Monday, July 21

Crafts/DIY: Paper Flower Workshop with Gourdo's

My workshops have been scarce and far between because of work and travel. But this coming September, there will a couple coming up. This time, it will be held in the south -- woohoo!

There will be new materials to use. I know you've been waiting for this folks. This is the first time we'll be using premium crepe paper so come and join us okay?

Here are some of the flowers we can make using the new materials.

Inspired yet?

Here are the deets.

* September 13 (Saturday) | 1-4pm | Gourdo's Fort
* September 20 (Saturday) | 1-4pm | World Market Alabang Town Center

For sign-ups and registration, please call Gourdo's 24-hour hotline at 812-3022.

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Monday, July 14

Travel: Bellagio in Las Vegas

There is something about Bellagio that keeps me coming back. Come to think of it, it's probably the dancing Fountains of Bellagio. Morning or night, they never fail to keep me relaxed. If I get to choose a spot on the Strip to stay put for the day, it's in front of the Bellagio fountains.

Shows run every 30 minutes starting at 3pm to 7pm, every 15 minutes from 7pm-midnight during the weekdays. During the weekends, they start earlier at noon.

Aside from the famous movie-worthy view of Bellagio fountains, we also went inside. If you've been to Seattle's Space Needle and the garden beside it, you'll be familiar with the ceiling sculpture/chandelier called Fiori di Como (literally translated to Flowers of Como) at Bellagio's lobby. It's by world-renowned glass sculptor Dave Chihuly. The installation has about 2,000 glass blooms.

Another area in Bellagio that I always go to is the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Until September 7th this year, you get to enjoy the Summer Garden Party exhibit. We got to go when we went to Vegas last May. It's not that big of an exhibit but it is definitely magical. It was like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Fresh flowers were everywhere.

Huge sculptural display showered the area -- raindrops, tulips, daffodils, butterflies, ladybugs, and more.

There's this floral interpretation of Polly Thayer's "My Childhood Trees", too.

Take a closer look.

Check out the real painting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston if you're in the area, or take a look at their website.

The exhibit at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is open to the public 24 hours a day. Enjoy your Vegas visit!

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Tuesday, July 1

Getting It On with Shellac

I usually don't get manicures. I feel like my fingernails grow really fast that I only get to enjoy my painted nails for a few days, because then, they will either chip or the bottom part will show because of nail growth.

My sister-in-law invited us to get our nails done at her favorite nail salon in Grand Rapids. There were four of us -- me, my niece, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law. We all got the Shellac because of the raves we've heard.

I fancied the color City Scape. It's similar to the color of concrete. I am so into khakis and greys right now that I instinctively got that one. While soaking our feet, we were seated down the most amazing massage chairs/recliners ever. It felt like I was back in Bangkok where manang masseuse was pushing my muscles to their limits using her elbows and hands. The chair even has a remote control so you can adjust the pressure and location.

Oh em gee. I didn't want to get off that chair! I think I pouted when my nail technician asked me to go with her so she can apply shellac to my nails. Haha.

Applying shellac takes twice as long as applying ordinary nail polish. But the results are awesome. After each coat of shellac, your painted nails are exposed to UV light for about a couple of minutes, and it's instantly dry. It's so smooth that it seemed fake to me. Fake in a perfect kind of way. Haha.

Needless to say, the cost was a bit too much -- probably about $70 for both hands and feet. But everything will be expensive if you're used to $5 mani-pedis back in the Philippines.

My shellac manicure lasted about 2 weeks. Kinda gross in the end because of my mutant nail growth. But there wasn't a paint chip in sight. The shellac was still solid as it can be. I tried scraping them off with my nails, which is a major blunder in the world of gel polish. I failed miserably. In the end, I took them off the traditional way. I soaked them with acetone-filled cotton ball and wrapped each finger with aluminum foil to keep them in place, like this photo below.

Will I try it again? Not on my fingers. Maybe my toes again though.

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Thursday, June 19

Crafts/DIY: Upcycling Binder Clips

One of my nieces had a birthday party, and I helped out with creating dish names for the buffet table, as well as the thank you tags for the party favors. I used my trusty old Nikko G nib, McCaffery's black ink and some Avery two-side printable clean cut business card paper. The paper was great for calligraphy. The ink didn't bleed, and I didn't have to worry about fibers being stuck to my nib.

The Avery paper was the perfect size for the favor gift tags and the dish names. I added some blush pink border to the dish names below to make it prettier. I also played around with my new stock of Italian crepe paper to make the paper flowers below.

I asked my sister-in-law if she had any place card holders on hand. It was the most adorable gold chair place card holder, and she only had one. Bummer.

I came up with using binder clips. But we know how binder clips come in the most plain, boring colors right? The party was very pink and we had to transform these clips into pretty colors quickly. My other niece has a collection of Duck Tape (yep, that is the brand name, so you know I'm not just barok. I am, most of the time. Haha!) that's printed. We covered the binder clips with it and they looked nicer in just minutes. By the way, washi tape will definitely work too.

There you go. Instant place card holders.

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Sunday, June 8

Why I Love Maleficent

*Warning: Spoilers ahead

I was looking forward to watching Maleficent ever since I heard about it. I was especially excited about how they were planning to retell the Sleeping Beauty story in the eyes of Maleficent.

I've been a fan of Disney movies, and truth be told, Maleficent is one of the most bad ass villains out there. She put a curse on a baby girl for crying out loud.

If that's not enough, Angelina's cheekbones errr Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent. Seriously, I couldn't stop looking at them on the movie poster (and the movie).

I went with my family and a couple of my titas to watch the movie up in Rockwell, courtesy of PLDT Home DSL.

Needless to say, I love the movie! I'd watch it again and again and again. It scraps the boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love-instantly premise, but hangs on to the happy ever after ending. The story revolved around love, betrayal, revenge and remorse. Maleficent finds love in Stefan. Stefan betrays her to be king. Maleficent puts a curse on Stefan's daughter Aurora. Stefan goes crazy and sends Aurora to the woods in the care of three silly fairies. Maleficent secretly looks after the girl. Maleficent wishes the curse to be broken and fails. Aurora pricks her finger and sleeps. Prince comes along and kisses her; nothing happens. Maleficent is sorry and kisses her forehead. Aurora wakes up.

This strong maternal love shown between Princess Aurora and Maleficent turned around the villainous idea of Maleficent into the hero that she really is. It focused on motherly love and that you can find true motherly love in the least likely of places.

This is why I think Maleficent makes a great family movie.

It was Allie's second time to watch inside a movie theater, and her first time to watch an entire movie without asking for her tablet. Yeah, we bring her own tablet and a pair of headphones as backup entertainment. It has some of her favorite cartoons and kiddie apps in it. Daddy E helped install these for Allie back at home with a PLDT Home DSL connection I kid you not. :) It even has Skype in it so when Daddy is in the office, Allie can talk to him on video.

It's little things like these that help us connect with each other as a family. Yes, just like the PLDT Home DSL TV commercial "Ask Diego". The commercial features a young, very techie family doing things together online to help each other out. Diego is the little boy with his own advice column, where his family helps answer. Real cute, by the way. His parents monitor the page, so you need not worry about that. Check it out on

We've had PLDT Home DSL since we moved back here, and so far, so good. If you want to have your own strong, reliable family-sized connection of PLDT Home DSL, visit

Thank you PLDT Home DSL for inviting me and my family to spend time together.

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