Friday, November 30, 2007

shopping in beijing

the fash pack spent five days in beijing, china. actually two were spent on the flights getting there and back (via cathay pacific with a stopover in hong kong), so we had three full days there with one full day reserved for shopping, woo-hoo! so if you ever find yourself in beijing, we highly recommend the weekend antique market called panjiayuan—it's one of the best markets we've ever been to. this is the real deal, none of that fake designer stuff you see too often in china markets. well, there may be some fakes here too, but "antique"-wise. the stuff may be old or second-hand or vintage, but antique? it's a term used quite loosely here. but who wants antiques when there is so much more to buy! lots of baubles and beads...
silver accessories...
silk brocade items...
paintbrushes with beautiful handles (which can be used as decor!)...
cute stuffed toys...
lots of paintings by local artists—from traditional to contemporary (these are repros of works by that hot chinese painter who was recently on the cover of time magazine, yue minjun)...
and tons of chinese arts and crafts...
now let's talk prices! the first rule is: don't quote any price unless you're willing to pay it. otherwise they will grab you and block you until you pay up, lady! second rule is: don't be intimidated by the original price they quote. ask for a lower price and if you're still not happy, they'll ask you to name your price. then quote a ridiculously low price. no, not 50% off—more like 90% off! don't get flustered if they laugh in your face. just shrug your shoulders and walk away. guaranteed they'll call you back and the negotiation begins. of course all of this is done via sign and body language, dramatic hand gestures, facial expressions, and the universal language of the calculator. case in point: we spotted this exquisite necklace of big intricately carved beads. price 850 yuan (in pesos, that would be times six, so that's over P5,000). we asked the lady for a lower price. she went down, down, down to 550. we went waaaaaaaay down to 50! the nerve! of course she laughed. so we said, sorry no more money and walked away. we gave it up and were ready to move on to the next. three stalls later, she caught up with us, calculator in hand, asking us to name a better price! so we punched in 100. she said OK! that's 600 pesos! incredible. it was like that for the rest of our shopping in panjiayuan. so before you head for this beijing market, practice your haggling because over here, it's not just a skill, an art, or a sport—it's like a game (parang olympics!). sorry na lang kung tanga ka. or mayaman ka. depends how you look at it ;-)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

what is this country coming to??

we were so prepared to write all about our trip to beijing, china. yes, yes, we all know by now, the fash pack went to the site of the 2008 summer olympics. we toured, we ate, we shopped. and we wanted to share. we came home several days ago to news that typhoon mina just missed the philippines. then we experience a frightening earthquake. as in, dude, we were dead tired from hiking up to the great wall and back down and it just began to hit us so we spent the day recuperating and when the ground shook, it literally shook us awake, up and out of bed! then it's back to the daily grind of traffic on the way to work and hmmm this is unusually bad traffic... are people already this early on their way out of town for the long weekend? till we get the text: coup coup coup!!! (sound like a bird? or a chicken??) it's enough to make glorietta close down the entire mall! and not just 2! oh the damage... on the peninsula manila, what a tragedy... a tank ramming the front doors straight through the lobby! what is this, world war III??? garch, you've got a big job ahead of you... on the image and reputation of this country in the eyes of the rest of the world... buh-bye tourism... secretary ace, it's back to square one... square basket... basket case... basket case... basket case...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

coming in august 2008

no, this is not a spaceship that suddenly landed in the middle of the city. it's the nest of a giant bird...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

travelife: nov/dec 2007

photographed by kai huang on location in sentosa, singapore. styled by liza ilarde. hair and makeup by mickey see for shu uemura. model: christine bayer. gown by rhett eala

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

beau beaujo beaujolais

we gotta get rid of the last post. we gotta make people forget about it. fuhgedaboudit. family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have been asking to see that marni skirt! so let's talk about something not related to fashion. at least not directly. tonight we went to the launch of this year's beaujolais harvest. they started early this year—5:30pm—because they wanted to catch the famous manila bay sunset. but we missed that. dami kasi trabaho eh. plus traffic (when will this stop being the default excuse? nevah!). so we got to sofitel philippine plaza's harbour tent at way past 8pm and the place was packed. but packed or not, this was one event where they wouldn't run out of wine. albeit beaujolais. but this is no time to be a snob! let's drink! and here is what YOU missed (we know you missed it because we didn't see YOU...)
the crowd...
the food... mmm hammm... we don't eat pork but tonight we made an exception
one of the hosts (along with the indefatigable johnny litton), tessa the sea princess, fresh from hollywood where she watched the world premiere of "enchanted"
the fashion show with rhett eala's gowns accessorized with jewelmer's pearls (can't decide if we prefer the gowns or the pearls!). oh and that's the once "it" boy, violinist jay cayuca
the bloomfields! 'nuff said

and where's the wine?? oops we drank 'em all... :-P

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the curse of the credit card bill

kasalanan ni chuvaness! kasalanan niya kung bakit malaki ang utang namin sa HSBC! at least may miles... this morning, as we make it a habit every saturday morning while having our coffee and watching "the bold and the beautiful" the soap opera about the fashion industry that has no gay people in it, we read chuvaness's blog where she wrote about the homme et femme and escada sale in shangri-la plaza. so after today's episode of "the bold and the beautiful" we went! and we shopped. and we tried on clothes. and we bought. we handed that credit card to the salesgirl and before we could change our mind, she was gone! as chuvaness mentioned, the sale site is at the former in style shop, so transactions are made at the actual shop locations. there goes our monthly pay check. there goes our monthly rent! the damage:

• marni skirt - P11,699 (original price: P29,298)
• marni jacket - P9,349 (original price: P31,198)
• escada ballet flats - P4,250 (original price: P21,250)
• escada leather skirt - P1,950 (original price: P29,950)
• escada leather belt - P340 (original price: P5,500)

napakasakit, kuya eddie... but can you tell how happy we are with our purchases that we just had to share??

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the gap opens today!

yes, it's true, the first gap store in the philippines finally opens today at glorietta 4. it's located in between make room and bossini, and right across marks & sparks. it's where tutto moda used to be. we were there yesterday for the special press preview. and our assessment? well, it's very, er, gap. it currently carries the fall/winter collection, so you'll see a lot of coats, jackets, sweaters, long-sleeved knits, plus accessories like mufflers, gloves, and hats. all in dark dark dark shades. they need some pops of color in there. the second branch in trinoma should open before the end of the year, and the flagship in bonifacio high street will open next year. they still have to build the building. it will carry gap kids and gap baby too. some gap scenes to expect when you walk in...
gap tees in not quite every color
what gap employees are known for: folding
typical display. those ballet flats are the only shoes available
a corduroy jacket trendy sleeves. wish it came in other colors
will this DJ be a permanent fixture?
we love the way these mannequins are posing

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

mall report continued...

don't you love this pussycat-patterned hard case? we do! well, you can have it for free! but first you have to spend P10,000 worth of products at paul & joe at rustan's makati. the makeup artist manning (well, he wasn't quite a man, if you know what we mean tee-hee) the counter said it was a limited-edition suitcase and their VIP clients have already reserved the little that they have left. hmmm do we really want to spend that much on cosmetics just to get this one-of-a-kind item that isn't sold in stores? well, maybe if we were crazy about cats. or passionate about paul & joe. or if we needed a whole lotta makeup. or if we were afraid that they were quickly gonna run out of the cute little trolley. but we wouldn't worry about that. look at what we spotted behind the counter as we walked away: hmmm we wonder if it's regulation size for carry-on luggage...?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

secret sale

today we finally went back to glorietta. it's been almost a month since that tragic day. and it's been nearly two months since our last time there. we were there around 3pm and it was hardly the ghost town chuvaness described it as. maybe people are slowly gaining the courage to go back and shop fearlessly. but it's bizarre to see glorietta 2 all boarded up. earlier in the day,we accidentally spilled coffee on our white pants (right, it's the law of spillage—it only happens when you're wearing white), so we were madly dashing from store to store looking for a bottom that would go with the top and jacket we were wearing. and as we were eyeing the bubble skirt on the mannequin in the criselda section in rustan's, lo and behold, the designer herself pops up. "pssst," she says conspiratorially, "check out the secret sale on the fourth floor..." secret sale? how come we don't know about this?? secret nga eh. "it just started the other day," she continues. "seven jeans from nine thousand down to one thousand." say no more, we are so there! to access the secret sale, go up to the fourth floor on the debenhams side (in fact, it's right on top of), proceed to the maleta section, and when you see this boarded up section... don't be fooled into thinking it's a renovation. the entrance is on the right side where that person is standing. but you can't bring anything in. you'll have to leave your packages and even your purse with the guards! so if you want to pay cash, wear clothes with pockets to stash your millions in! (but seriously, we doubt you'll spend that much...)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

our visit to mall of asia

we read with much curiosity the post of chuvaness about going back to glorietta weeks after the blast and finding it to be a ghost town. we were actually planning to go to glorietta the week of the blast to source for a fashion editorial, but we just couldn't find the time, and before we knew it, it was friday. then boom. and we haven't been back. so we decided to do our sourcing in mall of asia. they have all the brands there, even some that glorietta doesn't have. the only thing missing are the luxury brands. MOA is not an easy mall to navigate, though. it's just too damn huge! we wish they had giveaway maps like they do in malls abroad, like in hong kong, singapore, or the states. we got tired going around and around, looking for certain stores. yeah, we know they have a directory, but it's tiring even just looking for THAT! it's a good thing they have this service: so no need to carry all your purchases around. plus they have those golf carts meant for senior citizens and the physically challenged. but we saw some stores that have closed because the market just isn't there. we were surprised to see bizu closed with the tables and chairs all pushed to the side and the counters devoid of those lovely macaroons. we ended up in zara and look at what we saw: does this mean SSI will finally be bringing in zara cosmetics? and hopefully zara home soon??

Friday, November 09, 2007

coffee talk

the race is on for the 2008 starbucks planner! but they're pretty strict now. if last year, in case you forgot your booklet (or you left it in your other purse), you could bring back the receipt and get the sticker, this year no more. the rules have changed. they have to stick it on right there and then. BUT. you better watch those baristas. yesterday, we bought two coffees and of course that's worth two stickers. well, guess what, it's a good thing we checked because the gal at the register only put one! what is this? training day?? so of course we complained. the manager had to ask for our receipt to check if we indeed ordered two coffees. jeez, she made us feel like cheaters, thieves, liars, take-advantage type of starbucks suckers. hello, we can get your planner at ebay before the end of the year!! we don't have to get palpitations for this!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

KC concepcion for bayo

it's got to be the casting coup of the year. she's back for good from her studies in paris and what better welcome can she be given than billboards of her face all over the highway, full-page ads in newspapers and magazines, and tonight, her launch as the new image model for bayo. makes us wonder: how could ben chan let her go? just a couple years ago, she was one of the endorsers for human. which didn't really fit her image. human is sporty, funky, street—but in a commercial, mainstream way. KC is a young, beautiful, intelligent woman—in other words, the perfect girl. we think she would have been a better fit for kashieca. they could have even played on the K and C in the brand name. oh well, ben and KC must have had their own reasons for parting ways. and bayo was there to make "salo." and no matter how much bayo paid her, we think it'll be so worth it. as we walked through shangri-la plaza the excitement in the air was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. select guests and media were at the bayo store in the fifth floor to welcome her and when she entered the store, pandemonium! that's her in the bottom left getting a beso-beso. KC is clearly a star. a star without a movie, a TV show, a hit song, not even a scandal. she's just KC. but people love her, are curious about her, want to meet her, and put her on a pedestal. the girl is destined for bigger things than just being an endorser who will soon take away her mother's crown as the endorsement queen. anyhoo, after she went around the store with the paparazzi following her every move, we all headed to the atrium level for the fashion show and her introduction to the public. some of the cute clothes from the show (although someone from the audience commented that the clothes in the store were cuter ;-) ladies and gentlemen, KC concepcion!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

battle of the beauty brands

when it comes to mass-market beauty brands, it seems like olay and pond's are the two that are really battling it out in the local beauty scene. in one corner, we have olay (which used to be called oil of olay, but do you want to smear oil on your face??), which launched its total effects product last year with a series of ads, each one with a beautiful celebrity talking about her "lines—parang nawala!" will you believe gretchen, miriam, daphne, et al that this product fights the seven signs of aging? well, we've never used olay, but we gotta tell you, gretchen has one of the most luminous skins we've ever seen. but dude she was born that way. here's what olay sent us as an invitation to the launch tomorrow (requested attire: black and gold) of their new-and-improved total effects:
black satin box with tassel
another box with a lock and key!
the product and a gift certificate for a treatment at suriya spa

in the other corner, we have pond's, which last year also launched its "red" age miracle line. they went a different route and instead of hiring models or celebs to endorse the product, their ads featured lifestyle/beauty editors/writers: sari yap of lifestyle asia, melanie cuevas of metro (she used to be the beauty editor and is now editor in chief), and rissa samson of the philippine star (she's one the country's top models and is also a beauty/fashion columnist). we guess pond's was hoping that the public will be more likely to believe women who get to try many, many beauty products for a living. as one of them said, the product "lived up to its promise" and saw her skin improve in seven days. (what is it about the number seven??) well, we got to try the whole shebang (cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream) and after seven days? 'day, pitong buwan na... here's what pond's gave away at their press launch for their new flawless white line, which will have a big launch next week (requested attire: pink and white):
a big-ass pink box with bow...
...with a drawer that reveals the complete line of products. plus a lovely silver heart necklace that can lock in half

let the games begin!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

domino, can you please fix our house?

aside from fashion, it's quite obvious that the fash pack is also very interested in beauty, travel, food, and celebrities. but did you know that we are also interested in home interiors? we love to visit other people's houses and steal ideas that we can apply to our own home (which has been a work in progress for the last oh eight years—yikes!). domino is one of our favorite magazines and we have ALL the issues from when they first came out as a quarterly back in 2005. and of course their website is bookmarked and we try to check it weekly. so if you need some inspiration for your own home, check out the finalists in domino mag's decorating contest. you'll get tons of ideas (not to mention get inis why your own house can't look that cute) for your living room, bedroom, dining room, kitchen, home office, and outdoor spaces. click here for some inspiration!