Monday, December 27, 2010

Russian Red is L-O-V-E

Me? Wear red lipstick? Nah. Never in my wildest dreams. My visits to the MAC counters were always to purchase the most neutral shades I could find. My latest MAC favorite is a shade called Hug Me which looks like this (photo credit: It's been my go-to shade eversince I discovered it.

Recently though, while on an impromptu shopping cum dinner trip to Power Plant Mall, my good friends Pia and Smile (well, mostly Pia, who by the way is the only person I know who wears red lipstick like she owns the shade), convinced me to step outside of my comfort zone and try red for a change. I can't believe I walked out of the store with a tube of MAC's Russian Red (still not my own photo).

Had I been alone in the store, I never would've even thought of grabbing this shade. But guess what, thanks to P and S, I did and I don't regret it one bit. I told P before we adjourned that night that I owe the epiphany to her.

Not bad at all! I think I'm gonna run out of this before I know it. I've been using it everyday since the time I got it. It looked even more perfect on Christmas Eve with my all-black outfit.

It was STILL my lipstick of choice on Christmas Day

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Back to the 70s

I dropped by one of my favorite local shoe brands Shoebox at Power Plant Mall last night and went home with this pair. It reminds me so much of my Mom during the 70s. I was too young to wear these then but I remember admiring them and asking for one of my own.

Many years later, I'm glad this trend has come back. I was actually so close to buying a similar pair at CMG, which was selling for close to 3K. This pair from Shoebox set me back a mere P995. I took them on a roadtest today and I have to say that I really got my money's worth.

Other colors available : brown, bright red and denim.

The Sweetest Santa Ever

Sabine was too young to know what was going on the first time she met Santa Claus. It was inside Rustan's Makati one Sunday. In fact, she was so scared she cried. She's turning 5 in a few months and understands better who Santa Claus is. So while walking around Power Plant yesterday and spotting Santa on the ground floor, I decided to stop by and have her "rekindle" her relationship with the big guy.

I was touched at the warmth this Santa showed her (and the other kids who went ahead of her). We spent a good 2-3 minutes with him. He spoke to her in a hushed tone, we couldn't hear what he was saying. But Sabine just kept smiling and nodding her head at him while she had her arms around his fat belly the whole time. It was a really heartwarming scene to watch.

After she said goodbye to Santa and while we walked around some more, she said to me, "Mommy, I love love love Santa!!!" So precious!

Brownies Unlimited Cupcakes

I had two of these the other night, while watching the football game between the Indonesians and our very own Azkals. I used the tension as an excuse LOL. I love the icing because it's old school, your good old buttercream. This beats fondant hands down.

For just P165 for six pieces, who's to complain?
Too bad our Azkals lost. But these cupcakes are a winner.

Brownies Unlimited stalls are found in SM Malls.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two Dads

One is rejoicing, the other in deep anguish. Freddie Webb and Lauro Vizconde. When you think about it, both are victims. Freddie saw his son languish in jail for the past 15 years, believing that he doesn't deserve to be there. While Mr. Vizconde had his entire family wiped out by a killer who, apparently, is still at large.

19 years after the Vizconde massacre, we all find ourselves back to square one, asking the same question we all did right after it happened. WHO DID IT? This is a very sad turn of events for the Philippines. The glaring fact that our justice system just doesn't cut it is a bitter pill to swallow. Two courts previously agreed that Hubert Webb et al were guilty of rape and murder, only for their decisions to be overturned by the highest court 15 years later. What does this say about how the wheels of justice turn in our country? Nothing good, obviously.

I can go on and on about how disgusted I feel but there's nothing much I can do to change things. I can only pray that one day, I can wake up to a better Philippines for my children's sake and won't regret not packing my bags and opting to live elsewhere.

Meantime, my prayers are mostly with Mr. Vizconde, who has gone through hell and back and now finds himself in hell again after yesterday's decision to acquit the men whom he believed to be guilty of taking his family away from him. Will he ever see justice served in this lifetime? Will we?

And for Hubert and his family, I hope for the best. May they be able to use the lessons they've learned from this ordeal to help others.

God bless us all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crystal Jade

I've been wanting to eat here since they brought the place to Manila. I've been to a couple of their branches in HK and it was always a pleasurable dining experience for me and for my family whenever we would visit. But the first few months were really hectic for the Manila branch, with people waiting for a table for half an hour or more.

After a round of shopping in Greenhills, we decided it was time to go. We were lucky because at 630pm, there were still a few vacant tables in the restaurant, plus the fact that the novelty has probably died down a bit.

We didn't have to wait more than 10 minutes for our orders to arrive.

Broccoli with Minced Garlic
10 stars!!!

Deep Fried Chicken with Chili
Not terribly spicy, which is good

Plain Noodles with soup for Sabine

Fried Rice with Seafood

Who would leave Crystal Jade without having their famous Xiao Long Bao?

My honest-to-goodness rating?
Food : 10 stars
Service : Superb
Value for money : DEFINITELY

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Full Holiday Mode

After tomorrow, I'm scheduled to be 100% focused on the coming holidays. With 3 Christmas parties this week alone, I'm looking forward to spending all my free time segregating and wrapping gifts. It hasn't been this way in a while. In the past few years, I saw myself rushing off to the mall after work to beat closing time just to grab gifts and cross names off my list. On weekends, I would drag myself out of bed to do the same thing PLUS brave the usual terrible holiday chaos on the road.

This year, it will be so different from the usual. I can choose to go to the mall any time I want and not think of having to prioritize a hectic work schedule. I can set aside any thoughts about work (and income ... which is actually the hard part) until early next year when people are again settled back into regular programming.

Today, I'm off to Greenhills, a place I haven't visited in ages. It's the nearest, most convenient place to go to and I find almost anything I need there.

List and cash in hand, I'm going to spend the afternoon leisurely at my own pace this time.

Are the rest of you ready for Christmas?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Neal's 44th @ The Jeepney

A few days ago, I had the chance to visit Hotel Intercon's The Jeepney again. When I was a lot younger, it used to be known as The Jeepney Bar and it was popular back then because of its very creative set up. Customers were made to sit inside actual Philippine jeepneys while they dined. Unfortunately, I can't find photos to prove this but that was really the case ages ago.

Today, you'll only find these on the walls

The buffet set-up is not overwhelming at all. I'm not a big buffet fan, not a heavy eater at all. I like that it only takes one round to see what's there for the picking. I had my heart set on dessert but they didn't have their mini-bibingkas, puto bumbongs and palitaws that night. I was told those are served at breakfast.
I also loved the understated holiday decorations in the lobby. They weren't overdone and stuck to the traditional colors of Christmas.

The following food shots were taken by our budding 14-year old photographer, Anissa. She's really good, isn't she?

Here's our junior photog with her official bodyguards hee hee

And the Birthday boy at the Halo Halo station

Our little fashionista posed by the lobby stand of Christmas sweet treats

Happy Happy 44th Birthday, Hon!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Self-Employment Woes

It's 3am and I'm still awake. Not wide awake, because I can feel my body crashing into bed as I type. Forcibly awake is more like it. I've been in front of my laptop since about 9pm doing paperwork. In between, I would indulge Sabine in a little attention. She was wondering why I was working downstairs for a change, when I would usually just do this in bed. I've learned my lesson. I almost never achieve anything by working while snuggled under the covers in an airconditioned room. So she kept going up and down the stairs to ask me when I'm going up. My poor little girl fell asleep on the couch because she insisted on waiting for me. I had to carry her up the stairs and tuck her into bed before hitting the laptop again.

So why am I still up and working at this ungodly hour? Ah, that's the downside of being self-employed. When I was working fulltime in the corporate world, I was harassed and stressed out from 9-5 but I left work at the office, never brought any of it home with me. Unfortunately, even if I didn't have to work at home back then, I was still absent in so many ways, due to the exhaustion. Plus I was also travelling a lot. 4-5 days at a time and it made me miserable to a certain extent each time I had to leave.

A few weeks ago, I decided to jump right back into consulting work which I had done a few times in the past. Luckily and clearly due to divine intervention (plus the help of a very good friend), I got my first project in no time. Unfortunately though, I've had many sleep-deprived days since I started on the project. Today is going to be one of them. Not all consulting jobs are this toxic though. It just so happens that the client is on the demanding side (I'm being kind here) and was given a deadly deadline to produce results --- which are to come from me and a few other people. I'm charging this to experience. There are so many gains from this experience, all of which I've taken note of, so that I can be properly guided when the next project comes along. That's my woe really.

At the end of the day though, I see that the pros outweigh the cons where my circumstances are concerned. My kids are so happy I'm always home and available (especially the little one) and I'm more in control of my time. So as long as the benefits directly impact my family, especially my children, anything is worth the sacrifice. By sacrifice I mean the major lifestyle adjustment. more monthly income. That's a HUGE thing for me. Years ago, I wouldn't even have imagined being where I am today. I guess it's the age factor too. The older you get, the more you value the little but really more significant things.

Babbling away at 3am. I haven't been up this late in a very long time, especially not because of work. I'm just so glad this project is just about to end. I can be on full holiday mode very soon. Not to mention, I can focus more on my future plans. Don't wanna reveal them just yet. It's exciting and I can't wait to be 100% committed to it.

A few more days ...