I Can Serve



If you recall my ice bucket challenge, I included breast cancer awareness in addition to the ALS campaign. Here’s the video again.

This year I got to witness how I Can Serve Foundation supports women with breast cancer. I love that they are so committed to promoting awareness, especially since the Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. I strongly believe that early detection is the best way to fight this disease. So women in their 20’s should do a monthly breast self-exam. Women in their 30’s should do the monthly self-exam plus annual physical check up with a doctor. Women in their 40’s should do all that plus have an annual mammogram. There is nothing to be scared of. Mammograms don’t hurt, they’re just a little bit uncomfortable. So please let this be a reminder to all my female readers. Please, have yourself checked regularly.

After I took the ice bucket challenge, I donated some money to I Can Serve to help fund mammograms. Congresswoman Leni Robredo did the same thing, though she skipped the ice bucket aspect because she was recovering from a cold. She mentioned in her Facebook that she took inspiration from what I did. (I actually challenged her by email, haha.) We are now looking into working together for the women of Naga with I Can Serve though its founder Kara Alikpala. It’s amazing how these things happen.

In the meantime, I am volunteering to help out in I Can Serve’s Rockwell booth during the month of October, breast cancer awareness month. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the month of October, I Can Serve will have a booth selling special items to help spread awareness and raise funds. I will let you know which day I will be there so hopefully I can meet some of you.

Here’s a sample of what’s available at the I Can Serve booth. Some of them are available at I Can Serve’s online shop now. There are more…


I can serve

01 Limited edition Swatch watch

02 Happy Skin’s Just Married lipstick, available where Happy Skin products are sold. See below.

03 Reminder band

04 Messy Bessy “The Pink Warrior”

05 Mid Chevron fan

06 Greeting Card. In lieu of a gift (or accompanying a gift!)  make a donation in someone’s name to the ICanServe Foundation. Bi-fold card measures 7 inches X 7 inches. Includes: card, holiday ornament, envelope with lining and a sealer with the Foundation’s logo.


I Can Serve Tshirt designed by Bleach, P500 available online here.


Every October, with any Just Married purchased in any place where Happy Skin is sold (Rustan’s, Beauty Bar, and Plains & Prints), Happy Skin will donate P10 to I Can Serve. I totally vouch for this line of lipsticks. Just Married is one of my favourite colours. It’s got that lovely pale pink that’s perfect either for a dressy occasion with a smoky eye or for every day non-occasions as a nude. It’s very natural-looking. Each lippie is loaded with shea butter and collagen to keep lips supple and hydrated like a lipbalm. It is highly-pigmented yet moisture-packed. P499.


For more information on how to donate, volunteer, or partner with I Can Serve Foundation, click here.



Good Stuff 101





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.



Good Stuff 100



collage copper


You probably noticed that I’ve been making these layouts occasionally. I don’t use a quick program. I do old-fashioned cut and paste on Photoshop. Since I’ve been doing them for the past couple of years, the most troublesome part for me has always been putting a title on each collage. So I’ve decided, with the help of Patrick, to name this series “Good Stuff.” This is number 100 because I’ve lost track of how many Good Stuff collages I’ve made, so let’s just call this 100.

In my weekly “Good Stuff” collages I will highlight things that I love, wish, covet. Some are from my site partners, some are just picked off the net. It may or may not include gifted items or PR samples. I will indicate if so. All items will have links directing you to sites where you can buy them directly or get more info on them.

This week, my collage stemmed from that beautiful ivory coloured dress from Reiss. Everything else just followed.


01 I love the way this ivory dress is tailored. It can give an illusion of a small waist, long neck and a flattering neckline. Perfect dress for day or evening events.  Natalia dressicon from Reiss.

02  Soft Dog Pendant designed by Henrik Pedersen at Design Within Reach. DWR is my newest site partner and I can’t wait to work with them on highlighting some of my favourite things from their roster of good stuff. With this pendant lamp is, Pedersen wanted to evoke a lightness and purity that are reminiscent of Scandinavian design. What he achieved is a soft, sculptural, less industrial form that’s simple and welcoming.

03  Carmen sunglasses from House of Harlow 1960 comes in different colours but I’m loving this grapefruit version. It has this vintage feminine vibe that’s perfect for our tropical climate in Manila.

04  Hand-Painted Equestrian Charm Bracelet from One Kings Lane, on sale for $49. Made of 24-kt gold-plated intaglio, 24-kt gold-plated steel, and faceted glass. You know how much I love my hand-painted enamel medallion charms from Europe. Here is a chunky charm bracelet version from Susan Shaw.

05  After years of wearing uncomfortable underwire and padded bras, I’ve gotten rid of all of them. Since I am slightly built, I have found the perfect fit in soft bras and bralets. Feel free to discuss. I don’t really know if this is good or bad. But for me and my physique, I’m ok with less support. Loving this Trenta Soft Bra from Cosabella

06  Much to my husband’s dismay, I am never going to be a minimalist. Though I appreciate modern design like that pendant lamp from DWR, there will always be a part of me that will like kitsch and novelty. Like this Cockatoo Pitcher from Fitz and Floyd.

07  One Kings Lane works on flash sales. So if this pretty brass tray catches your fancy, click the link now. I think there’s only a day left to get this piece on discount.23″ Grandeur Brass Tray with leather handles from One Kings Lane.

08  Again, tugging on my old soul’s heart strings, this Pioneer Tea Kettle from Jacob Bromwell is perfect for my kitchen. It’s handcrafted from pure copper and is ideal for heating water for coffee, tea, or cocoa. A true collector’s item you can actually use, made the same way it was hundreds of years ago from when pioneers carried them in their wagons.


Love yourself



Globe Business invited me to speak at their event called Project W. It is a private event held for the Globe’s women partners and clients, all of whom hold high-level positions in their respective companies. They’ve done it in Cebu and Davao and a few Fridays ago, it was held in Manila. The idea was to bring together Globe Business’ top women clients to feel treated to a day of relaxation, spend quality time on themselves, and value their individuality. It was a day to learn more about themselves, and feel empowered by listening to renowned speakers and life coaches.

I was invited to give a talk on the topic “The importance of loving yourself.” I’ve given many talks before, usually to students and universities and mostly focusing on urban planning, blogging and my career path. I’ve never really given a talk on a “self-help” topic. They gave me a couple of months to prepare for this but all my thoughts only made sense a few days before the event.

I showed the audience a peek into my life – as a mom, tv host, entrepreneur and blogger. I looked back at my journey and career path, both of which did not have a blueprint. I also never had a mentor. I shared the challenges and the kind of pressure I faced. I used to thrive on being busy, on working late at night. And this set the stage for my 20 reasons why you should love yourself. It’s too long to write here, but perhaps one day I can share it as a blog entry. Who knows.

Here are highlights from that lovely day with Globe Business Project W.


Every person faces difficult life choices. For me, as a working mom, it came when I was torn between going all the way with my TV work and spending more time at home. Instead of freaking out because I felt I had to choose, I celebrated the fact that I had a choice. It’s different for everyone.


This year has been an incredible journey for me. Part of my healing myself from burn out was to conquer “uncharted territory”. I am now finally in total control of my kitchen. And I got over my fear of cooking meats and chicken. I can cook anything now, and I do it with joy. It does so much to my spirit knowing I can make food for me and my family. I make sure I only use good stuff.


Perhaps the most important aspect of loving yourself is taking charge of your health. Have your annual mammogram once you’re 40. Some may need sonograms. The Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. Let’s beat that by early detection.


There were three of us speakers that afternoon. Francis Kong spoke on Inspiring Excellence and Jackie Caniza on Life Design based on Values and Priorities.


With the dynamic guests of Project W. All were given kaftans.


I had fun meeting the participants.


The women were given a choice of pampering services.


Hydro yoga


The mani-pedi room


Foot spa


Lovely tableau by Globe’s Ronald Gonzales.


Ronald brought in some pretty coffee table books. At home, I like to surround myself with lovely books. I not only read and refer to them, I use them as part of my decor.


One of the function rooms at the Crimson Hotel was converted into a massage room.


Rags 2 Riches was there to allow the women to tap into their crafty juices.


All over the venue there were these lovely quotes by and about women.


This one, from Coco Chanel.


With the Globe Business team. Thank you for inviting me and making me part of this very inspiring day. Now, if I can just get my act together and do a DAPHNE® Day like this for my readers…



Garden stuff



Inspired by gardens — vertical ones.


The vertical garden on The Bund, Shanghai. 2012.


Detail of The Bund vertical garden. Each plant was wrapped in foam and placed on the grid.


DSC_5020 STB 301113 Lifestyle Experiences in Singapore@Gardens by the Bay (AC) Preview
Sophia and Lily at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. 2013.


At that same garden in Singapore, the tallest vertical garden I have ever seen. It had a sophisticated irrigation system.


Just last February I was at Bali. The parking building at Bali Denpasar airport caught my eye. It reminds me of the San Miguel HQ in Ortigas… and the Park Square building in Glorietta, which has now been replaced.


Ayala Ave tries a wall garden. Nice!
Ayala Avenue as it turns to EDSA also has san impressive set up. I took this a while ago and it seems the wall gardens are still alive. I won’t include the MMDA versions by the tunnels. Because I don’t  understand what they were trying to do.


Dusit Hotel does the vertical garden so well! #makati
I like what Dusit Hotel has done in this little piece of wall.


I found some interesting garden fixtures from some of my site partners and friends. Of course no one really needs to buy expensive wall brackets for vertical gardens. I’ve seen many versions of it, even the basic trellis would do. But it’s good to have options, especially the one by Gronomics because it has built in pipes for easy irrigation. I’m also loving the quirky planters from Kenneth Cobonpue’s Hive.


collage garden


1 Gronomics Vertical Garden from Target

2 Sugar Cone Wall Planter from Anthropologie

3 Plantscape Vertical Garden from Target

4 Boulders Table Planters by Jinggoy Buensuceso at Hive

5 Animal Farm by Kenneth Cobonpue at Hive