aLa Annie mini catering

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Can I ever write a party post and not gush about the FOOD???? Of course NOT! But because I know who catered the party personally I wanted to give her, her own tribute post. Annie of aLa Annie mini catering is a sweet sweet girl with always a smile on her face.

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Annie with birthday boy Juma and Lawrence

When I heard that she started helping out friend’s parties with her gift of cooking, I was genuinely impressed and happy for her. I have great respect for people who aspire to start doing what they love to do, like cooking or baking. If they earn a little extra on the side then all the better right?

For Juma’s party, She made Caldereta, Kare- Kare and Shrimps for the viands. I personally loved the prawns. I have this stupid rule where I don’t eat with my hands when I’m at a party so when I see prawns I avoid it like the plague but I was glad I didn’t follow this rule for this one. The prawns were sooooo good I think I ate half of the prawns that they served without any shame. The Caldereta was a bit spicy but tasty nonetheless. The Kare – Kare was my husband’s favorite of them all. In fact he loved it so much he was still thinking about it the day after. Aside from the three viands she also supplied a noodle dish and rice. If that is not enough for you to whet your appetite she even made the Leche Flan for dessert which is the perfect consistency that I like, creamy and not too sweet.

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Caldereta

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Kare – Kare

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noodles

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Prawns – a definite MUST TRY!!!!

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The dessert table. Leche Flan from Annie and Buko Pandan from Tita Riz

Annie even supplies the serving dishes (on loan). I asked her details about her services and since she’s a novice in this catering business, she said that anything and everything can be negotiated. Which is a good thing if you are on a budget.

I was so excited for her that I wanted to have an event for her to cater for me. Or I was thinking maybe I could order just viands or dessert, anything really. If you are in search for someone to help out or supply food for your next event please keep my friend Annie in mind and I promise you, she will not disappoint you.

Please give her a call at 050 518 9721 or email her at rl_annie@yahoo.com

*All pictures are borrowed from Jing’s FB page
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Happy Birthday Juma!

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This unique and handsome little boy is 5 years old now and it still feels like it was only yesterday when he was still in his mother’s womb. I remember this very fondly because this was also about the same time that Arnie and I decided that maybe it was time to start our own family too.

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Juma is 1/2 Iranian and 1/2 Filipino. He’s so used to being around people much much older than him that he is wise beyond his years. I could probably talk to him for hours and it would still make more sense than talking with someone my age or maybe even a conversation with myself!

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with ninang Riz (ninang Jing is camera shy)

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He’s a very lucky boy who have lots of people who love and adore him, among them are his parents (of course), relatives here in Dubai and most especially his two pretty ninangs, Jing and Riz. They are almost like his second parents and love him just as much, like I said LUCKY BOY.

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Happy Birthday dear Juma! May all your wishes and desires come true.

The party yesterday was also in celebration of his mom, Rochelle. I think having Juma for a son is the greatest gift she can ever receive. I’m at awe at how she manages working and raising him at the same time. She has extra help from family but the way Juma adores his mom shows me that she is still no. 1 in his world. Happy Birthday Uting! All the best in love and in life. Thank you for inviting us and letting us celebrate with you.


a DIY Wedding

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Oooops! She did it again!

My friend Dinky C. who helped me style Aden’s party did it again! She used her magic and made a simple budget wedding look stylish with her DIY event styling. It really takes a good eye and talent to do what she does because although these DIY projects are available online and “anyone can do it” to put them together and make it look good is another level on it’s own, NOT everyone can do what she does. Check out these photos from her cousin’s wedding at the Metropolitan Hotel last weekend.

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Ate Dinx risking breaking her leg to get the event looking just right

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the stage where the presidential table will be set

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viola!

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more dramatic effect with candles

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attention to detail

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The main entrance adorned with paper flowers

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more paper flowers on the guest’s chairs (take note: EACH chair gets their own!)

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the table set up

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The centerpiece made with twigs and more paper flowers with hanging beads and candles

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The Wish Tree: where guests leave their well wishes and advice for the bride and groom by hanging them on the ribbons hanging from the branches of the tree.

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view of the ballroom from the stage

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I really love the effect that these POMPOMS give

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ballroom picture during the event, the dim lighting gives the place a cozy feel

previous post related to ate Dinx are:

Bela’s 2two party

Event Styling by Dinky C.

*all pictures were stolen(with permission) from Dinky C.’s FB page. Thanks for allowing me to share.


Eid Mubarak 2013

Eid Mubarak ( Arabic: عيد مبارك‎, Bengali: ঈদ মুবারক, Persian/Urdu: عید مُبارک, Malayalam: ഈദ്‌ മുബാറക്‌) is a traditional Muslim greeting reserved for use on the festivals of Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. Eid means “Feast” and refers to the occasion itself, and Mubarak means “Blessed.” (e.g.: “Eid Mubarak, sister!”)

Wikipedia

Eid al- Fitr is an important religious holiday for Muslims that marks the end of Ramadan and it usually means a long holiday for us non-Muslims living in Dubai. They compare this holiday to Christmas in our Christian tradition where people get together to eat and be merry with friends and family. Kids and adults alike dress up in their best attire and go house to house to exchange gifts.

As a Christian family in a Muslim country we celebrate this in our own way too. Normally having a 4 day holiday means it’s time to take a trip out-of-town to one of the neighboring emirates but with everybody having the same idea it gets a little too crowded going out-of-town. So sometimes it’s better to stay home and enjoy the traffic free roads of Dubai.

This year, without any planning from my OC brain this Eid has become a coming together of old friends and making new ones plus a child – friendly holiday with back to back to back playdates for Adrian that at the end of this holiday, I am “all played” out!

Our adventure began on a Thursday with a HS reunion for Arnie with all or almost all his HS mates that are here in Dubai. It having been a “Arnie’s side” type of gathering I was in charge of the kids which I didn’t mind much but could sometimes be an overwhelming task. They will celebrate their 20 years out of HS next year which made me think and miss my own HS friends. They shared stories of how they were and how they are and the reminiscing session could have gone longer if our generous host, Julios and Jeanette didn’t have anywhere else to go but I think 12-9 is enough for a first part meeting. Upon leaving the party, Arnie reconnected with old friends and I made new ones which made the evening a succesful night in my book.

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Arnie’s HS batch ’94 (Dubai)

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Adrian keeping himself entertained while the adults reminisce their HS days

Friday night was with Arnie’s office mates (and/or ex office mates) celebrating Ryan’s nth birthday at Silicon Oasis. I wish I took more pictures to share,but I didn’t. Roze and Ryan our hosts for the evening are very blessed in many ways than one and I can understand why God has been very generous with them because they too are very generous towards others. Roze will be expecting another baby boy in September and we can’t wait for this new addition     to this bunch.

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more playtime for Adrian and Aden with their Dubai World gang (Z, Vhigo and Czin)

Lastly, and certainly not the least is a saturday lunch “playdate” with my Belles. Even though we just saw each other a week before it was nice to see these girls again. I wish I took more photos but sometimes I get caught up with the eating and gossip that I just forget…

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The Belles brewing something…a possible trip to Bahrain to visit Cynthia 2014

I initially did not plan anything for this holiday but it was a pleasant surprise how our busy Eid Al Fitr turned out. After 40 days there’s another holiday coming up Eid Al Adha which will be another 4 day holiday I wonder what kind of surprise will be waiting for us then.


Saved by the Belles

Sometimes good conversation with good food is all you need for a pick me up. I’ve wrapped myself with housework and the boys’ daily activities lately that I didn’t realize how much I needed a night with my girls

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L-R Carina, Sharon and Me

Of course our evening still had to be kid – friendly so our main activity and/or excuse is a “playdate” for Sara and Adrian but with Sara (Sharon’s girl) and Adrian being of the same age they entertained themselves instantly while Aden was happy to watch them play or be entertained by Arnie while us girls gossiped and gobbled on Carina’s yummy Buko Pandan and home made Kutsinta (Filipino Delicacies).

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Cynthia, my dear dear friend put our group together. She can read people well and knows how to put people together. She’s so good that even now that she’s been living in Bahrain for about 5 years the group she put together is still intact. Granted we don’t see each other or talk to each other everyday but when we do get together its like no time has passed from the last time we saw each other. Our lives are so different that there’s always a diversity of topics and experiences to share.

Sharon was a schoolmate of mine in college, We are both Dentists that don’t do Dentistry anymore. Her with an office 9-5 job and me a full-time homemaker. But now we are classmates in this mommy journey. She likes to tell people she learns more from me but I think I learn a lot from her too. She has so many original ideas in her head that we could make a book out of it and I guarantee you it will be a good read. We have different styles with housekeeping and child rearing but our most common goal is to bring up our children with a strong faith in God and to be good people when they grow up.

Carina, has always been the “mommy” of the group. She’s the only one that’s still practicing Dentistry too! She seems to know and be good at anything! She can sew, she can bake, she can cook, very organized with the house, and trains her man well too😉(inside joke) but as I was beginning to think she can do anything we discovered her Achilles heel last night and that’s washing the dishes which is the one chore she hates the most. (NIce to know we all have our weak spots!)

Most importantly our evening wouldn’t be complete without the food and this is what we had…

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I ordered Pansit Palabok and Chicken from O’Porto which turned out to be good (the Palabok especially)

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Red Velvet cupcakes from Waitrose

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generous and caring Carina made sure we had Buko Pandan for each of us to take home

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Adrian waiting and excited for the playdate.

All in all our evening was just what the Dr. ordered and I thank my girlies for always being there.


Event styling by Dinky C.

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Dinky C. is the brains (and beauty) behind Aden’s Circus party. A year ago if you asked me about hiring an event stylist for one of my son’s birthday I’d be like “What for?!” but now that I’ve experienced working with one, I can’t imagine doing another party without her. I once thought that party planning involved the food, the venue, and the guest list but now I’m officially adding event styling to the mix.

Dinky C., (I lovingly call her Ate Dinx) volunteered her services to help me plan Aden’s party and she has been by my side from conception to delivery. I loved working with her, we would bounce ideas with each other (special thanks  to imessage for all the free SMS) and she’d constantly check up on me if I had done my “assignments” which was a good thing because I have a tendency to procrastinate. I have to say she had this party in her head and no one can derail her from her vision. With any talented person, I feel like you just have step back and let them do their magic, you don’t teach a chef how to cook right?

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She hasn’t been doing this for a long time. She’s discovered a new talent and wants to practice her skills, I on the other hand am a willing guinea pig.  I really hope she pursues this. I will be her no. 1 FAN and walking commercial. I never thought “event styling” was necessary for a party but seeing and experiencing one made me change my mind completely. There’s something about a polished table that tells your guests

I put a lot of love and effort to this party and I hope you enjoy it!”

I really hope she starts to make this as a career and people start to hire her because she really is good at it and genuinely cares for your event.

Thanks again Ate Dinx! I cannot be more grateful.


Aden’s Circus Party

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The “big day” has finally arrived. On the way to the party I was a nervous wreck (just ask Arnie). I wanted everything to turn out fine that I was worrying about people coming on time, the food, even how the kids would behave was on my list of worries. If it isn’t obvious by now, I don’t host too many parties. My cousin Janice did tell me not to stress and enjoy the party, I think she knows me too well. But I’m happy to report that once the party started all my worries were gone and I just enjoyed every moment.

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Our venue, Fat Burger has a second floor with a play area which they can close exclusively for parties (which I love). As I anticipated the kids were out-of-the-way in their little play area and the adults were all in the dining area catching up with old friends. My Adrian had such a wonderful time with his passé, kuya Vhiggo and ate Czin that I didn’t even see him during the party. But because I know he had back up, I know he was safe. Even the birthday boy was also playing the gracious party host going from one table to the next (leaving me alone for once). But after a while I think he got exhausted from all the interaction and mommy was his only refuge and reconnect the umbilical cord we did.

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Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

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Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

 

With our Circus Theme Party  “the table” was the star! That’s where ate Dinx comes in she played the role of an event stylist and I just let her do her magic. And magic is what she did to that table, for never in a million years will I be able to put up that table the same way she did – if that’s not a talent I don’t know what talent is!!! Watch out for my next post about her.

Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

Another supplier who helped me meet the Circus Theme was FADGE CAKE who made the birthday cake. Mhin the owner/baker did such a good job. She promised me a “better” cake than the picture I sent her and she did not  disappoint! It was also a pleasant experience working with her she was very professional and that’s how I think every cake supplier should be. Funny story, her husband, I assume, was so used to the pick up thing that when we did our pick up he even told me to buckle up first before he gave me the cake in the car. It’s those little things that catch my attention and the things I remember the most. If you are in the search for a cake supplier for your next party why don’t you give FADGE CAKE a try, she’s very accommodating if you email her and will patiently answer any question you have and believe me I had LOTS of concerns). This is a link to FADGE CAKE FB page.

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Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

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Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

My giveaways were specially flown in from Manila which was bought in Divisoria. I’ve always love the appeal of the gum ball machine and I’ve always wanted one in my room ever since I was young. To be able to use it as a party souvenir for my son was absolutely a delight! At first we were thinking of putting a sub par chocolate inside but I figured why give away something I would not eat, so M&M’s and Skittles made its way inside.

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The cupcakes were made by my friend Carina. (Cupcakes by Carina-nice name for a future business venture wink wink) I got lots of praises for her cupcakes and even a couple of mommy friends telling me their picky eater kids loved the cupcake I think for picky eater kiddies to love your cupcakes is the highest form of flattery. I super appreciate Tita Carina’s generous support for this party, she even got Daddy Edwin to cover the party – which I think was out of his comfort zone since he’s a professional photographer and use to high fashion etc shoots not covering children’s parties. I just love this couple very much because although we don’t get to spend time with each other too often, I feel like my kids have a special place in their hearts. And to me friends who love my kids are the special kind.

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Last but certainly not the least, Party Boothcam came to our party to help us with the photo booth. I wanted them at the party so that the adults have something to bring home with them as souvenir. How many times do we get party souvenirs and think, “WTH am I going to do with this?” with the party booth they get pictures of their families that they get to keep, now isn’t that a nice party favor? This is owned and operated by sisters Dinky and Diane. I just love how their bubbly personalities radiate in what they do and show in their faces that people don’t get intimidated by the photo booth. I’ve been to parties where the photo booth people didn’t seem to like their jobs that they don’t even offer a simple smile and this just makes me turn off in the whole experience. But not with these sisters! They even have boxes filled with props for you to try on and they even help you put it on with such speed and accuracy just in time for the next “click“. If you are planning a party soon I HIGHLY recommend you give them a call, I’ve linked their FB page for easy access too.

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Photo Credit: Edwin Mendoza

In closing, This party was made out of love. Whether it be the love for my Aden, a love for event styling, a love for baking or a love to attend parties. All of this would not have been possible without any of it and I am truly grateful for all of you who helped me do this. I could not have done this alone. This is one party I will not forget for a long long time.