Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treat or Treat!

It's Halloween today! So, it's commonplace to see kids in costumes hopping from one place to the other shouting "Trick or Treat!"

When I got home, I got a treat of my own! But it's not a halloween treat, but an early birthday treat that Mark sent from Japan. Woot! Woot!

It came wrapped in two bags of plastic and a box. Mark's reaction when I told him about the wrapping was: "Talk about paranoid."

Inside the box was this nice, white box. It's a familiar looking box, and here's what's inside:

An iPod nano! A Product(Red) one at that!

It's slim, touch screen, has multiple features, and it's red! I'm such a big fan of the color red~

Did I mention it's red?

This is the second red iPod that Mark gave me. The first one was in 2007 when he gave me this other iPod nano. After 5 years, it's still working fine. In fact, I usually travel with it and kept me company during my trip to Japan last June.

(Old nano, meet new nano)

It's Halloween today! And while everyone is shouting "Happy Halloween!", I'm actually saying "Happy Birthday!", thanks to this wonderful and early present from Mark.

Now that's a treat!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happily Never After

I'm a huge fan of comics, especially the humorous titles. Growing up, I read a lot of Archie, Garfield, Blondie, Beetle Bailey and a whole lot more.

When I got into college, we had to read more textbooks and less comics, so I began to appreciate those one-box comic strips. In particular, I got hooked on Gary Larson's "The Far Side," which I thought was genius. Imagine, telling a funny story with the use of just one frame! Genius!

And speaking of genius one-frame cartoons, I found two strips from "Mother Goose and Grimm" which were perfect examples of brilliance.

The strips actually poke fun at the Disney Princesses, and they use famous American TV shows as reference.

Here's their take on CSI:

And another on Desperate Housewives:
I couldn't stop laughing while looking at these comic strips. I've said this before and I'll say it again, these strips are genius. It's the type of comic strip that's so good, I wish I wrote it myself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How NOT to suggestive sell

Having been part of the fast food industry for a few years, I know a thing or two about "suggestive selling."

In QSR parlance, "suggestive selling" is when you offer the customer some added items over and above what they ordered to "complete their dining experience." That's basically a euphemism for "getting them to spend more."

While I was buying dinner tonight, the waitress tried to do some suggestive selling on me. This is what ensued:

SHE: Sir, so ang order niyo, isang chapchae and isang kimchi.
ME: Yes, that's right.
SHE: Sir, gusto niyong i-upgrade to a meal yung order niyo para may iced tea na.
ME: No, thanks.
SHE: Kasi sir, mag-a-add lang kayo ng P8.00, may large iced tea na kayo.
ME: Actually, hindi kasi ako umiinom ng iced tea. Bawal sa akin ang caffeine.
SHE: (pauses) Okay lang 'yon, sir. Flavoring at sugar lang naman ang iced tea namin. Wala namang tea iyon, so wala ding caffeine...

Needless to say, I still didn't get the iced tea.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

That's Swift

It's true that I'm more partial to old songs from the 70s and 80s. As I've written on this journal so many times, the 60s to 80s must've been the golden decades of music because everything was well written and beautifully sung.

But there are times when some younger singers surprise me. Some of them have songs that are nicely written and very catchy. One of those younger singers who I like to listen to is *drumroll please* Taylor Swift! *insert canned laughter here.*

Fine. It's a guilty pleasure. You got to admit, though, the girl does come up with catchy songs. Not only that, she writes and composes her own songs, too. So it's no wonder that most of her songs are about young love. (Or lack thereof.)

"Love Story" first caught my attention courtesy of the trailer of the film "Letters to Juliet." I've been listening to it ever since.

"Should've said no," is her attempt at angst, which she delivers.

And speaking of angst, her latest song "We're never ever ever getting back together," sounds so bitter that it's sweet!

From her first album until her latest, she's pretty consistent in terms of the theme and subject matter of her songs. It makes me wonder what's next for her.

Taylor better be swift in writing those new songs. I can't wait to hear what she'll come up with next.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Better late than never

It's been almost 2 years when the capsule collection of Lanvin dropped in H and M stores worldwide. I think everyone knows how crazy that went - people camping and sleeping outside stores the night before, mad scrambling for 15 minutes, and all sorts of crazy fashion stunts.

Thankfully, I was able to get 4 pieces from that collection - 2 necklaces and 2 dresses. And while my sisters and friends were happy with their Lanvin loot, there was always one dress which I'd like to call "the dress that got away." It's this tulle and organza ballerina dress which was one of the biggest sellers.

A few weeks ago, my friend from Luxemborg sent me an email message. She was one of the people who I contacted last November 2010 to try and secure some items for me. The reason for her sudden email? She said that sometime in January 2011, she passed by an H and M store and saw the ballerina dress that I asked her to buy. And she did!

Unfortunately, she was in the process of moving flats that time, so she packed the dress and forgot about it. That's until she opened some of her boxes recently.

So, almost 2 years since the capsule collection of Lanvin dropped, the tulle and organza dress is finally here!

It's as chic as I imagined it to be.

And it comes with a belt, too.

Usually, I'm not a fan of things that come in late. But in this case, I'm just happy it arrived.

Friday, October 26, 2012

FMM: Never ending Hello

One time in class, we played this game where I'd pick a word and the class would try to identify as many movies with that word in the title. Some time back, Mark and I used to play this game as well, sometimes with countries (name as many countries that start with V) or songs (name as many songs as you can with the word "go.")

Since it's a Friday, I began to think of old songs that have "Hello" in the title.

The first thing that came to mind was Lionel Richie's "Hello," followed by Sergio Mendes' "The trouble with Hello is Goodbye." Then, there's this song that Rona sang beautifully during our videoke session last week at Good Times.

After Rona sang it, I remembered how much I liked this song when I was younger. Everything about it - from the lyrics to Randy Crawford's voice - is flawless. That's why this Friday, I thought I'd say hello to this song all over again.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This is going to be epic!

It's a week before November and the posters and billboards for "Breaking Dawn part 2" are out. And I can't be more excited!

(Yes, I might not be a "Twi-hard" when it comes to the book. But when it comes to the movie, I'm a true blue "Twi-hard." Hahaha.)

I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LFLTAT: Marc it!

One of the more popular looks from Marc by Marc Jacobs is the "Night Bird skirt." It's this colorful and graphic rendition of a bird set against a midnight blue background. It nets around $450.00 in the US.

When SM Department Store says "We've got it all for you," they aren't kidding. As proof, they also have their own version of the Night Bird skirt on the rack. And it's just P600.00!

It has the same graphic and same color. The only difference is that the cut of the skirt from SM is more lady-like. It has a pencil cut silhouette with a bit of pleating in front. I actually prefer this version than the original one which is too short and flouncy.

Pair it with a midnight blue top with white piping that you can get for P300, and you've got an outfit that's casually cool, and echoes Marc by Marc Jacobs.

And of course, it's a look for less than a thousand.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LFLTAT: Imitate Kate

Kate Moss has long been known as a purveyor of "casual cool." While she's always dressed to the nines in high fashion on the runway and red carpet, she's fashionably down-to-earth during her days off.

One of her recent looks is this laid back ensemble consisting of a black button down shirt and a pair of pink trousers with a black belt. I must say, the look is flawless.

The great news is, you don't have to be Kate Moss nor earn like her to get this look. Just hop over to The Landmark and you can find this look for less than a thousand pesos!

For this version, the black shirt is made of chiffon which is lighter than what Kate Moss is wearing. This also has epaulets on the sleeves.

The pair of pants is very similar to Kate's. It's a salmon pink pair that's tapered, and it's held together by a thin black belt.

This entire look rung up to less than P900.00! Now that's what you call high street at a very low price. I'm sure Kate Moss would be pleased.

Monday, October 22, 2012

So Narciso!

And the collaborations just keep on coming!

A few weeks before the Maison Martin Margiela collection drops, Kohl's is coming up with their own - and first - designer collaboration. And it's no other than the maestro of minimalism - Narciso Rodriguez!

Yes, he of the "Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy wedding gown" fame is bringing his signature tailoring and making them budget friendly. After looking at the look book, there are 3 items that I'm instantly liking:

First, a color blocked shift dress. It has the perfect length and the black panels are slimming.

Second, a printed shift dress.

Third, a color blocked skirt and blouse combo. The play of colors is just superb!

I know my sisters already have some pieces from Narciso Rodriguez's main line in their closets. But I'm sure they'll be so happy to have these diffusion pieces in their wardrobes as well.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Read all about it!

While poring over the my iPhoto folder and checking out the photos from our Mind Museum trip last September, this one grabbed my attention.

Yes, it's a very appropriate photo to find. Mainly because I'm about to start reading my students' final papers.

Time to start reading!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"That's a wrap!"

In broadcast production, the entire cast and crew wait in baited breath until the director shouts these 3 words.
"That's a wrap" means that the production has successfully reached its end, everyone in the production staff is happy, and that everyone is confident that they have a great production in their hands.

Today, this is what happened in school. After 4 months of lectures, hands-on demos and shoots, my Audio-Visual Production class showcased their short films. I asked each group to conceptualize, write, shoot and edit a story based on the theme "Relationships in the time of technology," and each one had a different take on the subject.

As the class laughed, swooned and shrieked while watching each film, I couldn't help but feel proud for my students. I've seen how far they've gone and how much they've absorbed about the subject. Their sense of storytelling and grasp of production values were really showcased this afternoon. I couldn't ask for a better set of students for my AVP class.

The future storytellers and directors of the Philippines

Seeing my students succeed is reward enough for teaching. But there are days when I get an extra sweet reward from my students, such as this box that they gave me after class.

They were telling me to handle it with care and take extra precaution in moving the box around. When I opened it, I knew why they were so finicky about it.

Yes, it's a sweet message made of sweet donuts!

It was definitely a great way to wrap up the first semester.

Friday, October 19, 2012

FMM: Theme Music

On the ride going to the office, the radio suddenly blared one of Madonna's classics - "Crazy for you." This song brings back a lot of memories: the 80s, our old house in Scout Gandia, Madonna's hey day, and more importantly, the concept of "theme songs."

During the 80s, it was customary for a romantic couple to have a "theme song." It's a song that encapsulates and personifies the couple, and would usually result in the typical "awwww..." reaction from the pair whenever they hear it. Back then, a couple wouldn't be a real couple if they didn't have a theme song. (Cheesy, but true.)

The reason why I thought of theme songs was the fact that "Crazy for You" was the theme song of my older brother, Kuya Marv, and his then-girlfriend Lisa. This was very appropriate since Lisa was - at that time - the Madonna of Scout Gandia. She'd always come in a Madonna-inspired outfit and she'd be a hit. (Her look is similar to what you see in this video. It's vintage Madonna!)

Strangely, I still remember the theme songs of my other siblings. Back then, I didn't have a theme song since I was but a wee little boy. The songs that would count as my "theme songs" back then were movie themes like "Ghostbusters."

For Ate Lissa and Bob, that theme song would be "Truly." I'm not sure how they ended up having that theme song, but what I know is that whenever I hear this Lionel Richie ditty, I still remember how I was asked to "chaperone" Ate and Bob during their first date. (It was at Chew-Chew junction in Greenhills, and I remember how Bob bought me a hamburger from McDonald's via drive-thru.)

Another theme song that I remember is "The Old Songs" by David Pomeranz. This was the song that my other older brother Biboy and his then-girlfriend Eva called their own. As a kid, I didn't know the title of that song, all I knew that it was the "candles burning..." song. Harhar.

I can't seem to remember what the theme song of Ate Bullet and Renny was. Maybe I was just too busy watching cartoons to notice, but I'm sure they had one. I mean, all legit couples HAD to have a theme song.

Oh, to be young and cheesy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jenny InStyle

As I was fixing my stash of InStyle magazines on the bookshelf, I couldn't help but look at the spines of the magazines and check out who's been on the cover of the magazine multiple times. 

Based on the issues that I have, the names that appeared many times include Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez.

But among these cover girls, J. Lo has the distinction of appearing on the big September issue twice. 

First, she was on the 15th anniversary issue, which is incidentally the issue where I appeared.

And she's on this year's September issue again!

Seems to me that J. Lo isn't just a style icon. She's an InStyle icon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So Bisou me

One brand that I've been seeing a lot of whenever I visit my "haunts" is the diffusion line of Michele Bohbot called Bisou Bisou. In the US, it's being sold exclusively at JC Penney, but in Manila, it's sold pretty much everywhere. Harhar.

Frankly, I think a lot of her designs are too colorful and party-ish. That's why whenever I chance upon them, I usually give them a pass. But recently, the brand has a lot of structured dresses with interesting details. In fact, two of them were so interesting, they found a home in my sisters' closets.

The first one is this color blocked shift dress with a small peplum detail. The illusion created by the black side panels is very flattering.

The second one is this little black dress that I got for Ate Lissa. The shape and material is classic, but there's this added edge by way of the leatherette scales found along the raglan sleeves. It adds visual interest whether you look at it from afar or up close.

I'm hoping she comes out with more dresses like these. And I hope they'll find themselves at the haunts, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nautical or Floral

There are certain articles of clothing that are so versatile, there's really more than one way of wearing them and each one would look equally smashing. This is where the classic "One dress, two ways" concept comes in.

I've written a couple of entries about this, and thanks to a recent visit to The Landmark, I have another reason to write one: this pair of white trousers.

They say white is a very tricky color to pull off. In fact, in the US, they just use white during labor day and summer. In my opinion, though, white is classic, very versatile and can be worn in a couple of ways. Just like these two options:

Option 1: Go Nautical.

Pairing white trousers with a loose, striped tee gives it a French Riviera, "I'm-going-on-a-cruise" vibe. It looks like something that Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot would wear. To complete the nautical vibe, add a blue belt and you're good to go.

Option 2: Floral

If your inclinations are more towards the sweet and dainty side, a pair of white trousers are the best accompaniment to this season's floral trend. This jersey shirt in a vibrant color and print pops out against the white canvas of the trousers. For a dash of femininity, just add a pink belt. 

Off hand, I can think of 5 or more tops that will look great with this pair: an Indian type tunic, a denim shirt, a classic white polo, a white t-shirt and a black leather shell. The possibilities are endless when you've got something as versatile as this.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another sketchy story

A few weeks ago, Mona sent me a message about this necklace that I posted. It was the one that was designed to lift Ate Bullet's white dress.

I actually designed that necklace on the spot when I went to one of my usual accessory suppliers. It turned out just as envisioned it to be and was very happy with the final product.

Mona asked if I could design another set for her and her sisters-in-law. She gave me a color story: green and blue, and yellow and blue, and asked me to design based on these hues. The moment she told me about it, my mind started to conjure up images, and immediately got a pencil and crayons, and started to sketch.

I started with the green and blue designs. Between the two, blue was the more classic color, so my design was predominantly blue with green accents. The stones which had these colors were jade and blue agate, and those immediately went into the design. For the pendants, I thought of an alhambra pattern and a blue circular stone to balance it.

After discussing the design with the jewelry maker, she gave some inputs on the design, particularly the pendants. Instead of a plain circular pendant, she added some brass accents that fan out from the circle. It turned out better than I expected.

The interplay of the blue agate and jade gives the necklace added visual impact.

And the alhambra pendant came out really, really nice. I'm in an alhambra phase right now, which is a sign that I should go back and visit Spain sometime soon.

The second blue and green design follows the same concept. But instead of having the jade in the middle of the necklace, it went to the side to give the necklace an asymmetrical vibe. For the pendants, the initial design called for a diamond pattern and a circular pendant.

The finished product was very true to my initial vision.

A nice interplay between green and blue.

Plus a diamond pattern that's very moorish in its look and feel.

The yellow and blue necklace was trickier. After looking at the available stones, there was this yellow jade that caught my eye because it looked so elegant. After placing it side-by-side with the blue agate, the yellow looked like it would be drowned out. So, I asked Mona if it's okay to just stick with yellow jade, and she agreed.

After seeing the finished product, I was awed by how elegant it came out. Yellow jade automatically went up there with my other favorite semi-precious stones.

In keeping with the Chinese theme of the jade, one of the pendants I chose was a yellow jade symbol for protection. It was a subtle nod to the theme of the necklace, and it added an old-world feel to the accessory.

Overall, the necklaces went way beyond my initial vision. It's amazing how things change for the better between concept and execution. The accessory maker was also gushing about the designs and final product, and that's always a good sign.

Another sign that the necklaces were really eye-catchingly beautiful was this anecdote from the accessory-maker/owner.

After the pieces were completed, she put them on the display case and took photos of them for purposes of documentation. While they were on display, two women - a famous character actress and a famous designer - wanted to buy the pieces off the rack. The owner had to tell them that they were specially-designed and pre-ordered, so they couldn't be sold. They insisted, but she relented.

The actress and designer even asked if they could be duplicated, but the owner said that since they were unique designs, she could only make one of each. Before I left, she complemented me on the necklaces and told me if I had ideas for new designs, just show it to her and she'll execute them.

Maybe I should take that sketchpad out one more time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cracklin' Chicken

It's been a while since I last bought a pack of Marty's Cracklin'. It's mainly because I've grown fatigued by its salt and vinegar taste. They have two other variants - plain salted and hot and spicy - but it really doesn't have that same impact as the salt and vinegar one.

On a routine trip to the supermarket, I saw that Marty's came up with a new flavor:

Out of curiosity, I bought a pack and tried it. And after a few minutes, my love for Marty's vegetarian chicharon is back!

They weren't kidding when they said "Chicken Inasal Flavor." It really does taste like Chicken Inasal, particularly the Mang Inasal variety.

After 2 failed flavor attempts, Marty's is back with a winner.