Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another reason why everyday should be a holiday...

It's amazing how quiet the world gets during the Christmas holiday season. Maybe it's because everyone's out of town - probably celebrating in the province or out of town. Even the malls - notoriously crowded starting November - are now quieter. Went to Greenhills yesterday to have our annual Christmas dinner, and I was actually able to walk around without being pushed around by a throng of people.

On my way to Makati to meet Mark, the taxi driver was raving about how the roads have been so easy to navigate the past few days. He concluded that we really need to lessen the number of cars in order to fix the traffic situation in the metro.

Even in our neighborhood, the atmosphere is very quiet. The entire stretch of 20th Avenue is rid of the usual hustle and bustle, which makes it a joy to walk to Daily Supermarket.

I'm liking this sense of peace and quiet. It makes me want to wish for that popular Christmas saying: Sana araw-araw ay pasko.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Circus is in town

Woohoo! Thanks to Princess Shashie Friend, I have a copy of Britney's new album!

Now I've got this song looped on my iPod. As well as on Markbook. And I've seen the "Making of the Album" DVD 3 times since I got it this afternoon. Too bad the video of "Circus" isn't on the DVD. If it were, I'd probably be locked on the screen just watching it over and over. (Dig the Bvlgari product placement! Hahaha.)

Britney's back!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This one's for Arnie

Back when we were still office mates at DY&R, Arnie and I would often talk about our passions: Advertising, Pop Culture and Shopping. Since we were working in an Advertising Agency, we tried to avoid "talking shop" during our leisure time. So what else would we talk about?

Shopping, of course.

Arnie and I both enjoy looking for new things and great buys. We both enjoy bargain hunting, and find that the "hunt" is one of the most exciting parts of the exercise. When I was still in HKG, I'd often SMS her whenever each time a fabulous find comes my way. Like this, this and this

In one of our many conversations about shopping and bargain hunting, we talked about putting up a website that would feature chic finds at cheap prices. We'd brainstorm on the different contents of the website, how we'd maintain it, the different features and where to get materials. In our heads, we knew what we wanted our website to look like, unfortunately, we didn't know HTML that time. (Blogging and Multiply weren't that big yet back then.)

Eventually, we both left DY&R and our website was left behind. Although whenever we'd see each other - whether in MNL, HKG or at the airport en route to a Northwest flight - we'd talk about the website and how we still look forward to putting it up and seeing it on the web.

The reason I'm remembering this now is because of an incident this afternoon. After our D' Frendz Christmas get together, the group went to Gateway and did a bit of Christmas gift shopping. (Yes, it never ends.) While in Bayo, I saw this particular garment that reminded me of a similar garment in a high-end fashion website.

Two similar items with two very different price points - this was one of the sections that our website was supposed to have.

When I got home, I immediately opened Markbook, worked on these two images on photoshop and came up with this:

This could've very well be one of the pages of our website. And knowing our expertise in finding high-end looks at low-end prices, I'm sure Arnie and I won't run out of materials for a section like this.

I miss collaborating with Arnie, who's now in NYC taking up fashion at FIT. Hey Arnie, when will you be back in Manila? With that degree under your belt, let's continue collaborating and brainstorming. Who knows? We might make good with that vision of becoming this country's Proenza Schouler? Harhar.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Going Banana

It was during one of those "Christmas gift hunts" that I found this awesome piece of clothing in the most unexpected of places. Every bit of this dress spells out "elegant holidays," and since this is the holiday season, and my sister is elegant, I decided to get it for her.

The piece is a metallic shift in heavy silk. The dress is peppered with details that make it wonderful to look at.

First, there's an asymmetrical slit in front, which is high enough to make a statement but low enough to not be skanky.

The bodice has diagonal folds that are "origami-esque." Although I've already had origami overload (largely because ALL of the clothes in the region now have a touch of origami somewhere), I found this interesting and novel.

The back was low, but in an elegant way.

Saw this dress on the Banana Republic website, and it's still part of their current stock. (Along with the other dresses I saw in that hole-in-the-wall shop in Makati.) The great thing about it is the Philippine price is about 80% less of the web price. And that alone is a good reason to go ape over this Banana Republic dress.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It doesn't get more classic than Ray Conniff playing in the background during Christmas!

This song reminds me of Christmases in Tomas Morato with the entire Morales clan. And considering that the entire family hasn't been together for the holidays in 4 or 5 years, it makes me miss them more.

To my family in Georgia, California and Barcelona:

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last (Minute) Christmas

True to tradition, I spent the last hours leading to Christmas at the mall. Scampering around for Christmas gifts!

Went to Makati to hear pre-Christmas mass and have pre-Holiday lunch with Mark. Then, we went to 2 stores to try and score some gifts. Went to the Spa, and found out they were closed! (Who closes on the 24th?) Then, it was off to Music One where I scored great gifts for my nephews and nieces. (And Mark gave me an equally cool and great gift as well. Thanks, Mark!)

Got home around 6pm and immediately proceeded to wrap gifts. Considering that I finished before 8pm, I'm actually earlier this year compared to previous years.

It's funny how I always tell myself - year after year - that I won't let this last minute situation happen again. But still it does. Then again, it adds to the holiday cheer - in a manic, frantic way. Harhar.

Maybe I won't let this happen again next year.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If Bram Stroker went to Sweet Valley High...

Mark and I finally watched "Twilight" this weekend. It's a really nice film - if you're 16 years old. I swear, I could feel the collective swooning of the audience at Glorietta whenever Bella and Edward would have scenes together.

What's interesting about the film is that it's really a teen flick/chick flick whose lead characters happen to be Vampires. All the ingredients of a high school movie are there: the school cliques, the overprotective parents, the disapproving sister, two guys after the same girl, forbidden love - this could've been "Pretty in Pink" with Dracula thrown into the mix.

Despite being older than the "target market", I liked the film. As Bonique said, it's a cute, romantic story with a lot of "kilig moments" embedded throughout the 2 hour film. Hey, you can never go wrong with romantic movies.

My only beef in this film was: Why does Edward Cullen look like he's perpetually constipated?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Professors gone wild...

Once upon a time, I ran into a student at Shangri-La Mall and the first thing she told me was:

"Sir, you're in a mall. Nag-ma-mall din pala ang mga professors."

Yes Virginia, professors do more than just stand in front of a classroom and teach. And if your professors are from Mass Comm, you'd be surprised that the things we do are wilder, wackier and more insane than what you do.

A good example would be our annual faculty Christmas party. We had it last Friday, and as expected, there was a lot of insanity and wackiness that people wouldn't expect from Professors. Ask Sheryll Lou, she was there to take snaps of the party. (Thanks for the photos, She. I stole them from your site. Harhar.)

Wowie and I were this year's organizers, and here we are doing some very last minute organizing.

It was a "hat party" and everyone came in their hats from all occupations and nations. John (the guy wearing the construction hat) was named best hat of the night.

Meanwhile, Becky's hat from Pakistan was the most coveted.

John thinks up of the most absurd games and he succeeds in making everyone else look - well - absurd. Here are the respected professors playing "Samson-Delilah-Lion", and I must say that everyone was really, REALLY into it.

We also played "White Elephant" and Lito took the Elephant's share of the gifts. At this point, Liz and Becky both haven't won anything yet, thus the faces of disapproval as I try to tell them there's always a chance that they'd win something.

But at the end of the day, they didn't. So here are the "Loooozzzzers" of the night. Harhar.

Another year, another fun night with the "highly-esteemed" Professors of Mass Comm. Good thing we only do this once a year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And today's winning conversation is...

...between a guard and a mall goer.

I overheard this while shopping for game prizes this afternoon.

MALL GOER: Excuse me, saan ba dito 'yung Hush Puppies?

GUARD: Hush Puppies?

MALL GOER: Oho. Saan yon? Magkikita kasi kami ng mga kaibigan ko doon, eh nandoon na daw sila.

GUARD: Nandoon na pala sila eh. Bakit hindi mo na lang itanong sa mga kaibigan mo kung saan yon?

And my thought balloon read:

"Oo nga naman. Hindi mo naisip yon."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wrap me in Ribbons

Grace and Lezyl were looking for cheap and one-of-a-kind gifts, and I was looking for Fruit Cocktail for our Christmas salad. And yesterday, our search brought us to

*drum roll please*


Yup, Lezyl was telling us about the Duty Free stores there, so we decided to check it out. True enough, there were a lot of goodies there that you can't find in Manila. I got cans and cans (and cans) of Fruit Cocktail and its other incarnations (like Chunky Mixed Fruit and Very Cherry), as well as interesting chocolates that aren't anywhere in Manila. (There was a Cherry Cordial Kisses variant. Yum!)

Most of all, I was able to find this body wash that I've been searching for the past 2 months.

I first tried the Olay with Ribbons in Shanghai last October. I bought two bottles to bring to Manila, but realized that I forgot them in the bathroom of Holiday Inn after arriving at the airport. Tried looking for them in HKG - and even if I searched high and low, it turned out they didn't carry them there.

Went around supermarkets, department stores and other specialty stores here in Manila, but to no avail. Just as I was about to give up, this came along. Good thing they come in huge, huge bottles. One bottle is all I need and its good enough for a few months.

And when it runs out, I know exactly where to get it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oks na Oxfords

I've finally taken snaps of those cool Oxfords I got at The Landmark.

Ain't they mighty cool?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Que Rico

I don't know who Rico Salandanan is. What I do know is he makes fashionable clothes. His brand has been one of the housebrands of The Landmark for the longest time, and it's hard to miss his stuff.

Arnie and I would usually talk about how fashion forward he is. Whenever you pass by Landmark and pass by his corner, you're likely to find the current trends and fabrics displayed there. At times, he picks up on the trends earlier than other designers or department stores.

One recent acquisition illustrates his discerning eye for what's new and hot. This LBD screamed at me when I passed through the RS section last weekend.

The fabric is a soft, black brocade and the style has a lot of subtle detailing. The highlight of the dress is a stylized standing collar which frames the face perfectly. But it doesn't stop there. You can actually detach the collar just by unhooking it from the buttons.

And voila! A new dress. Ate Bullet tried this dress on and the sabrina neckline falls on all the right places. The waist detail also emphasizes the waist, and there are side pockets, too. It looks like every dress the past few seasons is fitted with pockets.

Then there's this other black shift that I got for Ate Lissa. It's a simple black dress made of the same brocade fabric. The silhoutte has this Balenciaga feel to it - reminding me of that short, floral shift that Jennifery Connely wore a few months back.

The dress has nice sleeves and a keyhole detail on the neck. Again, subtle details like these add a lot of character to the dress.

These 2 LBDs are just a sampler of his new collection. He also has an entire line of pretty plaids, some belted, high-waisted skirts, and a slew of shirts and dresses that have men's wear influences.

For someone who makes really great clothes, it makes me wonder why this guy isn't as "visible" in the industry. No big press releases or fashion spreads. No runway shows or mall shows. He's pretty quiet and low key for a person in a very loud and attention-hungry industry.

Maybe he's one of those quiet geniuses, like Alber Elbaz. Well, if he starts churning out Lanvin-esque type clothes, that'll be another story. Or blog entry.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A fashionable Landmark

The interiors are a bit dated, the posters are hand made and silk screened using textile paint, and yes, the counter signs are made of styrofoam. But despite all these little details that are enough to ring the tacky alarm, it's amazing how The Landmark can house so many fashionable items.

Arnie, Ginger and I have always been Landmark afficionados. Even before they opened their Trinoma branch (the one that looks more high-end), I've always been a Landmark shopper. They've always had a great knit selection, and the cheapest I've seen from a department store. Their shoes and accessories are fashion forward but priced like they were stuck in 2005. And the clothes are pretty good.

Yes, there can be a lot of tackiness scattered around, (Auntie Baby blouses, anyone?) but in between those racks are a lot of gems. From export overruns, to unbranded beauties, to surprisingly modern designs from their in-house brand Details -- fashionistas are spoilt for choice here.

One of my recent finds at The Landmark was a peep toe, banana heeled, black lace-up Oxfords which looked like it was peeled off the latest issue of InStyle. I saw similar shoes at The Ramp and they were going for around P1,500 to P2,000. But these ones were less than P1,000! You can buy 3 different colors and probably spend less than if you'd buy something like that at The Ramp. Or Mango. Or Zara. (Yup, they're comparable.)

I can go to Landmark every week and find something new each time. Each find would be better than the last one. Gosh! I'm starting to sound like a testimonial for their department store.

Then again, if they do need one, I'll probably sign up.

Friday, December 05, 2008

That's what friends are for.

Overheard at Cinderella in Ayala Center this afternoon.

GIRL 1: I like this dress sana kaso nakakataba kasi yung style niya.

GIRL 2: Anong style? Hindi yung style ang nakakataba. Mataba ka lang talaga!

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

When is it coming to town?

I swear, I'm buying Britney's new album once it drops in Manila. Last year, I went and bought "Blackout" on the day it was released in HKG. Last week, they didn't have posters of "Circus" on HMV stores, so I'm not sure if they'll release it the same time as the North American release.

When, oh when will it get here. I'm excited to join the circus.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Two ladies and a birthday

Today is my Mom's birthday! Happy birthday, Mom!

I also found out this morning that another little lady is celebrating her birthday today. And really, she was just born today!

Welcome Baby Audrey! And congratulations Bonique and Vince for a healthy and heavy baby girl.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This year's theme is...

...inspired by my trips to Japan.

I've finished wrapping my first Christmas present and my theme this year is Japanese. This theme came to fruition thanks to Mark who looked for the wrapping paper with Japanese patterns when we were in Japan.

I still remember that in June and July, we went from one supermarket, bookstore and department store to another in search of these. Eventually, we got 5 different designs - all distinctly Nihon.

Using a plain, dark colored paper as base, I turned the paper into an "obi belt" of sorts, and added a cord as accent. It's like a kimono translated into a box. I think it works, and I'm liking the color combination.

There will be 5 "versions" of the wrapper, with the obi belt changing. If I'm able to find the same plain material in aubergine and black, the color of the base will change, too.

One gift down, a lot more to go.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

M & M part 2

Aside from watching Kylie Minogue, these two Ms also made my short trip to HKG worthwhile.

Marc Jacobs.

And Michael Kors.

Hurrah for Warehouses!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finally, Kylie!

The first time I attempted to see a Kylie Minogue concert was in the Netherlands in 2002. Unfortunately, tickets were already sold out when I found out that she was actually having a show there. Luckily, I saw her - in person - in a mall in Rotterdam. Instinct kicked in and I shouted while waving at her - "Hi Kylie!" (to the chagrin and embarrassment of my companion.)

Second attempt was in 2005. Kylie was bringing her "Showgirl" Tour to Asia, and I was planning to go to Singapore to watch it. But after the successful launch of the tour in the UK, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to cancel the tour. So my only consolation was that it was on DVD and I ended up watching that.

Two weeks ago, while on a trip to HKG with my Dad and Sis, I saw the poster for Kylie X. This was it! The chance to watch Kylie is finally here! Luckily, Alex also wanted to watch the show, so she bought our tickets last week. Thinking the concert was on Wednesday, I flew in on Monday. On Tuesday, Alex told me that my dates are mixed up and the concert was on Thursday. How's that for confusion.

But last night, after 2 missed chances and 1 missed flight, I've finally watched Kylie Minogue on tour.

View from the top. We actually wanted front row seats, but they were sold out immediately. Turns out there are a lot of Kyliephiles in Hong Kong. Among them were my former officemates Kath and Liza. Seeing them was such a pleasant surprise. Judging by the attendance, fans came in all ages and nationalities. The kid behind me was an 8-year old Briton.

The backdrop was the highlight of the production. Unlike the "Showgirl" tour which featured moving lights, a video backdrop, elevating stage and other 3-D gimmickry, this concert was more modest. According to some folks I talked to after the concert, the reason for this was the very small size of the stage in HKG.

The good thing about our seats was the fact that it was right beside the screen. So we were still able to see Kylie in a larger than life way.

Gold confetti heralded her song. She sang most of my favorites like Wow, Spinning Around, On a night like this, Can't get you out of my head, and Better the Devil you know. Conspicuously absent were Chocolate, In your eyes and Especially for you.

She had 2 encores and people just wouldn't stop shouting "MORE!" That's when Kylie brought out the big guns and sang "I should be so Lucky." The audience went wild and everyone just started jumping and dancing.

After that iconic song, the crowd went home happy. And I went home with a Tour t-shirt and the satisfaction of having finally seen Kylie perform in person.

Next on the list: Britney Spears!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

You tell me...

I'm watching the Kylie concert later, but right now, while watching the news about India on CNN, Cyndi Lauper came to mind.

What's going on? So many innocent people getting hurt. I hope this ends soon, and our prayers go to the families and people of India.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sour Kreme

Just another example of how fast things can get bad in HKG.

Two years ago, HKG was all agog and heralding the arrival of America's favorite donuts. Now, more than 2 years after the first store opened in Causeway Bay, Krispy Kreme has finally bid HKG goodbye.

I found out 2 weeks ago when we went to Mongkok. The shop near CTMA where I usually buy my Krispy Kreme was closed. When I went to Causeway Bay, I found out that the one there was closed as well. And my friends told me that the airport branches will cease to exist this month.

This is one example of how "things happening so fast" can be a bad thing. Now, aside from the usual chocolate cake, my HKG friends will be asking me to bring home some Krispy Kreme from Manila as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Obstacle Kors

On a routine visit to Pedder outlet, I found these casually cool Michael Kors sandals.

I flipped it over to look at the price, and it was cheap beyond belief! And with a reaction like that, what happened next is quite obvious.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Country Boy

This was a very exciting quiz. Tried to do it alphabetically but I realized it's more panic inducing. But it's good to have a system when doing it.

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

I think I could've done better.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Wow factor!

I've gotten permission.
I've booked my tickets on-line.
Alex has booked our concert tickets.

Kylie Minogue, here we come!

Can't wait to watch this live.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kohl's mine

After doing the rounds of surplus outlets around the metro area, I found out that there's a new brand on the block. Ann Taylor, Gap, Old Navy and Club Monaco items are mainstays in the local surplus scene, and it's become so common that people tend to overlook them - especially since there's one in almost every corner.

This afternoon, I chanced upon this stall that Rona told me about. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to be surprised. Luckily, I was.

Vera Wang's line for Kohl's was there.

It was a raspberry colored cropped jacket with a huge, shirred collar. It was interesting since the jacket was a bit structured but a bit deconstructed. The fabric was heavy enough to protect the body from the elements, but light enough to wear in Manila weather.

The great thing about this find is that everything was intact. Even the extra button was there, which is great since finding spare buttons for American jackets are usually quite difficult.

Aside from Simply Vera, that store also carried other Kohl's house brands like Apt. 9, AB Studio and Sonoma. At Surplus Shop, they also have Daisy Fuentes items - also exclusive to Kohl's. Seems like a new brand has invaded our stores while we weren't paying attention.

Great. Now there's a new brand to hunt down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Golden McKey

McKey is America's Next Top Model!

She's gorgeous, in an unconventional and androgynous kind of way. It's great that they finally got a winner who looks like a real model.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Also a Wynn-er

Although it wasn't as grandiose or opulent as The Venetian, the rooms at Wynn Macau were luxurious in its own, modern way. Comparing the standard suites between these 2 hotels, The Venetian is clearly larger, but Wynn feels spacious yet homey.

Our room.

The hallway looks like any usual hotel. Clean lines, white wood, fuzzy carpet - with the exception of the closet. It was huge!

Very comfy beds with heavenly linen. The ones at The Venetian felt too over-the-top while this one was just right.

The high-tech mini bar. If you remove an item and hold on to it for more than 1 minute, it's considered sold and automatically added to your bill.

There's an LCD in the bathroom!

Cool amenity kits.

Me in the bathroom.

Huge windows that give you a unadulterated view of the bay.

MGM Grand's tri-color building as seen from our room.

Now that I've crossed out The Venetian and Wynn from my "hotels in Macau to try" list, time to figure out where to stay next. MGM Grand or Grand Lisboa?