Saturday with the family. My sisters have been urging the parents to go to this Ozine Fest. It's a festival for all anime and cosplay lovers around the metro. This year it was held in SM Megamall at the Megatrade Hall.



My sisters entered the individual drawing competition. Unfortunately since my sisters are aged 14 and 10, they had to compete in the same age category. I got an entrance pass too, but I wasn't really what you call an "otaku" so I only just went sight-seeing at the bizarre yet very creative costumes that cosplayers wore. The entrance fee per day is 100.
We were having trouble deciding where to eat (Megamall is HUGE!) and we kept on walking until our feet led us to Holy Cow Steakhouse at the Atrium.




This Tabasco sauce wanted to take a picture with me.



How can I not smile at this? Wild, Wild West wall mementos and look at that fine cascading wooden boards!

I was also amazed at this wall painting. It's so beautiful. And the wooden rafters above it is a nice feat too!

The moment we stepped in I was taken aback by the nice ambience it has, and also I have to give props to the waiter's costumes! Yep, they're in cowboy jeans, leather boots and hats! I was totally amused at the horseshoe decor on the wall & the carriage wheel-inspired light fixture. It's not something you see everyday. Themed food establishments in Philippines are hard to come by.
We ordered BBQ Calamari for starters. They're huge calamari slices and the lemony tartar dip was a perfect complement to it. My 14-year-old sister Ia Mae had chicken fillet, Java rice and steamed veggies. Irylle (the youngest, aged 10) had the typical fried chicken with rice while I sampled the Juicy Melty Burger with their large-cut fries and spicy honey mustard dip.

This Juicy Melty Burger has a lot to offer. First off, the fries on the side are well-seasoned. It's not overpowering but not too bland. The spicy honey mustard dip completes the feat. I don't know about you but I always eat my burgers and fries together, not one first over the other. The cheese melts as you take a bite, and you can actually taste when it blends with the sumptuous juice of the burger patty fresh from the grill. The lettuce is fresh and crunchy, the buns hot and steamy but well-toasted on top along with the sesame seeds. I'm glad I picked this over rice. Therefore, I can truly say this one's for the books.

For dessert we had a choco oatmeal cookie with vanilla ice cream drizzled in rich chocolate syrup. The cookie seemed to be 3 pieces baked together as a one whole unit, it kinda looked like clover-shaped, but only with 3 sections. It was a good way to end the meal. The only the thing we were having difficulty with was cutting the cookie. It was hard! But I found a trick to it: use the dining knife and stab it (I'm serious!) and gently wedge it back and forth until the cookie divides.
My review for this restaurant: 
A+ food, decent music (they played John Mayer's In Repair which is a smart choice) and lovely atmosphere. The only downfall is that they have quite a slow service. The parents did not eat together with us because they were meeting some old acquaintances, so when that meet-up got cancelled they had to order lunch when we finished eating. Papa asked for the menu and the waitress took more than 5 minutes. She didn't even get back to us. We had to ask another waiter for it (his name was Lito and this waiter talking to customers with a lot of PR skills is kinda amusing, he was trying to know the customers through small talks). 
When we asked for the bill I volunteered to pay for the lunch to treat my sisters. But it was such a big disappointment that they didn't accept nor even try my UnionBank EON Visa debit card. It's weird because they said only Mastercard & Visa credit cards are acknowledged. Oh well. Maybe I have to go run to the ATM next time.
If you'd still ask me if I'd eat at Holy Cow I'd still say yes. 
This is my sister Irylle's entry to the drawing contest. Isn't she amazing?
Ia Mae left early to meet her friends at the venue so it was only Papa, Mama, Irylle and I waiting at our booth. And then I suddenly had the funny realization: I told Irylle we resembled the How I Met Your Mother gang and that Holy Cow was our MacLaren's! We had our own booth; Mama and Papa were Lily and Marshall because Ma's into shopping and Pa's into supernatural stuff. I was Ted the overthinker and the OC-guy, Ia Mae was Robin because she's boyish and a tsundere as she says, Irylle was Barney because she keeps on obsessing over his Legendary-ness. "And how bout Ian (our brother) who's back home because he was suffering from body ache?" I asked. Irylle replies, "Well he can be Kevin or Ranjit. But Papa can also be Ranjit cause he drives."
It's so great to have good conversations over good food. We waited until 6pm at Holy Cow before submitting Irylle's drawing upstairs. 
View from the 5th floor.
My new kicks. Navy blue pumps it is.

We had to stay at SM Megamall until 9 or 10pm for the awarding of winners. I'm not good at waiting but seeing Irylle win the contest for the individual drawing category of 14 below was worth it! She's the sole winner among all the kids who have joined in the Ozine Fest. She even beat Ia Mae! :P


 I'm a proud ate :)


Did you attend the Ozine Fest this year? If so, how was your experience?


x Iris

Easter [04/08/2012]

Posted by Iris On 3:50 PM 0 comments


It's a tradition in my country to observe what we call "The Holy Week". It's a week of reflection for Roman Catholics with respect to Jesus Christ's suffering before he was crucified onto the cross. For us Filipinos, we are not allowed to eat meat for one whole week until Easter Sunday has come.
In our local community, my mother was tasked to make the float for the early morning parade. She thought it was going to be Mama Mary's so she made her pretty plastic flowers to a very beautiful illuminated rosary that embraces the carriage. Little did she know that it was for Jesus Christ's statue. She was very ecstatic about it that she asked us all to come and get up early to witness it for the so-called "salubong" (in Tagalog language, it means in verb form "to welcome" or "the welcome" in noun form)I've seen the float the night before even though it wasn't illuminated and it was pretty just by itself. Too bad I didn't get to take pictures but I think Mama has them in her digicam. The salubong starts at around 3 or 4am and the parade follows the carriage on its way to church. Little children can become participants too and they are dressesd as angels.
We got to the church really early. Surprisingly this is quite near to our village. It's at the back end after turning left to Salitran Road. When Mama came to see us we sat down at the pew and listened to the mass. Honestly, I haven't been to church for like 6 months or so! Shame of me, I know. One hour is just a little sacrifice for the whole week of good time I have in my life. But I think if I'd ever get to church I'd go really early so I wouldn't feel so sleepy compared to the afternoon attendance we usually get to go to.
After the mass, we were on the road to have our second breakfast in McDonald's. Second because we already ate at 7-Eleven before we got to church, it was when we couldn't get to the parade so we waited for Mama instead. And while on the road as I was saying... look what my awesome find is:
Man in motorcycle with his cool Reese's bag
So yeah my siblings and I were like, "oooooh look at that cool guy and his Reese's bag!" I scrambled to get the camera and take the precious shot. It was so funny we couldn't get over it. It would also be mindblowing if he had loaded real Reese's peanut butter bars in there! And where could I get a Reese's backpack too? Oh the things you find when traveling...
We had a really good family time today. Moments like this are one of the things I treasure the most. When everything is fine and we're all complete. Sundays like this are the best.
My sister and I just being kawaii (lol not really)
Before heading to McDonald's. It's freaking hot in where I am!

How about you? How do you like your Sundays?


x Iris

I've been looking for an effective blackheads remover but not until today have I found it. I was grocery shopping at the local mall when I spotted this on the shelf:

I tried it right away when I got home. It came in a pack of 3's in a set all taped up together. When I opened it and spread it on my face it reminded me of the consistency of Elmer's Glue! The instruction at the back said to wait 15 minutes until it hardens to be ready for removal. 15 minutes had passed, I peeled off the white mask that surrounded my face (it was tight!) but surprisingly felt good!
The mask was easy to peel and it smelled really nice. It's my first time to use a blackhead remover mask and this brand has already has made its way as my favorite!
I've tested it for a day and I can say it's truly effective! For a very affordable price of 51 for a set of 3's, you're getting your money's worth. My skin was smoother than ever and 95% of oil & blackheads were gone!
So in summary, the downside is the glue-like sticky feel when applying at first and the little redness of your face when you take it off but I totally I love it! It's amazing when I find great products like these! How about you? Do know any effective blackhead remover? What's your favorite? :)

x Iris

** Note: This is not a sponsored post

Mongolian Dinner [01/28/2012]

Posted by Iris On 11:22 PM 0 comments
Tyler had been sick with cough and runny nose for 2 days so I had to urge him to go to the doctor. We went to Festival Mall Alabang to have him checked and turns out it was acute bronchitis. It wasn't so bad as he expected (he didn't like going to doctors) but we ended up having Mongolian cuisine for dinner, thanks to my parents who treated us for yummy foods. 
Located at the 3rd floor in Festival Mall Alabang, The Mongolian Quick Stop is a delectable heaven for food trippers. The first time I ate here was when Papa took all four of us siblings to eat. Since then I loved the place! They prepare fresh veggies everyday, serving fresh lumpia, chopsuey and salad and they do not use monosodium glutamate or MSG to add flavor to the food. The thing that I admire the most is its wide variety of choices in their humble menu for a very affordable price. They also serve FREE soup along with your meal!
My honeyglazed chicken, egg, rice, soup & iced tea.


Deep-fried calamari with garlic & mayo dip

Thank you for the treat Mama & Papa!

They also offer food delivery via QuickDelivery.ph (or call 212-1212) and advance food order for pickup if you call the respective branch's phone line. Click here for more info. 
If you're tired of the usual fast-food and on a budget like me, I highly recommend Mongolian Quick Stop! You won't regret it!
x Iris

* Note: This is NOT a sponsored post.
Love is a commitment. This is what Tyler and I believed in. And this is our story. 
I am proud to say that after 6 months long distance, almost a year of engagement and 1 year of being together as a couple, we've finally tied the knot. What started as a stranger-to-stranger connection from Omegle quickly became guitar buddies and eventually... best friends and lovers.




The First Encounter
Tyler and I first met on Omegle on the night of Halloween 2010. I was bored from trying to play my guitar (coincidentally, my guitar's name is Tyler too) and looking for chords online when I decided to go on chat online around 11 or 12 AM and probably talk to somebody out of the blue just cause I couldn't sleep yet. According to Tyler, he just got off from his previous work and he got home, went on his computer and on Omegle.
I honestly couldn't remember what our first conversation is, but I ended up getting his Skype and Facebook. :D

The Chase

We shared a lot of things in common. What I liked most from him is that he knows how to carry a conversation and his neverending zest to be funny. He makes me laugh and has a lot of wit to back-up his humor. 
We mostly talked about guitars, music that we liked and recording songs. He gave me this demo mp3 of a song he made and I liked it. We swapped stuff that we wrote and sang and it became quite a habit. We talked day and night, even 8 hours on Skype! We bonded over How I Met Your Mother and both came to a conclusion that Barney Stinson and Marshall Eriksen are our favorite characters. I knew we liked each other but I knew it was impossible that there was something more to this. We live on the opposite ends of the world so it couldn't be what it should be.
He kept on asking me to approve the relationship request on Facebook, though I always tell him it shows as "sister (family) request" on mine. (Of course I was just dodging; I didn't wanna ruin a good friendship just yet). Still, he was persistent.
On November 11, 2010 he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes.

 The Long Distance Relationship


A lot of people have been skeptic as to why we were even striving hard to keep a long distance relationship working then when we haven't seen nor experienced being with each other in person.
There was even a time that breaking up crossed our minds and thought it would be better to let it go. We don't know when will be the day that he and I will finally meet and hold each other's hands.

In all honesty we were never sure of anything but one thing: we liked each other and we seemed to click. Don't get me wrong - we had our ups and downs like normal couples too but we managed to get past almost everything. Patience, trust and understanding truly pays off. We kept in contact for as long as we could and by summer he planned a trip to Philippines to visit me and my family.

 The Engagement
The first time Tyler visited Philippines was in May 2011 and he only had 3 weeks to stay. It's wonderful we didn't have any awkward moment from the first time we met each other. It's like... I have known him my whole life.
When Tyler & I first met in person (May, summer of 2011) 
After fetching him from the airport with my parents and drove to my condo, he popped the question and knelt on his knees with his mom's heirloom ring in his hand.
"Will you marry me?"
"Yes," I replied with a big smile :)

"Lucky I'm in love with my best friend..."
The Decision
Two months after, he returned here. The second time was in August 2011 and he extended his tourist visa up to February 2012 so he and I could spend more time like other normal couples. We had to make up for lost time.
Tagaytay (May 2011)
Enjoying our lovely summer together (May 2011)

We both decided to get married. We were sure of it. He asked my parents for their consent and knowing that they were quite strict, I thought they'd tell Tyler to wait 5 years or more. Surprisingly, after months of knowing him and seeing him mingle with us they liked him and finally gave their blessing.
At Rack's Mall Of Asia; (L-R) Me, Tyler, Tito Bing, my 2nd youngest sister Ia Mae, Mama & Papa 

The Preparation
We ditched our plan to get married by November 11, 2011 because we knew a lot of people would get married then. And plus, we wanted a new date to celebrate.
We gathered most of what we needed before Christmas. We went to the US Embassy, the city hall in the town I live in, seminars and everything. By end of January all of it was done.

 The Wedding



We got married January 25, 2012. It was a lovely Wednesday. We decided on that date because it was also my late grandfather's birthday. It was a simple celebration - just my parents (my siblings were aware of but they were at school so they couldn't attend) and a handful of close friends.
I couldn't ask for more. I'm glad to have him in my life now.
This is where our new life begins.

Tavolozza is on Tumblr!

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Follow my shop on Tumblr! http://tavolozza.tumblr.com

Pretty Things

Posted by Iris On 8:41 PM 0 comments
Cute embossed dress stickers from my youngest sister.

A journal I randomly bought for only PHP 35. I like the postcard cover very much.

x Iris
When the spark and smoke had died from the air after midnight, everybody knew it was a signal of a fresh new start. A brave new take on life. January 2 was ours.
My Christmas gift for Tyler not only ended with the English-Tagalog books I gave him because after the ceasefire from New Year's fireworks, we went to Festival Mall to claim his PHP 600 voucher I got from Ensogo (worth PHP 1339) for Jethro Shooting Range. It was 50 rounds of pure fun and ammunition.
When we got there it turns out he can't use the voucher cause he's a foreigner & they said only a local can use it (even though it wasn't stated in the Ensogo voucher terms & conditions; it only said it could be transferable as a gift). He had to avail of the PHP 3k package. I was sad because it was supposed to be my gift to him. Anyway, he said it's okay and that it was fate that maybe we were meant to go shoot some bullets together so he just told me to use the voucher myself. I was hesitant at first, but after Tyler's great persuasion skills I gave in to his request. We actually got 30% off according to the lady so he only had to pay PHP 2100 instead compared to this other shooting range we saw in Quezon City which was like PHP 1600 for each person, bullets not yet included.


He held a .45 mm caliber gun and I took the .9 mm caliber. His gun was louder than mine but when I was shooting he told me that mine was louder. I don't know, probably we went deaf! After getting used to the explosion and the recoil, everything was fine. It was actually fun! :P
 
We left the shooting range trigger-happy and as a deal for making me go shooting with him, he treated me to our favorite, New York Fries & Dip (NYFD) and a heap of Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

We bore with the liquid cheese dip because I only had one honey mustard & yep I used it up all.



Bullseye.

It was fulfilling to see Tyler happy, especially cause he was really into guns and skill-shooting. I practically shot the whole guy's body (see photo: left) - sorry black guy; but Tyler really hollowed out the guts on his (right)! 
I had fun too I must admit, even though gun shooting wasn't my thing. But hey! At least Tyler and I now have another thing in common! And plus, I kinda conquered the gun there. I might actually shoot again!
x Iris

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21 years old. BS Interior Design. Bookworm. Computer-savvy and internet geek. Loves coffee crumble & Heath ice cream and feel good music. I blog about arts, culture, music, food and fashion.

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"Happiness... it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." 

-Vincent Van Gogh

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