Never Take Yourself Seriously, Or You’re Finished

Fashion, Uncategorized

manolo

This is a quote from a documentary I recently watched on Netflix.  Manolo, The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards is an adorable portrait of the shoe king, Manolo Blahnik.  It’s an interesting look on how he started out and managed to still be relevant up to this day.

It was during my time in uni when I first learned about this shoe designer.  I was studying clothing design at that time so flipping thru fashion magazines had become a past time if not a necessity to keep up with what’s going on in the industry and these glossies, particularly Vogue, always had an ad featuring the designer’s sketch.  He was (and still is) aspirational— and I can’t blame Carrie Bradshaw for worshiping his shoes.

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At 75, one would think that he is just working in the background of his shoe empire but as the documentary portrays, he is very hands-on from designing to actually making the samples.  This is very rare even with the younger generations.  The dedication to his craft can’t be faulted.

Watching this made me admire him more (and miss my designing days).  His cheeky personality, the way he dresses, as well as his mannerisms are very endearing.  There’s a re-enactment of that time when he first met with Diana Vreeland and it was really funny.  I would probably do the same if I was standing next to a fashion legend.  Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Isaac Mizrahi, among other personalities are featured in the documentary too.

B3W

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Culture Vulture | Fire Station Museum

Culture, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

The art movement in Qatar is in its infancy but it has a lot of potential.  Not only that the government is very keen in amassing a good wealth of artwork from all over but is determined in developing talents within the country.  A perfect example of this is the Fire Station Museum which originally housed the fire brigade.  The idea of recycling a Civil Defense building to become an art hotspot is superb!  But it doesn’t stop there.  Qatar’s Museum Authority uses this hub to hone emerging creatives thru their residency program which I believe is what needed to propel the country as an art destination.

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Photo Credit: Veronica Yu

Last week, we made a quick visit (my first) and on display is the German Encounters exhibit.  It’s a very interesting collection of works that range from photographs to paintings to the mundane (stovetop?).  According to the museum’s website, these pieces are from the Deutsche Bank Collection.  I am neither an art critic nor enthusiast but I appreciate the idea and effort they put into this.

Here are some photos I took during my visit.

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Just looking around…

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There’s a section where you can submit words from your native language as well.  I spotted some Ilocano (a dialect in the Philippines) words in the mix.

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I don’t know but this reminds me of those beach hats Koreans wear when travelling in the Philippines. 

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That girl is working it!

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This can be a good fabric print!

There’s also Cafe #999 in the compound for when you need a break from all the walking and looking around.  They serve breakfast so this can be a good option during the weekend .  Next to the cafe is an art supply store where you can buy all the stuff you need for your next masterpiece. LOL.

So, have you been?

B3W

And The Show Continues…

Life, Random, Uncategorized

Hola! I am back from my blog slumber.  A friend keeps on reminding me to write something soon.  Maybe I enjoyed the holidays too much (though it wasn’t really hectic and I actually spent mine at work).  Or I’m just not ready to blog about anything yet.  Or I got lazy.  (The last one seems most accurate).

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But something happened today.  I received an invitation to a farewell brunch from a close friend who stopped talking to me more than two months ago for some mysterious reason.  I say mysterious because I didn’t exactly understand what happened and why all of a sudden she stopped responding to my messages.  We even had lunch a week before  and been texting everyday after that like we normally do.  I’ve reached out several times and got no response except on two occasions when I greeted her on her birthday and she replied with “Thanks” and during the holidays when I got the almost meaningless, mandatory response “Thanks, Merry Christmas too”—responses you’d expect from an acquaintance.  So getting the email this morning was a bit of shock.  I’m conflicted in the sense that I want to say yes to the invitation but considering the current status of our friendship, I reckon it will be too awkward and going just because doesn’t cut it.

I get the idea that sometimes friends drift apart.  I thought maybe I’m just too difficult to deal with.  But it was too sudden like someone hit their head and got some form of amnesia or something.  That’s life I guess. People change.  Relationships end.  I tried and nobody can tell me I didn’t.  Maybe she has her reasons.  I don’t know.  I’m not saying the door is shut.  I’m still hopeful for a resolution of some kind.  Or at the very least, answers.  I wish her well and genuinely hopes her the best in life.  But like what I said in my previous post, I’ve learned that we shouldn’t force things.  Some are meant to happen, some don’t.  Some last, some don’t.  You get the idea.

This post may seem like a downer but I’m human like everyone else.  You know, ups and downs.  I’ll make sure to change the tone in my next post.  I promise.  LOL.

 

B3W

 

 

 

In Photos | Christmas 2017 In Doha

Culture, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

For the fifth consecutive year, I’m celebrating the yuletide here in the sandpit and away from home.  Some of you who have never stepped foot in this part of the world may think that Christmas in the desert is not the same as in the Philippines or Europe or in the US.  It may be true to some extent (Qatar is a Muslim country so Christmas is not really considered a holiday—yes, we work on Christmas…and New Year’s too) but most of the things you enjoy or traditions you do back home to make this season memorable can be replicated here as well.

Oh, and cheat week (month is more precise?) is enforced.  Yay for turkey!

Dinner at the Mestarihis

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But first, photo op…:-)

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and another one

(Early) Media Noche Feast at Sabai Thai

The lobby at Westin Doha.

And then, gluttony (I love my Asian food).

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Welcome drinks at Sabai Thai

Care for some papaya salad?

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Taking a break

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Cheers to all the hardworking expats in Doha!

Night Out at the Souq

Shisha? Turkish coffee? Souq?  Sign me up!

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Bring it on 2018! I’m ready for you!

***

It was a great week despite the fact that I was alone at home—a first in five years I’ve been staying in Doha.  I would have gone out more, maybe visited some museums, but I was too lazy.  Must be the weather.  LOL.  I had fun and I hope everyone enjoyed theirs as well.

Cheers!

 

B3W

 

Razzle Dazzle | The $40,000 Balmain Jacket

Fashion, Uncategorized

So the $40,000 question is: Would you buy it?

The crystal encrusted baseball jacket which apparently took two months to make and has the words BALMAIN ARMY featured at the back is Oliver Rousteing’s answer to men’s wear “revolution” and attributed to the fact that now, men are more keen in adopting “glamour without feeling ridiculous”.

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There’s enough glitz in Balmain’s Pre-Fall Menswear collection (Photo: Instagram)

Can you handle the bling? Or the price tag?  It’s the season of excess so this may be the perfect gift for yourself or that man in your life who has everything (or needs a bit of sparkle).

What do you think?

B3W

Bargain Eats | Bin Mahmoud, Doha

Lifestyle, The Hitlist, Tummy Adventure, Uncategorized

Let’s establish some truths first.

Fact number one: Expensive doesn’t always mean good food.

Fact number two: Everybody loves to eat.

Fact number three: Everybody loves to eat cheap!

Bin Mahmoud is sort of like an oasis to a foodie.  It will satisfy most of your cravings and you’ll never get bored as there are plenty of options.  No exaggeration.  Here are some of the best bargain eats in the area.

Tofu House

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Who’s hungry? (Photo: Facebook)

The king of Al Jazeera Street.  This Korean restaurant is the best in the area IMHO.  Their jjampong and chicken wings (Korean style) are enough reason for you to visit this joint. They recently expanded and now has a bigger dining space but is usually packed in the evening so it is best to call and reserve a table in advance.

Khao San

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Sawadee khrup! (Photo: Facebook)

The new player in the vicinity.  I had the green curry tofu when I first went to this restaurant and it did not disappoint.  I love it mak mak.  It gives you that feeling of being in one of those eateries in Bangkok.  The staff (who are mostly Filipinos I believe) are very attentive and they engage customers in small talks (so you don’t feel alone when dining by yourself lol).

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I want my Mango Sticky Rice now…

Falafel Al-Akawi

On a tight budget?  Then Falafel Al-Akawi can be your best friend especially during that critical week before month-end.  A basic falafel sandwich from this joint is four riyals.  Yes, FOUR.  Service is quick, food is tasty, prices are super affordable.  Plus many say this is one of the best falafel places in Doha.  And did I mention they are open 24/7? Go now.  No judgment here.

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Empty tummy no more! (Photo: Facebook)

Silversticks

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Why did I give up meat again? (Photo: Facebook)

Who doesn’t like shawarma?  C’mon, it’s the ultimate comfort food (Khaleeji-style).  And for a small price (12 riyals), you can have a big chicken shawarma sandwich which again, in my opinion, is really yummy (my pretentious plant-based self is aching to have one at this very moment).  They also have grilled meats and seafood in their menu so choices are not limited.

Al Aker Sweets

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Ricotta overload!

Craving for something sweet?  It was only recently when I found out about their branch on Al Jazeera Street and now it’s just a short walk from home to get fresh from the oven knafeh (the best Middle Eastern dessert IMO).  Lucky me!

***

So give those fancy schmancy restaurants a rest and go cheap.  There will be no need to dress-up and your bank account will sing you praises if you do.  But just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean you have an excuse to eat two servings.  Everything in moderation, please.

 

B3W

 

 

Hello, 2018

Random, Uncategorized

No, this is not a post about meaningless resolutions.  I mean, who does that seriously anyway?  Not me, for sure.

2017 is coming to an end and I am excited to welcome the new year with a renewed hope and a positive outlook that life will work out for the better.  This year has been full of challenges (and I will leave it at that).  I wouldn’t say it’s the worst year.  Just know that working away from home is not the easiest but I am grateful to have friends and family who are always there when you need them, always ready to assist in any way they can.  A bit of faith helped too.

This year taught me a lot.  But the one thing that I find most valuable is learning not to force things.  Not everything you want, you get.  Even if you tell me you worked your ass hard in getting something, one has to realize that these efforts are just a small part of a bigger, more complex equation.  You can whine and complain all you want but there are more Xs and Ys that contribute to the end result.  And the best you can do is to embrace whatever life gives you and try again (if you must) if it doesn’t give you a favorable outcome.  Do not waste time contemplating on failures.  Just learn to let go and move on.  (Yes, exactly like that random quote you see in your Instagram feed…what flows, flows, what crashes, crashes.)

 

B3W

 

The Last-Minute Holiday Planner | Veronica’s Cypriot Adventure

Lifestyle, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

I haven’t posted anything in a while (been busy) so I begged(I’m exaggerating, LOL) my dear friend, Veronica, to do a guest post in my blog.  She obliged (thankfully) and did an article about her recent trip to Cyprus.  Here you go.  Read up and be inspired.

***

It is almost the year-end so I thought it’s time to use up some of my annual leave and have a quick, short escape from Qatar.  Not having the luxury of much time to plan the trip ahead, I had a look to see where I can get some sun and warmth in mid-November within a 5 hour flying time from Qatar.

There I found Cyprus…

The Larnaca-Limassol Experience

Flying to Larnaca from Doha takes around four hours direct.  Landed in Larnaca, picked up the rental car and there the adventure started.  Within a 20-minute drive from the airport, we reached the centre of Larnaca.   Being an island, Cyprus benefits from its coastlines; Larnaca focuses their developments along the sea front with restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops lining the promenade and lounge chairs along the beach.  It is a nice stroll around the city centre with a mix of old and new.  We turned a corner and came across the late ninth century AD Ayios Lazaros Church.

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Ayios Lazaros Church

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The old

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and the new

The next day we started our road trip around the island, with Limassol being our next stop.  Limassol is Cyprus’s second city and has recently transformed itself into the definition of laidback Mediterranean living.  It has a brand new Marina development, and the town is bustling with cafes, bars and restaurants that are as popular with locals as with visitors.

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Relaxing in Limassol

Nature Is Calling

For a bit of change from the city, we ventured into Troodos Mountain which is around an hour drive from Limassol.  We stopped at the open market full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Where do I start?

The hike to Kaledonia Waterfall gave us an opportunity to exercise, breathe in the fresh air and be one with nature. The beautiful colours of autumn can be seen along the hike, along with the stream running down from the top, it was a refreshing and scenic hike.  There were a couple of times where we had to cross the river and hop on and off slippery stones, but making to the top did not disappoint us.

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Kaledonia Waterfall

To stick with the nature theme, we opted to stay in a Village House for the night. It was a bit different from the usual hotel stay, but making our own fire for the fire-place kind of made it cosy and all ok though we were in fact staying in the middle of nowhere.

Going Back In Time

The next impressive destination is the ancient site of Kourion. The site perches dramatically on a hillside overlooking the sea, it is one of the most important archaeological sites on the island. The ‘House of Eustolios’ was originally a private villa that was turned into a public recreation centre during the early Christian period. The remains of the building has been kept very well and it was obvious where the columns, the baths and the mosaic floors were.  I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been during the time.

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Remains of the beautiful mosaic

Then there is the magnificent 2,000-seat Greco-Roman amphitheater overlooking the sea. The theatre has been well restored and is still used for open air musicals and theatrical performances in the summer months.

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Very impressive

Are We Still In Cyprus?

After a few lazy days in Paphos and Ayia Napa, we crossed the border into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. There have been mixed reviews on the internet about venturing to Northern Cyprus, given the presence of the military, razor wire and guard posts.  Anyhow, we found Northern Cyprus added to our travel experience.  The difference between Northern Cyprus and the remainder of the country was immediately felt as we crossed the border.  It could be because of the fact that we have visited Turkey before and so it was not such a ‘shock’ to us as to many described on the internet.  On the other hand, we felt that the place has its own character and charm.

Girne

Girne (Kyrenia) is a beautiful harbour town in Northern Cyprus. The Byzantine Castle is stunning, with a horseshoe-shaped inlet filled with yachts and fishing boats and the narrow twisty lanes of the Old Town, it gives a relaxed atmosphere of the town.

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Kyrenia Harbour

The City With Two Faces

Nicosia is the divided capital city of Cyprus.  A border crossing is available for pedestrians off Ledra Street, which is a popular street for shopping, eating and drinking.  Wandering around the Turkish side of Nicosia made me feel like I was back in time in an old Turkish bazaar.  The Selimiye Mosque was also an interesting visit.  It used to be a Cathedral (St. Sophia’s Cathedral), completed in 1228 and was converted to a mosque in 1570.  The mosque as it stands now, features architecture of both mosque and cathedral and these characteristics are blended into one large impressive building that has survived the test of time, including numerous earthquakes.

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Selimiye Mosque/ St. Sophia’s Cathedral

Not to forget to mention is that in Cyprus, olive trees are everywhere.  Hence, its famous for home grown olive oil, olives and associated products—all full of flavours.

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Green and black olives!

During this trip, we get to learn something new – carob.  We have been told that this is a super food and people have been using it for health benefits for over 4,000 years now. Some say carob has a similar taste to chocolate hence sometimes it is referred to as its substitute.  I tried it and I have to say that I still prefer chocolate!

Overall, we enjoyed the trip to Cyprus lots.  This island has so much to offer – the sun, sea, beach, city life, sleek restaurants, trendy bars, ancient ruins, harbours, impressive architecture, villages, mountains, waterfalls, fruit trees, great tasting food, and friendly people – all on one island.  We managed to experience something different every day due to the close proximity of places of interest to one another.  It even felt like we have been to different countries at times! I would love to go back to Cyprus again one day for sure.

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I’m sold.  I am putting this on my list of countries to visit.  How about you?

***

You can follow Veronica’s travel adventures in her Instagram page.

The Hitlist | All-White Kicks

Fashion, The Hitlist, Uncategorized
The all-white kicks can be the starting point from which you can build your looks.  It is very versatile that it has become a staple—a wardrobe must!  Wear it with jeans, shorts or even a suit any day of the year (yes, including winter).  Also, I like how it softens a blazer look, making it more young and approachable.
To help you find the perfect pair, scroll down to see some of the best white sneakers you can get online (or in the mall if that’s how you roll, grandpa).

Common Projects

The king of them all—the Achilles Low has a minimalist, logo-free design (read: bullshit free) and looks very luxe.  It’s the grown-up man’s sneakers.  (Can someone gift me a pair this Christmas? I’m size 40, thanks!)
Common Projects Original Achilles Low.  Get it from SSENSE.

Maison Martin Margiela

It’s not entirely white but if you’re into army trainers then this is for you.  It is very chic in a retro kind of way.

Maison Martin Margiela Replica Sneakers.  Get it from SSENSE.

Converse

Cuffed jeans and high top Chucks. ‘Nuff said.

Or you can opt for the low-cut version if that’s more your style.

Converse_CTConverse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneakers.  Get it from Amazon.

Adidas

Get this if leather or canvas is not your thing and if you want something that looks more sporty.
Adidas Originals NMD R1 Primeknit Sneakers.  Get it from Stylebop.

Acne Studios

Another no-nonsense pair.  Very straightforward and I like the contrast of the white leather against the thick gum sole.
Acne Studios White Adrian Sneakers.  Get it from SSENSE.

Valentino

Again, an option that is not “all-white”.  The bold color stripe lifts up this shoe to the next level.  Get it in your favorite color.
Valentino Garavani Open Sneakers.  Get it from SSENSE.
 ***
Oh, and to those who have some degree of self-control left in them (please ignore if you don’t), it’s Black Friday in a few days so you know what that means.  😉
B3W

Table For One | Paper Moon Doha

Tummy Adventure, Uncategorized

It’s Thursday and none of my colleagues from work felt like going out for lunch.  I wasn’t mindful of the time and forgot to order food so the inevitable happened—I dined solo. This is not the first time though as I enjoy having a meal in a restaurant by myself every now and then—no judgy friends watching me stuff my face with food. And I’m not worried about being looked upon pitifully by the staff. LOL

I work at Jaidah Square so I went to the nearest food place—Paper Moon.  Call me lazy but I was wearing my Doc Marten’s (read: gym weights attached to your feet) and didn’t feel like walking to check other restaurants in the area.  Also, I know what to expect from this place.  Decision justified.

I chose to sit outside since the weather is amazing.  Never mind that it’s the smoking area (I’ve stopped months ago), the outdoor seating in this restaurant is quite nice.

And then the food.

I went straight to their business lunch menu of course (glad they have this on offer) and ordered these.

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Mozzarella and tomato with basil

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Garlic pasta using home made square spaghetti

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Cheesecake with white chocolate shavings

The appetizer is what you’d expect from a caprese salad.  Flavor wise, the pasta dish is good.  However, the texture of the spaghetti reminded me of ramen noodles which is a bit weird.  It’s my first time to try this home made square spaghetti so I’m not sure if that’s the intention here.  The dessert tasted good BUT it’s a bit mushy—like it was in the freezer then defrosted before serving. #justbeingreal

The staff was attentive and didn’t give me the “poor-you-you’re-alone” look so that somehow made this visit worthwhile.

Overall, it was a good one hour of me time.  One hour of being invisible (in a good way) and not caring about my garlic breath.  LOL.  You should do it sometime if you haven’t tried eating alone in a restaurant.  It can be liberating and you might learn a thing or two about yourself, who knows.

B3W