The Pitfalls of Dating in the Modern Times

>> Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mary: I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting.
Mary, played by Drew Barrymore in the movie He's Just Not That Into You, 2009

Over beers at a quaint little place along Timog, a friend and I discussed about the wonders of the Internet. And how it wreaked havoc can wreak havoc to our dating lives. After much debate, laughs and cringing, our collective question was: In the world of mobile phones, emails, Skype, Facebook, Y!M, and Twitter, is there really no escaping communication? Of course you do know my love affair with the internet, yeah?



In a normal Philippine dating setting, a guy asks for your number, either from you or a friend. When you've reached a level of comfort, or a stream of mutual interests, he tells you, " I have to add you on Facebook, so I can post cool links on your wall." When either one of you is away, you rely on BBM {Blackberry Messenger} , Skype or email to bridge the gap and not spend an extra single cent. When both of you are in the same zip code, but can't talk, you send each other mobile messages/SMS just to let the other party know you've been thinking of him/her.

In this day and age, can anybody ever really escape someone anymore?

I've had my share of technology-driven dates, if that was the rightful term. By this, I'm referring to dates, semi-relationships flourished and nurtured by technology, some have gone awry, of course.

Take this one instance: I was seeing a guy whom a friend introduced to me. My friend warned me: he's a geek. He knows his way with a PC, can make it do whatever he wants and he has a team of researchers all at his beck and call. I really should've taken that as a sign, any guy who would go the distance of doing more than just Googling me obviously has nothing to do with his time.

But I went ahead with it.

Once during a time I was preparing for a date with him, my Yahoo! Messenger blinked.

Him: Ready yet?
Me: Not yet, maybe in the next 30 minutes I'll be out the door.
Him: Should I meet you in an hour?
Me: Can you make that two? I have no idea how bad the traffic is going to Makati.
Him: But you'll just be coming from {the street where I live}
Me: Yeah, it'll take me about an hour. And how do you know that?
Him: Oh, I can see your location from your IP Address, so I Google-mapped it. I can pinpoint your exact house but you live in a building so that wouldn't be possible. It says here that you're only 10 kms. away from where we're eating, so that should take you less than 30 minutes.
Needless to say, the thought of someone knowing where you live, how long it will take you to get to somewhere, what route you must take and geez, what sites you're looking at when online drove me crazy. The guy and I didn't date much after, for it really was turning out to be creepy, amongst other things. There were instances that I've shut down this very blog, for fear of reading too much about me, or copying my pictures and all that. Because he was too in love with the PC, too, that he opted for just online dating, we just kind of emailed each other, talked on YM or Skype, even though we lived 30 minutes away from each other. Soon enough, I just had to put a stop to the nonsense and I regained my peace.

The other times were not as extreme as this guy's cyber-stalking, if we can call it that. Many times, I've been involved with men who would be in and out of the country, where our only remaining form of communication would be texting, mobile calls, email, Skype and/or Facebook. I've dated men who seemed so perfect with their emails and chat messages only to be shy and grammar failures in person. I've been caught in that limbo: whether I should reply ASAP {then I would seem like I've been glued to my phone and therefore not-so-attractive}, or if I should take three? four? five? days before answering. Has he emailed me yet? Damn, he hasn't! How much is international roaming and why isn't he calling me? Should we be friends in Facebook? What if he doesn't interact with me there, not 'like' my statuses or find my updates shallow, superficial or stupid? How come he isn't calling me on Skype? For goodness' sakes, it's FREE!?

Truthfully, the dynamics of dating has been largely affected by the availability of technology. Today, it's much easier to expect a call from a guy who's asked for your number, for him to search for you on Facebook, or vice versa. It's easier to be let down because knowing all of these avenues to contact you are all there, all free and all so accessible ---- but he isn't. Won't. Couldn't. Then a girl proceeds to believe that the guy maybe lost his phone, lost his laptop, got mugged, fell on the bathroom floor, got amnesia and all sorts of radical excuses. I don't know about you but I've been in this stage before, I know it too well. It is in those instances when the reality sinks in, that he's just not that into you.

It is about the same for ex boyfriends. How do you deal with seeing his updates {whether begging you back or flaunting his new girlfriend}? How do you hide the wall update that says you are now single, with a little broken heart for an icon, not because you're depressed but because you see no reason in discussing your love life on Facebook, but just really want to be single on your profile?

And as if it can't get any worse:

Mary: He Myspaced me!
Nathan: Ouch!
Mary: Oh.
Nathan: Oh girl I don't know about that... My trampy little sister says MySpace is the new booty call.

My takeaway after all of this? I've resolved with myself to keep all human relations of the dating kind limited to offline communications. Sure text messaging remains to be an option, I respond {still not all the time} and I answer their calls. But as to the ones that really say a lot about me, or provide an avenue for messaging and what not, I avoid it like the plague. It is not the matter of being condescending. I like my dating life, relationships {or future ones, for that matter} based on real conversations. I want to see if he chews all his food before speaking. I'd like to know if the guy is as pleasant as his avatar, or if he is as witty. I'd like to be able to form relationships that are not the least bit muddled with spell-checker and thesaurus, Google Maps {for goodness sakes, I couldn't get over that} and reading every bit of entry on Google with my name on it.

Unless the guy is my boyfriend, I do not accelerate the dating process {I do try}by providing all ways to make me accessible {email, Skype, YM etc.}, and just let nature run its course.

This of course does not apply if you're committed or married to the guy. Then again, that is another topic.


What's your view on dating with the modern technology shebang?

UPDATE: While I do think the guy I dated is beyond creepy, I kind of remember he was just being himself, using the power of Google and technology, doing it because he can and not because he wanted to find where I live. Oh gosh, that makes him creepier! Eeek :|


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Discovering a Love for Manicured Nails

>> Monday, August 30, 2010

I never liked manicured nails. On me, that is.

First of all, my nails are fine as they are. They never really needed cleaning, cuticle removal or pushing. I tried applying different colors on it every now and then but they always seem to get chipped off so easily. I type a lot every single day, I text, I fiddle with my hands and so many things. Used to do much laundry, too! The fact that I used to do household chores {I have a penchant for cleaning the bathroom} more then may be a factor {yes, I don't do them as much now}, but really it all boils down to me being extremely talentless with nail polish application. True story.

Reading through Shen's, Jane's and Caby's Nailaholic experiences nudged me to bring my lazy ass to the Mall of Asia to give manicure {and pedicure, always my must-dos} a go.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the Nailaholics MOA branch was that it was so understatedly girly. The interiors were Tiffany blue {not pink, or salmon or yellow, which is common with newer nail spas}. It felt like I was in a nail shack along a beach shore, plus I had been wearing a white dress then, so I felt super summery all over. There was a bit of a crowd inside, I figured that I was in for a lovely experience, clearly Nailaholics Spa had their fair share of fans and patrons. I was right!

My first stop {as always in every spa, or boutique} is the menu. Nailaholics has a wide array of services, all of which sounded yummy to me!


I finally chose Seasurf Manicure, Pedicure with Algae Wrap. My feet were in dire need of a foot spa from all the heels-wearing over the last few months and I wanted to have my legs softened and massaged.

The Good:
  • Like most foot spa treatments/pedicures, my feet were soaked in warm water, sea salt and VCO. Already, I was in heaven and ready to drift off to sleep.

  • Next, the nail technicians {who were warm and courteous and insightful!} proceeded to go on with the essential cleaning, buffing, smoothing parts of the mani-pedi. I also had the pleasure of choosing {always my favorite part} which nail polish to have. I chose OPI in Pink Flamingo, a very nice polish version of my signature color, #FF0066.
Do you find fun in tinkering with different bottles of nail polishes, too?

 It took me about 5 shots before I arrived to this decently focused shot.
I was using an Apple iPhone and I was wonderfully surprised the camera
can do focusing. YAY!

Two nail techs working. I love it! Saves me time.
And can you see the walls? Looking at the color reminds me of my room.
I was trying so hard not to fall asleep at this point.

  • The expertly-applied nail polish. The main and biggest reason why I have not been in love with manicures before is because when it gets chipped, I am forced to reapply some minor repair and always, I ended up ruining my manicure. And I can't get a decent application on my nails even if I try real hard.  In my experience, there had been a bunch of salons I've tried before that doesn't apply polish with as much expertise. Thankfully, the nail techs at Nailaholics were very much adept at this very important skill.


  • The Algae Wrap and Massage. As if the interiors, sounds, lush chairs were not enough to lull me into sleep, the nail tech started giving me a foot and leg massage to go well with the algae wrap and I had to fight my sleepiness! I walked out of Nailaholics with the softest legs and feet, I can even feel it to this day.

 Now my nails are very pretty! {and pretty vein-y, too, darn}and it makes doing things
more fun!
Over the week, I realized how much better everything seems to be when you
see your polished hands painted in your favorite color. Now I think
I'll be going back to the habit of having it painted, too, every time
I get myself a treat from the salons.

  • Nailaholics offers more than just nail/hand/foot pampering! The one seated beside me was having her eyelashes permed, too while she had her mani-pedi.  Aside from that, they also have waxing and massaging services which makes them almost a one-stop-shop for girls!
The Bad:

  • While my hands and feet were ultra-soft after the treatment, I barely felt my ingrown/cuticles/dry skin removed from my toenails. Unlike most girls, I want a lot of action done on my feet and as long as they don't bleed, I like the pain that comes with it. If you're into the no-pushing/clipping side, then this salon is perfect for you!
  • The Extra Price. Opting for the better nail polishes like OPI and Orly would cost you an additional Php 40. I have not tried out their house polishes but if they turned out to be just as great, then that's fine I guess.
  • The nail polishes are in one lonely huge basket. I presumed that while they do have a lot of colors, what if I wanted to try this particular color, and someone else is having it that very minute, would I have to settle for my next best choice? I hope not.
  • Nothing much, really. I had a great time at Nailaholics Nail Spa, talking to the nail techs and chilling out. A glass of wine would have made a difference :P 

Nailaholics Nail Salon and Spa is located at the following:
  • 2F South Wing, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
  • 2F Cash and Carry Mall, Osmena St. {South Super Highway} Makati City
  • 2F SM Sta. Rosa Mall, Laguna
  • 5F Bldg. B, SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong City
  • 4F Robinson's Metro East, Pasig City
  • 2F Marquee Mall, Angeles City, Pampanga
  • LGF, SM Bacoor, Cavite
  • 2F, SM Muntinlupa, Muntinlupa City
  • 3F SM Sucat, Paranaque City
What's your nail story? I'd love to hear about it!

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Reasons Why I Love Makati City

>> Sunday, August 29, 2010

After my beloved South cities Las Pinas and Alabang/Paranaque, in the list of "cities to live in" in my book, would after all be Makati City.

In 2008 to 2009, I moved to a unit in Dela Rosa with a friend/flatmate just to feel how it is to be thisclose to work, and to escape the heavy traffic I encounter going to and fro my house in Las Pinas then. It was fun, there is no doubt with that. But together with it, I felt like I had no more escape from the city life, as I do with then living at BF Resort {Las Pinas}. Every morning, night and weekend, I once again see lots of trees, lots of grass, bicycles, people walking their dogs on the streets and no heavy traffic within at least a 15km. perimeter. Aside from that, I suddenly was not going home earlier as much since I thought, it was too easy to come home, I spent a lot of hours at the office and forgot that 9PM is too late to still be at the office. Good bye, work-life balance.

It's been a year since I've stopped living in Makati but  I have not stopped exploring it at all. Oddly enough, I became more and more interested with it as I became more and more detached {I do live in QC now and we're about to move to our new building at The Fort}.

Reason #1: Mom and Tina's. Having worked at TEC for almost three years now, Mom and Tina's would be one if not most missed places I'll think of. Mom and Tina's is located at the corner of Dela Rosa and Perea Sts., one tumbling away from the Dela Rosa entrance of our building. The ambiance is crazy homey, the food AH-MAZING {ask Sab or Gem} and the prices are honest and reasonable. Oh and they've got wi-fi, too! I swear, whenever I have a friend who's heartbroken or sad, I'll bring her/him here and this friend will come out ten times happier, the whole eating experience here feels like a warm hug on a cold day.  But if you're looking into having your lunch here, don't forget to call first for reservations. The place is madly packed every lunch time.

GF, Unit 14 Tropical Palm Plaza, Dela Rosa cor. Perea Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City
02 840 4299

Each table gets a pretty centerpiece. 
There are couches, too!

Mom and Tina's Mango Kani Salad. {Php 240/whole, Php 125/half}
I swear this salad can lift me up from my QLC moods, I can eat it all day, every day.

Fetuccine with Seafood and Basil Pesto {Php 225}

Even the freebies are good!
Pasta and soups come with free rolls, this one in garlic and butter. Yum!

Toblerone Walnut Torte {Php 100} and Chocolate Mousse {Php 65}

Perfect Endings: A cup of capuccino and my opened Toblerone Walnut Torte.
If you ever remember how having a childhood sweetheart feels like, that is
about the same as having this gem of a dessert.


Reason #2: Salcedo Weekend Market. I've heard of the Salcedo Saturday Market {open at the Salcedo Park every Saturdays only} and have been meaning to try it out. Once on a lukewarm Saturday, I gathered the energy to troop off into Salcedo Village and feasted my eyes and taste buds on the different food stalls {Thai food, Vigan stall, homemade peanut butter, wagyu shwarma among others} at the park.


My favorite stall out of all the diversed stalls in SWM.


This stall is manned by three authentically French men. Adorbs!

The park's eating area with adorable benches.

* The Salcedo Weekend Market is located at the Salcedo Park {Leviste St.}, open every Saturday mornings till 2 PM only.

Reason #3: Chocolate Fire. I first heard of the restaurant when Sab and I met up at Mom and Tina's one evening for our caffeine fix and more importantly, to catch up, and she mentioned this delightful new joint called Chocolate Fire, where everything on the menu has chocolate in it. Ever a curious cat, I researched the place and my mouth gaped open at the online menu that read really mouthwatering creations, some of which were: 
  • Fondue for One {Php 400}: 1 pot of warm melted chocolate. In Belgian milk, dark or white chocolate, with marshmallows. USA strawberries, banana, dried apples and macadamia nuts. Replace with a pot of caramel, strawberry, orange, lemon-lime, cappuccino or sugarless warm melted Belgian chocolate plus Php60.00
  • Strawberries Taking a Dip {Php 345}: 6 juicy Californian strawberries and your choice of 1 pot of warm milk, dark or white Belgian chocolate
  • Bondi Caramel Sundae {Php 260}: Vanilla ice cream, dried apple slithers, chopped nuts, caramel syrup, chocolate curls, pure whipped cream
  • Chocolate-covered Grapes, Pringles, Strawberries and anything you can cover with CHOCOLATE.
The very night I decided to Google this little chocolate hole, I just had to get out of my building and go over to Rufino cor. Leviste Sts., where it was located almost immediately after. These were what greeted me:

Assorted bars of white, dark and milk chocolate. I felt like a kid in a candy store
and it was five seconds in the store and my heart was palpitating in excitement.

Once on a date, a guy asked me, if I have only one food I can bring in an island, what would be it?
It's Cake. And now that I've discovered Chocolate Fire's cakes, you can send me to
an island anytime with this.

I seriously expected hoped their quiches and sandwiches would have a chocolate
bit into them but they don't. Not bad, when you want to take a break from sinking into
that chocolate goodness, you may want to savor these yummy sandwiches!

And then I got distracted with the fridge where they keep the truffles, mousses, tiramisus
and other sinful, calorific creations. My friend's and my eyes were so big in wonder
walking around the counters. And somewhere within my faint earshot, I could hear 'Alleluia.'
Okay, so maybe that was all in my mind.

The cozy, fire-and-sin themed interiors {okay, that's just me}.
There were incredible photos carefully displayed all over the place,
with subjects such as Ornussa Cadness, Mylene Dizon, Ira Cruz {crushness!}
Wilma Doesnt and a host of other big names, all taken by my favorite portraitist,
Raymund Isaac, but this has to be my favorite:

Ciara Sotto-Oconer for Chocolate Fire and HP
{Photo proceeds go to a cause, too!}

And finally, my order came {Fondue for One, which was a lot, too}and all coherent thoughts flew out of my mind. Suddenly, my friend and I decided we should hold our team's planning session right there and then, intertwined with notes of 'Alleluiah' if only for the delightful marriage of strawberries and chocolate that exploded in my mouth. Bananas and Belgian chocolate makes for a good partnership, too and I found myself cementing my great love for Chocolate Fire and Makati City at that minute.

The photo doesn't justify the goodness of it at all. 
I do hope when you're in Makati though, give it a try.
The effort and money is so worth it.

Reason #4: Xanadu plays in RCBC Theater. If there was anything that changed in me after watching Cats, it's that I turned into another musical fan girl. Now that yet another musical is coming to Manila, I just had to buy tickets to watch. Not only is it an entertaining musical, it will be in Makati City, too!

The story of the whimsical and comic musical focuses on the Greek muse, Clio, who descends from Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest creation of his life - a roller disco. But when Clio, disguised as an Australian roller girl named Kira, falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and Clio risks eternal banishment to the underworld.

 Secured Orchestra Center tickets for me already. YAY!
I cannot wait to watch the musical 'where love and roller blades collide.'

Do you love Makati City, too?
Happy Sunday!

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The Internet I Love

>> Saturday, August 28, 2010

They say you find love when you least expect it.

The first time I met you was in 1998, when my mother brought a technician to our home and had him install a 56K modem to our then communal PC. I can vaguely remember the dirty white IBM machine I had, my pink Disney princess mousepad and how good I was at navigating through Windows ’97. I remember collecting diskettes, those multi-colored {I only bought pink ones, ever my signature color} 3.25 in. disks we save files into. I had about a hundred of them, all neatly stacked against my library.

I didn’t love the PC then. I saw it as a tool to play Jezzball, Pacman, and other old school games, and a machine to use for when I needed to write my book reports, my literary folio, my assignments.

You came then with a dial-up card. I remember having an address of @edsamail.com. I remember my first dialing experience, the one that is preceded by that annoying fax-like tone. I remember choosing over first a few internet service providers {ISP Bonanza, Philnet, the free email host Edsamail} all providing eight hours of pure internet awesomeness at the measly, but then-expensive price of Php 100. My mother, an advocate of all avenues of learning, eventually got another phone line dedicated to the internet because as you know, I fell in love with you.

 Oh hey, long time, no see!

I wistfully remember, whilst cringing, my very first email address. It was seventeen characters {oh the horror}, a muddled concoction of my nickname and some forgettable movie of Mariah Carey’s, so hideous it deserves a jejemon award. I remember old-school mIRC chatrooms with my main screen background set to a default of #FF0066 and a text color of white. I diligently spent school nights by the PC, transforming chat rooms into a new version of rowdy with my classmates, all of whom have discovered the joys of chatting, even if we just saw each other a few hours ago. I remember having unique desktop wallpapers because I stalked Deviantart like mad for the coolest graphic art. I remember having such easy access on online encyclopedias, matters encyclopedias don’t yet know and things, places I never would have imagined seeing. At the tender age of 15, I was a master of Google, I could out-search everyone {trust me, I still can to this day}. I was the only one who moved on to online journals {I kept mine then at this site called Diaryland} and the term ‘blog’ was unheard of. I relied on Kazaa for music I couldn’t catch on local radio stations and discovered a whole new world of music that’s never going to touch the mainstream.

Fast forward to ten years after, my heart still beats to the same rhythm and still as fast, every time I see my computer blink its blue icon, or when my phone shows that blue signal sign, alerting me of wifi connection in my midst. My pupils dilate at bits and pieces read from sites, even more when it’s from New York Times, Newsweek and blogs {God, I love blogs, can you tell?}. I go through a maelstrom of emotions when chancing upon unique videos on Youtube, scenes I never would have seen in this lifetime. My fingers tingle at being able to share, negate or agree with opinions from my friends at the other side of the world on Facebook, or Skype. Internet has paved the way to bring me and my mother closer, even if we live thousands of miles apart. My mind is transported to another place when I’m on Tumblr and I have learned to come up with witty one-liners because of this thing called Twitter. Let us not even get started with iPhone apps! But let us not forget all the functional things the Internet brings: online banking, shopping {I need not expound on this} and a host of truly useful purposes.

 Dear Youtube: I can spend my life with you forever.

Today, I earn my living by synthesizing my love and knowledge of the world, abyss we call the internet. I get to share my thoughts {wearing a corporate hat, as always} through the organization’s official fan page. I have been able to build friendships with Manila’s influential bloggers and fanning even more love for this emerging medium, and eventually gaining me friends I see or call in times of trouble {you know who you are}. My love for Google and testing, exhausting its limits or lack thereof has armed me with ammunition to make the websites I manage more and more hardworking. Soon enough, I had a sizeable number of bookmarks {Oh how I love you, Firefox Sync}, SEO, pageranks, analytics, URLs became my daily breakfast. While the Internet has fanned a huge bank of opportunities for me, I do not remain alone. The Internet has paved a way for homebodies to become a writer, a musician, a video star --- right at the comfort of their homes.

My personal Facebook page is an amalgam of my one-liner thoughts and brain vomit.

And this is for work purposes. How fun!

Yet I think the Internet can be evil and it can shed off so many precious, productive hours into futile wastage. I can spend my entire weekend online, and I know people who are productive on the net in so many ways {if you catch my drift}. But there is a wealth of information in there, some really life-altering ones ---- reason why my heart skips a beat every time we meet like I was back to 1998. And that is the reason why we exist --- we evangelize the good message and purpose that the Internet brings. The Internet may be touted as the root of all evil in many areas but it’s turning out to be a way of life, a way of living to some, including me.

So is love too strong a word for an intangible matter such as the Internet? I don’t think so. For as such in other instances of loving, you identify and see the flaws, yet you choose to commit to it, regulate your time with it, not abuse it and take care of it. Then it’s safe to say that I do love the Internet.


* I originally wrote this for work, under a column that promises not to write about work-related matters. But I felt like proposing undying love to my job, I would have given it a diamond ring if I had one :D

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Lunchtime LOL.

>> Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Over lunch of McChicken Burger and fries, my stomach hurt because of this. If you haven't seen it on Facebook yet, watch it because it will really make you laugh till it hurts.

I love Veejay Floresca and Venus Raj forever!


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Pray.

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

...is all I can do.

Well, I admit that before I thought of praying, I cussed and let profanity get the best of me. After all, it was not easy reading about HK/Chinese citizens being held hostage in your own country today.

I am relieved it is all over {still sad and grieving}, that the hostage taker is now killed {I never wish for death on anyone but it simply was the right thing to do at that moment.} I do pray for the safety and peace of mind of the survivors and for the souls of those who passed away.

I pray for the Philippines, that we may redeem ourselves from being a scary, killing nation. I pray that our tourism stays alive. I pray that there will be no more instances such as this in the future because lives were taken. HK or Filipino, those were lives.

Source: CNN.com

This is so saddening, Lord. Help us get through it.

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Things I Love Sundays

his Sunday is turning out to be the most perfect Sundays I've had in weeks: meaning I'm completely devoid of any speck of stress, be it with work or with my personal errands. I woke up at 1 PM, felt my face {I do this every morning, why, I don't know} and it just was so especially soft! There were no text messages on my phone asking me to do this, or do that and I was free to laze around and linger in the bed and sleep some more, but I did not.

Every Sunday, I sit in a corner of my room and do something I consider artsy: add mementos and knick knacks to my overflowing scrapbook, write endlessly, reading a good book {currently reading Neil Gaiman's The Sandman}, watch an obscure I-need-to-focus-on-you movie, blog, or tinker with Adobe Photoshop. Today, the weather is perfect and after cups of hot chocolate, I want to share with you things I love today, some I had the week before but you get my drift. :P

Jumpstarting reading The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde. Remember my obsession on the movie version?
Whilst tinkering with the store of the e-book reader, Kobo, on my phone
I chanced upon a Project Gutenberg edition of the book and
I was wondering why I never thought of downloading
the darn book from Project Gutenberg!

Now that I've started reading the much-coveted book, I am gripped 
by the words of Wilde, as the first page reads:
 
The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind
stirred the trees of the garden, there came through the open door of the heavy scent
of the lilac or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

I know some literatis who think Oscar Wilde is "too romantic a writer for his own sake," and I don't disagree. But I love romanticizing writing, I think I have an affair with words and in real life, I fall in love over intricate, carefully-woven English words, and not Filipino {Dr. Jose Rizal, please do not strangle me}, nor Spanish, not even French. And I love {as early as now, yes!} reading Oscar Wilde's most famed work. See? I'm blushing now!

A Cause is a Cause. And I signed to help stop sex trafficking.

A couple of beauty bloggers and I dropped by at The Body Shop in Greenbelt 3 to support our ever Mother Earth/Welfare-loving brand The Body Shop in its newest cause, Stop Sex Trafficking. I was infinitely alarmed of the statistics mentioned, as Philippines is now #4 in the world ranks of sex trafficking! In the country, the one of the top places with this kind of business is Boracay. It doesn't surprise me though. This one time I was in Boracay, I talked to the massage therapists on the shore and she shared the going rates {Php 5,000 for men/gays and Php 3,000 for women.} With this kind of money, people living below the poverty line would be tempted to give in, or to participate in trafficking kids, teenagers and unknowing victims.

To support this cause, drop by any TBS branch {no purchase required!} and ask for the petition form. TBS needs 500,000 signatures to make the issue known and to put an end to sex trafficking. Or you can sign the petition by clicking here.

My iPod reverted to a vintage looking screen and iTunes prompted
a recovery mode. I almost cried in frustration as I clicked 'Yes' when it
asked if I wanted to go on and recover it {hence may be losing the 1,000 carefully-chosen songs}
but thankfully, my iPod and the songs remained intact but now I wondered why
it turned wonky like that :|

Unilever loves me! I received a giant package and I was wondering what it was
and saw all these babies! Uhm, I'd say it was the childhood sweetheart post's fault.
I wanted to extend the generosity but wasn't sure how to, so I distributed the bottles
to my work friends {one of whom has been using men's shampoo all this time, that
there was a faint 'Alleluia' from her hair when she used Sunsilk again}

 There's something so amusing and powerful every time you're given 
the chance to choose.
While I eventually chose a color close to my signature fuchsia shade {#FF0066},
I find that this statement applies especially when taking the time in choosing my nails' 
polish. Do you take forever in choosing, too?
{Photo taken at Nailaholics, Mall of Asia}

Geez, I'm an oil mine.
Liwanag, hanapin ang liwanag. 
Ang iyong ala-ala ang… gabay na sundin 
Sa liwanag, ligaya ay matatagpuan 
Bagong buhay ay darating.
- Memory, from the musical Cats, translated by Pete Lacaba

I originally disliked the idea of watching overly made up cats croon and reminisce their hey days. My mother, who is a fan girl of all things musical, ordered me to watch 'Cats' as soon as she read that it was coming to Manila. Being the sometimes dutiful daughter I am, I obliged, especially since three of my friends were coming, too.

While I could not exactly make out all the dialogues {the musical is rather a dated one}, I loved the intricate set, the play of lights, the Australian cast member singing 'Memory' in Filipino, Rum Tum Tugger {my favorite cat}and of course watching Tony-awardee Lea Salonga sing the famous 'Memory,' almost brought me to tears. While I couldn't reconcile Grizabella's characted with Lea {the glamour cat was supposed to be withering and super, super old}, I figured there is no other Filipina singer I would have wanted to sing it {that's just me}. Oh, and at the beginning of the musical, I totally wanted to jump onstage and dance with the Jellicle cats!

And because I'm all gung-ho on watching all the musicals that I can, I'm sharing one of my favorite songs from the broadway, 'All I Ask of You' by Cliff Richard and Sarah Brightman from the musical 'The Phantom of the Opera." This song is on repeat right now. Embarrassing Fact #75: Whenever I'm alone at home when I was younger, I would put my father's Broadway CD on play, crank up the volume, put on my blue ball gown  and pretend I was Christine, wooed by my childhood sweetheart Raoul as the phantom watches from afar.

 

How I wish Phantom of the Opera would come to Manila, too!




What are you loving today?

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OOTD: Her Name was Lola

>> Saturday, August 21, 2010

But she ain't a showgirl.

When I first saw this top from Spanish brand, Zara, I immediately had thoughts of my paternal lola, Patricia {yes, her name is Patricia}because her photos from yesteryears showed her posing with my dad and his brothers in ruffly, Victorian-inspired tops such as this. Quite frankly, it took me a while to find a simple-enough bottom because it is such a busy top, with its lace neckline and eyelet sleeves.


White Top: Zara
High-waisted Skirt: Shop the Capricious Club
Pumps: Promod

And now I shall scare you with a close up photo of my ruffles and my hair without my face. Hehe. I look like a chaka doll.

That's how complicated the top is. Cuteness!
And oh, that's how the tips of my hair look like. See, no faded ends!
Thank you, L'oreal!


This was my outfit last Monday, as inspired by too much Dorian Gray and because I had time to dig through my abyss of a closet. I hope I didn't scare you too much, lovelies!


Happy weekend!

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Have You Ever Read the Bible Cover to Cover?

>> Friday, August 20, 2010

Because I haven't.

And reading through books {Genesis and Exodus} scares the shit out of me. I spent about a dozen nights carefully digesting the words of the Holy Bible and so far, these are my learnings, stuff I've taken note of because prior to this reading of the Bible, all I know of the Biblical characters were how they were portrayed in stories through Religion books in Religion classes. Forgive my shock and/or if I have some misinterpretations. I am reading the Contemporary English Version of the Holy Bible, if that helps.

What brought this on, you ask. When I wrote my 26 before 26 list, one of the things I remember wanting to do for the longest time was to read the Bible. Partly, it was because of faith --- for when I believe in something, I want to do research and know what I can. It's ridiculous how I never read it, in its entirety, then calling myself a believer of God. So I jumped into my Bible Habit and soon I found myself staying late reading through the greatest piece of literature ever.





*Please take note that this is only to share with you my progress and opinions and not to spark up any weird or antagonistic discussion. I do realize that religion and things to do with it are usually not the best topics to discuss, as people always, always tend to have different sides so ... Thank you :)

Anyway.

I've learned so far that:

  • The Bible is indeed the best piece of literature. Except for the descendant notes {who's the son of who}, the stories are engaging, it feels like you're watching reading a telenovela {I mean that in a good way and I sincerely hope that is not blasphemous.}
  • Rainbows are God's reminders that He will never destroy the world again the way He did with the world during Noah's time {the great flood that lasted for a year!}
  • Abraham's first son was not Isaac, it was Ishmael, his son with Sarai's handmaiden, Hagar, because Sarah, as you know, have been barren for the longest time.
  • When Lot was telling the people of Sodom to change their ways, he offered his two daughters for the townsfolk to have instead of the two foreign males he had for visitors. I've always known Sodom was the origin of the sin sodomy but WTF? The Sodom people's sin was crazier than I have ever imagined.
  • These daughters, after their escape from Sodom got their father drunk to have sexual relations with him because there weren't any more men to continue their familial lines. I do know they did that in order to reproduce but it bothers me so much.
  • There is more to the Ten Commandments and yes, we really shouldn't work during the Sabbath.
  • Jacob married sisters Rachel and Leah. Leah, because their father Laban, tricked Jacob into marrying Leah as it was not customary to give away the younger daughter if the eldest is still single, after serving Laban for seven years in exchange for the younger woman's hand. When Jacob realized the treachery, he asked Laban for Rachel and Laban demanded he work again for seven years. And he did. Ah, true love.
  • Of course, I just found out about Jacob's deception of Isaac, his father, where he deceived his twin brother, Esau, too.
  • That God will fight for you and you can be still.
  • And that the world needed God and needed all those commandments because the world and the people were doing weird stuff and that it is a thrilling and exhilarating experience getting to know God even more through reading the Bible. I am not the most religious person in the world but my faith seems to grow stronger and stronger.
  • But of course it's still fun to read other books once in a while in between reading the Bible.

Those are some of my learnings from reading the Bible. I know there will be lots more in the next few days, months even. It feels rewarding knowing our God, I get so much peace of mind and calm, and the people during the Biblical times but I gotta admit some stuff are really shocking {or maybe I'm just naive?}. To quote Tisha, "There are some really wicked people in there." She's right {though I'm not sure if these were what she meant when she said that comment.}




Still shocked and intrigued,

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Just Like a Childhood Sweetheart

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello, ladies! How is your day so far? It's a Wednesday {already, Saturday, I can't wait to be with you!}in Manila and I'm off to a Digital Marketing Summit with IMMAP today. But before that, let me share with you one of my 'childhood sweethearts,' Cream Silk.

 Cream Silk Blue, Damage Control variant

I've started using Cream Silk conditioner back in the 90s when I was old enough to choose my own conditioner. Actually, even if I still did not need conditioner {what four year old would need one?}, I would always make my yaya apply the classic blue cream silk on my hair. And that made me terribly happy as a kiddo. I had super soft and smooth hair and back then I had straight black hair so my hair was heaven to touch. I loved the smell: it was not girly nor manly but it smelled clean almost crisp. It was fairly easy to wash off and it did not turn my scalp into an oil mine after a couple lot of hours. It truly was the sweetheart of my childhood hair.

The classic packaging! And a pre-Aga Muhlach Charlene Gonzalez

When I grew up to become a grade schooler, high schooler and onto my college years, I've experimented with various variants of Cream Silk {the light with baby oil one, pink, black, green, white} plus other supermarket brands {I remember Finesse, Vidal Sassoon and Suave}, came back to Cream Silk blue and got more maarte  and tried other brands such as Clairol {my college sweetheart}and experimented even more.

Until recently, I was reunited with my childhood sweetheart of conditioners: Cream Silk Blue. I haven't been using it for a while as you may well know {and I'm sure, relate}, there's been a deluge of hair products in the market for years now and as someone who's in constant search for a product that works, we ought to be looking and trying and testing. For one thing, I noticed the packaging is similar to most local conditioners {eg. Pantene and sister brand Sunsilk}. Did their formula change from all those years?

NO. It is still love, after all these years *sniff*

The Good:
  • The same old formula, whatever it was, is still the formula. Same scent, too!
  • My hair felt so soft I can still brush it in the afternoon when it gets tangled. I have a confession: I never brush my hair. I don't even bring a hair brush because having permed hair takes off that responsibility as you only need to brush it during conditioning time but now I do in the afternoon and my hair is cooperative!
  • No oil mines. The problem with some conditioners is that while they may be able to provide the moisture you need, they become too oily or moisturizing at some part of the day thus causing to lose your hair's body and that is such a drag. With Cream Silk, my hair was in its natural bouncy state so YAY for that!
  • Easy to wash. One of the downsides of using conditioner every day is having to thoroughly washing hair lest we suffer limp hair because the moisture drags it down. Despite it being able to do its job of making hair soft and smooth, it is also not a pain in the back to wash. 
  • Damage Control, indeed. If you've been reading this blog, you probably read from previous entries that I'm not the most healthy-haired persons in the world. I tend to abuse my hair with regular hair color and perming. My hair is damaged but it seems healthier now, as noted by my male colleague and friend, J.
  • The price is very reasonable. If I'm not mistaken {haha, sorry I have forgotten how much it costs}, it's around Php 110 to 125 {USD 2.50 more or less} . That's very reasonable for a 100 mL conditioner!
The Bad:
  • I have no amor for the packaging. I wish it'd be more girly, more fun, something exciting! It all feels the same, standing together with the other brands and I feel like I'm just using a mediocre product when I look at it when it fact it does a great job. Sayang.
  • Other than that, I'm very happy with Cream Silk blue! Blue talaga eh, no?
Will I buy this again? But of course! But it might be fun to try the other variants for the mean time.



What about you? What's your conditioner/childhood sweetheart story?

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The Fatal Attraction of Chloe

>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I first heard of the movie Chloe {starring Amanda Seyfried, Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson} from my friend Tiny, who wonders it shall be shown in conservative Manila with all its all-too-graphic nude scenes. I couldn't say how either, and the only answer to that was to watch the movie.




I could say that shock was one of the first emotions I felt. After all, I recently saw Amanda Seyfried on Letters to Juliet and she portrayed a completely different character. If there was much merit in this film, it definitely belongs to Seyfried and Moore, whose acting are both gripping I felt like I was watching Glenn Close on Fatal Attraction.

Catherine Stewart {Moore} is a gynecologist in Toronto who suspects her husband {Neeson} was having an affair. Plagued by a nagging insecurity, she hires Chloe {Seyfried}, whom she bumps into once at a restaurant. Chloe displays weird behavior, insisting Moore keeps her hair pin.

The movie then continue to revolve around Catherine's and Chloe's relationship, while the former keeps on paying Chloe to find out about her husband. In the midst of Chloe's twisted storytelling, Catherine discovers her husband once again, therefore fanning the flames of her insecurity and gripping torture as a distraught, cheated-upon wife. But once she wanted to stop the whole affair, she found herself caught in the web of Chloe's desire and scheming ways.

The Good:
  • The movie eerily feels like a mix of Fatal Attraction {a 1987 movie}Nathalie {2003} and Unfaithful, where the elements of the sets and cinematography speak well for the storyline. Set in Toronto, it was refreshing, too, to see not-so-familiar landmarks like it does when a movie is shot in New York City.

  • Amanda Seyfried deviates from her all-American sweetheart image in this movie as she plays a 'misunderstood,' 'lacks-a-mother's guidance' prostitute. Not only did she have scenes with Liam Neeson {the father}, she also had the controversial girl-on-girl scene with Julianne Moore, she also had one with the son, Michael Stewart {played by Max Thierot}, wherein she goes on a shoe-gasm. I was impressed at how vast Seyfried's range as an actress is becoming, with roles much far from her debut role as Karen in Mean Girls. At one point {photo below}, I was scared she was just going to kill everyone in the set because of fury.

  • The Twist. Some might say it's predictable but I dare say I was taken aback by how treacherous the scenes are playing out.
  • Julianne Moore. She was impressive as Clarice Starling in Hannibal and she was as impressive in Chloe.
The Bad:
  • There is much nudity on the film, courtesy of both Seyfried and Moore and their love scene is extremely graphic so prepare yourself if you're watching this film.
Overall Notes:
  • Watch it if you're in the mood a good thriller with bits of sexual scenes {you gotta be prepared though}. I was a bit taken aback by the provocativeness of it all but in all fairness to Adam Egoyan {the director}, it was done with class and taste.

Have you seen Chloe? {Yes, two consecutive movie posts because I spent the last three days watching movies and for once they are not chick flicks, yay!}




*Images are owned by respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.

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Dorian Gray: The Good, The Charming, The Scary

>> Monday, August 16, 2010

I first encountered Dorian Gray not as the classic literature piece but as a character in the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Then played by the dashing Stuart Townsend, I had no clue what his special powers were or why he was part of the Extraordinary Gentlemen {of course after the movie, I knew already}. I knew though that he was an important fictional character in the world of Literature and vowed to look for a copy but found none.


M: You could stay, you know. Share my dream.
Dorian Gray: I've lived long enough to see the future become history, Professor. Empires crumble. There are no exceptions.
M: You think you're better than me. You forget: I've seen your painting. 

In 2009, in the movie 500 Days of Summer, Summer says that while she was reading Dorian Gray {by Oscar Wilde}, her future husband walked by and changed her life. I, of course, did not want a copy in the hopes of finding my future husband but it just fanned the flame of desire to read the book even more. 

Two weeks ago, me and my friend Tin trooped to the South for our movie fix and thus I got a-hold of a copy of Dorian Gray starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth and Rachel Hurd-Wood. I had no idea there already was a movie {remake} of it so I grabbed it and took it home, and watched it after more than two weeks because I was scared that no matter how intriguing and sexy it was, Victorian-era movies usually put me to sleep. I was dead wrong.




Dorian Gray, set in the 1860s, is about a young man who've come back to London after his grandfather died. The movie shows bits and pieces of Dorian being caned by his grandfather during his childhood but as to how this is related other than his psychological well-being, I have no idea of its back story. When he arrived, he inherited a mansion and was taken into the wing of Lord Henry Wotton, played by Colin Firth, who was the biggest influence on how Dorian lived his life the next years. In his words, "There's no shame in pleasure. Man just wants to be happy. But society wants him to be good. And when he's good, he's rarely happy. But when he's happy, he's always good." When Basil Hallward, Henry's friend meets Dorian, he was awestruck with his beauty, got inspired and thus painted the picture that changed it all.

Dorian sees it, and he seemed very pleased with it --- surprised he could look so good, wished he could do so forever, in all of his youthfulness. For the price of your soul, Henry asks, would you? He answers yes, and his soul was traded.



As Dorian discovers the pleasures of being extremely good looking {bedding everyone from the Victorian high society, the effects of opium and even men getting drawn to him}, he realizes that as he indulges more and more into hedonism, so does his painting sink into rotting decay. Pleasure is not the same thing as happiness, is what he utters when musing about his experiences. He remains his perfect-skinned, magnificent self, his painting that he locked up in his attic, takes all the blows. He travels the world and indulge even more, comes back to a society that aged 25 years and yet he looks the same. What was once a naive boy-next-door is now a corrupted, malicious hedonist. Then he falls in love, now what?

The Good:


 He looks like a young Bradley Cooper here, this Ben.
  • Ben Barnes. While I do have Stuart Townsend as the original Dorian Gray in my mind, I can't help but having Ben Barnes now as the Dorian Gray. He was incredibly good looking, naive at first, cunning the next minute, his youth is worth preserving anytime. He doesn't look so hot shirtless {he does look a little scrawny but what the heck}and his acting can take a little more honing and he could display a little more intelligence but I'd take him any chance :P I never intended to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn and now I think I'll be the first to line up at the cinemas.
  • Colin Firth. For a minute, I kept associating him with Tom Hanks here, especially when he was aged 25 years after. His acting was superb, he devilishly corrupted the innocence Dorian into a life of hedonism and to take after his pleasures, that I was reminded, too, of Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate.
The Charming:
  • For the first time in my life, I'd been ogling men's clothes. On a Victorian-era Ben Barnes.
How can a vest be this intricate?
I was scrunching up my eyes on the ties around the high collar.
Too beautiful!

I want to wear coats like these. If only it wasn't too hot!

*swoons on Ben and the white on white bow*
From JustJared.com
  • While there was so much sexuality acted out on the film, it was refreshing how the {naked} women were consciously anti-Hollywood: frizzy hair, big, fat tummies and the whole Victorian shebang. Plus, for a movie that capitalizes on debauchery {opium, sex, drugs, homo-eroticism}, it was pretty tame. I don't know with other cultures but this is just enough skin, nudity and debauchery I can take. Any more than that may be creepy already.
  • Rebecca Hall as Emily Wotton. Truthfully, there was no such character in the novel by Oscar Wilde and I'm still in the search of the real ending as opposed to this version where Gray falls in love and wants to change because of Emily. However, the character was charming, in her first parts, she was unbelievably witty and gripping but suddenly becomes a Hollywood typecast towards the end. Nevertheless, Hall as Wotton was charming.

The Scary:
  • I had to cover my eyes several times whilst watching this movie. First of all, the movie opens with Gray stabbing someone with the blood splashing all over him and his clothes, like a scene out of a Tarantino movie. There was much gore as Gray kills Hallward when he discovers what had happened to his painting, throws him into the river chopped. Oh and need I mention that when Hallward won't stop asking about the damn painting, Gray kissed him and of course there was the whole homoeroticism and I just had to shut my eyes. Plus, I was watching this at 2 AM so it was eerily quiet and all I could hear was the damn painting's moaning.
  • The Painting kept emitting this weird zombie-like noise which was both cheesy and scary at the same time. In the end, it revealed an old skull-like figure of Dorian Gray and it pushed me to leave my lights open while sleeping.
  • Sibyl Vane, the theater actress whom Gray stalked in her dressing room, seduced into a sexual relation but did not marry, committed suicide and the images of her floating upwards in the river was simply creepy for me.

Overall Notes:
  • If you're a Literature Nazi {aka movie-watchers who cannot deviate away from the book version and can't enjoy a movie for what it is, nothing wrong with that, though}, don't watch this because it does deviate so much from the book, as I've read from a thousand reviews. If like me, you have not seen it but is curious of Dorian Gray's story, this is a good watch.
  • Ben Barnes is enough reason to watch this. The entire film is like a dark chocolate mousse waiting to be devoured: dark, sensual and no trace of sweetness at all.
  • Vanity, in explicit doses, is a sin. For a semi-beauty blogger, I couldn't help but ask: How far would I go to preserve beauty? Well, definitely not as far as selling my soul for it, that's for sure.
  • The world has changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curve of your lips rewrite history. I'm in love with characters who can take the world by storm. Together with Don Juan de Marco, Helen of Troy, Dorian Gray takes a spot in the fictional world of extreme adulation.
  • I just noticed now, but it seems like I liked the movie, having written such a long post! Okay, so maybe I do recommend watching it. :P If you need a backgrounder on what kind of movie-watcher I am, here goes: When I watched Inception, I liked it because I took it at face value, followed what it shows and I did not go on "Was it a dream, or was it real life?" tirade afterwards. I liked the fact that one can follow its plot easily if one watches with focus and none of that crappy, overthinking analysis bullshit.
  • Pleasure is not the same as happiness. Such a loaded statement but it's a tough lesson to learn. 
  • Ben Barnes. Oh but have I said that already? Can I just say that he owes me one Sunday? I spent my entire Sunday ogling him on the internet thus, I have not been very productive at all!

Still in search of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray,





*Images are owned by respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.

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All I Want to Do

1. Go to NYC. 2.Create and not touch an emergency fund. 3. Tell someone I love him. 4.Cook a five-course meal and serve it to someone I love. 5. Love my imperfections but improve them, too. Read the rest here.
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