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!!!

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A New Year of Fierce Fabulousity for Us All!

It’s been a while, my darling Stiletto-istas, but yes, NEWS FLASH! Although on life support for the past couple months as the madness of the festive season and life in general just threatened to completely engulf us, The Bamboo Stiletto is still alive, kicking up her heels and has not forgotten YOU.

We’re determined to start 2013 fabulously right with a wish for y’all…from my heart & home in Canton, China to yours, my warmest greetings for a Happy & Prosperous New Year, filled with skedaddles of success and style, shoes and smiles and everything pure and good that your hearts desire.

Our recent travels here & there coupled with the festive season – and the curious fact that our work-at-home situation seemed to have racheted up a notch recently – kept us from blogging, peeps, but we made an effort to keep up the holiday spirit in our very own Casa Stiletto with a few little touches that, thankfully, managed not to break the bank. Taking a page from The Thrifty Decor Chick (love her blog!), here’s the results of our decorating efforts at Casa Stiletto (please excuse the poor quality of the photos, which were Instagrammed hurriedly and not really edited properly):

Let's kick off with a simple Christmas welcome wreath I hung on the front door, as well as a couple of lovely poinsettia plants I picked up for RMB 20 (approx. USD 3) each at a local market...

Let’s kick off with a simple Christmas welcome wreath I hung on the front door, as well as a couple of lovely poinsettia plants I picked up for RMB 20 (approx. USD 3) each at a local market…

Our home's entry foyer has a floor to ceiling window looking out onto our small balcony, where I hung twin red "parols" (traditional Philippine Christmas lanterns), which I made my brother handcarry to Hong Kong. Aren't they super-kyoooooot?

Our home’s entry foyer has a floor to ceiling window looking out onto our small balcony, where I hung twin red “parols” (traditional Philippine Christmas lanterns), which I made my brother handcarry to Hong Kong. Aren’t they super-kyoooooot?

Speaking of the balcony, I also picked tiny twin poinsettias, which I plonked into the backs of our balcony giraffes (right-hand side). Now, Herr Hubby swears these are not giraffes but reindeer...it's an ongoing debate in Casa Stiletto.

Speaking of the balcony, I also picked up tiny twin poinsettias while at the local market, then plonked ’em into the backs of our balcony giraffes (right-hand side). Now, Herr Hubby swears these are not giraffes but reindeer…it’s an ongoing debate in Casa Stiletto.

Herr Hubby & I are traditionalists in that we both adore having an Advent wreath at home for Christmas...an easy thing to acquire if you live in a Western or international city...not the case in Canton Town, a bit of a no man's land when it comes to Christmas decorations. What's a girl to do? DIY, darlings! Plonked in a Shanghai Tang candle holder with tea light in the centre!

Herr Hubby & I are traditionalists in that we both adore having an Advent wreath at home for Christmas…an easy thing to acquire if you live in a Western or international city…not the case in Canton Town, a bit of a no man’s land when it comes to Christmas decorations. What’s a girl to do? DIY, darlings! Plonked in a Shanghai Tang candle holder with tea light in the centre! Ta-Da!

It's always good to have sweets lying around the house during the holiday season since people are always dropping by...so I created a little dining room vignette, with a bowl of sweets & choccies which I just top up regularly.

It’s always good to have sweets lying around the house during the holiday season since people are always dropping by…so I created a little dining room vignette, with a bowl of sweets & choccies which I just top up regularly.

Each of our bedroom (and my home office) doors had a Christmas stocking...as I discovered the miracle known as Blue Tac!

Each of our bedroom (and my home office) doors had a Christmas stocking…as I discovered the miracle known as Blue Tac!

In the hallway corner outside our bedrooms, I created a cozy Christmas vignette with a tiny tree flanked by modern angel lamps and our resident polar bear, Knut.

In the hallway corner outside our bedrooms, I created a cozy Christmas vignette with a tiny tree flanked by modern angel lamps and our resident polar bear, Knut. Tree & angels by Ikea.

For the life of me, I've never figured myself as a DIY chick or a craft-sy kind of girl, but for some reason this season, the homemade candle bug bit us. Ordered a candle-making kit from Australia, sourced festive jars in China and presto! we were on a roll with our Christmas gifts...

For the life of me, I’ve never figured myself as a DIY chick or a craft-sy kind of girl, but for some reason this season, the homemade candle bug bit us. Ordered a candle-making kit from Australia, sourced festive jars in China and presto! we were on a roll with our Christmas gifts…

...and here's the gifts waiting under the Christmas tree. We searched the local market high & low for this tree & while she may look a little scraggly (and decorated hastily), as you can see, she's potted...so we're keeping her, take care so she stays healthy all year on our balcony so her beauty will grace our home again next Christmas!

…and here’s the gifts waiting under the Christmas tree. We searched the local market high & low for this tree & while she may look a little scraggly (and decorated hastily), as you can see, she’s potted…so we’re keeping her, take care of her so she stays healthy all year round on our balcony and her beauty will grace our home again next Christmas!

How did YOU decorate your home this season, duckies??? We’d love to know! Do email me at bamboostiletto@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you! Till then, STAY GOLD!

Monday Funday: Christian Louboutin’s Biggest Fan, More Imeldific Than Imelda Marcos…WHO Is She?

And our happy Monday Fundays return, Stiletto-istas – welcome back!
A quick recap of our last edition: if you recall, we had asked you to guess which young, successful country/pop music sweetheart romancing a Kennedy scion this summer had just bought a divine beach house next to his family compound in Hyannisport, Cape Cod, Massachusetts? Several of you guessed it correctly…yup, it’s Taylor Swift! (to read that previous Monday Funday edition, click here)

Aaaaaw! Isn’t young love just sweet & these 2 munchkins simply adorbs? Summer lovin’ on Cape Cod…Taylor Swift puckers up for a kiss with boyfriend Conor Kennedy, son of RFK Jr., and grandson of RFK and JFK.

Moving on to today’s Monday Funday…let’s begin with a little Bamboo Stiletto “origins story”, as they say in film industry lingo.

It was the summer of 1999. I had just moved from Hong Kong to New York City where that fall, I was due to attend graduate classes in business at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus in Lincoln Centre.

I was waiting for the number 1 train heading downtown at the subway station nearest my Upper West Side apartment. Next to me, also waiting for the train, was a lone, slim, well-dressed woman, blonde hair scooped neatly into a ponytail. For the life of me, I can’t remember now what she was wearing but what vividly transfixed me were her shoes. They were, by far, the most beautiful shoes I had ever seen in my life. In a gorgeous teal colour, ideal for summer. Showcasing her perfectly pedicured toes most adorably.

At this stage in my life, my love affair with shoes had already begun in earnest. Remember, I had lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s. Manolo Blahnik already had a popular shop in Hong Kong (back then, hordes of Japanese tourists could be seen queueing outside the shop; these days, the queueing hordes are all from mainland China). Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were already available at Lane Crawford. But this woman’s shoes…I did not recognize.

For a few seconds, I argued with myself. Should I act like a tourist in New York and simply ask a complete stranger, who did her shoes? Or, should I simply suffer in silent admiration? In the end, I couldn’t stand it…inquiring minds had to know! Before the train came roaring in, I mustered my thick-skinned courage, smiled at the unknown lady, paid my compliments regarding her shoes and asked, whose and what were they?

She smiled at the compliment, did not seem surprised (and, in fact, seemed to take it for granted that her beautiful shoes were certainly worthy of a stranger’s admiration) and then, she said: ” They’re by Christian Louboutin.”

It  was the first time I had ever heard of Christian Louboutin. It was also, indeed, a case of lust at first sight.

Alas, it was a case of wanting what I couldn’t have. At least not while I was in grad school and didn’t have a bean in the world. It wasn’t until years later, while in the Beijing rat race, during a Lane Crawford warehouse sale, that I was able to buy my first ever pair of Louboutins.

Since then, I’ve only managed to buy two more pairs – and only when massively discounted by Lane Crawford at its Hong Kong and Beijing stores.  Never bought them at full price; I mean, I AM a self-confessed shoe whore, but just CANNOT justify that kind of money. Here’s a look at The Bamboo Stiletto’s Louboutin stilettos – to date:

My Louboutin stilettos…one of these babies is already 8 years old, my first ever pair! Guess which one? Haha! Easy-peasy. Scuffed from use, you can hardly see the logo anymore.

Of course, by now, Louboutins have become so famous that Jennifer Lopez has sung about them;  they’re mentioned by rappers alongside other bling accoutrements as Cristal champagne and G6 private jets. Even “Sex & the City” character, Carrie Bradshaw, and her well-known Manolo Blahnik fetish, ended up choosing Louboutins for her wedding to Mr. Big. Over the years, my infatuation with Louboutin began to lose its lustre.

I was, however, reminded of my past love affair when the Wall Street Journal magazine recently ran a feature on the designer himself and his amazing shoe archive, housed in one of his homes. Mr. Louboutin has five residences: in the United States (Los Angeles, California), in Egypt and Portugal, an apartment in Paris and a lovely 13th-century chateau in the French countryside region of Vendee. It is here, in a restored oak barn, that Mr. Louboutin keeps an archive of more than 8,000 pairs of shoes, culled from his 20 years in the industry. He has room for 14,000 and is presently looking to hire a curator to manage the archive.

Uh, DING DONG! Monsieur Louboutin, where do I sign up to apply??? Who do we have to kill to get that job? Hahahaaa! Stiletto-istas, here’s a glimpse of Mr. Louboutin’s French country home (all images courtesy of the Wall Street Journal magazine’s September issue):

The 13th century Chateau de Champgillon in the Vendee region

The chateau’s oak barn, which was restored to house the shoe archive

Stiletto-istas, this is it! Our Holy Grail…our place of worship. Christian Louboutin’s shoe archive.

Can you imagine working as the curator for his archive and getting paid in shoes – like this little sexy thang?

The designer himself, Monsieur Louboutin, at home. Doing some shoe organizing. Celebrities…they’re just like us!

Anyhooz – we were fascinated to learn that Mr. Louboutin’s shoes have fans whose obsessions are of such magnitude that they can start their own Louboutin archive. Imelda Marcos supposedly had 3,ooo pairs of shoes?…phooey shoemey, girlfriend has NOTHING on these Louboutin shoe-crazed women!

One fan, in particular, is so fanatical that she currently owns more than 6,000 pairs of Louboutins. She is known to walk into a Louboutin shop in Paris or New York and buy between 60 to 80 pairs…right on the spot! Can you imagine the fabulousity??? Good thing this glamorous Louboutin fan is loaded in her own right and can afford her indulgences; known as “The Queen of Romance” for being one of the world’s bestselling romance novelists, she rakes in millions each year on royalties alone.

Who can be more Imeldific than Imelda Marcos? WHO is she? C’mon and ‘fess up, Stiletto-istas, you may have even read one of her books. It’s Monday Funday y’all, give me your Best Guess  in the Comments below and have a beautiful week ahead!

The Happiness Project: Happier at Home

Thank God It’s Friday, Stiletto-istas!
You may have heard of American bestselling author Gretchen Rubin and her book “The Happiness Project“…well now, I got all sorts of excited when I read in the Huffington Post that she has just come out with a new book, “Happier at Home”.

Ah, a subject close to my Bamboo Stiletto heart! And I’m sure to yours too! I mean, I’m sure we’ve all spent a lot of time and effort to try and make our homes as lovely, as welcoming and yes, as happy as possible. So when our loved ones come home at the end of a long, tiring day, their troubles and worries just melt away when they walk in the door.

I immediately skedaddled over to my favourite bookstore in Hong Kong (yes, I cross borders for books, people!) to get my happy pawpaws on this little gem.

The Bamboo Stiletto hearts this book! You will too!!!

What really had me at hello was Ms. Rubin’s darling little one-minute video trailer tease about the book on her website. Click on this link and view the vid – 10 Ways to be Happier at Home – here. And I dare you to tell me that you’re not tickled pink (or purple) by her suggestions? Which ones were your favourites?

As for moi, our faves were:

  • Don’t let anyone get too hungry.
    (Don’t you think this is so true? Hungry people are miserable people! I think maybe this is why fashion industry people have reputations for being such b—-s. These poor ducks are starving, of course! They would so cheer up if they would allow themselves to have a muffin once in a while, don’t you think? This is why Herr Hubby and I always have an ice cream bar in the fridge. Just in case.)
  • Everything looks better arranged on a tray.
    (OMG! Again, so true! I only discovered this when I really got super-duper involved in my amateur efforts at styling our flat here in Guangzhou. I am now obsessed with trays in the way that I used to obsess about Roger Vivier. Seriously).
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
    (This appeals to the obsessive-compulsive in me. I’m the type of person, for instance, who cannot, just cannot have dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Even after a dinner party that ended at 2am. Them dishes had to be washed. Yes, this actually happened in Shanghai, where we didn’t have a dishwasher. And no, I did NOT have live-in help, unlike some of you lucky ducks here in Asia. I washed all the dishes, pots and pans AND cleaned the kitchen till everything was spotless and smelled like Lysol (by nearly 3am). And you know what? It was therapeutic 🙂

Lastly, one of my absolutest faves and I’m admittedly biased because I applied this myself at Casa Stiletto BEFORE I’d even heard of “Happier at Home”  – and Gretchen Rubin herself admits that this one is controversial – TA-DA!

Purple pops in our living room at Casa Stiletto 🙂

Have a FABULOUSO weekend, Stiletto-istas!!! Be HAPPY AT HOME 🙂

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!!!

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! 🙂

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!

The Far-Off Philippines — Dream Escapes

 

The Philippines as interior design Inspiration – from Apartment Therapy. Bamboo Stiletto hearts!

 

GASP! The Bamboo Stiletto’s favourite time sink – Apartment Therapy – has Filipino roots! Who knew? It was an absolutely delish surprise to see this post about design inspiration from the Philippines in our blog reader inbox this morning. We’re avid fans ourselves of the capiz shell pendant lamp and of course, the rattan “Voyage” bed by Kenneth Cobonpue, a super-talented young furniture designer from Cebu. Here’s a shout-out of pride for Kenneth and our hometown, y’all. Yay!!!

 

Jonesing for Jute Rugs

jute rugs work for every room

Lately at The Bamboo Stiletto, our home decorating has been so focused on our walls, framing prints, paintings and photos and preoccupied with the business of hanging them, that we’ve almost forgotten about our floors. Isn’t it easy for all of us to forget about our floors? We seldom let our gaze linger downwards when we’re home…

Yet, a lot of us may not realize that it is what we put (or do not put) on our floors that anchor and define the spaces we call our own, for living, dining, sleeping, playing, relaxing.

And speaking of floors – I’ve just been jonesing for jute rugs. Such a tropical touch! And a perfect accessory for bringing summer right into our homes – without breaking the bank. The golden brown colour and rough-hewn texture would be ideal with the smooth wooden floors of our living room  at home as well as with the dark brown slatted wood floors of our balcony. For the living room, I’d layer a massive jute rug underneath our smaller soft, shaggy, grey-brown carpet  (so that the carpet is framed by the rug) while letting the rug go solo to define a dining space in the balcony.

I played around with muzy.com this morning to create this photo collage to show how jute rugs can work in just about every room in your home! Isn’t it fun???

For more photos and tips on how to enhance decorating with jute rugs, visit Tuvalu Home, a coastal-inspired decorating blog we were delighted to discover recently. Photo collage images courtesy of Tuvalu Home.

What about you – have you got the jones for jute rugs too?

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