Day 5: Beaming Birthday Beki

Today I say a huge prayer to God for another year in my life. Another year to learn, love, laugh, cry, earn, stumble, get up and spend time with my family, friends and even meet new people. More of you Lord this year!

These three made me flash those (not-so) pearly whites today:

1. Second day of delicious brewed coffee and bacon, plus another brekkie fave of corned beef with onions and potatoes. Yum!

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Power birthday breakfast!

2. A powerful message at church to start the year right, and give us strength for this week’s prayer and fasting. Lifting to You my and Your children’s faith goals this year, Lord!

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

3. Birthday dinner at local Japanese eatery Eat-Sumo Terihaus since all of us were in the mood for some maki and bento boxes, then pistachio-cashew ice cream courtesy of Mama. Double-yum!

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At magkakatabi magkaka-size hihi!

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Happy birthday to me!

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It’s our fave flavor!

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Also teaching my mom how to use Camera 360 para kahit nasa States, wit oily fez!

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Follow the sun, birthday girl!

Three years ago, I still had some of that quarter-life crisis angst, the incessant desire to change and the lack of discipline to really do so. I was turning 28 and I was feeling 28! I think I spent the day wandering aimlessly at the local mall and had a facial, then wrote a post where I vowed not to change. Or change slightly, I’m not quite sure now. Here it is anyway. Birthdays do have that tendency to put the celebrant in a nostalgic yet panicky mood. Suddenly, I feel I’m running out of time, what the heck happened to my life, I’m not ready to get older, blah blah blah, cue shriek and scream and foot-stomping. Prior to this birthday, I don’t remember much how the previous ones went, I guess. A couple of the usual handaan sa bahay (I never got one of those resto kiddie parties) then the latter ones are all jumbled in one drunken haze. Yikes.

Two years ago, right about this time, I was preparing to pose a month-long challenge to myself, and post in on Facebook as my birthday shout-out: to give up drinking for a full 31 days. Back then, it was real challenge because my weekends were normally spent doing errands by day, then hanging out at the local bar or some officemate’s house getting drunk silly. Long story short, some of my most horrifying memories, meltdown and relationships were influenced by alcohol, so at the ripe old age of 29, I vowed to get a grip on this nasty habit.

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I succeeded on the one-month liquor embargo, and actually managed to quit drinking almost completely for the remainder of that year. I say almost because I had at least one more embarrassing alcohol-induced meltdown before I was finally able to conquer this one heck of a persistent demon. But yeah, now I don’t prowl the streets anymore clamoring for a drink like a vampire hunting for blood. And I know better now than to chase down emotions with a shot of tequila.

A year ago, I greeted my big 3-0 with a night in town with my two sisters. It was a quiet but lovely evening of shopping, Japanese food, coffee, tea and cake, and some rare sisterly bonding. I spent the next day with family and just relaxed. I was able to finish off a list of 30 big and small stuff I vowed to do before hitting the milestone age. If you’re curious what are those things, read it here, 30 Before 30.

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Tonight, I spent it watching “The Croods” with my daughter Ging, drinking another cup of brewed coffee so I can stay up until midnight, whereupon I would pat myself on the back for surviving another year, and thanking God for staying with me all throughout. I’m more excited about my daughter’s birthday next week. One more year before she becomes a teenager and I start fretting more about her future.

So in the tradition of getting nostalgic and panicky, as I turn 31… I promise not to make any grand declarations of a personality overhaul or sweeping declarations of things I’ll change. I just want to strive to do my best, to get up everyday trying to be a better version of what I was the day before. I just have to make sure I stay on a path towards my goals and walk in His light and sight. I will remind myslef it’s okay to be afraid of changes, but to still forge ahead even if it means I can be better. Some days I’ll fail, but I’m confident, with God’s grace, some days, I’ll make it.

I’ve been carrying this sentiment for a while now, but a line in The Croods earlier perfectly encapsulated it:  “Don’t hide. Live. Follow the sun. You’ll make it to Tomorrow.”

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Not to scare you guys or anything, but this is how 31 looks like taking a selfie and not knowing where to freakin’ look hahaha! Pagbigyan, birthday naman eh. 🙂

Day 4: Laughter Is A Bunch of Smiles With Audio and In 3D

After a good night’s sleep where I got to wake up late (no reviews for Ging today, yey!), I greeted the day with a goofy, sleepy grin and spent a good part laughing (with Ging, too).

1. For breakfast, I had thick bacon slices, sunny-side up egg, hot malunggay pandesal with butter and freshly brewed coffee. Glad I don’t have to do some post-holiday penitence at some gym something, hihi. Peace!

2. I started using this rich and fragrant shampoo from local organic brand Human Nature. My hair fall is really alarming me, and this product promises to strengthen hair and reduce hair fall. It has aloe vera so I certainly hope it does the job. I love Human Nature products, They’re a tad bit more pricey than mainstream supermarket brands, but compared to other 100% organic products, they’re a steal. Plus, when we buy HN products, we support the livelihood of our local farmers and producers. Check out their amazing products here.

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3. I rented some videos: The Croods, Evan Almighty, Despicable Me 2 and Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Blame it on Starworld for showing Part 1. So even though I’ve never watched the earlier movies and I dislike Kristen Stewart with a passion that surprises me, I watched and enjoyed the movie. I was even so caught up during the fight scene between the Cullen coven and the Voltouri that I tweeted Carlisle died, only to realize few minutes later it’s just a vision by Alice. Hihi. Buti na lang, sayang naman siya! Also watched The Croods with Ging and we had some pretty good laughs over the caveman family’s antics. We also had a few secret sniffles during the scene where Grug had to throw his family to the next cliff to save them from lava and splitting ground, and his headstrong daughter Eep refuses to leave him. But it’s all good because the movie ended on a happy note.

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Day 3: Smize, it’s Friday!

Wishing all work-weeks are like these: back to work on Thursday, then bam, back to that weekend feeling the next day. Haha! A girl can dream, right?

Still feeling pretty blessed I got to enjoy lots of vacay time and holiday off-time this year. I shudder to think of my past life doing night shift for a US-based account and feeling sorry I was taking calls in the middle of the night while my family had Noche Buena back home. I have such high respect for fellow BPO industry employees rendering work during the holidays. God bless you! Hang in there folks!

So even though I had to get up early again, I found three reasons to smize today!

By the way, the word “smize” was coined by the supermodel Tyra Banks during Cycle 13 of her show America’s Next Top Model , which means “smile with your eyes.” I’m not too fond of those duck-pouts I often see in selfies and photos, their eyes usually expressionless. I say if you gotta smile, your whole face should convey the happy expression, right? And since the eyes are the windows to the soul and all that jazz, I say if you gotta smile, smize! Better yet, Super Smize!

1. My former team, TimBu (with the special participation of my office BFF Mark Aclo) suddenly gathered behind me in the middle of me listening to calls and presented me with an early birthday gift. A surprise smize from me! And since I’m a definite candidate to flunk that marshmallow test, I couldn’t wait til my actual birthday and unwrapped my gift right away. I got a BDJ planner which I really wanted since it’s specially made for a girl plus there’s a lot of freebies and coupons. This is my second BDJ planner and I love it. I love that my anaks know me well and got me something I really love! Thanks a looot!

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Nakaw shot sa locker area during the first break. Thanks to my brow Mitch Llacer for the photo.

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Sweeeet!

2. Another person was all smiles when he got a planner today too! Our MO, Markus, was really happy he got the 2014 Starbucks planner he’d been hinting at for the last couple of months. Just a little thank you from your ASP ALIVE Family, boss!

3. Another smize brought to me by a pair of nude, shiny stilettos on sale at one of my fave shoe stores! I sure am glad I held off ordering online because I got these cheaper, the fit was amazing and it’s in the color I’ve always wanted. Perfect complement for my new turqouise and pink dresses that are just waiting for upcoming events this year – a wedding, a graduation, and even just for those I wanna-feel-pretty-and-fierce days at the office. Yes, matangkad na ko but I still wanna wear heels. Got a problem with that?! 🙂

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Got a pair with a more sensible heel length. I liked how the five-incher made my gams go on forever but I had to think more practically. I wanted to wear this more often without getting dirty looks from my, er, more petite co-workers. 🙂

Day 2: Happy To Serve

For January 2nd, my reasons to be happy to serve and work:

1. Back to work. Yeah it’s hard to get up when everyone in the house is still asleep, and it’s already past 6AM but the sky is still dark and there’s nothing better but to snuggle under the covers in this holiday chill, but someone’s gotta werk it! It’s feeling Monday on a Thursday with a new dress in my fave new color for 2014!

2. I’m almost done with all my e-mails and deliverables. Had some misses from December but vowing to improve on my opportunities this year!

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3. Ramen-date and catch-up chikahan with my maldita friend, Cy! Hope to have more bonding sessions with her and more success, happiness and love for the both of us this year. I can feel it, girl, let’s claim it!

Day 1: With A Smile

*I promised myself to stick to posting one every day and start the month/year right, but my laptop’s down again and the WordPress app in my Blackberry’s acting up again so I’m publishing three days’ worth in one go. 

Welcome 2014!

I know I haven’t posted in a while and I have to get up early for work tomorrow so i’ll make this brief. Also, I’ll post alter about my 2013 blessing-of-the-day album in Facebook. That was a year-long project I truly enjoyed and learned a lot from.

I can feel 2014 is going to be busier, crazier and will just push me to my limits. When blessed, I will be grateful and gracious. And while I will call upon all my strength, patience, friends, families and God to help me in times of need, I will still remember to be thankful – and smile. For real.

I’m no science expert and I don’t know which of these has more traction, but I read that contrary to popular belief, it actually takes more muscle to smile than frown. While they say the actual number of muscles used to smile or frown varies since people smile or frown differently, the minimum number of muscles to smile is at least ten, and to frown about six muscles. They say that while smiling uses more muscles, since we tend to smile more, the muscles we usually use are in better shape, hence, it requires less energy and effort. Well, I’ll believe anything if it will get me and more people to smile!

The Bible says worrying is a sin, but I still often fall trap to it. Scowling, frowning, maybe even crying at times soon follow. Then the wrinkles, eyebags and just an overall haggard look develop as well. Yuck. Not something a soon-to-be thierty-one-year-old wants for her birthday.

So for the net thirty-one days of my birth month and the first month of an awesome year, I will find at least three reasons to smile everyday. No matter how crappy my days was, no matter how many worries or struggles, I’m confident God will never run out of things to make His daughter break into a grin.

Today, January 1st, these reasons were:

1. My family, the Atienza’s and even Kuya Ige’s Tito Makoy dancing it up to Kuya Ige’s new Xbox after our traditional New Year’s Day lunch. One good proof of technology bringing families closer (and sillier!) together.

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Nganga and Tito Makoy have a showdown!

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It’s Nuki and Ige doing it all school with Vanilla Ice!

2. My daughter’s wacky poses. She’s at that stage where she feels a bit awkward in pictures. In this day and age of selfies, Ging is not keen about having her mug shot.

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3. Getting kilig watching 27 Dresses. I’m not a fan of Katherine Heigel but gosh, James Marsden is hot. And of course, I’m a sucker for rom-coms, especially those with wedding scenes. Yihee.

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And so before I snooze off, I leave you with these iconic lyrics and pray that for this month, this year, you’ll also find reasons to smile.

Lift your head

Baby don’t be scared

Of the things that could go wrong along the way

You’ll get by

WITH A SMILE.