Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentine's Day Gift Guide



With Valentine’s day next weekend, I’m sure you’re looking for some thrifty gift inspiration. My boyfriend and I really highlight Valentine’s day because our anniversary is the following day! So we typically make the weekend really special. We traditionally have a weekend getaway, treat ourselves out shopping, and make every meal of that weekend together truly exceptional. We’re not married at the moment, so our dating anniversary is extremely precious to us.

I believe it’s important to share your love everyday, not just one day a year. Also being a parent  of two and on a budget, saving up for a house, or other things for our future seems so much more important to me then that Michael Khors watch, or Saint Laurent Leather Shopper handbag. Even on a budget it is important to spoil your loved ones. Attempt making them dinner or favorite desert. I hope you have a love filled Valentines day no matter how you celebrate it!!


Target Haul (Under $10)

As a stay at home there have been many mornings where I drop off my son to school and drive straight to Target. At times my spending is very controlled, were I just stick with whatever is on the grocery list. Other times, I head straight to the Women’s Clearance racks and dig for clothes I really don’t need. Today was one of those Target days, but on a budget. I was killing time before an appointment I had with my sons Orthodontist. So of course, Target was fitting.

With nothing on my grocery list, I was able to control my spending. I mean, I just went crazy bridesmaid shopping for hotel decor and all, so sticking to a nice moderate budget helped me stay in control of my spending. I walked around Target, avoiding the women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, makeup and stationary. Those places are definite danger zones for a Target shopper who is wandering.

I found myself at the kids clearance racks. I came across this wonderful textured-rib baseball pullover sweater for my youngest son. It’s still cold here in the Bay Area early mornings, and evenings so having this sweater would be great for him. I love the stitching and color-blocking. Greens and blues are my favorite colors for my boys! Not only that, but the price of this sweater cannot be beat! $2.50!!

4T Sweater


While I continued to walk around Target, avoiding the danger zones, I stepped into the Kitchen/Utensil asile. With getting something for my son, I felt like I needed something small for my other son. I came across these $0.75 Circo kid flatware set. Looking into my shopping cart I stayed within my favorite color duos that I oh-so-love for my boys. Blue and green..

Circo FlatwareMy kids are definitely at the age of handing their own utensils. When I was kid, I was taught the “scoop and push,” using the the spoon on my right, and fort on my left. Its Filipino basic dining etiquetteI’ve also seen this dining custom in Thailand. So I’m assuming is probably dining  etiquette is some parts of South East Asia.

Currently my kids just eat mainly with a fork, spoon for soup or cereal, and chop-sticks for Japanese/Vietnamese dishes. I’m surprised with myself that I haven’t gotten around to teaching them my native dining etiquette. So stumbling amongst the Circo flatware set was a must. And for $0.75 a set! I went along and purchased small bowls and a cup for each boy too!

Target SetAfter I grabbed coincidental blue green inspired flatware and matching sweater, I headed towards checkout.

Here’s the total:

Flatware Set ($0.75 Each/ 2 Sets): $1.50

Cups ($0.75 Each/ 2 Sets): $1.50

Small Bowl ($0.75 Each/ 2 Sets): $1.50

Medium Bowl ($0.75 Each/ 2 Sets): $1.50

4T Textured-Rib Pullover Sweater: $2.50

(Minus 5% Target Redcard)



Not bad for some morning Target shopping.


Monday Motivation

I woke-up this morning with the desire to register for a couple local marathon runs. Just about a year ago I entered my first 5K Run with my god sister Rez (the one that just got married this past weekend). At the time I was in wonderful shape. I traveled to Thailand, and a month later I hiked up Half Dome. In 2013 my New Years Resolution was all about health and fitness. I took that year with just dedicating all my time and energy to transfiguring my current post baby body. My body adjusts well to an active lifestyle (like it should), but unfortunately I ignored it during the time of having children. Excuses and depression, got to me so I hired a personal trainer that I met 2-3 times a week. He went grocery shopping and helped me in the kitchen prepping low glycemic meals. A total transformation and lifestyle change within 3 months.

Summer 2014, I had started to lose the fitness lifestyle. I was slipping. There were no motivators. No upcoming travel plans, or major hikes. No fitness goals whatsoever. I’ve been aware the past year of the weight gain, and have been struggling to drop the weight once again. This time, no investing in a personal trainer. I’ve hired help at desperate need, but this time, we’re saving money. With the knowledge my trainer has given me, I have to dig deep and find it within myself to achieve the same fitness goals as before.

Half Dome

September 2013

Climbing up the cables on Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.
Processed with Moldiv

Which leads me to registering for a couple marathon runs. While going to the gym, and (kind of) dieting I feel like I have to put my fitness to the test. I registered myself to two local runs in my area. The first is in March, and the other in May. Each run, just about a month apart which gives me time to train. Both these runs are 5K, a good ol’ 3 miles. Its nothing to extreme, but a good start to the year. I plan on increasing the distance as I get more comfortable.

So here’s to the start again to a new healthy lifestyle that I plan on keeping up for the rest of my life. I’ve done it before, and I believe I can do it again. I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any inspiration I set my sites on.

I’m approaching 30….So consider this my journey to 30. Here we go!

Check out my past weight loss hashtag on Instgram


(Years ago, I used to be in Polynesian/Tahitian dance troop and my body was bangin’!!)


Wedding Bells

After month of preparation, planning, and coordinating, the day is here for my good friend Eureza. Since we were babies we’ve known each other, and attended elementary school together. I’m so happy that her special day has finally arrived! I checked into the hotel where the bridal party stays and gets ready for the joyous occasion later in the evening. It was around 7 I arrived with other bridesmaids trailing behind me.

I checked in, and arranged another bridesmaid to take the bride out of the room so I can start my bridesmaid slumber party. This task was quite difficult to get the bride out. She was tired, in her jammies, glasses and all. But somehow we managed after ganging up on her telling her we need a couple of things from the grocery store. Once she left, I was able to start decorating!!

Here’s a few pics you can enjoy seeing, including all the things I’ve gathered up from this weeks Target runs and crafts.

Bridemaid Slumberparty

The night was wonderful, sweet, simple, and relaxing. The bride was touched by the lovely decor and set up we all had displayed for her. Taboo, snacks, and the movie Bridesmaids was all there for her enjoyment. The glitter gold frames were such a hit as well! Each bridesmaid went home with their very own 5×7 picture of a memory from the bachelorette party.

Keepsake FramesThe keepsake frames were also a nice decorative personal touch to add to the hotel room, and came in great to video footage when the videographer and photographer came the following morning.Wedding Morning

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale….

Happy wedding day Eureza!! I love you plenty!!


Night Before The Wedding

This week I’ve been prepping my family and I for this huge spectacular event for my dear long time friend, and god-sister Rez. As a family, we’re planning to stay the night at the hotel, for a good easy, comfortable transition after a night of partying. Her wedding is this Saturday, and I’ve been prepping for the night before bridesmaid slumber party. I’m sure she’s had it up to here with last minute guests adding in, and some dropping. Not only that, her fiancé’s family are from Vietnam, and there are many who are traveling in. Note: It is about to be a 400+ guest wedding.

My dear friend Rez is also a DIY bride, who’s handling 40+ manzanita branches, with crystals to transfer from Manteca to San Ramon in U-Haul truck. Good bless her soul on trying to transfer those centerpieces! That’s just one of the many struggles of this upcoming wedding!

Bridesmaid Slumber Party Prep

With the Friday night approaching, I’m trying to achieve a fun relaxing night for her to make all the wedding stress leave her. Starting with decorating our hotel room, and sharing some bridesmaid gifts, and a custom personal made, last bride-to-be gift. I want the slumber party to be perfect so I have looked hard for decorations and even a List of questions for Never Have I Ever!

Target Spritz

Tying in with her bachelorette tea party, I thought having spring floral would be a nice elegant modern touch to the night before the wedding. I purchased these Target Spritz floral decorations, from paper plates, napkins, tissue pom pom garland, balloons, and gift wrap, which I plan to use as a backdrop in the hotel room for our slumber party.

Many of the items were $3.99. Totally affordable, and certainly cute for the night before the wedding hotel slumber party. As thrifty person I am, I try my best to buy low-priced, inexpensive items. So after purchasing these items, I sent out bridesmaid email for each bridesmaid to provide hotel snacks and desserts! The girls have responded, and we’re surely ready to go!! The other MOH, the brides sister will also be helping with fun photo booth style pics, bridesmaid movies, and games!

Maid Of Honor Gift: Captured Moments

In addition to this upcoming bridesmaid slumber party, I’ve made each bridesmaid a special gift. A gift from the Maid Of Honor. A thank you gift to the ladies, for dealing with my endless amounts of wordy wedding emails, planning, coordinating, GoogleDoc sharing, and just non-stop reminders about wedding festivities!!! This is such a cheap affordable gift to make, that will get a rave of thanks you’s from your bridesmaids.

What You’ll Need:

  • Gold Frames (5×7) I purchased mine from the DollarTree
  • Krylon Gold Glitter Blast
  • Old Newspaper/Recycled Cardboard
  • Costco Photos
    Gold Frames

You can do this craft of any color you like. I choose to compliment the gold from the Target gold/floral Spritz decorations. I also printed my photos from Costco, not only because its convenient, but one of the cheapest photo labs in my area, that as great online pick-up services.


  1. Remove the backing of the picture frame and glass, having just the frame exposed.
  2. Place the frame on top of some old news paper or card board on the ground.
  3. Spray your gold glitter onto the frame. Lightly spray each frame, with a couple coats of glitter.
  4. Set to dry.
  5. Once dry, place your photos into the frame.

The photos were taken just last weekend during her English afternoon bachelorette tea party!! I simply uploaded the photos, and picked them up later in the week. The spray painted frames only took a couple minutes as well! So, here for you current MOH/Bridesmaids, take this idea and share with your bridal party!

Viola! A thank you wedding keepsake for your bridesmaids, maid from your maid of honor!!

Photo Keepsake

6 Gold Frames (DollarTree): $1 Each

Costco Photos (Costco PhotoCenter):$0.39 per each 5×7 print

Krylon Gold Glitter Blast Spray Paint (Michael’s Craft Store): $7.99 (40% Coupon: $4.79)

Total spent: $15


Maid Of Honor Responsibilities

With only a few more days until my god-sisters wedding, I must go through my MOH list of to-do’s. Luckily, my god-sister the bride-to-be, has planned her wedding so far in advance many of the things I thought a maid of honor was suppose to do, has been already taken cared of.

In the past being a maid of honor, I’ve assisted the bride to every wedding related shopping, from the dress, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, to even a few alteration appointments and also her make-up trail appointment and engagement photoshoot! I’ve even stayed up the night before the wedding with the wedding planner, doing floral arrangements till the wee-hours of the wedding day! Seriously! Shouldn’t I be relaxing with the rest of the bridesmaids at the hotel?! That’s some MOH dedication right there.

From the Maid of Honor down to the Ring Bearer, there are laundry lists of responsibilities associated with each role. If you’re new to the whole wedding Maid of Honor or bridesmaid thing, here a list that you can follow. Various duties for all the lovely ladies that were hand selected by your special bride-to-be friend/sister/cousin/co-worker.

Maid of Honor

The maid of honor has one of the most important (and demanding) jobs out of the bridal party. Not only does she need to be responsible, she must be very close to the bride as well and be able to keep her cool, calm, and collected throughout the entire process. Duties include the following:

  • Assists the bride with all wedding related shopping.
  • Helps organize hair and makeup for the bridesmaids
  • Plans and hosts the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Witnesses and sign the Marriage Certificate
  • Attends the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Carries an emergency kit for the bride on the day of the wedding (although if you have a planner or day-of coordinator, they usually hold onto this)
  • Holds the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony
  • Stays by the bride’s side at all times and oversee the bridesmaids
  • Holds onto the groom’s ring during the ceremony
  • Helps make favors and address invitations
  • Gives a speech and toast during the wedding reception
  • Acts as air traffic control for the bride, wedding planner, and family
  • Responsible for paying for her own travel, attire, and accessories
  • Gives the bride both a shower gift and wedding gift
  • Helps out however and whenever she can
  • Encourages guests to get on the dance floor during the reception


Bridesmaids should be a dependable group of ladies consisting of the bride’s closest friends and/or family (sisters, cousins, etc.). Traditionally, if the groom has any sisters, they are included in the wedding as bridesmaids. Duties include the following:

  • Assists Maid of Honor however they can
  • Helps Maid of Honor plan and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Greets guests at the reception and encourage mingling
  • Purchases their own attire, transportation, and accessories
  • Attends the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Assists the Maid of Honor in helping everyone get on the dance floor.
The following duties can be found on Lauren Conrad’s Blog: Wedding Bells: The Duties


Time For Tea

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Instagram, you would probably know that I am one of the MOH for my friends wedding this upcoming weekend. It is very much a huge compliment to be named one of the right-hand women. My friend evidently had chosen me because she thought of me as being organized, loyal, and reliable enough for her to trust me as her voice of reason. My job: for her to come to me in happy moments and sad.  I know the bride pretty much inside and out. I clearly know when to hold back, and when to chime in.

This past weekend we celebrated the bachelorette party. The brides sister and  also the other MOH, decided to reserve a room at Crown & Crumpet Tea Shop & Cafe in San Francisco. Right in the heart of Japantown along Post St. this tea cafe provides stylish rooms, traditional English tea salon experience, with stylish and sparkling decor.

Time For Tea

Above is the lower main tea area of the cafe. Walk in welcome, reservations can also be made. When we first walked in the afternoon, this place was packed! From young girls with their mothers, to teens, to older adults. To anyone who enjoys little the details, cute ambiance, and just the feeling of feeling like a princess this place is for you!

The bachelorette party was held in a private room, just up the steps from the main level. The room was decorated with vintage china plates nicely arranged on the main wall, titled “Great wall of china.” Sitting 10 ladies, ou afternoon tea began with  our dedicated Trolley Dolly host to look after our party. Served “family style” on silver three tiers with a selection of tea sandwiches and warm savories. Warm fruit scones can be served with strawberry jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream. Delish!!


I created some festive partea favors for the ladies attending. I was inspired by Roses and Teacups‘ tea bag. Creating a tea bag party favor for guests to go home with a little something. Although you can buy tea bag favors from different places, they are easy to make. Here’s how:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Colored Organza Bags
  • Fake Spring Flowers
  • Tea Packets
  • Tea Candle
  • Chocolates
  • Tags
  • Washi Tape
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pen/Calligraphy Pen

Tea Favors


  1. Purchase your organza bags, tea bags, tea lights, and any other fillers you’d like to fill and style your favor bag with.
  2. Take your washi tape and wrap around each tea light candle.
  3. Using your pen/calligraphy pen, write something such as “Time for tea, with the bride to be!” and date.
  4. Open and fill your organza bags (1Tea Packet, 1Tea Light, 2 chocolates) or anything else you plan on adding.
  5. Cut fake flowers and tape to the top of the tag.
  6. Tie tag around the bags. Style/position fake flowers.

The favors were an extra personal touch to add to our afternoon Bachelorette tea party. Although Crown & Crumpet also provided a nice goodie bag, including my custom organza favor bag was a pleasant addition, as gift from yours truly the Maid Of Honor….


Pottery Barn Inspired: DIY Chalk Globe

With the new year here and new resolutions made, one of the many cravings I thirst for this year is traveling. Even if its a road trip up to the Pacific Northwest, a trip to Chicago, New York, or flying out to Europe to visit family in France (My boyfriends sister lives in Bordeaux). To keep the inspiration and desire to travel going, having a nice decorative globe in the house would be a great reminder to plan a trip.

Here’s a DIY chalkboard globe I made just a few days ago. Super easy, and a cheap affordable decorative piece to add to your home.

All you need is:

-World Desk Globe

-Chalk Paint


Thrifted Globe

(Thrifted Desk Globe, $7)

I’ve seen decorative globes before especially at HomeGoods. But there was one in specific chalkboard globe that I really liked from Pottery Barn. Unfortunately, do not shop at Pottery Barn because its definitely out of my price range. Along with Z Gallerie and Restoration Hardware. But I do occasionally walk through those retailers and gather as much inspiration as possible. Here’s the link to Pottery Barn’s Chalkboard Globe.

A few years ago, I went thrifting and stumbled upon a brown desk globe for $7. I purchased it with intentions to use it as a decorative office display, or a bookshelf accessory. After we moved the globe some how found a home in the garage. Once the new year arrived, I started doing some garage cleaning and craved for a new diy project. Tying in with my determination to travel for the new year, I thought this globe would be perfect to give it another purpose with a fresh new decorative life.

With chalkboard paint already on hand, I wiped the dusty globe down with a damp towel and started painting. After 4 coats, and drying it over night, the globe was complete! The thing I love about chalkboard paint, is you can customize any phrase, quote, joke, on any surface! Painting a world globe only gives me a reason to quote phrases to inspire me to travel. With that….Where shall we go to next? Barcelona? New Orleans? Rio? Vancouver? Waco, Texas?
DIY Chalk Globe

 I have this desire to explore. Don’t you?


Melissa & Doug Play Sets

My 4 year old son is currently home with me and not in currently enrolled in any tiny tot/pre-school program. With having him home, I encourage a lot of educational toys that promote self-expression for building, arts-and-crafts activities, and role-play sets. Melissa & Doug products are just that! M&D have a great selection in imaginative play products, encourage creative development,  and family group play.

Check out my lastest M&D purchases. This fabulous Pizza party set which I scored for only $8!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes $8!!!!!!! I’ve been eyeing this set for years, but never could justify paying the $14-$19 dollars for it!! But once I saw a mom post it on a local FB Mommy Group, I jumped right on it!!!!!!

Pizza Party Set

Facebook Mommy Group: $8

Original Price: $19.99

Marshalls/TJMaxx: $14.99

Michael’s Craft Store: $22.99 (On Sale now: $13.79)

Pizza Party Set

 Another M&D purchase was the Stamp and sort set. It includes, mail, velcro stamps, a key and realistic mailbox. All high quality, wooden pieces so your little pre-schooler and toss, and throw them around everywhere, without it cracking or getting damaged!

I found this fabulous set at a TJMaxx, while shopping with my Aunty who came in to visit out of town. She’s a huge discount shopper like me!! The originall price of the set is $29.99, but TJMaxx’s price listed it at $24.99. I asked if they could give me a discount because there was a little paint chip at the lock of the mailbox. They ended up giving it to me for $22 bucks!

I love love love the little realistic retails M&D products add to their toys. Its the details that count!! Seriously!!!

Stamp And Sort Mailbox

TJMaxx: $22.00

Original Price: $29.99

Toys R Us: S23.99

I look forward to searching more for any secondhand, thrifted Melissa & Doug items!

Cross your fingers I find more!

Happy Friday everyone!!


Craigslist IKEA Duktig Hack


Ikea Duktig Hack Before & After

Everyone. With the new year here I’m creatively charged, and the juices are flowing. The first week of 2015, I’ve focused the week on Craiglist Ikea Hack. If you’re an Ikea lover like I am, you probably have heard of Ikea Hackers. Ikea Hackers is a site about modifications on and repurposing of Ikea products. Hacks, because it may be as simple as adding an embellishment, some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity. (Read more about Ikea Hackers here.)

With Ikea Hackers and Pinterest, I’ve obsessed about this one particular children’s product for years. The Ikea Duktig. During the holidays I was considering purchasing the product, but couldn’t persuade myself to buy it. Then lightning struck. Why don’t I check Craigslist? This product is quite popular on Craigslist, and could be found for about $50-$80. With my luck, I consistently found the kitchen every week being sold in different cities, all more that 40mins away. On Craigslist, I really haggle and see if the seller would be interested in bringing the price down since I’ll be traveling. For weeks, I kept refreshing my browser in search for the kitchen.

Christmas came to a near, and my idea of getting the kitchen was a fail. But I still pursued to look for the kitchen. Come New Years Eve I found it!!!! Someone in my area was selling it for $35!!! The post was only 3 hours old, so I knew I had a good chance. After exchanging emails, texts and phone calls with the mother selling the kitchen, I was able to schedule the pick-up New Years Eve! Who does Craigslist pick-ups on NYE? ME! I was THAT determined. The seller even offered if I’d like to come later after the holidays, but I wanted to take no chances to loosing the exact product, at the perfect price! Seriously people. I’ve gone through so many great items that have slipped through my fingers, just because of rescheduling, or not frequently checking my email. Craigslist is pretty cut throat. You see something..Go get it.


I bought this IKEA Kid Play Kitchen on Craigslist for $35 (Retails $100). With a missing backing, a few paint chips, water damage, and sticker residue, I saw the potential of this dearly loved play kitchen. The mother before me bought it a few years ago from a consignment store, and now her son has outgrown the kitchen and wanted to sell the kitchen for a new LEGO set.

I sold the boys old clothes at a consignment store and received $40 in cash, and used the money on materials to redecorate. Here are the new upgrades:

-Whiteboard Back Panel ($1.98, HomeDepot)

-Decorative  Peel & Stick Smart Tile ($5.97 each, 10.25×9.13″, Smart Tile in Muertto Beige, HomeDepot)

-3 LED Easy Push Light (AAA Battery Operated,  Ikea Ramsta)


The biggest impact to this facelift was the new addition to the backsplash using the Smart Tile!! This unique product was easy to install and saves you time and money. The do-it-yourself peel and stick tile concept. The product is so easy to handle, cut and maintain. The tiles can be installed in minutes over a clean and sleek surface without any mess or specialized tools.


I’m so happy how this  turned out, and how fast it took to do it! It’s certainly a great kick start to a great year filled with diy low budget transformations!! I can’t wait to share more with you!!

Do you have the Ikea Duktig for your kids?

Let me know if you’ve added any modifications to yours! I’d love to read about it!!


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