Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life

One of the last books I was able to read late last year that made it in my GoodReads Challenge 2017 - My Not So Perfect Life by one of my favorite chick lit authors, Sophie Kinsella (most known for her Confessions of a Shopaholic book series).

Plot: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams - or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman who has everything – actually have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

I loved so many things about this book. 

1. Katie Brenner was a little kooky (and maybe a little lost in life) but still amusing and charming. Because I've read a lot of her books already not just the Shopaholic series, I've noticed that this character trait is one that her heroines seem to share but it's a formula that works. I sure love it! But what I love more is that I felt like Katie was a stronger, smarter and more determined to make something of herself kind of heroine compared to the others.  

2. I love that this book tackled social media specifically how people project a happy and seemingly perfect life online which can especially be seen on Instagram! A shot of a cup of coffee on a pretty cup with someone smiling while holding it; a photo of a girl with her designer outfit and bag; or a photo of someone admiring a picturesque view somewhere garnering likes, hearts, shares and comments full of amazement...and envy. But people don't often talk about what's behind the scenes. Have you read about this girl who amassed about $10,000 debt trying to be come Instagram famous

Katie was one of those people who projected a different picture of her life online from her real life. 

3. And lastly, I loved that this book reminds me not to judge a book by its cover. Her boss, Demeter, was a lot like Miranda Priestley. Successful career woman. Fashionable. Living in a great house with her picture perfect family. She was also someone people at work loathed. But when Demeter ended up on a holiday in their new glamping site, Katie began to realize that there was more to her boss than meets the eye. 

I personally had a Miranda/Demeter type of boss before. I admired that boss of mine for his brains and his fashion sense. I was also scared of him. Even made me cry once (I didn't cry in front of him. I cried in front of my Dad at McDonald's over a late dinner). I also somewhat loathed him (I thought ugh! what a perfectionist! He's out to make my working life miserable.) But like Katie, I was given a chance to see my boss in a new and different light to realize that he only had the best intentions for me as his employee and that he was really a nice person. 

I think that this book is more about Katie and Demeter. Yes, Katie does have a love interest in the story but it seemed he's really just a subplot which I don't actually mind. It's a good break from Sophie Kinsella's other novels. 

A light, fun and amusing read. Definitely worth my money and time! This is now my third favorite novel from Kinsella next to Twenties Girl which really made me cry and I've Got Your Number which brought on all the kilig


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Weekend Art Appreciation: ArtFairPH 2018

Art Fair Philippines 2018 was held a couple of Sundays ago and I was there along with a couple of friends for a weekend of art appreciation. 

The last time I went to Art Fair was still back in 2016 so it's nice to be back taking in the art scene which has slowly started to become mainstream thanks in part to Ayala Land Inc. and Makati City who've been taking the lead in making art a part of Filipinos' lives. 

Some of the ways they've been doing so: 

1. Having art installations in public.

Filipinos can now see artworks not just inside museums or inside a building like The Link where Art Fair PH is held annually. This year, art was easily seen by the public. Case in point, this Leeroy New art installation called Barikada, which I saw as I walked by the bridgeway connecting Greenbelt and Landmark on my way to Art Fair PH 2018. 

With artworks displayed in public, it's easier for people to see just how art can blend into the environment and allows them as well to appreciate first-hand the work of the artist. After all, it's the ultimate goal of any artist to share his passion for art to everyone. 

2. Encouraging contemporary art forms, such as photography.

Think that art is limited only to sculptures, paintings and installations? Well, think again because photography is another form of art and in this day and age, digital photography is an art widely appreciated. That's probably why this year's Art Fair had a special section that showcased photos.  

Here are some of the photography works I loved:

A closer look at the mental illness in the Philippines

Manila's Golden Gays

It felt a little sad reading the story of Manila's Golden Gays. They lamented about the days gone by; of them losing their home after the death of Justo Justo and how they miss the dressing up in bright and colorful outfits, donning wigs and putting on makeup for pageants. 

Another photography exhibition that really struck a nerve was Everyday Impunity which is tackles the extra judicial killings that's been rampantly happening in the country under the current administration. One side of the dimly lit room was various photographs by Carlo Gabuco of the victims of EJK and the bloody aftermath of the President's war against drugs. It was enough to give one goosebumps. But the real chill comes by listening to a recording of a 12 year old girl, Christine, who narrated the story of how her father's life was violently ended by the police. A lone arm chair was placed in the center of the room with a single bullet hole on it claimed to be caused by the bullet that took Christine's father's life. People were free to sit down on that chair as they listen to her story. 
I didn't sit in the chair but I listened to her story. I felt like crying as she told the story of her father's senseless killing. 

3. Featuring works of up and coming artists.

Whether they're an up-and-coming artist, in mid-career or even an established one in the industry, Makati City gives them a fair chance to be included in its art events and initiatives. 

4. Holding art fairs.

In Makati alone, there are already a number of galleries that showcase different works of arts. But the challenge has always been how to get people to visit? I, myself, have only visited a gallery once - Silverlens in Pasong Tamo Extension which has also been a couple of years ago. It's a good thing there is now Art Fair Philippines which is held annually since 2013 and it's been getting bigger and better every year. With this event, artists and galleries alike can gather in one roof to showcase their works and it's also more convenient for a lot of people.

Here are some more works of art that stood out for me at Art Fair Philippines 2018:

Racing Heart (which pretty much sums up how I feel when I see my crush! LOL!) 

I heard there's about 24,000 cars here. Kind of reminds me of EDSA rush hour traffic

This artwork reminds of women in abusive relationships, aptly titled This Too Shall Pass

And this art work reminds of patience. Like whenever he says I'm going too fast and I should slow down, I envision myself using this board and counting down the days until it's finally the right pace. The right time. LOL! 

5. Promising continuous support for art.

So aside from the annual Art Fair Philippines, Ayala Land Inc. and Makati city stay true to their commitment by continuing to immerse citizens in arts and cultures like Dia del Libro, Makati Street Meet, Makati Street lights (I've yet to experience these though it's always on my list of must-try activities in the city!) and the famous Ayala Triangle Festival of Lights which happens annually as well, around November to December. 

These initiatives that support artists and foster an appreciation of arts make Makati city the country's haven for arts and culture. It also makes me love living in this city even more! 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Recent New Shows to Watch on Netflix

Recent free time had me binge watching on Netflix. Here are the awesome movies/shows you might also want to see when you get the time.

1) When We First Met

Starring Adam Devine from Pitch Perfect and Alexandra Daddario from Percy Jackson movies and Baywatch. Saw this Netflix original movie around Valentine's Day. Very timely! It's a cute movie to watch. I'd love to recreate those photo booth scenes. 

Sometimes we're so busy thinking about someone whom we think is the right person for us that we fail to see who the right one really is. 

IMDb Summary: Noah spends the perfect first night with Avery, the girl of his dreams, but gets relegated to friend zone. He spends the next three years wondering what went wrong - until he gets the unexpected chance to travel back in time and change that night - and his fate - over and over again. 

Watch the official trailer here:

2) Queer Eye

So for those old enough to remember, this is actually a reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. But the new show dropped the "Straight Guy" descriptive from the title to make it more inclusive. So now, in this new show which stars the new Fab 5: Bobby Berk (design); Karamo Brown (culture); Tan France (fashion); Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) and Antoni Porowski (food and wine). 

Watch the official trailer here:

Okay, I'm going to say I'm crazy about this new series! I love the new Fab 5! My ultimate favorite's Antoni (well, he's a hot gay man so...). Next to him, it's Jonathan! He brings the fun to the show! Yassss queen!  And I think Karamo is also hot. But I just have to say, I think his job description should more or less say "life coach" than "culture expert" because the only times I've seen him teach the guys any culture in the show was when he gave out Broadway tickets and taught firemen how to dance. Most of the time, he spends it getting the guys to talk about feelings and trying to make them feel confident and empowered. 

 3) Everything Sucks

IMDb Summary: It's a coming-of-age story, set in the 1990s, that revolves around the A/V and drama clubs at Boring, Ore., high school; the two crews of outsiders join forces to make a movie and endure the purgatory that is high school.

Well so this is set in the 90s for one so it gives a whole lot of nostalgic vibes for me! Dial up internet. VHS tapes. No smartphone days. Posters of teen heart throbs Jonathan Taylor Thomas on the wall (Gosh I loved JTT!). The best thing about this new Netflix series? The soundtrack! I hope there's a season 2!

Watch the official trailer here:

What shows are you bingeing on Netflix right now?