Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wedding Supplier Review: Our Invitations by Yanna's Printshop

Yanna's Printshop is a Weddings at Work find. I read positive reviews from previous clients and searched for them during the Themes & Motifs bridal fair. Jay and I also looked at other invitation suppliers (including ones at other fairs), checked out their designs, and decided on booking Yanna's because of their price points and quality of work. Since we booked them at the fair, we got a 10% discount. 

Here's the breakdown of our order:

80 sets of invitations at Php76.50/set
3 pages of 6 x 8 inserts
1 envelope
Free gold foil of bride & groom's names on first insert
Free gold foil or embossing on envelope flap

Total: Php 6,120

We made a Php1,000 deposit at the fair. The person we talked to, Aldrin, wrote his contact number on the receipt and also gave us their calling card. He was also the one who did our layout and was our contact person throughout our transaction. 

Because we were overwhelmed with all the designs at the bridal fair, Jay and I went to their shop in Recto, Manila so we could choose at our own pace. After taking photos of several designs, Jay and I decided on combining the elements and then I made a detailed guide (photos with markings, comments, and instructions) which I emailed to Aldrin. 

We had about 4 revisions, and during this time I needed to constantly remind Aldrin that I sent my reply already, texting and calling him to confirm if he had received it. Turnover was just right, and he would clarify things when needed. For example, I wanted our map to be rendered in water color which I had seen in one of their designs, but he said that was provided by the client. 

For the envelope flap, we chose the embossed option instead of the gold foil. It's one of my favorite things about our invitation! I provided the monogram made by my friend. It can't be seen clearly on the photo below, but under the monogram is our wedding date.

They printed a mock-up (not including the embossed envelope) and we went back to Recto to check it out. After giving our go signal, we waited the standard 10 days for their printing. We got them on time, choosing to pick them up rather than having them couriered to us. 

They gave us three extra copies, and each invitation set actually came with jute strings, which would've been perfect with our rustic theme. TWhen you open the envelope, the inserts would've been tied with the jute strings. However, we thought this would require much effort for the guests, so we did away with them. 

I'd say our transaction with Yanna's Print Shop was fast and relatively hassle-free. We started on January 30 and finalized the layout by February 20, and got our printed invites on March 5. 

I would highly recommend Yanna's Printshop for your invitation needs. Reasonable prices, a wide variety of designs, plus good output.


1. As much as possible, check out their designs at the bridal fair to remove the hassle of going to their shop in Recto. Take photos of the designs you like and just choose later on. 

2. If you decide to visit their shop, take the LRT for convenience. The shop is very near the LRT Recto station, it's across the Isetann mall. Call ahead because they might be attending a bridal fair so the clear book with their designs, along with actual mock-ups, won't be there. 

3. Be very specific with your instructions. Use photo apps with text, Photoshop, or even Power Point so the layout artist can follow your specifications to the letter. This would help minimize the revisions. 

4. You don't have to print copies for each of your guests. We had about 180 persons in our guest lists and only had 80 hard copies printed. Most of them belong to one family, while several were from overseas. There were also a lot who favored a soft copy rather than a hard one. I'd say reserve the hard copies for your principal sponsors and family members. Make a Facebook event page for majority of your guests. 

Invitations are nice to have's. If you have the budget, then splurge on it. Some people hire calligaphers and graphic artists to create a custom suite. Brides on a budget opt for DIY invites. It's up to you to decide which part of the spectrum you belong. Just don't dwell too much on it, because, let's be real, most people just throw away the invites after the wedding. 

Contact Details: 

Yanna's Printshop
Address: 1755 C.M. Recto, Manila
Contact Numbers: +639493797028 / +639480934151 (Aldrin) / +632-5211156 / +632-8061905

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3 Cooking Tips for Beginners + An Easy Recipe!

Don't you hate it when you check a recipe and they neglect to tell you something important? I still consider myself a beginner home cook but I'm trying to change that now that I'm a newly-minted wife. I've collected hundreds of recipes and cook books over the years but it's only now that I get to use them every day, as opposed to when I was still single and I would only cook when I felt like it.


The problem I find with some recipes is they assume that you're already an experienced cook and they forget to tell you something important that needs to be done in between the steps. For example, this may seem like common knowledge and automatic to a lot of cooks, but when using Baguio beans or green beans, did you know that you have to remove the strings on the sides? Yes, because if you don't it's highly likely they'd end up stuck in between your teeth. Here's a video of a grandpa teaching us a fast way to string green beans!

Here are three other cooking tips you won't normally see on recipes:

1. When cooking paksiw or adobo, don't stir it immediately after adding the vinegar. Let it boil or reboil, and after that you can stir the pot. This is so the vinegar can cook properly, and it won't taste acidic or uncooked. In Filipino, it won't be "hilaw." 

2. When choosing okra for your sinigang or pinakbet, try to see if you can easily snap the tip. That's how to tell if they're still fresh aside from their bright green color. I once bought old okra and it was tough once cooked. :( Now I always remember to check my okra before I buy.

EXTRA TIP: It's better to buy in the market if there's one near you. The price is lower, and if you get there early enough, you get fresher veggies!

3. Tinola spoils easily. I don't know why since it doesn't have tomatoes or dairy in it (hit the comments if you know the reason!). Once you see bubbles, it's a bad sign. So either you cook it in small batches you can finish immediately, or always remember to store it properly in the fridge once it cools after cooking. When reheating, only reheat enough portion you can finish because the hot and cold temp also hastens its spoilage.

And now for an easy peasy recipe you can cook in 30 minutes! I just made it this Sunday. This recipe is perfect for busy nights when you worked overtime, have a deadline to beat, or still have some household chores to finish.

I got this Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry recipe from Martha Stewart's website, and I just tweaked some ingredients with what I have in our pantry. You can visit the link because there's also a step-by-step video there to really guide beginner cooks. I'm also putting the recipe here with my tweaks. Comments in parenthesis and NOTES are mine.

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry


2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch (I used 3 tablespoons of flour)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (this is for cooking, don't mix it with the sauce)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips (I used chicken breast fillets)
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced 1
Cooked white rice, for serving


1. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil.
NOTE: If you don't have cornstarch at home, you can use flour. I used 3 tbsps. of flour to substitute for 1 tbsp. of cornstarch. You just need to cook the sauce a little longer later on.

2. In a wok or large skillet (I used a large frying pan), heat vegetable oil over high. Add chicken and cook until browned for 10 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, scallions, and broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is bright green, for 3 minutes. (I forgot to buy scallions but that's fine!)

3. Add 1/4 cup water, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon.
NOTE: Add more water if you'd like it to be saucier, like my husband does. It's great to mix with rice.

4. Stir in soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring until thickened, for 1 minute. Serve warm with rice.

You can always adjust the sauce according to your taste. Either add more water or oyster sauce depending on your preference.

Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables! So crunchy, filling, and nutritious. It also has few calories since it's mostly water. :)

You can also cook this in a big batch since it reheats well. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container. 

Do you have cooking tips you want to share? Do leave them in the comments below!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering My Dad on Father's Day

My father died when I was 14 years old, and that meant he wasn't there to see me during my milestones: graduate high school, turn 18, get my college degree, publish my first story, and walk down the aisle. 

Even though my Dad wasn't physically there, he didn't just fade into the background when he left. For those who have read my earliest blog posts back in college, I have always strived to keep my Dad's memory alive, and I'm fortunate he left us a deep well of memories to take from. 

A few months before getting married, I ran into a financial problem brought about by another family member. I asked a friend for advice on whether I should fix it and reallocate a portion of my wedding funds. What she and her husband told me gave me pause, and made me grateful once again that even beyond his life, my Dad tried his best to protect and provide for us. 

My friend and her husband said I have survived without that certain problem hanging over my head for years, and it was not something that needed immediate fixing. My wedding, however, only happens once. And aside from the celebrations, what we need to prepare for most is the marriage that would come after. She said my father would have loved the thought that he helped pay for my wedding. I also can't forget what her husband said, "As a father, I would love it if my kids are still feeling my love for them even long after I'm gone." And we do!

On my wedding day, with no one from my immediate family present except for my younger sister, I still celebrated with a full and grateful heart. I had a locket with my Dad's picture tied to my bouquet, so I can say he was still with me when I walked down the aisle to my husband. But even without that memento, I am living proof that you can overcome so much with more than enough love from a parent.

This Father's Day, as billions of children around the world celebrate and honor their father, I am happy albeit a bit wistful, that they get to spend more time with their first heroes. I can only wish them well, and tell you dear readers to let your fathers know how awesome they are while you still can!