Easy & Long Life Foliage Arrangements

Decorating with leaves, bamboo sticks and long lasting flowers are perfect for the schizo weather we’re experiencing.

Hold off buying fresh cut flowers until the weather is cooler. The heat in the city shortens the vase life of flowers. But don’t feel you should have to live without flowers in your home. There are lots of foliage, long lasting flowers, twigs and sticks that are available in the flower market to use for your arrangements.

Here are some of my favorites:

Renaissance leaves

I just love the size and silhouette of these giant greenery! They are affordable and create a stunning impact in your home.

The new Maison Epperson has super high ceiling so tall foliage arrangements work. Although, even when we were living in our previous tiny condo, I used them for my arrangements. There’s an old rule that small floral arrangement in a small space is the way to go, but a few large leaves in a small room will often make it look bigger. It’s all about playing with proportions.

Phalaenopsis orchids, or “moth orchids”

These are probably the most popular flower used for decorating residential and commercial spaces as they are one of the most resilient and sturdy orchid types out there. With proper care, they can last for months, and their blossoms put on a great show to boot!

White-colored phalaenopsis orchids are easy to decorate as the pristine classic color blends well with any interior. Personally, I prefer the fuchsia-colored blooms for their dramatic effect.

Bamboo sticks

If you’re a minimalist or lazy when it comes to floral arrangements, bamboo sticks are the answer! Best part? They are zero maintenance.

Remember those big ginger jars from your grandmother and mother’s? Take the lid off and stick the bamboo (no pun intended) inside of the jar for a lovely arrangement.

Let’s all pray for cooler weather sans the storm and hellish flood so we can all start with our fresh cut flower arrangements, shall we?

I hope you guys enjoyed some of my tips in creating an inspiring space with affordable, practical yet stylish foliage arrangements. Tune in for more!

See you at the flower market!

Reblogged: “The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened”

Thanks to my parents who showed me love, kindness and opened my eyes to the world, I’ve learned how to be grateful for every blessing I’ve receive in my life. From having an amazing family and friends, being healthy, having a roof over my head, good food (and the occasional bubbly, haha), independence and freedom in pursuing my passions—I don’t take anything for granted.

I believe that when we find joy in the simplest things, amazing things happen.

I’m feeling extra happy and grateful today. No particular reason. I just want to share with you a feel good article I read online—an oldie but goodie. Hope it puts a smile in your heart and face:

From the glorious slip-and-slide incident of 2012 to the infamous day of the Puppy Surprise, these are the ones that we’ll never forget.

1. The time a cat showed a baby the right way to do bathtime.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

2. A World War II veteran coming out to cheer at a race.

3. The day this puppy discovered his lifelong passion for kiddie pools.

4. The time a son surprised his dad with a puppy.

youtube.com

5. The day this baby learned that you can hug dogs.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

6. This brilliant exercise in balancing.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

7. The day this man showed an entire stadium what it means to be free.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

8. The great golden retriever road trip across America.

The great golden retriever road trip across America.

9. All of the animals at once.

All of the animals at once.

10. The moment when this girl decided to take a puppy bath.

The moment when this girl decided to take a puppy bath.

11. The time this young man got a 10/10 on his first-ever slip-and-slide.

The time this young man got a 10/10 on his first-ever slip-and-slide.

12. This fitting celebration for a perfect shot.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

13. This corgi bringing joy to an elderly man.

This corgi bringing joy to an elderly man.

14. A hockey player making this kid’s day.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

15. A hockey player making this kid’s entire year.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

16. And Novak Djokovic doing the same for this ball boy.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

17. The day this kitten was adopted.

The day this kitten was adopted.

18. Dad’s reaction to getting a ticket to the big game.

19. The great owl-petting incident.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

20. The day someone invented this excellent jump-and-hug game.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

21. The greatest gift ever.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

22. And the best surprise ever.

23. The day when this young man discovered bubbles.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

24. And this young lady discovered her chemistry with puppets.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

25. That time when a toddler controlled an entire crowd.

26. And toddlers everywhere were empowered to follow his lead.

27. The day when this baby discovered the ineffable wonders of passports.

The day when this baby discovered the ineffable wonders of passports.

28. And the day when this baby discovered the ineffable wonders of feeding a dog popcorn.

29. This cake-throwing incident.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

30. This joyous reunion.

31. The most inspiring dance ever.

32. The moment this partnership was formed.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

33. And the now-legendary day when this banana enthusiast received the greatest gift ever.

The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened

Have an awesome day everyone!

Books I Love

My husband and I have amassed quite a number of beautiful coffee table books, autobiographies and some self-help books over the years. Personally, I used to just scan the pages and ogle at the photos of our coffee table books while our other books collected dust on the shelves. Not having the time to read them was always my excuse. So over the past two years, I’ve been making time for myself to read and appreciate our collection. So far, it’s been inspiring.

“For every book you buy,
you should buy the time to read it.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

1. Dinner Diaries: Reviving the Art of the Hostess Book By Daniel Cappello, available in W/17 Home

The dinner party has evolved in the last few years, and here’s a way to keep up with the times.

I bought this book from my friend Kaye Tinga’s home store W/17. The moment I opened the book, I read it from cover to cover! I also love the pretty salmon-colored satin cover! Lovely to decorate with.

Dinner Diaries follows in the spirit of Assouline’s popular Proust Questionnaire, Fashion Questionnaire, and Wine Questionnaire, using the format of Proust’s handy interview helper, to ask everything about dinner parties, from preferred seating arrangements to the best conversation topics.

Featuring handwritten answers from experienced hosts such as Ivanka Trump and chef Alex Hitz, Dinner Diaries is illustrated with ephemera from these hosts—seating charts, menus, guest lists, place cards—and contains blank questionnaires and seating charts in the back to share with friends.

2. La Dolce Vita By Slim Aarons, Waterstones Book Store, London

For someone who’s worked all her life and always has to manage time, I am fascinated about the lifestyle of the rich—fabulous people doing fabulous things in fabulous places!

Slim Aarons’ tomes are inspiring, beautiful and he has captured an iconic time capsule of a bygone era.

His La Dolce Vita coffee table book was another birthday gift from one of my best friends Lounell. He bought it in London. It’s a sweet addition to my growing Slim Aarons collection!

I love working and I don’t see myself retiring at any point in my life but I have to admit I also secretly want to be a lady of leisure, haha!

3. Life By Keith Richards By Keith Richards and James Fox, available in Fully Booked

Tom and I love reading autobiographies of rock stars. It’s probably because Tom has seen some of the rock legends perform live when he was younger and being a musician himself while I love reading about their crazy adventures!

Keith Richards’ life is probably one of the craziest! The first page sets the whole story of the roller coaster, supernova ride he took! Hashtag: “KKLK”

4. Hamptons Pleasures By Susan Meisel & Ellen Harris, National Book Store

I love reading books about the Hamptons! A place where lobster picnics and dining al fresco are done with style and ease. The Hamptons is also a charming place where vintage Schwinn bicycles with rattan baskets filled with organic produce bought at the community market rule the road. The place seems magical.

For as much as I love the city, I also dream of a life where there is fresh air, a sprawling garden and our house overlooking the sea.

I dream of a Summer home with a view of the ocean. For now, I’m getting inspirations from the Hamptons Pleasures book by Susan Meisel & Ellen Harris.

5. Charles James By Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, National Book Store

Every designer and fashion enthusiasts should buy Charles James’ tome. His passion for his craft and artistry is evident in every page.

To quote New York-based publicist and society columnist R. Couri Hay, “James is a designer trapped in the amber of a bygone era: synonymous with pastel bell skirts and white gloves, suits with impossibly tiny waists, and swan-necked socialites. His was a picture of glamour rooted in some of the biggest society names, including Paleys, Hearsts, and Whitneys. While his heyday as “America’s couturier” extended through the 1940s and ’50s, he continued designing well into his last decade.”

Charles James, often considered to be America’s first couturier, was renowned in the 1940s and 1950s as a master at sculpting fabric for the female form and creating fashions that defined mid- century glamour. Although James had no formal training as a dressmaker, he created strikingly original and complex designs, including intricate ball gowns worn by members of high society in New York and Europe. This lavishly illustrated book offers a comprehensive study of James’ life and work, highlighting his virtuosity and inventiveness as well as his influence on subsequent fashion designers. Featuring exciting new photography of the spectacular evening dresses James produced between 1947 and 1955, this publication includes enlightening details of these intricate creations alongside vintage photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as patterns, muslins, dress forms, and sketches. A detailed and illustrated chronology of James’ life describes his magnetic personality, his unorthodox design processes, his colorful supporters—such as Salvador Dalí, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Cristobal Balenciaga—and profiles of a number of his famous clients, such as Gypsy Rose Lee. With flair and style echoing that of its subject, Charles James brings to life one of the most fascinating and creative figures in American fashion.

6. How to Raise a Gentleman: A Civilized Guild to Helping Your Son Through His Uncivilized Childhood, available in Amazon.com

I bought this book when I was still pregnant with my son Dylan. Tom and I want to raise our son to become a gentleman.

The book was very funny (British humor, my favorite) and a quick, enjoyable read. There were chapters on being a good sport, play dates, table manners, appropriate language, and “personal habits” (stuff like boogers, making gross bodily function noises, and scratching.) I recommend this book if you have a son.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be swept off your feet by a man’s chivalry and kindness?

Happy reading!

Holiday Gift Ideas: Best Steak Gift Boxes Deal

I’ve been a Melbourne Prime Premium Australian Beef fan since day one. My BFF Lounell are friends with the owners and he introduced me to them years ago.

They specialize in imported Australian beef and lamb, their top-of-the-line Pinnacle Beef and Saltbush Lamb are exceptionally flavorful and popular .

It’s that time of the year again for gift-giving ideas for the Holiday season. Melbourne Prime has come up with gift packs incorporating various premium beef variants. Here’s a good deal you shouldn’t pass off:

The gift boxes have various combinations of the beef variants in three different packages (crates and boxes) with choices wine and sauces. So worth it!!!

Good news: Get a 10% discount for purchases of 3 or more crates/boxes.

Some of you may still remember them during our days at Bonifacio Global City. They already moved to a new address: 4362 Valdez St. corner Makati Avenue (behind A. Venue building), Makati City

To order call 899-3344 or 896-5770 or to e-mail them at melbourneprime@gmail.com.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, let the gift basket shopping begin!

Vote for Aryanna To Be The Next MTV VJ!

If you’ve been following my social media accounts, you would know that my daughter Aryanna has joined the MTV Pinoy VJ Hunt. We’re all very excited and proud of her. I will blog the full story soon. For now, Aryanna and seven other VJ hopefuls have been competing in different challenges (Aryanna won the first challenge as the Mentos’s Coolest VJ, YAY!).

There’s also voting.

Vote for Aryanna!

Easy steps:

For Globe & TM users
Step 1: Text MTVVJARYANNA
Step 2: Send to 2363
Step 3: You can vote up to100 times a day! P1/vote

Shoppingero/shoppingera, you can vote until September 30!

The Best Dulce de Leche Cupcakes & Cookies

Dulce de Leche (pronounced “DOOL-se de LE-che,” meaning candy of milk or milk jelly in Spanish) is one of my family’s favorite treat! We love it in ice cream, cookies and cupcakes!

Last Sunday while bonding with Aryanna at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, we chanced upon Sugarbee‘s dessert stall in the basement. They had free tasting of their desserts so Aryanna and I willingly obliged. We tried the Alfajores (cookies with dulce de leche filling) and Dulce de Leche Cupcakes. After tasting both sweets, we were hooked!

It all started with one bite…

Then one Sugarbee Dulce de Leche Cupcake…

Became four…

Then none.

The cake is the moistest and lightest cake I have ever sunk my teeth into! The Dulce de Leche frosting is sticky and to-die-for! Overall, the cupcake is not so sweet but so soft and heavenly! I would go as far as saying it’s the best Dulce de Leche cupcake I’ve tried so far!

Sugarbee’s also has Dulce de Leche Cake. Aryanna and I were afraid to buy it because we might inhale it in two seconds, haha!

Now, let’s talk about these Sugarbee’s Alfajores

These cookies are oh-so buttery and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. The dulce de leche creme filling perfectly complements both flavors.

Stairway to cookie heaven

They are crumbly and sweet. You will surely be licking the sugar down to the last granule off of your fingers. I did.

Perfect for tea time. Only if you can actually wait for the tea to steep before devouring the cookies.

Ubos!

Order now!!!

Sugarbee cookies and cupcakes are the kind treats that you want to share with the world (because everyone deserves to go to dessert heaven) but at the same time, you want to keep it as a secret (because it’s so good, you want it all to yourself! LOL)!

I am going to order their Dulce de Leche and Salted Caramel cakes next. I have no fear.

Note: According to the seller, allow 2-3 days notice when you order.

Excuse me while I stalk Sugarbee. Have a sweet weekend ahead everyone!

Reblogged: “7 Habits Of An Insecure Woman”

The dictionary defines insecurity as being unsure, unstable, shaky, apprehensive, or lacking in self-confidence. There are many components in a woman’s life that can create an environment where this state of mind will flourish. It can be anything from upbringing, unsettling circumstances, mistreatment, to individual fears.

I’ve had my share of dealing with insecure women. Most of them are competitive and spoiled brats that feel threatened when someone else succeeds. They are suspicious, manipulative and worse, will sabotage you. It’s disheartening.

Over the years, I have learned to understand them and just stayed away from them—they are emotional vampires.

I thought I’d share with you the latest meme that exploded in Pinterest and
The Pastor’s Wife blog:


7 Habits of an Insecure Woman
By: Sara Melissa Hudson

Insecurity has been a plague to women since the beginning of time. That’s not how we are intended to live. God desires us to be women of confidence and power to fulfill our callings and destines. I do not have this all figured out. Please know that I am writing to you as I can identify with each of these traits, but I am striving to embrace the confidence God intends for me to possess and with His grace and help, I’ve been able to gain confidence. Want to join me?

1. An Insecure Woman is Critical. She lives with a glass half empty, negative mindset. Insecurity and Positivity can not coexist. She is always finding something or someone to indicate the faults of and disapprove of. The way someone works, acts, and talks. The way something is done or changed. She lashes out at others and often comes across as rude. She is quick to judge and is unforgiving. She lives in a constant state of disapproval, even of herself. She is her own worst critic.
A Confident Woman will always find something or someone to praise, compliment, approve of. She seeks ways to life up, encourage, and empower those around her, including herself. A confident woman sees the glass as half full and lives a blessed and fulfilled life. She sees Blessings in her trials. She highlights the positive, even in a negative circumstance.

2. An Insecure Woman is Fearful. She lives restrained, unwilling to release her true feelings, thoughts, talents, and ideas for fear of being rejected and criticized. Her mind is her prison. She constantly replays situations from the day assessing how others reacted to her and if she has been accepted by the people around her. She shrinks back often, allowing others to project themselves instead of her. She revisits times in her life where she feels a failure and refuses to be vulnerable again.She lives her life idle and lazy, never accomplishing her goals because she fears failure. She is completely Risk Free and “plays it safe”
The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (See 2 Timothy 1:7)
A Confident Woman makes the choice to reject fear when it invites itself into her mind. She chooses to take captive of these fearful thoughts and replace them with faith. Faith breeds a holy confidence. Faith brings action instead of idleness. She chooses to step out in faith and works hard to reach her goals. She is a risk taker and is not intimidated by “failure”.

3. An Insecure Woman Competes. Having a competitive drive in and of itself is not a negative thing, but an insecure woman competes with other women. She is constantly trying to measure up with the women around her, trying to become prettier, wittier, more stylish, more popular, and successful than them. She compares her success with theirs and tries to present herself as more superior and more valuable than the women around her. She desires their envy.
A Confident Woman empowers the women around her. She is inspired by their talents and successes and is not reluctant to compliment and encourage them. She speaks courage into other women and pushes them to continue their good work. She celebrates with others and truly empathizes with their happiness.

4. An Insecure Woman lives with Guilt. She punishes herself for her past mistakes. She keeps record of her wrongs. She has decided that she is not “worthy” of happiness and success. She rejects blessings because she is undeserving and disqualified to receive anything good. She lives with shame of her past sins and faults. She lives defeated.
A Confident Woman lives Redeemed. She knows that she is not righteous, deserving, or worthy of blessing, but she has accepted the One who is and by Him, she knows that she is forgiven and free of guilt and shame. Ephesians 1:7 says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” A confident woman lets go of the past. She embraces joy. She is blessed with success and happiness and receives all the good things that God has to give her. She is qualified through Him. She lives in freedom.

5. An Insecure Woman Gossips. She delights in sharing negativity about others. She feels lifted up by putting down others. She feels that her candle will burn brighter by blowing out someone else’s. She accentuates the faults of others, and in turn, feels powerful. She loves to stir up trouble and destroy friendships. Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
A Confident Woman rejects the spread of gossip. She protects the reputation of others, as she would desire for others to do the same for her. She possess integrity and is trustworthy, not sharing confidential matters with others. She highlights the positive attributes of others and encourages peace and unity. She prays for others if she knows they are going through a trial.

6. An Insecure Woman Seeks Validation. She is an attention seeker. She lives to hear the praises of others. She will do anything to feel loved, even if it contradicts her beliefs. She will even step on others, destroying friendships, if it means she will receive the affirmation and advancement she longs for. She craves to be the best, prettiest, funniest, most talented, and she wants others to notice. Sometimes she will act clumsy or rude just to be in the center of attention.
A Confident Woman has no need for the affirmation of others. She knows that she is loved and accepted by her heavenly father. She works and lives to please Him first. She has become like a “duck”..when people criticize her, she lets it roll off her back. Even when people praise her, she lets it roll off her back. Nothing that people say or do not say will affect her. Her worth is not determined by the validation of others. Ephesians 1:4 “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

7. An Insecure Woman is Defeated. When life pushes her down, she doesn’t get back up. She accepts defeat and has no motivation to “try again”. She will remain stagnant. She will compromise her goals and aspirations when she is faced with a setback. She chooses to remain comfortable with a “less than” life and refuses to go after her dreams.
A Confident Woman knows that a setback is only a set up for success in the future. She does not accept defeat. When life pushes her down, she bounces back with more determination than before. She sees the purpose in pain, the message in the mess. She sees opportunity in opposition. She knows that all things work together for good of those who love God.(See Romans 8:28) She does not hesitate to share her defeats with others. She hopes that her lessons and mistakes will serve as an inspiration to others. She is unstoppable.

I pray that you are blessed by these words and that they inspire you to live life as a confident woman. God is always reminding me and challenging me to be this as well.

I hope you never have to deal with one, though I’m sure you have. Maybe one too many times. It’s hard dealing with insecure people as they are defensive and sometimes delusional. The more you try to help them or be nice to them, the more they are suspicious of your actions. They can’t help it, it’s their defense mechanism. I find that it’s best to let go.

Happy Monday everyone!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, how do you deal with insecure people?

Five Favorites

It’s so freakin’ hot in Manila! I mean, what is up with the weird weather? Sala sa ulan, sala sa jinit!

Personally, I have no desire to go out unless it’s for work or to celebrate with friends or date night with Tom. I’d rather cocoon in the house and read. I also started organizing my plato-platuhan (tableware) as our newly refurbished sideboard (it looks fabulous!!!!!!! I will show it to you one of these days.) has been delivered plus, Tom has already finished painting my china closet. I’m so excited!

Let’s pray for cooler weather sans the storm and flooding, shall we?

Here are some of my favorite things:

1. Porter Magazine. Just when I’ve shifted to digital magazines, comes Porter – the global fashion magazine you have dreamed of, powered by Net-A-Porter.com.

I’ve always been partial to square-shaped magazines. It’s one of the few printed magazines that I buy. The text and layout of Porter is also easy on the eyes. The fashion styling is directional, aspirational but relatable. I lav et!

The world’s best fashion, authoritative beauty and inspiring travel and culture, curated in one luxurious glossy package.

Unfortunately, Porter Magazine is not yet sold in the Philippines. You have to beg friends to buy abroad. You can also subscribe here.

2. Kavali Hearty Thick Whole Grain Crisp Bread. Best crackers for cheeses and super healthy too!

Available in Healthy Options

3. Potterybarn Brass and Inlaid Bone Cheese Knives. Love the style of these cheese knives and the bone inlays give a cool and luxurious feel to the handles.

Potterybarn is located at Bonifacio High Street

They’re made of brass metal so they won’t tarnish.

4. Sala Bistro’s Casarecce with Porcini, Guanciale and Truffle Cream. Cooked homemade loosely rolled up pasta with the combination of cured pork cheeks and truffle cream is divine. Pair it with the restaurant’s House White Wine for an Italian flair experience. Ang sarap. Sarap. Sarap.

Sala Bistro is at Greenbelt 3

5. Snapware™ Eco Flip and Eco Grip. My children are big on hydration while I’m conscious of dirt and bacteria. Loving these Snapware™ Glass Beverage Bottles that are made from durable and safe glass material (BPA-free and FDA approved), that is stain, shatter and odor-resistant. The neoprene and silicon sleeves provide more protection from physical breakage and for a more comfortable grip. Best part? It’s eco-friendly!

You can buy them at Kitchen World, Eastwood Mall, Libis

Lunchbox Idea: Tuna With Lemon Cilantro Quinoa

As promised, I’m sharing with all of you some of my favorite quinoa (pronounced as “KEEN-wa”) recipes and lunchbox ideas.

My daughter Aryanna grew up bringing packed meals to school. She’s now in college and she still prefers homecooked packed meals over fast food (except dessert. Cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies are her Achilles Heel! Haaay, Aryanna!).

One of her favorite quinoa dishes that I prepare is simple, tasty and packed with nutrients:

Tuna With Lemon Cilantro Quinoa

Ingredients:

cooked quinoa (recipes here and here)
1 can of tuna or fresh tuna, cooked in the pan with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper
1-2 wedges of fresh lemon
cilantro, chopped

Step 1: Top the cooked quinoa with the tuna (drained).

Step 2: Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the tuna and quinoa and garnish with fresh cilantro.

That’s it pancit!

This lunchbox meal is easily prepared and it’s a healthier option than most cafeteria food. I also recommend this for office workers who want to eat healthier and save money.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, tune in for my next quinoa recipe. You don’t want to miss it!

Fried Garlic Pepper Quinoa

It’s hard for us Filipinos not to eat rice. The problem about eating white rice is that it is high in sugar. Quinoa (pronounced as “KEEN-wa”) is a healthier substitute to rice.

Compared to white rice, quinoa has a nutty flavor. The texture is also grainy like couscous. If you’re used to eating white or brown rice it might take a while for the palate to get used to the flavor. I find that one of the best ways to introduce quinoa into your diet is to try a recipe that is familiar and tastes good.

You’ll love this:

Fried Garlic Pepper Quinoa

This is the quinoa version of our favorite garlic rice.

Ingredients:

leftover cooked quinoa (click here for basic quinoa recipe)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt
pepper

Easy peasy:

Step 1: Fry the garlic in extra virgin olive oil

Step 2: Add the cooked quinoa (preferably day old cooked quinoa)

Step 3: Season with a generous amount of pepper. Add salt to taste.

Step 4: Serve with a smile. :)

Happy healthy eating!

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