Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2012

Do you hear the people sing - Les Miserables

Let me put all my biases on the table: I am a HUGE Hugh Jackman fan : every single "X-men" movies, "Boy from Oz"  ( I screamed "I love you, Hugh" at the end of the Broadway play) , got giddy watching him on "Kate & Leopold" and "Someone Like You". Les Miserables was the first Broadway play I saw. And then I watched it 3 more times with my parents and children.  (I even enjoyed watching the non-musical movie version with Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman ) I admire Russell Crowe's acting abilities. Aside from "Gladiator", which I've seen over and over, I truly love his  performances in "Cinderella Man" and "The Beautiful Mind". Anne Hathaway, ah yes, who doesn't want to be like Anne Hathaway? From "Princess Diaries", to "The Devil Wears Prada", from "Love and Other Drugs" to "Dark Knight Rises". She's an elegant actress -- full of emotions and ma

i don't know how

"God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory," ~  Pres. Barack Obama at Newton, Connecticut. I tried to make sense of what happened. I tried to write something, anything. But I don't know how. So for now, all I can do is pray, light candles and hope...

You Gotta Eat Lunch

Every school day it is the same thing.  What am I going to pack for their lunch?  I created the picky eating monsters that I have, so I should just live with it, right?  Well it is very hard to accept what I've created. Child #1 did not eat any fruit, except for Mott's Healthy Harvest Country Berry applesauce (yes, I know!), until recently.  Now she will eat strawberries and blueberries (whew).  We call them nature's candy.  Child #2 will eat any fruit I give him. Child #2 will not eat peanut butter, chicken soup, or pasta with marinara sauce (or red sauce as my children call it).  These are all things that Child #1 will eat.  He usually takes a hot dog or jelly sandwich for lunch.  Anything else will come back uneaten.  They will both eat ham slices, but not as a sandwich. Add into this that Child #1 now has braces, so that complicates things a tad.  She cannot have anything too hard (i.e., carrots) unless they are cut into bite-sized pieces that she can chew in the

Pre-tweens and Cellphones: My 11 year-old and his cell phone minutes

For few years my 11 year old relentlessly hocked me to get him a cell phone. Like every other kid, the phrase "but every body else has one" was his selling argument. And mine was, "Your brothers and sisters didn't get their cell phones until they were in High School." We have the Verizon Wireless - Family and Friends plan. And we already maxed out the $9.99 per month additional plan. My youngest happens to be the 6th member of the family. And I'm not about to spend another $30 a month and re-do the data package so I can add my youngest child. I even joked that the only way I can add him to our plan is when his sister gets married. Last month, he managed to rally his grandparents and aunt to make me understand that he needs a cell phone. Since I have been doing a lot of volunteer work in New York , they convinced me that I need to be able to track my 11 year-old whenever I'm not home. So a compromise was made. We b

Bali...More Than I Bargained For

Bali …more than I bargained for. (Sonia Lopez at a Yoga Retreat in Bali) by Sonia Lopez Simpson , CPC, ELI-MP (Mom, Wife & Certified Life Coach) Truth be told, Bali was never on my bucket list.  But the Universe always has bigger plans. I found a good deal for a Yoga retreat in Bali on Facebook (which I thought would be a great vacation) so instead of having a 40 th birthday party, I asked my husband for this trip as my gift.  There are no coincidences.

Hurricane Sandy victims in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn need YOU!

My neighborhood in Cranford , NJ has been slowly getting our power back after Sandy , despite a brief setback from the recent Nor’easter.  Luckily we have a very strong support system that others don’t have. I have family and friends in the Gerritson Beach section of Brooklyn who feel like they have been completely forgotten.  Not only are they not yet on Con Edison’s priority list, they feel like they have dropped off every list on which you could be listed. They have no electricity, no gas, no heat, no telephone, no police protection, NOTHING!  All of the elements which create that reality we call normalcy have been removed from their lives in one day, and the safety net that they have paid for through their bills and taxes have evaporated into thin air without so much as a mention. So they are asking me to ask for your help. They have called their media, their congressman, their senator, their mayor, and their governor, but they have gotten NOTHING. They ask

Cartoon School

by Cecilia R. Mejia Career Choice: Is it a child's or parent's decision? “You want to go to cartoon school!?” says the father who’s just been told that his son wants to go to art school. I’ll never forget that line from the movie, “The Debut”. I’m sure every Filipino-American can relate to the premise leading up to that insensitive line. It’s your typical story of immigrant parents not understanding why their child doesn't want to be a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, basically anything that can provide them “stability.” I know this story all too well. It is the story of my life.

Fitness Friday: A time for me

“My life just got busier” is an understatement. I haven’t stopped “working” since the book was published and the paperwork for my third child's college applications and scholarships just kept growing. Although I enjoyed every new opportunity the book has opened up, there’s one thing I missed the most – creative writing. It was fall of 2009 when I got inspired into writing about my “zenwalks” . I don’t know about you but being outdoors is just magical for me. I could be totally exhausted but just a few minutes with nature and I feel invigorated. The WEGO Health Team reminded me something this week: We all need to live a healthy life, and it’s even more fun if we get to share a few tips to others. ( By the way, thank you for nominating us for the WEGO Health Activist Award: Best Show in Blog ) I believe that fitness comes in various categories: Mind, Body and Soul. If we are not "at peace", it would be difficult to get yourself motivated into work

Silent. Listen.

Last Thursday was open house (our school calls it Back to School Night) for the elementary classes.  My son has the great fortune of having the same wonderful third grade teacher that my daughter had.  As I sit there listening to her presentation and marveling at the Smart Board, I noticed a poster above the front bulletin board.  It read: I consider myself to be erudite and wise, but this fact never occurred to me!  Looking beyond the facts, this statement infers so much more. It is so powerful and relevant. Lately, it seems like there is much talking, very little listening. Listening is a very important skill that everyone should master.  It is through listening that we learn, that we show interest, and demonstrate that we care.

Renewed inspiration and inner peace at Global Mala NJ 2012

“Peace begins with a smile. Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  ~ Mother Theresa   I believe that every time you share a part of yourself to someone, be it as small of a gesture like a smile, you are extending your love. LOVE is what living is all about, and Sunday’s Global Mala NJ in Newark was all about love.

A father’s letter to his son on his birthday on making mistakes, facing fears and seizing the day

There's a unique bond that mothers have with their children, and fathers with their sons and daughters. Each parent plays a different role. Society gives more credit to mothers when it comes to raising a child. However, a father plays a very important role, too. My son once said, “There simply are no words to describe the role and importance of a dad.   NO dictionary will tell you the real meaning of the word, DAD.   However, one strong word could summarize a dad, LOVE.   This power exceeds any other,   This bond is unbreakable,   NO tragedy can move it,   NO earthquake waver it.   It is the strongest thing in the universe.” I’m sure most fathers turn sentimental when theirs sons celebrate another milestone in their lives.   Last week, our third child celebrated his 17th birthday, and my husband wrote him something that I thought was worth sharing. ( Permission granted) As you begin your 18 th  year, you have crossed into the young-a

The Circle

August. Summer peaks. Parks are full. Dogs and kids are stinky and happy. Ice cream is a kid’s best pal while the adults cool off with their beer, gin and tonics. And here, as life is bounces everywhere, it all comes full circle. My Aunt Priscilla Cruz Franciso, my second mother growing up, left her physical body on the 13 th of August, 2012.  She was my mother of affection. She was the first person who told me I was beautiful, spoke of features in my face which made me feel slightly elevated than what I normally feel about myself. When your mother is, for all intents and purposes, a beauty queen (cover for Liwayway, a famous magazine in the Philippines ; muse in University of the Philippines ) you cannot help but, being her daughter, feel like an ugly duckling next to her. I never liked to fall asleep knowing my Kaka (Aunt) was mad or upset at me. It made me miserable inside and out. I would crawl out of my mosquito net and snuggle next to her as she slept, slightly snorin

Letting go of the banana boat

Let me start by saying that I am hover  mom ! My number one priority is keeping my boys safe and out of harms way.  BUT, having been raised by a hover mom myself, I realize how this limits personal growth and can foster self-doubt (for the record, I do not blame my mom for being over protective. She did the best she knew how) . So this is why, when it comes to being adventurous with my kids, I feel the fear and do it anyway.  The cool thing is I'm learning that every time I do this, I learn a valuable lesson about life. My monkeys and I on the banana boat.... During a recent vacation, I decided we should go on the banana boat. You know, the inflated banana that gets dragged around by a boat that looks like its engine is about to fall apart and they drag you  wayyy  into the deepest part of the vast ocean?  Yes, once I got my kids all excited about this I began to have "what if" doubts. What if we can’t get back on the banana and we get stranded, what if there's

lemon water

The past month, I got in the habit of drinking lemon water. My friend told me about it awhile back, and then recently, my cousin reiterated the idea that lemon water helps with weight loss. I’m petite so I look like I don’t really have any pounds to lose. However, I couldn’t fit comfortably on any of my clothes and my sunglasses were touching my cheeks. My friend suggested a whole lemon’s juice added in a glass of water every morning. I couldn’t handle the acidity so I modified it to have 2 slices of lemon in a 16oz glass of water.  I noticed that I was drinking at least 6 glasses of lemon-water a day. (It actually stopped my diet-coke cravings!) It’s been 4 weeks and for the first time in my 48 years, I was confident wearing a 2 piece swim suit. I lost the 7 pounds that I had been trying to lose for the past 2 years!

Back to the Pool

I love to swim.  I always have.  Besides my new found love of yoga, swimming has always been the most serene form of physical activity for me (I hate to call it exercise because that word connotes torture for me).  I can swim for an hour solid and not think once "Is it over yet?". I find when I'm in the pool swimming laps, my body totally relaxes, my thoughts subside, and I just breathe.  All my worries float away and I just focus on the stroke and breathing.  I find that the 60 minutes I'm in the water is like meditation.  In fact, it is meditation for me.

Life coaching, Motherhood, Triathlon, Yoga and Resident Writer, Sonia Lopez Simpson

"Every man dies, but not every man really lives. " -  that's one of my favorite quotes from Braveheart , words of wisdom that I use to remind myself every morning. I noticed that our roads, our path to whatever destination, are connected by our attitude and purpose. Seven years ago, I bumped into a very driven individual. Our boys (her eldest, my youngest) were in Kindergarten. It was the first day of school and the boys were in the playground. And as an "older mom", I introduced myself -- and that was the beginning of my friendship with Sonia.

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children

“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” William Makepeace Thackeray I was stunned when I first heard these words. Of all places, I didn’t expect to hear a profound quote from a somewhat dark movie called “The Crow”. Mind you, I fully expected to dislike this movie only to find remembering it all the time because of how dear the statement is to me. It’s so true and so simply put! My dearest friend, Jenjen , portrays an ideal of motherhood. You can tell how much she loves being a mother by all that she does and creates. This is true from her home, to her children, her newly published book “Out of Status” and finally, the tremendous work she’s been doing with our shared group at FALDEF. It takes a mother to do all that AND to do it well. Mainly, her motherly love makes all that seems impossible to be accomplished in one day, let alone in one hour, with excellent results. Certainly there are many kinds of mothers. Some are warm, hugga

When something comes naturally...

Limitations are not bad. We have to embrace our limitations because only then can we know what our potentials are. For the past 23 years, I’ve been a mother. And in over 2 decades, like most mothers, I instill the “Yes, you can!” thinking to my children. However,  we all learn that there are things we excel in and there are things we don’t do well – no matter how much hard work we put into it. The key to a happy life is to be able to acknowledge such limitations - to know our strengths as well as our weaknesses. I have four children and they all have their own talents, skills, abilities – and passion. It is not fair to think that they can all do the same thing at the same level. No matter how much focus and reinforcements we provide in encouraging our children, we have to be ready to accept that there are some things that are just beyond their abilities. Don’t you notice when you do something natural, every task seems effortless? You see, we are blessed with ab

Schlepping the kids to the beach, a day at Spring Lake, NJ

Summer means spending some time at the beach. Summer time at the beach requires major schlepping! For those of you who don’t know what schlepping means: Schlep derived from the Yiddish word, “shlepn” . It means to drag, haul, carry or make a tedious journey.

A Birthday Treat at Stowe Flake Resort and Spa

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." ~ Chinese Proverb. Chill out. Wind down. Relax. These are the goals we set for this week's vacation in Vermont. I turned 48 last week, and as a gift, my husband took me to Stowe Flake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont. I had an hour of the Lemon and Chamomile Exfoliation treatment and massage. Needless to say, I came out soft and renewed.

Flowers in the Philippines, Mom’s simple pleasures captured with my iPhone via instagram

It’s more fun in the Philippines – a catch phrase that anyone who has been in the  Philippines  can understand. It’s the people who make every visit memorable. The Lonely Planet guidebook calls the Filipinos “among the most easy going and ebullient people anywhere.” My last visit to the Philippines wasn’t scheduled as a fun visit. ( I went to say farewell to my Lola Inay , my grandma). Every time I visit, I take time to bring Mom to her little paradise near the equator – the Manila Seedling. I still remember how excited Mom was when we took her to the Botanical Garden in New York . But anywhere there’s a plant blooming, it can be on a sidewalk or in a little pot, Mom feels like she’s in paradise. My brothers and I can see it her eyes and smile. So earlier this month, I took Mom and Dad to Manila Seedling in Quezon City. 

Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) is in New York, and I was there!

  Amma   (Mata Amritanadamayi) is known through out the world as the “living saint” because of her selfless love and compassion toward all beings. In reading about Amma (,  one thing that got me interested is her philosophy,  “Where there is true love, everything is effortless.” Amma has helped (embraced and comforted) more than 33 million people. Amma was from South India . Even at a very young age, Amma has devoted her time in meditation and helping those who are in need.   Being deeply affected by the profound suffering that surrounded her, Amma’s conviction went beyond the basic (Hinduism) teaching that “the suffering of the individual is due to his or her own karma — the results of actions performed in the past.” Amma believed that each of us has a responsibility to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. “If it is one man’s karma to suffer, isn’t it our dharma (duty) to help ease his suffering and pain?” The universe introduced

Pole dancing, Tahiti Dance Classes, Flying Trapeze and Getting a Hug from a living saint

Pole dancing, Tahiti Dance classes, flying trapeze and getting a hug from a hugging saint are just a few fun, interesting and fulfilling things to do in New York this week! A few months ago, my friends and I tried NY Pole dancing . We tried the Climb and Spin class, a beginner's pre-requisite to any other classes. It really was a great exercise. It's not easy. It required concentration and remembering a dance routine. We learned a few dance techniques while building strength, control and muscle memory. Last November, my friend and I ventured on an adventure that we both didn't think we could do: We conquered our fears and succeeded in spending the morning at New York Flying Trapeze . We did it indoors  during the Fall, but I bet it is more exciting outdoors at South Street Seaport. This summer, there are a few Ori Tahiti Dance classes in Central Park. Tonight alone, July 9th, from 6:30-8:30pm, classes will be held at Central Park, Columbus Circ

Didn't you get the memo? I'm not a baby anymore.

Four kids: 23, 21, 16 and 11. My  three older ones are mostly away from home - either at work, college or at a summer jazz camp.  Our home is pretty close to being an empty nest. However, my youngest will always be my baby. In fact, I was away for three weeks, and when I got back, my youngest seemed like he grew.  I must have missed him so much because I haven't stopped taking his pictures with my iPhone. I just loved capturing his every emotion. Anyway, earlier this week, he approached hubby and I. He wanted to start saving money. My kids don't get any allowance - they never did. And they always have chores to do. I tell them that as family, we all have to chip in -- help a little to make it easier for every one. Aside from doing chores every week, my children managed to find means of making money: My third child has been teaching piano since he was 10, and the two older ones always worked in various places - restaurants, fast food, bakery, retail, and website