Friday, June 29, 2012

Since you've been gone...

It's been four years since my brother left this world. June 29 will always be a sad day for my family. At one point, it was a happy day, my late grandfather's birthday and also the day that my hubby and I moved into our condo six years ago. But it's all been taken away by the sad departure of my one and only brother.

It's hard to believe that it's been four years. Four years where most of his friends have moved on, my mom has moved away to California, my dad and I have tried to move on without my brother in our lives. It's horrible to know that everyone has gone on with their lives with a deeply broken heart left by the one person who meant so much to us. Every year since he passed, my family has spent this day with his friends, remembering the days when he was here on this earth with us. This year, I decided not to trouble his friends for a get together to remember his life. It pains my heart that I won't be with them on this day but at the same time, I can't keep bringing them back into my life when they have moved on.

During the four years without him, I have tried to keep him in my heart and mind but also knowing that every time this year, the feeling of loss, depression and guilt will come back to haunt me. I tried to get rid of the anger I feel at the fact that HE decided to be selfish and end his life. It kills me inside. I put on a happy face and try to move but in reality, I will never move on. I will never know the reason why he was depressed, why he chose to end his life, why he was taken from us too soon. It hurts to also think that I am glad he is in his own happy place and whatever pain and sorrow he was burdened with, is no longer with him. The question is, how can I feel anger and relief at the same time...

After the 2nd year, I decided not to take the day off so I can immerse myself in work and not think of the dreadful day I received the call from the police. I decided again this year not to take the day off but I know that I will feel a bunch of emotion as the day goes on. I do believe that when I got together with his friends on this day, I felt like he was with me but I can't keep on relying on his friends for the sense of relief because as loving as they are, they will not always be there. On this day, I will try my best to put on my happy face, remember the good times I had with him and continue to think that he is on a long extended vacation (I realize that this is not the best way to deal with his death).

Gino - wherever you are, please know that I miss you immensely, and that nothing in this entire world can comfort the pain I feel with your absence. Just as we got so close as siblings, you left. There are times when I feel so alone but I know that you are always looking down on me. There were and are so many people you left behind, so many people who cared for your well-being, who could have helped you with whatever trouble you were feeling. I want to kick you for not coming to us with your pain. It's a burden we could have handled instead of the burden we feel now that we were not able to help. I will never accept your decision to leave us but I will never be mad at you. Four years seems forever but I know that we have a lifetime of pain without you. People say the pain lessen as years go by and it does but my heart will always feel empty with you gone. Please think of me always, like I think of you. Send me a sign today so I know you are okay. You know that big sisters will always worry about their younger sibling. I love you and miss you like crazy. Rest in peace my little brother.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I just surpassed 100,000 pageviews

Oh crap. I just checked my blog and I hit 100,186 pageviews. I wanted to give a special treat to the person who hit 100,000 but I forgot to write about it in a post.This is suppose to be a milestone and it slipped my mind. The last time I checked, I was over 200 away so I thought I had time...oh well. All I can do now is say...

Thanks guys for continuing to read and comment on my blog. There were times when I was ready to throw in the towel but it looks like because you keep coming back, my blog will go on [sing it like Celine Dion-my heart will go on...].


Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend recap

What a great weekend! And I love that it didn't go by so quickly. My weekend started off on Thursday since I had a long weekend. Mike and I finally bought a new couch so I took Friday off to wait for it to be delivered. You know how it is, they give you a window time of about four hours. After work on Thursday, I went to my hair salon to get my dip dyed hair fixed. Since getting it coloured last Friday, after four days and two washing, it faded to a light green colour. I was okay with it, because I know that semi-permanent colour will always fade but it was fading just a little too quickly. Bella did an awesome job touching it up and we got the results we wanted. I am in love with this teal/blue combination!

Friday...once I woke up and Mike headed to work, I started to move the side tables out of the way and give the floor a good mopping before the couch arrived. Good thing I did because the delivery guys actually came at 8:40 am but the security in my building wouldn't let them up until 9:00 am for when I booked the elevators. By 9:12 am, our lovely couch was sitting in our living room. We can't believe how much more room there is. I can now actually exercise in front of the TV. Oh, and we picked up some colourful throw pillows from Crate & Barrel yesterday. Next we need a coffee table.

On Saturday, Mike and I attended the wedding of our friends, Steph and Sanj. I have known both of them for some time now. I use to party with Steph at Milano's and Sanj, I met through my sister-in-law (Sanj actually helped me shop one time and picked out an entire outfit for me - I remember it was an orange sweater and plaid pants - this was years ago, don't laugh). I was there when they first met. Mike threw a pajama NYE party at his parent's house and both Sanj and Steph were there because they are friends of Mike's sister. I remember their midnight kiss but who knew that eight years later, we would be attending their wedding.

Their entire wedding was so creative and so them. It's not your typical cookie-cutter wedding. It was personalized and unconventional. From the outdoor ceremony to her dress/his outfit to the collage of photos with your table the donut wedding cake to the customized drink to the Milano's DJ they brought in. I can't even tell you how impressed I am with everything. Mike and I had a great time. We danced the night away (me, I drank a little too much and was jumped around way too much). A big congratulations to Steph and Sanj!!! Thanks for throwing a great party. All your hard work to make your day truly special really showed. We are so glad you invited us to celebrate this memorable event. May you have many wonderful years of martial bliss.

When I found out that little Hannah was at my in-law's house the next morning after the wedding, despite a headache and sore body, Mike and I went to his parent's house to spend some time with this cutie. I love when it's just her (don't get my wrong, I love my other niece and nephew equally) but when it's just Hannah, she spends all her time playing with me and Mike (who unfortunately took a very long nap). We ate, placed stickers everywhere and we danced like pretty ballerinas. This time with her totally made my weekend. I don't want her to grow up because she is at this really cute stage and I swear, I can just sit and watch her interact and talk with everyone. She is such a silly girl.

That was my weekend. I am tired and sore but I will be heading to the gym shortly to get tortured by my coworker. I am looking forward to this weekend for a pool party with some friends and their kids. Let's just hope this week goes by quickly.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun and exciting?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's okay... be disturbed at the fact that in the last three days, two people have asked if I've gained weight. have Justin Bieber's new album, Believe on constant repeat. It's surprisingly good. Some of my favorite tracks are All Around the World, As Long as You Love Me, Die in Your Arms and One Love promote the resort I just stayed at. I really need to stop stalling and write the review to prove that Royal Hideaway Playacar THE best resort. totally crush on a member of One Direction, Zayn Malik. I am like 30 years older than him (just kidding I'm 17 years older than him) but what can I say, I'm a cougar for life. say I'm lactose-intolerant and on a gluten-free diet when I have never been diagnosed. I know my body and it just doesn't like dairy or bread. be jealous of a certain friend who is off for the summer. I cringe when I see her tweets about galivanting, exercising and just chilling out. I'm teasing you Kat, but I am still jealous! be super excited that the couple you met on vacay has emailed you. She didn't have to, she could have just been - "it was great hanging out with you but vacay was vacay, I am getting on with my life". From the moment Mike and I met T &J from NJ, we hit it off. The dynamic of us hanging out just worked and they are such a fun, laid back couple. be upset with the fact I got sun spots while in Mexico. It's a true sign that I am getting old. Luckily, they are just on my right hand and will hopefully go away. call your nephew/godson by an incorrect nickname. I thought it was Borgy Borg (say it with a Chef from the Muppets type accent). My sister-in-laws make up crazy nicknames for everyone. be the only one not quite interested in reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but I might just pick up the book later on and read it for kicks. I do want to see what the hype is all about.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Empanada Company

It's always exciting when you get to try out a new place. My aunt in Edmonton is the one who told me to check out The Empanada Company, and this was almost a year ago. Although it's not too far to get to, it's in an area we don't normally go to. The one day we were in the area, it was closed. Well, finally on Friday, since Mike and I were both off with no food in the house, we made the trek to get some empanadas and I am so glad we did. We went a little crazy and stocked up with hopes to freeze some of them but by late Saturday afternoon, they were all gone. They were just too good to not eat right away.

We decided to order four empanadas (more on it later), three dozen mini empanaditas (little empanadas - chilean beef, smoked chorizo and an assortment), a salad of the day (no photo) and some churros with dulce de leche dip to polish off our meal.

Now about the four empanadas we got...starting from the top left going clockwise:
  • Cajun Pulled Pork - Cajun spiced pulled pork, sautéed onion, red cabbage, jalapenos and Tequila Habanero BBQ sauce on smoked chili pastry
  • Seafood - shrimp, mussels, calamari, caramelized onions and garlic, white wine and cream on traditional pastry
  • Curry Coconut Chicken - sautéed chicken, caramelized onions, curry-coconut sauce on curry pastry
  • Leek and Prosciutto - sautéed leeks, thinly sliced prosciutto and mozzarella cheese on traditional pastry

My favorite is the pulled pork and Mike's favorite is the leek and prosciutto. What's cool is they bake on little symbols so you can distinguish one flavor from the other. They also have delicious dipping sauces like Artichoke & Asiago or Chimichurri. There are so many other empanadas I want to try. I can't wait for the next time we go there (and this time we won't care if it's out of the way, the empanadas are really that good) and if we have a potluck to go to, you know what we'll be bringing!

The Empanada Company is open Tues-Sun from 12:30 to 8:30 pm and is located on 122 Fortieth Street (Brown's Line and Lakeshore). For more information, check out their website.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I was brave with my hair

When I was younger, from my teens to mid-20's, I loved to do different things to my hair - highlights, bold colour, short boy-cut hair, etc...but as I got older, I became more tame. Long hair and bangs. I've had the same hairstyle for over two years but it works for me.

And then, all it took was my BFF, Stephanie to ask if I would be the guinea pig for a dip dye hair event she was hosting at her studio. With purple dip-dyed ends, I was hooked. Unfortunately, the purple didn't last long and since I have been in the sun all week, it faded to a orange-brown colour (which I still liked anyway). As soon as I came back from vacay, I went to the hair salon to re-do the ends purple but my arm easily got twisted and I came out with blue and teal ends. I love it...

I know I am in my mid-30s and maybe too old for bold hair colour (I'm no Katy Perry) but for now, I am really digging going out of my comfort zone for the summer. I can't wait until my next hair appointment to see what the colorist has in store for me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm back...

I'm back from Mexico. Mike and I are very sad to be back home. We were in paradise and you can just imagine how hard it is to leave paradise. We were spoiled rotten beyond belief. As always, it's tough to get back into the swing of things. I just completed about five loads of laundry and I am hoping to gather up the strength to write up the review of the resort for our travel blog and post up some photos of our trip here. I'm so lazy to sit at my laptop, I rather be poolside with a drink in my hand.

I've noticed that I have several new followers...Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you stopped by and I hope that you continue to stop by. Leave a comment or two because I love hearing from my readers.

So what did I miss this week? Are you reading 50 Shades of Grey like the rest of the world? I barely read while I was away. The view was too pretty to be reading. I read two magazines (Star and In Style) and finished off Silence and that's about it. Did I miss anything good on TV? While I was away, hubby and I watched Gossip Girl episodes from season five before dinner and again before bed. It's fun to watch an entire season in one shot.

The weekend is here. It's nice to come back from vacation and still have a whole weekend to enjoy before having to go back to work. I hope you are having a great weekend so far!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rant: Social media and work

Do your coworkers know that you have a blog? Pinterest? Twitter? Facebook? Do you follow them? Or allow them to follow you?

For the longest time at work, I never mentioned the fact that I had a blog, a twitter account or even Pinterest. To me, I wanted to keep the social side of my life to myself. Work is work. What I do outside of work is something I share with who I want at work. Yes, I know that a blog is public and if co-workers find out what my blog is and feel the need to creep and blurk (codename of people who lurk around blogs and never comment), that's their prerogative. 

I used to have my twitter profile unlocked. I loved communicating with companies and random strangers who seem to find what I have to say interesting. But now to protect myself from coworkers, I have locked my profile and I miss the interaction. I want to unlock it so bad because I feel like I am limited but I really don't want coworkers to know what I am doing, what I have to say and see photos of my life. Again, work is work. My personal life is my personal life.

Okay, now you might be thinking I am being silly because being on social media is to be social, to connect with others, etc...but honestly, we spend 1/3 of our day doing what we need to do in our daily life, 1/3 sleeping and the other third at work. We spend a lot of time at work so I don't feel the need to be connecting with people at work on a social level outside of work. Am I making any sense?!?!?

I thought about making my blog private and only allowing access to the usual readers but if I did this, it wouldn't feel right. I love blogging and I like sharing with others. I've already locked my Twitter profile and Pinterest, well, it's just sharing things that are already all over the web, so there's no need to lock it. But I honestly don't know how I feel about coworkers reading about what I do once I leave work. If it irks me so much, maybe I don't belong on social media. Hopefully since I don't mention the name of my blog or my twitter handler, coworkers can't trace me but if they do find me, they must have done some serious digging and creeping on me because I never disclosed any info on where to find me on social media.

So share with me your thoughts about your coworkers knowing you are on social media...Does it bother you if a coworkers is following you? Do you have friendships with your coworkers outside of work?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Off to Mexico I go...

I will be off to the Riviera Maya for a week and sadly, there won't be any scheduled posts from me while I am gone. I do want to leave you with a couple of photos. I have never done this before but I'll share with you the outfits and footwear I am bringing with me.

 Beach bag, hat and bikinis (I'm such a plain girl but I like to mix and match)

 Outfits for dinner

 My cover-ups


Some things in my beach bag
magazines, sock bun, eos lemon lip blam with spf, jelly bellies, comb, sunglasses, mini orly nail polish, Kobo reader, sun shield spray for my hair, sunblock, burt bee's lip balm in hibiscus and that cute little girl, it's my B-Star Girl headphonies.

If you want to follow Mike and I while we are on vacation, follow us (Beach Junkies) on Twitter or on Instagram. We get free wifi in our room and even on the beach so we hope to be live tweeting. I can't wait to be on a beach with a drink in my hand. It's been way too long since my last beach vacations. See you in a week.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simple Skincare

Last week, I attended the Simple Skincare workshop hosted by BlushPretty. This workshop was an introduction to the U.K. skincare line and we were given a chance to test out all their products. Simple skincare has a full facial product line that is made for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. It's made with the purest ingredients and natural extracts. The bonus about this line is the price, it starts from $8.99.

I didn't test out all the products but here are my thoughts on the products I did get to try. Luckily for me, I was given a swag bag at the end of the workshop and included all the products from their line. I am so happy for this because I was very pleased with how my skin looked at the end of a night full of product testing.

Cleansing Facial Wipes | These wipes are not fragrant at all and it not only does it wipe off all traces of makeup but it is also very refreshing. It does not leave my skin dry and tight. After you use it, you won't feel the need to reach out right away for some moisturizer.

Exfoliating Facial Wipes | Be careful when you use these for the first time. If you are not use to exfoliating wipes, you may scrub really hard like me which will leave your skin rough and all red. Despite this little mistake, the wipes left my skin smooth. This is something I would only do once a week.

Smoothing Eye Balm | This went on waxy but after it soaked in, the skin under my eye was silky smooth. I didn't get a chance to try the eye roller at the event because it wouldn't be hygienic. I can't wait to use it in the mornings though. I find an eye roller really decrease puffiness and also make you look more awake. It's pretty much the same as my old school trick of using frozen spoons.

Soothing Facial Toner | You may find that I use "refreshing" a lot when I am talking about these products because really, it's the best word to describe how you feel after using any of them. The day of the workshop, it was hot inside the studio and after wiping down my face with the cleansing wipe, I used this toner and boy did I ever feel refreshed! Again, this didn't make my face tight and dry.

Vital Vitamin Moisturizing Day Cream (with SP 15) | Finally I decided to use some moisturizer. Simple has two kinds of cream and two different lotions. This cream above is the only one with SPF. As with any cream or lotion with SPF, you will smell the SPF but the other creams and lotions are non-scented. It went on my face with ease and didn't leave my face looking oily or shiny.

To find out more about Simple Skincare, visit their website and you can also visit BlushPretty's EventBrite page to see what upcoming workshops are being held in her Toronto studio.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway that ends tomorrow...