Monday, May 31, 2010

Back burner

Saturday and Sunday were spent in Subic with Mark, Raul, Ivy and the rest of the Japan gang. Ivy is due to give birth in a few weeks, and she wanted to gather round for a baby shower before she popped. It's been almost a year since I was last in Subic and saw her, so this was a wonderful weekend break.

It was also the first time that I've hit the beach in a long time. When I say "hit", it means really diving into the water and spending hours just floating around. We went to Dungaree Beach (which was more "Dung" than "Garee") and spent the morning swimming around and looking at some peculiar folks who decided to swim fully made-up and dressed up like they're going to the mall.

Maybe it's because I haven't been on the beach in a while, but after less than 2 hours, my back was all red and burnt. And to think I slathered a lot of SPF 15 already.

I should go to the beach more often. That's probably what I need to make my body better equipped to handle the sun.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pop art

Years after its inception, The Ramp at Crossings has seen a number of brands come and go. Luckily, one of the brands that stayed is the brand I've always liked since it first launched in that store. The brand called United Pop.

It's one of the best local brands when it comes to party wear. They always have the nicest prints, the most interesting materials and flattering silhouettes. Although they have some dresses that are clearly "inspired" by other designers, they also have a lot of eye-catching original work. (They have this black and fuchsia lace dress with cut outs, and a pretty jersey dress with an asymmetrical orientation.)

The United Pop store at Crossings Glorietta was on sale and there were a lot of stand outs. Among my favorites were these two pieces.

First was an asymmetrical jersey dress with made of a Warhol-ish floral jersey material. One sleeve is actually longer than the other, and the hem at the back is also slanted. The neckline is a cowl and sabrina hybrid, and the effect is casually elegant.

The second piece is a silk dress with a mondrian-like print. It's also asymmetrical with exaggerated sleeves. It looks like an easy dress that packs a punch.

Little artsy details like these make United Pop's clothes really pop-out. They're like walking masterpieces.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Still my Idol

Today is the finale of American Idol 9 and people aren't that fired up or interested in it. Maybe it's because the past few seasons were disappointments, where the runners up were actually a lot better than the winners. (Katherine vs. Taylor, David A. vs. David C., Adam vs. Kris.)

If it were Siobahn and Crystal up against each other, it would've made for better viewing. But since she's up against Lee, it's a bit of a ho-hum.

And yes, it's Simon's last season, so that's another reason not to watch AI.

Whoever wins it, I don't think he or she compares to my all-time favorite American Idol. The best among all the winners - at least in my book - Carrie Underwood!

I swear, this video makes me teary eyed even if I've been watching it for almost 5 years already.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going back to the City

I wasn't a big fan of "Sex and the City" when it was a TV series. In fact, I've never even watched a complete season. Unlike "Little Britain," "Catherine Tate Show," "Ugly Betty," "Friends," or even "Hotaru no Hikari," there was no motivation to actually sit down and watch the show.

Yes, they say that the humor is sharp and the clothes are divine, but then again, Betty's humor is sharp, and the clothes of Wilhelmina and Amanda are divine. So why watch something else.

But after watching the 1st movie, I realized what made SATC such a hit among its target demographic. Aside from the humor and clothes, it was the reality that made it resonate a lot. The situations and problems of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte were the same as most women their age. As my friend Grace says, everyone she knows is a Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.

And because I thoroughly enjoyed "Sex and the City", I've got my eyes set on its sequel, showing next week.

All the girls I know are giddy and gung-ho to rush to the cinemas to watch SATC all over again. And now, I'm not surprised why. (Heck! The poster alone is the price of admission!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

A nice state of mind

After hearing the song on the "Sex and the City" trailer, I immediately fell in love with Alicia Key's "Empire State of Mind part 2." In fact, on my last flight, I remember how I kept on trying to catch the song on the entertainment console.

Personally, I prefer this version to the "part 1" which had Jay-Z's rap. Alicia Keys' voice is so beautiful, it's better appreciated on its own.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A pill that's easy to swallow

During the late 90s, a young singer from Canada came out with an album that came into the music industry kicking and screaming with a raw sound, razor sharp lyrics and immaculately beautiful voice. The singer was Alanis Morissette and the album was "Jagged Little Pill."

I remember how most of the creatives at Adformatix had a copy of the CD. During the work day and all the way into the wee hours during OT, we'd hear "You Oughta Know", "Ironic", and "Hand In My Pocket" blaring on the cassette player. (Or "compo" as people from our generation would remember.)

The reason why we were drawn to Alanis so much was the fact that she was full of angst. Her songs were about her personal battles: from break-ups,(You Oughta Know) to parental issues (Perfect). In a way, we could relate to her, and that's what made her resonate. I lost count of how many times Kensai or Danz would play her music and discuss her lyrics.

When she held a concert in Manila, D' Frendz didn't let it pass. Along with a full house in Araneta, we sang, clapped and danced as she performed hit song after hit song. She even sang Abba's "Take a chance on me", and it was only our group who stood up and cheered. The kids around us looked perplexed and wondered what the song was.

Alanis hasn't come out with an album in a while, but this weekend, I suddenly had a need to hear her immaculate voice sing those razor sharp lyrics set against her raw sound. So I took out my CD and indulged in Alanis Morissette for a few hours. And the emotions the songs evoked still ring true. Even if it has been 13 years since the CD was launched.

Whenever we talk about Alanis, the question that always pops up is: what's your favorite Alanis song. And as much as I loved her honesty and anger in her songs from "Jagged Little Pill", my favorite song came from her 2001 album "Under Rug Swept."

It's a song that still has Alanis written all over it. The theme was about a failed relationship - a secret one at that - where she was the young, naive artist who had an affair with a much older and seemingly married guy. But the melody and her voice had a certain softness and vulnerability that made the entire song such a joy to listen to. It's almost like she's looking back at the situation with fondness and isn't angry about it. What I took out of the song is "Yes, it happened. Yes, it was f*$&ed up. But hey, I learned from it, so it can't be that bad."

So, to quote one of her first and famous song, the important thing that you should remember when bad things happen is: "You learn."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gotta Duet

I just discovered another great, cheap thrill!

The billboard caught my eye immediately as the MRT was entering Cubao Station. The visuals were beautifully done and it immediately made me want to try the product. (Props to the agency who did this. You'd think that as an advertising practitioner, I'd be immune to advertising. I usually am, but in this case, I wasn't.)

There's a Mister Donut kiosk at the Cubao Station, (convenient!) so I went there and bought a dozen of these duet donuts. And they were A-W-E-S-O-M-E! The donut was so soft and the flavor of each half was so pronounced. The sugary sprinkles added a nice texture to the cake-like donut, and it was just an explosion of tastes and textures with every bite.

The best among the lot would be the red velvet and butter cake duet. It costs P10, but tastes like P100!

Right now, it looks like this duet donut will be a limited edition thing. But I hope they decide to put it in their selection permanently. A duet this good shouldn't end.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh, Diva!

I discovered the joys of "Drop Dead Diva" when I went to Guam a few months ago. Since they had the Lifetime channel at the hotel, I waited for Project Runway to go on but wound up watching one of the episodes of this sitcom. And I got hooked.

The plot isn't that new. It's like "Chances Are" meets "Legally Blonde." Ditzy blonde passes away, and when she get into heaven, she pushes a "return" button and goes back to earth in the body of an insecure, overweight lawyer. She gets both the body and the brain of the old body, so she's now smart and sassy at the same time.

Great casting is one of the things going for the show. Brooke Elliot has great comic timing, April Bowlby is great as the dumb blonde, and Margaret Cho - well, she's Margaret Cho.

I liked it so much that I bought the 1st season DVD. Now I know what I'll do the next few days.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Forever begins in June

When I passed by the store that used to house Cinderella in Megamall, the computer printed sign was enough to made me stop, do a double take, and hold my breath in excitement.

The sign said: "Forever 21. Opening June 2010."

Forever 21 is finally opening in Manila! And this is THE REAL Forever 21, and not the other store masquerading as Forever 21. By the looks of the store, it looks like it's going to be massive! It'll be bigger than the Vivo City store in SG, but definitely smaller than the 4 floor behemoth in Somerset.

I hope they carry all the lines of clothing and accessories in this store. And if they do, it looks like this is another addiction in the making.

Toilet humor

Lady Gaga is a much parodied singer. Whenever she comes up with a new single or MTV, you can expect a plethora of versions to come our a few days after. Among those songs is "Bad Romance", that visually stunning but equally disturbing video. I mean, you've got morgue-themed bath houses, slavery and trafficking of women, Lady Gaga burning a man, and latex covered dancers.

Among the many parodies, there were 2 that I found really funny. And these 2 videos actually have a common thread - their use of toilet humor - literally! Both videos reworked the lyrics and the look to talk about stomach concerns, particularly diarrhea.

The first one is Michael V's take, "Bathroom Dance." True to his earlier work, the writing in this one is awesome! The lyrics are funny and spot on, and my favorite bit is the "Okoy, Ice Cream, Candy, Laing, Siopao, Beer, Gravy."

The second one is Sherry Vine's. For those who watch Project Runway, Sherry Vine appeared on the 5th season and she was dressed up like a "sad, molten chicken" by Keith. She also came up with a version, and it's all about "Sh*t in my pants." Again, the theme is about eating the wrong food, and getting into tummy trouble.

Normally, I dislike toilet humor. In fact, I abhor it. But these two actually made me laugh. It just means that in the right hands, this type of humor can be bearable - and funny.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Krista clear

Alexandra didn't make it to the top 2, so that's a relief. But Angelea was eliminated, too, so that's a bummer. But as I wrote earlier, with Krista and Raina in the top 2, I'd be happy with either girl winning.

But as Tyra always says, "there can only be one, America's Next Top Model."

And it's Krista! The oldest winner to date.

I'm glad that she made it. She was so insecure when the contest started, but she blossomed and blossomed and became fiercer and fiercer.

What struck me most about this cycle was how gracious the two girls were. When Krista was announced as the winner, there was no trace of sadness or disappointment on Raina's face. She took it so positively - and focused on what she learned rather than what she lost. And Krista was also magnanimous in her victory. Notice how she said "Sorry" to Raina after her name was announced. It was almost like she felt bad for beating someone else for the prize. (Which reminded me of that year when Kim Basinger beat Gloria Stuart for the Oscar best supporting actress plum. Kim looked like she was so sorry she won.)

Congratulations, Krista. And to Raina, you don't need a "title" to succeed. I'm sure you'll make it big in the industry as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Three of my favorite things + 1 more

Friends tell me that the book is excellent. One of them even tried lending me the book, but I never got around to reading it. Now that the movie is showing soon, I don't think I'll need to. After all, Julia Roberts stars in it. Can you say "must see"?

It's one of those "I've got to get out there and find my passion" stories. This is a story I can relate to because it's the way I've been living all these years. Well, I don't go away and disappear for one whole year like the lead character, but I do go out on little "I've got to get out there and find my passion" trips throughout the year.

And what she does during that sabbatical - Eating, Praying, Loving - it's what makes the trip worthwhile. It reminds me of my trips to Japan from 2006-2008. That was a lot of eating, praying and loving.

Yup, this movie is definitely on top of my watch list. It has the 3 things I love to do most, and the 1 star that I adore.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


After my in-flight meal on PAL, I looked for the moist towelette that I usually use post meal. Then I realized, they didn't have any.

It must be PAL's way of cutting cost. Just like how Cathay Pacific eventually removed the fruit bowl that comes with their sandwich during short haul flights. Or how Continental is renting out their headsets for $5.00.

Why, oh why, are you depriving me of this little pleasure? I just enjoy those citrus scented towelettes! They're a great way to refresh myself after the flight - especially if I take those really early or really late ones.

I hope they bring it back. Not having it during the flight is such a letdown.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wanna be on top 4

It's crunch time at the top model house, and there are only 4 girls remaining. Awesome thing is, I like 3 of the finalists, and would be happy if any of them took home the top plum.

Raina reminds me of Brooke Shields. It's probably because of her eyebrows. But I love the fact that her face is strong but her personality is very soft and lovable.

Angelea is the resident "mean girl", but she's getting trounced upon the past few episodes. But I'm hoping she gets her mojo back and goes all the way to the final 2. Her exoticism is extraordinary.

Krista has that Naomi Cambell/Iman thing going on. She's an elegant African American model, and that's what's going for her.

The fourth one, Alexandra, is the girl I'm not too excited about. I just find her look too... Whitney! The hair, the look, the body, she's a Whitney clone! But there can only be one Whitney.

It's the 2-hour finale next week. I can't wait to find out who's going to be on top!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I mee-s it

Yesterday, Mark and I tried "Orchard Road," the Singaporean fast food place in Megamall. It's been open for a few months now and the interiors are snazzy and inviting. Plus, I've seen a number of my favorites on their menu, so I was actually excited to finally eat there.

I ordered my all-time favorite Singaporean noodle dish - Prawn Mee.

And yes, it was an utter disaster! The soup lukewarm, and it wasn't spicy at all. The fish cake was rubbery and the prawns weren't succulent. And to top it all off, the noodles were soggy!

It's such a far cry from my favorite prawn mee in Wan Chai. And after eating that lackluster bowl from Orchard Road, I'm now craving for the Wan Chai version. I wish there were more mee shops here in Manila.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Short Stories

The heat says it all. Summer is definitely upon us. So it's the best time for people to start dressing for comfort without sacrificing on style.

One item that's been making an appearance in all the major stores are - not surprisingly - denim shorts. From local brands like Folded and Hung to the fast fashion names like Mango - shorts are definitely the story for this season.

Even in Greenhills, there is no shortage of shorts. I think there were more than 20 stalls selling shorts of different incarnations, and the best of the lot were in this stall called Raspberry.

The first pair is this Aeropostale overrun which is a nod to the "boyfriend" trend that seems to be all over Greenhills these days. The length is just right - not too skanky and not too puruntong - and the cuffs are a nice touch. The belt loops are big enough to accommodate a guy's belt to complete the "boyfriend" look. This is the type of shorts that can shift from a plain white tee to a floral blouse to a chambray shirt to a blazer.

Then there's this pair from an unknown Korean sounding brand. It's got most of the positive traits of the above mentioned pair, but it's made of softer denim which makes it lighter and cooler. And given the temperatures we're having, lighter and cooler are definitely the order of the day.

There's a bit of discrimination in Greenhills, though. They're loaded with shorts for girls, but when I asked about shorts for guys, they didn't have any. I've been looking for a new pair of shorts since my Abercrombie cargo shorts are already way, way overused. I went to Structure and they also didn't have denim shorts for guys there.

Looks like finding shorts for myself won't be as easy as finding them for my sisters. Now that's another story.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Play it again, Sam.

The awesome thing about SM is that they're an "equal opportunity discounter." Whether it's one of their basic low-end brands or the higher end names, the discount they give for each one is equally huge. This is unlike Rustan's whose discounts are just a pittance and their sales aren't really that enticing. (Which makes me miss those fantastic Rustan's sales of yore. Kin, Elsie and I would rush off to Shangri-La from the SMC head office to grab the goodies.)

A month ago, they marked down their stock of Max and Cleo dresses. This weekend, the brand name that got the huge markdown was Sam Edelman.

I had very limited time, so I only ended up with 3 pieces from the plethora of choices waiting to be bought.

The first one was a mid-height shoe with a combination of black and leopard print. The sole was rubberized, so I reckon it'll be easy to walk in.

The second was a amethyst colored and reptile printed flat shoe. This is perfect for Ate Bullet who lives in flats most of the time.

And the last one was this ruby red shoe made of the softest kid suede. I'm sure Dorothy would have wanted shoes like these.

After the markdown, the shoes were really, really cheap. I think it's even cheaper than if you bought it on sale in the U.S. Well, maybe except if you find and buy them at Ross. But on the whole, this batch of Sam Edelman shoes are so cheap that I'll probably check it again, Sam.