Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas From Mark to Marc

The Mark Hopkins is a short bus ride on the No. 1 to my favorite shopping street - Fillmore.

The corner of Sacramento and Fillmore has always been a furniture store but was converted last year to a Marc by Marc Jacobs store. The display is exactly the same as the L.A. store with the swan-sleigh photo booth so I had my (free) photo taken and they gave me two prints to take home.

While waiting for my prints, I got the new Marc Jacobs makulit* bag ($19). Which came in handy when I went to the market to get some Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese to bring to dinner with friends at SOMA that evening.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

*Cecile Van Straten christened this graphic "makulit" which is a Tagalog (Filipino) word loosely translated to mean as "pushy" or "incessant".

A Room With A View

Finally! After all those years staying at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental San Francisco, we get a room with a view. After all those years staying at the "butt" part of the hotel - we've got a view! And a larger bathroom. It's a Christmas Miracle!

Below: Check out Grace Cathedral where Courtney Cox and David Arquette got married. (Well, not today.) Believe it or not they have a Peet's Coffee in the basement by the gift shop where Neil gets his coffee every morning. I guess the congregation needs to stay awake through those sermons!

Below: The island in the background is Alcatraz.

Jean-Francois (the GM) was so kind to send some fruit and chocolates. BTW, not to sound ungrateful, the chocolates were awful and went straight to the trash (well, most of it).

This hotel was built in 1926 on the site of Mark Hopkins' mansion. I believe MH was a railroad magnate. The original mansion itself was destoyed in the famous 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The bedroom and sitting area. Not too crazy about the window treatments:

The bathroom:

The amenities. They placed the shower cap, q-tips, shoe cloth and cotton in a neat little box. The sewing kit was on the desk drawer, go figure.

The laundry bag was a surprise. Not cheap plastic but something like Tyvek with a heavy rope drawcord and a flagtag! FANCY!

The lobby all decked out for the holidays:

Well, the old girl is showing some wear and tear here and there but it's still the Mark Hopkins and it's still Fabulous!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stuff I Designed

The buckles and print I designed for Rock and Republic are now available at eLuxury and the R&R website.

All those years watching HSN & QVC finallly paid off. How else would I have learned about goldtone and guilloche, eh?

If you look closely at this print, some of the spots spell out the word "rock". GENIUS!!!

You could prolly still order these in time for New Year's Rockin' Eve!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gunther Oooh La La!

I discovered this on YouTube and I'm hooked!

It's a retro 70's Eurotrashy dance pop happy sophomoric sexy funny sleazy conglomatoria!

Here's one just in time for Christmas:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Cowboy Christmas Card

A select few of you may have already received my special edition christmas card in one of four festive colors (collect them all!). If you haven't received it yet - Spoiler!

(If it's January 2008 and you haven't received a Christmas card from me, uhmmm...........ooops!)

Well, what possessed me to come up with such a western inspired "Holiday card"?

A. An affair with a strapping cowboy? (It could happen!)
B. My Little Pony?
C. Stepping on horse manure?

No, no and maybe.

Earlier this year I acquired this li'l item from Miss BARBRA STREISAND'S estate:

(Yes! From Barbra herself! It's authenticated and everything!)

What is it exactly? It's actually a Jean Paul Gaultier sheer blouse (size 2 - aha! now I see why she got rid of it!). It's made out of netting with lace inserts depicting a cowboy on a horse with a gun and the word "BANG!". This is how the French interpret the American West. I personally would've gone with "strip mall with pick-up truck parked in front" vignette.

It appears to be pristine with some stray hairs from either Miss Streisand's pubes or her dog, Samantha. I intend to harvest these hairs someday and clone Barbra's armpit (or the dog's butt - who knows?)

So there you have it! A li'l bit of Barbra - and me! - delivered right into your mailbox.

Have a good, safe holiday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Chocolate Story

About a year ago, when I was working for a "premium" denim company (which shall remain nameless), I arrived at my workstation one morning in December to find a package of chocolates on my desk. A gift from a vendor, much like the one pictured above. More precisely, it was Costco's Kirkland brand of chocolates. Hey, I'm not a chocolate snob. If it has 1% chocolate, I'll eat it! Which is exactly what I did. Not only that, I cavalierly shared it with people around me. Mangia! Mangia! It's the Holidays!

After a few minutes of feeling good and making others feel good, and about half a box of chocolates later, someone approaches me and informs me that all gifts from vendors were to be forwarded to the CEO. WTF?!?!! Apparently, it was company policy to forward all gifts from vendors to the CEO with all sorts of fines and penalties including but not limited to public humiliation, maiming, torture and - gasp! - dismissal! (OK, so I exaggerate)

In a panic, I contact HR to inform them about the faux pas, reminding them that it was "half-eaten". The verdict? SEND IT DOWN ANYWAY. Once again - WTF?!?!!!

So, I took one last bite and sent it down. Come to think of it, I really should have sent down an empty box! I never saw my box of chocolates again. I can only imagine the box being re-gifted to some poor unsuspecting soul who discovers a box filled with empty paper doilies!!!

Anyway, my friends and yours truly have been making up for the indignity and injustice ever since.

I discovered this one in the Philippines which I am just crazy about. They are bite size sorta like bite size Kit Kats - BUT BETTER!

The one below, I discovered at the local grocery. I'm already familiar with the Ferrero Rochers (which is responsible for at least 6 inches of fat around my waist!). These are exactly like Rochers but made with dark dark dark chocolate. Deee-lish! I tried to sample it in the car on my way home, as you can see, again - no self control!!! The only thing is they sprinkled the outside of the chocolate with dark chocolate granules that fall allover the place which makes it a little bit messy to eat, but!!!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tresor - What?

Love Kate Winslet....Love Peter Lindbergh (director).... but WTF!!!

This is the most cliched and sappy commercial I've seen in years! ( I think the last sappy one I saw was a Johnson's baby oil commercial).

C'mon! Really! Runnning on a bridge in the middle of Paris! Doesn't she have an appointment at Chanel or Galliano? What's with the "my heart is so full and brimming with love" look on her face? Save that look for the glass cases at Cartier, KATIE! Jeez!

Kate running on a bridge with an UZI and gunning down the male intruder - much more interesting. I may sound cynical but this commercial is a waste of romance and time. It looks like a downgraded version of the Chanel/Nicole Kidman spots.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Balboa Park, San Diego

Last year, I took a break from cooking a turkey and this year I remembered why. I don't know what possessed me to volunteer to bring a turkey for a small Thanksgiving gathering with friends but there I was brining, roasting, basting and stuffing every available orifice on a turkey that took me 4 hours to track down (let's not go there!).

So as a treat, we took a little break to San Diego. The traffic was another story. Next year - I'm staying in bed.

Balboa Park was gorgeous. The Museum of Art (there are 17 museums in the park) was undergoing some renovations and these are the screens they used to camouflage the construction:

At the Old Globe Theatre where How the Grinch Stole Christmas was playing, they had the official lighting of the Seuss-inspired Christmas Tree. And hey - IT'S PINK!!!

Merry Smoochie!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hey, Hookers!

Finally, a t-shirt that's all about ME!!!!

What? John Lee Hooker? Oh......

These cool tees are from Your Friend or Foe. A t-shirt line inspired by jazz, blues and soul music and uses vintage album covers from the greats such as Hooker, Davis, Roach etc. re-interpreted into t-shirt graphics.

Rock and Roll is OUT! JAZZ is IN!

It would help to have a nice physique to go with these. I'm thinking SPANX.

Heath Ledger loves his Hooker Tee to death (it's already torn at the collar):
Photo: Fashion Wire Daily

Here are some more that I liked:

The tees are available online, Barneys and American Rag among others.


Sunday, November 11, 2007


Los Angeles, November 10,2007.

If you haven't yet seen this GORGEOUS exhibit @ the Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo- GO NOW!!!!

I first heard about the exhibit at Chuvaness' blog. I was hesitant about going to this show since I'm not really a fan of japanese cartoon-y anime art but I was familiar with Murakami's commercial work and I was completely AMAZED!

The exhibit covered a lot of Murakami's work and included paintings, sculpture, video installations and a display of merchandise where his art was applied.


They actually installed a mini-Louis Vuitton store within the exhibit which sold LV merchandise made exclusively for the exhibit including special edition NeverFulls (3 sizes), agenda and circular coin purse. I wanted to take home the LV trunk with the mini-croc purses in 30 colors (not for sale). I thought this would sell-out by now but they were still pretty well-stocked. The limited edition prints of his artwork are now all sold out (starting at $895 a pop).

What's amazing is, he actually has paintings which incorporated the LV logo in it.

The later work definitely had the marks of computer aided design (i.e. the vectorized Adobe Illustrator line quality), but his earlier work, which looked entirely computer generated, was even more exciting! They look deceptively simple. One of the techniques he used was to lay down layer upon thick layer of paint and then sanding away parts of it to create an image. The results were awesome! I mean, you just had to be there!

It was great to see the (naughty) fiberglass sculptures. Even better is the parents trying to avert their children's eyes away from them or trying to explain it. Yes, the show attracted a lot of little kids for obvious reasons. ("My Lonesome Cowboy")

The exhibit is on until Februay 11, 2008. GO!!! NOW!!

Photo: Vinyl Inflatables at the entrance.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nicholas Stoodley

When I was growing up in the Philippines, "ready-to-wear" was still a new concept (shows you how OLD I am!). Ready-to-Wear, in my world, consisted of white t-shirts, school uniforms and Puritan Brand tighty-whities (in mesh!).

New clothes meant getting material and making a trip to the "modista" (tailor) and looking through a stack of fashion magazines. The "modista" clipped a swatch of your fabric to the picture of the style that you chose and you came back 3 days later for a fitting. Even my denim was tailor-made.

So what do you do at 12 years old when mom hands you PHP100 (about $80 in '07 US dollars) and tells you to go shop for clothes? On your own? I let the driver drop me off at Goldcrest, which was a newly opened mall (well, it was new THEN!)

It featured lots of "boutiques" including a GAP (not related to the U.S. store, but still a jeans store). I didn't really find anything interesting at GAP (I did try on a pair of red Britannia pants), so I went out and stumbled upon the Nicholas Stoodley boutique. I think my brother had a Nicholas Stoodley shirt in his closet, but I thought that was an import.

The Nicholas Stoodley boutique was clean and sparse and so unlike the typical boutiques at the time. Other stores' idea of visual merchandising was to jam every nook and cranny with merchandise (and everything was wrapped in plastic). So the Stoodley boutique was a breath of fresh air and the merchandise was light and tropical and screamed luxury. They had a small men's collection and I picked out a pair of off-white linen pants which I jammed my prepubescent body into and closed the sale at PHP99! You can get tailor made pants at other places for half that price.

I stumbled upon these photos at You can read more about Nicholas Stoodley there including how he started out as Valentino's assistant and his memories of 70's Manila under martial rule.

Early premium denim.

Epaulet shirts. Very Prada!

Pleats and FLARED! Luv the shirt on this one.


Saturday, November 3, 2007


Oh my God!

I've always wanted to try this confiserie-patisserie-glacerie. But they have horrible parking.

Then they moved a coupla feet down close to the Vietnamese restaurant I was having lunch in (the vietnamese have parking) so I decided to stroll next door to checkitout and what an amazing treat!!!!!!

I am hooked on the caramel macaroon ($1.25). It also comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, eggnog and pumpkin (cuz of halloween). I would have taken a picture but I ate it all. Sorry, no self control. They also have this croissant dough packed into a mold and it looks like ensaymada. I forget the name ($3.50). They also have caneles, financiers, glace and a cookie called tiger's eye which I all have to try next time, and trust me, there will be a next time!

*UPDATE! I figured out the pastry I ate - it's Kouign-Aman. Here's more about it, click here

West Holly-weenie! Part Deux

More costumes from the parade:
(Clilck on Photo for expanded view)

There's always a Madonna and a Cyndi Lauper. And this year, it was Madonna as seen in the MTV Awards in 18th century regalia complete with 2 backup danseuses. The pink damask on the pirate was absolutely gorgeous, and hey - It's PINK!

Chiquita banana. The Robin just happened to be standing next to the Andy Warhol Soup Can. He must have been hungry...

First Aid Station. Too bad there were no Filipina Nurses from Cedars Sinai with Teri Hatcher!

Typical Gorefest look.

Food! The food stalls were busy. This was the Brazilian Currascaria stall complete with a hunky Brazilian. Check out the meat!

West Holly-weenie!

The Halloween Parade in West Hollywood is called Carnaval! Of course, I am told nothing compares to the New York Parade, this one seems manageable with entertainment stages scattered along the closed off section of Santa Monica Boulevard between Lacienega and Doheny.

The costumes seem to be getting more "blah" each year, yet there are some notables and it's always a lotta fun.

Below is my favorite - disco ball gurl and Mr. Dick-In-A-Box (no free peeks - natch!)

There were a lotta The Girls Next Door with Hugh Hefner but this group literally stood out since these guys were all over 6 feet tall without the beehives.

And these guys are probably bunnies from the same block. Looks like the result of Hugh Hefner's very bad experiments in cloning.

Then there are always hotties who dare to feature their god-given talents:

And the protesters who love them:

Thursday, November 1, 2007


The Boat Canyon Collection by Halsea was just recently released and it features a print I designed based on a vintage print.

Check it out at!