Mothers Who Brunch Spooky Edition


Photo by Jay Santos


Photo by Jay Santos; styling by Boqueria Lifestyle Market

Wow. It’s already the 9th of November! Now before we all get into the Christmas groove, let me share with you the Mother’s Who Brunch event I attended last month because the where theme was Halloween. It was once again held at the Viking Range Showroom in Alabang. This is my second time to attend Mother’s Who Brunch (read about the first MWB that I attended here) and I’m always excited to join for several reasons:

1. The hostesses are brilliant! Mish of Momma n Manila and Sab of Sinfully Sabrina come up with fun themes and activities for the mommy guests. Last month the theme was spooky Halloween. It was a different kind of MWB because what would normally be a gathering of mommies having brunch together was made more fun when we were asked to bring our eldest kids with us! Fun, right?


Sab and Mish welcoming their guests to Mothers Who Brunch in the Viking Range Kitchen



Loving the pumpkin patch and the little boy’s smile


2. I get to meet new mommies with similar interests as I . Whether it’s the love for cooking, food, or mommyhood wins and woes, it’s always nice to meet lovely moms who share their experiences and passion.


Photo by Jay Santos

3. The food is always delicious. Mish and Sab, both great cooks, always whip up yummy dishes for the moms and better yet, they share the recipes with us. Look at the delicious spread during the Mother’s Who Brunch Spooky Edition. Uh-mazing!


Coffin Sandwiches. Photo by Jay Santos


Photo by Jay Santos


Love these Kale Chips by Mish. Great alternative when I’m craving for chips. Photo by Jay Santos


Mac and Cheese. Photo by Jay Santos


Popcorn balls. Photo by Jay Santos


This is my favorite. Graveyard Taco Dip. Photo by Jay Santos

4. They always have activities for the guests. Yes, I get to learn something new. Last month I sewed a Halloween loot bag for Lucas. The materials were provided by Ant’s Pocket. Ok, I confess, I am not too fond of sewing but with the guidance of Ann of Ant’s Pocket I successfully finished the bag with no injuries. Win!

They even had an activity prepared for the kids. They invited Engineering for Kids and taught them how to make ice cream. My lil one wasn’t too fond of ice cream so he joined me in our sewing session.


Sew, sew, sew! Photo by Jay Santos


Engineering for kids teaching the kids how to make ice cream. Photo by Jay Santos before Lucas went down to join me.


Photo by Jay Santos

5. They have a professional photographer to document the event. The event is documented by Jay Santos and he takes beautiful shots! I like taking pictures with my cam but sometimes when I am having so much fun (like during this event), I forget to take pictures. Most the time I am not in my shots as well, for obvious reasons. So it’s nice to receive an email from the hostesses with beautiful photos of the event and with me in it! The last MWB portrait shots were more special because Lucas was with me.


Photo by Jay Santos

6. The loot bags. Oh my, the lootbags they give away to their guests are the best! Pangkabuhayan showcase! Haha. They have the most generous sponsors. Last MWB loot bags had something for the kids too.


7. The event is awe-inspiring. To tell you the truth, before I had kids, Halloween didn’t mean a lot to me. I guess growing up in a Filipino household, October 31st would mean preparing for a day in the memorial park the following day and coming up with ideas not to bore myself to death. No pun intended. After the MWB Spooky edition, I was so inspired to prepare our own Halloween party that I immediately texted my sister-in-law about it. Too bad we had to cancel our plans because our schedules didn’t meet. Mish and Sab make their MWB’s beautiful and encouraging for moms like me who finds hosting an event challenging.


Thanks again, ladies!

Now…on to the Christmas spirit! (No pun intended again) :)

Mom-me Quiet Time and Blissful Mornings


I don’t usually wait for Lucas in school. I would just bring him and yaya to school and come back for them during dismissal. In between, I do other mom duties for the littlest one. Yesterday was different. I decided to let yaya stay at home and look after Marcus with my mom and I waited for Kuya. It gave me three hours of waiting time. Three hours of me time. A break from my usual crazy mornings.

Like most people, my  mornings are hectic. It includes coaxing the preschooler to wake up and get ready for school. In between, I also feed and bathe the littlest. Then I bring Lucas to school, go home for more mommy duties and pick up Lucas. That’s my daily grind. My mornings move in a haze until we get to school where I intentionally slow down to spend some fun time with Lucas before he runs up for class. Then everything moves fast again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my hectic mornings. I enjoy every minute with my boys. Sometimes though, and just like everyone else, a mom needs a breather. The daily grind can be exhausting physically and emotionally so I needed a break from the usual. That’s what I did yesterday (without abandoning my responsibilities of course).

A three hour me time is a welcome change to my daily grind where I am with my kids 24/7. After I brought Lucas to school, I went to a nearby coffee shop to catch up on my reading (and finally finished the book!), enjoy a cup of coffee and a warm brownie. It felt good to have that alone time. I had time to collect my thoughts and write them down. I thought about life, the blessings we are receiving and felt good about it. The time may have been short, and I may not be doing it everyday but this will be something I will do regularly because I felt more relaxed and happier after the three-hour break.

Whether you are working or a stay-at-home mom, having a quiet time is highly recommended. When I was a trainer and I felt my creative juices have dried out of seeped out of my brain, I remember taking a 15-minute break, going to an empty training room and I would just stare out of the window. After the short break, I would be able to squeeze out more creative juices to finish my work. Quiet time is a short retreat that rejuvenates the body and mind. It organizes your thoughts and refines your actions and decisions.

Quiet time could be a few minutes alone in a room, a short walk in the city, a couple of hours in a coffee shop of spa, or a bookstore, a couple of precious minutes in a bath or a few hours with your book, remember to take a breather. You will be surprised how much happier and more relaxed you will feel. Happier you = a better you.

Encouraging Our Kids to Express Themselves Better


It’s been a while since I posted about my eldest. I was back tracking my posts when I started this blog and I realized I blogged about him like every week. My Little Jedi is doing fine but he has gone through a lot of adjustment of being an older brother too. He has probably been experiencing emotions that he never knew before like jealousy. He probably doesn’t know how to deal with it too. I can imagine the confusion and possible stress his four-year-old body is experiencing when since we had the newest member of the family join us. Honestly, I can feel it has been tough for him. He has been acting extra loud and sometimes naughty but I am convinced that he is trying to get our attention. My poor Little Jedi.

He is also showing some changes in behavior even in school. He would easily cry especially if there’s something he doesn’t like to do. Good thing his teacher is very supportive and patient with him. She gives me daily updates about his behavior in class. She said my son maybe experiencing some challenges expressing his feelings. He talks a lot when he’s in the mood but when he gets emotional, all he can say is “no”. I am so glad that his teacher and I have silently made a partnership to help him express himself better and support him during these critical changes in his life.

His teacher talks to him more. She gets his attention when he’s crying. I observe her do it and I do the same at home. Slowly, he is able to express his emotions better.

I ask him a lot of questions when we are together. Somehow this helps him understand his feelings better. Here is a great article from that one of his teachers shared with me. This is
 to encourage our young ones to express themselves better.

30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How was Your Day?”

  1. What did you eat for lunch?
  2. Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
  3. What games did you play at recess?
  4. What was the funniest thing that happened today?
  5. Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
  6. What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
  7. Who made you smile today?
  8. Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
  9. What new fact did you learn today?
  10. Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
  11. What challenged you today?
  12. If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
  13. What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
  14. If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
  15. If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
  16. Did anyone push your buttons today?
  17. Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?
  18. What is your teacher’s most important rule?
  19. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
  20. Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
  21. Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
  22. If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?
  23. What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
  24. When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
  25. What rule was the hardest to follow today?
  26. What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
  27. Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
  28. Which area of your school is the most fun?
  29. Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
  30. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?

Mothers Who Brunch Goes Asian

I received an invitation from Mish of Momma N’ Manila a couple of weeks ago to join them and other moms for Mothers Who Brunch in Alabang. I immediately said yes for several reasons: 1. It was an invitation from Mish, a fellow TLA mom and who has given me so much inspiration from her blog, 2. The venue was at the Viking Showroom in Alabang, which is like a couple of somersaults away from our place, 3. It’s been a while since I have been out to meet new people, especially moms, since I gave birth to Marcus. I thought this would be a opportunity to meet and hang out with wonderful ladies, 4. It’s brunch. If there’s anything I like more than breakfast, it’s brunch. Um, who doesn’t? Hahaha.

Mothers Who Brunch is a brainchild of Michelle and Sabrina of Sinfully Sabrina. They collaborated to invite moms to an intimate, yet casual gathering where we learn new things, relax and get inspired to be better moms and wives. The theme for the brunch is Asian and our hosts prepared a beautiful spread of Asian dishes for us.

Since the theme was Asian, I finally had the chance to wear this Kurtis that I got from India last year.


Photo by Jay Santos

While waiting for the guests, we were served with Asian appetizers. I love the peanut sauce for the spring rolls.



Yummy satay – pic by Jay Santos

Look at the beautiful styling by Boquiera Lifestyle Market. How cute are these fans? I’m so glad we got to take them home.



Our hosts prepared an activity for the guests too. We had a mini Ikebana class.


Learning and clicking away – photo by Jay Santos

I am loving these vases from L’Indochine.


I didn’t realize doing Ikebana could be so relaxing. One of the important things you need to remember when you are arranging flowers is to cut the stem diagonally and to immediately put them in water. Once the ends start to dry up, it means that the pores have already closed and water may not be absorbed well by the flower/plant causing it to wilt faster.


Ikebana is relaxing pala – photo by Jay Santos

When watering flowers, just add water to the vase or the floral foam which holds the plants. Putting water on the petals of the plant may cause bacteria to seep in and wilt the petals faster. Aha!


Ta-daaa! My finished work! Not bad for a first timer I must say.

After the Ikebana class, we watched Chef Arnold Bernardo of Pastry Armoire cook Gourmet Tinapa Rice using Deep Dips’ Spicy Tinapa in tomato sauce. This. Was. So. Good. I posted a photo on Instagram and wished that there was a scratch and smell feature on IG because the whole kitchen smelled so good when he was cooking the rice. It went well with the rest of the Asian menu we had that morning.


This was prepared for us for brunch:


Chef Arnold’s Gourmet Tinapa Rice



Cedar plank Asian salmon



To.Die.For Spicy lechon belly

Dessert was taken care of by Chef Anna Chua of Pastry Armoire. My favorite was a no-brainer. I love Matcha so the matcha blondies were my top pick. It must be my day because after enjoying the dessert we were given The Perfect Match-a by Up in the Clouds.


Matcha blondies, Kashi Maki, Kaffir Lime tarts by Chef Anna Chua



The Perfect Matcha by Up in the Clouds

After lunch Mish told us that the food were all prepared right there at the Viking Kitchen. She gave us a quick tour around the showroom to showed us the different Viking products. Honestly, when I saw the Viking products, it was how I imagined my dream kitchen would be like.

- Viking Showroom's Working Kitchen

I wouldn’t mind staying at the kitchen the whole day if it’s like this

- VIKING Showroom 2nd floor

My favorite is this Viking oven.


As a home baker, any appliance that will make baking quick and easy is welcome in my kitchen. The oven distributes heat evenly which means there is no risk for hot spots. Hot spots can cause one part of your roast chicken darker while the other part is still pale. Hot spots also cause uneven tops on cakes and cupcakes. Normally, I would have to turn the baking pan 180 degrees mid-way through the baking to ensure even tops but with this oven, I wouldn’t need to do that. Brilliant.

It also has a self-cleaning feature. SELF-CLEANING. What mom (or dad) wouldn’t want that? The oven turns the temperature up to 800 degrees Farenheit and burns all drippings, spills, or splatters in the oven until it turns. All you need to do is wipe the ash afterwards. The best part about this feature is once you turn on the self-clean knob, the oven will automatically lock and it cannot be opened until it is safe to do so. No need to worry about little hands getting burned or accidentally opening the oven door.

I am also loving the fridge! I’ve always wanted one with a French door bottom freezer.


Two things that I like about it is that it has adjustable Cold Zone drawer. It allows me to adjust the temperature at the freezer area depending on the food stored there. It also has air purification system. Purified air keeps fresh produce fresh longer. That means I don’t have to buy fruits and especially vegetable every other day.


Michelle explaining the features of the Viking range

I am most impressed with Viking’s safety features. For a mom like me with a preschooler who always tags along with me wherever in the house, I want to make sure that everywhere, even the kitchen, is safe. I mentioned about the self-locking feature of the oven while it cleans itself. It also has heat proof surface which means there is minimal heat when you touch the surface of the oven. Another safety feature that had me in awe is with the Viking range. When a gust of wind blows off the fire from the range, the Viking range automatically turns the fire on again. Amazing! I won’t have to sniff around for gas leaks and get stressed out.

Over-all I really enjoyed the few hours that I spent meeting new moms, chatting, learning new things, enjoying and appreciating great food. It was a welcome change for this full-time mom.


But wait, there’s more! We also got to take home a bagful of goodies from the event’s sponsors.



…and this raffle prize that I won. Thanks, Philosophy!


Thank you Mish and Sabrina for inviting me and all the recipes and goodies that we were able to take home. Thanks to Viking for hosting the event and to all the sponsors that made us feel great and well, very full and satisfied. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with wonderful women. Here’s hoping for more! Cheers!



Mami’s Fun Finds: MOA Edition

Last Sunday, we were at the Mall of Asia. Honestly, I am not a fan of MOA. Yes, I am a self-confessed mall-rat but I find it too big for my short patience and legs. I never liked having to “hunt” for the store that I want to go to. It was an exhausting mall for me so unless we have a specific reason for going there (we went bowling yesterday), I would opt to spend my time in a smaller mall with all the stores I want to visit. So since there was a reason to go there yesterday, I had no choice but to spend a few (exhausting!) hours there and do what I do best: find fun stuff around.

Wait, before that lemme just say how much my son loved playing bowling. He had his first bowling experience last May and never forgot about it. The SM MOA bowling has guide rails and stands for little kids to use. I was also surprised that they have bowling shoes for kids as young as Lucas. Here are some photos at the bowling alley.

Matchy-matchy with Dadi at the bowling alley! (uy it rhymes! lol)

Okay, back to my fun finds, MOA edition.

These cute items are from Forever 21


Pretty ceramic jewelry holders



iPhone 5/5S phone case – Php 585



Cute owl lip balms

Mike saw this herb pot in Gourdo’s for Php 500. This is great especially if your worried of bugs eating your fresh herbs.


Daphne Oseña, one of my favorite style icons, launched a line of stationery this year but I never got to see these up close. When I passed by National Bookstore and saw the Daphne brand kiosk and I love everything in it! I am a pen hoarder and these pens are love!


Check out the other Daphne stationery products in her blog.

I also discovered fun foodie finds at MOA.

My husband has been talking about this food baby called custaroons by Custaroonery. These are coconut macaroons on top of a sweet, creamy custard. I found it right outside National Bookstore at the ground floor of MOA. They sell 15 mini custaroons or six regular sized custaroons for Pho 265 per box.




These were so gooood. The custard is so smooth and creamy it’s like biting into a really good leche flan. It’s not too sweet so you won’t get tired eating it. I personally prefer the bit-sized custaroons for that perfect one-bite goodness…and then you’d catch yourself eating two or three or more. That’s okay. Haha.

This is the perfect pasalubong or gift if you got tired of giving cakes or doughnuts. The boxes are so pretty and so far, all my friends who have tried it have never been disappointed. So good! Wait…let me get one from the fridge.

Alright, last fun foodie find is Pie Face.



You can find this small cozy cafe at the North Wing of SM MOA, beside Sbarro, across the hypermarket. They sell savory and sweet pies. I tried the savory pies while my sister, who apparently is already a fan, bought some of their dessert pies. I liked the pulled pork pie with the spicy barbecue sauce. Too bad they didn’t have the classic Aussie Mince mini pie. I didn’t want to try the large pie because I might end up not liking it. The meat pies are sold for Php 45 for the mini pies, while the regular sized ones start at Php 115.

My sister loved the dessert pies but I find it too sweet for my liking. These are Php 45 each.



Watch out for more fun finds from this mall-rat mommy!

Learning Watercolor Lettering with Crafternoons

When I was small…wait…younger (there, better), like when I was a kid, I love to doodle. My mom would bring home reams of scratch paper and I would draw and doodle on them every chance I got. In highschool and college, I liked lettering using chalk and stabilo highlight markers. Then I started working and all of a sudden my budding “skill” was forgotten. Until I saw calligraphy workshops and creatives popping out of FB and IG starting last year. I really wanted to rekindle my love for lettering and even learn something new to improve the skill. Unfortunately, most of the workshops were held in the north side of the metro and for someone who lives in the south with a new baby in tow, joining those workshops was quite challenging. There were a few calligraphy and lettering workshops held in the south but it was so seldom and would normally be held on a weekday and Mike couldn’t drive me and the baby to the venue. It would also be filled up so fast because, well, workshops like these are rare commodities in the south.

Then there was crafternoons. Crafternoons organize various workshop for crafty southerners like me. They are organized by Michelle of Momma n’ Manila and Patty of Mrs. C’s Sugar Coated Life. No kidding, it was like a southerner crafter’s oasis in a desert. I wanted to join the brush lettering workshop last March but since I just gave birth to Marcus, I held back. When I found out that they are holding a watercolor lettering workshop this month, I knew I had to join.

I was so excited because the class will be taught by Anina Rubio. If you check out her IG feed (aninarubio), her calligraphy and lettering works are fantastic. I was also excited to meet Michelle, whose blog I’ve been stalking errr reading for quite some time. Later on I found out that Patty was her partner and that got me more excited because I also read her blog. Wonderful, crafty ladies indeed!

Materials were provided by Zig and Stabilo. I was awed by the water brush that we used. It’s shaped like a pen or a marker so it’s easier to write. One end’s a brush while the body holds water that you can squeeze on your palette or paper to change the consistency of the medium so you don’t need to dip the brush over and over again in water. Amazeballs.


Anina blissfully taught the class. She taught the basics of watercolor for painting and lettering. The class was pretty small so she was able to visit each table to demonstrate and check our work. She would also give us tips and guidelines to follow. For someone who’s always been intimidated by watercolor, I sure learned a lot. Of course I still need a little practice and that’s all I’ve been doing during my free time since the past weekend.




Draft Gastro Pub was the venue for the workshop and they served us good food during the break. I had the bleu cheese burger. I loved the tang of the bleu cheese. It wasn’t overpowering and the burger was cooked to the right temperature.


The class was so much fun. I was seated with a group of fun ladies. All of us were nervous, anxious and excited to learn. I think ours was the noisiest table. Sorry neighbors. :)

I am so thankful that Michelle and Patty thought of Crafternoons and hold workshops like this to Southerners like me. If you are a crafty southerner who’s also looking forward to attend arts and crafts workshops, check out CrafternoonsPH’s Facebook and Instagram (@crafternoonsph). Here is an upcoming workshop:

Thanks, again, CrafternoonsPh! Looking forward for more workshops!

Honoring a Friend

Yesterday, I lost a friend to cancer. I was devastated. She has been fighting and in pain for a year and now the battle is over and she is pain-free. It took a whole day for me to succumb to the fact that she’s gone. I want to honor her and remember her not as the lady who was in pain but as the energetic person I have come to respect and love. What can I do? How much can I say? I’ve known her for more than a year but I only had a close relationship with her as my superior for two months before she underwent a surgery. Then I had to take a leave due to sensitive pregnancy and when I returned she had to undergo another surgery. I have been reading through the posts that my colleagues who’ve had longer, deeper relationship with her share their love and grief for her. How much can I say?

A lot.

Dada’s a strong personality. Straightforward, energetic, loud, no-nonsense type. That was my first impression of her and probably a lot of people. She was more than that.

Dada had a gift. She saw people for what they are and knew how to reach out to them exactly how they want or need to be. She knew the right words to say and she says it in a different manner for each person so they would understand. She was genuine and true to the point of being brutally honest that you will end up forgetting being emotional and instead telling yourself “sh*t, she’s right”. She tells you the words you needed to hear. As her direct report, I felt she had knack on reprimanding me but instead of feeling bad about her, leaves me a feeling of motivation that I should do better. As my colleague put it, she taught us to be the better us and she taught us well.

Dada was someone who knew how to have fun. I see her a lot of times playing candy crush in the middle of a meeting but when asked for her opinion or report, she’s ready. Pretty cool, huh? She was awesome.

Dada was genuinely caring. Brutally honest as she was, she only means the best for you. She was straightforward and never misses a chance to correct things as she sees or learns about them. As a boss she gave tough love but the kind that your will embrace. She always had our backs. She was generous…with everything: her food, her stories, her life, her wisdom, her time. She thinks of the people around her and maybe even finds time to reach out to them. Dada was one of the most kind-hearted persons I know. She was thoughtful, remembers special occasions that are important to other people. She’s like the older sister who’s strict and badass but will always care for you. This is how I have fully given my trust to her. Would I have entrusted my life to her? You know what, I would have.

She was a badass. Even in pain, she was such a badass. I regret not seeing her when she was still able and we can still talk. I would text her and ask her how she is and she wouldn’t reply. I knew she wasn’t doing well but maybe she didn’t want me to worry because I was pregnant, giving birth, just gave birth or taking care of the kids. That’s her. She’s a badass but she will always think of other people first before her. She will not say she’s in pain even if she was. She was a brave, brave badass until the very end.

I know other people closer to her would have so much to share about her. I do envy them for having created more memories with Dada but I am grateful to have her to call my mentor and my friend. She picked me up when I was at my lowest and I had almost no self-efficacy left about my career. She made me feel and realize I am better and I can be better. She supported my decision of becoming a full-time mom and was genuinely happy for me. She was always excited to listen to my stories about my family because she knew it’s what’s important to me. She never failed to me make me and the people around her smile whether it’s her funny, sarcastic comments, words or wisdom, or her tough love. This is how I want to remember her. I want to remember how much impact and inspiration she made in my life even for such a short period of time.

I don’t think there’s internet in heaven yet, but this is to honor the awesome person that she is. This post is for other people who knew her to remember her this way too. This is for those who didn’t knew her well or doesn’t know her at all to share how wonderful she was.  This is to let you know how a kind heart, strong faith, honesty, and genuine care for others can have a great impact to others. It creates respect, love and trust to other people. Dada did not leave anything material to me but she left me with these memories and the inspiration to follow her steps and pay it forward. She taught me to be kind, and be brave, have strong faith, be genuine and to have fun.

When I visited her last Saturday, Portia said she’s such a superstar because of all the friends coming to visit her. She was. Now the star has gone home to the heavena and I bet on the night when all the stars are bright, she will be shining the brightest. 

She was Geraldine Antoinette Dela Cruz. Dada to most, a daughter to her parents, love of her partner’s life, a friend to a lot of people, a sister to those closest to her. She will be missed. She will always be loved.