FLOTPRC Fashion: Li Pengyuan, The Glam Ma’am of China

Happy Good Friday, Stiletto-istas!

While everyone is away on holiday (it seems) this Easter weekend, we’re bound to our desk working like bananas so, for a lunchtime break, I thought I’d share with you one of my latest mini-obsessions: fashion policing the new FLOTPRC (First Lady of the People’s Republic of China), the glamorous Li Pengyuan, wife of China’s newly-appointed president, Xi Jinping.

After all, one of our more popular posts in the recent past was our FLOTUS fashion face-off between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney in the heat of last year’s US presidential elections (click here to view that post).

As China is close to our hearts (literally, we do live here after all) and as the world’s media – from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, Vogue China to the fashion pundits at our favourite China-watching blog, the Shanghaiist – have all been weighing in on Madame Li’s outfits this week as she accompanies her husband on a whirlwind official tour of Russia and Africa – we thought, heck Becks, we might as well join in the fun!

The new First Lady's choice of a tailored dark coat accessorized by a turquoise scarf and tailored leather black handbag (looks like a Tod's but apparently is not - China media saying that it is not a designer brand) sparked copycats on Chinese online shopping portal Taobao

The new First Lady’s choice of a tailored dark coat accessorized by a turquoise scarf and tailored leather black handbag (looks like a Tod’s but apparently is not – China media saying that it is not a designer brand), upon arrival in Moscow, reportedly sparked copycats on Chinese online shopping portal Taobao.

The new First Lady has a preference for smart tailored suits when travelling - making her look very polished and put together. Here she matches a creamy white embroidered suit with a white tailored bag and pretty crocodile skin peep toes. A refreshing touch? She recycles wearing that lovely turquioise scarf.

China’s First Lady Madame Li has a preference for smart tailored suits when travelling – making her look very polished and put together. Here she matches a creamy white embroidered suit with a white tailored bag and pretty crocodile skin peep toes. A refreshing touch? She recycles wearing that lovely turquioise scarf.

During an official event, while exchanging toasts and charming South African president Jacob Zuma, the First Lady donned a gorgeous silk Chinese embroidered jacket with floral motif in light shades of grey and lavender.

During an official event, while exchanging toasts and charming South African president Jacob Zuma, the First Lady Madame Li donned a gorgeous silk Chinese embroidered jacket with floral motif in light shades of grey and lavender.

Another official arrival, another great, crisply tailored suit, this time with a flattering Mandarin high collar, with grey-green and light blue pattern.

Another official arrival, another great, crisply tailored suit, this time with a flattering Mandarin high collar, with grey-green and light blue pattern.

We love how the First Lady is proudly representing Chinese fashion! Here she wears a traditional Chinese jacket with high collar and Chinese buttons, fashionably draped with an embroidered scarf.

We love how the First Lady is proudly representing Chinese fashion! Here she wears a traditional silk embroidered Chinese jacket with high collar and Chinese buttons, fashionably draped with an embroidered scarf.

To those of you who might be somewhat clued out as to what’s hot and happening here in the good ol’ PRC, here’s a little backgrounder on the new First Lady and her grace, charm and sensible yet stylish wardrobe that’s been wowing diplomatic and fashion circles:

Before her debut on the world stage this past week, Madame Li gained fame in China on her own, as a much-beloved Chinese folk singer and opera star. Every year she was a fixture in the country’s annual Chinese New Year star-studded television extravaganza (the same one which saw Celine Dion singing – in Mandarin – most recently).  The First Lady has performed in Lincoln Center in New York and at the Vienna State Opera House in the past but since her husband became China’s vice president in 2007, Madame Li began scaling back her public singing appearances. In 2011, the World Health Organization appointed her as a goodwill ambassador for AIDS and tuberculosis. Madame Li and the President have one daughter, currently a student at Harvard.

As for the low-key designer – Ma Ke – who is behind Madame Li’s tastefully understated wardrobe – the Shanghaiist offers this interesting observation (post below from Shanghaiist):

– quote –

In a society that typically has more money than class, it’s surprising that such a simple and understated designer as Ma Ke should be on everyone’s lips. If the name sounds unfamiliar rest assured she’s soon to be a household name. Ma is helping turn Peng Liyuan, China’s First Lady into China’s Jackie Oh.

Interestingly anti-consumerist and slightly ironic, she is the designer behind the brands Exception de Mixmind and Wuyong. Naming her haute couture brand Wuyong, which literally means “useless”, Ma says she wants to redefine modern luxury, drawing it away from “Western Materialism”, and towards more spiritual factors, as she believes that elements such as time, water and the human spirit are timeless [Shanghaiist Ed.: *eyeroll*].

What does that actually mean? Both brands only use sustainable production, including traditional dying, weaving and embroidery techniques invented by the Dong People of southern China. The fabrics used by Wuyong are actually woven with Chinese loom technology dating back to 19th century. Furthermore, rather than going the route of ultra-elite and ostentatious, as many domestic haute couture designers have, Wuyong’s fashion shows are outside, open to the public and use a collection of modern dancers and tai-chi performers instead of models.

This ecologically and socially sustainable approach seems to have worked, as Exception just celebrated it’s 16th birthday, and Wuyong was the second ever Chinese collection to show at Paris Fashion Week. Furthermore, Exception has generated sales over one billion yuan in 60 stores in China. While many have attributed the First Lady’s coat and bag to Exception de Mixmind, industry insiders have pointed out that they actually belong to Wuyong. The brand has reportedly made over 100 outfits exclusively for Peng in the past 3 months. She will continue wearing them throughout her trip to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo.

– end quote –

The First Lady is supporting sustainable fashion in China???
Very fashion forward of her, if I may say so, and if then… KUDOS to the FLOTPRC!

Postcards from the Cleanse: The Farm at San Benito

Since returning from our detox cleanse at The Farm at San Benito, I’ve been reading “Eight Weeks to Optimum Health” by noted alternative medicine practitioner, Harvard physician Dr. Andrew Weil and trying to follow his advice and recommendations for a healthier lifestyle, in terms of diet (lots of broccoli, salmon and garlic this week), exercise (daily 30-minute brisk walks) and stress management (daily 5-minute breathing/relaxation exercises, also taught by our yoga teacher at The Farm).

8 weeks to optimum health

One of the things that Dr. Weill recommends for optimum mental/spiritual health is for us to take some time out each week to commune with nature. Visit a park and simply do nothing, just breathe the fresh air, gaze at trees and plants and let yourself be…just enjoy.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some beautiful postcard-perfect scenes from where it all began to click for me, at The Farm at San Benito. Let yourself enjoy…

The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito

One of the most enchanting aspects of The Farm was doing early morning yoga at the amphitheatre pavilion and gazing at the mist-shrouded view, with a peacock or two wandering about (below):

The Farm at San Benito

The Farm at San Benito

The creatures populating The Farm provided an endless source of amusement, entertainment and fascination. I couldn’t get a shot of the white billy goat, who was fond of sunbathing near the yoga pavilion or at the spa but would bound away as soon as I approached, but here are a few shots of the preening peacocks (including the majestic white one) and the happy little duckies:

Happy Ducks in Pond

White Peacock

The Farm at San Benito

Have a happy, healthy Sunday, Stiletto-istas!!!

RAW! Chic Vegan Cuisine @The Farm at San Benito

Happy spring fling, sweets!
It’s been a month since our Chinese New Year post and in that time, The Bamboo Stiletto was whisked away by Herr Hubby for a long, lovely, delicious 3 weeks of holiday. Where did we sashay off to on our vacay, duckies???

Well, to sum it all up or else we’ll be here all day: first stop was Bali, Indonesia. To meet up with The Bamboo Stiletto’s dearest gal pals from high school, all scattered now to the four corners of the earth (namely, Los Angeles, Paris, Dubai, Sydney, as well as Cebu, Boracay…and little ol’ moi, representing Chinoise) and converging on the Island of the Gods, solo or with hubby/boyfriend/partner/what evs in tow.

Anyway, more about Bali in another post, dah-lings, and don’t worry, you’ll be getting an eyeful soon…

Second stop of our little vacay was an incredible, life-altering week at The Farm at San Benito, a wholistic wellness resort in Batangas, about a 90-minute drive from the Philippine capital of Manila. Located in the midst of 50 hectares of lush trees, flowers, a lake, a pond, a river, more coconut trees and bamboo that you can shake a stick at and populated by a charming posse of extremely communicative peacocks, ducks, chickens and a prancing billy goat or two, The Farm comes replete with luxury suites and villas, an amazing spa and an awardwinning organic vegan restaurant.

Herr Hubby and I signed up for a one-week detox cleanse, where we had nothing but fresh juices all day and a hot vegetable soup at night. Take my word for it, boy oh boy, by the time evening would roll around, those nightly hot soups tasted like the most god dang delicious gourmet concoctions on the planet! In addition, we were subjected to colon cleansing sessions, spa treatments to help detoxify and availed ourselves of The Farm’s diverse array of daily activities, such as yoga, power walks, boxing, swimming, etc.

My dear Stiletto-istas, I don’t know about you but if I’m going to suffer through my detox/cleanse, I might as well suffer in luxury…at The Farm. Ha! That was very goopster Gwyneth Paltrow of me. Hahahaaa!!!! But seriously, book the Narra Pool Villa, trust me.

Anyhooz, I thought I’d share our super-delicious “last meal” at The Farm before detox began, which is basically the vegan meal which constituted our last full meal before going on the juice and soup diet. Any preconceived notions I had of vegan food being bland and boring disappeared when I tasted the food at The Farm, where they specialize in mostly raw cuisine (85% raw, only 15% cooked). Check these out and tell me, aren’t these just HELLA SCRUMPTIOUS???

Nori maki rolls with green asparagus & radish

Nori maki rolls with green asparagus & radish

Cucumber ume salad, followed by wakame & grilled scallion soup

Cucumber ume salad, followed by wakame & grilled scallion soup

Alive! udon noodles in shitaake miso broth & oyster mushrooms

Alive! udon noodles in shitaake miso broth & oyster mushrooms

Chocolate (made of organic cocoa) dim sum with fresh fruits

Chocolate (made of organic cocoa) dim sum with fresh fruits

I had headaches in the afternoon of my first day into the juice diet and nausea on the evening of my second day, but after breathing exercises I learned from our yoga teacher at The Farm which, astoundingly, truly worked in relieving my headache, coupled with a good night’s sleep, by the third day, I bounced back with a noticeable uptick in energy. And my energy levels from there just took off. By the end of the week, both Herr Hubby and I had lost weight, trimmed inches off our waists and hips, and felt AH-MAY-ZING!!!  Of course, we are now furiously plotting when and how we can go back…

Meantime, here we are back to reality and the REAL HARD PART: sustaining everything that we’d learned and experienced at The Farm at San Benito. We actually bought The Farm’s recipe book, appropriately called RAW! so we can try out some stuff ourselves at Casa Stiletto. Hey, we’re not turning vegan, ok, but we are making serious attempts at eating healthy. So, get the juicer and blender out of the cupboard!

RAW! The Uncook Book from The Farm at San Benito, with gazillions of yummy vegan recipes!

RAW! The Uncook Book from The Farm at San Benito, with gazillions of yummy vegan recipes!

For a hotelier and a writer/blogger couple such as Herr Hubby and myself, eating healthy can be a bit of a stretch, but we’re gonna have fun trying, duckies.

:-)Ha! Ain’t life a HOOT?

What are your thoughts on raw cuisine, Stiletto-istas? How about vegan cuisine, does it float your boat? Would you like to share some delicious recipes here?…oh, please do SHARE!!!

Celebrating the Spring Festival, Canton-Style

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating the Spring Festival holidays in Guangzhou is the fact that flower fairs proliferate all over the city during this special holiday period.

My Cantonese friends had advised me that it is a time-honoured and beloved tradition in this part of southern China to visit these flower fairs, entire family in tow, to browse the radiantly blooming flowers on display and perhaps buy a good luck offering (or three) for one’s home or workplace for the New Year.

The entrance gate of the Yuexiu Flower Fair, all decked out in festive lights. Such drama, we love!

The entrance gate of the Yuexiu Flower Fair, all decked out in festive lights. Such drama, we love!

Brisk trade in flowers and plants aside, usually there may also be lantern exhibitions and general musical entertainment to amuse the public, as well as masses of peddlers hawking everything from colourful snacks and traditional gifts, such as handcrafted spinning windmills for children to carry, to general rubbish (e.g. ridiculous Angry Bird hats, anyone?). In short, flower fairs are nothing short of all-around spectacles for the senses.

One mild winter evening, Herr Hubby and I grabbed the camera and braved the immense crowds to visit one of the flower fairs in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district. Oh, how we loved it! We spotted other families of foreigners like us, enjoying the festivities as well.

It was certainly the happiest I’ve ever seen the Chinese people to be (well, apart from the ecstatic crowds during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing). Everyone was in merry, festive spirits – even the cops were all smiling – and why not??? 

Take a look at a few of our snaps  below and you’ll see why the festive mood at the flower fair was so infectious – no winter blues here, duckies!!!

To make sure you've got pots of luck for the New Year, buy 'em up in pots! Makes sense, no?

To make sure you’ve got pots of luck for the New Year, buy ’em up in pots! Makes sense, no?

Festive lanterns lit up the evening sky...

Festive lanterns lit up the evening sky…

...and if pots of luck weren't enough, you can load 'em up by the basketload!

…and if pots of luck weren’t enough, you can snap ’em up by the basketload!

Herr Hubby & I thought these were cute, so we bought a couple. The kitty cat for his office and the elephant for our home/my office...

Herr Hubby & I thought these were cute, so we bought a couple. The kitty cat for his office and the elephant for our home/my office…

...and may the gods of wealth smile benevolently on us all during this Year of the Snake!

…and may the gods of wealth smile benevolently on us all during this Year of the Snake!

On that hopeful note, we end our little foray into Guangzhou’s Spring Festival Flower Fair, our dear Stiletto-istas. Hope you’ve enjoyed the scenery as much as we did that evening.

Have a fabu-LOUS weekend, y’all!!!

Why Hello, Snake! Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kuai Le!!!

We CANNOT believe that it’s been a full MONTH and a half since we last communicated with you, Stiletto-istas…

Indeedy, we had thought that January & February would be the slow & sleepy twins. Aren’t they always. especially for those of us China ressies? Caught in between the frenzied madness of Christmas/New Year and – for those unfortunate enough to be travelling – the chaos of “Chunyun” (also known as the world’s largest annual human migration, when millions of Chinese travel home for the Lunar New Year), January & February have been traditionally regarded in the China-based workplace as a “wash”. In other words, it’s fine if your brain went out to lunch and never came back because EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING THE SAME THING.

Anyhooz, I was all set to snuggle on my couch under a cashmere blankie and for my brain to be junking out for two deliciously lazy months catching up on DVD marathons of Downton Abbey, Revenge, Mad Men, The Walking Dead and the gloriously perverse American Horror Story. Oh – and of course, the final season of Gossip Girl – because, well, DUH! – I just HAD TO find out if Chuck did end up with Blair. I mean, seriously, darlings, don’t you????

Well, snow bunnies, looks like the Snake may slither over with blessings this year because work has been FRIGHTFULLY busy! We still work from home – we ain’t considering anything else – but let’s just say, we’ve thankfully picked up a couple of mighty lucrative and highly enjoyable gigs here and there.

Chucking aside the DVDs (for now) and determined to welcome the Snake and all the good luck that the Lunar New Year brings, we switched out our Christmas decorations in favour of Spring Festival decorations at Casa Stiletto. Here’s a quick Instagram look at our efforts:

Welcoming the blessings of luck & prosperity from the Snake discreetly begins at Casa Stiletto's front door. From our local Metro supermarket, can't remember the price exactly but hella cheap.

Welcoming the blessings of luck & prosperity from the Snake discreetly begins at Casa Stiletto’s front door. From our local Metro supermarket, can’t remember the price exactly but hella cheap.

On the first day of "Chunjie" (Lunar New Year), it is traditional to have a Lion Dance bless your place of business or home. Hang a vegetable offering and "hongbao" (little red packet containing cash in even-numbered denominations only) for the Lion to gobble and he gets to keep the hongbao and you keep the veggies.  Herr Hubby & I were excited that our residential compound arranged a lion dance for residents on the first morning of Chinese New Year and residents could invite them to their home, if they wished. So, we did! And so to Casa Stiletto they noisily and colourfully came, drums and cymbals banging & crashing, two golden lions gyrating & wiggling their tails. I have to say, it was FUN :-)!

On the first day of “Chunjie” (Lunar New Year), it is traditional to have a Lion Dance bless your place of business or home. Hang a vegetable offering and “hongbao” (little red packet containing cash in even-numbered denominations only) for the Lion to gobble and he gets to keep the hongbao and you keep the veggies. Herr Hubby & I were excited that our residential compound arranged a lion dance for residents on the first morning of Chinese New Year and residents could invite them to their home, if they wished. So, we did! And so to Casa Stiletto they noisily and colourfully came, drums and cymbals banging & crashing, two golden lions gyrating & wiggling their tails. I have to say, it was a FUN spectacle!

Gorgeous red lanterns abound during the weeks leading to Chinese New Year, so how could I resist? Picked up a couple from our local supermarket and hung them at the balcony. Love them!

Gorgeous red lanterns abound during the weeks leading to Chinese New Year, so how could I resist? Picked up a couple from our local supermarket and hung them at the balcony. Love them!

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating Chinese New Year in Guangzhou are all the Spring Festival Flower Fairs proliferating in the city. Herr Hubby & I ventured out with the camera one evening & captured the colourful festive sights - more on that in another post - and also picked up this cute little good luck flower offering.

One of the most charming aspects of celebrating Chinese New Year in Guangzhou are all the Spring Festival Flower Fairs proliferating in the city. Herr Hubby & I ventured out with the camera one evening & captured the colourful festive sights – more on that in another post – and also picked up this cute little good luck flower offering.

It's also traditional to have a Spring Festival tree during Chinese New Year, much as we have a Christmas tree at Christmas. Herr Hubby & I searched for something pretty while still fairly traditional and found these little beauties at a flower market. SO gorgeous!!!

It’s also traditional to have a Spring Festival tree during Chinese New Year, much as we have a Christmas tree at Christmas. Herr Hubby & I searched for something pretty while still fairly traditional and found these little beauties at a flower market. SO gorgeous!!!

Here's how the Spring Festival mini-tree looked on our coffee table at Casa Stiletto...and as Valentine's Day this year fell in the middle of Chinese New Year, our mini-tree is flanked by a bouquet of roses, a couple glasses of champagne and a bowl of late-night chicken curry. Hahaaaa!

Here’s how the Spring Festival mini-tree looked on our coffee table at Casa Stiletto…and as Valentine’s Day this year happened during the middle of Chinese New Year, our mini-tree is flanked by a bouquet of roses, a couple glasses of champagne and a bowl of late-night chicken curry. Hahaaaa!

...and check out the roses bloomin' when transferred to a vase. Looks hella beautiful on our living room console table.

…and check out the roses bloomin’ when transferred to a vase. Looks hella beautiful on our living room console table.

What about you, duckies, did you celebrate Chinese New Year in YOUR part of the world???
As we hunker down for the weekend, our dear Stiletto-istas…from the hearts of Casa Stiletto to yours, we would like to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Sizzlingly Prosperous Year of the Snake!!!
Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Happy New Year!!!

2012 in review: Thank You, From the Depths of My Stiletto-Crazy Heart

Darling Stiletto-itas! We received a delightful surprise in our Inbox today. Something enthralling, gratifying and, ultimately, humbling.

Before sharing the “deets”, please allow me to just say that I wish I could gather each one of you up in my arms – yes, including you, who’s sitting there right now in your robe & jammies in front of your computer, drinking your coffee in your corner of the world – and give y’all a great, big group HUG! Yes, that’s how I feel right now, right down to the depths of my stiletto-crazy heart.

Since I can’t hug all of you (obvz!), I’ll just have to settle for posting this below for all of you gorgeous duckies out there:

THANK YOU!!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!

So, quelle surprise??? The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys have prepared a 2012 annual report for The Bamboo Stiletto. Check out the fascinating “deets” below!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The View from The Other Side

Yoohoo, Stiletto-istas! Remember little ol’ moi? 
I hope you haven’t been thinking that I’ve hung up my stilettos for good. Oh no, no way, babes, but we do apologize for our long silence. Let’s just say that, life for realz has gotten a little more interesting (read: busy) lately.

First, we went on a couple of little trips in the neighborhood – Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines. Short & sweet trips…some for holidays, one was absolutely necessary, but as all took us away from our home office and daily writing routine, all were mightily distracting.

Next, our little part-time editorial & writing gig for City Weekend Guangzhou, an English-language website for us Canton expats, suddenly got us busier than we’d anticipated as we got inundated with lunch, coffee, dinner, drinks invites from our hotel PR contacts in town. Everyone wants to be our new BFF! It took us a while to adjust to the sudden social whirl, I tell ya!

Lastly, with the increased calorie intake from all that gourmet cuisine and champagne we were ingesting at all these luxury 5-star hotels, we realized that we also needed to increase our level of physical activity. Unless we wanted to blimp out and end up bigger than our refrigerator! So we’ve been madly dashing about, from bootcamp to Zumba, from running to yoga, from tennis to golf, with the result that we actually ended up with both tennis elbow AND golf elbow, at the same time.

See what I mean? It’s an interesting (read: busy) life.

This week, I sat in the grand ballroom of an extravagant dinner and Givenchy fashion show at the Sheraton Guangzhou – in celebration of the hotel group’s 75th anniversary – and watched the competent young hotel PR lady working behind the scenes (obviously exhausted, stressed, overworked, all prim & proper in her demure business suit, all smiles & tactful diplomacy on her perfectly made-up face). And realized, that used to be the old me. I pondered the sticker label that had earlier been affixed on my sleeve and which I’d transferred to my champagne glass and thought: “How weird does it feel to be on the other side of the fence?”

All I can say – of my wonderfully strange new view from the other side – is that: I am deeply, wondrously, profoundly grateful. Life never ceases to amaze with unforeseen blessings and it’s up to us to embrace these with a positive mind, a grateful heart and arms wide open. Have a glorious week ahead, everyone!!!

pondering the view from the other side…strange, new, wonderful…& totally enjoying it!

Fly Me to the Moon: A Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to All!

The Mid-Autumn Festival is by far our most favourite of all Chinese festivals.

Next to the Spring Festival or “Chun jie”, which marks the celebration of Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival or “Zhongqiu jie” is the second most significant holiday of the Chinese lunar calendar. Also known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival claims a history dating back thousands of years,  becoming a popular celebration for the lunar harvest in the early Tang Dynasty period.

Romantic stories attached to this festival abound in Chinese mythology because of course, isn’t La Luna a symbol of romance in cultures all over the world?

Here’s our favourite story: A celestial husband and his wife were banished from the emperor’s court due to jealousy over the wife’s beauty. Anxious to return to court, the husband obeys when the emperor sends him on a mission; mission completed, the emperor rewards the husband with a pill for eternal life and boundless energy. The wife finds the pill by accident and consumes it; when the husband returns, she flees, afraid for her husband’s anger, and reaches the moon, where she coughs out the remainder of the pill. Unable to reach her, the husband asks for another pill to be made while he makes a home for himself in the sun. Unfortunately, the new pill is of extremely limited quantity, such that the husband from the sun can only visit his wife on the moon once a year. Which is why, legends saythe moon is at its roundest and brightest during Mid-Autumn Festival, reflecting the happiness of a reunited couple.

Romantic fairy tales aside, my own reasons for liking this festival best are simply personal and subjective…

In the days leading to the festival, we are entranced by the sight of little kids clutching little lanterns in their little hands,out for moon-gazing walks with their parents.

One of the adorable traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival is for little kids to go out in the evenings, carrying festive little lanterns. We love watching them in our neighborhood!

Athough they pack on calories with a punch, we do enjoy eating mooncakes! Mooncakes are the round-shaped sweet pastries which make popular gifts during this festival. These days, not only bakeshops, restaurants and hotels make a bundle on selling mooncakes but also Starbucks, Haagen Daazs – and even Angry Birds! – are getting into the mooncakes act too.

THE TRADITIONAL: When it comes to mooncakes, we’re a traditional sort of girl. None of these new-fangled zero-sugar, foie gras, chocolate frappe crap, we prefer the red bean or lotus with egg yolk sort.

THE MODERN: Yep, Haagen Dazs now makes mooncakes too. I’m not a fan. But I do like these new “snow” mooncakes, which I think originated in Singapore and are now popular in China and Hong Kong. Among “snow” mooncakes, the Singaporean ones still taste the best.

THE KITSCH: Oh, China and its boundless appetite for all things Angry Birds. Absolutely kyooooooot! These mooncakes totally cracked us up 🙂

We are captivated by the colourful festive lanterns festooned all over the city. The ones in the residential compound where we live here in Guangzhou are especially beautiful, and even more magical at night.

And lastly, unlike the Spring Festival, which occurs when winter is at its most severe and spring seems to be an illusory dream, the Mid-Autumn Festival happens when weather in China is at its finest. You can be in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou and during Mid-Autumn, the weather always seems to be on the cusp between summer’s end and winter’s beginnings. The sun shining gloriously through the day and the full bright moon gleaming at night, just a hint of chill in the air, making it a sheer joy to be outdoors. Perfect weather indeed for moon-gazing!

This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls right on the eve of the Chinese National Day holidays, making it an extraordinarily special celebration for the Chinese…as well as for the rest of us, as we all anticipate a week-long holiday. Woot woot, y’all!

We could feel almost palpable excitement in the air, in supermarkets as people rushed to buy gifts for loved ones, in the train station as throngs prepared to journey home to visit families, and even in our compound as kids dashed home on the last day of school before a week’s break, their faces colourfully painted and bringing makeshift paper lanterns home after school celebrations.

So, The Bamboo Stiletto is off as well, on a short break with Herr Hubby, my dear Stiletto-istas. We’ll be in touch again in a couple of days with a holiday dispatch!

Until then, my fondest wishes for “Zhongqiu jie kuai le!!!”...a Happy & Fabulous Mid-Autumn Festival to you and your loved ones!!!

Counting blessings at the end of the week, y’all…let’s have a FABULOUS weekend!

2012 Emmy Awards Red Carpet Honor Roll

Red Carpet report alert, Stiletto-istas!

Did you watch the 2012 Emmys, from whichever corner of the world you’re sitting in? Network primetime in New York City means afternoon in Los Angeles, California…which means TOO GODDAM early in the morning for us here in Asia. But anyhooz, fuelled by cups of caffeine, The Bamboo Stiletto was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, for yummy breakfast coverage of 2012 Emmy Awards red carpet fashions.

Here’s our top 5 picks of loveliest dresses on the red carpet – along with their runway equivalents: (all images courtesy of the Press Room -64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards and Red Carpet Fashion Awards)

  • Claire Danes in Lanvin

Let’s start off with the Emmy-winning Best Actress for TV Series – Drama! “Homeland” star Claire Danes looked hella luscious in this elegant, bump-friendly yellow Lanvin. Love how it drapes her figure, so flattering – you’d never guess Ms. Danes is actually pregnant. Herr Hubby and I are seriously addicted to her show & can’t wait for Season 2. Although her character creepily freaks me out (she’s so damn good in it)!

  • Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuiller

Shout-out to a fellow hometown girl! Designer Monique Lhuiller, who grew up in our ‘hood in Cebu in the Philippines, really outdid herself with this divine dress on “Once Upon a Time” actress Ginnifer Goodwin. Girlfriend looks too exquisite for words. Love the colour & that assymetrical hemline…as Ms. Goodwin walked the carpet, the skirt billowed out beautifully after her. So reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face”…that classic old film supposedly inspired by Richard Avedon, Diana Vreeland and the good old days of Vogue? (maybe before your time, young ducks!)

  • Jessica Pare in Jason Wu

Some of FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s most iconic looks have come courtesy of designer Jason Wu, so I guess somehow in my mind, his dresses always seem to remind me of her. Take this elegant Grecian-inspired one-shoulder white gown on “Mad Men” star Jessica Pare. Old Hollywood glam is so spot-on for Don Draper’s wife and yet, I can totally imagine the very 21st century First Lady looking so right in it as well!

  • Jena Malone in J. Mendel

The colour of this rich burgundy gown by J. Mendel would have looked too old on young actress Jena Malone (who’s currently shooting “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire”), but the uneven, strappy neckline (and that thigh-high slit, naturally) succeeds in making it fresh, youthfully edgy and age-appropriate.

  • Julie Bowen in Monique Lhuiller

Such an unexpected burst of colour on the red carpet…we luvz it, don’t we, Stiletto-istas? “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen looks like the winner that she is (she went home with the Emmy statuette for Best Supporting Actress, TV Series-Comedy) in this refreshing lime-yellow Monique Lhuiller. Like a tall, cool glass of limoncello!

Special Honourable Mention – Jessica Lange in J. Mendel

Sigh! When we grow up, we want to look like the Queen of Fabulousity, the Mama of Glamourama that is Jessica Lange, Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actress, Mini-Series-Drama. Just look at her. 63 years old? Girlfriend just GLOWS in this fab scarlet J. Mendel gown…And naturally, we are major fanatics of her seriously twisted show, “American Horror Story”. We can’t wait to see what perversely demented character Ms. Lange is going to unleash upon us in season 2. Love her!

That wraps up The Bamboo Stiletto’s fab fashion report for the 2012 Emmy Awards, ducks!

What about you, who did you pick for best-dressed on the red carpet? Did we pick the same hot babes? Or, did you have other choices? Thoughts…objections??? Discuss in the Comments below!

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