Coffee and Family Time at Olive Cafe

Happy New Year! 🙂

We’re well into the middle of January and it is just now that I got to sit and write my first post for this year. It’s been quite busy during the holidays and I have enjoyed spending time with the family. And if only I have the opportunity to spend the rest of the month on vacation, I would have done so. But then, you know, reality comes knocking and it was time to come back to the big metro and start with a revised routine for this year.

We spent New Year at home along with some of my cousins and their families. It was the first time in a long time that we got together to greet the New Year together. We had bonfire in front of the house, too, which we haven’t done for almost twenty years. It was indeed fun! And since everybody was tired from all the midnight festivities, each of us spent January first in our own way. For me and my family, it was just spent chilling at home. It was too hot during the day but got a lot cooler late in the afternoon. Everybody was just too lazy to go out.

But being cooped in the house for several days prior to New Year’s day, my Mom and I decided to go out on the second day and enjoy the afternoon watching the little boy run around in the park which he truly enjoyed. It was an impromptu decision to have either coffee or dinner to which my youngest brother suggested a few places. And since Olive Cafe is something new to me (well, I haven’t tried the place yet), I opted that we get coffee there instead because nobody was really that hungry for a heavy evening dinner.

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Olive Cafe is the restaurant of Venus Parkview Hotel in Baguio City. It is along Kisad Road, fronting the Burnham Children’s Park. It’s got a cozy ambiance, perfect for relaxed dinner with family and friends. It’s got a veranda as well for those wanting an alfresco type dining experience. I was not able to take a photo of the place but this is how the inside of the cafe looks like. Those are actually glass doors leading to the veranda.

from TripAdvisor

While waiting for our order, we were given a complimentary basket of assorted breads with balsamic vinegar and blueberry jam.

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My Mom ordered pancit canton for her and the little boy. It was only at Php165 and is already good for 2-3 persons. It was a little bit salty for me but could be remedied with calamansi. Apart from that, this tasted good. The little boy ate a lot, too.

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Pancit canton for Php165, good for 2-3 persons

My brother ordered the mushroom burger and beer. I forgot to take a photo of it before it got eaten but was lucky enough to remember to take a photo before my brother finished everything off. LOL! I forgot how much this one was, though, but it was big. My brother said it was yummy and I trust his judgement there. 🙂

Mushroom burger

Mushroom burger

My Mom, sister and I ordered coffee, too. And it was really cute that they have coffee art for every cup they serve. Here’s my Mom’s cappuccino:

Coffee art :)

Coffee art 🙂

We also ordered pizza – a 16″ margherita pizza which I forgot to take a photo of (again) because when it was served, we were well into a discussion with our cousin who worked at the hotel. 🙂

with our cousin, Billy :)

with our cousin, Billy 🙂

I was supposed to order cakes after the little boy finished eating but then our cousin gave us 2 complimentary, yummy cakes: the blueberry cheesecake is so delicious, it is such a match for a strong brewed coffee.

blueberry cheesecake

blueberry cheesecake

I also loved this choco moist cake because it was indeed very moist, light and it wasn’t sweet. This is another great pair of coffee.

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It was below 20 degrees Celsius that evening but I opted to be seated at the veranda. The cold was actually tolerable since it wasn’t a windy night. It was pleasant. 🙂 According to my cousin, the veranda has a great view of all the fireworks display during major events. You could see SM City Baguio on the right side and the City Hall was on the left. In the middle was the Melvin Jones Ground. So when there are synchronized fireworks display (as what has been done before), you could see all of it light up the sky while sitting there and enjoying your cup of coffee. 🙂 Too bad there wasn’t any fireworks display that night though. 😀

So, here’s what I like about Olive Cafe:

  • The location is accessible. Since we were at the park prior to dinner time, we need not take a cab to get there. It only took us a few minutes to walk the distance. A lot of taxis pass by the area as well so, on off-peak normal Baguio days, it is easy to take a cab from there.
  • I like the ambiance of the place. It has a simple elegance to it but not in an intimidating way. I love the veranda, too. I love the table, by the way. LOL! It sort of gives a warm feeling even if the evening was cold because it was clean and, so far, I haven’t seen any cracks or scratches on it. They also have wicker chairs for their outdoor seating which were really comfortable.
  • I love the cakes! Those are actually big ones and it is good for sharing. One cake could be for 2-4 persons, depending on how fond of cakes you are. 😛
  • Their food servings are generous. And the prices are very reasonable, too. It was actually surprising because they don’t have overpriced food unlike other hotels. You could actually go on a date there with only Php500 to spend. For 5 cups of coffee, 1 bottle of beer, 16″ pizza, pancit canton, and the mushroom burger, I only paid about Php900. I kid you not on this one.
  • Their staff were very polite, too. But more on that in a while.

Of course, if there were things that I liked, there were also things that I think would need improvement.

  • Service. We called one of the staff so we could place our order. We mentioned coffee first then she suddenly turned around to get it. We still had a few things to order so I had to call her back so I could give it to her. It would have been nice if she introduced herself, greeted customers good evening (or morning or day, for that matter), took our orders then asked if it would be all prior to verifying our order placed before leaving our table. Basic table service, to say the least. She was polite and smiling though. The other staff, when we called him to place another order, wrote down our orders on his palm! I’m serious! He came by our table without his order sheet (is this what it’s called?). But again, he was polite.
  • Lack of pizza platters. When we ordered our pizza, they had to cut two large pieces of wax paper and placed it on the table and used that to serve the pizza. I was really surprised when they did that. From what I gather, they didn’t have any pizza platters yet and are still deciding which to purchase. So hopefully, the next time we go there, the pizza would be on a pizza platter already. 🙂
  • Time. Given that there not much customers around that night (about 3-4 tables occupied including ours), the time it took for our order to arrive was longer than usual that we had to make a few follow ups before it arrived. I remember there was an event that night as well at the grand ballroom so I didn’t know if that had any impact on this one. We were almost done eating the complimentary breads before pancit canton arrived and we even took our time eating it. My cousin even had to help follow up some of our orders! Yikes!

All in all, it was a fun, relaxed night spent with the family (albeit missing one brother since he was busy). I enjoyed catching up with our cousin, too. He is a cousin on the side of my Dad which we rarely spend time with (unlike with my cousins on my mother’s side). Will I go back to this place? Well, their coffee is decent, I love their cakes, they have a veranda perfect for watching fireworks display – what more could I ask for? Of course, I will go back to this place and hopefully, their service will improve by then. 🙂

Thank you, Billy, for the cakes! I really enjoyed them. 🙂

Since Olive Cafe is located inside the Venus Parkview Hotel and you want to try checking in at this hotel whenever you get to Baguio, you may check for more information at their website: http://www.venusparkviewhotel.com/

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.

The Year That Was: Of Changes and Transitions

This is not going to be the same review that I used to do the previous years especially since I couldn’t really identify something that stood out within each month. LOL!

Anyway, on a more serious note, 2016 has been a trying year for me. When they said that 2016 was a year of changes and transitions, well heck, they weren’t kidding. This was probably the most trying year, the year with the hardest challenges, the year that brought so many transitions it was really hard to keep up. This year was also the most frustrating one for me.

The Challenges and Transitions

This year, I have transitioned from being a weekend mom to being a full-time, working mom. Weekend mom, per my definition, is playing mommy to my son every weekend because it was only the weekends that I used to spend time with my little boy. Being a weekend mom didn’t really make that much of a change in my schedules before. My usual routine only got disrupted if my son was confined and I needed to go home to  look after him. However, February of this year, I was able to bring my son with me to the big metro since I was able to get a stay-in nanny for him who agreed to stay in the big metro with us. That transition was actually a bit scary because that I had to make so many adjustments in our living arrangements as well as my schedule. No more working late hours because a little boy was waiting for me at home, no more sleeping until it was about time to prepare for work because I now have a little boy that I need to take care of before I leave. I’ve been running on about 4 hours sleep each day especially during therapy days and only get to sleep a bit longer if there were no urgent tasks needed to be done in the mornings.

Even my finances had to be adjusted big time. I had to cut down on my fancy coffee budget to almost none, taxi fare has been cut down to half as well, even eating out needed to be trimmed down to about once or twice a month. I never expected that having 3 persons in the house – with 1 being a toddler, would mean triple my usual food and grocery budget. LOL! That was a big adjustment for me. Making financial adjustments meant cutting down on most of the conveniences that I’ve enjoyed previously. I had to learn how to be frugal but at the same time, making sure that we had everything that we needed.

Another big transition would be at work. While I got promoted early in the year, functional-wise, I felt demoted. LOL! I guess this year, I have reached my limits professionally. I was too stressed at work, I felt like I have no growth any longer, I have never really felt supported. This year forced me to assess where I am and where I wanted to be in my career. While I have never written things down, I still have every single thought in my head about the pros and cons of staying and jumping ship. It’s almost the end of the year and I am nowhere near any clear decisions just yet. I guess, career-wise, I am looking for something more. Something that will keep the passion for excellence burning and not just trying to achieve mediocre targets. And I think that was one of the things why I have been feeling so low at work. I felt that I am no longer able to give excellent results and it is actually so hard to try and motivate myself to do my best. And the only thing that I can think of is that: I am so burned out already. And probably that was the bottomline of it all.

I also almost gave up this blog this year. I was having such a hard time coming up with ideas on what to blog, hence a lot of my blabbers and random thoughts that, most of the time, didn’t really make any sense. I was quite disheartened to really continue to blog given that I’ve seen a lot of so-called bloggers (even proud to call themselves as one) but checking their blogs, oh man, content-wise, there was no grammar checks done, photos posted are all over the place… It’s just a mess to look at basically. I do not have a perfect blog. I myself have grammatical errors that I missed correcting after every posts but I try my best to write with correct grammar and making sure that the lay out of every post is good and up to par. Everybody who sets up a blog nowadays call themselves bloggers regardless of the posts they make so it really made me think why the hell I’m still blogging and trying to make it work?

This year, our grandmother died as well. We’ve been in a matriarchal clan for almost 20 years (since my grandfather died), and losing our grandmother so close to the end of the year was so unexpected. We were all hoping that we would still spend this year’s holidays with her and we were all trying to make arrangements to ensure that everyone in the family could come and celebrate the festivities with her for probably the last holiday. Unfortunately, there were other plans for her. She was reunited with our grandfather towards the end of November.

2016 made me look into myself deeper. And it was a painful process. The lack of motivation to work, to need to look for better opportunities, the need to reassess where I am and where I messed up, the realization that somehow I failed somewhere and needed to identify so I could correct it, on top of waking up each day and fulfilling my role as a mom, a career woman and as an employer (to my son’s nanny, that is) has been the hardest experiences that I’ve gone through in my three decades of living on this planet. I’ve had too many sleepless nights, crying myself to sleep at times, trying to find ways to make it through the next day, the next week, the next month. I needed to acknowledge the fact that there were things that I needed to start letting go and there were things that I needed to acknowledge that I needed in order to grow.

Still Grateful

While I really see 2016 as my hellish year, I still try to look at the good side of things. And while it was the hardest transition so far, I am really grateful every single day that I get to wake up each day and see my son beside me. I was able to watch him grow, I was able to see his developmental progress, I was given the opportunity to be a mommy to him.

While my finances suffered big time this year, I am grateful that, with all the budget cuts I made, I have learned how to be resourceful and learned the ropes in managing my finances. I am also grateful that because of this, I was forced to spend time in the kitchen and start cooking. LOL! Well, like I said before, I can cook but I am not a great one. And cooking during the weekends and seeing my son eat whatever I cook and even getting compliments from my son’s nanny about my cooking, it felt really good.

This year, I turn 10 years at work as well. How the hell did that happen? I never really expected that I will last this long in any company for that matter so spending 10 long years of my career life in a single company is already a milestone in itself. While my career journey has been chaotic and unpredictable for the past few years, I am grateful for all the learning opportunities that came my way. I have also experienced working for the greatest boss that I’ve had yet.

I am also grateful for family and friends who have provided support one way or another this year. I don’t need to name them, they all know who they are anyway. I am really thankful to have them as they have been my sound board, my backup, and just basically the crutches that I need during the hard times.

And of course, I have been grateful for the blogging opportunities I’ve had this year. Probably if not for those opportunities, I would have laid this blog to rest already. LOL! I might not call myself a blogger since I am not yet at par with the great bloggers out there, but I guess having the opportunities that I’ve had this year, I am on my way to being a legit one. Haha!

I am also grateful for all the learning opportunities that I’ve been given this year, both personally and professionally. I’ve had great takeaways from all the workshops and seminars I’ve attended and I hope that I will be able to put them all into practice.

Looking Forward

I don’t know what 2017 will bring nor do I know what will happen, but, armed with everything I have learned about myself this year and being able to get through the toughest of times, I know that the next year will be so much greater and better in all things.

I look forward to a better year with greater opportunities in all aspects, new learning – hey, maybe I can learn to become a better baker, who knows? LOL!, I also look forward to greater abundance, greater health (mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally), clearer goals, and mostly, I look forward to becoming a better mommy to my little boy. Hey, who knows, maybe 2017 will also bring me Mr. Right! Hahaha! I am definitely not closing any doors on that one. 😛

So, to 2017, may it be filled with greater love, prosperity, better health, greater joy, unexpected blessings, the best opportunities yet to come. May 2017 be a new year with a smoother journey for this tired, control-freak momma who is still trying to figure out her way into the chaotic world of mommyhood and all things in between.

Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂

 

Christmas Is Here Again

It’s already the 24th on this side of the world and it is just now that I am posting something Christmas-y. It’s been a chaotic start of the month and with all the appointments crammed before the holidays, well, I didn’t have time left to sit down and totally write something cohesive.

Anyway, I’ve put up the tree in my apartment a few days into November. Given that we won’t be spending the holidays in the big metro, I opted to have the tree up a month earlier than I usually do just so we can have something to look forward to. And besides, the little boy loved watching the lights.

My 3-year old tree :)

My 3-year old tree 🙂

I never really decorated my crib before I had little Z. But 3 years ago, a few days before the little boy’s eye surgery, my Mom and I decided to get a tree complete with lights. He was fascinated with the play of lights back then and knowing that after his surgery and his eyes have been rehabilitated, he would enjoy watching the lights more. And we were never wrong on that one. Since then, I have been putting up a tree every Christmas. Though my Mom’s tree looks a lot better.

My Mom's Christmas tree

My Mom’s Christmas tree

See? 🙂

Speaking of lights. Since I was not able to bring the little boy to watch the lights in Ayala Triangle during his first December (with all the doctor’s appointments and preparation for his surgery, it was not really feasible to do so), I made a promise to myself to bring him there the succeeding year. So, since 2014, I have been bringing the little boy to Ayala Triangle to watch the light show every December. And his fascination with the lights never fades.

Fascinated

Fascinated

It’s been his third year to watch the lights already and every single time, he is totally absorbed whenever the music is played and the lights started dancing. Watching him is such a joy, really. By next year, I will be bringing the little boy to this place again to watch the lights. And I have found out a few more places where there are light shows every December that I didn’t know about. I’ll plan that out for next year, that’s for sure. Since we are already here in the mountain city, I am hoping to be able to visit a couple of places for the little boy to watch the lights again. Problem is transportation, though. Traffic in the mountain city is horrible this time of the year. Hopefully, we will be able to go visit in the next couple of days.

One tradition that I have every Christmas for so long (I can’t remember when I started but definitely it started when I was still in grade school), is to give gifts. No matter how big the item or how small, I just love wrapping something up and giving it to my family. My gift giving started with my family – parents and siblings. Then I included some cousins, my grandmother, etc. When we grew older and my cousins started having babies, my gift list would mainly contain the nephews and nieces. Until now, actually. I always set a budget for gifts every Christmas. The feeling that I am able to give something actually makes me feel good. And this is a practice that I would like to impart to the little boy. Gifts need not be expensive, you know. I try to stick with a certain budget allotted and sometimes, the struggle of trying to find the perfect gift that would be within the budget is a real challenge. Though, I must admit, it brings out the creativity at the same time, it is fun. I never expect to receive anything during the holidays, and in the occasions that I do, it kinda feels a bit awkward. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t know how to react when somebody gives me something. Haha! Oh well.

Partial list done

Partial list done

So, one day to go before Christmas. Are you ready yet? 🙂 I only have one more left in my list that’s missing a gift. I think I can still get him something tomorrow, crossing fingers there. The little boy’s gifts are all wrapped and ready for distribution. I am not sure though what my brother would cook for the midnight feast though I think he will cook pasta.

Okay, I think I will end this one here for now. I need to get a few hours of sleep before the no sleep day arrives again. 🙂

 

 

Blabber Chapter: I’ll Be Home for Christmas…

Today is my last day at work. For this year, that is. 😛 I am now officially on vacation. Yipee! But wait, I still have to tidy up my crib, fold and stow away the laundry, wash the dishes, pack a few more things and make sure that everything is secured before I leave.

Maybe this is the one thing that I really hate doing come this time of year. All that packing and tidying and wrapping up work stuff, it is exhausting. Add to it the last minute shopping and other errands that I need to do, the only thing that I would love to do is to sleep. Sleep and dream about the crib tidying up by itself then waking up with everything in its own place, all neat and tidy. If only!

I still have about 6 hours, give or take, to finish everything. And here I am, typing away instead of starting with all the tasks I need to tick off my list. LOL! Can I have another day instead? Unfortunately, I can’t. I have a ticket reservation for my trip and rescheduling that at this time of the year would be like going through hell. Nah, that’s a bit of exaggeration. It’s more like spending probably the whole day at the terminal waiting for a bus to chance upon. And given that my ticket is for a first class ride which has limited schedules available, well, goodluck if I would be able to chance a ride on a different schedule. I might be ending up on a regular bus ride which would now probably take a good whole day on the road before I reach my destination. No, thanks!

So, I’ve got a big duffel bag full of gifts for almost everyone, my ever reliable backpack still needs to be properly packed, and I still need another bag for a few more things that I need to bring with me.

Speaking of checklists, I need to go through the list one more time to make sure I got everything covered. Given that I will be away for about 3 weeks (yep, I have quite a longer vacation this time), I need to make sure that I will have everything that the little boy and I would need.

I already brought the little boy home over the weekend so it’s just been me since Monday. It’s been really lonely without the little boy wrecking havoc to this place. But being on my own for the past few days gave me a little bit of time to get a few things done. Not a lot as I would have wanted to, but I still got a few things done. I just can’t wait to be with the little boy again, though.

Okay, enough of this blabber of mine. I need to start getting my ass off this couch and start working if I ever want to get anything done. And in a few hours, I will be on the road going home. Well, I won’t be sleeping tonight so I’ll get a few zzz’s on the road instead.

I will definitely be home for Christmas, that is for sure! 🙂

Mommies Get Gifts Too…

Not counting the yearly tradition of gift exchange we have in the family, it’s been years since I have joined any gift exchange activities with a group. So when Mommy Bloggers Philippines came up with a gift exchange activity this year, #MBPGiftSwap, I eagerly signed up because it is the first time that I got to experience gift exchange activity without meeting the recipient of my gift. Gifts were shipped to recipients and I got to ship my gift to someone down south. I really found that cool! 🙂 Another reason why I joined? Because mommas get gifts, too, during the holidays! Right?

The theme for the exchange was to give something that will somewhat represent me and/or my blog and that my gift exchange partner would appreciate. While I have only met a handful of the mommies of #MommyBloggersPH and got to interact with the others via comment exchanges, I didn’t really know what these mommas would like. There goes my dilemma. It was somewhat a eureka moment that I was able to come up with something that quite represents me and my blog. My idea almost flopped because I had to figure out a way how to ship it and ensure that it gets delivered intact. And boy, was I glad that it arrived in one piece and that my recipient loved it! My gift swap partner was Maan Laxa of joyfulmess.com.

I also received a gift from another mommy blogger, too. 🙂 To be honest, while I love giving gifts (all wrapped by moi), I rarely receive wrapped gifts on any occasions. And those few times that I do, I really enjoy unwrapping them. I love the excitement of finding out what was underneath all the pretty wrapping. 🙂

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I got to open this on a Saturday morning, while my brain was still asleep from a night of partying (it was our company’s Christmas party). So I didn’t really made any guesses as to what the gift was.

My first reaction when I got to see what was hiding inside that pretty wrapping? I laughed. I was happy I really laughed. You see, I’ve been trying to get my hands on this pretty thing eversince I have seen one but I was a bit hesitant to buy it given that I already was aiming for a different planner (I am an avid Starbucks planner collector for a long time now 🙂 ). Because, really, what would one do with multiple planners anyway? Well, there was one year when I had 3 planners! LOL!

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Finally! I have one of this pretty, pretty planner! And I really love it. So, thank you so much, Mhaan Delos Santos of www.mommyrockininstyle.com. Given the chaotic schedule that I try to keep, this planner would really help me organize the things that I need to get done. I can classify my things to do – from the little boy’s doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, my own personal appointments and all that. Oh, and I can now write down my goals and read them every now and then (not just thinking about them then forget about it).

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I have met Mhaan on a few events but I never got the chance to chat with her. Her blog, www.mommyrockininstyle.com, is about her experiences as a wife, mother and of course, her love for things kikay by being a make-up artist. Cool, eh? I hope we can get together sometime, Mhaan, and maybe teach me how to wear make-up. 🙂

One thing that I love about this gift swap activity of MBP? Somehow, with all the schedules we have with our own lives, we still get this chance to connect with other mommas out there. There’s no need to leave the comforts of our homes to get to know these mommies at a time like this (hello, horrible traffic everywhere!) but at the same time, by going through each other’s blogs, we get to know another person and somehow connect in a way that would be so much different when we meet them in person. Of course, meeting these lovely mommas in person would really be great, but given all the busy schedules each one of us have, it’s not really easy organizing one. And I applaud Mommy Bloggers Philippines for coming up with ways for us moms to get to know each other even if we seldom see each other. Kudos, MBP!

Mommy Bloggers Philippines Gift Swap 2016 is brought to us by the following sponsors:

Contadina
Tupperware
Lorenzana Lorins Patis and Lorins Bagoong Alamang Guisado
myPhone watch
VillaDelConte chocolates
Arla
Poetry Magnets

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very lovely New Year, mommas! 🙂

Learning How To Be Mindful

I have been wanting to sign up for Mommy Mundo’s Mindful Moms Re-treat ever since it started. However, I always had conflict of schedules with the previous sessions. So when I saw the last run for this year, I grabbed the opportunity and signed up for the afternoon session because, being the nocturnal person that I am, I could not pull myself off the bed to move so early in the morning. LOL!

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I was so happy that I was able to attend because this is what I needed at this point in time as I am feeling burnt out already. I’ve been doing so much in so little time that I was no longer getting anything done at all. I’m already exhausted but I still keep pushing because at the back of my mind, I needed to do this. I think I programmed myself this way. LOL! But really, this was the breather that I needed.

Back when I was still single (I mean, not yet a Mom), I was spending way too much time at work but afterwards, I would spend so much on myself – massage spa sessions, lots and lots of coffee sessions, drinking sessions on weekends, random and impulsive shopping and all that. Those activities seem so normal that I’ve never really given it much thought. I had the resources and I had the time so why not, right? But when I became a Mom, I no longer find time to do these really simple things. My days are now divided between my job, my son, my household and all other myriads of things that I needed to take care of. I have been working myself too much I have already been feeling the stress getting to me and could no longer be ignored.

Let’s admit it, being a Mom, we always want to give our everything to our family. Unfortunately, we always forget to leave a little something for ourselves. We worry about our kids too much, we always make sure that our family is properly fed and dressed, we always give them the things that they deserve, we always make sure our houses are clean and tidy and organized and worthy of an Instagram post, we manage the family’s finances, we train the house helps to do certain things that way we wanted things to be done and if it is not to our satisfaction, we re-do all the things they did while muttering under our breath that we are wasting our time. LOL! This may or may not be an exaggeration but really, once we become a Mom, we tend to be perfectionists. Right? And not only that, we have mastered being a multitasking perfectionist.

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But there lies the first issue. In the midst of juggling all the million little things that we’ve set to accomplish, where do we leave ourselves? Do we have time to dedicate just for us, moms? Do we give ourselves a few minutes to just breathe and smell the roses, so to speak? To listen to our own thoughts and not thinking about the list of to-do things that we have yet to tick off the list?

Why are we in a hurry? 

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This was a powerful quote that made an impact to me personally. For the past several years, I have forgotten to slow down. I always have this invisible timeline that I needed to follow – a timeline that was actually impossible to stick to since I never gave myself room for delays. Unfortunately, the more that I try to do the things in my list, I never accomplished anything in a manner that I wanted those things to be done. In short, I was always in a hurry, I was always cramming, I had plan A but always wanted to have plans B to Z as back ups, just in case plan A messes up (which really doesn’t, 98% of the time). I have been creating unnecessary stress for myself and it doesn’t help the people around me. Why was I hurrying? It was a question asked during the workshop. Why, indeed? Damn if I knew.

Of image and perfection

I mentioned perfection. As Moms, we never want to hear any negative feedback from anyone else regarding anything that would reflect back to us. We always want to have that picture-perfect-all-clean-and-sparkly house, perfectly dressed kids, perfectly prepared meals. We always aim for perfection for everything that we do for our family. And then we see someone else being better at what we do and then we ask, “how to be you?”. We envy people that do better housekeeping that we do, dresses their kids to the nines for just a walk in the park and all that (yes, exaggeration, but you get the picture). And then we try to emulate those people and when we fail, we penalize ourselves for failing. But one thing we forget is that every person has something they are good at and there are things that they are not good at. This applies to moms, too. Instead of asking how to be someone else, why can’t we ask ourselves how to be us instead? Why don’t we try to see the things that we are good at and give ourselves a pat on the back for being good at something?

As they say, no one is perfect. So as individuals, we have to accept that we are not perfect, that there are things that we are not good at, that some people are better at some things than we are. And if we learn to accept our own imperfections, it will be easier to be mindful and tolerant about the imperfections of our family and other people or circumstances.

Why are we setting very high standards for ourselves anyway that, at the back of our minds, we know that we will fail?

Going back to square one

Back in high school, we had to write an essay entitled, “Who am I?”. Back then, I thought it was just an activity. This should be a question that we ask ourselves every so often to gauge where we are in life. When I was not yet a Mom, I didn’t really think of asking myself  this question. There were a few times that I did but pushed it back to the darkest corners of my brain. And I think by doing so, I started to lose a little bit of myself in the process. There was a time when all I knew was work and trying to build a career that even my Mom was worrying about me. She kept on scolding me and reminding me that I am not a machine.

We need to spend some time to get to know ourselves. To reconnect, to touch base, to ask ourselves if we are still okay. Being a Mom is already tough so let’s not make it a lot tougher by forgetting who we are and trying to emulate other people’s lives. We really won’t be happy in the end.

I once come across a quote that says, “Learn to love yourself for you to be able to love others.” Or something to that effect. If we don’t know how to love ourselves, how can we say that we love others? How can we say that we love our kids, our husbands, our family, our friends, when we don’t even know how to love ourselves?

What now?

We need to stop, take in a deep breath, sit back, relax and smell the roses. Even if that would only be for 5 minutes. Leave the pile of laundry, leave the dishes in the sink and go for a walk or get a manicure and/or pedicure. Go get that well-deserved massage. Get your hair done. If you have the budget, go buy something for yourself and not feel guilty about it.

We need to learn how to not feel guilty for giving ourselves a well-deserved treat once in a while. We need to learn how not to lose ourselves in all the checklists that we have. Once in a while, we need to take off the Mommy hat and wear the Me hat so we can reconnect with who we really are. We need to learn to appreciate our strengths and not dwell on what we are not good at. We need to give ourselves a pat on the back for achieving even the smallest of accomplishment because after all, it is still an accomplishment. Let’s learn to be easy on ourselves. We make mistakes, yes, but we need not crucify ourselves for not being able to cook a perfect omelet in the morning. Besides, we know how to perfectly iron that white uniform that our kids wear to school. As Scarlet O’Hara said in Gone With The Wind, “After all… tomorrow is another day”. We have tomorrow to practice and hone the skills that we want to learn and be good at. But we also need to remember to stop comparing ourselves to others. Because nothing good will ever come out of it anyway.

How? 

At the end of the workshop, we were given a homework. Three vision boards that will help determine who we are for us to appreciate what we have and what we are capable of, what we want to achieve, and what are plans will be. Apart from that, I have been reviewing the activity sheets that we have done during the workshop and trying to list down more and making a clearer picture of what my roadblocks are, what I envision for my family, who am I at this point in time and I am including the changes from who I thought I was before.

The workshop has actually given me a starting point and I am now trying to find me again in all the chaos of my everyday life. It’s not going to be an easy process. It will be a long, painful and tedious process but I know and I truly believe that if I am able to finish this, I will be able to handle everything else in a better way.

Right now, I am trying to answer the question, “how to be me?” instead of “how to be you?”. I am listing down the things that I am good at because it seems that I am good at something. I am trying to spend a few minutes just to stare at the ceiling thinking of nothing when I wake up. I am starting to set realistic goals for each week. And I am now trying to find time to spend with just myself – not thinking about work, not thinking about finances, not thinking about housework, but just thinking about me.

 

The Mindful Moms Re-treat has given more than what I expected. So many learnings, so many realizations, so many opportunities that I was able to take away from the 3-hour session. And I would definitely recommend this to every Moms out there. Because, seriously, we all need this! 🙂

With Ms. Ichel Santos Aglinay - Registered Guidance Counselor and Parenting, Relationship, and Family Life Specialist and one of Mommy Mundo's resident experts who facilitated the workshop

With Ms. Ichel Santos Aglinay – Registered Guidance Counselor and Parenting, Relationship, and Family Life Specialist and one of Mommy Mundo’s resident experts who facilitated the workshop

The TLC Fest Experience

The TLC Festival was recently held at Bonifacio Highstreet. Eversince I saw the ad to this event in Facebook, I was excited and pre-registered online. It was just a one day event full of activities. One of the reasons why I signed up was because Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, would be there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to meet Buddy, right? 😀

Anyway, we arrived at the event in the afternoon already. I never really expected much, apart from the fact that there will be a lot of people. Activity areas had long lines of people, too, and I didn’t want to waste time lining up. Instead, we just strolled through the area just like we always do. Haha! There were photo/video booth of some sort, there was an area for letting your creativity flow, there’s a cooking area, and a few more. I didn’t get a chance to stay and check out the areas.

The gallery where registered participants can create their own art :)

The gallery where registered participants can create their own art 🙂

Cookng Demo just across the gallery area. I think they were doing an Italian dish

Cooking Demo just across the gallery area. I think they were doing an Italian dish

Philippines got to showcase local delicacies as well as traditional dances, too. I was not able to get a photo of the huts where the local delicacies were being sold.

Tiniking by La Manila Dance Ambassadors in the background

Tinikling by La Manila Dance Ambassadors in the background

Del Monte was there, too, just beside the makeshift stage, handing out free pasta and iced tea. 🙂

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Free food!

The little boy enjoying his pasta :)

The little boy enjoying his pasta 🙂

Afterwards, we headed down towards the ampitheater. On our way there, I couldn’t resist having our photo taken with this:

:)

🙂

The main stage was set up along 7th Avenue, beside Mango Tree. There were a lot of people already so there was no way for us to get closer to the stage. The hosts were about to introduce the stars of Surfing the Menu. I am not familiar with this show in TLC but the people were screaming when the two guys got on stage that Z held on tight because he was frightened by the screams.

Not so clear of a photo since I was all the way back and I had to use the zoom of the phone, which, well, reduces the quality of the photo :P

Not so clear of a photo since I was all the way back . But, girls were going crazy when these two hit the stage LOL!

They had a short cooking demo (pan-seared salmon with soy sauce, lemon and maple syrup and blanched greens). After their demo, we headed down to the ampitheater. There were a lot of people in the open stage, waiting for Buddy.

Half an hour before Buddy arrived. That crowd doubled a few minutes after taking this

Half an hour before Buddy arrived. That crowd doubled a few minutes after taking this

I tried to get a video of Buddy and his wife, Lisa, arriving at the open stage but being short and already behind a few lines of people, it was really hard to get a clear video. Majority of what I got were arms and camera phones raised and heads so I didn’t upload it in YouTube anymore. LOL! There were also people behind me pushing forward, screaming Buddy’s name, then suddenly I heard one lady ask her companion “sino sya? (Who is he?)” after screaming Buddy’s name. I just wanted to turn around and give them that are-you-effing-kidding-me look. LOL! Seriously, they were right behind me, two ladies, both screaming Buddy’s name, then suddenly one of them asked who he was. Argh! I have no words. LOL!

When Buddy got on stage, people started moving forward again, occupying every space in front of them that they could find. I had a few guys who blocked my view, apart from the ones in front of me who were raising the camera phones and tablets so high I could no longer get a good view of the stage.

But here’s a snapshot from one of the video clips I attempted to take. That’s Buddy right there. 🙂

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All the TLC stars in attendance (I didn’t get to see Janet Hsieh) went back to the main stage for the closing program at around 6 or 7pm, I think. I decided not to stay because the crowd was getting huge and I am not really fond of crowds, especially since I had the little boy with me. We just roamed around for a few minutes then headed to McDonald’s for a quick dinner before we headed home.

I had fun even if I didn’t get to win prizes or even participated in any of the games. I didn’t even attend the cake decorating event that I registered in because I was tired already from walking and carrying the little boy. And I got to see Buddy, even if he was a few meters away. I envied the people who were able to take a selfie with Buddy but what I really envied were the people who got to have a master class with the Cake Boss himself the day after the festival. Who doesn’t want to be taught how to decorate a cake by the Cake Boss, right? But since he said that he will be back, I might as well start preparing for it. Who knows, I may be fortunate enough to meet him the next time. Hee Hee!

I didn’t know that this was a yearly event for the past few years now (not sure though when it started). I will definitely look forward to next year’s festival should there be one again (which I hope there will be). 🙂