Black Thursday

Woke up rather early so decided to wear a dress today (on the other hand, I always wear a dress). Black, to match my somber mood. Hahaha. 😛
dress, Tyler; heels, Charles and Keith; necklace, Accessorize;
Tyler has been my go-to store for office wear – the cut is really great, as in it gives you shape. A Tyler dress may look limp on the racks but when you wear it, magic happens. And the size never fails – it always fits as if tailor made.  The designs are good too; in  fact, I have yet to buy a piece where I don’t get complimented. Plus, they only make a few of each design so the chances are very slim that you’d run into someone wearing the same thing (that’s the worst nightmare for a budding fashionista, no?)
My only gripe though, is that they don’t make printed dresses. Oh well, I should probably explore Kate Torralba and Azucar more.

Boring Office Days

Been so busy at the office lately that I don’t really have time to shop for new clothes or exert effort to rummage in my closet. It’s been a whatever’s the first thing I grab, I’m wearing it. 😛
 Left: artwork skirt, Freeway; ruched top, Plains and Prints; rose necklace, Market Market tiangge; purple maryjanes, Aldo. Right: thrifted dress; cardigan, Market Market department store; etched gold pendant, from Vietnam; sandals, Janylin
It’s funny coz the striped purple dress only cost me Php 150. It was a maxi dress originally but since I am not really into that particular type of dress, I had it cut – for a really unreasonable Php 350! I should have just cut it myself. Oh well.

Getting Over a Hangover

Went on a drinking session and realized something:  I am getting old. Gone are the days when I can down a bottle of Cuervo and pitchers of gin-pomelo and live to tell the tale. 
I drank five glasses of weng-weng, a bottle of gilbey’s green tea and half a bottle of san mig light. I was sensible though; in fact, I was still discussing work-related items almost the entire time. But, the next day, I woke up with a big headache, an upset stomach, and kept throwing up the entire day. I’m not exactly sure though if it was due to the alcohol; it was way my normal consumption – so I’m pinning the blame on the green tea which tasted like mussels in ginger soup. 
Anyway, to get over my hang over, I had dinner my BGF and hubby at Conti’s and totally pigged out: mango salad, seafood chowder, and baked prawns.
And yes — I ate them all and immediately felt much much better! 😛

Daily Fashion: Seeing Yellow

I predict that we’ll be seeing this color more prominently in the future. Good news for me as I totally love this happy sunshine color. 🙂

Left: knit dress with weave in bodice, Tyler; garterized belt, Freeway; earrings, Accessorize; cameo necklace, ordered online from the US; shoes, Charles and Keith;

Right: White knit dress, Dorothy Perkins; yellow coat, Maldita; necklace and bangle, Accessorize; white mary janes, Charles and Keith

I realize I should take pictures before leaving the house, when I look less harassed. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

My Little Angel

My little angel who never fails to make me smile no matter how tired, mad or crazy my life is:
Whenever I get mad, he comes up to me and kisses me, then asks, “mommy are you not mad after I kissed you?”
I seriously never thought I’d get a son so cute he can stop traffic, literally! There has yet to come a day when we don’t get stopped by someone on the streets, in the mall, or anywhere, telling us how cute he is. And I do mean stopped by someone – not just the impersonal “ang cute nung bata o” but being tapped on the shoulder and told that ” you’re son is so cute.” 
* shirts and pants from Guess, flip flops from Havaianas

Movie Review: Sex and the City 2

“I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman…”
As promised, SATC2 brings back together the fearless foursome of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, two years after the first film. Here, Carrie is settling down into married life, Miranda is at a career crossroads of sorts, Charlotte is overwhelmed with her two kids and a sexy nanny, and Samantha is… well, still Samantha. Whereas the first movie focused on Carrie’s love life, the sequel focuses more on the relationship among the four women.

Critics have panned this movie because of its flimsy storyline, or lack thereof, but one must remember, an SATC movie is essentially a visual feast for the fashionista – and it does not pretend to be more than that. I don’t recall seeing any posters bragging about its creativity and its script. In every poster or photo release from the set, it shows us the girls in the hottest clothes of the season.

Fun and fashion – this is the inseparable main draw of this film. Its like a tapestry of witty lines and remarkable scenes: Liza Minelli performing Beyonce’s Single Ladies at a gay wedding, the gay wedding itself, the hotel in Abu Dhabi, the lunch in the middle of the desert, even Miley Cyrus showing up to a movie premiere in the same dress as Samantha… in fact, all scenes are memorable for its sheer beauty, at least from a girl/woman’s point of view.

It manages subtle and not so subtle subplots on the hypocrisy surrounding Abu Dhabi’s being an open city yet not open to the Western culture, gay marriages, menopause, chauvinistic bosses, and even motherhood and old couple conundrums. It might not have delved deeper into any subplot, barely scratching the surface, but it raised a lot of points, further solidifying a woman’s identification with the four lead characters.

The movie is a bit long at two and forty minutes but you can just feast your eyes on the fashion. Or, go in fashion to the cinemas – I saw a lot of movie goers dressed to the nines, some even wearing sequined dresses to the last full show at Greenbelt last week. It will make the experience all the merrier. AND bring your girlfriends! 🙂

Fashion I love:

I have a thing for newsprint – I own a dress myself, all though of course, I cannot afford Dior. And I am loving the multicolored turban. Hmm… you think the metro will not find it weird if I show up in the streets wearing one?

* All photos from Google images

Museum Hopping

Went culture shopping in where else but historic Intramuros? 

First stop was the National Museum – our main purpose: to see Juan Luna’s Spoliarium as Ipe has never seen it in person (I, on the other hand, had seen it many times before as I’ve been visiting the museum since high school). Now, for those who don’t know, Luna’s masterpiece won a gold medal in the Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes in Spain; it was actually a payment to the Ayuntamiento of Manila who provided him with a scholarship in exchange for a work of art.

But as an added treat, the Assassination of Bustamante by Felix HIdalgo was also there (this one, I can barely recall, since it doesn’t have that much of a ring in my memory). This painting has a bit of a colorful history as it depicts a rather forbidden topic. But the genius behind the painting cannot be denied and it deserves its rightful place in the museum:

shirt, Promod; shorts, Kamiseta;taken outside the Museum steps 

Now, most of Hidalgo’s prize-winning masterpieces are on display at the Bangko Sentral’s museum, so we added that to our itinerary as well. You might want to check out Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacio (Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace) and La Barca de Aqueronte (The Boat of Charon). The former won a silver medal in the same competition as Luna’s Spoliarium while the latter won a silver medal Exposicion Universelle in Paris and a gold medal International Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid. 
Intramuros holds a special place in our lives since we got married there four years ago, in the oldest Catholic church in the country, and one of four baroque churches in the country listed in the Unesco – The San Agustin. So far, we’ve visited three out of four, although the last one in Iloilo is a bit far fetched since if we do go there, it would be the sole reason for our going (so friends, if you can recommend anything worth visiting/doing in Iloilo, drop me a line). 
The Manila Cathedral and the Pieta (which was cast from the same mold as the original):

The old finance Central Bank which was gutted down by fire many many years ago, and the status of King Philip of Spain fronting it:
The Archbishop’s official residence:
The Post Office:
For those who don’t know, the city of Manila was actually patterned after Washington DC by renowned American architect Daniel Burnham (yes, the same man who gave his name to Burnham Park in Baguio) – so you can consider it a miniature version of the US capital.
There are a host of other museums in the city of Manila, and other historical landmarks to visit but a half day is obviously not enough so I’ll just take you there on another blog post. 😛
* Spolarium and the Assassination of Bustamante from Google Images

Movie Review: Robinhood

Making a movie set in medieval times takes a lot of effort and a lot of balancing acts – you overdo it, and the movie becomes a silly comedy; on the other hand, putting less effort makes it look like a cheap shot. 
Robin Hood succeeds in giving us a new take on the legend’s life, focusing primarily in his part in the crusades of Richard the Lionheart, how he met Maid Marion, and how his band of Merry Men started.

Director Ridley Scott’s take on this legend takes more from the more recent stories surrounding Robin Hood from the 14th to 15th centuries – here he is depicted as the son of a former nobleman, instead of the commoner depicted in the stories from way back in the 11th century. However, he does succeed in portraying Robin Hood as a sympathetic character, and the film focuses on his personal life rather than his legend as an outlawed bandit.

Given that the two leads are both Oscar winners (Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett), one is almost guaranteed of a solid performance; even the supporting cast does very well and one would love to hate Godfrey (Mark Strong), the traitorous Englishman conniving with the French, and Prince John, later King (Oscar Isaac), who borders on stupidity to craziness.

But perhaps the strongest point of the movie is its cinematography – each village, each scene has that genuine feel and transports you to medieval Europe; indeed, each dollar of its $200M budget is well spent on lavish sets (that is, after you deduct the expected ginormous salaries of its main stars and its director).

However, at almost two and a half hours, this movie has moments when you just want to yawn and curl to sleep; in fact, I almost wanted to slip out of the cinema within the first thirty minutes because while there were action sequence playing out in front of me, it took a good deal of time to establish how Robin Hood was fighting in the crusades and how he ended up going home. The build-up of the story took a much longer focus than the actual story. And that is its fatal flaw.

Still, I would recommend this movie if only for the scenery and the maniacal Godfrey and King John – and little John, whom I also found hilarious. But I won’t expect another Robin Hood in the next twenty years.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Thank God my girl crush on Gemma Arterton and Jake Gyllenhaal’s big dreamy eyes won over my initial hesitation to watch this video game turned big budget Hollywood movie. 
Based on the Prince of Persia best selling video games, this movie tells the story of Prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal), a street urchin adopted by King Sharaman, and his quest to clear his name of the latter’s murder orchestrated by the evil Nizam (Oscar winner Ben Kingsley), and protect the dagger and the Sands of Time which are under the care of Princess Tamina (Farrah in the video games and played by Arterton) of Alamut. The movie doesn’t really expound much on the plot and instead dives head-first into a dizzying array of special effects.
The filmmakers could have chosen to make a meatier plot since it is actually loosely based on historical facts: King Malik Shah of the last Persian Empire was betrayed by his Grand Vizier, also named Nizam, with the help of the Hashshashin, a group of men who engage in dark magic. Incidentally, Malik Shah was succeeded on the throne by his brother Tutush. But I am not sure if the historical Tutush was the basis for the fictional Tus (in the movie, Tus was a son).And Alamut is a true fortress which was destroyed by the Hashshashins.
However, one must must keep in mind that this movie is about the video game, so come into the cinemas without a truckload of expectations. The  filmmakers, though, managed to squeeze in some touching scenes showing the brotherly love between Dastan  and the king’s own sons Garsiv and Tus, Dastan’s gratitude and love for the king for adopting him and treating him as his own. But, given its video game origins, the special effects and action sequence are really the focal point. In this, the movie does extremely well, this facet almost single-handedly making this film worthwhile. I have actually been a fan of the 2003 game on which this movie is based, even having it installed in my phone so I already knew a bit of what to expect: swash buckling, chest-baring action.  
I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Dastan jumps from one rooftop to the other, first as a kid trying to evade the police (or whatever they were called 1,000 years ago), and then as an adult, trying to escape the soldiers from arresting him for the murder of his father. One other noteworthy scene was when he succeeded in infiltrating the fortress city of Alamut by using arrows shot into its walls by his men as stepping stones. All that $200M budget seems put to good use by all the dazzling display of effects.
Of course, the lead stars’ pretty mugs also work to get your mind off the plot. Arterton looks equally good as a tanned middle-eastern women as she did as fair Io in Clash of the Titans (or even as the strawberry blond Bond girl in Quantum of Solace last year) so I would expect to see her in more movies in the future.And of course, while Gyllenhaal isn’t exactly your typical handsome guy, his big puppy eyes and disarming charm make him perfect for the role.
I read that this movie is just the first of a planned seven movie film series; but given that is has only earned three fourths of its budget (as of today at least), even the second one might seem far-fetched. But I would still recommend seeing this movie for the visual feast, effects or otherwise.
* photo from Google images

Running Errands Day

top, Kashieca; shorts, Maldita; sandals, Wade; bag, Aranaz; necklace and bangles, Accessorize; tourmaline earrings, my birthday present to moi last year. Photo by hubby
Bad hair day and I’m a bit sleepy. And dad, contrary to your opinion, I take better pictures. Harhar.