Friday, December 31, 2010

Happiness is relatives

What's the best way to spend the last day of 2010?

Spend it with family, of course.

And what makes this really special is that both Mom and Dad are in Manila to celebrate!

The past few years, they've been alternating. Some years, Dad would be in the US and Mom would be in Manila. And in other years, they'd switch places. But now, they're both here!

Now the holidays are really complete!

It is indeed a Happy, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where did 2010 go?

This was the question being discussed over dinner with Kin, Maricar, Jing Jing, Elsie, Mac and Lu-Ann. Although it's a cliche, we marveled at the fact that it felt just like yesterday when we had our 2009 Christmas lunch with Joannah, Sridhar and Roy. And now, the same group is having dinner and another year has passed.

I think 2010 passed by too fast and we didn't have enough time to marvel at the great things that happened this year. So I hope 2011 will be a more relaxed and that we can savor every moment of it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wonderfully Real

During our 80s themed Christmas Party in school, I got an 80s CD from Mil during the exchange gift. It was a great gift because there were a number of songs there that were my sentimental favorites a few decades back. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about them, and this CD brought it all back.

And one of the songs was "Can't get by without you" by The Real Thing.

Technically, this song is from the late 70s, but hey, who's counting the years. With a song this beautiful - from the soothing melody to the heartfelt lyrics - it transcends years and will sound as fresh in 2011 as it did in the late 70s.

I hope the musical artists can write more songs that are this real.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


One of the best parts of Christmas is seeing kids open gifts and watch their eyes widen each time they get a gift they like. It makes the entire exercise of looking for and procuring gifts worth it.

I'm glad to see that everyone in the family got a great stash of gifts this year. Toys, clothes, watches, tiles with family portraits, portable massagers, and the like.

I was also very happy with my stash this year. I got a lot of the things I want and need, but don't seem to have time to buy. (Or it can also be the fact that I always end up buying something else. Harhar.)

Among them are a stash of sweets, new earphones & DVDs, and Bath and Body Works from Mark. Bed linen from Ate Lissa. Shirts from Ate Bullet and family. A book from Kuya Marv and family. Shower gel, perfume and a Sesame Street book from Shashie Friend. Puzzles from Fiesta Girl. And a whole lotta useful things from my colleagues, former colleagues and co-professors.

And the stash doesn't end there. Tomorrow, we're having our annual D' Frendz Christmas party, and that's 8 more gifts waiting right there.

Don't you just love Christmas?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A break from a Christmas break

I'm not certain why, but this Christmas season seems to be more hectic than usual.

The weeks leading to December 25 were packed! From Christmas preparations to my Dad's surprise birthday party, from buying gifts to wrapping them, from house work to school work, from weddings to reunions - it felt like they all happened at the same time.

Now, it's the 27th and there are more get togethers lined up the next few days: Grace's shower, dinner with the San Miguel folks, cooking for New Year, and some other little events that escape me right now.

So much for a relaxed holiday season.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Nothing captures the season like the Muppets and the song "Twelve days of Christmas."

Miss Piggy definitely owned this performance!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas rush is(n't) through...

No matter how early I begin my Christmas shopping, there's always a last minute rush for something.

I started shopping as early as September, and checked out 97% of my list come 2nd week of December. But alas, there's still the 3% that needs to be reckoned with.

And with that, I'm rushing to the mall now to do some last minute shopping.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Madam I'm McAdams

When Ate Bullet found out her nephew was going to get married and she was going to be the youngest ninang in the entourage, she wanted to wear something non-traditional and breaks the usual "ninang" cliche. That means, no organza or taffeta, no jackets or heavy beadwork, and nothing that will make her feel older.

She wanted something light and airy, but still regal and elegant. After all, the theme of the wedding was "royalty" and her nephew wanted them in ball gowns.

Enter Rachel McAdams:

This number became the springboard for her dress. The cut was ball gown-ish, the print was youthful, and it was very airy in its entirety. And, under the skillful hands of Aling Bright, this was created:

It's a bit of Rachel McAdams, but mostly Ate Bullet. And it captures the essence of the event, but more importantly, the joie de vivre of the wearer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Smells like office spirit

After 2 years, I'm attending an office party again.

In 2008, I was freelancing and didn't have an office yet. We had a faculty party that year, but that doesn't quite count.

In 2009, aside from being new to the company, the office didn't really have a party. They just came from a rough year and austerity measures were in place.

This year, the party is back. Complete with group performances, a cool band, a so-so caterer, and a lot of people bringing with them the holiday spirit. Oh, and a raffle, too. This part I'm really looking forward to!

Admittedly, I missed this kind of Christmas party. Now, I must go back up to the rooftop. I might miss the raffle!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red-dy to make kids happy

Another year, another color. This year, it's red. Cherry apple red to be exact.

For more than a decade, we've kept our pact to bring a little bit of happiness to the lives of kids. Instead of buying each other presents, my former colleagues from Adformatix and I decided to just pool our money and host a party for underprivileged kids.

Each year, a color is assigned for us to wear during the party. We've basically went through all the primary colors, so the organizers decided to level up this year and assign a different shade of red. Thus, the Cherry Apple Red color. Red is an appropriate color because it's the color of passion and excitement. Things that we see in the eyes of these kids during the party.

And seeing the excitement and joy in these kids' eyes is really the best gift a person can get. This year, there was one girl named Erlinda, and she was really wide-eyed and awed by everything around her - the gifts and prizes, the balloons, and Jollibee, of course. It's that kind of awe and amazement that we should have every Christmas, and every day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tag along

Now that i'm done with the wrapper theme, it's time to whip up the tag.

And here it is!

In keeping with the Moor theme, I chose two Moorish patterns in the key colors, then used the same color theme for the text.

Now, I can finally finish wrapping!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gimme Moor

After searching and planning, I've finally nailed down this year's Christmas wrapping theme. I've decided to draw inspiration from the Moors, and that's how my presents are wrapped this year.

A special gift (it's Lanvin x H&M, of course) deserves a special wrapper!

I started out with this green printed wrapper from my favorite wrapping source, Lili and Nana. The print reminded me of moorish patterns, and this is where I built the other elements around.

The moors are all about bright colors, so I decided to go with two different colors of grossgrain ribbons. One is magenta, which is the counterpoint to the wrapper, and the other is green, which echoes the wrapper's color. Then, I found this little ornament which also had a moorish feel to it.

Add all these elements together, and here's the finished product!

I like how all the details - no matter how different - come together in one cohesive package.

Now i've got the prototype, time to wrap all the other 100 or so gifts still waiting to be wrapped.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cooking ng Mama mo

When Javie isn't busy tinkering with Ate's iPhone, I find myself picking it up and playing "Cooking Mama."

This is actually quite an old game. When I was still working in HKG, I'd see both women and men playing Cooking Mama on their Nintendos and iPhones. At that time, I didn't get why they enjoy playing it so much, but now, I do. It's fun to virtually chop onions, knead dough and make Japanese Gyoza without your hands getting dirty.

When I was playing the game during Mom's birthday party, Mark thought that it was such a nonsensical game.

But then again, that's what most fun things are.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Belated Happy Birthday (card)

Today, Vincent sent me an email saying that he received the birthday card I sent him today.

The thing is...


It's either snail mail is really snail paced in China, or the card I sent just underwent censorship and interrogation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Invited

Apart from the other things that keeps December very busy - office work, thesis advising, school, Christmas shopping, get togethers - another thing that kept me busy the past few days was making invitations.

Last week, we had a surprise 70th birthday for Dad. Since I was young, I remember Dad to be very hip and stylish, and he actually taught me how to dress up. He's fun, funny and cool, so we decided to make his birthday all about him being groovy.

My invite brought together elements of the 70s with one of Dad's early photos. And yes, that's my Dad, even if he looks like me.

Next up, the Mass Communication department's party on Saturday. This year, Mass Comm turns 25, so when they asked me to come up with a theme, I thought: "Why not go back to where it all began?" Thus, we have a party that's anchored on the year of our foundation - 1985!

Making these invites - from conceptualization to execution - was a chocfull of fun. I should do more invites soon!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Boys!

After just over a week to prepare, we were able to pull off a great surprise last Saturday. No wonder Javier and I are so happy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Lanvin It!

The more I examine the piece from Lanvin's H&M collection, the more I understand why (most) people the world over went ape over it. The pieces really are breathtaking, not to mention very well made.

Alber Elbaz's eye for creativity and quality plus H&M's manufacturing and marketing chops are really a match made in fashion heaven!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

SSS: Super Sartorial Sunday

Today is a good day in the world of clothing. After searching for the skirt that I was lamenting about here and here, it's finally here!

The great sales girl from Plains and Prints Ali Mall finally tracked down the horse print skirt and called me up to say that she's finally found one. I immediately bought it, and the cool skirt came with an even cooler package.

And look what else followed me home:

Lanvin x H&M is in the house! (woot! woot!)

Clarisse arrived last weekend carrying this precious cargo that her sister had to line up for in Luxemborg! It's the Lanvin x H&M piece that I've had my eye on, and I didn't have to line up the entire night in a cold mall in HKG just to get it.

It's a good day in the world of clothing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A groovy kind of Dad

To the man who taught me to always dress properly.
The man who also taught me to wear jeans.
To the man who embodied the qualities of a gentleman.
The man who also embodied the qualities of a good son.
To the man who's as stern as he's funny.
The man who's serious as he's groovy.

Happy 70th Birthday, Dad. You're the original Daddy Groovy!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Horse Hunt

Methinks Manila is really feeling like Hong Kong! In the shopping aspect, at least.

Last Sunday, I checked out the Horse print skirt at Plains and Prints, and they were in abundance in the many outlets I checked. There was the khaki skirt with black horse print, a black skirt with the khaki horse print, and a brown skirt with a red horse print. The options were plenty, and so were their stocks.

Today, a mere 4 days after, most of the skirts were gone. Sold out! Zip! Zilch! Nada!

I went to Plains and Prints at Gateway and they had one last piece. And that one last piece was snapped up by a lady who got there a few minutes ahead of me. (It's funny because she bought the exact same look from the poster. Not a good idea, lady.)

Because the sales people there know me, they offered to look for the skirt I was looking for. They spent the next 15 minutes calling one branch after another - and they ended up calling more than 10 branches - but to avail. The skirts were also sold out.

But the very nice sales clerk told me that she'll continue looking for that skirt and will let me know when she finds one. How's that for customer service.

Let the hunt for the horse print skirt begin.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Kowloon is in the House!

When we ended up at the SM Makati food court for dinner, I didn't expect to see and be reacquainted with an old favorite.

When we were kids, we enjoyed eating Kowloon House siopao. Our old house was in Morato, and there was a Kowloon House restaurant near Delta. I remember buying siopao there as a kid, usually right after we watch a movie at Circle or Delta theaters.

It's been a while since I've eaten at Kowloon House - around 15 years, give or take a few years. And when I saw it at the food court, I knew I HAD to try it.

Yes! It's still as good as it was during my childhood. And something tells me I'll be seeing Kowloon House more often now that I've rediscovered it.

Wait a minute, there's a small Kowloon House kiosk near our house! Awesome!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mom's the word

After spending her birthday in the U.S. for several years, Mom was finally able to celebrate her big day here in Manila. So, last Thursday, just a day after they arrived (no jetlag whatsoever) we went to Seafood Island to celebrate.

Mom is the first of 3 people in our family who celebrate their birthdays in December.

Next up: Dad!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Chico, sigh

When Tita Tere met up with Mom last Thursday, she brought a bag full of chico!

This is definitely one of my all-time favorite fruits. I love the texture and flavor of it. And I love eating it with the skin on. The tough exterior is a perfect complement to the soft, gritty fruit inside.

I hope they still have some at home. This post is making me hungry.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Make it Works

After almost 2 years, the Bath and Body Works lotions that Biboy brought are finished. There was a bit of separation anxiety when I saw the last bottle of White Tea and Ginger being emptied.

Good thing that Dad brought a bottle of Warm Vanilla Sugar when they arrived last Wednesday. I've got something to tie me over until Claire arrives.

Whenever I'm in the U.S., Bath and Body Works is one shop that I always enjoy visiting - if only for the smell of the place. So, if there's one American franchise that I hope someone brings to Manila, this has got to be it.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Fill in the Gap

While everyone was going gaga over Lanvin x H&M, another groundbreaking collection was being launched in the US and London.

Valentino x Gap!

It looks like a very wearable collection. Much more wearable than Lanvin x H&M. The pieces are made with Gap's signature utilitarian fabric, but amped up with Valentino's signature ruffles.

Too bad this collection won't be in the Philippines.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I say neigh, neigh...

I've always been vocal about my admiration for Plains and Prints. Aside from being very on-trend, their prices are very affordable. But what I really, really like about the brand (aside from the fact that they already have a Men's line) is the fact that all their clothes are made in the Philippines. (Unlike some "local" brands that are actually made in China.) Three cheers to Fashionalism!

One of the items on display at their Gateway store was this super chic ensemble consisted of a plain shirt and an eye catching full skirt with horse prints.

I looked at the items closely and the skirt is made of this heavy linen material that's almost like burlap, albeit finer. It gives the piece great texture and weight. It has a detachable tulle petticoat that gives it volume. And because it's detachable, the skirt can be worn two ways.

The material and the design gives the skirt a rustic feel. But the design gives it the modernity that it needs.

I'm sure a lot of girls will get a kick out of this ensemble.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ann predictable

The entire cycle played out like a well-planned soap opera. The awkward girl who had zero self esteem wins top photo after top photo after top photo. She was losing a bit of her steam (a bit, meaning 2 episodes), then finished on top.

Yup, Ann is America's Next Top Model.

Everyone saw it coming. After all, Ann got top photo 6 times, which is a record on ANTM. While she stumbled a bit in terms of runway and commercials, her amazing portfolio catapulted her to be on top.

I knew this is how the cycle would end since it was a totally predictable one. But part of me still wanted Chelsey to pull an upset - just for the sake of pulling an upset and proving that dark horses can win. Although Ann's win will be an inspiration for all the "weirdos" and "quirky girls" out there who feel they can't blend in.

And that's why Ann's win - despite being predictable - is special.