Thursday, December 22, 2011

Giving and Receiving

So, what did you get this Christmas? Well, for the most part, I would like to say I gave a whole lot of quirky gifts.

For my closest friends, I love shopping unique gifts for them. I would "tune in" to things they particularly like... or need.

for one friend, who was going on a Europe trip, I bought two travel guide books. One for each city she was going to- London and Paris.

Others, I just went with unique gifts.. I gave my blog partner this... its a long pillow shaped like a PRINGLES can. It says... TO FIND A PRINCE, YOU'VE GOT TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS.... mwahahahahaha (see bottom part)

I gave my friend who has a teenage daughter this... (and some banana cupcakes- her favorite)-- it's says... I'M A PRINCESS-- SO DO WHAT I SAY!!!  --- in the bottom, -- DO IT NOW!!!
-- it's so funny and cute.

I also bought other designs, like this one shaped like a soda can. The original is called ROYAL TRU ORANGE... (ORANGE FLAVORED SODA).. they played around with the words.

I also have this LAYS look alike pillow---the kids loved this one... I never got a chance to give it. It got kidnapped.... (way too lazy... to get out of bed)

I also gave a lot of notepads... one is shaped like a camera, one is a NOTELLA.... and the other is a BLAHBERRY..... (most of those who got these were bank employees I usually do business with)

What I got---
my blog partner gave me a cute apron and some salt and pepper shakers. (I am starting a collection)

I also got some books from two friends. One is an inspirational book, and the other a travel book.-- I love checking off all the places I have been to.-- see all the markers... (the other places just give me ideas on where to go to next!)
I also got a mini bunt pan from my friend... love it too... just got so cooked out this season. not sure when I'll be able to use it.. It also came with an apron. (very useful)

These are my amazon wishlist... and some of the items I am eyeing (wishing for) are:
ink, nibs, sealer....
this whole calligraphy set... although, I still have to learn to write calligraphy.... or if not the whole set, maybe just a pen....

this murano glass pen is so exquisite. I have illusions of being in the 1800s and writing letters.... hahahaha. (Jane Austen)

ok... I would be happy with this... it matches perfectly with my froggy stapler and froggy tape dispenser

froggy timer
Well, maybe next year!!!! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Artsy Craftsy

Christmas is just the time to bring out the "Martha Stewart" in me. If you want to know, I have been baking my ass off. -- at least the kiddies are loving what I bake!

I used to be afraid to try my hand at sugar cookies but what the heck. It's Christmas and what better time to try it? I bought some awesome cookie cutters. One was gingerbread man and the other was a snowflake.

Honestly, when I start something, I get so obsessed with it. I started baking with small cuto outs, then I bought some more food color to tint the royal icing...

and now, I want to make more complicated designs for the sugar cookies!!!

Everyone is winding down for the holidays. Business is slow at the office....most of the time, we spend giving company gifts and receiving gifts.

One day, I was looking for some templates for envelopes. I can across this website by CANON. click HERE for the link

I downloaded a bunch of envelopes with Christmas designs. They have others too for spring, autumn etc etc...
don't you think a personalized gift (even a cheap one) is better than a gift that was not well thought of? i really appreciate gifts that the giver has taken the time to think about. Not just pulled out of some store (generic) to give to a person.

personally made and homemade is so rare these days.

I put a envelope insert on this one.

don't you just love the wrap around design of the envelope?

Christmas town version... can you see santa?
They also have templates for calendars and pop up cards. Its the pop up cards that really got me.... Its a very complicated set of cut outs that you have to assemble. If you download it, it is approximately 10 pages of letter sized paper. It had a detailed (dowloadable) instructions too..... wow.--- you would really LIKE the person to attempt to make this card.!

I think I'll stick with the envelopes for now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Conquering THE ROCK

Joining the 2nd corregidor international half marathon was exciting to say the least. For those who know corregidor, it is one of the last strongholds of the US and Philippines forces during WWII.

Most of us learned about it during history class in high school. I actually love the sense of history this run gave me. For more info click HERE. I ran a 10k. I had no expectations of running fast whatsoever. I have heard that they have the steepest hills you can run. (it was actually like climbing up a mountain)

We woke up about 3am Dec 10. We had to catch a ferry going to the island at 5:30 am. The trip took about 1 1/2 hours. (it gave me an opportunity to take a nap on the boat). I surveyed most of the runners there and noticed they were very experienced runners by the way they were preparing for disembarkation.
Some had full on compression suits and were putting on several globs of sunscreen. By the way they looked (very lean and fit) and the gear they had on (very "runner"), you can tell they were serious.

It was humbling.

I was glad I was running only a 10k.

The 21k runners were the first up. All in all, I think the total runners for both events were about 387.

The 10k runners were so few, I had a chance to run in FRONT.  (I think most of the people were afraid to position in front.. maybe pressure to run faster?).. I checked later on and discovered we were 98 runners in total.

The start of the race went with a loud honking of the bull horn. I ran a faster pace at first because I knew I had to slow down when I got to the "killer" hills. I needed to gain more ground. About 100- 200 meters from the starting point, we were going to do a turn. This turn was going up an 45 degree uphill incline.

pretty hard to take a picture of yourself while going uphill!
This incline went for about another 1.5km!!! I tried running, well, for the most part, jogging.. but I was afraid I wouldn't last the rest of the 8km that I still had to go. --- at least most of the 10k runners did not attempt to run uphill too. I was not alone!!!

I took several shots of the ruins and the scenery while jogging.
used some artsy effects...

loved this part of the run. very relaxing!
I took opportunities when the roads got more even to run a bit. One thing about his run is you get to see a lot of sights. Like ruins (see above) from world war 2. At some point during my 3rd kilometer, I got into a conversation with a fellow runner. Her husband is a serious runner and left her (he was going for a fast time... I eventually found out that he was the first place finisher in the 10k at 49!)

So, Michelle (that's her name) was grumbling how it was so hard to take pictures when you are alone. Echoing her sentiment, I offered to take her picture if she would take mine. So I had a running/picture taking buddy from 3km onwards.

It was quite fun after that because we took turns taking each other pictures and babbling about our running experiences. (we both were recreational runners). I found the time and the kilometers went by quickly. We also found ourselves in some "jungle-like" conditions in one part of the race. Thankfully, no rain for that day or we would have been crawling over mud. (the day before saw a heavy downpour and flooding that I was worried we were going to swim our way to the island)

The sightseeing runners just had to take a picture with the antique gunnery

I think doing this run is the best ending to the year. I really enjoyed this most of all the runs I have attempted. WHY?

1. the route was challenging and yet enjoyable at the same time. You get to see history and nature and get fit too.

2. the limited number of runners made it extra special. As I was running towards the last 200m, I was cheered on by the volunteers and was actually all alone on the route. It made me feel like I was the FIRST one coming to the finish line. The announcers was calling out my bib # as I was running towards the finish and they even had a ribbon for me to cross! wow. unbelievable feeling!!! Made me feel like a winner all the waaayyy!~~~ (unlike other runs where participant number by the thousands, you get lost in the crowd coming in)

3. They handed me a rose and a medal.

We had a nice lunch (which was included in the race fee)-- my husband and friend said they could not taste the food from being so exhausted -- they ran 21k and were cramping so bad during the last half of the race. (most were hills). I was thankful I had a more enjoyable run and had time to even take pictures..! (but honestly, I could really feel the downhill on my knees)

We also took the tour after since our boat ferry back was at 5:30. The tour guide was a elderly white haired gentleman who amazed me with his encyclopedic knowledge of history. He even recited the farewell letter of the admiral who surrendered the island to the Japanese. It was like a Filipino David Attenborough and I was watching the history channel without the guy having a script. To think he looked about 70! WOWZER. If you are interested in doing the tour, click HERE

The pictures from the event are not yet available. I am excited to see the picture they took as I was crossing the finish line. (imagine me... arms up leaping over the ribbon... hehehe) will update this blog when it comes out.

Even with all the picture taking, I managed to finish 48th place out of 98 runners. Not bad eh? 1:34 mins. upper 50th percentile is not bad for one who has no training and was taking pictures.

Monday, December 5, 2011

From one blog to another

Been reading up on what other people have been up to.

On one of the post by my adventurer friend Lilianne posted, she indicated her friend, a photographer, got a postcard from her. Of course I had to see it (my post card got lost in the mail and has not yet arrived.

The blog is Josephine Icad Photography Just taking a look at her pictures makes me wanna drool.

I think she photographs a lot of couples for their wedding. The pictures are quite artsy and romantic. LOVE THEM!

Makes me wish I was going to get married... just so she can take my pictures. hehehe

Everyone she takes pictures of look so good and you can feel the romance!!!

I am permanently putting her on my favorite blog list! You never know when you'll need a really good photographer!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Little doggie Christmas

Christmas is extra extra special this year. This will be our first Christmas in our new house. (woohooo!!!)

This is one of the biggest things we have done. (in our lives)-- building this house.  Just the concept of designing, decorating and filling a house with everything that is "you" is such an accomplishment. Aside from this, our beloved chowchow has also given birth to 4 puppies. The mother is black and the father is brown. They have extactly 2 sets of each (one female black, one male black, one female brown, one male brown)-- how lucky can you get?

1 week old puppies

Our pet geese (yes, we have pet geese) have also layed 8 eggs. As of now, none have hatched yet but we expect them to come before Christmas. So the house will be full of chicks, puppies and screaming kids. (wahahahaha)

I have also begun to bake bake bake. The oven actually has gone into overtime. All those christmas goodies my daughter has assigned me to make for her friends. (whew!!!)

I have started a bit of Christmas shopping too. I am pretty excited to give my friends the cool things I have bought. (I'll probably tell you about it after Christmas, they might read this blog and it will ruin the surprise)

Anyhow.... decorating has gone into new levels. I have upped the budget of what I might have spent on decorating the house by a wee bit. (hehehehe)....

The supplier of the decors is the close friend of my husband and he willingly gave us a 50% discount on everything. (plus free use of the services of his decorator)

Whadda ya think?

12 foot (fake) tree

It took them a whole day to put the tree up and put all the balls, ribbons and swags. I feel like my house is from a hotel lobby.

It is literally picture perfect. (click click click)

Now, if only we could have some snow....


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