Life Lately

It has been a week since I last posted, if you can call it that. As much as I would love to finish my Oahu posts, I have decided that now is not the time. I am still very much heartbroken, but I am doing a little better.

I went home early from work today with a pounding headache, sore muscles, and a laundry list of things that cannot be put off… like finish filing our taxes! Sigh. I’m not the procrastinating type wit these sort of things, and I’m usually done by mid-March. However, this time, it was a bit of hassle with everything that happened. I started the forms before we left for Hawaii, and then, life happened. Yeah.

Since my last true update, I gained a baby niece. Super cool! Her name is Sofia, and she will be one month old this Friday! 🙂 I am so in love with her crybaby self. My Goddaughter, Samantha, received her first holy communion yesterday, which was super neat to witness. I worked six days the past two weeks, which I didn’t mind. The only frustrating part of it all was the many times we couldn’t get proper work done because our systems were down. Thanks AT&T.

On Wednesday, I will be heading up to Lake Tahoe for a work recognition celebration! I made it to Circle of Excellence, which is a huge recognition for us platform folks at work. It’ll be nice to kind of getaway, even if it is work related. Haha. I am just hoping that the snow does not pour on our way there or back.

Here I am now. I am still asking for your prayers, if you will. Praying for healing, blessings, and love.

Oahu: Days 3 & 4

Aloha!

Day three was a Sunday, so we started the day by attending mass at the nearest church we could find- St. Jude Catholic Church. The mass was beautiful, and we enjoyed listening to the homily. It was a blessing to just be thankful for the opportunity to have been there.

After church, we had brunch at Koa Pancakes. Mike ordered a hearty meal and macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup – oh so delicious, and I ordered a loco moco over their delicious fried rice. So much goodness and we were stuffed! After eating, we headed to Pearl Harbor. We went through the two museums and took a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was so surreal to actually be there, read all the names, and look at the remains of the ship. Wow. We definitely enjoyed our time there. After we left, we drove around, got a half dozen of poi mochi donuts from Liliha Bakery, and then had an early dinner at Zippy’s. Hehe. Seriously though, I want more of those donuts. So delicious!

The following day, we decided to head to Haleiwa in the North Shore. Along the way, we stopped by Dole Plantation. We looked around for a bit, bought a couple of things for friends and family, and then sat down with our Dole Whip Floats. We didn’t stay too long, and I was a little sad that I didn’t see the little hut that was selling roast corn until we were about to leave. That’s alright though because lunch was up next. We have heard a lot of raves about Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, so we decided to check it out. We shared the scampi and hot & spicy plates, and let me tell you, it was glorious! It definitely lived up to the hype, and I found myself craving for more. Hah! The plate looks deceivingly small, but it is packed with rice, shrimp, and a whole lot of flavors! So, so, so good! After we ate up all that goodness, we drove and checked out the shops. Of course, we stopped by Matsumoto Shave Ice. I got a small bowl of the “tropical” flavors – lilikoi, papaya, and guava – with condensed milk. Yum! After checking out the town, the beach, and the shops, it was still just early afternoon. We drove down the island and visited the Ala Moana Center. We played more in the arcade than shopped. Hah! We then ate dinner at a Korean restaurant down the street from the mall before heading back. Once we got back to our resort, we changed into our swim gears and jumped in the hot tub to wind down.

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Shrimp Plates from Giovanni’s!
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Shave ice! Mine’s the one to the right.
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Mike’s results. LOL.
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Dole Whip Float!

 

In case you missed Days 1 & 2, you can find it here!

2-0-1-8!

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! 🙂

 

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We love Mickey!
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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.

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

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!

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

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!

Engagement’s 2nd Anniversary

At the beginning of June, I booked a round-trip plane tickets to Burbank for Mike and myself, not knowing if the trip would actually happen. However, just in case, I also booked a hotel room for a four-night stay a few days later. I was confident in my booking because Southwest Airlines has an amazing cancellation policy and DoubleTree By Hilton allows for a 24-hour cancellation. What’s great is that I booked my hotel at the right time, because I checked again a week later, and the prices was almost doubled! Phew!

Anyway, the mini vacation happened! We arrived in Burbank on a Saturday morning, and had breakfast at Grits Fullerton. I got Pork Belly & Grits and Mike ordered Bone Marrow & Waffles. Both were delicious! Then, on a whim, we drove to San Diego while monitoring StubHub. We watched our SF Giants play the Padres. Who knew that finding Giants shirt would be so hard in So Cal? LOL. We eventually found a Sports Fever store, where I got a nice shirt for 50% off! We made our way to Petco Park, and their parking price of $15 still amaze us because that is so much cheaper than what we are used to, especially with the garage being across the street from the ballpark! We had Phil’s BBQ right before the game, and we were happy to have set next to a pair of Giants fans. Our team lost, making us 0-2 when in attendance at Petco Park. On the bright side, it was fireworks night! We watched the fireworks show before heading back to Anaheim.

We spent Sunday, most of Monday, and Tuesday at Disneyland & California Adventure. We dined at Carthay Circle and Carnation Cafe, and we also did the on-the-go dining package for Fantasmic. This was mainly because we wanted to celebrate our engagement’s second anniversary. Silly, but it makes us nostalgic thinking about the day of! While waiting for Fantasmic, we sat in a circle talking with a family from Georgia and a local lady (of So Cal). They were really nice people, and made the wait bearable. One thing that we got a laugh out of was when the lady mentioned how folks from the East Coast or anywhere but the West Coast say “Disney” when referring to Walt Disney World, while West Coasters actually say “Land” or “World.” That is so interesting, but I also found some truth to it when I look at my Disney forums! Haha.

We flew back home on Wednesday, and of course, we had to bring back some pastries from Porto’s! Our families love it and they appreciate whenever we bring those boxes of happiness back. Now, I am gearing back to go to work… tomorrow… on a Saturday! But only for four hours. Ha!

If there is anything different from this past vacation, it’s the fact that we were more budget-conscious than we have ever been on a vacation. We also ate a whole bunch of popcorn because we remembered to bring the AP popcorn bucket we bought during our last visit to Disneyland. What was cool is that we were able to get refills for just $1! We must have refilled it 4 or 5 time during the trip. 😛

What’s new everyone?!

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Breakfast at Grits Fullerton
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Petco Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! & a bunch of people

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