Friday, December 31, 2010

December 30: Gift --

This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

Maybe the best gift I got this year was from my youngest brother -- he gave me a Starbucks Planner.  He had to collect stamps in order to get it -- and he had to drink coffee in order to get the stamps.  And he doesn't really like coffee.

I love that he put effort into it (and he went beyond himself) to get me what I wanted.

I was also inspired by dear N's gifts (felt cookies for the kids and a small yellow felt fish clip for Anya) and C's gift (a bag made out of flour sacks and she gocco-ed a "logo" of her and her fiance) -- I love touching these objects and knowing that someone made them.

Lastly, dear F gave us 5 orchid plants -- so, so beautiful!  It really brings life to the house.  Our driver/gardener and I have already discussed how we will take care of these orchids and will propagate them in June so we will have more orchids come December.  I love that we have made future plans! ^_^

December 29: Defining Moment --

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

I would like like to believe that I'm leaving 2010 a better person -- I am definitely different Tin now compared to the Tin in January 2010 but, whether the change is for the good remains to be seen.

I've learned to think for myself but I've also learned to listen to others.  My mom is a wonderful source of practical ideas (too practical sometimes) and my youngest brother is great to talk to when I need a different (neutral) perspective.

I think one defining moment for me happened this November.  I decided to treat myself to a little bit of luxury -- it made me feel really good.  Then I realized that that little bit of luxury didn't fit into my currently drab (almost stagnating) life so I decided to improve my life -- I'm taking more care in dressing and spending time pampering myself (read: moisturizing morning and evening).  Then I started to improve my health and I now walk about 2+km every morning.

I'm trying to encourage my family to do the same.  I've declared 2011 as the 20 "i" "i" year -- so it's the year of "me" -- I think it's nice that we take care of others (in my case, my kids and our household) but it's even better that we take time and take care of ourselves as well. ^_^

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Lists! --

5 Favorite Movies of 2010
1. Despicable Me
2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
3. Toy Story 3
4. Sherlock Holmes
5. The Sorcerer's Apprentice

... I didn't watch a lot of movies this year.

5 Favorite TV Shows
1. Glee
2. Nigella's Kitchen
3. Big Bang Theory
4. Doctor Who ... technically, we don't watch this on TV
5. Staging Invasion on Discovery TLC

5 Favorite Magazines
1. Yummy
2. Sunset
3. Real Simple
4. Style: Singapore <-- started when C gave me her copy 5. Romantic Times

5 Best Purchases for 2010
1. The iPad for my parents
2. The iPhone 4 for Johann
3. The Apple Composite Cable for the iPod 2G
4. My new wallet (which is coming in January)
5. Our World Traveler Luggage Set (really beautiful green in 3 sizes -- we can "nest" them so storage is so, so easy!)

5 Favorite Places in Iloilo
1. Eon Centennial (for their Mongolian Buffet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
2. Smallville (though we don't go there often -- I like the idea of having dinner in one place and then walking/"promenading" to another place for dessert)
3. Booksale
4. Tinapayan at Atrium
5. Days Hotel (for their Meshi Japanese Buffet every Wednesday)

5 Things That Made Me Go "Wow"
1. My friend Dexter's Moist Chocolate Cake <-- very moist, very chocolate-y 2. Book Depository!!!
3. My brother running (and finishing) the Tokyo Marathon
4. Mooon Steak at Mooon Cafe
5. Yangnyeoum Chicken at Shin Ramyon

... also the iPhone 4 <-- not really a discovery -- more of a revelation ... also the performance/yield of Philam Asset Management's Philam Fund <-- this also made my mom go "Wow"

5 Discoveries for 2010
1. Book Depository!!!
2. Doctor Who
3. Amelia Grey <-- her Rogue's Dynasty series is very, very good!
4. Yangnyeoum Chicken at Shin Ramyon
5. Crave Burgers!!!

... More lists tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28: Achieve --

What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

(Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

(My brother will frown when he reads this) I have a list of things that I want to buy for myself next year. They are all material things and I am very happy that I have made such a list -- it's motivating me to manage my family's money wisely and prudently, hoping that I can find a bit extra in the end to buy my beloved extavagances. It's also allowed me to prioritize my expenses -- I will not be traveling much this coming year -- maybe one big trip (or maybe not) and a few small trips ... because I want to use my travel money for said items. ^_^

I imagine feeling a sense of accomplishment that I've gotten what I've set out to get. I also imagine feeling restless, wondering what to do/get next. ^_^

December 27: Ordinary Joy --

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

It has to be my children's birthdays this year. My daughter turned 1 last March and we had a small celebration at one of our favorite restaurants here in Iloilo (Al Dente). Friends from Manila flew in for the celebration --

We had a guest list of about 50 people and it was so much fun! We were able to talk to everybody and enjoy the food.

My son turned 4 last June and he asked to have his birthday at the same restaurant (Al Dente!) -- on our way to his birthday lunch, we stopped by Toy Kingdom and asked him to choose which toy he wanted. (He chose a Thomas train set.)

Up to now, whenever we pass by the restaurant, he excitedly points to it and says he had a fun birthday there. (He wants his 5th birthday there as well.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26: Soul Food --

What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

One of my favorite meals would have to be the binyag lunch for M's son -- it wasn't so much the food (but the food was amazing!) but the spirit of the day. Their whole family was there and you could feel the warmth of their relationship.

(It goes to show that you don't have to do everything over the top to make an event meaningful.)

My food discovery for the year would have to be yangnyeoum chicken. It is delicious and memorable. It's hot enough to make your lips tingle but not too hot that it makes you cry. The texture is a mix of crunch and gooeyness (from the chili sauce) --

December 25: Photo --

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
(Author: Tracey Clark)

I haven't really had a lot of pictures of myself taken this year -- I'm a little self-conscious about how I look.

There are two pictures I'd like to share:


My husband took this picture while we were waiting to get our hair cut. I like this picture because:

a. I'm reading.
b. I'm wearing one of my favorite skirts.
c. I look like I'm really engrossed in the book.

With 2 kids and a household to manage, I have very few moments where I can be this quiet and engaged in reading. I love finding these pockets of time for myself. ^_^


This second picture was taken just a few moments ago. I finally got my hair cut short and I love it. (I've been wearing my hair long for the past few months and I was getting tired of the weight and upkeep) --

I had it done on a whim -- on my way home from picking up the food and cake for our Christmas Eve dinner.

The curls from my last perm are still there and I love how unpredictable they are -- my hair actually looks like a flyaway mess but I love how lively it looks. ^_^

December 24: Everything's Ok --

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

When my daughter got sick middle of this year, I thought the world was going to end. She had just turned 1 a few months before she got Kawasaki and I remember thinking she was too small, too young to handle such a terrible illness.

But she retained her spirit (and her spunk -- the nurses were so afraid to disturb her during the regular vital signs taking because she was so snappish) the whole time.

I realized then that, no matter how daunting or unknown the situation is, there is always a way out. It may not be easy or pleasant or inexpensive but there is always a way out.

The day after they administered the IVIG, my daughter was back -- and the first thing she wanted to do was to practice her walking (she had just started walking at around 11 months) --

I learned then that I should borrow some of my children's resilience --

The coming year is an exciting one: my daughter will be attending a toddler playgroup. My son will be in kindergarten this coming June. And the rest of the year is fuzzy still because I have not made plans (and it hasn't happened yet) -- but I think I can manage whatever comes my way.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 23: New Name --

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I would still like to keep my name -- I think it's the one that fits me well. I would like to shed some old nicknames, though. (Am embarrassed to reveal them here)

December 22: Travel --

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

I went to Singapore with my sister and Seth in January. It was my son's first time abroad and he absolutely enjoyed the experience. (My parents don't think it's practical to bring them this young because they don't remember the experience -- but Seth does!)

After that, it was several short trips to Cebu (my favorite destination) and some trips to Manila.

I've discovered that I find it difficult to go to Manila with the 2 kids in tow (plus 2 yayas) -- we don't have a car in Manila and it's difficult to get a taxi and travel around with them.

For the coming year, I would like to see Korea and maybe re-visit Hong Kong. I'm thinking of where to bring Seth again (and maybe Anya if we travel later in the year) -- but the only country that I think is suitable is Singapore.

December 21: Future Self --

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

I would give myself the same advice I give myself every year -- allow yourself to be happy. Allow yourself to feel that you deserve the things that you have.

Five years from now, my kids will be older -- I think I would advice myself to be more patient and understanding of the changes that they will be going through (especially my son, who will be an almost-tween by then. Yikes!)

Dear 22-year old Tin,

You don't have a boyfriend yet -- and you won't be getting one until you turn 26.

There's plenty of time to be a "we" -- and, it will happen, trust me. Right now, I would like for you to focus on "me" --

Be patient and love yourself. Say yes to everything, especially when your friend C offers to paint you naked. That's probably the last you'll see yourself in that weight. (Don't worry, though -- your future body is fine. Capable of handling the children and the life that you have.)

Lastly, when you go off abroad this coming summer, don't just drink ginger ale at the pub. Try something new and adventurous.


Your 32-year old self

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 20: Beyond Avoidance --

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I should have started losing all this pregnancy weight right after Anya was born. I am glad that I still fit into my current clothes but I am not happy about my flabby stomach that has lost all muscle.

Right now, I walk every morning and I'm being patient with myself. I know it isn't enough and I am thinking of doing something more (maybe yoga?) and I know it will take me time to lose all this extra weight. It took my 5 years to gain all of this. I am giving myself half that time to try to lost it all.

I hope to be in better shape next year. ^_^

December 19: Healing --

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

I don't think I've healed -- I am healing right now.

I would like to find some peace and consistency for 2011. I would like have a serene mind and a quiet heart -- one that isn't angry or annoyed all the time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bacon of the Month Club and then some other food-related thoughts --

I did not know that such a thing existed --

I thought bacon only came in one variety = delicious.

But it was featured in The Family Kitchen --

And, apparently, there's more than 1 club operating. Google clickety click!

* * *

Why I love Robinson's Supermarket --

I found the following cool food items there:

Maya Whole Wheat Pancake Mix (they use Muscovado! Yum!)

A different Coleslaw dressing! Very excited to make coleslaw! Yay! (And Double Cheddar Pasta sauce!)

* * *

Cake Pops! --

So, so cute!

And they are relatively easy to make!


Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Ball Recipe.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 18: Try --

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

My husband and I wanted to try the Mongolian Buffet at Eon Centennial -- and we sat on that for 2/3 of the year. We finally found the motivation to move our fat asses over there and gave it a try. And we loved it. It's one of my favorite buffets here in Iloilo.

I want to try to be a more open and available person next year. I want to try to reach out to people and form relationships. (Whitman's A Noiseless Patient Spider!!!)

I want to try to save up some money and buy myself a nice, extravagant treat in 2011. ^_^

December 17: Lesson Learned --

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

My favorite has to be from Gary Trudeau's interview with Reader's Digest (US Version) November 2010 issue. I forget how he said it, but the gist is: "It's Not About You."

I have had a lot of instances where I become indignant over something I perceive as a slight against me -- and then I remember that it is not about me. And it reminds me to park my ego and re-view the situation. Almost always, I realize that I am being selfish and I find a way to rememdy it.

I know the world does not revolve around me and I am not entitled to anything that I did not work for.

So, I will go out there and work for it. ^_^

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December 16: Friendship --

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

I have few friends in my life, but I am fortunate that they are all good friends.

Dear F, is my brother's friend but I "inherited" her and her husband because we are all based here in Iloilo. She's an amazing mom to her 3 kids and has such a wonderful, positive outlook --

In the years of our friendship, she has taught me to "react with love" to the most difficult things and people.

She is not afraid to embrace life and to enjoy it fully. Our last outing before she gave birth to her 3rd child, we went to Dulgie's and ordered 4 different desserts. I could not do this with any other person. (Maybe, G -- but she is in Singapore.) We ate, we talked -- I always come away from our meetings with lots of insight and strength.

And she is younger than me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

World Book Night: March 5, 2011 --

It would be lovely if they could do this worldwide.

World Book Night

December 15: 5 minutes --

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
(Author: Patti Digh)

1. My daughter's first birthday and baptism. Friends from Manila in Iloilo for the celebration. C watching TV and knitting during naptime. 1kg of bacon.

2. Text conversations with F about romance novels. Silly one line reviews of the books we've read.

3. Seth's first trip outside of the country. Singapore before Chinese New Year. Carlton Hotel breakfast buffet. Seth's own MRT card.

4. Mactan Shangri-la last October. The breakfast buffet. Discovering that I hate how sand feels. Discovering that I love being in the water surrounded by hungry fish. Spice Fusion with my cousin. Consuming 2 plates of naan.

5. Last Monday, December 13. Coffee at Bluejay's with a friend. 3 hour conversation. "We should do this more often."

6. Meeting B at Seattle's Best. 2 hour conversation. Grabbing the free coffee grounds at Starbucks afterwards.

7. My husband saying he will buy me a new wallet because my current wallet is so grotty. (I didn't even realize this -- made me realize that my husband is thoughtful and insightful in a way that complements me.)

8. Playdate with F and her kids. 4 kids + 3 yayas + a house with no breakables and lots of wide open spaces = total madness.

... 5 minutes over ...

Happiness is a bag of books --


This is beside my bed. I used to stack books on my bedside table but my backlog was getting taller and taller that I had to find a different way to store it.

I won the bag in Jennifer Haymore's contest last Christmas.


What's in the bag right now are:
- Books 2 and 3 of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy
- Tiffany Clare's debut novel
- Judith James' Libertine's Kiss
- some older titles that I've never read

Not in the bag are Books 2 and 3 of The Mysterious Benedict Society. ^_^ (See, I read non-romance also. ^_^)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14: Appreciate --

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

My family. I have a great support system around me --

I have a husband who understands my moods. (And who is able to see things that I have overlooked so all our bases are covered.)

I have kids who are so open about their love (and their complaints) --

I have a sister who listens to me.

I have parents who call every morning (sometimes too early, though) to check up on us.

I have brothers who don't blink even when I ask them to get me a bra at M&S.

Even my extended family is awesome.

My kids' ninongs and ninangs are amazing people who (I know) will inspire my kids to do the amazing things that they do.

The few friends I have here in Iloilo are so, so much fun and insightful.

I have not been able to show my appreciation to all these people. (I hope they know how much I appreciate them.)

December 13: Action --

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

I'm a list-maker -- and I try to do everything on my list. The list stays with me until I finish everything on it.

I have quite grand plans for next year -- and I've listed them all down already. I'm actually not waiting until the new year to start on my resolutions. I've started on them already.

I just hope I don't lose steam before I accomplish my plans for the year. ^_^

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best Romance of 2010 (According to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) --

Article Found Here.

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (Avon, 2010)
Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy (Berkley, 2010)
The Summer of You by Kate Noble (Berkley, 2010)
Something About You by Julie James (Berkley, 2010)
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (St Martin’s, 2010)
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey (Carina Press, 2010)
Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Berkley, 2010)
Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (Harlequin, 2010)
His at Night by Sherry Thomas (Bantam, 2010)
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (EgmontUSA, 2010)
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (Harlequin, 2010)
Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh (Berkley, 2010)
Scoundrel by Zoe Archer (Zebra/Kensington, 2010)
All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins (HQN, 2010)
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Berkley, 2010)
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews (Ace, 2010)
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne (Berkley, 2010)
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Avon, 2010)

Naked Edge by Pamela Clare (Berkley, 2010)
Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton (Dreamspinner, 2010)
Seven Nights to Forever by Evangeline Collins (Berkley, 2010)

I've only read 3 books in the list. (I'm at a disadvantage because I only read historical romances.) I'm glad Sherry Thomas made the list -- I love all of her books!

Now I'm thinking of my choices for Best Romance of 2010. I'll probably write about it next week.

Here's Kirkus' list of the Best Children's and Teens Books for 2010.

December 12: Body Integration --

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
(Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I know what this feels like -- to have everything in place and everything just runs smoothly. It's exhilirating to feel that alive But I can't remember a moment when I felt like this this year. I am sure I have -- but I can't pull up a memory right now.

When I sit down with my kids to read or play, I feel a synergy between my mind and my heart -- it's wonderful to be in tune with the joy and wonder that's around you.

When I am out for my morning walk, there is an integration of mind and body. I walk, I plan the day, I walk.

But all at the same time? Hmmm...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11: 11 Things --

(Yay! I've caught up!)

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
(Author: Sam Davidson)

1. About 30 pounds of weight. I can't use "post pregnancy" as an excuse anymore because Anya is almost 2.

2. Sugar. Not the white stuff because we don't really use sugar for anything. But the sugar content in the stuff me and my family eat. We're actually very vigilant and don't usually buy anything with more than 7g of sugar ... but the temptation of chocolates ... and Krispy Kreme ... and juice in tetra packs.

3. Negativity. I want next year to be about "yes" and "can do" --

4. Anger. I used to be very patient and very zen. Then I became intolerant and angry all the time. I want to find a good balance in my temperament. (And I will try to stop swearing so much.)

5. Silence. I don't listen to music that much -- and neither do the kids (which is why Seth is unfamiliar with Nursery Rhymes and stuff) -- I will try to change this for next year. I went my kids to be the loudest singers of Nursery Rhymes in their school.

6. Small, useless things -- I accummulate lots of these small things for 50 pesos and 100 pesos. They bring instant gratification and nothing more. When I look at all these small objects that are cluttering up drawers and shelves, I realize I could have pooled all that money and gotten myself something of greater value and use.

7. Frumpy clothes -- I have become a lazy dresser and I don't think too much about what I wear when I go out. I haven't bought anything for myself since January. (It's part of forgetting about myself: the weight, the dry skin, etc, etc) -- but I'm trying to take better care of myself and I've allocated time for myself every day. I have declared next year as "me" year. ^_~

8. Flat shoes -- I have 2 pairs of Crocs flats -- a pair of Cotton Pink Prima, which I've had for a very long time and a pair of Cotton Pink Malindi, which I bought last year. I think it's time I wore heels. (I am planning to buy one last pair of flats ... a pair of Crocs Lady. In Cotton Pink!)

9. (Too much) TV, Internet, iPod time -- the amount of time I spend on these things horrifies even me. I could have accomplished so much more if I could give up even 20% of the time I spend on these things.

10. My (over)dependence on my credit card -- Part of my new financial plan is to limit my use of my credit card. I've taken it for granted and have become careless with the decisions I make regarding my purchases. Hopefully, I'll be more prudent in what I spend my money on this coming year.

11. Ego -- sometimes I think I have all the answers and I refuse to admit that there is a better way of seeing/doing something. Thank goodness I have a husband, a sister and a mother who can shake some sense into me and there's God who reminds me weekly of the value of humility.

December 10: Wisdom --

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I'm not sure if this is the wisest decision I've made but I know it's one of the best decisions I've made --

We put in some of our savings in a mutual fund and we are enjoying the yield of this decision this Christmas.

I really liked what our financial advisor at Philam said: "You worked hard for that money. Now let your money work hard for you." ^_^

I'm trying to be more careful with my family's finances -- having 2 small kids takes out a large chunk of our expenses every month and our savings suffer a bit. (Plus, we had Anya's illness early this year.)

I sat down and thought about this and I've discovered that I had been making a LOT of unnecessary spending so I've written down a better savings plan and I've been on it for the past 3 weeks now. So far, so good. ^_^

December 9: Party --

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
(Author: Shauna Reid)

I really enjoyed my friend M's baptism party for their son, Matthew. It was a mostly family affair and they invited some friends. They have a great family dynamic and it was so wonderful to see that.

That same evening, they celebrated his parents' birthdays -- his parents love to travel and that was the theme of the evening. They gave away luggage tags to all their guests.

They also showed pictures from all the trips they took. It was so, so cute seeing them pose in those cardboard cutouts where you stick your head in and then take a picture. It was fun to see Tito M and Tita L have a good time.

They own the restaurant/hotel where both parties were held and the food was amazing! They prepared stuff that were "off the menu" and it was such a wonderful treat! They cook a really, really amazing Fookien Fried Rice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 8: Beautifully Different --

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
(Author: Karen Walrond)

My thoughts and ideas have always been a little different from everyone else's -- and that used to worry me so much (thinking why I'm the only one who see's it that way) -- but I'm not so worried anymore -- because I have been told by my family and the few friends I have that they appreciate my unique point of view.

I've never seen myself as beautiful and have never been told that I was beautiful (except by my husband who is legally and spiritually obligated to believe it) -- so it comes as a bit of a surprise when people exclaim how pretty Anya is and how she looks like me.

I have never aspired to be beautiful or to be adored by many -- I have always strived to be comfortable in my skin -- lately, I haven't been feeling this. I've let myself go and I'm heavier ... and I feel it. And I don't like it. (Which is why I'm walking -- I haven't actually lost any weight -- but I feel better about myself.)

As for lighting people up -- I'm afraid I don't. I have always had a somber and serious disposition. (There was this home video of me and my cousins when I was 10 -- my cousins and my brothers were all laughing it up and I was standing to one side of the garden, quietly looking on.)

I have a cousin who does this -- light up the room when she's there -- and it's wonderful to be around her. (I visit her in Cebu just for this. ^_^)

I do wish I were the same way ... but I'm not. I don't mind it, though -- at least I have someone in my life who provides me with sunshine. ^_^

December 7: Community --

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)

Online, I have always appreciated and enjoyed Newlyweds@Work -- I'm a little chagrined because my participation in the group is very sporadic -- but I read the list religiously and I reflect on the experiences of my fellow N@wies.

I've also enjoyed reading the interaction of my husband and his friends on Facebook. I don't have my own Facebook page (because I'm not a big fan of micro-blogging and I am already on 2 online venues: Blogger and Multiply and, etc.) -- it's amazing how that place has helped people to reconnect and to have an opportunity for small daily chats and such.

For 2011, I would like to participate more actively in my life here in Iloilo -- I'm still hovering on the fringes of (what was once) my community and am still struggling to find a way to get my big foot in the door -- but I am being patient and am biding my time.

December 6: Make --

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I made my daughter's birthday invitations this year -- piece by piece. I didn't have all the necessary tools, but I made do.

I'm also trying to make a connection with some people here in Iloilo. It's depressing to be this isolated and alone -- so I'm trying to put myself out there and to renew ties again. ^_^

I'm most proud of all the cooking experiments our cook and I have been making -- some successful and some, not so.

December 5: Let Go --

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
(Author: Alice Bradley)

I let go of my fears this year. (I'm still trying to let go of them as we speak. ^_^)

It's so exhausting to be worried and afraid all of the time. I realized that I was 32 years old and I didn't want to be afraid anymore.

And I don't want to pass this fear on to my kids. (Seth sometimes gets anxious about things -- and I think he gets that from me.)

I would like to be more bold and "out there" -- but also careful. ^_^

December 4: Wonder --

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

This happens all the time when I am with my children.

It's wonderful to be able to see the world from their point of view. It's wonderful to be able to feel excitement about the world all over again.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We interrupt the reflection with a letter to JackTV --

Dear JackTV,

Please get this show?

The Sing Off

Thank you!

Merry Christmas! ^_^

December 3: Moment --

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

It would have the day I woke up at 6am, put on the Nike Air Alaris (which my sister bought for me for my birthday last year and which I last wore in September 2009 when I went to Japan) and went out for a walk around our subdivision.

This was November 19, 2010. (The moment when I decided I would take care of myself better.)

That early in the morning, nothing's moving -- it's quiet and still -- it's still a bit dark and gray but you can also see a hint of pink and yellow flitting through the clouds.

I love that time of the morning -- it gives me a chance to collect myself for the day and to prepare myself for the lively activity in my house with my 2 kids.

Now I walk every morning -- at 6am. I have a lovely route, which our driver estimates to be around 2km. It takes me 30 minutes to complete the route and it's my most favorite time of the day. (In 2nd place would be when the kids are doing something productive and artistic.)

December 2: Writing --

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Reading! I'm glad to have finally gotten some headway into my reading backlog --

I don't think I would want to do away with reading because, when I finally have time to write, what I've read affects what I write in a wonderful way.

December 1: One Word --

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010 was my year of discovery. I discovered new (romance) authors to read. I discovered new recipes to try out. I discovered new colors to love (gray and yellow).

I also discovered what a mess I've made of my life and how careless I've become with things that should matter -- and I'm glad that I still have time to take control and make the necessary changes.

I would like 2011 to be my year of fulfillment -- the year where I would complete my MA and the year that will see the fruition of all the changes I've made in my life in 2010.

December Project! --

Am a week behind -- but I hope I can finish this. ^_^

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Last words (A mother dies) RIP Elizabeth Edwards --

I read the news that Elizabeth Edwards has died.

I recently read her Thanksgiving post (posted on her Facebook page) and I was inspired by her eloquence and her grace.

“You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.

The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.

It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

With love, Elizabeth.”

(copied from here)

She was an incredibly strong woman -- who faced scrutiny for her husband's infidelity in the midst of her own discovery that she had cancer. I think she handled the last few (difficult) years of her life with grace and dignity.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Wish/Want List! --

I love making my yearly Christmas Wish List.

It makes me focus and prioritize my "wants" for the coming year.

I think my yearly list also reflects what my interests are at the time I am writing said list.

Can you guess what the theme is this year? ^_^

1. I would love to get a necklace from Bear and the Honeybee. (Especially the Sweet Blue Daisy or the Sunshine Daisy)

2. A sewing machine from Manila Sewing. She had a Janome Elves a month ago and I missed out on it. I've been tempted by the QT by Merritt machine -- but there's a part of me that's holding out for a Janome.

This is a strange want for me because I don't sew and I don't know how to sew. Hahahahaha!

3. A smaller point-and-shoot. My Powershot A640 still works very well and I'm generally happy with the pictures I take using it. But I'd love a smaller, lighter point-and-shoot. I've been looking at the Canon Ixus 120 and 130.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can justify buying a new camera.

4. I want this bag from Kate Spade.

I don't really buy designer bags but, when I saw this one, I wanted to have it. There's a clutch version but it's way, way beyond my means.

5. More rubber stamps. And a stamp pad. And more blank paper to stamp on.

6. A food processor. It is mystifying how Nigella uses it for EVERYTHING. I want one also! (For the future, when I decide I want to make a crumb base for cheesecakes.)

7. A new Macbook (Pro? Air?). My current Macbook White has cracks and chips and whatnot. It's been stepped on and dropped by both kids. It's still alive. But I want a new one. ^_^

8. A subscription to Romantic Times. It's a great guide to new authors and to new releases.

I really should just get myself a subcription.

9. A tin of Old Bay seasoning. I've seen on many cooking shows that this is an essential ingredient in making anything seafood-related. (Crab Cakes, Seafood mix for sandwiches, etc)

10 A trip somewhere. (I want to travel with my friends F and her hubby and maybe have our kids tag along. Although that would be hellish. I would also love to travel with C.)

11. Books by Ina Garten. (The Barefoot Contessa.) She's my second favorite cooking show personality after Nigella.

12. A mini saddle bag from Cath Kidston. I was all set to have Johann buy me one in Singapore but the store that sells Cath Kidston is in Tanglin Mall and it was a bit out of the way for him.

13. A cute necklace from Gingersnaps. I don't think it's meant for someone like me -- but I've seen the designs and they are so, so cute! (I've seen the Alice in Wonderland-themed one. Very nice!)

Super fun website for Glee fans! --

What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?