Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Year: Paper

By Sunday, it'll be one year since Hamil and I became husband and wife. I have no idea where the year went! I guess it's a sign that we're having a blast!

The traditional first anniversary gift is paper, and I decided to give Hamil...

Tip: If the book you want is the last copy and it's not perfect (some damage on the cover, for example), ask for a discount! You could get as much as 15% off.

...a book shopping spree! It's a pretty great gift, if I do say so myself, and if you knew how much Hamil and I love to read, you'd understand. I want it for myself when Christmas rolls around!

We spent quite a bit of time at Fully Booked as he went through the management and sports sections. (No fiction for him--that's my genre.) He was like a kid in a candy store! He was nice enough to throw in a book that we were both interested in (Tony Bourdain--something I've been wanting to read for years), so even I got a little somethin'-somethin' out of this shopping spree.

I was so happy to see Hamil so happy. Before we left for the bookstore, he was so excited! I love spoiling him; I'm a firm believer in that saying about spoiling your spouse but not your kids. Just seeing him smile--a really happy smile as we carted his books to the cashier--it really made me forget about the expense. I'd give this man the world if I could!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Roaches! Roaches! Roaches!

I only saw this on video before--the Roaches getting hyped up before the finals, chanting, "Roaches! Roaches! Roaches!" Never thought I would be a part of it. Truth be told, I got goosebumps!

So I went back to the site of last year's last hurrah, an epic trip which was an awesome end to my life as a single girl. While last year, I went mainly to party, this year, I went mainly to play.

The Shindig is an annual national tournament, and this time I played for defending champs Roaches (aka Chupacabras), named after the little critters running around TS (homebase of many of the player-climbers). A little ironic that I played with them considering I'm deathly afraid of ipis! I had played with some of them previously in Boracay and in the recently concluded Malakas at Maganda league.

Yes, there were the usual crazy parties, and I only got a total of two hours' sleep the whole time I was there. But I'm probably the only one whose fondest memories of Dumags 2010 don't involve partying or inebriation. The main highlight of this trip was winning my first national championship, shared with Vismin team KKK. (We were up one, it was getting too dark to play, people were getting hurt, and the two teams agreed to be joint champions before anyone else got injured.)

A Grand Slam moment with our trophy

I got yelled at on the field (stupid stupid error), and had a few drops in the eight games that I played. I've been playing a few years but I've seriously still got a lot to learn--and I've gotta learn not to choke (har). On the flip side, I also had a few points, so yay. What I like about playing with the Roaches is that I don't have to be a handler, and can focus instead on being mid-long. (Highlight reel: One of the teams we played against pointed out that I scored more points than their whole team combined. This little, er, feat earned me a free jersey. In all fairness, it was the first game of the day, and I was probably the only one on the field who was sober!)

I'm also proud of the way my regular teammates played--three other players from the Warriors joined the Roaches. Leahleur contributed her handling skills, I heard Yelle scored quite a bit on the first day (I missed it because of work), and Fel was part of the Mythical 7! Woohoo! Our other teammates Czar and Jacq, who played for our sister Manila team, did really well too--it was especially thrilling to watch Jacq contribute so much to her team. I remember introducing her to ultimate in Indonesia three years ago, as we played a fun-fun game on the beach. She's come such a long way since then, evolving into a highly competitive, talented player, definitely one of the Warriors' go-to girls!

It was an absolute delight to play with the incredible provincial teams, who have improved so much in a span of one year. One team in particular, Loktonz (sorry, not sure how it's spelled), nearly gave me a massive heart attack by almost eliminating us in the quarters! I was touched when they said that they really wanted to play against the Roaches last year, and were just honored to be able to play against us this year.

With my Dumaguete team and KKK

Honored. That's exactly how I felt to be welcomed into this team, to be able to share the stage (field) with some of the best players in the country. Being part of this team, in possibly my last national tourney, is a fitting way to say goodbye to Dumaguete. A true last hurrah.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hurray for Dumags!

Will have a more detailed post about my weekend trip to Dumaguete soon. For now, let me leave you with a little something, c/o our supporters during our finals game...


Thank you, Philippine Ultimate Ahasssan, for supporting your fellow players from Manila! You guys rock!:) (Photos taken by Fel's mom. Thanks, Tita!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eenie Meenie Miny Moe...Need Your Help!

For our upcoming first anniversary (can you believe it's been a year?) weekend getaway, I want to get a new swimsuit. I think I have about a dozen bikinis, but don't have a single one-piece in my closet. I originally wanted to buy this cutie from Cocomo, but it's sold out!

I've narrowed down my choices to the following, all from Cocomo:

(From top) Miller, Iman, and Liya

And because I can't help myself, I'm thinking of getting this adorable ruffled polka-dot number as well...

Help! Which maillot do you think I should get?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prints Charming

I really don't know much about art. I try to appreciate it (if running through the Louvre looking for the Mona Lisa on a super short trip to Paris counts as "appreciation"), but I don't think I could have the same passion for it as I have for, say, dancing or disc. Unless I could own Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night, I don't see myself really taking the time to study and invest in art.

Lately though, I've been drawn to illustrations. I can't even remember how I found Melbourne-based illustrator Emma Leonard, but I really like her work. I think among all media, watercolor has been the one I've been most attracted to, so I enjoy seeing her ink-and-watercolor work. A few things I really want from her Etsy shop (I hope she doesn't kill me for posting them here...):

(From top) Tender to the Blues, Stretching Girl, About a Girl

I would love to have all three of them, framed and hung in my unfinished dressing room. I'm so desperate to have illustrations in there that I made a very vague, random request to a freelance illustrator-friend to draw me a "fashionable girl." I made the request to this particular friend because she and Emma have somewhat similar styles. Unfortunately, said friend is super swamped and I won't be able to get my hands on her work til October.

Sigh. The husband and I have that long-overdue honeymoon coming up, so I don't have extra bucks for these babies right now. Maybe I should learn how to draw...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Funky

The good news: I got to dance again, after a hiatus of over a year!

The bad news: I think I hyperextended my back again!

This, after I joined a jazz funk class at Acts Dance and Arts Academy. But , hey, I got to dance again! Yipee!

The name "jazz funk" is kind of misleading; it's actually a form of hip-hop. And because I don't know my hip-hop history, I had to resort to Wikipedia to get a definition: Jazz funk was supposedly "developed by technically trained dancers who wanted to create choreography for hip-hop music from the hip-hop dances they saw being performed on the street." My first introduction to jazz funk was courtesy of this dance god(dess?)...

OMFG. I have adored Bobby Newberry (he's the guy wearing a cap) for about three years now, ever since my friends and I discovered him on YouTube. We would watch his videos over and over, and would get excited whenever a new one was uploaded. Then we took to getting friends of mine from the Company of Ateneo Dancers (or CADs, my college org, and the reason I spent more time in the dance studio than in the classroom back then) to teach a bunch of us from the office every couple of weeks or so. When we couldn't find a teacher, I would teach them myself. We had girls (and sometimes guys!) from different magazines, and I always looked forward to seeing what the fashion eds were wearing! (I distinctly recall seeing a pair of gold leggings during one session.)

After a while, some people resigned, others got busy, and we didn't get to have our dance classes anymore. The last time I danced was in March of last year, when I performed at a CADs concert--made memorable by the fact that I was utterly shocked to find my friends D and Gali in the audience. (I knew they were there because I heard D's familiar voice yell, "Go, tanda!" right before the music started. Tanda is Filipino for old.) And then...wedding craziness, and moving-in-together craziness, and promotion craziness, and life craziness. I just didn't have opportunities to dance anymore. Every time I would see a dance show or a trailer for a dance movie, Hamil would look over at me because he knew that my eyes would be getting misty. I just missed it so much. I missed it so much that it hurt. It felt like part of me wasn't there.

And then I stumbled upon Acts Dance and Arts Academy's classes. I had been searching for accessible classes that weren't part of a summer workshop when I found them. (The thing about summer workshops is that classes are in the middle of the day, and the students are literally students--like grade school to college-age students!) When I found this place, I was beyond excited to learn that the studio was a 10-minute walk away! I got even more excited when I called to inquire about their usual participants, and the girl on the other line mentioned "yuppies." Yuppies? I ain't that young anymore, but I'm at least an Uppie! So, I'm so there!

I was thinking about the class the WHOLE DAY (I kid you not), and right before I left for the studio, I even texted Hamil that I was kind of nervous! I was rusty after all, and I didn't want to make a fool of myself in front of experienced dancers. But more than the anxiety was the giddiness. It was the sort of anticipation you'd get before being reunited with someone special after a long separation. In my case, I was being reunited with what is perhaps my first real love.

When I got there, I was happy to find that the teacher was a friend of mine! It was Meg Mariano, who was CADs president two years after I was, and whom I remember chiefly for her incredible strength as a ballerina. She told me that she quit her day job to open this studio and pursue dancing full time. Wow.

So I sweat buckets during that class, fumbled through some steps, and had trouble with my pickup, not to mention my turns. But I loved every minute of it! My heart was dancing along with my feet, overflowing with joy. The prodigal dancer hath returned. And I'm here to stay!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer in September

I know the heel makes 'em look very summery, but living in a tropical country gives me an excuse to wear 'em year-round. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Got these cuties from CMG. They were on sale, about P1,400 (about $30). Love that it's in go-with-anything tan. Been wearing them with jeans, shorts, and casual dresses. So versatile, and great value in terms of cost per wear!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recipe: Hazelnut French Toast Sticks

Today, I got home from work at 4:30 am (yes, you read right--4:30 in the morning). I figured I deserved a hearty meal, so I proceeded to cook some bacon, eggs, and rice for me and my husband before I crawled into bed. When I woke up, I decided I wanted something sweet and sinful to go with my cholesterol. Which led to...

Hazelnut French Toast Sticks

1 egg, beaten
About 1/2 cup milk
About 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 slices wheat bread (you can also use white bread)
Hazelnut spread (like Nutella)

1. Make the batter: In a bowl, mix egg, milk, and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Spread hazelnut spread over one side of one slice of bread. Layer with other slice of bread, hazelnut side in to make a sandwich.
3. Slice crosswise into four equal "sticks."
4. Put butter in a pan over low heat.
5. Dip each stick into batter, place in pan.
6. Fry until lightly browned. Turn over to brown other side.

I ate it with honey, but it was a tad too sweet. I imagine maple syrup might be too sweet as well, so you might want to try powdered sugar.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

QT with Mumsy (or, I Heart My Job)

"So...this is my job!"

My first time to zipline! Not very graceful, I know.

Mumsy and I had just come from lunch, a press briefing, and a cooking demo, and were standing in our spacious, comfy room at Anvaya Cove. She laughed and said that it was why my nieces thought I had such a fun job. It's doubly fun when I get to share it with people I love! This particular event was for Eskinol Ageless, and we were encouraged to bring our mothers on this overnight mother-daughter bonding trip.

Our room at Anvaya Cove

Rewind to the day before. After receiving the invitation, I called my mom who promptly cleared her sched so she could make it to the event. The next day, we found ourselves in Bataan, where we were joined by two other mother-daughter pairs, and over a dozen other press people.

My mom and me with FHM contributing fashion ed Donna Cuna-Pita and her mom Tita Diana

The event started off with a buffet lunch, then moved on to a presentation about Eskinol Ageless. I didn't even know that this 65-year-old brand had started selling their own anti-aging line. I was pretty amazed to learn that their day creams and night creams sell for just P199 a jar, and that their toners are less than a hundred bucks a pop! No verdict yet though--I'm still waiting to see what it does to my skin after regular use. (On a side note, I am finally using toner. And yes, I can see that it removes dirt and makeup residue that a simple washing can miss. P.S. I used to use toner on my underarms! A friend recommended VMV Id for whiter, smoother kili-kili, and it worked!)

The creams come in sachet form too.

It was cool to take a trip down memory lane with Eskinol, as they showed us old-school commercials--Marian dela Riva, a turbaned Ate Vi (love her! Classic Eskinol girl!), the Cojuangcos, Sharon and KC, and even a friend of mine, Chinie (she's the one in the Matte N' Fresh TVC from years ago). After all the presentations, we sat back as the hilarious and super cute Chef Sylvia Reynoso and her kids had a cooking demo. Mumsy, who hardly cooks, was forced to showcase her kitchen skills in front of a crowd when host Issa Litton volunteered her.

(Top) With Chef Sylvia Reynoso and her daughter; (above) what Mom cooked: prawns in aligue sauce

After we feasted on all the stuff that was prepared (basmati rice, chicken barbecue, a salad, prawns in aligue, and mango sago--and this was merienda!), I went for a run around Anvaya. Too bad I didn't have my cam with me so I didn't get to take pics of the beach and the pool. After my short run, Mumsy and I got ready for dinner...and a glorious massage at the spa.

My masseuse Josie chuckled as she heard several cracks when she put her weight on my back. My body had been crying out for a massage for weeks, and the event allowed me to finally get one. Josie's adept hands set the stage for a good night's sleep.

By 7:00 am the next morning, my mom and I were back at the function room for a yoga session with Dunia de los Reyes. It was Mumsy's first ever yoga session, and she soldiered through it, gamely attempting poses despite having previously fractured a wrist and hip! She wasn't able to do everything, but I was happy that she at least tried to do most of the poses. A for effort!

Right before we grunted our way through the poses

Yoga took a bit out of her though, so she rested while I tried the zipline--the last activity for this packed event. I didn't feel nervous at all, despite the 250-meter line and 100-foot drop--at least not until the dude in charge got ready to push me! I let out a little squeal as I started to move, but "Eeek!" was soon replaced with "Oooh!" after I zipped along at a moderate speed over a whole lot of trees--if anything bad happened, at least there would be something to break my fall! After I got my feet back on the ground, I got ready to go back to Manila.

It was a very pleasant, intimate event. More than all the activities lined up (did I mention the free massage? Sigh), I especially enjoyed being able to spend time with Mumsy, and being able to share the fun side of my job with her!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Date Night: PBA and Cafe Bola

We had to move date night to Friday, which worked out well, since Hamil was able to score courtside seats to the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) semi-finals!

We were thisclose to the court! My barely visible outfit: purple tunic (used as a top) from Topshop, white racerback top from tiangge, necklace from Bangkok.

My husband and I are both big basketball fans. Other girlfriends/wives complain that they have to watch their significant others play, but I love watching Hamil on the court (he's pretty good at it). When I was a kid, I used to watch live games with my family (brothers and cousins)--some of us would root for Ginebra, while others were die-hard San Miguel fans. I lost interest for a few years, and became a fanatic when I hit college and started rooting for the Ateneo Blue Eagles. In fact, I joined the cheering squad not because I wanted to parade around in a teeny skirt, but because I wanted to be assured of a free ticket to every single game!

I'm not up to date when it comes to PBA, but it gets exciting when the semi-finals roll around. It would have been nice if Ginebra had made it, but they didn't. We weren't loyal to any particular team playing that day, so to make things more exciting, Hamil and I made a bet. During the second game, we each picked a team (I was for Alaska, he picked Talk N' Text). Loser had to buy the other dinner.

I was pretty confident that I would win since Alaska led for the most part, up by as many as double digits at some point. With 44 seconds to go in the last quarter, things got really interesting...

My team was still up, but by a measly one point! So yeah, Alaska led for the most part--except when it mattered! My team-for-the-night lost by one point! I couldn't frickin' believe it. I was actually squealing from my seat in the final few seconds as Alaska made several attempts, to no avail. I was too shocked to take a photo of the final score.

Great game nonetheless. It did cost me this though...

Hamil's adobo flakes with kesong puti from Cafe Bola.

I used to looove Cafe Bola. They had this kickass sour cream-paprika sauce that I ordered over Carambola (mixed balls made of beef, chicken, and seafood) and pasta, but they've sadly phased it out. My second go-to dish:

Creamy dulong pasta. Yum. Hamil's order was pretty good too. Will try to replicate it one of these days!

I lost, sure, but it was still a thrilling game. Maybe we could score tickets to the finals...

Cafe Bola is located in Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.