Monday, May 30, 2011

A Li'l Something for Newlyweds

Our June issue is out now, and it's got loads and loads of tips for newlyweds! We thought of this issue because a lot of info in GH is actually useful for newbie homemakers (cleaning, cooking, budgeting, etc.). This ish includes features on easing the transition from being single to married--how to deal with in-laws, finances, and even decor ("We don't have money for new furniture!" "Help! My wife wants me to sleep in a pink bedroom!").

I do want to write a bit about our newlywed cover stars, Oyo Sotto and Kristine Hermosa. I've gotta say that this was perhaps the most kilig GH shoot ever! To be honest, I didn't recognize Oyo's appeal until I met him. Mygad, that boy is just oozing with Vic Sotto charm! Our contrib (who owns the place where we had the shoot) remarked, "Nung kinausap na niya ako, sabi ko, 'Bakit ako kinikilig?'" ("When he spoke to me, I wondered, 'Why am I getting all giddy?'") And the way he looks at his wife--sigh. It's like he's ready to commit bloody murder just to protect her. He's so completely in love. I can't describe it fully--it's not cheesy at all, since he's still so manly. Haha. And She's breathtaking. She looks like a doll! It was hard not to stare. They make such a beautiful couple!

We've still got lots for our long-time readers. If you've got a school-age kid, you might want to start thinking about his or her high school options--there's more to high school in the Philippines than public schools and the typical private Catholic school. (I'm not knockin' em--I'm a product of an all-girls' Catholic school. But there are other options.) Administrators and alumni of different types of schools give the low-down on what it's like to go to a science high school, an arts high school (yes, there is such a thing), a multiple-intelligence school, an international school, a special education school. We even feature home-schooling.

And because Father's Day is coming up, we also have a few gift ideas for the special guy in your life.

Sooo many other features, and all for just a hundred bucks! Grab a copy now!:)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mankind's Only Hope

Heartbreak. That's the only way I could describe what I felt in the dying seconds of Game 5 of the Eastern Finals. I seriously teared up when my beloved Bulls were eliminated. I was stunned. I was pained. It's not just that I'm anti-Miami (Wade, Bosh, I got nothin' against you. I have issues with that other guy). I am truly a Bulls fan. And not just a bandwagon fan. When D-Rose was a rookie, I saw something in him that I really liked, and so I've had a soft spot for his team. This game will haunt him for sure.

Ugh. I'm still not over it.

Anyway, now, our only hope is this guy...

Please, Dirk, play like you've been playing. Shake off 2006. Save us from the King. He'll most likely get a ring eventually. But please, not just yet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My "Aha!" Moment

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey ended her show's 25-year run. (And she never missed a day of work!) Her final show was devoid of fanfare, free stuff, and celebrity guests. It was simply Oprah. Sadly, I didn't get to watch it (hoping one of the local channels would show it some time), but I did get to read her love letter to us, her viewers. Some of the things that struck me:

"What I knew for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing. We saw it in the volunteers who rocked abandoned babies in Atlanta. We saw it with those lovely pie ladies from Cape Cod making those delicious pot pies... We saw it every time Tina Turner, Celine, Bocelli, or Lady Gaga lit up the stage with their passion. Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world."

It made me realize that anyone, no matter what his or her background, has the capacity to do something magical. When one finds what he or she is meant to do, and embraces it fully, amazing things happen. Oprah happens!

"Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it's 20 people, maybe it's 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You're letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have.

"My great wish for all of you who have allowed me to honor my calling through this show is that you carry whatever you're supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don't waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world."

I think today, I have a greater understanding of my job and my responsibility. I am at the helm of a magazine that reaches thousands and thousands of women every month, part of the bigger Good Housekeeping family that reaches 25 million readers a month. While I've always known that I have this amazing platform, today I have a renewed commitment to "use my life to serve the world."

Perhaps one of the most touching things she said involved feelings of unworthiness--a common thread among viewers and guests throughout her 25 years.

"There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness... We often block our own blessings because we don't feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough... The show has taught me you're worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough."

I teared up as I read her words. Like many, when we ask for things, or long for things, or have secret dreams of what we want our lives to be like, it doesn't come without some guilt. How could such good things possibly come into my life? Have I done enough to deserve them? But today, I know: I am worthy. We are all worthy. Thank you, Oprah, for showing me that.

And now, on to greatness.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

Perhaps one of the hardest things about playing disc is keeping your cool.

See, ultimate has this thing called "Spirit of the Game," which differentiates it from other sports. There are no officials; players are expected to know the rules and adhere to them, all in the name of sportsmanship and fair play.

Thing is, some rules may seem ambiguous (i.e., kind of open to interpretation), and some players may not know the rules by heart. So naturally, there are points of contention on the field. Our captain often tells us, "Huwag tayong magagalit pag may tawag. May karapatan silang tumawag (Let's not get mad when someone makes a call. They have a right to make a call)." Similarly, he reminds us to likewise stay calm when we feel like we have been the victim of a violation.

And therein lies one of the biggest challenges. More than the memorization of rules and the proper execution of plays, it's the keeping-one's-temper-in-check that, I think, requires remarkable skill. How do you stop yourself from flaring up when you feel like the person in front of you is attacking you with words (and, sometimes, hand gestures)? How do you manage to speak in a steady, even tone when another player is aggressively, almost violently, stating his case? How do you keep from getting pikon when the other person just won't listen?

Honestly, I'm still learning. Lately, I find that I'm better able to rein in my quick temper and sometimes quicker tongue. (Maybe it comes with age.) But I've got a long way to go. Maybe I should do more yoga.

How do you control your temper when faced with hostility?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recipe: Tilapia for Dummies

My sister-in-law shared her secret to cooking the easiest tilapia dish ever: Nuke it!

Tilapia for the Time-Strapped Misis


2 pcs medium-size tilapia
Rock salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
  1. Clean fish. (I can't, for the life of me, clean fish, so I had the dude at the seafood section do it for me.)
  2. Make slits along the body. Rub with rock salt.
  3. Place in deep, microwave-proof dish. Top with chopped tomatoes and onions.
  4. Cover and microwave on medium high for 15 minutes.
  5. Squeeze lemon over fish before serving. Done!
P.S. It's a little jarring cooking something with eyes.:s

Saturday, May 14, 2011

10 Things

Leahleur tagged me agessss ago--I'm supposed to write about 10 things that I love. So, ta-dah!

1. Books. I can’t claim to be well-read, because far too many people have read many, many more books than I have. But I love getting lost in the pages of an engaging book. My love affair with reading started with the Mr. Men and Little Miss books, with bible stories and Childcraft. By the time I was in second grade, I was reading hard-cover Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Then it was Sweet Valley Twins (not so much High) and Newberry Award-winning books. In college, sadly, I fell behind on reading (to give you an idea of where my time went: I spent more hours in a dance studio than in a classroom). I did, however, start reading Harry Potter then--people would give me weird looks as I was in line during registration (a college student reading a children’s book?). Then when I started a career in writing, I plunged right back into reading.

So many books, so little time. I’m not great at picking books though—I normally ask for recommendations. My genre of choice: magical realism (GGM, I heart you). I also love stories set in the past, and I try to read classics in between contemporary selections.

2. Iced tea. I’m addicted. Ever since I started working, I would have iced tea practically every day. It's my version of coffee. It really adds up, so I’ve taken to bringing my own flask of iced tea (a blend of Nestea and Strawberry Kool-Aid). My current favourite: All My Tea, which has hints of calamansi and vanilla.

3. Dancing. I often wonder what my life would be like if I had had proper dance training when I was younger. And I sometimes think that I was born too early…this dance boom comes 10 years after I got into it. During my time, jazz/modern dance was the prevailing style; now, it’s my beloved hip-hop.

Hmm, haven't attended dance class in a while...

4. Good food. I used to have a blog about food, and friends often ask me for restaurant recommendations. I would think twice about buying a new dress, but rarely do I think twice about having a good meal. It's the reason why I never have been, and most probably never will be, skinny!

5. Underwear! I CANNOT wear underwear that doesn't match. It used to be that they had to be a set, but now I can do coordinates. Haha. People sometimes don't get why I'm willing to spend money on stuff others can't really see. But seriously, having a nice set of undies underneath gives you a little somethin'-somethin'. If I were loaded, I would buy me some La Perla!

6. Milk. I really pile on the liquid calories (another reason I'm not skinny). I drink milk practically every day, so every time I have that bone density test, my numbers are literally off the charts—one time, the tester had to draw an extended line and extra numbers just to plot where I was on the bone density number line. My milk of choice is Magnolia Low-Fat. I’d love it even more if it still came in old-school bottles!

7. Marriage. It’s not for everybody, but it’s most definitely for me! Marriage totally rocks. Or, well, marriage to the right person totally rocks!

8. Planning baby showers, bridal showers, weddings... My teammates joke that my specialty is "KBL": kasal, binyag, libing (weddings, baptisms, funerals). I've planned a number of baby showers, and I love making decorations (the one above is for a football-themed one after the World Cup) and thinking of games. I've hired striptease teachers for bachelorette parties. And just over the weekend, I helped a friend coordinate a wedding.

9. Traveling. If I had the moolah, I would spend most of my time traveling. I love the change of scenery (and weather), experiencing a different culture, trying out all sorts of food. Traveling with my husband is even better!

New York City kind of feels like my second home, even though my visits only last about a couple of weeks. I constantly miss it. But my absolute favorite place in the world (so far) is Capri, Italy. In the book Neither Here Nor There, Bill Bryson writes that he fell "spectacularly, hopelessly, and permanently in love with Italy" while he was in Capri. It was nice having my feelings validated. Haha. The place is just utterly charming, and it makes my heart ache when I think about how much I want to go back.

10. Disc. It’s a sport I started playing in 2005. I joined my first tournament in late 2007, my first provincial tourney in 2009, and will (hopefully) be joining my first tournament abroad next month!

I'm tagging EVERYBODEH! What are your 10 favorite things? Leave a comment or send me a link!

Photo sources: books, dance, disc, iced tea, steak, milk, lingerie, Capri

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Manny Pacquiao Saved Me

November 13, 2010. I had just arrived at JFK International Airport in New York and was standing at the immigration counter. I had just been in NY a few months before, so I thought this would be nothing more than the routine finger-printing and photo-taking. And then...

“Uh-oh,” said the woman behind the counter, as she double-checked the screen. In under no circumstance could I think of “Uh-oh” heralding something good. She asked if my middle name was...something that wasn't my middle name. I said no. She proceeded to stuff my passport and some documents into a folder.

“Come with me,” she said, as she stepped out of her booth. I fell into step beside her, trying to quell the panic rising in my gut.

“Is there a problem?” I asked as casually as I could, trying not to let my voice squeak.

“You have the same name as a fugitive,” she replied solemnly. She lowered her voice, saying, “I'm not even supposed to be telling you this much.” We plodded on in silence.

She brought me to a holding room; one side was lined with chairs, the opposite side had a long counter. Behind the counter were all these hulking security men. If this were a movie, they would all be played by the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel. Immigration Lady handed my papers over to one of them, and told me to take a seat before heading out the door.

I sat by myself and waited. I caught snippets of the security guys' conversation—they were talking about the Spartacus series—and tried to stay calm. I thought about WWJBD--What Would Jason Bourne Do in this situation. Minutes went by, and finally, one of the men, wearing a stern expression, motioned for me to come forward.

I took my place in front of him at the counter, feeling even smaller than my 5-foot-1 frame. It didn't help that the counters were elevated, so he was literally looking down at me. He shuffled through my papers, glanced at my passport, and said:

“Do you like boxing?”

For a couple of terrifying seconds, the wildest thoughts raced through my head (e.g., “Is my namesake highly trained in hand-to-hand combat?”). And then I remembered what day it was...

“Oh, the fight!” I said like an idiot, after realizing why he had asked (Philippine passport!). We talked a little about that night's main event. I asked him if he was rooting for Manny Pacquiao. He was. He was!

After about a minute of conversation, he closed the folder and handed me my passport. “You can go now,” he said in a pleasant voice. “And good luck!” Whether it was meant for my fellow Filipino, or for me and my unfortunate name, I didn't quite know.

So Manny Pacquiao kind of has a special place in my heart. More than being our pambansang kamao, he helped me—fugitive's name and all—get through immigration!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wardrobe Update

This week has just been about work, work, work, and disc, disc, disc. (In true last-minute kaladkarin fashion, I decided to join my first international tournament, and am just cramming as much training as I can into five weeks.) Worked til midnight one day, did a radio tour, and had to give some welcome remarks at a Marionnaud event at the Mall of Asia.

With the Marionnaud reps, my friend Macky (Isabel) Roces, Maritoni Fernandez, Jackilou Blanco, and Maricel Laxa

For said event, I was asked to wear something floral. This, and the royal wedding viewing party, made me realize that I need a more well-rounded wardrobe. I don't have anything that's garden party- and tea party-appropriate! So, in line with GH's "Keep? Toss? Buy?" feature this month, I'm trying to figure out what items I need to purchase. My list so far:
  • Nude wedges
  • An LBD (I have a lot of black dresses, but none of them look cocktail-y)
  • TV guesting-worthy dresses
  • More flats! My poor Celine ones are suffering from overuse. (Try spending a day at a shoot in four-inch heels.)
What do you need to complete your wardrobe?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our May Cover Girl Is...

Top from H&M. Cover girl wanted to borrow it for the shoot.

Actually, no. That's just me, behind the scenes, wearing the cover girl's watch for safekeeping!

This month marks Mother's Day, a day meant to remind us of the women who gave birth to us, raised us, and lovingly put up with all our crap imperfections. And so, this month we honor those ladies with our Mother's Day Special, one of our biggest issues of the year!

Cover photo by Sara Black. Makeup by Marie Calica. Hair by Elaine Ganuelas. Styling by Jasmine Mendiola. This cover story marks the first time that the Power of Three (i.e., Runner's World EIC Marie, Martha Stewart Weddings former EIC Tata Mapa, and myself) officially worked together!

We've got Ballsy Aquino Cruz on the cover for the first time! This cover story (written by Tata Mapa) tells you who she is, beyond being a former president's daughter, and sister to our current president as well as to the queen of endorsements. She talks a lot about things she learned from her mom, which leads me to one of our features: "What I Learned from My Mom"--the best advice that celebs' moms gave them. A sampling:

"As a woman, make sure you're still independent. So no matter what happens, you can support yourself." —KC Concepcion, actress and singer

"I wouldn't be who I am if not for my mom. She always told me I was beautiful so it didn't matter that other children said I was ugly. My mother said I was beautiful, and I believed her. I know myself best, so why should I let myself be affected by what others say? I know who I am. And I wouldn't gotten to where I am if not for my mom. Now everything I do, I do for her." —Venus Raj, Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2010

"Always keep in mind that whatever you're going through, be strong!" —Gerald Anderson, actor

Other features:

*Makeup for your face shape! We've all heard about clothes to fit your body type, but this feature is all about working with your face shape, whether yours is round, square, oval, heart-shaped, or oblong. (Which one are you? Got any special makeup tricks?)
*Keep? Toss? Buy? We sent our fashion editor and a stylist over to six readers' homes. They went through the mommies' closets to help them figure out which items could stay, and which have got to go! (We found out that a lot of ladies have unflattering 90s-style horizontal-striped shirts...)
*Little Girls Gone Wild—I don't know about you, but it kinda bothers me when I see girls who haven't hit puberty winding and grinding on local TV, wearing the skimpiest outfits. It just seems...wrong. Worried that your little girl (or niece, or sister...) is acting way too, well, wild? Read this!
*Back-to-School Prep Guide—It's weird. One minute it was the start of summer, the next, it's winding down (yet still sweltering, gah)! It feels like kids have just graduated and are just starting to get into the groove of their vaycay, and here we are, talking about going back to school. But here at GH, we like to be prepared. There are things you can do now so you won't have to worry about them in June--and so you'll avoid the last-minute back-to-school scramble.
*Food! As always, we've got lotsa recipes, including budget recipes starting at P22!

...And so much more! (Forgive me, I'm on Home TV Shopping mode!) All for just a hundred bucks. Available at newsstands, supermarkets, and wherever else magazines are sold.:)

P.S. Mommies! Dine out on Mother's Day and get a GH tote bag! Check out the May issue/our Facebook page for details.:)