Thursday, January 27, 2011


Ok, so I'm not a hundred percent sure, although, I will venture a guess, that Garde-Manger's obscure whole-in-the-wall (no sign!), Old Montreal location is part-owner, celebrity-chef Chuck Hughes's way of holding onto a measure of anonymity - our good friends, Candice & Irvin's text message to let us know that we will spot Garde-Manger by a "pink neon light," couldn't have come at the better time as Kumar and I scaled St-Francois-Xavier in search of the place last night in sub-zero temperatures. Inside, though, is invitingly warm and cozy owing a lot to its modest floor area and design that retains much of the space's original old charm and character.

The reservations that ensure a table at the minimum, a week later (and can go up to a month or longer!), only means that you'll be treated as an esteemed guest. The longish waiting time for the amazing food to arrive at your table on the other hand, is a sure-fire indication that the chefs aren't just churning out plates one after the other, carelessly slapping food onto them. Our friendly waiter took pains to explain the entire menu to us (which includes things like lobster poutine to start, copious amounts of seafood piled up on three-tier platters, bavette and the much-feted deep-fried Mars bar for dessert!) and was attentive to our needs for the rest of the evening but not to the point of smothering.

Needless to say, Garde-Manger has supplanted every single restaurant I've ever been to in its scale city-wide. If you're going to stain your crisp white Boss shirt, do it in metro class by dribbling bisque or carrot butter down it at Garde-Manger! (you can enlist the dry-cleaning services of Bellingham's after!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A rental, a toddler, a pre-schooler, completely coffee-logged, donut overload and -20+ degrees out: the fixings of one insane whirlwind roadtrip to visit Kumar's family in Toronto. And oh, not to forget, the Tragically Hip!!!

"Tangled" could also be a fitting title for a movie about me on the weekend trying to get into a saree: epic fail! On a much more serious note, though, Kumar's family is absolutely lovely...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ok, so through this blog I've let you into the deepest recesses of my brain and now through my other one, into my home wherein the crevices of which, lurk menacing dust-bunnies! To anyone who's lumped me into that silly Filipina stereotype, sorry to disappoint, but I'm not quite domesticated. I'm clean but not to pathological extremes. Now what could possibly be next? Perhaps, like Farah, will sing for shoes???

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Is it just me, or has my new blog already eclipsed this one in "popularity?" (lol) So while people still have to mind their behavior around me, they also have to be wary of what they wear, especially if they're male, slobbiness totally unacceptable! But that's not why I'm rotfl. Again, I know it's kind of too late now to retract my words, but I shouldn't have said that 52 Weeks of Metro was going to be a "photo-blog" because it really isn't a photography blog per se, it's just a fashion blog with photographs as visual aids, the text still being an integral part of it, I'm still Kumar's not necessarily invisible ghost-writer.

Apparently, as it had been brought to my attention, I've made almost every mistake conceivable, photographically-speaking - from taking pictures of objects on glass, to a really, really poor one of my hapless husband - well, not that he looks horrible, it was just really, really badly taken and hardly did the guy justice! And I haven't quite figured out how to work the Image-Stabilizer, either. I think (basic) photography courses really are in order, but considering my circumstances, "Photography for Dummies" will just have to do. Back to the drawing board!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Metro

As promised, my new blog has arrived! Please check out my other (bratty) brainchild again born out of an urgent need for some serious cathartic diversion, and inspired by all of you and life with its wack dips and bends! As it has already been explained on a previous post, my new blog will cater to the visual-learner, particularly the slightly more-evolved than average male ages 15 and up with a heightened sense of style and elevated fashion taste albeit with a short attention span, too! This blog, however, as always, will remain text-based and will continue to serve anyone literate, from your average reader (bathroom, speed, etc.) to the literary-elite (lol), the curious or downright nosy folk who always pay rapt attention to the goings-on within and without our household and to the inner workings of my mind! A gazillion thanks guys for your support! I sooo love you all!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Elenor Diaz

Th following is my second (lol) article and first feature (the first one was more like "straight-news") to appear in this month's issue of the Filipino Forum:

"Elenor Diaz" has certainly become a household name both within (and without!) the Filipino community of Montreal, if not of all of Canada, owing to the media attention her phenomenal story has received over the holidays - her story of being a hard-working and devoted mother who had left her beloved family behind in the Philippines to go ahead and pave the way for a better life for them in Canada, braving cold, loneliness, and enduring many other hardships, and finally after years of separation, eagerly anticipating a joyful reunion with her family having made all the necessary arrangements and preparations for their arrival just in time for Christmas, but only to find out that they had been defrauded by the unscrupulous travel agency in Manila from which they purchased their one-way tickets to Canada. But her story doesn't end there as it takes a turn for the better, after her sympathetic and kind employer, Lissa Matyas, takes the initiative to write to the Montreal Gazette, hoping to get Elenor's predicament published. Elenor's story elicits an overwhelming response, with people from across the country coming through, offering to help in whatever capacity, and ultimately, a benefactor generously shoulders the cost of new tickets for her entire family, allowing them to arrive for the holidays as originally planned.

Phenomenal indeed, but to recount the exact details after having been already covered extensively by the media, would just be redundant and superfluous. So we at the Filipino Forum wanted to do a different "take" on the story, and sit down and chat with the generous benefactor who came to Elenor's aid, Mr. Larry Modafferi, president of Ria Canada. Mr. Modafferi graciously accommodated our request for an interview.

Filipino Forum: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mr. Modafferi: I'm an Italian - a son of Italian immigrants. I founded a check cashing business that has now become Ria Financial.

Filipino Forum: How did you hear of Eleanor's Story?

Mr. Modafferi: My wife and I read the Montreal Gazette story about Elenor's predicament.

Filipino Forum: What compelled you to help Eleanor?

Mr. Modafferi: After reading the article, we looked at each other and lamented "not again!" Being in the cash remittances industry, we see all too many similar incidents like these where innocent people get scammed. We just had to do something to repair or rectify at least one problem. The Filipino community is very dear to us on a professional level. We deal with them on a daily basis. Moreover, as I had mentioned, I'm a son of Italian immigrants whose parents - my grandparents - worked hard to provide for and ultimately bring to Canada. So, Elenor's situation struck a personal chord, it resonated with my wife and myself.

Filipino Forum: To who or to what would you ascribe the credit for helping you to become the person you are now, the generous and kind person - "a good Samaritan" -willing to help a complete stranger in a bind?

Mr. Modafferi: First, you are far too complimentary, I believe there are many Montrealers that would have stepped in had I waited just 10
minutes more before calling Lissa. Montrealers seem to always pitch in when necessary. To your question: My upbringing, after all, we are the products, of our parents' patience in instilling values us. Also, my wife has always been a wonderful influence.

Filipino Forum: Describe what your company does.

Mr. Modafferi: Ria Financial Services provides cash remittance services to families worldwide, Philippines included! I wanted to take the time to sound this warning. When making such remittances or other business transactions like buying airline tickets, etc. always choose to deal with larger, recognized, and reputable companies to avoid pitfalls like that of what the Diaz family encountered.

As for Elenor, I asked her over the phone whether there was anything else, anything at all, that she might want to tell everyone and especially Mr. Modafferi who had helped her and her family out. She told me, that just as she had expressed before on previous media reports, she is certainly grateful from the "bottom-of-her heart" to everyone, and that her experience strengthened her faith in God. "These people are God's instruments” she recognized. It certainly made for a joyous Christmas and New Year for her and her family and makes her “hopeful” for 2011.

However, Eleanor wanted to know whether this paper is also published in the Philippines. She expressed concern similar to that of Mr. Modafferi, over the corruption and proliferation of shady businesses there. She was hoping that her story might somehow serve as alesson for others to exercise caution and discretion when it comes to the businesses they choose to deal with as well as an incentive for the Philippine government to enforce measures to protect innocent patrons, considering how Canadians put them to shame, in coming together to turn what would otherwise have been another unfortunate scam story into a heartwarming one that, sharing Eleanor's sentiment, "strengthens" one's faith in God and humanity.

Old Habits Die Hard!

Old habits die hard, so I've relapsed into the shopping, actually, all of the new pieces I have gotten so far this year, I've received as gifts, the latest being a pair of (verryyy) skinny Seven's from Kumar, of course. Seven Jeans are another one of those things that Kumar gets dirt cheap for himself courtesy of Harry Rosen as one of their employees, which is great for him, but kinda sucks for me. But then again, I never really cared too too much for Seven's anyways inspite of all of the hype around them, which is a good thing, otherwise I would have sunk into a deep depression a long time ago! Surprisingly, though, Kumar's Seven's aren't even his best pair of jeans, in my opinion, at least. I honestly prefer his tapered dark wash American Eagle Apparel jeans, that he got for a whopping $30.00 Cad. They look awesome dressed up with one of his shirts, sports jackets, dress shoes, perhaps a scarf, and a day's worth (max!) of stubble!!!

But Kumar still wanted me to have my own pair of Seven's, and with the January sales going on, there couldn't have been a better time to get them, so he asked me my waist size out of the blue the other day. "Uh, 24" I replied, I then overheard him talk to the shop owner, and then relayed over to me, "they're out...the next size is 25." "25 should be ok, huns..." I assured him. So he got them, and when he arrived home later that evening, I tried them on, lol: I had to lie on my back on the bed just to button them (and I wanted a size 24!) that's how tight they were! I'm still not sure whether they're just made really really small or if the problem lies with me and my burgeoning belly and backside?(hmmm...) "Break them in, wear them around the house, go to Adonis in them, walk around, they'll stretch, you'll see" Kumar insisted. So I wore them last Monday, and felt physically ill by the end of the day:( Yes, the lengths we women will go to in order to look good! And today? Well, today I totally ignored the little voice in my head begging me not to subject myself to more pain, but this time, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the jeans have stretched somewhat as Kumar promised they would, which really made all the difference in the world! They're starting to grow (literally!) on me and I think Kumar is right this time when he predicted that "they're going to be your next favorite pair of jeans!" We really dig each other, Kumar and I!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Always Laughing at My Own Expense

So last week's revelry (lol) at my brother's basement which lumped everyone into one sweaty shuffling, heaving mass, kinda rekindled my interest in Latin Dance, and prompted me to take down my (professional!) ballroom dancing shoes (lol) that I thought I had hung up indefinitely a few years back, pre-babies:) Those of you who know me from high school, probably remember that I couldn't dance to save my life -(that was epic!) well, yahh, pit me against Caryl and Vivian, where the heck was I supposed to stand???? But in my defense, a horrible dancer by Filipino standards is surpisingly a pretty good (italics mine, oh, the whole post is mine!) one by arthritic North American ones (no offense, my "white" friends!) - good enough, in fact, to have even impressed none less than my Russian (Bolchoi!) instructor (lol) so I've broken out the old Aventura CD and have been Bachata-ing away (much to Maya & Jaden's and especially Kumar's amazeee..musement!) these past few days: Spanish is definitely the language of love, not Tamil, nor Tagalog...heck, no! Spanish is muuyyy romantiko....swoon, swoon....("Cuban Motion" gyrating hip movement lol!) Have a "muuyy romantiko" week everyone!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another New Endeavor

I wanted to share a mini-documentary of Scott Schuman "The Sartorialist" which I found to be very inspiring. In reading some of the comments made by people on the documentary, I came across one saying how watching it made the person "feel happy" - a sentiment that I share! This is exactly the push I needed to convince myself to seriously consider and finally bring to fruition, an idea that I had been toying with for sometime now.

No, it's not like I'm going to wander around Montreal streets, camera on hand, in search of willing fashionable subjects (although, I know there is no shortage of them in these parts!) It won't be necessary, I have my subject: none other than Kumar. I don't think that it's presumptuousness or vanity on our part to believe that Kumar is camera-worthy, although I might be a bit partial! The process is not completely new nor foreign to him, having been asked already a few years back to pose for a Canadian photo-blogger, paralleling the work that of Schuman, as well as by the Montreal Gazette.

This photoblog will cater to visual learners, I say learners because it's going to be a guide to better dressing for gentlemen (with short attention spans!) Watch out for its launch!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First order of business: nothing exciting to report, oh, except that I got socked in the eye (again), by Kumar. Haha, no, it's not a case of conjugal violence, not in our household, here we just name-call (cough). Actually, it's an infection, which I must've caught from Jaden who picked it up from one of his pint-sized buddies at the daycare around two weeks ago. We didn't have any other choice than to just let the condition run its course. Jaden wouldn't let us anywhere near his eyes again, after the first time we tried to treat them with drops, when we had to pin him down and pry his eyes open, the poor thing. It's either I got it from him, or I've slacked off on my scrupulous borderline OCD eyecare regimen, or both. They're both surefire ways to get pinkeye, ickk, don't you just hate that name??? Now I've inherited the drops and have the pleasure of using them (they're sterile, ok?) - it's loads of fun. I'm stuck too with my beer-bottom glasses, it's like high school all over again (sob) and I've also had to relinquish the eye-kohl for the past two days - it sucks when you're practically legally blind because of a genetic predisposition towards really bad eyesight as an Asian, but I won't sweat something that was beyond my control, besides it's manageable. What's really funny, is how Kumar's got me and my towel quarantined, God forbid he catches it too. I'm really feeling the love. He might be in trouble, though. Old-wives' tales have it that you can get it by merely looking at someone with it, sounds logical, hahahaha - ah, me and my first world problems...zzzz....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So, I'm getting a real kick out of my article being published in the Filipino Forum, a relatively small-time paper serving the Filipino community of Canada with a readership of...OK, I will shut up now, one knows better than to bite the hand that feeds you, even if it's just your boss from your part-time/freelance job.

Well, I'm just very grateful to have been given the opportunity and never expected for this to be, uh, actual paid work, and get remunerated, lol, in fact, when my editor said he was cutting me a check, my altruistic side prompted me to refuse it and tell him that it wasn't necessary, after all it was my first article, and I really just wanted to help, he was swamped, but he insisted, and so I conceded:)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Filipino Ka Ba?

So you know you're Filipino when you feel that your time is more important than other people's and purposely try to arrive *fashionably* late unawares that your gracious host/brother outsmarted you this time by telling you to come two hours before the party actually started to have you *in house* at the right time (hah!). You single-handedly decimated the "lumpia" which were also meant for the nineteen other guests besides yourself, ooops! Cutlery is optional. Belching is ok - I promise you, no one will so much as bat an eyelash if you did! Ever prolific as a people, there's always a sizable representation from the 0-5 age-group (two of which are yours) at every gathering such as at this one. Your Tita whose thick *Pilipino* accent hasn't diminished one bit from the day she left the old country to live in Canada only some thirty years or so ago, coaxes/cajoles/commands you to eat some more of her special "pish" and "leche plan." Sometime during the course of the evening, when dancing finally gets old after some (very energetic and spasmodic???) cha-cha-cha, salsa, boogie, and swing numbers, someone by the name of either Jojo, Jun-Jun, Boboy or Nonoy conveniently breaks out the karaoke he literally had on his person and of course, after having imbibed a nice drink or two you feign reluctance at first but then after shamelessly hog the microphone for the rest of the night paying no regard to *unwritten* karaoke etiquette, kicking off the show with your excruciatingly shreiky, emotional, earnest and off-key rendition of Avril Lavigne's circa 2003 "I'm With You" - driving even your poor hard of hearing Tito almost to the brink of hara-kiri and the dog skittering up the stairs with its tail tightly tucked between its hindlegs. And finally after downing another drink "for the road" and saying your overly drawn-out melodramatic goodbyes to each and everyone, you embark on your journey home across the bridge, laden with Ziploc baggies filled with more lumpia and sticky-rice desserts that will keep you constipated for no less than a week after you've eaten them and on the verge of tears, whiningly demand from your hapless non-Filipino husband what better be a plausible reason for his non-support of what you insist is your very promising singing (and dancing!) career. Now, how was your (mandatory) end-of-the-year family time???? Peace! We love you guys sooooo much! And, no, Babes, we weren't secretly plotting your *mysterious* disappearance all evening, although, you might want to sleep with one eye open tonight ;)

Hello Kitty Syndrome

Rest assured that you're at the right place, well, not that you're too too worried, yup, it's still the same blog, just with different "skin." I'm sorry, my blog should really have come with a disclaimer of sorts that reads "subject to change without prior notice" or something. I apologize for not giving you guys a heads up, but once I realized that I needed to make some minor adjustments, it couldn't wait, not even just until the new year which would've been apt, I guess.

The reason is still in keeping with my previous post. Although I had explained before the whole significance and rationale behind Jessica Alba, or her as Sue Storm, that is, I still didn't want the prominent display of her face like that to be miscontrued by some, as some idolatric tendency on my part - hence, the change to the little temporary japanimation thingy which I myself find, if anything, is even more distracting and detractive and is probably even downright annoying to some....I promise to change it...eventually - blame it on that unshakable slothdom of mine!