I was off to a good start with this running idea and then this thing called Brownie Brittle happened. Thanks @christinejuan and @rommeljuan.
This was my Instagram post a couple of weeks ago: “I was off to a good start with this running idea and then this thing called Brownie Brittle happened.” It’s so yummy. And apparently it’s sold at S&R.


Every time this or another bag of mine makes a subliminal appearance, I get some inquiries about them. I’m not much of a designer bag person. I mean, I love bags just like all of you but I rarely make a purchase. I basically have a few good leather bags and rotate them (not too often). I still have not mastered the art of changing bags or coordinating them with outfits. I wish I had the time.

I got a lot of inquiries about the bag above. I’m sure many of you have the same bag. I’ve had it for more than a couple of years. That is the Mulberry Bayswater. It’s made of calf skin. It can fit my whole house and extra shoes in it. It’s a bit heavy but the leather is hefty so you won’t care about scuff marks. The leather ages well. It’s more of a schlepping bag rather than a porma-designer bag because it’s so practical.


Mulberry Bayswater, available at Luisa Via Roma.


For all Luisa Via Roma purchases, shipment is free and there are no additional Import Fees to pay on delivery. Prices on line are ALL-INCLUSIVE which means that are exempt from VAT (Value Added Tax), and include shipping and import fees. For us in the Philippines, this means hassle-free online shopping and delivery.



Warby Parker



I’ve been seeing Warby Parker all over the net for quite some time. They even have an ongoing collaboration with Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Warby Parker is now my site partner! And I can’t tell you how excited I am to share their collections.

Warby Parker is an eyewear company founded with a “rebellious spirit and a lofty objective” — to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point. Think prescription eyewear as low as $95.

Warby Parker has an interesting story. It was created by four guys from Wharton, who figured out a way to sell high quality glasses. Apparently these are crafted on the same production lines as the $500 frames you see in boutiques. How do they do it? Read here


Here’s their 30 second TV spot.


WP Summer Women
Warby Parker women’s sunglasses


WP Everett
Everett. Warby Parker’s signature sunglasses, the Everett’s smart shape stands out in every situation. Vintage-inspired with lively color treatments, the Everett is ideally suited for those who think big, work hard and live fully. $150 prescription, $95 non-prescription.


WP - Mabel
MabelInspired by the geometric designs of the 1950s and 1960s, the Mabel‘s hexagonal shape captures attention—and comfortably fits most women. We paired a classic shape with modern color treatments to create a sleek look.  $150 prescription, $95 non-prescription.

WP - Thatcher
Thatcher. Inspired by Buddy Holly, the Thatcher provides a classic yet bold look perfect for road trips, outdoor adventures and urban exploration. Accented by Warby Parker’s signature plaques, the Thatcher fits almost everyone, including those with wider faces.  $150 prescription, $95 non-prescription.


WP - Sayles
Sayles. With signature plaques and keyhole bridge, the Sayles is a practical and timeless addition to the open road or private beach.  $150 prescription, $95 non-prescription.


WP - Newsprint Grey
Newsprint Grey. For men. Designed for medium sized faces, the bold colors, tapered temple arms, and an impeccably crafted bridge, bring our take on the classic square eyeframe to the present. Only $95, includes Anti-Reflective Prescription Lenses, Free Shipping and 30-day Returns (US).


Check out the full range of women’s optical line.


And the men’s optical collection.



Throwback to teen years




The video clip of Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the teen choice award was going around Facebook yesterday. It has since been taken down. (EDIT: I just found another upload and embedded it above). I hope you were able to watch it. He gave advice to young people about how to make the best out of life. His speech hit close to home not only because I’m a parent but also because it reminded me of my own path. I actually just had this same conversation with Patrick over the weekend – about what kind of teenagers we were.

I’d always been a hard worker. In school and in all my jobs. My first summer job was when I was 15. I worked at the Toronto Parks & Rec swimming pool. Then every summer after that was a job that got better. A wise person told me to choose summer jobs in the field where I’d like to work in. But how do you know what you want when you’re 16?

There was only one job that I hated – the one when my brother and I applied at the CNE one summer. The CNE is an annual two week expo/fair that’s been around since the early 1900’s. He got a job making donuts and I got hired at the salami stand. There I was, a little teenager, slicing salami. I lasted only two days. Ashton Kutcher said, “I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job.” He’s right. I could have stuck it out. But I was terrified of the knife.  So I quit on the second day and looked for a better job. I always felt lucky to be working. And I’m still terrified of slicing salami.


Notre Dame days
At a student council event. I was painfully shy, plus I was a new student (I moved to Toronto in Grade 8 but got accepted in Grade 9). Being smart got me places and gave me confidence.


In high school I was already thinking of my resume — so that I’d get in to the university of my choice. Since all universities in Canada were public, competition was really tough in the best schools like University of Toronto. I worked hard to get in to UofT. We were trained to make sure that everything we did took us a step closer to where we wanted to go. At 16, one’s resume was important. Those extra curricular activities mattered. I took on leadership roles at school – got elected to student council and became yearbook editor. Those had to count for something.


My Grade 12 Grad
My grade 12 graduation.


Notre Dame Semi-Formal
At our school semi-formal. We were nominated for school spirit. Holy 80’s fashion!


I worked through university. My parents covered tuition. Student loans covered books and living expenses. I paid for my sorority dues. I had a glam job in retail in a menswear store on Bloor Street where I met Don Johnson and Christopher Plummer. I chose menswear to avoid spending all my income on clothes. It was a struggle. I still spent a lot on clothes. I learned about budgeting and financial responsibility at an early age. Fashion had remained an important part of my world. And it didn’t mean over-spending.


Rush Week (During Frosh Week)
I continued doing extra curricular activities through university. This is the Pan-Hellenic organization – a mix of the various Greek communities (sororities).


Halfway through university I got an internship at Toronto City Hall. I took on every challenge and opportunity that came my way. Some of them included hours in the photocopy room. And yes, making coffee was sometimes part of it. But so were sitting in on meetings with the mayor and council, working with the Yorkville-Annex ward on their neighbourhood issues, and working on reports for the Waterfront redevelopment. My city hall internship went so well, the councillor hired me as staff in the summer. This stint landed me the best job after university – with a Canadian urban planning think tank that sent me on international assignments in my first year. That’s when my life changed and without any plans or roadmap, I got to where I am now.


My drawing was displayed in Toronto City Hall
With Toronto City Councillor John Adams. I was able to show my paintings and drawings at Toronto City Hall. It wasn’t part of my job. But I found an opportunity and went for it.


I have to admit, I’d been lucky. But hard work was always my mantra. I wanted to make things happen even though I was painfully shy. I found ways. I tried to learn a lot. Like in broadcasting – I stayed extra hours just to learn how to shoot, edit, write and produce. It wasn’t part of my job description as a news reader. I just wanted to learn more.

When I was still working at the TV network, someone from middle management told me that I didn’t have “it.” My name or face didn’t have any marquee value. It really made feel so bad. But Patrick said I was not in that job to sprint. He said I should stay and run the marathon. I still don’t have “it” – that definition of success on television. I’m glad I didn’t join that race though because that “it” doesn’t matter to me. I found something greater.

I’ve been writing this post for a whole day. I keep going back and editing. I don’t know why I felt compelled to write about the past. Getting old, perhaps. I hope my kids get to read this when they are teens. Their world is changing so fast, I hope their skills will be relevant. We are here to guide them and if that’s not enough I hope they hear a bit of what Ashton Kutcher said

– Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.

– The sexiest thing in the entire world is being smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.

– Everything around us that we call life was made up of people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own things and you can build your own life that other people can live in.

“So build a life, don’t live one, find your opportunities and always be sexy.”


What were you like as a teenager? Do share some lessons you learned through your own journey…



This year’s Auction



We are in the process of putting together the 3rd UNICEF Auction for Action. Most of you are now familiar with what I’ve been doing for UNICEF. This year’s auction is basically the same – an online auction for one week featuring some of the best art and design pieces in the Philippines – but we have some new artists and designers. The auction is for the benefit of UNICEF programs in the Philippines.

In 2011, when UNICEF asked me what else I wanted to do in addition to the site visits and talks on breastfeeding and nutrition, we came up with this idea of an art and design auction. It had to be something relevant to my field. In my years of featuring designers and artists, I’ve developed some close friendships with them. It was very easy to get started. Everyone I asked to donate said yes. Then we took a chance and did a purely online auction with no public event, hence minimal overhead costs. We just had media previews.

In our first year we raised around P1.4 million. And last year we did over P3 million. This year, my goal is higher. And it can only be achieved with your help. Most of the bidders and buyers are readers of my site. So I ask you to please consider shopping in UNICEF’s Auction for Action in October. I promise, the items are very special – furniture, art, jewelry and some limited edition special items.

Here’s a look back at Auction for Action’s first two years ….


Our first Auction for Action in 2011 was such a huge success, it made it to the global newsletters of UNICEF goodwill ambassadors.


UNICEF Ambassadors
I couldn’t believe it. I shared the same pages other UNICEF ambassadors like David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Maggie Cheung, Mia Farrow.


Last year’s auction more than doubled in terms of number of items and funds raised. This was at our media preview (I had a fever then). The photo shows the works of Ramon Orlina, Debbie Palao (the chair I’m sitting on), Juvenal Sanso, Danny Rayos del Sol, Kawayan Tech bamboo bike.


Wall gallery
Since the beginning we had the support of Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma.


Sep 23 - Manila Times - B1-Magazine
We are so grateful for the support of our friends in media. The golden south sea pearls I’m wearing in the photo was part of the auction, a great contribution by Jewelmer.


Also from 2012, more scuptures. Michael Cacnio’s works are always highly anticipated. Here is Frances Amper of Topaz Horizon, taking a close shot.


In addition to furniture and art we also have fine jewelry and one of a kind accessories. I’m a big fan of Joyce Makitalo’s work. Joyce and the likes of Nicole Whisenhunt, Michelline Syjuco, Janina Dizon, Paul Syjuco, Kristine Dee, Anna Rocha and Amina Aranaz many more designers are contributing to this year’s auction in October.


Elmer Borlongan’s “Convoy” – a drawing from 2006 was sold for an amount way beyond its estimated price. This year, Elmer donates another interesting piece.


Town&Country nanna
In our 2012 auction, Rita Nazareno of SC Vizcarra donated this beautiful braided leather tote (in a different color). This year, Rita is giving another beautiful bag.


Georgia by Ito Kish
This was a major donation by Ito Kish last year. He gave his award-winning Georgia chair. I was one of the judges at Manila FAME when this piece first won. It has since gotten international awards and citation. This year, Ito participates with a few special pieces for Auction for Action.


Reg Yuson's R. Muck
In our first year, Reg Yuson donated an “R. Muck” and a mozzarella sofa. To this day I still dream of owning one of these. I’m so drawn to it.


I hope these photos give you an idea of what UNICEF’s Auction for Action is about. This year’s auction will take place in late October. I will be regularly updating here and in Twitter. In the meantime I also ask you to please visit to know the new programs in the protection of children’s rights.



Nate Berkus for Target



How is everybody’s long weekend going? I was supposed to take a blog break this weekend but I couldn’t contain myself. Because I just found out that Target is now my site partner!!!

Up until this Spring, I was a Target virgin. I’d never shopped in Target before. We didn’t have Target in Canada forever. And with every trip to New York, my New Yorker SIL cringed at the thought of us stepping inside a mall. So, until Target first opened in Mississauga this March, I’d never been before! Don’t laugh but I actually went on the first day of opening. Haha. Then a few trips to Target Buffalo as well. Target is fun!

So what does this mean for DAPHNE readers? I hope to do a weekly round up of my favourite Target picks. Those in the US can easily click and shop. And for those of us here in the Philippines, we can shop and have the goods delivered to a US address. Isn’t that what balikbayan relatives are for? Haha. So click, click and fill up your balikbayan boxes regularly.

For my first Target post, I did the obvious — everyone’s design crush Nate Berkus. Most have already been marked down. I hope you find something you love here. Or at least, some inspiration.


Collage Nate


The Nate Berkus Collection at Target.

01  Ikat Link Bath Towel $9.99

02  Decorative Bolo Knot Figural $9.99

03  Pebbled Bowl – Brass Finish $7.99

04  Blue Pineapple Figural $12.48

05  Geometric Toss Pillow $24.99

06  Decorative Rhino Figural in silver $24.99

07 Branch Lamp $59.99