Unboxing: Crate & Barrel

SM Retail through its subsidiary HMS Development Corporation and Crate & Barrel opened the first Crate & Barrel store in Manila last November 20.

Crate and Barrel opened its doors in 1962 as a family business started by Gordon and Carole Segal in Chicago, Illinois. The couple was inspired by the simple, well-designed, affordable products they had purchased on their honeymoon in Europe. The Segals decided to open a home furnishings store, calling it ‘Crate and Barrel’ after the shipping crates and barrels, which brought their inventory and became their first store fixtures. Working directly with European ateliers and factories to import their products, Crate and Barrel was among the first retailers to make modern tabletop and kitchenwares affordable to American consumers.

Aryanna and I were delighted to be invited during the VIP launch. Since I live in Makati, a trip to Megamall requires strategic planning to avoid traffic hell and getting a decent parking spot in the mall. The event was at 5:30 so we left Makati at 4pm to avoid the peak hour traffic and got lucky with parking so we were in the mall before 5pm. Not bad.

Early birds (from left): SM SVP for Operations Steven Tan, Aryanna and AVP of SM Premier Malls Mitch So

This is it!!!!!!!

I was so excited to shop, I forgot to take photos inside the store! Anyway, it’s more reason for everyone to visit the newly opened Crate & Barrel in Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall. All I can say is, it has everything you need and never thought you needed under one roof!

I’ve shopped in Crate & Barrel in the States and in Singapore. I’m familiar with their merchandise and the last time I was in Singapore I bought stemware and hand-carried them to Manila. I could only bring home 6 glasses at that time and I wanted to buy more. It was impossible to stuff them all in my suitcase. I was frustrated and the thought of having friends buy me more was stressful. When I heard that the store was opening in Manila, I was excited because I would be able to complete the glassware I previously bought.

Aryanna and I had only one shopping agenda: Buy the rest of the wine glasses (and maybe some other stuff too).

Let’s unbox my Crate & Barrel loot!!!

Before the reveal, I have a short story about the stemware I was obsessing about: If you watch Scandal, perhaps you have noticed that Olivia Pope subsists on a diet of red wine. The first time she took a sip of red on the show my eyes immediately went to the fishbowl-like wine glass she was holding! It’s just like me to pay attention to her “plato-platuhan”!

I took a mental note of Olivia Pope’s wine glass. I didn’t even bother Googling it but when I was in Singapore and shopped at the Crate and Barrel store, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the Camille 23 oz. Red Wine Glass. My heart skipped a beat, I knew I’d found it!!! True enough after searching Google, it confirmed that they are the Pope stemware!

OK, that’s my Crate & Barrel story. On to the unboxing…

Here are my new wineglasses.

Like most of my plato-platuhan, I personally wash and store them so there I don't have to blame anyone if anything gets broken.

I couldn’t help but also buy the jute table runner. It’s a tad big for our outdoor dining table but I like the dramatic effect of long cloth.

I also bought a beautiful copper plated pitcher. This will be ideal for serving water and doubles as a flower vase.

Like what I mentioned, I only had six of the Camille 23 oz. Red Wine Glass from my Singapore trip. Now, I have 9 of them and with matching Camille 13 oz. White Wine Glasses! My service for 8 (I buy one extra glass of my stemware in case of breakage) stemware is complete. I’m fulfilled haha!

Handmade beauties

The Crate & Barrel Camile Wine Glasses are elongated slender stems with a bubble bowl that’s perfect for cradling in hand to allow wines to open up and breathe. They’re sleek and sexy. Don’t they look elegant on the dining table?

Ready to use and abuse my purchases!

The best part about completing my collection is using them! However, I’m skipping wine or any other alcohol till I’m over the flu. It’s freshly squeezed OJ with tons of ice for now.

Scroll down for the Crate & Barrel catalogue:

I’d like to end this post by thanking Frank Briones of Thinline for making my Crate & Barrel shopping experience delightful. I really appreciate your help.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, visit Crate & Barrel!

Crate & Barrel is at the 4th floor of SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall

Five Favorites

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather last few days. It’s been a long time since I got sick and I hate the feeling. Especially that there’s so much work coming my way. I need to be in tip top shape ASAP. Resting at home though has its perks as I get to enjoy time with my son Dylan and spruce up the house. I also asked my helpers to organize my walk-in closet (we’re renovating it next Summer, so excited!) and it’s looking decent. I can actually walk in the room!

Here are some of my favorites this week:

1. Dylan & dirt. I love that my son enjoys playing outdoors and literally in the dirt more than tinkering with the iPad. It’s a challenge for a lot of parents to get kids active these days with all the gadgets available. Tom and I make an effort for our son to have balance in his life—racing the scooter with his dad in the village or tumbling on the bed with me and playing the Mad Skills Motocross 2 app on the phone too.

2. Velcro for Fall. I have this delusion that our weather changes from Summer to the rainy season to “Fall” (my excuse to change decorations at home). I know it’s ridiculous since we only have to seasons in the Philippines: Hot and very hot! LOL

Anyway, allow me to dream… Since it’s the “Fall” season, I changed the cushions of our vintage outdoor furniture to rich amber colors with printed leaves. Remember the striped yellow cushions I bought before? I  found a velcro version of it and it’s so much better that the tie cushions! They are inexpensive (P169 a piece from The Landmark) and they totally changed the look of our chairs!

3. Hmm… moisturizers! I’m planning another trip to the beach soon. Since I avoid tanning, I’m all about moisturizers and sunblocks. I’m loving the Lush Sesame Suntan Lotion SPF 10, Sunscreen Lotion! I like the scent of coco butter and sesame on my skin! The Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser, SPF 30 is also the perfect cream for dry skin and the scent of shea butter oil rocks!

 4. Coffee on the couch. Early this year, I decided to sleep and wake up early. I’m up at 4:30-5:00am almost everyday. I get a lot of work done and my skin is looking amazing! Getting 8-10 hours of sleep will do wonders for the skin. It’s also a wonderful feeling to have some “Me” Time before the crack of dawn.

5. Raise the food! Entertaining for the holidays is upon us. I love this 3-piece wooden cake stand I bought from Triboa Bay last weekend during the Designers’ Holiday Bazaar in Fashion Walk, Greenbelt 5. You can use them individually or all three! They can also double as food/display risers for the dining table (they double the table space and adds height to your centerpiece).

I’m going to take a nap now. I hope to feel 100% when I wake up. I have to.

Stay healthy!

Unboxing: The New Samsung Galaxy Alpha

I was invited last Wednesday by the folks at Samsung to an intimate affair in Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie to discuss about the trends in 2014 and 2015.

It was a gathering of gadget lovers, writers and other guests who are on top of the techie game. It was a very exciting and insightful discussion and everyone had fun!

The Samsung team also introduced their newest Galaxy Alpha mobile phone. I have to disclose that I was one of the lucky winners (there were two winners) during the raffle of the new phone. The last time I won a raffle from Samsung was three years ago! Thanks, Samsung and Odette!

Christmas came early for me!

Let’s open the box!!!

Tah-daaaaah!

I’ve own two Samsung mobile phones and I have to say that the Galaxy Alpha model is by far the sleekest and “sexiest” design. In my opinion, the Galaxy Alpha is best-looking handset Samsung has produced in years.

If you prefer a smaller size, lightweight or more solid build (compared to other Samsung phones), the Galaxy Alpha addresses those needs.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha is available Black, Silver and Gold color variants.

Let’s power up!

Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone with 4.70-inch 720×1280 display powered by 1.8GHz processor alongside 2GB RAM and 12-megapixel rear camera. You can Google the full details and spec.

Best part: The Samsung Galaxy Alpha fits into my evening bags! Yan, talaga ang “concern” ko haha!

Time to play with my new gadget!

Easy & Elegant Dish: Lemon Caviar Pasta

Caviar is one of those fancy food that I like eating. It’s great with crackers, eggs, cream cheese (caviar sandwiches are the bomb!) or mixed in with pasta.

You can buy caviar at leading groceries, delis or specialty stores.

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite caviar dishes that is super easy to make and affordable too! Yup, those fancy fish roe are not expensive if you use lumpfish caviar (price: P450-P1,000+ a small jar). Of course, Beluga and Ostera are better but they cost an arm and a leg.

Lemon Caviar Pasta

I love the saltiness of the caviar and the fresh lemon juice gives pasta a refreshing taste to it.

Ingredients:

Spaghetti or spiral pasta (I used quinoa pasta for this recipe. It has a nutty taste to it compared to regular pasta.)
1-2 tbsp caviar
2 tbsp. butter (I recommend French butter)
Fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

Step 1: Cook pasta until al dente. Drain quickly, leaving a little of the water.

Step 2: While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a pan and continue cooking until golden brown color (“noisette”) appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter.

Step 3: Quickly toss pasta with melted butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Step 4: Top with a large dollop of fresh caviar. You can squeeze more lemon juice if you wish.

Step 5: Serve with a smile! :)

Whenever the weather permits, I eat in our patio. I’m all about dining al freso these days. Can’t wait for the weather to be even cooler!

The most elegant dishes are the simplest—just a few basic pantry essentials and a dash special ingredient makes a mouthwatering dish. Easy to cook to!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, try this recipe!

Guest Blogging

The folks at Procter&Gamble invited me to be their guest blogger for the launch of their lifestyle website, EverydayMe.Ph.

The hassles of traveling include traffic, flight delays, and torture in the form of a screaming baby in the airplane. Tune it all out with a fool-proof guide on travel must-haves… Full story here.

Photography by Tom Epperson

Be the first to try out the latest P&G products, share your thoughts and feedback to the brands you love! All you have to do is register on their site.

Kitchen Progress: Elba Range Hood

Our kitchen was a major undertaking during our home renovation last Summer. We basically had to gut it—we knocked down a wall, built custom cabinets and replaced the sink. We also reconfigured the layout to suit our needs.

So much effort was put into rebuilding the kitchen because of all the rooms in the house, it was the most damaged area. We re-did everything from electrical to plumbing to tiling and painting just to make it functional. Also, there was no existing exhaust system for the range hood so we had to design and build from scratch.

The only consolation we had from all the stress of remodeling the kitchen was that we had an awesome gas range and a powerful range hood all from Elba.

Tom and I wanted an industrial style kitchen. Since it is the most used part of our home, we wanted something that is functional, easy to clean and manage and stylish at the same time.

We wanted a range hood that had a streamlined look to complement our industrial style kitchen. We got the Elba Planet X. It’s beautiful! It also has the suction power of 1000 m3/hr motor.

Tip: Any hood you consider should be at least as wide as the cooking surface it will be installed above. This will ensure better smoke capture and removal.

Tip: Be sure to install the range hood according to the manufacturer’s directions–typically, 18 to 30 inches above the burners. That gives you working room while helping to prevent steam or smoke from escaping to the sides.


Product details:

• 90 cm wall mount decorative hood
• Stainless steel design
• Single motor
• Suction power: 1000 m3/hr motor
• Aluminum cassette filter
• Push button controls
• 3 speed settings
• Ducted air version
• LED lights

Size: 90cm
Color: Stainless
Hood Mount: Wall Mount
Hood Speed: 3
Hood Switch Type: Push button controls
Power Requirements: 220V / 60Hz

Over-the-range hoods have become as stylish as they are practical. Now, most offer the commercial look of stainless steel—and you needn’t pay a pro-style price to get a pro-style hood. Elba has tons of range hood choices for different needs and budgets.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, visit Elba stores now!

Unboxing: Christmas Gifts From SM Home

The Christmas gifts are starting to pour in. I’m so grateful for friends and retailers who  remember me so early in the season.

I usually don’t open gifts until Christmas morning but when package from SM Home was delivered to our house, I knew it was something for Maison Epperson so I’m not waiting till December 25 to unwrap it!

Let’s open it!!!

Oh joy!!!!!!!

I was right: super cute Christmas decor for the home! I already displayed them on the table next to our Christmas tree (I’ll decorate our tree after Thanksgiving)!

Someone is loving the snowman and Santa loot!

Thank you SM Home! Special thanks to Tina Montinola Gonzalez for being so thoughtful!

Visit SM Home now!

Plato-Platuhan: Modern Filipino Style Breakfast

Setting up the dining table for breakfast is a ritual for me. It’s one of those things that I do at the start of the day to set the mood.

Table setting is often overlooked but its importance should not be minimized. Having a nice table setting affects your enjoyment of the meal which can even affect how well you digest your food.

For most mornings, I use my everyday white fine bone china. I use a colorful placemat to jolt my senses, silver or bamboo handle flatware, a big, clear glass tumbler for chugging water and a cup and saucer for the much-needed caffeine dose.

I woke up today craving for some Filipino breakfast. I thought I’d use one of my favorite plato-platuhan to complement my meal.

It’s a little mismatched and probably not my typical minimalist style table setting but I played with textures and made it more modern by using metallic touches such as the vinyl metallic placemat, bamboo design flatware and my favorite Alessi napkin ring:

I super love these banana leaf plates that I bought in Gourdo’s years ago! I use them for Filipino or Asian style tablescapes.

A touch of floral print cup and saucer

The best part about table setting is the food the go on the plate! This morning’s breakfast fare is Spicy Boneless Daing Flakes and…

White rice!

A little bit of effort goes a long way.

Have an inspiring day! Good morning!!!

Plato-platuhan breakdown:

Banana leaf ceramic plates: Gourdo’s
Bamboo design flatware and placemat: Rustan’s
Clear drinking glass: MUJI
Kenzo cup & saucer: Online find
White with floral design table napkin:
The Landmark
Napkin ring:
A di Alessi Girotondo Napkin Ring, Girl

Unboxing: My New Aranaz Bag

Aranaz bags hold a special place in my heart. I had my first ever fashion collaboration with Amina Aranaz-Alunan in 2005: The limited edition Jenni Epperson for Aranaz “Ati-atihan” Collection (it was also the birth of “The Coconut Bag”). Amina was also my first assistant and we both worked with ABS-CBN Publishing’s Chalk magazine. She was practically born in the bag business as her family has been exporting them for many years now. I remember her selling bags to friends until she decided to expand her skills and left the country to study at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, where she took up her masters in Accessories Design. She has since been designing bags for the company and has won several accessories design awards. I am so proud of her!

Last Summer, Aranaz bags debuted their Flamingo Bag and it was included in luxury fashion retailer site Moda Operandi‘s Curated Collection: La Dolce Vita, Resort 2015.

Since I stalk @ModaOperandi and @AranazPH on Instagram, the minute I saw the bag, I wanted it. Unfortunately, the beach bag sold out fast and I thought I missed out on it until a birthday package was delivered to my house last week.

Let’s open it!!!

Tah-daaaaaah!!!!!!!!

The Flamingo Bag is made from straw, tinilak, leather, fabric lining, leather handles and proudly made in the Philippines.

This is perfect for my tropicana trip!

It is crazy beautiful!!! I love the pink flamingos!

I was able to view Aranaz’ Summer 2015 collection at the recently concluded Manila FAME and I’ve got my eye on another straw tote with palm leaves. It’s fabulous!

Thank you Amina, Rosanna and Tita Becky for my birthday gift! Can’t wait to get my hands on your Summer collection!

Shoppingera, visit Aranaz boutiques now!

Aranaz shops:
ARANAZ Rockwell
2/F Power Plant Mall
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
t: (02)-8907559

ARANAZ Greenbelt
2/F Greenbelt 5
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
t: (02)-7570301

Raffles Hotel, Makati
Balesin Resort, Quezon
Amanpulo Resort, Palawan
District 32, Cebu International Airport
Shangri-la Mactan, Cebu

The Secret Is Out! Lucky Rainbow + The Best Fried Rice In The Metro

I’ve been holding off blogging about this as I wasn’t sure if I should share with you my new favorite Chinese restaurant that also serves the best fried rice in the metro. My fear was after blogging it I might not be able to get a table anymore, haha! Anyway, my passion for sharing all things good and yummy is stronger than my indulgences so here it is…

I’m talking about Lucky Rainbow (Royal Banquet) Seafood Restaurant. I discovered it last Summer while my family and I were busy going back and forth to Home Depot in Pasong Tamo (the restaurant is beside Mitsubishi and a few buildings away from Home Depot) during our house renovations. I made a mental note of the place so we could go back and try it.

Unfortunately, my memory failed me as I totally forgot about the place the minute our renovation ended haha! Good thing my friends called me for an afternoon of dimsum delight in the new resto. We ordered almost everything (exage!) and ate everything. The food was so yummy that after devouring the lauriat-style meal, no one uttered a word and we were all slumped in our chairs trying to digest what we consumed. I’ve never seen my friends look so full in my life! Food coma ang peg! LOL

Lucky Rainbow offers private rooms with karaoke. Sing, eat and be merry!

It was a good thing that I went with friends the first time, at least na-test drive na for The Eppersons.

Lucky Rainbow’s hits:

Lucky Rainbow Fried Rice – This is the restaurant’s signature fried rice. I’m telling you, you don’t need to order any other rice but this. It’s fried rice with scallops, crabs, assorted veggies in a pool of light creamy pumpkin soup/sauce. I know what you’re you’re thinking: PUMPKIN SOOOUP?!!! Wag kang judgemental! Lasapin ang ebidensya. Ang saraaaap!

Hakaw - They’re the typical steamed shrimp dumplings. They’re good with chili and soy sauce.

Xiao Long Bao – I love the flavor of the ground pork in the dumpling and the soup is tasty. Very good dumplings!

Pork Asado (Grilled Pork with Honey Sauce) – This is the Epperson’s favorite dish! The thinly sliced pork is tender and the glaze is sweet and delicious!

Roast Layer Pork (Macau Style) - Crispy, salty and fatty pork that will leave you wanting for more. Warning: Galaw-galaw baka ma-stroke! LOL

I also recommend the Sweet & Sour Pork and Fried Minced Pork with Baguio Beans. Sorry, no photo as we devoured them before I could whip out my camera.

Tip: If you’re 3-4 people dining, just order Small size as it’s good enough for sharing.

Whenever we bring our 4-year old on Dylan to Lucky Rainbow, they serve the Lucky Rainbow Fried Rice in Mickey Mouse form. Cute!

Since the first time my family and I tried Lucky Rainbow, we’ve been having lunches and dinners there quite often. So often that we’ve memorized the menu! I swear, I should get a VIP Card already from this joint!

We still have to try a lot of the dishes. So far, so yummy and the price is not bad at all.

The service has also improved since the first time I've been to the resto. Good job, guys! Keep it up!

We’re so at home at Lucky Rainbow that my son has no qualms about doing his Kung-Fu moves whenever he hears Chinese music playing. Oh. My. Dylaaan.

Lucky Rainbow’s food gets cute peace signs from Dylan and Aryanna!

Our favorite table

Ayan, the secret is out na! Good luck na lang sa amin na makakuha ng table next time! LOL

Lucky Rainbow (Royal Banquet) Seafood Restaurant branches: Ground Level, Patriarch Building, 2224 Pasong Tamo corner Don Bosco St., Makati City (478-1385); Sabino Padilla St Binondo, Manila (313-8584); Unit 201-204, Z Square Mall, Del Monte Ave. Damar, Quezon City (921-0716)

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