Saturday, October 29, 2011

Designing Your Own Home Office

Photo Credit: hgtv

One day when I already decided to stop working and be a work at home Mom same as most of our blogger friends, maybe I would be setting up my own small home office where I could concentrate doing anything that would keep me occupied and productive. I've been working ever since and I could not imagine myself totally being idle. Maybe, I would just try to lessen the work and add up more on non stressful activities or perhaps will still work but on something that I can dictate my working time and something that relates to my passion. In that way, I would feel like I'm just doing my hobby or just simply entertaining myself while at the same time, still earning a little something for myself.

Since, I wouldn't have an ample space for the home office, I would just make it simple and functional. Just a simple desk equipped with proper lighting, some drawers and extra shelves where I can keep my files and some selected books will do. I would just make it appear cozy and relaxing so I would always get that mood to do my things.

Above designs are the typical set up of home offices with a limited space. Proper color combination and furniture arrangement will do the trick. For some, they would just put the home office attached to their own bedroom. For the others, they would place it on an empty room, at the attic, or just create a space in the garage. Actually anywhere will do as long as you find the place comfortable for you.

I guess, setting up a home office would be fun and exciting. As early as now, I'm already thinking of how would I design my own.

Do you already have one?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nipa Hut

Do you know that after already owning two concrete houses, it's still my fervent dream to own a "nipa hut"? It maybe a "kababawan" or that sort but I never grew up in province nor did I have the chance to stay in province even for a vacation. This is the reason why I love to go to country side and see those trees and luscious greens. I always tell myself that if only I can afford, I wanted to have a vacation house in a quiet place where I can only connect to nature.

I've seen this ready made "bahay kubo" on sale at and I am thinking that if I don't have a chance to buy a vacation house in the province due to lack of funds, maybe I could just transform one area in my lot into something that would resemble a suburb with a small "bahay kubo" and lots of plants and perhaps a small vegetable garden to tend. This can be ideal for a daily afternoon nap, a place to share meals with family and guests and just a place for relaxation.

Some nipa huts on sale now can go as high as Php900K but a simple one like the one on the above photo may cost from Php17K to Php50K depending on the size and design.

"Bahay Kubo" or Nipa Hut is already a thing of the past, but it's still very much visible on resorts, rest houses and spas. I think this will forever stay as this is one important symbol of our country.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Simple Table Setting That You Can Do At Home

pics courtesy of hgtv

There are various ways to set up your dining tables ranging from the most complex to the simplest. It depends on the occasion, visitors or your own preference as a host. But the basic idea is to keep it functional and pleasing to the eye. Formal table setting is more rigid and there's so much attention to details.

Normally a typical table setting consists of dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, bread knife, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner knife, salad knife, water glass, Wine Glass and Dinner napkin. However on the above photos, you would notice that it is considered a basic set up consists only of dinner plate, table napkin, dinner knife, spoon, dinner fork, teaspoon, salad fork, water glass and bread plate. 

The basic rule is to arrange the utensils according to how the dishes are served. The idea is you have to go from outwards going in. Salads typically are served first, thus the salad fork is always at the most outer part on the left side.

Water glasses are always served on your right side while table napkins can be placed on the left side of the dinner plate, on top of the dinner plate or onto the water glass.

To make an attractive table setting, one must have some ideas on "napkin folding". Sometimes, this is the one that make the entire table setting attractive.

So I guess, everyone of us should have a basic know how on table setting as it is more likely that everyone is throwing dinner parties at home. Making your table attractive with all those center pieces and a well set up dinner wares and utensils will surely impress your guests.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Designing A Small Kitchen

If you have a small kitchen like I do, perhaps the greatest challenge would be on how to make it appears interesting. Small sized kitchen puts a limitation on designs, furnishings and inability to hide the flaws but your choice of color and style of fixtures will solve the problem.

On this design by Steve Appolloni, he was able to combine function and style. The choice of cabinet, color combination, lighting and counter tops makes the area looks appealing despite of the limited space. I love the curvy kitchen island. It nicely fits into the area and is equipped with lots of open shelves. It actually accentuate the space to achieve an overall fashionable look.

I just loved the idea that space is not a hindrance in creating any room to be stylish and functional. Proper designing coupled with some organizing skills and an eye for good furniture pieces will definitely do wonders.

Looking at this kitchen design, I feel that living in small condos or apartments with limited spaces should no longer discourage us to achieve a kitchen look that we so desired. 

Just let those creative juices flowing and you're just a step away to that dream kitchen!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Manny Pacquiao's House At LA

Manny Pacquiao's house in LA courtesy of MTV cribs uploaded by : cyborggermaine

Who would think that someone who used to be an ordinary person like Manny Pacquiao would own such a beautiful house like this? As I was watching this video footage, I couldn't help but sigh. The interiors of this house was so classic and the design and choices of the furnishings are really fabulous! 

I like the white motif of the living room and the classic and elegant displays. It looks clean, plain and simple but with an oozing amount of "class".

Each room was distinctly designed for each member of the family.

I particularly like the dining area. The dining table looks elegant and modern. The kitchen is spacious, clean and airy. Another thing that fascinates me is the bathroom inside Manny's room. OMG!, it's so huge and complete with all the necessary amenities. The backyard with it's outdoor room and swimming pool is nice, too. All over the house, you can see all his trophies, photos, memorabilia, and all things associated with boxing. That portrait of Manny in the dining area in a praying position was artistically done.

What a great house!

Well...that's the prize of being a star and a boxing champ!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Caps Organizer

I just want to share this caps organizer that we did at home.  This was made by using some 1 x 1 woods and white hooks plus some left over white paint.  This organizer is good for 20 caps but you can make a bigger one if you wish so. Just add on another 1 x 1 size wood.

This is really cool as it saves a lot of space and you can easily have a view of your caps in a glance and choose what particular cap you want to wear for the day.  Easy right?

The best thing is that this cap organizer only costs about less than PHP300.

Another organizing tip that you may want to try at home from 
"Home Sweet Home".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learn To Prepare Attractive Dessert Tables

One thing that I still haven't done before during parties that I hosted  at our humble home is the dessert table.  Why?  Maybe because I'm not yet familiar with this before or maybe it's only recently that this became an "in thing" during parties for child and adult alike.  But thinking of it, I would definitely want to try doing one.  You see, if you are frequenting this blog site, you may notice that I am a person who loves designing and decorating a lot.  I wouldn't mind experimenting  and trying something new and exciting.  Well...I think that's basically my nature and both my children had adopted this passion of mine.

Since, I would love to try my hands on designing my own desert table, for sure that as for a first timer, I should know where to start and getting some ideas would be the easiest way, and from there, I could add  up a personal touch.  This what will make the thing exciting for me.

Here are the sample designs of dessert tables courtesy of wedding 

Seeing these designs, I suddenly felt the urge to try my hand at one.  This would definitely be fun and exciting and would be a great bonding activity with my family.  I couldn’t wait for the next party at home (lol) and impress my guests.

Are you having an upcoming party? Try these exciting dessert table designs and make your party stand out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wooden Picnic Tables

If I would have the chance, I would love to invest on some cool picnic tables.  I'm basically an outdoor person and one thing that relaxes me most is sitting on an outdoor room, porch, terrace or in the garden area.  Why not? Apart from getting fresh air, I also have the chance to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings and watch my garden with all it's flowers in full bloom.

I'm just thinking that I would love to have wooden picnic tables this time.  Something like this:

Photo Credit :

These marvelous designs can actually be ordered online.  Just not sure if they ship to all countries but I'm thinking if I just need to fabricate my own design and ask our regular wood carpenter to do it for me.  Well....he has done quite a good number of wood projects for me in the house and his works are acceptable.

But if you are the fussy type, then you may consider ordering online.  There are lots and lots of designs to choose from.

Filing Your Tax Returns Can Be Fast And Easy

When I was still working in the Philippines, one of my biggest burden as an employee was the tax deductions.  About nearly 30% of my income goes to paying taxes.  Apart from this, I also have other deductions for SSS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG. For the last three, there is not much problem as you will also get some benefits from these institutions later on.  That's why when I started working overseas, one thing that I enjoyed most is the exemption from paying taxes.  So, I'm able to get 100% of my salary. 

In the Philippines, those who owns a business usually resorts to hiring Book Keepers to do the auditing and working on filing their tax returns.  This might solve the burden but in the long run, you'll also end up spending more from paying their professional fees.  But with the innovations and the introduction of new technology, everything now is being done online. Philippine's Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had put up a BIR portal which is actually a transaction hub where the public can can conveniently transact with BIR online and avail of e-services in the comforts of their homes and offices.  

In some countries like US, filing tax returns is much more complicated.  You need to be familiar in filling up your tax return forms and you must be knowledgeable on how to maximize your chances of getting tax refunds.  Doing so will let you save some "bucks". 

A friend of mine who is residing in US with her American husband had told me that they are using turbo tax.  This is a software which automates the filling up of tax returns and calculates your tax refunds accurately.  Everything is automated.  So, even if you're a first time tax payer, you will be able to handle the filing of your tax returns with much ease.  My friend and her husband is using this software for quite sometime now and she attested to the fact that they were able to save a lot from their tax refunds.  She said filing of tax returns has never been this easy thus her husband is planning again to file his tax extension form 2010  using turbo tax.   

According to my friend,  filing an extension has been so convenient and manageable using turbo tax as it will walk you through step by step. You can even use it to find about extensions for state returns. 

The introduction of the BIR Portal in the Philippines is part of the efforts of the Philippine government to improve the way it delivers taxpayers’ service and information requirements.  Likewise, American tax preparation software like Turbo Tax provides an easy and effective way to prepare tax returns online and in a way helps tax payers get bigger tax refunds.

I'm loving all these innovations.  This helps us get away from all those hassles and saves a lot of our precious time working on our taxes accurately and with confidence plus we can have the chance to increase our savings from tax refunds.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Garden Set

I'm loving this garden set that I purchased a year ago.  The chairs are made of steel and the center table is made of marble.  I never regret buying this one as I find it easy to manage and durable.  The steel chairs can be repainted so there's no worry if the color has faded due to the changing weather.  On the photo above, chairs were just repainted and this made the garden set looks brand new.  The marble table is easy to manage, this can just be wiped off with a wet cloth.  It's texture and color never fades rain or shine.  So I guess, this is a"good buy".  The Price? P9,000 or $209. 

Placing the garden set on our terrace is just nice coz you can have a good view of the garden while having your cup of coffee or tea.  You can also relax and get some fresh air while reading your favorite book or just simply chatting with your family or friends. I also used to bring my laptop there and blog.  This helps me refresh my mind and inspires me to write more. :)

How about you? Do you love plants, too?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where Are The Fishes?

Where are the fishes? 

This has been my son's remarks after seeing the mini fish pond in our pocket garden.  He's been telling me that he has bought a number of cute fishes of various sizes for the fish pond and he's been diligently taking care of them.  He's been cleaning the mini pond regularly and add up some water lilies and he's been very happy with his collection of fishes.  Until one day, when he checks on the fish pond, the fishes were all gone! 

He tried to solve this mystery by discretely observing the pond from the window on the front bedroom.  At times, he would peep on the alley going to the mini pond hoping to see who is the culprit.  His efforts paid off when one day, he discovered that the culprit is a stray cat who's been visiting our house without permission (lol).  Yes! That stray cat caught and eat the fishes one by one every night.

When my son informed me about this thing, I was really wondering how good is this cat to be able to catch those fishes in the pond one after the other.  So,  I asked my son...if that is the case, then how are we still able to have fishes on that pond.  

The solution?  My son asked someone to fabricate for him a net cover on a wooden frame to protect the fishes from being attacked by this cat. Tsskk...

Hope that solves the problem! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making Wall Murals!

Alas! The Artist whom we have contacted to make the wall murals in our house showed up today. He already started with the mural works in our dining area. He's quite good actually.  We just presented to him the photo of the design that we would like to achieve, the color and the size of the wall mural and everything goes well so easily.

My daughter has captured some photos while the work is in progress.  We have chosen a white tree mural to complement our bright orange wall. This is still a part of our "home make over" actually.  The white tree mural was highlighted with a black and gold accent to give it a striking look!

I love how it was done and the Artist was able to give life to our design. To think that the whole process was just completed in a matter of 4 hrs.

I'm loving the design so much that I'm thinking of making another one in the Master's Bedroom (lol).  My son also wanted to have one in his blue themed room. :)

We'll see!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Would You Love To Create Unique Center Pieces?

Whenever I'm on a vacation in the Philippines, one of my favorite bonding time with my kids is decorating our home and coming up with some unique ideas that will give our humble home a different look.  I love taking care of my home and all my hobbies are "home related" like decorating, gardening, creating center pieces, making container gardens, organizing, cooking and baking.  I wouldn't say that I'm an expert on all these fields but I'm happy that I'm able to bring my "passions" into life.  For my efforts to be appreciated by my family and close friends is more than enough consolation for me.

One fun and easy way of entertaining myself while at home is making unique center pieces that I could place on our dining table or on the center table in the living room.  My house is not really big and spacious but it's cute and well maintained.  Currently we just have 3 standard size bed rooms, toilet and bath a small indoor kitchen, a dirty kitchen, a porch, garage, a laundry area and a pocket garden.  I still have a vacant lot attached to my current house which is separated by a concrete fence.  My son is suggesting me to break the concrete fence to create a larger space.  But I'm having some apprehensions because I'm a future oriented person.  I'm thinking that if I have to convert the vacant lot into something that will allow us to earn like opening a small shop or building studio type rooms for renting out, then at least we could still maintain our privacy.  We gain access to that vacant lot from our yard through a gate leading to our pocket garden and the back gate to our laundry area.  Currently, we are utilizing the space for growing ornamental and some flowering plants, as a space for our pet dog to roam  around and play and for drying clothes.

Sometimes, I would love to pick some fresh flowers from our yard and make some center pieces or flower vases that I could put in the dining area and kitchen counter top as well as on our terrace and living room.  I have seen some unique ideas online that I would like to share with you.  These are beautiful and easy to make center pieces.

This is a colorful and fragrant center piece using color perennials and fresh scented lemon slices.  This is actually made out of two clear vases of different sizes, one being smaller.  The idea is to put the smaller clear vase inside the larger one and insert the lemon slices in between the spaces on the sides to keep the lemon slices in place.  The floral and lemon scent will last for about two to three days. See, you are not only able to create a decorative piece but a natural air freshener. :)

If you have a small party in the house and you would love to create an eye catching piece on your serving table, then you may want to buy a combination of some white flowers and put in on display on those clear vases.  Now, as to the vase fillers, you can actually put your collection of anything into good use.  Whether it's a collection of sea shells of various sizes, river rocks and stones, corks, white sand or anything that you had collected in the past.  This is one good way to showcase your collections.

This is a chic center piece with a touch of art.  You can make use of white roses or any white flower available and form these flowers into a round shape and put on top of a clear vase.  You can alternate these flower vases with a decorative clear jar containing some ornaments of your choice.  Really elegant!

This design by Carmella Fryar of Sothern Fried Dreams is so natural and fresh looking.  She made use of a clear vase with white daisies and alternate it with clear glasses with floating candles to add an element of romance. A reindeer moss was used to accentuate the simple clear vase.

These are simple but creative and wondrous "works of art" that could add life to your tables.  Try working on these simple to do projects  and you will discover that it's not only fulfilling but very entertaining.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Experimenting With Your Outdoor Spaces

Photo Source :   hgtv

You can transform your empty outdoor spaces in your back yards into colorful outdoor rooms by adding some attractive patterns on your outdoor flooring.  Few pieces of furniture adorned with some cute and colorful throw pillows will complete the look.  I think how you arrange the plants will also do some wonders.  Add some boulders or decorative pebbles and stones and you will surely create a sophisticated look on your outdoor rooms.  On the first photo, mosaic panels were added to hide those utilities and complement the design of the flooring.

During small dinner parties, you can add some bamboo torches or some decorative candles to create a romantic and warm ambiance.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preparing Your Homes For The Rainy Days!

With the two recent typhoons that hit the Philippines and the fact that I am not currently staying with my family in the house, it is just expected that I am constantly worrying about the safety of my family.  Just glad that these calamities were over and just today, they have done some general cleaning in the house which is normally the case after the onset of a strong typhoon.

I have compiled the following handy tips preparing your homes for the rainy season, hope it helps :

1.)  Check your roofs for holes or any damage and do the necessary repairs, at once.  If possible, have your roofs repainted regularly to increase it's life span.

2.)  Check the gutters and downspouts for any dry leaves or other debris that can cause these gutters and downspouts to clog up.

3.)  Get rid of any containers, plastic bottles or any other objects that can collect and stagnate water.  This is to prevent creating a breeding place for the mosquitoes which can cause malaria fever.

4.)  Always get ready with dry rags, old newspapers and clean mops as floors are expected to be always wet during the rainy season and if not properly looked into, this can cause accidents.

5.)  Clean those areas under the sink and closed spaces and check for any possible leaks.  These areas can also be a home for insects and mosquitoes.

6.)  Check your pantry area and stock up on some grocery items like canned goods, biscuits, coffee mixes and other foods that can be stored for longer period of time.

7.)  Check your stocks on your medicine cabinets or first aid kit and replenish those medicines such as fever medicines, cough medicines and cold tablets.  If possible, stock some bottles of Rubbing Alcohol to disinfect your hands and feet especially when you need to go out and step on muddy places and flooded areas.

8.)  Be ready with your emergency lights and flash lights.  Have these charged or stock up on extra batteries that you can use as well for your portable radios.

9.)  Have enough packs of candles and matches as power outage is very evident during heavy rains and typhoons and we are not sure how long power outage will last.

10.) Make sure you have enough stock of rice and secure this on big plastic containers to avoid getting wet.

Finally, bring out those table games so that the family members will have some leisure activities indoors since there is no other way of entertainment during typhoons as electric power supply is usually being cut off at this time.

These are only some of those things that I can think of and what I normally do myself.  It pays to be ready and prepared during these difficult times.  Safety should always be our first priority.

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