Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The mallow touch

Methinks this is a good way to start an overcast Wednesday.

Buy a large cup of Hershey's hot chocolate from 7-11, then buy a small pack of marshmallows. Mix them together, and you've got comfort in a cup.

It's going to be a good day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Make me... proud!

I still remember the last time Britney Spears was on the VMAs stage.

It was in 2007 and I was checked-in at Manila Peninsula for a shoot. In bated breath, we waited for Britney to make her appearance. Nay, it wasn't just an appearance, it was a comeback. (Supposedly.)

And as everyone knows, that didn't turn out as well as people hoped it would.

Now, 9 years after that fiasco, she takes the stage again, showing the VMAs - and the world - that she still has it. With performance precision, she sings "Make me..." from her new album, "Glory."

Yes, she definitely still has it. Britney can still make me - and the world - ooooh!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Spotted! Part 2!

When I sent this photo to for submission, I wasn't sure if they'd post it. After all, it's quite risque.

But they did!

Now isn't it awesome to start the week with random photos?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Let's go, Coco!

Long before the milk and fruit tea craze came to Manila, it was something we'd enjoy daily at our office in HKG. There was this stall across AIA which served awesome teas and snacks, and not a week goes by without the creative team noshing on those for our afternoon snack.

That's how my fondness for tea drinks developed. (Vita Lemon Tea included!) That's also the reason behind my constant look out for new tea shops. Yes, my loyalty to SimpleLine and Chatime will always be there, but it's always good to scope out competition.

One such shop opened a few months ago inside Gateway Mall. It's a place called Coco, and looks like another Taiwanese chain.

At first glance, their menu isn't very impressive. They offer the usual suspects in the tea drink universe - pearl milk tea, choco milk tea, passion fruit green tea, and the like.

After almost giving it a pass, an item at the bottom part of the menu made me stop and order. It was a drink called Orange and Grapefruit Mountain tea.

(I feel like a giant in this shot.)

It's really, really good! The mountain tea flavor isn't as strong as the jasmine flavor of green tea, and the fruit combination gave it a pleasingly tart profile. The bonus is that they really use freshly squeezed orange! You could taste the pulp bits with every sip.

Sometimes it just takes one product to change your mind over a brand. And for Coco, this tea is definitely it.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Dear Metropoint mall,

"Please" isn't such a difficult word to spell, right?




Friday, August 26, 2016

FMM: One more time

Yesterday, we were watching James Corben's Carpool Karaoke featuring Britney Spears.

And just like Brit-Brit, it was legendary!

So, for today's Friday Magic Madness, we go back to where it all began.

Let's go Britney. Hit us baby, one more time!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kenzo it's you

With November 3 fast approaching, photos of the pieces from the Kenzo x H&M collaboration are starting to trickle in.

They released a photo of a dress from their collection, and the net just went wild for it.

Yes, it's very nice and artsy, but like the Balmain x H&M collection, it's something you can only wear a few times.

Plus, they released the price points, and it's pretty much like Balmain, too. The above dress, for example, is around US$200.

Zo, maybe not.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reaching the Finnish line

When I went to the U.S. last month, I was really hoping to catch a designer collaboration at either Target or Kohl's.

Alas, Target didn't have any. And while Kohl's had the Reed Krakoff collaboration, the stores close to Biboy's house were closed for business.

Luckily, when I checked out the clearance racks at Super Target in Alpharetta, I found that they still had some pieces from the Finnish fabric experts - Marimekko x Target collaboration last April.

I was able to snag the tunic, both for Ate Lissa and Ate Bullet (who was rocking it today.)

Then, this colorful kaftan which was for Mom.

And that adds one more name to the Target collaboration collection (Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, Joseph Altuzarra, Lilly Pulitzer) of my sisters.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Art of the skirt

I've written about several art-inspired dresses the past few months.

I've also written about several cool skirts the past few months.

Now, I'm writing about a cool, art-inspired skirt I found recently.

Here it is!

The first time I saw this art-printed skirt in some hidden corner of Robinson's Galleria, all I could say was: "sublime!" It was so sublime, I had to buy it on the spot.

Because the skirt is so ornate, the accompanying top should be very simple. But simplicity doesn't have to mean boring. That's where this off-shoulder top with long sleeves comes in.

Now that's an artful ensemble!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Have a guava

My love affair with guava started out at a very young age.

There was a guava tree in our house in Morato. There were guava trees in Lolo Iking's beach house in Bacacay, and in Lolo Doring's house in Malinao.

Because there were so many guava trees around, we'd often find ourselves noshing on guavas in the afternoon. We'll pick them straight from the tree, wash them in the nearest faucet, and snack on them with such gusto.

I still remember the satisfaction I get whenever I took a bite on a ripe guava, with it's green exterior and soft, pink interior. I also remember the frustration whenever we'd get stuck with those really hard ones.

From then on, I've always had a soft spot for guava.

Imagine my thrill when I found out that my favorite juice joint, Juice Avenue, now offers Guava Juice! I drop by Juice Avenue almost everyday, and usually order ripe mango, watermelon and guava. But on today's juice run, I saw this sign and my stomach jumped for joy.

Verdict? Well, Juice Avenue can do no wrong. Just like their other juices, this tasted all-natural and super delish.

Now, I have another flavor to add to my rotation.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Designer Dud

Most people who are familiar with fashion are also familiar with Miu Miu.

The younger and hipper line of the Prada fashion lineage, it's a cult favorite among cool girls. Among the celebrities who swear by Miu Miu are Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Stam and Chloe Sevigny. Yes, they're that cool.

Of course, Miu Miu is also known by it's cool and modern logo, which I've always liked.

I remember the Miu Miu store near my flat when I was still living in HKG, and it was constant source of creative joy.

Now here's the funny thing. Apparently, Miu Miu has a sister in China that she doesn't know about.

Presenting, Min Min!

Yes, I found this bag at the Landmark, and it's an obvious knock-off of Miu Miu. But they wisely inverted the "u" to an "n" to avoid any copyright debacles.

Yeah, right. Harhar.

But I must say, I laughed quite hard upon seeing this bag. Nothing like a designer dud to add humour to my Sunday.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stylish surprise

Sometimes, you see an interesting fashion item at an unexpected place. You check out the price tag, you're pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is, and you decide to buy it.

That's what happened to me and this dress that I saw tucked away in some quiet corner of Robinson's Department Store.

This nicely draped jersey dress was a steal at P1,099. They had Ate Bullet's size, so I knew I had to buy it.

As I was walking to the cashier, the sales lady told me that the dress was actually on sale, and it was 50% off! So, this beauty was just P550.

When the cashier scanned the item, there was another surprise.

Apparently, it was on clearance, and it was just P248!

This is now officially my best buy for the year-to-date.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Clair the air

When you're stuck in traffic for a few hours, you start to talk about the most mundane of things.

Today's topic in the car: 90s ballads.

It must be because we were shuttling between 89.9 and 105.3 and they were playing old songs. After all, it's Friday Magic Madness day.

Of course, the question of "what's your favorite 90s ballad" came up, and 3 of us had the same answer:

Yes, there were 3 Claire Marlo fans in the car!

This is still one of the best 90s songs in my book.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Counter strike

Most people know I'm a sandwich guy.

I can make and eat sandwiches the whole day. That's why my eyes are always on the lookout for good sandwich joints.

On my last day in ATL, Biboy decided to bring us to one of their favorite burger restaurants in the neighborhood - The Counter. It's a build-your-own-burger place which they swear by. And for good reason.

Their burgers were stellar! From the size, to the presentation, to the right mix of flavors, it all just worked together beautifully.

I ordered for the Turkey Chipotle burger after finding out that it had cranberries in it. This combination created that perfect blend of sweet-savory-spicy that was just mind-blowing. It was just one of the many, many, many choices they had on their menu.

Along with the sandwich, we had fries, onion rings, fried pickles (!), and a rootbeer float. This added up to the perfect soda-pop-ish lunch to cap off my trip to Georgia.

It was a perfect encounter with The Counter.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Gimme Moe!

In my few days in Atlanta, I tried to avoid eating at the same place twice. But I actually broke the rule in favor of Moe's Southwest Grill. I ate there twice.

What can I say? I'm such a huge fan of Tex-Mex food. Always have, even as a kid. Then, during my Mexico stay, the love for it grew even more.

Imagine my thrill after finding out that Moe's is actually in Manila! Apparently, they opened their first branch in BGC quite recently. Awesome news, since I don't have to fly to the U.S. to get my favorite Ancho Lime. (Which I hope they have here.)

Better Moe-sy along there soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Strange things

Back in my childhood, when you asked kids who among the superheroes they emulate and would want to be, the common reply would be either Superman or Batman.

But I wasn't a common kid.

Whenever I was asked who among the superheroes I wanted to be, there would always be 3 answers:

1. Hawkman
2. Firestorm
3. Doctor Strange

It was a thrill to see the first 2 superheroes in live action programs. Hawkman and Firestorm appear on "Legends of Tomorrow." Then, Doctor Strange is getting his own full-length film!

It's just a few months away, and a few days away from my birthday!

Now how's that for a birthday gift?

Monday, August 15, 2016


As an avid reader of spot, one of the things I look forward to is their "10 random photos to start the week." This is an article that comes out every Monday, and features funny photos of little oddities.

There's a photo I took at Flying Tiger in Tokyo, and I've always thought of submitting it.

Finally, I found the time to send it to them. Lo and behold, it's on today's edition of the article.

Yes, that's the title of the book!

Now this is what I call a real adult coloring book. Harhar.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Goody Two Shoes

As sales wrap up, they always find ways to make their merchandise more irresistible to shoppers. It can be a really big markdown, a special clearance price, and in some instances, a buy-one-get-one-on-clearance-items deal.

The last one was the tactic that Forever 21 employed this week. They had a buy-one-take-one offer for all clearance items. That made it impossible to not get these 2 pairs of classic red flats.

 Then, Piazza Italia had a similar promo, with 2 pairs of shoes for the price of one. That made these gladiator flats irresistible.

Two shoes for the price of one! It's during days like these that I'm fortunate to have two sisters.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

LFLTAT: Classics with a twist

Some fashion purists say that you shouldn't mess with classics. Especially tried and tested classics like the white shirt dress.

I disagree, though.

Just check out this cool, cotton shirt dress that I found at SM Department Store this week.

It has that classic fabric and silhouette, but notice how that waist has that twist of extra gathering that turns into a bow. Clever!

This type of dress works best with a classic wedge. But it can also have nice twists like a braided front. Yes, braided. It's literally a twist! After all, Christian Siriano is known for that.

Here's the great thing about this ensemble. Both pieces were actually on sale! There was a sale both at SM and Payless, so this classic outfit only rang up to P995! That P5 difference automatically qualifies this as a "Look for less than a thousand!"


Friday, August 12, 2016

FMM: Something New

In the advertising biz, we're always looking for something new. That's one of the sure ways of standing out in the crowd.

It's something we've been in the look out of late.

So, since it's Friday Magic Madness day, we thought, why not have a little new wave?

Not just new wave, but a New Life!

Thanks for this, Depeche Mode!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oh my how they've grown. Part 9!

Last night, we had dinner courtesy of the pilot in the family, my nephew Kevin! It was his first salary as a regular pilot, and he wanted to celebrate it with us. Such a nice and sweet gesture.

It's hard to believe that our little Kevintot who we used to carry around is now flying planes!

The kids have really grown up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lilly put

Okay. So we all know that last year, there was a collaboration between Target and Lilly Pulitzer. Just like their Missoni collaboration, it was hotly anticipated and everyone wanted a piece of it. Some camped out of Target stores, some stayed up until 12 midnight when the collection would go on-line.

As expected, the moment the items were available, chaos ensued.

First, there was chaos on-line.

Then, there were cleared out stores.

Suddenly, Lilly Pulitzer x Target was nowhere to be found.

Lo and behold, a year after, I found some of them at my Quezon Avenue haunt!

Luckily, they have the palm print jumpsuit that I was really eyeing from the collection!

And unlike the stuff you'll see on ebay, this Lilly Pulitzer item was much, much cheaper than the original price in dollars!

True to its aesthetic, the jumpsuit was fun and refreshing. It's something that you're most likely to wear at a summer soiree, or a Sunday visit to the mall. The spaghetti strap gives it a relaxed vibe, while the palm print is cool and soothing to the eye.

That is, after all, Lilly Pulitzer's forte. Awesome prints! And they carried that over to their Target collection.

Ate Bullet is very much into jumpsuits of late, so this will fit in perfectly with her wardrobe.

Here's to fabulous Lilly Pultizer finds at the Haunt!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Oh, lympics!

Watching the Olympic games on-line reminded me of something. I was actually at a former Olympic venue a few months ago!

One place that I wandered around in GA was the Olympic park. It was downtown and was at the center of almost everything. From there, I was able to go to the World of Coca-Cola, check out the Georgia Aquarium, and see both the Philips Arena and CNN Center.

Among locals, their favorite spot is the Olympic fountain. During summer, kids gather here in their swimsuits and beat the heat. It really looked like fun! If I were dressed for it, I might have joined in!

All-in-all, I'd say the Atlanta Olympic park deserves a gold medal for providing fun.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Seeing Silver! part deux

After a 20 year wait, another Pinoy finally went up the Olympic podium!

Hidilyn Diaz won silver at the weightlifting competition after the front runner - China - messed up. She was already assured of the bronze, but this twist of sporting fate moved her a notch higher.

Seeing her shedding tears of happiness while going up the podium left me a bit teary eyed, too. I could feel her pride and joy emanating from the computer screen.

Congratulations, Hidilyn. And here's to more medals from our athletes!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Carolina in my mind

Since I only had more than a week to spend in GA, I decided to spend as much time as I could with family.

But there was one thing I knew I had to do while I was there. There was an exhibit of Carolina Herrera's work at SCAD, and who would pass up the chance to see that, right?

I'm a huge fan of Carolina Herrera. In fact, I've written about her several times on this blog. The opportunity to see her work up close and personal isn't something that happens often. And I'm glad that I had the chance to do so.

The great thing about the exhibit is that it dates back all the way to her beginnings in fashion. I wasn't familiar with her work back in the 80s, and seeing her creations from that decade was a thrill. It goes to show that she had a strong vision and aesthetic even as she was just starting.

(Some Carolina Herrera originals from the 80s)

Another thrill came from the fact that some of the gowns I saw in person were famous gowns worn by some of my favorite celebrities. Gosh, I used to just look at these gowns in magazines, and now, I was in front of the actual thing!

One of those gowns was Taylor Swift's! And it's no secret that I love me some Taylor!

(Taylor Swift wore this!)

Another memorable piece was the wedding gown worn by Bella Swan (aka Kristen Stewart) in the film "Twilight."

(When I first saw this gown in the film, my first question was "Who made that?")

For hours, I just went around and around and around the exhibit, marveling at all the gorgeous creations of Carolina Herrera. And having seen a lot of her work in magazines and photos, they're no way as awesome as the original.

This museum visit was so inspirational, I think I'll bring out my chicken scratch pad and chicken scratch something very soon.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

That's news!

No visit to Atlanta is complete without dropping by the bastion of all things newsy!

Going to the CNN Headquarters rekindles that Mass Comm flame in my heart. Believe it or not, I dreamed of being a newscaster at one point in my life.

If that came true, this is definitely where I would've wanted to work.

Friday, August 05, 2016

FMM: Togetherness

There's a lot of togetherness going on in my life the past month.

From a short trip to Tokyo to spend time together with Mark, to a slightly longer trip to the U.S. to spend time with the family. Then, there's this project I'm working on, and it's also about togetherness.

So, for today's Friday Magic Madness song, I'm playing a feel good ditty on togetherness, by the 5th dimension, no less.

Togetherness. You gotta love it!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Sibling Revelry: Full House

The last time I shared a room with my brother was more than 20 years ago.

The last time my siblings and I were in the same house together was longer than that.

So, it was such a welcome change to be living with them, albeit only for a week.

We all gathered at Biboy's house in GA for a week, leading up to Jul's wedding. And during that week, it felt like we were kids again, living in Scout Gandia, doing things together.

It was so refreshing to be able to spend the whole day with them. From waking up and preparing breakfast:

to doing the groceries, and eating at mall food courts:

to hearing mass, going to far away outlet malls, and eventually, attending Jul's wedding as a family.

One thing I realized after that week was how much I missed spending that much time with my siblings. In fact, I was having a mild case of sepanx when the day of my departure was nearing.

I'm so glad that we had this opportunity, and I look forward to having another opportunity like this sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Far but familiar

After our meeting with one of my favorite clients, I remembered the fact that I saw one of their products when I was in the U.S. a few weeks ago.

Presenting Sarap Pinoy!

This is a line of ready-to-prepare Filipino desserts, including maja blanca (the best!), sapin-sapin, kutsinta, ginataang bilo-bilo, among others. This is an awesome way to get a taste of Pinoy desserts when you're abroad. In fact, this is what I usually bring Mark when I go to Japan.

It was actually a pleasant surprise to see this all the way in Duluth, GA. So pleasant that I had to take a photo and show it to my client.

This is proof that great products go a long, long way.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Smells retro!

Way, way, way, way, way back in the day - the 70s, to be exact - there were 2 must-have perfumes.

If you were a girl, you should be spritzing "Charlie," and for guys, it was "Jovan Musk."

Who would've thought that more than 4 decades after, those brands still exist!

Smells like longevity to me.