Wednesday, 12 March 2014

And We Can't Stop

I never meant to go on another decor haul. But last Sunday afternoon I was home alone, bored out of my mind, and I just found myself surfing home decor sites. After asking my dad for permission, I tapped the checkout button. Taste Central, one of the sites I bought from, delivered in less than 24 hours, which only amped up my excitement.

Cute figurine by day...

Reading lamp at night!

I just can't get enough of throw pillows. These ones have different designs on either side, so if I get bored of one design, all I have to do is flip it over.

Then I got these adorable trays for Seek the Unique. I've been visiting stores all over Manila searching for the perfect tray for my glass and pitcher at night, because the one I've got now is a dull, black one that was probably made in the 90's. 

When my eyes fell on this, I knew that my search was over. I mean, look at it. Could a tray get any cuter?

 I got this one mostly because of the whole stag-doe-Harry Potter theme, but I DO need a trinkets tray, to dump my everyday accessories, keys, coins on.

I want to say this'll be my last decor haul ever, but I also say that I keep myself from buying any more new books, and we all know that's not true. Clearly, when it comes to shopping, I cannot be trusted with keeping my word.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I'm Just A Little Too Not Over You: A Romanov Family Book Review

If I had to pick a favorite historic royal family, I would definitely pick Nicholas II and his family. This was a nuclear family, with no extramarital affairs or scandalous children. They were together until the very end.

No matter how many times I read different biographies or historical fiction books about the last Romanovs,  there is a part of me that always, always, always hopes that they would survive. Like any 90's kid, I watched the animated film Anastasia, which, even before I knew it was (very loosely) based on real historical events, intrigued me. My return to the Anastasia Romanova's tale was in 7th grade, when I started reading The Royal Diaries series (a historical fiction series from the first-person view of famous royal women as children). I quickly gobbled up everything I could find concerning the Romanovs. Coincidentally, around this time, DNA tests had confirmed that all Romanov children were accounted for, so from the start of my fascination with them, I always knew that Anastasia had died with the rest of her family.

Some of the books I read were Anastasia's Secret (complete fluff where Anastasia falls in love with a soldier while in captivity), The Diamond Secret (a retelling of the Anastasia myth), The Secret Daughter of the Tsar (complete fictional fluff, but still entertaining)From Splendor to Revolution, Born to Rule, and Doomed Queens. I bought The Lost Crown ages ago, but I never got around to reading it until now.

What I loved about this novel was that, instead of focusing on Anastasia (as so many books do), but split its point-of-view between all four Romanov sisters: Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia. The author, Sarah Miller, did an excellent job portraying each sister's personality. What she did best, however, was her vivid description of the Romanov family's time in captivity. It's such a clichè thing to say, but I felt like I was really there. Not even the nonfiction biographies I've read gave me such a clear insight on what it was like during their final days in Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg. I was in the car on the way home when I got to the last few pages. Not to sound like a drama queen, but when I reached the last page, which describes the last few minutes before they were executed, I felt like retching. It was especially tragic reading it from Tatiana's PoV, because, she, like her siblings, were innocents. They had no political motives or roles. All they were guilty of was being the children of the tsar (as a side note, I also never believed the tsar to be guilty of much, either. He was incompetent, but who wouldn't be? He was only a few years older than me when he became ruler of 1/4 of the world). I'll stop here, because any more writing about this topic will probably send me into a fit of sobbing. But I'll leave with this passage from the novel, which hints at the legacy their gruesome murders left behind.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

The only thing that truly bugs me about Philippine weather is that we're so limited in terms of outfit choices, at least compared to other countries. There's never a season to wear boots, or to layer up, or wear scarves and beanies. So, in honor of articlust, here's a few photos of coats stare at longingly, as well as a flashback of the last times I bundled up.

For the Presidential Inaugural Conference 2013

At Barack Obama's Inauguration 2013

Venice 2013

Monday, 10 February 2014

49-Day Book Challenge: Day 18, Favorite Biography

After quite a long hiatus, I've decided to return to my 49-Day Book Challenge. I started this blog as a book blog, and I think it's high time to go back to its roots. Here we go!

This was the first biography I actually read, and it led to my fascination with the era. I loved the 1890s-early 1900s because it seemed like it teetered between the past and the present. Royals travelled via trains and automobiles, but most of the time preferred the old-fashioned horse and carriage. I've always thought that if I had to live in another time, I would live then: there was already such a thing as indoor plumbing and electricity, but it was still well into the past that I could dance the night away in a big poufy ballgown and tiara.

This biography looks into the lives of five granddaughters of Queen Victoria who ended being queen consorts of Europe: Queen Maud of Norway, Queen Ena of Spain, Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Sophie of Greece, and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. The best part of this bio is that it highlights the fact that these five women, far apart as they were geographically and politically, they were still family. I also found a new favorite royal in Marie of Romania. What I loved about her is that she was brave in little ways: she never commanded an army like Boudicca or Elizabeth I, but she fought for her children, and her countrymen. Like most royal women of the time, she served as a nurse during the first World War. I've been looking for a proper biography devoted to just her, but alas, there is yet to be one published.

What are some of your favorite biographies? Leave a comment below! Happy Tuesday, all!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Moving In: Decor Haul

Last December, my family moved houses, and I left the home I'd lived in for the past 19 years. Our new house is a mere five minutes away, so from time to time, I visit the old house to pick up a few things. It's kind of depressing though: as soon as I enter, it already feels like an abandoned house. Within the few short months we've left it, it's already gained that dusty, unkempt scent. The wardrobes are empty and the walls are bare. That being said, I do love being in our new home. I've got a lot more room, for one thing. And we finally have what my brother and I have been dreaming of since our previous neighbor had one installed: our very own pool! A lot of things are still being fixed or are still missing--my bathtub does not have any taps as of yet, and I still don't have a desk or a dresser. But most of the things have already been delivered, and so, this past week, I decided to go on a decor haul for my new room.

Most of these things I found at Regalong Pambahay, which is an amazing local store that sells Pinterest-worthy things at super cheap prices. The rest I got while shopping at the ever-reliable SM.

I got one of those scone trays (and assembled it myself, I might add!) and used it for my ever-growing accessory collection. I discovered that hanging a lot of necklaces from the usual necklace hooks only leaves you with a lot of necklaces in tangles, so I'm hoping this way will be better.
My new clock that matches my wallpaper.

I have to talk about this blue mug, because it costs 100 pesos. You could buy a whole lot of them for a cute little tea party! In fact, Regalong Pambahay has a whole section dedicated to tea things. If you're planning a girls' day in, or a children's party, I highly recommend visiting them (they've got a store in the new Shang wing, as well as an outlet store along Pioneer).

Because who doesn't need a funky goblet? Even though I mainly use it for water, it's fun pretending you're drinking some magical potion (Tea parties? Magical potions? Clearly, my mental age has not progressed past kindergarten).

A frame set for my travels.
I also got a couple of photo frames, because I decided that this whole cyber-photo sharing, while convenient, isn't as good as having real paper photographs.

As an impulse buy, I got myself some potpourri oils and a burner.

Last, but definitely not the least, were the mound of cushions I got. I decided that I wanted to have a lot of stripes in my room, thus these blue-and-brown ones.

Throw pillows for the bed.

A little Latin for the library.

I also got a couple of floor cushions for my tower. There isn't a lot of things up there yet, but I want to decorate it with a lot of whimsical, fun things. These brilliant mural painters we hired painted the walls to resemble Rapunzel's tower from Tangled, and I'm looking for lanterns to hang there too, for I See The Light feels.

So that's about it for the decor haul. I hope to update this post once I get all the things for the tower. Have a blessed Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Love At First Sight Does Not Exist...At Least In The Case Of Fangirling.

I was planning to spend the four day weekend catching up on reading, i.e, tackling all the heavy hardbound tomes on my reading list that would be a pain to lug around on regular school days.

Of course, I ended up marathoning TV shows/Tumblr-ing instead.

Anyway, as I was scrolling through the Benedict Cumberbatch tag on Tumblr (I'm not even sorry), I realized that the fandoms I've come to love the most are the fandoms I decided I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot long stick.

It was my sixth birthday, I believe (way back in 2000), when my godmother gave me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Even at that age, I was already a Don't Tell Me What To Read reader. So I thanked her, put the book on a shelf, and promptly forgot about it. A few months later, my eldest cousin, who was in college at the time, asked me if I had the first Harry Potter book because she was dying to read it. Then a little later on, a family friend who was in high school borrowed it as well. All I remember thinking was, "What are these older kids doing borrowing a book from a preschooler?" I guess you could say I was also a bit of a book hipster then too, because after they borrowed it and raved about it, I dismissed it as being overrated and mainstream (although I probably used more pre-K words). I mean, it couldn't be that good, could it? But one day, I was bored out of my mind had nothing to read. So I retrieved the book from the very back of my bookshelf, flipped to page 1, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The next two fandoms I came to love and cherish, I used to hate for one reason: I was too much of a Potterhead purist. I remember loathing the first Chronicles of Narnia film and all the hype it stirred up, because my 11-year-old self felt like it was taking attention away from the Potter fandom. I voiced my opinion so much in school, that, one day, as a prank, some girls took an Aslan toy from one of those McDo meals, and stuffed it into my cubby. But then somewhere along the way, the hate turned into love, and by the time the second film came out, I was screaming "For Narnia!" in the theater along with the best of them.

Then when I was 13 and dealing with post-Potter depression (the final book had just been released), I noticed one of my classmates completely wrapped up in a Tamora Pierce novel. I asked her about it, and she said it was a fantasy series. Drama queen that I was, I proclaimed, "Oh. I could never read another fantasy series. Harry Potter will be the only one of its kind that will be in my heart." My friend told me something along the lines of, "That's not what J.K. Rowling would want." So, grudgingly, I bought the first book of the Tortall series, and fell in love with them. Side note: Tamora Pierce also gave me my first OTP ever--Daine and Numair.

Through the years, mostly in the area of films, the same thing happened. "That Prince of Persia trailer annoys me." I ended up watching the film 3 times while it was still in theaters. "Oh, great, another Marvel superhero film. This Iron Man'll probably bore me like all the rest." I now have an entire drawer stuffed with Marvel t-shirts.

And now Sherlock. I bought the first season on DVD back when I was in the States. Honestly, when you've got therapy for two hours a day everyday and the rest of the time doing nothing, you watch A LOT of TV (and eat. But that's really a whole other story). I couldn't even drive down to Disneyland, because I had everyday appointments. There was also a Barnes & Noble right across the street from my therapist's office, so at the end of my stay, I probably bought twice my weight in DVDs. I bought the Sherlock DVD because, "I heard it was nice." I ended up, of course, never watching it, until a month ago.

Now, a short month later, I'm spending my vacation on Tumblr and Youtube, looking at Benedict Cumberbatch's mug for hours on end. No regrets.

Hope you guys are having a nice (hopefully fandom-filled) weekend as well!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feelin' The Christmas Spirit

Probably because for the first time, I'm truly celebrating Christmas. Last year I had just gotten back from treatment, was still a bit anxious, and was still adjusting to life in Manila again. The year before that, my family and I took a cruise where I had to be rushed home because of an attack. This year, I'm completely happy. I'm back in straight, everyday school for the first time in two years, making new friends there as well as keeping my old friendships strong, part of a happy family, and, thanks to God, have not had an attack in quite some time. 2013 was a blessed year for me indeed.

Happy Holidays everyone!