Category Archives: Out and About

mrspcuyugan

Halloweekend 2016

Hey guys, how is everybody? Did you all have fun over the long Halloween weekend? We definitely did.

Our family is big on Halloween, and I’m happy that this year we were able to do a little bit of Halloweening at home. Finally! The main festivities still happened at my parents’ place, since Halloween in Alabang is awesome, but I really made sure we had a few fun activities at our house, too.

The kiddo was on mid-year school break, so it was the perfect time for us to get crafty, and work in the kitchen together. Honestly, I really made an effort to think of gadget-free activities that would keep him occupied just to be sure that he would take a break from playing on his iPad.

My rule is, no iPad on school days (including weekends) but during school breaks I will allow him to play video games all he wants. My mom did it this way when I was a kid, and it worked for us. But then it was easier at our house because I had siblings to play with on gadget-free days. So now with Little MrC, his dad and I have to keep him entertained. I think I did okay.

Our first Halloween sembreak activity was to make super cute, really easy, popsicle stick crafts, which we used as decor at home.

For this, we just searched for pegs on Pinterest, and started working from there. I’ve also started looking for Christmas craft ideas. I feel like I should encourage my kid to do more of these projects with me because they don’t do that many hands-on projects anymore at school. Most of their projects are now done on the iPad. It’s kinda sad, but looking at it from a different perspective, I find his Garage Band and iMovie skills impressive naman. So I guess it’s not all that bad.

Anyway.

One thing they have been doing a lot more of in school is cooking. The Home Economics curriculum has improved so much since I was a student. A lot of the lessons are more practical now. So, now that I know that he can work a little in the kitchen, I figured it was time to get the kiddo to make a meal with me.

I know, I know, I know, some kids his age are already capable of making simple meals on their own. But you have to remember that I also just recently learned how to cook. Being able to share the task, and teach him while I’m at it, is a huge deal for me. Baby steps lang.

From the start, Little MrC was excited about preparing our Halloween-themed meal. My plan was to take care of all the ingredient prep and actual cooking, and I let him do the decorating. 

We made baked mozzarella-stuffed “eyeball” meatballs in bloody marinara sauce, mummy potato skin pizzas, and spotty rice pilaf. The mummies were much nicer before I baked them. I think I should have chosen a less-melty type of cheese for this. Still, everything was super yummy, and 100% made with love.

Halloween day, like I said, was spent at my mom’s place. We went around the village, got lots of candy, and then had an early dinner with the family. My cousin joined us, along with her new baby, and that was a real treat. The baby was dressed as the cutest scuba diver I ever did see.

For the first time ever, I took charge of the boys’ costumes this year, and I have to say I’m super proud of the outcome. Don’t my stick men look awesome? Ako naman, walang costume, because I decided to be the designated driver this time. It’s always been MrC driving us around, and I thought it would be nice to (finally) give him a break.

Also for the first time, we had a Halloween-themed buffet at my mom’s. The lovely people from White Box sent us a dessert bar decor box sampler, and we were super excited to use it. Kaya lang we had no desserts to display lol. So instead of cupcakes and sweet treats, we had pasta trays and baked ribs in our spread. I think it ended up looking awesome anyway.

mrspcuyugan
Waahhh I wish I had a nicer photo of our setup! We were in such a rush that I wasn’t able to take a good one.

 

So that was Halloween weekend for us. Can’t wait til next year. For now, it’s time for us to shift to Christmas mode! So exciting!!!

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Oh, one last pahabol. Just a bit of info on White Box.

White Box aims is to provide their clients with a simple and convenient way to put together fun, stylish celebrations. They create, curate and customize party decorations and essentials according to their customers’ distinct needs and preferences, all packed in a box and sent to their venues or houses.

If you love the DIY look but have no time to work on things from scratch, White Box can definitely help you. They also offer full event styling as an option, along with the use of their custom products. Winner!

If you wanna know more, follow White Box on Instagram. They will also be at The Travelling Trunk this November, where they will be debuting their Christmas boxes. 

 

Bowen 24 Cafe

Discovering Bowen 24 Cafe

Fact: MrC and I are very particular when it comes to our coffee.

We prefer to drink Arabica, and absolutely love how it tastes chocolatey, nutty, and fruity all at the same time. We also enjoy brewing our own coffee at home. We only use an ordinary coffee maker because it’s the simplest option, but whenever MrC has time, he likes to play around with his Aeropress.

 

Our everyday coffee of choice is That Coffee Cult’s Sagada Dark Roast, because #SupportLocal! Lately, though, we’ve been indulging in organic Arabica from Costa Rica, since we have a fairly large (but quickly diminishing huhuhu) stash, all thanks to my sister’s boyfriend.

 

This week’s bag of beans. Thank you, @ricardoortuoste, our Costa Rican #coffee pusher.

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

 

We like coffee a lot, so it’s easy to see why I would get excited about spending time at a coffee shop. With free coffee. Free coffee is the key to getting me to say yes, my friends. Lol, just kidding. But it does help. Ask my friend, Millie. I said yes to her right away when she asked me to come check out a new coffee shop in our neighborhood, Bowen 24 Cafe.

 

My barista here at #bowen24cafe looks kinda familiar. ?

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

 

Bowen 24 Cafe is super easy to find. It’s just along President’s Avenue in BF Homes, right across Puregold, where (the very forgettable) Paume’s Pastryhouse used to be.

I love the glass windows and doors that line the front of this cafe, letting a lot of natural light in. It adds so much charm to the beautiful interiors of the place. And oh, how beautiful it really is inside.

The cafe is mostly clean and white, with wood-finished floors, and wooden tabletops paired with pasted blue chairs. There’s a gorgeous accent wall with a really nice honeycomb design, painted in lovely shades of grey. 

Small potted plants add a hint of nature to the space. Little details like framed photos and hand-lettered quotes, pretty throw pillows, and super chic light fixtures tie everything together perfectly. Bowen 24 Cafe is both chic and homey, and 100% Instagrammable.


 

I learned a few things about the cafe when I was there for their pre-opening Coffee Appreciation Day.

Roxie, one of the owners, shared that the name Bowen 24 comes from her apartment address as a student in Australia, #24 Bowen Street. Millie told me that the idea to have a kiddie corner springs from the fact that all the business partners are parents, and that they want Bowen 24 to be a place where moms can come to work, hang out with friends, or just quietly relax, and not have to worry about how to keep the kids occupied for a few hours.

Bowen 24 Cafe
Millie’s little ones enjoying this fun space for happy kids. Photo from Bowen 24 Cafe.

 

I’m excited over the fact that they also plan to build a small library in the cafe because for me, settling in with a good book and a hot cappuccino is one of the best things to do in a coffee shop. More than anything, though, I’m happy that there’s another place nearby that takes pride in serving really, really good coffee.

Bowen 24 Cafe serves a signature blend called The Brunswick Blend, which is specially made for them by the excellent roasters of Toby’s Estate. The blend highlights the coffee’s chocolatey and nutty notes, which is exactly the kind of coffee that we love.

 

Need one of these right now. Pwede ba magpa deliver? Lol! #bowen24cafe #morecoffeeplease

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

 

During the exclusive Coffee Appreciation Day, we were given a crash course on proper coffee extraction by one of Toby’s Estate’s award-winning baristas, Andy. He made us sample several cups of espresso, allowing us to experience what over-extraction and under-extraction does to the taste of coffee. At the end of the experience, I feel like we all went up a notch on the coffee snob scale. In a good way, of course.

As if the tasting experience didn’t give us enough of a caffeine boost already, afterwards we were treated to a few specialty drinks and coffee pairings, also prepared by Andy. First, a long black paired with dark chocolate. Then we had cappuccinos paired with roasted cashew nuts. Finally, Andy made us some naturally-sweet iced coffee – So good, and something I’d totally go back for. No sugar added, which means it has only about 2 calories and no fat. Ang galing guys

 

They serve yummy cakes, too, made lovingly by Roxie. Not gluten-free, but certainly cheat day worthy. So even if I do save calories and fat grams by choosing the naturally-sweet iced coffee, nabawi naman lahat and more sa cake. Oh well. At least I know for sure that I’ll be one happy customer.

So, will I be coming back to Bowen 24 Cafe? Yes, absolutely. I love it there already.

Thank you, Roxie and Millie for having us. See you guys again soon!

Bowen 24 Cafe
At Bowen 24 Cafe with Helene, Roxie and MIllie. Photo from Bowen 24 Cafe.

 

Bowen 24 Café
#29 Presidents Avenue, BF Homes Paranaque
FB: https://www.facebook.com/bowen24cafe
IG: @bowen24cafe

mrspcuyugan

Dessert Buffet Styling 101

Fact: I’ve never been very good at making things look pretty. I’m simply not wired that way, which is why I became a writer instead. Trust me, I can make anything seem beautiful using the right words, but don’t make me style a flatlay or decorate an area for you. (You will see photo evidence of my design handicap throughout this post.)

This explains why, a year after our big move, our bare white walls are still bare and white. A tour of our house will also reveal that our furniture is a little bit mismatched. That’s mainly because 99% of them are hand-me-downs from different homes, but it’s also because I can’t figure out how to change things up to make them look like they belong together. 

Honestly, I’m afraid to permanently install or remove anything from our house because it just might not work out. And then we’d be stuck with ugliness for a really, really long time. Lol. The struggle is real!


 

Obviously, it’s good for me to attend classes and workshops on styling because I need help. This is why I really made time to be at the Dessert Buffet Styling session by School of Styling Philippines at Evia Lifestyle Center. This particular workshop was perfect for me, actually, because the output is simple, manageable, and not at all permanent. In short, keri ko to.

The super talented Indy Ycasiano was our teacher that day. Here are some styling tips that learned from her at the session. 

#1 Plan ahead

Indy suggests creating a sketch of what you want your table to look like before you get to work. You can also make a mock setup before the day of your event or party so that you can be sure that you have everything you need, and that everything works well together.

#2 Flat is boring. 

Case in point. Flat = boring. This table isn't even fully setup yet, but you can clearly see that everything
Case in point. Flat = boring. This table isn’t even fully setup yet, but you can already see that the elements seem to be falling in line, from the serving dishes to the birthday greeting on the wall. Hindi pa naka-center! Lol. Told you I’m no good at this!

 

To make things look nicer, play with levels when you arrange items on your buffet table. You can do this symmetrically, with a focal point at the center, and other items arranged similarly on either side. Symmetrical doesn’t necessarily mean identical. You can display different items on either side of the focal point, but make sure that they are similar in height so it looks balanced.

Another option is to go asymmetrical, where things are not set up in a mirrored fashion. This is much harder to pull off because you will really need to move things around until everything looks like they are in the right place. Jedi-levels of styling required here, so trust that you won’t see me working on any asymmetrically-styled dessert buffets any time soon. 

Here’s an example what a symmetrically-styled table should look like, as styled by Indy.

 

#3 Don’t bring out all of the desserts that you have, all at once

Just display a few of the your sweet treats on nice plates, trays or jars, then fill in any awkward spaces with decorative items. Things like food labels, objects related to your theme, flowers and party favors are great space-fillers. Don’t go overboard, though! Too many things can make for a cluttered table. And don’t forget to refill your desserts whenever needed.

As you can see, I displayed all of the cupcakes we ordered. I also did not use a plate or tray. Am I hopeless?
As you can see, I displayed all of the cupcakes we ordered. I also did not use any plates or trays. Am I hopeless?

 

#4 Add height

Playing with high and low elements can help make your table look more appealing. You can use various things to add height, such as cake stands, tiered stands, boxes, crates, and even a stack of books. The treats you choose can also give added height. Cake pops, candy canes, push-pops, and basically any treat with a vertical element can work. 

My friend used a cupcake tower to add height to her daughter's birthday dessert buffet.
My friend used a cupcake tower to add height to her daughter’s birthday dessert buffet.

 

#5 Embellish

Here’s where having a whole stock room full of nice props comes in handy. But if you don’t have that magical room filled with plates, bowls, linens and buntings, here are a few basic decorative add-ons that you can use.

  • Fabric – A few yards of nice fabric can be used as a table cloth or runner, and can make a huge difference! See (above) how boring the blue cloth used in our party was? Learn from my mistake, guys.
  • Printables – These are great because you don’t need to store them. You can just design and print things like buntings, signs and labels every time there’s a special occasion. 
  • Buntings and garlands – You can make these using felt balls, pompoms, ribbons, tissue, fabric, small toys, crocheted motifs (which I plan on doing for Christmas!), etc, etc, etc.
  • Backdrop – Adding a backdrop to your dessert buffet helps extend the theme of your party to the table. You can use a plywood panel, canvas, or drapes for this. 
rainbow-brite
If you’re hardcore like my mama, a blank wall can be your canvas, and you can create whatever design you want using Manila paper, art paper, tape and markers. She did just that for her kids on many of our birthdays.

 

#6 Always take a step back to view your table

Walk away and check your work from a distance every once in a while. You’ll get a better perspective of your buffet table this way. Assess then continue your work until you’re done and happy. 

Towards the end of the workshop, attendees were split into two groups and tasked to decorate our own buffet tables. Our group created a glamping-themed buffet. I love our final output. 

mrspcuyugan
You likey?

 

I had so much fun, and I really learned a lot at the workshop. Now I’m excited to start setting up pretty buffet tables at home. But first, I suppose I need to get a buffet table. Lol! Time to go shopping! 

*Follow School of Styling Philippines on Instagram and Facebook to find out when their next sessions will be. Maybe I’ll even see you at one of them!

#OishiSnacktacular

Things To Do at the #OishiSnacktacular 2016

I don’t go to mall events often because I had my fill of them when MrC and I were working for retail. Yesterday, though, I made an exception, and headed off to the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall for the #OishiSnacktacular 2016. I’m glad I did because it really was so much fun. Plus, by chance, my friend Camille and her son (my godson!) Lucas were there as well, and so it became an impromptu bonding day for the three of us, too.

#OishiSnacktacular
Hanging out with Lucas and Camille

 

When I arrived yesterday, the first thing I noticed was how colorful and exciting all of the booths looked. This year’s event has an 8-bit inspired game, and it felt to me like I was in one of those video games I grew up playing. You even walk over a giant “Press Start” button when you enter.

#OishiSnacktacular
Oishi Snacktacular Pass to Wow. Entrance is FREE, and then it’s pay to play from there.

 

So what’s there to do at the #OishiSnacktacular 2016? Here’s a quick rundown of the booths and activities.

Take a photo at the Oishi Pack & Pose. Don’t forget to post it online with the hashtag #OishiSnacktacular.

Go to the Make Your Own Snack booth where, for only P20, you can have a customized bag of chips and snacks made just for you.

#OishiSnacktacular
All of your favorites on one bag. Yum!

 

Make sure to line up for the Oishi Snack Catcher. For P200, you get strapped on to a harness, and lowered into a giant pool of snacks. Then, you grab as much as you can, and whatever you get is all yours! Too bad I had to skip this because I was in a dress, but if the boys were with me, I’m sure one of them would have gone up. 

 

Cool down with some Oishi Choco Chug ice cream at the Oishi O-Twirl booth. Don’t forget to add toppings to your cup of ice cream for extra yums! All this for only P20.

The Oishi Snack Shack was my favorite activity. Here, you get to fill a 2ft tall Oishi bag with all of your favorite snacks! I loaded mine up with Bread Pan, cereal, Sponge Crunch, Wafu, and a lot of other treats. And the bag is really big, super sulit at P295! I got a lot of stares as I carried it around the mall.

 

As if you hadn’t already filled your bags with enough snacks at this point, there’s more to be had at the Oishi Cuckoo Blaster. For only P100, you get to put on the Cuckoo Bird suit, and catch as many balls as you can. 1 ball = 1 snack for you!

After all that activity, treat yourself to a Smart C+ slushee for only P20 at the Oishi Slush C+ booth. The calamansi flavor is super good.

And, before you leave, check out the different Oishi snacks from all over Asia at the Oishi World of Wow area.

#OishiSnacktacular
Durian-flavored Oishi Pillows? Masarap!

 

The #OishiSnacktacular 2016 is open until July 17, which means you still have a day and a half to go there, enjoy, and snack-attack away! Enjoy!