Thursday, 24 April 2014

DIY: Nail Polish-Dotted Wood Bead Bracelets























At an art market last year, I instantly fell in love with this hand-painted wood bead bracelet I spotted. Even better, it’s painted with nail polish, which means, I could easily reproduce it at home.

Being the huge beaded bracelet (and nail polish) fan that I am, I decided to buy one (just to add it in my collection and as a souvenir as well), and attempted to make another myself.


It’s really, really easy to make. As long as you’ve got some nail polish, plain wood bead, and a piece of elastic string, you’re good to go. You don’t even have to worry about water-proofing the designs you make, because nail polish is water resistant.

Now here's the how-to: Make a bracelet with the plain wood beads and the elastic string. Knot the two ends to secure. Then, with the colours of your choice, simply dot designs on the beads, letting each colour dry before dotting another.


Andz

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Nothing Short of Spectacular


If The Grand Budapest Hotel was an entry in the dictionary, its definition would say nothing short of spectacular, because it just is.

Let me give you a few reasons why you should watch or re-watch Wes Anderson's latest flick...


The cast. The top-billed cast.

Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H.

Tony Revolori as young Zero Moustafa 

F Murray Abraham as old Zero Moustafa


Adrien Brody as Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis

Tilda Swinton as  Madame D.

Willem Dafoe J.G. Jopling

Jeff Goldblum as Deputy Vilmos Kovacs

Edward Norton as Inspector Henckels

Saoirse Ronan as Agatha

Bill Murray as Monsieur Ivan

Owen Wilson as Monsieur Chuck

Jason Schwartzman as Monsieur Jean and Jude Law as The Author

Need I say more? 


It's Ralph Fiennes like you've never seen him before. 
Forget Lord Voldemort. He has made his mark as the great Gustave, hotel concierge extraordinaire!





The mouth-watering pastries from Mendl's.
They're mouth-watering, and yet, too beautiful to eat. 


Learn how to make Mendl's signature Courtesan au Chocolat in this tutorial:



It is a work of art in itself.
The breath-taking cinematography and the colourful and inventive sets and props add more to the movie magic department.

The hotel in the movie was inspired by real hotels in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and
in Budapest, Hungary.

The grand hotel lobby

The spa or pool area

There's so much pink in the movie, but it did not annoy me. That's something, I must say!

More food porn from Mendl's sweets 


It's darkly funny, delightfully gruesome, and awkwardly romantic.
Just a few other elements that made this the best film I've seen in 2014 so far.



It's Wes Anderson's best movie yet.


*****

The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at the famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Check out the official movie trailer here:




Andz

Friday, 18 April 2014

Book Review: The Love Detective


"Amazing" was the word I breathed as I shut the book in my hands. 

But still, "amazing" didn't feel like the right word, because the book I just finished was so much more than just that. It was all sorts of amazing.

Not a lot of chic-lits have impressed me, and if I were to give a name of an author whose books exemplify my ideal chic-lit read, I would say Cecelia Ahern. But after reading "The Love Detective", I now have another name to say: Alexandra Potter.

I've never really read any of Alexandra Potter's books before, even though I come across them every single time I drop by the bookshop. Sure, her books look pretty (even her website is pretty!), but they're all chic-lit, and chic-lit is a genre I'm very cautious about. 

The fluff and romance, I can handle, but when the book turns out to be nothing more than a stack of sheets about sex with a shallow plot, I easily lose interest, and just stop reading. 

I'm very much aware that most girls and women read chic-lit for the sex parts, but if I wanted to read about sex, then I would've just flipped through the pages of Cosmo or FHM, OR if I were that desperate, I would have just purchased a set of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, which I will never do in a thousand years, because it will be a waste of time and money.

Fortunately, Miss Potter made a good first impression with The Love Detective, and now, I'm looking forward to getting hold of her other books.

So, what drew me in to read The Love Detective? Well, there's the gorgeous cover, which caught my eye, and then there's the perfect setting: India, which caught, pretty much, all of me.

India is my dream destination, and since I don't have the means to go there too soon, I imagine visiting the place, while reading about it in travel books, websites, and, of course, novels.

The Love Detective follows the story of Ruby Miller, a thirty-something romance writer, who loses faith in love after discovering that her fiancé is nothing but a lying cheat. Taking a time off, she hops on a plane to incredible India, where she's swept into an unforgettable journey of finding love again.

What I liked most about The Love Detective is how it shed heartbreak in a different light. 

Sure, Ruby is bitter about her breakup - who wouldn't be?! - but she's a strong woman, who still gets to humour herself (and the readers) through her outrageous thoughts even in her sorry situation. Yes, this book is ridiculously hilarious! It's so funny (and impossible to put down) that it sent me into fits of laughter in the middle of the night to the wee hours of the morning.

It's also fast-paced and unpredictable, presenting a mind-blowing and heart-tugging twist in almost every chapter.

And being the travel novel that it is, it exceeded my expectations of "feeling" India through the book, because I didn't just "feel" India. I was in India. 

It's pretty awesome how in just three-hundred-plus pages, I was transported to the land of my dreams; relaxing in the sandy beaches of Goa, panicking over lost bags in Delhi, tasting local cuisine in a downtown eatery, falling in-love in Agra, stargazing in an Indian desert, wedding-hopping in Udaipur, and taking a peek into the touching lives of different Indians with Ruby.

It's a lovely and breathtaking read that deserves not just five, but a myriad of stars.


Andz

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Livin' the Beach with Praiaz

This amazing mural was painted by Robby Singh on-the-spot!

Just wanna say that I had a blast covering the launching event of Praiaz shoes in the Philippines for Candy. 

I've been stuck at home writing (even while on my summer break, and, no, it's not for my internship, because I'm still OJT-less) over the past few days, so it was a great escape from my boring summer life.

The event was held last Tuesday (8 April) at the Alphaland City Club, which was just the perfect venue, because it felt like the beach was brought to us!

We were treated with our very own pair of Praiaz shoes, which I really love, because even though they're tagged as beach shoes, they're also ideal to wear for just about any activity! They're lightweight, comfortable, fashionable, and the best part: they smell like vanilla and coconuts, transporting you to somewhere tropical and exotic from wherever you are!

Praiaz (a term derived from the Portuguese word "praias", meaning "beaches") marries the the elements of Rio de Janeiro's laid-back and chill living with Paris' superiority in style.

Follow Praiaz on Facebook for more info: PRAIAZ

Models sporting their Praiaz shoes :)
(Yep, that's Katarina Rodriguez of Asia's Next Top Model
at the far right.)

We got to pick our very own free pair!

The bracelet-making booth that I really enjoyed :D


The pool looked so inviting, I wanted to
take a quick dip!

Ian and I chillin' with our Praiaz shoes

Got to meet my schoolmate Alex at the event

Ian and I teamed up for another event after
going nuts over doughnuts last November
 (geddit? :D)


Look, my nails match! :D


Andz

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Summer Spins


I may not be enjoying this season’s heat (I almost never do), but it sure is a good excuse to listen to some good tunes that remind me of the bright summer sunshine, blue skies, happy mornings, playful afternoons, starry nights, smiles, a glass of Kool-Aid, blowing bubbles, savouring a colourful fruity ice popsicle, flip-flops, and jamming sessions.

"Charmed Life" by Leigh Nash

"Any Given Day" by Tim Reid


"The Sunshine Song" by Jason Mraz


"Find My Way Back Home" by Priscila Ahn


"Everybody" by Ingrid Michaelson


"Brighter Than The Sun" by Colbie Caillat




Andz

Monday, 7 April 2014

A Letter to Juliet

A statue of Juliet in Casa di Giulietta in Verona, Italy


Juliet Capulet. The character breathed into life by William Shakespeare in the classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet; the epitome of every brokenhearted and hopelessly in love young woman in the world.

I've always regarded the story of Romeo and Juliet as some stupid love story, but then again, who's not stupid for love? (Damn! #HUGOT

So, I did it. I wrote a letter to Juliet.

A few months ago, I thought it was time to finally look for a way to move on from a troubled heart I've been nursing for quite a while. I found myself scribbling and scribbling, with the goal of writing the perfect letter to Juliet, and one Friday sometime in November, I was finally able to send it to her.

You may think I've gone mad for addressing a letter to a fictional character, but, really, what I did is far from crazy talk. A Juliet will receive it, and will reply to me - or at least, that's how it should go...

***

Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, and Vanessa Redgrave in a scene
from Letters to Juliet

The 2010 film Letters To Juliet probably helped rocket The Juliet Club into popularity, and I wouldn't lie - that movie is actually the reason why I'm aware of such organisation. However, back when I first saw it, I thought The Juliet Club was just a society made for the film - a simple ingredient - to brew the perfect romantic blockbuster.


It had the perfect concept. You write to Juliet or tack a note on the wall of the house where Juliet Capulet is believed to have lived, and then you get a piece of advice written especially for you.


I had always been curious, though, whether the Secretaries of Juliet actually existed or not, because I would really love to send them a letter, if I ever get my heart broken in the future (and, it has finally come - a lot of times, actually).

With a little googling here and there, I found out that the Secretaries of Juliet are, indeed, real, and just like in the movie, they do their best to help mend broken and confused hearts.

***

The iconic balcony in Casa di Giulietta

Club Di Giulietta or The Juliet Club is a cultural organisation based in Verona, Italy.

The Juliet Club is comprised of 15 experienced volunteer secretaries, who go by the name "Juliet", when responding to the letters they receive. And although they all write under the same female alias, it doesn't necessarily mean that all the secretaries are women. The society is open to both male and female volunteers over the age of 18.

Love notes from hapless hearts tacked on a wall in Casa di Giulietta

Writing to Juliet doesn't require you to be female either. Everyone who needs advice on love and life are free to send a letter to Juliet. 

In fact, the secretaries of Juliet have dealt with the most common woes of heartbreak down to more serious issues like teenage pregnancy, cultural conflicts, homosexual relationships, and suicide.

The Juliet Club receives thousands and thousands of letters every year,
which they respond to - handwritten!

Writing in your native language shouldn't be a problem, too, if you're worried that they only reply to people who write in English and Italian. The Juliet Club is an international team, and your letter will be perfectly translated and replied to, should you feel the need to express yourself in the language you're most comfortable with.

***


I wrote to Juliet, without expecting a reply. I'm very much aware that Club Di Giulietta receives tons and tons of letters every month, and with the crazy Philippine Postal Service, I wasn't even sure if my letter will make it to Verona, Italy. But it did, because I received a reply from Juliet today. 

Whatever I said to her and whatever she said to me will remain between the two of us. My only point here is: IT IS REAL!!! JULIET DOES REPLY!!! The letter is handwritten, as well, adding a personal touch to the message.

However, I'm not in need of love advice anymore. I have finally moved on, and honestly, I find my previous fantasies pretty embarrassing and stupid now. 

The letter would be a mere souvenir of naïve love found and lost.




***

If you're reading this right now, you're probably going like "Andy?! Troubled heart?! What?! Is she in love?! Wait, she fell in love?! Is that even possible?!" (Especially if you're a friend of mine, or worse, family.)

Well, folks, you've probably forgotten, but I'd like to remind you that I'm human, too.

Growing up in the company of, boys (er, most of them) may have toughened me up, but that doesn't make me less of a girl who's capable of falling in love and getting hurt.

I've had a shitload of crushes - from fictional heroes in the books I read and nerdy and geeky guys I see on TV to university athletes and musicians who play the perfect tunes for my ears. 

But those are all far from reality, and honestly, there are very few real (real, as in non-fictional and non-celebrity, exists in the world I live in) guys who I really liked. 

They're four awesome guys, or so I thought. 

The first one's a guy who loved to play basketball, and he was my lab partner in biology class. We dissected frogs together and had an imaginary wedding and imaginary babies for genetics - a girl and a boy with names you'll never get to pronounce (Gnaci Htumn and Kai D'Ahmoua). Even back then, I knew he's never going to like me with all those pretty girls in competition, and a stunningly beautiful girl he was trying to get his hands on (OK, that's a weird way to say it). Anyway, he's a ladies' man, and I knew that I didn't stand a chance of making it to his list, so I just resorted to writing some kind of a tragic love story based on his characteristics. I started it when I was 14, but never got to finish it, and I don't think I ever will.

The second one is quite a confident bloke with the sweetest words to say and I'm taller than him (you can just imagine how small he is), but I liked him all right anyway. He was my date at junior prom (just so you know, I was his plan B, since his first choice turned him down.), and things were going OK, until all the mess in some military training I went through happened. He became a douche, and I just hated him. I still hate him so much that it's quite unfortunate we're studying in the same university and go to the same building every single day, and whenever I see him, I'm reminded of what an asshole he is.

Guy number three is a hopeless case. I knew we'd never happen, but I took the pleasure of hearing about him from a mutual friend. I first saw him in a picture in my Facebook feed, and instantly fell for him cos he reminded me of Harry Potter. I then found out that he plays the guitar and loves rock music (oh, damn, that's like a super plus, plus, plus for me!) We were introduced to each other, but I doubt that he remembers me. That doesn't matter now, though, cos when I recently checked his Facebook profile, I saw things that suggest that he probably is gay. I still hope his not, because I still find him rather attractive. Haha!

The fourth and the latest one is a standout. A knockout. The kind of guy who screamed fucking perfect in my head, because, damn, he just is! But just like how it always goes for me and for most people out there, just when you're starting to fall in love with someone you think will be yours, he doesn't have the same feelings for you. And if ever he does (or did), things get too complicated and you just drift apart.

I've never really been in a relationship, not even that cute elementary school boyfriend-girlfriend kind of thing, and with all my stress in school and work, I'm not asking it for now. Maybe, I'm just too scared. I see my friends finding "the guy", then they break up, and end up feeling like pure shit. 

I don't want that to happen to me. 

Having crushes on guys who don't like me back are enough to crush my heart, what more real breakups? 

My mum often tells me that the perfect guy for me will come in time and prayer. Cheesy, I know, and frankly speaking, given that I pray and wait, how in the world will I know if he's already right in front of me? For all I know, he's already passed me by.

Oh well, so much drama in this post.

***

WRITE TO JULIET

CLUB DI GIULIETTA
Via Galilei
337100 Verona
ITALY


***Note: I do not own the first seven photos in this post.


Andy

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday Snaps

Summer

Sometimes, I just go for a walk on a nice weekend morning and take random pictures...

A run at a news stand

My shadow rocks!

Modelling 101 from gramps

Melon mochi <3

My favourite shirt, my favourite bag, my favourite shorts :)

Books at 50% off!

Chalk art


Andz