My First Time

As a kid I remember not liking carrot cakes but as the years passed I’ve tried various carrot cakes and cupcakes until one day, I came across a carrot cake recipe online. I found myself buying the ingredients and there I was in my Mom’s kitchen hand mixing the cake mix and later on trying my best to keep my three-year old daughter Mischa away from the cream cheese frosting(also hand mixed!).

Forty minutes later, I took out the loaf pans from the 18-liter electric oven I got as a wedding gift to cool the carrot cake. Thinking enough cooling time had passed, I tried transferring one of the baked loaves to a plate so I can start frosting it. It turned out part of cake’s bottom stuck to the pan(so much for non stick bakeware!). My best friend Rona who’s also into baking advised to use wax paper to line the baking pans next time. I ended up frosting half of the loaf, which my hubby Nat brought to my mom-in-law. My daughter was so excited to get a taste of the frosting so I scraped some of the carrot cake from the pan and drizzled it with the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar mixture. The second loaf I decided to frost without taking it out of the pan then covered the pan with plastic wrap so the frosting won’t dry up inside the refrigerator.

Who loved my first carrot cake – Myself, my daughter, my husband, my teenage son Ash Lee, my nephew Zjedrick and my co-worker Chrissy. Mom found the frosting too sweet but liked the cake.

What I forgot – take a photo! Darn!

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Two Weddings

2nd April 2013 – I married my husband Nathaniel in a non-religious ceremony which lasted about 20 well-spent minutes including taking all the photos. The officiating minister started with checking our papers and marriage license then we were all set. My little daughter Mischa held the rings, my son Ash Lee had the camera, Nat and I exchanged vows and rings then kissed. I hugged my mother – we were both in tears. Definitely a happy day for everyone as we shared a lunch feast of chicken and seafood at Gerry’s Grill with a couple of friends who stood as witnesses.

We spent our first night together at home.

19th May 2013 – Our Big Day. Pre-wedding preps started 4AM. As a self-appointed DIY bride I had zero hours of sleep, some back pain from working on the flowers the night before and a lot of nerves. As the hair and make up duo worked on me and the entourage for the next two and a half hours, we were almost ready for the main event – a Christian ceremony at a venue called 167 Events Place along Commonwealth Avenue. We were expecting a hundred guests. Not everyone made it but fortunately those who made it had a good time. After what seemed to be ages posing for the camera inside and outside the Pacific Waves Resort Hotel, I finally got in the Bridal car c/o bridesman Francis Estrella with Bridesmaid Gines Bolivar. Though we got caught in some heavy traffic that day, we made it to the wedding venue just in time. I was getting a bit sleepy but I made it through as I was on and off the phone with my Groom who had to deal with a few early guests, a late DJ and some misunderstanding with the caterer. As the entire entourage got ready for the processional, I introduced the bridesmaids to the bridesmen and had a quick catch up with Belmon, my dear friend who flew in from SG to be at my wedding.  

And the ceremony began with the processional followed by a special dance from the Groom’s cousin Chaya Baris then with How Did You Know being played on the saxophone I started walking down the aisle. Too bad, I was busy trying not to trip on the four-inch heels I wore so I failed to see who was crying as I did the bridal march. Haha! There I was beside my husband at the ceremony couch as the officiating pastor started his message. The ceremony wasn’t what we expected – it was even better. It wasn’t formal or too long and though at times we there were distractions the wedding went as planned. We honored our parents with a photo montage of our baby pictures with our parents along with a prepared message. It was tough not to cry. As good friend Richard Chua sang his version of God Gave Me You, we read our own vows and cried even more. Clearly it was the happiest day of our lives and was even happier as we sealed the ceremony with a unity candle lighting together with our kids.

Photo ops – Smiling all the time was a challenge! I could feel my jaw going stiff and all I could think about was lunch! I bet everyone else thought the same!

Lunch – We almost cleaned off our plates. Didn’t touch the salad but the courses-roast beef, chicken cordon bleu and lasagna lived up to our expectations. Yes! We were starving! And it was a relief to see everyone eating.

The reception followed – some of the guests had to leave early but those who stayed had fun. Luckily, the Groom’s side of the family was a wacky bunch. His two cousins got the garter and the two next Brides were bridesmaid Ricca Liguidliguid and friend Jenny Reyes.  We totally forgot about having our First Dance before cutting the cake – cute chocolate cupcakes made by one of my best friends – Rona Sagun but that’s okay – we forgot some other things too but we didn’t forget to thank everyone who shared our special day with us. Not everything went as planned but we’re grateful of how our wedding turned out.

At home, the kids couldn’t wait for us to open our wedding presents. I’ll write about these in another post!

As I had hoped, our Big Day ended with us newlyweds finally getting some sleep with little Mischa beside us!

My Best Memories

Lists. Oh how I enjoy making lists! Grocery list. Christmas list. New baby stuff list. Menu list. Event planning list. Wedding checklist. Prayer list. List of goals and plans. And so on. So I thought, why not make a list of the best memories I’ve had?

Now, where do I begin? Let me start with my memories as a kid:

  1. When my childhood best friend Mary Ann Alvarez told me they were moving to another city, we started writing letters to each other even before they moved out! She is now married and has two kids.
  2. At age 9 or 10, I learned to ride a bike and a week after, I grazed my left knee pretty badly.
  3. I really loved the oatmeal my older brother Edward makes on cold, rainy days. 
  4. Being an 80’s kid, I grew up watching Sharon Cuneta films. I would memorize lines from specific scenes from her movies and redo the scenes with my younger sister Joanna.  
  5. I went on a trip to Albay with my mom when I was eight. Highlights: Mayon volcano and Cagsawa Church ruins
  6. My Lola Agnes took me to Baguio when I was six. All I could remember was Burnham Park.
  7. I had a lot of fun going to kiddie birthday parties because of the games. It was Stop Dance, Paper Dance, Trip to Jerusalem, Pabitin(Filipinos haven’t heard of pinatas back then), Pukpok Palayok and Paagaw ng Barya every time. At the end of every party, I always wonder why they never slice the birthday cake!

Young Mom

When you’re 18, jobless and in college, expect NO ONE to be pleased when you tell them you’re having a baby. And expect NO ONE to understand how you could have done such a stupid mistake. Yes, I have to admit evil thoughts did cross my mind when I found out I’m going to be a mommy sooner that I dreamed of. I have never felt so scared and helpless as I did back then. My parents were so devastated that my mother did not speak to me for a while and my father blamed her for what had happened to me.

Forgive me. I lost count of how many times I said those two words during the “dark ages” of my life.

Then came the delivery. Another “horror” story – for now I’ll save the details for a later post. It was the toughest day I had to face but with the help of a greater power I have yet to really accept as the architect of my life, I survived and after what seemed like forever, all I could hear were my baby’s loud cries. A good sign – the doctor told me. The baby was in perfect health. How I wished I could say the same for myself back then but no, I wasn’t healthy at all. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.

Still, I consider myself blessed.  Now that I have come to think of it, from the day my son came to this world, he never experienced hunger compared to thousands of abandoned and neglected children all over the world who suffer from severe malnutrition everyday. Children who probably wished they were never born(pausing to say a prayer for children fighting extreme poverty).

I must say being a mother changes a person in a very deep kind of level. You think of yourself less and think of others more. You realize it is not always about you yet you do not feel resentful. You feel grateful even for the smallest things because you just happen to appreciate life more than ever. Then you strive to become a better person every single day to be the role model your child needs. And that is a kind of struggle that you need to live with. It is NOT easy at all! At the end of your day you find yourself knocked out in bed with a smile(because you finally get some sleep) knowing that the challenges that come with parenthood may often be overwhelming but it is also the most fulfilling.

Blue Gardens: A Review

Each time I get an opportunity to host(emcee) a wedding, I help out with the on-the-day coördination and I must say, from my experience last September, that Blue Gardens is not just another event venue. The open-air garden venue can comfortably accommodate up to 150 seated guests and the feel of the place(with the lighting and music on) is just romantic and inviting. Perfect for that night’s Christian wedding ceremony and dinner reception!                

The bride Joana took advantage of Blue Garden’s worry-free wedding package which included five hours use of the venue, professionally catered food(buffet style) for 100 guests with complete set up and amenities, photo and video coverage, high quality PA and sound system(sound techs included), souvenirs for 50 guests and use of their changing rooms for the bride and groom. She found a great deal that, to my surprise, also came with great service. 

Before the event started, I took the initiative of coordinating with the captain waiter about when to prepare for the wine toasting, moving the head table to make more space for the entertainment later in the program and for the photobooth to be moved to a more convenient area in the venue. I wonder why anyone thought of setting it up where guests would get soaked in the rain before they get to the photobooth. The waiter was easy to talk to and took care of my requests almost immediately.

What this venue lacks in parking(quite limited), it has in its facilities and security. Several guards and attendants roved the area that day and even the powder rooms were clean, pleasant and well-maintained.

Overall, I give this venue a 7 out of 10 rating.

Psalm’s Dedication

November 3, 2012 – I stood as one of several godparents to adorable Psalm Lukas Silvestre Chua as his mommy Cathy and daddy Chard(both were a picture of pure joy despite coming straight from night shift) dedicated his life to God. Such a special moment for Christian parents to publicly declare God’s take over of their child’s life. 

The bright-eyed little boy who wore blue plaid over a yellow shirt and jeans had so much energy as he smiled, clapped and moved about frantically in his daddy’s arms as the pastor(also their wedding officiant!) went through the ceremony. Psalm’s grandparents and godparents each lit a candle to symbolize being the light for Psalm and laid hands to bless him in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Loved the rubber duckie theme! Mommy Cathy came up with this theme because her baby loves yellow. Every guest table each had a balloon centerpiece, a couple of rubber duckies and candies for kids and kids at heart! They also placed printed cards so guests can give personal messages to Psalm. What a great idea! 

Moments earlier, we(I had my hubby-to-be Nathaniel and daughter Mischa with me) enjoyed the sumptuous food served by Tramway Shaw(venue of the dedication). Mischa munched on a few spring rolls and had a taste of fruity gelatin and siomai. I tried little portions of steamed lapu-lapu, tofu, roasted chicken, sweet and sour pork, pork dumplings, california maki and a serving of buko pandan. Nat had almost the same then got some fresh salad to finish his meal.

Big Guy’s Pizza: A Review

Really HUGE pizza! I failed to sample all of the flavors since I had a full meal two hours earlier.I’ve had better tasting pizza before but because it is thin crust and it isn’t oily compared to more popular pizza brands(I guess name dropping is not required),  I give Big Guy’s Pizza a 7 out of 10 rating. No comment on delivery service. I have absolutely nothing to do with making the order.  

After trying one square slice each of Classic Pepperoni(Mozzarella, pepperoni), All Meat(Mozzarella, ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, beef ), Supreme(Mozzarella, ham, salami, onion, bellpepper, beef ) and Super Supreme(Mozzarella, olives, onion, mushroom, bellpepper, bacon, pepperoni, pineapple ) and a mug of Pepsi, I’m just so full that if I sit back on my swivel chair I would be asleep in no time. So I have to keep posting!

First Day

New team – confidential. Need to keep a positive outlook. New schedule – midshift. I can live with it. New role – again it is confidential. But I will survive. Yes this is another new start for me and I’m the new team joiner once again. And though some people joke about this being the end of my career (I silently ask myself “what career?”) I will try everything I can to see things in a good light. I mean I definitely expect to learn. Judging from today, I know I will!

The atmosphere is okay (the work area is quite cold though) when I got here. It is not as daunting as I expected plus there are familiar faces – people I have worked with before. It is too early to say I like it here but what’s surprising is I actually do not hate it. I guess that’s a good start, right? We’ll see in a few days or weeks if this is going to change. Haha!