Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let the games begin!

Finally, ANTM Cycle 12 is premiering in the US on Wednesday! Now there's another reason to log on to youtube every week. Albeit embarrassing, it's still a reason. Harhar.

Caught a part of the preview on youtube and it was good, cheesy and ultra campy! The entire Greek goddess thing is as syrupy as an Aunt Jemima factory! The Gladiators chanting "Fierce, Fierce" - campppppy! And the girls reaction after seeing Tyra? Creepy-crazy!

And these qualities are what makes this show such a joy to watch. So let the fierce-ness begin!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cheers, Cheche!

Albeit a bit reluctant, I accepted the invitation to be the moderator for tonight's Hildegard Awards in school. My apprehension was rooted in the fact that I've never moderated an open forum before. But since I'm paired with Prichy - a long-time friend of excellent standing - I took it on.

Boy, am I glad I did. One of the awardees was Che-Che Lazaro. She's most famous for her journalistic work and her TV show, The Probe Team. But more than that, I know her because she was my mentor and my boss.

Che-che was my teacher in Broadcasting, both in my undergraduate and graduate studies. She taught me how to write scripts for TV and how to edit a TV feature well. Aside from that, she was also my boss when I interned at Probe Productions. Eventhough it was a lot of hard work, Che-che and her team made it seem like a breeze. I was fortunate enough to be part of a feature they did on Levi Celerio, and watching it unfold from concept to an aired piece was an unparalleled experience.

I haven't seen her in years, but seeing her and hearing her speech reminded me of why my admiration for her is so great. She's passionate, articulate, intelligent, forward thinking, and she loves the Philippines with such fervor. Not only is she a journalist, she's also a patriot. I'm thankful and fortunate to have been under her wing, even for a short time.

(And my favorite part of the night was: When Liz was about to introduce me to Che-che, she looks at me and says: "I know you." I thought, "coolness!")

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Catching up on Gossip

Just like Joannah and Gracie Lou, I'm kinda late in the whole "Gossip Girl" game. Everyone was raving about it, and I couldn't find time to watch it. But once I did, I found myself going through season 1 in one sitting, and catching the new season on ETC.

Their observations are right, it feels like 90210 meets Melrose Place. (Incidentally, both Aaron Spelling shows.) It isn't rocket science but more of a guilty pleasure. Blake Lively and Leighton Meister make bitching and backstabbing look cute. And while the storyline may be a tad bit predictable, the actors give it a fresh spin.

On hindsight, I think Gossip Girl is more like an adult version of the Archie Saga. If Riverdale were in the Upper East Side, this show would be it.

Imagine, Serena is Betty, Blair is Veronica, Nate is Archie, and Chuck is Reggie. Now I'm not sure where Dan fits in. He's too small to be Moose and too much a jock to be Dilton. An Archie alternate perhaps?

I must say that the voice of GG at the end of each episode says it all: "You know you love me." And like Joannah and Gracie Lou, I've fallen in love with Gossip Girl.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Onigiri-ng up

While passing through Mini-stop, I was drawn inside because of a familiar sight.


During my travels to Japan the past few years, I've grown attached to these little rice balls. Hands down, it's one of my favorite Japanese food. Aside from it being convenient and yummy, it also brings back a lot of good memories.

While at the Tokyo Station waiting for my Shinkansen to Urasa, I'd stop by a Konbini and eat two Onigiris and drink Green Tea. Whenever we pass by 7-11 on our way to the train station, I'd also grab a piece. Or whenever I got hungry anywhere in Japan - be it in Tokyo, Kyoto, Urasa or Osaka - i'd get by with a little help from Onigiri.

Now I'm glad to know that they have them in Manila. And to test whether it's as good as the Japanese one, I bought my favorite variant to try out.

Tuna Mayo Onigiri was always my first choice. So I'm familiar with the taste and texture. And surprise, surprise! The Tuna Mayo Onigiri in Mini-stop tastes very close to the Japanese one. (The only difference was the rice. The Japanese one is a bit stickier.)

They have more than 8 variants of Onigiri in Mini-stop. That means I should gear up for more Onigiri the next few weeks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Together again

They made a handsome yet neurotic pair in "Closer", and now they're back.

Not only is Julia Roberts back, she's back with Clive Owen. This time, they're playing roles that are a bit lighter than the ones they played in "Closer." Even the genre is more lighthearted. Unlike their first pairing which was in a heavy drama, "Duplicity" looks like an espionage-thriller-meets-romantic-comedy movie. Which is a good mix for Ms. Roberts.

I wonder when this will be showing here. It'll be great to see Julia again, doing the thing she does best.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Singular Sensation

I've been hearing all about Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video and all the spoofs that followed it. And I've never really been curious about it, or even bothered to check what the fracas was all about. But after hearing the song playing on Miggy's PSP the past few days, I finally decided to check it out.

Gosh! I should've discovered this video earlier! It's good, clean and campy fun. The song is catchy, the moves are simple and easy to mimic (for most people, at least), and the entire video is sleek and fun to watch. Now I know why this video is such an Internet sensation.

It's now officially up there with my 2 other favorite Beyonce vids.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not an autobiography

Caught this movie last night, and it lived up to its expectations. It was fun, uncomplicated, and high on the "feel good" factor. Since it was the first day of showing, the theater was packed. The audience would scream, sigh and shriek in unison whenever Rebecca Bloomwood would do something zany - and that shows how the movie strikes a chord in the hearts of the viewers.

Mark kept on telling me that this was my story, and I kept saying "no." Although the lead character and I do have some similarities (we're both writers, we both like to shop and both our hearts jump at the sight of a bargain), I haven't been eyeball deep in debt because of shopping. And I have no intentions to.

Maybe I should meet Rebecca and teach her a thing or two about frugal fashion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Comparison Shopping

Over dinner last night, Mona told me how I had a knack for finding great finds. Earlier, she went to a store, combed the racks and didn't find anything she liked. A few minutes later, I went to the same store, combed the same racks, found a dress, showed it to her, and she LOVED it so much, she bought it immediately.

My "knack" must've been developed from all that traveling I did alone. Whenever I'm in a new country, I like to grab a map and just go to every nook and cranny until I find something interesting. Oftentimes, that "something interesting" would be a row of shops.

The good thing about finding these "hidden treasures" is you get to compare prices and realize how other stores just jack up the prices to kingdom come. More than a dozen times, I've found stuff in malls that I've seen in flea markets. They were the exact same thing - the main difference being the price.

For example, I found (and blogged about) this pair of shoes that I got in a department store last December:

Last month, I found the exact same shoes in 2 different branded shoe stores. And they cost 3 times as much as the price I paid for them. Imagine, with the price the branded shoe stores ask for, you can buy 3 of the same pair!

A cropped gray jacket was for sale in a high-end-ish store for almost P10,000, and I found the same cropped gray jacket for P800. And this dress is about $225.00 on line, and less than $25.00 if you know where to look.

But finding these nice and inexpensive clothes isn't just about finding a nice thing to buy. It's also about finding ways to get the most of your money, and save while enjoying nice things. And that's what we need to find, especially during times like these.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Post Heart's day

Maybe it's because of all the heart themed decorations all over the metro, but I suddenly remembered the band "Heart." It was one of those huge acts during the mid to late 80s, and it was a favorite of a classmate of mine. (Can't remember who, though.)

Their biggest hit had to be "What about Love?" which is a rock-romantic ditty that was covered by almost every band back then.

(Dig the gold mould turning into the guitarist scene!)

Personally, I liked the song "These Dreams" since it had this eerie, fairy tale feel to it.

(Big hair don't get any bigger than this.)

But if today's generation asks "What songs did Heart sing?" the easiest answer would be this:

Yup, Heart was the group that first popularized the song "Alone." Of course, to this generation, it's one of Celine Dion's popular and belt-happy songs.

Ah yes, this band was definitely one of the reasons why I'll always heart the 80s.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reviewing my project

Suddenly, I had this urge to watch the entire 5th season of Project Runway again. After finding out that not all episodes were on youtube, my next plan of action was to get a DVD copy of the entire season, which I did.

I was able to finish the entire season in one sitting - an accomplishment for someone like me. (When in comes to TV shows, I have the attention span of a pre-schooler.) In my opinion, Stella should've stayed a bit longer. The undercurrent of romance between Wesley and Daniel was interesting - and if Wes wasn't auf-ed so early, we could've seen how it would pan out.

My favorite among the lot was the 13th episode. That's when the final 4 presented their wedding collection, and Jerrell was booted in favor of Kenley. After reviewing season 5, I realized that Kenley really got a bad rap and people were mean to her. She's Miss Understood this season, and it's great to see her rise up and claim her rightful place in the final 3.

That said, I still agree with the judges decision to give Leanne the thumbs up. That girl is a genius.

After this phenomenal season 5, I can't help but wonder how season 6 will pan out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Suddenly Sandra

One of the Hollywood actresses I really like is Sandra Bullock. She's funny, charming and has that devil-may-care-attitude. For a time, people were calling her "the Next Julia Roberts" - a phrase coined to describe many other actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Monica Potter. (Who, by the way, sounds strangely similar to Julia Roberts.)

Then, she fell off the radar. The last big movies she did were Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2. She had a couple more releases, but were mostly lackluster. I remember watching "Premonition" on TV, and it was sort of weird seeing her in that genre.

Suddenly, she's back! I was previewing movie trailers over the net and saw that she has two new movies, both in the genre she's known for: Rom-coms or Romantic comedies. There's "All About Steve" where she plays a lovestuck geek. There's also "The Proposal" where she plays a woman who's forced to get together with her Executive Assistant for Immigration reasons.

Both movies show her at what she does best - cute, klutzy and adorable. Much like her persona in the movie that cemented her Hollywood star: "While you were sleeping."

Added to that, she's also In Style's new cover girl! Can't wait 'til this issue comes out in Manila.

Methinks this heralds the return of the Sandra Bullock we all know and love. And it's a return that's long overdue. But I wouldn't venture as far as calling her "The next Julia Roberts" again. In my book, there's only ONE Julia Roberts.

But that's another story.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yo Jo!

Being a good citizen of the PI, Joannah flew in this week to - as she put it - be held up by the government. Imagine, taking a 3 hour plane trip just to pay taxes! More Filipinos should be like her. Jo for Prez! Harhar.

And since she was in town, we gathered the usual SMC suspects for Lunch yesterday. A lot of people made it, along with folks I haven't seen in a long time - like Elsie and Tita Becs. It was a wonderful reunion, full of walks down memory lane (like Maricar's "igorot dance" fiasco) and a lot of catching up.

Joannah counts as the friend I've seen in the most number of countries. Aside from Manila, we met up and hung out in: SG, BKK, HKG and - technically - Malaysia.
The setting may be different, but the fun we have is always the same. Maybe we should take our meet ups out of Asia and onto Europe and the US next time.

It's amazing how, after more than a decade, we still get together and hang out as if we were all still working at the Podium Level of SMC. Then again, you know what they say about true friendships. They never grow old, they just keep on getting better.

Great to see you again, Jo! And looking forward to our next get together. (Which is tomorrow...)
(This is me trying to smile with a mouth full of food.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Britney's Sixties

I've replayed Britney's "Circus" album on my MacBook countless times, and each song is fun and easy-to-listen-and-bob-your-head to. Aside from "Circus" and "Womanizer", this is the other song that I've got looped. Both in my computer and in my head.

It's got that sixties-meets-techno vibe, and it's so easy to imagine Britney doing the Monkee, Mashed Potato and Twist while this song plays in the background. I can even imagine kids dancing to it during their Christmas parties.

Can't wait for the official music video. Better yet, the actual performance if I do watch her concert in the U.S.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Having a Field day

During my trip to HKG a week ago, Marks & Sparks was one of the few stores open during the CNY holiday. Because of the lack of better things to do, I wandered in - even if I often find M&S a bit too basic and wanting in style.

The huge "Further Reductions" sign called to me, and amidst the ordinary-ness, there were a couple of pieces from Patricia Field's capsule collection. And "Further Reductions" lived up to its claim. Some of the items were 70%-80% off. How can a person resist?

As expected, it was slim pickings. But among these 3 items, the 1st and 2nd ones were available. I ended up getting the one in the middle because of the nice interplay of jacquard and silk.

When I went to M&S in Shangri-la this afternoon, the turquoise dress was still available, and the price tag also read 70% off. So how can you resist a deal like that?

This Fuschia number was also available, and surprisingly, it was cheaper than a lot of the local dresses floating around the market today. Since they still had a lot of sizes available, I'm giving it a few days.

Finally, this rose puffball dress is also still available, albeit in 2 sizes only. The price isn't that bad - about the same price as a dress in Zara or at The Ramp. The downside is that it's a very "evening party" dress, so it's a bit difficult to dress it down for work or a morning gathering. Methinks Ate still has a number of new evening party dresses to use.

Then again, I'll give it another day or two. If it's still there, I'll use the "Mona philosophy" of "it's meant to be." But will it be? We'll find out by the end of the week.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Finding Hard-to-Finds

One of the reasons why I prefer shopping in HKG and MNL over BKK and SG is the fact that I can find a lot of gems in hidden back alleys of these two countries. Sometimes, I find a random item in Wan Chai, only to find out that it's a coveted piece in the US. Countless times, the stuff I buy eventually end up in InStyle and Lucky, which is enough to make any shopper - including myself - smile.

In last month's copy of InStyle, they featured this black and white plaid polo and listed it as one of the must-haves for the season. It also said that it was fast flying off the shelves.

The funny thing was, I found a similar item a few days before seeing it in the magazine.

There was this nice dress on the BR Monogram website which was fast flying off the site. In fact, a day after I checked out the item, it was already out of stock on the web.

But when I went to one of my favorite Makati haunts, I found the exact same thing. Yes, there's a secret stash of Banana Republic here in Manila.

The dress has excellent detailing aside from the flattering material. It's designed to look like separates, but it's actually just one piece.

Then there's this button detailing at the back. These are faux buttons, though, which is good. At least the wearer doesn't need to spend 15 minutes buttoning up each one.

As I was telling D' Frendz, it's really amazing what you can find when you're not looking for anything. So maybe I should go "not looking" some more this week. What I'll find just might shock me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Double Trouble

Blame it on the recent spate of "Buy 1, Take 1" sales around the metro, but our closets are starting to look like Noah's ark of sorts. This phenomenon usually happens during the last week of January, but surprisingly, some stores have extended their sales. I went around this afternoon, and some of them still have that evil sign put up.

My favorite store has to be Topman, of course. I got these two shirts for a song, and I'm loving the David Hasselhoff tee. Screw the new Knight Rider series, the original is still the best.

CMG is one of the stores that are still on sale, and they've got excellent deals on shoes. Ate Bullet prefers to wear flats when she's in the bakeshop because she has to run around and cook. Serendipitously, there were a lot of flats in store.

Unlike Topman, Topshop didn't have a lot of printed clothes on their sale racks. So in order to maximize the "Buy one, Take one" experience, I just ended up buying the same article. Twice.

Thank goodness for color options.

The same can't be said for Dorothy Perkins, though. Most of their stuff are black and basic, so if you end up buying two of the exact same thing. Which isn't bad if you have two sisters who are just a size apart.

This may be hard to believe, but this round of sales in Manila is better than the sales I went to in HKG last week. And that's probably the reason why I found these deals doubly hard to resist.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

How NOT to make a sales pitch

Overheard at a department store this afternoon:

CUSTOMER: (Holding a tube dress) Puwede ba sa akin yung ganitong style?

SALESLADY: Oo naman, Ma'am. Uso na sa mga matataba ngayon ang nag-tu-tube! Kaya kahit mataba kayo, puwede niyong suotin yan.

Needless to say, I never bothered to find out if she made a sale.

Chances are, though, she didn't.