26 December 2012

2013: Emerald & Monaco Blue

If you haven't heard of it yet, Emerald has been named the color of 2013 by Pantone. In anticipation for the coming new year, I've somewhat restyled a portion of our house to share with you my own version of a color board of next year's trending colors. Apparently, Monaco Blue is also a hot color for spring 2013 and I simply love the combination of the two colors as it gives a home-y, yet dramatic jewel-tone feel to a space. It also reminds me of the school colors of DLSU and ADMU, and yes I don't give a crap if that's on an unrelated note. Just had to put that thought out there ;)

Advance happy new year to everyone and go easy on the bubbly!

22 December 2012

Color Story: Lapis Lazuli

There is definitely nothing sad about the bright blue hue of a Lapis Lazuli. If you watch The Vampire Diaries, this is the stone that is said to make them vampires walk freely under the sunshine. Of course its mythical properties are questionable in reality, but the term itself sounds so exotic that one might actually believe it is. It's a rare semi-precious stone mined from Afghanistan and has been used in jewelries, decorative boxes and architectural finishing. If I could transcribe this color into something edible, I would say it reminds me of blueberries.

Ain't it lovely? ;)

21 December 2012

Legend of Xiao Long Bao

You will always have my attention when it comes to Xiao Long Bao. This succulent soup dumpling is on the top list of my favorite dimsum of all time. Aside from the inner fillings to taste good, I think the dumpling wrap (I have no idea of its proper term) is a key indicator of a good XLB. So far locally the best ones I've tasted are either from Shi Lin or Hai Shin Lou.

The only time I've heard of flavored XLB's was during our trip to Shanghai last year when we ate at their branch of Din Tai Fung. They had the Foie Gras and Truffle flavors and jeez louis it's like a piece of heaven in a dumpling! So when my friend Jo and I had the happenstance of stumbling on one restaurant that offers flavored XLB's when we had our Bangkok trip, we immediately have to try it. That and just because we were lured by the pretty colors of their restaurant. It's not quite visible in the photo, but they have cool neon green chairs at the back.

Aside from the original flavor, my next best favorite would still be the Foie Gras. If you get a chance to stumble upon it, you better give it a try. Ultimate yum!

20 December 2012

Holiday Reds

I don't think any Christmas would be complete without any hint of red within the house (and I'm referring to something other than wine), yes? Check out our other holiday home decors that were featured previously here as well :)

19 December 2012

Foodie Diaries: Craft

My first memory of drinking coffee was during one breakfast at my maternal lola's (grandma) house and I remembered taking it half and half unlike the black coffee I now religiously take every morning. I was probably no more than ten years old then and ever since I had the experience of tasting the almost (if not already considered as) mocha beverage I was completely and utterly intoxicated by its taste. Right there and then it was love at first...err taste with coffee.

During my days (jeezus I feel old) kids were hardly allowed to drink coffee, at least in my family that was the case. Kids drinking coffee back then were viewed as "bad" as them drinking alcohol so nowadays when I see hardly elementary school tots drinking ginormous frappuccinos I still find myself cringing at the actual visual of it. Plus I never liked fraps so that's another reason for cringing. Since we weren't really allowed to drink coffee then, I usually get my caffeine fix with coffee-flavored ice cream. So yes, my favorite ice cream flavor is Coffee Crumble till this day, thank you very much!

After eating at Mitsuyado Sei-Men, we braved out the weekend traffic of EDSA and went to a warm and fuzzy hole-in-wall coffee shop in New Manila called Craft. It was recommended to us by one of our friends who was with us and had been there before. The vibe of the place reminds me of an abandoned chem lab meets the then Mogwai restaurant in Cubao X. If you're tired of Starbucks and their usual kind of shebang, taking a trip to Craft is worth the experience. They have this meticulous way of brewing their coffee that makes the experience somewhat educational as well. Since I was craving something sweet after eating Japanese food, I ordered their affogato, which was good as they use real gelato.

The glass jar-like piece in the background is used for their slow brewing. Awesome shit, if you ask me. Of course the interior details won't go by unnoticed either. They have nice bar stools, I especially like the wood grain and finish of the seating.

If you're a coffee lover and wanted to try something a bit different, do visit Craft in Quezon City (not to be mistaken of the bar at BGC having the same name).

18 December 2012

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Just wanted to share with you some of our other holiday decorations at home. This chandelier is made up of brass and crystal globes that create an interesting shadow play when lit. I hanged some gold Christmas ornaments for an added sparkle.

You can also check out my previous posts to see the other holiday decors we have at home :)

17 December 2012

Home Remedy: Citronella

One of my major pest peeves aside from ants and cockroaches are flies, especially when they conveniently attack whenever you just want to have a nice peaceful meal. Usually in restaurants they light up tea candles to ward off these pesky flying objects, but at home one of the most popular way to repel insects is by the use of Citronella. Nowadays it can be in the form of spray, oils and scented candles. 

The advantage of having a garden at home or perhaps a small balcony if you're living in a condo is that you get to use plants like these in their au natural form. Yesterday we stopped by Market! Market! and bought a Citronella plant and had my dad burry it in our front yard. Due to my mother and I's ignorance, we didn't know that we already had existing ones at home (much to my father's semi-annoyance). But like I said, the more the many-er right? Haha! Once the grasslike leaves started to droop, you can trim the tips off and slice them further into pieces to release more of its citrusy scent. It smells similar to lemongrass, but I think the Citronella has a stronger (in a good way) scent.

So if you're into organic ways of having insect repelled, Citronella is one way to go about it. It smells fresh, no need to fuss lighting up a fire (burning candles is not entirely environment-friendly anyway) and it's not expensive (well, the real plant itself anyway).

14 December 2012

Favorite MAC Lipsticks for the Holidays

I know it may sound overrated, but I do love MAC lipsticks. Their Matte and Satin finishes are among my favorites since they are both opaque enough to cover my pigmented lips well. Amplified finishes are also good for pigmented lips too, though not as longer-lasting as the other two I've mentioned. We don't have four seasons here in the tropics (obviously!) but it doesn't mean that we don't get to share the berry-hued trend every holiday season. Under the cut are sample swatches of some of my favorite MAC lippies that are especially apt this season (well in my opinion, that is).

Holiday Decor Tip: Curtains

Just wanted to share with you guys a very simple (as in no-brainer) decor tip that you could do with your extra hanging Christmas ornaments. If you have ring-type curtains you can insert a Christmas ornament of your choice within the ring (just as you would do in a keychain) and voila! You get to add more interest and sparkle to your curtains such as what I did in the above photo. By the way, please do not mind the shower head and shampoo bottles behind.

Here's a close-up of the ornaments. If you have a grommet curtain type, you can hang the ornaments directly unto the curtain rod itself in between the placement of the grommets. Just make sure the thread of the ornaments are longer so it won't look awkward. You can even use thicker ribbons instead of threads for added interest.

Ho-ho-hope (okay that was really bad) that helps!

13 December 2012

Foodie Diaries: Mitsuyado Sei-Men

Last week we had planned a small despedida (going-away) party or rather whole day food coma for one of my high school friends and one of the places we went to that day was Mitsuyado Sei-Men along Jupiter Street in Makati. Our friend, Mo, who the despedida was for found a yummy-looking review of the said restaurant beforehand and when I saw the gooey cheese with ramen noodles, there no longer was a need for further convincing.

Rustic Holidays

Part of being a loving Interior Designer daughter is helping out at home during tis season of jolly (or as some would say, the "season of being chubby"). When I was a kid all I could remember was that most of the decors we have only consisted of red, green and gold. Nowadays as long as it has anything sparkly thrown in the bunch, one could consider it fit for the holiday season. From fuchsia to turquoise to an all-white Christmas, the choices of colors in the department store nowadays are almost endless. 

Usually decorating the tree is the favorite part of most people since it's only logical to do so, but for me my favorite part is decorating the chandelier in our dining room. For the past two years we've done the traditional red and turquoise-silver combination consecutively (see here), and this year we still wanted to do something different from the previous ones so we decided on a rustic and earthy Christmas feel. We tend to move houses a lot if you're curious as to why it was only two years. 

Here is a close-up detail of the chandelier. I think that the key to making the rustic feel work is to use a more realistic shade of green instead of the almost neon ones that are often seen in department stores and mixing it with metallic (not glitter) gold and wood finishes. Use the glitter gold finishes sparingly as accents since you don't want to make it look too glam-sparkly and flat.

TIP #1 If you're the kind of person who wants to venture out on various Christmas colors or don't want to have the same Christmas color scheme every year, you can try what we're doing and rotate our colored decors on every area of the house for every different year. Last time we had the silver-turquoise in our dining room while this year we had that same scheme moved in our living area instead.

TIP #2 If you have a collection of antiques that fall under the color scheme of your choice, now is the time to let them out of your China cabinet and display them in the open. Coincidentally the color of 2013 is Emerald. Yes, I just have to say that and I shall keep on doing so to anyone who would listen until their ears bleed. And yes, I'm that psyched about the said color.

So, you feeling the holiday buzz yet?

04 December 2012

Travel Blog: Bangkok

Last two weeks ago I was in Bangkok for some personal R&R or as I’d like to call it: Eat, Pray, Shop. What made this trip extra special is that it was my first time to travel abroad without any relatives and I was with the happy company of friends. Well technically, a friend since we were suppose to be a trio of girls but the other one had to cancel due to unavoidable circumstances.

This trip was almost a year in the making (and saving), but every bit was oh so worth it! It was my second time visiting Bangkok, the first time being around 6 or 7 years ago so it was quite a long time. Lots of changes apparently, such as having more western establishments than what we’ve seen during my previous visit. We stayed at Novotel Hotel in Siam Square and it was a very good location as it was walking distance to a lot of nice shopping areas.

If you’re familiar with the then Cubao X, then the parameters of Siam Square has a similar vibe to it, only make it much bigger. It’s like a place where most of the trendy slash hipster kids go out to play. I wasn’t sure what these army of cloned zebras are for or if they’re actually for sale, but they do make a good subject for a photo haha!

My friend, Jo and I also took a tour to the Royal Palace. During my first time in Bangkok, my family and I took the temple tour and it was okay. It’s just that I’ve reached my quota of temples from when we visited Shanghai and Beijing the previous year and wanted to see more of the Thai architecture, which is why I coerced Jo to pick this tour haha :) Was worth it more though, if you ask me :P

Somewhere inside we got lost on our way so we just took the liberty to do our own tour as oppose to being able to join our group. At the end of the gate when our tour guide saw us again, she was pretty much ecstatic to see us and semi-reprimanded us (in a humorous way) because she got really worried, which was both funny and touching.

The Thai’s have an amazing and somewhat distinct architecture. It’s almost like a good mix of Chinese and Indian, a clear reflection of their cultural roots.

Amazing details!

If you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time or you haven’t tried going to the palace tours, I do recommend it. Even if you’re not fond of architecture, I’m sure you’ll love the photogenic scenery that goes along with it :)
Pin It button on image hover