How do I top the awesomeness of last year? It’s a yearly dilemma every time I write my annual year-ender blog posts. This is especially true for this year. I mean, 2017 was pretty remarkable! It was the year I became a legit food writer, got featured in Bride and Breakfast (twice!) and MoneySense Magazine, hosted two celebrities’ baby showers, got pregnant, gave birth, and more. That’s pretty hard to beat! But as I was looking back on my memories for 2018, I realized that there’s no need to outdo the previous years, really, because every year, there will always be new victories and new blessings, and all of them are worth honoring. And as I was drafting this post, I realized that the personal and professional triumphs that deserve to be celebrated are not just the big ones or the impressive ones. Even the smallest and simplest feats deserve to be highlighted. So that’s what I’m doing now!
My wins in 2018:
MY FIRST BIRTHDAY AS A MOM
Turning 34 was and will always be pretty special for me because it was my first birthday as a momma. I didn’t have a grand party but I did feel grand because I spent it with my family and friends, and that was the only gift I really needed, and the only kind of celebration that I wanted. It was quiet but meaningful, and I felt complete.
Read my blog post by clicking this link.
MY FIRST MOTHER’S DAY
Aside from my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas, this was the one event that I was really excited for! Hey, moms have a tough job! In fact, it should be Mother’s Day everyday! I didn’t have any fancy celebrations but we did have a simple family lunch at Banana Leaf.
Baby Dove also gifted me with the best Mother’s Day gift: a photo shoot with Andi! Thanks to them and Little Heartbeat Photography, I now have these beautiful photos with my baby girl that we will both cherish forever.
BEING A LEGIT MOM BLOGGER
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll see that I write mostly about food, travel, and my random musings. And then I became a mom, and all of a sudden, I’m the expert on the best diaper brands and the most gentle soaps for your baby’s sensitive skin… except that I’m NOT an expert. I’m just a regular mom. I’m just a new mom who’s still learning the ropes in this motherhood thing. And yet, for some reason, brands and PR companies approached me, sent me gifts, invited me to their events, and trusted me enough to be a sort-of spokesperson for their products and services. To be honest, sometimes, I still ask, “Why me?” I’m not famous. I don’t have millions of followers on social media. I don’t exactly live an enviable, fabulous life. And like I said, I’m NOT an expert on motherhood. So when I look back on the opportunities that have opened up for me as a mom blogger, I am in awe. In a sea of other more distinguished influencers, these brands and PR companies chose me to represent them and spread the word about them. And for that, I am humbled and very, very grateful. What really amazes me is that people actually read my posts, listen to and trust my opinions and recommendations, and consult me when they have any questions! I get to help other moms (and even those who are not moms) through my content! And another bonus? Meeting other people (especially other moms) who have become good friends of mine!
Here are just some of the brands I have worked with in 2018:
BEING INVITED AS A SPEAKER ABOUT PREGNANCY AND MOTHERHOOD
This was a pretty cool experience! Thank you, Baby Dove and Mommy Mundo. 🙂 I really enjoyed sharing my two cents and my experiences to the soon-to-be parents in the audience.
FIRST TIME TO BE A BRIDESMAID
This was actually the second time that I was supposed to be a part of someone’s wedding entourage (hello, Mother Mikee!), but the first time, I was not able to go because I had just given birth. I think being chosen to be in someone’s bridal party is a pretty big deal because it means that the bride regards you as one of their best friends, and this will always be special to me because it’s my first time! So to my good friend Mina, thank you for this wonderful experience and of course, the honor of being one of your ‘maids!
HOSTING EVENTS (A.K.A. BEING A WORKING MOM)
Even before I got pregnant, I was already prepared for the possibility that I might not get to host as many events anymore. I knew that in some ways, having a baby could hold me back a little and I also had to be selective about the opportunities that I take. But I didn’t mind the decrease in my gigs because I really got to choose quality over quantity. And the events that I did host for 2018, I will always be proud of them. I am also thankful for these jobs, as well as the people who trusted and recommended me for these jobs, because they helped me provide for Andi’s needs and give her a good life. I just want to say that being a working mom is not always a walk in the park but it is definitely possible!
I wish I could post ALL the events I hosted for 2018 but it will take up too much time and space, so I’m just posting some of my most unique and interesting events from last year.
DOING MORE VOICE OVER WORK
I have done voice-overs in the past but 2018 was the year when I got to work on VO projects of all kinds — digital ads, internal corporate videos, TVCs, radio ads, and animatics. I’m very thankful to the production companies and clients who believed in my talent and made my work so easy and enjoyable! (That includes Soundesign, Digitank Studios, and Rocket Concepts)
OUR FIRST FAMILY STAYCATION
I’ve been itching to travel ever since I gave birth, but as you know… priorities! The closest we got to having a family holiday was going on a staycation at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel. Funny, the hotel was just down the road from where we live. Haha! The room we were in was kind of crappy, but as long as we were together, that’s what mattered. Also, it was Andi’s first time to go swimming, and watching her splash around the pool in glee was one of the highlights of our little ‘getaway.’ Can’t wait to travel with Mike and Andi for real next time!
FIRST OVERNIGHT / OUT OF TOWN GETAWAY WITH MIKE (JUST THE TWO OF US!) SINCE ANDI WAS BORN
Alone time with my husband nowadays is a luxury. With a clingy baby, no helper, and no one to entrust her with most of the time, date nights have become very rare. But Mike and I were lucky enough to have had the chance to go on a ‘minimoon’ (mini honeymoon) last December when I hosted the wedding of our friends Stefan and Lu-ann. Sure, it wasn’t really a ‘date date’ because I was primarily there for work, but it was still a break from our parenting duties and it was still considered ‘we time’ so I was more than happy with that. So how did it go? Read the caption in this Instagram post:
HITTING MY 1 YEAR MARK IN BREASTFEEDING
Mike once said to me: “I didn’t think you’d last this long.” He said that not to belittle me, but to express his amazement. You see, my pain tolerance isn’t exactly great. Case in point: I once had a Brazilian wax and my best friend was waiting for at the lobby of the waxing studio. After my session, she said to me: “I could hear your screams and your swearing. It was like you were being murdered in there.” You get the point. The first few weeks of breastfeeding were the hardest and most excruciating. Once I got past that, it did get easier, but there were always challenges along the way – from clogged ducts to keeping up with Andi’s increasing demand but having very little or no time to pump. Just recently, just when I thought nothing could go wrong, there was a stage when she was using my nips as her teether, and I would literally bawl in pain while nursing. I really thought that that was the end of my breastfeeding journey. The pain was unbearable and I wasn’t sure if I still had it in me to go on. But I did go on. And here I am now, still exclusively breastfeeding. I would have been happy with just 6 months, but with God’s grace, the encouragement of family and friends, the support of brands that promote breastfeeding (I’ll save that for another post in the future!), I was able to breastfeed Andi for one year… and counting!
ANDI’S DEDICATION AND FIRST BIRTHDAY
Wow! Mike and I raised a one year old! It’s a pretty big accomplishment, to think that we were once clueless, fumbling parents who didn’t know how to calm down a fussy newborn! Whew! We survived our first year as parents! It was such a treat watching our bright and beautiful little star grow right before our eyes and witnessing all of her milestones.
We celebrate her everyday, of course, but since her first year was very special, we celebrated that with a simple birthday party with family and friends who were there for her during the first year of her life. The party, which also doubled as her child dedication, was held at J Cuppacakes, a very pretty and homey restaurant in SM Jazz. I really had fun organizing this despite the busy holiday season (which was also my busiest work month)! It was so heartwarming to see how loved Andi is by the people who attended her big day and helped make it perfect! I’ll write another post about this event because there are way too many people to thank. But for now, here are a few photos from our photographers, When Worlds Collide! I promise I’ll blog about this soon and post more photos!
And that was my 2018! It was sometimes fun yet sometimes tough, and it had its fair share of ups and downs. But for the most part, I can say that it was a year well-lived because I may not have everything, but I do have what I needed to be happy and content. I was WHOLE. Thank you, 2018, for giving me a life that I will always be proud of.