Look what I found in Greenbelt 5

After weeks of marinating in work, work, and yet more work, managing to sneak in only a Hannah Montana movie, two cooking lessons, a beautiful albeit very quick dinner in a beautiful house, and many episodes of Gossip Girl enjoyed in the dead of the night on a marathon run, finally, a luncheon with friends whose company and stories I enjoy very much. And after that, a lovely few hours with one of them (the rest had to rush back to their busy executive lives) to walk around Greenbelt 5 and just window shop — well, for the most part; I could not resist a few things for my daughter.

I like Greenbelt 5. The beautiful landscaping does much to soothe, and it lends the whole place a warm, if very polished, ambience. It was nice to just wander around, drifting from store to store, minus any kind of rushing. I find that the best kind of shopping always starts with window shopping, or shopping with no agenda at all except to behold and appreciate lovely things. The luxury of time allows you to view things with an impartial eye, and because you are far from frantically trying to cross off a Christmas or any other to-buy list for that matter, you are free to pause and feel the merchandise, to linger, or to simply walk away, for the time being, knowing what to get (when the time comes) and where to get it simply being enough.

We decided to explore the third floor, virtually a virgin still because not many people have discovered the treasures that are awaiting to be picked up, purchased, and taken home and stamped as owned.

Some items I found interesting:

Anthem. Juliana has pretty big feet for an eight-year-old and buying shoes for her is always a challenge; she cannot fit into children’s shoes anymore but sometimes, depending on the style, she can get away with shoes from adult brands. I found darling ballet flats in this store, under the brand name Anthology, locally made using imported and very soft Italian leather. They were so cute, and Juliana says they are so comfortable she can run in them. They also carry Paul Frank, Tokidoki, and Harajuku Lovers.

Fox. Another brand that has a little something for everybody. Juliana and I can borrow each other’s Fox shirts and cardigans. They have the most adorable clothes for babies and cool trendy separates for adults. Their bags are so stylish and hip, too. When I have a stylish male friend celebrating a milestone, Fox is the first place I look into for a present. I always, always find something there. Because they have petite sizes, I can shop even for little girls who like to copy their mom’s style.

Dexterton. Another reason to visit aside from the chic lighting brands they carry are the handful of novelty items that make smart presents. There is a set of cheeky clear glasses retailing for only P260, a set of four each simply stamped with a word: “Male,” “Female,” “Gay,” “Lesbian.” Another set, for three, is labeled as a “Chat Pack” and the clear glasses are etched with smiley faces. It sells for P170. Reiko Aioki is a cute brand, offering passport holders (P880), tissue holders (P920) and a vintage style purse (P1,920). They also have wall stickers (the brand name is Lavatelli), the cutest of which was a Japanese Cherry Blossom design called Pesco (P1,075). Another plus: they are having a sale so the lamps and chairs are about 20 to 40 percent off.

Mothercare. A blast from the past. Time was when Richard had to order Baby Bjorn baby carriers from the States. Now they are available here, with prices ranging from P5,000 to P9,000. I remember we used our Baby Bjorn extensively, until Juliana no longer needed it.

Youji & Me. Oh, I loved this store. I zeroed in on two wonderful things — toys that go by the name Boikido and wall stickers called Wee Gallery.

Boikido is made in France and they make great gifts even adults will enjoy. I always lament the fact that toys nowadays are too complicated, too electronic, too sophisticated. I miss the toys of my youth: blocks and cubes in happy colors that were just that — blocks and cubes in happy colors. Where they ended imagination began, and never stopped. The Boikido toys somehow allow that. These are made in France, eco-friendly, wooden, painted in bright, wonderful colors. They are educational, in the most fun sense, and experiential. Among the many I saw were stacking organizers, building blocks, a clock puzzle, percussion instruments. Prices range from P1,500 to P3,000.

While I was waiting to give birth to Juliana, I busied myself preparing the baby’s room. I painted the walls and experimented with fun images here and there. I scrapped the latter because my amateur skills were not good enough, even for easy-to-please babies who were still trapped in their mommies’ tummies. I now wish the wall stickers from Wee Gallery had been available then; it would have made the room prettier. Well, I know what to do and where to go when baby number two comes. Each pack (P2,199.75) comes with two identical sheets. They will make your child’s wall so, so lovely, instantly.

Anja. The smiling salesladies, Richelle and Jessa, in their stylish mini-dresses, black tights and ballet flats caught my attention. And then they volunteered the information that Anja means “blessing” in Greek. Doesn’t that sound so nice?

They carry clothes you can still wear after you have given birth. Or even if you are just plus-sized. Standouts are the halter knits in an easy shape , in colors like orange, white, and pale blue. There was a yellow-gold sheath dress in a style they named Rosabella that I will wear even if I am not pregnant. And it sells for only P2,450. There is a tailored black shirt they call Sheila and shorts in eight colors with a mid-band that you can fold three different ways.

Florsheim Kids. They have up to size 10! Which allows for mommies and daughters to have matching shoes. They carry school shoes, ballet flats, loafers and price varies depending on the style and size. They are just darling, and super comfortable too. My dad swears by the comfort of Florsheim. I totally believe him.

Gingersnaps. Clothes for little people who want can’t wait to grow up if only to wear the stylish clothes that big people wear. They have cute accessories, and I went home with a handful of them for when Juliana plays dress-up with her little friends.

Tarte Tatin. You walk in and you are in a little French shop. It smells wonderful — some sweet spice scent — and the experience starts right away. Because it is a small pocket of space, done in a chic pink with black accents, you want to linger. It is compelling in the sense that you can soak in all the lovely little details without being overwhelmed. The dressing room has a chandelier, and the dresses are grouped together according to style. There is a gentle flow from corner to corner, of colors, aesthetics, style. Everything seems as it should be. They have full skirts, tiered or otherwise, and petticoats that you can buy to make them even fuller. There are caftans, floral frocks, cardigans that look like they will take you to some country club, leggings — even riding pants. Stylish shoes are in one corner, nice cotton tops and knits in yet another. A chandelier hangs in the dressing room. Oh, how I enjoyed this place that afternoon.

Hobbes and Landes. Has always been a favorite for their interesting toys but Juliana and I like going there now also because of their Yoh-gurt Froz. I like mine plain but she likes hers with fruits and candies. It’s a happy thing.

Of course, being there already I could not resist covering my usual route in Greenbelt: I had to check out my favorite stops to see what’s new. In Adora, I always go straight to Pedro Garcia for my shoe fix. Over at Aldo, they just always have new accessories I cannot resist. There was a languid neckpiece made of multi-layers of colored beads, turquoise drop earrings perfect for Shall We Dance, satin clutches, cocktail rings. Aldo always delights. AC632 is just beautiful, I can stay there for half a day and not get bored. It is my favorite place to shop when the person on my list already has everything. I know I will always find something there — luxurious soaps, fine linen, beautiful silver, decadent handmade key holders, shabby chic planters and jars, old world frames, jewelry boxes, catch-alls made of semi precious stones, lovely jewelry. This shop has class and style written all over it; what’s not to love in there? Over at Myth, I always stock up on candles and belts by Randy O; at L Manila I like the knits by Lulu Tan Gan because they can be worn multiple ways, the style is always chic and easy and they travel very well. From Royce, Potatochip Chocolate (whoever thought of that is a genius) and Macadamia Chocolate that comes in round blue tin cans I love to keep as organizers for my craft supplies. And Mossimo Dutti had nice embroidered scarves and easy ultra-soft cotton shirts that you can live in.

There are many other restaurants and shops at Greenbelt 5 I wanted to visit but it was too much to take in all in one day. I also wanted to cross over to Glorietta 5 because the place has been revamped but I had to pick up my daughter from school. That will be for another time, very soon.

For the time being I hope I was able to give you ideas, information you can keep at the ready for when you do need to shop, for someone, for yourself, or even for the coming Christmas season.

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