Christmas 2016 Series: Decorating on a Budget

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Well, come on in!

Ah, Christmas. My favourite holiday as a kid and the holiday that can seriously send me into panic as an adult. While the holidays are truly a time of fun and cheer, there’s preparation involved – from decor, to food, down to shopping and wrapping gifts. It is honestly a major production.

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[PROMO CLOSED] Good to Know: Bloom This Flower Subscription Box (GET YOUR OWN FOR FREE with this special order code!)

Bloom This, Flower, Delivery, Florist, Flower Delivery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Penang, Delivery Service, Flowers, Peonies, Roses, Subscription Box, Flower Subscription I love flowers. I love buying them and I love receiving them. I love them looking pretty in a vase inside our home, brightening up the rooms and letting their sweet scent fill the air.

My grandma loves flowers so much that she has her own, small garden of orchids and other tropical flowers back in Manila. I think I got the flower-lovin bug from her. Though I must admit that patience isn’t one of my strongest suits so growing them on  my own and tending to them daily is something that might just never happen.

In Manila, I had a special relationship with my personal florist. Seeing as we’ve been friends since we were 15, I’ve been spoiled with flowers for a loooong time. (If you’re reading this – Hi Chuckay!)

Since moving here to Malaysia, my husband and I haven’t gotten around to getting flowers for the home even though we often say that we would. This is mainly because of two reasons: flowers are a bit pricey in the KLCC area and we just don’t know where to get nice ones.

Along came Bloom This, a company that offers luxury subscription boxes for flowers and delivers them right on to your doorstep! The moment I learned about this service from my friend Tammy (due to her post and Bloom This’ appearance at the Blogging 101 workshop that Tammy organised), I was over the moon.

The prices are so affordable and the flowers you get are the ones you’d actually like to be in your home – luxury flowers, as the company calls it. Just last week, I was the envy of my friends back in Manila, my mom, and a couple of other friends here in KL when they saw that I have peonies at home. That’s right! Peonies! ❤ ❤ Continue reading

Events: The Entertainer 2015 Launch

A blogpost! Yay! Sorry for the lack of updates the past few weeks. I’ve been up to my eyeballs with family stuff as my grandparents (mom’s side) as well as my mom and her boyfriend are here in KL for a visit. My husband and I don’t seem to have a shortage of people who love us and are more than willing to travel just to see us, don’t we?

And that’s not just because KL is so near Manila. After our current visitors, my dad who lives all the way in Sweden is also visiting followed by a friend! Or will my friend come first? I gotta check my calendar as I’m starting to confuse the dates already! Hihihi. I feel so much more loved than the usual lately, it’s just super awesome.

Speaking of love, I’m so excited to share with you guys that one of the products out there that I absolutely adore – The Entertainer – has launched their 2015 books and app! I’ve been quite excited for it as I’ve been told that this year, they will have more participating merchants which will make the product even better than last year.

Just in case you haven’t heard of The Entertainer yet, it’s a product (you can choose between a book or an app – whichever is more handy for you) that gives you access to buy 1 get 1 free offers in restaurants, bars, spas, hotels, and other awesome establishments. I previously wrote about it here and about using it in Langkawi here. Oh, and that one time my husband and I went on a quickie dessert date in one of my fave gelato stores in KL.

The Entertainer, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Launch, 2015, Starhill Culinary Studio

The Entertainer Malaysia and The Entertainer Travel 2015

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Expat Life: First Christmas in Malaysia (Christmas Trees & Holiday Shopping Tips)

It’s 6 days before Christmas! And while I think I’ve sort of outgrown Christmas (unlike my husband who is so adorably excited for this season), I must admit that it still brings a lot of happy memories from my childhood.

But come to think of it, it’s actually pretty weird to be in a country where not every corner is lit up with Christmas lights. Not hearing Christmas songs from your neighbours’ place is also a bit disconcerting. I find myself even forgetting that it’s just a few days till Christmas. 😛

So being the Catholic Filipinos that we are, we got ourselves a plastic tree as soon as Halloween was over. No, we’re not cuckoo. In the Philippines, Christmas trees are up as early as September – I kid you not. And when people go and live abroad, we do try to make sure we settle in just fine. One of the ways to adapt to a new country is to make your new home actually feel like ‘home’. Not really a replica of your home country but you just bring in traditions and little things that remind you of where you really are from.

Where to get your Christmas Tree

At that time, my husband was sort of frantic – asking people where we can get a tree. He was so determined to bring Christmas cheer into our new home, he was asking people from the embassy who have been here in Kuala Lumpur longer where we can get our own Christmas tree as early as October. So just in case people haven’t gotten their trees until now, and for future reference to those who will be looking, these were the answers that we got:

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Events: Surviving the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2014

Just got home from the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale and I gotta say, my arms (and also my husband’s) are dyiiiing from carrying our purchases. This has got to be the craziest book fair I have ever been to – even crazier than the ones we have in Manila. And that’s saying something.

Don’t believe me? Well here you go:

Big Bad Wolf, Books, Book Sale

So I guess this is how a book sale with 3.5 million books, running for 24 hours look like. I felt like Belle discovering the library inside the Beast’s castle!

What I thought was going to be “just another book sale” turned out to be one of my most favourite shopping experiences in Malaysia. Also, I’m proud to say that we’re almost done with our Christmas shopping thanks to this event! (Granted that our shopping list contains just a few names since we’re far away from our friends and family back in Manila – but still!)

We got there around a little bit before 5 in the afternoon. The crowd was tolerable so I can honestly say that the biggest enemy you have to face during the sale is the urge to grab everything in sight.

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Having The In-Laws Over (8 Tips on How to Survive Their Visit)

I’m back!

My in-laws have just left for the airport along with the husband’s aunt and uncle. Hugs were exchanged and reminders were made. A truckload of unsolicited yet welcome advice (and they were actually good to keep in mind) for a lasting marriage were given. There were a teeny bit of tears (though I won’t say who cried *wink,wink*) and “please come back soons”.

The past two weeks we had them over were fun (we got to show them around KL and Singapore) but very tiring nonetheless. So here I am, just a couple of hours after they left, sitting on our couch and munching on M&Ms. I refuse to move from this spot and I am just listening to the sound of my breathing. Everything is so quiet and now, I can relax. Wow. It feels totes foreign. Our home was filled with people for the past two weeks and now it’s back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong. I love having visitors and I love my in-laws. My husband’s family members have been nothing but nice to me. But you know how it is when you have visitors – it’s stressful. Even for my husband and they’re HIS actual parents and blood relatives. I guess it comes with the Filipino trait of being hospitable. We go out of our way to be very welcoming. Put it this way – you see those tourism slogans of other Asian countries who say that they’re also hospitable? Quadruple their hospitality and that’s the only time you’ll know that you’re getting treated the Filipino way. Have you ever heard of people letting visitors sleep in their bedroom while they camp out in the living room? No, Sorry. Alvin and I are not that hardcore. But a lot of Filipinos do that to make sure their guests are comfortable. And we don’t just do this for our families, we do it for friends and even acquaintances. So when we say we’re having guests over, I just know I’m gonna need at least a week to recuperate from all the traveling and tour guiding I’ve been doing.

While I’m lucky to have in-laws that are nice to me (my mother-in-law, a person I expected to make my life hell after seeing all those rom-coms is actually very motherly to me), I must admit that I was very anxious before their arrival and I’m sure most other married women there would agree. Whether your in-laws are loveable like mine or monsters from hell, it will always make you anxious to know that they’re coming. It’s like having VIPs as visitors.

I think my anxiety came from the urge to prove that I’m taking good care of their son and our home, despite us living alone abroad. They know I didn’t grow up like most Filipina women do. I grew up trained to be a career woman and not a homemaker. So I guess I wanted to put all their worries to rest and give the impression that  “I got this.”

And I’m glad to say that I did it. Successfully, of course. I actually feel proud about this achievement and I’m pretty sure that Alvin’s parents left Malaysia loving me even more. I’m quite sure I left a good impression on his aunt and uncle too whom I met for the first time when they arrived here for their short vacation.

So here’s a random (and honest) list of just a couple of things I learned from this visit which I hope will help any anxious newlywed out there who’s having in-laws over for the first time:

1. Clean the house

A disorderly house means one thing to in-laws: You’re not taking care of your home well enough. If you have a day job, you might get away with the house not being close to perfect. Like having a scarf laid down on a console table or leaving the remote controls in the dining table. But make no mistake about it: The pressure is greater for the stay-at-home wife.

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Events + Photos: KL Vintage Festival 2014

Last Sunday, Malaysia celebrated Hari Merdeka (Independence/Freedom day) which commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule. The holiday was extended to Monday, September first, and since my husband had to make a quick nip (ok, not that quick – he was there from 8:30am until almost 4pm) to the embassy because the whole team as well as our Ambassador needed to rush a few things for our President, I was able to get most of my chores out of the way before he got home and we decided to check out the Kuala Lumpur Vintage Festival.

We left the condo at around 4pm and took the Monorail to the Maharajalela station which was basically connected to Stadium Merdeka – the festival’s choice of venue.

Upon entry to the stadium are walls filled with photographs of the Malaysians’ heroes and revered leaders.

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