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Sugar, spice, and a pinch of GLAM

Baltimore Eats 2015

Spring 2015: Life before baby A

Hello,dolls! Hello, 5th entry this month (yay!). I have important weekends coming up in the next 4 months. They are still a jumble in my head so here I am trying to declutter and get organized. There’s a part of me that is afraid to flip through my planner because that will remind me how fast time is running and get realize that life is indeed too short. I get emotional like that when I start to overthink things. I mean, is it just me? I guess when you live your life away from your family for quite some time, you start to value time even more. Much more when you have a beautiful 20-month-old who makes you wish that time would just stop e v e r y d a y.

Today, I was thinking a lot about my future. What I want to do and accomplish in the next 5 years and how I can make it all happen. You see, I am the kind of person who loves to look forward to “something” whether it’s a weekend getaway, a shopping trip, or investing in something big. There are times when I am okay with time going by fast, especially when I am excited about something.

My goals were very different 5 years ago. I remember telling myself to keep on pushing to work 60-70 hours a week so I can be recognized by my superiors. Now, I want to spend most of my time with baby A. I made changes in my career to have more time outside work without jeopardizing my position. Needless to say, I am just as happy as I was 5 years ago — maybe even more.

Before baby A, my “weekends” would involve binge watching my shows,going out with A for the entire day, and staying up late that we would often fall asleep on the couch. Now, I have to say that my weekends are more fruitful — I am more productive, going out with baby A is always an adventure for me, and discovering restaurants as a family has become one of the things I look forward to when I am off.

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A and I went to A LOT of restaurants before baby A. It felt like a reward after being on our feet for n hours every week.

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One of my all time favorite restaurants in Baltimore is The Food Market. It was an abrupt decision to go to Hampden that night. I was supposed to go to Hershey Park to see Van Halen with A, Ali, and Peter. Unfortunately, the concert got canceled the last minute!!! I felt bad for A and P but it was for the best……..for me hahahahaha

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hello, dolls!! Hello, weekend!!! <3 This weekend went by so fast — and I love it!! I am finally enjoying my weekend with #MyABoys!! So if you have noticed, my blog is starting to be active again. This year, I am committing to a lot of things this year, one of which is to post more! So far, with my 4th entry this month, I think I am doing pretty well 😛

A and I are starting to seriously plan our trips this year. We are only 2 months away from our anniversary so I know reservations have to made soon because with all of the events and gatherings we have for some of the weekends in between, we pretty much only have a month left to get this trip planned!

All the planning and researching are making me think about Manila a lot. So for my entry this weekend, I would like to share with you our last few days in MNL which will conclude our MNL trip in 2015. And a little bit of our first month as a married couple in Baltimore.

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Coming back to Baltimore as husband and wife <3

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I married someone that I want to travel the world with! Can’t think of anyone else <3 Read the rest of this entry »

MNL Diaries: Hole In The Wall

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Hello, dolls!! Hello, Valentine’s Day! <3 I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. In my previous posts about February 14, I would always mention how I see it as a family occasion. If you haven’t read any of my VDay posts yet, here are the links:

Valentine’s Day 2012

Valentine’s Day 2012 pt. 2

Valentine’s Lunch Date 2012

Valentine’s Day 2013

Valentine’s Day 2013 Pt. 2

Valentine’s Day 2014

Valentine’s Day 2015

Valentine’s Date 2015

Okaaaay. So now that my long list is done,  maybe now you fully understand how I feel towards Valentine’s Day. We are keeping it simple this year,A planned a really good menu for my parents and us — double date vibes at home! He asked me if I want to go out just the two of us, I happily declined and said it would be nice to spend the weekend with our family in NJ instead. I would normally say yes and start planning my outfit, but with a couple of trips coming up before baby A’s birthday, there will be a lot of solo time for us…so yeah 😉

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If you are Manila and still wondering where to go for Valentine’s, Hole In The Wall is a great place to go to. Especially for couples who are adventurous.

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It was our last day in Manila, so we wanted to go to a place that hasn’t been around since I lived in Manila to make things extra exciting for us.  Read the rest of this entry »

Farm Girls

07.06.15: 

Hello,dolls!! Hello, February! <3 Before I start my entry…let me just say how This Is Us (a remarkable US TV show) has been crushing my soul with every episode. I spent the day after the “Superbowl” episode looking at IG stories so I could spoil it for myself. YUP! I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it so I wanted to prepare myself. But just like everyone else that bawled their eyes out, Jack Pearson stole my heart and left it bleeding!! I have yet to watch the episode last night, and I am not sure if I am ready for another heavy episode! Lucky for me, I was able to convince A to hold my hand as I watch Jack be the best husband and Dad that he is when I watched episode 14 of season 2 aka Superbowl (AKA THE SADDEST EPISODE ON TV EVER!!! next to McDreamy’s of course).

Okay..so now that my “This Is Us” thoughts are out, let me move on to my real topic. I know we are still a couple of months away from summer, but it’s never too early to plan for it. One of the things that I love to do is blueberry picking.

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When my sister lived here for over a year, I made sure that our Mondays will be filled with adventures. One of my favorite trips with her was when we went blueberry and cherry picking.

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My friends know that anything that involves stepping on grass is something that I am not fond of. BUT if it’s food related, I would definitely give it a go! Like fruit picking or winery tours! lol Read the rest of this entry »

06.19.16: Current Reality

Hello, dolls! How’s your 2018 so far? Can you believe we are already halfway through the first month of the new year? The past 5 weeks seems like a dream to me. To come home from work and have my entire family waiting for me. To wake up and know that I can physically be with my siblings for the rest of the day. To be taken care of and feel like a kid because my parents are here to help me with e v e r y t h i n g. I talked about perfection in my last post. (Read about it here. ) My perfect family moment is about to end. I hate send-offs, it leaves a hole in my heart.

My family and I have to do this several times in a year. After weeks and weeks of being surrounded by so much love and laughter, we have to go back to our “current reality”… talking on Viber and posting on social media to update each other. This is my family’s second trip to the US, this time it’s extra memorable because aside from finally spending Christmas together again, we were able to express what we want to happen in the future. Before, we would leave our sentences with “let’s see what happens next year”. Now, we are saying “we are going to make it happen”. It’s a great plan to hold on to, a scary one, but to know that we are all on the same page about being together is a big thing for all of us.

So as we set the table with one less plate tonight, I will keep on praying that there will be less sends off in the coming years (which by the way started last year! Thank you, Lord!!). When my life here in the US started, I was only setting the table for myself. I remember not wanting to eat or cook at my apartment because it would only bring me sadness since I had to eat alone. Then came A…. I found someone that took me away from that lonely situation, and made me realize that life here is not so bad after all because I have him to share the table with <3

P.S. I wrote this intro 3 weeks ago. #SMH

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Since Valentine’s is right around the corner, let me share with you one of my favorite date nights from 2016 and show you a simple way to celebrate LOVE <3 

It was rare for A and I to have weekends off. For all the years that we both worked in the kitchen, I would say we probably only got 10 weekends — this is me exaggerating btw! So whenever we do, we make sure that we do something really awesome. Our favorite? Eat GREAT food!

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The entrance is hallway #goals!!

Read the rest of this entry »

April 2015: VIGAN

Hello, dolls! Hello, 2018! WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN!! I am saying it with so much love and joy as I officially welcome another BLESSED year — yup! I am claiming it already <3 I believe we all have our own version of perfect. Mine is the feeling I get in my heart…like that warm feeling that makes my world stop and stays in my mind forever.

I have a lot of perfect moments in my life. When I put on my wedding dress, as Klariz zipped me up on our wedding day, I knew it was the perfect dress for because of the feeling that I got.  That moment they put baby A in my arms 18 months ago, I knew he’s perfect — his tiny fingers moving as I held him close to my heart. Perfect is also when my family and I are complete. We don’t get to have a lot of “perfect” days in a year but when we do, we make sure that we have enough memories to hold onto for the rest of the year.

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It’s been almost 6 years since I started my journey here in the US. If I add up all of the times that my family is complete, it would only amount to 1 year, I used to dwell on this — how I miss celebrating birthdays, graduations, and the holidays with them.

With God’s grace, I haven’t felt homesick since my sister came here in the US for her internship.

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For my first entry this year, I would like to share the second part of our Ilocos adventure. Read the first part here

Read the rest of this entry »

PHL Diaries: Ilocos 2015

April 2015: First Roadtrip as Husband and Wife

Hello, dolls!!MERRY CHRISTMAS!! <3 It’s truly a Merry Christmas for me because FINALLY!! After 4 years, I am finally with my family during the holidays. It wasn’t an easy journey to get everyone here but with God’s grace, our dream of being together for Christmas came true. It has been a crazy busy week as my family catch up and make the most of their time here.

Having my family here reminds me so much of my life in the Philippines. I love waking up to the smell of garlic fried rice on weekends and how my Dad asks me if I am hungry every 10 minutes (like for real). Following the core of our holiday traditions and adding some of A’s made our Christmas extra memorable this year. It reminded me of our union 2 years ago and how we embraced each other’s family values and created a version that is perfect for our little family <3

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In 4 months, A and I will be married for 3 years. We started our marriage by being with our families. Like there was no “solo honeymoon” phase for us because every day was allotted to going on adventures with them. Not that I am complaining! Our entire wedding trip was memorable because we got to spend A LOT of time with both of our families.

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One of the things that we planned to do with Peter and Ali was to go to the beach.

I know…I know… why not Palawan or Boracay….

First of all, they were in the Philippines for a short time. Short, in the sense of us spending most of their time doing wedding stuff. It was hard to plan a trip to an island with not enough time, so instead, we went on a road trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello,27!: NYC 2015

July 25,2015: Sissy and New York

Hello, dolls! Hello, NYC! <3 …and yay birthday blog post!! I think one of the best gifts I received this year for my birthday is the feeling of contentment. A and my Mom were asking me what I wanted for my birthday a few weeks ago. I could’ve honestly told them a  million things but none of those would make me feel happier than having Mama’s spaghetti and spend time with my “A boys”.

I realized that I am at a point in my life wherein I am content. I have a stable career, a home that we could call our own, my husband A and baby A, and the assurance that we will be complete for Christmas this year! It’s been 4 years since I last spent Christmas with my parents and siblings, it’s the ultimate best gift this year to be together again for the holidays.

It’s going to be a very busy week for A and I as we prepare for my family’s arrival! I’ve been smiling from ear to ear since last week when I found out that everyone’s coming for Christmas. Most importantly, I am excited for baby A to be with his Lolo again…and his Titots and Tita too 😉

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So as I wait (and cram) for my family’s arrival, let me look back to the day my sister and I crossed off one major goal off our list — visit New York together.

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It was nice to be at the Italian Weekend Market! If we lived closer, I would’ve bought a lot of delicious food to take home with us!

DSC_1150A Read the rest of this entry »

May 2015: MNL lunch dates

Hello, dolls! Hello, Halloween!! I am so excited!! It’s baby A’s first official Halloween. I never really got to experience Halloween as a kid so I am really thrilled to be a stage Momma to baby A lol.

MNL will always be in my heart. Whenever I meet someone who just moved here in the US, they often ask me how I deal with homesickness and being away from my family. I tell them that it takes time and the first step is to accept the fact that we are creating a new life here in the US — making room for bigger things. Living here felt normal after I got my own routine — a stable job, my “spots” aka places I go shopping, and friends (that turned into family) that I hang out with.  I am fortunate that I get to see my family every year, especially now that they can visit us. After buying a house and baby A, my heart told me that Baltimore is home too. I consider it as a blessing to have 2 homes on different sides of the world <3

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Another common question I get asked is “does A like going to the Philippines?”. I am lucky to be with a man who LOVES Asian food….SO MUCH! He is just as excited as me whenever we go home to the Philippines. He gives me a list of restaurants that he wants to go to and snacks he would like to bring back with us.

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I honestly never heard of Mitsuyado Sei-Men prior to our trip. A kept on talking about it like he lived in the Philippines for 21 years lol. He was so happy when I told him we could go for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »

Washington DC: Summer 2015

Hello, dolls!! Hello, FALL!! <3 I am extra excited about fall this year because of all the activities I have planned for baby A. I can’t wait to decorate our house and light up my pumpkin spice candles. The crisp weather just makes everything seem perfect, even when there are a million of crazy things happening around me.

I wish I could enjoy this beautiful season with my sister. She is the perfect sidekick for me whenever I go on adventures, although I have to admit baby A is starting to take over her place 😉 December is right around the corner and I am honestly excited and nervous about it. I can’t wait for baby A to be with his Lolo, Tita, and Titos again.

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Sissy love <3

So hard to be away from you for this long!!

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For Chella’s first family day in the US, we went to Ikaros for lunch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter 2015

Hello, dolls! Hello, September! I know summer is not over yet but fall is making an early entrance this year. I am actually not sure how I feel about it. I love fall — the perfect weather, the color of the leaves, and all the activities that I have planned for our little family! But, am I ready for the layers of clothing and the super cold weather that comes after? That’s the question.

Two years ago, I spent my September preparing for our big day.  Last year, I embraced being a new Mom.This year, I am spending my weekends going on adventures with my boys. I am on cloud 9!

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One of my best friends Chelsey designed our invitation. It’s everything that I wanted it to be. I remember telling her I love white and gold and sent her a couple of pegs…and voila! Our invitation is done! I believe I am not hard to work with, I am straight to the point and I make sure I am clear with what I like and don’t like — making it easy for my suppliers to deliver.

I loved everything about our invitation!! My Dad took the design to a local invitation shop in the Philippines so I had no idea how it will look like until he sent me the actual invitations. The excitement definitely kicked in as soon as I held them!

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I had a minor accident in January 2015. Long story short, I lost 2 diamonds on the side and cracked the one in the middle. I was so upset about it mainly because I did not have my engagement ring until the week before we left for the Philippines (March 2015).

When A told me that he finally picked up my engagement ring and our wedding bands, I was so happy!! I felt naked being out without my ring!

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Got an idea from Pinterest. I sent our wedding invitation to The White House, Walt Disney, and Queen Elizabeth II. In return, we got congratulatory letters from them.

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Letter from The White House.

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I truly enjoyed going to pre-cana. It’s a prerequisite for couples who are going to get married in a Catholic church. I know some couples feel obliged to go to pre-cana, because on top of being busy with planning the wedding, you spend n hours listening and watching about marriage. I enjoyed going because of our instructors and I felt like it was a different adventure with A. We got married in the Philippines but I decided to do ours here in the US because it was better for our schedule.

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I looked forward to the activities that we did every week. I felt like I was in school again but this time I got to learn about A 😉

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On our last day of class, we had a mini gathering with the other couples. We were assigned to bring a dessert so I made my favorite chocolate tart recipe the day before. I had to work late and forgot to put the berries, so I had to rush myself and do a 2 minute berry fix. Not the best looking but definitely a goodie! haha

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YAAAASSS TO FOOD!

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St. Joseph’s <3

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<3

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Bagel and lox with cream cheese from TBH – favorite quick breakfast when I am running late! lol

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Ravioli is life!!!!!! <3

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Shopping on a Sunday was a treat for us before just like this ice cream!We hardly had Sundays off together,so being able to spend full weekends as a family is definitely a dream come true for us!! <3

A and my strawberry yogurt with graham crumbs!

 

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Historic Ellicott city

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me outside Portalli’s

Date night with the fiance <3

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I was so happy when he took me to Portalli’s. not only because we were out on a Sunday night, but because the neighborhood is beautiful!

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Our next date spot.

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<3

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Mussels in Tomato Sauce

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Braised Pork Shank with Polenta

This was really tender and we both loved the pork shank and polenta. However, the sauce was a little disappointing. We could tell that they used beef base and it overpowered the natural flavor of the braised pork shank.

Back when I took a million selfies 😛

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A’s wedding suit fitting

Talk about last minute, he decided to do this 2 months before we flew to Manila!

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Can’t believe our weekend is over already!!!!! #MondayBlues

xx

R

04.22.2015: First Day of Forever

Hello, dolls! Hello, August!! The past 3 weeks have been very eventful. This is my first summer with full weekends off. We’ve been saying “yes” to most invitations because we can now. It feels great to be able to plan things ahead of time because we know we can actually go on adventures without going through hoops just to get decent days off. Our weekends are booked until September 9 — so it has been pretty crazy since July 29 (and I am loving it!).

So a month ago I started rewatching One Tree Hill. I can’t believe that I still remember most of the episodes, most especially how it’s a decade-year-old!! Meaning, I graduated high school 10 years ago!!! I remember watching OTH and almost missing my graduation practice. I realized that majority of the songs and artists on my playlist were from OTH. I find myself singing in every episode!!

I know we are still 8 months away from our anniversary but life has been really great for our little family lately. Each day reminds me of the feeling I had the day after our wedding.

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Our morning view.

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<3 <3 <3

#speechless

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Angelfield’s Tarragon Tea

I am not a big fan of this tarragon tea. We all thought that the tarragon was too overpowering for a cup of water. Less tarragon would make this really good!

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Century tuna for breakfast is love!!!!!! <3  #SimpleJoys

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Breakfast Crew

We had Angelfield’s all to ourselves. All the rooms were cozy and being in a sanctuary made us feel relaxed before and after the wedding.

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Angelfield’s will forever be special!!! <3

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Taal Volcano

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One of the best things about April 22? Waking up and knowing that we have the rest of our lives to go on adventures together.

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<3

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Probably the only time we will all ride the jeepney together. On our way up to the Palace in the Sky.

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Everyone enjoyed the cool breeze and amazing view!

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Missing my Batutsy!!!! <3

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Especially because he takes perfect Instagrammable pictures of me! lol

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taho is life!!!

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As baby A would say “vroom vroom!!”

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Daddy’s girls!!

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Lunch with a view

My brother Renzo suggested RSM Lutong Bahay. I am glad that we tried something new as a family.

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Fresh Buko Juice, please!!!! <3

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Fried Tawilis

One of my favorite things to eat when I am in the Philippines. Crispy fried tawilis!!

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Inihaw na Pusit

All time favorite!!!

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A meal is not complete without 2 servings of rice per person! lol

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Pancit Canton

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Kare Kare

Who else agree that the bagoong is the best part? haha

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Bulalo

Our trip to Tagaytay will not be complete without bulalo!!

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…and crispy pata.

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Chop Seuy

Veggies to “balance” all the meat on our table.

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Kalderetang Kambing

Anther favorite!!! I was finally able to make A try goat!!!

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…and of course, sisig!!!! 

I pretty much eat sisig every day when I am in the Philippines. #HelloCalories

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<3

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Being touristy

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First adventures as Mr. and Mrs. Stavrides!! <3

 

xx

R <3

The “Ate” Diaries

06.06.2015: Dream Come True

Hello, dolls!!! Hello, summer!! <3 “Ate” in Tagalog means big sister”. Before I became baby A’s Mommy, I was a super Ate first to my sister Chella. Two years ago we were able to cross off a big goal from our list — for my sister to come here in the US. It wasn’t an easy process, but with lots and lots of prayers and guidance from above, our dream became a reality.

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I remember being SUPER excited to see her. I had a long list of places to go and things for us to do while she was here. I was excited to show her how life is here, most importantly to see her grow and learn how to live life away from our parents.

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I remember telling her, “okay here, you have to do your own laundry. If you are hungry you can’t just open the fridge and look for something to eat, the first thing to do is to make a list and go to the grocery and then plan your food for the week (or order take out but that will cost more)”. Living on your own is not easy…period. Read the rest of this entry »

06.29.16: Cider Mill, meet Alexander.

Hello, dolls!!!Happy Birthday my baby A <3 What a year it has been!! I still can’t believe that my baby A is now 1 year old!! I can only look back to the past year with lots and lots of smiles. Baby A brought a lot of happiness to our lives that I can’t think of a day that made me wish things were different. Everything that happened last year lead us to being happier and better.

I could go on and on talking about him all day, and I would still find myself saying “geez, I can’t find the right words to describe how much I love my boy!”.

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It feels like it was only yesterday when we brought baby A home from the hospital. I remember feeling scared and unprepared. Scared because I knew that as soon as we walk out of the hospital, our new beautiful reality is going to start. I don’t know why I felt unprepared. I had all of the support that I need, diapers and wipes enough to last for more than a year, and a loving home to welcome baby A. I guess it’s normal for a first time Mom to feel like that.

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It took us 15 min. to get home, the sun was shining bright I remember — a beautiful day to remember. The first 5 minutes in the car was calm, we were enjoying the nice breeze of air from outside. As soon as baby A realized he was in a different environment, he started crying. It was the first time we had a baby crying in the car with us so A and I got a little bit scared lol. Read the rest of this entry »

Newlyweds in Charm City

05.2015 – The real adventure begins

Hello, dolls! Hello weeeekend! <3 June is such a special month for us now. Before June would just come and go, we do not plan anything big — just occasional weekends out of Baltimore and lots of eating out. June is sweeter and brighter now because of baby A. June is birthday month and I can’t wait to make it special for him every year! <3

There has a been a lot of good changes in our lives since A and I got married. I remember before, we settled for “dinners at home” once a week. We would eat out at least 3 times in a week. We spent more time at work and we were okay with it. We wanted to save money to buy a house, we achieved that in less than 10 months! After we bought our house, we welcomed baby A. In just a year and a half our lives became even better and our goals changed — for the best. Embracing dinners at home every night (well almost because we enjoy our weekends by eating out) almost 3 months ago was a change that we’ve been yearning for since baby A was born. I’ve been telling my Mom that it feels weird to think about dinner this much. Thank God she is here to help around the house, otherwise, I would lose my sanity.

Looking back to our first year as a married couple, I am happy with every choice that we’ve made.


Our first week back in Baltimore was pleasant. A and I did not have to deal with a lot of adjustments because we were going back to our “normal life” with rings on our fingers. So let me look back to a couple of fun memories from our first week as newlyweds in Baltimore.

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We were still feeling a little adventurous since we just came back from the Philippines. We wanted to do something that would remind us of our trip so we went to Lexington Market — cheap simple food with a touch of adventure.

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This..right here is what we call an “adventure”. Things that we don’t normally see at restaurants or groceries.

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Short ribs… YAS!

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Walking around Lexington Market was a bit overwhelming to me at first. Not because I am not used to the environment. There were so many good choices and I wanted to try them all.

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Weakness.

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Good food for cheap!

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The main reason why we went to Lexington Market.

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His agenda: tongue and chopped liver sammmich!

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Yes please!

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I love how most places sell smoothies!!

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Wall Street Turkey

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A definite must try, fried chicken! <3

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Perfect place to go to when sick. Pho date with my man!! <3

 

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Before baby A, I used to take gazillion pictures of A. Now, I hardly have any solo pictures of him on my phone! lol

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One of my favorite things to do with him — grocery shopping! 🙂

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Fun dinner with great friends!!! <3

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After church brunch. Perfect food to eat after hearing mass? Spanakopita!

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…and of course, I dragged him to the mall after brunch!lol

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Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey <3

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My first time to play mini golf!

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Random Eats

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Crepe for breakfast is always a good idea 😛

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…and tacos for lunch? an even better idea! 😉

 

Can’t wait for our adventure this weekend!

 

<3

R

04.19.15: Almost Time | Finestra @ Solaire

Hello, dolls! Haaaay what a month!! May has been an eventful month, mostly negatives but we are trying to not focus on the bad side of this month. I am open about my obstacles because truthfully nothing  really upset me that made me say “why?”. Whenever something unlikely happened, I would just think about the “great reward” that is yet to come. I’ve been telling A that this is the reality of life, pain and happiness goes hand in hand.

I’ve been trying to think of a perfect way to kiss this month goodbye. Luckily, I get to have a nice “long” weekend with #MyABoys — definitely the best way to end May! So as I wait for A to finish his game, I am going to blog and reminisce about our rehearsal dinner in the Philippines. (was supposed to post this on Friday 05/26 yikes)

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Fiancé

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We had our rehearsal dinner at Finestra. We couldn’t decide where to do it because truthfully, I did not have enough time to plan it. I asked A what he thinks would be the best since his family is also in the Philippines for the first time.

He told me he wanted to go to a nice Italian restaurant. Since I haven’t been to the Philippines for a while, I couldn’t give him a lot of suggestions. We researched and came across Solaire. We thought it would be perfect since it’s newly built, everyone could see how gorgeous it is!  Read the rest of this entry »

Hello, Alexander

‘06.27.16: The New Meaning of Life.

Hello, dolls! Hello, Mommas!! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! <3 It’s my first Mother’s Day and aaaah I have so much love in my heart right now! I am so excited to share my birthing story with you guys again. I know I posted a brief story about it on Facebook almost a year ago, but writing about it on my blog feels more special because I know I could really pour my heart out.

If you were to ask me last year if I am ready to be a Mom, I would probably give you a hard no. I am a very career driven person, and I have a long list of goals that I am still trying to achieve. There are a few things that would always cross my mind whenever I get asked when A and I are having a baby — traveling, family, and work. I am the kind of person who likes to plan everything. I live by my lists/notes. By now, A is already used to seeing a million post its in our bedroom and a gazillion notebooks in my drawer.

“Baby?Being a Mom?NOT YET!”I can’t not travel for more than a year, I have to be somewhere — always! I still have things that I want to do for and with my family, I love giving back to Daddy and Mama! And how about work? I love working, I love the adrenaline, I love being in the kitchen. These are the things that I always think of whenever the baby topic comes up. Mentally, I wasn’t ready to be a Mom.

As I mentioned before, I am a planner. I like to plan things. So was baby A planned? Did A and I talk about it? It’s 50-50 I would say. I always tease A about his age. He is not that old but I just like to tease him about how he is “almost 30”.  In 2015 he turned 28, the conversation about him not wanting to have his first child at or after 30. So yeah, that’s how it started.We were not actively trying for a baby, and it’s not like we planned when to get pregnant. We talked about it and we were okay with me getting pregnant if ever. So yeah, it was 50-50.

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Hello, Alexander Constantine Stavrides.

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My due date was June 27,2016. 2 weeks before that everyone was already telling me that I could give birth any minute. Every time someone would tell me that I get a little nervous. Am I really ready to be a Mom? Will my body handle it?

I stopped working 5 days before I gave birth (told you! I am that committed to working lol). I remember feeling exhausted all day when I finally told myself “okay, it’s time to focus on the baby”. Everyone was telling me to stop working and relax, but my body was justI was kind of rushing to get his nursery organized. I only had 1 week to get it together!

It was around at 7:15 AM on June 27,2016 when my water broke — a Monday. We always go on adventures every Monday but I did not know that it would be that kind of adventure.  My initial reaction was — “wow this baby is on point, he wants to come out on his due date!” — NOT! ha read below to know how long we had to wait to finally meet him! lol

Anyway, I was able to take a bath, do my make up (like kilay is life guys!), and check our hospital bag again to see if we missed anything. A, however, was in shock — composed but I’ve never seen him run around the house like that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Almost 5

OF “DATES”

Hello, dolls! Hello, April! Hello, anniversary month!! It has been 6 weeks since I started my new job. I consider it the “best change” in my life, so far, this year. My new schedule allows me to spend more time with baby A. From working 12 hour shifts that would make me miss spending time with him throughout the day.I get to be a full time Mommy in the afternoon, have the entire weekend with him every week, and I still get to be who I want — a Chef.

If you’ve read my “About Me” (Hello, Stranger— I updated my age and contact e-mail btw! 😉 I mentioned there that I want to be a Chef. A hates it when I sell myself short. It has been 3 years since I became a Chef. Managing a kitchen of my own was something that happened unexpectedly. I remember wondering what I did to deserve such great reward! I thought it would take me at least 10 years to get to where I am now. I sometimes think that maybe I just got lucky, but whenever I look back to the years that I worked all day/night and how I sacrificed not only my personal time, but also being with my family, I realize that I deserve every bit of what I have now. Is it weird that I sometimes ponder if people take me seriously, like you know? People that knew me before… and then I am reminded of my co-workers, my bosses, and the people that compliment the food that I make. I still get kilig when people buy my specials. To be 27 now and have a fulfilling career is by far one of my greatest achievements, definitely!

So yeah, just a little something about work because I know I never really talked about it other than mentioning my schedule.  ; )

As soon as the month of April rolls in, I get reminded of all the adventures that A and I have been on the past x years. This year we are celebrating our 5th anniversary!!

To commemorate our anniversary month (and since I’ve been thinking about our travels lately) here’s a post about our last dinner and brunch in Baltimore before we left for the Philippines to get married.

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There are so many restaurants that we want to go to. Our list keeps on growing every year so it’s kind of hard to keep up.

There were years when we would eat out at least 3x in one week. There were also years that we just wanted to explore in our kitchen. Last year, we spent more time in our kitchen, so I feel like I will be able to keep up with my posts sometime this year. *ugh crossing my fingers again lol*

I’ve always wanted to go to Pazo ever since I saw A’s pictures with the BCC kitchen team a year before I became an intern.

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We went on a Saturday night so the restaurant was pretty packed. We had to wait for our table to be ready despite having a reservation.  Read the rest of this entry »

Before Take Off

03.2015: Oh, hon!

Hello, dolls! Hello, March! I welcomed March 2017 with an open mind. The 3 weeks was all about doing things I thought I would never do. Mainly, like have a morning job that makes me get up at 4 in the morning. I never thought I would get my weekends back working as a Chef. I am spending more time with baby A now and we are both really really happy about it.

Exactly 2 years ago, things were different for A and I. 2 years ago,we were busy preparing for our wedding and our big adventure to the Philippines. This year, we spent the first week of March adjusting to my new schedule. I am able to do a lot of “normal” stuff now with my new schedule. Like, go to the grocery after work — in the afternoon, not rushing because the store is going to close in half an hour. Brave the crowd on weekends at the mall or Costco (lol)…and worry about dinner every night! I LOVE it! I love how I have more time and I can actually plan things ahead of time.

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A x Charm City <3

A month from now A and I are going to celebrate our 5th year together. Meaning, adventure time! 

Let me look back to our food adventures 2 years ago *yikes!* We are starting to go back to our “groove” again when it comes to eating out so we are really happy about that! Baby A has been enjoying some of our food now so eating out is extra fun this time 🙂

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#BaltimoreEats

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Hole in the wall Shawarma place at Fell’s Point. Unfortunately they closed not long after we went there to eat.

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My chicken shawermarz. Delicious platter of tender chicken shawarma! #Yum!

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A’s beef shawarma.

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Charm City

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We stayed in New jersey a couple of days before our trip to the Philippines. Since we had a couple of days meant for adventure, we decided to go to New York.

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Our main objective whenever we go to New York is to EAT!

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Our first time at Shake Shack

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I ordered the mushroom burger because back then I was very maarte about what I eat. I opted for food that has lesser calories (lol). Now that I am nursing, I have given myself room to eat more so I can produce milk for baby A.

So anyway, I could honestly say that the mushroom burger was not that notable for me. I felt like it was too oily. The mushroom absorbed too much oil that every bite felt like I was eating a spoonful of oil. Must be technique or the way they cooked it at that location.

I gave it another try last year and it’s so much better with the burger patty! The way the cheese melts in your mouth with the mushroom and the burger is sooo good!

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Mmmm #YaaaasQueen

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Hungry yet?

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My lucky day! Shake Shack had a special flavor that week featuring Mast Brother’s chocolate! #YummyInMyTummy

Love Mast Brother’s so much!!

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CBTL!!! Wish we have more CBTLs here in Baltimore

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The best way to end our NYC trip, at least for A, is to go to Chinatown.

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Finally tried this!

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Wonton noodle soup, anyone?

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Ginger scallion is life lol

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Roast Duck with E-fu Noodles

aka heaven #1

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Ginger Scallion Noodles

aka “Where David Chang got his inspiration from”.

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Soy Chicken

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I could eat this everyday

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Chicken and Pork Pan Fried Noodles

aka heaven #2

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Food for 4 hungry shoppers

Shopping time in New York

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Breakfast in New Jersey <3

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Went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch before we left New Jersey

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#bomb

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<3 <3 <3

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What happens when we go to NJ and NYC lol

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Korean food for lunch the day before we left Baltimore to drive to JFK

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A’s short ribs

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Sushi for meeeee <3

xx

R

Saint Elmo Court

Winter 2015

Hello,dolls! Hello, 2017!!!! How’s 2017 for you so far? Mine’s been pretty exciting! A couple of changes here and there and tons of planning for our upcoming trip!! Aaah I am really excited to be with my family again. Year 2017 is all about “getting ready, planning, and making things happen” for me.

Getting ready to start something new. Do something more and get out there.It sounds vague right now but soon it will be out there for everyone to know…and taste 😉 Getting ready to become a part of something big aka the big move — which will also help me make things happen. Getting ready for Christmas this year because it is going to be SUPER AWESOME to have everyone here! 🙂 I AM SO EXCITED!

Planning… I am the Queen of plans! I can never go a day without planning anything. Whether it be the clothes that I wear, how I schedule my time at home and work, or anything that could possibly help me go on life without strangling anyone! lol

———- I wrote the first part of my entry before we went to the Philippines. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish it #FacePalm.

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I think I am just going to “officially” start my entry by saying.. I AM REALLY EXCITED to have dinner with my family every night again. I am still a working Momma, just with better hours! I am really happy about it because I can spend more time with baby A and still be able to do what I love to do!

I look forward to eating more pasta this year! Just like this delicious plate of spaghetti with clams.

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Before Alexander, A and I were “okay” with our set up. Dinner together once or twice a week. It sounds pretty sad but we made it work.

So now, let me look back to our awesome dinners (and some random heaps) when we were still living at our first apartment. Pretty soon we will be using this entry as a reference lol

Read the rest of this entry »

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