Thursday, March 1, 2012

Watch and Learn

Alas my resolve to blog regularly is weak. But it isn't due to my laziness to get down and write something. My time is being used up watching video tutorials on YouTube. Yes, I'm one of those who can stay glued for hours, watching video after video after video, even if I keep complaining that it's buffeting way too slowly. But it all starts when I have a need for some quick help on how to do something and there are always videos for just what I needed at that time.Then it stops becoming a need but an obsession to learn more and more.

For most people, they would just head out to the stores to buy what they need. But I love DIM (Do It Myself). it just makes me so happy and fulfilled doing and being successful in a project even with all the hard work involved. And especially when there is hard work involved!

I have some successful projects which I chose to DIM, instead of buying.

Grecian Goddess Halloween costume which is just one whole piece of white cloth which I twisted and pinned in place
twisted up hairdo also learned from YouTube

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Attempt At Fashion Blogging

It started with me having this impulsive idea to try fashion blogging. Lately, I have been in the mood to really plan my outfits even though the only place I was going to was to school. I think everyone just has those moments when we feel like dressing up and times when it's going to be jeans and t-shirt for a long period. The country is very much laid-back and you can dress as casually as you like and because of this, I fear that I would adapt completely and be drab. That should never, ever happen.

Another reason for this idea is that lately I've discovered some really good places to shop. For quite some time all I've been seeing are Korean clothes which are mass produced. But I've been venturing into unknown territories and came across really good finds. So my blog would now feature clothes I wore, shops where I bought them from, restaurants and just about anything I want to write about. Hopefully, since my focus is now on fashion, I'd be more diligent in writing. If the establishments I mention have websites, I'll also be posting the links.

I wasn't wearing any make up here as I was planning to apply it in the car. But I remembered that it would be night-time when church ended so we hurriedly took these photos.

                                                               Top: bYSI, pants BEBE

gold metal chain belt History of Things To Come

bag: tracy reese, 3-set rings Fashion Studio, Mao Tse Tung St., Phnom Penh

wedge sandals Vince Camuto

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Balancing Act

When I was young, I'd often hear negative comments about mothers who took pains to fix themselves up. Mothers who looked polished and dressed up turned heads in school and not in a positive way. Our society simply is more impressed with mothers and wives who really look their part, drab and oftentimes looking older than they are. Growing up, I also acquired this bias.

Fast forward to several years later and I'm in the same situation as those mothers who were whispered about. I have not actually heard negative comments about the effort I make to take care of myself but I am certain, it has raised the eyebrows of some. Those people who do not fully know me. But I am helpless against my genetic predisposition inherited from my father. My mother fit perfectly into the picture of a devoted mother, and she is. Her lipstick probably expired before she even used half of it. But it was simply because she was a simple person who found happiness in collecting plates and gardening as well as cooking great meals for us rather than in self-pampering.

At the risk of negative comments, I have continued to be who I am because this is where I find happiness While I draw the line at being self-obsessed, there is nothing wrong with a little pampering every now and then, especially if you have dutifully fulfilled your obligations to your family. We have as much responsibility to take care of ourselves as we do to our families. Let's face it, if we didn't, who would? It is a rare thing for husbands to remember to give their wives some time off to themselves for a much needed Me-time.

How one looks should not be a measure of how she performs her duties as a mother and wife. It is a tougher balancing act to be able to take care of a family and oneself than it is to take care of a family and neglect yourself. As for myself, all I can say is that being who I am is fun. I have my family who has nothing to complain about me duty-wise and I am enjoying it to the fullest being a woman.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Of Illusions

I had this grand illusion that when classes start for the kids I would be out trying different cafes in the city while reading on my Kindle. I imagined having so much time in my hands I could have my nails done weekly, visit shops which we've passed by on many occasions but I never had the chance to visit. I really believed this would happen.

The day they started school, I set my appointment for some self-pampering, body scrub and massage. I enjoyed having some me-time even though hours later I had to go back to reality of dishes to be washed and food to be cooked. The kids are now on their second week of classes and the other part of my illusion has remained just an illusion. I don't have a spare time to myself except for brief moments that I'd take a peek at Facebook, which feels like my only link to my former life with a helper and nanny for my kids.

Looking back now, I wonder how I could ever have thought it would be easier with the kids in school? Quieter and lonelier perhaps, but not easier. The chores at home didn't fly off to school too with the kids. It The mountain of clothes to be washed got higher, there's more cooking to be done for the kids' breakfast and lunch and I got sleep-deprived because I have to wake up early to prepare everything for the kids. I also had this plan every time I woke up to catch some snooze after the kids and hubby have left for school. Guess what, it never happened too.

While this may all seem sad, there is a perk that comes with the job. I get too exhausted to have the appetite to eat. But so far, this is the only one I can mention. I have to rack my brains for some other benefits of all this hard work. I can't really be too sure that there is anything more because the eyes that see haven't noticed that the bathroom floors, toilets and sinks are gleaming with cleanliness. Nor has anyone noticed that the pillows and cushions in the living room are not close falling to the floor, or that there are no dust bunnies under our beds. So maybe this is all an illusion too that I have been working.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Dreamed A Dream

Two nights ago I had a dream which I could still recall vividly when I woke up. They say you should record your dreams, and this is my way of doing it.

The scene was outside the house I grew up in. The day was cloudy but not really dark although I could sense there was a storm coming. My father (deceased) was outside too, across the street from me. Suddenly I saw that it was starting to flood at the end of our block. The water was coming from the mountain at the back of our village. I knew I had to bring my father to safety so I assisted him, with his arm over my shoulder. My father was hemiparetic when he was still alive due to a stroke. The water at the end of our block was dark and really rising fast. My father and I walked to our house but before we could reach the safety of our gate, the water was on us. We stopped to look at it. Instead of it being black and ominous and strong, the water was like a calm stream reaching almost to our knees and the color was a very clear blue-green.

Next scene. I saw an old classmate of mine scold Daughter. I went over to her and slapped her face repeatedly. I was very angry and kept shouting that she should never, ever scold my daughter. She just hung her head repentantly but I never stopped slapping her face.

2 days later and I can still recall the dream so clearly and all the emotions I felt in it. I wonder what it all means. I do know that dreaming of clear, calm water is something good. The classmate-slapping scene, it might be because I've been wanting to slap someone's face for a long time now for daring to touch my family.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Month Down

So many things have happened in the days since my last post. I'm trying to sift through the events for those which stand out. Apart from the actual events are the random thoughts that flit through my mind during most unopportuned times, like when I'm doing the laundry. After all, how much focus and attention does it take to scrub and scrub on soiled clothes? It's actually the perfect time to indulge and let my thoughts run wherever it wishes because it's when everyone else stays away. It's like having your alone time but being productive at the same time.

So, back to the events that stand out. We celebrated our "monthsary" here in Phnom Penh over a simple dinner at the cafe inside our village. I really wanted a bigger celebration because I felt we all deserved it for so many reasons. The day had already been long and well spent by doing the laundry from our trip and shopping for food supply. Hubby also had a long day at work and quite honestly, the date slipped our minds until we were parked outside hubby's office to fetch him. By then, all we wanted to do was to fill our bellies and put our feet up for a much needed rest.

Living here in Phnom Penh is a series of win-some, lose-some. When we first came to visit, we loved the place because of it's laidback lifestyle as compared to the hectic one we lived back in Manila. We envisioned more quality time spent with the kids, especially when we saw the house we are living in now. While we were aware of the difficulty we would be facing when communicating with the locals, nothing prepared us for what would eventually face us. Difficult would be an understatement. Picture this, sometimes they don't even understand each other.

I really like it though that they are promoting a sustainable tourism in the country. They have monthly magazines that not only has features on the culture but it has an extensive directory of so many things that would be informative to tourists and expats. Maps, booklets of where to dine and drink and other things that the country has to offer are all for free at hotels, bookstores, stores. Hubby and I made a goal to try a lot if not all of the restaurants in the city, and for myself, the cafes. I take the magazines and guidebooks with me whenever we go out but to my frustration, while the addresses are indicated, finding the place is like finding a needle in the haystack. Firstly, the locals don't care much for specific addresses as they use landmarks for all places. You would think a map would be useful, and usually it is, if the driver knows how to read the map. Oh, the first one should actually be number 2 because first, I have to communicate with the driver where I want to go and hope that he understands me. They have a habit of saying yes even when it means no. We've wasted hours just trying to find a specific place and end up just giving up in frustration and fit of temper. Twice, we were already on the correct street but we still couldn't find the store. Up to now we still haven't found the place where they hold a Catholic Mass. While we found the street, we couldn't find the house number. We know it's most likely a house or a building but which one is anyone's guess.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sihanoukville Vacation

Okay, so this is my first ever blog. I've been wanting to write one for sometime now but I never got around to doing it because I couldn't think of a name! So, as I said this is my first blog and what goes perfectly with it but a first of something big.

To start off, we're now currently based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia after having been uprooted from our native Philippines. If there is one thing worth mentioning about my family (who will from now on be known as Hubby, Daughter and Son), it's that we love swimming. Beach, pool, and I suspect any other sort of water where we could take a dip in. Most of our vacations are to places where we could swim. Enough about the backgrounder and on to talk about what my title says. Naturally, our very first vacation outside Phnom Penh is to the beach!

Sihanoukvilleis a 5-hour drive from Phnom Penh, though in our case it took longer than that because we had to reroute due to some flooding in National Road 4, I think. I was barely listening to our driver. The drive was uneventful aside from some beautiful pagodas we passed along the way. We were a day early for our booking at Sokha Beach and we decided to do what most tourists do, rent a cheap lodging somewhere and face whatever comes. By gut feel, I decided on Beach Road Hotel although there are quite a number of small hotels with very close proximity to the public beach too. My instincts proved correct as my choice was in a good spot with a number of bars and restaurants either beside it or across it. Now, this place has nothing remarkable about it except that the rooms are cheap and big enough for a family of 4. There was also a good sized pool and a resto-bar in front. After dinner we explored the area although we just stayed along the strip of our hotel. It felt safe and there were quite a number of people just milling about as well, Aussies, French, Brits and us. We liked how everything was just relaxed and simple and people completely uncaring of who everyone else was. We were expecting a completely different ambiance at the next hotel we were going to stay at.

So today we checked in at Sokha Beach Resort and it is a complete opposite of our previous one, it being a 5-star hotel. We've been to places before that others have raved so much about but only to be disappointed when we finally got there. Well, this place isn't one of those. I was actually looking forward to the beach because I forgot to mention above that the public beach had very fine white sand And Sokha boasts of a long strip of private beach in it's 25.3 hectares of beautifully landscaped property. Our room was right in front of the Dolphin Pool, the second one after the main hotel. After the requisite waiting time for our sunscreen to take effect, we went to the pool which was void of other swimmers. I was feeling pretty confident in my new 2-piece bikini not because I had the body for it but because I knew most of the other guests were Caucasians who couldn't care less if I had a roll of fat on my belly or dimples on my legs.

The pool was so wide with black tiles. It's actually 2 pools connected to each other, one for the kids and the other for grown-ups. But both were quite big. After a quick lunch of hotdog sandwiches brought in from outside (they aren't that strict) eaten at poolside, we headed for the beach. By this time we've had about an hour of swimming already. The beach was a 5-minute walk from our room and as we neared it, we could see huge waves crashing on the shore. For any other kid, it might have looked scary but not for Son. He actually whooped in excitement which amused some guests walking near us. I was scared deep inside but it's our practice as parents to try and let our kids explore, to some extent. And so the scared mom goes with her brave son to face the waves. We stayed near the shoreline, which in truth is where the current is actually stronger. But I dared not go farther into the water because the current was quite strong and it could pull us back in with the tide. We stood there together, hand in hand running gleefully (Son) and scared (me). He was thinking "fun" I was thinking "tsunami". Daughter though decided to just play in the sand.

As minutes passed the waves got higher and stronger. I am not sure if it's really how it is all the time but there is some typhoon from Vietnam which could be affecting the waters here as well. But we stayed on and after a while, I started to have fun too. After all, I used to love it too when I was a kid and had no awareness at all about the possibility of tidal waves. After that we headed to the swimming pool in the main building. There isn't really much to say about this as all we did was swim. We swam for 3 hours, in fact, and as I'm writing, I'm already feeling the effect on my arms and shoulders. Goodluck to me tomorrow.

I decided that we'd have dinner at The Deck which was at the beachfront, right where we played tag with the waves. Yes, it's been me making the decisions because Hubby was working. If I didn't have so much fun, I'd probably be complaining now. But then again, the kids were very easy to manage today because swimming keeps them in a happy, cooperative mood. The Deck was a very beautiful spot indeed, again, as advertised in the flyer in our hotel room. I love it when things live up to it's word. It's supposed to give a splendid view of the setting sun but owing to the weather, there was no sunset to witness and so the crashing waves had our sole attention. Even so, it was beautiful to look at, much more than a placid sea ever could look. It kept me from reading my Kindle, which says a lot. But that's for another blog.

They serve Japanese cuisine, tapas and a mix of other cuisines including Khmer food. The price was okay, a little bit pricey which was to be expected at a place like this. Oh, I just did some conversion and it's actually not that expensive after all. We ordered Honey Pork Ribs, Sticky Nachos which had a lot of mozzarella cheese, fish and chips, Boys and Girls smoothie which was soya milk based with bananas and honey and Four Seasons juice for me. All for a total of $32 which to peso value is less than P1400. So not bad! And the ambiance was priceless.

Finally the weather could not hold off the rain anymore and so it came. Thankfully we were close to finishing our dinner. The kids declared the pork ribs delicious, by the way. The tacos were good too except they couldn't eat it because it was spicy. All in all a very satisfying meal. And thus sated and with fatigue setting in, we're finally settled in our room. The bed is super king-sized and all four of us will fit in it. I think there would be some kicks coming my way tonight but as I'm as tired as the kids are, I doubt that I'd feel them. The only thing that's lacking is the massage I've been dreaming of. It's not happening tonight because Hubby isn't back yet from their function.

Tomorrow is another day. I'm hoping the weather will have improved so we can swim in the beach. As of tonight though, I can already say it's well worth the travel and I hope to come back soon. Yea, that's how nice it is here. We haven't even left yet and I'm already planning to come back. I'll find out if I can post pictures here as well. If my words can't convey the beauty of the place, maybe the pictures will.