Christmas Gift Ideas



So here we go again. It’s mid-December. Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Or are you in a panic? Don’t be.

I was actually a bit more organized this year. I stocked up on pieces that I knew were giftable while shopping for myself at SM Home. I also went on a short trip to Barcelona. It’s for a special TV project that will air in January. More on that later. I knew I’d be gone, so I got most of my shopping done a couple of weeks ago.

Since this was the year I conquered the kitchen (yes!), I focused on shopping around this theme. I figured my friends and family could always use trays, containers, serving dishes, cookware etc. I was amazed at the wide range and assortment of gift items like in the bed and bath section, kitchen tools, home decor and accents at SM Home. What makes it even better, is the affordable price range. I also love the way SM home is organized now. If you’ve been to the Makati, Aura, and MOA stores lately, you’d know what I mean. All like objects are in the same place, neatly arranged in colour blocking.

Here are a few gift ideas that I’ve picked out from a few days of shopping. Hope you find something here…


For teachers, co-workers, students, staff, these stainless steel lunch kits will always come in handy all year round. Each has a handle which makes it very easy to be brought by kids or adults. It’s big enough to store warm rice and the double decker version is perfect to hold a main dish separately. Look at the friendly prices — two layers P399.75, one layer P249.75. To give it some personal touches, fill the lunch kits with packs of candies, cookies, chocolates when you give it as a gift.


For your couple friends, family friends, colleagues and associates who matter. Chip n’Dip Serveware P699.75. Again, to add that personal touch, include a bag of good quality tortilla chips and some salsa. Homemade would be good. I would also throw in some tea towels or gingham print napkins (plenty at SM Home). Wrap all of them in a basket with cellophane. Chic!


For your couple friends, wedding godparents, business associate, a special kris kringle event, or your parents. Perfect for entertaining throughout the holiday season with pica-pica or cocktail party food. It packs away flat, yay! Keizo 3-tier square service set P1299.75


For your good friends who are domestic divas, mommies, hobbyists, give them this Westinghouse Mini Donut Maker, P1099.75. You or your recipient can enjoy fresh baked homemade donuts with the mini donut maker without frying. My kids love anything miniature, so this will definitely be a hit with them. It has uniquely designed donut holes on non-stick plates that create 7 delicious donuts in under 4-6 minutes. This is a healthier alternative to store-bought donuts which are deep fried. You can also control the ingredients of your batter.


I’ll be posting more gift ideas in my Instagram at @DaphneOP throughout the next couple of weeks. I’ll be going back for more items this week. Will post more good finds.


SM Home is located at The SM Store. For regular updates, please follow SM Home on Twitter at @SMHome_Ph, on Instagram at @SMHome, and on Facebook at SM Home



The homefront





It’s been a while since I posted stories about my home and my family. I have to admit that this blog has taken on a different turn from what it used to be like. I remember when my blog was still Daphne’s Diary and only a handful of people were blogging, it was filled with random little nothings about my life. And you were all there to keep me company. As the blog grew, it somehow became a product of my “work” like part of the official brand DAPHNE®. Collaborations came in and with top retailers! The luxury bed linen line with SM Homeworld and Our Home, my furniture line that retailed in Rustan’s and Dimensione, and of course my pride and joy, the DAPHNE x Bench collaboration. I am so grateful and still floored that all that happened and continues to happen. Hint, hint.

Somewhere along the line I feel like I detached myself from the blog a bit too much though. Or am I over-analyzing? Maybe it was because Instagram became too accessible that all my little random diary entries went there instead of here. I didn’t find time to sit down and actually write. Heck, I even stopped using my micro four-thirds camera and DSLR. Today I am drowning in press kits, product samples, event invitations which I appreciate but I also feel like that’s not just what Daphne’s Diary is about. Yes, I talk about products, but I used to share more stories about things I’ve discovered or learned without any marketing or PR activity involved. All authentic stuff. I feel like I owe it to you and myself to get back to my roots. At the very least, all my marketing campaigns are identified. And I also have not partnered with nor supported any campaign that didn’t fit in with my aesthetic and principles. I have declined quite a few.

So I will attempt to balance — business and real life. And please let me know how you feel about it. This is not and never was a mommy blog. So I’m not going that direction. I’m also not an expert on food but admittedly, I am in the process of discovering my inner home-cook talents. Join me on that discovery process. Travel is also a big part of our lives now. Though my 10-week stay in Toronto last year almost went un-blogged. There’s so much I didn’t share about that trip because I was so busy living life at the present moment. Design is still in my vocabulary especially since we are working at doing more home tours. Health, wellness and spirituality make up a huge chunk of my new life now. I won’t preach, but I may tell stories from this journey. Then there will be little anecdotes about my daughters. When I started blogging, I had only one kid. I was pregnant with my second baby, Lily. Now these girls are growing into their own versions of themselves. I’d like to include some of their stories in my blog. Of course security and privacy is an issue, so I can only do so to a point that we are comfortable with.

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a lot of noise out there. I want this site to continue to be my happy place so I’m regrouping and things are going to change. You are always welcome here.

I just did a fun shoot at home with Xeng Zulueta as the makeup artist and Sandro Paredes as photographer. Xeng and I have worked with each other for a long time. She did some of my most amazing cover shoots. This was totally random and fun. We didn’t even have a hairstylist. I just washed and dried my hair myself. Sorry for the unkempt hair.

But this is what real life is like at home — minus the false lashes.


This is the hallway where my girls’ little feet stomp all over. The house is never quiet when we are home. It is filled with voices, footsteps and laughter. All three daughters are wearing Gingersnaps. My dress is from Sfera, shoes are Repetto.


My masterpiece. Haha. I worked with Rafael Calero of Kitchen Studio. He executed all the ideas I wanted and presented me with more options that I didn’t know existed. I’m loving my kitchen floors. These are treated wood from Matwood. Rafael stained them a certain way so they wouldn’t look too red. In real life they’re lighter. I’m particularly proud of my ceiling. I had this brilliant idea of knocking down the existing ceiling and exposing the roof and beams. But at the time, I didn’t know what lay beneath the ceiling lining. Surprise, surprise… a beautiful structural beam. Oops, it’s hardly in photo. I must show it to you at another occasion.


My kitchen took forever to finish. The reason was because my sink had to be brought in from Kohler, Wisconsin. Yes, Kohler is not only a brand but also a place. It is beautiful. Here are stories from when I visited the Kohler sites in Kohler, Wisconsin. My sink is made of enamelled cast iron. I absolutely love it. P.S. We had to make adjustments to the cabinetry in order to make the sink fit. We initially didn’t know we could have this sink, until I had a “love affair” with the brand officially. My windows are pretty special too. It’s a huge treat to have new windows like this. These are tempered glass and PVC from a German brand called Veka from Fourlinq. As many of you know, the rest of the house has wooden capiz windows. Balance and irony. Haha. Oh, if you’d like to see the video of my kitchen renovation, click here. Top from Sfera, jeans from Uniqlo, shoes from Repetto.


My throne. Seriously. Because every woman must be the queen of her home. Ha!


This Raina chair was a special birthday gift to me by Vito Selma. He sent it to my house right after he showed it in Manila Fame, March of this year. It is, by far, the largest present I’ve ever received. Look at it going through our door on Instagram. I love it! And I adore Vito!  P.S. Dress is from Sfera.


Oh dear, the kitchen beam is still not visible in this photo. Oh well. Here are my three bunnies. We purposely bought three un-matching stools. You can see a bit of a mess behind me. Proof that the kitchen is not “for show.” It’s a real working kitchen. Perhaps only Pinoys will know what I mean about that. Haha. So we dressed up a bit in this shot. I’m wearing a silk dress I bought in Bali from Magali Pascal. Sophia is wearing Rajito by Rajo Laurel. Lily and Stella are wearing Gingersnaps.


The most photographed part of our house is the red door. Every time I have press people over they think they have the “money shot” with the red door. I have to disclose that it’s been done many times. I can actually do an entire series just filled with red door shots! Hmmm, that’s an idea. Future blog entry perhaps. Well, the story here is that the house is really old. It’s the house my husband grew up in. And when we got married, we wanted to give it a bit of a facelift, but slowly. So we began with paint. I wanted red from day one. We also played with colour inside the house — pink hallway, green living room. My advice is, if you don’t have much budget but you want to give your home a boost, start with paint. Don’t be afraid of colour.


All photos by Sandro Paredes.
Make up by Xeng Zulueta.



Our Sweet Christmas



sweet 2


I know Christmas starts early in the Philippines. I have friends who put up their Christmas trees on September 1st! As they say, Christmas starts during the “-ber” months. But in our home, we’ve always put up our tree on the first or second weekend of December.

Well this year, we are doing things differently in the Paez house. For one, we have a brand new tree. And secondly, we are trying new ornaments. You know how much we love our old ornaments. They all have a story. They all have sentimental value. Some are precious hand-blown glass and brass balls. (Breakage is always part of annual Christmas memories.) We are keeping them and bringing some out. But for the first time we are doing a themed Christmas tree!

A few days before Halloween, I was walking by the SM Store and couldn’t resist the Christmas decorations. So I went inside and found myself in the Christmas wonderland-like setting at SM Home. They had a wide range of Christmas decor, arranged by colour and themes. They had classic and sophisticated ornaments, cute cartoony Santa decor, toy-inspired accessories, and kiddie versions of Christmas trinkets.


I saw this Christmas candy-themed tree at SM Home. I took a mental note (and stole a phone pic) of the cute peppermint candies!! Inspiration can strike anytime and anywhere.


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Then I checked out their Instagram account at @SMhome and found the cutest ornaments. Cupcakes, donuts, ice cream cones! It would go perfectly with the peppermint candies. So I made an executive decision to go with an all-new theme this year. After all, life was extremely sweet for us this year. The kids and Patrick loved it!


I thought that the “Sweet Treats” collection would stand out better on either a white tree or a “snow”-capped tree. Yay for artificial trees. Let it snow!


Look at our new cupcake ornaments!


Soph calls this “dippin’ dots.”


Big fat balls, colourful cupcakes, plastic mini donuts and ice cream cones! All so light!


Stella was my little elf.


She was so good with distributing the ornaments evenly. We had to stop after a few hangings ’til Lily and Sophia could join us.


I only got to hang the ones on top. The girls did everything else. This is the most kid-friendly tree we’ve had. All the ornaments were so light and nothing was breakable.


Our tree is full!


All done!!! But we still need a tree topper. Any suggestions?


Check out the different Christmas ornaments and accessories at SM Home at The SM Store. Follow them Facebook at SM Home, Instagram @smhome, and Twitter @SMHome_PH for more information and inspiration.



Giulio Cappellini



It’s hard to believe that it’s already been almost two years since I hosted the launch of Cappellini in Manila. It felt like just a year ago. The Cappellini showroom in One Parkade Bonifacio High Street houses some of the most beautifully crafted furniture from the world’s top designers.


Me and Mr Giulio Cappellini at the Nov 2012 launch of the Cappellini showroom in Taguig, Metro Manila.


Cappellini was brought to Manila by Studio Dimensione of Suyen Corporation.


Founded in 1946, Cappellini has become synonymous with contemporary, avant-garde design. Over the years it has launched some of the world’s greatest designers, producing innovative and high quality furnishings. Photo above is of the Showroom at Bonifacio High Street.


Last Nov 2012, Mr Cappellini signed a few key pieces.


A couple of Saturdays ago, Bryan Lim of Suyen Corporation invited me to dinner with Mr Giulio Cappellini. He said it would be a small intimate dinner. It was a wonderful evening with the country’s top architects!


I was seated beside Lucy Torres-Gomez and Anthony Yupangco on this end of the table, across from Ben Chan and Bryan.


My “good-girl” friends from Summit – Alicia Colby Sy & Yvette Fernandez with Kai Lim and Becky Kho of Elle Decoration. I say “good-girl” because Yvette always points that out when we are together. Haha.


With the most beautiful couple in the land, Lucy and Richard.


Ed Calma, Bryan Lim, Ben Chan and Miguel Pastor. These photos (except for the low light phone cam pics) are all from Miguel.)


With Kai, Barbie Pardo and Alicia. (Thought bubble, Kai’s earrings are gorgeous. They look to me like emerald beads. I’m sure they are.)


Mr Giulio Cappellini and me. He signed a miniature paper replica of a Cappellini chair. How I wish my Cappellini chair at home was signed. But I actually have a signed certificate from Marcel Wanders, c/o Studio Dimensione. But that’s another story.


The kindness sandwich – Ben Chan and Lucy Torres Gomez. I am not exaggerating. They are the kindest people I know.


Bryan and Chut Cuerva


Mr Cappellini with architects Ramon Antonio and Gil Coscolluela


Conrad Onglao and the gorgeous Zsa Zsa Padilla


Blackbird at Nielson Tower.


01  Meltdown Floor Lamp by Johan Lindsten;  02 Peg Letto by Nendo;  03 Jacob Wagner ‘s Branch bronzo table;  04 Jasper Morrison’s Monforte.


01 Nendo’s Peg Column;  02 Piero Lissoni’s Lochness;  03  Shiro Kuramata’s Steel Pipe Drink Trolley;  04 Nendo’s Peg Sedia.


01  Jasper Morrison’s Cap Chair;  02 Giulio Cappellini’s Brest uva e champagne; 03 Jasper Morrison’s Thinking Man’s Chair Limited.


Cappellini is at One Parkade, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, Philippines.



My day at Google



I was in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago to attend the BlogHer conference. Since I had a few days to spare and shopping wasn’t really the goal of the trip, I thought, why not try to get a tour of Google Campus? It is, after all, said to be one of the best companies to work for. And who hasn’t seen the movie The Internship?

So I did some research and found out that one has to be an invited and registered guest in order to get a tour of Google Campus in Mountain View, CA. The setting of the Google offices are spread out like a university campus, hence the popular reference as the “Google Campus.” It is huge. Like in North American universities, anyone can drive or walk through the campus and see the buildings. But you can’t gain access to the buildings unless you are a registered guest.

I found my way to Google through my friend Eliza Romualdez Valtos, who, through her husband Billy, asked a friend in Silicon Valley for a Google contact. One thing led to another and I got connected with Shrikand, who works for Google Chrome. My childhood friend Nina Carino drove me to Mountain View and joined our little tour. Security was strict. We needed to sign in and agree to some conditions.



Google Building 43, part of Googleplex.


The Google Campus is set in the quiet town of Mountain View, California. Lots of big trees and bike lanes.


We walked through so many buildings. Here’s a section of Building 43.


Googleplex Map1
I met my host at Google Building 1950


Googleplex Map2
The compound sprawled further. We walked up to the pond area. Then rode the bike on our way back.


So here’s the real “Google Drive”


Very bike-friendly.


Everywhere you look, you see the Google colours.


Adirondack chairs everywhere. I think it’s to get the Googlers’ mindset into a more relaxed state.


With our very patient host, Shrikand.


This is Googleplex. It’s exactly what they showed in the movie The Internship. Here there is a sculpture garden and outdoor cafe.


Public art everywhere. Here is the famous Google dinosaur statue. Apparently the Google founders bought it as a reminder for Googlers not to let the company become extinct like a dinosaur.


Plastic pink flamingos strewn all over the dinosaur.


More public art.


Don’t let those yellow and blue Muskoka Adirondack chairs fool you…


It’s THIS big.


We went to the Android building.


This is where all the Android operating systems are created. There is a sculpture for every Android operating system like Cupcake, Honeycomb, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.


There’s the newest Android baby, KitKat. At this part I saw a lot of visitors. Some were probably kids from the nearby houses. Though it seems to be a destination for curious tourists, there are no official tours as of yet. It’s not exactly open to the public, so like I mentioned above, you still have to be an invited and registered guest.


In my few days in Silicon Valley I was so dependent on car rides from friends like Nina and Gari Camaisa (more on our sightseeing at later posts). California and mass transit don’t really mix. So naturally, a lot of Googlers drive to work. Good to see that a lot of them drive electric cars. Here’s one of the many electric recharging stations on the Google Campus.


Of course I would like to highlight this. One of the Google employees told me that they have very good daycare facilities for employees kids.


We also saw one self-driving car!!


The sight of Googlers on bicycles made me giddy. Gosh that movie. Stop it already.


In keeping with the brand’s identity, all the Google bikes had the bright Google colours. They were just parked outside every building. No one owns a particular bike. You are free to use one to get from A to B.


So of course I had to get this photo for the books. Initially it was just a photo op. But really, after having walked the entire stretch of the campus, I asked Shrikand if we could just bike back to our initial meeting place.


So this is me in the real bike that I rode. I loved it! I wasn’t exactly dressed for it, wearing a dress and French Sole flats. But I had to get from A to B. Loved the feeling!!


These bikes were so much fun.


Saw this conference bike parked outside. It’s a circular bike for 7 people. One person steers and six pedal (or not).


Yes there really is an airplane/space ship inside one of the buildings. These next few photos are by my friend Lylah Juinio, who went to visit with her family a day after I did.


And yes it’s true, all Google employees get free food and drinks. All meals are free. All. Photo by Lylah Juinio


There are over 40 cafes in the Google Campus. My friend took us to the biggest one in Googleplex. This one had various themed cuisines – Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican, American grill etc. And don’t expect your typical cafeteria food. They have gourmet chefs designing the menu.


My lunch. After getting a slice of ham and really good gourmet pizza, I lined up for a burrito.


Sorry for the shaky photo. I was balancing my tray. The pizzas were so good.


Pho soup and some dumplings


This isn’t the first playful office space I’ve seen. Locally there was the P&G head office that had sleep pods and spa treatments. Google had all that too. Here’s one with a pool table. Photo by Lylah Juinio


Some of the services for employees. Photo by Lylah Juinio


They’re big on composting and segregating waste. Yes!


The Google store where I bought some Tshirts and pens. It isn’t open to the public. You need an employee to bring you in. But if you really want Google merchandise you can purchase them all online in the Google shop.


So that’s how my Googliest day went.



* My trip to Silicon Valley in California was sponsored by EVA Air. Travel arrangements by Jeron Travel.

All my photos are taken from a Samsung Galaxy Camera 2. I love that it is directly linked to the Google cloud and all my photos are stored automatically.