for some shallow reason, i CAN'T wait to go back to Manila and head off to SM department store! why? 'cause these patterned tights are killing me!! (*.^)
well, the obsession started off with those cute, Japanese kids in their harajuku-ish outfit...

and then by the Queen and her love-tights post.

until somebody mentioned to me (a month back) about our local designer, kate torralba, teaming up with the largest hosiery manufacturer (City Lady), designing colored/patterned tights which she would be selling to the local market!


gone are the days when i would just stare at (international) online stores... and who cares about those stares here, really!

...because these old, lace leggings of mine isn't giving me the happiness i deserve! haha!

photo creds: kingdomofstyle, ixinwei, chuvaness

Taking Stock of 2008

Can it be that time of the year already? A time when we take a step back and see how far we've come in a short twelve months. All in all, HandyMan and I managed to get a lot of things marked off our To Do list... though I feel we sort of planned 'on the fly' and priorities got shifted. If you had asked me last December what rooms we hoped to fix up over 2008, I would have said the living room and master bedroom. And guess what - those rooms weren't even touched!! But that's okay, because we did manage to do some other things:

Now that I look at this list, I can't help but think... ARE WE INSANE!? Obviously HandyMan and I have no life outside of our house, lol. So I'm going to make a new resolution for next year... next year, we're going to stop and smell the roses. We're going to enjoy these spaces we created and live in them. We're still going to finish the bathroom and do the guest bedroom/nursery and finish the back deck... but I promise, somewhere along the way, we'll put down the hammers, put our feet up, and relax - because what's the point of it all if we don't ever just stop and enjoy it?

Here's to 2009, a year to live a simpler and quieter life. Happy New Year!!

Holiday Memories

I hope everyone has been enjoying their holidays. We had a great Christmas at my sister's house. Its the perfect place to host our big family - lots of different rooms to escape to, a large basement for the kids to play in (complete with this 15-foot cardboard spaceship my dad made for my nephew's birthday earlier this month!), and a dining room with enough space to put out all the food. My favourite tradition though are the annual photos we take in front of the Christmas tree. Its great to see the changes in the photos over the years...children growing, boyfriends and girlfriends added, families getting bigger. And this year, HandyMan and I started our own little branch on the family tree :) Its a fitting end to the year...capturing a moment of happiness and full of anticipation for the coming months. I can't wait to see what's next!!

2009 is coming! :)

i'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions... but since I'm soo bored and had soo much to thank for - for the things that happened this 2008 - i just thought it would be FUN to list down the things i want do/ happen/ accomplish next year! :)

anyway the list goes in random...
  • triple my $avings
  • win at least 3 bidding's/ projects
  • visit the great SALE in Singapore!
  • spend Christmas in a winter country (i just want to dress up for winter!)
  • be able to stand up & finish the whole ramp (2x) in wake-boarding!
  • commit to belly dancing and yoga
  • have the "laser" thing going :)
  • be able to pattern/make my own clothes
  • spend more wisely, and get rid of the "we buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like" mantra
  • visit China, drop by HK, then shop in H&M! :)
  • wear circle lens with ease
  • renovate my room
  • have a wonderful, to-die-for, beach getaway!
  • make a total hottie ask for my number, then make him cry...(haha!)
  • fall in love again ♥
  • be more confident
  • be more thankful
  • be a more responsible daughter/ better person
  • cook food and bake a cake :)


one of the drawbacks of prolonged vacation is LAZINESS and crazy body clock schedules... yesterday, i slept around 4am, then 6am... and so on. ugh! i feel like i don't sleep anymore! :( and i always feel sluggish/hungry... bah.

on the brighter note, i am LOVING these shoes i got from CLN, before i left Manila for the holidays.

and i think its the 2nd non-black shoe i ever purchased this season :)

top: h&m. tights: topshop. cardi: from hongkong. shoes: cln

merry christmas!!

while all the girls in the family are baking cakes, and preparing dishes for Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner)... bratty me (together with bratty niece) is on her macbook, surfing the net, lusting over uber expensive stuffs... and just waiting for the food to be served! :)

anyway, had anyone of you watched Hors de Prix? it obviously is one of my fave French movies made!

again, Merry Christmas y'all!

Merry Christmas

Tonight, HandyMan and I will be gathering with about 50 of my relatives.  There will be plenty of food, piles of gifts, and lots of children running about.  We'll see people we haven't seen in a while and talk about the changes the last year has brought.  At some point, once our bellies are full, my dad will force us all to sing Christmas carols, enticing Santa (aka Uncle or Auntie or cousin in disguise) to come out and hand out the gifts.  And when all is done, we'll pack up leftovers and our gifts and head home.

And on Christmas morning, HandyMan and I will sit by our tree in our house.  We'll enjoy the sparkling lights and count our many blessings.  This will be the last Christmas for just the two of us and I'm a little sad and happy at that thought.  Next Christmas will bring new meaning, but for now, its just ours... peaceful, joyous, and always full of love.

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas.


Oh my.  The reno gods must be smiling down on us - because the bathroom floor is looking awesome!  Tiler guy got the carrera marble perimeter down.  This bathroom is starting to look all glittery and glossy and shiny and new!!

I'm starting to see the whole vintage modern look coming together :)  The moonstone strips will be laid next forming a border for the 'carpet' but then we'll have to wait for the basketweave insert.  The shipment is expected mid-January... but we're making a trip to the tile shop tomorrow to see a comparable tile with invisible grout lines.  Funny - when the rest of the world is out last-minute Christmas shopping, we're shopping for tiles!

Bathed In Light

If all goes according to plan, there should be a new tiled bathroom floor by the time I come home tonight. We bit the bullet and decided to get the contractor to put in the floor tile too. It saves us the trouble of having to find a place to cut the marble tiles that surround the perimeter (12”x24” pieces that need to be 6”x24”) to fit the design we came up with. Only problem is that the basketweave tile we chose won’t be in stock until mid-January, so tiling guy will have to come back to fill in the middle piece. At least if the marble goes in then we can get the toilet installed!

HandyMan put primer on the walls on Sunday so right now the room looks fresh, bright, and white. Over the holidays we plan to get the subway tile done on the walls and paint. We’ve got a few other things left to do…order the tub glass and curtain rod, order the door. We could have done these weeks ago but HandyMan was preoccupied with his exams and I’ve just been my lazy, pregnant self, lol. Here’s a door we can special order through Home Depot.

I would have preferred a flat shaker panel style, but for that we’d have to go the custom route as I haven’t found anything readily available. I have ordered the custom Bath decal though from etsy.com. It’s similar to the one we put on the kitchen chalkboard. Once the door is in place, lots of natural light will fill the bathroom and hopefully create a serene, spa-like feeling. Slowly, the pieces are all starting to come together!!

Blog Love 2008

I love blogs. And this time of the year is a perfect time to discover new ones to add to my reader as “Best Blogs of 2008” contests start popping up. One of my all-time favourite blogs, Apartment Therapy, is running such a contest as we speak. So if you’ve got some time over the holidays, put on your comfies, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and peruse their list of nominated blogs. Be sure to check out their other categories as well like Home Cooking and Children’s Design. Here’s a few new-to-me nominees that caught my eye:


Got a favourite blog that’s not on their list? Then nominate it (even if its your blog)! It’s a good way to drive traffic to some lesser-known but great blogs out there. Happy Reading!

Mmm mmm good

I found this recipe over on my friend Morgan's blog, and she's right - it is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe!  Quick and easy to make and chewy to the bite, this recipe is perfect for a day like today, when there's 10 inches of snow on the ground keeping us housebound!  

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.  Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. 
  • Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Don't overmix.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. 
  • Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  Eat several with a tall glass of milk :)

sunday funday

spent a lot on shopping today... and i'm major broke! hahaha! ILOVE Christmas!!

and also the clothes in SOFA, rockwell... tsk tsk tsk. (i can't wait to wear the cocktail dresses i got!! :) yipee!

and also these crazy headbands! yum.

and for my New Year's wish list (zara dress)... 'cos im so effing broke right now! :):)


Smooth Ride

Hmm, the baby-related purchases seem to be piling up around here. I am most definitely in a spending mood, it seems. Over the last few days, I've purchased some organic baby clothes from Joe Fresh, some pristine Pottery Barn baby bedding from craigslist, and this oh-so-comfy glider chair off of craigslist too.

I know its not much to look at - but have you ever sat in one of these gliders? They're extremely comfortable and I can picture Baby HandyLuster just falling asleep in my arms as I rock, rock, rock the night away. But you know me, I can't leave well enough alone, and will have to schnazz this chair up and have it fit with the design scheme we've got planned for the Guest Bedroom/Nursery.

Since the chair is a small piece, I'm thinking we go with a bolder, fun fabric. We could mix it up and have the arm rests and ottoman in one pattern and the seat and back in another. The room will be yellows, creams, and greys-taupes, so here's a few options. All fabrics shown from Designer Fabrics. Decisions, decisions...

so last Monday i went out in what-my-cousin-call a "harajuku" outfit. i'm not sure why, but i guess its the white tights...?? or the layering?? cause i've never seen anyone wore white tights here, and neither had she, hence...

anyway, the dress is from one of our malls in Manila (Landmark) and is $4 ONLY!! it was sooo cheap that i got the other color as well! :) BUT the original fitting & length sucks, so i payed another $5 for alteration etc. (in my new, secret tailor :), waited for almost 2 weeks (i had 6 of my clothes altered!), and i'm totally inlove with them now!

and what's funny is, i NEVER did thought of wearing them for dinner (or something special), as i only imagined myself - flocking the beach/ spending some lazy, out-of-town holidays - with these. but since the weather suddenly became a lil' chilly (really really weird!) i tried layering, and stuffs... and hey! i think it looked okay for a Christmas dinner! :)

and just as i thought that i'd be able to go out without any of those (yeah, so so lame) logo handbags, i changed my h&m studded ones for these gucci on the last minute! (btw, i already sold the studded bag on ebay).

dress: landmark. tights: h&m. shoes: zara. layered vest: online. bag: gucci joy. pearls: sm. sorry for the clutter in my room!

There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne. - Bette Davis.

last Saturday was spent in 'me & my friends' annual Christmas dinner (16 attendants this year! we're expanding! :) - good companion, sumptuous food (Silk Thai)/ wines + desserts (The Stock Market), some alcohol/ vodka's (thanks to the b'day boys!), boys boys boys, partying, and more!

really... i had the best high ever! :):)

and just when i thought we're DONE with partying (the effects of getting OLD et al) - we were WRONG! 'cos after dinner, we headed to Cuisine & Piedra... and danced our night away!

and everyone's saying that my heart got stolen that night, 'cos i had way too much fun/ alcohol/ dancing/ and boyfriends in one night! but i guess it's just the HOLIDAY CHEER in me... like c'mon, let's share the LOVE shall we? it's Christmas Season after all!!!

silk dress: zara. gold necklace: h&m. fringed clutch: h&m. juan shoes. j12.

i sooo love MANILA!! can't believe i passed it last year, working my ass off in Shanghai 'til Christmas Day!

(i belted out the dress, cos it's way too long for a fun night!)

mac updates

finally bought a new, 250GB hard drive for my baby :) installed all the softwares that i needed/ wanted and trying to bring back the "old" look of my desktop (ie. gummy bears and tokidoki icons!) but i'm still thinking whether i should pay (that's about $100++) or ask someone to recover my files from my previous hard drive. hmmm...

anyway! glad to be back!

and ps. i'm so addicted to facebook right now!

Tuesday Funny

Another hilarious real estate listing photo, featured on "It's Lovely! I'll Take It!"

'Tis The Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the HandyLuster household. HandyMan and I made a fun trip to Sheridan Nurseries to pick up our tree and took home this nice and full 6’5” balsam fir. This is only our second year with a real tree so I’m still building up the ornament collection. For now, I’ve got a neutral mix of crystal drops, faberge-like golden eggs, pinecones, and a few sparkly birds. I think I need some bigger ornaments.  And some garland. And a tree skirt.

I decided to dress up the sideboard with some of the ornaments I’m less fond of. Last year, I was all over these shiny and matte brown balls and tree cones from Ikea. I paired them with some green accents and sparkly crystals I picked up on sale from Pottery Barn.

Here’s my take on an easy Christmas garland. My mom picked some really nice ivory and silver balls for me last year and some emerald green ones too (nice, but not quite the green I was hoping for). Using some leftover ribbon, pinecones, and a mini Ikea bead garland, I came up with these Christmas clusters. I guess the green balls aren’t that bad afterall :)  Ignore the paper cover on the stairs...bathroom reno is continuing upstairs and we're trying to protect the treads.

And that's all the decorating so far.  I've got a few more wreaths and lights to put up.  Hopefully that will be done before Christmas Eve!


Still in the holiday spirit?  Visit the Holiday House Tour hosted by Hooked On Houses to check out the fabulous decor of other bloggers.