Monday, January 30, 2012

A Place for Everything...Entryway

I have issues. Let's just get that out there right now. I have issues with random objects laying around in random locations. The entirety of my household inventory has its own designated place (yes, even the toys, and specific toys in specific bins at that).  It's just the way I am. I find joy in knowing where everything is (and the term control freak comes up yet again!). Many have critiqued me, saying I spend so much time cleaning/organizing/planning that I am missing out on the simple things in life. Aheeem.  Well, it has also been said that ten minutes of organizing is an hour gained in the future.  Besides, the simple things are mornings in which I am not frantically running around the house in a quest to find Sophia's other glove so she doesn't miss the bus.

Anyway, I digress.  My lovely sister, Miss Smitten (check out her blog, HERE, it's fabulous!), has requested I share some of my organization projects since the area is not her forte.  I am the stickler for order, and she is the creative free spirit.  So, in the effort to appease the spoiled brat (j/k, you know I love you...well, sometimes..), here goes:

Up here in AK, houses require an arctic entry...a foyer of sorts, where one could enter through the front door, shed outerwear and snowy boots, and pass through yet another door to the interior of the home. It serves as a buffer from the ridiculous cold and keeps interior plumbing from freezing and exploding. Fam Och's particular arctic entryway is a mere 5' x 6' box of a space.  But with the help of Ikea and Target, I've turned it into an orderly little area.

We don't have an Ikea here in Alaska. The closest one is in Washington state, and the majority of their goods are unavailable for shipping (meanies). But in the extensive research I performed after PCS notification, I was able to plan ahead and purchase the items I thought would fit in this cozy little base housing unit.

1) Tjusig in white.  Double duty as a coat rack, and storage platform on top. We also purchased another rack just like it minus the hat platform for the little ones' coats.

2) Stave mirror in white. Simple and clean and lovely. Perfect for last minute touchups. 

3) Stall shoe cabinet in white. This is the official dumping ground for my girls' shoes.  Really, it can only fit 8 pairs of adult shoes.  But so so much more itty bitty ones. One side is Liv's, the other Sophie's.

4) Canvas bins. The pair fit perfectly atop the coat rack. These store extra hats, gloves, scarves. 

5) Tsujig bench with shoe storage in white.  No need for hopping around on one foot trying to pull a shoe on.  Where the bigger shoes go.

6) Bright Vines Rug from Target.  Just a splash of color to liven up the area.  The gray hides dirt well...big plus!

7) Itso 3-compartment storage tray from Target.  For those in the fam with keys: Mister, Dylan, and yours truly have our own separate tray to toss keys, wallet, sunglasses, and other misc. stuff in. Fits perfectly atop the shoe cabinet.

8) A little Ikea one, to remind those who are super slow to get a move on it lest they miss their transportation to school!

9) Boot tray.  This is an essential piece as snow and ice stuck to our boots tend to leave a big muddy puddle on the floor. Conveniently, ours sits facing the vent which helps the boots dry more quickly.

Our Entryway:

Note that the children's coat rack is hung at their level. They can put their coats on and put them away all by themselves. Sophie's backpack belongs there as well.

So there you have it. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PI Vacay: Acuatico Resort...Paradise in Batangas

I've put this review off for a bit...afraid if I post too hastily, I would fail to give this locale justice. This mini excursion to Acuatico Resort is the unanimous pick for Fam Och Favorite of this particular vacation. Located in Laiya, Batangas, a seaside province about three hours south of Manila, this little bit of paradise dots the oceanfront alongside hundreds of other resorts.

 But this one...THIS ONE...takes the cake.  
It's always a fear that photos posted on the internet are Photoshopped, and come time for the actual in-person reveal, reality is disappointingly underwhelming.
Not so, here.  I've posted this pic pulled from a Google search. I kid you not, this is exactly what it looks like in person.  Those colors....those pretty aquamarine and turquoise colors...are pretty darn accurate.


Anyway, this resort is a small one, only able to accommodate a grand total of 70 guests at a time.  So it is quiet and intimate. Our party of 24 was probably the rowdiest. The beach beyond the pool area was nice enough. I am not really a beach person, so I really didn't go down there.  The sand is NOT fine sand; therefore water shoes or at the very least flip flops are recommended. 

BTW, I'm fairly certain Acuatico is THE only one in the area with an infinity pool. 

Upon arrival, your vehicle is directed within the gated resort. You would think a sudden gaggle of two dozen individuals appearing at the front lobby (which is beautifully done with a mosaic tile wall facing a darling waterfall across the receiving area) would incite a little panic.  But no, the staff immediately summoned complimentary iced gulaman drinks for everyone.  The porters were there in an instant, claiming our luggage as their burden, ready to lead us to our accommodations.

With our large group, my mother and I reserved four units, with ours being the largest Estancia room which can sleep 6 comfortably. The sliding glass door was our main entrance. Inside the first floor, there were two twin beds, a sitting area (where we fit an extra rollaway bed) with a 26" flat screen TV mounted on the wall, another queen bed with an area that could be curtained off, and the bathroom.

The room I shared with the hubby was up the stairs, past that pretty balcony you see up there, in a separate area, with its own key. There was also a TV there, although who would want to watch when you have all that fun to do outside?

I did not take a picture of the bathroom, unfortunately, which is a shame, since I am very particular with the state of the bathroom facilities in any place I choose to stay. In the Philippines,  it's common to expect impressive sleeping areas but subpar bathrooms.  I don't exactly understand this phenomenon, but in that country, it seems that bathrooms are an afterthought. Anyway...I digress...the bathroom in this unit was nicely done.  Because it is the larger unit, there are two toilets in separate frosted glass stalls. They flush great, there are hooks on the wall, they look new. Only thing is, if you're tall, you probably wouldn't be able to close the glass door to do your business. There was a hair dryer (nothing spectacular), toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste). In the same bathroom, there are two shower stalls (heated water! This is a rare thing, people) also enclosed in frosted glass walls.

I appreciated the little details like the keyring. I wore it as a bracelet so I wouldn't just leave it laying around.  There were mini jars of a local specialty cookie called "uraro", and they were delicious. White flip flops were provided. Large white bath towels were plentiful, as well as yellow and white striped beach towels. I was glad to have a hanging rack for our wet clothes available for use as well.

Oh, and the linens were at least 600TC, thank goodness.

Outside food and beverages were not allowed on the premises, instead meals were served buffet style.  Breakfast was included in the published rates, although lunch and dinner were separate expenses. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was good enough. There was a large variety of both local and Western dishes.

We all had a great time. I even swam and didn't care how dark I got.  Now that's having fun. LOL