Saturday, February 17, 2018

Supplier Review: KidzTown PH

Ready for another party supplier review? I actually have 3 in the party entertainment category but I'll go for this first. Gear up for KidzTown PH mobile playground! :)

Photo credit to our photographer, Cradles by Anne Naig


Isn't this the cutest thing??? If the pictures don't tell you enough, this is just so much fun! :) I mean, if I were a toddler? I'd be in playground heaven for sure! 


What does their package include? 


-There are 6 mobile themed playhouses with full accessories. These are the children’s hospital, police
department, the bakery, home sweet home, build zone, and town library.

- 4 ride-ons (Tayo bus, Little Tikes Police coupe, Little Tikes Pink coupe, Construction truck)

- 1 mega blocks table with chairs

- 2 staff

- 2 dozen children’s socks and 2 dozen adult socks

- Fence and safety rubber matting

- Transportation to venue, Ingress (set-up), and egress (pack up)




Of course, all of this comes at a premium but it is so worth it! At least in my humble opinion :)  At the most basic, I like that it is clean, safe and so much fun. It is well thought of and really goes well with the mix of ages of the kids we invited to celebrate with us. Even our just turned 1-year old boy immersed himself with playing blocks. I mean, even Little Miss Z wanted to get our photo-op over and done with so she can already dive into this mini playland. I'm just glad that the two had a great time at their party. 

As I observed during the party, the kids' different personalities can really be seen wherein those who wanted to participate in games were front and center near the stage and those who were more into self-directed play were busying themselves at the KidzTown mobile playhouse installation. 

And you know what? Most of our guests who have kids really went early to the party so they can play all they want while waiting for our program to start. Kids playing (of course, with parental supervision) + parents catching up with friends and also having fun? Yeah, not bad at all :D


Tips:


1. Make sure your event venue has ample space for their playhouse set-up. It would be best to send them a layout or floor plan so they can prepare for this in advance.

2. Announce to your guests that you would be having playhouses. I received feedback that some kids were really very eager to come just because of this. Guests coming in early, happy kids, everyone having a great time. Really, it's a win-win situation.

I do suggest having them start way ahead of the party program. That way, the early birds can enjoy while you wait for other guests to start pouring in. Believe me, the kids playing here will not be bored! :)

3. While KidzTown does provide a dozen socks for kids and adults, still remind your guests to bring their own :)

4. If you want to have a fun and non-stressful party, I really think you can get away with just having the playhouses + food catering services as party basics. Well, you just have to adjust or extend the time for the playhouses. Inform them in advance so they can plan their ingress and also so they can let you know how much they will charge for the hours in excess of 3.

5. They also charge an extra for non ground floor venues. Make sure to read the contract well.


My only regret? It's that "I" wasn't able to play in the KidzTown mobile playhouses! Boohoo hahaha :)

This supplier was very easy to talk to, provided hassle-free kiddie entertainment and was really lots of fun for the kiddos!

I DEFINITELY recommend them! Two thumbs up! :)

















Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Valentine...

As with most important occasions, I always try to find a song that best encapsulates what I feel. For this year's Valentine's, the song that is most apt is Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask For More". I'm posting another version here by Sara Evans because the way she sings it is just so much feels :)


I loved this song from high school and I feel that I understand it a little better now that I'm married. Hehehe..it's just different, you know? The kilig when you're still single and gushing and dreaming, versus the now - married with kids, the struggle, the love, and everything in between. I mean, I can try my best to explain here but I guess that won't be necessary because Daddy A would be the best person to understand how I feel now. Right? :)




So what went down on our Valentine's? I wish I could say that he whisked me off to a faraway place (which is partly true LOL) and spent the entire day by ourselves (entirely true). But as I said earlier, it is just so different now. At this point and with the age of our kids, we really can't just take off in a whim and be back in 3 days. 

Although we did go to a faraway place -- 4 hours from Manila, this was more because we had responsibilities to attend to. But I guess being away does SOME good. No dreamy picnics or fancy dinners, just some decent food from gasoline stations and eating on the go. Since we were on the road for maybe 10 hours total (back and forth), we had some discussions, little arguments and agreeements too :)


Because we expected a very long drive, we ordered Rafik Shawarma's Wagyu version right after ordering our lunch to-go: Tokyo Tokyo's beef bento meal. Ganyan ako pag gutom hahaha...you don't want your significant other to go "hangry" while on a road trip, do you? :)


How do I feel? I feel like a college kid who cut classes just to have a date in Tagaytay hahaha...Although, I haven't really done that so, I guess this is how it must've felt.


Ever ready for hunger pangs...got my Tokyo Tokyo lunch, got our shawarma for sharing..and this, spanish bread! Still, nothing beats LA Bakeshop's Spanish bread..


Quick stop at a gasoline station, selfie time too! I make sure to always bring a floppy hat and shades whenever we're out and about. There's something about extreme sunlight that makes my head hurt..


We planned to go to Padre Pio shrine in Sto. Tomas Batangas for our Ash Wednesday Mass. But we weren't able to do so because of some delays encountered in BIR Lucena :( I don't want to end this Vday blog on a sad note but I was really bummed that day. Imagine, travelling 4 hours (one-way pa lang yan) and not really getting the result expected. This means I have to go back to Lucena again and finish this requirement. Oh well...

Since it's Vday after all, traffic was horrible even down South. We settled for another gas station meal. Tapa King this time. I always order Tapa Queen because it's a bit spicy and a bowl of Sinigang na Baboy. 



P.S. No flower / no gift post -- why? 
I have this NEW thing with flowers. I used to be so sad whenever Daddy A forgets or decides not to get me one. So this is my new rule. I told him specifically - Please don't give me flowers..

(a) If I have to tell you to give me flowers. 
(b) When they're ridiculously expensive!! [Might as well hand me a steak! Hahaha]

Of course, this can be over-ruled if he really can't resist buying me one! Hahaha..The catch is, if you don't give me flowers (see a & b above), please also don't buy me flowers when I'm gone (hahaha)..

This is what I ask him instead --- sing me love songs, write me a letter, dance with me :) Much better? Much better!

Happy Valentine's everyone! :)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2018 - Our Experience

It's our first time to attend the PTAA Travel Tour Expo and I'd like to share our experience with you guys :)

Okay, so normally we don't really prioritize travels and tours in our family expenses but since there are a few scheduled weddings and reunions we are attending that are out of town, we figured, "hey, why not give this a try?" If we find very discounted and decent accommodations for all of us, we could bring the kids and have them enjoy the hotel while we have the peace of mind that they are close by OR, we could just go as a couple and have a grand time! Hahaha..either way, win-win, right?


While on our way there, my husband's cousin gave me a fair warning - in the form of a picture with throngs of people lined up, all going to the Travel Expo. My immediate reaction was "kaloka!" I mean, I got his message and we're already halfway between SMX and our home and since we were in a Grab/Uber, so there was no turning back. I brought the Little Miss pa naman with me and our fold-away stroller (similar to Baby Zen Yoyo but minus the steep price..sorry na ma's, I honestly didn't know it was a copy of something huhu). I thought that if the line was still that bad, then we'll just watch a movie and stroll inside the Mall of Asia. 

I promise, there's no filter here..just good old sunlight and lots of oil in my face :D
Thank God the crowded lines panned out. We immediately saw a booth for Citi card holders and they provide free entrance for their card holders. We saved PHP 70.00 there :)


Because our destination was just in Tagaytay, we were directed to the second floor of the expo hall. I had a hard time looking for Taal Vista Hotel's booth because their booth number was not displayed. I eventually found them just beside Conrad Hotel's booth.

Anyway, I looked around the area first and found something intriguing. These are religious icons that are for export to the Vatican. What's nice about these is that although designed by Italian masters, they still incorporate local raw materials like lahar. Then they apply an italian varnish/coating to protect the finished product from the elements. You can choose from different finishes like gold or silver antique finish. As a Catholic with a devotion to Mama Mary, I chose the "Mary Undoer of Knots". What this represents for me is that Mary, as our mother always helps and intercedes for us and the many challenges and roadblocks we face in life; and because she has a special place in Jesus' heart (as His mother too), there is a very good chance that our prayers will be granted. I've never understood much as I have now how utterly many "knots" we have in our life. Maybe I was too sheltered? Maybe too naive? That's why I'd like to ask for help and intercession from our Holy Mother and Jesus, to help us in our life and help us undo the knots that life presents.

Okay, and I also got a limited edition item for my mother-in-law. I don't recall what it is exactly but the kind sir who was manning the booth told me that it's a replica of Cardinal Sin's gift to Pope John Paul II.



I booked the Taal Vista room as they said it was discounted. They were nice and accommodating and even gave us a nice notebook freebie. 

But when I asked my husband's cousin, he said their expo rate was still expensive. I checked again online and what do you know? Indeed, there were cheaper options for the same hotel. It was a face palm moment and instant "buyer's regret" but I'll just file it under "lessons learned". 

Ditto for Manila Ocean Park tickets. I gathered from a mommy group that their PHP 525 only expo rate is about the same as the usual discounted rate they give so....there goes not really saving anything! 


We strolled some more and not really wanting to spend more, we headed straight for the concessions before I get "hangry". Besides, we were gearing for a commute back home so I have to make sure our tummies have their fill.


Bags and luggages were also on sale or under installment sales. So too with some sneakers that are only PHP 800, wow!




I got Good Munch's Rosemary Chicken (quite salty for me), Polland's Siomai & Siopao for the little girl.


We eventually headed to the terminal and found the best one to ride. This was our first experience riding the UV Express with stroller in tow! We got off at P. Noval just across UST. I wanted to buy from Tita Nitz but the Mini Stop was more convenient in terms of location. So it is -- Kariman for the mommy and yogurt drink for the Ate.

Would I go back to the Travel Expo next year? Short answer is no. Unless, there is a major compelling reason like really deep discounts to make all the stress, time and effort worth it. The best tip probably would be to research first and make sure to list the prices online and go only if you have a free entrance pass (like showing your card or miles, etc.) and other back up plans aside from touring the expo, in case you get faced with a huge crowd.

Safe travels and I hope you enjoy your destination! :)


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Supplier Review: Sugar and Sunbeams and a Vintage Baseball-themed party

I've got a bit of time here and you can say that in terms of blogging - I'm feeling it! Hahaha..Well, I'd like to share some of the pictures from the kids' joint birthday celebration, courtesy of Cradles by Anne Naig. :)

It's been a month since the party and when I received the pictures, I just can't contain all this giddy feeling! One party supplier who was so instrumental in bringing these all to life is our party stylist, Sugar and Sunbeams



To share a little background, I was actually deciding between two stylists who came highly recommended by my friend, Mother Jobs. I won't mention the other stylist here but Ms. Jem Perez-Chua was so pleasant to talk to. I was doing mostly online inquiries from my suppliers so it was a big thing for me that she was able to communicate superb customer service, friendship and eagerness to make it happen. All that even if we were a month from the event date (sorry, we really planned late) and I was doing my best to maximize our budget (that's different from making tawad ah). Of course, her portfolio of previous styling works are also easy on the eyes and were just right for our vision. So even if her package rate came out a few thousands more than the other supplier, she was still the definite choice for me. Once we finalized the booking, I was "Team Panatag" :)


She immediately got down to work on her vision board. I do not even remember if I shared some pegs with her but everything I liked from Pinterest, she was able to incorporate into that plan. Baseball is really not a big thing here in the Philippines but we chose it loosely based from the movie "A League of Their Own". Remember, Madonna and Geena Davis? No? Uh-uh hahaha :) That was quite a statement for female empowerment back then. Now what this means to us is that the kids are on a league of their own and that we, parents, look on them as the embodiment of our hopes and dreams.

Anyway, the reason I shared that is I thought it would immediately add to her costs if the props from theme is not something she can re-use in the future. In fact, I asked if given our budget, would she be able to build a locker-room type setting? She replied in the negative because it would still be fabricated, and I understood.


But Ms. Jem is something else. I was so floored that on the day of the party, my "wish" came true! Hahaha...Oh my was I sooo happy!!!!! :) Grabe!! Super thank you, thank you, thank you again Ms. Jem :D

This going beyond expectations is something that is really admirable in Ms. Jem of Sugar & Sunbeams. Even from the start, her dedication and go-get-it attitude really assures me as a customer that everything will be okay and I don't have to worry about a single thing. She's the one who also coordinated with our caterer to check out the catering inclusions and choices especially for table cloths and the like.

Would I recommend her services? ABSOLUTELY! Yes, yes and another big YES!! :D

Thank you so much again Ms. Jem, we definitely enjoyed your styling work for our children's party :)


Contact: Ms. Jem Perez-Chua
Event styling coverage: Stage / backdrop, dessert area, ceiling treatment


















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