Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Enter some giveaways

I'm back to work and today consisted of going through 150 emails and clean up some of the mess that was left behind by my old boss. I don't know when I will be able to blog as I am still doing laundry from vacation and just trying to get back into the groove. I am also slowly going through the 300+ blog posts from my google reader. I have a lot of catching up to do. For the time being, check out two giveaways I just entered.

A very cute headband giveaway from a new blog 
I recently started following, life in technicolor.

A cute lunch bag giveaway at the little things we do.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back from Jamaica, mon!

We are back home. Very sad to be back. Never, ever have I been so upset to be leaving a resort. Normally after seven days, I am done, ready to go home to my bed. But even though I was apprehensive of going to Jamaica, I really did not want to leave. I have one word to describe out trip to Jamaica - AWESOME!!!!

I'm still so relaxed and I don't want to ruin this moment so let me just quickly share with you my trip theme song and a few photos. I'll blog about my vacation later...




 
***

View from our room

Pool (only 1/2 of it, it's a gigantic pool)

Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton

The crew

Jerk Pork with Rice & Peas (food was excellent and so yummy)


Poor MQ. He fell asleep a couple times during lunch

Beach

Pool at night

Beef (and chicken) patties served 24 hours a day at the Sports Bar

Jamaican sunset

Me & the hubby

Me & hubby at sunset

Anne Hathaway smile

Oh silly hubby!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest post: Happy 29th birthday, Gino!

Today is my brother's birthday. I am actually on vacation so I guess we can call this post a guest post written by my mom. This intro is written by me and the photo is one that was taken at my friend Carmen's wedding back in October 2006. My mom has always been one to write poems but when my brother passed away, she made it a tradition to write one every month on the 29th or on his birthday. My mom is very sweet to offer up her poem for Gino on his 29th birthday to be posted on my blog since she knew I wouldn't be around to write one up. Thank you Mom!




How can I celebrate your birthday without you being here
Somehow I have to get this poem to a friend who lives near
I know we are all missing you because you are one so dear
We hope you are having fun even if it’s only with one beer.

Now that I can’t visit you any day and every Sunday morning
I just have to remember and listen if you are singing
The new journey took me away from you and I am hurting
But like anything else in life, I have to go on and keep on living.

Today will always be a very special day for me to remember
Because it was the day you brought happiness to your sister
All the memories we have will stay in our hearts forever
Happy birthday my son, love mom, I will forget you never.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Movie Review: Step Up 3D


I love dance movies so I was quite anxious for the release of Step Up 3D. I actually wanted this movie to be my first 3D movie but I ended up watching Despicable Me. For me, there was a lot of hype for the movie since I discovered LXD and Jon Chu. Jon Chu directed Step Up 2: The Streets and it has to be one of my favorite dance flicks [click here and here]. I really liked the continuity in this movie from the second movie. Obviously there really isn't a connection between Step Up 1 and 2 except for Tyler Gage's battle against Andy in the beginning and MSA. Overall, the thirs installment was a cool movie, lots of awesome dancing but I really could have done without the 3D effects. C'mon the slushie scene - give me a break.

LIKES:
  • More focus on Moose, he is truly an awesome dancer for a skinny dude.
  • Sharni Vinson has an wicked body. Maybe I should take up dancing so I can have a body like hers. She bends all sorts of ways.
  • Madd Chadd has crazy movements and is hot too!
  • The boombox wall.
  • tWitch
  • The MSA crew (but where is Andy and Chase?)
  • Opening dance sequence when Moose battles Kid Darkness.
  • All the music throughout the movie.
DISLIKES:
  • Natalie and Luke scene with the slushie and wind tunnel, sort of reminiscent of Nora and Tyler at the port doing her dream dance.
  • The focus on Camille and Moose, there should only be one love story in the movie, either Camille and Moose or Natalie and Luke
  • The final battle scene, it was too long. You think it's done but wait...there's more. I would have liked to see more crews battling but that's what You Got Served it for.
I honestly think I need to watch it again. I felt like I was concentrating too much on what 3D effects there were rather than the dancing itself.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Movie Review: Eat, Pray, Love


Seeing this trailer in the movie theatre a few weeks ago rushed me to go out there and read the book. Sadly, I didn't finish it in time because I watched Eat, Pray, Love opening weekend. To me, I feel like you should read the book before seeing the movie. I am not sure if you will get the same effect if you didn't read it - I could be wrong. Julia Roberts was perfectly casted to play Elizabeth Gilbert. Isn't Julia the best and nails whatever role is given to her? The movie/book is based on Elizabeth making some changes in her life and going for it to find happiness. You follow her through a year in Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Indonesia (Love). After watching her spend three months in Italy, I now want to go there, eat and speak the language.

The movie was good, I wouldn't say I loved it but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a strong feeling that I would have enjoyed it more if I actually finished the book. I am only on page 44 but plan to read it to the end. It's a great book so far and the movie is pretty close to the story. My only wish is that they casted someone else besides James Franco for the role of David. I didn't think it was a good fit. I pictured David to be hotter. Maybe I am being bias because I just don't like James Franco.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The O.C. (oh i see you)


Now just coming off the high of Fill in the Blank Friday about TV, I thought I would share this story with you. On Thursday night, while my hubby and I were flipping through channels to find something to watch, we came across an old episode (The Party Favour) of The O.C. I have no idea what it was about - something about a dance and Summer being crowned Princess or Queen. Anyway, we started to see all these familiar faces:
I am sure there are a ton of others who appeared on The O.C., it looks like it was the starting point for all young actors/actresses. Can you recall any others who made a one time appearance on the show?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday


First of all, thank you Lauren for using my blanks. It was fun to come up with something about TV but now I think it's going to be difficult for me to actually answer them. TV is near and dear to my heart, without it, I don't know what I would do. When I hear that someone doesn't have cable, first thing I ask is, "How to you survive without it?" I depend on TV for many reasons - it's my escape from reality and into a fantasy world, it's great background noise and a way to see the trends - and sometimes I think that I should maybe get a life and start living it rather than sitting in front of a box. But if it makes me happy, then I am not going to change anything about it. So, enough of my babble, here we go...

1. My favorite current TV show is Sons of Anarchy on FX. We don't get this channel so I caught up and watching Seasons 1 and 2 with my hubby two weeks ago. We watched all weekend and stayed up late on weeknights. Yes, it's that good! I can't wait for season 3 to start September 7. 


2. The TV character I can relate to most is Lauren Conrad. I can't relate to her because I don't live in LA but I guess what I am trying to say is, I would want to live her life and do what she does for a living.

3. My life is like (fill in with TV show and why).... I don't think there is a certain show that my life is like because it's pretty boring but the closest I would say would be Cougar Town. Jules and her neighbours sit around and drink wine all day, well, my hubby and I go over to our friend's house and we drink sangria all day and talk around their kitchen counter.

4. My all time favorite TV show is Beverly Hills, 90210. Growing up, I could definitely relate to this show. When I retire, I am going to spend my days watching all the episodes, in order, all 10 seasons of it.

5. A TV show that is ridiculously stupid, but I continue to watch is A Shot with Tila Tequila. It's not on anymore but when it was, I had to keep on watching it to see who Tila would pick. It was hilarious to see straight men and lesbians profess their love for her and compete for her attention.

6. My favorite TV couple is David and Lauren from the new Melrose Place. Sadly, the show got cancelled just when their relationship was peaking with drama and sexy scenes. They had so much chemistry and love for each other, plus also some much tension before they actually hooked up.

7. One TV episode I could watch over and over again is the Friends episode - The One with All the Resolutions - Ross and the leather pants scene cracks me up every time!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wanna join a tea trade?


Last year, I participated in a tea exchange [click here and here]. It gave me a chance to try out a new flavour of tea and also to receive some snail mail. I discovered another tea trade happening next month. If you are a tea lover like me, sign up at Gussying up the Tuttle for her 2nd annual tea trade.

Thanks Kaileenelise for posting this on your blog.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can't get enough of SoA

I am having serious withdrawals from Sons of Anarchy. The show is just that good. Here's a little fun quiz I did to find out which Sons of Anarchy character I am most like...

Which Sons of Anarchy Character Are You?

More on Sons of Anarchy. Created by BuddyTV

If you haven't seen the show, you won't understand the character reference. But trust me on this one, you NEED to look for the show online and watch it. Kathy can vouch for me and so can my hubby. Well, after all, he did introduce me to the SoA.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Movie Review: Ramona and Beezus


Ramona and Beezus is based on Beverly Cleary's books. I don't believe I have even read one of her books but I wanted to see this movie for the cuteness factor of Miss Joey King as Ramona Quimby and the hotness of Josh Duhamel and John Corbett. I don't think there is one thing I disliked about this movie. I saw it with my mom and it is truly a feel good family movie - lots of love, laughter and tears of sadness and joy. Joey King is such a talented little girl, she steals the show. If you have a little sister, niece or goddaughter, I highly recommend taking her. She'll enjoy the movie and so will you with the eye candy.

On a side note, while I was watching, I totally envisioned that this is what life would be like if Carrie married Aiden in Sex and the City. I could see them settling into the 'burbs and raising kids. If you watched this movie, did you feel the same?

There are two scenes in the movie that I loved. I can't seem to find a clip or a photo of it but I will share my favorite parts without spoiling the movie. 1) When Ramona gets her school photo and 2) a conversation with Ramona and her older sister, Beatrice. Beatrice asks who could ever love a girl named Beezus...Ramona response - Jesus. This part cracks up me and my mom!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Shoes

Seeing that summer is almost over, I finally got my butt into gear to write up this post. Back in June, Solo Lisa posted her summer shoes, I thought it was a neat idea, and I hope she doesn't mind me copying her.

black sandals, IMPO | white gladiators, Report | purple flip flops, Ipanema (purchased in Dominican Republic)

beige cork sandals & black croc peep-toe pumps, both from Nine West

To make things a little interesting, let me share with you some shoes that I bought and returned or thought about buying. I am actually glad I returned the bronze ballet flats because although they were cool and can be folded in half to keep in your purse, they were really too small for my feet; I am also glad I returned the pair of Toms Shoes because again they were too small (I bought a 6 but I really need a 6.5) and I wasn't in love with the print. The Toms Wedges - I want them. I tried them on in the store, they had my size, not necessarily the print I want but I couldn't fork over $85 at the time. They are super comfortable though. Maybe next year.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why I decided to get bangs

For the longest time last year, I was back and forth on the thought of having bangs. Here are the celebrities who inspired me to take the leap and just do it.


I remember that I needed the okay from my hubby and my BFF, Stephanie that this was a good idea. After their approval, I immediately booked an appointment with my hairstylist to cut some bangs and dye my hair black. When they were done, I was so pleased with myself for making this daring move. I loved my hair. Sadly now, my hair has faded to a medium brown due to the summer sun but once I get back from my beach vacation, I plan to dye it black again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bringing Blog Friend Friday back

Back in May, I went on hiatus with my series, Blog Friend Friday. I actually ran out of blogs to feature. Now with summer quickly coming to an end, I will be bringing back my BFF series on Friday, September 3rd. I have discovered many new blogs over the summer and I am hoping that the bloggers will be interested in participating and being featured on my blog (not that I have many readers but I am slowly gaining new follwers - thanks guys!).

So stay tuned! I do have one question though, should I use the same questions as last time or change them up? If you have some time, please participate in the poll on the left sidebar. Thank you.

Update: Thank you for taking my poll about if I should keep the same questions or change it up. Also, thanks to those who left a comment with their feedback. I decided to keep half of the questions the same and then change up the other five. Everyone wins! I have sent out the questions to the new blogs I have been following. Stayed tuned for BFF in the upcoming weeks.

A sparkle giveaway over at Kaileenelise's blog

I have had the pleasure of discovering a shared love of a certain dance show with Kaileen over Twitter. I started following her blog last year because of all the creativity she posts about. She is such a sweet girl and I can't wait to ask her to be part of my BFF - Blog Friend Friday - when I start it up in the fall.

To celebarate her one year blogiversary (a very big deal for those who blog), she is doing some giveaways leading up to this special day. Take a look below to see what she is giving away and then check out her blog for more giveaway details.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bodega Restaurant

I need to stop. Beyond my control, my blog is turning into a foodie blog. Am I eating out too much? I am sure you readers don't mind looking at food photos, right? Well, this should be the last of the food posts for a while.

Two days in a row with company lunches. Although this time, it was a fun lunch, not a working lunch. It's the goodbye lunch for my boss at Bodega Restaurant. This is the second time I have eaten here and both times with work. It's a cute little restaurant on Baldwin Street with a patio that when the sun is out, you can tan while you eat. I have never seen the inside of the restaurant because my company seems to only like going here in the summer.

I was lucky that one of my coworkers, Jo was willing to share some appetizers with me. She is a hardcore vegetarian. She does not eat meat because she can't digest it and I think I may have the same problem. Whenever we have work events, both of us opt for the vegetarian meal or if we can swing it, the fish meal. Anyway, we both decided to each get the Chilled Calamari Salad and split on Panko Crusted Blue Crab Cakes and Seared Tomatoes. See, no meat and honestly, I was full and even enjoyed two bites of the Chocolate, Espresso & Bailey's Flourless Cake my boss ordered.


Panko Crusted Blue Crab Cakes

Chilled Calamari Salad

Seared Tomato 
(with feta cheese and crispy onion rings)

The food isn't anything spectacular, they use the basic ingredients but for the price you are paying, it's all very delicious. I really enjoy sitting on their patio with a glass of white wine. Before I end this post, I had to take a photo of my coworkers' dish because it looks so yummy:


Crispy Duck Confit Salad

Dynamite

You may not know, but I am the Queen of cheesy music. I love top 40 and I love the catchy dance tunes. I heard Dynamite at one of the weddings I just recently attended and no one knew what the song was...but I did. I recognized it because the video always plays in the mornings while I get ready for work. Unfortunately, I don't have my own iTunes account, I share with my hubby, so there is no way I can purchase the song or download it (because I don't know how to do it). For now, I will just watch the video below or every morning. I have a feeling this song will become my 2010 summer song.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

High Tea at Windsor Arms

This afternoon, I went for high tea with my team, my ex-boss and my soon-to-be another ex-boss. Crazy huh? My current boss gave her two weeks notice last Friday and we are trying to come up with a plan for the fall since we could be without a director until late November. But this is not what my post is about, it's about having Complete High Tea at Windsor Arms. For $35 per person, we were treated to a glass of sparkling wine, loose leaf tea and sweet & savoury goodness.

top tier - petit fours

middle tier - fresh sandwiches
Smoked Salmon and Salmon Caviar with an Oven-Roasted Tomato Cream Cheese
Baby Greens with Asparagus, Cucumber Salsa and Chive Cream Cheese
Grilled Chicken with Citrus Essence

Bottom tier - Fresh Scones with Preserves and Devon Cream and 
Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Tart

Everything was delicious. High tea is definitely something for girls to enjoy but too bad that it was relaxing for me because we were working throughout. I would like to go again with my own friends so we can lunch like ladies and gossip! I'm glad my first experience was paid for by the company.

Robin and I had to take a photo of this little lemon meringue 
because it was so cute and perfect.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dozo Sushi

I recently discover a new blog because of a tweet up I attended. Chronicles of a Food Junkie is now a favorite blog of mine. Most of my friends know that I love to take photos of almost everything I eat - whether it be at home, at a restaurant or even while on vacation - yes, I love to eat. But these days, I am seriously trying to watch what I eat and avoiding foods that I know will not agree with my stomach.  After scrolling through many posts on this new found blog and salivating at all of the photos, I came across a post on Dozo Sushi + Sake Bar. This restaurant is near my husband's work and my BFF's house, so it made it really convenient when the time came to choose a place to have dinner.

I don't know about you, but I MUST look at the menu before eating at a restaurant. I like to make a decision on what I want to eat before even arriving at the place. I don't want to be sitting at the table being indecisive and making people wait while I think about what I really want to try. After reading Food Junkie's post and seeing what she ate, I knew I had to try the Salmon soy paper roll. I had eaten something similar at Coast in Vancouver - Fish and Chips hand roll.

The decor of Dozo is hip, modern and very purple. The banquette seating is very comfy and the cutlery/dinnerware is more formal than what you use to seeing at sushi restaurants. Although Dozo is in the mecca of Asian restaurants, it's very classy unlike the usually cheap ghetto sushi joints.



Since I have been eating light, I decided on only eating the salmon soy paper roll, a side order of salmon sashimi and deep fried tofu. My hubby ordered the eight course dinner, that's right, you heard me correctly, eight course sashimi dinner...more on this later. My BFF had spicy makimono and shrimp tempura udon soup; and her hubby had trio of makimono and beef teriyaki with egg on rice. They both enjoyed their makimonos, actually they raved about it.

salmon soy paper roll (4.95)

side order of salmon sashimi (3.95)

deep fried tofu (5.95)

Before I end this post, let me describe to you the eight course dinner my hubby ordered. For $24.95, I think this is an awesome deal. They have a huge selection for main entrées like miso black cod, chicken tekiyaki, sushi combination platter, lobster platter, etc and the price for the eight course dinner ranges from $19.95 to $38.95.  Here's what you get (let's see if I can remember it all correctly:
  1. soup
  2. salad
  3. mango roll
  4. shrimp and mango shooter
  5. beef short ribs and octupus balls
  6. main entrée - hubby choose the sashimi dinner
  7. dessert - your choice of creme brulée or tempura green tea ice cream
  8. drink - your choice calpis in strawberry, green apple or peach (it's basically bubble tea but without the bubbles)
Mango roll and shrimp and mango shooter

 15 piece sashimi dinner

Overall, we had an amazing dining experience. Our server, Frankie was amusing and the manager did come by our table to check on how everything was going. I highly recommend this restaurant. It's not at all busy and our total bill for the four of us was $98 including taxes (this also included one Sapporo and japanese tea, yes, they charge you $2 for unlimited tea).

Monday, August 9, 2010

I heart SoA

On Friday (or maybe even Thursday), I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I felt run down and also, my face was breaking out. I blame it on the late night partying the weekend before and late nights of TV watching during the week. With no plans for the weekend ahead, I declared it, "my weekend of rest". But with my luck, it wasn't a good weekend to be at home, there was no good movies on CosmoTV, W Network, Diva or Peachtree. Anyway, Friday night, while hubby was out longboarding, I watched reruns of The Hills on ROD. Saturday, we did nothing but take naps all day long. It wasn't until the evening, Mike throws on a show that I was absolutely sure I wouldn't like...a show about a motorcycle gang. What girly girl in her right mind would want to watch a show of gangs and violence. Well, guess what guys....YOU ARE LOOKING AT HER!!!!


I had heard about the show before since I follow @JoelMadden on Twitter. He would always rave about Sons of Anarchy. I never paid any attention to it because my TV lineup was already full and we don't get FX Network in Canada. After watching episode 3 of season 1, I was hooked. I had no intentions of getting so involved in the show. I was planning to read my book while Mike watched. Next thing you know, it's 1:36 am and we just finished watching episodes 3-8.

The show follows the Teller-Morrow family and the Sons of Anarchy or SamCro (I thought when they were referring to Sam Crow, they were referring to an actual person. No, it stands for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original Charter), who are situated in Charming, CA. For a more detailed description and season recaps, click here.

SoA is so out of the box for me but it's highly addicting. There's lots of character building, twisted plots, shocking moments and lots of violence. Last night, we started season 2 and ended with episode 4. Looks like we can already figure out what we will be doing tonight.

***

Somewhere between all the SoA watching, we managed to stop to let my dad come over to drop off a bookshelf he built for us. I know when he asked what colour I wanted the shelf, I said white but when Mike and I walked out of the lobby, we were shocked to see a lovely mint green bookshelf on the dolly. -- Oh dad...that's not white but it's okay, we still love the bookself --



That was my weekend. I didn't get anything accomplished. I was hoping to watch Step Up 3D, install MS Office on my laptop, work on updating my resume and organize my jewellry. This will all have to wait until next weekend when I also plan on packing for Jamaica.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday (it's all about food)


1. Today for breakfast I ate blueberry yogurt with Archer Farms Pecan Sticky Bun granola.

2. My go to/never fail recipe is macaroni and cheese. I don't have an exact recipe, I just throw whatever cheese I have. No measurement, I just eyeball it. Homemade mac n cheese is awesome!

3. Something I eat that other people think is weird is champorado and dillis - champorado is a chocolate rice porridge and dillis is dried anchovies. Yes, it sounds disgusting but I love the sweet and salty combination. Not every filipinos eats this. My hubby doesn't, he didn't even know about it and he was born in the Philippines.

4. My worst cooking disaster ever was monkfish. My hubby and I bought it thinking that we were being different since it was during our fish phase. It turned all rubbery. The gross part was a few weeks later we saw what a monkfish looks like before it's all cut up. Never again will we ever buy or eat monkfish.

5. If I could only eat one flavor of ice cream the rest of my life it would be Ben & Jerry's If I Had a 1,000,000 flavours.

6. One food I hate and avoid at all costs is celery. I can't stand the taste and the texture.

7. What is your favorite meal? Breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Breakfast! Or should I say brunch...especially if it's a brunch buffet. I love french toast, bacon, home fries, eggs overhard, rye toast, etc...

Origin Restaurant (a tweet up dinner)

I was invited to a tweetup dinner organized by Lisa from Hip & Urban Girl's Guide. I was quite shocked that she would invite me because I only tweet and blog about random stuff. Although I was nervous, I thought it would be good to network socially.

The dinner: Origin.
The girls: Lisa, Stella, Aimee, Rebecca and myself.
The food: I'll let the photos do the talking. For a more descriptive post about the restaurant, check out Chronicles of a Food Junkie.

Since it's a tapas-style restaurant, we all decided to order two dishes each that would be shared amongst the five of us. We made sure there were no duplicate orders. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of everything we ate but if you check out the blog link above, Stella did an excellent job capturing each dish. She takes the time to also take photos of the environment with her digital SLR.

From top to bottom:
paneer & dried fruit samosas + tamarind sauce
spicy spanish fries + chorizo + manchego (a fave)
smoked cod croquettes + saffron aioli
shrimp seviche + lime + tomato + freeze dried corn + coconut

From top to bottom:
chinois duck wrap + pickled cucumber + hoisin sauce + sriracha
creamed spinach + walnuts + raisins + reggiano

curried shrimp + naan bread

grilled lamb chops + hummus + yogurt + feta

dulce de leche + espresso ice + caramel crunch + sea salt
This is what I found on the menu online but I'm pretty sure they changed it to lemon sponge cake and freeze dried raspberries. I didn't taste caramel crunch or sea salt.

Other dishes that we tried but I didn't snap a photo of are: wokked & friend calamari + caramelized peanut sauce + pineapple (a fave) and burrata + pesto + romesca (another fave).

It was a night of good food and good conversations with lovely ladies. The one thing I like best about a tweetup is you don't have to apologize or feel guilty about taking photos of food and tweeting it. I look forward to more tweetup dinners!