Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BFF’s Surprise Bridal Shower

Last weekend, my cousin and I hosted my bestie Beth’s surprise intimate bridal shower at NStyle DIFC.  We thought it would be nice to do a nail spa-themed shower since the bride-to-be is fond of having her nails done on a regular basis.  Yes, she is more kikay than I am!

We had two weeks to prepare for the shower.  I booked the nail spa for 8 people for a mani/pedi session.  The preparation for the simple decors was done in less than a day (banner & cupcake toppers).  Sugar cookies were made by dear husband, and balloons and bride-to-be fancy props including helium balloons were sourced from Party Centre.  Cupcakes were ordered the last minute so I rang Sweet Indulgence who I know can pull it off.  Sarj also got Beth an ube cake which is her ultimate favorite.  Everything was matchy-matchy to the nail spa, thankfully!

props & decors

sweets corner

It was a fun surprise but before we could all start the celebration, Beth was literally 50 minutes late, lol!  We were supposed to meet her at 4:00 pm but she had a not-so-nice day dealing with errands and client meet ups that she totally lost her cool around 3:45 pm and almost turned around to go home.  Thankfully, she had come to her senses and decided to still come despite her annoyance & frustration over her very tiring day.  When she arrived, we were already being pampered while two were actually done and just waiting for her to arrive. The nail spa treat was just perfect!

the Queen's majestic seat

fancy schmancy bling

We ordered a Shellac French Mani/Pedi for Beth plus a voucher for an aromatherapy massage for when she returns from their Scandinavian Trip for the wedding & honeymoon. 





We did two games during the shower.  One was the “Advice Game” where guests had to write down their advice for the bride-to-be, and the other is “Down The Memory Lane Game” where the bride-to-be had to explain the relevance of certain phrases, names or words that remind her of her colorful love life.  Some friends had chipped in because I forgot 3 important names that were part of her love life story, haha!

She blew the candle on her cake and then started opening her presents.  That was the most fun part of the night, hahaha!!

the birthday girl


ultra fun day for our dear friend







We capped the day off by having dinner at Dome CafĂ© where we were treated to a 50% discount, too.  How awesome is that!

happy, pampered girls

When we were bidding Beth goodbye by her car with all her goodies and balloons, she started crying and I guess that’s when everything had finally sunk in.  I’m glad she was happy with her surprise, and that she was touched with our little treat :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Perfect Lunchbox

Since my son started schooling, I have been on the look-out for the perfect lunchbox for him to use.  I want a straightforward container that has partitions for his food but sadly, the search has been very difficult.  

As much as possible, I would like my son to eat a balanced meal even in school.  Fortunately for us, our son is not a picky eater.  He eats everything we serve on the table.  He sometimes asks for sausages or fried egg but would ALWAYS eat the available viand with his cupful of rice.  I guess we have trained him rather well because he is the kind of kid who eats any vegetable and is a fruit monster in the making.  This works to our advantage because his little sister looks up to him as a role model, and that means that whatever Dade eats, Lexie eats, too! :)

During Dade's FS1 year, we would frequently get notes from his teacher advising us to pack healthy snacks for him. We were told that he would often ask for snacks from his classmates and teacher, especially when they are eating apples or other food that he fancies.  At that time, we were only packing biscuits or crackers which he probably never really enjoyed.  It was rather embarrassing getting these notes from the teacher so we decided to send him proper, nutritional snacks to school for recess thereafter.

Now that he is in first grade and his day is longer compared to his pre-school years, I've decided to send him rice in school for him to eat during his 40-minute break.  The rice meal would also be accompanied by crackers, veggie slices or fruit.  I had him use a Lock and Lock lunch kit meant for adults but I didn't like it that much because he had to open two containers and the plastic on the partition was flimsy looking.  With the limited choices we have here, I made do with what was available.

Until a few weeks ago, I saw my friend, Shelly post in IG her son's new lunchbox that he is using in the States (they have moved there just last year).  I was quickly drawn to the lunchbox's design -- it is exactly what I needed for Dade!  And cutely enough, it is appropriately called Yumbox.

It is sadly not available in Dubai so I had to order one from Amazon.  I had asked my son's godfather who was at that time on a holiday in the US to bring it home, and after a few weeks since I placed my order, I got my hands on this super cute bento lunchbox in Myrtille Blue.  

so excited to use it! 

It is a 6-compartment leakproof lunchbox that I have tried and tested myself.  It includes a tray insert with Pirate and Mermaid themed illustrations.  The 6 compartments are equivalent to 1/2 cup portions each of the following food groups: dairy, protein, fruit, veggies, grains and a small dip well.  This made things very easy for me to plan my son's baon for school because I now have a guide on what I should throw in his lunchbox.  It guarantees a balanced meal with healthy portions which makes it quite attractive for an OC Mom like me, hee hee!

uber cute illustrations

One of the major selling points of this lunchbox is that it is made with food-safe materials.  It is bpa-free and phthalates-free.  Bpa and Phthalates are two things I watch out for in every container that touches my kids' food.  

first Yumbox bento for Dade
wiped out! hooray!! 
the next day's meal.  yep, my boy eats ampalaya!

This lunchbox is designed by Moms and its patent is currently pending.  Yumbox is recommended for picky eater kids because it gives variety and a parent can be creative in terms of putting things together to make the meal more attractive and fun.  Whereas I don't think it is lightweight enough, it is handy to bring to picnics, travel or camping.  I have ordered for the original Yumbox but there is a version called Panino which has 4 compartments and is more apt for kids 8 and above.  It has a bigger section which can take on a full sandwich, salad or pasta serving meant for older kids.  

I plan on ordering another Yumbox for Lexie when she is ready to go to school.  This Spring, Yumbox will release their pastel line with slightly bigger compartments.  I will definitely get one for our princess, and I am already eyeing the pink one!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Passed!

It is that time of the pregnancy where I had to have my Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.  I had to endure 10-12 hours of fasting plus two hours of blood drawing and icky orange juice drinking last Saturday at my OB's clinic.  It wasn't really as bad as it sounds but the most challenging part was finding a vein for the nurse to extract my blood from.  My veins were hiding underneath my fats, lol!




I wasn't worried that I won't pass because I never had gestational diabetes with the first two pregnancies.  But still, I was conscious of the result just in case. Thankfully, all went well and that the results came back normal (my favorite adjective whenever my doctor or nurse talks to me!) 

And to treat myself, I had this for dessert last night.  I had to wait until the kids were asleep because sugar is not good for them before bedtime (spell H-Y-P-E-R!!)




It was so satisfying I am thinking of getting another tub for tonight.  Eeepp!!  Must. Resist. Temptation.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Preggy Kikay Me

Call me late bloomer but my serious love affair with make-up had only begun just a few months ago, and coincidentally, while I am a few months pregnant. 

Dear husband has been quite complimentary with my looks lately and I must say that I love how he is very vocal with his positive feedback on my exerted efforts into looking pleasant and presentable.  Compared to my past pregnancies, I could say that this time, I am at my best.  Ryan gladly supports me with my cosmetics indulgences from time to time, and is very happy that I am glowing as he is hoping for.  He had finally succumbed to the truth that when I am happy, his life gets a lot more relaxed and happier, too :) 

During our company’s anniversary celebration last November, Ryan said I looked like a Kardashian the moment he saw me with my fully made up face.  I asked my female Arab colleagues what he meant, and I was assured that coming from a guy, it is definitely a compliment.  I guess I scrubbed up nicely because at the gala dinner, my clients barely recognized me.  It was funny how they were handing me out their business cards and I had to tell them it’s me, haha!

lace evening dress from Mango

My make-up was done by Shiseido, and my hair was pulled up in a nice French twist bun by Nancy Salon.  Feeling great about myself even though I am heavy with my pregnancy helped me gain confidence to experiment and put on heavier than usual make up to highlight my face’s features. 

with Maricel from Shiseido.  this woman is now in her 40s, can you believe it???

As my youngest sister is into beauty blogs and vlogs, she had influenced me to try out certain ‘holy grail’ cosmetics that I should invest in since I am a working Mom with a job that is client-facing and requires me to socialize a lot.  Trust me, I do love lipsticks and I do buy them from time to time.  My go-to brand is Chanel which works well with my lips.  I also adore my powder, eye shadow palette & blush from Shu Uemura.  I started going for the brand since my wedding day because that is what my hair and make-up artist used on me, and I loved it since!  But in late 2014, I have decided to try out new brands as my sister had suggested, and bought these to add to my ultra-cute Beauty Box train case that my hubby helped me pick out:

my lovely St. Tropez Beauty Box

Nars blush in Orgasm

my favorite bronzer :)

best mascara everrrr!!

smokin' hot red

She had also suggested 2 brands of make-up brushes to try and I am so glad I listened to her! 

I ordered the Real Techniques Core Brushes from the US through Amazon for about USD 14 each set.  In our local Lifestyle shop, they are being sold for AED 175, which is ridiculously overpriced.  I decided to gift my sister with a set, too, so for a total of AED 154, I got two sets from Amazon including the shipping fees. 



The brushes are super soft and are definitely worth the wait.  They got shipped by Amazon Prime to Aramex who sent them from my New York warehouse address to Dubai.  For its price point, these brushes are truly bang for the buck!  I use them every day now, and I love their supple feel on my skin!  I wish I had known about them sooner!



I did splurge on another set of pro-make-up brushes and have set my heart on Zoeva Luxe Complete Set, much to the prodding of my little sister.  I bought it for myself as a Christmas present and was giddy happy when it arrived albeit past the holidays.   It was a toss between Zoeva and Sigma but thankfully, my practical side got the better of me.  With the price of Sigma Make Me Classy Essential Kit (12 regular brushes), I was able to purchase the Zoeva Luxe Complete Set (15 luxe brushes), and I am very pleased with this decision.  I also asked a friend who is into make-up brushes, and she did say that if it was her to make the choice, she would opt for the Zoeva set because it is more value for money.  So yes, thank you Mandy for helping me out, too!  I am now a proud owner of this plush set of make-up brushes which has earned rave reviews by make-up enthusiasts including Zoella





Now the most recent cosmetic splurge I made is this tube of lippie from Tom Ford:

my first tube & I love it!

My bestfriend got it from Dubai Duty Free last week, and boy, was I really thrilled when I finally got hold of it last night!   This hydrating creamy lippie is perhaps the best I have ever tried, and I must agree that it is worth its price tag (USD 50 for a lippie is not cheap, huh!)  I have long wanted to try TF but couldn’t find them here in Dubai, and when I finally did, I could not see myself coughing up that amount of money.  Thankfully, I got a tip that the brand is available in Dubai Duty Free and is about AED 55 cheaper than Harvey Nichols and Paris Gallery where they are being sold at AED 240 per tube.  It really pays to research first as not everything in this part of the world is cheaper!



My sister had shared this link to me just a couple of weeks back.  So far, I now have 5/26 ‘holy grail products’ but I don’t intend to purchase everything on the list.  These are the only ones I am keen to get little by little:

photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Sephora website
photo c/o Amazon

photo c/o Urban Decay website
photo c/o Tarte website
photo c/o YSL website

I am delighted as to where I am now in terms of self-care.  I have never been so conscious about how I look or how I present myself in the past 30+ years of my life.  Now that I have kids who look up to me, I always make it a point to look good in front of them especially when we are going out as a family or when I am in school for an activity or programme.  I want to set a good example to my daughter so she would value the habit of good grooming later on in life.  I don’t ever want to each a point where my children would call me as “losyang” because truth be told, that would really, really hurt.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Gift for Baby A

As the Dubai Shopping Festival is now in full swing, we have begun buying stuff for our home that we actually need.  We patiently waited for the start of the promotions to be able to buy them at cheaper prices.  We had on our list a heavy duty home/office printer, a transformer (from 110v to 220v), a mouse to replace my busted one, and a new bread toaster. 

As we were at the mall looking around for some really good deals, I chanced upon this baby carrier in Mothercare slashed at 50% off its original price:




I couldn’t believe my eyes as I know ErgoBaby Carrier is a bit on the expensive side.  They sell for USD 115 on Amazon, and locally, Mumzworld sells them for AED 425 at their online shop. It was just the right timing as I was planning on getting a new baby carrier with better user reviews.  I immediately sent a question to the Mommy forum where I am a member of (n@wie here!), and got good feedback so off we went to buy the original carrier last night.  I did change my mind, however, after bumping into another Filipina Mom at Carrefour wearing the Sport one with her baby as she did say the Sport is a lot lighter and is more appropriate for the climate here in the Middle East.  I dashed back to Mothercare and had it exchanged, and luckily, the last piece of Sport was still there!

red is a good, happy color!

The thing I liked most about ErgoBaby Carrier is the comfort it provides the baby and the wearer.  Its signature padded shoulder straps and waistband guarantee the most comfortable ride for both parent and baby.  The baby can also sit on the carrier safely and easily without his/her legs dangling from the carrier, and his/her weight is evenly distributed to give the parent a much easier time moving about (and less backaches, too!)  The carrier can also be used in 3 positions (front, back and hip) and when used in front allows the Mom to nurse discreetly. 

The best news of all is that dear bestie has paid for the carrier, and it is officially the first present our little one has ever received.  The only thing we need to buy now is the infant insert which I can locally source or purchase from the US at USD 25.  Hubby tried the carrier last night with Lexie, and here they are modeling our new baby carrier:

my little ones super excited with the new contraption :)

We will now ditch the Baby Bjorn which we’ve used for Lexie.  I plan on selling it through Dubizzle to at least get a portion of my money back.