Monday, December 9, 2019

Staycation Files : Shangri-la at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City

Long time readers of this blog will know how much Paul and I love going on staycations. Back when we were a young, newlywed couple, we would go around town spending our weekends at various hotels in and outside of Metro Manila. Even when we moved to Singapore, we would still go on staycations to celebrate our anniversary or either of our birthdays. Things change when you have kids, that's true. Of course, we spent their first year learning the ropes of twin parenthood and going for a staycation is no longer as simple as packing a small carry-on bag with clothes good for two to three days and to just head out the door with no specific itinerary in mind. Going for an overnight stay away from home with our twins takes a whole different production level. It's about packing their clothes ahead of time taking into consideration bringing at least 3 sets of buffer clothes, getting them to choose only a handful of toys and trying to negotiate while doing so as they want to bring their entire toy bin, asking for an extra bed also for Yaya M to join us, and the list goes on and on. We've been to three staycations with the twins so far and I'm happy to report that we've survived and they really had an amazing time.

The first one was the hardest as they were just 3 months old! We even brought our sterilizer with us and all their bottles too. The second one was just last May and that was when I realized how both my twins took after our love for staying in hotels as they would clap and laugh as they run around the lobby. After that second staycation, I made it a goal to take the family out for a weekend hotel getaway once in a while. Having a change in environment will definitely do all of us good. So, after the crazy months of October and November where I was just super duper busy at work, I took two days off from work for us to have our Christmas staycation at tantananannn... Shangri-la at the Fort at the Bonifacio Global City.

I had my office event at the same hotel and after seeing Adventure Zone, the in-house play area of the hotel which unfortunately is only open to annual members and hotel guests, I then convinced Paul that we stay the night at the hotel to get the twins to experience playing there. It wasn't difficult to convince Paul as we're both fans of the Shangri-la group. As you may have remembered the number of times we've stayed at most Shangri-la Hotels here and in the Lion City.

Related posts:
Staycation Files: Edsa Shangri-la Hotel
A paradise called Shangri-la
A weekend staycation at Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore
Weekend staycation at the Valley Wing (Shangri-la Hotel Singapore)
Back at our Shangri-la : Staycation at the Garden Wing

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We got the Deluxe High Street View room at the 24th floor and the view was amazing! I can just imagine how great staying at Shangri-la at the Fort will be this New Year's Eve as you'll surely get a spectacular vantage point of any fireworks display in the area. The room is appoximately 45-47 sqm which has one king size bed and has enough space for a pull out bed for Yaya M.

We stayed the night at the hotel on exactly the birthday of Yaya M and she was so happy! Well, she was indeed a blessing to us and to the kids so she deserved a little treat on her special day. The room was complete with all the necessary amenities such as pillows and linens, towels, toiletry sets, stationaries, a well stocked mini bar and fridge (which I had to keep a close eye on my twins as they wanted the orange juice in the ref so badly *sigh*), water kettle, iron and board, a very spacious closet and a 48-inch flatscreen TV.

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Of course, I had to check the bathroom out and it was beautiful! It was so spacious that the twins loved running in here and they would climb into the bath tub, there's a separate shower room and well a well lit vanity area too. I love it! I really got to hand it to Shangri-la for having one of the nicest bathroom design as compared to other hotel chains. I just love the marble flooring and the white over-all theme. It just makes it feel so clean and comforting.


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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

VLOG: My Evening Skin Care Routine with Secret Nature

Before anything else, let's get some things straight -- I'm not a beauty blogger/vlogger and boy, do I have so much respect and admiration for all of them after creating this 6 minute video. *salute*

Listening to my raspy voice while editing the video made me cringe BIG TIME and I actually contemplated multiple times whether or not to publicize this video for everyone to see but well, I've been sharing a good part of my life with you all for the past 12 years so I hope you'll all forgive me (or at least my voice haha). No judgements, right?

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Anyway, the reason why I thought of creating this video is because I recently tried this new skin care brand called Secret Nature which I purchased via Lazada and I'm loving the effect it has on my skin. Secondly, I do value having a good skin care routine as I believe that genetics can only go as far as if you also give your skin the TLC that it deserves.

Just a brief background, for many years I've been using a specific brand for my moisturizer and I never really have been putting on toner on to my face after cleansing. However, I had to stop using that brand when I got pregnant and eventually put my nightly routine on hold because... I got really lazy. As I turned 37 this year, I realized that I have to do something if I really want to have nice, soft and glowing skin like my Ama or my Mom. I realized that they don't use heavy makeup and they take their skin care routine very seriously. Case in point, my Ama, even while battling cancer and was in great pain from it would ask us to buy her tried-and-tested moisturizer which she has been using for years..decades even. My mom also never goes to bed without moisturizing her face. So, if I want to just be like them, then I have to get my skin care act together.

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Also, I have been putting makeup more often now than I ever have before. It's because I go to more events now, I meet more people for work and well, I have recently discovered how fun it is to put on make-up as it's also a form of creativity so while I am still on a high about my newly purchased eye liner which works so so so well (message me if you wanna know where I go it), I also know that I have to do a more thorough cleaning of my face every night as one tip that I learned from both my mom and my Ama is -- never go to bed with make up on. No matter how dead tired you are, remove all chemicals and make-up to allow your skin to breathe through the night. So, being the closet geek that I am, I started researching on the best toner and moisturizer in the market. Then my friend J told me to try her newest brand called Secret Nature and since I love J super super much, I headed straight to her Lazada shop a day before 11.11 and did my beauty shopping. Surprise surprise! :)

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Live your Dreams : Disney on Ice is back in Manila this 2019

"If you can dream it, you can do it."- Walt Disney

Life has been extremely busy for all of us. Balancing responsibilities at home, at work and elsewhere. Often times I feel that 24 hours in a day is not enough to do everything that you have and would like to do. As we grow up, we also tend to complicate things. Being around my twins made me realize that sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves to find the joy in the simplest things. How we have to stop complaining, comparing and to find contentment in what we have and what we are given. I thank my twins for reminding me that there's beauty in the world around us and I just have to take a step back to be less critical. As I watch them play, I love how they just let their imagination run wild. From trying to lick their pretend ice cream and to use Lia's beaded necklace as a stethoscope. My only hope for my twins is for them to live their dream. I promise to be the kind of mom who will be their biggest cheerleader and their most loyal supporter. Actually, Paul and I really do not have anything planned out like if J should be an architect or L should be a doctor. For me, I will allow them to go for what their hearts desire and to just be good at it and happy doing it. 

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This year, Feld Entertainment brings Disney on Ice back to Manila. Starting December 21 until January 5, kids and the young-at-heart can enjoy an amazing show that showcases some of Disney's heroes, heroins and well-loved characters. "Live your Dreams takes families on a high-seas adventure as Moana sets sail on a life-changing quest to save her island with the help from the demigod Maui." As the audience watch the story unfold, they'll also get to encounter more of their Disney favorite characters like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, sisters Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Rapunzel and Flynn, Cinderella and for the first time on the ice, Miguel from Disney and Pixar's Coco. 

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Back at The Grid Food Market (Part 2) : Bucky's, Le Chon and Bun Appetit

I got to say that with a little more than a month left as we close 2019, The Grid Food Market was indeed one of my favorite foodie places this year. What's there not to love about it? It has a very good selection of food choices and I'd say, they didn't stop at being "good" but they really went above and beyond by getting the best in the industry. Here, you get only the most authentic Hainanese Chicken Rice, the yummiest Laksa, the highly desired Lobster Roll and of course, you finish off with the best Chocolate in town and award-winning cake selections too. Even my twins love it so much that we spent almost the entire day last Saturday dining at The Grid. We had lunch, merienda and dinner there and we never got tired of it as there were just a lot of options to choose from.

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For my part 2, let me focus on 3 homegrown brands that has quickly made a name for itself in the foodie circle. One was first known for their ooey gooey, super sinful brownies. Another is the brainchild of a well-respected private chef in the society and lastly, well the only place in Manila where you can get the best Lobster / Crab rolls. I'm talking about Bucky's, Le Chon by Chef Happy Ongpauco-Tiu and Bun Appetit. These three stalls were one of the firsts to open at The Grid so I actually had the chance to try them several times since 2018. I think it's high time to share what I love from these three stalls and why you just have to drop by for a visit soon. 

First is Bucky's. When I was in the Lion City, I've been reading how my foodie friends are going crazy over this super sinful, deep, dark chocolates which started their story in the hip area called Poblacion. Later on, Bucky's started to introduce more dishes and owning the tag line "more than just brownies". I never really got to visit them as I rarely go to Makati whenever we're in town for a short visit so I thanked my lucky stars when I found out that they're opening shop in The Grid Food Market

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We started with a platter of Twister Fries (Php. 150) because my twins just love their fries. You all know how much we always have to get them those delicious fries from Beefier it was really a gamble when I opted to introduce Bucky's Twister Fries which they loved as well. *phew* Yes, we can finally have Twister Fries all year long! Even my niece C loved the fries that she ended up with her own little plate for dinner last Saturday. 

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Monday, November 11, 2019

G! with the Barkada : Greenwich Pizza Making Camp

I recently discovered how much I enjoyed planning the birthday parties of my twins. Whether we have decided to make the party big or small, I love thinking of fun and creative ways to celebrate their special day. I have an entire year to plan for their 3rd birthday but I'm starting to list down some ideas already. Time flies like a speeding bullet and before you know it, my adorable twosome will turn another year older *sniffle*. Can they stay my babies for a little while longer?

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Anyway, the day after their birthday, we were invited by Greenwich Pizza to join their Pizza Making Camp together with fellow foodie friends. It was only recently that we have re-discovered Greenwich pizza and we just love the Hawaiian Overload pizza. Yep, we are that kind of people who loves pineapples on our pizza. 

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I was so game to learn how to make my own Greenwich pizza and I had my little L who was ready to help me too. All participants of the Pizza Making Camp gets their own apron, a cap, sunglasses, name tag, some goodies, an activity placemat and of course, your certificate of completion. You also get all the ingredients needed to make your pizza and of course, the special dough. 

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

DIY Mommy : #AngTwins turn TWO at Sunrise Buckets

Get ready to jump into muddy puddles and celebrate with us!

You'll probably be familiar with the phrase "muddy puddles" if you have toddler kids like us. Yes, Peppa Pig is in the house and this was our theme for the second birthday of the twins. After the big party last year, Paul and I decided to keep things simple this year for two reasons:

1) My beloved Angkong just passed away a little more than 100 years ago and..
2) We just wanted to keep this year's celebration intimate yet fun with family around.

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I started planning for their birthday as early as March. Yes, not wanting to cram (which I still always end up doing) I started considering various venue options. One, a simple DIY swimming party with cousins where we can prepare fun snacks for kids and a heavy afternoon merienda for our adult guests, another option was to just eat out minus the frills and this, a party that's somewhere in the middle -- that's fun, simple yet memorable. Back in March, my twins were super into Mickey and Minnie and I thought to myself -- "PERFECT! A Mickey and Minnie theme is just super perfect for boy and girl celebrants." Then Peppa Pig and her family came into the picture and my twins are so in love with Peppa Pig and Brother George. It came to the point that they would cry if we have to control their screen time and one of their first few words was "Pa" for "Peppa". Oh boy!

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So, Peppa Pig it was. I just had to make sure to give as much importance to Brother George so as not to turn the party all girly pink. This time, I learned a lot from my friend I who's one of the best DIY moms I know. She pointed me to several stores on Shopee and gave me a lot of good ideas. Months before their birthday, I started online shopping for all things Peppa Pig. From balloons to banners, from party loot bags to cake toppers.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

DIY Mommy : A Look Back at the #AngTwins' First Birthday at Vikings Jazz

I never thought that I'd be the type of mom who loves throwing parties for my little ones. Sure I love to plan but I never thought I'd actually enjoy going through the whole process of thinking of a theme, planning the decor, the food and even the cake. I guess, motherhood can really change you and for me, it has made me a more creative and resourceful mom.

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Since my twins have just celebrated their 2nd birthday. I thought of doing a throwback and sharing with you how we celebrated their first birthday. As you know, first birthdays are a BIG thing here in our country. It's normally when the parents would really allot a bigger amount of budget and would go through the trouble of securing a venue months or even a year in advance. I don't blame them, after all, a baby turns 1 only once (haha) and well it's also a good way to celebrate 12 full months of sleepless nights parenthood. What more for us as we celebrated 12 full months of surviving twin parenting! Hooray, indeed. 

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the twins with their beautiful Ninang D!
Well, even before the twins were born, Paul and I agreed that we will postpone that grand clubhouse party till the twins are more "conscious" of their surroundings. We've attended way too many children's parties in our lives to notice that more often than not, the year old celebrant is asleep for most parts of his or her grand celebration. For us, that would be such a waste because while the other guests are truly having the time of their lives, the birthday celebrant has drifted off to lalaland. Also, we are very particular with the food. For us, a good party should have the yummiest food. 

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