Monday, 22 December 2014

Music Monday: Yuletide Mix


I'm the kind of person who occasionally listens to Christmas songs even when it's not Christmas. (It's not that weird, really, cos I know some other people who do that.) But. of course, listening to Christmas tunes on Christmas is still more special. Here are some of my old and new favourite Christmas tunes that are currently in my Yuletide playlist. Most of them are contemporary renditions of Christmas classics that I really like. I hope you like them, too. :)


"Baby It's Cold Outside" - Idina Menzel ft. Michael Bublé



"Mistletoe" - Colbie Caillat



"Sleigh Ride" - Jason Mraz



"Hark the Herald" - Corrinne May



"Christmas Present Future or Past" - Workshy



"Christmas Time Is Here" - A Charlie Brown Christmas



"The Christmas Song" - Kris Allen



"All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey



"Angels We Have Heard On High" - David Archuleta



"Home For The Holidays" - Keke Palmer



"Santa Baby" - Taylor Swift



Andz

Thursday, 18 December 2014

3 Easy Christmas Nail Art Designs

I clipped my nails really short recently, and I easily regretted my decision because there's just a ton of cute Christmas nail art designs that I wouldn't be able to try with my super short nails. But, of course, nothing can stop me from painting my nails with some Christmas-inspired patterns. So, girls with short nails who still want their nails to look Christmas party-ready or just Christmas-ready (I'm not a fan of parties myself), this post is especially for you. :)



"Let It Snow"
Freehand + Applique
Colours used: metallic blue, white, silver

1. Start with a metallic blue base coat.
2. With a fine tip brush, paint tiny asterisk-like patterns with six lines.
3. To make the asterisks look more like snowflakes, draw tiny accents like flicks or dots along the lines. I attached tiny rhinestones at the centre of each snowflake for extra shine. :)
4. With a dotting tool or a toothpick, dot tiny white and silver polish on the blue spaces to create a snowy effect.
5. Brush on a clear top coat.



"Deck the Halls"
 Sponged + Freehand + Applique
Colours used: dark metallic green, glittery yellow-green, white, clear/natural

1. Start with a clear base coat to protect your nails.
2. Dip a tiny piece of sponge in white polish. Dab the excess liquid on paper before pressing the sponge onto your nail. This creates the frosty effect. Repeat for each nail.
3. With a fine tip brush, draw dark green holly leaves. 
4. This step is optional, but if you want to achieve the same look of the leaves as mine, brush on some glittery yellow green polish on the half of every holly leaf.
5. With a dotting tool or a toothpick, make three Hidden Mickey-like dots where the two holly leaves intersect, and attach three tiny red rhinestones.
6. Make your design last longer with a clear topcoat.



"O Christmas Tree"
Taped + Freehand + Applique
Colours used: white, black, yellow, red, green, blue, metallic dark green, glittery yellow green, silver

1. Start with a plain white base coat.
2. With a fine tip brush, draw black lines and loopy curls for the wire of the Christmas lights.
3. Use a dotting tool or toothpick to make the tiny colourful Christmas light bulbs. Just dip whatever tool you have with you in the coloured polish, dot on your nail near the "wire", and drag the lacquer a bit.
4. For the Christmas tree, cut two pieces of tape and form an inverted "V" shape. Gently press the pieces of tape on your completely-dried nail.
5. Brush some metallic dark green polish on the triangular space formed by the pieces of tape. Follow with a glittery yellow green colour.
6. Carefully peel off the tape, and leave the design to dry.
7. Decorate your "tree" by attaching some studs and rhinestones. As you can see, I used two gold star-shaped studs and tiny red rhinestones.
8. With a dotting tool or a toothpick, dot tiny silver bits of "snow" around the tree.
9. Finish with a clear top coat.


Andz

Monday, 15 December 2014

My Christmas 2014 Wishlist

I'm too old to be included in Santa's list (never mind the fact whether I've been good or bad this year!), but, hey, nobody's too old to make wishlists! So, here are a few stuff I'd really appreciate to find under my Christmas tree.


1. Lomo'Instant
I first saw this genius upstart project in Kickstarter a few months ago, and I just fell in love with it. It's a lomo camera and an instant camera rolled into one gadget of pure awesomeness (and hipsterness). 



2. Brevellier's CretaColor Calligraphy Set
I suck at calligraphy, but that doesn't mean I have to suck at it forever, because I really, really want to learn it, and I think these tools will give me the right push I need.



3. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
I've been following HONY for quite some time now, and I truly admire Brandon Stanton's work and how he inspires people through his photographs. Seeing an image of someone who's got the same issues or simple joys as yours from the other side of the globe does make the world seem smaller.



4. A printer, copier, and scanner
About time we replace our busted printer and scanner at home!!!



5. Katie Daisy's Live Simply 2015 planner
OK, I don't really use planners that much, but I'd definitely love to have a planner illustrated by my favourite artist Katie Daisy just so I can flip through it, and remind myself that life - no matter how much it sucks - is just as beautiful as the pages of this planner.


Andz

PS.
I'm also good with cash. Haha! jk!
#PoorGirlProblems

Friday, 28 November 2014

Life Lately: SEM-BREAK NA!!!

Things have been ticking along quite nicely after the first semester ended. I passed in all my subjects, and earned really good marks even in the subjects I thought I was on the verge of failing. I think I truly deserve them after all those sleepless nights and breakouts that school has caused my face over the past four months. 

That said, I've got one semester left in college to endure, and I know it's not going to be easy, because all the subjects I've been dreading since my first year must be taken this coming sem. I dunno how I will do in sports journalism, business journalism, and PR practise, but I guess I'll just have to go with the flow, because I've got one more major thing to worry about, and it's called THESIS DEFENSE.

But I don't want to worry about that just yet. I'm still trying to ease my brain into the sem-break mode, which is actually harder than I thought it would be. My sleeping pattern has been totally messed up, and I sleep at around 2 am or so every mornight. I'm constantly fidgeting, as though I'm expecting an exam or something, my stomach would still flip in the most random of times, and my heart would suddenly race for no reason at all. Everything's just so weird with me these days. It feels as if I don't even want to cut myself loose from all the stress last sem.

I'm trying, though...

Last Tuesday, I picked up a new book - Katie Cotugno's "How To Love". I haven't finished it yet, but I wish the story gets better, because it's kinda boring me. 

Tuesday evening snack and read :)

I've been watching a lot of movies lately, too. In one day, I'd watch about two to three on my computer (I skip scenes most of the time), and some more on TV. Sometimes, it's scaring me, cos it's like I'm torturing my eyes and brain cells. But then, once school starts again, I won't be able to watch movies that much anymore, so I might as well...


My current favourite film is "About Time". I dunno why I didn't see it before! I loved the story (despite the plot holes and all), the bond and relationship of the characters, and I'm crazy about Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdam's charming chemistry! Bill Weasley and Regina George. Great! 

You might also want to check out my recent list of mouth-watering food flicks, in case you want to go on a movie marathon yourself.

When I'm not reading, watching a film, or surfing the net, I draw and paint. Now, I'm not a super talented artist (I can't even draw a decent cartoon of a person to save my life), but I think my illustrations will look great on greeting cards, since most of them are inspired by nature and places. This may sound ambitious, but I've always wanted to be a greeting card artist. 

Here are some of my fave designs :)







* * *

Today, I woke up with a hangover from heaven after Jason Mraz and Raining Jane's concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night. 

I will never get tired of seeing Jason Mraz perform live. That's for sure.

Three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!), I went to see Jason Mraz perform an acoustic show with Toca Rivera and after that amazing night, I swore to myself that I will catch him again when he holds another concert in Manila. And he did. Last year. However, I was still in Holland when he arrived in the Philippines for the concert. I was pretty bummed back then but since he's been saying that he adores the Filipino audience, I knew without a doubt that he'd come back.

So last September, when I found out that he's returning for the Manila leg of his YES! Tour with his beautiful collaborators from Raining Jane, I did not dare miss any chances! I raided my measly concert fund, and spent 90 percent of it on a box ticket for Jason's concert (the other 10 percent went to Ed Sheeran's concert in March next year - I bloody needed a compromise!). I also asked my friend, Felis, if she wanted to come with me (she's a bigger fan of Jason Mraz, I think), and I'm so glad she said yes, because it would be my first time to attend a concert with a friend and it would be her first time to attend a "real" concert - as she put it.

Fast forward to yesterday, Felis and I got to:

-Watch Jason Mraz and Raining Jane rehearse for their evening show. There were only a few people who were granted passes, which made us feel really lucky. Most of the people at the soundcheck were women, so a lot of swooning ensued. 

-Meet Jason Mraz in person and we got to hug him! Oh my God. YES, WE HUGGED JASON MRAZ. I could not stress that enough. Most of the fans were just high-fiving him, but NO. We don't want to just high-five Jason Mraz! We wanted to hug him, so we f*cking did! How I wish we have photos to prove our "claims", though, but damn, photography wasn't allowed during the meet and greet. We have a group photo with Jason and some other fans, though. I guess that's good enough. I just don't know where we will be able to find that picture taken by the official photographer of the event.

-Sing our hearts out during the concert <3

During Jason Mraz and Raining Jane's soundcheck...
(I sneakily snapped this photo, since taking pictures wasn't allowed.)

Felis was literally frozen in this position during the entire time we were at the
soundcheck. Gotta love her expression! Haha! :D

Now, here's a funny story: After finishing one of his songs during the soundcheck,
Jason threw his guitar pick, but I was too overwhelmed to even realise what was
happening. The girls around me just suddenly had their hands on the floor, 
frantically looking for the tiny pick. Then it all happened really fast. I glanced 
down, and it was there. Right next to my right foot was what everyone's been 
looking for. I quickly (and tightly!) placed my hand over the pick, while the 
other girls tried to pry my hand off it. All I could remember was saying 
"It's mine!" again and again until they finally gave up and let go of my hand. 
So, even thoughphotos and autographs were not allowed during the soundcheck, at
least, I've got the pick Jason used (the frayed edges and scratches on the surface
will speak for me) to play some of my favourite songs ever. I felt like a winner.
I battle hard like that.

Just before the show started...

Fangirls :D

Here are clips of "Lucky" (with an arrangement I really, really love) and "Love Someone" I took during the concert:




Jason Mraz and Raining Jane taking a long bow after an amazing show in Manila

It was crazy! Seeing Jason Mraz perform live twice in one night was - and still is - so surreal! Last night is truly unforgettable. 


Andz

Monday, 24 November 2014

7 Food Flicks I Love

I'm such a sucker for films. I guess you know that by now. But one of the dominant themes of the movies I watch is FOOD. And since I haven't posted anything for quite a while (plus it's our kinda-break in school and I've got some time to spare), I've decided to make a list (and write short reviews) of my favourite food flicks, which you might want to check out if you haven't yet!


The Hundred Foot Journey (2014)



I saw this film upon the recommendation of a good friend (who's got a really good taste in pretty much everything, by the way) and guess what? The Hundred Foot Journey did not disappoint! Based on the 2008 Richard Morais novel of the same title, this movie follows the journey of gifted chef Hassan Haji from a kitchen in India to a posh restaurant in Paris. You won't look at the omelette the same way as you did before after seeing this movie.



The Lunchbox (2013)



An unhappy retiring accountant gets a twist in his meal (and his life) when a young and anxious housewife sends him a letter through a lunchbox. A couple of written exchanges more and yummy Indian dishes later, this epistolary film will surely make its way to tug your feels.



Bon Appétit (2010)



Young and ambitious Spanish chef Daniel tries his luck at a famous Zurich restaurant. He sure is ready to take on the culinary challenges that he has to face, but getting his heart broken by Hanna, a pretty sommelier, is another story. Prepare to piece your heart back together after watching this film.



Julie and Julia (2009)



Of course, Julie and Julia has a spot in my list! A blogger vows to prepare all 524 dishes in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by the legendary Julia Child. Seeing this film will make you want to take on the challenge yourself!



Ratatouille (2007)




I was so surprised when I found out that some of my classmates haven't seen this gastronomic genius  of a film by Pixar when a professor mentioned it in class. Like, WTF?! But I saw Mean Girls just a few weeks ago, so who am I to judge? Anyway, in case you don't know yet, Ratatouille is not about a talented human chef but a big-dreaming rat named Remy, who is very much deserving of a Michelin Star.



No Reservations (2007)




A workaholic chef who lives a monotonous life in the kitchen gets a shift in her life and career when she's given the responsibility of caring for her orphaned niece. Film includes pizza dinner served in a fort of blankets, so yeah, this flick's perfect for a cosy movie time!



Tampopo (1985)



If it wasn't for a paper I had to write for my a subject, I wouldn't have seen this weird yet mouth-watering film with a super young Ken Watanabe. This movie gave me a higher appreciation for the making of ramen, which is what it's pretty much about.



Andz

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

3D Interactive 'Insurgent' Posters - RELEASED!


Let me give you fellow Divergent fans something to fangirl (or fanboy) over today: the newly-released interactive 3D posters of "The Divergent Series: Insurgent" from Lionsgate!

You're welcome and see ya on March 20, 2015!

Tris
Don't you think Tris' new 'do added up to the badass-ness factor of our heroine?


Four
OK, girls, I give you all the permission to swoon over Four a.k.a. Tobias <4



Peter
Who can't wait to see Peter's "Be brave, Tris." scene? I know I can't!



Caleb
Lookin' tough and lookin' good, Caleb, but what you did was still pretty unforgivable.


Uriah
Here's your first look at Uriah. Will his charm work on you, too?



Christina
Christina looks ready to kick some ass!






Andz

Sunday, 26 October 2014

DIY: 5 Easy Halloween-Themed Nail Art Designs

If you're not dressing up on Halloween, at least, let your tips celebrate for you! Here are five super easy (and super cute/creepy!) Halloween-themed nail art designs you can do on your own:

For these nail art designs, you will need...
-Various shades of nail polish (I will tell you which to use in the how-to)
-A fine tip brush
-Tape
-Tiny studs

xXx


Nail polish colours you will need: white, orange, yellow

1) Apply a white base coat and let it dry completely.
2) Cover the tip and base of your nail with tape.
3) Brush the orange shade.
4) Carefully peel off the pieces of tape.
5) Carefully brush some yellow lacquer at the tips, avoiding the orange part.
6) Apply a clear top coat to protect your design.

xXx


Nail polish colours you will need: white, sky blue, black, red

1) Start with a white base coat.
2) With a fine tip brush, draw a blue circle at the centre of each nail. Let it dry.
3) In the middle of the blue circle, draw a small black circle. Let it dry.
4) Use a dotter to make a tiny white dot at the upper right side in between the blue and black circles.
5) Draw thin red lines in the white area to depict veins. 
6) Finish with a clear top coat.

xXx


Nail polish colours you will need: sea green, white, black, red

1) Apply a white base coat. Let it dry.
2) Brush a layer of sea green nail polish (or any shade of Frankenstein green you have in mind!).
3) Once the green has dried, use a fine tip brush to draw the upper facial features of Frankenstein and his bride and some other details like stitches.
4) Protect your design with a clear top coat.
5. If you wish to add some bolts to the side of Frankenstein's head (a.k.a. your nail), use clear polish to stick on two silver studs.

xXx


Nail polish colours you will need: orange, black

1) Start with an orange base coat.
2) With a fine tip brush, draw some Jack-O-Lantern faces. Trust me, this is waaaaay easier than carving a pumpkin! (Duh.)
3) Finish with a clear top coat.

xXx


Nail polish colours you will need: red, white

1) Apply a white base coat. A clear one will do, too, actually.
2) Brush a slightly layer of  red polish at the tip of your nail.
3) With a fine tip brush dipped in red polish, slowly drag the polish at the tips downwards, as though blood is dripping from your nails.
4) Protect your design with a clear top coat.
***Tip: You can also use a sickly green colour instead of red for a disgusting slime design.


Andz

Friday, 24 October 2014

Movie Review: Whiplash


The movie theater was still. The audience - composed of less than ten movie-goers - were on the edge of their seats, if not sunk deep in their chairs’ cushiony comforts. Everyone seemed to have forgotten how to breathe, and could only manage to let out a shrill laugh or an exasperated ‘whew’ as a lively jazz tune played and the movie credits rolled.

They had just been whiplashed by Whiplash - the electrifying jazz music drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle.


The film follows 19-year-old aspiring musician Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and his pursuit of greatness to become the best jazz drummer of his generation.

Promising and gifted with an unmatched persistence, Andrew attends the hypercompetitive fictional Shaffer Conservatory of Music in New York, and joins the elite student band after being invited by respected conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) - a tyrant of a maestro, who grips his students with an iron fist, pushing them beyond their limits.


Moving an inch closer to his dream, Andrew endures the kind of hell that comes with practicing in Fletcher’s band, raising the bar of what blood, sweat, and tears truly means.

“Whiplash”, which made its smashing debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival back in January, is nothing short of brilliant.

Inspired by his experiences playing in a Harvard University band, Chazelle brings an unforgettable and thrilling story that might just be the best movie that this year has seen yet. It has, in fact, been receiving Oscar buzzes already.



The spotlight also shines bright for Simmons and Teller, who have both delivered impeccable performances as the abusive mentor and tormented prodigy.

While Simmons takes the meat for his monstrous presence in the film as the führer that Fletcher is, Teller - who is recently seen channeling his inner groove in "Footloose", making people laugh in bro comedies like “That Awkward Moment” and “21 & Over”, or peeving “Divergent” fans for his portrayal of the antagonistic Peter – breaks through and steals each scene with his soulful and vulnerable Andrew.



“Whiplash” is not just a film about music. It is also a vivid image of the pain and perseverance that goes with one’s passion and pursuit of glory. Quoting Fletcher, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.”

---

Watch the trailer:


---

***Notes: 
-I do not own any of the photos used above.
-A shortened version of this review was published in the 24 October, 2014 (Friday) issue of the Manila Bulletin under the column of my internship mentor, Sir Nestor Cuartero. 



Andz

Monday, 20 October 2014

Music Monday

Things have been rough for me lately. School has become a bore, though I've got LOADS to do. My anxiety has become worse, and I've been spending most of my time worrying that I might die soon. I'm a wreck. That's the best way to put it. Fortunately, I've been listening to some good music, and their transportative powers give me a break for a few minutes before slapping me back to reality. Here are the top three tunes in my current playlist:



"Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran
ED SHEERAN DANCES IN THIS ONE. #NuffSaid



xXx


"High Hopes" by Kodaline
A song as depressing as my mere existence.



xXx


"I Need You: by M83
I always imagine ziplining through a torn city like Tris whenever I listen to this.




Andz

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Theo James Post

Sooo... Let's talk about THEO JAMES.


Or, Theodore Peter James Kinnaird Taptiklis - an epitome of a true British dreamboat with the flair of a Greek God. I mean, just look at him!



Take a real good look at this beautiful creature.


It's nearly impossible to not fall for his... EVERYTHING.


He's clearly a winner of the genetic lottery, and all you could do is wish that he fathers your future children, so there'd be a greater chance for them to be beautiful, too, because you deserve wonderful kids with him.


Or at least, you think you do.


But since life is unfair, for now, you'll only be able to get your frequent dose of Theo when you see him on TV...

Theo starred in the short-lived CBS crime series "Golden Boy"

In movies (looking extremely hot, especially as Four in Divergent)...




Imagine him staring at you like that. *melts*

On the pages of magazines...


And, interviews, which - by the way - he always, always makes more interesting.



But did you know that he's a music man, too?


That he sings?

Theo was once the vocalist of the band Shere Khan. The members went
separate ways in 2012.

Well, he does, and he's good at it! Here he is singing about taking him to the water and to the river - whatever that means. (Check out his 'moves'!)



He can also beatbox for his dear life.



They say he's also a trained dancer (tap, ballet, and jazz!), but that fact will be pretty hard to believe after you see this vid:



And, if you love getting philosophical, chances are, you'll get along with Theo just fine, since he earned a degree in philosophy at the University of Nottingham before taking acting classes at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


So, there you have it, girls! Alright?



Andz