‘Ask Away Friday’ with Vanilla Housewife

Very different post for this Friday, folks! I have been ‘dialoguing’ with the  hilarious Jhanis of Fascinations of a Vanilla Housewife for a while now.

The Vanilla Housewife

She lives in the Philippines; I live in New York.  Similar stuff crack us up so when she asked me to take part in an Ask Away Friday, I said: ‘Yeah, let’s do it, girl!

She asked me questions, I asked her questions, and now we link up. A little like Reddit ANA (Ask Me Anything). I did have a fantasy of appearing on the David Letterman Show (either as a guest or as Letterman himself) so this post might be the closest thing to a Letterman interview that I will ever get, so yeah!!!  We also decided to go for a ‘quote me something’ theme to support our answers. You can read Jhanis’ answers to my questions here.

I loved doing this with her because not only I got to know her more but I saw how supportive bloggers can be to each other! She basically wrote the ‘grab my button code’ (still makes me laugh, sorry…) for me. Thank you Jhanis, you are a rock star!

My answers to her questions are below.

1. You have a very very interesting “About Me” page, now if you were to choose a song that would best describe you as a person, what would it be and why?

Hand in my pocket by Alanis Morrisette  because every single sentence resonates with me. OK, except the one about ‘playing the piano‘ because not in a zillion years, I could play an instrument. I am tone deaf and my brain is just not wired for partition reading. I get dizzy just looking at one. Anyway, I remember when the song was first released I was 20 and I was like: ‘I want to be that girl in the song‘ and I hope that I have become her. I wished I was a wealthier version of her though..sic.

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

2. And because I thought your question to me “Who would you Kiss, Shag, Kill, Marry (in an alternative reality)?” is really interesting, I’m gonna ask you the same question BUT let’s pretend that you are a man. 😉

Kiss Rachel Bilson or Chloe Sevigny

Shag Gwen Stefani

Kill? I am so regretting asking you this now because I am not of the murderous type (I think). However,  if anyone raped one of my children I would get into a blind rage and go out for a kill…while hoping someone sane slaps me hard to get some sense into me.

Marry Matt Bomer from White Collar. Whether I am a man or a woman, this does not change my answer. He is perfection.

‘What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for!?

Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock

Take a chance you stupid whore
Take a chance you stupid whore

Like an echo pedal, you’re repeating yourself
You know it all by heart
Why are you standing in one place?
Born to blossom, bloom to perish’ 

What you waiting For, Gwen Stefani

3. Where in the world have you been? (map your footprints across the globe).

So many countries missing …Sic


4. I know how strongly you support gay rights. What developed this passion?

Apologies for the long answer but when I start on this issue I cannot shut up. I think my journey as a gay rights advocate started way before I even heard the word ‘gay’. It is somehow closely  tied to my stance on women’s rights. As a kid, I would feel absolutely enraged when some of my boyfriends were being bullied for showing off ‘feminine’ traits or tastes. I was like: ‘why is it a problem to act like a girl? Why is it weak or dirty to be like a girl?’

All my life I had Alpha type males  whom I considered as some of my oldest and closest friends. I thought I knew everything about them until they came out as gay. In 2000, I had my first come out confession.A very close friend took me aside during a party and said with tears in his eyes: ‘I have to tell you something, I am gay’. I asked: ‘What does it mean?’ He replied in shock: Well…I like men’ And I remember vividly saying:’ OK. And?’ Because I actually had no idea back then what ‘liking men’ would imply in the way you live your life, the way you were treated in public and in private. I just thought:’what’s the big deal with this? Why the fuck is he crying about it?’

Gradually I started to understand a little more about the issues and then,  there was a tipping point. I was walking on the street in New York with Thor on a very fun Halloween night. He got harassed by a group of men calling him ‘faggot, pussy’ and other anti-gay slur. And I snapped. BIG time. I almost started a brawl, I was violent, girl. Thank god, DH and a girlfriend pulled me out but that’s when I realized I could not be easy going about gay rights because some of the world around me surely was not. Since that night, I got a little more vocal.

Judge Garrett: In this courtroom, Mr.Miller, justice is blind to matters of race, creed, color, religion, and sexual orientation.
Joe Miller: With all due respect, your honor, we don’t live in this courtroom, do we?

Philadelphia, 1993

5. To say that I love your fashion sense is an understatement and I would love to see 3 of your most favorite look.

Thanks for the compliment! The aesthetics of my style can be borderline schizophrenic, to be honest. However, for an outfit to feel right, it needs to make me feel fierce, current, positive and be as comfortable as possible. I have never been into the romantic, ingenue, ethereal aesthetics which, considering my age now and the 3 kids in tow, is probably lucky. Anyway, here are my top 3 looks.


True blue 2

Turkey hunting

6. One thing that you and your husband would like to do within the next 5 years.

Visit Japan. Obsessed with it. My obsession started with mangas when I was a child, then the authors (Mishima, Murakami), the food, the style, the weirdness…We MUST go there!

The other thing would be learn how to dance the Tango. Last time we tried, we really, really sucked at it so we need our bruised egos to mend first before getting back on the horse.

‘I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while’.

 Kafka on the Shore, HARUKI MURAKAMI

7. What do you love about New York and what don’t you love about New York?

Before I give you my list of of love/don’t love, I need to say that coming to live here was a dream come true. I thought I knew everything about this city from the movies, TV shows and to some extent when I first arrived, everything seemed very familiar. After 4 years, I now realize that what I love the most about it is that it keeps surprising me. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me alive.

What I don’t love about New York:

– if there is no tip, customer service is non-existent. For example, public transportation service is particularly bad. I mean, I get that you don’t have to be spoon fed like a baby when taking the subway (like you are in London for example, missing the Tube staff!!!) but trying to slash passengers on purpose by closing the train doors without warning is simply cruel.

– the way people curse or talk on their cell phones super, super loud. I am all for self-expression but I really don’t need to know about strangers ‘ sex life especially when it is not very educative and mainly mysoginistic.

– the amount of plastic surgery in the +50  female population of Upper East Side. On a scary day, you walk around and you start wondering if you have seen the same woman again and again but in different fur coats.

What I love about New York:

– you strike conversations with strangers in restaurants, in the subway, on the street that often change your views of the world or your own prejudice. I feel very privileged to get my assumptions challenged on a daily basis.

– most side streets are little peace havens away from the madness of main avenues. New York can be more quiet than you think. I like that this quietness is unexpected. You run, you yell and suddenly you turn a corner and you see cherry blossom trees and you can no longer hear anything. You look around wondering if you have stepped onto a movie set seconds after the director said ‘1,2, 3…Action’. And sometimes you actually have!

– the food: so much choice, so good. The number of restaurants by square mile is absolutely unbelievable.  A swanky restaurant serving Lao food even recently opened  in TriBeCA with lots of success. When I told my mom how much they charged for a tiny bowl of Tom Khem (Lao caramelized pork stew), she almost packed her suitcase to move here and open a Lao diner.

– the amount of rooftop bars where you feel like floating above the urban jungle while sipping a martini. They are breathtaking.

Here’s one of my favorite spots the Press Lounge


– New York is way more connected to nature than people think: Hudson river esplanades, all the parks, the Highline, etc. but also easy access to sandy beaches and mountains for hiking and skiing. So it is an endless playground for the urban addicts like me and the nature freaks like DH.

– New York is like a music box; full of eclectic rhythms, beats, melodies. It’s never boring and I do believe everyone can write their own music here, even tone deaf people like me 🙂

Banksy, the elusive street artist chose the streets of New York for his one-month ‘artists residency’ and said:

“New York calls to graffiti writers like a dirty old lighthouse. We all want to prove ourselves here,”.  “I chose it for the high foot traffic and the amount of hiding places. Maybe I should be somewhere more relevant, like Beijing or Moscow, but the pizza isn’t as good.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/banksy-interview-with-village-voice-2013-10#ixzz2hLTOC2a8

8. What are your dreams for your children?

It is going to sound completely sappy but here’s the list:

be happy. And I think it is a very hard thing to achieve. Someone dear to my heart once said to me: ‘I am not equipped for happiness’. It was heartbreaking.

love themselves. Self-hatred is a very dangerous curse.

– and I would absolutely love the 3 of them to be really tight and supportive of each other. I would love them to have a ‘I cannot go by a week without talking to my brother and sister’ relationship. I don’t think we can really engineer this as parents but I hope that’s what is going to happen.

‘Keep it together in the family
They’re a reminder of your history
Brothers and sisters they hold the key
To your heart and your soul
Don’t forget that your family is gold’

Keep it together, Madonna

9. Tell me about a time when you really lost your cool, what did you do and what happened.

It’s weird because growing up I was losing my cool for absolutely everything and anything. I had a permanent frown on my face, I swear. Then as a young adult, I worked hard to let go of my anger. Plus I lived 11 years in London, England and it really turned me into an ‘ice cool’ chick. British composure is not a legend, it’s real, people. And now, the combination of New York’s abrasive and gutsy personality and me being a stay at home mom with 3 kids has woken up the volcano!!! The beast is back. I talked about it in a post about how I went mental during my vacation. More recently, the kids turned into tween brats and started to sulk refusing to clean up their toys.  I don’t know if it was G pretending not to hear my request, or P dragging her feet and pushing her toys with her toes very slowly to pretend she was cleaning or L doing the exact opposite of my request by emptying the toy chest…but I exploded. I started to throw some of their toys in the trash can. It felt really really good 🙂

10. This one is my favorite question each week. What’s in your bag? (Take a photo of your bag contents and no cleaning!) 😊

OK, that’s embarrassing but here it goes:

– The gadgets: Macbook Air, iPhone and headphones

– The glasses: reading glasses and sunnies

– 3 pens (?)

– 2 notepads: one for my business coach freelance job, and one for other ventures, ideas for start-ups, rambling etc. I usually have a 3rd for drawings or creative ideas. Talk about a mad head.

– a A3/A2 white paper sheet in case my ideas’ mapping does not fit on the standard notepad page. Very mad head, I am telling you…

– a pair of scissors. I am not sure why they are still in the bag but they are usually for cutting stuff from magazines. I guess, always useful for self-defense too 🙂

– The medication cabinet: anti hay fever tablets, anti-bacterial gel and paper tissues. I recently discovered that I I developed extremely uncomfortable skin rashes because of the pollen and the sun. I thought I was getting allergic to my kids because it always happened when I was taking them out all day…

– The delusion: receipts from restaurants or cafes because one day I will have a proper money management system in place. I will. And one day I will go to Shrine, a must go to music venue in Harlem. That is why I have been carrying their business card for like probably a year now.

– The beauty set: a hand mirror and a red lipstick 🙂

Anything that surprised you in this Q&A? Have a great week end, everyone!


25 thoughts on “‘Ask Away Friday’ with Vanilla Housewife

  1. This is nothing less than fabulous! I feel like I just had a crash course about New York! Thank you! I’ve always thought of the city as a very interesting place. now that I’ve read this, it’s now a dream destination. I wish I get to see New York and sip martini at the Press Lounge before I die LOL

    Wow, you’ve been to so many places already. No wonder you are such an interesting lady, you are a melting pot of culture yourself. 🙂

    I was laughing at the size of the scissors you have in your bag but I agree, great for self-defense. 🙂

    Lastly. I so admire your passion for gay rights. I have a lot of gay friends and I love them to bits.
    Thank you so much for doing this with me. I know my post as a far cry from this awesome post of yours but I hope you had fun doing this. Salamat! 🙂

    1. I loved your post, it is very you! And I really thank you for inviting me to this because it was a nice way to get to know each other and I do hope I convinced to visit New York. The martini at the Press lounge is on me!!! Xo

  2. i’ve always wanted to visit new york (i’m a GG fan!) how i hope, i wish. you gave me really good insights about NY making me love it more, even from afar 🙂

  3. Definitely a crash course on NY! I live in CT so I have been in to the city a number of times, but it’s not quite the same as living there. Love the food…oh, the food is so amazing. I have a teenage daughter who is in love with NYC. Her grandmother has taken her in a fair amount and for her birthday last year, she wanted to spend the weekend in the city with a friend. She had the whole weekend mapped out down to every restaurant she wanted to eat at. At 14, she already has her “favs!”

    1. I love a girl who knows her food 🙂 it’s funny because I never thought it was going to be such an ode to New York but I guess when I get started on this topic I just cannot shut up xo

  4. I love that bag question! It was nice to get to “meet” you through this linkup. You have traveled and lived in some really cool places. I learned some cool thing about NY and I’ve been there a lot since I was born and raised in NJ. That pic of that lounge area is beautiful! I would love to go to some of those yummy restaurants! 🙂

    1. Thanks! THe bag question is indeed very telling. When I emptied it, I did not even realize I had all that stuff and I thought:’There must be a lighter way to write down notes :)’. I am glad I did some traveling before my 3 babies because we are going to have to stay put for a while until they can stay still for more than 20 minutes! That lounge area is definitely worth it especially during week days (less busy). Nice ‘meeting’ you too! xo

  5. Hello! It’s been nice meeting you through Jhanis’ questions…I love you style and that jacket and top in your first picture ROCKS!

    I am in awe of your descriptions of New York, I grew up there and your descriptions make me feel as if I need to go back and take another look.

    Thanks so much for connecting with us for #AskAwayFriday…hope to see you with us again 😀

    1. Hi! It was my first time doing Ask Away Friday and it was so much fun ! Plus I did not realize it was going to connect me with so many fellow bloggers . Thanks for the style compliment; i am wearing this jacket almost every day since I bought it. Also feel humbled you connected with my description of New York !!! Def hoping to ‘bump’ into each other in the blogosphere xo

  6. The Press Lounge looks amazing. I only visited New York once when I lived on the East Coast … which is a shame because I lived in Philly and it wasn’t that far to visit. Needless to say I don’t think I gave it a fair shot and I would love to go back and really experience the city.
    I think your passion for Gay Rights is admirable. I’m a conservative but wholeheartedly believe that people should be able to love and marry who they want.
    Great getting to know you.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

    1. Thanks ! I am delighted that I’ve done this AskAway Friday because I got connected to all of you ladies (I can be a shy online lurker sometimes). NY definitely deserves a second shot 🙂

  7. It was so great to be introduced to you and your blog through Ask Away Friday! I really love the way you write, I kind of feel like I’m chatting with a friend! Such a great description of NY too. I live in Jersey and have been to NY too many times to count and am always intrigued by the people who can live there. Sometime I think it would be way too crazy for me to handle and other times I think it would be an amazing life change and adventure.

    1. Hi, yes it’s so nice to ‘meet’ new people via this post. Jhanis is such a cool chick for asking to take part. I will definitely do it again , maybe once a month. As for New York, def different when you live there. It’s actually calmer. I remember traveling back and forth between London and NY for a year and found it hectic but when I moved permanently here, somehow I started to walk slower…Weird , huh?

  8. Well, I was listening to Alanis when I was reading your post … what a coincidence the exact same song!!! I love Murakami too and I was introduced, years ago, to Japanese life through my friend Thom, whose parents are from Japan. I dance Tango and if you were in BA we could take some lessons!! it´s something that I cannot describe with words, the feeling of dancing to that music, it´s primal.
    Your likes and dislikes about NY were very interesting to read, specially being challenged every day, that feeling of being in an entirely different place just round the corner and the food and the rooftops. It´s a learning experience I guess.
    The contents of your bag, I have a corkscrew !! you should never go out without one LOL
    I enjoyed very much your interview!!!
    Have a great start of the week!!

    1. Wow! The two of us have so much in common, crazy! Absolutely loved the fact that you were listening to Alanis. We should do a AskAway Friday post one day. As for Tango, I am not giving up on this but it was really catastrophic the first time around. You need to share your secrets 🙂

      1. Don´t give up!! you have to “feel” the music, it´s something difficult to put into words, it gets under your skin and the moment you dance with your partner and for the time the music last, you fell in love with him. When it´s over, the love is over too and you go with somebody else and the story starts again. Sort of a one night stand but shorter, just those minutes you dance LOL
        Yeah! we should do a AskAway some day, when I have a home again. Right now I´m homeless and living in different places, sometimes just for some days. 🙂

  9. I am from NY been living in DC for 5 years. I don’t know if I am ready to move back BUT I miss the spontaneity and excitement. DC are just doesn’t compare. Your list was dead on. Great answers!

  10. Love the handbag one! Always a fave. (I have a voyeuristic tendency towards shopping trolleys, too.) (I mean we all do, right? Yes?)

    I love the fact you carry so many notepads/gadgets around – handy if you get inspired at a random moment!

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