way, I haven't disclosed who my party planner is pala! She's heaven sent and I'm going to write a separate supplier review. Her business is called Let's Party. If you're curious, check her out here. Olive is so nice and we hit it off right away. Her sister, Kris, owns Design Avenue and will do the dessert station (styling included). Both girls are so excited to execute their ideas on Sunday. I have to stop talking about them now. They deserve a more detailed entry of their own. Same goes for Paper Treats!

Well, I guess that's it for now. For now??? I'm hoping I've covered everything and on Sunday, all I have to do is show up and give our little girl and our guests a great time. It's going to be a super happy day and I'm sure of it! 

How sweet it is!

When you have a 17 year old who has friends and activities left and right, it's pretty difficult. Moms (or parents for that matter) always don't measure up to friends on the "likability" scale. Neither do little sisters. For about a couple of years now, it's been me and Sabine "against the world" while Ate Anissa continues to discover the world out there. 

So when I was asked, along with other #SoMoms, to join a Mommy and Me Cupcake Making Activity at Cupcakes By Sonja's, I silently squealed victory! Anissa has loved Sonja's cupcakes since the shop opened first in Serendra. There was no doubt in my mind that she would want to go with me. Sabine, on the other hand, would come even if I told her I was going to explore Pluto.

You can check these previous entries here and here to see how much my family loves sweets, particularly cupcakes and the ones from Cupcakes by Sonja's. Until now, we've had to go to Serendra (not too near to us) just to buy them. Every time I have a reason to go there without the kids, Anissa would remind me to grab a few of her favorites from Sonja's shop. If there were times I went home without some, I surely didn't hear the end of it from her. Unfortunately, the little one got sick the weekend prior to the event, I had no choice but to leave her at home. It was bonding time for me and the teenager who doesn't really like hanging out with me hihi.

As soon as we arrived and were done saying hello to all the other #SoMoms in attendance, we immediately got down to business. Errrrmmm ... Anissa did hihi. I have ZERO talent in the art department, so I chose to take a step back, be Mamarazzi and cheerleader instead. 

1st activity : How to create frosting colors

Anissa wanted purple frosting.

Then the huge tray of assorted toppings came and at this point I thought, Sabine would be in heaven by now!

But this was my favorite topping of them all. Need you ask? 

So focused on making those cupcakes and cookies

After all the work ... here's what she came up with

She really IS good with her hands.

It was one activity after another that everyone enjoyed. I can still hear the kids shrieking with delight while they were designing and creating their work.

Hey, Basti! Smile naman! Basti is the adorable son of Eli, ThePaintersWife

Here's ManilaMommy Neva's first born, David, busy decorating his cookie

Yukie who sat in front of us with Mom Cai of ApplesandDumplings .

And here they all are with Tita Sonja, minus my big girl (literally).
From L-R : Yukie, Naima, Berry, Mika, Sam, Basti, David and Sonja of course.

Because the kids were so happy, the #SoMoms were too!

The best part? Making all those cupcakes with her PLUS bringing them all home. Wheeee!

Thank you, Cupcakes by Sonja, for a lovely time!!!

Today, Cupcakes by Sonja is baking something new, something even better. With the opening of its newest store at the second floor Bridgeway of Glorietta 2, Cupcakes by Sonja’s fondness for nostalgic elements is given a fresh contemporary twist. The store counter, which is fashioned out of textured tin and decorated with charming calligraphy, is at the center of the action. The refrigerated display is integrated into the counter but lighted accordingly to showcase Cupcakes by Sonja’s gourmet creations. The dining area features furniture of different heights, materials, and elements all coming together in quiet harmony. Mixed in this panoply of the nostalgic and the modern are a couple of quirky elements like a lighting fixture made of kitchen whisks. More stores are set to open within the year at Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Eastwood City, Greenhills, and TriNoma. Cupcakes by Sonja will also be offering new menu items developed with the same passion and commitment to quality and prepared with only the best ingredients as its other signature items.

Incidentally, Cupcakes by Sonja has an ongoing contest called Shoot and Share. You can click here to join. 

The new Cupcakes by Sonja store is located at the 2nd Floor, Bridgeway Glorietta 2, Ayala Center Makati. 

I Used To Love Summer

But now, all it does is make me go ballistic because of the horrible and sometimes unbearable heat. 

Is it just me or does it get hotter each year? I don't remember the temperature being as high as 38 degrees last year. Our household is not the type that uses our air-conditioners all the time, anytime. The kids know they have to ask us if they want to turn an aircon on in any part of the house. Unless it's night time, because it's a given that we all sleep with the aircon on. But because it's been soooooooo hot and humid lately, the aircons at home have been ten times busier than usual. Our pockets are definitely feeling the effects, but we really don't have much choice. I've challenged myself with only the electric fan on more than once, but I always ended up throwing the towel because well ... sobrang init lang talaga these days. Parang once a week, you'll hear on the news that "today was the hottest day of the year so far ...".

Summers were not this intense when I was younger (light years ago??). In fact, I was a sun worshipper. I can't imagine being the same today. Laying in the sun to get a tan for 30 minutes sounds like torture now. I used to be able to do it all the time, even when everyone else was in the water or busy doing some other thing. I'd lay out my beach towel, put on suntan lotion, wear my sunglasses and then detach myself from the rest of the world for the next hour or so. I was an expert at getting a tan. Now? No way. You can't drag me out even if you pay me to do it. In fact, I've only been in a swimsuit once this summer and I don't feel the need to take a trip to the beach at all. I'd rather go to a place with a bed, where the air-conditioning is on 24/7 and there's room service. HAHAHA. 

My kids are too busy to complain about the heat. They only do it when they're at home. Otherwise, they're okay. I just make sure they hydrate hydrate hydrate!

But wait ... I'm not sure if I want the rainy season to kick in already. Scary too, given extreme weather situations everywhere, not just here. I just really want a break from this heat!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday (in heaven), Daddy

I no longer cry everyday but it doesn't mean I miss you less.

I miss you every morning when I realize there's no first text of the day from you.
I miss you all throughout the day because no one calls at least 3x to check on the girls.
I miss you at night because no one calls to say good night. 
I miss you on weekends because Sunday Family Style is no longer the same without you.

I miss you EVEN MORE today because we'll be celebrating your birthday without you for the first time ever. This is how it's going to be from now on. 

I'm sad and my insides ache because I want to hug you and give you a birthday kiss but I can't. You'll get one from God, which is certainly better than a hug from any of us. 

One day, I'll make up for all the lost time and hug you 'til it hurts.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I miss you everyday. We all do. 
I love you. Always. Forever.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I am beautiful no matter what I think

Thanks to Tin who tweeted about it, I came across this video which Marc wrote an entry about. It IS true, if you're a man (husband, brother, father, whatever...) you never ever want to find yourself in the middle of a discussion about a woman's looks. Whether it be her face or her body - more so her body! If for some unfortunate reason you find yourself in one, learn from it and charge it to experience haha. It really is a delicate topic. Is it universally delicate? Yes, as the video tells us. The issue exists in women everywhere. 

Here's why this video made me cry. 

I'm 44 with 2 kids, my body isn't what it used to be. But things became even more "complicated" after my breast cancer diagnosis and the surgeries that had to be done. Everyone knows what a mastectomy is, right? A part of me - a body part that helps define a woman, the size of which sometimes impacts a woman's self-worth (admit it!) - had to be taken away. At 44, I have one less breast. I struggled with this in the beginning, even if I had the breast reconstructed. I cried about it, even if I knew that having it removed was part of my treatment plan and would eventually lead to my healing. In light moments when talking to friends about it, I would tell them, "Pun*eta, flat-chested na nga, mababawasan pa.". I got over it right away though. I prayed hard for comfort and strength and the Lord was so kind to me. In no time, I was okay with it. I even bravely explained it to my girls and honestly to me at that exact time, all that mattered was I was going to be better off without it. 

I didn't cry while watching this video because I went back to that dark place. I'm still okay with one reconstructed breast (by the way, a reconstructed breast does NOT look like a normal one still), N doesn't seem to care at all about it (and if he does after all, I'm going to throw him an upper cut). I certainly don't have any issues. Not anymore. I look at myself in the mirror all the time, unlike other women I know who still can't or who feel a discomfort when doing so. The breast is gone but so is the cancerous tumor that was there. That's all that matters to me. 

A slightly protruding tummy
The onset of varicose veins
Crow's feet
Laugh lines 
A double chin
My c-section scar
My appendectomy scar
My tummy tuck scar (not an aesthetic procedure, I had to have it in relation to the breast recon)

And now ... a mastectomized and reconstructed left breast

All these, when looked at without much thought, are not so pleasant reminders. But when I look at them long enough, I see something else. They're badges of honor and I've learned to look at them with pride in my heart, instead of sama ng loob

Of course I would still love to look good in a bikini at this age. What other mothers would give to be able to fit into one beautifully after having children! I'm never going to deny that there's a part of me that's going to continue to wish for that. But I'm all good if it doesn't happen. 

What a way to begin my Sunday. I teared up again while watching this. I'm sure you will, too. 

"I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices and the friends that we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children. It impacts everything. It couldn't be more critical to your happiness."

"We spend a lot of time as women, analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren't quite right when we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like."

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beautiful Words

I rarely share photos and links from other Facebook pages, but I had to make an exception while perusing my newsfeed this morning. I've been following this account that's called "Eat and Cheat Cancer Book Project", because a co-Pink Warrior is part of it and I'm interested to know what's going to be in the book. This morning, whoever is managing this account shared this :

by Blanca, Volunteer and Contributing Writer

Answered prayers are not magic, they're miracles and love. And since they're love, the answer is not always a yes. Sometimes its difficult to understand why certain things happen or why things did not go as planned. Yes we know that they do happen for a reason but many times, the reason is simply lost to us.

Our faith dictates us though to trust that everything will make sense in the future. To believe with all our heart that God will reveal His great design for us in His own perfect time. It moves us to wait patiently without questioning His purpose nor demand for an answer.

His loving grace will aid us as we come to terms with our current situation. We are never alone in our painful journey, He's just right there beside us. Sometimes, we are just blinded by fear and numbed by pain that we fail to see and feel His presence.

When we want to do little else but pull pur hair out or throw our hands up in the in frustration, there's always heaven to look up to and God to call on. When we want nothing but to run up to the hills screaming in despair, there's that peak at the top where we can take that big leap of faith. God is just right there waiting to catch us with open arms.

Whoever Blanca is, I'm hoping she doesn't mind that I'm using her words as basis for this entry. They're very touching, make so much sense to me as I've never had anything so intense test my faith in God before. Never. So I know that this girl, whoever she is, must have gone through something life-changing herself. 

I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones. While I didn't understand at first why my Dad passed away the way he did  (he wasn't sick, there were none of those usual premonitions, we were totally shocked), God was so quick to show me and my family why it had to happen. I couldn't believe it. I thought I would have to wait a while, trust Him more, before He revealed the truth to us. But He truly is merciful, He saw my struggle to understand amidst having to deal with my breast cancer diagnosis while in the thick of mourning my Dad's death. Being made to understand why certain unfortunate incidents happen to you is relieving, comforting. I don't think I can be comforted enough while I continue to feel the huge void my Dad's death has left behind. But I at least know why it's there. I'll get to that comfort zone one day. Hopefully it won't take very long. 

And no, this won't be a sad weekend. In fact, I'm going to be busy attending celebrations! 

Happy Weekend, everyone! God bless us all! 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9


Friday, April 19, 2013

My Girls : The Summer Celebrants

Anissa used to complain about her birthday being in March. She was never able to celebrate in school, and everytime she had a party (which was every year of the 1st ten years of her life as an only child and grand child), her classmates would be out of town or out of the country. The same goes for Sabine, although at 7 years old, she hasn't started complaining just yet. I wonder why I had to give birth in the summer twice? 

Anyway, it's mid-April, the girls' birthdays are over. Anissa didn't really want to do much when she turned 17. Other than a new phone to replace her iPhone 4S which kept giving her problems, she just wanted to treat her friends to pizza. 

It had to take a 36" Big Guys Pizza to make this hungry bunch of dancers happy

The pizza party took place right after dance training. Friends surprised her with a cake awwww!

At 17, she is happiest when in the company of people her age. Sniff sniff! Sad but true. I was a teenager once so I know. But there's a difference because we're generations apart. Don't let me get into that right now! 

Note : Next year will be a whole different story. She'll be 18 and as early as now has told her Dad and I that she wants a party. Not your traditional formal, coming-out thing, but a party nonetheless. 

In contrast, here's what my little girl told me recently : "Mom, I just want to be with you all the time!"

Yesterday, we took her out to see The Croods and to play in Time Zone while killing time. She knows that she's having a party in 2 weeks, but we just couldn't let the actual day pass without doing anything. Thankfully, this kid still knows how to have shallow fun. She told us days before that she wanted to watch The Croods and I prayed so hard it would still be in the cinemas yesterday. It was! 

Giddy giddy in the car on the way to Glorietta
Dada took her to Time Zone while Ate and I sat in Starbucks
Who got 350 tickets in one tap? Ate was the lucky tapper!
Before the movie, she shopped for her favorite Cheese-flavored popcorn
She wanted pizza. Her wish was our command. Dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in Greenbelt 5, even if my tummy wanted to try Bulgogi Brothers hihihi. 
Happy 7th, Sabine!!! 
So yes, summer is always an expensive but happy time for us. It will be even more so next year when Anissa graduates from high school AND turns 18! 

Thank God It's Friday

Saying thank you has become a habit. I make sure I do it everyday, all day if I have to. I do it for every good thing that happens - big or small. It makes me feel really good doing it. Somehow though, Fridays make me more thankful than usual. Fridays signal the end of a work week. Yeah, I know that doesn't really apply to me because I don't technically work anymore (or should I say, I'm not back in the workforce just yet?). But there's just something about Fridays ... 

First of all, it signals the start of the weekend. Although weekends have not really meant that much to me these past almost 3 years since I left corporate life, during the school year it would mean that my kids would be home from school and I wouldn't miss them so much.

Secondly, it also means spending time with other members of my very small family. Sundays have always been sacred. They still are. 

I guess one other reason is I get to look back on the week that just passed and mentally list down and recall all the things I should be thankful for. Yes, this is probably the biggest reason of all. 

This past week, for instance ... the most important thing that happened is that Sabine turned 7. She's been a joy to all of us and her turning another year older is something I've looked forward to. Next to Anissa's 17th birthday, it was what I kept looking at during my chemotherapy sessions. My girls were going to celebrate their birthdays after I was done with treatments. That was part of my prize. I had my eye on these dates the whole time. Sorry for digressing a bit. 

This past week, I was also able to tick off one major task on my "to do" list --- go to Divisoria! I've been wanting to do this since I started planning Sabine's birthday party a few weeks ago. It was a must, a non-negotiable for me, because I had to get most of the stuff I need for the party. I finally got to go last Wednesday, and although traffic on the streets was horrible, the foot traffic inside 168 Mall where I spent the most part of the day, was not bad at all. I had a good time scouring the aisles for what I needed and managed to snag a few more things for the family. I was so happy to have put a big check mark on this task!

I have one more thing I'm excited about and it's the regular "session" I'm having with a co-Pink warrior over lunch today. We haven't seen each other since I graduated from chemo in February. She also recently concluded her chemo treatments and today, we celebrate our victories! 

I'm hoping you all had the same kind of week, too. Of course I would be tons happier if I had won in the lotto or something like that! But hey, while there's life there's hope. Who knows what can happen tomorrow? :))

Meantime, I continue to have reasons to be happy and that's what counts. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Found The Perfect Wedges

This isn't my first pair of shoes from Gold Dot. Check out this entry. These flats have been worn over and over, not just by me but also by Anissa who sometimes can still fit into my shoes. Quality-wise, I really can't complain. It's still around and I can go for it anytime. 

These wedges are my 2nd pair, they're called Jamie. I didn't go into a debate with myself about what color to choose, even if there are 4!

There's also white but the photo is no longer in the online store. Probably sold out. I wouldn't be surprised because since the day they were delivered to me late last week, I've used mine about thrice already. Sunday, the first time I walked in them, I went to 2 malls : Mega and Eastwood, and my feet didn't give up! To think, I've been complaining about having Lola Legs the past 6 weeks or so. My legs didn't feel as tired as they used to. I fell in love with Jamie as soon as I slipped my feet into the sandals. 

The foot bed is soft, the wedge height is just right at around 3.5". I'm seeing too many pretty shoes but with really scary heels, too scary for a 44-year old to even consider wearing. I'm surely going to wobble in them. No longer what I used to be hihihi. 

Believe it or not, I've been ditching my Yosi Samras for this pair from Gold Dot. Ever since my legs have been feeling the after-effects of chemotherapy, I've settled more for flats. My heeled shoes are so sad, they're neglected. This is a really happy, soon-to-be overused pair though. So nice when you're wearing red nail polish too diba??? I'm so in love with it, I'm actually thinking of getting a back-up pair. Thinking lang! :))

There really is something about ankle-strapped shoes that make you feel sexy and your legs actually LOOK sexy. Plus here's why I it's easy to consider getting another pair : it only costs P1,295. Mine certainly doesn't feel like I paid only this much for them. 

Kudos, Gold Dot!!! 

Click on this to go directly to Gold Dot's online store.