Monday, December 30, 2013

My TOP 10 Posts for 2013

It's been such a wonderful year for me and my family and happily too for my blog!

I sincerely THANK YOU all for reading and checking out my posts, from the mundane to the sometimes 'insane', I feel very blessed to have met new friends thru this media!!

And so, at the end of this year, let me share to you the posts that have been the most popular!










Huge THANKS to Linda from Calling it Home for the ORC - One Room Challenge


I truly hope that I'll be seeing you around this coming 2014!!!!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"Greeting Cards have all been sent…"

"… the Christmas rush is through, but I still have one wish to make
a special one FOR YOU."

I'm sure your familiar with this lovely Carpenter's song, it's one of my favorite for this holiday season, and very apt intro for this post since it's all about our yearly Christmas card!

Living abroad sort of warrants me to do this.
Actually with the advent of email and social media, I know it would be easier, more convenient and cheaper to send our greetings this way.

However, being the sentimental shmuck that I am, I still prefer the ol' post -  love giving them away and also receiving them.

In years past, I have written long Christmas letters to far away family and friends, but this year was a bit different….

Family Year in Review from MINTED

When I saw the design, I knew it was perfect for our yearly updates. 
After all, I only try to write once a year to let family and friends know that they are remembered during the holiday season so I try to summarize our year as a family.

What's on the back
This year, I also came up with these two other designs below...

Designed at

Alternative designs I had to print out too since I ran out of the card from MINTED!

I send more than a hundred greeting cards yearly, a lot for overseas.

I don't get much reply just a lot of acknowledgement that they received it and are happy to have gotten it. This is the real joy for me. After all, it is the season of GIVING right?!

How about you, so you still do this sort of thing or have you gone electronic?

Wishing you and your loved ones a very 
Merry Christmas!!!!


 Would love to hear your thoughts! Please share away...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Christmas Birthday


Yes, I am one of those who celebrate their birthday so close to Christmas.

As a child I never really liked it. Let me count the ways...

1) I never got to celebrate in school since school's always out!

2) My kiddie parties are not well attended since people are always out of town and are too stuffed already from the other Christmas parties they've gone to!

3) I usually get only ONE gift for both Christmas and my Birthday! A real bummer for a kid :-(

But now that I'm a 'grown-up', I've come to realize that things are not so bad after all.

I love that fact that people are extra happy and cheerful this time of year.

I love that my kids are on a break and I can take a break on my birthday always and celebrate with my family!

And I realized that the number of gifts doesn't matter but the kind and the thought that goes with it!

So today, on my 3- th birthday, Say 'CHEERS' with me for with this extra blessing of a wonderful year.


I am joyous and very grateful for the life I've had and hopefully will have more of,
 in the years to come!

Oh,and in case you're wondering, I'd be doing the Champagne drinking on the beach for you all! ;-)


Here's something to make you smile (or cringe)! Either way, ENJOY!

*VEL *

Thursday, December 19, 2013


While trying to write this post, I had a hard time finding pictures of homes with Nativity sets.

Perhaps it's because the Nativity set is not so 'chic' anymore in Christmas decor or perhaps, with all the other hoopla we place all over our homes we just don't have the time and energy to set-up one!;-)

I guess Christmas villages are more popular than this important reminder ( to me at least), of why we TRULY celebrate this holiday.

But, being the traditional soul that I am, I still feel the need to set up one as much as I feel the need to set-up our Christmas tree! 
I'm definitely an old soul when it comes to this  and very sentimental about it too.

Let me tell you why....


I remember growing up, my father (who by the way was the original decorator in our home), would build a small manger and set-up our huge Nativity set either outside or inside our home.

Then he would hang a huge star on one of our radio towers (yes, we had a radio tower back in the Philippines) and string lights going down towards the Nativity scene - it was magical! 
Whenever people ask where our house would be, I would just tell them to 'follow the star'!

And with that said, I set up our Christmas Nativity for our home this year...
The set is a gift from my mother two Christmas ago. 

Isn't it beautiful?
Not as elaborate and grand as the one my father sets up, but still I love it.
All the figures are dressed in gold and yellow and all the details, exquisite.

My Star, though not strung as high is still very Filipino - Capiz Parol /lantern

I really love looking at this set and whenever I tell the story to my sons about Christmas, it's nice to look at something in our home that goes along with this story.

I've also been on a hunt for a while now for a huge set for the outdoors.
Haven't seen one yet that fit my fancy (and budget), but I'm hoping someday, I'll find the right one and keep on re-living our old Manger way back in the Philippines...

I am still a bit homesick during the holidays, glad that I'll be enjoying the beach soon!

Have a Great Weekend Everyone !


 Would love to hear your thoughts! Please share away...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why I still 'BELIEVE" in Santa Claus

I grew up in a household of "believers".

Me and my sibs were fortunate to have eager and well-meaning parents who raised us believing in Santa. 
I can still recall Santa's gifts to me particularly my most favorite - my "Day and Night Barbie doll"...

Still have this little beauty

.....and remember the huge Voltron Robot my brother got!

This robot brings back memories of Keith - sigh!

 Yes, we wrote our letters..

we got our wishes...


and we eventually discovered THE CABINET where "all the magic happens"...

 But despite all the skeptics I've encountered throughout my life, and of course, the "disappointment" I felt when I discovered the "magic Cabinet", I was determined to make my kids believe.. 
WHY you ask?

This is WHY...

"I can't believe it, I can't believe it!"


The happiness and genuine delight in discovering something on Christmas morning is just an awesome feeling! Imagine, a big old man in a red suit, took the time and effort to fly half-way across the globe just to bring you presents!!!!
 It was not about the present at all ( most of the time), it was about the the thought of someone magical giving it to me!!!

Just look at him!
I still feel the giddiness I felt when I was little whenever I see my kids face light up on Christmas morning when they see the milk glass emptied, the cookies gone and the presents there- 
 that to me is where the real magic is!

We all believe in something that is beyond what we understand - be it GOD, Allah, or the Universe. And though we may not see these beings, we know they are there. And though I do not worship Santa, the magic he brings every Christmas is very special to me, as a "believer".

My kids have asked me all sorts of question about how things are made possible in one night. Especially my older one, he always wonders about how Santa does "his thing". 
And that wonder is what makes him write to Santa year in and year out, challenging him with weird requests (saber tooth tiger skull last year and for this year,  video games not yet released!), so that he may continue believing.

And you know what, even if he doesn't get his weird requests sometimes,  he is the one who manages to answer the questions for us! Simply Amazing! That is because I can feel, he wants to believe and continue believing in this great man!

So to all you "Smart ones" out there who still keep on insisting that SANTA IS NOT REAL, and who keep trying to convince us believers that "you know better".  Well, I say to you - heckle us all you want,  cajole us into Not believing all you want, but in end, you will not succeed!

Because SANTA CLAUS is not just a person to us,  he is the epitome of the magic and wonder of the Christmas season, and that to me, can NEVER be altered or changed by any smartie!

Also, if you have a little BELIEVER in your home, you might want to check out the 

Need I say more - the best part is, IT'S FREE!!!

Here is WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE (CLICK HERE), this was for my son from Santa!

Have a Magical Christmas everyone!! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our Christmas Home tour 2013

Finally ready to reveal ALL our Christmas decorations in our home!

Prepare for A LOT of pictures.  Let's begin the tour, shall we? :-)

Tree in the corner

Hung Frames with Norman Rockwell pics I got from an old book as art

Simple Console with my Paper Whites
The Beaded runner was from Pier 1 clearance last year.

Got my large Nutcracker from Target last year.
The lighted spheres are from Lakeside collection last year too, just placed them in
some of my brass pots. Small nutcracker is from the Dollar store

Just added green pillows on my sofa and a pair of Gucci throw

Simple Coffe table vignettes - brass and pine cones!

Layered a wool carpet above my jute one. It's our very first carpet purchase ever back  in 2007. It usually resides in my walk in closet but had to bring it out for this year. :-)

Simple side
Beaded gold placemat was from Kohls last year

View from Above

Simple Christmas Mantle - layered mirrors and art

Trees are from Menards for $6.99 each. Of course you recognize the Dollar store Stocking holders right?!

Simple entry too!

Taffy and Candy Canes for guests in a Santa bowl I got as
a gift from a friend last year

My favorite truffle boxes from Crate & Barrel 6 years ago,
holds our keys this holiday
Let's take a quick peek outside...

Yup, I LOVE LIGHTS! Wish I could put up more

very simple doorway

And of course you've already seen my Christmas Tree here...

Gold & Green Christmas Tree
... and our Dining Room here...

... and even our Kitchen!

Christmas touches in our Kitchen
I don't do bedrooms... yet. 
Only thing in my little ones bedroom is a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!
But I bet, as I add on to my Christmas decorations those rooms will eventually not be 'spared' from all these!

Hope you enjoyed the Christmas tour!

By the way, My son's TWEEN Bedroom was featured in Better After today! Check it out too if you have the time!

Have a Wonderful Week!


As Featured in...

Rooted In Thyme