Saturday, April 30, 2011

Los Angeles 2011 Day 2: Rodeo Drive

The following day after we arrived in LA, we went out to do a bit of shopping. Take note, shopping of the errands sort and not splurge shopping, hehehe. Dada took photos of his girls while we were getting ready to go out:

I think my outfit today will look good with Mommy's ballet flats...

Hmmm, I am liking these patent loafers a lot more...

Berry's top: a dress from Ralph Lauren, Gap skirt from Amah & Angkong, 
Trumpette tights, Repetto Jacksons

tunic top from AllSaints, leggings from American Apparel, H&M scarf, 
leather jacket from Hoss Intropia, Repetto ballet flats

Lighting is nice there, I want an outfit shot there too! - Berry

With my new Duckie - a gift from the hotel front desk, how sweet is that!

Same outfit, this time worn with Trumpette boat shoes from Tita Sarj & Uncle Toni

Soon after, Trina and Jun came by to pick us up so we can go tick off the items in my shopping list - but first, we had to pay a visit to my holy grail of sorts in Rodeo Drive!
Driven around in my stroller in Rodeo Drive, that's how I roll. - Berry

Barneys New York, in case you don't recognize that distinctive awning

We also passed a couple of boutiques I wouldn't dare enter into, because I do not want to fall into temptation. Not that Dada will allow me to, one look, and I know it is time to head out the door. So, why bother. Bitter ba?

Berry also finally got to meet the adorable Tia, and I finally met Belle (my sister's SIL and my online buddy,  now real life buddy) as well. Belle's friend Liza, the Rodeo Drive veteran (and in this case, our photographer) was there to navigate for us. These girls are all super fun to shop with. They just know which stores to take me to.

Rodeo Drive was fun! I loved browsing the shoes at Barneys, Neiman Marcus and Saks. And the bags, O.M.G. Too bad I was not there to shop for big ticket items. Well, window shopping is enough for me these days anyway. Talaga!

MFO Shoe Series: Mariel Chua, New York

If you read Seventeen and Cosmopolitan Philippines, then you know their former beauty editor Mariel Chua.  You probably graduated from Seventeen to Cosmo reading her beauty reviews and taking note of her beauty picks. In 2007, she packed up her bags to move to New York. After editing, copywriting & marketing stints at  J.Crew, Avon and Hearst Publishing, and a gig at a New York resto, as most transplanted twentysomethings are wont to do, she has gone back to editing & writing. This time, for the online publications of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Studio One Networks (Mariel actually go me to write at Studio One's The Style Glossy where I contribute articles whenever she assigns a topic to me, heehee).

Funnily, we met a month before we left for Singapore, at our despedida party! But Mariel and I hit it off so well, that we've stayed in touch despite the distance. And of course, there's always her blog NY Minute Now which I read even before we met, and continue to read, so I can keep up with what she and our friends Happy and Kat are up to.

I've asked Mariel (along with other friends in New York, whom you will all meet here soon) to share their shoe closets and bare their soles. Because I  know that you will find it interesting to see how real New Yorkers live - they usually walk a lot, and reside in tiny apartments. Which means, Sex & The City and The Devil Wears Prada? Fairy Tales, Baby! Unless you are a Park Avenue Princess, I guess. 

Not to say we won't be! Fairy tales do come true! Heehee!

About Mariel's closet:

My "shoe closet" is also my coat closet, storage closet, everything-else-closet, as many people living in New York (with roommates) can relate to. My clothes are in an 'open closet'—a simple rolling rack I've placed on one side of my room—and Sterilite drawers next to it. Off-season items are stored in a large pink plastic crate, on top of which are my speakers and snacks! I've actually just spring-cleaned the clothes and haven't gotten around to the shoes, so you'll still see winter boots when you open the closet (see photos).

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Around 30, give or take flipflops and sandals. Back when I was a full-time magazine editor and had a bigger space back home, I probably had more. But, I usually try to keep a well-edited selection and regularly "purge" the contents of my closet. I do have items from way way back, along with favorites that I've taken to the shoe repair shop to have them reinforced.

What's your shoe size?

Which pairs are your favorites? Top 5 at most!
Surprisingly, my favorites are pairs I've had for a long time, with the exception of the violet Nike trainers my husband got me over the holidays. Here are the five I really like:

1) Silver Nike slip-ons
- I've had these since 2008, also from my husband (who, as you can probably tell, is a big Nike fan!). In New York, comfort has become key for me. That said, one should still have some semblance of fashion sense even when just walking to the deli or running errands. These, I like, because they go with everything and the silver is very NY.

2) Violet Nike Lunarlon
- I love how the sides of the soles look like pipe-in white frosting! And, the punchy violet hue just beckons to be worn.

3) Beige Zara pumps
- I've had these FOREVER! I got them from Rome on a junket and they're my comfiest pumps ever and they go with everything. They're actually half a size bigger so I've glued foam and gel inserts at the back, where the ankle hits. Last year, I had them repaired and reinforced and it cost more than the price of the pair; I just love them that much. They're already nicked and stained in places, and I'll wear them until they're totally not presentable.

4) Yellow Celine wide-strap platform sandals
- It's super cool that clogs, wedges,and platform shoes are supposedly trendy this season, because I've had these since 2007! I got them without realizing they were the exact ones on the Celine billboard in Megamall and this was the time when these kinds of things mattered to me and I actually paid attention. I'm more laid-back about fashion these days. Anyway, I love the deep yellow shade of these, and, they've survived many summer seasons.

5) Bejewelled light gold VNC strappy heels
- Now, as much as I go for comfort and gravitate towards cozy, metallic, leather, or suede flats, I still do own dressier heels. These were a gift from Frances (of Topaz Horizon), she gave me VNC gift cheques and these are what I got with them. They're surprisingly comfortable enough to wear all day at work. So far, it's a trend I've seen with VNC footwear—they're well-made and easy on the feet.

Ang hirap to cut to five faves! :)

If you could only wear one pair of shoes, which one would it be?

It's a toss-up between the violet and silver Nike shoes. I would probably choose the silver ones because they're sleek (and shiny!) enough to go with dresses.

What are your favorite shoe brands?

Zara, VNC, Kamik, Celine, any of the Target brands, and one day, Sergio Rossi, Roger Vivier.

What's in your shoe lust list?

I am in dire need of good black and gold flats. They're shoe-closet staples and I usually wear them to the ground, until they're stinky. I'll probably check out French Sole in the Upper East Side, as recommended by Kat Dy (of Kat Dy Finds). I have a feeling I'll end up buying some in Target though.

Where do you buy shoes?

Target is a shoe-in, pun intended. Anywhere, everywhere. Back home, a guilty pleasure was scoping the shoe aisles of SM Department Store, Robinsons Galleria, Landmark, Janilyn...

What's that one shoe you can't bear to give away or throw out?

I have these Kamik rain boots that are memorable because I got them on my first winter in New York and they've lasted through many snowstorms and outpours. Recently, I found a crack on the left boot and was a little bothered by it. They're still wearable, for as long as I don't wade in extra-deep puddles (which kind of defeats the purpose of wearing a rainboot, but oh well).

Kamik rain boots, left most.

I also have these white Hotwind pumps with colored leather bows from 2005.

6 year old shoes! Very well taken cared of!

While I stopped being a pack rat a few years ago, I still find it a challenge to get rid of certain shoes. But, as I've read somewhere recently, memories aren't items.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Week on AVA: Charles David, Matt Bernson, Vita Fede & Guess Sunglasses

This week's sale is great! Because I finally made my first AVA purchase - the Vita Fede Large Hex in blue crocodile leather. Woohoo! I actually panicked when I thought I lost it in my cart, but it was there, and now it's mine.

Last I checked, a hot pink Matt Bernson sandal was sold out, and 2 styles of Vita Fede bangles were sold out as well. You girls are getting savvier with this online shopping business huh!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

MFO Shoe Series: Naomi Cukingnan, Singapore

A month or so ago, I was inspired by Net-a-Porter's How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Own video, and that made me want to ask other girls the same question. Because seriously, aren't we all curious about each others' shoe closets? How many times have you wanted to approach a stranger, just to ask her where she got those amazing pair of heels? I am sure you've always wondered how many shoes that famous blogger has in her shoe cabinet. You may also wonder, what type of shoes do girls in New York wear on a daily basis? I am also positive that girls with drool worthy shoe collections still have shoes on their lust list.  And yes, also where and how do other girls store their shoes? So I've asked popular bloggers, fellow writers, and friends from Manila, New York and Singapore to be part of my shoe series. Hopefully in the future we can expand this to girls and guys beyond my circle, heehee!

I've decided to kick start the MFO Shoe Series  with my friend Naomi, because we pretty much love the same shoes, it's like featuring my shoe closet. Although hers I think, is a lot better and more organized than mine, hahaha!

 Naomi with pretty daughter Anika

I have known Naomi since we were in gradeschool, wearing bobby socks and mary janes. I remember back in high school, I was jealous that she danced ballet and wore pointe shoes. I never got to that level. I was a frustrated ballerina and she was the real deal! Hahaha! Fast forward years later, and she is one of my closest friends and my business partner, as we are both based in Singapore with our families.

Read on and enjoy the first of this series. I hope you like it enough to look forward to more interviews! =)

So Naoms, how many pairs of shoes do you own?

With or without hubby declaration? It's just like your custom's declaration! haha. Close to 50 pairs but around 10 pairs just catching dust in the cabinet! (Mukhang understated pa ito, LOL - MFO)

Naomi's "shoe closet", check out her shoe wheel!
I actually wrote about the Rakku Shoe Wheel in Kikay Exchange back in 2007.

What's your shoe size?

Depends on the style of the shoe but it ranges from 5.5 - 6 US sizing.

Which pairs are your favorites?

Repetto, Repetto, Repetto....All my ballet flats, except for the Lanvins. It's my 15min shoe 'cause after 15mins, I get blisters the size so huge it looks like there's another toe growing! yuck!

A literal shoe wheel of ballet flats, with those innocent looking Lanvins, which apparently are a killer!

If you could only wear one pair of shoes, which one would it be?

My black Repetto ballet flats 'cause it's comfy and versatile

What are your favorite shoe brands?

Azzedine Alaïa, Christian Louboutin, Chloe, Charlotte Olympia, Valentino, Repetto, YSL

What's in your shoe lust list?

Azzedine Alaïa and Charlotte Olympia...until there is really a massive discount on these brands then I will continue to have a lust list. Gee even when they go on their season sales I still can't afford or justify the purchase price!

Where do you buy shoes?

I buy it from the boutique or in the ladies' shoes section of a department store...especially when the magic sign SALE is up! I just like to try them on before getting them so online shopping never works for me.

I spy Tory Burch, Chloe, Paul Smith, Russell & Bromley, Swedish Hasbeens...

She roughs it out sometimes with sneakers and trainers from Puma, Adidas, Converse & Nike 
- I see no brand loyalty, hehehe

Her boot collection, accumulated while living in the UK - too bad these can't be worn in humid Singapore!

What's that one shoe you can't bear to give away or throw out?

It will be my pointe shoes hoping that one day I can give it to my little girl and see her twirl on stage! I'm not losing hope...

Los Angeles 2011 Day 1: The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey + In-N-Out Burger

The view from our room at The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

After a loooong flight (SG to HK, HK to LA, almost a whole day including layovers, gah!) we got to LA and our hotel at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Turns out we didn't have a room ready yet, so we had to wait at the Lobby Lounge where they fed us with truffle potato chips and gave us 2 complimentary cocktails, although we ended up just asking for soda, hahaha. 

While Dada was bugging the front desk to get our room ready, all I could think of was dinner at In-N-Out Burger. I told my sister Trina and her SIL Belle that we had to pay homage to In-N-Out, because Dada's Dada had been raving about it for years, but I had never never even stepped foot inside an In-N-Out. All my California based friends seemed to speak of their burgers with much pride, and so awesome, that they claim families and friends back home would even request visiting Californians to hand carry these burgers. In a nutshell, I thought of In-N-Out as something almost mythical, and I was looking forward to taking a bite of that legend.

I even tweeted about it on Twitter and @franrgh told me to get the Double Double! Two beef patties! Double Trouble!

When Trina got off from work, she and husband Jun picked us up and we went straight to the nearest In-N-Out from our hotel. I was so hungry and so excited that we made a beeline straight to the counter! Here's what we got:
A cheeseburger for me and upon @franrgh's reco, Double Doubles for Dada & Jun...

Fries and the secret menu staple - "Animal style fries" made with grilled onions, cheese and spread (something like a thousand island dressing actually)

Thank so much Trina & Jun for the yummy burger dinner! It was what I expected, the burger patties, although thin, had a unique crisp quality to it. However, my personal fave, Five Guys, is still #1! East Coast for the win! Just kidding! Hehehe! (Incidentally, there's a Five Guys now in Seattle, Bellingham, WA, North Vancouver and in Surrey BC - yay West Coast!)

Finally saw Trina after 7 months! And yes, Berry still remembers her =)

The following day, we made plans to do a bit of shopping so I could stock up on Kiehl's for Berry (ridiculously overpriced in Singapore) a replacement apothecary jar for the one Berry broke from Crate & Barrel, and a couple more items I couldn't find in SG.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SM Mega Mega Mega Sale!

Yup, it's SM's 3 Day Sale at SM Megamall this Friday, Saturday & Sunday (April 29, 30 to May 1)!

What's more, you get an additional 5% rebate when you use your American Express Card!

Plus hey, you've got to check out FASHION FORUM because they are having a BIG SPECIAL SHOE SALE!

Participating brands include:

- Sam Edelman (select styles)
- Charles David
- Matt Bernson
- Corso Como
- Vince Camuto
- Dolce Vita
- Seychelles
- Jeffrey Campbell (select styles)
- Report
- Chinese Laundry
- Ciao Bella
- BC Footwear
- Arturo Chiang

FASHION FORUM is at the 2nd floor of SM Department Store, by the entrance to the mall.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AVA Style

Did you know that more than just shopping at AVA, there are lots of fun reads in there as well? 

Check out AVA Style and get a briefer on THE color of the season, including how to wear it:

As well as online shopping tips from savvy online shoppers such as blogger Kryz Uy, entrepreneur Ruby Gan, AVA co-founder Jen Kelly, and uhm, me! Heehee!


I’ve been shopping online since 2005. I started by buying SK-II via and since then have discovered a world of joys and thrills on the internet - Barneys, J.Crew, Madewell, Gilt, Saks Fifth Avenue and a host of click & mortar boutiques like Creatures of Comfort, La Garconne, Satine, Mick Margo and Bird. I also buy my skincare & scent supplies via and My husband & I have Amazon Prime accounts. We shop Amazon a lot for books, electronics & toys!


In the beginning, I was afraid of items not arriving and wasn’t comfortable using my credit card, but online shopping sites have come a long way from before. Everything is much much, more secure now. I have never had any problems shopping online, that’s why I love it so much! It’s safe, convenient and I just love receiving my packages! It’s like Christmas all the time!


Aha! I start off by looking for coupon codes, to get the best deals! I get anywhere from 5% to 40% off just by researching for codes. I love for when I am looking for a particular piece. I signed up with Lucky Rewards and Ebates so I can get rebates every time I shop. I am tight with the online sales associates of boutiques, they give you a heads up before they open sales to the public. Lastly, when shopping flash sale sites like Gilt & AVA, start at the bottom, because everyone starts at the top page! You get first dibs my way.


I can’t wait to stock up on dresses from BCBG Max Azria & Myth and evening bags from Aranaz. I am so happy Manila now has AVA! I just know my wishlist is going to grow!

Log on to to get a regular dose of style and shopping ideas. And make sure to add AVA Style to your weekly reading list. Because there will always be fresh news from AVA coming on a regular basis.

If you haven't joined yet, request membership HERE.

Ateneo Management Association Summer Bazaar

WHO: Ateneo Management Association, GoNegosyo, David & Goliath and Belle de Jour
WHAT: is inviting all of you to Big Bang Bazaar, a summer bazaar!
WHERE: Venue is the NBC Tent
WHEN: April 30-May 1, 2011.

Shop for clothes, check out the food stalls, and get a chance to win cool prizes from David & Goliath and Belle de Jour every hour!

Entrance is FREE!

The Great Singapore Zoo

The weekend before we flew to LA to start our two week holiday, my friend Sara and I made plans to bring our little girls to the Singapore Zoo. So Dada, Berry, myself and Nana hailed a cab after Sunday mass to say hello to the animals - Berry's first time to see her friends: the elephants and monkeys on the flash cards, in the flesh!
An elephant fresh from a dip in the "watering hole"...

Pink-bottomed baboons converging at their favorite hotspot

Check out this proboscis monkey's long nose! 

An adorable saki monkey - just look at that fluffy face!

We also got to see a scary alligator silently lurking beneath long stalks of grass, half-immersed in a murky pond...

A regal looking jaguar behind a glass cage...
Oh! Here's an interesting bit of trivia I just learned from our visit to the zoo: Did you know that jaguar and leopard spots aren't really spots, but are called "rosettes"? You can tell the difference between a leopard and a jaguar by their rosettes. According to, "Jaguar rosettes usually are darker, have thicker lines, and enclose smaller spots. The leopard coat has smaller, more faint rosettes in larger numbers. Leopard rosettes usually don't enclose spots". Interesting, no? So next time you see a trendy girl harping about her leopard print shoes, you can say, "Darling, those are not leopard spots, they're jaguar rosettes...". Naks.

There were not so scary animals of course, here's a kangaroo lounging under the shade of a giant fern, so close we could almost touch it (with matching visions of its strong legs kicking an innocent onlooker in the face! Eeep! Scary din pala!)...

and copulating cockatoos (yikes, how fitting! Hahaha!)...

We got there ahead of Sara, Bob & Peyton so we decided to meet up by the Tiger Den, where we saw tigers leisurely swimming and jumping into their "pool". Here's one cooling off,  paddling about, blissfully unaware of how grand he looks...

We also spotted these lean and graceful giraffes...

And Berry even got to ride one - at the carousel, hehehe!

Thanks for taking us to the zoo, Dada! And for taking such gorgeous photos - of the animals (ehem, ehem!)

Dada: shirt, shorts & trainers all from Nike
Berry: Periwinkle top from Tita Tin, gingham skirt from cousin Santino, Saltwater sandals
Me: +J Uniqlo shirt, J.Crew cargos, Miu Miu sandals, Mulberry Alexa, Chloe sunnies

Thanks too for spending an educational Sunday afternoon with us Sara, Bob & Peyton!

Till our next little girl's day out! See you again, folks! We are walking away now! Bye! Hahahaha!
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