Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Made with Love

Heima. It's one really cool furniture store. It quirky,  shabby chic and retro all at the same time. In my house decorating frenzy, I visited their store in Makati. I actually love to get one of their furnitures but I couldn't figure out where the heck to put them

One thing that caught my eye is this "miss librarian" drawer. I really like the concept. But the thing is, what do I put in it? The drawers are so small. (you can only fill them with index cards, just like a library). My daughter's room is in the same color (pink and green) but I don't know how useful it will be to her. (hmmm.....think think think)

miss librarian photo courtesy of Heima
One other thing I saw in their showroom was this "newoldbicycle".

It kind of gets you back to the 1950's era... and they have it in a blue color too. (maybe you can order it in pink... you never know). Its a bike you would ride around in the park , with your hair whipping back from your face. The basket would contain some sandwiches and cola and a picnic blanket. (wow.) This you have to do with TWO bicycles of course... you need someone to share the sandwiches with. (no fun biking alone.... hahaha)

I also like these chairs.
his and hers colors!
I can imagine them in my kitchen. multicolored chairs! Sitting and sipping tea and baking something in the oven.. (oh yeah!) ..

I love that I also saw some of my fabrics in Heima. They used them to cover their accessories. (the pink flowers is from my store). They have a nice website and you can browse their collections from there.-- they usually turn out a collection twice a year. (I think) I would love to Heimafy my space but I think my husband would protest from all the "guirly" stuff I might buy... (shuckers..) so, for now, all I have to do is .... dreaaam... dream dream dream... (ok, not singing, hahaha)

all photos taken from heima website

click here to go there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Unusual things

One of the stores I always love to visit whenever I am in HK is PYLONES. It's located in Gateway mall in Tsim Tsa Tsui, kowloon. I only recently learned that it is actiually founded in France and has a whole bunch of stores in the US.. for their website click here

One of the things I like about their products is that when you see it, you don't actually know what it is just by looking at it. something looking like frog might actually be a stapler
my froggy stapler... a very nice addition to my desk
I have given some friends over the years some quirky items... which they all loved. like "cars" themed tape measure (tape measure being very fundamental to my line of work)
I particularly liked the "lady bug" one... although my daughter kind of broke it when she kept pulling at it...
. if you are wondering how the tape goes back, you push a button in the middle and it goes inside the box automatically.
I saw this "robot" one on the website. I think it is not available in the HK store when I last visited but I would love to get it.
 Just this week, I got to visit the store again. I was actually under the weather when I got to HK. I started to have colds but work was calling. So again, I just found time to visit the store I loved. (you can't keep a girl from shopping!) Since I also am writing for our food blog (see here) - I need some items for the kitchen. I bought this Russian Doll peppermill
ain't she just so cute? you twist the head to get crushed peppers.hahaha. that's something to vent out your frustrations.....I also bought this electric kettle.

The design is kind of oriental but I like it. And the good thing about it is I can put it in my bedroom and have hot water for my tea any time. It was a good thing too since I fell really sick when I got back from my trip. The hot water and tea did a lot of good. (the kitchen was really far).

The website is ok but I think seeing the products up close is better. so if you have a chance to visit one of their stores, I'm sure you'll love it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Old becomes New

I haven't gone back to the iconic Manila Hotel for some time. It is one of the first hotels in Manila having been built in 1912. It was also once the residence of Douglas McArthur. The last time I was here, the hotel had a very run down look.

This year, I have heard that they have refurbished the hotel and an invitation by my friend for lunch gave me an opportunity to see for myself.

The hotel itself still had the same facade and I was wondering how radical the change could be. One thing tI noticed when I entered the hotel was that is had an X-RAY machine after the metal detector.....it reminded me of hotels in the middle east. I was going to lunch.... not getting on an airplane!

I love the ice cream trolley with the "Manila Hotel "pictured above. It's very Filipino~ (this the local ice cream you can see on street corners)

Finally finding our way to CAFE ILANG ILANG, I was surprised by the well lit interiors. (You have to walk the old hallway first). You wouldn't think you were in the Manila Hotel. It felt more like Makati Shangrila interiors. Gone were the rundown walls and chairs.

So, we chose to sit near the food ( wonder why?? hahaha) and I walked around looking at what food stations they had to offer. From what I saw, they had a Italian station  --- I loved that they have a pizza oven right on the floor (fresh baked pizza!) and they even have a pasta sculpture of a Roman building. (they used cannelonni) as the columns. On the side, they have a selection of pasta and sauces and you can ask them to make you a pasta dish (tomato or cream sauce?)

They have a appetizer station- (some fresh oysters were available but I did not care to try them), cheese selection (I tried to avoid eating too much although I really love cheese)....middle east section (they had shawarma and hummus), Asian section (peking duck, noodle station) and a continental section. The only thing missing was the japanese section (where is the sushi??)

The paella (top left) was nice visually but was not that good. (a bit fishy), the pork spare ribs (lower left) was better. The peking duck was passable- the skin was not crunchy and the wrapper was over steamed.
I liked the soup though
This was the first time for me to taste "frog soup"~ tinolang palaka. They usually make this soup with chicken (adding ginger and chili leaves) - when you actually look at the meat, you wouldn't know it was frog unless someone told you. it tasted quite good, with the blend of the ginger and the chili leaves not too strong to make it too spicy.

Another nice station was the carving station where you can have roast beef, sausages and ham. they would cook the beef a little more for you if you prefer it more well done. The slices were small enough to satisfy and not overwhelm my plate. the roast beef also comes with various sidings and sauces - guacamole, chipolante, gravy and some other items I could not remember.
Of course my favorite part would be dessert !
The selection was pretty extensive and quite good. They had a cold marble stone to make ice cream mixes, a halo-halo station, a pastry bar (they had also local pastries available), a crepe bar. They even have a separate section for SUGAR FREE desserts. (I think this was for those people who want to have dessert and not feel guilty about it...hahahaha)

The best part? I think was the coffee..........
I already added the milk + froth
they give you coffee and a cup of frothed milk.... I suddenly had an image of KATO from The Green Hornet making a coffee design on the coffee of his boss... I did not have any designs skills on this part so- no heart shapes here!

The buffet selection was ok. I am still a fan of Spirals in Sofitel. But if you want to see what they have done to the Old Manila Hotel, it is now worth a visit and make sure you have a hotel card to get a discount!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Italy and Back in one afternoon

murano chandelier

An email from my friend Lilibeth (who is an interior designer) sparked my interest. It was an invitation by Rustans (a local department store) for an Italian Decorating Workshop.

I was really excited to hear what information I could get from this workshop, after all, I had just recently moved in a Mediterranean inspired house and decorated it myself. I still had a long ways to go. The 5th floor of Rustan's was set up with some cocktail tables and they were serving some coffee (using delonghi brand coffee maker). We got some coffee and browsed the display before the workshop started. On the far corner of the floor, there were 3 tables set up, each with a different design concept. When the workshop started, The first to talk was Daphne Osena Paez - the host of several home shows and who coincidentally has a line of furnitures she sells in Rustans. This is her table
the table is verry simple

shell and coral accent
Her inspiration was the south of Italy near the sea. All the ceramics are from the San Marco line of Rustans. The plates had coral accents and shells. For me though, I found her table very sparse and not too exciting. She was a good speaker except when she was describing her furniture (the sofa in the middle and some side tables I did not care for -so did not take any pictures) that was featured. She kept saying "see these beautiful colors, the intricate inlay... " and basically raving about the design and furniture she sells herself. (LOL)

The second speaker was one of the owners of Rustan's Nena Tantoco. She is very elegant lady and I really liked her table. Her inspiration was central Italy and vineyards of Tuscanny.

I really like the colors of her table. The green accents and the country feel of it all. You can see she took much detail in putting together the setting , placemats, the center piece and the napkin holders. she made me want the buy the whole table setting.

She talked about the long standing love of the founders of Rustan's with Italy.
she gave a lot of helpful tips on how to spruce up the table with different  setting. I am partial to the country look. Something rustic and homey so my inclination was the setting of Nena.

I also loved the side setting they made. I love the painting on the plates. (I would have bought some if not that they were expensive.) The green glass tumbler in the table setting above is 900 pesos a pc (about $20) and that is just the glass.. I was afraid to ask about the plates! hahaha

love the salt and pepper shakes and the bird motif on the plates

 My friend, Lilibeth liked the modern table presented by Erik Hannikainen, I think he is a consultant at Rustans. His table represents Northern Italy, the more modern and industrial part (think Milan). This idea is reflected on the very clean lines of his table. The table top and legs are all made of glass in a mirror finish. His chairs were made of acyclic (thus a see through effect)

The table itself was very sleek, with plain ( with minute details on the rim) plates, silver and glass accents. I could imagine a bachelor having this kind of table in his condominium unit. If you have a family like me, you'd be afraid the kids would break the table.

Lilibeth and I both agreed the displays were good (us liking different tables for different reasons). Nena Tantoco also pressured her son, Donny, head of Rustan's supermarket to raffle off a part of this big parmigiano cheese wheel. (it weights 40 kg!)

We weren't so lucky in the raffle. But we got to taste some italian wine and some small hors d'oeuvres.
As much as I loved the plates, I would still need to save up to be able to buy the whole table setting I need. It was nice though to be able to see what a nice table setting would look like and how i could set up my own table for an intimate dinner with friends. I honestly am thinking of doing just that.

I wonder.... who do I invite?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Flower Power: Bangkok

PAK KRONG TALAD. That's what they call the flower market in Bangkok. during my last trip, I need to bring home some nice flowers to help spruce up my home for an event. This market is near my hotel (see my other post on this) and Chinatown. You can take a TUK-TUK (a tricycle) and more or less the fare from the hotel would be 40 baht (60 pesos or $1.3)

Here you can find a smorgasbord of orchids. Thailand is known to breed a lot of orchids and they sell them quite cheap too. The more common variety (the violet colored ones) cost 50 baht (75 pesos, $1.7) per bunch. Some rare species would cost you 80 baht (120 pesos or $2.7) per bunch

They have some flowers that I don't recognize but are beautiful just the same. The have carnations, roses, mums

I researched this- it's called liatris.

bought some carnations
I bought some orchids and the carnations. I think the carnations were 80 baht also per pack. Walking here, you fell like you want to keep buying all the flowers. the problem was, I only have so many hands to hand carry them home. The flowers were so pretty and cheap!

I also bought these but didn't know what they were called.

tip 1: this is a market, don't be afraid to haggle. 
tip 2: as with all markets, not all shop owners are friendly and not all of them know English. No worries though as they would whip out a calculator to show you how much the flowers cost. Some also have price signs in the front.

 A visit to the flower market if you have the time is a must. I am sure your mother, wife, mother-in-law would surely love it if you bring her home some of the flowers found here.


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