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.



Streets of New Orleans



It was my first time in New Orleans. It was also the first time in 20 years that the KBIS held it there. After all the kitchen and bath site visits with Kohler Co., we had a lot of free time to discover the city. Our hotel was right at the French Quarter. It can get pretty loud and crazy at night, but we enjoyed that everything was within walking distance from our hotel.


I was charmed by all these balconies.


So pretty.


My first morning started out a little chilly. So I was still in a coat.


And boots. The weather was still in transition. I came from -1° in Toronto. It was 9° that morning. Then suddenly it was in the 20’s by lunch. I went back to the hotel and changed after attending the KBIS.


With Philippine Star’s Bea Ledesma.


A row full of antique shops.


Italian antiques


Floor signage


Lovely jewels.


Everything had a stately feel.


Even restaurants have history here.


The streets of NOLA are owned by artists. Everywhere you look, there’s something going on.


Drunken Catfish Ramblers. I enjoyed their music.


Their version of Fat Domino’s Aint That A Shame.


Voodoo Bone Lady


Alligator head


Clowns and performers.


The view of the French Quarter from a car.


Balconies. Enchanting by day.


Crazy at night.


One of the oldest pharmacies in the US.


Love potions


An old post for carriage parking.


At Cafe du Monde


I didn’t have time to wait for a table at Cafe du Monde so I just bought cafe au lait and beignets for take out. That same night we went back for more after dinner. I loved it.


All that powdered sugar (on the floor) went all over my face and pants when I had my turn to eat beignets.


We ordered 8 sets of beignets that night.


More historical reminders.


Lovely French bistro. We had lunch here.


Late April, lots of tourists. It can get even more crowded in the summer time.


St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square


It was hard to photograph Jackson Square without a wide angle. I have a few Vine videos to better capture the space and sounds.


Tarot and voodoo just outside the Catholic church.


Blackened chicken


Crazy cut marble floors


The place where we had cajun food.


Blackened and fried alligator. Tastes like chicken.


Out for dinner at Tommy’s


Street performer


More history.


Had after-dinner drinks here. Lovely space.


Loved it here. Will definitely go back.

Next, New Orleans at night.



New Orleans via Instagram



How are you, my readers? I apologize for the lack of entries. Thanks for constantly dropping by. I’ve been traveling a lot and it’s been hard to write stories while living in real life. I haven’t even shared my Toronto stories. Here are some quick instagram photos from the weekend.  I was in New Orleans!


Breakfast. New Orleans. Breakfast at Bourbon House just near our hotel.


It's a about kitchen and bath today. #kbis #design #kohler  #neworleans The reason I’m in the US — Kohler invited me on a 3-city visit to see their projects and attend the KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show).


New Orleans. You are so enchanting. #neworleans Enchanting.


Sylvain. #frenchquarter #neworleans #bistro Some downtime at Sylvain’s at the French Quarter.


Since you asked, my lazy Sunday #ootd. 9 dollar top from Joe Fresh Mississauga, old Zara pants, Cath Kidston sneaks, Tods D Bag (the only bag I brought this trip so you might all be so sick of it), Prada sunglasses. Suprising reaction to my daily mommy laidback style. It’s so normal and random. LOL.


At night. #neworleans The charming side of New Orleans at night. Lots of little bistros and lounges.


Bourbon street debauchery. #notmyscene #neworleans The crazy side of New Orleans at night. Bourbon Street.


Had a nice dinner at #Arnauds. Then we played #hauntedhouse in the hallways. #neworleans #spook #haunted Fascinated with the stories of New Orleans ghosts and vampires, I tried to spook myself at Arnaud’s. It’s a lovely restaurant! (All the restaurants have such rich heritage and claims to fame).


Beignets. Oh. My. God. #sogood #cafedumonde Not an exaggeration. Beignets are to die for! And the cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde is yummy!


Off to a new adventure. Bye New Orleans! I’d love to come back with the family.


I’m constantly on the go in this trip. New Orleans deserves a full travelog feature. I’ll work on that in between trips, I hope. It’s hard to write when there’s so much happening. Meantime, please follow me on Instagram, @DaphneOP. Oh, I also have the most random Vine posts, but Vine makes me giddy. Are you on it? I’m also @DaphneOP there.




Daphne Diaries Travel Stories



I don’t know if you have noticed, I’m slowly increasing my posts about travel. It’s not something I planned deliberately. It’s just happening on its own. I remember when I was still hosting F and Urban Zone, I refused a lot of offers to travel. I couldn’t bear leaving my kids even for a few days. But now that they’re a bit older, I have slowly allowed travel back into my work. I can’t do it too much, lest they start protesting and I start feeling guilty. We also try our best to make sure the kids get a grand travel adventure every year – whether to a local or foreign destination. And whenever we can, like every couple of years, Patrick and I try to travel JUNK (just us, no kids).

Last December 2014, I had the chance to film little travelogue snippets for Lifestyle Network. They flew me to Barcelona for a week. There are a couple of interstitials that ran on Lifestyle Network last April. On my part, I filmed my own video diary. The stories are now called DAPHNE Diaries. In case you missed it, here’s the one I made in Barcelona.  And from our “JUNK” trip to Bhutan, I edited some videos. You can view them in my Daphne.PH YouTube channel. There are more videos coming, promise.

I looked back at some of my recent travel photos and realized that I haven’t really shared much about my trips to Canada. Whenever I am there, I just want to savour the moments with my family. And there’s no time to blog too much. But there have been some amazing spots we went to in Canada. And I’m ready to write about them soon.

Here are some photos from our recent family trips and some from my work trips. You will notice a lot of fashion repeats – blue blazer, black leggings, puffer jackets, Burberry trench coat, chukka boots, sneakers. I’ll be traveling again in a few days, and I have packed the same exact things. I have no problem with repeating. Before all these fast fashion brands came in, I invested in good quality clothes. So I don’t really feel the pressure to keep changing them every season. Even if it means my instagram photos may look like I’m wearing the same things over and over.

When I’m traveling there are many things I do not want to busy myself with — my outfits for instance. This is why I travel with basics, neutrals, and most importantly, sensible shoes.  I also always prepare myself health-wise. Health insurance is a must. Even if my credit card company says I am covered etc, I still buy a separate supplementary health plan. My friend once had to pay $2,000 just because her kid has a stomach ache which thankfully turned out to be uneventful. But goodbye $2,000. I also make sure I boost my immunity by taking multivitamins with iron and zinc. The last thing you want is to catch a virus while you’re on a plane.


Sainte Marie among the Hurons, in Midland, Ontario. Not exactly my favourite place when I was a teenager. But now that I am a mom, a trip to Toronto isn’t complete without going here, a couple of hours north of Toronto. My kids love it.


It is a recreation of the 17th century settlement by the French Jesuit Mission in the land of the Huron Wendat people. This was Ontario’s first European Community. There were parts of the fenced community that included areas for the Native People. Here’s one of the teepees. And yes, my girls and I were running, hopping, skipping, and dancing.


This was the time my whole family drove to Montebello, Quebec. Snow was still thick. Whenever I’m home I feel like a kid again because I get to sit in the back of the family car. And my mom and dad take care of me. Haha.


The reception cottage at Kenauk, a nature reserve with 60 lakes and only 13 chalets. My family reserved the biggest chalet. It was beautiful — facing a frozen lake with no neighbours in sight. Kenauk is managed by Fairmont in Montebello, Quebec. So it was roughing it but with glamour. We stayed for three nights.


That is the chalet we rented, behind the trees. Can you see it? The kids loved exploring the woods. I promise to blog separately about this trip.


This is the frozen lake that faced our cottage. This was springtime in Quebec. I didn’t bother using fancy boots. I just wore rubber rain boots and used two layers of thermal socks. The snow was starting to melt.


One of the many highlights was the sugar shack experience. We took a sleigh ride through a maple forest. This is how maple syrup starts… as sap from the maple tree.


This is why we got the biggest chalet.  We were complete.


Selfie in my second home with my favourite sculptor Henry Moore behind. My first real job was here, at Toronto City Hall. And there’s my tried and tested Burberry trench coat and Raybans.


That same time when we were in Toronto, I flew down to New Orleans for a work trip. It was a trip that would take me to New Orleans, Chicago, and Wisconsin — from almost summer to late winter in the woods — I travelled light and just made sure I had layers and warm clothes. My favourite fall back is the blue blazer. It goes with anything.


And I always make sure I have a scarf in my bag.


In New Orleans, they showed us the warehouse that held all the mardi gras parade floats. A bit creepy, but fun. On work trips, even if an event calls for casualness and comfort, I try to look neat even though I spent no time thinking of my outfit. I do this by wearing sensible black leggings (not too tight, they are legging pants), clean sneakers – like these plimsoles from Cath Kidston, and striped shirts.


Then we went to Chicago. I had some free time one morning and decided to take the river boat cruise across the city alone. No one in my group wanted to go, but I went because it highlighted Chicago’s skyscraper history. The downside of traveling alone is you end up with selfies like this.


Here I asked a stranger to take my photo and ended up with the perfect “windy city” shot. Here is the trench coat again. It’s a light one with no heavy lining. But I find that with a thin feather down layer underneath, it keeps me real warm. Best fashion investment ever.


Shakespeare and Company
This was back in 2005 when we only had one kid – Sophia. We left her in Toronto with my family. It was a wonderful second honeymoon. Even back then I wore comfy shoes for traveling. Those were my beloved Camper bowling-style shoes. My coat was from J. Crew. It was nice and classic. I recently sold that in my garage sale and I think I regret it.


Winter in Shanghai back in 2012. Muji down jacket, black leggings and Muji boots. (I am mourning the loss of these boots. I am convinced my husband moved them to a part of the house where I will not find them til we are 75. I can’t find them. Sad because they are perfect for walking and they’re not too precious.)


In milder weather, like we had on our last day in Barcelona, the best travel outfit is again… black leggings and a fitted blazer. This was from the Martin Margiela line in H&M a few years ago. Because someone will ask, those are my chukka boots which I bought in Wisconsin. They are so comfy.


Wearing my Celine leather boots in Barcelona. Very comfortable because of its stacked heel and square toes. But I was too paranoid to scuff them. I bring them to wear on fancy nights out when I feel like wearing a skirt. But it’s not the kind of boots to go roughing in. Much to precious. And I doubt I’ll ever find beautiful boots like these because they are narrow enough to fit my skinny legs.


Here’s what I wear when “roughing” it. This was in Bhutan last February. Need I say it again – black leggings, chukka boots, puffer jacket.


And a coat from the most recent season of Uniqlo with their Jil Sander collaboration. Also in Bhutan.


I think you get the drift. I stick to the tried and tested classics. I go for comfort and ease. And I really prepare for trips. I’m actually now on my way to New Zealand. It’s my first time. The trip involves urban, rural and VIP meetings. You already know what I’ll be wearing. Haha. Black.


For this trip, we are doing everything in style and comfort. I was treated by Conzace to a luxury car ride to the airport.


As you can see, I keep everything monochromatic – black. So I don’t have to think about matching whatever.


I also made sure I strengthened my immunity by drinking multivitamins with minerals like Conzace daily. I also packed enough for the trip. I will be outdoors a lot.


Can’t wait to tell you stories about New Zealand! Stay tuned.



Cath Kidston in the Philippines



My girls at the opening of the first Cath Kidston shop in the Philippines.


The official launch, December 5, 2014. Photo by Migs Pastor.


I was so happy that Suyen Corp. asked me to host the launch of Cath Kidston. Photo by Migs Pastor.


I’ve been buying Cath Kidston products for quite some time. I remember my first purchase had to be coursed through my friend Elna in London. I was so amused by the vintage prints captured by the brand and given a modern twist. When I relaunched my blog into, Cath Kidston became my first advertiser. Up to now, they are an official site partner. So I really know this brand quite well.


Cath Kidston
My purchase through my friend Elna in London back in 2008. She had to send it through another friend of hers.


When Cath Kidston became my advertiser, they would send me products to review and blog about. They sent me this lovely tea pot with four cups and saucers. They sent it via post back in 2011. This is me unboxing the parcel.


I used the tea set in a table setting I styled for Metro Home magazine in 2011.


Stripes & spots today. #cathkidston
The Cath Kidston head office in the UK also sent me this very cute Overnight Bag as a gift. It is the same one the Duchess of Cambridge used on her trips during their honeymoon year. See photo in link. This is my carry-on whenever I have short domestic trips when I go on missions.


Me in New Orleans, wearing Cath Kidston plimsolls in 2013.


With one of my first bags. This was at the Standard in New York City in 2010


Ended up looking like I was dressed for Sabbath temple
In Brooklyn, 2010.


Condo by Dominic Galicia
At an Urban Zone shoot in a condo unit designed by Dominic Galicia.


My favourite bag
While I was pregnant with Stella. This bag remains as one of my favourite shapes and prints. I just love, love, love that vintage cowboy print. It reminds me of the old curtains in my brother’s bedroom when we were kids.


The launch was a nice little intimate gathering of friends of Suyen Corp.


Children were invited to participate in the lovely crafting activities.


Here’s Lily sewing some embellishments on the felt rag doll.


They had a calligraphy artist write names on beautiful Cath Kidston card paper.


Stella was with me before the shop opened. She was so giddy to be there.




Lily was my designated photographer for the day.


This shop carries all the product lines of Cath Kidston – bags, kids, kitchen, fashion, shoes and more.


Probably the only event where I brought all three daughters.




I already have a Cath Kidston apron given by my friend Lylah. The thing with this brand is you can’t just stop at one… you end up getting more in other prints.


For the bakers…


Tea towels!!!


What’s tea without a tiered serving plate. This is on my wish list.


Kai Lim and Pauline Juan. Photo by Miguel Pastor.




cath women
For the Bag Lady


cath kitchen
For the Happy Homemaker


cath kids
Cath Kids


The Cath Kidston shop is located at Bonifacio High Street in the same building as Active Fun. You can get 20% off your total purchase if you spend over P5,000 – only til December 7th.

For those in the US or Canada, or other countries with no Cath Kidston shop yet. You may buy the products online here