An Opportunity of a Lifetime (Part 2)

Finally, a follow-up to the hubby’s widely read travelogue about his trip to Toronto last year.  This time, he’ll talk about food!  

(Click here for the 1st part.)

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Hi everyone, I’m back.  Anyway, as promised, let me share with you my culinary experiences during that 3-week stay in downtown Toronto.

The Hyatt on King Street West was my temporary home.  I had such a great time as a guest there, and it also helped that there are many Filipinos employed as staff.  The warm hospitality and the kumustahan were always just around the corner, heheI I also encountered other Pinoys employed in the different supermarkets and stores that I visited.  Normally, I’d lead my question with the word ‘Kuya’ or ‘Ate’ to establish my own identity as a Pinoy – and then we’d sometimes converse in Tagalog right then and there, a quick break from having to speak straight English for days at a time.  Don’t get me wrong though – many Canadians I encountered in shops were actually very friendly and helpful and that really helped make my stay enjoyable.

Thankfully, breakfast was included with my hotel lodgings. I breakfasted at the hotel from Mondays to Fridays, and because of that I made friends with many of the café staff.  I normally started with a couple cups of coffee while viewing the local news channel to wake up my sleepy brain. Typical fare for me would be a croissant, bacon or sausage, eggs, plus potatoes and veggies. I then washed them all down with a glass of orange juice and then off to work I would go.

I ate sooo much bacon during those days – when I got back to Manila I couldn’t even look at bacon again for several months afterwards.

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A Day at West Elm in Estancia Mall

Next to bags and paper products, shopping for stylish home items is something I am addicted to.  So when I learned that West Elm has opened at the beautiful (but small) Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons (just beside the Ynares Sports Arena in Kapitolyo, Pasig),  I made sure to check it out last weekend.

West Elm was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 2002 by the same company that established Pottery Barn Kids,  and it features contemporary furniture and houseware designs.  Their products are sourced around the globe, thus helping grow local makers, artisans and manufacturers.  They have also collaborated with both emerging and established designers for limited edition product features.

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Casetta del Divino Zelo

If you’ve been to Ilog Maria’s Honeybee Farm in Silang, Cavite then you’ve probably seen this gated “house” outside Ilog Maria – covered with potted plants and baby trees.

Last month when AJ and I went to Ilog Maria to buy more of their natural bee pollen (which we take daily), we made sure to check out this gated “house”, which we learned from friends was a little convent that serves really good and fresh Italian food.

It’s called Casetta del Divino Zelo and is being run by the Daughters of Divine Zeal.  I was surprised to see a big compound inside a seemingly small gate, and was smitten by the many landscapes there like this one – literally a “green” fountain!

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Here’s the other side of it.

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The plant-covered walkway will lead you to this quaint and open chapel.

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Cath Kidston’s Summer Sale!

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Check it out, ladies!  Cath Kidston’s biggest sale (of the year) is now on!  Just click on the banner above and start shopping away!

I haven’t decided yet if I will buy from this sale, but seeing that there are lots of items marked down at 40%, I might just swipe my credit card away!

Thankfully, I am eyeing only 1 item – a cup and saucer set – but I wanted to get 6 of these so I can use them at tea parties, hehe!

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That relaxing country side scene is calling me:

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It’s being retailed for $16.00 (around Php 720) per set.  Not cheap, noh?  But this one’s made of fine bone china so I guess that makes it cheaper than, say, Royal Albert.

What do you think, ladies?  Do you say “Aye” or “Nay” to this set?   =)

Oh, If you feel like beating me to the purchase, I promise I won’t get mad at you, hehe!  Here’s the link if you want to buy it right away.

Happy shopping!

Bag of Beans @ Twin Lakes, Tagaytay

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I had a very challenging week at work, and what I wanted to do right now is to drive off to Tagaytay and hole up there until Sunday.  That is, if only I can drive (and I don’t know how hehe)!

AJ and I were actually there last weekend, and as I took my mind off work, my eyes opened up to this picture-perfect restaurant that we discovered while cruising the Tagaytay-Nasugbu road last Sunday.

The restaurant is none other than the newest branch of Bag of Beans which we discovered at Twin Lakes, a vineyard resort community in Laurel, Batangas.

My last visit to Bag of Beans was in 2012, and that was at their main branch in the heart of Tagaytay City (read my post HERE).  My first impression of the place then was that it looks and feel like “home”.

But their newest branch at Twin Lakes really looks like home – my “future home” hehe!  It has everything I dream of having for our future rest house / vacation home in Tagaytay: distressed woods, lots of open spaces, lots of natural light, machuca tiles, upcycled things, hand-painted furniture, … and the list could go on.

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Bag Review: Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket

This is it.  I finally bought myself a luxury designer bag!

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I wrote about Mansur Gavriel’s yummy vegetable leather bags some weeks ago (read it HERE) and casually posted a picture of an MG bag over at Instagram.  Before I knew it, I was exchanging Viber messages with @ruedumarche who was recommended to me by an Instagram friend, @yeyevivas.

@ruedumarch  is a curator of beautiful finds and aside from these coveted and eluvise Mansur Gavriel bags, they carry other bespoke leather bags like Meli Melo, Cuyana and Everlane.  Believe me, it took a while before I decided on which bag to get because I have a budget to consider, among others.

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A Look At Manila’s DreamPlay (by DreamWorks)

AJ and I had our pre-anniversary dinner at City of Dreams Manila last weekend, and we took this opportunity to check out DreamPlay, the world’s first edutainment (education + entertainment) center that features interactive environment for both kids and adults, using the very latest digital technology.

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Look, there’s Hiccup and Toothless!

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A lot of people were having their pictures taken at the entrance/lobby part of the venue, which is open so you can see these awesome attractions from outside:

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But AJ and I didn’t get to see the attractions inside because their number 1 rule is that “Adult with no child will not be allowed to enter DreamPlay.”  So we checked out the adjacent DreamShop instead. Hehe.

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Love Love Tulisan Indonesia

I’m having some kind of Cath Kidston withdrawal.  Proof?  I haven’t been stalking their website for 3 weeks already haha!

It used to be that I check the Cath Kidston website every week, not exactly looking for something to buy but just to window shop. Big thanks to my Cath Kidston sisters – Mother E and Diane, I was able to build up my Cath Kidston collection that fast because we pool our orders together and buy when there’s a sale.

Lately it’s all about Tulisan.  If you didn’t know it yet, I am a big fan of Tulisan bags and accessories too (check out my Tulisan collection here, here and here).  I like to call this the Asian version of Cath Kidston because of their colorful illustration designs, not to mention the very roomy bags and functional travel accessories.  Oh, they have the cutest home and stationery products too!

The nice thing about Tulisan is that they come up with these limited edition illustration designs from time to time – mostly on themes about dreams, hope and love.  Because each illustration is detailed and spontaneous, you’ll think that there’s really some storytelling going on in your bag, note card, cushion cover or make-up kit!

Check out some of the illustration designs that Tulisan has launched in the past months; they are all so pretty and very original.  Really, somebody should bring this brand to Manila – I’m sure it’ll be a big hit!

Librarian Tote (Story: Love Letters of Roro Mendut)

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Beach Bag (Story: The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung)

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