Monday, February 18, 2013

The Blind Pig

In a post-valentine Friday, my friends and I decided that we cannot flake out on our own plan for a romantic wine and cheese night on a roof top amongst girlfriends. Weeks before valentine's day, we marked our calendar. About two days into the big day, we learned that it couldn't be done. We had no Plan B. 

But then we didn't want to lose the date so we pursued Dawn's intriguing idea of going into this bespoke bar called The Blind Pig. It feels like the place is very reminiscent of an era where bootleegers run the show during the prohibition. 

After a harried dinner that came out by batches, we hurried to the supposed location. (Some of the girls arrived very late. Work interfered. Ha ha.) We walked as fast as our feet could muster. The bar can only hold our reservation 15 minutes after the reserved hour. Good thing Dawn and Sandra went ahead. 

Dawn sent me a text for the direction: Just walk straight to Gamboa turn left to Salcedo. Finding the street was easy enough but the bar is unsigned. Anyone can easily miss it. And the door's locked. There's no tell-tale sign that it's the location. In fact, no one gets in without a reservation. 

After a moment's hesitation, Mara bravely knocked on a nondescript door. A peephole opened and she had to say the password, "we're with Dawn Niekamp." We're buzzed in and off we enter. 

The bar is characteristically dark but without the loud music. The place before me reminded me of scenes lifted out of those books I read that features New Orleans -- dark, exclusive and oozing with jazz and blues. All through the night, I kept hoping there will be a live performance on sax. 

We came to drink. And so we took a sip of Sandra's and Dawn's to help us decide which one on the menu to order. Curiously, I ordered something off the menu. We were told that the bartender could concoct any drink based on our mood. 

So, I told our bar man, Dave to recommend one for me. He asked if I want vodka based or something else. I told him to surprise me. A few minutes later I got myself a martini glass with a frothy mix of tequila, cucumber, egg white and something. It was my Pipino Drink. Tasted, okay. 

The other girls had exotic drinks. Here are Mara's. (Photos grabbed from Mara's Instagram)

I was playing with Vine so I was able to capture 6 seconds of our adventure. 
video

Interestingly, the house rules are way too cool not to be published here. Read on. Ladies and gentlemen of the Blind Pig
  1. Keep their drinks, tempers and voices down
  2. See our hostess when they desire to speak with a guest at a different table 
  3. Mind their manners and those of their guests
  4. Enjoy their seats at all times (except when they're in transit)
  5. Hardly partake in flash photography and smokes outside the bar
And the comfort room is amazing. For a bar, you'd expect the worst. But hey, it has the softest tissue paper and sweet smelling scented red candle burning the midnight oil. 

Interestingly, the shepherd's pie tasted really good. I loved it. (Am not a fan so imagine my delight.) And the bar's version of gourmet popcorn. It sat on a bed of rosemary! Whoa. 

So, if you want a taste of a concept bar sans the overly loud music and scantily dressed women come to the Blind Pig for cerebral drinks, lovely conversation and old-world ambiance. 

Three days later, am still thinking about the Russian Hug I had before we called it a night. It had vodka, sliced strawberries and a large rock of ice.

Why don't you reserve a seat and see for yourself? 

The Blind Pig
227 Salcedo St. Corner Gamboa St
Legaspi Village

0917 549 2264

Hope you find it. 

XX

Sheng

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine

This is not my personal valentine story. It is a collective valentine celebration of people who works in one of the coolest companies on earth. We, at Avon have a penchant for celebrating public holidays, the Avon way. 

Today is no exception. We were in for a treat! Paolo Santos (@misteracoustic on twitter) serenaded everyone with his trademark croon. When it was first announced via email that he would be our guest, I was skeptical. I thought there wasn't anything exciting about it. 

But I love 'Midnight over Paris,' so I went up to our 10th floor hallway to listen/watch. We arrived at the floor packed with so many associates. So, we crept our way there at the front where we had a good vantage view of the guests. 

The misteracoustic had me at the first notes of 'Get here'; we hummed along. Then it hit me, his kind of music were the ones on heavy rotation when I was in my 20s. Now, I hardly turn on the radio so I am clueless about new songs, new artists. And am hopeless with lyrics! We had to Google 'Moonlight over Paris' so we can sing along out-of-tune. Ha ha.

Going back to Paolo, he didn't disappoint with his performance. He played with panache. He entertained us so well, we more clamoring for more. 

Thank you, Paolo for a mini-concert. We had a blast. 
happy faces!
My Avon valentine got even better. We were given this tasty cupcakes as a treat. And of course, this morning I received a single rose. I can't properly thank the person who gave it because there was no note. But whoever you are, am sure you're a good friend. So, thank you. Happy valentine to you, too. 

And this yummy bucket-full of chocolates from Dawn with a beautiful hand illustration of my name and an icon of me -- java cup!

Dear Avon Philippines, thank you for making this day an awesome corporate valentine.  We feel the love. You rock, Avon! This barrio girl is in valentine heaven!

Happy valentine, everyone.

XX

Monday, February 11, 2013

Art Galore

I cannot claim to be an art lover. I only know one thing, a gallery always interest me. I take the time to look at the pieces especially the ones that are pretty, vivid and astonishing to behold. I only know of a few artists -- the one I can recognize the works like Cacnio and Orlina. 

Needless to say, I have vowed to myself that one day I will own my piece of art. What deters me? Well, the price of a painting can be prohibitive. But it has always been in my bucket list. 

Almost a decade ago, I came across this artist Berny Supsupin. He's the husband of my former boss. The first time I met him was in their townhouse. Upon entry to the foyer, there was this large painting of a scenery that depicts a feast. I was awestruck. It was beyond beautiful. Since then, I've never stopped telling him that one day, I would own one of his works. 

Years passed. Life took over. And then in October of last year, I got married. We invited them but distance and time prevented them from going. Would have loved to have them there. They knew me when I was a bit younger and still unsure of what life has to offer me -- having long conversations and dinner with them. And am sentimental like that.

But I had a surprise waiting. This beautiful painting was handed out to me by Ms Mitzie (the wife and my former boss). Whoa. Beautiful.
Musikero (24"x 18")
I promised to myself that our home shall have more pieces from Mr Berny. Just waiting for God's appointed time that we get to own our dream home. 

Some of his pieces that are on display at his gallery. 
Dragon Fly
Gold Fish
Mother and Child

Musikeros
Fish Vendor
To see more of his more, check him out at: 
Art Studio, 5-F waling waling st., Nieves Hills Subd San Isidro, Angono, Rizal  
(in front of INC Church). 

XX

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Make Out Red

I rarely go gaga over a lipstick. Excuse me, lippy. It seems like this is the hip term, nowadays. How does Make Out Red sound to you? When we were handed out samples of the new Avon Lipsticks called Totally Kissable, I eagerly ripped out its shrink wrap, twisted it and glide it on my lips.

I have this uncanny ability to put color on my lips without the aid of a mirror. I just sort of feel my way around my lips. And so when that first glide felt like a smooth butter, I had to see the result. 

In the semi-darkness of the Mandarin Oriental's ballroom under yellow lights, I borrowed a friends mirror and gasped. Whoa. It's a lovely shade of red. Make Out Red, indeed. Just right for the occasion to lip lock. Or amps up the probability of it.

There are 10 Totally Kissable shades to choose from Make Out Red to Berry Smooch!Intrigued enough? Take your pick here

Now, if you're a lipstick monster just like Anne Curtis (Avon Color endorser) then, you might just want to get them all. 

XX

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mango

Over the years, I've noticed my changing affinity to brands is largely influenced by my ever progressing and changing body shape. The change is not on the up-side. However, I've learned to dress for my shape. 

Yes, I know that I should engage in a healthy activities that will help me control my weight. Whilst getting there, I have to face the realities of dressing for my body, now. 

Right now, the choices are fewer than I would have wanted . But you accept the cards you're dealt with. So, you're lucky when certain brands offer a better alternative. Take for example, Mango. The price (average  = P1,400) point is just right. The quality never fails to impress me. I have clothes that lasted me years. And the styles are up to my alley. I gravitate towards basic styles because I don't want to over-think on my clothes choices. 

If there's a wash and wear hair, to me, there's also a wash and wear type of dresses. Every morning in the shower, I already think about what I'd wear. Oftentimes, I get it right without a mirror to help me figure it out. 
This black shift dress would be a no brainer.
On those days that you feel like the fiery side of you must come out.
On off days, the casual basics come in handy. And for a tropical country where heat and humidity are part of everyday life, breathable cotton is the way to go. 
And for those dress up nights or days, this dress is perfect. Hello, summer!

I am constantly amazed at how life in the city is different from my barrio. Where I come from mango is a fruit -- we eat it either green or ripe. But in the big city, Mango is worn summer or rainy days. And yeah, they're both available season.
XX