I turned 44 last Friday, October 4! We were on our usual homeschool weekend schedule, and there wasn’t really a big celebration or fireworks. I’m not the type of person. At the end of the day, my family and I headed to Shangrila Plaza Mall to try out this resto that just newly opened and I asked my brood of 4 a couple of weeks before, if we could eat there on my birthday. They gladly said yes. The restaurant I’m talking about is Green Pastures, an organic, farm-to-table resto, which was blogged about by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet. We arrived at the resto before 7 pm (around 6:30?) and the place was FULL! We had our family enlisted in the waiting list and we were Number 26! Since we were all excited (even Arielle and Kayla, who I have slowly converted to being more conscious of what they feed their bodies) to try out the new dining place, being one of the new concepts offering organic and the healthful kind of food, we waited it out. But our waiting game only lasted for about an hour or an hour and a half. By 8:00 pm, I was asking Mike and the girls if they would still want to wait. Because my tummy was beginning to give me signals that it couldn’t! Eight o’clock and there were 20 parties ahead of us! As much as I would have really wanted to try their salad, Stracciatella, 80/20 burger, vegetarian burger, fresh citrus beverages, my common sense (with Mike’s calculation on how many can be served within an hour’s time) told me that we should go back another time and have dinner somewhere else. At least, we already had a glimpse of what to order from their menu.
We looked at the nearby restaurants and by that time, they were full as well. Luckily, the one right across Green Pastures still had a few empty tables when we decided to change venues. Just a few steps away and we were seated at Lombardi, an authentic Italian restaurant. A quick look at their menu, and each one of us ordered our favorite Italian dishes: Insalata Mista, Minestrone Soup, Spaghetti Frutti de Mare, Quattro Formaggi, Penne Puttanesca , and Spaghetti Aglio Olgio. I was starving!!! Oh! To make sure that we were going to go back to Green Pastures, I asked Arielle to make reservations for us for October 11, next Friday! While waiting for our food to arrive on our table, I thought that Lombardi was going to be another Italian restaurant. I’ve tasted quite too many of it already and that this was going to be no different from them. But I was wrong. This place really tasted more authentic than the other restos we’ve tried! Even Mike, who’s not a pasta-eater, liked what he was eating (Spaghetti Frutti de Mare). From our table, we could see an Italian-looking chef spanning the resto with his eyes, making sure that everyone’s being attended to. It turned out (from my research for this post), he was Chef Davide Lombardi. When we are about done with dinner, he approached our table with a complimentary dessert glass with a scoop of panna gelato. We all loved its homemade taste (it really is homemade) that Kayla asked if she could order one more. Well, Kayla was so happy when the single order was actually two scoops and not just one! Since it was my birthday, it was my cheat day and I ordered Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “lift me up” in Italian. I now know that having a spoonful of gelato on top of a spoonful of Tiramisu could perfectly end one’s Italian meal Here’s an anecdote to share. I think it was Arielle who asked what Tiramisu means and I quickly answered “Touch me not”, which Arielle immediately reacted to with “Ma, that’s Noli Me Tangere!” Talk about too much homeschooling!:D
The next day, October 5, Saturday, was the date I had set to meet up with Bernadette Ramos. We’re both part of a closed group in Facebook whose members keep a blog. Dette doodles and paints with watercolor, the one medium that I am particularly interested to learn. When I started to see her blog posts and artworks she began sharing with the group, I couldn’t help but admire her work and she was very kind and willing to meet up with me and share what she knows! Initially, it was just supposed to be me and Dette, then another lady in the group also posted her watercolor painting, which just WOW-ed me! Her name is Diane Sese-Hernandez. So, I asked Dette if it was okay to invite her as well. Then, I remembered Cheryl F. Goodman, too, from Seattle, Washington, who’s in town for a couple of week and had told me that she would love to meet other moms while on her vacation here (Unfortunately, she got her schedules mixed up and she wasn’t able to join us that day). Lastly, I invited Patricia de Castro Cuyugan of MrsC’s Sugarcoated Life, because I remembered that she’s also from the south and had mentioned about “crafternoons” in one of her comments on a post. So, what started out as a meetup of two became a group of 4 ladies, all moms, who all have art in mind (and in heart!) and want to explore art as a form of self-espression. I personally wanted to learn from Dette and Diane who seem to be dabbling on watercolor painting for quite some time!
I decided to be at Starbucks-Alabang Town Center earlier than our agreed time (1:00/1:30 p.m.) since I initiaited this meetup and so I could also reserve that long table inside the coffee shop! Good thing I was able to. Patty arrived first and even before she came, she kept on telling me that she will just “watch” and be a “saling kit” (or extra; or someone not officially part of the group). She was hesitant to start anything on paper. But when Dette followed and she started to put on the table her caboodle of art materials (I had already put mine earlier to reserve the seats on the table! ), Dette and I were able to convince her some more to just draw according to her own style and to feel free to use our materials. It was really a free-flowing afternoon. We chatted over coffee, showed our doodle notebooks and pens, talked about our families, and a whole lot of etc., while we doodled-painted-drew on our own.
These water brushes, by the way, are my new discovery from Dette What a cool thing to have, especially when you’re on the go and traveling. You just put water inside the body of the pen brush, give it a little squeeze to let the water come out, and dab it on your watercolor set!
Here’s Patty starting to draw her animals, which according to her are like 2nd Grader drawings. I refuted her because we have a book on simple illustrations of animals which are not far off from her style. I HAVE to show her our collection of that series to prove to her that she has her own style of drawing, which she should not be ashamed of. She could even be an illustrator of a children’s book or perhaps, tags and greeting cards!
At around 3:00 or 3:30 pm, Dianne arrived. She hasn’t even taken a seat yet and she was already showing her bubbly self and started to talk about art! She came with her “toolbox” of art stuff, which she so happily opened up and showed the contents to us, and even pulled out a wide paintbrush and explained why it is handy to have one! Patty and I couldn’t help but look blankly at each other across the table, perhaps both of us thinking “Where did this jolly lady come from?” She has shared soooo much project ideas from the moment she arrived that I was both speechless and nodding my head all the time, agreeing to her brilliant ideas! To me, she is the Martha Stewart of the Philippines! It was as if she walked out of the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine, I’m not kiddin’! Diane is one COOL MOM, if I were to desribe her in just a few words!
Below are the pointilism works Dette and I immediately tried doing after Diane taught it to us that afternoon. Pointilism using colored pens or watercolor and not the usual black pen! Dette did the tree and I did the coffee cup. Definitely something new learned!
Sad that the meetup that turned into a mini art date and session had to come to an end. My mommy duty was calling and by 4:30 pm, I had to leave. Mike and I had to pick up our girls from their meetups too with friends. But I am really glad and thankful that this pushed through! I met new friends (playmates, you may say?) and learned a whole lot from them! Thank you, Patty, Dette, and Diane for accepting the invitation to meet up! I’m looking forward to our next!
And that’s how my 44th birthday weekend went. With my 4-some family and 4-new art friends Birthdays can be happy with simple activities and by surrounding yourself with people who make you smile, right?