Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Issa gonna be spectacular!

Nope, I'm not practicing my faux Italian accent.

I'm simply excited to read about the newest fast fashion collaboration between Banana Republic and Issa London!

Of course, Issa London is best known as the go-to brand of the Duchess of Cambridge. A brand known for its flattering silhouettes, vibrant prints and interesting details. After seeing the line-up of dresses in the collection, they made it a point to tick all the boxes. So, I'm sure women will be lining up for these dresses.

The most covetable dress of all would probably be the dress inspired by the engagement dress that then-Kate Middleton wore.

The collection will drop globally on August 5.

I'm wondering if they'll carry this collection here in the Philippines, though.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teeth is it!

Part of my annual physical exam today was a visit to the dentist. After she announced to the entire room that I had 2 cavities that need to be filled, we had this interesting conversation:

DENTIST: Where are you from?
ME: Quezon City
DENTIST: No, where are you originally from?
ME: Quezon City
DENTIST: Where were you born?
ME: Uhm... Quezon City
DENTIST: But you have foreign blood, right?
ME: My grandfather was Spanish. Why do you ask?
DENTIST: Because your teeth aren't typically Filipino. 

Gosh! After being told I look like a foreigner so many times, it's very unusual to hear that my teeth look foreign, too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A fashionable bunch

One thing I've observed about "The Haunt" is that they have their off seasons as well. 

There are months when its slim pickings and you can't find a nice item no matter how hard you try. Then, there are months when they're simply flooded with all these wonderful pieces of clothing that it makes it so difficult to choose. (It's during this time when the mantra: "Don't choose, just get them all." comes in handy.)

The past month, it was more of the latter at The Haunt. They had a full rack of nice pieces from Banana Republic. Not only did they had a lot of options in terms of design, they had them in most sizes as well. It was no wonder that the mantra mentioned above suddenly came into play.

This bunch of ponte dresses in classic silhouettes and delicious colors were just too hard to resist. You can never go wrong with plain dresses with not-so-plain details.

Just in case it's too plain for your liking, the proper accessories will take the dress to the proverbial "next level." In this case, a statement neckpiece will add oomph to the dress. A statement neckpiece like this electric blue, Lanvin-inspired necklace from Forever New. (Better known as Ever New in Manila.)

It's an ensemble that works, as proven by Ate Bullet who wore the middle ensemble during our Family reunion a few weeks ago.

If The Haunt continues to come up with great items like these, i'll definitely be back there to get another bunch.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dynasty Dressing

Lola Dita used to have a huge cabinet filled with Fine China. She was very proud of her collection of "vajillas," and I was always interested in the colors and patterns that filled the cabinet. 

Among those patterns was the classic blue and white china pattern which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. I was already fascinated with it as a child, and it was a fascination that was further fueled by my almost 4 years of living in HKG and SHG.

There's something about the rich blue and white pattern - it's almost like there's a story embedded in the intricate designs for each pattern.

When Roberto Cavalli came out with a Ming gown, I was in awe. The translation of the pattern from a vase to a piece of garment was truly spectacular. It was after seeing this gown that I began looking out for interesting fabrics with the Ming motif.

Recently, I found one. It was a beautifully intricate blue and white china pattern with touches of purple. It was artfully done and beautifully executed.

That pattern was from a line of clothes from Apartment 8. They had it in a dress (which I bought for Ate Lissa), and recently, they came out with the same pattern on pants! Needless to say, these pants automatically became part of my "must-buy" list.

As previously mentioned in earlier musings on patterned pants, the key here is finding the right top to go with the pants. Since the pattern of the pants were already very busy, it was important to find something that would act as a counterpoint. That way, the look will be balanced out.

For Ate Bullet, I found an oversized, boyfriend shirt from Zara. The boxy silhouette plays well against the slim cut of the pants. Plus, the color of the shirt echoes the Ming print.

For Ate Lissa, I went with a slimmer shirt which skims rather than hugs the figure. It was an organic cotton shirt from Zara which had a nice, slub texture that is the opposite of the fine quality of the print.

I sure hope this trend of Ming dynasty prints will pick-up and show up in more fast fashion brands soon. Paraphrasing Tom Jones' classic ditty: "You got to wear Dynasty to have an attitude."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A taste of our youth

When our relatives from Barcelona arrived in the Philippines, not only did they bring with them tons of memories from our childhood, they also brought with them a chockfull of Spanish food that we enjoyed as kids!

Among the stash were Jamon Serrano, Chorizo Iberico, and Turron de Jijona! Yummers!

The Jamon Serrano came from their restaurant, which makes it uber special. The Chorizo came from El Corte Ingles - the biggest department store chain in Europe. As kids, we'd always see Tita Evelyn and Tito Agustin lugging around bags from El Corte Ingles whenever they'd visit from Spain. A few years ago, when I went to Barcelona, it was such a thrill to go inside and explore the store. It was as fabulous as I imagined it to be.

Another favorite brand is Antiu Xixona. This brand has been around for ages! I mean, even as an elementary school kid, I'd remember how we'd receive boxes and boxes of Antiu Xixona from Tita Evelyn whenever they'd come to Manila.

Basically, Turron de Jijona is like Marzipan, albeit more oily and more solid. We always described it as "solid peanut butter made of almonds" since that's what it tastes like. It's so rich and so good, it feels like you're gaining weight just by looking at it.

Recently, I brought a box to the office, and some of my colleagues described it as: "Parang sosyal na Choc-nut!" (Welcome to the barrio.)

Seeing my cousins bring us these goodies is like a double-whammy. By spending time with our cousins, we relive our childhood. And by enjoying these goodies that they brought, we also get to taste our childhood.

Friday, July 26, 2013

FMM: The Spice of life

During last night's very long shoot, Kristy - our AD - requested some 90s music from the DJ.

Of course, they had to play Spice Girls!

They might be syrupy and their songs as bubble gum as bubble gum pop can get, but hey, the 90s won't be complete without a dash of Spice.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In the Zone!

Before the second batch flew back to Barcelona, we decided to host dinner for them at Smoking Hot BBQ at Greenbelt 3. After dinner, we asked the kids if they wanted to check out Timezone which was on the same floor. Since they haven't been to an arcade in the Philippines yet, they decided to try it out.

Boy, did they love Timezone! We spent an hour there, and the kids kept jumping around from one arcade game to the next.

They couldn't get enough of Timezone that they had to return today - a few hours before they fly out to Spain.

You can never go wrong with Timezone.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Veja-me mucho!

Among my Barcelona-based relatives who visited Manila is my unbelievably cute, ultimately precocious and undeniably charming niece - Veja.

She's such a cutie-pie! She loves to sing and dance like no one's watching. She kisses everyone. She lets everyone carry her around. And she really loves being around people.

According to her Mom, Veja is such a performer. In fact, she already knows that she wants to become an actress. Like, right now!

And with a beautiful face and an equally beautifully attitude like hers, I'm sure she'll fit that role perfectly.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Limited Unlimited

En route home, I passed by one of The Haunts to check whether they have anything new and noteworthy. And they did!

It's a blue ponte dress from The Limited.

It's a very classic and versatile piece. The length was just above the knee, and it had a thin belt to cinch the waist in.

The back has a bow detail to add a point of interest and keep it from being a too-safe and too-boring shift.

Curious to see whether it's part of their current collection, I checked out their website and saw that it's still part of their current collection. It retails at around P2,500 if converted from the dollar price. But since I got it at the haunt, the price is around 75% off!

Needless to say, I didn't limit myself to just one piece.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I hunger for this!

The official trailer for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is finally out!

Looks like the second film will be more action packed than the first one.

I just can't wait!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Healthy eating - D' Frendz edition

We were scheduled to celebrate Bonique's birthday with a pizza party at Shakey's. The intent was to relive our "agawan-ng-pizza-with-matching- cheese-on-Alfie's-hair-days."

Unfortunately, Bonique's OB-Gyne cautioned her against eating at Shakey's. She was told to avoid fast food and eat more healthy fare. And by healthy, I think she meant "anything but fast food."

So, following the doctor's orders, the party moved to Serye restaurant.

And last night's menu? Boneless Crispy Pata, Kare-kare, sisig, bangus ala pobre and escabeche. Now that's our version of healthy eating.

Hey, at least we didn't eat fast food.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

SM's Sunshine State

For the past month or so, things have been looking bright for The SM Store. One reason is the presence of a lot of refreshing, sunshine yellow dresses on their racks. And among the lot, these two caught my attention.

First is this yellow long gown which is simple, sophisticated and classic. It's a column gown with tiers of ruffles in front. It reminds me of Lanvin, which makes it a winner.

The second item is a dress from Max and Cleo, which you can find at The Fashion Forum. This one has a bit more detail to it - from ruching to draping.

Like the first Studio dress, this also has a cascade or ruffles. But instead of concentrating it on top, this one lets the ruffle fall all the way down to the hem of the gown.

To keep the gown from looking to heavy and weighed down, there's a knee-high slit to show off a bit of skin.

Because of the cuts and color, these gowns give out this feel good vibe. It's something that'll easily translate to the wearer, and I'm sure my sister will feel good after wearing these.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FMM: Pet with no peeve

As if on cue, Friday started with a Friday Magic Madness moment.

While passing through Cubao on my way home, I saw a concert poster for...

... wait for it...

Pet Shop Boys!

It's the 80s all over again!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lime Time

Lime, as a fruit, has a tendency to be sour. But when you see lime in the context of fashion, it tends to be quite the opposite. Lime can be very sweet to the eye, especially with the right mix of colors, an interesting pattern, and a classic cut.

Just like this lime dress from the Banana Republic x Milly collection. The play of colors and the chevron stripe make it a perfect summer dress.

Echoing the color of the dress is a pair of neon green sandals from Stradivarius. Actually, the color is more neon lime, echoing the dominant color of the dress.

Add these two items together, and you've got a party ready lime ensemble that's as zesty and tangy as the fruit it's named after.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From the Mac into a Magazine

A month ago, I wrote about this birthday cake that I designed digitally. It's a blue and green checkered cake that was designed to look like gift boxes.

Then, a week ago, Sonee sent me the photo of the actual cake as it appear in a business magazine.

I really like how the cake came out. And from what I heard, ECJ like the cake a lot, too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Oscar power!

Two Oscar best actress winners in one movie! This I gotta see!

Heck, I'd watch it for Julia Roberts alone.

Monday, July 15, 2013

When Xavi met Javi

Before the first batch of Barcelona-based Morales family members flew back to Spain, Javier was able to have a photo with his Tito Xavier. And I must say that it's such an adorable photo.

All that's missing is the 3rd Javier - Javier Francisco - and the photo is complete. Hopefully, they'll be back in a few years for that photo opportunity.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Of Tios y Tias, Primos y Primas, Sobrinos y Sobrinas

"This is just like a dream!"

Those were the words that mi Prima, Evelyn, exclaimed when she finally realized that she was in Manila, surrounded by family. Not just any family, but family that she hasn't seen in 20 years, and some family members that she's seeing for the first time.

Last night, the long anticipated reunion of the Morales family finally happened. Our family from Barcelona visited Manila again after almost 2 decades! Well, Tita Evelyn was here last 2011, but my cousins - Evelyn, Cristy, Esther and Yoly, were last in Manila in the late 80s. Esther's husband - Jorge - was last in Manila in 1994. But a big chunk of the group - my cousin-in-law Xavi, my nieces Alejandra, Maria, Vega, and nephews Lukas, Marcos, Alex, Enrique, Jacobo, Ernesto and Vito - were all first timers in the Philippines. 

When they entered the room, they were visibly surprised at how big the family was.

Yup, we invaded and filled up a function room at Peking Garden, and that was just half of the family!

There were so many reasons why this reunion was such a special one. Aside from the immediate Murillo-Morales family, the Barrettos and the Garcias were also able to reconnect with Tita Evelyn, Tito Linden and Dad.

The second generation was missing a few cousins. Some of them were out of town, some were out of the country. One of my cousins said that it was a good excuse to hold another reunion - hopefully complete - in a year or two.

And finally, the 3rd generation of Morales kids were able to meet. It's the first time that the kids from Barcelona are meeting their cousins from Manila. They bonded quickly, and by the end of the night, some were already bar hopping, while others were having a slumber party at the hotel.

Everything about the reunion was perfect. The food, the conversation, the photos - all perfect. The conversation and photos were rowdy, but perfect. Especially our table!

The wonderful thing about this reunion is the fact that it felt so right that my cousins from Barcelona swore to do this again in 2 years or less. Reconnecting with Manila was such a wonderful experience for them and their families. And it's a reconnection that we're hoping will happen again very soon.

As Cristy put it aptly:

"We shouldn't wait for another 20 years to do this again."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Party at the back

While I was going around The Ramp at Crossings I passed by this dress a few times without really stopping by to check it out. Yes, it was a nice, classic LBD, but something about it felt too "school marmy."

Eventually, I picked it up for a closer look. The moment I turned the dress around, all my preconceived notions about it were erased.

While the dress was very business in front, it was all party at the back!

Needless to say, this dress went back home with me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

FMM: Going North

The weather has been quite lazy the past few days. Not to mention schizophrenic.

One hour, it's bright and sunny, and it turns gray and overcast the next hour.

Looking outside, it's gray and glum, but also a bit crisp and cool. It's the perfect weather for a Friday Magic Madness song that's equally lazy.

This calls for "Life in a Northern Town" by The Dream Academy.

Yes, it's a lazy Friday indeed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Into the wild

Some people would like to unleash their wild side, but aren't willing to go all out and push the boundaries. So, while some people are brazen enough to incorporate animal prints into their wardrobe, some are still to shy and would want to be "subtly wild."

The solution for these types of "subtly wild" folks? Use their feet to get wild!

One way to do it is with these funky flats from Parisian at The SM store.

The colors and shapes are classic, but it has a wild side! In particular, it has metal cheetah emblems in front.

Or, if you want to get a bit more wilder than that, these shoes from Payless will definitely do the trick.

These Christian Siriano Gold shoes are made of rose colored faux snakeskin, and have an interesting shape. It's sure to pop out when worn with a simple black sheath, or with jeans and a shirt.

With shoes like these, you can be wild, without being too wild at all.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Before watching

If there's one thing that D' Frendz is collectively giddy about, it's the film "Before Midnight."

The reason is simple. This is our generation's film. The characters are within our age range. Their stories unfolded the same time that our stories did. And more importantly, the film is about concerns, doubts, triumphs and thrills that we face.

Everyone is so psyched to watch it that I had to design this poster to disseminate to D' Frendz before the big day.

Now that's out of the way, let "Before Midnight" begin!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Linear Thinking

It's no secret that I've always been interested in graphic design and visuals - despite the fact that I'm a writer by nature. Thus, my eye has always gravitated towards strong prints, contrasting colors, and clean lines.

That's why when I saw this fabric at Fabric Warehouse, I immediately had to get a few yards.

It had these Prada-esque stripes in various colors including orange, pink, charcoal gray, light gray and beige. The distribution of the stripes were equal across the fabric, so it would be a pity to cut up the fabric and destroy the beauty of the lines.

Thus, when I talked to the dressmaker about the design, my main instruction was "make sure the stripes are intact - from top to bottom."

And this is what we came up with:

It's a maxi-dress with a fitted top and a flared hem. The dressmaker was able to utilize the entire length of the fabric, and the distribution of the colors was awesome. I think the colors fell in exactly the right part of the body.

Finally, to add a touch of interest on the garment, I decided to cut out a triangle at the back. That way, there's still a bit of skin to break the pattern.

Ate Bullet tried the dress out and it was perfect on her.

I'm sure this will be in line for the next event she'll be attending.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The trickle down effect - Shoe edition

It's amazing how fast fashion brands put the "fast" in fast fashion. What you see in one store today can be seen in another store in a month. And as the item trickles down even further from a boutique to a department store, the price just keeps on going down and down.

Take for example this pair of red, nude and black d' orsay pumps:

The topmost photo is where it all began, The pumps were first seen at Zara in March, and retailed at P2,490. A few months later - around May - the same design was seen being sold at a local shoe store named Primadonna. They sold it for P1,599.00.

Finally, last June, The SM Store launched the same design under its house brand, Parisian. And it was priced at P899.75.

So, it's the same shoe (probably the same supplier in China who made all 3 brands) in 3 different price points, sold just months apart. That's how fast designs (and prices) trickle down these days.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Clooney bin

After my haircut, the girl who assisted my barber shampoos my hair, dries it, fluffs it, looks at me then says:

GIRL: "Ayan sir, George Clooney na George Clooney na ulit kayo."

Saturday, July 06, 2013


My cousins from Barcelona brought along with them a big stash of our favorite Spanish treats. Among them were Turones de Jijona, Jamon Serrano, anchovy stuffed olives, and this:

Yes, my cousins have a sense of humor.

I wonder if eating these Filipinos constitute cannibalism?

Friday, July 05, 2013

FMM: Ho-ho-horoscope

For some strange reason, one of our colleagues was going around the office asking everyone what their zodiac sign was. It was pretty random. She just popped in asking what our astrological signs were. We suspect she's planning to read us our horoscopes.

The answers came in swift and short:


And just like that, almost everyone in the room started singing:

Yes, we're a bunch of singing clowns at the office.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Two for the show

When one of my colleagues told me: "You're always out on meetings, I rarely see you in the office anymore," that's when I realized the amount of work the team has been doing the past 3 months.

It's a good problem, actually. We're rarely at the office because we're either presenting storyboards or shooting commercials. And in the past 3 months, I think we've already produced 5 commercials!

These past few days, I've been lucky enough to see some of those commercials on-air. And even thought I've been in this industry for more than 15 years, I still get giddy whenever I see my work on TV.

The first one is for Uratex, and I worked on it with one of my favorite collaborators, Direk RJ. It's a simple story, done beautifully.

The second one is an animated commercial for Ferlin. This was another project that I worked on with a director I've collaborated with before - Direk Pablo. The result was a commercial that's very simple, very informative, and a chockfull of fun!

Two commercials showing, and 3 more to go.

I can't wait to see those on air, too.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Of planned and accidental reunions

The Morales family always loved reunions. Especially since our family is pretty much scattered in different parts of the world. Majority would be in the U.S., and there's a branch of the family that's in Barcelona.

Tonight, after almost a decade, we were reunited with our Catalan cousins here in Manila. What made it even more special is that they brought along with them their kids - all first time visitors to Manila. The last time I saw these kids, they were wee little toddlers. And now, they're in their teens! Time indeed flies so fast.

The kids wanted Western food so we headed off to TGIFriday's in Glorietta. Since they don't have TGIFriday's in Spain, they really enjoyed the experience - from the food, the atmosphere, and even the birthday song. It was great fun for everyone, except maybe for Vito. (See sleeping kid on the lower right hand corner.)

While we were there, another reunion happened. Albeit an accidental one! The GRIPS gang from Japan was there to celebrate Karen's birthday, and I bumped into them on my way to the restroom. Awesomeness!

According to Ivy, the timing couldn't be more perfect. She said that Mark just sent them a comment how he missed everyone, and suddenly, Mark's representative pops up! This moment deserved a photo.

Needless to say, I went home all giddy and smiley because of the reunion. Because in Ate Vi's famous words: "Not just one, but two!"