Winner of luxury eyewear from SPEX




Versace eyewear from SPEX Greenbelt 5


This was a fun raffle. We got 920 Facebook likes and many more Tweets (I can’t count the tweets and retweets). After reviewing the comments here in Disqus, I found quite a number of duplicates so we ended up with 671 comments.

According to, the lucky winner is the 32nd commenter. Congratulations Julie Christy Chua!

Next contest will be very very interesting…




One Shangri-la Place Ortigas




Everytime I see a new condo go up – as in see it from scaffolding to construction to the finished product- I always ask my husband, what if we bought that at pre-selling price, we’d have a nice condo now? Then he tells me, “We’re not condo people.” We live in a house that we love, imperfections and all. The only thing we really wish for is more space without having to move. So that’s on our wish list. Meanwhile because our wish is not yet on the market, we’ve bought some land here and there. We have no plans of moving any time soon, just dreams of someday building a home in the countryside or by the beach. We like to dream. Sometimes we play, “what if…” And we always come across the question, “What if we bought a condo, would we choose Makati? Fort? Manila Bay? or Ortigas?” The scenarios we come up with can get crazy.

Real estate is all about location. That famous quote, “location, location, location.” I aced geography in high school and ended up studying urban planning in university. Up to now, I still hear that quote with every real estate developer I talk to. You get the gist. Of course there are other equally-important factors such as the developer’s track record, property management and design.

Last month I was invited to lunch by Shang Properties to introduce me to their new development One Shangri-la Place in Ortigas. I have to be honest, I haven’t been to Shangri-la Plaza in over a year. I’m a southerner remember? I was wondering where this new project was. I was only familiar with The St Francis right beside Shangri-la Plaza. So I was really surprised to see that the project they were about to introduce to me was actually already being constructed. And in terms of location, this one is right smack in the middle of Shangri-la’s cluster of luxury developments.

Here are some photos from their press kit. Quotes from press kit are in bold :


One Shangri-la Place is located between the mall and the hotel where the outdoor parking used to be.


Imagine living here.


To give you an idea of where exactly it is, here’s a map. One Shangrila Place Ortigas is at he center of Shangri-La Place Complex.


One Shangri-La Place will exude the details of luxury living in an urban, cosmopolitan setting. This 60-storey twin tower residential condominium will soon rise at the gateway of the 8.5-hectare Shangri-La integrated community, located at the Ortigas Center business district.

Designed by Palmer and Turner Hong Kong in collaboration with Casas Architects, this new building will capture the best of both worlds – 5-star living and the warmth of home. Over 1,300 residential units will be located atop the six-level retail podium of the Shangri-La expansion, which will have 150 upscale retail and dining options, and is right across the five-star EDSA Shangri-La, Manila, with its world-class Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La.

Recently, One Shangri-La Place unveiled the show suite at Level 1 of Shangri-La Plaza mall. Designed by BTR Hong Kong, the interiors are a mix of several opposing symbolisms – solidity, lightness, coziness, modernity, warmth, and freshness – which when combined, are in fact, complementary. The interior designers said that this is a paradigm that seems to shorten the distance between dreams and achievements, an antidote to the boredom of traditional houses.

As guests enter the showroom, they are greeted by Nero peppering granite walls overlaid with off white silhouette blinds in varying heights and widths. The long central “catwalk” is made of engineered wood flanked by glossy black stone; while the entrance speaks of its own identity, the harmonious space is balanced with richness and luxury.


Residents will take pleasure in the spacious and exquisitely crafted interior design of the unit, complemented by the sleek clean lines of the custom made furnishings and the luxurious feel of the imported European fabrics.


The beech engineered flooring in neutral monochromatic colors complements the wall panels in Santorini veneer and the living room accent wall tiled in limestone in varying depths and dimensions. A painting dominates one end of the room. Behind the kitchen is the maid’s room with a built-in wall-mounted bed, as well as the maid’s bathroom.


The floor-to-ceiling windows in the master’s bedroom show feature cityscapes, as well as a roomy walk0in closet with open fully veneered shelves, panels and cabinets with back lighting, which gives it a neat and efficient look.


The suite’s master’s bath features stone tile flooring accentuated with decorative laminates and elegant fixtures from Toto, his and hers sinks, and a tub and rain shower. Off topic, but this is the part in my show where I say, “secret to a happy marriage… separate lavatories.” It’s a luxury to have this in a condo.


The second bedroom, which can be used as a guest room or den, features cabinets paneled in white leather and an accent wall in a shimmery fabric. A separate toilet and bath also serves as the guest powder room.


The project’s amenities reflect the luxury lifestyle: adult and children’s swimming pools, Jacuzzi, spa, steam room, massage and sauna, karaoke, male and female shower changing rooms, function rooms, children’s play area, gym, fitness rooms, aerobics center, and game rooms.


To know more about the project, check the official website of One Shangri-la Place. Or visit the show suite at Level 1 of Shangri-la Plaza mall.



“Bladeless” LASIK at American Eye Center




American Eye Center in Greenbelt 5


Last Wednesday I attend the American Eye Center’s unveiling of the most advanced laser technology — the Wavelight Refractive Suite or all-Laser or bladeless LASIK surgery. I had done LASIK surgery in 2005 and I’ve written and spoken about this many times. I admit, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but it was also one of the best decisions I’ve made. It completely changed my life. Having bad vision for decades was a major disability for me and it became a hindrance. I remember taking crazy risks like scuba diving with contacts on, only to have my contacts fly out of my eye while riding the boat, leaving me half blind while diving. Grr! And all these crazy lightweight titanium glare-free glasses that weren’t actually glare-free on TV (those made me look too serious anyway). And my baby Sophia grabbing and breaking three eyeglasses. It marked the end of needing specs just to function. Best thing I’ve ever done.


Sharing my experience about LASIK with RJ Ledesma. I wonder if he’s going to get LASIK done. (I wish there was a similar procedure that could LASIK my arms. But I’m an all-natural kind of girl, except with this eye surgery which was necessary.)


American Eye Center had invited me to participate in the press conference by sharing my own experience with LASIK. The media, and I’m sure many of you readers, wanted to know if it hurt. It was completely painless. The worst thing about it was my fear. But the procedure was fast and painless – and I was completely awake. I got perfect vision immediately – after about a 3 hour nap at home. And my vision is still perfect — no, more than perfect — up to now.

The new machine is also LASIK except that it uses an all-laser technology. The one I had still used a blade. But like I said, it was also completely painless and fast. Let me quote from their press kit because it’s highly technical…


The all Laser or bladeless LASIK surgery via the WaveLight Refractive Suite.


The first of its kind in the Philippines, this new equipment is very much in demand in all premier eye centers around the world. Its acquisition by American Eye Center reinforces the latter’s commitment to be at par with global standards of quality and excellence in ophthalmic laser treatment.

The WaveLight Refractive Suite is known as the world’s fastest refractive platform .  It combines two of the most advanced lasers currently available for performing LASIK surgery—the  WaveLight EX500, a 500 Hz repetition excimer laser; and the WaveLight FS200, a 200 kHz Femtosecond laser.

The FS200 femtosecond laser is impressive because of its speed and ability to make the flap that is needed for LASIK surgery.  There is no need for blades.  The surgeon is given the freedom of choice with regard to diameter, shape, thickness, depth, angle and location of the flap according to the individual needs of the patient. Integrating seamlessly with the FS200 is the EX500, the fastest excimer laser in the market operating at 1.4 seconds per diopter of treatment.  It can perform a wide range of customized treatments.

Source: American Eye Center


Dr Alnette Tan, during actual surgery


American Eye doctors with host RJ Ledesma and Magic 89.9 TM DJ Jessica Mendoza, who actually underwent the new all-laser LASIK during the presscon! We all watched live as it happened. And she went on stage minutes after surgery.


Here I am with Dr. Tan and Dr. Cabrera. It was Dr. Tan who performed my surgery in 2005.


The doctors of American Eye Center.


As mentioned in Twitter, American Eye Center is giving away ONE FREE LASIK SURGERY to one of my readers. This giveaway is completely transferrable. So you can give the gift of seeing to someone you care about. I honestly am bogged down with birthday party issues and details, so I haven’t figured out how to do this contest. Should we do it completely at random? Or should you share your stories and leave it up to me to choose. I have no idea. Let me put my kids to bed first and I’ll be back with the contest details.

In the meantime, let me know your thoughts.


EDIT: August 1, 2011 6:51 PM. Contest is now closed. All comments posted after this time won’t be counted. Thank you.


Varekai x Mac



I saw Varekai on Premier Night a few weeks ago. I got invited by Hoopla, through ABSCBN anchor Ces Drilon. It was an incredible show. I was seated with old friends and colleagues – Ces, Julius and Tintin Babao, Karen Davila. I brought my mom with me.


The Grand Chapiteau at Quirino Grandstand. During Premier Night, it was raining.


Mom and I at Tapis Rouge on Premier Night. Tickets to Tapis Rouge are P10,500 each! But there are different ticket categories, please check out the link.


Just like in all Cirque du Soleil productions, you will sit at the edge of your seat. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. In addition to the stunts and beautiful acrobatics that Cirque is known for, Varekai also has some comic parts. I knew my kids would enjoy this and after seeing it on premier night, I kept wishing for another chance to bring my daughters.

I first watched Cirque du Soleil in the late 80’s in Canada. They were just on the verge of becoming a world famous production then. I never forgot the experience. It was magical. It stayed with me forever. And Varekai did not disappoint. I knew my kids would love it.

Lucky is an understatement. I got another invitation for Varekai – this time from MAC. They offered me two Tapis Rouge tickets (again!). My husband isn’t really into these types of shows. He obviously doesn’t know what he’s missing. I should have shown him this video preview. So I ended up bringing Sophia to the show last night.


Sophia at the Tapis Rouge during intermission. She wore the dress from Rajito. (And yes, I purposely took her photo this way, with shadows.) She loved every minute of it. Even though it was way past her bedtime on a school night, she didn’t doze off.


Didn’t I just say that Anne of Green Gables was one of the best Canadian exports and legacies? Well here are two more — Cirque du Soleil and MAC makeup.
MAC sent me this interview of Cirque du Soleil’s makeup designer, Nathalie Gagne:

Makeup Designer Nathalie Gagné has been fascinated by makeup and its influence on the actor’s craft since her teens. She studied theatre production at Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, a community college in Quebec, then went on to become one of the first graduates of the Montreal subsidiary of the famed Paris- based makeup school École Christian Chauveau.

Since Cirque performers have to apply their own makeup, Nathalie Gagné involves them in the actual creation of their onstage look. “Unlike actors, acrobats aren’t used to studying their own faces,” she says. “One of my goals is to get them to do just that, and help them find within themselves what I call ‘lines of force’ that will serve to build their characters.”

Which MAC cosmetics products are used the most in the show?
‘Definitely, the black track gel eyeliner, it is a must. Also, the pigment colour powder mixed with a medium water base. The Creamstick also.’

Which of these products can readers purchase, and how can they use them for a more modified look?
‘Most of the products we use in Varekai are from Mac Pro. The shows Zumanity, Corteo and LOVE have more a fashion look.’

What is the best thing about the collaboration between MAC and Cirque de Soleil?
MAC is willing to develop new and special products for our specific needs. MAC has also a very impressive selection of colors and a wide variety of products! We share many good ideas together more and more. They are as crazy as we are at Cirque du Soleil. Both our companies are similar in many ways.’


‘To create my looks, I work closely with the Costume Designer and Stage Director. My first inspiration will come from the costumes sketches. I will then do a research through magazines, books or any other visual stimulation element and will present the result of my research to the stage director. I will also spend some time watching the artists doing workshops during rehearsals. The way they move, their facial expressions and the character they are developing will give me very good insight on how to design their make up.” –Nathalie Gagne


‘The artists learned to put on their makeup with a «step by step» guide which means outlining on paper every step of the make up, accompanied by photos of the artist illustrating the application of the make up itself. This «step by step» will then become the reference tool for the artist to reproduce his make up himself. After the first encounter, the artist will have a minimum of 3 appointments with one of my wonderful assistants who, with great patience and generosity, will teach the artist some tricks of the trade that will help him do his own makeup.
I visit the majority of our shows twice a year to ensure that the artists do their make up according to the original concept and to work with them or help them if necessary.” — Nathalie Gagne


‘It is always very important to work with the artists, but, at Cirque du Soleil, since 70% of the artists are primarily acrobats or former athletes and do not have that much stage experience, I will teach them how to apply makeup rather than create my looks with them. They have to learn the basics and learn that they have face muscles that they play with those to make facial expressions that will give life to the make up.” — Nathalie Gagne.


For tickets to Varekai, please go to Hoopla.


What Kate likes



Promise, I’m still here and I have not gone mad. I am just really enjoying the reception my blog is getting from my new sponsors. Since I moved to this new home, I allowed my site to receive sponsorships. Like the story of many bloggers, I’ve been devoting a lot of time to blogging. I take my own photos and tell my own stories. I’ve done it for years with very little sponsorships. Now that the new site allows ads, I’m in this phase of being wide-eyed mainly at the access to information given by advertisers. It is such a pleasant coincidence that my first advertisers are brands that the Duchess of Cambridge also likes (I’m always tempted to keep calling her Kate Middleton).


This shows the Duchess of Cambridge in Canada wearing the same Links of London Hope Egg earrings with white topaz that she wore in her official engagement photos. The clickable link will take you to the Links of London site where you can keep checking if it’s already in stock or still on waitlist. I put myself on the list — might as well end this obsession somehow. Photo by Heritage Canada Flickr.


The Duchess, wearing a cream dress by Joseph, a British company, and a Nathalie clutch from LK Bennett. I can’t find a clearer picture but she is wearing another Links of London earrings. Photo by Heritage Canada Flickr.


Sorry for the small photo, from, desperate for a clearer shot of the earrings.


This is the pair, the Duchess. Effervescence Bubble Stiletto Earrings from Links of London, with lavender iolites, priced nicely at $215. The link takes you to the site directly, but I can’t tell whether it’s sold out or not.


In case you miss the “Bubble Stiletto” pair, there is this other version that’s equally as cute and elegant. Effervescence Pearl Stiletto Earrings. This one is still in stock.


Remember this famous dress Kate wore when they met with the Obamas in Buckingham Palace? Let’s not even talk about how quickly it sold out in Reissonline.comus. So instead I had a look at the site and selected outfits that I think Kate might like (or at least I would). Photo: Getty Images via Huffington Post


I noticed she likes ruching and waist-cinching silhouettes. She would look great in this dress. I think anyone would. This is one of those dresses you wish you always had in your closet for any surprise occasion that calls for it. Reiss Lourdes WRAPPED ROUCHED FRONT DRESS with delicate lace detailing and overlay. Lourdes is a sleevless dress with gathered v-neck, ruching on the left ribs and back with definition at the waist. The dress fastens with a concealed zip a the back and is fully lined. Team with heels along with a simple clucth and Lourdes is your ticket to effortless eveningwear.


This is in keeping with the character of her ivory Reiss dress in her engagement photo – which had an assymetrical cut down the front. It also reflects the theme of her other dresses – ruching, criss-cross, low neck, capped sleeves. Reiss Livia TWIST FRONT DRESS Calf length dress with twist front detail. Livia fastens with a concealed zip at the back, has cap sleeves, asymmetric seam detail on the front and an asymmetric neckline with a luxurious ruched overlay that comes down through the front for a flattering finish. Wear this unique and elegant dress with killer heels and a clutch for the perfect up town look.


One word – pretty. Reiss Naomi FIT AND FLARE DRESS With intricate artful detailing on the top, this black Reiss dress is a stand out number. Naomi has a panelled waistband, full skirt and fastens with a concealed zip at the back. Complement this summer dress with some killer heels for a chic and pretty party combination. Front length from shoulder – 93.2cm

Ok, I’m not sure if Kate would actually wear this, she might disappear being that thin and all. But I would choose this, since I have a lot to hide in my figure (ie. 3 kids). I just love the colour and shape(lessness). Reiss Tamsin SILK ONE SHOULDER DRESS Tamsin’s one shoulder feature will make for a bold eveningwear statement this season. This silk Reiss dress is knee length, has pleated overlay detail on the one shoulder strap, seams on the back and fastens with a concealed zip at the side.

I love this black jersey dress. It’s so elegant and timeless. I want. I want. Reiss Austin SLEEVED DRESS WITH FLARED SKIRT

After seasons of wearing monster-shoes and platforms, it is so refreshing to go back to basic pumps like this. This pair again has that stunning royal colour. It’ll definitely level-up even the most simple outfit. Reiss Theo HIGH COURT SHOE Theo is a leg lengthening shoe choice. These Reiss court shoes can be slipped on easily to create a vivid, eye catching colour accent to any ensemble. The perfect choice for Spring. Heel height 4 inches.