Monday, December 30, 2013

Lock & Lock opens at the new wing of Shangri-la Plaza

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The Korean brand of storage containers, Lock & Lock, known for its 4-sided snap-and-lock feature, invited the SoMoms recently to be one of the first visitors at their newest location in Shangri-la Plaza along EDSA.

If you've gone to the 4th floor of Lock & Lock before at the original wing of Shangri-la Plaza, then this is your heads-up that they've moved already. They're now at the 6th level of the new wing of the mall.

While you may think that Lock & Lock is only about plastic storage containers, you will be surprised to know that they also offer Boroseal glassware, cookware and storage bins, among others. I learned about it the first time we went to their main outlet along Araneta Avenue in Sta. Mesa.

To read about Lock & Lock in a previous visit of mine, click here.

A short presentation familiarized us with some new products you can now find at Lock & Lock.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Human Nature's Baby Care Line and a SoMoms Meet-and-Greet with Anna Meloto-Wilk

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It was a great honor and privilege for the SoMoms when we were able to have an intimate meet-and-greet with none other than Anna Meloto-Wilk of Human Nature.

Anna took us through the history of Human Nature. It was great to hear directly from her exactly how Human Nature came to be. She took a different path from Gawad Kalinga which her dad, Tony Meloto, was grooming her for. Together with sister Camille, they realized that there was a lack of natural beauty products in the Philippines and those available abroad were too expensive.

Using almost all-natural and locally available raw materials, Human Nature is now one of the more popular home care, personal care products in the market. And I guess it was just a matter of time before their lines included babies because Anna is, herself, a proud and loving mother.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sneak Preview of the Starbucks 2014 Planners and the Christmas Starbucks Card

It's that time of the year once more! Starbucks will be releasing its Limited Edition 2014 Starbucks Philippines Planners this coming November 2, 2013. This 11th edition set of 4 planners is truly one that you would not want to miss collecting.

This year's theme is "Coffee Perfection" and many details incorporated into the planner echo the theme.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taking a second look at Singapore Airlines Fares and Features

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When I was still employed with an accounting and consulting firm, I had several chances to travel to Singapore to conduct lectures and most of my trips were on Singapore Airlines. Those flights were very pleasant because not only were the planes new and modern but there were little pluses all over like orchids with the meals.

But I guess over the decades, the airline industry became more price competitive and for some reason, it seems that Singapore Airlines acquired a reputation for being one of the more expensive airlines. Even during a blogger get-together with Singapore Airlines, a blogger said the same thing when asked what was the first thing that popped into her head when she heard the words "Singapore Airlines".

But guess what! For this whole afternoon with them, we got a personal and close-up interaction with the executives of Singapore Airlines in the Philippines and learned that, contrary to the popular view, Singapore Airlines really had price-competitive rates!!! And to prove it, you could check out their air fare till November 30, 2013 and you'll find out that they may actually be a lot cheaper than the usual budget airline promos you get out there.

Their fares are good till Nov. 30, 2013 purchase but travel can be till March 31, 2014 for Singapore, Southeast Asia and Indian Subcontinent or May 31, 2014 for travel to Australia and Europe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oishi's Giant O Wow Giveaway

Imagine you're a student who just finished a difficult exam. You are tired and raring to go home. You board a jeep, thinking this would be a normal ride home. Suddenly some of your fellow passengers unmask their true identities and you find out they are celebrities out to give you the ride of your life!

This is not a dream. It actually happened.

Last October 1, Oishi and Team O members (Ramon Bautista, Slater Young and Elmo Magalona) went around the Intramuros and Luneta areas in disguise. On the Jeep O, they looked just like a driver and students.

Students began filling the jeep at different stops. Along the route, the 3 Team O celebrities revealed their true identities to the delightful squeals of everyone on board. The celebrities and students went for a ride on Jeep O with everyone having a good time and going home with Oishi snacks.

BonChon Delivers!

The ever popular global restaurant that originated in Korea now has a new service. BonChon now delivers straight to your doorsteps. Yay!

My family had the chance to try out their delivery service. A day before, I received a reminder email saying that BonChon would be delivering the food by 6pm. On the day of the delivery, I had to go out of the house to attend an event. Good thing I was already home around 5pm because at exactly 6pm, the doorbell rings. And guess who came with the messenger who brought our BonChon dinner...the branch manager of the Promenade branch himself!!! WOW!

BonChon Promenade branch manager, Aurelio Andea (left), with rider Pancho Barroga

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three Extraordinary Women, One Extraordinary Moisturizer - Physiogel

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One of the side effects of having cancer is the drying up of skin. I was told this during the time hubby was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo oral chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiation, in particular, was what tended to have an immediate drying effect on his skin. Our doctors told us that this would happen specifically in some areas of the body like the extremities and in the area that is irradiated.

But Physiogel, a leading dermatologist-prescribed moisturizer from GlaxoSmithKline, is what three extraordinary women turned to when they were going through their cancer journey. One of these beautiful survivors is a SoMoms friend of mine, Patty B. Balquiedra, 44 years of age, a mommy blogger, online entrepreneur and a loving mom of 2 beautiful girls. Two other cancer survivors also used Physiogel. One is Alya B. Honasan, a veteran editor and writer for newspapers, magazines and books, a certified Iyengar yoga teacher, avid scuba diver, occasional theater actress and doting mom to her dog Kikay. The other is Michee Cadhit, head of customer service and international relations department of The Medical City, a mother of three.

(L-R) Patty Balquiedra, Michee Cadhit, Alya Honasan

Each one had her own extraordinary story.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's not too late to catch this season's Starbucks beverages and desserts!

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I just realized that I only have till November 1, 2013 to catch this season's beverages!

BEVERAGES (till Nov. 1, 2013)

Ristretto Bianco

Ristretto Blanco (Tall-PhP 145; Grande-PhP 160; Venti-PhP 170)

Ristretto Blanco is new in the espresso line-up. It's a rich, smooth and velvety beverage. Ristretto shots are created by forcing less water through the coffee. This results in a fuller-bodied shot with a deep coffee flavor. Steamed whole milk creates the foam and it is poured in such a way that it ends with that white dot finish you see. 

Salted Caramel Mocha (Tall-PhP 150; Grande-PhP 165; Venti-PhP 175)

From salted caramel ice cream to salted caramel-flavored milk tea and now to Starbucks' Salted Caramel Mocha, one enjoys this unique blend of sweet and salty. This concoction is made from a creamy mix of espresso with velvety steamed milk, blended with mocha sauce and toffee nut flavored syrup. It's finished off with a topping of whipped cream, buttery caramel sauce, and a mixture of turbinado sugar as well as smoked sea salt. This description is enough for me to want to go out and get one. I just might do that in the coming days.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why I Don't Leave Home Without my BDO Rewards Card

If you had a chance to peek into the contents of my wallet (don't bother to count the money because I don't put much in there), you'll see all sorts of plastic cards. I have a credit card, grocery membership cards, a bookstore discount card, a drugstore loyalty card, cafe loyalty cards and ID cards. They are nice to have handy but there is one more card I won't leave home without - my BDO Rewards card.

Look! I've been a BDO Rewards cardholder since June 2007!!! When I was asked to share about BDO Rewards, it really was no problem because I have been using it already for years.

My own BDO Rewards card (serial numbers erased for security)

I actually started out with an SM Advantage Card but switched to BDO Rewards. Both earn reward points but if you're a Banco de Oro depositor like I am, the BDO Rewards card is actually the better option because you can rack up more points. I'll tell you why.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

24/7 Banking Convenience with BPI

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Online banking has really brought so much convenience to depositors these days.

I remember what it was like in the 80s. If you walked into a bank's branch, the first thing you'd notice is that the area allocated to backroom operations was so much larger than the area for its depositors. Signature cards were contained in several, long metal file containers; deposit slips were filled out in duplicate or triplicate and different types of checks (on us, local, regional, out of town checks) would require different, color-coded deposit slips; and perhaps the biggest inconvenience was that you could only transact from Monday to Friday and oftentimes, only till 3:30 pm. Clearly, banking processes then were designed more for the banking institutions rather than for the depositing public.

Fast forward to today and we see all banks having some kind of online presence. But even then, not all banks are the same. More banks are better at bringing greater convenience to its depositors than others. In my personal experience, having banked with several banks over my lifetime, BPI's 24/7 online banking channels are among the best, if not the best.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Spa-rty with SoMoms at The Nail Room Libis

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ME time is special because that is the time I get to myself. On those days, I treasure a trip to a nearby salon or spa for my mani-pedi or a hair trim. But what could be better than having a spa-rty session with my SoMoms friends upon the invitation of Janine Go and Jay Tiu of The Nail Room at Libis!

It is located right beside Nuat Thai Libis (owned also by Janine and Jay). Two years ago, some of my mommy friends and I spent a wonderful afternoon having foot and body massage treatments at Nuat Thai.

Read about my Nuat Thai Libis experience here.

A delightful food spread met us as we opened the door - a truly gastronomic delight because I thought we'd just have simple food and drinks.

Only the best brands of nail polish are used at The Nail Room. I specifically noticed that they had Chanel and Orly, popular nail polish brands that not only harden fast but also leave an evenly coated look and last longer on the nails without chipping.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Travel More with BPI's Get Out More 2 promo

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Be bitten by the travel and cultural bug! BPI will reward lucky clients who avail of its 24/7 Banking Channels (BPI Express Online, BPI Express Mobile, and BPI Express Phone) with dream vacations. You can be one of them.

Last year, BPI’s Get Out More promo gave away 7 all-expense paid trips for four to local tourist spots: Bohol, Davao, Boracay, Cebu, Legazpi, Iloilo, and Puerto Princesa. BPI 24/7 Banking gives you the chance to get farther away from your home, your city or your province. This year, the Get Out More 2 promo is even bigger because the lucky winners will be going Asian!

Up for grabs this time will be exciting places both here and abroad: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur (KL), and Boracay. Every winner also gets pocket money worth PhP 24,700. If you’ve been dreaming of traveling and seeing the world, you now have the chance to cross that off your bucket list.

And why not? Aside from seeing our own beautiful Philippines, visiting our Asian neighbors lets us see the cultural diversity and beauty of nature and tourist attractions of our neighbors. I’ve visited at least half of the places covered by the promo and I certainly won’t mind visiting the remaining places (if I win, cross my fingers).

Marvel at the cosmopolitan air of Shanghai with its ultramodern architecture mixed in with traditional Chinese sights; eat your way around Hong Kong’s popular food spots and shop till you drop; visit the centuries-old Korean palaces dotting Seoul’s metro and maybe sneak in a visit to KPop sites; enjoy the hospitality of Kuala Lumpur and its rich cultural mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian races; and bask in the sun at our very own Boracay, world known for its white sand beaches and clear waters.

Watch this short, exciting video and see where and what you can do in these places.

It’s really very easy to earn raffle entries. From August 1 to November 30, 2013, all new and existing BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank and BPI Direct Accountholders who use the services of BPI 24/7 Banking are qualified to earn raffle entries. Just pay your bills (utility bills, telco bills, and other kinds of bills) using any of the 24/7 banking channels of BPI and you automatically earn raffle entries. Each payment must be at least P50 and above and must have a unique reference/account number within that month.

For Boracay, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, BPI will pick one (1) winner for each place who will get a free trip for two which includes roundtrip airfare, accommodations and pocket money. For Hong Kong, three (3) winners will be chosen, each one getting also a free trip for two (roundtrip airfare, accommodations and pocket money).

For more details on promo mechanics, click HERE.
To enroll in BPI Express Online, click HERE.

BPI Team behind Get Out More 2

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bono Artisanal Gelato comes to the Podium

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Gelato is Italian ice cream. There are many different brands of gelato in the Metro but one that stands out is Bono Artisanal Gelato which recently put up a branch at the Podium in the Ortigas Center.

Rea Gomez-Harrow, one of the cool people behind Bono Artisanal Gelato

Bono Artisanal Gelato is located on the ground floor of the Podium along ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center. It's right behind the escalators, fronting the side entrance of Podium leading to SM Megamall.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Human Nature Products: Clarifying Shampoo, Peppermint Strengthening Conditioner and Pocket Hand Soap!

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Recently, I received samples of 3 new products from Human Nature.

100% Natural Clarifying Shampoo

Even if you love a particular shampoo brand, hair experts have always recommended the use of an anti-residue or clarifying shampoo which scrubs out all the residue on your scalp from chemica shampoos, styling products, environmental pollution and the effects of stress. The Human Nature 100% Natural Clarifying Shampoo, as its name suggests, is 100% natural -- made of natural fruit acids, betaine, and aloe vera.

PhP 149.75, 200ml; PhP 319.75, 500ml

Most anti-residue shampoo products can only be used around twice a week because the chemicals, while great for stripping away impurities and build-up on the hair, are quite strong that they also strip away the hair's natural oils. But since Human Nature 100% Natural Clarifying Shampoo is entirely natural, it is safe to use daily without damaging hair or overdrying the scalp.

The Green Apple scent is very pleasant and makes hair smell really fresh. What you will find surprising with this shampoo is that it actually is very foamy. We know that the foamy lather in cleaning products, like shampoos and laundry detergents, is chemically induced by the ingredients sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). But the researchers of Human Nature have discovered that coco fatty acid sulfates are able to create that very same foamy lather WITHOUT the harmful chemicals. Not only are the coco fatty acid sulfates non-toxic but they are also fully biodegradable. And of course, they are sourced totally in the Philippines.

Watch this video.

Monday, August 5, 2013

J.Co opens its 12th Philippine branch in Glorietta 2

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Aside from being a very popular donut shop, J.Co is marked by another feature readily observed in the Philippines in practically all its branches - long queues!!! That is the mark of the popularity of this Indonesian-based donut and coffee chain operating throughout Southeast Asia with 125 branches in Indonesia, 12 in Malaysia, 4 in Singapore, and 2 in China.

Just recently, J.Co inaugurated its 12th branch in the Philippines - located at Glorietta 2 (for those old enough to remember, it is in the old location of National Book Store, right across SM Makati).

Occupying a spacious 236 square meter corner location, J.Co Glorietta is conveniently located in the heart of Ayala Center. All around its two store sides are ceiling-to-floor see-through glass walls since there are al fresco dining areas. This allows diners in the al fresco area to enjoy laid-back dining while enjoying the brightly lit, colorful and modern interiors of the store.

View of the ordering station

Stage area during the launch

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Bonding with Globe MyRewards

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I just discovered a new way to bond over food and recreation with my family without spending a cent - Globe MyRewards!!!

To be honest, I never paid much attention to telco reward points. Every so often, I'd get a text saying I had these much points but I was really never interested in redeeming them because the redemption options at that time were not really relevant to me. So those points sat on my phone for quite a long time.

But at the launch of Globe MyRewards some time back, I was totally surprised that they had reworked the rewards program so that it was now more relevant and meaningful to subscribers. New Globe MyRewards partner stores included Petron, Figaro, Enchanted Kingdom, Rose Pharmacy, Wendy's, Ayala Malls Cinemas, and Sunglass Hut.

Both prepaid and postpaid subscribers in Globe and TouchMobile (TM) can earn points. How? For prepaid subscribers, every load earns points. For postpaid subscribers, points are earned based on billed amount.

Unlike some other reward programs where several points are equivalent to PhP 1, each point you earn under the Globe MyRewards program is equivalent to PhP 1. So if you have 500 points, that's PhP 500 worth you can spend any way you want at any partner store.

Using Globe MyRewards points is a no-brainer actually. Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. To check your available points - Text BAL to 4438. You will get an SMS with the info.
2. Go to any Globe MyRewards partner store and the cashier will willingly assist you.
3. To use the points as cash payment - Text BUY(space)<10-digit no. of cashier>(space)<points needed> to 4438.
4. You and cashier both get confirmation of points transfer. THAT'S IT!

One day in June, my older son and I were 'trapped' inside Promenade in Greenhills due to a very heavy downpour. We had already 'cased' Fully Booked as well as other shops, our feet were killing us, and we were hungry. Since we were right in front of the cinemas at that time, the only cafe in sight was Figaro.

As we were ordering, I spotted the Globe MyRewards poster on the counter. Savior! I hurriedly checked how many points I had (I had a lot of accumulated points to spend!). We ordered our food. I texted the number of points to be deducted using the given syntax, and almost immediately, the points transfer was done. Just like that. Our entire Figaro merienda was on Globe MyRewards.

With that very successful and burp-ful experience, I was excited to try using my points on another family bonding moment.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2013 Midyear Offerings at Starbucks -- Beverages, Sandwiches, Desserts and Contests!

It's the middle of 2013 already and it's time once again for some things new from Starbucks.

This time, its more exciting because not only are they offering a new concoction of beverages and food items but there are exciting digital contests for Starbucks fans to join.

First, the yummy beverages.

Something's different with these two frappuccinos you'll get to try from July 16 to September 9, 2013. Starbucks has introduced a white chocolate pudding as a twist to the usual frappes. I tried both of them and the pudding has the texture of the pudding in the milk teas I've tried. But....this one's white chocolate-y!!!

Dark Mocha (Tall- PhP 190; Grande - PhP 200; Venti - PhP 210)
Green Tea (Tall - PhP 180; Grande - PhP 190; Venti - PhP 200)

The Dark Mocha Chocolate Pudding Frappuccino combines the deep flavor of dark chocolate with the velvety smooth white chocolate pudding, the signature Frappuccino Roast coffee of Starbucks, chocolate chips, milk blended with ice topped with whipped cream and chocolate powder.

The Green Tea White Chocolate Pudding Frappuccino, on the other hand, combines premium green tea with white chocolate pudding for a soft creamy texture, and tops it with whipped cream.

They're both yummy, trust me. But if I had to recommend which one to try first, it would be the Green Tea variant!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Extreme Singing Fun with Xtreme Magic Sing

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If there is one thing inherent in our culture, it is the love for singing. Go to any Pinoy reunion, office gathering, wedding or house party and there is sure to be singing somewhere.

I remember that our first karaoke of sorts was a standing cassette player. It had large speakers down its front. The control panel was on top for volume as well as speed and pitch adjustments. It served as an ordinary cassette player as well as a karaoke with the minus one cassette tapes. A wired microphone plugged into an audio port for sing-a-longs.

One day, someone gifted us with a Magic Sing and that revolutionized the way sing-a-longs were done. We had a wide selection of songs to choose from, ranging from the 50s to the 90s. Still pictures of tourist spots in the Philippines, scored singing, and lyrics onscreen made karaoke the entertainment of choice in many households. Different song chips gave even wider choices of favorite hits and genres began popping like religious songs, OPM (Original Pinoy Music) and others.

Well, guess what. In a recent event hosted by Xtreme Magic Sing at TeaTap Cafe, the bloggers were given a glimpse of the innovations that have come to the simple karaoke machine.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bienvenue! Parisian sneaker Bensimon comes to the Philippines

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C'est la vie!

For one night, we were transported from the streets of Manila to Paris, complete with French music, a French chef, a Parisian menu, and the ambience of a Paris flea market.

Parisians have a passion for life. When I think of a romantic place, there is no other city that comes to my mind other than Paris. I've been there, done the Eiffel Tower and Louvre tours, walked around Champs Elysees, Notre Dame and Arc d' Triomphe. It is the French who tell us not to swallow our way through our meals but rather, to dawdle and savor each and every spoonful. It's no wonder that in France, on our way to a local concert, we passed a group of Parisian diners in a restaurant and still saw them there AFTER the concert. Even now, I remember being introduced to a French guy at my school in the U.S. who promptly took the hand I proffered for a shake and instead, kissed it. Oooh la la!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Del Monte Pacific Limited Debuts on the Philippine Stock Exchange

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Who hasn't heard of Del Monte?

My family has been using Del Monte products for decades. The brand is a staple in our home. In the 1980s, I also had the chance to be assigned to audit Del Monte (then known as Philippine Packing Corporation or PPC). That assignment meant working not only in their Makati office then but I had to travel as well to Bukidnon where I spent days in their Bugo office and had to stay on the plantation as well.

Even back then, that plantation visit overwhelmed me. Del Monte sits on a plateau so the air and temperature there is akin to Baguio - cool. On the ground, you would pass hectares upon hectares of pineapples, as far as your eyes could see. It was not just pineapples there. Some of the best steaks could be experienced in Del Monte. Their cattle are 'pampered' - kept in corrals so very little movement happens and that makes their meat tender and juicy. Fresh milk and butter, pickles, fruits, and so much more all came straight from Del Monte soil.

Since then, Del Monte has changed ownership hands and it is now called Del Monte Pacific Ltd. or DMPL. And last June 10, 2013, DMPL did something which is a FIRST in the Philippines. It listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), 14 years after it listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) in 1999. This first dual listing between the SGX and the PSE helps promote the integration of the PSE with ASEAN bourses. Before this, the PSE only cross-listed with the New York Stock Exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Starbucks brings back the favorites

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From May 15 to July 14, 2013, Starbucks is bringing back two (2) of its favorite beverages for everyone to enjoy this summer.

Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Blended Beverage

(Tall-PhP 170; Grande-PhP 180; Venti-PhP 190)
Start with Starbucks' Frappuccino Roasted Coffee, add in chocolate cookie bits, and you get a twist on the classic Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee. Rich mocha sauce, vanilla syrup, milk and ice make up the basic recipe and the whole beverage is topped off with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and a cookie crumble topping.

Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Beverage

(Tall-PhP 160; Grande-PhP 170; Venti-PhP 180)

The combination of red beans and green tea bring an Asian flavor to blended beverage. This one combines whole kernels of red azuki beans and matcha, a finely milled green tea variant which is the most superior form of all green teas in Japan.

Catch them both this summer at your favorite Starbucks branch.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Love@Home with Samsung

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I'm a geeky momma. I love tech. And as a Mom, I always end up looking at appliances and home furnishings whenever I get the chance to window shop. So getting first dibs at Samsung Digital Home Appliances' 2013 offering was a real delight and a chance to ogle the new stuff that Samsung was bringing into this year's home appliance line-up.

Dubbed "Love@Home", the launch featured five (5) must-have-in-the-home appliances using the latest technology and cool features that have become the signature of Samsung. On hand to help introduce the appliances to the audience were celebrity moms Daphne Osena-Paez, Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo.

The Samsung Digital Air Conditioner

So what's new with inverter airconditioners? That's what I was thinking when this appliance was being introduced. After all, I already have 2 inverter aircon units at home. Imagine my utter surprise when Samsung announced that their new air conditioner had *wait for this* WIFI!

I know what you're thinking - what for?

Think about this scenario. You are caught in traffic, on your way home. It's hot outside and you are just raring to go into your airconditioned room and plop right into bed as soon as you get home. Most of us would only be able to turn on our air conditioner once we are home. With Samsung's Digital Air Conditioner, you can remotely turn on your aircon and adjust its settings (temp, fan speed, vertical swing) from virtually anywhere you have an internet connection. You can do it from your car!

It also comes with a Smart Inverter Technology that Samsung says makes it 60% energy-efficient.

Inverter air conditioner with WIFI

App icon on Samsung smartphone

Settings direct from a smartphone...

...using WIFI!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Human Nature brings on Tough Love

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Human Nature products are very much a part of my life. My shampoo and conditioner, insect repellant, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and some makeup are from Human Nature. It has been a conscious move on my part to switch from chemical-based stuff around the house to products which are not only gentle to my skin but also environment-friendly.

But recently I received 2 new Human Nature products which are NOT just gentle; they are TOUGH as well!!! And they should be, because they need to wash away dirt where it matters. At the same time, they are so natural that they can be discharged into the environment without polluting it.

This is the new home care brand that Human Nature recently introduced into the market - their TOUGH LOVE home care line -- Tough Love Natural Dishwashing Liquid and Natural Liquid Detergent (100% Natural).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bobble Water Bottle - Purifying Water on the Go

1 comment:
I need to drink a lot of water every day because of my previous bout with kidney stones. In addition, when I go to my yoga classes, I always want to bring a water bottle with me.

The problem with single-use PET bottles though is that it is both expensive in the long run and damaging to the earth as it contributes to the tons of PET bottles disposed into the earth's landfills every day. I could always fill my water bottle before heading out but in order to get my 2-liter quota of water for the day, I would need to refill my bottle somewhere. Now how would I know if the source of my refilled water is potable enough?

Well, I recently got a Bobble water bottle to try out and based on first impressions, it looks like a healthy solution to my dilemma.

(taken from

Bobble is the creation of renowned industrial artist Karim Rashid - the man behind numerous luxury goods and popular product designs such as Christofle, Alessi, Umbra, Bonaldo, Vondom and Hugo Boss. It features a curvy form that makes it easy to grasp and carry around - perfect for workout sessions like my yoga classes or simply something to hold when outside the home. The plastic bottle is also BPA-free.

But the killer feature is its built-in filter. Its carbon filter is replaceable and recyclable, purifying potable water even further by eliminating chlorine and organic contaminants. There goes my worry about the cleanliness of other water sources once I drink up the water I brought from home. I can just refill the bottle and still be sure the filter eliminates anything in the water that can be harmful to the body. Caveat: Bobble should NOT be used with water that is microbiologically unsafe.)

My red Bobble!!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A new gustatory experience - Starbucks international coffee and food pairing

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White wine with fish. Red wine with meats. That's the standard way of pairing wine with food, right?

But recently, some of us sat down to a food tasting lunch paired with -- Starbucks coffee blends!

The Starbucks team, combined with the Spanish restaurant Tapella put up a gastronomic menu interspersed with 4 different coffee blends.

Choosing the right coffee blend to go with a particular dish is very important, we learned. Most of us in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, according to Starbucks, are in the developing stage. Not everyone is well educated in coffee. We probably go to Starbucks, order our favorite beverage, then walk out without really paying that much attention to the blend or how it is prepared.  But that is a good thing, they say, because it leaves so many possibilities for us to be educated about coffee. And yet in emerging countries, like Europe, people know their coffee. They order a double shot of espresso, want their coffee black, and specify other add-ons to go with their favorite drink.

Let me digress first and tell you about the latest Starbucks coffee blend.

Creating the New Asian Blend

For the longest time, while some blends could be identified with certain regions (e.g., espresso is identified with Europe), there was no blend identified with Asia. This time, Starbucks launches the Asian Dolce Latte, strong and smooth, with an Asian twist. Double shots of the premium dark-roasted Starbucks Espresso Roast give the latte its distinct flavor complemented by a dolce sauce created just for this blend.

Tip when drinking Asian Dolce Latte: DO NOT STIR! Drink it as served and you will get a better coffee experience as you savor the flavor and texture of each of the layers of the latte.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Electrolux HUSH Happier at Home

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I have a blender and two (2) vacuum cleaners at home. They do their job but I do not use them all the time. Why? Because the volume level is just too high for my low-noise tolerance ears.

See this little baby that looks like R2D2, the cute robot of Star Wars fame? It's the newer of my two vacuum cleaners.

It does its job; it can handle both wet and dry cleaning. Almost perfect -- save for its terrible noise level which cannot be adjusted. The first time I turned it on while trying to vacuum away the cobwebs from our bathroom ceiling, I almost went deaf. Because our bathroom was enclosed, the cacophony surrounded the entire small space, amplifying what was already very loud noise to begin with. Add to that the fact that it strongly ejected very warm air while it was running, making me wonder whether all that air being emitted was clean or whether some of the dust it was sucking in was being thrown back out into the air.

And this is my current dilemma. I need our home to be as quiet and as clean as possible.

You see, my husband just recently underwent a surgical operation. We spent our Valentine's Day in the hospital. It has not been a week yet since we've come back home after spending two long weeks there and everyone around, including the kids, are tiptoe-ing around trying to be as quiet as possible so our patient can get his much-needed sleep (because who says you can sleep decently in a hospital, right???). I also know that sudden loud noise is jarring to the ears and can elevate blood pressure unnecessarily.

While we were away, the house went through general cleaning so our vacuum cleaner was put to good use. But now that our patient is home, he needs to rest most of the day and yet the room where he is in as well as the rest of the house need to be regularly cleaned to keep it free of dust to minimize risks of infection. How do I do that with my fully functional but extremely noisy (and possibly less-than-clean) vacuum cleaner?

His diet also requires a lot of fruits and vegetables so we have resorted to blending smoothies so he gets a good concentration of them. Wouldn't it be neat if I had a silent blender to replace this 20-something year old blender of mine?

My dilemma may soon be over if I can get my hands on either or both of these Electrolux products:

#1 - The Electrolux Powermix Silent Blender

Showing the silent settings of the blender

Force without the noise...

#2 - The Electrolux Ultra Silencer Green

Silent but strong...
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