A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

Archive for the 'Kittymania!' Category

MAC And Me

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I could be talking about MAC, the Mysterious Alien Creature from the 1988 cult movie “Mac and Me,” but I’m not. (Well, aren’t you glad?)

What I am talking about is MAC or Make-up Art Cosmetics, a Canadian cosmetics company founded by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo in 1984 and which was later acquired by Estée Lauder.

hk-mac-01-copyI was thinking of all these when I dropped by my favorite MAC store at Rustan’s Shangri-La yesterday evening. This Saturday, March 21, 2009, is the brand’s official launch of its Hello Kitty cosmetics in all MAC branches in the city, and Kitty lovers like me are eagerly awaiting its debut on Philippine soil. Next to its socially relevant programs (my favorite being the Back to MAC Recycling program), I happen to think that its color collaboration with Hello Kitty is one of it’s best ideas yet. Although not entirely novel as MAC also brought in Mattel in 2007’s Barbie Loves MAC, the idea was greeted with enthusiasm by many who grew up with the mouthless feline creature of cuteness.

Of course, I had called the store earlier in the day to ask about the launch.  I was informed that the event was a whole day affair, but unlike launches in cities abroad, no specific program had yet been laid out. I was also told that I could reserve items in person even before the launch as the products had already reached the counters the night before. I had planned to take a leisurely day yesterday and spend hours playing with Mario Kart Wii but the call changed my day’s plans. Knowing that I would have mere hours to get ready, I cancelled my afternoon Wii game play and set about making myself decent and ready for the store trip early evening.

There were already a few others checking out samples arranged on the make-up counter when I arrived. I looked at product lines, sampled some of the colors, and chose the items I wanted. I was a little ambivalent, though, about the eye palette since I hardly use any eye color except on special occasions. I’m actually more of a lip and cheek girl, the no-fuss type when it comes to everyday make-up.

I took doubles of the items I wanted, one to use and one to save, but A prevailed over me on this one. He said that if I intended to buy extras, then I should use them as well and just keep the containers as souvenirs.  A’s no-nonsense approach set me right again and shook some sense in this Kittyholic. So while I did take doubles, they’re doubles of the colors I want and will use in the future.

I absolutely love the colors I chose; they suited my coloring very well. Unlike my previous foray into HK cosmetics (mostly made by some unknown Japanese cosmetics company), I love that I can trust my skin and face to a reliable brand. (I tend to to drift more to Estée Lauder, Clinique and Shu Uemura for make-up, and Clinique or Shiseido for skincare.) I am absolutely bowled over by the Hello Kitty packaging. Too bad, though, that the MAC Hello Kitty accessories (doll, bracelet, cosmetic bags, brushes) weren’t made available in the country. That would have made the whole experience more complete. Still, I chose to buy my MAC HK items here in the country, if only to prove that our local market is reliable, alive, and booming, even in these uncertain times. Who knows? Maybe if they do see that, they’ll think twice about the accessories think and fly them over as well. I’m crossing my fingers. :-)


I love my MAC!

Sewing Frenzy

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

sewing-project-01I like to describe myself as a nerd who discovered her arts and crafts bone a little late in life. I didn’t even realize I had it until I had my first child. My very first project was a series of small hand painted oven-baked ceramic pots to hold small baby things. My husband loved them and he loved the idea of personalizing our son’s nursery with handcrafted objects. Emboldened by the success of my first project, I soon discovered a passion for things my hand (and my heart) could create. I learned how to crochet properly, to knit, to do cross-stitch and embroidery. I dabbled in cardboard 3D puzzles, in paper tole and decoupage; why, I even learned to paint with watercolor! Add to this my experiments in the kitchen as I grew and learned as wife and mother, and I could say with all honesty that for a nerd, I wasn’t such a bad student of the arts.

Despite my successes, however, I could not sew, except by hand.

Machine sewing, for me, was the final frontier and the most frustrating part of my arts and crafts journey.  Blame the phobia I developed in grade school, when as a sixth grader, I accidentally pushed my  hand a little past the machine’s presser foot and I sewed a golden yellow thread across the breadth of my poor thumb. The needle went through my nail, through the nailbed, and through the bone of the distal phalanx. Ouch! Little Miss Firefly, I am most definitely not! (Check out her blog for all her cool, creative projects!)hk-dress-me-up-doll-brown

This week, however, was the impetus I needed to overcome this phobia. My beautiful Singer sewing machine (model number 1116, see picture above) has waited for me since Christmas, another thoughtful and generous gift from A, but I was too scared to do anything with it. When my latest Hello Kitty Dress- Me Doll arrived, I knew I had to get moving. After all, she was clad in such an immodest fashion that I simply could not leave her lying around the house in a state of undress! What would my sons think?  :-)

I remembered I had a pair of pajamas I bought at a thrift shop a few months ago that was in need of hemming. Cutting it short gave me enough fabric for two doll blouses, one for Fudge Brownie (the new suntanned Dress-Me Kitty) and Bee (my tropical HK Build-A-Bear). Moreover, unearthing a couple of pairs of torn jeans,  I decided to make my first pair of doll skinny jeans too. I made some mistakes in the process, but for a first time sewer, my projects didn’t turn out too bad.


Bee and Brownie (or Fudge, which sounds yummier) in identical clothing

I like that I can make my dolls’ clothes and not spend a lot on ready-made clothing for them. And who knows? Once I get the knack of the machine (right now, I am very, very good with very, very straight stitches), maybe I can learn to make my own clothes too. In this time of want and need, that certainly can be a money-saving, even moneymaking, skill.

And with this, I realized once again that happiness is… realizing that the only limits are the ones you set for yourself, and nothing, not even five left thumbs in one hand, can stop you from making a dream come true.

This very late post is dedicated to Little Miss Firefly in faraway Ireland, she who constantly brings a dose of happiness to everyone she meets. Thank you for the friendship, dear Odette. You constantly inspire me to better myself.

Kittyholic In Remission

Monday, February 16th, 2009

crazy-spending-copyI am on a Hello Kitty detoxification and recovery program.

Last year, when I discovered the addictive joys of online shopping, I got hooked and went a little crazy with all the buying. I have a social network account where my friends — all Kitty collectors like me — and I share photographs of recent additions to our collections. Unlike some of them, however, I choose not to post all the items I buy. The truth was, I felt guilty about spending a lot of money on really cute but nonessential items.

It just hit me suddenly one afternoon during the holidays, the fact that I  had become a compulsive HK shopper. I was watching television and flipping through channels when my ears caught the words “hiding shopping bags.” That struck me hard as I had done just that a few days earlier, when I shredded the courier packaging my latest purchases came in.

It was weird because my kitty shopping has never ever been an issue of dispute between my husband and me. I am a card-carrying Sanrio Fans Club member, and proud of it. I make regular purchases at local Gift Gate and Sanrio Surprises stores. When I started buying things online, it was always with my husband’s knowledge (and permission). I would proudly show off the bargains I picked up and he would always say nice things about them.

As the months passed, however, I realized I was receiving a package (or two) almost daily. I was paying for them in cash, so debt was not an issue. But while I was happy about them, I also felt queasy in the stomach about having new items almost everyday. The guilt was temporary, though. After a while, it just seemed easier to pack away my newest packages as soon as they arrived. The plastic bags would be folded and stowed away, or when space ran out, shredded. 

I was online almost everyday, watching for auctions and sales. Calculating all my acquisitions over a six-month period, I was dismayed to learn that my purchases have already surpassed the high 5-digit mark. A hundred pesos here, maybe two hundred there, and after a while, going through a thousand pesos in five minutes became as easy as double-clicking a mouse. I even stayed up late nights checking and rechecking sellers’ pages for new items. I was hooked and I knew it.

They call shopping addiction or oniomania (derived from the Greek word onios = “for sale,” and mania for insanity) an impulse control disorder. Thankfully, I have not reached the point where my life has spiraled out of control because of my Kitty addiction, and I’d rather not wait for that to happen. I’ve already seen the early symptoms (the elation of buying, the guilt of receiving, the problem with disposal of packaging) and they are not at all pretty.

That day, in early December, I went cold turkey on Hello Kitty. I have been Kitty sober for 50 long days. It’s a hard, but necessary, step to fiscal responsibility.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting all those kawaii HK stuff. I like Hello Kitty; I make no excuses for liking it. But realizing the difference between wanting and needing and putting a rein on uncontrolled, mindless, dysfunctional behavior are essentials in the fight against any addiction. Within the framework of responsible living, some things are definitely good,  but too much of a good thing, even Hello Kitty, can also be quite bad, I’ve learned.

(This is this week’s column at HerWord.com.)

The Gift

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

the-gift-01Two weeks ago, I was absolutely strapped for cash. For the first time in a really long time, I lost track of all my spending and ended up not having a lot to spare. Yes, it would have been very easy to ask my husband for more money, and I know he would have found a way to give it too, even if it hurts (he is that kind, thank You, Lord), BUT having just a smidgen of pride left, I decided not to. I thought that since I created this problem, I ought to learn from it. For the next two weeks, I decided, I would have to be content with having less than P300 in my pocket, and I would have to tighten my finances and curb any impulse to buy anything.

It sounds rather silly, thinking about my predicament, especially since so many people in our country actually do subsist on so much less. I think that was what put it in perspective for me. And so, while this little worrying thought (the persistent what-if?) nagged at the back of my head, I was able to put it aside and not dwell too much on it.

One Friday, as I did my normal thrice-weekly run, I was drawn to a chapel along my route. I heard voices singing and I felt compelled to come in to listen to mass. When Offertory came, I got what I was carrying on me (PhP200) and dropped half in the collections basket. “God, please, just take care of me,” I whispered a silent prayer. As mass ended, I felt incredibly lighter and worry-free. For the first time in days, I could even smile about my last P100 bill.

When I got home that day, my inbox was filled with news of sales and new items for Hello Kitty collectors. I enjoyed looking at them as I browsed through pictures. I opened my network accounts, reading through news of friends and relatives. One item caught my eye and I hurriedly clicked on the link. One of my generous friends, Sonia, had held a special raffle of Hello Kitty items in honor of her birthday, and to my surprise, I had won! First prize, can you imagine that!


I’ve never really been lucky in games of chance and  raffles; I’ve never won anything remotely interesting in my life from any of them (well, except for a golf cap I got as 15th consolation prize  from a Tropical Hut promo when I was 13), so this was both a blessing and a surprise. I was so giddy  with excitement that I called everyone in the house and showed them the lovely HK cosmetic carry case I had won. We jumped up and down and shrieked and laughed. Judging from our reactions, you’d think I’d have won the lotto.

That night, before I went to bed, I thought about how God really took care of me that day. Of how he gave me a gift to remind me that His love heals all worries. My troubles seem silly and petty when seen against the backdrop of the world’s greater problems, but I think of this incident as a little nudge from God, reminding me to be faithful.

So thank you, dear Sonia, for your generous gesture of sharing. And thank you, dear Lord, always, for Your gifts of friends and love in my life always.

Kitty Kitty Bo Bitty Banana Fana Fo Fitty…

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

how-kitty-got-to-meI didn’t get around to posting this before, and now that I have some free time on my hands, I thought I’d introduce you to the newest member of our family, Kitty Bee (as in Kitty B or Kitty Brown). She arrived via US Postal Service on October 7 this year, but I’ve listed her birthdate as September 20 on her Build A Bear birth certificate because she was an anniversary gift. A found her online and brought her home (well, technically, he didn’t because she travelled all the way from the US). I had known she was coming but I didn’t expect her to come home to me in a yummy Sun Chips box!

hellokitty1This was how she looked online, as advertised by her first mommy. A checked Build A Bear’s online store then but at the time of his search, Tropical Kitty was no longer available. So, he searched for sites that still carried this kind of doll, and although he paid a premium for her, he was happy to do so for me. Alas! A month later, BAB’s online store restocked with these babies! Ah well…. (Click thumbnails to see full size.)

And this is how she looks like now.


I’ve been having so much fun with my newest baby; she is sooo cuddly and cute! Morever, she’s so much easier to dress. She fits in small-sized infants’ clothes and by a stroke of good fortune,  Sanrio carries licensed baby wear here in the country. I was able to get her an assortment of clothes at Gift Gate’s latest sale. :-)

Of course, this introduction will not be complete without the requisite fashion show:

Here she is in nightclothes, In fashion wear (see inset picture of how it looks in the back), in a flirty dress with ruffles at the hem, in a pink skirt and blouse, in sports wear, in Sesame Street jammies, and even a poodle skirt and knitted sweater! Isn’t she the cutest thing? 


Of course, little Kitty White (my Dress Me Kitty) will always be my baby, and she gets in her share of the clothing action too. Here they are in matching clothes.


A is now on the lookout for the first edition Kitty Build A Bear doll. With rumors flting fast that there might be a Christmas BAB Kitty, I’m on the net everyday waiting for announcements. I can’t wait to adopt more Kitty children- they do make my days happier!


Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

Friday, October 31st, 2008

This is a DIY project I did over the weekend, using a laptop vinyl skin I purchased online. I first created a template using tracing paper, and transferred the pattern on the vinyl. I also hand cut all the holes with a cutter. The entire project lasted more than hour but it was worth it. Now I rock to Guitar Hero inspired by Hello Kitty. What could be cooler than that?

Hello Kitty + Guitar Hero= Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

Look, No Hands!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

What do you do when you want to carry your Kitty baby but like any other multitasking mom, you have other things to do with your hands?

Look at the pictures below and you’ll see how a handy mini-baby/plush carrier can free your hands to do other things.  

(This is what it the plush carrier looks like, sans Kitty.)

Okay, okay, I look a little foolish (if you see me in public, be sure to say hello!) but I like my Kitty so I don’t really mind if anyone stares at me funny. Hhmmmpphh!

For Sanrio Fans Club Members

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Just a last minute reminder for Sanrio Fans Club Members:


See you tomorrow!

Playing Dress Up

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I’ve been enjoying dressing my Kitty doll so much that often, it actually feels like I have a “daughter.” I shop for clothes on a regular basis, and my loved ones, feeling the happiness I derive from this experience, have also contributed to Kitty’s growing clothes closet. Aside from her original yukata and polka-dotted bikini, she now owns a pink ballerina dress, a white satin Sunday dress (you know, for more formal occasions), a pair of blue denim pants, a pink denim skirt, and a couple of shirts. 

One of my new friend Marge’s legacy to Kitty lovers like me was this chance to own a closet drawer for my Kitty. Thank you so much, Marge! Kitty and her mama love organizing her tiny drawers! (*Hugs*)

And how nice that Kitty gets presents too from her aunts? My sister gave me these clothes to add to Kitty’s drawers- pretty pink jumpsuits and dresses!

The latter reminded me so much of Kitty in Wonderland that I decided to play around with photoshop and do this:

Kitty in Rabbit’s home

But my sister’s kindness didn’t just end there. My sisters and I all went to Maryknoll College (now Miriam College). I did my stint in grade school while they stayed in MC till high school. She thought Kitty might want to go to school there too. Well, I’m not sure they accept cats, though, even the brilliant ones. :-)  (For high school, Kitty’s definitely going to Pisay, heehee. I’m having her uniform sewn out of my old ones.)


Aww, my Kitty’s all grown up! She’s now a schoolgirl!

Lastly, I wanted to show off her custom socks. These are sewn out of some of Alex’s preemie socks; I’ve made a few others in different colors from the boys’ leftover baby socks. How cute that their little “sister”  gets to wear their hand-me-downs? 

Now if I can only find some shoes…

Kitty Happy Itchy* Feet

Friday, August 15th, 2008

My Hello Kitty Dress Me doll arrived last Wednesday from the US. I had been waiting for her for months. She was a gift A bought for me on my birthday but since the Sanrio site does not ship internationally, she had to wait in New York with other items and gifts my father-in-law was sending back home. Finally, after a month and a half of a lengthy ship voyage, she finally got home. 

I got the idea for a Kitty travelogue from Travelocity’s roaming gnome, the one who was gnomenapped from his owner’s front yard in North Carolina and is now living a shussing, jet-setting, high-rolling lifestyle. I wanted Kitty to be part of my everyday life, never mind that I do get stares from people who think of me as nuts.

Kitty got here with very scanty accoutrements, just her standard underwear and two sets of clothing (a polka dot bikini set and a Japanese yukata). They ran out of other clothing designs before I could purchase them so I guess I’ll have to start looking for them on eBay.  

I made up my mind to bring Kitty to Friday night’s concert as early as Wednesday. But I didn’t think any of her two dresses would suit the concert scene so I simply dragged her along in her underwear. A promised to bring us shopping the next day, though. :-)

Kitty at Burgoo Gateway

Kitty at Sharon Cuneta’s concert

A celebratory stopover at Dairy Queen (Kittymama ate a moccha Kitkat blizzard)

On Saturday, we dropped by SM Megamall for a special Sanrio sale at the Atrium. I managed to pick up a few items on sale. However, I missed out on the afternoon activities (a meet and greet affair, a Kitty photo shoot, and face painting) because I went very early to avoid the crowds. Kitty managed to squeeze in some pictures, including one with an overweight Kitty cheerleader.

With Chiqui of Sanrio Surprises Megamall A

Then it was off to Trinoma for clothes shopping. My cousin had told me of an Animaland branch in Trinoma that might carry clothes for my 12-inch Kitty, and we weren’t the least bit disappointed. Animaland is much like Build-A-Bear, where you can stuff your own doll and choose clothing and accessories for them. Although there were a limited number of items for smaller female dolls like my Kitty, I did find jeans, shirts, a ballerina dress, sequined hot pants and matching blouse. The staff were very accommodating and very enthusiastic about their jobs. They even gamely posed for my camera. I liked Animaland a lot and they’re going to see much more of me soon.

With Ice (I hope I got his name right) of Animaland Trinoma

In the afternoon, before we prepared for Saturday night’s concert, Kitty and I tagged along with A to have the car’s matting changed. The car was parked near the sidewalk and people could see me taking shots of Kitty. Some smiled at me, others laughed, and yet a few others gave me shocked stares. Whatever.

Having a 12-piece car mat set fitted at Miggyboy’s

Notice Kitty’s new outfit? They didn’t have shoes in her size though. Early evening, A and I chose to have a light snack at the Gateway Food Express before heading off to the concert venue.

And at Tony Hadley’s concert, Kitty was seen jumping up and down with Kittymama. The cameras also pannned over them a few times. :-)


The night ended with a quick repast at Cafe Bola. Here is Kitty, trying to decide on what to eat.

And before we knew it, another day was done. Kitty rested in her brand-new Disney Princess stroller because Alphonse wanted to crush her in his embrace. He was also quite intrigued with her pink ribbon. :-)

*Yawn* Good night, Kitty!


Thirty-second note on Philippine Idioms: Itchy feet (makati ang paa) is a local idiom that means one is a gallivanter, or fond of going places