Metro Home 2013



MetroHome 10-2 Cov FA
Check out this month’s Metro Home. My kitchen renovation is featured in it. I offer a few tips on renovating old kitchens.


Here is my beautiful enameled cast iron kitchen sink from Kohler, the Whitehaven. It was especially sent to me by Kohler in USA. Same with the faucet. It’s the Hi-Rise bridge model.


We shot this before I went on vacation. We get a lot of afternoon light here. I chose special Bisazza glass mosaic tiles to function as my backsplash. I asked them to make the mosaics predominantly white.


The floors are all wood. Just like the rest of the house. You can see the transition here. The kitchen wood floors came from Matimco. I had my contractor stain it to the walnut shade I wanted.





My sister’s “Everything-free Brownies”



My sister's brownies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and lacto-ovo-free. It's all good. #brownies @tipsyo
My instagram caption for this, “My sister’s brownies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and lacto-ovo-free. It’s all good. #brownies @tipsyo”


Who knew a photo of fudge brownies would get so many readers asking for a recipe? We had this for dessert tonight at my sister’s house. She has a toddler who’s got some food allergies. In an effort to manage his food needs, my sister changed her and her husband’s diet as well.

Even before Gwyneth released her cookbook on gluten-free meals, my sister was already living this lifestyle. The past couple of months have taught me a lot about managing food allergies because of my little nephew. And yet I still know so little. My kids don’t have allergies, thank goodness. But I, on the other hand, am starting to show intolerance toward seafood and shell fish, I think. I’m not really so sure. I am still in denial. I’ve loved shell fish my whole life. So those are my issues.

Back to the brownies.

My sister made an allergen-free batch of brownies. Everyone loved it — the other toddler nephews, my daughters and all of us adults. It was chewy, moist and chocolatey! It contains no nuts, no eggs, no gluten, no milk. And it had dairy-free chocolate chips!

She got the recipe from Imperrfections blog. I’m reposting it…

(makes one 8×8 pan)

1/3 C white rice flour (or any gluten-free all purpose flour)
1/3 C white sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

optional: 1/3 C dairy-free chocolate chips (my sister used dark chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 inch square baking dish. In a medium size bowl, mix together the rice flour, cornstarch, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add applesauce, oil, and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips then spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or so. My sister cut them into one bite pieces.


My sister doesn’t have a blog or a public Instagram account, yet. We are encouraging her to start one. I think if she did, she could be of help to so many parents whose kids are dealing with food allergies. Or anyone on a special diet. She has so many awesome recipes!

Speaking of allergies, in the US 1 out of 13 kids has a food allergy. It’s a serious issue. And tomorrow is the start of Food Allergy Awareness Week. I got this info from my friend Heidi G. Find out more here. Please spread the word.

Anyone in the Philippines dealing with food allergies? Feel free to share your stories, recipes, links in the comment section. Thank you!



Julian Hakes shoes



Thank you, Orange Mallari for identifying those weirdly sculptural shoes I saw at a shop window in New Orleans. Turns out there’s quite a story behind them.


These shoes are by Julian Haynes, an award-winning architect in London.


The Mojito shoes, simply named so because Julian was drinking mojitos while creating the prototypes.


I can’t say I love them. But they’re definitely conversation pieces.


Julian Hakes shoes
Gwyneth Paltrow was one of the first celebrities to wear Julian Haynes’ shoes. She donated her white pair to the Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser in 2012. Photo from Julian Hayes Facebook.


Gwyneth’s character in Iron Man 3 inspired this special edition shoe for Disney/Marvel. Julian Hakes designed it as if Tony Stark gave these shoes to Pepper Potts. Photo from Julian Hayes Facebook


These Ironman 3 Pepper Potts shoes have LED ‘arc reactor’ recessed into the Bronze Chrome metal heel with ‘Hot rod’ metalic painted ribbon and bronze 3D molded lining. Photo from Julian Hayes Facebook.


Watch the story of how the architect built and designed this shoe. Pretty amazing.


What do you think of Julian Hayes Mojito shoes?

Has anyone bought these yet? Are they comfortable?



Arm candies



Bracelets collage



One of the best things I hear when I meet new people comes from husbands or Significant Others of women who read my blog. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from men – most from the corporate world with high-profile, high-powered jobs – saying that their wives read my blog religiously. It’s not only flattering to me, it also says a lot about the kind of men you are. That you are involved in your wife’s online life. Nice.

And since most men are not so clued in to what women want, here’s a little hint on what could possibly on your wife’s wishlist. All items are sold online. Most ship to the Philippines. Those that don’t can be shipped via third-party shipper (ie. balikbayan box or friendly relative). Not all cost an arm and a leg.


01 Treasure Bangle by Kelly Wearstler. Of course Kelly would put a semi precious stone inverted. I love this! And any modern mom would appreciate this. It’s by Kelly Wearstler! Cuff style, 18k gold plated bangle with inverted cut citrine and silver screws. $295.

02 Blue Evil Eye bracelet from Bauble Bar. Who doesn’t need a little protection? I’m loving this talismanic bracelet. Very affordable price at $26.

03 Watch Over Me Moon bracelet from Links of London. This one features symbols of love, luck and protection – beautifully handcrafted in 18ct yellow gold, sterling silver, semi precious stones and diamonds. This is in my wish list! $675.

04 Filigree-encrusted resin cuff by Oscar de la Renta. This one’s a bit of a statement cuff. It’s like a modern heirloom in the making. Made of hand-poured resin cuff featuring Russian gold filigree. $490.

05 Pearls and Stones bracelet from Anthropologie. Simple and crafty with maximum impact. Only $28.

06 Kayla heart and cube charm bracelet from Reiss. Here’s a modern take on a charm bracelet. This has a gold heart charm and textured silver tag with black diamante. $95.



New Orleans at night



As promised, after showing you my photos of the streets of New Orleans, here’s what it looked like at night. Kohler took us to the best restaurants. New Orleans is all about food and music… and the streets. I loved it here!


Beautiful at night.


Jackson Square.


Pretty in lights. All my photos were taken using my Olympus OMD – no flash, no tripod and lazy me… always in automatic mode.


As lovely as it looks, it’s not the safest place. Do not go for walks alone.


Cafe du Monde is open 24/7.


Our Cafe du Monde waiter was Filipino. We ordered 8 sets of beignets. He laughed.




I don’t know who designed these shoes. Can anyone ID them?


NOLA1 Dinner at Arnaud’s.


All that beveled glass.


Arnaud’s home of Creole cooking.


Every meal was worth writing home about.


Arnaud’s Restaurant is almost 100 years old.


Because the restaurant is made up of 17 “apartments” put together, I was pretty sure the place had spirits. I did a few spooky selfies in Instagram. Then the website says this, “More than one waiter has been startled to see a gentleman dressed in a turn of the century tuxedo standing in the far left corner of the main dining room at the beveled glass windows.”


With Kohler Co.’s Adam Quek and Leanna Siron.


Restaurants and cafes everywhere.


At Tommy’s with Kohler team from Wisconsin.


Fried oysters.


Kohler’s dinner for the South East Asian group.


The Napoleon House. This is the house of Mayor Girod built in 1814. He offered this house as a place of refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte in a plot to rescue him from exile. Napoleon never made it but the name stuck.


Napoleon House’s space felt like old Manila, Havana or some old European city. Here with Philippine Star’s Bea Ledesma, Kohler Co.’s Adam Quek and Leanna Siron.


Low light and no flash with Bea.


Every corner was a photo waiting to be taken.


Interesting use of capiz balls.


The historical Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel with Paul Ninas murals.


Gorgeous African walnut long bar at Sazerac.


Here are more photos of the more popular side of New Orleans. Bourbon Street on a regular Saturday and Sunday night. Our hotel was right on the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets. I was surprised that the hotel gave out earplugs with the vanity kit. My colleagues’ rooms faced Bourbon. And from the third floor they could hear everything, even drunken conversations at 3AM. I slept like a baby because my room faced the other way.

Bourbon Street is crazy but if you’ve been to Boracay now or Malate in the 90’s, you get the picture. I can only imagine what it’s like on Mardi Gras. Not that I’d like to go. There were a couple of NOPD mounted cops who made their presence felt. Crowd control, just in case.




I don’t know what New Orleans was like pre-Katrina. But we’ve seen what this city went through in photos and news footage. On the way to and from the airport I still saw traces of damage and rebuilding.

The French Quarter isn’t entirely New Orleans. But it’s most of what I saw. And with what I saw and did, I was charmed. I want to go back here with Patrick and the girls.

Have you been to NOLA? Tell me your story.