Moleskine and Crane & Co at National Book Store


Got some awesome goodies from National Book Store this weekend. They are carrying Moleskine’s new line of bags and stationery. Very sleek and modern. All in black. I was also amazed to find a huge collection of Cranes & Co stationery by the front of the store in Power Plant Mall. I love hand-written notes. I love beautiful paper. It was so much fun browsing though all the new items carried at the store. I was making mental gift lists for Christmas… yes, don’t panic, it’s “-Ber” months.


My new Moleskine Tote. Perfect for a laptop and magazines.


The special feature of all Moleskine Travelling products is the molded base. It allows your bag to stand. And it serves as extra protection.


The resilient, water-repellent exterior is made from matte black polyurethane on a woven support, propped on a molded base that gives the bag extra stability. The black nylon handles are comfortable for carrying in-hand or over-the-shoulder. The interior is completely lined in black terry fabric that attaches to Moleskine multi-purpose cases (sold separately), and also includes an “In case of loss” label sewn inside. It has one zippered pocket for corralling smaller items, and the bag is designed to carry any laptop computer with a screen size of up to 15-inch. Source: Press kit.


Moleskine Utility


Moleskine Backpack

The collection was designed by Guilio Iaccetti who is known for “Moscardino,” a multi-purpose utensil now included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. There are five models, designed by Iacchetti: the Messenger with a special double flap closure, the Utility which can be carried in the hand or on the shoulder for everyday city use or short trips, the Reporter, the smallest bag in the collection, the Backpack with adjustable shoulder straps and side pockets and the Tote.

Moleskine’s Travelling and Writing Collection are in National Book Store Greenbelt 1, Power Plant Mall, SM Mall of Asia and Trinoma. To see the entire collection of Moleskine products and get updates, visit
Moleskine in the National Book Store Facebook Page.


My lovely “D” monogrammed note cards.


I’ve been a fan of Crane & Co ever since I couldn’t afford it (when I was a teenager). It was something I aspired to have. But $20 for stationery was a bit much for a 13-year old. So when I started earning my own money, I made sure to have Crane’s for special occasions. There are almost 200 designs – from cards for personal correspondence to thank you notes and greeting cards, made of 100% cotton paper, the same material used in printing currencies, passports and banknotes.

The Crane’s & Co range is at the Power Plant and Greenbelt 4 branches of National Book Store. Check out the Crane & Co page in Facebook.




My signed books from National Book Store



I’m so thrilled to welcome National Book Store as a sponsor of this blog. You can find their ad on the right side of the screen. I’ve been a loyal shopper for years. And now our partnership is official. I always find the best prices of books there. Because it’s a huge chain, they are able to get better prices for books. I’ve been a fan since I met the founder of the store, Mrs Socorro Ramos, who told me of the humble beginnings of National Book Store before the war.

And I also love that they accommodate orders (even advanced orders) for books. They’ve had some interesting events and book signings. You can keep track of their activities by “liking” their Facebook page. I’ve been very fortunate to receive a few signed copies of books from National Book Store. The newest one is by far the most interesting.


“Finding Sarah” by Sarah Ferguson. I can’t wait to read this. A lot has been written and said about this woman. It would be interesting to read her side of the story.


I was so thrilled to see my name handwritten by the former Duchess of York.


Yes, it’s really her handwriting.


And just to make sure, I checked again. It really is her handwriting. Haha. Thank you Miguel Ramos and National Book Store!


I love surrounding our home with books. For the most part we try to keep them organized. We try.


The kids love books as well. This is Sophia’s current reading box. There is a bigger shelf which she shares with Lily and Stella. Right now she loves Magic Tree House. Funny, we “discovered” the Magic Tree House by way of their research guides first. She was obsessed with the Titanic last month. It was filled with awesome facts. Her other research guides include Tsunamis and Rainforests. I was so thrilled with all the info she was getting aside from learning in school. Then I found out from a Twitter follower that Magic Tree House is actually a series of fictional stories set in real historical events. All along we were focused on the nonfiction guides. This doubled her fun! (The Manga Messiah book was a gift. It’s the Bible in Japanese anime – combines her interest in drawing animation and bible stories).


I’m sharing my other signed books from National Book Store. David Archuleta signed this for me and my daughters. Confession, we don’t really know who he is. When Sophia saw that he signed this for us, she thought I knew him personally. Days later she said her friend in school had photos of him in her bag. I told them the story is about this young man’s journey to fame – how he tried and gave his best along the way. Last weekend, Sophia auditioned for a solo part in her school musical. I was amazed. She’s never taken voice lessons but she has this incredible singing voice – very tender and sweet. Soprano. She’s not an extrovert/performer. So the fact that she had the will to try was a big thing. Could it have been the David Archuleta book? The theatre teacher talked to us, “She’s never taken voice lessons huh?” Then I said, “No. But she really wanted to audition. So we took her here.” (Proud mama. The fact that she had the guts to sing alone and practice for days. She’s a quiet girl. Showing up and trying was as good as getting the part.) The teacher encouraged us to get her a voice coach. We are still thinking/talking about it. Right now she’s committed to ice skating.

Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw.”


Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell’s new book “Summer and the City.”


Lauren Kate’s “Passion” from her best selling series Fallen. Very popular in the young adult fiction genre. Lauren Kate fans will freak out that I have this. Soon to be a movie.


So thrilled they sent me this. I didn’t get to meet Preston Bailey when he did his rounds here in Manila. A lovely and huge picture book filled with inspiration and ideas for entertaining and party set ups.


And Nigel Barker’s “Beauty Equation.” This is so cool. Again, I didn’t get to meet  him in Manila. So it was awesome to receive this in my door step.


All these books are in National Book Store. If you want to order any book, just let them know here. My autographed and personally dedicated books are gifts from NBS. And these are things I love and treasure. (I’m hoping one day I’ll get signed books from Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Chua and Martha Stewart, hint hint. Haha).

EDIT: You can also get signed books through National Book Store but only at exclusive events whenever they have authors on tour. And on very rare occasions only. Sorry. But you can keep track of the events at their facebook site.




Cath Kidston and traveling



I’ve barely unpacked from my India trip last week and had to pack for a three day trip with UNICEF.  Packing and unpacking is my least favourite activity. I’m never a light packer. And in India I tried to hoard fabric and stuff. So our bedroom looks like a stockroom right now. I’ve committed to cleaning up everything today. I’m looking back at what items I brought to India. A few of you asked about my wardrobe… Note that I am not the most practical packer.


Some of the things I brought with me to India…


I knew I would wear K & Company‘s new collection as soon as we did the photoshoot. Lovely colour-blocking in 100% cotton. When in India, wear natural fibre. Avoid blends and polyester etc. Too hot. I’m most comfortable in dresses, so it’s not a problem for me to travel in dresses. Plus we had a vehicle at all times. The only walking we did was in actual sites. And even if I had to walk all day I could still do it in cotton dresses. Footwear is a different consideration.

I brought a big fan from Beabi. I love these things. So light and so big. You get the biggest wind. Been using these fans for the longest time. You can use them as a sun shade too. But because the heat in India was unbearable that day we went to Fatehpur Sikri, I used an umbrella/parasol instead.

Before leaving, everyone warned me to bring socks for the Taj Mahal. I brought these BioFresh socks with anti-slip rubber dots in the bottom. It comes in a pack of three. Inexpensive. So I figured, I’d just throw them out after the Taj. They are available at the Biofresh online shop.

All books will tell you that you can’t wear shoes to the Taj as it’s a sacred site. Some travellers also warned me that it would be risky to leave the shoes in the shoe area of the Taj because sometimes it gets stolen 🙁 So I came prepared. I brought these foldable ballet flats (they come with a bag) I got from the Gap, thinking I’d just pack away my shoes and keep them in my purse.

As it turns out our tour guide got us disposable shoe covers. So we didn’t have to give up our shoes or wear socks. I got to keep my high platform wedges on. Yup, I wore crazy shoes at the Taj… thinking of my visuals before comfort. More on that in my next story.


For my next trip, I used my new Cath Kidston overnight bag. The same exact one used by the Duchess of Cambridge.


I had to bring a lot of my gadgets – laptop, ipad, DSLR, compact camera, chargers and more. I also brought my own coffee and French press because I didn’t know what to expect there. And I need coffee to function well. Instant coffee isn’t real coffee, haha.

I was pleased to use my new Cath Kidston bag. It was a gift from the cool people of Cath Kidston in the UK!! And it’s the same bag that the Duchess of Cambridge used on her trip to Canada! Same shape and design, in a new colour called Spot Slate. They had just launched it in their new Autumn Winter 2011 catalog, and they said I was one of the first ones to have it. Cath Kidston’s Spot Overnight Bag retails for $110 and is available to us here in the Philippines by clicking that link.


The Cath Kidston overnight bag of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as seen in her trip to Canada.


My Cath Kidston overnight bag as seen in NAIA Terminal 2. Ha!


I love it! Thank you Cath Kidston! It’s so roomy, perfect for weekend trips or sports. I will use it as my UZ bag as when I do shoots, I bring a gazillion pairs of shoes. The oil cloth is easy to clean. Now I want the Spot Wheeled Holdall to go with this. My Samsonite wheelie broke on me in India. Ugh.



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.