Tingin-tingin ulit

I just read my previous post and it was so incoherent. My apologies; the stress is getting to me. Anyway, here's another one.

I woke up a tad bit late so I had to rush to my hair appointment at Soiree Salon in Katipunan. The name could use some work, but I've heard good things about it. It's a tiny place with only one stylist, which means you get to have some peace and quiet. The staff are not pushy, which I like; I actually had to volunteer that I wanted to have some form of treatment because my hair is dry. And when I asked them about having my hair rebonded again they told me it was still in good shape so it's not necessary.

I ended up getting the protein treatment and my usual hair cut. I've worn my hair the same way for years - long, straight, and layered, and as I will not be getting any more haircuts for six months, it's not a good time to be adventurous. Now this is a very basic haircut but for some reason, some people can still botch it up; good stylists are pretty hard to find (my favorite one resigned a couple of years ago and I've never found a replacement since). Anyway I can't say for sure if I'm liking this one because we'd have to wait until I wash it but so far so good (I've had haircuts before where my hair is in a ponytail an hour after I left the salon - it was so terrible not even a good blowout can save it).

So I left the salon with my hair essentially the same; just a tad bit shorter and healthier. I went to Greenhills to meet Chelo and (surprise!) Leal. We are quite hopeless hagglers, but we managed to do quite a bit of shoppings. I nabbed two pairs of flats, boxers, a couple of tops, a pair of shorts, and this scarf thing which requires a bit of analysis to put on. Quote of the day: "Oo nga miss yan nga size mo, mabalakang ka kasi".

Chelo had to leave early, so I ended up having dinner with Leal, Doti, and Jakes with boyfriend-of-the-year nominee Kev who skipped dessert to *gasp* study.

Lessons learned:

1) If you know people are stalking you (let's say, the friends of someone you messed with who are out for blood) and you decide to make a public blog post, never ever ever forget to use spellcheck and mind your subject-verb agreement. Or better yet, use Filipino - not only will everyone be able to comprehend your post, it will also minimize nosebleeds and leave you with a little bit of dignity. It would be less fun to read, though.

2) Women with unnecessary letters in their nicknames must be avoided at all costs. In particular, the following letters are frowned upon: H, Z, W. However, if said letters were added to the nicknames no later than 2001, it may be deemed acceptable.

3) A mug as a birthday gift is acceptable only if you are both in high school. And even then it's terribly uninspired.

4) You are only free to make rude comments about a friend's other half in the event that they break up; otherwise you must keep said comment to yourself until you die or your friend's other half dies, whichever comes first.

5) Hermes if for wives, and LV is for mistresses (courtesy of Sir Gad).
Corollary: Coach is for...

6) After a break up or any such similar event you are given three weeks to mope and whine and be a big pain in the ass, after which your friends are free to either ignore you or tell you precisely what they think.

7) It's what's on the inside that counts - always wear nice undies.

Tingin-tingin lang

The boss found this in the "shopping" section of his Filipino phrasebook and he finds it funny. Well he also thinks "lalamunan" is a very cute word ("like a fairy"), and so is "mumog."

Anyway, the point is this:
Seven paperbags in about five hours is not too shabby. But not wonderful either. I hate mall-wide sales because apart from the billion people who flock to the stores, more often than not all the good things and new arrivals are pulled out to make way for decade-old stock that are still being peddled for 70% off (in Japan last season's frocks sometimes go for 90% off but, well, in the Philippines there is no such thing because we don't have a concept of "season").

Anyway, I was in Trinoma for a good two hours before I decided to buy something (shoes at Charles and Keith), and then hello Murphy, none in my size. Now at this point I have visited every shoe store (I even ventured into Nine West), and I did not find a single pair I liked (there is something seriously wrong with VNC; a hundred shoes, and not a single one is even remotely appealing) so in desperation I asked them to see if they have my size in other branches and luckily, the Eastwood branch did so they reserved it for me. See, this is what I missed - the ability to ask them if they have your size, if they have new stock, if they have your size in other branches, if they can reserve it for you; in general just the ability to, well, speak.

Long story short, I only managed to buy VMV skincare and underwear in what used to be my shopping mecca. VMV is offering 25% off on everything except Armada (their sunblock), thank God, because I don't really like buying stuff at full price when I know they go on sale every now and then. I have used up two bottles of their Superskin toner (which tells you I really like it because I can never really stick to one product) and I got two more to bring with me. The sales assistant was nice but pushy, and kept insisting I buy the cleanser and the moisturizer which I don't really fancy; the moisturizer, for one, is quite lumpy. Although I ended up buying Armada because I'm hunting for a good sunblock anyway (Shiseido Anessa would probably be really good for oily skin but it made my face flaky). And then I dropped by La Senza to buy underwear which is really the worst thing to shop for - it's just insane how much a couple of flimsy pieces of cloth cost.

Oh, and I also bought a Grab denim skirt from Chocolate. I used to own a lot of skirts back in college (it's the easiest way to dress up) but now I can't find them and this one's on sale. I actually went there to buy Ipanema flip-flops. They're a tad bit more expensive but they're softer and more comfortable than Havaianas. Besides, All Flipflops was having a sale so it's practically bursting with people and I don't want to deal with that.

So I was off to Eastwood - this involved 30 minutes of waiting for a taxi, but there was this huge fireworks show from SM City Notrh Edsa which was right across, so it was not so stressful (and can I just say, there's this dude beside me with a dSLR and he probably wanted to show it off so he starts taking pictures of the fireworks - with flash; ano buzz).

Ah, Eastwood Mall. Otherwise known as the death of my (future) paycheck. How can you save when Zara is only a couple of cartwheels away? I can imagine myself attending the three-hour videoconference full of complaints and releases and requests and heading straight to Charles and Keith to drown my sorrows in a new pair of boots. And it's actually quite pretty, but probably only because it's my first time to see it (I was actually here last night with a couple of officemates and I blabbered all throughout dinner and the succeeding hours thereafter).

Anyway, I went straight to Charles and Keith and got my shoes. Now, my cousin called me to inform me that the Aldo shoes I was wanting since the last time I was here were on sale. I told her to get them for me, but of course they don't have them in my size. Argh. So to make up for it I bought another pair of shoes from U.R.S. I was given a 10% discount because the sales assistant said I shopped there often. I told her no, I didn't but she insisted that yes, I was often there with my sister. Now my sister would not touch U.R.S. heels with a ten-foot pole, but she was kept insisting I shopped there often so what the hell, give me the discount.

At this point I was lugging around so much stuff that I had trouble fitting into the one person-wide escalators, so I decided to call it a day. Tomorrow I'll get a haircut and then I'm off to Greenhills. It's getting a tad bit stressful, but I can't really complain, can I?


*This should've been posted days before but I had no internet access so there.*

It's 40 degrees outside. Yes, I'm home.

I was able to make it in one piece despite the H1N1 scare, the thirty-five kilograms of luggage I had to schlep all by myself, and the utter chaos in the airport which is usually the case for full flights to the Philippines. For some reason people feel the need to form lines on the gates twenty minutes before boarding, and then come boarding time, make it difficult for the people who are supposed to board first by congealing on the entrances and complaining and insisting on boarding first. I mean, goodness people, there is no shortage of seats. It's incredibly stressful, and quite frankly, embarrassing, how we are able to turn the very simple boarding process into utter chaos.

I was able to check-in quite early, so I was able to get a seat in the upper deck, which is the least frenetic region of the plane as there are less people so flight attendants are able to service you faster. The flight is probably the most turbulent flight I've ever had so far, but Bride Wars was showing and the food was good (the past few flights I found I was getting tired of JAL food but this time it's quite nice) so no biggie. I did spend a good amount of time waiting for my baggage but hey, what's new.

Oh, and the shopping. This is my fifth time in Narita airport, and I can't believe this has eluded me the past four times. I guess it's because I usually browse the stores pre-immigration, and post-immigration I usually go directly to the boarding gates. Big mistake.

I chanced upon a copy of Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, which I've been wanting to read for the longest time but I can't find a paperback. And then, make-up. Where do I even begin. Oh right. MAC. They still have stuff from the Hello Kitty collection, and everything from the Rose Romance and Sugarsweet collection, most of which are already sold out in Tokyo. However, I feel like most are old stock; their Lightful collection is still in the old packaging (it was repackaged months ago). Anyway, I got a trip set (an airport exclusive, I believe) in Neutral eyes and cheeks, and it's quite pretty.

And then I got Phenomen'eyes by Givenchy, which is the mascara with the ball brush, because I kinda wanted to try it out and see how it compares with drugstore brands. I also got a lipstick so I could get a free hand mirror. I know, I'm such a sucker for free things (which is discussed in great length in Predictably Irrational which I should have read before going shopping).

I also got a new eyelash curler from Shu Uemura because I packed my current one in a hurry and my hunch is that it will get smooshed in my check-in baggage and true enough it came out deformed, hence justifying my purchase.

I wanted to shop some more but my bag was terribly heavy and I also bought a shitload of Royce chocolates so that was it.

And now I'm at home with no Internet access (God knows when I'll get this entry posted), the airconditioner cranked up, rummaging through my mom's stuff to see which ones I can sweet talk her into giving me. And for lunch I just had crispy pata. Home sweet home.



Me: When do we stop wearing masks while commuting?

Boss: When the world is peaceful.


Movie Night

Today was almost a typical Sunday back at home. I wake up late, shop til I drop, watch a movie, and have dinner with friends.

It's been ages since I last saw a movie. Like everything else, movies are outrageously expensive in Tokyo. But the boss had a couple of free tickets and we finally found a movie we could all agree on (Twilight was scrapped because of them boys) so off we went to Toho cinemas in Kawasaki.

souvenir pic courtesy of David

The theater wasn't anything special; in fact it felt eerily like Gateway, right up to the big tub of buttered popcorn (which I always get suckered into because the difference between the tiny one and the huge one is just 20 pesos).

The major, major, major difference is everyone is so quiet. No idiot translating everything to his seatmate and no annoying people complaining about the differences between the movie and the book out loud (it's an adaptation, get over it). However, at times it became too quiet, in fact even during the time that only trailers were showing I could hear myself munching on popcorn.

As for the movie, if you want to enjoy it, forget you ever read the book. If you expect every single minute detail in the movie to be like the book then don't even bother. Despite all the negative reviews I actually quite like it. My only beef - and this has been my beef ever since - is Tom Hanks. Of all the actors, why Tom Hanks. I don't think he captured Robert Langdon. And that swimming pool scene... *gag*.

Oh, and another huge difference - in the Philippines, the moment the credits roll, the lights turn on. Here, the lights are off until the very very end. I have never in my entire life, watched the complete movie credits. True, a few people left, but the majority stayed and patiently watched every single name roll across the screen. Like, oh, this person held Camera A, good for him. And hey, no animals were harmed in this movie, what a relief. Finally after a billion years the credits ended and it was time to go home.

The Tale of the Crying Wallet

The saga of shopping for other people continues. I blame it all on Globe. My iPhone was unable to connect to any service provider for weeks, and then they just had to reconnect my line last week. So the inevitable happens. My mother called.

Anak, ang shade ko pala sa Shiseido ay 40.

This is from a woman who complains that my Maybelline foundation is so expensive.
And then, punchline.

"Tapos yung tita mo, bibili ng moisturizer, pinigilan ko! Sabi ko, ibibili mo siya."

And you can never really tell your mother no, can you?
So now I'm a proud owner of a Shu Uemura member's card, a Shiseido member's card, a Takashimaya shopper's card, and a couple of freebies from buying stuff I wouldn't buy for myself because they're just ridiculously expensive.

Anyway, today I finally decided to set foot on Akihabara. Tin went with me, but we got so sidetracked by our conversation that we accidentally went up the wrong platform in Shinjuku (which is completely excusable, I must say, as the JR station has a billion platforms). So we got off the next station to transfer. And see, there's always a silver lining because look who's waiting for us there:

Not a big fan of the moustache, but I guess he'll have to do.

So anyway, we finally made it to Akihabara where I proceeded to unload all my hard-earned moolah on these:

Three.DSLite.Units. Not a single one for me. It hurts to even look at them. Those piglets will not get anything more from me until they're thirty. At first I was actually hesitant to buy three units because, well, that's just too much for one purchase, but the kuya seemed unfazed; in fact he asked me if I was still going to buy the red one together with the three blue ones. But that's Akihabara (and Japan) for you - buying a PlayStation is no different from buying paracetamol. You go to the counter, tell them what you need, pay for it, and leave with an empty wallet.

Anyway, the disaster continues. We headed back to Shinjuku, and well, we kept chatting, because how could you ever miss Shinjuku station? So we kept talking and talking, and, oh, people are getting off, let's go. So we get off the train and step into... Yoyogi station. We were one stop too early. But it should be no problem, we'll just take the next train. Except that there was no train for the next twenty minutes, for some reason unknown to us because, well, we didn't exactly understand the announcements (under normal circumstances there is a train every 5 minutes in the Yamanote line).

Thankfully, as we were standing in the platform, I caught a glimpse of Tokyu Hands and Takashimaya. So we decided to just walk to Shinjuku, which, as we discovered, is just five minutes away on foot.

Yoyogi station has the cutest escalator ever.

It's just what, six steps? But knowing the Japanese there would probably be a very good, smart, well-thought-of explanation behind it.

Anyway, on to the shopping. I didn't get to buy anything for myself, which is kinda depressing. I did find the coolest bag in the planet - it was made entirely out of aluminum can tabs (you know, the ones they collect for wheelchairs - is that even true?). I was thisclose to buying it, but after closer inspection we found that some of the metal part is corroding, and there's no way I'm going to part with my moolah (it's quite pricey) for something that's just going to rust away in a couple of months. I really liked it though.

Oh, but I did get these last Friday:

The shoelaces, not the shoes. It's sad I know.
But there's still tomorrow, and I heard stuff are cheaper at the airport, so I'm just waiting it out a bit.


I'm in Shinjuku weekly, but I rarely go to Tokyu Hands because it's seven floors of things you don't need but you will want so bad, which is wallet-suicide. However, today I decided to visit because I was desperate for pasalubong ideas. And I went home with these (Focus on the one on the right, because the left one is pretty boring.):

The Japanese do think of the darndest things. Inside the box there is what appears to be an egg, and you take the top off, water it from time to time, and a few weeks later you have wild strawberries. Or fresh basil. Or mint. In an egg. Seriously, how do they come up with stuff like this?

And they even have a website! These are just too cute.

Picture from eggling.com

Anyway, as excited as I am to test-drive this thing I realized I'm going home in a couple of days so I'll have to wait until I get back. And then maybe I can grow my own herb garden. Of course this is coming from someone who hasn't finished washing last night's dishes. We'll see.

Rainy Day Bedtime Stories

1. Marci's Birthday Party, or The Day I Went Shopping for Other People

It was the perfect snuggle weather - it was pouring, and best of all we had no work. But, I promised Marvin Jay I would buy a gift for Marci so I headed off to Shinjuku. I decided to take my knee-high boots for a spin because soaked jeans are the biggest pain in the ass. I did not realize I would be making a tour of Shinjuku that day - first I went to Muji which is in the East exit, then I went to Frank Frank and Takashimaya which is in the South exit, and then back to Muji because I'm a total idiot, and then I went to the West exit (and to go there I had to pass by the South exit) to visit the Uniqlo mothership store to buy shirts for other people.

Now you should realize how tired I was because first of all, my boots have heels, and second of all, it's really no fun walking in the rain, and third, I had a lot of shopping bags, contents of which are not mine. I actually felt like I should buy something for myself, and I almost bought another tube of liquid foundation out of desperation but it probably wouldn't match anyway and it was getting late so I went home.

We had the usual birthday dinner (delata party + strawberry sponge cake), but since the following day is a holiday, and we had booze, we decided to watch X-men Origins: Wolverine via online streaming. Seriously that movie is so full of cliches we half-expected people to start dancing on the beach. Oh, and we got what appears to be some sort of unedited copy so there would be times when we could see the CGIs and the harnesses which is kinda funny. At one point, there was a caption that read "claws grow".

So that was that, nothing uneventful save for Frank screaming with fear when David nudged him hahahahahahah.

2. Not so Happy Friday, or The Day I Slipped in Front of an Elevator Full of People

This time, we had work, but I had no meeting and I just totalled my Aldo flats the day before so this time I wore sneakers. Now first of all, the floor gets really slippery when it's wet, and second of all, Chucks have very little traction, and third, I'm just incredibly clumsy.

Anyway, here goes. When I got to the lobby the elevator door was about to close, so I ran after it, and then all of a sudden I was staring at the ceiling. And then at the horrified surprised faces of everyone inside the elevator, the doors of which are half-closed already. But oh wait, they're opening again. They opened the door again. So I hoist my completely mortified self up and get in.

Things to be thankful for:
1) I did not slip again as I was trying to stand up
2) My pants did not rip, and I had no broken bones, I think
3) I was not wearing a dress
4) The boss did not see it
5) No one from my development group saw it (although they'd most definitely hear about it)

It's something I'd rather forget about but it's just too funny so I figured I'd just spread the joy so the moment I reached the office I told everyone about it, and now it's on my blog. No good every comes from taking yourself too seriously anyway.

Oh, and my vacation schedule has been approved.
Now if this H1N1 would just cooperate, I'll be home in a couple of days. ^^

Art Appreciation Day

Or, Engineer Torture Day. If the tickets weren't free, we would have slaughtered Frank in the middle of the goddamned Michael Sowa paintings that made absolutely no sense.

Okay, let's rewind a bit. The boss gave us free tickets to this art gallery in Ginza. So off we went, if only to say we were able to do something this Golden Week.

Let's just say that two seconds into it we were already anxious to get out. It was a triple whammy - the artist was German, and so were the titles and descriptions, the translations were in Japanese, and well, they were paintings. Trust me when I tell you that I do not have a single art-appreciative bone in my body. My first high school art teacher sold "bristol board" which was just overpriced cartolina and will bump your grade a notch higher if you purchase in bulk. The second one called all girls "Gretchen" and had us decorating the second floor windows with sequins. So there. I would much rather get Laplace transforms or have my wisdom teeth extracted than visit another goddamned art gallery, because I'm no poser like that.

Anyway, traumatic as it was, we did get souvenirs. Hahaha.

Now on to happy things. Remember we were in Ginza, the shopping mecca, which I never visit because 1) it's too far, and 2) it's bloody expensive. But now that I have the chance...

Louis Vuitton!!! No, of course not. I would never go shopping in Louis Vuitton. Can't afford it, don't quite get it, but I like looking around. They do have nice things that I just can't justify buying ever.

What I can afford, though, is H&M.

It's actually the first dress I saw when I entered the store and it's what I ended up buying. And it's super cheap (relative to everything else, of course); as I was paying for it, I kept looking at the price tag because I might have missed one zero.

For dinner we ended up in CPK (yes, California Pizza Kitchen) in Kawasaki. It seriously felt like a Saturday night in the Philippines - the food, the ambiance, the weather, even the prices. The tequila chicken pasta is loooooove. We forgot to take pictures, though, because we were starving.

And since I'm still on retail therapy I bought a couple more things.

The Body Shop Lip Butter and Body Butter in wild cherry. I'm normally not a fan of cherry, but it smelled soooo good I just had to buy a tub. It's just a small one anyway, for carrying around with me.

And then I went to Tomod's, which is a drugstore that always evokes snickers from the guys. I finally bought the Mandom Cleansing Express Moist, which is quite popular with beauty bloggers, and I can see why. It's a make-up remover ("Ready for bed as soon as possible") and it feels like water so it does not sting nor is it oily. And apparently if you're feeling really lazy you can just use this one and skip the facial wash. And it's pretty cheap, too.

And then I bought a bottle of Dove foaming facial cleanser because lately I noticed my skin is really really really dry, and all cleansers I own are for oily skin. I figured I should switch to something a bit milder, and you can never really go wrong with Dove.

On a more serious note, the heartache, the physical pain, the suffocating, depressing cloud of gloom, it all goes away, it really does. It might feel like it's never going to end, but one day you'll just wake up and find that you can function again. Just hang in there; there's always something to look forward to.

Phlox Shmox

Back to normal programming. Enough with the drama already.
(This should tell you there's a haul somewhere in this post)

Yesterday marks the start of Japan's Golden Week. We have no work until Wednesday, which more than makes up for having to report to the office during Holy Week, don't you think?

Now I'm a firm believer in staying in bed until noon on Saturdays. But we had a scheduled trip to the Moss Phlox Festival so I dragged myself up even if every cell in my body was protesting. I normally don't pay attention to directions, and this was no exception - I figured we'd just hop on a train, maybe do a couple of transfers, and get there. I was so not prepared for a two-hour train ride (I should have known when we boarded a train with seats laid out in rows) and a 1.2 km hike under the blazing heat of the sun.

I at least had enough foresight to use sunblock on my face (Shiseido Anessa, and I suspect it's the culprit behind my skin getting dry and flaky), but my arms were bare and I was wearing my new short-sleeved hoodie (wrong choice of clothes in more ways than one). So after months of hiding under jackets to erase the T-shirt tanline I've had since forever, it's back again. Argh.

Apart from the sweltering heat, it was also windy, so there would be dust storms from time to time. Ahk. It seriously felt like the Taal trek all over again, only this time I'm with droves of people.

The view, however, is an entirely different story.

Drama picture courtesy of Lee's tripod and David's remote

This is what my future backyard would look like - a sea of pink gorgeousness. I can only imagine how much effort this took. Imagine tending to a garden that is only pretty for about a week each year.

Anyway, after we've had our fill of flowers (it took quite a while because David has a surprisingly high tolerance level), we went to this huge Mitsui outlet park, since we were in the area anyway, and it's too early to go home. No pictures, because when I saw how huge it is I panicked because I can't possibly have enough time to see all the shops. However, when we were halfway through we were just so tired, and I could still smell all the dust from the park that latched onto me, so we called it a day.

My haul is actually a tad bit strange and random.

A couple of tops, a bag, shades, a pair of flats, and food, glorious food. But it's actually nice to just look around and buy whatever catches your fancy. People should really do this from time to time, it's the perfect therapy.

Post-game analysis

In the end, all I really needed was my girls.

We've all been living busy lives. And still are. It's the price you pay for having friends who are smart and successful. We barely get to talk - with my crazy schedule and lack of YM in the office I've just been out of the general circulation for months now.
But right when I needed someone to talk to just to keep myself sane, they all happened to be there. Even my college roomie Pau, whom I never ever catch online, made a surprise appearance (in YM, that is).

And just like that, everything's bright and cheery.
I may often end up being one of the boys, but nothing could every replace my girls.
Now come visit me already!


Hey, it works. This morning I can barely muster enough will power to get out of bed, and tonight I was practically skipping on my way home.

Today, our project finally made it to, well, a significant milestone. And can I just say that in the three years that I've been working for this company, and in this project, it's the first time for us to ever reach this point, and well, it's worth celebrating. It's not a perfect closure, and there are risks, and possibly problems in the next few weeks, but right now things are looking up.

The universe does do things for you. I'm actually very thankful that my trip home was cancelled. I was here during a big project milestone, and I believe this is where I should be at this time. And as I realized the past couple of days, had I gone home, I would have been, well, nuked, for the lack of a better world. Thank God I was here, in the safe confines of my room, one instant message away from my girls, when things started blowing up in my face.

Whenever I'm faced with something terrible, like, say, Philo oral exams, I'd always think of my future self - how happy and relieved and free I'd be once I get through the whole ordeal. And see, now the future self I've been envisioning for the past couple of weeks, or months even, it's finally here. Well, not quite, but we're getting there.