I decided to wear red for this SP because my mom has been constantly reminding me that while 2012 is supposed to be Ezra’s lucky year, it will carry a lot of misfortunes for me (well, for people who are born in the year of the Ox). She told me that the only way to counteract the bad luck is to wear red every single day of this year. I’m not sure where she read that, but I’m not too worried since I don’t really believe in horoscopes.
My title came from a quote by Helen Keller. I chose it because it sort of represents my mood at the moment. I’ve been feeling a little lost lately, like I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in the near future. Everything feels so uncertain. Ckloy tells me to just live one day at a time and enjoy each moment, which is a good idea, but I’d still feel better if I knew were my life was headed.
To be honest, this picture was originally supposed to be about censorship and freedom (because of the whole SOPA/PIPA thing), but I guess I’m a bit late since the issue seems to have calmed down a bit. I don’t really follow the news but from what I’ve read they decided to postpone it indefinitely because it lacks support from the government. (Although, from what I hear, ACTA passed. I haven’t really read much about it so I’m not sure how this will affect me yet.)
(EZRA) 4/52 : Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth – tame the dragon and the gift is yours.
This was Ezra’s portrait for Lunar New Year. Sorry I’m uploading it a bit late here on my blog. She was born during the year of the dragon (1988) so she’s pretty excited about this year being “her” year. To celebrate, she asked me to make a photomanipulation of her summoning a dragon.
We call this her “May dragon ako, ikaw meron?” portrait XD
Stocks used for this manip:
(Ezra got the title from a quote by Noela Evans.)
About two weeks ago, my family attended Hopes in the Sky – a benefit event organized by the UPLB student council. Lanterns were sold to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Sendong. They also invited some local bands and dance groups to perform that night.
My mom bought 4 lanterns for the event, one for each of us. Ezra and I were pretty excited because it’s been a while since we last saw floating lanterns. We used to see them every year in Myanmar during the Tazaungdaing Festival (AKA Festival of Lights). I remember that we used to go out to our balcony to watch the lanterns at night.
(I saw a lot of floating lanterns during our stay in Myanmar, but I only have two experiences where I actually released one. The first was during my 7th grade field study to Kyaik Htee Yo - our teachers bought some lanterns and we lit them outside the cottages where we stayed at. The second time was when my mom bought one lantern during the Tazaungdaing Festival and we released it right outside our house – it hovered above us for a while but the wind got to it and I think it crashed somewhere in our neighbor’s backyard. Luckily their house didn’t burn down.)
Anyway, the event started around 7pm but the lanterns weren’t released until around 9:30pm. We were actually supposed to light them all together but a few people got a little impatient and lit their lanterns early during one of the band performances. I can’t really blame them though, the organizers did say 7pm . I’m sure most students wouldn’t mind staying up late to wait for the big event, but the fundraiser was open to everyone – including families with kids (and parents XD) who have bedtimes. I even heard that some people from the next town also came to watch the lanterns.
I managed to take some pictures of the very first lantern that was lit that night:
Away she goes~
After the first lantern was released, many people started to light theirs too – including us:
My parents attaching the wax thingie to the bottom of the lantern
I got a haircut about two weeks ago. I know I’ve always said that I missed my super long hair from 2009/2010 and that I’m trying to grow it out, but the dead and frizzy ends were such a pain to deal with. I spent about 2 weeks debating whether or not to cut it and in the end I decided that shorter and healthier hair sounds better than longer and dead ends.
I’m quite happy with how my hair turned out. I actually wanted it a bit shorter, but this is fine for now. Besides, I can always go back to the parlor and get another haircut if I’m still up for it in the future.
Some pictures of my damaged hair before I got it cut:
(Please pardon the huge eye bags and swollen face – I was still jet lagged when I took these. I made the decision to cut my hair while we were on vacation and as soon as we got back to the Philippines, I booked an appointment at the salon XD)
You can clearly see how fried the ends are in this picture, tsk tsk
Submitting this a bit late. It’s only the third week of 2012 and we’re already behind, ack!
Anyway, the weather’s been nice and cool here lately – but not cold enough for us to wear our heavy jackets, especially the ones with fur on them. Ezra’s sad that she has to retire her furry poncho because it’s her favorite, so she asked me to take one last self portrait of her wearing it before she puts it away. The “hat” that she’s wearing is actually the detachable fur trim on my jacket hood XD
This is sort of a continuation of my previous post where I talked about getting the number 1 item on my Christmas wish list (a laptop). In this entry I will talk about the 2nd item on my list – a graphics tablet.
I’ve already posted several entries here on my blog about how I decided to replace my 4-year old Wacom Bamboo Fun since it started experiencing some problems, so I won’t go into much detail about that again. I was actually pretty happy with my tablet before it started going haywire so I tried to look for the same model, but they didn’t make them anymore. (I read online that Wacom still sells Bamboo Fun tablets, but they upgraded it so it’s not really the same model that I want.) This is what I ended up buying:
The Wacom Bamboo Connect. I got it for around $80.
Inside the box you’ll find :
The CD which contains the installer
The pen – which is black
About a month ago I posted my Christmas wishlist here on my blog. The number one item on my list was a new laptop, which my parents agreed to get for me I didn’t bother bringing my old laptop with me to California since I knew I was getting a new one so I used my mom’s Vaio during our first few days there. Eventually she realized that she couldn’t get any work done with me hogging her laptop all the time so she decided it was time for us to drop by Frys Electronics to pick up my new baby.
I didn’t really have an idea which model I wanted at the time (I just said I wanted a VAIO) so we asked the sales assistant there for advice and he recommended this:
It’s the Sony VAIO VPCEG17 – 14 inch E Series laptop
Of course I got the one in pink The box contained the laptop, battery, power cord and manual.
So shiny and prettyyyy~ I love the diamond-embossed texture on the lid
Happy Chinese New Year~
(We don’t normally do much to celebrate Chinese New Year, but since we weren’t home when 2012 began, my mom decided to do her New Year’s tradition this day instead.)
Our family welcomed the lunar new year by having a mini-dinner party at home. My mom brought out her special silverware and had the table set up nicely. We didn’t have time to cook so we had takeout from Hen Lin and Ding Hao:
Fried rice, noodles, sweet and sour pork, siomai, cuapao, jellyfish, soup and almond jelly with lychee. Nom nom nom~
12 “round” fruits for the 12 months of the year
Ezra was still stuck in vacation mode this week, but she realized that she had to face reality and get started on her thesis. She says it felt like she had to wake up from a really good dream.
I had fun editing this. It’s been a while since I did a photomanipulation. It gave me a chance to try out my new tablet I used the same technique I did for this old self portrait, with a few modifications.
This photo made it into Flickr’s Explore. It’s been three months since I last had a picture make it there so I was happy that this one made it, especially since this took me a while to edit
(I should probably make a new category here on my blog for my photomanipulations. I’ve been dumping them in the “photography” category for the past two years.)
I was really sad about having to leave California and come back to the Philippines last week – not because I don’t like it here or anything, but because it meant that my vacation has ended It’s back to reality for me now. But I cheered up instantly when I found these little guys waiting for me at home
Days before we left for California, one of our dogs (Jin) gave birth to one puppy. And while we were away, another one (Akira) gave birth to three more! We now have FOUR adorable little babies! I’m so happy! Puppies were on my Christmas wish list last month and I’m so thrilled that I now have four of them. But we’re not keeping them all. My dad is planning on selling two or three because we don’t have the space to take care of all of them But until then, we will continue providing these pups with all the love that they need.
(The bigger pup was the one that was born before we left to go on vacation, and the smaller one in my right hand is one of the three younger pups. I wanted to include them all in the picture but I couldn’t carry them all.)
Thanks again to my sister for helping me take this picture.
I’ll be posting more pictures of these little guys soon, so watch out for that
As you probably know (since I’ve mentioned it a bazillion times here on my blog already), our family spent last Christmas in California with our relatives. My aunt/Ninang was kind enough to let us stay at her place the whole time that we were there. She lives alone so I think she welcomed the company. The last time we spent Christmas there, my aunt didn’t bother to decorate her house because she was too busy, but this year she decided to go all out. She bought lights, took out decorations she had in storage, borrowed some Christmas stuff from my cousin and even bought a tree! A real live tree!
Ninang told us that she’s always wanted a real tree for Christmas, but she never had the chance to go out and get one, mostly because she knew it would take a lot of time and effort to set up, which is something she wasn’t willing to go through since there was no one but her to appreciate it anyway. But this year, since we decided to have our Christmas party at her place, she told us that she would finally go out and get one.
I guess buying a Christmas tree becomes boring after a while to people who do it every year, but since it was a first time for all of us, we were all really excited. I imagined walking into a place filled with pine trees and inspecting every single one until we find the “perfect” tree. For many tree farms, I suppose that that’s the case, but my aunt decided to get her tree at Costco, so it didn’t happen like that. (She didn’t actually plan on buying her tree there, we were just shopping for some essentials when we saw a sign near the entrance which said that they had live trees for sale at the parking lot so we decided to check it out.) They only had one tree set up, and the rest were tied up to facilitate faster sales I suppose. My aunt bought the tree there because it was much cheaper compared to some other places she looked at. She paid about $40 for an 8 and 1/2 ft tree, which is a such a bargain, but little did we know that we would soon be wishing that she picked a smaller tree instead.
Me with the one tree on display that was not tied up
Trees for sale. That’s my Ninang in the red jacket on the right.
Customers picking out trees.
My aunt wanted a big tree, so she chose this one. Some friendly advice : if you plan on buying a tree for the first time, I have to tell you that seeing them tied up like that was very deceiving of its actual size. We thought that what we had in front of us was a good estimate of what the final tree would look like once we set it up, but we forgot that it will need a base to stand, and that it will double in diameter once we untie it!
This drama came highly recommended by my sister so I finally gave in and watched it despite my busy schedule. (I couldn’t help it, she knew my weakness. She lured me into her room and showed me some scenes with Lee Min Ho in it, and I just caved in.) Anyway, I really enjoyed it so I decided to make a short review.
Just a quick warning : I will be posting A LOT of spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the show you might want to stop reading now.
Plot summary :
The show begins in 1983 when North Korean soldiers planted a bomb meant to harm the South Korean president during his visit in Myanmar. The president was unharmed, but several high ranking officials were killed due to the explosion. To retaliate, five South Korean officials planned a covert operation to sneak into North Korea and kill several high ranking officials. Twenty one well-trained South Korean soldiers were sent to fulfill the task without the president’s knowledge. However, while the mission was being carried out, the South Korean officials who ordered the attack changed their minds and decided to kill the 21 soldiers on their way back to Korea and hide all evidence of the raid mission. One soldier, Lee Jin Pyo, managed survive after his good friend and comrade, Park Moo Yul, took the bullet that was meant for him. Filled with anger, Jin Pyo managed to make his way back to Seoul and kidnapped Moo Yul’s newborn son, Yoon Sung to make him a pawn for his revenge. He escaped to the Golden Triangle and became a drug lord while raising Yoon Sung as his own and training him to become a strong fighter and bounty hunter of some sort. When Yoon Sung turned 28, Jin Pyo sent him back to Korea to track down the five officials who betrayed him and kill them.
Lee Min Ho as Lee Yoon Sung
So once again I was lured into watching a drama because of this dude. But Lee Min Ho is not just some guy with a pretty face, he’s a decent actor as well. I thought that his acting has improved a lot since Boys Over Flowers. It was a bit hard to tell at first because Yoon Sung’s character is very similar to Goo Jun Pyo’s, but as the drama progresses you can see him add more depth to his role. I was quite impressed with him in the scene when his ajusshi almost died after getting ran over by a car, as well as his final scenes in the last episodes. Yoon Sung was a very conflicted and confused character, and Lee Min Ho portrayed him really well I think.
Park Min Young as Kim Nana
This is the first drama I’ve seen of her, (well, the first complete drama – I tried watching Sungkyungkwan Scandal but I wasn’t able to finish it) and I found her absolutely adorable. I loved Kim Nana in this drama. She was cheerful, kind and strong. She helps out others, is a good friend to those who need her and can even pick herself up when life knocks her down.
I really like how she wasn’t one of those clingy and helpless girls that often appear in dramas. She can take care of herself (most of the time – there were some moments when Yoon Sung had to rescue her despite being a strong fighter) and she’s very honest with herself, which is another thing I liked. When she realized her feelings for Yoon Sung, she didn’t go around denying it or trying to hide it. She went up to him and openly admitted it. And despite being rejected many times, her feelings never wavered.
Lee Jun Hyuk as Kim Young Joo
I thought he looked a bit like Big Bang’s Seungri at first glance, but that’s just me XD He was a new actor to me, I’ve never seen any of his other works before and again I was fairly impressed. (EDIT: I just found out that he was in Secret Garden! I never realized that he was in it until I checked his past dramas on Wikipedia, lol. He played Oska’s friend in one of the flashback scenes.) Anyway, I really liked how he portrayed his character. Sure, there were a couple of times that he was a bit annoying – following Yoon Sung around all the time, trying to prove that he was City Hunter – but that’s just his job.
Like Yoon Sung, he played a conflicted character that was torn between his loyalty to his father and his sense of justice. I think the scene that best showcased his talent was the hospital confrontation with Yoon Sung after his father’s accident. I could really feel his anger radiating from the screen at that point.
Kim Sang Jung as Lee Jin Pyo
He looks happy and peaceful in the picture above but in the drama he was portrayed as a strong military soldier with a burning desire for revenge. He was quite scary and heartless at times, but I thought that he was still very cool. He did a lot of terrible stuff throughout the drama (like stealing Yoon Sung away from his mom when he was just a baby, blackmail, murder, etc), but I still connected with his character in some way, and I’m sure many of the audience did so as well.
I like that you can tell that he cared a lot for Yoon Sung despite his hard exterior. I wasn’t sure about this at first, and there were a couple of times when I started to wonder if he truly saw Yoon Sung as anything more than a pawn in his path to revenge, but it all became very clear in the last episode how much he cared. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that his final scene in that episode made me bawl like a baby.
Ezra’s first portrait of the year This was shot outside my aunt’s house in California. It took a lot of jump shots before she found on that she liked XD
Filipinos have this saying that if you want to grow tall, you have to jump up and down on New Year’s Day. Ezra and I believed this for a while until we realized that we haven’t grown an inch taller since middle school, tsk tsk. But we still jump up and down when New Year’s Eve comes around, just for the fun of it.
Yes, I have a lamp shade on my head. No, I’m not crazy.
I just realized that a lot of my self portraits for 2011 focused on themes that were sad and depressing. I guess I didn’t realize how bad it was until I uploaded a picture of myself smiling on Facebook and one of my friends commented that he’s not used to seeing me smile. (Which is weird because I do post pictures of myself smiling when I’m out with friends, but I guess no one really looks at those albums except for the people in them). So this year, I decided that I will try to include more shots of myself smiling and being goofy in my project.
I guess one reason why I always end up using sad themes in my pictures is because I easily get influenced by the colors around me. My room has blue walls, which is pretty much the universal color for loneliness and sadness, so I suppose that affects me in some way. (Although I always feel happy when I’m in my room, hmmm … this is confusing.) Anyway, when I saw that my aunt has a room full of bright yellow walls in her house, I took full advantage of it and shot my first self portrait of the year there. I suppose I should have worn a “happier” shirt instead of a dull gray one, but I was already dressed and ready to leave the house when I decided I wanted to squeeze in a quick shoot first. But it’s okay, I think the bright walls provided enough “happiness” for this shot.
So, yeah … 52-weeks, ROUND FOUR! I don’t think I’m ever going to get sick of doing this XD
(Thanks to my sister for taking this shot)
Once again our family was able to spend Christmas here in California with our relatives. We’ve only done so once before (back in 2009) and I’m very thankful we could do it again this year. We don’t see much of our relatives when we’re in the Philippines, so every moment spent with them is precious to us
My Christmas celebration this year started on Christmas Eve day when Ezra, Kurt and I went to Palm Springs to have lunch with Kurt’s family. We planned on leaving Pico Rivera at around 10am, but Kurt stayed up late chatting with his mom and sister (they live in Japan) so he was pretty groggy that morning. We decided to leave a little later to give him a little more snooze time.
I was already dressed and made up by 9:30am, so I decided to camwhore a bit while waiting to leave.
I like how I did my eyes that day
Gold snowflake ornament which I grabbed from my aunt’s Christmas tree (it was right next to me)
Then I noticed that I liked how sparkly and pretty my nails looked so I decided to show them off:
Did I mention that I liked my make up that day?
(Yeah, I’m pretty vain XD But you probably already know that if you read my blog.)
Anyway, we ended up leaving at around 11am and arrived at Palm Springs around 1pm. We met up with Kurt’s family at their house and they took us to have lunch at the Spa Resort Casino. Afterwards we headed back to Kurt’s house again to take some pictures and so Kurt can grab a quick nap before he drives us back to Pico Rivera. (I passed the time by playing Katamari Damacy )
Group photo with Kurt’s family – stolen from Kurt”s camera XD
We left Palm Springs at around 6pm and made it back to my aunt’s house around 8pm. When we left that morning, there was only my dad at the house, but we returned to find a whole lot more people who have arrived to join in on the Christmas celebration:
Ate Zsa Zsa and her family arrived from Las Vegas, Kuya Wibet flew in the night before from San Francisco, Ate Maryann arrived from Chatsworth and Mama Darling arrived from San Jose.
Ezra and I were especially happy to see our niece and nephew, McKayla and CJ, again. They’ve grown so much since we last saw them. Especially McKayla! When I last saw her 2 years ago, she was this tiny:
And now look at her:
Isn’t she precious? She was adorable as a baby, but she’s gotten so much prettier.
Week 52/52 : Life is like a camera lens – focus only on what’s important and you will capture it perfectly
Another year done Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012~
I wanted my final self portrait to show me at some scenic location, like my past 2 projects, but it just wasn’t possible this year. Nevertheless, I still really like this shot of me. This was taken by my sister’s boyfriend, Kurt, during our Christmas party. I was reviewing some of the photos I took on my camera and was laughing at some of them when he shot this. It’s a candid photo, but I love how it turned out so I decided to use it as my last portrait this year. Thanks Kurt!
Once again, I thank everyone who have supported me during this project of mine. I appreciate every one of you. Thanks to everyone to gave me critique and encouragement and shared their thoughts with me.
(For those who are asking if I plan to do *another* 52-week project next year, my answer is a definite YES! )
Congratulations to my sister on completing her 2nd round of the 52-week project
This shot was taken by her boyfriend (Kurt) when we went to Pismo beach a few days ago. I did minimal editing (cropping, removing people in the background and color adjustment).
I wanted my last self portrait to be on the beach too, since my last 2 52-week projects ended with a picture of me posing next to a great view, but Ezra liked this shot so I decided to do something else.
Sorry for the late upload. This was Ezra’s portrait 2 weeks ago. We really didn’t have that much time to take pictures during Christmas time. It was crazy busy over here!
We took this right before we left to meet Kurt’s family for lunch on Christmas Eve day. She just grabbed this huge Christmas ribbon that was decorating my aunt’s lamp and posed with it. XD
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012 with open arms~
The past year was probably one of the most challenging ones I’ve had. I was faced with so many obstacles that there were many times that I felt hopeless and depressed (you can probably tell through my super emo self portraits). But the good thing is that it that it forced me to start thinking about my life seriously and start making changes to improve it.
But 2011 wasn’t all bad of course. I had a lot of wonderful moments too. I experienced a lot of new things and met some amazing people
Anyway, like last year, I decided to make a wrap-up entry here on my blog which summarizes some of the memorable times (both good and bad) for each month.
- I had my first video chat with Ckloy, on New Year’s Eve
- We picked up Greaty from Pampangga and he became the newest member of our family
- I went to MMSU with Beulah, Amie, Kuya Don and Dr. Pascua to process some clay that I needed for my thesis
- Went into emo mode for about a week after I discovered that Amie and I wouldn’t be graduating that semester T__T
- Explored Ilocos and Baguio with Amie and Beulah (with Nathan’s help). I didn’t know Beulah very well before this, but we bonded a lot during the trip.
- Helped Ckloy choose his new camera
- Experienced having to live away from home for the first time when I started staying in my condo in Katipunan (full time – not just twice a week like I used to do).
- Celebrated Ate Love’s birthday on Valentine’s day by having dinner at Sbarro with Kat and Larry. We bought matching hand creams at Etude House
- Went to the UPLB Feb Fair with Ckloy and met up with old friends and new members
- Showed Beulah and Daisy around when they visited us in LB for the first time