Cookies Unlimited

I love to bake. 

But sometimes I’m really lazy. When I’m this lazy I look to store bought treats and items that I can pick up that are not full of preservatives.

My friend Chris describes Cookies Unlimited cookies as treats that are bought but which feel “home made.” 

And we all know it’s all about home made when we talk about cookies!  

Check out Cookies Unlimited for chewy chocolatey goodness that feels and tastes like they are home made.

For a full menu of their cookies and treats click here.

Cookies Unlimited (kiosk) is located at the 3rd floor, SM MegaFashion Hall.
For orders, kindly text/viber: 0917-8315050

Lego Store Manila is OPEN!

My kids have always loved playing with LEGOS.

Gia has had LEGOS ever since she was big enough to play with them (and not choke on them) and since then we have just been adding to our collection of little plastic build-able bricks. 

I'm a classic kinda girl. I know they make Legos in more girlie girl colors, but I like the classic bold and bright yellow, green, blue, and red bricks.

I’m a classic kinda girl. I know they make Legos in more girlie girl colors, but I like the classic bold and bright yellow, green, blue, and red bricks.

Funny background story: When he was about three or four years old, Miguel would often be heard repeating my words about the LEGOS. “Be careful of the choking hazards.” Miguel would have LEGOS all over the place when Diego was still small, and I was always worried that Diego might swallow one of the small pieces…and of course because I would always repeat myself about choking hazards, so Miguel would repeat after me…


The store has lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Can’t wait to take the kids there. BUT I will have to give them a budget or I will walk out there with an empty wallet!

Well, now that we have been living in Manila for almost 9 years, I am happy to say that we finally have THE FIRST OFFICIAL LEGO CERTIFIED STORE!!! 


There is tables and chairs for the kids to sit and build while you shop…

I was so excited to visit the store opening, not just for the kids…but also for myself. I have always enjoyed watching the kids play Lego together…they get really quiet, and then you see their little fingers moving and as they dig in the big box of LEGO surprises (They have mixed all the sets we have bought them together-so they are not OC like their Momma.) that’s usually when they start chatting again.

IMG_2289 copy

I was even more excited for this store opening because I knew that for every photo posted on social media which reflected the theme of education and with the hashtags #BrickstoClassrooms and #LegoStorePHxWV, The LEGO Store would donate Php100 to World Vision for building classrooms through the Malabon Brigada Eskwela Project.

In addition to this effort to raise funds to build more classrooms, during the grand opening LEGO sold the 30302 Spider-Man Glider V20 for only Php50.00 in support of rebuilding MORE classrooms in Malabon.


IMG_2258 copy

Did someone say STAR WARS???

There are quite a few benefits to playing with LEGOS. In case you didn’t know, I’ll list a few here:


  • improve fine motor skills
  • encourage creativity and imaginative play
  • reinforces spatial awareness
  • develops problem solving skills
  • can help develop beginning math concepts (patterns)  and counting
  • encourages cooperative play

And did you also know that there is such a thing a LEGO THERAPY? I will have to look into this one, and get back to you some more on it, but for now, I’ll share all the fun things that the LEGO store has that’s ready for you and your kids!


Pick a Brick at the new #legostorephxwv in BGC. 100 grams for Php 679.75 #brickstoclassrooms

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on

There is the famous PICK A BRICK wall. This wall has all the different bricks assorted by color and by shape. You can choose your bricks, have them weighed and then pay Php 679.75 per 100 grams.

IMG_2250 copy

I read a very interesting piece on how MINECRAFT was actually a good thing for the kids to play on because the possibilities are endless and their creativity is nurtured…but it’s banned in my house because whenever the kids are on that game everyone ignores me. AS IN IGNORES me…I like the LEGO option much better, thank you…

They also have this engraving machine for the bricks. You can pick your key chain and have up to ten letters (if all capitals) engraved on your brick in the choice of either white or black ink.

IMG_2251 copy

SO CUTE! Can you guess what color I chose?

Plus there is the BUILD A MINI FIGURE wall. For only Php 499.75, you can build three mini figures each with their own accessories. I think that my kids would like this wall since they each have their own collection of MINI FIGS.

IMG_2254 copy

My friend PJ and his kids had a great time putting together some MINI FIGS…these things are an obsession in my house…

OK. So here’s the real treat for all of us LEGO LOVERS. Every month there is a hands on activity for kids ages 6-14. You don’t have to purchase anything, you just have to show up at the designated time, ready to build. Bring an adult or a guardian if you are under 6 years old to make sure no one gets into any trouble.

So, that means, if you go to every Monthly Mini Build, you will BUILD a collection of MINI LEGO creations, and by the end of the year…you will have your own collection to treasure.


Park Triangle

11th Ave cor. Rizal Drive



Mother’s Day Weekend 2015 Recap

I had such a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend. I dare say it was one of the best Mother’s Day Weekends I have had in a long long while. It was jam packed but all with good stuff. As in REALLY good stuff.

It started with this little girl. She came home with treats for me on Thursday.

Background story on this treat. For the past few weeks, before these photos were taken, Gelli has been waking up every morning and asking me to call her Teacher Boom. She would grab my phone, tell me “Boom. Call. Now.” After she would share her desire to talk to her very first teacher ever, I would actually contemplate Face Timing her teacher.

I thought about it for a couple of days and then decided that maybe she needed to go back to “summer school,” since she was always asking for her teacher. I know that Gelli craves routine (even if she goes kicking and screaming for a nap EVERY day) and that the perfect routine for her includes her school day at The Little Apprentice

So here we are, in the third session of summer classes, and we are already looking forward to seeing her classmates from last year as we register for the coming school year. I can’t wait for Gelli to start her second year at TLA.  

I believe there is a healing power in LAUGHTER.

I believe there is a healing power in LAUGHTER.

Friday included some time with my girls. We all came together to honor another friend of ours who is going through a very special time in her life. We love to come together to eat, drink, be merry, and LAUGH. Seriously. LAUGH.   

I also believe that we are put on this earth to love and to share that love…Thanks Tata and JV for sharing your love with us! We all wish you beautiful happy fruitful years together.

After a full Thursday of writing, and a full Friday of celebrating, I was honored to be part of a full Saturday of sharing.


Thank you #ScottsPH for allowing me to share my story and my journey of motherhood with you. Parenting is not easy. There are many moments when I doubt the job that I’m doing. But then there are those moments when everything comes together, the kids show me just how incredible they are, and I realize that being their mother is #Momazing.


L-R:  Randy Silva, Gikki Martija, Joyce Uong, Daphne Paez, Dimples Romana, Fleur Sombrero, Michelle Lim, and moi

L-R: Randy Silva, Gikki Martija, Joyce Uong, Daphne Paez, Dimples Romana, Fleur Sombrero, Michelle Lim, and moi

And lastly, my recap of Mother’s Day weekend would not be complete without giving you a glimpse into a very special #staycation that we enjoyed as a family. I didn’t even realize all of the very special surprises that my friend Jane Santiago of the Discovery group cooked up with my husband and my kids in cahoots. 

Will be writing about some of these parts to my weekend individually, but for now, I couldn’t wait to share them with you quickly in this post. 

Thanks Babe. You made this Momma very happy. This is my 15th Mother's Day. It just keeps getting better every year!

Thanks Babe for making me a Momma. This is my 15th Mother’s Day. It just keeps getting better every year!


T.E.A for Teens

There are quite a few things that I’m passionate about. My kids (and their interests) are usually at the forefront of what I like to do and what I find interesting, so when my daughter says, “Mom, I really want to learn how to put on make up.” Or, “Mom, can I borrow your eyeliner?” then I know that we need to start putting things together so that she can learn from an expert.

IMG_8071 copy

And the expert I had in mind for this very special endeavor was Cristina Madara. I had been introduced to Cristina awhile back through another good friend Cristina Gomez, and my BIL, Marco. Turns out Manila really is a small place to live in because there are less than 6 degrees of separation here…

IMG_8155 copy

At any rate, I proposed the idea to Cristina that we could come together to teach some teens the process of caring for themselves. My idea was to teach them how to put on make up, how to care for their skin, how to figure out what looks best on them, and how to care for their mind, body and heart through yoga. 

IMG_8165 copy

The two part workshop was held in Palms Country Club. We were able to secure some very generous sponsors for the girls to enjoy their time with us, and their time with each other. I imagined bringing girls together who were all about 15-16 years old, some who knew each other…and others who didn’t. 


When we came together for High Tea, I wanted the girls to get to know one another and to understand the skill of having a polite conversation with someone, even though you had just met them. We discussed getting to know someone and how sometimes, you have to step outside your comfort zone so that you can make new friends and acquaintances. This is not an easy skill to acquire…especially when you are a teenager and completely unsure of yourself. 

Photo Credit: Screen Shot Reddit

Photo Credit: Screen Shot Reddit

The challenge in this exercise was for me to get each of the girls talking to someone whom they hadn’t met before. I wanted them to learn one new thing about one new person. It truly wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but through my coaxing and suggestions of questions to pose to one another, I believe the girls understood my point.


At any rate, after we enjoyed ourselves, relaxed and enjoyed pleasant conversations over tea sandwiches, we were ready for Cristina to share her knowledge of skin care and make up application.

Thank you to my friend Aya Sison from BOOK SALE for donating a ton of beauty and health magazines so that the girls could make a collage later on in the afternoon.

This is the generation that is social media savvy. I asked Cristina if we could give the girls some time to snap some photos before they started their lesson.

Cristina was not only knowledgable in everything that girls wanted to know about, she was helpful in offering simple explanations and ways to enhance their beauty that was appropriate for their age. In talking with Cristina before the workshop, I knew that we had the same ideals and were aligned in our thinking before we even prepared our guest list.


IMG_8192 copy

Each participant received a GC for a FREE 10 Day trial from Bikram Yoga Alabang and a basic skin care kit from Benefit Beauty.

Cristina explained that when it comes to basic skin care, the girls just had to remember a few things: 

  • Cleanse
  • Moisturize
  • Apply Sunscreen
Reading the inserts of the make up you purchase is a good start to learning how to use your make up properly.

Reading the inserts of the make up you purchase is a good start to learning how to use your make up properly.

She also explained that because the girls’ are still very young and have beautiful skin, that there is very little that they need to apply to enhance what’s already there. The basic kit and sample products she brought or the girls to try was what I thought was a greater start to Gia’s make up bag.


Thanks Benefit Beauty for lending samples for the girls to try. I purchased much of the same kit for Gia to start her off with her make up essentials.

Long ago, when I started my own make up kit, lots of it was hand me downs from my sister, Mary Jane, and drugstore finds that I could afford from my allowance. These items from Benefit are a little more expensive than what I started out with when I was Gia’s age, but I have confidence that by spending a little more I am giving Gia what she needs and what’s good for her skin as well. That being said, you can always find deals and steals for every day make up as long as you don’t have sensitive skin. These girls don’t need to wear expensive brands out of the gate. I leave those brands for the older Mommas (like me) who would enjoy them (can afford them), and who need more because of our ageing skin.

IMG_8265 copy

Tips and Tricks were demonstrated on Gia :-) And I know she was super happy to get the extra special treatment.

Cristina also explained that the girls can apply much of what she brought for them to try with their hands…keeping it simple, feeling the make up between your fingers, and applying only what the girls need to bring out the beauty of their natural features was impressed on the participants. 

LYT_9687Truth: The girls totally enjoyed this part of our TEA for Teens workshop. They asked great questions, and learned how to apply minimal make up and wear it with confidence.


After our 1 hour make up session (that turned into 2 hours because the girls were having so much fun,) we were onto the next part of our afternoon together, which would be when I get to play in the yoga studio with the girls.


I have been teaching yoga to kids, tweens, and teenagers for more than 8 years now. Every time I get back in the studio and on the mat with these kids I remember exactly why I love yoga and teaching so much. There are the a-ha moments…the teachable moments, the moments of pure joy, and the moments (of sometimes) contemplative silence. 


Back when I started dabbling in yoga, I realized that I felt so much better after a class. I have enjoyed all the different types of yoga that I have explored, and when I found yoga for kids back in 2006, I knew that it was something I wanted to learn more about and use an excuse to get back into the “classroom.”


There are so many benefits to practicing yoga:

  • Improves your flexibility
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Perfects your posture
  • Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
  • Protects your spine
  • Betters your bone health
  • Increases your blood flow
  • Drains your lymphs and boosts immunity
  • Makes you happier
  • Fits into a healthy lifestyle
  • Helps you focus
  • Helps you sleep deeper
  • Gives you peace of mind
  • Increases your self esteem
  • Gives you inner strength
  • Builds self awareness
  • Benefits your relationships
  • Helps you serve others
  • Encourages SELF CARE


So, imagine these benefits and the tumultuous teenage years…

Navigating adolescence is not easy. There are so many different factors that can pressure our teenage girls (and boys) which can cause them pain and strife. I know for a fact that when I was growing up I was confused, angry, sensitive, and sometimes could not express the emotions I was experiencing or EVEN why I was experiencing them!

ENTER YOGA and self care.

I wanted to share some of what I learned with the girls through my journey of exploring yoga. I just know what makes me feel good, and I believe, if we are talking about yoga…it’s all about the journey to yourself. I have shared many posts about benefits for children, benefits for adults, and why I love my Bikram practice, but for our purposes during this workshop, I just wanted to share a few pointers to help the girls take yoga home with them.


  • Yoga is absolutely for everyone.
  • Yoga brings your three selves together. Your heart. Your mind. Your body.
  • Yoga is about being present, and in the moment.
  • Finding your breath is the first step to yoga.
  • You can use your breath to get you through any moment that is uncomfortable.

LYT_9879Some other things I passed on were poses for a good night’s sleep, poses to help with menstruation and dysmenorrhea, and poses to alleviate a headache.  We talked about grounding ourselves in a heated moment, and not allowing someone to “steal” your power. We tuned into the changes happening in our body, our aches and pains, and we meditated. We meditated on peace, and calm, and beauty that radiates from within. We talked about not taking things personally, AND we envisioned what we wanted to happen in the next year. 


After all of these things, I encouraged the girls to go through the magazines that BOOK SALE provided us with so that they could create “vision boards.” The girls created their vision boards with things in mind that they would like to achieve and acquire. The girls shared parts of themselves with each other and I was glad that I got to have a little bit more than an hour with them before they all went home.


Truth is, I imagine this to be the first of a series of workshops which I will offer for teens…I imagine partnering with like minded parents to bring different aspects of learning to each of the groups that sign up to learn more about themselves and about the world we live in…


Thank you girls for coming and learning more about skin care, make-up, and self care with me!

Plus-these girls are super lucky that Ginger Diaz Serrano believes in the benefits of yoga as well. Each of the girls got to go home with a gift certificate that entitles them to 10 days of FREE yoga from Bikram Yoga Alabang.


This entire workshop would not be possible without our sponsors.

Thank you Palms Country Club for sponsoring our tea, our venue, and believing that girls need guidance and classes like these just in time for Women’s International Month!

Thank you Cristina for donating your time in teaching these girls more about skin care and enhancing their REAL beauty with the help of Benefit Cosmetics.

Thank you Bikram Yoga Alabang for encouraging the girls to explore yoga more and gifting them GC’s to try out different types of yoga with your experienced teachers.

Thank you BOOK SALE for sending over all of the health and beauty magazines that the girls used to put together their vision boards.

And THANK YOU Mike and Millie from MRL Lightworkz Photography for always supporting my endeavors, and for covering my events despite your busy schedule.


#AfternoonBites with Braun and Severin

I have shared before just how much I love appliances in the kitchen that make my life easier. 

Easy is good. 

Easy is very good. 

I like EASY because I have four kids, a husband, a job (sort of) and a home to manage. I like to eat healthy and I like to cook. I find joy in being in the kitchen with the kids and my better half because creating kitchen magic is not only good for MY soul, it’s good for their tummies.

I have the pleasure of calling the Managing Partner of Colombo Philippines, a friend. Beverly Campos and I have a few things in common, but one of them is our care and concern for our kiddos and where they go to school. When Bev asked me to help her out with inviting some friends to learn more about the quality German brands that Colombo Philippines carries, I didn’t hesitate to contact some of my very good Momma friends who like to blog like I do.

It was an afternoon filled with treats prepared by a Celebrity Chef Redg Baron, laughter, and good fun. I have always enjoyed these ladies, and their company, so to have everyone together learning how to make new treats for our kiddos was me in my element. (truly…I think I enjoyed myself a little too much!)

Check out the photo stream taken with my iphone:

This is one of my favorite appliances to make my life easier in the kitchen.

This is one of my favorite appliances that make my life easier in the kitchen.

I was so happy that my friends could make it to learn more about how being in the kitchen could be made easier.

I was so happy that some of my blogger friends could make it, to learn more about how being in the kitchen could be made easier with Braun and Severin.

Managing Partner Beverly Ong Campos explained to us how the appliances came about. She also shared that my pronunciation of Braun should actually be pronounced like "Brown."

Managing Partner Beverly Ong Campos, of Colombo Philippines, explained to us how these German brands came about. She also shared that my very AMERICAN pronunciation of Braun should actually be pronounced like “Brown.”

IMG_0917 copy

And just because afternoon snacks should be pretty…

Chef Redj Baron prepared a very special menu for everyone who attended.

Chef Redj Baron prepared a very special menu for everyone who attended.

 All of our snacks were made with Braun and Severin appliances, and each participant received a stack of recipe cards to go home with, in case they wanted to make the snacks at home.

Everything was very simple, but very tasty. That makes all of the snacks easy to do at home as well…Remember, we like easy, right!?

Asking for volunteers to show how easy it is to use the citrus juicer. Ging was a pro.

Asking for volunteers to show how easy it is to use the citrus juicer. Ging was a pro.

And Tina made it look very easy when she made her crepe using the Severin Crepe maker.

And Tina made it look very easy when she made her crepe using the Severin Crepe maker.

We have made crepes many different ways here in our house. Sometimes like we to serve them with savory fillings like ham and cheese, or smoked salmon, cream cheese and an egg. But the kids’ favorite combination is always mangos and nutella. Never Fail.

Diego got to enjoy his ice cream in a waffle cone cup. This is definitely an investment worth making. Look at that smile!

Diego got to enjoy his ice cream in a waffle cone cup. This is definitely an investment worth making. Look at that smile!

Chef Redj brought his whole crew. Be sure to look for his show on UNTV. Cook Eat Right on Sundays.

Chef Redj brought his whole crew for taping. Be sure to look for his show on UNTV. Cook Eat Right that airs on Sundays.


T-B, L-R Tin, Chef Redj, Bev, Moi, Patty, Ging, Rina, Kaye, Didi, Jackie, Cai, Tin, Jane, Noemi, Tina, Conci, and Millie

Thank you Bev and Colombo Merchants for giving me the opportunity to share all of your wonderful products with my friends. I truly enjoyed the time spent with the ladies, Chef Redj, and learning more about the products that I have loved since my novice days in the kitchen and my newly married days.

Colombo Merchants:

Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle

I am so excited to share a new journey with all of you.

I have been invited to partner with Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle Medical Spa so that I can not only explore some of the non invasive beauty treatments that they offer, but so that I can also share them with all of you. 

Vietura is located in Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

Vietura is located in Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

I have always wondered what I could do to fight the signs of aging without having to go into any operating rooms, or under any knives. Besides living a healthy lifestyle where I am conscious of what I put into my body and how I care for it, I know that there are other options for women like me who would like to age gracefully. 

I don’t lie about my age. I have yet to dye my hair (I’m trying to make going grey fashionable), and I enjoy a great meal and a nice glass of wine. I don’t believe in depriving myself completely of carbs, but I do think there is a happy medium where having everything in moderation can be a good thing.

My friend Jackie and I have been invited to take this journey to wellness and beauty together. 

IMG_9349 copy

Jackie blogs over at

I am sure that between the two of us, we can provide a plethora of experiences that will help you create an understanding of the procedures and what to expect. This is where the “sharing is caring,” aspect comes into play. I have often wondered what many of the beautifying treatments entailed. I’ve been curious and would like to ask questions, not just to people who have undergone the treatments, but to the doctors who perform the treatments for the patients.

So, as I learn about the treatments, what I like and what I don’t like, how painful (or not) each procedure is, I will SHARE my experiences here on the blog with you. For my own understanding, it is very important for me to ask questions (sometimes more than once if I don’t get it right away) so that I can digest the information and SHARE.

What's up Doc? Thanks Doc Paolo for patiently answering all of my questions.

What’s up Doc? Thanks Doc Paolo for patiently answering all of my questions.

Just recently we were seen by Dr Paolo. He lets me ask “a lotta” questions. We discussed some areas and skin problems that I wanted to address, and Doc was super helpful in explaining what our options are as well as explaining what each procedure entailed. 

Look for the post on my first visit that kicked off my long Labor Day weekend soon!

To learn more about the beauty staycations that Vietura offers click here.


I must share this website with y’all.

It made a huge difference when I needed to attend my father in law’s birthday party this past December. The whole family had to dress in Filipiniana attire and I had no idea what to wear. And then I remembered that my friend Tin over at MFO launched Chicify.

At that time, I wasn’t the credit card toting type. (Now I am! Thanks to Union Bank.) I didn’t like to order online because it always felt like a big hassle to have to go to the bank, wait on line, and deposit to a certain account. After I would deposit, then I would have to take a picture for proof of deposit and message the seller so that they would ship my product. The whole process seemed so tedious to me.

I was eyeing this Pano Kapa Jacket for some time.

I was eyeing this Pano Kapa Jacket for some time.


Tin shared with me that I could order online and pay C.O.D.


There was a small fee that was added to the price of the item that I wanted, but that small fee was SO worth my time and effort. Plus the item would be shipped the same day that I ordered it online because I ordered it early in the morning. 

HOORAY for making my life easier!

The package came to the door when they said it would and I had the exact amount ready for payment so that my yayas were prepared. It was perfect!!!

I loved how simple it made my attire. Plus bonus points for me being able to wear it again!

I loved how simple it made my attire. Plus bonus points for me being able to wear it again!

And just because it was such a fun night and everyone looked so cute, I had to include this shot of all of us in our attire….

IMG_0419 copy

So-if you like to shop online…I suggest you check out Chicify.

They have a variety of fashion items (and some practical items too) that are affordable, made here in the Philippines (some even designed by my friend Tin) and perfect for the Momma who likes to look put together without trying too hard. 

Check out the site and surf…I’m sure you will find something you like.


LARO by Creative Kids

I have this friend Bambi Mañosa.

I met her soon after we moved to Manila, because I found her Creative Kids advertisement in the AAV News. When I enrolled my kids in her art classes that were taught out of her home, I was thrilled that I found someone who was teaching art classes in a way that I was familiar with. I actually felt as if I was enrolling my kids in activity the same way I would from back home in NY.

And it was clear to me back then, that she taught these art classes, simply because she loved what she was doing. I realized this after I asked the question of who was the architect that designed her lovely home when she invited me over for dinner one night. Being new to the country and not knowing much in terms of architecture, I didn’t realize that her dad was THE Bobby Mañosa. 

The Mañosa family is not just a family that is well known for the architecture that calls on Filipino tradition and incorporates it into modern homes. They are also known as a family who continuously gives back to the communities that they live in, and the communities that call for it. And when Bambi heads the community service you can count on children being involved.

Soon after school let out this year, I was contacted by Creative Kids to see if any of my children wanted to participate in an outreach that would build a playground for children who desperately needed one. 

Creative Kids Studio May 12 Invitation
Y’all know how much I deem the importance of play to be an integral part of raising children. I have written about it here before so many times. Every child deserves the right to play…and every child deserves the right to play in an area that is safe and happy for them.

Laro will build a playground for a group of children who have settled in Calauan, Laguna. These families had no where to go after the natural disasters that left them homeless. The entire community is struggling to get back on their feet after Ondoy and Yolanda, and on top of providing opportunities for livelihood, Bambi and her crew would like to lift their spirits through children AND play.

So our kids will help build a playground for their kids…

Thank you Bambi for inviting Miguel to be part of such a worthwhile endeavor. You can bet on our attendance to the opening of the exhibit here in Alabang Town Center.

Creative Kids Studio Events Schedule

If you have any questions on how to donate to this project through UNICEF and Creative Kids check out their Facebook page, or

Sipahh Milk Straws

My kids LOVE to drink milk.

This new invention (to US) makes it even easier for them to drink milk.

Have you seen these things? They are brilliant!

IMG_7629 copy

One pack of 25 goes for Php500. That’s only Php20/per straw!

Diego loves them. As in-he went through the whole box in like a week. I had to limit him. I told him  he could only have one straw per day. And so just like that, every morning he would wake up and have his first glass of milk with his awesome strawsome.

I actually had to put a limit of only one straw per day for this boy.

I actually had to put a limit of only one straw per day for this boy.

I have always believed that the best inventions can come out of parents who want their kids to learn or enjoy something that we know is good for them. That’s how these doodads came about…

Screen shot from Sipahh Website

Screen shot from Sipahh Website

All you need to do is put a parent on the problem to find a solution. What’s more? Peter Baron made sure that each straw has only 1/2 a tsp of sugar. The kids get the flavors they want when the drink the milk without all the sugar. PERFECTION.

IMG_7632 copy

My favorite is Chilled out Choc-Mint. And guess what. No one else likes that flavor so I’m in luck.

If you want to find Sipahh visit the Strawesome Milk Bar in Megamall or order on line here.

Mother’s Day at Makati Shangri-La

Wikipedia definition of Shangri-La:  Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as  a mysitcal, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains.

What is Makati Shangri-La for me?

This lobby evokes memories almost twenty years old...and I love it.

This lobby evokes memories almost twenty years old…and I love it.

It’s the beginning of a long journey that has brought me to stay in Manila, making it my home.

They say “Home is where the heart is.” Well, many years ago, I found my heart in a boy named Nino in a place called Makati Shangri-La. 


Many years ago, a boy and a girl sat right here. Every night. For a week. The rest was history. #ourbeginning

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on

Back in December, I was asked by The Business World Ladies Who Lunch to give a short talk on Entertaining for the Holidays. I was super up for the challenge and was very excited to meet and make new friends through this lovely organization. Because of this lovely endeavor, I was gifted a staycation, that I knew I would take advantage of with my boyfriend, when the time came that we could both tear ourselves away from work, the kids, and the home.

What better way to spend my Labor Day Weekend then a staycation with my love, where it all began? I was super excited leading up to our staycation in the “city.” I have been working really hard to do my best in everything that I’m involved in and it’s suffice to say that I have been a bit frazzled. I know that Nino has been stressed with work and other things as well, so this past weekend was a lovely respite from our daily grind.  

It’s always nice to remember where it all began…but it’s even nicer to remember where it began if it’s a place like Makati Shangri-La. Pulling up to a hotel where they take your bags, valet your car, and then checking in is seamless makes the experience even more enjoyable.

Nino put it this way, when we were talking about once we got home, ” How can you not enjoy a place where your bags find their way to your room, while you are checking in? The Staff is always smiling, ready, willing, and able to help you with what you need. The room is cool when you enter, the amenities are top notch, and the food is consistently delicious. It’s as if they know the drill, they anticipate what you need-and boom…it’s there.”

Yes. That’s how it is when you stay in a luxury hotel.

And it’s also things like this…

Checking in and having a gift from Laura Mercier and a note from Patti.

Checking in and receiving an early Mother’s Day gift from Laura Mercier and a note from Patti, the Director of Communications.

And this…

L'Occitane bath soaps and shampoo are one of the things that I don't feel guilty spending for. They make me happy.

L’Occitane bath soaps and shampoo are one of the luxurious things that I don’t feel guilty spending for. They make me happy.

So after we hung around the room and reminisced about how we never actually went upstairs to ANY room when we met all those years ago, I was set to meet up with Patti for coffee downstairs in the lobby where it all began.

IMG_1116 copy

Super helpful to have this little timer with my carrot cake and tea. I loved that the carrot cake was moist, nutty, and not too sweet. Will try and replicate a similar version from our own kitchen with my baking buddy, Gia…

As Patti and I were chit chatting about how things change, and how change is good, I also shared the story of how Nino and I began in this lobby. How I read his tarot cards, how I kept some of what I read to myself, but how overall, I have such a fondness for this iconic hotel in the middle of Makati.  

Live music during afternoon tea? Yes, please, and thank you.

Live music during afternoon tea? Yes, please, and thank you. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the lobby for about Php650-700 per person. Tea is served with your choice of snacks and tea sandwiches both savory and sweet. 

Patti shared more of the special treats that Mothers would experience through the Mom & Me staycation that Makati Shang had planned for all of their guests during the upcoming weekend, and I am grateful to have experienced them during our stay as well.

As a special treat for Moms,

As a special treat for Moms, you can enjoy a 20% discount on any Spa services during Mother’s Day weekend.

I would totally recommend the couple’s Hilot Massage. The massage therapists are well trained, attentive, and would ask if the pressure they were using was ok, through out the whole process. I have been having some trouble with my right shoulder lately, I was happy to experience some relief from the pain when we were finished. After we were done, we enjoyed the fresh cold fruits and ginger tea which was served to us while we were still coming around from the relaxing stupor of our massages. 

Confession: I had so many plans for us! I wanted to get dressed up, go out, have a few drinks, (even if it was only downstairs in Sage) and take advantage of the fact that we (er… Nino) didn’t have to drive home by enjoying my favorite Cosmopolitan (shh. don’t judge.) to kick off our NIGHT OUT in the city!! In reality, what really happened was a night without alcohol, relaxed shorts and sandals instead of the dress that I brought to change into, and a slower paced kick off to the night due to the relaxing hands of our massages. In fact, the latter was probably what matched the crazy hectic schedule of the work week that we both endured, anyway.

And in all honesty, it was just as nice to sit in the bath with some salts and L’Occitane bath gels, and then hunker down for the night by chatting on the sofa in our suite, and not being interrupted by little ones who deem what they need to say of the utmost importance at that very minute in time…

Imagine a conversation without interruption...

Imagine a conversation without interruption…

When we were going to sleep that night, we were joking each other how far we had come since those nights when we were getting to know each other. Back then, freshly graduated from college and coming off of a not so nice relationship, I remember picking Nino’s brain about everything…politics, human rights, and everything that is wrong with this world, democracy, human kind and how we could fix it…because we knew better…

What a complete 180 degree turnaround from the conversations we had back then…because before we closed our eyes, we spoke about everything that is RIGHT in this world and all the things we could still do to help…and how our four little ones changed our perspectives because they chose us to be their parents…

Thank you Circles for this super cute, super moist and delicious chocolate celebration cake!

Thank you Circles for this super cute, super moist and delicious chocolate celebration cake!

I considered cutting into this delicious cake (I’ve had one like it before because my friend gifted us one for Christmas) before bed, but decided we would enjoy it more as a family together at home.


Breakfast the next morning was something we looked forward to because both of us love BREAKFAST BUFFETS!! HOORAY FOR BREAKFAST BUFFETS AT CIRCLES! I’m sure you know that Nino and I have very different tastebuds when it comes to choosing our breakfast food.

My choice...

My choice…

His choice...

His choice…

After breakfast, I asked Nino if he wouldn’t mind sitting by the pool with me for a while. 

Truth: He hates the sun (like most Filipinos I know) and I am a sun worshipper. (shhh don’t tell my derma.) But he agreed to sit for a couple of hours (in the shade) while I soaked up the hot summer sun on the fourth floor pool deck.

Oh, how I loved just sitting and being still, and quiet.     


One of the best parts about getting away with @ninoavent is having the ability to do absolutely nothing by the pool.

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on


 Thanks for indulging me, Babe.

Because we also had access to the Horizon Club, we were able to check out the brunch offerings before heading back to the room to clean up for check out.

The Horizon Club serves breakfast from 6 am until 12nn on Saturdays. We enjoyed cocktails and apps the night before, so I knew we should make the time to check out HC before going back to the room, even if it was just for a light snack.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 9.35.09 AM

Photo Credit:

By this time, Nino was already getting antsy to see the kids and wanted to start our drive back home. I have to admit, after one night away, I already wanted to hug The Bean and I was looking for kisses from my big kids.

It was such an enjoyable night, it was great for us to recharge, revisit our beginning, and talk uninterrupted. I was able to experience all the joys and treats of being pampered at Makati Shang for Mother’s Day…and then I was ready go home and enjoy the four reasons why I am privileged to be called Mom.

I think it would be even more enjoyable to do all of these things with the kids so that we could be “tourists (all 6 of us) in the city” where it all began.

Then it would make it even easier for us to share our beginning with our kids…I feel like that’s important for them to know…don’t you?

If you would like to plan for your staycation this Mother’s Day at Makati Shangri-La for their #MakatiShangMomandMe celebration, please call 02-813-8888. Surely, you will enjoy the perks and the gifts that they have in store for you, Momma!

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.16.02 PM

Photo Credit:

ALSO: You can enter to win your #MakatiShangMomandMe #staycation for free if your photo posted  on IG is chosen with the funniest words of wisdom from Mom. Don’t forget to make sure your profile is set to PUBLIC so they can track your entry.