We have a moratorium on toys. I’m still not done going through all their toys and things. Before the summer ends we will have a garage sale. So in the meantime we agreed, no buying toys. But of course I’m always the first to break this rule. I cannot resist Lego, Playmobil and Toy Story stuff (Stella has developed a liking towards Buzz Lightyear). Here are my kids’ Playmobil worlds…

Sophia and Lily's Playmobil
Sophia loves the animals

Sophia and Lily's Playmobil
Lily loves fairies

Birthday 2011
Stella loves the princess castle

Patrick's toys
Even Patrick loves the tiny medieval soldiers.

We get our Lego and Playmobil from Build City, the sister of Hobbes and Landes. Check out Build City’s facebook page. I love that they have toys available for kids to sample. It has become a regular stop over for us, our kids play with the gazillion Legos they have in their bins. It keeps the girls creative and imaginative.

I am reprinting their press kit verbatim from this point on. Sorry that I have to spell it out. Just learned that some readers can’t distinguish a press release from my own writing, though I’ve identified them clearly with the words “Press Release”. Whatever’s italicized are me thoughts.

Playmobil Holiday

4857 Summer House scene
4857 Summer House
The summer house from PLAYMOBIL is the perfect place for restorative, relaxing, but also adventurous holidays far away from home. With its Mediterranean appearance, it will captivate any holidaymaker. The rooms in the house are lovingly furnished. The family can spend time on the idyllic terrace before retiring to the comfortable bedrooms after an exciting day. The kitchen offers everything one could imagine and there is also no shortage of activities to try. This summer house makes any holiday go like a dream.
– 4 Play figures
– Detailed furnishing of the individual rooms and the terrace
– Bikes
– House is half roofless for easier playing inside
– Dimensions of the house(L/W/H): 36 x 33 x 25.5 cm

4858 Pool with Water Slide scene
4858 Pool with Water Slide (This is a very familiar scene for our family this summer.)
There’s lots to explore and try out in the PLAYMOBIL pool! Boys and girls can simply splash about and use the slide, or enjoy standing under a waterfall while the adults bask in the sun. As always, there’s a pleasant shower for everyone at the end of the day. The children are already looking forward to the next time …
This PLAYMOBIL game has been nominated for an award in the category “A game for the whole family”.
– 4 child and 2 adult play figures
– Pool can be filled with water
– Working shower
– Sun umbrella, sun lounger and other accessories
– Inner dimensions of the pool (L/W/H): 23 x 18.5 x 3 cm

4864 Paddling Pool  scene
4864 Paddling Pool (This is what we do at home when it’s just too hot.)

4860 Girl with Swimming Ring scene
4860 Girl with Swimming Ring (This reminds me of Stella)

Playmobil Outdoor Action

1 Outdoor
A surprise from PLAYMOBIL: exciting ideas for outdoor playtime fun are the NEW Hand-Launch Gliders and Beach Racer.

PLAYMOBIL’s new Hand-Launch Gliders, with a wing span of 50cm, are made from EPP*, which means that they are ultra-light, have optimum gliding properties, and will also survive a crash. They are a fun way to help children learn to throw accurately. The Hand-Launch Glider is available in both black and red, making for exciting flying competitions – see which PLAYMOBIL pilot is the most skillful.

When the wind is really blowing, then it’s the ideal weather for the new Beach Racer from PLAYMOBIL. A cool gift that no-one will already have. You will need to run fast to catch up with it again.

4214 Hand-Launch Glider Extreme boxed
4214 Hand-Launch Glider “Extreme”

4215 Hand-Launch Glider Jet Team scene
4215 Hand-Launch Glider “Jet Team”

4216 Beach Racer scene
4216 Beach Racer

4310 Jet Plane scene
4310 Playmobil Jet Plane
Planning to have an out of town/country get-away with the whole family? Take Playmobil with you and re-enact your summer get-away:) This Playmobil Jet is for transporting passengers and cargo. Seats can be dismantled to make space for cargo. Lots of space for cargo. Includes lavatory facilties. Roof is removeable. Doors open. Adults are 2.95 inches tall and the child is 2.05 inches tall. Great for imaginative play.

PLAYMOBIL Easter Basket

Each of the four differently colored, reusable Easter eggs contains a creative playtime idea: the Scientist with Baby Dinosaur hatches” out of the green egg, the Mongolian Warrior on Horse gallops out of the blue one, the Fairy with Flower Throne is enchanting in the yellow egg, and the Ghost Pirate with Cannon fights his way out of the red egg’s shell. The illustration on the packaging tells the purchaser what each egg contains.

4927 Fairy with Flower Throne

4925 Scientist with Baby Dinosaur

Playmobil Top Agents

PLAYMOBIL brings exciting agent adventure into the playroom with the brand new Top Agents theme. High-speed pursuits, dangerous secret weapons, and victory for the good guys make for action-filled secret agent thrillers.

The world is under threat from Dr. Devil and his Robo-Gang. The launch of their dangerous virus satellite is monitored by the Spying Camera. The Spy Team agents in their well-disguised, high-security headquarters want to prevent this, of course. Will the Spy Team be able to defeat Dr. Devil and save the PLAYMOBIL universe?

The range of ten cool Action Sets provides plenty of technical highlights, from the multifunctional UV flashlight through to the functioning metal detector which would make even James Bond envious. The range is aimed at older boys from the age of seven who, as “real life” agents, are also able to use the technical equipment such as the Spying Camera Set with USB port and the electronic alarm system.

4875 Secret Agent Headquarters with Alarm scene
The Spy Team Saves the World

The Secret Agent Headquarters with alarm system (51 x 40 x 21.5cm (L x W x H)), which looks like a harmless holiday home from the outside, is the Spy Team’s base for all of their activities. Once the alarm system is switched on, it gives off a signal to warn of intruders. This means that the secret service headquarters is not only under surveillance, the agents of tomorrow are also able to protect their own rooms against “intruders”. The Spy Team is equipped with the most up-to-date technology. In the secret command room, a map of the world with LED illumination provides an overview of the various missions. In the workshop area, the cool multifunctional vehicle can be converted for use on land, water, and in the air. This is also where the LED super weapon and the reconnaissance planes are hidden, the only effective means of countering Dr. Devil’s virus satellites. This is why Dr. Devil is set on gaining possession of the super weapon’s system CD. With a trapdoor in the lockable jail, a secret stone panel, as well as a floating jet ski for a last-minute escape, the Spy Team is well-equipped to face the unscrupulous Robo Gang spies.

Danger lurks in the headquarters themselves, however, as Dr. Devil has managed to sneak a double agent (with revolving, changing face) and a Robo Creature into the secret stone hiding place in order to sabotage the agent station.

4877 Secret Agent Detection Jet boxed
The members of the Spy Team in the headquarters are supported by the Secret Agent and the Torpedo Diver, as well as the Secret Agent Super Racer which is there for every hot pursuit. There are countless camouflaging, firing, and conversion functions integrated into this vehicle, enabling its deployment on water and in the air as well. The Secret Agent Detection Jet with its removable metal detector is an especially important feature in the battle against Dr. Devil and his nasty cohorts, making it possible to track down the dangerous Robo Creatures and the secret CDs.

4856 RC Module Plus Set scene
4856 RC Module Plus Set
The longer transmission range RC Module Plus Set is suitable for use with all PLAYMOBIL RC vehicles. to upgrade all RC-compatible PLAYMOBIL Vehicles. 1 x 9-V-Block and 1 x 1,5-V AA Batteries required. Equivalent to Compact-RC-Module-Set (4320). Better operating range!

Build City branches:
3/F Rockwell Power Plant
3rd Level TriNoma Mall
4th floor Shangri-La Plaza Mall
3rd Level Greenbelt 5

Hobbes and Landes
Bonifacio High Street
Rockwell Power Plant
Greenbelt 5
Greenhills Promenade

Xeng Zulueta x Anthology

If any one knows colour, it’s Xeng Zulueta. Xeng and I met almost ten years ago. I was still in F and she was the hottest makeup artist in town. I was humbled that she took me on as one of her muses. She would do my makeup for my TV shows, guest appearances and most of my magazine editorial shoots. We became a package deal. I would regularly request for her.

Shu Uemura Eye Shadow
Check out Xeng’s makeup palette when she was Shu Uemura’s chief makeup artist.

Xeng's makeup box
And here’s another palette

This woman knows make up and colour. And she knows my face like the back of her hand. For my old live talk show ANC Life, she could do my entire face in 5 minutes. And she could also take over an hour if she wanted to.

Olay Body Soap Swap
She did my makeup here after I had cried all day because of the death of our friend Hecky Villanueva. The show had to go on.

DOP Jewelry
Here’s pale lips. Photo by Doc Marlon Pecjo.

Cover, People Asia, Oct 2006
Red lips. Photo by Sara Black for People Asia.

And here’s fierce mama, haha. Photo by Lilen Uy for Preview.

Xeng's new hair
Xeng at Manila Contemporary, after she did my makeup for a shoot.

with Xeng Zulueta
Xeng & me at the 100 magazine cover event.

Xeng now announces her collaboration with Anthology. She works literally on her toes, so Xeng is most comfortable in flat footwear – flip flops or ballet flats – when I see her. It was no surprise, she’d go this direction. This line, the San Francisco, is the classic Anthology ballerina shoe they’ve introduced seasons ago. But with Xeng’s touch, they are issued in a burst of colours representing paradise — PARADISO. Colours based on Xeng’s favorite make up palettes.

Azul top

Cacao side

Canary alt

Hibiscus diag

Orchid diag

Square toe ballerina flats, genuine leather upper, cushioned leather insole, non-skid rubber sole. PHP 2995. Available at: Anthem Greenbelt 5, The Ramp Glorietta, The Flat Shop Greenhills Shopping Center. (Free shipping for online orders)

Justin Bieber, Sophia, Sofitel and the Sunset

Sophia's work
Sophia made this the day before the concert. She also carefully planned her outfit.

On the way to the area. She would ask me, “Am I a fan? Is this what fans do?” She chose her outfit – jeggings, a “rock star” Tshirt (she thinks its purple, Justin Bieber’s favorite colour but it’s magenta), her only baseball cap (souvenir from Boracay market, must get her a better one), and her cool sneakers (silver high tops).

She borrowed my Swatch bracelet/cuff thingy, which was a gift from Cecile.

Our tickets were gifts from TV5. don’t hate me for getting freebies. My husband works there.

It was my turn to be going to a teeny bopper concert. Remember I missed Taylor Swift? This time we got only two tickets. So we had to break it gently to Lily, who was actually the bigger Bieber fan (Justin Beaver). She was a bit sad. But after a few minutes she said, “Ok fine, but please buy me jeggings too. I want jeggings.” More on that later…

It was all planned out well. Sophia and I would go to the concert. But days before, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel called and invited me to host their event. I was torn. But in the end we decided that I’d take the Sofitel job – cushy, glamorous and luxurious… and fun! While Patrick would sacrifice again and take Sophia to the concert just as he did when Taylor Swift came to town. In the end it was a win-win situation for all. I got to spend alone time with Soph at the Sofitel. She loved our room and all the amenities. Patrick and Sophia had a great time. It didn’t rain. Lily and Stella were home safe. And in the end of the night we were all together.

My groovy sneaker girl pre-concert at the Sofitel.

View from our room. Manila skyline.

At one point Sophia almost wanted to give up the concert and just swim at the pool. I told her we’d go back when we’re a complete family. Looking forward to staying a weekend here. Sofitel is a landmark hotel. It brings me back to my childhood when my parents would bring us to the Philippine Plaza for halo-halo by the pool.

Photo by Sophia
I did my hair and makeup. Soph took this photo.

My family, we’re big on sunsets. This one made me sigh…

Then the sky gave us this amazing show at sunset

The most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen

Reposting: This was tonight's sunset in Manila Bay, from Sofitel.
Quickly posted it on Twitter and instagram. It’s universal. Everyone loves sunsets.

I don’t hace photos from the concert. They’re all in Patrick’s phone. I’ll upload them soon.

Justin Bieber was sick. He tweeted so. I retweeted it. Ces Drilon read it on the evening news. I felt like Justin Bieber’s spokesperson. Haha. There are some issues coming out now – that he did this and didn’t do this. Whatever. He’s a kid. Can everyone please let him be? (spoken like a fan, haha). Honestly though after watching Never Say Never, a scary thought crossed my mind. The kid is frail. And they’re working him like a dog. That scene where the doctor gave him a mystery drink to heal his throat made me nervous. Remember Michael Jackson? Sorry to be a bummer. But really. No one is invincible. And with this crazy world tour, how much stress can a little body take? Awww, hugs.

After the concert, Sophia was disappointed. She told me they confiscated her fan sign. They took everyone’s. I told her it was so everyone could have a view to see Justin. Then she said, “But I like the sign and I’ll never see it again. And he didn’t see any of our signs.” I told her I took a picture of it. I also said, “Don’t worry. The guards brought your fan sign to Justin Bieber’s hotel room. He’ll see it.” She looked like she didn’t believe me. “Really, mommy?” Yup.

Then she goes, “I heard Hannah Montana is the next concert. I want to go to that one.” And with that I said, “Nope. She’s Miley Cyrus and we don’t like her. Stick to Taylor Swift.”

Enough concerts. You’re only 8.

House by the bay

As seen in Urban Zone:

House by the bay
with Gilbert Lui, the architect of this modern home by Manila Bay.

House by the bay
Living room. That glass wall behind me is actually a space divider encased in glass. It hides the electrical and airconditioning unit. There’s also extra storage behind the painting.

House by the bay
Here’s a better look at the other side of that glass divider/secret storage.

House by the bay
On the second floor landing, Gilbert placed these cubes as shelves…

House by the bay
To hold the collection of little guys like this.

House by the bay
All the materials were carefully chosen for this sophisticated urban house because it’s so close to Manila Bay. Salty wind and water can easily corrode metal.

House by the bay
I fell in love with the shower.

House by the bay
The glass doors can completely be opened and you end up taking a shower outdoors! Beautiful.

House by the bay
How to de-clutter. Muji storage boxes.

House by the bay
On the roof deck.

After the storm

Storm “Bebeng” left a huge mess in our street. Lots of fallen branches and debris. I worried yesterday because water started to seep in through our lanai. The runoff was too strong outside, our drainage couldn’t pass clearly. So it started to back up in our property. But whew… luckily the rains started to let up. No damage. I hope you’re all okay.

This morning, Sophia was eager to help clean up the mess from the storm. She wouldn’t stop talking about the strange branch that fell on top of their playhouse. She said it had the most beautiful flowers. She wouldn’t stop until the driver reached for the branch and she walked in with these…

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
The most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen!

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
The colours, shape and texture were so pretty!

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
They were cut close to the bud, so there were hardly any branches to hold them…

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
So we placed them on old sake cups (oops just noticed the chip there, tsk tsk)

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
And placed them all on a cake stand.

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
I can’t get over how pretty they are!

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
And neither could Sophia. She sketched…

Lily May 2011
Lily drew the scene when they woke me up with the news about the perfect flowers falling onto their playhouse.

Storm blew these flowers into our back yard.
Can anyone identify the flower? What is this perfect thing?