Friday, October 24, 2014

Week in Recap: Dreams N Family (Part 2)

 
Happy Friday, Friends!
 
I know, I know, my week in recap is supposed to be posted by Monday, but anyhoo...
 
Let's start by Monday. My previous Monday, that is. I started the week with a bounce in my walk and a song in my heart, and with this great quote above. So true, rite!
 
If other people started the day with a cup of coffee, I start mine with a cup of milk. Chocolate milk. And my trusted agenda. Eventhough I have calendar in my computer and cell phone, I still prefer the old-fashioned agenda. It keeps me organized and happy and productive. There are times when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I wanted to be bad, I didn't want to be organized, and most likely I would end up having a week passed without really doing anything meaningful and forgetting all the things that I should be doing.
 

 
Also, Monday was more cheery with this cherry necklace! I did tell you that I was going to try out my new necklaces one by one! I have the cherry earrings as well, but they are too big for office.

Remember in this post I wrote how my Mom ate the tiramisu cake that Hubby planned to eat after lunch? ^__^ Well, I wanted to do something nice for Hubby, so during lunch time, I went to the nearby mall where they have a BakerzIn branch, and bought him a piece of tiramisu cake. Then I snapped a picture of the box with tiramisu and the resturant's neon sign and posted it on Facebook, tagging Hubby with message: "Buying tiramisu for DH". He was ecstatic!

 
Meanwhile, my parents stayed at our home until Wednesday before going back to my hometown. It did my heart goof to see this when I returned home from work: Michael was playing with Grandpa!
 
 
And he got a new set of clothing:  a pair of long pants and a new T-shirt. Actually, I knew that Mom planned to go to an outlet during the day, so I asked her to buy a new pants for Michael, his first long pants. The pants were in the laundry, but Michael refused to take off the shirt! The shirt is super cute because it has a mock backpack like a pocket at the back.
 
 
 
 
Well, nothing much happened afterwards during the week. I just wanted to highlight this picture that I snapped during lunch hour with my coworkers. A friend, Attary, wanted pick up her dry cleaning at this place called Aqualis. While waiting for her, we realized that the big building with many windows houses a drycleaner, a ramen restaurants, a spa and beauty salon, and rooms for rent! Surely it's a house that pays for itself! Haha! How inspiring! How nice it would be if you could have a property that generates enough money to pay the monthly mortgage! Wouldn't it be nice!
 
Lastly, here's another necklace I wore last week. A garland of colorful flowers. I love! And best of all, by the time I'm finished writing this recap, I know that another weekend is looming away right ahead. Hurray!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week in Recap: Weekend of Love N Luxury (Part 1)


Hello, Friends!
 
I have so many pictures and stories to share from last week, I decided not to bore you with too many things in one heavy post, thus this week in recap is split into two! I know it's very late for week in recap post, but better late than never, rite!
 
First, let's talk about weekend. My parents came to Jakarta on Friday, to stay until the following Wednesday. My parents adore their grandson, they spoil him as if he were their first grandchild, when in fact, he is the third! Several days before my parents came, I already prepped Michael by showing him videos of him playing with Grandma and Grandpa that I have on my iPhone. I did it so Michael would remember his grandparents and would not think they were 'strangers' who invaded his house! From experience, I know that Michael would not go near my parents for several days, and when he have grown accustomed to them, and let them hug and kiss him, it was time for my parents to leave. So, this time, I wanted to familiriaze Michael with the idea of Grandma and Grandpa prior to their coming. The plan worked! My parents were so happy, because in than an hour, Michael stuck with his Grandma, playing, cuddling, watching YouTube videos. So cute!
 
Saturday was a usual day of early morning stroll at 6 am with Hubby and Michael. After that, Hubby and I went to visit the renovation site as usual, but this time we took Mom and Dad. Usually I went back to sleep after visiting the site, because I usually slept in very late on Friday, but this time Mom and Dad wanted to take a long drive around the neighborhood. I didn't realize that lack of sleep and lack of breakfast would took its toll on my not-so-fit condition. I spent the rest of my Saturday in bad with terrible migraine. Ouch!
 

 
My parents stayed at our home for one night, then left to Grand Hyatt, a luxurious establishment downtown that consisted of a hotel and posh mall at the prime location of the city center. Grand Hyatt might not be the most expensive or newest hotel in town, but it's the one most reeked with class, since the 'old moneyed' and the wealthiest of Indonesia love the place. There are other more expensive hotels, but somehow they don't have the subtle elegance like Grand Hyatt, more ostentatious and glamorous instead, frequented by celebrities and the 'new moneyed'.
 
My brother booked my parents there for a business meeting, and he has diamond tier membership, so they were eligible for late checkout at 4 pm instead of 1 pm. Hubby and I decided to make good use of the late checkout, so we visited early to get a glimpse of what the room looks like. I also wanted to show Hubby the club room, the lounge and the rooftop garden. I went there several times on business, but Hubby had never been there, despite his often being entertained by vendors and suppliers at posh places. The best thing was, there was no need to carry the stroller with us, since we figured Michael could take his nap in the room!
 
Michael wore a new shirt, handsewn by Grandma. Actually, my Mom made me a new dress to be worn on Hubby's birthday, of a beautiful piece of batik print fabric in light blue, with patterns of colorful little people and farmers and cattle animals. It's called Kompeni Batik, and it was hand stamped, though not handpainted. Mom had enough leftover fabric to make a tiny shirt for Michael. Isn't it cute! Thank you, Mom!

 
 
My parents chose a room facing the city center, with a spectacular view of Jakarta skyline. This is Michael with his grandma, looking out the window.

 

 
This is what the view looks like.
 And this is the living and working part of the room looks like.
Mom and Dad are the typical honest, hardworking small town business owners. They might make more money from their business than most cool-looking executives walking around downtown Jakarta in expensive suits bought with credit cards, but they are not sophisticated people who enjoys the glams and sparkles of big city. My Mom appreciates beautiful handpainted batik fabric, genuine antiques, and rare books. Dad appreciated good, no nonsense food and traveling. But she and Dad are not impressed by the opulent standard the five-star hotel has to offer. They said the hotel food (with all the luxurious ambience of Grand Cafe) is so-so, the swimming pool too small (which is understandable since it was on top of a roof garden more for pool party than real swimming), and early in the morning they went to the street to buy snacks and food from streetsellers and joined the crowd for a "car-free-Sunday" walk. Forget about lounging at the expensive spa! My parents are no way pretentious people. Hubby and I are not glamorous people, either, but we do appreciate and enjoy a little bit of glam once in a while. Perhaps because we are still young? Hubby and I talked about it, and both of us are happy that my parents are like that! In fact, come to think of it, the older we become, the less and less we crave the luxurious glam life and opt to live a simple family life in the suburb instead.
 
I jokingly told my parents that it should be me and my husband who should spend one night in Grand Hyatt, because we could make it into a fun romantic night and appreciate it more than my parents. And they agreed. ^__^
 
For lunch, my parents did't care to eat at the hotel, so we went to the adjacent mall to have steak at BakerzIn. Michael insisted to bring a notepad and a pen from the hotel room, so we let him, telling him that he should bring it back to the room. He said yes.
 
I'm glad that Michael can keep himself occupied with a notepad, a pen, salt and pepper shaker, spoon and restaurant menu. There were many toddlers his age around, playing with iPads. Well, there's nothing wrongwith it, it's just that... well, it's a bit weird when you see a family who eat together but they don't talk to each other that much. Each of them is busy with their own gadget. I don't want to start Michael too early to be like that. Gadget has its time and place. We don't want Michael gets too attached to a gadget, any gadget, or any worldly thing really. We want him to be able to play and entertain himself with anything that happened to be available around him.  A plate, a twig of tree, a cardboard box, a straw. He won't lose his head without a gadget.
 
We got a free piece of tiramisu, complementary, from BakerzIn. I offered the cake to Mom, but she said she's full already, so I asked the waiter to have it to go. Hubby was ecstatic. BakerzIn is famous for its delicious cakes, and Hubby's favorite cake in the world is tiramisu! He planned to have it for dessert later on.
 

 
After lunch, my parents took Michael back to the room, while Hubby and I went to the fifth floor, where the roofgarden, pool and private party house are located. It's called OnFive, and it's like a little oasis in the middle of skyscrapers, with lush green and traditional gamelan music and incense. There's an independent apartment built there, that is supposedly the hotel's most expensive honeymoon suite. Rumor has it that the first couple who booked had such a terrible fight on their first night that the place was trashed and the mirrors were broken into pieces. Well, I don't know whether it's true or not, but the place is now turned into a private party place for rent. Of course the rent is astronomical, you need to pay USD 2,500 just for the booking of the place, not included food and drinks. but for the very rich, money doesn't matter. For example, on the very day, some parents have booked the place for a one year old's birthday party. Yes, they book one of the most exclusive and expensive, grown-up place in Jakarta for a birthday party for a one-year-old baby! Wow. Ow, also, on the exact same day, another parents booked the grand ballroom, fit for 3000 guests, also for their one year old's son birthday party. Hmmmm... come to think of it, when we took a peek inside just out of curiousity, the party looked so grown up, and most of the guests were grown ups.
 
"I bet they spend at least USD 100K for this party. Even if I had all money in the world, I wouldn't do that, " Hubby said, incredulous and amused at the same time. I agreed. Children's birthday party should be children's birthday party, not some showing off grand scheme.
 
Hubby took some pictures of me around the roofgarden, then we left the place. As you can see, it's like a tropical garden surrounded by concrete jungle of skyscrapers. ^__^
 

 
 
 
Back to the mall, we went to Mothercare, an expensive baby and children's store chain orginated in England (I think). I don't normally shop there, though they do have very good clothes and toys, because the prices are exorbitantly high. I'm not spending USD 20 on a piece of T-shirt that Michael will grow out of in a few months! However, when they have great sale with 50-70% discount, you might find some cute things for a more "normal" price. Also, I have a coupon that will add 50% more discount to the already reduced price. I ended up buying two pairs of sandals and two pairs of shoes for Michael, in sizes 9 and 11 each. His current sandals are in size 7, but I always up by 2 sizes so the shoes/sandals will fit him longer.
 
If you have little boys you must have known that shopping for little girls is a lot more fun than shopping for little boys. There are a much wider array and varieties, textures, style and colors for little girls clothings compared to those for little boys. Luckily on that day, I could find some cute models suitable for boys. Here they are. The sized 11 sandals - the blue and white ones - are actually the exact same model as his current pair, but even Hubby agreed that they are very nice model and it's OK to buy them.
 
 
Back to the hotel room, it turned out that Mom had eaten the tiramisu cake! Hubby was a little bit disappointed, but of course, he didn't say anything at all. I decided right then and there that I would buy him another tiramisu cake on Monday. Poor Hubby! But I'm glad Mom ate it, since Mom is also a big lover of tiramisu.
 
The hotel found out that we had a toddler in the room, so they sent us this complimentary baby kit in a nice paper bag emblazoned with their logo. It's from Johnson and Johnson, and the cute container with baby blue lid has cheerful pink giraffes. Inside there were a baby oil, baby talc, baby powder, baby head-to-toe bath soap, all in small sized bottles, and three sets of pull-up disposable diapers.
 
 
Michael was too excited being in a new environment. Also he squaled with joy at seeing his new shoes, and wanted to try them out right away. He didn't care that the shoes were still too big for him, he was just a happy camper, walking around the room with his blue and green new, cool shoes. With his little cute voice, he kept saying that his old shoes were "broken". We all laughed for we knew it was just his little excuse for wearing the new shoes.
 
At three o'clock we decided to check out and went home. Michael cried once we went inside the elevator and he threw up a bit on his clothes and mine, so I rushed to the bathroom to change him, as well as trying to minimize the "damage" on my clothes. After that, we got inside the car and went home. Michael fell asleep on my lap immediately once we got inside the car. I guess he was just tires since he usually naps at 12 noon for three hours. I held his little body in my arms and held myself stiff with as little movement as possible so I would not disturb his sleep. Just a couple of years ago, I would have loved if someone were to tell me that I would bear the discomfort of sitting still like a statue not to disturb my son's sleeping! Ah, the blissful joy and pain of being a mother... You bear dutifully and willingly, even jooyfully. Well, not all the time, of course. Having baby vomit on one of your good dresses is definitely not joyful!
 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Christmas in October





FOREVER 21 Romantic At Heart Earrings • Forever 21 • $2.99
Betsey Johnson "Heart Candy Boost" Gummy Bear Necklace, 19" • Betsey Johnson • $26.52
Rebecca Minkoff Mini Avery leather tote • Rebecca Minkoff • $162.50
Onyx Sequined Lace Midi Skirt • $69.00
Woolrich Constellation Jersey Shirt - Scoop Neck, Long Sleeve (For Women) • Woolrich • $39.95

Christmas in October? Are you kidding me? October is for Halloween!

Well, think again. It's only nine weeks and a half before Christmas, and time flies really fast. And I mean really fast. Don't you remember what happened last Christmas?

You forgot to buy present for an auntie who, on the previous Christmas, gave you a super expensive, super pretty, Tiffany brooch.
You ended up buying your husband a very nice, expensive tie, when you know he nevers wear tie, because it was a last minute gift.
You ended up buying your coworkerd either too expensive, or too cheap (and cheap-looking) gifts for Christmas party.
You screamed at everyone at the top of your lung because you had twelve family members and friends coming over for Christmas dinner, you still have five more presents to buy, and you forgot to touch up your roots, so the thought of the hostess looked smashing for the event went out of the window. Ouch.

If you love celebrating Christmas like me, you must know that despite all the hassle and stress, you still want to celebrate it big time. There are so many things and preparations for Christmas. Not to mention that before Christmas, came Thanksgiving! So, let's start preparing now while it's still nine weeks away, shall we!

At least get one thing out of the way: the Christmas presents. Yup. So you can scratch that thing off your Christmas to-do-list. Then at least you can still busy cleaning, cooking, shopping, dancing with the turkey and cranberry, and trimming the tree, but at least you are sure that everybody on your list have already had their gifts bought or made and wrapped nicely, tucked safely inside the big cupboard in the garage.

So, I urge you to start now in the Christmas gift department and get it done in eight weeks. So you can dedicate the ninth week and beyond for other things.

Week 1: List all the names of recipients of your Christmas gift

You can always edit this along the way. Don't forget to list recipients who live out of town. Decide this week who is going to get gifts, how much the budget you would put aside for each, and who is going to get only cards. Jot down the gift ideas, as well.



Week 2-5: Make your gifts, hunt or shop for them!

Some ideas:

If you, and the recipients, are comfortable with the idea of regifting, search around the house for things that you don't want or need, but you know might bring delight to other person.
I'm not talking about junk, but nice things. For example, one time in college, a friend of mine received a black Esprit wallet from her boyfriend. She doesn't like huge wallet, I do. So she almost never used it, and once she broke up with the guy, she gave the slightly-used wallet to me. I didn't care it wasn't a bought present, I loved it and have used it up to now, eighteen years later.
Another example, last year I bought a book about the world of socialites, because I was curious. It was an interesting book, but I didn't care to keep it to my book collection. Some friends of mine wanted to read it, but didn't want to spend money to buy the book. Now the book had been regifted more than twice among friends. It's better than it sits in my corner collecting dust.
What about that huge picture frame with eighteen slots in it that you bought three years ago, but then you realized that you have nowhere to hang it? Give it to a friend who have three children who will love to hang it on her living room.
The coffemaker you received as a wedding present when you already had two of them already? Give it to your dear single friend who loves coffee but thinks that a coffeemaker is too much of a luxury buy for her.
The fancy embroidered dinner napkin set that you bought in a fleeting moment of Martha Steward, but then you realized that you didn't really care for fancy home entertaining, prefering casual BBQ instead? Give it to your friend who loves to hold dinner parties.

Get everyday items as stocking stuffers! Whenever you go grocery shopping, and you see a good deal or marked down on favorite items, buy something for some recipients on your list.
That way, you won't be "trapped" in buying all your gifts full price during last minute gift shopping just for stocking stuffer, or buy kitschy knick knacks that look cheap and not very useful! Small items on sale like stationeries, soaps, beauty kits, small sewing kits, nail polish, socks, toiletries, etc. are great as stocking stuffers.
If you see your husband's favorite aftershave on 'buy two get free razors' at Walmart, snatch a couple of those. Tie a pretty ribbon around one for stocking stuffer, and keep the rest, and the free razors for everyday use - with no ribbon.
If your and your sister's favorite lipgloss in on 'buy one get one free', get them. One for her stocking stuffer, one for yourself.
Everyday items are well appreciated as stocking stuffers, because people can actually makr use of them. They are thoughtful gifts, also, because it shows that you really know what the recipients use on a daily basis.

the most of Black Friday shopping
Get the big-ticket items when they are marked down! That's pretty self-explanatory!

If you want to give small gifts to a lot of people, like for neighbors or coworkers, the most efficient way to go for it is to buy them in bulk then decorate them individually, or make them yourself.
Bake a big batch of cookies for everyone early, then freeze them. Later on, all you need to do is to wrap them for each recipient in plastic pouches and tie a ribbon.
Make colored bath salts or fancy vinegars. There are a lot of instructions and how to's on the internet on how to make these easy bulk presents.
Buy the gifts in bulk. It doesn't have to be expensive. The key is presentation. You can simply buy two dozen bars of soap with pretty packaging in Costco, then decorate them with ribbons. Yes, you can do a lot with ribbons! And trust me, I would love to receive fancy looking soap as a gift at my office Christmas party. It is certainly something I can use! What if I don't like the scent? Big deal. I can always use it as decoration, or use it to wash my hands in the kitchen. I mean, hello, who cannot use a bar of soap?


Week 6-7: Wrap them!

If you need to write Christmas cards, do it during these weeks, as well. Just do a little each day, within two weeks you will have finished wrapped lots of gifts and written lots of cards!

Week 8: Keep the gifts somewhere safe, or send them.

If the recipients live out of town, send the gifts now instead later. You don't want them to receive your gifts late. Who knows they might start their holiday early and leave the house for out-of-state trip days before Christmas? You would want them to receive your present before their holiday!
Now you can rest asure that all the present-related matters is done. Don't worry, you will still have plenty of things to fuss about for Christmas. Haha!





image is taken from www.punchbowl.com
 
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