My Family

Posted by abie on 12:52 AM in ,
My family is a typical Filipino family where all our relatives are very close to each other. And so I am glad that Howell became close too with my siblings and cousins and my other relatives when he became part of my family. He is so close to my cousins and siblings that they even do a lot of activities together.

Just like yesterday, they are talking about a new sport that they can play together. They know that Howell used to play paintball and so they are asking for his advice on where to get good deals for paintball marker package. And before I knew it, they are already checking out the site of Zephyr Paintball.

They found a lot of good deals from the site and my husband said that it is cheaper compared to other online sites that sell paintball gadgets. The best part is they even offer free shipping and so they ordered new paintball guns and accessories from Zephyr Paintball.

I am sure as soon they receive their new toys, they will immediately schedule a paintball game to try and enjoy their new baby.


Bad News

Posted by abie on 12:42 AM in ,
Howell’s camera is broken. He was even able to use it yesterday during Bela’s Fashion Show at school and so he doesn’t know what happened why is started to malfunction all of a sudden. He suspects that the problem is in the mechanism inside the camera and he is quite scared that the price might be too expensive to have the camera repaired. (huhuhu). The worst part is since we just came back from our Europe trip, we don’t have enough money left for his camera repair or worse to buy a new camera.

I know how much Howell loves his camera. The problem is it is already out of warranty so he has to take the expenses for the repair from his own pocket. I just hope that the damage is still repairable and it is affordable. He even has a client this coming September 12 so hopefully his camera gets fix before this event.


Planning for Baby Shower

My best friend is already pregnant with their first baby and I promise her that I will be the one who will host her baby shower. Organizing a baby shower is no sweat since I love planning and hosting for parties. Here is a list of the things that I need to prepare:

1. Venue. I need to look for a suitable venue that can accommodate all her friends and relatives
2. Baby shower invitations. I will be ordering the invitation baby from Cards-411. I checked out http://www.cards-411.com and I learned that they can create a special design for the Baby Invitations that I wish to order and they can even add a picture of my friend’s kid.

3. Food. No party is fun without good food.
4. Party Games. I need to come up with party games to make the party more fun.

So it is obvious that I am so excited to plan this party for my best friend.


Tying The Knot

Posted by abie on 11:16 PM in
I just received an instant message from my friend who is base in the US and I am just so happy for her because finally she and her long time boyfriend will be tying the knot next year. And since she knows that I love wedding preparations, she asked for my help to help her prepare for her dream wedding.

I just spoke to her and they want to have one of those destination weddings. They are checking out the hotels of Karisma in the Mexican Riviera Maya. The couple is both the outdoor type of person and they both love the beach so they wanted to have a beach wedding. They showed me the website of the Karisma Resorts and I can just imagine that it will be one romantic wedding.

White sand beaches with an ocean view will be the perfect backdrop for their wedding ceremony. Plus the guests can enjoy the resort before and after the wedding. They can rent a Casita Suite and have a relaxing time so this can be their vacation too.

I am really so excited for my friend’s wedding and I am sure she can’t wait too to have her dream wedding become a reality so I promised her that I will really help her prepare for her wedding.


Bus, Train, Plane in Europe??

Posted by abie on 1:59 AM in
From Aug 6 – 26, we traveled from Frankfurt – Prague – Vienna – Venice – Rome – Paris – Frankfurt – Manila. We have tried all the possible modes of transportation there is to go around Europe – we tried the bus (Eurolines), train (TrenItalia and DB Bahn), plane (EasyJet) and even the water boat in Venice. So if I were to rate these transportation methods:

1. Eurolines. They are the cheapest compared to plane and train. They are coach buses so it is bigger compared to the buses that we have here in the Philippines so it is pretty comfortable. Most of their schedule is at night so we save one night on hotels as we spend in traveling. Their buses are always on time also. One thing that I like about taking coach buses is we get to enjoy the scenery on our way to our destination. My favorite is our bus ride from Vienna as we really had an amazing view during our ride.
2. TrenItalia. We booked a second class ticket and we are to stay in a small cabin that seats 6 people so there is really no leg room. The travel time is longer since they stop in all train stations. Also, there is no aircon so it was really hot inside the cabin. They also accept passengers even if there are no more seats available so there are passengers standing along the corridgor of the train and since they have no seat and they can’t sleep while the train is moving, they are chatting loudly and goofing around so we did not really had a good night sleep during the entire duration of our trip. I will not use TrenItalia again if ever I will be traveling back to Italy.
3. DB Bahn. Their trains are the best. We also booked a second class ticket but their trains are clean, there is a good leg room, they are on time and they only stop at major train stops so our travel time was faster.
4. Easy Jet. They are one of the budget airlines in Europe. They are strict when it comes to number of hand carry luggage (they only allow one per passenger) so we have to pay Euro 22 since we have one extra bag. They also don’t have seat assignments so we have to outrun the other passengers to get good seats.


Hotel Continental in Venice

Posted by abie on 1:06 AM in ,
Of all the hotels we stayed during our trip, the Hotel Continental in Venice is my favorite. (Well it better be since it is the most expensive out of all the hotels I booked).

1. The hotel is just walking distance from the main train station so we were able to easily find the hotel when we arrived in Venice with all our luggage. Also since we are also taking the train from Venice to Rome, the location is also convenient since we just have to walk from the hotel to the station when it is time for us to leave.
2. The hotel is also located in the main street so it is easy for us to look for our hotel. They say that it is easy to get lost in the small streets of Venice and it is really true so I can just imagine how difficult it is to look for hotels located inside the small streets of Venice especially at night.
3. We have a view of the Grand Canal.
4. The room is clean and spacious, specially the bathroom which is really important for me (it would have been nicer if we have one of those walk in tubs in our room though).

5. We love the flat TV but we were not able to use it since we are out all the time and the only English Channel available is CNN and BBC News.

6. The free continental breakfast is one of the best we had during our entire trip.

Venice was one of the city that I am really looking forward to see and so I really wanted to stay in a nice hotel in this city. And since we save one night on hotel because I was able to find a train schedule that leaves at night and arrives in Rome the next day, I decided to book Hotel Continental even though it is over our budget. So if you are looking for a nice hotel in Venice, do check out Hotel Continental.


Food Talk

Posted by abie on 11:56 PM in
Did you take weight loss pill while you are on vacation? This was my mom’s question to me when she saw me at the airport when they fetched us yesterday. They said that Howell and I both loose weight.

Oh well, who would never loose weight if you are on the go everyday. And since Europe is a very expensive continent, we always end up eating at Mc Donald’s since it is the cheapest restaurant that we can find.

That is why as soon as we reached Manila, we immediately head to Dampa in Macapagal and ate to our heart’s content. The food here in the Philippines is so cheap, especially sea foods. I remember, we had lunch in one of the restaurants in Prague. Our bill totaled P2800 and we just ordered this:

While as when we ate in Dampa yesterday, our total bill is only P1800 and we even have left over for dinner. That is one of the things that I love about the Philippines!


We're Back!!

Posted by abie on 11:54 PM in ,
We’re back. We arrived yesterday afternoon from Bahrain. Our flight from Bahrain was delayed for 4 hours so instead of arriving in Manila at 11:10 AM, we arrived at 3:13 PM. Howell and I are so tired after our long flight (19 hours including the 4 hours stop over in Bahrain) but we manage to stay awake until 4 AM this morning. I guess we still have jet lag (that is one of the things that I hate when I travel).

It was a wonderful trip. I am glad that I did it with Howell as we really were able to spend real quality time together (although there are a couple of times when I will get really cranky when I am already very tired and Howell is still on the go and would still want to go around and explore the city even if it is already 10 at night. LOL).

As Howell said yesterday “We are broke, but it was a fun trip.” LOL. I uploaded some pictures already in my Facebook account and I will try to upload more soon. I will also try upgrading my Flickr account so I can upload pictures there too….


Energy Foods

Posted by abie on 2:27 AM
When we were still studying, we have been told that there are certain “go” foods that give us energy to perform tasks during the day – these are primarily in the form of carbohydrates: rice, bread and tomatoes. What they failed to point out is at some point in your life as you grow older, your metabolism slows down and carbohydrates do not get burned as fast. But what about the energy you still need to have? That is where supplements such as Acai Berry Energy Supplements come in. Acai Berries have been getting the spotlight lately as it has been found out they are the fruit that has the highest amount of anti-oxidants, good for the body, skin, sexual life and energy-giving too!


Landscaping Ideas

Posted by abie on 11:32 AM in

Even if we do not have our own house yet, we are still looking for nice ideas how to renovate the old house in Bulacan. I would love to have a nice lawn with garden so that my daughter can play around in open air and we can entertain guests. We need to look for quality but affordable landscaping services so that lawn care will not be compromised.

TruGreen is a company that we can consider. They have great feedback from their customers and they have affordable services too.


Just Making Sure

Posted by abie on 1:00 AM in
Lately, I noticed that our regular delivery of purified drinking water is not always on time. They always deliver it late and there was a time that when I saw that the container is not properly sealed so I had some doubts that they didn’t clean it well. But since, it was our own container, I still thought that it is really safe and the water is still purified.

But then again, as I have said, they are always late that’s why there were times where we run out of water supply. And so, I planned to buy water filters for our refrigerator. In this way, I don’t need to wait for the delivery anymore and I can have purified water anytime I want. Plus, by doing this, I can save more money because I will not buy gallons of water every week.

I discussed this to hubby and he said that we still have to check if using water filters for our drinking water is safe so that we can avoid diseases and infections.



Posted by abie on 12:43 AM in

On this day of your life, Abie, we believe God wants you to know...
... that to burn out the pain, just find a place filled with joy.

God created joy as a balm for pain. What are some places, who are some people filled with joy that you can rely on to ease your pain?


Gadget Shopping

Posted by abie on 1:43 AM in

I never thought that at this day and age, I would be interested on gadgets so much. I try to keep it on a practical level. Howell loves photography equipment so I don’t mind his investments. I just bought myself a lomo camera and I love it.

Due to the nature of Howell’s work, I can sometimes buy at Amazon.com and it can get delivered to us cheaper. With Amazon.com coupons, we really save a great deal. They offer tiered discount coupons so you can save better.

I was thinking if I should get a point and shoot camera though. It really is quite tiring having to travel with SLR equipment all the time. Online friends have been recommending the Panasonic Lumix LX3 and I am thinking whether I should buy it at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com. There are Best Buy coupons I can use, whichever would be cheaper I guess.

I would still need to convince Howell of this purchase though :)


Tax Season

Posted by abie on 1:42 AM

My friend has an aunt who is a certified public accountant (CPA). Every year, during tax season in the US, she flies in and helps a Las Vegas Quickbooks Accounting Firm because there will be so much work coming in they need all the help they can get. Most of their clients are professionals who have private practices – medical doctors and contractors like engineers and architects. As such, auditing can be such a daunting task.

I have always been bad at numbers so I would never be an accountant. I do have big respect for people in the finance area because their field is so precise and exact that there is no room for errors.


Busy Week

Posted by abie on 1:35 AM in
Before I went to Europe, I’ve been so busy with my works at the office. I tried to finish all of my pending works so that I will not have overloads when I come back. I really worked hard to meet my deadlines as early as possible because I know that I’ll be busy packing my things and I chose to spend more time with my daughter since she’s not coming with us.

My last day at the office, it seemed like everyone is so busy. The whole office is somehow quiet and you can rarely see people roaming around. And so I started to wonder because it looked strange to me. I immediately asked my boss and he told me that everyone is busy preparing for the fire drill. I didn’t know about this since I came home late that’s why I didn’t hear the announcements. And so I found out that they are going to test the new fire alarms if it is working.

After the drill, everything went back to normal. And after a couple of hours, the long day has finally ended and I was very fortunate to finish my works and have some reports to my boss.


My Result

Posted by abie on 1:29 AM in

You Are a Bikini

You love warm days, and you don't shy away from the beach.

You're confident enough to not worry about how you look... but you're not a brazen show off either!

You feel sexy and young at heart - especially during the summer.

You are classic and chic. You rather own one designer swimsuit than a dozen cheap knock offs.


Get Out of Debt Forever

Posted by abie on 1:07 AM in

Recession is a bad time for everyone. Businesses are down, prices go up and people lose jobs. In turn, they lose their houses, dig into their savings (if ever they have any) and fall deeper into debt. Americans are growing more concerned on how to live on cash everyday and not be dependent on credit card debt and loans to get what they need for the mean time. It is really frustrating and harassing when debt piles up and debt collection agencies start calling in everyday, sometimes more than once a day.

This where the ideal principle of Dave Ramsey comes to mind. He believes the freedom from debt is the only way to live and he highly encourages families to pay off all debt before buying and doing anything. I have a friend who did what Dave Ramsey has been telling in his book. He and his wife paid all debts in two years maintaining only a $1000 emergency cash refund. After that it was easier for them to save because all the money that went into paying for debt before became savings automatically once they have closed their accounts. It is also good practice because shortly after his wife got pregnant, they decided to live on his sole income and even survived with savings to boot.



Posted by abie on 9:25 PM

We are trying to control our eating these days. The problem is it is very hard to say no to eating especially if 1) we are so stressed and tired with work, school and Bela and that eating is one way for us to relax and unwind and 2) good food is always there in the form of restaurants. We might need to get a pedal exerciser to help us get rid of all the extra weight we have. I want to lose some weight in time for my brother’s wedding because for sure will be taking family portraits and I want to look good. And I am trying to get pregnant so I need to be fit for Baby Number 2.


Fabella Hospital and How You Can Help

Posted by abie on 9:08 PM

Chuvaness has this awesome blog post about Fabella Hospital and she is raising money to help the hospital be able to meet the needs of their thousands of patients.

About the photos

I've always loved photographing children. It's such a joy to be able to capture them whether they're in their most innocent or most mischievous moments. But this experience was different, and definitely one I would never forget.

Last Tuesday, Jorem and I went to the Dr. Jose Fabella Hospital with Rea Gomez-Harrow to shoot some pictures to post on the Moms for Moms site. It was probably the hardest shoot I've ever been through in all my years of being a photographer.

"Are you ready?" She asked, as we walked across the entrance of the ER right after a woman was brought out of the ambulance in a stretcher, her legs stained with blood, ready to give birth. There were pregnant women everywhere - in the hallways, sitting on the steps, walking around just waiting for their turn. I knew I had to brace myself for this.

The scent was familiar. It's only been 6 months since I got out of the hospital after giving birth to our first baby. Had I been there a couple of years ago, it would have been different. But as we walk into what was 4 rooms full of maybe a hundred bassinets or more, I felt my knees weaken and my heart crumble. I look through the viewfinder and get ready to shoot, but all I see is a blur as tears start to well up. My heart was pounding to the rhythm of infants crying in chorus. I turn my head, three babies are sharing one bassinet while the other had two. One baby's face is already pushed against the other's knee. Can he still breathe? I look the other way and one baby's arm is as thin as my finger. There are tubes and needles, bottles of fluids running through their tiny bodies. Due to the lack of linens, three newly delivered babies share what looked like an old hand towel to keep them warm. Each was labeled with a medicine box cutout attached to their wrists with a string like a piece of evidence. It was hard to believe all of it was real. I knew there were going to be a lot of babies, but not like this. It was beyond what I expected. To say it was heartbreaking would be an understatement.

I've never seen so many babies all in one place at the same time, and seeing them in this condition just didn't feel right. But this is how it's always been in Fabella. Everyday, mothers flock to this place to give birth because it's the only place they can go to. Due to the sheer volume of women giving birth each day, some have to go home a few hours after delivery while others who can't share a tandem bed with 2-3 others to be able to rest. According to a social worker we talked to, some of them don't even want to leave. To them, it's a roof over their heads, a soft bed and regular meals. For their children, it's a far better environment to survive in for their first few days of life.


How to have a Great Marriage by Bo Sanchez

Posted by abie on 8:45 PM

One day, a young husband came up to me and said, “Bo, I wish my marriage will be as great as yours ten years from now…”

I only had one word for him: “Don’t wish. Decide.”

In that one line, I gave my secret to success.

That’s what separates great marriages and not-so-great marriages.

That’s what separates successful people from unsuccessful people.

Unsuccessful people wish, want, hope, desire for their dreams.

That’s not enough.

Successful people decide to make their dreams happen. Period.

That means they’ll do whatever it takes.

Nothing will stop them.

Failure is not an option.

Let me ask you: Will you do whatever it takes?

For me as a husband, it means…

o practicing “mental” monogamy

o overlooking her faults

o going out of my way to express my love

o prioritizing our dates

o leading my family to God

Note: Just in case you’re in the delusion that I’m a perfect husband, let me make this record straight. I’m far from it. Just ask my wife!

But the important thing is that I’ve decided to become a great husband. And I make that decision everyday. (I struggle towards this dream everyday!)

I’ve realized that this power of decision works in every other area in life…

For the rest of the article click here.


She was destined to enhance Beauty.

Posted by abie on 8:43 PM
I have a childhood friend who, even when we were young, always wanted to fix hair and apply make-up. Our favorite playtime was "salon time" where we would all pretend we were having our manicures and getting a nice haircut. Of course, she would be one wielding the scissors! So it wasn't any surprise to me when I learned she studied in one of the best cosmotology schools in the US and now works for a high-end salon. Considering the high end prices of hair cuts in the US, I am sure she is earning a decent amount. Plus, she has turned to her passion - teaching. She teaches the latest hairstyle techniques and the basics of make-up application twice a week.


Howell in Frankfurt - Day 1 & 2

Howell is really the adventurous type. Would you believe, on his first two days in Germany he was already able to explore the city. He already visited several museums, old churches, local festivals and he already knows how the complicated train system of Germany works.

So after his first two days in Frankfurt – he already met two Filipinos (one worked in Mc Donald’s and Howell was so happy since the Filipino upgrade his soda for free. LOL. The other one was a son of a German national and he taught hubby how the train system works), he was able to take 1000 pictures and he said he already knows his way and eh can tour me when I arrive on Friday.

He sent me some of his favorite shots via Yahoo Messenger and I was impressed. Hubby really has the talent and the eye for photography since his pictures are really post card perfect. After seeing the pictures, I told him that Frankfurt has a really nice architecture but according to him, he is still not that impress. He is still looking forward for our trip to Prague and then he will judge which city has the best architecture.

Here are some of his shots:

Day 1:
Day 2:

You can view his Day 1 Pictures here.


Sleep Over Party

One of our friends from LA will be coming home for a vacation this Halloween and so the whole gang decided to throw a Halloween Sleep Over party as our welcome party for her. I took charge of the planning as they know that it is one of my favorite thing to do.

I am still a bit busy with work and my trip and with school but I manage to check out invitations party Halloween from http://www.invitations-shoppe.com. They have a lot of nice party invitations Halloween designs and they can even make a new design for us and we can even insert our group picture in the invitations Halloween.

I know I still have a lot of planning to do but thank goodness I found the site of invitations-shoppe so I know that our Halloween Invitations for our party is already taken cared of.

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