It’s A Red Kind Of Christmas

Christmas has taken a new meaning this year as my husband is now a full pledged Catholic. You can just imagine how he was so excited to help me put up the tree and decorate for the holiday.

Our Balsam Hill tree was up as early as November 15. It was not done in one go however. After he put up the tree I went to work with the ornaments. This year I decided to adorn our tree with red ornaments to add to my growing collection of Wedgwood and Royal Albert.

I’m more than glad that our pockets were not as drained this year, as I only have to buy a few to add  to the Wedgwood and Royal Albert ornaments that I already have. I didn’t even purchase the Wedgwood bless this home ornament, thanks to a dear friend who gifted it to me on my birthday this year.  I bought the Wedgwood red snowflake teardrop (6 pcs) and figural cross (3 pcs), Royal Albert cream jug (6 pcs) and bauble ornament (6 pcs). Add to that a couple of dozens of wood poinsettia, 2 dozens of the red figs and 110 pcs of shatterproof red balls plus of course the red tree skirt.

I wanted to make things simple so I made use of three dozens of live potted 6 inch poinsettia to adorn our home. As you may have guess it already, it’s been a nightmare trying to maintain them (lol pagod na ako sa kakadilig) but I’m trying my best to keep them alive and kicking. Two hanging stars made of red and white yarns (I think), a Kate Spade bright red table cloth and an embroidered table runner round up my indoor decor for this year.

Outside, nothing can be as simple as the red laser lights. It’s a plug and go kind of thing so it was a wise choice.

I hope you had fun decorating your home just as we did.

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015
xmas 2015xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015xmas2015xmas 2015xmas 2015

xmas 2015
xmas 2015xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

xmas 2015

A Night Of Hope

In 2014, my husband and I planned on going to Joel Osteen’s A Night Of Hope at the Yankee Stadium. We were not able to attend. Tickets available at the time when I was trying to procure them were not desirable. This year however, was a different story. I went but my husband did not. I went with our church friend. While our husbands were busy at work, we took the chance to be with the thousands of Joel Osteen followers.

night of hope

night of hope

Getting into the Barclay’s Center was a breeze via subway. I met up with my friend at the gate. Entry to the arena was a breeze as it was handled in a very orderly manner. Not for long, the festivities started.

image

It was an afternoon (it was a matinee show that was added to accommodate everyone because the evening show was sold out) of music (with a live band), ministry and inspiration. Joel Osteen, his wife Victoria and their two children as well as Joel Osteen’s mom (who gave a very inspiring message) were all there. It was a revelation seeing the children singing with the band. Apparently, it’s been a family tradition that the children join them when they bring Night Of Hope in the different states.

This is what I needed. My friend and I came out of the arena renewed and feeling inspired. Osteen is a compelling speaker. He actually broke down at least three times. Though it was one of those frigid nights (which was unusual for Fall) and I actually caught a cold ( which quickly went away) probably due to the air-conditioning in the arena, I will most likely find myself again wherever the venue may be when Joel Osteen brings A Night Of Hope here in the Big Apple.

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

night of hope

Saturday Jaunt

After a few weeks of getting acquainted with ‘Trixie’, my husband and I decided that it was really imperative to go for the BMW Encore Program and have a one on one session with a BMW Genius. I secured an appointment in August, and although we went out of our norm and had to start our Saturday earlier than usual it was a very productive day.

After the one hour session, my husband and I came out more confident and better equipped to ‘play around’ with ‘Trixie’. Oh and not to forget and we were pleasantly surprised to find out  after the session that the dealership will top off the car’s gas tank (throughout the one hour session by the way, the engine of the car was on). It worked out real good for us, as we didn’t go with a full tank. In fact, we only had a fourth of the tank so we definitely did good. Hey this freebie was nothing to sneeze at. After all, Trixie needs premium gas and as recommended we only fill with BP Gas.

bmw encore

bmw encore

Since we were around the perimeter of  Riesterer’s, we agreed to drop by the bakeshop. It’s been ages since our last visit. We sat down for quick, light snacks, grabbed some pastries to bring to my sister’s (we had dinner at their house that night) and we brought home four decadent double dipped chocolate donuts for the following day. I must say, these donuts really tasted so good after many months of not indulging on them.

riesterer's

riesterer's

riesterer's

riesterer'sriesterer's

We attended the anticipated Mass at Blessed Sacrament. That church is my all time favorite place of worship. There’s something about it that I can’t explain.

8-22-2015

8-22-2015

8-22-2015

8-22-2015

It was a late night. We were at my sister’s house for several hours. It was good in a way as traffic was moving well when we finally took the parkway.

2015 Backyard Barbecue

After turning down invites for backyard barbecues the past couple of years, we finally gave in last summer. We made sure we attended only one though, and it was good enough.

For someone like me who has turned pescetarian, do you think there was something for me at the barbecue? Yes! And I’m so glad the host/hostess thought of my dietary restriction. After many years of not eating anything in the form of meat, just the thought of indulging makes my stomach queasy.

Call time was early afternoon. There was congestion on the parkway but we took an alternate route and we were in Long Island in no time.

mellow yellow

mellow yellow

Pictures were intentionally pixelated for their privacy. I didn’t want my attention getting called again when these friends drop by my blog and they see their faces here.

2015 bbq

2015 bbq

2015 bbq

2015 bbq

There were children in the party. This was meant for them to enjoy and they really did. Too bad I didn’t capture pics of them (except this cute boy) roasting his marshmallows.

2015 bbq

2015 bbq

I tried so hard to stay away from sweets but there were just too much temptation that I had to give in. There were at least three cakes, and tons of these treats that were all chocolate.

2015 bbq

2015 bbq

Till next summer barbecue 🙂

Saturday Jaunt

Animal print… Zebra no less. I was in the mood for it. I actually got up on the right side of bed so it was apparent. I was lazy to put on makeup however, so please don’t mind the bare face. A bright lip tint, hair tied up and I was ready. Surprisingly enough, a few people in church commented I looked radiant. It must have been the inner glow because I felt great and happy.

So they say, no makeup can mask a rotten feeling. I should know it happens a lot.

Dinner was at Pho Hoai, and the usual Starbucks treat.

8-15-2015

8-15-2015

8-15-2015

pho hoai

Juicing Has Taken A Bit Of A Backseat

I just went through my files and came across these photos. Boy, I’m guilty that I haven’t used my Hurom juicer in a long time. Not that I stopped my morning ritual at all. I just shifted to using my Vitamix more often, and instead of making juices, I’m making smoothies cum juices.

I have to admit that using the Vitamix is a lot easier. The prep work is essentially the same, but the clean up is significantly easier and less time consuming with the Hurom. And of course, we get to enjoy the fiber as well instead of just the juice.

Yes, we. Because my husband gets his daily dose too. I make sure that his dose is prepared the night before, stored in one of my mason jars and ready to go with him when he heads out the door for work. I prefer vegetable and fruit with 80/20 combination; 80% veggies and 20% fruits with my permanent ingredient – ginger root.

beet juice

beet juice

pineapple juice

beet juice

watermelon juice

green juice

cantaloupe, mango, orange

wheatgrass juice

Wheat grass juice is the hardest to make. It requires some kind of technique to make the most out of the grass. To date, I’ve only made wheat grass juice once. I hope one day I will have more patience to deal with it.

wheatgrass juice

wheatgrass juice

Saturday Jaunt

What’s the best way to kick the blues? Wear something vibrant! Yes, it was one of those days when I simply was not ‘all there’. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who goes through those days. Pulling off an ensemble like the one I was wearing in these photos did the trick.

8-8-2015<

8-8-2015

IMG_3263

And just like that… I was able to normally function and ended the day right. We later headed to Fuciaana for dinner and scooted over to Starbucks for my husband’s weekly espresso fix.

Laughing Out Loud

Over the years, I have amassed a good number of Pidro shirts for my husband. All of them were purchased during our vacations in the Philippines. For those who do not know what these shirts are, Pidro is a brand with designs incorporating Pinoy humor.

On weekends, we tend to rush through and do our errands. There’s not much time to accomplish every single task so my husband and I tend to feel somewhat harassed.

One time, as we were about to head out, I noticed something rather unusual when my husband alighted from the bedroom. I was quick to snap a photo of  him using my cell phone. It was not that long until I burst into laughter. He was wearing his shirt – front in the back. How he did not feel the odd feeling (as a result of the shirt worn the wrong way) on his body was a big question mark.

pinoy ka

pinoy ka

We had a good laugh. Of course he did not head out clad in this shirt worn the wrong way. I could imagine the looks that would have been thrown at him if he did.

Saturday Jaunt

Looking at these pics, I can’t help but yearn for those good, old summer days.

7-25-2015

7-25-2015

As tagged, these were taken in July, and of course, then we were in the middle of summer. I apologize for posting stale materials but because I’ve been perennially lazy in updating here, so this is the end result. What else is new?

7-25-2015

Our first time to dine at Europa Restaurant was great. We were in the company of good friends and of course awesome Italian food. My husband and I both loved the interior, ambiance and the exceptional service. Yup the sun was shining bright at 7:30 p.m. This is something that we no longer get in  this part of the world. It’s now dark earlier in the evening.

europa

europa

Incidentally, this post is ‘trixie’s’ first with me on it. I think I have to get used to seeing a blue metallic background instead of orange.

It’s Been Working Like A Charm

After the ‘demise’ of our 11 year old GE Profile dishwasher last May, and more than 2 months of carefully researching and deciding what I wanted to get and do with the space, we finally settled for another dishwasher last August.

I initially wanted to install a kitchen cabinet on the space that the ‘dead’ dishwasher occupied. I went high and low looking for a cabinet maker that was willing to take on such a small job, but nobody dared to take it. It must have been destiny that nobody wanted to do the job because a few weeks of not having a working dishwasher, I started missing having one. Washing dishes and pots and pans was a big additional chore for me.

So I started my research on the new breed of dishwashers out in the market. MIELE was my first choice of brand. I’ve stalked the only store in our area that sells them. But upon thorough research, I discovered that it is a potential money pit. Aside form the fact that the units are pricey, the recommended detergent is also expensive. So I turned to my second choice – BOSCH, also another German brand. I didn’t waver on doing a thorough research on the model that I zeroed on and finally went to buy it. We waited for almost three weeks for delivery and installation so we finally had a new working dishwasher last August.

bosch

If I loved the GE Profile, shall I say I love the Bosch more? Yes, it is really possible to fall in love with a dishwasher. It is insanely quiet, the dishes come out sparkling clean and toasty dry. Just like our old unit, we also got something with a food disposer.

bosch

bosch

This one however has a 3rd rack which is convenient for kitchen utensils, something that my old unit didn’t have.

bosch

It is so quiet, the only indicator that tells you it’s running is this red info light which automatically turns off once the dishes are ready.

bosch

bosch

I’m hoping that it will give us years of repair-free performance. After all, Bosch is well known for their innovation as well as dishwasher performance and reliability worldwide. It’s another German brand after all.

Saturday Jaunt

Today, it’s been freezing here in the Big Apple. Two days prior, it felt like summer. But I’m not complaining. I can take this windy and rainy weather in exchange of hurricane Joaquin veering away from New York . I praise and thank God that the track of the storm changed and its wrath will be going to sea.

I know I have been errant on updates here. So the backtracking continues. How I wish I can go back to this type of outfit but it’s simply impossible with the sudden shift in temperature. It’s that time of year once again. Till next summer…

7-18-2015

7-18-2015

After the usual Saturday errands and Mass, we headed to dinner. That was our first time to dine at Perry’s. I can assure you however, that this was the first and the last time we’re dining there because I simply didn’t like the place. I guess that’s what we get from forever trying and doing experiments. My husband’s defense was – “all the online reviews are great”. Yeah right. It was his choice that’s why. I actually should know better than that (LOL). I wrote about our experience here.

Our usual hang out after dinner at the nearby Starbucks was the perfect way to end to end the night.

Keeping It Green Indoors

While a lot of my friends went the whole nine yards and got their backyards/gardens in bloom last summer, I did the exact opposite. I did not jump on the bandwagon. But to satisfy my longing for fresh blooms, I picked up a few pots of plants from the nursery with the intention of growing them indoors.

So far, so good. I have a money tree, a snake plant, a zebra plant, a couple of evergreens, bromeliad, begonia and an orchid.

The money tree grew in leaps and bound, in fact I’m a bit apprehensive that it will grow faster than I anticipated. It must have been the new pot because I re-planted it in a much bigger vessel than its original. I actually transferred all of them in bigger pots except the orchid. I would not even dare touch it, not at this point as I’ve been really so thrilled that the flowers have been blooming for almost three months already. This is by far the only orchid I’ve cared for that bloomed this long. If only all orchids were the same I wouldn’t mind venturing into caring for more.

orchid summer 2015

orchid summer 2015

orchid summer 2015

And… my old pot of orchid re-bloomed. It was totally unexpected but it did. Adjacent to it is another pot of orchid which in my opinion is on to its last days of existence. I have painstakingly been trying to revive it but to no avail. I’ve had it for almost two years and it was alive and well for the most part but it only bloomed once.

rebloom summer 2015

rebloom summer 2015

Now I just have to make sure that I get all of them growing in the right direction. It will be a challenge to have all of them indoors especially with the cooler months ahead. I’m curious to find out what my not-so green thumb will do.

Saturday Jaunt

It was one of those days when I didn’t feel like dressing up. But I did anyway.  When days like this one strikes, I try to recondition my mind and get myself convinced that life is really, really good!!!!!

After the usual errands, we attended the anticipated Mass.

07-11-2015

07-11-2015

07-11-2015

Coincidentally, there was a Vintage Car Exhibit. We spent an ample amount of time looking into the well preserved vehicles. I guess you know so well who enjoyed the most.
vintage car show

vintage car show

vintage car show

vintage car show

vintage car show

vintage car show

We wound up dining at Nyonya, a Malaysian restaurant and ended the night at Starbucks. This is us … Our typical Saturday.

Lilies And Me

After the 25 long stem roses last June, I was again the recipient of a bouquet of white lilies. At the onset, I couldn’t appreciate them because they were all buds, not yet in bloom.

white lilies

It took quite sometime before the buds started to bloom. I was a bit impatient. I didn’t realize that lilies can really test ones patience.

white lilies

When they finally started to bloom however, they came out one after the other. I was so thrilled, to finally see them in bloom. The scent was intoxicating. I couldn’t be more pleased.
IMG_3198

white lilies

After a couple of days however, my sinuses started to get irritated. I felt some tightening on my nasal cavities. Lo and behold my allergy was acting up. It smelled so good, I was really thrilled. But with my nasal cavities closing up, I had to make sure the lilies were out of our home pronto. My husband just wanted me to throw them away. I felt so bad. I had to quickly find someone who can potentially enjoy them. One quick phone call was all it took. My neighbor was more than thrilled to ‘adopt’ them.
white lilies

In addition to sunflowers, lilies are also an irritant. What else?

Saturday Jaunt

It’s been almost a month since my last post of the SJ series and now I find myself retracing my steps. But I take it as a mental exercise and I feel good that I’m able to do just that. It probably would have been a different story if my memory starts to fail me but I’m so glad it’s not the case.

The fourth of July found us in Long Island. We were invited by my sister for a backyard barbecue. Although we had several errands to accomplish that day so instead of being at the barbecue all afternoon, I arranged for us to be there at dinnertime right after we attend  the anticipated mass.

Prior to going to church my husband insisted he needs his espresso fix so off to Starbucks we went. I assume you know who had the decadent drink (lol).
starbucks

I did not want more calories into my system, so he had this calorie laden slice while I had the good old plain buttery croissant.
starbucks

starbucks

It felt so good to be back at my favorite church in Long Island after a lot of months. It was on this church that I found solace and peace during the most trying times of my life.
blessed sacrament

Yes, it was the fourth of July but I was clad in jean jacket because it was a tad balmy for me. True enough, by 7 p.m. that night, although the sun was still shining bright everybody at the barbecue party was wearing light jackets. By sundown and as everyone congregated at my sister’s front yard to witness the annual elaborate fireworks (courtesy of a neighbor who loves to burn his money every fourth) it didn’t feel like it was one summer night.

07-04-2015

07-04-2015

07-04-2015

It’s All About Me, My Choice, My Preference… Finally

Warning! Photo overload. If you have some aversion with too much pics on a post, please feel free to click away 🙂

I have previously written about a surprise (see post here) that my husband pulled off seamlessly the weekend before our 15th wedding anniversary last June. On that previous post, I intentionally pixelated a revealing element because I didn’t want to write about it just yet. That picture was this one. See the BMW water bottle?

06-20-2015

It took me this long to document it on this blog because it’s been really hectic around here this past few weeks. So forgive me because one more time I was unable to keep my promise for timely updates.

Yes, the surprise (which according from him was also his anniversary gift) came in the form of an appointment to the BMW dealership. Unknown to most, our previous vehicle, a BMW SAV, was primarily my husband’s pick. It was all about the body color – his forever favorite color : orange. Although my inputs were considered at the time of purchase, I mostly obliged so he can get his fave color. We had ‘Sexie’ for 29 months. If we considered letting go of her back in October 2014 because we had a buy back offer (which I’ve written about here), she would have been gone sooner but the offer was not that good. Then another offer came along which I didn’t think much of, but unknown to me, my husband secretly got in touch with the dealership to hear the preliminary details. It was enticing enough so he made the appointment.

He was determined to end my agony. Truth be told, I really didn’t like Sexie that much. I’m not the type of gal who loves the thrill of a Sport Activity Vehicle (a.k.a. SUV but I’m using BMW lingo thus the difference in terms). To my surprise, which I only found out a few weeks ago, he was also not that enamored with Sexie but because of the color he was able to look the other way.

Three weeks later, ‘Trixie’ was available for pick up. This time, everything about ‘Trixie’ was my choice. I’m solely responsible for all the options. From the model, color and added options. It took us three hours to finalize everything on the first appointment because while I loved the idea of having all the optional packages that’s important to me, I didn’t want us to wait for 8 weeks for custom order. So we took into consideration whatever available inventory sailing from Germany to the US. At the day of pick up, we needed almost two hours for orientation which the Advisor did really well. But for two low tech, innocent people like us, there was just too much info to absorb so we just made sure that we were able to drive away without compromising safety and comfort. The iDrive feature was the one that kept us so ‘out of it’. To date, we’re slowly but surely adapting to everything that Trixie has to offer. But for good measure, we have already made an appointment with a BMW Genius for the BMW Encore Program to attend a personalized one on one tutorial. Trixie is loaded with features that we’re unable to utilize just yet, albeit unnecessary, but since we chose to have it, we might as well learn how to use it.

Meet ‘Trixie’ my new nimble driving machine. To say that I love her to bits is an understatement.

trixie

trixie

trixie

How will I keep the interior pristine and clean? I don’t know. Your question is as good as mine. I keep telling my husband to take his shoes off if he is not confident that they’re not that clean haha.
trixie

trixie
trixie

trixie

The iDrive – the ‘headache’ (lol).
trixie

trixie

trixie

The Lane and Parking Assist feature surely makes life a lot easier while behind the wheel.
trixie

The Sport Mode once activated makes ‘Trixie’ my ultimate driving machine.

trixie

‘Trixie’ has all the features that ‘Sexie’ had  (see previous post here) with a lot of enhancements and additions. The Comfort Access option as well as the Cold Weather Package option makes riding and driving a lot more comfortable. I like the fact that even the rear seats are heated and air vents are also available. Although, I must admit it’s really once in a blue moon when there’s a passenger seated in the rear.
trixie

Since, I requested to have an all weather rubber mats which BMW gave for free, they gave us the option to bring home the carpet mats. It was a drizzly day when we drove away from the dealership so they outfitted ‘Trixie’ with the rubber mats.

trixie

trixie

trixie

A week later, along with numerous survey mailers from different companies, this was delivered by UPS. My husband and I agree that this pen and something else would have made a better impact for a token gift. Demanding? Yes we are! Why not? After all, even if a car is referred to by someone we know as just plain ‘piece of metal’ it certainly is worth much more than just a shiny piece of metal.
trixie

trixie

trixie

Cake, Roses And Something Pink

Being married for 15 years nowadays is very much considered an accomplishment. It’s no mean feat so they say, considering the very high divorce rate here in the US. I tend to agree. It’s no easy walk in the park however. Although, I must admit that after the adjustment period 15 years ago, we no longer have serious disagreements except for reasons that are EXTRINSIC (which I’m better off not writing about in this very public blog).

June 28th was our 15th wedding anniversary. I have gotten my husband’s so called surprise wedding anniversary ‘gift’ a week before (which I’ve written about here and will write more in details on a future post), so I didn’t think I will have anything more from him at all. But lo and behold, I got a bouquet of long stemmed roses, 25 of them (not sure why he wanted 25) – it was so heavy, I couldn’t hold the bouquet at all.

15th anniv15th anniv
Aside from the bouquet, a Citarella Tiramisu cake was warranted (according from my husband). I limit the availability of decadent treats like this one at home because I have the tendency to abuse (lol).  But I gave in.

IMG_3092And on the very day of our anniversary, while we were out at the mall, a bag caught my fancy. Since I had the ‘passport to demand’ I sweetly asked for it as an additional gift which he happily paid for without hesitation. I figured it was a reasonable ‘demand’ so I went for it.

15th anniv

More than the gifts however, I thank God for blessing us with 15 years of togetherness, as well as the strength to weather all the storms together. It’s not an easy ride but we’ve gone this far and it’s all that matters.

Saturday Jaunt

Where do I begin? I’ve been out of circulation for almost a month and although I was never totally out of the loop, it’s not that easy to come back and start anew. So many things happened in the almost one month that I had no updates here. Good thing however, I made sure that I have snapshots documenting the stuff that were worth frozen in pictures.

Life lately has been a mixture of good and not so good, exciting and not so exciting and perfect and not that perfect. Am I starting to confuse you now? I hope not.

So let me start by posting a capture of myself the day before our 15th wedding anniversary. It was a gloomy, unsettled kind of day with sporadic thunderstorms. I almost didn’t want to get dressed and head out but I did anyway. I didn’t want to be cooped up inside.

06-27-2015

06-27-2015

So after the anticipated mass, we headed to Pizza d’Amore for dinner. Nothing special, just the usual Italian fare from a  pizza place.

pizza d' amore

pizza d' amore

pizza d' amore

pizza d' amore

What’s Saturday night without a nightcap at Starbucks?

starbucks

starbucks

starbucks

Till next update. I promise to be more diligent in writing, but of course, sometimes promises are meant to be broken. I hope this time however, I’m going to keep my word and get this page up-to-date.

We Continue To Sail

* scheduled post *

Fifteen years ago today, we said “I do”.

Many ‘storms’ have come since but we stay steadfast on our promise and our vows. Marriage after all is the union of two individuals, standing side by side, but rooted firmly together so that they withstand whatever tribulations that might come their way.

Here’s to a lifetime of love and happiness, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health.

“Real love stories never have endings.” —Richard Bach

wedding

wedding

wedding

Saturday Jaunt

Early, long and hectic. That sums up our Saturday last week. And if it’s an early day, yours truly is not that used to such, so you can just imagine how I had some kind of hesitation when I was told by my husband that he arranged brunch with friends and we had to be at the meeting place at the scheduled time. It was a tad cold too and add to that intermittent rain so it was not really my kind of day.

It turned out that the brunch with friends was just a ploy to get me out of the house at that time. I will write about it in due time.

As if I had a choice, there was nothing I could do but go and be there for a little more than 3 hours.

06-20-2015

I have to say, my husband pulled off something really good.

Dinner was at Red Lobster. Now, that was totally out of the norm for my husband who tends to shy away from dining at so called ‘chain restaurants’. It’s been ages since we dined at this restaurant. How I was able to get him to agree was another story. All I needed to say was the choice of resto was but fitting that it should be my pick because he ‘tricked’ me.

06-20-2015

06-20-2015

06-20-2015

We waited to be seated. Since we were just a party of two, we had our table after 20 minutes as compared to bigger parties who waited much longer.

06-20-2015

06-20-2015

Surprisingly, I didn’t hear any complaints all throughout dinner. Apparently, the food was more than decent and he wouldn’t mind dining at this restaurant again (maybe after another 10 years lol). Since we were pressed for time, we skipped the anticipated Mass. We headed home and dropped by the nearest Starbucks drive thru, brought home his espresso, my java chip frapp and had dessert at home. Oh and by the way, the barista accidentally made more frapp than my order so he gave the extra to me which I gladly downed.

* scheduled post *