Monday, November 17, 2014

PH | Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant

It seems like Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant has been included in almost every foodie's to-try list -- both for their succulent savoury meals and sinfully delightful desserts.  One of the problems I've had with them, though, is the lack of a branch near our home or any other place in the Southern Metro that we frequently visit.

So when we found ourselves in Robinsons Magnolia one weekday morning, the family decided that a visit was finally in order, if only to partake of some of their well-raved about some sweets.

Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant

Monday, November 10, 2014

PH | Summit Ridge Hotel, Tagaytay

It's been ages since I've been to Baguio City.  Plans never push through (you know how it is) due to time constraints and financial obligations and the like.  Good thing we live close by to the very next best thing -- Tagaytay!

Considered to have the second highest elevated area in the country, it's no wonder they get to enjoy cool, crisp, refreshing (*sigh*) weather for most of the year.  And with its close proximity to the Metro, it's the ideal place to cool off when one finds the capital too stifling (and polluted and hot and dirty, etc.)

Hence, we did, one weekend, pack our overnight bags for a short stay at Summit Ridge Hotel for some needed R&R.

Summit Ridge Hotel
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Wonder What Heaven Would be Like...

Like everyone else, our family too, have not been immune to the experienced of losing loved ones so dear (who is, anyway).  Having a few years back (2010 to be exact) lost both an aunt and a grandma, we are recovering but still feeling the effects.  

I read somewhere that the pain of this type of loss never goes away, but does, instead dull itself over time.  It still has not stop, in fact, from deeply unnerving us as to mortality and what image and memories we leave to our loved ones when we are gone.


Monday, October 27, 2014

PH | Modern Shanghai

It's been an exciting time for the country's culinary scene.  A lot of new restaurants are popping up which has opened up our taste buds to more than the usual fare.  From local dining options (hey, Filipino food will always delight my senses) to Western and Asian concoctions; yes, folks, it's definitely a smorgasbord of eats!

Fairly recent, was the entrant of more sophisticated (or, I think, slightly more unusual in our parts) Chinese fare in the Metro.  The most talked about?  Xiao Long Baos (Php208.00).

Xiao Long Baos

Sure, they're pork dumplings.  We've surely had them before; but they're dumplings with soup (more specifically tasty broth)!  Bite a bit off the top, add some ginger slices, dip into a little Zhenjiang vinegar, and enjoy the warm, silky, chewy (from the skin) texture.  Ahhh....

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I forgot to mention I had this particular piece at Modern Shanghai, a fairly new restaurant serving local Shanghai cuisine.

Monday, October 20, 2014

PH | STYLE FOR LESS: Harvey's Large Seatbelt Tote VS Jovanni Weave Bags

THE SPLURGE: Harveys Large Seatbelt Tote ($118.00 / Php5,310.00*)

SOURCE: Harveys website

The start of Harveys Seatbelt Bags was simple enough.  Having completed work on his automobile, Dana Harvey had the brilliant idea of creating his wife a bag made from leftover seatbelt material.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Now 20 years into the business, the Harveys are still going strong.  From the original tote, they have prepared and developed other designs and accessories to match, too.  And did I mention, they come with a lifetime durability guarantee.  Definitely worth the $118.00 (approximately Php5,310.00) price tag for the large size (if you have cash enough to spare.)  Also available in smaller sizes, too.

*$1.00 = Php45.00

***

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Couponing 101

Searching the net for the term coupon, Google came up with this description:

“a voucher entitling the holder to a discount off a particular product.”

Indeed, used wisely, it can save you money in the long run by cutting a piece off the total price of an item you want to buy or even forgo shipping expenses altogether (as in the case when shopping online).

But how exactly do coupons work?  And are you ripping off stores when you use them?

Clipped Coupons With Scissors 1 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Chris Potter, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Save Money While Shopping Online

With today's technological advances, it's not surprising that more and more people are flocking to the internet to satisfy their shopping needs. It's convenient, easily accessible, and at times (if done right), can save you a bit of money.  Options are also endless as you get to enjoy everything that the web has to offer.
Piggy Bank Money from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 401(K) 2012, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

PH | A (Slightly) Rainy Outing at The Watercamp Resort

What to do when you have your birthday during one of the rainy season months (as is the case with the Little One and the Favorite Nephew?  Go swimming, of course!

The Watercamp Resort

Monday, October 13, 2014

PH | Ready To Be Rich's Family Finances Seminar

I was a yuppie a few years back.  And doing pretty well, if I do say so myself.  I was earning good money in a career and company I really enjoyed being a part of.  Family and personal relationships were fantastic.  Plus I was on my way to completing another degree.  Everything was right were I envisioned myself to be years past.

That was, until I had to move (the initial transition) to Singapore to follow the Husband there.  The plan was to look for work and pick up from there.  Most probably starting from the bottom again but at least, we were complete and could be able to start our married life together.  I was content.

money and savings from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 401(K) 2012, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Monday, October 6, 2014

PH | STYLE FOR LESS: LV's Zippy Wallet Monogram Vernis Dots Infinity VS BENCH's wallet

THE SPLURGE: Louis Vuitton's Zippy Wallet Monogram Vernis Dots Infinity ($1,050.00 / Php47,250.00*)

An iconic brand decked out in polka dots.  A collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  Selling for a hefty $1,050.00 (approximately Php47,250.00*).

SOURCE: Bagaholicboy website

*$1.00 = Php45

Monday, September 15, 2014

Experience the Power of the Ikea Bookbook™

In this age of gadgets, an item like the Ikea Bookbook™ is certainly a breath of fresh air.  Click on the video to learn more.



Simply amazing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Nostalgia Machine

I'm not exactly sure but I've been having bad cases of nostalgia for the past days now.  Be it TV shows or products I loved when I was younger -- it just washes over me in huge waves.

I think you would all agree that the easiest way to enjoy a nice dose of nostalgic musings from your yesteryear would be listening to old songs.  Pop, rock, rnb, funk -- whatever keeps you grooving. 

YouTube makes it easier to search for those goodies; but for those who want to browse by year these songs hit the airwaves, there's The Nostalgia Machine.

http://thenostalgiamachine.com/

Friday, July 4, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

PH | STYLE FOR LESS: Kipling's New York Lite Carry-On Wheeled Luggage VS Voyager's 5167

THE SPLURGE: Kipling's New York Lite Carry-On Wheeled Luggage ($249.00 / Php11,209.00*)

Kipling's a brand we've all come to associate with quality and durability.  Given how much unnecessary junk we usually place inside our totes (guilty here), it sure helps that Kipling bags weigh so little, yet still feel secure enough to take on that heavy load.

Like any Filipino traveler, I too have the tendency to try to pack in as much clothes and pasalubong as I can fit into my luggage bag.  But with the bag itself adding much to the overall weight, don't you just wish that they was one that weighs so much less than the normal types you find in the stores?  Sayang ang extra kilos noh!  J

SOURCE: Kipling website

Friday, June 27, 2014

PH | Holiday Inn & Suites Makati: One Kid-Friendly Hotel

We've been very much blessed to have enjoyed staycations in a number of hotels around the Metro.  They're great alternatives to out-of-town vacations if ever you find yourself pressed for time to get away from the city (and what we definitely do have lacking of is some quality vacation time with the Husband here in PH what with his busy schedule and all).  I've noticed, though, that very few can boast to be truly kid-friendly, except for a handful.

One such hotel that is indeed family-friendly is the new Holiday Inn & Suites in Makati.

SOURCE: IHG website

Monday, June 23, 2014

PH | Bang's Tony & Jackey Beauty Salon's Aqua Volume Rebond

I've always had ruly, unmanageable hair for as long as I can remember, hence the introduction of rebonding services here in PH is a blessing.  I've been having my hair rebonded or relaxed once a year since 2002.  It's an expense that I make sure is always included in the yearly luxury budget.

Whereas before I used to have my hair rebonded at a David's Salon (since they always deliver consistently great results), I had to stop and look to other establishments when they eventually jacked up their prices (what used to cost me Php3,000 is now priced at Php5,000 to Php6,000, depending on the branch!).  Too much for my already hurting wallet.  Hence, the need to try other salons.  I've been happy with the results, so far.

The one thing though. that always gets me though is how lifeless and limp my hair tends to look when newly treated.  It's always the case wherever I have my tresses done.  It will look it's best at least a month or 2 after treatment.  It was only recently that I learned I could forego this agony by a undergoing a Volume Rebond instead, which for now only a handful of salons offer.  One of which is at Bang's Tony & Jackey Beauty Salons.

SOURCE: Bang's Tony & Jackey Beauty Salon (SM Bacoor branch) website

Friday, June 20, 2014

PH | Easy To Learn (ETL) Books: This Mommy’s Best Friend

I started reading to the Little One when she was but 3 months old.  It started off with the Pat the Bunny Sleepy Bunny book.  Later on, we progressed to picture books (aside from continuing simple story ones).  And now she is enjoying full story books. 

It’s a good activity that I always recommend to all parents as I believe this helps little ones appreciate books more if you start them off early.  And I’ve been seeing the results, too.  She now knows all her letters and basic mathematics plus knows simple words by sight.  So happy!  J

But now that the Little One is a 2-year-old toddler, she has already developed her own story preferences.  Whereas before, it was so simple to just pick a book that will catch her attention (bright pictures being the top priority), now she won’t listen to a story unless it’s something she really likes.

For now, she’s absolutely in love with Dora the Explorer.  And as much as I would love buying her a new book at least once a week, budget permits me to be that extravagant.  Thank heavens, though, for Easy To Learn (ETL) books.

The Little One's ETL book collection

Monday, June 16, 2014

PH | Gymboree Play & Learn Classes

Time flies so fast!  Who would have thought the Little One's 2 now, turning 3 in a few months!  Where does the time go?  Huhuhu!  L

Taking care of her full-time has definitely been a challenge.  Trying to make sure that she's stimulated mentally and physically is hard, what with thinking of age-appropriate activities and shows that she can be allowed to do and see.  One thing I noticed, though, since she really has not much kids her own age for playmates (only us stuffy "adults" here with her at home), I find she has grown to be slightly shy when among other people (whatever the age).

And since school, for her, is still a year away, the Husband and I decided to enroll her in a Gymboree Play & Learn class for the meantime to get her to come out of her shell a bit.

Gymboree Play & Learn in Sofitel (Source: Gymboree website)

Friday, June 13, 2014

PH | A Taste of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Is it just me or are we also being invaded by ramen shops nowadays?  Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for variety and am actually quite happy to see that the Filipino palate is getting more exposed to other types of cuisine.  I guess globalization is really upon us.

But I digress.  Ramen's always been comfort food to me.  It's the warm soupy goodness; the generous savoury toppings and noodles.  When before I'd usually go to Ajisen Ramen (it's one of our fave ramen places in Singapore, too.  Read about that in this here post.) to have my ramen fix, nowadays I just try to look for the new players in any of the major malls for variety and a taste of something different.

And one of those new players here in the Metro is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka in Glorietta, Makati

Monday, June 9, 2014

PH | SUN Broadband Internet Settings for Android Tablets

We're quite lucky as our location here in Cavite has a good enough SUN Broadband internet signal, hence we decided to subscribe to unlimited postpaid package.  There are instances, however, that I would need to have internet access in our Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, too, for messaging, playing games and whatnot.

Not wishing to buy a wireless dongle router (or something to that effect), I simply switch and transfer our Sun Broadband Internet sim from its dongle device directly to the tablet.  The first time I did this, the tablet didn't automatically connect to the net.  And upon calling customer service, was informed that I had to physically drop by a Sun Cellular shop to have their people manually configure our device.

It was totally ridiculous!  Most especially since what their staff did was so simple that I could have easily done it at home if they were kind enough to have provided me with the settings through the phone from the start.

So in the interest of saving other Sun Broadband internet users the hassle of having their devices configured pa in a SUN shop, listed below are brief instructions on how to get your broadband internet working for your android devices.

Source: SUN Cellular website

Friday, June 6, 2014

PH | Pigging Out at City Buffet

A friend once told me that buffets are the best places to eat in.  There's something for each discerning palate, making it easier to make decisions on where to eat and what type of cuisine to try.

I admit, pigging out's a past-time.  An enjoyable one most especially when you're with family and friends who enjoy a good meal as much as you.  And it's a good thing that here in the Metro, those newfangled luxury buffet restaurants just keep popping out of nowhere, tempting you with everything they have to offer.

And one of the fairly newer ones is City Buffet Restaurant, located in Robinson's Galleria.

City Buffet Restaurant in Robinson's Galleria

Monday, June 2, 2014

PH | Eyebrow Threading at Lay Bare

I've never been too high maintenance when it came to my looks.  I don't wear make-up on a regular basis (even prefer not to wear some if it can be avoided) and my hair style should be the wash and wear type.  Yes, I'm extremely lazy that way.

But there is one thing I never fail to do regularly.  I just have to have my eyebrows threaded and groomed once a month.  Where before I used to have it done at my favorite hair salon (read my painful post in this here link), I realized that it was better to have it done in places that specialize in the trade.  Hence, I gave Lay Bare Waxing Salon a try one day.

Lay Bare Waxing Salon

I've never had my brows done anywhere else since.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wish Fulfilled! A Stay at the Intercontinental Manila Hotel.

Intercontinental Hotel Manila...  The name just exudes sophistication at every syllable.

Intercontinental Hotel Manila in Makati, Philippines

If the Husband's pre-marital / college-era wish list included a stay in the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila (of which we have already fulfilled a number of times over -- check my posts here and in here), I, for one, have always wondered what the Intercontinental Manila Hotel looked like from the inside.  Finally got my wish early this year when we had a little staycation over.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Okaneya: Bread in a Can (?)

The Madir works in a Japanese-owned NGO that provides scholarships to needy Filipino students and assistance to Japanese nationals who are based here or are tourists in the Philippines.

That being said, they meet a lot of our Japanese friends on a yearly basis; most of who come to the country regularly to meet up with the children they're putting through to to school.  A lot of the times, they bring pasalubong for my mom and her co-workers, sort of as thank you gifts for the hard work they put in.

We've received cute items like pens, fans and pouches.  Some food stuff, too.  But this, by far, takes the cake -- a can of bread!

Okaneya, bread in a can

I kid you not...

Friday, May 23, 2014

BonChon's Ko-Yo Desserts

I have a notorious sweet tooth.  It's a pain to have, especially when you're trying to go on a diet.  Good thing there are slightly healthier alternatives in the market nowadays -- yogurt being one of them.

I've have tried almost all available brands.  From the original Better Than Ice Cream (BTIC) to those offered in fast food places (like Kenny Roger's and Pancake House); most of them are good.  I don't have a thing to complain about.

Now, it seems, BonChon has also joined in the craze, offering a line of Ko-Yo (Korean yogurt) desserts to their adoring public.

BonChon's Ko-Yo

Monday, May 19, 2014

STYLE FOR LESS: Wacoal's SB4712 VS Bench / Body's Wireless Bra

THE SPLURGE: Wacoal's SB4712 (Php895.00)

The Madir and I are huge fans of Japanese brand, Wacoal.  They offer super comfortable bras that offer great fit and lift (if need be).  Albeit priced a little higher than other brands found in department stores, the splurge is definitely worth it.

Wacoal's SB4712

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kimono Ken

I was having some really mean sushi carvings a few weeks back.  Maybe my stomach also knew it was nearing Holy Week and decided that a few meatless days were in order.  Whatever the reason, I just knew I had to have some fast!

Good thing there was a Kimono Ken branch near our place.

Kimono Ken

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Restaurant Formerly Known as Heaven & Eggs -- H&E

Similar to Prince (whose stage names underwent various changes), Heaven & Eggs revamped its sunny, cutesy image; and in the end, turned to a more edgier vibe, even changing their name to simply H&E to matcht their new aura.  But regardless of the outfit change, the food is still, as always, still the best.

Source: H&E Facebook page

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fusion Love: Tokyo Cafe

I might just be a bit biased; but have you ever noticed that Japanese-Western fusion cafes almost always serve delicious food?  From TCC to Pasta de Waraku (both Singapore-based groups) to Bubble Tea Restaurant here in Manila, almost every restaurant I've been to serving this type of cuisine has yet to deliver less than outstanding grub.

And here's one more I add to the list of favorites -- Tokyo Cafe.

Tokyo Cafe at Mall of Asia, Pasay

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Manly Man's Cronut: Bronut

I've noticed that Filipinos love following trends.  Be it in fashion or in food.  So when Dominique Ansel released his famous Cronut, it isn't any wonder that a lot of local versions would also come out.

From Cafe France to French Baker to small home businesses -- the choices are outstanding and personally, confusing.  One just can't seem to pick a favorite; but we've had that choice made easier for us by the Little One's preference for a Bronuts concoction.

Cream Cheese & Bacon

In particular, their Cream Cheese & Bacon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Neighborhood Haunt: Wings & Wedges

Tucked along a row of small shops in Bonny Serrano (very near Camp Crame) is a little hole-in-the-wall that sells that quintessential of all comfort foods -- Buffalo Chicken Wings.  And with a joint that offers that, what other name can be more fitting than Wings & Wedges.

Wings & Wedges

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sentro 1771: More Than Just the Basics

I love dining in upscale Filipino restaurants.  Seeing as I'm such a novice in the kitchen, it's great to be able to try local fare prepared by people who really know their stuff.  And the staff behind Sentro 1771 are masters at their craft.

Sentro 1771

Friday, April 25, 2014

Las Paellas Cafe

I've come to accept the fact that I might not probably have the skills to learn how to cook a mean Paella (a kind of Spanish rice dish) anytime soon; me being such a novice in the kitchen.  And that's why places like Las Paellas Cafe in San Juan is God-send for people like me who just don't have the chops for Paella-cooking.

Las Paellas Cafe

Monday, March 31, 2014

Midas Hotel and the Casino -- the New Hotel in an Old Building

Pasay City will always hold a special place in my heart.  It's along one of it's busiest streets that I grew up in, living in a compound alongside family members.  It's heaven on earth (although a tab dirty and smoky) but it's a big part of me.

Hence, any place in Pasay City has always held a certain fascination.  Take the old Hyatt Regency Hotel along Roxas Boulevard.  I've passed by this place hundreds of time as I was growing up.  I've seen it at it's heyday and later on, abandoned and alone, seemingly left to rot.

Quite recently, though, they've opened this grand building again.  This time under the name Midas Hotel and Casino.

Source: Midas Hotel and Casino website

Friday, March 28, 2014

banapple -- More than A Sweet 'Lil Thang (And Sandwicheese!, Too)

banapple is best perhaps known for their delicious banoffee pie.  Well, that's what I usually associate them with; most especially since it's been a birthday staple treat, brought to the office by those lucky enough to be living near or driving through it's premises (mainly those living in the North Metro Manila area).

But what used to be a once a year treat is now made more accessible to those from all around (whee!!!) by banapple's aggressive expansion.  From the original location in Quezon City, they have since opened 7 more!  Now that's progress... uhmm... a successful expansion.

banapple pies & cheesecakes

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dining The Aristocrat-style

The Aristocrat's been around for years!  In fact, many an older generation have found memories of their food and this iconic dining establishment. 

And although most people would most probably order their famous Chicken BBQ with Java Rice, we go a different route on this particular trip and instead, indulge in other home growth favorites, all with that special The Aristocrat touch, of course. 

Source: The Aristocrat Restaurant website


Friday, March 21, 2014

seda Hotel in BGC

My little family loves hotel staycations!  We have them at least twice a year.  Since the Husband has just so little precious time to spend with us whenever he comes home from Singapore, a night or 2 in a cozy hotel in the Metro is the perfect alternative to an out-of-town vacay for us.  We're near the major malls and the other attractions; all just a few steps away.

Whereas in the past, we'd usually limit our stays in Pasay or in Makati, this time around, we decided we wanted to stay in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) instead.  But still undergoing it's development stages, there were only but few places we could stay in (We stayed at F1 Hotel before in 2011).  Good thing, SEDA opened at just the right time.

seda BGC


Monday, March 17, 2014

Sakae Sushi: The Philippine Edition

Hey yo!  I'm back!  Blogging again from quite (?) hazy Singapore.  Here in vacation for the month, the Little One and I plan to get in some much-needed bonding time with the Husband. 

In other news, I think I'm out of my slump which resulted in my unofficial non-blogging hiatus (started early this year and one I hope not to do again).  A major personal project is hugely the cause (one of which I have every intention of finishing this year) -- a really personal one as I am doing this in order to preserve our family's precious memories and moments for the Little One.  More on that soon. 

And so, we go back to our regular programming...

***

I love me some Japanese food!

Next to Filipino fare, restaurants serving/specializing in Japanese cuisine are my go-to dining establishments  of choice.  And what better way to enjoy sushi (kaizen-zushi-style pa!) than at Sakae Sushi.

Sakae Sushi at Mall of Asia, Pasay

Monday, January 6, 2014

Making Homemade Yogurt is as Easi(Yo) as 1 - 2 - 3

Our family loves yogurt.  We've been having this healthy treat for years now.  And although not a lot of people appreciate it's slightly tart taste, it's something we've come to love and savor, mostly enjoyed as a great after dinner dessert.

So when I found out I won an EasiYo real yogurt maker (plus a real yogurt base and culture mix of my choosing) from Pepper.ph and Cambert Philippines (the brand's exclusive distributor in the Philippines), I was more than ecstatic!

EasiYo yogurt maker and base mix

Friday, January 3, 2014

Brothers Burgers at Bonifacio High Street

I love me some good burgers.  And it's a good thing that we're now bombarded with more than the usual choices we get from those commercial fast food joints.  And one of our favorite places to have some really good, delicious hamburgers is at Brothers Burgers.

Brothers Burgers

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SG | Toast Box Ham and Cheese Set

Breakfast is an indulgence for me.  Mainly because I am super lazy to have breakfast.  But when I do, there is no better start to your morni...