Our Real Living Makeover

If you read this post last month, I hope I inspired you to join the makeover contest of Real Living. A lot of people tell me I am very lucky when it comes to contests. In a way, that may be true. What I want to think is that I win because I try. Hard. I don’t have many desires but when I want something, I commit. For this makeover contest, I read the stories of past winners.  I took photos of my house and had the pictures developed. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote my entry. And then, I commuted from Paranaque to Ortigas to handcarry my entry to Summit Media. When I learned that our house was shortlisted, I planned for the ocular inspection by rehearsing how to “sell” our house and by baking chocolate chip cookies in the morning (which RL team was not able to taste because they came early). Now, was I really just lucky? Continue reading

I Won A Makeover from Real Living!

Just when I thought that this summer is so uneventful, I got an SMS that made my heart palpitate! Real Living, the number one home magazine in the country, was considering my house for their monthly makeover contest. Golly gee!

Everything happened so fast. I got that SMS May 11. May 13, they did an ocular. May 14, we learned that we were chosen. May 18, we had the the “before” shoot and meeting with the interior designer. Renovation started last May 21. May 29, last Friday, we had the “after” photoshoot.

Please grab a copy of the July issue as soon as it is out.

So why I am I posting this?

Because you too can win! Real Living is accepting entries until June 19.  You may handcarry your entry or send it via snail mail or courier.

Read the full mechanics here

May the odds be on your favor! Good luck!

Protect Your Family Said the Pope

Hello hello hello!

Is it just me or  is every 1 out 5 people that I know getting sick nowadays? That includes me. I have not been able to report to work for 2 days. The very moment that I sneezed, I knew immediately that I caught my officemate’s virus. As soon as I got home, I drank ginger tea and gargled warm water with salt. On the next day, I was semi okay. Wednesday was a different story. Today, Thursday, I decided to rest (yesterday I worked from home).  Thank you God for the gift of healing.

Moving on to another topic, what did you do during the long Papal weekend? Although we live close to Villamor, we chose to stay home. The pope said, “Protect your family.” If  protecting means praying, preparing for the future, nurturing, prioritizing health, and spending quality time with your family, we did just what the pope said.

First thing we did on the first day of the long weekend, was meet our financial advisor, Efren Cruz. Click here to read our past posts about insights that we gained from him. Financially, so many things have happened since we first met Efren in 2012. We paid off our Pag-ibig loan. I got promoted. Franco moved to an insurance company with great benefits. We just want to check if our finances are in order. Continue reading

Before and After: Boring Wall

Because it was Mother’s Day, I got Franco to finally agree to let me convert this boring wall into a photo wall.

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Normally, he does not want anything on our walls. He likes ’em plain and boring but since it was My Day, he could not say no to me. Hehe. Thanks, Bebekoy! Unfortunately, this project was put on hold because of some roadblocks in reproducing the prints that I want to display. Maybe next time. I am not sad at all because what I did instead is nicer.

Before we go there, here is how the bookshelves looked like some weeks ago.

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Not bad but it hurts my eyes. It definitely looked better last January. My family has this bad habit of not putting things in their rightful place and then totally forgetting about them. I also realized that Aki’s top 100 children’s books should be on the lowest shelves. While arranging the books per color of the spine makes the shelves look organized, looking for a specific book is sometimes a challenge. Not good for someone like me who gets panic attacks when I realize that something is missing or when I feel like I need to find something pronto. What is wonderful with my shelves is that they are really flexible. They are light and are not attached to the wall. I can move and rearrange them. And that is what I did.

Drum rolls please…. Continue reading

Before and After: Kitchen Shelves

There are a lot of things that I want to change/add/remove/organize/fix/improve/ in my kitchen  but for my decluttering project last month, I zeroed on the open shelves. They were a major eyesore and they have  been bothering me for months.

Here is the before picture.

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That is our beloved Ate Dorina. Her latest victims were my kitchen shears and a plastic pitcher. I don’t mind, err, actually I do but I try not to mind that I should mind, since looking for a helper who is dependable, trust worthy and most of all, willing to stay, is a challenge for many working moms like me.

Side story, last week, Aki’s teachers gave an assignment: decorate the recycled bird feeder. Because I am a believer that a child’s assignments and projects should be done by the child and not by the parents, and because I am so lazy, and because, unlike other people, cramming does not bring out the best in me,  I had Ate wrap the carton bird feeder with Manila paper and had Aki draw some doodles on it. I thought it was cute. Aki drew me, Ate Dorina and his Ate Jyl and his Daddy, Kuya Joaquin, Kuya Tos and himself. Apparently, it was not cute enough for Ate Dorina. She said Aki’s project looked so simple compared to his classmates’. Instead of submitting the project, she told the teacher that she left it at home. As soon as I arrived from work, she asked me for a more colorful paper and stickers. Unfortunately, we don’t have stickers. I gave her a bunch of fuzzy wires, asked her to cut them up and make swirls that Aki can glue to the birdfeeder. The next day, she surprised me when she showed me the finished product. I know I have the right to be angry. She did not follow my instructions. But after learning that she slept late to perfect the project, all I could do was say thank you with a forced smile.

Anyhoo, back to the decluterring project.

This is the only before picture that I have of the display shelves above the breakfast nook. Do you see the flashlight, bills, Vicks, nail cutter, coins etc? It was a dump-and-go space.

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Habits are hard to break. Instead of having a family meeting and orienting everyone that the flashlight goes to the lower left shelf and the Vicks on the medicine shelf, I have accepted that this display shelf is meant to be a catch-all for loose items. I can get rid of the clutter but for sure it would be back the next day. Well, if you can’t get rid of it, hide it! Haha. Here is how that shelf looks like now.

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Nice, eh? Continue reading

Before and After: Bookshelves

I spent the last holidays cleaning and de-cluttering the house. I cleaned up the most stress-inducing areas of the house and I am very happy with the results. Today, I would like to share my successful mini-makeover of this corner.
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I bought these shelves from Shopwise last year for only 600 bucks, buy one take one. Not bad, right? But when I brought out most of our books, I realized that we need more storage spaces. It was only last December when I actually bought the needed shelves. There is also Franco’s punching bag. I can’t hide it because of its size. It is also so heavy that it is impractical to move it all the time.

Wanna see my new shelves? Drum rolls please…

Continue reading

Menu Planning: The OC Way

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012 is to be a better employer. The sub-resolution is to set proper expecations early on and give clear instructions to our househelp/s. The sub-sub-resolution is to diligently make weekly menus and ensure that our helpers know what, how and when to cook. I realized that I could have prevented the spikes in my blood pressure that Lotlot caused, had I been more involved with menu planning.

Menu planning can be done in as fast as 5 minutes (if I wanted to go hotdog-longganiza-ham-maling-corned beef-tocino-vienna sausage / nilaga-tinola-sinigang-adobo-menudo-afritada) or as long as 4 hours. The OC in me chooses the longer, more tedious route.

So how tedious is the menu-planning process? Let me count the steps.

First, I need to gather my resources,  my cook books and food magazines. Everything is kept in the kitchen counter for quick and easy reference.  My favorite cookbooks are those published by Yummy. My favorite magazine’s are Test Kitchen’s and Cook’s Country. These mags sell for only 35-45 bucks at Booksale and are a great steal.

Next, this step is optional but because I am OC and I want to make sure that all shortlisted recipes get their own kitchen time, I try to go thru each book and magazine and list down the recipes that I want to try. Once I have tried a recipe, I put a mark or cross it out. This way, I will prioritize yet-to-be-tried recipes in the coming weeks.

Now comes the actual menu planning. Whenever I can, I try to stick to 2-3 resources per week.  After minutes/hours staring at my books, I write the weekly menu in a piece of paper. I have momnesia. I need to write everything down else I forget.

I used to write weekly menus on scratch papers and put them on the ref door. I think it quite understandable why the Hulk in me comes out or almost comes out every time the menu gets lost. I spent hours working on that. And because my memory is terrible, I would not be able to remember what I wrote.

Because of several instances  of missing menus, I decided to write down the menu on something more permanent and more difficult to lose.

Once the menu has been  finalized, I then come up with a grocery list. Having a list helps me stay focus. It also helps me manage my impulse-buying tendencies to put all sorts of spices and instant mixes into the cart.  By the way, before going to the groceries, I check out my ref and my pantry if we already have some of the ingredients that I need to buy.

Whew! Unfortunately, it does not end there.

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Repurposing Old Milk Dispensers

This is my niece Jyl. If you ask Aki who his bestfriend is, he always says Tete Jyl. We soooooo love this not so little girl. I was a full time yaya and clown to her when I was still too lazy to look for work.  She is turning 10 this August.  Oh my. I can’t believe that my favorite girl in the whole wide world will be in high school in the few years.

At 9 years old, her milk dispensers have not yet retired. Thanks to my very OC mommy.

Continue reading