Dare To Be.


I enjoy taking chances, just for that general feeling of having felt and knowing what it’s like. And having been. Because to be is of paramount consequence. Because my life is too short. Because there is so much more to see, touch, feel, hear and taste. Because I dare to dream and to believe. Because all I have is this one lifetime to fulfil all of this and then some. I do not want to die screaming “If only”.

***

Had a lovely time with my Victory group again last night. Our small group of five has gone up to nine last night, with four new joinees – two of them coming all the way from Mindanao! It was especially lovely to see Tin again after nearly two years of us both sort of ‘disappearing‘ for nearly identical reasons. Well anyway, it’s a story I would rather not talk about. What’s important is that we both found our way back…home.

One more reason to love Wednesdays!
Vicky, Sharon, Roe, and Christine.

***

Feeling stupid is not a major activity in my life, really. Except when I imprudently allow myself to be taken for a ride (I have decided enough is enough and walked away, I’m proud to say), because I was being ambivalent or simply afraid to say no and disappoint others. Being pretty or interesting or exuberantly positive about things comes a lot easier. It is quite interesting how I have evolved from someone who used to be covered in yellowing insecurity and fungified paranoia to someone who’s decidedly in control of her life. Or getting there, finally.

I have also recently discovered that there is still a part of me that remains as timid as a 13-year-old shy teen. Coming to this conclusion itself took forever because, well, the acting on instinct bit is a distinctly more dominant characteristic.

Why again are these absurdities supposed to be of any importance? Seeing as how work has taken control of my life the past years, my attention-greedy id is now throwing tantrums like a spoiled puppy as I fall prey to moods of pure bliss and imagined despondency to suit the situation I capably construct in my head. Which is where it all is, really. Don’t you think so?

And then again, I’m fairly sure I’m just (a.) Exhausted (b.) Thrilled by the possibilities yet unknown and there’s just too many of them these days! (c.) Aggressively hormonal.

Oh well. At least I am still mightily amused.

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On Reebok Zig Tech, Fun Runs, and Anniversaries


My Zig Tech has finally arrived! She’s pretty in pink and super comfortable, I was grinning from ear-to-ear while I was trying her on yesterday. And since she and Bruno (remember him, my black Zig Nano?) came just days apart – practically fraternal twins, ahem – I have decided to name her Basia.

Baby Basia

Since Bruno came into my life about two weeks ago, I have actually been ignoring Blu (my Mizuno) and Zara (my Zoot) and though I feel bad for behaving so unfaithfully, I must say Bruno is doing a very great job of hogging my attention. He knows exactly what I want and serves it up to me supersized! Even though the only running action Bruno had ever seen (as of writing) was the 5k break-in run I did the day after we met, I have been wearing him down on a daily basis – with INSANITY. And if you ask me, I think Bruno is having the time of his life being abused the way I do him.

Big brother Bruno

Enter Basia.

I picked up Basia at lunchtime yesterday with the intention of breaking her in at the Fun Run organised by the company for our very dear friend Abie who was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer late last year and had since been undergoing chemotherapy sessions to eradicate the cancel cells completely. The fun run, aptly named Abie There For You, was held last night at the Meralco oval. And since only a handful of us in the company are actually into sports and cardio training, we only did a maximum of 10 loops around the 200-meter oval – for a total of 2k.

I walked from my condo to the race venue but I got there a good hour before the event would actually start. I got bored just by thinking of the number of minutes I would have to wait for the others, so I decided to take Basia for a sprint around the compound. Want to know how she performed? Read on…

Well, for one, Reebok was totally not talking nonsense when it boldly declared that Zig Tech is the brand’s most technically-advanced running and training shoe. It’s like an energy drink for your feet – with the way the shoe is designed to conserve and return energy to the athlete for a soft and springy ride.  In its launch press release, Reebok was all about the one-of-a-kind ZigTech bottom unit which features innovative, lightweight foam that is engineered into a dramatic, geometric, zig-zag shape. This unique zig-shaped sole absorbs the impact of heel strike and sends a wave of energy along the length of the shoe to help propel the athlete forward with each step.

Far too techie an explanation for me, because as most of you know, I hardly ever concern myself with the engineering details and what-not. I just like to run fast, long, hard, and almost nonstop – if I can sustain it. And because of that, I put comfort – by way of good cushioning – above all else. And because I’m still a girly-girl (contrary to what my abs, biceps, and powerful shoulders might tell you – teehee!), looks and how it complements the rest of my running gear come second. Performance is, of course, a non-negotiable for me especially since I’m also into ultra running and cross-training.

Much to my surprise and utter delight, Basia the Zig Tech, actually satisfied all three of my basic requirements with a little extra added to my running performance! At first, I was afraid I’d experience pain and discomfort because it was so soft interior-wise, it couldn’t possibly hold its own against the pressure of the feet-hitting-the-groundhard impact, right? But it did and believe you me; it felt as though I was running on cotton clouds last night!

Speaking of cotton, I really like the pink zig-zag foam sole of my Zig Tech. It reminds me so much of pink sugar cotton candy which I couldn’t seem to get enough of when I was little. But that is, of course, my aesthetics view on the matter. Those zig-zags, in fact, have far more useful return than just looking cotton candy-ish. What they do, according to Reebok’s Head of Advanced Innovation Bill McInnis, is transfer energy horizontally along the zigs so the athlete gets that energy back in the forefoot.

So this is where the ‘energy drink for your feet’ analogy comes into play. And after my experience last night, I am actually inclined to agree. There definitely was less pressure on my legs and I was able to sustain my race pace for the duration of the 2kms fun run, even after running on the same pace for nearly 6kms while waiting for the event to start. I even paced Randy, one of our colleagues, for four loops around the oval after I had alre4ady completed my 10.

Having said that, I give Bruno and especially Basia, two thumbs up. Good job, Reebok!

***

Noel, Vicky, and Abie.

Now back to Abie There For You. Last night was a SUPER fun run, with nearly 60 employees showing up and participating in the activity. I led the group in the stretching exercise and thanks to Shaun T and his Insanity workout, it seemed as though I actually know what I was doing! Abie, who hours before the event was actually still feeling faint from the chemo session she had two days prior, came with her beautiful daughter Bianca – who was also very sweet giving her Tita Vicky a kiss on the cheek even when I was sweating like a piglet! Abie has only been working in the company for a year but she has definitely endeared herself to everyone because of her sweet and caring ways. And while it breaks our heart to see and know of her condition, we are hands-up in awe of her strength, courage, and positivism. She truly makes all the drama in my life seem inconsequential and unimportant.

So to you Abie, thank you for the gift of awareness of our own strengths and your beautiful smile that never leaves your face despite the pain of it all. Keep getting better and we’d love to have you back in the office again very soon!

(L-R) Andy, Vicky, Alcy, Silyah. (Top) Mar. Yes, top. hihihi.
I Heart Reebok!
Bong, Gil, Peewee, and Vicky.
Runners gone wild!
The Balingkinitan Files: Noel, Andy, and Vicky
Ang (mga) babae sa loob ng kulungan made out of chicken wire.
Podium finish, kuno.:)
With Amar, hosting the event.
***

Today, 20th of March, marks the 730th day of a beautiful relationship with C. You have shown me love, respect, devotion, care, commitment and a great deal of understanding and tolerance (and not a lot of people can do that) all this time. For that and a few more good things I won’t mention anymore because I am limited by time and blog space, I,too, love you. Enormement.

HAML.

Do You Believe?


But then, I, too, wear the garments of pride and ego perhaps of a better fabric than yours and now I know I am a super female, the xxx-chromosomed human being if you care to call that.

***

These days I feel somewhat of a minimalist, in the way I am, the way I speak – usually with short sentences and some measured hand gesturing. What I wear is not very different. I am, and always have been branded, a non-conformist. I do not subscribe to a particular school or generation of fashion (among other things) and wear whatever I feel most comfortable in. Except that recently, I have taken to wearing flip-flops, flat ballet shoes, glittery sandals, and well, my Reebok Zig Nano, most of the time because I want to give my feet and ankles a break from my dominatrix-heeled shoes. You’ve lost a lot of weight, my running friend Lauren remarked last night, and I was openly happy with her observation because three weeks ago before I started Insanity, I have been having nightmares of checking into a fat farm. So I say ‘oh maybe it’s running or maybe it’s the fact that I’m happy, well, happy-ish.’ Sometimes, like last night on my way to Coffee Bean to meet up with her, I watch old people sitting outside Gloria Jeans and some bars, I see some of them, still flaunting cleavage, still bearing radiant smiles despite their age, and I can’t help but think to myself that maybe if I fold in my edges, or remember to always sit with my back straight, maybe if I start wearing sunblock on my face and exposed body parts and not stare directly into the sun, or maybe if I do NOT let disappointment and frustration show in the corners of my mouth, maybe I will escape getting old and wrinkly.

Maybe I will be the only person to be always young.

Being happy-ish is somewhat different from being happy. It’s somewhere near the happy alley and it’s still a lovely feeling, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, I’m aware, always, alarmingly, aware that this happy-ish state will end and that shortly, maybe in the near offing I will be sad again. Well, not sad, but sad-ish. I bought flowers last night just before the mall closed and they were white and yellow and very pretty. I took them with me, softly whispering into their petals about what I hoped they’d bring to my tiny space across the street. About how I wanted to be the sort of person who bought flowers for themselves and put them up and I’d always have flowers because having beautiful flowers shows you’re the kind of person who does things like that on impulse. And when I got home I put them into a ceramic coffee mug half-filled with tap water because I don’t have a decent flower vase and tried to make them look pretty. And when I was quite satisfied with the way they crowded the ill-sized mug, I smiled and thought maybe I’m a flower person after all. Just as I was a fish person when I had Humpy the Flowerhorn and Toti and Friends, my playful Oscar fishes, four years ago. Just as I was a dog person when I had Fido the mongrel and Tiny the Doberman, years ago.

To have and to hold.

Boracay this weekend has somewhat freed me of encumbrances of the emotional kind. Fairly soon this erratic mood swings will end and I will once again be I-don’t-really-know-what-I-will-be but the point is, maybe I shouldn’t be adding another maybe to my list, and instead make room for none at all. Perhaps I should just let stars explode behind my eyelids. Yes, I should allow this to happen without fighting pulse by pulse.

Do you believe in fate, in reincarnation, in karma, do you believe everything happens for a reason, do you believe in the power of the internet, do you believe in dinosaurs, do you believe in coincidences, do you believe in compatibility and meant-to-bes, do you think everything is an accident, do you believe in God or the higher power, do you believe in science, do you believe in free will, do you believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, do you believe in sex for sex’s sake, do you believe that there is indeed a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, do you believe a man and a woman can never be “just friends”, do you believe that if you want something badly enough, it’ll happen?

I believe.

In You.

In Us.

Because You Are Altogether Wonderful To Me.


Seven hundred thirty days on the 30th of March. Numerically, that’s how long we’ve been together. It hasn’t been easy. I have not exactly been the perfect little girlfriend, especially when my monster alter-ego surfaces in those rare mornings that we share. And do we even need to talk about those times I’ve been extremely selfish and irrational? But you stuck it out with me. And truth be told, sometimes it baffles me why. I have seen myself at my worst and even I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with me, if you know what I mean. But you, you are just too wonderful for words. And I? Well, I can only utter prayers of endless gratitude to The One who gave you to me.

Je t’aime enormement.

Has it really been two years?:)
Boracay 2011
Because Life needs a little frosting.:)

 

Silverbox Treasures


Looking for a perfect gift for a dear friend, girlfriend, sister, Mom…or for yourself? Well, today just might be your lucky day! If you’re sitting in front of your laptop, I suggest you quit cyber-stalking your Ex and check out this online site called Silverbox Treasures. It’s a trove of fashion accessories made of semi-precious stones, handcrafted with such elegant creativity and love, that you would feel and look instantly beautiful – no matter how plain your shirt or dress may be! A fashion pick-me-up, is how I would sum it up in a phrase!

These beauties are Ms. Suzette Montalban’s handiwork. Ms. Montalban is my dear friend Mark’s Mom who says she does this only as a hobby and I’m like now-this-is-extremely-embarrassing-for-me-because-the-only-creative-thing-I-can-pull-off-as-a-hobby-is-fold-my-tongue-in-the-middle-like-a-quesadilla. A non-skill, pretty much, as I’m sure half the people in town can do the same – if not better. Who knows what freakier things people out there can do with their tongues! Eeeeek.

The other night, my good friend and up-and-coming photographer to the stars, Noel (Have you seen his work? Well, tickle me good Elmo but you just gotta!) , took photos of me wearing the accessories we had selected from the heap the Mark brought last Saturday after we watched Zaturnnah (Hi Rocky, You’re so hot! *giggles*) A few weeks before that, Mark asked me to model the accessories and for Noel to take photos. The photoshoot happened in my apartment Monday night and because he didn’t need to do major editing on my face and skin (Oh dear Vicky, you are really getting quite adept at carrying your own couch now, are ‘ya?), he finished all sets in a day! I’m telling you, this single, accomplished, well-groomed, good-looking and very disease-free friend of mine is just brimming with talent I just might quit work one day and be his assistant! Did I mention he’s single and looking for love?

So where were we? Ahhh, yes, Silverbox Treasures. I ran my mouth quite a bit long back there and so I assume you have had a chance to take a peek at the site. Well, have you? If you can’t make up your mind on which accessory to get and believe you me, I totally understand the dilemma because I wanted all of them for myself as well, perhaps these photos below will help.

Woman, high maintenance is thy maiden name.


32 flavors and then some. That’s how old I am turning in July. Apart from the wrinkles and crow’s feet which are now starting to become more visible on my face caused by the combination of sun exposure and (the) occasional stress, I don’t feel old. In fact, and I keep telling myself this every morning when I face the mirror, I have never looked as good as I do now back when I was in my 20’s. I am healthier, fitter, more flexible and agile than most people my age – or even younger – and I always have random strangers telling me that I don’t look a day over 25! If you ask me, I think my skin has a lot to do with it.  This is the part where I suppose I have to give credit where credit is due. Mom, wherever you are, thank you! I have such an elastic and supple skin that you would never find even the faintest stretch mark on me even when I have gone as heavy as 120lbs and dropped down to 98lbs at one point. To say that I am mad for body moisturizers and beauty products is an understatement. I don’t patronize ridiculously expensive brands because, well, I can’t afford them. In fact, when it comes to body butter and moisturizers, the one brand that I love above all else is Boots – which I can only find in Thailand. It’s very reasonably priced but superlatively effective in making my skin look, feel, and smell deliciously soft and sexy.

But the wrinkles on my forehead and the now visible crow’s feet really get to me sometimes. Scrap that: All the time! I hate it especially when they show on photos and no amount of striking accessories can draw attention away from them. It’s not the thought of aging that scares me, because we are all going to get old and wrinkly at some point anyway. It is the thought of aging prematurely that causes me to do a double-take and seriously contemplate the use of anti-aging creams and beauty products. Any career-driven woman would tell you how important looks are in a cutthroat corporate jungle. Not that it is an absolute necessity for us to look ‘manufactured‘ by science, but more often, just being able to cover the basics – i.e. great skin, winning smile, manner of dressing, a 23-inch waistline, etc. – is enough to get us through the door.

Sooo, yes, ‘anti-aging’ anything is what I first look for when I go shopping for body butter, make-up, and demmit even body soaps! Not that I am attempting to defy (a)natural progression such as aging – I am merely trying to (super) slow down the process.  I have tried a few products and some of them I have grown a certain fondness for such as the Olay Age Defying series. But us girls being girls, we cannot resist the urge to try out other products – and there’s always something new that’s packaged as better in terms of performance and benefits.  And we always get hoodwinked into making mindless purchases, don’t we? But it’s okay. We’re girls and sometimes that’s explanation enough. *wink wink*

Today, I had an opportunity to try two new products from a beauty brand that’s been known and trusted for several decades now, Mary Kay. The anti-aging line is called TimeWise® and the two revolutionary products recently introduced in the Philippine market are TimeWise® Moisture Renewing™ Gel Mask and the TimeWise® Liquid Foundations.

TimeWise® Moisture Renewing Gel Mask which provides intense hydration to nourish skin whose moisture has been depleted during the day. This mask is scientifically formulated with ingredients to help quench the skin’s thirst overnight. It is formulated to add and hold in every precious drop of moisture. The skin will feel firmer, softer, healthier, and appear plumped from within.

TimeWiseâ Liquid Foundations make it simple for any woman to find her perfect match, with four shades to choose from, a choice of finishes for different skin types and the bonus of age-fighting benefits.  The foundation features two finishes – Luminous-Wear™ and Matte-Wear™ – which cater to skin that is either normal to dry or combination to oily, and a formula packed with ingredients to help protect the skin from environmental aggressors that can contribute to the visible signs of aging.

TimeWise Renewing Gel Mask and TimeWise Liquid Foundation

These two products were introduced via a special pampering event hosted for the media and selected beauty and fashion bloggers. I am not a fashion and beauty blogger, that’s for sure. What I am is a beautiful blogger. At least that’s a compliment I got a lot of earlier when I dropped by the event. And since they’re all strangers to me, I am inclined to believe and you can bet I will take every single word to bed tonight. Gullible much, yes. Now where are those ROTFL emoticons when you need them?!?

Anyway, the event was fun! Not only did I get an overdose of pink which happens to be a favorite color of mine (strawberry chocolate truffles, pink juice, pink bread sticks, pink couches, etc…) and free manicure, I also met a lot of very interesting – not to mention, beautiful – people. I remember chatting up nearly everyone that I keep missing the opportunity to have my nails done!  I even saw Hannah of Flaircandy fame whom some of you would also recognize as one of the House of Vanita blogger-models during last year’s fashion show. I especially loved talking to Jase and the beautiful event host who said she instantly noticed me when I walked into the room. The Tetchie Agbayani aura, she said was too strong to be missed! As most of the old-schoolers here would know, Tetchie, during her time, was synonymous to overpowering sex appeal. Wala talagang kakupas-kupas ang alindog ng lola nyo! Weeet weeew! Now if I had a peso for each time I get compliments like that, I’d probably be driving around a Kia. Another plate of ROTFLs, please!

With my new friend Jase
With the beautiful host whom I had one of best conversations with at the event
Hannah of Flaircandy having her make-up session
Vicky supersizing it at the manicure area
With Jase and birthday girl

Of course, I didn’t let pass the opportunity of talking about running and preaching health and fitness to the people around me. And it’s NOT just because I am now officially a Reebok brand ambassador for running (respect, earthlings, respect!) but because I am really passionate about these things. Why do you think I quit smoking and drinking cold turkey and at the same time three years ago? Why do you think I quit red meat and embraced ultrarunning and circuit interval training workouts? It’s because I love this body I was born with and if I don’t take care of it, who else out there would?

Team REEBOK.

Anyway, enough digression. All I really wanted to share was how great a day this has been for me. I met some great people whom I hope I would meet again. I brought home two great products I couldn’t wait to try. I accomplished a lot at work. And lastly, I had a great sharing session with Ro and the rest of the Wednesday Victory group. The blessings just keep coming and it feels so good to be back!

Tuesday Group.

The Intrepid Ambassador of Sorts.


It’s only the first quarter of 2011 and already, I am overwhelmed by a LOT of great things. So great, in fact, that I feel somewhat guilty for wanting a little bit more. Like perhaps having an erstwhile friend back in the friend zone. But then again, I have always fancied a little bit of drama in my life and so I am quite okay occasionally sleeping with the enemy. So to speak. Oh never mind, I don’t think I am able to communicate my thoughts properly anyway. I’ve been absolutely mad-busy at work and extra curricular activities lately that the only time I ever get to sit still and be quiet is when I have to go and pee. Isn’t that crazy?!? But it is true. At this point, I think, Supergirl has nothing on me and the crazy schedule I keep. Not that there’s any reason to complain because there really isn’t. I am blessed in so many ways. Let’s count, shall we?

One of the exciting things that happened to me this month, for which I have Kassy Pajarillo and Blas Ople Tiangco to thank for, is being selected as one of Reebok’s brand ambassadors for running. As I have furtively intimated in my previous post, we had our Team photo shoot over the weekend wearing some of Reebok’s new line of running apparel and boy did we rock it out that day! I have been using  ZigNano/Zig Glam for a few days now – both for running and my Insanity workout – and so far, I have no complaints. I am now having a very passionate love affair with my black Zig Glams, and not to sound biased or anything, but I’m liking it even more than I did my other pairs. Bruno, as I fondly call it, is proving to be a lot more fierce a vertical exercise partner than some of my former partners. He takes care of my feet as though they’re his own! And I’m sorry I’m gushing but yes, I’m unfaithful like that.  I will do a proper review in the next few days, possibly, after the first race I’m joining wearing it – so watch out for that.  Earlier today, Blas sent us some low-res file copies of the photos taken by Jar Concengo and these are some of the ones I heart.

 

Zig while everyone zags
Bend it like Vicky
Meet Bruno (photo taken using my beat-up Sony digicam)

Glammin' it up with my new Zig Glam!
Team REEBOK

Another exciting thing is modeling some of the fashion accessories handcrafted by Mark’s mom  (all GORGEOUS, by the way!). I live for fashion accessories, as some of you would know, so I literally went nuts when Mark brought the samples last Saturday and asked me to choose the ones I’d like to be photographed in. Noel, Cris and Eric helped me choose from the lot and they all looked great on me. In fact, I have already chosen the ones I want to keep. Noel insists I get the ones made of rose quartz for love. I happen to have a great love but where’s the harm in topping it up a little with some stones for a good measure of luck, right? Cris suggested torquoise because it stands out against my naturally bronze skin. And I also happen to like the red one (my birth stone is Ruby, so anything red would be nice) but I’ll have to ask Mark first. I don’t want my dear friend to feel robbed! hahaha. So anyway, last night, Noel (my good friend for nearly six years now and one of my favorite people in the world) and I did the photoshoot for two things actually: (1)  the accessories, and (2) the breast cancer awareness photo exhibit he’s planning to launch soon to raise money for our friend who was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer late last year and is now undergoing (a series of) chemotherapy treatment. This is also something I am passionate about because my adoptive Mom died of breast cancer in 2003 and I have witnessed first-hand the pain she suffered… before finally succumbing to it.

So Noel took about 200 photos and they all came out beautifully. Some MORE beautiful than others and we already have some ideas on how I can mount them in my tiny (and very temporary) home. To show you that I am not simply talking falafel here, let me show you two of the photos he took last night. Oh, one more thing, I am proud to say that I did my own make-up and hair. Well, my hair is dry and ugly most of the time anyway, so there’s only very little that I can do about it!

 

Desire.

 

Rainbow.

 

I know, I know. I am breathtaking. I get that a lot and too often. I try not to get used to it though. *ROTFL* Totally kidding, you guys! Sense of humor much! Like I said, this is just one of the many photos Noel took last night. I will be posting more in the next few days. These photos will also appear on Silverbox’s online store where you can have a look-see and order whatever catches your fancy.

Oh, oh, oh…this I can’t possibly keep mum about! What was I thinking?!? So, you know I kind of starred in a music video that is currently being played on Pinoy MYX. The song is called Paglaya (’emancipation’ in English) and it was written by another dear friend, the brilliant Eric Cabahug. The song is actually an entry (and semifinalist) to the KBP Song of the Year competition. If you guys are on Facebook and you’re not on my blocked users list, you can view it here. But more than just viewing the video and lusting after my attributes, you can vote for the video by simply sending MYX VOTE PAGLAYA to 2366. Vote now and make us famous, why don’t you?

That’s all I have for you guys this week. I’ll be back in the next few days, most likely sporting a deep tan and looking more and more lovedrunk.