Category Archives: Celebrations

Musings of a COO : Like Family

Just wanted to share with you all a picture of our oldest employee.  She’s 78, and she’s been with our company for over 50 years.  50 years!!!  Can you imagine? And she’s still working to this day!

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Mrs. Moya, you are a treasure and an inspiration!  I cannot thank you enough for all that you’ve done, and continue to do for our company.  You truly are family!!!

Gift Wrapping Idea # 2 : Pompoms and Polkadots

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Over the weekend, I had to wrap a birthday present for one of A’s classmates.  As I was feeling extra crafty, I decided to start with a blank slate–kraft paper–and build from there.

Using left-over hole punches, I first stuck neon orange circles onto the kraft paper.  I love the look of bright orange against neutral brown.  It really stands out!

Then instead of ribbon, I used two shades of blue yarn which I wrapped several times around the gift.  I topped this off with several sizes and colors of pompoms. I thought it made the present look really festive and fun! :)

For the gift tag, I used a manila tag, and used my stamps to create the greeting. To personalize it a bit, I let the little one sign the card :).

So there you have it, an easy, festive, and crafty gift wrapping idea!  It took just a couple of minutes to actually put this together, and I had so much fun doing it too! :)

Gift Wrapping Idea # 1

Among all my recent creative pursuits, gift wrapping is the one that I’ve been enjoying the most :).  I’ve loved exploring with different kinds of paper, ribbon, embellishments and styles.  It is such an inspired process that allows me to experiment, to innovate, to personalize, and ofcourse, to prettify :).  And the results are almost always gratifying :).

My friends keep on telling me that I should start doing gift wrapping for a living, but I fear that doing so would put me under tremendous pressure, so much so that I may lose my love for it altogether.  Hahaha! :)

So instead, I’ve decided to share some of my ideas here on my blog :).  Hopefully you will find some inspiration from them, and may even be encouraged to do some gift wrapping of your own! :)

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For my first Gift Wrapping Idea, I’ve decided to share what I did for my dad’s present.

It’s really very simple.

I started out by choosing a navy blue wrapping paper with white design.  To add a bit of visual interest, I paired it with a thick, plaid grosgrain ribbon in yellow and black, to contrast the “daintiness” of the wrapper. I finished it off with a diy gift tag, that the little one and I collaborated on.  I did the calligraphy, while she stuck the pompoms and the sequins.  And boy did she have fun doing it! :)

The result is a cheerful and festive looking package!  I love that it has so much personality, and was so easy to put together!  :)

So I hope you liked my first gift wrapping idea entry.  Expect more to come!

Happy Sunday, folks! :)

Date Night Diaries : Celebrating our 6th at Terraz

6 years.  It seems like such a long time, but really, it doesn’t seem that long ago.

I’m talking about my wedding anniversary, ofcourse, which the hubby and I just celebrated recently :).

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The downside of getting married so soon after the holidays is not having the time to properly prepare for it :(.  I would have wanted to get the H a simple token, and to book a table at a nice, romantic restaurant, but unfortunately, exhaustion and back-to-work duties prevailed.

Nevertheless, I guess what is most important is that we found time within the day to celebrate our special day–just the two of us :).

For dinner, we chose to eat at Terraz, the new restaurant at the Zuellig Building. We had also considered dining at Stockton Place or at The Black Pig, but I guess the proximity of Terraz, and the lure of being able to explore the Zuellig Building won out.

Located at the 3rd floor, Terraz is operated by Raintree Restaurants, the same company that owns and operates Chelsea, Stella, Momo, Rocket Room, Mr. Jones and Saboten.

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I found the ambience to be very casual, bright and inviting, with clean and streamlined furnishings that were quite comfortable to sit on :).

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Here is what we had for dinner :

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I decided on the freshly made pappardelle pasta with arugula and grilled chicken, while the hubby got the pork ribs “bento”, with bibimbap rice and steamed vegetables.

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Simple, but yummy food :).  I just wish the slivers of grilled chicken on my dish were a bit bigger, although the pasta was already quite substantial and filling :).

For dessert, we had the Ube Tres Leches with Sago (tapioca pearls) on top.  We originally wanted The Impossible Cake which is Chocolate Cake with a layer of leche flan, but opted for something we thought to be healthier.  Hahaha!  The cake itself was okay–light and not too sweet–but I thought the sago as a topping was a bit strange.  It did not add much to the dessert, so I actually just stopped eating it altogether.

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Terraz has simple and good food, but to be honest, it pales a bit in comparison to its sister resturants.  We enjoyed our food, nevertheless, although maybe we’ll try a different dessert next time :).

So that’s how the hubby and I celebrated our anniversary.  Just a quick, quiet dinner to mark the passing of 6 good years :).  Mental note to self to start planning our celebration much, much earlier.  Hopefully we can even plan an out-of-town getaway next time! :)

TERRAZ MEETINGS & BISTRO 3/F Zuellig Building, Paseo de Roxas corner Makati Ave. Telephone Number : +632 625-4831/32 ; Open daily from 11AM-11PM

P.S. Before heading to Terraz, I came home from work and found this HUGE flower arrangement waiting for me from the hubby!!!  Isn’t it beautiful? :)

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The Holiday Round-Up

With this post I recall all the great moments of this year’s Christmas, and finally lay the holidays to rest :).

It was a wonderful time spent with my bigger family and with friends, peppered with a lot of quality moments with the H and A.

Hectic as usual, but I love that every day was a day that was celebrated well, with new memories created, and many blessings to be thankful for  :).

Ayala Triangle Light Show

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To kick start the holiday season, the H and I always try to catch the light show at the Ayala Triangle gardens.  There’s something about all those lights draped from the trees, flickering to Christmas music, that makes me feel so giddy and excited. It never fails to put me in the holiday mood :).

I guess this is the modern day version of those COD Christmas display shows I used to watch when I was a kid (they actually have a revival of it at the Greenhills Shopping Mall, but I’ve never been).  It was always a family tradition to trek down to Cubao to witness this Christmas production.  My dad would prop me up on his shoulders, so I could have an unobstructed view of the show.  I remember always being entranced by the set and the moving figures, and it always strongly reinforced how much I loved Christmas, and all its traditions and festivities :). Still do :).

Hi-5 House Party in Manila

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This holiday season, we were also able to catch two shows :).

The little one loves Hi-5, and it just so happens they had a show at SM Aura–right in our neighborhood!  The H and I knew she would be so ecstatic to watch them live, so we immediately snapped up some tickets, and took A to see her favorite group perform.

And boy did she love it!

Even though I am personally not too into Hi-5, seeing the excitement on A’s face, made it more than worthwhile for me :).

Barkada Christmas Get-Togethers

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I’m glad that despite our busy schedules, we were able to plan our barkada Christmas get-togethers early enough for them to push through without a hitch.

The H and I both have groups of friends that we’ve known for like forever.  My best gal pals have been my friends since Grade School (some since Nursery!), and the H has known his since High School.  They are truly our closest friends, and because we don’t get to see each other as often, celebrating these occasions with them and their families is always such a special time for us :).

Christmas Eve

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Christmas is the only time of year that my family is complete.  And that’s why I love it :).  The house also always looks so festive, sissy is home from New York, we do our thing and decorate the Christmas dinner table together, and the food we feast on has been a family tradition for many, many years :).  What’s not to love, right?

And for the past couple of years, we’ve started to have color themed parties as well :).  This year’s theme was red, green and gold :).  Our parents were all in red, my cousins, siblings and I were in green, while the kiddos were in white and gold.

In my family, Christmas Eve is also the night when presents are exchanged and opened.  Because of Yolanda, gifts were a lot simpler this year, and some of our relatives decided not to give gifts at all, but that did not dim our celebration one bit :).  In fact, I think it was even more fun, and definitely more meaningful :).

Christmas Day

Christmas Day this year was spent at Cousin A’s house.  It’s pretty much a repeat of the night before, minus my siblings, who celebrate the holidays with their in-laws.

For the past couple of years, my generation (my cousins, siblings and I)  has already been hosting the family holiday celebrations.  Our parents have been “passing on the baton”, so to speak, and getting us ready for what will eventually be our role in the future :).  I love it when traditions are passed on successfully, and hope my cousins, siblings and I will be able to keep it up, and keep our families close in the years to come :).

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In the evening, we trooped over to my in-laws for Christmas dinner.  Since last year, they decided to celebrate on the 25th itself, just so that we wouldn’t have to rush Noche Buena with the Pascual side (my family’s side) on the 24th.  Best. Decision. Ever!!!  Plus, we could totally enjoy the feast that my MIL ends up preparing.  Before, when we would celebrate both Noche Buena’s on the 24th, I would be too full to eat by the time we reached my in-laws’ place.  The kids would also be a bit tired, as it would be waaaaaay past their bedtime.

This time around, dinner was enjoyed quite leisurely, with no one rushing to leave; and gift opening was ofcourse the highlight of the evening, with all the kids excitedly opening presents, and creating a huge mess in the process!  Hahaha!  Oh to be a kid again! :)

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Santa’s Visit

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This year was the first year we introduced Santa to the little one.  During past Christmases we felt she was still too young to understand who he was, so we did not even bother with it.

But this year–thanks to Rockwell mall–she got so into the idea of Santa!  I guess it helped to see an actual live, breathing version of him (haha!).  Unfortunately however, as Christmas Eve drew nearer, and our schedules just got waaaaaay too hectic, we were unable to compose our letter to Santa.  Instead, I asked A to wish very hard, for what she wanted Santa to get her, and that if she was a good girl, Santa would give her a gift on Christmas.

On December 26, A opened her very first gifts from Santa Claus.  He left them inside her stocking :).  As you can see from the look on her face, she was very pleased with her presents :).

Next year, I promised her, we’ll try to work on her letter, and we’ll even leave milk and cookies for Santa.  We’ll go for the whole shebang :).

Cousin’s Night Out

When we were younger, the days in between Christmas would be spent partying at bars and clubs.  Obviously, those days are far behind us now.  Hahaha!  Staying in and having wine and cheese nights are more our thing :).

Thanks to big sissy for being our host this time around.  We had a great time bonding with the sibs and our cousins, in the comfort of her beautiful home :).

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NYC Roomies Reunion at The Pen

As December is a time of reunions, we couldn’t let it go by without seeing our good friends from New York.  We met at the Peninsula Hotel, which is always so wonderfully decorated during Christmastime :).  The H and I hope to make this another tradition with A, to have bibingka and puto bumbong at the Pen every year.

While unfortunately there wasn’t any more by the time we got there, we still enjoyed the company and the ambience very much :).

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I especially loved this life-size gingerbread house!  It smelled so heavenly! :)

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Disney On Ice

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For our second show of the holiday season, we took the little girl to Disney on Ice. She is currently fascinated by the Disney Princesses, and by the Prince’s too! Personally, I also enjoyed the show very much :).  I remembered when I was a little girl and my parent’s used to take me and my siblings to Holiday on Ice.  I remembered being in awe of the costumes, and the gracefulness of the skaters. This show is much, much more commercialized, but I still loved being able to sing the songs, appreciate the set and dance numbers, and to give A this experience. After all, who doesn’t love Disney? :)  Their productions are as magical as ever :).

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Anvaya

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To escape a little bit of the traffic and holiday madness, we took a quick out of town trip to Anvaya :).

The weather was sooooo glorious, and it was definitely a welcome break to relax by the beach and enjoy the company of family :).

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New Year’s Eve

This year’s party theme was fascinators and bowties.  I thought it was a fun and festive theme, don’t you think? :)  And everyone certainly got into it, which made it even more fun!

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My brother has a huge balcony that overlooks the Marikina Valley.  We were so lucky to get a 360-degree view of different fireworks displays!  We did not even have to have our own fireworks!  Hahaha!  I must say that the fireworks this year was very impressive, and there were a lot!  I hope that means that 2014 will be good to all of us, and we’ll see that kind of abundance in terms of blessings as well :).

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New Year’s Day

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New year, new family picture :).

As you can see, our family is growing!  We had a new addition last year in the form of my nephew, K.  Isn’t he a cutie? :)

And because our family is much bigger than it was before, we thought it was high time to start documenting it by way of a studio family photo :).  The last time we had one done, my siblings and I were all single! :)

Here are my parent’s with all of their grandchildren :).  There’s a complete family picture, but will share it with you in a future post.

The photo shoot was such a riot!  But I’m glad we had it done anyway :).

Afterwards, we attended mass to commemorate the first day of the year, and had dinner out as despedida for my sister, who left for NY the next day :(.

As you can see, our holidays were choc-full of activities!  Writing this blog post and looking back at all that happened these past few weeks allowed me to remember all the wonderful memories we created and shared as a family.

Here’s to more memories, adventures and exciting experiences in 2014!  God bless us all :).

Foodie Friday : Victorino’s

Christmas celebrations are always a good excuse to eat out :).

Just recently, my team decided to have our annual Christmas lunch and despedida for colleague G, at Victorino’s, one of the newer restaurants that just opened in Quezon City.

Specializing in Ilocano food, Victorino’s is one of those old houses that was transformed quite beautifully into a dining establishment.  At the ground floor, one can find the main dining area, a small area for selling Ilocano wares (blankets, dish towels, brooms, etc. etc.), a display of Heny Sison’s delectable desserts, and more Ilocano delicacies that one can purchase to take home (longganisa, bagnet, snacks, coffee, and more!).

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The second floor houses the function rooms, perfect for private get-togethers or work meetings :).

Navigating the Christmas traffic to get to Victorino’s was quite challenging, and by the time we finally arrived, we were quite famished! To say that I was more than ready for a good meal was an understatement :).  Hahaha!

Ordering on a hungry stomach wasn’t quite a good idea either, as we ended up ordering much more than we should have!  Hahaha!  You’ll see below all the food we had, and I didn’t even post what we had for dessert!  Ayayay!

Anyway, we decided to skip the appetizers, and immediately went for soup and the main course instead.

We started off with an Ilocano specialty called Lomo-lomo.

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It’s a brothy type of soup with bits of meat, chives, and egg.  It is perfectly flavorful and very comforting :).

We also ordered kinirog, another Ilocano specialty rice with bagoong, longganisa, egg and pindang.  I love that it had such a generous topping of salted fish on top :).  As they say, kanin pa lang, ulam na!  This is the type of dish that I can have all to myself, if I just wasn’t watching my carb intake :).

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For our mains, we got 2 (yes, 2!) servings of Ilocos Best, a dish combining both bagnet and longganisa.  Can you say deadly?  Hahaha!  Did I mention that you should never order food on an empty stomach? ;p

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The bistek was also really good…

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…and the Prito na Tilapia was crispy, fresh and did not disappoint :).

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We also unanimously loved the Poqui-poqui, a grilled eggplant dish sauteed in onions and tomatoes.  It’s really a very simple dish, but so yummy and healthy! :)

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Overall, we had a very pleasant dining experience at Victorino’s :).

Two thumbs up for the restaurant ambience and decor (especially the native wood antique furniture), and another two thumbs up for the food!  Special mention goes to the kinirog and poqui-poqui, two of our favorite dishes that day.

Victorino’s is most definitely a welcome addition to the foodie scene in Quezon City.  It’s nice to have a restaurant that not only specializes in Ilocano dishes, but also makes available some specialty products that are sourced from the Ilocos region.

Should you have any balikbayan friends in town, this would be a good place to take them, especially if you want to give them a taste of Filipino food in a pretty, relaxed setting :).

VICTORINO’S, 11th Jamboree Street corner Scout Rallos, Quezon City, Telephone Number : +63 917 833-4148

Fab Find : Istorya Creations Hand-Stamped Jewelry

So I dropped by the Artesania Fair by Mercato Centrale this weekend.  I intended to finally buy myself a pen hoarder from Bags by Rubbertree, since I’d been wanting one for a looooong time.  More on that in another post :).

Since I was at the fair already, I decided to poke my head around and see if there were any new finds worth blogging about.

What I found was Istorya Creations :).

Istorya Creations is all about hand-stamped metals.  Aside from custom-making each piece, the artist, Joanna, ensures that it lovingly reflects her customer’s unique story–hence, the name.

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I just love the thought behind Istorya.  I love that it is personalized and that each piece can hold such deep meaning for both the maker and the recipient.  I love that all the creations are hand-crafted, that they are cut and hammered by hand, and that they are perfectly imperfect when finished.  Whether it be jewelry, cake toppers, gift tags, or plant markers, these items are truly precious because they are crafted with a personal story in mind!

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So the next time you’d like to mark a special occasion, or if you are in search of a unique and meaningful gift item, try Istorya Creations.  You can contact Joanna at 0906 467 8037.  You can also email her at istorya.creations@gmail.com or visit her FB page for more details http://www.facebook.com/istorya.creations.

{Party Planning} It’s The Great 3rd Birthday!

My nephew just turned 3.  He’s currently obsessed with Charlie Brown so it was a no-brainer that Peanuts would be his birthday party theme this year :).

I was particularly challenged on how to do the styling for this event because Peanuts is not exactly your most popular theme nowadays.  For some reason, despite the popularity of vintage cartoon characters, this generation does not seem all too keen on Charlie Brown and his friends.  Hence, the lack of existing, available decor that we could use to decorate the venue.  Everything either had to be bought abroad, or fabricated locally.

The good thing is, my sister felt strongly about the party having a very home-made, DIY, relaxed feel to it, with the vibe similar to the parties thrown during our younger days.  That definitely took a lot of the (self-imposed) pressure off. Hahaha!  So I did my best to keep the decor simple and inexpensive, but to level up on the way everything was presented :).  In other words, simple and homey, but with a little bit of oomph!  Hahaha!

Here is how the event turned out…

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For the table decoration, I wanted to incorporate the zigzag design of Charlie Brown’s shirt.  So I had some yellow tablecloths made, and used black cartolina for the actual stripe.

It really helps if you know someone who can sew tablecloths for you.  In my case, I’ve been working with a trusty sewer for 2 years now.  Not only is she fast, but she doesn’t charge an arm and a leg either! :)  I just give her instructions on the type of fabric as well as the measurements, and voila!  I have tablecloths custom made for the theme of my party :).

Using cartolina for the zigzag was also an affordable but effective way of executing the stripe.  At first, I was going to have a black strip actually sewn onto the tablecloth, but eventually decided to have these elements separate so that the tablecloth could be more versatile, and used for other occasions :).

I then topped the tablecloth with fake grass (we rented them :)), which served as a platform for Snoopy’s doghouse, a plush Peanuts character toy (we had Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Woodstock and Sally), an old vintage Peanuts book, and ofcourse, a bowl of what else–boiled peanuts!  Hahaha :)  We finished the look off with light blue and white balloons which we tied to the doghouse.  These were supposed to resemble the sky and clouds :).

Here’s a close up of some of the centerpieces…

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For the dessert table, my sister bought all kinds of Peanuts paraphernalia from abroad.  She bought a football, the little Christmas tree, figurines of Linus and Lucy in her Psychiatrist booth, a mini lunchbox, and a white mailbox.

Not having seen these items before, it was a bit tricky to arrange them on the table and to achieve some symmetry in terms of their bulk and height, but I think I managed fine.  Here is how the table ended up looking…

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To complete the look, I added a background tarp which had the birthday greeting printed on it, hung some banderitas to make the table look more festive, then just added the desserts and let them be the center of attention! :)  Hahaha!

Here’s a more close up view…

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The food table was much simpler :).  We just added food tags which again used the Charlie Brown shirt design, and banderitas :).  That’s pretty much all there was room for!  Hahaha!  But then again, as I had mentioned, my sister really wanted the feel to be very homey so adding just these two elements already made the table looked more polished than usual, but still very much like how our food is usually served at home :).

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Last but not least were the souvenirs.  My sister had some canvas eco bags printed with Charlie Brown on them as well as the saying, “Love makes all the difference…”.  Cute, and practical, wouldn’t you say?  These were just stacked against each other neatly right next to the celebrant’s gifts, on the gift table.

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So there you have it–another party styling success, if I do say so myself!  Success because I think we were able to decorate the venue very nicely without going overboard and overbudget!  Hahaha!  Even if the design was very simple, I got a lot of nice compliments from my (biased) friends and relatives.  Hahaha!

Compliments aside, though, I really enjoyed doing this for my sister, her hubby, and my nephew H :).  Seeing their happy, excited faces was definitely worth it! :)

And now let me end this post with a picture of mi familia.  We all decided to come in theme wearing our Snoopy shirts from Uniqlo!

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Team Snoopy!!!

Hope you have an amazing week ahead! :)

{Party Planning} A Shower for Maggie

One of my BFF’s Nina is about to give birth soon to her 4th (yep, 4th!!!) daughter, Margarita–Maggie for short.

And did you know that Margarita is spanish for Daisy flower?

So how appropriate was it that we threw her this floral-themed baby shower?!? :)

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The beauty of planning for this party was that it only took me and my co-conspirators, C and D, all of 30 minutes to plan over Viber, and we divided the tasks quite equally too!

Since I was dying for a project, ofcourse, I took care of the event styling.  C, who is a whiz at baking, made all the desserts!  And D, our barkada food expert, took care of the menu.

Here is how everything turned out…

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These cartolina flowers were quite a challenge to make, but I think they turned out well, nonetheless :).  For a change, I wanted a backdrop that had a little bit more depth, hence the large, 3-dimensional flowers :).

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Don’t you think C totally outdid herself with the desserts?  And to think she had 3 big orders that weekend!  We had a single layer chocolate cake, cupcakes, sugar cookies and mango panna cotta!  What a spread, right? :)

For the dessert table design, my favorite detail was the floral print.  I wrote about it in a previous blog post.  I used it as liners for the cupcake stands, for the banners, and I also used it as a background for the special “M” I made in honor of Baby Maggie :)  In hindsight, though, I should have cut out a thicker “M” so that it would be more visible :).

You’ll notice I used the little one’s toys to add to the decor :).  That’s her wooden teapot and creamer set just behind the cupcakes.  Hahaha! :)  I also used one of her favorite bears, and her stuffed bunny :).  I had to be resourceful…Hahaha!

Here are some of the other design elements of the party…

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A sea of crepe paper flowers for the centerpiece!  Cheap, but has impact! Hahaha!

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A simple arrangement of baby’s breath inside A’s food bottles served many purposes–decor, place card and souvenir!!! :)

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A confetti system used to decorate the buffet table.  I had fun making this one! :) Again, very affordable, yet festive and impactful :).

I really had such a wonderful time making all the decor for N’s baby shower! Even better, the celebrant loved the ambience and event styling too!  And that’s what counts–hahaha!  And it didn’t even cost me that much either!  Goes to show that a little bit of creativity and lots of tiyaga will go a long way :).

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The gang’s all here!

These ladies have been my friends since Grade School!

We may not see each other as often, but I am lucky to have them in my life :)

Sneak Peek : M’s Flower Power Baby Shower

One of my BFF’s is about to give birth soon!

Not only is her impending delivery something to be excited about, but so is the baby shower we’re throwing for her next weekend!

Another opportunity to be creative and to do some DIY!  Woot!  Woot!

This time around, because I know she’s having a girl, I thought of having a simple, but very dainty and feminine floral party.

I got my inspiration from this Rifle Paper Co stationery design:

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Ofcourse, the color motif is pink, blush, peach, white and gold :)

Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been working on as part of the decor:

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I’m pretty happy with how these paper flowers turned out :)

What do you think? :)

More pictures of the party styling next week!

Stay tuned!