Tuesday, January 31

Crafts/DIY: A Pull String Candy Confetti (aka Piñata)

I'm just brimming with ideas to make Allie's birthday party celebration enjoyable.

My baby still can't walk by herself, but I think she'll enjoy watching kids having loads of fun breaking a piñata.

I saw a cute DIY piñata from John and Sherry's blog, Young House Love, where they made a papier maché for their daughter's first birthday party.

Image via Young House Love

If you're crafty enough, here's a lovely piñata that can also be used for weddings. Jump to Kate Landers Events' blog for the complete step-by-step instructions. It also makes use of papier maché, so it does take a few days to do.

Image via Kate Landers

Here's another diy-able piñata idea. It's from Confetti System.

Image via Confetti System

Here's a cute one. You can reuse old cereal boxes to make mini piñatas, and give them as favors to kids. Surprise them with their own treats inside. Follow the instructions on Oh Happy Day (gotta love that blog!).

Image via Oh Happy Day

I can't wait to do one for Allie's party.

Have you ever diy'ed a piñata?
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Sunday, January 29

Party: Kiddie Party Suppliers - Hosts and Entertainment

-- the supplier hunt for Allie's birthday continues --

I already got the memory keeper (aka photographer).

Now it's time to look for the party hosts to keep the kids and the kids at heart entertained. I came up with another short list -- a list of well-liked hosts and entertainers for kiddie parties here in Manila. I also included their rates and contact information.

All images are from Ging Lorenzo's blog.

1. Wizzo - Magician / Host | T: 523-4229 | C: 0927-602-2392 | Facebook link
      Rate: P11,000

2. Wanlu - Ventriloquist / Puppet master | email: reservations@wanlu.net
       Rates: P10,000 - P20,000

3. Jiggles the Balloon Lady - Host / Balloon artist | C: 0920-924-6022 | T: 807-8009 / 807-8040 | email:  jigglesballoonlady@yahoo.com
      Rates: P7,500 - P9,200 within Metro Manila

4. Alex Lagula - Host / Magician | C: 0917-537-9125
      Rate: P11,500

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Saturday, January 28

Food: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Sweet Potato Casserole

We were in Nashville, TN when I first had the sweet potato casserole from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

Image via Sugarbuzzed

Of course they had amazing steaks too! But their sweet potato casserole is to die for. It's a lovely way to end dinner.

I searched for the recipe so I can try it at home. I did, and I want to share it with you. I got the original recipe from food.com.


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I find 1 cup too sweet.)
  • 1/3 cup flour 
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferred) 
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
Sweet Potato Mixture
  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (Sometimes, the sweet potatoes have tons of fibers. Pass through a strainer to get a smoother mash.)
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs (well beaten) 
  • 1/2 cup butter , melted 

  1. Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  3. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. Mix thoroughly. 
  4. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. 
  5. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
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Friday, January 27

Crafts/DIY: Pinwheels

I loved pinwheels when I was a child. I think Allie would love it too.

A few days ago, I saw this real party theme "Preppy Turtle" by Kori Clark that's Lilly-inspired. She decorated the tables with pinwheels.

Super adorable!

Here are a couple of DIY pinwheels that might suit your fancy. One I would rate as difficult, and the other easy peazy.

Easy 4-pointed pinwheel from Oh Happy Day. Jordan's post has free printables and templates to get you started.

For the difficult pinwheel, Style Me Pretty has an amazing template and lovely photos of the step-by-step instructions to help and inspire you.

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Thursday, January 26

Food: Easy Beef Kalbi Stir Fry

Here's an easy breezy recipe for you.

All you need are --

  • 1 lb. beef strips (frozen bulgogi cut or sukiyaki cut)
  • 1 small jar of beef kalbi marinade sauce (you can buy this at H-mart, or any Korean supermarket)
  • a bunch of bok choy, cut and washed thoroughly
  • 1 tspn. sesame oil
Just pre-heat your pan. Put a tiny bit of sesame oil. Stir fry the beef and sauce. (You can broil the beef too if you want). Then add the bok choy. It should be cooked in a few minutes. 

I love it when paired with brown rice. It's one dish that I can eat over and over again.

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Baby: Co-sleeping Positions

This illustration went viral over Facebook.

We co-sleep with our daughter, and we are familiar with the Booby Trap, H is for Hell and the Stalker.

Do you co-sleep too? Which ones have you experienced?

Originally from How to be a Dad website.
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Wednesday, January 25

Book: Amy Atlas' Sweet Designs

It's no secret that love Amy Atlas and her work. Now, she's about to launch her new book, Sweet Designs, on April, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

You can pre-order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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Sunday, January 22

Party: Lilly Invite Inspiration

Remember this invitation I found through Designs by Three of a Kind?

Super cute. The sample birthday invitation was for "Allie", too. Allie for allie-gator. Haha.

I decided, though, to just make my own invitation.

I used Lilly Pulitzer's "Skip On It" print as inspiration. It comes free for download from the Lilly blog.

The print is lovely, but I wanted to use a different color scheme -- like this:

With a little color replacement here and there, this became my inspiration print:

I can't wait to show you the invitation I came up with.

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Saturday, January 21

Party: Kiddie Party Suppliers - Photographers

Documenting a first birthday celebration, no matter how small it is, is very important to me. So, for Allie's first birthday celebration, we decided to get a professional kiddie event photographer.

Here is a list of Metro Manila kiddie party photographers I shortlisted from a huge list, complete with updated contact information and a sample of their work.

Have any of you tried any of them? Who's your favorite?

1. Ging Lorenzo - E: ging@ginglorenzo.com | C: +63917-852-5938 | Blog link
      Kiddie party rates start at P9,000

2. Ces Kasilag - C: +63917-540-7496 / +63922-823-7566

3. Michelle Morelos - E: michelle.morelos@gmail.com  | Facebook link 
   Kiddie party rates start at P5,000

4. Donna Tavora - E: resonance.kixtavora@gmail.com | C: +63922-882-8672 | Facebook link
   Kiddie party rates start at P7,000

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Friday, January 20

Freebie: Font Love Lilly

Here's a good one. Free "Lilly" font from Font Squirrel. Yes, I am deep into getting Lilly stuff for my daughter's birthday party. I played with the font and the Bellina print from Lilly Pulitzer.

Get the Lilly font from here.

The Lilly print is "Bellina" from the Lilly blog here.

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Freebie: Lilly Pulitzer Wallpaper Prints

As I was researching on all things Lilly Pulitzer for Allie's party, I found some free Lilly Pulitzer wallpaper prints. Download them from the Lilly blog here. Enjoy!

Bling My Chimes

Scorpion Bowl

Skip On It

All images are from Lilly Pulitzer.
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Thursday, January 19

Party: Choosing a Birthday Party Theme for Allie

Can you believe how time flies? One minute, your baby feels so fragile in your hands and the next moment she's already standing up and trying to walk by herself.

For me, the time has come to plan for my little baby Alyssa's first birthday party. I am super excited to DIY the loot bags and the decors. I couldn't see anything I like from event stylists, so I decided I'm just going to do them myself. Huge task, so little time.

At first I thought I have enough time; I have two months. Probably more than enough if we were still back in the US. But here in Manila, a child's first birthday party is like planning a wedding! OMG, almost all the suppliers I wanted (host, entertainer, venue and photographer) have commitments already -- meaning they are booked for the day I wanted. I got my first choice for the host and entertainer so yipee! More on that later. I am having trouble getting a photographer though.

Wait, I am not doing a grand party, just so you know -- only close family and friends. Fifteen kids probably and the rest are adults. I am so eager to do this, because I was not the one who planned for my wedding. I wanted to, but it was logistically impossible to do physically hands-on. So here I am.

It was hard to choose a color combination, let alone the party theme. Sure, she probably won't remember a thing. But she'll see pictures eventually. I want it to be girly and vibrant.

So, without further ado, Alyssa's first birthday party theme is going to be --

-- Lilly Pulitzer inspired!

Think pink and green and a bit of aqua --

Lilly Pulitzer prints (from L-R): Bellina, Desert Tort, Let's Go Bananas

Come to think of it, I should have hoarded Lilly stuff from the States if I had known this was going to be the party theme. Anyway, I digress.

Here's something funny. I found another Lilly Pulitzer print called Later Gator. Very cute. Perfect for Allie's (yes, that's Alyssa's nickname) birthday. So don't be surprised if this ends up as the final design. The invitation was designed by Designs by Three of a Kind.

Later Gator Lilly Pulitzer print

I searched high and low for inspiration.

Here's what Kori Clark of Paper & Pigtails did for her daughter's 3rd birthday party. Look at those pinwheels. Just adorable!

Image via Thoughtfully Simple

Here's what Melissa Caliguiri wrapped for Christmas 2009. It has a cute little pink giraffe. This would be perfect for the lootbags. Maybe something else for boys though.

Image via Melissa Caliguiri

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Wednesday, January 18

Crafts/DIY: Furoshiki-Inspired Wrap

Last Christmas, I ordered dozens of Chicken Liver Pate and crostini for gifts. I saw some abaca gift bags, but they cost P30-P35 -- less than a buck. I thought maybe I can find some alternative wrapper.

I saw these kitchen towels at Landmark.

They were P110 for a set of three. That's around P37 per towel -- that the recipient gets to use over and over again, and not just throw away.

I remembered stumbling upon furoshiki wrapping a while back. Learn about it here.

So I decided to give it a try.

Turned out good!

The Chicken Liver Pate and crostini packets are made and sold by Jil's Kitchen.

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Wednesday, January 11

Freebie: 2012 Calendar

I hope I'm not too late yet. Happy new year!

Here is a free 2012 calendar for all you travel junkies out there. It was sold last holiday season by the Dear Sadie shop, and now is made available as printable for everyone.

Download from here. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, January 10

Food: Macarons

No, I did not make any macarons. I did not even try -- not with the humidity here in my part of the world.

But I got 2 packages of Bizu macarons last Christmas. One from my cousin, Jil, and another from my Tita and Tito.

So because someone in our household (ahem, me) is lacking the energy to cook, I'm just going to provide you a macaron recipe that I am most likely to try. It came from the Ladies Home Hournal website, and although the recipe says 'cookies', I really think they are actually macarons.

Clementine-Filled Cookies

Yield: 32 cookies
Prep: 30 mins
Bake: 20 mins 300°F
Stand: 1 hr 50 mins


  • 6 ounces blanched almonds 
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons clementine zest 
  • 3 large egg whites 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon clementine juice 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment and fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip; set aside. 
  2. Blend almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons zest; pulse to combine. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Sprinkle in granulated sugar and whip to stiff peaks. 
  4. Fold almond mixture into egg whites in two batches. Transfer batter to pastry bag and pipe 1-inch rounds an inch apart on prepared baking sheets; let sit 1 hour at room temperature. 
  5. Heat oven to 300 degrees F with two racks centered. Bake, rotating position after 10 minutes, until cookies are golden, about 20 minutes. Cool completely before removing from parchment. 
  6. Make filling: Beat together butter, 1/2 teaspoon zest and juices. Add 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 minute. Pipe a small amount on the bottom side of half the cookies; sandwich with the other cookies. Makes 32 cookies.
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Saturday, January 7

Design: #1forfun

Image from Our Awesome Planet

The Department of Tourism and BBDO Guerrero recently launched a tourism branding campaign here in the Philippines. Of course, it is just one step to fully minimize the bad impression -- and experience -- tourists have on the country (read Daphne's blog entry about it here). There are probably five thousand more steps to go. Yeah, it's that bad... but one can always be optimistic right?

Here are the initial campaign banners from the official campaign website.

Aren't they fun?

Here are the unofficial campaign banners.

Of course there was backlash against it. Some said that the campaign was just a copycat of what Switzerland did 60+ years ago. I looked and looked, albeit over the Internet only. I only found this link.

Image from Vintage Ads

I think it was purely coincidental.

Oh well, you can't please everyone.

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