Belle & Cat Sunday Fair

Attention shopaholics and fellow treasure seekers! Check out this little pop-up of beauty and crafts at Belle & Cat Nail and Wax Studio this Sunday! Just the thing to brighten up this dreary week :)

Sunday Fair



Cat Cantada-Dizon of Belle & Cat shares, “We’ll have a mix of handcrafted products like Rubbertree’s hand stitched leather bags, Studio Bohemia’s handmade resin rings, Bonne’s turbans, Lost and Found’s dress bags, Crow’s Nest’s dolls, hand-mixed beauty products like Sparrow and Heart Shrine Oils, plus a lot of makeup! Do drop by!”

Fragrances, room sprays, and body scrubs by Sparrow

Hand-mixed fragrances, room sprays, and body scrubs by delightful local brand Sparrow (we’re loving their new perfume bottles!)


resin rings

Cheery resin rings by Studio Bohemia


Hand-stitched leather goods by Bags by Rubber Tree

Hand-stitched leather goodness by Bags by Rubber Tree


Istorya's personalized handmade jewelry

Istorya’s personalized handmade jewelry


Lost and Found

Dress bags by Lost and Found


Bonne's rétro-glam turbans

Bonne’s rétro-glam turbans and headwraps

All photos courtesy of Belle&Cat.

See you there! For more information, visit @belleandcat on Instagram!

Tim Ho Wan in Manila

The opening of Tim Ho Wan has got to be the most anticipated restaurant opening in Manila for 2014. Say what you will about all the ramen and tonkatsu places springing up, none of them have the gravitas conferred by a Michelin Star. OK, granted the stars are not transferrable so it applies to one branch of the restaurant in Hong Kong, but still, you have to admit there is some reflected glory shining on the other branches of Tim Ho Wan.

We arrived a bit past 7:30 and there was an intimidating line outside the restaurant. Although long, it moves pretty quickly and we were inside in less than 30 minutes.

Long line...but it moves quickly

Long line…but it moves quickly

The restaurant is a rather smallish, tightly packed space although there are some tables just outside the restaurant. These are a little more comfortable but you’ll have dozens of eyes staring at you in envy from the line as you consume your prized pork buns. The menu is a slightly reduced version of the one in Hong Kong but it does have all the hits which are dubbed “The Big 4 Heavenly Kings (Baked Bun with Barbecue Pork, Pan Fried Carrot Cake, Steamed Egg Cake and Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver).



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Tokyo Diary

I used to go to Tokyo fairly often in the 80s and 90s. We had Japanese business partners at that time and at least twice a year we would meet them in Japan. Since we got out of the business in 1995, I’ve not had the chance to go back until this summer, almost 20 years since my last trip there. We stayed at the Royal Park Shiodome Hotel which was a great choice. Last time I was in Tokyo, the Shiodome district didn’t even exist. This relatively new development is a great place to be based in order to hit all the major sights. The hotel sits on top of two subway stations – Shimbashi which is a major hub for both subways and trains, and Shiodome station which is convenient for going to Tsukiji. You could actually walk to Tsukiji which is about 600 meters away so a 10 to 15 minute stroll will get you there. Same with Ginza. A 10-minute walk from the hotel will get you to Ginza. At the basement level of the hotel tower there’s a Family Mart convenience store where we usually ended up buying breakfast. With the wide variety of sanwiches, bento, onigiri, salads and pastries available, there was always something new to try and it was more often than not, rather good for convenience store food.

Also in the plaza surrounding the hotel is a large clock designed by Studio Ghibli. It’s reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle and it puts on a show every two hours in the late afternoon up to early evening. Apparently, this is the world’s largest glockenspiel!

Clock at NTV Headquarters in Shiodome

Clock at NTV Headquarters in Shiodome

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Feta at Greenhills

For the longest time, Greenhills was a bastion of Chinese cuisine. Over the last few years, however, with the opening of Promenade and the houses converted into restaurants along Connecticut, more and more dining choices have become available. One of the latest additions to the scene is Feta, a Greek and Turkish restaurant located on Annapolis St. near the corner of Missouri.

We decided to check it out for dinner last month and we were very pleased with our experience there.

The first thing that strikes you as you come in is the wonderful smell of fresh-baked bread. There’s a brick oven at the back of the restaurant between the kitchen and dining areas where they bake Turkish style pizzas called pide as well as bread. The appetizing aromas prime you for the meal to come. The menu features a variety of mezze and various kebabs. There are also kebab platters good for large groups.

We went for a couple of starters first. The scents from the oven were so tantalizing we had to order a pide. We settled on a cheese pide. Outstnading! Great bread and gooey cheese. What more could you ask for?

Cheese Pide

Cheese Pide

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Cute Stationery at Caboodle Box

I think it drives Hubby nuts when he needs to write a quick business-y note and can’t seem to find regular black pens or blank paper or cat-free Post-Its in this house. Sorry, honey… being surrounded by cute stickers, notebooks, colored pens, and pretty paper just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Dear reader, are you a fellow stationery junkie? I think you’ll love Caboodle Box, an adorable online shop that features pretty trinkets, stationery, paper, stamps, washi tape, crafts, and super cute gift items (kryptonite, aaaah!).



My Caboodle Box haul: Cat and coffee cup stamps, Grocery List notepaper, Things To Do checklist, quirky notebooks, washi tape (Cats! Bunnies!), and a set of Friendly Bear colored gel pens (bears! More cats! More bunnies!). Cuteness galore!


Need a kawaii fix? Find Caboodle Box  here:

Instagram: @caboodlebox


Viber: 0915 3968246



Hong Kong Diary

I was in Hong Kong late last month to attend Asia’s largest wine show – Vinexpo – at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. I’ve been attending Vinexpo’s Asian edition regularly since it first started in Asia in early the early 2000s but this promised to be something special as the exhibition space was doubled in order to accommodate the large number of exhibitors wanting to sell wine to Asia, and especially to China.

Vinexpo at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Vinexpo at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

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Recent Va Bene Eats

Despite several attempts to have dinner at Va Bene these past couple of months, something always managed to get in the way of making the trip there. After a rather late meeting in Makati last month, Sanju (of the blog Table For Three Please) and I, managed to find some time for a late-ish dinner at Va Bene. Fortunately, I was able to score the last table at the always crowded restaurant.

We ordered some favorites like the Polipo or octopus salad:

Polipo-Braised Octopus

Polipo-Braised Octopus

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Campus BDJ, Your Cool School Planner

Hey school girls! Are you the type who likes to keep your schedule organized—and actually written down—in a cute campus diary? Viviamo Inc., the company behind the popular Belle de Jour planner, now brings you Campus BDJ– your cool school planner which is especially designed to make school life fun, interesting, and organized. Consider it your ultimate power planner in a pretty package!


A kitty on the Campus BDJ cover? Love!

A kitty on the Campus BDJ cover? Sold!


The Viviamo team shares, “Our mission is to craft tools that will help people live their ultimate life.” In the Campus BDJ, there’s a quick monthly view, and weekly layout with separate spaces for deadlines/meetings, study time, and “rest of your life.”

You’ll also find nifty tracking tools for grades and goals, planning your sem break, breaking down elements of a project, or even to keep track of your period. Other special pages include:

School Year Goals and Wishlists  to help keep you focused, determined, and motivated

Class + Extra Curricular Schedules to make sure you get a healthy balance of work and play

Project Planner To help you break down seemingly overwhelming tasks into doable steps

#100HappyDays Tracker To record precious, joyful moments for 100 days straight (and beyond!)

Monthly tips Helpful, inspiring tips to make school life manageable and meaningful

Semester schedule

Semester schedule


Monthly tips

Monthly tips


Period tracker

Period tracker


Monthly goal-setting and notes to self

Monthly goal-setting and notes to self


What makes it super sulit? Campus BDJ includes 32 coupons for freebies and discounts (equivalent to P10k worth of savings) from Viviamo Inc’s lifestyle brand partners, including All Flip-Flops, Parisian, Cupcakes by Sonja, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Serenitea!


Coupons for discounts and freebies

Coupons for discounts and freebies


Giveaway alert! Get a chance to win two Campus BDJs–one for you, one for your BFF–for free! Simply post a photo of you and your BFF, and tell us how you’ll make this school year the best ever. Don’t forget to tag @thehappylab and add the hashtags #campusbdj #bffgiveaway in your post! We’ll pick our favorite post and inform the winner by PM on Sunday, June 29, at 6 PM. Good luck!


Campus BDJ 2014-2015 is available at Fully Booked, National Bookstore, and Fully Booked. You may also order online at




Harlan Estate Dinner

Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner organized by Premium Wine Exchange featuring one of Napa’s most desirable cult wines, Harlan Estate. On hand to explain the wines was Ms. Valentine Bourrie who represents Harlan in Asia. The dinner, prepared by Chef de Cuisine Gilles Galli, was done at Sage, the Shangri-La’s replacement for the now defunct Red. Five wines were tasted, 3 from Harlan Estate and 2 from Harlan’s other project called Bond. As usual, taking care of the wines was Sommelier Daniel Blais who decanted the wines and made sure they would be at their best by dinner.



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Father’s Day Gift Guide (Procrastinator’s Edition)

Yes, I realize this is the second year in a row I am doing a last minute Father’s Day gift guide, my apologies. I blame my dad for smiling indulgently at me literally behind my mom’s back as she tut-tuts the latest evidence of my procrastinating ways; my amazing multi-tasking Mama is a patient, devoted motivator, but enabler Papa knows I will only budge when ready. (We were both cats in our past life, you see.) So here goes… a quick round-up of witty gift ideas for all the dear Daddies in our lives:

Father's Day1

  1. For the proudly Pinoy Papa: Kantarines rainbow necktie by Anthill Fabric Gallery
  2. For a great provider (may he give you this day your daily bread…): Dynomighty Billfold Wallet by Quirks (P980) comes in brown leather and signature Tyvek interior, making it thinner, lighter, and stronger than traditional wallets
  3. For the future father of your children: A set of couple mugs (may be customized!) from Hue Love Prints
  4. For the sword geek-bookworm: funky Katana bookends from Quirks


Father's Day 2



  1. For a happy camper: Compass Flask from Quirks (P795)
  2. For the workaholic: let him stash his business cards in this Mini Filing Cabinet from Quirks (P1650)
  3. For the dad that walks on the wild side: Skull Coat Hanger by 13 Lucky Monkey for My Apartment (P2600)
  4. For the hipster hubby: Pop Chart Lab’s A Visual Compendium of Sneakers poster from Quirks (sweeten the deal by bundling an actual pair of must-have kicks into your gift)


Father's Day 3

  1. For Daddy Cool: Crosley Spinnerette USB Turntable from My Apartment (P11,100). Fun feature: you can even rip vinyls into MP3s with this portable beauty!
  2. For the erudite gent: Serpent magnifying glass from Blue Carreon Home (P8600)
  3. For the coffee addict: Amuyao coffee by Kape Maria (the description reads: “rich, nutty, distinctly macho”!) Available at My Apartment by Heima
  4. Or… a coffee date at his favorite place (seen here: a Mocha at Toby’s Estate)


My Apartment by Heima is located at Suite 225 LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia St. (formerly Reposo), Bel-Air II, Makati or visit

Quirks is located at 3/F Power Plant Mall, 5/F Shangri-La Plaza Mall, UGF SM Megamall A, and 4/F SM Aura or visit

Hue Love Prints ; or email

Anthill Fabric Gallery Visit or

Blue Carreon Home is located at 2/F, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati; follow @bluecarreonhome on Instagram

 Happy Father’s Day!