Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Shopping’

Nella Sarabia’s optical shop reopens at Acacia Dorm in late April

April 02, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Shopping 1 Comment →

Some good news: Our suking optical shop will reopen across the street from its former location, at Acacia Dorm on the UP Campus. (If you’ve never been there, it’s near the UP Chapel and the Infirmary.) To get ready for the happy occasion, let’s revisit some of the dozens and dozens of eyeglasses Nella has made for me. (Except for a couple of frames I bought on a Seoul bangketa, all of them are intact and usable, so there are a lot of them.)

Nella’s great-grandfather was the first optometrist in the Philippines and her entire clan is in the optical business, so she has a collection of vintage frames. Years ago, when nobody cared about vintage spectacles (“Ay, luma. Wala bang bago?”), we would root in the bag full of junk and find frames that could be spruced up and reused. (No doubt some of them had previous owners who are dead, but I’ve never had haunted glasses. Dammit I should’ve gotten Prof. Nieves Epistola’s old bangaw glasses. I would not mind being haunted by such a cool ghost.)

Incidentally, these photos were taken by Allan, who swears he only used one or two layers of filtration. If the photos look plasticky to you, feel free to bite him.

These were my very first sunglasses. I could never wear sunglasses before these because my eyesight is bad enough without adding dark tints, and prescription lenses were expensive. I still wear them sometimes. (These are old earrings. I added little glass chili peppers I found in Quiapo.)

And another pair of vintage frames with prescription dark lenses. Also still in use.

These photos were taken at lunch last Saturday, after my three-day shut-in to start writing my next novel (I got a lot of work done but was stir-crazy after 48 hours). That’s Allan in front, Deo and Bubbles at the back. These glasses I saw online—they’re Danish-made, deadstock, so they were on sale. I asked Pat in Bangkok to buy them for me, and Nella made the lenses.

So when people ask me why I don’t just wear contact lenses or have laser surgery, my eyebrow goes into orbit.

Aggretsuko and Gudetama: Adorable and anti-capitalist

July 23, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Shopping No Comments →

If Hello Kitty represents happy-go-lucky submission to globalization, Sanrio’s newer characters respond to the market with soul-crushing resignation or seething rage. Aggretsuko “is a symbol and expression of the pent-up stress and irritation that is rife in the world today,” her designer, Yeti, wrote in an email. And Gudetama, Amy wrote, parallels “the people in modern society who despair amid economic hard times.”

How Sanrio Makes Anti-Capitalism Adorable and Profitable

How to pick the fastest line at the supermarket

September 09, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Shopping 2 Comments →


Get behind a shopper who has a full cart

That may seem counterintuitive, but data tell a different story, said Dan Meyer, a former high school math teacher who is the chief academic officer at Desmos, where he explores the future of math, technology and learning.

“Every person requires a fixed amount of time to say hello, pay, say goodbye and clear out of the lane,” he said in an email. His research found all of that takes an average of 41 seconds per person and items to be rung up take about three seconds each.

That means getting in line with numerous people who have fewer things can be a poor choice.

Saturday in Cubao: Cat cafe and Pop-up bazaar

April 05, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Clothing, Places, Shopping No Comments →

cat cafe

We like visiting Cubao because our parents used to take us there when we were children. During the holidays we would stand on the street outside COD Department Store (gone) to gawk at the animatronic Xmas display, and in the weeks before school opened in June we would go to Marikina Shoe Expo in search of school shoes.

In high school when I learned to cut class, my friends and I would watch movies at those standalone cinemas on Aurora Boulevard (Coronet, Remar, Diamond, gone) or at Ali Mall (which is still there).

Last Saturday we visited a cat cafe in Cubao called Bengal Brew. All the cats there are Bengals, which have beautiful coats like ocelots, leopards and other felines in the wild. Admission is Php400, which includes your choice of pastry (the sans rival and chocolate dome are okay) and coffee.


Afterwards we had lunch at Bellini’s (broccoli soup, osso buco, orange cake) and checked out the stores. The last time we were at Cubao X it seemed a little dispirited: so many shops boarded up, not much to look at besides the vintage store that is so crammed with stuff you can barely walk in. I am pleased to report that Cubao X looks spiffy again, with newish cafes and interesting stores selling all manner of stuff.

There was a pop-up bazaar featuring handmade toys and accessories.


At one shop we found this vintage flamingo brooch. We love this stuff.


The absolute last-minute gift guide

December 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Notebooks, Shopping, Sponsored No Comments →

You have just realized that it’s less than 48 hours before Xmas and even if you’re an atheist you like giving and getting presents (or at least not being the buzzkill). Go to the nearest National Bookstore and get these.

Black sketchbook, Php599. Give with gold and silver Sharpies or Dong-A metallic gel pens.

Pierre the Maze Detective by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4 Design, Php879.

Children will find it entertaining; overgrown children will love the design.

Gold Leuchtturm1917 journal, Php949. Obviously we’re keeping this. Shiny!

Daycraft A6 sketchbooks, PU leatherish covers, wide range of colors, Php389 each.

This season’s “I’m tired of thinking, I’ll just take two dozen of those” gift: colouring books for grownups. It’s supposed to relieve stress. In our observation, people who are already stressed will get more stressed if you give them coloring books because it’s more work they will feel compelled to do. This one comes with 8 colouring pencils in a nice tin box so you don’t even have to wrap it, because you’re stressed, too. Php395 only.

The exception in the colouring books category is The Official A Game of Thrones colouring book, and you know it’s for the real fans because the “A” is in the title. Php665.

Leuchtturm page-a-day 2016 datebook, Php1221. You can have the recipient’s name engraved for free. (Every year we get a Moleskine diary but the new designs haven’t arrived so we’re trying something different. Moleskine, where’s the new stuff? We want the Blue Note editions.)

The new Stephen King story collection, hardcover Php1199. The man’s a story factory with consistently good quality control.

The Powerbooks shopping bag has our name on it.

September 04, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Shopping 3 Comments →


Reusable shopping bag at Powerbooks, Php25. We’re sure we said that somewhere, we just don’t know where.

It’s a reading advocacy project, we don’t get royalties from sales. Not only is the bag useful, but the color is so bright it’s practically a light source.