Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Enjoying Empty Spaces

Photo Credit: Thomas Eagle
One of the things I like about moving is the thought of defining a new space again. It's like putting a freshly sharpened pencil to clean white paper. A different life stage for us means we have new needs. I'm looking forward to slowly putting things into place in our new apartment.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday Reading

  • "Just enough" is just perfect; Muji and small spaces go together, *Harry Connick Jr. crooning voice* like a wink and smile.
  • Speaking of tiny houses, cottages by the ocean are a dream. 
  • I would think most of us like to be surrounded by beautiful things, beauty being different for everyone.
  • Gumtree, let's get acquainted.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Last Weekend Before December

Saturday was about going to apartment inspections, but we squeezed in a nice brunch at a great cafe called The Northern Bean in cozy Willoughby. I love this neighborhood for its interesting small eateries and mom-and-pop (ish) stores.
Dinner was at Din Tai Fung Chatswood. Earlier this year we were in Taiwan and ate quickly at the Taipei 101 branch. We had been dreaming of a xiao long bao feast since then.
I underestimated just how much I would enjoy the food here! Sydney's dining options will spoil anyone. Gosh, just this afternoon I stumbled upon a Buy One Get One Free at Gong Cha in the new Hawkers Lane in Westfield Chatswood. I was just lining up to order my own drink! Could not believe my good fortune.

Zara Home Sydney Pitt St. Opens December 3!

This was in my inbox today. Hurray!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Flying to Australia

Free map and city guide we picked up at the airport.
We arrived in Sydney last Thursday, just in time to be welcomed by an epic heat wave on Friday. It's been just a weekend, but we are  quickly falling in love with this city. Everyone we've encountered--from the staff at the baggage claim area at Kingsford Smith Airport to the locals we meet randomly in our current neighborhood--has been incredibly helpful, warm and charming. I know we will have the best time here.

We flew Singapore Airlines with a layover of 12+ hours at Changi Airport, which is the best airport to ever be stuck in. Very family friendly! Loved the Butterfly Garden, the Koi fish pond, the stores, the dining, and the indoor playground. Since we were in Terminal 3, we spent most of our time there, except for three hours at dinner time when we took the Skytrain to Terminal 2 to hang out at a lounge c/o Citibank PremierMiles. (I also picked up some Caudalie products at the beauty shops. So far, I'm liking them a lot.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Celebrity Homes: Ellen DeGeneres

Photo Credit: Nino Munoz on

I have a serious girl crush on Ellen DeGeneres. She is great to watch on her talk show. Games! Singing! Whip-And-Nae-nae-ing! She travels in style (read a Vogue feature about a trip to Paris and the flea market on Rue de Clingancourt here). Together with wife Portia De Rossi, she just seems like she would be a lot of fun to hang out with. Best of all, she loves houses and design - a lady after my own heart.

It's well-documented that she is a kind of real estate mini mogul, with a lot going on including:

1. Ellen's Design Challenge, a show on HGTV. How did I miss this? It premiered in January this year (with a second season out around the same time next year). Apparently it is on 2nd Avenue here in the Philippines, and the season finale airs tonight (Nov. 5) at 8:00 PM local time.

Photo Credit: via

2. A line of home furnishings called ED by Ellen (shop them here).

3. A new book out entitled Home, in which we all get to pore over the gorgeous homes she's owned and decorated.

4. A chic (and profitable) hobby of buying, remodeling, and selling (aka "flipping") or renting out houses. Let's look at five of the fifteen (!) that she's owned.

My favorite is the Beverly Hills one featured in Architectural Digest back in 2011. I think this is the house she later sold to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

My second favorite is the heavenly Santa Monica ranch featured in Elle Decor.

I also love the fifties/sixties house in Hollywood Hills.

They had a beautiful estate in Montecito.

And they briefly had a condo, before they moved back to the Hollywood Hills place.
Photo via PopSugar

Swoon. I love that she mixes up the look and feel with each new house.  For the rest of her portfolio, I guess we'll need to get a copy of her new book!

For more on Home, here's a great read from the LA Times.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Metallic Trinkets

Perhaps it's the approaching holidays, but I'm attracted to metallic lately.

Yes to these monster jackstone book-ends!

And these lanterns (I have the green version of this IKEA Rotera Lamp).

And this festive bowl from Aranaz Tu.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Michelle Obama: A Life, By Peter Slevin

FLOTUS or not, Michelle Obama is a smart, elegant, modern woman that I like reading about. My favorite parts of this biography are the chapters on her family history and childhood. Her parents just seemed rock solid and gave them a good foundation for life. Also agree with her philosophy on raising kids, to expose them to as many things as we can so that they learn to work toward as many dreams as they want. Great read.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Zara Home

Zara Home opened its first store in Melbourne last February, and according to Vogue Living Australia, the Sydney branch will follow suit. So, hurray!!! (I'm already thinking of our apartment when we haven't packed a single thing yet, haha!)

I browsed their site and oh! So. much. beauty. Too much! Which only means I'll probably be lining up at the store when it opens. Meanwhile, I'm happy to be part of the mailing list and be inspired by my favorites below from the Autumn-Winter 2015 catalogues.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sunny and Soothing: Pantone's Spring 2016 Palette

Photo Credit: Pantone Color Report Spring 2016

Pantone's predictions point to happy and peaceful shades. Any new decorating ideas for spring next year? :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Will I Ever Switch to an iPhone?

Apple announced, among other things, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (live blog of Apple Event on NY


They are gorgeous, for sure. I appreciate the awesome App Store, as well as the tight hardware-software integration (aka un-clunky compared to Android, which I currently prefer, strangely enough). Movies, photos, and the web all look exponentially better on Apple devices than on, well, anything else. I've owned a Macbook or Macbook Air since 2009; I don't really plan on returning to Windows (though I still like to keep familiar with the latest versions). I even use an ancient iPod Nano that can't play videos. But the iPhone, so far, hasn't really appealed to me. Let's see with the 6S. I may be due for an upgrade soon.

So, a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, or an iPhone 6S?

We're Moving Down Under!

Photo Credit: Artwork by Ian Tremewen

For the next two years, Sydney will be home for us. We're pretty excited about this assignment! It's such a great city - everything that we've heard from friends and people we know who have been there on holiday or for work is that it's beautiful. Hubs was there for two weeks in winter (seasons are switched in the Southern hemisphere), and he already thinks we are going to love it.

We've been checking out neighborhoods for a couple of months, though I think it's best we get there and see for ourselves. Busy busy here in Manila getting ready! I will try to write more often and in more detail from now on, pinky swear!

To our next adventure!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The One, I Just Know It!

Excuse the dramatic title. I merely have incredibly strong feelings about this Paris (16th arrondissement) house I found via Vogue Australia, and subsequently ogled on Christie's International Real Estate.

My husband and I have agreed that this will be our retirement house.

*wakes up from dream*


Sunroof illuminating a winding staircase, eight bedrooms, two being in the annex house (because one house is not enough? :D ), that enormous garden, swing/hammock/teepee under the tree...

I'm pretending now to swim in my basement pool. As one does.

(All pictures below are from the Christie's listing I mentioned.)

As Ryan Gosling says to Rachel McAdams in The Notebook, "I want you. I want all of you, forever. You and me, everyday."