Good Stuff 101

 

 

rimowa

 

01  A beautifully designed product, RIMOWA’s Topas Titanium Beauty Case is reminiscent of the brand’s first aluminium suitcase with grooves produced in 1950. If I were to upgrade, I’d aim for this line. The exclusive aluminium cases with their elegant contours combine low weight with great strength. In the Philippines, RIMOWA is available at Greenbelt 5, Power Plant Mall, Glorietta 4, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, and Newport Mall.

02  Perfect reason to wear Valentino’s rock studs… in the rain. Considering it rains half of the year here, I don’t think we wear enough rubber boots. And rain coats. And hats. Oh well. These Valentino Rubber Studded Boots are so adorable, and we’re still due for more months of rain. If you from order from Luisa Via Roma, you get these boots at your doorstep in 3-5 business days. Plus your custom duties and taxes are pre-paid, so it’ll be hassle free.

03  You know how much I love Warby Parker. They democratized the optical industry with beautiful “designer” frames at a fraction of the price of other designer frames. Like prescription lenses start at $95 while progressives are $295 — for both frames and lenses. And to top it all off, for every pair you buy, Warby Parker donates to a partner in developing countries so they can sell eyeglasses at a low price. They don’t just handout free glasses, they encourage micro entrepreneurship.  Ainsworth by Warby Parker.

04  This is an interesting take on the eternity ring. It wraps around with a sprinkling of pavé crystals in intersecting lines. Crystal Mason Ring, $28 from Bauble Bar.

05  Every time I get a new pair of salt and pepper shakers I always say that it’s my last. But I can’t seem to get enough of cute, whimsical and statement shakers. They are a great way to spruce up your table setting with out having to be matchy-matchy. These Greek Key Salt & Pepper Shakers from Jonathan Adler have a modern and interesting take on a classical motif. And that platinum detailing is just so pretty.

06  So cool, they’re called “Climachill” Rocket Boost Shoes by Adidas. Regularly $140.00, now on sale for $99.99. And for a limited time online, Adidas is giving an extra 25% off on all of their sale items, including their classic lifestyle line, Adidas Originals. Promo code: EXTRASUMMER.

07  Perfect for anyone with space issues at home. The Sapien Bookcase from Design Within Reach by Bruno Rainaldi in 2003 was created as a unique solution for those with a lot of books and little space to store them. By holding texts horizontally in a vertical stack, the tall Sapien can accommodate up to 70 small and large books in a very compact footprint. (The shorter bookcase will hold up to 50 books. Made in Italy.

08  Jonathan Adler’s Claude Walnut Gossip Bench Set Each 2-Door Unit includes a single removable shelf. Stack up to two 2-Drawer or 2-Door Units on top of each other. Mix the pieces in almost any configuration you can think of. Seven components, two finishes and endless possibilities!

**Some of the links in this post are from my site partners and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

 

 

Silicon Valley

 

 

Silicon Valley Eva Air

 
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It’s been so long since I’ve flown in to the westcoast that I’d forgotten how much closer it is than flying home to Toronto.

 

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I flew EVA Air to SFO via Taiwan, thanks to the coordination of Jeron Travel. Their premium economy seats are wide and roomy. They recline well-enough that I was completely comfortable during the flights.

 

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I had a short layover in Taiwan going both directions.

 

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EVA Air has different lounges in Taiwan Taoyuan Airport. Each has a slightly different vibe and decor, all brand new. They have The Garden, The Infinity, The Star and The Club. More info here.

 

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This is The Infinity, designed with a futuristic appeal.

 

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Entrance to The Infinity.

 

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After a full 8 hours of sleep, we were at the Bay Area.

 

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I had booked a cab to take me to San Jose. I tried to ignore the taxi meter as I sat through rush hour traffic.

 

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Finally San Jose.

 

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I was booked at the Fairmont San Jose right smack in the middle of downtown San Jose.

 

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Very nice lobby. I’m a sucker for anything grand.

 

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This lobby lounge gets packed at night – live music, dancing and all. I must thank Dudi Cruz of Fairmont Manila for contacting Fairmont San Jose and extending my stay one night at conference rate. All this through my friend Kara Alikpala. Thanks for the help!

 

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Like I said, the lobby is so beautiful at night. Here, a bride and groom walked in the bar and just danced. Spontaneous.

 

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I had a huge room with two beds all to myself. Missed my family so much.

 

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View of Silicon Valley from my room.

 

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Just next door to the Fairmont is the San Jose Museum.

 

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And across the street is the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St Joseph. The original St. Joseph’s was built on this site in 1803, and was the first non-mission parish built in California for the benefit of Spanish settlers instead of the Mission Indians (Ohlone).

 

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This is what it looks like inside. (There was a wedding rehearsal.)

 

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I took a walk further down look for a place to eat.

 

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It’s  a pretty city.

 

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They have self-cleaning public toilets. A person can stay inside up to 20 minutes. There is a warning light on the 18th minute then the door opens automatically in 20 minutes with a siren. After each use, the toilet seat and bowl retract into the wall, where high-powered jets clean them with water and disinfectant. I didn’t try it.

 

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San Pedro Square

 

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They were showing “Ghostbusters” outdoors. Hipsterville.

 

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Inside was a food court concept but with a more specialized approach. It was very much like the food truck concept.

 

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I ordered an Arepa which is a flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour. It is prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. This particular stall was Venezuelan.

 

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I chose pulled pork.

 

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Topped off with cheese. OMG. I can still taste it. Everything was perfect. The pork, cheese and most of all that bread. Please tell me there’s a Venezuelan family in Manila who makes arepas.

 

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Pretty place.

 

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On my first night, I didn’t sleep a wink. Jet lag was bad.

 

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So I watched the sun go up. It was stunning.

 

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The next morning I went shopping by myself in Santana Row.

 

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Hello Anthropologie.

 

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If only for their window displays. #anthrowindows

 

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I will never get tired of cute tea towels.

 

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And how they put things together just like that.

 

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Every time I’m here I always want to change all the knobs and hardware in our house.

 

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Selfie at Santa Row.

 

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Madewell. Bought the cutest flats in tanned leather.

 

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Paper Source was heaven! I didn’t want to leave.

 

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I walked further up the street to the indoor mall. Confession, I bought a MacBook Air because I got tired of how heavy my MacBook Pro was. I got the most chichi MacBook Air model with all the high numbers. It’s been more than a couple of weeks and I haven’t even migrated yet. What is wrong with me?

 

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What is the name of this pretty tree?

 

Next, Los Altos.

 

 

ALS ice bucket challenge

 

 

 

My BIL sent me the ALS ice bucket challenge this morning. I knew I would do it but I wanted to make sure the message wouldn’t be lost. More importantly I wanted to be part of the ALS awareness campaign by actually donating. There is no foundation for ALS awareness or research in the Philippines. There’s a Facebook group but I don’t know who they are and I only donate to registered organizations. So began a very interesting discussion on my Facebook page on how to give this ice bucket challenge more relevance in the Philippine context. You can see it here.

ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. The first time I heard of ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease was when I was a freshman in university in Canada. My friend’s mom was diagnosed with it. She quickly deteriorated and died within a couple of years. I also took on a summer job to assist a woman with ALS. Her name was Susan. She had already lost control of her motor skills while mentally she was still ok. She worked for a government department, and they kept her working as long as she wanted and could. She would dictate her letters and documents to me in a very slurred manner, and I’d write/type for her. I also mixed her liquid food. I saw how fast ALS took over her body. It’s a horrible illness.

I’m glad that this awareness campaign has gotten so big. It’s now here in the Philippines. However I think it’s futile to just do the bucket challenge and not actually donate or discuss the issues. So I did the challenge plus donated money to ALS Canada.

In keeping with the original spirit of the ice bucket challenge I am also bringing up another cause that’s very close to my heart – Breast Cancer Prevention. The Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. Until we find a cure, our best defense is early prevention. So I’m donating free mammograms for women in need through I Can Serve Foundation. Hope thats ok!

BTW the bowls were filled with ice but I guess they melted while I was talking. We’re here in the tropics after all… apparently very near the airport too.

I urge you to find your own meaning and cause to add to ALS awareness. If you can, please donate to a reputable research fund. It is only through research that we will one day find a cure for these medical conditions.

 

To know more about how the ALS and how the ice bucket challenge went viral, watch this.

 

For info on ALS Canada, http://www.als.ca

For Breast Cancer support, http://www.icanservefoundation.org

 

 

BlogHer 2014

 

 

I attended the BlogHer 2014 conference at Silicon Valley a few weeks ago. I don’t really know why I went out of my way to be there. It was a spur of the moment decision because I wanted to do something I had never done before and be in a place I’d never been to. I could have just chosen a more exotic location but instead, I chose Silicon Valley. I figured, my blog rode that whole from-hobby-to-industry wave that most early bloggers experienced. Perhaps it’s time to figure out where my blog fits in in the grand scheme of things. I spent my own money for the conference fees and my hotel accommodations. I was about to pay for my airline fare, when EVA Air, through Jeron Travel, sponsored my round trip ticket.

It was the 10th year anniversary of BlogHer, a huge network of American women bloggers, who contribute content, participate in a community of shared interests and earn from commerce. Im a new member of BlogHer network. I saw the line up of speakers and participants, and that’s what made me decide to attend. And because it was the 10th anniversary, we looked back at how we all started blogging then and the challenges and opportunities we face now that there are different forms of social media.

As soon as I found out that Arianna Huffington would speak, I was there. She’s a woman I look up to, having created one of the most influential news sites online. Then there was Richelle Parham, CMO of eBay North America who talked about the huge opportunities available to and largely untapped by online influencers. Melissa Barnes, head of global brands for Twitter, Melissa gave an exciting talk about working with Twitter’s biggest customers to help them drive measurable results and create custom initiatives that are authentic and appropriate for Twitter. Hollywood star Kerry Washington was also a highlight. She talked about her advocacies and political voice on Twitter. There were many other keynote speakers and workshop speakers who were very informative and inspiring. For more information on BlogHer, go here.

Here are some highlights of my BlogHer’14 experience.

 

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It was my first time in San Jose, California. I stayed at the beautiful Fairmont San Jose.

 

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You know you’re in California when you see these…

 

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San Jose Convention Center

 

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The first morning of BlogHer’14

 

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I don’t know exactly how many participants there were at this conference. There must have been over 2000.

 

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The main hall where the keynote speakers presented.

 

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Got a chance to meet with the CEO and co-founder of BlogHer Inc., Lisa Stone. She was floored when she found out I flew in from Manila just to attend the conference.

 

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With COO and co-founder of BlogHer Inc., Elisa Camahort. Her father is of Filipino descent.

 

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So ya, all my photos were selfies not just because that was the theme of the conference – selfiebration – but also because I was alone.

 

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Kerry Washington was one of the keynote speakers. She talked about how social media and the fans saved Scandal. Every Thursday night, all cast members, producers and writers got on Twitter to exchange with fans. “There are so few water cooler shows now because you can watch most shows whenever you want, like on netflix. Social Media has allowed us to be a water cooler show because if you don’t watch it when it airs, social media may spoil it for you.”

 

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Kerry Washington was so awesome. She even took a selfie from the stage. It was the weekend before she would go back to work that Monday after having given birth. At one point, she heard a baby make a cute fussy sound in the audience (BlogHer is a mommy- and baby-friendly conference) and she stopped and looked for the baby. She joked that you can tell she’s a new mom.

 

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There was a booth for The Mrs., an all-female rock band from Austin, Texas, who launched a new album titled Enough. They had this magic mirror that gave women the experience of seeing themselves in a different way. It was quite touching, actually. You can see the video here.

 

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Arianna Huffington was also among the keynote speakers. She was interviewed by Guy Kawasaki.

 

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Arianna signed her books. I lined up and waited for my turn. She’s charming, funny, witty. So sharp! More on Arianna Huffington in a future blogpost.

 

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It was good to see that Samsung was a sponsor. They had a kitchen display called Samsung Living Atelier. I told them that in the Philippines, I represent Samsung digital home appliances.

 

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So random. I won this Nikon DSLR at the Dreamhost booth!

 

My travel arrangements were done through Jeron Travel. I flew via Taiwan by EVA Air. All photos were taken using the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2.

 

 

 

Arlene Dickinson and You Inc

 

 

Last summer of 2013, we moved our family to our home in Toronto for over 10 weeks. It was a wonderful time for us and the kids – no work, no help, no 3G or 4G. I wasn’t really online much, hence the lack of Toronto stories. Well, here is an amazing one (for me).

 

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I had the opportunity to meet Arlene Dickinson of CBC’s Dragons’ Den during that Toronto stay. We had a long meeting, exchanging ideas and learning about each other’s work and products. I’m sure my Canadian readers all know Arlene. To those who need an introduction, check out some of her episodes on You Tube. Dragons’ Den is a show where entrepreneurs make a pitch for money from venture capitalists or “dragons.” The US version is called Shark Tank.

My meeting with her was memorable. I took away a lot of lessons, such as “how do you know you’re not under-valuing yourself?” As someone who handles her own negotiations, I took this to heart. Arlene is someone I would love to be my mentor, investor, business partner. Arlene was also starting a new online community for Canadian entrepreneurs called You Inc, and she asked to feature me on this site. Here’s how it went.

 

She gave me her book. Can't put it down. Very good read. #Persuasion by @arlenedickinson #cbcdragonsden
She gave me a copy of her book. I shot that outside her office.

 

Just met @arlenedickinson a Canadian business icon, best selling author, venture capitalist, tv personality. I. AM. AMAZED.  Watch her shows Dragons' Den and The Big Decision. #cbc #arlenedickinson
Me and Arlene Dickinson

 

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She tweeted about me after our meeting.

 

After meeting the dragon in her den. Felt like a baby dragon myself. #girlpower
That’s me after I left her office, feeling like a little dragon myself. Haha.

 

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Days after that I went back to Arlene’s office and sat for an interview with You Inc. (Thought bubble: Wow, my hair!)

 

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Behind the lens was Marayna Dickinson.

 

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I was pleasantly surprised to find my interview featured on You Inc this week. The site is a great resource for entrepreneurs. I am under the category of “game changer.” Truly honoured! The photo they used was taken by Mau Aguasin and first appeared in Philippine Star. You can read my You Inc feature here.

 

And here’s my interview as a “Game Changer” in You Inc.