Monday, October 20, 2014

Christmas in October





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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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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week in Recap: Many Delightful Things

Hello, Friends!
 
Happy Monday! I heard a funny saying from a radio announcer while driving to work this morning: "Mon in French means my, thus Monday means my day!" Well, that's a nice way to think of Monday, don't you think! It's MY day!
 
Anyway, let me share with you how my week went. Writing week in recap is my favorite way of journaling. It might not be my most popular posts, but I enjoy writing them so much!
 
Weekend
 
By Friday, I finally got my Chinese picture framed. Yay!! The picture is a gooooorgeous embroidery work that I got from a specialty embroidery painting shop during a trip to China. The theme is life in ancient China small village. Wooden bridge across a small flowing river; traditional market scheme with farmers bringing in their cattles for sale like cows, buffalos and chicken; sellers and stall owners offering their bountiful harvest: fruit, vegetables, fish, various snacks. Mothers and children. The emroidered painting, from a far, is quite beautiful. Up close, it will awe you with the meticulous details. The threads used for the embroidery are silk, and the colors have subtle sheen when touched by light, like jewels. The craftmanship is superb. It's just a very beautiful painting. It used to decorate my parents' living room in my hometown, but it looked too small and somehow didn't get the attention it deserved in the vast area. Here in our bedroom, hung above the bed headboard, it really stands out. Even my husband, who usually doesn't care much about paintings, admits that it is a very fine work of art indeed.
 
 
 
Saturday is family day. Hubby takes our son for early morning walk about three times a week during weekdays. Taking a walk at six o'clock in the morning is too early for this non-morning-person-mommy, so I use that time to snooze instead of accompanying them. I tried to include myself in the excursion once, but Hubby, knowing how much I need the extra time to sleep, said that I'd better join on weekends. Besides, it's their special father and son bonding time, he said. I complied.
 
 
Hence, I commit myself to wake up super early on Saturday or Sunday for the six o'clock walk to the park. We have longed stopped going to the park on early evenings, because the air quality is much better in the morning, without all the cars fumes and pollution of Jakarta. The neighborhood streets are empty. Sometimes we passed some early joggers and dog walkers. Some neighbors would be up and wash their cars, or sweep the terrace. It's very calm, very serene. The three of us really treasure this special family bonding ritual. Usually we will walk to one of the two parks in our neighborhood, then we will play on the swing - well, me and my son, Hubby pushes the swing - then we walk back through different streets for a little bit of variety.
 
Here's a selfie of our family during one of these morning walks. Yes, that's my face without any trace of makeup nor contact lenses! Sexy, huh. And that's pre shower faces of the three of us. I usually just wake up, brush my teeth, wash my face, dab on some sunscreen, change out of my night gown into some more suitable clothing, then off we go!
 
You might know already that I love taking selfies and post them on my social medias, as well as posting my outfit of the day pictures. I have posted tons, many friends have said I should be a fashion stylist, personal shopper, or boutique owner! Mom complained that I should not post this picture, because my forehead looked huge! However, I want to show you that I'm not afraid to show the real me in my own skin, without all the makeup. I'm not going to run off to the mall for a datenight looking like that, but I'm pretty much comfortable in my own skin, and I encourage that all women do. It makes life so much easier and enjoyable if you love yourself and your look just they way it is!
 

 
 
 
After the walk, we had breakfast. Usually it's three-egg-omelette with chopped tomatoes, green onions and mushrooms, with hashbrowns or sometimes toasts. Then we were off to see our construction project. Last week, it looked like this. The permit was done as you can see - attached to the second floor wall - but we are still waiting for the papers. Both Hubby and I wore sneakers so we could climb up to the second floor to check the work in progress. 
 
 
Going back home, we took a shower then played with our son. We really enjoyed this Saturday ritual, as boring as it might sound. Pretty much every Saturday morning our routine is something like this. As a single woman, I used to go places on Saturday mornings: the museums, the market, coffee shops, etc. Now we stay home. It might change next year when Michael turns two and a half years old, because we plan to start taking him places like the zoo, the animal farm, etc. when he is reaching three years old. Both Hubby and I don't believe that we should take him to faraway places now. Playing and learning in the house and nearby neighborhood is enough. Going far places at this stage will only tire him, he won't understand nor have a memory of it later on. Just because we as his parents think a particular place is cool to visit, it doesn't mean that it is for him! We would never forget one time when Hubby and I went to a UNESCO heritage site, strolling around the beautiful places and taking pictures, and we stumbled upon a young couple with its toddler in a stroller, looking tired, hot and fussy. Hubby and I looked at each other and promised ourselves right there and then that we would never take our children to "cool" faraway places beyond his age stage. So long, despite all the pressures from relatives and friends, we still determine that we would start taking him places outside our county when he is near three years old. It's different for everyone and every parents of course. That's just what we chose to do.
 
Our son doesn't play with gadgets, either. Well, sometimes he does play with our cells and laptops, with airplane mode on, but we prefer our child to play with real children's toys like blocks. We prefer him to run around and dance to children's tune we sang, clap his hands, play with everyday items around the house like Tupperware and car keys. We want him to act, dressed, and play like a toddler, not like a miniature adult.

 
 
 
I had been having an itch to go downtown. I had missed the glam and the glitz of it, so in the evening Hubby and I went to Grand Indonesia, a mall in the business district of Jakarta, to have dinner at Social House, one of our old favorite "cool" (read = expensive) restaurants where hip young people dine and socialize. We don't really care to go late into the night, so we booked a table for six o'clock. Early dinner. We are parents of a toddler, we no longer go out partying all night long, haha! 
 
I wore a chevron patterned dress in white and sea green and blue with my new favorite necklace. Eversince I got it in the mail, I had been wearing this necklace practically everyday, because I love it so much.
 


 
At Social House, Hubby asked id we should order from all-day breakfast menu, since it's the least expensive. Well, well, well! Talk about surprise of the year. Usually I am the frugal one! But I said no. Breakfast menu might looked the least expensive at a glance, but actually it's the most unworthy of our money. Why? Because we can easily make eggs and toasts and hasbrowns at home, cheaper, healthier and tastier, even if with less garnishing to make the platter look fancy and justified the exorbitant price. I insisted that if we were going to spend a lot of money on a lavish dinner for two, then at least we should choose something that we will not cook for ourselves. Like good-grade marinated beef steak with garlic butter and mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes and steam vegetables. Or marinated grilled chicken breast with enoki mushroom, brown gravy and baby potatoes. I wanted both, so I ordered chicken and Hubby ordered beef, so I could "steal" a bit of steak from his plate. I asked for extra mushroom gravy, as well, because I liked it so much. We didn't spend as much as we thought we would be spending, since Hubby skipped ordering wine. Usuallyl the biggest chunk of the bill is for the wine, but since our Italy trip, Hubby said that he has had enough wine for a while, he drank so much during our wine tours!
 
We didn't get a table in the non-smoking area, all tables at non-smoking were reserved, so we had to sit in smoking area, but we didn't mind since it was early dinner and the place was not fully occupied yet. At the end of our dinner, the place started to get full and people began to smoke, so we rushed to leave the place. At the table next to us, a young couple brought their tiny baby (it was about four months old, I guesstimate) along with the babysitter, to join a group of their friends. The baby coughed because of the smoke. Husband and I looked at each other. We didn't say anything, but we could read each other's mind: "A baby should not be brought to a dinner place where the parents fully understand that there will be a lot of people smoking." Social House is not a family diner place. It's a restaurant and a pub. They serve wine and alcohol and they allow people to smoke. I don't mean to judge, but I still don't understand in a thousand years why the parents cannot just leave the baby at home with the childminder. Or if for some reason it's not possible, then just skip going out to places like Social House until it IS possible to do so, for the sake of the baby. Oh well, perhaps I am just being snobby. Who am I to judge, anyway.
 
 
This was my ensemble for the night. I got the dress from an outlet sale, so it was really cheap. The size was too big on me, so I had to alter the length and waist a little bit. I should be worn tight and shapely, but since I believe in modest fashion, I prefer a bit shapely but not tight or too short. 
 
 
There is a restaurant/pub that was very famous the first time it opened its doors in 2012. It is called Skye, and it's located on the 56th floor office building built adjacent to the mall where Social House is located. Up till 2013 there was always a long line waiting for the elevator to go up to the restaurant, and it was almost impossible to book a table on the weekends. I was pregnant and a new mom during it heyday, so I couldn't go there even if it feels like all my friends, and everybody who is anybody, had posted cool pictures of them hanging out at Skye, with Jakarta skyscrapers and lights as the background. The place is famous for its view and location, and it is still well packed up till now. Since we were already there, Hubby made reservation for 8 o'clock, and we stopped by for a drink. This is the interior of the place.
 
 
The management of Skye is the same as Social House. Ismaya Group has a chain of cool hangout places like restaurants. pubs and clubs, and they are all very successful. To my chagrin, Skye was just like Social House brought up by a few hundred meters! Even the menu is similar. And the interior. The vibe. The ambiance. Unfortunately, the similar menu cost about 30% more in Skye. I guess there's a privilege you have to pay when you want to eat higher up. It was a nice place, but we decided it's not worth to be going back for repeat visit. Social House is. Skye is not. We left about 9.30 in the evening. I told you, we are boring people. We don't go out late. ^__^
 
Sunday was another day staying at home then go to Church.
 
 
Weekdays
 
Two of the girls at the office, Anissa and Lisa, were celebrating their birthdays on Monday. We collected money to buy them cake, and we all ate at the pantry for lunch: birthday noodles and fu yung hai (Chinese omelette), cap cay (Chinese veggie dish), macaroni schotel, fish and chicken kungpao. We had a marvellous time, and the birthday girls were glowing with delights with all the love and attention from their friends. Some "boys" from other floors joined in too in the festivities. Anissa and Lisa are two sweet girls, no wonder their friends and coworkers took great care to ensure their birthdays were celebrated with fanfare!
 
 
 
As the person in charge for running the office Penthouse floors, I am not only responsible to ensure that the bosses get everything they might need and want, including the basic necessities like food and drink and toiletries, but I also ensure that the food logistic is always fresh. On Wednesday, one of my girls notified me that some of the beer supplies are aproaching their expiration, so I asked her to bring them down to my floor. The beers are still drinkable, but some people might be a little bit touchy about drinking something that would be expired within days, so I distributed the still safe but nearly expired cans of beers to our IT Department. The IT boys often work late into the night, or even staying in for night shifts, so they really appreciated the free beers. I am glad they like it. It's a shame if the beers go to waste. I myself did not touch any of them, since I don't drink beer.
 
 
Eventhough I work full-time outside the home, I try to go home during lunch time to visit my son at least once a week. He is always so happy to see his Mommy and made a little squeal of joy when he heard my car's honking. It always does my heart good each time I see him running towards me, arms stretched, calling out "Mommy! Mommy!" I am so blessed that I live not far from where I go to work everyday.
 
 
This is the book that I am currently reading. It tells a story of Hideyoshi, a Japanese "samurai" that could not fight nor use a sword, yet rose from obscurity to unify all of Japan in the 1800s, by means of his sharp mind, intelligence, interpersonal skills, and superb negotiation techniques.
 
 
I mentioned about the package that I received last week in my previous week-in-recap post here, and I am trying out wearing the necklaces and earrings that I bought. It's so much fun to try them out one by one, matching each piece to my outfit of the day and such. Girls just want to have fun! I still have many items in the box that I have not tried yet, but these two pretty pieces I tried on last week. A seafoom blue and green piece and a colorful flower necklace. Love them both! Little things like these make my day and make me happy.

 
  
 
I bought these pajama set of two for my friend's daughter at Mothercare baby store chain. He and his wife had a baby daughter five months ago, but I didn't find out until recently. I opted to buy the baby pajamas in 9-12 months size, because I thought her mother might have stocked up the 6-9 months size already. Also, I chose to buy pajamas because I am 100% sure that they will be worn. If I bought her going out clothes, there is a possibility that the mother's style at dressing the baby is not similar to mine, and the mother might choose not to make use of my present. But pajamas would be worn at home, so most likely they will be worn and worth the money spent! I didn't buy her toys, either. From experience, usually babies and children of my friends have too many toys, their mothers end up giving some of them away. Michael has received several secondhand toys that way. Friends who give them to me are happy to get rid of the toys and empty some space in their home! I also chose not the traditional pink colors, because from the pictures that my friends sent me of his daughter, she has a lot of pinks already. This lovely color is a little bit pink, but not the traditional pink. It's more like coral. And they could be mixed and matched. Shopping for a baby girl is so much fun! There are so many options and variety to choose from, compared to what's available for boys. *sigh*
 
 
I got this package sent to my house from a friend last week. It's in a beautiful fuschia paper bag with baby pink ruffles. What's inside?

 
 
This red cardboard box with heart-shaped opening on the lid.
 
 
Inside was this fragrant Lapis Legit pie. Yay!!! Thank you!!
 
 
 Michael loves the pie, too!

 
 
 
 
Last week's to do list:
  • Read Chapter 5-8 of Beverly Lewis' The Sacrifice, a story of an Amish family.
  • Read Chapter 1 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai": My Name is Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
  • Read and contemplate on Philippians 2:12-18 "Obedience and Service in The World".
  • Renovation project: putting up roof foundation, week five of renovation permit.
  • Upload video of Michael's play soccer with Grandpa to YouTube.
  • Purchase baby girl pajamas as present for a friend's new daughter, as well as new shoes for Michael. (His old pair is already tattered and the material gets peeled off).
  • Hubby's friend wedding.
  • Top up family investment plan.
  • Scan family insurance policies.
Next week's to do list:
  • Read Chapter 9-12 of Beverly Lewis' The Sacrifice, a story of an Amish family.
  • Read Chapter 5 of Kitami Masao's "The Swordless Samurai: A Strong Leader", a historical story of how a Japanese "warrior" who could not fight rose into power and unified all of Japan with his power of mind, interpersonal skills, and shrewdness.
  • Read and contemplate on Philippians 1 about "Thanksgiving" and "Steadfastness in Faith".
  • Renovation project: putting up roof, week seven (not six) of renovation permit.
  • Upload video of Michael's play soccer with Grandpa to YouTube.
  • Scan 2013 tax files.
  • Alter my batik dresses.
  • Purchase one pair of long-legged jeans for Michael.
  • Organize the book basket, baby bag, and jewelry box under the bedroom's old chair.
  • Catch up on blogwalking and reading. (haven't been doing this since January 2014!)
  • Catch up on YouTube walking. (haven't been doing this since January 2014!)
  • Seek fashion inspiration from blog pictures.
  • Change my contact lense.
  • Take up yoga again.
 
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:

Monday

Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

 
 
 
 

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