Melt

In my effort to eat more healthy, and offer better options also for my husband,  I’m always open to trying out new food that I come across with. On a recent trip to the health food store, I stumbled upon this butter alternative.
melt
Melt is an organic, vegan, gluten free, trans fat free and soy free butter alternative. I was very excited to try this out. It tasted good, creamy and rich. However, it did not taste like butter, as far as I’m concerned. Something was missing. I actually don’t know if I can ever find one that really taste like butter, the real deal. Whenever I crave for real butter, it brings me back to the butter that I grew up eating – the Anchor brand, imported from New Zealand which my Mom used to get from the PX store. There’s nothing quite like it among the alternatives.

Recently, I bought and tested Anchor butter from New Zealand sourced from the health food store. However, it was unsalted so the taste wasn’t quite the same. Okay, I cheated. I just wanted the real deal.

In fact, my search for a butter alternative  is still ongoing for as long as there are new products out there. I guess, I’m really not that happy going for alternative butters but because I want to cut down fat intake, I’m continuously using the alternatives. I say… good luck to me. I hope one day, I will really stumble upon one that matches my palate.

melt

melt

Saturday Jaunt

A couple of weekends ago, we had another get together not at home, but at another friend’s house. It was fun reconnecting once again specially more so because we haven’t had the chance to sit down and enjoy their newly decorated home. This time, the stress of decorating and putting things together is no longer in the air.

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One of the food served early on before dinner was these homemade chicken sandwich with an El Salvadorean twist. As you know I don’t eat any kind of meat product so I skipped the chicken and the egg but ate everything on it. It was awesome! And I rarely say awesome about sandwiches because I’m not a sandwich girl.

8-6-2016

Of course, the guys had all the fun and booze. That night it was Patron tequila.

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And it was also the night that this 15 month old boy captured my heart. I’m still waiting for that perfect timing to adopt him for a day. I must admit I have penchant for girls but this little boy was really special. I’m still waiting for that day when I can adopt him for a day. I already did the hard work of getting his trust and he already likes me. Now, I wonder if I can ever take him home even for only a few hours.

8-6-2016

8-6-2016

The following photos show someone’s trademark. Lainy, can you tell? This is in the living room of our friend that was meticulously redecorated the past few weeks.

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8-6-2016

The First Of A Few This Summer

Where do I go from here? I know, it’s been quite some time. I can’t say it’s been hectic because if I say that I’d be tagged a liar. Sixteen years of being a stay-at-home-wife took away my then highly commended time management and organizational skills that I have acquired during my years in the corporate world. It’s not for lack of anything to blog about, but I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and blog away.

Enough of that, so instead of updating you with our real outdated ‘life in the Big Apple’ I’m going to start with the most recent.

Two weekends ago, we invited two couple friends and my husband and I tagged it as the first ‘not quite party’ in our home for the summer. I’m not keen on throwing big parties at home. I can’t handle that (unfortunately, I didn’t acquire that knock for entertaining big crowds at home just like my Dad did when he was still alive. Obviously, my Moms’ gene was more dominant). I’ve always felt that I enjoy intimate gatherings at home. The big parties have a real venue for that – and that is to us (my husband and I) at catering halls/restaurants or whatever you call them (lol). For now, four is my maximum. Which means, we have to invite the rest of the gang before summer ends.

Thus, the day before the get together, a visit to the flower shop was inevitable. I did my own arrangements : one for the buffet table and a couple for the dining table. I picked out the flowers myself and went to work.

This arrangement was more elaborate and I was really happy that I got compliments from our guests. I had a couple of carnation in mini vases for the dining table and that was it (you’ll see that in one of the photos below).
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It was imperative for my husband to have a bottle of  Don Julio. So off to the liquor store, I went too. For tequila connoisseurs, you must know why he wanted it. He’s really not big on alcohol, in fact, he only does social drinking but when we entertain he normally picks out what he really likes.
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This bottle was my choice and you can see why. This is more of a dessert wine called Plum wine with real plums in the bottom.
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To round up the drinks, we also had these:
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This was my setup at the dinner table. It was a choice from table cloth, to place mats to plate chargers. I chose table cloth and plate chargers. I actually had to buy a new set of plate charger to match my color scheme.
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7/23/2016

I have to be honest, I didn’t cook. I wished I can take the credit for the delicious food but I can’t. I hired a caterer and that was it. All I did was set up the table (at least I did that), and the caterer came to deliver, set up the food and fire up the food warmers when it was close to dinner time. The food was good for ten as no caterer I guess would be willing to cater for anything less than ten. We decided to serve two kinds of salad, green beans almondine, Italian bread, yellow rice (yes, this was needed even if we also served pasta knowing how our guests love yellow rice), chicken, veal and the seafood pasta which was customized because I wanted whole lobsters on it. It was such a big hit that they couldn’t stop raving how awesome the pasta was even if they had to do a bit of work on the lobster.
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Dessert table came after a few hours. I served two kinds of loose tea (Teavana’s Blueberry Bliss and Dry Rose Flower) and assorted K-cups coffee. Since mango is in season, we pre-ordered Fresh Mango Cake and Italian Rainbow Cookies.
7/23/2016

7/23/2016

7/23/2016

Of course, this post is not complete without photos of the guests. But I don’t want to be lectured so I had to conceal their identities. Overall, it was a night of fun and laughter. They eventually left at 1:30 a.m. Did they overstay? I say no because this is our norm. We also do the same when we are invited. It was a very long get together I must say, as the invite was for 3:00 p.m. and they were prompt. Simple hors d’oeuvres ( I failed to take a photo) which I put together was waiting at the coffee table when they arrived.
7/23/2016

7/23/2016

Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter

Not too long ago, I discovered Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter. In an effort to stay away from peanut butter, which some experts say can be inflammatory, I shifted to Nuttzo Seven Nut Butter without peanut butter years ago. I didn’t like the exhorbitant price because I also always bought the organic variety but I had to close my eyes every time I placed them on my shopping cart.

Here comes Sneaky Chef, not as pricey but as far as I’m concerned not as good.  It’s made out of yellow peas, and I can’ get past the fact that it really does not taste like nuts. It simply does not agree with my palate. I find it a bit sweet for my taste and the separation of oil and the butter is way too much. The chocolate flavor variant tasted a bit better.

Nonetheless, the bottles are now gone but the grab and go variants are now neatly tuck in the back of the fridge. While it does not require refrigeration, I just want to prevent it from getting rancid since the expiration date is not till 2017. One of these days when we go on a picnic or what not, maybe it will be put to good use.

sneaky chef

sneaky chef

sneaky chef

sneaky chef

sneaky chef

sneaky chef

Loose Change Into Bills

A few months ago, it was time to free up our coin containers. It seems like this is a task that needs to be attended to every six months. It would have even been more frequent if I also worked and bring home loose change everyday. If we go longer than that, I wind up getting frustrated as I need to make sure every coin fits in our plastic coin banks.

We have our process down pat. Early on I needed to bring them to the bank and had to wrap the coins but with Coinstar in the neighborhood, that arduous task of wrapping was eliminated. I have written about our coin exchanges repeatedly on this blog but there are several exchanges over the years that I failed to document. My husband and I don’t even mind the processing fee. We’re paying for  convenience. After all, Coinstar has eliminated the task of wrapping. You win some, you lose some so they say.

How about you, how do you mange your loose change?

coinstar

coinstar

coinstar

coinstar

What Goes Around Comes Around

What do you do when you come back to your parked car and see that someone inflicted damage to it?

trixie

Add to that the fact that your car is just two months old. It’s infuriating to say the least. This happened to us in the summer. This was not the first time that it happened to us, but I felt the same way just like the first time. Perhaps because the car was just two months old versus our previous vehicle which was more than two year old at that time when it got damaged. The damage was bigger however on the previous vehicle.

So off we went to the dealership’s body repair division to get an estimate. Yes, just an estimate because we haven’t done anything with it, the damage is still there. Claiming from our insurance is out of the question. As most of us know, the more you claim, the potential for a higher premium at the time of insurance renewal is more apparent. Husband and I had a big disagreement over this because I would have loved to have the bumper replaced ASAP but he’s so adamant not to do it because he’s thinking that it can happen again.

bmw

bmw

Living in the big city comes with its pros and cons. This is definitely one of the cons. People are in a hurry all the time, you know – that New York minute. But whether in a hurry or not, I wish drivers are more responsible and most of all compassionate and honest. From the way the damage looks, it seem to have been unintentionally inflicted. It was more of lack of ability to estimate the distance. It was  wishful thinking for me, but it would have been so nice if the driver left us a note and left his contact detail but it didn’t happen. Maybe, in his driving lifetime, going back to a damaged parked car has not yet happened to him. I’m just glad that I’m all over the grief from this incident. Looking back, it was not worth feeling aggravated. Karma is a b**** and nowadays, karma comes back in a New York minute.

Worth Every Penny

After my husband and I got married, I moved in with him in his place on a high rise here in the Big Apple. I must say, I had a seamless move (from Long Island to NYC) and it was relatively easy because I didn’t have to haul any furniture with me other than my almost new king size mattress. We ditched his old mattress and kept his frame and headboard. We decided however to hire a professional mover because I wanted to ensure that all of my personal stuff were handled properly.

It’s been almost 16 years since we got married. So many things have transpired, we have moved and tackled a complicated renovation (gutted the whole place) once, we’ve gained and lost weight (lol), we’ve traveled far and wide and been to countries that many consider as must-see destinations, we’ve gained new friends, we’ve also lost friends permanently courtesy of that thing called ‘death’ as well as that thing – ‘we simply didn’t click and drifted apart’, we’ve lost family both from again that thing called ‘death’ and simply because the separation is inevitable due to deep seated issues. If you think that it’s unfathomable that this can happen, think again. I’m now a witness of it and it’s so beyond me. People around us privy to what’s going on labled it as a tragedy.

Of all those changes, there’s one thing that stood out to be the most pleasant, and both me and my husband regret that we have not done it a lot sooner. That’s none other than ditching my mattress and switched to a Tempur-Pedic.

My mattress that I brought in with me when I moved in with my husband was relatively new. I had a Beautyrest Plush Pillowtop, and while it was a great mattress, we both felt it was time to replace it. It is recommended to replace mattress every 10 years (though I don’t know if people really do that) but we didn’t do it. I spent a substantial amount of money on it and 10 years was just too soon to let go of it. So on it’s 15th year (last year), we replaced our Beautyrest and invested on a bed that’s not only luxurious, but now I can attest it does really promote better sleep. It’s cost prohibitive but it’s all worth it. Not feeling when my husband tosses and turns a hundred times – that alone is awesome, plus the support is just prime.

At the time of purchase they threw in 2 free pillows. It was a nice freebie I must say. Why it had to be 1 king and 1 queen sized pillow instead of 2 king is beyond me. But hey it was free. So, I kept my mouth shut and walked away with the great deal that we got.

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tempu-pedic

Rewind: V Day And My Birthday

Wheeewww!!! Pardon the dust over here. It’s been eons since my last update. And, in as much as I had the desire all these time to blog away, time has been rather limited. If I only have better discipline maybe I could have updated sooner.

So let me try to pick up where I left off. Two days in February were special days that I think are worth writing about. Of course, Valentine’s Day came and I had God’s blessing and celebrated my birthday. Not that there was a big celebration or what not, but I consider every birthday a big milestone. I can not thank God enough for allowing me to continue my journey on earth. It’s been pure joy to continue this beautiful journey in spite of the many upheavals.

Before I get misty eyed, I have to mention that no matter how February is normally dreary in our side of the woods, my husband didn’t fail to cheer me up. Since my birthday is just  two days after Velentine’s Day, I got a two in one present. Needless to say, both came on Valentine’s Day and I’m not complaining because I have gotten so used to it already.

I’m a self-confessed L’Occitane junkie and my husband deemed it ‘safe’ to shower me with my staples and of course my one and only perfume, I call it my signature scent for ages – Frederic Malle’s Portrait Of A Lady. I can never have enough of this bottle. Let’s just say, you’ll find my inventory in the fridge (lol).

Till next V day and my birthday. Before I know it, winter is here again. But I don’t even want to think about that at this point because New York has been struggling to get into the real Spring-time temps.

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bday 2016

bday 2016

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vday 2016

vday 2016

Saturday Jaunt

I’m updating once again with another flashback. Don’t worry, this post is one of the last few that will take you back into summer 2015.

Twas the weekend of Pope Francis’s visit to New York. It was one windy day, a bit cold but pleasant, with the sun shining brightly. We went about with our usual Saturday routine which means, we attended the anticipated Mass too. With temps a bit balmy, I had the perfect idea of donning my denim duster coat.

See my hair going in different directions? That was the wind blowing.

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At the lobby of the church, there was the life-size replica of Pope Francis. The ushers in church coaxed us to pose right beside the replica which we gamely did.
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Dinner was at Fuciaana. It was one of the few occasions that I had a head shot taken. I normally just take snaps of the food. I don’t know what got to me but it was what it was.

fuciaana

This is actually the last of the SJ series for summer of 2015. So I’m sure you will not see me much in my succeeding posts. Till next summer 🙂

Another Birthday, Another Milestone

I thought I was going to post this update right within his (our, rather) birthday month but I proved myself wrong once again. Where did February go? But I should not really question how fast time flies as February is a short month anyway.

My unconventional husband had only one birthday wish – good health.

True to what he wanted, there was no fanfare. All he wanted was for me to make his one and only request for his birthday dinner at home – that is no other than pancit canton. However, I managed to surprise him with a gift and although he was not too thrilled that I had to spend his money on him (lol), he was delighted as I got him his favorite sneakers brand – Jordan.

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So on the day of his birthday, I slaved myself in the kitchen while he was at work, to put together his beloved pancit canton. I make this occasionally, so whenever I make it, it’s always a treat for him. Preparation is quite tedious because of the different veggies that needs prepping. Otherwise, cooking it is a breeze. To round up the dinner at home, I made broccoli slaw, steamed vegetable gyoza and his feather light fruity birthday cake from one of my fave bakeshops in town.

For his celebratory birthday dinner, we headed to dinner at a restaurant of his choice the weekend following his actual birthday.  Much to my surprise, he chose a chain restaurant (which is so unlikely of him) – Bonefish Grill. With a few family members (from my side), the dinner was fun and everyone had a great time.

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f bday 2016

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f bday 2016

Saturday Jaunt

It was one of those days when going bare face was the order of the day. So off we headed out, and went about with our errands. We attended the anticipated mass as usual. If not for the plan on going to this Japanese restaurant for the first time, I was not really up to going out and about. But as you know, an invite to go to a Japanese resto never fails to change my mood.

Photos taken in a municipal parking lot? Yes, it’s doable! I had to force my ‘photographer’ to snap these photos.

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We were seated pretty quick. Mitoushi has its own regular patrons as indicated by the crowd who came to dine that night. I was not actually totally impressed with the food. It was not awful, but it can be better. We have not gone back. So if that is any indication of our dining experience then let’s leave it at that.

mitoushi

mitoushi

mitoushi

A Baby Shower Like No Other

Last summer, we were invited to a baby shower somewhere in Queens. It was for the baby boy of a family friend who waited for quite a few years for the stork visit. Shall I say, the baby was a miracle baby as it was a high risk pregnancy, with the mother who went through a lot to carry him to full term.

A highly unlikely component of a baby shower is a celebratory and thanksgiving Mass. Yes, prior to the festivities, a mass celebrated by a priest took place in a makeshift altar. Rain or shine there was no way it was not going to push through. There was intermittent heavy downpour, but it did not dampen the spirits of the invited guests, including us of course, which according from my estimate was close to a 100. There were tents to shelter us from the rain. The whole home and backyard was loaded with people. The buffet spread of Filipino, Italian and Japanese cuisine was impressive.

baby shower

baby shower

baby shower

Parlor games for kids and adults took place. We had so much fun, and we enjoyed the company of friends that we haven’t seen in ages.
baby shower

baby shower

baby shower

The photo booth sent everyone going gaga, and everyone kept going back to pose in front of the camera just for fun.

baby shower

The baby is now a few months old and we’re all patiently waiting for his Christening. I’m sure it will be another spectacular get together because his parents are fond of throwing big parties.

Saturday Jaunt

While it’s freezing here in the Big Apple, I’m here continuing to document what happened last summer. Yes, I have been that neglectful in updating this blog, but I’m trying my best to ‘catch up’. In the meantime, please bear with my stale posts (this and many more to come).

It was one of those Saturdays when I was kind of lazy to put together a decent outfit. I saw this denim top, and as though it was a no brainer, I went for one of my denim skirts. Denim on denim? (fashion police, please don’t shoot me lol). I must have written it here before that I’ve learned from fashion experts that denim on denim is good as long as there’s variation in color (dark and light). In my attempt to pull off a well put-together outfit, my Brooks Brothers espadrilles and tote bag completed my get-up.

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9-5-2015

After attending the anticipated mass, we went to dinner at Pho Hoai. We skipped dessert. There was no more space in our bellies.

Our First At Inatome

As it has always been in the almost sixteen years that we’ve been married, new year’s eve was spent at home. Knowing how so many parties happen during the eve of the new year (you know how parties and alcohol mix all the time), we always stay away from the road.

Hence, our new year’s eve celebration was new year’s day itself. But before we headed out, I asked my ‘photographer’ to snap a picture. I knew that was going to be the last photograph with our Christmas tree in the background.. Truth be told, we dismantled and put away every piece of Christmas decor the following day.

new year 2016

We were with family and friends, and dined out at Inatome Japanese Hibachi Steak House and Sushi located in Long Island. It was our (husband and I) first, but the rest of the group have dined there gazillion times. We learned that it is family owned and operated. It’s like a hidden gem  at this part of Long Island.

new year 2016 inatome

new year 2016 inatome

new year 2016 inatome

That was our Hibachi Chef showing off his antics.
new year 2016 inatome

new year 2016 inatome

We had a great time. As always, being with family and friends over good food is the essence of every celebration.

Annual Tradition

Snow in the morning, sunshine at noon. How fickle is the weather here in the Big Apple. We were blessed with 4.5 inches of snow earlier today. I was quite surprised of the accumulation, but I was more surprised when it brightened up and mr. sun showed up in full glory.

That was today, and in spite of the cold temps I’m so looking forward to the warmer temps.

Forgive the slack, I was not able to document our once a year trek to Coney Island and Luna Park sooner. Not that life was really hectic, but I just didn’t have the mojo to write. As you can see, this was in the summer. Oh how I miss the abundant sunshine!

coney island

coney island

coney island

coney island

coney island

coney island

coney island

Of course, my husband had to play  Pac-man. This never fails to bring back childhood memories.
coney island

coney island

coney island

coney island

Nathan’s is always a must while visiting Coney Island. No, we didn’t have the famous Nathan’s dogs. How boring! But to each his own 🙂
coney island

coney island

After walking a couple of miles, I finally admitted to my husband that my big feet was beaten up; I picked the wrong pair of shoes. It was not enough that they’re a pair of flats, they’re simply not made for walking miles. I couldn’t wait to sit down to ease the pain. What a lesson learned! In a few months, summer will once again roll around. And when that annual trek happens, I will make sure my big feet are ready to take it on.
coney island

Christmas Eve 2015

The past two Christmas eves, my husband and I opted to stay home and turned down invites from family and friends. We wanted to experience it on our own by dining out and going to midnight mass. All of the years that we’ve been married, we’ve always celebrated the eve of Christmas with friends and family. The past two years gave us the chance to do it our way, and while it was great and we were happy just the same, last Christmas, we figured it was time to go back to tradition and spend the eve with family and friends.

Instead of the usual midnight mass, we attended the live nativity mass at 5:00 pm. We thought of leaving the party midway to go to midnight mass, but we decided to just go to the earlier mass so we  didn’t leave the party midway. The church was decked beautifully inside and out. I snapped several photos. The live nativity was compelling but for someone like me who is used to seeing live nativities growing up, the ones we witnessed paled in comparison to the grand and well rehearsed ones in my hometown back in the Philippines.

As you can see in the pics below, we had a lot of fun. It was one long night, and it was one warm Christmas eve it felt like Spring. We wound up hitting the road to go home by 2:00 am. The one good thing about traveling at that time was we were home in no time because there was no congestion on the parkway.

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Thanksgiving Day 2015

*backtracking continues. please bear with this no-superwoman housewife

Thanksgiving this year was spent with family and friends on Long Island. As usual we had to go through gargantuan traffic both ways, but it was all worth it. Since my husband had to go to work the following day, we left Long Island a bit earlier than  we’re used to.

thanksgiving 2015

Turkey seasoned differently, anyone? Yes, it was not the usual turkey fare, as it was prepared using South American seasonings. I have to admit that I had a taste of it and it did agree with my palate just like the other guests. The roast pig however, I had to say no to. I’m sure you can imagine what I ate that night, being a self confessed pescetarian for years.

thanksgiving 2015

thanksgiving 2015

thanksgiving 2015

thanksgiving 2015

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thanksgiving 2015

thanksgiving 2015

thanksgiving 2015

It was fun being around people who matters the most.

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours

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(inside)
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(back)

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(front)

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This year, it’s the first time ever that I opted to have two personalized Christmas cards printed.

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(back)
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It’s A Red Kind Of Christmas

Christmas has taken a new meaning this year as my husband is now a full pledged Catholic. You can just imagine how he was so excited to help me put up the tree and decorate for the holiday.

Our Balsam Hill tree was up as early as November 15. It was not done in one go however. After he put up the tree I went to work with the ornaments. This year I decided to adorn our tree with red ornaments to add to my growing collection of Wedgwood and Royal Albert.

I’m more than glad that our pockets were not as drained this year, as I only have to buy a few to add  to the Wedgwood and Royal Albert ornaments that I already have. I didn’t even purchase the Wedgwood bless this home ornament, thanks to a dear friend who gifted it to me on my birthday this year.  I bought the Wedgwood red snowflake teardrop (6 pcs) and figural cross (3 pcs), Royal Albert cream jug (6 pcs) and bauble ornament (6 pcs). Add to that a couple of dozens of wood poinsettia, 2 dozens of the red figs and 110 pcs of shatterproof red balls plus of course the red tree skirt.

I wanted to make things simple so I made use of three dozens of live potted 6 inch poinsettia to adorn our home. As you may have guess it already, it’s been a nightmare trying to maintain them (lol pagod na ako sa kakadilig) but I’m trying my best to keep them alive and kicking. Two hanging stars made of red and white yarns (I think), a Kate Spade bright red table cloth and an embroidered table runner round up my indoor decor for this year.

Outside, nothing can be as simple as the red laser lights. It’s a plug and go kind of thing so it was a wise choice.

I hope you had fun decorating your home just as we did.

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