life of a cuddlebit

my random ramblings


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hoodwinked : SM’s Our Home marking up prices before sale

I have told you before that we are looking for house stuff. And that most of our weekends are spent on being in our place, appliance stores and furniture looking.

Pottery Barn & Crate & Barrel photos from the internet

Pottery Barn & Crate & Barrel photos from the internet

We looked at Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn, the international furniture and home stores that are new here in the Philippines. Loving most of their pieces but sadly the budget cannot accommodate our desires so we searched for an alternative that lead us to SM’s Our Home.

Our home photo taken from their Fb page (June 2015)

Our home photo taken from their Fb page (June 2015)

When I tell you that it is an alternative, it really is. See the example below, Looks familiar?

seeing double? both pictures are taken from their facebook page

seeing double? both pictures are taken from their facebook page. 

The difference of course lies in the price, brand and quality. But for a cheaper doppelganger, why not right? Or so we thought then.

So, we came back once or twice a month to check/scout for the furniture/s we like that are within the budget. Measured and listed them down.

Since we got the house sorted out and ready for furniture, we got their quotation just this Oct 4, 2015 (Sunday).

the quotation they gave us-you can see all the items we picked out.

the quotation they gave us – you can see all the items we picked out. (sofa, bed frame and mattress)

*At the bottom of their quotation, they have this fine print that states that prices are subject to change without prior notice. -to be fair this is pretty standard. 

This is the Charles 3-seater sofa that is priced at 17,950.

this sofa was part of their display last June. It goes for 19,950.00php back then

This three seater sofa and ottoman was part of their display last June. It goes for 19,950.00php back then. Photo taken from Our Home’s Facebook page.

We picked it because it would fit out tiny place.

Next piece of furniture we picked out was this (Gunther) bed frame. This was the one we have been eyeing for a long time now. 

The main reason why we are so keen on this? storage under the bedframe

The main reason why we are so keen on this? Storage space under the bed. (this photo was taken last Sept 6, 2015)

It looks exactly like that when I last saw it. We were told that it was the last piece.

Garret bedframe with storage

Garret bedframe with storage. Taken from Our Home’s Facebook page. (October 2015)

Its price is listed on the quote above. 27,950.00php for the bed frame not bad right?

We are planned to get it on Oct 17, 2015 (Saturday). Right in time for their SM prestige sale (Oct 16-18, 2015). -For more details see Manila Shopper’s Post. 

So, it was expected that the price we saw before is going down due to the discount extended for SM prestige card.

Come Oct 12, 2015 (Monday), just a week after we last saw the bed. Kei went to Our Home again. To see if there is any new item that will be added on the sale on the weekend of Oct 16-18, 2015.

And of course to check on the bed again as it was the last piece.

Sadly this happened. Just whoa! 

sudden spike in price!

sudden spike in price! the difference is 2,000.00php

They upped the price. Even with the discount you get with the sale, its price would be almost the same (its a bit higher) with its regular price.

Why you do this Our Home? 

So, to clarify. We asked to talk to the Our Home staff and manager about the price difference. They can only say “sorry, we are just following orders.” While I don’t blame them, I felt like we got duped.

That is the thing with SM’s Our Home sale. It is misleading. Gets you to think you saved, but truth is you just got cheated. False advertising.

Sale price wasn’t always the best price. Apparently, Our Home marks-up prices before a sale is on. — selling products at regular prices, but calling it a sale.  Again false advertising.
-And because stubbornly, I still wanted to get more details regarding the sale in case we can still “salvage” (may natitira pa ba sa listahan na pwede natin bilhin na di naman kami nadaya sa presyo?) the items we listed down. Sayang naman pagod ko…Off to their Facebook page I go.

And pop goes the weasel. Negative comments abound.

These were taken from their Facebook page.

These were taken from their Facebook page.

We are actually scared to push through buying any furniture piece from Our Home. Bargain hunters beware. 

Time to scram. We lost a good chunk of time looking at their pieces, but good thing is that we found this out before any purchase was made.

Bye! the bunnies are running away. (Part of a photo from Sjaek)

Bye! the bunnies are running away. (Part of a photo from Sjaek, taken from the internet)

Sure, maybe décor and accessories like fake flowers and vases. But then again we can just save a bit more and get better décor items from Pottery Barn and Crate&Barrel.

But no furniture buying from Our Home, in the end we choose/decided to get local woodworkers to just custom make our furniture pieces. At least we get an honest quote, natural wood, our money’s worth and helped support small time carpenters.

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are our own and based on our own experience with the said store. 

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I don’t get it

I never cared for bags. I usually borrow my bags from my younger sister who loves them or my fashion forward bestie Jo. Sometimes I get bags as gifts or hand me downs and that’s pretty much what I use. I don’t even care for brands, I just think of bags as bags. I even use “generic” and “freebie” (without a brand or label/promotional item) bags. Give me a backpack and I am good to go.

Then came something I was not really prepared for. My trusty Jansport (this one is original, a gift from Jo) backpack totally gave up on me. I was using one of my other bag/s, for everyday use. It was a beige longchamp that was a gift from my aunt. She got it for cheap in Baclaran and bought a lot of those bags to give last two Christmases ago. I got one. Of course I know that my new bag was a fake one. But I am still happy and thankful.

photos from the internet

photos from the internet

After weeks of using my replacement bag  an acquaintance came to tell me: Um, your bag is a fake. I never would have thought that you brought a fake bag. You should get an authentic one.

I was too stunned to speak. I kept silent.

After that incident, I was starting to look and be more aware of bags. I still use the fake one. It is still functional, and still a bag. But,  I started looking at the internet for bags.

Apparently, the bag I am using is a fake longchamp le pliage medium long handle in beige. Thanks internet. Next, I wanted to know how much the real one cost. It is $125 converted to peso it is 5,536.88php. Pricey.

Next I looked for the “newer” longchamp bags. I kind of like this: longchamp neo medium short handle.

longchamp-medium-handbag-le-pliage-neo-new-navy-16

photo from the internet

 

So looked for its price again on lyst. It is $158 or 6,998.61php. On local online resellers on Facebook however it costs 2,800.00 to 4,500.00php. Why such differing price? How do I know if the item is authentic or not? How do I tell the difference?

The colors they sell also differs from the longchamp site, they even have different names like cuir, neo, fantasie,heritage…etc. I am so confused.

More so here in our country where everything is labeled authentic and everything is not quite what they seem. That alone is enough to drive me nuts.

Maybe this is why I don’t understand the fascination behind bags. Sigh. 


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Searching for the wedding gown: We found our gown designer

This is the continuation of  Searching for the wedding gown: Thoughts on the dress

We are scheduled at three o’clock. Says Kei who just got a reply from the designer.

Great, we can go eat lunch before meeting her. That was our plan.

So, lunch is served. We dined at Mitsuyado Sei-Men. Where we got our usual.

lunch

A large three cheese tsukemen, one order of gyoza, and black pepper chicken

Once done with lunch, we headed over to her shop. We arrived quite early. Excited much!  

look up!

look up!

It is located at the second floor of Dona Consolacion Building.

mel orlina building

Going up, we are greeted by this.

Mel Orlina shop

We arrived at her shop in a very busy time. There were a lot of brides to be along with their families who are in the process of fitting their gowns. The place was packed.  

We just spent the time looking at other people’s gowns, and also the trinkets displayed in her shop. Apparently they have a consignment deal with Jacatel.  So they carry accessories too!  Convenient! (I already have my eye one of the earrings!)

beautiful!

I find this beautiful!

One by one the people left and it was now our turn.

We get to see a tired but still smiling Mel Orlina. I told her what I wanted a mermaid gown with appliqués/beaded, with a dramatic skirt, low back, colored petticoat, then showed her my pegs. She then rummaged through her stash of fabrics and lace and brought out a bag of appliqués similar to my peg.

 

Then Mel sketched her vision of the gown keeping in mind my preferences. Then voiced out her reasons on why she designed the sketch that way. The sketch looked modern and feminine. I liked it!

This designer got Kei smiling at the sketch, schedule and price.

This designer got Kei smiling at the sketch, schedule and price.

She also guaranteed to us that should I have a change of heart on the design, she will be willing to change the design for me!

We also find her price reasonable. (below 100k)

 

I knew our search is over.

We instantly felt at ease. We liked her.

Kei booked her on the spot.

* I do a happy dance*

After we wrote down our names on her schedule, we found out that she is almost fully booked for 2015. Whoa, that fast?!

*Lucky for us!* 

See more of her creations here.

 

Mel Orlina Couture

Address: 2nd floor (unit 201), Dona Consolacion Bldg., 122 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, 1209 Makati

Phone: 7520312

Email: melorlinacouture@gmail.com

Office hours: Mon – Sat: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm

 

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are our own and based on our own experience. This is not a sponsored post, Kei paid for this (from) his own pocket. 

**Start planning early. You get to pick the suppliers you like, rather than having to look for your second choice.

 


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Searching for the wedding gown: Thoughts on the dress

After all the RTW dress fittings, I am seriously overwhelmed and a bit disappointed that none of them felt like the one. I am not saying yes to the dress for reasons: too expensive, too plain, doesn’t feel like it is me….etc.

I kept all the pictures and showed them to my grandma (this is the grandma who loves pearls). Wearing her glasses, she looked at all the photos together with my most fashion forward Aunt. They smiled nervously as I told them that was all. My grandma said; dear, you must find something dramatic. Your Grandma wants to dress fabulously.

My Aunt said, the dresses you made us look at is rather plain. I am afraid; we don’t find it beautiful enough for the occasion. *I am the first grandchild to be married.*

By this time, my mind is spinning. They wanted a fabulous dress, but we have a budget! What will Kei say?

I also wanted my dress to be beautiful, and that it would be fit to my personality and feels like “me”.

Choosing your gown? here is a guide. Click on the image to enlarge. photo taken from pinterest.

Choosing your gown? here is a guide. (Click on the image to enlarge,  photo taken from pinterest.)

 

All I know is, I want a mermaid gown, appliquéd/beaded, in ivory, with a dramatic skirt and beautiful low back, plus a colored petticoat underneath.

One thing is for sure, I need to find pegs then, we need to find a designer. Most importantly, both of us must also agree on the design and designer.

And we need to book one fast! Because here in The Philippines, if you want the wedding industry’s best you have to act fast, as their slots are usually full a year before your wedding date.

I hurriedly called and set an appointment at my cousin’s wedding gown designer. (Their wedding took place 5 years ago.)  He is well known, and awarded as one of the best. On the said date, bringing Kei along with me, we went to his atelier. We got lost, and that got the designer mad at us. I think we may have encountered him in one of his bad mood days. He was stern and very quiet.

I showed him a sketch/peg I made, and he was actually amazed that I can draw. Then he proceeded to sketch what he thinks will flatter my figure. Kei and I liked his sketch very much. He still has slots for 2015 brides.

But the price nearly knocked us off our seats. He is asking for 200k. Only 1 wedding dress. This is not a package price. Apparently, designers’ prices can shoot up that much in a span of five years. Duh.

It was a NO. That amount of money is too much to just check off one item off the list.

Di sulit. (Fliipino term for: Not worth it.)

 

We need to look for another designer. A good one, without the outrageous price, that could make my dress.

That led us to looking at another designer whose facebook page is always updated with photos of her beaming clients/brides. Kei thought her works are nice, and I really googled about her price range. Seems reasonable than the first. We called her up and scheduled an appointment.

By that time, she was away on Singapore. We will see her once she comes back.

Again I brought out my pegs/sketches. She then rummaged through her stash of fabrics and lace and brought out a fabric similar to my peg. Then she sketched for me. Then voiced out her reasons on why she designed the sketch that way. We instantly felt at ease. We liked her.

She is almost fully booked for 2015. Whoa, that fast?!

Asked about the price, it is below 100k. Value for money.

We smiled. I think we found our gown designer.

 

 

*All my reviews, opinions, and other stuff expressed here are our own and based on our own experience.

**Start planning early. You get to pick the suppliers you like, rather than having to look for your second choice.

 


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rough crystal

I used to have a neighbor who collected rocks. He is older than me by 10 years (I think, I was only 9 back then.) and is named Erwin.

He always has a ready smile, is chubby, with a moody pet iguana.

I am fascinated by his rock collection that he proudly displays on his window. (He believes in crystal healing.) My best friend Joanna and I usually troop to his place to look as his box of rocks, its like a museum trip, he explains what the rocks are, where he got/brought them, the highlight of his collection was a amber with a prehistoric insect in it.

Most of his rocks are quartz crystals, that he gets from caves. They look like these:

rough quartz crystals

rough quartz crystals -photo from pinterest

While I like the crystals, I am fascinated by those that have color. I like the purples and pinks and those that have bright blue colors. I also discovered what geodes are.

Got to know a bunch of stones like ruby, sapphires, amethyst, moonstone, tiger’s eye, hematite, pyrite, opal, jade, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli, cats eye, spinels, etc.  While we like going to his house to check out his collection, at times he thinks we are a nuisance, after all we stay there for hours, he never got angry at us.

rock collection -photo from etsy

somebody’s rock collection -photo from etsy

One summer day he announced that he was moving out. We were sad. Well not really that sad but sad in a way that we know, there ain’t going to be any looking at the rock collection anymore.

On the day he is going away, he handed out a goodbye present for Joanna and me. He gave us each a rough quartz crystal. Which we kept in a pouch and cleaned with saltwater once in a while. Till we forgot all about it.  And our attention was moved to beading with glass beads till we encountered the glittery Swarovski crystal beads, that we made into our bracelets.

Swarovski crystal beads

Swarovski crystal beads

I loved our crystal bling! Joanna and I went on to creating more shiny crystal bead pieces to wear,  that I seriously thought the crystal Erwin gave us was worthless. It doesn’t shine, it is rough and lets be honest here not as pretty as the polished and faceted crystals. But I kept it because of the sentimental/childhood treasure value. I rarely ever clean it anymore. Its been where I kept it for more than 15 years.

Till I saw a booth on the mall selling crystals. Quarts crystals like the ones Erwin used to collect. Like the crystal I have at home.

They were rough, but the are really shiny, I guess it was cleaned frequently. I stooped down to look at the rocks. The smallest quartz crystal was priced at 3,000+ php. I thought to myself, hey, my crystal is bigger than that…. so it means it is worth more.

Woah! It really was a treasure after all! Even without the flashy bling! Reminding me not to take everything at face value. 

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

Sad thing was, we never knew where Erwin went. We did not remember his surname, we cant even find him on facebook.

But really, Kuya Erwin, thank you for the gift and the life lesson. 

 

“There is all the difference in the world between treasure and money.” ― Roderick Townley, The Great Good Thing

 

 

 


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long time no see

I haven’t seen one of my cousins for over a year now. She moved to the States along with her little boy. I missed meeting up with them and chatting non-stop.

Now, I only see/talk to them on Facebook. I was informed that they sent us stuff. And because it is Christmas I want to make my own “Alis-bayan” box to send to them. (Alis means to go away in Filipino, Bayan means country. So an alis-bayan box is basically a box of stuff that will be going away from the country.)

how do I make one alis-bayan box?

how do I make one alis-bayan box?

I have never made a alis-bayan box before. Honestly didn’t have much clue as to what my cousin and my nephew wants…

So, I am thinking of sending them some Pinoy favourites that wont easily be shaken up/ expire. My list consists of: a calendar and a memo pad I made, some pugad baboy comics, pili nuts, mango jam, dried mangoes, pastilas (candy made of milk and sugar), polvoron, chicharon, chocnut (peanut milk chocolate) and maybe some cashew nuts.

 

*Sigh* Is it possible to send a heart on a box?

 

“Because I miss them. Because I need them. Because I love them.” -Rebecca Wells

 


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choosing joy

I am currently stuck in a lot of work. That I neglect my blog, fail to see my friends and just hit the sack when I get home. I barely have time for myself.

Skipped going to the dentist to get my braces adjusted, even forgot to see my dermatologist!

Every night, I go check Facebook just to be in the know about what is happening in my circle of friends and somehow I cannot relate. Its like I’m trapped in an alternate world where all I see is other people’s blessings. I see their happy faces, travel pictures, family outings, new bags, nice clothes, shiny cars and the latest dose of gossip (who is with whom, who is seen in where…etc.).  I then think about how badly I want a vacation, daydream about leaving and travelling… that always ends with I wish I have more money. Then I get sad.

But, this time my self pitying was halted by a pop up chat message from an old friend.

It says:  Sorry for disturbing your evening but, can I please ask for help? I will be blunt. I am jobless for more than a year, I can barely keep up with my living expenses I need a job. please help.

Bam! Instant reality check.

While I was busy complaining that I am buried in a pile of work, my friend desperately prays for work.

I was appalled at my behavior and quickly thanked God for the daily blessings I receive.

Then proceeded to look at the net for some leads that could fit my friend. After a while some of my friends found something for the friend in need.

joy

There is a lot to be thankful for.

Thank God for everyday blessings and carry on a positive attitude.