Review: Erin Condren Life Planner


I am a paper planner junkie (see my 2014 planner round up). I know this because I have been trolling the Erin Condren Life Planners all over the Internet for the last three years. #sorrynotsorry

Living in Manila however, doesn’t make this behemoth of a planner easily accessible. Plus, it is priced exorbitantly. There was just no excuse! These planners have garnered a cult following all over Instagram (check the hashtags), Facebook (dozens of groups devoted to the planning community), YouTube, and Tumblr. They’re popular because they’re purportedly worth the $50 price tag with impeccable paper quality, cute colors, and a calendar layout that is just begging to be washi-taped.

They released their latest edition just three weeks ago, with the rose gold variant and at midnight, because I had already done all the research and there was just nothing else to doI caved (as you do). I had it sent here via my trusty forwarding service and waited. For three weeks. I have never been so excited about planner EVER, and I at least have the Internet to reassure me that I am not alone in this.

For paper fiends out there, here are my thoughts on the 2015-2016 Life Planner.

1. Unboxing is life. Brown paper packages tied up in string? I know what’s better than that—pink paper packages enveloped in tissue and bubble wrap! There is no replacing the balikbayan box smell that escapes the minute you open the lid of this beautiful box. And what’s that? FREE STICKERS! Yes. Free stickers.


2. There was this sticker store in Glorietta I used to drool over in grade school because I could not afford any of the Mrs. Grossman’s imported rolled up stickers. I am happy to say that as an adult, I can now buy all the stickers. ALL. Included in my order were dots for important dates, blank squares because they are pretty, planner headbands that can hold your page or keep the book from opening up, and coil clips—nifty plastic snap-ins that have an adhesive band so you can can turn your planner into a scrapbook.


3. The planner opens up into a very thick vellum page with a gold foil geometric design that’s mimicked on the title page, where you’re supposed to write your name (I usually never do because I want my handwriting to be perfect in these pages and it never is).


4. And here are the pages. You get quotes, a spread for goals, note paper, a monthly calendar, and this year’s horizontal weekly layout. Erin Condren was first known for her vertical columns on her planners. She says she realized this year that “there’s a horizontal girl out there.” While I am a “vertical girl” myself (LOL), I found the color scheme of the vertical version garish and cheesy, so I went with the horizontal for its subtle ombré palette.

The planner has a 12-month option and, for an extra $5, an 18-month option. Natch, I sprung for the 18-month. When in Rome.


5. The planner comes with graphing paper (my favorite!) and yes, more stickers.


7. What I failed to capture on camera were the snap-in clear plastic ruler that comes with the planner that you can use as a bookmark or makeshift washi tape cutter, the fact that the covers not this book can be taken out (so you can buy more covers from them), and that the back cover of the notebook has a lovely periwinkle and gold foil herringbone pattern.

8. You get a Trapper Keeper-ish “Keep It Together” pocket that houses a perpetual calendar, the well-laminated tabs and reinforced inside pages, a zip pouch at the back (very important, IMHO) with … more stickers (!!!), a free coil clip, and cute cards that make for pretty decorative additions to the planner.


I am so happy I bought this planner, because now I can pull out my colored pens and start feeling like a boss about my super organized calendar (and life). I would also like to note that Erin Condren may be some kind of paper genie, because as I started filling in the squares, I scored two new jobs in ten minutes. If you build it, they will come.

If you are crazy enough to purchase a paper planner from the other side of the world and wait three weeks for it to get here, get $10 off your purchase with my referral link:

Ceviche, Kinilaw, etc. at Patricio’s Cevicheria

I’ve been hearing about this ceviche place for some time now but somehow couldn’t find the time to make visit. I finally got the chance to go last week and it certainly did not disappoint.

Patricio’s Cevicheria proclaims itself as Manila’s First Cevicheria, and I can believe it. To my knowledge, no other restaurant specializes in ceviche or kinilaw although many serve it, mostly like an appetizer. I’m a fan of all kinds of kinilaw and ceviche so this was a great find for me.

Patricio’s is an unpretentious, simply set-up restaurant with just a few tables. I’m told they do a good take-out business, though. It’s also a little bit out of the way, on Bayani Road,  just past the McKinley Hill area of Fort Bonifacio. Parking might be a challenge although when we went we were able to park right in front.

19109869596_bcb0979c6c_z Read more »

Labs to Travel: Osaka!

For this year’s family vacation, we took a trip to Osaka. In 4 days we were able to hit all the major attractions – castle, aquarium, Universal Studios, shopping, and, of course, lots of eating!

Since Pixie declared she would be making a vlog of the trip, I decided to just relax and let her do the documentation. So, if you’d like to see her take on our Osaka trip, check it out here:



Dear Diary

There are few things more thrilling (for me, at least!) than a blank journal waiting to be filled with wondrous thoughts and doodles and plans–oh, the possibilities! So can you imagine my delight when this lovely little thing arrived in the mail?

Leather Fellow

Leather + Paper goods = Love!!! Personalized journal by Leather Fellow (and lovely succulent-print wrapping paper by Swathe)


This leather case comes with two blank journals–one-lined, one unlined–be still, my fickle heart!


The personalized leather case which can hold up to four journals is from the Leather Fellow line by My Gilded Nest, one of my favorite finds at the quarterly 10A Alabama Arts&Crafts Fair. Due to an insane workload to fulfill orders for their lovely handmade goods, I’m told they hardly have time to join bazaars anymore, but you may find Leather Fellow’s journals, refills, inserts, and other small leather goods at Satchmi at the fourth level of SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall.


See you at the Barre

Pia had already written about her Barre3 experience a couple of years ago, but I thought it would be fun to share mine.

When the yoga-pilates-ballet workout first launched in Manila years back, I dragged my best friend to take a free class. After 60 minutes, one line stuck: “Say good morning to muscles you never thought you had!” We hobbled out of The Spa like invalids, and though it pained our (apparently existent) cores to laugh, we couldn’t help but giggle at how intense a seemingly low-impact, “pretty”-looking workout could be.

Since then, Barre3 has become part of my routine. For better or worse, through shakes, quakes and sweat, it has helped me stand and sit better, it’s helped fuel my yoga practice, and it’s given me strength in a way no other workout has. I try to convince everyone I know to try it out, and I think there’s no better way to do that than to list why the Barre3 studio has become my very own happy place.

1. The air-conditioned, well-kept studios are a welcome reprieve in this tropical heat. It has been the best antidote to summertime lethargy.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
2. Variations and options abound. Every  move has a wide range that accommodates every one from muscle bound power lifters to people who’ve been out of shape forever to those with ankle and joint issues (like me!). Inclusiveness is a wonderful thing in group classes. You want to feel like you belong!

3. There’s so much diversity. Some people feel particularly conscious when it comes to exercising in public, especially when you don’t fit the Lululemon-clad ballerina-bod stereotype. There’s a huge range of ages, bodies and personalities in a Barre3 class. The constant reminder to embrace your uniqueness is extremely affirming.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

4. That said, I find accessorizing for Barre3 class really fun! If I could, I’d have all the Nike wraps.

5. Mirrors can be deeply eye-opening. I’m not used to looking at myself in the mirror (much more, looking at myself while getting into strange, grunt-inducing, positions) but it’s gratifying to see yourself progress. Oddly enough, you become your own cheerleader when you’re staring at your sweat-stricken face while powering through leg work looking at a mirror.

6. The teachers are fun! Barre3 teachers may work within a given framework, but they’re able to make every 60-minute class their own. Whether they joke about how “80s Jane Fonda” a move is, or sing along to the peppy dance music, they are skilled at livening up what could otherwise turn into an hour of torture (haha).

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.00.34 PM
7. There’s a studio everywhere. I’m lucky I’m near enough to just cross the street and end up at my neighborhood studio. (No excuse to not go!)

8. The signature Spa fragrance. You breeze into a Barre3 studio, which is housed by The Spa, you sniff that fresh-out-of-a-relaxing-massage scent, and everything is better.

9. You get to relive your childhood ballerina dreams (with no shame, because everyone else in the room is probably doing the same thing).

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

10. It changes your body in the best way possible. Who doesn’t want to be longer and stronger? (Get a more detailed breakdown of what goes on in a class here).
If any of these reasons have piqued your interest, visit Barre3 and try it out for yourself.

First-timer Trial (3 classes in 2 weeks) 1,500
Single Class 700
10 Classes (valid in 2 months) 5,500
30 Classes (valid in 6 months) 15,000
1 on 1 Class (Private) 2,000
Exclusive Class (minimum of 2 students) 1,500/person
Monthly Unlimited 5,500
*Quarterly Membership 14,000
*Semi-annual Membership 30,000
*Annual Membership 50,000
*Memberships come with privileged access and perks at barre3 as well as at The Spa, SKIN Dermatology & Laser Center, and other partner merchants.

Located in The Spa Wellness at: The Fort, Shangri-La, Eastwood, Greenhills Promenade, TriNoma, Alabang. 

Beauty Boot Camp!

Attention, beauty junkies! Want to score fab deals on makeup and skincare, get free makeovers, or perhaps take your styling skills to the next level with beauty workshops?

Come to the first ever BDJ Beauty Box Bootcamp this Sunday, June 7 at The Blue Leaf Filipinas Aseana! Brought to you by the dynamic people behind the Belle de Jour Planner, the BDJ Box Beauty Bootcamp is part beauty fair, part crash course on all your favorite vanity topics!

Beauty Boot Camp


Get to mingle with certified beauty experts and fellow beauty-holics at the beauty workshops, featuring over 20 hair, makeup, skincare, and bodycare brands. Choose the workshops you want to attend, and you’ll even be given certificates for mastering each workshop class! The workshops are facilitated by certified makeup, skincare, and hair styling experts–a fab opportunity to level-up on beauty techniques! Hurry, there are limited slots per class, available in two packages—P500 for 3 classes, and P750 for 5 classes—which you can avail over at


BDJ Beauty Boot Camp


Apart from enhancing your beauty skill set with workshops, the Bootcamp will turn the venue into a veritable wonderland with a beauty fair, featuring different brands offering everything from free skin analysis, makeovers, and express manicures, to photo booths to document your glamorous fun! Best of all, there will be an exclusive 1-day sale of up to 50% off on over 20 fab beauty brands, including: Revlon, Benefit, Too Cool for School, Davines, Max Factor, L’Oreal Paris, Canmake, Neutrogena, Goody, Toni and Guy, Aloe Derma, and more!

This will all happen at The Blue Leaf Filipinas, from 10AM-7PM this Sunday already, so register now! For ticket reservations and other details, log on to


Wellworth Department Store now open at U.P. Town Center

It’s been quite a while since we’ve posted a happy place, hasn’t it? Well today, we discovered that shopping in QC has just gotten more exciting with the opening of Wellworth Department Store at the bustling UP Town Center–and coincidentally, their tagline is “the happy place!”




Brought to us by the SIAL Specialty Retailers, a joint venture between SSI and Ayala Land, this is the second branch of Wellworth (it first opened at the Fairview Terraces Mall last year). At the press preview, SSI head honcho Anton Huang shared that Wellworth is here to provide the large mid-market with great ambiance and tasteful merch! Perfectly situated in a booming lifestyle hub, Wellworth features a wide array of affordable local, international, and in-house brands, complemented by cheerful customer service for a pleasant shopping experience.

Today’s happiest find? Lovely shift dresses with vintage-y patterns at the winner price of P844.75 each!


Love these vintage-y shift dresses! Now which pattern should I pick?


Wellworth PH

Fab finds at friendly prices–now that’s well worth it!


Check out Wellworth Department Store at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. For more info, visit or follow WellworthPhilippines on Facebook or @wellworthph on Instagram.

Beating the sniffles


If the summer heat has had you trapped in a head cold, headache or some other form of discomfort (like me), the season can be almost unbearable. A few weeks ago, I caught a bug that’s been going around and was scrounging around my closet for remedies that actually worked.

Here are a few buys that can get you through a sore throat, cold, or any bug this season may bring!

1. Zenutrients All-Around Spahhnitizer (Ginger, Tea Tree & Peppermint), P130. This doesn’t just turn any room you’re in into a spa, it also cleans, refreshes, and gives you an instant sense of well-being, even when you’re deep in the doldrums. I also like that it’s locally made and super affordable.

2. YogaLove Healing Cream (Cooling Chamomile), P550. Made by Messy Bessy, this lovely cream is easily absorbed by the skin and leaves a smooth, powdery finish. I have this on-hand for yoga classes, but when I’m feeling achy and sore, I like to slather on a little bit on my neck, shoulders, and especially around the temples. Its cooling quality is a huge help during this heat.

3. Discover Balance Turmeric Natural Pain Reliever. One of my yoga friends Esa makes tis from scratch so you know you’re getting all-natural goods. This cure-all is good for insect bites, colds, muscle pain and fever, and is a good alternative to drugstore-bought vapor rubs. (Order through 0917-796-1871).

4. Aromatherapy Citrus Mint Pili Sap Spray. Another favorite during savasana, this super refreshing orange-smelling scent can ease you out of any headache in a jiffy. I like that it’s in a spray bottle too. When I was loading up on calamansi juice during my sick spell, this aromatherapy spray upped my Vitamin C boost by a mile. (Order through 0917-796-1871).

5. Vicks inhaler. I’ve had this on several occasions growing up, and I still keep one handy with me because you never know when your sinuses are going to start bothering you. We often forget childhood remedies so this is just a little reminder that old cures do work!

6. Aveda Chkra 5 Balancing Body Mist, P2100. This was a bit of a splurge but that sore throat was really bothering me and reiki healing told me that my throat chakra was blocked. Maybe I was also looking for an excuse to get one of these. Not for those who like very light scents, this musky blend must have really worked because within a day, the sore throat that wouldn’t go away disappeared. I’ve gotten into the ritual of just spraying this into the air before meditation.

Le Bunny Bleu Spring/Summer 2015 + Slip-On Sale

Mila Oxfords

Must. Resist. Temptation.


I’ve been wearing a lot of men’s-style shoes lately—in part because their androgynous look is the perfect foil for my floral dresses, and quite simply, because they’re sock-friendly and comfy (I walk a lot). So when I spotted these rubber-soled Mila Oxfords at Le Bunny Bleu recently, I was instantly smitten!

These are part of Le Bunny Bleu’s new Spring/Summer collection 2015, which features their signature “romantic vintage” aesthetic updated in fresh colors and fun prints. Their popular oxfords come in the prettiest pastels and blocked heels, while trendy sneaker slip-ons are updated in patterned black or white. And of course, there’s a whole slew of sweet ballet flats, strappy sandals, and chunky loafers, plus their newest style—the Cindy Wedge in basic linen shades or fun floral prints.

When I purchased my shoes (OK, I caved), I was pleasantly surprised to get a mug for free, and to top it off, it featured a lovely watercolor design made especially for Le Bunny Bleu by one of my favorite local artists, Arlene Sy. The mug comes free with every P2500 purchase from the brand’s newest collection!

Le Bunny Bleu

This lovely mug featuring pink flowers and Le Bunny Bleu’s blue oxfords by Arlene Sy comes free with a minimum purchase of P2500! (Mug design featuring yellow sandals and camera also available)


SLIP-ON SALE! Just for today (Saturday, May 23), Le Bunny Bleu is holding their Slip-On Sale, offering all their slip-ons at only P699 per pair! Offer available for in-store purchases only. Hop on over today!


 Le Bunny Bleu is located at 5/F East Wing Bridgeway Shangri-La Plaza, 2/F Glorietta 5,  or visit

For updates, follow @lebunnybleuph on Twitter and Instagram, or LeBunnyBleuPH on Facebook. 

For a Gem of a Mom

Mom always calls us kids her jewels, but we know who the real treasure is. So if I could only afford it, here’s what I wish I would be presenting her on Mother’s Day tomorrow: these sparkling beauties from the St. Michael collection.

This seasonal collection of high-end jewelry is discovered, curated, and collected from independent designers and jewelry houses across Asia by young jeweler Micki Olaguer. Not to be confused with Micki’s own jewelry line, her mission for the St. Michael capsule collection is simple: “to discover beautiful, breathtaking, hard-to-find jewelry, and share it with you.” Wouldn’t these make an exquisite gift for your mom, wife, or even future mother of your kids? Here’s a peek at the current Regal Collection from the St. Michael line:


Victorian Pave rings

Victoria Pavé Rings featuring diffusion-treated rubies, smokey quartz, or green quartz. Wear just one or stack as many as you please!

Isabella Pear Halo Earrings

Isabella Pear Halo Earrings. Teardrop-shaped red quartz and diffusion treated rubies make a stunning statement

Elizabeth Pave Tower Ring

Elizabeth Pavé Tower Ring. A square step-cut 14 cm genuine rose quartz held by a tower of rose quartz stones, the universal gem of love. Handcrafted in black .925 sterling silver. Only one piece available (size 6)

St. Michael Regal Collection curated by Micki Olaguer

Catherine Pavé Prong Ring in genuine rose quartz, citrine, lime quartz, and blue quartz, all from the St. Michael Regal Collection curated by Micki Olaguer


To request a catalog, email or contact 09166955002.