Wednesday, July 31
Allie slept during the ride to an extended family dinner to celebrate my cousin's birthday at Global City. We were an hour early because it takes about 30 minutes for her to warm up to strangers and new places. She woke up with a bad mood. Talk about little miss grumpy. She wouldn't let anybody carrying her... except her mommy. So yeah, I carried all 30 pounds of her.
As we walked through the overcooled mall at High Street (that end where Jamba Juice is at) towards the restaurant strip outside, Allie just rested her head on my shoulder, and she didn't want to walk at all. When the doors opened to the water fountain area, she almost instantly woke up from her dazed state.
At night, these fountains are lit up with pretty lights that make them look like glowing water.
Allie loved it. Even the daddy.
Oh, she couldn't stop touching the water. Buti nalang medyo mainit nun.
We let her played with the water until it was really time to go. She was soaked so we had to change her clothes. It was a good thing that there was a nearby restroom.
It's amazing what water can do to my little girl. I just really hope that the water in those fountains were clean. Haha.
Tuesday, July 30
I wish Ikea (and the cheap prices) would already arrive in Manila. I know that's a tall order, but anything's possible.
Anyway, the 2014 Ikea catalog is up for download or online browsing. I couldn't help but window shop. Here are my top picks.
01 PALLRA boxes with lids $14.99/set of 4. Laminated cardboard, polyester and paper.
02 KVITTRA boxes with lid $5.99 to $8.99. Painted, laminated cardboard and paper.
These boxes are perfect for little trinkets, maybe photographs, oh and pens! Remove clutter from your bedroom or office with these boxes. I am a sucker for cute boxes, and I'd love to get my hands on these.
03 BJÖRNLOKA FIGUR cushion cover $5.00, 20" x 20". Designed by HC Ericson.
The design is very geometric, and it reminds me of architectural sketches.
04 PROMENAD series dinnerware $3.99 - $4.99 per piece. Classic dinnerware with a unique and playful pattern inspired by hand-painted tiles.
"I was inspired by old hand-painted tiles and architecture with mosaics. The blue color relates back to traditional porcelain, but the motifs are more unexpected. Like the hot air balloon that represents freedom and playfulness. The motifs on PROMENAD are positioned a bit unconventionally. Depending on which direction you look at them from, you see different things in the motifs. The idea is that the plates should work just as well for every day as for parties. Together with both fine wine glasses and breakfast cereal. And spread happiness for many years." - Designer Malin Åkerblom about PROMENAD
05 GRÄDDIG wall decor $19.99 / set of 3. The three wall decorations become a playful and surprising eye-catcher in your home. A different and fun alternative to putting plates or pictures on the walls. You can choose to put the buttons in ordered patterns or a little here and there and rearrange them whenever you like.
06 STUVA storage bench $79.99. Place this at the entranceway and hide your clutter.
What about you, have you seen the catalog yet?
Friday, July 26
For what seemed like forever, I've been trying to hide my dark under eyes. I am an evening person and I do function better at night. I have a love and hate relationship with mornings. In college, plates kept me up until the wee hours of the morning (I studied architecture). When Allie came along, I'm lucky if I get to sleep straight at night. I'm sure you guys can totally relate, especially you mommies. We are usually the last ones awake, and the first ones up, and don't even get me started with waking up multiple times at night to feed the baby.
Enter dark circles. It's so hard to hide them. I hate putting heavy concealers on, so when I saw this Covergirl and Olay Simply Ageless Eye Corrector, I couldn't wait to try it.
I got mine in the US, but I saw some at local department stores. They sell them at around P600 or maybe even less. Remember to get 230 Eye Corrector, because the other ones have similar packaging but they're concealers.
This is what it looks like inside.
|Image from Covergirl|
The white swirl you see is Olay Regenerist Serum, which I also use at night (I'm scared to have forks on the corners of my eyes, hehe), so having this with my under eye corrector is a bonus. The yellowish ones are specially blended pigments to cover up even extreme dark circles. You have to remember, yellow tints cover blue, so this is really good for dark circles (and bruises too). Just fyi and not totally unrelated to this post, green tints cover reddish spots like pimples and yes, hickeys (lol).
Anyway, it's so easy to use.
1. I just use my finger then blend the white and beige shade in the compact.
2. Then I dab it on my under-eye circles and on the inside corners of my eyes.
3. I usually put finishing powder afterwards because I don't want to put additional concealer anymore, but you can if you'd like.
This is probably the most effective under eye concealer I've had. Nope, this is not sponsored, so you have to trust me on this. I've converted 3 people already within my first week of use. How cool is that?
Thursday, July 25
Pink Me Up Beauty Nail and Dry Bar is a cute little nail spa in Shaw Boulevard at Mandaluyong City. The color theme is pink, grey and white. It's very girly and very dainty (it kind of reminded me of Dainty Mom, whom I met during the Halo event too).
Halo Philippines, the distributor of Halo Sleep Sacks in the country, hosted a sparty event for mommies to spread the Safe Sleep advocacy. Pink Me up is a great place to have intimate private gatherings, like birthday and bridal shower sparties.
I know you want to see the design deets now, so here you go...
The furniture are from Heima. There is also this diyable chandelier that I really want to try.
That's Ives of Halo Philippines telling us about Safe Sleep. I posted information I learned from Ives on my blog here. Way to go Ives! I loved the way you presented.
You can spruce up the Pink Me Up space with your own stuff to make the space custom.
You can put up a buffet area too for your guests so they won't go hungry.
I really love the place. I will surely be back!
2D Lee Gardens Condominium,
Shaw Boulevard corner Lee Street
Mandaluyong City, MM
0915-139-2234 * 0947-965-0507 * 02-3582412
Tuesday, July 23
When I was pregnant with Allie, I tried to read up about pregnancy and my bedside book was What To Expect When You're Expecting. I somehow stopped myself from being bombarded with too much information on the internet, because I knew it was going to drive me insane and paranoid. Living in another country with no relatives near you to ask was tough enough. Being a first-time preggy lady with unlimited access to the internet was tougher.
|That's me at Week 37|
I had read about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and it freaked me out that it might happen to mine. It scared me to death that my baby will just stop breathing at night. It was not something people warn you about. There are factors associated with SIDS like loose bedding, tummy sleeping and overheating.
Why am I telling you about SIDS and Safe Sleep? Well, because sleeping infants (usually aged one year and below) are at the highest risk for SIDS because they can easily suffocate.
Ives of Halo Philippines invited me to join their advocacy for Safe Sleep, and I happily obliged. It was something I really feel strongly about. The event was held at a local spa, Pink Me Up, at Mandaluyong City. It was a spa treat for mommies and Safe Sleep presentation in one. What could be better than that right? I'll be blogging about Pink Me Up soon, but let's get down to the more important business first. Ives did a very informative presentation which I am going to share with you.
How can we prevent SIDS?
1. Back is best. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends putting the baby to sleep on her back. Some people might tell you to have the baby lie on the tummy or side to facilitate burping or prevent choking on vomit, but this just increases the risk of SIDS. Babies sleeping on their side is very unstable and can very easily roll onto their tummies, the sleep position that is greatly associated with the highest risk for SIDS. It is very important for parents and everyone who takes care of babies to know that babies should be placed to sleep on their backs.
As for the issue of choking when babies vomit, AAP says that 'babies automatically swallow or cough up fluid if they throw up while on their backs.' It's their reflex to ensure that their airways are always open. Well, if you look at a baby's anatomy, it actually makes sense. The airway is above the esophagus when the baby is on her back.
|Image from here|
2. Keep the baby from overheating. While sleeping, try not to put hats, extra clothes, and thick blankets on the baby. Allie loves the cold. She hates blankets, hats, you name it, she takes them off.
3. Room-share not bed-share. Okay, this hits close to home. We have a king-size bed, so there is plenty of space between the three of us. We co-sleep with our baby in our bed. I found this easier for me to feed and bond with the baby. Who wants to get up at night every three hours? But had I known more information about SIDS, I would have definitely pushed for room-sharing only.
|Image from here|
5. No smoking. This is an obvious reason, but I had to put it here nonetheless. Never allow anyone to smoke near your baby.
6. Try to breastfeed. Studies show that breastfeeding lowers the risk for SIDS. Some mommies find it hard to breastfeed, me included, but try it for as long as you possibly can. It's good for both the mommy and the baby.
7. Use a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheets. Yes, first-time mommies, even if that cute bedding set with comforters, blankets, quilts, pillows, and bumpers from your favorite baby store tickles your fancy, don't buy it. If these things come into contact with your baby's face, it will hinder her breathing, cause suffocation or might cause overheating. So only the baby, a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet should be in the baby's sleeping area. Also, make sure that whatever you buy for your baby (like cribs) is not recalled. Check the product list from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
|Image from here|
If you worry about the baby getting cold, try using wearable blankets like the Halo SleepSack. This eliminates the risk of infants getting loose blankets over their face.
Here are other features of the Halo SleepSack.
Halo SleepSack retails at P1,300 up. A 6-8 month use translates to only 8 pesos a day. If you'd like to know more about Halo products, visit www.halophilippines.com. Soon, they will be available at leading department stores and specialty retailers.
Help spread the word about safe sleep advocacy. Like www.facebook.com/halophilippines.
Here are other resources if you'd like to know more about how to prevent SIDS:
* Infant Sleep Position and SIDS (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
* Safe Sleep for your Baby (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
Monday, July 22
At 2 years old, Allie already knows the alphabet. She knows each letter and says each one, albeit she can't pronounce them perfectly. She used to mix up M and W, A and V, O and Q. But now, she knows them all. I'd like to think that her alphabet toys helped, but I know that interaction with real people as well as some tech stuff assisted as well.
We got her this alphabet puzzle from Boikido. It is this colorful wooden puzzle that lets the baby put in the letters in the space provided. The letters has marks to point out the right side, and Allie can distinguish them helping her find the right position of the letter.
Similar to this toy is the tablet app called Endless Alphabet. It has a selection of longer words like gargantuan, experiment, and hilarious, and toddlers put in the letters to the right space. While doing so, the 'monster' letters makes the phonetic sound. Then it is followed by a cute and funny animation and defines the word.
Allie also has other interactive alphabet toys like magnet letters, wooden letter blocks, foam letters and Play-doh alphabet molds. So you see, she sees the alphabet everywhere, and she is so familiar with the letters that even while we are out, she blurts out letters as she sees them. Well, she's cute like that -- and I'm one proud mama! :P
Friday, July 19
Tapa-sinangag-itlog, or tapsilog, is a very common breakfast food in the Philippines. Tapa is cured beef. Sinangag is garlic fried rice. Itlog is, well, an egg. Tapa is my weakness. I remember when my lolo brought awesome tapa and I used to dip it in bagoong/vinegar mix. It was so good that I had second servings.
My brother, who's from UP Diliman, recently treated me to Rodic's Diner. It is considered an institution at the University, and everyone from UP raves about it. Well, during my 5-year stay at UP Diliman, I haven't had the chance to try it. I know, I know, it's unacceptable. But hey, now that I've tried it, I am a fan. I'm serious, it's crazily good! If you are in the UP Diliman or Legazpi Village Makati area, go and try it. At only P75-80, it's the best bang for your buck.
Rodic's Diner Outlets:
No. 9 UP Shopping Center, UP Campus, Quezon City
No. 14 Masaya Street, UP Village, Quezon City
No. 199 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City
Telephone Numbers (They Deliver!!)
920-7668 / 921-7361 / 920-6980 / 436-4389
Adam Noah Levine. That name alone makes women's hearts flutter.
Very recently, People reported that he's now engaged to girlfriend Behati Prinsloo. She's a Victoria's Secret angel. He's the frontman of Maroon 5. Cue hearts breaking.
Can you just imagine their babies?
|Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images|
Here's Behati showing off her ring.
|Courtesy ET Canada|
Thursday, July 18
I've been following Aimee, of iamaimeediego, on Instagram. She usually posts photos of her adorable little girl Tala, and her constant cravings (she has a bun in the oven -- exciting times!). One time, she posted a yummy photo of a green mango. My MIL has a bunch of organic green mangoes from the family farm, and I thought why not send some to Aimee.
I put the mangoes in a cute little basket, and decided to just add in a personal note. I used the very beautiful Isabel Gatuslao paper, which I wrote about here. The black envelope was an opportunity for me to apply what I learned from Fozzy Dayrit-Castro's Calligraphy Play workshop. I used white Speedball ink. Not bad for a first-time white ink user huh?
Isabel Gatuslao's Agador:
Here's a quick photo of us at Global City. :) It was great to finally meet you Aimee!
Are you into the Dymo craze yet? Well, I am, and I've found this online digital embossed label image generator from Fuzzimo that you can use for free. It's so cool. Go ahead, get your fill!
Wednesday, July 17
I am such a foodie. I love food trucks, independent bakers and chefs, you name it, I love them all. So I am only happy to share with you news about The Next Big Food Entrepreneur.
Entrepreneur Magazine launches the Next Big Food Entrepreneur Challenge
In its quest to lend support to those who dream big and hope to contribute to the country through their enterprising capabilities, Entrepreneur Magazine announces the extension of Solane’s Next Big Food Entrepreneur Challenge. Running on its second year, the contest is in partnership with Solane LPG and Mercato Centrale Philippines.
Last year’s winners were husband-and-wife team Ping and Jewel Joven of Ping Gu Mushroom Fries and JR Inciong of Mocktail Madness for the student’s category. They bested other entrants who aspired to be the first Next Big Food Entrepreneur.
The contest is open to all amateur and professional food entrepreneurs, 18 years old and above, who are residing in the Philippines. It is also open to teams composed of three (3) persons who are eligible to join.
Contestants undergo three steps: the Food Taste Test; Food Selling; and Submission of Business Plans. The individual or team that garner the highest-scored business plan shall win a cash prize worth P100,000 tax free, a six (6) month rent-free stall in Mercato or Soderno, and a feature in Entrepreneur and Yummy Magazines.
Interested parties may submit their entries until July 25, 2013 by sending their name, short description of dish concept, email address, mobile number, landline (optional), and desired time in a brown envelope labeled Solane’s Next Big Food Entrepreneur. Entries must be submitted to In-Magazine Promos, Summit Media, 7th floor Robinsons Cybergate Center Tower 3, Pioneer St., Mandaluyong or through fax number 451-8888 local 1074, from Mondays to Fridays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Submissions will be accepted until July 25, 2013 only.
For more details on Solane’s Next Big Food Challenge and for the full mechanics, grab a copy of the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, available in newsstands, bookstores and supermarkets nationwide. You can also visit Entrepreneur online at www.entrepreneur.com.ph. Get more updates when you follow them on Twitter via Twitter.com/EntrepreneurPH or like its Facebook page www.facebook.com/entrepreneurmagazine.ph.
We decided to go on a weekend staycation at the Edsa Shangri-La. We were especially excited about the spa treatment that we scheduled because we heard so many good things about it.
"In traditional Chinese philosophy, ch'i or 'Qi' is the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality. For good health to be maintained, it is believed that ch'i must flow freely within the body and, when blocked, 'dis-ease' and illness follow."
- Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La
Come and take a look.
The waiting area has a view of the garden. You are served with a hot towel and yummy pandan ginger tea.
From the waiting room, we were accompanied through the garden, into the elevator to go to the fourth floor, where the spa is actually located. We stayed at the couples room. There is a prep room where you can go use the steam room and rain shower before the treatment. Bits and pieces reminded me somehow of my Amanpulo experience.
I had to wear this disposable thong they supplied (it's that tiny packaged black thingamajig above), and those probably were the worst fitting undies I've ever worn. I'd rather wear a loose pair of shorts.
There is something about a spa's scent that I love. I want my bedroom smelling like that all the time. The massage we had lasted for an hour. The massage was perfect because we were so tired from walking around Shangri-La mall. I was wearing heels. My body's so relaxed right after. But oily as usual. Haha.
Despite the undies they provide, I still highly recommend the luxurious spa treatments at Chi, the Spa at Shangri-La, especially with your significant other. For more of Chi's spa menu, visit here.
Tuesday, July 16
I love, love, love and miss, miss, miss how much freedom US consumers have. They're very lucky shopping-wise. Let me count the ways.
|A pregnant me, shopping|
In the Philippines: The return policy is virtually non-existent. It's basically store credit or exchange -- and the offer does not even last a whole month. Usually, it's just 14 days.
2. One store sells it at a lower price? The other will match it. Granted stores only do this price matching game with brick-and-mortar stores, they still are willing to match the exact same product at the lower price. Most stores also accept competitor's coupons. Which leads me to No. 3.
In the Philippines: You'll just probably see this happen in bazaars, and that is, if you're lucky.
3. Coupon craze all over town. I was once one of those who collect small pieces of papers that would give me discounts. I would keep coupons that I think would be used in the near future. My favorite ones are the grocery coupons from Kroger and Target. Kroger because they are personalized based on your shopping history. Target because, well, it's Target. I'm biased. Don't judge me.
In the Philippines: Coupons are starting to appear here and there, mostly by SKU, usually restaurants. Oh yeah, and there's Deal Grocer and Groupon, too. They're like Zulily and Gilt. I have yet to see a big store opening up to coupon craze though. If SM or Rustan's does this, that would be the day.
4. Customer service reps are more forgiving. This happened to me recently. I did some online shopping and used my US credit card, then I didn't get the email alert they usually send when it's almost time to pay, so I forgot. Silly me. I just called customer service, and asked if they can waive the late fee. The fee was about $30, give or take, and the agent nonchalantly took it off. Amaze-balls.
In the Philippines: You will fight an arm and a leg, and probably lose them both and not be waived a single cent. I am deadly serious.
5. Good quality private label brands. I say this because I miss Archer Farms and Trader Joe's. They are great examples of good quality food products.
In the Philippines: I have yet to see this in big stores. One thing that is noticeable though is the dramatic entrance of independent food sources/manufacturers that are really amazing, like this very creamy and delicious salted caramel ice cream, and this local supplier of organic meat products.
I do hope though that retailers here realize the importance of customer satisfaction and consumer rights. It might be because they are scared that people will take advantage. What if they return used products? Tell them you only accept unused ones. You might get lied to about a lower price? Do your regular research (data is king!). What about coupons that are fake? Well, get a control number. Good customer service is a must for satisfaction, and good private label brands, that is just a plus.
I say give your customers a chance. They might prove you wrong, and you might get the better deal.
Saturday, July 13
A long time ago, you can always find me in Shangri-La Plaza at least a day every weekend. My family and I frequented that mall because it's one of the least crowded in the metro (maybe because it's more of a higher end kind of mall). Then I left. When I came back, I heard about the extension called East Wing.
Shangri-La recently opened its newly constructed East Wing. Although most of the stores are still closed (or yet to be rented), there are quite a handful of promising boutiques and restaurants, one of which is Maple.
Maple is owned by the Pancake House Group, and they offer all-day breakfast. And since the hubby and I are both suckers for breakfast food, we couldn't help but stop and try what they had to offer.
Their menu was like a storybook. There's even a story inside that's reminiscent of a childhood fairytale. The place mats were kraft paper printed with the Maple leaf logo die-cut.
Dinner rolls were maple-glazed. Yummy but sticky if you're going to use your bare hands, so use your utensils.
Here's what we had:
* Maple House Salad - Fresh mesclun and vegetables sprinkled with maple glazed pecans and parmesan flakes with a roasted shallot vinaigrette. P375
Maple had me at glazed pecans and vinaigrette. We weren't disappointed. It was delicious.
The vinaigrette was perfectly tangy. The greens were generously provided. I guess my only request? More glazed pecans. Bwahaha.
* Huevos Rancheros - A classic Mexican breakfast made with tortillas, refried beans, grilled chicken and a sunny side up egg, topped with cheese and ranchero sauce. P340
Now this is something my husband really loved. It is what farmer's omelette is to rural Mexico. It's like an open faced chicken burrito.
* Eggs Benedict - Their signature topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce served with crunch country fries. P315
They serve it with two eggs! So even if it seems expensive, it's worth it. If you're not that hungry, go and share it. It's one of the best eggs benedict I've had. I love the added tater tots with it.
Will we return? Heck yeah!
Friday, July 12
Thursday, July 11
Oriental Residence Bangkok knows design. I love the look of their toiletry packaging.
Visit here for more info.
Wednesday, July 10
It was one of those days when I wanted to try something new. I used to do yoga before with my husband (you know the yoga session included in P90X? Yes, that's the one.). It seemed easy enough, but no. I couldn't finish the whole session. It was too much for me.
When I heard about anti-gravity yoga from Beyond Yoga, I got excited. I wanted to try it. It looked really fun. A new blogger friend of mine, Peachy of she.is.also.an.architect, went with me.
They had these orange silk hammocks that were hung from the ceiling. If you're worried about if it will be able to support your weight, don't. It can support over 2,000 pounds. They swear.
We had to wear full-length leggings and sleeved shirts to prevent skin burns from the workout using the hammocks. Of course, no jewelry was permitted because it might snag the silk hammocks.
Here's Peachy -- all ready to go. She's such a model student. She was able to land on the mat from the hammock by flipping and inversions.
We learned the proper way of getting on and in the hammock, a couple of inversions (yes I did!), and some stretches using the hammock.
What I can say is anti-gravity yoga is not for everybody. Although following the directions was simple enough and easy enough, it was the swaying movements that got to me. In my lifetime, I have never threw up because of motion sickness until my first anti-gravity yoga session. I didn't eat much that breakfast if that's what you're thinking. I was so glad the bathrooms were near the classroom, and I got to it on time. Haha.
Here is my own personal hell, the Superman pose (or is it Cocoon?). This is the last pose of the session and we stayed in this pose for a few minutes. It was supposed to make you relax, but I just can't.
We also did inversions like this one below. That's a classmate of ours. Now that was fun. It made us feel so graceful.
If you'd like to try it out, do so, but pace yourself. If you can't handle motion sickness, chances are this won't work for you. If not, you will have tons of fun at Beyond Yoga. Who knows, if you're a local celebrity follower, you might bump into Bb. Gandanghari or Greta like we did. Hehe.
Tuesday, July 9
It was perfect timing when I went to the Nestlé Acti-V Go Lounge event last Saturday. I was feeling burnt out from work, and I was just dying to relax a little bit.
The Go Lounge event was held at Romulo Café down in Tomas Morato area. They had the whole Romulo setup into different activity areas. It was genius because you go in and enjoy different things at your own pace.
I brought my sister with me and had a sisters' day out thing. Upon entering, we quickly registered and had personalized Nestlé Acti-V pillows made, which we had to get after the event. Then we scheduled our spa treatments. Luckily, we got in on time that we didn't have to wait. If you've been to Romulo, you know that there are different function rooms, and one of the rooms was converted into the spa area.
After a 20-minute pampering session, we went to see some short films. They were showing Paperman, Post-It Love, Signs and Paris Je t'aime. We enjoyed it with a bag of truffle popcorn (yum!) and a cup of Nestlé Acti-V yogurt smoothie (double yum!).
After a couple of short films, it was time to eat. The table setting was lovely. The food was healthy. The dessert was of course Nestlé Acti-V, and I love it so much (and I'm not just saying that).
The event was graced by the lovely and talented Ms. Cherie Gil. I'm a yogurt lover, and I especially love yogurt with fruit in it. Nestlé Acti-V's strawberry-flavored yogurt is my kind of snack. It was then that I learned that Nestlé Acti-V is the only yogurt that has fiber, and fiber has long been proven to regulate your own biorhythms. That's a nice plus!
After the fun program, we decided to go to the craft area and design our own canvas chiller bags. My sister made the one the left. She's so smart, she made it terno with her phone case. Mine's on the right, and I just made whatever. Haha. The biggest surprise was when we went back and claim our chiller bags, and we found that it was filled to the brim with Nestlé Acti-V. Yummy! Thank you Nestlé. My sister and I had so much fun during the Go Lounge event.