A Kitty Wonderland: Part Two

As promised, here are some more photos of the Hello Kitty Christmas Village at SM City North EDSA. The display and scheduled activities will run until January 6, 2013.

This was my favorite “house” of all. Why? Because I “live” here! Teehee!

Still don’t see me yet? Here I am, all in pink! Oh, yeah, I don’t have delusions about being Hello Kitty because I am… ehrm… her mama!

I love the balloon centerpiece on the cocktail tables set up on the left side of the venue, behind two of the houses. I’m glad I was able to take a picture of even one as this was the last one there. I ignorantly did not claim this because as soon I stepped away from it, someone else claimed it for herself. No doubt, that was a Hello Kitty fan.

Remember I had one of these for my birthday before? BreadTalk has new designs for the cakes and you can preorder these yummy beauties just a few days in advance for any special occasion. Nom nom nom nom nom.

Those are Anthony and Margaret George, Hello Kitty’s loving grandparents.

The best part about the whole event was seeing so many people who love Hello Kitty as much as I do. Many were dressed up in their best Hello Kitty fashions. I requested this mother and daughter team in matching Hello Kitty dresses to pose for a picture. (Thank you, mommy and daughter!)

Look, she even has a friend in a Hello Kitty dress too!

Here is the vivacious Ms. Prieto posing for a picture. (She said yes after she had me take her picture for her Instagram account, hehehe.) I took this for my friend Cynch. I only wish I had not forgotten the paper banner I made that said “Hello, Cynch!” *toinks*

And here is Gift Gate Philippines’ very own Operations Manager, the lovely Ms. Cleo Balingit De Ocampo. She was running about the venue until I had her freeze for a shot. ūüôā That is grace under pressure!

An additional blessing: I met a very nice Hello Kitty collector at the event. Her name is Denise Lao. She came up to me and said very nice things that flustered me a bit. *blushes* I’m glad I made a new Hello Kitty friend. I borrowed the picture below from Denise’s Facebook album of the event. Sorry if I looked sweaty and red all over.

As I told you in the previous post, Hello Kitty fashion makes it big at Forever21 so catch them before they run out! Unfortunately, sizes run in the regular range and not in the plus size range, eliminating me at once as a target audience. Oh, wait, I do fit under the umbrella! The neck pillow too! And the scarf!

No need to walk to the Annex to get your Sanrio fix, as they’ve set up a selling area in the venue. I want the bed table!!!

And even SM has Hello Kitty clothes and toys for sale, including toys imported by my favorite toy distributor, Ban Kee Trading.

Upstairs, on the 3rd floor, the exhibit started quietly and without much fanfare…

and then I suddenly noticed a bunch of photographers taking pictures of the ones beside me. So engrossed was I in looking and taking my own pictures that I didn’t realize I had run into Mr. Hans Sy again! Unlike snobby VIPs, he didn’t make a big fuss that I was blocking his view (though I could feel the bodyguards’ stares boring through me). I quietly slipped away, pretending I hadn’t noticed.

These are DJ Nicole Hyala’s Loungefly bags.

And her popcorn machine. And her cotton candy machine. And her bling cases for her gadgets.

And her microwave oven!

Part of Ms. Dianne Abella’s collection. The Anteprima wire bag is worth PhP25,000- and that is only the small one!

She also has very nice plushes.

Want to see more Hello Kitty collections? There are more to see! (P.S. Ms. Denise also has some of her collection on display so look for it, please!)

It took all of my willpower NOT to publish here or in Facebook all 286 pictures I took of the event using two cameras. I figured, a sneak peek is all one needs because the experience is definitely better than a bunch of photos. So if you want to see more of the Hello Kitty Christmas Village and the Hello Kitty Exhibit, head on now to SM City North EDSA!

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My thanks to:

SM City North EDSA and the SM Marketing Group

Ms. Zelina Baluyan and Ms. Mares Palma of Yehey! Digital Team

Sanrio and Gift Gate Philippines, with special mention of Ms. Cleo De Ocampo



A Kitty Wonderland: Part One

The invitation said four in the afternoon and I had meant to get there by three at the latest to get a feel of the Atrium’s layout. But when you’re a mom and wife and everything else all rolled in one (yes, I am even a handy carpenter on occasion), sometimes, getting your undies on right side out is all you have time for. Cross my Kitty heart.

In fairness, though, I wasn’t really late. I was there 15 minutes before the scheduled time but already, there were so many people that it felt like the MRT on rush hour, sans the funky smells of course. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the security and all the people milling around and wandering aimlessly. There were just so many. Fortunately, my phone rang just in time and I was graciously led me to where I was supposed to be seated for the duration of the program, on the second row of the right side of the stage.

The launch of SM City North EDSA’s tribute to Hello Kitty came in the form of a runway fashion show spiced up with a LOT of Hello Kitty talk. Ms. Tessa Prieto and Mr. Raymond Gutierrez hostedthe almost two-hour show. It was wonderful to see Ms. Prieto and Mr. Gutierrez banter lightly on stage. But of course, the star of the show (aside from the REAL star) was Ms. Prieto who was right in her element- fun, wacky, and feisty, but elegant to the core.

True to Ms. Prieto’s spirit, she came out in an over-the-top, multicolored (I counted six colors, at least!) Hello Kitty-inspired fairy/butterfly gown! It had pink pearly, sequined wings AND Hello Kitty plushes trailing down the hem and train. Shades of Lady Gaga’s plush gown, except waaaay more wearable. ūüôā Oops, don’t forget her aqua blue and pink feathery fascinator! Only Tessa Prieto can ever pull an out outfit like that. *bows to the master*

There were girls dressed in Hello Kitty finery and styled with ribbon bows made of hair on their head. They pranced and galloped and sashayed on stage like seasoned models (okay, okay, there were one or two little girls who were clueless when it came to directions but, hey, they were cute!).

There were young ladies who showed off adult fashions- from playtime to night time dates- complete with charming accessories like bags and blings, even a neck pillow and a scarf.

All of these fashionable finds are currently available at SM Department Store branches for kids’ fashion and Forever21 for ladies’ wear.

Then, there was a brief Q and A portion with Hello Kitty fans and collectors, including well-known designer Francis Libiran, actress Maxene Magalona, and FM DJ Nicole Hyala.

A-list designer Mr. Francis Libiran designer (middle) designed Hello-Kitty inspired outfits for America’s Next Top Model 18th cycle (April 25, 2012 episode). Seen here beside him to the right is Ms. Pia Arroyo-Magalona.

GMA-7 actress Maxene Magalona is in Hello Kitty from top to toe!

And DJ Nicole Hyala shows off a Loungefly patent embossed tote bag, a HK watch, a HK-covered white iPhone 4s and HK shirt dress with matching shoes!

While I loved being right near stage, my vantage point for photos was hopelessly limited. Moving around was not an option as there were so many people you’d be stepping on people’s toes when you do. Right in front of me was the row of seats occupied by Mr. Hans Sy, Executive Vice President of ShoeMart Inc.and President of Shopping Center Management Corporation, and his guests and officers. Mr. Sy donated gifts to the 2012 International Children’s Peace Prize Awardee Kesz Valdez and his supported advocacy.

Sorry, you can’t even see Kesz here but you can see Mr. Sy and his giveaway presents!

Right after that, it was time for the REAL star of the show to come out! There was much funfare as heralds started screaming Hello Kitty’s name. Confetti shot out from giant confetti guns and filled the air with fluttering paper! A white vintage car drove (the better word would be “crawl” as it inched its way ever so slowly, surrounded by a throng of people into the center Atrium). Inside, a fluffy giant feline waved happily to the crowd that greeted her with such a uproar of delight.


Hello Kitty being assisted up the stage

She is surrounded by Kitty-addled crowds- men, women, and children!

The vintage car that carried the star of the show!

After that, it was complete bedlam as people rushed to get their photos with Hello Kitty! So enamored were they of her that they screamed her name and jumped on stage, even with hosts Ms. Prieto and Mr. Gutierrez still on it! It was Kitty crazzzzzy! ūüôā

I managed to get one photo taken with Ms. Kitty through the kindness of Ms. Cleo De Ocampo of Gift Gate Philippines. Long after the time given for Hello Kitty to welcome guests (can you imagine how hard it must have been for the person inside the mascot costume?), people were still pulling her for photo ops.

It was a Hello Kitty-rific day!

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(Part two to follow with more photos from the event, the displays and the exhibit! Watch out for it!)

Hard Habit to Break

I was at Sanrio Surprises at MegaMall last weekend, drooling at a very nice, if expensive, teeny weeny purse. There were so many nice things on display that my head was set on “SPIN” the entire time. (I was going to put in a picture of Linda Blair’s head turning 360¬ļ on her shoulders but I figured I’d be the one having nightmares later on.) My budget was shot after buying Christmas presents from the Toy Kingdom sale but I did bring home¬†a couple of great stuff- a Hello Kitty Christmas diorama (on sale! how lucky!) ¬†and a Hello Kitty diecut wristpad. I wish I could have spent¬†more. I wish I could have brought home that purse I was ogling at. But, alas, with¬†the holidays coming up,¬†the List comes first before my own wants.¬†

I used to be a complusive Kittyholic. I emphasize the words¬†used to be, because I hope I am not that way anymore. For years and years, I I hoarded almost everything I could lay my hands on, splurging on things that caught my fancy even without much thought.¬†I even spent my the better part of my birthdays inside Gift Gate! Below is a picture taken just this year on my birthday; my birthday “date” for the last five or six years has been my friend¬†Ms. Jo Pantaleon of¬† Gift Gate/Sanrio Surprises.

Controlling my Kitty impulses hasn’t all been that¬†easy. With age comes wisdom, or so I’ve always hoped.¬†As I grow older, I¬†have become more discriminating with the Hello Kitties I collect.¬†These days, I no longer feel the nagging pressure of having to own everything stamped¬†Hello Kitty; I can look at one and appreciate it without buying. That’s how much¬†my¬†sense of shopping¬†has matured¬†in the past year.

It’s always a compromise- my desire for Hello kitty and¬†the “functionality” and “usability” of these things in my life.¬†The things I like looking at are often not things that¬†function well with my life so even as I desire them, I¬† must always¬†go through¬†a mental checklist¬†to weigh the costs of ownership.

  1. Can I use it?
  2. Wll I use it often?
  3. Do I have a place for it? 
  4. Can I afford it?

If I answer YES to all, then the purchase is almost always guaranteed. Even just one NO changes the balance of the entire thing.

If¬†¬†there are¬†things I’ve given myself permission to own, however, it would be Hello Kitty clothing and shoes. Who doesn’t need shoes and clothing? And since I need them more as my¬†body shape¬†vacillates,¬†this particular form of Kittymania is perfectly reasonable and absolutely excusable.¬†

My husband got these for me recently at Torrid, haven for the plus-size Kittyholic. Our local Sanrio stores carry only regular sizes so¬†I am hardpressed to find anything in my size. Fortunately, there’s Torrid to fill in the need.¬†ūüôā¬†I do have to thank my¬†sister’s husband’s¬†brother for carrying these home for me on his recent trip to¬†the US to visit their mother.¬†Thank you,¬†John and¬†Alexis!¬†This Kitty momma¬†‚ô• you to bits!

I love all these¬†shirts¬†but I love this one most especially- ooohhhhh! Hello Kitty….Zombie!

I wish I had this on last Halloween, haha. It would have made a great conversation piece. Then again, my HK “Jamaican Me Crazy” shirt was a hit so it worked out for the best. ūüôā

I knew these were coming so I had been waiting for them. But A never lets me off without a surprise so guess how the shirts came home?

In this cutest bag ever!

Whatever restraint I mustered has worn off with this absolutely divine gift! I am gushing with cuteness! Ahhh, HK Shirts, shoes, bags and purses- I’m a sucker for them. Guess this habit is much harder to break than I thought.

D-6 and Counting

Late yesterday afternoon, I received three email messages confirming the pick-up places for the giveaways. Woohoo! This was all coming along so well, I thought to myself as I half-ran, half-skipped all the way to the bathroom to get ready.  I wanted to do at least one pick-up last night and depending on the state of traffic, maybe add another one. When Alphonse saw me getting ready, he started flashing his dizzyingly gorgeous smiles at me, which was a very convincing plea to bring him along.

I was excited but¬†control freak that I really am, I had this script planned in my head already. I would bring along Alphonse, and with his dad taking our picture, he and I would pose with some store personnel in the act of receiving the donated gift items. More bloggable moments, I figured.¬† Our first stop would be the Sanrio Store at SM North EDSA Annex, where Ms. Isabel Lopez, marketing manager of Gift Gate- Sanrio Philippines (Great Gifts sales & Licensing International Corp.) had sent the giveways for pick-up. If traffic cooperated, maybe we’d have time to drop by Toytown Eastwood Mall where Mr. Joseph de Leon of Ban Kee Trading, exclusive distributor of Sylvanian Families in the country, had dropped off the SF giveaways.

I’m not a very vain person but when¬†I know I’d be posing for pictures, I try to look better than I normally do. (The script in my head demanded for that, too.) Rummaging through my Kitty-inspired clothing, I fancied upon this super comfy gray Kitty shirt from Torrid, matched it with some black leggings, and finished the outfit off with my Hello Kitty Crocs McCall. Sorry for the creases in the shirt, folks. By the time I thought to take the pictures, Alphonse had been sitting on my lap for a while. ūüôā

Kittymama in leggings- who knew?

In love with my Kitty Crocs

Traffic, as usual, was bad last night, so poof!¬†I¬†moved the second destination to another date. We would have gone back home were it not for Alphonse, who was so excited to be out again that he was literally squealing in glee. But nothing in the script, it¬†seemed, was¬†going to go as planned. The ride to SM North EDSA¬†which normally takes just fifteen minutes¬†stretched to an hour last night.¬†Alphonse was in such a great mood, though,¬† that we didn’t worry too much¬†about him getting bored. I prepped him with the plan again¬†and elicited a pinky promise from him to behave very well.

I think he meant to keep his promise, really, he did. From the fourth level where we were parked down to the upper ground floor where the Sanrio Store is located, Alphonse held our hands and walked calmly, all the while flashing his silly grins. When we reached the store, I made him pose for a picture before we went in to get the giveaways. He smiled shyly, stood still for all of three seconds, and bolted away! I managed to click the shutter once before he ran straight to the Pizza Hut kiosk across the floor! I almost dropped the camera as we started running after him but he was determined and fast. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Poof! Another planned moment gone in a few seconds.

The good news is that even without the camera documenting our every move, I did receive the Sanrio giveaways. I am very grateful to Ms. Isabel Lopez and the Gift Gate family for their gifts, which we will raffle off to three lucky readers of this blog. Inside each of the bags is a charming yet functional Hello Kitty star¬†card case/coin purse¬†in canvas, a 35th Anniversary plastic file folder to organize your documents,¬†a Hello Kitty magnet sheet (I’m a sucker for magnets, heehee),¬†a mini-memo pad which is perfect for stashing in your bag, and a¬†unique sticker sheet featuring all the official designs of Hello Kitty from 1974 to 2008. This is a great gift¬†any Hello Kitty¬†fan would love to¬†have and it’s FREE!!! What could be better than that?¬†¬†

I’m getting ready to publish the mechanics of the contest so please be sure to watch out for it. The contest will start on November 3 and end on November 14. I will pick the winners via this¬†cool raffle drum on loan to me by the very kind folks at BusinessWorld. ūüôā

Thanks for staying tune, friends! I will take more pictures of the giveaways as I receive them and post them up too. I hope these whet your appetite for The OC 3rd Blog Birthday Giveway. See you soon!

Countdown to November

As November approaches,¬†Alphonse senses something special is coming up and acts giddy and excited. It doesn’t hurt that another long break is overdue, what with the All Saints’ Day/All Souls’ Day holidays coinciding with most schools’ semestral break. Despite Alphonse’s lack of¬†knowledge and concern about dates, he gets a lot of cues from the people around him and instinctively anticipates the coming days.

I can’t help but feel giddy as well. The OC¬†(short for Okasaneko Chronicles, but funny how it simply dawned on me now that another form of OC is perfectly apt for me- obssessive compulsive, heehee) 3rd Blog Birthday Giveaways¬†will be starting on November 3¬† and all the people I’ve asked for support has responded very favorably. Even HerWord.com, BusinessWorld’s e-zine for women, is sending a gift for giveaway! Yippee!¬†¬†The mechanics will be up very soon so please watch out this week for more news on the giveaway.

To get Alphonse prepped for his birthday road trip, we started him on short trips again.¬†His behavior¬†looks very promising. He has been very well behaved on our short trips and save for some minor shouting (he does love his verbal stims), there¬†have been no major problems with grabbing or running away. Two weeks ago, at the grocery store, Alphonse wanted to ride the shopping cart the way he used to when he was a small child. I can’t help but smile when I remember how he took off his size 8 shoes and¬†tried to lift one¬†leg to put inside the large shopping cart.¬†He’s almost five feet five inches now so the sight of him inside¬†one can’t be considered cute anymore. Good thing he’s¬†very pliable¬†these days and we were able to convince him to walk with us instead.

Yesterday was another holiday because of the local barangay elections.¬†Taking advantage of another free day, we¬†decided to start¬†Alphonse’s day with a¬†visit to Granny Flower’s ossuary (Granny Flower is A’s mom).

Then it was off to¬† my Mom and Dad’s house for¬†a visit. We didn’t stay too long, though. We wanted to give him an hour or two at the mall before it was overrun with people.¬† We also wanted to tire him out by walking the stretch of the SM North EDSA¬†Sky Garden’s 400-meter covered walk way.

Alphonse was met with a lot of curious stares as his dad and big brother held his hands while walking. He didn’t seem to mind the gawking; in fact, he had a ready smile for everyone he crossed paths with.

He fell in love with this overgrown pumpkin decoration and sat down and fiddled with it before we could entice him to walk again. He even laid down a few seconds on the grass right beside it.

But we made sure to keep our promise of¬†afternoon merienda (snack). Food is always a highlight of any trip for him and he loves Ineng’s succulent pork barbecue on a stick.¬†He had one while sitting, another one while walking back to the car, and a third one inside the car. When we got home, he ate two more! This boy can definitely eat!

It doesn’t take much to make him happy, as you can see.¬†¬†We didn’t even have to spend¬†for anything other than food.¬†At yet, at the end of the day, ¬†you can tell by his smiles and kisses that he absolutely loves these mini-dates.¬†Here’s crossing our¬†fingers he’ll love our birthday surprise for him!