10 new product discoveries I absolutely love

There no feeling quite like discovering a new brand or product you love. It’s like hitting the jackpot, especially when the quality is amazing and the price wont break the bank (although I am willing to pay a little more if it means I get something great).

I wanted to share with you 10 new brand/product discoveries ranging from high end brands to local homegrown products. These have become staples in my book, and most of them I use every day. Check out my list of favorites:

1.) Jo Malone Star Magnolia Cologne and Hair Mist. This is a limited-edition collection that is sold out in most online stores (I think you can still get it at Jo Malone stores in Metro Manila). It has a clean, flirty scent thats both citrusy and fresh, which is perfect for everyday use. I love that the scent begins with a note of lemon, then adds a watering, juicy freshness, and opens the scent with a citrus brightness. The star magnolia blossom smells amazing soft and clean, and also creamy and warm. A blend of sandalwood enhances the longevity of the fragrance.

2.) Bread Basket PH (IG handle: @breadbasketph). I discovered this homegrown brand online. Their feminine yet homey designs caught my eye, and I immediately had to order. When my placemats, coasters and breadbaskets arrived I knew I had made the right choice ordering from them. Our dining table never looked so good!

3.) The Carpenter (IG handle: @thecarpenterph). This is a faith-inspired concept store to suit our modern lifestyle. They have a great selection of modern crosses and scripture boards to tastefully decorate the home. The ones I got are now in my son Tristan’s room. Check out their site: www.thecarpenter.ph.

4.) Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation. I love that this foundation combines skincare and makeup. It allows my skin to look good and get moisturized and nourished as well. I’ve been using this almost everyday and my skin always looks flawless.

5.) Lluna the brand (IG handle: @lluna_thebrand). These aren’t your ordinary tassle earrings, as you can interchange the base and add danglers to change the look. So if you think of it, when you buy a pair, you get three pairs because you can wear them in different ways. These are all handmade and designed locally, and they are well-made. These definitely add style to my every day look.

6.) Summer items from POP Retail Lab. I’ve already written about POP Retail Lab before (click HERE), so you know how much I love their many local brands. In the photo you can find several different brands, which you can all find in the store. I swear, you can spend hours in there–there are too many great local brands to discover!

7.) Neal’s Yard Remedies. This UK brand carries skincare, bath, shower and aromatherapy products and are pioneers in natural holistic health, beauty and well-being. They are most known for its ethical and Soil Association certified organic products. I tried their essential oils: Lavender (calming for the body, mind and wellbeing and can be used as a topical remedy on abrasions, wounds, burns and insect bites), Basil (a natural tonic for nerves; it is great for restoring the body and mind and gives a natural energy boost) and Bergamot (an uplifting and fruity oil that good for balancing the body, mind and emotions), as well as their Base Massage Oil (to mix with the essential oils) that I constantly use for massage, vaporization and inhalation. This brand is available at the cosmetics floor of Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-la.

7.) Matthew & Melka (IG handle: @matthewandmelka). These gorgeous handmade flower earrings are super lightweight and eye-catching. They were designed by accessories designer Ken Samudio (@kensamudio), who has already been noticed by top international magazines and luxury shopping sites for his exquisite and one-of-a-kind handiwork.

8.) Carte D’Or Gelato. Wow. I was blown away by these amazing flavors (they have Double Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Pistachio and Chocolate Hazelnut). I am currently on a ketogenic diet so I cant really have sweets, but I broke my diet for this! Not regretting it though–it was all sorts of amazing.

9.) Delight: Homemade Dips & Spreads (IG handle: @delightph). I have to say, the name perfectly suits what’s inside these bottles. Amazingly delightful creamy and savory spreads. I ate this with veggie chips and enjoyed every bite. This is a must-have for parties or when snacking at home while watching a movie. Yummy.

10.) Moshi Cases (IG handle: @moshi_ph). This is hands down my favorite mobile phone case/cover. I bought my first one when I saw it had a retractable little stand, which is perfect for watching anything on my phone. Well, it’s usually Tristan who benefits from it, but when my baby is happy, I am happy. I’ve made it a point to collect all designs and colors, and I even got a sleek, incredibly efficient external battery (it fully charges my phone up to 4x).

What happened when the Baby Barangay moms took a Master Mixology Class

HISTORY OF THE COCKTAIL. Since the days of mead, honey, wine, and toast, people have been mixing alcoholic beverages in an effort to make the intoxication process go down a little smoother. Throughout the middle ages, distilled spirits were strong and fiery, so plenty was done to tame them. They were mixed with water, wine or beer, and flavored with herbs and sweeteners. From this tradition, we get many of our classic liqueurs, vermouths, and digestifs. 

But it wasn’t until the early 17th century that a drink called ‘punch’ was first served in India, taking its name form the Sanskrit word for five. All the building blocks were in place for the rise of the modern cocktail. Punch spread throughout Europe and the many British colonies, crossed the Atlantic, and became a popular mainstay in bars everywhere. Its classic five-part recipe (sour lemon, sweet sugar, strong alcohol, weak water and spices) proved to be an adaptable template which would evolve into other categories of drinks, such as egg nogs, flips, juleps, slings, and of course, the modern cocktail. 

I love cocktails as much as the next person, but I have to admit, I never really gave much thought to it, other than trying to drink as much of it as I could. During my pre-baby days I was never seen without a drink in my hand whenever I was out, and I would always order my favorite cocktails: Whisky Sours, Mojitos, Daiquiris and Martinis. Now that I’ve taken a long break from drinking I am seeing the cocktail in a whole new light–I have a newfound appreciation for it, especially after taking a Mixology class by Bevtools.com.

The Baby Barangay (Bianca, Cat, Nicole, Patty and I) took a Masterclass on the Fundamentals of Craft Cocktails (it sounds so serious, I love it), which of course, became a super fun night of drinking, mixing drinks, and drinking some more. We used the coolest-looking bar tools (also by Bevtools) and by the end of the night were shaking, stirring and pouring like pros. The class was moderated by amazing bartender/mixologist/brand ambassador for Bevtools Kath Eckstein, who broke down the essentials for us and made bartending incredibly fun. Scroll down to see what went down that night.

Welcome drink. Tonic water, ice, gin, and lemon.

Learning has never been so much fun.

Cat and Carl made old fashioned Whisky Sours–egg white, whisky, lemon juice, simple syrup, and angostura bitters.

Gorgeous bar tools by BEVTOOLS.com.

Bianca and Uli demonstrated how to make Moscow Mules–vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and mint or lemon/lime.

Cat and Carl.

Kath teaching us the fundamentals of cocktail mixing.

Nothing like a well-stocked bar. Julep strainer and cocktail glass from Bevtools.

Intently listening. We were never this focused in school.

Nicole in her element. Happily drinking.

We all made daiquiris. This tasted so good. Now, to find a way to make Stevia-syrup.

 It was so much fun learning about mixing cocktails, as you can see in my face.

Perfect excuse to drink all night.

Pretty Cat.

Patty enjoying her Old Fashioned–bourbon, sugar cubes, angostura bitters, and orange peel.

  My gorgeous ladies having a blast.

We couldn’t have done it without our excellent bar tools from Bevtools.

The Pats are now experts at making Old Fashioned.

How to shake that Cobbler Shaker.

Simple and amazing. Gin and tonic.

Cant have that Moscow Mule without that Copper Mug from Bevtools.

Nic made a perfect daiquiri.

Absolutely love these copper bar tools! They are so pretty!

How fun was this class?!!

What you don’t hear: our graduation song! Yes, we had graduation rites for this Mixology class!

We did it! And in just one night.

                      Congrats to the Baby Barangay, for finishing this super fun course! I actually don’t mind taking this class again though.

                   FUN times.

Thank you, Bevtools for this amazing class. The Baby Barangay (minus the babies) had so much fun! Till the next one.

*

Bevtools.com offers Bar Consulting, and services like Bar Fabrication, Bar Layout and Design, and Bar Program. Apart from that, you can order the most gorgeous bar tools, glassware and other bar needs on their website: www.bevtools.com. Plus, they also do Drinks on Demand: beer, wine and spirits delivered to your doorstep within 90 minutes (www.bevtools.com/drinksondemand). 

7 things to look for when buying a new air conditioner

There was a time when my husband and I were using two very old, very noisy window-type air conditioners. We had just gotten married and had moved into our first apartment. We didn’t have the budget at the time to buy brand new air conditioners, so we inherited two antiquated units from both our parents. Looking back, it was like those two aircons were competing for the worst appliance of the year because apart from being bulky and noisy, they did not efficiently cool our rooms (we still felt hot) and when we used them our electricity bill significantly went up. After getting maybe the third or fourth high electric bill, we decided they had to go. It was high time we used that wasted money from our electric bill to purchase an air-conditioning unit that was cool, efficient and an energy-saver.

We got an LG Inverter-Technology air-conditioner and so far (it has been four years) we are very happy with it. In fact, I feel like we hit the jackpot with that unit, because the master’s bedroom is super cold, and we all sleep so well because of it. Of course, that purchase is all thanks to my husband, who convinced me to look into inverter technology. His pitch was: we could leave it on all-day and our electric bill would not skyrocket like it did with our window-type energy guzzlers. He was absolutely right, and to be honest, that super cold room saved me many times during my pregnancy when it was absolutely the hottest time of the year and I couldn’t breathe because it was so hot and all those months taking care of my newborn (who is now two–time flies).

So, now that we’ve moved to a bigger place (an actual house), we’ve been looking to buy an air conditioner for our living room. The house can get pretty hot during the afternoons, and super humid when it rains so we really need a unit that will be able to cool the entire area. Of course, the brand: LG immediately came to mind so we looked into their newest models.

Looking back, I find it so funny that I actually believed all air conditioners were basically one and the same. Like I was convinced that they all used the same technology and parts, but what made them different was the branding and price. If it were not for my husband I would’ve probably made a mistake and ended up buying another inefficient, energy-draining aircon!

We were immediately drawn to the LG Dual Cool Smart Inverter RAC. This is from their Premium Smart Inverter line, and I swear, all I could think of was how comfortably cool my living would be when I have it installed. I was sold on all its amazing features, and I couldn’t wait for it to get to my house.

Now, how has it been so far? Well, okay, so it’s been one week since the installation and we’ve been using it every day since. And in that short amount of time, I had decided that we had made THE BEST DECISION, EVER. And I truly mean it. It is the best air conditioner I’ve ever owned/used/tried. The unit itself uses amazing technology that is so impressive, all I want to do is invite family and friends over so they can see how effectively it cools our home (you really have to see it for yourself to believe it). Let me share my reasons why I love my LG Dual Cool Smart Inverter RAC:

1.) It uses an amazing, super efficient technology. Tech-wise, the Dual Cool RAC is equipped with a Smart Inverter Compressor and a Dual Inverter Compressor which reduces energy consumption by up to 70 percent (that is huge–I was just as shocked/impressed). The Dual Inverter Compressor motor has a wide rotational frequency and a higher speed cooling range than a conventional compressor to allow the RAC to cool faster, last longer and run with less noise. The unit also has a 25 percent larger skew fan which expels powerful blasts of air through its large outlet, optimally designed to fill spaces with cool air faster and farther. No exaggeration, this air conditioner alone can cool our entire house (it is a bungalow), including the kitchen and two of the rooms that are near the living area.

2.) It is unbelievably quiet. This is one of the many things I love about this air conditioner because you wont even notice its there, yet the room is so comfortably cool. The RAC operates at the world’s lowest noise level thanks to LG’s unique BLDC motor, skew fan technology and Active Low Vibration Control (ALVC) feature. For all you moms to be, this is the aircon of you–your newborn will sleep so well because of it.

3.) It has a “Comfort Air” option. With just a click of the “Comfort Air” remote button, the Dual Cool RAC adjusts the vane angle to ensure that the out-flowing air does not blow directly to the user and cause sudden drops in body temperature. This was my gripe with other air conditioners, it can get too cold when the air is blowing at your face. This doesn’t happen with my LG Dual Cool RAC as it self-adjusts! It also maintains an incredible capacity for dehumidification to provide the most comfortable environment.

4.) Another great feature: Plasmaster IonizerPlus. The LG Dual Cool RAC has the option that can  disseminate over three million ions to sterilize and deodorize not only the air going through the RAC, but all surrounding harmful substances. Such a winner!

5.) LG’s trademark Mosquito Away option is amazingly effective. This feature uses ultrasonic sound to repel up to 82.7 percent of mosquitos. I mean, this alone is a reason to buy it. I absolutely detest mosquitos, and I am especially careful that they don’t bite my son, Tristan. I usually apply mosquito repellant spray on him even at home, but now no need because of this awesome feature! This can even be activated even when the RAC is not running.

6.) It has a Micro Dust Filter. This is a high-airflow, low-noise filter which employs a strong electrostatic charge on its surface to attract, trap and eliminate harmful microscopic substances and deliver fresh, clean air. Pretty cool, right!

7.) Also, it has an Auto Cleaning function. This is important, because it prevents the formation of bacteria and mold on the heat exchanger. By eliminating the humidity and germs left in the RAC, the auto cleaning function removes all substances that might be harmful to human body, keeps the indoor environment odor-less and maintains the cooling performance and longevity of the RAC even after 10 years of usage.

The LG Dual Cool Smart Inverter RAC is the latest energy solutions line of residential air conditioners with powerful cooling, comfort, convenience, and great energy efficiency. It comes in a variety of models for the different needs of consumers which includes Dual Cool Standard, Dual Cool Standard (Mosquito) and Dual Cool Deluxe.

Pricing of LG Dual Cool Smart Inverter RAC
Standard Inverter: HS18IST – 45,495 / HS24IST – 52,495
Premium Inverter: HS18ISP – 51,995 / HS24ISP – 59,995

Why this video made me feel like a kid again

I have to admit, before having a baby I never really cared about germs, viruses and bacteria. I mean, yes, I made sure I was as clean as I could possibly be but I didn’t really use an anti-bacterial soap or carry around a big bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer. I simply thought, if I’m sick, well, then I’m sick! There’s nothing I can do about it!

Fast forward to today and I am super concerned about my family’s health and well-being. I really make sure I have everything covered in terms of keeping everyone healthy and sickness-free. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone–including our helpers. Viruses have a way of spreading quickly throughout the entire house when one person is sick, which is why I really watch over every single person at home. As much as possible, my goal is to keep my son away from sickness (if it can be avoided, then I might as well do it right).

Like they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure (its cheaper, too), so I’ve made sure to pull on all the stops when it comes to keeping our home sickness-free. I’ve stocked up on anti-bacterial soap for my entire family to use, and bought plenty of anti-bacterial hand sprays for the house, the car, my purse and Tristan’s diaper bag. I’ve recently discovered the brand HYGIENIX as it was recommended by a mommy friend, and since we’ve started using it so far none of us have gotten sick! It also leaves a clean, fresh feeling after showering, which I love. And most importantly, it doesn’t dry our skin but leaves a bango fragrance.

I just saw the Hygienix ad online and I just had to share it. It made me nostalgic for all the Japanese kiddie live action series I used to watch as a kid (like BioMan, Shaider, Power Rangers, etc). I love that they copied the same storyline for the ad–it is so fun to watch! I was seriously rooting for the Shower Rangers to beat Germdugo! Lolz. I am getting flashbacks from all the series I watched as a kid!!!!

Hygienix Body Care Pure Defense Germicidal Soap is clinically-proven to kill 99.999% of disease-causing bacteria. It has a non-drying formula and long-lasting fragrance the whole family will love. Available in 65g and 125g bar soaps.

 

My shopping experience with Shipping Cart

It’s been awhile since I last blogged about Shipping Cart (you can read my first review HERE). I’ve been using them to ship all my online shopping purchases since last year and have been super happy with their service ever since. Funny, I am on my fourth box right now and have been busy switching windows blogging and shopping at the same time (haha which is why it’s taking me forever to write this post).

As you know, I love shopping online because I find so many amazing deals, especially during sale season. This is when my favorite luxury brands suddenly become reasonably priced and it just seems crazy if I don’t make the purchase considering how low the prices are. Also, all of Tristan’s baby clothes, toys, gear and accessories can be bought at a fraction of a price, which just makes sense! I swear, online shopping is the best!!!

Okay, so for those of you who don’t know, Shipping Cart is an online shipping service that allows you to ship goods from your favorite U.S. online retailers and ship them to your address in the Philippines. It is super quick and easy, and safe, affordable and efficient. I’ve never encountered a problem with them, and I can proudly recommend them to family and friends. My favorite thing about them is that the box is delivered straight to your doorstep–no need to pick it up at the post office or pay hidden dues/taxes. You pay once and get your box! It’s that easy.

I’ve created this simple step-by-step guide if you were wondering how to go about starting your box and using the Shipping Cart service.

STEP ONE: When you register for an account at www.shippingcart.com, you get a free Shipping Cart U.S. address and telephone number you can use as your delivery address when you checkout purchases from U.S. online stores. This is the information you’ll use for your shipping details so make sure you get it right. Based on experience, the best shopping sites I’ve ordered from are Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Asos and Shopbop. Unfortunately, Net-a-porter does not allow freight forwarding and Barneys does not allow different countries for your shipping address and credit card info address.

STEP TWO: Once your items are accepted at your Shipping Cart address, they will be queued for processing. Processing consists of inspection, weighing, and photography. Once this process has been completed, you will receive an email that your items are in your Shipping Cart dashboard.

STEP THREE: You may now select which items you want to shop to your preferred Philippine address, how you want to ship (via Air Cargoor Sea Freight), how much you want to insure your shipment (Shipping Cart offers up to US$500 for free), and what safe payment option (Credit Card, LBC Over-the-Counter or Paypal) you prefer.

STEP FOUR: When you’re done paying, your items will be queued for consolidation and shipping. You will receive a tracking number via email once your box ships out, which you can use to know the status of your shipment via the tracking tool on the website.

STEP FIVE: Now all you need to do is wait for your box to arrive at your front door.

YAY! I’m giving P250 off on your next shipment! All you have to do is use the code: kelly250 and it will give you the discount. Click HERE to go to the link! Happy online shopping!!! ❤

 

 

Get your Philux fix

Philux’s latest campaign: PHILUX FIX, was launched through a furniture and photo exhibit last month at the SM Mega Fashion Hall.

In case you didn’t know, Philux is a contemporary furniture retail and custom shop that began as a small family business 37 years ago. According to Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez, Philux’s head of sales and business development, “Philux started as a mom-and-pop business in the backyard of my mother’s ancestral home with two skilled carpenters creating rattan furniture.” Steph is the eldest daughter of Max and Zelda Kienle, who founded the furniture company. The company grew exponentially through the decades, and has since become a well-known brand in the Philippines.

The brand recently collaborated with influencers of different backgrounds to customize furniture of their choosing while infusing their own sense of aesthetics. “We selected people, most of whom are friends, to collaborate with us. We asked them to choose an existing Philux piece and customize it according to their needs, taste and preference,” says Jessica Kienle Maxwell, head designer, and youngest of the Kienle sister duo. “They are a good mix of different personalities, career paths, and different tastes so it has been such a creative and exciting experience for us and for them,” she adds.

Design collaborators include top photographer BJ Pascual, who designed his own piece as well as photographed all the other collaborators with their chosen furniture. BJ had photos he took on a trip to New York printed on his Fulton chairs.

Actress and artist Heart Evangelista Escudero, whose artwork on Birkin bags got everyone raving, opted to paint on her chosen Philux Polk chair and added embellishments and stated: “it’s my first time to work on furniture so this is quite new to me and I love it!”

Erwan Heussaff, on the other hand, went for a simpler piece stating, “I’m all about understated elegance. I’m not too showy so this Embla chair is just perfect.”

For the more sentimental like new mom Bianca Gonzalez Intal, actual hand prints of her, her husband’s and baby Lucia’s were printed on her Marquis Meridienne. “It’s going to be placed in our play room. We wanted something very comfortable and immortalize how little Lucia is right now, thus the hand print. It’s a nice thing to look back to when she is older. It’s really a family piece,” she says.

Other furniture pieces were jointly designed with Tessa Prieto Valdez, Karen Davila, Joey and Angie King, Chris and Clarisse Tiu, Pam Quiñones, Philux’s power duo Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Jessica Kienle Maxwell, Stephanie Zubiri Crespi, and Cristalle and Justin Pitt.

  

This is amazing news: Philux clients can indeed semi-customize their furniture by choosing from an in-house selection of wood, wood finish, fabrics, and accents such as mattings, handles, and glass tops, just as these celebrities did for this campaign.

A few of the Philux Fix pieces are currently on display at Philux Rockwell and Philux Megamall. Also available at Philux Shangri-la at the Fort are furniture pieces that may be ordered for a limited quantity.

For more info, check out www.philux.ph // LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/philuxinc // Follow them on Instagram: @_philux_ // Email them at: sales@philux.ph // Visit their showrooms: SM Megamall, Power Plant Mall, LRI Design Plaza, SM North Edsa, Shangri-La at The Fort.