National Book Store exclusively brings the modern day pop culture phenomenon Romero Britto to the Philippines.


Brazilian-born self-taught artist Romero Britto has become immensely popular because of his use of vibrant colors and bold prints that made him one of the most famous artists of the 21st Century.

In 1988, Britto moved to Miami and emerged as an international artist. In the following year, he was selected alongside Andy Warhol and Keith Haring for Absolut Vodka’s “Absolut Art” campaign. Britto’s pop sensibility has since leant itself to many collaborations with such brands as Audi, Bentley, Disney, Technomarine, Evian and FIFA, for whom he created an official poster for the 2010 World Cup.


Martha Stewart 2007  48″ x 48″ Acrylic on Canvas. Source:


Love Blossoms 1998 80″ x 96″ Acrylic on Canvas. Source:


Women Reclined Sculpture Series Monumental 2006 68″ x 102″ x 24″ Edition of 48, 6 AP, 6 HC 27″ Aluminum Sculpture 2009 35.5″ 20″ x 12″ Edition of 48 Silver Base 2006 8.75″ x 6.75″ x 4.75″ Edition of 1000. Source:


This year, Romero Britto has partnered with premiere stationery brand Miquelrius from Spain. The Romero Britto Collection includes four playful themes—teddy bear, heart, landscape and cat designs. Each set exudes vibrant colors and bold patterns. The collection is comprised of stationery items such as spiral notebooks in A4, A5, A6 and A7 sizes, mini notebooks, notepads, ring binders with “O” and “D”-shaped rings, folder with flaps and ring binder refills, and travel items such as backpack, pouches and mini cylindrical pouches.



The Romero Britto Collection is exclusively available in selected National Book Store branches. Shop for Britto items online at Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests.


Around the World with Hello Kitty



Had a fun time shopping at PynKiss at SM North Edsa with Phoemela Baranda and her daughter Kimmie. Awesome PR man Frank Briones is with us in this photo. He invited me to check out the new collection of Hello Kitty merchandise in this fun store. Phem and I have the same Hello Kitty bag. Oh by the way, sorry for the lazy phone pictures. I promise to be more conscientious in the new year.


These jeans are so cute and soft. Got them for Sophia. They have buttons on the side, which I find so practical because my tween is growing like  a weed. So if the jeans get too short on her, we just fold it and make it cropped pants. Then it gets handed down to Lily and Stella.


Cute hoodie shorts set. Got this in purple for Stella.


Lily got a chic grey dress with Hello Kitty in studs (not in photo). The one above is so cute too. Comes in comfy jersey fabric.


There is a wonderful travel-themed Hello Kitty festival going on right now til December 31st. Several SM Malls have been showcasing different sites in Western destinations. SM North Edsa is showing Sanrio characters in London. SM Southmall has Hello Kitty in Italy. SM Megamall has the Big Apple, while SM Lanang shows Paris and SM Cebu has Germany.


Paris - Cafe
SM Lanang and its Parisian street cafe.


Paris - Eiffel Tower
Paris is not Paris without the Eiffel Tower.


Italy - Bridge
SM Southmall’s Italy and its famous canals.


Italy - Ice Cream Store
More of Italy and a gelato shop.


It’s not too late to catch Hello Kitty’s version of a globetrotting holiday season.  You have til December 31st to see these cute displays. Avid fans can also get the chance to meet and greet Hello Kitty herself this weekend! Get access to the meet and greet Hello Kitty by collecting 24 Hello Kitty pins of different designs which they can purchase alone for P50.00 or they can receive for free with a minimum purchase of P500.00 at Toy Kingdom stores nationwide.

Exhibit sites are open to everyone for free from December 1 – 31, 2013. To know more, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @imHelloKittyPH



Christmas 2013



Well, it’s over. The kids are all busy playing with their new toys. I’m busy cleaning up and preparing for a new year. This Christmas had been difficult for many of us. Weeks leading up to Christmas, all I wanted to do was just sleep it off.  Collectively as a nation, we felt so much loss amidst all the tragedies this year. But no one really knows how to cope with loss unless it happens to you. In my Facebook alone, at least five friends lost a loved one within the past few days. But Christmas went on. I felt the love. And I’d like to think I gave my love back.

I hope you and your families had a wonderful time. Sharing with you some snippets of the past season. I miss it already.


We kicked off the Christmas season in Singapore in early December. This was taken at the beautiful Gardens by the Bay.


Scan 2
The kids didn’t really ask for major things. Every night our prayers always include the children and families affected by the war, earthquake and storm. On November 6th when the storm warning was serious, Sophia prayed — “Dear Papa Jesus, You don’t have to give me anything. I don’t really need much. But please, I ask that you save the people from the storm.” Two days after, Haiyan/Yolanda happened. Lily also learned about the suffering and damage caused by Yolanda. Her letter to Santa above shows how she cares. Sigh.


Sister love. Thank you Santa. #frozen
Santa came. Since Sophia had already bought Lily that simple book she asked for, Santa figured it out and gave them what he knew they really wanted (but was sold out in every toy store). Frozen dolls! Lily received Elsa and Stella got Anna. Sophia got more furniture for their Sylvanian Family house(s).


Speaking of Frozen, there was a nasty ice storm in Toronto that looked so beautiful in pictures. Because icicles formed on branches, a lot of trees fell breaking some power lines. My sister lost power in her house two days before Christmas. She didn’t have power=heat til Christmas Day.


At Noche Buena with my cousins, it is tradition that kids perform. Sophia did the Cup Song.


Lily performed Olaf’s song from the movie Frozen. She prepared her own props and choreography. Stella fell asleep by then. Poor kiddie wasn’t able to perform her act.


So instead, let me post this photo of me and Stella at Noche Buena minutes before she fell asleep. Oh yes, Stella and Soph are wearing the same exact Gingersnaps dress. It was so beautiful, both girls wanted it. I wanted it in my size too. Haha. Photo by Koko Roura.


We put up our non-designed tree and used the same ornaments. Each one has meaning. The tin toys were from our first Christmas after we got married. The wooden toys are from my mom and dad’s recent trip to Germany. The paper and cellophane flowers were made by our helper. The kids also added a paper garland they made.


The kids were able to share some of their artistic talents with the kids of Yolanda. My very charitable friend Chary Mercado had been organizing relief work for Yolanda-stricken areas. She needed some Christmas cards to go with all the gifts they were sending. The kids and their friends got together with Chary’s daughter and did over 200 cards.


Olaf and Frozen again. My girls are so into this Disney movie.


I spent a lot of time in the kitchen these past weeks. But on the actual day of Christmas, I had turkey and pasta cooked by a restaurant. (Are we the only ones who are zombies on Christmas Day? This tradition of Noche Buena is taken seriously in my dad’s family. So on Christmas Eve we eat at midnight and get home by 3 or 4am.) Re: recipes, I promise to share some of my “experiments” soon.


Sophia’s lovely Christmas poem


Attended a lovely wedding at the Shangrila amidst this beautiful Christmas lobby. And OMG, the photos on my Samsung camera get automatically backed up in some cloud and some of them get saved as GIFs. Haha. I have no idea how it does this. But this GIF makes me smile because of Patrick’s serious non-smile. Haha. It reminds me of the flip book we had made at the wedding as a souvenir.


Looking back, I don’t know how we all did it. Going through the Christmas rush of shopping and making it to lunches and dinners with friends. It is always so lovely to see old friends. These are my friends from childhood.


And my girlfriends Mel, Ingrid and Fiona. We had too much fun talking, eating and drinking that we only took one lousy photo.


One thing I won’t miss is the crazy traffic. But who knows if it was seasonal or if it really is just that bad all the time. I hope not.


Wishing you more days of relaxation, reunions, detoxification and all that. And more importantly I pray for peace in our hearts and that includes the feeling of safety for all of us. Merry Christmas to you my dear readers and friends!




Singapore Diaries 1



A couple of weeks ago, we brought our whole family to Singapore. We were there as guests of Singapore Tourism Board (STB). They prepared a wonderful itinerary for us so the kids got to see the best and newest attractions.

This was my third trip to Singapore — the first two also as guest of STB. In the early 2000’s they flew me in to check out the arts and culture scene plus the successful urban renewal and gentrification of Clark and Boat Quays. The second time, they flew the F crew and showed us the best shopping and dining experiences. This trip was my first with Patrick and the kids. I love Singapore. It feels like the Toronto of Asia (well-planned, green, beautiful, child-friendly).

If you are looking for a comfortable and fun place to visit over the holidays, consider Singapore. It’s a great place for kids and kids at heart. I will be posting tips and addresses, as well as our four-day itinerary to help you plan. Feel free to ask me in case I miss anything. I hope you enjoy our Singapore Diaries.


Our journey started at at NAIA.


From Changi airport, we were met by our guide and driven to our first destination.


Our first stop, Resorts World Sentosa for a quick dinner before a show.


Resorts World’s food court replicated a street scene with eateries and shop houses, but it was indoors and fully airconditioned. For more info check out Malaysian Food Street.


For our first meal we had to have chicken rice. Lily loved that the rice was formed into balls.


Took a stroll around Resorts World.


We watched Lightseeker, a musical with amazing live-action stunts.


The kids loved it. Though Stella, being only 4 years old, got scared of some scenes. There’s a bad guy and some scenes were dark compared to her purple and pink glittery world. Nothing a little hug from mommy couldn’t fix.


The trip’s itinerary revolved around attractions for the family. I didn’t have much real shopping time but when there’s a will, there’s always a way. I was able to squeeze in an hour at ION Orchard. I also requested to stop by a small specialty store that I had researched about.

Our hotel, Orchard Parade Hotel, was in a great location at the foot of Orchard Road where all the amazing shopping was. The room can accommodate families. We had two twin beds and one queen.

Here’s what our itinerary looked like –

Day 1
Afternoon arrival
Dinner at Resorts World
LightSeeker musical at Resorts World

Day 2
Gardens by the Bay
Bugis Street
Hippo Bus Tour
Dinner at Wild Honey

Day 3
SEA Aquarium
Lunch at Putien
Universal Studios
Quick dinner
My shopping escape – one hour at ION Orchard

Day 4
River Safari
Afternoon departure

There are a few things we missed from the original plan – Singapore River Cruise (the kids were too sleepy), Songs of the Sea (I chose to shop instead. I really needed to get some toys for Christmas) and Singapore Zoo (We spent most of our time at River Safari; and also it had been raining.) I feel bad for missing some sites, but we saw so much as it was. And the kids loved every single place we went to. They had fun, and they learned a lot.

Here are snippets from some of the shopping and dining we experienced.


I got an hour of shopping at ION Orchard. Not enough but I got things done. I had to carefully plan my moves. The Filipina receptionist was so helpful. And I met so many blog readers and viewers of Urban Zone.


Kate Spade Saturday at ION Orchard was one of my must-sees. It’s the first store outside of the US and Japan. Loved everything! I bought two bags.


I got a few gifts from Cath Kidston.


DSC_5198 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Shopping on Bugis Street (AC) Preview
I remember Bugis Street before it’s new facelift. It has become a unique retail shopping location. Bugis Street now houses almost 800 shops, and is the largest street shopping location in Singapore.


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The cutest USB memory sticks can be found at this mall on Bugis Street.


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There is a reason Stella is hiding. She said the smell of durian was killing her. Haha. Seriously, she used those words. Durian is one of Patrick’s favourite fruits.


DSC_5261 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Shopping on Bugis Street (AC) Preview
I asked our STB guide to take me to this store called Small so I could buy another pair of Swedish Hasbeens. I love that little shopping enclave — Cluny Court. It’s filled with quaint shops. Not the cheapest, exactly. But really well-curated and mostly European.


DSC_5450 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Wild Honey (AC) Preview
It rained every night we were there – from drizzles to real rain. But it didn’t stop us from riding the Hippo Bus. We also got to take a short stroll.


DSC_5377 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@SChristmas on A Great Street (AC) Preview
Stella was sleeping comfortably in her covered stroller.


One of our best meals was at Satay by the Bay. Go here when you visit Gardens by the Bay. It comprises of over 20 food stalls set beneath canopies of green roofs with natural ventilation from the waterfront.


Lily is my most “foodie” daughter. She was ready to try anything — as long as it wasn’t spicy.


She loved chicken satay and ofcourse, Hainanese chicken rice. Oh most of the kids outfits were from Gingersnaps, like this one.


DSC_5119 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Satay by the Bay (AC) Preview
This is real life. Haha. So serious! We actually had a wonderful professional photographer, Andrew Chua, documenting our trip for us. He captured amazing shots that will surely make this trip even more memorable. Most of the good shots from this entry are by Andrew. The rest are my snaps from my phone cam.


DSC_5151 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Satay by the Bay (AC) Preview
I loved everything we ordered, especially the beans. I hear it’s gorgeous here at night with all the lights illuminating the gardens.


The bathrooms at Satay by the Bay are surrounded by gardens. In the distance you’ll see Marina Bay Sands.


We loved everything at Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery. I’m a fan of all-day breakfast food. We even had a side order of Canadian back bacon. Yum.


Wild Honey had a really cute display of Sylvanian Family toys.


DSC_5386 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Wild Honey (AC) Preview
Soph, Lily and Stella collect these little critters and their play house accessories.


Yes they are that small. You can just imagine how mixed up our Sylvanian Family/Calico Critters sets are.


DSC_5852 STB 011213 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@RWS USS (AC) Preview
Lunch at Putien in Resorts World Sentosa. Since its humble beginnings in Singapore in 2000, Putien has become renowned for authentic home-style Heng Hwa cuisine and has been voted as one of Singapore’s best 50 restaurants.


Beautiful abalone on ice. Patrick said it was excellent. Unfortunately I have to lay off all forms of seafood and shellfish for now until I figure out what I really am allergic to. Everything else was really good. Ask for Deep Fried Pig’s Trotter with Salt and Pepper.


I’ll be posting a few more stories about our Singapore trip. Here is Singapore Diaries 2 – Gardens by the Bay. Hope you enjoyed this one.

To know more about Singapore visit



Louis Vuitton and the art of gifting



There are only 8 days left before Christmas. How are you doing with your gift list?

Here are some drool-worthy gifts you can wish for from Louis Vuitton. If all else fails, get them as gifts to self. You know you deserve it.


Neverfull bag in epi leather in fuchsia, citron and fig. Neverfull bag in epi leather in monogram canvas.


Speedy Bandoulire bag in Monogram empreinte leather grenade, bronze and aurore. Speedy Bandoulire bag in Damier canvas, Damier ebene. SC bag in  Veau Cachemire leather Quetsche.


Porte-documents Jour in Damier Infini leather, Onyx. Brazza wallet in Taurillon leather, Burgundy. Pocket organizer in Taga leather, Glacier. Key holder in metal and enamel, Argente.



LOUIS_VUITTON_Brochure_Noel_13_52p_Int_215x270 - DP.indd
Pegasa suitcase in Taga leather, Gris. Dresscode Derby in waxed calf leather and glazed calf leather. Keepall Bandoulire bag in Damier canvas, Damier graphite. Keyholder palladium in metal.


Monogram Idylle ring, white gold, yellow gold, pink gold, set with diamonds. Monogram Idylle bracelet, white gold, yellow gold, pink gold, set with diamonds.


Sunset sandal in ayers and suede baby goat leather.


Insolite wallet in Damier canvas. Couverture carnet in Monogram canvas, refill notebook. Mini Pochette Accessoires in Damier canvas.


Ascot bag in Damier canvas, Damier ebene.


Alma BB bag in ostrich. Alma BB bag in crocodile.


To see this amazing interactive Christmas catalog, check out
Visit Louis Vuitton Manila in Greenbelt 4 Makati