Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Toddler Girl

I know it’s only a week before Christmas and this gift guide might be too late but the main reason why I’m blogging about these gift ideas is because I wanted to share some of the things we’re personally getting Cassie for the holidays and besides I know there’s a bunch of last minute shoppers out there so if you’re one of those, then this gift guide is for you.

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#1. Lil Libros Books

Not all parents may agree with me but I feel like Bilingualism is a key that opens more doors and offers a lot of opportunities for growth in different aspects of a persons life. Although Marco and I are both Filipinos and are blessed enough to have learned the English language at a young age we still feel the need to learn Spanish, the second language that is most spoken in this world (next to Chinese and its dialects). We figured it would be helpful in the line of work we’re in which is the medical field and it would be a lot easier for us to pick up since based on Philippine history, we’ve already incorporated some of those words (and even practices) into our lives.

Now they say, kids are like sponges, they absorb things quickly so I feel like now would be a best time to start introducing them to a different language. Lil Libros is the perfect series that caters to that, its a fun venue to introduce Spanish through colorful pictures and reading. In fact they’ve already started announcing their books for 2018 which includes Selena, Evita and Tres Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) perfect for Christmas next year.

#2. ALDI Wooden Beauty Toy Set

As you can see based on this list, I’m a sucker for wooden toys and I’ve noticed that they’re specifically pricier than plastic ones probably because they last longer so it came as a pleasant surprise when Aldi launched an affordable line of wooden toys for the holidays. It’s too bad  we don’t have the entire collection here in the US but we’re lucky enough to get at least some of them.

The set comes with a tin can vanity bag where you can put your wooden brush, wooden mirror and the other accessories that come with it.

#3. Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House- Dust, Sweep, Mop

I think my daughter has picked up on my OC tendencies and she knows mommy “has to” clean up all the time so she’s been wanting to grab the broom, the mop or whatever she sees to help me clean up.

This set is a fun way to introduce your toddler to the idea of “cleaning up” , it also allows her to “help” you without having her compete over the real thing.

#4. ALDI Wooden Coffee Toy Set

I love my coffee and even now that I’m currently pregnant I still try to get it decaf. Now Cassie knows that this is a “big people” drink and people won’t normally consider this set as a good gift idea as it is promoting “coffee-drinking” which isn’t necessarily good but my daughter likes preparing my pretend-tea and my pretend-coffee and I just thought this set would be perfect for her to do that, a wooden toy version of my Keurig.

#5. Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse

This play house had good reviews online and its not extremely pricey compared to the other wooden houses on the market. We got this for Cassie as her “big present” for Christmas and we specifically opted for this one because it was the cheapest one we could find, it also gives out that cozy, cabin-feel that I’ve been wanting from the start. Oh yeah, this gift is gender neutral perfect for boys or girls.

I’m thinking of painting the wooden house white some time in the future to give it that shabby chic cottage look but with this baby boy coming out soon, I don’t think Marco will be too pleased if I let him play in a shabby chic playhouse, maybe rustic but definitely not shabby chic. I guess I’ll have to play it by ear.

#6. Stainless Steel Cooking Play Set

Another perfect play set for pretend-cooking. As I mentioned earlier I love wooden toys and I know there are cute wooden cooking sets out there but wood being heavy, I feel like Cassie would be getting an “owie” if she dropped them on her foot or something. Besides the stainless steel cooking set just looks like the real thing only smaller and its light to carry around.

#7. ALDI Wooden Dollhouse

I’m not going to lie, I actually fell in love with another doll house that was recently launched by target. It is the Hearth and Hand with Magnolia Doll house , not only does it function as a toy but its the perfect decoration for your daughters room, seriously classy. It retails for $129 and can go lower if theres a sale or if you have a bunch of coupons from target. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind paying that amount for this beautiful doll house but since we’ve opted for the wooden playhouse as Cassie’s “big present” for this year that dollhouse was out of the picture.

Now this dollhouse from ALDI is not necessarily classy like the earlier one I mentioned but it is classic. It has a cute pink and white front of the house which I like because I’m not really a fan of crazy colors when it comes to doll houses and if I;m not mistaken it comes with a bunch of furniture. The best part is they’re only selling it for $39.99, how can you beat that?

#8. Little People Big Dreams Book Series

I’ve been stashing a couple of these books waiting for the perfect time t give it  to her and now that she’s a little bit over 2 and has taken a lot of interest in books, I figured Christmas would be the perfect time to give it to her. I just love the idea of this series and  its motivation for kids to dream big, I’ve also noticed that these books feature women who made differences in our society and in a sense it sends them that message of “girl power”. Start ’em young.

#9. ALDI Wooden Baking Toy Set

The last of the wooden toy set series from ALDI that I wanted to share is the baking toy set. I’ve introduced Cassie to baking a few months ago and of course she had so much fun mixing and arranging the cookie dough on the cooking sheet , since then she’s been asking me if we could bake cookies for daddy again.

In the mean time, I’m hoping this toy set would keep her distracted until the holidays are over and I can actually find time to bake with her again, for now pretend cookies it is.

#10. Babylit Books

Last but not the least is our personal favorite— books from Babylit. This is probably the first time we’re mentioning this series here on the blog but we’ve definitely talked about it on Facebook and Instagram.

This a fun way of introducing the classics to your little ones like Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, etc. through shapes, colors and counting and for Christmas you guys should check out the Nutcracker and Christmas Carol (what Cassie;s holding on the cover photo of this entry). Just recently they’ve launched their series of classic story books to cater to the older kids so click on the link to check them out. These books are definitely must-haves.

 

How about y’all? What are you getting your kids this year? I haven’t got a lot to say about boy kids just yet but hopefully next year when this little one is out, I can make a boy-gift guide as well. Hope this list somewhat helps you last minute shoppers out there.

Happy Holidays!

~Rhea

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Cassie’s First New Year Celebration

Last 2015 I had expectations, call it New Year’s resolutions if you may, I thought they were pretty simple and quite doable. Looking back, none of those expectations panned out of if they did it probably worked out in a way I would have never imagined it to.And yet for all the irregularities in my life I am beyond grateful because in the end those irregularities turned out better than I expected. Thank you God! I’m so excited to be starting this year with the little creature that completes our own little family.

The Borromeos were nice enough to invite us over for New Year’s Eve and since Sienna Plantation has its no-fireworks policy, poppers and snappers were the best we could do. And of course since it was also Paulo’s birthday, we spent New Year’s Day dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse for the birthday boy’s request—steak! Cassie was nice enough to make us enjoy both gatherings by (mostly) sleeping through it.

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All strapped in, heading to the Borromeos house

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Ooohh…lechon belly.

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My little Cascas still asleep

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Waiting for 2016

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Our little family

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Cheers to 2016

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The birthday boy and his cake from Cheesecake Factory. yum!

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Grandy and Cassie

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Grandmy and Cassie before Paulo’s birthday dinner

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Paulo, the birthday boy with his birthday dessert

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One last family picture before leaving 🙂

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Fur-ry goodness with my little sleepyhead.

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Mommy’s OOTD

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Cassie’s OOTD (taken right before we left for Paulo’s birthday dinner)

Happy New Year to one and all!

~Rhea

Hello, 2015!

 

 HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!! Pig-out season is officially over, it’s time to head to the gym and work on those New Year’s resolutions. Some of you will be out of the gym in a week or two anyway…haha.

This isn’t much as a first post for 2015, I was hoping I’d start this year with a bang but I’m still slowly easing my way into this new life ahead so please bear with me. I honestly thought I’d be able to catch up on pending posts from 2014 before the year ended, clearly that wasn’t the case—so much for starting this year with a clean slate. Oh well…

The holidays were a bit different for me this season, last year I was in Houston, single, doing LDR with my fiancé and I was busy shopping gifts and helping my siblings shop for gifts, I was wrapping my presents and everyone else’s. Mom and I did the usual brainstorming for the theme of our Christmas tree, Pop did his usual OC thing with the Christmas lights, I was busy driving around juggling work, Christmas parties and choir practice.  I also did my usual thing where I forced everyone in the family to dress “accordingly” (hahaha).

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This year I found myself celebrating my first ever Christmas as a married woman. It’s been 7 years since I last spent the holidays here in the Philippines and it was strange yet wonderful to be celebrating it with new family—my in-laws. Marco and I were pretty much done with our Christmas shopping around mid- September, the Christmas trees in both LaVista and Alabang had their own stylist and the manangs put up the decorations. I didn’t have to drive around, it was always Marco or the manongs who’d drive us for Christmas shopping or Christmas errands. I couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t going to cross out “Papa Froi” or “Mama Beth” or my siblings on my ( I should really start saying “our”, huh?) Christmas list.

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Anyway, my Houston Family..if you’re reading this, know that I AM MISSING YOU ALL SO MUCH. I miss you so much that I even gave in and made my own SnapChat account. (Ugh.) Send my love to our doggies, Todd and Oreo. Just consider this Christmas a break from me, haha, next year I’m bringing back my bossy self to Houston and y’all won’t have a say with our Christmas Tree theme and what to wear on Christmas day. I love you, love you, love you!  I’ll see you in a few months. <crossing fingers>

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On another note, here’s my first #OOTD for the year 2015

….mostly presents from the in-laws. They know my taste, haha. Thanks mami!

(DRESS: Reversible; from Mami/ PURSE: neon floral clutch; from Mami/ SANDALS: braided thongs; American Eagle Outfitters/ EARRINGS: gold hoops; from Mami/ NECKLACE: gold flower statement necklace; from Mommy Babe/ CUFF: gold with white faux leather strap; Terranova, P120 on sale)

~Rhea

Villain For the Night

After the usual October 31 family shenanigans I had to help this little one with her makeup, I asked her what she wanted and she told me “anything scary, mita” so I googled ‘pegs’ and just improvised due to the time constraint, my niece had to go trick or treating in less than an hour. At this point, I’ve barely finished spray painting my head dress and haven’t started with my cloak for tonight’s dinner.

One bloody, happy customer… I’m glad it turned out okay bri! I would’ve worked more on the details but this little girl was so ticklish it was quite impossible to do that, we just kept laughing the entire time I was putting make up on her.

Now that’s done, here are some photos of the last minute #DIY head dress for the night. Occasionally, I go into the nitty gritty of the details but I didn’t have the luxury of time to take photos during every step of the process so I’m going to briefly describe  how I ended up with my handmade Maleficent head dress.

Here are the following materials I used:

MALEFICENT HEAD DRESS

Old Newspapers (tons of them)

Tape (masking tape or packing tape will do)

Black Electric Tape

Glue (plaster glue preferable)

2 medium sized deflated balloons, P20

Black Acrylic Spray Paint, P109

Faux Leather Cloth (half a yard worked for me), P70

Thanks to Sai Panasaya for being my main inspiration and providing me the first few steps of making my head dress. I’ve pretty much followed everything except the last few steps she did. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have time to work on the details of my head dress so I skipped drawing design details and attaching the faux leather cloth with a glue gun. I also decided to wrap my horns with electric tape to give it texture and to save me some time spray painting it with black.

Here’s my head dress prior to spray panting it. Sai, in the video, would have incorporated details at this point but I skipped that since I didn’t have glue gun at hand. Notice how the horns are already wrapped with black electric tape.

Unlike Sai, I accidentally used the generic white glue that you can purchase in any bookstore and mixed it with water for the papier- mâché instead of the plaster glue that she preferred in the video. It came out softer than the one she had (almost close to flimsy, in terms of my standards) but it was strong enough to hold the horns when I attached them using the masking tape. Make sure to cautiously secure the horns in all angles.

There is no specific brand for the black paint, all I know is I made sure to pick the cheapest Acrylic spray paint I could find. This particular brand, Lotus, was the cheapest brand in Handy Man and it cost me P109 (that’s roughly $2.60)  I was scared that using too much of the spray paint would soften the ‘cap’ part of my head dress so I was very careful to spray the paint evenly.

Here is how it looked like after leaving it for a good 30 minutes to dry.

Now for the last few steps of the head dress, I simply followed Sarah Sofi’s application of the faux leather cloth. I wrapped the cloth around my head the way she instructed and fastened it using at least 4 pieces of hairpins.

Looked up some DIY Maleficent looks but ended up doing my own thing, I used a bunch of purple hues for my makeup. I think the main thing to remember is to apply the dark grayish streak under her cheekbones to give maleficent that ‘sunken’ look.

MALEFICENT CLOAK

2 yards of black fabric, P36/yard

1/2 yard of purple felt fabric, P120/yard

Purple Ribbon

Maleficent’s cloak, I’d have to say was not sturdy at all but at this point I was just going for the look. I pretty much took the ends of the black cloth, put them over my back and instead of wrapping it around my neck to make like ‘superman’, I wrapped the tips around my arms to make them look like sleeves (as you would a shawl), I then did a temporary stitch to fasten them there (one stitch just under the armpits and one closer to the wrists on both sides). On the purple  felt fabric, I drew the shape of Maleficent’s flap, cut it out and attached it to the neck area with simple  backstitches. After which, I made 4 holes around the neck area for the purple ribbon to pass through thus making a draw string to make the cloak easy to adjust.

Look who joined me to dress up for Halloween…another black-purple beauty, Jeminah a.k.a Ursula.

Dinner at where else, the Encanto’s residence. Thanks for feeding us hungry villains…Pesto Pasta, Palabok, King Sisig (4 kinds of sisig) which by the way was superbly delicious, Fried Lumpia, Mocha Cake, Cupcakes and Wine.

Pervs Halloween 2014

Here’s our Disney Counterparts…

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Marco as Mr. Smee

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Rhea as Maleficent

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Gela as Cruella

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Jeminah as Ursula

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Next stop…The Bowery in the Fort.

Yes, we’re all Villains.

Jau as the Pacman Ghost and Gela as Cruella

Look who we bumped into…Migi Zuluaga. It’s been awhile. 🙂

Mai as Preggy Cherie Gil

Yep…you guessed it, someone came out as Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo from ‘She’s Dating the Gangster’

T’was a fun night out, considering the fact that nowadays I easily get tired clubbing, not hiding my age…I am old. Hahaha. Thanks so much Jau and Gela for the ride.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Hope everyone had a fun and creepy celebration and before I end here’s one last photo of my costume. Finally decided to join Lookbook’s Halloween Contest just for fun. Don’t forget to HYPE my look. haha.

~Rhea

Less Class More Craze

Another late catch-up post:

Woke up Christmas Morning and was excited to use some of my Christmas gifts…clutch from Vynna, peacock ring from Paulo and my Burberry perfume from Mom and Pop. Feeling a little bit playful with my outfit, I decided to forgo my classic crisp slacks and opted for these printed jeans. Crazy pants for the crazy holidays.

(BLOUSE: sheer, chiffon, Wet Seal/ TANKTOP: Philippines/ PANTS: Wet Seal, 5 for $20/ SHOES: Faux Snakeskin, Wet Seal/ PURSE: Spiked, Animal Print, Clutch, from Vynna/ ACCESSORIES: Earrings: Aldo, 2 pairs for $5/ Bracelet: leather, studded, F21/ Bangles: thrifted, $5/ RING: from Paulo)

An outfit for Christmas Morn

Giving classic ensembles an edge

Double-purpose accessory: My Forever 21 belt made into a bow tie

Hello, my self-defense clutch.

These pants somewhat remind me of the  Baroque Era. One of my good buys from Wet Seal during a 5 for $20 sale. Yay for $4 printed jeans.

Go-to faux snake skin heels.

Alexander McQueen inspired spiked clutch from Vynna, one of my favorite Christmas presents. Thanks mane!

~Rhea