Monday, October 27, 2014

X-Factor Australia 2014 Winner: Marlisa Ann Punzalan

I know it's been a week since my this 15 year old
bagged the X-factor Australia 2014 title
but her her own single entitled
"Stand By You"
got stuck in my head and had an LSS (Last Song Syndrome)!

Oh how I loved the rhythm and lyrics!
And even though I'm not a good singer,
I've been singing it everyday ever since! lol

So for those who have heard her,
here are the very uplifting lyrics!

I feel like this song is great to dedicate to a friend, family, other half or anyone
who is going through a lot in their lives.

If you don't know her or haven't heard her single yet,
watch the vid and let us all sing along with her today
in Music Mondays!

Marlisa Ann Punzalan was born on 1 October 1999 and is from Glendenning, New South Wales.
She is of Filipino descent and began singing at the age of three.
In 2013, Punzalan auditioned for the seventh series of Australia's Got Talent but did not make it past the audition rounds and also attempted to audition for the first series of The Voice Kids but exceeded the age limit by one month.

Talk about standing by your dreams? 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Style Saturday

Discover what's hot before anyone else!

Created by Founder, Paraag Amin, and directed by Founding Partner, Kinvara Balfour, 
StyleCard takes the concept of a daily editorial email, 
featuring stories about the latest, coolest, must-know things.

For those who have been following me in Instagram or here in my blog,
you might remember Kinvara Balfour earlier this year when I met her during 
her interview with Manolo Blahnik.

And recently during her AOL talk with Zac Posen during NYFW

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You don't have to be Royalty to feel like a Princess!


Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and the late Princess Diana
both wearing French Sole


Kate Middleton wears a lot of Buelah London

*Buelah London and French Sole are just a few of the StyleCard partners

Want to know more about StyleCard?
Check it here!



Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Zac Posen!

we celebrate the 34th birthday
of one of my favorite fashion designers,

I was lucky to have been invited by Kinvara Balfour
to attend her talk with Zac Posen
during the recent New York Fashion Week.

 Kinvara Balfour and Zac Posen

 I love his enthusiasm!

Watch the whole interview here.
You'll get to hear me in the last part of the vid during the Q&A. =)

 The dynamic duo

Yay! He signed one of my engagement pics wearing his design!
Will post it sometime soon. ;)

And if you have been following my Instagram & my blog,
you might remember that I tried his Spring 2014 Bridal Collection
for David's Bridal.

In case you missed it, click here.

I can't wait to visit New York again & try his Fall 2014 Collection.

The Queen sends her First Tweet!

This is so exciting!
My pseudo-mother,
Queen Elizabeth II,
just tweeted for the first time!

While opening the Information Age exhibit at London’s Science Museum,
she sent her first ever tweet from the official Twitter account of Buckingham Palace.

Being cool,
"Elizabeth R."!


The tweet’s author was then verified by the @BritishMonarchy account 
with a follow-up tweet and a photo of the Queen sending the message.

A statement from the museum said director Ian Blatchford had invited Queen Elizabeth to mark the occasion on social media. “I mentioned earlier that Queen Victoria took a great interest in the invention of the telephone, and Your Majesty has followed in this tradition of embracing new technology,” he told her. “You made the first live Christmas broadcast in 1957 and an event relished by historians took place on [March 26, 1976], when you became the first monarch to send an email, during a visit to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. May I now invite you to join me so that you may send your first tweet.”

It's about time mother dear! haha

Can't wait for her to join Instagram! haha



Ok, so the fear of every New Yorker has finally come...

Dr. Craig Spencer, who treated Ebola patients while working for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres 
is the first Ebola case diagnosed in New York, and the fourth in the US.
The Doctors Without Borders physician tested positive for the deadly virus six days after returning from Guinea where he was treating patients.

And this is causing a panic in the city that I love the most.

He left Guinea on October 14th and returned to New York City on October 17th via Europe. On October 21st, he began to feel tired and developed fever and diarrhea, common symptoms of Ebola,
on October 23rd in which he immediately contacted medical services and was taken to Bellevue Hospitalwhere he is being kept in isolation.

It is normal for New Yorkers to panic as the usual transportation is the subway which he took, (A train to 14th St-8th Ave, Manhattan then L train to Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn), visited a bowling alley (The Gutter) and took an Uber cab just one day before he was rushed to the hospital with a 103F fever.
And earlier that day, he even went on a three-mile jog and took the 1 train to the High Line
before eating out at a restaurant.

That's the key, he didn't know yet that he will feel sick. The early symptoms of Ebola are similar to other more common, diseases.  This makes it difficult to diagnose Ebola in someone who has been infected for only a few days. 

Before we make some comments, for those who are not yet knowledgeable about Ebola, let us have a quick review:
(I used the World Health Organization guidelines to accommodate all readers worldwide)

Symptoms of Ebola virus disease

Incubation period: ---the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms 
is 2 to 21 days

Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. 

First symptoms:
sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat

Followed by 
vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). 

Laboratory findings 
low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

(If you want to learn more about Ebola, click here.)

So basing from these,
New Yorkers should not panic unless they were in contact with the patient
when the symptoms arise.

His fiancee and two friends are now under observation 
but health officials will continue to determine if anyone else requires monitoring. 

I personally admire the healthcare workers who volunteer to reach out to those in need
and those who are courageous enough to take care of Ebola patients
even though that would mean risking their own lives.

I think WHO should revise this for healthcare workers who travelled to Ebola-affected countries
to volunteer as they are already known to be possible Ebola virus carriers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, president of the CDC, told the panel: 
"Our concern now is with healthcare workers who are caring for him."

So this is my question:
(this might not be heard by anyone influential
but for you readers at least to ponder on)

Why won't the government mandate all healthcare workers
who took care of an Ebola patient in quarantine for at least 21 days
(they must be compensated though!)
since that is the incubation period?

None of them would know if they got the virus until then.

Being a healthcare worker myself,
I personally think that's the best way to promote safety for everyone.

As they say,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

In Dr. Spencer's case,
we can not blame him 
as there was no governing rule for him to stop getting out of his house.
If there was a mandatory rule,
then he could have in isolation.

Anyways, WHO has already identified at least 
two experimental vaccines which it believes could be promising.

At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland
 the UN health body said it wanted tests of the vaccines to be completed by the end of December.

Let us hope and pray that this would be effective.

What are your thoughts?

Please share.
I want to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Transformation Thursday: Renee Zellweger

Remember her in Bridget Jones' Diary?

Recognized her in the recent Elle event?

To be honest, it is obvious that there were changes from the Renee Zellweger that we were all used to.

But I'm learning to respect other's decisions 
and be happy for their choices
rather than judge them.

And after people's reactions to her transformation, she told People magazine
"I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows."

If she is not telling about a surgery,
let it be.
Because let us be real,
even if she admits it,
people will still comment negatively about it anyways.
So why bother?

"My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy," she continues.

Isn't that what all we want in our own lives?

Recently, she helped her pal and longtime publicist, Nanci Ryder, who is battling ALS in LA.

with Nanci Ryder

Why don't people just look at the positive things in life?
Like her helping out?

with Reese Witherspoon 
With her sunnies on,
she still looks like the Renee Zellweger we all know at least. =)

For more of her exclusive statement to People, click here.

 I think we should all go back to the time when we were kids and learned 
"not to judge a book by its cover".

Who knows her transformation might be just beyond the physical that is seen by our naked eye?

Why don't we use our naked hearts instead and feel love and acceptance?


Adios, Maestro Oscar de la Renta...

When I heard the sad news that Oscar de la Renta passed away,
I thought,
oh man my dream of meeting him is crushed.

I don't even own a piece of his designs besides 2 silk scarves.
But I've always admired his designs.
And as I look back at my dream wedding board,
Oscar de la Renta designs are there of course.

 Amal Clooney was so lucky to have her  wedding dress designed last by De la Renta!
He was even in his wheelchair during the fittings...
See the story here.

So yesterday,
as I went on a meeting.
I used an Oscar scarf in his memory.

the fashion world mourned for his loss
after battling cancer for 8 years.

Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932 and moved to Madrid, Spain to study when he was 18.
He soon developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with different designers.
He made his name in the early 1960s when then first lady, Jackie Kennedy, wore his designs. He criticized the FLOTUS for not wearing American designers. And weird enough, finally Michelle Obama wore his designs just recently! (talk about premonitions?!)

embroidered navy dress from the designer's fall 2014 collection

Michelle Obama finally wore an Oscar de la Renta creation to a cocktail party for the Fashion Education Workshop she hosted at the White House on October 9th.

Over the following decades he dressed nearly every first lady, models and celebrities including my fave Oscar de la Renta muse, Sarah Jessica Parker. 

"Fashion is a trend, style lives within a person."
-Oscar de la Renta

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bath-coholics: Abbey Ales, Bath Ales and Bath Gin

Abbey Ales

Abbey Ales is the first and only brewery in the historic city of Bath
and has been brewing for over 50 years.

The range of beers produced includes Bellringer Best Bitter and Bellringer Maximus,
a strong hoppy brew made from Wiltshire Maris Otter malt
and finished with the finest Worcestershire hops.

Bellringer is the top selling cask bitter in Bath and
is as popular with the many visitors to the Georgian city as it is with Bathonians.

The Coeur de Lion:
the smallest pub in Bath

with my Bellringer
and (my third different brand)  pork scratchings
(will share on a different post)

Bath Ales

Bath Ales is an independent brewery based in Bristol,

producing distinctive beers such as
Gem (a bitter-sweet amber ale),
Dark Side (a delicious chocolaty stout),
and seasonal favourites such as Festivity (the winter porter).

Bath Ales can be found in many local pubs including the brewery’s own establishments,
The Hop Pole, The Salamander and Graze Bar.

*Unfortunately, we forgot to taste this during the trip
but will def taste it soon!

Bath Gin

The Canary Gin Bar,

tucked away down the cobbled Queen Street,
is a gin lovers paradise.

Canary: The Home of the Bath Gin

Alongside a well stocked bar packed full of different gins,
don't miss the unique Bath Gin,
the recipe for which was created here in the city using local ingredients.

The Bath Gin has been created by owner of The Canary, Peter Meacock
with the help of expert mixologist Tim Whelehan.

The team chose ten botanicals: 
Juniper, Cassia, Lemon Peel, Burnt Orange Peel, Liquorice, Cardamon, Angelica and Cubeb Berries with two further and unusual additions:
Wormwood, famously used in the distillation of Absinthe, 
and Kaffir lime leaf, used in the Rums of Madagascar, Reunion and Martinique.

The result is a gin which is bright and fruity and citrussy and fresh - it’s a canary-like flavour!

We had a Bath Gin and tonic.
I had it with Elderflower tonic and even though I am NOT a fan of gin,
damn it was deliciously refreshing!

Now, I'll have to make it at home.
Preferably while in the bath tub! lol

"Gin" Austen! hahaha

There are currently only 1,000 bottles of the Bath Gin, all branded with a picture of a winking Jane Austen.

“In most pictures Jane Austen looks quite severe,” said Peter.
“And she has this image of being not necessarily prim and proper, but very correct.

“Actually, she was quite a naughty girl.
She liked her young men and she liked her gin and we wanted to show that side of her.”

“We have ambitions of having a distillery in Bath,” he said.
“But that’s a way off yet. In the meantime we are going to do some other gins.
This is the Canary edition, and we are planning a LHOOQ edition,
named after the Salvador Dali picture of Mona Lisa with a moustache
with a picture of Jane Austen with a moustache on the label, a
nd also a Bath edition which will be a bit more mass market with a slightly lower price point.”

Omg! This would be a hilarious pic!

Sally Lunn's "Bunns" vs regular Bath Buns


Sally Lunn's
Bath's Oldest House c. 1482

Home of the World Famous Sally Lunn Bath Bun

Sally Lunn, a young French refugee, arrived in England over 300 years ago.

She baked a rich, round and generous bread now known as the Sally Lunn Bun.

This Bun became a popular delicacy in Georgian England
as its special taste and lightness allowed it to be enjoyed
with either sweet or savory accompaniments.

Bun Etiquette

During the day,
they serve half a bun unless otherwise stated.

You might get a top or a bottom---
they tend to use tops for sweet buns
bottom for savory,
although there is no rule.

If there are two of you,
(like me and my fiancé),
why not ask for a top or a bottom so you get to try both?

The bun is generally eaten with a knife and fork
but there are no fixed rules.

Most guests enjoy their bun with a huge smile on their face!

top bun for the fiance
Cafetière & Cinnamon Butter Bun:
A cafetière of one of our famous coffees served
with half a toasted & buttered Sally Lunn Bun
topped with our home-made cinnamon butter

bottom bun for me
Light Breakfast:
Half a toasted & buttered Sally Lunn Bun with
marmalade or our home-made cinnamon butter
& a pot of house tea for one

We both got sweet buns as we went for breakfast.
We haven't tried the savory ones unfortunately.

sweet rocks
Actually the word bun is an unhelpful description. 
There is no truly useful common English word to describe a Sally Lunn Bun 
as it is part bun, part bread, part cake… 
A large and generous but very very light bun; 
a little like brioche/French festival bread….
but traditionally it has been called a bun – or bunn – so, even if it isn’t really a bun or a bunn, 
let’s call it a bun!

The association between Sally Lunn’s and Jane Austen is an interesting one.

A young Jane Austen writes a typically mischievous letter 
about “disordering my stomach with Bath bunns.” 
The extra letter ‘n’ may not be an accidental slip.

She could be referring to Sally Lunns. 
Nor is she criticising their indigestibility, 
simply implying that she liked pigging out on them as a form of comfort eating.

Today you can enjoy a bunn in The Jane Austen Room at Sally Lunn’s – 
you can also enjoy bespoke dishes, and blends of tea and coffee . 

The Museum

The old bakery museum is open until 6pm daily.
Entry to our museum is free to guests who take refreshment.

The fascinating museum in the cellars, where you can see the roman and Medieval foundations of the house and finds from the recent excavations.

Original kitchen with its faggot oven, Georgian range and old baking utensils. 

Since it was my first time to hear about this oven myself, 
learn more about faggot oven by clicking here.

You cannot visit Bath without experiencing the taste of the World Famous Sally Lunn Bath Bun!


The Bath Bun (not to be confused with the Sally Lunn bun!) was invented by 18th century physician Dr. William Oliver.

The doctor's buns were originally made from a rich, sweet egg and butter dough topped with crushed caraway seed comfits.

However, they were so tasty his patents' waistlines expanded at an alarming rate (LMAO!)
and had to quickly be replaced with far plainer, savory Bath Oliver biscuit.

You have been warned! ;)

Today's Bath bun is still made from sweet yeast dough (often with a whole sugar lump in the center).

Bath Bun Tea Shoppe

Sorry I was so hungry that I forgot to take pic of the actual bun!


The Sally Lunn's bun wins!
It is true that is a large bun but light
and very interesting.
Even the fiance who's not into bun approves!

The Bath Bun was good too in all fairness!
But I am not a big fan of the whole sugar lump in the center.
It was like eating a whole pack of sugar!


On a side note,
the Bath Oliver biscuits
that replaced the original Bath buns
will be put to test next!

The biscuits known as Bath Olivers are a popular accompaniment for cheese and can be found on the shelves of most supermarkets in the UK.

As I mentioned earlier,
they were originally designed by Dr. William Oliver.

When Dr. Oliver died,
he left £100, a sack of flour and his secret formula to his coachman,
who subsequently set up a shop on Green Street and became rich on the proceeds.

And then this!