Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Anniversary at Istanbul, Turkey

It never fails to amaze me and make me feel blessed to watch a movie and to be able to say "Hey, I've been there!". I've never imagined that I would have the opportunity to see other parts of the world and travel with the love of my life.

Husband and I recently watched the movie Inferno at the iPic Theater. We were invited by our good friends to experience this fancy wine and dine movie theater at the South Street Seaport.

We tried the Premium Plus seats which costs an additional VIP fee of $10, with this fee we were able to enjoy the cozy leather reclining seats, a blanket, a pillow and the free tasty unlimited popcorn.The premium plus seating also allows you to push a button to call the waiter if you need to order more food, drinks or popcorn while the movie is still showing.

The theater serves gourmet style food options, expensive but it was really good. Husband ordered the Grilled Farmers Market Pizza and I love it!

Now let's throwback to our anniversary trip to one of my favorite cities, Istanbul.

The last destination of Robert Landon's adventure in Dan Brown's Inferno is in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Basilica Cistern is located in the southwest of Hagia Sofia. Constructed for Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565), this big underground water reservoir is called as “Yerebatan Cistern” among the public because of the underground marble columns. It is also called the Sunken Palace.

Inside you will find two Medusa heads which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern. One rests on its side, while the other is placed upside down, supposedly to rob the monster of its power to turn onlookers to stone.

Basilica Cistern

One of the Medusa Heads

When we were inside the cistern, 
we took advantage of dressing up as royalties and had our picture taken as one of our souvenirs.

Hagia Sophia
Inside the Hagia Sophia Museum
The Hagia Sophia is one of the historical architectural wonders that still remains standing today.
 It is the biggest church constructed by the East Roman Empire in Istanbul. 

another beautiful mosque
The Blue Mosque is a historical mosque in Istanbul,
the mosque has blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.

Inside the Blue Mosque

Topkapi Palace

The Topkapı Palace or the Seraglio is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey that was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years of their 624-year reign.

I hope you are inspired to visit Istanbul by this post. 
Let me end this post by saying thank you to our awesome friends, Archie and Sheryl, 
for taking us to the iPic Theater. Cheers for the awesome friendship and more double dates!

"When swimming into a dark tunnel, 
arrives a point of no return when you 
no longer have enough breath to double back. 
Your only choice is to swim forward into the unknown 
… and pray for an exit. "
- Dan Brown, Inferno

Monday, November 28, 2016

Things that you can DIY for your wedding

I am sure that there are a lot of things that you can DIY for your wedding. 
Here are the following DIYs that we did for ours.

1. Wedding Booklet/ Wedding Ceremony Program Guide / Wedding Missalette

We handed our guests a wedding program guide during the ceremony. It has the names of the bridal party and the entourage and as well as the readings that we chose for the mass.

It's something that we really want to have but are not willing to spend more than $100. I was looking at etsy to order the program, staples to have it printed and as well as considering to just print it at home. All of those choices are either tedious or expensive.
I found and got a good deal. We paid $42.38 for 50 booklets plus a 2.5% cashback from Ebates.

We had a 12 page-5.5 x 8.5 booklet. It was colored and printed on gloss paper.

You can make the pages through a word document file and set the pages on the same size and upload it on their website page by page.

 You can download a fancy font and cliparts.
Design your page through Photoshop or you can do it on a word document.

3. Wedding Card Inserts

I purchased the wedding silhouette images from Etsy and made these cards on a word document and then I had these printed through VistaPrint on a glossy card stock for less than $40 for 100 with back side. I initially made this to write all the names of the bridal entourage, the Godparents and as well as our readers.

3. Wedding Favors

We had 2 wedding favors during our wedding, one is our something blue Moroccan Mini-Tagine and the other is our Native Box from Philippines.

The boxes are also called Lauhala Boxes from Hawaii.

If you buy these boxes online it would cost around $3.50 per box, but since I did it myself, 200 boxes only came out to less than $100.

I bought the boxes plain, the lace ribbon, a pack of 100 Silk Petal Hydrangea from Etsy and flat button pearls from Amazon.

A stick glue and a glue gun are your best friends for this DIY. We also added hershey kisses with stickers at the bottom inside the tagines and boxes for sweetness. 👌❤

4. The Flower Girl Dress

What I used:
8" Lined Crochet Tops (Peach)
Tulle (Coral, Light Pink and Cream)
Chiffon Flower with Pearls and Rhinestone (Salmon)
Lotus Fabric Flowers with Rhinestones (Peach)

The tutu dress required a lot of patience and time to make. Since it was my first time to make this dress and I wasn't really willing to make a sample, my dresses had some flaws. ✌

But it's ok.. the dresses photographed nicely. I will make another post for the instructions of how to make a tutu dress. I will try to make it better than my flower girl dresses.

If you need help, especially for the wedding booklets,
I can email you the word documents that I used so you can just edit them. 

An Elegant Coral and Gray Wedding

We wanted to keep our wedding simple and elegant when we were planning for it and so we chose to have coral and gray as our main colors.

Main is the keyword. We didn't go crazy about sticking to only those 2 colors. We used some variations of corals such as salmon, peach and even light pink and we also had different levels of grays and silver. 

We used cream, champagne and ivory as our neutral.

Bridesmaids dress - David's Bridal

 Robes are from Wedding Prep Gals

Bride Robe in White
Bridesmaids and MOH in Coral
Mother of Bride and Mother of Groom in Champagne
Mother of Bride, my beautiful momma

I made the tutu dress for my flower girls since I couldn't find the right color that I like. I didn't want them to be wearing just one shade of color for their dress because I thought it would only look dull.

I purchased most of materials from etsy and amazon.
The tulle skirt is in mix of coral, light pink and some cream.
The crochet top is in peach.
The accent flowers are in coral with beads.

The baker for our cake said that we are one of the easiest couple to work with. 
We didn't want any complicated detail, our florist just added a few coral flowers on the cake
for a pop of color.

We weren't also particular about the kinds of flowers that we will have for the centerpiece.
Our florist used ivory and cream hydrangea, coral and peach roses, and pink baby's breath with some coral petals at the bottom.

What do you think of our color combination? ❤

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Birthday Breakfast

Before we start preparing for our thanksgiving dinner today, 
I made a quick and easy heavy breakfast for hubby's birthday.

Sweet Chili Ribs, 
Bacon-Wrapped Carrots, 
Roasted Vegetables, 
Fried Rice and
 cupcakes for his dessert. ❤

Sweet Chili Ribs

👉Rub salt and pepper on the ribs
👉Put it on a deep baking pan and double cover it with aluminum foil.
👉Bake for 1 1/2 hours on 375 deg F.

👉Remove the aluminum foil cover.
👉Brush and coat the ribs with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce
👉Put it back in the oven without the cover for 5-10 minutes.

Bacon-Wrapped Carrots

👍Wrap the carrots (sliced carrots or baby carrots) with bacon.
👍Bake for 30 minutes on 375 deg F.

Roasted Vegetables

👍Add broccoli, cauliflowers, baby potato and carrots.
👍Drizzle with olive oil.
👍Sprinkle salt, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil
👍Bake for 30 minutes on 375 deg F.
Birthday breakfast for the best husband ever!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How to Have The Best Wedding Ever

Whenever a bride talks about their wedding preparation, usually you will hear that she's exhausted, she can't wait for it to be over and the worst, the soon to be bride and groom are fighting.

I am very blessed with my husband. He participated and took control of the things that I don't really enjoy such as making a list, negotiating with prices and requesting other people's help. I will share a few helpful ways that made our wedding planning fun and somehow easy.

1. Make use of Google Docs

My husband and I didn't have the time to actually sit down, talk and compare notes and ideas. What we did was we made a joint google account and used google docs. This way, whenever we have time we just checked the files, added comments and shared the links and pictures through it.

2. List your priorities and start planning using that list

a. Choosing a church and the Reception Venue

CHURCH - Our number one priority was finding a church that would marry us in the afternoon so that our reception will be in the evening and it should be just 20-30 minutes away from our possible reception venue.

After we finalized our church location, we listed all the venues that are approximately 30 minutes away from our church.

We had our wedding at St. Mary's Nativity Church and our reception at Chateau Briand Caterers.

If you are catholic, finding a church here in New York can be a challenge because some churches won't marry you unless the bride or groom is a resident of that neighborhood. It could also be frustrating because sometimes you also want to get married in a church with a good looking interior aside from the fact that sometimes your church might not be convenient in terms of location and parking space.

What you can do if you choose to get married in a different church is talk to your parish priest to contact the church that you like and just hope that they will say yes. 

Chateau Briand, outdoor cocktail hour 
RECEPTION - It was also important for us to have an amazing wedding but won't put us in debt for the rest of our lives. 

After listing all the venues in the area, we visited our top 3 venues base on pictures and site reviews.

Have a date in mind but do not make it a set date. Ask for the quote of your chosen date and then ask for the dates that are cheaper than you "preferred date".

I wanted to have a 5 or 8 on our date. Guess what? May 8 for a 5pm-10pm at Chateau Briand was available. The only thing that we really didn't like was the date fell on a Sunday. May 28, which is a Saturday, was about $50/head more than May 8. No way that we are going to pay that much just because we wanted a Saturday...

Chateau Briand, indoor cocktail hour

After getting the quote for our final date, husband negotiated with 2 more other caterers. Chateau Briand didn't adjust their rate but gave us additional food and stations for our cocktail hour, plus we both fell in love with their cocktail hour room. It was amazing!

We had the indoor and the outdoor garden for our cocktail hour. 

3. Make a spreadsheet to compare wedding vendors

I made fun of my husband when he did this but it was honestly very helpful. He listed all the vendors and compared their services, prices, how many reviews they have and rating


We chose Shutter and Sounds Films for our video. They were expensive but we had 2 videographers and 2 highlight wedding videos. The videographers were so patient and the editors were so understanding and accommodating when we wanted to make some changes on our second highlight. Check out our 1st wedding highlight!


We had 2 photographers from Le Image to take pictures for 10 hours. You would think that 10 hours should be enough, but need at most 15 hours of coverage. 
The additional hours from Le Image was very expensive so we decided to ask our friend Redford Mancio to take getting ready pictures. He also took pictures from a different angle than our official photographers during the wedding and the pictures came out beautiful. Please check him out.


We chose Stylish Events to make our reception centerpiece and the rest of the flowers for Chateau Briand. It was the last detail that we had to discuss. We wanted to make our own manzanita centerpiece but I thought it would be tedious and it would require us to pay somebody to arrange it and to clean up. Husband and I took extra work just so we can afford the centerpiece and I am so glad that we did. The flowers were beautiful.
For the bouquets, I decided to use Silk Flowers from Lily of Angeles because nobody is actually going to remember what kind of flowers we are going to hold. As long as it looks good on pictures, it's good enough for me.
My girls were holding silk flowers and my bouquet had Real Touch Flowers. Real touch flowers are more expensive than silk but still cheaper than having a real flower bouquet.
I went to a cheap flower shop that makes altar decorations for regular masses and saved a lot by doing so.

Tutu Dress for the Flower Girls


Our entourage paid for their own dresses except for the flower girls. I made the flower girl tutu dresses because it is cheaper that way.
For the wedding gown.. please save for it! My dress was close to $2000 and I thought that was it. The store had to order my size and then alter it so that it would fit me perfectly. I ended up paying over $3000 in total. 

Maggie Sottero, Zendaya

4. Stick to your budget and prepare/save for it

Getting married, especially in New York is really expensive but we had a fixed budget for our wedding and worked around with that amount.

We didn't anticipate the cost of the photographers, videographers and flowers plus the CASH TIPS. We chose a very beautiful reception venue, we got an amazing DJ, MC plus Percussionist for the reception dinner and thought it would all just go to waste if we don't get good quality pictures and videos. So definitely prepare for it and talk about it as a couple and do not spend much for little things. Prioritize! 

Also, be aware that most of the vendors will only accept cash or money order. We were not able to use our credit cards which was really a bummer because we were hoping to collect miles from the wedding expenses.

5. What matters most is how you perceive your own wedding

It is only for one night. People are going to forget about your wedding. The most important thing is your own perception of your wedding. When you look back, you will not remember the details but you will definitely remember how you feel from the planning to the actual wedding.
Make sure you are having fun and try no to stress out with every detail. Don't pay attention to the small things but rather look at your wedding as a whole. It is a celebration of love and union.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bacon-Wrapped Potato for Husband's Breakfast

Bacon-Wrapped Potato means wrap your baby potatoes with bacon. I used Maple Bacon and didn't drizzle it with extra oil because I figured that would be too much oil!!!

The instruction for the bacon says to cook it in the oven for 20 mins on 350 deg F. However, 20 mins wasn't enough. It didn't look crispy when I checked it so I added 10 minutes.. and another 10 minutes... and another 10 minutes.

That was a total of 50 minutes. I also tried to wrap asparagus but my asparagus was either too thin or cooking the bacon for that long drained all the juice out of it. I ended up throwing the asparagus.
Bacon-Wrapped Potato, Turkey Sausage, 

I also tried to bake cupcakes for hubby to bring to work but unfortunately it didn't taste and look that good for me. He said he brought it with him but ughh... I hope whoever eats it knows that it takes practice to be good at something. This is my first cupcake!

It's the birthday countdown for the hubs...
Made a cupcake for hubby... it's the birthday countdown!