Monday, December 31, 2007

Last post of the year! Lists part 4 --

Movies I'm looking forward to in 2008 --
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
2. The Dark Knight
3. Wanted <-- James Mcavoy is the actor du jour for the year. He's everywhere -- Atonement, Wanted, Becoming Jane ... I loved him when he played Leto in Children of Dune. =^_^=
4. Iron Man
5. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

Here's the Top 10 for Yahoo.

Things I am looking forward to in 2008 --
1. Trip to Manila (dunno when though)
2. Trip to Cebu (dunno when as well)
3. Books arriving from Betterworld (Hello, Christopher Buckley! ^_^)
4. Maybe Singapore with Seth
5. My birthday
... also Seth's 2nd birthday and Boracay (dunno when...again)

Happy 2008 everyone! ^_^

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lists part 3 --

Best Gifts received in 2007 --
1. Seth ^_^
2. A copy of Freakonomics given to me by Johann and my sister
3. A piece of paper that contains my name and Johann's ^_^
4. (post-Christmas) Lunch at Days Hotel with Johann and my sister
5. A Bailey's gift set with a shaker!

... also, the gift of really good friends who, despite the distance, lends a hand in a pinch. (And come up with such wonderful surprises ^_^)

... the most unique gift I got was from my youngest brother -- he gave me a kimono! I don't know how to wear it but it hangs rather nicely beside Johann's shirts. ^_^

Things I miss in Manila --
1. Starbucks a block away from my place
2. Tropicana orange juice (Lots of Pulp)
3. Bookstores T_T
4. Massages at Natural Spa
5. My friends T_T

... also riding the jeepney to UP, riding the LRT2 to Gateway, walking around Ateneo ...

Promises for 2008 --
1. Lose weight
2. Read more books
3. Travel more
4. Save more
5. Say "yes" as often as possible

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lists part 2 --

Happy Thoughts for 2007 --
1. Seth and Johann, My sibs and my parents
2. The trip to Cebu last February
3. and a Credit Card
4. Singapore, August 2007 ^_^
5. Days Hotel Saturday Buffet

... also Bourbon Street Baby Back Ribs and a good cup of coffee

Discoveries for 2007 --

1. Chicken Steam Rice!!! <-- ohmigod! So amazing! We had it for Christmas lunch and I am seriously thinking about ordering it again for New Year
2. Dental Health is important
3. GCash is very convenient.
4. Coons cheese is delicious and makes very good grilled cheese sandwiches.

Life-changing experiences --
1. Seth's First Birthday
2. Buying books on
3. Getting a post-paid plan from Globe
4. Getting elected (ICCHSAA)
5. A piece of paper that contains my name and Johann's ^_^

Places in Iloilo --
1. Bourbon Street
2. Booksale-SM and Booksale-Robinson's
3. R & F's room -- with Seth and Pia there ^_^
4. National Bookstore
5. Anywhere Seth is ^_^

Places Elsewhere --
1. Trinoma
2. Rustan's Fresh in Katipunan
3. Sebastian's Ice Cream Station in Podium
4. Fully Booked at The Fort <-- I've never been there but I know it is a happy place...
5. Anywhere Seth is ^_^

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lists part 1--

I normally do this earlier but I haven't been feeling well --

5 Favorite Books for 2007 --
1. I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
2. Pay the Piper: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
3. No Way to Treat A First Lady by Christopher Buckley
4. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
5. A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal by Anthony Bourdain

5 TV Series for 2007 --
1. Heroes!!!
2. Las Vegas
3. Gilmore Girls <-- haven't blogged about Season 7
4. Entourage
5. Grey's Anatomy
... also House, Boston Legal and The Starter Wife

5 Songs for 2007 --

1. Mr Brightside by The Killers
2. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
3. 9 Crimes by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan
4. Beautiful Day by U2
5. These Days by Nico

5 Movies for 2007 --
1. 300
2. Thank You For Smoking
3. Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix
4. Ratatouille
5. Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End
... also Hot Fuzz

5 Movies I want to watch --

1. Once
2. Lust, Caution
3. Juno
4. Children of Men
5. Letters from Iwo Jima <-- have a copy but haven't gotten around to watching it yet
... also Waitress, Sicko and Wordplay

5 Comic Book Series for 2007 --
1. Daredevil
2. Batman and Son story arc by Grant Morrison
3. Mouse Guard
4. The Umbrella Academy
5. Fables

... to be continued ^_^

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Merry! --

Lookie what we got in the mail! --

The latest copy of Read! It really made our day!

* * *

More on books --

My youngest bro pointed me to this online bookstore -- Better World Books. They have a great mission statement -- they want to promote literacy and are a green company.

They sell used and new books and their prices are very good.

The absolute best part? $2.97 shipping WORLDWIDE.

I already have all of Christopher Buckley's books in my shopping cart. Will be placing my order after the 25th. Whee~

Konting kwento part 1--

Kwento #1: A tale of two offices --

Johann and I are trying to fix our finances. We've done the adult thing and invested some in mutual funds, some in stocks and the rest in a nice decent-interest-earning bank account.

It's the end of the year so we are reviewing our meager savings (it is small, but we are proud of it ^_^) -- and making decisions about what to do next year.

Our mutual funds have earned a pretty good interest so we decided to redeem the interest so we could invest it in other things.

We have two mutual fund accounts -- one is with Philam and one is with Sunlife. I dealt with Philam first -- I called their local office here and they gave me instructions on how I could make the redemption. I went to their office one afternoon -- it was around 3 pm. I asked the guard in the building which one is the PAMI office and he pointed me to the second floor. When I entered the office, I told the first person I saw what I wanted to do. She gave me a form, asked to see my mutual fund certificate and two IDs (my SSS and my old Ateneo ID). After she had reviewed everything, she told me to come back in a week because they needed to process the paperwork. (It would have been faster had I opted to have the funds transferred directly to a bank account but I opted to get a check instead.) While I was there, I asked the girl about Philam's new products and she explained some to me and made recommendations. When I left the building, I checked my watch -- it was 3:30 pm.

In about 5 days, I get a call informing me that my check was ready to be picked up. I went there, showed them my ID and my stock certificate and I got my check.

Last Friday, Johann and I skipped work in the morning so we could go to the Sun Life office. When I entered their office, I asked the guard where I should go. He kept asking me who my agent was and that I should deal with him/her directly. I explained my situation and he gave me a blank stare. Eventually, they sent me to their second floor office. When I got to the second floor, I approached the teller and told her what I wanted to do. She also asked me who my agent was so I had to explain my situation a second time. She finally understood what I wanted to do and sent me back downstairs again. Before I left the second floor, I asked her to inform their guard and whoever else needed to be informed that my business was with the ground floor. (I didn't want to be pingpong-ed back and forth.)

Back downstairs we went -- a nice lady attended to me. She told me I needed to fill out a form but I had to wait a bit because the forms were upstairs and they were sending someone down to hand it over. After a few minutes, I filled out the form. She asked me for two IDs so I gave her my SSS and my old Ateneo ID. She told me that my Ateneo ID was not a valid form of identification because it expired in 2006. She asked me if I had any other ID that had my name, my picture and my signature on it. I told her that I only had my passport but it was at home. So I asked for their fax number and told them I would fax it as soon as I got home. (I had to submit everything before 12 otherwise it would be processed the next business day, which would be on the 26th.)

We arrived at their office at 10, we left at 11 and we still hadn't concluded our transaction.

So I went home, made a photocopy of my passport and tried to fax it. The number they gave me was busy. I tried several times after and it was still busy. So I waited about 10 minutes (it was already 11:30) and was finally able to connect and fax it over. I called to confirm that they had received it. They asked me to re-fax it because the words "Republika ng Pilipinas/The Republic of the Philippines" weren't clear --

I was already annoyed at this point -- their office system was inefficient and not customer-friendly. It annoyed me even more that they asked me to re-fax it for such a small niggle. But I re-faxed it anyway. I got another call, asking me to make a clearer copy. So I asked them what it was that they wanted -- if they had wanted proof that I was who I said I was and that the name, face and signature matched then they should have accepted my Ateneo ID. If what they wanted was a name, face, signature and indication that that form of identification wasn't expired then the copy of my passport should be sufficient because all of those were clear.

I had to fax the copy yet again. I guess the third copy was acceptable already because they didn't call back.

I'm glad they are being thorough and I appreciate it because I know they won't just give out anyone's payments without checking first -- but I honestly felt that what they were asking was beyond reasonable. I'm lucky that I live very near their office and that I have a car (and a fax machine) at my disposal. Imagine some poor Joe/Jane riding how many jeepneys only to be told that she brought the "wrong" requirements and having to come back.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yes, I read ads --

And I'm glad I do --

I stumbled upon this really nice one by Shell while reading Wired --

Say No to No --

Isn't it high time someone got negative about negativity?
Yes it is.
Look around. The world is full of things that, according to nay-sayers, should never have happened.
And yet "yes."
Yes, continents have been found.
Yes, men have played golf on the moon.
Yes, straw is being turned into biofuel to power cars.
Yes, yes, yes.
What does it take to turn no into yes?
Curiosity. An open mind. A willingness to take risks.
And, when the problem seems most insoluble, when the challenge is hardest, when everyone else is shaking their heads, to say: let's go.

Ganda no? I think this will be my mantra for next year. ^_^ (Except with Seth -- who will hear the word "no" a million and a half times more in the next few years. ^_^)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Turning 30 --

In twenty days, Johann and I are turning 30. It's a strange number and I can't quite wrap my head around it --

I am not afraid of getting older. It's the number that boggles my mind because it starts with "thir-" --

I'm babbling.

I feel an incredible need to mark the occasion with something big --

Sunday, December 09, 2007

An unexpected Christmas gift --

I got this in the mail last Friday --

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It's from one of my Bookmooch friends (I only have 3 friends -- hahaha!).

She included a bookplate for me -- I've never received bookplates, ever -- so now I am trying to decide which on my books deserves this very rare gift. I might stick it on my copy of Possession. ^_^

* * *

Did you know? --

Hayao Miyazaki's son created an animated movie based on Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea stories. The Japanese title is Ged's War Chronicles and the Japanese version has English subtitles!

There's a special edition of the movie available on Amazon Japan. I think I want...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Currently craving --

Ever since my dad brought some home (leftovers from their meetings), I've been craving these --

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We call it "tiren-tiren" -- I was going to add that it translates to "train" (which is what it looks like) but Ilonggos don't actually call a train "tiren" --

"Tiren-tiren" actually translates to "follow follow" --

This particularl tiren-tiren is from Tibiao Bakery. I love the crusty exterior and the sweet (not caramel but caramel-esque) filling.

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The filling reminds me of pastel but not as sweet and not as custard-y.

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One time, the driver and I actually had a conversation regarding bread. These days, the quality of bread (in general) has improved a lot. Bread is no longer just a pang-sawsaw sa kape or Milo but has taken on a leading role in an Ilonggo's daily food repertoire.

What I like best about bread here in Iloilo is that it is still very affordable. One tiren-tiren costs PhP10.00

On the other hand, I'm also happy that old favorites are still being preserved. The Pandesal ni Paa, which is over 100 years old has managed to keep its original recipe.

* * *

Rub-a-dub-dub. Thanks for the grub. --

Raf and Florie recently treated us to Bourbon Street in Smallville. We had been hearing a lot of good things about that restaurant and were very excited to try it. Their bestseller is their ribs, which is very good.

A few days ago, we decided to order some ribs for take-out so my sister could try some. (She wasn't able to go with us because she had a cough and we were afraid of infecting the children.)

The ribs come in two sizes -- half (which they say is good for 2 people) for PhP265 and the full (which we ordered with Raf and Florie and we still had extras) for PhP400++

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We also ordered their sliders -- 3 mini burgers, which were so yummy!

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Total cost for 3 people = PhP390. ^_^

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update --

So, I got my old phone fixed and I was able to transfer all of my important stuff to my new phone. (My contact numbers, my photos, etc.) The only thing I couldn't transfer was my calendar of appointments --

Here's my new phone -- I got the Sony Ericsson W710i in purple. When the guy at the store showed me their stock -- the little purple thing, I fell hard and got it immediately. ^_^

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* * *

Internet problems --

We had some internet problems last weekend and couldn't access some websites, including my blog.

The problem has been solved (thanks to my sister) and I can merrily blog again. ^_^

* * *

Weekend books-shopping --

Aside from Booksale, there is another bargain book place in Robinson's Place and we went there last Sunday with Seth.

It's more difficult to browse through their books because it is just stacked on several tables and shelves and are several books deep.

Johann was really determined to go through their inventory because their book are really cheap. (Plus, they seem to have a pretty good stash of Fantasy/Sci-fi stuff.) He found a really quirky book --

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I managed to find a copy of Irving Stone's Immortal Wife for my sister. My sister and I are big fans of Irving Stone and it is a lifelong dream to collect all of his published works --

So far, we have:
The Agony and The Ecstasy <-- story of Michelangelo
Lust for Life <-- story of Vincent Van Gogh
The Origin <-- story of Charles Darwin (found in Booksale)
Men to Match My Mountains <-- story of the American West (found in Booksale)
Sailor on Horseback <-- story of Jack London (found in Booksale)
Immortal Wife <-- story of Jessie Hart Fremont (found in bargain book place)

We would really like to find a copy of Depths of Glory (Camille Pissarro) and Passions of the Mind (Sigmund Freud).

I remember being introduced to Irving Stone -- our first book was The Agony and The Ecstasy -- I couldn't finish reading it but sister kept encouraging me to finish it. She even printed a chart (listing the Medici), a timeline and some random notes on how to tackle the book.

For weeks, that sheet of bond paper was folded and unfolded several times as I tracked my progress.

My sister and I share an interest in reading fictional accounts on the lives of famous painters/artists. One of our favorites is Naked Came I, a novel of Auguste Rodin by David Weiss which we read in a Reader's Digest Condensed book.

* * *

Christmas Wish List Update --

The trouble with thinking about it too early is being able to cross out most of the things before Christmas even comes. ^_^;;;

1. LeSportSac deluxe everyday bag or classic hobo
2. New cellphone <-- this shows up on my list every year and I never get one

3. New pair of glasses <-- I might get one earlier than December
4. Giordano Skinny Polo <-- in as many colors as possible. This is part of my "mom uniform" ^_^
5. A pair of nice fitting jeans <-- my hubby bought me a pair when we were in Manila! ^_^
6. Mike Gayle's latest book <-- I don't regret not getting the copy in Singapore. It's the large paperback version and was too expensive

A new addition:
7. A new wallet <-- mine is so ratty na! I've been converted to those big checkbook wallets and I'm looking for a nice one

Friday, November 23, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to SM --

I've been busy the past few weeks and I haven't been able to adjust my schedule to handle all the extra stuff that I've been doing.

Today, I finally had the afternoon off so I decided to bring Seth with me to SM to buy some supplies -- paper, etc.

As I was closing the door to the car, I heard a thump -- my bag got caught in the door. I didn't think much of it so we proceeded to SM. On the way, I pulled out my phone to check for messages and got a blank screen --

The "small" accident with the door broke the screen of my phone!

I have been planning to buy a new phone for myself but I didn't expect something like this to be the impetus. (Again, waffling.)

Here's the sad part of this whole thing -- apparently, a lot of my numbers hadn't been saved to my SIM. I discovered this when I transferred my SIM to Johann's phone --


I've lost everyone's contact information!


I have a lunch appointment tomorrow and I don't know how to contact my friend to confirm! Bleh.

If anyone plans to text me anytime soon, please identify yourself first.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My hubby is a --

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We finally found Johann's one-true magazine (the magazine that fits his personality) --

We stumbled upon it in Booksale and he bought it because it had an article about World of Warcraft.

We loved the magazine so much, we went back to Booksale the next day and were able to find another issue.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Random --

Today was a good day --

I was able to visit the Booksale branch in Robinson's Place and found some cheap magazines. On my way out, I bought some donuts (Bavarian!) and ate it in the car while reading one of my new magazines.

Seth was so active this afternoon so I decided to bring him along when we fetched Johann from work. Then we went to SM City to get dinner from David's Tea House (asado congee for me and my sister, plain congee for Seth and beef brisket rice for Johann). While waiting, we decided to go down to Booksale. My hubby was nice enough to let me browse while he played with Seth in the nearby coin-operated rides.

At Booksale, the shop attendant was talking to me about some magazines and pointing out titles that I might be interested in. I mentioned that Seth was in this month's issue of Yummy so she took one out, opened it and looked for the page. You could see that she was excited about it. (That made me smile.)

We put up the Christmas tree today and Seth was thoroughly fascinated by it. He didn't eat much of his congee and opted to mill around the tree, touching every ornament in sight. I was planning to "talk" to him about looking but not touching because I was worried that he might ruin some of the decorations -- I was relieved that I didn't have to. He seemed to know that the tree was something to be careful about.

I've been indulging myself by reading "mom" books -- the first one was The Nanny Diaries and the second one was I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother. It amazes me how much of parenthood is universal and there were times when I felt I was reading pages from my own life. The second book made me cranky with indignation (my sister says she gets a similar feeling when she reads Dilbert) the whole of last week which made me a pain to be around. (We now have 3 pints and a half-gallon tub of ice cream in the fridge. <-- Ice cream is happy food.)

Johann and I are currently addicted to Pokemon: Ruby (GBA) --

Give One, Get One --

One Laptop Per Child

Yes, they accept international donations (but you will need to provide a US/Canada address).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Waste of Time --

My hair is a mess -- I decided to change the part of my hair and it's all tikwas plus I haven't had a haircut in over 3 months. I should've gotten a haircut while I was in Manila but I wanted to get my hair cut together with my sister.

We've had very little success finding someone who can cut our hair properly here in Iloilo and we thought we had finally found one --

The salon is called Stretch and the guy with the magic hands is called Pepoy (he owns the place) -- he came highly recommended by my OB who regularly has her hair cut by him and I've always liked the result.

I tried him out -- made the appointment and showed up on time. I noticed he was very chatty with his other customers but, when it was my turn, he switched on his bluetooth and started talking to some other person while he was cutting my hair. I didn't really mind -- I'm not good with small talk and my hair was cut very nicely.

When it was my sister's turn to get a haircut, I convinced her to try him out. We made the appointment and went there during our scheduled time -- we had to wait 30 minutes before he cut our hair. I wasn't very happy with the way he cut my hair that second time but my sister's hair turned out beautifully. During my second visit, the bluetooth was switched on again.

Flash forward to yesterday -- I called last Saturday to ask about his schedule for the week. I was informed by the receptionist that his only appointment in the afternoon was for a trial make-up at 1:30 so I asked to make an appointment at 3. On the day of the appointment, I called at 2 to confirm the appointment and to ask if we can come in earlier (in case the trial make-up finished early) and the receptionist told me that 3 would be the perfect time.

We arrived there at 10 minutes to 3 and I saw Pepoy cutting someone's hair -- I thought that he had finished his trial make-up and we were next so we decided to wait. I was surprised to see that, after he finished with the one haircut, he proceeded to do 2 more. I approached the receptionist and asked about my schedule. The receptionist told me that the trial make-up started late and these were clients who had earlier schedules.

So we waited until he finished the 2 other customers. (By then it was already 3:45.) I asked the receptionist again when our turn would come and she assured us we were next.

At 4:15, my sister told me to cancel our appointment -- she said it wasn't fair to still give him business after the shabby treatment we got.

I had anticipated some delay, which is why I informed Seth's yaya that we would be back at 5 but I never expected to be kept waiting for an hour and fifteen minutes for nothing.

Leaving the place, my sister and I reflected on the entire experience -- going to a a beauty salon is supposed to be a feel-good moment -- you come out of it feeling like a shiny new penny. Yesterday, we felt even more tarnished than when we came in.

When we arrived home, my dad noticed our lack of haircuts and we told him what happened. He asked us if we had rescheduled and we told him, no -- never.

My sister and I may be just two people and he would probably never feel the loss of our business but we would rather take that business where it is appreciated.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Back! --

We arrived from Manila yesterday.

There are so many stories to share (mostly Seth-related) but this is my favorite --

Johann indulged me one evening and cancelled our scheduled our movie date so I could go to National Bookstore-Cubao to have another go at finding the bargain books. When we entered National Bookstore, Johann told me he had a good feeling about this visit and he said that we were bound to find something good.

True enough, after about an hour of browsing, he came up to me and showed me a copy of Anthony Bourdain's Gone Bamboo. It is the find of the month for us. ^_^

This trip was mostly about books (in contrast to our Singapore trip) -- I bought a total of 3 blouses (one for me and two for my sister) and a pair of jeans. We were able to find really cheap books -- mostly in the bargain bins of the various bookstores.

I am still obsessing over Christopher Buckley and wasn't able to find any of his books (either on sale or full price).

I did help Johann find a really good (new) comic book series titled The Umbrella Academy written by Gerard Way (who is, apparently, a member of My Chemical Romance O_0). It was the cover art that made me pick up the title and, it was only after that we realized that James Jean did the covers! ^_^

I wasn't really able to meet up with anyone because our schedules revolved around Seth (sorry everyone! maybe next year? ^_^) but I was really, really glad we brought him (and the yaya) along. Without him, I would never have been able to experience this --

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bookmooch: An Interesting Concept --

Char pointed out Bookmooch to me quite a while back. I checked it out but didn't sign up for it.

We're currently taking stock of all of our things and we are hopelessly overrun by Johann's books (also my books -- but my books are stored neatly while his books are EVERYWHERE O_O). I don't mind having a lot of books but many of his books are the type he reads once/twice and then sets aside forever.

So I finally signed up for Bookmooch in the hopes of getting rid of some of his books and getting some harder-to-find ones from other people.

Here is our (mostly Johann's) inventory.

The system is interesting -- every time you give a book away, you get points which you can use to ask for books from people. The catch is, you have to pay to ship your books. Sending a paperback to the US runs to about PhP288++ so that's basically the "cost" of whichever book you are mooching from others. (You can, of course, choose to restrict yourself to sending only within the Philippines. ^_^)

The best thing about Bookmooch is the selection of books you find from all over the world -- it really is an excellent opportunity to get those out-of-print/hard-to-find/uber-expensive-to-buy-in-the-Philippines books.

(Wow, I sound like a testimony from a Bookmooch ad. O_O)

* * *

Movie Date --

Last night, Johann and I watched No Reservations at SM City-Iloilo. I really enjoyed the movie. I loved the food aspect as well as the "human drama" involved in a kitchen.

Plus, Aaron Eckhart is such a cutie! I love him! >_<

I discovered that ice cream is very good movie theater food. We had dinner before the movie so we got ice cream sundaes from Jollibee to cleanse our palates.

Monday, October 22, 2007

For some strange reason --

I've been wanting to eat ensaymada -- it started when my mom brought back some mongo ensaymada a few days ago. That's the first time I've eaten ensaymada in a long while --

And then the next day, I dragged Seth and my sister to Tinapayan (very good bakery) in Atrium and bought ube ensaymada and cheese ensaymada.

We were at Atrium and I was resisting the urge to buy more ensaymada. We bought pandesal instead.

Now I wish I had ensaymada!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Girl in Hyacinth Blue --

I now understand why Susan Vreeland is a medyo big deal. While I wasn't so impressed with her Artemisia, I was blown away by Girl in Hyacinth Blue -- her "first" novel.

When I first heard about Girl in Hyacinth Blue, I thought it was just riding on the success of Girl with a Pearl Earring (the whole Vermeer connection) but Vreeland's novel is very, very different.

It was very bold of Vreeland to create a painting and to attribute it to Vermeer. It is a simple painting, described as that of a girl looking out of a window but the painting has a very complicated history which is explored in Vreeland's novel.

The novel begins in the "now" where the owner of the painting shows it to his friend and the question of its authenticity and author are asked. Is it really a Vermeer? How/Where did you get it?

And so it began -- with each succeeding chapter, we are taken further and further into the painting's history and we get a glimpse of how each of the painting's owners viewed her -- the Nazi who "saved" it from Hitler's Department for the Appropriation of Household Effects; the Nazi's son trying to reconcile the two halves of the painting's story: his father's part in the atrocities and the beauty of the painting; the man who bought it to remember his first and only love (and his wife who thought it was his anniversary present to her); the daughter who posed for the painting, etc.

It brings about another question -- what is the purpose of Art? Vreeland provides different answers to this question -- ranging from purely commercial to deeply personal but the common theme in all the chapters is that Art is valuable.

One of the central questions of the story is whether the painting is an authentic Vermeer because it was never signed. I think it makes a wonderful point about Art -- does the artist really matter or is the work itself enough? Will the work be valued less if it weren't a Vermeer? Vreeland explores this question in the chapter "Hyacinth Blues" --

"There is no signature. If there was any chance those papers said a van Mieris, I'd give you two hundred guilders, but for only a Vermeer, phugh."

I wrapped the painting again and left without a word more, took it to a second dealer and said it was a van Mieris.

"Are you sure it's not a Vermeer?"

"I'm certain."

Near the end of the novel, Vreeland reveals that it is a Vermeer but, by then, it doesn't matter anymore. For me, the painting has come alive and has become very real before this revelation. What this does is add yet another dimension to the painting -- why did Vermeer "paint" it? What were his circumstances when he "painted" it? In the chapter, "Still Life" we see Vermeer the painter but also Vermeer the man. While his works are beautiful, his life was a constant struggle with poverty, society and his family.

Vreeland's novel is a thought-provoking exploration of Art. She invites her readers to engage in a moment of quite contemplation, as though one was viewing a painting and not a novel -- and to ask the questions the novel presents.

"Why does the world need another painting of a woman alone in a room? Or a hundred more paintings?"

"The world doesn't know all that it needs yet..."

My copy of the book has a reader's guide at the back and one of the points for discussion is how we imagine the Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I searched the Internet for the covers of the book and here they are:

The cover that I have

Another cover

A guy actually painted his version of it ^_^

Interesting --

October 20 (today) is National Thank You Day in the Philippines.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Found at Robinson's Supermarket --

Dream Cacao Plus Lotte Choco Pie =

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I tried one today and it was yummy but, then, Lotte Choco Pie is yummy as it is.

* * *

This is how small Iloilo is --

and why I am one of the few people who actually buy books from National Bookstore here:

Yesterday, Johann and I watched Shoot Em Up. After the movie, we decided to walk around SM. While walking around, we bumped into one of the managers of National Bookstore and she recognized me and said hello.

Now, this isn't the first time that has happened. When Gabby was in Iloilo, I was telling her that I'm a bit chummy na with a manager of Natio. While going up the elevator, said manager was on her way down. She saw me and said hello -- Gabby was so surprised. ^_^

* * *

More on books --

I think I visit the Booksale branches too often. Yesterday, we decided to swing by the SM branch for a quick look at their stock and the cashier approached me and told me that they have a new stock of paperbacks in their Robinson's branch.

I like this development -- maybe I can work my way into having them weed out the authors I like and setting them aside for me. (Crossing my fingers. ^_^)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

For sale or for trade --

We have a "used" copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World for DS which we aren't playing so we've decided to put it up for sale.

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We bought it because it got very good reviews and is a very playable game but neither Johann or I have that kind of time or dedication to play it (with WOW and Seth and books, etc).

We're selling our copy for PhP1200.

OR if you have DS games which you aren't playing with anymore, we also welcome trades. ^_^

For reviews and more information about Animal Crossing, clickety click!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More pics from Wicked Japan ^_^ --

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Loot! --

Johann and I were able to sell his old DS (handed down from my brothers) so we asked my youngest brother to get a used DS Lite for us in Japan. We were able to get this one. ^_^

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It's second hand but the Japanese are very careful with their things and this one still looks new. ^_^

I also asked my brother to get me this 2008 pocket planner for 2008 in red.

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When my youngest brother finally sent the package, I was a little surprised that he was secretive about the contents of the package. He just told me it contained the DS and some "stuff" --

Imagine my delight when I saw what he sent to us --

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Two shirts from Wicked (the musical), some file folders and the programme. He watched it a few weeks ago. (He almost didn't because it was very expensive -- but we encouraged him to watch it because it was a chance of a lifetime.) The show was in Japanese and he said it was really nice.

We browsed through the pictures and the actors are sooo cute! >_< It's like live-action chibi. =^_^=

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(We will scan more pictures of this and will post them later. ^_^)

He also sent me some copies of Metropolis -- an English-language magazine published weekly and distributed for free in Tokyo.

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Yesterday was a happy day. ^_^

* * *

Curious --

I never imagined a candy to have such a name.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

They must think I'm crazy --

Last Sunday, I woke up with a monstrous migraine -- I really didn't think much of it because I slept late the night before.

But as the day progressed and after a tablet of Biogesic didn't do anything, I started to see it as a more serious problem.

The next day, I went to an optical shop to have my glasses fixed because they were tilting one way (Seth grabbed them) and to have my eyes checked.

After the check-up, the doctor told me that my grade had gone up by 25, which is very low. He suggested that I wait a week to see if the migraine would go away.

When I told the shop assistant that I would not be buying glasses that day, she had this look on her face -- surprise, disappointment, and maybe even irritation that I had wasted her time.

Tuesday, I still had a migraine so I decided to go back to the optical shop to get a new pair made. When I arrived and asked for my record, a different shop assistant looked for it and couldn't find it so she asked me to take the eye test again. It was a different doctor and was more thorough --

The result was different. Only the grade of my right eye went up (by 25) and I also had astigmatism in that eye.

Now, here's something you should know about me: I'm very good at spending for little things but, when it comes to the big things, I waffle and waffle until Johann or my sister decide for me.

I saw this as an opportunity to waffle so I told the doctor I would be back on Saturday during his shift to take the eye test again -- just to confirm the latest result.

I walked out of the store, leaving another shop assistant with the glasses that I picked out but hadn't bought.

On my way out, I realized that the people at that optical shop must think I'm some crazy woman/compulsive eye test taker --

* * *

Booksale Iloilo --

Last weekend, SM City-Iloilo had its 3-day sale. We didn't have work last Friday so we decided to go early in the morning. We paid our bills and stopped by Booksale, which is (seriously) the only place in Iloilo to get decent books (our National Bookstore branches sell mostly school and office supplies).

When I went in, there were three sisters there and between them was a stack of books -- the mother lode. They were all the romance titles that I've been looking for --

And they had gotten to it first.

I was quietly and discreetly moving about them, hoping they would leave one or two books but they didn't.

They took the stack and went straight to the counter.

I was able to buy some books -- and, in hindsight, I realized I didn't have enough money to buy the stack of books those sisters bought.

The next day, we decided to go to Booksale in Robinson's --

They didn't get a restock because that week's shipment was all diverted to SM City (where there was a sale) --

I found a really good copy of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl and Johann was able to find a hardcover version of Jonathan Carroll's White Apples.

When I went to SM on Tuesday (*points to entry above*), I stopped by Booksale again. They were putting new books on their shelves -- mostly hardcovers and coffee table books. I was told by the shop assistant that they didn't get a lot of new paperbacks.

I was able to find a copy of Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue, which I bought. ^_^

* * *

I meant to blog about this earlier but I kept forgetting --

What happened to National Bookstore-Cubao?

It was one of our stops when we were in Manila last month. It went through a massive renovation (which I knew about) but I was surprised to see that the layout had changed drastically.

We went directly to the 4th floor, which used to hold the "bargain" books but were surprised to see that they weren't there anymore.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I got a phone call yesterday from the owner of Sebastian's Ice Cream --

I won the GRAND PRIZE for their Podium branch raffle!!!

It means I get a year's supply of ice cream from Sebastian's!!!


(I had to restrain myself -- I wanted to type in all caps and pepper this entry with exclamation points galore!!!)

I've only won twice in my entire life and both of them good ones --

The first time was for the Fully Booked promo and I got a copy of Jamie Oliver's cookbook.

This is the second time. I couldn't believe it at first so I asked the owner to email me the details --

You have won a year's supply of free ice cream from Sebastian's, consisting of one pint of the flavor of your choice (from the current display) every week for one year.

After I found out yesterday, I was jumping up and down. I wanted to call everyone I knew and text everyone of my amazing windfall.

... when I told my dad, he said that I should move back to Manila for a year just to enjoy the ice cream. I am seriously tempted. ^_^

I am a happy Tin. ^_^

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An update --

I have a cold. Bleh. I couldn't be absent for work because my bosses are very nice and allowed us a week off last month. (We don't have work tomorrow so I get to rest. Yay!)

I've run out of books to read -- I guess that is the peril of spending all your money on clothes instead of books. Last Sunday, Johann and I did our weekly book browsing expedition to SM. He was able to find a hardbound edition of Christopher Buckley's No Way to Treat a First Lady for PhP99 at National Bookstore. I read last Tuesday and LOVED it. I hugged the book after I finished reading it.

Christopher Buckley is my new love. I want to read ALL of his books, especially Thank You For Smoking. I've seen the movie adaptation of Thank You For Smoking and enjoyed it immensely.

I tried to read Susanna Clarke's The Ladies of Grace Adieu but got bored out of my skull so I read Robin McKinley's Beauty instead. Robin McKinley really likes the Beauty and the Beast story. This is actually one of two retellings she wrote of that story. McKinley is a "hit-or-miss" author for me. I really didn't enjoy Spindle's End (based on the Sleeping Beauty story) but I am curious about her The Outlaws of Sherwood --

Today, I had no choice but to pick up Soon I Will be Invincible -- one of Johann's books. Johann and I are very different when it comes to books. We have a very small area of interest that intersects (Nick Hornby, Mike Gayle, some comics, etc) but, for the most part, I really don't like the stuff he reads. It makes him very happy when I ask to borrow one of his books.

I need more books -- I am actually playing with the idea of going to Bacolod for a day trip just to visit their National Bookstore and Booksale branch. >_<

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's that time of the year again! --

I've noticed that I post my Christmas wish list earlier and earlier every year -- which is not necessarily a bad thing IMHO. ^_^

But, first, a review of last year's wish list:

2006 --
1. Crocs Prima (size 8) in Black
2. A nice lightweight stroller for Seth - A Maclaren or a Zooper or something
3. An Ellaroo hip carrier for Seth or a Hip Panda
4. A new cellphone -- am looking at the Sony Ericsson Z520i
5. A panini press
6. A waffle maker
7. Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
8. A new digital camera to replace my dinky 1st-gen Cybershot.
9. A subscription to Smart Parenting
10. A Sizzix Set
11. Nick Hornby's non-fiction works -- The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs Dirt
12. Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities DVD

*There are some things on my 2006 list that I want and some that I don't anymore --

The list this year is short --
1. LeSportSac deluxe everyday bag or classic hobo
2. New cellphone <-- this shows up on my list every year and I never get one
3. New pair of glasses <-- I might get one earlier than December
4. Giordano Skinny Polo <-- in as many colors as possible. This is part of my "mom uniform" ^_^
5. A pair of nice fitting jeans
6. Mike Gayle's latest book <-- I don't regret not getting the copy in Singapore. It's the large paperback version and was too expensive.

And my wishlist for Seth --
1. portable CD player <-- so Seth can have music wherever he goes
2. an Avent 11oz bottle <-- for night time
3. some shorts (soft and light ones)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A lot of things --

I've been busy -- and stressed.

I've been given the responsibility of milling out our alumni association's newsletter and it hasn't been an easy job.

It was very difficult getting all the materials together and this has caused us to push back our release date from August to September to -- (I'm tempted to say never, but) it is coming out before the year ends).

Initially, I was happy with just slapping photos and text together. I saved everything into the official thumbdrive and was all set to leave it with my "boss" -- but I realized that I couldn't allow something so bleh to have my name on it. So now I'm fixing it and will be meeting with my "boss" tomorrow instead.

Believe it or not, I've lost weight because of this. I'm happy about the weight loss but not about the reason why it is happening.

* * *

Break! --

My friend Florie gets an afternoon to herself once a week. (She takes care of her daughter full time.) I was surprised when I got a text from her last Saturday inviting me to join her on her afternoon off. Now, I know I don't deserve one but I couldn't resist tagging along.

So, our adventure started at 2-ish and she wanted to check out a dance studio and asked me if I was interested in learning to dance. We found one that teaches belly dancing but their only class is in the evening. (I can't -- Johann and I are the once who put Seth to sleep at night and it would be terrible if we break the routine.)

Then we went to SM. We wanted to watch a movie but none of the movies showing had a screening during the time we were there. So we ended up buying books for our kids.

We had merienda at David's Tea House -- her first time there so I ordered things that I thought she would enjoy.

We talked about our kids and about her upcoming trip to Manila. We also shared budgeting tips and ideas for Christmas gifts for our husbands. (She doesn't know what to get him. My hubby already told me what he wanted and I already ordered it.)

Before we knew it, it was 5:30 and we were both expected home at 5.

* * *

Bitten! --

It isn't really uso but one of the things on my Buy list in Singapore was a LeSportSac bag. I remember seeing it in Rustan's and I've always liked the funky prints.

When Johann and I were looking around for it, I was a bit intimidated by the price and I didn't really like the patterns.

I thought I was going to leave Singapore without a LeSportSac. At the airport, they had a small shop so we browsed around. It was cheaper at the Duty Free (because I didn't have to pay for GST) so we bought it with the last of our Singapore dollars.

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It's exactly what I needed -- a "sling" big enough to hold my phone and my wallet. It's makes shopping easier because I don't have to fumble for my things inside Seth's diaper bag.

So now I want more LeSportSac bags. A bigger one that can hold a book or two. (I think I'm getting one from Johann for Christmas. ^_^)

Oh, a bit of a discovery -- LeSportSac is cheaper in Manila than Singapore, Japan or Korea.

* * *

Found at Booksale --

Every Sunday, Johann and I leave Seth with the yaya and go to SM City. We visit two places -- Booksale and SM's Bargain Books section. This is our weekly stress reliever -- and our chance to quietly contemplate books.

I was about to go home empty-handed (which I hate) when I found this on one of the bottom shelves.

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I checked it and it is in pristine condition with all the parts still there.


(I instructed Seth's yaya to launder it twice before giving it to Seth.)

* * *

More on books --

So I finished reading Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars. I liked it but I can't imagine it being a trilogy.

I appreciate Beddor's effort to try to weave in as much of the real story behind Alice in Wonderland into his own thesis but it didn't feel seamless.

Anyhoo our copy of the next installment is coming this October so I should have a better idea of his project by then.

I also finished Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple's Troll Bridge -- part of their Rock n Roll Fairy Tales series. I had high expectations for this book because I really enjoyed Pay the Piper.

It was an enjoyable read and I like their version of the Three Billy Goats Gruff ^_^ but it wasn't as cohesive and as "wow!" as Pay the Piper.

I'm going to start reading Susanna Clarke's The Ladies of Grace Adieu tomorrow.

* * *

Sad --

Found out from Johann last night that Robert Jordan is dead.

I don't read his works and I'm not a fan but my husband is. Johann has been following the Wheel of Time series since he was a freshman in UP.

According to his Wiki entry, the first book in the Wheel of Time series was published in 1990 and was supposed to be a 12-part series.

Book 11 came out in 2005 and everyone was expecting the last book to be released this year or next.

And then he died.

Requiescat in Pace, Mr Jordan.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Brownies! --

We all love to read YUMMY, Summit's food magazine. In a past issue, they featured this really easy recipe for a brownie -- basically, it involved melting the chocolate with butter in a microwave, mixing in egg, flour and vanilla and baking it for 20-25 minutes.

We had some bottles of Dream Cacao which melted so we couldn't enjoy them in their tiny square gloriousness. I used that instead of milk chocolate and this is how it turned out.

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It wasn't ooey-gooey fudgy but it was very delicious.

What I liked about this recipe is that it was so easy and took so little time to prepare. I made this while Seth was having a snack. He was sitting opposite me, watching me mix. My sister was reading the newspaper beside him and would give him his cookie (with her clean hand, of course) whenever he asked for it.

* * *

Reading and Read --

I finished reading The Passion of Artemisia and was pleasantly surprised to find a reader's guide at the end of the book. It made me understand Vreeland's point of view, which does come through quite clearly in her writing. I enjoyed it but it didn't leave me breathless like Chevalier's book.

I would still want to read Vreeland's take on the Vermeer painting, though.

I am currently reading The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, which is really the Math version of Sophie's World.

It's an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about how math really works.

I wonder if I'm just really dense (and airhead-y) but I can identify the parts of the book which are supposed to be lightbulb moments but my lightbulb doesn't light up and so I have to reread it ...

and still not get it.

But it is a wonderful, wonderful read and I really enjoy the illustrations by Rotraut Susanne Berner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ouch (it hurt my brain) --

found on this blog --

Books! --

Even before we left for Singapore, Johann already made it clear that he was going to spend his money on books.

We were there for four days and, each trip out, he bought something to add to his stack of books. When it was time to pack them, I was surprised by how many he actually bought.

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The stack on the left is mine. And the tower on the right is his.

I told him that he should post a list of the titles he got on his blog and rate each one. (* to *****)

For the record, there are some titles in his stack that I actually got -- ^_^

Of the few books I bought, I am happiest about Nick Hornby's The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, which I have been reading for the past week. I've always enjoyed Nick Hornby's writing and I appreciate how honest he is and how unassuming. His book 31 Songs, lists the 31 songs he loves and writes about them. It wasn't a list to impress anyone but a list that showed the very human side of Hornby (one of his choices was Puff the Magic Dragon). The Complete Polysyllabic Spree chronicles his reading habits for an entire year, listing books he bought, books he actually read and books he loved. He is very cheeky about his thoughts on popular fiction and literary fiction (I feel I should capitalize the L and the F) -- and makes you feel good about being a reader.

Last Sunday, I found a copy of The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland. I bought it, thinking it would be the same as Girl with a Pearl Earring. It's an interesting fictional (?) account of Artemisia, one of the few women Renaissance painters.

Curiously, Vreeland's first novel was also about a Vermeer painting. I wonder how that compares to Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

* * *

Wedding --

Part of the reason why we went to Manila was to attend the wedding of Johann's fellow Quill people and kabarkada. Johann was actually part of the entourage.

I've gone to Manila to attend my friends' weddings and I never liked how I looked in my other clothes. The first time was in October 2006, 5 months after I gave birth to Seth. I was so... flabby then.

I still am. But I've also learned how to accept myself as I am. (Don't worry, world -- I do exercises and am maintaining my current weight. I will try to lose some of it by next year.)

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I did my own makeup and had my haircut that morning at Bench Fix-Katipunan. ^_^

Johann took this picture of me while we were waiting for the rest of the people to arrive.

This is Johann with the groom.

It was a wonderful and very heartfelt wedding. The best part was the Coffee Bar. (I didn't get to try it because we had an early flight back to Iloilo the next day and the caffeine would have kept me awake.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Day 4: Singapore --

Day 4: August 30

Our flight was at 5 in the afternoon so that still gave us plenty of time for last-minute errands.

After packing and having breakfast, we decided to walk around our block and found ourselves walking even farther --

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The Esplanade is a really cool place -- the center of Art in Singapore. The shops were all closed but the exhibits were all available for viewing.

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The Esplanade is connected to Citylink through an underground pass and even that area is used to exhibit art.

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On our way back to our hotel, we got a pint of Ben and Jerry's at the nearby 7-11.

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* * *

The airport and the best part about the trip --

This trip was about missing events and saying "sayang" a lot -- WOMAD had ended the Saturday before we arrived; COMEX started on the day we left and some of the cast from Heroes was going to be at Vivo City the day after we left.

At the airport, while checking in, I noticed a sign welcoming the cast of Heroes to Singapore. They were arriving that day and they were going to have a small reception at the departure hall.

We quickly got through customs and located the area and took our place.

The hosts were trying to get the crowd excited by talking about the show and by holding mini-games where participants could win goody bags, courtesy of Star.

Guess who raised a hand to join --


If you guessed me, you guessed wrong.

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The hosts were asking what Hiro Nakamura's famous one-line was and my dear hubby raised his hand.

He and two other participants were then asked to do their best Yatta! impression --

The girl at the far left won (clapping/cheering contest) but they all got a bag.

The bag contained a t-shirt with the Heroes logo, a notebook and several other things.

Finally, after a long wait, the cast finally arrived. (They came in from Hong Kong.)

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I couldn't get a good shot of Masi Oka (because he's short) and Ali Larter is soooo beautiful!

Greg Grunberg made a funny:
Host: So guys, is this your first time here in Singapore?
GG: Yes. And I knew you were going to ask me that.
Host: Really? How?
GG: Because I can read your mind.

Hehehe. ^_^

When the interview ended, I tried to get autographs but I couldn't because there were uniformed men blocking me.

Again, my hubby sneaked his way in and got the autograph of Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy (guy who plays Suresh) who, incidentally, is American (the British accent is actually fake).

So my (geeky) hubby is pleased with his new t-shirt and carries the notebook (with the 2 autographs) with him.

* * *

More ice cream --

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Snickers and Mars ice cream bars. Mmmmm~

and no Tin vacation is ever complete without strawberries (which I bought from Cold Storage)

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I forgot to buy more to bring back to the Philippines. They were huge and sooo delicious! >_<

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More pics from Day 3

Gabby Day!

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<-- taken at Bugis by Johann

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<-- outside the Kinokuniya in Bugis (we forced her to do this tourist-y shot ^_^)

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<-- inside Kinu with all the glorious books. It is a happy place -- even happier when you have money to spend for all the books.

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<-- I know this picture looks silly but the ice cream is worth it. (Chocolate Chip!)

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<-- Plain Chocolate (how boring is my husband? O_o)

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<-- at Vivo City