Monday, August 31, 2009

keep your pants on

I guess you could say that I'm easily distracted. Last night, I was quite convinced that I would give the ole' plastic a workout by getting myself a cute little velvet blazer. This morning though, I went to work in a pair of wide legged trousers that I've owned for at least 4 years now and thought, "Why don't I own more of these?" Now that temperatures are cooling down in NY, trousers are really good for work. Plus several people have said that I look taller when I wear pants for some reason. Good enough reason for me. So after work, I walked over to Express and got myself a couple of pairs:

I really did mean it when I said a couple. I only got the Editor Pants in black and in denim. I really wanted the boucle pair in the center too, but the deal was you get 50% off the second pair of Editor Pants so I stuck to two pairs. I like buying trousers from Express because they make short sizes and the 00 short is perfect on me, no hemming needed! Tis an extraordinary thing for a not-so-tall chick like me to be able to wear pants straight off the rack (thus my preference for skirts). I also finally gave in and got the Express store card today to get an extra 15% off. So I ended up paying $84.36 instead of $129! I feel a little guilty for spending again, but knowing I will get lots of wear from these babies quiet my conscience a little bit ...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the schoolboy blazer

It's always mildly bothered me that it's so much easier for Mika to look pulled together but still comfortable. I think about it everytime we're headed to the airport. He puts on jeans, a shirt and sneakers, and then at the last minute throws on a blazer and ta-daaa! He looks ready for an upgrade. Me? Utter confusion. Last night, it hit me. Wait, it's all about the blazer! All I have to do is get a cropped blazer and I can pull the same tactic! (Yes, I'm three years too slow on the uptake)

Tonight, as I browsed the J.Crew website, I saw this picture and now my mind is set. I must have a schoolboy blazer!

I've seen this look work tremendously well on men and really, why can't women do it too? I'd need a thin hoodie though, maybe a cashmere or merino wool one, so the silhouette doesn't get bulky. And I think I prefer a velvet version. Looks snazzy on the men, so why not for me?

Uh-oh, the shopping trigger finger's starting to itch ...

food coma at kum gang san

I don't know if this doing overtime on the weekends thing is working out for me because I always end up doing something excessive afterwards. A couple of weeks ago, I went shopping. Today, I ended up gorging. Due to excessive whisky drinking last night, I was craving some bulgogi, so I headed to Koreatown when I finished up. It didn't occur to me though that most Korean barbeque places do minimum servings of two so I had to change my game plan. Another thing I forgot was how ridiculously generous Korean restaurants can be with the apps. I was rather intimidated when all this was laid out just for lil' old me at KumGangSan:

Sweet Jesus, their version of apps is an entire meal for me. I didn't have much time to nibble before this arrived:

I ordered Gop Dol Bibim Bap, a dish of steamed rice, carrots, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, beef and egg served in a sizzling hot stoneware pot. I love the mixture of textures in this dish but I wished there was more beef in it since that's what I was actually craving. I guess next time I should just bite the bullet and try to eat bulgogi for two if it's what I really want! Nevertheless, I left KumGungSan completely stuffed and wanting to curl up for a nap. For $13.95, it's not a bad spread at all. Now to sleep off the food coma ...

Hope you had a great weekend!

KumGangSan is located at 49 West 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, New York, NY 10001. Tel. (212) 967-0909

Saturday, August 29, 2009

bewitched by 'witchcraft

How in the world did I go almost 3 years in New York without having a 'wichcraft sandwich when they're everywhere? I finally popped my 'wichcraft cherry a few weeks ago when Ludette and I visited their 5th Ave/46th Street location, and it was amazing.

One description jumped out at me when I looked at the menu: grilled cheddar with smoked ham, pear & mustard on cranberry-pecan bread. I mean, what more could you want in a grilled cheese sandwich? When the plate landed in front of me, I was so intent on devouring the sandwich that I almost forgot to take a picture. That they actually give you two halves, but the first one disappeared immediately:

This sandwich was SO good. SOOOOO good. The sweetness of the pear and cranberry combined with the salty ham and cheese, and zesty mustard was ridiculously addictive. Oh god, I have to stop talking about it because it's making my mouth water ...

Today I came back to 'wichcraft by myself, needing a break from the pile of work threatening to drown me. It's a rare spot in Manhattan where you can sit, read a magazine and enjoy your lunch without other hungry diners breathing down your neck. It helps that they have a rack full of good magazines, hip background music, and no pushy bussers. I happily ate my grilled gruyere sandwich with caramelized onions while poring through the new Bazaar.

The gruyere sandwich was also really delicious but the grilled cheddar extravaganza is still my favorite. It's good though for my yoga days when I wanna lay off the meat. The other really great thing about 'wichcraft? The pricetag! My favorite sandwich in the world is just $6.95, while grilled gruyere is just $5.95. Excellent prices for midtown Manhattan.

Mr. Colicchio, you rock.

Friday, August 28, 2009

maybe the end of summer isn't so bad ...

I was heartbroken Thursday morning when I stepped out on my stoop and found the air about 10 degrees cooler. There goes summer ... someone mentioned the f--l word and the b--ts word and I just blurted out, "NO!!!" It feels like summer just really started and now it's over?!

A few minutes ago though, I chanced upon these lovelies on the Victoria's Secret website and decided, well, maybe the arrival of a new season aint all that bad ...

These are by my (no longer) secret favorite shoemaker Jessica Simpson. Jessica may not know her tuna from her chicken, but she sure knows shoes! Whoever her "ghost designer" is, I love you darling. I own a pair of Jessica Simpson platform pumps that are incredibly comfy but also very sexy. I think one (or more) of these boots might just be the next addition to my shoe closet. The over-the-knee boot is a hot fall trend that I would love to dip into, and the fact that this boot folds over into a more classic style makes it that much more desirable. The boots are priced at $209 but Victoria's Secret is currently giving a 20% discount off boots! Maybe I'll get a black pair now since those are a must for Autumn in New York and if the price drops later, you two-toned cuties shall be mine!

UPDATE: I was going to give in and order the black OTBs but guess freakin' what ... they ship out on 12/20! Are they MAD? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

anna sui's dolly girl

I remember coming back to Manila after half a year of galivanting in Europe and finding a bottle of the most delicious smelling Anna Sui lotion in my bathroom. Different guests had used my bedroom and bathroom while I was away, and someone had left this behind. I loved the scent and always thought of seeking out the perfume but never got around to it. Well, I also became a Beauty Editor and subsequently got buried in perfume samples so the scent just slipped away from my senses.

Or so I thought. Last Monday, I was at the Duty Free in Heathrow, mulling over the difference of the scent between Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez For Her when I saw the bottle of Anna Sui's Dolly Girl.

The smell I so loved came back to me, and just like that I forgot about Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez. I just adore the scent of Dolly Girl. It's very fresh but also sweet and sexy. The topnotes are crisp apple and melon, effervescent bergamot and dash of cinnamon. But the base is a very feminine magnolia and jasmine. It's lighthearted but flirtatious. Best of all, it cost me all of £18. What's not to love?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a good reason to throw a party

I'm not one of those people who looooves throwing parties (I can barely even keep my living room liveable), but pingg is making me feel like organizing one just so I can send out invites. Have you seen the electronic invites that you can send with pingg? Oooooh ...

Their designer series includes gorgeous invites by Martha Stewart. I love these three, especially the one with the corks. So perfect for a wine soaked evening!

Just in time for Fashion Week, pingg secured Patrick McMullan's fab photos for a chic fete:

Ben Watts' images would be perfect for enticing friends to go on a beach getaway:

Feel like throwing a party yet?

borough market

On our one free day to see Central London, we decided to take it easy and hang out at Borough Market. We had an appetite when we arrived so our senses were completely overwhelmed. The intoxicating scents of melting raclette cheese and bratwursts on the grill filled the air. Booth after booth offered samples of everything from cheese and charcuterie to Turkish delights and hummus. My mom taught me not to shop when hungry so getting our bellies full became the top priority. When we smelled the burgers being grilled at Bermondsey Bangers we screeched to a halt. Mika and I each took a venison burger with some salad and cranberry sauce (£4.50).

In a word, YUM. The venison was juicy and not too gamey, and the tart cranberries perfectly complemented the flavor of the meat. The thick leavening on the bread was a little annoying, as it went all over my hands and face, but all is good when your belly is satisfied.

After eating, we were in a better position to shop. Walking around markets always makes me so happy. I love seeing booth after booth with fresh produce and wonderful artisanal products.

As we ventured further into the market, we started wishing we hadn't jumped the gun on the venison burger. There were so many things we wanted to eat, like fish and chips or ostrich burgers. The stand that sold ostrich burgers also sold a variety of exotic meat like impala and zebra. Holy cow, zebra! How I would have loved to try that ... Maybe next time. We had been eating Indian food everyday so we weren't particularly enticed by curry, but I had to take a picture of the massive heaps of curry being cooked up!

We took a break for some prosecco and wine so that we could process what we needed to buy.
We were looking to buy snacks to bring to Mika's half-brother's place that evening. We settled on some deliciously nutty Parmegiano Reggiano, delicate slices of unctuous Parma ham, incredibly fresh mozzarella di buffala, an English stick, and some drunk cheese. Yes, drunk cheese. The cheese is fermented in either red wine or champagne, imparting a wonderfully distinct flavor. We went for the red wine inflected cheese.

I refused to leave without sampling some of the oysters. I bought a big fat oyster for a quid. A bit stronger taste than the sweet, fresh oysters I'd grown up eating in the Philippines but yummy nevertheless. Oh, and if I thought I was free from my aunts and uncles who would keep me from eating oysters on an empty stomach when I was a kid, I should have known better. Mika wouldn't let me touch the stuff til after I had my venison burger. *sigh*

It was a great way to spend an afternoon in London, I thought. No stress, just a leisurely time wandering in a market and sampling some goodies. But on the next trip, I say we meander through Harrod's!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

rilee & lo turns one!

Isn't it fun when someone celebrates a birthday and you get a gift too? Accessories haven Rilee & Lo has just turned one and they're celebrating by giving a 30% discount off their lovely merchandise.

I'm extremely tempted to stock up on bangles. I've had bracelets on the brain partly because I just came back from a weeklong Indian wedding feast and just lusted after the stacks upon stacks of bangles worn by the women. But it's also because piling on the cuffs, bangles and bracelets is a major trend for fall.

If I could have my way with the Rilee & Lo site, I would grab these retro glam cuffs at CC Skye:

I would also be severely tempted by these Isharya bangles that marry tradition with clean and modern lines:

On weekends when I'm feeling that earthy and hippie-ish, these bracelets by Citrine by the Stones would be perfect:

And on those days when I need a pretty pick-me-up for work, I'd love to stack up these gorgeous shirt cuffs by Kara Ross:

Full disclosure: Rilee & Lo is a sponsor of this blog (duh, see banner on the sidebar). But I have posted about their website before and really do love the stuff they sell, since I am a total accessories freak. We're working on doing a giveaway in the very near future so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, happy shopping!

soba totto

Hello darlings, I'm back from London! I had a fabulous time at the wedding but it is goooood to be back in New York. Happy to be back where people don't drive on the "funny side" (and therefore where I don't put my life at risk everytime I cross the road!). I have some London posts in store for you but my USB key isn't cooperating at the moment so they will have to wait until tonight.

In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about a Midtown spot where I went for a ladies lunch last week with Ludette and Vanessa. Those who work in the area know that choices are a bit more limited here compared to downtown so I like blogging about good places when I find them. I've eaten at Soba Totto before with Sonu but have better pictures this time so I thought I'd rehash.

I personally love soba noodles, but unfortunately I dragged two people who are not big fans of it. Ooops. But the lunch specials are so huge that you will definitely get your fill even without touching the soba. Check out my meal:

The shrimp tempura soba set is a little pricey at $18 but well worth it for the amount of food you get. Aside from the large tray you see above, there was also a side salad, so it's a lot of food. They serve a proper tempura where you get plump shrimp with each bite. The freshly made soba noodles were nicely al dente. The perfectly chewy noodles and the warm broth were so comforting.

Vanessa ordered her usual grilled salmon ($16):

Ludette seemed happy about her Chicken Kuwayaki set ($16). We had a funny episode because she wanted to bring home the soba noodles to her son. Our Japanese waiter was utterly conflicted between wanting to be a good waiter and not wishing the soba to be consumed when it wasn't at its best. Generally, Soba Totto doesn't allow its soba to be taken home because it won't taste as good when it's not freshly made. In the end, he let her take home the cold soba in a doggie bag, but warned that this would not be allowed next time.

Soba Totto is certainly not one of the cheaper Midtown spots, but it's great value for money and the ambience is quite nice. It's probably not good for everyday, but it's a nice place to go to for more special occasions. Just make sure the people you're eating with are not averse to soba!

Soba Totto is located at 211 E 43rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Tel.(212) 557-8200

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

velvet crush

I seriously cannot remember the last time I wore velvet. The last velvet article of clothing I had was probably a velvet party dress as a kid (why mothers in a tropical country like the Philippines thought velvet and lace were great for their daughters' party outfits, I'll never know). That's probably why the thought of velvet irked me to this day. I just think hot and itchy when I hear the word velvet!

So when I realized that velvet is one of this year's fall trends, I started out skeptical. But Shopbop did a pretty good job of persuading me that velvet can actually be a cool, easy and unfussy look. I love how this ruched asymmetrical skirt by Thayer dresses up a plain tee:

I also like the 80s partygirl look of this dress by Erin Wasson for RVCA. Sidenote: I wish I had mile-long legs that could pull off those bad-ass wedge booties by Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony. They are hawt, but the way those shoes cut off the ankles can be deadly!

I'm also liking J. Crew's new Eden blazer in, you guessed it, velvet. The dusky salmon jacket would be a nice way of bringing a pop of color to the blacks that dominate my fall office wardrobe.
That's all ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

off to london!

I had grand hopes of leaving scheduled posts to keep my beloved readers entertained while I'm gallivanting in London but alas, I failed. I have a grand total of one scheduled post because life got in the way of blogging. *sigh*

But I shall have lots of fun stories to tell in a week's time, I hope! Attending my first Indian wedding and I'm looking forward to loads of amazing food, dancing and ... am I really gonna get smeared with yellow gooey paste at some point? God help me ...

It's been 6 years since my last trip to London. I mean the last time I was there, I had no qualms baring my flatter tummy and wearing J-Lo like aviators:

David Blaine was hanging in a glass box, and people were hitting his box with golfballs and flying choppers to hang cheeseburgers in front of him. I was just trying to eat him. Before you start thinking dirty, see picture below:
I will miss my last London partner-in-crime Sonu, but it will be nice to make London memories with my man.
Off to my much needed vacation! Have a great week everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2009

jimmy choo for H&M

Just when I thought designer collabs were getting old and uninspiring, H&M throws me a curve ball: Jimmy Choo for H&M! Holy smokes. I love the idea though I know I will never lay eyes on this product. If you thought people were vicious over the CDG, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney collections, I bet the grabbing and clawing over Jimmy Choo for H&M stilettos come fall will result in all out mayhem!

easy like sunday morning

My Sunday started out pretty rough. Some hard lessons learned:
  • Long Island iced tea is not my friend. It might seem like a great party buddy on a Saturday night, but it's true evil evil evil colors come out the morning after. Friends don't grip friends' heads with a vice all day long.

  • Ibuprofen and champagne are not friends either. One swig of champagne after popping a pill and my entire body turned lobster red with freaky splotches, and my heart started palpitating wildly. Never again.

Thankfully, after a nap, I felt better and got to enjoy the rest of the afternoon lying out by the pool at a friend's gorgeous digs in Westchester. We had a lovely dinner of salad, steak and delicious wine. A truly wonderful way to while away a Sunday afternoon. Hope you had a great one!

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