The Birthday Blog

15491442_10154284095143737_1550096522_o

First of December 2016 selfie

Dear Diary,

So, I am turning 27 again in a couple of days.

I can imagine my friends shaking their heads no… but hey, it is my birthday. Indulge me.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been complaining that my back has been hurting and my neck and shoulder muscles have been pretty tight and stiff. I think it’s stress related. Now I am realizing that this normally happens to me whenever December comes and my birthday is nearing. Getting another year older stresses me out somewhat.

Getting older means having wrinkles, eyebags with baby bags and skin that won’t defy gravity. It is also about that extra five pounds that just won’t go away but easily manages to double after a drink of mocha or a bite of brownie. It’s about the body aches that you suddenly feel even after not really doing anything strenuous. Sometimes I am just sitting in the car and my neck will start hurting — and it’s not as if I craned it to take a selfie or something.  

Of course I don’t want to die young… but it’s the looking old, getting wrinkled and all part that bothers me. Maybe this is neurotic, but you know how vain I am, so the pain — and fear — are genuine.  

True beauty emanates from within. Maybe I should make that my mantra.

Excuse me as I get more expensive moisturizers and eye gels… Brb.

Love, Shallow Betsy ❤

❤ ❤ ❤

The Real Thing

So, I am celebrating my birthday in a couple of days. I think this is the perfect time to look back on the year that passed before I let it go and start another year…

As with the other years, this year I met new people, formed new friendships… only to see some friendships fizzle out even before the relationship can take off.

People really come and go. Some stay longer than others. Some stay as long as it’s convenient or you have something in common. Still there are others who just stay, regardless.  These are the ones you can call your real friends. 

I am thankful for my friends — whether old or new. They make life interesting and fun. The old ones keep me sane and grounded, while the new ones inspire me to be the best version of myself always (lest they change their minds and think that I am a flake, after all!). 

The past year was not devoid of challenges, frustrations and disappointments. And yet my God has always been faithful and He always came through for me.

I may not have had all the things that I wanted, but this year He gave me a desire of my heart. (Insert shameless plug of the book here: Twenty Years in Between, now available at Central Books AND Fully Booked!! Grab a copy now! 🙂 ) A childhood wish turned real. 

This year I learned that one is never too old to dream — or to go after a dream. Truly, the only one who can limit you is yourself. 

Indeed, I have so much to be thankful for. 

I thank God for my family and friends and for the love that they provide. I am thankful for good health — especially that of my parents’ and I pray that they will have many more years of being active and happy.

I am thankful for the opportunities thrown my way that allow me to grow as a person. I am thankful for the skills and talents that I possess (Here’s to more write ups, blogs and selfies…).

I am thankful that I look the way I do (Gorgeous, according to my brainwashed besties) … Though if God will make me miraculously lose several more pounds, I will be more thankful. 😉

I am thankful that every day I am protected and I have angels all around me.

I am thankful that God guards my heart and that though it sometimes breaks, experiences hurts and pains, it doesn’t remain broken and bitter because Someone up there keeps it whole and happy. 

Surely the blessings far outweigh the bad times. And I can’t help but be expectant of more good things in the year to come. 

Joy — like true beauty –emanates from within

Here’s to another joyous and beautiful year ahead. Happy 27th birthday to me… 🙂  

❤ ❤ ❤

photo credit: Selfie belongs to me!!

Advertisements

So I got rejected…

 

20-yrs-submit

November 2015

It was around this time last year when I first submitted my Manuscript to a local publisher. I really did not know what to expect then.  I was nervous… I was clueless… and I had no idea whether I was doing the right thing or not. All I knew was that I wanted something to happen.

I wanted to publish a book. My book. A story that I created with characters that I breathed life into. A work that I can call my own, a legacy that I can leave behind.

I did not hear from that publication house. Ever. If not for the notice of receipt of the package that I got from the courier, I wouldn’t have known whether they actually received the manuscript. Up until today, I have absolutely no idea whether the editors from the said publication house have actually read the story.  

I never heard from them.  

I remember waiting a couple of weeks. I told myself that they probably had tons of manuscripts to go over. I let a month pass. I rationalized that it was Christmas time and surely, everybody’s busy with a lot of things.

How long does one have to wait before she comes to terms with rejection?

Come end of December, I was fidgety. I remember having to deal with all sorts of emotions that normally go with rejection.

I was sad, of course. I saw the realization of my dream slipping away. I was embarrassed, I was losing my self-confidence. Was I too bold to send out the manuscript to people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me? I felt fearful and insecure. Maybe they thought my writing wasn’t good enough? Or maybe my writing was really bad??! 

I could have wallowed in self-pity. That was the easiest thing to do. Give up and wallow in self-pity and believe that this was pointless because I was just not good enough

And maybe lock myself in my room for a month and stay depressed. Woe is me!

But I took the other road. I came up with a Plan B. With the prodding of my best cousins, I explored my Plan B… and Plan B worked. I met wonderful people who helped me every step of the way… And the rest is history. My book eventually got published. 

I have blogged about this journey several times and if you follow my blogs, you already know the story.  The point I am getting at now is that going after a goal, a dream, is not always easy.  

Things don’t always happen the way you want them to. 

A lot of times you have to work harder than you thought you should. Most of the time you will get to face rejection… You may even get rejected multiple times. And who likes being rejected? It just makes you feel so small. So unworthy.

Giving up was easier. It takes more strength, requires more courage to try again, to explore other options. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to ignore the demons whispering in your head that you simply are not good enough. Sadly, it is much easier to believe those whispers when you don’t get the affirmation that you hoped for. 

But rejection is not the end of the world. In fact, it could very well be an opening to something else… something better, something that is truly right for you.

So, pick yourself up. Dust yourself if you must. Bruised ego and all, carry on with head held high. You will get there somehow. 

That is, if you don’t stop trying.

***

My Book’s Journey (So Far) in Pictures

The very first print out of the whole manuscript…

I took a selfie to document that moment… Right before sending it out to a publishing company.

20-yrs-manuscript

Denied. Rejected… Ignored?! 

But then like I said, I did not let the dream end there. I went after Plan B.

 And so all these eventually happened…

From the first print… To the first proof… To the first real book with bar code.

And then…

central

Central Books, SM Mega Mall

It’s finally out!!

So this followed…

Book launch at SMX last September.

And now, these…

From LA to Las Vegas to Japan… and very soon in Ohio. 

Friends and family are feeling the love. 

Remember how I document everything with a selfie??

Last week, I posted this…

20yrs-fullybooked

Because that day, I was deliriously happy after receiving truly wonderful news.

Soon. And I mean, very, very soon… Do watch out for this…

20-yrs-fully

Perfect Christmas gift, y’all!

Coming out in December at Fully Booked. 

And it all started with a rejection... 🙂  

*****

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph.  Now available at Central Books. Coming out this December at Fully Booked!  Soon at select National Bookstore and Power Books branches.

Fall in love with Lizzie and Joseph… this is their love story

*****

photos are all mine!!

Pretty long lashes

lashes

Pretty long lashes

They say that if you want a child’s eyelashes to grow full, thick and long, you should trim them while he/she is still an infant.  My mom did that for my brother when he was a baby. I guess it worked because his lashes grew thick and long.

On the same day that she trimmed my baby brother’s lashes, she looked at mine and thought that maybe, just maybe, my lashes needed some trimming, as well.

I’m a girl. I would be prettier with long lashes. So she decided to fix mine, too. 

I was seven years old.  

My lashes never grew long. They didn’t even get thick nor curly. They stayed straight. House broom straight… and kinda short. Much to my dismay.

I never got tired of blaming my mom, too, for that.

The phrase “And her eyelashes fluttered” never applied to me.  My lashes were never long enough to flutter. And unless I used a really good, expensive mascara, well, no one would notice my lashes.

***

I am a girly girl.  I love my long hair, my pink lipstick, my pink toe nails.  I like getting all dolled up and feeling pretty. I know I will be prettier if I have doll-like lashes. 

So today, my best friend Gracie and I decided to spend the afternoon having our eyelashes fixed. Translation: Get eyelash extensions.

We had it done at  Lavish Lashes at Festival Mall in Alabang.

lashes-1

Before…

I was really tempted to try the Glamour look… but I was afraid I’ll end up looking like a drag queen, so we opted for the Natural look… But we chose thicker, darker lashes (compared to the regular eyelash). 

The eyelash technicians led us to two beds at opposite sides of the room. I guess they didn’t want us to be beside each other so we won’t end up chatting the whole time.  (Like it will be easy to chat while your eyes are closed!)

The whole process took a little over thirty minutes. It was quite relaxing, really.

And, voila!

lashes-3

After…

My pictures don’t do my new eyelashes justice… But if you will look closer, I am sure you will appreciate them better.

Another girly goal ticked off my list. 

Okay, so I am shallow… And yes, I am vain. It was a fun afternoon, though… and my heart is happy.

Plus my new eyelashes are just too pretty. ❤

***

Evening shots… 

So maybe I look like the Grudge with pale face and red lipstick… but the lashes are still pretty!!

Oh, simple joys!  ❤

*****

photo credits: Eyelash cartoon via google images (shutterstock); All other photos are mine!! 🙂 

Lavish Lashes Studio located at GF Festival Mall, Alabang

 

 

 

 

That Kind of Sunday

If someone told me last year that I will be doing what I did last Sunday, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes, and stared into space with a dreamy look on my face…

I wouldn’t have believed.  I would have dreamed of it, yes, but I know I also would have doubted myself. I wouldn’t think I’d have it in me.

So, this happened last Sunday…

14429313_10154046391373737_320664299_n

37th Manila International Book Fair 

I had my very first book signing. 

***

This time last year, I did not have a book yet.  What I had were scribblings on pad paper. I also had typewritten and saved drafts of a number of ‘chapters’ of an unfinished story. 

I finally completed the very first draft of the book September 26 of last year (2015). I know because I noted the date on my planner.  I encircled the date — actually, I hearted it — and I wrote : finished my book, first draft

It was at its rawest, purest form. Unedited. Untouched by anyone else. 

I was happy I was able to finish writing the story, yet I never imagined that I would see it in book form. I was satisfied enough with the knowledge that I was able to create something that had more than 30,000 words. 

I only had two readers in mind — my person in L.A. and my best friend/cousin from here. I thought that was the farthest my book project will go.

***

It took a couple of months before I decided to submit the manuscript to a publishing house. By then I think I have read, edited, revised, reread and again revised the draft for about a hundred times. It was end November when I finally decided I was ready to submit it. I sent it via courier to a well-known local publishing company. One that publishes novellas for young adults, as well as chick lit books. 

I gave myself two weeks. I told myself if I don’t hear from that publishing company, it means my work wasn’t good enough. I told myself that I will forget about the whole thing and just charge everything to experience. I didn’t even have to share the experience — or the rejection — with anyone. The plan was to just let the “write and publish own book” idea die a slow, quiet death. No one brags about rejection. 

I did not hear from said publishing company. Ergo, my manuscript was rejected. 

The story would have ended there. The dream could have ended there.

***

Christmas reunion with family, 2015. I told my best friend/cousin from here that I was toying with the idea of self-publishing… that I have reached out to a couple of publishers and I was waiting for their reply… I also told her that there was this book designer whose works I fell in love with the moment I saw them online, and that I reached out to her, too. 

Of course dear cousin encouraged me all the way. She kept reminding me that this has always been my dream… and she knew that because we were cousins and we practically grew up knowing each other’s aspirations. 

She told me to go for it, told me to keep reaching. And she told me she was excited about the book signing. My book signing. There was no book yet, but she was already planning my book signing. 

She called it. I think that was on Christmas day. 🙂

14398135_10154046814718737_618104598_n

Taken at MY book signing… 9 months after she prophesied! I still blame her for all these 🙂 

Things started happening in January. Everything started falling into place.

At the same time, I also began having more moments of doubt and sleepless nights, too. I remember sending my cousin a text one night asking her to remind me again why I was doing what I was doing. She replied by telling me that nothing beats being able to physically touch and hold a book that I wrote. She made me imagine and visualize reading my name on the cover.

That truly helped me fight my fears somewhat.

***

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe God brought the people I needed my way because they were supposed to help me fulfill a dream. 

It wasn’t an easy process, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Maybe I had to experience rejection from that first publishing company because I was meant to have something better. Maybe I wouldn’t have found my amazing cover artist and my super awesome book coordinator-cum-editor if another publisher found me. Maybe the ending of my book would even have been different. (You may read more about my book writing experience in my blog, Storytelling Time.)

It was a long, arduous process, but I believe I was guided every step of the way.

You want to know something else that I learned?  I learned that one is never too old to fulfill a dream. I have been writing essays since I was 12 years old. I have been dreaming of writing and publishing a book since I was a teenager. I have tried several times to come up with a good storyline for a book. Began several times. I failed several times, too.

note-to-bgo-001

Note to self from six years ago… Proof that the desire has always been there

Then it just happened. God intervened. I could imagine God in a booming voice saying to me, “It is time! Let’s get this book out.” 

And God’s time is always the perfect time.

If someone told me early last year that I will have my own book by this time, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes… 🙂

#

So now it’s out !!!

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph

Available at Central Books. Soon at select National Book Store and Powerbooks outlets.  

Because it doesn’t hurt to read a sappy love story every once in a while. 

And yes, because love is a wonderful thing. ❤ ❤ ❤

#20yearsinbetween #lizzieandjoseph #fiction

***

Photos are all mine 🙂 More photos from the event coming soon!!