Kyla turns THIRTEEN

On Saturday, my first-born niece, Kyla, turned THIRTEEN! She is officially a teenager and I am still in denial. Kyla is the only granddaughter in my immediate family… until next month, when my sister-in-law gives birth to the second baby girl in our family! Kyla has been my baby since she was born. I was in the waiting room the night her mom went into labor, I babysat her as a baby, and she has been my mini-me. Now, she is a teen. I just love her so much. While she has her rough days, she is still as perfect as one can be. She is smart, beautiful, kind-hearted, and funny. Where has the time gone?!

For her birthday, she wanted a jump house for her and all her friends to enjoy. She invited her classmates and friends, and everyone just had a ton of fun. Sheesh, a house full of teens and preteens can be crazy. Who knew? Hah! We had a lot of food and delicious ice-cream cake! Yum!

She’s a TEEN!


I love January and new years! It’s like a fresh, promising, open slate of a full year ahead. I enjoy getting new desk and wall calendars, a new planner, and all that good stuff. I am not huge on making new year’s resolutions for myself, but I am a believer in striving to be a better version of myself.

So January has been quite eventful. My brother’s birthday was on the 9th, so we went out for dim sum after church the Sunday before. Afterwards, my parents treated us all out to Starbucks and a movie! We watched Jumanji, but honestly, my favorite part of going to the movies is the popcorn. LOL. On his actual birthday, we had dinner at the local Chinese bistro and it was delicious! That Friday, my office had its end of the year party. I love our little parties because it’s just always fun with lots of food, wine, and stories! We also had a white elephant gifting, and I came away with movie tickets! WIN!! The next day (Saturday) was Mike’s birthday. We had lunch with his parents at Texas Roadhouse, and went to a Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner with my family. The food, of course, was YUMMY!! Yes! I love me lots of family time!

On Thursday, we flew out to Orange County to spend the evening at Disneyland. We had tickets to Disneyland’s Disney After Dark: Throwback Nite event. Only ticket holders were allowed to stay in the park from 8PM to 1AM, and attendees were encouraged to dress in their best 50s and 60s inspired outfits. I was sick, so Mike and I did not try too hard. LOL. It was so much fun seeing all the dapper gals and pals, walking around the park listening to music from those two decades, and being able to get on rides with not much wait. I do have to say that Peter Pan’s Flight ride almost always has a long line, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures is much scarier when you’re the only people inside at 12:50AM. Hah! We also met up with my good friend, Cynthia, and her sister. Towards the of the night, Mike and I were hanging out by the castle, when an awesome cast member handed each of us a churro. It was the best way to end the evening! 🙂


Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
We love Mickey!
Jungle Julep – we paired it with Pork Belly skewer and Kahlua Pork rice plate.


Yesterday, we spent a few hours at California Adventure, and were bummed that there were a lot of sections closed off. However, we are excited to see all the new things that are coming later this year. We left the park mid-afternoon and drove to Long Beach. We got milk tea and ube-flavored desserts in Cerritos to kill time before our flight back home. Oh! We finally decided to buy the Samyang Spicy Chicken Noodles that catapulted to popularity when the noodle challenge made its round. I’ll let you guys know how it goes when it happens. 😉

Alright friends – praying that everyone has a joyous, prosperous, wonderful 2018! xo.

2017 in Quick Review

How is this year pretty much over?! It is so hard to believe that in just a few hours (California time), 2017 will be “history.” As I look back at the past twelve months, I am consumed with so many emotions. There were many “firsts” and a number of “hope this is the last” moments. It was a year of learning, a year of growing, a year of toughing it out, a year of holding on tighter, a year of praying harder, and a year of so much more. Through it all, I am still thankful.

2017 was my first full year of marriage. Without a doubt, Mike and I were tried time and time again, and each time, we just did. Without going into all the deep, heart wrenching, sappy details, we learned about the people around us and ourselves – individually and as partners. There were times when we were without, and we had to get really creative to come up with a few extra bucks. We took advantage of earned points and pending credits to suffice our need for quick travels. It was the first time we had to really tighten our buckles to make ends meet. To be honest, sometimes, they barely met. We thought about how much of ourselves we try to selflessly offer when are able, yet, it is so hard to find someone to lend us a helping hand without judgment (and ultimately not doing so anyway). Still, we will choose to love and give unconditionally.

This year was also full of happy memories. I had several relatives visit from far-away places like the Philippines, Singapore, Qatar, and the UAE. I know this delighted my mom more than anyone else, because it is so rare these days that she sees her sisters more than once in a year. Thanks to technology though, she is able to talk to them and FaceTime with them no matter where they are in the world.

Despite everything that has happened in the past year, I remain thankful. Even though my parents (especially my mom) did not have the healthiest year ever, the fact that they are still here is a huge blessing. My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first daughter, received promotions, and were able to take an out-of-country family vacation. My other brother and sister-in-law spent their first full year in their new home, bought a new car, and are seemingly looking more fulfilled with their lives. Mike’s parents are also healthy, and his brothers and sister are doing well in their respective careers. Our pets are all spunky, healthy, and happy. We are also thankful for the friends who are there for us no matter what, and have made us laugh and happy throughout the year(s).

Lastly, we are thankful to Him, who never let us forget how blessed we are. Just the other day, one of our six-month long prayer was answered. I am so happy for Mike, who is overjoyed by the news. No, we are not expecting a child. Although, that’s a thought.

As for 2018, I am just hoping and praying that things will go a little easier, that we are all healthy, prosperous, and loving, and that everyone remains blessed and true to themselves. Happy New Year, everyone!

Oh, according to Instagram, these are my best nines of the year. Of course, it’s only a glimpse of my 2017, but it’s not a bad compilation.

Lots of Disney, Ice Cream, and Mike. HAHA!

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!


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!