My Love-Filled Leap Year Birthday

Yesterday, February 29, I finally celebrated my birthday on the ACTUAL date that I was born. I finally turned 8 years old! (Well, at least 8 in leap years, and 32 in “normal” years. I prefer 8. It makes me seem younger).

(The photo above is of me on my last few hours as a 7 / 31-year old. I got drunk off one glass of Baileys. ONE GLASS! I guess I really *am* getting old! Haha!)




I wasn’t really planning on writing a post-birthday blog entry, but then again, how often does the leap year come along? That’s right, once in every four years!  My next “real” birthday will be in the year 2020 so I thought I’d make the most of this very rare occasion by immortalizing it through a blog post.


I think that all birthdays are special in themselves because the mere fact that you get to live for one more year is already pretty great per se. But this year, I really felt like my birthday was EXTRA special… and not only because of that one EXTRA day in the calendar. My birthday this year was quite monumental for a number of reasons.

For one, this is my first birthday as a Mrs.! A friend told me that I’m probably the only 8 year old she knows that’s already married! I spent my birthday by having a relaxing staycation at the beautiful Manila Marriott Hotel with my Mr. Smith, where we were treated like royalty. We even got upgraded to the Executive Floor! We reveled in the concept of “Dolce far Niente” (the sweetness of doing nothing) by sleeping all day and eating nonstop. Basically, we were being lazy pigs… but lazy pigs in a 5-star hotel, nonetheless! I will be writing about that very soon in a separate blog post because there is so much to share about our lovely staycation. But for now, let me just say that being able to spend my real birthday with my husband was the best birthday gift of all!








While we’re on the subject of eating nonstop, can you believe that I went to 4 buffets in 4 consecutive days?! No kidding. On February 26, my family and I had dinner at Yakimix  to celebrate my sister Alexa’s birthday and my birthday. On February 27, we had a lunch buffet at Sambokojin with our friends to celebrate, as Mike and I also wanted to celebrate the birthday of our friend Eric, who happens to be the only other leapling we know. And then on February 28 and 29, Mike and I stuffed our faces at Marriott’s Executive Lounge and Marriott Café, respectively. On the last day, the button of my dress actually came undone because my gut was bursting. Haha! Hey, don’t judge me! I waited for 4 years for February 29. Having 4 buffets seems like a reasonable way to make up for the 4 years of waiting!

My joint birthday celebration with Eric at Sambokojin was so fun, thanks to those who joined in the festivities with us (and ate with us like there’s no tomorrow! Thank you, Jeremy, Janine, Jared, Aizelle, Tin, Mina, and Vince for coming!





On top of the 4 buffets, my best friend Christina / Aspe also treated me and Mike to a feast at Din Tai Fung! Aside from taking us out to dinner, she even bought us dessert and got me some amazing gifts! I am a very, very lucky lady for having a best friend as sweet as her!

Food Collage

This birthday is also a remarkable one because on this leap year, I took that giant LEAP of faith: the leap into the exciting (and sometimes scary) world of freelancing!




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"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

A post shared by NADINE SMITH 🌻 (@scenesfromnadine) on

Mike has always been pushing me to do this but I’ve always hesitated, for practical reasons. “What if I don’t get any gigs? What if I run out of money? What if…?” I had so many “what ifs” until one day, I just decided to finally stop being so scared. And I am SO glad that I did because now, I am enjoying a fun, fruitful, and fulfilling career that I love and loves me back. I guess the saying is true: “Leap and the net will appear.” I guess the “net” is so much bigger than my fears! I have finally found my true calling and I have never been happier!





Lastly, this birthday has been tremendously meaningful because of everyone who remembered it. I received hundreds of messages, and believe it or not, I read and replied to every single one of them. I know a lot of those who greeted me did so because they were prompted by Facebook, but they still took the time out of their busy schedules to greet me, and that’s something. But there are also those who eagerly looked forward to this day, saying “I’ve been waiting for so long to greet you on your actual birthday! FINALLY! Happy 8th birthday!” And then there were those who went the extra mile by composing heartfelt messages that could put Hallmark out of business. Their messages had one thing in common: they made me realize how extremely blessed I am. I mean, to me, I am just… well, ME. I’m just a regular person, and it’s not like I’m some kind of big shot or anything like that. But if you didn’t know me and you read these people’s messages for me, you would think that I’m a celebrity or something! Haha! These people went on and on about how blessed and lucky they are to know me or be related to me, how I continue to amaze them with the things I do, how I inspire them, how they find a reason to wake up because of me (this one’s from my husband), etcetera, etcetera. I was thinking, “Wow! I didn’t even know these things! I don’t even think of myself this way, and now everyone is telling me – LITTLE ME! – how great they think I am!” I feel so loved. I feel so special. (*cry*)

One of my first photos as an 8 / 32-year old!

Here are just some of the lovely greetings I got. You don’t have to read all of them. This is really more for me. I posted them here so that I can easily go back to them and reread them. 🙂

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This picture is my current favorite. It seems to be saying 2 things: "Come join me," or "Don't even think about it!" It's so you. Sexy, sweet, sultry, cool, confident, interesting, adventurous, strong, tough, feisty. No one can put limits on you. You do what you want, where you want, when you want. You could do anything you put your mind into like juggling housework, wife duties and career. Seeing your posts about dishes you whipped up always makes me smile. 😋 I'm happy that you are now able to make loving Mike your priority and still be productive with a career that you are thrilled of and very good at. This sums you up in person-a fulfilled woman. 👰💁💗 Happy Birthday, Nadine! I love you. #leapyeardaughter #mrssmith @iamnadinesmith

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HAPPY "8th" BIRTHDAY TO MY DAY-TO-NIGHT HERO, MY FAVORITE NEIGHBOR, MY SOULMATE AND ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PERSONS (inside and out) I HAVE EVER MET, @iamnadinesmith! Party like it only happens once in 4 years because it does and that's the privilege of your unique birthday! 🎉🎆 I think it's over a decade already since I first thought you were this theater superstar while I was this lowly behind-the-scenes design staff. I never thought back then that we'd be this crazy, almost twin-like, "welcome"-ing ROCKikay soulmates who, even without each other's influence end up buying and wanting almost all the same stuff. From being downright naughty girl to this #bossbabe that you've become, I thank my lucky stars everyday that we have been really good friends this long and that you continue to inspire me everyday. You deserve all the happiness that you are enjoying right now because you are one of the strongest, wisest, nicest, most funny, most unique, talented and creative #friends I have (syempre halos pareho kaya tayo haha). I know that whatever life throws at you, however mundane or heavy they may be, I know you'll come out of it all #fab and #pretty. You might even be singing while fighting your battles. In any case, I am just here for you and I'll even join you in singing even in the streets! #AlamMoYan, "Part of Your World" lang ang peg. Haha! To the ULTIMATE #LEAPYEAR LOLA, cheers to taking 2016 by storm. Wishing you more opportunities/rakets! I firmly believe you got 2016 in the bag! I love you so so so much! 🎂🎁💖

A post shared by Soleil "PUNKY" Taguines (@punktures) on

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Happy Birthday to the love of my life, Nadine. You are the apple of my eye. The twinkle in my stars. The Juliet to my Romeo. The Leia to my Han.The Lois to my Clark. The Pinky to my Brain. The Rachael to my Deckard. The Thing to my MacReady. The BFG to my Doomguy. The interceptor to my Mad Max. The madness to my Sparta. The rug to my Dude. The food rations to my Samwell Tarley. The 2nd mouth to my xenomorph. The 'whoa' to my Neo. The puns to my Arnie. Etc etc etc. To summarize – you what gives me the will, the drive, and the reason to wake up to every day. Because without you, there'd be no reason to wake up at all. Love you forever my fluffball with plusp-like intent and content. 💑👫💏💗💞💘😙 #happybirthday #love #soulmate #wife #lifepartner #fluffball #bestfriend #forever #puffandfluffadventure

A post shared by Mike Smith ● Miguel Lazatin (@migwashere) on


Aspe Christel Mum

I concealed her identity because this was sent to me as a private message. 🙂

Last week, I was interviewed for a local TV show… the Gandang Ricky Reyes show! Hahaha! Anyway, one of the questions asked was: “What are the positive effects of having a leap year birthday in your life? Has this brought you good luck?” My answer was that I don’t know if my birthday is a bearer of good (or bad) luck, or if it has affected my life’s fortune or circumstances in any way, but looking at my life right now, everything is just peachy. I am happily married to my wonderful husband, I have such an amazing family and the most extraordinary friends, I have a rewarding career that allows me to use my talents and be a blessing to others, I have the freedom to do the things that I love, and I am alive and well! For the first time in my life, I can say that I am exactly where I want to be. I have all I need in this world. Yes, life is good! I am a very happy leap year baby!


While cleaning the house, I unearthed this note from many years ago written by a former classmate. How cool is it that I found it days before my birthday?
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