A friend like Sayoko

I hate to brag but I have the best friends in the world.
Friends are the family you choose, they say. My friends are mostly creative, a little bit gay, a little bit crazy or silly, mostly fashionable, and best of all, kind, loyal, smart, spiritual, talented.
I remember the first time I met Sayoko Hokazono in 2009 at Imperial Hotel in Ginza. After Tita Vicky Sales introduced us, my Tokyo was never the same again. This was Sayoko in her Aoyama store, Kikastyle.


This is her best friend, Hiko, who orders the best food in Tokyo

Sayoko and Hiko looking at the menu

We love Hiko

Sayoko and Hiko ordering

This is Sayoko’s Margielic couch at home. The throw pillows are from Kikastyle and feature photographs by her son Yu Hokazono. She taught me about decorating: “You have to mix old and new. Not all new.”

Sayoko's couch

This is Yu (left) with Youji at Galali, one of my favourite restaurants in Aoyama

YU and Yohji

Sayoko takes me to the coolest places, like Kyoichi Tzuzuki’s office


HP Deco

HP Deco



NUI Hostel

NUI Hostel bar and lounge

and everything Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons Trading Museum, Omotesando
Sayoko and I at Comme des Garçons

I can’t tell you how much Sayoko has changed my life, whether she’s buying me a pink gnome or some silly thing I need to have

Office: after

Last week my friend Jay sent me a picture he took at Comme des Garçons Aoyama.

Comme des Garçons

I was like, OMG I know that girl. She is the craziest girl in Comme des Garçons. Like cool crazy.
Jeroen took this picture of her last March

Comme des Garçons

and I actually bought the dress

Cecile van Straten

So now I became obsessed with that dress and asked Sayoko to please check it out—and she did!
Now tell me, how many of your friends would do this for you??


Sayoko is the best!
“I think it weighs 10 kg!” Sayoko texted me. It also costs 305,600 yen—way beyond my budget. Hehe.
So kids, do not worry. I am not getting the dress.
And thank you Sayoko-san! I shall see you next month!!

Adidas Originals launches Rita Ora collaboration

Adidas Originals is excited to unveil its Fall/Winter 2014 collection by British singer, songwriter, and actress Rita Ora. Notable for her fearless take on fashion as well as her head-turning musical collaborations, Rita Ora is also known in the music industry for her energy and spirit of originality.

Rita Ora x Adidas Originals

This collection includes the Pastel Pack, with dreamy sunset shades of powder pinks, blues and yellows, plus a feather motif inspired by Rita’s own dove tattoo.

Rita Ora x adidas originals

There’s a sweatshirt with batwing sleeves and cut-out shoulders, as well as a track top with sheer lace detailing of feathers along the sleeves.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals

The Roses Pack features repeat rose prints blooming around an insect invasion in a burst of rich colour and vivid detail. A deep shade of midnight blue forms a fitting backdrop to the vibrant scene of nature that unfolds across
heritage track wear.

Rita Ora x Adidas Originals

Loose boyfriend cuts in iconic sports fabrics contrast against the lush femininity of vividly luxurious red flock prints. The Roses Pack truly reimagines classic performance-wear.

Rita Ora x Adidas Originals

Here’s what you can expect from Rita Ora x adidas Originals

The Rita Ora Pastel Pack is available from 1 September 2014 at adidas Greenbelt 3, while the Rita Ora Roses Pack will be available from 1 November 2014 at adidas Greenbelt 3.
To know more, go to http://www.facebook.com/adidasPH

How to win Php 1,000,000 cash and more from Watsons!

Last March 2014, when Watsons announced they would give away a BMW 1 Series to one lucky shopper,
they really did.

Watsons winner of BMW

So when they say they’re giving away Php 1,000,000 in cash to one lucky shopper, you can bet on it.
Not only that, they’ll be giving away more cash and gift certificates to other lucky shoppers!

Watsons flier

Joining is easy. All you have to do is shop for at least Php 500 worth at Watsons—including at least one promo item—in order to receive an electronic raffle stub. Php 500 = 1 entry.
Since my friend and I were already at SM Megamall, we decided to stop at Watsons and check it out.

Watsons Win A Million

First, look for the promo items with the special stickers.


Rem and I both got the Nivea skin conditioner, which I tried and reviewed. Rem, her daughter, and I agree that this is a wonderful product.


Rem loves Olay, so that also went into the basket


We got Dove products


But wait, there’s more!


Just look around the store and find what you need


Here’s what we ended up getting


Since the total bill was Php 3,000+, we got six raffle tickets


and asked Store Supervisor Kaycee Patag to tell us what to do


Kaycee showed us how to register our entries by text using simple instructions


Of course we brought an eco-bag! My favourite eco bag is currently SM Fashion Hall-meets-Sartorialist, featuring Mich Dulce, among some lucky others


Joining was easy! Rem says she never wins a thing, but hey, it’s worth a try.

Watsons entry

Watsons’ Win a Million promo is part of their “Always More” promise to their customers.
With Watsons recommended products, you can always look forward to looking good and feeling great each time you visit Watsons and The SM Store Beauty Section.
Promo runs from September 1-October 22, 2014.
To know more about the Win A Million promo, click HERE.

Samsung K-Zoom: Best camera phone ever?

Meet my three Samsungs. They may look like the same to you but they’re not.

Samsung collection

L-R: they are the Samsung Galaxy K/S5 Zoom camera phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100.

Samsung collection

At left is my latest Samsung. Yesterday I ditched my beloved Blackberry for this K-Zoom camera phone.
Believe me it is hard to say goodbye. Even though the Blackberry Bold 9900 is best for texting because of its raised QWERTY keyboard, I got tired of it hanging every other day. I got tired of making a battery pull when it happened. I hate that it doesn’t communicate well with my MacBook Pro.

So I’m trying to get used to texting with the Samsung phones. I’m quite used to the features of the Note 3 and I super love it, most especially the Kindle app where I read books. Kindle is something I wish I had while growing up. I used to read with a flashlight under the blanket when everyone was asleep and I couldn’t. (I still have insomnia by the way.)
Samsung Note 3 is just life-changing. Period.

And just when you thought a camera phone couldn’t take better pictures, here comes the Samsung S5 K-Zoom.

Samsung Galaxy K / S5 Zoom

Compared to the older Samsung Galaxy Camera, this looks more like a phone, so those who are embarrassed to hold a camera to the ear while taking a call, need no longer worry.
It boasts of a 20.7-megapixel camera—the highest resolution for any camera phone available today.
Here are sample photos from today’s lunch at Donosti:


So you see, Alexei Villaraza, I haven’t been eating meat :)


Compare with yesterday’s fish photo at Myron’s Place taken with a Canon S-200

Myron's fish

Not too shabby.
If you’re a blogger like me, it’s very convenient to download the Dropbox app on your phone and computer.
All your photos automatically get uploaded to Dropbox, so when you’re ready to blog, no need to connect your memory card or phone. All photos are available from your computer’s Dropbox.

Oh, and I dropped the K-zoom twice—first at Donosti, and second, when I fell while running up the stairs in the office. Phone is very sturdy!
So far so good, and I haven’t put my SIM back into the Blackberry yet. Let’s give this a week.
I’m hoping the Blackberry breakup will be permanent—unless BB comes up with a new QWERTY touchscreen phone—or Samsung does!! (fingers crossed)

Saving the best for last: Ippudo opens in Manila this September

Let’s be honest here: I don’t eat ramen. I don’t get the whole ramen bandwagon in Manila, but as a friend of Chiyo Tagami and Penny Ong, I am excited that Ippudo—which they claim is the best ramen ever—is opening at SM Fashion Hall this September.
Founded in 1985 by Japan’s “ramen king”, Shigemi Kawahara, Ippudo has a number of restaurants in Japan, as well as in New York, Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Sydney, and Kuala Lumpur.

The original Ippudo in Fukuoka (Photo: joone!/Flickr)

Its menu includes Kawahara’s reinvention of the Hakata-style tonkotsu (not a typo) broth, which is a pork-based ramen with a delicate and creamy flavor. Called Shiromaru Motoaji, it has ultra-thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, kikurage and spring onions.


Another off-take to this classic is the Akamaru Shinaji which has a specially blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil mixed into the dish.


For those who love spicy, the Karaka-men—a spin on the crowd-favorite Tantanmen—is a combination of flaming miso, cashew nut and ground pork toppings.


All ramen bowls are served with the basic elements, plus the option of adding tamago (soft-boiled egg), chashu (pork belly), and/or nori (seaweed).
Other offerings include Hakata-style gyoza, karaage, and Ippudo New York’s bestselling pork and chicken buns.

Pork Bun
Chicken Bun

To complement the Filipino palate, Ippudo will also serve rice dishes such as the garlic teppan chashu rice and the Hakata meshi.

Tonkotsu Garlic Rice
Hakata Meshi

Ippudo is brought to Manila by the Standard Hospitality Group under the leadership of Mr. John Concepcion, CEO of Unilever RFM ice cream company. Concepcion is responsible for starting the katsu craze in Manila, when he first opened Yabu in 2011.
If you love ramen, don’t miss the opening of Ippudo at the 3rd level, SM Fashion Hall this September.
To know more, like them on Facebook.


Rimowa: the perfect present

This is how my boys and I travel: four Rimowa trunks at Narita.

How we travel

After buying my first Rimowa trunk, I never wanted another kind of luggage.
This is how my husband travels: Rimowa trunk, carryon, and briefcase.

Jeroen's luggage

This is how the new Rimowa trunk packs inside. On the lid is a zippered mesh divider, and at the bottom is an adjustable divider that secures all your stuff—even if it’s not full.

Jeroen's luggage

My husband likes to match.

Jeroen's luggage

So one of our favourite couples is getting married this August. Since they already have a house full of stuff and they travel back and forth between Manila and Sydney, they didn’t make a gift registry or wish list.
I decided to give them one of my favourite things: a Rimowa trunk!
Yesterday I stopped by the Rimowa store at Power Plant mall, Rockwell

Rimowa at Rockwell

This branch seems to have more items than all the other Rimowa shops I’ve been to—at Greenbelt 5, Adora, Shangri-La Plaza, and Resorts World.

Rimowa at Rockwell

It has the Salsa collection in so many shapes and shades—they have matte black

Rimowa at Rockwell


Rimowa at Rockwell

and white!! The Salsa collection is most popular because of its light weight.

Rimowa at Rockwell

Knowing this couple has minimalist, good taste, I chose the matte grey trunk.

Rimowa at Rockwell

Also on display at each Rimowa store are original pieces of luggage showing wear and tear through years of use and abuse.
This aluminum trunk from 1975—with all its dents and stickers—reflect the journeys of its owner.

Rimowa at Rockwell

Aluminum Rimowas are pricier and heavier than the Salsa, but you can see how sturdy they are.

Rimowa at Adora, GB5

Personally I like my Rimowas clean, with no stickers. When I find mine looking dirty, I use Goo Gone and a soft rag to remove the sticker residue. Goo Gone is available at True Value.
I’ve had a couple of minor mishaps—such as a zipper coming off, but I got it fixed quickly at Rimowa Shangri-La.
I’ve had a small crack due to my overpacking—but I can still use it.
Good thing I can purchase a Rimowa at 0% interest over a few months using my Citibank card.
They may cost a lot, but what I’m paying for is good design plus the convenience of four spinner wheels, which makes all the difference.
Plus the fact that it makes me not look for any other luggage makes the price I paid for it, worth it.

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