Monday, January 30, 2017

Jewellery Shopping on Hydra Island, Greece

My favorite souvenir to buy from a trip I want to remember is always jewelry. I tried fridge magnets in the past, but it frustrated me how diverse the quality is (and to think they are all made in China) as some don't stick as well as others, which cause them to fall and break if they are fragile, not to mention I no longer have my own fridge since we moved back to the Philippines. Hahaha.

But jewelry, especially if you buy gold, lasts forever, and you can enjoy it and remember the memories from your trip/s when you wear it.

While I have a planned post on Shopping in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that I have yet to write, let me continue my series of posts on Hydra, picking up where I left off last week which you can read here, zooming into this topic.

My Favorite Jewelry Shops in Hydra

As with all tourist destinations, it's always a negotiation game when you attempt to buy something of value, because stores normally start with an astronomical figure, then it becomes your job to ascertain the real value of what your buying, what you are willing to pay for it, and what the seller is willing to sell it for. In other words, you need to define the negotiating arena.

You need to check out the competitive landscape as well, so you can figure out who is selling what, what is the going rate of things, and shortlist which store (or stores) have what you want, at a selling price that is a good starting place to start bargaining with.

I got thrown off my game a bit, because the gold rings (which I was interested in) were much more expensive in Hydra vs the Grand Bazaar in Turkey, but given that it is a purely tourist destination, it's a given that I just needed to adjust the negotiating scale in to a slightly more expensive level.

I was already eyeing an Infinity Ring (they have it everywhere, but the one I kept coming back to look at was the one in 21st Century - right in front of the harbor - photo above) that I wanted to wear stacked with my evil eye rings from Istanbul, but since it was more expensive, I took time to sleep on it.

However, on one of our dinners in the island, we stumbled on this jewelry store in one of the side streets that caught our attention because her designs were slightly different, and when we inquired about the price of something, Eleni gave us a price closer to what we are willing to pay (I should know, I probably stepped into all the jewelry stores in Hydra that we saw). So she doesn't do the whole song an dance of giving everyone an astronomical price to see if she can get away with it.

The Infinity Symbol is found in a lot of the Greek Jewelry, so it's the perfect
thing to remind you of the place.

Eleni explained that she designs and her husband makes the jewelry.
I couldn't leave without buying anything, so I left this pendant which I
converted into a charm together with the Evil Eye Charms I bought in Turkey.
Note to self: I totally forgot about that bracelet, I should look for it.
It was so nice to meet you Eleni. I remember I promised to come back,
and bring my daughter... and I will.
So if my memory serves me right, we had a cup of coffee
by the harbor front, from the winner €2 Souvlaki place
that you can read about here, I decided I wanted the ring too.

Jane and I are very happy 21st Century customers.
This nice mister is the owner so look at him if you want to seal the deal.

Exactly how I envisioned it to be...
Perfect Souvenir from Hydra and Istanbul.

Now, if I can only remember where my charm bracelet went... or I can always buy again when I go with Sofia, since I apparently promised a lot of people on Hydra that I would come back. just saying.

21st Century
Hydra Harbor
Right next to Alpha Bank


Hydra - Paralia, 18040, ATTICA

Friday, January 27, 2017

Melt Grilled Cheesery is just OK

Since I have heard about MELT Grilled Cheesery I have been dying to try it. Imagine... a place devoted to grilled cheese... how can you go wrong, right?

Well... the answer is you can't! However, I wasn't as impressed by what we had since I was really expecting to be wow-ed!

We had the Grilled Cheese Classic Melt with Bacon (off-menu)
but they were nice enough to accommodate our request.
The options looked to heavy so we just asked for
extra bacon for the win!

Maybe I wasn't as wow-ed because the three of us shared this, and to be honest, it may have been a little bitin. Hahaha.

In fairness to us, we did order quite a spread. Hahaha.
The others just weren't outstanding.
The fried mac and cheese starters were good, but you could feel how
unhealthy it was with every bite. Just give me good old mozza sticks instead.
I wanted tomato soup with my sandwich, so we ordered it separately,
and it came with this puny grilled cheese sandwich that was not worth
the calories at all. I make my sandwich at home better than that.
The soup is redeemable by the good grilled cheese

Notice there is no individual photo of the pasta.
It was clearly underwhelming.

Thank you for indulging my grilled cheese craving girls... that's what
everyone who works with me learns to do.

Happy we got to celebrate Christmas.

At the end of the day, the lesson is, stick to the basics,
with grilled cheese and bacon you can't go wrong.

There's another lesson...

Next time, I'm not sharing the good stuff. just saying.

MELT Grilled Cheesery
3/F, Uptown Bonifacio, 
36th St, Fort Bonifacio, 
Taguig, Metro Manila
Phone: (02) 946 3370

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Our Stay in Hydra (my favorite Greek Isle near Athens) at the Glaros Guesthouse

I am so tempted to buy tickets to go on vacation to Greece again. Singapore Airlines is on sale for their 70th Anniversary and tickets to Athens are only US$570 (but there is a CATCH). I want to bring Sofia to the land where she's known as the goddess of wisdom, and I want to visit Hydra again, the beautiful island a ferry ride away from Athens which you can read about here.

But as I mentioned, there is a catch, several actually...
1. It's via Scoot. Scoot is Singapore Airline's long-haul budget carrier, and try hard as I may, I couldn't find ANY favorable review about Scoot online... and those were just on 8 hr flights to Australia. I don't think I could survive a budget long haul flight for 14 hours to Athens... with Sofia... and no in-flight entertainment. Just kill me now.
2. The perfect time to go is in August... and I've been known to be "Mom of the Year" for allowing Sof to skip a day or two of school for a long weekend trip here and there... but a week away may just be pushing even my own bounds of what I deem to be irresponsible... though Travel brings about a whole different world of learning, and Greece is so rich in history, I'm sure Sofia will thank me one day should I decide to make that call.

Which has lead me to reminisce about Hydra... and to realize that I have not even finished blogging about this place I love so much. So unless I get lazy, or need to sew a hundred or so more shoe bags at the expense of my blogging time, I am planning to do a weekly series on the highlights of Hydra... which might help me decide, before the end of the Singapore Airlines promo period whether or not I am willing to stoop low enough to take Sof and fly on Scoot. Hahahaha.

So, if you plan on going to Hydra this summer, on Scoot (hahaha), then I have the perfect place for you to stay.  When we went, we had no idea where to stay, so we played it safe and got a reasonably priced hotel from (aka guest house), with great reviews, which was 15 meters walking distance from the port/ downtown area.

If you are travelling with a lot of luggage, you need to take note that the only vehicles on Hydra are the Garbage Trucks and the Fire Trucks (I think). So if you get a hotel in one of winding streets deeper into the Island, you'll need to get a donkey to carry it for you as it's hard to drag luggage over cobblestones.

We stayed at Glaros Guesthouse. As you can see from the photo... it's really very well located with the waterfront just a few steps away.

Our room was not ready when we arrived, but they were very willing to keep
our luggage while we explored the waterfront and went for brunch.
*Post to follow on where to eat... because there are a lot!
Oh, another catch is you need to carry your luggage up a flight of stairs if you get a room on the second floor... but I think there are only 2 stories so it's not that bad.

The rooms are basic, in line with European standards,
but clean.

We opted to pay more for a room with a balcony, it doesn't really
come with a view (I think some do), but it was a nice place to get some
fresh air.

I've read some reviews were the guests raved about the
view of the monastery.

Jane and Bri got the view with no balcony which was
slightly cheaper.


One of my favorite parts about the location is the local
bake shop next door.
It's perfect because you can just go down when you
wake up (I went down in my PJs) to grab some food.

I even enjoyed mine with a view of the harbor front.
Thank you Matina for having us. I can't wait to come back.
I just need to figure out when.

Hydra is really love and I've decided that Glaros is my home when I'm there. Now, let's see if I'll finally give in and fly Scoot before the Singapore Airlines promotion is over. just saying.

Glaros Guesthouse 

Ídhra, Hydra, 18040, Greece
*rooms start at €65 for a twin room in August 2017 in

Friday, January 20, 2017

Industriya Marikina for a Cozy Lunch and Wanderlust Snakeskin Ballerines

One of my favorite things about being a shoe designer... is that I get to discover more of Marikina. I don't need to go often, but when I do go to the leather suppliers to personally choose the leather for my shoes, I try to look for new places to try as well.

One such discovery is Industriya Marikina an old shoe factory that has been converted into an event's place and restaurant.

It's a big open space, and I love their small touches where you can see the character of what the place once was.

I love the restaurant.

Aside from the fact, that they have the prettiest Christmastree perfect for all Shoe-a-holics...

Damn. I wanted a shoe size conversion place mat and I forgot to ask for one.

Everyone gets free popcorn, even before you order.

Since I was alone, I opted to order breakfast instead of over-order.
The longganisa was so yummy, I think I want more of this, even when I come
back with company.
Attempt at flat-ish lay for millenials.
It's nice an quiet for work. They have function rooms
too, so you can do meetings here.
Egg Porn is love.

I should go to Marikina more often because I really enjoyed working from here. just saying.

In other news, watch out for our new products. I scored the nicest leather for my shoes.
Mock-Snake Calf Leather
Coming Soon 
Emerald Green Snake Skin

It came out much nicer than what I expected. Love. Love. Love.

Pre-order your pair now. Wanderlust Ballerines in Snakeskin will only be available in a limited run of 12 pairs per color. I am very thankful because I never thought my ballerines would be selling like hotcakes. just saying.

Industriya Marikina
23 M. A. Roxas St, 
Marikina, 1801 
Metro Manila
Phone: (02) 904 8372

Wanderlust Ballerines and Sandals
IG: @wanderlustsandals