Thursday, November 19, 2020

DIY Mommy : the #AngTwins' THREE-riffic Birthday with Elmo and Friends

I can't believe I have 3 year old twins! It still feels like yesterday when I patiently waited for my scheduled CS day to come and how Paul and I finally welcomed them in this world on that fateful day at 6 in the morning. It's been 3 years of living a purposeful life being called Mama by my intelligent, adorable and very sweet twins J & L. 

For someone who loves to plan everything down to the last detail, 2020 really taught us to be flexible, to be resilient, to accept change and to roll with the punches. As they say, when life throws you lemons... you make delicious lemon squares. Haha! Seriously, the year went by so fast and while it wasn't really a smooth sailing one, it's the year where we got to spend the most time with family. Before the pandemic happened, I worry that I might miss out on their developmental years as I have gone back to working full-time and I often wonder if doing so will make me spend less time with them too. I guess, life has its funny way of making things work and with my current work-from-home-status, I get to dedicate time both for work and of course, for my kids. 

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So, as soon as October rolled in, I got to work on planning for their birthday. Thinking of this year's theme was easy. My twins love Disney and they love Elmo too. They can sing the Elmo Song repeatedly while dancing to the Disney Clubhouse theme song. Paul wanted to go do a Disney theme as he's been pushing for this since last year but while browsing through the decors and props, I felt that a Sesame Street theme would be cuter. 

They're in this age where they can really voice their opinions and so, for this year's birthday theme, we left the decision to them. Needless to say, our little red furry friend Elmo won by a landslide and so Mommy got to work immediately. Putting on my brand manager cap on, I made sure that everything was on theme and within schedule. 

Jacob Liana 3rd Birthday
No family gathering or big birthday party this year though as we are still strictly following all safety protocols so instead of inviting everyone over, we decided to have a simple candle blowing ceremony instead and we sent over lunch platters to everyone in the family. Of course, a simple text message will never suffice so I created an invite and sent to the family to invite them to join us online. Since we wanted to keep it simple, I decided to do the invites myself. What do you think? ;) 
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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Unboxing with Franny : My BeautyMNL 11.11 Shopping Haul

As the clock struck 12, Paul quickly went to me and reminded me to check my phone. I knew what he meant so with several swift but careful motions, I tapped, I scrolled and YES! I've checked out. Today is 11.11 and it's the best day to go online shopping! 

Beauty MNL is also having one of the biggest sale across all their product categories. They have products for skin care, cosmetics, home, mom and kids, nail and hair care and more! I had so much fun shopping and I couldn't wait till today to shop so I went ahead and did my early shopping a couple of days ago. 

beauty mnl youtube
Ordering was a breeze as the website was very functional and easy to navigate around. I love how they have added in a lot of description and photos to help me decide which ones to get. After making my transaction, I immediately got an email and within a day or two, my package has arrived. How fast was that?! 

Since I rarely put on make up this year since I've been staying home since March, I decided to focus more on updating my skin care regimen since I want to maintain having youthful, soft and smooth skin just like my Mommy and Ama. I think their secret to their youthful glow was really to avoid putting on too much chemicals on your faces and they swear by investing in a good moisturizer. They also love eating fruits and drinking lots of water which I believe can keep your skin really soft and supple. So, that's the goal! To reach my senior years with beautiful skin. 

beauty mnl items
Whenever I shop, regardless if this is in physical stores or online, I always have my family in mind. I love how BeautyMNL is literally a one-stop shop with all kinds of products. They also have nutritious snacks and pantry essentials for the entire family. So apart from my own skin care shopping finds, I also made sure to buy some food items too. 

Check out the full video below to watch my BeautyMNL 11.11 shopping haul: 


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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Hearts and Bells : Let them eat cake

 "A party without cake is just a meeting." - Julia Child

Well-said by one of my favorite cooking icons. *applause applause* I do believe in this saying and for me, my birthday will never complete without cakeS. Yes, plural. I really love having a lot of cakes and while yearly, my family knows this already so we would have at least 2 cakes to enjoy. There are years wherein I'd get 3 or 4. However, this year was probably extra special despite being on lockdown (it was the first day of GCQ exactly on my birthday) as I got not 1, not 2, but 6 amazing cakes which we all enjoyed and shared with the rest of the family during my birthday! I was so touched with all the love and sweetness from my friends and family. One cake that stood out was this. It was from Hearts and Bells who are very popular in the wedding scene as they specialize in creating wedding/tinghun/customized cakes. In fact, they have been my sister's go-to cake supplier as they made her wedding cake and the 1st birthday cakes of my niece and nephew. Anyway, going back to my birthday cake. Take a look at it below. 

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Tadahhhh! I was so shocked with the size when it was delivered to me. For a minute there, it reminded me of our wedding cake. In fact, I think our wedding cake wasn't this wide. I had to double check if it was really for me but one peek at the cake and I thought to myself.. "yup! That's me alright." It was a ginormous creation complete with a teapot, a dimsum basket and even all the sauces too. I am so amazed at the amount of research, time and creativity that was poured into making this cake. Now, the real test of every cake is how it tastes inside. Can you guess which one has the cake inside? If you guessed the dim sum basket, then you're right! I am happy to share that as breathtakingly beautiful this cake is on the outside, it was also mind-blowingly delicious inside. The cake inside was banana chocolate and really I love this combination. For me, you can never go wrong with banana and decadent chocolate put together. I love how the sweetness level was just right and it stayed moist all throughout. The size was just right and indeed, it was the first cake to get wiped out as everyone just wanted more. 

Apart from their customized cakes, they also have their regular cakes which you cane order as a gift or whenever you're just badly craving for really good cakes that's within budget. My family loves chiffon cake as they can never take anything too sweet or heavy with cream. Chiffon cake has that perfect lightness and balance that we all love for our dessert. Together with my birthday cake, I got to also try to more chiffon cakes. 

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Hearts and Bells makes real good Chocolate Cake. It's smooth, spongey and the chocolate was so comforting that it's the best thing to enjoy if you want a bit of pick-me-upper. Also, having those strawberries on top just catapulted this cake to the top of my list. In case you do not know, our wedding theme was Chocolates and Strawberries -- two of our most favorite desserts and this cake was just what it is. We all enjoyed this cake for days following my birthday and it still never fails to make our day extra happy.  
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Monday, November 9, 2020

#FrannyCooks : Uni Cream Pasta

If you're going to sum up my life quarantining myself at home this 2020 -- it just be about 4 things. FAMILY. WORK. FOOD. DANCING. 

Actually, the last one is very new.. like 2 weeks new. Yet, I'm glad that I finally took the first step to be a bit more active as I've spent 9 months sitting on my office chair from 9am to 12mn with very minimal toilet, eating, walking-around-the-house breaks in between. Such sedentary life I've led and it doesn't help that I've been stress-eating like crazy too. Sushi Bakes, Milk Tea, Sweets, Carbs, Carbs, and more Carbs. I realized though that I can't just rely on diets and when I'm hungry.. I get incredibly cranky and moody and that's no good especially for the welfare of the people around me. So.. I decided that if you can't beat 'em (food) then just burn 'em (calories!). So yes, 2 weeks ago, I signed up for my first ever dance workout class and I got to say that I was super out of shape. I no longer recognize the old me who would go to the gym 3x a week, who is addicted to indoor cycling and who counts calories. Huhu... I need that "me" back someday. 

frannycooks uni 3
Anyways, so over the weekend I was so excited because I got a fresh tub of sea urchin (uni) from an online store called Meal Grocer. This is also owned by the folks behind Stip's Chips and many other food brands so you're assured that you're buying well-curated items from them. They've been my go-to for Japanese/Korean ingredients and it was just perfect timing that I chanced upon Jan's announcement that they got a new batch of uni arriving last Saturday. I held back for a bit but eventually, I caved. Transaction was a breeze and also ordered a tube of wasabi to go with it too. Within an hour, I got my orders here with me. 

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Look at how fresh it was! I was so busy all morning till noon so I just carefully stored the uni in the chiller as instructed. When I finally got the time to open it, I felt my mouth water at these buttery smooth uni "tongues". I couldn't help it. I opened the tube of wasabi, got some Kikkoman soy sauce and got my chopsticks. I tried a few pieces and it was goooood. Paul wasn't in the mood to join me for my impromptu uni snack then but as he had it for dinner that evening, he told me that it was indeed very good. 

However, my parents do not like raw uni so they passed on this one. I do not want them to miss out on it though so the next day, I decided to use half of the remaining uni and created a pasta dish. It was my first time to make this and I did a bit of research the night before as I went through several uni pasta recipes until I tried to create one on my own. So.. here goes! 

Uni Cream Pasta alla Frannywanny 

What you'll need: 
- 2 cups of farfalle noodles or penne (I like these types of pasta because they help "scoop" up the sauce in every bite) 
- Garlic, chopped
- Fresh uni 
- 1 box of all-purpose cream
- Olive oil 
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: Chili flakes or lemon 
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