Monday, March 31, 2014

Current Obsession: Herve Chapelier Camo Totes

A few weeks ago, Dada & I met up with our good friends Cathy & Jon Lim, and Cathy's sister Cheryl and her husband Eric Lee. The two couples are the owners of our fave coffee & toast place in UP Town Center, Cafe Shibuya!

While doing a taste test of their proposed Lenten offerings at Cafe Shibuya, we got to talk about Cheryl and Eric's new store, Herve Chapelier in SM Aura, and their best selling camo totes. 

I told them I was familiar with the brand because I used to see women in Manhattan toting Herve Chapeliers as a second bag (it's actually making a comeback in a big way too, says VOGUE). But I have never seen anybody there with a camo version. Apparently, it's a wardrobe staple in Japan.

I had passed by the store a couple of times before, but did not spy any camo totes. Because Cheryl said they sold out so fast, not anticipating such a HUGE demand for it. 

She mentioned there was a wait list for their stocks of camo arriving, and I was like, "OMG!!! Save a bag for me!!! And order more!!!" Yes. With exagg exclamation points.

"Even I could not get my hands on the camo tote!" Cheryl exclaimed.

Rather than keep one for herself, she decided to put her customers first. Which was sweet of her. Heehee. Then she told me to go to the store so I can pre-order the size I wanted. And I did.

I also spied some seriously cute totes, like this one from their high end GP Line, a pebble grained coated canvas...

And soigné 1428ND in Bouganvillier.

But I kept my eye on the prize, texting Cheryl right away the size I wanted reserved. 

Quick as a flash, just a few days after, I got a message from Lyke at Herve Chapelier in SM Aura saying their camo totes were in store!

There was this huge ass one that would make a great overnighter...

As well as this one with short handles, no zippers, so a bit impractical. But it looks so chic!

I ended up with this one, the 1027N. It has a zipper and short handles. Really handy dandy. Super thanks Cheryl!!!

It is rare that I find a camo tote that doesn't look too rugged and sporty. These ones by Herve are just so painfully chic, it hurts not to buy it. 

So I had to go back the next day for the L shopping tote, a bigger sized version with brown straps and a snap.

I need to be armed with at least two different sizes ya know. At least.

About Herve Chapelier:

Frenchman Herve Chapelier started his eponymous label in 1976, creating travel bags that were not only sturdy and supple but were also colorful - orange, purple, fuchsia, red, pink and yellow totes, equipped with flat, braided handles, using a material that was initially designed for car safety belts.

He then went on to designing backpacks that were a hit with students, but it is his famous, classic bi-color “cabas” (traditional French market) bag, which he has sold millions of, that made the brand.  

Herve Chapelier still manufactures his products in France, which are sold everywhere from Paris to Tokyo, as well as New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Rome, Geneva, Venice and now Manila. 

For inquiries and updates, visit Herve Chapelier Philippines on Facebook, HERE.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hold that TIGER!

When I hear TIGER, the first thing that pops into my head are these black boxy lunchboxes of the 80s. It seemed like every other kid who ate lunch in school had one.

Today, TIGER still makes lunchboxes, but they're less bulky and updated to look sleeker and less lunchbox-y now.




They've actually gone the way of cute too, with colored soup cups and thermal bottles, like Berry and Xavi's:

But let's go beyond lunchboxes and thermal bottles. Because TIGER has something that will change your life, promise. 

But before that, can I show you my friend Lorraine's Valentino Rockstuds? Lorraine's family distributes TIGER here in the Philippines, and we can talk hours about shoes and shopping. I love her! And her TIGER products of course!

And now, let me tell you about the TIGER tacook (tacook means "cooking rice" in Japanese). It's a rice cooker that allows you to cook your ulam at the same time. It works as a slow cooker too. It can also make chahan using the Sweet/Mixed setting.

This orange plate is where you cook your main dish, where it gets cooked by way of the steam rising from boiling rice. 

It's quite versatile really, because it can cook anything from gyudon and nikujaga to even good old sinigang. Even healthy steamed veggies for the little ones.

It comes with a cookbook so you have an instant foundation of recipes to start with. 

We've tried to make steamed fish and beef gyudon with our tacook, and they were pretty good, if a bit soup-y, maybe because of the steam. Then again, that's better than dry and makes for wonderful rice topping dishes. I can imagine shrimp sinigang would be great on a tacook!

On another note, I ordered a TIGER water kettle from Lorraine because I had used a TIGER water kettle at Mandarin Orchard and I loved how safe it is to use, especially with kids around.

The vacuum sealed lid can only be opened by pressing those two metal strips at the same time, and hot water won't pour out unless the dispense lock button is unlocked.

And you know how gross steel water kettles can look like after some time because of water scales right? You won't get that with this water kettle because the inside is not metal.

It is so safe to use, even if the kettle falls, hot water won't spill. It's fantastic.

You know what else is great about TIGER? They have lifetime warranty. TIGER Philippines keeps spare parts even for old models, up to 7 years from the time a model is discontinued, so you don't have to worry about servicing. Galing diba!

TIGER Corporation is a 91 year old Japanese company, and is the leading household appliance manufacturer in Japan with a 23.5% market share. Today, TIGER products are exported to 60 countries worldwide.

In the Philippines, TIGER products are available at SM Stores, Rustan's, Metro Gaisano, Landmark Department Stores and Fisher Mall.

Friday, March 28, 2014

MFO's Verdict On: ItWorks!® Deep Sleep

When my friend Vanessa Santos, aka #TheVainMama sent me the ItWorks!® DEEP SLEEP Line, it was truly heaven sent!

I can probably count the number of times I have had a good night's sleep since 2008, with two hands.

My entire family are such light sleepers, the slightest rustle, the phone ringing or even a kid tossing in bed, lagot na.

Dada even bought those Bose noise reduction ear phones because he really has such sensitive ears, he needs to put it on when the noise gets annoying and he's trying to catch some Zzzzzs. 

Melatonin, Nyquil, raw honey? Tried and tested!
But it doesn't hurt to try another sleep solution. Anything to get a good night's sleep, we're game for that. 

From L to R: Dream Mist Pillow Spray, Night Oil, Stress Less, Breathe In Oil, and Turbo Balm

The Product: ItWorks! Deep Sleep Line consisting of a Pillow Mist, Night Oil, Stress Less, Breathe In Oil, and Turbo Balm.

ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Dream Mist Pillow Mist The  best-selling, natural sleep aid that will fragrance your bed and calm the nerves. The miracle solution to a good night’s sleep. With ItWorks!® signature relaxing fragrance, this pillow spray will become your must-have sleep solution.

ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Night Oil A natural body oil for a therapeutic nighttime ritual and to keep your skin nourished and looking young. With Grape Seed Oil and Vitamin E, ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Night Oil is a great moisturizer that easily absorbs into skin, reduces the signs of ageing and promotes rested radiance.

ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Stress Less is a soothing natural remedy to help you breathe more easily and calm your senses promoting a better night’s sleep. Clears your head so you can breathe more deeply and stress less.

ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Breathe In is a concentrated blend of their signature Deep Sleep fragrance for burners and diffusers.

ItWorks!® Deep Sleep Turbo Balm is a portable boost of hydration that’s on call for dry lips and skin wherever and whenever you need it. Made with 100% natural ingredients, this non-greasy, multipurpose balm tackles dry areas on the face and body to leave you silky smooth and moisturized.

ItWorks! Turbo Balm via

The Promise: In a 7-hour sleep cycle, a person normally gets only 1-2 hours of deep sleep. With our signature blend of French essential oils, ItWorks!® Deep Sleep line doubles the Deep Sleep hours in your sleep cycle. Consequently, a person wakes up energized and refreshed even with just a few hours of sleep. Best for stressed, on-the-go people (e.g. when traveling, doing hospital duties), those who just came from a severe medical condition and for the majority who just wants a deep sleep amidst life’s anxieties.

ItWorks! Dream Mist Pillow Spray via

Put to The Test: I was intrigued by the Pillow Mist and that was the first thing I tried. True to their claim, with just a simple spritzing of ItWorks!® Pillow Mist on our pillow, I felt calm and ready to hit the sack already. I've added it to Berry's bedtime routine too, and she loves it. She says it smells like her Mogu Mogu drink, which is a compliment, coming from Berry.

The Night Oil leaves a minty, tingling sensation after application. I liked it.

Deep Sleep Stress Less has a roller ball application so you can rub it unto your temples, and pulse points massaging it gently.

ItWorks! Breathe In via

I used our Harrn diffuser with the Breathe In night oil and it does add to the calming feel of the room. Just make sure to blow out the candle before you go to sleep!

The Turbo Balm works like any other balm, it's advantage lies in that it's a multi-tasking balm that works well not just for your lips, but for also for your cuticles, nails, and dry heels.

Passing the Verdict: I keep it in a handy pouch on my bedside, for easy access to a good night's sleep. The pillow mist for one, has become part of our night time routine. Dada, who at first was not convinced of its powers had to agree that he did enjoy a good night's sleep with it.

Aromatherapy is better than Ativan, that's for sure!

Practical Tip: If there's only one product from the line you want to start off with, start with the Pillow Mist. It is absolutely divine and you cannot find a similar product elsewhere.

Eryleen So of ItWorks! recommends that the pillow spray and roll-on are to be used simultaneously. She shares, "Those 2 are our pioneer products. We just added the diffuser oil for those who want their room to smell good and massage body oil after showers to complement our sprays and roll-ons."

Price: from Php120 to Php450

Point of Sale: Available at the following retailers

• Sesou Nature Source Alabang Town Center, Glorietta, Market Market, Trinoma, Robinsons Magnolia, Festival Supermall Alabang, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Galleria
• Plana Forma Studios Fort and Eton Centris
• Nuliving Spa Studio D. Tuazon and Binondo
• Online orders:

For more on ItWorks! like their Facebook page, follow @itworksnatural on Instagram and watch out for their website 

Cirque Du Bebe this Weekend!

Moms & Dads, CIRQUE DE BEBE: BABY AND KIDS FAIR is happening this March 28-30, 2014, at The Playground of Bench Tower, 30th Street Corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City.
From shopping deals and discounts, enlightening talks, and exciting games and activities, there's plenty of fun for the family in store. With over 100 of the most well-loved and family-oriented brands, the fair will definitely be a carnival of toys, clothes, and all kinds of baby and kid needs. 

Admission to CIRQUE DE BEBE is free!

For updates, visit the Mothercare Philippines Facebook page, HERE!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Girl & The Bull

On the ground floor of this pretty building (yes, this building is proof that buildings can be pretty!) lives The Girl & The Bull, the restaurant that my cousin Thea de Rivera (The Girl) and her boyfriend Gab Bustos (The Bull) put up back in November 2013 to raving reviews from foodies, food blogs, magazines, even lifestyle TV shows today. 

All in just 4 months, seriously!

Gab "The Bull" and Thea "The Girl"

We actually visited Thea and Gab (aka cousins, since Gab is always present and welcome in all our family gatherings heehee) at The Girl + The Bull back in January, before Thea colored her hair green, and back when it was just BF's best kept secret - known only to the village folks, the nearby restaurant owners and the neighborhood Cross Fit crowd who would treat themselves to Gab's cooking after a serious Cross Fit session.

Back then, I already knew we were in a gem of a place. Every nook and cranny was Instagram worthy.

these tables greet you as you enter

"the bar" by the entrance

tables by the main seating area

 big seating area for huge families

A cozy nook for one, or two

even the place where they keep spare plates and utensils is hipster chic

The place attracts the young and the hip, so much so that many college aged kids who live in the area have volunteered to work part-time as servers. I think part of the charm of The Girl + The Bull is that it's like a place for families and friends to hang out in, and the servers might as well be your younger siblings or cousins.

And now, let me tell you about the food. The food which by now, I am pretty sure you know well enough to be comfort food at its finest.

Oh btw, even the iced tea at The Girl + The Bull is served with style. As with the perfectly plated food servings where Gab's passion for food and his art training comes together to form a medley of delicious food served in style.

We started off with their homemade truffle fries, which the kids loved.

This salad is a meal in itself. So delish!

The Hanging Tender was truly tender and juicy, I gotta hand it to Gab for knowing how to cook this expertly. Loved it with the side of arugula and potato puree, again, proof that one can enjoy beef-y goodness without paying a fortune for a slab of steak.

This Blackened Snapper is a delight! I like the "tutong" in fried fish and this flavorful dish is a testament that eating fish during Lent need not be a sacrifice.

The burger sandwiched in a brioche bun was hefty and hearty. Dada, who knows a good burger when he's tasted one, was pleased with this one!

Too bad we missed Gab's famous, and highly rated Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which is said to even be better than that of Kettle's.

Thoroughly enjoyed dessert though, the equally famous Faux Twix! Crave-worthy, I tell you!

Gab made a deconstructed version of the olive oil ice cream he had in Napa, with this scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. It's weird at first, but it works! I may start drizzling my vanilla ice cream with olive oil next time!

Thanks so much Gab & Thea for having us at The Girl + The Bull. I am so proud of what you two have accomplished! I hope Berry & Xavi take after your passion for good food, and eye for style.  Just let us know when you need summer interns, I've got two kids in mind, haha.

The Girl + The Bull
#346 Aguirre Avenue
BF Homes, Parañaque
Mobile: +63 905 572 2556
Mon: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Thu: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Re-discovering United Colors of Benetton + Win an Outfit from UCB!

Back in the early 90s, Benetton jeans were the hottest things to have, along with their colorful sweatshirts. It's fair to say that Benetton started my denim obsession actually.

It was probably the J Brand/Mother Denim/Current Elliott of my high school years, before Girbaud and Armani Jeans made us pay Php4,000 for denims, and way before a plethora of cult denim labels like Seven for All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity changed our jeanetic makeup and made us think nothing about dropping hundreds of dollars on a pair of denims.

The last time I bought something from Benetton, I was in college. 

I remember it was a pair of light blue skinny printed trousers and a cotton t-shirt from the Benetton store on Kensington High Street in London.

After that however, I had moved on from the classics and explored more trendy high street brands like Topshop, Miss Selfridge and H&M (which was called Hennes & Mauritz then). I started buying denims from Replay and Diesel then.

So it was with a bit of nostalgia when I stepped into the United Colors of Benetton store on Bonifacio High Street again. It had been years since I last went inside, after over a decade of associating it with my teenage years.

It was a pleasant surprise to see that the brand had grown up with me. Especially since I find that as I get older, all the more that I am drawn back to classic pieces.

Clothes that transcend seasons and are meant to be worn season after season. There was no semblance to the logo tees and denims of my youth.

It was like Benetton had graduated, gone to college and started a career along with us.

Take this jacket for instance. It's feminine and yet it says, "I'm responsible" heehee.

Love this figure flattering shift dress.

Light, airy tops that can be worn underneath a blazer or paired with a cardigan and pencil skirt.

Structured bags for work.

The only things trendy and playful were the shoes, such as these neon cut-out flats...

These polka dot and camo flats...

And these fun, summer-y fold-over clutches that are a steal at less than Php2,000 each.

It was the men's section that were a complete throwback to the Benetton I knew 20 plus years ago. They still had the classic polo shirts, jackets, caps and denims that I remember teenage boys were wearing during my time.

These camo sneakers for guys are very "now" though! We had none of these growing up, heehee.

My favorite finds from my recent visit to UCB? 

Thermal underwear! If you've been looking for thermals to take on a trip to some place cold, UCB has it in all the colors you'll need - nude, grey and white!

And these sandals that are still made in Italy, but retail for only Php2,250 O.M.G.

I really do have a soft spot for shoes still made in Italy. Heehee.

I just had to try it on, and they were love. Love. LOVE.

As for you my dears, 2 of you get a chance to win an ENTIRE OUTFIT (top & bottom + accessories) from United Colors of Benetton! All you have to do is:

1. Go to your nearest United Colors of Benetton store and take a photo of your favorite piece/s from the store. Better yet, take a photo of yourself wearing the entire outfit you want to win!

2. To send an entry, you have the option of 
- emailing it to me, manilafashionobserver(at)gmail(dot)com and or
- posting it on your Instagram account sharing which items you like, with the hashtag #MFOxUCB and tagging me @christinedychiao

3. Leave a comment here so I can look for your entry!

Two winners will be announced by April 30, 2013 - so join join join!

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