Wednesday, July 30

Crafts/DIY: Wrap Gifts for Toddlers

There are about 30+ kids in my daughter's school. Although the teacher-to-student ratio is just 1:7, everyone in school is invited whenever kids have birthday parties. You can just imagine how many birthday parties my daughter goes to. The first birthday party gift is easy enough to wrap. I just took whatever wrapper was available in my house. 

Eventually, I had to be more creative in wrapping the gifts because I wanted them to be different each time. I'm on my third birthday this week, and I think I've finally figured out how I can make unique and cute wrappers by just investing in a few materials -- plain sheets of double-sided kraft paper.

Inspired by saksblogg's Instagram page, I created this cute owl gift wrap, and I loved how it turned out.


1. Light blue/kraft two-sided paper: National bookstore
2. White bond paper, punched using EK 2" circle punch: Scratch paper from home
3. Black crepe paper for eyes, cut manually: National Bookstore
4. Gold crepe paper for beak, cut into a triangle: National bookstore
5. Scrapbook paper for head, fringe-cut: Gourdo's

I'll definitely be making more cute animal gift wraps. I hope this inspires you too. Have fun wrapping!
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Saturday, July 26

Body: Style Origin 2014 from My Point of View

I've always admired ramp models and fashion bloggers. They just exude that special confidence. Models walk like it's nothing. Fashion bloggers post their own photos on their blogs. I am neither of the two. First, I don't have the height and the body to become a model. I'm 5'5" and I weigh ... uhm, let's not talk about specifics. Fine, I'm a size US 4 for tops and 6/8 for pants. Second, I haven't dwelled too much on the idea of becoming a fashion blogger, and it's really because I feel insecure about my body, especially after I've given birth to Allie. I know I shouldn't but I really do. Although I'm almost at my pre-pregancy weight, I don't think I'll ever have my pre-pregnancy body ever unless I have plastic surgery.

Mommies, you know what I am talking about -- stretch marks, preggy tummy fat, and oversized hips. Oh yeah, put that bigger boobs on that list, too. I can't believe I'm saying this but I actually prefer smaller ones. Don't tell me husband I said that. Haha.

I've tried quite a few workouts - I had a personal trainer at the gym once upon a time, then I tried anti-gravity yoga, then just plain yoga, and more recently, crossfit. Nothing kept me going. Going to the gym just makes me super hungry afterwards, and I actually gained weight from it. I had a bad experience with anti-gravity yoga -- never again in a million years. Ordinary yoga was kinda alright, and I'm willing to try it again. But crossfit and my body are still incompatible as of today. I will try it again soon when my body's stronger, but not yet. It's too strenuous for me. But I am about to embark another fitness regimen to make my body more fit and leaner. I'll talk about that next time.

A few weeks back in June, I got invited to guest at a fashion show for Style Origin that was held in Trinoma. I figured it was going to be fun, and I get to tackle my body insecurity head on. So I joined. Well, I was in for a big surprise. I didn't expect it to be big, BIG. But it was BIG. I walked the ramp with professional models, fashion bloggers and celebrities. Oh my gosh. It was even directed by Mr. Robbie Carmona himself.

First, I got to pick my own clothes from Ensembles, a local brand that I really like. We were asked to bring our own shoes, so that really helped my confidence. Then, I met with my fellow bloggers and practiced walking. Eek, I think I was the most inexperienced one. But I told myself, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. 

I had my hair and make-up done by the Shiseido team. They transformed administrative offices to temporary hair and make-up studios. The place was insanely busy. So yeah, I felt really out of place, and my insecurity was just building up. My consolation that time was that my make-up artist told me I had really, really good skin. He even asked me what products I use.

Okay, so when the time came for us to go backstage, the professional models and celebrities were there with us.  The organizers were arranging the clothes to be worn by the models. It was crazy messy. It was like they were having a warehouse sale. Well, that, and there were tons of abs everywhere. Yes, those abs made me forget about the butterflies in my stomach for a moment.

I was the first blogger to walk, and I was still getting the jitters at the last second. Bloggers walked alone. I came after these beautiful, skinny models. Thank goodness, I was able to go through with it. Here's proof that I was there. Haha.

Yes, I know I probably was the one with the fattest body who walked. I felt like it too. I learned not to care what other people think by then, as long as I feel comfortable and beautiful like the Dove women that I see on commercials, I'll be fine. Just keeping it real folks. Besides, I think I was the only mommy blogger there, so kudos to me. Haha.

I'm glad I joined. I felt I could do anything. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

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Monday, July 21

Crafts/DIY: Paper Flowers 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. Both will be about paper flowers. This time, it will be held in the south of Metro Manila -- 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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