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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday Hysteria

how else are we to spend this friday 
but to go trick or treating 
with the kids?!  
so off we go, rapha as an American Indian
and bianca....
well she's in that stage already that dressing up 
is not so cool anymore
discovery hotel is our destination
where a buffet of kiddie food awaits us
Bianca and I were too full to partake
but Rapha can't have enough
of burger, chicken lollies, pasta and cookies
then it was time to visit the main attraction...
the horror house
it was actually scary but look at my kids...
all smile at the camera
then the trick or treating begins
we crossed to podium mall
and went around the stores, for a treat or two
after 3 bags of candies
some balloon twisting
a tattoo and magic show
we decided to head home
as rapha can't wait to sort out
his loot!
i shall enjoy halloween as long as i can
i used to have two kids to dress up
now i only have one
i dread for the time to come
when my little boy 
would say "halloween is for babies"
i wish it will never come...

happy halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craving: Chandeliers

Today, while looking at my photo files, I came across a folder of these beautiful chandeliers.  I am always enchanted with the charm it brings.  And each piece illuminates a room with very unique personality.  It could be 
{sorry i lost the photo source}
{sorry i lost the photo source}
PRETTY and favorite!
But you see, as much as I love these kind of lighting fixtures, I don't own one in my personal room.  So for the meantime, I will just have to be content sharing the one and only piece we have at my daughter's (Bianca) bedroom.  
There is a plethora of lighting fixture out there.  Whatever personality or style you have, you would surely find one.  But why is it that sometimes, you can't seem to find the perfect one?   My hubby and I experienced this when we were finishing the house.  We've scoured the whole of Manila to find that piece, and it was not easy, I tell you.  (It was actually my hubby who is the more patient one when it comes to light fixture shopping!) We managed to finish the house, but you know what...there's still one fixture lacking...the one for the main door.  We are still on the look out for that perfect piece.  Such a shame, I cannot put a chandelier there! :-(

I  would love to hear your thoughts!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's All In The Details: Ceasar Salad Tree

Next time that Ceasar salad is part of your menu, why don't you try to plate it differently than the usual bowled salad?  It will definitely be a good conversation piece to start your dinner.  I  assure you, it will be a hit among your guests.  (Never fails in my dinners!)  How often do you see a Ceasar Salad Tree, right?  These photos were taken few months back when we hosted our good friend Maricel from the US.   Very easy, you can prepare it 15 minutes before your guests arrive!

1.  Cut baguette 2-3 inches long.  Depends how tall you want your trunk to be.
2.  Scoop out the inside of the bread to make a hole, end to end.  Keep for later use.  Maybe for your onion soup the next day?!
3.  Bake the bread until golden brown.  Make sure you put it on the baking tray standing up.  Let the bread cool for at least 3-5 mins.
4.  Insert Romaine lettuce in the bread.  I usually use baby romaine, but the big ones are just as nice, just cut the leaves into two if it's too long.
5.  Put in a platter with the dressing and bacon bits on the side.
6.  Enjoy! And observe how each guest cut-up and dissect your tree.   It's an amusing sight!

Do you have your own creative way of presenting or plating your dishes?  I would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Weekend That Was

Hello dear readers!  How was your weekend?  Mine was all about family.  Last Saturday, I made a gourmet sandwich for my hungry boys, grilled cheesy sausage with pesto dressing.  I think they liked it, because it was a goner in no time!

Yesterday was holiday here because of the local elections.  So we invited grandparents and cousins from both side of the family.  It was a simple merienda of dimsum, noodles and sweet treats (different flavors of hopia).    Food is even more appetizing with the use of my Burmese lacquer lunch box for the siomai and the mini-Chinese lunch box for the hopia!  

And this morning was all about my herbs...Harvested some tarragon, Thai basil and oregano.  So everyone has to drink tarragon tea today, and maybe we'll have pasta for dinner!

Have a good week ahead!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Up Close and Personal

If you like decorating houses like me, you probably have an innate desire to constantly look at other people's houses.  Don't you just love to pry on other people's home?  I think it is human nature to get curious and pick on someone's life, fashion and their houses.  What do you think?  Or is it just me? :-) Today I am attempting to start a once a month post that will feature houses of people I personally know.  People who have kindly allowed me to share with you... up close, their personal space.  

Without further ado, let me present to you the very first

Up Close and Personal

The very welcoming living room, simple and tastefully accessorized!

An all-Filipino vignette by the staircase.  

The modern kitchen, with the bamboo bowls and ladder lending warmth to an otherwise bare kitchen.

Square dining table that was positioned at an angle.  Aura's clever way of making the space more interesting.

Round Dedon chair by the side patio.  A very cozy area for a mid-day refuge for a busy mom.  Or a chill-out place for the girls.  Perfect also for the man of the house to unwind after a busy day at work.   I always sat here when I visited them last time. :-)

Wall Art.  No school project or artwork is thrown away.  Each of the girl's work is proudly stuck on the wall of the study or by the stair landing.  Who needs wall paper and paint, when you have your own in-house artists?  The bird and vine decal looks perfect, side-by-side by their book shelf (not in photo though.).

It's all in the details.  Who would have thought that cut pine wood will look good (and smell good too!) as a decor?  I told you, Aura is good.  She has the "eye!"  These antique Cambodian lamps complete the look of their Dedon chair by the side patio.  Proudly Filipino...sungka and Ostrich eggs (from an Ostrich farm here in the Philippines).  

More Filipino pieces...rainsticks, baskets, Ostrich lamp from Firma, Wooden, mini rice Gods from Baguio and a lovely wooden, studded box on the coffee table. 

This very first post on Up Close and Personal  is the house of a very dear, dear  friend, Aura Antonio.  Her family lives in a semi-detached house in Singapore.  Aura and Joey are blessed with three beautiful girls.  During their stay in Singapore, they have lived and moved to four houses and this one is their latest one.  (Mind you, all other three houses were meticulously decorated too, even if they knew that they will not stay there for long!) 

I definitely admire Aura's decorating skills, as she is able to transform all their houses into such beautiful, homey nests for her family.  Her houses are the kind of homes that you would not mind hanging around, because it's like a big eye candy, and yet very warm and comfy.   One thing I love with her style is the presence of Filipino pieces and accessories.  She has bits and pieces around her house that are proudly Philippine made.  Also, in my opinion, she is the best decorator for children's bedrooms!  Each room complements the personality of each of her daughter.   Take a look and be the judge! 

This is the eldest (Bianca, yes, our first born have the same name!) daughter's room.  Aura and Bianca did the stripe painting by themselves and Bianca painted that cute lamp post by her photo board.  Can you see that little cute baby dress, hanging by the bookshelf?  And how organize can you get with that Ikea scarf holder used for Bianca's sunglasses collection?  Yes, Bianca is a collector, an organized collector!   

This is Margi's room.  The middle daughter who is gifted with a golden voice.  She loves to sing, and she sings really well!  You will have goosebumps listening to her!  And her wall decal and cork board are so in sync with her personality and talent.  I love also the swing at the corner which houses her stuff toys.  A pretty room for an even prettier girl!

And this is Nina's room.  The youngest among the three.  This little gymnast is still very playful and has a huge collection of toys which are neatly displayed in her room.  Pretty, fanciful and whimsical, that's how her room is!  I'm sure all little girls will gravitate towards this room because she has all the pretty stuff every little girl can dream of!  
So what do you think?  Very lovely home right?  And the family is even lovelier!  Thank you Aurs for sharing your home with 40andbeyondbyirene.  I'm very sure you inspired a lot of the readers.  I have a reason to go back to Singapore to take photos of your master's bedroom and bath.  I missed that last time! :-)

To my dear friends, don't be surprised if you see me knocking on your doors soon...your home might just be the next one on Up Close and Personal !

I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mama Moment

"Ma, I don't think you have any sins."  Raphael quipped after we took our confession.
  "Yeah, Ma, what do you confess?"  Bianca asked.
  If we were not in the Church, 
I would laugh my heart out.
I did not realize that in my children's  eyes, 
I am perfect and sinless.  
Because in my eyes, 
They are the ones who are pure and naive.  
They are my angels
I cherish that moment, their innocence is just purely heart warming. 

As Catholic parents, the important thing we need to impart to our children is to yearn for God's love and to grow up to be God-fearing.  It is a joy and an accomplishment for me when I see and hear my children pray, when they go to Confession without prodding, or when they listen attentively at Mass.  This one definitely goes to my Mama's score card.  Although there is still a lot of teaching and parenting to do, I'd like to believe we're on track.  Help me dear God...

My angels during their first Holy Communion.  Bianca in 2004 and Raphael in 2009.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Countdown to 40!

Oh my!  I just realized the Big 40 is coming sooner than I thought...14 days to be exact!  Can I please have balloons like these for my party?  Ferdie, I hope you're reading this post! ;-)

 I know some people who keeps a "Must Do List Before I Turn 30 or 40.."  Now it gets me thinking, am I suppose to have one also?  Because honestly, I don't have one.  Well, I took a mental note of some things, do they count?  I thought it would be nice ...

(1)  To start a blog before I turn 40, so that's a check.  That's why my blog is called 40andbeyond...
(2)  To be healthier and slimmer, actually this one is in my to do list ever since the world began.  So maybe that does not count? Right? :-)
(3)  To design and build my house.  that's a check!
(4)  To go to Egypt.  No rush really, I'll be happy just the same, even after my 40th.  So doesn't count again!
(4) To get involved with UNICEF.  For some reason, I've always wanted to work for UNICEF since I was in HS.

So, that's five things already.  You see I'm really simple and shallow.  I live by the day, I'm not really a big planner.  And for me, what really matters is what I am able to do EVERYDAY not what I must do or achieve before I turn 40. Everyday is special and these are the daily things that really matter to me ...

(1)  Setting up a lovely home for my family .  
(2)  Preparing healthy, good meals for the family.  
(3)  Playing badminton and walking after dinner with hubby.
(4)  Helping my kids with their homework.
(5)  Listening to my kids anytime they need to talk about their good (or bad!) day at school.  
(6)  Reminding my kids to pray before going to bed.
(7)  Reminding my kids to love the Philippines, no matter what other people say.
(8)  Reminding my kids to love Mother Nature in their own little way.
(9)  Giving lots of kisses and hugs to hubby and kids.
(10)  Praising and thanking God for all his everyday blessings, big and small. 

You must be thinking, Such cliche!  I do think the same way too.  But then I remember my dear Tita Beth who told me once that women's vocation is either to be a nun or to be a wife and mother (that includes working moms!).  And don't get me wrong, I admire women who choose to be single and are very self sufficient.  I am just privileged to be a wife and mother.  I might as well be good on being one right?  I'm smiling right now, because I'm just plain happy and content.  (Told you I'm  shallow!)  So big checklist, just a daily dose of love for people who really matter to me.  The reasons why I need to celebrate  and continue to remain healthy and happy, as I reach 40 and beyond.  Now can I please have this cake?

 Life is too short.  Let's keep it simple and not worry about so many things.  Believe me, you only need your two hands to count the things that really matter to you!  Happy weekend my dear readers and don't forget to count your blessings!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All Set for Halloween

Over the weekend, Rapha and I decorated the house with Halloween stuff.  It's Rapha's favorite time of the year (it signals also that our Birthdays are coming soon!), next to Christmas.  He gets excited putting out the decors and planning his costume.  This year, we made do with the past year's decors and made a little bit of craft.  Take a peek...

Rapha did all the outdoor decorating.  If you want to do a bit of craft, like the bats on our door, you can get a template from here.  It's really easy.   You can use any color of construction paper you want and hang or stick them in whatever way you want.  I stuck my bats on the door like one flock of bats going to one direction.  
By the gate...
Inside the house...Just a few oranges and blacks here and there, and a group of candle holders.
Now we just need to prepare candies for trick or treat!  

And the weekend was capped with a dinner of roast chicken & young corn, and fresh green salad topped with water melon and grapes with Asian dressing.  Yum!

On a side note, I mentioned in my previous post  that I will be giving away a pretty water plant.  There was no taker for my pretty little thing..boohoo...but it's alright, at least I still get to keep it.  Will share more about that project on a separate post.  

Now, if you have not started your Halloween preps, especially those of you who have young kids, better get going now.  (I don't know any kid who does not like Halloween.)  There's only few days left 'til the 31st!  Then we will all be busy with Christmas!  Yay! 

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Stylish Weekend

Pretty pretty!  Some shots from the DKNY Spring 2011 Show.  I'm not a fashionista, but I thought this is really nice.   I would love to wear a scarf that way!  And I like how casual the jacket is worn.  The right side is not for me though.  I'm not gifted with a pair of legs that can get away with shorts or mini skirts, but Bianca, my daughter can!  I'm sure she will love it. The skirt is so feminine, love those layers and bow at the side, seamless!  
Have a stylish weekend!    

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waffles, anyone?

Pancakes or waffles?  I will have to choose the latter.  It's one of my favorite breakfast, with fresh strawberries and cream!  Yum!  

Photo credit 

I also enjoy my waffles in the bedroom and in the bathroom.  

I used to dress up our bed with colored, patterned or floral sheets.  But for the last four or five years, I started collecting all-white bed linen.  Waffles are not so cheap so I didn't think twice of hoarding a couple of sets when it went on sale at British India.  (How can you go wrong with 70% off?!)  I think it will be my favorite for a long time.  White, clean, but warm.  Perfect for our bed!  (I just throw a bed runner or accent pillows if I want to see some splashes of color on the bed.)  Same goes with our towels, we only use white.  It feels like you're in a hotel all the time!  How about you?  Do you also like all-white and waffled or do you prefer colored sheets/towels? 

I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Take A Guess!

Hello dear readers!  I'm sorry to have missed you the past couple of days.   Would have been nice to welcome you with a post  on a Monday.  But I have been busy the past two days. 

Can you guess what I'm busy with?  It's another project for our home (never ending!).  And it's making my hubby real happy.  He must be smiling when he reads this post.    Leave a comment and tell me your guess.   I will give away this pretty little plant through a raffle. However, this is only for those living in Metro Manila, Philippines.  I will announce my random pick on Saturday, October 16!   

With proper care and attention, this little plant will grow and bloom with flowers like this!  

This is really special for me, because I propagated this Water Sagittaria.  I'm not really a green thumb so I'm very proud that I was able to propagate a few, and would like to share them with you.  With a bit of patience, it looks like everything can be learned.  :-) Guess, guess, guess!  What's my project?  Leave your thoughts on the comment box.  This little plant might be at your doorstep this weekend!

Would love to hear your thoughts!
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