Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Movies to Watch Out For

It's the month of love, so why not take the people that you love out to the movies to watch some of the flicks that February has in store for us? :) Here are the ones I definitely do not want to miss myself...

Out Today - February 1: The Muppets

That's right. More than "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", which also starts showing here today, I am more excited to see "The Muppets". After all, The Muppets were a huge part of my childhood and gave me hope that, no matter how fat I'd get, a teeny tiny frog like Kermit would still end up loving me. :)

The plot: Who cares, really? Did the Alvin and the Chipmunk movies have a good plot? Exactly. As long as they don't ruin my childhood completely, I will be happy to spend money on this. Did I mention that Jason Segel is in it? Boom.

The verdict: I think the best part about this movie is the fact that it isn't in 3D. That means I won't waste too much money on it and I can actually bring my almost-2-year-old daughter to see it. We're watching it tomorrow, I've decided.

February 9: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3-D

Anyone who's anyone knows that I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. In fact, when I moved out of home to live in a studio apartment during my university days, my room was decked out in Darth Vader merchandise. Yup. Posters, ashtrays, you name it. Darth Vader's mask was also my second choice for my first tattoo. No joke.

The plot: Do you live under a rock?

The verdict: As much as some people hated "The Phantom Menace", I have two words for you: Darth. Maul. Besides, this is just the first movie. There are five awesome Star Wars movies about to come out in 3D. Suck it up. Don't bitch. And watch it. Darth. Maul.

February 15: Hugo

Ever since I saw the trailer for Hugo, I've been wanting to see the movie itself. And now that time has finally come. Oh yes.

The plot: Based on the children's book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", "Hugo" tells the story of an orphan boy who lives in a train station in 1930s Paris and who tries to unravel a mystery involving his late father... and a robot.

The verdict: From the trailer itself, "Hugo" looks very promising. Add to that the fact that there is a lot of Oscar buzz buzzing around it right now and that Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass, 500 Days of Summer) is in it? I'm totally sold!

February 29: J. Edgar

Okay... I have no idea what is up with this, but I swear I saw "J. Edgar" already showing at Alabang Town Center the other day. Apparently, it was originally slated for the end of this month, but that clearly didn't happen.

The plot: It's simple enough. It's the life story of J. Edgar Hoover. All of the dirty secrets of his life - revealed!!! Dun dun dun dunnn...

The verdict: To be honest, I couldn't care less about Hoover. But, hey, when has Leonardo DiCaprio ever made a bad movie? Exactly. Think about that.

So, who wants to watch any of the above with me? :) I'm especially excited about "The Muppets"! Is that weird? It actually got amazing reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I'll have you know. What about you? Will you be watching any of these movies with your loved ones this February? :)

My Quick Welcome Back Blog Giveaway Winner!

A new day, a new month. :)

Wow. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday I was thinking about what my Bangkok trip would be like and now it's February. A whole new month - and the month of love, no less.

I hope you all remember what the month of love is really for, though. It's not just for your boyfriends or your husbands or those guys that you have crushes on - though, of course, it can be, if you want it to be. :p It's about all of the people that you love: be it your dad, your mom, your sibling, your best friend, or even your favorite character on Gossip Girl.

So, why not set up a unique date this Valentine's Day and not spend it with your significant other for a change? If my mom lets me, I might just steal my dad away for the day. :) What are your plans? :)

Anyway, I'll stop babbling, so we can get to the part that you've all been waiting for: my giveaway winner announcement.
First of all, I want to shell out a huge thank you to everyone who joined. :) Although the giveaway was super quick and only lasted for a week, there was a total of 44 entries! All for a GC for The Wow Shop! Wow talaga!

Congratulations, ambquezada!

You have won a GC of 100 pesos to use on any item of your choice at The Wow Shop! Enjoy! :)

Make Up For Ever: Marié Digby Meet and Greet

December was full of lows for me - which is partly why I have neglected my December backlogs... too many painful memories. But now that it's a whole new year and I have gotten over all of that heartbreak, I am actually ready to tackle those backlogs head-on. Go, me! Haha.

One of the very few highlights of my December was actually the Make Up For Ever event, which I was invited to by Jenny Manongdo. Before anything else, here's what I wore:

Forever 21 dress, Parisian snakeskin flats and my signature Eiffel Tower necklace

As you can see, my lil hipster baby was a part of my outfit shot, so I figured I might as well take hers, too:

Polkatots floral top, SM Department Store shorts, Bangkok beanie and a Multiply pen around her neck :p

Anyway, both the babydaddy and the lil munchkin accompanied me to The Fort because we had to pick up the LazerXtreme GCs that I won from playing lasertag there the month before and because I was raving so much about the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol premiere that the babydaddy simply had to watch it.

After dropping them off at Market Market, I then headed to Make Up For Ever's branch in Bonifacio High Street for the event.

I didn't know much about the event going in, aside from the fact that the Youtube singing sensation Marié Digby would be there, but I was very excited to see what MUFE had in store for the holidays.

Aqua liner in a ton of different colors - every girl's dream!

Makeup in adorable animal print cases!

Cream eyeshadows and concealers galore!

A bit of camwhoring before the program is in order, don't you think?

Okay, I'll admit it: I hadn't heard of Marié Digby before this event, but I fell in love with her there all the same. Especially since the first words that came out of her mouth were, "I have that dress, too! Forever 21?" To me! Instant fan girl moment! Haha.

Aside from having a beautiful singing voice - she is most popular for her acoustic covers like Rihanna's "Umbrella", but I personally love her original songs, as well, especially "Shoulda Been Simple" - Marié Digby is also extraordinarily beautiful.

Outfit shot! Hehe.

In fact, if you check out OK! Magazine's January issue, you can see this for yourself. Marié is actually featured in it wearing four different looks using Make Up For Ever! It really is no wonder why the store was soon brimming with her fans who grabbed the chance to meet her.

You can also watch her do her favorite makeup look on her own here:

At the event, Marié gamely answered questions about makeup, adolescence and finding one's self in the journey called life.

"I encourage teenagers to work on their confidence and self-worth. Try to work on the inside first and the outside will follow," she said.

Believe it or not, Marié was actually shy, chubby and awkward as a teenager. As she grew and discovered music, though, she eventually also discovered herself.

Me with the stunning Marié Digby

With the other beautiful ladies at the event.

Thank you again so much, Jenny, for inviting me! :)

Marié Digby continues to inspire both the young and the old with her music. I am proud to announce that I am now one of those people - somewhere between the young and the old, though. :p

Yes, Marié gives me hope with her music and her beauty. Don't see why? Then buy her CD, watch her Youtube videos, read her features in magazines and if you can, try to meet her sometime, too. I guarantee you will fall in love with her, as well. :)

Make Up For Ever holds professional makeup classes and other special courses. For rates and other inquiries, visit their main website here. You can also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge Media Launch

When I was in Bangkok, there were only very few things that I really missed in Manila: my daughter, the milk tea, and blogger's events. After all, it is through blogger's events that I ended up meeting some of the most awesome people that I know now. :)

So, when I checked my email and saw the invite from Pax for a restaurant launch, I didn't think twice. I didn't even stop to wonder whether I would know anyone at the event. I just went for it. And I'm really glad I did. :)

Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge is located on the 2nd floor of the CommerCenter building in Bonifacio Global City aka The Fort. The building is located by 31st Ave and 4th Street and is quite easy to find. After that, you just have to walk up a flight of stairs (or take the elevator if you're lazy :p) and Relik will be right there, waiting for you!

Although a bit out of place in the parking lot, Relik makes up for it inside, where they have plush leather sofas and just the right amount of warm light for a friendly catch-up session or a romantic lunch. (Valentine's Day soon! Just saying... ;p)

This quirky sign really caught my eye - mostly coz it's so true. :p

Relik has vintage items on the walls, in general, including wooden tennis rackets, vinyl records and images from the 50s and 60s, giving the whole resto its cozy, modern vintage charm.

While waiting for the program to start, we were served jamons, cured meats, olives and cheeses, and were even introduced to the chef himself: Benjo Tuason.

The jamon platter was delicious. I'm a sucker for olives and cheese!!!

The very talented - and single ;) - chef of Relik, Benjo Tuason.

While waiting for the program to start, Chef Benjo shared his story with us - of how he lived in Australia for 7 years and how his childhood friend asked him to relocate back to Manila to be the chef of Relik.

To describe the signature dishes of Relik, Chef Benjo says he makes them all with that special ingredient called "love" - awww! - and they aren't just tapas; but "modern tapas". Tapas with an Australian twist, perhaps?

We were then able to enjoy some of his highly recommended appetizers:

Baked Australian Brie

I fell absolutely in love with this dish! Like I said, I'm a sucker for cheese, so that really isn't surprising. :p


Generally speaking, you haven't really lived til you've tried guacamole. So, if you haven't, this is your chance to do so. It's almost as good as cheese. Seriously.

After the appetizers, we were introduced to the managing partners of Relik:

Timo Roxas-Chua, Patricia Cortez and Ryan Ordonez

And after that, they raffled off 5000-peso GCs to a ton of lucky foodies at the event (I wasn't one of them - *sniffles*). And then it was on to the main course!

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Creme Fraiche

This soup was an absolute delight! I almost licked the bowl!

Relik's Mixed Paella

The paella in Relik is indeed special. It actually needs to be ordered a day in advance if you want to eat it! But, hey, it is definitely worth it - trust me!

Lengua Bourguignon

The lengua bourguignon was... interesting, for lack of a better term. :p I had never tried lengua before and I must say it's more of an acquired taste. So, if you're a lengua fan, go for it. If not, I'd pass.

Mother Ann's Braised Ox-Tail

I had never tried ox-tail before, either, but I surprisingly enjoyed it. Haha. Lots of firsts in the food world for me at this event, eh? I think that's what I loved most about the food choices that day. :)

Gambas with a Kick

Now, dessert aside, the gambas were prolly my favorite dish. Why? I love spicy food. Although this dish isn't as spicy to what I'd like or what I'm used to, it still did the trick. A definite must-try.

And now, the best for last: dessert - the vanilla and amaretto panacotta.

If you know me quite well, then you should know panacotta is the only dessert in the world that I actually hate. The strawberry kind, anyway. But this mixed berry one? OH MY GOD. Orgasm in my mouth. I was "warned" beforehand that this is one of Chef Benjo's specialties, and I really am not surprised. It is so good, I actually dreamt about it that night. And am thinking about it again now. Ahhhh.

And here are the beautiful people from my table, whom you must have seen in some of my older blog posts:

(left) Mommy Corrine of Single Mom, Super Mom whom I went lasertagging at LazerXtreme with last November
(right) Mommy Millette of Lucky Finds whom I was with at the Bioessence event last October

And Mommy Corrine's adorable lil munchkin!!!

Relik is open on weekdays for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm and everyday for dinner and cocktails from 5:30pm onwards. Hearty set lunches are served during noontime and includes soup, salad and a main course. These set lunches tend to change on a regular basis, too, so there will always be something exciting and new to try during the week. How great is that? :)

Did I mention that everything is super affordable, too? Some dishes stand at only 300-400 pesos, so you won't burn a huge hole in your wallet by dining here - provided you can actually stop yourself from eating more after you've tasted the food, that is. :p

Thank you so much for having us!

For more information on Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge, you can add them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. You can also add Chef Benjo on Twitter here. ;) If you decide to go, make sure to invite me! :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meeting Samantha Sotto

The first time I ever got a book signed by an author was when I interviewed the Lonely Planet founders for a Bangkok-based magazine. And ever since then, I've been hooked to book signings. Since then, I have had books signed by Meg Cabot, Nigel Barker and Jay Alexander, to name a few of my favorites.

When Nicholas Sparks came to Manila a few months ago, I was ecstatic and went out to buy his latest book to get it signed. That's when I realized I didn't really like Nicholas Sparks. I liked the movies based on his books the movie "The Notebook", but that's about it. So I ditched his book signing. I didn't even make it past page 48 of his latest novel... I tried, though. I tried.

When the hype started on "Before Ever After" by Samantha Sotto, a Filipina author I wasn't even familiar with back then, I got intrigued and looked for her book everywhere. Read my book review here.

I loved it. So, when I found out she was having a meet and greet organized by Writer's Block Philippines about a week or two after I finished reading the book, I almost fainted. I actually cleared my schedule, left my date early and got to the venue before anyone else just to make sure I was seated at the very front with my ears perked up and my eyes wide.

The pretty ladies behind Writer's Block Philippines: Nina Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou and Ana Santos

When Samantha Sotto walked into the room, I must have had the biggest smile on my face. There she was: one of my writing idols - with her ever supportive husband. :)

It is very rare for me to really fall in love with a book - let alone a semi-romantic one - but the history in it and the twists and her style of writing were just amaaaaaazing. My God. I could go on and on with how in love I am with Max and his chickens, but I won't. I just want the world to know that I met one of my top five favorite writers to date (the others are Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis and James Franco - hahaha) and I was ecstatic!!!

Not only did I get the inside scoop on how to get a book published in the US, but I also learned a lot of other things. Did you know, for example, that she was actually inspired by Dr. Who and The Time Traveler's Wife? (I personally think Samantha Sotto is waaaaay more captivating on paper than Audrey Niffenegger, though.) Or that there is actually a real recipe for those eggs that Max cooks? And that that wasn't the original ending?

If I had my way, I totally would have stayed over for a gazillion more hours just talking to Samantha Sotto about her book and just picking at her brain bit by bit, but I had arrangements to meet the babydaddy and some high school friends at Resorts World, so away I went. But thank you so much to Writer's Block Philippines for making this meet and greet happen. :) More power!

Here are some pictures of our short drinking sesh at Resorts World - my once-second home:

We moved to Cisco's house after that for pizza and drinks coz he was sick, which was super emo coz of crap that went down with M (surprise, surprise!), but hey... water under the bridge. :) Moving on!

Who are your favorite authors? Any book recommendations pour moi? :) Hope you can send some awesome books my way! x