Friday, August 31, 2012

FMM: Shake it!

Among Dad's collection of cassette tapes, one of my favorites was his Manhattan Transfer collection. Even as a kid, I was amazed at their voices and how perfectly they would blend. Listening to them was such a magical experience for me that time.

A song that demonstrates this vocal mastery is "The Shaker Song." It's like a song that's a scat, and despite the difficulty in singing this ditty, they do it beautifully.

I remember back in our high school choir, our music teacher would encourage us to sing this song just to practice our blending and phrasing. And I must say, it's easier to listen to it than sing it. So, for today's Friday Magic Madness post, I'll just listen to it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

LFLTAT: Cut (it) out

I've been passing by a couple of Una Rosa stores of late, but I never really went inside to check their stuff out. I'm not sure why, but they're one of those stores that just don't "call" me.

Last week, I was buying something at SM Megamall and I passed by Una Rosa yet again. They had their sale sign outside their shop, and I thought, "what the hey, let's check it out."

While most of their stuff were a bit "meh" and "blah", there was one particular item that stood out. Primarily for its design, and also for its price.

It's this ruby red shift dress with cut-outs.

There are actually a lot of things going for this dress. The shape is classic, the color is vibrant, and fabric is nice, and it has a couple of details that make it something out of the ordinary.

One particular detail is its cut-out waist. I like how it's subtle yet sexy.

And since it was part of the sale rack, I got this dress for less than P700.00! It's all that, and very affordable, too.

I guess who this dress is going to be cut out for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More celebrity confusion

After the Jennifer/Ginnifer/Jamie confusion that I lamented about a few years ago, yet another pair of Hollywood celebrities is leaving me feeling a bit destraido.

This time, it's Minka Kelly and Olivia Wilde. 

At least, their names are very much different from each other. But their faces are so similar that whenever I see them in films or on TV, I usually scratch my head and ask: "Is that Minka? Or Olivia?"

Confusing indeed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A September to remember

Back in 2007, there was much ado about Vogue's September issue. It was the largest issue at 840 pages, and it set the standard for other fashion magazines.

It was so groundbreaking that it merited its own documentary, "The September Issue."

As they say, records are made to be broken. 

This year's September issue of Vogue is out, and it's a whopping 916 pages!

It's a double accomplishment for the fashion bible. Apart from breaking its own record, it's also celebrating its 120th year. I reckon this issue is going to be very, very special.

For that, I think I'm going to get a copy. This is something worth remembering.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Designer weekend

This weekend, Dexter's participated in a bridal exhibit at Marriott Hotel, and Ate Bullet was there during the weekend to man (or woman) their booth.

Since the cakes they were displaying were all chic and glam, Ate thought it best to follow the theme and glam it up as well. And she did, thanks to these cute designer dresses that she found in her closet.

The first is a snakeskin print Diane Von Furstenberg. 

This dress is actually part of a stash that I bought 5-years ago during a raid at the Lane Crawford outlet in Ap Lei Chau. 

The second dress was one that Mark bought in and Mona brought home from Tokyo. It's a Verasce x H&M dress that fits her like second skin.

After the exhibit, Ate happily reported that a lot of people were impressed. Not just by the cakes, but by her outfits. It made an impact as much as the exquisite cakes that surrounded her that weekend.

How's that for designer dressed for success?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Another giant leap

Neil Armstrong's story never fails to inspire me.

As a kid, we'd study world history and one topic I'd look forward to was the story of Apollo 11 and the first man on the moon. No one will ever forget that iconic line: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It's the best tagline ever written.

Needless to say, after learning about Neil Armstrong, I wanted to become an astronaut for NASA. This dream came after my original dreams of becoming an archeologist and a house boy. At home, I would make a space shuttle out of our dining chairs and pretend that I'm going to the moon or mars to lead an outer space exploration.

Of course, I never became an astronaut. Although I can say that I'm often spaced out. Harhar.

Despite that fact, I still followed Neil Armstrong's life post-Apollo 11. I admired how he kept that fire and passion for his previous and current work as an astronaut. Also, I admired how he kept his feet on the ground despite having the bragging rights of being the first man on the moon.

He was a man who literally reached for the stars but was still grounded.

And as he takes his next giant leap to the great beyond, I salute the man who made every child dream to outer space. And the man who made this dream a reality for thousands of astronauts who came after him.

Have a good voyage, Neil Armstrong.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Postale Code

Here's another reason to look forward to visiting Robinson's Magnolia once again.

Aeropostale is opening a store there soon! (Well, next year, so it really isn't THAT soon.)

I think this is going to be their first store in Manila, and I'm glad they chose a location nearby to open it.

Can American Eagle be far behind?

Friday, August 24, 2012

FMM: Extra cheese, please

Tomorrow's lesson is about editing and I'm looking for videos that use cuts, dissolves and wipes in telling the story.

The dissolve effect is often used by ballads, so I started scouring youtube for possible candidates. Lo and behold, I found the Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan classic, especially for you.

With all the slow dissolves, half dissolves, split screen and and superimposition, I must say this is one cheesy video. It can put Dutch towns to shame.

Thankfully, I like Kylie Minogue. And yes, I like cheese.

So, cheesy as it may seem, I actually like this video.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sit down, price up

Being a semi-regular Kenny Rogers diner, (they have an awesome Cold Chunky Tuna sandwich!) I can pretty much track the changes that are happening in store. From changes in the menu to little tweaks in their decor - I've seen them all.

But their latest change, which happened within a week, is the most surprising of all.

I had lunch at their Robinson's Galleria branch and found out that they've reinvented themselves into a sit-down type of restaurant. Now, you have to wait for you to be seated, they take your orders at your table, and you get your bill that way as well. It's a far cry from the fast-food style, no-frills Kenny Rogers I've known.

The most shocking change, though, is their price. Heck, their prices have also gone up to sit-down restaurant levels. The Cold Chunky Tuna combo that I used to buy for P125.00 is now P160.00! The Spicy Hot Roast set that I ordered last week for P199 is now P225!

I didn't know sitting down could be this expensive!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LFLTAT: Pin Stripes

While I can't pin down the exact reason why, I've always found the "striped shirt and trouser" combination to be an ultra chic outfit. It's probably because of its nautical undertones, but there's something very "French Riviera" about this look.

This is more evident if the striped shirt is red and the trousers are long and fitted. It reminds me of Brigitte Bardot during her prime.

Yes, nothing spells relaxed chic like this ensemble, especially if you throw in some ballet flats along with it.

Department stores have an abundance of striped shirts and trousers these days, so it's so easy to recreate this look. 

And if you know where to shop, it's so easy to recreate this look for less than a thousand.

For example, this shirt is from Surplus Shop. It's cut a bit looser and has raglan sleeves. This makes it feel so comfy and relaxed.

The trousers are also from Surplus shop, and it's the classic khakis cut like a pair of boyfriend jeans. Just cuff the hem and you've got a look that's uber relaxed.

Here's the final touch to the entire look. A pair of cherry red ballet flats with black trimming which is from SM Department Store. The material of these shoes are soft and cotton-y, which fits the laid-back vibe of the entire outfit.

This entire look is a few pesos shy of a thousand bucks, which means it still falls under the LFLTAT category. 

And since it's a classic look that's timeless, you can wear it over and over and over again. Now that's great value for your fashion money.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sweet Memories

I've always had fond memories about the Magnolia Plant along Aurora Boulevard. 

Back then, it was the "place to be" for families, particularly Magnolia Ice Cream house. Every weekend, it was crammed with parents and kids who trek there to get their fill of their signature desserts such as Ernie and Bert, Peach Melba, Egg Nog, among others.

When there was a special occasion, families would go and buy an ice cream cake from that plant as well. I still vividly remember how it goes: you go to the display area to choose the cake you want, then go to the cashier with your order slip, then go to the releasing area where the big boxes of ice cream cake would roll out from the conveyor belt. Watching that was such a thrill.

It was also memorable for me on a personal level because Dad was still working at San Miguel that time. We had access to the offices and the actual factory, and I remember how I'd go to their pantry and eat as much ice cream as I wanted. There was also a time that they allowed me to walk on the conveyor belt, which I thought was way cool.

A decade ago, the Magnolia Plant became a Nestle Plant, and a few years after, the Nestle plant was closed and torn down to make way for a new mall. That made me sad because it was like seeing your childhood being demolished.

Yesterday, we made our way to the spanking new and impressive new Robinson's Magnolia Mall. Bonique told us how nice it was, and my parents also went there and said that it was a nice date place.

They were right to hype about this new mall. It really is impressive! Not to mention classy and so upscale. The interiors were tastefully done, and the attention to detail is noteworthy. Heck, even their trash cans look upscale. As D' Frendz joked, it's so beautiful, you wouldn't think it's a Robinson's Mall. Harhar.

What I like about this mall is that it has a good amount of open space. The back area of the mall opens up to a garden, along with some al fresco restaurants. It actually has a very Greenbelt 3 and 5 vibe, while Maricar said that it felt like Ayala Center Cebu's Terraces.

Even their movie houses have a dedicated entrance from outside. This eliminates that pesky problem of talking to the guard in the main entrance after mall hours and trying to explain to them that you're going to the cinema.

The garden is going to be a hit with families. The mall is just a week old and people haven't really discovered it yet. That's why the garden is still quiet and empty. This gave Audrey and Becca enough room and space to run around and play with bubbles.

Give it a few months and I'm sure this area will be crawling with people. But in the meantime, we'll enjoy the wide open space and let kids be kids. (And no, that does not include Tintin.)

Thankfully, they've "retained" Magnolia Ice Cream house. It's much smaller, much more expensive and has a smaller selection of ice cream concoctions. But the fact that its there will surely satisfy our generation whose memory of this place was anchored on this ice cream house.

It's probably because they know the history of this place, but the tagline for this mall is "Make New Memories." 

And after visiting the mall once and being impressed with what they done with it, I'll definitely take their suggestion.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Need a lift?

While scanning through our CD of family photos, I found this snap of Ate Bullet and me.

There was no photoshop involved in this shot. No retouching whatsoever. 

So how did this lift happen? Let's just say there was a little bit of magic.

And yes, please note that there were no sisters harmed during this shoot. Harhar.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Caught in the web

During my stint at Marianas Media, one of the things I did a lot was supervise the creation of websites. And when that stint ended, the interest in designing and managing the web stayed. 

The past months, I've been developing websites along with Leo - our former web developer who I still get to work with now.

One of the websites we developed is for my sister's bakeshop. It finally went on-line today, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

If you're into comfort food and pastries, or if you want to see some amazing cakes, just visit them at

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quote of the day

This made my day.

Two students were seated beside each other and they were both writing. One student turns to her seat mate and asks:

"Anong spelling ng O.A.?"

Days like this makes me love my job a bit more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

FMM: That's Life

There was something amusing about a cab ride I took sometime this week.

The driver was your typical cab driver. A bit burly, wore an arm guard on his left arm, had a good morning towel around his neck - basically, a teleserye-looking stereotype.

What wasn't typical was his choice of music while driving. It was an old song (from the 70s, in fact, hence making it qualify for Friday Magic Madness), and it was from broadway!

Yes, he had Liza (with a z) Minelli's "Cabaret" on his CD player. Which was a bit odd.

What's even more odd was the fact that he was singing along!

He must be a very happy man. After all, for him, "life is a cabaret old chum!"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

LFLTAT: Looking like Lagerfeld

If there's one thing I like about Karl Lagerfeld, it's his consistency. No matter where he is, what time of the day or what occasion, he looks the same. 

His palette is always black and white, hair tied back in a ponytail, eyes behind a pair of dark glasses, and his signature high collar.

If he was an advertising campaign, he'd be an excellent one because of one quality - consistency. A good campaign is recognizable wherever and whenever you see it, and that's what Karl Lagefeld is.

As everyone knows, a Chanel would set you back tens and thousands of dollars. But thanks to The Landmark, I found a look that channels Karl Lagerfeld, and it costs less than a thousand pesos. In fact, this ensemble costs only P560.00!

The look is more inspired than Karl rather than copied from him. I just took certain elements that he's known for, then reinterpreted it in a way that's more fun and feminine. That's the reason why this look is just black and white, following suit from his signature colors. (Or non-colors, if you will.)

Instead of a tuxedo top and trousers, this look is a top and a skirt, both in black. The top is a sleeveless, tailored blouse which fits in with Karl's tailored look.

Here's the detail of the top that I like. It has a standing collar, similar to Karl's trademark. It's also rendered in black which adds to the effect.

This detail alone makes the look very Karl, and the black and white dotted skirt adds femininity to the entire ensemble.

I'm not sure if Karl will be pleased, but with a look this chic for less than P500, I certainly am.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stirrup the crowd

A few weeks ago, I've written about the proliferation of equestrian prints at The Landmark department store and a host of other fast fashion stores in Manila. There were some that were a bit off, some were a bit too much, and others were just simply eye catching. 

Such as this cute stirrup print which I saw recently:

It's a print that's found on a chic pair of pants from Kamiseta. From afar, you don't notice what the pattern is specifically, but it makes for a nice look and texture. The khaki color makes it look more grounded and less flashy, which makes it good for everyday wear.

Since the pant print is already busy, the top should be neutral and light enough to balance the look. This is what this layered chiffon top does. It's from the same color family of the pants, so it makes the outfit cohesive.

When you put them all together, you've got a look that's chic and on-trend.

And on a final note, I found this cool belt with metal fixtures. It's the perfect punctuation to the look since it echoes the metal and leather combination that stirrups have.

Now, I'll pass this look on to my sister so she can giddyup and take the outfit for a ride.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's a Stix up!

While foraging for breakfast at the nearby 7-11, my eye caught this new product on the shelf. As usual, my first reaction was - grab the product and try it.

That product was Jack and Jill Filled Stix!

It's SO yummy! Basically, it's the classic Jack and Jill Chocolate Pretzel, but it's made bigger and filled with peanut butter inside. One bite is an explosion of flavors and texture. First, there's the chocolate coating which leads to the crunchy pretzel. And when you bite some more, you get to the peanut butter filling. 

Seriously, this snack is crazy good! It's like eating a crunchy version of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

I'm gonna hoard me some more of these Filled Stix tomorrow!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chews your childhood

Among my cherished childhood memories is going to the neighborhood sari-sari store and buying gum balls from either Aling Leony or Mommy Gallegos. Back then, we didn't have mega-candy stores nor access to swanky imported candies. So, gum balls, particularly the "Cherry Ball Gum" from Columbia was a big hit.

Those chewy treats were ridiculously cheap back then. It was just 10 centavos a piece. (Yes, kids, you could buy something with 10 centavos back then.) Then, the store owner would put them in a rolled up piece of paper, most often an old page from a telephone directory. (I guess we weren't too conscious of hygiene back then.)

I went to the supermarket tonight to buy milk. Lo and behold, I found this in one of the shelves!

Columbia Gum Balls! And the bigger version at that. After seeing these precious little chewing gums, I knew I had to buy a pack.

Thankfully, it's still the same gum ball that I've known and loved since a kid. It has the same taste and texture, the same candy colors, and even the feeling is the same when you start chewing on them!

The downside is that it costs more now. I think it'll come up to P1.00 per gum ball. Then again, I wouldn't expect them to stay 10 centavos forever.

Now, if only they had Tarzan and Texas in the supermarket.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This morning, as we joined Maricar in saying her final farewell to her Mom, one of her college friends came up to me with an observation. This was in the context of the K.B.L. of Catholicism - namely Kasal, Binyag and Libing.

She said that I organized Maricar's wedding, and I helped out with her Mom's funeral. That means I've covered the "K" and "L" parts already. All that's missing is "B" or Binyag.

That said, I'm definitely hoping and praying that the next time I organize an event for Maricar, it will be just that - the baptism of the baby that she's been wanting and longing for.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

LFLTAT: Sorbet Says...

My fascination with deep, saturated hues is no secret. In fact, I've written a lot about jewel tones and citrus hues, and how they can really add pop to an outfit.

Once in a while, I'd like to take a break from all those hot colors and go for something completely opposite. And dropping by The Landmark yielded this Look For Less Than A Thousand which comes in refreshing sorbet colors.

This pretty pleated dress reminds me of a Mango dress from last season. That one was two-toned, while this one comes in a very refreshing grapefruit color. It's pleated all over, which gives it a very light and airy feeling.

The dress came with a lemonade colored belt which draws the eye to the waist.

To complete the look, a pair of orange sorbet colored flats. This flowy dress + flat shoe combo makes it feel very 1950s.

This entire look cost about P700, thanks to the shoe sale. The dress was cheap as it is, and finding a cheap pair of shoes to match was truly, truly refreshing.

Friday, August 10, 2012

FMM: He's the one

One song that we performed a lot in our high school choir was "One." This is the most famous song in the musical "A Chorus Line," and is a favorite showpiece for choirs in all countries.

This week, the genius who wrote this song - and many others - passed away. Marvin Hamlisch was a musical genius whose work wasn't just multi-awarded, they were also timeless.

When it comes to musical talent, he really was the one.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


After a week of hiding, the sun has finally made its magnificent presence felt.

Here's to more sun in the days ahead!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Maybe this will work...

They say that child-like faith is the strongest type. Let's see if Barney can help us out with this weather:

Mr. Sun, please shine down on us.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

That's what friends are for

While having breakfast this morning, I could see my Dad dialing a number on the landline. From the looks of it, he couldn't reach the person on the other line. He kept on dialing, putting the phone down, then dialing again.

After a few minutes, he was able to reach the person he was calling. And that person turned out to be Danny, my Dad's high school friend who he still goes out with until now. They've been friends for more than 50 years, and they're still very much friends until now.

It turns out, Danny lives in Roxas district in QC, which is a flood-prone area due to its proximity to a creek. Dad then started asking Danny about the status of the neighborhood and how his family is doing. I could sense the concern in my Dad's voice as he checked up on his friend.

Witnessing stories of long-standing friendships always makes me smile. Dad, Danny and their other friends are still very much together even after 50 years. They still have a regular Sunday breakfast get together. Whenever there's a reunion in Letran, they'd call each other up and plan their "gimmick." They'd plan who's car to bring, who would pick up who, who's coming and who's not. It's like listening to a group of high school kids planning a trip to the mall.

Dad and his gang are lucky to have this group whose friendship has endured for decades. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Color story: Citrus Zest

The incessant rains have definitely put a damper (literally) on everyone's mood. The skies outside are dark and gray, and along with it, everyone's feeling gray as well. 

Like many folks, I'm praying that the rain stops and the skies brighten up really soon. In the meantime, I'd like to let the sunshine in by adding a little color today, courtesy of this little combination that I've picked up from SM Department Store, The Landmark and a little accessories store named Girl Shoppe.

A lot of fashion folks color block using contrasting colors. I thought it would be fun to use complementary colors, particularly some hues from the citrus family. I started off with this lemon yellow blouse from one of the house brands of SM. It has a nice, loose shape that's airy and comfortable. then I added a chunky green necklace to anchor the look.

The pants are from The Landmark, and I call this pair "Mandarin pants." The color of the pants is a deep, lime color, and it reminds me of a variety of Mandarin orange that Lolo Iking used to grow outside his house in Bicol. The skin of that one has a deep, lime color. 

Meanwhile, the accompanying belt has the color of the ripe Mandarin orange, and this combination works well with each other.

Individually, you'd think the colors are too much. But if mixed using the right proportions, you have a color blocked outfit that's full of brightness and zest.

And that's something we need to ward off the gloom that the rainy days are bringing.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Oat Taking

Even as a kid, I was fond of oatmeal. I'd get excited whenever my parents or grandparents would bring home that familiar blue and red tin of Quaker Oats, and seeing the smiling Quaker man always makes me smile back.

Some people might think that oatmeal is among the saddest food in the world, (Hi Mark!) but I'm actually very happy with a bowl of oatmeal smothered with milk and sugar. 

That same fondness of mine for Quaker Oats have rubbed off on these wonderful oatmeal cookies from the same company.

I've actually discovered these cookies a long time ago, but I've gotten more and more addicted to them as of late. In fact, I think I finish 2 packs of these goodies in one day.

Among the 4 flavors, the chocolate chip variant has to be my favorite. It has the right combination of creaminess and crunch - something that you can't get from Chip's Ahoy or Keebler. And since it's made of oatmeal, it's much healthier, too.

I'll take my oat to that.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Quick change artist

The concept of "Day to Night" fashion is quite popular in American magazines. In fact, they usually have this feature every quarter. I've also seen different permutations of the subject. One of my favorites is InStyle's "Wear Now, Wear Later."

In the Philippines, this concept isn't as prevalent or popular. It's probably because we don't have that habit of changing outfits. Whenever people go out after work, they still wear their work clothes and that's perfectly fine. 

That said, I like "Day to Night" as a concept. I think it's always good to put some more effort into looking good. When I was in HKG, my colleagues used to do that whenever we'd go out for drinks after work. It could be as simple as changing shoes or subtracting a layer - and the result would be so chic.

It's actually quite simple to do. It takes just one major piece, and two minor pieces and you can get the look. Take for example this orange shift dress from Banana Republic. The cut and construction is very classic, but the color gives it punch. Orange punch, in fact.

During the day, adding a belt in a contrasting color gives it a point of interest and takes it out of plain-land.

For this particular dress, I thought of a lemon yellow belt to create that bright and happy feeling.

At night, lose the belt and exchange it with a chunky necklace. It takes the dress out of the corporate world and takes it to a more chic place.

The necklace is in bronze tones, which again play nicely against orange.

And as simple as that, it looks like you have two outfits in one day. Doing a day-to-night is a simple, fuss-free way of changing things up and putting fun back into dressing.

Besides, as Sheryl Crowe once sang: A change will do you good.