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Monday, July 21, 2014

Enjoy The Philippine Star Page Suite App on your iPhone & iPad

Years ago, the only way to read my favorite newspaper online was well, through their website, www.philstar.com

It was the next best thing to reading the actual paper, and if based abroad, like we were, the only way really. 

As with the paper version, the website is peppered with ads, going through each story required scanning the entire web page top to bottom, from left to right, and it was very plausible to miss out on a story because I would have to go back to the home page after reading a story to scan through it again. 

Not so with The Philippine Star’s Page Suite App for iPhone and iPad. 

You may never read your favorite paper outside of this app again ever. Or at the very least, have it as your primary Philippine news app on your mobile device. Let me tell you why: 

Feel & Vibe of the App 

Clean, neat, and uncluttered, the app is very easy on the eyes. Everything is laid out in a straightforward manner, with the menu screen containing the different sections of the paper popping up from the upper left side.

Ease of Navigation 

The app is very easy to navigate, intuitive and there’s no learning curve to hurdle. You just get it from the get go. 

To navigate through the day’s paper, simply swipe left or right to move between the different sections – front page, opinion, sports, business, entertainment and lifestyle. 

To read an article, simply tap on the article to read it in full detail. Once you’re done, just tap on the x on the upper right corner to close the page and be reverted back to the section. 

Because the app is free of unnecessary clutter, and sections have their own dedicated “page”, it is very reader friendly, and you don’t get lost in a neverending stream of stories. 

User Experience/Functionality 

For those who prefer reading their newspaper the “old-fashioned” way, I especially like that there is a PDF version of The Philippine Star, where I can enjoy the paper as if I was reading the actual newspaper and turning its pages without getting ink on my hands. 

You may also download the paper each day to read on the go, even download the PDF versions of past issues. 

 Of course, for full access to the daily newspaper, plus live updates on breaking news, sports, business and much more, you’ll need to subscribe to the app. 

Choose from 7 Day ($2.99), 1 Month ($6.99), 3 Months ($19.99), and 6 Months ($34.99) subscriptions. All subscriptions include a free trial for an initial period of up to 14 days. 

The Philippine Star Page Suite App for both iPhone and iPad is available for download HERE at the Apple App Store. Payment for the subscription will be charged to subscriber’s iTunes account upon purchase. 

Download The Philippine Star Page Suite App on Google Play, HERE
For more on The Philippine Star, Like them on Facebook, and follow @PhilippineSTAR on Twitter. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pottery Barn Kids, for the Mommas & Poppas Really

If Pottery Barn will make you want to renovate your home so you can make it look picture perfect, equally hard to resist is Pottery Barn Kids. 

Imagine having a room like this for your boys?

The rugs and bed linens are just too adorably preppy!

Plus, towels and beach wraps for when you want to bring a touch of Pottery Barn to your weekend trips to the beach.

While not yet for sale, I know Berry will freak out over this play kitchen. There's a sink that's due to complete this play kitchen showcase actually. Even I want this for our play room.

There's a deprived kid inside me convincing me why we NEED this, haha.

How adorable are these school bags and lunch box sets? A classic lunch bag starts at Php995 and backpacks range from Php1,450 to Php3,250.

By the way, bed linens at Pottery Barn Kids are designed to be mixed and matched. You can throw on any combination and your kids' beds will always look picture perfect.

More cute towels and wraps, and linens at the back...

Any girl would be thrilled to have a room like this. Check out that vanity set too, about Php12,500.

Oh and before I finish this post, here's a tip: Bed linens, towels, wraps and slip covers for the Anywhere Chair may be embroidered right in the store for about Php350 if I remember right.

Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids are exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists Inc. and are located at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street Central, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Let Me Take You Around Pottery Barn Manila

When Dada and I started furnishing our starter home, we shopped mostly at IKEA, but Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware served as my inspiration. 

I would visit the stores to browse, and keep catalogs I received in the mail as reference, convinced that if I studied them hard enough, I can totally recreate the rooms in our own home without any help from an interior decorator. Ahihihi.

When we moved back to Manila, I belatedly realized that with the lack of choices here, and the prohibitive costs of shipping things from abroad, I had missed my chance of bringing home the accessories and accent pieces from these US stores that I've always wanted for my own home - jute rugs, lanterns, the perfect table linens, party/entertaining essentials and such.

So thank goodness for SSI, Pottery Barn is finally Manila!

Anton Huang and Elizabeth Quiambao of Stores Specialists, Inc. with executives from Williams Sonoma Inc. which owns Pottery Barn (from L-R): Michelle Hummel – VP of Global Merchandising, Jennifer Ozark-Blanton – VP Global Inventory Management and Franchise Operations, and Leigh Oshirak - Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Not even Typhoon Glenda could stop me from going to the press launch. I excitedly went to meet my friend Cecile at her home so we could go together. I wanted to see what they had in store, and of course, usisa what the prices would be like here in Manila.

I am happy to share that prices in general are not so bad. The ones that I liked were reasonably priced. The furniture though, well, knowing how locally made furniture costs, are on the high end.

But that's expected given that these are mostly made in the US, North Carolina if I remember right.

And now, for a tour. I started on the right side of the store and walked around the entire ground floor before heading up the stairs to the second floor. Here's what you can find:

cozy seating and natural fiber rug, very "cottage in The Hamptons"

nautical glassware & barware starting at Php395

throw pillows Php1,950 (inserts start at Php595)

everything you need for a chic dining room is here, dining chairs start at Php12,500

linen napkins, Php1,950 for a set of 4. White catering napkins are Php1,450 for 6

blues and whites and more table linens here

resin corals starting at Php2,250 

wax candles and candle stands, they have flameless battery operated candles too

artisan made lanterns starting at Php995 for the glass lanterns

love this linen couch set
outdoor seating, wouldn't this be fantastic to have by the pool?

Jaraiza! This is what you've been looking for! Drink dispensers made from glass, Php4,500

Chic way to see what everyone's up to with that wall whiteboard calendar

Outdoor entertaining essentials

barware & glassware

wouldn't this make a sosyal lemonade stand?

Up on the second floor is the Bedroom section, the Bath section and the Design Studio.

From thick, fluffy towels to accessories, bathroom furniture and mirrors, the Bathroom section makes you want to redecorate your bath and start afresh.

washcloths start at Php295, hand towels at Php495 and bath towels at Php1,450

that hat stand where the bath robe hangs is about Php9,000+ if I remember right

get all these as a set - makes for cute and inexpensive wedding or housewarming present

The heart of Pottery Barn is Design Studio, where specially trained Design Specialists offer complimentary decorating and entertaining advice to customers. 

Whether you simply need to select fabrics, throw pillows for your couch or want help in decorating an entire room, a Design Specialist will be happy to help you.

I actually asked the Design Specialist on how I can care for this jute rug I have my eye on, and she deftly advised that it was easy to maintain and just needed regular vacuuming.

jute rugs range from Php2,950 for a 3x5' to Php34,500 for a 9x12'

Of course, I was told it was best to use with a rug pad underneath, which should be coming in August.

Yes, while there's already plenty of eye candy in store, there's actually more pieces to come as Pottery Barn brings in more products in the coming months. Expect more colors and prints of slipcovers for their Anywhere Chairs and plenty of other items that you might see online or in catalogs but aren't here yet!

Next up... my finds from Pottery Barn Kids!

Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids are exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists Inc. and are located at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street Central, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Transformers & OREO: Better Together

What is it about an Oreo cookie that makes me crave for their crunchy chocolate, cream-filled cookies when I start thinking about them?

I mean, here I am, seriously going through a pack, ok three, as I write this post. And to think this post is really about Oreo and their partnership with the Transformers franchise.

Oreo has in fact gone so far as to come up with two limited edition Transformers flavors - Action Fruit Creme and Prime Berry Creme, which I will tell you more about later, heehee.

these new flavors are not just for reel, they're for real!

But first, let me tell you what I think about the movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Don't worry, no spoilers here. 

But yes, there's an Oreo cameo in the movie, and no, it wasn't as horrible as all the reviews made it out to be.

I mean, even if the SoMoms & I  weren't invited to Oreo Philippines' official screening, I would have gone to see the movie still. It was entertaining, there was never a dull moment, and it was overall, fun! All three hours of it!

Dada, Berry & I had a great time watching. I don't know if it's because we went expecting the worst, but it wasn't a total waste of time as some people said it was.

In fact, even if we missed out on the big shebang that the folks from Oreo set-up just right outside the cinema (a photo booth with some of the Transformers in the uh, flesh?, an Oreo themed dessert table, etc.) because the wait for a parking slot at Resorts World was just insane (we actually ended up waiting at the valet line too, ugh) Berry was quite happy with her photo taken with a cardboard Optimus Prime. Teehee.

If you have three hours to kill, go and watch Transformers: Age of Extinction. Just don't over analyze it na lang and take it for what it is - pure entertainment.

Of course, the more exciting thing about Oreo tying up with Transformers are their limited edition flavors which I told you about earlier.

Cool blue Prime Berry Creme comes in the delicious Blueberry Ice Cream flavor and the Action Fruit Creme flavor is filled with the unique taste of Orange Ice Cream. These two new flavors are available in leading supermarkets for a limited time only.

When you buy a pack of these limited edition flavors, along with the classic Original and Chocolate Creme flavors in Transformers packaging, you and your kids may join the Oreo Lab Grab Game over at http://oreotransformers4.com/.

The Oreo Lab Grab game over at http://oreotransformers4.com/...

...allows you to win instant prizes such as water bottles and Transformers themed luggage, even an experience of a lifetime - a Trip for 4 to Universal Studios in Hollywood! 

So start grabbing those cookies!

Promotion ends August 25, 2014.

PS - The fun doesn't stop online. Also check out Oreo's Do It Together App which you may download at the Apple App Store. 

Oreo wants to support families in choosing each other over varied distractions in life and encourage family togetherness by suggesting fun activities every week to complete as a family, capturing those precious moments and rewarding achievements.

Because with Oreo, everything is Better Together!

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