It's a twin thing!

(Because The Mary-kate to my Ashley: a movie marathon and a preview of what it's like to have a twin would make for a long title)

Theirs were household names for over a decade ago. From movies to television series to dolls to clothing and eventually to all other products one can think of, the Olsen twins took Hollywood—and soon enough, the world—by storm. Together, Mary-kate and Ashley grew up behind the camera, sharing their talent and life to the public. The crowd loved them and they became role models to a lot of young girls.

My twin sister and I are no exception to this; to say that we were huge fans would be an understatement. They were our idols, our life pegs. And like all the other characters that we love and would come in pairs, it has been an unspoken rule for us that at the beginning we must name who we favored more: Karina would always associate herself with Mary-kate, and I with Ashley. We collected whatever item with MK&A's names and/or faces on. Of all the merchandise, our favorite would probably be their home videos. I could still recall waiting for and watching their movies over and over again during our childhood!

This year, ten years behind our crazy fanatic phase, I told my sister that we should watch all the movies again, just like old times. However as we are currently nine thousand miles apart and she is busy working while I have all the time in the world (cheers!), we couldn't really push through with our plan. Instead of waiting for our much-awaited reunion, I went ahead and had my own movie marathon.

Mary-kate and Ashley Olsen movies from 1995-2004

As I was never good with big challenges such as this, it took me half a month to painstakingly finish these eleven movies (I didn't even bother watching their first two feature films, just because). At some instances it got really uninteresting—a couple of movies needed a better storyline—but most of the time I found myself laughing at everything while remembering things that happened when Karina and I were still little tots. I ended up feeling grateful that I pursued such endeavor; Mary-kate and Ashley reminded me of how lucky I am to have Karina in my life.

Growing up with a twin has been my go-to and overused topic for college essays, the recent one was for grief and loss class, asking what life would be like without Karina. So, unfortunately, since I am not in the mood for yet another sobfest to write more about that, let me sum in up with this short clip from what they thought would be their last movie; The Challenge ended with a quote by Mary-kate and was followed by, quite fittingly, a video montage of scenes from their past films.

"We'll always have each other, and that's not just in the movies."

Speaking of which, I figure it's fairly appropriate that I share with you these pictures from our friend's debut almost three years ago. A costume party is a good enough excuse for us to play our favorite twins.

A still from their last movie, New York Minute. Ultimate life pegs, I tell you!

Our version of Roxy and Jane Ryan, complete with nail polish and bangle bracelets! We also had a boho bag and stuffed dog with us, but we left those items on our table when this photo was taken. (I know we had a photo of our complete look, I just couldn't remember who had a copy. Must look for it!)

With our college roommates Tam and Lisa, two-thirds of the Charlie's Angels.

And of course, our photobooth photo. It's not a party without a photobooth.

I end this entry with a shout-out to my twin sister who I enjoyed chatting with just two nights ago: I miss and love you so much! See you soonest! xx

P.S. Check out my post about our twentieth birthday here. #oldiebutgoodie


Bambi, bacon, and books

Another sign that this heatwave only found in the summer is slowly ending: the deer are coming out! I was told that they are usually out once the weather cools down and Monday was that fateful day! While feasting on the rosemary roasted chicken with potatoes (I prepared by myself, btw!) with the relatives that evening, we spotted three deer frolicking in the yard. We all jumped out of our seats and stood by the glass door to get a better view. It was nice to finally catch a sight of them! It took me five seconds to think about running upstairs to grab the camera and snap a shot. And so I did, unfortunately a few seconds too late; they sensed that they were being watched and immediately ran back to the forest. Well at least now I could say that I've met the acquaintance of Bambi's relatives, months after being introduced to Bugs Bunny's.

Yesterday I was reminded of my love for bacon. Tita Jan whipped up this delightful carbonara dish and I remembered the Mad Hungry episode I chanced upon on TV one morning, when I was still in the Philippines. It is both the easiest and yummiest thing to make, especially when you need to feed a two- and a six-year-old. It is no surprise that us five (three adults and two kids) could finish eight servings of this in one sitting. Everything is just better with bacon.

And finally, the dilemma: what should I read next? I bawled my eyes out after finishing Why We Broke Up yesterday not because the novel was "awesome", "epic", or "too beautiful, I have no words" but because I found it difficult not to relate to the story. For every heart that's been broken (which basically covers everyone, unless you never got hurt then good for you!), I highly recommend that you flip through this book. In the process you'll find yourself reminiscing, regretting, and eventually relishing past relationships. Retrospect is good since you learn a couple of things from it.

Meanwhile, I also found out that I am so much like Al (a character from the book, Min's guy best friend), having "no opinion" on almost everything, especially in cases of books, movies, TV shows, among others. I totally get him. I know that in a way it's bad not to have much of a say on anything as you can easily be swayed from one point to another, but having strong feelings for/against something requires so much from a person. Honestly, I'm afraid I might risk a lot when I do; I'm tired of losing. However I believe that saying "I have no opinion" can also be a weird and twisted form of open-mindedness, a quality I know I've always had. I guess it all boils down to me afraid of committing to and standing by a certain idea. Or being mocked. But, I digress...

Except for My Utmost for His Highest which I bought for myself, these books were either gifted to me or found at home. I've had them ever since I got here but haven't finished any; some I haven't even opened yet. Aside from the overflowing number of chick lit and young adult novels (PDF files) on my laptop, these nonfictions, Christian-centered, and devotionals don't seem to be quite riveting as I wished. I hope someone would whack me in the face and tell me which one to read. Right now. And don't even get me started with checking out reviews; for the most part they ruin my reading/watching experience as they list down things I should expect. I hate spoilers, with a passion. Help?


Even if I knew my place

The past two months has been nothing but a learning experience. For one, much like this Eat-Pray-Love trip of mine, things don't always go the way we planned.

My August 11 (mis)adventure in pseudo-polaroids

Last Saturday when I was supposed to go to the mall to shop for fall clothes the public library to borrow some books (because unfortunately my eyes and my laptop are hurting), I ended up crashing a semi-formal lunch party while wearing the most casual get-up of all (shirt, shorts, and sandals)! I didn't have much of a choice; it was either I stay in the car for the whole two hours or go with Tito Chris and Joey. Of course I went with the latter. Although still trying to get over my humiliation, I'm glad it happened. If we hadn't gotten lost, I wouldn't have been to such a beautiful neighborhood and saw/tasted what the menu was like in a real American gathering (not much).

Come evening, the thought of the incident didn't bother me anymore. After spending what seemed like our quickest, record-breaking time at the grocery, we munched over cherries as we prepared one of our best dinners to date: pork sinigang and fried bangus. The night ended on a sweet note, with our very own homemade apple pie served with vanilla ice cream. Our (mis)adventure was lovely and heart-fattening enough for me to easily forgive ourselves when I found out that we passed the library at least five times that day, without our knowing. Geez, and we thought we could trust the GPS! Next time, dear library!


A changing

Just when I want to step out of the house to take in a breath of fresh air, the sky gets gloomy and the rain starts to pour. It's quite disappointing not to have the glorious light as a companion for eating dinner, since the sun has set and it's already dark at 8pm. Summer is almost over and fall is already knocking at the door. And here I am again, feeling both scared and excited. I've already been in America for two months and except for the fashion collections, I still don't know what to expect as the seasons change. Though adaptability was never my strongest suit, I have always been weirdly in love with Autumn. Which is strange since I never experienced it before. I don't know why exactly but fall intrigues me so much and I believe that's enough reason for it to be my favorite.

Meanwhile, these photographs were taken last weekend when the relatives and I visited Tito Glenn and Tita May's area in Maryland (forgot where it was specifically, but it's a few miles after Baltimore). How I relished the little time I have left of what I think would be the longest summer of my life by far: in the spirit of the Olympics (my first time to watch, ever!) swimming 100m in the pool (totally forgot that I still had it in me), eating unique ice cream treats (see that chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich???), having a cookout in spite of the drizzle, and exploring new neighborhoods. All's good.


Play on

The past week went by so quickly, I barely even noticed that I've been doing well at this life thing. Ha! That, and I'm getting too attached to these kiddos.


Dressing you up

Momentarily taking a break from the same-time storytelling (I'm a week behind, with dozens of photos to share!) to announce that kgadong, as you can see, has a new look! I've spent all my free time yesterday tweaking it up and I couldn't be any more prouder. My twin sister and I made websites back in high school and even created our own layouts. It was only until college that I got preoccupied with school and orgwork so I barely had the chance to create and edit themes. It has been an item on my USA/gap months bucket list to revamp the template of my blog, and I'm glad to say that as of last night I have finally ticked that off.

Inspiration: Peach Parfait, Mint Condition, and Sun-sational on Paisley/Persian print

Tita Jan and I have had this obsession with Indian-inspired prints that when we visit the malls, they would be the first ones we'd look for. In the course of two months, we've already purchased a pillow, a table, and a skirt (in photo). I found that beautiful skirt on H&M's clearance rack and right away called Tita's attention so she could buy it for herself.

As for the bottles of nail polish, I recently acquired them two nights ago while we were at Tito Glenn and Tita May's house for a mini-swimming, barbeque, and manicure party (more about that this week). Tita May has this lavish collection and we girls decided to paint our nails before heading home. After which, Tita May offered that we take whatever we want as she, being the busy mother and nurse that she is, doesn't have the time to use them. I was instantly drawn to these three colors and couldn't thank Tita May enough for letting me have them!

I know I've been changing layouts all the time, making every possible excuse to find better ones each week, but I can already tell that this one's here to stay. I may add some more graphics at the sidebars but I think it looks good as it is. I hope you guys like it as much as I do. Hit the comments section and let me know what you think.

(It's not every day that I get so inspired to make a layout and write about it!)

All roads lead to El Dorado

My aunt has been raving about this restaurant over at Easton, MD (about an hour away from the house) for the longest time that when she found out that we'd be passing by the town on our way to Ocean City and going back home, she decided that we should stop by for lunch. Since she's aware of my love for things and places quaint and fancy, she said I would adore Masons. It was like the grown-up, living room version of Stacy's, she claimed. And that their meal and corresponding prices weren't so bad for a diner with such the beautiful interiors. At that point, I too got excited to check the place out!

Unfortunately, it seemed as though we weren't meant to visit Masons just yet. On our drive to Ocean City, we got stuck in traffic and were already running late than our expected time of arrival. So we postponed our plans to eat there until the following day, on our return trip. After the fun time spent at the beach that afternoon, the boardwalk that night, and the hotel the next morning, we headed straight to Easton. We were only a few minutes away when Tita looked up the contact number so we could make a reservation. Ringing, no answer. Much to our dismay and upon swinging by the restaurant, it was closed on Sundays, like most of the joints in the town.

But because of our curiosity for the cute little town and our growling empty stomachs as we didn't have proper breakfast that morning and it was already two in the afternoon, we decided to just park the cars, explore via sidewalks, and hopefully find an open eatery nearby. It was then when we saw El Dorado. I just love how we always end up at restaurants that look good without even trying, simple and not pretentious. I barely know of places like this in the Philippines; everything's just so over the top back there. Sigh.

El Dorado serves authentic (and I can't emphasize this enough!) Mexican cuisine that doesn't go over the price of $15 per entree. But even at that rate, you wouldn't have to worry; you're getting your money's worth. The fact that everyone was starving may be a huge factor for people to think that our "sooo goood" comments after every bite were biased, but that wasn't entirely the case. Everyone but I didn't have anything to eat that morning except pandesal. I, on the other hand, was able to eat what was left of my Philly cheesesteak dinner (half of it!) from the night before, was therefore filled and stuffed by eleven, and even announced that I wouldn't eat lunch anymore. In spite of that, as soon as the food got to our table, I was the first one to dig in! From nachos to quesadilla to tapas—the guacamole dip was already heavenly on its own!

With the humblest ambiance, high-quality and reasonably-priced entrees, and the friendliest and nicest service, El Dorado is one for the books. If you're in the area, don't miss out on the chance to dine at this restaurant. You definitely won't regret it!