My Parents’ Native Tongue

Philippine Clip Art, Filipino Clip Art, Watercolor Clip Art, Speaking Tagalog

Philippine Symbols Watercolor Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art

My parents were born in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States back in the 70’s. Though Tagalog is their native language and they spoke it at home, I unfortunately didn’t retain enough of the language and I’ve been playing catch up.

I understand the spirit of what they are saying, but I cannot tell you for sure what they are saying. I know enough but I want to know more. I am inspired by this guy, Dwaine Wooley, who lives in the Philippines and speaks fluent Waray. I feel like a backwards FOB when I watch his videos. The character I played in An Infinite Ache has a huge argument with her Jewish husband about losing her culture, losing herself, disappearing down the family line. I worry about that, too. Especially in the volatile political climate we are in now. I don’t want my daughter to disregard her heritage, I want her to know that her mixed heritage is a thing of beauty.

One of my closest high school friends was a fluent Tagalog speaker and she would very patiently teach me. I also listened to songs and watched some movies to immerse myself the best that I can. I also made my parents talk to me in Tagalog. I like to think I got pretty good, but then I started to date a guy who liked to announce NO COLOR LINES whenever I would practice in front of him. I shouldn’t have let that go as easily as I did, but I was too malleable back then. I should have corrected that part of my life sooner but I wouldn’t be the first person to stick around longer than necessary. Live and learn.

Anyway, I am teaching my daughter the names of parts of the body like nose (ilong), Eyes (mata), hands (kamay), etc. I also got these Tagalog flash cards and this book to start. I’m still looking for kids songs, but that’s proven to be tougher to find.

I just wish my daughter was able to learn first hand and not through an Americanized filter like myself. But like when Marge Simpson said she was gonna teach piano lessons. “I just have to stay one lesson ahead of the kid!”

Did Love or Life Get in the Way?

Here I go again…seemingly lazy’ing it up on this blog thing again.

I’ve made progress on a lot of things. Reminding myself of that fact keeps the guilt away. I got a PO Box and set up my mailing lists and e-mails for both my sites (blog, pro). Not really sure what went wrong. Did discouragement sneak in somewhere? Did the mundane tasks of every day life get in the way? Racking my brain over it and there’s nothing there. Sitting at my desk in front of the computer and just…blank. Perhaps I’m suffering from a bit of writers’ block. It’s not for lack of trying. I did reach a lot of my goals for this month, so it’s good! The chores got done and meals were cooked and appointments were kept…but there were nights I had free where I could have spent more time on the design or more time writing. There were some afternoons I could have spent making jewelry or drawing, things I haven’t done in a long long time. But I didn’t do any of those things. I colored with my daughter, I watched a movie with my husband, we attempted potty training (oh boy), I gave my daughter her first voice lesson (singing vowels and she would copy me, OMG so cute and off key!)…these are really the sweetest days, and they must be loved and lived and experienced before they’re gone.

A few updates…

I interviewed my friend Lora Nicolas on the delicate balance of motherhood and working in the entertainment industry. I don’t know how she does it. She told me and I have proof and I still don’t know. Maybe as I continue to write her feature, it will come to me. Piece to follow.

Got some exciting news regarding a potential upcoming project, but as nothing is finalized as of yet, I don’t want to jinx it by spilling the beans too soon. Hopefully everything goes as planned!

What I’m thankful for…

A few years ago I used to write down what I was thankful for each day. Trying to get back in that habit and improve my outlook on things a bit. I’m not a negative person but it’s too easy to let the poison creep in if you don’t arm yourself with joy.

  1. Choosing to spend time with my daughter and husband instead of pouring all my spare time into extra projects. Everything else and this blog will survive a few days or weeks hiatus. My family is the center of my heart and nurturing them fills me.
  2. Reaching many of my goals for the month, doubling my views (albeit very small), created mailing lists, brainstormed posts and continued getting myself organized.
  3. Flexible employment and powerful female co-workers and supervisors.
  4. My daughter’s lilting laugh. Her laughter lifts my mood instantly.
  5. This little monster, always.

Count your blessings, even on your worst days, you have at least one.

In conclusion…

Love and life did NOT get in my way. My love and life ARE my way. Everything else will follow. I have to keep remembering that. Cherish everything and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it.

Looking for a gift idea? What about a Superhero Kids Portrait!

© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

What if you could make your child into a superhero?

If you’re looking for a gift for a great kid in your life, look no further! What about a customized superhero kids portrait of your favorite kiddos? Every kid wants to be a superhero! I know I did. My superhero power would definitely include flight, super strength and the ability to talk to animals. That would make me Wonder Woman. (keep that in mind for the future).

This past holiday season, I wanted to get my in-laws and my parents an amazing and unique gift – I wanted to give them portraits of all the kids in our family but dressed as comic book superheroes! As an artist, ideally I wanted to draw it myself, but as the mother of a rambunctious toddler WHO WILL NOT SIT DOWN EVER WHILE AWAKE, I knew I wouldn’t have the time. I (technically) could draw it myself, but as the comic book style isn’t my strength, it would take a long time for me to get it right. The smart thing to do would be to commission an artist who specializes in that style. So I commissioned my super talented cousin, Sonya Henar to draw our kids portrait! By the way, not only is she a stellar artist, but she’s also a fantastic singer.

Check this out. Isn’t this the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?!


Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

She even drew the DOG!!! BFFS for life, right?

Here is an example of a group superhero kids portrait of my nephews. Sonya can even draw your whole family if you asked her to!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

Everyone loved them. Each superhero kid got their own personal picture to frame and put in their room, too! Check out more of Sonya’s work at and order a commission at her custom artwork site. I’m so proud of her. I like to pretend to think I taught her everything she knows, but I didn’t. That’s all her.


Mommy-Daughter Day at Dia:Beacon

The little one making mischief at Dia:Beacon!

My daughter and I took advantage of this weekend’s FREE event at Dia:Beacon. This weekend was part of Dia’s Community Free Days which includes free admission for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester County residents on quarterly basis. The last time I went there was before I got married, so I was hoping to see some new stuff.

Yeesh, I forget how BIG this place is. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but believe me, it’s huge!

Kiddo loved it!

There was a lot of room for her to run around. I made sure she only ran free in areas where the artwork was out of her reach. She had her eye on one particular sculpture (made of discarded metal) and she was DETERMINED to climb it. Luckily, I got to her before she could touch it.

I will have to say, that I maintain my stance on blank canvases as “art.” Not sorry. Not art. Piles of glass? Not art. Garbage. Holy crap, I was cursing under my breath because I just cannot reconcile that as art. There are two or three rooms of blank canvases up next to galleries of giant metal sculptures and down the hall is a whole room of geometric pencil drawings drawn right on the wall!! Blank canvases (canvases painted white, whatever) are not the same. Watch me take a dump on the floor and call it art. Same amount of effort. I blame Duchamp and his love for toilet humor.

However, I did enjoy most of the work displayed!

There were some pieces I loved, like The Hanged Man by Bruce Nauman (NSFW). I thought it was hilarious! Maybe the not the message the artist was trying to put forth, but humor is what I got.

Dan Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), 1973 was also one of my favorites. My daughter actually enjoyed his the best because they were all lit up!

Sol LeWitt remains my favorite artist displayed at Dia:Beacon because you know some WORK went into his pieces. My daughter pointed at one particular installation which was red, yellow and blue and started shouting, “Color! Color!” Even she appreciated it, and she’s only 18.5 months old!

Later, we finished up with lunch in the museum cafe, which is an extension of Homespun Foods, one of Beacon’s most popular cafes – SUPER delicious, and not your standard museum cafeteria food.

Anyway, even with my loathing towards conceptual art, Dia:Beacon is still a wonderful place to visit and get your culture on. The Dia Art Foundation has several locations and affiliates in the US and internationally. Check them out!

Should You Buy An Expensive Crib?

Should You Buy An Expensive Crib

I remember when I found out I was pregnant.  I took four tests JUST to make sure! The minute after peeing on the stick was literally the longest minute of my life! The second I saw those four positives, everything literally went blank.  The second after that, a list of everything we needed to buy starts rolling in my head. Diapers, crib, clothes, bibs, bottles, toys omigod so many toys…and the dog…the dog hates everyone! Will he hate the baby?

It’s all so overwhelming. (BTW the dog LOVES the baby…LOVESSSSS…)

After the initial joyous shock wore off, my husband and I started to plan. The list that was rolling around in my head made its way on paper. Over the next nine months, we weighed the pros and cons of different baby items, cloth vs. disposable diapers, get a swing or not (GET ONE), etc. One of the last things we acquired was the crib. Purchasing a new crib is advisable, unless you can be absolutely certain the safety of the second hand crib you have your eye on has not been compromised. Drop-side rail cribs were prohibited in 2011 in line with new federal safety standards. In the end, a used crib is usually not worth the uncertainties. You should at least buy a new crib. (disclosure: Our crib was pre-owned by a trusted friend of mine.)

Should you buy an expensive crib? Let’s face it. Babies are very expensive. With all the gear that babies need, sometimes it’s hard to process all the information and cost! One of the biggest investments aside from the stroller and carseat is the crib. Not only do you have to factor in the cost, but safety standards and practicality are something you also have to consider. While the cribs pictured below are no doubt high end and beautiful, remember, an expensive crib doesn’t mean better crib. There is something for every budget.

Before purchasing anything (brand new or used), make sure that it complies with up-to-date safety standards. The spacing between the slats MUST be 2 3/8 inches or LESS to prevent a baby’s head from getting caught. Also, lead based paint may be present in older pieces.

Babies use their cribs for an average of 24 months. Every baby is different and transitioning from crib to bed is essentially up to them. For this reason, “lifetime cribs,” more commonly known as “convertible cribs” are a practical choice. The 4-in-1 lifetime cribs can transform from a standard crib, to a day bed, toddler bed and single/twin sized bed! Even if you choose the most expensive convertible crib model, you’ll still get a great deal.

In the end, if your budget allows for a fancy and safe crib that you will be happy with, then by all means, buy what will bring you joy. If the cribs below are too indulgent for you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! The first priority should be safety, and there are plenty of affordable crib styles that fits any budget.

An Unplanned Hiatus and Announcement!

So the end of November threw me into an unplanned hiatus from blogging and personal social media. My online activities were restricted to the social media responsibilities for my job, as well as extra holiday hours at the store. Not that it wasn’t a welcome time to be busy, because as you can tell from the photo below…

Pregnancy Announcement

…the hubs and I are expecting our first child in July! We are very excited, terrified and so so happy! We aren’t particularly sentimental/cheesy/corny people, but we do love to laugh. So we included Donut in our announcement! Poor kid, haha! He’s been demoted to reindeer next Christmas. The first thing I bought for the baby was a Santa suit. Girl or boy, who cares.

Donut and his soon-to-be-baby

Other than that, I’ve been really busy working because of the holidays. Since it is the start of the slow season, I’m working on increasing my social media client base and adding more inventory to my shop. I want to work from home so that I can stay with the baby. My parents both worked full time so growing up I had nannies and babysitters around me the majority of the time. I lived for Thursdays because that was the day my mom would be off from work! Because of how both parents working out of the house affected me growing up, I would rather be the one at home taking care of the kids and return to the workforce once they are old enough to go to school.

I don’t plan on putting too many pictures of the kids online. I want them to be able to control their own level of privacy. That cute picture of them on the toilet when they’re  five could come back to haunt them when they’re fifteen.

Pregnancy has been fairly easy so far (knock on wood), aside from mild food aversions (still can’t eat chicken), and dairy has become my worst enemy (gas gas gas……..), but chocolate is still my friend and french fries have saved me from starving on more than one occasion.

I have a couple things planned for this blog. I will continue to feature my talented friends in my monthly round-ups (performances, industry, etc.), but I’ll be adding more DIY, recipes and some music. Stay tuned!