Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Band in focus: Never the Strangers

Maybe it's because I am still hung up on To Write Love on Her Arms, but whatever the reason, I find myself getting more and more enamored by the appeal of Never the Strangers:

The first time I heard of the band was when they made their debut on Myx and the VJ then introduced them as being Rico Blanco's proteges. This fact, of course, piqued my interest. I mean, Rico is legendary! Any band he supports deserves attention.

Well, the attention they demanded was reciprocated by a positive response from the audience. Perhaps it's because of their youth. Or maybe it's their freshness and brimming potential. Whatever it is, the band just has IT.

I find myself singing their hit, Alive over and over:

They won’t take away our sanity 
Cause deep inside we know we’re 
Stronger than that 

Anthony, their vocalist, relayed that he wrote this song during a trying time. Reminds me of the inspiration behind a number of products from To Write Love on Her Arms. Indeed, it is those who have experienced heart ache that are able to write the most beautiful compositions. Thank you for this Anthony.

This is not their official music video but I like this video a lot because it's super creative and if you have knowledge of video editing, you would know that this technique is very difficult. So kudos to the one who did this video! I am loving the song more because of how you presented it :)

I am excited to see how the band will fare in the near future. I miss the days when OPM dominated the airwaves and people spent money going to concerts by local acts. But hope is not lost. I have trust on our local music scene. After all, Filipino artists have so much potential just waiting to be maximized.

So lesgow, Philippines! Time to shine.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Run for your life

I am not a runner. I get tired quickly and I easily lose my breath. I remember back in college when we had to run around the UP oval 3 times for our finals in PE. Well, we walked most of the time and ended in 260+ position out of the 300 students who ran. So imagine my hesitation when a friend asked if I want to join a fun run..until I learned the details of Outbreak Manila.

You have to race against time, other runners, obstacles and FLESH EATING ZOMBIES!! Now doesn't that sound fun? Hahaha.

Survival Mode: You will be given a life-representing flag belt (which will represent your health) in your runner's kit. Aside from getting out alive, you must protect your flags, a total of three, from the zombies scattered along the course. Don't worry though, one zombie can get only one flag from you. Also there will be obstacles in the course where you can choose to go through to attain additional health flags. Upon crossing the finish line, you need at least one health flag with you in order to be eligible for prizes. If, however, you lose all your health flags, you are still allowed to finish the race and your time will be recorded but you shall be considered "dead" and no longer be eligible for prizes. Again, you will be considered dead and not a zombie. This means you are NOT to act like a zombie and start grabbing the flags of other runners.

It will be held in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa Laguna this April 14, 2012. Registration will start on March 2 at Toby's Sports Megamall, Mall of Asia and The Block and at RUNNR Alabang Town Center, Bonifacio High Street, and Trinoma. For 700 bucks you will get to run not only for your health but also for your life..oh and yeah, you will also get to run for (lots and lots of) fun.

Learn more about the event by clicking here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Misguided ghost

Change is the only permanent thing in the world. We always say we're prepared for change but when change is introduced instantly, and all at once, it can get very overwhelming.

I am going away for a while
But I'll be back don't try and follow me
Cause I'll return as soon as possible

Everyday since mama died has been a test. I take things one day at a time because there are days I cry every so often and then there are days I'm okay. It's a rollercoaster kind of feeling and and I realize pain from death is so much deeper than any other kind of pain. You would have to have lost someone so dear to understand the feeling.
Sometimes I question why I have to experience all these at such a young age. And why it always happens to only children. I'm grateful for the support of others but at the end of the day, the realization that you are, technically alone, keeps me from getting a good night's sleep.

It's difficult to get back on track and as Paramore's song describes it, I feel like a misguided ghost.
I know this is the time I must learn independence. I fully understand that. And maybe it's just too soon and the responsibility and challenges are just so overwhelming but I know one day, I'll look back and pat myself on the back for handling all these with strength and grace.
I'm on semi-break from reality right now. I just need some time to figure things out and draft a new life plan for myself. I know, in some way, I am hurting other people with my decisions and how I just want to be aloof and stay in a "lost state". I am sorry. I really am just confused and overwhelmed and hurting.

Cause I'm just one of those ghosts
Traveling endlessly
Denim vest - Next jeans
White top - random from Shopwise
High waisted shorts - Taylor & Co.
Black rubber sandals - Skechers

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lugang Cafe

Recent years have shown how Chinese cuisine has been getting a "face-lift" from its old image of being a "take-out" place (think: mediocre taste, no presentation, relatively cheap). Now, Chinese restaurants are looking more and more chic, creating a more sophisticated feel.

One of those "chic" Chinese restaurants recently opened in SM Mall of Asia:

The restaurant, from the outside, looks ordinary but the line outside the door makes you wonder why there are so many people wanting to dine in. That, precisely, was one of the reasons we decided to check out the restaurant. Here are some picks for lunch at Lugang Cafe:

First the dumplings!
Xiao long bao! My relatives really loved the taste of this, they even ordered a second batch!

Vegetable dumplings!- you're mine! These were sooooo good! I remember having vegetable dumplings before and they tasted so bland that when I saw this in the menu, I was very apprehensive to get it. It however came as a surprise! I even found myself scrutinizing the filling trying to look for the "meat". I couldn't believe it was vegetarian! Thank you Lugang cafe!--I now know where to go for tasty vegetable dumplings!

Next, some appetizers-slash-semi viands
Tofu- kung pao style. You know how I love tofu. And kung pao. Mix them two together and what do you have?? Heaven in a bite :)
Pork rolls!-- my relatives say these came cold-- oh wait, it's not a bad thing. They actually serve it cold. The sauce, they claim, is superb!

Apart from the food, Lugang Cafe also boasts of their really interesting selection of drinks:

(L) Cranberry and Mango Juice and (R) Aloe Lemon Juice
Mine was the Cranberry and Mango Juice. The interesting thing about it is that the "mango part" is not of juice form. There are actual mangoes in it! And surprise, surprise, lots of sago! I am a sucker for sago/pearls so when I saw the drink had those, I almost cried in delight! The drink is so tasty, just recalling it now, makes me thirsty!
(L) milk tea with coffee jelly and (R) cantonese lemon tea
The milk tea with coffee jelly was also really good! You know how I can never resist milk tea/coffee so I had to ask my tita to let me taste her drink. hehe :)

Overall, I say, two thumbs up Lugang Cafe!--really, the Chinese are living up to the renewed image of their growing economy. Congratulations!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vegetarian junk food

Vegetarian + junk food --err, doesn't sound too good together eh? Vegetarians are thought to be health conscious and all that but I beg to differ. It actually depends on the person's motivation in turning vegetarian. Take me, for example. I'm not health conscious. People assume that I am but I'm not. Like most people my age, I live on junk food and sweets and coffee and stuff that are said to be bad for your health. It just so happens that I don't eat meat. But apart from that, I am like any other 20-something girl who loves her junk.

Well, I have here a compilation of some of the not-so-healthy vegetarian junk food available in groceries:

Not my favorites but interesting just the same. Be wary though, they kind of taste alike.
This has a different feel. Kind of like a mix of Nova and Snacku pea snack.
Claims to be meat-free but I don't trust it. Ironically, I haven't tasted this yet. Though some claim that it does taste like Bacon
My favorite! I used to be so addicted to this because it does taste like chicharon and even the texture is right! This is still my favorite vegetarian junk food :P
There! I just realized this post is funny because it doesn't advocate healthy-living at all! My apologies. But you have to keep it real. And although I wish I feature healthy vegetarian snack food, I can't because that would be tantamount to lying.

I eat junk. I love junk. Forgive me Lord.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stay Strong

You know how I've always been a fan of Demi Lovato. I think she is very talented and she is one of the very few Disney stars I am sincerely a fan of. Demi has been through a depression phase and now that I am in a sorrowful state myself, I take inspiration from her.

Stay strong, Demi said.

I've found new admiration for those who are able to stay strong in times of adversity. Truly, it takes much more than courage to get through difficult times. You can seek help from people around you but at the end of the day, you can only rely on yourself to help you through. It's a conscious effort. It's a choice. It's you deciding to be brave.

Constant reinforcement and words to live by help a lot. You repeat it over and over until the saying engulfs your being and you take it as the truth. For me, it is this:

Life comes and goes. Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes. This too shall pass.

p.s. Thank you to all who showed concern and gave comforting words in my last post. Please accept my sincere thank you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

She did not die

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.

My mom passed away last Monday, 06 February.

Her death was so simple and pain-free. It was, in a way, serene and beautiful. 

I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am grateful that she did not suffer much. I am grateful for the life she lived. I am grateful that God gave me her for a mom. She was... is perfect. 

I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
I'm okay. Don't worry about me. Mom's greatest gift to me was her optimism and despite all the uncertainty and challenges that I now have to face alone, I am and will always be hopeful that I will emerge victorious.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.

The dress I'm wearing is actually my mom's. For some reason, I find unusual comfort in wearing her clothes and using her things. My mom is just around. I know that. As the poem goes, she is everywhere. In the gentle breeze; the moon's soft glow; in every rainbow. 

 I loved her but God loved her more.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there;
I did not die.
Dress - Mint
Black clogs - Parisian
Black bag with tassel - Parisian
Leather cuffs - The Bead Shop
White rubber watch - ODM My Pilipinas collection

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A V-day treat at Max's

We were at Max's the other day when they gave us this box of V-day treats for free:

Might look simple but believe me, they taste SO GOOD! They are not pure chocolates by the way. They are actually chocolate covered caramel bars or brownies. There are also a couple made of puff pastry. They are just so tasty! I especially love the chocolate-covered caramel bars because I'm already a fan of Max's caramel bars and adding chocolate to them makes it a notch tastier! Yummy!!!

A tip for the cheapskates: just remove the Max's bakeshop tag and voila! You have for yourself a chic valentine's gift for your beloved. Hihi :P

Happy heart's day everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hearts Day Treat Idea - The Lollicake Factory

Do you guys remember that I mentioned in a previous post that I'm not as inclined to Valentine's Day as I used to? And how it's odd that Valentine's-related things have been finding me? Well, here's another treat that I saw earlier today which I think would be great to give to your special someone or to your friends for Hearts Day.
What exactly is a lollicake? A lollicake is basically a cake on a lollipop stick. Each lollicake is carefully formed into a ball and coated with icing. What's so great about lollicakes or cakepops is that it's big enough to satisfy your craving and at the same time it's small enough to not make you feel guilty about indulging (well, that is if you can control yourself and eat just one...or two...okay fine, three).

The Lollicake Factory is owned by LJ Moreno-Alapag and is located at 56-D East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig near the Food Barn. We were in a hurry to enter the store because it was drizzling outside. So imagine how disoriented we were once we got inside. To our surprise, we were greeted by LJ who was manning the counter.

Upon seeing the different flavors, my sisters and I agreed to each get a Red Velvet Lollicake. We also ordered Carrot Cake, Cookies and Cream and Dulce De Leche Lollicakes. Our parents ordered boxes of the Red Velvet, Buttercream, Dulce De Leche and Chocolate Lollicakes. Since my sister got curious about their cupcakes, she bought one Red Velvet cupcake as well.
Lookie here! It's their Valentine's Day Packages :)
When we got home, my sister tried the Red Velvet Cupcake right away. Her verdict: DIVINE!
I, on the other hand, took a picture of our Lollicakes. So far, we've tried the Red Velvet and the Dulce De Leche.
Not only is this great for Hearts Day, it's also a cool idea for birthday party giveaways. My sister saw a booklet of all their customized lollicakes and cupcakes. So if ever you're following a party theme, you can work with them and customize your lollicake giveaways.

LJ also mentioned that aside from lollicakes and a few lunch/snack food, she's venturing into homemade ice cream and she's planning to sell some ice cream real soon. I wonder what flavors she'll come up with.

Drooling yet? Drop by The Lollicake Factory or give them a call (0999.777.44.43) to avail of their V-Day promo or to try their sinful treats! I'm sure LJ would be very happy to chat with you and serve you :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Freeway and ballet - Freeway x Lisa Macuja

I've been fascinated with ballet since I was young but I never got the chance to try it out. My parents decided to enroll me in ice skating classes instead of ballet.

Fast forward to college, when we were told to do a paper for our Arts Management class, Ninin and I paired up and decided to write a paper on male ballerinas, how they are stereotyped, and what do they do to cope. Up to this day, I always catch myself giggling whenever I remember our interview with Jasper, a male ballerina.. Well, we ended up having a huuuge crush on him. Hahaha! Anyway, at one point during our interview, he said that people stereotype male ballerinas as gay but he wanted to clarify that there are actually a lot of straight male ballerinas. He said that he used to dance hiphop but fell in love with ballet because it actually requires you to be physically and mentally strong in order to lift prima ballerinas such as Lisa Macuja.

We know how great a ballerina Lisa Macuja is but I'm sure she'd agree with me when I say that her dance partners also helped her achieve greatness. However, it is also a fact that she has invaluable contributions to the Arts, especially to the Philippine Ballet, and this is why Freeway decided to honor her by launching a limited edition Lisa Macuja shirt.

Freeway created the shirt with the goal of immortalizing the signature ballets of Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. She is set to retire in three years and to end her career with a bang, she is currently dancing her last full-length set of performances. She started her "Swan Song Series" production last year with Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet.

Aside from getting a chance to watch the most famous Filipina ballerina dance her last performance, don't you think it would be great if you got her collaboration shirt with Freeway too? :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

V-day Pearls..

Ninin and I, along with our other college friends, have been so into celebrating Valentine's day (err that's Single Awareness Day for us) since forever. This year, despite finding myself not as inclined to the holiday as I used to, Valentine-ish things have been finding me. Case in point...

Wintermelon with V-day pearls
Two of my officemates offered to drop by Moonleaf and buy drinks for the office. I ordered the usual Wintermelon milk tea. I forgot to mention that I don't like pearls but since I wasn't answering my phone, they took it to themselves to just add pearls. Well, it was a pleasant surprise. They said that the crew mentioned that it's their Valentine's edition pearls and that their pearls will be in this lovely shade of red until V-day, February 14.

It's just such a cute idea to take your special someone (who happens to be addicted to milk tea) to Moonleaf and get surprised with the ruby red pearls. Well, what are you waiting for? :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Creative Planning

Was at National Bookstore the other day when I found the most colorful planner ever! I WANT!

It was the cover that first called out to me, but it was the colorful content that got me sold!
 I super love that everything is neon! Looks so fun!

Apart from the ultra creative pages, it even has other features that makes me believe this is the right journal for me:

So cute! I am sure the artsy fartsy crowd would love this! (heads up, Ava!)

*The Design Your Life planner is available at National Bookstore and retails for Php530.00

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Anti-ill kit

The hospital has been my home for more than a week now. First it was my mom then a few days after my godmother followed suit so I am now looking after two patients-- which is really, a handful, considering I'm not good at this "nursing" thing. Still, being the perpetual optimist that I am, I bought some stuff to make me "happy":

 Smart C for the win! :) You've heard me rave about Smart C before and again, here I am promoting it just because it really is an amazing product! I've been losing sleep since last week and is feeling various pain all over my body but thank God I haven't fallen ill yet. Thanks, perhaps to my incessant intake of Smart C, my immune system has not failed me.
 As I've mentioned before, it is also exam week in school for me. I've been living on coffee to help me study but I've shifted to Soy Milk after I "discovered" this at the grocery. Vitamilk energy is yummy and  gives you that added energy boost you need (but maybe not as powerful as coffee).

...my saving grace! Sun Broadband :) The first few days in the hospital, I relied on my iPhone's hotspot feature so I can go online on my laptop but the hotspot feature keeps getting disconnected so I finally decided to buy a broadband stick instead. I am now enjoying unlimited internet access keeping me from getting too bored and allowing me to study, work, and blog among other things. Hehe :)

I am thankful to the above items for letting me keep my sanity during this trying time. As what I've constantly reminded myself, always choose happiness. If you can do something to change the course of things, do it. If not, change your attitude towards the situation instead :)

Happy Friday everyone!

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