Friday, March 23, 2012

Feeding on Words: The Hunger Games Movie

Spoiler Alert: because it's eating me too much and I don't want to keep it all to myself. To those who have not seen the movie, read with utmost discretion. This is a completely opinionated review and I will be rambling on the first few lines just so you don't get to read what you don't want to read even before you click the link. There, that should be enough.

Warning: very long post below...much like the Transformers review I wrote which you can read here. Also, when I say 'that did not happen' I really mean 'that did not happen in the book'. Okay?

Happy 74th Hunger Games!

As the world may know, The Hunger Games Movie has been released officially today! Because everyone probably already knows what the Hunger Games is about, I'll skip directly to the movie.

Blablabla rambling because I can't say it all straight. By the way, for those of you who don't want to go through all this muck, I shall do you a favor and boldface the highlights OR you can just skip to the summary. =) I know how boring this will get. AND if you want a shorter version which basically says all that I wanted to say and even more, read NY Times' movie review by Manohla Dargis.

Anyway, play by play starts here.

First scene, Seneca Crane being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman. Honestly, I didn't understand what they were saying. It was something about the 'edge' of the this year's Hunger Games? I don't really know because the high school kids behind me were so excited they could hardly keep their mouth shut. =)

And off we go into District 12, where poles of what seemed to be electric wires lined the streets, a district that is supposed to lack electricity every day. Then we see Katniss and Prim, where Prim just had a nightmare that she would be picked in the reaping, which later proves to be true and she ends up living her nightmare in front of everybody. This part did not happen in the book. Then Katniss sings to Prim, which is good, I guess because she does sing to Prim when she has nightmares. In fairness, Jennifer Lawrence has a voice though we don't get to hear a lot of it because she doesn't sing the whole song, which I think is a loss because I think it would be a great and haunting song for movie goers who've read the book. You know, we'd keep hearing it in our heads even after we've showered and changed and are ready for bed; that kind of song. But, oh well, I guess the first stanza will have to suffice. Moving on, Prim asks Katniss where she's going. This is odd because, well, she's been going out of the house and into the woods ever since she was 11 and Prim was, what, 7? So Prim should have known where Katniss was going. And no cheese! (Readers will understand that Prim left goat cheese on the table for Katniss and Gale as they 'celebrate' the coming reaping.) And Buttercup is black! (Readers, Buttercup is named buttercup because of its buttercup color. He's supposed to be the ugliest cat in the world. I read the book again before I realized I'd been imagining a black cat but no, it's Buttercup.)

So, Katniss walks out of the house and into the woods. We see miners walking, children hiding behind wooden houses, a semi-dam near a river that I don't really remember reading about. Then the chain link fence with the High Voltage sign which does not appear to be a chain link fence at all. Details, details. She slips between the two highly 'non-dangerous' wires like a boxer entering the ring. Small note: I think predators such as bears and wild dogs can easily slip into the district if you had a fence like that. It wasn't even barbed. Anyway, walking and walking, she gets the bow and her arrows from a really cool hollow tree. No comment. Then she hunts for a deer. Funny thing is, I kept waiting for Edward Cullen to snatch the deer away before the arrow hits it. XD Not going to happen though because Gale suddenly speaks and the deer runs away, probably into the hungry fangs of the Cullens. So Gale makes up for it by tossing a stone somewhere and Katniss shoots down a bird, a groosling probably. Nothing much going on until a hovercraft comes. Tada! What was that for? Anyway, the running away plans, the 'I will never have kids', the 'we could do it you know', and then the 'is this for real?' Duh. Bread, real or not real? I understand they don't see a lot of bread in the Seam but a reaction like that can hardly be expected. Nevertheless it was funny.

Which leads me to another general comment: Katniss looks too well-fed. I mean, sure, she doesn't have to be stick thin but, you know, she's chubby, which doesn't reflect much of the food scarcity the district is experiencing. Sure, Katniss is better fed than the rest of the cast of kids in 12 but, well, you know, I may just be biased. =p

Going back to 12, we find Prim all dressed up and Katniss also dressing up and Katniss giving the Mockingjay pin to Prim 'for good luck' which she bought, no, was given by presumably Greasy Sae at the Hob. Note: the Hob, I like. It does look like the Hob. But the Mockingjay pin acquisition-- the complete deletion of Madge Undersee, the Mayor's daughter, the daughter of the best friend of Haymitch Abernathy's partner during the 2nd Quarter Quell--I protest to that. I can see why screen writers would think it's okay to cut out her character but I think it loses the meaning of the pin. Well, not loses it but diminishes its importance even though we get to read the explanation only when we get to Catching Fire. It's sad because Madge was one of the few friends Katniss had and they killed her too. Sniff.

To the reaping! Effie Trinket -- should have been wearing a green dress -- arrives looking like, never mind. The tributes get their fingers punctured and their blood sampled and scanned, which I find really cool and is probably one of the few things that remind me that the book and movie are classified as Sci-Fi. Then they position the tributes in their places, NOT in order of age but, oh I don't know, in a way that the cameras can get a good shot of them: girls to the right and boys to the left when facing the stage. The stage, by the way, is on the lobby of the Hall of Justice...doesn't that sound a bit, hmm, local? I'm sure the term was not hall. Anyway, this part I might need to watch again because as I can remember, the first view of Gale mouthing 'it's okay' was when he was at Katniss's right side. Then we see him on her left side when he makes fun of the video. Then when Katniss volunteers for Prim, Gale walks toward the right and appears on the left side of Prim to carry her away. Is it just me or is Gale moving very fast and all over the place? (my brain is confused) Will watch that part again. Here's a technical glitch though, when Katniss was volunteering for Prim, the video wasn't smoothly cut. You can see a quick jump in the movement of the Peacemakers and Katniss. Oh well.

So Katniss is District 12's volunteer tribute then the whole crowd salutes with their left hand. Take note: left hand. Take note because when District 11 salutes Katniss, they used their right hand (or I may just need to remember where left and right is). The salute itself wasn't so glorious or tear-jerking or whatever. We don't see the grown-ups do it but only the other tributes. We don't see the gamblers or the parents much and we won't really understand why they did that. For non-readers: the salute was something special, like a thank you to someone they care for, like a goodbye to someone they love. In fairness, though, the silence was haunting. I guess silence is the best way to communicate fear in the district.

Then we go to Peeta's name being called. Woohoo! Give it up for the boy with the bread! Apparently, Katniss and Peeta didn't grow physically because they look the same as their 11-year old selves. I like how they seemed to connect with that memory when they shook hands though. It was a cool way to interpret what Katniss in the book was thinking.

Three minutes in Panem also differ. When Katniss said goodbye to Prim and her mother, they had time to cry and leave instructions and hug and whatnot. When Gale showed up, they hugged and talked about surviving and the bow and winning then "I'll see you soon, okay." Sad because it would have been more dramatic to say, "Remember, I..." Then Katniss will never know what it was that Gale wanted her to remember. Haymitch could possibly send her a remembrall. =)

Peeta, Effie, Katniss, trip to the train. The train was awesome. Well, it was a capitol train and Effie's comment about getting to experience those riches 'even just for a short time' seemed perfect. It was a nice touch, screen writers. Then we remember that Haymitch has never made an appearance, yet. He was supposed to fall off the stage during the reaping but I guess he was too drunk to show up for the shooting. So Effie goes to look for him. In the meantime, Peeta makes small talk with himself since Katniss decides to blend into the plush, blue chair and the cold silver wall of the train. A few moments later, Haymitch arrives. Ah, Haymitch, the only living District 12 victor who has been described in the book as someone very, very drunk and, hmm, fat? Honestly, I don't remember reading about a fat Haymitch but I guess a round belly is a given if you're a drunkard. Anyway, Haymitch arrives looking funny and I love his character in the movie because it's close enough to the book but he has a different aura because he's real. He still drinks a lot and apparently, he walks around the train in his bare feet because when Peeta tries to take his bottle, Haymitch pushes him away with one ugly foot. Eww. And here's the part where Haymitch delivers one of the best written dialogues I've heard in the movie: "_______" Too bad I can't remember it. Something about accepting the fact that you are about to meet your imminent death and that you shouldn't expect any help from him. Don't worry, I'll watch it again just to get the exact words. =)

Now, we can remember that Katniss was dressed up by her mom in the blue dress and the 'perfectly balanced' braids. The book says the braids were not messed up until the beauty makeover for the presentation of the tributes. In the movie, her braid became the almost standard braid she wore to the arena. In between this deviation to the book, we see Katniss watching a recap of the previous Hunger Games, where some victor killed a tribute using a brick. She wore something black. The next scene brings us Katniss wearing the same blue dress she wore in the reaping. Inconsistency? We shall check.

So, then they talk about staying alive and Katniss manages to kill a place mat. "That's mahogany!" says Effie and it turns out to be the best dialogues she will deliver in the movie. Then we see Peeta waving at the Capitol people. Wasn't Peeta so cute? When he manages to not look like himself, he does look a bit attractive (Sorry Josh Hutcherson fans, I'm still reconciling the fact that he's Peeta).

We're at the beauty room now. Not much to say except that they disentangled Katniss's braids. Cinna's speech was okay, a bit too wordy (you know, talking about stuff that could be explained some other way). Actually I don't much remember what they talked about except the 'I'm here to make you look palatable'...=) Okay, he didn't say 'palatable', I just don't remember.

Then the 'it's just fake looks real to me' part where Cinna sets fire to the tributes (singing "I set fire to the rain"). Maybe our imaginations are just too wild but I expected a bit more WOW there. They just looked like, I don't know, people moving too fast for the shutter speed? Sorry. I concede, maybe it is hard to set fire to the tributes and make them look awesome at the same time. =) But Katniss looks like, in my friend's words, Queen Amidala. In my words, she looks like Medusa. Wasn't her hair supposed to be in its plain-jane braid so the people will recognize her when she's in the arena? Oh well. That part could have been a bit more spectacular but I guess they'll leave that for our imaginations. =)

Off to the tribute's penthouse. It was beautifully designed in a futuristic and extravagantly decorated way that only the Capitol people can. It didn't look like the one in my head but I'm sure we all had a different idea of what it would look like. I wonder if Suzanne Collins pictured it that way. And the really cool TV screen! That one, I would love to have in my room. It was a window sized screen that could show different areas such shoes walking, dry desert sky and the forest. Yet again, I was waiting for Edward Cullen to appear behind one of the trees. Sorry. Forests look the same to me. =p

The training room scenes were okay. I especially liked the part where Rue hides near the ceiling with Cato's knife while Thresh was snickering. It was nice to see some childish nonsense in a training room full of teenagers and one 12-year old. Sure, they're all thinking about how they would kill each other but kids will be kids and a little fun isn't prohibited, right? Then we go to dinner with Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch where they talk about their strengths and how Peeta can throw stuff bla bla bla. "District 12 might actually have a winner...she was talking about you." Okay. Then Katniss tells Peeta to throw that weird heavy ball, I don't know what it's called, to some spears just to stop the Careers from looking at Peeta like 'meat'. Meat? I don't remember. That didn't happen.

Anyway, shooting the pig. One, Peeta was supposed to go first. Two, Katniss was supposed to show off with some arrow stunts. Three, Plutarch Heavensbee is missing. He was supposed to fall into a bowl of punch. "Thank you for your consideration" curtsy and exit. Oh, return the bow, why don't you.

Then Haymitch bursts in with a thumbs up and starts laughing. Oh how I wish the movie wasn't adapted from the book, it would have been great to see that happening. But it didn't really happen. And that part was a bit...lacking. The reporting was cool though. When Caesar and Claudius Templesmith were commenting and showing the tributes' scores, the screens looked cool. Projectors and stuff. Futuristic but very basic. Then I remember the hovercraft so, yeah, futuristic. Period.

After that, we see Katniss twirling and twirling around for Cinna and they talk some and then the tribute interviews which did NOT happen on a big stage where the tributes were all sitting in a row while one tribute was being interviewed. No, that did not happen, too. Then Katniss is called and she somehow makes the audience laugh because she honestly said she didn't want to burn to death. And that her heart stopped when she stepped out on that chariot. Okay. But the real shining moment was when we see her flaming gown. It wasn't in the book but that was a WOW moment. That was more WOW than the first flames and (fine I'll mention it) her shoes were really pretty. =) Then the interview is over and Haymitch delivers another really cool line, something about '(to Katniss) your dress is gorgeous...(to Effie) not yours'. I love their banters, it's so unscripted and they did not happen in the book which makes it great because we don't expect that. Then Peeta starts sniffing Caesar because of the showers. Really, if I didn't read the book, I wouldn't know why the showers would smell like roses in the Capitol. No, because they didn't tell us, the movie goers, that the showers in the Capitol had lots of buttons with soaps and scrubs and temperature control. They just smell like roses. Okay. And then Caesar asks the question every girl who's ever read The Hunger Games has been waiting for: Is there a special girl? And he responds in his own way. Just watch.

But, because the tributes were not sitting behind them, there was no blush, no focus on the star-crossed lovers sitting beside each other but forever separated by a gap that means life or death. Oh well.

Then Katniss decides to lock Peeta's neck with her arm instead of just pushing him and making him break a pot and wounding his hand. No injuries there. The dialogue? Much the same as the book. Then they talk about 'not being a piece in their games' and I kept looking at Peeta thinking 'he's actually cute when I can only see one eye and one side of his face is in a shadow'. =)

Then, finally, we get to see some action! Katniss is sent to the hovercraft which does NOT freeze her on the ladder. She, instead, sits in a C130 type hovercraft with the other tributes while an official injects the tracker into their arm. Note: that did not happen. Then Katniss is with Cinna who dresses her up and shows her the Mockingjay pin. Shh, he says. But that wasn't a secret! All the tributes can bring something from their district into the arena. She wasn't smuggling it in, so why the 'shh'? Oh well. Then she goes up into the tube and into the arena!


We see the cornucopia. I'm sure when we read 'cornucopia' in the book we thought it would look something like this:

Instead, we get something like this:

It's a little bit frustrating because it looks more like an airplane hangar, or a beached whale. Sure, it's shiny and futuristic but, hmm, cornucopia? Oh well.

So, they're all in the arena. Katniss sees Peeta. Peeta shakes his head. The people in the control room starts countdown. Every eye in Panem is locked on their screens. Prim and her mother have this really cool projector instead of a rusty old TV which in in the book. Gale is somewhere in the woods and the audience starts swooning because he looks so pitiable. The countdown stops and Katniss just stands there. The bloodbath has started. Peeta is running for his life. There were kids already dead. And Katniss just stands there until she sees the orange back pack and lunges for it. A kid dies and a knife is lodged into her bag and she starts running. This part reminds me so much of Bourne Ultimatum because the camera's so shaky and moving and, I don't know, maybe they did it so it wouldn't look so violent and gruesome. It made me a bit nauseous though. Anyway, Katniss runs to the woods and bumps into Foxface. Again, not in the book but a great addition to the movie. Foxface is such an excellent character and she continues her streak until unfortunately she eats nightlock. Why do they kill those who are good at their character?

After 3 hours, the bloodbath ends and Katniss has skimmed through the contents of her bag. Twelve dead, twelve to go. Then suddenly, Katniss finds the stream and starts drinking the water. No sign of dehydration, no iodine drops. Wow, that was quick. No challenge? The challenge arrives in the form of...drumroll...FIRE! Why? Because one of the tributes decides to die by the sword rather than the cold. And Katniss rolls her eyes and soon the tribute Peeta's hands. Not much drama where there should have been questions of alliances in Katniss's thoughts. Why was Peeta with the Careers? Did Peeta really want to kill Katniss? What's going on? Did the movie goers get this part?

More walking and walking and when Katniss is near the edge of the world and into the Truman Show, Seneca Crane, Head Game maker, decides to create...drumroll...FIRE! He just says it and it's there. He says, 'make a tree drop there' et viola! Tree drops in front of Katniss. Shooting balls of fire! The people in the control room looks like they're having fun and really, if it were a video game, I'd have fun, too, but they were playing with a real girl. Tsktsk. Katniss gets burned NOT on her calf but on her thigh. That did not happen. And she suddenly finds herself in another stream. I love the control room views. It was like the maps and compasses from Delta Force and Counter Strike and Half Life. We'd know where the enemies are, and we can drive them to each other. Cool!

So, the Careers, which apparently includes a handsome Cato and a girl who acts like Cato's girlfriend, Glimmer, finds Katniss in the stream and they run after her with joy and giggling. It was like they were running after a butterfly or something. They were happy and playful and, huh? Why would they run after her when they have bows and arrows and knives and swords. Throw it, shoot it, for crying out loud. You call yourselves Careers? But I like how Peeta run at the very back of the pack and looks so conflicted at his predicament. When Katniss climbs up a tree and wittingly tells Cato to throw his sword instead of wasting arrows, which by the way should have been a conversation starting with "How's it going down there?", Peeta suggests to wait it out and then, with his sad, doleful eyes, he stares up at Katniss with the expression of bitter restraint. *sigh*

By the way, don't you just love the penlight projector? I was secretly hoping they'd flash the Bat sign into the arena or the Dark Mark. XD

Then Haymitch starts working his charm with the sponsors, which is also a great addition to the movie, and soon a beeping silver parachute floats toward Katniss. Beeping? Really? Doesn't that alarm the enemy that a package has been sent? blink blink. Hello, tube of burn medicine.

Hello, Rue! Finally we see Rue again. Then the tracker jacker's branch, which is too thick to have broken that easily, falls into the Careers' camp and everyone starts looking like they've been sucked into the Floo Network. Diagon Alley! No, Glimmer did NOT die a gruesome, green slime kind of death. She just bloated like Hermione shot a...what was that, spell that made Harry look like he was stung by tracker jackers so the Malfoys wouldn't recognize him. And the hallucinations, hmm, not much drama there. If I didn't read the book, would I really understand what Caesar was saying about the tracker jackers? Would I understand why Katniss's hallucinations involved a mine blowing up and her father's picture and her mother screaming "Run, Katniss! Go" using Peeta's voice? I don't know. There was nothing shiny about it.

After, what, 3 days, Katniss wakes up covered in what looked like Papaya leaves. No explanations that it would heal tracker jacker stings, just that Rue changed it twice. Rue, the youngest tribute from District 11 who is so perfect for her role because she looks so helpless and alive and such a child. They become friends, eat a leg of groosling, and Rue teases Katniss about Peeta, which doesn't merit anymore emphasis because the love story was not emphasized, at all. Then, without any thought, they decide to blow up the supplies. Weird. So, they devise a plan and Rue sings her four-note tune which Katniss decides to revise and whistle. Mention of the Mockingjays and they're off to work. Note: I don't appreciate the loss of explanation on why the Mockingjay pin is important for Rue and why the Mockingjays repeat tunes.

At the camp, District 3(?) is left behind, which did NOT happen in the book. Foxface comes and just skips around. Without Caesar and Claudius, we would never know that there were mines there. They might as well have omitted the back and forth scenes of the tribute plates and the supply pyramid. District 3(?) chases Foxface then Katniss shoots at an apple, again. BOOM! Just a ringing in the ears. Not even falling with the LEFT side facing the explosion. No blood. No damaged eardrum. Well, I guess it would be too bad if Katniss had her ear hanging for the rest of the movie. She runs away from her so exposed position only after she sees Cato kill District 3(?). Amazing how they did not see her.

Then Rue gets trapped in a net. She DOES get out through Katniss's help then District 10 spears her from a distance. Katniss shoots him NOT on the throat but on his stomach. Too gruesome for a movie? Yeah, sure.

This, out of all the 2 hours and 22 minutes, is probably the most emotionally gripping scene in the movie. Rue dies a slow, sad and painful death. She makes Katniss sing but we don't hear all of it because of a blinding light calling Rue out of the arena and into the real world. Then Katniss decorates her with flowers, salutes to District 11 with her right arm (why? they didn't send her bread), and District 11 responds with a salute using their right arm and a rebellion against the Peacemakers and the Capitol. I guess that was what really happened beyond Katniss's own thoughts and it was something even readers looked forward to. Best part of the movie.

Because of Rue's death, Katniss walks and walks and acts a bit crazy trying to erase the scars on her fists and I still kept waiting for her to bump into Hermione while she's casting the Protego Totalem spells. XD

Anyway, since Rue is dead and the movie is becoming boring, Haymitch talks to Seneca about love and harnessing the universal desire of humans to root for forsaken love. President Snow disagrees because he hates underdogs. His own conversation with Seneca took a different turn but because the high school kids behind me were giggling when Snow told Seneca that he liked him, I did not get the conversation clearly. So, a rule is changed and suddenly, Peeta matters!

This part goes to the make up artists of Peeta Mellarck. The camouflage was brilliant! Stone faced, moss-bodied and sand strewn, Peeta was absolutely invisible. It was awesome!

Then stuff about his wounds, nothing about the blood poisoning, no washing of clothes, no request for a kiss. Nothing lovey-dovey there. Then they get to the cave where even more lovey-dovey is CHOPPED off. I say CHOPPED because cut is too subtle. So she tries to heal him, he suddenly talks about her singing, a kiss on the cheek, more talk, kiss on the lips then GALE! Oh, Gale you're still alive! How we love your reaction to the kiss. Tell us, how did it feel to see Katniss, your 'cousin', kissing Peeta Mellarck, the baker's son? Gale and his pained look, classic.

Then the feast, where the packs were supposed to be in different sizes but ended up looking like thermos cases. Foxface, as usual, gets hers first. Then we see some action and actual dialogue from the other tributes. Clove attacks Katniss and wounds her forehead. Which reminds me, Katniss's wounds are very inconsistent. At one point, she had a slice near her eyebrow, then it disappeared. And sometimes her face would be covered in marks of red indicating cuts but then they'd all disappear without any medicine. Amazing, the arena must have its own healing powers. Anyway, Clove and Katniss get some action going until Thresh kills Clove NOT by throwing a stone at her head but by banging it on the suddenly deadly cornucopia. Then he raps something like "just this once, District 12, for the little girl" and runs away. We don't even get to see Cato.

Then some more talk about medicine and healing and Peeta's alive again! No basket feast, no torrential rain. Hmm, soon the game maker will get bored. And he does get bored but only after Thresh is dead and Foxface accidentally eats nightlock. People in the control room suddenly decide to play Pet Society and start releasing mutts into the arena, just by squishing and sliding their hands on the screen. Amazing, no? And because no one expected it--everyone was waiting for Cato to start running towards Katniss and Peeta-- when a mutt suddenly jumps at Peeta, everyone screams! Ahh! Something to wake us up! Then they start running and climbing and Peeta gets caught by a mutt, which by the way is a mutation that involved putting the eyes of dead tributes into the mutts and tagging them by district. They find the cornucopia safer than the mutts but Cato is already there and hooray, more action! A little fight on the slippery airplane hangar and Peeta is taken hostage by Cato. Instead of an x-mark, Peeta mouths 'shoot, shoot' and Katniss agrees. And to shorten the duration of Cato's suffering, Katniss kills him with an arrow. Such a handsome actor, such short screen time.

And because this part is, what, semi-boring, with only the view from District 12 in split screen, I shall go ahead and say that they didn't even put the berries in their mouths. Hmph. That wasn't so dangerous.

More talk about Snow not liking what they've done. More talk about how 'madly in love' Katniss was with Peeta. More talk, more talk. Less explanation on the train. Peeta sees Katniss looking at Gale then raises his hand while holding her hand. If I didn't read the book, would I question Peeta's love for Katniss? Would him saying "I don't want to forget" be treated as something out of love or something out of sadistic pleasure in remembering all those deaths? Would I wonder if Katniss really loved Peeta or if she felt anything during those two kisses that were really not enough to convince anyone of their love? I don't know. Yes, The Hunger Games is not a love story but that was part of the trick, part of the rebellion, part of the plan. Without the right emphasis, it was just, what, a way to get sponsors. *sigh* books.


And we have come to the very end of this lengthy review. Not a review, more like a semi-transcript?

To summarize it all, I'd say that I would have loved the movie if I didn't read the book. I guess I would have a lot of questions about it and may not feel whatever it was that readers have felt but I may understand some parts of the movie. Since I have read all three books, I'd say that it was a bit put together. It feels like they were trying to CHOP off stuff from the story just to fit it into a 2-hour and 22-minute movie.

I've been so excited ever since I finished the books and saw the first trailer to see how film makers are going to adapt such a beautiful book. I will concede, however, that screenplays can be very difficult and yes, books and movies will forever differ from one another. I guess the main reason is because novel writers have no limitations in terms of resources. They draw up everything from their imagination which knows no bounds. Film makers and screenplay writers, on the other hand, have to deal with reality and the fact that movie goers can't read a character's thoughts like they can with a book. I mean, imagine if we had to watch the whole movie listening to Katniss Everdeen's thoughts. Sure, that would be a good option but well, it's too late for that now.

And yes, I read that using a first person perspective in movies can be tricky as Silent Hill  has proven (although I haven't seen that movie and I don't plan to), but when an audience expects an adaptation of a book that revolves around the mind of one character, it's a given that we want to see that on screen.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that the movie was good. I'm biased because I was thinking of the book the whole time. That's why I'm going to watch it again without thinking of the book to see if it can change my mind. I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about the movie because, apparently, even after I've been rambling, I still don't want to stop. Undecided, yes.

So, go ahead and watch the movie! Keep an open mind. Enjoy the new details. Have fun. It was a great experience but I'm hoping they make it bigger and better in the two following movies.

Happy Hunger Games everyone! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

President Snow sent me and all the citizens of Panem this scary letter. The people at theCapitol.Pn are awesome! Kudos to your creativity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fashion Confined: Hair Pins and the arduous task of using them

A couple of months ago, I was running around on the website called Youtube and I found tutorials on how to fix my hair. As some of you may know, I now have very long hair that's straight at the top and curly at the bottom (sounds like food). I had it permed over a year ago and I'm loving the effect it finally has: the pseudo Korean hair when they want to make an actress look older.

So, since I have long hair and I was feeling creative, I bought myself this set of hair pins. My main objective was to get the Taylor Swift messy side swept updo, which you can watch here.

It seems easy when you watch the video and especially if you have someone to do it to your hair.

And because I felt very daring, like I can do anything they can do, without hairspray and all, I did the messy side swept updo.


Booyah! Thought I got it right. haha

Yes, that's all the pictures you'll get for this hairstyle because I could not bring myself to show you what happened. It kind of looks like a semi-medusa crossed with the I-just-got-out-of-bed-with-yesterday's-hairstyle-still-on-my-head look. Really, it doesn't merit any form of photo but hey, I was feeling creative. AND I did this while watching The A-Team in BluRay, so excuse my apparent lack of attention. XD

Anyway, I think hair pins are great. They hold stuff together and they keep girls looking sane. The main reason it took me so long to buy my own set was because my hair used to be straight. Straight to the point that clips and pins don't hold much friction with it and what would take me hours to put together would fall apart fifty times quicker. So, yeah, I had my reservations.

But now that my hair actually obeys my commands, I think I'm retracting all thoughts of chopping them off. At least not until I get the guts to get a short bob or a pixie cut, which would turn me into a boy and nobody really wants that.

So, to challenge my ability to work with the hair on my head, I found this awesome album in the Facebook page of The Fashion Hub and would like to share it to you. Note: not all pictures but only the ones making my hands itch. =)

The Waterfall Plait

The Caged Plait
The Head Plait
How in the world am I going to do that to myself???
Here's a plaiting tutorial.
The Plaited Bun
The Basket Weave Plait

And yup, I wonder if I could ever do any of those. The most recent plaiting I've learned would be the fishtail and it took me a long time to do it. Speaking of fishtails, this video from Forever 21 is also a cool idea to do with hair.

Okay, so maybe the messy braid is the easiest one because you can always just make the fishtails, go to sleep and when you wake up, tada! Instant hairstyle. =)

Styling hair can be fun, especially if you're doing it on another person's head. Looking forward to experimenting soon. Hope to post pictures as proof that I can style my own hair. =)

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Feeding on Words: Real or Not Real?

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (the final book of The Hunger Games)


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

As promised, here is my take on Mockingjay. (It's not going to be a real review, I can't do that to this book. It makes me too subjective. =)

Real or Not Real?

I have never read a book twice just because I wanted to. Even the novels of Nicholas Sparks, whom I have confessed to be a favorite, never merited a second reading. It’s not because I don’t like the books. It’s more of the desire to preserve whatever impact the first reading has left me with.

Not real.

Up until last night, I would have only read all my books once. But Mockingjay, the final book to the Hunger Games Trilogy, held a part of me so tightly that I all but read the book over after reading it the first time.

Three months later, I find myself feeling the same frustrations, anger, incredulity and admiration that the book imparted on me. I went through the pages again, expecting to be bored because I know what will happen next but realizing that I still want to be there when it happens. I want to be right beside Katniss Everdeen, right inside her soul, through the war and the victory. But there is no victory. There is only a faded, dulled but still strikingly appalling memory of what they all had to go through. And that is why Mockingjay grips me so hard.

Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for writing such a beautiful novel. You have used your talent so splendidly that I hope this trilogy will be passed on to generations as many classics have. It is a terrible thing to write about war and the effects of it on children, but it is a reality we all must be aware of. I guess you’ve written the novels not for us to accept but for everyone to take notice and do something about it.

What your characters go through is not purely a product of mere imagination. It is real. Children in Iraq, Iran, Syria and other parts of the world that have known only fighting and survival feel what the Districts feel. They are there, with them. They are the rebels. They are the soldiers. They are the Gales who, out of revenge for the pain he has been forced to face, fight so passionately and so abandoned by feelings of justice. They fight because they were put in a position to fight, like there’s no other choice.

There are Katnisses who become symbols in their own right. Symbols of why they are fighting war. Children who continue fighting because they hope for a future, albeit a future starved of loved ones they once had.

And there are Peetas, ones who know what the wars are doing but cannot deny their need to survive. Ones who prefer peace but cannot and do not want to be part of anyone’s ‘games’. Ones who are aware of the hands that are playing with the strings of their puppets, playing them into the cold, bloody and lonely wars they’re in.

They are real. They exist and even more are like Haymitch, Beetee, Annie or Johanna. People who have survived everything but have nothing left. People who have fought in the war but have nothing for themselves but death—waiting, longing for that quick blow that will end their misery. Or those who sit down and wonder if all the fighting was worth it.

I guess at some point, we all think it’s worth it. Better to let some die than the world tumble into chaos. Better to sacrifice the willing ones than to find ourselves imprisoned under the hands that unceremoniously, even cruelly, control us. Better to kill off everything than to live where life rested on the hands of ‘gamemakers’.

I won’t argue about their motives. I won’t argue with their ways. Although I live where people have an unconscious fear of a bomb blowing up, or a few miles away people and villages are taken, I cannot put myself in the shoes of those who have gone or are going through it. No, I cannot and will not pretend that I know how it feels but because of these books, I see more clearly.

After the fighting, the blood, the losses, people are expected to move on. People are expected to learn something from it. People. Children. Children who have to live without parents, without siblings. Children who have to live on their own. Children who have to live with their nightmares. Children who have to live the rest of their life with whatever is left in their life.

War does not end when one side surrenders or is defeated. War does not end when the victors take control of what they were fighting for. War does not end in this world.

“We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction,” Plutarch Heavensbee so accurately suggests.

The desire, the unrest, it all comes back and we are thrust into a fight for something: freedom, control, provisions, anything. It’s a cycle.

I’m not going to say peace is impossible. I am optimistic and believe we will reach that sweet point in time where we don’t want to repeat the awful things that happened in the past. I hope that we can all find the decency, the humanity of living without a grudge or even anger towards another human being. I hope and I pray and I believe we will get there.

Mockingjay. It is a book that ends but a story that goes on. It is a concrete revelation of the abstract destruction the wars are doing to the children, to everyone. It is not a mere novel that tells of some characters that fight to stop a more powerful force but a reality we are all living in. It is a terrible, horrible story yet a beautiful book at the same time.

When the day comes and we are free, we will have to answer to Someone who we cannot fight or win a war against. We will all have to answer to every command, every action we have taken. And when we are asked if it is real or not real that we have put all this destruction upon us, not just the physical evidences of it but the lifelong desperation to free oneself from the nightmares, we will have to answer what we know we should, what we know is true.

Real or not real?


Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for this heart-wrenching book. I'd like to talk extensively about everything that happens in it but I would only be repeating what you wrote. The pain is still fresh but I know it will heal. But it will never really go away. The confusion,, the fear, the anger -- all will return then disappear. That is life. And I can only hope that someday, I'll find the Peeta who will give me a hold on reality and whose arms will be around to comfort, to protect me. Always.


This is in celebration and anticipation of The Hunger Games movie which will come out in 5 days! The world will be watching.

Also, read my review on The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. =) They're not as emotional as this one, I promise. (was this emotional???)

Have a great day everyone!

Ms. Collins, please give me a chance to write the screenplay for this book. I'll start as soon as I can bear creasing my book. =) contact me?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fashion Confined: Phya's Birthday Giveaway part 2!

Because birthdays never really end. =)

I will talk about this more. Patience. =)

UPDATE: I told you I'd talk about it more.

Don't you just love birthdays? It's that season of a person's life when gifts are allowed to be given just because. And this time, it's the birthday celebrant who's giving away freebies! And take note, it's part two of her giveaway! Such a gracious person! More years to you Phya. =)

Anyway, because in this generation pictures tell the whole story, here are the giveaways she'll be (duh) giving away:

Bratty Bonita

Gifts Ahoy
Bedazzle Accessories 
Mis Cosas

And there's seriously MORE!

So, how to join? You have to visit her blog and follow all the easy instructions.

Once again, happy birthday Phya! You rock!

She Explains: Why Sleeping Isn't a Waste of Time

*Warning: pointless post down below. If you do not wish to waste your time, click me now.*

I wake up every morning staring at this stuffed toy and I always think of the same line "you're so lucky your job is to just lie there, look cute, and sleep". I guess some people just really get the good stuff.

Sleeping isn't a waste of time. In fact, all of us are required to sleep at least eight hours a day. Most of us sleep at least 5 hours while there are those who, like me sometimes, prefer the adrenaline-induced wakefulness as a result of a 3-hour nap. We all have our sleeping patterns, too. Some sleep at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 3am, 5am. Some sleep in class, on the jeepney, while listening to the radio or while studying for an exam. Some people can sleep sitting down, or feet up on a wall, or feet on the bed with the rest of your body on the floor. Sleeping is an amazing phenomena to observe and if there was a job that only requires you to sleep, I think I'd seriously consider it.

There was a program on television (but I can't remember which) that talked about sleeping. The host was literally required to sleep while a group of doctors observed his physical reactions to the activity. He was connected to wires, and though sleeping with so much equipment attached to you can be difficult, soon enough he dozed off. Doctors and scientists found that brain waves change when you're having dreams. They fluctuate and cause even more activity. Maybe that's why you still feel tired and exhausted after a dream of running around or flying.

Actually, I wasn't able to finish watching that program because I had to leave the room. I have no idea what the conclusion to that activity was but I do know one thing: sleeping is not a waste of time.

If only we could just sleep the days away, right? If only, by sleeping, we could reach the dreams we so badly dream about. If only we could finish every dream we ever started; that every time we hit our heads on the pillow, our dreams continue like we're picking up where we left off.

But I'm just ranting, really. No, there is a time to dream, a time to sleep and a time to wake up. There was this text that made me feel all guilty after reading it when I was still half-asleep:

"Why are you wasting your life on too much sleeping? When you can have enough of it when you die..."

Yup, that's basically the whole text (minus the good morning). I literally flew out of my bed after that. I mean, sure, I love sleeping but then...hey, we still don't get to sleep when we die! Oh, pooh, I should have just went ahead and slept.

So, since my brain is still in a dreamlike state and both my eyes are falling close even though I did sleep last night, I'm letting this post just die. Like that.

Happy sleeping..zzzz.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Summer is Hotter with Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion, Schick, & Nuffnang!

My ideal Nuffnang summer is one that involves the sun, sand, some random adventure into nature and a full 61 days of laughter shared with friends. Summer is, after all, only two month's worth of vacation time, so why not explore the parts of the world we are less accustomed to?


Of course, when we talk about summer it will always include a picture of us walking around a beach, trekking on some mountainside, biking and running, or just casually feeling that glorious warmth from that heavenly body we call the sun on our face.  The thought of 'summer' is riddled with colors of yellow, brown, orange and even red. It connotes a hot season--hot in both definitions-- and a distinct desire to use more sunblock.

I remember a time in my life when one of my classmates told me I was too white. "What?" I had asked him, in shock and confusion. He said that I looked too white, almost as white as bond paper. It seemed to him that I never went out of the house or got hit by the sun. So, all 13 years of my life, I must have been hiding inside a box, like that kid from that John Cusack movie I don't remember. As an emotional teenager, I promised myself to get out more the summer after that school year.

So, I did go out. I went to the beach, hiking with my relatives, flying kites, and all those activities that involved getting out into open grounds in direct contact with the sun. It was fun, I admit, and sure enough summer should be fun. Those two months spent out and about supplied my vacation with memories of adventures and laughs. Those two months exposed also produced a comment that I still use to defend my 'still-too-white' skin.

"Hann, nangitom lagi ka." (Hann, you[r skin] darkened)

So, I raised my eyebrow and inwardly wanted to strangle that classmate. (I hope you don't remember who you are.) If I'm too white, I get a comment. If I get darker, I still get a comment. So I guess I have to choose which shade I'll stick to.

Now, thanks to some sunblock, I still have my 'still-too-white' skin. And since summer is coming, I'm not really going out of my way to promote Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion. 

Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion. We've got you covered.

I know, their tagline suggests everything anyone has ever wanted in a sunscreen lotion. To be covered, protected, and to relax in the security their product promises to deliver--it would be great to have one less thing to worry about when summer's over. When you have a sunblock that you trust, you don't even need to think about getting dark when running openly into the water or climbing up that high hill. You don't have to worry about being branded 'batang x', a name my family calls me after getting an x-shaped sunburn on my back. You don't have to worry about being made fun of or that painful feeling of peeling dry skin off your face. No, Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion can save you from all that. (and forgive me if I sound too 'promoting' but I do believe in sunscreens =)


So, while we're talking about summer in the sun, let's focus on a beach setting. I love beaches. I don't particularly love swimming because I can't tread water unless I'm playing dead or am flapping my flippers all around. But I do love the beach. I love the feel of the wind and the sand on my feet. I love that effortless feeling of not having to wear shoes or constricting clothes. Just shorts, sleeveless tops and no slippers and you're all set to run around.

Now, bringing you all back to my high school, another teen problem would be hair. Yep, and I'm not talking about the one up top. I'll say it here because as one of my classmates said "no one should be ashamed of it because it's really normal and part of growing up". Underarm hair. (haha, I bet you thought of other hairs but whatever =p) Sure, going out on the beach is lovely and freeing but then, that awkward moment when you reach for the sky, stretching up into the air, arms high and underarms exposed and you remember...oops, I forgot about the forest. It's embarrassing, believe me (I know =p). 

And what fun would it be to be out in the sun, rolling on the sand, wearing t-shirts or long sleeves. IT'S HOT OUT THERE. Covering it up is not a good idea, so just lose it.

For those who are at the same level of consciousness as I was in high school, I'm sure you've read a lot about underarm problems before pursuing your own solution. I read a very helpful article by Julie Yap Daza in her Manners for Moving Up book about that subject and it has helped me decide which road to take. She said that there are choices and there are effects of these choices. If you shave, you may get dark skin. If you pluck, you may get chicken skin. Waxing is painful. Lasers are expensive. Which will you choose? 

Jumping into the future, I guess my choice was good because technology found a solution to the problem AND the effect of the choice.

Schick. Free your skin.

Schick is a very familiar brand. We know they sell shavers/shaves (what do you call them anyway?). We know that their products are of high quality and they're an international brand we can trust. I am a fan of their products and as I was browsing their site for this particular blog post, I found out that they sell more than shaves/shavers (duh). 

They have what they call the Intuition Plus product line, which basically gets that hair off and keeps your skin smooth, moisturized and free from harm (for sensitive skin). 

So, yeah, nobody wants to get caught out in the sun and sand with a forest under your arms. Really. I don't ever want that to happen to me. Summer is meant to be lived free...that's why Schick knows they need to free your skin.

Some random adventure into nature and a full 61 days of laughter shared with friends

I have to admit, my summer is probably going to be spent inside a room, daydreaming of life's endless possibilities and outlining the next chapter of my imaginary book. This summer may be spent like any other month of the year and I may not be able to see any sun or sand at all. But hey, I guess dreaming is better than nothing, right?

So if by some weird fairy tale-like moment happens and I get the chance to get out and explore, I'm going to ask that genie to bring me to Brazil where summer happens every day of the year. I mean, Brazil is not just about beaches but I know they've got awesome nature treks too. And if you're like me who enjoys randomness and unplanned activities, getting a trip to Brazil and the once in a lifetime opportunity to explore its natural wonders might just be the biggest summer celebration of our life! (haha I'll bring you along if ever this happens but I doubt it will) Come on, foreign land, foreign people, just you and your backpack, that would be a great adventure and a treasure trove of stories to fill blogs like this one.

Imagine the experience a summer like that would bring. All the unexpected events and the surprises are sure to bring some laughs to you and your friends. What's more, it would be even greater if friends actually joined us there. (forgive the shifting of pronouns, I'm having an identity crisis because of the excitement of a dream) A shared experience is so much better than an adventure spent alone. Talking to yourself in the middle of such a beautiful place is not much fun but having a friend to tease and share a tear of joy with would be awesome. And I won't forget to mention that having friends around gives bloggers like me a valid reason to bring a camera. =) So expect pictures.

Whew! Summer is coming (I said this in my head with Stark of Winterfell's voice). The excitement of a full two months of freedom is exhilarating and the best part is that summer doesn't even have to end after May. It can go on and on like a very long summer camp. And all our experiences can fill pages and pages and posts like these until we're all too old to sit in front of the computer (by that time we can just ask an AI to read blog posts for us =). 

I'm wading off into the distance. I should stop now. 

Have a happy summer, people! And don't forget to shave and bring sunscreen. =)

This post is an entry for:

who will graciously sponsor two Hunger Games tickets for March 23! Weeee. (I know, I know, I will write the Mockinjay review very soon =)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remembering Japan 3-11-11


This was the image that made me realize how real the Earth's destruction can be. The video from which this picture is taken would easily remind anyone of an apocalyptic movie. The only difference is that, this picture is real.

Dear Japan,

I remember how much I wanted to visit you when I was younger. I remember the stories I used to hear about your people's diligence and passion for work. I remember knowing that your people work hard to become what they are today.

The earthquake and tsunami that happened last year truly was devastating. It took out over 13,000 people and 15,000 are still missing*. It brought a number of aftershocks, a near nuclear disaster and a lifetime of picking up the pieces. A country struck by such a catastrophe would have the rights to give up. A country with a percentage of population suddenly wiped out would have thought it hard to get back up. But you are not just a country.

I salute the people of Japan for your resilience. Not only have you surpassed the initial impact of the tragedy but you have also hurdled the difficult task of rebuilding life. You are still organized and do not demand more than what you need. You understand the necessity of peace and order in the reconstruction of your cities and you cooperate with each other, lifting and encouraging one another as survivors and volunteers. You are a people to be looked up to. You are a people to be followed.

After a year, you continue to improve your cities. You have reconstructed your buildings and although there are still those who are finding it hard to move forward, your determination is contagious. You talk of hope and of a better future. You pick up what has been left behind and walk on. You are a courageous people.

We remember the people that died that day. We remember the loved ones, friends and family that were trapped and drowned in the tsunami. We know how it must have felt like because of Sendong. We pray now for comfort for all that are left. For strength to those who have to live one day more, and another. We remember the pain of loss but we remember also the drive to push forward.

Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for your principles of determination, diligence and resourcefulness. As you continue your recovery, may you succeed in the endeavors of your life and may the support and love of the people around you continue to flow.

Destruction is not the end. Though it is a painful event, it is a reason to start over; a reason to improve and to live better. Diamonds go through a painful process before they reach their quality. You are in that process.

God bless.

*according to Discovery Channel

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Feeding on Words: Logos Hope

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Logos Hope. It's a ship, no doubt, and it's the biggest floating book fair in the world!

On the off chance that I would actually get a flight to Manila last Tuesday, I dropped a hint to my fabulous mother about me flying off to MLA instead of CDO. Thanks to my only brother (hihi), who "volunteered" to pay for my flight, I landed at NAIA 3 at five something in the morning.

Logos Hope was not part of the plan yet. I didn't know they were still there. My cousins told me that the ship had been in Cebu and that it would have been great to visit and hoard books there. So imagine my surprise and delight when my relatives told me the ship was still docked at the port of Manila. (Is that what it's called? I was too busy looking for the ship to notice any sign boards =)

We planned to browse and buy for about two hours before heading back home, but for book lovers whose hearts are so inclined to literature, we ended up occupying the book-ship for three hours. 

I'm going to say it again because repetition is good for those who keep forgetting (like me), no pictures of the actual ship because I didn't bring my camera. =p

My meager haul:

From the top:

  • Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson
  • Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt
  • A Novel Idea by a lot of Christian writers including Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind books), Francine Rivers (Lineage of Grace), Karen Kingsbury (Take One, Two, Three and Four), Randy Alcorn (Heaven) and more
  • Creative Photoshop Lighting Techniques by Barry Huggins
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by (tada!) William Shakespeare =)
I also bought a joke book for my father, but I wasn't able to take a picture of it. 

I know, if I really am a book junkie, I should have bought more than six books. In my defense, I would be flying back to CDO, and I am not allowed to carry heavy baggage because of medical reasons. And because there were so many wonderful books, I couldn't decide which ones to buy. I wanted to get some Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury books, but most were part of a series, and if I got one book, I'd have to buy the rest of the books. There were also fact books and encyclopedias, and they were hardbound with quality magazine paper, but again, the weight of the basket I was carrying around was threatening to break my arm off. They also had Bibles, children's story books, coloring books, craft books (and I really wish I could have bought the sewing or crochet book), and cooking books. (Ha! They all started with C. Except Bibles.) 

I can't stress the number of great books the ship has, and I know that no amount of words will ever compare to the actual experience of being inside a floating book fair. To make the trip even more wonderful, the prices of the books were really cheap. See the following:

That's 400 pesos each. Four hundred pesos for the very thick Shakespeare book and the Photoshop book, which would normally range at the thousand mark in regular bookstores. =)

See that? Imported novels usually cost 300 plus, but would you look at that! Really, I could just live there.

So yeah, it was an awesome experience, and I know I would have gotten more if I could only decide which ones to buy. Maybe next time I should just grab everything I like and worry about paying once I get to the counter. =)

Now to the bigger reason I wanted to write about this:

Logos Hope is not just a floating book fair. As its name suggests, it is a ship of hope. It goes to different countries in the world, carrying books for knowledge, help in the form of medical missions and counseling, and hope in the form of communicating with the people they meet. The crew is composed of over 400 volunteers from about 45 different nationalities. They are all Christians who seek to spread the Word of God to the people who most need it---to everyone. These volunteers have to raise their own money to be a part of the crew, and when they are serving with the team, their reward isn't monetary. I know they are rewarded with joy in their hearts, a joy that cannot be compensated with money. They serve because they want to serve, and their relationships with God and one another bring encouragement to everyone they meet. 

I had the chance to talk to one of the crew, Rebekka from Denmark. She's just twenty years old and has been with the ship for about six months. In her own words, she says that those six months were just awesome. She didn't have to pay for anything because her family, her church, and her friends all sponsored for her two years in Logos Hope. She says that it's been amazing to work with so many different nationalities who have such a great faith in God. They have worship night and devotions, and it's just wonderful to see different traditions melding together in one ship. Rebekka, if ever you read this, I thank God for using you, and I thank you for letting Him use you. I know that you will bless more people as you continue to serve with Logos Hope and even after the two years of your contract with them. May God always be with you that you may overflow with His goodness and love. You are an awesome friend, and I hope I get to meet you again.

So there. Logos Hope uplifts people from despair and pushes us to be the best for a greater cause. It's more than just selling books and visiting countries. It's more of opening doors to different hearts and letting love knock down the walls that many have built around their lives. Logos Hope, I salute you for your cause and hope that you continue your journey into the parts of the world that need you most. I also hope someday I get the privilege of joining your crew because that would be just awesome.

Visit their website for more information on where they'll be docking next and how to help through donations or volunteering.

Have a great day everyone!

From the brochure:

The Logos Hope community of 400 unpaid volunteers from over 45 different countries lives and works together for one purpose - to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world.

Many people who are unable to study have learnt vital skills and been able to purchase from over 5,000 titles in what is known as the world's largest floating Book Fair.

Logos Hope also seeks to provide aid and relief in needy situations and to bring long-term change in each port.

Our volunteer crew seeks to bring new hope by looking to the needs of others. Every crew member has a story to tell of how entering into a relationship with God has given them hope and purpose.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fashion Confined: Forever 21 at SM Cebu

So, when I did go to Cebu, I made sure to visit what is now one of the many favorite places I will miss visiting.

Forever 21 took out the second floor of SM North wing and I know this is not much of a surprise to many of you but to me it felt like...WOW. Of course I knew they were renovating that wing. Of course I knew they took out the bookstore and some shops beside it. But THIS! (no, no photo of the store because duh, I didn't bring a cam =p)

Anyway, thanks to my awesome cousin, I had a reason and the budget to actually buy stuff from there.

Before I show you my meager haul, I just have to explain the process of my decision making, especially because many of you will find it weird that I bought those instead of items F21 is known for.

Inside a store that has been famous for x-years, I was overwhelmed. Girls should never go to these kinds of stores unprepared. Not knowing what to buy when you have so many choices can make you go insane (figuratively =). I know I was almost too depressed to buy anything after walking around the store for TWO WHOLE HOURS. Yes, people, I'm slow like that. And as someone once told me, "That's normal. Most girls are like that when it comes to clothes." Do you agree?

So I walked and walked and walked. Checked the blouses, dresses and shoes that caught my eye. Checked their price tags. Checked their quality. Thought hard about the places I could actually wear the clothes. Listed down my picks. Calculated and computed whether my picks would fit into my budget. And after a 30-minute break where I sat down and tried to call upon the clothes that stuck to my head, which meant they're the ones that made the biggest impression on me, I finally walked back into the store and pulled out the clothes. I thought the sales associates would throw me out of there since I didn't seem to buy anything but always just smiled and touched the clothes. When I did start collecting, I felt a certain decrease in tension and I could just sigh thinking "at least now they know that I DO plan on buying". It's okay, really; I don't look like a serious shopper. =p

And here they are.

Dress, blouse, skirt and necklace; if only I could buy the shoes. =)

And since I'm new to this product photography, forgive my apparent delight in featuring myself wearing the clothes. =)

Dress = cute, summery, flowing and flowery. <3

Fluffy blouse = reason to wear my Avon Cami which I wouldn't say here but I just did. =p

Awesome heart locket = 3 pendants in one chain! I have a penchant for lockets even though none of my lockets have pictures in them. =)

No photo of skirt outfit, yet, but will post soon.

Now, to the real reason I wanted to write about Forever 21.

Yes, people, that's a verse and it's printed at the bottom of Forever 21's plastic bag. Though it's a common verse and anybody can print it on plastic bags, you can find only a handful of clothing giants printing a Bible verse on any of their items. I didn't notice this immediately. The plastic bag was stuffed inside my closet and when I pulled something out, the bag caught my eye. Isn't this just great? I find it so inspiring and I think I might just want to buy more stuff from F21 even though I have to save a lot before I do so.

So, there. Thank you Forever 21 for awesome stuff. I don't know how you categorize the arrangement of your clothes but I think that's one of the signatures of your store. I do get lost and find that I can't remember where I saw a certain piece of clothing but I guess that's your way of making us look for other stuff we may like. You rock!

From the website + add info:
Forever 21 was founded in 1984 and has spread into the Philippines by 2010, opening stores in SM Megamall, Makati and Cebu. Celebrated by many style conscious and trend-savvy shoppers, Forever 21 has quickly become the source for the most current fashions at the greatest value. 
Forever 21 is growing quickly, featuring new and exciting store environments, a constant flow of fun and creative clothing designs and the accessories to make your look come together at the right price.
A phenomenon in the fashion world, Forever 21 provides shoppers with an unprecedented selection of today's fashions, always changing and always in style.