Thursday, May 30, 2013

MFO x googoo&gaga x Wooden Canvas Giveaway!

Here's a giveaway like no other! My friend Audrey of googoo&gaga is holding her first ever blog giveaway here at MFO, and to make it more than just the usual product giveaway, we're giving away something we are pretty sure you don't have yet - 2 Wooden Canvas prints! One is a googoo&gaga print, the other one is a print of your choice (can be a family photo, kid photo, a scenic photo of your fave vacation spot, or art that you like). Sounds interesting?

Here's the background story:

Audrey shares, "In March, we tied up with Wooden Canvas to have our prints done on wood. We've been looking to make wall prints for a while. I even had some done on canvas last year just to test. But I wasn't satisfied with the quality. Plus canvas wall prints are common na. You know how we always want to find ways to be different."

The result of this experiment is something like these:

Don't these make great gifts? Or something different and special to decorate your room with? Let's cut to the chase, join na!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will receive 2 pieces of 10 in x 10in wooden canvases. One will have a googoo&gaga design of choice (picked from the designs on their website -- The other is ANY design of the winner's choice. Note that production takes 10-15 days from the date winner sends in his/her chosen designs. Contest ends on June 12, 2013. Winner will be notified by June 14, 2013 at the latest.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back-To-School Midnight Madness Sale at Glorietta This Weekend!

Calendar this, dear readers! Glorietta is having a Back-to-School Midnight Madness Sale this coming Friday to Sunday, May 31 to June 2, 2013. 

Ayala Malls invited the SoMoms and SoDad to a sneak peek of what's going to be part of the sale via a game kind of like The Amazing Race.

We split up into teams and my partner was Cai of Paper Chic Studio!

We went around Glorietta to look for the best deals and documented our finds:

Keepsake/storage boxes at Papemelroti starting at Php59

Baby Couture diaper bag at 50% off, which now sells for Php549.88

Janylin flats with neon trims starting at Php399

Gingersnaps sandals for kids at 50% off, Php425 from Php849.75

Floral shorts from Kamiseta for Php799. Not on sale, but still a steal!

Basics for Kids Floral print dress at 50% off, Php272.50 from Php545
Aztec print sling bag at Payless, Php796 from Php995

Preppy belts for little boys from Spanish brand Mayoral, starting at Php485

Gorgeous dresses for little girls, also from Mayoral (not on sale but pretty though!)

Gingersnaps maternity dress, down to Php750 from Php999.75

Cute oversized shirt from Just G. I cannot remember the price but I remember this was a good deal!

These are just but a fraction of the treasures we found, and judging from what the other teams spotted, there's plenty to keep the school age kids, in fact, the entire family happy and ready to get back to school!

If you've got the time, and the cojones to join the mad rush for deals, thrills, and steals, check out the Glorietta Midnight Madness Sale this Friday to Sunday!

PS - Where did the summer go? I can't believe June is just 2 days away!!!

(Photos 2, 3, 4, 13, 14, 15 taken by Tammy David) 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Berry's First Flores de Mayo in Pila, Laguna

Almost every week, Berry would ask "Dada, can you buy me a wedding gown?"

I think it's not so much that she wants to get married, but more because she wants to wear a pretty gown. When my cousin Alessa and her fiance Jigger came over our place 2 months ago to ask Berry to be their flower girl for their May 2014 wedding, Berry was so thrilled. In fact, she's been telling everyone she meets, she's going to be a flower girl. Of course, the prospect of walking down the aisle wearing a gown, even if its a year away, is like the biggest deal for her!

So when our Tita Cora messaged me on Facebook a few months ago, inviting Berry to be one of the sagalas for our town's 125th Flores de Mayo celebration, I just knew she would love it! Finally, she gets to fulfill her dream of wearing a gown!

I know how challenging it would be to find the kind of gown I had in my mind, so I excitedly asked my friend Sheryl Laudico to make something for Berry (she owns an alteration store/dress shop called Alterrific in Robinson's Magnolia). I wanted something simple, but elegant. Princess-y without going overboard. So I thought of an empire waist, tiered dress with a sash. With Sheryl, I decided on the fabrics and colors, and we chose satin and tulle with a silk sash to create this confection:

I also designed the dress to have an accent piece behind the sash, a huge rosette with small rosettes. The sewer thought of clustering the smaller ones around the big one and the effect was so pretty! Very happy that Sheryl was able to bring my vision to fruition. I consider it lucky that I got to work with Sheryl who "gets" me, because they were able to execute exactly what I had in my head.

Tita Karrots said she likes Berry's gown, I should make and she will buy in all colors, ahaha. Do I have a future in children's formal wear? What do you think? Haha!

Berry was initially shy and didn't want to join the procession that Xavi and I had to stay beside her.

Eventually, she decided to hold hands with Arianna, her distant cousin from the Rivera side. She told me it was because "Her gown is the same as my gown." Awwww.

Xavi, this post is not just about Atchi Berry. You were such a supportive shoti, you were so behaved all throughout even though it was a very warm day. I am so proud of you!

Xavi with me and Lola Lorna

Tita Cora says Berry will one day be Rosa Mystica in her teens, and then an hermana when she gets to her 20s. I have to start thinking of gown designs for her then! ;) Xavi, I'll find a nice barong for you when you become an hermano too!

PS - Flores de Mayo or Flowers of May is a festival celebrated in honor of Mama Mary in the month of May. During the last Sunday of May, a Santacruzan is celebrated with sagalas, the Reyna de las Flores, the Rosa Mistica, and hermanos/hermanas going around town in a procession. It's a beautiful religious/traditional celebration that has been celebrated in our town for 125 years now. It also happens to be a social affair with relatives from all over coming home to Pila, Laguna to join in the festivities.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cult Beauty Brands + More at Taste Central

Every Sunday, I hit up Taste Central to check on new stuff. It has been a pleasant surprise week after week so far. So you could just imagine my thrill when Taste Central started selling Aesop online a month or so ago.

For years, I've been a huge fan of Aesop, the skin, hair and body care label from Australia. The packaging alone is so chic. They have a very old school apothecary feel to them. As for the products? Amazing! I have a couple of favorites that make me want to explore their entire product line-up. 

Fine, Taste Central only had four products from the Parsley Seed range, but I am not complaining. Because thankfully, I had just replenished my stash while we were in Hong Kong back in March, heehee. In Causeway Bay alone, there are two Aesop stores - one inside Hysan Place and another on Paterson Street, near the Isabel Marant boutique. I happily got to visit both while staying at J Plus Hotel, which was highly recommended by my friend Gretch Uy (thanks again Gretch!).

Anyhoo, back to Taste Central. I swear, whoever has been stocking the beauty shelves of Taste Central, has been doing a great job choosing brands. From Moroccanoil to Bumble and bumble, Tarte and Chantecaille, honey, you've got your pulse on the market.

Bumble & bumble Seaweed shampoo - when it comes to hair, Bumble and bumble is the perennial buzzword. It's a New York institution that has been around since the late 70s, and known not just for hair cutting and styling but also hair products.

Tarte cheek stain in True Love - I've been using Tarte for years. I love their Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush so I am pretty sure this cheek stain is worth a try too.

Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipstick - Chantecaille is a part of Net-a-porter's roster of beauty brands. Chantecaille focuses its attention on inflammation, which is scientifically recognized as the main cause of aging. Their makeup line is renowned for its natural look.

Apart from beauty brands, there are lots of great finds as well, from Chicco swim shorts to DwellStudio sheets:

Home goods like the Kenwood kMix Blender and De'Longhi espresso machine (not that I drink coffee, but it would be nice to have especially when we entertain people over brunch or dinner):

And not your usual food finds like trail mix from Fruitti Nutti and Belgian lace cookies from The Delightful Miss Joyce:

Some may argue that Taste Central pricing is higher than retail in the US, but when you factor in time spent ordering, shipping costs, and the convenience of not having to arrange for shipping to Manila and waiting for your packages (which can be anywhere from 5 days to 8 weeks), hey, that's the price you pay. If you can't be bothered, then that's reasonable enough.

For instance, I ordered the Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil "on sale" for Php2,900, which retails for $55 in the US. Add $7.50 for shipping and that's $62.50 already, or roughly Php2,600. If I have it shipped to Manila via Johnny Air, assuming I bunch it up with a couple of stuff so I can hit the minimum of 2 lbs at $5.49 a lb for Express shipping, and the bottle is 1 lb so I spend $5.49 on shipping then the total would be $68, or roughly Php2,829. Am I going to beat myself up for overspending Php71 on the product and another Php100 for shipping? I don't think so.

The Tarte cheek stain is Php1,650. It retails for $30 at Sephora and if I don't spend over $50, I will have to pay $5.95 in shipping. If I ship this with other stuff at $5.49 a lb, then I would have spent close to $41 for the product, which is about Php1,706. That said, my local purchase turned out cheaper pa!

Now that the possible issue with pricing is settled, let's talk about the shipping! OMG. So fast. I ordered May 12, Sunday night, and got my package May 14, Tuesday morning. Considering that May 13 was election day and a holiday, that's pretty quick!

Plus, love that the box is sturdy and the contents inside were packaged carefully with bubble wrap and paper cushioning.

Prior to this, I bought a DwellStudio zebra print throw from Taste Central and ordering and shipping was just as quick and efficient. Actually, shopping at Taste Central reminds me of my Gilt days, the heyday of shopping for deals haha. Always fun looking through the site, and so cool to see hard to find stuff that you won't find anywhere else. I guess that's the reason why items go so fast. 

Ha! Race you to Taste Central this coming Sunday!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Trouble with Tuition: How Parents Can Cope via BPI

Parents, with school year 2013-2014 right around the corner, we'd like to share with you another banking breakthrough from BPI!

Who’s afraid of tuition fees, more so, those dreaded tuition fee hikes? 

Not the parent who has saved enough to pay for their child’s education well into graduate school. But the reality is that, many parents get nervous when the time to pay for tuition and school fees rolls around. Even families, who live relatively comfortable lives, would still feel the crunch, especially when they’re sending multiple kids to school at the same time. 

Years ago, a mom of 4 kids was telling me of her plan to send her youngest and only daughter to a school which was not as fancy, hence, less expensive than her three older boys’ private school. Sounds unfair, but what’s a mom with a budget to do? 

Let’s face it. Filipinos in general, are not financially savvy. A Money Summit infographic based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Consumer Finance Survey of 2012 presents these truly shocking facts: But we don’t have to be part of this statistic. 

The good news is that, parents can do financial planning early on and get advice, before we have to make life-changing decisions for our kids. From talking to financially savvy relatives and friends, to talking to a financial planner or personal banker, there’s a host of options really. 

But if you are not comfortable talking finances face to face with family & friends, especially strangers, here’s one novel way of getting money advice – via the BPI Bankers Online App on Facebook! 

BPI makes it easy for every Filipino with a Facebook account to get financial advice by allowing us to have personalized conversations with real bankers from BPI. 

Each BPI Banker Online has his/her own specialty whom we can ask about our individual financial needs – from money management, building a nest egg, growing wealth, to borrowing for business. For the already money savvy BPI client, the BPI Online Banker app also features a connection to BPI’s help desk for account-related inquiries and other customer service concerns.

It sort of is like having a personal banker on speed dial, but even better. What’s more convenient than getting financial advice in between chatting with friends and liking their photos? Haha!

But really, the BPI Online Bankers App makes it easy for all of us to get to our financial goals faster, through expert financial advise and solutions. Which in the case of the parent wringing her hands because tuition fee season is right around the corner, could be as easy as seeking advise via the BPI Online Bankers app found on the BPI Facebook Page

BPI seeks to help improve financial literacy in the country by reaching out to the more than 27 million Filipinos on Facebook. Through the app, BPI encourages these users to become more aware of their financial health and to seek the expert advice offered by the bank’s pool of friendly and knowledgeable bankers.

The Jessica Alba Way to Losing that Post-Pregnancy Belly

Moms! Expecting moms! Young ladies who will eventually become moms years from now! Here's a tip from Jessica Alba, hot momma of two, on how to lose that post-baby paunch:

"It was brutal; it's not for everyone. I wore a double corset for three months. It was sweaty, but WORTH IT."

The secret to getting her pre-baby bod back at The Edit via

Actually, I can vouch for you that this works. Like a charm.

Unwittingly, I had done the Jessica Alba tactic and wore a belly wrap (just one, not 2. But I also wore a hip shrinking band) for 2 months (ok, I should have worn it an extra month pala!) day and night as soon as I popped Berry and Xavi. Well, not right after, but on the day we left the hospital, which was about 2 days after I gave birth.

This is me a few days before I gave birth

 Ten days after I gave birth

Xavi and me five weeks after he popped out

Yes, it was sweaty. Yes it was uncomfortable. Yes it bulged under my clothes. Taking it off after 2 months felt very liberating. But it was also a relief to have the semblance of a flat tummy after months of just seeing it protrude. Which was good enough.

Unlike Jessica Alba, I need to work on strengthening my core and toning my tummy. Now if only I can find the discipline to do plana forma and yoga religiously. Next week, promise!


Oh, I have to say that using a belly wrap  has to be used in conjunction with a belly tightening cream like Palmer's Post Natal Firming Lotion or the Clarins Tonic Oil. My therapist at the Clarins Spa says you have to apply a tightening cream or lotion day and night, and soon after giving birth to see the full effect. I noticed that when I gave birth to Berry, I was younger and my skin just bounced back  with no help from a firming cream. But since I was 34 when I gave birth to Xavi, skin wasn't as elastic and got a bit loose and saggy, hence the needed boost, ahihi.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Mom's Perfect Day at Greenbelt

When my friend and fellow SoMom Jenny R. of My Mommyology told us that our little "mommy gang" aka The SoMoms were invited by Ayala Malls to celebrate Mothers Day at Greenbelt 5, my initial reaction was like, "Spend Mother's Day at the mall? But wouldn't that be so commercial?"

But well, we've been celebrating Mother's Day at home most of the time since I became a mom, and we'd usually eat out the day before to avoid the crowds, so I was up for something different this year. I mean, why not, diba?

Plus, there was this fun part where Jenny said we should wear matching "Mommy & Me" outfits. The kids get to wear clothes from Gingersnaps and us moms could wear anything as long as we found it in an Ayala Mall store. So the Friday before Mother's Day, Berry and I went to Greenbelt to shop.

We first went to Zara, and found plenty that I liked. But I wasn't sold yet. I wanted something really special for Mother's Day that I could also wear over and over. Plus, Berry was getting bored and wanted to go where the kids stuff were. So Berry & I went to Gingersnaps right after.

Shopping at Gingersnaps has got to be the most enjoyable thing for me and Berry. Because there are so many pretty clothes, the dilemma really boils down to choosing which items we love best. These are just but a few of the items Berry & I liked:

So cute no? I love how dainty and yet practical their clothes are. I ended up getting Berry a pair of blue & white shorts and a white eyelet top, to match Xavi's blue & white striped polo shirt and shorts. I also found cute shorts with pink flamingos for Xavi at the sale table, and a matching shirt at the little boys section.

With Berry content, I decided to go take a look at the wheat print dress that I saw at Tory Burch back in March. When I tried it on, eeeep! It fit like a glove! I posted this photo on Instagram and all my IG friends agreed I should get it. Ahihihi.

Btw, I just have to share with you the shorts I wore that day. This is from Zara. They're the coolest shorts ever. It's like an asymmetrical wrap skirt but they're actually shorts. I've been living in them since I got them, because the heat just calls for something that's simple, no-fuss, weather appropriate, but with loads of style.

When Sunday rolled around, Berry & I went to Greenbelt with our friends Jackie & Gabbie. It became a mommies day out! Or day off? Hahaha. Ayala Malls prepared high tea treats for the moms, catered by Bizu...


When Berry saw the tables laden with goodies, she immediately made a beeline for it. Here we are caught on camera, choosing pastries for Berry:

After getting our fill of sweet treats, Mench Dizon of Ayala Malls brought us to the Butterfly Garden:

The kids loved it! Berry was both thrilled and freaked out with the butterflies at the same time.

Behind the Butterfly Garden was a mani-pedi area which was free for Moms & their kids.

Mench said that the ongoing Mother's Day theme for all Ayala Malls was "Music & Memories" and they hired musicians to serenade the moms celebrating Mother's Day at their malls. I think the mall goers enjoyed it too because a lot of them would stop and rest at the gallery, listening to live music while nibbling on pastries and chocolates from the high tea buffet.

Of course, while at Greenbelt we had to pass by Gingersnaps to say thank you for generously dressing up the kids for Mother's Day.

Here are our girls decked out in Gingersnaps, all busy holding on to Mommy's phone:

Here's the requisite group shot. Heehee. Notice that most of the little girls' hair clips are by Celestina & Co, and their sandals are Salt-Waters. Like a uniform!

We were in for some beauty treats that day too. Lancome invited us over to their store...

And I think our budding beauty enthusiasts had fun inside as well:

They highlighted their new luxury cream, Absolue L'Extrait which has 2 million rose stem cells. Very exotic and luxurious! The price? Php20,000 thereabouts. But if it will make Mama look youthful, let her go ahead and indulge!

Kiehl's invited us over too...

They had wonderful Mother's Day gift suggestions, such as their new Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, which is a treat any woman would love, mom or not. 

Soon after, my friend Tammy David, who was the official photographer for the day took our photo for posterity. Loved that Berry & I got to have a girls day out. Heehee.

Of course, Berry & I also enjoyed spending a portion of Mother's Day with our friends. We had a lot of fun, I actually wouldn't mind spending another special occasion at Greenbelt again!

*The high tea spread and all the Mom's Day events and activities such as the mani/pedi and entrance to the Butterfly Garden in Greenbelt was a special treat for all moms, not just us. Just reach the minimum required spend that day,  and qualified mall goers get the perks for the day.

All photos save for my IG photos are courtesy of photographer Tammy David
Related Posts with Thumbnails