The Pat Effect

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I seldom buy sneakers. In fact, I don’t remember buying sneakers since most of the ones I own were given to me. Maybe my family and friends were trying to do an intervention for me to get active but it has yet to work.

However, today is a different day. In Filipino, the word “tiempo” roughly translates to “by chance” or “perfect timing”. I found myself crouching down inside a Nike store in search of a pair of white sneakers for Maddie’s PE classes. Coincidentally, I found her a pair right next to a really cool pair of black and white mens’ futbol kicks in my size, aptly named Tiempo Genio. Then I remembered my extremely cool buddy, Pat from my previous job, in his futbol sneakers then I felt his angas possess me. I tried to ignore it, went around the store, chatted with my mom, commented on the Hyperize the hubby was trying on but for the life of me, my eyes kept going back to the box.

You know how you shake something off? You face it head on and stare it in the eye. So I tried them on but they looked awesome with my jeans and fit perfectly. So my plan of attack didn’t exactly work. In fact, the effect was the opposite. Just as I was taking them off, the sales guy came by and said, it was on sale and was the very last pair. The hubby saw me wearing them and commented how cool it looked on me. Then I knew, for once, I gotta be cool, relax and get hip…

Shoerprise!!!

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We love having a little girl. She loves dressing up, giving hugs, playing with dolls, making clay cakes and every other thing a little girl would do. But our little girl grew up not knowing that dolls are for girls and cars are for boys because we simply never drew that line for her. If she wanted to bike, scoot, kick a soccer ball, swim, and be a basketball MVP, we would be right behind her and she also loves doing all those things.

I think her Dad gave her the idea that sports was never about being a girl or a boy, it was all about having fun and doing your best. Since Maddie turned a year old, her Dad has bought her the annual birthday sneakers. It is usually a pair of Jordans that they would spend weeks searching for. I guess there was a pink and green Adidas Superstar mixed in to the bunch.

But this year, we had the worst luck finding a pair. All Nike KDs were a couple of sizes too big, the NBs we found were too small, Adidas didn’t have anything she fancied until she found the Nike Jordan 6 in white that thrilled her, but it was already pinching her toes. We left that store comforting her Dad. Today, on the exact day of her birthday while on a date with her Dad, as if it were a gift from Nike herself, they found the perfect size of Nike Jordan 6 but not just any Nike Jordan 6, it was the Carmine edition. I wish I knew what that meant but my hubby was about to burst at the seams with excitement over it being a Carmine, I became too afraid to ask.

So, happy, happy birthday to our beautiful little girl, whose generosity, wit, energy, sweetness and love continue to enthrall us every single day. ‘Til the next annual birthday sneakers, wear them out playing tag, running aimlessly, kicking gravel, jumping jacks and kicking pedals. Then we’ll know it was another year worth searching new sneakers for. 🙂

Here’s the Skinny…

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I was born thin, grew up thin, married thin. Then six years ago I became pregnant with a beautiful little girl. Then I stopped being thin. The extra weight never bothered me nor my husband. Until I saw my photo during a group shot. I was twice my old size. At first I blamed the camera angle, then my clothes, then the skinny people in the group shot that made me look fat. Looking at this insane image of me, I realized that through the years, my activities started to lessen because I didn’t have enough energy at the end of the day. I could not even run alongside my 5 year old who had to pause more than once to wait for me while I struggled to match her pace.

Then one day she asked me naively, “How come you are the only fat one in the house Mommy?” To kids her age, fat is simply an adjective, the opposite of thin and not a sinister, judgmental word. My husband is athletic, my brother has a four to six pack depending on what day it is, his wife has a toned slender body, even my mom in her 70s is rather fit. When I started looking around my family, I realized, that yeah, I am the only fat one, not curvy nor Rubenesque. I was just fat, the opposite of thin, a little to the left of “just right”. Everyone in my family ate healthy while I snacked on chips, pizza, cupcakes and soda and lounged watching TV every free minute I had while they ran, biked, played basketball and swam. That day, it hit me that I was not being a good role model for my daughter. Not because I was fat but because I did not have healthy habits though I encouraged it.

My daughter has a body filled with energy to jump, run, swim and scoot. I did not want her to think that Mommy is not even trying to have the same energy to run with her. Then a wonderful friend offered an eating plan and I started losing the pounds. It wasn’t another fad diet but something I could do without having to go crazy hungry. It just made me realize that fruits are great for snacks and vegetables are just as good on their own without lying on top of a greasy pizza. That day was a month and 15 pounds away. I am far from looking like Kate Upton or Anne Curtis, but these days I wake up lighter, with more energy to last me throughout the day and more time to play with my daughter. I guess I ran out of excuses not to eat and live healthy because the last thing I want is to make my daughter think that I just stopped trying to be fit when I had her. Instead I want her to feel that I’m trying to be healthier now that she’s around.

Perspectives.

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This morning, like most Mondays, I had to commute because our car is banned during the coding period. Ballet flats are my go to shoes for commuting but today was specially warm so I wore my slip ons and just placed my shoes in a bag. Mondays mean I have to wait for a cab, actually pray for a cab because it’s hard to come by. I got on the main road at 8am to make sure I’ll get to work on time but only after an hour under the burning sun was I able to hail a cab.

I staggered into the vehicle, feeling faint because of the heat and asked the driver to crank up the air conditioning. Then I blurted out “Whew, ang hirap mag commute.” (“It’s hard to commute.”). Then the driver replied laughing in Filipino, “Commuting is hard. Life is hard.”. Then we both laughed agreeing. Then he started telling me that he has eight children, three of whom are married with kids but still living with him and are still dependent on him. He sighed often, saying that he wished life were different for him.

Then I said, “Kaya natin iyan Manong. Dasal ka lang palagi.” (We can get through this. Just keep on praying.”) He replied, his voice faltering, that God has never let him down and that all he could do was trust God. Then he started sobbing uncontrollably. He kept on crying, his tears flowing faster than he could wipe them. I tapped his shoulder and told him that, life always gets better. He apologized for crying and said that he has felt such a big burden in his heart and it was the first time he felt better in such a long time. I asked his name, which he said was Alfonso. So starting today, please pray with me for Mang Alfonso the cabbie, to have a better life. Anyone who works hard and loves his children that much deserves a better life. I hope one day I’ll ride his cab again, this time with him telling me a story of triumph.

Commuting is hard but life is harder. Sometimes, God gives us the right perspective. Be grateful for everything you have and the trivial, little inconveniences you tide through everyday. Be ready to listen to other people’s stories because sometimes you need to hear it more than they need you to listen.

My Little Butterfly

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The first time my mom gave my newborn a bath in a small tub, more of a “palanggana” really, she smiled the sweetest smile. Most children cry during bathtime, mine squealed with delight. The first time she dipped in a pool at one year old, she giggled and paddled. The first time she practiced walking, it was along the shores of Boracay holding her uncle’s hand, occasionally falling on the soft, fine sand flat on her butt.

Last year, we enrolled her in swim class because she really loved the water and we wanted her to be safe whenever she’s in it. But she enjoyed herself and her dad let her take the next class right after. This year, at 5 years old, we were surprised that she learned advanced freestyle, backstroke and the butterfly all in 10 days. She is practically a duck, awkward on land, graceful in the water. I guess this is what parenthood is like. It amazes you every single day because of what your children can do. I never imagined myself watching her do full laps doing the butterfly because all I wanted her to do was to be able to swim to the rails safely.

Let your children breathe, let them play. Listen to what their heart desires. Do not be afraid for them instead let your support be their courage. Allow them to make mistakes, make them learn from them but comfort them too because thy need it . Cheer them on so they keep on going but let them stop when they are no longer having fun. One day, when you least expect it, your caterpillar will come out a butterfly and no one else’s heart will be fuller than yours.

Dilly Dally Dilemma.

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Ever had one of those days when you can’t decide whether to dress up, dress down or simply have fun? Where I work, any of these options are a possibility and the least of my worries are my shoes.

I found this pair of wedge sandals made of beautiful brown leather with punches of fun, bold colors. It’s sophisticated when matched with a tailored sheath dress, polished yet casual with jeans and a crisp white button down shirt and relaxed when paired with denim overall minis and a fun tee. The colors give it a hint of character and the deep brown leather anchors the overall look. It also helps that the platforms and elastic strap make it comfortable for long walks without taking the sexy out of your step with just the perfect heel height elongating your legs.

Every girl needs a pair of go-to shoes that she can wear with most outfits without sacrificing ease and style. This is mine, what’s yours?

Hiding in Plain Sight

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I have been looking at this small boutique in my office building whenever I pass but I never bothered going in. However, a few days ago, with a few minutes before my lunch hour ended I decided to browse a few things. Then at the back of the rack for consigned items, I found a beautiful dress.

I did not expect to find such a precious Renee C minidress in this quaint little shop. The material resembled a local fabric called piña commonly used for the traditional barong (the formal shirt for Filipino men, our version of the tux) finely embroidered with a delicate design. The sleeves have side slits and sewed at some points for a glimpse of the arms, giving it a very sexy detail.

This is something I could wear for summer weekends with my trusty Sam Edelman thong sandals for a casual yet polished look. The necklace my mom gave me adds a bit of quirkiness making it youthful and fun especially with this bold fuchsia and red leather clutch from the Gap. Of course it can be dressed up with pumps and dainty gold jewelry or pearls but I prefer the more relaxed look.

So next time you pass by an interesting shop, take the time to explore a bit. Who knows what treasure you might just find.

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I love Quickie.

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I got this pair by sheer luck. A friend’s sister ordered this online and when she tried it on, it didn’t fit her. It was offered to me and when I saw it, it was love at first sight. The craftsmanship is beautiful, the design is amazing and the fit…perfect!

I kept wearing these day in and day out and one time on my way to meet the hubby for a date late last year, I missed a step and one of the studs snapped making the interlocked straps undone. So I stopped by the shoe repair at Robinson’s Magnolia called…wait for it…Mr. Quickie. Yes, it’s an actual shoe repair service in Manila.

They assessed the damage and I was told that the leather underneath came off with the stud and therefore they cannot simply stitch it back. I asked if they could patch the leather but they said it was too flimsy to patch. Then I told her I was on my way to meet the hubby for a date. Sitting there barefoot looking defeated, the lady assisting me disappeared into the back with my sandal to speak with the shoe repairman. Then she came out with it and handed it to me and told me they patched it with glue but she could not promise it will hold. It looked perfect just like before.

Best part of it…when I asked how much it would cost, the lady (named Arlene, if I remember correctly) and the shoe repairman just smiled and waved me off saying it was free of charge since they did not do much. It is rather rare for this to happen these days and I felt so blessed that they did this for me, out of kindness.

Thanks to the Mr. Quickie folks for saving the day, I was smiling throughout the evening not just for my restored sandals but for the wonderful gesture from these amazing strangers!

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Choco loco.

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A few weeks back, an officemate and I suddenly decided to treat our hard working colleagues to ice cream. It was a hot day and we figured it would be a delight to have some cool desserts served up. So we ran to the local store and paid for four soft serve chocolate ice cream in cups. After I paid, I was handed 4 cones! They explained that it only came in cones.

But we were in such a good mood so we loaded up the cones and started walking across to the other building. We both had an ice cream cone in each hand and they started melting, dripping and was just making a big mess on our hands. And then….horror of horrors!!! I remembered I was wearing white canvas wedge sandals! I looked at my friend and said, “If a single drop of chocolate ice cream lands on my shoes, friendship over!” He looked at me like I was insane, which I guess I sort of was. Thank goodness he had steady hands and we’re still friends to this day, not to mention, everyone had a refreshing treat.

I learned my lesson. Chocolate and white canvas just don’t mix.

Hot! Hat! Hot!

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For someone who has lived in a tropical country all her life, I have yet to see women in my country wear proper hats for the summer. I guess it’s the fear of having helmet hair once we get indoors that really freaks us out. But I do, on certain occasions, wear wide brimmed straw hats especially when we go to beach resorts where trees are few and far between to give me shade from the maddening heat.

Hats are functional accessories, that when chosen rather carefully, will add a dose of character to an outfit. You can opt to be sophisticated, mysterious, adventurous or even whimsical depending on your mood. So ladies, stop stealing your guy’s baseball caps and pick up a beautiful hat of your own. Don’t let summer end without wearing it at least once. And if you can snap a photo of you wearing it send it over so we can post it for inspiration.

So, hats off to you and hope you get one too!