Life Lately

It’s Thanksgiving week and I am getting all the feels! More on this later. 😉

Since my last update, a few cool, fun-fun-fun things happened!

We had visitors from the Philippines and Singapore! Two of my mom’s sisters, their husbands, and my cousin came to visit us for a week. Because the visit was quick, we tried to make the most of it and did something every day they were here. It was such a joy to see my mom so happy spending time with her sisters. Of course, the goodbyes are never easy, and it wasn’t easy this time around.

Welcome (back) to California! I’m pretty sure this was the only picture with all of us!
Sisters at Apple Hill! ❤

We also attended two of our good friends’ wedding at the Bentley Reserve in San San Francisco. It was a great day celebrating two amazing people and a beautiful wedding! The bride’s family came all the way from Brazil! Too bad the only “couple pic” we took with the bride and groom was dark and you can hardly see us. Oh well, haha! Congrats, David and Nayra!

Photo Booth photos from the wedding, of course!

During Veterans Day weekend, we flew down to San Diego to celebrate my good friend Randy’s birthday! We were only there for the weekend, but it felt so much longer. I’m pretty sure my liver was not ready for that. Hah! We also stayed at an AirBnB for the first time. We shared a two-bedroom flat on a hill, and aside from the complicated parking arrangement, it was pretty neat experience! Of course, when in San Diego, you go to the beach and eat at Hodads. Yum!

Serenity… take me back!
F & M Reunion!

So hey, about all those feels?! One year ago, my family and I were doing last minute errands, arrangements, and touristy things in preparation for my wedding! AHHH! All the memories. Ohh my gosh!

Fall and NWM

Well, my absolute favorite season is here – FALL! The delicious comfort food (mostly desserts), the beautiful colors outdoors, and the crisp air without it being too cold… OHH YEAH!! I am currently sitting here with a Maple Pecan Frappuccino from Starbucks. For the record, I usually get the fall flavors once or twice during the season, and then go back to my classics. Sometimes, though, I get obsessed and order it five times in a row. 😉 I am also watching some post-season baseball! My team is not in it this year, but it’s always exciting to watch no matter what. I just love baseball! Football is back, too, and what a downer that has been for our household. Our team just can’t get it together! Next week, we are going to our basketball team’s home opener! Go Kings! See? Lots of good things this time of the year.

In case you are wondering why I am posting in the middle of the day on a Monday, well… it’s an observed holiday for our company. NWM = No Work Monday! But even if it weren’t, I think they might have sent us home early today anyway. You see, I work in the Napa Valley, and what is going on over there right now? A massive fire! It has gone rapidly through other counties as well, and some of my coworkers have either evacuated or are on alert. They have also been without electricity since about two this morning. Please keep the residents, visitors, animals, and businesses who are affected in your thoughts and prayers. Last time I checked, two hospitals have already been evacuated. This really hurts me because many of my favorite people and sceneries are in that immediate area.

Other than that… I am looking forward to next week! Other than the Kings game, my nephew and his parents (my brother and sister-in-law) are coming back from their vacation in the Philippines! I miss him so much. Haha! I also get to see my optometrist for my annual check-up, and hopefully, she has good news for me.

Have a great Monday, y’all!

Weekend Recap

Is it already Sunday night? Weekends are so unfair. They take forever to get here, and then they’re over in a snap! Ugh. But hey, I had a fantastic weekend, so I guess it’s alright. I just always wish the weekends were longer.

Yesterday, Mike and I spent the day with the dogs in San Francisco. I love San Francisco! It makes me so sad that we don’t go there as often as we used to, which was at least once a week! I wish we could afford to live there also, but it’s whatever. Ha! Anyway, we finally got our fix of Salt & Straw ice cream. I have been craving that thing for a couple of years now, since our last trip to Portland. I got Honey Lavender and Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache. Oh. My. Gosh. AMAZING! Mike got Peach Vinegar Cobbler with Toasted Nutmeg and Bone Marrow & Smoked Cherries (so brave). We waited maybe around ten/fifteen minutes in line, but even if we had waited longer, it would not have mattered. Aside from the ice cream being worth it, we were also entertained by all the dogs roaming around with their humans.

After getting our ice cream fix, we took the dogs to Crissy Field – East Beach. We walked around for a bit, got to know a few other dogs, and then called it a day. It was such a beautiful day in the city – warm sun and cool breeze, my favorite SF weather. I wish we didn’t have to leave so soon, but we did.

Last night, Mike’s parents and sister came over for dinner and to watch boxing (#CaneloGGG). Because it was such a last minute invite, we had to whip up something quick. We came up with Sweet & Sour Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and rice (of course). Beer, soda, and dessert were optional. As for the fight, I thought there was a clear cut winner, but the judges thought otherwise. Oh well.

After everyone left, Mike and I spent the rest of the evening at my parents’ house. Everyone was there so it was fun. We didn’t sleep until around 6:30 in the morning! Haha! I’m still tired. But we woke up early to pick up our cruise voucher, then lunch and Niners game. I had chicken lettuce wraps and mango mojito. So good! I wish I could have another pitcher of the mojito. Ha!

Clearly, my girls were not interested in taking a picture.
Favorite ice cream in my favorite city!
My handsome guy. ❤


The past weeks have been very devastating for our nation and for the world. My heart goes out to all those who are affected, and I am praying for you all. Of course, we also remembered what happened sixteen years ago. As many do every year, I watched the videos of those planes crashing in to the towers and the aftermath over and over and over again. I can still vividly remember that morning and how scared the entire nation was. Sigh… still so heavy.

Moving on…

Have you ever seen so many fireflies in your life? Over the weekend, my parents’ backyard was a surprising showcase of these fascinating little insects. They covered a couple of the trees twinkling their lights, and it was just oh-so beautiful to watch. We tried to take pictures but nothing could do the sight justice, and just our luck, the battery on my SLR camera died. Nevertheless, it was gorgeous, and our family was in complete awe.

Special mention… today is my Nanay’s birthday. Nanay is what we grew up calling our maternal grandmother. Though she is no longer with us physically, we feel her love every single day. I miss her and I know my mom misses her so much more. ❤

Karen’s US Visit

When family come to visit us in California, we try our best to make it as fun and as memorable as we can! We forego hours of sleep just to maximize our time with one another, and we will go the distance to make sure everyone has a great time. The past week was no exception.

In a week’s notice, my family and I found ourselves laughing our butts off while spending time with my cousin, Karen. She lives in Qatar, but has been on an extended holiday from work. After her stays in London and the Philippines, she booked a ticket to LAX. Mike and I set out to meet her and her friends at Disneyland, and then took her back to the Bay Area with us that evening. Her time was limited and planned out, so over her weekend with us, we took her to Napa Valley and Monterey. She also went to San Francisco and other local places for a quick shopping. I felt horrible that we couldn’t accompany her to Las Vegas and Arizona, but the brave girl in her, she made the trip alone.

When I found out that I could get Saturday (9/2) off, I got in touch with her friend in LA. I knew she was going to be picking her up from the bus station and then taking her to the airport for her flight back to the Philippines. Mike and I set out late in the evening and met Karen and her friends on Melrose Avenue. As predicted, she was overcome with so much joy that she started crying. Ah! We had limited time, so we took her “LA Wall” pictures and had breakfast at The Griddle Cafe. After a quick stop at Party City, it was time to finally take her to the airport.

It was full of tears and at the same time, so much promises of seeing one another soon again – whether in the US, the Philippines, or elsewhere in the world. Gosh! I love visitors, but I love it even more when it’s super close family. Also, today happens to be Karen’s birthday… HBD, Citizen of the World!

Paul Smith’s Pink Wall
The Birthday Girl!

In My 30s

So much to talk about, but I will start with my birthday celebration!

On August 19th, I officially became “in my 30s.” I took the Friday before off, so on Thursday, my work family did not fail to make me feel special. I came to work and found my desk full of scattered HBD confetti, balloons, and flowers. We even had a champagne cake! After work, a few coworkers and I had small bites and cocktails at a nearby steakhouse. After all was said and done, we found our entire bill comped by the restaurant’s owner and manager! Wow!

On my actual birthday, I felt so much love. I woke up to my dogs licking my face with tails wagging all over the place. Mike, the dogs, and I went for a small walk before having lunch at Small World Restaurant. That is probably my favorite go-to place in all of Napa. It’s delicious and very inexpensive. For dinner, we met up with the family at my parents’ house. I had made a reservation for twelve at Tomi Sushi and Seafood Buffet in Concord. After dinner, we walked around the mall and I pretty much shopped as much as I could at Teavana before they officially close their doors. I got a new tea set and some of my favorite leaves. On our way home, my parents and I stopped by Starbucks, where my mom bough a drink for everyone. When we finally got home, I was surprised with a pretty cake by my brothers, sisters-in-law, niece, and nephews! SO SWEET!!

My sisters-in-law and brothers have the pictures and videos on their phone. I wish I could have shared some, but now I know to ask for them. Totally forgot. Whoops!

This Week…

Whew! What a week… and it’s only Wednesday! Ha! Work was so busy the past week, that it felt good to have had a calm afternoon today to catch up on paperwork.

First things first… HELP! I have never really worked with external hard drives until now. I have so much photos and videos on my MacBook that I have to find a way to save them elsewhere. Now, I read many places that I should back up my files in more than one place. Is that so? What about if just save my all my photos, videos, and only the most important files? What do or should I do? Any advice helps!

Ok… now for the week… 🙂

Mike cleared his Monday to spend time with my niece, Kyla, before she went back to school. They spent the day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. I asked for pictures, but did I receive any? Of course not. Geez! When I asked what they ate for lunch, they said a funnel cake sundae! Wow! I was a little jealous, but was also concerned for their stomachs LOL. Since we were having guests over for dinner and had little time to prepare anything, we decided to order sushi. $100 worth of Japanese food devoured by three adults and three children. It was delicious and the company was so much fun!

After work yesterday, we took our sweet Cecilia to Hog Island Oyster Co for her birthday. Oysters, beers, and an Arnold Palmer… YUM! All day, we wanted to make sure she felt extra special because of she does so much for us every working day.

Today was back to school for so many kids in my area, and my newsfeed did not disappoint. I felt like I spent all day scrolling past and double tapping “First Day of School” posts. If both mom and dad have social media, I got double doses of the kids. Someday…