January 31, 2012

How To Spend A Friday E07

Dubai is always a good idea.

How unoriginal, I know. Well Paris is and it's Audrey Hepburn's. But I am nowhere near Paris so Dubai's my best bet at the moment. And quite personally, it really is almost always a good idea coming to the city that I am thisclose to printing out a personalized shirt that reads: Keep calm and go to Dubai. Oh wait. That's an idea. A very good idea actually. Hmm.

We dropped by the Zabeel Park first to check out a Bayanihan Fiesta hosted by GMA7. It was a welcome distraction. Heard Rachelle Ann Go's (live) voice for the first time and went from accepting to frustrating upon realizing how skinny she was in person! Walked around the park a bit, indulged on a free London Dairy ice cream bar and a tad overpriced potato fries. Went crazy over a Marcelito copycat who cracked me up bigtime and was totally jealous of at least 2 kabayans who won roundtrip tickets DXB-MNL and back from Emirates Airlines via a raffle draw. And lastly, it took me some time to realize it, but I kind of left my heart in there for someone to find and hopefully keep, as the chances of getting it back at this point is really super slim, might be skinnier than Rachelle Ann actually. I can almost hear someone sing "I found love in a hopeless place" once it's well, found. Anyway.
The Girl and the City at Zabeel Park, Dubai
Zabeel Park is my kind of place. I really wish we'll have more parks and recreational spots back home. It will do wonders to the souls of a lot of Filipinos especially the young ones and the not-so-young-ones like myself. All right, it will be good for every single one of us. My sister asked me to pose for that second photo, me sitting on the bench. Her exact words, "Ate oh, para kang nasa Central Park." My words? You've heard of this before only this time it's, "Central Park can wait." Spoken like a true girl and the city conquering the world one city at a time!
Not everything is in black and white. Especially and ultimately, not Dubai. Somehow, any place is more magical to me come nighttime. Of course, Dubai's no exception. The city is bursting with so much life, what with it's pretty skyscrapers and all, I had a few whiff of it on me and before I know it I'm already in my best mood. Before I know it, I had fallen in love with it all over again. Just a little bit more and over the edge every single time. It may also have been because of the playlist we had on the whole time. It was a collection of instrumentals that reminded me of Prom Nights. I will have to get a list and share them all with you next time. Pinky promise.
I honestly thought we were headed to Marina Mall for dinner but as it turned out, I was wrong. We were headed to somewhere better - as far as the view's concerned. We were actually set to have dinner at Golden Fork Restaurant along Jumeirah Road. The location's as perfect as it can get, in a corner situated between Jumeirah's lake and busy streets. Dinner tables were set outside lit by a mini yellow lamp. It was impossibly peaceful, intimate and cozy but not intimidating. Once we were settled, done with the orders and whatnots, I did what I do best - people watch. 

A few were walking around, some were even cycling around, if not jogging. Getting some groceries done, running errands or waiting for a cab to bring them somewhere else on a chilly Friday night. There may have also been a group of noticeable gentlemen in what seemed like a pub just across the street we were in. Just my perfect excuse while waiting for our dinner that didn't take long before it was finally served. Nice. I had coffee to with my all-beefed-up dinner because the chills started getting on my spine. Apparently, the poncho wasn't warm and fuzzy enough. I needed outside help.

The rest of the night's spent with me thinking about how convenient Dubai can be for a twenty-something girl like me. Or twenty-something woman like me - no way, girl sounds so much better - we'll stick to that. Filled with renewed and hopeful anticipation of what might happen the next time I'll be around this place again, yet another place filed under my for future use category, I wrapped the memory with a kiss and happily took it home with me.

Well there's that and then some. Like the fact that I wasn't wrong. Indeed, Dubai is always a good idea. Almost always. After all. I am definitely making that statement shirt for myself. Done, done and done!

January 29, 2012

Orange You Glad?

I was already feeling a tad guilty for buying yet another item on impulse but orange you glad for unpublished posts to remind you it wasn't an impulse buy after all? I am talking about my newest babies that I got for 20AED on the massive H&M sale during the Dubai Shopping Restival (DSF) craze!
My Orange You Glad H&M Wedges

Since it was on sale, the downside will be the size availability. It was a size 8 and you know how flexible my feet can get depends on what shoes I will be wearing. I am a staple size 7 as far as flats are concerned but I can be an 8, sometimes even a 9 when it comes to wedges and pumps or anything with heels. So you have no idea how my face lit up and how my week was suddenly made when my sister handed it to me and told me to try it on! What do you know, the shoe fits!!! And did I mention it's only for 20AED? SOLD!

I was already very happy and only less guilty when I came across my unpublished posts and saw this!
I had drafted a post about the shoes I would love to have for last year's but couldn't quite convince myself on buying one because of the impracticality of it all. The Topshop espadrille wedges above was one of them! Lesser guilt going.... going.... gone! Not so good job, forgetful self. How can you forget you once wanted this? Okay, don't answer. So now I am more than relieved to know I don't actually buy on impulse anyways - instinct it is!

Orange you glad for little things and not going to lie, material things that somehow make hard things and hard work worth it? Because this girl and the city surely is! Nothing like a pair of good shoes... on sale... in your size to restore the balance of my human nature, how about you?

January 28, 2012

Senior Dinner at Biella Ristorante

This will have to be the next post I sorta kinda mentioned here

If you are to ask me now if I am actually a foodie, I'm afraid I have to say I am not. Or at least not yet. I have had this realization after watching Suits S01E03. Now that I am aware of it though, I am determined to get there and had made Rachel Zane's my foodienspiration. When I get to her level, I will surely let you know. But for now, you just have to trust my good taste, and when I say good taste I mean it literally. Not going to get any deeper than that.

Italian is one of my default answer to what's your favorite cuisine. I wish there's a logical and highly rational explanation to back it up but it's simply because it suits my taste buds best and nothing like a good carbo load to really get me pumped up. So when the information board at Marina Mall Abu Dhabi revealed there's actually not a lot of places to choose from, I mean between Biella, some Indian and Arabic restaurants plus fast food in a food court, we settled for what we thought will suit both our hungry stomachs and not-so-full wallets. That's right!
After weighing our not-so-wide-range of options, we ended up with Biella and it turned out to be the perfect choice! We were warmly greeted at the entrance and politely guided to our seats at once. First thing I noticed was how the place is secluded in a very good way and that the interiors tickled my fancy. I wish we were able to take snaps but that was when our camera ran out of battery. Bugger, I know. We were, at the very least, able to take some shots of our orders.
As you can see, we were more or less the typical carbo-loaders. Classic pasta and pizza combination with some chicken dish, with the yummiest poached potato I have ever had the pleasure to munch on, for our main course. This is the part where I fail both as a blogger and aspiring foodie as I wasn't able to get hold of the names of the dishes we ended up eating. I'm sorry, I was that hungry - too hungry to care or remember that I'll be blogging about this at that moment at least. Oh, Rachel Zane would be proud. Not.

It was all in all a good dinner experience. What with spending it my highschool friends I haven't seen in a year, one new acquaintance and some real good food to go with it, I can't complain. And despite my obvious lack of genuine food criticism and food knowledge altogether, I do know what's a good dish when I have finally had a taste of it. And trust me, under their main course menu, there's a chicken dish with the yummiest poached potato you will ever have the pleasure to munch on, well that's not really the technical description but you get the drift. You have to try it, you are not going to regret it!

Biella Caffe Pizzeria Ristorante
Location: Marina Mall, Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971(2) 681 8114
Location: Wafi City Mall, Bur Dubai, Dubai
Tel: +971(4) 3244666

January 24, 2012

But She Wears Short Skirts

I wear T-shirts.
I feel you, Taylor Swift. I really do. I am a self-confessed T-shirt girl myself. I can never seem to have enough shirts inside my closet. I also happen to be a stubborn shopper so I really just always end up buying the same thing, even the same color, over and over again. I am not proud of that too, I am just saying...

And here's a rock solid proof. I wasn't aware of the pattern, wasn't even aware I was keeping tabs of my lazy t-shirt outfits on my BB, but now I've put them all together, I can't help but notice the obvious. Can you not, too? Let's go over them, shall we? From left to right, here we go...

That's me in a very worn out Hanes gray t-shirt for Men. Folded sleeves, slightly loose, it certainly is a perfect fit for me. Pops of color red all over - ring, belt and flats. Sometimes all you really need to complete an outfit so simple as this is the perfect pair of skin tight jeans. This one's from New Look.

My TylerGPosey shirt from Zara TRF gifted by my sister for my birthday. I also call this look as my "Lakas maka-Ateneo Look". No offense whatsoever meant. It's mainly because it's their school color and usually the girls I bump into during UAAP games sport the same lazy look, hair tied in a bun and let the shirt and its color speak for itself. In my another skin tight jeans also from Zara gifted by my Auntie last Christmas time.

The worn out butterfly shirt in gray from Forever21. I have had this for 6 months may be but I've completely worn it out. It's like my go-to shirt and needless to say, my favorite t-shirt of all times. At least for the time being. I love the "chillin' with no make up on" vibe it gives out and it's impossibly so comfortable to wear. Paired it with my structured Jellybean black trousers and gray gladiator sandals for a monochromatic look. And then tried the colour-block trend with my mustard yellow MNG skinnies and blue suede flats from Zara.

See? If I don't pass as THE T-shirt Girl, I don't know what else I would be. A lazy dresser perhaps? Hmm. What's your go-to look? I know this isn't exactly a proud fashion moment but sometimes nothing ever makes a woman feel so confident about herself than her favorite shirt and perfectly fitted skin tight jeans. You know, that familiar fitting feeling of skin tight jeans and teenage dreams.

Did I just make a mix of a Tayswift and KPerry songs in this post? Oh wait.

January 23, 2012

My Abu Dhabi Weekend

This weekend has been a long time coming. Hi, this is The Girl and The City reporting from Abu Dhabi!!!
It was surprisingly hot for a January morning. I arrived in Adu Dhabi bus station a little over 12 noon and went straight ahead to my friend's place. She cooked lunch for us and watched a bit of a certain basketball game before we decided to head off! Only in the Emirates where you can feel like you're in an entirely different country when you're just in fact in another emirate. The 5-lane-wide sreets of Abu Dhabi reminded me so much of Manila. It almost felt like I was in EDSA while we take our ride to the Destination Village. It was oddly peaceful. There's a calculated rush on the main roads but after you make a turn, the rush suddenly disappears. Like that of EDSA-Magallanes. Once you make that left turn, you're all free from it all. Needless to say, it was a heck of a nostalgic ride and the sudden rise in temperature did not help at all. I did try to be not so sentimental but you can't blame me for altogether, AUH made me feel like I'm home even just for a day.
Lucky for me there's an event happening on our time of visit. You all know what that means. I have been fairly very vocal about a certain group of people I prefer bumping into during events and safe to say Abu Dhabi and Volvo did not disappoint. So what if I don't know anything about In-Port Race?
I love how we both looked like we don't know what we're doing!
Meet Teacher Ella! My Kadrafting Ellaine who's working as a teacher in AUH
Le Boyf, Teacher Ella's
The Kingkong Kamagongs!
Myself, Marcee, Ellaine used be highschool batchmates. Kamagong was our section's name during our last year in HS.
Abu Dhabiers! Thank you for having me over and for being such awesome hosts!
Sadly, there were no fireworks but I was able to get the second best Emirates' sky has to offer - an airshow which in my almost 2 years stay in here is a first! Thank you lucky stars! It was the highlight of my stay!
This photo's an understatement. It was speeding fast while twisting itself up there!
I am a dork for anything pretty that's up there in the sky. Whether it's a plane, a bird, or heck, even a kite. So this definitely makes up for the lack of fireworks! I was pretty sure thoughts like Ultraman Ace and Power Rangers came to my mind while the airshow was on. As if I'm not nostalgic enough about home already, here comes my childhood memories! Only it can get pretty tiring and draining looking up to witness awesomeness that lasted for 30 minutes!
On the phone. Asking about a certain Game 5. Multitasker of the year!
Friday the 13th!

Meet our friend and fellow batchmate, Aison.
That's him in red. He got all chubby and cuddly and weird but still cute over the years, so don't mention it. Kidding! He's supposed to be with us but stuff about his flight attendant job got in the way so he ditched us. Kidding! Again! The Abu Dhabi Weekend actually doubles as our annual get together. Seriously, I loved how we all looked like we feel in this photo! Being reunited in a foreign place, in a city of millions some ten years after highschool is definitely one thing that never crossed my mind but look here! We made it happen!

When you're with friends and having a good time, that's when time really flies. We didn't realize we have been standing for a good 3 hours already until well, our heads started to hurt and our throats are all dried up and our knees almost falling off our legs - not to mention our now stiffed necks. It was time to call it a day. Not until we get some dinner though! I'll tell you about that on my next post. By far the yummiest poached potato I have ever had the chance to munch on!

We actually had a full day mapped out but you know what they say about plans, they don't usually work out as planned. We ended up spending the last hours of the day at the Sbux cafe near the bus station, talking about life, love and whatnots. It was the perfect way to put an end to a glorious weekend. Definitely worth my total of 4 hours bus ride, my missing of a certain Game 5 and my coming all the way from another city!

Abu Dhabi, in the words of the famous McArthur (and my lack of having a more appropriate quote at the moment), I shall return!

Stupid Shiny Volvo Owners

Not going to lie, there are only a couple of Volvo owners I personally know - the fictional boy also known as Edward Cullen and the Full Package Boie also known as Chris Tiu. And it's not going to get any deeper than that. So when my highschool friends invited me over for a weekend in Abu Dhabi to check out a certain Volvo Ocean Race in Destination Village, I was a bit excited in the hopes of meeting some few more shiny Volvo owners and add some more to my list.

This one is my fave. Real sleek and sweet!
Everything inside is touchscreen. Whatever happened to cardboard captions?
The Girl and The City inside the Volvo Ocean Race Showroom, Destination Village
I don't really mean the stupid part but for the sake of stressing a point, shiny and Volvo and Volvo owners altogether will always mean one and the same to me. Good to know there are lots of them still out there. In their all too-shiny-to-go-unnoticed and too-beautiful-to-be-taken-for-granted glory.

No Love No Drama

Last January 11, we were all out and about in Dubai. Lucky for me I was able to get out early from work so I was able to join the Emirates famille for Auntie Idosh's birthday dinner. We were torn between Chili's and China Times but ended up with the latter because we were all craving for their special fried rice! 

California maki | Deep fried crispy fresh squid rings
China Times special roasted chicken | Stir fry premium beef in premium oyster sauce
China Times special fried rice AKA decision maker!
(L-R) Me, Idoshie, Anei, Auntie B, Uncle O
We were so full we all decided to walk around the mall for some more just to feel a little lighter before heading home. We grabbed a Starbucks take away on the way back. Mint tea for the Birthday Girl and Frappe for me and Anei, as usual. The moment we reached home, we sang the classic Happy Birthday song and Idoshie finally made her wish! I can only hope and pray for the best for her! She deserves it!
I love birthdays! I don't know why I wasn't a fan of it before but now, I really make it a point to get out of my way to celebrate mine and other's especially the ones I love. Like what I have been told before, your birthday is probably the only self-declared holiday that you can claim as your own and yours alone and it will be justified and valid so why not make the most out of it. And why not, it only comes once in a year. What else is your excuse!

Happy happy birthday again, Auntie Idosh! That's her rocking the No Love No Drama statement tee from MNG and of course, ze red pants! You are love and loved! xx

China Times Restaurant
Deira City Center 04-295-2515
Jumeira Plaza 04-344-2930
Take Away Menu (Delivery available in Jumeira Branch only)

January 22, 2012

Accessorrissues 101

If you'd notice, most of my outfit posts lack something I should be totally adding a lot of in order to achieve a certain look. I am fully aware of the obvious fact and even unwritten fashion rule that any accessory can totally make or break an outfit. And I totally agree! But my dilemma about being reluctant to excessorizing goes way back and believe me, I tried.

I started off as a minimalist. Back in elementary, I cannot go out of the house without a pair of earrings on and a watch to go with it. I felt naked without a watch, I felt less of a woman that I am without any earrings on. But eventually, that changed. In high school, time when the girls went crazy over personalized accessories and whatnots, I started wearing bracelets. I can clearly remember piles of Swarovski bracelets on my arms all in different colors! In college, since none of them pieces seem to work, save for what I put on my hands and arms, that's where I worked it out. I started collecting rings! Something I have brought with me until my Makati working days then and Emirates duties now!

Since I am a four-eyed by default, the issues started piling up again when I got really big and awkward I felt like I need to go right back to my minimalist self. That any added accessories would only make me look bigger and heavier and chunkier so I dropped them all out and just stick to my earring-watch-combination.

I have lots of accessorrissues, as in accessory-sorry-issues, I tell you. I have always felt like my face's too big, make that my cheeks, that any stud or any earring of that same size will not really serve its purpose. Same with anything too fancy, like dangling, drop and hoop earrings. What only works for me are pearl earrings (the large ones) and basically anything chunky and oversized. There's also this theory that I have long been trying to get over with. It includes my battle with an aching back and necklaces. Turns out I feel a massive muscle strain on my neck down to my lower back every time I wear heavy pieces on! My friends and officemates find this funny but it's true! I don't know if it's psychological or it's my bad posture. I mean even a chain with a slightly heavy pendant can cause me too much pain! I always end up removing the piece and just put it back on when I feel the muscles relax. So when all the hassle became too much to handle, I dropped the whole accessorizing thing and decided to stay within my comfort zone.

Fast forward to the time the internet provides so much inspiration, it's all on you if and when you get stuck to your stubborn self. I was able to find some pieces that I think will look good on me, I know I can work it out. My humble collection is a no-match as compared to all those I found around the blogland, but hey! It's a start.
F21 Owl ring | ALDO necklace | Gifted HEALING leather band | Gifted Swatch watch | H&M beaded bracelets | Accessorize Lock & Key bracelet

The necklace is my current fave as it is the only thing of its kind that I have as of the moment. I used to wear that gray shirt on plainly but now, look at how it's transformed! And would you believe they already find these in excess? At least to the people I encounter over the counter on a daily basis. The HEALING band is my new watch, if only for the fact that I already feel naked without it. That's how my arm looks like by default. Like I said, nothing too much yet but give me time and I'll be bigger than any accesorrissues I have ever had. I am really working on it. But until then, I can only dream of the day I can pull off tassle earrings or maybe the feather ones - effortlessly and confidently.

Finding PAUL

It was one fine Thursday morning and I bet you'll be surprised to know that I'm already hustling as early as 9 o'clock. I was set to meet with Ms. Tina, the lovely woman behind www.tinayums.com, who hosted a blog competition during Christmas-time and I was one of the lucky winners! And since the meeting place's in Dubai and I'll be coming all the way from Sharjah... By now I suppose you already know the drill as I am that girl from another city.
We met up at PAUL in Burjuman Mall by noon and I just have to share my little lost experience I'd like to call FINDING PAUL. I asked instructions from my Auntie in advanced but to no avail, only because I started off in the wrong direction. People keep saying left then one floor down. What I keep finding when I do that is the parking lot. What I didn't get is that it's actually leftmost of the mall then one floor down. I spent a good 10 minutes running around like a headless chicken. At least I tried looking like a poised headless chicken but I don't know about that. After a few more wrong turns, I finally found PAUL.

They were already on their first cuppa latte when I arrived. Meet Ms. Tina and Ms. Mariyah, Dubai-based fashion bloggers/photographers and quite possibly the loveliest ones out there. I may sound a bit biased, it's true though. The afternoon coffee date altogether is a new experience. As much as joining an online competition is a first for me, this meet-up is part of that growing list too. I also got to meet Ms. Priya and a good looking young bloke but unfortunately for me, I wasn't able to get a hold of his name. Brainstorming with them is like an entirely different dimension, let alone just chatting. That's where and when I realized I kind of missed being surrounded by creative people. Thank you so much for the chance and the coffee date, ladies! It was lovely meeting you both and looking forward to seeing you two again in the future or maybe just around PAUL's corner soon. 

Last set of photo is from Tinayum's Facebook Page. I failed to take a photo of my cuppa so that was hers, I had the same one. And while we're at it, just thought I'd share my default coffee thought these days: Coffee is not a relationship, it is a beverage. And that's me with my goodies! Massive shout out to Splash Fashion and Benefit ME Cosmetics and of course to Tinayums for making this girl in the city a happy, shiny, giddy one!
What's a trip in the city without a little people-watching... That lone guy in white spotted thru my peripheral view easily caught my attention. He looked so fine (quite literally) with the idea of grabbing brunch alone that even I was the one in a group, I felt like I was the one in there by myself. Reminds me of How To Be Alone mantra I plan to master this year. This guy has beat me to it. I wonder what's his story... I was able to resist the urge of walking towards him to ask him exactly that. Might have been for the best since I'll probably end up in prison for privacy invasion. Or might have been not. I have always been more curious than cautious. Hmm.
By late afternoon, I was already back home. I hardly take afternoon walks so I made the most out of the chance I have this time around. From the bus stop, our place is just across this park, a good 10-minute-walk I gladly took and indulged.

I will forever be grateful for the fact that Dubai is just an hour or so away from where I am staying. I can enjoy both the rush and anticipation of just being in Dubai when I am around the city and the relief and stability when I'm back in Sharjah. It's one of my happy places up to date. This time, it has given me a couple of firsts again, with some lovely people on the side. It just gets better by the day, I'm thrilled and excited all over again! And this recent Dubai trip of mine? Definitely worth my hustling as early as 9 in the morning. Like totally!
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