MangoJuiced: A stay-at-home Valentine

This week on MangoJuiced, I make a case for the stay-at-home Valentine date. If I was living in Manila, I could wrap up the argument for a Valentine’s night in with just one word: traffic.

However, staying in makes sense even here in the land of bicycles; February nights are freezing and it’s expensive to eat out. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should do it because it’s practical and it makes sense. This is Valentine’s Day we’re talking about!

What I love about staying home on Valentine’s Day is the romance. Nobody can have what you have at home. And that is truly special and romantic.

To inspire you to break away from the herd, I’ve rounded up a few sweet ideas for stay-at-home Valentine dates in this week’s post on MangoJuiced. You’ve got the weekend to plan… stay in and make some homemade memories!
MangoJuiced is a webzine for anything and everything that interests women—from fashion and family, to pop culture and beauty, to travel and lifestyle. Follow MangoJuiced on Twitter and Facebook… and don’t forget to check back in for a new post from me every week!
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MangoJuiced: A review of "Decorate"

Holly Becker’s blog Decor8 is one of the most successful interior design blogs in the blogosphere today, and one of my regular sources of inspiration. After five years of creative, pretty and inspiring posts, Holly (with co-author Joanna Copestick) launched her book, simply titled Decorate, last year.

Reading my copy of Decorate—signed by the author!—inspired me to shake up our own living room with a midwinter reshuffle, which will be the subject of my next post. In the meantime, check out my review of Decorate in this week’s post on MangoJuiced. Take a peek into this book’s colorful pages, inspiring images and sound advice, by clicking on through right here.

MangoJuiced is a webzine for anything and everything that interests women—from fashion and family, to pop culture and beauty, to travel and lifestyle. Follow MangoJuiced on Twitter and Facebook… and don’t forget to check back in for a new post from me every week!

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MangoJuiced: Style steals from an Istanbul apartment

I stayed in this Istanbul apartment last October—and I loved it so much, I “stole” something to take home with me. Can you guess what it is?

Go style stealing with me in this week’s post on MangoJuiced. And leave a comment to congratulate me on my newfound sewing skills. Consider that your hint!
MangoJuiced is a webzine for anything and everything that interests women—from fashion and family, to pop culture and beauty, to travel and lifestyle. Follow MangoJuiced on Twitter and Facebook… and don’t forget to check back in for a new post from me every week!
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MangoJuiced: Read it and weave

I’ve been searching for something graphic, bright and fun to perk up our mostly neutral living room. Turns out all I had to do was look homeward for that much-needed pop of color and burst of pattern. Incidentally, it seems the Department of Tourism shared the same train of thought.
Yup, I’m talking about banig

This homegrown classic—matting woven together from strips of dried palm leaves—was a wistful note on my wish list of home accents this year. A quick trip to SM Kultura satisfied my craving for weaving. Side note: you know you’ve been living abroad for a long time when you realize that you’ve become the target market of stores like SM Kultura.

Find out how I rediscovered banig, and check out some of my banig buys in this week’s post on MangoJuiced!

MangoJuiced is a webzine for anything and everything that interests women—from fashion and family, to pop culture and beauty, to travel and lifestyle. Follow MangoJuiced on Twitter and Facebook… and don’t forget to check back in for a new post from me every week!

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All is bright

Here in the Netherlands, Christmas plays second fiddle to Sinterklaas, which is on the 6th of December. This means that any form of Christmas decorations are nowhere to be seen until after December 6.

By Filipino standards, that’s just way too late in the game. After all, ours is a nation where Christmas jingles begin ring-ting-ting-a-linging in September. I’m not quite that hardcore, but by the third week of November, my inner Christmas junkie was rattling its cage and howling to be unleashed.

And so it was with a star shining bright that we cried to our entire neighborhood: Christmas is here! Oh and yes, we’re early. But we’re Filipino!

I would have loved to hang up a traditional parol. And I have a husband who actually knows how to make one (thank you, Ateneo Grade School). But do you know how hard it is to find long bamboo sticks in Holland… in winter, nonetheless?

So we had to settle for these punched paper stars, one for each window facing the street. It’s not really settling, though, because I love them. They make such pretty reflections against the glass.

One of our big debates while preparing for the move to Amsterdam was whether or not to take our plastic Christmas tree with us. “Who needs plastic? We’ll finally be able to get a real live tree!” was the argument against plastic. “But… you never know!” was the (rather weak) counter-argument.

Guess which side won?

Surprisingly, “you never know” won the day. So this is a plastic tree, sorry. There were no Christmas trees to be found before December, and waiting would have messed up our already-delayed Pinoy Christmas timeline. So up went the plastic tree, gussied up with a sparkly new string of LED lights… that said “rice lights” on the box. I guess you can’t separate a Filipino from his rice.

All the fresh trees came out last Monday, December 6… less than two weeks before our flight home. So, too late the hero, as they say. It wouldn’t have made sense for us to spring for a real tree, enjoy it for 10 days, leave it for three weeks, and come home to a dried mess of needles on the floor. I see them on practically every street corner now and I feel like they’re mocking me. Che!

Back to those rice lights. We had an extra string of lights (can you say over-enthusiastic buying?) so I got Marlon to cram it into a vintage glass jar I picked up at the Queen’s Day flea market. That’s how we work often: I’m concept, he’s execution. Or as he likes to say, I’m digital and he’s analog.

Our old string of lights from Singapore went into a big glass cylinder with a bunch of previously loved Christmas ornaments. The whole confection went on top of our steel hallway cabinet to help our little Ikea lamp battle the winter darkness.
 
By the way, this Christmas luminary is the subject of this week’s post on MangoJuiced. Check out the full post to read the story behind this project… and how you can get the look for your home!
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