Rachel Ashwell is here!



Once upon a time I was completely immersed in the world of Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic — even before I knew that it was called “shabby chic”. I only got to know Rachel Ashwell in the mid-early 90’s 2000’s when I was on complete bed rest during my pregnancy with Sophia. I watched her show on the Lifestyle Network all day.

My love for old things goes back to when I was a starving student in university. I lived in an old Victorian house in downtown Toronto. It was the house of my women’s fraternity, ok fine, sorority. There, I learned the beauty and practicality of rescuing old furniture – often just left on the curb by neighbours. My mom was also a yard sale hobbyist. A lot of our weekends were spent driving to small old towns in Ontario. There she’d find really cool items with good bones. And when we were wee little things in the 70’s she’d take us to the Swap Meet in San Francisco (which I hated but don’t tell her that).

Fast forward to my second life in the Philippines. I move into an old home with lots of old things collected by my late mother-in-law. For the most part, the house had gotten very shabby not enough chic. It took a lot of editing, some help from Ito Kish and my splash of red paint on the door to change our mindset and appreciate the charm of living in an old house.


Sophia and Lily's bedroom
My 2008 renovation of bedrooms. Here’s what I did for the kids. All the furniture was new except for the 1930’s aparador which we had painted white. I find it too glossy now so I will have to re-do the surface. The beds and side table are from a now defunct exporter. This also started my first brand collaboration – these sheets were made for the DAPHNE® brand.


At Home with Stella
Who knew I’d eventually get a chance to have my own furniture line? It was just a wild dream in the deepest part of my head. And it happened a couple of years ago. Here’s Stella road testing one of our big benches from my previous collection. I can’t really say the line was greatly influenced by Shabby Chic. By this time I had moved on. The whole world was doing this look already. There’s Martha, Kelly, Cath, Nate and many more. But the seeds were planted early.


Daphne necklace...
Love for old things also sparked my interest in antique jewellery. I don’t collect these anymore. I now use new handpainted medals from Europe.


And before I had an inkling that there would ever be a DAPHNE Linens collaboration, here’s my own take on “shabby chic”. Even little Sophia dressed that way.


So how happy am I to welcome Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture fine home furnishings as my site partner?! I don’t know what’s happening. Last weekend it was Kelly Wearstler. Now it’s Rachel Ashwell. What a thrill!

Do check out her site. Lots of inspiration there! And good deals too. If you live in the U.S., the site makes ordering and deliveries very easy. If you’re overseas, you may have to find another way to get your goods shipped. Try a third-party shipper if you’re based in the Philippines.

Here are some gorgeous pieces that stood out to me. Hundreds more in the site. All photos copyright protected by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture®.


Shabby Chic Couture for Baby. Everything is so lovely here!



Russian Folk Bed crop
Russian Folk Bed. I love all these pale floral pillows. I have a similar thing in my pretend “home office” but I have bolder colours, here.


Portobello Chair
Portobello Chair and a Half. OMG. I need this!


Petticoat Pillow
White Petticoat Pillow. So lovely.


Vintage tiaras diamond jubilee
Vintage Tiaras. Every princess must have.


If you want to buy Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic books in the Philippines, you can do so at the National Book Store site.
Shop Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture Today at www./rachelashwellshabbychiccouture.com!


Urban Zone: Modern Contemporary by Jason Buensalido



Last night I went to the birthday celebration of ABS-CBN executive Deo Endrinal. There I met up with old colleagues and celebrities I usually only get to see on TV. Many exciting exchanges happen. But one thing left a smile on my face as I went to bed. Every single person I talked to expressed their love and longing for Urban Zone. It was very touching and encouraging.

I can proudly say that UZ really made a huge impact and influenced many people’s lives. It helped move the design and construction industry. It was a source of inspiration for many. I’m so proud of my core team – Manny Segunto, Denmark Alejandro, Maila Cuevas, Stanley Castro, Dave Bola and Princess Fulgar – for doing so much with so little resources. Hoping to work my awesome team again.

As you know, I’m producing Urban Zone® webisodes for now. With the help of my friend Marty Ilagan, we made this webisode last month featuring Jason Buensalido. Many of you may have already seen it. I’m now posting photos I took during the shoot.

If you love UZ and would like to support our little creative enterprise, please, please, please repost/share on Facebook, Twitter and embed the video in your blogs. Thanks and lots of UZ love.



A few months ago we drove by this house that stood out in a new subdivision. It was completely out of the box. I didn’t know who the architect was, but I had some inkling it could be Jason Buensalido. So I asked him, “By any chance did you design and build this house in XX Subdivision?”


I described it to him. He described it to me. But we were not sure we were talking about the same thing. Until he showed me photos.


This house has never been shown in any magazine or TV show. It took some convincing and a lot of trust. Thankfully, the owners agreed.


The entrance was lined from floor to ceiling with cedar wood.


More than just describing the style, Jason said this was about honesty of material, showing them in their most pure form, unadorned. The main common area is one open space that flows into the courtyard/deck. This living room, dining and kitchen area appears sunken from the external lanai.


Thank you Marty Ilagan for shooting and editing the video! Awesome team!


One bonus of having a sunken living room is the built in sofas which are made of the continuous concrete ledge surrounding the sunken area. It felt very mid-century modern America.


Cantilevered wooden steps to the second floor. The pattern on the wooden ceiling corresponds to the lines on the concrete floor.


Honesty of material. Concrete is shown as concrete.


Second floor hallway.


No need for huge windows in this hallway. This wall acts as a total barrier from the outside world and the one enveloped in wood and concrete inside.


All rooms upstairs have clerestory windows to benefit from natural light from both sides of the house.


The deck in the courtyard with reflectorized sliding glass doors.


Concrete ledge built into one wall of the deck.


The view into the house from the courtyard. I love the transparency of it all. Yet there is a level of privacy because the living space is “sunken” and the exterior wall and lanai is actually raised above ground level.


The exterior details – concrete, glass, steel and wood.


The exterior wall. This is the same wall that envelops the slanted hallway upstairs. Can I just say that I am so loving how they used the humble Santan as landscaping? This is how it’s done.


Again, santan love.


The house is branded. Here is the Buensalido logo. You can see more of Jason’s work here.



Shopbop sale





It’s that time again. Shopbop has some incredible markdowns up to 70% off. I’ve chosen a few easy dresses and accessories. There are many more in the site. Click on the links below to take you there. Remember, you can opt for prepaid customs and duties, so it’s hassle-free shopping and inportation for Philippine-based residents.


Zac Posen Off the Shoulder Jacquard Dress
Zac Posen Off the Shoulder Jacquard Dress 70% off


Marc by Marc Jacobs Cornelian Dress

Marc by Marc Jacobs Cornelian Dress 30% off


Halston Heritage Halter Neck Dress

Halston Heritage Halter Neck Dress 70% off


Tory Burch Sally Wedges
Tory Burch Sally Wedges 30% off



TOM BINNS Pave Safety Pin Earrings

TOM BINNS Pave Safety Pin Earrings
, not on sale but very very cool. Rhodium-plated sterling silver.


If you are based in the Philippines, you can opt for ‘”Prepaid Customs and Duties”. This way your purchase will be delivered straight to your door without any added fees by our customs department or the courier company. In case you feel like you are experiencing any questionable transactions or if you perceive some sort of unfair customs taxation you may report it in this website set up by Department of Finance – www.perangbayan.com or tweet @CommissionerBOC.





Louis Vuitton City Guide 2013



LV Manila sent me this press release. The 2013 Louis Vuitton City Guides are now in Louis Vuitton Manila and all stores including online. This year there are four new destinations: Ekateringburg, Kitzbühel, Lugano and Verona. All photos and words from LV Press kit.
Louis Vuitton City Guide 2013 around luggage Monogram Canvas Macassar © LOUIS VUITTON / PHILIPPE JUMIN 2012


The Louis Vuitton City Guide New York 2013 explores every facet of this effervescent city through around 600 addresses: radically-designed hotels, stylish bars, world-class restaurants, intimate diners, fine food stores, offbeat nightclubs, fashion supremos, bespoke jewellery, innovative interior designers and art spaces, high-tech spas and much more. The selection has been updated for the 7th edition of this indispensable guide with easy-to-use maps. Retail Price 25 euros.  © LOUIS VUITTON / AURORE COLIBERT 2012


City guides Europe 2013
European Cities 2013. Luxury hotels, charming guesthouses, iconic restaurants, master chef bistros, wine bars, chocolate shops, delicatessens, art, photography and interior design galleries, museums, spas, fashion hot spots, bookstores, and more. In its steadfast pursuit of originality, the Louis Vuitton City Guide sheds new light on 31 European desitinations with a total of around 7,000 addresses selected with flair and discernment. This has a mix of safe bets and new ideas, traditional and offbeat places. It revisits the major capitals — Berlin, London, Moscow, Rome, and Paris; and for the first time, reconnoitres Yekaterinburg, Lugano, Kitzbuhel, and Verona.


Check out Louis Vuitton in Facebook for more updates.



Fairy Drops



I’ve been quietly using Fairydrops mascaras for a month now since the distributors sent me a set to sample. I couldn’t blog about them yet because the items were not yet in stores. In fact, when I showed it in Instagram, a few readers went to Beauty Bar and looked for Fairydrops… but they weren’t there yet. Well, now the full range is in Beauty Bar. But like many Japanese cult beauty products these may sell out really fast.


Wow Fairy Drops are finally at Beauty Bar. Amazing mascara! Must blog soon before these sell out... #japanese #makeup #mascara #fairydrops
Here is the display at Beauty Bar. Currently, all items are still in stock.


Here’s my loot at home. Yowza! I’ve had time to road test all the mascaras. Fairydrops also has BB Creams, Loose Mineral Powders and Lip Glosses. I will focus this review on the mascaras.


Fairydrops press copy 6
Either of these two Fairydrops mascaras is the Holy Grail of mascaras according to many beauty bloggers. And with good reason.


If I were to choose only one, this would be it!! Fairydrops Platinum Mascara (Film Type) in silver packaging. This is so good! No mess or smudge and the lashes remain soft to touch, no brittle feeling at all. It is water resistant, contains a volumizing powder, wax and fibre. It contains 5 kids of treatment essence that prettifies and repairs lashes (hydrolyzed collagen, squalene, sodium hyaluronate, jojoba seed oil and panthenol). It has a curved 3 teardrop shaped mascara wand which catches and lifts the shortest eyelashes. Water resistant but easily removable with warm water. P1195.00


There is another Platinum Mascara in pink metallic packaging, also P1195.00  This one is totally waterproof. But you have to use oil-based makeup remover to clean it off. This waterproof version is also sweat and tear proof, good for marine sports. I’m not a big fan of oil-based makeup removers and I’m not so exposed to sweat nor tears, I go with the Film Type (in silver metallic packaging). Both silver and pink give the same doll-like lashes. Oh have I mentioned that Fairy Drops formulation and want are patented in Japan and the US?


The pink wand is the Volumizing Burst Macara. This does everything the silver wand does minus the added treatment of the metallic wands. This variant is pretty awesome. It goes on thick and leaves a film-like coverage but it doesn’t smudge at all. And lashes also remain soft to touch. Easily removable with warm water, which I really like. Retail P950.00


This is the purple Volumizing Burst Mascara in a waterproof formulation. Also P950.00. Does everything the pink wand does except that you have to use an oil-based eye makeup remover. The pink and purple wands have a straight teardrop wand, also patented.


Creamy Treatment Base Mascara, P795. This does what the Platinum Mascaras do, except this is just a base. It contains the same 5 treatment ingredients as in the Platinum Mascaras, claiming to retain moisture, soften, hydrate and add volume to lashes. Use this as a base before using the Volume Burst.


eye (2)
Before and after


The fascination with doll-like eyes is big in Japan. We see it in their art (anime) and everyday (many cosmetics). It took a Japanese TV personality to create Fairydrops. Aya Yasuda, the CEO and Founder of Fairydrops, was an anchorwoman in a local TV station in Los Angeles. She longed to have the same big, photogenic eyes her Caucasian co-workers had. She figured out that it was the long, upward sloping eyelashes that made newscasters have these beautiful eyes. So she experimented on mascara wands, cutting and reshaping them to see which brush could make her eyes look the biggest on TV. She eventually went back to Japan and started her own beauty company, Aya Inc. And now Fairy Drops is patented in the US and in Japan.

The Fairydrops creation story is a bit funny to me because I can sort of relate. I was once a newscaster and eyes were always my issue. My problem was the opposite — too sharp. Now I’ve figured out how to work with my features. It takes a lot of experimenting and trying of different products until you find the right one. For TV I prefer to wear false lashes. For events and amped up “daily” life, I am currently using Fairydrops (the one in the silver packaging specifically).


Fairydrops is exclusively distributed by Beauty Box Corp. and is sold in all Beauty Bar stores – Trinoma, Rockwell, Greenbelt, Shangri-la, Eastwood, Galleria, Gateway, ATC, Podium, MOA, Midtown, Cebu and soon Bonifacio High Street. For promos and updates, check out their Facebook page.