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:


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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lee Min Ho–so up close

My interview on Lee Min Ho is out today. Here's our photo together, haha:

Credit: Jill Lejano

I was too shy to ask for a proper one; he was already late for the media press conference happening on the other side of the hotel and his entourage was in a real hurry. Anyway, I think this is one of my few photos in action. Also, 'sup low V, haha.

Lee Min Ho–so up close

On his TV show “Boys Over Flowers,” which catapulted him to fame not only in South Korea but also in Asia, Lee Min Ho played the leader of bullies who lorded it over an exclusive high school.

He’s tall, good-looking, and spoiled rich—in one episode, to infuriate a “commoner” who was traveling on a tugboat, he used a cruise ship to try to overturn it with massive waves.

There’s a catch: this bully, this guy feared by all, has permed bangs.

They were nothing like Michael Jackson’s curls, which by the way, he must have had naturally. They were more like a poodle’s pouf, deliberately fashioned on Lee Min Ho’s forehead.

That he made such a character believably vicious, when he could have been ridiculed for looking like a toy dog speaks something of his acting chops. That he made female fans derive masochistic delight from his tyrannical antics speaks volumes about his charm.

In the end, the beastly character softened, and Lee Min Ho, the actor, became a certified Asian star.

Read more.
* * * * 
The stars aligned’

Before his press conference, Super sat down with Lee Min Ho for a private interview. In our chat, which was translated by Sam Oh, he shared what ultimately made him start taking fashion seriously and what was supposed to be his secret, which he thinks his fans don’t know about.

What is your first impression of the Philippines? How was the crowd of fans at the airport?

I feel like I’m on vacation. It’s cold in Korea now, so the warm weather is a nice change.

In other countries, in my experience, the fans only come out after immigration, but here, they were there pre-immigration so that was a little surprising, but I was happy to see them. (What I was thinking: Aha, airport employees!)

Read more.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Throwback Survey: The Liebster Blog Award

Yesterday, I received a pleasant surprise when, upon reaching the end of Deepa's post, I read that she nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Liebster, she wrote, means "favorite" in German and so I'm honored to be part of her list.

Deepa and I are former work colleagues who used to be seated next to each other. (Nung una, dedmahan galore pa kami until ayun, nagbaklaan na din kami eventually, lol.) While I eventually transferred to a different floor, she has since transferred companies and later, countries! We last saw each other almost a year ago at a Christmas dinner, wherein she told me that one of her 2012 goals was to become a mommy. So I was more than thrilled when I heard the news that she and Marlon finally had unprotected sex and were successful at it, LOL!

The nomination comes with 11 questions and "the duty to pass on the award to blogs with a relatively small following." In nominating blogs, I pegged the small ones to those who are not Tavi Gevinson (lol) so I hope you don't take offense.

First, Deepa's questions!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a dentist mainly because our family dentist was cute—I remember him being moreno, hefty in a teddy bear kind of way, and bedimpled. Once, he asked me to assist him; I was so nervous I dropped one of his tools, and that pretty much ended my 'career.'

In 1994, when I was 13, Manila hosted the Miss Universe pageant—that changed my life goals quite a bit, lol.

Although I've always loved writing as a kid, it wasn't until college when I knew my work just HAD to involve the written word.

What’s your favorite thing to have for dessert?

Not sure if they qualify as dessert but tea or coffee are my staple post-meal ritual.

Right now, I'm eating halo-halo from Chowking :-)


Favorite time of day?

Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., when the sun isn't much as a prick as it is in the morning and noon.

Did you ever wish you had a different name? If yes, what name did you secretly want?

My given names are Harold Jason. I hated the former; it didn't roll off my tongue comfortably so I preferred to be called by my second name.

Together, my names mean "The warrior (Harold) who heals (Jason)." It was only when Craig, an American pastor friend of mine, drew parallelism between their meaning and Jesus' work that I truly appreciated my name.

Sea or mountains?

I love the beach; I would love to get married on one someday :-)

Where do you live and what do you like most about living there?

I was born and raised in Mandaluyong City. I'm a short walk away from the Pasig River, which is being rehabilitated by environmental groups. From being toxic, the river is now able to sustain marine life, such that old folks are now able to fish there in the morning. I like the idea that I can measure my city's progress in such terms.

View of Makati from Mandaluyong City

I look forward to the day when the waters become pristine again as they were once described in Jose Rizal's novels.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Lately, I've been reading articles on Hillary Clinton and Grace Coddington. To take their place for a day might bring down two great institutions: the US government and Vogue, so I'm wary about having to make important decisions on their behalf.

Name three places at the top of your travel wish list.

Basco, Batanes
Credit: My sister

Batanes, my father's hometown, in the northernmost island of the Philippines. On paper, this should be easy to check off my bucket list, but for some darn reason, I'm always putting it off for next year. Maybe in 2013, who knows.

When my sister went there two years ago, the town—comprised mostly of relatives—literally prepared a feast for her. I'm looking forward to experiencing that as well and rediscovering my roots.

The other two would be Tokyo and (Stockholm) Sweden because from a design standpoint, I love how they both have a strong minimalist culture, and yet, somewhere (I can't exactly pinpoint), they branch off to two different directions/aesthetics. (And hello, the boys.)

Who is your favorite fictional character?

It's a toss-up between Ammu in The God of Small Things and Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha—two strong and misunderstood women.

What are you reading now?

Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. At every turn of the page, all I can manage to scream in my head is, "What's the point?! What's the point?!"

What was the last thing you made with your hands?

I considered my gift wrapping such a success, I had to take a photo.

I'm not very good with my hands so aside from letters which I most often don't mail, it must be the gift I wrapped myself for my barkada's annual Christmas Party.

This year, our theme is Zombie Apocalypse. (I know, right?)

* * * * 

I'm nominating:

My questions are:

  • What did your first ever blog look/read like?
  • Go back to your blog entry at this same period last year. What's it about?
  • What is your writing gadget/tool of choice?
  • As a kid, who/what did you hate the most?
  • What/who made you smile the last?
  • Let us hear a good news from you :-)
  • Which actor would play you in a film?
  • Kindly recommend a sexy movie.
  • What fashion tip/grooming product do you most swear by?
  • What should people NOT BUY for you this Christmas?
  • What are you wishing for this Christmas?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Film: Rosemary's Baby

This was a spillover from my Halloween movie marathon; I managed to see this only the other night. I knew the plot included satanism, so I tried to delay watching it because from previous experiences, the films that cost me days' worth of sleep––The Exorcist and The Exorcism of Emily Rose––both involved the devil.

It was then quite a surprise that I actually loved the film.

Mia Farrow's character is class.

I love how she waltzes around in her penthouse unit in pigtails, and trapeze and baby doll dresses, and at night, swathes herself in billowing night gowns.

It was also in this movie that she launched her much-publicized Vidal Sassoon five-point haircut, which was referenced in the film.

Husband: (seeing the haircut for the first time): What is that?!
Rosemary: I paid for Vidal Sassoon
Husband: How could you pay for that?

LOL. What does he know?

The haircut proved to be a wise choice because it showed off her graceful neck, high cheekbones, and beautiful features.

As for the movie, I read that director Roman Polanski opted to film scenes with as little cuts as possible: the camera is slow and lingering; you follow the actors around, watch their movements... and wait. This is as opposed to how horror movies are done these days, wherein sudden sounds or visuals are created to jolt the unsuspecting viewer; there is NONE of that here. In Rosemary's Baby, fear is a constant hum that lasts you until the very last shot. My heart was pounding throughout the whole time as my mind raced for what the possibilities might be.

A definite classic! They don't make movies like this anymore.

Rating: 10/10

Monday, November 19, 2012

Food: Momo Cafe

The Ayala Triangle branch includes a loft that provides an overview of the normally buzzing restaurant.
Credit: Momo Café Facebook

When I invited my friends to have dinner at Momo Café, they asked me what it serves and I had to give it some thought before replying, "playful American." (Though in retrospect, I think the broader genus "Western" would have been more appropriate.)

For sure, it serves comfort food in the sense that all dishes are meant for sharing, and not because they're the type that Pinoys would feel sentimental about. The only Filipino dishes in the menu are those that are under All-Day Breakfast, whose servings include atchara and salted eggs with tomatoes. I recommend Mrs. Jones Tapa, a leaner counterpart to the one served in Mr. Jones, which is under the same group of Raintree Restaurants as Momo's.

Momo's tapa is a leaner version of the favorite from Mr. Jones.

Nevertheless, the Pinoy restraint is a sound decision: its Triangle Gardens branch is sandwiched between Kanin Club and Chef Laudico's BFast - All Day Breakfast Cafe, whose menus are heavily Filipino. In the area, Momo has a niche of its own: a homey and family-friendlier version of Friday's or Chili's.

Diners are served with toasted bread and pimento cheese with compliments of the restaurant.

On a different outing with my family, we ordered the Mexican Tower of Power, which to our pleasant surprise, was not pizza but a tower of nachos. In between the chips were chili con carne, mushrooms, olives, pickles, bell pepper, and various greensall generously drizzled with dripping cheese. My family enjoyed it so much before, I recommended it to friends. This time though, the cheese tasted watery and bland so the dish had a sloshy texture when eaten.

Hit or miss: Momo's Tower of Power Mexican pizza

Momo's Gourmet Salad was more consistent: it remained as fresh and delightful as it was on my first try with my family. It consists of cheese, eggs, a slice of orange, grapes, mushrooms, tomatoes, and caramelized walnuts, served with vinaigrette.

The cheery colors of Momo's Gourmet Salad

The 12-inch, thin-crust pizzas (Four Cheeses and Pepperoni) were as classic and beautifully toasted as pizzas can be. It's worth noting that they were served (along with the rest of our dishes) within 10 minutes after we ordered even if it was a full house.

The Four Cheeses and Pepperoni pizzas are served with generous toppings.

The restaurant, despite its relatively spacious two-level branch at Triangle Gardens, fills up quickly starting at 6 p.m. especially now that the park's Christmas Lights show has officially started. For some peace and quiet, lunch on the weekends is advisable.

Overall, I don't think I've been disappointed by Momo Café, though I definitely must find out what Momo means on my next visit.

Momo Café

Ayala Avenue, Ayala Triangle

+63 2 621 6161

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lee Min Ho still needs to learn how to beso-beso

I met Gu Jun-pyo (Lee Min Ho) yesterday! (Yes, to me, he's still the Boys Over Flowers actor :-P) It's funny because before, I used to make fun of his character on the TV show. ("Um, why would you allow yourself to be bullied by a guy with permed bangs?") Then I finally decided to give his show a chance, and before I knew it, I was hooked and swooning over him.

Boys Over Flowers is the Korean version of Meteor Garden, which is the Taiwanese version of what is originally a Japanese manga. It's the story of four ultra rich boys (as in they whisk their ladies on a whim to um, New Caledonia on a private jet) who lord it over an exclusive high school. Joon Pyo is their leader and it's easy to hate him at first, but then of course, as you'd expect, he has a change of heart and then becomes charming.

What I didn't expect was that I'd eventually meet the actor in person.

Under the glare of camera flashes, Lee Min Ho greets his fans.

Shortly before his press conference, I had the chance to have a private interview with him. Since I was a fanboy, I was a little jittery, which Jill and Pam both noticed when we met up at the lobby of Shangri-La Makati. In my defense, I had two cups of coffee before the interview—then a mango martini, in my hope to calm my nerves. (Of course, that didn't work.) But I'm really good at pretending not to gush or swoon over guys so I'd like to think I was at my most professional when I did finally get to sit down with him. Unfortunately, I can't say anything about the interview until the article gets published aside from he was quite animated despite having to do the interview practically straight from the airport. I wish he could speak English though—it was funny how he'd look and smile at me while answering my questions and I was nodding my head like "Yeah" when of course, I wasn't understanding a single thing he was saying, lol. (Sam Oh, who I'm also a fan of, translated for us.)

After posing for photos for Jill, he was immediately whisked away to Rizal Ballroom for the press conference, which he was already late to because his delayed flight pushed back his schedule.

I was then able film snippets of that event, including the failed beso-beso with Sam, lol:

On his first Philippines visit and on having so many fans:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Good job

This morning, I did not have enough time to browse through The Sartorialist's book or even carefully select what to wear. I suspect that would be the case for 4 out every 5 days: I prefer to hit the snooze button, check my Twitter and Flipboard feeds, read the news, and THEN, get up for work.

Anyway, here's what I ended up mixing and matching:

A grade schooler could've tucked that shirt better.

I have a Uniqlo shirt with pinstripes in mavy blue, a color which I'm beginning to seriously love (I've never been a one-color loyalist); H&M belt which Tatin gave me (and which has since gained an old-world patina); and pants from Arthur's.

I realized that those pants were one of two that I had tailored before going into my corporate job, which means I have maintained my waistline fairly well since that has been close to nine years ago. To be fair, it does cinch a bit uncomfortably with some muffin top action going on, but that's all rendered practically invisible thanks to the wonders of a tucked-in shirt.

I just noticed that the shirt is similar to the one on the photo (left) in my preceding post. What's up.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Closer: The Sartorialist's second book

If you follow my Instagram, this photo, taken from The Sartorialist's second book Closer, was what inspired me to wear a crisp white shirt and seriously ripped jeans to work earlier today.

Before I go on, here's a backgrounder: I slept at 4 a.m. and had to wake up three hours later for work. I saw three different clocks––those in my bedroom, bathroom, and sala––and I took my sweet time showering because I knew I was right on sched. After my bath, that's when I realized that wait, I was in fact, already an hour late. My watches were all synchronized correctly, but somehow my brain read them all differently. Weird.

Since I was already late anyway, I decided to flip through Closer, which was one of Pam and Jill's birthday gifts to me this year. I normally scan the book at night which is problematic because by the time inspiration builds up and I'm itching to wear something nice, I realize I've really nowhere else to go and nothing else to do but sleep. So yes, I think reading this in the morning makes way more sense.

Anyway, I ended up on that page, hence my getup. It's a lovely book. I wouldn't want to say "the photos were carefully picked" because that seems to suggest they're contrived; rather, Scott Schuman carefully chose his subjects. They do inspire me to put a little more effort to what I'm wearing.

I have his first book as well, which featured more summer/spring wear and hence, more relatable to me. Nevertheless, Closer has a more refined and diverse aesthetic, never mind if its subjects were most often photographed wrapped in the thickest of cashmere.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Film: In Skyfall, James Bond shows he gets tired of life too.

I'm not sure if the three venti-size cups of latte I had in the last six hours prior to watching the movie helped, but Skyfall did keep me awake and engaged throughout its 2 hour, 23-minute run. (Although it did feel much longer.)
I liked how this time, James Bond seemed more an actual person, and not some caricature or superhero that is immune to bullets, or essentially death. In this installment, even M, played with such commanding brevity by Judi Dench, gains humanity.

The British government is deliberating the closure of its secret service agency after failing to plug a catastrophic security breach. In the process, it goes through, I must say, that banal debate on the new versus old. What you get are a bunch of new characters (which should breath new life to future Bond sequels), while the old ones mull creeping mortality, purposeless futures, and gasprepressed childhood memories. The good thing though (or bad, if you're feeling particularly sleepy at the screening) is this string of rumination bring forth vignettes that take you to exotic Turkey, Shanghai (with the satisfyingly minimalist fight scene) and Macau (those komodo dragons!), and the sweeping melancholic landscape of Scotland (gorgeous!).
Villain Javier Bardem (Raoul Silva) injects a particularly delicious sexual angle into his characterwhich Bond gamely responds to, to my and the audience's approval. The Bond girl, the sultry Bérénice Marlohe, almost seemed like an afterthought to give way to a rich story line involving Bond, Silva, and M; nevertheless, she steals the spotlight with her gorgeous see-through mesh gown in one scene.
If I have major problems, it's that scene where they're all just panting about like breathless marathon non-finishers; and that the opening credit was a dud. As for the song, I'm a fan of Adele but I'll give her single a pass.
Rating: 9.5/10


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