The hood

Utrecht is a place where you’ll find more interesting ways to sit

Utrecht benches

Utrecht benches

Eetwinkel Geniet


Chair store

Pantone chairs

Rietveld child's chair

Dick Bruna bear stools

There’s a hi-fi shop

Utrecht stereo shop

One of my favorite home stores, I don’t even know its name

One of my favorite stores in Utrecht

Cute store

Cute store

A wasteland called Tiger

with the fake moustaches


The neighborhood H&M is so cheap!! Bought lots of stuff for the boys

H&M Utrecht

Sport-Inn belongs to Jeroen’s cousin Bas

Sport-Inn, Utrecht

where we stopped by often

van Stratens at Sport-Inn

Jeroen, his cousin Bas and the kids

Jeroen, Estelle, Bas, Ben

Jeroen and Bas as kids

Jeroen and his cousin Bas

Jer says the best fries are at Mennekenpis

Mannekenpis fries

So much fries

All those fries

The Utrecht art museum looks awesome

Utrecht Art Museum

Utrecht Art Museum

Flowers everywhere

PInk roses

Check out the prices

Cheap flowers

Flower market

Jeroen’s friends own Eetwinkel Geniet, where we also stopped often

Eetwinkel Geniet

Eetwinkel Geniet

Melle runs the show here


Jeroen at Melle's

Just one of the boys

The boys at Melle's

I happen to love the HEMA in Utrecht


The Albert Heijn supermarkets

Utrecht Albert Heijn bike parking

The Wok To Go

Last look at Wok to GO

I miss you already.

Back in the oven

I can’t tell you how nice it is to wake up in the middle of the night and realize I’m sleeping in my own bed and our soft sheets.
Where I was staying in Europe, it didn’t seem like fabric softener and thread counts were that important.
Now if only my dear husband would wake up with the same urge to eat bacon and eggs at 2:50 AM.
As I write this, I’m uploading one of the last batches of photos taken from the trip.
Ben is awake and has moved into my bedside playing with his iPod Touch.
I am contemplating going into the kitchen to take some fresh orange juice purchased at the Hong Kong airport earlier.

Two weeks in Europe with two frisky boys is no joke—even though you’re traveling with a yaya. It is exhausting, even if you’re traveling business class. But it is well worth it. One trip to Europe with your family is worth more than ten trips in Asia, where we are pampered like kings and queens, with the best room service, modern hotels and subways.
On the upside, I didn’t gain weight even though I ate a lot of junk—Coke with every meal and lots of fried chicken wings from Wok To Go, my favorite fastfood joint in Utrecht.


I’m so happy the kids got to know their Dutch side and see where there father and Opa are from, where their dad went to school and grew up.
On our first few days in Utrecht, one of the boys said he wished we had settled in Utrecht instead of Manila because everything there and the people are so nice. Too late now, because we are settled in Manila with our home, business, friends and ties.
I wish Utrecht were just six hours away and I wish KLM still landed in NAIA.
One day I hope to have a place there with Jeroen with two or three bedrooms and fabulous bathrooms, instead of a log cabin in Tagaytay.
I have so much to tell you, so much to blog. It’s just that when I was over there, I didn’t really have time for myself or sit down in front of the computer. It was just busy, busy, busy. You can imagine what Yaya Bhing went through. She worked harder than me, doing laundry and cooking sinigang for the boys. And Jeroen who planned the whole trip definitely worked harder than me.
I was still the princess, but without the time to sit down and blog.
That said, I am now in Manila with so many stories to tell. I just wish the Internet connection would cooperate.
So I found out, even in parts of Europe, there is really bad Internet connection.
When I left Amsterdam it was 3 degrees, when we arrived in Manila, it was 35 degrees.
We just walked into the oven, and I’m happy to be back.

Follow @benchtm, win prizes!

From April 15-22 only, be a Benchsetter and join the Chuvaness x Bench promo on Twitter!
• To join, you must have a Twitter account.
• Invite your friends and followers to follow @benchtm by asking them to tweet this:

I followed @benchtm because of [insert @yourtwittername] #BenchChuvanessPromo

• Make sure you’re inviting new followers to @benchtm
• Winners must be following both @benchtm and @jiritajackson
• The top 3 Benchsetters will win Php 25,000 worth of gift checks (GC) from Bench, in celebration of Bench’s 25th anniversary this year:

1st prize – Php 10,000 GC, valid in the following stores: Bench • Bench body • Human • Kashieca • Aldo • Aldo Accessories • Call It Spring • Celio • Charles and Keith • CPS Chaps • Ccoo • Dimensione • Pedro • Fix • Fox • Lyn • La Senza • Repetto
2nd prize – Php 8,000 GC valid in Bench stores only
3rd prize – Php 7,000 GC valid in Bench stores only

• Winners will be announced on and Twitter!

chuvaness twitter copy

Nutrilite winners finally!

I do apologize for the super major delay of this announcement due to this crazy European trip, moving from place to place, falling asleep at odd hours, and trying to handle two frisky boys.
Not to mention the slow Internet in Europe. Speed-wise, our Asian neighbors still have it better.
But I digress: Congratulations to the five winners of Nutrilite Trim Down Showdown product packs!


We asked the question, “Who is your thinspiration and why?” and received more than 350 entries.
We’re glad that many of you want to try the Nutrilite weight loss plan, with its Positrim product line as well as the Chrompic Extra and Carb Blocker products.

Based on the answers, here are your most popular thinspirations:

1) Your loved ones. Your children, parents, siblings, partners, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, friends. It’s great that your thinspirations are close to home. We hope they’ll be supportive of your Nutrilite weight loss plan.

2) Your favorite celebrities. Top mentions go to Iza Calzado, Judy Ann Santos, Anne Curtis, Angel Aquino, Cory Quirino, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Erwan Heussaff, and Enchong Dee, who also happens to be the brand ambassador of Nutrilite.

Enchong Dee for nutrilite

Others include Bea Alonzo, Kim Atienza, Victor Basa, KC Concepcion, Angel Locsin, Lovi Poe, Miriam Quiambao, Georgina Wilson, Dawn Zulueta, and Senator Pia Cayetano.
On the foreign front, they are Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, Mariah Carey, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Beyonce Knowles, Eva Longoria, Kate Middleton, Kelly Osbourne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah Winfrey, and Adam Levine of Maroon 5;
Nicole Scherzinger, Christian Bale, Tyra Banks, Beth Behrs, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Russell Crowe, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Joel McHale, Michelle Pfeiffer, Seth Rogen, Nicole Richie, Naya Rivera, Jordin Sparks, Sofia Vergara and Kate Winslet.

3) Athletes, like tennis players Maria Sharapova and Mardy Fish, along with fitness guru Tina Aboitiz-Juan and former tennis player-turned reporter Dyan Castillejo.

4) Models and fashion plates Miranda Kerr and Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez are the frontrunners. You also named Apples Aberin, Chanel Iman, Divine Lee, and Adriana Lima.

5) Men: Survivor: One World contender Jay Byars, Carl Guevarra, the androgynous Andre Pejic, and Japanese model Daisuke Ueda.

6) Everyday people like Shirley Lam, the finalists from the first Pinoy edition of The Biggest Loser, and the “Bull Runner” Jaymie Pizzaro.

Most of the people you mentioned lost weight or kept trim the “healthy way”, which you defined as maintaining a balanced diet as opposed to starving oneself, engaging in exercise versus going through surgery, and taking natural supplements and meal replacements like those found in the five (5) Nutrilite Trim Down Showdown! Product Packs we are giving away.

Here are the winning entries:

1) Karina Altamia of Quezon City
2) Maricel Hipol of Pateros, Metro Manila
3) Luningning Lariosa of Palo, Leyte
4) Rizza Prado of Quezon City
5) Ken Regala of San Fernando, Pampanga

Each one will receive a Nutrilite Trim Down Showdown! Pack via courier, with best wishes to reach your weight loss goals.
Work towards a healthy, colorful lifestyle with the help of regular exercise, a balanced diet, and Nutrilite—the only global vitamin, mineral and dietary brand to grow, harvest and process plants on their own certified organic farms.
To learn more about Nutrilite and the Nutrilite Trim Down Showdown! Challenge, call Amway Philippines at (02) 814 8181.
Or go to or

Karin Vermeer

Two days after arriving in Utrecht, Deepa and I walked into the Galerie de Vink in the city and saw this huge painting inside.

Karin Vermeer

It was just one of those things I wanted to have. I talked to Jeroen about it and dragged him inside.
Found out it was affordable and about 1/3 the price of huge paintings in Metro Manila.
But first I had to think about how to send it home. I looked for a shipper online before going out of town to Eindhoven, Nuenen, Antwerp, and back to Utrecht.
I finally found a shipper and today I dragged Jeroen back to the gallery. It was now in the window.
And I bought it!

Karin Vermeer

I haven’t really bought anything of significance during this trip, except for a new Cos wardrobe and a bag. So I felt this was a great way to remember our trip to my husband’s hometown.

Dutch artist Karin Vermeer combines digital art and photography with acrylics, oils, modeling pastes, gels, chalk, colored pencils, and many other unusual materials to create modern art portraits like these.


Reva by Karin Vermeer 2007

Karin Vermeer

Frida by Karin Vermeer 2001

Karin Vermeer

To see more, go to

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