Friday, January 30, 2015

Major dining area makeover with just a little Nippon paint!

I'm thrilled you loved my boys' new blue-and-white stripes room! It was such a fun project and I'm grateful that Nippon Paint sponsored it. Well, they were so happy with us and we were so happy with them, we found ourselves also tackling the dining room!

Our dining room used to be in the middle of our house. Here's what it looked like last May, during my second son's second birthday:

But a few months ago, we decided to move the dining table to the reading nook beside the windows so that the living area will be bigger. Now that we have three active boys (yes, our youngest is already crawling and walking with support!), we need all the room we can get! We love the bigger space and we love that we can see amazing city views when we eat, but there was nothing really special, looks-wise ba, sa bagong area:

Nippon Paint suggested an accent wall painted with their special textured Momento Paint. An accent wall is painting just one wall so that it stands out. It also makes the area feel more special. So since it was just one teensy-weensy wall, my husband Vince and I went for it!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The boys' room is all bold blue stripes!

This post is brought to you by Nippon Paint.

Thanks to Nippon Paint Odour-less Air Care Paint! They totally sponsored the kids' room makeover!

Since the day we had Vito, our eldest, Vince and I knew we would have to transform our home office into the kiddie room. But we enjoyed co-sleeping with him. And then Iñigo arrived and we said, "Okay, we really have to give up the study!" But, kahit mas masikip, super enjoy pa rin kami to sleep with our two little boys.

But when Piero arrived middle of last year, Vince and I knew the time had come for the older boys to move out. Our reasons:
1. We didn't fit in the queen-sized bed anymore.
2. The study had the crib and the kids' toys so Vince and I couldn't work there anymore anyway. Ang gulo masyado!
3. The older boys needed a place dedicated to play. Their toys were scattered all throughout the house!

We were really planning the makeover na but budget concerns held us back. So I prayed about it and guess what? Nippon Paint approached me and said they're willing to sponsor the makeover!!! So after my birthday in November, we did it! Here's the story:

Nippon Paint inspected our walls first and they discovered that our walls had a problem with chalking. Yan yung nagri-react yung paint sa chemicals sa cement so namumuti siya. So we had to use primer on the walls first.

 The boys inspect their room.

Nippon sent their master painter to oversee the entire project. That's him up there. He's super mabait and talagang ang dami niyang alam about paint! He was so patient with me and the boys when we helped him paint.

After the primer dried, Nippon Odour-less Air Care Paint in white and blue were applied on the walls. Our peg was stripes so that's what we did. The big boss of Nippon Paint visited our home himself to give his advice. We were thinking kasi na vertical stripes but he said horizontal stripes were better since the room was sooo tiny. Horizontal stripes would widen it. And those big horizontal stripes sure did make the room feel bigger! Thanks so much for the visit and the expert opinion!

Vito was sooo happy with the room's progress! And the paint really is odorless! I even let the kids help me paint the room. That made them really happy, to be part of their room's makeover.

Late at night while the boys slept in the master's bedroom, Vince and I scraped away paint droplets and wiped down the shelves. It truly was a DIY project of the whole family!

Here's Nippon Paint shooting a video of the makeover. Vito and Iñigo joined me. It was a lot of fun!

And here's the boys' room!
The first night in their room. Wala pa silang bed!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Shopped our new fashion resolutions at Debenhams Estancia

This post is brought to you by Debenhams Estancia.

Over the holidays, the new Estancia Mall opened at Capitol Commons and my family dropped by (because we heard it was free parking before 2015!) to check it out.

We love it! Extra wide halls! Bright lights! It feels so modern and yet I don't feel like I'm trapped inside a building. It's designed so that the outdoors are let in—huge windows and skylights do the trick. It's a very small mall and when we went, there wasn't a lot of shops open yet, but we wanted to spend money on new clothes so we were happy to see that Debenhams was open.

Mommies, the kids section is soooo adorable. You have got to go and check it out! Vito and Iñigo usually deplore shopping but they liked the clothes so much, they were picking out what they wanted for themselves and for Piero. I had a really hard time picking stuff for my boys because I wanted to buy them all!

I checked out the clothes and shoes and bags for the ladies, too. Cardigans, sleek jackets, filmy blouses, dresses in sumptuous materials, lacy underthings... Sigh! I haven't shopped for myself in years. All my clothes now are gifts from brands or family! Looking through the racks really made me want to buy new stuff!

Well, after running around Debenhams, we finally picked clothes we loved. Check out our fashion resolutions and what we bought after the jump!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tried and failed. All good!

Is it strange that I'm thinking of failure at the start of a new year? Well, that's part of assessing one's life. You think about what works and what doesn't, and you make decisions that will hopefully make life better in the future.

The past two years have been incredible. I retired from magazines. I focused on my growing family. I focused on blogging. Then I neglected the blogs. I went freelance full time. Then I went back to magazine work part-time. It's been a lot of trial and error, trying out this and that, finding what I liked and wasn't good at. Quite an interesting experience!

Let me break down my failures:

Tried being a housewife. I'm soooo not good at it.
I can manage a team. I can't manage my household. I can plan an editorial calendar. I can't plan a weekly menu. I can put together a magazine, write an article, interview people with my eyes closed. I can't remember to buy toilet paper. My brain just isn't wired for home management. I tried it. I failed. I didn't fail miserably, okay. I was good enough, even when we didn't have a yaya and maid for a year, my house never got dirty and my kids never missed a meal. But being good enough didn't seem good enough, you know what I mean?

People think homemaking and housewifery come naturally to women. But it doesn't. I'm not a housewife. I'm a career woman. I'm done feeling guilty about this. I should be spending my days doing something I'm really good at!

That's why I'm so grateful my husband, Vince, has taken over some duties, and also why I appreciate our household helper. Some women are great at this (and they are amazing!) but I'm not, so why feel guilty about it?
Thought this lunch for my son was adorable until the teacher sent a note saying my child should eat healthy.

Tried working from home. I now know I prefer working in an office.
In an office, I have a set time and place for work. I can focus on work. I don't need to run every time a child screams or cries. I don't need to be distracted by anything that I'm particularly not good at (household management). I like dressing up and going out to work because the act of dressing up and physically leaving behind the house gets my mind and spirit ready for work.

A lot of moms are grateful to earn money while taking care of their kids and I'm glad I'm one of them, but I also know I'll be more productive away from home. The only thing I love (yes, super love!) about working at home is I don't need to suffer the horrendous traffic. And of course I also love the little critters who distract me from work! They exasperate me no end but they're only little for so long so I will stay with them and work from home. Then as soon as they're in school (or maybe earlier), I'll go back to working in an office!

Tried freelancing. I like it and I'll continue doing it but...
I am not very good with clients who don't pay in 30 days. Seriously, I'm not very good dealing with this issue. I start working on a project, say, in January and finish it to meet their very tight (usually unreasonable) deadline, but they pay me in April or June, maybe October, even December??? What's worse is they avoid my calls, emails and visits.

I'm not patient with this and I honestly don't know how to deal with it. I think it's unfair, cruel and unprofessional. My bills come every month, my kids and I eat every day. It's disrespectful to not pay on time. While our family's financial status is okay (thanks to good money management), what I can't handle is the disrespect.

I still like freelancing but I think a steady pay check will make me more patient with the industry. I'm already easing into "steady pay check" territory with my stints in and Baby Magazine.

Tried homeschooling. Can't do it.
I was so relieved when Vito, a few months after his 4th birthday, decided he was ready for preschool. I was kinda good at homeschooling although my husband was better. We liked it because it was cool to see Vito and Iñigo learning from us but we both know now that homeschooling is not for us. Unless of course our life changes in such a way that we'll need to travel constantly or live in a far-flung place.

For now, we're happy to send Vito (and Iñigo, when he's ready) to a school in the neighborhood. We like that he has a world separate from us, navigating it without us. It's giving us incredible insight into who he is and what he's capable of. We love what we see!
Vito's education is handled by the pros but we're still homeschooling!

Tried breastfeeding. So tired of it.
Wait—I'm not a failure at this; in fact, I'm a natural breastfeeder. I'm really good at this! Never had problems with latching, supply, nursing in public, weaning. I've never had problems with breastfeeding at all! Never even felt loss or guilt or longing when my first two sons weaned on their own (I strongly believe in baby-led weaning so when they stopped nursing, I was proud of the milestone).

But breastfeeding feels like a love affair that was so amazing but has now lost its allure. I'm ready to move on. I want to have my breasts back and not share them with anyone else, to wear normal bras, to wear clothes without hidden holes in the bodice, that zip up at the back. I want to wear perfume on my cleavage, to have a glass of wine, to take strong pain medication when I have migraines, to maybe have a cigarette every now and then.

After almost 5 years as a nursing mom, I'm really done with breastfeeding. But but but I will still breastfeed my baby boy until he's ready to wean. Piero turned 6 months old last week and he's still exclusively breastfed. I'm happy to nurse him until he decides he's done with my milk. So I do cherish these breastfeeding moments while simultaneously feeling anticipation for that happy day when he weans. That happy happy day!

What I found that I'm good at—even though I spent decades thinking I'd be terrible at it!—is motherhood. Sure, I lose my cool many times, but being a mom is natural to me. I'm endlessly surprised at how easy it is to love and care for these little darlings.

I like being a mommy. I don't feel panic, guilt or confusion about my role. I'm a very good mommy! Every day, I try to be the best mommy to my kids. Wait. I believe I am the best mommy to Vito, Iñigo and Piero! I am pretty sure no other mother on earth can love them the way I do. I may not be the best homemaker or cook or homeschooling teacher or bento box maker but no woman can say they love my kids more than I do.

I'm glad the last two years gave me this incredible vision—I know myself better now that I've seen what I do well and what I can't even though I tried so damn hard. Many of us are afraid to try because we're afraid of failure. Well, I tried and I failed. Well, okay, not failed. Just found out that I wasn't as amazing as I thought! So what? The worst thing that came out of all this is I got stressed out by clients. That's it! Soooo silly! Really nothing compared to living with "what ifs?" all my life. And that's the best thing that came out of this whole experience: I will never have to deal with that awful question. I will never have regrets. I always gave it a shot. I may have failed at some, but I did succeed at others. I know myself better. I like myself better.

I'm even happier that my husband is also giving his dreams a shot even though people think we're crazy. Well, we're the happiest people we know. I hope my kids see how crazy their parents are, how we failed and succeeded, persevered and graciously conceded. I hope they see we are having the time of our life living with no regrets. I hope they have that same courage. And if they live life as bravely as Vince and I do, then I know we'd have triumphed as parents.

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