Fireflies

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!

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Paul Smith’s Pink Wall
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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!

Movies and Dinners

It’s Sunday and I can’t wait to already finish my upcoming four-day work week. Yes, yes… I am taking next Friday and Saturday off. 😉

For now, though, let’s do a quick recap.

Last week went by so fast and it was so much fun!

Mike and I watched a movie in the theatre for the first time since Cars 3, and it was a Filipino movie, Finally Found Someone. One of our occasional guilty pleasures is watching “rom-com” Filipino movies. Hah! It’s really more mine than his, but he’s so kind enough to take me. Anyway, the most annoying part of the movie is the audience thinking it was appropriate to talk during the movies, make comments about every little scene, and opening & crumpling bags of chips/popcorn/candies/etc. I mean, I can honestly tolerate babies and (very) young kids babbling but adults? Come on! We managed to tune them out and enjoy the movie.

Maxie (Mike’s sister-in-law) and I finally found time to have dinner together and catch up! We had Mexican food and spent more time in the restaurant talking than actually eating. It was great and we figured that we definitely need more time together. However, with her nursing school coming down to its final stretch and my work just so busy, we know it’s going to be a more conscious effort on both parts. Cheers to success!

Yesterday, we said bye to our friend, JR, who is moving to Southern California to pursue his Master’s Degree. We are super proud! 🙂 We also can’t wait to maybe visit Disneyland with him. Hehe. After, we went to dinner with my family for my brother’s birthday. We also officially received news that my sister-in-law, Sharon, is pregnant! I’m going to be an Auntie (and Nina) again! Blessings are pouring upon our families, and we love it.

What was also cool yesterday was that Mike and I woke up to an e-mail with a link to our wedding video preview! We watched it two times during breakfast, and again after dinner last night with the family. We invited everyone to come over for coffee and dessert and a special screening of our video. Haha! We were just so excited.

Another thing we are so, so excited for? We just (semi) booked a trip to Hawaii for February 2018! Well, we really just booked our hotel for now. Plane tickets and excursions are next! Any tips for Hawaii? We will be staying in Oahu. Yay, Aulani! 😉

Summer is Here

Whoa… hello out there! And hello SUMMER! While it’s not exactly my favorite season, it is my birth season, so yeah, go summer! Since my last update…, TWO MONTHS AGO, I still have not yet found my creative outlet, have gained a lot of weight, and have purposely ignored anything that I didn’t care for or want to care for but cannot really afford to care for. Did that make any sense at all?

Anyway, I failed to mention that between April 1st and May 31st, we have taken three separate trips to Disneyland. The first one trip was with the hubby (of course), my brothers, sisters in law, niece, and nephew. It was planned in less than one week. The conversation went something like:

Me: Hey, we’re driving down to Disneyland for the weekend.
SIL: Oh, maybe we can go too.
Me: Ok! Let me know.
Bro: Let me see if (his wife) can get the weekend off. We’ll go too!

The following day, everyone was able to get the weekend off…and we booked our hotel, they bought their tickets, and off we were to Disneyland!

The second trip was a one day trip. Mike and I took a 6AM flight, spent the morning at California Adventure, ate all we that our stomachs would allow at the Food & Wine Festival, spent the afternoon at Disneyland, drove around Orange County for a little bit, then took the last flight home. Lastly, the third trip was during Memorial Day weekend. We spent that entire Sunday at California Adventure, and rode Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout three times! Luckily for us, we never waited more than one hour for the ride! We loved it so much! (TIP: Get your FastPass as soon as you get there, wait in line while the wait time is still short, go back during your designated time, watch the early showing of World of Color, get in line to the ride as soon as you leave the show and others watch the second showing (or vice-versa), and voila… guarantee three times the fun!)

Anyway, I guess I didn’t really have much substance in this post. I just needed to kill time while I uploaded my iPhone photos onto my MacBook. However, it has failed three times already. Help?

Next time, I’ll try a little more on writing about something that matters.

 

New Last Name

Alright everyone, the day has finally come in my life. The day that I begin the process of taking on my husband’s last name. Some might say, “It’s about time!” While others may ask, “Why on Earth would you do that?” We have been married five months. I should have changed it sooner, but I’m sort of attached to my maiden name which consisted of my first name, my mom’s maiden name, and of course, my (dad’s) surname. My last name has got some deep roots back in the Philippines, and I’ve been told, that it’s important. But now, my last name is different. It’s short, common, and everyone mistakes me for Hispanic. But hey, it’s my husband’s last name. I mean, it’s okay to take your time assuming your spouse’s last name, right? Because I see a lot of my friends changing their names immediately, yet here I am, barely going through the process five months later. I did change it on Facebook so that it’s legit. 😉

By the way, I only spent about twenty minutes and without an appointment at the Social Security Administration. I got my new SS card about three days later. I spent probably around forty minutes at the DMV, with an appointment. It also costed me $27 to get a new license, and that came in one week later. Now, I’ve started to call my bank and creditors to submit a name change. Whew, almost there.

Currently, we are at a “stay-cation” about forty miles away from our home. It’s comped, comfortable, and a quick wannabe getaway. We like when we get these kind of perks. Now, can I get free vacation to say, Paris? Please? 😛

Family from UAE

If I could relive last weekend again, I would. My cousin and his family came to visit all the way from the UAE. I hadn’t seen my cousin in about ten years, and it was my first time meeting his daughters. Their USA agenda was so packed, but I am so thankful for the three days I got to spend with them.

Because it was their first time and we had very limited time, we took them to San Francisco, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. I mean who doesn’t want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Union Square, wineries, and snow? Each day, we were home for dinner, which made for more wonderful family memories. Their youngest daughters took it upon herself to make me her honorary “mommy” for the weekend. It was super sweet.

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Miss you guys already! ❤