[FACEBOOK HQ & Frank Gehry]

Soon to rise: new Facebook campus headquarters in Menlo Park,  California.


[two moms]

We will forever remember today as a day of pain & joy for the family.

This morning, my hubby's side of the family laid to rest their mom, four days after succumbing to stroke due to complications brought about by diabetes. For the past 6 months, she underwent hemodialysis treatments, the intensity of which must have taken its toll on her frail body.

I was not that close to my mom-in-law Irene but I would long remember her as a thoughtful person.  During our weekend visits & family get-togethers, she made sure that we would have packed home-cooked food to take with us. We barely had lengthy talks or exchanged pleasantries because she was not that conversant with Tagalog but I reached out to her just the same especially to ask about her health condition.

After living a full 71 years of her life as a wife, mother to 7 children & grandmother to 10 grandchildren, she finally returned home to her Maker.


[the MOMMY BLOGGER friends I make - Aimee, Ging & Marsy]

Who says you cannot meet nice people online and feel like they have been your long-time friends? Well, despite the misgivings, I still did. ;)

It started with a single comment on a blog entry from each of them. Unlike my best friend's popular blog, mommyfleur, mine is simply read through. So when these ladies' comments came in on an almost regular (but not daily) basis, I started to follow their blogs  & dropped a word or two.

I haven't met them personally but the exchange of pleasantries online somehow paved the way for our budding "friendships".

Here are the 3 mommy bloggers I've met & made friends with & the things I love about their blogs:

*Aimee Diego of iamaimeediego

Her simple, well-written entries are what attracted me to her blog. And I envy her writing style.;) Churning out run-of-the-mill sentences is not her thing for her stories are told in a rather descriptive fashion. She writes on almost anything of interest to her. I especially like her features on the handmade dolls, the paper mache horses & other creative projects by local artisans. Aside from posts on food, good reads, weekend getaways, you are also let in on her life with her hubby & toddler-daughter, TALA.

*Ging Domingo-Santos of fortyweeks

I totally love her blog look & her artsy-craftsy Martha Stewart posts. An architect like me & a college mate (something which I just recently discovered), she's also into interiors & DIY projects. You will likewise get to travel with her vicariously through her vacation posts. Of course, like all mommy bloggers, there will be snippets of stories about her family, especially her baby ALLIE, which she shares with her readers.

*Mars Ardeza-Ilagan of planetmarsy

Her blog chronicles her life as a young wife & mom. I love her anecdotes about her cutie patootie of a daughter, 1 year old LIA. Her travel tips to places she had been to are also helpful. As a whole, her candid but well-expressed way of telling stories is what keeps me coming back to her blog.

Discover & enjoy reading their blogs, too. Just click on the links.

[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #63]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #64]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #62]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #61]



[stumbled upon STUMBLE UPON]

Make it easy for you to look for websites that match your interests. Get into StumbleUpon.

I was checking my blog stats one morning & I saw StumbleUpon.com listed among the traffic sources. I followed the link & found myself joining in. 

Once you get in, you will be connected to various websites that fit your pursuits. No more 'hits or misses' because when you click the STUMBLE button at the upper left corner, a website will automatically open for you to skim through. Some of the websites I have already discovered & liked :

Sign up now & enjoy exploring the net for sites that will eventually become daily reads for you.


[eggs BENNY]

I had this for breakfast last Sunday at GRAMS Diner at the Fort.

It's the eggs Benny, GRAM's moniker for eggs Benedict. Savory waffle, ham, poached eggs with hollandaise sauce served with home fries.

Truly yummy!

See my daughter's complete post on our dining experience at GRAMS here.


[shooting STAR]

He has always been my celebrity crush. I always tell my hubby & the girls of my wish to see him in the flesh before I turn old & grey. Who would have thought that wishes still do come true & I got mine today! ;)

My sister & I went to this Korean store to buy those famous ice cream bars. After paying for our purchases, we walked on over to Jollibee, right across the street. We saw some film crew members putting up their equipment. Thinking that they were taping a widely-watched local drama series, we excitedly asked the guard what the fuzz was about. With a smile, he said, "Meron pong shooting sina Aga Muhlach at Regine Velasquez!". After hearing that, we took a hurried lunch and left the place to fetch my youngest in school. After dropping her off at our house, I lugged my camera & returned to where I could finally see the crush of my teen years! ;)

Never thought celebrity crush-watching can get one all crazy & giddy. We waited out the arrival of  Aga over criss-cut fries, coffee & choco floats.

When he finally showed up, we went nearer the coffee shop, though just outside, armed with my reliable dslr. I took these shots from afar, capturing just glimpses of him.

Kibitzers abound.

And, oh so lucky me! His SAVANNA Explorer parked beside my car. ;)

Leading lady Regine walking to nearby Sega Cofi with Direk Joyce.

The shooting went well & most of the film crew members were friendly, even accommodating people, my sister & I in particular, to get head shots of Aga. They went as far as allowing us to get inside the coffee shop.

Can't thank my lucky stars enough for this chance to get almost up-close & personal with Aga Muhlach. ;)


[SNACK shots]

Blogging has somehow made a ninja out of me. Especially when dining out, those all-important food & restaurant shots are taken on the sly. There would be the usual stares and quizzical looks from strangers and even quips from my hubby, but my blogger-daughter & I have gotten used to them and we just click away now, unmindful of the reactions.

Here are some of the PIC MONKEY'd "snackshots" we took while having those light meals in food joints around the metro.

ramen & tempura
@ SAKURA Glorietta Mall
pasta & rice meals
@ GHENNE's Libis
cakes with tea & coffee
@ BO's Coffee Megamall
pasta & chicken porridge with pork & tofu
@ CAFE ADRIATICO  Gateway Mall
pasta, sandwich & cheesecake
@  CHEESECAKE Cafe Glorietta Mall
pasta, sandwich & iced tea
ramen & green tea
@ JIPAN Glorietta Mall
croissant, cookie & coffee
@ OWLISMS Market!Market! Mall

 It sure is a breeze to blog using these digicams, tablets & on-line photo-editing tools... ;)


[oh no, OREO!]

I am still under meds for my tummy pain. While I am at it, my doctor specified the "no-no" foods for me. Chocolates are on that list. So buying this OREO-topped cheesecake at Seattle's Best was too much to handle. 

Who can resist this, anyway?


During our Baguio trip last December, we went to this row of retail stores inside CJH. I saw this  pair of ballet flats. Took a fancy buying it but held off at the last minute. We went home and forgot all about it.

The next day, we found ourselves going back to CJH. I did not know that my hubby knew I wanted to buy the shoes. So, when we were in that store again, he blurted out, "You go buy those Storybird shoes that you want." Puzzled at what he said, I asked my girls about it. They both smiled and then told me, "Mommy, Daddy meant the Tory Burch shoes!"  That remark from their dad kept the three of us in stitches... =D

So, here's what I got for myself - the Tory Burch pair aka the Storybird! ;)

[get marooned with ADAM LEVINE]

He is the sexy frontman of  Maroon 5 who sang  the upbeat "Moves like Jagger" ditty. Along with Cee Lo Green, Cristina Aguilera and Blake Shelton, he is a mentor of singing hopefuls in the reality talent show "The Voice".

On September 18,  Maroon 5 will be coming back to Manila for a concert with The Cab at the SMART Araneta Center.


But heard from the news (and checked on TICKETNET) that as early as June or July, the tickets to this show are sold-out. =(  I hope they will mount a repeat of this show for those who missed the chance to grab tickets.

Meanwhile, listen to a current favorite, Beautiful Goodbye.


[relentless rains]

The rains have been relentless the past week. Dark and gloomy skies were all we ever had, the sun's brilliance was hardly felt.

This is what it looked like around our place yesterday.

We are so lucky and blessed that we are high up in the mountains so flooding is not a concern. But my hubby and I saw the inundated streets when we went to WILCON depot yesterday. Sometimes, we really have to get out of our comfort zones and houses literally to see and empathize with those affected by all these. 

From the news, we learned that thousands of people were either trapped in their homes, 

were found and rescued by good samaritans, 

or are now temporarily sheltered in evacuation centers.

And because the weather is already erratic due to global warming/climate change, it is best to be prepared during calamities and equip ourselves with our own flood survival kits. Get these guidelines.

If you want to donate or lend a helping hand as a volunteer, go here.

Prayers also help. Let us offer them now.


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #60]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #59]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #58]


[PEP TALK FOR TODAY series: #57]


[a jazzy ZIA]

Heard this song on the radio while we were driving  home last night. The voice is NORAH JONES-ish. Clueless on who the singer was, I waited for the song to finish while singing along with it.

Later found out it was ZIA, the daughter of Zsa Zsa Padilla with the late Dolphy. I have seen her on the telly but never heard her sing until last night. 

I like her. She is so pretty (with brains to boot) yet with the simplicity that's so rare in young celebrities these days. Add to that a voice that's so different - more of the R&B, soul and jazz genres.

Her cover of SO MUCH IN LOVE is so nice...

Easy breezy listening on a laid-back Sunday. Enjoy! ;) 


[back to school roots]

Two years back, reunions with college and high school/grade school classmates were aplenty. I was busy either organizing or just coordinating with the people concerned. I love reunions but I know of some people who stay away from occasions like these. They say they feel insecure meeting up with former classmates because they feel their current state of economic or personal lives would be a big deal to the others. I don't think such things matter. Reunions are happy events. Reconnecting with former classmates makes you feel young again. It's lots of fun to reminisce the naughty antics you did back in school or hear the funny anecdotes about your former teachers or classmates. For me, the good memories with them outshine the bad ones. Going back to your roots somehow humbles you and also makes you remember how you became a part of their past and that hopefully will continue to be in their present lives, as well.  

Here are the pictures that tell a thousand stories...

NS grade school & high school classmates

UP ARKI classmates

[coffee with CRISTINA]

While waiting for a co-parent for an afternoon of small talk, I ordered a cup of capuccino at CAFE CRISTINA.

This coffee shop is a go-to place for our family. After hearing mass on a Sunday at a church nearby, we have dinner here. Our usual orders are the rice meals that come with a drink of your choice: coffee or iced tea. Only a little less than Php 200.00 per meal. 

We love eating here. The homey ambiance and the free WIFI are plus factors for this restaurant-bar.

Try out the place. They have three branches within Antipolo.

Cafe Cristina
         FBM Building
         ML Quezon Ave. (in front of Shopwise)
         Shell Station, Marcos Highway

         Hinulugang Taktak Road (inside Cristina Villas)

[i heart ANDYHEART]

She is my favorite poser on POSE. Likewise, she is my fashion peg - simple, clean lines, neutral hues, classic  apparel, nothing fancy. If I could just have my way with the savings I have, granting that hubby accedes also, I would love to buy the same clothes that she has in her closet. ANN KIM aka ANDY HEART has got the look that I want!