Thursday, December 18, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

The bedroom which I've been using as a home office now looks like a maze or an obstacle course with all the boxes, gifts, packing cubes and what-nots scattered about. We've been packing and unpacking stuff that we plan to bring to CA because we couldn't decide on the best combination of luggages to bring.

We started off thinking that we'd just use the box for the gifts we're bringing and we won't be bringing that back with us anymore. After we prepared our clothes last night, the 2 carry-on sized luggages seemed bitin. We don't even have space for an extra pair of shoes, let alone the stuff that I asked Mom to bring me from Manila.

So now, we've decided to bring along an extra piece of luggage which we'll be checking in. We'll place one of the carry-ons and nest it inside the check-in luggage so we'll have less to lug around at the airport. If we need the extra space when we fly back to NJ, we'll just take out the small bag and hand-carry that.

The current tally is:
1 balikbayan box
1 check in luggage (w/ 1 extra carry-on inside)
and 1 carry-on bag

Oh yeah, looks like we might have to resort to filling up the box with paper towel rolls and / or boxes of tissues, LOL! We still have the extra space but we don't want to make the box go over 50 lbs.

I'm excited about our trip, going on vacation and being with my family. I will probably want to scream my head off halfway into our vacation - I've gotten so used to being alone - but it will be fun, for sure. Soon, I'll be blogging and saying hi from the other side of North America.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot new site!

So I've found yet another hot networking site and the idea behind this one is very fresh and new (now, I sound redundant!).

We all have our favorite things and places, right ? Those cool gadgets that we just can't live without ? Or that nifty toy that would just make our day if we found it in our Christmas stockings ? It could be something as small as an iPod or something as big as your shiny new smart car or something that you absolutely cannot leave your home without - your cellphone. How about that nice, romantic place where you and your husband honeymooned ?

Now imagine yourself being able to connect with other people who own and love the same things and places that you do. Imagine being able to discuss the merits or even exchange wishlists when it comes to the features that you would like for the new version of your camera or iPhone ?

Now, *that* would be cool.

and guess what ? You won't need your imagination anymore because acobay is now here.

Me ? I'm making a list of my favorite things which I have added/will be adding to my account:
- Brother Labeler (Yes, I love to print and stick labels)
- Roomba (gotta love it!)
- Tivo
- Wii
- Guitar Hero Band Kit
- iPhone
- Subaru Impreza (we love our car)
- a Toyota Prius (we don't have this, but would like to hear from others who already have it)

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

This post should actually be the latter half of a two-part series of posts that chronicle our first attempt at making our own pizza at home. I will be writing another post that describes how we made our own pizza dough :) If you plan on making your own pizza from scratch, wait for that post. Otherwise, you could just buy some ready made dough from the store.

Starting off from a pizza dough that has now been rolled out and placed on a roasting pan (again, no pizza pan or baking stone yet). Note that some pizza making instructions advise that you use a pizza peel and assemble your pie on that instead.

Us ? We didn't want to go gung-ho and buy a lot of equipment that we probably won't be able to use for other dishes anyway.

Now remember this when making your own pizza, this site advises us to make sure that the toppings go on a specific order.

1. Pizza Dough
2. Sauce - for flavor and to keep the dough moist.
3. cheese - to keep the dough moist
4. toppings
5. cheese again
6. garnish, if any

Classico Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce
chopped bacon
shredded ham
shredded swedish meatballs
mozzarella cheese
1 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach

Step 1: Pour some sauce over your rolled dough and spread it around. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese over the sauce.

Step 2: Arrange your toppings across your pie. For our pizza, we drained & squeezed the water out of the package of chopped spinach before paying it out here. The topped it with meat.

I half-cooked the bacon in a pan before arranging them on my pie. I wanted to get rid of some of the fat and I also wasn't so sure about putting in raw ingredients since I didn't know how long I was going to bake the pizza before the crust gets cooked.

The Swedish meatballs were the packaged ones from Ikea, I wrapped them up in foil, thawed them in the toaster oven and pulled the balls apart so I could spread them across the pizza.

I also threw in some leftover ham for good measure.

Step 3: Before popping it into the oven, sprinkle another layer of mozzarella cheese over your pizza toppings.

Now, this is where the instructions vary. Some recipes ask that you bake your pizza in the oven at 400 to 450 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Some say to bake them at 475 F for 10 to 13 minutes.

I decided to set the oven at 425 F and it took 25 minutes for my pizza to get done. Make sure that you watch the sides of your dough, once it starts to brown, that's a sign that your pie is ready.

Verdict: yummy! Ang galing.

Santa and Me

This year, I've decided to indulge the little girl in me this Christmas and sit on Santa's Lap. I've always just contented myself with watching the kids line up for their annual photo with Santa and I have to admit that I envy them the experience.

Santa wasn't such a big deal where I grew up - at least, not when I was a child. This time, with the Sit on Santa's Lap Experience offered by Ceiva Digital Photo Frames, I got a wish fulfilled. It's really quite easy, really. The hardest part was choosing the photo to upload and thinking about what to wish for.

I finally chose the picture that hubby took of me while we were goofing around on Liberty Island (NY). That was a fun day for us. As for my wish, I thought about LCD TVs, or another GPS, or even a new car but then I realized that those things won't really give me any permanent satisfaction so I wished for good health for my family and friends. Merry Christmas to you :)

And if you're interested in checking out the video I made, click on the link below. I'm sending this video out to all my blogger friends out there with the invitation to come and sit on Santa's lap. Do pay attention to the Ceiva digital picture frame that Santa uses to show the picture that I uploaded, that would make a nifty Christmas gift, don't you think ? It's way better than the other digital frames on the market nowadays because it has wi-fi. How cool is that ?

I'd also like to give a special shoutout to my siblings and nephews - see ? I get to talk with Santa and make a wish too. See you guys this Christmas!

Hey, do check out the Sit on Santa's Lap Experience and who knows ? You might just get randomly selected as the daily winner and get $500 - that goes a long way towards getting wishes fulfilled.


Mineral Makeup Update

Remember those mineral makeup samples I blogged about earlier ? Well, I've tried them out a few times and while I wasn't disappointed, it didn't have a "wow" effect on me either. It's probably because I expected to look a lot different than normal so I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see.

When it finally sunk in that I was not going to look like Angelina Jolie after putting on mineral makeup, I did see the improvements. Oh, and hubby's suggestion to just apply on one side of my face so I can compare the results? That helped too.

So far, it seems as if the mineral makeup helped put some evenness and color on my face without making it seem like I have makeup on. This, I like.

I'm now looking for a good makeup brush set :) Would appreciate your feedback & suggestions. And no pictures just yet, diet muna.

Jersey Shore

We live in NJ and we are happy here. But I always find it hard preparing travel itineraries whenever we have guests coming to stay with us. I also find it hard to answer questions like "so, what's there to see and do in NJ ?" That question always gets me thinking and my response would be: NYC, Atlantic City and shopping (no taxes on shoes and clothes, yay!).

NJ tourism brochures don't help at all, since NJ is mostly described as a "Gateway to NY". Even when we go out ? We go out-of-state. Sad, no? I've heard about the Jersey shore a lot but we haven't really gotten the chance nor taken the extra effort to check it out. I loved going to the beaches back home in the Philippines and I always thought that US beaches cannot compare to what we had back at home.

But now, I realized that I was wrong to compare. The Jersey shore, as it turns out, isn't really mainly about swimming (so no worries for the winter visitors). It's all about having fun and being entertained! Why not take the plunge and see about getting a Jersey Shore beach vacation in Morey's Piers. This will surely be a whole lot fun for the entire family with its amusement park and other boardwalk attractions. They are also currently holding an annual holiday sale on season passes to both water parks.

For those still looking for stuffing stockers, you might want to check out the gift cards that they currently have on sale.

After Christmas and New Year, guess where our next long-weekend holiday will be ? *wink*


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've been wanting to try out these bra-protector products since they first came out on As-Seen-On-TV. Girls know how expensive bras can get and since handwashing is definitely NOT in my vocabulary at home, I'm getting tired of finding mine all smooshed up after coming out from the delicate / gentle cycle.

When I found some being offered online, I decided to spring for a couple of these contraptions. Excited, I tried them out the same day that I received the shipment.

Guess what ?


I've never had issues with my compact washing machine before so this never came to mind. The balls are too big for my washing machine. Eventually, I did make it fit by unassembling the balls and then reassembling them & placing the garment inside it while it's already INSIDE of the washing machine.

Hubby laughed when he saw this, he said, "Let's replace the washing machine ?"

That's absurd, of course, a bigger washing machine would not fit in the closet that currently houses the washer and the dryer. So I told him, "How about we replace the house ?"



I first suspected that I might be having trouble with my eyesight a few months ago when I realized that I couldn't read the program information that's displayed on Tivo. Come to think of it, this didn't seem like a gradual decline. All I knew was that one day, I just couldn't read the small text anymore.

I told hubby and his initial thought was that I must be thinking about buying a new LCD TV and my eyesight was my excuse. Now, you guys know me and how stingy much of a wise-spender I am so the TV excuse is out of the question.

Fortunately, I can still read whatever's on my screen when I'm working so I don't feel an urgent need to visit the eye doctor and have my eyes checked out (or prove that it's our TV screen that's degrading). Mom is going to scold me when she hears about this, but I've decided to postpone my visit to the optometrist until 2009 - this is when our FSA kicks in and what we spend on co-pay & eyeglasses become tax free. After all, we all know how expensive prescription eyeglasses can get, right ?

Today, I am so glad to have stumbled across, a site that offers trendy, hip & stylish glasses at an affordable price. If you order more than 1 pair of glasses, they even ship it for free! I'm most impressed with their virtual try-on system, this will help me choose the best frame and style that suits my face.

With glasses starting at $15 ? Who needs to wait for the FSA ? I want to stop squinting when I watch TV now. Besides, I've always wanted photochromic lenses, this seems like a good time to get those *smile*.

Books I've Read

I came across this "Books I've Read" list in one of my friend's site on multiply and I decided to try and see which ones I've read. I just realized now that I read most of the classics in this list while I was in high school. My reading tastes have changed dramatically since then and I now favor science fiction & fantasy books, though I still find the time for the overly-cheesy romance novels every now and then.

How about you ? Which books have you read ? Feel free to snag this :)


1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2. Italicize those you intend to read
3. Underline the books you LOVE.
4. Reprint this list in your own sites so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Explanation of the Financial Crisis

Got this from a forwarded email, if you know the original author please let me know so I can credit this story to him/her.


Young Chuck bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.' Chuck replied, 'Well, then just give me my money back.' The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I went and spent it already.' Chuck said, 'Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey.' The farmer asked, 'What ya gonna do with him? Chuck said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.' The farmer said "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!' Chuck said, 'Sure I can, watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?' Chuck said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made $998.' The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?' Chuck said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'

Chuck now works as a consultant for Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and the US Federal Reserve.


When I first read this story in my mailbox, I was amused. Now, my feelings have changed from amusement and have turned to disappointment and a little bit of despair. This recession has been hard on a lot of people.

Now, I wonder, if I went to the California Inmate Locator website, would I find Chuck incarcerated ? I hope so. If he's in some other state, he should be in the Prison Inmate Locator site as this contains full Federal inmate records from a lot of other states too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mineral makeup bandwagon

I've been hearing a lot of good things about mineral makeup so I decided to join the bandwagon and order some samples.

I very rarely put on makeup - a few times a year at the most - and more often than not, I usually go to the salon to be made up. When I make myself up, it's usually just foundation, blush, a dab of lipstick and brush on some powder (it's a Clinique product, don't remember what it's called?) to set my makeup and I'm done.

Still unsure of my commitment, I decided to do some research and sampling before I spend some serious $$$. I found a good site and brand (Signature Minerals) that offers free samples of their products (you pay for shipping) and ordered some of my own. While I was doing the research, I found out that mineral makeup has been around for a long time na pala and that there are many brands out there. I finally settled on SM because (a) they have samples; and, (b) they have an oriental asian in their before-and-after pages and they also listed the colors that these people used on themselves. This helped a lot because I have no idea what my skin tone is.

Following the advice of the asian in the testimonial pages, I got the following shades:
- 2.3 Light Beige foundation
- 4.0 Light Foundation
- Bisque Concealer
- Rose semi matte blush
- Angel wings veil
- translucent veil

Then the next step was to get a buki brush... I checked and GOLLY, makeup tools are expensive! So I'll skip this for now - since I'm on the trying-out stage anyway - and will just use my retractable Clinique brush (whatever this is) in the meantime.

I have a party to go to tomorrow and if I feel like it, am gonna try this out. If I like how I look and how my skin feels afterwards, I might just splurge and get a set of nice makeup brushes and a good set of mineral makeup.

After all, it's about time for my makeup kikay box to get filled anyway.

Dapat, after nito, maganda na ako. No snide remarks, please :P

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A to Z

A to Z - response to Mandy's tag :)

A. Attached or single ? — Attached
B. Best friend? — Hubby
C. Cake or pie? — Cake
D. Day of choice? — Saturday
E. Essential item? — Phone
F. Favorite color? — Yellow, though this might not be so evident since I don't have a lot of yellow clothing
G. Gummy bears or worms? — bears!
H. Hometown? — Quezon City
I. Favorite indulgence? — Caramel Lattes
J. January or July? — January
K. Kids? — none yet
L. Life isn’t complete without? — God and my family
M. Marriage date ? — Feb 11
N. Number of magazine subscriptions? - 5
O. Orange or apple? — apple
P. Phobias? — Cockroaches that fly and *ulk* chase after people
Q. Quotes? — "Smile at your enemies, it will drive them nuts." I read this from a Garfield comic book and it has never left my mind. When times are rough and filled with adversaries, this quote comes to mind and helps me smile.
R. Reasons to smile? — Love :)
S. Season of choice? — Winter
T. Tag 5 people - Berry, Mai, Tin, Sheryll, and Berns- I would love to read / hear your response to these questions :)
U. Unknown fact about me? - Shy talaga ako.
V. Vegetable? — Eggplant
W. Worst habit? — Biting my nails when I'm tense
X. X-ray or ultrasound? - Ultrasound
Y. Your favorite food(s)? - Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs, I can eat this everyday.
Z. Zodiac sign — Scorpio