Monday, February 28, 2011

Fashion at the Oscars

I woke up at 7AM to catch the red carpet parade of the stars who were all dressed up in their glamorous gowns and dapper suits for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. This year, the Oscars were hosted by two young celebrities, Anne Hathaway and best actor nominee for "127 Hours" James Franco. Anne who had several wardrobe changes during the night was too gigglish to be taken seriously. While James was too serious and looked like he would pass out anytime from the tremendous pressure. But at least Anne made an effort to look like she was enjoying herself unlike James who seemed like he would rather be somewhere else. Hehe

Anyway, I watched on because I love awards shows. I endured the somewhat dull show. I liked the elaborate production numbers. I listened to the acceptance speeches. Although I admit I miss having comedians host the show. At least they had good comedic timing and their skits were funny. But I'm glad that all of my faves won. I was quite interested in the awards show this year because I've seen most of the films nominated for the different categories.

Here are my favorite gowns of the evening:

Javier Bardem is all smiles while Penelope Cruz looks stunning. To think just over a month ago, she had just given birth to a baby.

While the heavily pregnant Natalie Portman won the best actress award for her great performance in "Black Swan".

Her co-star Mila Kunis looks so refreshing in her light lavender flowing gown.

Ever since Michelle Williams sported that pixie haircut, I think she looks so perky and fresh. Here she is in a simple but very elegant shimmering gown.

I like how luminous Mandy Moore looks in this shiny nude ensemble. It almost seems like the upper part of the gown was hand painted onto her skin.

I've always admired Cate Blanchett for her acting skills. Here I like the brocade accent on her gown. I believe her shorter mane makes her look younger.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Maraming Salamat!

As luck and fate would have it, I won one of the prizes given away by fellow blogger, Kayni during her birthday giveaway. My mother texted me last week that I had mail from the States. But it was only yesterday that I was able to meet my parents for lunch and a movie ("Unknown") and finally retrieved my 'gift'.

It was in very good condition, Kayni. I guess that the postal system in our country has vastly improved. Phew! The Hawaiian planner is now in my bag along with a variety of items which make my bag so heavy. I've attached the rabbit omamori to my digicam. Hopefully its chime will remind me to take more pictures as I tend to forget I do have it in my bag. That lovely photo you snapped of the cherry blossoms (which is like a postcard) will surely make me see the positive things in life!

Thanks for the loot! =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A painting

My vision of my ideal house is never far from my mind. It would have large sliding windows, a high ceiling and the walls will be bright with pastel colors.

I also love picture frames and paintings. I would decorate an entire wall with pictures that are nicely framed. They will serve as a gentle reminder of all the places I've visited and those memories will wrap around me and make me smile.

I may not be an art connoisseur but I like looking at various paintings when I visit museums. I try to imagine how the subject in the painting felt while posing for the artist. I also try to visualize how long the artist spent on his masterpiece, what inspired him to paint and what his frame of mind is while he is painting.

So I was really pleasantly surprised when D came home one day with this painting.

It was done by the hubby of one of his co faculty members. I love the vivid hues that dominate the painting. It brings to mind an idyllic place where chaos doesn't exist and serenity reigns supreme.

It is very important for me to have calm and silence in my life. Unfortunately, I have to deal with noisy neighbors and the din of city life on a daily basis. Now I just have to avert my eyes to the painting and it will transport me to a special place.

So yeah I now have 1 painting and here's to many more paintings to come! :D

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let the sun shine

A basic component during the renovation of our condo unit was looking for shades that will adorn our windows. I prefer the bright airy look that makes any confined space seem more spacious.

Yet our condo unit's location does attract a lot of sunshine during the day so it easily gets really warm. I'm not a big fan of curtains as they tend to get dusty and dirty really fast. So my sister and I went around different shops scouring for alternative shades.

Cheap Roman Blinds were abundant in thrift shops aka tiangges. So it all boiled down to making a wise decision on which blinds would fit our budget and turn our unit into a cozy home. A place with just enough sunshine to brighten our days and our lives.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Let's drink to that

Back in my wild days, my poison used to be cold light beer and red wine. My small group of friends were always meeting up for social events where liquors were constantly flowing and our 'spirited' selves would naturally indulge until we couldn't walk straight. Hehe Yes the good old days! :D

I had a friend who was a member of wine clubs so we would all tag along and enjoy his privileges with him. I've always been partial to red wine. I found out the hard way that white wines would give me such a splitting headache. I still don't know why. So I just avoid it all together. Plus I read that a glass of red wine was good for your health. But I overindulged in red wines way too much in my sordid past so maybe it was counter productive for me?

But alas I hardly drink any hard liquor, nowadays. For one, D is allergic to them. He gets red blotches all over his body when he drinks. Strange but true! And second, well you all know I need to watch my weight.

Do I miss it? Sure, I do. But there is always dark chocolates to supplement my cravings. Never mind that they are not even in the same food group, it certainly works for me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Life oh life!

The year was 2001 and we just came back to Manila for good. Dad had retired from the foreign service. It was time to finally dig in and grow roots. I was at this major crossroads. Yet I had no idea what I wanted to do. After moving from one country to another. Changing schools. Making and then losing friends. Romantic involvement turned into an instant long distance relationship. I was suddenly faced with a sense of permanence. It was turmoil.

After I dusted myself and adjusted to the tropical and humid weather, I was 'encouraged' to take up a website design short term course. And short term it was in every aspect. I went through a heartbreak. I got lost on my way to a web designer career path. I was uninspired. I actually got really depressed. My soul was broken. I was a total bum.

But we all know that such is life. It has its really low downs. It also has its ultimate highs. So like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I've been reborn. Meeting and marrying my hubby has been quite a blessing. I am now content. I've found my joie de vivre. Even though I am still my cynical and sarcastic self, at least now I can share my pluses as well as my flaws with my life partner.

Buhay nga naman parang life! :D

Thursday, February 17, 2011

High Heels

The other night I was watching the Grammy awards. 2 things surprised me. One, Gwyneth Paltrow can really belt it out, really good. Two, she was performing her number with really high heels. Wow she managed to maintain her balance and didn't break her neck! She was wearing this exquisite Christian Louboutin shoes. Check out the pointed heel on that shoe. Phew, in my opinion it can certainly be used as a lethal weapon.

This got me thinking about my (limited) footwear. The thing is I'm a shortie. So no matter how high the heels of my shoes are, I would never be able to make direct eye contact with my 5'8 tall hubby. :P

I tend to favor flat shoes for their comfort level. My next fave are wedges. Their solid chunky heels give me a 'lift' and I don't stumble wearing them. Naturally, I also have elegant strappy sandals as well as stilettos with the highest heel being only about 2 1/2 inches. But these shoes rarely make an appearance on my feet.

My sister who is used to wearing really high heels for work as well as for leisure would mock the way I walk when I wear high heels. She always told me to walk properly and not make it seem like I would tip over every instant I step forward.

I have this nagging thought brought about by my paranoid mind whenever I'm not in flats. What if something came up and I had to run for my life? How on earth would I survive with high heels? Heels which my sister would not even consider high. So no thanks, I rather wear my comfy flats and be my short self! :D


A constant flow of blog traffic is a good way to promote a blog. There are directories and networks which one can join to give one's blog more exposure. Most of them are free and don't charge any fees for registration. Some, on the other hand are paid search marketing directories. But they only charge a minimal amount. Either way, they are both effective methods to generate more traffic to your blog.

But for me, content is still king. It is important to maintain a blog with genuine and well written posts first and the rest will simply follow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Definition of Love

I've always been a hopeful romantic tinged with a dash of sarcasm and a sprinkle of cynicism.

You all know, I was single for the longest time. By single, I mean I wasn't married. I did have relationships (short and long term), some casual encounters and a few flings here and there. Even though it took a very long time to find my partner in life, I wasn't the type of person who would bank my degree of happiness upon the lanky shoulders of a guy. I was happily coursing through my very blessed life and didn't take love, too seriously. Until I reached my 30s but that's another story!

I was thankful when I did have someone. Yet I was also content being by my lonesome self. Numerous valentine days have come and gone and I didn't feel any special rush or obligation to go out and celebrate February 14. I believe that love should be spread all year round. Not just one specific date. It can be any day of the year. Not necessarily on the day of hearts or monthsary or wedding anniversary.

It doesn't have to be a fancy candle lit dinner. It can be in a tiny corner of a fast food resto. Flowers tend to crumble and fade after 3 days. I remember a long time ago when my then boytoy friend gave me 1 dozen roses I hated carrying it around, I told him to hold it during the entire date. Tokens of appreciation are not necessary but of course they are welcomed. And hopefully they are functional gifts. I swear I have a whole shoe box of 'not useful' gifts I've received through the years. I haven't found the courage to throw them away, just yet.

The whole point of my blog entry is that it is the small things that count. In our almost 3 years of marriage, I've learned to never have any expectations. That whenever I expect to be surprised, I am not. Yet when I least expect it I am truly surprised and it overwhelms me with awe. So if I was asked to define love/romance in my present state of mind, I would quote a phrase from the lyrical words of Madonna. She sang "Cherish is the word I use to remind me of your love".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 12, 2011

Yesterday, D & I along with my parents were at the Our Lady of Loreto Church in Bustillos in the Sampaloc district of Manila for the interment of my father in law, Manuel G. Franco. Papa died October 12, 2009 but it was only yesterday February 12, 2011 that his urn was buried in a crypt. D's older half sister, Ate Bey brought him 'home' from Seattle where Papa lived most of this life.

A poignant mass at 11 am was attended by family, relatives and close friends. Then his remains were buried at the Ascension chapels. The crypt also contains the remains of Papa's first wife and his oldest son, Kuya Danny. Lunch followed at Gerry's Grill in SM Manila. Pleasant conversations about Papa and everything else in between abounded. The gathering was a mini reunion of relatives and friends of the family.

Rest in peace, Papa Wel.


A good first impression counts, a lot. For companies, a logo is usually the emblem that captures what the firm represents. Many logo design ideas abound, but it is important that the symbol be as attractive as the products and services it offers. It should also be something that is easily memorable and casts a lasting impression on the minds of people. Standing out amidst the myriad of business in that particular industry would guarantee good sales and further boost the reputation of a company. So a good logo would certainly make you go loco as you smile all the way to the bank!

Effective promotion strategy

There are always pros and cons in starting a business. But in this age of instant communications and connectivity, there are several ways to drum up your sales through effective promotional schemes. Setting up a FB page, a blog or even a website that showcases your products and services is a start. Another good strategy is contacting your potential buyers with a comprehensive company profile through email marketing. It is all a matter of being resourceful by using all the means available at our disposal that ensures success.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unit renovation

About 5 years ago, we had our unit renovated. My sister and I chose all the paint colors for the walls of the different rooms as well as for the wardrobe closets and kitchen cabinets. We also got some expert advice on the appropriate Residential flooring to suit our unit. We decided on wooden tiles with a varnish finishing to give the floors a water proof glow. That was the best decision we made because the shiny parquet effect truly enhances the warmth and cozy factor of our condo unit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


In the late 70s to early 80s we were assigned to Brussels, Belgium. That is where I started my elementary schooling. The official medium of instruction was French. But we arrived from an English speaking nation (New Delhi, India) so my sister and I had a difficult time not only speaking but learning our lessons in French. My parents hired a tutor who taught us conversational as well as the written form of the language.

Eventually, we were able to adjust and being the nerdy studious students, we even topped our class in several subjects. I'd like to mention, we were among the very few Asian students in that school. The other Asian nationalities were mostly Japanese kids. There was also a diverse group of Africans, Moroccans, Irish and naturally Belgians in the student population of that Catholic school.

So here I was a nerdy Asian trying desperately to assimilate within this diverse group of individuals. It was culturally shocking to say the least. But those years were the happiest days of my life. I loved going to class because the subjects were very interesting. One winter, we even had a "class de neige" (snow class) which meant that we got to spend two weeks in a little cozy town in the Swiss Alps. Our classes were conducted in large wooden chalets. Our PE class consisted of skiing activities. We also interacted with students from other schools. It was such an enriching experience.

But good things never last. In 1982, we had to pack up and head back to home base. That would be Manila Philippines. I was a total misfit once again. I didn't speak a single word of Tagalog. All I knew were English (with an Indian accent, mind you) and of course French. We were enrolled in a high school in San Juan. But since I was a transferee I had to take up grade 7. My dear parents once again hired us a tutor. I really hated my Philipino class with so much desperation. In fact I really hated my high school days because truly Pinoys can be really mean to 'misfits'! To this day, I still have a difficult time conjugating some Tagalog words. And when the word is very long, I tend to stutter my pronunciation. Pathetic, I know!

My sister and I would still use French occasionally. That is when we don't want any one to understand us. After high school and university studies were done, we were assigned to Singapore and Dubai consecutively. By that time, I had already forgotten some French words. In Dubai, I developed a special friendship with an Egyptian guy who spoke French fluently. So I was given the chance to practice my French, hesitantly. Although most of my phrases were punctuated by 'hmmmm' and 'ahhh' It was mostly conversational French so I've totally forgotten how to write in French, unfortunately.

These days, I turn to YouTube to listen to some French songs. I also rely heavily on the translation websites when I am at a lost about certain words. I also try to watch during the numerous film festivals which feature French movies. Thankfully, I can still comprehend some words and if not there is always the English subtitles to guide me. I do need to emphasize that the French language is spoken differently in Francophile nations. But I won't get into the technical aspects of this beautiful language.

Instead I would end this blog entry by posting one of my favorite songs. It is sang by Claude Francois who was a legendary singer in France. He became famous in the era of the disco so his songs were mostly bouncy dance tunes. But he also had ballads and love songs in his wide repertoire.

This is one of his popular songs entitled "Alexandrie, Alexandra". I know those dance steps now seem funny. But back then, they were quite the rage. I watched those shows all the time so I think my limited dance moves were heavily influenced by those aerobic style steps. :D

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

PC life

Since we used to relocate many times in the span of 30 years, computer recycling was the norm. I remember it was in the early 1990s when I got my first personal computer. It lasted about 2 and a half years before it conked out. Back then, I was still living it up under parental guidance so I could afford to replace it with an entirely brand new one. That second PC eventually also gave way after 3 years, unfortunately.

In the last ten years, I finally stayed put permanently in one location. Since 2001, I've gone through 3 so far. Now I am wiser and would rather save for the future. With the able help of a handy technician on call, I've learned to prolong the life span of my computer. I only buy the damaged parts instead of a brand new one.

I guess it's about time too!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Kwentong "Barbero"

With prices of EVERYTHING (from taxi fare, toll gate fees to basic commodities like milk, bread) rising at an alarming cost, it is pretty hard to budget one's hard earned salary. But by buying cheaper brands, I managed to accumulate some savings. So with the extra money I figured I might as well go for my upper lip waxing. A luxury I only indulge in whenever some important occasion comes up. Otherwise the concealer is my best friend. Heh.

So it is no wonder that my suki 'waxer' or whatever you call that person who does the procedure was happy to see my hairy self. After making endless excuses that I really don't need (several) laser sessions to permanently remove pesky facial hair and explaining why I rarely show my hairy self to said establishment, she started making kwento.

And boy does she talk, talk and talk while attending to me. One of her kwentos made me laugh out really loud. A mother and her child came for some procedure. She didn't specify the exact service she provided. Nor did she mention the age of the child.

Child: Mommy pang tuition ko na yan pinapagawa mo ha.
(Mommy that's my tuition fee you are spending ha)

The mother either didn't know what to say or chose not to reply out of shame or embarrassment.

Child: Di bale na Ma sige magpaganda ka, baka maghanap ng ibang babae si dad at iwanan ka. (It's ok Ma go ahead, make yourself beautiful because Dad might look for another woman and leave you!)


Saturday, February 05, 2011


I started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's follow up novel to "Eat Pray Love". The title of her book is "Committed". Her second memoir takes off after Liz and Felipe encounter a major obstacle in their love story. So in this book, Liz being a skeptic when it comes to matrimony learns to tackle and make peace with this sacred institution.

I'm still not done with the book. I tend to fall asleep after reading a few pages. Not because it is a boring novel. But mostly because I'm tired and already sleepy by the time I get to open its pages.

It is a well researched book. She includes many details about matrimony from its history to modern times. As well as several insights from her friends, her relatives on their thoughts about marriage. It is also peppered with good quotes from well known personalities and experts.

I now realize this post seems like a book review. But it ain't. I haven't finish it yet. I originally wanted to quote some sentences from the book which reminded me of my own parents' marriage. Here are the excerpts:

Then there is the companionship. My parents have been married for over 40 years now. By and large, they've worked out their deal. They live in a pretty smooth routine, their habits polished by time's current. They orbit each other in the same basic pattern every day.

The poet Jack Gilbert (no relation, sadly for me) wrote that marriage is what happens "between the memorable". He said that we often look back on our marriages years later, perhaps after one spouse has died, and all we can recall are "the vacations, and emergencies" - the high points and low points. The rest of it blends into a blurry sameness. But it is that very blurred sameness, the poet argues, that comprises marriage.

Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody - so utterly well known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?

My father once joked - not really joking - that my mother manages about 95 percent of his life. The wonder of it, he mused, is that she's much more upset about the 5 percent of his life that he won't relinquish than he is about the 95 percent that she utterly dominates.

Happy 43rd anniversary to my Mom and Dad. We love you both dearly. =)

Thursday, February 03, 2011


The oldest pontifical university in Asia is now 400 years old. The University of Santo Tomas was founded on April 28, 2011. Its massive campus in Espana, Manila has endured through revolutions, wars and natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons. And for four years from 1987 to 1991, I was proud to be called a Tomasian.

My tertiary level education was unremarkable. I was shy, aloof and quite the 'ugly duckling', back then. But I was also a diligent student who excelled in my studies so I guess that makes it even. I had no love life to speak of but had some silly crushes on some guy classmates. Back then, I wasn't into boys yet. Ok wait a second, it doesn't mean I was into girls ha! Geez but you get my drift.

I would wake up at 4 in the morning to get to my 7 am class. From our apartment, I would walk about 5 minutes to the street corner where I boarded a public utility vehicle (jeep) to reach Sta. Mesa. Then I would take a bus and get off at Forbes bus stop to walk or sometimes run (because I was late) to the Commerce building.

For 4 years, I faithfully donned my white uniform to absorb knowledge from erudite 'terror' professors. For our physical education classes, we had to wear black knee length bloomers and golden (yellow) t-shirts. If my memory serves me correctly, we had table tennis, dance, volleyball as our sports activities. Being a sweaty nerd with unruly hair and thick eyeglasses, I was both horrified and terrified of PE because I obviously wasn't the athletic type of person.

I failed my Economics class so I had to re-take it during one hot summer. I remember feeling like a failure for not passing that class. I cried when I got my flunking grade but thankfully my parents were supportive. It's not like they had any choice, did they? :D

I also didn't make the cut so I could enroll for Accounting as my major. That was another low point in my schooling days. So I made do by taking Business Administration. But frankly, I wasn't good with numbers. I didn't really have a clear set plan on my career so I had no idea what to major in. Blah!

Despite my shy nature I was able to form lasting friendships. My barkada was a small group of friends from all walks of life. We would study together and on rare occasions would go out on weekends to enjoy. But basically we were all well behaved and definitely not the wild partying types. Heh! And thanks to Facebook, we still "keep in touch" even though we are now scattered all over the world.

So yes I am mighty proud to be a Tomasian. But mostly I'm eternally grateful to my parents for all their sacrifices in providing for me and my sister's education. In fact, I was teary eyed during my graduation rites which was held at the PICC. A strange gamut of mixed emotions flooded me. I was relieved that I was finally done with school and also quite apprehensive about my future.

Here I am with my sister and my parents during my graduation in 1991. I distinctly remember that abstract printed dress which I bought from Rustan's. It had big shoulders pads and MC Hammer style fringe skirt. It costs us a fortune but the smile on our faces is priceless. =)

Hopefully my sister doesn't kill me for posting that picture. But then, she doesn't read my blog so I'm safe. he he he