Sunday, June 30, 2013

North Pull

Something unbelievably cool just found itself up north. And no, it's not the North Pole, Antarctica or a glacier.

It's an unbelievably cool place!

Yes, Magnolia Ice Cream House just opened a new branch at SM North EDSA's Sky Garden!

I just chanced upon it when I passed through the area, and was so giddy upon seeing it. Much more so when I found out that they're serving "Ernie and Bert" again. Woot!

Looks like I'll be pulled to the north for Magnolia Ice Cream house very soon.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Zoo you again

After decades, I found myself inside Manila Zoo once again.

Today, my Investigative Journalism class and I went to Manila Zoo to do field work and write an article about the current state of the zoo. So, while the students were interested in finding sources and resource people, I was just interested to see if the zoo is as bad as everyone says it is.

As I told Mark, I was expecting to see a decrepit zoo. When I got there, what I saw was an old and slightly dilapidated one. Not as decrepit as I thought.

The animals look like they're healthy and properly fed. Again, I was expecting to see gaunt animals who look like refugees. After all, there has been a lot of articles about how the animals there are starving. This includes the zoo's most famous - and controversial - resident, Mali the Elephant.

Aside from the usual mammals, the zoo had a lot of reptiles in captivity. Including these gigantor snakes and crocodiles! Thank goodness they were caged and asleep. They're uber creepy! (Although I touched the Albino Python that was on display outside.)

One thing that the reviews said that was very much true was the fact that the zoo was quite mucky. Despite the signs that peppered the property, people seemed to just throw stuff around. There were a lot of ice cream wrappers, (Magnum, natch!) snack packs and remnants of meals.

Some of the cages looked dirty, too. Take for instance the rabbit and hamster cages. No wonder these two rabbits looked bothered. Plus, their aquarium can use a little cleaning, too.

Overall, my impression of the zoo is that it really needs a lot of improvement, but it's not the hell hole that most people paint it to be. Honestly, it feels like the same zoo that I saw way back in Elementary School. And I don't mean that as a good thing.

That's just my opinion, though. I wonder what my Investigative Journalism class has to say?

Friday, June 28, 2013

FMM: Pilot episode

Before 89.9's Friday Magic Madness, there was a radio station that would always play old songs at a particular day. I'm not sure what day it was, but I don't think it was Friday.

To signal their transition from their regular programming to their best of the oldies, they played this uber Charlie Dore song from 1979.

I'm not sure why, but this song has a very vintage quality to it. The moment you listen to it, you know that it was written and recorded in another era. Strangely, though, it still sounds current despite its age.

It's so current, I'm currently singing this song again and again in my head.

Hello, LSS on FMM.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

When lift goes left

Oh look, another glaring error in on-line journalism!

Believe me, I don't go out looking for these things. It just so happens that there's quite a lot of them peppered around cyberspace.

For example, I was looking for an article about Japan's alleged lifting of visa requirements for Filipino passport holders (untrue, apparently) and saw the above article. Unfortunately, instead of "lifting" the visa requirements, they "lefted" it.

If only I had a dollar for every error I inadvertently spot, I'd have a lot of dollars by now.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cath me if you can

Here's a collaboration that was under the radar. Until I found out about it today!

After Narciso Rodriguez and Derek Lam, it's Catherine Malandrino's turn to come up with a capsule collection for Kohl's.

If Narciso brought us to Istanbul and Derek transported us to Rio, Catherine's collection is inspired by the city of lights and love, Paris! And looking at the first pieces off the gate, it's easy to see where the inspiration went.

The Tour Eiffel, black and white, wrought iron influences - that's as Paris as you can get. They're indeed very classic and wearable, which is sure to be a hit among fast fashion collaboration fans.

I wonder if I'll be able to catch a few pieces of these.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Digital dessert

After trying my hand at designing a garment digitally, I found myself having to design a cake in the same manner.

It happened 2 weeks ago when I was in a shoot. My friend, Jing-jing, called me up and said that they needed a rush design for a cake. Having no pen and paper at that time, and only having my computer, I used my photoshop program to come up with this:

It didn't turn out too bad. And the client also appreciated the design.

I should do digital designing more often.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stripes over flowers

It's no secret that I'm a fan of unusual pairings. Whether it's print or print or clashing colors, I think that putting two odd elements together makes for a nice visual treat.

Pretty much like this pair from The Surplus Shop that I whipped up for my sister:

The first piece I bought was this pair of floral print jeans in dark fatigue. The fit is relaxed, which goes well with the overall vibe of the jeans.

Instead of going the usual route and pairing it with a plain t-shirt (much like I did for the other printed pants,) I thought of going a bit off kilter and paired it with a blue pin-striped shirt. Initially, I wasn't sure if it would work. But after seeing them together, I thought: "Not bad. Not bad at all.)

Even up close, you can see how the two seemingly disjointed items can actually come together nicely.

Yes, Virginia, I really like playing with prints.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

SM-thing old. SM-thing new.

One of the many reasons I enjoy shopping at SM is the fact that most of what they sell are classics and timeless. In fact, they're so classic and timeless that it's so easy to mix and match things that I bought recently, with ones that I bought a few years ago.

Here's a perfect example:

Today, I saw this pair of blue brogues at the Milanos section of The SM Store. Initially, I wasn't planning to buy it, mainly because I already have a pair of blue brogues that look very similar to this. But I thought of trying it, and boy, I'm so glad that I did! They're so light and comfortable, it felt like I was walking on air. Very blue and very fashionable air, that is. Needless to say, I bought the pair.

When I got home, I started to look for items in my closet that would go well with this new pair of shoes. That led me to this pair of jeans from Baleno. It's another in-house brand at SM which carries fashionable basics. If memory serves me right, this pair was bought almost 2 years ago. And it still looks current, even until now.

Then, I found this chambray shirt, also from Baleno. This shirt is more than a year old, and it still looks as good as they day I bought them. Talk about good quality. And proper washing, of course.

With these three items - all from SM but all bought across 2 years - I was able to come up with something to wear for work. It's a look that's a combination of classic cuts with a youthful vibe. All in blue, of course.

I'm sure I'll find another item to top up this look the next time I go to SM. Which is most likely very soon.

In the meantime, I'll be looking at this:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

By George!

When people tell me that I look like Steve Martin, I'm actually no longer surprised. After all, since college, I've heard that comment from some of my classmates. Heck, even some of D' Frendz told me that way back in our college years. And the most recent person who told me that was a client who - after my lengthy presentation - could only comment: "You know, you look like Steve Martin."


I'm thinking that it might be because of the smile. Steve Martin has the same "smiley face" that people say I have.

After that, there was a slew of other names of personalities who I supposedly look-alike. There's Zachary Quinto, Josh Hartnett, Andrew Garfield, among others. My theory is that whenever people see someone with thick eyebrows, they automatically remember me. Harhar.

In tonight's shoot, there's another name that was added to the list. And I found out from my colleague, Ferdie, after we had this conversation:

HIM: Naku, Lester, may ikukuwento ako sa'yo.
ME: What?
HIM: Matutuwa ka.
ME: What?
HIM: Tinanong ko kasi yung talent kung na-clear na ng creatives yung look and make up nila, tapos sabi nila, tapos na daw. Tinanong ko kung sino ang nag-clear, and sabi nila, yung lalaki. 
ME: And?
HIM: Siyempre, sabi ko, "Sinong lalaki? Ang dami-daming lalaki sa studio na 'to?"
ME: Okay, and...?
HIM: Sabi nung girl: "Yung lalaking matangkad. Yung kamukha ni George Clooney."
ME: And...?
HIM: Ikaw 'yun! Ikaw na! Ikaw na ang kamukha ni George Clooney!

This reminds me of a photo of Dad that Ate Lissa posted, and one of our Titos said that Daddy looks like George Clooney.

So, I therefore conclude that I really, really look like...

My Dad! (But hey, if someone says I look like George Clooney, who am I to complain. Harhar.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

FMM: Q-tie pie

Sometimes, it's great to just listen to trashy pop songs on Friday. The type of trashy pop songs that are infectious, latch themselves on to your head, and keeps on playing on and on in your mind.

Trashy pop songs that have no rhyme or reason, they're just cute to listen to.

Just like Stacey-Q's "Two of Hearts."

Yes, this is my type of Friday music.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sporty Javi

Javier has a strong affinity with cars. In fact, he can rattle off car names and logos with such ease.

It's no surprise that he gravitated towards these sports cars when we went to Eastwood last Sunday.

Who knows? Maybe he'll be a racer in the future.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Printed Matters

In the US, it's currently the transition period between Spring and Summer. That explains why a lot of US retailers are amping up the floral motifs in their clothes. Everyone - from Express to Maurice's to Gap - are into everything floral. Even in jeans. 

There are so many pretty prints on jeans these days, it's so hard to resist them. And they're so hard to resist, I ended up buying a few pairs from my sisters.

Again, following the rule of fashion, if the jeans are busy with prints, the top should be plain and simple. That was the guideline I used when I bought matching tops for my sisters. I went for solids, texture and ease.

Like a Bench Body t-shirt that echoes the gray color of the pants.

Or a crocheted white top to go with a dark colored bottom.

Textures on print work, as long as it's from the same family. The pattern on the crocheted top is floral as well.

A knotted top which adds detail to an otherwise plain shirt.

The color echoes the color of the print for cohesion.

Finally, the "boy shirt + girl jeans" ensemble.

Again, the black shirt echoes the black ikat print of the jeans.

The problem now is that most retailers are coming out with new printed jeans every week!

Expect to see some more entries on printed jeans very soon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Holiday on a bus

Since I take the bus on my way to work, I get to see a wide variety of "bus films."

Most often, they're pirated DVD versions of films that are currently showing. For example, the bus I took last week from Ortigas to Cubao was showing "After Earth."

There are the perennial B-movies. These are straight-to-DVD American films that star no-name actors in films with ridiculous plots and bad special effects.

Then, there are the Pinoy classics. Or old Filipino films - the ages of which vary from the 80s (Chiquito films) and the 90s (some Ronnie Ricketts action flicks) to some films from the mid to late 2000s.

Just when I thought I've seen it all, today's bus ride from Cubao to Ortigas had a surprising choice for a bus film.

Yup, they were showing the Audrey Hepburn classic, "Roman Holiday." Needless to say, most of the passengers were oblivious to it, but I was transfixed on the screen.

Heck, I even thought of going all the way to Makati just so I could finish the film. Harhar.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The trickle down effect

While the devotees of designer collaborations wait in bated breath for the Isabel Marant x H&M collection in November, they'll be glad to know that they can get Isabel Marant-ish items through other fast fashion labels who have been "inspired" by her latest collection.

This is called the "trickle down effect," where current designer collections influence fast fashion brands, and eventually have items that look like a designer's current collection.

It's a fashion phenomena best explained by Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada."

(This is one of Mark's favorite scenes from the film.)

Back to Isabel Marant, this is a piece from one of her current collections. It's a black and white printed dress with red guipure lace details.

Then, hop over to Mango, and you'll see this:

Yup, it's a black and white printed dress with red guipure lace details. Although there's less lace and the print is different, you can see the influence of the original designer piece in the fast fashion version.

I'm sure there are more Isabel Marant inspired pieces in Mango, or Zara, or Forever 21. If you need something to tie you over until November, those would be the best places to look.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dad's (still) Incredible

To the man who taught me how to live fully and give generously. 
To tuck my shirt in properly and always dress appropriately. 
To wear jeans and wear our family name with pride. 
To value family and love our parents whole-heartedly.
To stand our ground and fight for what we believe in.
To be stern and strict and have a soft heart.
To be human and still be incredible.

To the best Dad in the world, Happy Father's Day!

We're incredibly blessed to have you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

First day, Hi!

Two classes this semester. Two exciting subjects to teach, both with a lot of potential to do relevant and creative work. Another 4 months of waking up uber early for an uber early class.

It's the first day of school for the 1st semester, SY 2013-2014.

Bring it on!

Friday, June 14, 2013

FMM: Water world

On our way to the office from a pre-production meeting, the rain continued to pour, causing massive traffic everywhere we looked. From Magallanes to C5, cars were almost at a standstill.

While water was pouring outside, and we were all sleepy inside the van, this song suddenly played on the radio:

Water outside, water inside. How providential. Harhar.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

No free ride

The past few years, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the MRT gave away free rides during Independence Day. It happened last year, in 2008, in 2009, and I remember writing about the  pleasant experience.

Yesterday was Independence day, and I took an MRT ride from Shangri-La Plaza to Cubao. I thought there would be free rides just like the previous years, but no. There were no surprise freebies from our train system this year.

It must be some cost-cutting initiative.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gender bender

On our way back to the office from a client meeting, one of my colleagues asked me:

"Sir Lester, since you always look like a walking lookbook, can you give me tips on how to shop and dress up so I look unique?"

It was a question that caught me unaware, primarily because I think of myself as plain, boring and unadventurous in terms of fashion. So, I don't think I belong in a lookbook, unless there's a "before and after" segment, and I'd be the "before."

But since she asked the question, and I'm obviously into shopping, I decided to give her a piece of advice that she probably doesn't hear a lot:

"When you go shopping, shop outside your gender."

As expected, she asked me what I meant when I said: "shop outside your gender." So, I explained to her that if she wants to look unique, she shouldn't limit herself to shopping in the women's section. After all, you can find equally interesting items in the men's section.

Here's a case in point:

I bought Ate Bullet this printed pair of pants from Express. The cut was skinny, and the print was almost leopard-like, rendered in red and black.

The moment I saw it, I knew that a plain black top would be the perfect foil for the pants. Also, the top should feel very relaxed and loose, since the pants are already very slim and structured. It called for a "boyfriend top," so I thought, buy something for the boys.

So, I bought this men's undershirt from Body Glove. It was made of very soft cotton, and had a nice slouch to it. The v-neck was higher than usual, and it frames the face well.

To give it a bit of a girly vibe, I just folded the sleeves. That gave it the right length and clipped a bit of the masculinity off of the shirt.

Putting those two pieces together resulted in this very Alexa Chung look which was laid-back yet chic.

And it's a look that's achieved because of thinking outside the clothes box and not limiting your choices to the women's department. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pillow talk

One thing I learned about myself while living abroad is that I can be very, very finicky when it comes to pillows.

It took long for me to find a flat to eventually rent and move into (3 months), but it took longer to find a pillow that I was comfortable with (around 4 months.)

During the pillow searching process, I went everywhere from Ikea to Tempur to Dunlopillo. I tried pillows of different materials, from goose to foam to memory foam, even the different contour pillows. Almost all of them didn't work, though. In fact, by the end of the process, there were about 16 pillows scattered all over the house.

Eventually, I found the right pillow. And when I moved back to Manila, I brought that pillow with me to pair with my existing "Manila pillows."

Now, the "Manila pillows" - or the pillows I've always used at home - are more than a decade old. They're hard and heavy pillows made of very firm fiber. My head is used to it, that's why I haven't discarded them despite the fact that they're obviously very old. As the adage goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

But last week, one of my clients gave me a pair of pillows as gifts. They were Uratex fiber soft pillows.

Visually, they looked very appealing. They were pristinely white, and they were almost bursting. The texture was very smooth, and it was on the hard side.

The pillows sat in my room for a few days, mainly because I was already happy with the "Manila pillows" and wasn't actually looking for a new one. Eventually, I gave them a try, and boy, I'm glad that I did.

It had the right combination of softness and firmness. Soft enough that your head sinks once you rest it on the surface, but firm enough for it to stop at a certain point and support the weight of your neck. My head felt cocooned in the pillow, which made it very restful.

Of course, the torture test is whether it was comfortable enough for a full night's sleep without interruptions. And it passed it with flying colors. I slept soundly all through the night, which is a rarity when I'm using a new pillow.

Now, I can give my pair of old pillows a rest. Yes, they'll still be there on the bed since I like sleeping with a lot of pillows. But there's a new pillow in town, and I'm sure they'll get along fine with the old pillows.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Not so fast with that "publish" button

Or else, you might end up with something like this:

If you look closely, you'll see some marginal instructions from either the writer or the editor. The problem is, they published it before the notes were removed.

Yet another case for more proofreaders for on-line publications.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Charo In Style

While doing my weekly browsing through, a feature on "Game of Thrones" caught my attention.

It's Charo Ronquillo!

After seeing so many of the usual Caucasian, Latin and Chinese models, it's refreshing to see a Filipina face on their pages.

Friday, June 07, 2013

FMM: Let's Duet again!

During our shoot yesterday, the "DJ" played this "duet set" where all we heard were duets for more than an hour. Most of those duets were songs from the 70s and 80s which delighted the entire cast and crew.

There was one song that played wherein everyone let out a collective sigh and did a slow clap right after. It was a combination of appreciation that was so appropriate for the song.

Yup, the Stacy Lattisaw and Johnny Gill duet hasn't lost its magic.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Oh, what a difference a letter makes. Part deux!

Here are some more on-line journalism slips. This time, I found them on Rappler while reading about the recent mishap at Davao airport.

When a plane starts to land, it's called a "descent," and not "decent."

Most planes look very ordinary and boring with designs often appearing on the vertical stabilizer.

But I don't think people should resort to calling these "planes" "plain." Harhar.

Again, hire proofreaders. Please.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Go, go, Gomez

Call it my "second puberty stage," but I've found myself recently hooked to Selena Gomez's music. Particularly, her earlier songs which are so, SO bubblegum pop.

I've been watching this video over and over again, to the chagrin of the people in the shoot who have to listen to it along with me.

But what can I say? This song is worth repeating - repea-pea-pea-peating.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

It works!

Thanks to Mona, I have a new stash of Bath and Body Works products!

Including my all-time favorite, Sea Island Cotton!

 Someone should really open a Bath and Body Works franchise here in the Philippines.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Coming Suno

Looks like I spoke too soon.

A week ago, I was talking about how designer collaborations are few and far between, and it looks like it's losing steam. But I went to the Uniqlo website a few days ago and found this!

Suno is in the house!

I'm a big fan of Suno's prints. In fact, I wrote about how awesome their prints and dresses are. And now, everyone can have a piece of Suno. 

There are only a few pieces from the collection, and among the lot, they've got dresses that capture the essence of what the brand is all about.

First is this maxi dress with a graphic floral print. It's set against a dark seafoam green background which really makes the print pop.

Then, they also have a shirt dress made up of two prints combined - pinstripes and dainty florals. Just like Etro, Suno really knows how to mix prints, and these two play well with the classic silhouette.

I checked the Uniqlo stores here in Manila, and I was told that they weren't sure if Suno would be available in stores here. Thankfully, Mark was already able to get these 2 pieces - plus one more - to add to my sisters' Uniqlo Designers Invitation Project stash.

See you soon, Suno.