joined the twilight craze last night...

and I don't think i've become a FAN. cos i think there are dozens of BETTER love stories out there, or maybe it just so happened that I didn't read the book, that's why!

anyway, was also out yesterday to check the bazaar at rockwell... *yawn* am i too tired for these? or have i really gone old from shopping? and stopped spending/ going crazy on bazaars like i used to?? there's always something new and old... the gladiattor's and old season's pumps were on sale. some frou frou dresses, bunch of unconventional accessories and unwanted stuffs someone would even think of giving me as a present - were laid out as if they were something of great value, but seeing how they were scattered across the streets of SE Asia i've visited months back in 1/8th the price kind of made me barf. i don't know... have i become an anti-holiday-shopping scrooge? am i being too frugal? or was it just the recessionista in me? that says, a pair of classic crocodile-skinned flats is all i wanted for Christmas. *boo!*

but as a guy friend of mine had mentioned, he thinks i had too much time in my hands that i even think about these things - when there's more things out there, more worthy to be worried! like the worldwide crisis, hunger in african countries, global warming, and i forgot, was that unemployment? or forced labor? ... *sigh* or maybe BOYS just really don't get it? haha!

but if there's one thing i'm really crazy at right now - it would be these shoes i got from a local store in Manila, called Janylin. I think they were MNG knock off's and knock off's of more renowned brands like Givenchy... but for less than $40-, i really don't care! :) plus, the store also had my Zara TRF knock off's too - which really looks like the same thing - only that the cork heels were NOT made of cork, but were made of plastic and covered with some sort of pvc... but for 1/3 the price, if i saw them first, i would'nt even think of buying them from Zara! So i grabbed these black heels from the store, cos im pretty sure they copied it somewhere... sure enough, someone in rockwell asked me if they were from MNG (on display) - and i just laughed. Oh, how i love that store now! :)

in the meantime, i really need some facial! and oh, can i just share? i dyed my natural eyebrows in light brown (to match with my roots) and it looks really AWFUL! i can't wait to murder the stylist who did it! GGGRRRRrrr.. and yes, i've been relocating back & forth from manila to my hometown, once a while, so i'm always dead-tired and lazy blogging! (but i'll share about my hometown soon! - if i'm still breathing :)

top: topshop. old jeans: topshop. shoes: janylin. studded belt/ accessories: hk, and h&m. gucci joy boston bag.

The Meaning of Things

With all this talk about “recession”, one would think that limiting discretionary spending is at the top of our To Do list. I mean, HandyMan may be in a precarious position working as an architect. With lower economic growth, there is less spending on building and expansions. I could be in the same boat… I work as a Project Manager and my work could be offshored to India or other low-cost delivery centres if needed. So naturally, with these possibilities looming I’ve questioned our need to forge ahead with the bathroom and guest bedroom renos we’ve got planned.

I’m sure many of you are the same. “Do I really need to buy that” is a question that crosses my mind regularly, especially in these heady days of holiday shopping. Surprisingly though, I’ve found that even in my circle of friends the level of spending hasn’t taken too much of a downturn. I know quite a few people that are undertaking renovations right now. Have they scaled back plans? Not really. What they have done is consciously chosen to make this investment, rather then spend the money on something a bit more superfluous, a bit more impermanent. I guess its that whole “cocooning” effect – when the world outside seems like a big, scary place, where better to retreat than “Home”.

People also seem to be taking their time to make more “meaningful” purchases too. You can see it in the appeal of vintage, hand-crafted, repurposed, restored, or green products. Our collective excessiveness over the last few decades has really taken a toll on our planet, our resources, our future generations, and our pocketbooks. We’re realizing that everything has consequences – and that’s a good thing. Like, I could go to my nearest big-box store and buy the cheapest, ready-made, ready-framed, poster art. But what if I instead dropped by the dusty neighbourhood thrift store and found a vintage poster from the 60’s? Or dug into my boxes in storage and found family photographs to arrange into an art wall? Or shopped on to buy an original, limited edition print? It just “means” more. And in these times when prosperity and material goods and financial security seems more fleeting, isn’t “meaning” one of the few things we can hold on to?

My wise dad said to my sister once about her young son, “Don’t give him toys, give him your time. Because when he grows up, that is what he will remember.” Its true. It is sometimes the thought and intention behind a thing that is most important, and not the thing itself. I’m sure some day I won’t remember what my kitchen handles look like, or the pattern of the tiles in the bathroom… but I’ll remember the time that it took HandyMan and I to build those rooms together, side by side. I’ll remember how we bickered, and strained our muscles, and worked quickly to get it all done before our baby arrived. I’ll remember how building a room meant more than the sum of all the shiny fixtures and tile put together. And I will love looking around my finished/unfinished house and recalling all the stories that each piece of furniture or decoration tells. I hope when you need to retreat from the craziness outside, you too will find the same comfort and meaning in your own homes.

You Made Me Do It...

...and I'm so glad you did :) Based on your feedback, HandyMan and I went hunting for the Toto Aquia toilet. It had similar specs to the Kohler Prelude we were considering - skirted design, dual flush, soft close, compact - but it had similar flush performance to the Cadet 3 (800 grams). This toilet was well suited to solve our "clean or green" dilemma -- so we bought it! One unanticipated benefit was that the back of the bottom skirt is cut away from the wall (unlike the Prelude). This means the toilet won't interfere with the baseboard we intend to put around the room. Bonus :)

Work on the bathroom is progressing quickly. Demo is done and electrical too. Plumbing and rough framing (we're flushing out one wall) should happen over the next two days. I hope there'll be time left to clean up a bit because my girlfriends are coming over Sunday for our annual Christmas get-together... and drywall dust sooo doesn't taste good on French toast :o\ I'll post some pics soon.

Call the police!

The Monet has been vandalized!!!  Say goodbye to the bathroom mural.  Demolition begins tomorrow!


as i've said, i've been trying to work on my wardrobe with: (1) toss (2) keep (3) keep a little longer... and this one's basically on my number 3. i dunno, there's something about it that i can't explain - maybe its the fabric? the random zips? uuggghhh...

but i also remember having it 4 yrs ago from topshop - where i wore it once on a psuedo-party, then totally forgotten - until now.

i'm currently not into long pants, but the zippers make it alot easier. skinny/ not skinny, i guess this can to stay a little longer...

also, i can't believe i now only own less than 20 pairs of shoes! *whew* i'm really keen on working with "less is better" lifestyle... cos i don't want my stuffs to OWN me!

top: random. pants: topshop. fedora: ben sherman. shoes: zara

don ne na??!

.. which means, "give me money!" in korean!

and now that i've sold some items and had been a very good girl (slightly)... i'm kinda thinking of rewarding myself with some holiday purchase's! :)

(and here's some of the items i've been drooling on my account: yummy!)

just another black dress...
monotone boyfriend cardi...

pink, satin bomber

one piece dress

yeah, some leather...

and denim...

and i don't think i'm too old for mickey ears yet! :)

.... ohhhhh noooo...

A Soft Place To Land

We finally picked up the cushions we had the seamstress make using outdoor fabric we bought from Designer Fabrics. She did a great job and the cushions have nice piped edges and straight seams and patterning. I can't wait to use them...but we'll have to wait because two inches of snow blankets the ground right now. Next summer, we'll paint the whole porch in white and add some beadboard on the ceiling. I can hear the summer breeze already!

Clean or Green? The Toilet Debate

One thing we haven't been too concerned about with the bathroom reno is finding a new toilet. Early on, we spotted the American Standard Cadet 3 Compact at our local Home Depot. The size was right, the price was right, it was on the city's rebate list, and it had good reviews. We weren't entirely fond of the design and we'd have to wait for the toilet to come in (its currently out of stock across the city) but those definitely weren't deal breakers.

But then HandyMan and I paid a visit to PMF Plumbing, a distributor who would let DH take advantage of his architect's discount (gotta love that!). We went and visited their showroom... and all our original selections about fixtures went right out the window :o\

We found another viable option for the toilet, the Kohler Prelude. It is dual flush high efficiency toilet, even more compact in size, a comparable price, and the stylish design works with the vanity we've chosen. Some drawbacks though... well, I worry about the toilet's ability to expel waste cleanly on the first flush (sometimes a problem with high efficiency toilets). Plus, the Prelude toilet has a Maximum Performance (MaP) rating of 350 grams, compared to the Cadet 3's impressive 1000 grams.

What is a MaP rating? A Canadian and American engineer developed Maximum Performance (MaP) testing to identify how well popular toilets (nearly 730 different models) performed bulk waste removal using a realistic test media, and to grade each toilet model based on this relative performance -- an excellent reference for anyone shopping for a toilet! The MaP level is "the maximum media loading (expressed in grams) at which the toilet model successfully clears all media from fixture in at least four of five attempts." Basically, a MaP level gives you an indication of a toilet's flush performance - the higher the level, the better. For the study, the minimum recommended MaP level was 250 grams.

So here is the dilemma... while the Prelude saves on water, it has lower flushing performance. You could argue that even with the occasional double-flush, you'd still be saving water overall with the Prelude. What to choose, what to choose... a toilet that is sure to get the bowl "clean", or one that helps you be "green" and conserve water??

and these are days of my life...

and drooling on some ebay items...

and munching on some keebler's soft batch cookies... YUMMY!

outfit: i can't believe everything's h&m!!

rihanna + gucci

gucci to benefit unicef


i'm sorry if i haven't been commenting back (in your blogs) the past few weeks/months... cos i'm really trying to keep myself busy with work/ personal issues, which i suppose comes every post-college/ post-previous work/ post-migration/ etc. but i'm really thankful for the l♥ve from you guys :) and its pretty weird cos since i got home/ settled here in manila, my life's more of a rollercoaster, than when i was an expat/ studying away a few years ago...

A Sweet Suite

HandyMan and I finally made a decision on the bathroom vanity. Its going to be this petite beauty, the Kohler Kelston, which we saw two weeks ago at the Tubs showroom. While not much bigger than the current pedestal, it offers two drawers and a shelf for storage. I figure I'll put some woven baskets on the shelf to hold baby WanderLuster's diapers and toiletries. The design will add a bit of femininity to the space too, I think. The scallops on the door front and the curved legs remind me of my dining room chairs...slightly Barbara Barry-esque :)

Now the only hold up is deciding on the faucet, which we need to do before we order the vanity because the sink can be customized to fit a single, 4", or 8" center set. I'd like something that looks vintage, maybe with porcelain handles. One suite that has caught my eye is the Fairfax model from Kohler. Here's a few pieces from the line:

I would really love a handspray on a slide bar...easier for cleanup, and good for short people like me. But boy, its an $investment at about $250 for just the bar. What do you folks think - worth it or not? I've used aftermarket shower heads before, but most of the time, they just don't look right with the rest of the fixtures.

the concert!

last sunday, 70,000+ people flocked bonifacio high street (us included!) at the fort, manila, to watch the most awaited "Rihanna + Chris Brown" concert! OMFG! it was great! and the crowd was crraaaazzzy!!
Chris Brown was def a CUTIE!! :) aah.. i can't get over it! "forever... forever..."

people were star-strucked when rihanna got on the stage - she's so pretty/ intimidating... not to mention, that dominatrix outfit. HOTNESS! i love her!

Rihanna & Chris Brown singing "Umbrella"... aaw... aren't they cute?

and me. i can't stand looking at girls in high-heels/ miniskirt's cos... yes, the concert was held on OPEN FIELD - and the idea of smothering myself in mud/ soil/ sticky people didn't fancy me. such a waste...

...what a refreshing change on my usual sunday :)

Reader Question: LR's Kitchen

LR wrote in recently with her kitchen dilemma:

I just ordered white cabinets, a dark wood floor, and I haven't picked my countertops quite yet. I have always loved the butcher block look but have considered silestone as well. I would love to know you thoughts since everything I have read on your blog seems to be exactly what I'm thinking. I started ripping pages out of magazines months ago that I could use as kitchen inspiration and I have glued them all into a notebook where I try my best to keep my ideas organized. When I looked back through my kitchen inspiration notebook all of my kitchens had wood floors and white/light cabinets! I am not sure what tile to pick for a backsplash, I was thinking of going white but I am torn between white or bringing in a punch of color... any thoughts?

Great idea with keeping an inspiration binder, LR! It really helps to focus a look. By the sounds of it, you prefer a more warm, traditional look in the kitchen. I love the look of wood floors against white cabinets.

Butcher block is a great feature if you've got ample counter space. If you have a separate island, mixing butcher block on the island and stone or quartz counters around the perimeter is beautiful look. Check out how the butcher block island enhances the look of the wood floor in this space from Hampton Design.

For the backsplash, I find the pure "white on white" look of white cabinets and white ceramic subway tiles a little sterile. Instead, why not go for a little bit of pattern or colour in the veining. Tiles set in a unusual pattern, marble subway tiles, interesting contemporary tile shapes... all of these would add a bit of interest.

(Source: House Beautiful; Unknown; Sarah's House)
As for colour in the backsplash, this is a personal preference but I prefer to keep things neutral and bring in the colour through paint on the walls, fabrics, and accessories. The blue tiles in this picture from Cottage Living look lovely, but I fear down the road they'll look 'oh-so-2008' - like the tumbled backsplash look from the 1990's. With a more neutral backsplash, you can change accessories and still get the pop of colour you're craving.

One important thing in the kitchen - no matter what finishes you choose - is ample lighting. You can change the mood and look of a kitchen with a well chosen mix of potlights, pendants, and under-cabinet lights, so leave a little room in the budget for that :)

Thanks for the question LR and do send in some after pics! If you have a decorating dilemma, send in your question to


"let's put a smile on that face, shall we?"

i really don't want you guys to be worried on what happened in my last post, but let's just say, everyone goes through that phase :) i know its sick to be feeling all those sh*tty moments when you least expect them to, whatsoever, but there's no detour - you just to keep on going... which i had been doing (or been trying to do) these past couple of days :)

and during times like these... all you need is a friend, a shoulder to cry on to, overnights, makeup/ retail therapy (ha!), and of course, God :)

and... speaking of retail therapy, i believe i've changed (a bit). cos i no longer succumb to impulse buys, but rather think about an item (really really well) before actually purchasing them! and yes, it involves skipping those open-toed, gladiator booties which i had been lusting for soooo long - w/c was also the most perfect shoes i had ever encountered, ever! bah! or maybe because i saw these after...

yummy! these studded heels from zara will soon be mine!! yeh?

(also, sorry cos outfit posts's the least prioritized thing in my mind right now.. but thanks thanks y'all)

Three Strikes

Three strikes today and I’m out. First, I had a press pass to see the unveiling of the renovated Art Gallery of Ontario today. It would have been my one and only chance to see Frank Gehry in person – but fiddlesticks, here I am stuck at work, working. (Don’t you hate it when work gets in the way of all the fun stuff??)

AGO photo by flickr user wvs

Then, I approached my fave designer Sarah to present at the next Pecha Kucha I’m organizing. Yes, I’m organizing another one as part of this show. It’ll be on Trade Day of the show. The theme of the Pecha Kucha is “Inspired By…” and since it will be designers/decorators/architects presenting to their peers, I’m sure they’re going to try and one up each other and show brilliant and unique presentations. That’s the hope anyway :) Alas, Sarah wasn’t available and her sidekick Tommy wasn’t either. Strike Two and Strike Three. Argh. But I’ve got a few more big names to approach and an interesting roster already lined up from all walks of the design industry… graphic designers, art gallery owners, architects, advertising, fashion designers. If you’re interested in attending, and will be in Toronto in cold, blustery February 2009 you can sign up for free admission here (I know it says Professional trade registration, but I've never seen that enforced or verified ;o) ).

Now to find something to wear that will de-emphasize the watermelon sized belly I will have by then!

Buyin' for Baby

The baby growing inside me is now the size of a baked potato. What a strange, surreal, incredible, scary thought. I'm in that in-between period, where I'm no longer feeling the nausea and tiredness of the first trimester, and a few weeks from feeling the first definitive kick from Baby HandyLuster. So, aside from the bigger belly that makes it difficult to have a restful night's sleep, I don't really feel too pregnant. I'm not worried though. I know the rest of the aches and pains will come soon enough. In the meantime, I guess I'll shop. Here's some of the things I've got my eye on. If you've had experience with any of these, I'd love to hear about it!

Phil & Ted's Sport Stroller; BabyHawk Carrier; Swaddle Me Wrap

And this, I think this would look adorable decorating the baby's room...French alphabet cards from etsy seller bibitty:

when will the hurting end?

its so cliche... but really, God when?

sometimes we pretend to be happy, to hide away from our griefs. we ignore the problems, hoping they would resolve by itself. but maybe, we have to cry sometimes... or fight even. learn to make ourselves happy, and share. i'm so over it. and i'm ready to drown... cos i know God's gonna pick me up someday when i'm ready.

i really need a break :(
(striped top: h&m. skirt: h&m. jacket from hongkong. bag: h&m. boots: zara. snakeskin turban: only)

goodbye my lover...

so i finished all the things i needed to do early, and had ample time to blog today (this is such a joke right?).

*sigh* my purple fur jacket has a new owner... i know, i said i wanted to get rid of some of my stuffs here, but some part of me says, "no, they're mine!" haha.. kidding. but since i won't be spending any cold, winter moments soon (and i kinda doubt my winter solstice in korea would even push through!) mind as well get rid of the winter stuffs, and buy new ones (next time) again! - oh, was that an excuse? (^.^) and.. i had too much "drama" with this jacket anyway! (my a-hole EX boyf from way way before dumped me blah blah blah and this was the coat i was wearing that effing day! haha!) hence the title, "goodbye my lover", which actually was my song for HIM - for months - before i could get over!! loooosssseeerrr.

(purple jacket from hongkong. h&m tights. bench (men's) tank. h&m shoes)

so... off you go to your new mummy!

PS. tried the mayonnaise thingie on my hair today... smells bad, but i think it's working! :)

see no evil

some of the reasons why i plan of shutting this blog down are...
  1. i haven't been sleeping right the past few days (or earliest is 5am!), and resort to the internet to get me some zzz's - but it isn't helping either!
  2. i check up my blog (and some of yours too) and emails, etc. every morning... and before i knew it, by the time i need to start working/ fixing myself up - i'm STILL blog hopping!
  3. there's too many temptations...
  4. i really want to DO something (business related), and it involves lots of research/ study/ benchmarking whatsoever. and being updated with the latest fashion obsession is not related.
(h&m blazer. top from china. uniqlo jeans. coach wristlet.)

BUT i also realized that blogging is my outlet for random stuffs which, for a fact, i can't discuss during work (or if i do have anyway!) so i'll still keep in touch from time to time, while i'm lusting over these 2 items from Coach's Amanda collection... aaahh... maybe i should just learn TIME MANAGEMENT instead, huh?

Bathroom Layout

Ever notice how when you're working on something fun, it doesn't seem like work? That's how HandyMan is with AutoCAD. Task him with drawing something up and he becomes as productive as a spider making its web. He can whip up plans, elevations, and drawings in no time. So when we found the tile for the bathroom walls, he got really excited and came up with myriad options. Which was great, because sometimes having a visual of the end product really helps with the planning.

At first, we thought of having the tile just on the tub walls and put a half wall of beadboard on the other walls. But with the carpet tiles in marble, we thought that would be mixing styles too much. So then we played with the idea of putting tile on two of the four walls... but where to stop? Put the tile only in the shower stall? Run the tile across the top of the door and behind the toilet? Here are some looks:
Okay, looking good so far. And what about the other two walls? It would be easy just to paint them and be done with it. Or we could tile them which would be a little more work. Maybe tile only half the wall to keep from overwhelming the small space...

So many choices! But now seeing it all on paper, we can clearly see the look we want. Here it is:

I love the vintage feel of the room. Using white tiles will help keep the room from feeling too tight and claustrophobic. The band of grey ceramic tiles beneath the cap rail will run around the perimeter of the room and will help tie everything together. As well, we're going to wrap the top and front of the half wall between the tub and toilet with marble, which ties in with the marble tiles on the floor. And the half frosted/half wood door will bring in natural light and brighten up the space.

There's a few things we're not loving (like the front skirt of the tub - would have looked better plain and simple), but at least we've managed to find fixtures to fit in the small space. I'll post pics of what we've picked out so far soon.