Beautiful Minds

mother

We do have a number of things in common 

One Christmas season many, many years ago, my mom and I spent a morning sorting the Christmas gifts we bought, making sure we had all the gifts properly labeled and checking who else we missed buying a gift for.

We came across this big box, beautifully wrapped, yet unmarked. No name on the card, no secret marks, whatever. My mom wondered out loud whose it was supposed to be. I said I didn’t know… because truly, I didn’t recognize the box when I first saw it.

And so my mom fidgeted. She held on to the box, turned it around, surveyed it up and down, weighed how heavy it was, shook it over and over, hoping the sound that it makes will make her remember what was inside.

After a few minutes, I realized that it was supposed to be our Christmas gift for her. My sister was the one who bought and had it wrapped, that’s why I didn’t recognize the box right away. Casually I told my mom to just leave the gift alone. But before I could stop her, she tore off the gift wrapper and ripped the box open.

After taking a peek at what’s inside, she got more confused. In a daze, she muttered, “I don’t remember buying this…”

“Why don’t you just put it back?”  I said, trying to salvage whatever’s left of the surprise.

In a tone full of dread and with sheer panic in her eyes, my mom said, “My memory is failing me!!!”

At that point, I knew I had to confess. I told her that she wouldn’t remember nor recognize the gift because she did not buy it. I told her that the gift was supposed to be for her – but now she ruined the surprise.

I also told her that no, her memory was not failing her. Not yet, at least.  

She was probably, at that time, the same age as me now.

That line — My memory is failing me — became a running joke between us, though.

I have always prided myself with having a good memory.

I’m the type who can tell a story of something that happened ages ago and I can remember and relay the details like they just happened yesterday. Try doing something bad to me and most likely I will remember it for life (holding a grudge is another thing, though).

Lately, however, I seem to forget things quite easily. Small things, like passwords… or people’s names… or where I put things.

Like this afternoon, I realized I was losing an ID card. I knew I used it sometime in the not so distant past, but I just couldn’t recall when, where and why. I knew my husband had something to do with it… I insisted that I entrusted the ID to him. But I couldn’t remember why so I started doubting my memory.

Whenever this happens, me not remembering something, I can’t help but panic.

I’ll first try to rack my brains to remember the detail that I forgot… When racking my brains doesn’t work, I’ll freak out internally – all the more reason for my brains not to cooperate.  And then I will start feeling bad, and resignedly sigh, “My memory is failing me.”

But I am much too young to accept that. 😦

Just recently, I watched CNN’s Fareed Zakaria talk to neuroscientist Lisa Genova about Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive disease that destroys memory and other mental functions*– and how to prevent it.  It was a very informative segment.

According to Ms. Genova, one can have the disease for some time without it manifesting right away. She said we can actually help prevent the advancement of the disease. Having enough good sleep, exercising, having a heart healthy diet, are among the things that one can practice to stave off the disease. Basically, I believe she meant taking care of one’s body by having a good lifestyle.

One more thing she mentioned was learning new things.  It is more than just restoring knowledge that’s already there. She pointed out that learning new things make you build and connect new neural connections, or synapses. This, I deduced will help keep your brains from degenerating.

The human brain is a beautiful, complicated organ. Like the muscles in your body, the brain can be trained to improve its function. And for it to stay healthy, it requires great care, exercise and yes, stimulation.

One is never too old to learn something new. In a way, the more we use our brains, the more we keep it from getting old fast. Interesting, huh?

After watching that segment, I made a resolve to care for my brains and keep it as healthy as possible. I promised to be more mindful of things, make an effort to remember names and details.  I will read more and learn new words. I will also write more… and use the new words that I learned.

I will learn new things.  

Besides, a beautiful mind complements a beautiful face, right? ❤

***

PS…

I found the ID I was looking for. I racked my brains, retraced my steps, and proved my memory did not fail me. It was with the file that I gave to my husband. He couldn’t remember having it at all! So I blame him. 😉

 

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Credits and sources:

*Alzheimer’s disease definition from Mayo Clinic.

Fareed Zakaria is a journalist and author. He is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. You may watch his segment on Alzheimer’s via CNN video.

The picture is mine 🙂

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My Instagrammable Life

I just finished reading Sophie Kinsella’s latest book, “My Not so Perfect Life.”

I have always liked reading Ms. Kinsella’s works (e.g. Undomestic Goddess, Can You Keep a Secret, The Shopaholic Series, to name a few) because the stories are light, funny, and the characters are pretty relatable. Her main characters could very well remind you of your best friend, your sister, or in most cases, yourself. A lot of times I catch myself thinking, “She’s just like me…” or “I could be her.”

My Not so Perfect Life (according to the blurb) is Part-Love Story, Part-Work Drama. One thing I found interesting, though, was how Katie, the female protagonist, portrayed her life on Instagram (living in an exciting city, doing cool stuff with marvelous friends), versus her reality — job issues, financial struggles, simple life, really small apartment.

It got me thinking… Haven’t we all, at some point in our social media obsessed lives, projected an alternate version of our reality?

(I will not spoil the book any further for the sake of my chick lit-loving friends, but it is a good and entertaining read. You won’t be sorry if you grab a copy.)

❤️❤️

Ahh, Instagram.

On any given day, we see something nice… or we go somewhere nice… or we think we look nice… And so we decide to take a photo — click, and then post. Then we add cute, interesting captions. We explain further by adding a number of #hashtags.

Then we wait for a hundred hearts (signifying that our follower friends liked the photo). Sometimes we feel bad when only a few people would “heart” the photo. Of course it hurts when you are not validated. (Personally, I am easy to please. I am happy with 10 likes. Anything beyond that to me is already a blessing — or a miracle.)

When you think about it, how much of our real lives is posted on Instagram? Or maybe the bettter question is… What stories do our IG accounts tell?

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Out of curiosity, I checked MY Instagram account.

If a total stranger will make a story about me based on my IG photos, what will he come up with…

From the 12 latest photos I posted, one will see: My latest selfie (with me all dolled up)… My bruised knees… Dining with my BFF… More selfies… A promo of my book… A collage of old photos with my son… A throwback photo with friends circa ’90s… And still more selfies…

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Basically from my IG, one will gather that 1) I have a book, 2) I have a son, 3) I was much thinner in the ’90s, and yeah 4) I am a selfie master — and I love myself so much.

My Instagram account pretty much depicts how self-absorbed I am. Yep, narcissism at its finest.

That’s my Instagrammable life. #ialwayswakeuplookinglikethis.

Alternate version or reality? 😉

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When we share photos on Instagram, we allow other people to take a glimpse of our lives.

It is easy to create a perfect, always exciting version of your life. Just carefully pick the photos you will post — Choose the ones that will tell the version you want your followers to see.

I bet our Instagram stories are all exciting.

Don’t be fooled, though. Things are not always as good as they are depicted on IG. That is why it is not wise to judge — nor envy– someone, based on what you see on Instagram.

I also believe that every photo has a backstory… And often times, it’s the backstory that is truly more interesting… and real.

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Example of Perception vs Reality / Alternate Version vs Backstory

latest selfie

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#selfietime #chilling #memyselfandi

Perception created: She’s so chill… She’s so vain… She’s always made up…

Backstory (Reality): Photo was taken after four (4) hours of sitting through the College graduation rites of our helper. FOUR HOURS. But it was a momentous occasion, a celebration of someone’s educational achievement. I had to keep a smile on my face, even after four hours…

Plus I looked good that day. So, I just had to take a photo…

So, yes, maybe I am quite self-absorbed. Quite. 😉

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What is your Instagram story???

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photos are mine 😊

Make up 101

Coming out of Church service last Saturday evening, I saw a lady friend, someone we knew from church, talking to one of the pastors. When they finished chatting, I approached her to say hello. After the usual pleasantries, I caught her staring at me with that bewildered expression on her face.

Then she said, “You know, you are always so put-together…” She continued to stare at me — at my face — and said again, “You look so put-together. Always. Every time I see you. Like, do you wake up like that?”

By put-together, I would like to think that she meant unfazed, unruffled, poised, gorgeous… I could go on… 😉

That was probably the sweetest, nicest compliment I have received this week… especially after my hair color change which, truth be told, kinda drove me nuts for a couple of days!

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It has been five days since I colored my hair — on a whim, if I may add.  

The first two days after were quite difficult, really. First of all,  I was so not used to the lighter shade that I had to take a double look whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror (which was quite often, if you know me well enough). I felt like I was seeing a stranger. 

Secondly, since my hair now has a different shade of brown, I felt I had to adjust my make up as well. 

Haha, yes, I researched.  I looked at photos of celebrities with same hair color shade and tried to see what make up is suitable. 

ja-brown

For some reason, Jessica Alba’s photos kept popping up. Oh, if only my eyes are as brown… and my face as small… *Sigh* … and those lashes! *double sigh*

I am used to black eyeliners and I figured I needed to temper down my eye makeup a bit. So the day after my salon date, I went to the department store to get new eyeliners.

Valuable lesson learned that day: Never… and I mean, NEVER, scrimp on eye make up. Or any make up for that matter. 

Because I did. I normally don’t, but that day, I did. 

I bought a local brand that I never tried before… Because it was cheap. I even bought two eye pencils. Thought to myself, “It’s just an eyeliner and I can even use it for the brows.” How bad can it be?

So the moment I got home, I began experimenting with the liners and whatever eye make up I had. The goal was to look as good as Jessica Alba. Such lofty goals.

Come evening, the sides of my eyes started to itch. I saw a couple of rashes that looked like small insect bites. I removed all the make up that I had on ’til my face was squeaky clean. I told myself I will just let my face — my eyes — rest. 

Right before I slept, my eyes were already watery and my eye bags itched so bad.

When I woke up the following morning, my eye bags had baby bags

Just in case I did not make it clear the first time, NEVER scrimp on anything you put on your face. It just might cost you.

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Good thing my ordeal did not last the whole day (thanks to antihistamine). Come afternoon, I found myself at my favorite make up store Etude House… my old-reliable. 

I ended up buying an eyeliner, something for the eye brows… and another lipstick. Proved to be more costly, indeed.

make-up-5

Just a few of my favorite things from Etude House.

So if there is anything valuable you will take away from this post, let it be this: You pay for quality. Especially in beauty products. 

Make up can be expensive and I also like to look for good bargains. Who doesn’t? But test the product first. Make sure it is hypoallergenic. If you are unsure or if you have even the slightest doubt, then don’t get it. 

Good things hardly ever come cheap.

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PS… Going back to my church-friend’s statement…

No, I don’t wake up looking like Jessica Alba.

I have a daily beauty regimen. I look put-together because I take time to do so. I put effort. I don’t look hideous without make up, but I use it to enhance what’s already there. 

I know it’s pretty shallow having your confidence or self-esteem hinged on your looks… But I feel good when I look good. And who doesn’t like feeling good?

My face, my canvas. 🙂

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Favorite golden brown haired selfie so far… 😉

photo credits : Jessica Alba’s photo via google images; Etude House loot and BGO selfie from my O+ 

1st of March

…And just like that, it’s the third month of the year! Gosh.

Plans…

This time last year, I was pestering  reminding my editor about the draft of my book. My cover artist had also already given me sample artworks to choose from. Geesh, time flies. I’d better start working on a new project so I’ll stop this reminiscing and I can start moving forward. 

I actually have two book projects lined up. One is a children’s storybook and the other is the — drum roll please —  sequel to Twenty Years in Between. (Did I say that out loud?! Am I really committing myself to a sequel??)

Without meaning to brag, most of my readers have been asking for a Part Two. I would like to believe that the book was that interesting and exciting that they wanted more. I have been asked several times when the second book is coming out. Yeah, like it didn’t take me more than a year to finish writing the first one…
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Those days…

This is for the days when you wake up not feeling/looking like a Supermodel…

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Since I don’t have a magic mirror that would tell me day by day that I’m “the fairest one of all,” I suppose this should suffice.

Because really, there ARE days…

😉

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photo sent to me by my friend Jeg because vanity = Betsy