Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TV Shows I'm Hooked On

The usual way that my cousin/roommate, Mark and I bond is over watching TV series during the weekend. Let me tell you about some of the shows we're glad are back and shows we're looking forward to watching this October.

We're big fans of Shonda Rhimes so Scandal and Grey's Anatomy are on top of the list of shows we always look forward to watching on the weekend and are therefore very glad that both shows are back!

Finally Scandal is back for Season 4! And now we know where Jake and Olivia went - to some far away, secluded island where they were surrounded by blue waters, sunshine and white sands. Though of course I'm very glad that Olivia is back in Washington, the new questions that have to be answered are 1) Why is Cyrus Beene angry that Olivia's back? and more importantly, I'd like to know 2) What's gonna happen to Olivia and Fitz now that they've seen each other again? 

I'm such a fan of the Jake-Olivia-Fitz love triangle and very much torn between the two guys. I don't know who I'm rooting for anymore! I used to love Olivia and Fitz together until Jake came in the picture. And then just when I'm all for Jake and Olivia, Fitz does something that makes me root for him and Olivia again. 

Definitely excited to know what's gonna happen next on this show. And can I just say that Abby and Quinn are looking more fabulous this season? 

While I still miss the earlier seasons of Grey's where there were more quotable lines and memorable characters, I'm still a fan of the show. Season 11 recently premiered now without Sandra Oh's Cristina Yang this time. I think it's going to take some time to get used to not having her around. But overall though Grey's still got me and Mark hooked. I mean, now we've got Meredith's half sister story twist to look forward to for one. Wonder how she's gonna take it? Speaking of Meredith's reaction, I'm very much curious as to why she didn't seem too thrilled that Derek chose her and their family over the career opportunity in Washington. She didn't want to move in the first place. And now that everyone else from the original cast is gone - Izzie, George and Cristina - now, Meredith's new person is Alex. Hmm...that could be interesting. 

The Winchester boys and Castiel! I'm looking forward to watching Season 10 of Supernatural this October 7. After all, my favorite Winchester, Dean is now a demon! What's gonna happen to their demon-hunting days now that he's one of 'em?  

This is the newest show that Mark and I are hooked on. It's been added to our list of shows to watch just recently when my cousin was looking for a new show to follow while The Vampire Diaries, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy were still on hiatus. My favorite character is Wendy. She reminds me of Phoebe Halliwell from Charmed - only she's way older - but she's the spunky one in the group. 

I'm excited to know what happens next to Damon and Boni who were both left on the other side which was destroyed on Season 5's finale. And from what I've read, Stefan has a new love interest! Wait what? Won't there be a Stelena (Stefan and Elena) reconciliation? Although at the start of Vampire Diaries, I had always rooted for Delena - (Damon and Elena) because I always thought Damon's the hotter Salvatore brother. But you know over the course of the show, Stefan has grown hotter and endearing to me. Anyway, whomever his love interest is, I just hope it's not Caroline! Please don't go there TVD writers! Because you've made Caroline the slut of Mystic Falls - Damon, Matt, Tyler and now she's into Stefan?! I'd love it better really if she got back with Tyler or better yet, Klaus though I know, I know, Klaus has his own spin off show now - The Originals. 

This is another Shonda Rhimes creation people! I've read good reviews about the pilot episode which makes me all the more excited to watch it myself. But I haven't! Well only because Mark doesn't want to watch it just yet until there's about 2 to 3 more episodes to see. He feels that if he watches this now, he'll only be left clamoring for more and he hates that feeling especially since US shows are only shown once a week so that's quite a long time to wait. I promised him we'll watch it together so I'm waiting too. 


Monday, September 29, 2014

Now here's a woman to look up to!

George Clooney, one of Hollywood's most gorgeous men to this day and considered to be Hollywood's most eligible bachelor has tied the knot to Amal Alamuddin in one the most romantic cities in the world - Venice, Italy.


This is big, big news because George had time and time again said he would not marry again after his first marriage failed. But look at him now! Married! 

I have to say after hearing that George Clooney had popped the question to Amal Alamuddin, I just had to Google her. After all, she got him wanting to give marriage a second try. 

Amal is one gorgeous woman. Well, the women George had dated before her were all gorgeous too. She's British-Lebanese whose fashion style I find is a mix of simple elegance and quirky. 

These are some of the outfits I loved on her... 

And a couple of her quirky fashion style...

But what makes her stand out from the rest of the women George had dated? She's a smart woman! She's an accomplished lawyer! She specializes in international law, criminal law, human rights and extradition. She's also a UN adviser! Oh and she's social media savvy! She was on Twitter before and Ashton Kutcher and former prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard followed her 140-character updates. Plus she's also fluent in French, Arabic and English! Wow! 

Now if there's any woman worth looking up to as a role model, that would be Amal Alamuddin for me. She's proof that women can be both smart and sexy and get the guy! And not just any guy mind you. It's Hollywood's most eligible bachelor, George Clooney! Haba ng hair!  And considering she's 36 years old before she walked down the aisle, then there's hope for me yet! Ha! Ha! 

Congratulations to the newly weds! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recent Read: Dan Brown's Inferno

Confession: Dan Brown has become one of my favorite authors. I've read all his novels from the infamous Da Vinci Code to his not so popular novels Deception Point and Digital Fortress.
Here's another confession - his character, famous symbologist and Harvard professor Robert Langdon is one of the few book characters I've come to love and that's why Inferno just had to be part of my reading list.

This book didn't disappoint at all. I found the story plot creative, exciting and personally for me, by far the most realistic story out of all the Robert Langdon books. I'm amazed at how Dan Brown crafted this story that involved one of the most famous classic books ever written, Dante's Inferno.

I remember hearing about this book last year when it caused quite an uproar with some Filipinos, especially with Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino who even went as far as writing a letter to Dan Brown to express Filipinos disappointment over his description of Manila.

See, in the book, Sienna Brooks, a 32 year bald doctor (bald because of a medical condition) traveled to Manila on a mission and was horrified with what she saw therefore coming to describe the Philippines' capital as "the gates of hell".

An excerpt from the book read - And so when the group settled in among the throngs in the city of Manila - the most densely populated city on Earth - Sienna could only gape in horror. She had never seen poverty on this scale... Manila had six-hour traffic jams,  suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade...

Brown went on to say there were pickpockets, panhandlers and described a place as a shantytown - a city made of corrugated metal and cardboard propped up and held together and that there were wails of crying babies and stench of human excrement that hung in the air.

I'm a Filipino living in Manila and I take no offense on how Brown described Manila. Why not? Well one because the book is fiction. By the very definition of the word, 'fiction', it's a made up story. Although that's not to say there's no truth to what he wrote. Truth be told, Manila alone is overpopulated and yes we have those six-hour traffic jams (though thank God I haven't experienced being stuck in that kind of traffic myself), suffocating pollution (hellooo EDSA!), sex trade and pickpockets. And yes, there are shantytowns in Manila, people who live in a house propped up together by cardboards and corrugated metal - they're called squatters. Oh and that stench of human excrement? That's true too. In fact, if I didn't hold my breathe every darn working day of my life when I walk at the MRT sidewalk or breathe shallow breaths through my mouth, I'd probably be puking my guts out everyday at the horrific stench.

Truth hurts! But Manila also has nice places to go to. So if you're a foreigner thinking of visiting the Philippines, don't write off Manila. The capital of my country also has wonders to show you too. In fact, if you're looking for things to do around here, you can find some ideas on my blog. (",)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I dropped by Starbucks Reserve...

Confession: I'm not a true blue coffee drinker - the kind who tries almost every kind of coffee there is and one who knows where to get the best brewed coffees. I just like coffee and I just have to have it in the morning to function but it's as far as it goes. And if you ask me about my favorite coffee shop, I would tell you that I am a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf gal. But today I stopped by to have coffee with a friend at the recently opened Starbucks Reserve in Makati at Salcedo Village.   

I've heard of Starbucks Reserve - the one that opened at The Fort - but while I was curious to know what made the difference to this place, it wasn't until Erin invited me for coffee there and it was her treat - that I decided to pay a visit. The building it resides in is also fairly new - the last time (which was I guess 6mos to 1 year ago) I was around the area of VA Rufino near PBCom Tower, this building was still under construction and now it houses this coffee shop! You gotta love Makati. So many new places to check out every now and then! 

So what makes this Starbucks different from the other Starbucks? They have special coffee blends that aren't offered at the usual Starbucks branches.

And they brew it on this Clover machine. 

I don't know if it's really how they designed it at every Starbucks Reserve but at the branch we visited, the Clover machine was there at the counter bar, out in the open for customers to watch the coffee brewing. In fact, we're so close to it that we could also smell it! 

We ordered the Brazil Bourbon Rio Verde - sweet plum with a hint of chocolate and a creamy finish in each sip - as described in Brews in the News. Personally I didn't really taste anything special about it. For me it just tasted like the usual black coffee I take in the morning during the work week. But you know I'm no coffee connoisseur so don't take my word for it. :P

I actually prefer the French Vanilla Latte that was served to us for free.

I go for anything that's sweet to drink actually which is probably why I liked this.

And what made that free drink even better was the fact that Erin and I both won these Starbucks Buy One, Take One gift certificates. When the barista served us the drinks, we were told to look under the cups to see if we'll get a special prize from them. Voila! There it was - under the cup - the sticker that said 'Winner' which got us the gcs. 

So will I come back to Starbucks Reserve? I would, yes. I kinda liked the ambiance. It was less busy than the usual Starbucks coffee shops. But more importantly, I'm going to come back soon because the buy one, take one GC is only honored at that branch. 

If you're a fan of Starbucks or coffee in general, then do visit the nearest Starbucks Reserve around your area and go try out their special blends for yourself. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I checked out the 5th Philippine International Motor Show

Yesterday was the first day of the 5th Philippine International Motor Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay and I was there. I'm not planning on buying a car anytime soon (it's always traffic in the city so I take the train) and I'm not a car enthusiast either (I was really there for work) but I know how to appreciate looking at car displays especially when they look so beautiful - they've been waxed, buffed and they look so shiny and new!

The theme for this year is "Progress in Motion" and it's participated by different auto brands such as Suzuki, Nissan, Kia, Honda, Mitsubishi, Lexus and Toyota to name a few.

I think Suzuki displayed all their car models in their booth. But the Suzuki Ertiga is their latest car model unveiled last July. It's a 7-seater car and it's dubbed as a Life Utility Vehicle, combining a hatchback's compactness and maneuverability, a sedan's style and comfort and a sports-utility vehicle (SUV)'s space and stature. This car is targeted for families as well as business executives.

This here is the Suzuki Swift 1.2, another one of Suzuki's star car models highlighted during their 30-minute presentation. I actually like the subcompact style of this car! And it's actually targeted towards young professionals like me and first time car owners. If I was in the market for a car, I would definitely consider this because it's also fuel efficient.

I'm not a fan of motorcycles and I don't harbor secret fantasies of meeting a cool rider like Michelle Pfeiffer on Grease 2 (riding motorcycles scare me) but if I did, I probably would like him to be riding this motorcycle. It looks like a pretty cool ride. Nakaka-gwapo.

Here are some of the other gorgeous cars I saw inside World Trade Center:

The Volkswagen's Beetle - this is another dream car of mine. Not this design particularly but the style of this car appeals to me plus this is an iconic brand.

Mazda 3 - another gwapo car!

A car display from Lexus, a luxury car. Look, even their model's outfit is simply elegant to look at.

At PIMS, they also displayed iconic cars at the lobby area of the World Trade Center.

An old boyfriend used to drive an old Benz like this. And when I saw that he traded his Gallant for this, truth be told I was shocked and horrified. Haha! Yeah, yeah. It's a classic car but still, old is old.

I also saw futuristic car models at PIMS. Check these two out:

This Honda futuristic car looks so maangas. I bet a lot of the fellows checking out the car exhibit would love this car. I personally like the first car, the Toyota Fun-vii. According to what I've read in Inquirer online, it's designed to connect wirelessly with infrastructure and surrounding roads and users can project images onto its exterior display panels. The "Vii" stands for Vehicle, interactive, internet.

Here are a couple of other interesting things I saw at PIMS:

It's been years since I saw this bus! I don't know if there are still buses like this on the road nowadays or if this display at PIMS means it's being brought back. I suddenly felt like I was back in the 90s when I was still a kid because that's when I remember seeing this bus.

And oh look! It's Ironman hamming it up for the camera! I just had to take a photo with him. A photo opportunity like this is something you just don't pass up.

So anyway, that's my visit at PIMS. If you're a car enthusiast or you're thinking of buying a car, you should definitely check out the 5th Philippine International Motor Show which will be at World Trade Center until September 21. There's so many things to see here!

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Beauty Arsenals

Let me tell you about a couple of products that I now consider to be a must-have for my beauty kit because they really do work their magic on my skin!

Belo Essentials  Gel 

I have combination skin and while I do cleanse, tone and moisturize diligently twice a day, I still get acne from time to time especially around the time when I'm about to get my period. And sometimes, I get one of those hideous pimples - you know, the red ones that grow quite a noticeable size - and it makes me want to go on hiding until it disappears! I can't though because I have to go to work so I turn to a product like this to help remedy the situation. I was using a different brand that offers the same promise as that of Belo Essentials' Acne Pro Pimple Gel but I recently came to realize when I was getting really bad breakouts that it wasn't working like it was supposed to. 

My friend from work, Maila recently tried this product and she told me that it effectively banished her pimples. And so hearing her testimonial along with having read a couple of positive reviews about this brand of pimple gel, I went to the nearest Watson's branch and bought one for myself since I was recently getting those bad breakouts again. 

This made my face itch at first. I thought I was having an allergic reaction to the product! But as it turned out, it was just a sign that the product was doing its job. I saw the difference overnight! My very red and noticeable pimple became smaller and then three days later, it was completely gone! Amazing really! And it only cost me Php150. What a steal!!! 


Here's the thing about me - I'm a klutz! And you know what happens when you're like that? You get bruises and you get wounds. And as we all know, once the wound heals, it leaves a scar. Usually when I get a scar, I leave it alone...that is until I tripped on my own two feet, wearing flat shoes - I kid you not - and ended up with a wound on my face - specifically on my upper lip area and chin. It was an ugly sight to see! And when the wound healed, it left a noticeable scar on my face that could only be hidden if I wore make up day in and day out. But if my face was bare free of make up, it was there for everyone to see and I couldn't stand the thought of that! In fact, it even made me think that I might have to shell out a lot of cash to get that ugly sight out through laser surgery or something. 

Luckily, I remembered Maricar Reyes' TV commercial about Contractubex, the scar gel and so off I went to the nearest Mercury Drug Store to buy me a tube of this scar gel. Contractubex, the Scar gel claims to have a triple effect: 

  • Prevents excessive scar tissue
  • Reduces redness, itching and the feeling of tension 
  • Makes the scar smoother and improves elasticity

I religiously applied it on the scar on my face daily, during the morning after I've cleansed, toned, moisturized and put sunblock on and at night again before I slept and even during break times at work (there's no specified limit as to how often the product could be applied). After a couple of weeks I saw my scar lighten until it completely disappeared! 

I'm applying this topical cream on a couple of other more recent scars I have. There's a scar on my leg sustained from an escalator accident and I have noticed that it has lightened up. I can now look at a full length mirror again when I'm trying on shoes and not think how horrible my leg looks now with that scar. And I also have this keloid scar on my elbow that's a result of me being dragged a little bit on the street from a snatching incident and since I've applied Contractubex on it, I've began to feel that it's starting to shrink and also it has lightened up. 

At Php500.00, Contractubex is definitely worth buying and it is a steal compared to if I had chosen to undergo laser treatment. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fun activities to do around the city this September

Could September be anymore exciting? Last time, I shared events that I'm very much looking forward to attending. Well now, let me tell you about a few of the fun, must-try activities happening this month.

1. Unleash the artist and wine lover in you... 

through the Sip and Gogh event that's happening this September 12-14 at The Podium. According to their website, Sip and Gogh is the first-of-its kind paint and sip studio in the Philippines, a place where families, friends and even lovers can relax, socialize and enjoy painting together while sipping their favorite beverage - wine. Whether you're an aspiring Van Gogh or just want to learn painting for fun, this is a great activity to try! What's more is that you get to take home your masterpiece after. (",)

Sip and Gogh studio is located in Quezon City but they have a special event happening this Friday-Sunday at Podium. I would love to try this and in fact, I originally wanted to try it this weekend already. But I'm postponing that for October. I'm just going to their studio in Quezon City to try their open session since I'll get to pick what I'll paint from any of their paintings in the art gallery. Maila wanted to try the Starry Starry Night but I'm not too crazy about it even though I know, it's one of Van Gogh's famous paintings.

Anyhow if you guys want to try it this weekend, visit Sip and Gogh's website to reserve a spot.

*Photo grabbed from Spot.ph

2. Go on a food tour adventure - a dessert tour adventure! 

Ayala Malls is holding a dessert tour around Glorietta and Greenbelt, Makati with Lori Baltazar, famous dessert food blogger. The first two runs were held just this past weekend but there's another tour set on September 20 and 21. This is a great activity to try if you're a foodie or simply a dessert lover. I'm more of the latter personally 'cos I have a sweet tooth!

If you're interested to know more about it or if you want to sign up, you can contact either Baron Travel Corp at 752-7448 or Rajah Travel Corp at 894-0886 loc 1300.

*Photo grabbed from Spot.ph

3. Coffee lover? Craft a cup with JJ Yulo! 

This is another activity spearheaded by Ayala Malls. This time they partnered with JJ Yulo, another top food blogger to take participants around Glorietta or Greenbelt to not only enjoy the awesome drink that is coffee but also bring home their own coffee blends! This is set to happen on Sept 27 and 28 and then Oct 11 and 12.

Again if you're interested, you can contact Baron Travel Corp or Rajah Travel Corp. I know I am. (",)

*Photo grabbed from Glorietta's Twitpic.

4. Watch an opera

Who hasn't heard of Jose Rizal or his famous Noli Me Tangere? As it turns out it has been turned into a play! Really I didn't know that but apparently it's been around for some time now, with productions held internationally. It was even reviewed by the New York Times! And now the popular play has been brought to its home country to be staged at Resorts World Manila from September 11-28. For ticket prices and schedules of the play, visit Resorts World Manila events.

*Photo grabbed from Rappler 

Ohhhh I wish I had all the money in the world to spend to try all these! I find them all interesting and fun to do! But I guess I'll just have to pick one or two for this month. I'll let you guys know which ones I've tried of course. (",)