Wednesday, December 31, 2014

An Executive review

There were a lot of notable events this 2014. Among them were traveling to Hakone for the first time, bringing my students to Bicol and Singapore, wearing my party planner hat to organize office parties, and of course, planning Alfie's wedding.

But there were 2 notable work-related events that were quite noteworthy. This year, I was given "executive" positions, both in school and work.

In June, I was appointed Department Chairman of the Mass Comm department in St. Scholastica's College. A few months after, I was named Associate Executive Creative Director at work.

Since these appointments happened the same year, the last 6 months were super crazy-busy. Sometimes, I even ask myself why I'm subjecting myself to all these challenges.

Then I remember, I'm not one to shy away from challenges.

After all, those challenges made the year 2014 more memorable and fulfilling.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

D&G: Dressy and Gorgeous

In one of my routine visits at The Haunt, my eyes were drawn to this bright, yellow dress with a very vibrant print. The dress had joie de vivre written all over it, and it was hard not to purchase it.

The top of the dress had a tile print that was part-Morocco and part-Italy. It was rendered in mediterranean colors, and was very intricately done.

The same pattern was duplicated in the full skirt.

Upon closer inspection of the dress, I remembered seeing it somewhere before. Then, I remembered seeing it at net-a-porter a few seasons back, and I was right!

It was a Dolce & Gabbana dress from a few seasons ago. And somehow, it found its way to The Haunt. And of course, it found its way to my sisters' closets!

Ate Bullet loved the dress the moment she saw it. No wonder she wore it a day after I gave it to her!

Gorgeous, isn't it?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Let's get digital!

The technology of digital printing on fabrics has become so advanced, it's so easy to translate artwork and photography into textiles, and eventually into clothing.

Mary Katrantzou has been leading the pack with her exquisite dresses made with gorgeous photos. Her work has been inspiring many designers and fast fashion companies that it's now commonplace to see photographs and digital artwork on dresses.

Take these beauties for example. I found them all at The SM Store. After all, "we've got it all for you."

The first time I saw this first dress, my thought was: "That's SO Mary Katrantzou!" 

The print feels like a landscape painting, but made a bit more abstract. This adds a lot of character to the dress, and makes it look like moving art.

Second, a dress with a painterly vibe.

The skirt looks like a Van Gosh painting, but rendered in digital artwork. It's both sweet and chic!

Third, a shift dress with a modern tie-dye inspired pattern.

There's a mirror-technique to the print which makes it look like malachite. Way cool!

Finally, a draped dress made of neoprene. Again, it has a digital print that makes it look fantastic!

The print looks like diamonds in the rough.

Since there are no stores that carry Mary's work in the Philippines just yet, we'll have to make do with these frocks inspired by her artistry. But when the time comes and her store will land on our shores, I'm lining up.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Ming and I

I've always wanted to do a Ming-dynasty inspired gift wrapping theme. The problem was that it was so, SO difficult to find the right wrapping paper. It came to a point when I was even willing to have my wrappers custom printed, but I couldn't meet their minimum number of wrappers.

Last year, I was able to find a wrapper that was close to what I had in mind. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough in stock, so that theme had to be postponed yet again.

Just as I was about to give up, I found this wrapper at one of my favorite wrapper haunts - The Wrap Shop.

It was perfect! The pattern and the color were what I had in mind when I was planning this theme. It was very oriental, yet had this European vibe to it. The wrapper was a mash-up of a Ming vase, damask and trompe l'oleil. How perfectly artsy!

To complete the Oriental theme, I opted to use red as the accent color. You can't get any more Chinese than red. After that, I designed my gift tag, also adorned with very Chinese motifs.

As a final Chinese touch, I threw in a red tassel into the mix.

After gathering all the materials, it was time to get to it.

Since the wrapper was patterned, I had to make sure that the print was aligned just right. It took a lot of trial and error, but I eventually found the right way to do it.

Unlike previous years when I'd always use 2 ribbons, I opted to use just one ribbon, but with a thicker width. The interplay of the red ribbon on the Ming-print was just as I envisioned it.

Then, the finishing touches.

And voila! This year's Christmas wrapping theme - A Merry, Ming-y Christmas!

Another dream wrapping theme done!

Now it's time to dream up next year's theme.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Housewarming Holidays

It was a triple celebration for D' Frendz yesterday.

First, we had our annual post-Christmas leftover party. Although we didn't really bring leftovers this year since our party was scheduled just a day after Christmas. Ergo, I doubt if people had time to gather and cook their leftovers.

Second, it was Maricar's post-birthday celebration. We noticed that there was a "birthday boycott" this year. No one among D' Frendz celebrated their birthday! But with Maricar's birthday spread, we've hopefully broken the curse and the celebrations will commence again.

Third, it was a housewarming party at Lezyl's brand new digs! She's been excitedly telling us about her new house since July, and she just moved in last week. Trust D' Frendz to break-in their home with a lot of laughter, stories and noise. Good thing the neighbors didn't complain.

The last time we all got together in this scale was during Alfie's wedding last June 4. That means it's been more than 6 months since the group got together.

So, this triple celebration was well worth the wait.

Friday, December 26, 2014

FMM: Pure Joy

Dad has the coolest driving music.

While we were en route to Loyola to visit Lolo, Lola and Tita Lon, he was playing all these awesome tunes from the 70s and 80s.

One of the songs that played is an old, old favorite of mine that I haven't heard in decades! So it was awesome to get to hear it again, in the car with my parents, on Christmas day.

It's an old song by Lou Rawls, and it's "Pure Imagination."

And may I just say that Gene Wilder had his own version of the ditty in his film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and it was equally brilliant.

Two different versions, one kind of awesome!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Note to Self-ie

From the fun, rowdy and slightly overexposed selfie-taking Morales family, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Relaxed Holiday

Here's something unusual.

It's the evening of the 24th, and I'm not frantically wrapping gifts at the last minute. I'm actually relaxed, having dinner and catching up with the siblings.

Plus, I was able to go to Muntinlupa for our traditional pre-Christmas North Park late lunch with Mark.

Looks like Christmas this year will really be relaxed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This CAO is over the moon

It's been almost 2 decades since we all worked with each other at the Corporate Affairs Office of San Miguel.

From colleagues, we all became fast friends, and then turned into a group that was practically inseparable.

We've witnessed each other's major milestones. We've travelled together to places as near as Tagaytay to as far as Hong Kong and Macau, we've moved apart and come back, and we've grown as people, but stayed young at heart.

It looks like the CAOboys and CAOgirls are still going to be as rowdy and fun as we were in the 90s. And I'm over the moon at the thought of that.

Monday, December 22, 2014

No Nun-sense

For the first time ever, I attended SSC's institutional Christmas party this weekend. And for someone who's been teaching for a decade, this is a huge deal. 

It was overwhelming to see how large the Scholastican community is. I'm usually confined to my Saturday faculty room universe, so I was in awe when I saw everyone - from Grade School, High School, College, Office Personnel and General Services Personnel - all in one roof. It was festive and frantic at the same time.

Mark asked me how the party was, and I told him:

"Any party with singing and dancing nuns is bound to be fun."

After watching the performances of our sisters, I can confirm that indeed it was.

I'm SO doing this again next year!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This Sis it!

To the most hardworking and loving Mom, and a Sister who's selfless and always gives so much of herself to others, Happy Birthday Ate Lissa!

May all your birthday wishes and prayers come true.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Gigi is one of my "friends of old standing."

We were friends when we were both in the Corporate Affairs Office in San Miguel. A few years later, I moved to HKG, and I found out that Gigi also moved to HKG. Because of that, we became occasional lunch mates, and would sometimes find ourselves talking about mundane things while in Tai Koo Shing.

A few years ago, she moved to Hilversum in The Netherlands, but we never lost touch.

Yesterday, after a few years, we were able to get together again. And, as expected, it's as if she never left.

Great to see you again, Gigi! See you again soon.

Friday, December 19, 2014

FMM: Far from it

Finally, the thesis season is over!

But what happens next will be the grading and assessing if the defenses were valid. Add to that, there's the problem with the groups who received a "grade withheld" rating.

So, I think it's time to put this old Frank Stallone song on.

Indeed it is.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Presenting the inspiration for this year's Christmas wrapper theme!

A year ago, I was inspired by this objet d' art in fashion. Now, it's time for it to be translated into wrapping.

So, pardon me while I get a-wrapping!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winners Circle

Tonight, they announced the winners for best costume during our recently concluded Christmas/Anniversary Party. And three of the winners are actually in this photo that Isa sent us.

Three winners in just one photo. What are the chances?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mass of memories

As the Simbang Gabi season officially starts, I'm reminded of my childhood when this tradition was something we'd excitedly look forward to and be part of.

Back then, we still lived in Scout Gandia, and we'd go to St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Timog. As early as 3:30am, we'd be awake and getting ready for mass. I'd usually go with my cousins, and I remember that it was Harold who would be the most diligent in hearing mass.

One of the highlights of the mass in St. Paul's was the free breakfast. After mass, there would be people waiting outside to hand out hot chocolate, coffee and bread to the parishioners. At one time, they were even giving out Dunkin Donuts.

But no, that wasn't the reason why we'd go to mass every 4:00am.

Now, with the advent of Anticipated Simbang Gabi, I think the 4:00am crowd has lessened. Personally, I've found myself hearing the anticipated version more now. Mainly because we'd often be working overtime and getting up at 4:00am is a challenge.

Whether it's at 8:00pm or 4:00pm, the important thing is that we still get to honor this tradition of Simbang Gabi this Christmas season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back in the Hobbit

Last year, Mark and I avoided the MMFF by watching the IMAX version of "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug."

Our verdict for that film was that the ending was such a cliffhanger that you want to fast forward to one year after so we can watch the last movie.

Yesterday, we did. And it was worth the wait!

The story was well-told, the visuals were spectacular, and the action was awesome!

Maybe we can catch this again when the MMFF comes around this year.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reaching out

More than a decade ago, my friends from Adformatix and I decided that in lieu of gifts, we'd just put our gift money in a pot and do an outreach project for the less fortunate. One thing that came to mind was to throw a Christmas party for street kids. After all, Christmas is for kids and they deserve to have fun and joy this season.

Today, the tradition continued. We hosted 50 kids from the shanty area in NIA road, and as it was in previous years, it was a very heartwarming and gratifying experience.

It always was, and it always will be.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sa Keith

Although I was rooting for Lenox and Will, I knew deep inside that Keith would win.

I'm sure Tyra would make a male model win this cycle, and it would be better if the one who won would be someone from her own mold.

Okay, a male model won. Let's go back to the old format now.

Friday, December 12, 2014

FMM: Kala mo

Unlike Dad who owned hundreds of cassette tapes back in the 80s, I only had a few. Being a very young student back then, I spent my allowance on other things like toys and comics. But when I really liked a musical artist, I'd buy his or her cassette tape.

One of the cassette tapes I owned and was constantly being played with Kalapana. And my favorite song, "The Hurt."

Hearing this again makes me miss the 80s all over again.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Doppelganger Dad

I've made it very clear that my Dad and I are similar in a lot of ways, both physically and attitudinally.

Now, there's another item to be added in our list of similarities.

In 2014, we both celebrated our birthdays in Tokyo.

He went on a short trip to Japan with Mom, Tita Evelyn, Esther and Yoly, and their flight in was on his birthday! Thank goodness Mark was there to treat my parents to a good first meal in Japan.

Omedetou Tanjoobi Gozaimas(u), Dad!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Looks Greek to me!

Last night's Greco-Roman party was so much fun. (Despite the little hitch that happened as the night progressed.)

It's been a while since I really dressed up for a Christmas party, and I'm glad I decided to really Greek it out this year and come as Ares. I thought the costume was awesome, and apparently, a lot of people thought so, too. There were so many folks asking to have their picture taken with me that I felt like a mascot. Harhar.

I wonder where I can wear this costume again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Party Hat

I've been organizing parties and events for quite sometime, that's why when they assigned me to organize our office Anniversary party, I was more than willing and happy. I'm always glad to wear my party organizer hat.

I was so into the process that I even made renders of the ballroom and the stage, something that no one ever did before. (At least according to our Admin person.)

I'm now in the thick of making this render a reality, and so far, everything's going as planned.

It's going to be one fun party tonight!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Simply Immaculate

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I enjoy hearing mass on this feast day because of all the nice hymns about Mother Mary. Particularly this one:

Happy Feast Day, Mother Mary!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Fashion Force

Star Wars is such a merchandise-friendly brand that it has been reincarnated into so many things. Personally, I have mugs, mouse pads, action figures, and of course, shirts.

Most of my Star Wars shirts are from Uniqlo, and I'm very happy with them. When I found out that Folded and Hung was coming out with a capsule collection that's Star Wars themed, I was wondering what they'd bring to the table.

Then I saw this shirt:
It's so geeky that it's cool!

It looks like a regular pattern from afar, but it's actually Darth Vader and two lightsabers!

I'm going to have to fit this shirt soon.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Spanish Saturday

One of the best ways to spend Saturday is with the company of family, especially when some of the family members are people you only see once in a long time.

Tonight was one of those Saturdays. Our almost-whole family (Biboy is in the U.S.) had dinner with Tita Evelyn, Esther and Yoly, and Ricky and Jake arrived, too. Needless to stay, it was a story-filled and nostalgia-laden evening.

Next time, our family should go to Barcelona to have another get together like this.

Friday, December 05, 2014

FMM: Yo quiero!

My cousins and Tita from Barcelona are in town! We had dinner the other day, and I had a chance to practice a bit of my Spanish again.

In once conversation, we were talking about the Spanish songs we still remember, and that led me to today's Friday Magic Madness song, which is a very, very old song from Carmen Miranda.

But of course, people remember the T. Rio version, which is quite a throwback, too.

Either way, I still can't get enough of this song. Especially now.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The good godson.

Two weekends ago, Tanya told me that they'll be in town to celebrate the birthday of my godson, Diego. It's been 4 years since I last saw him, and I was excited to see him again.

Since Diego is a big fan of Ben 10, I decided to design a Ben 10 birthday cake for him. I'm glad that I did since he loved it! It went well with his Ben 10 shirt.

Diego is growing up to be a very nice and polite boy. That, aside from being very smart and a blue/green belter in Taekwondo. I'm sure that we can look forward to many, many good things from Diego in the future.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Dress up, Dress down

During Mom's birthday, Ate Bullet and Kevin posted photos of Mom with us on separate occasions.

These two photos were taken 2 years apart, and in two different locations. We're also dressed very differently in both shots. But I noticed that despite the time and location differences, we're positioned in the same spot in both photos.

This must be the official family photo pose then.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


If selflessness, generosity, devotion and amazingness were personified, it would definitely be Mom.

From the time we were born, up until now, she has shown us that there is contentment in selflessness, fulfillment in generosity, beauty in devotion, and perpetual awe in being awesome.

Happy Birthday Mom! We are truly, truly blessed to have you in our lives.

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's time!

Yes, when you're in the Philippines, Christmas unofficially starts in September. But in my book, the holidays really kick in when December 1 arrives.

And since today is December 1, hit it Andy Williams!

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

If you seek Amy

Amy Poehler, that is, then you should check out the new commercials of Old Navy. She's in them, and she's hilarious in them!

Well-written, well-acted, well-edited, and Amy Poehler! What's not to like about these commercials.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

This means wars!

Star Wars, that is!

They've finally released the teaser-trailer for Episode 7.

Now I'm all geeky and giddy.

Friday, November 28, 2014

FMM: That's news!

Today is Ate Bullet's birthday. And it's a Friday!

This calls for a mash-up!

The Friday Magic Madness song I chose is a song that Ate Bullet and I danced to when we were kids. (Yes, I used to dance when I was a kid. Go figure.) 

I still remember that party vividly. It was the Dela Merced's house in Morato, and each family had to prepare a dance number. First, we danced to Toni Basil's "Street Beat," and when they asked for an encore. the two of us danced to Huey Lewis and the News' "Heart and Soul."

That was fun. I'd never do it again, but it was fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Merchandising is everything

So I was at the Fully Booked branch in SM Megamall Fashion Hall when my eyes were drawn to a bag tag display area at one corner of the store.

I'd love to say that I was drawn to the area because of the fabulous tags on display, but I can't. 

Here's the reason why:

Seriously, what was the merchandising display person thinking?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And Makati makes three

The people behind H&M Philippines have been very busy.

They've been here for less than 2 months, and they're already opening their 3rd store. They have a faster rate of opening than HKG did back in 2007.

Christmas shopping is sure to be a lot more fun this year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First out the gate

This year was huge for designer collaborations.

From Target's team-up with Peter Pilotto and Joseph Altuzarra, to Alexander Wang's collection with H&M, to Kate Moss' return to Topshop, to Elie Tahari's turn at Kohl's - each one was much ballyhooed, and for good reason.

All these high end designer and mass brand team-ups are now leaving fashionistas wondering: "who's next?"

Well, Kohl's already gave us one answer.

It's Milly x Kohl's!

The first time I found out Milly was when I was still living in HKG. Automatically, I found her designs to be ultra-feminine and a lot of fun. And judging by her initial snaps of her collection, there's pretty much of that going around.

One brand down, I wonder who's next?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Two times the texture

With the weather getting nippier by the day, it's actually a good time to consider more textured clothing for everyday wear. Of course, our weather will never merit wool, cashmere or angora, but you can always wear something thicker, just like this textured dress that I got Ate Lissa.

The fabric is this heavy cotton knit blend, and it has an embossed design that makes it look like jacquard. But unlike jacquard, it's lighter and moves better.

If it becomes too breezy and your exposed shoulder is leaving you cold, you can always top it off with another texture - faux leather.

For our climate, faux leather is better because it's lighter. This H&M jacket has a lot of moto details, adding texture and giving it some edge.

Together, the two textures and colors meld nicely, making for a chic and cozy ensemble for a nippy day.

It's always more chic to dress for the cold.