Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In mourning

Just a few minutes ago, I was told about a sad news in the family. My uncle on my mom's side died from diabetic complications at the age of 60. My mom called me on the phone and relayed to me the bad news in between sobs. He'd been suffering from diabetes and its complications for a while now. He'd been hospitalized for a month but the doctor told them there's really nothing else they can do about it anymore since the illness brought complications to vital parts of his body. He went home 2 weeks ago but he didn't get any better until he succumbed to his illness midnight Philippine time. Death is always a sad part of life. We know we couldn't escape death, it happens to everybody. But when your family go through it, it always leaves a hole within you. I hope my mom is gonna be okay. I know she's hurting, I just hope nothing bad happens to her because of this loss. May my uncle's soul rest in eternal peace!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Filipina in the Neighborhood

I was about to start my day on the computer when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting any UPS or USPS delivery that day so I have no idea who it was. I looked through the main window but couldn’t see any vehicle by the driveway. Could it be another Jehovah’s Witness ringing every house in the neighborhood to distribute some religious flyers? Man, I just woke up, haven’t washed my face and certainly not in the mood to greet some young white stranger at the door with just my pajama bottoms and cami tank top with no bra underneath. I’ve decided to ignore the unexpected buzzer. All the window blinds are closed so whoever was outside the door can’t tell if there’s somebody in.

But my curiosity got the better of me, so I tried to cautiously peek in one of the small windows and saw a raven-haired woman on purple sweats probably in her late 50’s. Ooops! She looks like a Filipina but I couldn’t be sure so I’ve decided to open the door and find out. We exchanged “hellos” and she asked me right away if I were a Filipina. I told her yes and that I speak Bisaya. I let her in and she seemed to be a nice lady. She’s from Bacolod but she lives in the U.S. for almost 40 years now. She had lived in San Diego for 28 years and 10 years here in Lakeview. I was so glad I found a Filipina in the area. I had been so sure there was none considering the size of the town but I’m glad I was wrong. She said there are lots of Filipinas in the area as a matter of fact and she promised to bring me to future gatherings so I can meet the rest as well. Boy, I was so happy to meet her. We talked a little bit about this and that. I asked her about the neighborhood since she has lived here longer than me. We both like how peaceful our neighborhood is, definitely no need to install home security systems inside the house. She lives just 2 houses right behind us.

I got curious how did she know about me. She said her American husband saw me one afternoon while walking around the neighborhood and told her to come by and say Hi. Yeah, I remember that! It was last week. The weather was excellent so I decided to walk around a bit for fresh air and some exercise. I enjoyed it until a fierce looking, medium-sized brown dog barked at me like it’s his first time to see a short brown-skinned woman on earth, lol. It scared the hell out of me. The dog was on a leash and was tied to what seemed to me like a clothesline. But when he saw me walking, he got excited and decided to run after me. He was successful! I was so tempted to scream but when I stopped walking and looked at him straight through its eyes, he stopped running after me but continued to bark. Whew! I decided to just go home and calm myself down but I didn’t want to walk back home on that same road so I took a shortcut. I walked on the neighbor’s yard that takes me back to our own backyard. The whole time, I was hoping nobody will see me and tell me it’s offlimits or worse shoot me for trespassing, lol! That’s probably when the Filipina’s husband saw me from their window. Gosh! I was embarrassed. I thought nobody had seen me, haha! She didn't mention anything about it though. But I’d rather be told I’m not allowed in their area than to be ravaged by a dog. Alright, I might be overreacting! He might just be “all bark but no bite” but still I don’t want to find out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Housewife

I've been playing the role of a simple housewife for 5 months now, if I were to include the 2 months vacation in the Philippines. So far, I've enjoyed it. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to the role. However, I'm not going to talk about any of them here. I just want to share how my typical day goes. It may be boring to you but please just bear with me. It's not that bad, I promise!

Hubby has to be at work at 6:30 a.m. He works 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. We live 10 minutes from the powerhouse, so usually he leaves home at 6:15. I don't prepare breakfast for hubby, I hope that won't make me a bad wife, lol! He's not used to eating real breakfast anyway. Sometimes, he'd have some bagels, toast, frozen waffle, a bowl of cereal, a banana or just a glass of OJ. Nothing fancy that he can't do it himself so there's really no need for me to wake up early in the morning. But I choose to get up early every day. I like to tell him "I love U" and give him "power hugs and kisses" before he leaves for work, haha!

More often than not, I go back to bed once hubby leaves. Recently however, I went back to my other passion which is Reading. I bought four books in a used bookstore in town. I am done reading "The Pastor's Wife", a true crime drama about Mary Winkler, an abused wife who killed her husband who's a pastor in a small town in Tennessee. Currently, I'm halfway through a book by James Patterson, "When The Wind Blows", a suspense thriller about a U.S. biogenetic laboratory which illegally experiments on how to turn small kids into angels with literal wings. It's different from all the J. Patterson books I've read in the past. I've always liked the suspense genre but I'm thinking of giving feel-good and funny books a try. Soon.

If I don't get myself sleepy again after reading, I usually get up and start my day with a light breakfast. My favorite is Fruit Loops in milk. Hehe!

Then I go online, check my mails, log in to Entrecard and do my EC dropping and bloghopping routine. My favorite Filipino shows starts at 10:30 so the T.V. set must always be turned on while I'm on the computer. I'm good at multi-tasking, hehe! Hubby calls me from work during his lunch break to ask how everything's going so that's my cue to get my lazy butt off the couch and prepare something for me to eat for lunch. I don't cook real meals for me. In most cases, I eat leftover from the other night. Otherwise, I'll just bake some hotdogs or sausage patties with rice. Then I'd be back in front of my laptop and TV. Haha! Every so often, I stand up to drink some water to keep my lazy system hydrated and to munch on some snacks like nuts or chocolate pudding, hehe. I make sure I do the dishes before "Diva" comes on. Hubby comes home from work around 5:00 p.m. He does not expect a hot meal waiting for him on the table, so I wouldn't even start preparing dinner until he's home.

Here's some of the meals I prepared from last week.

Baked Chicken Wings

Skillet Pasta and Beef Dinner

One day I was in the mood for a Pinoy Style Bistek. It was oh so good!

Parmesan Chicken Strips with Sauteed Mushrooms and Jasmine Rice

Beef with Broccoli on Jasmine Rice

Baked Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks (my favorite way of cooking chicken legs and fillet strips) with Mashed Potatoes

One time, I suddenly feel the urge of doing something worthy so I started sorting my footwear for spring cleaning purposes. Sad to say, I'm usually a disorganized person, but I got tired of looking at my cluttered shoes in the house so I decided to attend to it before it gets out of control. I use a small wooden shoe rack for some that I use on a regular basis, put away the rest in boxes and neatly piled them in a corner. I was quite happy with the result. I plan to do our closet next. Winter is over so I need to put away my winter clothes and start using short-sleeved blouses and shorts. It's one of the things I love about America, the change of seasons. It's just a pain sometimes since you have to update your wardrobe to suit the weather change. But it gives me a reason to organize our closet so I guess it does more good than bad, eh! :)

What's your typical day like? Have you started spring cleaning yet?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Before I bid goodbye to winter

Spring officially started yesterday. In fact, we were greeted with the soft sound of rain when we woke up this morning. Indeed, spring is here. But I’ve heard that some places in the U.S. are still experiencing cold front weather, not to mention snow, only after a few days of having temperature at 70s. The weather can really be likened to a woman’s mind, fickle-minded. Anyway, it gave me the idea to post my snowstorm photos from last month. My bad, I forgot to blog about it before. It’s never too late to share snow photos, is it?

It rarely snows in Arkansas. Well, at least in our part of Arkansas. I think we only had a few bad weather and one big snowstorm this winter which happened on the first week of February, if I'm not mistaken. Although it's extremely cold when it snows, I didn't mind going out to explore the perfectly white neighborhood with a camera in hand of course. It may have been an extreme inconvenience to many when there's snow, but at least it had offered chances for kids and young at heart like me to have fun out and snap away pretty photos. There's no medical basis to this claim, but I've noticed less acne breakouts in the wintertime for me, which is a great thing. I can minimize the use of BP medication on my face which tends to dry out my skin more. Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos below.

My snow wave

Cute angel, eh?

A taste of snow?!?

Unmindful of how cold the ground was, I just gotta have to make my snow angel.

8 inches of snow (happened only once so i enjoyed till it last)

I love how white and heavenly the surrounding was

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Skin care regimen that works for me

At the height of my acne problem, I did everything I can to find the best acne treatments out there. I’ve visited acne sufferers forum, read acne product reviews and actually tried a few acne products claiming to be effective. My hard work paid off. I found the products that definitely work for me. Finally, my face is getting better and better each day. I’ve learned a lot about breakouts and I can say I know better on what’s best for my face. Thanks to Obagi Clenziderm MD for Oily Skin (a skin-care system with facial wash, toner and BP serum) which really helps clear out my face from acne, Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser which I use 3 times a week to help remove dull and dead skin cells by gentle exfoliation, Funky Mommy Calendula Cream to help moisturize my skin which is very important since most acne products tend to have drying effects on the skin, Funky Mommy Gluta-C soap which I use interchangeably with my other facial wash, Funky Mommy Gluta-C skin lightening cream which helps reduce the appearance of acne scars, skin pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles (I use it every night for a week now), and Obagi Sunscreen with SPF 35 which I put on my face 15 minutes before I go out in the sun. So I basically cover the basics which are to cleanse, tone, moisturize and protect from the damaging sun rays. It seems to be a lot of products to use but trust me, I've tried more in the past but they didn't do me any good so currently I stick to this regimen as it proves to be effective for me. I no longer have nasty active huge acne so I quit using BP serum but I still keep some in my cabinet just in case. As for makeup, I hardly use one for the fear of breakouts but I do have Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Oil-Free Pressed Powder and IN2IT Oil Control and Oil Free 2-way Powder with SPF 25 in my purse which I use quite often. And yeah, I can't live without lip balm and lipstick since my lips look pale without it, hehe, but I rarely use eye makeup and stuff. As much as possible, I try to keep things simple as far as makeup is concern. If I can't be sure that a product is non-comedogenic, oil-free and won't cause breakouts, I don't use it. It really helps to read real reviews before using beauty products. It pays to be cautious especially for acne prone people like me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A trip down memory lane

Highschool life...What can I say?

It seems like it's been ages ago, haha! I wouldn't deny that highschool was one of the funniest moments of my life, I'm sure a lot of you would agree with me. We were young, carefree and innocent back then. I was not as free as most of my highschool friends because I think I had the two strictest parents in the world, haha. But I still had my fair share of bonding moments with them. I got the inspiration to blog about this after I've read Bchai's story about her first grade class picture. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have an old picture of me back in grade school anymore. We moved a lot and digital cameras are not "in" back then so probably typhoons in Cebu managed to destroy all our old albums. But thankfully, I found these photos below from a HS classmate's Facebook file. Boy, was I glad to see a skinny version of me from the early 90's, haha! Of course, some unflattering photos of me back then made its way to Facebook albums as well courtesy of my ever diligent HS schoolmates, lol. I'd be glad to share those to you as well but I couldn't remember now who uploaded them. No, I'm not making excuses here, lol. I really tried to look for it so we can laugh altogether, but thank God I couldn't find it.*battling eyelashes* One photo of me from a seminar in Dumaguete City when I was a sophomore merits a call from my sister in Illinois, only to hear her giggling like crazy on the phone and be told that I looked like a teenage boy in that picture and that she hardly recognized me but blood is thicker than water so she's pretty sure it was ME after all. Great! Thanks, dear sister! LOL...Oh, how I love Facebook! Anyway...

This is US in our gala uniform. If I remember it right, we would wear this once a month and also during feastdays or any kind of church celebrations. By the way, I went to a Catholic school, St. Nicholas Academy. I am the shortest gal, 3rd from the right, if you still haven't recognized me. Two of these pretty ladies, 1st from the right Charlit and 4th from the left Jeany were there at my Philippine Church wedding last January. The rest are now living in the U.S., Singapore, Canada and Dubai.

It's me again with some of my lovely classmates in our blue uniform which is the school's regular uniform. I am the one in that unhappy looking pose, hehe, first seat from the left.

I miss highschool. I'm glad I have these photos to remind me of those days. How about you? Do you still have some of your old highschool photos? How do you look back then? Does it make you feel ancient when you take a look at them now?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Diva: The KantaSerye

When I think of Regine Velasquez, I can picture her as this:

Glamorous...Fabulous...Famous...Beautiful...Sultry...Sexy...Songbird...with a very powerful voice.

So imagine my surprise when she agreed to come out on her latest T.V. show looking like this:

Hahaha! This in itself would really make me watch her new show. The title is "DIVA" which is a story of a girl named "Sampaguita", who looks unbelievably ugly but is gifted with an angelic and powerful voice. Sampaguita loves to sing and joins in every amateur singing contest that she can think of but always comes home as a loser because of her unpleasant face. Eventually, she met somebody who was willing to take her as their band's vocalist but with the condition that she has to wear scarves or elaborately huge hats just to cover her face whenever they sing on their gigs. It's a romantic comedy and it's a genre she does best. It's kinda like my "personal afternoon therapy" as the show never fails to make me laugh whenever I see the "ugly Regine" on screen. Of course, she would not stay ugly forever as for some stroke of luck, the band will become successful and she would become very famous as "Melody". With some cosmetic help, she would eventually transform into this:

The show had started airing last week and I enjoyed it immensely. Besides the laughter and witty dialogues, they have wonderful production numbers and as a fan, it's a bonus to see her not just act but sing as well. I'm glad we have subscribed to TFC and GMA Pinoy TV. At least even if I'm far away from the Philippines, I can still get to watch Filipino shows and be updated with whatever is new back in my homeland.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pinoy Food Marathon

Before I got married, I didn't know how to cook. It was always Mom who cooks good food for us. But when I got married and moved here in the U.S., I know that I need to learn how to cook. It was very difficult at first. Oftentimes, I had to call Mom just to ask for instructions on how to cook even simple meals. Spending so much time on the internet have helped me as well. I've found good recipes from friends' blogs and other famous food and recipe websites. Eventually, I didn't just learn how to cook but I started to enjoy doing it. I still don't consider myself good at it though but the willingness and interest to learn is there, unlike before. I guess it's an improvement and I'm quite proud of it. I'm happy with hubby because he eats whatever I serve. He's not picky at all. He appreciates me cooking and he always tells me I'm such a good cook even if I know I'm not, haha! He loves chicken and pork adobo, lumpia, pansit, bola-bola, bistek, pork giniling, tortang baboy, to name a few of his favorites. Lately, I've been cooking a lot of Filipino foods, hehe! There's always leftovers since it's just the two of us in the house so he would bring some leftovers to work. The nosy co-workers couldn't help themselves from getting curious on what food he's eating, lol! One time he brought some chicken adobo and one of the guys said something about the color of the chicken ain't right, haha! Du'h! Adobo has soy sauce, man! I wish I could have hubby bring some dried fish and dried squid to work to see how they would react to the smell, haha! Well, it's not gonna happen though. Hubby couldn't even stand the sight of my stinky little friends.

I was inspired to cook "ginaling" after I saw it from a friend's blog.


This was my 3rd time to make "Bola-Bola" and I was pretty happy with how it tasted this time around. See, sometimes in cooking, it's just a matter of trial and error, haha!

Pork Steak courtesy of my Mama. Red bell pepper is what's supposed to be used for this recipe but I found none in the fridge so I used green instead. See, in cooking, you can also improvise sometimes, haha! It didn't come out bad so no harm done here.

Now, Brussel Sprouts is definitely not Filipino-ish, but one night I made it as a side dish as we get tired of eating meat all the time. I wish I had put some bacon with it but anyway, I love the buttery taste and hubby said it's good for the health.

We indulged our sweet cravings last night and shared a pint of Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road ice-cream for dessert while watching Dexter. It was divine!

How about you? What kinds of food do you cook at home? Do you crave for Pinoy foods too?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Overwhelmed by our To-Do list!

It’s March already and we still haven’t filed our taxes. It took a while for my W-2 form to get to our current residence. Apparently, they've mailed it to our old address in Ozark so I had to request another one since the first hadn't arrived. Jeff had problems on the other hand, retrieving his form online from the computer at home due to security issues. Du’h! One would think technology will make things a lot easier but there are just things that are better left the way they should be. Why can’t they just mail the form to their employees and not make them jump through hoops before they can get hold of the actual W-2? Oh well, some systems are just quite complex. Anyway, as I was saying, that is one of the important things that we need to take care of immediately.

Next in line, we need to file a petition to remove the conditions of my permanent resident status of this country. My greencard expires in 2 months and we have to comply with the requirements to avoid immigration issues. If you’re an immigrant like me, I’m sure you’re familiar with what I’m talking about. This whole immigration thing is never-ending, lol! The tedious task of collating documents and evidences makes me procrastinate all the more. I’m still not in the mood to dig through our old utility bills, health and car insurance, mortgage life insurance, joint bank accounts, photos and travel documents together and the like as proofs of the existence of our marriage. But I know I have to do this if I don't want to be deported back home, haha!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A new blog: Exploring America and Beyond

I have started a new blog entitled "Exploring America and Beyond". I am hoping you would be interested to read my past, present and future travel adventures as I chronicle them all on my new journal. I welcome everyone who would like to follow, comment, bloghop, exchange links and make friends. I'll eventually link this blog to Entrecard so I'll keep you guys posted when I have the widget. I hope you'll support my new blog as you did with my first one. Thank you so much and see you all there!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

How about a Travel Blog?

Lately, I've been thinking of creating a new blog. I can't seem to decide just yet what type of blog would it be. Fashion, entertainment, food, photography and travel seem appealing. I was inspired by my friend Hazel's new travel blog and I'm kinda' leaning towards that category. Since traveling is something that hubby and I love to do, I've thought of dedicating a blog for our inter-states travels and hopefully new places outside the U.S. that we might be able to explore in the future. My Sweet Haven is presently hosted by Blogger, so I thought of trying a different platform for my new blog. It's not that I have any complaints with my current platform, but I just wanted to give Wordpress a try. I already have a blog title in mind, as well as the URL address, but I'll disclose them when I'm ready to launch the said blog. I may need the creative expertise of my designer friend Ivy again for the customized layout, hopefully she would have extra time to spare for this project. I'm pretty excited for this, and I'm hoping to have as many followers and commenters as with my old blog.