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Mid-Foot Strike! (Newton Running)

I’m a slug…  Really…  I am.  I eat, sleep, go to work, eat, sleep.  In the middle of that, I’m able to squeeze in a few hours of quality time with my wife and kids.  Oh!  My wife and I also get a weekly massage from our favorite home spa.

Why is it then, do I have a photograph of a pair of Newton Running shoes?  Well, it involves a floor-to-ceiling mirror, an ever tightening pair of pants and my wife thinking of a name for my belly.

It wasn’t always this way.  There was a time, I could be called “sporty”.  Athletic even!  Well…  Not really.  But!  But!  I was living a fairly active life.  Involving myself in a mutitude of leisure sport activities, such as, but not limited to:  futbol, golf, scuba diving, basketball, badminton, partying (?), hanging out at the beach every weekend (?), and many other activities similar to the foregoing.

So it was, while dining in a restaurant called Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5, that my business partner convinced my wife and I to take up running.  We don’t really know how it happened.  Somewhere between the phad thai and the beef rendang, we said yes.  Oh, well…

Half an hour later, we found ourselves in Bonifacio High Street registering for our first run.  My wife was prudent enough to join the 3K run.  But, because I was a fool and the thought of running a paltry distance of 3K just didn’t sit right with my masculine side, I registered for a 10K run.  Yes, a 10K run.  Hah!  (Chest thump).  Of course, after realization set in, self-doubt began to take over.  I realized that I’ve never run continuously for more than 3 kilometers in my life.  What if I don’t finish?!

Lovingly, my wife took my arm, looked at me with her most supportively determined face and said, “Looking good is more important.  We must get new shoes!”  (I swear that in that moment, I saw fire in her eyes).  She led me across the gardens to RUNNR and without batting an eyelash began to select her new running outfit.  I, on the other hand, methodically examined the numerous shoes offered.  They were categorized under “stability”, “cushioning” or “neutral”.  Not understanding why, I turned to the salesperson for some help and was told that people have different ways of running so I had to choose the right kind of shoes in order not to get injured.  He guided me to a contraption that would help analyze my gait.  Anyway, after all of that, I ended up with the Newton Running shoes in the photograph.  Needless to say, my wife was already at the cashier with her Newtons and a “few” other items such as her Nike shorts and a running top from Equipe.

Newtons are very comfortable.  The sole offers a lot of cushioning and support, while the portion called the “upper” is soft and well ventilated.  What sets it apart though, are the “lugs” located in the forefoot area of the sole.  This design forced me to correct the way I strike the road when I run, aside from the fact that they offer a lot of shock absorption.  Newton Running takes the science so seriously that there are even on-line tutorials (Go to YouTube and type in “Newton Running”) on how to best use the shoes.  Cool!

We’ve been running an average of 5K every other night since then (We’re night owls) and I did finish my 10K run.  Amazingly, my back, legs and knees don’t hurt after every run.  Our Newtons really work as promised and it has helped my wife and I find a common sport that we can enjoy together.

On to the next run!

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Locked In (Tiffany & Co.)

 Jewelry…  One of the ways to a woman’s heart…  100% sure to bring a smile to her face…  and a man to his financial knees.  Happily, though, we oblige our significant other.  To keep the peace?  Yes.  But, more importantly, it gives us regular guys so much fulfillment to bring happiness to the ones we love.  Be it purchased or otherwise.

I sense that a growing anticipation will be triggered by the previous paragraph.  Your interest, dear reader, has been piqued.  Questions begin to swirl around in your head…  What kind of jewelry did he buy for her?  Was it expensive?  Did she like it?  Alas…  None of that happened.  But, I have to tell you that I was tempted.

Nina, Monika, Lana and Gabby of Rustan’s

Why is it then, that I am writing about jewelry when I didn’t buy anything?  Well, it just so happens that I was invited by Rustan’s to attend and cover the launch of a new collection of vintage inspired yet contemporary “Tiffany Locks” from Tiffany & Co.  I can tell you right now, if the wife were with me, it would have been the end of this blog because I wouldn’t have money left to pay for my internet connection.

The “Tiffany Locks”, made of 18k gold, sterling silver, or a combination of both (a couple of which are in the photo above), are attention grabbers.  They are actually quite innovative.  Taking a mundane, everyday tool such as a lock and turning it into elegant jewelry is remarkable.  It reminds me of the charms in numerous shapes little girls have hanging from their necklaces or their bracelets.  Unlike those, though, these Locks give women a certain allure that says feminine rather than girly, modern rather than new and vibrant as opposed to just plain fun.  The Locks look so good that I would really like to gift a couple to my wife.

Tessa Prieto-Valdes with the lucky winners of Tiffany Locks

The event, hosted by Cosplay Queen, Tessa Prieto-Valdes (referring to the host as the “Cosplay Queen” is cool and not at all derisive), had all the elements of vintage-comtemporary style.  The patented “Tiffany Blue” color was used to accentuate the elegantly festive atmosphere successfully as guests were milling around the display cases pulling out their credit cards to purchase pieces from the new collection.  Those guests that chose to rein in their desires did not have to look sullenly upon the beautiful jewelry as uniformed waiters were roaming the room with very delicious canapes (I was snacking the entire night), refreshing cocktails and over-flowing champagne courtesy of Bizu Patisserie.  The highlight of the night came when twelve guests were chosen and given the chance to win beautiful Tiffany Locks by opening the four display cases they were contained in.  Everyone watched as the chosen guests prayed that the key they were given would open the display cases.  There were a few tense moments, but everyone cheered when all four display cases were opened.  Even those of us who weren’t chosen to participate were caught up in the euphoria.  As the night ended and the guests were merrily going home with their purchases and prizes in little blue shopping bags hanging from their wrists, I take one last look at the jewelry on display and make a mental note for the future.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Magnificent (Magnanni)

 For those people who have read my previous posts, they would know that I have this thing for shoes.  Dress shoes.  The kind that guys like me who have shunned the corporate world don’t have any practical use for.  Yes, we may, on occassion, have the need to slip our feet into handmade leather loafers.  But, since these occassions are quite few and far between, a couple of pairs would be sufficient.

Right…

As if a woman would be satisfied with just a couple of bags…

Anyway, I was aimlessly walking around the mall one day, enjoying its cool, airconditioned confines.  As it was an aimless wandering, I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going.  When I was just about done with my Chai Tea Latte, I looked around for a rubbish bin to dispose of my cup.  I asked a person in uniform for some help and realized that the uniform looked familiar.  Taking stock of my surroundings, it dawned on me that my wanderings have taken me into the men’s department of Rustan’s Makati…  Again…

Emotions of guilt and joy swept through me.  Or was it joy first and then guilt?  Joyful guilt?  Guiltful joy?  Whatever…  A plausible excuse must be found to placate my wife’s growing irritation at my increasing clothing bill.  But, wait!  I have not done anything wrong!  It was not my fault that I am back in Rustan’s!  My feet brought me here!  Yes!  My feet!  I had nothing do to with it, so there.

Satisfied that I have not done anything wrong, I finally glanced down at the magnificent pair of Magnanni shoes I have been cradling in my hands while I was undergoing my mental discourse.  Called the “Belton”, its exquisite brown sheen, delicate buckle, hand-sewn leather and the combination leather sole for the forefoot and rubber sole for the heel made me think about the movie Ocean’s Thirteen and how it was able to tastefully blend laid back elegance, impeccable style (care of world-renowned Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue), and careless wealth.

As much as I loved to imagine myself putting on a bespoke shirt, a light linen suit, slipping into these Magnanni shoes and getting into a Maserati Quattroporte (I am a family man, after all), reality must step in.  For the meantime, the shoes must be put back into its display stand and I must walk back to the parking garage, get into my vintage 4×4 and drive home.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Save My Skin! (Celeteque)

 You know how it is with guys and skin care?  That the two don’t mix?  Well, that’s just not true.  We are concerned about our skin.  It just takes a while for us to get to the point where we consciously seek out ways to improve and protect our “outer layer”.

We start out quite simply enough by popping our own pimples (apparently a big no-no) that were brought about by puberty.  Gradually, we move on to the commercially available astringents (another big no-no) that were used by our yayas (nannies).  It sort of tapers-off in college (buying skin care products cuts into our beer budget) then steps up again when we enter the corporate world.

The thing is, it’s just not enough.  In my case, years of futbol (soccer for the other half of the world), golf, scuba diving, hanging out at the beach and plain neglect have taken it’s toll.  This realization came to me while in bed engrossed in a game on my iPad.  I suddenly felt the urge to take better care of my skin.  With a jolt, I got out of bed and made a bee-line for my wife’s stash of beauty products (my wife is a dermatologist and skin care products for men make me break out).

After a few minutes of digging, I settled on an anti-wrinkle facial moisturizer by Celeteque Advanced which is pictured here.  It has a “Double Peptide Comlex” that is supposed to penetrate deep into the skin to help stimulate the formation of collagen.  It’s in a cream form which you pump out of the bottle (store it upside-down, otherwise, all you get is air).  And, surprisingly, the mositurizer doesn’t make me look like I just dipped my face in a vat of oil.  I’ve been using it morning and evening for a few days now and I haven’t broken-out yet.  Very encouraging…

I must recommend this to my yaya…

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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James Bondish… (Hackett)

 Ever since the time I decided to eschew the corporate life, I have been waking up with a smile on my face.  No more rush hour traffic.  No more long days.  And, I think more importantly, no more restrictive dress code.  My suits have been relegated to the back of my closet to make space for my casual, but otherwise, smart daily wear.

Of course, I’m not saying that I now look like a slob.  I still do appreciate clothes that are stylish and well-made.  It’s just that, rather than conveying a message of competition and assertion, I would like to think that the way I dress now conveys warmth and acceptance.  I think…

I do still work.  And, because of the nature of my profession (which I am trying to keep a secret), I still have meetings scheduled throughout the work week.  The difference is, the meetings are now more relaxed and informal.  Much like a meeting between friends.

Anyway, my more casual work wardrobe needed a little spiffing up.  Visa suggested that I shop around for a light sport coat that can be used for daytime appointments and not so formal evening functions.  Mastercard readily agreed.  And so, for the nth time, my credit cards find themselves in the men’s department of Rustan’s Makati trying to jump out of my wallet.

Being a regular guy, I made a mental map of the selling area and chose a route to follow.  After about half an hour, I was on my way to an elevated portion when I spied a blue jacket, which is pictured here, by Hackett of London that was left hanging in one of the fitting rooms.  It caught my eye because it was the first time I had seen something like it.  After ensuring that the room was empty, I entered to get closer to the item.  Maybe it was the yellow lighting in the room, I don’t know?  Called a “Blue Delave”, its soft blue color and luxuriously light linen fabric reminded me of the ocean, an immaculate shore line, and an ice-cold Daiquiri with those little umbrellas.  Or, maybe I’ve just been watching too many James Bond movies…

It wasn’t much of a fight, really.  I knew that this was the jacket I’ve been looking for.  It looks good.  It will go with the clothes I already have and it’s perfect for the tropics.  This is one time I gladly handed over my existence to the sales person and signed on the dotted line.

Now…  What to tell the wife…

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Machiavelli is Filipino! (Machiavelli Chocolatier)

I love the rain.  The weather gets a little bit cooler.  Streets and buildings get a much needed wash down.  The leaves on trees and plants glisten with their coat of water.  The sound of raindrops hitting the pavement muffles the otherwise deafening sound of daily life and, for a few hours or so, we are forced to slow ourselves down.

And slow ourselves down we did one stormy afternoon when classes were cancelled and work was called-off early.  Knowing that traffic would be going in the opposite direction, I swept my wife from bed, got into the car and hied off to Makati for a relaxing, mid-afternoon date.

Soon enough, we found ourselves in the immaculate and familiar confines of Rustan’s flagship store in Ayala Center (Let’s face it…  Most of us grew up borrowing our mother’s frequent shopper card).  We had a leisurely stroll among the beautifully laid-out displays with my wife taking note of the “X” items (my knees are quivering as I write this), while I was subtly directing her toward the men’s department.

I thought my efforts were succesfull when something caught her eye (*face palm*).  She immediately made a bee-line for some well-lit refrigerated display cases set against a purple background.  With no other choice but to follow, I scampered off after her.

She was already choosing what to buy when I made it to her side.  I don’t blame her.  We were staring into the display case of Machiavelli Chocolatier and the chocolates on offer were bite-sized works of art.  We bought a couple of pieces (the Grand Marnier and Coconut Screw) and relished the smooth, buttery chocolate that could have only come from the best chocolatiers in the world.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that most of the chocolates on offer had Filipino names.  There was Yema de Manila, Dusty Negros and Batangas Star.  There were even chocolate bars dedicated to prominent Filipino personalities such as Benny’s Morrocan Bar (dedicated to Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco) and the Cory Aquino Bar wrapped in yellow.  I asked the proprietor, Raul Matias about the store and he confirmed that the store is his original concept and that he made the chocolates himself!  Amazing, really.  It just goes to show that Filipinos can stand as equals on the world stage.

I’ll have this over Belgian chocolate any day.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Hi-Fi Pinoy (A-Audio Research)

 Saturdays are the bomb!  I’m sure this applies to most people.  Of course, there are those that have to work on a Saturday and will automatically dislike this post, but, hey, I’m just saying…

Hmmm…  Where was I…  Oh, yes.  Saturdays are quite special for us regular guys because it is the day we do NOTHING.  Yep.  NOTHING.  Yes, there are those who take the time to do some physical exertions, but, really, why would anyone want to do that?

There was this one recent Saturday, I was browsing through some interesting sites (not the pornographic kind) when a friend of mine sends me an invite over to his house to hang out and listen to some new speakers he had in stock.  Not having anything on my schedule (hehehe) I said, “Yeah, why not?”  Since it was raining cats and dogs at the time and I was thinking of stretching my truck’s legs, I thought that I might as well have some free food and brewskies to go with it.

I was dumbstruck when I entered my friend’s “cave”.  He had an array of speakers beneath his 100-inch projector screen that would put any showroom to shame.  I chose a spot on the couch and wasted no time in ordering him to put on some tunes.  As the first few notes of Hall & Oate’s “Sarah Smile” filled the room (Yes, Hall & Oates.  Some of the readers may be laughing, but you know, I know, you like it) I was struck by how clear and honest the music sounded.  It was as if the band were playing right in front of me.  After the CD played its last track we switched to some Karen Carpenter and hearing her sing made me feel like I was in the embrace of this warm, haunting, amazing voice.

Being that I didn’t live there, I had to bid goodbye after a couple of hours.  But before leaving, I asked my friend what speakers we were using.  His answer floored me because it turns out that we were listening to his new bookshelf speakers from the Genesis collection of A-Audio Research the entire time.  Bookshelf speakers!  Even more amazing is that A-Audio Research is a Filipino company!  Its bookshelf speakers from the Genesis collection, which is the one in the photo, with a tweeter and a 5-inch mid-bass puts out sound that would compare to the likes of Marantz or Bowers & Wilkins.  It’s even bi-wired so that audiophiles could power the tweeter and woofer separately to get better sound separation and clarity.

It looks like that new wi-fi router will have to wait.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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