Bike Snob



His heaven is like my hell. Get me out of here.
My Instagram caption read, “His heaven is like my hell. Get me out of here.”


I was exaggerating. I love that my husband loves biking. I appreciate the bikes he puts together. I love that his hobby keeps him young and healthy. But hanging out in a bike shop isn’t my idea of fun. I’d much rather be stuck in a hardware store. Haha.


This family is a bike-riding one. The kids all got their bikes when they were still toddlers. Stella’s was extra special. She got the first Kawayan Tech Push Bike. It’s the best way to teach kids balance — a bike with no pedals. This was too big for her then, but perfect for 4 or 5 year olds.


He surprised me with a folding bike
He gifted me with a cute Tikit by Bike Friday. But I wasn’t comfortable riding it. Besides, when will I really ever be a commuter in this town? So this was resold.


He surprised me with a folding bike
Bike Friday was really beautiful… to look at.


Our friend Hecky Villanueva's bamboo bike
Trying out our friend Hecky Villanueva’s bamboo bike. Hecky is now in heaven, the real Heaven and not just a bike store.


They rode their bamboo bikes
Once in a while the BFFs ride their bamboo bikes in memory of Hecky, creator of Kawayan Tech. From left to right – Eric Santos, David Tan and Patrick.


But in most weekends he rides a “racer”. The bike snob in him corrected me saying these are known as “road bikes”. The green one is a Holks – a custom Japanese steel bike. The one of the left is Eric’s and that’s a Pinarello, an Italian bike. They’ve been scouring Metro Manila in search for these classics and their parts.


Early morning sweat fest. #bicycle #Raleigh
This is the new old bike he made for me. Assembling vintage bikes is his thing. I humoured him one morning and went around the village. Not exactly the safest and most comfy bike attire. I would have added a helmet. I wish the city was more bike-friendly.


As it turns out, I had a thing for bikes and didn’t know it. In a lot of my travels, I’ve photographed some bicycles. Here’s a lonely bike in India at the garage of Gem Palace in Jaipur.


My art shot of bicycles in Shanghai using Olympus PEN filters.


The fixies (fixed gear bicycles) of Standard Hotel in New York City.


In hipster-central Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY.


Bikes for rent in Hoi An, Vietnam.


I got him these two books by Bike Snob NYC, specially ordered through National Book Store.


Very nicely bound books in heavy textured paper.


Instead of photos, the pages are filled with illustrations dissecting different types of bike riders. This “Beautiful Godzilla” is someone  who’d be photographed by The Sartorialist.


Here’s the Brompton, it’s British-made and the equivalent of the Mini Cooper of folding bikes, according to Patrick.


The Enlightened Cyclist is the second book. Not as irreverent as the first book, Bike Snob, which parodies different bike subsets. This one tackles the case for bike lanes, among many other urban issues. It’s a lot like the conversations and debates Patrick and I have about bike lanes. I think this city has to reduce the number of buses and simply improve public transport before creating bike lanes and motor cycle lanes. I can go on and on.


If you’re at all interested about bikes, these books are fun. And here’s Patrick’s quick review –

Cycling is the new scuba. Or new golf, for many Pinoys. But there is nothing faddish about Bike Snob NYC. Although those who belong to one of the subsets of cyclists  (roadie, mountain biker, retro grouch…) named by the author may feel it a must-read.

The Bike Snob parodies what others may see as their cycling culture. To the triathlete, the bicycle is just a device. If the third event required cooking, the ironman would have trained to be an iron chef.

Laugh along with the Bike Snob. Don’t take cycling too seriously. Enjoy the ride, and the wind in your face. The Bike Snob tells us this and more. And oh, don’t ever use the “L” word on a cyclist; “L” being Lance Armstrong: “Get off the road! Who do you think are, Lance Armstrong?!”



Kitchen talk



My kitchen… is still under construction

I have encountered a delay. And it’s self-inflicted. The carcass of the cabinetry is done. We are almost ready for the solid surface from Rockstone Solid. But yesterday I had this crazy idea of getting a bigger sink. The initial one we got was porcelain. Now I want enameled cast iron. So part of the cabinetry has to be re-done. And the surface has to wait before finalizing the measurement. Toink. Yes, I am complicated 🙁

A lot of you have been asking for some updates about the kitchen renovation. I don’t have the greatest photos yet. But here’s what I can share. The “Before” pics are very scary. I took them after the kitchen was partially gutted already. And you have to remember, the house was built in the late 1960’s. When I moved in here the water storage was an antique banga. Very authentic.


This is my ceiling before. I tore it all down and wanted to expose the beams. (Sorry for the formatting of the photo. I’ll resize it later).


Here’s what the ceiling looks like with the beam. We lined the roofing with wooden flooring, then had them whitewashed. You can see a bit of my Matwood floors in Brazilian Cherry.


DP 101
The whole thing should look somewhat like this, except the drawing doesn’t reflect the beam that’s actually there.


Here’s the other side of the kitchen. We are moving the fridge area to the other wall to accommodate the new Samsung Digital Inverter Refrigerator .


After should look like this. I’m still searching for a nice range and range hood.  And no, we’re not prepared to spend on something that’s almost as expensive as a car. Haha.


This is the area that will eventually accommodate a breakfast counter. By the way that old counter top is made of narra wood. We are saving it for a future project. The sink area is the most major part as it required moving a bit of the exterior wall.


Here’s what it should look like. I just ordered the windows today from Fourlinq. I found Fourlinq through Slivers Magazine, a great source for suppliers. We’re going for fancy PVC that opens vertically. I originally wanted white window frames. But looking at the floor and the rest of the house (50 shades of wood), I went for a walnut finish. My kitchen sink will rock! I’m meeting the suppliers tomorrow. So maybe I will be obsessed and blog about it.


I really like this Benson Pendant Lamp from Restoration Hardware. Has anyone seen anything similar (look and quality) in the Metro Manila area?


I am too involved in this process. But I am so loving it. I hope I’m not driving the contractors mad. It sucks right now, living in a house that looks like back stage or storage. But once this is all done, I will be so happy and inspired to cook for the family. I hope.

I have to mention that I am so amazed with my contractor and kitchen people. They work fast and efficiently. It is always an iffy relationship between contractors and clients because everyone has quirks. I’ve had some not so great ones in the past – in terms of quality. This is why it’s been hard for me to recommend architects, designers and contractors. But I have a good feeling with this one. And once my kitchen is done, looks like I will recommend them!




I Brake for Yard Sales



I got this book from National Book Store last week — Lara Spencer’s “I Brake For Yard Sales” for only P979. This is an ofshoot of the TV host’s other life as an owner of an antique shop and interior design moonlighter.


I can totally relate to her life because I, too, grew up with a mother who loved (and still loves) going to yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops. It had always been our weekend routine — go to a small town in Ontario and check out the yard sales. Back in the 70’s in one of our California trips when I was a child, I remember my mom dragging us kids to a Swap Meet. I guess that helped me developed an eye for things with good bones. Here is Lara Spencer during one of her thrifting escapades. And look how that huge sign gets its spot in a living room. Photo from HGTV.


This is a great idea from Lara’s book. Some old beat-up chairs get a make over using high end shower curtains!!! Perfect for households with small kids. If you don’t have the patience to look for good shower curtains, you can check out fabric by the yard from $6 at Serena & Lily or Cath Kidston oil cloth. Photo from HGTV.


Sophia and Lily's bedroom
This is Sophia and Lily’s bedroom pre-Stella. The wardrobe closet is a resurrected old aparador from Patrick’s mom’s time. We had it painted in white ducco to make it look younger. You can find old aparadors in antique shops and estate sales around Manila. Or try Kamuning Swap Meet at the corner of Kamuning and EDSA.


Here’s my own pride and joy. Our beautiful mid-century chaise lounge. We got that for only P200. Yup! Less than $5. The husband found it during a morning walk in a garbage depot! He paid a guy P100 to bring it to our house. So technically it was P300. Then we plunked in all of P3000 for upholstery and foaming (ten years ago).


I’m going back to thrifting again. Next weekend!


Like National Book Store on Facebook. Or order online through NBS website.



Labor Day Sale at Anthropologie



Fringed Hem Sweater skirt
Summer is over in the northern hemisphere! Bring out the sweaters. Doesn’t this girl look like Brave? Fringed Hem Sweater Skirt $128.


I’ve always loved the change of seasons. I miss having four seasons. But I can’t complain. We wear open toed shoes all year round here. And good news, most summer styles are now majorly marked down. Anthropologie has an additional 25% off already sale clothing this weekend. Valid 8.31.12 – 9.3.12


Juggling Figures Skirt
Juggling Figures skirt. Now $89.95 from 168.00 and with this weekend only’s 25% off it’s just $67.


Shutter Ridge Wedges
Shutter Ridge Wedges. Now on sale at $79.95 was $158.00 and with this weekend’s 25% off it’s just $59.96



Peony Slip Dress
Peony Slip Dress Now on sale at $79.95 was $158.00 and with this weekend’s 25% off it’s just $59.96