6 Hacks for a Chic Life

 

 

When I wrote my book CHIC: Tips on Life, Style, and Work, I shared stories about my life and my home. I gave tips on travel, food, fashion. I had no idea my publishers would give the book its title. To be chic is something I never attempted to attain. I always felt very under-chic myself. It’s a big word. All my life, I’ve always worked with what I have. But I did learn a few tricks along the way – from my mother, my friends, and the world that I move around in. And at my age, I know that being “chic” doesn’t just mean fashion or style. It’s how you live.

Last Christmas, I had an unplanned little get-together in my home. I was not prepared at all – no catered dishes, no fresh flowers, no nothing. So I rushed to S&R and tried to find things that would help “chicify” my tablescape. We somehow achieved it.

But living a CHIC life isn’t all about appearances. It is also about the invisible and smart choices you make – the ones that give you and your family a lot of comfort, good health, and an ease that seems so natural. It takes effort though.

Here is my attempt to share with you some tricks for an apparent chic home. Most of the tips I share contain products that will be on sale at the  S&R Members’ Treat on September 27, 2017 until October 01, 2017 in all S&R warehouse clubs nationwide!

 

1. Use pedestal trays, glass domes, and wooden blocks for instant chic on your table.

 

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Store-bought baked goods and cold-cuts look instantly chic when placed on glass pedestal trays. Glass domes make cupcakes look instantly chic. Holiday cookies double up as colorful decor to spruce up your table.

 

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Holiday cookies from S&R

 

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These cookie tins are always good to have in your pantry. They’re good for “just in case” and unplanned entertaining at home. They also make pretty gifts. I love cookie tins — I use them as storage containers. These are on sale at the S&R Members Treat.

 

 

2. Aim for a healthy breakfast. Ok, so we love our bacon and corned beef. But we consciously limit them to a few times a month. We make an effort to start the day right with fruit or green juice, plus our cereals and grains. Here’s an example of a recipe I shared in my book.

 

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Chia seed pudding. You can use yoghurt, milk, or coconut or almond milk. Store it in the fridge over night. They’re nice and chewy the next morning.

 

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Overnight oats make for great breakfast or healthy snacks. Just layer oats, yoghurt, flaxseed, chia seed, and top off with fruit or maple syrup.

 

Chia seeds, flaxseed meal, oats, yogurt, and maple syrup. Its so good. I made it for my snack tomorrow but it tasted so good, Soph and I ate it tonight as dessert. #daphneskitchen
We’re Canadian and we love our maple syrup. The kids love overnight oats.

 

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Watch out for Dad D Pak Quick Oats at the S&R Members Treat sale. Oh look, they’re from the Canadian Prairies. Yay.

 

 

3. Use non-toxic laundry detergent. Since I am making a huge effort to detoxify our home – for my kids who have asthma, and for myself with possible hormone issues – I carefully choose our laundry products. This means less bubbles and no artificial scents. It takes a while to convert the whole household to believe in such products. We’ve been programmed to believe that bubbles equals cleansing. But really, bubbles just mean there’s a lot of detergent in the product. Luckily we have these in Manila now, via S&R.

 

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Here’s what I use at home. It isn’t cheap. So I stock up on them when they are on sale.

 

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Speaking of sale… Yay! These are included at the S&R Members Treat.

 

 

4. Always have spreads and good quality syrups at home.

 

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You can use them as snack toppings, or if you’re like me, I actually try to make homemade ice cream. Spreads and syrups do well as flavouring on dairy ice cream. Or you can simply use them as bread or biscuit spreads, or coffee flavouring.

 

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Heads up! Fundelina and Bickford’s are on sale at the S&R Members Treat event.

 

 

5. Fancy, not so fancy chips. I honestly am not a big junkfood snacker. I can do without potato chips with its salt and artificial flavouring. But if it has sea salt, herbs, natural flavour, and definitely no MSG, then I’ll take them.

 

Love these root chips. Purple & orange sweet potatoes, taro & cassava with sea salt. Sooo good! #glutenfree #notransfat
I discovered these fancy chips in S&R, I got hooked. These root chips seem to be the healthier choice – sweet potato, cassava, purple potato. Yum.

 

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These are good. Original Taro Chips. Look for them at the S&R Members Treat. (packaging may be different).

 

 

6. Chic people ride bikes. Or maybe not. Sometimes. Well, in a perfect world, we would all be wearing minimalist-style clothing and biking to and from work — like in Japan or the Netherlands. My husband is quite the bike guy. He is well-respected by his bike peers, (quite the connoisseur, I hear). So naturally our girls are growing up as bikers too.

 

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Sophia and Lily love their bikes. Stella is still transitioning to a big bike.

 

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I’ve always been riding a bike. I even had a horrible accident when I was 8 years old which left me with 16 stitches across my forehead. That’s in my book, by the way. I never stopped loving biking, but now I just do it for leisure because I’m terrified of too much sun exposure (my skin). Here’s a photo of me biking in the Google campus in California a few years ago. My husband thinks I liked biking there just because it felt like the entire outdoors had an air conditioner on — around 19 degrees. I think so.

 

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Patrick’s bicycle-themed cake.

 

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At the S&R Members Treat, this Schwinn Volare 1300 road bike is on sale.

 

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you liked my little list that I made. Let me know if you have suggestions for other lists I can compile for you.

The most eagerly anticipated S&R Members’ Treat is happening this September 27, 2017 until October 01, 2017 in all S&R warehouse clubs nationwide!

S&R Members will get five whole days of big value and even bigger savings, with Buy 1 Take 1 deals, Buy 2 Take 2 deals and price reductions of up to 50% off on lots and lots of S&R items – from grocery staples like breakfast essentials, baon goodies, yummy baked goodies, imported treats, to various gift items, housewares, towels and linens, and even select appliances – exclusive to all S&R members.

S&R currently has 13 warehouse clubs nationwide:

BGC (Taguig City)Aseana (Pasay City), Congressional (Quezon City), Alabang (Muntinlupa City), Shaw (Mandaluyong City), Cebu, Pampanga, Imus (Cavite), Nuvali (Laguna), Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and the recently opened; S&R Commonwealth (Quezon City)

Doors will open as early as 08:00AM until 09:00PM!

For more information S&R Membership Shopping on Facebook, S&R Official on Instagram, and S&R on Twitter

 

 

 

My Dyson Pure Cool Link

 

 

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The Dyson Pure Cool Link has made our home healthier and safer.

 

Last November, I got a phone call from the doctor in my daughters’ school. She asked me to pick up my daughter (I won’t identify which one, to respect her privacy) because she was wheezing and having difficulty breathing. We had been warned by the pediatrician that she could develop asthma, there were already telling signs but it was too soon to diagnose. I quickly went to the school and brought her medication. We have been on asthma alert ever since.

Any parent of a child with asthma or severe allergies can tell you that we do whatever we can to prevent episodes and attacks. The most common intervention is to get rid of dust. This involves constant cleaning of your home environment. But there are so many allergens that are invisible to the eye. These can aggravate allergies or worse, can even enter your bloodstream.

Last Christmas, I received the Dyson Pure Cool Link purifier fan. As the name suggests it is a fan and air purifier in one. This is the first Dyson product in our home. And I can’t tell you enough how excited I am to finally own a Dyson – their products are not just technological breakthroughs, but also major triumphs in design.

I just love that the Dyson Pure Cool Link automatically removes 99.95% of indoor allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns from the air. Just to give you an idea of what 0.1 microns means – these are particles that are 1,000 times smaller than a single strand of human hair. These particles are so small it can penetrate the bloodstream and cause respiratory diseases.

The Pure Cool Link is a well-designed vertical bladeless fan with a sleek cylindrical air purifier at the base. It has a small footprint – not bulky at all. Its sleek design goes well with any style of interiors. We’ve seen them usually in new, modern homes. But as you will see, it looks great even beside our antiques and tropical furniture.

 

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Stella was amazed at the fan. Finally she won’t be risking hurting her little fingers. The air she breathes from the Pure Cool Link has been removed of toxic fumes and odours.

 

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The remote control has the simplest and easiest buttons. Nothing frustrates me more than a remote control that I don’t understand. With the Pure Cool Link, you simply turn on the power button and control the strength and circulation. It has 10 airflow settings and an automatic night-time mode for the lightest sleepers.

 

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I love that you can rest the remote control on the fan, and it becomes one with the silhouette. That magnetized surface is perfect for storing the remote control.

 

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The Dyson Link app can automatically monitor the air quality of the room. You can use it to control the air purifier and fan from a remote location.

 

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I downloaded the Dyson Link app so we can see the air quality and purify the air in the room even before we get back home.

 

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Of course I had to try it from outside the house.

 

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The app monitors indoor and outdoor air quality. You can also check your usage and air quality history.

 

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Patrick sent me a screenshot of the app while he was at his office.

 

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Since indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outside (due to trapped air), we maximize the use of the Pure Cool Link by moving it around the house. Here it is in our bedroom.

 

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My tiny desk in our bedroom. Yes I have succumbed to working from the bedroom. But we will change this in 2017. I believe the bedroom should be just for resting. The Dyson Pure Cool Link has such a small footprint that it can stand anywhere a letter sized paper can fit.

 

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This uses a Dyson 360 Glass HEPA filter. It has a layer of activated carbon granules that captures odours and harmful toxins like paint fumes. The Glass HEPA filter is the reason it can stop even 0.1 microns of pollutants, as it has borosilicate fibres that are densely compacted and woven together. The filter lasts one year if you use the machine 12 hours a day.

 

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My kids are crazy into art and books. This afternoon I kept the Pure Cool Link on in the family room, so when they come home from school, the air is purified. The sensors inside the machine detects changes in home conditions. So every time I move it to a different location, it analyzes the air quality first, then cleans it.

 

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In the kids’ bedroom. The Pure Cool Link removes pollen and allergens, bacteria and mold, industrial and auto emissions, odours and fumes, ultra fine particles, and pet dander.

 

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The simplest and easiest interface on a remote control.

 

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It looks great in our family room. It can be damp in this part of the house. The machine can detect high levels of humidity and prevent poorly ventilated areas from accumulating excessive mould.

 

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Even scented candles, anti-perspirant, and household cleansers can contribute to poor air quality. We don’t have furry pets, but for those who do, the Dyson Pure Cool Link can get rid of pet dander to prevent allergies on humans.

 

For more information on Dyson Pure Cool Link, visit the Dyson concept store in Greenbelt 5 and in Century City Mall, Rustan’s Makati, and SM Mall of Asia.

 

 

Baby Foot

 

 

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Our site partners at Beauty Box Corporation sent me some samples of Baby Foot, Japan’s revolutionary foot peeling kit. As the name suggests, it promises to leave your feet as smooth and soft as a baby’s. It has a unique formula of 17 types of natural extract that will allow your feet to exfoliate naturally, leaving them moisturized. I was curious. But before trying it out, I needed to read up on it. In the brand’s main website and Instagram, I saw photos of feet peeling. I nearly lost my appetite. Haha.

So I read up some more. Baby Foot contains natural extracts like Apple, Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit citrus oils, Calendula, Clematis leaf and Chamomile. These have high moisturizing power and astringency, leaving the sole smooth after peeling dead skin layers. The main ingredient of Baby Foot is Fruit Acid or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which has been used as a remedy for the elimination of bacteria, inflammation and psoriasis for several hundreds of years. These days, it is commonly formulated for facial cleansing and peeling to support the texture of the skin by removing the dead skin layers and beautifying and improving the skin. (Source.)

The product doesn’t work instantly. You basically have to soak your feet in wet socks loaded with peeling extracts for 30 minutes. Then you can start seeing your dead skin peel off from three to seven days. The peeling process takes up to 2 weeks. If you want to see foot peeling photos, go here.

Baby Foot has won numerous awards from beauty authorities around the world. It was recently featured and reviewed in Vogue, Today, and Refinery 29, all giving this product rave reviews.

 

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Baby Foot comes in Medium and Large size. I used Medium (size 7.5) which retails for P830 in Beauty Bar. Each box comes with a vacuum sealed foil pack containing two plastic socks soaked with peeling formula. Instructions are mostly in Japanese, but the local distributor provides English translations.

 

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The foil pack lists the ingredients.

 

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Here is the plastic sock. It is sealed, so you must cut off the top end with a pair of scissors.

 

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You must have clean feet. And it is advised that you pre-soak your feet in water for about 10 minutes. Or take a bath or shower before you do the treatment. Your feet will absorb the formula easier if it’s pre-soaked.

 

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The gel is a bit cold. They recommend that you wear socks over it to keep the gel pack in place. If you really must walk from A to B, please do so with caution as the gel pack is slippery. I didn’t move.

 

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I kept it on for 30 minutes. Then I rinsed it off completely. My feet were a bit tingly the rest of the day. But no visible peeling happened, as expected. The peeling took place 5 days later.

 

In the interest of protecting my future career and endorsements, I am not posting photos of my own peeling feet. Haha. Please. But it did happen gently. Mine was like a powdery peel. You will see in the website of Baby Foot that peeling occurs in different ways. Some dead skin really peel off in one whole chunk. You must avoid the temptation of peeling the skin yourself. Just wait patiently for the skin to fall off.

What happens after you use Baby Foot is exactly what the product claims. You will have the softest and smoothest feet – with all new skin. This sensation lasts for about three months. You must take care of your feet by putting moisturizer after. This beats any tough sloughing process using metal shavers of pumice stones.

 

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This is not my foot. Photo is from Baby Foot Philippines’ files.

 

For more information, check out Baby Foot Philippines on Facebook and Instagram. Baby Foot is available exclusively at Beauty Bar.

Uniqlo comfort beauty

 

 

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A couple of months ago, I stocked up on some new dresses and separates from our sponsor, Uniqlo. I have been editing down my closet because what I needed 10 years ago isn’t what I need now. I pretty much live in basic clothes every day except if I have a function to attend. I was pleased to find some finer fabrics for work clothes this season.

In addition to the new wardrobe, I stocked up on some new inner wear. Uniqlo’s Comfort Beauty line has become a staple in my closet. The bras are so well-made and comfortable. Big plus that they are wireless, yet they offer good support. And I especially appreciate the skin-tone because it gives a good foundation to whatever clothing you put on.

It took a while for me to put this blog post up because I didn’t do a conceptualized photoshoot. Instead I documented my everyday life wearing some of the Uniqlo pieces that I got. Needless to say, in all of them, I am wearing Uniqlo’s Comfort Beauty undergarments.

 

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One of their best dresses this season (01). It comes with a separate camisole. Made of light rayon, it is so comfortable for our climate. This was taken at the lobby of the Raffles Makati.

 

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It’s that same black dress (01) that I love so much, I’ve been wearing it often. This was at the reception area of Flame in Discovery Primea.

 

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Daily life – messy hair, no make up, a loose dress (11) and Birkenstocks. This dress is so flexible you can wear it dressy or like me, for every day errands.

 

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At a Happy Skin event, wearing that black shift dress (04).

 

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These are Comfort Beauty bras that form the foundation of a good wardrobe.

 

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I also love this blush pink pleated dress (06). It’s similar to the long sleeve black dress. I wore this at a Lego event that UNICEF supported.

 

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Wore this (06) quite often. Here with best-selling author Anna Todd (who has over 1 billion reads in Wattpad) at the National Book Store writer’s fair.

 

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And in a corner of my home, wearing a comfy dress with built in bra pads (05).

 

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My favourite uniform – the white shirt (10). This was the day I got my hair cut by Alex Carbonell in Studio Fix Greenbelt 5.

 

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With my friend, Divine Gil-Reyes, who just wrote an entertaining and attractive history book, A Lolong Time Ago. My blue shirt (13) is from Uniqlo.

 

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This white eyelet dress is so comfy. It comes with a detachable camisole. Im thinking of getting it in black too. This was at Rockwell cinema.

 

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This photo was sent to me by reader, Jill Ramirez. I was running an errand and she introduced herself. Lovely to meet you, Jill. So about my blush cotton top (09), it’s so comfy and chic I can live in it daily.

 

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This is the reason Comfort Beauty bras are so, well…. comfy.

 

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And this is how Uniqlo works with built-in bras in their tops and dresses.

 

 

Coffee, the De’Longhi way

 

 

DELONGHI

 

We take coffee seriously in our house. Patrick is very particular about the brewing process, the type of beans, the way they’re roasted, how they’re poured. We used to have an espresso coffee machine with special plastic pods of ground coffee. But after using it for a while, we felt guilty about the amount of trash it produced. Those plastic pods end up polluting the seas even if they promise to be biodegradable. So we went the extreme opposite and handcrafted every cup of coffee.

 

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Patrick’s daily love offering to me is my morning coffee. Haha. Because I missed the convenience of a coffee machine, he promised he would make my coffee for me. And he did everything from scratch. Newly roasted coffee beans (bought in small batches to ensure freshness) was ground by hand and poured over a canvas sieve.

 

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My kitchen started to look like a science lab. Sometimes Patrick used his Japanese siphon. These coffee stories made it to my book, CHIC, Tips on Life, Style, and Work. Sophia drew all the illustrations of her dad’s coffee paraphernalia.

 

A few months ago, I got a call from Anj Imperial, PR of Concept Specialist Inc. She asked me if I was interested to visit the De’Longhi showroom and see their newest top of the line machine – the PrimaDonna Elite. Before she continued, I had to ask her, “Does the machine use pods? Because if so, we won’t be interested because it produces too much garbage.” She said it does not. It uses whole or ground beans. And it has a built-in grinder. She told me more about the brand and that they had other kitchen appliances. So I made that special trip to Quezon City.

 

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At the De’Longhi showroom in Quezon City where I met Anj and the GM Joenie Hung.

 

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We talked all about coffee.

 

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I was introduced to the new PrimaDonna Elite which was then just about to launch. Since I wasn’t going to attend the launch because of a trip to Tokyo, they gave me a private preview and demo.

 

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The PrimaDonna Elite has an intuitive interface – 4.3” colour touch display – making it easy to choose any of the preferred coffee-based beverages in one touch.

 

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This is the PrimaDonna Elite. That carafe on the right is for hot chocolate.

 

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With the coloured touch display of the PrimaDonna Elite, you can personalise any drink to perfectly match any taste. You can also set-up your own personal profile by memorising ideal aroma, as well as temperature and quantity of coffee and milk for each drink.

 

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Perhaps what makes the PrimaDonna Elite even more special is that you can control the machine remotely by using your cellphone. Just download the Coffee Link App.

 

P7130052PrimaDonna Elite is the first De’Longhi machine with connectivity. You can select your favourite drinks, create new recipes with complete freedom and discover infinite personalizations.

 

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The De’Longhi LatteCrema System ensures dense and creamy milk froth with a silky smooth texture for any of the coffee-based milk drinks. The LatteCrema System always delivers best in-cup result: the perfect density – the perfect creaminess – at the perfect temperature, until the last drop.

 

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And here I was thinking I had given up milk-based coffee. After tasting the milk froth of the De’Longhi machine, I’m back to drinking cappuccinos and flat whites.

 

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Look at the layers and gradation. This machine allows you to create your favourite cup of coffee with exceptional standards, just like a Barista.

 

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With a De’Longhi bean-to-cup coffee maker, you can quickly and easily enjoy the experience of a perfect Italian espresso at home. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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Each time you make coffee, it is guaranteed to be fresh because the beans are freshly grounded by the integrated grinder and the professional brewing unit takes care of preparing full-flavoured expressos. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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Imagine all the coffees you can create with just the touch of one button. Latte art, not included. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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De’Longhi’s International Commercial Director for Asia Pacific and Americas, Paul Accornero, together with Concept Specialist Inc.’s President, Joseph Hung, PR Manager Angela Imperial, and celebrity guest, Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo celebrated the launch of De’Longhi PrimaDonna Elite last July 20, 2016.

 

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Judy Ann unveiled the PrimaDonna Elite at an elegant event at the Shangrila Fort.

 

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De’Longhi’s Regional Manager of South East Asia and Pacific, Vincent Cheng teaches Inah Estrada how to do a latte art while TV Host Suzy Entrata looks on.

 

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Tessa Prieto Valdes and Patty Laurel Filart taste hot chocolate.

 

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Broadcasters all in attendance – Julius Babao, Gelli Rivera, Janice de Belen, Tintin Babao, Nelson Canlas, Luanne Dy, Rhea Santos, Nina Corpuz, Lyn Pascual.

 

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Patty Laurel-Filart, Tracy Ayson and Andi Manzano-Reyes

 

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Angel Aquino, Vivian Hung, and Concept Specialist Inc.’s General Manager Joenie Hung.

 

 

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Then it was my turn to welcome De’Longhi in to my home. After our Japan trip, De’Longhi delivered this beautiful PrimaDonna DeLuxe XS.

 

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Unboxing is always a thrill.

 

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PrimaDonna XS DeLuxe is the compact version of the PrimaDonna Elite. It does everything the same way, minus the touch screen, App capability, and chocolate carafe.

 

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Space is an issue in my kitchen. The De’Longhi’s slim, space-saving bean to cup coffee maker sits perfectly in my kitchen counter. It no longer looks like a science lab.

 

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The PrimaDonna DeLuxe XS is so sleek. I love Italian design. Now we can make cappuccino, cafe latte, cafe macchiato, espresso , steamed milk using freshly ground coffee beans. It is so easy to use.

 

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The PrimaDonna Deluxe XS features a patented Autocappuccino System for the perfect cappuccino, latte macchiato, caffe latte and hot milk, automatic cleaning integrated in the froth regulating knob, extra cappuccino device for steam and hot water, personalizing from short, medium or long. You can try a strong or extra mild aroma, enjoy it piping hot, medium or low temperature. The machine can be used with either coffee beans or ground coffee. The coffee bean container can hold 150 gr. There is an active cup warmer with dedicated button. You can prepare two cups of coffee with a single brewing. The coffee grinder has 13 adjustable settings. To top it all off, it is so easy to clean.

 

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Patrick and I are back to using a coffee machine, and not just an ordinary one. We have De’Longhi’s top of the line compact machine. His other coffee gadgets are still there for times he wishes to make hand-crafted coffee, but that doesn’t happen too often.

 

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That visit to the DeLonghi showroom in Quezon City opened up a whole new level for our appreciation of the art of making coffee. I also saw their complete line of kitchen appliances like – low-oil fryer and multi cooker, electric ovens, stylish kettles and toasters, bread makers. I ended up with an amazing mini convection oven that makes bread. Will blog about that next.

 

Concept Specialist Inc. is the official distributor of global brands such as De’Longhi, Sanremo Coffee Machines, Thermoplan and Fetco, and is the first in Asia to launch De’Longhi’s PrimaDonna Elite at the new Shangri-La at the Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

For more information about Concept Specialist Inc. Like De’Longhi Philippines on Facebook and follow @delonghiph on Instagram.

Visit the De’Longhi showroom at 72 Sct. Dr. Lascano, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City and the concept store at D&K Kitchen Essentials at L/G East Wing, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City.