Archive for December 2009
Many times, many ways…MERRY CHRISTMAS, Lala! Christmas is never really complete without you, the family ,the kiddos and our timeless Christmas Carols! Love ya lots!
This is as close as I’m going to get to a White Christmas. It’s beautiful to look at but frustrating to trudge through. Here are some pics taken from the recent snow storm. This is the 4th Street park a few blocks from my house. Pretty, no?
This is such a novelty for us tropical brown-skinned brothers and sistahs but I would choose lying on the sand (under a tree) and listening to the lulling sound of waves crashing over this seemingly pristine sight. And since it looks like I will be here all through winter, I say, let it snow!
A few weeks ago I made a trip back to my school to meet an old professor/adviser. I decided to document my “sort of homecoming” with the intention of showing you the place I called home for 2 years.
The Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service is located in this historic building, The Puck Building. If you used to watch Will & Grace, then this building will look very familiar to you.
NYU Wagner was named after Mayor Robert Wagner, a three term mayor (like Mayor Mike Bloomberg) who focused his resources in building public housing and schools. He created the City University of New York system and established the very popular Shakespeare in Central Park among others. Below is a portrait of the mayor that hangs in the lobby of NYU Wagner. Sorry for this pathetic excuse of a shot…
I used to come here to meet with classmates and professors. Its a great open space which was very conducive to interactions – intellectual and otherwise. Here are some other shots I took while waiting for my meeting to start.
On my way out of Puck, I saw this guy on a track bike (bisikleta na naman!). I was amazed by how graceful he maneuvered through the traffic. I just had to take his picture.
I then headed to midtown for our office holiday party. It was held in the penthouse of one of those high-rises along Lexington Avenue. Check out the breath-taking view.
Note to self:
Do not leave bra lying around as 19 month old monster might just decide to pour a whole bottle of Yakult into one of the cups…
Should’ve taken a picture.
As promised, here is a little glimpse of the things in the Japanese capital that I thought were interesting/funny/amusing/plain weird.
As we know, the Japanese are a very organized bunch and this is none more true than when it comes to their fast food. While there is not much of a personal touch when it comes to ordering your food over the counter, the process is smooth and the food handlers never have to touch dirty bills and coins because you place and pay for your order through a vending machine…
So you pick a picture of what you want to eat, punch it in the vendo and get your…
which appears on the blue side of this monitor…
Not bad considering this was just at a truck stop between Narita and Tokyo.
On our last day, we had lunch at a food court in Aeon Mall. They had a similar food ordering set up with the vendo machines…
Very cool, I thought. No shouting out orders, no standing and waiting. You can find your table and just go to the counter when the thing sounds off.
In Ginza, the glitzy (read: not suited to our budget) commercial area, we entered
to use the toilet.
And on the way out, I spotted…
Laduree!!! Right after I took this, some guy told me I couldn’t take pictures.
But the true heartbreak was that I decided to try just ONE macaroon. I wanted to buy a whole Y8,000 box to bring home but figured that if I bought it then, the pastries wouldn’t be so appetizing 4 days later in Manila. I was hoping we would be able to go back there but we didn’t!!! I will never forget my first encounter with a Laduree macaroon. It was caramel. Crunchy, flaky outside but moist and cake-y as your bite closes.. and the the sweet just gooey enough caramel in the middle… worth every damn cent, I swear. I was so entranced by this single pastry that cost about P250 that I forgot to photograph it. Annoying.
I know you’re dying to know about the sushi…
Does this look like it could disappoint?
Well, it didn’t.
The tuna was soft without a trace of that fishy smell. The toro was delightful and buttery but I ate it sans the raw quail egg yolk. The most surprising for me was the unagi. Just looking at it, you know it’s different from what’s served here. We’ve come to clasify unagi here as slightly chewy and rubbery and sweet. But in its land of origin it’s very fine and somewhere between soft and flaky and it is not loaded with sweetness.
I also had the kani sashimi. As you can see there’s a freaky dab of grey mush on it. But being a fairly adventurous eater, I went for it and to my absolute satisfaction, I found that the grey stuff tasted somewhat like anchovies or think maybe of a stink-less, “clean” japanese bagoong. Awesome combination.
And last but not least… park food!
It deserves special mention because you know how I detest park food but at Tokyo Disneyland I was happy. They had interesting things like “butter and soy sauce” popcorn which I didn’t get to try but here’s what I did get:
The sandwich was smoked salmon and shrimp with a drizzle of wasabi sauce. It was yummy even when cold (because they wouldn’t heat it for me and it was like 6C out!) Still, it was so much better than the crap in the States which was all fried tastelessness. Then I ended it with a melt-in-your mouth and not-too-creamy strawberry angel food cake trifle/parfait dessert.
I recently visited the One of a Kind New York Show and Sale at Pier 94. Its an annual show of hand made products from producers all over the US and Canada. After many many years, the show is finally held here in New York.
So in I marched with my camera in hand only to find out that I couldn’t take pictures. Boo! Not to worry, I managed to steal a few shots here and there for you to see. Here then are some of the interesting finds in the show.
Neva Paintings is made by an artist who does custom mixed media portraits. She had a few in her booth which I liked.
Using personal photos, she applies hand painting techniques to create custom art works that highlight the unique personalities of her subjects.
Smiten Kitten is based in Toronto, ON and makes a variety of fun and functional items from vintage material. All her items in the show were made out of vintage silk scarves. Check it out.
Monkey Chow sells quirky illustrations which I found very cute.
Here’s another illustrator that is far out humorous. Greg Stones illustrations are bordering loopy but I really liked them. I was particularly interested in his penguin series.
Soto and Torres makes bags from vintage dresses.
Rogue Confections make belgian-like chocolates with vintage inspired patterns on them. The chocolates were nothing exceptional, neither were the “vintage inspired” prints. It’s just a good idea for giveaways in a corporate event or wedding.
I also visited Rebel Designs. They make bags and jewelry with cutting edge designs. I liked them a lot. Unfortunately I couldn’t snap any photos. So I just linked their website for you to see.
These are just some of the products showcased in the event. While I was amused by the creative ideas born from very simple and every day things, I wasn’t exactly blown away. Honestly, I am more impressed by the quality of work and designs of our home grown pinoy talent. We should have an etsy.com-like community that promotes this treasure to the world.
What’s a girl who has nothing on her Black Friday wish list to do on the day after Thanksgiving? Since I had no interest in buying electronics or shopping in the mall, I headed over to the Garment District with two girlfriends (Yes Kiki has girlfriends!) and went shopping for tela. We went to Mood Fabrics. If you watch Project Runway then you would be very familiar with this store.
As you very well know, I am no shopper much more a fashionista but I had a blast getting lost in this labyrinth of fabric and channeling the non-existent designer in me. It was overwhelming to be amidst all these fabric options and a challenge trying to visualize them as finished products. What a fun mental exercise! For some bizarre reason I felt like I was doing a puzzle. Haha! So check out some of the shots I took.
Mood fabrics is conveniently located very close to my office so I will definitely be dropping by more often. I’d be happy to take you here WHEN you visit.
Since I moved to this quaint little town, I’ve relied on this equally quaint little bakery for all my cake and dessert needs.
Carlo’s Bakery has been around since 1910. They’re known for their wedding cakes but I think they have pretty amazing dessert cakes and pastries. Here is my sorry attempt to show you their yummy products.
I liked the fact that this was a local destination which remained a loosely kept secret among residents. So imagine my unpleasant surprise when I walked to the bakery and found this.
I discovered that Carlo’s Bakery no longer belongs to the loyal residents of Hoboken. It’s now public property (no) thanks to this.
Buddy Valastro, the owner of Carlo’s Bakery and a fourth generation baker is now a reality TV star. He stars in TLC’s hit reality show Cake Boss. The cameras follow Valastro and his family as they run their Hoboken based bakery. His big Italian personality, his famiglia ties and his successful bakery business are the perfect ingredients for a hit reality tv drama. Think The Real Housewives with an obscene amount of flour. Since the show, Carlo’s bakery has been swamped by camera-armed tourists waiting for a photo op with Hoboken’s favorite baker.
I think it’s a thrilling sight to see when you don’t have to line up to buy your cake. Otherwise, we’re just going to have to suck it up, fall in line and accept that you can’t anymore have your cake and eat it too…corny!
For most of this year I’ve been feeling like I…we (you and me) are right on the cusp of something, like at the tipping point of change – good change, I hope. And if you look around you change seems to be the recurring theme nowadays. You and I know that social change and any kind of change in the macro level is only possible through personal change. As we’ve learned, everything we do creates a halo of effects and we never really know the extent of its impact.
He talked about the basic message of the book by explaining how we are all connected and that our actions affect each other. He used the example of the business of child slavery, which apparently is a billion dollar industry – think $12 billion! While most of us are very far removed from such a tragedy, our daily actions may be promoting this industry. How? By patronizing and purchasing products manufactured in sweat shops or factories that employ children. This fact is not new to us and yet sadly, this fact still remains a fact, a reality. Hopefully, this book will inspire people to be aware of our connectedness (in so many levels) and work on a personal change. Here are some photos I took of the event.
So as we end this insane year that was 2009, let’s remember that famous Sam Cooke song (Sam who??).
Oh there been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long,
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.
It’s almost time for Pinugay Elementary School’s annual Christmas Party! It will be held the morning of December 17th 2009 to be precise.
The school is situated in the mountains of Pinugay in Tanay, Rizal – a rural area about 3 hours from Metro Manila where people rarely have enough to get by. It’s become a tradition for the LittleTwinClan to throw the kids a party at Christmas and there’s no doubt it’s something the students look forward to.
The party is usually a simple affair. Last year, the teachers facilitated the games and the kids had a marvelous time. (It really doesn’t take much!) Aside from the fun, each student takes come a goody bag and in the past, thanks to donations from generous friends, we were able to stuff the bags with loot like:
- coffee (for the parents!)
- canned goods
- evaporated milk
For the game prizes, we usually have the following ready to hand out as soon as a game ends:
- toys (new or old but working)
- pencils / crayons
- coloring books
- reading books
Here’s hoping that we don’t just replicate what we did last year but outdo it
Donations in cash and kind are welcome. The items listed above are what we suggest but donors may have better ideas and can give what they like. Cash donations will likely be used to buy rice.
So to all our dear friends and readers from near and far, please spread some of that Christmas cheer to the little corner of the world known as the Pinugay Elementary School. There are at least 120 kids we need to treat – not to mention their younger siblings who aren’t in school yet but come to join the fun.
Do please click away on the “donate” button on the right. The Kiki & Lala Blog will post an accounting of how your precious donations were spent just as we did for the typhoon victims. Thank you in advance for opening your hearts and pockets!!
MALIGAYANG PASKO SA INYONG LAHAT!!!
(that means MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!!)