Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Divisoria Mall with my MIL & DD

Would you believe it's my first time going to Divisoria Mall? This...despite living in downtown Manila for the past 6 years?!? 

Haha..really, all I ever manage to go to are Binondo, Lucky Chinatown, Tutuban, 168 and 999 Malls. I've always thought that Divisoria Mall is in a much more far away place. And it kinda actually is...but as they say, so near yet so far..



So on this day we braved Divisoria with my mother-in-law (our resident Divi expert) and little Ms. Z (future Divi shopper??) and what an experience it was!

This is actually a 2-part story - meaning, I went to Divi mall on 2 separate occasions. It's not a big deal but just sharing with you guys so you get the whole picture.

On Day 1, we brought Z. Oh my gosh, the traffic was really quite heavy that day and I was actually afraid for Z because we were riding in a tricycle and because of the traffic, heavy fumes all around can make us tired and irritable right away. And she has allergies pa naman :(



We went around Divisoria Mall to get more foam bricks for our babyproofing project. I scored at PHP 130.00/panel. Not sure if that's the most bargain price but I guess it's better than buying online with almost double pricing!

Later on, she complained of an 'ouchie' which I personally know was just a bluff. After her grandmother got her something, Z said that she was feeling 'a little better'. Grabe this little girl! Hahaha :) Anyway, I always tell her not to ask anything from her grandparents even if they can afford it. I hope she imbibes it as she grows up. 

Okay and because of that 'something' which was really so big and heavy, I couldn't venture to nearby shopping areas so we had to call it a day and ride the tricycle back home. Mission half-accomplished, with the promise to return and finish it! hahaha :D


DAY 2

Knowing what we know from Day 1, we decided not to let Z tag along this time. So it was just me and my MIL but we had to go separate directions since we were looking for different things. Since I bought my Singer sewing machine last August, I feel like I'm always itching to have a sewing project. Anything, even a small project will make me happy and my machine purchase worthwhile, right? Hahaha.. Actually, my husband was the one who encouraged me to sew something nice at least once a month so that the sewing machine will be put to use and not just waste away.

So off I went to Tabora area looking specifically for I believe, was Justina (?) store. This is the store that Ms. Mi-el of our sewing group recommended so I got my fabric straight-cut (is that what it's called??) scissors as well as pinking shears (zigzag / triangular cuts) from them. 

When I did my first project back in August, I just used whatever scissors I could find in our kitchen. It was the one that's bundled with our knives. It did the job but there was a bit of resistance. That's when it really hit that there should be separate scissors for different functions - cutting fabric vs cutting paper.

I also got my french curve / ruler set from them although I'm not sure if I can actually make patterns. Well, it might be useful in the future, right? Hahaha..please indulge me in this :D

View from Justina Store..too shy to actually take a photo of their store
 Now I actually braved Tabora. Vague memories - remembering that I once went here with my mom, without knowing what it was called. Heaps upon heaps of fabric, and me not really knowing what exactly I was looking for.

I started to search for fabric for my daughter's dress. I happened to find a nice pattern online which I printed and want to practice on. If this is successful, this will be the dress that Z will use for our homeschool provider's Angels & Saints celebration (vs. Halloween katatakutan). I like ideas like this because she can still wear this for other events. AND AND AND....if I'm really successful with this, i could easily replicate the dress and give as gifts to godchildren, right??? I'm really excited and I might be getting ahead of myself but just truly excited, no matter the outcome. So to my kumares, don't expect muna ha? Hehehe and wish me luck!


I searched some more because I also want to make coordinating pillowcases for our home. Char!!!! Feeling Martha Stewart lang! Hehe..I didn't find nice enough but experimental fabrics so that's pushed to the back burner.

But what I managed to find?? See below..lovely chiffon fabrics!! They are so nice that I want to buy everything but I haven't the slightest idea what to make of them Hahaha..and the ate tindera was just so cheerful and really bordering on being an enabler! Hah!!! Anyway, because I was so amused, I ended up buying a bit and will practice on the pattern that I used for the high-low sleeveless top I made back in August (and I still haven't blogged about)..

I also really liked the lacey / embroidered fabric above but it's really expensive for an experiment. Like PHP 1,500.00/yard. Kalurks!! Still I want it...but I did not buy yet...still researching on how I can use it best, should I get to go back to Divi Mall / Tabora. Ayayay...will it be a dress? will it be a capelet? Or shall I just recycle an old dress? Whatcha think??

Anywhoo...I've got to many things on my plate..Christmas preparations especially that I think I'm getting sick from anxiety. I'm glad I got to blog about this..so I can clear a part of my internal processor teehee...


If I'm successful, I promise to really blog about it..if I fail, well, I think I can share that as well. :) For now I'm just so happy with this little hobby that is so useful pala I should have learned this when I had all the time (AKA when I was still single). What was I doing then??

Sewing skills aside, I told my hubby that I'd like to give personalized gifts for Christmas. He was all for it but he reminded/asked me if that was really worth my time. Or in other words, how much do I value my time? Again so serious this big boy of mine but it's true -- we should focus and always think about the highest and best use of our time.

But sometimes I just don't want to think about it..or even to analyze too much if I feel that I'm gaining knowledge or a new skill.

I guess that's what my time is worth to me at the moment :)



Whoops..before I forget. I also chanced upon nice wallpaper stickers in Divi Mall! So nice in fact that I'm planning on making a mini-renovation of our bedroom. Yay or Nay?!? 

Jaa! ---> still not over Netflix' "Good Morning Call"



Thursday, August 30, 2018

OOTD: Modern Filipiniana Glam (for kids too!) & our Buwan ng Wika Celebration

As August ended, most Filipino school kids wrapped up the month with their own Buwan ng Wika celebration. And because we have enrolled with a homeschool provider (CFA), we're part of the celebrations too! :)



Little as they are, it is good to start immersing our children in our culture, our roots. To be aware that we live in an archipelago and how life and our ways of living are different from every nook and cranny in the Philippines. How a lot of things have evolved and one of the most telling would be our clothes then and now.

I know that my little Z is a bit of a fashionista so that was my first spark of inspiration. Obviously, this is the first time for our family so we I was pretty excited! I mean, we have been homeschooling since she was 2.5 years old but it's only now that we have enrolled with a homeschool provider. On our daily commute I'd be looking at other children's previous Buwan ng Wika OOTD and saved some screenshots to my phone. I wanted Z's Filipiniana attire to be culturally appropriate, beautiful, sustainable (reusable), unique, and not be too expensive.

We had just about a week to prepare so it was better if we got everything RTW, right? Well, that was partly what happened....and then a lot of DIY thereafter! Hahahaha :)

This was the time I actually went to Divisoria alone (hubby was overseas) for 2 consecutive days. The first day I thought I had everything I needed. I actually did get everything... BUT, there was 1 item of clothing that did not fit Z! Gosh!! Mea culpa :( I used the measurements and when it fit the garment, I immediately got it..not calculating for allowances.. Ayayay! Anyway, it was a good thing that Divi is quite near our place and the commute was not too long nor expensive. Good too that I had Grab Rewards that time which I immediately put to use! A PHP 90 fare was discounted to about PHP 20!






So I got a kid sized barong for about PHP 600 in Tutuban. I know there are cheaper kids' barong but I like to get something with a little better quality. That way it won't be just a throw-away item. I plan to reuse it if it fits her next year. Also, she can pass it down to her little brother. After that, we can still de-stash / re-sell it as a pre-loved item :)


Now the skirt was to be the icing-on-the-cake to this attire. It has to be girly / right for her age but still beautiful. I think I found just the one in the purple cloth above. I found a coordinating ribbon/lace to be sewn as a 'belt'.


Now while browsing around the fabric store, this particular ethnic-looking woven cloth caught my eye. I got a couple of yards and made it into a sleeveless top. That way, I can also join in on the celebrations with something that is in theme but still wearable all year round.


Lots of pretty things here :) Good thing I just bought enough cash on me, otherwise...lagot na! Hahaha :D


Since I'm just a beginner in sewing, I decided to just take on one project this time rather than biting more than I could chew. Z's skirt -- we outsourced to another sewer and we just provided for the cloth and notions, he charged a reasonable fee so we were okay with that.


For my top, I spent around 2-3 days over all. From printing my pattern, pasting them together, cutting to my desired size...tracing and cutting the cloth and sewing it all together. I'm really so grateful for my hubby's cousin - Rose, for sitting by my side and helping me figure out the sewing machine hahaha..

PS. Z's necklace? I DIY'd it too :D

Now here she is all smiles and glowing during their Buwan ng Wika celebration.

It wasn't an easy experience. Actually looking back, I didn't have to go through all that. I mean, I could've just easily bought RTW Filipiniana costumes and called it a day. But it was really so much fun what we did.

Picking up a new skill, making something nice and actually wearing it...the smile on Z's face..aahhhhh, priceless! :D
















Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cooking Champorado in a Rice Cooker

Hello hello! It's been a couple of weeks that the weather has been quite wet and dreary here in the Philippines.

Naturally, it's fun to just stay indoors where we're all safe and warm. Besides, our homeschooling will 'officially' start tomorrow (Monday) so mommy has got to prepare. But, this weather is simply calling to make a hot stuff of something, right? 

Since I've had my share of a beef noodle soup yesterday at Sha Tin Courtyard Restaurant, I decided it's time to make champorado for this afternoon.

What is 'champorado'? To put it simply, it's like a chocolate congee :D Hahahaha, that didn't sound too yummy. But ever since I was young, it's a toss between the yummy choco-oozing champorado or a warm and comforting Filipino goto/lugaw/pospas -->I have yet to know the ultimate difference between these Filipino-style congees.





So champorado it is! :) A drawback is that our helper is on leave today so I can't exactly stand and stir by the stove, like how it's traditionally made. We've got two kids and it's almost their nap time so this mommy's gotta hurry! I logged on to Youtube and checked out videos on how to make it in a rice cooker. Our Zojirushi rice cooker has a "porridge" function so I figured we could use that today.


Cooked Champorado in our Zojirushi rice cooker


And here we are. I was actually scared it will not come out as good as the stove top cooking but if my father-in-law says it tastes good, then it probably is really good! Hahaha :)

Ingredients


2 rice cooker cups of Malagkit/sticky rice
8 rice cooker cups of water
8 pieces Tablea pennies because that's what we have available (a video I watched said 3/4 cups of cocoa for 1 cup of sticky rice)
Sugar to taste, but I added 4 Tbsp
Milk to taste

Optional: Fried Tuyo fish

Instructions


1. Measure 2 rice cooker cups of uncooked Malagkit/sticky rice. Wash and drain.
2. Put the washed and drained malagkit rice in the rice cooker. Using the same cup, add 8 cups of water. Or if your rice cooker has a porridge setting, match the water added to the line. Example in my picture below, I used 2 rice cooker cups of uncooked rice so I added water up to the porridge 2 cups water line.


3. Gather your tablea pennies and add hot water. Melt the tablea pennies.


4. Add your desired amount of sugar / sweetener to the melted tablea. Mix well.
5. Add the mixture in #4 to the rice cooker.
6. Choose the "porridge setting" in your rice cooker and press on the "cooking" button. Wait for the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star song to finish to put you in a bit of a good mood :)
7. After about an hour and a half, your champorado will be cooked and ready. Drizzle some milk if you so desire.
8. Add the optional descaled fried tuyo fish.

Enjoy and keep warm everyone!

Note: Some are asking if this can be done using an on/off rice cooker. I haven't tried this with an on/off rice cooker but have seen someone do it in a Youtube video. If you do try it, let me know how it worked for you!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Party Supplier: Food Tasting with The Creamery Catering

If you're wondering how the food went, right off the bat I'll tell you that the food was amaaaazing! :) 



The Creamery is a highly recommended food catering service in a mommy group that I'm a part of, as well as some blogs here in the interwebs so we decided to give it a try. To be honest, they've been really hyped for me by fellow moms that's why I told my husband that if we are going to have a party at all, it must be The Creamery or no party! Hahaha..LOL! Good thing they still had an available slot for our event date, despite planning it only a month in advance.

I'm glad that we were not disappointed. Food tasting pa lang, wow na wow na! Really, so much WOW! :)

The menu for that day's food tasting


Daddy A says the food was great primarily because of the menu chosen. I disagree a little. Kasi during the party itself, even the kids menu was great! I saw this first hand when a kid guest in our party wanted more servings of The Creamery Spaghetti. Ditto on the chicken tocino skewers :D ---> I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here (huh? Teleport / Time Travel lang? Hahaha) but I promise to post a separate supplier review for The Creamery.

This food tasting feels like a feast already!

As mentioned, we basically planned this party for a month. I mean the "active planning" part. I was already coordinating with shortlisted suppliers as early as July 2017 (our party date is January 2018) and was canvassing rates and packages but I couldn't finalize or book them without Daddy A's go signal. And this is weird because he was the one who requested for a party in the first place hahaha :)

We coordinated with Miss MJ Jacob for their packages and I like what I saw. Although a little bit pricier compared to other caterers we've tried before, we decided to still discuss with them and have them devise a package that will be amenable to our budget. 

Finally decided to meet with MJ late November. For me, despite the conveniences of e-mail and Facebook messenger, nothing beats face-to-face discussions, especially with a very important party supplier. So we were a bit late but Miss MJ still waited for us (sorry!) and happily discussed. We agreed to have a food tasting and even if this is usually scheduled a week in advance, she was able to find a slot for us the a couple of days afterwards.

On the day of the food tasting, I'm so happy we came ahead of schedule. Thank goodness because it really is so embarrassing to come late to a meeting, right?

Anyway, as I mentioned in the beginning, the food simply blew me away. *swoons* They prepared meals from the menu we have chosen and also let us sample some new offerings. A dish like - Kare-Kare pasta. Have you tasted something like that before? Nope? Yeah, me neither!  It was really an old favorite (Kare-Kare) and yet totally new to us (offering it in pasta form). If you need to know, the "cheese" is replaced with bagoong. The flavor was really rich! At that moment I already decided (in my head, at least) to make sure to have it in our package :)


Kare-Kare Pasta

Pork Sisig Taco

Dessert



The nice thing about having this food tasting, aside from checking out the food and making sure the supplier is legit is that you get to see a glimpse of other important factors that would go on in your event. For example, the efficiency of the wait staff. Also important are the styling options from the caterer itself -- remember, there are some basic styling that are already included in the package, so you can maximize this while having your (if you're having a separate one) stylist focus the budget on other stuff.



Shabby Chic - Perfect for tea parties and intimate baby showers






Hmmmm, I wonder if they'll let me taste the Kids Menu

Here are some examples of their optional buffet styling, for an additional fee. 

Rustic - I love how the galvanized elements still feel neat and clean for a buffet set-up





Filipiniana - This is a theme I've always wanted to have for a birthday. Some other time, perhaps :)


Here are some of the table linen that they have in stock. I took pictures and sent it to our stylist, Sugar and Sunbeams. From there, she coordinated directly with The Creamery on which linens to bring on our event day. Hassle-free for us!



I don't know how they call this 'formally' but I think I'll label it as "Contemporary Tropical Chic". I love the rose gold matched with black, the lush wall backdrop and of course the geometric elements that are in this layout.

Contemporary Tropical Chic

Contemporary Tropical Chic

Oooooohh...this one's perfect for a boho fete! I actually want to have a macrame for myself too, just have to figure out how to protect it from Manila's dust and pollution.

Boho



Now, this one's something that fellow foodies and oilers would probably appreciate too. Especially if they will be using real herbs for this. 

For contrast, wouldn't it look absolutely fantastic with steak cooked on the spot? Yes please!



Now for the clincher - which menu to choose? Ultimately everything tasted like heaven and it's really a hard decision to make. So I leave that task to Daddy A. Were it me to decide, I'd probably even choose 2 menus to be combined! Hahaha. The height of being a PG foodie LOL! :D

Seriously, of course you have to consider your budget primarily, the type of event you will be hosting, and your guests as well.


I am soo happy with our final menu and over-all with their food quality and services during our party! Best of luck in your party planning too! :D



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