Thursday, April 24, 2014

LINKED 04.24.14

Image source: #s 4, 1, 6, 2, 7

1.   This item has been the one consistent thing in my ever evolving life list/bucket list: to travel by train.  Oh, I don't mean getting from one point to another by railway.  I'm talking the whole luxury train experience - with a dining cart, sleeping compartments, the works.   This Bloomberg article provides a glimpse of various luxury train journeys.

2.   I like Mustela as much as the next mother, but I'm constantly on the look out for other - and cheaper - options for kiddie bath products.  I still want something mild for Alo's skin, and while I'm not really hung up on the whole all-natural thing, these two local and organic products - Supernaturale Olive Castile Soaps and Jewel Tone, which I've been seeing in Magnolia - have definitely piqued my interest.

3.   I've been finding myself curious about Taipei recently.  I've never been, and Pao and I are due for an Asian holiday.  I prefer a city holiday, and the Taiwanese capital seems to fit the bill.  I like going over this Singaporean blogger's travel pictures of her stay in Taipei.

4.   It's always a challenge to find an inexpensive but nevertheless decent beach resort that's not too far from the city - and specifically, in Laiya, Batangas.  I keep browsing the sites for the resorts there and they are all typically so expensive (hello, Acuatico).  I was pleased when my friend Joei wrote about her stay in the Palm Beach Resort in Laiya.

5.  For someone with extremely dry skin, I apparently have extremely oily eyelids.  So annoying.  Nothing I've tried stays put.   I'm looking for an alternative to the MAC liquid liner I've been using (because I swear, it fades in a couple of hours), and have been looking into eyelid primer.  I almost got the one from Benefit before I discovered this Nars primer that, according to one of my favorite beauty bloggers Liz, works well with eyeliner too.

6.  Speaking of beauty bloggers, I also discovered the Inglot Freedom System Palette over at The Beauty Junkee.  Actually squealed when I found out Inglot offers customization - an eyeshadow palette has been on my checklist too.

7. The OC mom in me was a bit upset when I could no longer find Bandette bottle labels in Toys R'Us.  Fortunately, Babies to Toddlers sells them online.  Whatta relief! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DEATH OF A CAD: A Book Review

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned - the last book I read was almost a year ago.

Speaking of fathers, I was overjoyed to discover a bunch of new murder mysteries on my dad's bedside table a few days ago.   Even better, the novels were British whodunits and they were set in small English villages.  Eeek.  I have pronounced time and time again my love for the village murder mystery, or at least, for British detective fiction.   Considering I haven't made time to read a proper book in months, I am so glad that my "re-introduction", so to speak, or my renewed attempt to go back to reading begins with my favorite genre: the whodunit.

Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton is about Hamish Macbeth, the bobby in a small Scottish village called Lochdubh.  Priscilla Halburton-Smythe comes home to their village, newly engaged to London playwright, Henry Withering.  Priscilla's parents throw a big engagement party for the couple, with grouse shooting, and of course one of the guests ends up dead.   Besides the village flavor, I loved this novel because of the lead character, Hamish.  He's a tall, ungainly constable with a shock of red hair, an ill fitting uniform, and a huge crush on Priscilla.   People often mistake him for being lazy, or mediocre, but Hamish has what the author calls his "Highlander curiosity" which is what makes him ferret out details that eventually leads to clues - and ultimately - the murderer.  The book is fast-paced and funny.   More Agatha Christie than P.D. James, actually, and for that I am extremely pleased because I have been searching for years for a replacement for Jane Marple and Hercules Poirot.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


So.  I had no idea who Todd English was (is?).  Pao and I were actually expecting English food when we went to Todd English Food Hall - as in yorkshire pudding, scones, kippers, and the like.  When I saw the sign by the entrance and caught a glimpse of Todd English's photo in one of their posters, we realized right away this was an American smorgasbord of treats.   

Salmon sashimi, the Amsterdam Burger, chicken dumpling, pork chops, and parmesan fries.
Everything was delicious.  And the place is good fun.
I was very happy to discover they served sashimi.
Look how tanned we are from our holiday!
We went after work - place was packed.  We sat at the bar by the sushi counter.
I actually like eating at counters, makes me think of dining outside the PI.
Anyhoo, this is my "last meal".  Tomorrow, I go on a diet.  Shall try to shed the pregnancy pounds!

Todd English Food Hall, SM Aura, BGC, Taguig


Another year, another summer with Futbol Funatics.

10 April 2014 
Day 1 of 10
Laz thoroughly enjoyed football last summer with Futbol Funatics.
(I really highly recommend their football program for younger kids and toddlers).
They weren't having sessions in Philam this year, so we opted for the Meralco venue instead.
Laz is back with the Beckham Buddies.
Everything from last year still fits - except for the tube socks!
Thank goodness for Bootcamp, hehe.
But wait!  Laz wasn't the only Little Potato on the field that day.
Our Bunso came to watch his Manong play!
Alo was soooo entertained.
He didn't sleep the entire hour we were there and was just gawking at everything and everyone.
Top L-R:  Laz as keeper; and on the field
Bottom L-R: Twooey chatting with Tito Earl (with Jeff giggling in the background); Laz looking mournful after getting his stamps after scrimmage (he was just tired).
Laz likes to volunteer for goalkeeper when he's tired.  I know my son.
I keep encouraging him to play field.  I worry about Laz sticking to being keep because he's young and he's a beginner - I don't want him to think this position is a fallback position for when he wants a break or a breather.  And he's missing precious field time where he can learn dribbling and ball control and such.  When he's older and better, go for goalie, but in the mean time, sweat it out on the field, boy!!!
(Sorry.  Such a stage mom, I know).
I swear, Alo was so engrossed.
I think we have another future football player here (yay).
(That's our house girl Lyn Lyn, by the way, with Alo, as today is their day to visit their Lulipops as well).

15 April 2014
Day 2 of 10
That's Laz on the left, and his friend Xav walking towards him on the right.
Action shots!
(Laz got tired faster today and, at one point during scrimmage, wasn't running around as much any more.  Some kids were all just go-go-go.  So much energy.  And I thought my eldest was hyperactive.  Hindi pala!  At least, compared to some other kids.)

22 April 2014
Day 3 of 10
I love this shot of Laz (taken by his Papu!)
Speaking of Papu, it was Pao's turn to come to football practice with the kiddos.
It was Pao and Yaya Nida's first time to come to the Meralco venue in fact.
(Jeff, our driver, and Alo are old hands, of course.  Heehee).
Tanned Laz, and Marshmalo, haha.
Protecting the ball

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Gluttony.  Could barely finish both slices of my favorite opera cake.

Pao and I admitted it to each other: after 3 days in San Fernando, we were both seriously hankering for mall time now.  We are such city dwellers/mallrats I swear.  After our breakfast date with Alo at Early Bird this morning, we headed straight to Magnolia and left both kids at home.  Aaaah, nothing like the lovely, cold, artificial blast of mall air conditioning.

Le Petit Bizu, Robinson's Magnolia, New Manila

Saturday, April 19, 2014


17-19 April 2014

Yes indeed, we went to Thunderbird for Holy Week

This holiday was a big thing for my little family - it's our bunso Alonzo's first vacation, after all!  He's only 3 months old.  While we obviously do not subscribe to the "baptize the kid first before you travel" belief (Laz was 1 month old when he went on his first vacation), we opted not to have Alo swim in the pool or beach just yet.  We figured he'd enjoy the sights and sounds in La Union - plus, there was Manong Laz to think of.  We always try to plan a beach getaway when Laz is on summer break from school.

We were having drinks with Laz's Ninong Jabo a few months ago in Manila, and JB mentioned there were villas available in Thunderbird Poro Point.  We mentioned this to my folks, they were interested, they decided to book, Jabo helped us out, and here we are.   Alo's first holiday - with Papu, Mamu, Manong Laz, Lolo, Lola, my sister Amanda, and Yaya Nida.

Let me just say though that while we had an amazing vacation, we are never traveling by land or via roadtrip on Holy Week again.  My gosh, it took us 10 hours to get to San Fernando, La Union.  In NLEX alone, it took us 3 solid hours of crawling traffic to get to Sta. Rita, Bulacan.  Traffic traffic traffic - in spite of SCTex and TPLex ha!  Next year, we shall fly.   Thank goodness Thunderbird was worth the (very long) trip.

Day 1 - Maundy Thursday (17 April 2014)

Snippets of our first day!
We left Manila before 4:00 a.m.
Took 2 cars.   Pao drove 1 car straight throughout, I took turns with my sister Amanda for the 2nd car.
We brought a car seat for Twooey, who slept most of the way, and the night before I prepared and presented an activity bag for Laz.  I stocked it with coloring books, stickers, tracing pads, books, puzzles (all from National Book Store).
Laz calls it his "Adventure Bag."  He loves it.
Twooey entertained himself by nibbling on my shoulder.
Here we are on bathroom break in the crazy confusion that is NLEX during Holy Week!
After hours and hours on the road, we stopped for a late lunch at Rose Bowl Steakhouse and Restaurant in Bauang, La Union.  They serve actually mostly Chinese food.
Twooey at this point had used up the 2 shirts we had on hand in his diaper bag so he had to wear his Manong Laz's extra tee.
Photobombed by Auntie Amanda!
Laz, at this point, was super grumpy from having been stuck in the car for so long.
Quick family picture.  Twooey oblivious and Laz barely capable of cracking a smile.

We arrived in San Fernando at around 1:30 p.m. Phew!  Thunderbird is inside the Poro Point Freeport Zone.  Pao and my dad checked in and we headed directly to Villa 959, which is a 2-bedroom villa with a maid's quarters.  (It has a bunk bed and it's own bathroom.  Very convenient.  You can actually bring a driver, and have yaya or whoever just sleep in the living room.  Warning though: you need to bring a fan for the maid's room).

Here's Lolo Jolan checking everything out.
And here's Laz trying to do the same.
Both bedrooms are in the 2nd floor, each with its own bathroom.
The 2nd bedroom is teeny tiny though.   Next time we'll get a 3-bedroom villa.
There's a balcony on the 2nd floor too, in the hallway between the 2 bedrooms.  Perfect for hanging out your wet swimgear.  The kitchen is fully functional - there's an oven, microwave, fridge, cooking equipment and dining sets.
Patajo boys snuggling on our bed.  (Poor Alo, pinanggigilan uli ni Manong).
We went to explore the resort after we unpacked and rested for a bit.
That's the main building where the front desk is.  Also where you'll find Olives, which seems to be the only restaurant in Thunderbird.
From a wide veranda in the main building, you head down a flight of steps to get the the pool area.  Beyond that, as you can see, is the ocean.
This is the big pool.  There's a smaller pool for kids off the other side, with a little playground.
The big pool is very shallow, and there's a wide ledge by the edge where kids can frolic safely.
That's the ledge I was talking about.
Plenty of lounge chairs and tables around the pool too.  You can order food and drinks there from Olives.
You can catch a glimpse of the little playground.  
There's a "Water Fun" area too, sort of like paint ball but with water guns.
Since it was late afternoon, we opted to stay in the pool area on our first day.
We just dab Laz's toes with water, but he stayed in the sidelines.
(I'm all wrapped up in board shorts and rashguards.  This is officially the summer when I said good-bye forever to bikinis.  My post-pregnancy body so cannot handle it anymore, har har).

We dropped by to say "hello" to Team Valero - they literally lived 2 doors down from our villa.  My dad whipped up his famous spaghetti and we dined at home.  It was windy that evening - sarap ng breeze!  No night life nearby, so we watched videos and turned in early.

Day 2 - Good Friday (18 April 2014)

We hit the beach immediately after the buffet breakfast over at Olives.
That's Laz, far left, with his Auntie Amanda and Lola.
Look at our Michelin Baby.  The Pillsbury Kid.  Pao calls him Marshmalo.
He didn't swim but we stripped him down to his nappies because it was hot.
He sat in the shade with his yaya, cooing at the sand and whatever shell Laz would bring him.
Our Marshmalo by the sea for the first time.
We hit the pool afterwards.
Then lunch at Olives.
Then we visited Jabo, Luzan and Chace.
I went home to put Alo down for his nap but Pao and Laz stayed on for scotch and kites.
Little man in his bucket hat.
My mom, sister and I drove around for a bit in San Fernando that afternoon, then we all went back home for dinner.
Last day tomorrow, ack!

Day 3 - Holy Saturday (19 April 2014)

Quick breakfast on our last day!
We hit the beach first after breakfast.  Swam and went kayaking.
Something bit Laz in the water.  Thank goodness, one of the guests was a doctor and noticed us at the First Aid station.  They didn't have anything for the bites, but the kind doctor gave us antihisthamine and ointment for Laz.  Crisis averted!
We didn't have time for a dip in the pool anymore after that since we had to pack and get ready for check out.  
At last - a decent mother-and-son photo with my youngest.
We had lunch in Olives again, then headed home.
Traffic was kinder on the way back, thank heavens!  Took us about 6 hours and it was home sweet home.

We have more photos in Pao's iPhone.  He got those waterproof shockproof everything-proof Lifeproof cases and we used his phone for most of our pool/beach shots.  I'll update this post with his photos and my dad's as well.

We all had such a great time!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Hallo there!  We are all packed and prepped (with a new camera to boot) - we ride out early tomorrow morning for... drum roll, please... Alo's first vacation!  Technically his first out of town trip was in Tagaytay, but this is his first holiday outside Manila - to San Fernando, La Union, to be exact!   We aren't too confident about having him swim in the pool or the beach, but we're hoping he'll nevertheless enjoy the sights and sounds.  Manong Laz is all pumped to go swimming, and Pao and I are just really excited and grateful for the chance to get away with the kids this Holy Week.  I packed an activity bag for Laz for the car trip, and we're fervently hoping Alo will be weather it all - even with the new highway, it will still be the longest car ride we've ever taken with Twooey.   A hyper 5 year old and a 3 month old in the car - eeek, wish us luck!   

Image from here

I hope you guys enjoy the Holy Week break!


16 April 2014

Hey cutie!
(Look at those eyelashes!).
Playing around with filters.
Got Alo a little bucket hat from Mothercare for our trip.
Our Bunso gripping Dada's thumb.
(Pao has similar "kamao" shots with Manong Laz here and here).
My two little boys have insanely long lashes.   I am inggit!
(Check out Laz here and here).

Alonzo's first shots with an actual camera (in lieu of a mobile phone/tablet - back story here).  I still have to figure out the lighting and such; the pictures here were taken in our bedroom and are pretty dark.  Ah well, plenty of natural light tomorrow when we hit the beach, yay!