Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Behind the scenes of Judy Ann Santos' shoot for Smart Parenting

Run, run, run to your nearest magazine stand and get a copy of the July issue of Smart Parenting! Pregnant Judy Ann Santos is on the cover and I wrote the story!

A month ago, the Smart Parenting team and I trooped to Rustan's Makati to interview and shoot the star. Back then, she had just turned 5 months pregnant and I was 29 weeks along (now I'm 33 weeks preggers). I mentioned the assignment in a post here but didn't dare talk about it because we didn't want the photos to leak. But now that the issue's out, all systems go!

I found Judy Ann, or Judai (yes, with an "i" not a "y") as she prefers to be called, a real star. By that, I mean she guards her privacy well. Sure she was talkative enough and was warm enough but I felt a wall that I just couldn't break through. I don't mean this as a bad thing--I've been in showbiz media long enough to know who's still dazzled by their stardom and thus tend to carelessly chat away, and then there are those who have been stars long enough to know just what to reveal and how to reveal them. They have learned to carefully manipulate their image. Judai is exactly like that. She knew how to deftly brush off questions that were too probing and she knew how to skirt issues that might be deemed controversial. Very savvy!

Because I was writing the article for Smart Parenting, I was okay with how the interview turned out. But as editor-in-chief of OK! magazine, I had hoped she would reveal more. Well, there was this one question that took her by surprise and for a moment there, she looked like she didn't know what to do, but then the star in her took over and she managed to safely answer it.

Here are some shots I took:
The beauty team of hairstylist Bren Sales (left) and makeup master Juan Sarte (right, partially hidden). Juan really brought out Judai's eyes--which are just lovely, beautifully fringed and a deep brown.

Me with stylist Ria Francisco-Prieto and Smart Parenting editor-in-chief Mia Fausto-Cruz. In this photo, Ria had just given birth to her second son. Just look at how tiny she is!!!

While Ria and art director Jen Inumerable arrange the room, Mia and photographer Paolo Pineda (not in photo) discuss angles and poses.

And here we go! Judai is a professional all right. Once the camera starts clicking, her eyes go soft, her posture changes, her smile speaks to the person beyond the camera... Every shot is perfect.

Meanwhile, Mia's son, Bastin, is bored silly! Yup, photo shoots can get boring. People think it's so glamorous but with all the details ("Arch your back," "Fix that lock of hair," "The toy truck in the back is too red," "The dress blends into the background," etc), most bystanders soon lose interest. Anyway, I love this photo--it looks like a Peanuts comic strip!

For more behind-the-scenes shots, go to Smart Parenting's website now. Warning: I look ugly there! But that's okay--you should be looking at Judy Ann, not me!

Do also get a copy because my dearest darling husband wrote the most wonderful letter to our Jelly Bean. That man I married is just so talented with the written word. I hope the Bean takes after him!

Friday, June 25, 2010

What SM Baby thinks every new parent needs

So I now have a checklist of things to bring to the hospital. I still haven't packed yet. Hahaha! I am the laziest girl in the world. I am approaching motherhood with the same laziness I approached my wedding--my friends and family practically planned and booked and designed everything for me. Thank goodness I am surrounded by people with such excellent taste! As for motherhood, thank goodness I have such lovely mommies for friends because they're really happy to guide me along.

Anyway, in my hospital bag post, my friend Pinky asked me to create a list of things babies need because new mommies like us can get carried away. Well, Pinks, the most amazing thing happened--SM's Baby Company made that list for me! It's a pretty looooooong list. In fact, my eyes nearly popped out when I went over it. I am absolutely convinced children don't need that much! So I'll put the list here and, mommies, do tell me which ones are necessary and which ones are not.

Rustan's gave us a baby sling and a bib

Rustan's Baby Department Store sent over this box of goodies for Jelly Bean!

I met Mariel Joaquin Bartolome of Rustan's Baby recently, when I did a writing assignment for Smart Parenting. She's such a warm and lovable person--really perfect for the department she handles. And when she handed over a gift for my baby boy, I was beyond pleased. Thanks so much, Mariel!

Here's what was inside:

Kushies Neck Bib

Hotslings Baby Carrier

I adore them! I love how the neck bib has a soft collar. It's so sweet and thoughtful of Kushies! Can you imagine how hot and uncomfy your baby's neck will be without that soft cottony collar? And I love how long and wide it is. Will definitely be good protection from all the food spills.

This neck bib comes in all sorts of designs, by the way:

I'm also loving Hotslings' stylish baby carriers, which also comes in a ton of designs but are just too many to put here. You can go and check out Rustan's for more of the styles.

I do like the idea of baby wearing instead of putting baby in a stroller. Though I'd like to list down all the reasons why I absolutely detest strollers, I won't because I know there are parents here who use strollers. Suffice it to say that I wish parents just leave their kids at home. Back in my day, my parents took us to the mall to shop just twice a year. Around May for school supplies and November for Christmas gifts. That was it. And we survived! Anyway, we did inherit a stroller despite my protests because I am told over and over again that I need it. So in my house now sits a stroller. If you see me in a mall pushing that stroller, well, that only means I've succumbed!

Now a baby sling always seemed like the perfect solution for me. I can be out and about with my child snuggled close and both hands free! Perfect! This is a makeup-less hair-unbrushed me with Mozzarella Bear and my new Hotslings. I think it's too small. Either that or I'm too big!

It's supposed to look like this, but I still don't really know how to wear it. I guess I can practice when the Jelly Bean's finally here. Which is very very soooooon!
Kushies and Hotslings are exclusively available at Rustan's Department Stores in Makati, Shangri-la Plaza and Alabang Town Center.

Product photos courtesy of Visions & Expressions. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Loving our new baby books!

Oh oh oh! I am so happy because my blog readers love my baby! This time, fellow mommy blogger Aimee Aquino-Diego sent us such a lovely package with one of my all-time favorite things: books! 

These are very nice! Your Baby: Month by Month is for me and Vince and Baby's First Journal is for the Jelly Bean. As you can see, my Mozarella bear wants his own journal, too, because this uber adorable scrap book has space for things like...

... little hand prints and foot prints...

... a family tree...

... party pages...

... art pages...

... and more! I can't wait to fill it up! First things first, though--we need to come up with a real name to emblazon on that scrapbook. Everyone calls my son Jelly Bean and I don't think he'll appreciate such a doinky name when he's finally out in the big world.

The other book is most helpful. Written by a pediatrician, it details every little thing a bewildered and overwhelmed parent would need to know, from the time the baby is born...

 ... to the first few sleepless months...

 ... and finally to the first birthday!

We love our new books! Thank you so much, Aimee! These are most appreciated and I've already started reading the month-by-month guide. It's very informative and completely understanding of a parent's new situation. Obviously written for sleep-deprived people because the book's so easy to understand. And lots of pictures, too!

To be honest, Vince and I are a bit surprised to be getting such lovely generosity from complete strangers but a lot of moms and dads tell us that babies really do inspire love and warmth from people so thank you everyone!

Your Baby: Month by Month and Baby's First Journal are available at all Fully Booked branches.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Check out these fun totes!

One of my blog readers, Kel Chan, sent me these fabulous canvas bags. One has a ferris wheel print and the other has a gorgeous tropical leaf print. I love them both, especially the ferris wheel because Vince and I fell in love while we were up on a rickety ferris wheel in Baguio a lifetime ago.

These bags are from Funtote, a bag brand based in New York that Kel imported for us Pinays to enjoy. Kel says, "I imported tote bags from Funtote New York because I'm such a big fan of eco-bags. I know many women are fond of tote bags, too, especially when doing shopping. Eventually, we'll be minimizing the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and department stores and use these durable canvass tote bags instead."

Kel's right--these bags are made of good quality canvas, very thick and sturdy. The straps are wide so they don't dig into your shoulder, too. Kel suggested, "You can also use these tote bags as your diaper bag just like what one of my mommy clients did. They're durable and don't tear unlike other baby bags." Well, Kel, I think I'll do just that!

I also love how each bag is roomy--a standard throw pillow fits inside easily--and has numerous pockets. I love pockets!

Another thing that Kel knew I loved is anything ladybug (it's my special love and luck charm!) so she also sent me this cute wristlet!

Thanks, Kel! And to my dearest readers, do check out Funtote New York. There are many many more designs to choose from. Click here to shop!

Mother packing!

Well, I was gone for a while. But that's because our Internet was down for a good few days. Then when the connection was up again (thanks to The Third World Nerd who tinkered with the settings himself because Globe's customer service sucks!), I updated my other blogs Topaz Horizon and Beauty For A Living first. Anyway, I've been catching up on my reading of baby books (most of which were given as gifts) and preparing for the big day!

I'm 32 weeks pregnant tomorrow. The clock is a-tickin' and I am almost in panic mode. Almost... but not quite! I know I should get ready but I really feel so relaxed still. Vince is the one getting really antsy about the birth and the baby. He's really cute even though he's nagging me about yayas, renovations, baby shopping, questions to ask the OBG, etc. Me? I'm just, "Okay, dear!" But it's really taking me forever to get anything done!

But, thanks to my friend Kristine Claudio-Baradi, I've gotten started on the baby shopping. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

OK!'s surprise baby shower - Part 3

And here we have the gifts of my fabulous friends! After all the sneaking around, the booking of the hotel, the procurement and production of props for the games--really, ladies, you didn't have to get the baby gifts anymore! I was already very happy with the party! So thank you super for your overflowing generosity!

OK!'s surprise baby shower - Part 2

Last Friday's baby shower was beyond amazing. The production behind it just blew my mind away! So my last entry was all about how Lana and Co. had to go through all sorts of subterfuge to surprise me. This post is all about the games!!!

The first game was Make a Diaper Game, but since we all agreed that no one will post pictures of those, you won't get to see any! Basically, it's a team of two: One gets to diaper the other with toilet paper in 2 minutes. Whoever ends up with the most diaper-looking creation—and that diaper has to stay on despite wiggling and dancing—wins!
Coni Tejada and Jen Inumerable won!

The second game was Fertilize Me. It's like a Pin The Tail on the Donkey game but this time each blindfolded contestant gets a sperm and she has to stick it onto the egg in the uterus. Nicole Bulatao won!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

OK!'s surprise baby shower - Part 1

Last Friday, my staff threw a surprise baby shower for me! I was soooo surprised and happy! This was when I walked in the door. They told me I had to wear the bunny ears!

Here's the mastermind--Lana Chan, OK!'s managing editor. Thanks, Lana! I had an inkling you were up to something kasi every time I talked about baby showers and baby stuff, your eyes would shift away. But I never ever thought it would be as fantastic as last Friday's shower!

NIVEA Baby loves my Jelly Bean!

I was soooo excited when I saw these on my office desk:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My current Facebook status

Yep, finally had that 4D ultrasound. Almost didn't want to because it's really expensive when you have it done at St. Luke's Global City. I got some tips from moms who said that (a) it wasn't necessary and (b) if I must, it's cheaper to do it at mall places like In My Womb. But no, we didn't want to go to Megamall and fight for parking and the crowds, so we had a very peaceful (and almost hour-long) viewing inside my tummy.

Vince is beyond pleased his son is über cute. The Jelly Bean is quite chubby already and he has his daddy's nose and toes. He also has Vince's usually serious expression so the name Jelly Bean just won't cut it anymore. We need a name as serious as this baby. We already have a very short list but we want to meet him first before we give it to him. Just a few more weeks! Soooo exciting!

Oh, and if you'd like to interact with me more, please join the Facebook page of my personal blog, Topaz Horizon.

Click here for the blog.
Click here for the page. Like me!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jelly Bean kicks. All. The. Time!!!

I know I shouldn't be complaining but, my goodness, does this baby ever sleep? He's just like me! He moves morning, afternoon and night. I can't get a moment's rest at all. And he's heavy now so when he kicks, stretches, punches, I really feel it. Painfully so. Aside from the pain, I got kinda worried if this is normal or if it's a portent of things to come.

So I'm glad I found this mommy forum of women who also have incredibly active babies. Reading that my kid's movements now isn't correlated to how he'll be when he's finally out is a big relief. We're a little afraid our house will be demolished by this little tornado!

Anyway, today we're 29 weeks pregnant. Last stretch! I'm scared and excited out of my mind! Here I am, last Monday, at the baby department of Rustan's Makati... nope not to get anything for the baby but for a writing assignment for Smart Parenting magazine. I'm wearing a dress from Tango, a Liz Claiborne rose crystal necklace and carrying my Fino bag.

So... No, I haven't done any preparations yet--no birthing classes, no breastfeeding classes, no looking for a nanny or maid, no real shopping, no nursery decorating... absolutely nothing. Someone asked me, "Are you nesting yet?" And I'm like, "Naaaah, I keep waiting for the motherhood thing to kick in. And I still don't feel it."

Believe me, I am willing it to happen but looking at baby stuff and everything baby seems to bore me to tears. I'd visit a baby shop and ogle for a minute or two then off I go. I call up preparation classes and the minute they start talking about schedules, my mind wanders off. I do like listening to other mommies talk about it, but it's like--for lack of a better term--it's like being in a zoo. I am fascinated but I feel separated from it all. It's quite a curious feeling and my mommy friends say, "Oh, you'll be in the thick of it soon enough!"

I'm obviously not the kind of woman who will embrace traditional motherhood. I am super excited about it, nevertheless, and I'm curious to see what kind of mom I'll be. Definitely I won't be the wonderful stay-at-home, bake cookies, attend PTAs kinda mom--my Mama was a career woman through and through and most of her kids turned out okay so I'm hoping the same applies to me.

Then again, I also didn't think I was wife material, and the marriage is turning out fine! Let's hope the same thing happens with parenting. But if it doesn't, I've always believed that it takes a village to raise a child and I am grateful to know that I am surrounded by very loving people who can help me! 

I do confess that since motherhood is most imminent, I am really hoping I'd start getting down to business. Or at least show some interest in it. After all, it's the hardest and most important job in the world!   

One thing I do know is that I love the kid inside my tummy. His constant movement, love for sweets and music preferences make me think he's got a real personality already! I'm very fond of him actually and can't wait to meet him. I hope he likes me, even though I won't be like other moms. I do love and adore him, and in that I'm like all the moms in the world. So I guess we'll be okay.