Saturday, April 28

Party: Supplier Review - Resonance Photography

They are my memory keeper.

It was a fortunate stroke of serendipity to find Donna and Kix Tavora of Resonance Photography. They were referred by Ging Lorenzo.

I saw their sample work, and just like that, I booked them for Alyssa's birthday. I met with Donna at Makati to give her my deposit, and she was so easy to talk to. Donna was helping out her husband in growing their photography gigs, and it is really Kix who takes the photos, but Donna usually assists.

It wasn't smooth sailing as the party neared. Donna sent a message to me saying that Kix will be out of the country during Allie's party weekend, so he won't be able to make it. She offered either a full refund or a discounted rate with her heading the service along with another assistant. I took the chance and still got them. There was a silver lining. I got three photographers for the party. Yay! More pics!

I chose them to be my photobooth supplier too. They printed my Orla Kiely-inspired backdrop for free, and I got to design the layout for the prints.

I wasn't disappointed at all. They were great to work with, and very professional. I'm so glad I got them to cover Allie's party. I would gladly book Resonance Photography next time.

One thing I would suggest to make their service better is the way the photobooth was handled. The operator was friendly, but it would have helped if she gave us some sort of audible warning when the camera was counting down already to take the photos. Hmm, come to think of it, she gave some 2 seconds. Eek. Sayang some pictures. Too candid. Haha.

Here are the photos that made it to my list.

Resonance Photography:

Contact person - Donna Tavora
E: | C: +63922-882-8672 | Facebook link
   Kiddie party rates start at P7,000

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Party: Kids' Favors (Part 2)

For the older kids, I had small totes and drawstring bags made. I added coloring books and crayons inside.

It was a no-brainer. We wanted something that kids can use again, without the usual birthday theme or the name of the celebrant. So we just incorporated parts of the invitation to the bag prints.

Photo by Resonance Photography

I bought the canvas cloth, had the Lilly Pulitzer and chevron giraffe prints printed by my cousin using heat transfer paper (awesome by the way), then had the canvas sewn by a seamstress. Printing came first so the quality will be at its best.

They were "terno" with my invitations.

They were such a hit, even some lucky grown-ups got some. Of course, this was after the kids got theirs.

The cost of each bag was just around P60-75. You can make them cheaper if you sew and print them yourselves.

I changed the print on the drawstring bags, so boys won't be ashamed to carry them. Haha.

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Friday, April 27

Food: My Simple Take On Magnum Ice Cream

I finally did it. I am no longer out of the loop. I took the plunge and decided to see what the hype is all about.

It was just an ordinary day in the office. My mom came by to visit Allie. Yes, we bring our baby to the office. Don't judge. :)

She got Magnum ice cream for everyone. I got the Almond flavor.

Nutritional info via Magnum website

For those who can distinguish belgian chocolate and non-belgian, this is a treat for you. Otherwise, stay with the cheaper ones (Magnum bars are P50 apiece). The chocolate in Magnum is very creamy, which melts in your mouth. Super yummy. For me, Magnum goes to my favorite ice cream flavors, alongside Haagen Dazs Vanilla Almond bars, Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, and Freddo's Dulce de Leche (an Argentine brand). So yes, I will buy Magnum again.

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Thursday, April 26

Party: Kids' Favors (Part 1)

The reason why I haven't posted much about Alyssa's birthday celebration was because I was waiting for the pictures from the photographer.

I got them a week ago, and I can't choose from the hundreds of good photos. I guess that's a good thing.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the favors I gave away during Alyssa's birthday. Before, I posted what I made for the grown-ups. This time, I'll share with you the favors I gave the kids.

I found these colorful teddies for P40/pair. Yes, that's less than 50 cents each. Cool huh?

I thought they would make good favors for babies. Think college fund. :P

Cute huh?

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Wednesday, April 25

Crafts/DIY: A Macaron Story

I have professed my love of macarons last Christmas.

For my birthday, my very talented cousin gave me some crocheted macarons. It was so thoughtful. She did it without any pattern of some sort. I was so amazed. She is really that good. She can do ANY crochet thingie, I swear.

For those who are wondering, yes, I secretly wished the macarons were real, so I can eat them. :D

Anyway, here is a link to crochet macaron tutorial from Create!'s Alicia for everyone else (including me) who needs patterns to create stuff.

Image via Create!

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Tuesday, April 24

Deals: Frappuccino Happy Hour at Half-Off

There is nothing like a cold Frappuccino to beat the summer heat in Manila.

My local Starbucks here in Timog corner Morato Avenues, Quezon City is offering 50% off Frappuccinos every Monday from April 30  to May 28, 2012 from 2-6 pm. Check your own favorite Starbucks branch too and see if they have the promotion.

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Friday, April 20

Crafts/DIY: Repurposing Tea Tins

I fancy tea tin cans that are pretty. My very first tea tin was by Harney & Sons; I bought it at Williams-Sonoma.

It's their iced tea variety in black currant flavor. I highly recommend it for those who like their tea cold and fruity.

Instead of throwing away these pretty things (or if you're like me, just displaying them because they are so pretty to throw away), here are a few things you can do with them.

{1} DIY Tea Tin Herbs
via House and Home

Image via House and Home

I've always wanted to have an herb garden, so when I cook, I can just snip fresh herbs in the kitchen. Doesn't this look great?

What you will need:
* tea tins
* herbs/seeds
* plastic wrap
* paper towel
* small stones (for drainage)
* potting soil

How to do it:
{a} Collect your tea tins.
{b} Prepare your herbs or seeds. Choose those that grow well indoors. According to House and Home, herbs need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.
{c} Line the bottom of the tin cans with plastic to prevent leaking. Then place small stones for drainage. Position your herbs, then finally top with extra potting soil.

{2} DIY Tea Tin Candles
via Country Living
Orginally from Country Living Homemade Candles book

Image via Country Living

What you'll need:
* Four 6-inch-length wire-core wicks, primed
* 4 wick holders
* 4 tin cans, approximately 4 inches deep and 2 inches wide
* 2.5 ounces stearin
* 1 disk wax dye, if desired
* 1.5 pounds paraffin wax

How to do it:
{a} Insert a length of primed wick into each wick holder and place a wick in the center of each tin.
{b} In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt the stearin and wax dye, if using.
{c} Add the wax. Melt and mix thoroughly. Heat to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
{d} Anchor the wicks in the tins by pouring enough wax into each tin to cover about 1/2 inch of each wick. Allow the wax to cool for about 30 minutes.
{e} Wrap the end of the wicks around tie rods and rest the rods on the tops of the containers. Take up any slack in the wicks and center them within the tins. Be careful not to dislodge the anchors.
{f} Reheat the wax to 190 degrees Fahrenheit and fill the tins to within 1/2 inch of the top. Allow to cool for one hour.
{g} If the wax settles, reheat the remaining wax to 190 degrees Fahrenheit and top off the candles as necessary.
{h} Cool for several hours or overnight. Remove the tie rods, trim the wicks to 1/4 inch, and the candles are ready to light.

{3} Magnetic Tea Tins
via Martha Stewart

Image via Martha Stewart

This one is so creative, and soooo simple to do! If your tea tin is magnetic, all you have to do is put a small, powerful magnet inside the tin to "stick" the tea tin on the fridge. If not, glue the magnet outside the container.

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Monday, April 16

Love: Book Crush Unearthed

I finally unearthed my Penguin Classics hardbound books. They look so pretty together. I'll display them better when I find the space.

Yes, there are more behind that first row.

I bought them because they look so cohesive together, and they make me want to read the classics. You know, there ought to be a set for Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and all the other Philippine classics. Maybe there is, but I am not aware. I bet, a lot of people will buy them. Hmm, that's a good business idea, don't you think?

Maybe when Allie gets older, I'll get her the Puffin Classics set -- with stories more suited for kids. They're cute, too.

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Saturday, April 14

Crafts/DIY: Back-Painted Kitchen Backsplash

A custom back-painted kitchen backsplash is expensive to have made.

via BHG

There were a few adventurous diy-ers out there who rolled up their sleeves and tried to replicate the sleek look. After all, it looked like it was just a matter of painting the backside of the glass and installing it on the wall.

What I found though is that you have to use the correct glass, paint and adhesive to make the backsplash look like it was done by a pro. Some suggested to use tempered glass to prevent breakage. A lot mentioned buying paint that will bond permanently to glass, and there's a handful of techniques as to how they installed the backsplash in their kitchen.

Here is the shortlist that makes me want to diy it myself and see how it turns out.

From the Ikea Hacker

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Friday, April 13

Inspiration: Glass Backsplashes for the Kitchen

There's a kitchen project that is in the works, and my mind went immediately towards the backsplash. I wanted glass. Here are some ideas that I love.

1. The mirror backsplash via Bespoke Press -- This is perfect for tiny kitchen to make it look bigger.

2. The back-painted glass backsplash via BHG -- My favorite, and it's totally diy-able. I'll post the how-to next time. Doesn't it look gorgeous?

3. The glass tile backsplash via deep thoughts by cynthia -- It looks so relaxing to look at.

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Wednesday, April 11

Crafts/DIY: Cute and Easy Cupcake Flags

When I saw cute cupcake flags in Somewhere Splendid, I knew I had to make them for Allie's party.

They are super easy to make. All you need are:
* toothpicks (I like the smooth round ones)
* patterned paper

1.  I made my own flag template and design, customized especially for Allie's party (you can use patterned paper too). Download the pink and green flags (I removed the letter 'A' from the pink flag design so you can use it however you want) from here.
2.  Cut the diamond shapes. I find that using a cutter, steel ruler and a cutting mat is easier and faster than using a pair of scissors especially when I had to make about a hundred of them. :P
3.  Use sterile gloves to assemble the flags in order to keep the toothpicks clean.
4.  Have a clean container ready. Something like a rubbermaid plastic container or ziplock will do.
Tip from the mom who did this 100 times in 4 batches :) : Fold the cut paper in half. Put some glue on the backside of the paper. Place the toothpick at the folded part, then seal.

I had little yummy cupcakes made by my cousin's pastry chef friend. They were frosted with pink, green and white. We just stuck the cupcake flags in to finish. I think this is a lovely way to personalize cupcakes. Don't you agree?

Photo by Resonance Photography
Photo by Resonance Photography

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Sunday, April 8

Shopping Deal: totseat

Here's a good deal for you Mommies and Daddies (in the Philippines, that is). Groupon is offering up to 34% off on totseat -- that hip travel high chair for babies. It's on pre-order sale starting at P1,249. I think they retail at P2,000+ at Rustan's. FYI, totseat's website offers international shipping also.

All photos are from totseat.

It fits on almost all chairs. I say almost, because I own one, and I find that it does not fit the wide-top chairs. But I still find it very useful, especially when we eat out.

It's really easy to put on a chair, and safe for your toddler, too. It's washable and foldable.

The totseat I got for Allie was the Savannah. I got it at a Christmas bazaar in Cuenca -- discounted but not as cheap as this Groupon deal I found. So if you are looking for a portable high chair, check this deal out.


I love the totseat because this is what my baby uses, and is Child Accident Prevention Trust certified. I have no problems with it, and I find it so convenient. But there are other similar portable high chairs out there that are cheaper, like the locally made (or distributed -- not sure) Handy Dandy Tie Back Chair as a reader pointed out. It's so much cheaper -- P850. I don't know what the differences are, but upon first glance, they look the same. I have no idea how it fares on safety though. Check it out to be sure.
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Wednesday, April 4

Baby: She's a HappyBaby Baby

Alyssa loves finger foods now. Her favorites? HappyBaby's Organic Puffs and Organic Yogurt Snacks. She can't stop eating these.

via HappyBaby

via HappyBaby

So far, I found these snacks for her only at Healthy Options, and a few online sellers. Sigh, I wish supermarkets in the Philippines would carry these already.

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Sunday, April 1

Mood Board: Lavender and Sunshine Nursery

The mood board mania is back!

Here is a reader request for her baby girl's nursery. She wanted grey walls, with accents of purples and yellows.

I hope you like it.

1. Wall Paint - Restoration Hardware in Pumice. I chose the lightest grey in the Restoration Hardware Flint family to make the accent colors pop. It would look great with white ceilings and trims.

2. Crib Bedding - Dahlia Crib Bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. When I saw this, I thought it would be perfect for your little girl's nursery. It has this geometric (with a bit of girly fun on the side) print which I thought you'd like too. Plus, it's on sale! What more can you ask for?

You can also get this Not a Peep - Yellow Polka Dot from Land of Nod, or something similar, as your second crib sheet. It would still match the bumper.

3. Curtains - Anita from Ikea. This is made from heavy fabric that has pattern if you look closely. It helps block out light and sound, which I think is ideal for a nursery. I have this in my home, and love it! It's really cheap too -- $30 for the pair. You can add some sheer white curtains behind it to let light in without sacrificing privacy.

4. Rug - Soho Chrono Rug from Overstock. I'm so glad you chose this rug. :)

5. Lighting - Ikea Astrid Ceiling Lamp. This ceiling lamp from Ikea is adorable, and will fit in the nursery.

6. Glider - Babyletto Nara Glider. If you don't have one already, I suggest that you take a look at this glider. Although it's a bit on the pricey side, I love that it has a modern style, and it doesn't "rock" but glides. Add some decorative pillows like the Hayward lavender pillow from Crate & Barrel, or the Crewel diamond pillow from West Elm.

7. Changing Table - Hemnes Chest. You'll be able to save a lot if you find some kind of dresser/chest of drawers that can double as a changing table like the Hemnes Chest or the bigger 8-drawer chest. You can even upstyle this piece just by changing the cabinet pulls. I found an antique brass french tassel pull that's 46% off -- $3.50 per piece from D. Lawless Hardware.  Then, just secure an ordinary changing pad on top, like this one.

8. Art Prints - You Are My Sunshine by Yassis Place. Here's an etsy find. I love that this one is simple, colorful and joyful. If your budget is really low, you can even make this as an inspiration and DIY your own prints with purple and yellow as your color theme.

Finally, personalize it even more with your grey, purple or yellow small decors. Look for some you already own.

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