In Terrarium News…

So I recently “refreshed” our terrarium with new succulents.

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I decided to go for the non-thorny variety since I was kinda getting traumatized by all the pricking everytime I’d have to transplant new cacti.

To make the arrangement a bit more fun and interesting, I also added the little one’s baby dinosaurs.  We got them from a birthday party loot bag some time ago.  I love that they’ve found a new home :).

When she saw her dinosaurs inside the terrarium, the little girl whispered to me, “Mom, they’re kissing!”

(Face Palm)

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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! 🙂

Recycled Envelopes + Happy Weekend

Whenever I get to spend even just a couple of minutes creating something with my hands, it is a happy weekend indeed!  I am grateful that lately, the hubby has been indulging me with this, giving me my much needed relaxation from a hectic, busy week.  He takes over parental duties, while I lose myself in the wonderful world of crafting :).

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to make some recycled envelopes.  I got the idea from my salon, actually :).  They started making their tip envelopes out of magazine pages and I thought that was such a brilliant idea!

I’ve always been a staunch advocate of reusing, recycling or upcycling.  Especially that we can see how the effects on Mother Nature have been particularly harsh lately, it’s never too late to do our share for the environment :).  In this case, instead of throwing away the piles of magazines that I’ve accumulated at home, why not turn them into something useful such as envelopes? 🙂

Here is a simple how-to:

1. Gather all the materials you will be needing

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2. Get one of your used envelopes and open it up using a cutter.  You’ll be using this to trace a template onto your piece of cardboard.  You can totally eliminate this step and use the envelope itself as a template, but sometimes, because the paper is “soft”, you’ll notice the edges will start getting worn out the more you trace over it.  I prefer to use a stiff board as a template :).

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3. After you’ve cut the envelope template out, you may also want to make a template for the envelope liner.  Simply trace the rectangular body and top flap part of the envelope.  Measure 1/4 cm from the top edge and left edge and mark where they meet with a dot.  Then draw a diagonal line from the bottom left corner of the top flap to that dot, and repeat on the right side.  Draw a straight line connecting the dots from left to right, and cut out this portion from the cardboard.

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4. After you’ve cut out all your templates, start choosing the magazine pages you’d like to cut, and pair it with the pattern you’d like to use for the liner.  In this case, I chose a picture with bright and beautiful flowers on it, and paired it with a green and pink floral pattern origami paper.

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5. Starting with the envelope template, I traced it over the part of the page where the flowers were concentrated.  After cutting it out, I did the same with the envelope liner template.

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7. Before sticking the liner onto the envelope, I had to score it first.  By doing so, I created lines that I could align with the edges of the liner.  I used my metal ruler to help me make straight lines.

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8.  Stick the liner onto the envelope with the rubber cement.  For those of you who are not familiar with rubber cement, it is a wonderful adhesive that does not cause any wrinkling, and is less messy than regular glue.  Also, if you make a mistake with rubber cement, it is easy to peel the paper off again and redo. Unlike glue where the paper tends to rip, rubber cement is much friendlier especially for those of us who get pretty OC with our crafting :).

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After gluing the liner, you can also start assembling and gluing the envelope itself.

9. Finish off by putting a round sticker at the flap :).  Again, this step is optional, but I thought it gave the envelope a little bit of polish :).

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So there you have it, a tutorial on making envelopes out of magazine pages :). Easy peasy, right? 🙂  And super fun to make!  Trust me, once you get into the groove of it, you will notice the hours just pass you by! 🙂

Hope you have an amazing weekend!!! 🙂

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

Calligraphy and Lettering Crafternoon

Now that the Christmas frenzy has subsided, I’m really looking forward to resuming a more normal, relaxed routine again :).  As I’m sure it is for everyone, the holidays are an extremely hectic time of year where everything else seems to be on hold, to make way for the shopping and the gift-wrapping, the gajillion parties and reunions, and the requisite out of town trips, especially when there are balik bayans :).

Now that I’m back at home (we were temporarily stationed at my parents’ place over the holidays so we could spend more time with my sister who flew in from NYC) and have a bit of time to myself (hubby is asleep and the little one is exploring her new Duplo set :)), I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on my blogging, especially since I’ve been so remiss lately.

There are so many things to write about, to share, and document :)!  And despite the fact that some of them are already passe, or have happened weeks ago, I still would like to share with you some of my wonderful experiences last November and December.  Sorry, 2013.  I’m not quite done with you yet.  Hahaha!

Let me start off with my experience at Alessa’s Calligraphy and Lettering Crafternoon :).  Alessa is Alessa Lanot, the creative force behind the blog, Life After Breakfast.  If you haven’t read her blog ever, please do!  I’m sure she will inspire you, just as she has me :).  In fact, I live vicariously through her creative projects and pursuits!  Hahaha!  I’ve been so inspired by her work, I’ve actually already joined several of her crafternoons, and have taken on to doing several crafty projects during the year :).

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Held last November, right after Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Calligraphy and Lettering Crafternoon was a relaxing, fun, and meaningful experience for me.  I was excited to learn from Alessa, and to see her take on this skill.  As you will recall, I also attended the Ink Scribbler class of Alexis, which was also fun and exciting :).  Comparing the two, Alessa shared a bit more information on the history of calligraphy; she spent a bit more time sharing some interesting trivia; as well as the different types of fonts, inks, materials, and nib parts; and her warm-up exercises were definitely more challenging (read: major hand cramps! Hahaha!).

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Image from lifeafterbreakfast.com

At Alessa’s class we were also given a very nice hand-stamped katcha goody bag that contained a set of Sharpie’s, washi tape, some paper, 2 calligraphy nib holders, ink, a nib, and a brush pen :).  Goody bags are always nice to receive, especially when the contents are so useful! 🙂  I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw all my loot! 🙂

After the lecture portion of the class, we proceeded to do some writing exercises, then went into the calligraphy session itself.  To make the session more meaningful, we were asked to write out either a Christmas letter or a saying that would be made into a card.  The recipients of these letters/cards would be the typhoon victims.  Here is a photo of our collective efforts :

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Image from lifeafterbreakfast.com

And, because we had a short session on typography, one of the exercises was to also create a postcard, experimenting with different types of lettering :

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Image from lifeafterbreakfast.com

None of those are my work, by the way.  Heehee 🙂  But aren’t they beautiful?

Again, as with my previous calligraphy workshop, this was indeed an afternoon that was well spent.  It was nice to meet fellow writing enthusiasts, and to lose myself in such a creative endeavor.  I also like how our output became something that we could share, in the hopes of giving others some inspiration, especially during trying times.  Like I said, it was both a fun and meaningful afternoon :).

If any of you are interested in attending this calligraphy session, please hop on over to Alessa’s blog.  I don’t think she’s posted her schedules for 2014 yet, but I’m sure she will soon :).

Happy 2014!!!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Hope you all had a wonderful celebration with family and friends, ringing in 2014! 🙂

While I realize there’s been quite a shortage of blogposts on my end, especially during the month of December, I’m hoping that the coming year will be a more productive one, and that you all will continue to drop by my humble space :).  I promise to fill it up not just with family and work adventures, but with my creative pursuits, my weight loss journey, my amazing shopping finds, as well as my new traveling and foodie experiences.

I am really quite excited for the new year to begin, and look forward to 2014 with such hope and anticipation!  I can already feel that it will be a much better year than last, and am ready to take it on!

Here’s hoping (and praying!) that 2014 will be nothing short of amazing for all of us!  As an ending, I’d like to share something I found over at InstaGram.  I thought it was particularly inspiring, and wanted you to be inspired by it too :).

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The Weekend That Was : Balik Bukid 4

Just wanted to share images from our wonderful Balik Bukid experience!  We spent almost the entire day at the fair, and had a blast!

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Ofcourse no trip to Balik Bukid would be complete without feeding the guinea pigs…

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…or saying “hello” to the baby pot-bellied pig!

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We ate the most delicious food…

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This brick oven truffle mushroom and cheese pizza was TDF!  And doesn’t it look too pretty to eat too? 🙂

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This ginger ale from Stanford & Shaw Brewing Co. was soooooo cold and refreshing–perfect for a day in the bukid!

There was also some shopping for the ladies, with several of my favorite sellers representing! 🙂

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Here is Anna, manning the La Pomme booth.  Don’t you just love her Pepita Doll? It’s 100% handmade with love by her!  Ofcourse I could not resist buying one for myself!  Yes, you read that right–it’s for me!  Hahahaha!

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Soft Haven makes the most wonderful baby blankets and matching plush toys. They’re also regulars at the American Women’s Bazaar :).

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Mary Velmonte and her takas from Takatak Project were also at the fair!  She brought along her new products too!  Notice that bear made out of craft board? That’s meant to be a wall hanging!  Cool, right?

Balik Bukid was truly a wonderful way to spend the weekend!  And I was happy to see how many families thought so too!  Even my family who were first-timers at the fair agreed that it was such a fun way to bond :)!  And for once, the kids did not even look for nor ask for their gadgets!  Instead, they were running around, playing with animals, taking carabao rides, and trying out the zipline!

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This was the last Balik Bukid for this year, but you should definitely try and catch the next one!  I promise, you’ll have a blast!

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Shop.Share.Care

Shop.Share.Care

These past 3 weeks, both my Instagram and FaceBook feeds have been flooded with stories chronicling the various relief efforts that people have initiated to raise funds or to provide goods and support to the Yolanda victims.

I continue to be pleasantly amazed that there hasn’t been a shortage of generosity for our Visayan kababayans since Day 1. People just keep on giving and giving! 🙂 Even the international community has been extremely charitable and supportive of our country. The image of a US aircraft carrier navigating our seas, bringing with it soldiers, supplies, helicopters and planes, will forever be etched in my mind.

If you, like me, are looking for more ways to personally contribute to this world-wide effort, please consider supporting Shop.Share.Care. It is a fund-raising online sale by the top Filipino accessories designers to benefit Typhoon Yolanda survivors.

The brainchild of Ken Samudio (one of my favorite designers), other featured designers in the sale include Vida Lim, Ann Ong, Lally Dizon, Joyce Makitalo, Amina Aranaz, Miadore, Dennis Lustico, Anne Marie Saguil, Eric Manansala, Adante Leyesa, and many more! What powerhouses, right? And this is the perfect opportunity to own one of their pieces because the proceeds will go to a wonderful cause!

Sale begins on Wednesday, November 27, at 6pm. For more details, visit their website, http://www.shopsharecareph.com.