Thursday, March 01, 2018

Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Chicago

It’s one of the spur of the moment decision of my husband. We’ve been planning a trip for our wedding anniversary and considered Chicago as our destination but we didn’t really make any final choice yet since we were both busy at work. Thankfully, my husband and his surprises never failed me yet. 

After working the whole day, we hopped in the car and off we started our travel. We decided to have a pizza take-out for him and a Red Wok take-out for me. That’s when we realized that we forgot our swimsuits. So, we needed to make another stop over at Walmart to buy them.

The view during the travel was breathtaking. Lakes in the dusk were undeniably beautiful. While my husband was driving, I read aloud Daily Bread. The ride took three hours and thankfully, it was a smooth ride. 

Chicago at night is absolutely beautiful. It’s like a magic city filled with laughter and lights. The check-in was a bit stressful because parking area was in another building and my husband was not really used with city driving. We stayed at Hyatt Hotel right in the heart of the city.

The check-in was uneventful but entering our room was. We swiped the card so many times, checked the numbers written on the card, and nothing happened. The door would not open. My husband went back to the reception area to ask for help while I was left with our luggage. Back to the 15th floor after asking for help, still the card would not work. Finally, he called again for help and only to find out there was a mistake and we were supposed to be in the 16th floor. 

At night, Chicago was bustling with people. While at the elevator after grabbing something at another floor, my husband was even invited to a party! 

It was pretty amazing falling asleep gazing at the night sky illuminated with the lights from skyscrapers buildings! What’s more, it’s an indescribable feeling falling asleep with my husband’s arms around me.

I'm the Naughty Cat in the Hat

Growing up in Asia, we’re not really big on the books of Dr. Seuss. Since coming here to the United States though, I’ve heard more about him and I am truly fascinated with his books. This week, we’re celebrating his birthday and I was so excited to be The Cat in the Hat for the day!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

“Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.”

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”

“He should not be here," said the fish in the pot. "He should not be here when your mother is not.”

“You find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax. All you need is a book”

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Day at Grand Rapids

A day at Grand Rapids, MI would afford you the opportunity to visit parks, museums and watch a show at gigantic Van Andel Arena! 

"Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” 

A day at Grand Rapids, MI would afford you the opportunity to visit parks, museums and watch a show at gigantic Van Andel Arena! 

Just like any other couple, my husband and I normally get so entangled with the hustle and bustle of life. It is through our little travel that we find enjoyment the most. 

So, David decided to book us at Hampton hotel in Grand Rapids, a city about an hour from where we live. We planned on visiting museums and just going around the city. A day before our travel, we learned about the ‘Disney on Ice’ show so we decided to watch it as well. 

Saturday morning when we left and of course, we feel bad for our little dogs who would be home by themselves. Alice knew something was up so she tried to snuggle a little bit longer in the clothes of my husband. Zoie was seemingly unaffected but Dani started barking nonstop. 

First stop was shopping at Burlington Factory. I heard a lot about this store and I told my husband to give it a try. Of course, we decided not to shop anywhere else realizing how much branded clothes are cheaper there. 

At Rockwell restaurant with my new pair of eyeglasses. 

On the way to the hotel, we saw EyeglassWorld. David immediately decided to get a pair for me since we’ve been planning on it for a long time. They have amazing technology and customer service. We didn’t have any appointment but they were able to immediately attend to us. I got two pairs and it was an amazing feeling to finally be able to see again at a far distance. I could not believe how much I needed it!

At Gerald Ford museum. 

Then we were off to the first museum, Gerald Ford museum. The place was very inviting and filled with his memorabilia. It was an amazing glimpse to the man who was obviously highly revered at Grand Rapids. A documentary was shown about the time when he was a naval officer and the ship where he was in faced a storm near Philippines. I became so intrigued with the Watergate scandal so I decided to learn more about it.

Then we decided to check in our hotel and had dinner before the ‘Disney on Ice’ show. The restaurant, Rockwell, was recommended by the staff of the Eyeglass World. The food was acceptable but nothing spectacular. It was loud and far from the kind of dinner that David and I were looking forward to. We were hoping for a cozier romantic dinner but we decided to just stay since we didn’t have much time before the show at 7. 

Disney on Ice was phenomenal. I have never watched anything similar to this so I was in awe. I felt the magic, the shivers ran through my spine, there was tingle on my toes, and my heart was filled with fun and enjoyment. Even David actually enjoyed it. The songs were beautiful and brought back so many memories back when I was a kid. When we left Van Andel arena, it was snowing heavily and everything looked magical. It was definitely a night to remember!

Friday, February 09, 2018

I love snow but…

Nothing beats the feel of cold fluffy flakes gently falling on your face. The bitter cold is forgotten while looking at the captivating scenes especially when everything is blanketed in pure white. That exhilarating feeling while sledding or that mesmeric sound of crunchy fresh flurries while walking makes my heart feel warm. It is simply magical.

My husband and I would often drive out when it is snowing pretty hard just because we both love the enchantment that snow brings! While we worry about zero visibility roads at times or the car sliding, we always get enthused being enveloped by the white stuff while enjoying the picturesque sceneries.

However, just like the chapters of every story, no matter how beautiful it is, you can’t wait but to reach and read the end. Just like a good old movie, you can’t help but wish for the happy ending.

I love snow but it’s been months since we were basking on inches and inches of these white flurries! Snow came early before Halloween and I was the happiest then but more than three months of nearly freezing temperature makes me think of the years I have spent in two tropical countries. I am getting tired waking up in the morning putting on several layers of clothing and trying to get in the car and the door would not open. I love snow but I also love the sun!

So, I’m kind of looking forward to reach the last chapter of this winter’s story. I’m ready to welcome spring!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

My Husband’s Reaction to Filipino Foods

Filipino food is probably the touchstone of the culture and tradition that I grew up with. Though essentially influenced by Western culture (fries, burgers, steak and the like), there’s this part of Filipino cuisine that I wanted to share with my American husband. As a child, I heard of horror stories where families of Filipino immigrants received complaints of neighbors because of the strong smell of some Filipino dishes- most specially bagoong or anchovies which is a condiment partially or completely made of either fermented fish or krill with salt! So, here’s some interesting stuff I found out about my husband regarding Filipino cuisine.

Pork Binagoongan/ Ensalada with bagoong, kamatis, manga and itlog na maalat (Pork Flavored with Anchovies/ Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Mango, and Salted Eggs)

It was only recently after over a year that I bought bagoong or anchovies. I had no intention of asking my husband to taste it when I prepared them. I was too worried regarding his reaction about the smell that I was constantly checking on him while I was cooking. He survived the dinner even though the smell was so strong! As for the ensalada or grilled eggplant with anchovies and mangoes, he tried to have a sniff of it in closer proximity but of course he didn’t try it.

Pork Barbecue and Isaw

I still feel guilty about this. Isaw or chicken liver skewer is not something that I would want my husband to try since I knew what he feels about exotic food. We were having a dinner at a Filipino restaurant while he was visiting me at Jakarta when he had a bite of this on ‘accident’. We ordered pork barbecue and he liked it so much so we asked for another serving. Unknowingly, ‘isaw’ which was ordered by one of our friends was included on the platter and my husband took a bite of it. My friends and I looked at each other and nobody said anything. I knew my husband noticed the difference so he immediately put it down. I was so guilty that I decided to tell him the truth. In fairness to him, he didn’t over react and simply said he knew it tasted different. He did not have another bite of barbecue that night.

Lumpia Shanghai (Similar to egg rolls but fillings are ground pork and other Filipino flavors.)

Lumpia is probably one of my husband’s favorite. He could easily wolf down several pieces without batting an eyelash! He loves that it's crunchy.

Pancit (Egg noodles flavored with veggies, pork and shrimp)

I put too much veggies on it that my husband would simply grimace whenever I ask him to take a bite so obviously it’s a big no for him. He had a bite (After removing all the veggies) of the last one I cooked though!

Filipino spaghetti

What makes Filipino spaghetti different is its sweetness and the addition of hotdogs on it! I only cooked it once since I’m starting to prefer the recipe here and my husband obviously didn’t like it.


Probably the most famous Filipino dish. This is becoming a regular here at home and he likes this with his own version of rice (white rice with cinnamon and sugar).


Disclaimer: This photo is not owned by the site owner. 

I have never tried cooking this but my husband and I were watching a TV show when they showed the whole pig roast on the table. He almost threw up! I guess no lechon for him when we visit Philippines in the future.

Not all Filipino cuisines are exotic or crazy however you want to label it. Thankfully, my husband and I have a lot of common grounds. We both like pork chops, fried chicken, meatloaf, steak, and of course bacon!


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