Tuesday, January 31, 2006

thinking about driving

Which of course brings up driving shoes.

What was that? What are driving shoes, you ask? Ah well, it's quite simple, my dear. The fact of that matter is that while lovely Manolo stilettos, strappy Jimmy Choos and killer Prada boots make for a fabulous shoe wardrobe, they are hardly appropriate for the kind of furious heel-toe action that does justice to automotive works of art such as the Bugatti Veyron.
(Click thru English > Models > Veyron 16.4)

And so driving shoes were created: supple, comfortable footwear with texturized rubber grips curving up the heel to the back of the shoe. For women, Tod's is a notable designer and supplier, usually of either soft moccasins or calfskin loafers with signature "gommini" rubber dots studding the soles.

Try neimanmarcus.com, where you'll find that half the Tod's women's footwear offerings are driving shoes.

I suppose neither designer label nor price tag matter, as only you and your three car pedals will ever see these babies. But I like the style of these high-end drivers:

= Was $345, now just $173 at Neiman's. Obviously, I could simply be blinded by the 50% discount.
Antille A sandal!

Charlotte moccasin: because it's stylish enough to wear to the office.

If your budget's more Honda Civic that Hummer H2, the Isaac Mizrahi Kelly is a candy-colored moc for $26.99, with some colors on sale for just $18.89.

Porsche Slip-on Driving Shoes

For him, only the best: shoes designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Though I think he would wince to read "petal (sic) to the metal" in the description.

Manolo Blahnik patent leather Mary Janes

They're back! $515 at Bergdorf Goodman in black

and dark brown

this one's for you, kiddo!

A song that's almost perfect for you:

Beverly Craven's ~Promise Me~
lyrics here

Saturday, January 28, 2006

i've been meaning to post but

been busy.

playing guild wars.


ps- i like jimmy choo's katia. Yes, even in green.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

spring cleaning

I've been paring (pairing!) down my shoe wardrobe and planning a weekly usage schedule, which is as follows:

Mon,Wed and Fri: Kelly and Katie loafers
Tue and Thu: Rampage D'Orsays
Sat and Sun: any of 3 sandals or the New York transit peep toes
dog-walking: Grasshoppers canvas slip-ons

This brings the total number of active-duty shoes to three, and just four sandals for weekends. My Naturalizer boots have been missing for months, my Nikes are on probation, and the remainder purged from the closet will be donated to Goodwill shortly.

It's occurred to me that I've grossly overstated the amount I spend on shoes; I surf about shoes and window-shop so often that I feel as if I've worn, owned and lost interest in for more shoes than I have. In fact I only bought three pairs of shoes last year, each for $15 or less: the Rampage D'Orsays, the New York Transit peep toes, and the Grasshoppers slip-ons.

I guess I'm still more of a cheapskate than I am a shoe aficionado. The scary thing is, I think I've turned Patrick into a shoe enthusiast. He's eyeing the soft-as-butter Florsheim Milano in black

which, happily, was not available in his size at our regular DSW. The size 8 was on sale for $40, and sizes 9 and up were $70. You can find Milanos on Ebay for $80, plus shipping.


If you're looking for oh-so-fashionable canvas peep toes, Shopbop.com has them for you:

Frango Sandal with Bow

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

straining to sing Disney

~Colors of the Wind~, from Pocahontas

~God Help the Outcasts~, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

a pretty cup of coffee

from Bali Blends, Megastrip Bldg. A, Sm Megamall 631-8891

Yeah, as in Manila, Philippines.

Ah well. Do check out the review, and other visual and literary culinary delights at Dessert Comes First, a delicious blog by a Filipino food writer.

sam's club sucks

More specifically, Sam's Club credit.

i'm sad and i'm upset. no one can help me. no one will help me.

I tried paying off my sam's card online the day after christmas, and everything seemed fine. I happily transferred the file from the the red "current" section to the "paid off!" folder. I didn't even need to make a payment because i'd just put $200 towards the balance ten days prior.

I didn't get a confirmation email. No biggie. Maybe it was sent to my "Bulk" folder, and I accidentally deleted it.

Five days later get this email from samsclub.com:

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:28:17 -0500 (EST)
From: Payments@Samsclubcredit.com
Subject: Return Payment Notice From SamsClubCredit.com

Dear Customer;

We were not able to process your electronic payment in the amount of $227.67. We have received a notification from your bank. Please re-submit your payment at the Sams Club Credit Card at http://www.Samsclub.com.

Thank you.

Please do not send a reply e-mail to this e-mail message. The mailbox from which this e-mail has been sent is not monitored for customer messages. If you have a question about this e-mail message, log on to your online credit card account click on the Pay Online link and see the list of Frequently Asked Questions.


Oh, so it didn't go through. No wonder the charge hasn't posted in our bank account. I log on, to pay again. But this time there's a $25 returned check charge slapped onto my account. "Returned check"?! WTF? I didn't pay by check.

I call up Sam's Club again. I wish I'd gotten the operator's name and extension. I asked what the problem could have been. "The problem's with your bank," she says confidently, "because if the problem were with Sam's Club then we wouldn't have charged you."

And so, silly little idiot me trots off to the bank to speak with the manager. Only to reaffirm what I already knew about my bank account: there was more than enough money in the bank, and my card had never been charged.

I called again today and spoke with Toni at extension 1064, John the supervisor on duty at extension 7659 and finally Joe, the supervisor in Consumer Affairs, at extension 4066. Thirty-six minutes and 46 seconds of my life, wasted.

They all said they couldn't help me and that anyway my account has less-than-stellar history and they'd already taken off a $29 late charge earlier in the month. What sense does that make? In what world is a $25 returned check charge legitimate, when there was money in the bank and an attempt was never made to draft from my account?

They said it's not their fault that I "probably keyed it in wrong" or there was a problem with my bank, because their bank charges them for the attempt. Well gee, maybe you need a better bank, or better software for accepting online payments. How is that my problem? When a person is paying online and mistypes, the correct answer is "Please try again" without "...oh, and btw, here's a $25 fine. Good luck."

Joe told me that there was no one higher up that I could speak with, but that I could communicate in writing to:

Mr. Richard Brewer, President
P.O. Box 103045
Roswell, GA 30076

Who is Mr. Brewer? I thought C. Douglas McMillon was President and CEO of Sam's Club?

Now my account shows the original balance plus the returned check fee plus a $5 finance charge. I am sooooo frustrated and actually embarrassed with myself, to be fighting for just $25, now $30. Why does it have to be so hard?

In a way I suppose it's the principle of the thing. Why not fight for $30 hard-earned dollars? Considering a third of my paycheck goes to taxes, $30 in hand is actually $45 of time spent picking up after customers and changing priorities every two seconds to play catchup on the bosses' latest crisis.

In truth, Sam's Club has not been good to me. When I first started, I had two memberships which I couldn't reconcile because one was being paid through paycheck deductions. I couldn't get Payroll and Sam's Club to talk; each said it was the others' responsibility, and in the end all I could do was let one membership lapse and close it, while keeping the other.

And then there were problems updating my information. I kept my info at Sam's Club current, but apparently they don't (or didn't) talk to their credit arm, and so for a while I wasn't getting my statements and the info they used to identify me when I called or logged on was incorrect.

I just want to pay off the stupid effing thing. I want to pay off my balance, get the freaking membership deductions taken off my paycheck, take my $30 and sign up at Costco.

As much affinity as I have for Wal-Mart Stores, I'm sad to say that I have no love left for Sam's Club.

i'm still waiting for the platform fad to die

Die, die, DIE.

As it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon, I've picked out a favorite. In case of platform-shoe emergency, this is the one pair or portable podia I would trade my paycheck for:

Christian Louboutin's satin peep-toe platform in turquoise

No, I'm not planning on a purchase anytime soon. I have neither an event to wear it to nor anything hanging in my closet that would go with it. Although there is a folded satin slip...

Monday, January 16, 2006


For the first time in our married life, we bought Patrick non-Wal-Mart shoes. First we got him a pair of Hush Puppies' Richmond in black, from DSW. He alternated between delight ("It's like encasing your feet in pillows!") and remorse ("I can't believe I spent $60 on a pair of shoes.")

He's been complaining about the cost these past two days, and has been informed that Hush Puppies normally go for $100, and that his friends usually spend $150 on Kenneth Coles (New York, not Reaction).

Chastened by friends' and coworkers' admonitions, we returned to DSW and purchased the Recoil, also from Hush Puppies, in brown leather this time.

Naturally, I got a pair of shoes, too: career loafers with a two-inch stacked heel, from the house "Kelly and Katie" line -- über-comfortable and only $15. Pix in a more recent post here.
I'll admit I'm envious of the idea of a $120 shoe-shopping spree, but the fact of the matter is that we only buy Patrick shoes once a year. At $10 a month, he's actually spent far less than I would in the same timeframe. And I don't ever recall buying a pair of shoes that made me feel like I was walking on clouds.

We're only $50 away from our $25 gift certificate from DSW and my New Year "polished corporate" look is slowly coming together.


The "Kelly & Katie" brand seems to be made for DSW by Liz Claiborne. A short discussion and handy link to the U.S. Patent Office is available through Google Answers.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

just checking in

tinatamad akong magsulat, at wala akong maisip, sa totoo lang. I just wanted it noted that i'm still alive and clicking.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

new recordings

Jose Mari Chan's ~So I'll Go~ ...the little I remember of it, anyway.
Lea Salonga's ~He's Got to Be Someone~ from the "Little Tramp" musical.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Buñuelos 101

Around this time last year I talked about buñuelos and other goodies I partook of for the first time at La Vereda Bakery. Sadly, said bakery has since shut down, but my adventures with buñuelos continue.

These treats are not like their Colombian cousins, however. Mexican buñuelos are thin, deep-fried pancakes dusted with sugar or coated with syrup. The above picture shows three variations on the theme.

The buñuelo begins as either a bread made with shortening and flour, or as a cake that includes eggs and milk in the recipe. The dough is kneaded, shaped into balls and then rolled out into flat discs. The buñuelos are allowed to dry on each side, then deep-fried, drained and sweetened.

Of the three versions we tried, the most labor-intensive and hands-down favorite was the one pictured top left. A syrup was made from heating piloncillo (a dark brown, unrefined Mexican sugar) with cinnamon sticks, then allowed to cool slightly. After frying, the buñuelos were treated to a generous coating of the cinnamon-infused syrup, resulting in a crisp and sticky-sweet snack. The flavor reminded most of thinly-sliced camote-cue.

The lower left shows pan-fried buñuelo shreds that have tossed in syrup. It is accompanied by hominy mush and garnished with cinnamon sticks. This version tasted most like french toast.

The plate on the right features a bright pink buñuelo, the result of mixing cinnamon powder into the dough. After frying, it was drained and dusted with cinnamon sugar. This was an interesting snack, a flaky and crispy treat which reminded me of something sold in the markets of my provincial city, a multicolored snack i only knew as "rock and roll".

Monday, January 09, 2006


there's no better way to wind down a stressful week than with chocolates, champagne and fine footwear. Which, in my lower-class American world translates to little more than Hershey's (Pot of Gold Christmas box, on clearance for only $2.71), Asti, and traipsing about in my red shoes by day, then curling my toes in my fluffy pink slippers (also on clearance for around $2) at night.

Gap.com has leather ballet flats for only $9.99. Too bad the only size 7s left are in sea foam green. I would have liked a pair in cerulean blue:


I could handle the stay-at-home moms with Kate Spade bags and designer shoes. I actually like seeing Mercedes Benzes, Porsches, and BMWs on the road every day. I got used to the nipped, tucked, tanned blondes coiffed and toned to perfection. But one thing that really burns me up about living in an affluent Dallas suburb are the bratty preteens. Particularly the squeaky ones with pink braces and matching iPod mini, whining on their pink RAZRs about how they really want to go to the mall after this stop at Wal-Mart.


They do this every year. I should be used to it by now. Every January the store shelves are emptied of string cheese lite, frozen spinach, zucchini and vitamins. And every January gyms and fitness clubs fill with new participants and high hopes for the new year.

Please go away, n00bz. You won't last till Valentine's Day anyway.


I was actually supposed to go back to Phase One of the South Beach Diet this week, and maybe whittle my way down to the 110 lbs I was aiming for previously. I've been putting it off for the past week, yet weighing myself daily. On odd days I am 125 lbs, and on the even days it's either 127 or 128. Go figure.


Today's my last bitch-and-whine for a while. I've resolved to be a nicer, sweeter person starting tomorrow.


Spring's coming up patent leather ballet flats. I wish I could find another pair of red Rampage d'Orsays. Am seriously considering buying Old Navy's Women's Faux-Snakeskin Pointy-Toe Flats in both colors for work.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

some unsolicited advice

if you ever find yourself wondering why your friends don't like(/approve of/think you're meant to be with) your significant other, think hard about what they know about him.

Their reactions, concern and disapproval are your own thoughts reflected back at you. Whether or not they've met the guy, YOU are the primary source of information regarding him as a boyfriend/husband/etc. So the question is not: "Why don't my friends like him?", but "Why am I with a guy I don't like?"


Incidentally, the answer covered over by multiple rationalizations is that you decided Mr. "Good Enough" would do for now. Which is too bad, because Mr. Great's probably out there somewhere, steering clear of attached girls.


And yes, my friends think Patrick is an oh-so-wonderful husband.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

singing today

Part of Your World + Reprise, from "The Little Mermaid"

Rachel Alejandro's Kay Tagal

Monday, January 02, 2006

Luz's dreams

Sunday night.

She was giving me a ride home when I got on my cellphone and called up my mom. "Mommy, guess what? Patrick and I...are coming to visit!"

The response was loud enough for Luz to overhear. "Everybody! Farah and Patrick are coming to Seattle!" There are cheers and excited responses from my siblings in the background.


Saturday night.

She arrives at a large and well-appointed home with a pool in the backyard. There are people milling about, mostly Filipino. It is Patrick's and my home, and the occasion is a party. She finds me sitting and cradling an infant who instantly reminds her of me. As Luz approaches, I begin to nurse my baby girl. Suddenly remembering something, I call out "Honey, can you come here for a moment?"

A young child hurries to my side. Boy? Girl? The hair is longish, the age approximately three or four years. A girl, most likely. "Yes, Mommy?" My request is inaudible below the hubbub of the party. Then my older child murmurs assent and disappears back into the throng.