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:
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!!!
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):
How did YOU decorate your home this season, duckies??? We’d love to know! Do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you! Till then, STAY GOLD!
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)
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:
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):
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!
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.
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!
Have a FABULOUSO weekend, Stiletto-istas!!! Be HAPPY AT HOME 🙂
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.
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):
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 🙂
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:
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!!!
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:
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 email@example.com.
…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!
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.
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):
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):
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!
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???