The day's finally over and we're done with baby's pre-birthday celebration with hubs family. I had everything ready as early as 4pm but everybody came like an hour later. We started the celebration with baby opening the big gift from uncle, auntie, abuela & abuelo with mommy helping him open the present while daddy takes a video. After opening the present abuelo and daddy had to assemble the truck-walker-wagon so baby can start playing with it already.

Food has been served and everybody started eating while I stay with baby and played with him. It's great that they all loved the foods! After the dinner we ended up watching the videos of our snow trip (which I have to post too) and the apartment was filled with laughter. Of course the night won't end without the cake and blowing of the candle, baby was all smiles while we're singing happy birthday to him!

Cleaning time is always a part of any celebration and feast therefore I had to clean up afterwards. I'm just happy that I still manage to blog and I don't feel so tired yet after the long day's work. It must be the foods I ate because I am very full (hehe) and now I feel like I've gained so much weight because of that! (lol) Anyway I just want to share this special celebration and I have to call it a night for now =)

...he wanted to check what mommy's packing...

Last year me and hubs were in the hospital for a sudden check up and unexpected check in because my water bag broke already. We never thought that same day I'll have to be admitted in the hospital, we went there without our hospital bags and just grabbed our woolrich jackets as we left home. I was 2wks ahead of my assumed delivery date but baby wanted to work his way out already so he stayed with mommy for 10 long hours and by 6:47am of February 1, he's finally made it out from my womb. That's one magical moment for me and hubs. Seeing our baby for the first time and holding him on our arms. Just thinking about the memories of that day makes me smile.

...baby on our luggage!...

We're all set to go for a 3wk vacation in my home country with baby of course on Monday night, the 31st. We were hoping baby can celebrate his birthday in the Philippines but unfortunately the timezone alone makes it all impossible so baby will literally celebrate his first birthday with me and hubs in the plane. Hopefully I can grab a cake even just a slice for us to have there on flight. By the time we touch the grounds of Philippines it will be February 2 already.

...baked penne, glass noodles, garlic cheese bread, roasted chicken...

Right now I am just taking the time to relax a bit before retiring to bed. I have been working double time here at home with the luggage, works, house chores and baby. I also had to do advanced cooking for baby's pre-birthday celebration for tomorrow with my in-laws. It will be a very busy day for us having to go to baby's doctor appointment first then preparing for the birthday feast here at home and soon after everybody leaves I will have to double check our luggage and finish up packing things. I still have to ready all the clothes we'll have to wear also for our flight. Hubs wants to wear his favorite levis 501 and I've got to make sure his dear Levis will be ready =)
Mom has confirmed and booked for our beach escapade there in the Philippines and I want to be in better shape in two weeks time so I can brave the beach with my swimsuit! Ehehehe of course mommy has to look good still even after having a baby, right?

Having a baby is one of the best thing that ever happened to me (of course aside from getting hitched) but unfortunately getting back into shape isn't as easy as 1,2,3. It's not a call of vanity, who wouldn't want to fit in their clothes without bulge or muffin tops? It takes time for the skin and muscles to tighten after giving birth so making use of a seamless shape wear can help firm up the body. I think this is a better way than undergoing any treatment or procedures to get rid of those unwanted fats and saggy skin.

Getting back in shape is like magic when you've got the best body shaper that fits your needs. Shapeez has a great line of shapers which can make you feel confident again wearing those tight fitting clothes. It's not the usual body shapers which targets the mid body section to give a pinched tummy look. The unique design smoothens the upper back all the way down. It actually gives a more natural feel and look. Why go for expensive and torturing treatments if this can do the trick for you? =P

It's been a very busy month for me and hubs and looks like there's no resting for us until we are all on board for our Philippines trip. Yes finally we're flying back home to visit my side of family and take a little vacation. Also our little boy's about to turn 1yr old and he deserves a very special celebration.

As much as I want to see the first blooms of spring here I won't ditch our trip just for that. I always wait for the cherry blossoms every year to take some nice photos but this year will be an exception. I'll just see what kind of flowers there will be by the time we all come back, that time baby will also be ready to walk around the neighborhood with mommy.

I will be missing all my favorite outdoor planters with colorful flowers which I visit every spring. Each and every outddor planter in the neighborhood has some distinct blooms, too pretty that I always can't wait for spring time to come. I remember how I love to sit by the courtyard indoor planter as I wait for hubs to be out from work. Perhaps tomorrow I'll make a quick trip with baby to see daddy in the office and to take the chance to check the indoor planters they have there if the flower has bloomed already.

Time sure flies so fast, last year I was still very pregnant when I was snapping photos around the neighborhood and our little J came out on a lovely spring time, now he's about to turn 1 in less than a week. I am excited to show baby the beautiful trees full of flowers during spring here but I am more excited of bringing him to meet my grandma, mom, dad, sis, bro and the rest of the relatives there in Manila. I'm sure we'll still get to see some beautiful blooms when we come back here =)

I am not Chinese but as an architect I do incorporate some minor Feng Shui to my designs even if I am designing for non-Chinese clients. I admit that it's really hard to follow every single Feng Shui rule because in the end it tends to get on the way of the planning. Only practical rules get incorporated in my designs not unless as requested by clients then I have to comply.

Here are some notes about the power of plants and flowers in your home:
    1. Plants are auspicious from the point of feng shui. It is always good to grow plants in the house, especially wooded plants.
    2. Plants in the office also bring about increased luck in your career. Place plants in the east, south or south-east corners of your office for maximum luck.
    3. If you are a married couple and want children, avoid putting flowers in the bedroom. Instead, place a basket of fruits in your bedroom. Fruits, especially pomegranates, are a symbol of fertility.
    4. Don't place thorny plants inside your home. Thorny plants do form a protective shield, and could be placed outside the home. Don't place them too near the front door. They could be placed a little further away from the door, or in the balcony.
    5. Don't place bonsai plants inside or outside the home. They represent stunted growth.
    6. Trim your plants regularly. Overgrown plants promote bad energy. Similarly, trim trees in your garden regularly. Don't let them overwhelm your house.
    7. Fresh flowers bring luck and fortune in your home. Place fresh flowers in your living room on a regular basis. However, once they die, throw them out. Don't leave dying flowers in your home.
    8. Avoid placing dried flowers in your house. They are believed to bring misfortune. Artificial flowers are a far preferable option and are believed to bring luck.
    9. Do not place any flowers, plants or any other auspicious feng shui symbol in the bathroom. The good luck will backfire and turn into bad luck.
    10. Ever noticed lemons (nimbus) hanging on the entrances of shops? They are believed to ward off the evil eye, according to Hindu superstitious beliefs. Similarly, oranges and lemons are believed to be powerful symbols of fortune, and bring prosperity to the home. They should be placed at the entrance.
I use alternative ways if space restricts plants in certain areas like making use of window plant boxes. Not only that it has something to do with Feng Shui, adding some greens can make a place feel more "homey". Window flower boxes are great for fresh flowers all year round without having to worry much about space where to put it. Garden window boxes on the other hand do a good job for homes without much lawn space for their outdoor plants. Reinventing is a good way to do things with such restrictions and limitations.

What is your preference when it comes to buying a car? Brand new or used?

We've got nothing against buying a new car given the money but due to practicality we are open in getting used cars. A new car is definitely more expensive (way a lot more) than used one. You can save much more with used cars though you have to be careful on your choices, some used cars can actually eat up more costs if you get a run down condition which will require so much maintenance. In general sense used cars meets affordability for most people compared to a new one 2x or 3x its price.

Speaking of which, a used car dealer in Tampa has wide selection of cars in much affordable prices. Imagine yourself driving around with a Chrysler Sebring without burning a hole in your wallet. That's easy $10k more or less savings for you compared to buying a new one. A big amount of money that can be used for something else.

Nowadays it's better to go for more practical options with things, tough times call for such measures. The battle between used cars and new cars could be a tough deal for some people but for us affordability is rather much preferred. Getting used car doesn't mean old and needing so much maintenance and repairs, finding the right one from certified places can actually guarantee quality. With the right knowledge and better judgment you still can get yourself a good car in half the price of a new one. Probably the best deal you can ever have.


Last Christmas Eve was a challenge for me because hubs invited his family over for dinner here at home since we're having quite a feast. I prepared many dishes too much for the two of us to finish and even if we forced it still not possible. Given our small space with few big boxes occupying our dining-kitchen area, I had to do a quick fix to make our space more presentable and spacious for all.

I started with re-arranging the boxes to resemble counter tables and then gathered my old curtains to use as drapes over the boxes. I simply wrapped the boxes with the curtains and flushed it all the way to the wall. Instant transformation, a good long stretch of extra counter space for the dining area where I places all those other things that we need in the dining but not necessarily has to be on the table. No need to throw all those big bulky boxes, making use of those as counter extension is one of the best re-invention I made here at home. =)

My next project will be the kitchen spice racks to keep our spices organized. I use a lot of different spices lately since I have been so much in the mood to cook and bake. Though I already got a spice rack I still need to get the jars for that which makes me think of checking other designs and if I happen to see one like a wall spice rack I might just ditched the spinning rack I have now. Perhaps after organizing spice racks I will check on wine holders too since I've got several bottles of wines also used for my cooking. Looks like in time I will need to have a bigger kitchen to get all my stuffs neat and orderly.


I've got so many photos of baby J but I so happened to see these 3 poses which I think are so cute! He's so occupied looking at something else and didn't recognize mommy snapping away. The poses look like he's modeling,don't you agree?

Our boy has grown so much over the past 11mos & 3wks, he's very active and alert and curious with everything. I love hearing him call me and daddy, I love seeing him mess around with his toys and take over the whole apartment. He acts like he owns everything, a little baby but s full of character.

He's very charming according to many people we get to encounter whenever we go out for our walks. How can mommy and daddy not be so proud with people (even strangers) saying he's such a very handsome boy!?


Sometimes I can be so cheap with certain things most especially when it involves printing. I think I prefer to be called frugal because I'm just trying to be economical with my printer ink use. In some cases I opt to simply print in draft quality because I just need a furnish copy but of course when good quality prints are needed then it's a must to do it in best print.

Though refilling inkjet cartridges can be a good option to get cheap ink, hubs don't really like it because it might damage the printer head in time. That's the very reason why I try to do my part in conserving our ink use, normal price here is about $30+ per cartridge. Expensive right? I am not sure if hubs will even consider getting refurbished cartridges in the future since those are way cheaper and more quality than usual refilling. Inkgrabber.com has a full list of different cartridges for every printer use, good price I'd say unlike what hubs always pays for!


We received an invitation to a woodworking exhibit in Vegas but unfortunately we couldn't make it. First of all mommy won't ever leave baby just to attend that event and aside from that we have works to deal with and Vegas is too far from here too. It could've been a very good experience and exposure for us but attending it would mean sacrificing many things.

Lucky enough that we were given a magazine regarding the event showing all the exhibits and vendors participating. It's definitely a very good event and for sure we'll be amazed with the things that we'll see there. Looking at the whole set-up of the event place alone from the magazine aroused our interest. The trade show flooring was set up extra special with overlays of logo mats for the participating exhibitors, not the ordinary trade show carpet that you get too see in most events. There's a perfect woodwork touch with the logo canopy which greets everybody as you enter the venue.

There will be other events in the future and maybe next time we can all go and at the same time enjoy Vegas too. We're time and budget restricted right now because of our upcoming overseas trip too next week. I still need to finish packing up our luggage and that alone needs good time to make sure we're not forgetting anything. We might have missed the exhibit but no regrets, we've got some better priorities to do first.

My previous post was about the swing day out with baby but that same day too the camera that I was using fell on concrete flooring and got damaged. It was when we were ready to leave the park and go to visit daddy at work nearby when I felt my camera bag snapped then heard the camera smash on the floor. I honestly didn't pay much attention because I was focused with baby, I simply gathered the batteries which were thrown away from the impact and the camera. The lens cover got broken and few days after I found out that the battery cover was damaged.

That camera was my birthday gift to myself and since I got another unit I told hubs I was giving that to him already. It's only been used for 4-5mos and now it has endured such damage. I filed a complaint to the camera case store where I got it and all that they can tell me:

!st reply:

"Thank you for contacting HDE. We have processed a replacement for this case.
As for the damaged camera, we cannot confirm the cause of the damage and
therefor we cannot cover the damages. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

Thank You

2nd reply upon telling them my piece (and it wasn't so good coz I am really furious with them):

"Thank you for contacting HDE. Unfortunately the best we can do is replace the item purchased from us.
Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.
Thank You
These guys only want to make money but their product is of poor quality! The camera case is supposed to carry and protect the camera but with such flimsy construction, the strap snapped and there my camera on the floor! Unfair right? I have been carrying that camera even before I got their case and it was fine, I was careful with it but apparently it's not as safe as I thought it would be using their case. Sending me another case won't repair the damages of the camera. I told them only if there's a surveillance camera recording the event then I will do the trouble getting the clip to prove the camera got damaged due to their product malfunction. How can I do that if it's in an open park?  Even if there's keylogger stuff to spy on things and extract memory it can't be done with the camera.  Therefore there's nothing I can do, my loss because they won't takemy word for it.  Freaking people who just wants to make money and not be responsible if things go wrong!


Happy Birthday dear Jq!!!

It's been a tiring week and finally TGIF! We had crazy weather the entire week, some days were gloomy and sunny all of a sudden, rainy and windy. I had to wait for the perfect days to bring baby out for a walk and do some quick grocery shopping. Good thing we had like 2 great days to be out and about, we enjoyed the outdoors. I was able to bring baby to the swing park and passed by daddy's office on our way home. We met several people in the neighborhood who couldn't resist my little boy's charm. How can mommy not be so proud eh?

Part of our routine is to get the mails and take the chance to get some fresh air. During the gloomy days we barely stayed 5mins outdoors because it was too cold for baby. One thing I recognized earlier when we were picking up the mails I was actually surprised that baby knew our mailbox slot. He's really observant and very smart, to think the stainless steel mailboxes in the neighborhood look all the same he knew exactly which one is ours. I'd like to believe in that because he reached out to that box before I even opened it.

Since the day was nice earlier today me and baby walked to the store to get something for daddy. Perfect timing that it's 50% off everything today and we got great discounts for the clothes that we bought for daddy. We also saw some modern mailboxes but baby didn't know what those were and there's no point telling him since he's still a baby. Those blomus mailboxes were also on sale but we don't have a need for such right now, maybe when we have our very own house. After the whole shopping thing I just grabbed some chinese food along the way and we headed straight to the field near our place where we enjoyed a little time to rest and eat partial lunch there. It's such a great day!

Enjoy your weekend!!!

What to do with stale bread? Eat it! Who likes to eat bread that is all hard but it would be such a mess to just throw it away. Most breads can be made into bread pudding and some can be baked as croutons. What i love doing the most is cooking a rich Italian style sauce to go with Italian sausage or meatballs. Simply top over the stale bread and pop it in the oven or microwave, voila hardy bread no more! French breads and baguettes are perfect for this kind of sauce and those breads really get so tough after a while.

I haven't done this dish for a while that's why me and hubs had a little craving for some good hotdog sandwich last Sunday. I haven't cooked hotdogs for a long time since we're trying to stay away from processed foods but whenever we feel like eating one we try to get it from the deli right outside home depot. The franks they use there is really good and tasty, just about right with the saltiness and spices. Top it with some sauerkraut, onions, pickle relish and catsup and you'll have a very good hotdog sandwich! To bad we can't make use of the home depot coupon code we have since it's an outdoor concession and not really part of the store. Besides I don't think they will count that as part of home depot items! Price isn't bad but if discounts can be availed then the better, right? =D

As we age more things happen to us, changes in our health become more and more evident. Say for an instance physical changes like skin aging, wrinkles, graying of hair, and some other changes than happen within our body like high blood pressure. As we all know high blood pressure also known as hypertension is most common in adults. High blood pressure causes the hardening of arteries in which build up of fatty deposits in arteries thickens the artery walls.

High blood pressure causes a big stake on one's health. This can lead to major health problems like stroke or heart attack. But up to now despite the modern science and medicine advancement, high blood pressure causes still not fully known. Often associated with obesity, stress and foods high in salt and fat therefore these must be avoided to prevent further damage to yourself. Proper diet, exercise and medications are the key to lowering and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. This can be hard for some people but with the right determination and discipline fighting the odds of hypertension can be easier than ever.

It's has been almost a year since FIL was given a second life, he never detected whether he's having hypertension all those times and up to the moment when he was actually having a heart attack. He has always thought he's healthy and nothing's wrong with him but you can never really tell until something bad happens. What happened changed his views in life and habits, eating a lot healthier and doing some exercises to maintain a healthier body.


Last December 27, me, hubs, baby and in-laws went to Nevada-California Border within the mountains to enjoy some snow. It was quite a drive about 4hrs from home, it sure was hard to keep baby occupied and to keep him still in his infant seat.

My brave little boy wasn't wearing any special snow suit, just nice warm layers of body suits and his cute bear shoes. See how chubby he looks wearing that thick body suit just like a stripped polar bear!

After assessing the snow when I put him down, he just stood for a while and tried crawling. He was really crawling fast and enjoying it. He even liked I take off his mittens to feel the snow. Looks like next year or when he's big enough to run around and ride the sled he will just drag me to play with him.
I have been following up on the apartments manager about the tile damage on the second floor hallway and up to now he hasn't sent anybody to fix it. The crack is starting to get bigger and to think some of our fellow second floor neighbors are quite heavy footed. Me and hubs refer to them as "stompers" because they seem to be stomping around whenever they walk by the hallway. Sometimes baby even wakes up when they pass by. Couple of times I almost yell out to tell them to walk gently and stop stomping around.

Last time we talked to the in-house manager he mentioned that the ceiling underneath the cracked walkway has already started to rot. It's wood so with the rains previously, the wood has been soaked and wearing off. They said the owners for this apartment complex are so cheap and very tight with money therefore not wanting to fix the problem. They better do something or else not only the hall renovation will eat up their precious money, so as the water damage repair service austin.

Only if they paid attention to our appeals then they definitely will save from water damage repair costs austin. All we were asking as an immediate action was to overlay a thick plywood to sustain and distribute the weight, this way further cracking can be avoided. Then being so negligent will end up with a higher water damage cost austin compared to just a regular repair. Our biggest concern is our safety and as much as we want to vacate this unit it's not that easy to move things out and settle in again in another unit. We're just hoping the hall can hold on til we're out of here for good with our own house.

Wedding can be considered as one of those moments in life that you would want to document so well that's why I didn't mind paying for the price when we had our wedding photo and video coverage. I didn't go for the one I really wanted to do the job for us due to its very high rates and somehow we still wanted to save and be practical.

I don't know if I'm just so meticulous with things most especially when it comes to designs and layout. When the first set of layout was given to me for review I got so furious on how sloppy the designs were. I mean what happened to it? I saw very nice layout when they presented me their offers and when I booked for their service they simply gave me a sloppy layout?!

...studio layout, hate it!!! see how crowded and messy it looks?...

The photo-video provider received quite a bunch of comments from me. Why not? When that advertising agency showed their works you'd say "wow!" but what they gave me didn't impress me at all. I can't imagine that the sequencing wasn't even observed! Looks like they gave the job to a newbie. After back and forth coordination and re-layout, wasting my time going there to their studio still I wasn't happy with their work so I decided to do the layout myself.

...my layout with my friend's final design editing touches, what do you think?...

I worked on my own layout design and had someone I know to do the finishing touches and then I just handed them my finished wedding album layout for printing and binding. They even had the cover wrong so again another disappointment. I'm just happy that almost after a year I finally got the photo and video, too long for such service right? To think I paid their price and yet we got disappointed with their bad service. It even came to a point when I had my lawyer friend write a letter to them for their neglect. That's how pissed I was.
Do I miss working in an office and having a boss around? I asked this to myself a while ago and I it made me think.

There are pros and cons being employed but even if there are many advantages with this set-up I am very much happy being self-employed and working from home. Of course I am very much thankful to my former boss who trained me, he's a great boss and he taught me many important lessons in architecture and the business itself. He served as a solid foundation in my learning process, I won't be able to accomplish everything if I didn't get the chance to have that special training from his office.

I only worked in two offices right after graduating college. I first joined a team of electrical contractor and and structured cabling contractor in which I was deployed on site. I witnessed how a structure's being built in close range. It was a tough job being deployed in site because the comforts of going to a regular office building in the metro is way too incomparable. Although I admit I enjoyed this part of the job where I can much action but didn't love the stress. There's so much going on in a construction site.

My second employment was when I decided to leave for better Architecture practice. That's my last formal job employment before I started working freelance. Me and hubs knew what we wanted to do from the start that's why we challenged establishing our own architecture/design home business.

So do I miss being employed? Yes and no. Yes because my time routine was more fixed and I tend not to do much overtime. No because I love my family, the two boys in my life who are the most important of all. Working freelance gives me the opportunity to take care of my little baby and my dear husband. It also strengthens our hopes of being self sufficient in time, earning on our own being our own boss.

Trailers of movies we have seen on the big screen!
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