Wednesday, December 26, 2012

500 miles



After 15 years, my high school class finally had a "mini-reunion" last Friday. It.was.AWESOME. We went home around 7 a.m. the following day!

It was nice to see "the boys" successfully organizing everything: from the venue, to the food, and generally keeping the energy high and the conversation going.

Almost all of them are fathers now—they've always been nice to, almost protective of, us beckies in our junior and senior years, but I dunno, I guess I've missed being around straight male friends—but I really felt the love from them that night. Roel sort of made them promise that should they ever have a gay child, they'd treat him or her well. (Some of the quotable responses: "I've always thought it'd be cool to have a lesbian daughter," "I'd prefer a gay son over a lesbian," and the best one, "Becky or not, we are all brothers." LOL.)

We played drinking games, the consequences of which shall remain confidential. Also, I am someone's 'mancrush,' lol. (And he happens to be cute! In my head, I was like, "Now you tell me?" Lol.)


* * * *

Apparently, I have been living under a rock. I've just 'discovered' David Guetta.

Also, this has to be in my wedding party playlist:








Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Miss Universe 2012 bets (updated)


Postscript (12/21/12):

Bonggang, bonggang, bougainvillea!
Credit: www.missuniverse.com

I was floored by how she worked that otherwise questionable gown, fanning it out and waving it around like she was goddess of the wind.

She has also given us the best Q&A by a Filipina ever, one that made me confident we had it in the bag this year. (My tweet annoucing Philippines' win was ready; I had to delete it :-P)

Oh well. USA, with her perfectly symmetrical face and boobs, seems nice and looks like she'll be awesome for the job. All the same, I'm happy we've set a record by having three consecutive Top 5 placements. I hope the streak continues next year.

I got 7/16 guesses, excluding Croatia, which I mentioned below but didn't include in my final list. Missosology got 8/16, so I guess it's not that bad. There were a lot of surprises this year, but none as fab as this moment, when Venezuela (by the way, I love her and that's without any sarcasm; lakas maka-eksena ng lola nyo, lol) answered her question:






 LOL!!! And she still ended up in third place!
* * * * 

Aight, let's see if I can manage to get a passing rate this time :-P Ever since Donald Trump started personally picking some of the finalists, I've done very poorly in guessing who makes the cut in the finals. (Also, holding the contest in December is not a good idea! With all the holiday rush, I barely had the time to follow this pageant. I can't believe I haven't blogged about the National Costumes for the first time in years :-(  Hopefully I can squeeze it in later.)

These are ladies who I think have what it takes to make it all the way to the Top 5: (All photos are from www.missuniverse.com.)

Australia

Brazil

Colombia

Paraguay

Philippines



Moo x Facebook cards



Last week, I received a postal card in the mail, saying I had a parcel waiting for me at the Makati Central Post Office. The only thing I ordered online was my batch of Facebook cards from Moo, but I wasn't expecting that until December 31, as was indicated in my order confirmation.

"Ooh, maybe this is a delayed birthday surprise!" I told myself. (Feelingero! Lol.)

Well, as it turned out, it was in fact, my Facebook cards! (Still, yay! Lol.)



That came in fast! I remember the last time I ordered my Moo cards, it took two months before they arrived. (Though, Moo more than made up for it by sending me one other free set—I still haven't used up all 400pcs!)

Environment-friendly!


This time though, my order was held up in the post office. (My previous order arrived in my mailbox.) I had to pay the standard P40, but then that's it. I ordered on November 24, it was shipped out of London on November 26, and it arrived here on December 10, or 10 business days later.

Facebook cards are FREE for a limited time. Aside from the postal fee, I only had to pay £2.75 (about P184) for the shipping fee, and that's it—you get 50 free business cards! Moo will import up to the first 50 of your Facebook cover photos and you'll get equal quantities of each design.

Yay, indeed!
The card holder includes tabs so you can separate your cards from those you receive from associates.


I'm happy with how mine turned out :-)

My photo of the Zuellig building (with Snapseed filters) looks blurry here, but in person, it looks okay.




I also like how my David Hockney cover looked.




You can customize everything, save for the job title and address icons. For the profile photo, you can only choose one. Make sure yours is cropped properly. Note how mine has white in the edges. Once you've uploaded everything in Facebook, make sure you don't change anything (e.g., cover and profile photos, Facebook URL) until Moo has confirmed that your order has been printed and shipped out.



At the back, you can choose a quotation or whatever statement you'd like to share. In my case, I opted for a simple message. The Facebook URL is there by default I think, so make sure you customize yours to avoid printing out the default alphanumeric URL. The rest of the contact details may be edited.



Aside from the Facebook cards, they also have other stationery available, which are at 10 percent off, using my referral URL. Enjoy! :-)






Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Au Chocolat Tea from Lupicia



Mich, who is living in Japan, sent over chocolate black tea (The Au Chocolat) from Lupicia a few months ago. I finally brewed a batch early this morning and I fell in love.

Opening the package was pure pleasure: you immediately get a whiff of rich dark cocoa as if I had a tablet of tablea in front of me.


The Au Chocolat Tea from Lupicia is blended with cocoa nib and powder.



Brewing took me no more than two minutes and the water turned into a deep golden color. Being partial to green tea, I normally find black tea too strong for my taste, but the background flavor for this one was smooth and full-bodied with almost no astringency. It added depth to the top note, which had a roasted, chocolate aroma.


Even with a few millimeters left, the liquor still has a rich golden color.


I haven't tried it with milk and sugar, which I read gives it a whole new different flavor, but as it is, it is perfect for breakfast or dessert.





Monday, December 17, 2012

A zombie-themed Christmas gift-wrapping contest


We've had a grand Christmas dinner among close friends for the last four years but it was only last year when we started to implement a gift-wrapping challenge. This meant we had to wrap the gift ourselves. It's not any of my strongest suits; in fact, that was the first time I ever wrapped present in my life, so I was pretty darn proud when I ended up with this.



Of course, my friends' boxes were much better. :-P

This year, we added a twist: we were going to have a theme from now on. And Jill, being the winner last year, set the theme: Zombie Apocalypse. I was floored.

The first thing I did was google, "Zombie gift wrap," but that did not help. There were no results, not even for wrapping gifts the Halloween way. (Most results showed a Halloween gift guide.)

It did not help that at this time, stores have removed their Halloween-related stock to make way for jolly and festive Christmas stuff. Quite a number of us actually went to malls and asked the salespersons for "anything horror" much to their puzzlement.

On the day of the event, when we all arrived at Jill's home, everyone kept their work secret until the very last minute, although there were traces. I, for example still had lip tint stains on my fingernails because that's what I used for blood. ("Sosyal!" Tatin quipped, lol.) Also, everyone was like, "Nakakahiya yung akin" or "Wala, talo na ko." (Pero hello, nung ni-reveal, mga kabogera naman!) Only Pam seemed very confident with her work, and as it turned out, she had reason to.

It was also interesting that I expected our gifts would somehow all look like, but as it turned out, we all had a different approach! (All photos by Pam and Jill.)

Except for Jill, everyone kept their wrapping under... erm, wraps.





Thursday, December 13, 2012

My 2012 national costume for Philippines

Every year, I try to draw a national costume for our Miss Universe representative. I've done the jeepney, an homage to the People Power revolution, and the palaspas. This year, since the pageant is taking place in December, I thought, why not make Christmas as my theme? (As it happens, it will be in fact the theme for this year's event.) And so, without any further ado, here's Miss Philippines as a parol, lol:




Christmas is huuuge in the Philippines. Carols are heard in radio stations as early as September and decorations go up even before Halloween. It is only one of two countries (the other being Colombia), which holds a Simbang Gabi, a novena of nine Christmas dawn masses that start on December 16.

With all the Christmas sights and sounds that the Philippines has to offer, none perhaps is as ubiquitous as the parol. The lantern symbolizes the star of Bethlehem, which guided the Three Kings into finding the child Jesus. It can be as simple as a string of barbecue sticks wrapped in papel de hapon or as elaborate as the three-storey high ones that compete in the lantern festival in Pampanga. (My relatives in Canada made sure to bring some back home—of course, not the giant ones—when they vacationed here, and they became popular in the neighborhood!)



For my design, I figured that the idea behind the costume is heavily Christian, so I made sure that it would also reflect Mindanaoan culture. The pattern and silhouette are Maranao and I would have made this more colorful with an explosion of pink, maroon, and coral, but I opted to use black, brown, and gray in light of the recent calamity brought by typhoon Pablo.

The sleeves are exaggerated to resemble the latern's 'tails,' and glitters of tiny Christmas stars complete the gown's look.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cloud Atlas: A veritable cheerleader




Cloud Atlas makes a beautiful point. On one level, it nags you: why the f*ck are you living a boring life? (Rest assured the movie put it more elegantly.)

The stronger and more solid argument is: you are important to this world more than you could ever process it. It's as trite as nuggets of wisdom can be but with six plots that span across six timelines (the film runs close to three hours), the message had to be palpable.

In one, friendship is the aboliton of slavery. In another, music is the delicate maneuvering of sexual tension. My favorite, truth is revolution. "If I had remained invisible, the truth would have stayed hidden and I couldn't allow that," says one protagonist. "Now, someone knows."

It is your duty to matter—hopefully, for good reasons.

* * * *

We chose the 11 p.m. screening and we got out of the theater close to 2 a.m.—pucha, ba't wala naman nag-warning sa 'kin, lol. So there, consider yourself warned :-)

Also, I almost always fall asleep during late-night screenings but Cloud Atlas kept me awake the entire time.

My mind was racing during the first three quarters of the film, trying to stitch together the characters who all figure in the six plots that run in different timelines ALL concurrently. It was only when I stopped trying that it became more entertaining (so there's another tip).

Personally, I think the reincarnation references were more a production device than an integral part of the storyline. (So they could use only this particular set of actors; then again, I haven't read the book.) It was distracting having to guess for example, if the actor under all those prosthetics was indeed Halle Berry or Hugh Grant, etc. (By the way, some of the visual effects were successful, others were disconcerting.) So if you could shut that part of your brain wherein you're trying to guess who's who, then good.



Rating: 8/10

* * * * 

The becky subplot = .
Audience members who jeered/expressed ickiness at the sight of two guys kissing = @#$%!@!!!

Seriously.

This reminds me of a straight guy, I won't say from where, who I heard complaining that a gay guy was looking at him.

Yung straight guy mukhang paniki (specifically, si Bartok)!!! So sa mga straight dyan na kung mandiri sa bading, pwede ba, magkape nga kayo. Ang dami nyo kayang pangit, mabaho, at sakit sa ulo ng magulang nyo. Hmp.




Friday, December 07, 2012

Same Love (Happy Manila Pride Day!)


Thank you to @candypop for introducing me to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. (I'm a frustrated hip hop music lover :-P Seriously. My iTunes' first ever Genius Mix is 'Neo Soul.') I was entertained enough by their song, Thrift Shop to get their entire album, and while listening to it at work, this song, Same Love, played.

When I googled for its music video, this beautiful and poignant film was the result:





* * * * 

While having lunch earlier today, we teased a colleague to schedule a date with her husband so they could hold hands while walking. She pretended to look disgusted (as I'm sure she was kidding) but I did tell the all-straight group not to take seemingly small things like that for granted because for gay couples, that is not something we can do in public without inviting ridicule or worse.

On that note, Manila will be celebrating Pride March tomorrow, December 8, in Makati. For details, visit www.facebook.com/manilapridemarch and www.twitter.com/PrideMarch_MLA.





10 reasons I'm in love with Godfrey Gao


1.
He is the first Asian male model to represent Louis Vuitton in all of its 157 years.



2.
He is tall. He's 6'5".





3.
His Instagram feed isn't all photos of himself, though that's actually something to complain about :-P



4.
He is fighting the hotness by being scruffy.

Here he is clean-shaven with a clean haircut:



Here he is dirty--but the hotness cannot be contained!



5.
He could be becky!!! :-))))

Photobucket



6.
I like it that he has eyebags.






7.
One day he's payatot, then the next day, buma-buff:









8.
Butt cleavage!!! That 'V' line!





9.

"Gao also related how he bonded with his mother over facials.
"I would grind the serum and we'll put it on our faces. When it was dry, we wouldn't be able to talk (as the masks had hardened).

"I would think to myself, 'Whoa. This is a pretty cool experience'"

10.
THIS.









Monday, December 03, 2012

Jeopardy


Went home to my mother's hometown last Saturday to celebrate my Lolo's 94th birthday.




The food alone was worth it—I ate with my hands, which is how I actually eat at home, but nevertheless, it felt different being outside the house and in the company of those outside my immediate circle.

In a way, I was dreading this mini-reunion because I was sure I was going to be asked about when I plan on settling down; however, they directed those questions at another male cousin—I didn't realize until then that I have one older bachelor cousin left. If he gets married (I think he's engaged now, I'm not sure), then that's the time I'll bear the brunt of marriage questions.




Relatives are nosy, aren't they? Though I can't blame them because those seem to be the only topic they can conjure for small talk: marriage, kids, and weight.

If you're single, they'll ask you when you're going to get married.

If you're married, they'll ask you when you're going to have a kid.

If you're married with one kid, they'll ask when you plan to have another.

If you have kids, plural, who happen to be both (or all) boys or all girls, then they'll ask you if you're trying to gun for the opposite sex.

If you're married with kids—and congratulations, you have a boy and a girl—then they'll ask you why you're fat.

My relatives have been nice enough to keep mum about a cousin who's a single parent. They've also been mum about why I've never introduced a girlfriend ever—I hope it's because they're scared of what I might answer. :-P







Saturday, December 01, 2012

Finally, Casual Vacancy

Reading JK Rowling's latest novel, that book that is her follow up to the Harry Potter series, is a test of patience. I got this sense when, after the first few pages, I noted that JK is on a roll introducing one character after another after another. That's about seven families or 30 characters. (Incidentally, I am very poor with names: I actually had to print out a character guide provided for by The Telegraph.) What's amazing is that I got to truly know all of them. She described everything in perfect detail––JK took her sweet time in painting a picture of their looks, clothes, houses, furniture, mannerisms; the neighborhood and its streets, its local politics, the town square, its history––so much so that I couldn't wait for her to hurry up.
 
I had a deadline to finish: I needed to finish the book by the end of November. I started reading it mid-October. As of two weeks ago, I haven't even made it past the halfway mark. I began complaining to friends. I flip pages after pages with nothing keeping me excited. I kept asking, "What's the point?" and JK seemed to have answered back by ignoring my question completely, with her nose turned up as she filled the pages with even more ultra descriptive narrative to upbraid me for my impatience. It was only when I relaxed and immersed myself in the moment did I start to truly enjoy the book. It would take the last 100 pages before I'd feel rewarded.
 
* * * * *
 
 
 
I've always wondered how much pressure there is to raising children. A child's character is as certain as the number of alternative realities and choices out there. Casual Vacancy gave me time for introspection as I read about parents whose choices bore monumental effects on a child's life, and eventually, to a community (i.e., what does that child end up contributing to society; how am I keeping my parents' values alive?) I realized JK wove a tapestry of families and their stories to show exactly how (as much as cliché it sounds) we're all bounded together: your choices affect my life.
 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paper, lots and lots of paper (updated)

The moment I saw Daphne's blog post on Isabel Gatuslao's paper products, I knew I had to have them. And when I finally had the chance to go to the mall earlier (Powerplant), I headed straight to National Bookstore for them.

They are as pretty in person as they are online. I got the dog with houndstooth design and the eagle emblem with chevron:






They are also as thick as advertised so you won't have to mind which pen to use, and are proudly made in the Philippines. Finally.





I then made an inventory of the notecards I have at home. (I keep a couple in my office.)





These were given by Pam and Jill when they got back from their New York vacation. The purple ones are by Cynthia Rowley, while the earthy ones are Creative Papers by C.R. Gibson. (The latter also remind me of Cathy Kidston prints.) They are perfect to use during the summer or to send to my girly friends.

While I was in the middle of my "shoot," my sister came and proudly showed me a stationery which she had just bought herself:

LOL

Speaking of which,



This was also given by Pam and I haven't found the right occasion to use them. I'm thinking they'll nicely go with bridal shower gifts or for kids or for whenever I'm in the mood for a prank or silly present.

These meanwhile are gorgeous:



They were given by Tatin as a birthday present. Whereas Isabel's note cards are thick, these ones by Crane are thin (made of 100% cotton paper) but still elegant in their own way. The initial is hand-engraved, while the richly thick envelope is lined with gold in linen texture.

Available in National Bookstore.



I've blogged about these (The Art of Writing 'Thank You') and I'm still in love with them. The notecards are also in linen finish and feature an embossed Eiffel tower design.

Printed by Peter Pauper Press. They are stocked in Fully Booked.





This is another birthday gift by Tatin, and I'm down to my very last card. These are by a local company, Paperio, and I love the masculine, art deco feel to it. They're thick too and have served me well; I think I'm keeping this last piece for myself :-)

I'll update this tomorrow with the ones I have in the office, particularly the one that Jill bought in Venice, which features a baroque design with gold details.

* * * *

Here are the notecards which I've stashed in the office, in case of emergencies. These are my default ones:



And these are the carta di Firenze given by Jill when she toured Italy.




I love the intricate details. It's even more breathtaking in person; when I write on it with my awful penmanship, it's like I'm vandalizing a work of art! :-P







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