Tuesday, April 22, 2014

RiCo Corn Rice

This is RiCo Corn Rice.

It looks like rice, but it's 100% made from natural Philippine-grown corn, it is just processed to look like rice grains.

When I was growing up, our cook Ate Weng told us that back in Cebu, she grew up eating corn instead of rice and I was intrigued by the idea of it.   I love corn, and can happily eat it everyday.

I never got to try it though until a few days ago, when I attended the product launch of RiCo, which is short for "RIce COrn".  

In Spanish, "rico" also means "rich", and true enough, not only is RiCo Corn Rice a healthier alternative to rice, as it is rich in vitamins and essential nutrients.

- RiCo is made from  natural corn with a lower glycemic index, making it great for diabetics because it helps control blood sugar levels.

- It contains natural anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein from corn. Beta-carotene is metabolized into Vitamin A, which along with lutein helps support good eyesight.

- RiCo is rich in carbohydrates and enhanced with Vitamin B to give you the energy you need everyday

- RiCo is a great source of fiber, and is very filling. I ended up eating just half the amount of white rice I would have normally consumed.

More than that, RiCo is aflatoxin safe, containing less than 5 parts per billion level of aflatoxin, a known carcinogen, which exceeds that of US (20 parts per billion) and EU safety standards.

As for the taste?

fried RiCo with garlic, walnut and parsley

no need to use saffron to color your paella rice, RiCo is naturally yellow

RiCo may also be used for champorado, and other rice based desserts

Well, we got to try RiCo in fried rice, paella, and dessert form and I find that it has the texture of brown rice. A bit dense, and more chewy than regular white rice. 

Unlike rice, when cooking RiCo, you need to BOIL water first before pouring it into a pot. A suggested ratio of water per cup of RiCo is recommended to get the best consistency. Once it boils, POUR the corn rice into the pot, and SIMMER until it cooks. This takes about 10-15 minutes. 

Boil. Pour. Simmer. Easy to remember, and an easy way to eat healthy!

RiCo is available at Robinsons, Ever, Landmark, Pioneer, Sta. Lucia, Hi-Top and soon at all leading supermarkets!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dove on Real Beauty + Beauty is a State of Mind

Dove sure knows how to make a girl feel special. I was invited to the first ever Dove Summit early this month at Sofitel, where the agenda was "realization and self-discovery" as well as celebrating our Real Beauty.

From a pillow embroidered with the initial of my nickname...

To handwritten notes throughout the two day event...

To scrumptious lace cookies and fresh flowers on my bedside table, slippers in my size, and a gorgeous room to myself (which I enjoyed so much more because I shared it with my kids!), Dove truly pulled out all the stops to make me, and all of their guests, feel real special.

I can bet, as we each entered our room, we must all have felt like the greatest beauties of all time, adored and doted upon, coddled and cradled like a highly sought upon A-list actress or a supermodel who managed to score a Vogue cover after months of celebrity covers, and after the shocker that was Kimye.

Of course, we were also in for the shock of our lives. Because part of the deal was, we had to step out of our sanctuary of a room to attend the event proper "unmasked". Yup, scrubbed clean of the last vestiges of makeup to reveal our "Real Beauty".

The evening's hosts, Apples Aberin and Lexi Berenguer-Testa, still gorgeous without makeup

The point being? Because we need to learn to be comfortable in our skin. To realize that we are all beautiful.  Even if society, the media, or worse, our own relatives say otherwise.

Mian Datu-David, Marketing Manager for Skin at Unilever, shared that in a study commissioned by Dove “Only seven percent of Filipinas think of themselves as beautiful.” Dove wants to change this statistic, and they wanted to start with us - bloggers, writers and beauty editors who shape the opinion of what beauty is.

I thought it was about time. When photographers start descending on the same people at every event, and magazines keep on posting the same conventionally pretty girls at every page, it's like "Wala na bang ibang maganda kundi sila?"

But it's not fair to blame it on others. Or your Mom, Tita or Lola who good-naturedly compares you to your more mestiza sister or cousin, not realizing the damaging message they are conveying.

Because ultimately, we shouldn't let the opinion of others shape our self-worth. Why be our own worst critic? It's like beating yourself up when you can love yourself instead.

And how can you not love yourself when the best photographers in the Philippines are there to capture us in all our unmade up glory? Dove hoisted upon photographers Sara Black, Pilar Tuason, G-nie Arambulo and Jo Ann Bitagcol the gargantuan task of taking our photos devoid of the trappings of glamour, to convince us that we are indeed beautiful, haha.

And you know what, it was not as scary or as bad as it seemed. As we stepped down for dinner, we were greeted with beautifully tablescaped dinner tables,

And images of all these beautiful bare-faced women projected onto a humongous screen. Ehrm, mine included!

Here's a better look at my photo taken by Sara Black. I was more freaked out about her taking my photo than having to remove my makeup (which is always barely there anyway). Especially because the two girls who went ahead of me happened to be model gorgeous, Tricia Centenera and another pretty girl who both know how to work the camera. Talk about intimidated! 

Speaking of models, the next morning, I met up with my beautiful friends Jackie & Angela (a Dove girl herself) for breakfast.

After getting our fill, we headed out to the Dove Pavilion to see for ourselves the science behind Real Care. 

Via the test stations set up for Dove's Body, Hair and Deo products, there was no denying how well-researched and tested Dove products are.


We've all heard about Cleopatra bathing in milk, right? We all know by now how moisturizing it is supposed to be. But imagine filling up a tub with milk, even if it's just once a week. It's not just indulgent, it's so ridiculously expensive!

Dove's line of nourishing body washes beats the moisturizing power of milk by leaps and bounds, without costing you a small fortune. It really is so much better than bathing in milk. 

With dermatologist Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino explaining the science of skin, and Brand Manager for Dove Skin, Jules Gollayan explaining the science behind Dove's line of body washes (it contains NutriumMoisture® that moisturizes the skin deep down), I experienced first hand the power of Dove Nourishing Body Wash.

A gadget used to measure my skin's moisture content showed that my skin was at 31.1, slightly above the average of 22-24. After milk was applied to my skin, the scale went up to 33, but with Dove body wash, it zoomed up to 58. Very impressive.


Carlo Isla, Brand Manager for Dove Hair drove home the point. Bottom line, damaged hair sinks, healthy hair floats. This is become damaged hair is brittle and porous, hence water seeps in and drags it down.

You can tell from from here which hair sample has been treated with Dove hair repair serum prior to blow drying, even without the labels. This is because Dove hair repair has Keratin actives that fill in holes and gaps in our hair while replenishing it with much needed moisture.


Ahhhh,  dark underarms. If there's one thing most girls are conscious about, it's raising their arms in public - because they are worried about chicken skin or dark arm pits. 

According to Rowena Lim, Regional R&D Manager at Unilever, the reason why underarms get dark is because when we shave our underarms, 1/3 of what we shave off is skin! When skin is inflamed, it triggers production of melanin. 

Because it takes 20-30 days for our skin to recover from damage, when we keep on shaving, we are not allowing our skin to rest.  It sounds counterintuitive, but we really need to moisturize our underarms to make sure it doesn't get dry, cracked, and prone to infection. Here's where Dove Deos come in, not only does it moisturize, it repairs and lightens underarms in as little as 7 days.

I told Neil Trinidad, Marketing Manager for Dove Deo, that unlike most women, I am not worried about showing my underarms. He looked shocked, and then he smiled knowingly when I explained I've been using Dove Whitening Original for months now. True story.

And with that, I leave you with a video of a social experiment called Dove: Patches, spearheaded by psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke (Ph.D., Counseling Psychology) who has spent thirty years conducting scientific research around women’s body image and self-esteem.

It just goes to show that beauty is truly a state of mind.

Dove hopes that all of the women’s inspirational stories featured in the Dove: Patches film will serve as powerful examples and encourage all women to develop a stronger relationship with their own beauty. 

Dove invites all women to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. When women look and feel their best, they feel happier, and Dove believes it is important for women to see the beauty in themselves so that they can inspire the next generation. 

In the Philippines, only 7% of Filipinas think they are beautiful. Help us reach the 93% by sharing the Dove: Patches video to your loved ones, family, friends. Together, let’s help women realize that feeling beautiful comes from within. 

We are all beautiful. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Better yet, tell yourself you are beautiful. Because really, you are.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Celebrate Easter at Blue Leaf BGC & Aseana

This Sunday, Go Easter Egg Hunting and more at The Blue Leaf McKinley Hill in BGC or at Aseana near MOA!

Tickets are Php600 for kids and Php400 for adults and available at The Blue Leaf, Kiddie-party.com shops in White Plains and Wilson Greenhills or via email at kiddieparty@yahoo.com

For more details, or to book The Blue Leaf for an event, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theblueleaf or their website, http://theblueleaf.com.ph

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tod's Spring/Summer 2014

The Spring/Summer 2014 women's collection at Tod's is designer Alessandra Facchinetti's first ever collection for the label, and there was plenty to love this season.

The iconic Gommino driving loafer, rendered in pony hair, now comes in stripes and spots.

The Ballerina Gommino comes in bright red, pink and cream...

even criss cross with ankle straps!

But what I love the most are their fringed flats and sandals. Love. Love. Love.

This is very cute! I am actually seeing a lot of styles coming out that are similar to this shape from Carven to Christian Louboutin, when it was like the sole territory of Marni back in the day. This is a must have.

Of course, the bags, the bags. The Tods D-Cube Bag comes in four sizes, with contrasting side panels, in a range of leathers including exotics. I've seen them at the @tods Instagram account and they are gorge.

Of course, the Bauletto gets the fringe treatment and some bags were more embellished than most, but I gravitated towards this sleek boxy Morsetto that incorporates the Tod's textured pattern, which is inspired by the Gommino and imprinted onto the leather.

Another milestone to this season is an extensive ready-to-wear collection which debuted in a runway show back in September 2013. There were gorgeous separates such as this crisp, cotton shirt and skirt below, as well as buttery soft leather capes, shirts, skirts and dresses. 

There's just an ease and refinement to this collection that lives up that casual elegance that Tod's is known for.

I loved the belt on this outfit. It makes the outfit and subtly attract attention with screaming, "Look at me!". Understated but still eye catching.

Meanwhile, the Spring/Summer 2014 men's footwear collection is built around their famous Gommino style, each shoe sporting a rubber pebble sole. 

Betcha you didn't even realize that without me telling you!

These oxfords, brogues and monk straps feature a complex construction wherein a leather sole is treated with rubber injections and rubber Gommini details. They are extremely elegant, and I can imagine, comfortable as well.

Tod's Double Stripe, as the name suggests, is distinguished by double stripes of leather going down or crossing a bag, wallet or shoe. 

It got its start in the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection and has now become a signature motif of the brand, seen here on blue, brown and grey base leathers.

There's a Double Stripe selection of document holders and iPad cases too!

There is in fact a customization service for customers, where a client can choose their own color combination for stripes. There are 12 colors available, with an option to add a monogram that is set on a leather label and hand-stitched inside or outside the bag. 

Ask a Tod's SA about this service, if you're looking for something a bit more special.

In the Philippines, Tod's is exclusively distributed by Store Specialists, Inc. (SSI) and are available at Tod's boutiques in Greenbelt 4, Rustan's Makati, and Rustan's Tower Shangri-la Plaza Mall.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Sun Always Shines at Itsie-Bitsie

If any one store represented a season, then Itsie-Bitsie would be summer.

Maybe because whenever I step into Itsie-Bitsie in Rockwell, I always always remember the first time I ever set foot in it's original spot in Malate. 

The sun was bright, the store was impossibly chic, and it was stocked with diaphanous cotton wraps, some candles and scents, and the breeziest summer tunics - Calypso by Christian Celle, if my memory serves me right. 

I was instantly transported to a place where kids spent their summer weekends on daddy's boat, or friends going on long drives to a beach house in Tali or Nasugbu.

And I was there on a weekday. 

In fact, my friends and I were in between classes, reading case studies, when our friend Isabelle announced she needed a pair of jeans and would we be interested to look with her at Itsie-Bitsie?

I still get that summer vibe at Itsie-Bitsie Rockwell of course. Especially since Ines has that knack for picking up the freshest contemporary brands that any girl worth her most flattering Mother Denims can fall back on when tropical or resort dressing comes into her social calendar.

Take for instance these summer-y sandals, flats and rope wedges from Aerin.

Aerin is the lifestyle brand founded by the effortlessly chic cosmetic company heiress Aerin Lauder. I can totally see her in these while at her weekend home in East Hampton or vacationing in Turks and Caicos.

rope-soled wedges

nude with gold leaf sandals

there's a white with silver leaf version too!

I ended up with these, it matched my outfit perfectly, like it was meant to be!

fish thong sandals

Nothing can be more summer than swimwear by Orlebar Brown. Love this rashguard.

These board shorts.

And the always classic all-black maillot. Paired here with a raffia sling bag, Aerin gold leaf sandals and printed denim shorts by Ines' latest find, Dutch brand Scotch & Soda.

Ines got the exclusive rights to bring in Sun Bum to our shores, and there's plenty of it in her store. There are sunscreens, cool down sprays and lip balms, so we can bask in the sun worry free.

I find myself getting more drawn to prints these days. My wardrobe used to be all solid colors, stripes and plaids, but now, it's getting its fair share of prints, and if I could, I would add some Banjanan to the mix.

Each piece is printed and embellished by hand! Soooo gorgeous when you see and feel it up close. Love the sustainability story behind it too.

I have yet to check out the store for their recent Spring arrivals. I know Figue should be in by now, as well as denims by Victoria Beckham and Athe by Vanessa Bruno. I know there will be some Vanessa Bruno sequin totes coming too.

Meanwhile, now's a good time to stock up on Mara Hoffman, OndadeMar and Orlebar swimwear because of their Swim Sale ongoing until May 4, 2014.

Itsie-Bitsie = summer forever. But remember, the swim sale ends on May 4!

RS 114 & 119 Joya Lofts & Towers
Joya Drive, Rockwell Center Makati
Mon-Sun, 10am-8pm

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Carven comes to Manila!

When I think of Carven, I think of their bow-back slingbacks...

I think of cool girl Alexa Chung, who is often photographed wearing Carven.

And last Spring 2013's toile dresses come to mind. Because they really made an impression on me.

Especially this particular one. So French, with that cool girl appeal.

I would see Carven at Homme et Femme, but it's just like wow when you see the future of an actual store, even while still boarded up. This was back in January I think.

I monitored it's progress, seriously. Around March 2014.

Tadaaaa! This is Carven at Shangri-la East Wing. It's a beauty.

My friend Gretch & I passed by on opening day and the store is just love. 

Gretch & I with Town & Country Philippines fashion editor Carole Cuasay-Tagle

 It's stocked with Spring 2014's crop of new wardrobe faves.

There were a lot of standouts, but it was refreshing to see how Carven treats camo. 

camo get sweet

Alexa Chung's top & skirt, far left

I saw this in Carven Shang as well, also worn by Alexa Chung. OMG!

Of course, they always do shoes really well.

two-tone perforated flats

masculine meets feminine bow embellished sandals

the Banana sandals by Ancient Greek Sandals x Carven

Jessica Alba has an ankle strap version in black. Love. Love.

Now, I need to work my ass off so I can afford to dress in Carven. Because it's not cheap ha! But they are guaranteed to be closet staples that you can wear for a long, long time.

PS - Alexandra Jacobs trains her critical eye on Carven for The Critical Shopper in The New York Times. She writes about Carven a whole lot more eloquently than I just did.

Level 1 East Wing
Shangri-la  Plaza Mall
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
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