Friday, August 29, 2008

From wet decks to wet streets

I think I just found the perfect shoe for the Philippines' rainy season: Sebago's Performance Marine series.

This is the Wave Ariel, and it is probably the most comfortable shoe I have ever put my feet in. There is not a single stiff piece in the uppers—everything is meant to move with your feet. Imagine yourself trying to move around on the deck of a sailboat in rough waters—you'd want your shoes to move with you and that's precisely what Sebago made this shoe to do. The materials are made to get wet and to dry quickly.

But what clinched the sale was this:

I thought it looked like an octopus' suckers, and sure enough, Sebago calls it the OctoPod. The traction is awesome! Unless I step on a slimy leaf or some litterbug's plastic trash, I am never going to slip while walking in the rain ever again.

The Ariel is the only Wave model that didn't look like running shoes and the color I chose was a chocolate brown (but I couldn't find the color in the website so it's probably last season's). I can actually wear them to work and not be accused of not looking 'professional.'

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Bath and Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand SoapBath & Body Works has some of the most fabulously delicious scented products ever. Unfortunately, I find them a little too expensive for everyday use. So you can imagine my delight when a college girlfriend came home for a visit last Christmas and one of the items she gave us was a bottle of its liquid hand soap.

Since I follow the FIFO policy even for household products, I only opened the bottle this past week. Another delight: the soap came out foamy! Silly me didn't read the label. Turns out that it was the Gentle Foaming variant. I love it! I've been like a little kid—I have to stop myself from pumping out more than what I need. And I was wondering why the pump was so thick.

I'm fascinated by that pump—it's obviously why the soap is coming out foamy. Much as I love the soap (and the scent—it's Exotic Coconut), I can't wait until the bottle's empty. I want to take it apart to find out how it works. Hey! That's what I did to find out how those child-proof caps work!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Magical blooms

The best thing about the rainy season here in the Philippines is how everything turns lush and green seemingly all of a sudden after a dry, brown summer. Our garden at home is now full of flowers and to me, it's all magical because I have no idea where most of them came from or what they're called.

Some of you may already know that I'm an absolute doofus when it comes to plants and flowers. I like them, but I usually don't bother learning their names or how to care for them. I'll buy flower seeds, stick them in the ground, and by the time they've grown and bloomed—after a few weeks, months, or even years—I've forgotten the name written on the packet. One of our friends works at a property development company and would sometimes give us plants left over after the landscaping is done. Our maid likes puttering around in the garden and our neighbor's maid is her sister—I think they share plants because I see some of ours suddenly growing in their garden and I see plants in our garden that I've never seen before.

Anyway, here are a dozen flowers that I saw in our garden over the weekend. I know we have several more, but they're not in bloom right now. I'm afraid I only know the names of two of them (pathetic!) so feel free to educate me if you know what they are.

Winged. The plant is a woody shrub and these yellow flowers only grow at the tips of the branches. I love those long white petals—they look like wings.

Sampaguita-like. Except for the fuchsia centers, these little flowers remind me of Sampaguita (Jasmine), the Philippines' national flower. These grow in clusters on the tips of the branches of a shrub.

Feathers. Whatever this is, I love it's delicate wave and the wispy petals.

Tiny. Perfect as ground cover, this plant's flowers are less than half a centimeter in diameter.

Help. This poor thing's leaves don't look healthy and the flowers lack their usual vibrant color. I have no idea what's wrong or what to do to help it. I see some at my neighbor's front yard and they're beautiful and healthy. It can't be too much rain, because hers are fully exposed too. Maybe they need richer soil than what we have?

Santan. This is one plant I actually have a name for. Santan is what we call it in Tagalog and it's a shrub that is commonly used to line paths, walls and fences. They come in different colors and the flowers grow in clusters. They like being in full sunlight so now that it's the rainy season, they don't have as many blooms. When we were kids, we'd pull out the pistils to suck on them—sweet!

Red fir. Somehow, that's what this flower reminds me of. And even without the flowers, its leaves are so extravagantly round and lush, they always look great.

Everyday. Thanks to a blogger friend from India, I now know that this small, simple flower is a Madagascar Periwinkle. Here in the Philippines, it's called Chichirica or Araw-araw (everyday). It grows everywhere and anywhere, even between the cracks of the pavement. Its roots are very shallow and can be pulled out with a gentle tug, but the strongest of storms won't uproot it because it will just bend down with the wind.

Sleepyhead. This sweet flower attracts all the bees in the neighborhood during the daytime. Then it shrivels up into almost nothing when the sun goes down.

Fuzzy. Like an orange umbrella on fuzzy grains of wheat.

Yellow tongue. This grew from a packet of seeds and the blooms remind me of Orchids, but they're only one centimeter wide.

Open wide. I keep thinking that this flower looks like it has a mouth. Is it just me? The plant's leaves look like a Lily's and the stamen reminds me of a Lily's too—probably a relative.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Charming charms

I have a disease called cute-itis. It makes you use cute things even if you're just a little too old for them already. Take bag and gadgets charms for example. My friends' charms have colored stones and beads and look elegant. Mine? Uh, cartoon animals?

My cellphone charm is half a heart and Minnie Mouse, and is one part of a pair. Guess who has the other half.

My alma mater's mascot is a blue eagle and I couldn't resist this charm when I saw it in the university bookstore. It's an eaglet on what's supposed to be a bracelet, but I hang him on my (current) everyday bag. Not very professional looking, I admit, but I think he's adorable! And he's only a centimeter high. Just between you and me though, I think he looks more like a blue penguin than a blue eagle.

This little mint green teddy bear is actually pretty big for a bag charm. But he's my birthday bear. The sole of one foot is stitched with the date of my birthday (sorry—I forgot to position the foot properly). My sister and three nieces each have one too. How can I not use it? I removed the key holder and attached him to the zipper of my work bag, along with mini train cards from Tokyo—mementos of a visit to my sister and her family when they were living there. One of them supposedly has the name of the station nearest my sister's home, but since I can't read Japanese characters, I just have to trust her on it.

Now, I have two questions for you:
  1. Do you have cute-itis?
  2. Do you use bag and gadget charms?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

July 2008: Happy elsewhere

Rainy season blockbusters! LOL! It may be summer in Hollywood, but it's been raining here almost everyday. Just three movies and nothing else, but I thoroughly enjoyed all three. But if you have to choose only one, then watch The Dark Knight. You cannot miss this one on the big screen!

More blockbusters in the queue, and theater season has started—I hope I'll be able to watch some this month.

Wanted movieWanted
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Mamma Mia! The MovieMamma Mia! The Movie
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

The Dark Knight movieThe Dark Knight
Directed by Christopher Nolan