Karen Millen



I had no idea Karen Millen existed in Manila until my friends at Suyen Corporation told me about it a couple of weeks ago. The Suyen group (same as my Bench family) invited me to visit the new Karen Millen shop at Bonifacio High Street Central. It is located inside the mini air-conditioned mall. You may access it from the side of Jamba Juice. Go past a few luxury watch stores and then you’re there.

Karen Millen is a British women’s designer clothing brand that retails in stand alone stores and concessions all over the world, now including Manila. Unlike typical high street fashion brands, Karen Millen leans towards the luxury side. The dresses don’t come cheap. But they do go on sale seasonally, like now. These are dresses that are so meticulously made – flawless construction. Everything I tried on was beautiful. There was so much attention to detail – extra hidden zippers and closures in areas that you don’t expect – the clothes look like they’re custom-made. The British really know their tailoring.


Everything in @KarenMillen is beautiful. This'll be my go to store for special occasions. Check it out at Bonifacio High Street Central. #karenmillen
At the fitting room on the second floor, I tried on the most feminine and well-tailored dresses. I loved how well they fit! At first I was shocked with the sizing, thinking “did I gain weight?” But then it dawned on me that UK sizes are much smaller than US sizes.


Karen Millen’s current fall collection is now in the Bonifacio High Street Central shop. These were some of the pieces I tried on. I ended up with two pretty dresses. I can’t really show you which one until I’ve worn them. Hint, one of them is in these photos below.


Karen Millen dress2


Karen Millen dress1


Karen Millen dress3


Karen Millen dress4


Karen Millen dress5


Karen Millen dress6


The lookbook shows a more youthful street vibe in the styling. When in the past, Karen Millen was known for its feminine dresses and tailored leather jackets, this season Karen Millen plays with a lot of separates. I’m also loving their suits. But it’s really the fabric and construction that stood out to me. One of my favourite bloggers, Kelly Framel of The Glamourai styles some of Karen Millen’s new looks here.












Check out Karen Millen at Bonifacio High Street Central.


Rihanna in Manila



Here are some photos from the Rihanna concert at Mall of Asia Arena last Thursday September 19. I was among the few editors and columnists who were guests of MAC Cosmetics. My two tickets were delivered with some cosmetics from the Rihanna Hearts MAC collection. Felt like I won the lottery… twice!


Yay! Awesome tickets to @badgalriri on Thursday with #RIRIheartsMAC collection. Thanks #MACcosmetics. I really wanted #RIRIwoo when it got sold out fast in April. Now i have! #MACGirl #manila
I finally got my RiriWoo lipstick which I’ve wanted since April. It was sold out online within hours. Thank you MAC!


Patrick will kill me for outing him. The only Rihanna song he knew was Umbrella. Haha. But he seriously loved the new songs. In his words, “Good sound. Good music.”


All wearing #RiRiWoo #MacCosmetics lipstick. This was the #MACgirl row. With @previewthestylebible @agoo_b and #paulinejuan. #diamondsworldtour @badgalriri
We were seated in the same row as Preview editors Pauline Juan and Agoo Bengson. Obviously we all got the memo. See our RiriWoo lipsticks? I added a bit of RiriWoo gloss on mine.


Rihanna emerged on stage in an all white sporty outfit with mesh basketball shorts and oversized jacket. My video of opening here.


She didn’t twerk…


She really didn’t.


At first I thought she was lip-syncing but maybe she just relied a lot on her back up singers that night. Towards the latter half of the show, she gave everything. It was one big dance party.


I was hoping for outfit changes. But she didn’t. She just peeled off pieces a bit at a time. It was actually refreshing to see her casual and very fly-girl. Here’s a video of Take a Bow.


Lots of crotch-grabbing.


I love this. Whee…. So many people were concerned about this on my Instagram. I think that’s just the way things are and there’s nothing wrong with that. People documenting concerts – even preschool programs are like this.


I took a lot of photos myself. I know about all the dancing that should be happening at concerts. Been there… in the 90’s. Pre-digital cameras. But I was having just as much fun taking pictures and videos with my new camera. Just to give you an idea, we were seated at  Lower Box B.


They were actually great seats. We were looking straight on to the stage. No neck pains.


It was amazing seeing the entire arena dancing and singing with Rihanna.


Is this a crazy photo or what? I was screaming while this was happening! While my video was rolling I was able to capture 6 still shots. I was just on Auto mode. No tripod. Congratulations to my very steady hands.


Then she sang “Diamond” with just the body suit.


And the crowd just went wild… with the phones.


Watch this video I took using the Samsung Galaxy. There are parts that went out of focus because I was dancing, sorry. But 90% of the video is good and clear. Again, that optical zoom is great! This clip includes the part when Rihanna pointed her mic at Vice Ganda and he said “I love youuuu.” Watch it in HD if you can. My camera rocks!



This was the camera I used at last nights #Rihanna concert. Samsung Galaxy Camera. Thank you, my Samsung Sister @seaprincess888 and #SamsungPH. It took a while but worth wait. Haha! I'm impressed with the 21x optical zoom. It's crazy! Oh the #Ririwoo #rir
Big thanks to MAC Cosmetics Philippines for that awesome experience. Girls, you can get the Riri Hearts MAC here in the Philippines in October. Powder Blush Duo Hibiscus Kiss PHP1575, cool red cream Riri Woo lipstick PHP 1100, Riri Woo lipglass P1050. And the camera was a gift from Samsung through Tessa Prieto-Valdes. You’ve seen its capability. I’ve been raving about it.



Nico Jose



Niccolo Jose, artist.


I love hearing stories of people who find their passion and “one true thing” through an accidental journey. That’s my story and many others’ too. Niccolo Jose, a visual artist, had a similar happy accident.

Nico was a student at International School Manila where he immersed himself in performance art. He tried to pursue Theatre as a major at the Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. While studying theatre arts he realized he was more interested in actual construction and design of the stage than being an actor. So he switched his program and landed with a double-major in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. His works now reflect his knowledge of human anatomy, stage design and natural materials.

Nico recently showed his newest collection of three-dimensional art. The pieces continue to be displayed at his studio in LRI Design Plaza at 210 Nicanor Garcia St. Bel-Air Makati.








Niccolo Jose with Lifestyle Asia’s Christina Gomez and Tedrick Yau


Abel Jose, Yanah Laurel






The Lover
The Lover


Nico Jose generously donated a gorgeous piece of furniture to my online auction in UNICEF Auction for Action this October. Watch this blog for more information on how to bid. All proceeds will go to UNICEF programs for children in the Philippines.


For more information, www.nicojose.com or visit his showroom at LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia St, Makati.



K & Company’s online shop



This is a milestone. In the over 10 years I’ve been wearing K&Company, I can’t tell you enough how many people have been requesting that the brand sells online.

Well, the K&Company online store is finally here –  k-company.myshopify.com




_MG_2602 One of my favourite printed dresses. I wore this at the official opening of Manila FAME last March.


K&CO2 Shop the Tracey 013 here.


Daphne Kobo Photo 05
And this black lace dress I wore to the Kobo launch last week is also still available.


K&CO3 Shop the Reina 015 here.


K&Company is available at Rockwell’s Powerplant Mall, Glorietta 4, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-la Plaza and in this online store. For updates, LIKE their Facebook page.



Little readers



I got an email from a reader asking me how I am raising creative kids. It didn’t really dawn on me that we were doing that, at least not deliberately. So I’m working on a post about that.

Meanwhile, I felt inspired to write about how my little ones are enjoying books. Again, we didn’t do any of this on purpose. Patrick and I like reading. He does non-fiction and biographies. I enjoy the occasional biography but I appreciate a good fiction novel (And now, young adult fiction. Yes! But no vampire series.)

We like to hang out in book stores. So the kids got exposed to all that. They think National Book Store is the best place to shop at because that’s where they get their treats. When they do something awesome, we treat them to books or magazines. The girls are major Total Girl fans.

Here’s what it’s like in our home…


Bedtime. I found Kid1 reading to Kid3. But Kid3 had her own visuals, diff version. #books #reading #Seuss
Scene at bedtime. Sophia was reading out loud and Stella was following the pages using a different version of Dr. Seuss.


Sophia read the bible in Manga form when she was 6.


"Mama, please read Wild Things Are" - Stella, 2 is addicted to this book #Sendak
Stella’s most frequently used line while she was a toddler was, “Read to me.” This is a family favourite – Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


When he reads to her... #love #dad #stella
Truth, I’m usually the one reading to the kids. We do it at bedtime and any time of day. I think I do a good reading voice – with feelings and voices. But no one takes my picture while doing so. Here is Patrick reading to Stella.


Soph reads to Lily
My kids aren’t geniuses nor are they in gifted class. They’re doing very well at school but we don’t go the extra mile to work on them being number one. I’m not really into pressure. This reading thing was purely for pleasure. And yes, we started them young. All babies were read to… all toddlers got reading time with mama… and now as little girls, they read on their own or sometimes together. This photo of Soph reading to Lily.


She was looking for Ivy&Bean Book 4 but it wasn't available at @nbsalert so she got Books 5 and 7 first. We ordered the 4&6. My little bookworm loves this series so much she tells me all about each chapter. I love how my girls love books! #reading #books
This year, Lily discovered her love for chapter books. The first chapter book she read all on her own was Ivy and Bean.


This boxed set of Books 1 to 3 was a gift from my sister Pauline.


This is a series about two girls who are so different from each other but are the best of friends.


It is a good first-book for young girls. It has a few illustrations. By the way, Lily wants to be a book illustrator when she grows up. She likes to make up her own stories and draw pictures to go with her “book”.


We are still looking for Ivy & Bean Book 9. In the meantime Lily started reading this series with her name as the star!


She hasn't taken off this windbreaker since I got it for her last Friday. Lily is into reading Ivy & Bean now. #lily #books #ivybean #greengate #uniqlo
Lily is devouring one book per day now. I don’t know how she does it. Apparently she reads a lot during lunch and at dismissal time. She is so amused with the books she’s reading that when I pick her up, she spends the entire ride home telling me all about the characters.


I found a spot in their tiny room where I had built-in shelves made. It’s their little library. As much as I want to maintain some order, it usually takes on a life of its own after a few days.


So on an average day, Stella’s shelf looks like this.


The higher shelf has their travel books.


The most frequently used shelf is just pure mayhem. Hodge podge.


Soph’s bedside table is a bit neater. She has her Magic Tree House series in a pull out basket. She’s been done with these two years ago and they’re just waiting to be read by Lily.


A few more series that Sophia loved – Geronimo Stilton and Charmseekers. Lily is now reading Charmseekers, one book per day! Soph is into 39 Clues.


Again, none of this was done deliberately. But I’m glad we’ve got one less thing to worry about at school. Reading, writing, language — those are their “things”. Wish we could say the same for math.

Any tips on raising math whiz kids? Haha.

Seriously, read with your kids. It’s good. It’s relaxing. It’s fun.