Friday, October 30, 2009

I know what you did this Halloween

And this is what we did. We watched a scary movie.

It wasn't just a scary movie, it was a movie written and directed by a colleague of ours. This independent film was shown in Galleria a few years back, although I wasn't able to watch it since I was still based in HKG then. Good thing Anjie has a copy, so we organized a Pre-Halloween-Horror-Movie-Showing party at the office.

Good thing we watched it during the daytime. Watching a scary movie like this on Halloween night... not a good idea.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Jappy

The Japanese come up with the happiest, and sometimes silliest, of songs. But having been to Japan so many times, I understand that it's just in their culture to create things that are aesthetically pleasing, eventhough those things seem to have no rhyme or reason.

These songs are perfect examples. These are two of the Japanese pop songs that I can keep listening to over and over again. Sure, I can't understand them, but the beat and melody makes me happy.

The first song is by Shonen Knife, the band who gained worldwide recognition for their rendition of The Carpenters' "Top of the World." Here's a song about - of all things - Banana Chips. It was Mark who introduced me to this song, and he'd sing the chorus when we were in Japan.

The second song conjures up a lot of happy and fun memories. It was a hit in the mid 90s, and Kuya Ers and I were fans of the song. Later on, it was used in anime shows, variety shows, and even a beauty pageant. (I'm sure Kuya Ers remembers this.) Two years ago, we also used it as a peg for a commercial we did.

Ah yes, nothing like Happy Japanese songs to fill up a humdrum midweek.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Cheap Thrill

Mister Donut's chocolate crinkle Swakto donut is divine!

The donut is soft, moist and crumbles in your mouth. The powdered sugar sticks to your lips and tongue and dissolves soon after. It's much, much better than an actual chocolate crinkle.

And the best part is, it's just P5.00 a pop! Cheap thrill! Just a caveat, though, you can probably finish 10 in one sitting. Which is what I'm most likely to do.

I wanted to take a photo and post it here. Unfortunately, I can't resist finishing them immediately.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We'll always have Parisian

A few years ago, the brand Parisian had a bad rap. It was better known as the shoe brand that was "low-priced and low on style." (Which is actually a euphemism for cheap and ugly.) For the stylish set, Parisian was a non-entity and no one really bothered to check it out - much less buy it.

But just as SM has undergone a remarkable make-over the past few years, Parisian has slowly been changing its look. If you go through the racks of Parisian shoes at any SM branch, it's easy to see that there are gems among the rocks that are scattered about.

Not only have they been abreast when it comes to trends, they're able to tweak and translate them into something more marketable. Take for instance these black booties that I got today:

Open toe booties are on every trend list this fall. Both local and international magazines are putting it in their "must have" list. Parisian's version has interesting criss cross straps that give it a rocker vibe.

According to Ate Bullet, the material is soft and very comfortable. Which makes the trend easy to wear.

Studs are also on InStyle's list, and SM also has a brown studded bootie that's a beauty.

The sling back bootie has a chunky heel and is covered in grommets. Despite it being studded with hardware, methinks it can go well with a dress.

This pair, along with the black bootie, can very well go head-to-head with the Aldos, Zaras and Steve Maddens of this world - design-wise. If you look at it price wise, it costs 70 - 80% less than its branded counterpart.

With this kind of design at this price point, I wouldn't be surprised if Parisian will soon be on the "must have" list of fast fashionistas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Worth the trip

It was a very short and quite tiring trip. In fact, I felt like I didn't even leave.

But there were a number of things that made that very short and quite tiring trip worthwhile. Among them: finally meeting my colleagues from the head office, buying my favorite American goodies at K-mart, eating at Denny's, and - of course, this:

"This" being a Max Azria Runway dress that I got at their GPO outlet before I went to the airport this afternoon. It's not just a dress, but it's an exquisite, precious and gorgeous dress. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it on the rack, and it skipped some more after seeing the price.

It's made out of taffeta in tartan with inserts of plain burgundy. The construction is just mind blowing, just look at the details on the bodice. The shirring is so precise.

The back has an exposed zipper, which is a trend that's been around since last year, and is still making the rounds this season. This gives the dress that raw, rock and roll vibe.

The skirt is gathered in 3 different places. When worn, it creates this interesting shape and texture. Overall, the dress brings to mind Vivienne Westwood - this feels like something she would make. And wear.

I know the perfect pair of shoes for this dress. It's a pair I spotted a few days ago, and it'll definitely make this dress rock! Now I need to make that trip and get those shoes tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shop talk

It's amazing how you can find people who are interested in shopping in the most unusual places. I spent almost 10 minutes talking to an immigration officer about great places to shop.

Ah yes, the perks of being shop-knowledgeable.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hallow-wedding cake

One reason why I enjoy organizing weddings for friends is the fact that I get to design their wedding cake. Whenever we settle on a theme, and they give me a free rein on the cake design, I quickly bring out my sketchbook and sketch away. Then, I show the sketch to Ate Bullet and Raymond, and ask them if it's feasible. If it is, then I let them do their magic.

I think the first wedding cake I designed was for Kuki & Reno's wedding. It was a Tiffany blue cake with ceramic-like flowers on the side. Last week, I ran into Jan in Greenbelt, and he introduced me to his wife as "the guy who designed our wedding cake."

In my "cake designing history", I've done a number of unique cakes. The more recent one was Ivy's wedding cake, which had a light house and two fishes standing in for the bride and groom. And a few weeks ago, another beautifully unique cake joined that roster.

When Ia talked to me about her wedding cake, her brief was simple and straighforward - she wanted a halloween pumpkin. Since her wedding was in October, the idea was perfect. So, we agreed on designing and creating a cake that was fun, unconventional, humorous, and, of course, had a pumpkin.

As usual, I showed my design to Ate Bullet and Raymond, and our collaboration resulted in this:

It was more awesome than I expected it to be. It had the pumpkin, three pumpkins to be exact, and lit from inside. But aside from that, it was also within the autumn theme of the wedding, thanks to the leaves surrounding the pumpkins. And since pumpkins carry the autumn colors, it was a perfect match.

I just love it when collaborations result in something so beautiful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hussein is what I'm sayin'

A few years ago, I had this "ukay" phase. Madz, Claire and I would rush to the ukay place in front of Robinson's Galleria after work, and would spend hours just poring through the racks in search for interesting finds.

After almost a year of being fascinated with the hunt, the novelty disappeared and s did my interest. It's been more than 3 years since I've last ventured into ukay territory.

Today, I decided to check out the ukay place near our house. The reason why I dropped by was more of curiousity, because the store now stands where the Daily Supermarket branch of Dexter's used to be. A few minutes in the store, and my eyes widened because of what I uncovered.

Yes! It's an actual Hussein Chalayan dress! Hidden in between racks of distressingly dowdy frocks.

After describing the dress to Arnie, her remark was that it was "so Hussein." The fabric is navy cotton treated with spandex, which gives it stretch and shape. The style is like a t-shirt/sweater dress that has a layered effect. It looks comfy enough for fall, and I assume that's the season when this was made.

The skirt is made up of interesting and random pleats, and again, this is so Hussein.

My students are still avid ukay fans, to a point that they even have a euphemism for it. For them, "ukay" is "treasure."

And after finding this Hussein Chalayan dress in an ukay place, I can't help but agree.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Jerseys

Space is one of those "hit or miss" brands. Unfortunately, they've been "missing" the past years. I've noticed that whenever they had interesting designs, the fabric would be dowdy or unappealing. Whenever the fabric was nice, the design would be negligible. Because of this, their store isn't really on the agenda whenever I drop by Robinsons.

Lo and behold, they have a semblance of a hit this time. It came in the form of a couple of jersey tops that caught my eye as I passed by.

It's hard to go wrong with cotton jersey - it's t-shirt material for crying out loud. What's nice about their collection, as well as this selection, are the little details that make each piece interesting.

Take for instance this blue tunic. The sleeves are extended, and that fabric connects to the hem.

That construction creates this "fin" effect and it looks like there's a vest on top of the tunic.

This brown top looks shapeless and boxy on the hanger. But after seeing it on a mannequin, it changed my point of view. It has this dolman/batwing sleeve thing going on, and the armholes are exaggerated.

Look at it from behind and you'll see an overlapping drape that gives it an interesting shape. After examining the piece, I realized that modest people should wear it with a bandeau, lest exposure is your aim.

The 3rd piece rides on the zipper trend and does it nicely. They're positioned in such a way that it still looks current even if the trend exits the fashion world.

Finally, this simple jersey t-shirt which has very detailed sleeves. The fabric is gathered, creating a bubble effect. But it doesn't stop there.

There's a knot on the sleeve and there are two armholes. I'm not sure if it's designed to be worn two ways, but in any case, any way would be interesting.

While each one had attractive details, the more attractive part of the garment is that it's on sale. This weekend is the Robinson's Grand Markdown Sale (free plug!) and that instantly slashes 50% off the price. Now who wouldn't grab the opportunity to grab these cool clothes made of jersey.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Classic with a twist

It's one of the most common phrases in fashion parlance. If a person runs out of words to describe a piece of clothing, the "classic with a twist" line always works. (Similar to the advertising industry's "Authoritative yet friendly" and wine drinker's "It's a good year.")

On my trip to the haunt today, I found this dress which is the embodiment of this overused line:

This sheath is made of a soft and elegant wool material. The color is gray, and is actually a result of the melding of the black and white wool. The fabric is almost "tweed-y", but without being too nubby. The cut and construction are both very classic, and it's the type of dress that goes from day to night.

And where's the twist?

The twist is literally a twist. The neckline has a twisted detail that makes the silhoutte very fresh. Subtle details like this always catch my eye, and that's the reason why I couldn't get my eyes off this piece.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reality of tragedy

We were on our way to Chapel on the Hill for Ia's wedding when Mark received the bad news. One of the people who died in the tragic landslides in Benguet was someone we know.

Toni was a "kohai" or freshman at IUJ when we met her. She was a member of the "library gang", or the group who would stay at the IUJ library until the wee hours of the morning - writing their papers, doing research and being diligent students. I met up and interacted with her a number of times while I was in Japan. Toni had a very vibrant personality - light hearted, very animated and chatty. Mark said that she was also a pink lady - her bag, laptop and school paraphernalia were all in this hue.

When we found out that she, along with their house and 3 other family members, were buried during the October 9 landslide, the feeling was a mix of sadness and disbelief. It's already difficult when you see stories like these on the news, and it's triple or quadruple times more difficult when one of the stories has someone real - someone whose face you know, and whose face you can still see.

My heart and prayers go out to Toni, her family who survived the tragedy and will have to live with this huge loss, and to her friends, especially the Pinoys in IUJ who was her family in Japan for 2 years.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


And Kamiseta continues its winning streak!

As the MRT passed through Guadalupe, I noticed their new billboard was up. Petra Nemcova was no longer there, and she was replaced by another supermodel, Natalia Vodianova!

If the 90s had the Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer triumvirate, year 2000 and beyond had Petra Nemcova, Natalia Vodianova and Doutzen Kroes. Among the 3, my favorite - face and body wise - was Natalia. Calvin Klein obviously had the same admiration because she soon became the face - and body - of their brand.

Of course, she's not this brazen in her Kamiseta billboard. True to the brand's image, she's more girly and sweet. Not surprisingly, she pulls it off, which is why she's a supermodel.

I hope they put up the new in-store posters of Natalia soon. That's something to watch out for.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Golden Boy

In my case, one of the best indicators of how time flies by so fast is seeing my nephews and nieces grow up. One minute, you're carrying them around, giving them baths, taking them to Dreamscape, and buying them toys for Christmas. The next minute, they're college students in the U.S., starting to reach my height, and talking with baritone voices much lower than mine.

While I was busy with reality (i.e. work, school, and yes, shopping), my nephew Kevin didn't just grow up, he grew up kicking major butt as a member of Ateneo's judo team.

He's competed in numerous UAAP tournaments, and won.

He added another gold medal to his haul today, and I found out through Ate Bullet who excitedly texted me a few minutes after his victory. (And uploaded these photos a few hours after.)

He definitely has a long way to go in terms of his chosen sport - maybe even all the way to the Olympics!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Pray time

First, we had Ondoy in the Philippines. It sank major areas in Metro Manila and left a death toll of around 246.

Yesterday, a tsunami hit the Samoas. It leveled towns and, as one of the survivors recounted, "came like a big, black wave that ate everything up." As of latest report, they have 149 reported deaths, and the number is expected to climb.

Today, another earthquake came to the already earthquake struck Indonesia. Like the first 2 tragedies, it caught a lot of people off guard, and the number of fatalities is currently at 467. But they're expecting it to rise, much, much higher.

Times like these when Mother Nature is challenging our faith, let's all call on Father God to help us get through these.