Finally, we have an area rug, people!!!

Boaz clearly approves of the new (and bigger!) rug

I seriously thought it would take me at least a year before I’d be able to purchase an area rug for the living room.  I didn’t want to settle for any old rug – I wanted it to be something I really love.  I had set my mind on a handcrafted abaca rug from Weave Manila and, like I mentioned before, they promptly gave me a quote.  I asked for quotes for smaller rugs though because I knew rug prices are pretty nuts, and I figured I’d only be able to afford a small one.  I even asked for pricing for just 4×6 and 5×8 rugs from Weave Manila!

After reading Emily Henderson’s guide on rug sizes (basically, “go big or go home” – she has an article on making the mistake of getting rugs that are too small for your space, and another article on how to pick the right size rug), I learned that even that 5×8 rug would have been puny. How clueless I was!  But I was scared that going big meant spending way, way more.  I was right, too, because the rugs I ended up checking out truly were expensive, the more square feet you go for!  Apparently, area rugs are one of those major pieces you have to invest in for your home.

I liked that boho rug I spotted in Triboa Bay, but I didn’t ask how big it was because at the time I saw it, I knew I couldn’t afford it. But it made me realize that I’ve been liking prints on my rug – nothing too busy or colorful, but some print definitely for texture.

Going home with Rug #1

So you can imagine my joy when I: 1) discovered the West Elm outlet store in Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Sta. Rosa, Laguna; 2) discovered and fell hard for their “Souk” rug; and 3) found out said rugs were on sale!  The H and I went back a week after discovering the outlet store, and we bought a 5×7 Souk rug.   Clearly, I didn’t want to listen to Emily Henderson at the time (she did say small living rooms can get away with smaller rugs).


I was so, so tempted to get that pink print Morrocan-esque rug from West Elm, but I knew I’ll end up regretting it.  It’s like those printed b&w plates I got – I was so enamored when I first got them, but a month after, I wish I had gotten classic white plates first.  So my rule now is to always get the white or neutral-colored piece first.  (I know this is a very basic rule, but I have made the mistake way too many times of picking out the funky, colorful piece first before my neutrals).  Anyhoo, here is a photo of that Ashik rug from West Elm, in this blogger’s lovely living room.  The Ashik rug in the West Elm outlet store only comes in 5×7 though; in that blogger’s post I think she has at least an 8×10.

You can see how small the rug is, relative to the engot sprawled across.

Here’s how the 5×7 Souk rug looked in our itty bitty living room:


The boys looking glum – because the rug made our small furniture and teeny living room look even smaller hahaha

Some people might think the rug looks fine.  But I thought it looked narrow, especially coming from the front door and considering I don’t have seating across the loveseat to sort of anchor everything in.  I took tons of photos and realized since the rug was small, having my furniture sitting on it made the living room look even smaller. I was also thinking long-term: should we move someday (and most likely to a place with a bigger living room!), then the only place I’d be able to put a 5×7 rug like this would be beside a bed.

So we decided, screw it.  Let’s go big.  I rang up the people in West Elm Sta. Rosa and reserved the 8×10 Souk rug we saw there.  We rolled up the little rug, put it aside, and a week after, we went back to Sta. Rosa and got the bigger one.  (Yes, this rug business was 3 weeks in the making).


This is the Kasbah, another wool rug, but without tassels like the Souk and Ashik.  I really liked the print on this one too, a bit busier than the Souk.  In the end though, I ended up with the rug I liked first, and right from the start – the Souk.


That’s Vince, our very awesome sales rep from the Sta. Rosa West Elm/Pottery Barn outlets.

Excuse the mess under the stairs!  We only have one help right now and I’m losing the battle against clutter.

We measured our living room and knew this 8×10 rug would be too big since there’s a spiral staircase in the middle of the open floor layout we have here at home.  We knew we’d have to either fold it or hem it or even cut it.  Naturally, since the point was to go big so we can bring the rug with us if we move, we opted to fold the rug.

I need to move the rug so there’s space between the rug and the far wall, but honestly, I think the whole set up finally makes our living area look bigger. The rug also solved my problems with that wall – it no longer looks so oddly bare as compared to the opposite corner, and now I don’t feel compelled to fill up that spot behind the front door.

Best of all, the whole family really enjoys the Souk.  I read online how the rug sheds, but I don’t mind – I have 3 boys, and there are plenty more messes at home to worry about.  It’s fluffy, and it’s soft, and I love how it toned down the redness of our terra cotta floor, grounded the furniture, and added just enough oomph to the living room.  The boys have been spending a LOT more time in our living room (they usually hang out in the lanai), and I’ve spotted both my eldest and my youngest taking naps there.  Since the family has been spending more time in the living room since the rug arrived, I’ve had to tweak my living room checklist a bit – for instance, floor pillows are now in order, as the boys have been hanging out sprawled in the living room.


Bo has been taking his morning naps on the new rug – sans playmat and all my gosh. (In case you can’t tell, I’m not too fussy about the kids getting dirty).

I have seen this rug all over design blogs and in Pinterest, and I am honestly so chuffed about having one at home.  I so love it, and I never in a million years thought I’d be able to get an area rug for the living room this year!  (Thank you to my H!).

The living room is far from perfect, but I feel we are closing in. (I’m honestly having second thoughts about my love seat.  I think I should have gone fore a streamlined 3-seater or even a sectional; and because the “couch” is small, the coffee table now feels small too).  I’m looking forward actually to moving on from this corner because I’ve been rearing to focus full-time on the kids’ rooms.  I’m positive new (and clean!) curtains will make a big difference in the living room – I promise, that’s next on my list.


Oh, and we got a home diffuser, finally oh finally!  It’s not the prettiest thing but the one with the bamboo top isn’t  bad, and we’ve always wanted to have a diffuser at home.  The H was the one who got it too – we found them for Php 500 in Dapitan!  The stall there claims it used to supply the same diffusers to Mia Maison – they sell them for around Php 2,000 there, so yay, nakatipid!  (As for the baby bottles on the table they’re there because #LIFE).

Speaking of lists, here’s a quick rundown of my immediate/priority tasks and needs for the living room:

  • 6 new curtain panels (2 sets: 1 for every day, 1 alternate set for laundry days)
  • 2 new curtains rods
  • a doormat
  • anti-mosquito plug ins
  • replace my white knit pillow sham (it sheds like crazy)
  • get 2 or 3 floor pillows
  • find a print to cover the outlet beneath the windows

My complete and last updated to-do list for the living room here.


Merry Christmas from Bohol!

We’re currently in this awesome kid-paradise that is Henann in Bohol (at least 7 pools!). We’re taking a break from all house matters and enjoying the resort, the beach, and each other – not necessarily in that order!  We hope you all have a lovely holiday as well!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

UPDATES: 2016 Kids’ Yearly To-Do List

June is over!  We’ve conquered half of the year, so it’s time to provide a mid-year update on the 2016 Yearly To-Do List with the Kids (re-visit the full list here).  So far, we’ve done the following:

#1   hit the beach at least once a year – Done!  We went to Punta Fuego in Batangas with 1-Magala(ng) (30 March 2016; more here).

#6   staycation in ManilaEdsa Shang with Amanda, care of Lolo and Lola (15-17 April 2016; more here); Azumi for my birthday, care of Lolo and Lola again (24-25 June 2016; more here); Edsa Shang again, with 1-Magala(ng) (06-07 August 2016; more here)

#7   try something newGo-karting in Eastwood (12 March 2016; more here), laser tag for Laz for Santi and Yanni’s birthdays (25 April 2016), bowling for Laz and fishing for Alo in Tagaytay Highlands (29 May 2016; more here)

#8   take a class or have lessons in the summerswimming lessons for Laz (March-June 2016; more here), and play group for Alo (May 2016; more here)

Only 5 items out of 12 (from a list of 20 activities) checked off!  Eeek, time to buck up.  (And ideally, we should be doing something from the list every month!  As it is, most of the activities were packed into one summer!!!)




Summer whizzed by!

Laz started Second Grade last week.  It’s been raining every day, or almost every day, since June started.  We had several mall runs to complete most of the back to school preps before the first day of school last Wednesday, and over the weekend, the kids’ father pitched in to wrap and label Laz’s new books.  We’ve given our air-conditioning at home a break as the heat has finally let up.  I’ve been sick for 4 days too because of the change in weather.  Yes, summer is truly over, and we’re slowly but surely getting into the groove for the new school year ahead.

This has been a summer of firsts, especially for Alo, and admittedly an emotional one for me.  The upheaval at home was well and truly felt (raging, in fact) for most of the summer, but fittingly, simmered down as the weather cooled down.  It was a real effort, some days, to push myself to do things with and for the kids, venturing out into this solo parent role for the first time, but I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by really amazing, very supportive family and friends.  Laz and Alo, I hope when you look back on the summer of 2016, you’ll remember not just the changes in our family, but on all the fun we still got to do together, too.  Here’s a look back on our summer!

This summer of 2016 we

… hit the beach with 1-Magala(ng) in Punta Fuego:



Thank you for hosting us, Chua family!

… went on an Easter Egg Hunt in 10 Juliana (thank you Ate Irene!):

… attended classes (swimming lessons for Laz and playgroup for Alo):


Thank you to 1-Magala(ng) co-parent Dennis for organizing this!!!


… went go-karting:

… went on staycation in Edsa Shangri-La, care of Lola Tons and Lolo Jolan:


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TAGAYTAY: 1-Magala(ng) takes the high lands!


Hotel Monticello and Tagaytay Highlands (above) for the weekend!  |  28-29 May 2016

We went on another adventure with our 1-Magala(ng) family a few of weekends ago.  One of the biggest blessings in our lives is Laz’s 1st grade class.  The co-parents are a tightly knit group, and the boys are wonderful.  So fortunate that Laz got into a really good section – it has made his first year in elementary school a really happy and memorable experience.  I’m so so glad for him and extremely grateful.

This group has been such a pillar in our lives – our school activities and homework support have been incredible (and insanely well-organized and well-coordinated), but I also equally appreciate how the co-parents all pitch in together to make sure our sons get to spend time together outside of the classroom.  We’ve gone to the beach, made pizza, saw The Good Dinosaur, had play dates, and took swimming lessons together.  And since we have 1st graders, there were 7th birthday parties almost every week – with the 1-Magala(ng) boys always present, of course.

We know the chances of our sons ending up in the same section this school year are very slim, but here’s hoping we’ve helped build lasting friendships!


Here are some of (last year’s) 1-Magalang boys – missing Toby, Lucas, and Naru in this picture! 

We met for breakfast in SLEX and, being the ever organized group that this is, we convoyed to the Cliffhouse to meet with the other families and for more food!  Lunch in Buon Giorno took us 2 hours!  But the boys pigged out and ran around the deck there.  We actually had an itinerary planned for the weekend, crammed with activities in Highlands mostly, but since everyone enjoyed the leisurely meal, our mommy organizers figured we’d take it easy for the rest of the day.

We checked into a new hotel, Hotel Monticello, and when the boys discovered their heated pool, well, all plans of going to Highlands went right out the window!  The boys spent the entire afternoon swimming (with their younger siblings Alo, Noah, Theo, and Janna in tow).  Then it was off to dinner in one of the hotel restaurants, Cafe Mercedes, before the parents hung out together for drinks poolside, while the boys spent the night playing Wii in Kristoff and Jared’s room.


Only the kiddie pool was heated, by the way.  Most of the 1-Magala(ng) boys on this trip took swimming lessons together over the summer, so they didn’t have a problem jumping from the big pool to the little one.  Oh, and our Alo tried breathing underwater!  So fearless, that kid.  He went fishing for the first time during this trip too, and Manong Laz tried bowling for the first time.  Quite a lot of mini milestones for my sons.


In spite of the late night, we checked out early Sunday morning because we wanted to go to Tagaytay Highlands.  (Buffet breakfast in Cafe Mercedes was much better than dinner last night.  Neva reviewed our hotel here).  We enjoyed the view heading to Highlands – I don’t have proper pictures, but I swear to you, Tagaytay Highlands still has the best views of Taal Lake and the volcano, in my book!

Our group went fishing first; alas, most of the boys didn’t catch a thing.  It wasn’t for lack of trying though!


When it got too hot, we all made a beeline for the air-conditioned goodness of the bowling alley!  Laz had such a blast.  We have to schedule a bowling session back in Manila.  We stayed the rest of the time in the bowling alley, including having lunch there, because it was sweltering outside.



Triumphant Manong!  (Oh, and Alo didn’t trip in the background.  He sprawled on the floor on purpose and was looking up to see if his playmates were coming.  That silly kid kept chasing the bigger boys all around the bowling alley).

Thank you to our 1-Magala(ng) family!  They did the booking for us and arranged everything in Monticello, Buon Giorno, Highlands, etc.  All we had to do was show up, pay our share, and have fun fun fun.  Sa uulitin!!!