Five Chic Reasons I’m In Love With Short Hair

Once-upon-a-time, cutting my hair short was unthinkable. But, bitter years spent tangling with bad hair days had finally taken their toll on my patience, leaving me to no avail but to take the ultimate act of a woman’s sacrifice–that is to surrender the fate of her crowning glory into the hands of a hairdresser. Today, I am loving every single thing there is to love about my new look.

Short hair is literally cool and fun. It has many perks no woman with long hair could ever understand. If you want to know what the chic benefits are of having short hair, then here the following reasons I won’t be missing my long locks for a very long time.

Chic Benefit#1: It’s the Shock Factor

There is always something impressively audacious about women getting a short haircut that shocks people every time. When I had my long thick black hair chopped to a boyish crop about two months ago, I received all sorts of reactions–ranging from derisive disapproval to major admiration–from people who knew me. For a change, I felt brave and unpredictable seeing people unsettled over my drastic transformation.

Chic Benefit#2: It’s a Daring Look Only A Few Can Pull Off

I realize that not everyone can carry a Jean Seberg crop, or rock a Miley Cyrus mohawk. It usually takes a lot of guts and the right amount of sass to shift from soft and feminine to ass-kicking rock star cool.

Chic Benefit#3: It Costs Less to Maintain

What I love about having short hair now is that I don’t have to use as much shampoo or conditioner as I used to when I had longer tresses. Gone are the days where I had to spend a ridiculous amount of money and agonizing time in a salon chair to have work done on my unmanageable frizz. Obviously, maintaining hard-to-tame tresses over the years hadn’t exactly been stress-free for me. But now, it no longer has to cost me an arm and a leg just to look fabulous.

Chic Benefit #4: It’s Flexible

Another thing to love about wearing short hair is that you can style it any way you like (unless it’s too closely cut to the head). You don’t even need gel to look cool and edgy. Sometimes, all that you need to achieve a really mean rocker (just got out of bed) look are eight hours of deep sleep.

Chic Benefit #5: It’s Simply Liberating to Have Short Hair

I used to deal with bad hair days by efficiently hiding hideous knots and horrific split ends in a tight, neat and practical bun. And so, chopping off those hard-to-tame tresses was obviously the wisest thing I have ever done so far this year.

In fact, it had benefited me in more ways I could have thought possible. Not only did having shorter hair make me feel lighter and literally freer (as if half of my life’s burdens have been lifted off my shoulders) but it had unshackled me from the unflattering stereotypes any “frumpy,” “boring” and “old-fashioned” stay-at-home mom would love to finally rid of herself.

Short Hair Mom Blog Post

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“Work Smart” Hacks from My Husband

Nanny-less with two young kids, a blog and freelance writing job, I find that I suck big time at this entire being organized business. Meanwhile, my husband–a virtuoso in a field where women are reputed to be subject matter experts–is an adept juggler of tasks. He can breeze through any litany of chores, inserting one or two rounds of basketball in between, while there I am–bedraggled, hair unkempt, and could barely change out of my pajamas.

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His energy is limitless and his efficiency is unparalleled. I resent and admire him for those very same qualities. For all my mommy angst towards the man who seems too eager to assume my role–on top of his duty as father to my children–I just can’t help but gush a little bit about those Superman qualities of his.

I never thought that I would say this, but I think it’s kind of cool how a guy can get so many things done on top of his own work responsibilities in the office. And, if there is anything at all that I have learned living with this man, it is working smarter and not necessarily harder that helps you get ahead each day and, ultimately, in life.

So, what are these “work smart” techniques that I’ve picked up from the husband over the years? Here they are:

 

  1. Sleep

I used to wonder where he’d draw his energy from; but knowing how he values his sleep, I shouldn’t be surprised. As it turns out, the secret behind his get-up-and-go attitude is six to eight hours of uninterrupted zzzs.

  1. Early Start

Except for his Friday night drinking sessions with the boys, he loves turning in early so that he gets a good head start the following day. Waking up early gives him time to start slow, drink in the silence and exercise before he plunges into some real work ahead.

  1. One Task At A Time

I’ve always admired him for the way he can handle so many things at the same time. But truth be told, my husband attributes his efficiency to focusing on one task at a time. Basically, it’s quality over quantity for him. Concentrate on the task at hand to come up with an excellent result and immediately move on to the next. Before you know it, you have accomplished more than you have intended.

  1. Prioritize

For the husband, doing what’s important first always work best. For me, however, it’s getting the easier tasks out of the way as working on the more challenging parts can be time-consuming. Whichever way you choose to go about accomplishing your to-dos, prioritizing always works to anyone’s advantage.

  1. Efficiency is a Habit

Routine may sound ho-hum to you, but it’s a practical and effective way of getting things done. In the process of doing things over and over, you develop or discover better ways of accomplishing tasks which then over a period of time becomes a habit.

  1. It’s in the Attitude

Sure, I know a thing or two about this science of budgeting time and I’ve written about it once for a webzine and the other time for a defunct personal blog. But, I realized that preaching about what should be done is a lot easier than actually applying the techniques. As for my husband, managing time has less to do with keeping a planner or sticking to a timetable, rather it has always been more about his attitude towards work and life’s challenges.

What I Want My Children to Know About Gender Equality

When a young woman lambasted a passenger on social media for allegedly refusing to give up his seat for her inside a crowded train, the post immediately went viral and elicited negative reactions from netizens.  When I came across that post, there were three things that became apparent to me:

  1. The lady was no feminist.
  2. She must have been living in another time.
  3. Her sense of entitlement and her perceived injustice for that matter were simply out of place in this day and age of advanced technology and equality.

Gender equality is an important social, political and economic issue that had been tackled over and over throughout the ages. Women for many generations had fought to be heard, educated and recognized not just for certain abilities but for their limitless potentials in the workplace. And to this day, women continue to stand up for many more rights.

So, to hear a woman whine about chivalry being dead, considering the hard work that went into attaining the freedom majority of women enjoy today, is just out and out disappointing.

As a mother to an eight-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy; the topic of gender equality certainly holds a special place in my heart.  Though admittedly I am no subject matter expert on the issues of equality and feminism, there are still a lot that I want to teach my children about respect and equality between boys and girls.

Here are the following fundamentals of gender equality that I want my children to know this early on in their lives…

One thing Gender Equality definitely is about is that it is everything that IT IS NOT:

  • It is not about girls versus boys.
  • It is not about women being the better sex, or about men being the stronger ones.
  • It is not about having to carry out a set of behaviors as prescribed by society.

Gender equality is basically about fairness and respect. It can’t get any simpler than that.

  • Equal rights. Equal opportunities.  Equal responsibilities for all.
  • It is essentially the freedom to be who you want to be–living up to your full potential by not being boxed into stereotypes. You define who you are. No one else.
  • It is about being aware of your true value as a human being–having self-respect and knowing what your rights are as a law-abiding citizen.
  • And to women, it is about respecting men, too.  Boys are just as susceptible to emotional frailty and physical limitation as girls that they deserve to be respected for their needs, as well.

Gender Equality

 

How to Overcome Writer’s Block from A to Z

It’s been a while since my last blog post.  And flexing my writing muscle to break that four-month writing drought certainly feels a lot like learning to walk again after coming out of a coma.

Indeed, kick-starting creativity when you’ve been out of the blogging practice for quite a bit can be distressing.  But there is always a way around that difficulty and I could think of several strategies to get any writer’s blood circulating again.

Now, realizing that the best remedy to a writer’s block is to actually write about it, I have decided to come up with my own A to Z compilation of how to get out of that horrible writing rut.

So how do you get the right words coming your way?  Here are the ABCs:

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A is for Archive

Archive all your works (published or not) for your future reference.  Previous blog posts and long-forgotten drafts are your life buoy and best friend in the direst situation.

B is for keep Busy

Pre-occupy yourself with different activities.  Whether it’s creative stuff or the most mundane thing, being productive keeps your blood flowing.  Your mind follows sooner or later.

C is for Classical Music

Soft, mellow music not only quiets your body and soul.  It also keeps your mind relaxed and open for new ideas.

D is for Discussions

Sometimes the best materials are found in the most meaningful conversation.  Exchanging ideas with friends (including small talks with acquaintances and strangers) can produce some really substantial points for further discussion on paper.  If your mind continues to produce a blank page, why don’t you call and visit a friend for some good catching up?

E is for Experience

Since Life is the best teacher, the most significant lessons are usually drawn from personal experience. So the next time you are at a loss for anything substantial to write about, count on a recent event to back you up with some exciting topics, or travel back in time for some inspiration.

F is for Freewriting

The most effective way to kick procrastination in the butt is to simply keep going.  Keep tapping away until your freewriting lead you somewhere.  Our brilliance starts to manifest usually after a couple of awkward sentences or several rewrites later.

G is for Google

Utilize the internet for rad ideas. The World Wide Web is rich with writing materials and story ideas. Google for writing prompts and blogging topics.  If you already have a topic that you wish to write about but don’t know how to go about it just yet, google for similar articles to kick-start your creativity.

H is for Hypothetical

Begin your posts with a hypothetical question.  I bet many of the most uniquely interesting stories we’ve read and seen are those that started off as what-ifs.

I is for Imagination

Use your imagination.  Create another world.  Invent something. Predict the future.

J is for Juxtaposition

Look at the world at different angles and find a spot where the old meets the new or where North and South collide.

Compare and contrast.

K is for Kindness

Don’t push yourself too hard.  Give yourself a break from time to time.  You deserve the occasional reprieve from hard work with a trip to the ice-cream parlor or local book sale, vent-out session at the coffee shop with like-minded friends, or fright night at the movies.  Maybe a good scare could get that writing blood pumping again.

L is for List

When in doubt, compile ideas.  You cannot go wrong with lists.  You can do a lot of things with it like:

  1. Write a bucket list.
  2. List the top 10 things you love/hate about blogging.
  3. List the top 10 or 100 places to visit in the world.
  4. List different ways to bust boredom on a rainy day.
  5. List breakup lines.
  6. List pick-up lines.
  7. List the stupidest things you’ve ever heard.
  8. List your many firsts.

And the list goes on.

M is for Memory Lane

If you’re feeling a little sentimental then write a #throwback article about high school, your childhood, or your early years in an exotic far-flung place.

N is for Notebook

Always keep a notebook handy because inspiration can strike at any time anywhere.

O is for Open Letter

Write an open letter to a friend, a lover, a politician, future husband, your children, or yourself 10 years down the line.

P is for Photograph

They say a picture can speak a thousand words; so cut out an image from a magazine, pick out an old photofrom the family photo album, take snapshots of people in action and write about them.-This simple classroom writing activity should get your creative juices flowing in no time.

Q is for Quotes

One way to begin a great article is to introduce it with a quote.  Whether it’s inspirational or motivational in its purpose, a quote from a person of historical impkrtance never fails to set a tone of greatness to any story.

R is for Rant

If all else fails, vent your frustrations.

Rant about the terrible traffic jam.  Rant about your boss (and make sure he never gets to read your post.)  Rant about your in-laws (and make sure that they never get to read about it).  Rant about how unfair society is.

Rant about life.

S is for Street Signs

Think out of the box. Go out and take a stroll around your neighborhood. Source the streets for possible stories. Take note of street signs and use them as your writing prompt, if not, make it your central topic.  Search for funny billboards.  Make a mountain out of the most mundane.

T is for Title

Think of an interesting title (even if you don’t have a storyline or article in mind).  Work your way from there.  You can draw inspiration from street signs, too.

U is for Update

Update yourself with the new.  Broaden your horizon.  Travel.  Meet people.  Keep up to date with current events.  Read about the world.  Read the latest bestselling novel.  Be in the know.

Having stock knowledge is always handy in writing emergencies.

V is for Visualize

Picture the story in your head.  Visualize how you want the article to be.  Select pictures and drawings to inspire you.  Then write.

W is for Write about Writing

Write about writing itself—your challenges and how you overcame it.It is better to deal with writer’s block by simply writing about it than not to write anything at all.

X is for eXtreme

From time to time,try to write out of your comfort zone.  Being stuck for ideas may be a sign that it’s high time you blog about something you’re afraid to voice out your opinion on. Like politics.

Success often results from doing something that scares you most.

Y is for Young Children

If you’re a parent, this shouldn’t be so hard to do.  Children make a fantastic topic.

You can write about the darndest things children say; how kids have a knack for putting adults on the spot; or rant/rave about their antics that can drive you mad or make you glad.  Better yet, allow yourself to get in touch with your inner child and write something for the younger generation.

Z is for Zeal

Don’t let stumbling blocks and other challenges douse your enthusiasm for writing. Keep the passion burning by believing in yourself.

 

 

 

 

Top 6 Supermom Attributes to Emulate

Sometimes, just the thought of the long week ahead –work deadlines, the kids’ exams, never-ending house chores and a host of other things to do—can be daunting that I’m exhausted long before I could even lift a finger to start the day.

supermomS
S is for hope.

 

Multitasking is no easy feat and definitely not my strongest point.  At the end of the day, I am feeling more like a rundown old tire that has seen too many years of wear and abuse than looking like the quintessential got-it-together, always on-the-go supermom that I aspire to be. If I could, I’d fly over to school to pick up the children in a bolt of lightning and use telekinesis to accomplish household chores as I tap madly away on my laptop. Unfortunately, my mere mortal capabilities could only permit me to perform one task at a time.

With that said, I just can’t help but marvel at the other women who can juggle multiple roles with apparent ease—the ones with high-powered careers who are not only good at what they do but great at parenting too; the solo parents trying make ends meet with more than one job; and the stay-at-home moms (of let’s say eight kids) with energy that seem to exceed their patience.

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Getting fit is the Supermom’s secret weapon against life’s everyday challenges.

Supermoms all of them. But, how do they do it?

These women do not possess special powers like Supergirl can see through walls with X-ray vision or like Wonder Woman can confine any man of brute strength with her Lasso of Truth…obviously. But their qualities and best practices as supermoms might as well say that they do.

So, what sets them apart? What are their top secret superpowers?

Well, below are just some of the super strengths that make them supermoms in the first place.  Maybe us bumbling mommy sidekicks can learn a thing or two from these examples and take the cue from there.

 

Excellent Manager of Time

Every time we come across the word, supermom, we conjure this image of a multitasking maven who can whip up a scrumptious meal with one hand and type with the other  (while trying to appease an angry client over the phone). But, what the Supermom really is—is that she is disciplined. She is focused and is not easily deterred by circumstances or her surroundings. She keeps a timetable and delivers as expected. With her excellent time management skills, she never fails the people who depend on her.

Excellent Manager of Emotions  

If she can manage her time like she organizes her children’s closets with methodical care, the supermom can certainly handle her emotions. That doesn’t mean, however, that she is never affected by tribulations or rudely awakened by life’s unpleasant surprises. It is human after all to feel sadness, anger, or disappointment. But, while the rest of us are busy shaking an angry fist at God, venting on social media about how terribly we were wronged, or contemplating hurling ourselves off the cliff; the Supermom quietly moves on after maybe crying a little bit over spilled milk or holing herself up in mourning. No matter how tough the going gets, she has this ability to snap out of her affliction and move on.

Get-Up-And-Go Attitude

But let’s face it; the mom who is most active is usually the most accomplished. Her optimism and can-do attitude in the face of challenges keeps her on her toes at all times. Though it’s true that good time management always helps in getting things done on schedule, it is always drive and motivation that often see a hardworking woman through the most harrowing of days.

Fueled by Exercise

Spinach is to Popeye as exercise is to any go-getting supermom. Getting fit is like her secret weapon against the battalion of work that she faces every day.  She knows that exercise does not only boost her energy, but improves her mood as well. A healthy state of mind is just as important as physical durability to withstand or surpass life’s challenges.

Woman of Independence

 A genuinely strong woman is never in need of support from a partner (though he or she may offer it), affirmations of friends, or approval of society. When she is down to nothing, she can rebuild anything from scratch—skill and creativity combined. Independence is what sets the Supermom apart from the damsel in distress.

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The Supermom is a mother first and foremost. Her decisions in life are made in consideration of the people that matters to her most.

Motivated by Love

The Supermom is a mother first and foremost, and her decisions in life are made in consideration of the people that matters to her most:  her children. No matter what her goals are—whether it’s to provide for her family by climbing the corporate ladder to the highest peak or to set a good example to her children as a do-gooder in the community, the Supermom is motivated by love rather than vaulting ambition.

Dealing with the Writing Itch

Writer’s block is a bitch. But, inspiration when it catches you off guard–funnily enough with your pants down to your ankles and just as you’ve seated yourself quite comfortably for your morning toilet ritual–can put you through quite a hell of a time.

writingitch

It’s been a crazy long week. My creativity is on overdrive. Words play over and over in my head like a last song syndrome whether I am trying to whip up a mean lunch, reviewing my son for his every Friday quiz, or worse, in the middle of work with a deadline hanging over my head like a time bomb about ready to explode (and I’m not even halfway through the task). If anything, my personal blogging (passion) has been a distraction of late.

That bad!

Work is work. I cannot risk compromising my good reputation with the boss/client over a hobby. I cannot afford to lose my day job.  Not today!

Oh, I’ve been bad.

But, I cannot help the outpouring of words, the sudden surge of ideas–all that after a year of drought. The opportunity is just too great to pass up. It’s not every day that I have my muse smiling down at me and literally guiding me by the hand. Besides, if I try to control the urge, the itch gets worse. So with that in mind, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to sneak in a couple of sentences on my electronic notepad in between work. I will just have to keep in my mind what needs to be prioritized.  Otherwise, write where it itches.

Here’s hoping that I still get to keep my job.

(Fingers crossed).

 

A Children’s Book About Gossiping

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We grownups know that bullying is not just your typical big-brawny-boy-beats-up-tiny-scrawny-new-kid story that abound in playgrounds the world over and can be a lot more severe than schoolyard name callings, as intimidation comes in all sorts of subtle forms.  If boys are prone to aggression, girls are just as predisposed to acts of meanness.

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Ignoring, singling out, backstabbing, and rumor-mongering—name it; the list can go on forever.  These nasty behaviors from young girls can inflict damage to another child’s emotional and psychological well being as much as hitting and kicking can harm that child physically.

One of my greatest fears as a parent, of course, is to find my children at the receiving end of aggression. But, what would be more heartbreaking is to discover that they have somehow become purveyors of hostility.

About two years ago, I bought my daughter this secondhand book I happened to stumble upon at a local book sale. It was no ordinary children’s book. It was a book about gossiping. Now, how cool is that?

But, no. The book did not teach kids the art of tale-telling, rather it preached against it.

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We still have this book, and I would, from time-to-time, read the story to my children before bedtime to remind them of how everything we do can (negatively) affect others.

So, What’s In The Book?

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“A Children’s Book About Gossiping” by Joy Berry uses different scenarios to describe how gossiping can hurt its subject and negatively affect the tattler’s reputation.  What I love about this book is that it also gives examples of how a child can avoid being party to damaging talks about other people.

 

This is by far the coolest story for kids that I have ever laid my eyes on.  If you want to teach your kids the basics of anti-bullying, this is the book to read…unless there’s a more updated story somewhere out there. The copyright of “A Children’s Book About Gossiping” dates back to 1988. Because of the story’s timeless theme and feel, I recommend this book to adults and kids alike a thousand times over.

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Maybe we can relearn a thing or two from the story about the ill effects of gossiping.