Street but Sweet


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kobe vs...Dwight? As Yogi would say, "Whaaaat?" Woohoo!!!


Friday, May 29, 2009

End this already!

Damn, they couldn't close it out.

I'm happy enough that San Antonio and Boston are out of the running this year, so I'm OK with whoever wins it all. But I find myself rooting for Orlando now, in large part because of Dwight. I've had a soft spot for the gentle giant ever since his Slam Dunk antics last year. And this year, I'm just seeing a whole different side of him--a guy who likes the pressure. A guy whom people listen to. A guy who delivers. And it's cool that he's not the only role player here.

It's funny how they're up 3-2 and are still considered the underdogs. While Cleveland cruised through the first two rounds, today LeBron was actually on LeBrink, as Yahoo Sports so humorously put it. Turns out, Superman is ironically King James's kryptonite. But, sigh, not today.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


I’m utterly baffled now that I’m here, preparing for The Big Day.

I think I’m missing something. I’ve seen brides before me, and they all seemed so frazzled and incredibly busy. I’m wondering if I’m doing anything wrong, because I can’t for the life of me figure out what I’m supposed to be busy with. “You’re the most relaxed bride I’ve ever seen,” commented one girl. It was somewhat flattering, but it also made me a little nervous—am I supposed to be doing something?

But every time I go through my list of to-dos, there really isn’t much to be done—at least nothing that requires me to put my life aside. This is due in large part to the friends who have made wedding preps so much easier. Thanks to my dear friends, I don’t really have to worry about:

Photography. Ocs and At are gifting me with their services. That alone is enough to make me feel incredibly lucky! And since Pat’s going to be my back-up photog, I told At that he could play around. I think he might even do lomo! How cool is that?

Invitations. Bless Carl for agreeing to take on my invitation design despite the mountain of work and rackets that he has! I am all for having a very simple invitation, and have asked him not to put too much effort into it (as Carl is wont to do, perfectionist that he is!). His reply: “But it’s your wedding invitation!”

Flowers. As G’s gift to me, he’s doing my entourage’s flowers! He says all I’ll have to pay for are my ninangs’ and the mommies’ corsages. So sweet! And since I am not particular when it comes to flowers, and am so open to doing things differently, he and the boss have hatched a plan to make me the Gayest Bouquet Ever, complete with a peacock feather or two! I trust G’s taste completely so I know I’m not going to get anything garish. And I am surely going to get something one-of-a-kind!

Gown. Let’s just say I got a really good price courtesy of my Wedding Committee member, Tatamaps (who also happens to be the Martha Stewart Weddings editor). I think I didn’t agonize over the dress because once I found a design that I really loved, I stopped looking. There are always, always going to be other options—it’s all about making a choice and sticking to it. I guess it’s a lot like getting married. Haha.

Makeup. Former Marie Claire beauty editor (and the other member of my two-person Wedding Committee) Marie is doing my makeup. She’s done it a number of times before for events, and each time, I felt gorgeous!

Coordination. My caterer’s advice: Get a coordinator, even if it’s just on the day. I talked to Addie a couple of months ago and she is game to do it, so that is one less thing to think about. I think I might have to remind her about it though!

Everything else is just kind of falling into place. We’ve got our entourage and our priest, and a potential quartet. The church is beautiful (despite its slightly humorous name), and the venue is something we instantly liked. The caterer gave us a good price, and because I’ve seen her stylish setups, I know I don’t have to worry about ending up with a gaudy centerpiece. No need to get a separate florist! I have a videographer in mind, but we also have a couple of other options—I’ve spoken with a couple of film grads, and am so intrigued by what they’ve proposed so far. Pretty different from other packages I’ve seen, and for a really, really good price. Like I told one of them, “I’d rather give this gig to an up-and-comer with a different perspective, than to a run-of-the-mill videographer!” I also know what kind of giveaways I want—and, well, I think that’s a big key to getting things done: knowing what you want.

I’ll admit that I do think about the wedding every single day. Kind of hard not to when people are constantly asking me how the preps are going. But even without the questions, I do daydream about The Big Day—mostly about walking down that aisle, and seeing my husband-to-be smiling at me. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it, so I’ve really got to talk to Marie about waterproof makeup!


Monday, May 25, 2009


No more taxes on imported books! Read about it here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bravery is...

...having my photo taken for a magazine, without any makeup on!

Yesterday, I was just so tired from pulling out and setting up, and I simply didn't have time to dab on some concealer, powder my nose, or slather on some lip gloss. Or I just didn't want to bother with it. Plus the others were ready for the shot, and I didn't want to keep people waiting. But seeing the photos of a bare-faced me now...ack. What was I thinking?

Monica Bellucci, I am not.

Hell, a makeup- and Photoshop-free Signorina Bellucci looks way better than I ever would with all the makeup and airbrushing in the world! She. Is. Gorgeous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Bridezilla Diaries: The hardest thing

Over lunch, a couple of friends were asking me what the hardest part about preparing a wedding is. I hemmed and hawed and was somewhat reluctant to give an answer, mostly because I'm not exactly the typical bride. (Less than four months left and we've barely got anything done. Yeesh.) Plus I've always thought that it's not as hard as people make it seem. But given that I've been stressing over it for the last couple of weeks--more because I am so easily stressed, with matching psychosomatic symptoms to boot--I guess there are some things that could be classified under "the hard parts":

The guest list. This, by far, has caused me the most grief. The venue is supposedly enough for 250 people, but my lovely caterer advised me that 220 was pushing it, especially since I insist on having a dance floor. Two hundred twenty people between me and H--my family alone can fill quite a number of tables! H was nice enough to let me have 120 out of the 220. Now, family + high school friends + bench boys + CADs friends + college friends + my Indian family + former co-workers + current co-workers + teammates + the seats I promised mumsy = still way too many people. I was teary-eyed as I crossed some people off my working list, or relegated them to List B.

The dilemmas: How does one invite one person without having to invite other people connected to him/her? (You know how some people are package deals...) Is it OK to invite a friend, but not his/her spouse (whom you're not even friends with), after they invited you to their wedding? (My answer here is a resounding no. I'm very Emily Post that way.) Do I have to invite people I see regularly, but whom I'm not particularly close to? (I am leaning towards yes. You try not inviting someone you see every week and tell me that it isn't awkward.)

One BFF offered this advice: Be ruthless. Let me tell ya, that is a hell of a lot easier said than done. And I've got 170 names on my edited list to prove it.

The invitation. While I've asked Zsazsa Zaturnnah creator Carlo Vergara to work on the design, working on the content isn't quite as fun. When we started planning this wedding, I figured I had to put in a few "political ninongs" in there--not "political" in the sense that they were senators or whatever, but "political" in the diplomatic sense. Let's just say that there issues that we're trying to put to rest, feuds that we're somehow trying to resolve through this wedding. Sigh.

Letting go of my inner control freak. Seriously, this is not an easy thing to do. Poor H, who once had a very sane girlfriend, now has to contend with an incessant nagger. Let me clarify that I hate hate hate nagging, but I've been hearing myself do it more often because I feel like things aren't getting done. And when things don't get done, I feel actual physical pain. I am not kidding. I actually end up doing Sudoku puzzles just to stop myself from dwelling on things that I've ceded control over to someone else.

And then I realized last night, after throwing another bitch fit, that just because things aren't getting done my way, it doesn't mean they aren't getting done. I just really have to learn to let. Things. Go. And breathe in the process.

So, those are the top three hardest things about preparing a wedding--at least from my POV. All things considered, I suppose I still have it easy. And even if things go terribly wrong (knock on wood!), I'm still lucky enough to be marrying the man of my dreams.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Scenes from a shoot

"We want to show off your legs," said my favorite fashion stylist, Pam Q. And I walked (or rather, limped) into the studio with a busted-up ankle wrapped in a thick layer of bandages!

A few months ago, I twisted my ankle so badly that H declared that it looked like chicken lollipop. After all, I accomplished the impressive feat of landing incorrectly on both sides of one frickin' ankle. The shoot took place a few days later. The stylists were offering other options, but I reassured them that I could stuff my ankle into the fringed boots they prepared for me (the section was about the fringe trend). They cringed as they watched me force my still-swollen ankle into the too-small opening. But force it in, I did!

Pam prepping me for the shoot

I think I have a pic like this--mouth wide open--in every shoot! It's the cheerleader in me. Haha

Final product. They played some music and had me dance around, then also had me walk down a pretend-runway

Makeup by Gela Laurel-Stehmeir. Photos by Dix. I think this appeared in the March 09 issue of Marie Claire.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Bitten, smitten

After my post about the idiotic 5% levy, consider this an ode to books...


I tend to avoid anything that's a little too of-the-moment. Either I get interested in something before the bandwagon starts rolling, or I get into it after all the hoopla has died down.

The latter is true in the case of the Twilight series. Some Potheads (Harry fans), after the release of book seven, no longer had an outlet for their obsession, so many shifted their attention to Stephenie Meyer's books. [SPOILER ALERT. If you haven't read the books and intend to, stop right here.]

As many have said, it's not spectacularly written. Meyer wasn't a writer to begin with, after all. But I've seen my friends—grown women—go starry-eyed at the mere mention of Edward Cullen, so it intrigued me. I also saw the movie with Kuya Vic, and I figured the book must have been way better. Hanging out at my BFF M's house one day after brunch, I spied the first three books on her bookshelf and asked to borrow the first.

I must admit, my brow was furrowed as I read the first few chapters. I was thinking about how the narrative could have been better, but told myself that it was supposed to be written from the POV of a 17-year-old. But when Edward spoke one of his first kilig lines—about maybe not wanting to give Bella back to her friends that time they had lunch—I was smitten.

Two days later, I had sped through around 500 pages—perhaps a record for me, considering I finished it in between training and errands and glorious, glorious sleep and gimmicks and other weekend-fillers. It was incredibly easy to read (even easier than Harry, to which I normally devote the entire day of release and which I grudgingly put down only when absolutely necessary). I borrowed the second, New Moon. Again, two days later, I was texting M if I could borrow the third.

There are some overly cheesy quotes here and there, but the story, the love story is thoroughly engaging. There is nothing quite like the ferocity of teenage love. It's all consuming; absolutely nothing else seems to matter. Thankfully, I knew what to expect so I was kind of able to prepare myself not to totally fall for Edward, unlike some of my more unfortunate friends who were just hopelessly infatuated, hapless victims of this gorgeous, impossibly strong, chivalrous vampire. (Sigh.) And thankfully, too, I have my own personal Edward (sans the bronze hair, cold skin, and blood thirst) so I wasn't left pining for someone so dreamy. But oh, I still felt the giddiness. And in book two, I especially felt the pain.

At four in the morning (reading still!), I was crying after Edward left Bella. I imagined H, the person I love most deeply, most passionately, doing the same thing and it killed me. I could understand the emptiness she felt, the torment over not even knowing if he was OK. I felt, too, her conflicted feelings over her own personal Paris, Jacob. I appreciated the warmth, the sunshine he brought into her darkened world. This man—well, boy, really—loved her (almost) unconditionally, with no expectations. It was impossible for me not to understand Bella's guilt over sort-of being with someone who was head over heels, crazy over her, and not being able to feel something as intense. Could it be so bad? Well, I've been there. It sucked.

I told C—a big Twilight fan—about how I found myself enjoying the books. She wasn't protective of the series, as some rabid fans are wont to be, and was actually quite happy that I finally gave in. (I have no intention of going very deep into the Twilight world. I was, am a big Harry fan, but I never really reached manic levels of fandom. No costumes or forum postings for me. Loving the books was a truly personal experience, and I was content with reading some additional info here and there. Twilight isn't quite on that level, partly because I feel like I can't lay a claim over it. Other people found it first, and I totally respect that.) C gleefully shared bits and pieces, and I enjoyed listening to her. And she clued me in on the extras in Meyer's website—particularly, a part of New Moon written from Edward's POV, and the eagerly anticipated Midnight Sun. I intend to read the online version in its entirety, because I have been curious about what went on in Edward's mind. I guess, like Bella, it was a little hard for me to grasp how it was possible for this near-perfect being (again, blood thirst aside) to fall so madly for the girl next door.

There is a bit of longing in me, whenever I read these books, but not quite as great as my embarrassing yearning to be part of Hogwarts. (Seriously though, wouldn't that be cool?) I guess it mostly stems from a need to escape, for a bit of magic to get me out of the rut of reality. Again, thankfully I have my own leading man, so there is no major pining for anything romance-related. It'd be awesome though if H's skin could sparkle in the sun.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Death and taxes

It's said that there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. In the Philippines, these two go hand in hand.

With the imposition of taxes on imported books, book lovers' hearts are now bleeding--and literature is in danger of suffering a slow, painful death. Taxing my salary is one thing--I cringe whenever I see how much the government gets each payday, hard-earned money that somehow ends up buying a spankin' new SUV for some congressman. But taxing books, the only things I can buy with no guilt, now that is just inexcusable.

For more information, read the article below, which I got through email.

Death and taxes. And corrupt morons who tax imported books. Only in the Philippines.


An excerpt from an article by Robin Hemley, a University of Iowa creative writing professor currently on a fellowship in the Philippines.:

...Over coffee one afternoon, a book-industry professional (whom I can't identify) told me that for the past two months virtually no imported books had entered the country, in part because of the success of one book, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. The book, an international best seller, had apparently attracted the attention of customs officials. When an examiner named Rene Agulan opened a shipment of books, he demanded that duty be paid on it.

The importer of Twilight made a mistake and paid the duty requested. A mistake because such duty flies in the face of the Florence Agreement, a U.N. treaty that was signed by the Philippines in 1952, guaranteeing the free flow of "educational, scientific, and cultural materials" between countries and declaring that imported books should be duty-free. Mr. Agulan told the importer that because the books were not educational (i.e., textbooks) they were subject to duty. Perhaps they aren't educational, I might have argued, but aren't they "cultural"?

No matter. With this one success under their belt, customs curtailed all air shipments of books entering the country. Weeks went by as booksellers tried to get their books out of storage and started intense negotiations with various government officials.

What doubly frustrated booksellers and importers was that the explanations they received from various officials made no sense. It was clear that, for whatever reason—perhaps the 30-billion-peso ($625 million) shortfall in projected customs revenue—customs would go through the motions of having a reasonable argument while in fact having none at all.

Customs Undersecretary Espele Sales explained the government's position to a group of frustrated booksellers and importers in an Orwellian PowerPoint presentation, at which she reinterpreted the Florence Agreement as well as Philippine law RA 8047, providing for "the tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing." For lack of a comma after the word "books," the undersecretary argued that only books "used in book publishing" (her underlining) were tax-exempt.

"What kind of book is that?" one publisher asked me afterward. "A book used in book publishing." And she laughed ruefully.

I thought about it. Maybe I should start writing a few. Harry the Cultural and Educational Potter and His Fondness for Baskerville Type.

Likewise, with the Florence Agreement, she argued that only educational books could be considered protected by the U.N. treaty. Customs would henceforth be the arbiter of what was and wasn't educational.

"For 50 years, everyone has misinterpreted the treaty and now you alone have interpreted it correctly?" she was asked.

"Yes," she told the stunned booksellers.

Throughout February and March, bookstores seemed on the verge of getting their books released—all their documents were in order, but the rules kept changing. Now they were told that all books would be taxed: 1 percent for educational books and 5 percent for noneducational books. A nightmare scenario for the distributors; they imagined each shipment being held for months as an examiner sorted through the books. Obviously, most would simply pay the higher tax to avoid the hassle.

Distributors told me they weren't "capitulating" but merely paying under protest. After all, customs was violating an international treaty that had been abided by for over 50 years. Meanwhile, booksellers had to pay enormous storage fees. Those couldn't be waived, they were told, because the storage facilities were privately owned (by customs officials, a bookstore owner suggested ruefully). One bookstore had to pay $4,000 on a $10,000 shipment.

The day after the first shipment of books was released, an internal memo circulated in customs congratulating themselves for finally levying a duty on books, though no mention was made of their pride in breaking an international treaty...

Please forward this or disseminate this in any way you can. In the name of reading.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Four months to go!:)


Monday, May 04, 2009

And just like that, April is over!

I had to look through my calendar to figure out where the month went--I thought April just flew by, but looking over the little dated boxes, I could see that events that seemed to have taken place ages ago actually occurred fairly recently.

There was...

Lunch with my kumare, Q. Awesome catching up!

The baby shower for Sam. That turon was da bomb!

With my barkada (sans Sam's mommy, Marnie) and Jackie. I had a crapload of strawberry-flavored wafer sticks that day. Photo stolen from Claud.

The start of summer league. Nearing the end of the first round, Warriors are 5-1. Woohoo!

Photo shoot at Pam Q's house. We didn't have a stylist, so Arlene and I were left to fend for ourselves. And I got into a mini-argument with Miguel:

Tish: Did you take a shot of that side?
Miguel: That side? This one na lang, it's more masculine. That side is so...girly.
Tish: Miguel, you're not my market.
(After a minute more of arguing...)
Miguel: If you tell me to take that side, I'll take that side.
Tish: I'm telling you to take that side.
Miguel: OK.

Well guess what Miguel? My side made it onto the cover! Ha! Hehe. Plugging na rin: Do grab a copy of the June issue! Pam's French-inspired home is tres chic! And I was looking over the proofs and it's a particularly fab issue. Sigh. I lurve my mag.

Gian and CJ's wedding. It felt like college all over again--I was the lone girl in our table!

I was the idiot who brought a camera and left the memory card. So I had to make do with my phone.

It was cool hanging with the B Boys again after so long. After the wedding, Rene, GP, and I headed to Rene's house to watch an old Pink Panther movie. Hilarious, babaw stuff!

My game show experience. Not particularly exciting, but definitely out of the ordinary!

IT's Magic! Our batch reunion. It was a frenzied month working on this thing, but I think we pulled off a great event. Got to see people I hadn't seen since high school (including some former teachers), got to witness the Flying Ipis reunion (woohoo!), and once again came face-to-face with just how awesome my fiance is. H, the darling, agreed to man the registration table with not a single complaint.

We also had a fashion show featuring creations by our batchmates Mads (my BFF, whose gorgeous dresses earned rave reviews!) and bag designer Amina. Here I am showing off a lovely bag from the Aranaz RIIR collection:

Tank top from Bench, an event sponsor. Supermodel (and another batchmate) Macky (Isabel) Roces gave us pointers on how to model bags. Was a bit nervous--last time I had to do this, I was in flats and the ground was flat.Tapilok-prone me was a bit anxious about walking on an uneven surface, in high heels to boot!

Plus, we raised a lot of money (and got a lot of donations) for charity!

Being ridiculously in love. Seriously. It's been over eight years, but this month, I discovered even more reasons to love him. I am truly, truly blessed.

So yeah, April was a month of reunions and rediscovery. Despite stressing over guest lists (the worst part of all the wedding preps), worrying over finances, and struggling with some personal issues, I still had a really great month--it's the people that made the difference. Things could go wrong, they don't always go as planned. But with the friends that I've got and the love of my life by my side...well, it's still always a good life!

Labels: ,