Monthly Archives: May 2012

I Hope I Win!

I’ve been lucky in life, but unfortunately, never in raffles or contests :(.  Hahaha!

That said, one of my favorite bloggers, Mikka, is hosting a little give-away raffle of sorts over at her blog.  It’s actually a “Cheers to Motherhood + Chic Kit” give-away.  I love the prizes so much, I’m taking a chance and joining in!  Am crossing my fingers that I get chosen!  Who knows, I may get lucky this time around!!!

 Images via mischmash.com

P.S. Ladies, feel free to join in too! :)

Celebrating Mother’s Day

One of my most favorite restaurants is Antonio’s in Tagaytay.  I love everything about it!  The food, the interiors, the ambience, the garden, the service–everything is exquisite and top notch!  In my opinion, most restaurants in the Philippines don’t even come close!  Add to that the charm of its tucked away and not-so-easy-to-find location and you have a place that is truly special and unlike any other.  And it is for this reason that my little family decided to celebrate our Mother’s Day dinner there :).

It’s been a while since we’ve been up to Tagaytay and to Antonio’s.  When we arrived, though, I thought it looked almost exactly as I had remembered.  I immediately felt the rush of comfort that one feels when encountering something familiar and homey.  I knew we were in for a lovely experience.

One of the things I love most about Antonio’s is how it is decorated like an ancestral home.  The local antique furniture and the family pictures that dot the walls of the foyer are both a beautiful and welcoming sight. Personally, I love looking at family photographs.  I think it is fascinating to see the bond between family members and the stories these pictures tell.  It also gives visitors a quick snapshot of the personalities behind the owners of the restaurant.

The main dining room is, again, like dining in someone’s home rather than in a restaurant.  The set up feels casual and relaxed, but somehow has an air of formality as well which I kind of like :).

I love how they decorated this expansion area as well.  So minimal and tasteful.

These tiles are my favorite design element!  I actually wanted to have similar ones installed in my home.  Sadly, they are outdoor tiles and were too thick to use as flooring in my apartment :(.

On to the food…

Antonio’s has a 4-course menu.  All you need to do is order your main, and the meal already comes with a salad, soup, and dessert.  Coffee or tea is served as well.  Not bad, right?  In fact, I’m not used to eating this many courses so when the soup was served, I was already getting full!  Hahaha!

As usual, everything was superb :)!  The salad had fresh arugula leaves and a lovely raspberry dressing.  They did not skimp on the dried fruits and nuts, which I love!  Every bite of my salad was perfect!

The soup, although slightly salty, was creamy, tasty, and the right complement to the sweetness of the raspberry dressing.  Seafood bisque is really one of my favorites, so I always have high expectations of this kind of soup.  I’m glad that the Antonio’s version delivered :).

For our mains, the H and I decided to go surf and turf.  He had the steak, while I had the shrimp and scallop thermidore :).  I actually liked my dish more than the H’s more so because I’m not a fan of steak that’s cooked medium.  While it was very soft, it also felt a bit mooshy in my mouth, which I found a bit strange.

On the other hand, my shrimp and scallops were really yummy!  The scallops were soft and very fresh!  The sauce was also very flavorful–I could taste the hint of white wine :).  I practically scraped it all off and cleaned my plate–hahaha!

Dessert, ofcourse, was my favorite part of the meal :).  The H and I shared the panna cotta sampler, and a chocolate souffle with cardamom sauce.  Both desserts were excellent!  The panna cotta was light and creamy, the souffle rich and moist.  If I probably didn’t just come off my diet, I probably would have had more of the souffle.  Hahaha!  As it was, I could feel myself gaining back the pounds with every bite I took :(.  Hahaha, exaaaagggg!!!

I super, super enjoyed our small intimate dinner at Antonio’s.  It had all the ingredients of a wonderful Mother’s Day celebration–a delicious meal set in the most beautiful ambience, with my two most favorite people in the world–H and A.  I am truly blessed :).

 

 

My Zalora Experience

Like most girls, I loooove the thrill of shopping and the delight of purchasing a great find.  Not only is the experience extremely therapeutic for me, but definitely gratifying as well :).

When I became a mom, shopping for myself took a backseat to shopping for the little miss.  Not because I felt like being a “saint” or because I wanted to sacrifice my wants for A, but more so because there wasn’t anything for myself that I really needed.  And anyway, shopping for A was still shopping, so I was still getting my dose of retail therapy :).

Recently, ads for the online shopping site Zalora have been flooding my FB, and my favorite blogs.  My interest piqued, I decided to give it a try.  While honestly I was a bit skeptical, not being a huge fan of online shopping (I prefer the actual experience!), I went into it with an open mind, and with the anticipation of scoring another fab find :).

I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it was to shop at Zalora!  All I basically had to do was log in or register, choose the item I wanted to purchase, provide my credit card, billing and delivery information, then voila, my items were sent on their way!  No hassle shopping!  Perfect!

And in four days, this arrived at my doorstep:

What a wonderful surprise to wake up to!  I excitedly opened my package, ripped through the tissue wrapping and stared happily at my beautiful purchases:

A Rio clutch from a local brand called Carioca…

…and a pretty kimono from the same brand as well!

Just a side kwento…when the H saw this kimono, he said, “That looks like it’s Missoni, hon!”  I’ve said it before, did I not train him well?  Hahaha!  I love my hubby and I am so happy that he takes my interests seriously :p.

So anyway, back to Zalora… I am definitely a satisfied customer and an online shopping convert!  With an experience as easy as this, I may start doing this more often!  Hahaha!  While I think actual shopping sprees at the mall will never be replaced, it’s nice to know that there is an equally rewarding and maybe even a little bit more hassle-free experience in Zalora.

You should try it, ladies!  I’m sure, like me, you will be glad you did :).

 

Happy Mother’s Day + Happy Weekend!

To all the mothers out there, advanced Happy Mother’s Day!  Hope you get your share of pampering and extra special treatment!  You deserve it!  Oh and have an awesome weekend too!

Bungalow 300

I think I am a frustrated interior decorator.  This explains why I always feel the need to decorate and re-decorate my home.  Hahaha!  Or I guess I also have an unusually high sawa factor and need to be excited and stimulated by my surroundings on a fairly regular basis.  If it’s not buying new artwork, it’s purchasing new accessories.  If it’s not switching around my furniture, it’s changing my throw pillow covers.  Whatever it is, the objective is to surround my family with all things pretty, and to make our home both liveable and cozy :). However, while I am very much into aesthetics, I always keep in mind that functionality is important too.  So not only is everything in our home nice to look at, but it also serves a purpose :).

Being the design junkie that I am, I am always on the look out for items that will make our home look interesting and fun.  I especially like items that have a story to tell, or that are locally made.  I also love the idea of upcycled or repurposed furniture, or restoring classic pieces to their former glory.

One local brand that I’ve encountered that offers all of this is Bungalow 300. It was started by two friends, Marga and Vernice, who share a common interest in vintage modern living.

My first encounter with Bungalow 300 was through a blog.  At that time, I was scouring the internet for pictures of chevron-patterned throw pillows and came across this image:

I was immediately smitten!  I fell in love with the bright, bold colors and patterns. I knew that these pillows would be the perfect pop against my semi-neutral living space.

As fate would have it, Bungalow 300 was having an open house somewhere in Makati during that time.  I coerced the H to pass by with me one weekend, and it was a visit that yielded not only the chevron-patterned throw pillows for my sofa, but a new set of placemats as well!  Success!!!

Since then, Bungalow 300 has remained in my radar as I am constantly on the lookout for design inspiration and creative accents for my home.

Early this year, I was quite excited to receive a notification through email that Bungalow 300 expanded to a space of its own in Alabang.  Last week, after weeks of failed attempts, the H and I finally found time to drop by (and this time, there was no need for coercion!  Hahaha!).  I was very excited to see what new eye candy Marga and Vernice had to entice us with.

This is what we saw:

Needless to say, the entire shop was beautifully decorated!  Each item was thoughtfully displayed, each nook and cranny was creatively composed and put together to highlight the wonderfully restored furniture and other home accessories.

I kept on thinking to myself, “Oooooh, I want this!”, or “I could totally live here!”. Hahaha!  It’s times like these that I soooo wish I lived in an actual house so I can find room for all the art, furniture and decor that I “lust” after.  Hahaha!

The H had a blast scouring the shop too.  His finds?  Room deodorizers, diffusers, and massage oils!  Hahaha!  Yep, I trained him well :).

We eventually left Bungalow 300 with a bunch of stuff for our home and pasalubongs for my sister who lives in NYC.  Mission accomplished!  Definitely, the H and I were both happy campers as we each ended up with our own loot for the day :). Happiness!

I do recommend a visit to Bungalow 300, for those of you who don’t mind trekking all the way to the south.  It is definitely a treasure trove of finds for the home, and a place filled with so much inspiration and creativity.  If you are a similarly frustrated interior decorator like me,  I’m sure you will love it there!

Bungalow 300 is located at 7 Buencamino Street, Alabang, Muntinlupa.

Photo credit: www.always-saturday.com

Finally, PF Chang’s!

It is very rare that the H and I find ourselves in the southern part of the metro. I’m quite traumatized from the traffic caused by never-ending road repair on SLEX, so I only make the trip there for special occasions :).

In yesterday’s case, I was dying to visit the Bungalow 3oo showroom in Alabang. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this brand, they basically sell beautifully restored furniture, as well as other home items and accessories.  I am a huuuuuge fan of their throw pillows and placemats, and have bought several pieces as gifts, and for myself :).  More on that in my next post :).

So since my plans to visit Bungalow 300 have always managed to get postponed, the H promised me last week that we would definitely make the time this weekend.  And since we were already in the neighborhood, we also decided to have lunch at PF Chang’s.

I’ve not eaten at PF Chang’s in ages!  To be honest, I was quite curious to see if the menu still had my old favorites :).  And they did!  Of my “usuals”, I was really craving for the chicken lettuce wraps, and I was glad that when I finally got to eat it, that it did not disappoint :).

The H and I also ordered some fried rice, Mandarin Beef, and Shrimp with Candied Walnuts.  For the little one we got an extra cup of egg drop soup.

All in all, the food was quite good, and the servings very generous :).  Our waiter told us that each order was good for three to four persons–I think he meant five to six (unless the H and I really just have small appetites–hahaha!).

The prices were a bit steep, though, especially for a non-fine dining type of restaurant.  However,  I liked that the service was quick, that the waitstaff were courteous, helpful, and knew their dishes well.

The interiors were also okay–it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the US branches–but I found the space to be a bit cramped.  Thank goodness the restaurant wasn’t too crowded during the time we were there.  Otherwise, I think we would have really felt the “smallness” of the space.

The verdict?  PF Chang’s in Alabang is a good alternative to your usual Chinese restaurants.  Their fare is less traditional, more fusion, but the flavors and portion sizes are good, and will satisfy :).  I don’t think I’ll go out of my way for another visit–but luckily, they will be opening a branch in my neighborhood soon, should a craving ever arise :)!

Cinco de Mayo + Happy Weekend

Happy Cinco de Mayo Weekend, everyone!!!

Image via sheknows.com

Project Nursery

Over the weekend, the H and I finally got to finish a project that’s been begging to be completed for like forever!  I’m talking about A’s collage wall.

You may have noticed that the wall in my bedroom is a collage of picture frames, letters and artwork.  I intended for the little one to have a version of the same design idea in her room, just executed differently.  Unfortunately, though, I’m such a procrastinator, and it took me almost all of two years to get it done.  Tsk, tsk!

But anyway, here is how the finished wall collage looks like:

What do you think?  Here is a closer shot:

So I basically just added a couple of stuff to ones that were already on the wall.  I had Ginny Alcaide do a framed sketch of A:

Whoops!  Not a very good picture :(  Sowee :(  But it’s actually a sketch of A on silk screen material and framed in wood.  If you see shadows on the image, that is because there’s a second and third layer underneath, where the same image of A is also sketched.  I guess it’s supposed to give off some three dimensional sort of effect :).

When A was born, I had all her visitors sign this onesie.  It was kinda like her guest book.  Cute idea right?  Thanks, ofcourse, to Ninang M :).

I finally found a frame that was big enough for the onesie to fit into, and I’m really happy with how this one turned out :).

This last element that I added was not included in my original design for A’s nursery, but since we had it anyway, we decided to just go ahead and use it. And I’m glad we did!  I love the bling of this repositionable sticker, and the bright pop of color it adds to the entire wall :).  Incidentally, I also call the little one “love” sometimes–it’s kinda like my pet name for her–so that makes it even more perfect and fitting for the wall collage!

So there you have it–another successful weekend project I can check off my to-do list!  Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? :)

I am Loving…

the Celine Canvas Phantom Luggage Tote!!!

Phoebe Philo, you are messing with me BIG TIME!

I’m already a fan of your Celine Phantom Luggage tote, but now that you’ve come out with a canvas version (read: more affordable than leather counterpart), you’ve made it almost impossible for me to resist buying one!

Decisions, decisions! *Sigh*

Will you be THE bag purchase for 2012?

Stay tuned, chicas! :)

Image from PurseBlog.com

Packing Light

The H’s and my first trip of the year is coming up!!!  Woohoo!!!  With all this heat we’ve been experiencing in Manila, I’m definitely ready for some cooler climes :)

Because our vacay is fast approaching, I figure I need to start planning what I have to pack, since not only am I a notorious last-minute packer, but I also tend to majorly overdo it :(.  Hahaha!  I’m one of those gals who loves to dress up when traveling, and I hate it when I have one of those moments where I regret that I didn’t bring a particular piece of clothing.  Hence, my tendency is to overpack and make sure I have the right outfit for the right occasion.  Or in some cases, I’ll even bring extra clothes, just in case.  Most of the time, my suitcase is already filled–and I’ve only just departed Manila!!!

This time around, however, I plan to shop, shop, shop, so I definitely have to leave enough room in my suitcase for my purchases.  Hahaha!  This means I MUST plan my outfits verrrrry well, and stick to those that are practical and easy to mix and match.  I’ve resorted to googling different sites for some tips, and here are what I’ve found:

I love how this guide simplified the picking and packing process into 5 easy steps. The first tip is also very practical, especially when going to a place you’ve never been to before.  In my case, we are traveling to Alaska, Seattle and Canada.  It will be my first time in all those places, so knowing what kind of weather to expect will definitely affect my clothing choices.

This is pretty similar to the first packing guide,  but this one in particular divided the list by the type of item–Basics, Brights, Shoes and Accessories.  I’m already sensing a pattern here.  Definitely, a travel wardrobe should include basics in a neutral palette, then to keep things interesting, a few clothing pieces with pops of color should be thrown into the mix.  It seems that accessories are also key in extending wardrobe looks.  While I’ve always been an “accessorizer”, I tend to not really edit my selection of necklaces, and just bring a whole bunch of them with me.  Not only are they bulky and heavy, but I end up not wearing most of them anyway :(.  So this time around, I will definitely put more thought into my accessory choices :).

Lastly, just wanted to share with you this really neat illustrated outfit list/planner.  When I saw it, I was like, “Hey, this is something I would TOTALLY do!!!  Why didn’t I think of it before?”  Part obsessive compulsive and totally creative, I am super loving it!!!

Images via apair-andaspare.blogspot.com, betweenheandshe.com, underconsideration.com