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.)

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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 😊

Ms Universe Hangover

ms-u-crown2

And the winner is...

Spent this morning with my eyes glued to the TV, watching the Miss Universe pageant.

I don’t normally watch the whole pageant in the previous years. What made this year’s pageant different –and more interesting– to me is the fact that our country hosted it. Again. After 23 years. I believe this is a big boost to our tourism. Seeing our beautiful country being promoted all throughout the event made me really proud. Kudos to the people from Department of Tourism who were behind this successful endeavor.

Though Ms. Philippines did not get the coveted crown, I still believe our country won this morning.  Continue reading

Being a Better Me

The last two weeks of December pretty much breezed by. 

There were endless get-togethers, last-minute shopping sprees and gift wrappings, family reunions with overabundance of food (with everything seemingly delectable, yummy but utterly sinful, and totally irresistible)… And we wonder how we gained those unwanted pounds. 😦

I can personally say, though, that aside from the full stomach, December left me with a full heart, too.  A heart full of love and joy.

Spending time with family and friends reminded me what true joy is about… what love is about. It is about having a certain sense of belonging and acceptance. It is about knowing that you are with people you love and who also love you back, regardless of who you are, what you have been through… People who are ready and willing to accept your flaws and quirks.  

It is about feeling at home and armed with the knowledge that there are people who value you, who will stand by you and protect you when need be. 

When you have joy and love in your heart, you are somewhat braver to face whatever tomorrow brings.  It gives you courage to conquer the new year and whatever surprises it has in store.

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I am a “New Year’s Resolutions” person. It has been a childhood practice of mine to list down the things I ‘promise’  I will do (or in some cases, not do) in the coming year.  

Yes, I normally start with : Lose five pounds… And truth be told, I don’t think I ever lost those five pounds.  Maybe sometimes I do, but I most likely gain them back when December comes… plus a couple more. 😦 

When no one else knows about your resolutions, chances are you will end up ignoring them or forgetting them altogether. It is never easy to lose those five pounds, you know. It IS easier to forget that you even thought of wanting to lose weight.

And so, to challenge myself this year, let me share with you my 2017 resolutions. 

If you are a friend and you see that I am getting off track, feel free to tap me on the shoulder — or send me a text message– and let me know. I will try not to feel bad nor get offended (…nor punch you on the face). Promise. 🙂 

Here goes — in no particular order of importance…

My 2017 ‘Be a Better Me’ list:

I will…

  • lose at least five (5) pounds. Yes, this still tops the list.
  • eat healthier.
  • walk more.
  • have regular spa treatments (facial, massage, etc.)
  • not scrimp on good moisturizers and body lotions.
  • wear more skirts and dresses.
  • be more positive; get rid of negativity and grudges.
  • leave hurtful events, people, memories behind.
  • do my best not to get easily offended by other people.
  • smile more; be friendlier.
  • learn how to take a compliment.
  • laugh at/make fun of myself more; learn how to loosen up.
  • be more patient with people, even the difficult ones — most especially, the difficult and overbearing ones. 
  • read my bible daily.
  • fill my head and my heart with worship and praise songs.
  • NOT listen to sad songs, especially when I am having an off day… they simply don’t help.
  • talk to my parents and spend time with them regularly.
  • make more time for my friends.
  • write more.
  • start writing my next book.
  • NOT be embarrassed to share my work, my talent and my thoughts.
  • still take selfies as much as I can, and enjoy every minute of it!
  • take photos to document my day.
  • make more picture books / photo albums.
  • read more books — one book a month, at the very least.
  • learn — really learn —  a new language.
  • travel to a country I have never been to.
  • always be grateful for the blessings, whether big or small.

Phew, that was quite a lot. I can still think of others, but this should do for now…

I know I will have hits and misses along the way… But aren’t we so blessed to have the chance to start on a clean slate? We have twelve new months ahead of us. 

Twelve months that we can spend trying to be a better version of what we already are. 

Twelve months of keeping the joy in our hearts… in our lives.

Because I said I’ll take more selfies (I guess I have this one covered)…

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And because I also said I will laugh at/make fun of myself more… 🙂 

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to an exciting year.

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photos are all mine, obviously… 😉 

Macau memories and selfies Part 1

Macau

Off to Macau…

“Vacation, all I ever wanted… vacation, had to get away…”

That ’80s song from The Go-go’s just keeps playing in my head as I type this blog. Don’t we all crave for that vacation… Two or three days of being away from home, traveling to a different place, seeing new things, meeting new people, eating different food… leaving behind the daily routine. Such bliss!

I was blessed enough to spend four days in Macau with the family last week.  It was really a spur of the moment thing — Thank you, mother dear for being generous and for making the trip possible. ❤

It was a tiring trip, really. There were mishaps along the way. But in the end, the memories we made and we brought home with us were worth every aching muscle. 

I will let the pictures tell the story… (I added some notes, too. I’m a writer, of course I have to have notes…) 😉

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Macau Moments, Day 1

We left on a Friday. The flight was supposed to be at 1:20pm… Lo and behold, we boarded the plane, well, around 1:20pm. It was okay, though. There were six of us in the group (Dad, mom, brother, my hubby, son and yours truly), so we pretty much just entertained ourselves during the wait — meaning we got something to eat while waiting.

We finally boarded… then we were off!

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my hand must have moved

Of course I had to take selfies while on the plane! I just loved the lighting. That photo is filter-free!! Happy to look relaxed 30,000 feet above the ground! 🙂

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selfie-shmelfie

Did I say I loved the natural light??

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So we got to Hotel Sofitel around 6:00pm, checked in, went to the rooms, fixed our things, settled down a bit, then decided to start exploring downtown Macau by 7:30pm.

The universe had a different plan, though. It rained. Welcome showers and breeze. We couldn’t go out just yet. So we just decided to have dinner first at the hotel.

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First dinner in Macau

Our first dinner was a feast! Though on a perennial diet like me, my mom is not one who scrimps when it comes to food, so with her consent, we ordered away. Our first dinner pretty much felt like, well, the last supper. Like I said, it felt like a feast. Everything was delicious, too.

What made our meal more enjoyable was the fact that our servers were fellow Filipinos. They were truly so welcoming and courteous.  They made sure that we were well taken care of (we even got dessert and fruit platter on the house).  How blessed are we?! 

After that sumptuous dinner, we knew we had to walk the calories off. The rain had stopped, the air was cool. Perfect time for walking.

First stop: Largo do Senado (Senado Square). Approximately 15 minutes away from the hotel.

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where’s papa??

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too lazy to line up

The street behind us is a popular pictorial spot, reminiscent of the crooked, winding road in San Francisco, though much shorter. It was really pretty to look at, especially at night with all the lights on. But there was a line so we couldn’t take a photo on the actual street… so this was the best that I could do. (My mom’s so pretty, huh?! Thanks mom for the genes…❤ )

Second stop: Ruins of St. Paul. Approximately 5 mins. from where we were. 10 mins if you walk leisurely. 15-20 mins. if you stop by the shops that were around (Bossini, Giordano, Baleno, Sasa, etc. etc.)

And so we walked, enjoyed the cobblestones and the old structures. We walked until we reached two diverging alleys. Do we turn left or right? Surely the Ruins is not that far now.

We chose to turn right. Walked some more. Still no road leading to our destination. We checked our GPS (courtesy of the hotel phone that we were allowed to bring around). Hmm. GPS showed a route — 15 more minutes. What?! Thought the place was so near?

We trusted GPS… and ended up walking farther than where we were supposed to go.  15 mins later, we were still walking, huffing and puffing. Okay, so we were lost. We were walking towards the main road and not towards the Ruins. Thank you GPS for recalibrating.

And then just as we were about to cross an alley, we came across an angel! Another Filipino who lived there, and who was out for a jog. He must have sensed that we were lost… asked where we were headed, and very nicely offered to bring us to our destination. Bless your soul, mister!! 

After about an eternity of walking  — yep, it pretty much felt like an eternity — and climbing a gazillion steps… We finally, FINALLY reached the top. 

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Made it! Yey!

Behind me is what they call the Ruins of St.Paul’s, former site of Church of St. Paul. 

I stood in front of the large (and I mean large) spotlights lighting up the facade of the church… Perfect spot for a selfie, with disheveled hair and all. My face has never been fairer. Too bad I only took like one-fourth of the structure. Oh well. 

The group rested for about half an hour. Tried to get our bearings before heading back to the hotel. Eventually we found out that we were, indeed, 5mins away from Largo de Senado. Sigh. 

Was back at the hotel by 11:00pm. End of Day 1.

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Let me stop here first. I still get exhausted just remembering that long walk to forever, I mean, to the Ruins.  

Watch out for Days 2, 3 and 4. Maybe next time I will just let the pictures do the storytelling… 😉

— B   ❤

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credits: photos used were mostly mine ❤

#travels #adventure #familytime #Macau

 

Me, Myself and I

selfie

sheer talent

Everyone who knows me — and I mean, who TRULY knows me — would also know what a selfie-freak I am.  Oh yes, I have that Kim Kardashian blood running through my veins.  I have so mastered the the art of taking selfies that most of my photos look like they were taken by someone else.  I’m that good! (Or maybe, I also just have long arms…)

I love making photo books, too.  I have already made several photo books of our family trips and vacations… birthday parties — of my son and my nephews… just recently I made a photo book of my sister’s family’s vacation.  The whole process of picking what pictures to put and decorating the album with various frames and art work, plus choosing the background color or theme of each page, all these somehow destress me.  And it’s nice to look at the finished product.  

It is always nice to look at pictures that capture special moments in time.

Sometime late last year, I was able to purchase a voucher for a 40-paged 6×6 photo book at such a low price. Believe me, the amount was insanely low that I couldn’t pass up the chance of getting one. Recently, though, I was notified that said voucher was expiring. Oh no!!  I didn’t want it to go to waste… But I didn’t have any project in line, as well.

And then the bright idea… Since I have already made gazillion photo books for the family, I thought to myself, why not make one for, uhm, myself, this time?  Besides, I had loads of selfies to choose from — saved in whatever gadget I have (two cellphones and an iPad, to be more precise… plus the desktop files…). This should be interesting.

let me take a selfie

say “selfie!”

So I gifted myself with a photo book of MY selfies. A 40-paged album filled with photos of no one but myself.  Photos I took of myself at different places, different times of the day, from the past 5 or so years to the present.  All solo shots. All me.

Me, myself and I.    It was narcissism at the highest level. 

I had a blast making it… Though I don’t know if I can say the same about the guy who had to print the album. My face probably haunted him in his dreams afterwards. 😉

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I have always been vain.  My childhood and high school friends can attest to that. I always make sure that I look my best every time, everywhere. My pocket mirror, hair brush and lipstick are — and will always be — my bestest friends.  I can stare at myself in the mirror for half an hour and not get tired. I guess it just follows that for me, taking selfies is not just a skill, it’s a talent.

But truth be told, these narcissistic tendencies of mine don’t stem from having that feeling of being superior. It’s also not because I admire myself so much. On the contrary, most of the time, I have self esteem issues.  I lack the confidence. There’s this fear of being not good enough and of being judged by other people.

When I was much younger, my belief was if I don’t look good, then there is nothing about me that people will like.  People will think I am not good enough.  My self-image was hinged on my looks. My self confidence was dependent on my physical appearance. Thus, I took pains in making sure that I always looked my best.

In time I realized that true beauty emanates from inside. Inner peace, love and joy can give one the natural glow that no make up brand, no matter how expensive, can match. 

I still struggle, every now and then. Whenever I gain a few pounds… or I see a wrinkle here and there, or a line under my eyes… or I feel my cheeks starting to sag… I do feel bad.  It still gets to me. 

I am still vain. I still enjoy staring at myself in the mirror — and yes, taking selfies. Taking selfies is my way of capturing and preserving my moments. It is my way of celebrating myself.

Yet I have learned to accept that though I am not the best, I know that I am beautiful. I am beautiful because I am a child of God… His grace sustains me.

Besides, I also rest in the knowledge that people who truly love me will love and accept me, wrinkles and all.

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We were all young once…

Two year old Me.

Betsy 001

pure, wide-eyed and innocent

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” – Psalms 139:14

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photo credits : via google images; black & white pic of the cute little girl was from my mom.