Wouldn't you love to spend the morning sipping your coffee at this Paris terrace? A day of museum hopping, window shopping, French people watching ahead of you? ah, bliss... Reality check! I'm nowhere near Paris right now, but... I can still have a great morning. In a perfect world, my morning ritual means:
  • rising early, but not too early (7:30 at latest)
  • workout - 8am Bikram class
  • light breakfast on the porch -- hot coffee, yogurt w strawberries
  • inspirational morning-themed music playing in the background - "Morning Dance", "Oh What a Beautiful Morning", "Sunday Morning"
  • new magazines, the weekend paper to browse through
  • writing ...
... and that's exactly what I did this morning. So I left out the parts where I cleared the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, prepped tonight's app and tomorrow's lunch, but hey... Life is good.



What a crazy work day I've had! I'm barely able to put a coherent thought, let alone a sentence, together. So today allow me a break, and a moment of fan worship for the wonderfully talented, underrated Matthew Fox, star of two of  my fave tv shows of all time -- Lost and Party of 5. I can't believe I've waited this long to praise him online.

It's not about his good looks (though I admit I wouldn't mind being stranded on an island with him) but heck this guy can act. I cry when you cry, Jack Shepherd. I feel your pain, Charlie Salinger. I'm still haunted by that Lost ending... at the church with all his friends. *gulp* And when I think of the Party of 5 episode where Charlie cancels his wedding to that anorexic whats-her-name, I mean... *sob*

I take my shows far too seriously. Have a great weekend!



Q: What do I have in common with Madonna?

A:  Daughters mortified by their mother.

 Here is a snippet of 14 yr old Lola's account of a recent night out with her iconic mom:
"... I was with like everyone from my house and we had a really good time. My mom was dancing the entire time which is LOL now that I think about it, but in the moment I was just like, ”mom…..no…please no”.
So...I realized while out shopping with Rorygilmore yesterday that we have less than 3 weeks before we head to Bermuda. I need a bathing suit. Just the thought of shopping for swimwear makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. To make things worse it's about as easy to find a bathing suit in July, as it is to find winter gloves in February. That is, it's impossible. I'm getting desperate. Every swimsuit left is either obscene or matronly. Finally I found this

and was about to take it to the cashier, when Rorygilmore spots it.

She: Um, what is that?
Me: It's a bathing suit. It's the only thing here that's cute, and it fits.
She: I hope you're not gonna buy that. Please. It's embarrassing! .
Me: Why?! It's not like we're going to hang out with you at the beach. And it's leopard print. *Roar*
She: Please. Put it away. It's going to be so embarrassing! (voice getting really whiny now) Why don't you buy this one?! (points to matronly plus size floral tankini)

So I dutifully put the leopard print suit away.


"Some people don't like to work out in the hot life-threatening heat, but you know who does like to do that? Hardcore people. And they get the attention. Cause hardcore is hot. You know? Yea."
I read this quote today on gawker. (Yes, Gawker, not exactly Walt Whitman. Maybe it was just overheard in a bar.) Yet, it was as if the stars aligned to remind me that today is a special day. Today, July 29, 2010 is my 1 year anniversary. Exactly a year ago today I walked into my first Bikram yoga class.

Like you'll never forget the day you met your true love, I remember tht first class like it was yesterday... I had to get out of the house that day but had nowhere else to go. I'd been curious about the studio I'd passed a million times, so it seemed like a good time to try. The room was hot -- like a toaster oven and you're a pop tart -- hot! The room was full, but not too full that I couldn't fully see my reflection in the mirror. The lights went on... yikes! Is that *gulp* fluorescent? So the class began... And when I finished final savasana, it was as if I'd sweat out a whole other person -- the chunky, toxic, lethargic, blemished, crack-heeled bitch -- and all that was left was the cheerful, energetic, optimistic, smooth, ageless bitch.

So I returned and kept coming back. Now the studio is my second home. I'm not there as much as I'd like to be-- family, housekeeping, work, and yes, blogging, do get it the way. But whenever I return, there's always a spot in the front row, just waiting for me to lay my mat, and start sweating it out.

I guess I'm hardcore. Namaste.



Somedays I wake up and think I'm fairly accomplished and relatively independent (or is it relatively accomplished and fairly independent?). After all, I have a great family, good decent fulfilling job that pays, I've run a 1/2 marathon, do Bikram, traveled alone, can drive myself to any destination within 200 miles, I blog, own an enviable collection of handbags and Eiffel Tower replicas, yada yada...

Then I see these pics on FB of my dance troupe buddy Libay, now a working single mom who weighs 90 pounds soaking wet, installing hardwood, mostly by herself in her condo. Using her own tools. Not a man in sight.

I am not worthy.



It's been a hot summer. And a busy summer -- juggling work, Precious, Rorygilmore and R in and out of the house, yoga, salsa, cooking, cleaning, etc. Oh, and blogging.

After signing off work at exactly 5pm (and not a moment earlier because you know I wouldn't abuse my work privileges), I eagerly finished The Help, which is so entertaining. I could not put it down. I cried, I laughed, I practically cheered out loud. Then I had to drive the kids around town. And now I've got to leave for salsa dancing! Reading, work, driving, blogging, salsa-- all in all, a great day.

Anyway, this is what I wore. (To be honest I wore silver Birkenstocks, not these cute Anthro sandal/booties which would not be flattering anyway, plus Anthro doesn't sell shoes in Canada....)



Damn. This blog wasn't supposed to be about shopping.

But how am I expected to resist my desire to acquire when I open my office email and see this first thing in the morning? (I ignore all with the subject: Urgent Action Required. Right.)

By now I'm sure online retailers have surveyed their demographics, analyzed their sales, and know that prime shoppers like me are the most vulnerable on Monday mornings. Monday mornings when the last thing you want to do is what you need to do, and you know the only thing that can cheer you up is to spend money before you can even get out of your pjs or get that first cup of coffee? ... and that your online shopping bag is filled with beauties like this waiting to go on final sale.

I tried these shoes on when we were in Florida for spring break. I tell you, the leather, it's like butta. And isn't that just the perfect nude colour? Yeah I have a similar coloured peep toes from Nine West, but those have stacked heels, so it's not like it's the same thing. And the J.Crew sales folks themselves told me J. Crew shoes are made at the Ferragamo factory, using the same leather. Really? Just occurred to me these shoes were made to go with this. ugh! Original $275, now $199 less 30%.

I need another summer maxi jersey dress like a hole in the head. I already have three (1 navy from Gap, 1 black racerback from Mendocino, and 1 brown from Old Navy). I don't need another one. But gosh, doesn't this look soft? And I don't have a maxi dress in dark pewter, so this one will surely make me look at least 4 inches taller and as gangly as this 18 year old freaky ectomorph. (I don't know what my body type is called, but I'm no ectomorph, that I know. what do you call the short, er, curvy type?) Original price - $78, now $39 less 30%.

What I absolutely do need is a printed pencil skirt. I have 2 black pencil skirts and a khaki pencil skirt, but I don't have a printed pencil skirt. I would pair this with a blue tank, black fitted shirt untucked and belted... with those nude peep toe platforms! *sigh*

But I am strong. I will not check out today. At least, not yet.

Images: J. Crew



I'm procrastinating on two things that I absolutely must get done by the end of the day, namely five loads of laundry, and a work project that I know will take me at least 4 hours. Sometimes a list is the best I can do.

Things that are comforting:

1. Filipino (Flip for short) food, or more specifically Flip pork dishes. (K, it's not possible to be a Flip vegetarian.) Pork barbeque on a stick, pork adobo, pork Bicol express, pork dinuguan, pork sinigang, pork longanisa, pork rind chicharon, etc.... usually dipped in spicy vinegar. I read the vinegar melts the fat when consumed together, and you know what? Works for me.

2. The work of Nora Ephron (except 'Bewitched').

3. Fashion and home magazines. Beyond aspirational, you know you'll have to marry European royalty to ever live like this. But hey, this Filipina did.

4. MJ at his best. Off the Wall, not Thriller.

Images: Panlasang Pinoy, Amazon, Vogue, Elle Decor



Have you ever seen a more beautiful kitchen appliance in your life? It inspired me to go to church and devote an hour to this:

Dear God,

Thank you for blessing me with well, all my blessings. I hope you find it in your heart to bless me also with this beautiful Kitchen Aid stand mixer in Satin Copper. If you do I promise:

  • I will buy flour
  • I will use flour not just to coat chicken thighs, but also to bake
  • I will learn to bake
  • I will learn to bake things others than red velvet cupcakes
  • I will learn to bake things, bake them, and then contribute such baked things at bake sales
  • I will learn to bake things, bake them well, contribute to bake sales, and then I will get such praise the I will be asked to teach baking
  • I will teach others how to bake

Your faithful servant,

Image: Williams-Sonoma


...the love of your life, pt 2

I was all choked up reading this story about the notorious Lord and Lady Black . Morality tale for our times, but also kinda sweet. Sure they've lost so much (which really wasn't theirs to begin with anyway), but they still have each other. Is it enough?

...weekend plans

The weekend is finally here! Many suburban couples spend weekends planning and executing home improvement projects like painting and gardening together. R and I are not that couple. I can count on one hand the number of times we've been at a Home Depot together. Most of our weekends are spent, as they say, chilling, and usually separately. It works for us. But this is not a post about marriage.

So while hardworking, industrious suburbanites visit Home Depot and toil in their gardens, I will be working up a sweat here

Desperately flushing out toxins and praying I'm burning enough fat from my arms so I can carry off a strapless dress in 3 weeks.

But mostly I'll be on a chair, with a cup of coffee or tea, finishing this entertaining page turner (highly recommended by Ninang).
And then like millions of (or more likely, hundreds of thousands) fans, I will end the weekend with the season 4 premiere of Mad Men. I hope it's better than last season. Honestly the only episode of season 3 that I watched in its entirety was the season finale, and now really I won't have to see the rest. If you've never seen the show, here's a 5 minute refresher.

I enjoy Mad Men, but mostly I enjoy Don Draper in a suit, cigarette in one hand, drink in another, and that manly man voice. I hope there's more Peggy and Pete, Joan and Roger, and much less Betty.

And then, when the new week begins, I'll wish that I'd spent the weekend with R, selecting mosaic tiles for the backsplash, buying paint and new floors for Precious' room, or planting flowers in the garden...


...a prize!

If you love Anthro as much as RoryGilmore does, enter this contest to win a $250 Anthro gift card.

Of course if DTA wins, I will promptly run to Anthro to purchase this:

which will sit in my closet, tags on, for months. Winter will arrive, I will finally admit to myself that full skirts and polka dots are not my friends, and I will return this dream frock for a credit note...which I will hopefully put towards this:

A purple wing chair for the all white office! ... or $250 worth of really cute doorknobs for the bathroom cabinets.

Images: Anthropologie

...things that are wrong, #1

We will return to our regularly scheduled program. But I feel it is my duty to post about fashion and shopping again today.

I received an email from an upscale Canadian retailer whose flagship store is located at Bay/Bloor, subject: What to wear while it's still HOT!. Included in the supposed list of mid-summer must haves is this 'schoolboy shirt'. I have to clarify that this list was intended for grown women, not toddler schoolboys. Oh, and the price tag?!

Enough said.

...dress for less

This blog was intended to be about living simply. Yet here I am again blogging about fashion and shopping. I can't help it. The post idea fell right on my lap(top). I found this dress here, and was immediately reminded of the nude Valentino worn by the goddess of simplicity and all that is kind to launch her perfume at Harrod's.

J. Crew dress - $128 USD. Valentino - I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing at least the price of return airfare between Toronto and Paris, plus a week's stay at a roach-infested hotel in the Latin Quarter. And the J.Crew dress would be much more forgiving in the midsection, for those of us who haven't been in the yoga studio for 5 days, and don't have a personal chef to whip up low fat Mexican food at our command.

Just saying.

Images: J. Crew


...a good hair day

I''ll admit it. I'm a founding member of Team Aniston (other notable member: Lorelai Gilmore). We've had tough times, with the birth of the Chosen One, then the holy twins, double Oscar noms, John Mayer, that 30 Rock episode, and now the release of Salt. But hallelujah finally a small moment of triumph. Today her hair is gorgeous.

See my happiness list? 'A good hair day' tops the list. Yes, I am that shallow and vain. I could've listed 'a peaceful ending to the G20', or 'free plastic bags at Longos', as things that make me happiest. But this is my blog and I had to be honest. Sometimes all I need to be happy is good hair.

Back in the day my hair was my crowning glory--thick, glorious, and shiny--perfect for the sleek bobs of the era. My hair was so effortlessly perfect that I never gave it a second thought. Except for the Donna Summer tragedy of 1978, my hair was never permed. I waited until a week before my wedding, when I was already 30 years old, to even get my hair coloured! I was low maintenance. Now if my hairdresser hasn't seen me in 22 days, she calls 911. Because she knows.

So I will bring this image of the goddess of simplicity and all that is kind to the salon on Aug 14. To achieve this carelessly toussled look, my mane will be shampooed, highlighted, lowlighted, trimmed, Moroccanoiled, moussed, blown out, volumized, flat ironed, sprayed. And it will be a good day.



I am lucky. Yes I strive for more in my life, but in the midst of wanting what I don't have, I lose sight of what I DO have. And I have so much.

Today I am grateful for:
  • my home - where my family eats, sleeps, works, and the decor for which only I can be blamed
  • Bikram yoga, blogging, salsa - which keeps my mind and body active
  • my supportive parents - who are still healthy and active and run to my rescue at a moment's notice
  • my incredible and generous sister Z and my vastly different bros J and AZ
  • 90% of R's fun, crazy, LOUD, and loving family
  • my job - which I take for granted but is always good to me
  • most of all - my patient R, and our spawn -- the wise-beyond-her-years RoryGilmore, and spirited Precious.

I am also grateful to have the sense not to wear Jessica Simpson's er, outfit. Seriously.

Be grateful.



I tossed and turned all night, filled with worries and anxiety. So I woke up with a choice: Misery or Motivation.

I choose Motivation.

(Picture above has nothing to do with the subject, but so pretty, no?)


...the love of your life

I'm a romantic. I believe every (straight) girl has a boy who makes her heart crazy. If lucky, girl and boy live happily ever after. But for many, the boy doesn't call, or sells girl's family secrets to Vanity Fair, or cheats with the nanny, or drinks himself to death. And yet girl continues to dream of boy, long after they've parted.

So it warms my soul to see these (in)famous couples reunited, wisely or unwisely, after all.

If only in our hearts.


...style genius (or 'I want to go to there...')

Ah, style. You've either got it or you don't. One who most certainly has it in spades is J. Crew's newly appointed president, Jenna Lyons. She has an enviable career, a stay at home hubby, cute kid, a chauffeur, and of course great personal style. But what I envy the most is her home. As you will see, Jenna lives the way she dresses. She mixes things up.

The picture above is of a bay window in her kitchen. Wouldn't you love to sit there with a cup of coffee and the paper each morning?

Many women would trade their first born to have Jenna's dressing room, pictured above. The high ceilinged-room has a stone fireplace, open racks of shoes and clothing. and an elegant settee for which to perch while deciding which pair of stiletto Ballys, silk cargo pants, sequined striped bateau top or statement necklace to wear to the office today, while the chauffeur waits.

Now, I would never ever buy a yellow couch (I've had yellow and I'm over yellow. Now I'm all over pink.), but isn't it striking in this living room? Let's not even discuss the chandeliers. *Sigh* That's a whole other post.

To get the full view of Lyons' stunning home, read HC's full post here.

Images via Habitually Chic


Sometimes I get in a funk. Not just a bad mood, or full on depression, but just a funk. When that happens , I like to think of the things that make me happy. I call it, um, my happiness list.

List is subject to change of course, but here's the current . Note that many don't cost a cent, except possibly some sweat, or in the case of (2) a whole lot of sweat.
  1. a good hair day
  2. Bikram's final savasana
  3. success with a new recipe
  4. a hot cup of fresh strong coffee sweetened with condensed milk
  5. a mailbox filled with the latest mags and catalogs
  6. a good movie (heck, even just a passable chick flick, like Dear John)
  7. finding a new Tour Eiffel for the collection (k, technically this could cost $)
  8. a kiss from R
  9. a hug from Precious
  10. a smile from RoryGilmore

Why don't you think of your happiness list or start your happiness project?

Have a great weekend!


... an age appropriate dress?

Guilty!...of sharing clothes with my 18 yr old. Alright mostly shirts or cardis, and technically she borrows from me, but still there are items of clothing that mothers and daughters shouldn't both wear, even if they're the same size.

You see, we have a family wedding in less than a month. (Remind me to hit the bikram yoga mats and the pavement again later.) It's a big one for R's family -- the first grandchild to tie the proverbial knot. Men have it so easy... tuxes or the traditional Filipino barong and they're done. The ladies on the other hand! To two of the generations of women of this clan, our dresses are a source of both concern and contention. The experienced generation don't care much about what the youngers wear, because these kids would look great in a paper bag. But geez, the flack and questioning we get from our daughters!

They have provided US with a list of rules of what they feel is inappropriate or unflattering for anyone over 50:

  • anything long
  • anything strapless
  • anything shiny
  • shawls.

I thought I was safe when I first saw the dress above in a spring J.Crew catalog. R even agreed. I order, it arrived, I tried it on. Yikes... major reality check! Although the dress fit and was actually the right length, I clearly have no business in a short floral bubble dress.

Kids' list in hand, but forever the rebel, I instead chose the maxi dress below, from Cassis. Yes, Cassis! It's Canadian, at my nearby mall, and on sale! Yep, I broke most of the girls' rules (as if I would ever listen to them and I'm not 50 anyway). But in this dress I will be glam, ageless (not necessarily young), and comfy!

Hey, at least it's not shiny. Lesson learned: if you want simple, chic, ageless, super comfortable, reasonably priced clothing, shop at Cassis. (*Disclaimer: This NOT an ad. Cassis has no idea who I am. Unless they are willing to compensate me, and then of course, please call me.)

Do you agree with my choice? Did I tell you it's only $59?! Yes, $59!

Images: Cassis, J.Crew


...a new handbag

There's nothing like a new handbag! The Balenciaga motorcyle bag seems to have been around forever, (in 'It' bag years), for purse afficionados like me. Like the Hermes Kelly and Birkins of past generations, this is THE bag that goes with almost everything, that you and your daughters will fight over, and you'll be proud to carry for years to come.

If money were no object, I'd fly to Paris and grab this blue royal Giant City bag. What a great addition this would be to anyone's wardrobe. Picture yourself dressed in the classic 'French girl' style -- navy/white striped bateau top, skinny dark crop jeans, ballet flats, your hair in a loose chignon, and a Balenciaga on your arm. Chic simple!

Image via Balenciaga

...the life of your dreams

Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a writer. I read constantly -- everything and anything I could get my hands on. Somehow, and very early on, those dreams changed. I no longer hope to publish that great novel, and sitting at a laptop daily just doesn't appeal to me (heck, I'm doing that now...). Don't get me wrong. I have a wonderful family, a comfortable home, a flexible job. But I want more.

In the life of my dreams, I travel to exotic and luxurious places for my own business, teach Bikram yoga for pleasure, cook delicious meals, entertain frequently and with ease, am surrounded by a loving and supportive circle of family and friends, go out dancing often, and have plenty of leisure time leftover to just read a book, blog or do Sudoku.

Follow me as I take baby steps towards making those dreams reality.