Category: KL Home

Christmas 2016 Series: Casual Table Setting for the Holidays

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IKEA-Christmas-Vinter-2016-Table Set-Up-Setting-Casual-Holiday

So it begins. The deluge of holiday celebrations has begun! The past couple of days have been busier than ever with work and evening holiday events taking up most of our time.

Knowing that we’ll be hosting a couple of holiday get-togethers at home as well, I thought I’d do a bit of a run through with the table set-up for this season. Since I will be doing a lot of cooking, I want the set-up bit to be quick and easy. My husband and I agreed that we’ll be doing casual get-togethers this year to keep the ambiance relaxed, easy, and fun. However, I still want a touch of elegance.

It’s doable, I tell you.

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Expat Life: Trying out Haftarent – Malaysia’s Hassle-Free and Long Term AirBnB

** This is a review of the service. For my article about Haftarent on Forbes, click here.

Being married to a diplomat, I’ve been thrusted into a life that entails periodic moves for the next couple of decades. Not that I’m complaining but I have to be honest here: While moving to a different country may be a fun adventure, the moving process itself is stressful. Those who tell you otherwise, are lying.

All the farewell dinners you have to be in where you’ll feel sad knowing that it will be a while before you see your family and friends, the tedious packing, the journey, and finally arriving at your destination – these can really take their toll on your energy reserves. When we arrived in Malaysia, there was the flat hunting to consider, the furniture, how we would decorate our home, and settling in. Again, fun yet tiring.

We got lucky that our embassy has a go-to landlord and once my husband and I visited the units in his building, we fell in love with the location, the size of the unit, and the view. (A separate post on moving, flat hunting, and buying furniture in KL coming up!)

That part was easy for us, thank goodness. A lot of expats in Malaysia, however, are not as lucky. I’ve heard of flat hunting that took from several days to weeks and people who had to deal with inconsistent deposits.

I was recently introduced to a new service that a lot of expats and diplomats can use for convenience. Haftarent is a service that connects landlords to possible renters and all transactions are done online. I tried it out last month and here’s how the experience went:

Booking and checking in

Booking through the site was a breeze and so was check in during a sunny weekday. I was met by one of Haftarent’s people at the lobby of Vipod Residences where the unit I will be staying in was located. I chose this building among the properties listed on the site due to its location. It’s along Jalan Kia Peng, a street that’s a few minutes from Pavilion Mall, the KL Convention Centre, Suria KLCC, and the Petronas Towers.

Also, I was quite curious with this building. Alvin and I considered renting here but after seeing our current unit, we never looked back. Later on, a Singaporean diplomat told us that her unit in Vipod (which is a new building, only a few years old) has cockroaches. I still went for the Vipod property though since I heard they have a gorgeous pool. I was praying not to see roaches as we went up as I am deathly afraid of them.

Spoiler alert: No roaches. Whew! Thanks goodness for neat landlords.

When I arrived, this is what welcomed me:

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[PROMO CLOSED] Good to Know: Bloom This Flower Subscription Box (GET YOUR OWN FOR FREE with this special order code!)

Bloom This, Flower, Delivery, Florist, Flower Delivery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Penang, Delivery Service, Flowers, Peonies, Roses, Subscription Box, Flower Subscription I love flowers. I love buying them and I love receiving them. I love them looking pretty in a vase inside our home, brightening up the rooms and letting their sweet scent fill the air.

My grandma loves flowers so much that she has her own, small garden of orchids and other tropical flowers back in Manila. I think I got the flower-lovin bug from her. Though I must admit that patience isn’t one of my strongest suits so growing them on  my own and tending to them daily is something that might just never happen.

In Manila, I had a special relationship with my personal florist. Seeing as we’ve been friends since we were 15, I’ve been spoiled with flowers for a loooong time. (If you’re reading this – Hi Chuckay!)

Since moving here to Malaysia, my husband and I haven’t gotten around to getting flowers for the home even though we often say that we would. This is mainly because of two reasons: flowers are a bit pricey in the KLCC area and we just don’t know where to get nice ones.

Along came Bloom This, a company that offers luxury subscription boxes for flowers and delivers them right on to your doorstep! The moment I learned about this service from my friend Tammy (due to her post and Bloom This’ appearance at the Blogging 101 workshop that Tammy organised), I was over the moon.

The prices are so affordable and the flowers you get are the ones you’d actually like to be in your home – luxury flowers, as the company calls it. Just last week, I was the envy of my friends back in Manila, my mom, and a couple of other friends here in KL when they saw that I have peonies at home. That’s right! Peonies! <3 <3 (more…)

Having The In-Laws Over (8 Tips on How to Survive Their Visit)

I’m back!

My in-laws have just left for the airport along with the husband’s aunt and uncle. Hugs were exchanged and reminders were made. A truckload of unsolicited yet welcome advice (and they were actually good to keep in mind) for a lasting marriage were given. There were a teeny bit of tears (though I won’t say who cried *wink,wink*) and “please come back soons”.

The past two weeks we had them over were fun (we got to show them around KL and Singapore) but very tiring nonetheless. So here I am, just a couple of hours after they left, sitting on our couch and munching on M&Ms. I refuse to move from this spot and I am just listening to the sound of my breathing. Everything is so quiet and now, I can relax. Wow. It feels totes foreign. Our home was filled with people for the past two weeks and now it’s back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong. I love having visitors and I love my in-laws. My husband’s family members have been nothing but nice to me. But you know how it is when you have visitors – it’s stressful. Even for my husband and they’re HIS actual parents and blood relatives. I guess it comes with the Filipino trait of being hospitable. We go out of our way to be very welcoming. Put it this way – you see those tourism slogans of other Asian countries who say that they’re also hospitable? Quadruple their hospitality and that’s the only time you’ll know that you’re getting treated the Filipino way. Have you ever heard of people letting visitors sleep in their bedroom while they camp out in the living room? No, Sorry. Alvin and I are not that hardcore. But a lot of Filipinos do that to make sure their guests are comfortable. And we don’t just do this for our families, we do it for friends and even acquaintances. So when we say we’re having guests over, I just know I’m gonna need at least a week to recuperate from all the traveling and tour guiding I’ve been doing.

While I’m lucky to have in-laws that are nice to me (my mother-in-law, a person I expected to make my life hell after seeing all those rom-coms is actually very motherly to me), I must admit that I was very anxious before their arrival and I’m sure most other married women there would agree. Whether your in-laws are loveable like mine or monsters from hell, it will always make you anxious to know that they’re coming. It’s like having VIPs as visitors.

I think my anxiety came from the urge to prove that I’m taking good care of their son and our home, despite us living alone abroad. They know I didn’t grow up like most Filipina women do. I grew up trained to be a career woman and not a homemaker. So I guess I wanted to put all their worries to rest and give the impression that  “I got this.”

And I’m glad to say that I did it. Successfully, of course. I actually feel proud about this achievement and I’m pretty sure that Alvin’s parents left Malaysia loving me even more. I’m quite sure I left a good impression on his aunt and uncle too whom I met for the first time when they arrived here for their short vacation.

So here’s a random (and honest) list of just a couple of things I learned from this visit which I hope will help any anxious newlywed out there who’s having in-laws over for the first time:

1. Clean the house

A disorderly house means one thing to in-laws: You’re not taking care of your home well enough. If you have a day job, you might get away with the house not being close to perfect. Like having a scarf laid down on a console table or leaving the remote controls in the dining table. But make no mistake about it: The pressure is greater for the stay-at-home wife.

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