Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If these dresses could talk...

Almost a year ago, I found this Max and Cleo dress in one of my favorite haunts in Tsim Sha Tsui.

After I brought it back to Manila, it was immediately thrown into Ate Bullet's stash of clothes, and I figured it would share the same fate as her other long dresses. That fate being "waiting-for-two-years-or-so-before-being-noticed-and-used" which is what usually happens to her long dresses. Whenever I go up to her "clothes attic", I can almost hear the gown whine about not seeing enough action and not going to enough parties.

Tibi dress: I've been in this closet for more than a year. When will I ever go out and go to a party.

Max Azria dress: Get in line. I've been here for almost 3 years, and I still haven't left this plastic bag.

Max and Cleo blue dress: Lucky me. Not only did she wear me last October, she wore me to a celebrity wedding.

Zara dress: You're just lucky because the dress she was having custom-made didn't make it on time.

Stella McCartney dress: Sometimes I wish I were custom-made. Because the custom-made dresses are worn immediately after they're delivered.

Custom-made dresses: (in chorus) Don't hate us because we're beautiful! *snap*

Max and Cleo black and white dress: Well, I'm just going to sit here patiently and wait until she pulls me out and wears me to a party.

And patience paid off for that black and white Max and Cleo dress. Less than one year has passed, and the dress finally saw light and was worn by Ate to an 18th birthday party. Incidentally, that day was also her 18th wedding anniversary.

Lucky dress! Not only did it beat the "curse", it was also worn on a double-celebration-occasion. Not a lot of her dresses can lay claim to that. Now, the next time I go up, I'll probably hear this dress say:

Max and Cleo black and white dress: You'll never believe where I went... *insert long story here*

I'm sure the other envious dresses will turn green. And fuschia. And gold. And black and white.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Kuya Ers

Woohoo! I found the video clip of Cyndi Lauper's performance!

And if you think that's funky, check out the original opening credits of the show. Methinks this was early 80s or thereabouts.

Check out the hair on Electra Woman. She could give Farrah Fawcett a run for her money. Where else can you find a perfectly coiffed superhero? Only in this decade!

Ah yes. The good old days.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My heroes

Coolness! Cyndi Lauper performed the theme song of "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl" at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards in Hollywood. I hope they show this in the P.I. because not only are they paying tribute to one of my favorite hero shows from my childhood, (Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was in the same show as Dr. Shrinker! And I never let an episode of this show slide.) it also features Cyndi Lauper, my favorite 80s artist ever.

How's that for a super power combination?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Double A

Fine. A lot of people are calling this season of American Idol "The Adam and Danny Show." As early as now, a lot of people are speculating that it'll be Adam Lambert vs. Danny Gokey on the last episode of Season 8.

That might be true. Those 2 guys have been consistent in impressing the judges since day 1. (My favorite Ryan Seacrest comment was from last week's episode when he said that Adam turned Paula into a "pool of Abdul." Cleverness!) But in my heart, I'm wishing and hoping that these two face off on the final episode.

Adam and Allison are my favorites among the top 5. (If Megan Joy were there, this would be a totally different post.) Their contrasting personalities make for an interesting battle. Experience vs. Youth. Broadway vs. Rock. Smooth vocals vs. Raw rock pipes. It's a match - or battle - made in Idol heaven. And if Allison manages to survive next week, I reckon she'll be able to make it all the way to top 2.

Two fingers crossed for the two As of AI!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bai golly!

Whatever happened to Bai Ling? Back in the 90s, she was touted as the next big Chinese star in the US, pretty much like what Ziyi Zhang is today. She appeared in a number of A-list Hollywood films like "Red Corner" with Richard Gere, "The Crow" with the late Brandon Lee, and one of my favorite films, "Anna & the King" with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat.

I remember how mesmerized I was with her performance in "Anna & the King." She essayed the role of one of the concubines of the king, and she was carrying on a secret affair with the man he truly loved. Ling nailed that role, playing it with vulnerability, strength and a lot of grace.

But it seems like all that grace has gone out the window these days. Now, she essays roles that are mostly insane, trashy and left-field. I was viewing the trailer of "Crank: High Voltage" on the net and saw that she was there. And her role? A trash-talking, crazy stripper. That's obviously eons away from playing a doomed princess.

Add to that, she's always the butt of fashion jokes because of her outrageous sense of style. And whenever I see her photo on omg or some other Hollywood site, she's playing the part of trashy girl down pat.

Whenever I see photos like these, I can't help but wonder, "where's the wonderfully talented and extremely elegant Bai Ling I knew." She's got loads of talent in her, and I feel bad that its wasted on D-list films. Someone should tell her to clean up her act, so she can go back to her "Anna & the King" glory days.

Someone get this girl a new manager. (And a stylist while you're at it.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mook up

Here's another tasty reason why my trip to SG last week was a good one.

During a visit to Cold Storage, I found out that aside from my favorite Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, they also sold Tillamook Ice Cream! This brand is almost a legend in Manila because you can only buy it at the ADB commissary. And to make matters worse, only ADB officers can buy it. Ergo, even if Alfie works at ADB, she doesn't have easy access to it. This factoid makes ADB people lucky because they get to eat this heavenly ice cream whenever an officer celebrates an occasion.

Immediately after seeing it, I told Jo about "the legend of Tillamook" and we decided to get the vanilla flavored one. The easiest way to judge whether an ice cream brand is good is to get the most basic flavor - vanilla. And Jo and I agreed that Tillamook lives up to its hype. It's a spoonfull of creamy heaven.

Someone should really mook this - I mean make this - brand available in Manila.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Liking it Mucho!

Yup, one of my latest addictions is Choco Mucho. The past few weeks, I've been passing by Mini-stop everyday to buy 2 bars (or 3) to nosh on while walking. In fact, when I was in SG last week, I was starting to develop Choco-Mucho-withdrawal-symptoms because they weren't available there and I forgot to bring some on my trip.

Among the 3 variants, the white chocolate one is my ultimate fave. The rice crispies, caramel and light white chocolate make for an excellent combination. That's why I like it very mucho. (Fress Gusto, is that you?)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where's the MTRCB when you need them?

Don't you just love how we Pinoys can be so graphic and uncensored when describing clothes? Like this item of clothing for sale at the St. Francis Square tiangge.

They should keep kids off the 2nd and 3rd floors. I'm sure their parents would have a difficult time explaining to kids what these shorts are and why they're called as such.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

SM = Smart Move

Yesterday, I passed by SM Department Store in Cubao and noticed that they had a sale. As all my friends can attest, I'm known to gravitate towards any store that has that four letter sign. So, I did.

There's a running commentary about the state of sales in Manila. They say that whenever our shops and malls go on sale, they immediately bring out last years collection and hide the current ones. In effect, the items on sale are often the old and unsellable ones. The past few years, I noticed that this is falsehood rather than the truth. Local shops like Plains & Prints, Bayo and Kamiseta often put their regular items on sale during sale seasons - slashing up to 50% off the price. (Perfect example is this tri-colored laser cut dress from Plains & Prints. I got it for 50% off, and it's part of their new collection.)

SM has recently latched on to this "put-the-current-collection-on-sale" mindset. Two of their house brands that I like - Soho and Beauty - have been doing this the past months. For example, in SM Megamall last March, they put this black dress with a purple obi belt on half-price. And it's an item they just launched early this year. After the sale period ended, they brought the dress back to its regular price.

I think this is a smart move because it triggers a sense of urgency in the mind of the consumer. Knowing that this "half-off" phenomenon will only last 3 days, they feel more compelled to buy it now, or else they might end up paying for it full price a week after. And judging by how those 50% items fly off the racks of SM, I think they're doing the right thing.

Same goes for this weekend sale in Cubao. There were items from Beauty and Soho that were on sale, and these were very recent items. Plus, if you go to Megamall and Makati, you'll find out that the same items are sold at regular prices. There was a lady in Megamall carrying a basket loaded with items from Beauty, and I so wanted to tell her to put it all back and just go to SM Cubao instead. She'll probably end up saving more than P2000 in the process. But not wanting to sound AK, I just let her be.

As for me, seeing how cheap the items were compared to other SM department stores, and knowing that these sale items will go back to their regular prices come Monday, I couldn't resist getting a piece or two. Or four. And seeing the meager price I had to pay for such nice items, I felt like such a smart shopper.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How MNL and HKG ruined it for me

A few years ago, this wouldn't have happened. I was in Singapore for more than a week, and I didn't go shopping. *insert collective gasp here*

Yes, it's true. Except for the Gardenia Fruit and Nut bread, and a host of other food items, I didn't really go shopping for non-food items. Well, there was a shirt and belt from Pull and Bear, but that's too minor to even delve on.

It's not as if I lacked "inspiration." The rest of the time I was there, I trawled from one mall to another. Vivo City, Wisma Atria, Raffles City, Suntec City, Marina Bay, Orchard Road - name it, I visited it. And with every visit, I wandered from one store to the next, visiting brands that were available here (Zara, Topman, Topshop, Forever 21, MNG, Warehouse) and brands that have yet to reach us (Pull & Bear, River Island, Spotlight). And while they had a lot of interesting finds, they didn't interest me enough to warrant a mindless shopping spree.

On my flight home, I was looking for the reason why my shopping instincts were held back. And I didn't find one reason, but two: Manila and Hong Kong.

Whenever I fly to HKG, I immediately put down my bags and rush off to Mongkok, Prince Edward and Tsim Sha Tsui. And in a matter of 3 hours, I'd have around 5 bags of clothes on both hands. Here in Manila, not a day goes by without finding a great buy at any of the malls and tiangges around the metro. But in Singapore, none. Nada. Zilch.

I went to the SG outlets of Zara, MNG and Warehouse, and their prices are a bit higher than ours. Same thing happened at Topman and Topshop, and it didn't help that the branches here in Manila were on sale. The beaded Kate Moss dress would've cost more than P11,000 there, and less than half of that price here. Even the "tiangge-type" mall - Far East in Orchard Mall - didn't yield any good buys. Yup, they had stalls similar to Mongkok and Li Yuen Street, but their prices were about double compared these shopping districts.

While having dinner with Lhorie, I complained that I couldn't buy anything there - a huge source of frustration for a shopping person like myself. She couldn't agree with me more. She also complained how things were more expensive there, and the only respite they get is during the annual Singapore Sale. (Which I must revisit sometime soon.) But during normal seasons, finding a great bargain or a good buy is rare. Very rare.

So for the first time, I left Singapore without an extra bag or a suitcase stuffed with new clothes. Yup, I went to Singapore and all I got was bread, cookies, biscuits and shrimp rolls.

And this simply means one thing. I should go and visit HKG soon. Really, really soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh, Lhorie...

After almost 5 years, I got to see Lhorie again in SG. While enjoying a good Indonesian meal, I asked her if she remembers the exact time we last saw each other, and she said it was during our gang's despedida dinner for her. Now, in another dinner after 5 years and 2 countries, we finally caught up with each other.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ready to take Kachangs again...

Each time I visit SG, I have a "food du jour." A few years ago, it was the dollar ice cream sold along the streets of Orchard. Last year, it was Old Chang Kee's Curry puff and Seafood Gyoza. And a few days after I arrived in SG, I realized that this is my favorite during this trip.

This isn't the first time I've eaten Ice Kachang. In fact, since I started visiting Singapore, I've always had one Ice Kachang per visit, no more. There was never any follow through because it wasn't something I craved for. Actually, my last trip here passed without even a bowl of this icy dessert.

Now, a day doesn't pass without me buying a bowl or two of Ice Kachang. I've grown so fond of it that not a meal passes by without me ordering one as dessert. I've tried the regular variant, the mango ice, the peanut ice, the coffee ice and the sarsi ice. They all have their own charm, but the regular and mango variants are clearly my favorites.

I think there's a flavor or two that I still haven't tried. Good thing I've got another day for another kachang.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Another M in H&M

When I was in Singapore last April, Matthew Williamson was in town and showing his new collection at SG Fashion Week. It was the big finale and he even brought Erin Connor to serve as his muse. I remember that I caught a glimpse of the show at the tent along Orchard Road.

Now that I'm back in Singapore in April, I read in a local magazine that Matthew Williamson is the next designer to have a collaboration with Swedish fast fashion giant H&M.

True to form, his collection looks overtly feminine, very romantic with just a touch of theatrics. I'm not sure how the H&M market will react to this, though. For one, his designs look like something that H&M already makes. Second, he already has a steady collection at Debenhams, and I don't know if it's super different from what he'll do for H&M. So will it work? As Randy Jackson would often say on AI: "I don't know. I really don't know."

But one thing is for sure, I'm not expecting HKG to go all crazy and insane over this collection.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Come to Carl!

On my first full day in Singapore, I knew what I wanted to do first.

It's been a year since I've last eaten at Carl's Jr. It was also in Singapore with Joannah. I'd venture to say that when it comes to fast food quality onion rings, Carl's Jr. is at the top of my list. Add to that, I also crave for their Sta. Fe Chicken sandwich. I've been dreaming of this combo since I got on the plane yesterday, so this is what I had for lunch today.

Going to Carl's Jr. makes me miss the days when we still had the chain in Manila. If memory serves me right, the original franchisees were the owners of AMA Computer College. (The Aguiluz family, methinks.) Then it closed down, and it was opened again, and it closed down again. Now, it's just another relic in the history of fast food chains that made a splash, then submerged, in Manila. Notable companions of Carl's Jr. are A&W, Big Daddy's and Arby's.

I still remember how Xtine, Kuya Ers, Fiesta and I would go to Carl's Jr. in Pasay Road whenever we had to do OT in Adformatix. When the chain opened a branch in Megamall, Kin, Elsie and I would also go there for lunch. Ah yes, good times. And good food!

All this "walking down memory lane" is making me hungry again. More onion rings, perhaps?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Feeling Suri...

I've said this more than once, and I'll say it again. My god daughter Audrey reminds me so much of Suri Cruise!

Maybe I should get her a baby bob wig to complete the look.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Miz Claiborne

When I saw the new Liz Claiborne print ads on InStyle, I thought I noticed someone familiar in them. But immediately, I dismissed the thought and said to myself: "Nope, that can't be him."

The "him" is Isaac Mizrahi.

"How could he be in a Liz Claiborne ad? He doesn't design for them, Tim Gunn does." This was the argument I formed in my head while still denying what I've seen. After watching so many seasons of Project Runway, I know for a fact that Mr. Gunn is the Chief Creative Officer for Liz Claiborne. So having Mr. Mizrahi there was a stretch.

But surprise, surprise! It really is him.

While leafing through the April Issue of InStyle, they had an article about how Isaac Mizrahi has taken the creative reins at the seemingly aging fashion brand. It looks like they want a fresh, funky and feminine update, so they brought in the guy who turned Target into Tar-zhay. Harharhar.

And with that, now I'm sure that the guy I've seen in the Liz Claiborne ads IS Isaac Mizrahi.

(That's him wearing the green bandana.)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Getting the Laundry

Aside from Shelli Seagal's "Laundry" line of clothes, another "Laundry" worth looking out for is the lifestyle brand called "Chinese Laundry." In the US, it's one of the multi product brands that include clothes, shoes, bags and accessories.

Surprisingly, the store trying to make Chinese Laundry a by-word here in the Philippines is SM. Yup, SM is serious in making itself known as the home of fashionable brand. If memory serves me right, they began carrying it late 2007 or early 2008. But since then, I haven't really looked at their stuff up close.

Last week, I did. And I was shocked! Not only are their designs very trendy and chic, their bags are ridiculously cheap! For the material and quality they produce, I was expecting the bags to be within the P3000 level. I checked out a mustard colored doctors bag and a khaki convertible bag, and they were less than half of what I expected. Cheapness!

With styles and prices like that, we should get out and get the Laundry more often.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Not too many crooks

This all began with a conversation that Alfie and I had a few days ago. We saw a lady carrying her bag, and she started talking about the "proper" (read: sosyal) way to carry a handbag.

According to style books, style blogs and style icons, handbags should be carried on the crook of the arm. No matter how big or how heavy it is (and besides, it isn't chic to carry the kitchen sink in your handbag), the bag should rest nicely on the crook of your arm. Like so:

(After all, Victoria B. is chic.)

And once your elbow starts to ache, the bag should be carried by hand. Just like what Eva Mendes does in the first photo.

Apparently, the No-No in bag carrying is putting it over your shoulder and tucked under the arm. As Alfie says, it's "hindi sosyal" to do it this way. The only exemption is if you really a carrying a shoulder bag.

Because of this conversation, I began to be mindful of how women carry their handbags. While walking through Greenbelt and Glorietta, I noticed that majority of women do the "hindi sosyal" thing and carry it under their arms. Maybe it's because it's what they're used to, or maybe it's because a bag resting on the crook of your arm is easier to snatch. (Which reminds me of how Tita Evelyn carries her bag when we're in Barcelona. She embraces it in front of her, largely due to fear of the notorious pickpockets and snatchers in Spain.)

Not surprisingly, majority of the "crook carriers" are found in Greenbelt 5 - the swankier part of the locale. Maybe they start carrying it this way because of the environment. Harhar.

Gosh, so that means you can be judged just by looking at how you carry your bag! And I thought that being judged by what you wear is difficult enough.

Good thing guys like us just carry backpacks and computer bags. That makes things a lot simpler. (And less judgemental. Harhar.)