Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How we chose Marion's name

     Flashback to years ago before I was even married (circa 2003?). I told my siblings that I was "reserving" names for my future children. Lucas. I told them they couldn't name their sons that. They laughed. But David, my brother, "reserved" some names also. 

     Flashback to 2006. Achi was thinking of names for her soon to be born son and had a short list of possible second names. Lucas. "Ooops, ooops, oops, excuse me, that's been reserved.", I said. My nephew's second name is Martin. (My family likes "mar-" names... Mario, Marjerie, Mary, Marthe, Marion.)

     Flashback to 2009. I was pretty much set on using a name in honor Mary-- Marianne, Mariana, Marian. I think we were almost decided to name her "Marian" when "Marion" came up and it was just the perfect name. My dad is Mario. And "Marion" is a more unique variation of "Mary" which made it better since we're hoping she won't get into trouble with having the same name as someone else. (Of course, a google search for "Marion Chan" and even "Marion Claire" will correct any mistaken belief that her name is unique ;p) We had already decided on "Marion" when Sarah Jessica Parker announced the names of her twins and one of them was a Marion. For a brief second I thought maybe we should give our baby another name, but shrugged it off. No big deal that SJP got to our name first. (I'm just putting it down here-- I didn't copy SJP... nor is my daughter named after Marion Cotillard.)

      For her second name, I wanted to give her a saint's name but we considered lots of other names (I don't remember now which ones). Rocky and I threw out different names, immediately vetoed some, considered others, tried to say it together with "Marion" to check if it sounded okay. We finally decided on "Claire" after I gave Rocky a shortlist (um, maybe around 20 to 30 names) to choose from. He picked "Claire". It took us a bit longer to decide on how to spell it. I wanted a "Clare" while Rocky felt like it looked like it was spelled wrong and wanted "Claire". On October 27, 2009, right before going to sleep I told Rocky that it was up to him to decide on the spelling. That was quite timely as I gave birth to Marion early the next morning. Rocky took care of the paper work. He put down "Claire" which I agree now looks better, more feminine, I think. :-)

     Once we had picked out Marion's name, we tried to keep it to ourselves. I'd also read Lea Salonga's interview when she said she was keeping her baby's name a secret because "I don’t want anybody to make agaw so I won’t reveal what her name is." In the end, we told anyone who asked (which was everyone) if we had already picked out a name. :-) 

     Then the question that usually followed was, "What'll her nickname be?". Some assumed it would be Claire, but I had a rule that she would go by her first name. If we wanted her to go by "Claire" then she'd have to be "Claire something" ("Claire Marion", hehe.) I had another rule-- any nickname would have to start with the same letter as her first name (Its just easier that way.) I brought up a possible nickname which was immediately shot down by my sister Golda (same name as a not very nice girl she knew ;p). So, no nicknames. Just Marion. :-) We'll see what her friends/classmates will come up with in the future.

     For our future children, we've kinda picked out their names already. It could change. I have some other ground rules... which I doubt I'll change my mind on. ;p For another daughter's name I think we've picked out a name my brother David "reserved". I will have to check with him. Hahaha. (And no, it's not "Alicia" as in Silverstone, his first crush. ;p)

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I thought of all this when I saw this article online, "What's in a name? Guess what it takes to give your tot a CEO name!", It goes:

"Are you raising the next Fortune 500 CEO? On the series premier of Pregnant in Heels, maternity concierge Rosie Pope was tasked with helping a couple select a name for a child, a name that would "brand" their child and lead him to a successful future. Perhaps they should have simply logged on to their LinkedIn account. "

My thoughts: Omg. A maternity/baby concierge! OMG! A focus group to "choose a name that will 'scream success'"! Let me count the ways how parents can go to the extreme ;-p

And I took the multiple choice quiz that's on the link. (Here are the questions with the correct answers.)

1) Which name, starting with "D", is the most popular for female CEOs?
Answer: Deborah (And the other names in the top 5 are Sally, Debra, Cynthia & Carolyn.)

2) Which name, starting with "P", is the most popular for male CEOs?
Answer: Peter (And the other names in the top 5 are Bob, Jack, Bruce & Fred.)

3) In the US, how many letters do most male CEOs have in their name?
Answer: Four

4) Professionals in which of the following industries are more likely to have a longer name?
Answer: Engineering 

5) Who is more likely to use a full name, rather than a nickname?
Answer: Female CEO's

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday: Chrism Mass & some of my favorite priests

I'd never heard of Chrism mass until a few years ago and I've only been able to attend once (2007) at the Manila Cathedral. I wasn't be at the Manila Cathedral this year but I hope to be able to attend more Chrism masses in the future to show support to our priests.

About the Chrism mass:

"There is a long standing tradition that it takes place on the morning of Maundy Thursday in the Cathedral, where the bishop is surrounded by the priests of his diocese, whose presence demonstrates their unity with him. As Maundy Thursday is the day on which both the Mass and the priesthood were instituted, Pope Paul VI introduced the renewal of the  priestly commitment into the liturgy. This is followed by the blessing of oils and the consecration of Chrism." (source)

"At the Chrism Mass -- which is usually the largest annual gathering of clergy and faithful most dioceses have -- the priests renew the commitments they made at their ordination. The Mass takes its name from the most eminent of the three holy oils which the bishop commissions for his local church's use over the following year. 

"While the Oil of the Sick, used for those who seek the anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are simply "blessed," the Sacred Chrism is "consecrated," and all the priests present participate in the latter moment by extending their hands toward the vessel containing it as the bishop says the prayer of consecration. 

"The Chrism is used at the ordination of priests and bishops, baptisms, confirmations, the consecration of altars and the blessing of churches, where the walls are smeared with it in the shape of the sign of the cross.
 " (source)

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When I pray for priests, I always thank God for these priests, ask protection for them and I also ask Him to give us more priests like them. 

Fr. Joel Sulse, OFM
Fr. Joel is the parish priest of Santuario de San Antonio. He also takes care of the youth groups I am a part of (SYA as a member and Luke 18 as an adult leader). He is my friend. I admire him because he always makes himself available to anybody and anything that needs his attention. In a parish or community where it would be easy to indulge in some luxuries, he inspires and sets the example on how to remain down-to-earth. 

Fr. Richard Garrido
He is the assistant parish priest for St. Alphonsus Mary di Liguori Parish. He's a young priest from South America. I love attending his masses. He never rushes and he celebrates each mass as though it is his first and/or last time- always very deliberate and meaningful. Most of all I love his homilies. If I wasn't shy, I'd have gone up to him already to ask for a copy of his homilies. He brings the readings and gospel to life. His homilies help me understand the readings much better and gives me very clear and simple points to reflect on.

Fr. Jboy Gonzales, SJ
While I was reviewing for the Bar, I would hear mass everyday at the UP Diliman Chapel and Fr. Jboy would be the one to celebrate the mass. I loved his homilies. I didn't know who he was then but I remember telling Rocky, "I am sure he's a Jesuit." I found out I was right when he celebrate mass at the hotel for the UP Law students the day before the last Sunday of my bar exams. These days I follow his blog- Faith of a Centurion.

I also have a soft spot for all the priests at the Jesuit Retreat House in Banawa, Cebu (our next door neighbors). I grew up attending masses celebrated by Fr. Bob Rice. And these last couple of years, I've asked Fr. Vic Helly a few times for a copy of his homily.

Some priests have gone home to God. 

Fr. Art Shea, SJ was my dad's good friend. He always put in a bit of history and geography when explaining the readings and gospel. And what I will remember the most about Fr. Ken Bogart, SJ was his clear and gentle voice. He "retired" and passed away in Ateneo and I got to say goodbye to him at their chapel. 

The priest I miss the most is Fr. Toy Manlangit, OFM. I sometimes still "complain" to God why he took Fr. Toy already. It was always nice to see Fr. Toy, just seeing him would make me smile. He was sort of my safety net and my favorite person to go to confession to. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We're weaning...


Just a few minutes ago. Marion and I were playing in her play area. She asked for milk so I let her nurse. Rocky came and joined us for a family cuddle. Marion asked for the "other side" and Rocky teased her by covering it. Marion complained.

Rocky: "Shouldn't she be weaned already?"
Yen: "I don't know how."
Rocky: "Just don't nurse her."
Yen: "It's not that easy."
Rocky: "I know."

And we laugh it off. :-)

The first thing Marion does when she sees me every morning is to nurse. And since I'm the one who puts her to bed at night, it's the last thing she does also. During the day she'll ask to nurse a couple of times. Most of the time if we're just home I will let her. Sometimes when I know she's full and just had a snack, I tell her no and just give her a hug and she forgets about it. She rarely asks to nurse when we're out now. She'd rather go off exploring.

I haven't tried to actively wean her and I'm hoping she'll just do it on her own. I haven't tried to drop her morning nursing since it's a nice morning ritual we share. However, I would like to drop the before-falling-asleep nursing... I'm hoping she can just fall asleep on her own (which she still can't do :( ) There are some indications that she's starting to self-wean, but I wonder when she'll completely outgrow it.

It was suggested that I go on a vacation without her for a few days and that would probably get her to wean completely. It sounds like a good idea so if a vacation presents itself ;-p and arrangements for Marion could be made (like her Guama is available to watch over her :D) we might do it this way. I'm hoping that by doing it this way we won't have to go through her wailing and begging to let me nurse her while I just say no.

I'm not expecting this to be easy for her (or for me).
We'll play this by ear.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who is John Galt?

I read all of Ayn Rand's books (fiction). I think I might have been (briefly) in love with John Galt in college. ;-p So I cannot help it, I would like to watch Atlas Shrugged.

Rand's philosophy, ideas, her characters and books were something I talked about with my friends-- back and forth, emails and chat messages. Long philosophical indulgent discussions were luxuries I completely enjoyed back in college (as I did reading on a bench or lying on the grass while the world went by).

Her stories were captivating. And I have to admit so was this: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." *

Those long discussions on John Galt ended because I realized there was something scary about her ideas. And so that was that for me and Ayn Rand.

I just read this and here's how Ayn Rand influenced someone's life so much more than she did mine-- How Ayn Rand Ruined My Childhood. On explaining Rand's philosophy she writes, "As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand's bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: 'Imma do me.'" 

Since I'm not going to "think" about Ayn Rand's ideas anymore, here's something from the same article that I took some time to reflect on.
     "He claimed the philosophy appealed to him because it's based solely on logic. It also conveniently quenched his lawyer's thirst to always be right. It's not uncommon for people to seek out belief systems, whether political or spiritual, that make them feel good about how they already live their lives. Ultimately, I suspect Dad was drawn to objectivism because, unlike so many altruistic faiths, it made him feel good about being selfish."

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That is a challenge. 

I know I should not pick and choose parts of Catholicism that are easy and convenient. Nor can I mix and match ideas to create a personalized belief system that "fits". 

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Catholicism Project Trailer

"The sure sign that God is alive in you is joy."

"Catholicism at its heart is not a 'No!', it's a 'Yes!'"

Servant and Steward: Catholicism Project Trailer

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I'm trying to start a collection

My friend Chris collects toys. Transformers to be exact. He says he's always had some collection even before collecting Transformers. I, on the other hand, don't remember collecting anything deliberately or passionately. Among my siblings it's May who I remember collecting stuff. Um, I remember her collecting balls (small balls like the ones you use for jackstones.)

Ah, back in college I would always pick up those free advertising postcards they have in stores, coffeeshops, etc. I don't know if that counts as collecting. There was no goal to it... or maybe I had one, I just don't remember now. Shouldn't collections have a goal? I have a pile a few inches high of those postcards somewhere. Somewhere. Now all of a sudden I'm a bit concerned and stressed out... maybe I'd thrown it away! Yikes! Oh well.

Anyway, so I've been wanting to start a collection. But what? Let me brainstorm:
     1) Starbucks city mugs
     2) My photo with celebrities
     3) Art by local masters
Okay, scrap those. I don't drink coffee, it'd be too stressful because someone would have to physically drag me to ask for a photo and I can't afford those. Besides, those collections are better suited to my friends who already collect those. ;-p

So it has to be something I really like so I would keep at it. A bit challenging but not impossible. And not too expensive or would take up too much space. Ummm.... I can't come up with anything. I'm boring.

I've really been wanting to start a collection for a long time now. These were the things I seriously considered:
     a) Longchamp Le Pliage: My sister gave me one for my birthday last year. The first  next thing I told her after saying "thank you" was that I was just thinking of starting a longchamp collection and she just jumpstarted it. I have not followed through because I'm worried about fakes and besides I think collections need to be handled lovingly. I'm not really into bags. Bags are purely for utility. I'm not very careful with them like keeping it clean and free from ballpen marks nor do I mind putting them on the floor. You know how sometimes you find a nice shirt or pair of sandals that fit well so you buy it in all colors? That's not really a collection, right? That's just being safe and practical. ;p

     b) Swatch watches: When did those Ateneo swatch watches come out? I stepped into a swatch store to pick up a couple of those for my sister and that's when the idea of collecting Swatch watches came to me. Well, probably the trigger was nostalgia. Didn't we all wear Swatch when we were younger? (Okay, except for best friend Hannah whose dad would only allow Timex.). The watches are pretty to look at and are functional. However, I stopped wearing watches a long time ago. Maybe I should start wearing watches again. (Ehrm, bagay pa ba sa age and personality ko ang Swatch? ;-p)

** April 1 was Zebra Swatch Day

While I'm deciding what to collect, I will just keep collecting hugs from Rocky and kisses from Marion. Haha, okay, that was cheesy and corny.

Here's one of those free postcards I used to pick up. I really liked the acela ads and this one was one of my favorites:

Sometimes she gets stuck

Sometimes her fingers get stuck in the slot of her piggy bank toy especially when she wants to get to the mechanism that makes the sounds. Not really anything worrisome. It just takes a second or so for her to pull out her fingers, but for that second or so she'll whine and half-cry. She picked out this toy to play this afternoon. After getting her fingers stuck twice in a row, she declared "Done!" stood up, left it and moved on to the next toy.

I've mentioned how she enjoys climbing. Sometimes her toes will get stuck on these wire shelves and so we'll have to "save" her.

Or sometimes she won't know how to get down. (Which I find kinda funny but I try to keep a straight face and just be helpful ;-p)

Marion went in her closet the other night and she tried to get me to help her get out of it. Since she was just a couple of inches off the floor, I encouraged her to take that little hop out of the closet. I think I might have said "jump" because that was what she did (or the kind of jump she can do) and she landed on the floor in a squatting position. She had this scared-surprised look on her face which quickly changed to a big, excited smile when she realized she was okay.

And so she tried it again. And I grabbed my camera to record it. And she did it again. Until she decided to try out something different like climbing. She raised her foot to a higher shelf (at the 2:26 mark) and got stuck in that position. I had to put the camera down to help her free herself.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Poem: The Apple Orchard

Rainer Maria Rilke

Come let us watch the sun go down
and walk in twilight through the orchard's green.
Does it not seem as if we had for long
collected, saved and harbored within us
old memories? To find releases and seek
new hopes, remembering half-forgotten joys,
mingled with darkness coming from within,
as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, branches
which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
wait patiently, trying to outlast, to
serve another season's hundred days of toil,
straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
but succeeding, even though the burden
should at times seem almost past endurance.
Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!

Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
committed to one goal: to give yourself!
And silently to grow and to bear fruit.

She's outgrown Dada

As of April 4, 2011.

No more Dada for her.

Rocky is now Daddy!! :-)

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As usual, I played with Marion this afternoon as soon as I got home from work. And as usual, when she saw my cellphone, she grabbed it. Then she said, "daaaa-di!". I wasn't surprised that she asked for Rocky. I think she still thinks that the only person I talk to on the phone is her dad. What caught me by surprise was that she didn't say "Dada". 

We've been alternating between calling Rocky "Dada" and "Daddy" without really forcing her to do it. We would sort of just slip in saying "Daddy" instead of "Dada". Most of the time I'd still call Rocky "Dada" just because I've gotten used to it. 

So anyway, this afternoon it was "Daddy!".

And tonight, while I was nursing her to sleep. She suddenly stopped, sat up... I pretended to be asleep and didn't move. Then she started practicing "Daddy". It was pretty amusing. She'd say "Daddy" around four or five times at a time and she'd say it differently like "Daaaaadi!", "Daddy!", "Dadiiiiiii!" or in a whisper or louder and then she'd say "Dada" once or twice before practicing "Daddy" again.

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And she was a bit of a show off today. Her puzzle mat has letters in it and sometimes I'd ask her where a letter was, say "O" and ask her to go to it and she'll look for it then happily step on it. Or sometimes we tap the letter or point to the letter or whatever. 

Tonight, we were playing peek a boo and rolling around her room when she suddenly went to her puzzle mat with letters and said "Ek" while stepping on "X", then she went to "K" and said "ki", then "O", "A", "I". Without me asking. I just clapped my hands. Of course I eventually asked her to find "Q" and "J" and a couple of other letters before she lost interest in the little game.

Super happy and active baby tonight.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

With and Without Shoes

Marion has outgrown my favorite going out sandals for her. So we went to Rustans to get her a new pair.

I'll be honest.

I was there to see what size she wears now and to check out the prices. The plan is to do some online shopping, send it to my sister's place and have my parents bring it home. But I've compared. Prices online aren't really cheaper but the selection is way better. Hmm.

Marion's current size: 5 (US size) or 21 (EU size).

She left Rustans wearing a new pair of shoes since she didn't want to take it off anymore. Here she is wearing her new gold kitty cat shoes. (Ooops, sorry, I shouldn't have taken a better picture.)

So those will be her "going out" shoes.

I'd gotten her shoes to wear everyday (a sandal and sneakers). I didn't spend too much on those which probably explains why part of the soles (for both) came off the shoes already. Not beyond repair so I bought rugby as requested by the yaya & the helper. I reminded them not to use too much of it and to keep it away from Marion. (The bottle had on its label "with sniffing deterrent" which is a good thing. I hope they've made their formulation more healthy also.)

Anyway, Marion wears out her shoes (especially the ones she wears everyday) really fast. She's always playing outside the house, running & dragging her shoes on the pavement. You can tell by her shoes and the scrapes she has on her knees.

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I've been seeing these Tiny TOMS online.

So cute! I think I want the three of us to be matchy matchy wearing TOMS. :-) (I'd rather get the wedges for myself though.)

TOMS is organizing the One Day Without Shoes worldwide event to raise awareness on how many people in developing countries walk barefoot everyday. TOMS Philippines will have it in Trinoma. Will I join? Um, no. I've not had a pedicure in a while ;-p and I'd rather do my small bit by buying a pair. (One for one.) :-D

As for going barefoot, I was pretty shocked to read about the British Prime Minister's Director for Strategy meeting senior businessmen without shoes. Would it be any consolation that he gave his speech "in stockinged feet"? While I tried (but failed) to get everyone in the household to go unshod while indoors like the Japanese do, I think going without shoes at formal events or in the workplace is inappropriate. Put on your shoes. Or leave a pair of slippers under your desk to let your feet "breathe" while in the office. ;-)

(Is it just a Filipino thing to leave a pair of more comfortable footwear under your desk in the office? Or do others do this everywhere?)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Parenting Goals and Measure of Parenting Success

     Even before I got pregnant, Rocky would claim that he would be a cool parent... or at the very least the cool parent between the two of us. Strict and uptight is more my character than his. And Rocky, he's the crazier one. ;-p

     Right now I'm not the cool mom when it comes to food. No candies or cakes just fruit. I bend the rules with french fries. But most other sweets or treats, I'd rather not give her. Rocky thinks I'm depriving her. I say she can eat whatever she wants when she's bigger but for as long as I have some control over it, I'll try to keep things as healthy as I can. (See I'm especially worried about diabetes.)  

     After a year and 5 months of being parents, I think we're mostly not playing the roles as we had expected. For example, I try to insert mini lessons into play time with Marion like teaching her shapes or letter or getting her to build towers. However, I don't really impose it on her. If she'd rather do something else or just not "cooperate", I go with her flow. Rocky on the other hand is the "strict" one. When he wants to Marion to identify letters (she knows some letters) but she'd rather play with her ball, Rocky would get the ball from her so she would focus on the task/trick at hand and even use a "stern" tone. ;-p Now, where did the cool dad go?

     My prediction is Rocky won't be as cool a dad as he originally thought he'd be. No cheerleading, no dorming, no this nor that for Marion. On the other hand, I've been trying to shoot down his reasons for all these bawals with why not's. I have far less restrictions for Marion. (This is all still hypothetical, okay. I reserve the right to change my mind when the times come to really make a decision. ;p)

     I just have these parenting goals. I had enough time when I was pregnant with her to really think of what I wanted to help her become/achieve. Even before she was born, I was already praying that she be:
          a) God-fearing and prayerful 
          b) Happy
          c) Healthy
          d) Discover her passion/vocation and pursue it
          e) Loving

     Now how do I  actually achieve those? I think I may need to read more parenting books. Or attend some parenting seminars. Pray and just wing it and go with my gut.

     I'm not sure exactly when one retires from parenting (even after getting married I think to some extent I'm still being... parented by my parents ;p), but I can probably measure my success as a parent if my daughter has an active spiritual life, is happy, healthy, loving and doing the thing she likes to do and is also good at it.

     Let me get back to this post in 30 years or so. Haha! :-)

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     Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom, has been tagged as the worst mom ever after writing her memoirs Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I haven't read the book but I've read enough articles to say that I don't think I would go as far as she did. I also think that since her elder child is still just 18 years old, it is too early to really say that her parenting style has been a success (or a failure). However, her daughter has written this in her defense (Why I Love My Strict Chinese Mom) and the daughter's response counts more than others'. Also, there are things she wrote that struck me and could take to heart:
     "Western parents worry a lot about their children's self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child's self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there's nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn't." *
     "I believe that my parents having high expectations for me – coupled with love – is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.*
     "It’s about believing in your child more than anyone else – more than they believe in themselves – and helping them realize their potential, whatever it may be." *


     And now, enter the Panda Dad. He has a book, too. (Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Becoming a Star in Beijing). He does not agree with "tiger" parenting and dishes out his parenting style here. He disagrees with Tiger Mom's ban on sleep-overs and his measure of parenting success is "no sleeping, eating and sexual hang-ups". From Panda Dad:
     "It has also been a plus for our children, giving them space to take on responsibilities, be independent and see their parents pursuing their own interests and careers while also being very involved in one another’s lives.  And it introduced them to a simple fact early: Life itself is controlled chaos, and success depends on navigating it, rather than waiting for things to be perfect." *

They have different goals and measures of success so it is not surprising that their "how's" (i.e., parenting styles) are different from each other. Hmmm, I think even families who have the same goals and measures of success may still differ in their parenting styles. It's possible to take different roads and still end up in the same place.

Friday I'm in Love: Kid's Furniture

bObles Tumbling Animals

 The elephant is my favorite.

Or the crocodile. 


Come and Draw Table by Tian Tang Design

A really simple yet brilliant idea!