Monday, December 27, 2010

4th Church Wedding Anniversary

I cannot believe it’s been 4 years since I walked down the aisle of San Agustin Church in Manila. Oh, it was a lovely day that I will forever treasure! It was the day we signed and sealed the deal in front of God, our families and friends.  Truly unforgettable!

We’re so thankful that we were able to celebrate our church wedding anniversary tonight. Much thanks to my friend, H who gladly took care of Dade while we sneaked in an exclusive dinner date.  How I missed having a night out with hubby alone!

We ate at Caramel, one of the elite restaurants and lounges in our centre.  We tried their famous Steak and Frites and Grilled Chilean Sea Bass that are perfect for a special occasion such as this.




Next week is another occasion not to be missed – our 5th wedding anniversary (civil), which we also celebrate.  Uh huh, two anniversaries that are only a week apart.  Cute, right?  



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!



Warm wishes from our family to yours! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Baby Can Sign!



When Dade turned one, my friend Mandy gifted him with a Baby Sign Language book.  It came with a fridge magnet that shows 4 basic signs that are commonly used, and we’ve placed it in the kitchen where we can find the magnet instantly and refer to.  I was ecstatic because I wanted my little boy to learn how to sign.  I got interested in baby signing after I learned its benefits -- can help the kids learn how to speak and expand their vocabulary, more advanced mental development, and enhanced parent-child relationships. But what made me buy the idea is the reduction of tantrums out of frustration (because the parent or caregiver cannot comprehend what the baby wants or feels).

Last night on our way home from the mall, our darling Dade signed “eat” to my delight. I fed him a huge jar of Hipp Pasta Twists with Courgette & Mozzarella and he finished it in no time. He was in a happy mood while eating because I was able to quickly tend to his need. No more clothes tugging and crying because we can now communicate properly when he’s hungry and wants to be fed.

I have to give credit to my husband who has been teaching Dade how to sign. He’s always been good with kids, and now he’s putting that gift to good use.  He teaches patiently to Dade which is why it’s not a surprise that the little one learned all his tricks from his Dad.  I’m sure my husband is quite happy that he’s the first to discover the many new things that our little boy does.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas goodies

…for my team, that is.

Since I joined the company, it’s always been a custom for me to give out Christmas goodies to my team mates.  After the restructure of our company around mid of this year, my team was merged with another sector so I had new team mates who by the way are the coolest people ever!

My hubby toiled late last night to prepare 3 kinds of baked treats to go to the goody bag – butterscotch, chocolate crinkles and gingerbread cookies. We have a stash of boxes bought from Chocolate Lover in Manila during our trip last year, which we made use of during this festive season.  I just added a red organza ribbon to tie the handles and placed a gift tag on each of the bag with handwritten names of my team mates.




For my two friends at the LD, I gave each of them a jar of individually wrapped butterscotch. I just added a red ribbon to the jar I got from Ikea to give it some flair.  I like it that the jar has some stars printed around it so it gave the gift a more Christmas-sy look. The cellophane to wrap the square-cut butterscotch were from Chocolate Lover from Manila, as well.  I am so glad we hoarded these items during our vacation last year. You can never find these kind of stuff here in Dubai, and if you do, they are priced really high. so it does pay to stock up on hard-to-find items, especially for packaging purposes.




I am delighted that they loved my simple gift.  It’s just amusing how some of them don’t want to open their boxes yet because they are saving them for the weekend.  And when they do see someone munching on a cookie already, they would ask for a small pinch to taste.  Talk about being greedy with their treats, haha!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Updates on Dadelicious

Just a quick update on the wee one before the year finally folds.

Swimming
We realized that Dade isn’t exactly fond of the waters. It took him more than 20 minutes to pacify himself the last time he went for a swim with his Ninang B.  Poor Ninang B had to get in the floater with him.  When he had finally warmed, the boy wouldn’t stop splashing water.  We took it as a sign that he’s no longer afraid. Yes, we could bring him to go swimming again soon!





Hungry
Dade gets really pissed when he’s hungry, that much I can tell you.  Just look at this face – taken at P.F. Chang’s Bistro.




He was able to finish 2 pieces of chicken dimsum and lots of spoonfuls of rice and spinach. He's also learned to let us know if he’s hungry by tugging at our clothing (it’s so cute when he tugs at our shorts when at home!) Dade’s also learning sign language now (thanks to Mandy’s birthday pressie for him) to avoid any tantrums when he cannot express himself properly.

Techie boy
My little one knows how to switch on my iPad, unlock the screen, swipe his fingers through the screen and play his Sesame Street videos all by himself.  Seriously!  He practically plays with my toy more than I do. Oh, and he also knows how to play Fruit Ninja and scores combos randomly.




Milk Intake 

Dade still drinks 4 cups of 6 oz milk in a day. He eats solids at least twice a day with cookies and fruits in between. This is a picture of him drinking his milk while we were having coffee at the mall. 


Dumping stuff
We noticed how Dade grabs stuff by his hand and then dumps it in a bag, box or bin.  One time we were supposed to leave the house to go somewhere and I was desperately trying to find his other shoe.  My Dad, who was here then on a holiday, suggested that he might have put it in the paper bag for disposal.  True enough, the missing pair was there! Goodness!

Now look what I found in my purse the other day.



Giggles
My son is very frugal when it comes to giving a smile or stifling a giggle. So it is a big deal for us when we see him give a warm grin or a hearty laughter spontaneously.  Like this picture for instance.


We were at Mercato Mall then, and we sat for a while as I spoke to Dad on the phone. Out of boredom, he and Ryan played with the silicone cups we bought from Tavola.  He would grab the bunch of silicone cups and shoot them in the paper bag, after which, the Dad would cheer him on.  He had so much fun doing it, he was laughing his heart out the whole time.

Come January 1st, Dade will be turn 17 months. So far he’s mastered kissing the hand (pagmamano) and give us kisses to make lambing.  He’s also trying to speak a few words, and sometimes babbles to us as if telling us a story.  He still co-sleeps with us, which I have to admit is the best part of my day because we get to cuddle a lot especially now that the weather is nippy and all we ever wanna do is stay in bed.  I really am savoring these moments before he grows up feeling binata na and all.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Arm’s Length Away

How fast time flies!  Christmas is just 6 days away now, can you believe it?  Have you done your Christmas shopping?  How about wrapping ‘em gifts?  Did you shop for the Christmas dinner already?

It may not be as busy in this part of the world but our family will definitely be super busy this week for the holidays.  We’ll be baking lots of goodies for my team mates, as well as for my Pinoy colleagues. I cannot afford to buy gifts for each of them so we’ll just give something home made with love.  Goodluck to me & my hubby who will be working on a tiny urban kitchen this week, hihi!

I'm glad we have bought all Christmas pressies for our families and friends here, and had them all wrapped already. Our tree has been put up 3 weeks ago, and it’s brimming with gifts underneath – mostly gifts for Dade’s friends here in Dubai. We’re also half done shopping for ingredients for the food to be prepared for our Noche Buena feast. Now all we need to do is keep the house clean, cook food and welcome our guests on the evening of the 24th.

The Christmas atmosphere may not be as jolly or busy as back home, but we will make do with what we have and we will try to make it special for our little boy.  We’ve always been home for the holidays every year, except in 2007, so it’s a bit difficult to be away this year. we’re missing the get-togethers, meet-ups, the Christmas songs played wherever we go, the rush that the holiday season brings…haaayyy!!

Well, if there’s one thing that made me and hubby smile last weekend, it was this precious little bag that has one of the things that make up a Filipino Christmas.



that ham 

Now we just need to buy queso de bola and we’re all set.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dade's (and hubby's) First Metro ride

Dubai's own railway system opened September of last year. However, it took us months before we finally had a chance to ride it because we didn’t find any reason to take it in the first place. My first ride was around May, and I was with my cousin S. We took it from Mall of the Emirates to her apartment, 21st Century Tower which is just right in front of the Financial Centre Station (yep, a 10-minute walk from my office building).

Last month, we were invited to come celebrate our friends’ daughter’s 6th month birthday at their flat in Dubai Marina. Ryan and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take the train with the little one since the JBR Station is just right next to our friends’ building.  And since it’s difficult to get a parking spot at Dubai Marina, we thought of taking the Metro and just leave our car in a mall in the other side of town.

Here’s a picture of our wee one on our way to JBR station:




The trip was long, I tell ya! It took us 45 minutes from Deira City Centre Station to JBR Station, which would normally take a little over 20 minutes by car at the maximum speed limit. It has a lot of stops so you can tell the little boy became fussy towards the middle of the ride. Despite our level best to entertain him with the view outside, he still insisted on getting off my lap and walking around, which we prevented him to do so and much to his dismay!

We were relieved when we finally had to get off our stop because the boy was annoyed already.  Good thing he was entertained by the walkalator so he was back to his usual self before we arrived at our destination.

The ride back went way smoothly because Dade was already tired then. but before he fell asleep, I took this picture of him and the Daddy as a little keepsake.




Monday, November 29, 2010

Head Bang

This year has been tough on me, physically. I caught flu twice, and had a UTI attack once. And just last week, I had to go and see a doctor because I was having frequent terrible headaches.

But among my trips to the ER this year, the most recent one was the worst. I was so nervous because the doctor ordered a CT Scan the same day. Now i know a lot of hospitals take advantage of the health insurance coverage of their patients by ordering several procedures that they don’t necessarily require, but I don’t mind at all especially if that procedure is needed to rule out certain illnesses.  However, it’s not reassuring to hear that you’d be subjected to a CT Scan when you’re suffering from a massive headache that isn’t going away.


that hospital tag
Here’s how the intimidating machine looks like:



It didn’t take that long but I was super nervous the whole time.  I asked my boys to go home and leave me there because I didn’t want them to wait that long for the procedure and results.

I was relieved when the doctor told me my CT Scan results were negative.  Diagnosis was migraine, and I was asked to see a neurologist within the same week for follow up. The neurologist said the same thing but he was able to point out why I get my migraine attacks, and it’s all because of stress.  I also have tension headaches to top it all off.  I now officially belong to the group of people suffering from this incurable, debilitating curse. This is karma’s way of letting me know that migraine is serious, and shouldn’t be used out of context.

Just the same, I'm so glad it’s just migraine and not something else. I'm quite thankful it can be prevented and is easily manageable with the right meds, healthy diet (goodbye chocolates, Chinese food & cheeses) and proper sleep.


I just hope there'll be no ER trips again for the rest of the year and the coming years, as well.  I cannot afford to get sick again and I don't ever want to have this kind of scare anytime soon!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Dade's 1st birthday supplier ratings

Warning: this post is a long read one.  Unless you do not want to be bored to death by my opinionated post, then I suggest you go to another post because believe me, this will take a while. 

It took me a long time to finish this because of the number of suppliers I booked for the little fella's first birthday party. So pleased that I was able to finish this before Christmas, whew!

Anyway, if you've decided to go on ahead and read this, well, just remember that I warned you, ok? :P

Here goes my super duper delayed supplier ratings.  Hope this helps.

Venue:  Northeast Greenhills Clubhouse
Location: #21 La Salle St. North East Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel No:  7260550
Capacity:  150 - 180 pax
Peso power:  P8,000 + P8,000 refundable bond
Additional charges:  P500 per power outlet usage
Inclusions:  use of the clubhouse for 5 hours (3pm -8 pm) & sound system
Rating:  5*** (highly recommended)

entrance to the party

We love this venue! I'm am relieved that the place was still available when I called last February because someone cancelled their booking (thanks to you, whoever you are!) The contact person, Ms. Marily was very easy to deal with.  She pencil booked us and gave us a week to pay the downpayment of P4,000.  The remaining balance and bond was paid a month before the event.  

When we were discussing about the decors, she even gave us options on how our party planner could start decorating given that the event fell on a Sunday and the clubhouse was being used for the Sunday mass.

A week after the party, we went back to refund our bond, and we were happy to learn that she only charged us for three power outlets for four foodcarts and one photobooth. Yay!  What we liked about the venue is that the place has high ceiling with beams that could be used to hold the swags and balloon drops. Natural light freely comes in, too because of the glass windows and glass doors at the end of the room.  It also comes with a stage, which is ideal for me because the guests at the back could easily watch the goings on in front during the program and games. There's also a park with playground, and most importantly, there is ample parking space with a security personnel to assist the guests.  For it’s price, definitely sulit!

Party planner: Partyboosters
Website: http://partyboosters.multiply.com/ (Update: They now have an FB Page)
Tel No: 6922366 / 0917 8985227
Peso power: reasonably priced (just ask Jacque for a quote)
Package: Booster Package
Booster package inclusions: 1 pair of 6 ft. balloon pillar for stage (mylar balloons on top), 1 entrance arch, 1 cake arch, 10 mylar balloon centerpieces, balloon stage decors, 18" balloon burst, floating balloons for size of venue good for 150 pax & up and swags
Add ons:  backdrop & standee "Dade's Party Is Here" plus 2 centerpieces
Rating: 5*** (so highly recommended)

venue decor & centerpiece
stage area

Jacque has never failed me…ever.  The first time I hired her services for my son’s baptism, everything was more than ok.  Even my referred clients were quite happy with her work.
She delivered beyond expectations during Dade’s party.  The place rocked big time – super colorful & lively!  There were also free add ons like the additional balloons for the balloon drops plus the buffet table’s arrangement. All I had to do was provide her the plush toys in the morning of the event, and when we came in the afternoon, it was all arranged.  She also supervised the event with so much ease.  She coordinated with the host/magician, and also made sure that all the prizes and give-aways were in proper order before we came to the venue. When Jacque saw the melted icing on the cupcakes, I think she was more upset than I was. At one point, I even saw her trying to clean up the icing on the cupcakes to be displayed using a spoon because she said they would look bad in the pictures, haha!  Talk about being OC -- like me!
For an event like this, it really is important to have a party planner whom you can trust. And I say Jacque did very well.  We are so pleased we hired Partyboosters for Dade’s party. It was a wise decision indeed.

Caterer:  Verleo Catering
Tel No:  3653315 / 3675082 / 4470896 / 3619379
Peso power:  P290 for adults / P130 for kids
Adult menu: 
Mains -- Japanese Fried Rice, Braised Birthday Noodle with Quail Eggs, Chicken ala Pobre, BBQ Spareribs, Steamed Fish Fillet with Soy Sauce (my favorite), Stir-Fried Assorted Vegetables
Desserts – Mango Crepe / Peach Almond Fruit Cocktail
Kiddie menu: Baked Spaghetti, Chicken Fingers with Garlic Mayo, Hotdog with Mallows
Dessert - Brownies
Rating:  5*** (highly recommended)


I’ve read a lot of rave reviews in n@w and in another group I've looked into so I did not hesitate to book them for Dade’s party. And boy, am I glad we did!  Most of our guests were very satisfied with the yummy food they served. The generous portions of food laid out on the buffet table gave us more than enough to take home, too.  They were able to accommodate my request on the colors of the table linens to be used. Two days before the party, my AE Angel (who is truly heaven-sent) called us to check up on last minute requests, and she even volunteered to deduct P30 for each table since we are not using their centerpieces.


They may not have fancy buffet table set up or special centerpieces to match our theme but they delivered beyond our expectations. The waiters were in proper uniforms and were polite to the guests.  Oh, and I also loved the fact that they don’t charge corkage fees for the cases of softdrinks (courtesy my friends, Mr. & Mrs. F of Coca Cola Tigers team) we brought. They happily served them to the guests during the party.

All transactions were done via email and YM – totally fuss-free.

Host: Flooch
Contact person: Jacque of Partyboosters
Peso power: please contact Jacque for the rates
Rating: 5*** (highly recommended)

kids, do not try this at home!

While planning for Dade’s birthday party, I only had one host in mind to book – and that is Flooch.  Imagine, you already have a host, magician & ventriloquist in one.  Lots of savings indeed!


His games, magic & ventriloquist show was quite a hit to all our guests.  I never wanted to leave my seat while watching because it was so amusing. Hubby & I particularly liked the games for the kids. They were unique and well thought of.  We also liked the part where he gave out prizes to all the kids making sure that none was gonna go home empty-handed.
We were also delighted that he used a gorilla for his ventriloquist act.  You see, we fondly call our little boy “monkey” (he was dressed up as a monkey during last year’s Halloween) because he loves bananas.  If you want a Class A host with a good command of English and an excellent rapport with both kids and adults, you can bet your money on Flooch.  Worth every peso paid!

Invitations: Business Shoppe
Contact person: Lhoelit
Tel No: 9973072
Peso power: ranges depending on the style and quantity of order
Inclusions: 2D pop up invitation with red, blue, green &yellow envelopes & sticker for sealing. Minimal additional fee for map.
Rating:  4***

Dade's invites

I never thought finding a supplier for a pop up invitation is that difficult.  I scoured the net high and low for a supplier in Manila for weeks, and was so close to giving up.  It’s either the suppliers’ prices are super expensive or they have a minimum quantity that is more than what we need.  Good thing I stumbled upon this supplier who gave the most reasonable quote and lead time.

Despite the negative feedback I heard about the contact persons in Business Shoppe, I took my chance and thankfully never encountered any difficulties when I chased them for layouts and delivery of invites. All transactions, save for one, were done via email.

I want to give them a 5 star rating, but because they printed the invites in glossy paper, I just have to give them a lower rating.  It was too late to ask them to reprint the invites so I just settled with what they delivered. The invites looked great anyway, and we received a lot of compliments from people who received them.

I carefully chose the wordings for the invite, and made sure that I incorporated phrases commonly heard in Sesame Street. The invite reads:

The Sesame Street Gang says,
“B" is for Birthday and "P" is for Party!
Come on over as we celebrate
Daniel Jayden Erix’s 1st Birthday
on Sunday, 1st August 2010 at 2:30 pm
at the North East Greenhills Clubhouse, San Juan City.
We hope to see you there!
This invitation has been brought to you
by the letter “D” and the number “1”.

Cake:  Les Sucreries
Website:  http://lessucreries.multiply.com/ (Update: They have an FB page)
Contact person: Veronica Ngo
Tel No: 0917-8566186
Peso power: ranges depending on the size. please do note of additional delivery fee & layout fee (layout fee is deductible from the total price of the cake).
Rating: 5*** (so highly recommended)

cutesy Sesame Street cake with Cookie Monster!
Let’s be honest, most people order birthday cakes for posterity purposes.  The cake’s design is the priority and the taste is just secondary because we rarely serve the cake anyway.  And because of this, we ordered a 3-layer cake, with two lower layers that are dummy.   We wanted our son’s cake to be extra special and different from his fondant baptismal cake so this time we opted for the “star icing tip” type of cake.  The cake is topped off with a large 3D Cookie Monster & lamppost next to it.  We know it’s usually Elmo who takes the limelight in every Sesame Street party but not for us. Hubby and the little boy are more fond of Cookie Monster so we decided to choose him for our 3D topper.

One can never go wrong in choosing Veronica as their cake supplier.  She delivers really well. Dade’s cake looked super spectacular!  We were so happy with the details!  The cake was also delivered early so when we got to the venue, the cake’s already there.  Special thanks to Dade’s godfather, Nick who paid for the cake as a gift.

The only comment I have with Veronica is that she takes a while to reply to emails. She replies immediately to YM when she’s online though.

Cupcakes & cookies: Cuppy Klyde Bakeshop
Website: http://cakesbycuppycake.multiply.com/ (Update: They have now rebranded to Sumptuous Cakes and they have an FB & IG page)
Contact: Jane Reyes
Tel no: 0908 5570277
Rating: cupcakes – 3*** / cookies – 5*** (highly recommended)

the cutest & yummiest sugar cookies in town! 
cupcakes with melted butter cream icing

Cuppy Klyde is the same supplier we had for Dade’s baptism cookies. I am very happy with how Jane works on the designs of the cookies.  They look like they’re done with passion – not just for the aesthetics but also for the gastronomical delight of whoever pops them in the mouth.


I originally ordered for cupcakes only, but hubby, at the last minute, suggested that we add the cookies. Good thing we did because when we opened the boxes of the cupcakes, we were disappointed to see that the icing has melted.  We picked it up on the same day at Megamall Megatrade Hall since Jane is an exhibitor in the wedding fair.  We suspect that the icing has melted during transport from Cavite to Mandaluyong.  It was a mistake that I didn’t check the boxes after we picked them up because we were in a hurry. 

I wasn’t able to taste the cupcakes, too, so I couldn’t tell how they fared but I guess they were yummy because they were all gone before the party finished.

Photographer: Warren Camitan
Website:  http://warrenjcphoto.multiply.com/ (Update: He now has an FB page)
Peso power: P7,500
Inclusions: 2 photographers (labor only), 2 locations – maximum of 5 hours, minimum of 250 hi-res photos stored in in DVD with custom cover and label. free 25 pieces 4R print (edited – photographer’s choice)
Rating: 4.5***

Warren’s a very easy person to deal with.  Polite, accommodating and super patient. I swear, when we picked up the DVD’s from our meeting place, we were late for almost 3 hours because Dade was running a fever that day, and he didn’t even complain!


What I personally liked about the pictures are the candid shots Warren & his 2nd photographer took during the party. The kids looked like they truly had a grand time!  It really meant a lot to me that they were able to take numerous candid shots because the pictures looked like they were telling a story.


It's also good to note that they were on time when they arrived at the hotel for the preps. They were also quick at delivering the pictures.  Less than two weeks after the party and we already have the pictures in DVD.

I wanted to give a perfect 5 star for them but because they failed to take a picture of the details of the invitation, the gifts & registration table with the registration sheets I made, I thought of deducting half a star. I'm a sucker for details eh.

For more pictures, please click here.

Videographer: Thor Productions
Website: http://thorproductionkids.multiply.com/ (Update: They now have an FB page)
Contact:  Thor & Carmela
Tel no:  0919 6752473 / 0915 9711901
Peso power:  P8,500
Inclusions:  4 hours video - one location, 1 Dvd copy of edited video with personalized cover and casing
Rating: pending

I couldn’t say much about our videographer because I haven’t seen the video yet, not even the teaser.  We booked Thor Productions because they’re the same team we got for Dade’s baptism and we were happy with the teaser.  More importantly, we booked them because of the quality of the videos they produce.  We wanted nothing less than hi-def, and we’re very sure this Thor & his team can deliver.

Guestbook:  Mediamonsters Productions
Website:  http://mediamonsters.multiply.com/ (Update: They now have an FB page)
Contact:  Liza Que
Tel No:  02 5159017 / 0917 5421717
Peso power: P2,000 (old rate for repeat customer)
Inclusions:  layout & printing of 20 pages photo guestbook with free pen/marker
Rating: 5*** (highly recommended)

lovin' this guestbook & the precious notes inside

Dealing with Mediamonsters is a breeze, as usual.  I just provided them the pictures, the cover & layout I want, and they did it in a jiff!  Layout of the pictures was nicely done.  Can’t ask for a better supplier.


Photobooth: Say Cheese Ph
Contact:  Zandro Gonzales
Tel no: 02 4374170
Peso power:  special rate for me since I’m friends with the owner but you can check their website for the rates
Inclusions: projector & screen, stop time, unlimited photo prints, custom photo design, online photo gallery, DVD to store images
Rating: 4.5***

caught on cam 
The photo booth is just as I imagined it to be. They have cute hats, wigs and other props the guests can use to take wacky pictures of themselves. The layout is also what we had in mind. Special thanks to my SIL & BIL who helped with the backdrop tarp!

Now you ask why i only gave 4.5 stars.  It’s not actually about the photobooth but more on the projector.  It had a few glitches which caused some minor stress to me & our party planner.  We really wanted to play Dade’s AVP created by his Ninong Armil.  I’m just so glad it still worked out in the end.

Guest name tag: Printbox
Email: printbox888@yahoo.com
Contact: Cielo
Peso power: P2.50 per name tag
Rating: 4***

Getting the name tags was a last minute decision. I ordered them a couple of weeks before we flew in to Manila.  They’re ok and they’ve served their purpose. I'm just happy that my request for various characters per name tag was accommodated.

The name tags were printed in a plain matte finish sticker but I wish I chose the glossy material.  When printed in matte, the colors looked dull and flat although the supplier suggested that based on experience, the ones printed in matte come out livelier.

Lootbag: Personalized Picks
Website: http://personalizedpicks.multiply.com/ (Update: They now have an FB page)
Contact: Catherine Manzano
Peso power: P105 / bag, minimum of 10 pieces per design
Rating: 5*** (so highly recommended)

colorful & useful lootbags

It took me months to decide on which lootbag to get for the kids but I found myself always checking out this particular kind of snack carry bag they have on their website. I decided that among the options, it was reasonably priced, useful and just about the right size. And so after several email exchanges on the design and all, the items were shipped to my in-laws in Manila a few days before we arrived.


I was super impressed with their work the moment I've seen the lootbags in real life.  They look like they were store-bought!  They didn't look cheap and the materials they used were the ones I had in mind. I didn't have the lootbags printed with Dade's name because i want the recipients to use the carry bags again. I mean, seriously, who would use a bag that has another kid's name written on it, right? Instead, we just made thank you tags that we individually placed on each bag to give them a personal touch.

Oh, and I just have to mention that when I told Catherine that one of the bag's zipper was damaged, she refunded me without hesitation. Excellent customer service indeed!  That's why I eagerly referred her to my friends and family because I know she will be able to deliver.

Foodcarts: Polkadots Events
Email: polkadotsevents@gmail.com
Contact: Jhoanne Paris Henson
Tel No: 0919 8047006
Peso power:  please contact Jhoanne for the rates
Rating: 5***
Foodcarts: NYFD, Waffle Time, Big Chill & FIC



The foodcarts were a hit!  I am so glad we were able to get these foodcarts at the last minute through Jhoanne. She was very easy to deal with and she pleasantly accommodated our queries. Quick to respond to emails, as well.


Bubble bottle sticker: Yooprints
Store location: National Bookstore Glorietta 5
Peso power: P3.00 per sticker
Rating: 5*** (highly recommended)

Although the bubble bottle stickers ended up being more expensive than the bubble bottle itself, we were still happy to have gotten their services. Fast and easy and convenient location. The staff who attended to us was kind and very patient. I think I changed my mind more than 3 times but her face didn't even show any sign of wanting to complain. The print outs were just as I wanted them to be -- they were perfect! All I needed to do was bring a picture of Sesame Street and give the wordings.  They worked on the stickers in no time, and within less than 30 minutes, they were all done.


Unfortunately, we don't have any picture of the bottles :(

Save the date: SIL Kaye
Peso power: free -- labor of love
Rating: 5***



My SIL is very creative! I knew that I could depend on her for something like this, and I was right. The way she's done the Save-The-Date was how I wanted it to look like.  She even made various options to choose from.  Big thanks indeed to her for the fab lookin' Save-The-Date for Dade's birthday!

******

There you have it -- my long-overdue supplier ratings.  Ok, next one is the Dubai party supplier ratings.  Wish me luck i finish it before Christmas...hahaha!

Thanks for taking time to read :)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quick Catch Up

My goodness! It's almost mid-November and I haven't even had the chance to blog about anything since the month started.  Am I that busy?

Anyway, as the world watches Pacman & Margarito fight today, I'd take a few minutes to write something short about how we are doing right now.


Dade's newfound friends

Last month, we visited Bessie B's new apartment, and we were thrilled to have finally met the dogs she's babysitting for her friends.  At first, we were concerned about Dade getting near the dogs because even if they're generally small in size, they could still knock him over, you know.  Good thing both Fritz and Alma are more on the gentle side.  It took Dade only a few minutes to warm up to them, and before we knew it, they were friends already.


three stoogies


We'll be hanging out at B's place tomorrow 'cos our long holiday is coming up (Eid Al Adha), but we heard from her that she already returned the dogs 'cos their Daddy has already come home.  Sadly, no doggies tomorrow to play with but we'll go swimming instead :)


The favorite toy

Dade's best buddy is Ernie.  My SIL bought this plush toy when she shopped for prizes and give-aways for his birthday party.  He loves this toy to bits!  It's so cute whenever we see him walking around the house lugging Ernie around.


little bub & Ernie

Oral hygiene

When Dade had his 15th month vaccination, his pedia reminded us about the wee one’s oral hygiene.  We were happy to tell him that we have been brushing his teeth since the first ones erupted.  Now that he’s a bit bigger, I got him a more befitting BPA-free toothbrush from Mam from the Softlanding.  We got the toothbrush cover from Babyshop, and his Earth’s Best toothpaste from Healthy Options in Manila.


oral care

I’m glad the little boy has no qualms about brushing his teeth.  In fact, the other day when I was changing his nappy from his “command center”, he grabbed the toothbrush, took out the cover and almost put the toothbrush in his mouth.  I just hope he’ll have the same enthusiasm when it’s time for him to face the dental chair the first time.

flowers, swan and a halloween pumpkin

Balloon makingMy husband has this thing about balloons.  Last month, our godchild, Zoei celebrated her first birthday here in Dubai, and we helped make some balloons for the ladybug and bumblebee party theme.  While practicing at home, these are what he had made so far:


And for the party, this is what he’s done:


ladybug


I'm proud that the hubby also has this artistic side in him.  It makes me happy that I have a supportive partner when it comes to my arts and crafts.  Truth is when I stumble upon a road block while I’m working on my arts and crafts stuff, he’s always there to suggest a solution.

Starbucks ice cream
yep, you heard that right.  Not only does Starbucks venture into creating coffee concoctions, but they also sell ice cream under their famed name. But these creamy-licious sweets are only available in supermarkets, stocked right next to Ben & Jerry’s, Baskin’ Robbins and Haagen Daazs.  We tried the caramel macchiato flavor which rocked my tastebuds the first time its first spoonful laid into my mouth. Yum-o!!


ice cream heaven!

Christmas shopping
I am proud to say that we’re 95% done with our Christmas shopping.  We started real early, like around August if I remember it correctly.  We took advantage of all the promotions we’ve seen around the malls, and we’re pretty lucky we scored a lot of pretty good stuff, especially for the kids.  Last week, we’ve also sent our cargo box for our families back home. I hope they come in time for the holidays.

Now all I need to do is put up the Christmas tree so I can start wrapping ‘em gifts. But first, I need to find 800 white rice lights for my tree.  And so the hunt begins!

********

So there, a bit of an update from my side after weeks of being so quiet. I have so much stuff to blog about, and I hope to be able to do that during the Eid break. We’re getting 4 days off so that’s a very long weekend for me…hooray!!

'Til next time, folks!  Take care.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just Kidding Loot

Ok, I know my son has already loads of stuff to fill his room, but the Mom in me just couldn’t help buying him treats when I saw that Just Kidding was having a clearance sale both in their online shop and warehouse in Al Quoz.

I've always wanted Dwell Baby stuff for our Dadelicious but I admit I'm too stingy to spend on toys that are worth more than AED 100 (USD 28).  When I saw that their prices went down to as low as 70% off their regular price, I did a mad dash to the Al Quoz Warehouse last Saturday to check out the items.

I scored a couple of hand puppets that are only priced at AED 18 each (barely 
USD 5), originally with a AED 75 price tag. I’m glad Dade adores them!  I bought extra pieces to be given away as gifts.



love the modern patterns!

I also got him this cute Babylicious bib for only AED 20 (a little over USD 5), which is adorable, but super useful.




I wanted to grab the Dwell Baby Mind Blocks, a classic toy which they added a twist to. However, I was taken aback when I learned that they’re offering only 25% discount in their warehouse.  I know for a fact that it’s 50% off from their online store so I decided to just leave the item and order online instead.  That evening, I did order for a set which are just the cutest blocks ever!



We also ordered the Skip Hop Swipes, which is a useful case that keeps the wipes moist and prevents them from drying out.  It can be hooked to the stroller or be placed in the bag, whichever the parent prefers.  It has a quick-draw opening which makes it super easy to grab a baby wipe with one hand when you’re on the go.  Isn’t that neat? Oh, and it’s BPA-free, phthalate-free and PVC-free, too!


I never imagined I’d be so hooked with baby/toddler stuff shopping.  It’s an absolute joy for me as a parent to find stuff that are dirt cheap, but uber functional and at the same time stylish.  I know a lot of Moms can relate to me but I’m sure the Dads are raising eyebrows already…haha!



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blackberry Is Love

Ok, first thing's first. Blackberry is here to stay. Hooray!!


Let me give you the lowdown on that.  last August while on holiday in Manila, i got a BB Message from my bessie B saying that the TRA in the UAE announced the cancellation of the services of the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) effective October 11.  We were all shocked and disappointed learning about this piece of news.  You see, a lot of people in the UAE, whether business people or not, are subscribed to BIS.  It makes it easy for people to communicate with one another, and chatting through BB Messenger is just the best thing ever in mobile phone technology :)

Anyhoo, we’re just soooo glad the ban was lifted at the eleventh hour.  And what better way to celebrate that than a complimentary coffee, doughnut, loyalty card and a Blackberry skin courtesy of Research in Motion and Caribou Coffee (yay, Canadian peeps!).  This promotion will run for 3 Thursdays in a row at the DIFC, Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates branches of Caribou.




I got my freebies this morning, and it sure did wake me up! Now i have this cheery self walking around the halls at work with my ponytail bouncing like a cheerleader’s.  See, told you I’m a sucker for freebies, haha!



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Empty

This is completely unheard of from where I am from.



Surprisingly, this Starbucks outlet didn’t even had one single customer when we passed by yesterday at half past one in the afternoon, and to think that it’s situated inside a mall.  It’s so strange because for a weekend, this coffee shop should be busy with people and not look desolated.  Hubby and I could not believe our eyes!

We bet the reason why it’s empty is because they don’t offer free wi-fi :P



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Whenever we need some small items for our pantry which we run out of or are not available in the hypermarkets that we frequent to, we always run to Spinney’s.  It’s just a stone’s throw away from our place which is super convenient for us to go to before heading home after work.



Last week, we did a quick grocery shopping and used our wee one’s new Infantino shop & play grocery cart cover that he got as a gift for his first birthday (a shoutout to Aunt Shelai &Uncle Lito for this dandy pressie!).




Allow me to share with you how the little man is enjoying his new take-away “upholstery”.

ooh, a banana!!

looks yummy!
hey, what's that?
can we go over there?

Not only can it be used for the grocery cart, but also for high chairs when in dining in fast food shops and restaurants.

I bet you can tell he loves bananas, haha!



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crystal Clear

I already had four people asking me this morning if I’m ok.  They said I haven’t been my usual self lately.  They don’t see me smile anymore, they hardly hear me laugh, and they just observed how quietly I work in my little corner.

It’s hard to take a short deep breath and pretend to say that you are ok when you are in fact not.  Sorry, I really just can’t hide what i feel.  I’m a transparent, what-you-see-is-what-you-get person.  It’s not my nature to say something and then show a different face.

I wish things would turn out ok for me in the next coming days.  Even I miss the sound of my cheerful voice.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sad Musing

Ok, first two posts for the day and it’s all about satisfying the stomach.  Sorry, I’ve been struggling to get some nice thoughts out of my system.  Truth is I’ve been wanting so badly to let out some steam.

Sometimes life can be really unfair.  I don’t normally complain about my life in general, but the way things are going for me at this stage, I feel that I’ve now reached a saturation point.  I am exhausted and frustrated beyond words.  I don’t think randomly shedding a tear or two in between doing something is healthy anymore.  I have to do something NOW lest I want to succumb to depression and later on to nervous breakdown (yipes!)

I just hope in the next coming weeks, things will improve.  I need to see some signs of progress because I don’t want to see myself going through this for a very long time. No one else can help me other than myself.  I guess I better claim for the best and pray that everything else will fall into place.

I keep reminding myself that I am too blessed to be stressed. I'll just immerse myself in happy thoughts until I drown.  That is way better than drowning in misery, right?



Free Coffee at Caffe Nero



This UK coffee chain has opened it's shop in our centre, and so one Thursday early evening, the husband and I decided to give their coffee a try.  I had vouchers for the buy one free one coffee so in case we get disappointed, at least we know we didn't pay for two cups and instead just wasted our money on one...haha!




We ordered Mocha Frappe Latte and Caramel Frappe Latte.  What’s different about their cold coffee is that they have ready-flavored coffee in their chiller, which you just have to grab. You bring it to the counter to pay, and then they will blend it for you with ice.  I personally didn’t like it because it doesn’t have that texture, and it felt like I was just drinking cold, thick coffee.

Anyway, free coffee is still free coffee, so what the heck!  I still have two vouchers good until November so maybe we’ll try & order other variants they have on our next visit.