Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chicified!

Have you heard of Chicify? I consider it an online department store stocked with an array of lovely items for your closet, home, and even your kids, all at affordable price points.  I blogged about it a few months back for one of my Shopspotting posts, and it remains one of my favorite sites to browse. Co-founder Mikka Genita-Padua (she also blogs!), asked me to be their Guest Editor for November, and the result is a personally curated list of things that I would love to have from their site. There was actually much more that I wanted, but I had to narrow it down to twelve (or was it eighteen?). And because I should have posted about this long ago, those twelve are down to nine (I'm guessing the rest have already been sold). Do check out the site, and while you're at it, take a peek at my picks, too!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Prada Trash Can? Pwede!

Saw this article on the New York Times, and found it quite hilarious:

Branded Garbage Cans Stay Put
by Penelope Green 

Another reason to love NY—wit is everywhere! Photo credit: Chad Silver

Chad Silver, an artist, and his wife, Colu Henry, a public relations manager at Bon App├ętit magazine, were having trouble with their garbage cans, which kept vanishing from outside their Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment. So Mr. Silver, inspired by “Gucci Gucci,” a song by Kreayshawn, a West Coast rapper whose lyrics can’t be printed in this newspaper, decided to brand his cans with gold stickers replicating the logos of the luxury labels Gucci, Fendi and Prada.

It was a more interesting way of identifying his property than just sticking a number on it, said Mr. Silver, who has a fondness for sly merchandising. (He has a Web site called Love Is Lame, where he sells T-shirts with that slogan printed on them and other items, like a teddy bear clutching a satin heart embossed with expletives. The site does big business around Valentine’s Day, he said.)

So far, the labeling strategy seems to be working, Mr. Silver said. The cans, which he branded last month, have stayed put. 


I won't be surprised if Gucci actually came out with their own line of haute trash cans. Maybe one papered with the double Gs? Wonder how much it'll cost!

Incidentally, a logo-obsessed Filipino/Filipina, has taken to wallpapering their CR-V with the Louis Vuitton Logo. I spotted the vehicle while taking a friend on a tour of Intramuros a few days ago and I just had to take a photo. I actually saw the car before in Molito, Alabang, but it drove away before I could take a snap. While we were walking around the walled city, we saw the car drive by again, and I happened to glimpse the inside of the car. Even the interiors were trimmed with LV logos, from the dashboard to the steering wheel. Kaloka! LV much?

Orig kaya?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Kingdom Animalia Collection at Martina-Martina.com


Animal prints? I definitely consider them a classic now. Whether they're graphic black and white zebra prints, to (my personal favorite) leopard spots, they're one of the best, and fun, ways to add that extra oomph to your basics. But lately, patterns aren't the only thing that's prowling the fashion jungle. We've seen a lot of animals cavorting on nearly every article of clothing, be it tops, dresses, bags, and shoes.

Remember the playful Prada monkeys from Spring 2011?

Photo from vogue.com.au


This season, we spotted ferocious beasts on Givenchy...

Runway photos from style.com




Riccardo Tisci went wild with panther prints. Love them!


Ok I know it's impractical, but I kinda want this cat's ears baseball cap. And that sly sheer skirt.

Mayo W. from Lookbook.nu has some pretty cute animals in her closet, like this bird-print top...


and this adorable Kate Spade woven elephant bag...


As for me, I'd probably want to be cozy snuggly in this horsey sweater if ever I was living in a colder climate...

Horse head jumper, ROMWE, on sale at $60.29. 


Have I already whetted your style appetite for animals? Yes? Then I'm pretty sure you'll love our latest collection now live at Martina-Martina.com

Our Kingdom Animalia collection is a lovely zoo of creatures that you can wear day and night, in or out of the office.

My favorites include the zebra-print scarf in salmon, an oversized wrap that I'd wear with a mini dress, or a cute pair of leather shorts and a tank.

Isn't this print so cute? And the scarf is quite sheer, so your neck won't feel like it's in a sauna!

It's also quite long so you can wrap it several times around your neck.

There's also the leopard head earrings, a fancy pair of clip-ons that I find quite sosyal.

And it's blingy too!

Finally, there are the brooches. I know people normally don't wear them, but you can accessorize with them more creatively. And it's not as overexposed as other jewelry pieces, so they stand out more.

Our white elephant brooch, worn as a collar accent. 

Instead of wearing a necklace, why not accent your button-up top with our black swan brooch?

So do come and visit our shop to browse through our latest collection. We promise you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And The Smart Money Goes ShopSpotting Winner Is....

I won't keep you in suspense any longer, the lucky girl who won P50,000 from Smart Money is Angel del Rosario of Asian Vogue Shop, online vendor of on-trend bags, and footwear worthy of your favorite K-Pop and J-Pop stars. I blogged about their piano bag in one of my ShopSpotting posts, but I have to admit, their shoe catalog is quite impressive.

Asian Vogue Shop is our Favorite Online Seller for 2011


The winner was announced last Saturday at a fun yet intimate event which I hosted at the Smart Jump Experience center at SM Megamall. I wish I had photos to share, but I was too nervous about my hosting gig, so I spent the time before the event rehearsing my script at the back office, and making a quick run to the Atrium for my first taste of Gong Cha milk tea (milk chocolate pearls = heaven!). I finally got to meet Jeff, Hazel, and the rest of the Smart Money team, as well as the Havoc Digital Media team who were all very nice. I was lucky to have worked with them for this project. Hazel's presentation on Smart Money was especially informative, and yes, Hazel, you have a convert in me!

I had the belated sense to take a few outfit shots, not the very best, but I'm excited to share what I wore. I had on old dress from Una Rosa (katas ng gift certificate from my days as fashion editor), a simple tent shift that I love to wear (despite it being prone to creasing) because of its deep pockets.

With my Ebay-bought Coach bag, and a thrifted silk scarf that I like to tie around the handle.

 I wore it with blingy sandals paired with fringe socks, which turned out to be quite a cute combo.
Shoes, Vince Camuto. Socks, H&M.


But the masterpiece was my ginormous green gumball necklace, a gift from my friend Pam in L.A., who gave it to me as a thank you for my styling advice. It provided the perfect pop of color against my black and white palette, and with the vintage rhinestone necklace I paired it with (another gift, this time from my old employer), the result was bling at its best.

Other extras: Pearl coil bracelet, and rhinestone elastic strand, both from The Landmark. Studded leatherette cuff, random bazaar find.

After the event, Pat and I went straight to Opus to meet up with some friends. It was my first time, and I felt like a little kid when they brought out the Grey Goose with the sparkler. The rest of the night went by in a dizzy blur. All in all, an awesome day.

My LOL photo. I just had to share.

Monday, November 14, 2011

LSS: Never Gonna Care by The Low Suns

Thought I'd give everyone a break from the fashion posts and share the song that's been on constant play in my mind for the past few days. Since first hearing this song on 99.5 RT, I've been anxiously trying to catch the title and the artist, but never managed to because the DJ signs off right before the song plays, or the tune is sandwiched in between tons of others that, when the DJ rattles off the titles, I can't figure out the order anymore. A few days ago, I got lucky. When the first strains of this tune started playing, I immediately ran to the radio and glued my ear to the speaker and hallelujah, finally caught the song and the artist.

Tada, here's Never Gonna Care, the debut single from London-based band The Low Suns, who cites as their influences Jeff Buckley, The Flaming Lips, 1940s Gospel and sci-fi soundtracks. If you look at the comments section below the video, you'll see the lead singer Jack replying to the posts, which I think is cool. It'll be interesting to see how well this band progresses in the music scene...



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Collections Live At Martina-Martina

I've been awfully, awfully busy the past week. For one, we moved house and our new home looks like 11 balikbayan boxes simultaneously exploded in it (and I do mean this literally!). Then, three of Pat's friends decided to bless our new home with their presence, coming all the way from Canada to visit (poor guys came home to a very messy place!). And then there's the diving certification I'll be taking on Thursday, and my two chapter assignment that I have yet to read. Oh, and a bazaar on Saturday we decided to join at the last minute that I also have to prep for. A lot, a lot, a lot of things to do and I don't know where to start. Really, sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of the living room or our bedroom just staring at the mess. I wish I could just "Evanesco!" (with matching wand waving) everything away!

Martina-Martina will be at the Cuenca Bazaar this Saturday, November 5. It's probably the only bazaar we're doing this year so do come if you want to see more pieces. This is your chance to preview and purchase pieces from our future collections—you get first dibs!

But, enough of the ranting. I've got some exciting news and they're all about the two new collections we have up on our Martina-Martina shop! I've finally gotten around to uploading my sister, Nina's fabulous pieces, and you can already view and buy them now. There's only one of each handcrafted style, so better be quick to click if you love something. Plus, we've also uploaded our "I'm With The Band" Collection, an eclectic mix of wrist pieces that you'll want to hoard, and that you'll want to pile on your arm. Come to think of it, all the items in this collection can be easily mixed and matched!

I consider leather bands as perennials—their style and wearability are long-lived! Buckle Up leather bracelets in Emerald Green,  Brick Red, Desert Orange, and Navy, P350 each. 

I actually got to see these Loop De Loop bracelets being finished. I love the substantial gold link hardware, and the crocheted style—all done by hand! Shown in Softest Pink, Bone, and Caramel, P795 each.

And of course, a peep into the Hush Collection by Nina Dy. Why Hush? Because according to my sister, these necklaces make a statement without being over the top. Still, put them on and they add that little bit of drama to your outfit. Bow.


Gotta love that royal blue/violet hue against the sunny yellow stripes!

So do visit Martina-Martina. Browse and shop to your hearts content! And if you want to see our collections up close, visit us at the Cuenca Bazaar inside Ayala Alabang Village this Saturday November 5. Say hi! I'll be manning the booth myself. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ShopSpotting: What Are Your Halloween Plans?

Hello ShopSpotters! How has your week been so far? Mine has been quite hectic, as my boyfriend and I have been busy prepping our new home. Come to think of it, it will be my third home in a span of two years. It's a bit crazy when you think about it in those terms, but getting a new place is always exciting, and nakakakilig, notwithstanding all the expense and the headache of figuring out all the logistics. 

A peek into our freshly-painted living room extension. Will blog about the move soon!

With all the craziness that's been happening, I've almost forgotten that it's a Halloween weekend in a few days! Have you made plans yet? We have friends visiting from overseas who want to surf and dive, so we have a weekend excursion in the works. A Halloween party on Saturday night is also a possibility (and yes, I'm excited to dress up in costume!). 
Last year, I came as Smurfette! 
If you need some help in the planning department, may I suggest these ShopSpotted sites to assist you?

I'm betting a lot of people are going out-of-town for the weekend, so it's going to be hard to plan a last-minute getaway. It might be wise to enlist the help of a travel agency, like Grandchi Travel and Tours to book flights and reservations.

When Halloween (and the inevitable costume party once or twice a year) comes around, I find myself on the prowl for costume stores. Well, I'm still on the hunt, but those who want to outfit their little ones can point their browsers to I Am Xave's Mom, which has the most adorable baby costumes and rompers. If you put your tot in one of these plushy numbers, I bet you everyone will want to bite him/her!

Moooo! Cow Romper, P549.


If you're planning to sit out the semeteryo and out-of-town traffic to veg at home, make sure to pick up some pamper products to make your weekend truly chillax.  My Aromacology has an olive and grapefruit body scrub and body butter that's perfect for your at-home spa sesh.

Body Scrub, P250

After an invigorating scrub, slather your skin with the luxurious moisture of Aromacology's Body Butter, P260.

You can also just devote an entire day to online browsing, and maybe even shopping! Check out the super affordable dresses on Glam Kit. Most items are within the P250-350 range, which is such a bargain for a dress!

Dress from Nadine collection, P250.


Next time, I'll blog about Halloween costumes. I want to know what you plan to wear! Tell me, tell me!



Which Red Shoe Should I Buy? Halp!

I'm sure you've all noticed the glut of online sites selling discounted fashion merchandise. I think Gilt was the one that really made this business model so popular, but others have jumped on the bandwagon and have come out with their own spin-offs. One that I like is Refinery29's Reserve. Instead of selling actual merchandise, it sells "...shopping deals, experiences, or limited- edition products every week" that are never available for more than six days a week, maybe even shorter if a deal has sold out. I like it because the brands and sites they feature are carefully selected, and the Reserve deals are often pretty amazing. 

So a few days ago, I finally decided to plunk down some cash for my first Reserve deal: A $200 credit to buy Pour La Victoire Shoes at their website at 50% off. It becomes an even greater bargain if you decide to use it to purchase PLV shoes on sale, which is what I'm doing. 

My first Reserve deal, yay!

Now I need a pair of red shoes. I realized I don't have a proper pair of classic red pumps. The problem is I'm torn. I originally wanted to get these suede Daina pumps...



But then, I'm a little smitten with the tiled sole of these Irina Tiles patent pump.

Isn't that sole so sassy?


Admittedly, I like the look, the hue, and the texture of the suede pump. It's classier, and it'll pair really well with the cropped pants I like to wear lately. BUT, that checkerboard sole!

So yes, I'm torn. And because I've been debating about what to get for days, and because Daina and Irina are still neck and neck, I'm bringing this internal conflict out in the open.

What do YOU like better? Daina or Irina? 

Help me decide!


Friday, October 21, 2011

ShopSpotting: Promoting Your Online Business

Since launching our own accessories line (check out Martina-Martina here!), I've been on the lookout for  ideas to promote the business. I'm even considering attending a few seminars and short courses on digital marketing and social media as my skills are sorely lacking in these areas. Of course, some of the best learnings can be had for free if you have the patience to trawl through the world wide web. Luckily, I also have my own network of friends who have launched successful online businesses, and who were very willing to share some of their promotional and marketing tactics with me. 

Suelas, the company behind those uber comfy foldable flats, uses their Facebook page to market and promote their products. Jackie Tan, co-owner of Suelas, shares that while they do have their own website, it's their FB page that allows them to interact with their customers. For example, Suelas' travel albums showcase their shoes as worn by fans, friends, and family traveling around the world. People readily share, and are excited to see photos of themselves online, and at the same time, the travel albums underscore Suelas' brand philosophy as the shoe that's light on the feet, light on the baggage. 

The Suelas-Rosanna Aranaz collaboration leopard flat in Morocco.

Another great way to build buzz is via promos. Early this year, in a bid to reach 25,000 Facebook fans, Suelas created a postcard that customers could post and tag on their wall to get a P50 discount on one pair. The bigger prize though, was the shoe giveaway, with Suelas raffling off 5 pairs of shoes if they reached the 25,000 mark. Jackie concedes that raffling is one of the best ways promote, and it does not necessarily have to be your own product. 

Lucky fans who tagged this Suelas postcard on their wall got P50 off on their Suelas purchase, plus a chance to win a free pair.

A lot of bloggers do giveaways to increase their site traffic. But the rules of your contests can vary from the simple to the complicated. Frances, of Topaz Horizon, has the following insight on blog contests (taken from a comment she posted on our friend, Nikki's blog, The Picky Dresser

"Me, when I do contests, iba-iba the rules. Either of the following:
1. Leave a comment.
2. Leave a comment on my blog’s FB page.
3. Tweet the contest.
4. Blog about it with a link back to my blog.

# 1 is the simplest and easiest. But minsan nakaka-depress siya kasi kung onti lang sumali, obvious hahaha
#2 is so I get to see the faces that read my blog. I can also reply to them. Some of them nga have become my friends!
#3 is not really my favorite. I did it just once and I felt it didn’t help at all.
#4 is, I still believe, the best way. When a lot of blogs link to you, your blog gets more hits and your Google Page Rank goes higher. For me, this is what really helped launch my blog and made it popular."

ShopSpotters, I'm sure that you also have your own stories to share. I'd love to hear about the promos and marketing strategies you've used for your own businesses, or personal blogs. Even if you're not a business or a blogger, I'd like to know, what contests and promos have attracted your attention, or compelled you to comment or join?

Before I sign off, I'd like to share some interesting sites I've ShopSpotted today:

PHILDESIGN5, a unique site that offers graphic design services at affordable rates. Web design (not including HTML) starts at P4,000.

PHILDESIGN5 list of prices and services

Suncatcher offers solar-powered products for your home. I'm curious to find out of the Pest Killer Light works. 

Pest Killer Light, P700.

PHGIFTS is another site that offers gift ideas, ranging from food and gift baskets, to floral arrangements. I'd bookmark this site for those times when you're out of the country and need to send something from home, e.g. flowers for your Mom on Mother's Day or even just a simple bouquet to make your friend, who just went through a breakup, smile. They offer same day delivery within Metro Manila, and online customer service support. 

I think everyone secretly likes to get flowers (especially if it's delivered to your office—pang show-off haha!). Gerbera bouquet, P1,800.

Lately, I've been on the prowl for local natural beauty products that are free of the chemicals and preservatives found in most department and supermarket beauty products. My current favorite brand and obsession is Human Nature, but I get excited when I discover new ones, like Nanay Earth. Spotted their Drama Cream (P190) on Box All U Want, and thought I'd share it to those of you who are still on a mission to find that perfect skin lightening product. Note that I am NOT endorsing skin whitening for the sake of. But I am sympathetic to those who suffer unattractive discoloration in certain areas, like underarms, or those that result from scars. 

Drama Cream can supposedly lighten dark underarm skin, anal and genital areas, and skin discolorations, reduce the appearance of scars and even out skin tone. Made of alpha arbutin, kojic acid, mulberry extract, carica papaya, emu oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, rosehip seed extract, jojoba oil, glutathione, vitamin E.

And my absolute favorite site of the day goes to Caleb's Closet. Run by a doctor mom, the online shop has a selection of well-curated organic and eco-friendly products that mothers would no doubt love. I'm not pregnant, nor do I have a baby, but even I found things I want to buy! Like the Milea Baby and Milea Apiary Products, all made of organic ingredients. 

Milea Baby Honey Hair and Body Wash boasts of a tried and tested "no tears" formulation and lists ingredients like  acapulco infusion, honey, virgin coconut and corn oil soap, olive leaf extract and calendula extract. I love the travel size, perfect for my yoga toiletry kit. 30 ml, P75.
And they also have great gift ideas for my friends' baby showers!

Confession: My favorite toy when I was a kid was a plastic cash register. I'd hang clothes all around my room and pretend I was an SM cashier lady, mwahaha! This wooden cash register (P930), fashioned out of ecologically-harvested wood and non-toxic paint,  is way more sosyal, may scanner pa!
Back when I was young and didn't know better, my ambition was to become a doctor. Maybe because it was a cool thing to write in those autograph books that were so popular in the ’80s haha! But, if I had this Handy Doctor Set (P1,480) to play with, I probably would have stuck to that ambition if only for a few more years. 

The cutest walker (P2,199)! The Hopping Bunny Walker has two bunnies that hop up and down along with a tapping sound in rhythm. Has a wheel-friction system to slow down the speed when the child is young and unstable, and adjusts to a faster speed when older.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

ShopSpotting: Christmas Shopping

Christmas is near! Well, it's 65 days away to be exact. And while that's technically more than two months away, I know we Pinoys are eager beavers when it comes to celebrating Pasko. My boyfriend can't get over the fact that the malls start playing Christmas carols even BEFORE Halloween comes around, haha! 
My first Christmas in New York was also my first time to have a real tree! It smelled heavenly. 
As early as now, I've started thinking about what presents I'll be giving to friends and family. I have a Christmas list in my planner where I write down the names on one column, and possible presents that I can give on another. Quite organized, right? Not really. I have to be honest, I almost always end up shopping at the very last minute. Either that or I keep changing my mind about what to give that I sometimes end up buying multiple presents for one person, and not having anything on hand for another. Or, I end up buying too many things for myself, which is even worse! 

For those who want to get started on their Christmas shopping, I've ShopSpotted a few affordable gift ideas for you:

For the stylish sister who likes to make a statement, gift her with Asian Vogue Shop's Piano bag. Reminiscent of the fun bag that was Kate Spade's "All Typed Up Clyde" typewriter tote. I find myself wishing I had splurged on that bag! 

Piano bag, P1,350.
The Kate Spade typewriter tote. Photo courtesy of Geek Sugar.
For the best friend who loves to travel, a journal confidant that can bear witness to her musings and adventures. Also comes with vintage-inspired stickers to personalize entries. 

When my boyfriend is acting particularly silly, I always tell him, "You're a monkey!" in jest. We must make a fine pair of primates because he calls me "his" monkey as well. I'd put this USB in his stocking as a joke (a monkey for my monkey!)

I have a few friends who are pregnant, and Cherub's Nest has a selection of baby essentials, baby wearing and nursing products that would make fine presents. My pick: Next9 Tushy Wushy Cloth Diapers (P1,000). These leak-proof cloth diapers come highly recommended by my friend Frances of Topaz Horizon. I like that they are not wasteful—adjustable buttons allow your diaper to grow with your baby, and the diapers and inserts are washable and reusable. 

The pack comes with three leak-proof cloth diapers and three inserts. 
Chocolates always make a good, albeit boring, present, but I'd rather have a present I can eat than something that'll just gather dust on my table. Affordable Clothes has a great selection of goodies that are shipped directly from the US.

Twix Fun Pack (P100). Arguably one of the best candy bars ever created!

Lindt Lindor Truffles White Chocolate (P530). These are delicious! I'd give this to a boss (or maybe keep them for myself heehee).

I even found something I can buy for myself, and my dad! As my close friends know, I'm a borderline narco—I can sleep anywhere and everywhere, even when I'm behind the wheel (I get it from my dad). So I'd probably buy this Nap Zapper for both of us. 

The Nap Zapper (P150) from Kela's Kitchen. "Nap Zapper is an innovative, potentially lifesaving anti-drowsiness alarm. It is worn over the ear and has an electronic position sensor. When your head nods forward, it sounds a loud alarm to instantly wake you and alert your passengers." 

Don't laugh. I'm seriously considering buying this!
For all those officemates that you don't really want to give presents to (but have to anyway, or otherwise you'll be forever branded as a Scrooge), Kela's Kitchen and Keepers has a ton of cheapo but nifty stuff. My favorites:

Super Sleek Multi-Purpose Pen (P55), a Swiss-knife type gadget that unfolds into a pen, knife, bottle and can opener. Pang Mac Gyver! A great present for the boys. 


Mini Envelope Note Pad (P50). Kraft paper pads that fold up into envelopes. A nice addition to any desk, and a fun way to say hi or thank you to friends and co-workers. 


Funky Metal Paper Clips (P60 for each pack of 12). Great for marking magazine and book pages, or sealing small packages. Comes in three designs: teddy bear, lightbulb, and camera.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Share your gift list with me!

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