7-Day Lifestyle Makeover

I like my lifestyle. Scratch that, I love my life!

Taken at Isola, Hong Kong. Photography by Tom Epperson

In my early 30′s, I started becoming more self-aware and being attuned to people and my environment. I also listed down some of my dreams, goals and aspirations in life and made efforts in taking steps (a.k.a. hard work) in achieving them. My mantra: one task at a time. Over time, I saw results. It’s a nice feeling.

I am at a point in my life where I feel that I am reaping some of the “good life” from years of investing in improving every aspect of my life. It’s not the perfect life, but I’m perfectly happy with it.

I believe in lifestyle makeovers. They help improve ones life. Below are my tried and tested list of simple but powerful ways in having a positive life.

Day 1: No TV or radio for a day. For as much as I love watching TV, home movies and listening to the radio (especially when I’m driving) they can be distractions to everyday living. It’s easy to flop onto a couch or watch TV in bed and tune out to the world. For one day, concentrate on participating in life. Not watching TV forces me to read, spend quality time with family and friends or just being alone with my thoughts. Looking for other ways to relax can be therapeutic and productive at the same time.

Day 2: De-clutter your space. Start small. Conquer the clutter in one of your everyday spaces like the bathroom sink or your desk/cubicle. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, organize a bookshelf or a drawer that hasn’t seen the light of day.

Perfume tray to keep my scents organized. Photography by Tom Epperson

Baby steps are important. Sure, a small area won’t barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Before you know it, you’ll have cleared a whole closet or a room and then half your house and then… who knows? This is what I tell myself while I’m unpacking 52 million boxes from our big move, haha! Learn to love the uncluttered look.

Remember: “Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony” – Albert Einstein

Day 3: Eat healthy & drink lots of water. For one day, eat only healthy meals and hydrate yourself. Make a salad (don’t douse it with salad dressing), eat some fruits, skip sugary desserts and drink 8 glasses of water. Food can affect one’s mood.

Day 4: Groom yourself. Get a mani/pedi, book a facial (try Facial Care Centre), get a haircut, go to a spa or do at-home beauty treatments and pamper yourself. You deserve it! Looking good is feeling good.

Day 5: Be selfless. Pay it forward for a day. Help out a friend or help with the house chores. You can also volunteer your time and help the needy. Make others your priority.

Day 6: Be delightful. Be pleasant and nice to everyone. Be mindful of words. No negative thoughts for a day and be the source of joy. People are attracted to positive energy. The easiest way is to smile.:)

Taken at L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon, Hong Kong. Photography by Tom Epperson

Day 7: Take a walk. Everyone needs time to reflect. Walking is both therapeutic and good for the heart.

I believe that one can achieve true, sustained, health and happiness, by taking small, continuous, and, most importantly, gentle steps forward. Small, gentle steps mean incrementally adding things into your life (healthy foods, creativity, healthy relationships) in amounts that don’t add stress to our already stressful lives, and that can be sustained and only increased when we’re ready.

You don’t have to follow the list above step by step, you can mix it up but do one task a day. Build good habits by doing good everyday. I promise you, your life will change in the best possible way. It’s never too early or too late to start.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, are you excited to start?

How to Have a Delightful Bath Time

It’s the rainy season again. Tom and I were reminiscing how much we loved playing in the rain when we were kids. So when we upgraded the bathroom in our new house, we chose a rainfall showerhead. The soft droplets of water transports us to our youth—tampisaw sa ulan lang ang eksena, haha!

Showering has become even more delightful thanks to the new Palmolive Natural Body Wash!

The new Palmolive Naturals Body Wash

Make shower time extra special with Palmolive Naturals Body Soft Moisture Wash Milk & Honey. It’s my favorite of the three variants! It’s sweet-smelling and leaves the skin soft and smooth to the touch.

Soft Moisture - infused with 100% natural milk proteins and honey extracts. Honey is known to deeply cleanse and moisturize your skin while it wraps you in soft milk & honey fragrance.

Dry skin? Go for Palmolive Naturals Ultra Moisture Body Wash Milk & Olive. My husband prefers this scent.

Ultra Moisture - infused with milk proteins and olive extracts. Olive helps condition your skin. Its rich formula will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Stressed? Light a candle in the bathroom and shower or soak in the tub using Palmolive Naturals Calming Moisture Body Wash Milk & Cherry Blossom. The scent lingers from the time you go to sleep till you wake up. Namaste.

Calming Moisture - infused with milk and cherry extracts. Cherry blossom is known to soothe and moisturize skin with a floral aroma that lasts.

Don’t just take my word for it, try the new Palmolive Naturals Body Wash. They’re Irresistible!

For only P80 per 200mL bottle sulit na! If you buy now, you also get a free scrub with it.

Tip: If you like foot spas at home, use your favorite Palmolive Naturals Ultra Moisture Body Wash to soak your feet. It will leave your skin soft, moisturized and smelling good. Try it!

Pa-ubos na yung Palmolive Naturals Soft Moisture Body Wash Milk & Honey ko. I’m panicking a bit. Baka magkaubusan. Alam na. Tirahan n’yo ako, ha! LOL

See you at the grocery!

Visit www.facebook.com/Palmolive Naturals

Five Favorites

I grew up in Laguna. Eating puto, kakanin, harvesting veggies and fruits from our backyard garden and having clothes made by a dressmaker were the norm.

When I moved to the city, I loved the energy and how whenever I needed anything, I could get it fast and easy. I could buy puto or other kakanin from the grocery or I could also shop for vegetables at an organic market. It’s also a breeze shopping for RTW at any department store or order pasta through a delivery service, however, fast doesn’t always equate to quality.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to make my own puto, I just want a good puto and maybe have house dresses made by a local dressmaker.

Here are some of my current favorite things:

Isla Cafe by XO 40 Bistro’s Puto, Century City Mall, Makati

In my opinion, Isla Cafe by XO Bistro makes the best puto in the metro! The secret is that they use purely rice flour (as suppose to mixing regular flour)—it makes it soft, moist (the texture is almost like a cake) and when refrigerated can last up to three days. Aryanna and I could finish six assorted puto in one sitting! Perfect for tea time too.

When buying at their free-standing store, don’t feel awkward when the sales staff calls you Señorito or Señorita since it’s part of their customer service. Look for Joy if you’re at their Century City Mall branch.

Tip: To re-heat, steam the puto.

2. Isla Cafe’s Sapin-sapin & Malaubeng Panaginip, Century City Mall, Makati

Yes, these kakanin are also from Isla Cafe by XO 46 Bistro Filipino. Sapin-sapin is my favorite all-time kakanin. Their version is TDF! The halayang ube with leche flan or Malaubeng Panaginip is the bomb! Nothing compares.

3. Fresh produce from our backyard

Our new home has a sprawling lawn and backyard and we’ve been gardening. Last weekend, Tom bought a few plants and herbs to grow. The calamansi and green chili plants were already with fruits so we picked a few. Nothing beats growing your own vegetables and fruits!

4. Tropical print fabrics

I was walking through the mall with my daughter Aryanna and our feet led us to the fabric section of Glorietta. I saw some beautiful printed Japanese Cotton (super soft and light) and decided to buy a few yards. I want to have house clothes made. I will update you on how they turn out.

5. Cafe Ilustrado’s Machito Pasta, SM, Makati City

Machito Pasta is Cafe Ilustrado’s signature pasta. I always order it whenever I’m SM, Makati. It’s whole wheat pasta with beef tenderloin strips, shiitake mushroom, garlic, olive oil & Worcestershire Sauce. Ang sarap.

I’m missing the province. I always thought of myself as a city girl but there is something charming, cozy and easy about country living. Someday…

Acne Vulgaris Buster

Acne vulgaris, also known as acne or red spots, is the most common skin disease worldwide. In a white paper released by the Skin Health Alliance, prevalence of self-reported acne among individuals age 15-25 is documented to be as high as 91%. The study further stresses possible emotional and psychological effects, to quote: “There is probably no single disease which causes more psychic trauma, more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feeling of inferiority and greater sums of psychic suffering than does acne vulgaris.” Dr. Susan Estanislao, Counseling Psychologist from the De La Salle University Manila, thus reinforces “the need for creating an empowering atmosphere that will help teens overcome these struggles.”

As part of its commitment in promoting health and hygiene education among Filipino families, Safeguard introduces Derma Sense, its first-ever premium line of acne solution products.

Use safeguard Derma Sense in acne prone areas such as the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders.

Safeguard Derma Sense leverages Safeguard’s expertise in skin health and antimicrobial cleansing with the launch of a dermatologically tested line of face and body bars and washes that are proven to help visibly reduce acne in 89% of users. “Bacteria are a critical root cause of acne and the first step in managing mild to moderate acne is keeping skin protected from acne-causing bacteria through regular cleansing of the skin using an antimicrobial soap,” shares Dr. Ma. Pilar Lagdameo-Leuenberger, Fellow of Philippine Dermatological Society.

Maro Torres, Brand Manager for Safeguard, explains, “Safeguard Derma Sense recognizes that the effects of acne can be more than just physical, and that the brand has a role to play in empowering consumers, especially Moms and their teens, in facing up to acne.”

Safeguard Derma Sense advocates the adoption of a regular cleansing regimen with a well-tolerated antimicrobial soap that helps reduce levels of skin bacteria and play a part in early acne management.  More importantly, it commits to helping empower parents and teens #FaceUp to acne through resources that aim to pioneer the understanding on the causes, consequences and potential treatment of acne.

Wish List for Maison Epperson

Renovating a house is no joke.

I’m loving this poster:

So true. Hahahahaha

Truthfully, all I need are the basics. I have almost everything we need except for some decent furniture and appliances that need to be upgraded. Our washing machine and refrigerator are older than my 18-year old daughter. OMG.

So Tom and I have been researching on appliances, furniture and home accessoires. There are a lot of cool ones out now:

Samsung Food ShowCase Refrigerator

Everyone wants a Samsung refrigerator these days. So do we.

We’re eyeing on the Samsung Food ShowCase Refrigerator. We like the Metal Cooling feature which locks in cold and seals in freshness. It has a stainless steel paneling that helps maintain consistent temperature throughout the refrigerator. The exterior showcase gives you instant access to drinks and condiments, while the InnerCase lets you store large, fresh food items. It is also equipped with Samsung’s trademark Digital Inverter Technology. Awesome.

LG 5.8 cu.ft. MEGA Capacity High Efficiency Top Load Washer with TurboWash™ Technology

Cool features:
•TurboWash™ Technology
•5.8 cu.ft. MEGA Capacity
•Front Control Design
•WaveForce™ Technology
•SmartDiagnosis™

Noguchi Lantern

Our new old house was built in the 1960′s. The formal living room is a loft type so the ceiling is high (approximately 20 ft.). We want a lighting fixture that is sizable yet light (no to gigantic chandeliers for safety reasons).

The Akari Light Sculpture of Isamu Noguchi is a beauty. It’s art.

TDK A73 Wireless Boombox

AAAHHHHHHH! I so love the streamlined look! Imagine a boombox in the formal living room. So cool.

Best part? Streaming your music via Bluetooth is easy and painless – just select the Bluetooth option with the rotary control, and you’ll have paired your devices in a matter of seconds.

The sound quality is better than those small speaker docks for the iPhone.

Scalamandré “Zebras”

I’m in love with these leaping zebras!

Peacock Chair

What’s a 1960′s home without a fan back chair?

Please let me know where I can buy a peacock chair. I need this in my life.

To quote Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf:

Shoppingero/shoppingera, what’s on your wish list?

Coming Soon: Potterybarn & Potterybarn Kids

This news couldn’t have come at a better time.

Potterybarn & Potterybarn Kids are coming to town! Woohoo!

Pottery Barn is an American-based home furnishing store chain with retail stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. Since September 1986, when it was purchased from GAP, Inc, Pottery Barn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

I like Potterybarn for its classic pieces that can stand the test of time, and their stuff is great quality for the money.

I just know my husband Tom would love this aged leather chair.

Blue & white love

Vintage inspired curtain rods

Glam stool

Party bucket & table combo

Indoor/outdoor pendant

Chic galvanized Cook's Caddy

We've been composting at the new Maison Epperson. Will add to cart this Compost Bin.

Plato-platuhan!!!!!!!

My son gets his own room at the new house. I’m looking forward to shopping Potterybarn Kids.

Cool truck lamp

For the princess' room

Nautical beddings

Happy hampers

Thank you Anton Huang for the lovely gifts!

Love these Potterybarn flameless wax pillars. They are battery-operated so no worries about burning down the house. They look like real candles too!

Can’t wait to shop for Maison Epperson at Potterybarn & Potterybarn Kids!

Who’s ready to play bahay-bahayan? Mark your calendars: July 16 at the new mall in Bonifacio High Street

Revealed: Manila’s Secret Luxury Shop

Some people will probably be pissed at me for revealing one of the most-kept Instagram shops in the metro because by blogging about it means more competition on who gets the latest and pre-loved merchandise of @exquisitemanila (Exquisite Manila). #SORRYMOM na but I believe that sharing is caring.

Manila’s who’s who, bags and shoe hoarders, and watch collectors stalk their IG account to get the best and hard-to-find buys. Customers also anticipate their Fast Break Sale wherein the prices are super marked down.

The woman behind the successful Exquisite Manila is Tet Rodriguez.

Bag lady Tet Rodriguez

I caught up with Tet at her new shop and got the 4-1-1 on her thriving business.

How did you get started in the business?
I was inspired by my mom who’s been a jeweler for almost 5 years till present. I started to sell for my mom as her agent.


There are a lot of fake merchandise being sold around. How do you guarantee the authenticity of your bags, watches, and other products you sell?

Majority of my bags are purchased abroad with supporting receipts. For pre-owned bags, I also buy it abroad from reputable stores that comes with receipt as well. Same as the watches, for brand new ones, I purchase it abroad with a warranty. And since most of my stocks are Rolex and Cartier, there’s an authentication service center that can assess it. Rest assured, any client that requests verification can be backed up by these centers.

Have you had a customer that challenged the authenticity of your merchandise? What did you do about it?
Yes, I encountered a lot of those. And like I said in the previous question, there’s an authentication for watches. I can also guarantee money back if it’s proven counterfeit.

What do you sell more of? Brand new or pre-loved items?
70% brand new and 30 % pre-loved for bags; watches 70% pre-loved and 30% brand new

What are the top 5 brands/styles of bags that your customers look for?
Hermés (Birkin), Chanel (GST, Flaps), Prada (Tessuto bags), Louis Vuitton (Speedy, Pochette), Céline (Mini Luggage), Balenciaga (City)

With the success of Exquisite Manila’s online shop, why did you decide to open a boutique?
It will be easier for my clients to transact with Exquisite Manila because of the location and I believe that people will trust me more if they see I have a physical store more than just selling online.

Are all your items available inside Exquisite Manila shop? Can anyone drop by or do they need an appointment?
All the bags are there and some accessories and jewelries but watches are by appointment.

What makes Exquisite Manila different from other boutiques?
We carry wide variety of luxury brands at very affordable prices and lenient term payment. We also provide good service and loyalty to our customers.

What kind of payments do you accept? How does your layaway plan work?
We accept cash payment, credit cards and layaway. Layaway is like installment but we have to clear first all the postdated checks before we release the item. We accept up to 12 months layaway with interest usually 2-3% per month.

Exquisite Manila’s is located at Unit 2-C1 2nd Floor (above Conti’s), Serendra Commercial, Bonifacio High Street Bonifacio City, Taguig, Philippines; Instagram: @exquisitemanila; Mobile No: 09158979381/09052165997; Telephone: (02) 522-2868; Email: exquisite.manila@gmail.com; Website: www.exquisitemanila.com.ph

Five Favorites

I haven’t had a decent social life in months. Sagabal ang lipat-bahay sa gimmick, haha! Seriously, I miss my friends.

In the meantime, I’ve been taking comfort in some of my favorite things:

1. Everyone loves a good Pho especially when you can have it in the comforts of your own home. Thanks to Pacific Soup Starter’s Vegetarian Pho Soup Base (available at Healthy Options), we don’t have to slave for hours to cook the soup. Just heat it up on the stove and add your cooked meat (I suggest adding my Lean Mean Meatballs recipe), veggies and your favorite Thai condiments. Tastes good!

2. Cute containers are everything! I love these Muji Widemouth PET Bottle with Aluminum Cap. Great for serving milk or any kind of liquids. I also got the Muji Rattan Basket to hold the bottles.

3. I’m obsessed with slip-ons or skater’s shoes. They are easy, comfy, and good for skateboarding (obviously) and walking. The Céline Skate in blue python slip-ons are both comfy and cool.

4. Glass candy jars are versatile, stylish and affordable. I have several at home that I use for storing candies and cornick. You can get them at any Home section of department stores. I bought mine a long time ago at Crossing Department Store, Shangri-la Mall.

5. After living in a condo for many years, it’s nice to have a lawn and backyard again. Our new house has big trees on the surrounding and lots of space for gardening. I also love that our Master Suite has a tree top view. I forgot how much I loved being surrounded by foliage. Nature is truly inspiring.

Dear friends,

As soon as I’ve conquered the clutter at the new Maison Epperson, I will throw a party. Every week. Humanda kayo.

I miss you all!

xo,

J

Monday Musings

The Eppersons did it! We finally made the “big move” yesterday and amazingly enough, we survived.

However, the new Maison Epperson is looking more like a warehouse than a home these days. There are boxes, furniture, bags, etc. all piled up and scattered throughout house. We are all overwhelmed with our stuff. How do we tackle the clutter?!!

We still have workers repairing different parts of the house, extra people helping us unpack and organize our stuff and on top of that, taking care of an energetic 4-year old. Tom and I also have pending work, blog backlog, etc. The To-do List goes on and on till the break of dawn.

Tom and I are very fortunate that we have control over our schedules. We take advantage of the flexibility of our time so that we can deal with our children’s needs and the house renovation hands on, but sometimes, it’s just too much.

This morning, I decided to let go for a few hours and do something fun: I made myself a cup of coffee in one of my favorite cups, took a long shower in our newly upgraded Master’s bathroom (rain shower head is everything!!!) and blogged (Chili Cheese Chicken Tenders recipe here).

This was my view this morning while working:

The tree top view from the Master's Suite at the new Maison Epperson is love.

I have nothing to complain about.

Except for a lurking doughnut bandit.

That’s it, pansit. Back to reality.

Cheese Anything: Chili Cheese Chicken Tenders

I haven’t cooked a decent meal in probably three months because of our home renovation. Last week, my kids were already complaining. They wanted something yummy and cheesey.

Aryanna: “What’s for dinner?”
Dylan: “Oatmeal again?”
Me: “Sorry guys, mom’s been busy. What do you want me to cook?”
Aryanna: “Anything with cheese.”
Dylan: “Yeah!”

Last week, Eden Cheese sent me goodies. Thought I’d whip up something super simple and cheesey. Kids love cheese anything!

Chili Cheese Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

Cooking oil, for frying
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs or Japanese bread crumbs
2 tbsp. chili powder (don’t worry, this is not spicy, it just has a smokey flavor)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2-3/4 cup Eden Cheese, grated

Easy peasy:

Step 1: Preheat oil to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: Cut the chicken breasts into long strips and set aside.
Step 3: Beat the 2 eggs in a separate bowl and measure the flour into another separate dish.
Step: Measure the panko into a plate or shallow bowl and season with chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Step 5: Dip the chicken strips into the flour, the beaten egg and then dredge them into the seasoned panko.
Step 6: Fry in the hot cooking oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown, and remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray.
Step 7: Grate Eden Cheese on top of the chicken tenders while it’s hot and sprinkle a little chili powder.
Step 8: Serve with a smile :)

Try this recipe and I guarantee you, waley na reklamo from the kids! LOL

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