renewed our domain name! :)

While this wedding blog of ours is currently "just" hosted for free on Blogger, I pay for its domain name every year. I think this is the only personal blog of mine that has its own domain name~ which is not surprising because this is a very special blog :) Our domain name is www.solito-elbanbuena.info -- the first name is my surname and the second one is hubby's surname. We chose .info instead of .com because this blog was made to provide information to our wedding guests. This blog is where we chronicled how we planned our wedding last 2008, this is where we posted our wedding pictures and honeymoon posts, and this is where we first introduced our baby girl last March 2010. Indeed this is a very special blog! Spending $10 a year for its domain name is just peanuts considering the blog's sentimental value :)

Currently I'm planning a big move~ transforming this personal wedding blog to a full-fledged website that will offer up-to-date information regarding Davao City's wedding business. I have received many inquiries about wedding planning in Davao and though I am able to provide help, my information is still lacking. Often I tell those who seek my help to just call up the wedding businesses themselves to get the current and up-to-date prices and wedding packages. Anyway, in line with the plan to transform this blog, I am looking for an affordable and reliable website host. I previously blogged about web-hosting weeks before so I won't go into it anymore. I know managing a website is a hassle as compared to just using a free blog platform, but hey, I really feel this is the next step up for our wedding blog!


do you have a wedding photo album?

Last Sunday, my bestfriend who got married last May stopped by our house and gave my share of photos from her wedding. I was uber-excited to see the pictures coz it was our baby Iya's first outing. It was also my first public appearance since I gave birth and I was quite happy with my body after 6 weeks of being a mom. Hehe! If you wanna read how it went (and how I look like, LOL), see my only post last June ^_^

Anyway, back to the wedding photos. As I said I was very excited to see it. I was also excited to see my bestfriend's wedding photo album. For me, the high price we paid for our wedding photographer package (which included a crystal album, lots of loose pictures, framed huge photos, CDs and DVDs) was well worth it. Truth be told, next to the wedding reception expense, the photographer's fee was the most expensive. But it was worth every penny coz we absolutely adored our wedding album! I can't wait to flip through it with Labsie when we'll be 50 years married.. =) Thus my excitement in viewing other couples' wedding photo albums, hehe!

Unfortunately, my bestfriend did not bring hers last Sunday. Huhu! I hope next time she drops by our house, she'll have it. It would be sooo good to reminisce the wonderful wedding they had in Eden Nature Park and Resort. Such a great, great place to have a wedding! Cool mountain air, lots of pretty pine trees, awesome views and yummy food! Anyway, here's a lovely shot from her wedding reception to end this post:


looking for a web host!

Webhosting For Newbies - Discover What To Look For In A Web Host & Get Started Using Your Account! AAA+++I guess it's about time to get a web host for all of my personal blogs. My baby Iya is nearing the 6-months mark, and though I plan to breastfeed until she's 1 year old, I am anticipating some extra free time. Time I will use to revive my blogs which I sorely neglected the past 5 months or so. In line with that, I am planning to move my blogs to a web host server. That is, if I find an affordable web host service. Currently I am looking over the best web hosting awards nominees to see which web host best fits my sites' needs and my budget.

For the technically challenged, a web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the internet (via Wikipedia). Web hosts provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients, i.e. me ^_^ It is very useful especially if your blog or site uses a lot of photos. Blogger (where this blog is currently hosted) only has limited space for free users like me. Anyway, these are just but plans until I find a reliable and affordable host. If you know one, lemme know! =)


posted by Melissa Solito on 12:59 PM under

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happy birthday to ME!

Yes, I just turned 29 years old ~ my last birthday before hitting the big 3-0! And soon, my age will be out of the calendar month, LOL! But who cares? At 27, I became a licensed medical doctor and married my bestfriend. At 28, I gave birth and became a mom to the best baby in the world.. And while motherhood was a bumpy ride (still is!), life can't get any better than this! ^_^ Well, may be it can if I win millions from the lottery and we wouldn't have to worry about our finances anymore, hehe!

On a side note, I would like to apologize to my blog readers for not updating this blog more than once a month. Being a hands-on and breastfeeding on-demand mother is very, very hectic. I have no yaya and I take care of our baby Iya full-time. To all those who questions on lucky 2010 wedding dates, please just read the blog post. Everything is there =) To those who have other queries, message me HERE. Thanks! And thank you for dropping by our wedding blog! I hope I have helped you plan the Davao wedding you have always dreamt of!

Underneath a libel washes the motorway.


my other bestfriend's wedding!

Last January, I wrote about my bestfriend's wedding wherein I was the matron of honor and our other bestfriend (BFF #2) is the maid of honor. Around a month ago, May 8 to be exact, BFF #2 got married herself! As usual I was the matron of honor along with BFF #1. Yep, we have gone full circle as these two were my maidens of honor in my October 2008 wedding. That's the three of us below.. ^_^
with our soulmates =)

Anyway, BFF #2 got married to the man of her dreams in cold and scenic Eden Nature Garden and Resort. The wedding ceremony was in a quaint chapel liberally decorated with white calla lilies and other white flowers. The wedding reception, on the other hand, was held in the resort’s highest point. It was a very lovely affair, the perfect beginning to my BFF #2’s forever with her soulmate. And the best thing? All but one of our high school barkada were present in the wedding! Yep, that's us below. Long live CJS-3! ;-)
Yes, I'm the one carrying the baby on right! In my BFF #1's wedding last January, I was 7 months pregnant. In this wedding, I'm a mom with a 6-weeks old baby! How time flies! =) I initially had reservations in bringing baby Iya with us (I've heard of baby travel horror stories!) but we really didn't have any choice as my parents were also participants in my BFF #2's wedding. We have no one to leave baby Iya with.. Anyhoo, my fears were for nothing coz our baby girl behaved perfectly. She just slept through the wedding prep down to the reception -- such a very good girl!
Of course, Labsie had so much to do with Iya's great disposition. That day, my hubby showed that he is a very excellent babysitter! Hehe! Now I'm having family vacation ideas, no qualms at all traveling with Iya as long as hubby is with us. We just have to make sure we pack everything Iya needs: baby sunglasses, toys, milk, clothes, diapers, etc, etc. Missing one baby item is a big no-no! The rule of the thumb when traveling with babies is PACK EVERYTHING! Anyway, to my BFFs, go hurry up and have babies already! Iya needs a playmate soon! ^_^


should we switch to a Wordpress theme?

This wedding blog of ours is around three years old. And though I find our cute mostly-white Blogger theme adequate, I sometimes dream of switching to a more polished wedding theme. Maybe even switch to Wordpress as it has more amazing templates that have options for total customization. As it is I'm looking at several websites that offer FREE Wordpress themes. Yep, Your wordpress templates site should offer free themes before I'll even consider visiting it, LOL! :p But, of course, I'm not saying I won't pay for an excellent wedding template. After all, it's for the betterment of this blog. Anyway, if you have a Blogger or Wordpress wedding blog template, please contact me. I just might use it! ^_^


CHOOSE: get lucky in online casinos or in love?

I'm sure most of the sentimental "fools" will choose get lucky in love (i.e. marry soulmate) while "mature" practical people will choose get lucky in online casinos (i.e. win lotsa money!!). But if you're smart, you'd choose BOTH. Who said you can't be both successful in love and in your finances? Hehe! :p Anyhoo, moving on to the point of this post..

In today's world, women are not just after finding the love of their life, they want to have financial stability too. Thus, more often than not, these women work hard so they can spend on anything they want without having to ask for their boyfriend or husband's money. Also, these women decided beforehand that before getting married, she should be financially secure (of course, the guy should be too). This is just in case that if the marriage will fail, she will not be left destitute with nothing to fall back on. While this kind of thinking is unromantic, it is very wise. Empowering even. And I'm all for it!

Unromantic as it may sound, being financially stable is the best thing you and your partner can "do" to have a successful marriage. In today's materialistic society, lacking money to buy the basic stuff plus shiny new toys can little by little break your marriage. Love is NOT enough to have a long-lasting marriage. But remember, money is NOT also everything. As with all things in this world, a successful marriage is a combination of many things, all done in moderation ^_^

Underneath a libel washes the motorway.


posted by Melissa Solito on 11:41 AM under

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finding the right wedding photographer

In two days, my other bestfriend will walk down the aisle and say I DO to her soulmate. And yes, I'm a matron of honor again -- as with my bestfriend #1's wedding last January ^_^ And of course, I helped a bit in the wedding preparation. I wasn't able to do much coz I just had a baby and I'm breastfeeding her on demand, i.e. I'm my daughter's slave. Hehe! Anyway, I guess one of my "important contribution" to my BFF #2's wedding is their choice of wedding photographer. They so love him and his crew during my wedding two years ago that they decided to get him without researching on other wedding photographers. Good for them!

My hubby and I, on the other hand, had a hard time finding the "right" wedding photographer back then. We wanted the best one in our city but we can't afford him (figures, LOL) so we had to find someone in our price range but will also do a great job. Our solution? Find up and coming talented wedding photographers: talented = great photos, up and coming = fee is still affordable, hehe! ^_^ Anyway, here are tips on how to choose a wedding photographer:

1. Most important: how much are you willing to pay the photographer? Your budget will determine the wedding photographers you can hire.
2. Ask your family and friends for referrals. This is what my BFF #2 did. With this, you can be assured that the wedding photographer will do a good job. Well, if s/he is consistent that is :p
3. Decide what style of wedding photography you want. Some couples want their photos to be quirky and artsy while others want formal and classic pictures.
4. When you finally find a wedding photographer that you can afford, does your photo style and has a good track record, meet him/her in person before you book. Sometimes you might not like the photographer's attitude and your wedding photo sessions will not be as smooth and joyous as it should be. It's important you get along so you will have great photos ^_^


posted by Melissa Solito on 10:26 AM under ,

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baby Iya's here! ^_^

After 9 long months, our firstborn is finally here! And no, we don't need a fancy birth announcement to trumpet her arrival to the world, a post about baby Iya in all of my 5 personal blogs will do. Hehe! That's how we do it in the Internet age baby! ;-) Anyway, that's her below. She’s 3 days old there and oh-so cute! *pinches Iya's cheeks* Our daughter, Iya Elycia S. Elbanbuena, was born on March 20, 2010 at 9:48pm in Brokenshire Integrated Hospital Ministries, Inc. via normal delivery. She weighed 5.7lbs or 2.6kg, same as my birth weight 28years ago =) I was in labor for around 24 hours (or more accurately, admitted for 24 hours) before I gave birth to our princess. See, I had epidural anesthesia (for "painless" delivery) and that delays the birthing process. Anyhoo, all is well now and we're just enjoying our sleepless nights with her :p

Having a baby is perhaps the most challenging thing I ever did. Truth is, I never wanted to have a kid coz I know that would end my nice and easy life. But the Lord had different plans and to my husband's delight, I got pregnant on the ninth month of our marriage. A lot of baby announcements were sent out as our family and relatives were also waiting for us to get pregnant :p And as we celebrated our 1 year and 6 months of blissful togetherness, Labsie and I received baby Iya. Talk about perfect timing -- in the first 9 months of our marriage, we were a family of 2; in the second 9 months, we were the pregnant married couple; and now as we enter the third 9 months, we are a family of 3. I wonder what the fourth 9 months will bring? Our second child?? *shudders* -_-

Anyway, talking about birth announcements, I tried making one at HelloLucky.com -- that's it below. So pretty in pink huh?? Love it! And I so love the site! Hello Lucky is a premier designer of letterpress wedding invitations, greeting cards, birth announcements and stationery. They offer Christmas cards, birthday cards, party invitations, wedding shower invitations, baby shower invitations, and even Halloween cards. If you need retro wrapping paper, custom birth announcements, a unique party invitation, bridal shower invitation, or an engaging greeting card, their website is the place to go to! As you can see with Iya's birth announcement, you can customize what you put in your invite. That's total control and we all know that's what makes OC moms (like me) and party planners go wild with happiness! ^_^


Destination Wedding: Macau! More than just casinos..

Macau may be known as Asia's gambling capital or Vegas of the East but its so much more than that! I've been there for our second honeymoon and believe me, it's a great place for romantic weddings or proposals ^_^ Of course, the casinos there are superb attractions on their own and even a non-gambler like me (I do play online casino games but just for fun and not to gamble :p) was impressed with their efficiency and grandeur. Anyway, if you're into online casinos, poker and other games, go check out TX Casino Games -- they rate the best casino games and websites on the Internet for addicted players like you :p

So what's in Macau aside from casinos? Tons of luxury hotels, museums and historical sites! And if you're an adrenaline junkie, there's the Macau Tower for your bungee jumping purposes ;-) Imagine getting married while bungeeing in the air! Supah fun and your wedding will definitely be one-of-a-kind! Also imagine getting married along the canals of The Venetian Macau -- sooo romantic! And you need not spend Euros to get that authentic atmosphere of Venice ;-) And if you and your future partner is into history, why not get married in Macau's beautiful old churches? Or maybe St. Paul's awesome church ruins is more to your liking. Yup, that's its below -- beautifully preserved for your upcoming wedding! ;-)
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


the push gift

As you all probably know, I'm pregnant and this month I'm expected to give birth to our princess =) Truth of the matter is, I'm just counting the days til I go into labor. And that scares the hell out of me coz I have a low threshold for pain -- and everybody knows labor and delivery is PAINFUL -_- To help me contain the fear of labor, I requested hubby to give me a push gift or a push present. So what is it? It's a gift a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. It's something to "reward" the mom (me) for (painfully) pushing the baby into the world. So, what did I ask from hubby? Big and small things -- some achievable, some just to distract me from the upcoming pain of labor and delivery ;-) Here's my push gift wishlist:

1. That hubby will share in baby duties (feeding, diapering, etc) and be a hands-on dad ^_^
2. Artemis Fowl books (The Lost Colony and The Time Paradox), in paperback please
3. Mineral makeup!! To hide my upcoming eyebags and sallow skin due to sleep deprivation :p
4. Apple's iPad!! Or Amazon's Kindle! Basta, an e-book reader
5. Nintendo Wii with all the trimmings! I'll use this to lose weight (by playing the sporty and Wii Fit games) if breastfeeding won't cut it
6. Trip to UK so I can eat authentic fish and chips!! LOL! For some reason I'm craving that dish and some pub alcohol (its been nearly a year since I had something spiked, gahh)

The first place I’d visit in UK is London. It’s the hub of Great Britain and the sight I really, really want to see is the London Bridge! I’ve been hearing about this since I was a child, via the silly nursery rhyme, and I wanna see if it’s really falling down, falling down.. Hehe! Of course I'll see Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben too. And not to be missed are the great Restaurants and Pubs London. I can almost taste the fried fish and chips plus the ice-cold ale to wash it all down. Nomnomnom! ^_^ Out of the many Restaurants London, one that I will not fail to visit is Gordon Ramsay's (of Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares fame) MAZE. It's a one Michelin star restaurant and the reviews I've read about their tasting menu (4, 5 or 6 courses) is making me salivate. Anyway, celebrity chef Ramsay has tons of restaurants and pubs in UK and around the world AND he has a total of 21 Michelin stars. Isn't that amazing?? Now all I need is for hubby to grant my UK trip push gift so I can savor Ramsay's cooking! :p


Till death do us part..

Or till nursing homes do us part? I know, I know.. Such a bleak topic for a wedding blog but this is part and parcel of marriage -- you know, the thing that comes after your dream wedding? Hehe! As I've said before, what comes after the wedding is more important than having your ultimate grandiose wedding. Sure, you got your fairytale ceremony and reception but horror of horrors, you failed to talk with your hubby about finances, having kids, religion, growing old and where you'll be in your twilight years, etc, etc prior to the wedding. End result? Lots of misunderstandings and heartaches in the marriage. It might even end -- all because you didn't talk about important stuff prior to the wedding.

Anyway, earlier this day, I watched a documentary about old married couples who were separated unnecessarily when their kids decided to put them in nursing homes. Just imagine spending more than 50 years with your loving spouse doing everything together then s/he's snatched away from you and s/he's not dead! What a heartache! =( One couple, who owned a successful cleaning franchise, related how their kids got tired of taking care of them thus sending them off to nursing homes. I was appalled! I couldn't do that to my parents -- they're the ones who took care of me when I was still unable to do anything on my own, then even as an adult they were always there. This kind of devotion can only be repaid by taking care of them in their twilight years.. I wouldn't dream of separating them through nursing homes! -_-


i'm back!!

Where have I been? When you're pregnant and is in the third trimester, there's only one answer to that question -- sleeping in our BED! Hehe! Seriously, I've been hibernating since I hit the eight month of my pregnancy. After hubby leaves for work, I just sleep the whole morning then wake up for lunch. If I feel good (no contractions, no backache, not sleepy, etc), I do household chores and go online. Sometimes I arrange our bedroom (I do this little by little) to accommodate baby Iya's stuff. However, it's hard moving furnitures when you're very much pregnant so our bedroom is basically just the same even up to now :p

Anyway, lately, I have been very busy online -- buying baby clothes and other items from eBay, Multiply and other online stores. I have also been researching travel stuff coz I'm itching to have R & R after I gave birth. For sure I'll use the expedia coupons a friend emailed me awhile back -- it would certainly save us a lot! A friend asked me whether buying online is cheaper than buying in malls, the answer is a resounding YES! Most of the baby stuff I bought were more than 50% cheaper than in retail stores. Also, for more savings and to avail free shipping, you can use coupons that online stores give away =)

Guess that's about it for now.. Hope to blog more before our baby girl comes out. Worse comes to worse, you'll probably hear from me for sure by March to announce Iya's arrival ^_^ For now, I bid you good day! Hehe!


my bestfriend's wedding!

For the past few weeks I've been publishing posts that will help my bestfriend in her wedding planning. Well guys, she finally tied the knot last January 9, 2010! ^_^ And I was there, 7 months pregnant and all, to cheer her on. My other bestfriend and our highchool gang were also there to witness their vows of forever. It was a fun time and it was sooo great to see my old friends again! Here are some of our rather blurred pictures, hehe!
- me at St. Francis Parish with 2 naughty kids at the back :p -
[ my gorgeous bouquet is by Spring Flowers ]
- the gang minus the bride at the reception in Sunnypoint Function Plaza -
- the gang with the bride minus Reynald -
- me with hubby at the reception || happy coz I don't look pregnant here! -


bride's emergency kit

One week to go and I'm gonna walk down the church aisle again -- this time as a matron of honor in my bestfriend's wedding! I'm super excited coz this is my first time to be a matron ("maid" if I were still single, hehe) of honor. And even if I'm seven months pregnant, I'll try to help my bestfriend any way I can during the church ceremony and wedding reception =) For today, I'll share what should be included in a bride's emergency kit:

- Nail file
- Nail polish in the bride's shade
- Makeup and loose powder (for retouches)
- Straws (for drinking without messing up lipstick)
- Extra stockings
- Hairspray
- Brush and comb
- Bobbypins and hair elastics
- Hairdryer
- Antacids and Cheap Tramadol (for tummy aches & headaches )
- Eye-drops (to reduce eye redness due to happy tears, hehe)
- Tissues and hankies
- Lint brush
- Earring backs
- Iron


our 2010 material wishlist

I really put "material" there coz we have other wishes for 2010 that can't be bought, and can just be given by Lord as His blessing =) Without further ado, here's our small family's material wishes:

1. The Sims 3: World Adventures (the first expansion pack!)
2. 500gb external hard drive (or 1 terabyte if you can afford it, hehe)
3. baby stuff for age 6-9 months.. in PINK please! ^_^
4. two netbooks or laptop if it fits your budget ;-)
5. gift certificate to Stahl Eye Center so Labsie and I can finally have LASIK and have our eyes corrected =) you can also opt to sponsor the surgery if you're that loaded, hehe
6. money!!! lots of it!

P.S. LASIK is an acronym for "laser in situ keratomileusis" and means the use of a laser to (re)shape the intact, living cornea so the eye can focus light more accurately. This then reduces or eliminates the need for us to use glasses or contact lenses. And the best part is, surgery recovery can be as little as a few hours! Awesome!