Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 2013 Year-in-review: Firsts and last

At the last day of the year, the thoughts of all the wonderful firsts that happened in 2013 make me grateful for a year well-spent. Firsts that were shared with the most precious and important people in my life.

Firsts such as:

- First time for my Barcelona-based nephews and nieces to visit Manila. And they loved it here so much, they want to move here.
- First time to experience a Hanami in Tokyo.
- First time for Mark and I to hit the beaches of Boracay
- First time for the family to get together in Bataan
- First time to finish my Christmas shopping and wrapping early

And as the new year arrives in a few minutes, I can help but look forward to the many more firsts that will come in 2014. Firsts that are both planned and spontaneous. Firsts that will make life more fun and richer in the year to come.

Here's to the new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013


Nina Garcia doesn't like matchy-matchy. Neither do I. Matchy-matchy looks very much like a uniform, so it's something that should usually be avoided.

Usually, at least.

In my recent trawling of the different haunts, there was one article of clothing that really caught my eye. It was this pair of ponte skinny pants from The Limited. It had a great silhouette, the black panels on the side makes it look slimming, and the snakeskin print is very on-trend.

Suddenly, I thought of building an outfit around this find. To start off, I got this slim fit shirt from Oxygen. It's actually a men's shirt, but like what I wrote regarding shopping outside your gender, this shirt will look as good on a girl. (In an Alexandra Chung kind of way.)

Then, by some strange twist of fate, I found these flats from Parisian! They echoed the same snakeskin pattern plus black combination. It was difficult to resist this pair since it matched the pants perfectly. Needless to say, I gave in.

The result, this chic matchy-matchy combination of masculine and feminine, plain and printed, all anchored by the print and color.

See, matchy-matchy ain't that bad.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dead Hungry

Today's most interesting conversation was overheard in Greenhills. It was between 2 middle aged ladies (MAL) in the food section of the Greenhills Tiangge.

MAL 1: Oh, you should try this suman. It's SO good, I swear by it!
MAL 2: Really? It's that good?
MAL 1: Yes! At first I just tried one, then I ended up eating 4 sumans.
MAL 2: Where did you try it?
MAL 1: During a wake. It was so good, I went to the wake again the next day just to eat suman.

Ah yes, the things they do for suman.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chesapeake performance

One of the presents I received this Christmas was a bag of Chesapeake Dark Chocolate Pecan cookies from Pepperidge Farm. It was somewhat of a throwback gift because I used to devour Pepperidge Farm cookies a decade ago. But for some reason I can't recall, I stopped buying this brand and sort of forgot about it.

But thanks to the gift, I remember the reason why I love this cookie. It's so chunky! The chocolate chunks are really, really chunks, and there's a chunk of chocolate and a pecan with every bite.

Looks like Pepperidge Farm will be finding itself in my grocery cart again sometime soon.

Friday, December 27, 2013

FMM: Mono-tone

Back in the 90s, I found myself listening to non-mainstream pop music. The type of songs that were pop-ish in their construction, but didn't get as much airplay as normal pop songs.

And one of my favorite songs under this category was "Life in Mono."

I wonder where Mono is now. They should make more songs like this.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Box it like the Brits

For as long as I became familiar with the term "Boxing day," I've always wondered what it really meant.

For the Brits, December 26 - the day after Christmas - is better known as Boxing day. When I researched about it, there were different explanations why it's called such, and most reasons centered on a Christmas box that was given out as a present after Christmas day.

When I was living in HKG, I asked a British friend her definition was. She said that while they were growing up, the day carried that term because it was the day when they'd box all the Christmas paraphernalia and other holiday-related trash that they amassed the day before.

It was an unglamorous definition, but it was a logical one.

So today, I'll do this British thing and declare my own

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas rush is through...

For the first time in a long, long, long time, I'm done with shopping and wrapping for gifts before December 24. Unlike previous years when I'd be making mad dashes to the mall and wrapping gifts while everyone's partying downstairs, this year is remarkably different.

In keeping with tradition, Mark and I had our Christmas eve merienda at North Park before heading back home. When I got there, I just socialized and partied with everyone - something I haven't been able to do in a while.

Yup, it's a no-rush Christmas this year.

And it should really be like this every year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mixing traditions

This is the year that I went on a Simbang Gabi - Visita Iglesia hybrid. Not only did I complete the 9 novena masses, I went to 9 different churches and chapels to complete it.

It's a great feeling indeed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fur real?

Presenting today's oddest banner ad.

I wonder what makes this fur unreal?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dream theme

When coming up with my Christmas wrapper themes, I usually start by looking around wrap shops and looking for designs that call to me. Much like how fabrics call to designers. That's how I ended up with the Etro-inspired design, as well as the Japanese obi design.

On the other hand, there are actually wrapper themes that have I've been wanting to do for years. Themes that I want to do, but never found the right wrapper to do it with. And I always hope to find a design that would turn that dream theme into a reality.

Well, one of them is becoming a reality this year.

It all started with this Paul Smith stripe looking wrapper which I had to scour 4 National Bookstore branches for. I liked the simplicity of the design, and the play of colors. I was actually ready to use this wrapper as it was since I've always been partial to stripes.

A few weeks later, while passing through St. Francis Square, I saw a stall that was selling this gold dotted wrapper. After seeing it, I remembered how I've always wanted to do a "dots and stripes" theme. In my head, it would be striped wrapping paper and dotted ribbons, but after seeing this wrapper, I knew I could re-do that concept into something cooler.


Taking the colors from the two wrappers, I went to Divisoria to buy ribbons that would echo the hues. I ended up buying rolls of satin ribbon in brown, wine and blue.

What did I end up doing? I started by wrapping the gift using the striped wrapper. I had to make sure that the stripes were aligned all the way to the back. Then, I took a strip of the dotted wrapper, and placed it at the center of the gift. This created an interesting contrast between the two patterns.

Then, I designed a tag which has the colors of the ribbon, the pattern of the wrapper, and a cute little Christmas solider for added quirkiness.

With all the elements in place, the "dots and stripes" wrapping theme that I've always dreamed of is now a reality.

And that's a wrap!

Friday, December 20, 2013

FMM: Pining for Paula

It's finale season for singing competitions in the U.S. "The Voice" just concluded theirs, and "The X Factor USA," has crowned Alex and Sierra as the winner.

Despite the level of talent that I'm seeing on these shows, I must admit that a singing show ain't the same without Paula Abdul. For me, she set the standard in judging - both in a good and a bad way. And people say she's a bit cray, but you can't deny that she's a knockout.

Cue in our Friday Magic Madness song:

Yup, Paula Abdul will always be a knockout.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gold standard

The last time I wore a gold watch was back in college.

If I remember correctly, the gold watch I wore was a hand-me-down from my Dad. It was a vintage looking watch, which some of my friends found odd. After all, this was the time of Swatch, and I was wearing a "daddy watch."

After college, my watch choices gravitated more towards silver and leather. I feel it's more nondescript and versatile. In fact, whenever Mom would ask me what kind of watch I wanted from Fossil, I'd always say: "anything silver."

When Biboy came to visit this month, he brought me this gold Fossil watch. Actually, when he asked me if I wanted anything from the US, I sent him a photo of a silver watch and a gold watch, and he eventually ended up buying this one.

At first, it took a bit of getting used to. It's been ages since I last saw something gold on my wrist. But my colleagues seem to like it a lot, judging on by how many "saan mo nabili 'yan?" questions I received.

Will this gold watch be my new standard?

Maybe not. But it'll definitely be in rotation.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

And the Pilotto thickens...

Saw this photo while snooping around for the Pilotto x Target collaboration.

If this is part of what's coming out, I think I'll be on the fence with the collection. The prints are fabulous - as expected, but the garments aren't that interesting. Not yet, at least.

Let's see where this goes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Style In-Spear-ation

After more than a decade, Britney's back! On the cover of InStyle, that is.

I think the last time I saw her on the cover of the US edition was in 2002. And truth be told, I've been waiting for her to appear on the cover again.

It's so good to see two of my favorites in one place.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Very, Berry nice

My favorite tea drink brand is finally carrying my favorite flavor!

Let the tea addiction begin again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


When I heard mass tonight, it turned out that I was hearing two masses in one.

Apart from the regular Sunday mass, it was also the anticipated Simbang Gabi.

Now I feel twice blessed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Underdogs, Overjoyed

One of the things that give me most satisfaction as an educator is seeing my students surpass their capabilities and their expectations.

When one of my thesis groups talked to me about being their thesis adviser, they had a common and simple goal: "Sir, pumasa lang kami, okay na."

They had a great topic, and they were very determined and creative students. So, I knew they could go way beyond the goal they set for themselves. But I didn't want to push them too hard lest they feel pressured, so I let them work at their own pace, and nudged them every step of the way. Slowly, I saw their thesis improve, I saw it as it became more polished, and all the more, I felt confident that they'll do more than just "pumasa lang kami."

After one final rally, we were able to fix the powerpoint presentation a few hours before their actual defense. A few minutes before their big presentation, I huddled them and told them that they had this in the bag, and all they needed to do was own it.

Once the defense was done and the panel deliberated, the group got a grade of A-, and they qualified as an entry for best thesis. And hearing the panel announce the grade gave me great satisfaction because they did surpass their capabilities and their expectations.

Not bad for a group had a simple and common goal of: "Sir, pumasa lang kami, okay na."

Friday, December 13, 2013

FMM: Yawn!

If there's one thing people aren't getting enough of this holiday season, it's sleep.

Aside from having to contend with work, there's the matter of Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, and all other holiday related activities. It's something I can relate to since I get an average of 6 hours of sleep because of everything that's going on.

That's why when the holiday break kicks in, here's one thing that I'm sure I'll do.

Now that's something to look forward to!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What the P?

The whole fracas in BKK is so interesting, I follow the happenings there everyday. And while reading today's article on the situation, a line on the article caught my eye.

Check out the date:

What's December P? December Por? Pive? Pipteen?

Gosh, somebody send that site a proofreader. Please!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Daddy birthday again!

And just like that, it's Dad's birthday again!

I must say, the more the years pass, the more we're looking more and more alike.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sensitivity test

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of those on-line personality tests. But just for kicks, I tried one which talks about what type of person you are. 

Here's what came out:

Really? I'm sensitive? That's a first. Harhar.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Rocking Roksanda

This is going to be one of those "Fashion Face-off" kind of posts. The article of clothing at the center of this little comparison is the Roksanda Ilincic checkered dress from her Edition at Debenhams collection.

Both Mom and Ate Bullet have this dress, and they wore it on separate occasions.

Ate Bullet wore hers during an exhibit a few months ago. Mom wore hers yesterday during her birthday celebration.

Of course, I won't take sides and say that they both rock the dress. And this goes to show that when a dress is classic and classy, it will look great at any age.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Oh crap!

Presenting the photo that made my trip to Divisoria worthwhile!

I shudder to think how this smells like.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

It's all in the card

About a decade ago, there was a Christmas card making contest at Adformatix, and my last minute entry won that year.

A few weeks ago, we were asked to come up with designs for the company Christmas card. And my last minute entry was the one they chose.

Yup, I really enjoy coming up with Christmas card ideas.

Friday, December 06, 2013

FMM: Getting my fill of Bofill

Another one of Dad's favorite singers is Angela Bofill. After listening to her cassette tapes, I wasn't surprised why. She has a voice that's delightful to listen to, calm and powerful at the same time.

"Angel of the Night" is one of my all-time Bofill favorites. And it deserves to be immortalized in my Friday Magic Madness list.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

An extraordinary Mandela

As the world mourns the loss of a great leader, I mourn the loss of a person who was an inspiration to me when I was in school. I remember hearing about his story on the news and started researching about his life. That time, we still didn't have the internet, so I had to go through books and microfilm just to get a glimpse of the life of Nelson Mandela. And it was truly, truly inspiring.

I feel fortunate to have been born to a generation who witnessed greatness such as him.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Say what?

I was reading this article on Krispy Kreme's resurgence in the U.S., and there was one sentence that I just didn't get.

Gosh. I've been reading it over and over and over again, and I still can't get it.

The writer must've had too much sugar before writing this piece.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

And still more sibling revelry!

As Mom was about to celebrate her 7th decade in the world, we felt that it was an occasion that deserved a special celebration. And what's more special than a complete family to celebrate with you.

That's why Biboy surprised Mom by flying to Manila for a few days to personally greet her and celebrate this milestone.

It was a very, very short trip - 5 days to be exact. But it was 5 days well-spent. For 5 days, the Regalado-Morales siblings were complete, having dinner, hanging out, exchanging stories, and taking pictures - all together. Just like when we were in Morato. Just like when we were kids. The only difference was, we weren't kids anymore. The siblings are really all-grown up.

Despite that, moments like these will never grow old.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Stylish 70s

My Mom is the family's original fashion icon. As a child, I remember how Mom was always immaculately and stylishly dressed. Whether she was wearing a flowy, backless dress, a power suit, a gown with a thigh-high slit or her classic flared jeans and spaghetti-strapped top combo, she always looked modelesque and flawless.

Looking at her photos, it was easy to see that she always embraced fashion. I remember this particular photo when she was a teacher in Bicol. She really rocked the coif and huge sunglass combo.

As she celebrates her 70th birthday today, she's as stylish as ever. Always put together, always chic, always classy, and always dressed appropriately for the occasion.

 So, to the lady who will always be the family's fashion icon and will never go out of style, happy 70th birthday!

Your fashion fans (aka us) love you!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Best. Picture. Ever.

Hands down, this is the best photo of our weekend stay at Las Casas!

It's cuteness overload! It's adorable to the nth power! It's a photo worth gushing about and spending dozens of exclamation points on!!!!!!!!!!!!

The cutest thing about it is, Javi did this pose on his own. I just asked him to stand beside the angels, and he did this. It was a moment worth capturing.

Yup, I don't think I'll ever get tired of this shot.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holey and Moley! Part deux!

Presenting the confirmation that I've long been waiting for!

Since it's now on their corporate website, it's now safe to say that H&M is really, really, REALLY coming to the Philippines.

(Insert collective gushing of shopaholics here.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

FMM: Magical weekend

That's what the weekend is going to be.

Biboy flew in from the U.S. to celebrate Mom's birthday, and we're spending the weekend in Bataan with the whole family! And this calls for a Friday Magic Madness song from Shirley Bassey. A song that I used to listen to a lot because Dad has a cassette tape of it.

What can be more magical than that.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Birthday enjoyment!

Today is Ate Bullet's birthday! And this year's celebration is special because the immediate family is all here for the celebration. We had the usual rowdy dinner at Elias and enjoyed the awesome Pinoy cuisine capped off with a cake from Dexter's.

The dinner was at Robinson's Magnolia, and Javi had a lot of fun running around and exploring the mall. He went through nooks and crannies, and the result was a lot of cute photos of him just enjoying himself.

Like enjoying a humongous drink at Jamba Juice:

Enjoying his part-time job as an ice cream boy:

Enjoying his moment as a nerd:

And amidst all this enjoyment that Javi was savoring, I enjoyed accompanying him every step of the way.

Now that was definitely an enjoyable way of spending the evening.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coined term

I'm a coin hoarder. I feel more at ease when I know I have a lot of coins in my pocket.

This started when I was still living in HKG. One time, I left my wallet at home and was too lazy to walk back to the flat and get it. When I checked how much coins I had in my pocket, I found out that it was enough to take a round-trip MTR ride, a meal, and a magazine. Since then, I made sure that I always have a substantial amount of coins in my pocket.

It's a habit I've carried with me when I came back to Manila. You'll often find me jingling and jangling because of the amount of coins I carry.

The funny thing is, I sometimes don't realize how much coins I have. For instance, I emptied by pockets of coins last week, and found out that I had more than P300 in coins!

No wonder my pockets were so heavy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kid TV

During our brainstorming sessions, we always end up talking about old kiddie shows and how they don't make show like they do.

Apart from the kooky characters and the incredulous concepts, what made them memorable were the opening theme songs. And among the lot, my favorite theme songs were:

The terrific and trippy "Tomfoolery,"

The spaced out "Great Space Coaster,"

The mystifyingly magical "Marlo and his Magic Movie Machine."

And of course, the ferociously funny "Felix the Cat."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "They don't make shows like this anymore."

Monday, November 25, 2013

More celebrity confusion

Here's another addition to the "Hollywood-celebrities-who-look-so-alike-it's-confusing" list.

May I present Viggo Mortensen and Aaron Eckhart!

It came to a point when I'd have conversations like:

ME: "I didn't know Aaron Eckhart played Aragorn in 'Lord of the Rings.'"
SHE: "He didn't. That was Viggo Mortensen."

Then there's the:

ME: "Viggo Mortensen was great in 'Erin Brockovich.'"
SHE: "That was Aaron Eckhart."

Maybe they should be cast in one film as twins, like a male version of "The Parent Trap." At least they can put the confusion to good use.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Color story: Pale and a pop

While I've professed a liking for color, I also like to keep it toned down and neutral every so often. Now, my sisters' closets are full of colors from both ends of the spectrum, so I thought of adding a very neutral piece in case they want to look a bit more muted.

I found the perfect look for that during a visit to The Ramp last week.

The first thing I saw was this beige shift dress which had a classic shape in a pale, oatmeal-like color. This is actually the same party-at-the-back dress that I snagged at The Ramp last July. 

Further down the store, my attention gravitated towards a pair of brogue-inspired pumps. The heel was substantial, the peep-toe was a nice detail, and the color was a winner. It was predominantly beige - which matched the dress - and it had pops of lemon yellow. Nice combo.

Putting the pieces together yielded this simple and streamlined look, which might be predominantly pale, but has a nice pop.

With the amount of parties Ate will be attending this Christmas, I'm sure this outfit will pop out of her closet pretty soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

LFLTAT: Mega-nanimous!

SM Megamall is really determined to make people spend! For the second time in just a month, they held a 3-day sale last November 15 to 17. As expected, people came in droves, looking for good buys.

Those people included me, of course.

While scouring from shop to shop to shop to shop, I was able to gather bits and pieces of clothing to come up with a classy and chic look for less than a thousand. 

I wasn't disappointed!

The first item came from Surprlus Shop, and it was a blouse with a eye-catching print, an interesting neckline and a fabulous gold accent near the shoulder. I scored this for P249.00!

Item # 2 is a classic pencil skirt in beige, made from a ponte knit that's very flattering. It had a black waist band which gives the body shape. The great part is that it was marked down by 70%, and this beauty ended up costing P249.00 as well.

Finally, this pair of flats from Parisian completed the look. It's made from brown suede (or suede-ish) material, and had gold hardware right in front. The gold echoes the detail of the blouse, and the color fits well with the brown tones of the blouse and skirt. This retailed for P499.75, but since there's a 10% discount for SM Advantage card holders, it eventually rang up to P450.00.

The result is this very Audrey Hepburn looking outfit that's classic in silhouette but modern in print and style. And yes, the entire ensemble cost P948.00. So it falls under the LFLTAT category, and you still have P52.00 for a Jollibee meal, or treat from Bread Talk, or even a Spam Musubi at Spam Jam.

Indeed, SM Megamall is a mega place to shop.

Much more when there's a sale.

Friday, November 22, 2013

FMM: That's work

Anyone who works in an advertising agency will know that this is the default song whenever a project comes in.

Yup, another couple of rush projects coming up.

(P.S. Vintage Keanu Reeves cheesiness can be found in this video. Harhar.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's your sign?

While looking at a zodiac sign posted on the mall, I realized that most of my immediate family members are Sagittarians.

Out of the 7 of us, 4 fall under this sign: Dad, Mom, Ate Lissa and Ate Bullet. Kuya Marv is a Libra, Biboy is an Aquarian, and I'm a Scorpion.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More closed encounters

This isn't a stellar day for my food cravings.

The stall at St. Francis Square where I buy my coffee jelly drink... closed.

The kiosk at Megamall where I buy my saba con hielo... closed.

The food court branch of Manang's Chicken, also in Megamall... closed!

Gosh. It's slim pickings at it is. Now, the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quite Contrary

First it was Etro, then Suno, and more recently, Peter Pilotto. 

More and more designers are embracing the art of mixing prints in bigger and bolder ways. An addition to the list of designers is Greek/Brit it-designer Mary Katrantzou. She's a young designer with a very whimsical take on printed dresses.

She's not that big here in Manila, but I've been following her for a few years now. She had a capsule collection with Topshop that I was hoping would be brought here. But alas, it wasn't. So, I just head over to the Nordstrom website to get my fix of Mary.

One of the dresses on the website that caught my eye was this. A mock turtleneck, halter top and full skirt confection. Made with 2 contrasting prints, of course!

It was so beautiful and covetable. Not to mention pricey. It's Nordstrom, after all.

So, imagine my surprise when I went to one of my haunts and saw this:

It's the Mary Katranzou dress!

On the contrary, I'm really not sure if it's a Mary Katranzou since the dress didn't have a label. But if you look at the side-by-side, you're looking at the same thing!

The prints are phenomenal. The materials are substantial. The workmanship, top notch. This can either be an overrun, or an excellently made replica.

Whatever it is, the dress is now about to find its way into my sisters closet.

It's a Mary day indeed!