One Day in Paris

I had a couple of days more in this astounding “city of light and love”, as an Oliviers&Co. German partner had put it in one of our meetings. But as this trip was for work, I would like to focus on the touring day my boss and I got to enjoy!

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Musee de Louvre

We lined up to get inside the Louvre for over an hour under the blazing afternoon sun, but I would have to say it was worth it! After having been, now I understand how people can spend a whole day or more inside this grand museum. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the ancient Greek sculptures in person. Specifically, and as shown in the photos below, Venus de Milo (Aphrodite), the Winged Victory of Somathrace (Nike) who I didn’t recognise at first, and the Diana of Versailles (Artemis). IMG_8296IMG_8341IMG_8375IMG_8327The attention to every detail in the interior of this place such as paintings on ceilings and gold trimmings on window sills, were all nothing short of breath taking. I can imagine myself looking up for hours just to marvel at the intricacy of all of it!IMG_8388IMG_8671IMG_8416Eventually of course, our feet gave way after viewing most of the paintings (rockstar Mona Lisa included), and headed to our next stop which was something I super looked forward to!

Shakespeare and Company

Maybe a month before the trip, my boss told me she wanted to take me to this bookstore in Paris. At the time, I hadn’t thought much about the trip since it was for work. Actually, I hadn’t the time to think about it until literally two days before we flew out! But the idea of this bookstore was what got me really excited to go since that day my boss mentioned it. IMG_8616IMG_8483Not only was it the venue for the opening scene in one of my most favorite movies of all time (Look up: Before Sunset), but it also turned out to be a place where to find first editions and covers that are difficult to find elsewhere. You can go up the “attic” and spend hours pouring over first edition books which aren’t for sale. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a photo of that room as it was packed with readers and I didn’t want to be the tourist to disturb them. Ha ha!IMG_8469Everything smelled of old wood, and I absolutely loved every second of it! IMG_8464IMG_8610Two books: Alberto’s Lost Birthday by Diana Rosie and Darling I’m Going to Charlie by Maryse Wolinski. I had just finished reading Maryse Wolinski’s heart breaking memoir on how her beloved cartoonist husband Georges Wolinski was suddenly taken away from her as he was one of the ten who died in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris. +

Notre-Dame de Paris

I only had one goal before visiting Notre-Dame: to at least see one of the church’s old rose windows! Which we did and it was a beautiful sight! Of course I completely forgot about the flying buttresses, as I would later find out when my parents asked about my visit to the church. Ha ha! Thank goodness, we took photos of that side of the church!

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Dinner in Chez Ribe along Avenue de Suffren

I cannot stress how thankful I am that our hotel was located in Tour Eiffel. As we ended our touring day, we were able to go back to the hotel to freshen up and walk one corner out to Chez Ribe.

IMG_8987I thoroughly enjoyed the carpaccio, which my boss and I shared altogether with her order of Salmon. IMG_8739With my boss, Nana. Of course, we had to do the al fresco!

Would I go back? Yes definitely. Preferably for vacation and with a camera, not just the one from my personal phone!

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24 Hours in Baguio!

I am not the type to plan out any type of vacation/s. I guess I tend to be too focused on the daily “hum-drum”–as people would label it–of life, that I forget to look elsewhere. Brian, however, is always looking for adventure, despite the fact that he is more busy than I am when it comes to work.

So, recently, we concluded a 24-hour trip to and from Baguio (No kidding!) and I have to admit it has taken place as one of my best spent weekends I have ever had since 2017 started.

Below would be a quick list of what we got to do in the 24 hours we were in the Summer Capital of the Philippines!

1) BEN CAB Museum

First stop was BEN CAB museum. Please don’t judge, but what I loved most about this place was the view, which was a wonderful bonus next to the preserved artefacts!

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2) Chocolate de Batirol

Quaint place for hot chocolate on a breezy and cold night in Baguio. After Ben Cab, we headed straight to a pre-dinner snack (lol).

IMG_5463Looooooove the live blues/jazz performance by the artists while we enjoyed sipping our nutty hot chocolate drinks!IMG_5474IMG_5477Brian ordered suman while I got my tokwa’t baboy. 🙂

3) Chef’s Home

After Chocolate de Batirol, we went to have dinner with friends at Chef’s Home, which offers Southeast Asian cuisine. Everything we ordered were so good!

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4) La Trinidad Strawberry Fields

This experience was awesome! Mainly because it was my first time!! Ha ha! There is no entrance fee to the fields. But if you want to go strawberry picking, one basket (or one kilo worth of hand-picked strawberries) is at Php 400. Brian and I shared a basket and got to pick out 1 kilo of perfect strawberries!IMG_5663IMG_5604IMG_5585IMG_5554IMG_5508We even got to try strawberry taho! Yum!

IMG_561210 peso entrance fee to a flower garden to take this picture! These sunflower are two times my height!

5) Panagbenga Street Market

We visited the street market for the last leg of the Panagbenga Festival along Session Road (at least we got to walk around Session Road). I got to purchase extra cheap wooden chopping boards (P150 each!), which are perfect to be used for cheese/meat platters!

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My favorite part about the Panagbenga market is the booth that sells these paintings by local artists. 🙂

After the market, we headed back to Manila, just in time to rest and prepare for another Monday. Glad we were able to make the time to make this short and fun trip!

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Something just like this. 

I am writing this because Coldplay and the Chainsmokers released their collab song Something Just Like This. The song reminded me of a memory from not so long ago, which I felt needed to be written down. 

“I realize you are not the romantic type of man. One who gives flowers, write letters, etc.” she said as they were discussing their differences.

“Did you want someone like that?” He asked.

Her reply was instantaneous and firm. It was something important she felt she had to make him fully understand.

“No. I want you.”

In Photos: Lals and Gab sa Wakas!

The photos are in!

Thanks to MR Villar’s team, the wonderful details of my brother’s wedding were beautifully captured.

I am sharing with you a few shots by the official photographers of the wedding. Happy scrolling!

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The DIY invites which the bride, Lalee, laid out/painted herself!
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Lalee’s dress, with a print of her wedding on the left hand hem of the skirt.

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The ladies in the couple’s entourage wore tops with Lalee’s painting printed on them!
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The wedding cord of the couple, adorned with symbols that speak so loudly of who they are!

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The wedding rings on Lalee’s paper flower bridal bouquet.

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The beautiful bride!

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One of the biggest revelations on the day of my brother’s wedding was that my dad apparently knew how to play the piano!
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Close up shot of my dad playing ‘Bless Us All’ on the piano.
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My dad being his complete goofy self to my brother!

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Dessert table one: home-made pili balls, coffee panna cotta by the caterers Gorumet, and home-made chocolate ref cake!

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Close up photo of the Cello’s donuts! The kids’ favorite was definitely the Oreo one.

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Don’t they make a lovely couple?

Until the next wedding!

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11 Years: Love Wins!

My kuya (older brother in English),  finally got married! We waited 11 years for this! Everyone, and I mean everyone, had been waiting to see him and my now sister-in-law Lalee, get married. So when the day finally came, we were all overcome with pure joy that not even the formalities of a wedding was able to cap. It was, as most guests had put it, a very genuine wedding.

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Their DIY wedding invite with the bride’s painting of the wedding reception venue on one sheet, and calligraphy on the main sheet!
Sure, the videographers came in more than an hour late as they got stuck in traffic. Then maybe kuya ended up bawling behind my mom when Lalee started walking down the aisle (I would kill to get my hands on a photo of that!). Then there was the wedding ring. Lalee had a hard time putting the wedding ring on his finger. After a few seconds of apparent struggle, it fit and Kuya raised his hand ala Beyonce’s ‘Put a Ring on it’ to show to the guests that yes, the ceremony will proceed  as it were!

There may be a longer list of all the things that went [or could have possibly went] ‘wrong’ that day. But not a single item on that list, not even those I mentioned above, really mattered. Because on their special day, the only thing that had true weight was the celebration of their love. They made sure that their wedding day was theirs, a day that would speak loudly of who they are as a couple and of how big their love is for their families and friends.

It was a truly beautiful celebration and part of me still can’t get over the realisation that after months and months of the couple’s planning, everything did turn out as they should. That’s why I’m sharing the event here in my blog. Somehow, it won’t give the day justice should I just keep them in my social media accounts. 🙂

If you are a DIY kind of person, you will love the details that were put into this wedding!

For this wedding, I was assigned to style their dessert buffet tables, photo montage, and others. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share all as I have limited photos from the event. But, I will share with you some very special highlights!

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Photo by Carla Argoso
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Photo by Sarah Mendoza
They had two dessert tables. One I assigned for the homemade desserts (The Mendozas love their sweets!) and the other, I assigned to the couple’s chosen ‘Wedding Cake’: Cello’s doughnuts!

Both tables were of a plain off white linen provided by the caterers, a burlap runner, wood works by the Mendozas, ceramic trays, glassware and simple white Statice flowers in mason jars. What completed the whole look were Lalee’s hand painted food labels, and of course the desserts (!), as you will see in the photos above and below.

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Photo by yours truly
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Photo by Sarah Mendoza
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Even the kids enjoyed the couple’s dessert buffet! The little boy on the left, the son of our neighbor and childhood friend, had a scowl on because he hadn’t finished his meal yet and he already wanted to eat a donut, like my nephew on the right. Ha ha! Cute!

These are just a few photos I managed to gather from early social media uploaders (like myself). I cannot wait to see the rest! 🙂

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The breathtaking DIY-ness of this wedding didn’t end at the reception. As a thank you gift from the couple, I received these personalised note cards!

I am grateful to kuya and Lalee for allowing me to do this for them. This was my way of being one with them on their special day, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Until the next wedding! 🙂

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Projects: Giant Paper Flower Wall

The two weekends leading up to my older brother Gab and now sister-in-law Lalee, were spent for surprise bridal showers/welcome parties. Our side of the family wanted to officially welcome her into the family by hosting a surprise bridal shower for her. I have never planned a bridal shower in my life, ever. But I surprisingly had fun planning the event with my cousins.

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I was assigned to plan out the decorations for the event. This means collaterals such as the event logo, e-invites, and others. To make the event extra special, I decided to create a giant paper flower wall. It was going to be the focal point of the event for two reasons: 1) My sister in law is a very artsy girl and 2) who doesn’t like a nice photo wall?

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Creating each giant flower can be very challenging. I didn’t expect it would take so much time and effort! It took one whole weekend and two week nights for us to finish the wall, not to mention all the blisters that we incurred from constant use and abuse of a glue gun.  Ha ha, so much for foresight. It’s a good thing that my cousins went full force in this project, making the work so much more fun and lighter.

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Even my not so artsy youngest brother joined in the fun, too!

Here are some tips in creating your flower wall:

  • If you want to be cost effective, buy cartolina paper to create your giant paper flowers. Cartolina sheets from National Book store are priced from Php 5 each to Php 10. Buy the thick ones.
  • Don’t settle for cheap or flimsy glue guns– two glue guns conked out on us during production.
  • To make the wall, stick the flowers on your thin ply wood using glue gun, not any tape.
  • Patience is key to have fun!

There are so many tutorials in making giant paper flower walls available in Youtube. To view the specific link I followed, click here.

Everything went great! The main activity was a make up 101 session by make up artist Eica Decepida. Since this year will be full of weddings in our family, we thought it might be a good idea for a crash course in DIY make up. Everyone was so interested and so involved!

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2016’s 10 Best Memories

Now that the year is about to close, let me share with you ten of 2016’s best memories!

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1. One of my best high school girl friends, Eica, got engaged to her long time boyfriend Byron! It was an afternoon filled with tearful joy and excitement!

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2. Brian passed the BAR! After MONTHS and MONTHS of arduous studying in coffee shops, this guy made it! I can never be so proud of his attitude towards his failing the first time. He stood back up, left work, went back to studying and tried again with more determination and nothing short of his usual positive attitude. A no fuss, just do it kind of guy. [In photo: Brian’s sister Ate Jill and mom Tita Cynthia]

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3. We made it official! I never fully understood what the phrase ‘It’s all about timing’ meant until we happened. It took heart aches, a disastrous night [we like to call whiplash night] back in high school, 10 years of not talking, a random catch up over coffee, 9 months of dating, and here we are, wiser, more honest with each other, and still each other’s great loves.  🙂

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4. The closed silent retreat I attended this year, care of my Dad. I am ever so grateful to my dad for the opportunity he gave me to take time off from the busy world to just be quiet and have some time with my Maker. +

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5. I work in a company that brings in international brands. So coming up with our very first local brand was a real challenge. But as I look back to the months that led to our opening in August, and how the store performed in the months after, I would have to say our team pulled through and we did well for our first local baby project!

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6. When Ate April and Ozzy visited us in Manila from Malaysia! We ate [and ate and ate and ate], played, got sushi shirts and sushi socks, and even went on a very spontaneous trip to the beach in jeans and rubber shoes!

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7. When I turned 27 and realized there’s no stopping time. So we ate Paella and had Sangrias to make a night of it. “What’s your resolution, now that you turned 27?” Brian asked. My resolution was, and still is, to be a lighter person–not just in weight [Ha ha!] but in thoughts, in always choosing joy above all else, in keeping my peace by being more understanding and being more forgiving. [This is where you pray with me: God save Aix! Hah!]

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8. I SAW A BEAUTIFUL PEACOCK! In Kuala Lumper’s Bird Park!

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9. When my sister got engaged (!!) right in front of KLCC! After months of planning between the Manila team and the KL team, everything went smoothly, except the part where we forgot to tell Ozzy. The boy was shocked and hurt when he realized something was going on without his knowing. That was the day Tita Aika learned that Ozzy is no longer just a little boy.

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10. The perfect ending to 2016 was when my cousin got married to the love of her life. The ceremony and the reception were all carefully and beautifully planned, that I felt so honoured being part of their guest list! It was, for a lack of a better description, the perfect way to celebrate the love in our family this Christmas. 🙂

In 2016, we incurred losses, second degree burns, colonoscopies, etc. but the joy and love of family and friends as shown above made up for all of them.

Now we look ahead to 2017 with much hope and excitement for the endless possibilities the new year will bring. See you in 2017!

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