Monday, October 31, 2011


It's been 4 years now that I have not celebrated All Saint's Day with my family. It had been a family tradition and still a tradition since Ate Malou passed in 2002 that we get-together at the cemetery to honor and remember all the our departed loved ones.

Ate Malou, Lola (cute) Juling and Lolo Tacio, we terribly miss you all.

O God our Father,
Creator of all the living, we entrust to Your gentle care all those we love who have gone before us;
and have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

cupcakes anyone?

I love cupcakes. And I LOVE them better if they are the center-filled kind. Most of the really good cupcake shops are unfortunately located in the city. So it's only when we drive to the city to get-together with friends do I get the chance to buy them.

Here are a couple of shops that we love:

Molly's Cupcakes
2536 North Clark Street
Chicago Illinois 60614

I love Molly's! This is by far my favorite cupcake store. Their shop is almost always full with people even at 10pm. And yes, they are open 'til 10pm. Their shop is quaint and very homey. There are chairs, benches and tables of course. Cute design on  the bar, instead of bar stools, they have swing-like seats! Really neat. Oh and board games are available for use, for free. So I imagine that they encourage their patrons to stay and linger while finishing their cupcakes.

photo credits: gwiv
photo credits: cupcake crusader

photo credits: molly's cupcakes
I've tried most of the flavors that offer, but by far my favorites are Tiramisu and Boston Creme. Oh man, just looking at these photos makes me crave for one.

Boston Creme
Tiramisu (photo credits: addicted2detail)
More Cupcakes
1 East Delaware Place
Chicago, Illinois 60611

I discovered More Cupcakes a couple of months ago. I personally haven't been to the store, but Topher surprised me with a box full of cupcakes when he went downtown. From pictures on their website, their shop looks really slick and minimal. Attention is purely on the cupcakes.

photo credits:
shop's interior (photo credits: architectmagazine)
more box
happiness in a box
I'm afraid every cupcake that I would be having, I'd compare it to Molly's. More cupcakes are good, the bread is very chocolaty and the center-filled ones are really good too. I specially liked their Hazelnut flavor, but Molly's still have the 1st spot in my heart (and stomach). More is a fab second.

Crumbs Bake Shop
303 West Madison
Chicago, IL 60606

There are currently 4 Crumbs shop in Chicago and I haven't been to a single one. Yet. This is one of the cupcake shop that are all over the country. From west to the east coast. I got to try their cupcakes twice on gatherings with friends.

photo credits:
Unfortunately, I can't remember anything special when I had them. I'm not sure if they have cupcakes with center-filled ones because the ones we're tried doesn't have them.

best-sellers @ crumbs

Sprinkles Cupcakes
50 E Walton St.,
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Sprinkles' Chicago location opened a year ago, when they opened Topher and a couple of our friends lined up for their store opening. I wasn't able to join them as I am back in Manila at that time. They said that the cupcakes are good and they have tons of flavors to choose from.

photo credits: cupcakestakethecake
photo credits: worldbestspot
Their cupcakes looks really cute and I hope the frosting is good. I'm not for the super sweet frosting.

Had we held our wedding here in Chicago and not back in Manila, I would definitely get my cake/cupcakes from one of these shops. Most probably from Molly's.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

PJ20: Pearl Jam's 20th Anniversary

The 3rd of September 2011 is a cold and rainy day. The start of Pearl Jam's PJ20 tour/anniversary. We drove all the way to East Troy, WI for the show. This is the only venue in the whole United States where they will be performing. Other venues will be in Canada, Mexico and South America.

So it's just our luck that the day we picked to watch them is all cold and rainy. Lesson learned from Lollapalooza, buy/bring raincoats on concerts. You've spend the money buying the ticket, why not spare $3-5 dollars for the rain coat, right? We dropped by a nearby Walmart to get the raincoats, because we're not sure if they would be available at the concert venue (we later found out that they sold them, but it's the flimsy kind. Parang plastic labo)

Me, Topher and Rhandie with our rain coats on
We got there around 2pm but the band won't be performing 'til 9:30 pm. They setup 3 stages on the venue and we watched the other bands/artists while waiting for PJ to rock.

concert schedule
By 5pm, we left the smaller stage and went to the lawn on the Main Stage to catch a good spot. We would have bought tickets off the stage but unfortunately only lawn tickets were available when we bought ours. Bummer. It would have been real nice to have a proper seat while waiting for the band.

When Queen of the Stone Age graced the stage, we were stoked! We've been a fan since they had been on the Q101 playlist. The crowd went wild when they sang Little Sister and No One Knows. If you check the link/video on "No One Knows", you'd see that Dave Grohl played the drums for this song. How cool is that?

It was almost 10pm when Pearl Jam took the stage and oh boy, they did not disappoint! This is my first time watching them in concert and I was blown away. Eddie still have it. They all still have it. It's didn't seem like 20 years had already passed. Honestly, I wish the setlist that played had been more of their hits (which they all performed the following day) but seeing Temple of the Dog unite made up for it. I almost peed my pants when Chris Cornell took the stage with Eddie. They performed Hunger Strike together. You HAVE to watch the video below!

I have to post the following crappy pictures from my phone as a proof that we were really there! It sucks when you can't bring a proper camera for concerts like these. These things doesn't happen everyday, you know.

Below are the pictures from their official concert photo stream. Great photos.

09.03.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Anna Knowlden
09.03.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Anna Knowlden
09.03.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Anna Knowlden
09.04.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Karen Loria
09.04.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Karen Loria
09.04.2011 - Official Pearl Jam photos by Anna Knowlden (more official photos here)
If you're interested to know the setlist they played that night and the following night, you can check it here: Sept 03 setlist and Sept 04 setlist. We should have went to both shows! The concert wrapped up at around 1am and it took us about another hour to get off the parking grounds and head back to Chicago.

We had Pearl Jam hangover for about two weeks after the concert. Listening to their songs over and over and over again. I would love to catch them again live. There's to hoping for another concert next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

havin' a Goodread

I've always been a bookworm. As early as my grade school days, I always have a book in tow. It was my mother dear who introduced me to it and who fueled the passion. I remember her collecting books that fill up several boxes when I was younger. Back in grade school, I remember going to the high school department's library just to borrow books (they have better selection!).

Nowadays, I still borrow books from the library, and I'm extremely lucky that the library system here is phenomenal. I'd gladly pay all the taxes because I know and can see where the money goes to. I'm like a kid in a candy store whenever I'm at the library. Too many books to read, so little time. Another awesome thing about the library is that they have an online catalog of books that they have available. If you can't find the book at the local library, you can have it requested and the other libraries who have it will send that book to your local one and they notify you if it's ready for pick-up! Cool huh?!

More often than not, I just borrow books and if I read a really really good one, I check for deals online and buy them.  Exception applies if a book is included in a series that I'm collecting, then I'm definitely getting myself a copy.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Anna and the French Kiss and Bloodlines

Take the above picture for example, I've read the Percy Jackson series a year ago, but I waited to get the paperback boxed set completed since it's cheaper! Anna and the French Kiss is a really, really good book and it was on sale, so I got that too. Bloodlines is 1st book of the Vampire Academy spin-off series, and I've already decided to complete the collection.

My current reading list is growing. The great thing about the library is they let you borrow a book for 2 or 3 weeks depending on how new the book is. You can renew again on it's due date granting that there is no other person waiting to borrow it. And also there is no limit to the number of books that you can borrow at a given time.

current reading list

With this many books at one's disposal, it's hard to choose which books are good reads. Of course, I do have my list of favorite authors which I always check if are releasing any new books. And then I discovered Goodreads from GIRLTalk. Similar to Shelfari (which I also have an account), it's a "social cataloging" website that allows you to list all the books that you have read, currently reading or planning to read. You can search by either the book's name, author or even the ISBN number. The cool thing about Goodreads is fellow bookworm friends can share, recommend a book, can view all the books in your library, read your review and many more! You can start a bookclub too. It can be open to all or by invitation only.

There is also a reading challenge that you can set for yourself. It tells you how far you are from your goal and if you're behind on your reading pace. Pretty neat! I've set myself to read 50 books this year and right now, I've already read 32 books. However, I'm 3 books behind on my current pace, if I want to reach that goal I need to read quicker!

I'm also an active member of the GIRLTalk bookclub. We nominate 2 books every month, one general fiction and one YA. There is voting schedule and whichever books won, you'd read it for that month. Discussion will be held the month after.

updates/wall page
profile page
bookshelf  (read books)
Are you a Goodreads member too? Add me up: I'd love to know what you're reading!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

thank you, Steve Jobs.

I am not a snob. When it comes to computers, I use whatever. But there are people who are. It's either you're a MAC or a PC. And I can understand why. Yesterday however, two worlds gather together to mourn the loss of a creative genius. Steve Jobs died yesterday at the age of 56. He had been first diagnosed of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and won the battle with it. But his health never really recovered, taking 6-12 months break to better focus on his health. Just last August 2011, he officially resigned a Apple's CEO. Yesterday, he finally said goodbye.

I think there is not one person in this generation that had not been touch by Jobs' creative genius. From the MAC, to the iPod, iPhone and iPad. It's the only electronic store that I know of that have people lining up just to get their hands on these gadgets. And that happens every time a new release comes. That is excruciatingly hard to achieve in this trying economy, but he did it.

Apple's current homepage, paying tribute to their founder

Mr. Jobs, you've done so well. You've touch millions and millions of people in this lifetime. You're one helluva genius with all the amazing innovations that you've done and you're gonna be sorely missed.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

celebrating Lollapalooza's 20th anniversary

As early as our high school days, I've been a fan of rock and alternative music. Music played a huge role on our growing up days, specially in high school. My friends play a huge part on the type of music I would listen to and enjoy. I got to discover a lot of bands and songs that I am not familiar to before.

Back then, the likes of Live, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, 311, Incubus, Green Day, Jane's Addiction, Ash, Everclear, Collective Soul, Better than Ezra and of course Nirvana are on our everyday playlist. Songs that were played at school programs were almost always from these bands. We had a chance to watch a live concert (from a videotape of course) that run for 3 days called Woodstock.  I later learned that Woodstock only run for 3 years, 1969, 1994 and 1999.

When we moved here in Chicago in 2008, that summer's Lollapalooza had just ended. We had the chance to watch 2009 and 2010's lineup, but plans didn't push through. I remember harassing Topher to watch 2010 Lolla since Green Day and Soundgarden will be there. I guess it had been a blessing in disguise since I had to come back home to Manila for my Lola.

This year, then we learned that Foo Fighters is gonna headline, I know that there is NO way that we're not gonna see this year's show. In buying tickets, one can actually get it cheaper by buying them wayyy before the lineup is announced, called Early Bird tickets. Those were long gone when we bought ours.

Lollapalooza usually runs on the first weekend of August, and this year it was held on August 5, 6 and 7. Joni, a good friend of ours graciously welcomed us to stay at her place in Belmont during the 3-day show. We took half the day off from work to catch the bands performing on the first day. I was honestly pissed that we were not able to watch Foster the People play Pumped Up Kicks, their set started at 3pm and we got to Grant Park at past 4. Damn.

At the concert's first day, we scheduled to see the following:

3 - 4  Foster the People
6 - 7:15 A Perfect Circle
8:15 - 10 Coldplay
8:15 - 10 Muse

You may be wondering why Coldplay and Muse were scheduled to play at the same time, they very well can because the concert have 8 stages scattered strategically in Grant Park.

When we got to Grant Park, we were given our concert map, a free iTunes card and entrance bracelet at the gate.
map and iTunes card
Entrance bracelet (pardon his hairy arms, haha)
As we made our way in, we familiarize ourselves with the park's orientation and where the stages are placed. Concert environment is always a fun one, people are relaxed, laughing and chilling out and you can always smell weed in the air and these grounds were no different. We made our way to the stage where A Perfect Circle will perform. At exactly 6PM, the band walked out the stage.

A Perfect Circle
Billy Howerdel (guitar) and Josh Freese (drums)
Maynard James Keenan (lead vocals)
James Iha on bass (the same James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins)
Truthfully, I only knew some of their songs at heart and when they played 3 Libras, it was unbelievable. It was our first time to see them live and they did not disappoint. After their set, we waited for about an hour in front of the same stage waiting for Muse to perform. We figured we'd start with Muse and halfway through we'll go to the other stage to catch Coldplay perform.

Muse opening
performing Uprising
They started their set with Uprising and everyone went just nuts! The crowd moved as one, dancing and singing to their song. Then it was followed by Supermassive Black Hole, and it drove the crowd wild. A few other songs in between and then they played Resistance, the crowd absolutely loving it. I've been waiting for them to play Undisclosed Desires before we go to Coldplay's stage. We made our way out of the crowd ready to go to the other stage when finally they played the song. Muse absolute rocked the stage.

they're playing Undisclosed Desires
As we made our way to the other side of the park, there are people just roaming around the streets and buying food. This made us realized that we haven't had dinner yet. I ordered a chicken burrito for my dinner and Topher got some hot dogs I think.

I am exhausted when we got to Coldplay's stage. I sat and devoured my burrito while listening to Coldplay performed Clocks. I would have loved to hear them play Viva La Vida, but I know we were too late. Chris Martin played Amy Winehouse's Rehab in honor of the singer after her death. After about 3 more songs, they ended their set with fireworks! What a way to end the first day of Lollapalooza!

On day two of Lollapalooza, our list for bands to see are just two.
5 - 6 Deftones
8:30 - 10 Eminem

Exhausted from last night's shows, we decided to rest first and just watch the bands that we really liked. Joni dropped us off in Grant Park on her way to a small shopping spree downtown. We got there right in time for Deftones' set.

They sang a couple of their hits like: Diamond Eyes, Sextape, Be Quiet and Drive and Change. This is our 2nd time watching them live and they're really great. They covered Katy Perry's Firework and I thought it was both funny and weird at the time. Imagine Deftones knowing the words to Katy Perry's song.

We have about two hours to burn before Eminem's set at 8:30. We went to Adidas Originals Shoe Box. It's looked like a Shoe Box from the outside but it's really like a museum/playroom inside. They played the latest Originals commercial and there is a photo booth inside where our photos can be taken.

Adidas Shoe Box

Outside, they have this huge Superstar shoe made of Styrofoam where you can pretty much write anything on it.

Topher writing

As we make our way to Eminem's stage, we stopped by the Buckingham Fountain and then at a merchandise store, I bought a Foo Fighters shirt for tomorrow.

at the Buckingham Fountain
About an hour before Eminem's set, we went to the stage where he'd be performing and there were already a massive amount of people waiting. It was really hard to look for a good spot among the huge crowd. Eminem is the only huge artist in that time slot so I think almost everyone is there.

Official Lollapalooza photos by Dave Mead
We don't have any decent picture or videos of Eminem's performance, I'm posting pictures that I got from Lollapalooza's official photo stream. More photos in this set.

He sang hits like: Cleanin' Out My Closet, The Way I Am, Lighters, Airplanes Pt.II, Stan, Sing for the Moment, Love the Way You Lie, I Need A Doctor, My Name Is/The Real Slim Shady/Without Me.Bruno Mars made a cameo appearance for their song Lighters. We left the show before the set ended, that gave us plenty of time to board the L train going to Joni's place in Belmont.

On the third and last day of Lollapalooza, I'm super excited to see Foo Fighters. We heard the Sunday mass at Holy Name Cathedral and then went off to lunch at Cafe Iberico before we went to Grant Park. The bands we're gonna be watching are:
4:15 - 5:15 Flogging Molly
5:15 - 6:15 Cage the Elephant
8 - 10 Foo Fighters

We were able to watch Flogging Molly, they were a really great Irish band. Their music is upbeat and fun even though the lyrics to their songs are depressing. A song or two before they finished their set, we left and moved to Cage the Elephant's stage. We got lucky and secured a place at the front.

Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant

This is our second time watching them live and I must say that they are better in this performance. They sang their hits like Ain't No Rest for the Wicked,  Back Against the Wall,  Shake Me Down and Around My Head. Halfway through their set, rain started to pour. One would think that with the rain, the crowd will disperse, it didn't. Most stayed throughout their whole set including us. And yes, we were drench!

Official Lollapalooza photos by Matt Ellis
more Official Photos in this set
About half an hour after, the rain finally stopped. We went to the other side of the park to find a good spot watching Foo Fighters. When we got there, it's clear that the whole place is gonna be as muddy as hell.

look at all that mud, looking more and more like the 90s
people playing in the mud
It's clear that we won't be getting anywhere near the stage, not unless we want to take off our shoes and make our way in the mud. We stayed at the concrete stairs where we still have a decent view of the stage although far. It was past 8pm when Dave and the guys went to the stage and they are sooo worth the wait!
Dave Grohl belting out

They sang most of their hits like: Rope, My Hero, Learn to Fly, Breakout, Walk, Monkey Wrench, Times Like These, Best of You and and their encore is our fave Everlong. Rain poured in again while they were playing and as any Foo Fighter fan would tell you, rain or shine, no one is leaving while Dave is on the stage.

Official Lollapalooza photos by Cambria Harkey
more Official Photos in this set
This is our first time in watching them in concert, and I personally find Dave Grohl as a very cool person. I remember him saying that the concert is the most fun that he had for a while and that he would skip the encore and would just play for the crowd as long as he can. Isn't he just great?

Lollapalooza had been one hell of an awesome experience and I almost certain that we would be going again next year!


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