Saturday, March 31, 2012

coffee foam art

Isn't this the cutest cafe latte? New York City-based artist and barista at The Breslin, Mike Breach, uses the foam atop a cup of espresso and milk as his canvas.

He can etch just about anything.

He even made a portrait of his friend's dog! And it does look like the real dog here!

They say that aside from looking pretty, latte art is a sign that the milk has been properly steamed and that your drink was made with love. Wouldn't you just love such an adorned cup in the morning?

Have a beautiful morning!

Photos from here via acupofjo.

Click here for previous posts from the Art series.

Monday, March 26, 2012

my pretend closet: mixed-color shoes

I have been smitten by this shoe from Zara. But it has eluded me. I didn't find it in the Zara stores in Hongkong and here in Manila, by the time I got to Zara, there was one last pair in stock - and it wasn't in my size! And maybe because I can't have it, I've been wanting it more. I looove the pop of yellow! And how it's paired with gray snakeskin because as you know from here, I have been captivated by gray & yellow lately. I like the mix of beige and black - a design sensibility that took me a while to love (see related post here). See? It's turned into perfection in my head!

Thank God for the mix of colors in these Pierre Hardy shoes I found during my pretend-shopping spree (read: surfing)... 


And this Manolo Blahnik with a mix of apple green and warm neutrals...

And this SM Parisian by Rajo Laurel. This one actually eluded me too last year. But I did get the purely black version. And though mine doesn't have the pop of the purple & gray combination, I have been loving how comfortable they are! Surprisingly, I can run in them!

But of all the mixed-color shoes I've spotted this season, I am so thrilled that the one that didn't get away was this particular shoe. Zara Hongkong was so fully-stocked with this that my friends K, C & I all bought ourselves a pair each!

I find them uber sexy! And I just looove that of all the mixed-color shoes in this post, this is the one in my non-pretend closet!

Photos from pierrehardy, here, here, here, here and here.

Click here for previous posts from the My Pretend Closet series. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Noah says...

Noah and I were talking about him learning to drive. I told him I'd been driving for (aaagghhh!) 20 years. As if telling me that was no big deal, he said, "That's little [less] than prison years."

And when I asked how long prison years took, he answered, "100 years." Ah, so that's why 20 years was nothing!

Jeesh, "prison years"! Where does he learn these terms?

Photo from annnniegirl.

Click here for previous posts from the Noah Says series.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

be yourself

Just a few quotes to remind you to 'be yourself'.

This one is from Dr. Seuss.

This one's sort of by Kurt Cobain.

Is there a quote you love so much you'd wear it around your neck?

Or display in your home?

The truth is, I'm a painting fan. It never occurred to me to display words-to-live-by in my home. I bookmarked these quotes primarily for Isabella. I thought they were appropriate during a teenager's journey towards self-discovery. I figured the journey could lead to self-doubt. But I should have known my Isabella, who was always feisty and strong-willed even as a child, would be one self-assured teen. Because several weeks ago, I told Isabella I was going to do this thing (I think, it was 'microwave some queso de bola' or 'wear the Uniqlo rainjacket we both had'. I can't really remember.). She said she was going to do the same. So I teased, "Am I your idol?" And she said, "No." Pretending to be offended, she said, "I'm an individual!" I should have known Isabella would always BE HERSELF! :)

Photos from annnniegirl, i'mjustsaying, here, here and here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Today, I am loving...

I have always been attracted to barnyard or horse-stall doors. Probably because of my love for horses (see related post here). I guess that's why this photo of a split-door has been bookmarked in my "pretty-folder" for a while now. I think it would make an interesting backdoor. I imagine it can work just as well as the open-pane door here as a kid's puppet theater or lemonade stand.

I've also bookmarked (& posted here) this actual barnyard door that's used as a bathroom door.

But I never imagined you could repurpose an old horse-stall door like this.

Today, I am loving... these repurposed horse-stall doors.

I love the character & charm that these old horse-stall doors bring to the room. The details are just gorgeous!

And I love the idea of partly concealing a bar or groceries. I also think that putting them on sliding rails - rather than a regular door with hinges - adds to the allure. And of course, the pretty backsplash of that bar is to-die-for! 

Today, I am enamored... by these repurposed horse-stall doors!

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I am loving... series.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lego Tales: Lego Moleskine

The release of the limited edition LEGO Moleskine notebooks this month inspired me to start a new series on anything & everything LEGO. Growing up, LEGO was my most favorite toy. My brother was my playmate so those colored bricks were the most gender-neutral toy we could both enjoy. We created so many original things (as opposed to merely following the instruction booklets they came with) out of our LEGO bricks. Aside from the dogs here and here, I also remember building a pinball machine. I even recall that our mom's sister challenged us to make a robot out of every single LEGO brick we had (likely, to get us to clean up our LEGO mess) and we fashioned a giant one with so many moving parts! That's what I loved about LEGO - the possibilities were endless with a child's playful imagination.

True to LEGO's playful essence, the LEGO Moleskine notebooks have a real LEGO brick embedded in the cover to spark one's playful side. Moleskine puts it perfectly, "As a platform for free expression, you can arrange words, sketches and thoughts like building blocks and construct a world of your own." As the colorful inside cover reads, "Think With Your Hands."

Actually, the notebooks do NOT come with mini-figures like these (What they actually do come with are stickers and a rear expandable inner pocket. They come in both ruled and plain, in 2 sizes. I spotted them in Fully Booked Power Plant last week for less than PhP2,000.).

But I just love the idea of putting mini-figs on the embedded brick.

I wonder if Noah will notice if I take one of his Toy Story mini-figs? Hehe.

Photos & quotes from moleskine, here and here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Color Obsession: purple & yellow

I am totally loving the colors of Spring 2012! This particular one is from Madewell's lookbook. And while I'm not sure I am bold enough to wear a purple top & yellow pants together, the combination is certainly catching my eye.

Though the turquoise & spring green are looking lovely too, am really referring to this lady's purple & yellow nail polish.

This - even though I can't even see the dress - I find really sexy.

And here they are again in the 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring 2012 Collection - this time, a pale lemon yellow with lavender.

And again in J.Crew's Collection - with a pale lavender purse & a marigold skirt.

Ooohh, I am so excited to start wearing these Spring colors!

Photos from Madewell, annnniegirl, vogue and here.

Click here for previous posts from the Color Obsession series.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

first dance

Isabella is going to her very first dance tonight.

For me, it's somewhat like 'prom' because she's going with an escort.

She's going with a friend (who I have met many times) but I still can't help see it as her first date.

The odd thing about these unnerving teenage milestones is that timelines seem to blur. Somehow, I am seeing 14-year-old Isabella as she was when she was a little 5-year-old, way too young to be going out with a boy. And at the same time, I am seeing her as perhaps, a 25-year-old, way into the future, on her wedding day! I find myself wishing I could turn back time because Isabella seems to be growing up too fast. But at the same time, I am hoping that where this growing-up leads - her wedding day - will be the beginning of the happiest, most love-filled life.

My dear Isabella, I know, I know I am making this bigger than it actually is. It's just a dance, hardly even a real date. And while this day proves that my little girl is no longer a little girl, I hope you can enjoy the night with the same childlike quality you've always had as a little girl. Just dance, laugh and have a magical night filled with glitter!

Oh, and please always remember this love advice of mine here. Because I want your very last dance-partner in life to make you happier than anyone can ever be.

Photos from annnniegirl.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shopping Sunday!

Are you going shopping today? If these signs were on a store's door or window, I'd find it really hard to resist shopping in their store!

This door sign made me laugh! I'd enter this store, for sure!

Aaahh, retail therapy.

And yes! [Sniff.] I do deserve new shoes!

Happy Shopping Sunday!

Photos from here via acupofjo, matteroftaste and annnniegirl.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

hongkong's best buns

Surprisingly, my favorites from my recent gastronomic adventure in Hongkong are primarily all buns.

Deep-Fried Creamy Buns with Egg Yolk from City Hall Maxim's Palace - It's a custard bun with salted duck egg yolk. The sweet creamy goodness of the custard filling balanced with the saltiness of the duck yolk is to-die-for! In my 2 visits, I have not seen these buns in the dimsum carts (carrying the 2010-HK-Readers'-Choice-Award-worthy dimsum) being pushed around the restaurant. Both times, my friend needed to stand up and order them while pointing to the buns on the menu (thankfully, with English translation and a photo). Three buns come in one order.

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork from Tim Ho Wan - The baked bun in itself is already pretty good. Moreso with the BBQ pork filling. I love the mix of saltiness from the baked bun and the sweetness from the pork. It is a pretty perfect bun! Three buns come in one order too.     

Pork Bun from Ippudo - I've only been able to taste Ippudo's pork buns in their New York and Singapore branches. But since Ippudo recently opened in Hongkong, I thought it should be included in this list of Hongkong's best buns. Unlike the previous two buns, this one is a steamed bun. But I think the secret is in the Japanese mayo that comes with the pork. 

There's a line at each of these restaurants but their buns make the wait worth it!

City Hall Maxim's Palace (Opens at 11am, Sunday 9am)
2F  City Hall Low Block (but more like 3F based on the escalator flights you need to take)
Edinburgh Place, Central
Tel: +852 2526-9931
Don't make the mistake of going to any Maxim's restaurant, not even the Maxim's Cafe in the same building. I suggest you read through Cindy's very specific directions here.

Tim Ho Wan
FLT 8 G/F Phase 2 Tsui Yuen Mansion 2-20 Kwong Wa St.
Mongkok, Kowloon
Tel: +852 2332-2896
This branch is not an ideal place to bring kids because it is a pretty small place. Am not sure about their other branches because rumor is that they don't taste the same as the original. Oh, and apart from their Char Siu Buns, you have got to order their Pan-Fried Turnip Cake! That is what turnip cake should taste like!

Shop 210, Silvercord Tower, 30 Canton Rd.
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hongkong
Tel: +852 2957-8893
They also have a branch in Causeway Bay, if that is closer to where you are in Hongkong. Oh, and make sure you order ramen since that is what they're known for. I remember loving their Akamaru Ramen in their NY branch but didn't quite like it in Singapore. I cannot quite recall the ramen I did like in Singapore, but they said it was their bestseller. So I suggest you ask the HK staff which ramen is their best and order that one.

Photos are my and my friends' own.

Click here for another gastronomic experience in Hongkong.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

some polka dots i spotted...

I love the mishmash of chairs in this place Mikka of A Mischmashed Life once visited. The whimsical hodgepodge of chairs - polka-dotted, striped, solid-colored - is just delightful!

Just last week, I moved things around the house to break the matchy-matchiness of our bedroom. But let me start from the beginning: how we began furnishing our house when we first moved in. At that time, I just wanted clean, sleek, minimalist lines. If I had my way, our house would completely be in minimalist Zen. But remember here how the hubby wants things to have significance? Well, he grew up in a house with traditional Filipino furniture - with capiz windows and sulihiya recliners - so he wanted our home to be reminiscent of an old Vigan house.

And so our living room became a fusion of clean Zen lines and traditional Filipino pieces. We had a Zen-themed sofa made - with built-in shelves and detachable cushions for easy laundering. The focal point of our 'sala' was a crushed bamboo armoire we had custom-made for our TV - in mixed wood finishes to tie everything together. Our Vigan-inspired pieces - our baul and even our narra bench outside - did not have the intricate curly-cue carvings to keep with my clean, minimalist aesthetic. We replaced the door-panel of our fuse box with a Vigan capiz window from Tiendesitas and it served as a wall panel, giving character to our foyer. We also got ottomans for added seating & storage - in wicker & rope for more native textures.

Our bedroom though was completely minimalist Zen. It was practically lifted from an Ethan Allen catalogue - with the Lotus bed, the big round mirror above the headboard and Lotus dressers as huge sidetables (you see, I'm obsessed with storage space). For a while now, I have been wanting to get new sidetables but I wasn't keen on spending when I had perfectly good ones - just lacking charm & character. Then it struck me to move things around the house. So one sidetable moved to the other end of the bedroom as a dresser, the other moved up to Isabella's room to hold her TV, my wicker ottomans moved up to the master's bedroom as sidetables and our narra bench from outside became part of our living room.

While it was really more of an accident - a compromise - that made us design our living room in an eclectic Asian minimalist aesthetic, I love how our living room has always had so much personality and meaning. And I love that years later, it continues to breathe life throughout our whole house - breaking the matchy-matchiness of our bedroom into a stylish mishmash with so much more character than before. 

Photos from amischmashedlife, here, here, here, here, here and here. Layouts are my own.

Click here for previous posts from the Some Polka Dots I Spotted series.