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How to Plan a Small but Memorable Event

Recently we celebrated Iris’ Christening and I just want to share it with all of you. This is something I had daydreamed of many times while I was pregnant because of a promise I made to God: to raise Iris as a loving and faithful child of Christ.

From the get-go, I knew I wanted a small and intimate event (small to me means less than 60 pax) which probably surprised a lot of people considering my background in Public Relations – I think people just naturally assumed I would want a big party. On the contrary however, I felt we would be able to give more meaning to the celebration by inviting only the closest members of our family and those we chose to have a special role in this very sacred and momentous milestone in our daughter’s life.

Thank you, God, for the gift of family.
Some of my greatest prayer warriors while I was on my baby journey 🙂

After weeks of preparation, I’m happy to report that it turned out even better than I expected, and I hope that through this post you’ll learn a few tips on how to add some special touches to your own events (big or small) to make it a wonderful experience for your guests, and one they’ll never forget.

CHOOSE A THEME THAT MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU

I wanted something timeless and effortlessly beautiful, so I went with a floral theme, inspired by her name. After this, choosing a venue was easy. In our case, Maria Luisa’s Garden Room at The Makati Garden Club was the obvious choice, and it proved to be the perfect setting: elegant, feminine, and cozy.

Maria Luisa’s Garden Restaurant seats 60 comfortably and is charming and cozy

CREATE A PARTY INVITE (PAPERLESS OR PRINTED)

I’m a stickler for invitations as this truly sets the tone for your event. And maybe in the past I would’ve insisted on printed invitations, but I do acknowledge that times are different now and paperless invites are just as acceptable – depending on the size of your event – and perhaps even the more (environmentally) mindful choice.

Her Iris inspired invite was designed by Gela Maulawin. Gela also created the labels for her giveaways 🙂

BE PARTICULAR ABOUT LIGHTING, DECOR and MUSIC

Lighting, decor and music sets the mood of the party, so try not to take this for granted. One practical tip I have for those on a budget is to choose a venue that doesn’t need much styling, as event stylists usually charge a hefty price. I was lucky because The Makati Garden Club already had the perfect look for the party I had envisioned, and even provided the prettiest floral centerpieces hand-picked from their own garden, free of charge.

Cheery floral centrepieces designed by Grace of The Makati Garden Club

GET AN ‘EXPERT’ TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR MENU

Mind you, that ‘expert’ could even just be your friend. In this case, it was my husband, because he knows more about these things than I do, given that he studied in Les Roches in Switzerland and is also in the F&B business. A thoughtful touch would be to ask your guests beforehand if they have any dietary restrictions to make sure that there is something for everybody and nobody is at risk.

Our delicious merienda

DON’T FORGET YOUR PARTY FAVORS

This is not always necessary, but it’s always appreciated. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either, so get creative!

Iris’ special giveaways that I packed myself 😀
A peek inside the box: My favorite portrait of Iris, rainbow inspired Super Gummies by Honest Junk x MovEd, a personalized bottle of Anti-Mosquito cologne and an alcohol free baby cologne by Kiele. Plus a thank you card, of course 🙂

HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER AND/OR A VIDEOGRAPHER

Because you won’t have time to do this yourself, and because you’ll want to have something to remember it by. If this is out of the budget, assign a member of your family or a friend who is handy with a camera. This could even be his/her gift instead of something store bought.

CHOOSE THE PERFECT PARTY DRESS

In this instance, my parameters were: 1.Something fit for a christening (womanly but not too sexy) 2.Something comfortable (not too short or too tight) as I knew I would be breastfeeding and carrying our baby for extended periods of time and 3. Something to flatter my current figure, because it’s only been 3 months and I haven’t yet lost all the weight I had gained during pregnancy (15 more pounds to go!). When you look good, you feel good – and you need that to be a good host.

My lovely dress was designed by Rosanna Ocampo, while Iris wore a beautiful pink and tulle concoction by the very talented Maureen Disini 🙂
A closer look at her ‘princess’ dress. Thank you so much, Maureen. What a dream come true.

SEND A REMINDER AT LEAST A WEEK BEFORE

People are busy and sometimes they don’t remember to RSVP. Or sometimes they confirm, and then life happens, so they forget. Do yourself a favour and just call them one by one. It can be tiring but it will save you money to have a better idea of your final headcount. One pro-tip: Event Coordinators usually follow the 70/30 rule, meaning on average, 30% of your total confirmed attendees will not show up.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

You’ve probably been planning for weeks and it can get stressful, so make sure you squeeze in some me-time before the party. Also keep in mind that nothing is perfect, so learn to let go as more often than not, people won’t notice when something goes wrong anyway. So just relax, because people will feed off your energy, and if you’re a happy host, your party will turn out to be a success, no matter what.

And then we were three

Love,

Celine

When Design Meets Design

The day before I left for the picturesque town of Bolinao, Pangasinan, I decided to check out the private trunk show of Cebu-based fashion designer, Mia Arcenas, and her co-collaborator, the talented artist, social advocate and active volunteer, Alex Eduque.

And lucky I did! Because there I found the perfect items for my little seaside weekend escapade – a wonderful collection of imaginative doodles…of spring blossoms, anahaw leaves, star fish and other sea creatures by Alex, all transformed into striking embellishments adorning a line of stylish resort wear, accessories and bags by Mia.

A closer look
Just gorgeous

Now, let’s be clear. By no means do I consider myself a fashionista. Like, I honestly couldn’t tell you in full and accurate detail what the current trends are as I don’t pay much attention to trends – that’s never really been my style.

However, what I do think I have is an affinity for beautiful and well crafted items that will surely stand the test of time.

This was love at first sight
This was love at first sight

For example, I know for a fact that the woven hat that I purchased will only become prettier with wear, and my little clutch will add that perfect bit of whimsy whenever and however way I decide to use it.

These are items I’ll surely be using years on end, and I can just imagine the memories I will be making with them.

Philippine Tatler's Asia's Most Stylish, Steph Kienle - Gonzales, helped me select the perfect clutch. I'm so grateful for her help as I really was having such a hard time deciding :)
Philippine Tatler’s ‘Asia’s Most Stylish’, Steph Kienle – Gonzales, helped me select the perfect clutch 🙂 And just so you know, you can order each piece in an assortment of colors

But while I appreciate the beauty and quality of the designs of this wonderful partnership, I think what I admire the most is that at the very core of their collection, there is heart.

According to Alex, the inspiration behind the project goes back to their friendship and a common vision to “re-ignite and re-kindle a flame of hope in the lives of the next generation.”

In fact, this collaboration actually benefits *MovEd, a non-stock, non-profit organization that advocates bringing early childhood care, education and development programs to underserved communities around the Philippines – inclusive of health, livelihood skills and training for parents and family care programs.

Details matter
Details matter

Truly an inspirational effort and the kind of passion for fashion I will always gladly support.

Love,

Celine

* MovEd was founded by Alex in 2012. At present (SY 2015-2016), they have expanded their reach and serve a total of 499 students across 10 sites – Navotas, Pasig, Parañaque in the capital region and seven in the third district of Camarines Sur. They have also signed on to be the program and curriculum enhancement partner of the city of Parañaque, and have trained 26 of its teachers last summer, with the MovEd approach and pedagogy, in partnership with the local government, under the leadership of Mayor Edwin L. Olivares.

For more information, please check out www.moved.org.ph

For more information or updates on Mia Arcenas x Alex Eduque, you can check www.miaarcenas.com or follow them on Instagram: @miaarcenas and @alexmeduque | #alexeduquedoodles

#CasaLim, Mega Magazine, January 2016

Hello! I just want to drop a few lines saying that Mega Magazine did a feature on my most favourite place on earth, #CasaLim 🙂

I'm so flattered to have my humble home featured within the pages of 'The Philippines' Best Fashion Magazine'
I’m so flattered to have my humble home featured within the pages of “The Philippines’ Best Fashion Magazine”

So I hope you all can grab a copy of their January issue with the gorgeous Liza Soberano on the cover and get a sneak peek of my personal interior decorating style: Vintage, Modern and Sophisticated.

The beautiful Liza Soberano
The beautiful Liza Soberano

Well, at least that’s what I think my home looks like, haha!

Let me know your thoughts when you finally get to see it 🙂

Love,

Celine

My Lucky Eight

It’s December 31, the last day of 2015 and I’m sure people are reflecting on the year that was and writing down their list of New Year’s resolutions.

I am no different.

After some introspection (over wine and then again, over coffee – it took me two days to edit this list), I’ve written down eight resolutions that will guide me in 2016. Why eight? For one, I believe that a shorter list is more manageable and second, eight is supposedly a lucky number and I’m all about attracting good luck in the New Year 🙂

All things considered, 2015 was a great year and I hope 2016 brings me the same kind of magic, if not more.
All things considered, 2015 was a great year and I hope 2016 brings me the same kind of magic, if not more.

So here they are in no particular order:

1. Embrace a balanced lifestyle that will promote health, wellness and happiness in all aspects of my life – spiritual, physical and emotional

2. Clean up the clutter – around me, amongst the people who surround me and within my own mind

3. Do creative collaborations with like-minded strangers…and then turn them into new friends 🙂

4. Respect words (and people!) by carefully thinking about what I say, how I say it and why I’m saying it

5. Be a slow-traveler and delight in giving enough time to each and every new adventure

6. Make time for different kinds of work. One that contributes to my creativity, one that contributes to my financial security and another that contributes to society (because they aren’t always the same thing)

7. Be in the moment – put down my phone – and give the people I’m with my full attention

8. Learn how to say no without feeling guilty

What are your resolutions?
What are your resolutions?
I hope this inspires you to create your own, if you haven’t made one yet. And let me know what you think of my list 🙂

Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead!
Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead!

Happy New Year everybody!

Love,

Celine

P.S My lipstick is Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist No. 9, my white leather and rabbit fur vest is by BCBG Max Azria, inner shirt by UNIQLO, my earrings are by Saxum Jewellery and my ring – beautiful yellow Citrine and black diamonds set in yellow gold – a gift from my husband 🙂

P.P.S My photos taken at the Summit Lodge, Whistler Village from my recent holiday in Canada are by Vancouver based photographer and fashion blogger, Jenny Liu (Thank you, Jenny!)

A Roarin’ Good Time: Dino Araneta’s Great Gatsby Party

Recently I attended the birthday party of a very good friend, LBC’s COO, Dino Araneta.

The big 4-0 is a huge life milestone so we all knew he would come up with something special. True enough, he didn’t disappoint.

The event was inspired by The Great Gatsby and just like how it was depicted in the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald (or the movie starring Leo, haha!), it was pure glitz and decadence, and we definitely had a roarin’ good time.

The celebrant and his wife arrived at the party in this gorgeous, vintage car.
The celebrant and his wife arrived at the party in this gorgeous vintage car.
Event styling for the party was done by Barbie Pardo
Event styling for the party was done by Barbie Pardo
It's all about the details and Dino's mom, Connie Araneta, made sure everything was absolutely impeccable.
It’s all about the details and Dino’s mom, Connie Araneta, made sure everything was absolutely impeccable.
Beautiful flapper girls all dolled up
Beautiful flapper girls all dolled up
Special performance of the night, The Black Eyed Peas' Apl De Ap
Special performance of the night, The Black Eyed Peas’ Apl De Ap

For those who are familiar with my penchant for all things vintage and old world, you can imagine my delight as I walked in to the Buddha Bar along Makati (Picar Place, Kalayaan Avenue. +632 856 6859) and was welcomed by a magnificent ‘set’ fit for a movie.

At the party they had a makeshift parlour where the ladies could choose from a wide array of headpieces, strands of imitation pearls and feather boas, all cleverly sourced from Divisoria. Here I am getting my hair done by the stylist.
At the party they had a makeshift parlour where the ladies could choose from a wide array of headpieces, strands of imitation pearls and feather boas, all cleverly sourced from Divisoria. Here I am getting my hair done by the stylist
Playing dress up is always so much fun. I chose a pretty white hair piece made of delicate lace and I skipped the pearls and the boas as I was already wearing my own
Playing dress up is always so much fun. I chose a pretty white hair piece made of delicate lace but I skipped the pearls and the boas as I was already wearing my own necklaces and a feather bolero designed by Rosanna Ocampo
(From L-R) Mumph Ruiz, Hola! Editor-in-Chief, Jose Mari Ugarte and Vic Bernardo. The guys were all given cool hats to wear.
(From L-R) Mumph Ruiz, Hola! Editor-in-Chief, Jose Mari Ugarte and Vic Bernardo. The guys were all given cool hats to wear.

It was so much fun to be surrounded by good friends who all gamely dressed resplendently, channeling their inner Daisy Buchanan or Jay Gatsby. I love it when people go all out for a theme party – it makes it so much more fun.

The lovely Lexi and her husband, Javi Berenguer-Testa
The lovely Lexi and her husband, Javi Berenguer-Testa
(From L-R) Ino Olondriz with his charming wife, Natalia and good friend, Coco Garcia
(From L-R) Ino Olondriz with his charming wife, Natalia and good friend, Coco Garcia
The gorgeous Garcia girls. Vicky, Trinchy and Jenny.
The gorgeous Garcia girls. Vicky, Trinchy and Jenny.
Here I am with my husband (on the right most) and our good friend, Herbie Betz
Here I am with my husband, Matt (on the right most) and our good friend, Herbie Betz
(From L-R) Yours truly with Shakey's top dog, Chukri Prieto and my partner at ARC Public Relations, Inc., Jenny Yrasuegui
(From L-R) Yours truly with Shakey’s top dog, Chukri Prieto and my partner at ARC Public Relations, Inc., Jenny Yrasuegui
Tammy Arnaiz-Tuason (on the right) and I flanking the debonair celebrant, Dino Araneta
Tammy Arnaiz-Tuason (on the right) and I flanking the debonair celebrant, Dino Araneta

Dino, you sure know how to throw a proper shindig. Happiest of birthdays to you and thanks for hosting such an amazing evening 🙂 Nobody else could have done it better. Seriously.

Love,

Celine

And What is Done in Love is Well Done

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has expressed kind words of encouragement, support and love for my little passion project. I must admit, I was very, very nervous as I wasn’t sure how my blog would be received. After all, I’m not a celebrity, and as a ‘PR girl’, I enjoy more the collaborations that happen behind the scenes.

So to those of you who really went out of your way to send me a note, to call me personally and more importantly, to actually visit my site and tell me what you think of it – I’m just so grateful. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, really and truly.

Quite a few people have also asked what my plans are for this blog…and the truth is, I have none. None, except to write about what truly matters to me, what I find interesting, what makes me happy and what I pray will be a ray of positivity for the people that may come across my stories. That’s it really.

I just want to bask in rays of positivity (Photo taken in Sherborne, Dorset)
I just want to bask in rays of positivity (Photo taken in Sherborne, Dorset)

I hope that those of you who only know me from my events or some magazine and newspaper write-ups will get a glimpse of another side of me – the REAL me, actually. And I hope that you like what you see.

On that note, I’m just going to keep posting and posting, and keep learning as I go along. I’m just going to let this thing evolve into whatever it is meant to be. Let me know as well what you’re interested in reading about – I don’t want this to be a one-way street. Please point me in the right direction if you feel that there is something, somewhere or someone that you think would make a good story. I love meeting people and discovering new things.

Love,

Celine