Sophia’s 7th birthday



I’m totally in party mode. Yesterday, I had so much work – a couple of functions and a long UZ shoot – and all I can think about was Fancy Nancy. Every morning, Lily runs to our room and says, “Mom how many more sleeps ’til my birthday?” I’m not going overboard. It’ll be a low key party at home.

Like I said in the previous post, I will write about Sophia’s birthday party last year. This was a last minute decision. We were thinking of not doing a big 7th birthday party for many reasons. Patrick and I didn’t want to fall into these milestone birthday things when we grew up not having such. I celebrated every birthday with my family but we didn’t do them as events. And we also had major travel plans last year. We spent almost 8 weeks in Canada with the kids. But a week and a half before Soph’s birthday, I crammed. Hired Funstuf party planner. And did a “pool” party. Except we didn’t let the kids swim. I was too scared of the liabilty. So we tweaked it and did a sort of nautical theme.


I bought blank Thank You cards just because I loved the pattern. Then I found these 3D stickers that were meant to be for scrapbook projects (which I don’t do). Stuck the cute stickers on top of the “Thank You” sign and handwrote the invite inside the fold.


The planner, Jinggay Sancianco, did very well. I asked her to work with a nautical theme but not just stripes (though that would have been lovely). Sophia wanted a cruise ship party. I said, think of the Suite Life of Zach and Cody or The Love Boat but for a girl.


Yummy cake.


Red white and blue, stripes and polka dots.


We had lifesavers made form styrofoam and lots of red white and blue. When all else fails, bring out these cute fuzz balls that light up.


Because we had it in our club, the food was no problem. Perfect poolside merienda like mini pizzas.


And the yummiest chicken lollipops.


Soph didn’t want a clown or magic show. So instead we had a scientist come in to do some fun experiements.


The kids loved it.


Sophia’s friends enjoyed the experiments.


Sophia was so happy with how her party turned out. She still talks about it now.


We only had about 15 kids. So there were more than enough prizes to go around.


I made the lootbag. The kids helped me stick those foam stickers. I did the “calligraphy.”


I had no idea what lootbag to give so I just scoured department stores and found this folding magazine rack in the Landmark for less than 100. I filled them with towels, fluorescent stars, chips and cookies.


I’m so glad we decided to give her a special 7th birthday party.


In the end I figured out why 7 was a milestone. It marked the end of her baby/toddler/little girl years and began her entry into tweendom. Maybe not quite a tween yet, really. Just a little cool chick or big Ate. Whatever. In my eyes, Sophia will always be my little baby girl.




Birthday party time again




I can’t believe my Little Miss Lily is turning 5!!!


And Stella is going to be 2! Wonderful age. But I will really miss having a baby around the house.


It’s that time of the year again. We’ve got two birthdays in a few days. Lily turns 5 on July 22nd and Stella turns 2 on July 24th. I am giving them their own little birthday celebrations at their school. Lily on Friday and Stella on Monday. These are little one hour lunch parties. All I need to bring is a cake, packed lunch and a little loot bag. I’ve been doing this every year since Sophia was in the same pre-school. It’s a lovely little hour. Relatively painless.

I told myself that we are done with big parties. Not until Lily and Stella turn 7. We had a busy year of big parties last year. Every birthday was a milestone – Sophia’s 7th, my 40th, Stella’s 1st and my dad’s 70th. Like a lunatic, I went all out. Hired a party planner and the works. It just dawned on me that I barely shared any photos of those events. I will make some posts about them to share some ideas. Here are a few highlights.


This was Sophia’s 7th birthday last year. I planned this in less than two weeks. I should say, the party planner did. But it took a lot of time from me to “conceptualize.” And I did the give aways. We originally thought that we could get by with just a little school celebration, but I couldn’t stand the thought of not celebrating a milestone. Why is the 7th birthday a milestone anyway? I’m working on a blog post about Sophia’s 7th birthday party.


Then a few weeks after that, I turned 40.


Patrick insisted it couldn’t go by without a celebration. So we invited close friends and got Up Dharma Down to play a few sets during dinner. Here’s Carlos and Tessa Celdran.


Then July rolls over and it was Lily’s 4th and Stella’s 1st. Lily was into Little Mermaid then, so we got this cake from either Goldilocks or Red Ribbon. I can’t remember.


It was a given that we’d give Stella a milestone celebration. I never really hired party planners before, until Sophia’s 7th party. So we went with the same planner, Funstuf. And because Lily got a little one hour school birthday party, we thought we’d make the big party for Stella a sort-of double celebration – with emphasis on Stella’s 1st birthday. We went with Alice in Wonderland. It seemed easy.


For giveaways we had a Photo Balloon booth. It was new back then and it was a hit. I wrote about it here.


We also gave each guest some waterproof personalized stickers. Both the photo balloon and stickers came from this supplier.


For my personal touch, we also gave out these handmade and handpainted wooden birdhouses. We worked like crazy the morning of the party and put some birdseeds, velvet ribbons and cute cards to go with them.


Then by December my whole family traveled from Canada to celebrate my dad’s birthday here. We had the works – a ballroom, all my dad’s retired pilot classmates and friends, speeches, slide show and a band. It was so much fun.


I had cupcakes made with helicopters for him.


So now, back to the two parties in a few days. I still haven’t ordered the cakes. But I’ll just do those from big chain bakeshops outside our village. Then since both Lily and Stella love Fancy Nancy books (Stella calls her Matty Matty), I gave in and decided to give them a Fancy Nancy party over the weekend. So crazy mother that I am, I’ll be doing three parties in a few days! Friday, Lily’s lunch party at school; Sunday Fancy Nancy party for the two girls; and Monday is Stella’s school party. And I haven’t gotten anything yet! Except invitations. And this time, I’m flying solo. No party planner.


I got some help and inspiration from my friend Alicia Sy. Her daughter had a FN party a few years ago.


The Fancy Nancy website has a lot of free downloads, so thank goodness!


And to add to the festivities, we are making these big pompom flowers that look so easy to make, according to Martha Stewart. We’ll fill our house with pink and purple pompoms and streamers. That should be good enough. And for fun we will have Craft Camp and 3D Me.


Wish me luck! Three more sleeps and it’s Lily’s day.




Gifts from Rajito




Thank you, Venisse Laurel-Hermano, for the lovely outfits sent to my daughters. Venisse runs House of Laurel together with Rajo. Being a mother of girls, she shares my passion for all things pretty and lovely. Every season she gives my girls a little treat from her line, Rajito. Lucky girls.


Thank you Venisse.


Her presents always have the cutest wrapping. She matched the sticker cards with the outfits inside


This is for Stella.


Beautiful fabric.


I love grosgrain ribbons.


And the subtle details like this.


Here are the lovely dresses, seen in their official press photos taken by Toto Labrador. The line is called Androgyny. Venisse tells me she’s wanted to do a black and white collection for a while now. And she finally took the risk. The result is beautiful. Now we need a party or a wedding… The girls will look lovely in these.


For Stella


For Lily


For Sophia



Rajito at House of Laurel
6013 Villena cor Mañalac St. Poblacion Makati City
Tel Nos. 8955688 / 8999946


Peace and art at home



My daughters have just discovered Anne of Green Gables – the movie, not the book (yet). We have the books, but I wanted them to see the world of Anne Shirley. This I think is one of the best Canadian exports/legacies, such a lovely story of a strong-willed and imaginative girl. My girls already have a bit of Anne Shirley in them. We have wild imaginations, great dreams, theatrical scenes – from playing dress up to pretend theatre and role playing, dramatic meltdowns and quiet reading time in this house.


Megan Follows as Anne of Green Gables


The later movies of Anne of Green Gables shows Anne and Gilbert married but separated by World War 1. Now, though my girls are exposed to hundreds of GI Joes everyday, they haven’t really watched any war movies. I sort of slipped thinking it was harmless to see war scenes in Anne of Green Gables. There were no gory scenes but they showed families being separated and a few explosions. While watching, Soph had endless questions. “How does war start?”, “What can I do to stop war?”, “Is there still war today?”, “Why did daddy go to war?” Yes, my husband used to “go to war” but not to fight. He told stories – Afghanistan, Palestine, Mindanao.

We tried our best to explain war to her. That her lolo was born during World War 2. That daddy had the important job of telling war stories, in the hopes that it would bring out the truth and eventually stop war. Then I also told her that here in the Philippines, there are areas still under conflict and children still need protection. Then she asked, “What can a little girl do to stop war? Can I make artwork then you take a picture of it and put it in your website so many people can see that a child wants war to end?” I’m serious, she said all that. I have it on tape. Like I said, Anne Shirley.


This is Sophia’s art work. She said, “I’m very lucky to have a mom with a job like yours. You have a website. People can read our messages.” Anne Shirley…


And just to make her message clear, she wrote.


Meanwhile, Lily and Stella are about to celebrate their birthdays in two weeks. As usual, I am not prepared. I insist on having two separate little parties even though their birthdays are two days apart. Lily is turning 5 and Stella is turning 2. They like different things. They’re different people. So I think they should have their own special days. Stella likes dancing and music, and on the commercial side, she loves Toy Story. Lily is still in her pretty princess mode. She loves frills and prettiness. We are thinking of Fancy Nancy or if all else fails (like I really run out of time, Barbie). These are going to be little parties in their school, nothing big. But I still want it to be lovely. Sigh.


Lily really is turning 5 soon. I remember waiting for her to be born… in Flickr. Oh she has this thing about dressing herself everyday. She styles herself then comes to me to take her picture. Everyday. Then after she poses, she says, “Is that fashion, Mommy?”


This is Lily’s world. She’s all about playing with little toys. Playmobil is one of her favourites. We get them from Hobbes and Landes.


She makes little scenarios in her castle.


She even made a pretend “meadow.” We are running out of space, so we allow the kids to play in the formal living room.


The meadow and the castle.


It’s lovely to have these toys with old-world feel – complete with castles and long dresses. They loved Anne of Green Gables so I figured they’d love the movie Miss Potter. After all, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of our favourite reads. I had almost forgotten about the movie. They loved it.


This was a great find! Beatrix Potter’s journal. I found this at the bookstore a few years ago.


It’s filled with beautiful pages of what Beatrix Potter’s journal would look like.


It has the story of her life, her sketches and how she got her book published.


Lovely inserts that fold out and open up.


And samples of colour separation.


Beatrix Potter’s journal plus all the Peter Rabbit books we had, inspired Sophia to write a “book” when she was just 6 years old. National Bookstore sent them Moleskine diaries and each kid filled them with stories and drawings.


Sophia wrote “The Contin” of Petter Rabbit. Her imagination made her think of what would have happened to Peter the next day.


I treasure these and Lily’s drawings. Now Stella is following her Ate’s footsteps.


It’s easy actually. Instead of iPads and iPhones, we bring crayons and pencils to restaurants. That’s how it all started with Lily and Soph. And then of course when all else fails, we bring out the iPad.

Googoo&gaga goes to Paris



I first found out about googooandgaga in December 2008. It was AJ and Audrey Dimarucot’s first day in their first bazaar. I had just found out I was pregnant with our third baby, who would be Stella. She was 8 weeks old. No one knew I was pregnant except my husband. But when I saw the googooandgaga booth with their cute graphic onesies, I bought one outfit for our baby. Here’s what I wrote in my blog. “They were so irresistible, I had to buy one… just to keep. Or give away to the first newborn I meet.” I broke tradition and shopped for my teenyweeny yet-unborn child.


With AJ and Audrey Dimarucot of googooandgaga


Amazing things have happened to them since I first blogged about googoo&gaga. Other people discovered them and they went on to bigger things, as I had predicted. Every year, Audrey would send me a Christmas present to say they never forget about how it all started. Sweet people.


Audrey and AJ with their growing family.


Last week  they sent me this very sweet email. I was extremely touched. They didn’t owe me anything, really. If I didn’t “discover” them, someone else would have. But it takes a lot of class and sweetness to say thank you this way. I’ve had the chance to actively help people in their careers and very few have actually said thank you. This is really sweet and amazing:

Hi Daphne,

Before announcing to the world, we just wanted to share that googoo&gaga is going to launch in Paris in July!

You probably already know this as you were the one who referred Ito Kish to our partner there, Angelique Villaraza. She shared with us how accommodating you were when she asked for referrals to help her with her booth design, so thank you so much for that! We loved how the final booth perspectives came out!

We disclosed a Save the Date post on our site a couple weeks back, but will share more information about the Playtime Paris trade fair as we near the actual fair dates. Milestones like this always bring us sentimentally back to how we started in 2008. You “discovered” us in Rockwell and we thought you should be one of the first to know about this huge step we are so excited to be taking!

AJ and Audrey




Googoo&gaga is in Playtime Paris an international tradefair for everything baby, family and maternity related… in Paris!!!


Playtime Paris is an international trade show dedicated to the children’s universe and maternity wear. Each Playtime season in Paris, Tokyo, and New York is set to a new theme that forms the basis and inspiration for the season’s shows. Between crises and recoveries, doubts and hopes, wishes and needs, the necessity of finding new ways to reflect changing ideas and demands has become ever more evident. The “Let’s be adventurous” spirit is the basis for display of the collections, exhibitions and events of this year’s Playtime series. Source


I’m triple proud because I have a connection with three of the key players here. Googooandgaga has partnered with my friend Angelique Villaraza Dominici. Angelique moved to France to complete a Masters in Luxury Brand Management. She told me of her plans to bring Filipino creations/brands to Europe. Our friendship has transcended from social events to real pregnancy and motherhood bonding moments. “When she stumbled upon googoo&gaga two years ago, she felt that its artistic value would make it a great match for Europe, where a large percent of enterprises are still family owned. It was the strong and unique visuals of googoo&gaga that got the brand accepted into Playtime Paris, a trade fair known for its well-edited roster of exhibitors based in the world’s fashion capital.” (Source: Press Kit)


Angelique lives with her husband Michel and 21-month-old Giuliano in the south of France


When this partnership happened, Angelique asked me to recommend someone who could design their booth in Playtime Paris. I said, Ito Kish. Though he’s not an interior designer, Ito’s taste and ability to transform space and create a well edited-environment beats any designer or decorator I’ve seen. That, plus I just introduced Ito to Zinio on iPad and shared with him my love for Milk Deco. Haha. So I knew that Ito would love this challenge of creating something for a playful and childlike environment. So this is how the three teams got together.


This is the booth Ito Kish created for googooandgaga in Paris. You can read about his creative process here.


As part of the googooandgaga catalog for the fair, they are showing the works from their Artist Collaboration Series 1, featuring the works of local artists like Inksurge who did this mushroom dress (which my Stella now owns, yay!).

and Everywhere We Shoot, who did this “paper” shirt for boys.


Congratulations Angelique, the site is beautiful. I spot the Epperson kids, a Dimarucot baby and Lexi’s girl.


Goodluck to googooandgaga and Angelique Dominici!! Playtime Paris starts tomorrow. What an awesome start! I’m so excited for all of you! Yay!