Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicago the Musical comes to Manila

Confession: I've only seen Chicago, the movie recently for the very first time.

The film was shown way back in 2002. I am so late in the game, aren't I? Well, that's what happens when you stick to watching just your favorite films over and over again. But Dad had amassed quite a collection of DVDs and so I figured why not go and check out what he had bought over the years. Sayang naman if I just let them all sit there in storage. And since Chicago the Musical is coming to Manila this December, I thought I'd go see the movie first and if I like it, I'm going to watch the musical performance at Solaire Resort and Casino.

I both loved Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellweger's performances in the movie. I especially love Catherine. The woman is so fabulous isn't she? Chicago - celebrity, scandal and corruption set at the Jazz Age Chicago - very interesting.

These are my two favorite songs from Chicago:


Cell Block Tango 

Now, I'm standing in the kitchen
Carvin' up the chicken for dinner
minding my own business
in storms my husband Wilbrin in a jealous rage
"You been screwin' the milkman"
He says
He was crazy and he kept on screaming


"You been screwin the milkman"

Then he ran into my knife
He ran into my knife ten times


My sister, Veronica and I had this double act
And my husband, Charlie traveled around with us
With the last number in our act
We did 20 acrobatic tricks in a row
One two three four five, splits, spread eagles,
Back flips, flip flops, one right after the other
Well, this one night before the show
We were down at the hotel in Cicero
The three of us, Boozin' and havin' a few laughs and we ran out of ice
So I went out to get some
I come back, open the door
There's Veronica and Charlie
Doing number seventeen, the spread eagle



All That Jazz

Come on, babe
Why don't we paint the town?
And all that jazz
(And all that jazz)


I'm definitely going to see this Broadway Musical at Solaire. It's going to run from December 2 to 21. Tickets are now being sold online at Ticketworld.  And with it being a six-time Tony award winning musical, I'm sure tickets are going to be selling like hotcakes! Hopefully Ryan and I get to purchase our tickets sooner than later because I really want to see this!




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recent Reads: Belong to Me and Everyday

My long weekend was spent mostly at home. I was on a full on introvert mode. So it gave me the chance to catch up on my reading list. 


Every Day by David Levithan - Every morning A wakes up in a different person's body, a different person's life. There's never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. 

It's all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with - day in, day out, day after day. 





The love story for me is bitter sweet. A finally finds someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with and yet he can't be with her. After all, he doesn't stay in one body for more than a day. I personally find that sadder than unrequited love. And because true love is never selfish, he finds it in his heart to let her go to give her the chance to find someone whom she can have a real future with. 



Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos - Everyone has secrets. Some we keep to protect ourselves, others we keep to protect those we love.

Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move with her husband to the suburbs. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she'd find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies—as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son, Dev. But there are shocking secrets and unexpected surprises lurking beneath the peaceful veneer of suburban life—and nothing is quite what it seems.

I did a little Googl-ing of this book and found out that the story is a follow up to the author's best selling book, Love Walked In. My favorite parts of the story are how Cornelia develops her relationships with Lake and Piper. I love how it reminded me that friendships can form with people you least expect to be friends with when you let you let down your walls and let them see the real you. That's actually how I found my best friend, Ryan. Didn't like him when we first met. But when we both gave each other the chance to get to know one another, what did we get? A strong bond of friendship that's withstand the test of time - we've been friends for more than a decade now! 

Belong to Me was a feel good book. Every Day on the other hand made me sad after reading it. But both are nice reads. I'm just really partial to Belong to Me because I am a sucker for happy endings. 




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quiz Night at Murphy's Irish Pub

When I was younger, I used to watch Jeopardy a lot with Dad. I enjoyed it so much that he even bought me a board game called Trivial Pursuit and then a Playstation 1 CD game of Jeopardy. I know very geeky of me. But I love it anyway. So imagine my delight when I found out about quiz nights in certain bars in the city from reading articles on Spot.ph. Quiz nights were part of their Top 40 (?) things to do in the city article.

That article was years ago but I finally got to attend a quiz night last Tuesday.



It's all thanks to her, Ryan's work colleague and friend, Flor Ann who's a regular at Murphy's Pub, Makati and who joins the quiz nights there from time to time. She's a Communications Arts professor and a freelance writer on the side.

According to Spot.ph, most of the people who go to Murphy's Irish Pub are expats and folks in their 30s and 40s.


And from what I've seen when I was there last Tuesday, that's true. See those two old expat guys? They're part of the regulars at Murphy's on quiz nights and they are usually Flor Ann's teammates.

The quiz session starts at 8:30 PM and everyone is asked to pick a team name for the scoreboard located right over there at the bar. For lack of anything else creative, our team name became Ryaughn (That's pronounced Rye-ion inspired by Ryan's Instagram name. Arte lang! Ha ha!) We were also given sheets of paper which was to be where we had to write down our quiz answers. There were 10 rounds with 10 different categories.



In all honesty, I didn't get to contribute much in terms of answers during the whole quiz night. I was at a loss when it came to sports and out to sea (Note to self: study geography! And read about sports!) so during those times, I sat there with Ver who was also at a loss, eating and laughing. The hero of the team was really Flor Ann. Goodness that girl! I was amazed at how much she knew! Well, Ryan said she likes to read a lot.



We were given a free round of tequila shots after the first round because that was the only round we ever won! Ha ha! And it was because our score was doubled for using the Joker. I actually still don't know what that's for. Flor Ann tried to explain it to us but I couldn't really understand what she was saying because the quiz was ongoing.

By the time we reached the sports category, our team was all stumped so we ended up downing our tequila shots instead. When the whole 10 rounds was done, Team Ryaughn only got a total score of 47. Questions were difficult! And actually that was confirmed to us by one of the regular quiz goers there. According to him, you would know that the quiz questions were hard when the Usual Suspects team doesn't get a score higher than 70 points. Oh well. we still had a really good time. Especially because while we wanted to be competitive, we were also there to just have fun.

 

I realized though that there were some people there who are real quiz-fanatics. Even after the quiz night ended, there remained some folks who were quizzing each other and talking about the other quiz nights they've been to and/or are planning to go to.




Team Ryaughn all smiles even after finishing 3rd to the last! We actually thought we might be the kulelat team. Surprisingly not. Team at the last place I read gets a free round of tequila shots as well. And the winning team gets PHP 2,000 worth of gift certificates at Murphy's.

Will I do it again? Heck yes I would! We all would actually. Next time though, we should probably bring our A-game on which means I should be hitting the books! It would be nice to win ,right? And probably next time around, I'll invite them to try the quiz night at 121 Bar and Restaurant in Alegro Center at Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati. I read the quiz questions there are more pop culture type - my kind of topic. Oh plus I read the quiz goers there are more our age group - yuppies around 20s and 30s. That bar's still around right? (",)





Monday, August 18, 2014

Taking Part in the #100HappyDays Challenge

Aside from the Good Reads Challenge, I joined another challenge which I also found online. I'm sure some, if not most of you have seen it already since it's a very popular challenge that even well known personalities have joined in. It's called the #100HappyDays Challenge. It reminds me of the "wins" I used to keep track of when I was taking my LEAP journey and staffing for FLEX actually.

Anyhow, the challenge is very simple. All you have to do is find 1 thing everyday for 100 consecutive days that made you happy - be it food, being home early from work, meeting a friend, etc. And you share that online. You can share it publicly by using the hashtag #100happydays, choose to share it with a limited number of people by creating your own hashtag (just tell the organizers how to find you of course) or if you really want to keep it private, you can just email them at myhappyday@100happydays.com.


My platform for sharing is Instagram. Follow me on IG @piecesofliz to see my #100happydays posts.

Truth be told, this is my second time to try the challenge. I failed the first time around - didn't even get to 10 days! Why did I fail the challenge? Well because my belief system were 1) I don't have the time to always stop and think about what made me happy every single day and 2)I don't think I'm happy everyday. Some days there are so many awesome things that have happened in my life and some days my life is just stable you know? Routine and ordinary.

So what made me give it a second try? I read a very nice article on Rappler about Surviving #100HappyDays. I'm on my 36th day in to the challenge. And truth be told, it's not easy to find one thing that made me happy everyday and at times, it makes me want to give up again. Just recently when I asked Ryan to pose for a photo with me for my 100 happy days challenge, he said, "I don't know why you're posting today. Parang pilit na for me."  I don't blame him actually for saying that. It was a very sucky day for me. I was really down in the dumps that day. And to think it was a weekend! I felt so bad that day I almost didn't bother to find the silver lining in my dark cloud.

But then I remember that article where the writer said "on some very special days, happiness finds you no matter where you are. But on most days you'll have to work at it. You'll have to cook a meal, change your sheets, or even *gasp* take an actual stroll in the park just to get that happy feeling – and photo – for the day."  

And on that bad day, I realized I had my good friends for company. So that's why I asked him to pose for a photo with me. I would've included Mai but she had already gone ahead before I realized they were the thing that made me happy that day. 

So I'm back in the challenge because now I finally see the value behind it! Everyday, even on the most mundane of days, I'm working on finding that one thing (at least that one thing) that made me happy for the day. Maybe not overwhelmingly happy but still happy - the kind where you feel a little bit good about something. It's the kind of feeling that brings a small smile to my face because it makes me feel that I'm going to be all right and there's hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. I think that's a good enough reason for me to keep at it and see myself reach the 100th day of my #100happydays challenge. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Missing Long Vacations

I just saw Hilary Duff's video for Chasing the Sun. I'm glad she's back. I have been a fan of Hilary since her stint as Lizzie Mcguire on Disney and since her song "This is What Dreams are Made of", part of the soundtrack from The Lizzie Mcguire movie.


This made me miss summer days, particularly those summer days when it meant long vacations. I haven't experienced a long vacation since I started College. The school I went to held classes in the summer. And while I take vacation leaves from work, I've only taken a day or two off, no more than that. I love what I do anyway so I'm dedicated to what I do. But you know, life in PR can be pretty stressful - in fact, it is listed as one of the top ten most stressful jobs by CareerCast.com. And even the most dedicated employee gets exhausted from time to time. So yeah, I think I need to take another vacation real soon because I feel drained and I need to recharge. Hmmm... there's a long weekend coming up. Maybe I will take that opportunity for some quality rest and relaxation.

   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Media Night of Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter

Remember the Palanca award-winning play I told you guys about? Well, I finally got to watch it last Saturday in Third Cup Cafe, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Oh yes! This usually Makati-Pasay girl went all the way to east side of town to catch the media night with Ryan.



This is an interesting photo wall! What kind of bitter are you? This was my pick:

Love ano yun?


I probably shouldn't have been smiling on this photo. Bitter nga e! But I couldn't help it. I was so excited to watch the play! 

After almost a year, Kapeng Barako Club (KBC): Samahan ng mga Bitter is back! And definitely worth watching all you coffee lovers out there! 

KBC is the longest-running show presented by Arts and Culture Asia (ACASIA), a non-profit oranization aimed at cultivating the crafts of thespians and showcasing their talents across different venues. The play is held in its natural setting, a coffee shop, and the audience are made to feel like they're eavesdropping on a conversation! Why? Well, because there's no stage! It's not your typical play where the cast performs in front while the audience are comfortably seated. They're basically everywhere - at the table next to yours or behind you! 







Meet the cast of Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter. My favorite characters were Anna (the woman with the glasses) and Joel (guy in red).



They're a group of friends who love drinking coffee but they don't believe in love (or so they claim) because deep down, each one is dying to experience being loved. Read my previous post about KBC to know more about the characters. 

I thought Joel and Anna's love story is cute. I thought they had chemistry. The way these two interacted with each other during the play - well they made me laugh and they made me feel kilig too. Oh and I love Joel's quips here! For instance: 

Anna: Ano ba trip mo?
Joel: Ikaw

Anna: Ano ba tingin mo sakin ha?
Joel: Diyosa. 

The lines itself are cheesy, really but the way it was delivered - the timing and all, bumenta sakin! Haha! While I'd love to tell you more about how it goes, I won't because that would spoil it anymore and I want you guys to go see it for yourselves! 


  
This is Juan Ekis, the writer and director of the play. He is previously known for his other Palanca winning play "Twenty Questions". My hats off to you Mr. Ekis for being able to write such a great story! 

Ryan and I were able to relate to the barkada in KBC - not because we don't believe in love - but one, because we're coffee lovers ourselves (well, I'm more a coffee-drinker; Ryan is the certified coffee lover) and we too love conversations over coffee. And personally, I like taking my dates in a coffee shop because I like a guy that I can talk to. And I do mean talk. No awkward silence allowed! That's a deal breaker. 



In the spirit of watching a play about people who love drinking coffee, Ryan and I ordered coffee drinks too. I had the Banoffee Frappe. I thought it was a good drink - sweet tasting which is all that matters to me! 

We both enjoyed the play. Well worth the trip! And I am so glad that Pieces of Liz, this blog of mine, is a media partner! 

Anyhow, catch the play on its first official run on September 6 at Third Cup Cafe, one of the premier, go-to coffee shops in Rosa Alvero Street, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.  Tickets are at Php500 each with 1 free drink. For reservations, email samahanngmgabitter@gmail.com or call/text them at +63 908 432 8837. 


For more information, visit their Facebook, YouTube and Instagram (/SamahanNgMgaBitter) or Twitter (@BitterCorp)    

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pieces of Liz is 5 years old!

My blog, Pieces of Liz is 5 years old today! Happy anniversary to my blog! (",)



And to think I almost deleted this blog because I have lost the will to blog! Thankfully, Pieces of Liz didn't end up like my old blog - my Dear Diary personal kind of blog - abandoned, forgotten and then deleted. When I think about it, that still makes me ask myself "What in the world were you thinking, Liz?" 

This blog has come a long way. It started with just 15 posts all in all in '09 to 45 posts in total in '11 then I lost my mojo for blogging in 2012 so I ended up with just 18 posts! But when I finally sat down and decided in late 2013 to just blog, well, I found a renewed love for blogging so now I just blog, blog, blog! I've even given my blog a new and prettier design. Thanks again to Patricia of Fancy Girl Designs. 

This blog is still a work in progress. My goal is to keep blogging, keep sharing the things I love, things I find interesting, discover new things and grow my readers/followers and of course meet more people who share the love of blogging!

To those who've been reading this blog, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Means a lot to me really that you take the time to visit and read. I hope you continue to do so.


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Week Spent Getting Cultured

I love living in the big city! And well me, I'm always up to exploring what can be interesting things to do around here. For instance, last week, I had what Ryan called a cultured week.


Tuesday: I attended my very first TweetUp event! It was organized by TweetUp MNL at Commune Cafe in Salcedo Village. They had invited Jim Edds, photographer and storm chaser to do a 50-minute presentation on his personal account of the Super Storm Haiyan better known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda. 


I was just browsing my Instagram feeds late Monday night when I stumbled upon this post from Commune Cafe. I thought it was worth checking out and it was free so off I went on Tuesday night to attend.



I was amazed by this guy. I mean, he's a daredevil for actually doing this type of job - chasing after super storms! It's pretty dangerous di ba? Especially when you also encounter storm surges which he does!

Thursday:  As you know, Cinemalaya X was last week and this year actually has a lot of interesting movies to watch! Sadly, due to lack of time and lack of budget narin, Ryan and I only got to catch 1st ko si Third at Greenbelt 3.


I thought it was a very nice movie about first love. The story was not at all how I expected it to be but yeah I enjoyed it. Hopefully I'll be able to watch the other films when it's shown in UP.

Saturday: Saturday I traveled to Loyola Heights, Quezon City to watch the media night of Kapeng Barako Club: Samahan ng mga Bitter. My blog is a media partner. Notice the play's poster on my sidebar? (",)



This is a great play! It's a Palanca award-winner! The play is set to run on September 6 at Third Cup Cafe. I'll tell you more about it on a separate post but yes, I highly recommend this! 

So that's how I spent week last week. How did you spend yours? 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 Cinemalaya movies I'm looking forward to watching

There are three events that Ryan, Mai and I look forward to catching every year. One of them is Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Festival. Cinemalaya is a local film competition that showcases the cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers, both established and up and coming. I like Cinemalaya because I get to watch movies with creative and interesting story plots that's a far cry from the usual Filipino movies we see on cinemas these days.

Here are the movies we have our eyes on from this year's roster: 

1st ko si third

The film is about a 65-yr old woman that gets the chance to be reunited with her first love, and finally have the supposed first date they should have gone to four decades after they got separated. The film stars Nova Villa and Freddie Webb among others. 

#Y

The film tells the story of the adventures of this generation's youth known for their attraction to the Internet and social media combined with a tale of booze, drugs and sex, and the nights they won't remember but will never forget. Among the stars of this film are Elmo Magalona and Billy Crawford's girlfriend, Coleen Garcia. 




Kasal

This is a drama about a gay couple whose relationship is challenged when they attend a wedding. The film also examines how a gay couple courses through the different institutions in Philippine society. 



Separados

The plot tells the story of 6 men who have separated from their wives and shows the different profiles of the failure of monogamy in a society where there's no divorce. In an ironic twist of things, they're brought together by fate and circumstance at a church wedding, where one of them takes a second chance at marital bliss. This film is actually inspired by a true story. This stars Jason Abalos, Anjo Yllana, Ricky Davao, Erik Santos, Alfred Vargas and Victor Neri. 



Cinemalaya is usually shown at CCP but it can also be seen in Ayala Malls: Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt, Fairview Terraces and Trinoma. The festival will run from August 1-10 this year. Tickets cost around Php150-200. We'll be watching in Ayala Cinemas this time around though we usually watch in CCP. It's just that we heard that some of the films we want to see are already sold out in CCP. Cinemalaya's already on its 10th year so it's definitely been gaining some recognition from the masses.