Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Million dollar rooms


My friend, photographer Kai Huang, regularly posts episodes of Million Dollar Rooms on his Facebook wall. I love my home (I just want a fresh coat of paint actually) so I've been ignoring his posts but finally I watched one episode and I was hooked.




Made me wonder what I'd do if I had gazillions of cash. Here's what I would do:

  • A huge bathroom with heated floors
  • Persian rugs 
  • A little house for Vince and me, with a cozy library and separate offices so we can write in peace
  • A large garden that reaches as far as the horizon!
  • Art. Everywhere. If I could get a hold of just one Vermeer painting, I'd be thrilled!
  • A playground for the kids.
  • Big kitchen with large windows
  • A gorgeous view from every window


Actually, I just want a tiny space that looks like this:
That's just a 40 sqm apartment. That's the average size of a unit in the new condos rising everywhere in Manila these days. There's more from Stylish Eve. Hop on over there for more design inspiration!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Taste Central!!!

When we got back from our Tagaytay trip a couple of weeks ago, we were surprised to find a big box from Taste Central sitting in our hallway.

I was thrilled because I had signed up at their shopping website just last month. Taste Central is a partner of Deal Grocer and you all know I love Deal Grocer! In the first quarter of 2013, I've already bought a steak lunch for 4 at LuLu, a magnificent lunch at Bistro Filipino, and ginger-and-pumpkin cakes from Epicurus. Currently in my DG folder are yet unredeemed coupons for a wine and cheese date at L'Incontro, a comprehensive dental check up (I think I need braces again), and a stay at Taal Vista Hotel. Yes, I love Deal Grocer!

So when Taste Central—which offers a more exclusive shopping experience—was launched, I just had to sign up. Here's what I wanted:

Butterfly Dreams fitted sheet set (at 50% off, only P2,750!) because I love love love our Butterfly Dreams sheets and I must have more!

Bungalow 300 set of 2 throw pillows (only P952) comes in many luscious bright colors like yellow, orange, red, aqua. But the pink called my name!

Mav Clare nightstand (only P9,980). This is already sold out. Besides, even if I wanted two, there's just no space in our bedroom. Still, it's gorgeous!

PhoeNix Home Argentinian cowhide rug (only P28,000). I've started wanting a cowhide rug just recently. I love the shape of it and the feel of it under bare feet.

Rachael Ray 10-piece cookware set (only P11,175). My old set needs replacing and this black-and-orange set fits the bill!

Pyrex bakeware set (only P3,500) because I want to bake and bake and bake now!

Loveramics stackable bowl set (only P1,880). I actually have a lot of bowls but they're all shallow. I need deep bowls.

So anyway, when I saw the big box from Taste Central, I couldn't help but hope one of the items on my wish list was inside! Their gift isn't a welcome gift, by the way. Just in case you're thinking of signing up now haha and thinking you'll automatically get a big box of goodies, too. They sent me a box because of my blog! Hooray! I love blogging! Here's what was inside:



Good taste indeed. I love the selections for the home! Their food picks are amazing, too. Funnily enough, I wasn't so interested in the fashion and beauty departments. But maybe that's because I already have too many beauty products and my interest in fashion has waned to monochromatic clothes and flats!

Go check out Taste Central now and be part of the world where anything less than extraordinary is never an option. Chos!


*product photos grabbed from Taste Central

Friday, March 22, 2013

Topaz Fashion: Shopped again at Zalora

The former format of Topaz Fashion isn't going to work anymore. Since I gave away two-thirds of my wardrobe, I have nothing but a few blacks and grays hanging in my closet! My friend, Nicole, told me yesterday, "Frances, it's time to shop." Haha. Anyway, I figured that I'll still post a few outfits now and then but I'll make Topaz Fashion all about, well, fashion! Like clothes and accessories I found or want, stylish stars, fashion press releases of my friends, online shops, and the like.

For this Friday, I'll tell you all about my shopping experience at Zalora. As you all know, I love shopping online. It's convenient. Most of the time, it's cheaper. Plus, you discover a ton of goodies that are hard to find in a mall. Anyway, I've already bought stuff from Zalora before but I bought cases for my Blackberry and iPad. A few weeks ago, I tried shopping for clothes.

Now, I've been lusting after the floral print recently. So naturally I bought floral print pants from Zalora. Easy to shop, easy to pay, quick delivery!

Items arrived in a special package.
My pretty pants fromCollective.com and Spring Fling.
So cute! Both for just P2,207.50. So cheap!

My big problem with my pants is this: They're tiny!

Hmm. I'm pretty sure I didn't make a mistake because I followed Zalora's size guide. I went to Zalora's size guide, measured away, and was surprised when I saw that I was a small. 

My mommy body is medium now. Sometimes even a large (so I eat too much sometimes!). I knooooow. I'm skinny, yes, but I have a belly and birthing hips now. But look at the chart—the waist of the small is 28-29 inches, which is my current waist (sigh, I used to have a 22-inch waist). So... even though I had misgivings, I ordered the small sizes.

So when the pants arrived and—sadness galore!—they won't even go past my knees!!!

I returned the items last week of February. So easy! All I did was send an email to customer service to say I wanted to return the pants. Then Zalora sent a messenger to my house to pick up the stuff. Ya! So convenient! About 15 days later, customer service said there's no large sizes anymore but I have store credit. So I guess I'm shopping again soon! I think I'll buy dresses next.

P.S. This Glamour story just made me want floral pants even more!!!

*size charts from Zalora


Monday, March 18, 2013

We had a date at Heima Brixton

Design store Heima (say it like you're saying hello to your mommy) just opened its third branch in what is touted to be the next coolest neighborhood—Pioneer-Kapitolyo. At its launch last week, Vince and I dropped by for a look even though we don't really need furniture anymore. So I'll just tell you what we saw and what we loved.

 
I loved the huge door. I actually loved the store front. Sorry, no photo! You'll have to drop by to know what I mean. Anyway, totally loved the front door and the grassy threshold. Or welcoming mat. Or rug. I really have no idea what that is!

I love that this is how they define their business. Heima just doesn't sell furniture, they customize, too. So if you live in a tiny condo and want cute and stylish furniture that will fit, give them a call! Here's a sample of what they make:

Heima also makes these pretty frames of inspiration. I like them. Maybe when I have my own office one day! There's also note cards, at about P500 a set. The posters and stationery are all designed and printed by local artists.

Heima also sells stuff they didn't actually make but are still cute nevertheless, like this phone:

We loved these typewriters. Unlike you kids, Tito Vince and Tita Frances actually worked with typewriters in our youth. Pampalakas siya ng fingers. I think I was still using a typewriter when I was a freshman at U.P. Diliman. I obviously want the pink one. It's 12K. Ang mahal na pala ng typewriter ngayon!
We didn't type the "vito" by the way.

This was what Vince wanted. We still have some old records on a high shelf in our little study. Yep, we actually came from that generation which still played records. We had the records of Milli Vanilli! Pinag-ipunan yung mga plaka nila tapos fake pala yung dalawang yun!!! So for you kiddies, these may be cool and hipster but for your Tito Vince and Tita Frances, these things are real. My goodness, I am doing a great job making us old.

Heima also sells books. I was very interested in Fifi Lapin. This started out as a blog, then she was asked to do design collaborations. And now she has a book! That is totally my game plan with my blogging!!!

I started by buying these. These are expensive books, by the way. P1,100 each. My friend, WAHM extraordinaire Martine de Luna said these are just P795 at Fully Booked. I bought the ones from Heima anyway since Fully Booked is out of stock.

And here's your Tito V and Tita F. In fairness, we do not look old. The secret is what the pillow says. And tons of moisturizer!

Heima Brixton is at Unit 103, Three Brixton Bldg. #3 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig. It's open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 7pm. Check their website too: http://heimastore.com/

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Excited for National Breakfast Day!

Methinks I'm a hobbit. I love breakfast, second breakfast and elevenses. So I think it's so cute that McDonald's decreed tomorrow, March 18, as National Breakfast Day! Yes, national. That means all McDonald's nationwide is having a morning party on Monday!

To celebrate, a thousand Egg McMuffins will be given away for free from 5 AM to 9AM. I hear that 300,000 McMuffins are waiting for you! First come, first served! Ahh McMuffins! Fresh eggs, Canadian bacon, melty American cheese, English muffins! Wow. Sounds like an international treat.
National Breakfast Day is McDonald's first ever breakfast party. And since it's a nationwide event, I guess it's their biggest party, too! But it's not just for the Philippines, it will also be a national day for 5,000 McDonald's restaurants in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and South Africa. I wonder what's on their brekkie menu?

Here in the Philippines, there's Hashbrowns, Sausage McMuffin with Egg, Hamdesal (with Cheese, with Egg), Hotcakes (2-Piece, 3-Piece, with Sausage), Sausage Platter with Rice, Big Breakfast, Longganisa Meal and, of course, the Egg McMuffin. Pair your meal with a McCafĂ© Premium Roast Coffee, orange juice, or—my favorite—Hot Chocolate! I love McDo breakfasts and I'm not just saying that because this is a sponsored post. I've been ordering McDo breakfast for a decade now! It's yummy food that's affordable and always fresh and hot!

I visited the McDonald's website to check out our Pinoy breakfast menu, in anticipation of March 18:
A Longganisa meal for me

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We love breakfast!

My family and I just came from a breakfast food trip in Tagaytay (click here for Vince's blog post about it). Ohhh, we're so stuffed! I'm still dreaming about our breakfasts! Then after that breakfast-heavy trip, I had a lovely brunch with a dear friend. Can you tell I like breakfast?

Actually, I like breakfast food but I do not eat breakfast in the morning. I have slept late for as long as I can remember. Therefore I wake up late, so my first meal of the day is almost always lunch. That wasn't so bad actually since my last meal back then was around midnight, I slept at 3 a.m., woke up at 10 and ate at 12 noon. So my lunch was actually breakfast!

But now that I'm a mom, I wake up early (7 a.m. at the latest). I find it weird to eat when the sun's not high. So I usually just drown myself in coffee or tea. This is really bad. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

As you all know by now, breakfast is actually a compound word. Break + Fast. Fast means not slow haha. Joke joke! A fast means not eating food for a long period. The hours between dinner and breakfast is usually around 8-12 hours. When you wake up, your body is starved for energy. Hence, the need to eat good food.

It's really a good idea to feed your body because not only do your brain and muscles get nourished, you also get in a better mood. Hindi ka kasi gutom. Pag gutom, masungit, mainit ulo, mabagal mag-isip, ano pa? Basta in my experience, hungry people are not nice people. Believe me, I've worked with a lot of people on diets. Maybe if we all ate breakfast, life would be better. For example, morning traffic jams would not exist. Guys, I think I just discovered the secret to world peace!!!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Summer job!

I posted this over on Facebook. It got some likes but apparently no one shared it to their young friends, sons, daughters, nephews and nieces because hanggang ngayon, not one CV is in my inbox! I guess even my friends are scared of me haha.

This is for a shopping magazine. There will be lots of dealing with writers, models, photographers, stylists, clothes, beauty products... Did I mention this was for a shopping magazine? It's definitely going to be work but it's only 4 weeks, 6 weeks max, and I'm fun to work with. And if you do well, this can be a regular gig. Yes, it's a job. There will be compensation. It will be fun! Apply now!

UPDATE:

Sandra was OK!'s editorial assistant. Now she's with Cosmo.

See? I'm not so scary. Apply now!



Monday, March 04, 2013

Ask and it shall be given you (but ask specifically!)

I believe in prayer. I tell ya, when I pray for something, God gives it. Of course, you have to pray with the knowledge of who God is. For example, I know that God is my provider so to ask Him for financial blessings and food is okay.

As Matthew 7:11 says, "If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?" My goodness, my husband and I spoil our kids silly. That gave me a profound insight on who God is—He will shower me with blessings because I am His child. All I need to do is ask!

I once asked for makeup when I was still so very poor and God answered by making me win a L'Oreal contest. One year's worth of makeup, y'all! But when I asked for makeup, it was because I was starting out in my career and I wanted to look good and I just didn't have money for makeup or nice clothes. So I bared my heart to the Lord and asked.

I believe that if you ask with a humble heart—not a vain or proud or greedy heart—God will give you what you want. After all, didn't He say, "I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly," in John 10:10? Abundance! That doesn't mean simple life, all I need, just enough. It means overflowing with blessings! That means more than I need!

I do also believe that when you ask God for something, you have to be specific. I don't mean that God is obtuse and isn't smart enough to figure you out. But He does have a sense of humor. I'll let this little conversation with fashion blogger Tracy Ayson of Fashion Fangirl explain my point:

So believe in God's promises, know who He is, ask with no fear or hesitation, ask with a heart full of love and humility, but ask specifically! God bless you!


Friday, March 01, 2013

Soft scented skin is in! Well, it always is!

February is done but Vince and I are still on celebration mode. V-Day for us both, then the next day, the 15th, was his birthday. So mega-fireworks! We're still enjoying loving each other so we're going out of town with the kiddies to celebrate our love!

Anyway, I also wanted to share that part of my preparation for the special holiday of romance is scrubbing myself raw to make my skin smooth, applying tons of rich lotion to make me soft, then enveloping myself in perfume to make me irresistible!

Vince is very enamored with scent. After all, scent is the most powerful trigger of memories. When Vince smells Lanvin's Eclat d'Arpege, he remembers our wedding and honeymoon. When Vince smells La Mer body lotion, he remembers the first few months of our firstborn, Vito, because I used that super rich lotion to soothe my extremely dry skin. So Lanvin and La Mer are the scents that Vince and I will always treasure since they remind us of really significant moments in our happy life.

If you want to create memories with that special man in your life, turn to scent. And if you don't want to spend so much effort and energy in getting all soft, smooth and fragrant (like I do! See second paragraph!), try a moisturizing body wash like Camay. Just watch this Camay Social Experiment 2 called “Sexy Skin Experiment: Be Hard to Forget through your scent by Angelica Panganiban.”



Topaz Fashion: My Oscar yays and nays

My Topaz Fashion is kinda non-existent now, have you noticed? Well, I did say no more Topaz Fashion but they were fun to do so maybe yes and maybe no. It's really because I don't have a lot of clothes anymore. I gave away two-thirds of my wardrobe last December and my closet is devoid of anything interesting. So let's do the Oscars instead!

There were lots to love! Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, George Clooney's girlfriend. Anyway, here are my comments:

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta. I wasn't a Sex and the City fan but this brings to mind Carrie's Paris sojourn. I love how she looks like a swan. 

Jane Fonda in Chopard. I love it. I love it! She always dresses so perfectly for her age and her figure! Vince didn't like this dress but then Vince doesn't look at women over the age of 60 haha.

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji. I love how this gown gives her a figure. It hides her arms, shows off her collarbone and shoulders. Beautiful!

Naomi Watts in Giorgio Armani. Absolutely stunning! Love the way it falls on her body—perfect fit! Plus, if you watched The Impossible, that bodice up there reminded me of that scene where she realizes her left breast is exposed and then she ties up her shirt kinda like that!

Kelly Rowland in Donna Karan Atelier. I don't have the words. I think the sculptural elements would've worked well on another woman (Charlize Theron). The dress made her body look very big and her head very small.

Kerry Washington in Miu Miu. This dress is just blah. It looks like something an ordinary girl like you and me would wear to prom or to a gala launching a beauty product here. Definitely not Oscar worthy. And Kerry has a lovely body. This Miu Miu was tight across her hips and looked loose around her middle!

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra. Okay, I normally love whatever KStew wears. I mean, she's got the body for it! Even her outrageous fashion choices last year were fabulous on her. But this dress makes her look thick-waisted and low-boobed (yes, I invented that word). What a travesty, Reem Acra! How could you do that to Kristen??

Melissa McCarthy in David Meister. I love the gray and the embellishments but this gown does absolutely nothing for Melissa. She looks huge in it. There's a way to dress a big woman (see Queen Latifah, Octavia, Adele!) and this is not it.

Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen. This looks totally dated. I can't decide from which era but definitely not in the new millenium. The neckline made her neck look non-existent. It made her look sexy but not in a good way. So sad!

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen. This is a nice dress but the keyhole bodice gapes. It's too loose on her chest so that ruined it for me. Plus, I don't think the color worked with her pale skin.

Anne Hathaway in Prada. Gorgeous dress but she had worn better, more fabulous gowns fit for winning an Oscar. We know she changed her mind at the last minute because her first choice looked too similar to Amanda's dress (she shoulda stuck with her pick since Amanda didn't really stand out in hers.). This is just underwhelming.

I actually like this dress from the front. It's very sleek so it was weird because when you look at the back, there's a big ribbon that totally looked messy with the thin straps that held up her neckline. Also, when she got up to get her Oscar, the front made her look like she had the pointiest nipples!

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton. I don't like this dress on Reese at all. It is ill-fitting. It made her look like she had a big tummy and a flat chest. She looked radiant anyway. No one smiles like Reese!

I also wanted to add this lovely photo of Jennifer Lawrence. It really does look like an ad, but a Chanel ad haha. There's a story there, a glamorous woman in distress, the shadow of a man's hand across her big skirt (threatening? helping? chasing?), people looking on. I love her beautiful back, her shoulder blades, and how her delicate necklace falls around her. Love it!
image from i-nsan
P.S. I know everyone hated what Helena Bonham Carter wore but that's her style. Unlike most stars on the carpet, Helena doesn't use a stylist. To criticize her dress is to criticize her! Yes. If you read this post again, I'm not against the women, it's the dress/designers I have an issue with!

Photos from The Hollywood Reporter