Brooklyn leather camera satchel

The best gifts come from people who know you best. Don’t you agree?

Take my husband, for example. He knows I’m always carrying around a DSLR with at least one spare lens. He knows I have a terrible habit of using my nice, “grown-up lady” bags as camera bags, which is great for me but not for the bags. (I once horrified a friend by taking my DSLR with the clunky wide-angle lens out of a buttery soft Bottega Veneta handbag.) He knows that I’ve been in the market for a sturdy brown leather bag for a few months now. Most importantly, he knows that I pin pictures of all my bag crushes on Pinterest.

This is how he completely bowled me over with his birthday gift: the Brooklyn leather satchel from Ona.

I absolutely love the vintage style of this bag, as well as the chestnut leather that’s just begging to get all nicely worn and beat-up. The cross-body strap makes it easy to carry… and it looks great with everything! I can totally see this becoming my go-to travel bag.

Not only is this a good-looking satchel on the outside, but it’s also a camera bag on the inside. Removable inserts (attached with Velcro) allow it to store a DSLR and up to three lenses. Generous padding cushions the whole kit.

As if this wasn’t awesome enough, tucked into the padded interior was another birthday surprise… a Canon 60mm Macro lens!

I discovered this lens at The Hive Berlin, when Yvonne of Fraulein Klein (who takes beautiful photos) used it during her photography workshop. Like my 50mm lens, it’s a fixed-focus lens with shallow depth of field. However, it’s a lot sturdier, more light-sensitive, and easier to use for macro photography.

I will post test photos when I’ve gotten to play around with it a little more. This definitely completes my photography wish list and I think I’ll be very happy with my current set of lenses—all four of them!—for a long, long while.

Share on Facebook2Tweet about this on Twitter3Pin on Pinterest3Google+0Email to someone

Rewards program

Today was spent rewarding myself for working… well, maybe not so much working hard as working smart 😉 First stop was the Suntec Convention Centre for a sale event by an online shopping site I’m subscribed to. I arrived at 11 a.m., an hour before the event was scheduled to start and was welcomed by this monstrous queue.

While waiting for our turn to enter, Marlon got a crash course in women’s designer handbags (he can now tell a Miu Miu from a Balenciaga, which is all that matters to me), a briefing on my color preferences (classic/subdued or bold/striking), and an assignment in my plan of attack.

We finally got to enter the event at 1:30 p.m., not a moment too soon. Let me tell you, things can get ugly when dozens of bag-crazed women are made to wait. Inside, the atmosphere was buzzing but civil—no shoving, grabbing or arguing, thank goodness. The strategy of choice seemed to be grabbing three or four bags, walking around with them while trying to decide on one, and making multiple return trips to a shelf to see if any women had discarded a bag that you were looking out for.

In the end, I narrowed it down to Subdued & Classic vs Bold & Striking. While I was vacillating in front of the mirror, a very fasyon Chinese woman ran up to me and grabbed my arm. She whispered urgently, with eyes wide open,”You HAVE to get the orange one. You have to. It’s DIVINE!” and ran off.

It was in this fashion that Bold & Striking won! And so I am now the proud owner of a brand new Balenciaga Arena Covered City bag in the happy, juicy hue of orange!

Thank you, my clients! Thank you!

After a recharging lunch of kinilaw na tanigue and salpicao at 7107 Flavours in Marina Square, we headed off to Orchard Central for Fash Bash, a thrice-yearly bazaar. I miss market and bazaar shopping scene back home, so I check these things out whenever I can. I was curious about the local designers advertised, but when I got there it was really the young Thai jewelry designers who made me drool!

After much going back and forth between stalls, I chose this pair of delicate, handmade gold-plated earrings from Thai designer Fontips Tangviriyamate. I fell in love with the delicate workmanship of the intricate but organic-looking pattern, and the curved wire extending way below the earlobes was a unique touch that I really liked. (One woman asked the designer if she could cut the wire short. AnobuhKasama yun sa concept no!)

And with that, my personal “rewards points” are fully redeemed! My shopping moratorium starts now!

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0Google+0Email to someone

7-month roundup, part 2

the first and probably the last time that i will ever do this in my life: hop on a plane to attend a birthday party in europe. i can never forget the night my sister called me to say that uncle david had generously offered to have us at his big 70th birthday bash in brussels. i was jumping up and down and shrieking like a madwoman. i can’t even begin to describe all the visa drama, all the knuckle-biting will-we-make-it-or-won’t we. but we did make it.

and it was wonderful being with family again. i’ll say that again: family. even though i’m sure half the guests was wondering who the heck these two asian chicks were. it means as much to me that marlon met the hargitts as he did my family in india, mostly because i had never thought it could really happen. 

a birthday toast to the man himself

i met kathy, davey and patrick’s kids for the first time! meeting marie, nathanael, ayla and dimitris was like meeting characters in a book. i had grown up hearing all about them as they grew up (with the exception of dimitris, who was born just last year). i almost couldn’t believe i had never met them. it was like meeting anne of green gables or meg murry!

with gorgeous marie

nutty nathanael

patrick with dimitris and ayla

more dimitris! *squee*

i had my first taste of belgian beer. now i know what i was missing during all those childhood visits to brussels!

for the first time ever, i attacked the mind-boggling fresh seafood platter at brasserie georges with gusto. it had always completely repulsed me when i was a child and mcdonald’s was the pinnacle of my culinary desires. again, now i know what i was missing!

ran all the way through brussels airport. don’t ask. it was right out of the amazing race. i’m just glad we made it to the flight on time, because otherwise these next few firsts wouldn’t have happened at all…

i visited the beautiful spanish town of malaga, on the costa del sol…

view from the castillo de gibralfaro, one of malaga’s moorish legacies

outside the museo picasso (he was born in malaga)

one of the chiringuitos a.k.a. grilled seafood shacks along the beach

… and ronda, in my beloved andalucia, for the first time.

ronda’s famous puente nuevo. i once saw this in a nick bantock book, but i had no idea it was going to be this massive or this breathtaking!

truly one of the most beautiful towns in one of the most beautiful regions in the world

in malaga, i saw my first flamenco concerts — as in all singing, no dancing. photography was forbidden in the theater where marina heredia performed, but in the little neighborhood pena (club) where i saw luis perdiguero, i was free to take all the pictures i wanted. 

in ronda, i stepped into my first bullring

and it was my first time to be in a location once featured in a madonna video! lol!

i got stuck in a foreign country for the first time, getting my first ever airline-sponsored overnight stay in amsterdam, where i just about had enough time for lunch at maoz (brilliant but cheap falafel chain i discovered in barcelona a few years ago) and a visit to the van gogh museum… which is still more than i ever saw during my week-long visit with the glee club many years ago.

queuing for almost an hour outside the van gogh museum

the requisite canal photo

i love maoz! pwede kayang i-franchise sa manila?

hmmm. is that it? it seems my life ground to a halt after i came back from europe in april. how sad…

oh! i started yoga.

and OMG!!! how could i forget?!?!?! i bought my first designer bag! my beautiful, beloved miu miu gray coffer!!! and i now know why some women call their bags their ‘babies’. miu miu is love :)

now suddenly more than half the year is over. and there are new dreams afoot, new adventures on the horizon. time flies, indeed…
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0Google+0Email to someone