Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Of kith and Kin

Today, one of my closest friends is celebrating her birthday.

It's been more than a decade since I met her in San Miguel. She was the well-dressed, extremely gracious, undeniably classy and indescribably nice girl who ran Kaunlaran. She was difficult to miss, because aside from her commanding yet quiet presence, she had this accent that was part-British, part-American. She became one of my first friends in the office, along with Ampi, Dada, Elsie, Marla and Jo.

She is one of the nicest people I know. She loves organizing celebrations for friends, and was a consistent partner in our "Megamall-crimes". She always has something nice to say, even if the situation or person isn't really that great. She can talk about corporate culture, travel and fashion - three topics that fascinate us both. She always has a ready smile that brightens up everyone's day. And she always brings with her an air of positivity that infects everyone and leaves us with good vibes.

When I was living in HKG, I'd bump into her in the strangest of places. Once, we saw each other in Disneyland; she with her family and I, with Prichy and her kids. Another time, I was busy perusing the racks at H&M in Central. Lo and behold, she was there with Anton and Nic. We immediately exchanged pleasantries, while exchanging the "finds" we got.

During my last retreat (which was a long time ago), she wrote me a beautiful Palanca letter. Not surprising, really, since she's a brilliant writer. It was about finding and coming to terms with our own spirituality, and finding Him in everything we do. It was such an inspiring letter from a person who's equally inspiring.

They say "friends are family you choose for yourself", and more than a decade after we first met, I'm still glad and honored that she's part of my family, and that she'll always be a Kin.

Happy Birthday, Kin!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Red letter day

If the 30th of June is a red-letter day for a lot of people, it won't be because of the Presidential Inauguration.

First up, Twilight:Eclipse is opening on the 30th. So young girls and boys will be seeing red in the form of blood - vampire and werewolf blood to be exact.

Since it's a holiday, I can imagine all the tweens marching in to movie theater en masse as early as 10am. This reminds me of how we used to line up under the scorching sun to watch "Superman 1" and "Star Wars: A new hope" in Circle theater along Quezon Avenue, and the old Greenhills theater.

Then, we have fashionistas who'll be seeing red as well. The red "Sale" sign at Zara.

Zara has its first sale of the year every June 30, and they do this Asia-wide. I remember how when I was still living in HKG, my colleagues and I would have lunch at IFC so we could go check out the sale immediately after.

That said, it looks like Wednesday will be a very busy day for me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chicken lot-tle

If you see a lot of people forming a long queue outside Max's restaurant every evening, it's because of 4 simple words:


Max's is letting all its customers eat all the chicken they want between 6pm and 10pm. And knowing the Filipino's love affair with "eat-all-you-cans", this one will be a huge, huge hit.

I just hope we don't have a chicken shortage, or an increase in obese people the next month or two.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

For whom the (Taco) bell tolls

This might be tantamount to an obssession.

I've been eating at Taco Bell for 2 days straight.

It started yesterday. After the MRT ride from Ayala to Cubao, I found myself so famished and the first place I saw was Taco Bell. Since they have rice and bean burrito (frijoles is love!), it was an obvious choice. Frijoles has the power to bring me back to my exchange days in Mexico. (Viva Mexican Mafia!)

Today, I found myself back there again. Right after call, I went back to the same branch, this time for the cheese quesadillas! The great thing about Taco Bell quesadillas is teh fact that it's huge! And the dipping sauce is awesome. I can go back and eat it again and again.

Then there's the part about it being cheap. A full meal at Taco Bell nets somewhere between P69 to P99. That price is enough to ring anyone's bell.

Wonder what I'll have tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's episode is brought to you by the letter T

Disney has 2 new movies coming up, and both start with the letter "T."

First, there's "Tron Legacy." I'm a huge, huge, HUGE fan of the original tron, so this one is a movie that I'll definitely watch out for. The fact that it has Jeff Bridges again just raises the cool factor a few notches higher.

Then, there's this new fairy tale comedy that's a fresh take on Rapunzel. The trailer alone is hilarious. It feels like "Enchanted" with a kick.

Great job, Disney. You're giving me two more reasons to look forward to the movies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our little lensman

We've got a 4-year old photographer in the house!

Ever since Javier discovered the phone camera, he has this habit of taking photos of everything and everyone that catches his interest. Initially, he'd take shots of the computer and TV screens, then he moved on to an actual digicam, shooting people and still life.

Whenever there's a family gathering, Javier gets the digicam and starts taking photos by himself. No adult supervision. No one telling him to point the camera anywhere. He takes the shots all by himself.

He likes taking photos of his cousins:

And his big brother:

He likes shooting still life. And when he does, he usually goes for an extreme close up:

He likes shooting people doing things:

And has a concept of "foreground/background":

He takes shots of his Mom:

And looks at things from his (small) point of view:

That's my talented nephew Javier. Our very own 4-year old photographer.

Maybe he'll be the next Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, or even Patrick Demarchelier.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers, Brothers and Sisters

Dad is in the US, so we decided to spend Father's Day with the dads in the family.

Kuya Marv brought us to his favorite restaurant in Marikina called "Luyong." It looks like an early version of Ma Mon Luk - very plain and spartan. But what it lacked in ambience, it made up for the food. Their pancit was excellent, and the tortang alimango was top notch.

Kuya is a "regular" in this restaurant, and waiters actually know him and what he orders. When Ate Bullet tried to order pancit miki, the waiter told her: "Hindi po yan ang gusto ni sir. Canton po ang gusto niya." Now that's service!

Aside from Father's Day, we were also celebrating the arrival of our eldest nephew, Jul. He flew in from the US last Friday and is spending his summer vacation here. With Jul in town, the "eldest kids club" was almost complete. Jul is Ate Lissa's eldest son, Kevin is Ate Bullet's eldest son and Princess is Kuya Marv's eldest daughter.

After that, we visited another father, our Dad's Dad to be exact. We went to Loyola to visit Lolo Iking. It's been 21 years since he passed away, but we still miss him dearly.

It was fun celebrating the entire day with the family. It's been ages since we all visited Lolo together. Jul was reminiscing how we'd go there when they were still little boys and girls - and now, the little boys and girl are all grown up.

And as the little ones grow up, we also have new little ones to bring along. If there's an "eldest group", here's the "youngest group." Javie is our youngest nephew and I'm the youngest in the brood.

It was definitely a wonderful Father's - and family - day today. We should have more days like this.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh happy day...

I like this photo taken by Luann last Saturday. Everyone looks so relaxed and happy. (Well, considering how much we stuffed ourselves, we SHOULD be happy. Hahaha.)

Sometimes the best photos are the ones you don't know are being taken.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Watch it

After 5 years, my favorite Fossil automatic watch is starting to slow down. In fact, whenever I take it off when I go to sleep, the watch starts to move slower. By the time I wake up, the time is about 5 minutes late.

The repair center said that I need to have it rewound. Thing is, the cost of rewinding is almost the cost of a new Fossil watch, like this model which I saw on the website and I'm seriously considering asking Biboy to bring it home for me from the U.S.

Old favorite or new addition?

Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mid-year madness

When Mango sent me an invite for their private sale today, I immediately called Lezyl since she always tells me about the 5 dresses she's eyeing at Mango and how she's jump at them once the sale starts. I told her that the sale starts at 12 noon, she asked me to be there at 11:45am.

True enough, by the time I got there at 12:15, Mango looked like it was hit by a tornado. It was madness! People grabbing dresses, tops and jeans. Ladies carrying clothes by the bag and heading off to the fitting room. Whoever said the economy is in bad shape hasn't seen how some ladies spend at Mango. (The girl in front of us bought P40,000 worth of clothes.)

Since Lezyl was going to be late, she asked me to pre-screen the items and choose dresses that would suit and fit her. Ergo, I became an impromptu stylist/alalay. I was able to sift through the disheveled stacks of clothes and got 10 pieces by the time she arrived. She liked most of it and ended up buying 4.

Now that the Mango sale has officially begun, this can only mean one thing. Zara will soon follow suit and might go on sale by the 1st of July.

And that's a different kind of madness altogether.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stuffed on a Saturday

Sir Pie is the quintessential host! Not only did he invite us to have lunch at his Tagaytay rest house today, he also whipped up an awesome lunch - from scratch!

He made 4 different types of pizza, teriyaki noodles with bangus belly, and the most divine walnut pie to ever hit my palate. Add the chicken that Maricar brought, the chicken pie that Ate Bullet gave us, the baguettes from Kin, wine from Leah and the chips from Jayson and Sonee, and the result is a group of happy, overstuffed ex-SMC-ers.

And the stuffed Saturday afternoon was just the beginning. We met up with D' Frendz right after and had another food trip! That one deserves its own post.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the mood for nude

Here's more proof of how fashion forward SM is becoming.

One of their house brands came out with this very stylish nude chiffon dress. Nude and chiffon has been seen recently at many runway shows, including Donna Karan and Isaac Mizrahi.

The SM version is made of this very light material - light both in feel and color. In front, there's a subtle drape that extends all the way to the shoulder of the dress. This is such a Donna Karan touch.

To add a counterbalance to all that softness, this dress would look great with a thin leather belt in camel or tan. It echoes the neutral color of the dress, but give the eye another detail to look at.

The only caveat with this dress is that it's so light and sheer. If you notice, you could see the tag behind the dress. So it's best worn with neutral colored undies or a slip.

Because it's from SM, the best part about this dress is the price. It breathes life to the concept of "fashion for the masses." Makes me anticipate what SM will come up next.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Listen, Meester

Although I officially belong to "Team Serena" and absolutely adore Blake Lively, I have to admit, I'm addicted to Leighton Meester's collaboration with Cobra Starship. I've been hooked on this song for months already, but I'm doubly hooked today.

Hello, LSS!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

White hot

The summer season is just about to begin in the US, and white dresses are popping up along with maxi dresses and floral prints. Banana Republic has added a lot of both in their line-up. And when it's in the Banana Republic website, you can expect it to end up at the "haunt."

The first thing I saw was this white and floral watercolor print shift. The real one has a matching floral belt, but the tan leather belt adds a bit of character to the look.

Next is this white shift with a pleated neck detail. It looks much better in person than it does on photos. The fabric is interesting as well - it's almost like parka, but softer.

Other than Banana Republic, other American brands are also putting a lot of white in their collections. Proof that it's one of the hot "non-colors" this season.

So who says white is only for Labor Day?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Back to school

Last week, I found myself saying the same thing that students all over the Philippines are saying with a deep sigh.

"Summer vacation is over? We have to go back to school already?"

Yup, we're going back to school. And to prepare of it, the Mass Comm faculty of SSC met up over the weekend to talk about our plans for the coming year, as well as to bond over great food, bugnay wine, and the usual noisy Mass Comm banter.

It's amazing how most of the professors are interconnected. Becky and Chally were batchmates. So were Dennis, Rose and Sockie. Joyce and Beng are batchmates, then officemates. This made the faculty meeting one big trip down memory lane.

Yup, we're going back to school. And I must say, I'm SO excited to be back. (Although my students might think otherwise. Harhar.)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

She who doesn't go away easily

After seeing "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" with Mark last night, and "Clash of the Titans" 2 months ago, I hereby christen Gemma Arterton as "the Royal who just won't perish."

I guess the producers were thinking, "She's too pretty to get rid of."

Too bad they didn't say the same thing when they cast her as Agent Strawberry Fields in "Quantum of Solace."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Sale-ient points

There's a conspiracy going on in these parts of the metro. It's a Friday, and stores suddenly put up their sale signs! It's like they're conspiring to get everyone out of their houses this weekend and spend the next 3 days filling up their bags (and in the process, emptying their wallets) with loot from a plethora of stores.

First up is Plains and Prints. I got an SMS from them as early as Wednesday (the perks of being a regular customer) announcing the sale. I'm not sure if they have a lot of good stuff on sale, though, since last season's collection (particularly their "Fairy" line) isn't stellar.

Shangri-La Mall is also on sale. So is Araneta Center. Crossing's is also on sale, and I spied huge markdowns on United Pop and Abrace.

These points alone are a good reason to (not) go to the mall this weekend.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Axcellent birthday

When I ran into Sir Conrad last week, he mentioned that GTG was going to celebrate his birthday on June 1. Then, he asked me to drop by to greet him personally. So today, I did. Lunch time found us at Adformatix, and we got more than some face time with GTG.

They also fed us! GTG and the management team was gracious enough to let us mooch off their buffet. See, there's such a thing as a free lunch.

When I decided to go, I decided to bring as many people as I could. After sending a couple of messages, Mamu, Kuya Ers, Ala, Lisa Girl and Rommel were all on board! Woohoo!

What made the visit awesome was seeing all the people I worked with and haven't seen in ages. Like Sir Tok!

And Irene! And Tito Roy! And Noncy!

Optima - my old team - was there in full force! Here we are with Lisa, a Futura girl, who looks like she's a fish out of water.

It was a fantastic birthday filled with great food and wonderful people. And when we went back to our real jobs, we left with the feeling that AX was definitely an Axcellent place to work.