GINspiration — Life Lessons

Talks about Mommy Ginger’s life lessons for Baby Zeeka.

Dear Life,

It’s been 39 years of both exhilarating and boring moments.

Even with the boring and the not-so-great moments, you’ve wheedled your way into making me love you more with the charm of true love, the excitement of a new born child, the thrill of building businesses and the passion for writing and blogging.

First of all, I thank you for introducing me to a jocular and charming man. To be honest, EJ was not quite whom I expected to end up with for a life partner. You always had me end up with the “brute” and not the “brains” (no offense to my ex’s whom I am all friends with…). After months of getting to know him though, I knew he was THE ONE.

Me with my silly husband, EJ 🙂

And after several years of marriage, I still think him to be the man who inspires me to be the best that I can be. I love how smart and funny he is. I’m such an intense person that I thank you for giving me someone who’s more chill. Let not his “chillness” be mistaken for lack of drive. He is the most driven person I know with great leadership skills. I really admire and respect him. He’s a great father and a great leader. He could challenge me at anything, and there never is a dull moment with him. I am grateful for showing me the path that led to him.

The next thing that made me love you more is the minute I laid eyes on this feisty little baby, who could not be swaddled. Looking into Zeeka’s eyes makes me think that I have nothing to worry about. She has the confidence, the values, the inquisitiveness and curiosity, the drive and the attitude to take on the world by storm.

Sweet Little Zeeka and Moi!

She’s so sweet and loving that sometimes I wonder “what did I do to deserve such an amazing little girl?”. Life, I am so proud of her and this is something that I know I will be for the rest of years and decades together.

Life, you made me love you more when you introduced me to my purpose. My purpose of helping other business owners and freelancers introduced itself to me like an effulgent sun. Everything was clearer. I knew and know exactly where I want to be in the future.

With these businesses, you tested my values, grit, tenacity and perseverance. You also taught me to be a guide for different people from different walks of life who make up teams I love so dearly (#TeamManilaWorkshops and #TeamTaxumo). Yes, there were moments when I wanted to give up (several and too many to count) but you always showed me the reason why I shouldn’t. With these endeavors also, you introduced me to amazing people who are continuously helping me make the world a better place. You introduced me to a lot of amazing partners and new friends whom I know I will cherish for life.

Last but not the least (and definitely not the last reason why I love you more, Life), thank you for making me discover blogging more than a decade ago. Thank you for introducing me to something that I really enjoy doing. Writing is a break from everything. It’s what I love doing for my ME-time.

Me writing down outlines and ideas for my blogs before writing on the laptop… yup, old skool! hehe!

This is where I could express myself. Thank you for introducing me to this tool where I can share my thoughts, experiences and views on mompreneurship, women in the workplace, parenting, business, taxation, productivity, finance, beauty, etc.

There are so many more reasons why I love you so much more than I did before, Life. And as I enter this 39th year of being with you, all I wish is that you continue to be patient with me and stick with me as I have so much more that I want to do!

Make me love you more!

Love,

A flying carpet. An evil sorcerer. A magic lamp. A diamond in the rough. And a quest to win the heart of a princess. All of these sound exciting.

This is the reason why I think Aladdin is one of the best Disney movies of all time. And I was so excited when I heard the news that Disney is doing a live-version of the film. 

I didn’t let the chance pass when Globe invited me, my husband and my daughter Zeeka to watch it. The movie didn’t disappoint. 

Stepping Into A Wondrous Experience with Disney and Globe 

Zeeka and I got to experience what it was like on Agrabah through “A Wondrous Place” at the premiere of Disney’s Aladdin last May 25th at the SM Aura. 

We got to walk in an Agrabah-themed marketplace and enjoyed magical activities together. There was a magic carpet you can ride and take pictures on.. You can also win gold coins in fun games and activities that you can exchange for movie tickets. 

Zeeka had fun playing kinetic sand and making her own crystal necklace. 

I also had awesome freebies from Globe. I got my own Abu shirt and a purple blanket to keep me warm while watching. 

Rediscovering Aladdin’s Magical World 

I knew Disney was preparing something special for Aladdin fans. And I was pleasantly surprised with the twists they added to the movie’s live-version. 

Check out this side-by-side comparison of the trailers. 

First of all, the casting was on point! Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott were perfect for the roles. One would think Mena was the inspiration for the drawing of Disney’s Aladdin. And Naomi had the beauty and elegance fit for royalty. 

But it was Will Smith’s Genie that made it extraordinary. 

There was some criticism about him playing the Genie at first, but watching the film made absolute sense. 

Of course, Robin William’s Genie still tops the bill. But Will gave the Genie a much-needed glow-up and he made it his own. 

He was fun and hilarious, and you can tell that he knew how to work the crowd. See for yourself here: 

I also love that Jasmine wasn’t portrayed as a weak and helpless princess who cries at the smallest inconvenience. She was strong, opinionated, and she knew what she was capable of. 

Jasmine was bound by the words of people around her. Her overprotective father kept her hidden behind the walls of the palace. Jafar emphasized her lack of experience and her being a woman, which meant that she was just an eyepiece. 

In the end, she proved that she didn’t need anyone to save her. 

Aladdin was also funny, awkward, and charming at the same time. Zeeka had so much fun watching him and the Genie dance inside the cave. And the jam scene was also hilarious.

Mena’s parkour skills upped the ante, and it made Aladdin stand out even more. Mena was able to show Aladdin’s vulnerability, especially when he was conflicted about setting the Genie free or fulfilling his lifelong wish. 

The movie was everything I imagined it would be, and I’m really glad I got to see it happen in my lifetime. 

3 Life Lessons We Learned from Disney’s Aladdin 

Let me share with you three life lessons we learned while watching Aladdin. Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me while watching the film. 

You’ve got to be confident about what you have to offer

Genie

Throughout the film, you can see how Jasmine and Aladdin had doubts about themselves and what they can do. 

Aladdin wasn’t a prince but he definitely had the wits and the heart of one. And although she was a princess, Jasmine was limited because of who she was.  

The rules of the land dictated that she needed to marry a prince for the good of the kingdom. On the other hand, Aladdin was always told that he amounted to nothing.

But you know what made these two click? Both of them decided to believe in themselves and what they had to offer. Because of that, they got to take control of their lives and change the lives of others too. 

Sometimes we fall into this trap and we think that we are not enough. 

We’re not good enough as parents. We’re not expert enough to land that deal we’ve always wanted. We’re not ready to take on that huge project. 

We get scared of failure when in fact it’s a part of the process. We think too much of what others would think about us. We talk harshly about ourselves and forget the things we’ve already achieved. 

Truth is, we all have the potential to be great. The problem is, we often get in our heads too much. 

Mindset is everything. That’s why we need to change our scripts when we talk to ourselves. 

We need to be more encouraging, more patient, and kinder to ourselves. We need to be more grateful for what we have. 

And yes, we need to be more confident with what we have to offer. 

Sometimes you just have to take a risk

Aladdin

There are two kinds of people in the world. 

One are those who would stay in the balcony and sleep the whole night. The other would be those who’d hop on a magic carpet ride. 

The first ones would probably think of how dangerous the ride would be. No helmets, no seatbelts, and the chances of falling to your death is more than 95%. But the second ones are those who would be like, hey, you don’t see a magic carpet all the time right? 

Sure, you can choose to be comfortable and safe. But wouldn’t it be lifechanging to see the world from a different perspective? 

Everything in life is uncertain, and sometimes even the best-laid plans fail. But that’s the fun of it all. Your biggest mistakes can also be your best blessing. It’s all a matter of perspective. 

Sometimes the best things in life lie just beyond the safety line. And all you need to do is take a leap of faith to get it. 

I made you look like a prince on the outside, but I didn’t change anything on the inside. Prince Ali got you to the door, but Aladdin has to open it.

Genie

Most of us go out of our way to impress other people. And most of the time we end up becoming more miserable because of this. 

Just like Aladdin, we often think we need to be rich or powerful to be accepted. But in the end, it was his true self that made the princess fall for him.

So the biggest lesson here is to be yourself. The right people will love and accept you for who you are. And your truth will always be enough to them. 

Disney did a great job of bringing this classic tale up to date. The actors were great, the execution was spectacular, and the magic was kept alive. 

Even if I’ve already watched Aladdin a hundred times, Disney was still able to pull a lot of surprises. It was still as magical as ever, and I’m glad I got to share the experience with my little girl. 

Did you get to watch it? How was your experience? Share it with us below. 

This year, as I promised to share more about my own personal thoughts, I’ll be sharing some intimate stuff today. I’ll be sharing with you the story of a part of my life where my insecurities run deep.

Let’s talk about beauty, what true beauty is and how my definition of beauty has evolved. Long post ahead! 😀

My Insecurities…

I was 3 🙂

We all give love, and want to be (liked or) loved, too. With this, since (they say) first impressions last, we want to look our best at any given time.

Early in life, my mom taught me that I needed to look good. As compared to my daughter now and how she is, I was the opposite. I hated wearing dresses. I was quite and shy. I loved running around, too. I was always the tallest in my class, and the biggest. These pictures that I’m sharing now was me when I was 3. Can you imagine? I looked more like a 6 year old girl.

Aside from my weight though, I looked very clean. I had an apple cut hair cut with neatly combed bangs. I had nice skin, because of how my parents and yaya took good care of me. When I was little, I remember my mom telling me not to run around too much, because I might trip and hurt myself. She said that scars last a long time, and it wouldn’t look good on my fair skinned legs.

When I was in grade school, I was a chubby kid. I always felt conscious about not being as slim as my classmates. I would compensate by studying hard to get good grades. Even when I lost a lot of weight on my way to high school (dropped from around 130 lbs to 107 lbs), I still felt heavy and big. I always wore a jacket because I was so conscious of showing my arms. Do you know that I only got over that when I was 25 years old? Haha! Talk about having major body issues.

Started losing weight when I was in Grade 6, so I was slimmer when I graduated 7th grade.
First year High School

I really did have issues with the way I looked. It’s not because I’m vain or anything like that, but it’s about my eternal lack of confidence. Up until now, people don’t know this, but I still get VERY self-conscious. Sometimes, when I go to events, I feel awkward. I don’t know why I still have voices in my head that tell me that I’m not good enough or that I shouldn’t be here because I’m not worthy.

2009 – Our wedding 🙂

My ever so patient husband would tell me that I’m crazy and weird to think that way about my body. He always assures me that I’m fine.

How I try to stop these thoughts …

I love observing other people — how they react to certain situations, how they cope, how they think, etc. In this journey of mine, what I’ve realized is that people don’t really care so much about the way you look. What matters more to them is who you are as a person — are you reliable? are you trustworthy? do you have integrity? are you honest and kind? are you caring?

I’ve seen movies, films, advertisements, etc. that constantly show us what our standard of beauty should be. They define the standards on what being physically beautiful is.

I was in my late 20s that I realized that people are too busy to care about the way you look. I then consciously made an effort to stop listening to the voices in my head, and committed to to the opposite of what the voice would say. I would wear anything that I wanted to wear. I would eat anything that I wanted to eat. I felt free.

What happened when I stopped listening to the voices in my head…

I started loving myself. I started to see my strengths, utilized these abilities and started to shine! I started seeing problems around me that I wanted to solve. I slowly saw things that I could do, and that eventually led me to find my purpose in life.

This was when my own interpretation of true beauty changed.

About my friend, Cat…

My friend Cat Arambulo-Antonio is the country’s representative for the MASJ Squad (MERZ Aesthetics Serendipity Journey) campaign. She’ll be sharing her journey alongside 10 women from other countries in Asia Pacific to redefine self-care and see it as something that is deeper: Self-love. I attended the launch, and Cat’s words (and the entire campaign) reminded me of my own journey.


“When you look good physically, you will feel much greater inside,”

Cat Arambulo – Antonio
Know more about Cat here: https://myserendipityjourney.com/meet_the_squad/cat-arambulo-antonio/

I, personally, was moved by this campaign about true beauty. Wanting to look good shouldn’t be looked down upon. If we feel good about ourselves and if we love ourselves, then we get to “see” other people. Oftentimes, what happens is, we divert our attention now from ourselves to other people — we focus on taking care and loving others, solving society’s problems and adding value to the world.

On Merz Aesthetics…


(L-R) Merz Asia Pacific Regional Commercial Director Conway Rappa, Merz Philippines Marketing Manager Judith Albano-Cantada, Cat Arambulo-Atonio, Merz Asia Pacific Regional Marketing Communications Manager
Kris Leong, and Merz Philippines Country Manager Jorge Libanan

Merz Aesthetics has been a driver of innovation in the field of aesthetic medicing since one of the first anti-wrinkle moisturizing creams was launched in 1953. They are a global, family-owned aesthetics and neurotoxin company backed by 110 years of trust and commitment.

“I definitely trust the treatments that Merz offers not only because it really works, but it has contributed to building my self-assurance,” says Cat.

I’ve looked at their products and services, and I’m really interested now to try out their services. Cat has been telling me about the wonders of Ultherapy and how it made her face look more elongated.

For more information on the Merz Aesthetics Serendipity Journey, you may visit https://www.myserendipityjourney.com and Like and Follow My Serendipity Journey on Facebook and Instagram. Also, visit www.merzaesthetics.com.


Yours truly with Cat Arambulo – Antonio and Sam Lewis.

When we talk about beauty, it’s really not just about what the human eye can see. It’s also about confidence, charisma and character. Life is not about getting people to like you, but it’s about loving yourself. It’s about wanting to be a better you everyday, so you can be of service to others.

Thanks, Cat and Merz Aesthetics for inspiring me to be a better version of myself again this year! Congratulations on this campaign, and may it inspire more women to love themselves!

I’ve been thinking about listing down my plans for this year, and I’ve noticed that most of them involve saving up money. It seems like I’ve just been listing down year after year the same plans, and just jacked up the amount that I needed to save.

Apart from money, I never get to fulfil my fitness goal. haha! I just had a conversation with my friend (shoutout to Paul!), and he said na “yan ka na naman eh!” (There you go again!). He was right. Since 2014, I’ve been saying that i’ll be healthy and fit, but after a few months, I become busy and forget that I “planned” to be fit.

But this year “seems” to be different. I think I would be able to run regularly and go to the gym regularly. Well, so far so good! I’ve been able to do that this December. I don’t get fat that easily, but I don’t also lose weight that easily. It’s like my body is “stuck” on where it is now, regardless of what I do or what I eat. So my goal is to be able to sustain running 10 kilometers without walking (just jog or run) like I used to. I just want to feel like I’m healthier than usual.

So, plan number 1 is to run at least 3x a week, so that I can build endurance again.

My next plan is to visit more places in both the Philippines (I want to visit all 133 cities in the Philippines) and the world in 2019. The places that I want to go to (where I’ve never been) are Korea, Malaysia, Australia, the US (yes, I have never been there!), Spain, Germany and Africa. Obviously, I haven’t built enough funds yet to go to these places so probably, one or two international destinations will do this year.

So, plan number 2 is to explore more places that I haven’t been to!

The next and the last plan probably that I’m going to share will now be related to my finances. I’m still a long shot from the amount that I want to save up for Zeeka’s College education.

My dream really is to have enough funds for her to go to any school that she would like to go to when she graduates. Whether it be MIT, Julliard, Yale, Harvard, Parsons or schools here like UA&P, UP, Ateneo, La Salle, etc., we should be able to give her that kind of future.

Plan number 3 is to increase our savings and investments for Zeeka!

I want to keep 2019 simple. I think this year, I will be more frugal on spending.

How about you? What are your plans for 2019? Care to share it with me?

Every year, we speak of resolutions that we want to fulfil and accomplish. My 5 year old daughter whispered to me yesterday, and asked me if I needed help with anything. I said that she can help me with the household chores, and then I asked her why she asked me. She said, “My New Year’s resolution is to help people.”

I had no doubt in my mind that she could fulfil it.

Then I thought about what made me so sure that she could. Why do most of us fail at fulfilling our New Year’s Resolutions? How can me make sure that we keep our commitments.

Here are some insights about resolutions that I can share with you:

Make sure that your resolutions are commitments that you can keep. It’s good to shoot for the moon and land among the stars, but still make sure that that “moon” is still within reach.

So when making a resolution, think about it really well and check if you can really do it. If it’s a habit that you want to form, check and see if you can actually do it at the number of times you want to do it and if you have enough time to do it. If it’s a financial goal, see if you have means, resources and capabilities to come up with the amount that you want.

Look at New Year’s Resolutions as a way for you to form habits. In forming habits, the most difficult part is really the first 21 days or the first month.

Make it easy for yourself to stick to your resolutions. Create reminders for yourself. Set aside time that when you can do the things that you need to do. In my case, one of my resolutions is to try to Blog / Vlog as often as possible. I love doing these things, so what I did was really to set aside time to do these two things. I blocked off my calendar (a set time in Google Calendar) just to do these things.

Another thing you can do is write down on sticky notes reminders that you can post in different locations in your house or in your office. It helps to see these reminders frequently!

The most important thing (like any other goal in your life) about resolutions is to rise up and try again in case you fail. Since it’s about conditioning your mind and body to follow a habit, there will be times when it will be difficult.

Just keep on trying and eventually, you’ll be able to keep your resolution and keep these new habits.

How about you? Do you have a list of resolutions that you intend to keep? Share it with me! Please use #GInspiration #MommyGinger

‘Til next time!

Mommy Ginger