28 July 2014

Book review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Oh Gone Girl, where do I even begin?

Written by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is one of the biggest books to have come out in the last two years. It has been in my to-read list for a while now but I didn't really get the drive to go and get myself a copy until I realized the movie adaptation's going to be shown soon. When I started, I couldn't stop. It's one of those books that grip you into a chokehold and never let you go until you stop resisting and fully submit yourself under its spell. It didn't matter how sleepy and tired I felt, I kept reading until past midnight. I actually finished it while on a weekend swimming getaway trip with my family yesterday; no matter how inviting the pool was on this cloudy but humid weather, I decided I wouldn't take a dip until I finish this book.

From an outsider's point of view, Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot-Dunne look like a perfect couple. And they were! Everything started changing when they both lost their jobs in New York and they were forced to move to Nick's hometown in Missouri. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears. What follows is a riveting he said-she said tale of lies, betrayals, treasure hunts, and mysteries surrounding their marriage and the people around them. Where is Amy? Did Nick kill his wife? If not him, who?

I read somewhere that instead of two, there are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth. What kept me at the edge of my seat was wondering what happened to Amy, and I didn't want to be spoiled I didn't even check any reviews beforehand. I had at least five different theories regarding her disappearance, but I inferred from the get-go that Nick didn't murder his wife. Filled with red herrings and questionable characters, this book will get you guessing right until the second part where the plot twist is revealed.

Lies and betrayals aside, I think Gone Girl is also very romantic. In the words of Nick Dunne, "catastrophically romantic." Here's an excerpt from Amy's side of the story:
So you suffer through the night with the perfect-on-paper man - the stutter of jokes misunderstood, the witty remarks lobbed and missed. Or maybe he understands that you've made a witty remark but, unsure of what to do with it, he holds it in his hand like some bit of conversational phlegm he will wipe away later. You spend another hour trying to find each other, to recognize each other, and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, That was fine. And your life is a long line of fine. And then you run into Nick Dunne on Seventh Avenue as you're buying diced cantaloupe, and pow, you are recognized, the both of you. You both find the exact same things worth remembering. (Just one olive, though). You have the same rhythm. Click. You just know each other. And all of a sudden you see reading in bed and waffles on Sunday and laughing at nothing and his mouth on yours. And it's so far beyond fine that you know you can never go back to fine. That fast. You think: Oh, here is the rest of my life. It's finally arrived.
This book is very polarizing and understandably so. Immediately after I finished reading it, I was so puzzled! And mad! But mostly puzzled at how someone can be so diabolical. I kept thinking how it just proves that life is not fair and not everyone gets their comeuppance, and I wished there was some way I could unread it. However, after simmering in my mind for 24 hours, I must say that I really did like it. I mean, I hate that it had to end that way, but it is what it is. I cannot deny how mind-blowingly brilliant it is and how I got a kick out of the transitions to the succeeding chapter. I liked that the characters are flawed, because yes, I do like veering away from cutesy and ideal fictional-but-I-wish-they-weren't characters every once in a while. I also liked that I had to make use of my Kindle's dictionary because I wasn't familiar with some of the words Gillian Flynn used. (Yay for expanding my vocabulary!)

That being said, I am happy that the producers and the author decided to write a completely different ending for the movie. Now I regret not waiting until September to read the book, because I am freakin' excited for the movie! Just check out the trailers below.

I still haven't pegged Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman because I'm waiting for the trailer before I pass judgment, but I think he's going to be an excellent Nick Dunne! I actually pictured him in my mind the whole time I was reading the book. And Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings? It's so anti-Barney, I love it. I pictured Tanner Bolt as older and I wish they cast Rose Byrne as Go but other than that, I'm okay. David Fincher at the helm, hello? October can't come fast enough.

Brilliant book! The moral of the story? Never marry a sociopath. How do you know if someone's a sociopath? That's the problem.

25 July 2014

To market, to market, to buy a pretty clutch.

One of the things I enjoy the most with my job is the opportunity to go to a lot of different events with very creative themes.

A couple of weeks ago, we assisted world-renowned local fashion accessories label ARANÁZ for the launch of their Resort 2015 collection through a fun market-themed event named Boqueria (after a large public market in Spain; also the name of the collection) held in Privato Hotel.
Photo from Erica
Travel aficionados will find this collection hard to resist as it was inspired by designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan’s perpetual wanderlust. It embodies the essence of travel in every detail down to its name as Boqueria places emphasis on mixed media embodying the melting pot environs of global markets.

Aren't they just beautiful? Much like the places that inspired ARANÁZ Boqueria, the collection is colorful, bright, and showcases the expert artistry the brand is known for. Every piece is handmade with a heavy emphasis on weaving technique. This is a series that explores the rich combination of textures and materials, layer upon layer. Delicate embroidery atop Ikat prints and thoughtful beadwork on woven surfaces exude this pure, artisanal feel. The collection covers a range of materials from wicker to plastic and leather along with fun elements in vegetable and fish patterns. That Piña clutch, I positively covet.

Miguel Aranaz and the mother-daughters trio behind the ARANÁZ brand Rosanna, Amina, and Becky
Aside from being given an exclusive sneak peek to the collection, we were also treated with a mini shopping spree at the mini market they have set up!

We shopped using our ARANÁZ pesos

Some of the wares available for sale were:

herbs and succulents;
kesong puti (that I regret not getting because after consuming the cheese, the jars would've been perfect for mini terrariums);
Photo from Celine
organic pineapples;
organic coffee;
an assortment of jams and marmalades;
an intricately designed dishware, among others.
Aside from a sumptuous buffet, we were treated to yummy pineapple sorbet by Kool Kids Ice Cream and Co.
I went home with these:

A mint plant and succulents I told you about in this post, the freshest and sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted, Rosemary + Peppermint Soap, and jars of orange marmalade, strawberry jam, and mango + pineapple jam.
Select pieces from the ARANÁZ Boqueria collection are currently available at ARANÁZ boutiques in Greenbelt and Rockwell with the full collection launching soon at all ARANÁZ branches.

ARANÁZ is also available locally at Raffles Hotel, Balesin Resort, Amanpulo Resort, District 32, and Shangri-La Mactan, and internationally at Wolf & Badger (London), A Bag With A Story (Belgium), Latitude (New York), Aha Life (New York), Iris House (Kuwait), Miranta’s (Greece), Itsie Bitsie (Hong Kong), and Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong and Maldives.

22 July 2014

Come join The Caravan II: Bespoke

Are you in the mood to go shopping this weekend? Ah, who am I kidding. It's not like you need to be in a specific mood to go shopping. 。^‿^。

Since that's the case, I'm inviting you all to come join The Caravan!

Following the success of the first The Caravan, The Caravan II is now here. Follow the tale of the thread and find something just for you with the second installment of The Caravan: Bespoke, An Affair of Monograms and Stories, in coordination with The Proscenium, Rockwell. Discover a diverse selection of customizable finds on July 26 to 27, Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM to 7 PM at The Kirov Model Unit (beside the Rockwell tent), Rockwell Center, Makati. From bags to shoes, jewelry, food, and beyond, it's time to make your mark and create something truly unique.
If you love customized and personalized finds, you'll definitely enjoy it there! Aranaz will offer bags monogrammed with letters of your choice, Mawee Borromeo will do illustrations, Adorno will sell repurposed jewelry and monogram charms and pendants, Risque Designs will sell bespoke shoes and carved heels, Coco & Tres will monogram leather goods on the spot, Twinkle Ferraren will showcase customizable swimwear and belts, while The Best Impressions will also sell personalized embossers and stampers. Other designers who will display their designs include Maureen Disini, Camille Villanueva, and Michelline Syjuco.

Guess what, you can also choose your own charms for your one-of-a-kind Stockton Row piece!

What I am most excited about are these Crow's Nest bespoke dolls, though. Just check out these samples of their dolls!

I'm sorry Hulk, but Batman holds a special place in my heart.
Your Local, Scarsdale, and Habitual Coffee will also be there for refreshments!

Come join The Caravan and join this new wave of cult shopping!

21 July 2014

Share a Coke with me

Say what you will, but I didn't think I'd be this *kilig* when I saw my very own Coke bottle with my name on it.

These special Coke bottles have actually been making the rounds at the supermarkets and neighborhood sari-sari stores for a little more than a month now.

Look, even Tegan and Sara has one each!
As I don't have any luck whatsoever in finding my name on keychains, notepads, and the like, I didn't think I'd find one of these. Thanks for considering my name and including it in your selection, Coca-Cola Philippines! Would you like to find out if your (or a friend's, or a family member's, or a lover's) name is already available on a Coke that you can readily buy in stores? Click here!

For over 128 years, Coca-Cola has consistently been finding ways to spread happiness all around the world. I certainly appreciated sharing a Coke with a friend I haven't seen in a while!

We solemnly swear that we are up to no good that we didn't plan on matching outfits that day!
Photo from Kira
Even though it's not Christmas yet, spread the happiness around by creating a virtual Coke and sending it to a friend together with a sweet message!

I made my friend Niel a virtual card ♡ 
If you're not contented with a virtual Coke and you want the real thing, you can actually vote for the names you want so that they'll have a chance to be included in the next batch of 50 additional names to be released in stores! Awesome!

Buuut if you're impatient (like me, heh), you can also get your own personalized Coke by dropping by the #ShareACoke tour! They'll be in TriNoma, Glorietta, and Market! Market! this weekend, isn't that exciting? You may check out the schedule of this tour as well as the official mechanics here.

Do you have your Share a Coke bottle already? Now I want a Share a Coke with Krissy, too. ^_^

20 July 2014

"I love you more than I hate everything else."

Remember those all-nighters you pulled with your best friend, dissecting every word your crush told you at homeroom? Remember those times you used to call your crush's house and felt absolutely mortified when someone else answers? And when your crush finally comes on the line, remember how you wished those conversations would never stop?

Remember when prank calls were all the rage? Remember that satisfaction you get when you slam the phone down when you're upset? Priceless.

Let's not forget about how everyone's on time and how you can't cancel on a friend since they would've already been on their way and you have no means of reaching them.

God I forgot how good that felt. We should totally use landlines again.

Whew, that was a long prelude to the main point of this post, which is a review of the book Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

Georgie McCool (how cool is that name?) and Neal Grafton have been married for fourteen years. Georgie is a TV writer while Neal stays at home watching over their two young daughters. An opportunity to write her dream show with her writing partner/ best friend since college Seth comes up just before the holidays, forcing her to forego visiting Neal's mom in Omaha with their kids. With her iPhone conking out on her and being unable to contact Neal, she uses her old rotary landline phone in her childhood room instead. What follows are magical conversations with her husband from fifteen years ago. Magic. 13 Going on 30 and 17 Again kind of magic. At first she thinks she's going bonkers, but then she realizes this *magic* is happening because she has to change something. If she plays her cards right, her husband would come propose and they'd have the life they currently have now. But if he doesn't come, does that mean they'll never get together? Does that mean their kids will be erased from the timeline?

Riot Read said it best: "This is more than just a contemporary novel about life and work and everything in between. It's about the magic of fixing your future by examining your past." This reminds me of one of my favorite parts in {500} Days of Summer, when Tom's sassy younger sister played by Chloe Moretz said, "When you look back, look again." In the same way that it's true that you should always look forward, you should also look back every once in a while because maybe you're missing something. It's ironic how Georgie's past leads her to question the present and their future. Will Georgie and Neal be better off without each other? Can she live without him? Does she want to?

I loved Landline so much it hurts. Sad tears, happy tears, airport scenes, pop culture references, a dash of magical realism  it has everything I want in a novel and more! (Also, Rainbow loves parentheses, I love parentheses.) It seriously felt like Rainbow's gift to me. Pop culture references! For something that I expected to be a light read before I start with Gone Girl (Who am I kidding? Eleanor & Park wasn't a light read at all! Loved it, though.), Landline was quite a ride. She knows how to take the unspoken thoughts in my heart and put them down into tangible, readable words. "I want to be happy. Like, seventy to eighty percent of the time. I want to be actively, thoughtfully happy." Fangirl may still be my favorite book of hers but this is a close second. (I also enjoyed Attachments but didn't like the ending that much.)

To think I almost didn't read it! I was about to, when a friend unintentionally spoiled the Easter egg for me. I don't mind spoilers that much but it's the Easter egg we're talking about here, people! Good thing Bea asked me to continue. The reveal is indeed worth it! I get a different kind of buzz when fictional worlds collide (which is why the Pixar theory excited me so the first time I read it), and when it happened here, it was all kinds of amazing. Did I mention the many pop culture references? "Your face is like an O. Henry story. The world's sweetest dimples and the boy who never laughs." LOVED. IT.

Charming, fantastical, a whole lot of adorable... Rainbow Rowell is magic.

"The future was going to happen, even if he wasn't ready for it. Even if he was never ready for it. At least he could make sure he was with the right person. Wasn't that the point of life? To find someone to share it with? And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you loved more than everything else, wasn't everything else just scenery?"

Reading this really gave me a reality check on marriage. (Not that I've ever been married but you know what I mean.) I'm currently reading Gone Girl and, oh boy. I'll wait until I finish reading it before I form an opinion. Anyway. When I get married, I will never not have the energy for conversations, for asking how my spouse's day went, for touching base. I will never not have enthusiasm and patience for my kids. I will never be too consumed by work that I won't have time for anything else. I know it's a logical fallacy since I really can't pass judgment on something I haven't experienced yet, but I'm just saying being a good wife and mother would be nice, is all.

Have you read Landline? Did you like it? What is your favorite Rowell book? I'd like to know the books you're currently reading, too. 

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