Friday, May 31, 2013

FMM: Take it for a Spin

On the ride to work, one radio station had their own version of Friday Magic Madness and played songs that, as the DJ described them, "best of the Oldies."

And what was the song they played after that description?

Yes, it was Kylie Minogue's "Spinning Around."

Incidentally, this was released around 13 years ago, and I remember how big a hit it was.

Gosh, songs from the year 2000 are now considered "best of the Oldies."

I'm getting old.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Model attitude

After cycle 16 of ANTM, everything just went downhill. Their last two cycles - British Invasion and College Edition - felt less of a modeling contest and more like a contrived dramedy. Their newest offering - Boys vs. Girls - looks like it's going to be the same. Besides, "Make Me A Supermodel," beat them to this concept by a few years.

I kinda miss the olden days of ANTM where the models really had a distinct look and attitude, a crazy attitude at that. And when it comes to crazy attitude, no one comes close to Amber of the petite cycle.

When this cycle was shown, I was still working for CW4, so I had first dibs on each episode. Too bad Amber only lasted one episode. Her attitude would've made the entire cycle so much fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sketchy stories: The digital edition

Previously, all my chicken scratches involved a Mongol pencil and random pieces of paper that I pick up from almost everywhere. Obviously, they're difficult to understand and visually unappealing, but if the seamstress understands it, then it can't be too bad.

This weekend, I started doing the same chicken scratches on photoshop. Using my trusty mouse as a substitute for the Mongol pencil, and using some templates as guide, I found out that it's a convenient way to turn concepts into something visual.

Ah yes, the wonders of the digital age.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back in the saddle again

After a few years absence in the advertising biz in Manila, it was very refreshing to be working with people who I've had the pleasure of dealing with before.

From directors to production designers, studios to post-production houses - it all felt like a happy homecoming. It helps that you see more familiar people in the process of producing commercials, and every stage in the process feels like a reunion.

We already have 2 commercials in the bag, and we've got 2 more to go. And if these 2 commercials will be as much as the first 2, I can't wait to get started with it.

I'm back. I'm really, really back.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Now that's what I call a line-up

After seeing this photo on the net, I was immediately transported back to when I was 4 years old and was so much into robots. From cartoons, to toys, to shirts - I collected them all.

It also reminded me of the time when my parents bought me my first Daimos toy, which I wore out quickly after playing with it everyday, for days! Good thing that toys back then were made of die cast metal, so it stood the test of time. (And the test of a kid who liked to throw robots around.)

Too bad that kids these days aren't as much into robots as we were back then. I'd love to see my nephews have a line-up of robots like these.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Three sheers!

It's sheer genius how trends from the runway are translated to fast fashion in sheer numbers.

The past month or so, I've been seeing dresses with see-through paneling in sheer volumes. It takes sheer tenacity to wade through all the items and pick out the ones that are sheer joy.

SHEER 1: The red dress from Topshop.

Leave it to Topshop to take some of fashion's trickiest aspects and put them together in a tasteful frock. Red is tricky. Sheer is tricky. Plunging necklines are tricky. But when you have them in a nice fabric and cut with precision, you've got a chic dress with a lot of attitude.
(You can't see it here, but the neckline plunges down to the waist.)

SHEER 2: The black sequined dress from Mango.

Here's the little black dress taken to another level. The entire bodice is fully sequined, and it creates this interesting pattern when the light hits it. The neckline is modest, the sleeves are long, making it very prim and proper up front.

Then, you see the back.

SHEER 3: The purple dress from Tyler

This is another case of "classic with a twist." The color, cut and fabric of this dress makes it perfect for everyday wear. If you see it coming, it'll look like an commonplace shift dress.

But when you see it going, you'll see a completely sheer back that goes all the way down to the waist. It's that element of surprise that makes people give the dress a second, or third look. And according to Ate Bullet, that's exactly what she got when she wore this dress.

I'm sheer - I mean, I'm sure - that there are more dresses like this that will pop up in stores soon. And I wouldn't be surprised if they re-appear in my sisters' closets as well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

LFLTAT: Three trends

Among the recurring trends that have been appearing on magazines and on the runway, three of the more consistent ones are: 1.) sheer, 2.) lace and 3.) pastel colors. 

These three trends reminded me of this dress that I found at The Landmark about half a year ago. 

The dress was made of this sheer chiffon that looked very light and breezy. The blush color added to its ethereal quality. It's something that will look in place in a wedding, or a lazy weekend in the city. The salmon colored belt wasn't part of the ensemble, but I thought it was a nice way to ground the outfit.

When you turn the dress around, a pleasant surprise greets you. A see-through lace back, with some draping to add a bit of modesty.

What's nice is that this dress is able to pull together these 3 trends seamlessly and fashionably.

What's even better is that this whole ensemble was around P700.00 in total.

Yup, more Look for Less than a Thousand chicness for The Landmark.

Friday, May 24, 2013

FMM: Majica Mexicana

Almost a decade ago, I was in Mexico for an exchange program.

While I was there, I got hooked on a Thalia song which was her latest single back in 2002. It was a song that was very upbeat, had a techno feel to it, and was a different sound from what she's previously done. Plus, the video was fun to look at. It's like "Thalia does Britney." Harhar.

I was so hooked, that I actually knew some of the lyrics and could sing-along at some parts. Something that my "foster parents" thought was adorable. "Que Lindo," was what they would say.

The song was "A Quien Le Importa."

Pardon me while I go Mexican on today's Friday Magic Madness.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Winning quote of the day

Today's winning quote was overheard this afternoon at The Fabric Warehouse in SM Megamall:

LADY: Meron ba kayong telang red velvet? Yung pula.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tokyo talk

One of my former students is in Tokyo today, and we were exchanging messages about where she should go and what not to miss.

Since she's into anime and cosplay - that being the subject of their undergraduate thesis - I told them to visit Harajuku and check out the scene there. 

Since their hotel is in Ginza, I also told her to check out the Uniqlo mega-store, the big G.U. store and the H&M branch there.

Then, I asked her to try the typical Japanese restaurant with vendo machines outside. Now that's very typical Japanese.

All this Tokyo talk is making me miss the place even more. Even though it's been less than 2 months since I was last there, I'd really like to go back and do more of the things that Mark and I would do whenever we're there.

This, of course, includes going to Harajuku and Omotesando, checking out the shops in Ginza, and eating at typical Japanese restaurants with vendo machines outside.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quiet Collaborations

Are people tired of fashion collaborations? Has the marriage of high-end designers and low-end brands ended?

By this time, the we should already be buzzing with stories about H&M's latest designer collaborations. From the first ones including Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor and Rolf, Stella McCartney, Sonia Rykiel, Madonna, Lanvin, and to the more recent Versace and Maison Martin Margiela. 

It usually launches in September or November, so if there's any new collaboration, it should already be announced by this time. But there hasn't been any word whatsoever.

This must be "Capsule collection fatigue syndrome."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gar - see ya!

First, Sarah Jessica Parker inaugurated SM Aura.

Now, this!

Yes, Nina Garcia (or as Heidi would say it, Nina Gah-thee-yah,) is coming to Manila to share her style secrets. It would be nice to see her in person, but I'm not trekking all the way to MOA for that. I'm sure they'll have the interview on youtube anyway.

Manila is really becoming a style destination these days.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Oh, what a difference a letter makes

As my Journalism professor once taught me, it only takes a letter to change the entire story.

While reading an article on Yahoo regarding Benedict Cumberbatch, I ran across this paragraph. 

It looks fine when you read it, but when you pay attention to how it's written, I noticed that murder was committed on his hair.

Yes, there's a difference between dyeing and dying. The proofreader should know that by now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


With all the talk about SM Aura, I made it a point to visit it this weekend. 

Yes, there have been horror stories about the traffic going there, and the descent of the Divi crowd to BGC, but these didn't deter me. Today, I went to the mall, not just to check it out, but to attend the Uniqlo event as well. (Fine, and score some loot from Uniqlo.)

After seeing, feeling and exploring SM Aura, here's my assessment:

It's just like one of those hollywood films that everyone is raving about, but when you finally see it, you find out that it's not that great after all. That was my initial reaction to this mall. Mainly because of the following:

1. River Island is still closed.
2. The Mall itself is small and the corridors are narrow.
3. The interiors look very ordinary. It reminds me of SM Annex in North EDSA.
4. River Island is still closed.
5. The restrooms were dirty! (Considering it was just opened yesterday.)
6. The crowd was rowdy.
7. River Island is still closed.

Despite the fact that I'm McKayla-ed, there are certain parts of the mall that I like. Their Sky Garden looks awesome, and I can imagine it to be a hit once all the trees have bloomed and the grass has turned from brown to green.

The SM Store looks very nice and tres classy! It reminds me of Lane Crawford.

Also, they're having a San Pedro Calungsod Chapel within the mall, and it looks very promising.

That said, I won't be going back to SM Aura anytime soon. It looks like River Island isn't opening anytime soon, so that's okay.

Maybe when it opens and I come back, some impressive changes might have happened already.

Friday, May 17, 2013

FMM: Shouting Sarah

Since Sarah Jessica Parker is all over the news in Manila today - from newspapers to television to on-line news outlets - I think it's the perfect time to bring her into Friday Magic Madness.

More than 20 years ago, SJP was a young ingenue in Hollywood. She starred in a light, bubbly, coming-of-age dance movie entitled "Girls just want to have fun." She co-starred with a young Helen Hunt, and a very, very young Shannen Doherty.

The theme song of that film is a catchy ditty by Alex Brown entitled "(Come on) Shout."

I must say SJP looked bubbly, cute and chic even back then.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rolling on a River!

Being a self-confessed mall rat - something that Mark can attest to - it excites me when new malls open in Manila. 

Today is the grand opening of SM Aura at The Fort, so I decided to check out their website to see what to look forward to. As well as if there are new shops worth visiting.

Lo and behold!

We have River Island in Manila!!!

Just as I was lamenting last February that they've closed River Island in SG, now it's open in MNL!

I'm there! I'm so there!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

SJP and the City

SM is really upgrading its image!

Imagine, they're flying in THE Sarah Jessica Parker to open their new store at SM Aura.

If they're flying in a fashion icon to open their new store, then it must be a really, really fashionable store.

This I have to see. (The SM store, not SJP. Harhar.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I wish I did that...

Being in the advertising industry for almost 2 decades, it's easy to feel jaded about ads. But once in a while, certain ads resonate with me so much that I just watch it and think: "Gosh, I wish I did that."

Just like this ad for Robinsons drinks.

The ad is wonderfully executed, and what makes it even more beautiful is the fact that it's anchored on a real insight. "It's good to be a Dad. It's better to be a friend." That's as real as it gets. Heck, I've tried to live my that mantra since I became an uncle. "It's good to be an Uncle. It's better to be a friend."

Awesome job, BBH. If they had Robinsons drinks here in Manila, I'd be buying one right now and drinking to all you folks.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Confessions of a disenfranchised voter

While most Filipinos are out exercising their right to suffrage, I'm home sorting out clothes to send to Bicol.

Yes, I'm not voting. Not because I don't want to, but I simply can't. Such is the case for both 2010 and 2013.

Don't get me wrong. I've always voted. Heck, I've always wanted to vote. One of the reasons why I looked forward to my 18th birthday was the fact that I could vote right after. Since then, I've never missed an election.

In fact, it was because I never wanted to miss an election that I registered as an overseas voter when I was still living in HKG. Upon my return to the Philippines, I found out that my name has been removed from the voters list in my former precinct. Thus, I wasn't able to vote last 2010. (The only option would have been to go to HKG and vote there, which I could've done, but didn't.)

I should've learned my lesson back then and re-registered prior to the 2013 elections. It was really my plan, but as some plans usually go, it didn't materialize. So, for the 2nd time around, I was disenfranchised. Boo!

That said, I can't complain about the results of today's mid-term elections. After all, I'm not part of it. But 2016 is another story. That's the year that we'll choose a new president who'll lead us for another 6 years, so the need to register is greater.

With something that monumental, I'd like my voice to be heard.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baby. Cakes.

Welcome to the Christian world, Baby Alex. We're looking forward to baby sitting you in the near future!

(Here's Baby Alex with the cake that Mark and I gave as a gift for the occasion. Personally designed for her, of course.)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh, Onigiri!

Yes, I'd go all the way to Family Mart in Makati for these wonderful little treats!

As I told Mark, the onigiri they sell here are a bit different from what I'm used to in Tokyo. The rice isn't as sticky and compact, and it lacks that complicated instruction on how to open and eat it. But hey, it's the next best thing, so I say: Go for it!

Good thing they're opening a Family Mart in Ortigas soon. That way, this treat will be oh so near.

Friday, May 10, 2013

FMM: Shake it!

Someone played a Debbie Gibson song this morning, now it's been playing in my head the entire day!

Well, if you can't shake it off, just sing with it!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

From Darkness to light

Being a huge Star Trek fan, I'm hugely excited about the next installment in the Star Trek saga!

Show this movie now. Please!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

K, Fine!

It's common knowledge that I love to teach. There's a strong feeling of gratification knowing that I'm doing my bit in educating the next generation of advertising practitioners.

But aside from Advertising subjects, I also enjoy teaching Journalism subjects as well. It lets me use my degree in Journalism, and it's always fun to read, edit and write articles.

That said, it's always a joy to handle the Feature and Technical Writing class because we come out with a magazine every 2nd semester. And here's our issue for 2013!

K magazine - short for Kulasa - is all about celebrating Women, particularly the successful women from St. Scholastica's college. And it was fitting to have a successful fashion model from SSC on our cover! Jem isn't just a Scholastican, she's also from Advertising and is one of my former students. Woot!

Can't wait to get my copy of this magazine!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

When Holly met Bolly

Since I'm in a Bollywood mood, I remembered a film that I used to watch a lot of when I was still living in HKG. (I had a DVD of it at home.) 

It's entitled "The Guru" and featured Heather Graham and Jimi Mistry. And the Indian song and Grease mash-up has got to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire film.

I can feel an LSS coming on.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sketchy stories: The Bollywood edition

Creative people say that there's inspiration everywhere. Even from the most random thing, you can find a trigger that gets your creative juices flowing and pushes you to create something. 

This was the case of the dress that Ate Lissa wore during Pichon's wedding last Saturday.

The story starts at Forever 21. Ate Bullet has a wedding to attend in June and is planning to wear the black, pleated long gown that I bought for her in Singapore. She needed earrings to go with it, and I remember seeing a pair of black, art deco ones at the Megamall store. (More on that another time.)

Immediately, I found the pair that I was looking for.  But just as I was walking away from the rack, there was this other pair of multicolored sparklers that called out to me. It said: "Don't leave just yet. Look at me! Look at me!" So I looked at it. And bought it.

This pair was also a bit art deco in design, thought its vibe was more Bollywood. Maybe it's the deep jewel tones that remind me of India. Immediately, I knew that "Modern Bollywood" would be the theme for Ate Lissa's dress.

With that accessory in mind, it was time to find the perfect Indian fabric. Which would've been easy if we were in Singapore or India. But this is Manila, and this might have been a tall order. So, I went to several Indian shops in search for a sari that can be reworked. Luckily, this Indian silk fabric presented itself to me.

It was perfect. The deep magenta base, a red cenefa, and small brick red patterns - it was very Indian, but still modern. What struck me the most was the paisley edges that echoed the design of the earrings that this was supposed to match.

The fabric was already busy and a bit complex, thus, I thought the design should be simple, classic, but still with a touch of modernity. Which led to this sketch:

A simple, strapless dress with a flared hem. It was classic, and it would bring out the cenefa both at the bodice and the hem. Just to keep it from looking too simple, the back had an open detail to show off some skin and to break the color and pattern.

After showing the seamstress the dress, she immediately knew what to do. And after a few weeks, the modern Bollywood gown arrived.

Like a lot of creative endeavors, this gown looked better than I imagined it to be. The flared hem gives it an edge, and the back offers a hint of sass. It could've been a tad bit more open, though, but the cenefa would've been cut if I insisted.

Just add some "chori, chori," and this gown will definitely go straight to Bollywood.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Vamos a celebrar!

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be part of an exchange program to Mexico. We were able to go to different states in the Nothern Part of EUM - or Estados Unidos de Mexico - and experienced life as a professional.

We lived in different types of cities, from the highly urbanized like Monterrey, to the more laid back and rural ones like Tampico. We got to taste different cuisine and drink different cerveza. And of course, we got to live with Mexican families as "foster children." This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

While we were there, the equipo was able to celebrate Mexican Independence Day or Cinco de Mayo. I remember that we celebrated it with a Fiesta at the house of Guadalupe, and it was a reunion of sorts because we got to party with a lot of the people who were part of our journey in Mexico.

Since that Mexico trip, I've been silently celebrating Cinco de Mayo. After all, it's already a part of my growing up years.

So, Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Vamos a beber tequila y come tortillas!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Sibling Revelry: The relaxed formal edition

Three weeks ago, my siblings and I got all dressed up for my cousin's 18th birthday

Today, our other cousin got married, so we had to get all dressed up once again for the occasion.

This morning's wedding had a more relaxed vibe, which reflected on what we wore. My sisters went for a lighter palette and a more laid-back look.

(Spot the difference. Better yet, spot the similarity)

Three weeks after, I think we still clean up nice.

Friday, May 03, 2013

FMM: Yma hooked!

Fridays are all about old music, and when the subject of music comes up, Dad automatically comes to mind.

My Dad is a big music fan. One of my most vivid memories of childhood is my Dad's cassette tape collection. I think the had more than a hundred cassette tapes, arranged neatly and alphabetically in different tape decks. He even had a typewritten catalog of his collection. It was a lot of hard work, but that's how much he's into music.

Because of his music collection, I grew up with an eclectic knowledge of music. While most of the 80s kids were listening to punk and new wave, I'd be listening to classical music, jazz, folk rock, and country.

Thanks to Dad, I had an appreciation for Ferrante and Teicher, Richard Clayderman, Seawind, Pauline Wilson, The Mamas and the Papas, Shirley Bassey, among many others.

I also learned to appreciate non-English music, too. Dad had a collection of Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, and even Peruvian music. It was through him that I learned about this awesome exotica singer named Yma Sumac. She mixed genres seamlessly, blending opera with mambo, with a big band flair. And among her songs, the one that captures this blend best is "Malambo No. 1."

Listening to this song again brings back memories of childhood. Which is what Friday Magic Madness is about.

I should find myself a CD of Yma Sumac.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May day!

I just realized it's already the 2nd of May!

Where did January to April go?

Time is just speeding by so fast.

Slow down, Father Time. Slow down.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Welcome to the Family!

Family Mart is one of the places that Mark and I frequent whenever we're in Japan. After all, there's a branch in almost every corner.

It's our emergency stockpile whenever we feel hungry at odd hours. He's often buy Calpis Water, and I'd buy the gelatin with fruits inside. Sometimes, he's buy ice cream, and I'd buy bread. And of course, there's the onigiri.

A few months ago, I saw one part of the MRT-Ayala station boarded up with the Family Mart logo and thought: "Whoa! Family Mart is coming to Manila!"

And indeed they have. I checked it out this week and was thrilled to see a Tokyo mainstay arrive in Makati.

Of course, it was a bit disconcerting to see Family Mart selling Purefoods Corned Beef and Lucky Me Instant Noodles. It's because in my mind, I'm expecting to see all those Japanese products like Meiji, Asahi, Kirin and what-nots.

But I was thrilled to see the house brand snacks available here in Manila. Including my favorite Tohato Caramel Corn!

Now, excuse me while I go to the Family and check out what goodies are in store for me.