Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I thought I would share my latest on my Etsy website today. I haven't been sewing, but I have been very busy making these fabulous fun and funky headbands. I have received a lot of compliments with these, surprisingly enough even the guys even like them. These are very fun to use. You don't want to fuss with your hair before you leave the house? Put one of these on and you are set to go.  Fashionable as always!

These are just a few of my new addiction. So much fun to make. Hope you enjoy browsing them. More on my Etsy shop. Stop by when you can :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This is ME

Written the week of July 21,2013

This is ME

Who I am is the art that comes out of me. Not the degrees I have accomplished or the diplomas I had received in my lifetime nor the job I currently hold. I had finally realized today that I am an artist who wants to live the rest of my life filling myself and family with the gift I have. As I sit here thinking about the life I currently lead and the life I want to lead, a thought that I have been having for many months now - it hit me - I just want to live simply and live life as an artist. It is soo hard to explain what I feel. I have said this before, wanting to live simply, but this time somehow is different. My heart filled with joy, but not the kind of joy where you jump up and down; happy, but not the hahahahehee kind of happy. It is a very calm happiness as if my heart was drowning and tears started to flow. It felt weird, in a good way. This is what I am going to live for - my boys, husband (i love them beyond infinity - no words can describe how I much I love them) and my art. How I love my children is a form of art, where I help mold them to be good individuals. Everything else are just accessories (i.e. my job) for living in a society where I have to find a balance between my preferred lifestyle and to what is necessary ( to put food on the table, pay for my boys' activities and send them to school). My goal is not impossible, I will strive for it. I know that a time will come when I can fully commit to my art. As this is who I am and it will never leave me.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer vacation 2013 - LAST STOP - it took me little while to put this together, but here it is.

Sterling, MA

So, my journey alone in NYC came to an end. It was time to leave NYC and head to Sterling, MA where the family and I reunited. Saddened I had to leave NYC, wishing i could stay one more day to venture out and appreciate the city that never sleeps. But, all things come to an end. I took with me an experience that I will always remember. New memories to be hold on the next state on the agenda.

Sterling, MA is a suburban area where my in-laws live and where my husband partly grew up in. I call it the sticks! A big change coming from a city where noises, people and buildings filled my surroundings to a place where nature is present everywhere you look. I like coming here, though. I look forward to swimming on the lake with the kids (even though I am not a good swimmer), the food, and the family gathering that takes place every time we come home. The lake where my in-laws lake house is located is huge. Our day filled with kids fishing, rope swing and a boat ride. Even I did the rope swing for the second time in my lifetime. Sooooo much fun!

On this trip in particular, I was excited to go to a line dance that my mother-in-law and I always talked about. This year we made it a point to go. She and I had two days to ourselves to enjoy prior to the men  coming home from their camping trip from North Maine Woods. The day I arrived, she and I went. I was surprised that the venue was in an actual barn. This was a plus to me. The room were filled mostly with Seniors. I have to say I was proud of them in continuing to engage themselves in an activity that is not only fun, but very good for their balance and overall health. As a person who works with this age group, I was happy to see this. So the dance began, I was constantly watching the teacher to make sure I was getting the steps. Some steps where harder than others, but I think I did ok, overall.  My Nanny (a name I call my mother-in-law) did well, as well. She's a vet when it comes to line dancing. Our solitude ended, when the men came (LOL!).  They arrived and I was excited to see my boys. I have missed them so much! I haven't been away from all of them for that long. Hugs and kisses filled my in-laws drive way as soon I saw my boys ( and yes this included my husband).  We had a few days to enjoy the lake and the rest of the family before we head back home to San Diego.  That week-end, families came and a lot of catching up with cousins took place.

For our last adventure in Massachusettes, we took our boys to the Basketball Hall of Fame Museum. Here my boys enjoyed all of the activities the museum had to offer. My eldest Benjamin, won a free throw contest against men of all ages. He was very excited and we were very proud.

A lot were accomplished during our 3 weeks vacation. We would have loved to stay longer, but we did miss San Diego.  Although we are now back home, our vacation still continues as we enjoy what San Diego has to offer this summer.

Below are some pictures and a video from the line dancing night.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

New York City

Our vacation to the back east always include trips to New York City. Growing up in Brooklyn  for 16 years after migrating to the US at the age of 12 from the Philippines, I consider New York to be my second home. Yes, I may not be a native New Yorker, but this is where I grew up and had the most time spent of my life than any other places I have been.

It was raining on our first visit to New York City. We were debating whether to go or not that morning due to the weather and my eldest said " let's just go." So we, did. We walked the streets of chinatown to go to our favorite chinese restaurant called " Joe Shanghai ". If ever you are in New York City, this is a place to eat. Here, you will find the most succulent soup dumplings you will ever have. It is a family style restaurant where dishes are big enough to share. Their soup dumplings are what they are known for. I love eating these dumplings because they are so delicious. There's certain ritual to eating them. First you have to carefully take them out of the steamer with a tong and place it on your soup spoon.  Then you take a very tiny bite onto the skin to make a hole. As soon as you do this, you take the dumpling with a chopstick pour the soup into the soup spoon and slowly drink the soup. After you do this, you place the dumpling back onto the soup spoon put the dumpling sauce with ginger on it and carefully bite the dumpling. Yum! Craving satisfied! Sounds complicated just to eat a dumpling? Not really, it is worth doing the above and then finally eating it is heaven. My boys loved it.

I got another chance to visit New York when my boys and husband went camping for 10 days in North Maine Woods - a tradition every summer meant for the boys only on my husband side of the family. They had their camping and I had my version of camping when they left. After staying with my parents for a few more days after the boys left, I stayed in Manhattan for 2 days on my own. I stayed at the Paramount Hotel located in Time Square. My room was small, but good enough space for me.  I checked in and I started my quest. My plan was to walk everywhere like I used to when lived here. I could walk forever and not noticed the distance I've walked. I wanted to do that again. After my train ride from NJ to NYC, I was craving to eat Pad Thai. I found this tiny restaurant in 51st and 9th Avenue called PURE thai cookhouse. It got good reviews on Yelp. My verdict:  5 star.  The place is small which I didn't expect. But, this is not a negative statement. The place was great and the service was good. It was a very busy joint. I had the chicken curry puffs (like little empanadas) and Pad Thai. Both were very satisfying.

With my belly filled, I started to head back to Time Square to check out discounted broadway shows at TKTS. I waited in line and got a discounted ticket for Rock of Ages broadway show. The ticket was 50% at the time for same day show.
                                                   while waiting in line for Broadway show ticket

What a fun show. Brings back good old 80's rock music.  I totally loved it. After the show, I went across the street and got some Juniors cheesecake. A place known for their cheesecake. I believe their first store was in Flatbush in Brooklyn.

My second day in Manhattan, i spent my day walking all day. Started at 8:30 am - I ventured out to walk the high line park of NYC. This was an old rail road meant for freight cargos in the past. They were going to tear it down, but decided to keep it because nature started to grow on the rails ( i believe). The city decided to keep it, make it functional and made it into a park. It started to on 10th Ave. and 30th street and ends at the West village.   It was a good 20 minute walk which wasn't bad. On your journey here you will find lots and lots of vegetation that is kept up by volunteer workers. Benches along the sides to sit on for rest, eating,  people watch or enjoy the scenery of the Hudson River (where you can).

this is a must place to visit if you are in NYC

I was on the on an adventure to find a store, but got lost in West village (first time ever getting lost in city, but never really travelled the West end of the village even when I lived in NY - anyway) and was unsuccessful. I didn't plan that very well. I got my bearings in the village and got to a familiar place and started heading to Broadway and walked my way down to chinatown. After a few sight seeing and purchasing a purse, I was scheduled to be in midtown to have lunch with friends. This was the one time I took the subway.  Met with friends, ate and headed back to time square and looked at the discounted tickets for Broadway show that night. Lucky me, Phantom of the Opera was 50% off!  My friend and I saw the show that night and had a good time. I have always wanted to see this show and glad that I finally had the chance to.

After the show, I hanged out a little bit at time square and had another beef patty for the last time. That day, I was walking Manhattan from 8:30am to 11 pm ----What fun!
 Time Square
 As I was sitting in the middle of Time Square this day, observing the hustle and bustle of NYC, I realized that I was a tourist where I was from. I realized that I took all these for granted when I was leaving there - just always focused on getting from point A to point B. I was glad that I had this time to appreciate it and I think that everyone should experience New York City.

Next stop - Sterling Massachusettes

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013


It has been a while since my family had gone back home. New York city and Massachusetts have been my home and my husband's.  Lets not forget New Jersey where my parents now live and where we stay when we come home to visit. My children (2 young boys) have been excited to do this trip to see grandparents , cousins and ride on the plane.

Speaking of the plane ride, my son who is six gave so many different facial expression of excitement as the plane started to ascend. My eldest had butterflies in his stomach :)  As we reached our destination at around 5:30 in the morning, the sky was just turning light. My little one woke from his sleep and looked out the window. The plane was soaring on top of the puffy, thick white clouds. What a beautiful view. Nothing, but whiteness of the clouds and the blue sky. It was pure and clean. I woke up my eldest son so that he, too, can look and witness this beautiful moment.

The plane landed safely. We got our bags and headed to rent a car to see my side of the family. As we arrived at my parents' house, hugs and kisses filled the room. My parents happy as can be when they saw their grandchildren once again. My little one, a non-stop talker, chatted away with his grandfather. Whether they actually understood each other, I don't know. A six year old who can tell his stories, most of the time in fragments,  and a hard of hearing grandfather.....well, it can get too funny.

A visit to Brooklyn, NY was a must. My husband and I have not been back to Brooklyn since 2001. We wanted to show the kids where I grew up  and where my husband and I lived. We visited several neighborhoods, all which looked the same as before.  Not much has changed. Sunset Park neighborhood on 5th ave, Brooklyn was one of our stop. This was our old neighborhood.  5th Ave, in Brooklyn is a busy, alive neighborhood filled with stores, street vendors and most of all filled with Spanish music (from 60th to about 40th street). Many people lingered the streets holding shopping bags; happy with their latest purchases.

                                                 The Verrazano Bridge going into Brooklyn

So, I had to have a beef patty. I haven't had this in years since we left the east coast and I was excited to have one. You would normally find these delicious, tasty beef patties in New York pizzerias.  It has yellow/brownish crust on the outside and a spicy mush beef on the inside. It doesn't  sound appetizing, but it is very good.  Once I had it, craving satisfied! The Italian ice were the next on our menu. Also, found in pizzerias in NY. One way to cool off from the hot humidity of New York city is having these delicious, cold Italian ice ( sorry there is no picture. I had trouble downloading it). They have cherry, rainbow and I can't remember the flavor of the white one. My favorite is the rainbow flavor.  These were a hit to my kids as I had expected. Last on our stop for foods were the Mexican panaderia. This is a Mexican bakery where they make Mexican pastries good for breakfast, snack or dessert. We went to the place where we used to go.  A narrow bakery filled with pastries. Trays and trays of pastries where you yourself pick out the ones you like with a tong on one hand and a tray on the other. Yummy in your tummy.

Next on our agenda while in Brooklyn -- visit the Barcklays Center - home of the Brooklyn Nets. My kids are a big basketball fans, so we thought it would be a good time to visit the arena.  As we drove into the area of Atlantic Ave in the Flatbush area bordering park slope area ( i think) of Brooklyn, my husband and I were amazed on how they transformed this area and put the the arena where it is.  As we turned to Atlantic Ave, coming from 4th Ave of Brooklyn and saw the arena, all I can say was --WOW!   My kids were excited. It was their first visit to any NBA arena.
The Barclays Center - Brooklyn Nets Arena

Unfortunately, we could only visit the gift shop and not the arena itself.  The arena was closed. But, the kids had a good time and that's all that mattered.

Our last stop was to eat at a Malaysian restaurant called JAVA in Prospect Park area of Brooklyn. My husband and I used to frequent this place when were living in Brooklyn and would always come out with filled bellies.  If you are adventurous with the kind of foods you eat,  I highly recommend this place if you are ever in Brooklyn. We were glad that this place is still standing despite the competitiveness in this area when it comes to restaurants. The dishes were still great, satisfying and my kids enjoyed them.

We got a lot of things accomplished in one day in Brooklyn.  On the way home, my eldest said "you have a lot of stories here".  We were glad to share these moments with our kids and share my husband's and I's past which was there current moment at the time.

There's is more to come from our vacation that I will be sharing with you. So stay tune - next stop -- New York City.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

So it has been such a long, long , long time since I posted on my blog. Part of it is having no time and the other part, well-- let's just say laziness.  I initially started blogging when I opened my shop on Etsy.  Almost every advised I received in order to market my shop is to do social networking. So  I did. I started this blog, FB, twitter --- you name it. I signed up to quite a few, but  my social networking dwindled after a while.  I guess I really didn't know how to prioritize or manage my time doing them.  It came to a point where I just didn't to them anymore. It was a struggle for me.

It has been many months and here I am again.  I am going to tackle social networking once again, but this time with a better mindset (i think) and approach. I told myself -- use social networking as a way to just share my interest with others, my work, hobbies and experiences (hence the title "social networking") and vice versa to the people who follows me. What ever happens after that -- will be.

So this is when it starts.......

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New name for my shop

I decided to change my shop name from I'sHa-Lo Ha-Lo to Simply I.  I have debated for such a long time and thought that it might be a good change for my shop. Wish me luck.