Monday, August 25, 2008

Wedding dash

I haven't been playing computer games in a quite a while. My sister told me that there's an updated version of Wedding Dash, a cute game about a wedding planner/coordinator. This is the "cousin" of the famous Diner Dash where a waitress, Flo tries to serve several types of characters.

Of course, this one's just a game, but imagine all the game challenges happening in a real wedding --- I don't think there'll be wedding coordinator left in this world, unless you're a masochist. Imagine rowdy, drunk or demanding guests that you'll have to manage, or dogs and bees at a wedding, how about a cake that keeps wanting to tip over?

The fun part of course is deciding on the type of cake, flowers, food and honeymoon destination of the couple based on their preference. Like most wedding-related things, I love this game!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Magazine magnet

Wedding magazines, that is.

From my last count, I think I have around 30 books and magazines about weddings, maybe more. Magazines with wedding cakes, dresses, souvenirs, flowers. I never really intended to collect them, but ask any collector, that's how collections usually start. You buy one and you get hooked.

Now why do I keep buying wedding magazines if I already got married four years ago? And don't these magazines print the same thing for every issue -- gowns, veils, make-up, etc.?

I guess I just really like peeking into other people's weddings. I like looking at ceremony and reception set-ups. Everything's usually frilly and light and romantic -- even if the theme was goth or the colors used were darker than the cliche pastel palettes, love permeates through the photos and even goth can make you all giddy. :-)

Also, unlike new restaurants that I can easily visit or movies I can watch when I feel like it, I really don't think I can go to weddings everyday or even every year. I'm not a politician or a celebrity or goodness me, is there such a thing as a wedding critic whom people would like to invite to their wedding? Almost all of my first cousins and my closest friends are already married and it will be quite a while until the next batch of cousins start getting married. So, I resort to buying wedding magazines or when I'm not overly busy, I drop by wedding fairs. :-)

Posted here are the latest wedding inspirations I bought. Of course, nothing beats the sheer delight that a Martha Stewart Wedding magazine brings. I can gush all day looking at the pretty pictures. Martha's really great with details. Also, compared to our local magazines which have a gazillion ads -- yes, I know, there wouldn't be a magazine if not for the ads -- Martha's wedding magazines really bring out new ideas.

If I'm not mistaken, long before Wedding Essentials or Metro Weddings, Summit Media was the first local (premium) magazine to come out with a wedding magazine -- Cosmo Bride. This was discontinued after only two years (or was it three?) for reasons unknown to me. But hallelujah, this September, Summit Media will be launching Martha Stewart Weddings Philippines. Here's the write up I got (in verbatim) from the Summit Media site:

Martha Stewart Weddings Philippines to launch in September 2008

martha_stewart_weddings.jpgThe premiere name in wedding magazines is now in the Philippines: Martha Stewart Weddings. Summit Media has scored another coup by being the first publisher to launch Martha Stewart Weddings outside the United States.

Martha Stewart Weddings sets the standard for the bride and groom. The magazine takes the couple from the engagement to the honeymoon, inspiring them to imagine their ideal celebration, then giving them the information and advice they need to bring their vision to life. The magazine will provide the bride and groom all the details they can use to make their wedding day truly their own—from cakes and correspondence to flowers and favors and all the elements in between.

Edited by Tata Mapa and led by Associate Publisher, Tara Santos, the magazine will take the best of the American edition while making it relevant for every Filipino bride. The local edition of Martha Stewart Weddings will include ideas and inspiration that work in the Philippine context.

Martha Stewart Weddings Philippines will be released in September 2008 with a cover price of P295 and will be distributed in bookstores, newsstands and wherever Summit magazines are found nationwide.

Happy, happy, joy, joy! :-)

Lately, Wedding Essentials magazine has been putting more substance to balance the usual mock set-ups and photos of accessories, flowers, gowns, and other wedding paraphernalia. WE usually features charming set-ups to give readers suggestions on how they can make their weddings stand out versus the let's-get-this-over-with-I-really-don't-care-about-the-decor kind of wedding and that's the kind of wedding magazine I like. I usually steer away from the American wedding magazines which are not only doubly expensive than their local counterparts, but have too much of gowns and too little relevant articles that are not that helpful in planning a Filipino wedding.

WE magazine recently featured brides in colorful wedding gowns. Of course, my mind was saying "that was me four years ago" -- I swear, my fashion sense is so futuristic.

One of Wedding Essentials' mock up settings

And so, I shall probably continue my wedding book and magazine collection for as long as I can -- maybe up until I can publish a book or magazine of my own. :-)
*no copyright infringement intended

Saturday, August 09, 2008

T for Two

Four years.

It's been four years since I was a bride. Then I turned into a wife. And now a mother of two.

I'm guessing my almost five months of absence in the blog world is already an indication of how hectic work life has been. Hubby and I have just been shuttling in and out of the house to work, sleep, eat, work again. This was why I wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary by going out of town.

I took a leave on our anniversary date and after we dropped off our eldest at school, we took off for Tagaytay. I made reservations at T-house, a quiet, little boutique hotel nestled at the Tagaytay Ridge. If you took the Sta. Rosa road like we did, take a left and you'll see T-house on your left in less than 5 minutes, of driving that is. If you pass by a church, the Ina ng Laging Saklolo, you've missed it. The church and T-house are literally next door neighbors.

I made reservations for lunch -- for two. You could say it was simply serendipitous that since hubby has been recently on a healthy-eating streak, T-house was the perfect choice. We usually celebrate our anniversary at hotel or restaurant buffets because of hubby's insatiable appetite but this year was different. (Although I did bring my Mandarin GCs for a possible buffet dinner too, in case he got hungry later on. Haha.)

So off we went to Tagaytay. To set the mood, hubby was playing some songs from his ipod, songs which were played and sung during our wedding ceremony and reception. Awww.

Fortunately, the traffic was light that day at SLEX and in about an hour and 15 minutes, we arrived at T-house. It was everything the website said it would be. Once you enter, you would want to stay the entire day, or even overnight. Birds were twittering, fountains a-gurgling, the T-house staff moving about -- unhurriedly gardening and spreading out new table cloths for the outdoor tables. It was I like I died and went to stress-free heaven. A momentary escape from the endless clicking of keyboards, tooting of horns and neverending meetings. I've been kidding my officemates recently that my life has become a series of meetings, peppered with oculars and events. Even my gym instructor and massage therapist have been a cause of stress because they've been constantly calling and texting me to book a schedule with them. Talk about pressure.

But back to my Zen moment.

Happily, and slowly walking -- gliding is more like it -- through the Zen-inspired pathways, looking above at the fruit bearing trees where T-house gets the harvest for making their own fruit jams, I was living in the moment of tranquility. Darn, I can live like this!

The sofas at the reception area

The dining area - al fresco on the 2nd floor and indoor on the ground level

Entry to the dining room

It was a late lunch so hubby and I went straight to the dining room which was, unlike city restaurants, uncluttered and relaxing. You'd really think time was suddenly slower than usual so you could enjoy your meals properly. Bite, taste, chew, savor. It was like the movie Ratatouille's lead character, Remy the Rat, delightfully relishing every flavor and texture of the food he ate versus my daily "I-just-need-to-eat-now-so-I-can-meet-a-deadline" kind of lunch.

We had two different set lunches so that hubby and I could poke each other's food and taste more for our first visit. In our excitement, or maybe due to hunger, we weren't able to take photos of the first part of the meal, the soup. T-house usually serves four kinds, although one of the flavors, Broccoli and Almond was not available so I had a double dose of the Carrot and Coriander soup. My hubby is not a big fan of mushrooms, except perhaps for Mushroom burger, so I finished his mushroom soup as well. He liked his tomato soup so much that I only managed to grab half a spoon just to taste it.

Next was the salad. I must say I loved the smokey flavor of the grilled vegetables, laced with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Hubby's salad was sweeter, with slivers of dried mangoes and cubes of kesong puti (white cheese).

T-house salad on top, grilled vegetable salad bottom

I was busy taking photos outside the dining area when the main course arrived so I wasn't able to take a picture of hubby's rack of ribs before he dove into the perfectly mashed potatoes. I have very bad photos of my own meal, a fillet of mahi-mahi with a sauce whose name I forgot that camouflaged slices of mushroom and capsicum. Yey! More mushroom for me! Somewhere between tasting hubby's dish and finishing my own, I actually felt full already. Imagine that. Ready for my dessert!

The mahi-mahi. I warned you it was a bad photo. :-P

And there it was, two shot glasses filled with mango and green tea panna cotta.

Mango Panna Cotta & Green Tea Panna Cotta

Banana-langka crumble

Knowing me, I would've finished both flavors as well as hubby's banana-langka crumble which was piping hot enough for the sweetness to slither its way from my tiny spoon to my tongue. Oooh. But alas, I wasn't able to finish dessert. Perhaps the peace I was imbibing from my surroundings was enough to satisfy me. The food had served its purpose of nourishing me. Yet my soul was the one who was yearning for more. A tiny voice was nagging me as our car exited T-house's driveway -- "Do I really need to go back to work tomorrow?"

That's me and hubby with our unica hija, Iya.
Behind us is T-house's display case of homemade fruit jams, bagoong and cookies.

In the car, I was already conniving with hubby to spend New Year's Eve at T-house so I could get the total T-house experience. I gave myself a mental note: Must reserve soon, because December is usually fully booked.

Since Tagaytay weddings have become popular, I would recommend T-house either as a preparation venue for the bridal party and/or where you can have your honeymoon. Complete with a spa, T-house is really the venue that will help you relax as you go through your last minute wedding preps.

You might even want to consider giving away T-house goodies -- fruit jams or cookies or even the treats from the spa like soaps, scrubs, even mosquito repellants.

I wasn't able to inquire whether the next door neighbor (Ina ng Laging Saklolo) accepts weddings, but if they do, you can at least be sure that the bride or groom won't be late for the ceremony. :-)

T House
3195 Calamba Road, Tagaytay City
(046) 4830011, (046) 4830012
0922-8THouse, 09163684918, 09289409954