Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Birthday Weekend

     I just celebrated my birthday last Friday and as always I had lots of fun, thanks to my husband and family :) When it comes to birthdays, I love to plan creative stuff - at least for my kids. I think of their party themes, color motifs, the menu... but since I'm quite busy, my own celebration isn't quite as decorated as theirs but can be quite creative too. Let's just say that it's a mini version of their party but with a smaller guest list limited to mostly family. And it doesn't just happen all in one day ;)

     So how does a mom of two celebrate her birthday weekend? Let me count the ways I did it this year...

1. Pre-Birthday Shopping

    When my sis-in-law Patty asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her at Vero Moda in the new SM Megamall Fashion Hall, I immediately checked my sched and made sure I would be able to go, haha! Besides, any perpetually busy work-at-home-mom would gladly say yes to this invitation! It was just a matter of strategic planning. Megamall isn't exactly near where I live and I had to bring the girls along so once we got everything in order, it was a go, go, go! :)


I totally loved my new outfits! :) Audrey was a bit sad though in our pic because 
she wasn't able to go shopping here hehehe (just kidding!)

We also had tapas and the best churros with hot chocolate at Boqueria! Really enjoyed our girls' day out! ;)
       
2. Birthday Pampering

    When I was thinking of what to do to celebrate my birthday with my family this year, I knew that I wanted to do something that was both fun and relaxing. Coco Nail Studio was the ideal venue for my very small spa party with my mom and sisters. I love their cozy ambiance, and they offered services not just for your fingers and toes but chair massages as well. They also help you setup a pica pica and dessert table for your celebration. Perfect. 



Everything about Coco Nail Studio is relaxing and easy.
They ordered the canapes for me, provided some snacks and tea,
and helped me set up the table before we started our mini party.

My little guests had fun at the spa party too - from the play area to the kiddie foot spa!
(no foot scrubbing! just the bubblies in a basin of warm water 
J )
Natalie though had to do her own foot massage because there were no baby massages here hehe!
(would have been care of mommy but I was busy with my pedi and foot massage! shucks)

3. Eating

    Celebrating one's birthday (particularly mine) isn't complete without eating! haha! We ate out with my family right after our pampering session at Coco Nail Studio at a Filipino restaurant next door. 


We didn't really get to take pics of everyone during dinner (too busy eating!),
but was able to take a couple of photos of the kiddos! ;) A very good friend
of mine from college (and visiting from Cambodia) also dropped by
and it was a welcome surprise!

    During the weekend, we also had a Japanese feast with my in-laws at Sensei Sushi in BF Homes. I love their sushi and creative dishes so it was a nice way to cap off my birthday celebration.



4. Exercising

    Hwat?!! Haha, yeah I know :P This isn't probably the usual way you celebrate your birthday, and it isn't usually mine either but it just happened to be squeezed in between my birthday celebrations haha! Actually, I really wanted to attend this Pilates session because I needed to burn everything I ate for my birthday hehehe! I felt that I needed to require myself to exercise post birthday - for my own good and well being (and to get rid of the food guilt hehe!)


Ever since Patty invited me to attend Pilates classes starting with Core Suspend 
(flashback photo in black and white hehe) at Options Studio Fort,
I've been going back. The Stability Chair workout last Saturday was definitely
a great way to burn the calories from my birthday cake!!! :D 

    

Monday, February 24, 2014

Q1 Tower Skypoint

       If you are ever heading to the Gold Coast, one of the things that you must absolutely do is go up the Skypoint Observation Deck at the Q1 Tower in Surfer's Paradise. It has a 360 degree view of the Gold Coast and it is just breathtaking! I would advise you to check the weather report on the day that you visit though because you would want to be there on a bright and sunny day to be able to see everything clearly and take great pictures ;)

The Q1 Tower Building is one of the tallest towers in the Gold Coast.
It is actually taller than the Chrysler Building (one of my favorites) in New York.

Skypoint Observation Deck is on the 77th level and is accessed through one of the world's fastest elevators.
It'll only take you about 42 seconds to get up there from the ground level.

One of the spectacular views from Skypoint

You can also climb 298 steps up to the summit of Q1 Tower.
It is Australia's highest external building climb.

Little Natalie loved looking at the view!

Audrey happily posing for pictures while Natalie is all relaxed and chillin' :) (and barefoot! haha!)

We had breakfast at the Seventy7 Cafe at Skypoint

Sisters' Photo Op!

Love Natalie's pose! ;)

It was a beautiful sunny morning when we we were there so we really enjoyed the view!

We stayed at the Observation Deck for quite a while just basking in the very scenic Gold Coast region and the beach. Skypoint is also the only beachside observation deck in all of Australia.

This is my favorite shot of the girls taken with just my phone :)

    The next time I go here I will make sure to get the Day & Night ticket so I can check out the view at night as well! ;)

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Little Painters

    This video of Audrey and Natalie painting is just too amusing not to post. Listen closely to what the girls say toward the end. Funny! :)


Have a good day! ;)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Good Finds: Kids' Books

       Reading books are a part of our usual activities at home. And since I wanted the girls to hear new stories and see some new illustrations, I decided to check out Book Sale in the mall. The trip turned out to be a success! ;) At first it didn't seem likely that I would find the children's books that I was hoping to get. But amidst the novels and old travel magazines, I found about a dozen children's books that I wanted to buy. My husband had to stop me and remind me that we can always come back hehe.
     What's great about these finds is that their price range was from 20 bucks to 125, which is already the most expensive. I was happy with the books and even happier that I got a dozen for the price of one book in a regular bookstore. The only downside to getting books on sale was that they were a bit dusty and made my hand itch ;S But thanks to the baby wipes in my bag this problem was solved. 
       Here are some of our favorites from our latest finds.

This was the most expensive book on sale but only probably because it had a hard cover. This big book about an
Incy Wincy Spider (but not the familiar song that we know) is very entertaining because of its rhyming text,
colorful illustrations and the texture of the silver silk web which runs through every page.



       Other great finds include Is Your Mama a LLama? which has riddles about different animals and descriptions about their behavior and characteristics. The rhyming text was easy to read and remember.
      We also enjoy singing to Old MacDonald Had a Farm, a popular nursery song. Natalie loves the colorful photos of the animals and can make their sounds whenever she sees them. Audrey fills in the animal sounds alternately with me so we have fun interacting. The book also has suggestions at the end as to how you can make reading the book more interesting and educational.


        Earthsong is a book about endangered animals which also teaches counting. We learn about animals like the Bengal Tiger, the Asiatic Lion in the Gujarati Forest, the Black-Footed Ferrets, the Sun Conure and Gila Monster (which Audrey calls a 'butikeek' since it is actually a desert lizard) which are slowly being pushed to extinction. I like that this book sparks Audrey's interest about other types of animals and that we can talk about taking care of the earth and all the animals in it so we can preserve what God had made.


         Who Did It? is our break from reading text. It's just a fun workbook where Audrey identifies who did what and where the things in the list are within the illustrations. 



          These books are just some of our current favorites but we actually have more. I just can't wait to go on another book shopping trip for the girls again!!! haha! :) 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

   

Photos above by Catilo Photography


       We usually think that Valentine’s is just for couples. And I do agree that it’s a great day (or excuse haha) to show our love and affection for our significant other. I can’t wait to celebrate with my husband J (even if our date will be set on another day because we prefer to avoid the crowds hehe).
       But I also think that Valentine’s is a good day to remember other important people in our lives. Like our moms, best friends, or our siblings - especially if they are widowed, alone or still single.
       After all, there are no rules about who we should choose to spend this day with. It is a day to celebrate with the people you love! And that knows no limits J


The girls having fun with Mamita at our Valentine's breakfast this morning :)

The sweet sisters ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Family Photos: Mom & Natalie

     In our family photo session last year, Natalie and I were able to have our own mommy and baby moment. Here are some of what we captured on camera.

Natalie loves being carried while I twirl around :)




She was pointing to a puppy in this photo ;)



This is one of my favorites ;)

Sharing a laugh! :D
Candid moments make for good pictures :)



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Beach Hopping in the Gold Coast

    What do beach lovers do when they visit the Gold Coast? Go beach hopping of course! :) Here are the beaches we visited during our stay and how each is special in its own way.

Coolangatta Beach


This beach is so photogenic that even if I took this photo with just a point and shoot camera,
this scene looks like something you would see on a postcard.
We took photos by the beach and hung out at the playground for a bit. The wind was too chilly and we didn't
really prepare for swimming that day. We visited this beach out of a whim and we're glad we did.

Broadbeach


Broadbeach still remains to be my favorite beach on the coast. I liked it when I first
visited the Gold Coast with my husband and I still liked it when we brought our
girls here. It's just more accessible and quiet. Great for families like us :)

These photos show 2 views of Broadbeach:
With Audrey and the buildings behind,
and with Natalie and the ocean

Audrey loves it here too

Natalie's a born beach babe so she enjoyed it here a lot

Broadbeach is one of the less crowded beaches

It's also in close proximity to the Oasis Shopping Centre which had several restaurants, minus the touristy crowds.
 
I love the modern buildings that you see within the vicinity of Broadbeach 

Main Beach


Main Beach was quiet and the shore seemed a bit narrower than that of Broadbeach
We enjoyed our time here and laid out our beach mat and built sandcastles as usual

As long as we're at the beach, no matter where, these girls are just all smiles
(that includes me!)




Surfer's Paradise


Surfer's Paradise is a popular tourist area so it came as no surprise that the beach here
would be the most crowded as compared to all the other beaches along the Gold Coast

When at the beach, whether crowded or not, Audrey got down to business -
The business of Building Sandcastles!

And I did what I always do - enjoy time with my family and take lots of pictures! :)