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!

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)

What Moms Can Learn From Stella McCartney’s Style

Moms have one of the toughest and most challenging jobs in the world. It takes a lot of commitment, love, nurturing, effort and time to be one. Sometimes, it feels as if there’s not enough time in a day to do what needs to be done at work and to take care of the family at the same time. More so, to look put together while balancing life. Being a mother is amazing, but it isn’t always glamorous.

Unless you are a mom and a woman of leisure at the same time, long gone are your days of aimlessly wandering through malls, trying to find the perfect dress for a party. And spending every free time having mani/pedi done. That’s a cruel thing of the past. When you’re a working mom, getting ready is more a feat of speed and efficiency than leisure and luxury. It’s true.

I’ve always admired designer Stella McCartney’s style. She’s a working mom and she always looks put together in a cool (not matronly) manner.

I’ve decoded Stella’s style and we can all learn from this fashion icon on how to look refined and not frumpy despite life’s challenges:

Dress + Statement shoes – It’s easy to wear a classic shift dress to a party but nothing spells mommy than a shapeless dress with zero personality. Choose simple dresses with cool details such as a mullet shift dress and pair it with cool shoes. Keep the makeup light and for love of god, comb your hair! LOL

It’s all about proportions. Not all moms are comfortable in wearing shorts and minis. Maybe some feel it’s inappropriate to wear them when you’ve hit 40. My take on shorts and minis is that as long as you’ve got the legs and attitude for it, go for gold! Skip the tank top, instead, pair them with a white long sleeved shirt or blouse or even with a blazer and t-shirt combo. Also, wear nude sandals to keep those legs looking long.

Stylish moms and BFFs Stella McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow rock the denim shorts and mini dress.

Trailblazer. The fastest way (and the most flattering for any body shape too) to look refined during “ngarag” days is throwing on a blazer over your outfit. Whether you’re wearing a jeans and t-shirt combo or if don’t know what to wear to a cocktail party, a good-fitting blazer can instantly take your from dag to fab!

Jean-ius! You don’t have to be the daughter of The Beatles’ Paul McCartney to rock denim jeans. The key to looking cool and classy at the same time is choosing a pair of that fits well and flatters your body. Keep the top simple, no frills and pair it with high heels for a refined look.

Dress to impress. Dresses are tricky when you hit a certain age. Depending on the print and cut, it could easily age a woman. Avoid too many printed dresses and go for solid colors and fresh silhouettes such as a denim tunic, a scuba-inspired dress or dresses with interesting hem details and throw on a cropped evening jacket.

Black & white. Neutral colored pieces are the building blocks of every woman’s wardrobe especially for working moms. Buy good quality, classic pieces of black and white separates, suits and even shoes. They will save you from everyday wardrobe woes. Also, choose interesting cuts and play with textures to keep it modern.

Have a ball! Formal affairs are rare and special. Buy an evening dress or two that are both stylish, elegant and fun. Skip glittery gowns and go for sleek style. Your wardrobe should only enhance your personality and not literally shine bright like a diamond in the room. LOL

It’s not an easy gig in balancing family and “fashion” but with a little effort, dressing up can be simple and fun!

Go moms!

Our Christmas Tree Is Up!

We usually put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving but since we’re preparing for a big garage sale (watch out for this!!) I decided to start decorating for the holidays to lessen the boxes in our stockroom (aka Dylan’s room which is still under renovation).

I posted a photo of the family putting up the tree on Instagram last night and realized that our white tree looks great unadorned!

Photo taken using Instgaram

I’m loving the sparse look! I’m holding off in decorating the Christmas tree or at least until after Thanksgiving.

Although, I am also very excited to decorate it as I’m dedicating the Christmas tree this year to my daughter Aryanna. It’s going to be personalized and amazing! I can’t wait! Tune in!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, when do you start decorating for the holidays?

Maison Epperson: Glam-O-Ween Décor

Halloween is fun! But all the creepy, crawly, scary, sometimes down right nasty decorations can be a little much. Personally, I prefer cute over “kata-cute” when decorating for Hallow’s Eve.

Time to trick out Maison Epperson with some easy, simple and inexpensive decorations. It’s all about glam-o-ween!

Killer entrance. Plastic neck and wrist shackles hung by the door knob makes a spooktacular welcome!

Jack O’ Glam-terns. Paper pumpkin masks look chic and fun when displayed on the shelves.

Pumpkin spice. A baby pumpkin makes a cute and creepy display in the powder room.

Bewitching! Mylar Halloween banners displayed on the gates of hell can hold up to any temperature and weather till the witching hour.

True blood. A foam apron doubles as  a scary signage for the foyer.

Trick or treat? What’s Halloween without costumes, candies and kids?

What is "gigil?" Our dahling Dylan is the cutest pirate ashore!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, what’s brewing in your home this Halloween?

Plastic neck and hands shackles and foam apron: The Landmark
Paper masks and mylar banners: National Book Store
Baby pumpkin: Rustan’s The Marketplace

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