Oh, 2016!!! If I could hug you and kiss you, I would! You were a b*tch to many but you were good to me. It wasn’t exactly flawless but I will go so far as to say that this has been one of my best years yet. Grateful is an understatement.
It is now 2017, but I wanted to look back on the eventful, action-packed, colorful, and rewarding year that had just passed.
Allow me to share the things I did in 2016:
1. TURNED 8 YEARS OLD
Well, finally! It’s not every year that February 29 decides to show up in the calendar, so of course I celebrated in style! And, yes, of course there was drinking!
In December 2015, I handed in my resignation letter to my boss, effective January 2016. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!!! Of course, at that time, I didn’t know that. I was scared. When people asked me “So what are you going to do now?” I tried to look nonchalant and confident as I told them all of my exciting plans for life outside of the office cubicle, but deep down inside, the real answer to that question was “I don’t know!”
But I quit anyway. The fancy title, the high salary, the bragging rights for working with the biggest names in fashion, the work perks, the benefits (e.g., Employee sales where I can buy Zara trench coats for 300 Pesos! Whuuut?!) – I said goodbye to all of that in exchange for one thing: FREEDOOOM!
In 2016, I learned that there is really so much more to life than work, and have finally accepted that no job is ever worth compromising your health and happiness for. I learned that you need to REALLY listen – listen to your body because it will tell you when you’ve had enough, and listen to your heart because it will ask you if you are really being true to it. Quitting is seen by many as a sign of weakness, but on the contrary, it is actually a brave move.
Fast forward to now, the last day of the year. I have absolutely no regrets. I just know that if I did not take risks, I might not have experienced all the great things that happened to me this year.
(I do miss the employee sales though!)
"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life" -Naeem Callaway A friend once told me: "You're too Bohemian to work behind a cubicle." There's probably some truth to that. 😄 Today, I officially said goodbye to the corporate world (for now, at least). I have finally decided to follow my heart and take the plunge into the terrifying but exciting world of freelancing. So what am I going to do now? I know nothing for certain. All I know is that I'll just be open to opportunities to (hopefully) do the things I am good at, and, if I'm lucky, do what makes me AND other people happy. That's the thrilling part — looking forward to each day, knowing that it is full of possibilities! ☀️ It may not always be a walk in the park but chances are meant to be taken, and there is no better time to take them than NOW. And with supportive people around me, taking this leap of faith becomes so much easier! ❤️ Wish me luck! #leapoffaith #newbeginnings #followyourheart #takingrisks #goodbyecorporateworld #adventure
2016 was the year of trying for me, particularly in terms of work. My husband was the one who encouraged and really pushed me to leave my soulless day job and pursue hosting full-time. He was 100% sure that I would make it, and would tell me “You’re actually good at this.” He was so convinced. I wasn’t. He could think of a hundred reasons why I would succeed, and I had a hundred excuses to put it off. Most of those excuses were grounded on one thing: FEAR. What if I don’t get any gigs? What if no one wants to hire me? What if I suck? What will I do if I don’t earn? How can I pay the bills?
And then Mike said one thing that made me get up and take action: “You’re not getting any younger. If you don’t do this now, you may never get another chance to do this again.”
Ouch! Did he just call me “old”?! (If he’s reading this, he’ll say: “I didn’t call you old, I just said you’re not getting any younger!”) It’s true though. That really jolted me.
A good host friend (hi, Lia!) told me that she decided to take the plunge from working full-time to doing freelance “because I felt it was time. You know in your heart when it’s time for you to move on.” I knew then that it was time for me. It was a “now or never” thing.
To take the pressure off from me, Mike urged me to “just try.” TRY. I like that word. It’s not overly ambitious. It’s hopeful but not overconfident and assuming. It was like saying “I will do my best, but if things don’t go as planned, it’s okay.” So that’s what I did. I tried hosting. I tried doing voice overs. I tried acting. Well, what do you know?! I thought I wouldn’t get any work but I ended up hosting 67 events in 2016 including events for celebrities and prestigious multinational companies, doing voice overs for big brands, acting for a Youtube video, and dubbing for an international movie (though I can’t talk about that yet because I signed a confidentiality agreement)… all because of one simple decision to TRY. I didn’t write this to brag but to show you that sometimes, all you really have to do is say “yes” to opportunities, give it your best shot without any expectations, and let life surprise you!
I hosted kiddie parties…
@biancaelizalde's adorable "Little Boss" Siena just turned 5 and I had the pleasure of hosting her birthday party today! 💖🐯 It was the cutest "tigers and lions" birthday bash, coordinated by the efficient and wonderful @partystartersph team. This was my third and last event for this weekend, and I can say it was a Sunday well spent! #HostingByNadine
… adult parties…
Last June 5, 2016, we rock and rolled 50's style as we celebrated the 80th (or should I say "eighty-eenth"?) birthday of a true legend, the remarkable and forever young Mr. James Young! Not a lot of people are blessed to reach octogenarian status, so that's more than enough reason to have "An Affair To Remember" (I had to inject that line since that is one of Mr. Young's favorite songs!). Mr. Young was a valedictorian in high school, a 6th placer in the Board Exams for Mechanical Engineers, and the General Manager of USIPHIL until he retired at age 50. He is the founder of the Epsilon Sigma Fraternity, a member of the Rotary Club of Valle Verde, and the President of JTY Pacific Collections Inc. A former scholar himself, he also provides college scholarships to over a hundred students in Carmen, Cebu through the James D. Young Scholarship Foundation. He is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a world-traveler, and a well-loved family man. And that's not even all of his achievements! • Mr. Young's party was well-attended by guests who adored him, and chosen well-wishers honored him by sharing how he impacted their lives one way or another. By the end of the night, everyone in the room was amazed, inspired, and filled with pride and gratitude that they know such a great hero! • What a privilege it was to host the birthday of this brilliant yet extremely down-to-earth man! • James Young's 80th Birthday 06.05.2016 Venue, Caterer, and Cake: Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Photographer / Videographer: Rey Medina of Kiaroscuro House of Art and Photography Marquee letters by: Limeworks Life-Size Letters Sound System: Jamsy Band: Sound Salad c/o Nina Comsti Coordinator: Franki Prudente Ramirez (Carl Franki Ramirez) of PARTY & CO. Host / Emcee: Hosting by Nadine Smith http://www.facebook.com/hostingbynadine • #HostingByNadine #50sparty #50s #fiftiesparty #fifties #party #events #eventhostph #eventhostphilippines #partyhostph #partyhostphilippines #philippineparties #partiesph #MarcoPoloOrtigas #PartyAndCo #SoundSalad #SoundSaladBand
… corporate events…
The IT Girls! Haha! 😂 Hosted the Launch of the Solenn Art Wine in Tube by @witfrance.ph. I only had less than 30 minutes to prepare AND write a script but thank God it went well! It helped that this lady was so chill so her calmness sort of rubbed off on me. (I asked her how she wanted me to introduce her and she said casually "Oh, just 'Solenn'!") A few sips of wine also gave me some instant confidence! 🍷This was one of those rare instances where it was actually okay to drink before work! Check out the wines in #SolennArt at http://wit.ph or at @societylounge! #HostingByNadine
… and weddings.
These two are THE BEST! I kept telling Mike that I love this couple, and he could easily see why. ❤☺ I loved them even more after finding out that they didn't even look for other options for wedding hosts anymore after finding me. 😊 Thank you, JM and Cherry, for the happy memories, from our meeting (when we talked about everything from weddings to our pets!) to your fun and feel-good wedding reception! 😃 After 14 years… #FinaLiCabrera!!! Woohoo! #HostingByNadine
I also did voice-overs…
…and a bit of acting!
So try lang ng try! 🙂
4. SHOW UP
Here’s another simple thing I did this year that opened so many doors for me. Speaking of that movie I dubbed for, let me tell you a story. I saw an ad for open auditions for voice actors, which I attended. I have done voice acting for short TV and online commercials before, but never for a full-length movie, which, I found out, was an entirely different animal. To really nail it, you must have a lot of experience in it, which I didn’t have. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get the part. The director gave me (as well as the other hopefuls who didn’t make it) the usual “you have potential but you need more training” spiel and said “But don’t feel bad, okay?” I didn’t, because like I said, I expected that.
What I didn’t expect was to get a text a few weeks later, congratulating me, saying that I got the part and was asked to come back to do the full recording. Wait… what?! When I got to the studio, the director told me, “The client listened to all the voice files, including the voices of the veteran voice actors, but for some reason, they liked yours the best.”
So, ladies and gentlemen, it pays to just show up… because you never know, right? Sometimes, you think you’re not good enough, but someone else will think otherwise!
This is just one example of how great things happened because I decided to get up, get dressed, and show up, no matter how I felt at that time. In showing up in various situations, I also learned new things, made new friends, and wa-hey! I even won a cool prize! (I showed up to a blogger event one day despite feeling lazy, and to cut the long story short, I won a 3D/2N stay in a hotel in Palawan just by posting a photo on Instagram!)
5. ACCEPT REJECTIONS
I often post about my work-related triumphs (not to brag but just to share my happiness. And also for marketing) but I don’t post much about my rejections. What for? And besides, who does that? “Hey, guys! Guess what? I got turned down by a client today! #stillblessed.”
But I DO have my fair share of rejections. I don’t always seal the deal. Sometimes – in fact, lots of times – someone else gets chosen over me. And that’s okay. I don’t sulk in one corner when a potential client tells me, “Sorry, but we decided to get someone else.” I just say “thank you” and move on. I have learned to relax. This year, I learned that rejections:
- … are a part of life, just like success
- … don’t mean failure
- … keep you grounded (so you don’t feel like you’re #1 all the time, because you’re not), and
- … help you reassess if there is anything that you can change or improve
If there is one thing I love more than hosting and entertaining, it’s traveling, and I feel really thankful that I got to do that this year, not once, but twice! I know that might not be much for a lot of people, especially to the jet-setters out there (how to be you po? :p) but to us, traveling twice is a privilege! Mike and I went to Bali for our honeymoon, then to Hanoi for our first wedding anniversary. We went white water rafting, visited incredible temples and water palaces, patted a venomous sea snake, drank cat poop coffee, ate street food (including frogs!), cruised through Halong Bay, kayaked with a view of limestone karsts, and more! 2016 was one hell of an adventure!
You know that saying “Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer?” AMEN!!! Yes, we spent (hard-earned) money on our trips but I don’t regret it. The memories we made are still fresh in our minds and hearts until today. We still laugh and reminisce about the good times we had in those trips. We’ll have plenty of stories to share to our future kids! Not only did we see new places, but we also learned so many new things about these places and had a first-hand experience of their amazing culture. In our travels, we met so many wonderful people who have made an indelible mark in our lives (shout out to our Balinese tour guide Made, our family at the Kayon Resort, and the people who made our Vietnam trip more unforgettable such as Huyen and the staff of Dragon Legend and Meracus Hotel 2!). I’d also like to think that Mike and I also enriched other people’s lives through our travels, as we supported businesses and helped other people plan their travels through our recommendations.
My wish for 2017, 2018, 2019, and the years after that is for us to travel more and have more Puff and Fluff Adventures!
It’s all too easy to keep tabs on people through Facebook and Instagram, but I’m glad that this year, I connected and reconnected with people. It’s been fun making “chika chika” (as Mike would call it) with people in the flesh! I’m glad that I was there to witness people’s milestones – weddings, birthdays, childbirth (not the actual childbirth — eww! –but just after they’ve been cleaned up and stitched up and the baby is ready for “viewing.” Haha!), baptisms, engagements, etc. One of my goals for 2017 is to be more fully present. That means spending less time on social media and spending time with people more. It’s healthy for the heart and soul!
(After you read this post, go offline and go talk to your family or friends!)
What is the most accurate antonym of “compete”? I’m not really sure, but the word I can think of at the moment is “empower.”
There are so many event hosts in the country! But instead of wasting time, effort, and energy in trying to outdo them, pull them down so that I could be on top, or steal their strategies, I just support them and do my own thing. I don’t compete with them. Believe it or not, my fellow hosts are not threats. They are my friends. Heck, we even recommend one another to clients when we couldn’t accept the job anymore! Though we are all in the same industry, doing the exact same thing, we are all different people with unique strengths and styles, which we have all learned to accept, admire, and respect. Yes, there are plenty of us hosts, but there are also plenty of people who need our expertise, and we know that there will always be opportunities for all of us, so instead of being selfish, we empower one another. We are happy for the success of one another. This is why I would always, ALWAYS choose community over competition.
9. IGNORE THE NUMBERS
Age, weight, waistline, number of social media followers, number of post likes and comments — I have learned to look at these numbers as that: JUST NUMBERS! I did not let them define me, limit me, affect my mood, dwindle my confidence, and measure my success.
Besides, I hate numbers. I’m kind of terrible at Math. So bad, I once hummed and sang (with feelings and all) “Christmas is on December 23!” Wahaha! Tanga!
This year, Mike and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! Woot! Time really flies!
I really enjoyed our first year as husband and wife. Even though we have been living together for almost two years, we still found things about each other that surprised us (in a good way, of course). I didn’t think it was possible for us to love each other more as time passes, but we have and we do. My cousin asked me “Did anything change after you got married?” Well, we’re a bit fatter now. Haha! But they say that gaining weight is a sign that you are happy in your relationship. (What a load of bull!) Seriously though, everything is still pretty much the same. We’re still as sweet to each other as before. But I guess some things did change. We fight less now. When we do fight, we fix it faster. We’ve become better at compromising. So yay for us!
#RelationshipGoals – that’s what some of my friends have said about me and Mike. Our relationship is not perfect, but it’s happy! And I think what makes it happy is that even though we’re married now, we still give each other plenty of space. My best friend observed that Mike lets me be me and do my own thing, and I do the same for him. Not only that, but we also support each other. So I guess we’re doing pretty okay with this whole marriage thing.
One year of marriage down, a lifetime to go!
This is how we started 2016:
Well, this was certainly not how Mike and I expected our New Year's Eve to turn out! We made plans to go out for New Year's Eve but circumstances prevented us from leaving the house. It was already 11:00 at night and we still couldn't get a ride. We also had no food prepared for Media Noche. So we "improvised." We decided to stay at home, watched the fireworks display from our condo's common garden while getting soaked by the pouring rain. And for Noche Buena, we each got chips and a 1-piece chicken meal from Mini Stop, ate at our condo's fire exit, which gave us a good view of the pyrotechnics. I have to say, that was a fun (and funny) way of spending NYE! Sometimes, things don't go as planned. So you roll with the punches, make do with what you have, and turn life's surprises into unique experiences. This experience made me realize that it's not how you spend a special occasion but WHO you spend it with. Sure, we didn't have a sumptuous feast but we had each other. Just the two of us (okay, and maybe some noisy neighbors), welcoming the New Year together, just being content in each other's company. I am thankful for simple joys like this one. I love you, @migwashere! Marrying you is my favorite memory from 2015. And now I get to create new memories like this with you in 2016. Whether we're enjoying a gourmet meal or eating oily convenience store chicken, as long as we are together, I will be happy. Happy New Year!!! … #HappyNewYear #NewYear #NewYear2016 #NewYearsEve #NewYearCountdown #fireworks #love #contentment #simplejoys #MrAndMrsSmith #PuffAndFluffAdventure
And here’s how we ended it:
Kissing 2016 goodbye! 💋💋💋 (You see what I did there?) Thank you, @migwashere, for being there in every highlight of my year. No, scratch that… thank you for being THE highlight of my year! (You and Booboo!) Love you! Happy New Year!!! 🎉✨💥🎆 #Goodbye2016 #NewYearsEve #NewYear2017 #PuffAndFluffAdventure
And while we’re still on the topic of LOVE, I also fell in love over and over again with our guinea pig, Booboo-8!
Thank you, 2016, for being good to me, for teaching me to live a life of purpose, for inciting me use my gifts for good, for giving me a chance to see more of the world, for giving me 366 happy days with the man I love, and really just for wowing me, for surprising me with unexpected blessings, and for being a million times better than what I thought you would be!