& Other Stories Amsterdam store opening

Have you heard of & Other Stories? Ever since I stepped into their Berlin store two years ago, I’ve been a big fan of this brand, which is part of the H&M Group. I longed for the day they would open a store in Amsterdam… and they finally did! So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be invited to the store opening of & Other Stories Amsterdam.

& Other Stories Amsterdam opening night

One of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity to meet wonderful people who become your friends online as well as off. The invitation was the sweetest birthday surprise from my blog reader Angel, a fellow Pinay and travel magazine editor living in Arnhem. We’d been emailing each other about meeting up for a while, and it finally happened. Meeting an online friend in person is a bit like going on a blind date, but Angel and I hit it off right away.

Me and Angel at & Other Stories Amsterdam opening

I had been craving for a girly night out and the & Other Stories store opening provided just that. I thought I’d only stay an hour or two, but I couldn’t tear myself away. How could I? For starters, there were hunky men walking around wearing trays of jewelry…

& Other Stories Amsterdam treat tray

and scribbling cute little notes on bottle after bottle of champagne.

& Other Stories Amsterdam champagne with notes

Funny thing: after posting this picture on Instagram, I bumped into this exact same waiter on the tram the very next day! Sometimes I feel like Amsterdam really is a village. I showed him his picture and all the likes he had gotten, and we had a nice laugh about it.

See more from the & Other Stories Amsterdam store opening after the jump.

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Milan: Beautiful city, beautiful people

Even without the excitement of the Salone del Mobile, Milan is a beautiful city to explore. With our most comfortable walking shoes on, my #blago2014 travel buddies and I pounded Milanese pavement for hours, passing by some of the city’s most iconic sights along the way.

Milan Duomo and Galleria wide angle

Oh my DSLR and wide-angle lens, how I’ve missed you! I love my little Sony point-and-shoot, but it would never let me get the immense Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II in a single shot…

Milan Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II

or to capture the Galleria from head to toe, for that matter.

Speaking of head to toe, Milan’s beautiful and stylishly dressed citizens sure know how to steal attention away from its stunning architecture.

Milan people-watching hipster carabinieri

I secretly love to people-watch, and Milan’s unique flair makes my little pastime a true pleasure.

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The cardigan that (almost) got away

We’ve all heard of buyer’s remorse, but you ever been haunted by something you didn’t buy?

It rarely happens to me, but when it does, I’m capable of obsessing for a ridiculously long time. I’m still haunted by purchases I passed in 2006 (gorgeous silk Persian carpet in Mumbai, way out of my budget as a copywriter); Marlon and I still talk about the black, silver and gray pashmina bedspread we didn’t buy on our honeymoon.

When I passed up the chance to buy this outfit in Santorini, I immediately regretted it.

It’s from Heel Athens Lab, a Greek label that makes fun, artistic clothing with a sense of whimsy. I was drawn to Heel’s colorful, chic boutique, which stood out by leaps and bounds from all the tourist shlock in the center of Fira, and fell in love with this backless halter dress and Greek toga-inspired cardigan. But with the prospect of fall and winter in Amsterdam, I felt I had to be practical and let the outfit go.

It began to haunt me almost immediately. I  took the bus back to Fira from Imerovigli (twice!) but was never able to catch the boutique open again before we left. Then I begged a friend who was traveling to Santorini to buy it for me. Finally, two months later, Heel put up the cardigan on their online shop.

Here I am, happily reunited with the cardigan that got away! Well, almost.

Heel Athens Lab polymorphic cardigan

What I love about this cardigan is how it can be worn in different ways. You may be familiar with that staple of late-night home TV shopping, the infinity dress; this is a cooler version of that dress.

By the way, thanks to Heel Athens Lab, I don’t have to ever utter the embarrassing and slightly awkward phrase “infinity cardigan.” I can use the far cooler term “polymorphic” instead.

Heel Athens Lab polymorphic cardigan front

Call me crazy, but I just love me some clothing that needs its own instructional video!

Heel Athens Lab polymorphic cardigan back

Even after watching the video, I spent so much time swishing around and entangling myself in this cardigan that Tala was able to take a snooze during our little photo shoot.

Behind the scenes outfit shot

But I guess getting lost in your own cardigan is all part of the fun of dressing up. It is fun, Tala, I promise! Just wait a few years, you’ll see.

Do you have a fashion equivalent of the one that got away? Were you ever reunited with it? And have you, like me, spent too many late nights watching the home TV shopping channel? Hit the comments and let me know I’m not alone!

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Maternity style: Welcome to the third trimester

What better way to start one’s third trimester with a 12-hour transcontinental flight? That’s what I always say.

Thankfully, the flight from Amsterdam to Singapore was surprisingly comfortable, for someone in her 28th week of pregnancy. Booking Singapore Airlines and having a prenatal shiatsu massage the night before (my neighbors are yoga and shiatsu therapists) definitely made a difference. I also walked around, did a lot of hip circles in the toilet, and packed a Ziploc bag with chocolate chip cookies and bananas, and checked my ankles every five minutes to see if they were still there (I’ve heard one too many cankles horror stories from pregnant flyers).

I’m happy to report that I made it to Singapore in one piece, with minimum discomfort and intact ankles. Hurray!

Asymmetrical dress by from Uniqlo’s Designers Invitation Project: Costello Tagliapetra, H&M copper headband, Ona leather camera satchel, Vincci patent leather wedges, and five-spike necklace from WeAreLabels.  

Heavy, clinging humidity swallowed me up the moment I stepped out of Changi Airport (a forceful reminder of why mentholated facial wash was created), but right now I’m happy to be dressing like myself again, minus all the winter layers. I’m glad to still be wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes, too. And sandals, oh sandals… what a glorious feeling.

I give myself two days before I start complaining about curly bangs and oily skin, and generally cursing this climate. But for now, the tropical heat and I are cool—no pun intended.

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Friday night fog

Spending Friday night in a fog was something you did a lot in your 20s. (Not that I was ever super wild. I was in the choir, remember?) But in my 30s and in Amsterdam, that Friday night fog gets pretty literal.

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This was the scene last Friday, when the streets of Amsterdam were covered in a heavy, misty fog. It reminded me of weekend drives to the beach when I was a kid, and stopping by the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay for lunch. Tagaytay was the only place remotely near Manila where you could see heavy fog, and it was the biggest thrill.

We’d be driving, the car would suddenly be enveloped in fog, Mom would turn on the headlights and wipers, and we were instantly transported somewhere gray, foreign and cold! (Note: it couldn’t have been more than 26℃ or 27℃, a hot summer day in Amsterdam. Haha.)

Marlon and I practically leapt out of the tram into the fog, instantly kids again. I swear I don’t know how we’re going to be parents in three months. While Daddy played Assassin’s Creed

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Mommy played dress-up with her new wool cape (a.k.a. the anti-maternity winter coat) and self-made knitted cowl (based on this pattern).

Cape and cowl

If you’re ever going to go swirling about in a fog, I highly recommend a cape and cowl. (Note that my recommendation is purely based on the fun factor.) Something like a superhero costume or Sherlock Holmes-type outfit seems fitting when you find yourself living on Jack the Ripper’s street.

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Mist and mystery aside, one thing I love at this time of year is walking with the glow from people’s windows lighting my way home. Even if I’m freezing, this sight makes me smile—although depending on the temperature, the smile could look like a grimace.

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How are you spending your Friday night? Whether it’s in a fog (literal or otherwise) or totally in the clear, hope you have a good one. Happy weekend, folks!

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