It’s been an Upshaw Family tradition to celebrate a member’s birthday for an entire week, or even an entire month if the family members can only spend weekends together. The celebration, of course, does not have to happen every single day of the whole week, or on consecutive days, but more like spread out on different days, focusing on a different set of activities or agenda at a time. We usually choose to do it on the weekends of the birthday month. We’ve been doing it this way so that we don’t feel rushed trying to get everything done in one day for the birthday celebrant — shopping, dining, watching a movie, going on a trip, etc. What’s truly special and fun about this tradition is that the birthday boy or girl gets to decide where to go and what activities to do for his/her special day (and every time, the rest of the Upshaw crew prays hard that the celebrant will choose some place nice and something that all of us will get to enjoy, hehe!). However, that’s just something we love joking about. The truth is that it’s that time once a year when it’s truly all about the birthday celebrant, and for so long as the choices are within Big Daddy’s budget and the plan is realistic in terms of logistics and schedule, we basically let the celebrant make the decisions and we refuse to give our input or to try to influence him/her in those decisions, unless of course it’s a surprise party.
One Sweet Day, One Sweet Princess
Two Saturdays ago, November 24th, was that one day entirely dedicated to my darling daughter, Arra Upshaw, as she celebrated her 16th year on Mother Earth. Sadly, her Dad (a.k.a. Big Daddy Rick Upshaw) couldn’t join us in the festivities since he’s still trying to slowly regain his strength coming out of a heart attack, followed by a seizure recently. So following our tradition, Arra chose what activities to do and which places to go to on which days.
Day 1: Pepper Lunch
We started our mini celebration (sans Big Daddy) with lunch at Pepper Lunch in SM Mall Of Asia. Since our birthday girl loves curry dishes, this was her first choice for a restaurant. Arra got the Curry Rice with Chicken and Mushroom, while I ordered the Curry Rice with Sliced Beef.
Even though we knew we gotta mix the rice and meat together very quickly, we just had to pause for some quick picture-taking. Sensya na, Baby. Blogger ang Mommy eh, hehe!
There was nothing outrageously fancy about Arra’s choice for a restaurant or the meal that we had but we were extremely satisfied with it and we both enjoyed our “mother-daughter bonding” time together. The whole time, we just both wished Big Daddy was there with us.
After lunch, we watched a local movie, “24/7 In Love” which was a romantic comedy anthology from Star Cinema. We did enjoy the movie. It was fun and entertaining to watch, no heavy drama scenes (which was ideal for anybody seeking to unwind or mag-relax relax lang), and in fact there were scenes that drew a good hearty laugh out of us (not to mention that our birthday girl only really wanted to see it because of Daniel Padilla!).
Day 2: da.u.de Tea Lounge
Day 2 of our celebration of Arra’s birthday happened the next day, Sunday, for lunch at da.u.de (da-you-deh) Tea Lounge in Bonifacio Global City. It was our first time to try it out. Most importantly, I was thankful to God that it wasn’t so difficult to locate, since I’m so bad with directions. Finding my way around unfamiliar places is scarier to me than any of the Paranormal Activity movies.
The place wasn’t very big but it was very clean; the design was classy and inviting (especially from the outside), and the ambiance was cozy. The walls were lined with shelves displaying different da.u.de tea products and huge bowls of dry tea leaves were displayed in the open so that customers can take a whiff and therefore get some idea on which tea to try out.
Our first da.u.de Tea Lounge experience was made even more special because of our waiter’s eagerness to serve and guide us in selecting our tea and meal entrees. Our waiter’s name was Pao and he truly exceeded all of our expectations regarding customer service! (You deserve a raise and a promotion, Pao! Thank you again.)
We first had some hot tea. Arra had the Xaouen White Tea and I had the Seffarine Herbal Tea. Then we started lunch off with some Gravlax and Feta Salad (Lemonada Tea-Cured Salmon, Salad Greens and Feta Cheese). Next, we ordered the Mushroom Mascarpone Pasta (Wild Mushrooms, Lemon Mascarpone Cream, Basil and Casarrecce). Then, we just had to try their famous da.u.de Burger (200g Beef Patty, Cherry Compote, Corn Wasabi Mayonnaise, Greens and Potato Wedges) which was — true to the rumors — one of THE BEST-TASTING burgers in town! For drinks, Arra ordered the Coconut Genmaicha (Coconut Green Tea, Coconut Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Toasted Pinipig) and mine was the Cajun Watermelon Smash (Afrikaan Oolong, Watermelon, Cilantro, Cucumber, Cayenne Pepper). I loved that they put cilantro and cucumber, which added some extra “crunch” to the drink! It was refreshingly different.
Finally, we had macarons for dessert. Arra and I were disappointed with the portion size. They were ridiculously tiny, in my opinion! When I tweeted about this, da.u.de Owner/Managing Director and Philippines’ first certified “Tea Master”, Renee Sebastian, responded by saying that two small macarons are actually equal to one regular-sized macaron. She also added that she actually likes it that way since that allows her to try out two flavors instead of just one. I told her that although I did understand what she meant, I still find the portion size “underwhelming” in terms of experiencing the full flavor (different strokes for different folks, I guess!). View the interaction here.
To be frank, I’m a little taken back that she didn’t seem to value my input any more than that. Perhaps offering both options to your customers might be a better way of handling customer input rather than to argue with a customer by insisting on your own personal preference as the owner. Wouldn’t that be a better way of turning unsatisfied customers into loyal ones? Just my opinion.
With only the “tiny” exception of the macarons (no pun intended…LOL!), Arra and I very much enjoyed our visit to da.u.de Tea Lounge. In fact, we intend to go back very soon to try out other items on their menu, especially their spiked teas (oh yeah!).
Day 3: Another Movie Date
Day 3 of our celebration happened on Thursday of the following week. Arra and I watched the DreamWorks animated film, Rise of the Guardians, which has a really good storyline and would be a fun movie for the whole family to watch this Holiday Season.
Icing On The Birthday Cake!
Of course, no birthday celebration would be truly complete without even a small present for the birthday girl! So these were what we got our Sweet Princess for her “Sweet 16th”.
It looks so much like a wedding band, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is a replacement ring to Arra’s old Purity Ring. Rick and I promised Arra that whenever we get the chance, we will replace her Purity Ring with a better one. I got this beautiful stainless steel ring from Inori. Inori makes affordable but very charming wedding rings that I would strongly recommend to engaged couples who are planning their wedding around a very tight budget. By the way, “inori” is a Japanese word that means “prayer” or “adoration”.
Now, this one was the biggest deal for Arra! She’s been coveting The Hunger Games Trilogy collection for quite some time now, particularly the second book ’cause she was long finished reading the first. Arra was extremely happy and couldn’t stop thanking us after she opened this birthday present!
HAPPY SWEET 16TH, ARRA! YOU STILL ARE AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR BABY GIRL!
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