Monday, August 31, 2009

The Favorite Parent

I have a feeling Pao is going to be a fun dad. A couple of weeks ago, I was forced to contribute to the purchase of his first ever magic (not the cards) kit. You know those stalls in Megamall that teach you magic tricks for a purchase? Pao's a patron -

He now knows a few card tricks, although I have to "manage" him during his "shows" because he still has the tendency give the tricks away. Hay naku.

Pao also likes to play with his cousins. Last month, he couldn't decide between making like Darth Vader -

- or Rambo ...

... so he went with both. Friends, meet Ramvader -

The competition is going to be stiff. I may have to resort to bribery to make our son like me more. Heehee

UP

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Movies
Genre: Animation
I have to post this quick, to convince you to watch the movie while it's a holiday.

Reason No. 1: It's from Pixar, common! The'yre the same genuises who made Ratatouille and Monsters, Inc. Naman.

Reason No. 2: Although it's originally meant for kids, its many underlying stories would touch even the oldies' hearts. It doesn't make you cry out of drama's sake, but out of empathy. Anyone who has wished someday that they'd find someone to grow old with will relate to the movie. Trust me, you will find yourself unconsciously saying "aww" many times while watching it.

Reason No. 3: Great online reviews. My expectations were actually set so high before watching this movie, due to the many rave reviews its been getting (like the 97% it got from the guys at the critical rottentomatoes). But hell yeah. UP lived up to those expectations.

Hurry, watch it on 3D and bring the kids. It's so worth it.

Pregnancy Journal 6.1 (Feet 'R Us)

We turned 24 weeks pregnant this week, which is about 6 months. Things are basically the same as they were last month. I still have backaches that keep me awake at night. My skin is still breaking out. I notice that my hair's thicker than usual. Whereas I could be the poster girl for Regroe 6 months ago, now I feel I'm ready for my Pantene ad. Naks.

The baby's the size of an ear of corn now, which is weird because I've been told he's approximately the size of a papaya last month. Isn't papaya bigger than mais? Anywho.


Here's what we look like now -


My belly should be all baby-no food, because I try not to eat so much anymore. Well, with the exception of today's brunch. I had bacon and grilled chicken swimming in melted cheese, between heavenly buttery croissant. PLUS, I had one buttermilk pancake after. The fries also tasted like they were actually cooked in butter. Yum. They tasted soooo good.

Pao agrees -

I'm hoping I could make up for this next week. No more desserts I guess, except for those fruit cups from the supermarket. Booo.

This month, the spotlight is on my feet. I seem to have gone a size and a half larger than my usual shoe size. I tried on my regular office shoes yesterday and they don't fit anymore. Hala. I'm scared of the cost of having to refurbish my office wardrobe, shoes included. Will my feet return to normal? Gad, please.

Also, my soles and legs are tired all the time. As in achy breaky feet. My solution is to stay away from closed shoes on weekends. I've taken to wearing sandals (1 1/2 sizes bigger) that have excellent sole support instead. They're not very fashionable, but they will have to do at this point.


That's all for now. I'm feeling very sleepy. I had to stay awake late last night because I was on a bidding war for maternity clothes on ebay. I won, of course. Yey. Zzzzzzzz.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

damn you, ebay! zzzzz.

I'm in love

I was aimlessly walking around my default mall the other day, when I chanced upon this new shop called "Accessorize." It looked like a local shop from the outside, from the same gene pool as say, Broadway Gems or Le Donne. But when I entered, I couldn't help but "ooh" and "ahh" at their delicate and flirty bags. I'm in love...




                      Embellished (as in all over) handbag with satin handles, each around PhP3,600



Tote made of fairtrade cotton, around PhP900. We learn today that "fairtrade" products are products made of materials bought from farmers in developing countries, who are guaranteed a fair deal when selling their goods to big corporations, like Accessorize. We can read more about fairtrade here.


                                                                Laminated shopper, around PhP800


                                                                 Weekender, around PhP4,000

The sales staff won't allow me to take pictures of the bags inside the store. They didn't buy my excuse of "I'd have to take pictures so I can look at them when I get home and then eventually decide whether to get one or not." So I improvised and got pictures of the bags I saw, from the Accessorize website here.

Turns out, Accessorize is a UK brand. By way of small talk, I asked some sales persons and they confirmed that the bags are as always made in China, although they are "conceptualized in the UK, and the materials come from there also." Right.

I love that these totes are girly, although I am iffy about the price. Isn't PhP4K too much to spend for a cotton shoulder bag? Kahit fairtrade cotton pa siya? Hmmm.

Buon Giorno

We were at Buon Giorno at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay at night, and the place was packed. So I figured: (1) It isn't a date place. Better if you bring the entire family there instead, and (2) The restaurant must look quaint and more relaxed in the morning. Afterall, it is set on a hill.


That's that for the preliminaries. Here's what we had. For our mutual benefit, I took pictures of Buon Giorno's menu on macro, so I don't mess up the fancy names by which these dishes are called. Ready? Let's go.

First off, we had Spaghetti Vongole e Gamberretti (PhP280) or simply spaghetti in olive oil with clams and shrimp -

Then we had Spaghettini Aglio E Olio (PhP252), which is again spaghetti in olive oil and anchovies. It's a wonder though, why we didn't get the taste of anchovies out of this dish at all. In fact, this dish had us wondering, what are these sundried tomatoes doing here? Hmm. Maybe we were served the wrong pasta.

Pao and I were craving for steak, which Buon Giorno was apparently known for, but they unfortunately ran out of beef that night. So we ended up with Lamb Chop (PhP554) which was exquisitely (naks, big word) tender -

- and then we ordered steak from the next door restaurant, the Fire Lake Grill. The mashed potatoes were instant mashed potatoes, but the meat was flavorful so it was still all good. Two thumbs up!

And finally, we had Risotto Con Salsicce E Cippole Arrostite (PhP280), which was just risotto with italian sausage and onions. This was the dish I loved the most. It doesn't look appetizing because like all risottos, it's just mushy, flavored rice. But I really really loved it.

Their desserts looked promising too. They had chocolate-pistachio sans rival (PhP207) and chocolate espresso torte (PhP168) among others. But we decided to just have frozen yogurt at the yogurt shop a few tumblings away. That turned out to be a good thing, because the reviews online apparently agree that desserts in Buon Giorno are talo.

Well that was fun, I think we'll come back again. Incidentally, word has it that there IS a Buon Giorno in Shaw, behind Puregold. So no need to drive the entire 2 hours to Tagaytay. Just hop on a taxi  or ride a jeep to Shaw, and we're off!

Ewok

You remember last week, we went to Tagaytay to visit my cousin Ihra.

I almost forgot to write about her dog, Asia. Here she is...

I think she's adorable. I also think she should win an award for the world's ugliest adorable dog.

On paper, Asia's allegedly a "shih tzu." It's a wonder then, why she's smaller than a chihuahua, has a ridiculous overbite, and her fur's fuzzy and all-white.

I'm just saying, I doubt. * Snicker * What do you think? Say hello to the camera, Asia!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Not Too Late

Got myself some Ayala Eco Totes as promised. I was disappointed for two reasons. Firstly, I expected to see a very long line to the Concierge. Turns out, I was the only one who was interested in buying these things.

Secondly, the totes are poorly made. They're so NOT like the ones worn by the designers in their photo shoots. Randy Ortiz' nylon reversible hobo turned out to be an orange/dirty white recycled canvass hobo. And what looked like a pretty sturdy Louis Claparols tote, turned out to be a haphazard bag made out of thin cheesecloth. They did not even bother to remove the pencil marks from the cut-out letters "L" and "C" in front. Nyak. Ano yun, design? Hmm.

I've resorted to making up excuses in my mind for the poor workmanship. Maybe the bags are consistent with the eco-friendly theme. All materials are recycled and shabby, hence, not necessarily chic. Or maybe...Ayala wanted to save on overhead, i.e. material costs, so that more of the proceeds go to the designers' charity of choice.

These excuses considered, I went ahead and bought the Louis Claparols tote. Let's not forget, that one's for PAWS. I also bought the one from Vic Barba, which I honestly think is the only decent tote of the batch. In fact, there was only one left of the Barbas when I got to Glorietta that day.

The material of the actual tote is thinner than expected, but it more or less resembles the one shown in the campaign. That's good enough. Plus there's the 'barba' embroidered bag tag in front...

...and the floral piping inside. Excellent details.

Here I am using the tote while waiting on Pao. It's really very useful. It held a shoulder bag, Pao's shirt and a box of cheese rolls from Mary Grace. San ka pa?

If you get the chance, please drop by any of the Ayala Malls and check out the totes. Must not miss the opportunity to help a good cause.


Misses

Consumers like us always assume the risk of ending up with a useless purchase. That's the case with the folding gadget we bought a few months back. I initially thought that was God's greatest gift to homemakers worldwide. Turns out, I used it only once. I did leave instructions with our kasambahay to use it when folding our clothes, but I guess folding clothes the old-fashioned way is way faster than having to use the thing-a-majig.

Also, the baby sling that I was raving about arrived in the mail last week complete with CD and instruction manual. The good news is that it's actually an all-black daddy sling, which means Pao can use it too. The down side is, I can't seem to figure out how to use it. Hala. I once got it around my shoulders with Pao's help. I'm not sure though if I can replicate that without an extra pair of hands helping me. So, I'm putting this at the back of our closet until baby arrives. Maybe then, necessity would have compelled me to learn how to use it by myself.

And then, there's this pregnancy pillow that I bought over the weekend, which I heard should help with the back problems I've been having. As you can see from its tattered box, it was one of two remaining in SM Makati. I got it on sale at 75% off. Jackpot - if only it weren't so useless.

Alas, the pillow just occupies space in our bed. It has not helped with my sleeping at all. Maybe it's because my belly isn't big enough yet. I don't know. But for now, I'm just using it to prop up my head when watching television. Toink.

While we're on the subject of pregnancy pillows, what I really want is this...

The thing costs around USD100 on sale and is so bulky, Pao would have to sleep on the floor if I ever use it. Oh well. Again, a potential miss.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Time Traveller's Wife

Rating:★★★★
Category:Movies
Genre: Drama
I don't know how anyone who hasn't read the book would feel about this movie. At least for me, it came as a pleasant surprise. Having read the book, I thought I would get bored midway because I knew how the story would turn out.

Fortunately, most of the storylines in the book were deemed unnecessary and taken out of the screenplay, i.e. Gomez' hidden desire for Clare, Clare's adolescence, Dr. Kendrick's attempts to cure Clare and Henry's daughter of "chrono-displacement," Henry's conflicts with his dad, Clare's mom's illness etc. As a result, the movie was fast-paced. I didn't even notice those two hours passing me by.

I did expect Clare to be stronger-willed than how Rachel McAdams portrayed her. I also found Eric Bana's voice as Henry DeTamble over-dubbed and hence, annoying. But my eyes were still sore from crying when I left the theater, which was the point anyway. In the end, I'd say I liked this movie almost as much as I liked the novel.

had an entire brownie for dessert. now very guilty. tsk.

Pretend Pageant

Something special is happening tomorrow. Pao has been looking forward to it all week...

What that is, is the super belated telecast of the Miss Universe Pageant 2009. Oh yes, hundreds of the world's most beautiful women gathered in one place, ready and willing to parade themselves wearing the most provocative of evening gowns and the tiniest of swimsuits. Aylabeet and admit it, so do you.

In reality, the pageant is already over. But I'm still watching the show at 8PM tomorrow (Tuesday) on Studio 23, because I'd like to hopelessly root for the underdog and sourgrape at the sight of beautiful creatures just the same. Our representative, Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2009 Pamela Bianca Manalo, held some promise since she won the local title. For all we know, the results may be different on replay. Wekwek

* If you want to know how the pageant turned out, and to accordingly ruin the pretend excitement for the rest of us, click here. Boo.

Brilliant

I'm not a film critic, but I know a good actor when I see one. In the trailer below, please pay particular attention to John Lloyd's scene with Ate Vi. In that scene, Lloydie's playing a gay lover, who I assume recently lost his boyfriend (Lucky Manzano) to cancer. SUPER brilliant performance. I swear, I'm going to have to be first in line when this movie comes out in September.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday Driving

I desperately needed a vacation. Ordinarily (meaning when I was not yet pregnant) Pao and I would be off to some island somewhere to spend the long weekend. But now that we're almost six months along, future dad won't let me ride a plane and my O.B. won't let me ride a boat, so I was left with the short land trip option. A nice garden-y setting would have been ideal, but anywhere was fine, really. I just wanted to get out of the city for a while.

Last minute, we decided to visit my cousin in Tagaytay. We thought ourselves genuises for leaving on a Saturday instead of the day before, which was when we expected the general exodus from Metro Manila.

It turns out, the day we left did not make much of a difference, since construction was ongoing on the Skyway extension along the SLEX eitherway. We had to spend two hours idling along the Sucat-Bicutan route alone. Geez.

After four hours, we finally arrived at our idyllic destination.

Unfortunately, Pao cared little for the surroundings and cared more about the bed. He was shifting from gas to clutch to gas to clutch for four hours. I understood. Poor child.

When Pao woke up, we swam at the clubhouse a little. I conveniently forgot to take pictures of my hot self in my bathing suit. The good thing was, I magically fitted into my pre-pregnancy tankini, huge belly notwithstanding. This is our after-swimming photo. Yey, fresh.

Basically, we mastered the art of doing nothing there. We lounged around...

...did some gardening. Okay, my cousin Ihra did. We watched and fiddled with the leaves. Heehee.

We had dinner at this nice Italian restaurant (blog to follow) ...

...and ate some frozen yogurt at this new frozen yogurt place...

We had to leave early the next day, so we'd have time to visit Pao's family in Quezon City. Fortunately, the trip back wasn't as excruciating as the trip going to Tagaytay. We took the Skyway, God bless that road. As a result, we were back at the feverish comforts of our small home in no time.

This will probably be my last vacation until baby is old enough to take a trip with us. Next time, we'd be carrying plastic toys, a stroller and some blue baby swim trunks, among other essentials. Here we go, change.
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