3AM Thoughts: Our Wedding

It’s been almost over a year and a half after our wedding, and I’m still surprised how time seems to be going fast and slow all at the same time. Hubby was in the US for a while when we got engaged, we planned for the wedding in a few months, he flew back to Manila for our wedding, we got married, spent a few days at the beach, went back to Manila, then he went back to the US, I followed him to the US after a couple of months, then we went back to Manila, we started a small business, and now we’re back in the US.

When planning for a wedding, it makes sense to decide on a small number of priorities that would act as a guideline for decisions since wedding planning can get exciting and it’s not uncommon for couples to end up with a wedding that wasn’t even close to their original vision. Early on, we decided that we wanted three things for our wedding: 1. to have a small list of people (50-60 was our target); 2. to stick to our allotted budget; 3. and for everyone to have a great time!

Being Filipinos, we both have big, extended families, and all our friends are practically family as well, so deciding on the guest list was a big challenge but in the end, everyone who were with us were people who were actually present in our lives.

We challenged ourselves to shell out as little money as possible for a venue that can hold both the ceremony and our reception, with awesome food of course. Out of all the venues we considered, we couldn’t have chosen a better one than Vikings Venue. With the help of my sisters, we were able to set the celebratory mood for a small amount.

Since we were doing everything DIY, we opted for some artificial flowers in peach and lavender color for the centerpiece and for my bouquet, which surprisingly wasn’t a bad idea at all since we didn’t have to worry about them wilting by the time of the event.

We bought a couple of yards of peach-colored cloth that I sewed for the tables. We bought acrylic photo holders for the travel-themed table numbers which I printed out. I typed and printed out all the place cards as well. My favorite part of the whole table setup was the Hershey’s kisses scattered on the table for the guests to munch on 😉 .

The peach and lavender colored ribbon back drop was a bit of a last minute thing but turned out nicely.

Diy photobooth props made by my sister allowed for lots of fun pictures for everyone, too!

Our giveaways were chocolate bars with a travel-themed wrapper that was designed by yours truly, and Starbucks Via for our ninongs and ninangs. 🙂

Everyone enjoyed really yummy macarons that we ordered together with our cake that was a personalized creation by the awesome Chef Joey Prats! All our pictures were wonderfully shot by our friend, Andrew Pamorada.

We went a little bit over our budget for the whole event because of last minute spending but it was not something we weren’t prepared for. Deciding on a small event was the best decision we made because we really wanted to make sure that everyone feels included and that everyone will have an wonderful time. My husband and I were blessed to get married with a simple yet unforgettable ceremony+reception with a small group of people who are present in our lives right from the beginning of our relationship and I wouldn’t wanna have it any other way. 🙂


SLTB

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Going Home Soon

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Hi guys! After nearly three months of staying in Hartford, Connecticut, it’s almost time for us to go back to the Philippines. With only a few more days left, hubby and I are already nearly done packing our things. Everything’s almost ready for our flight back to Manila, except for us. Well, mostly me, actually.

I am gonna miss this place. It’s just so different from back home. Surprisingly, downtown Hartford is a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. I love how old buildings here are old and preserved well while some buildings have used original parts of an older building to be part of a new one.

I also love the Bushnell Park that’s just a few blocks away from where we lived. One can do a “tree walk” and see trees that are home to a lot of squirrels and birds that freely roam around the park. A carousel built around 1914 that’s still operational is also located here in this park. Hubby and I spent a lot of afternoons here, just sitting on the grass while he would play songs on his guitar. A park as beautiful as this is something that I definitely wish we had in Manila.

I didn’t really get to see the sights here that much but we’re praying for another opportunity for us to be able to go back here in the U.S. For now, it’s time to go back home to Manila. It’s still home. 🙂


SLTB

Tastease Donuts: Hartford’s Tastiest Donuts!

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After randomly searching for a good dessert place in CT, Tastease came up a lot and all I saw were lots of Instagram posts and good reviews. I had to go check this place out.

Last week, I wanted to surprise my husband with these donuts but we arrived at the store just a few minutes before the store was closing so obviously, no donuts for us! We were told that if we wanted donuts, it’s either we call a day before or I we come in early in the morning. So this morning, I called in to reserve a box — at 7 A.M. The person on the other end asked for my name and what time I was to pick up the box of donuts and I said I’ll be there by 9 A.M. I arrived at the place by 8:45 and this was what I saw when I stepped inside:

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8:45 A.M.

 

Not a lot of donuts left. I didn’t ask if they have another batch baking in the kitchen but with what I’ve observed, it’s better to just call ahead of time and RESERVE your box. Trust me on this one, you wouldn’t wanna waste your chances on getting your hands on these yummy treats! A box of twelve yummy little donut goodness and waking up early to get these was really worth it.

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Aren’t they pretty?

 

Despite their size (they’re quite small), I was surprised at how much flavor each bite has — these donuts are dense and just a few pieces and a cup of hot coffee would be enough for breakfast! (We’re not big coffee drinkers so we just had plain ol’ water but still worked well for us!)

Yay for donuts! I can’t wait to try out the other flavors!:)

Have an awesome day!

SLTB

Tastease is located in 70 New Park Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut. Call them at (860) 233 2235.

Read more about Tastease:

CTMQ.org: Doughnuts at Tastease
Hartford.com: Mini Donuts From Tastease
CTNOW: Best Donuts

A New Life

Hi guys! Four months have passed since the year began and a lot of life-changing moments have happened to me — BF went back home for a couple of weeks and we got married, we got our own place, and now, I’m with Hubby!! (Yay!)

In the next few days, I’ll be sharing about the pretty, DIY wedding that we had — the planning, preparations, details, and the wedding day itself, and the short honeymoon we had at Coco Beach Island Resort in Puerto Galera. The past few months have been full of overwhelming emotions and as much as I wanna say it’s always been great, unfortunate stuff happened as well. Things have been quite rough for a while so I got discouraged and I felt like I wasn’t ready to get back to blogging… I’m just so glad that I can finally say I can move on with things and just really focus on what’s up ahead in our future. I’m happy to say that I’m in a good place now and I’m back on track… and I’m just really excited for the next blog posts I’ve got lined up!

We’re staying here for a few months so you can expect lots of spring-ish pictures, too! The weather’s awesome and the flowers are blooming… I see a lot of tulips, daffodils, and different flowers around. Basically, it’s the best time to go around for walks! I hope I can take a picture of a squirrel or two — they climb trees quite fast! 🙂

SLTB

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Happy New Year!

Hi guys!!

2015 has been kind to me — I reached new places, met a lot of new friends, got to know old friends better, made new memories, and learned a lot of things. It was during this year that I got to know who the people I can really trust are, and I’m thankful that despite people who are out there to bring negativity, there are a lot more who are always there to bring happiness and joy into my life. Old wounds healed, and though it took time

I know, I’m sorry I haven’t been updating this blog…  😦

I have news though…. good news… 🙂

No, wait…

Really awesome news!! 🙂

Ready??

I’m getting married!!!

…in a couple of weeks actually!! 🙂

Happy new year everyone!! 😀10454500_10206666552594871_871661357164965384_o

Upcoming: Healthy Cooking Demo Goes Asian!

Newbee Baking and Cooking International invites you to another healthy cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef, Chef Redj Baron Saguin of Cook Eat Right! Newbees go Asian, as Chef Redj introduces how to prepare Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Steamed Fish Teriyaki, and Asian Flavored Rice. Also, you wouldn’t wanna miss the Mango-Banana Flambe that’s the perfect dessert to top off this menu!

Make your own Safari-themed Fondant Cake at home with Ms. Charlotte Bernabe’s fondant demo — the cake will be finished off with a cute topper that the kids will surely love!

Lastly, learn how to always have fresh herbs right in your own kitchens with an urban gardening demonstration by yours truly, Erina Tachibana!

Exciting prizes will be raffled off so register now!!!

batch 3 poster 2When: October 10, 2015
Time: 11:00am
Where: Berghoff Incorporated
109, Ground Floor The Frabella Building, Rada Street, Legaspi Village Makati City, 1200

How to register:
– PHP250.00 participation fee required to cover ingredients and utilities.
– First pay, first served basis.
– Interested attendees are given until Thursday, OCTOBER 8, 2015 at 5 PM (Manila time) to confirm attendance and payment. See below for payment details:

BDO Felicidad Laurel
006780551022
BDO SM Fairview

BPI Erina Tachibana
0089 0437 86

Gcash
09279663151

Please send me (Erina Tachibana) a screenshot or picture of your proof of payment and participants’ full names.
For reservations/inquiries, do send a message to eri.tachi0523@gmail.com or SMS/call 09271282463.

NOTE: LIMITED SLOTS AVAILABLE
See you there!!

SLTB

Healthy Cooking Demo by Chef Redj Baron Saguin

I love baking and cooking. Much like a box of memories left at the back of a cabinet, however, I’ve set aside the passion that I have for it. I just can’t do it at the moment. Despite the “baker’s block” though, the yearning to learn more is still there, so aside from taking classes once in a while, I’ve joined baking and cooking groups on Facebook (guilty: I joined almost all of them… and dragged BF along, too! Haha!).

One of the groups that I enjoy the most is the Newbee Baking & Cooking International group. The “newbees” (members) are friendly and encouraging, and despite her being overseas, “motherbee” (the founder) always makes sure that everything is going well in the group. Aside from the members themselves, a group stands out when they’re as much a group out in the physical world as they are online, and this was proven at the event hosted by the Newbee Baking & Cooking International: Healthy Cooking Demo by Chef Redj Baron Saguin.

Despite the abundant fresh produce found in the Philippines, cheap and instant food are very popular among the Filipinos. In fact, in 2014, among the most popular companies in the Philippines are those that produces instant noodles and artificial food seasoning. It seems that a Filipino dish isn’t complete without a packet of something something mix or a pinch of magical powder and I think the dish loses it’s soul in the process. As for me, there’s something about fresh food that’s been seasoned with only herbs, salt, and pepper that’s really inviting, and I’m really interested in the versatility of fresh ingredients which is why I went to the cooking demo.

The event started off with an introduction by Chef Niel, followed by a bonus fondant demo by a fellow member, Ms. Charlotte. First, she taught us how to make an easy ruffled cake with fondant. I wasn’t really fond of fondant since I think it’s just to sweet, and I was more attracted to the classic buttercream, but I think I’ll give this one a go. I learned that fondant can be made in a big batch and it’ll keep for a while so that’s really convenient.

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pretty ruffles 🙂

Ms. Charlotte even taught us how to make a cute bear topper afterwards! 🙂

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adding details to the bear…

I knew it was easy to deal with fondant, but the creativity and artistry is only acquired through constant practice and a great amount of experience.

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the finished product 🙂

After the fondant demo, the healthy cooking demo started right away. I don’t watch TV at all, so it was only later on that I found out that Chef Redj has his own cooking show, and is a contributor to different food magazines. A celebrity chef!

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Chef Redj was fun to watch — and it is not a secret that a happy cook will serve happy food! In between the Paella Valenciana, the Grilled Chicken Canape, and the Steamed Fish Florentine with Mornay are lots of tips and tricks, too! In addition, I learned a lot about how to make a good stock which is important in cooking for good health.

When the Steamed Fish Florentine was done, we were each given the chance to put it all together and taste the finished outcome. This was really nice — the lightness of the fish, the spinach, and the wanton cup was balanced of by the creamy mornay.

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audience participation at its best 🙂

The next dish was the Grilled Chicken Canapes, and, just like the previous dish, we all had a small piece to try it…

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Grilled Chicken Canape

Finally, the most awaited Paella!

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After mixing everything together, we were finally able to try the paella… and it was amazing! I don’t really eat paella, but this was really delicious! Plus, the generous amount of seafood and the use of good soup stock instead of artificial seasonings made this dish really special. 🙂

Another bonus treat was a unique demo of a pineapple upside down cake. What’s so special about it? It wasn’t baked in an oven! It was “baked” on a stove top, with a pan made by Berghoff — a European brand that produces high quality cookware… How cool is that?!

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This demo taught me more than just cooking and making fondant, and to be able to see firsthand how technology, creativity, ingenuity, and passion can transform the way we do things in the kitchen was really unforgettable. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing about their personal experiences in the kitchen — being reminded that other people has their fair share of bloopers in the kitchen made me realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. And what’s a better way to be a newbie than be a NEWBEE? 🙂


SLTB

P.S. Watch out for updates as the group will be organizing other demos for everyone to enjoy! 🙂

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participants (c)raquel melendez