Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recap of 2012

I wouldn't consider 2012 an eventful year, I didn't do anything extraordinary. The one thing I was proud of was flying solo across country to visit my mom in San Jose. I have always been scared of planes. I remember going to Cancun with a bunch of friends in 2000 and I was terrified of flying. I must have been the worst traveling companion because when I woke up from my gravol-induced nap, Mike was nowhere near me. He had switched seats with a friend of ours. Anyway, flying alone was a huge accomplishment for me.

I didn't travel as much this year. Two trips to San Jose to visit my mom in April and August. Annual June wedding anniversary vacation with Mike to Royal Hideaway Playacar which I consider to be the best resort we have ever been to. And then we capped the year off with a trip to Punta Cana (our 7th time) for our friend's wedding.

As I look back at some of the mini goals I made in the beginning of the year, I can confirm that I accomplished some of them. I got my craft on and got a sewing machine which lead me to become a Pinterest addict. I am no longer a shopaholic, I limit my spending and really thinking about purchases. I did though, become a huge fan of Etsy, especially Oia Jules shop. This lead to a severe arm candy addiction. To sum up my year, this was the year that I got in touch with my creative side. I searched and tried some DIY projects, I sewed a few little things and I discovered that sometimes it's better to support small independent shops.

As we approach the last day of 2012 tomorrow, I am looking forward to new beginnings and new changes. I want to no longer be afraid of what the future may hold and just take the leap to discover something new or just find myself.

I leave you with some photo collages of 1) my love for arm candy 2) nail art throughout the year 3) crafting and 4) my ombre hair - for years I didn't touch my hair and all in one summer I fried it with bleach. It was fun while it lasted.

What are some of your highlights from 2012?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hello holidays!

Merry Christmas readers! I realized yesterday that I have not written a post in over two weeks, really since I left for Punta Cana. It was quite a busy week before I left for my vacation. With holiday parties, packing and finishing up work, I couldn't even think about blogging. I was too busy preparing for a long extended vacation from work. I am seriously off from December 14 and returning on January 2. I was lucky enough to spend the first week of my holiday in Punta Cana for my friend's (JP and Lyn) wedding at Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana. I hope to write up a review in the next couple of days for my travel blog and will provide the link if you are interested in reading about this resort. Let me just tell you that this resort is huge!!! We traveled with a large group of 35+ and it is impossible to find people. So, Mike and I made the decision to pick one specific pool to hang out at for the week so people would know where we were at all times and we used it as a meeting spot. I really liked the hotel but I think it's because I didn't research the crap out of it and I went in it with no expectations. Our friend's wedding was beautiful and I am glad that the rain held off for their outdoor reception by the pool.  A big congratulations to JP and Lyn!!! They finally tied the knot after 17 years of dating. It was a great vacation and it sucks to be back home since we got hit with a storm a couple days after our return and Mike is now sick.

Mike and I did most of our Christmas shopping before we left for vacation and my sister-in-law was kind enough to pick up the stuff I needed to make our contribution to the Christmas Eve dinner (we chose salad). As usual, it was nice to see the kids get all excited about opening their gifts and it was fun doing our KK exchange with the siblings. Steph got me this year and she always gets me the best presents (Gap leather clutch, MAC lipstick and a Clinique Chubby stick). I am now happy that Christmas has come and gone. Sadly, I still haven't seen my dad yet because he caught the flu on Christmas Day. I have a lot of anxiety and mixed emotions about Christmas and it seems like being in NYC last year was the one and only time I was truly happy during the holidays. Now I know that I need to be away for year, Paris?

I am pretty proud of myself for writing this blog post. I have been lazy since I got back from Punta Cana. I did not have any urge to sit at my laptop to do anything but today I transferred all my photos and documents to a external hard drive Mike gave me (I always get his hand-me-downs - sunglasses, tech stuff, earphones, etc) and after this, I am going to do a clean sweep of my Google reader. I took a quick glance and noticed how many blogs I have on my list that no longer blog. It's kinda sad but seriously, we can't blog forever right? I find that with Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, there's no need  to blog was all about the photos anyway...

Hopefully I will find the energy to write one or two more posts before the end of 2012. I want to recap some moments of 2012 and write some intentions and goals for 2013. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying your holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I received: Mug Swap

Some time ago, I joined a Mug Swap very last minute because my blogger friend wasn't paired up. The host put up a call on Twitter for someone to sign up last minute so Lin would have a swap partner. Since Lin is the most awesome person in the world, I didn't want her to end up pair-less. She gladly accepted my offer and we swapped.

Sadly I can't find the blog or link that hosted this swap. I am so sorry. Today I received my package today and I love everything that I got...

I really like how Lin sealed up my package with some decorative tape. She joked about not understanding why anyone would by decorative tape but seriously, it does brighten up the box. It's awesome how the tape matches my flat iron!

I got some great items in my package. She included some tea and coffee, along with chocolates and nail polish. What I loved the most is that she included a hand painted mug with my last name on it and a scarf that she made.

The scarf is so special to me because I know that Lin made it with the kindness of her heart and I know that she has been crocheting (or should I say crotching-inside joke between me and Lin) like crazy these past couple of days. I love the colour and the concept of the button to hold the scarf together.

Thank you so much Lin for all the goodies you sent. I knew that this was one swap I wouldn't be let down on. It arrived just before the Christmas holiday so it also feels like a Christmas gift for Lin. Now after this, I am seriously over swaps. I won't be joining in anymore for a while. Lin is a favorite blogger of mine and I am so happy that I was paired up with her. To see what I sent to her, check out her post.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My 36th birthday

As we get older, it seems like we don't want to have fancy parties or late night drinking binges (well for me anyway). I rather spend birthdays with close friends and family. This year, I celebrated dinner on Friday night with Mike, one of my brother's closest friends and his girlfriend. On Saturday - my actual birthday, I had breakfast with my BFF and then treated myself to a 90 minute massage. I also bought myself a pair of TOMS to wear on my upcoming trip to Punta Cana ( I opted for this instead of my usual expensive lipstick). In the evening, Mike treated me to a sushi dinner. Today, I went to my in-law's house to celebrate my birthday, along with my sister-in-law's birthday. Tomorrow evening I will be having dinner with my dad. It was a low-key birthday but I loved it.

I borrowed my niece Hannah since Mike and I don't have a kid

Yes, my mother-in-law thinks I am turning 4 

Me and Hannah

Presents from my sisters, Steph and Dianne and from my blogging bestie, Elisse.
If you are wondering why there is no present from Mike, we no longer buy each other other birthday presents, he is though paying for my trip.

Another year bites the dust. I am seriously hoping good things come my way in 2013! Thank you to everyone for the birthday greetings. There were three greetings that really meant a lot to me - they were from friends who I had lost touch with. And to my mom who was a little upset that she wasn't the first to greet me, it's okay, time is not on your side since you live on the west coast.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

OOAK show 2012 Haul

My very good friend Kat and I have a standing date, more like a tradition to go to the One of a Kind Christmas show every year. This year we bought our tickets early for only $7. We decided to go on opening day to avoid crowds and it was great thinking because it wasn't busy at all. We were there for about two hours with intentions of just stopping by the usual suspects (Froosh and Demo). We discovered some new vendors but also realized that a favorite of ours, Foxy Originals are no longer a vendor of the show (they have gone global!). I gave myself a budget of $50 and made a list - balsamic vinegar, hand lotion and candied apples. Here's what I ended up picking up at the show:

Samples really lure me to a booth and when the sample is so good, I need to buy. Instead of buying one bottle, I opted for the sample set. It includes Cilantro Sultra (lemon and coriander), Climaxxx (lime, garlic and cayenne), Gingerly Hot (ginger, garlic, scotch bonnets and vinegar), Sweet Surrender (mango) and Bareback Berries (cranberry and scotch bonnets). 

I know that they are definitely new to the show and I hope to see them each year because their salad dressings are to die for. I purchased one bottle of the Cranberry honey toasted sesame salad dressing and my husband and I almost finished the bottle in a week. Luckily, my co-worker was kind enough to pick me up another bottle for me when she went to the show a few days ago.

Kat and I love their stuff. Last year I bought their body butter and scrub, and also their foot cream. It did wonders for my skin. Since one of the items I wanted to buy at the show was hand cream/lotion, I decided to pick up High Five. The downfall is that it only comes in a pump and I really wanted a tube of hand cream to keep in my purse. Not a problem - I am keeping this on my desk at work instead.

We were going to just walk by this booth but the smell coming from it was so delicious, I had to stop. There were so many scents that I love - lime, peppermint smoothie, coconut - but I went with maraschino cherry in the shea butter stick. This stick makes it so easy to apply the butter without getting my hands all greasy. I wish they had a bigger tube because I am more than halfway done.

We were almost out the door when we noticed Dot & Lil. We missed out the BBF event at BlushPretty Studio featuring this company on the Tuesday prior to the show. The lovely Anne was kind enough to give Kat and I one of the leftover swag bags from the event. What a great introduction to her products. I didn't have any money left to buy anything from her booth but I will make sure I do next time.

If you went to the show, what were some of your favorite booths?