Monthly Archives: March 2012

Earth Hour + Happy Weekend!

Today, the entire world comes together once again to celebrate Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a global initiative spearheaded by WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) to raise awareness on the need to take action for climate change.  It is the first time that a worldwide effort unites people, businesses and governments to take a stand for a common cause–the environment.

More than 5200 cities and towns in 135 countries globally switched their lights off last year, during Earth Hour 2011.

This year, the Philippines is aiming for another world record, and to achieve Hero Country status.

I will definitely be turning off my lights, and joining in on this worthy cause.  Will you? :)  Have a happy weekend, folks!!! :)

Foodie Friday: Beso Cucina Vinoteka

It’s been a while since I did a Foodie Friday post so thought I’d do one today.

The H celebrated his birthday this week and because we’ve both been terribly tired and busy lately, we decided to celebrate quietly somewhere nearby.  Lucky for us, there are so many new restaurants to try within walking distance from our apartment so our biggest “problem” was actually just choosing which one. Hahaha!

We finally settled on Beso Cucina Vinoteka, a tapas and wine bar located at Bonifacio High Street Central.

My sister has been raving about this place, so we thought we’d give it a try :).

While I have repeatedly mentioned throughout this blog that I am all about ambience, Beso is one of those restaurants that you shouldn’t judge “by its cover”–or in this case, by the entrance.

I’m not very fond of the particularly tall tables and chairs that crowd the outside dining area, but I guess this caters to Beso customers who come for drinks and tapas.    The inside interiors, however, are a different story.

I like the mix of dark furniture with the black and red color scheme.  The open kitchen is a nice touch as well, breaking the “heaviness” of the wood and giving the space a bigger feel.

I also like how they incorporated a bit of Filipino design by mounting a “solihiya” backrest against one of the restaurant walls.

The painting of the Spanish toro, the focal point of the room, is also quite arresting and dramatic.

On to the food…For starters, we decided to try the Salmon Croquetas.  Hubby is particularly fond of salmon and because it was his special day, we thought it was an appropriate choice.

The croquetas were just okay.  Crusty on the outside but moist on the inside, I thought it could have used a little bit more salmon to add to the flavor.  However, the sauce it came with was quite good so I ended up dousing my croquetas with it.

Every time we eat at a Spanish restaurant, an order of gambas is always a must! This is also one of the H’s favorite dishes.  This one in particular came with the biggest, freshest shrimps, so that was already a plus for me :).

I really enjoyed this dish!  It had great flavor, and I loved that it came with chunks of garlic and chorizo.  This is definitely a must order :).

For our main dish, the H and I decided to split the Beef Brisket with Mashed Potatoes.  This was a pretty great dish as well!  The beef was extremely soft and tender, the mashed potatoes creamy and buttery at the same time.  To say that we polished this one off is an understatement :).

I think the H and I will definitely be coming back to Beso.  Not only is the food quite yummy and reasonably priced, but there are so many other things on the menu that we would love to try!  It’s also a great place to kick back and relax either on a date, or with a bunch of friends.  Thank goodness for wonderful new restaurants in the Fort!  I definitely think Beso is already one of my favorites :).

Ooops, I Missed It Again!!!!

While we are on the subject of bags, I can’t believe I missed this again… :(

This is the second round of the eBay x CFDA You Can’t Fake Fashion campaign. The limited edition bags were released last March 20, and almost immediately after the 8am launch, all bags were sold out!!! Geesh!

Remember when I wrote about it here?  I guess the initiative must have been hugely successful for it to have a repeat run.  This time, however, even more designers lent their star power to the cause, and created one-of-a-kind, uber chic tote bags!!!

Argh!  Can you tell I’m just a bit inezzzzzzzz?  Hahaha!  Next year, promise, I will bring one of these babies home.  As they say, third time’s a charm!!! :)  Hahaha!

Here are my favorites from this year’s selection:

BCBG MaxAzria

Catherine Malandrino

Deborah Lloyd for Kate Spade

Diane Von Furstenberg

Doo Ri

Foley + Corinna

Jessie Randall for Loeffler Randall

Joy Gryson

Judith Leiber

Monica Botkier for Botkier

Prabal Gurung

Rebecca Taylor

Vena Cava

Images via ebay.com

The Making of a Classic

There is no doubt about it–I’m a bag lady :).  If asked to choose between a designer bag or designer shoes, I would definitely choose the former hands down, and in a heartbeat!

There’s something about a beautifully crafted handbag that makes my heart race and go pitter patter. The feel of supple, luscious leather, and its luxurious smell also always makes me heady with excitement! :)

At the risk of sounding a tad shallow, can I just say that I also love how handbags make such a statement!  Every time I am carrying one of my designer bags, I always feel confident and powerful.  Funny how bags can do that to you, huh? :)

Of all the bags that I have, my favorites are the iconic ones.  Because of their clean and classic lines, these styles are timeless and will probably last until my daughter is old enough to inherit them.  I love the idea of passing these treasures on to her some day :).  My mom did the same thing with me, and those bags are amongst the ones I truly cherish!

But I also love that precisely because these bags are so classic, I will never tire of using them.  They go with all my outfits, no matter what style or color.  In fact, I’ve given away almost all my non-branded bags (save for a few sentimental favorites) and have streamlined my closet into choice classic pieces.  These I use everyday, and for every occasion.  So I guess you can say I’ve already gotten my money’s worth out of them!  Hahaha!

Yes, unfortunately, the downside to being a “bag lady” is the amount of monetary investment it involves.  In the beginning, when I first started buying my own bags, I’d really have to save up for it with several of my paychecks.  While I am lucky to be able to afford one now without having to resort to “gives” or installment-paying, I am reassured by the fact that the steep price tag is a reflection of the quality of the materials, as well as the craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

Speaking of quality and craftsmanship, I recently came across an article that revealed images of how the classic Chanel flap bag is made!  I was very excited to   see these photos for two reasons: first, the Chanel 2.55 was, for the longest time, my ultimate classic bag must-have.  To be able to see the work that goes into making one is not just interesting, but extremely thrilling for me :).  Second, I’m sure it is a very rare opportunity for one to catch a glimpse of what goes on in the work rooms of prestigious fashion houses.   Thanks, however, to the people behind Style Republic who were able to capture images of this previously well-kept trade secret.  For a bag lover like myself, these pictures are magical!!!

Images via stylerepublicmagazine.com

Manila FAME {Part 2}

For me, another highlight of Manila FAME was the Craft Revival stations, wherein traditional techniques from Davao, Taal, Pakil and Zamboanga del Sur were demonstrated by different artisans.  Found just outside the expo hall, the stations were particularly eye-catching, and immediately drew my and M’s interest.

The first station we saw demonstrated the calado technique.  Calado is a form of embroidery, painstakingly executed on fine cloths such as pina or jusi.  It was quite entertaining to watch the ladies work very nimbly with their fingers, and it really made me appreciate this craft even more.  One needs to have not only good eyesight, but a good design aesthetic, quality orientedness, and ofcourse, the skills, to be able to execute calado beautifully.

Another featured technique was beadwork from the Bagobo community in Davao.

The Bagobo‘s are known for their ornate and decorative garments.  Usually, they are adorned with many tiny, multi-colored beads that are sewn into the cloth, and accompanied by bells, sequins and pompoms.  I can imagine how long it must take for a garment to be finished!  But again, it makes one appreciate how much effort goes into this craft.  I really hope it is something that is passed on throughout the generations of this tribe, so that we can continue to enjoy the beauty of Bagobo beadwork :).

One of the most colorful Craft Revival stations was the one on Mat Weaving.  It was nice seeing the different colors of straw all lined up in a row, then witnessing the weavers intertwine them to make lovely mats!

Mat Weaving is a craft native to the Maguindanao community in Zamboanga del Sur.  Seagrass is used as material for the mats, where they are woven to create different patterns.

It was also quite a sight to witness these women weaving the mats so quickly and mindlessly.  It’s like their fingers had a life of their own, and I could not believe the speed in which they were executing this craft–without breaking the straw at that!  I’m sure this is something they can do beautifully even in their sleep! Hahaha!

The last station was on the art of Wood Shaving.  Some of the best whittlers hail from the province of Pakil, Laguna.  Using knives with different lengths and thicknesses, they carve softwood into filigreed fans, peacocks, birds and flowers.

Again, I can imagine how one has to be extremely precise when doing this craft. As I was observing this man whittling the wood, he seemed very concentrated, but at the same time, his confidence as he handled the knife made me conclude that this is something that he had been doing for years.  Like the rest of the stations, it was a sight to see!

The Craft Revival stations at Manila FAME truly made me proud of Filipino craftsmanship.  It is evidence of our skill as a people, as well as our attention to quality and detail.  I’m sure there are many more crafts around our country to learn about and highlight, and I really do hope they do so in succeeding Manila FAME expos.

I think it would truly be a tragedy if we allowed these traditions to die and be forgotten, as our world becomes more modern and digital by the second.  Hand-made crafts are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and if we don’t do something about it, it will disappear along with our culture and identity as a people.

Thank goodness for the efforts of Manila FAME to keep this aspect of Filipino culture alive!

I am Loving…

Tema & Variazioni Fornasetti Plates!!!

I’ve actually been obsessing over these plates for a while now.  I think they’re beautiful!  There’s something about that face–so beguiling, mysterious and intriguing…

Designed by Pierro Fornasetti, a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver, these plates are his renditions of Lina Calavieri, an opera singer whose face he encountered while leafing through a 19th Century French magazine.  Lina’s face fascinated Fornasetti, and gave him enough inspiration to create infinite variations of her image.

I guess you could say that Lina Calavieri became Fornasetti’s most enduring muse, her face the epitome of classic beauty.  I think he may have designed over 350 different versions of her expression!  How’s that for inspiration? :)

One day, you will be mine.  I promise.

For now, I’ll have to content myself with looking at these images.  *Drool*

1. downandoutchic.blogspot.com  2. decorpad.com  3. thedesignpage.blogspot.com  4. onekingslane.com  5. remodelista.com  6. thedesignpage.blogspot.com

Manila FAME {Part 1}

Dubbed as “The Design and Lifestyle Event”, Manila FAME is one of the longest running trade shows in the Philippines, featuring the latest trends in furniture, home accessories, gift items, holiday decor, and fashion.

Manila FAME stands for Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers’ Exchange. Organized by the Center for International Trade, Expositions and Missions (CITEM)–DTI’s export promotions arm–it aims to put the spotlight on Philippine design, creativity and artistry, and introduce our country as the next emerging design hub in Asia.

Manila FAME is only one of several events that are planned for Design Week–a week-long, bi-annual national celebration showcasing Filipino craftsmanship and talent.  Being a lover of local art and design, I knew this was an event that was not to be passed up.  After a quick text to my partner-in-crime, M, plans were finalized to visit Manila FAME early Saturday morning :).

Upon our arrival at SMX, M and I decided on a strategy to tackle the massive expo area, and to maximize our Manila FAME experience.  According to accounts from friends who had already been to the expo, the ground floor was where all the furniture suppliers were located, while the second floor housed the home accessories, gift items and fashion booths.  Since we only had a couple of hours to spare, and since we were not really in the market to buy any furniture, we decided to start with the second floor.

As we stepped off the elevator, this was one of the several murals that greeted us. Rendered grafitti-style, I thought it was very quirky and creative :).  Instant inspiration!!!  It immediately put me in a good mood, and I took it as a sign of all that was yet to come–that M and I were in for one really great experience!!! :)

Unfortunately, while M and I really intended to blog about our Manila FAME experience, many suppliers did not allow us to take photographs :(.  We did, however, manage to capture a few snippets of the gift items, furniture, and some of the home accessories…here they are!  View and drool…hahaha!

M and I immediately fell in love with these papers from TADECO of Davao. Made out of banana fibers, they are perfect for gift wrapping!  And you know how much I loooove wrapping paper :).  Hahaha!  But sadly, because we were at Manila FAME on the last day, we could only purchase a couple of pieces of the designs we liked.  The rest were sold out :(.  On the bright side, it is possible to order them from Davao.  M and I were thinking we may just do that!

TADECO had another booth in the show, this time featuring other types of home furnishings made from local materials.  I was particularly drawn to this hanging lamp.  I loved the drama and impact of this piece!  It’s the type of item that immediately draws attention, but not in a negative way.  Too bad my home is quite tiny, and a lamp of this size would definitely not be given the space it deserves.

Budgi Layug and Kenneth Cobonpue’s collaboration in this showcase called DEXIGN was one of the expo’s highlights.  I love love love the work of these two artists, and I feel both proud and lucky to own some of their furniture pieces :). Seeing their new designs, however, made me want to redecorate my entire apartment!  Hahaha!

Beautiful, right? :)

Here are pictures of Kenneth’s (eeh, close!) booth…

I just love how clean his lines are!  Each of his pieces are like a work of art–so simple, yet the design reflects such high taste and quality :).

Another booth I enjoyed very much was Masaeco.  From afar, this is how it looked like (left photograph)…

Up close (photograph on the right), this is how the pattern looked.  I was immediately enamoured when I saw it. *Sigh* How I would looooooove to have walls that look like this in my apartment!!!  What amazed me about this is that it is simply made out of paper!  It can be used to dress up walls as cascading panels, or it can also be framed into artwork!!!

Another inspiring and drool-worthy booth was the one selling Inabel from Ilocos.

Abel Iloko, as it is traditionally known, is the art of weaving that hails from the Ilocos region.  In this art form, a loom is used to create designs on a cloth that is then turned into clothing or blankets.

I love how they are starting to expand  and modernize the uses of Inabel cloth to other items such as these lampshades.  Aren’t they purdy? :)

I seriously wanted to go home with an inabel tablecloth, or any inabel item for that matter :).  However, I didn’t realize how expensive these things were!  The tablecloth I wanted cost about 10 grand!!!  Oh my :(!  Unfortunately, I knew that this would cause the H to raise an eyebrow so I sadly left the booth emptyhanded :(.  Oh well :(.

As you can probably tell by now, Manila FAME was truly an awe-inspiring experience that both M and I enjoyed!  It is truly a celebration of the Filipino’s talent, creativity and ingenuity!  Both M and I felt really proud albeit a bit wistful that many of these wonderful products were not available to us locally, as most of them were for export only.

In my next post, I’ll show you guys some of the other featured sections in Manila FAME.  Stay tuned! :)

Happy Weekend!

The work week is over once again–yippee!

And despite the craziness of Payday Friday, I hope you find something that will inspire and move you this weekend :)

Have an awesome one! :)

Success!!!

Okay, I know I might sound a bit obsessed, but I am soooo happy I was able to score some DVF for GapKids dresses for A!!! Woohoo!

Ever since I made the announcement of this major collaboration on my blog, I’ve been waiting with excitement for the pieces to be made available online.

I actually even programmed my iPhone alarm clock so that I wouldn’t forget!  Haha!

And I’m so glad I did :).  I successfully purchased 2 wrap dresses for A, a really cute shift dress, and a tshirt dress–and they were the ones I really wanted!  Not only that, I guess a lot of people had the same idea as me and quickly snapped up a lot of pieces as well–there were some unavailable sizes by the time I logged in already!!!  Thank goodness the ones I had my eye on were still in stock :).

Can’t wait for my loot to be shipped to my sister’s apartment!  Woohoo!!!

I think A will look so cute in these!!!

Photos via gap.com

The Weekend that Was

Snippets of my busy but fun weekend :)

I was fortunate enough to catch the play version of Carlos Celdran’s Imelda tour with the H and my good friend, M :).  Hilarious, slightly irreverent, and extremely witty, this show gave us a peek into the lives of the Marcoses, specifically Imelda, which was filled with glitz and glamour, but unfortunately had its share of sex, lies and scandal as well.

I thought it was pretty cool that I learned so much about our country’s history, although it made me feel a bit wistful when I saw how beautiful and “untouched” Manila was during those times.

The play was staged at the Silverlens Gallery along Chino Roces extension.  Not surprisingly, Carlos Celdran and his fellow actors played to a packed house.  It was a pleasant mix of expats, normal people (like moi) and Manila’s socialites that were in attendance.

Saturday was mostly a work day for me so I will not bore you anymore with the details.

 Sunday, however, was family bonding day, so the H and I took advantage of the time and the weather to take a trip to the weekend market with the little one :)

I personally loooooove Legaspi Market :).  Aside from the yummy food, there are so many interesting things you can find there–from plants to jewelry to arts and crafts items.  It’s a lovely place to browse and find inspiration :).

Another typical weekend activity for my family is grocery shopping.  We usually head over to Rustan’s at Rockwell, and use the opportunity to make pasyal the little one as well.  Here she is trying out the cars at the Activity Center and at the supermarket.  She loved it!

Our Sunday ended with a simple family dinner and a 2-hour massage session prior to bedtime.

How I wish the weekends were always spent like this!  How was your weekend? :)