Eye Candy Friday: Bamboo Stiletto Escape, Chile

Summer’s last hurrah is here, Stiletto-istas!
This week’s missive from The Bamboo Stiletto’s aspirational style bible, Architectural Digest, caught our wandering eye and we knew we just had to share it with you. Before the August heat completely dissipates, let our Eye Candy Friday tempt you on a final summer fling and flirt with our personal favourite from AD‘s selection of dream-worthy eco-luxury escapes successfully combining stylish design with impactful sustainability.

Who says green and glamour can’t go together? So what say you, girls & gays, are you ready??? (all images below courtesy of Tierra Patagonia, Chile):

Back in the ’90s, when we realized that Patagonia was more than just an outdoor apparel company that we were extremely fond of, we dreamed of visiting the region & its pristine mountains, lakes, glaciers, forests & rivers (while wearing colour-coordinated, climate-appropriate Patagonia outfits, of course:) We did make it to Chile’s capital of Santiago, we did see some pampas (love that word! brings us right back to Latin America) & moseyed all the way down south to Valparaiso, paying homage to its most famous son, poet Pablo Neruda. Fond, fun memories of Chile but we never made it to Patagonia. Not yet anyway. Who knows, instead of that random person out there chewing the scenery…maybe someday, that could be moi? Dreamy gentleman companion optional:)

The intimate 40-room Tierra Patagonia was designed by a trio of awardwinning Chilean architects: Cazú Zegers, Roberto Benavente, and Rodrigo Ferrer. Its look is deliberately rustic-sleek & low-key, awash in neutral hues with pale woods & lush, comfy textures – the better to set off the jaw-dropping outdoor scenery. This cozy-chic living area is where we can totally imagine lounging around after switching outfits, from our Patagonia outdoor kit to Ralph Lauren cable knits & cords!

Sitting on the shores of Lake Sarmiento at the edge of Torres Paine National Park & the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by dramatic vistas of windswept dunes, lake & mountains, Tierra Patagonia is an eco-luxury traveler’s wet dream. Interiors, with furnishings sourced locally, are designed by Alexandra Edwards & Carolina Delpiano to take advantage of the amazing views. So, grab a swing, stay calm and…chill. (High heels & glass of Chilean shiraz optional)

Of course one of our fave images is of the library! This resort has even provided chic little daybeds just in case all the fresh air (and your book) lull you to sleep. No worries that reading lots of books during your holiday might spoil your eco-travel cred, Tierra Patagonia uses low-energy LED lighting. Also, proper insulation and design has made heating and airconditioning less of a necessity. So, INHALE that fresh air, people! (and don’t forget to exhale).

Now if you really can’t keep your eyes open, after all that lounging, relaxing, chilling with wine, reading books…hehe, just kidding, we know you’d be out there on the dunes, baby! trekking, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing & all kinds of exhausting outdoor stuff in all that pure fresh air…so at night? You’ll be happy to know this is what your crib looks like. I don’t know about you but I’d probably zonk out right on that furry white rug on the floor right there.

So, are we ready to pack our bags, viajemos y hablamos Espanol, Stiletto-istas queridas??? If you are, make your ressies now by checking out www.tierrapatagonia.com and be sure to share your Tierra Patagonia stories with us afterwards. If you’d like to browse through the entire selection of Architectural Digest’s glamorous sustainable stays, read the original article here.

We’ve got some  major saving up to do before we can jet off to the other side of the world…but  meantime, a girl can dream, can’t she? We’re already saving up for a trip to the World Cup (soccer) in Brazil by 2014 anyway and guess what’s only a skip, hop, plane ride away from Rio de Janeiro...andale, viva Patagoniaaaaaa!!!

Happy Eye Candy Friday dreams & a fantastic weekend ahead to y’all & your loved ones! 🙂

What a wonderful dilemma with which to be faced. The blank page. (Stephen King, bestselling author, from his memoir of the craft: “On Writing”)

Stephen King. Love him, hate him, sneer at him all you want for being the sell-out poster boy of airport bookstore fiction but the guy is one of the most prolific writers of our time and has, arguably, almost singlehandedly changed the landscape of the horror fiction literary genre.

Being an avid film buff, I like some of his stories which have resulted in such compelling cinema as “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Green Mile” or have simply freaked the bejeezus out of me, “Carrie”, “Misery”,”The Shining”, to name a few. Some of his books have a way of creeping under my skin and lingering, disturbingly, fearsomely, late, late into the night.

One night at a recent dinner with my brother’s family and their three little munchkins (ages 13, 10 and 7), my niece asked if I had heard of a scary movie called “It”.  I replied that I hadn’t seen the movie but may have read the book (by Stephen King).

“Is it about a group of kids and…a clown?” I asked my niece. At the word “clown”, her eyes widened in recognition and fear. We both knew the story.

The other two kids at the table immediately clamored for a rundown of the story. I glanced at my brother and his wife, who nodded their assent, and I quickly sketched out a short synopsis – basically that of an evil spirit masquerading as a clown who preys on young kids and how a group of pre-pubescent misfits in a terrified town ends up in the ultimate battle against evil. Ok? Big mistake…

After dinner that night, apparently, all members of my young audience had been so spooked they refused to go to the bathroom on their own and had to be accompanied by their parents; the next morning, my youngest nephew reported that he had a nightmare involving a clown. I apologized profusely to my brother and his wife, as well as to the kids, who, of course, immediately asked for another scary story the next night at dinner.

A powerful, evil clown. A group of weak, loser kids. By writing “It”, tapping into every child’s beloved memory and twisting it with our deepest fears and insecurities, Stephen King demonstrates a classic example of the power of a simple idea grabbing hold of the imagination…and not letting go.

In his memoir “On Writing”, Mr. King muses on the power and beauty of ideas and how, when writing, we should be brave and free enough to go where ideas take us: “Some of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permission slip: you can, you should and if you’re brave enough, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

But what happens, Mr. King, when the well of ideas runs dry and we’re out of water?

This past week had brought us a flurry of personal distractions, e.g. a quick trip to the Philippines via Hong Kong and all that happily entails (family get-togethers and reunions with old friends),  returning home to Guangzhou and settling back into our daily family routine (always amazes me how much household chaos one single husband can wreak on his week at home alone!), pursuing possible writing & collaboration opportunities in China and overseas, as well as being struck down by a series of debilitating migraines. All had succeeded in keeping me from my regular blogging schedule.

So it was with a sigh of relief this morning, that after conferring with our hardworking godsend of a household Ayi (Chinese for “auntie”, which in China can also refer to domestic household help) and obtaining her assurance that all was once again well in Casa Stiletto, I surveyed the rest of our home with contentment (yes, all was indeed spic and span and in its right place) and sat down with my usual cup of coffee in front of my laptop in our home office and prepared to write. Er….on what, exactly?

Oh, woe! Writer’s block had struck again! My brain had gone out for an early lunch and refused to return to the office. No magic water to drink here, Mr. King, no sireee. Eeeeek!

Thankfully, I’d already submitted a story to one of The Bamboo Stiletto’s distribution channels the night before, so admittedly, I had no looming deadline breathing down my neck. What was eating me up though was the fact that I’d been incommunicado with you, my dear Stiletto-istas, for more than a week. When I started this blog, I had made a promise to myself to be self-disciplined and post, if not at least three times a week as routine, then at least once a week during crazy busy periods. So, with my brain blanking out and still refusing to wake up despite the jolt of caffeine to my system, what to do?

Normally, I would’ve laced up my running shoes and gone for a short, bracing run to clear my head. For some reason, this always works and gets my thoughts going again. Thank goodness for the iPhone; I always use it as an iPod when running and when something pops up that I have to jot down, I can always use Notes! (at least it saves me from awkwardly bringing my trusty Moleskin along on runs)

But it was already getting late in the morning, the heat overbearing with the sun blazing down – I’d be stuck not just with writer’s block but with a severe case of heatstroke if I went out and exercised. So, the gym it is…

Before heading out to the gym, I thought I’d help out our Ayi with a few household chores.  Water the plants, wash the dishes…and all of a sudden, voila! As I was elbow-deep in suds at the kitchen sink, my brain miraculously, slowly began revving up its engines and in between drying the dishes, I was tapping out thoughts on my iPhone’s Notes and, before long, my heart was swelling with relief and joy.

We’re back in the saddle again, my friends! Yipee kayey!

In closing, I return to Mr. Stephen King’s musings “On Writing” once again – or rather, to relish the unique delight upon the beginning of writing anything, a new idea, another story to tell: “What a wonderful dilemma with which to be faced. The blank page. Upon it lies a long road – and you’re paving it. One brick at a time. “

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Monday Funday: Could This Country/Pop Star be a Future Mrs. Kennedy?

Happy Monday Funday!
In our last Monday Funday post, we were treated to views of actress Reese Witherspoon’s lovely holiday ranch in Ojai, California. We also then asked you to name the  brokenhearted “Twilight” star who had been hiding out there while nursing his emotional wounds after his girlfriend/co-star was papped en flagrante with her married director.

Did any of our dear Stiletto-istas guess who we were talking about? I’m sure you did! The news coverage of that supposed scandal was so overwhelmingly RIDONCULOUS you could be forgiven for thinking that NOTHING, NADA, ZIPPO was going on in the world. No London Olympics, no war in Syria, no Mars landing, etc. Of course we were talking about...(drum roll)…ta-da! British actor and extremely crunchy man-child eye candy Robert Pattinson.

Did onscreen vampires ever have awesome hair, before Robert Pattinson came along? I don’t know if any of you young ducks out there are old enough to remember the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel, “Interview with a Vampire”, with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt , Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas all playing vampires…but from what I recall, with the exception of Ms. Dunst (who really looked like a vampire doll), everyone else who played a vampire in that movie all had atrocious hair! (Mr. Pattinson’s image courtesy of Vanity Fair)

Anyhoo, moving on to today’s Monday Funday!  We have a soft spot for this next story because, let’s admit it, The Bamboo Stiletto has had a lifelong girl-crush on the Kennedy family.  I mean, growing up, didn’t we all harbour a burning secret desire to marry John F. Kennedy, Jr.? Didn’t we all fantasize about calling the fabulous Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis our mother-in-law and dream of raiding her closet? Imagine having JFK as a father-in-law: AMAZEBALLS. And weren’t we all just simply devastated…and I truly mean, devastated (I still remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news)… when JFK Jr.’s plane crashed off Martha’s Vineyard, killing him, his wife and her sister? (Don’t know about you girls & gays but I was in mourning for weeks).

I remember one summer at grad school in New York City when I was bamboozled by my Manhattanite friends into going on a Cape Cod road trip. We took a boat out on the water in Hyannisport and while everyone onboard was excitedly trying to spot whales, I was busy with my binoculars trained ashore, trying to spot a Kennedy!

So recently, we couldn’t help the tug on our girlhood heart strings when we heard about the budding romance between this 22 year old country/pop singing superstar and Conor Kennedy, the 18 year old hunk-in-the-making son of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a grandson of both RFK and JFK and whose mother, most tragically, had committed suicide this past May.

Since she presumably wants to spend time with her teenage boyfriend whose family famously summers at their celebrated beach compound in Hyannisport, Cape Cod, what does our young multi-awardwinning singer/songwriter do? Well, plunk down nearly US 5 million dollars to buy the beach house next door, of course!  I have to say…it makes you wonder, what is THAT like? To be that young and yet already be so accomplished, rich and famous, date a Kennedy scion and buy the beach house next door to their compound with your own money. To put it simply? AMAZEBALLS.

Let’s take a look at what 5 million smackeroos buys at the Cape, shall we? (all images courtesy of Hooked on Houses):

The beach house sits on over an acre of land and is within walking distance to the Kennedy family’s Hyannisport beach compound (right next door).

The house overlooks beautiful Nantucket Sound and is accessible via a private road with its own security during the summer season.

The house was built in 1928 and has 7 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. Comfort seems to be the guiding rule when it comes to its decor and furnishings. Love this cozy  library with amazing sea views.

A very blue dining room, to match that view!

Shabby chic bedroom. And simply divine bathroom below.

Spectacular sea views everywhere, huh? The house has a total floor area of a little over 400 square metres.

Adore this tiny sitting room with the spiral staircase!

Apparently, the house had been on the market for 4 years and had been originally priced at US 14 million dollars (!!!). Turns out our young country/pop star has got the real estate savvies, after snagging the property for only US 4.9 million. What a bargain!

Can you guess who this country/pop singing sweetheart could be? Oh yes, Stiletto-istas, I know you can! It’s Monday Funday so come on and play…let me know in the Comments below 🙂

Eye Candy Friday: Batangas Beauty

Happy Eye Candy Friday, Stiletto-istas!

This week, we had to take a short trip back to the Philippines for the renewal of our Chinese visa. The necessity for this trip initially confounded me. We have been living in China for 9 years and the ONLY time that I had to apply for a Chinese visa from the Philippines was 9 years ago.  Each time my visa was up for renewal while living in Beijing, all I had to do was hand in my passport to my company’s HR department. And in the blink of an eye, my passport would be handed back with a new visa stamped within its pages. Incredibly super easy-peasy! Then, later on, while living in Shanghai, I experienced a slight, subtle shift in the process. In order to actually claim my passport with its new visa stamp, each year I had to accompany an HR staffer to the immigration office where all I did each time was basically show my face – probably to show that I still existed?  This time in Guangzhou, to renew our visas, we were informed that we actually had to exit China and return to our home countries, Herr Hubby back to Germany and little ol’ moi back to the Philippines. So, mini-vacay, yay!

Anyhoo, being back in the Phils brings us to our Eye Candy Friday focus, a charming, rustic holiday home which I like to call a true Batangas Beauty in the hills of Lipa, a couple hours’ drive south of the Philippine capital of Manila.

This 2-storey, 3-bedroom hillside hideaway was built by the dad of The Bamboo Stiletto’s Shanghai BFF…let’s call her Moccachino…whose dad wanted a quiet, relaxing, pollution-free place in the countryside, away from Manila’s hustle and bustle, where the family could gather on long weekends, holidays and festive occasions. Extensive gardens at the front and back of the house have been planted with a myriad of verdant tropical fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. Whenever they’re back in the Philippines, Moccachino and her hubby, the Great Dane, always look forward to rambunctious family gatherings, nourishing meals frequently accompanied by veggies and fruits freshly picked from the gardens, at this lovely house in the hills. What’s disingenuous and what we SO love about this house is that Moccachino’s dad used a lot of reclaimed wood, windows, furnishings and other materials from another family home which was being torn down. The result is a lovely patchwork of nostalgic memories embedded into a house built to sustain more joyous family moments. Here’s a peek:

Because of its elevated location on a hill surrounded by mountain vistas, the house is blessed with fresh air cool enough that airconditioning in the Philippines’ tropical clime is no longer a necessity. The house’s semi-outdoor first floor serves as a refreshing venue for dining and entertaining.

Lovingly landscaped gardens planted with a host of blossoming flowers and fruit and vegetable-bearing foliage yield enough veggies and fruits for homemade salads and desserts!

Lots of furnishings and materials in the house are vintage, lovingly sourced from Moccachino’s great-grandparents’ old ancestral house.

The house was designed with lots of little nooks for socializing or merely sitting solo with a drink while enjoying the solitude of the surrounding countryside.

There you have it, Stiletto-istas…wouldn’t you just LOVE to have a little hillside hideaway like this to escape to on weekends? We know WE would!

Moccachino certainly knows what a lucky duck she is, especially now that she’s uber-busy juggling identities, that of a corporate suit AND an entrepreneur (besides being a wife and mom, I might add). Always the accessories queen, our entrepreneurial BFF recently launched an online business specializing in the most divine, stylish necklaces, bracelets, rings as well as must-have trendy clutches & other go-to fashion accessories to please the most demanding divas out there. And take it from moi, this chick’s style is super-fly…her stuff is constantly selling out!  Stylistas – check out her sites Olivia’s Charms and Moppet Enterprises (including how to order!) by clicking here. STAT.

We just get so inspired when our gal pals start launching their own businessess, don’t you??? Run the world, GIRLS, yeah, run this mother! Until our next Eye Candy Friday, Stiletto-istas, have a terrif weekend!!!


I’m homesick.

That unsettling, hollow, all-too-familiar feeling is gnawing at my guts again. Striking swiftly, without warning, as another sweltering day begins in a strange new metropolis. Or as the silent darkness slowly steals over an unfamiliar city crowded with grim, weary strangers.

homesickness strikes as the silent darkness slowly steals over an unfamiliar city crowded with grim, weary strangers…

Homesickness occurs when we literally leave our comfort zones and have minimal access to our normal support systems of family, lifelong friends and the familiar routine of structured schedules. Basically, our world just seems horribly out of whack. As expatriates, symptoms we’ve learned to recognize include fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, difficulties in sleeping and yes, let’s face it, even occasional depression.

“You still get homesick? But you’ve been away from the Philippines for more than half your life! You should be used to this by now, “ a well-meaning friend recently pooh-poohed.

Uh, hello???  Just because we’ve all been homesick doesn’t make it any easier each time it strikes.

So, how exactly do I deal with homesickness?

When I was younger, I used to drown my homesickness with what I called “white noise”. Kind of like leaving the TV on at home without even watching it, finding consolation in the empty chatter of disembodied voices, anything to avoid the stillness of a lifeless apartment.

During that period in my life, if 75% of my existence was spent with excessive career demands, the rest was spent with relentless socializing, self-medicating with alcohol at parties, cocktails, bars, dinners, and flagellating myself afterwards with compulsive competing in endurance sports, such as marathons on the road (running) and on water (outrigger canoeing). Deprived of my normal support system, it was as if I was always compelled by a sense of urgency in seeking substitutes to externalize my internal loneliness.

Now that I’m older, hopefully wiser, I’ve learned to develop healthier behavior patterns in dealing with homesickness.

I’ve come to recognize and seek out my faith on my own terms. I’m not ashamed to say that I rely on it and deeply, truly appreciate its intrinsic value in my life. Carving out a regular schedule for prayer and meditation has become a necessity. Going to church to worship with a regular community – something which I basically took for granted growing up – has actually become a tremendous source of comfort and joy each week.

I’ve learned to take advantage of the wonders of technology to the fullest and to the best of my abilities in order to keep regular and open communication lines with loved ones back home. How extremely fortunate are we in our day and age to have such innovations as Skype, Face Time, Viber, even old-fashioned SMS and email, at our fingertips? Yes, I’ve learned to use them all, sometimes not without a struggle, but eventually, wisely and well.

Along the way, I’ve discovered that sticking to my own habitual modes of self-expression can also be extremely beneficial. For some people, cooking or gardening can be therapeutic. For those blessed with musical or artistic talent, they may like to unwind by playing the piano or by sketching and painting. For others, shopping isn’t called retail therapy for nothing.

In my case, self expression translates to writing  – which is why I blog! – and to exercise, such as running. But unlike in the past, these days, I don’t run for pain anymore; I run long and hard and fast enough up to the edge of pain and then, when I’m at the precipice, I give myself up to the pure enjoyment of it. To the sheer pleasure of being alive, healthy, young and free.

Within a few more months, I know I will find that core group of new friends in this strange new city, people who share my eclectic interests. People whom I can feel comfortable enough to call on a random Friday night just to say, “ Hey, what’s up? Hubby’s working again. Wanna hang out?”

The homesickness will slowly, eventually, fade away.

“Mm hou yi si, hai bin dou?”

“Mm goi, hai bin dou?” – our Cantonese Phrase of the Week, meaning “Please/excuse me, where is it?” or “Please/excuse me, where at?” was extremely useful during a week when we vowed to eschew riding cabs and instead, use the efficient Guangzhou public transport system (buses and the subway) for our appointments and errands around the city.

A formidable task and one which I am proud to announce that I bravely accomplished with flying colours…well, except for one instance, when the 40C degree heat and almost 90% humidity finally got to me after a bout of sightseeing in one of Guangzhou’s prettiest spots: Shamian Island (more about this charming historical destination next week). Dizzy, I flagged down the first cab I spotted and sank back with eyes closed as we drove home.

” Mm hou yi si, tsing mun, dim heui Shamian Dao?” – Excuse me, may I ask, how to go to Shamian Island?

Sometimes, a girl has to know when to surrender to airconditioning. And how’s YOUR summer going???

An Instagram Morning at Casa Stiletto

When Instagram first became the latest social networking plaything, I remember registering for an account right away and then…nothing. For the longest time, my Instagram account languished, unused, while I stuck to my usual social networking tools.

This morning at Casa Stiletto, since I had no appointments to go to or assignments to work on for once, I thought it was the perfect time to play with Instagram! I was SO relieved to find how easy & user-friendly  this app is, even for a newbie like me. Here’s a look at some of the fun this morning at Casa Stiletto, as captured on Instagram:

The view from my home office window. Yes, Stiletto-istas, this is what I feast my eyes on while contemplating my thoughts for you & putting ’em down into words on my laptop. Sometimes if I’m lucky, there’s an occasional piece of eye candy of the male persuasion lounging around, for additional visual inspiration 🙂

A “cornerscape” in our foyer where we dump keys, the occasional pair of sunglasses & my beloved trusty tennis racquet. Little red table with door (used for storing slippers) is vintage, which I found dumped in the bin of my old apartment building in Manhattan; I rescued it & lugged it 5 flights of stairs to my walk-up. Silk lamp is from Saigon, Vietnam (where Herr Hubby used to live), the wooden warrior puppet with sword is from a market in Chiangmai, Thailand. His name is Krishna (we name all puppets, teddy bears & ceramic animals in Casa Stiletto) & he guards our foyer. Sandalwood chair with Chinese silk fabric & embroidered “good fortune” cushion from landlord.

I tried my hand at “tablescaping” in the dining room by putting together these random pieces from our former homes in China & the US: “his & hers” stainless steel espresso cups with porcelain saucers from American designer Ross McBride’s Anamorphic series, silk-screened floral Chinese tea pot, cup & saucer in one (all elements are separable) a gift from our life in Beijing, China, pair of inscribed ceramic-bottomed wine glasses from a divine shop in my old Upper West Side neighborhood in Manhattan: Our Name is Mud. The wine glasses remind us that:” Life’s too short for bad wine.” Round wooden tray from Ikea.

These inspirational words from our collection of fridge magnets are what greet us first thing in the morning when we grab our milk out of the fridge. Kinda like a real-life version of a Pinterest board! Aren’t they hella cute???

In the guestroom, a little Mexican hand-painted wooden chest which I picked up in a Manhattan flea market provides extra room for storage while some of our collection of culinary & beverage books make a nice prop for a hand-sketched fun cartoon of Herr Hubby & myself by a South Korean artist during a memorable “mini-moon” in Jeju Island.

Soft early morning light filters through the sheer white curtains framing a view of palm trees from the guestroom. Wooden sailboat, tiny lighthouse & cottage (partially seen) are mementos of a trip to the coastal town of Svenborg, Denmark while white cotton curtains, hand-embroidered with tiny flowers (can’t be seen clearly in photo) are from France, provided by our landlord.

Isn’t Instagram FUN, Stiletto-istas??? This is totally our latest addiction, haha! What about you, have you been Instagramming too?

If you’d like to share some fun Instagram-scapes of your interiors and home decorating efforts, I would LOVE to see them…and I’m sure your fellow Stiletto-istas will too!  I will make sure to ask your permission first before posting them online and give photo credits where it’s due. And don’t sweat it, if you would like to remain anonymous but would still love to share your Instagram-scapes,  you can do that too! We absolutely respect our readers’ privacy here at The Bamboo Stiletto. PLEASE, PLEASE, pretty, pretty please email The Bamboo Stiletto with your pics and privacy preferences at bamboostiletto@gmail.com.

My email inbox is quivering with anticipation! 🙂

Lost in Translation: Gweipor Tennis Court Anecdote

The tennis court in our residential compound, where I’m proving to be a sucker for humiliation each week, as viewed from our apartment balcony. In the central distant background is Guangzhou’s IFC (International Finance Centre), where Herr Hubby works at the Four Seasons hotel.

The other day on the tennis court, our coach Willis (yes, as in Bruce and who, like his Hollywood namesake, also sports a shining bald pate) kept yelling at me (in thick Cantonese accent): ” Aiyaaaa!!! (common Cantonese expression, to communicate dismay, frustration, horror) Touch yourself! TOUCH YOURSELF!!!”

Bewildered, I turn to my girlfriend Ochan: “Why the frack is Willis screaming at me about masturbation?”

Ochan, who had been taking tennis lessons with Willis for about half a year and was familiar with his funny foibles, said: “He means you should be following through.”

From “touch yourself” to “follow through”…I mean, what the whaaa? Ochan must have read the expression on my face declaring, “I’m not connecting the dots here!” because a further explanation from her then clarified things. Immensely.

Apparently, what Willis meant was that upon making contact with the ball, my tennis racquet should then go all the way back, such that it should be touching me in the back, which is what he insists is perfect form for a follow-through. My shots were always falling short because indeed, I wasn’t “touching myself” enough!

Stiletto-istas, tennis, anyone???

Bamboo Stiletto hearts

My dear Stiletto-istas, here’s a cause worthy of your time and a little bit of money in order to buy yourself some nice, new artwork with which to decorate your walls. Over 40 artists from various countries have rallied together and donated more than 70 art pieces for this online charity art auction. As all featured artworks are donations, 100% of auction proceeds will go towards supporting the leukemia treatments of a very brave little Filipino girl called Lea Joven. This initiative is spearheaded by one of The Bamboo Stiletto’s old high school friends, now a Dubai-based artist, journalist and expat mom herself who was moved by Lea’s plight and whose young son conceived the charity art auction idea.

For more on little Lea’s story, as told by Lea herself via video, please click here.
To view the artworks on auction, including instructions on how to bid (you can remain anonymous if you want by sending a private message to the auction organizer), please click on the official auction site here.  Please do have a look…it will only take a couple of minutes and who knows? You might just find that perfect little oil painting or watercolour to suit the walls of your home, beach house or holiday cottage. Most importantly, you may be able to help save a little girl’s life today.

Auction ends 20th August 2012.

Monday Funday: Which “Twilight” Star is Hiding Out in This Celeb’s Vacation Ranch?

…and Monday Funday is BAAAAAAAAACK! Here’s where The Bamboo Stiletto combines her unhealthy obsession with the movies & TV, the tawdry world of celeb gossip & their heavenly holiday homes & beach houses, all into a single fun post!

A couple of weeks back in our Monday Funday’s pop quiz, we asked you to take a gander at guessing the name of the famous American fashion designer whose fabulous Jamaica beach house we were viewing (please click on that previous Monday Funday blog post here). This devoted family man, father of three, added another feather to his laurels with the ongoing Summer Olympics by designing the stylish uniforms of Team USA – controversy aside, landing them in The Bamboo Stiletto’s top picks for most fashionable Olympic teams! (to read that popular post, please click here).

NOW you know who we’re talking about, right? That’s right, Stiletto-istas…that dreamy magnificent beach compound in Jamaica belongs to the man himself: Ralph Lauren.

American fashion designer Ralph Lauren, with wife Ricky, at their fabulous beach estate in Jamaica (image courtesy of Architectural Digest)

Take note, dear Stiletto-istas, that the photos in my previous blog post are those of the main beach house in the Lauren family compound. In case you’re not digging that scene and, y’ know, like your taste runs to the more contemporary beach house look…fear not, modernista, because THIS below is the guest crib within that same Lauren family beach compound. A total departure from the decor of the main house, isn’t it? And equally drool-worthy (images courtesy of Architectural Digest):

alles weiss…the azure Caribbean pops against the vision in white in the Lauren guest beach cottage

sleek & contemporary, the Lauren guest cottage gives off a more youthful, hip, casual-chic vibe than the main beach house. hmmm, I wonder if they accept applications for the position of permanent houseguest? I’d invite Usain Bolt over for cocktails…

Now that we bid farewell to the structured, poreless, flawless perfection of Ralph Lauren’s world, let’s say hello to the messy, sordid, paparazzi-infested environs of celebrity gossip.

And here is where The Bamboo Stiletto has to make a confession, dear Stiletto-istas; we’re not always very discerning when it comes to our choice of summer reading material. Yes, folks, we’re not always reading ponderous, cerebral-heavy tomes such as David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” or even soft-core porn literature such as the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series. Sometimes, we just can’t wait to get our grubby little paws on the latest tabloid. That’s right, peeps! Sometimes, I do feed my brain junk food. Shame on me indeed 🙂

If your literary diet has been anything like mine lately, then you hella be acing this next Monday Funday pop quiz!

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years, then there’s a chance that you might have heard of a squee little book and movie phenomenon, called “Twilight”. Like, there were about 3 or 4 GIGANTIC best-selling books, you know? And these books were made into 4 or 5 movies which were all like GINORMOUS blockbusters? What’s the story about, you ask? Well, here’s a Cliff Note for ya: lip-biting human girl and vampire boy with awesome hair have a “meet cute”…oh, and stud muffin werewolf boy too, who’s always half-naked (yay!)…someone’s in love with someone who’s in love with someone..uh-oh! here comes the super cool evil red-eyed vampires (the only ones I really enjoyed watching, played with malevolent relish by Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen)…cry cry, fight fight, die die…human girl becomes vampire girl…boom, THE END! Anyway, DKDC (don’t know, don’t care).

The gist of it is that the movie franchise spawned by these books turned the young stars who play the series’ two leading onscreen lovers into the hottest celebrities in Hollywood. Made even hotter by a supposed offscreen romance between the two lead stars – how much of it was studio-manufactured in the beginning, we can only guess – a relationship which nevertheless seemed to be overall quite genuine.

With the last installment in the franchise set to roll out at the end of the year, everything seemed hunky-dory in the “Twilight” universe when the blockbuster juggernaut recently hit a bump. Enterprising scandal sheets broke the story (with sizzling pictures! their covers screamed) of the young actress caught in an illicit clinch with the married, much older director of one of her other films. Her young heart throb actor boyfriend – yes, he plays the vampire with the really awesome hair – who was said to be “devastated” at the betrayal, wasted no time saying “adios” from their shared home, packed his bags and went into hiding, ostensibly to nurse his broken vampire heart. The fall-out from this shattered romance was apparently of such massive proportions that the news threatened to eclipse coverage of global events such as the Olympics, tragedy such as the Colorado/Batman movie shooting massacre and succeeded in completely erasing the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce drama from all news media outlets’ front pages.

Can you guess where the young actor fled to? Well, the young actor has expanded from his repertoire of playing the undead and starred in other films too. In the film “Water for Elephants”, he co-starred and became good friends with Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, whom he had already met in a much earlier film they did together. Reports say that it is in her holiday ranch in Ojai, California where our heartbroken young star has sought refuge. If this is true, then all I can say is, it sure looks like he picked the right place to nurse his wounds and soothe his soul. Check out Ms. Witherspoon’s homey hide-away vacation ranch below (all images courtesy of Elle Decor):

dark wooden beams don’t detract from the ceiling’s height in the living room, with gorgeous fireplace and a juliet balcony

so many details to LOVE in this room. that chandelier…those windows…plush comfortable seating nooks inviting you to linger…and yes, a jute rug that ties it all together!

having non-matching chairs grouped around the dining table lend an informal air to what otherwise could be seemingly formal furniture

can you just imagine having breakfast on this divine terrace? with that heartbroken young “Twilight” star for company? oooops, awkward…or maybe not, hmmmm

we’re loving this darling little alcove under the stairs…perfect for penning that break-out novel! maybe it can then be made into a blockbuster movie too!

There you have it, Stiletto-istas! Who can give me the name of this hot young British actor who catapulted to fame by playing a lovesick vampire with awesome hair and whose earliest film role, by the way , was also in another massive blockbuster franchise, the “Harry Potter” series? Who’s nursing a broken heart right now? It’s Monday Funday…DO TELL!

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