Beyond the Trailer: Romeo and Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet (2013)
I've been a fan of Shakespeare's works since I was in high school. It wasn't that I was immediately taken by it. At first, I didn't have the patience for Shakespeare's writing that felt practically like another language. The more I read it, the more I loved it. I was especially fond of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and it continues until now to be my favorite work from Shakespeare.

However, Romeo and Juliet is unarguably one of Shakespeare's most known works. Maybe it is the love or the tragedy element in the story but some people regard it as the greatest love story ever told.

While I have seen other versions of the story, such as the 1968 version with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting  and the 1996 version with Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes, I have decided to focus on the latest adaptation of the timeless story released 2013 with titular characters played by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.

Sitting Down with Tara (SHEawase)

Tara Muchmore
SHEawase (SHEあわせ ) seems to be keeping itself busy this year. Working on their album, announcing a graduating member, holding an audition and finally --- presenting their newest member, Maxine Ortner. The group also recently reached a milestone of having more than 3000 likes in Facebook. If that wasn't enough, they are participating in the US Tour of NekoNeko Maid and Host Club!

For those who are new to the net idol fandom, SHEawase is an indie idol group composed of Melissa Shows, Tara Muchmore, Morgan Davis and Maxine Ortner.

If you don't know these girls, you should because these girls have set the bar high for indie idol groups everywhere.

While all the girls have a charm of their own, only Tara holds the title of the group's lovable redhead.

Farewell to the Cutest, Sayumi Michishige (Former Morning Musume'14)

Sayumi Michishige
Former Leader of Morning Musume'14
November 26th of 2014. 

I never thought I'd be so affected by a date before. Usually, I am very calm when my favorite idols graduate. For example, when Ai and Reina graduated, I wasn't so broken up about it. Aya Matsuura had already graduated when I became her fan, so I can't say graduations had ever been anything but something sweet to me.. It wasn't until this date that it hit me that this graduation was different.

There are those who admire Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. I admire a girl from a group in Japan who had started at the back of the line.

Sayumi started my love for the female J-idol scene. Before I became a fan of  Perfume, ℃-ute and other J-idol groups, there was Morning Musume and in Morning Musume --- Sayumi caught my attention.

PENGOO Snow Cream: For a Birthday Ice Treat

Pengoo, the Penguin
Pengoo Snow Cream is a small, newly opened ice dessert shop located at the 2nd floor of Divisoria Archade, above Jonie's Chicken.

My friend, Eponine wanted to celebrate her birthday and she had heard about the place from a co-worker. She invited me to celebrate with her. I didn't quite know what to expect except I knew we would be having desserts because that was what she told me.

My first impression was that I found the restaurant itself very endearing with cartoons of their mascot, Pengoo everywhere from walls to tables. Pengoo is an original design made by whom I believe is one of the owner's friends.

The ambiance is fun and cute. It is a great place to go with your friends who want to try something new.

Sitting Down with Jenny (Former Oishii!Ichigo)

Main Vocalist
Four of Spades
Jenny, or JenniDi is a former and pioneering member of the Oishii!Project and Oishii!Ichigo, an online collaboration of online performers and personalities making original idol music to fans.

However, earlier this year Jenny and four other members graduated from the project after being together as a group for two years and having participated in  two singles and one cover.

Known for her gorgeous voice, Jenny wasn't about to leave the music scene. Jenny returned to the online music scene in the form of her band, Four of Spades. The siblings collaborated this one time in order participate in a competition by 'the pillows' in honor of their 25th anniversary.

And what do you get when two musically talented siblings work together? In their case, a stroke of masterpiece.

As Oishii!Jenny, she was the cute and endearing redhead. With her new bleached blond bob, the new image she is sporting is much edgier than the Jenny we knew from the project.

Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf: Afternoon Escape

Nora Roberts's "Reflections and Dreams"
w/ an order of their Coffee Ice Blended
Caramel Brownie
I have mentioned this before that many of my friends love Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf. My friends, such as Krissy and Sandra. I went to CBTL on two separate occasions. Once to meet Krissy before she left for Dumaguete and the next with Sandra because it was a few days after her birthday.

I usually arrive first, but I never mind because for me it had always been a good place to read. It was probably good timing that Krissy lent me a few books she thought I might like. You don't need wifi to enjoy an afternoon there.


While I wait, I saw that they had something new in their menu. I love their Coffee Ice Blended. They boast to have been the first to invent the ice blended drink. As the first, they probably feel like they have a lot of expectations to live up to. So far, they always do. Each time, every order has been, "smooth, creamy and delicious."

Beyond the Trailer: Walking on Sunshine (2014)

Power Plant Cinema Ticket:
Walking on Sunshine
I got a complimentary ticket from my mom that allows me to watch any film at the Power Plant Cinema. I was excited because it would be my first time watching a film there.

Being a fan of the musical genre, I decided to give this movie a shot. Reviews compared it to 'Mama Mia' and 'Pitch Perfect' and I had enjoyed those two movies a lot too. It promises some of then best songs from the 80's and the cast also included Leona Lewis whom I've always admired for her voice. I wasn't sure what she would like be as an actress, but I was interested.

I'm sure people would first be curious about what the movie is about.

Movie Poster
The story begins with Taylor who had went on a holiday in Puglia, Italy with her friend, Elena before she starts university. There, she falls in love with a local named, Raf. Unfortunately, their romance ended when Taylor returned to finish her university schooling.

Three years later, her sister surprises her by inviting her to Italy. There, she announced her intentions of getting married. Taylor was very much against the idea of marrying someone she had only known for five weeks, but the surprises didn't end there. Her sister's fiancé was none other than the love of her life, Raf.

The Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf: Writer's Paradise

Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf, Cagayan de Oro,
Limketkai Branch along Claro M. Recto Ave.
Even in Cagayan de Oro, I've been to "The Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf" several times with my friends. It doesn't matter whether I am in Manila or Cagayan de Oro, my friends unanimously love it. It should probably be a relief since I do as well and it is one of my favorite haunts when I want to reward myself. Because while I love visiting as many coffeehouses as I can find, this is probably the place my friends and I come back to the most.

I have several reasons to love this place especially. Both sentimental and non-sentimental reasons.

I always loved about it is how friendly it is to writers and is often considered a paradise for writers. I have mentioned this very often that when I write about the cafe I visit, ambiance is very important to me. I have to feel comfortable. Just being there helps stimulate the creativity and helps me write.

Hatch 22: Classic meets Modern

Hatch 22, Rockwell Mall Branch
I met my friend, Cielo in the Rockwell Mall, Hatch 22 Café and Bakery a few days ago. It would be our first meeting and I was nervous, though we've been friends now for a few years.

I am not the biggest fan of neutral colors, but when done right even I can think it is very beautiful. And that was exactly what my first impression was. There was the right balance of neutral and colors.

I do like the contrast of the vibrant chalk writing against the dark brown background. Without, it may not look as inviting. Their motif is: Classic meets the Now! 

The chalkboard is probably a nod to the classic and old school food joints but the rest of the design is very modern. On the glass wall, you can see what looks like a menu to give customers an idea of what they serve.

I've been to many restaurants, and ambiance is very important to me. People don't always just go to a restaurant to eat food, I think part of the enjoyment is the ambiance.

La Pomme: Homemade Kiddie Supermarket

Rockwell, Makati: La Pomme 
When I was in elementary school, I remember that I enjoyed sewing and knitting. Unfortunately, I didn't have much talent for it. That is why I love handmade products.

While walking around in Rockwell Mall the afternoon I arrived in Manila, my eye caught sight of a stall on the third floor that had what I thought at that time to be gigantic stuffed cupcakes.

As it turns out, they were gigantic stuffed cupcakes.

I'm an absolute sucker for colors, so I couldn't resist taking a look around. I was totally taken by the charming tiny world La Pomme made.

The La Pomme specializes in handmade decorative crafts for children. Their appeal is their bright colors and its overall attractiveness to the young and the young at heart.

Sitting Down with Melissa (SHEawase)

Melissa Shows

SHEawase (SHEあわせ ) is a net idol group founded by Melissa Shows and Kristy Valdez back in October of 2006. They had began as a cosplay group called, “Happy!Project.” Along the way, they decided to change their name. The name name SHEawase came from the Japanese word for Happiness, “Shiawase” or “幸せ.” Also from the play of words, the SHE from the English pronoun for girls and ‘awase,’ which is also Japanese for ‘Together’ or ‘Joinings.’

The members are Melissa Shows, Tara Muchmore and Morgan Davis. Kristy Valdez graduated early April of this year. Later, she was replaced by Maxine Ortner.

This is not your typical net idol group. It isn’t because of the professional touch in their music videos or their beautifully tailored costumes. Though admittedly, they do help. I mean, you only need to look at them to see they put a lot of thought into their designs. It is difficult not to appreciate that.

Cupcakes by Sonja: Lovely Sugar Rush

Red Velvet and Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

If you are looking for a sweet place to have a sugar rush, I suggest you try 'Cupcakes by Sonja'.

There are a lot of branches but the one I went to with my friends is at Serendra. One of the reasons why our host (my bestfriend) chose this place. 

  1. My sweet tooth
  2. The pretty and vintage concept
  3. The picture perfect interiors

Seriously Cute: Going "Kawaii" in Manila

Kawaii Girl finalist, Atascha Mercado
Not a lot of people can probably understand why I am interested in the Kawaii Culture. I imagine that a lot of people may find it to be too sweet and childish. Not surprising because while this is considered a Global Phenomenon, it is still growing in the Philippines.

What is Kawaii?

By definition, in Japanese it means, "cute", "pretty" or "adorable". Over the years, the meaning became more than that and is now for some a way of life. 

According to Kawaii Manila, "It is not just an appreciation for the all the cute and pretty things anymore, but it is also about looking at the world in a happy and positive light."


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