Monday, August 2, 2010

cubs faithful

1) hot dogs at portillos
2) lunch at blackbird - organic pork belly sandwich with fennel slaw, dijonnaise, bread and butter pickles, cucumber salad and garlic frites
3) walking off our two delicious lunches and doing some sightseeing along the chicago riverwalk
4) getting some beer and wings at a bar before the cubs game
5) playing the role of a tourist and had to get a pic with the cub
6) wrigley field packed on a monday afternoon
7) our first cubs game at wrigley field
8) wrigley field scoreboard - serious beatdown but a great picture
9) good times with the cousins
10) home to the chicago cubs since 1916, it wasn't a surprise that devoted baseball fans flooded the ballpark despite a 17 point loss. definitely a great place to chill with good company. perfect way to end our trip.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

it's a line that's always running

1) rj finishing at a chip time of 1:35:46 - nuts, man.
2) nick finishing up at 2:00:23.
3) james finishing up at 2:09:31.
4) mikey finishing up his very first half marathon at 2:13:10.
5) me with my adorable godson, brandon.
6) one of my best dates with my fiance, ryan, at chef grant achatz's restaurant alinea. words cannot describe that experience.
7) stopping for drinks at the peninsula hotel. sad, entertaining then downright uncomfortable was the conversation of the couple sitting next to us. memorable nonetheless.
8) more drinks at the park hyatt on north michigan. not as entertaining of an audience, but spectacular view of the hancock building.
9) a flight of white wines at the sofitel hotel. great way to end our magical night of playful and innovative dining and spontaneous barhopping at the hotel we stayed at on our first trip together to chicago in 2006.
10) ezra from vampire weekend said at one of their concert's in england that the song 'cousins' "is about our two nations [america and england] and how they relate to each other". i, for one, just think this song is absolutely fitting for this post and makes me exceedingly happy!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

chi-town we gonna show 'em how we get down

1) ry always finds the best deals! we arrived in chicago and checked into the james hotel on east ontario street. luxurious and chic, and walking distance to most of our items on our agenda.
2) so the only times ryan and i typically argue are when we are tired or hungry. i was both when we left the hotel to grab some food, making it a rough start to our trip. after poor gps navigation on my behalf, we finally ended up at the purple pig. this delicious sicilian iris was like a malasada on steroids!
3) well it was a good thing that i was on a diet the three days before our trip, consuming 600-900 calories per day! our second dinner was at giordano's for some classic chicago deep dish pizza. typical me with my eyes bigger than my stomach thought to order a small pizza each so we can sample at least two different varieties. but having to wait 45 minutes for a pie will definitely quench that outlandish appetite.
4) the next morning on our way to the expo, we took a walk through millennium park. a first for the both of us, we had the opportunity to take several pictures next to "the bean" aka cloud gate.
5) mainly for the opportunity to hang with my big bro and cousins, we met the guys at the rock and roll expo so they could pick up their bibs (and perhaps grab a few freebies - dry fit tees, energy beans and samples of beer).
6) and my bottomless appetite to connie's for more pizza! best part was mikey being unsure of where the restaurant was located. we happened to spot a delivery truck and were able to just follow it to our destination!
7) to start out our delicious meal at my favorite chef's restaurant, topolobampo, i ordered one of their margaritas. perfectly mixed and incredibly refreshing!
8) if chocolate is offered on a dessert menu, i'm the first to sign up for that. but i thought i would be a bit more adventurous and chose the tasting menu with a coconut dish. best. decision. ever. four flavors of coconut: flan, crisp cocada, chewy cocada, coconut-lemon verbena ice cream. heaven in a bowl!
9) we met up with one of ryan's friends at clark street ale house. pretty damn impressed with how much she knew about sports. pretty damn jealous that she used to work with dan patrick at espn.
10) i'd like to say i've done chicago proud with visiting some of their most famous landmarks - navy pier, cloud gate, the hancock building, sears (willis) tower, wrigley field, the oprah show, shopping on michigan avenue. and yet, there's still so much more i want to do. maybe check out a bulls game at the united center, gaze at "a sunday on la grande jatte" at the art institute of chicago, and i definitely want to dip my toes in lake michigan. just more reasons to go back to that toddlin' town!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

one lucky woman

1) after completing a 5-mile training walk, i had absolutely no guilty qualms about going to napa to indulge in a decadent lunch and perhaps sipping on glasses of wine. we had lunch at bistro jeanty in yountville. although the weather was too warm to comfortably enjoy wine with our lunch, we were thoroughly satisfied with our meals!
2) of course a trip up to yountville isn't complete without stopping at thomas keller's bouchon bakery! the line went out the door and you had to shell out $3 per macaron, but those heavenly pillows of sweet delight were worth it!
3) when ryan turned 30, i took him to the french laundry for lunch. across the street from the restaurant sits thomas keller's 3-acre garden which provides all three of his restaurants with fresh vegetables and herbs. we thought this might be a sweet spot to set up to devour our macarons especially since there was a good amount of shade under the trees.
4) this picture was taken right before ryan sprung the question at the most unexpected moment of my life! as oblivious as i am, when ryan was digging in his bag and said, "i have a present for you", my response was, "did you bring more snacks?" it wasn't quite the treat i was expecting but the perfect platinum band with the most sparkly solitaire tiffany diamond had me swimming in a sea of emotions.
5) i think i was on the phone with jill when ryan took this picture. he ended up posting this picture on his facebook as our subtle way of spreading the news of our engagement.
6) although i tried reaching several people in my family, and even speaking to a few of them, veronna was the first one i officially told about our good news. she's been literally asking for years about when to expect this moment and i knew i would get nothing but a genuine, heartfelt response from her. she shared how months back ryan began asking questions to the sisters implying that he was intending to propose. cindy almost let it slip but rona was quick to cover the mess. it was funny to hear how the anticipation was building with those two but i was so proud that they were able to keep it a secret.
7) we had the pleasure to speak to the lannon family in the car on speaker phone. hearing all the joy in noralie's voice and the screams from the boys was so heartwarming. again, genuine and sincere love and support coming all the way from hawaii...i couldn't have asked for a better reception.
8) after cindy finished dying her hair, i was able to tell her the good news as well. since the beginning of my relationship with ryan, she was very supportive. it's understandable that with such a large family, it may take some time to warm up to everyone. and with ryan having a rather reserved personality, it may often be misinterpreted. cindy though never cared - "he treats my sister well and that's all that matters". absolutely no second thoughts about asking her to be my maid of honor.
9) a combination of contemplation and resistance but she did quite well - veronna raised over $700 for her 3-day breast cancer walk fundraiser at her garage sale! although the first few hours (and i'm sure weeks leading up to it) were filled with anxiety and stress, it was a success and our team is nearly 85% to reaching its goal!
10) if you read through my blog, and after dating ryan for nearly five years, the conclusion is that i'm ambivalent towards marriage. this past year however, i was comfortable enough to admit that i am not looking for anyone or anything else, and was 100% confident that ryan felt the same. that alone was enough for me to know that i would have a life filled with love, laughter and happiness that i didn't need to put an official title on anything. but when ryan said those four tender, sweet words "will you marry me?", all the doubts and mixed feelings i've felt about the idea of marriage for 15+ years vanished..."yes"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

if you can't stand the heat..

1) today my schools are observing president's day. not only do i get the day off, but most of my kids don't have classes for the entire week, which makes it a 20-hour work week for me! yay :)
2) so on my day off, i decided to do some shopping at michael's to pick up some things for ry's mom's birthday. i love this store. not only do i find cheap reinforcers for my students, but it sparks up the creative side of me that i like to show off every year or so.
3) i remember watching lost in translation years back when things appeared to be going wrong in my life. charlotte's character is so believable and was almost automatic for me to empathize with. the way she portrays loneliness gives a realistic feel to the movie. her relationship with bob is so tender, innocent, pure...finding comfort in the unexpected.
4) with an award-winning cast, and winning 2 emmys for best comedy series two different years, everybody loves raymond was one of my favorite sitcoms. coming from a neurotic, competitive, catholic, comedic family, i'm sure that's why i'm drawn to the show.
5) my creative side kicks in every now and then. inspired by the cupcake pops on, i made these sweet treats on a stick for ry's mom's birthday. after a trial and error batch that i screwed up because the chocolate hardened quicker than i had anticipated, i got it down. the final product ended up individually wrapped with a pastel bow placed in a vase.
6) we had dinner at sushi maru with ryan's family to celebrate amy's birthday. i think it's precious how every year, although it's her birthday, she still puts together a care package for us for valentine's day.
7) the opening night of the westminster dog show was tonight. i wish i understood the criteria for each breed that the judges base their decisions on. i usually just watch to see the terrier group (my westie), the herding group (ry's corgi), the hound group (for the beagles), and the occasional dog that catches my eye (the chow chow).
8) i've been sitting on a southwest rapid rewards award for nearly five months now. ry finally earned his with our trip to las vegas last week. within minutes, he cashed in his voucher and we are officially booked for chicago to watch james and the zamar boys run the rock n' roll half marathon! (and maybe try out a restaurant or two)
9) a fairly new sport to the winter olympics, snowboard cross is a competition involving four snowboarders racing down a course to the finish line. seth wescott who won the olympic gold in 2006 at the sports' debut, defended his medal tonight. he started the race in fourth place and amazingly came back to steal the gold from canadian snowboarder mike robertson on the final jump.
10) as defiant as i am about being domestic, i am actually starting to enjoy the concoctions that are created in my kitchen. aside from a few disasters, i think i've made some pretty substantial dishes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

70 years young

1) ryan was my hero the night of mom's 70th birthday party. after checking with the dj to see if he had the proper equipment to set up the slideshow that i've spent weeks working on, it turns out that he didn't. ry drove around looking for an electronics store and came back 45 minutes later with the cable. he set it up in another room to test it - it came out just fine. once it was time to present it to 200 guests, the connection wasn't being made. james, ry, the dj and myself are all flustered...then ry breaks out with another cable and it magically works. ry, my hero.
2) although we only meet a few times a year, the tallud girls always do a great job at showing up for monumental occasions. regina, roseanne, raquel and rosalie have grown up to be beautiful, intelligent and responsible young ladies. i'm very proud to have them for my cousins.
3) it's been nearly ten years since we've seen the magno family. we've recently reconnected with ronnie and nina on facebook. they have always been a family that holds great wisdom, humor and sincerity. i remember when mom had her surgery when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, she was down about dad not contacting anyone from chs to visit. surprisingly, i had still remembered the magnos' number and talked to auntie doris and uncle rene. without hesitation, they took down the hospital name and room number and rushed out to see her, spreading the word to some of mom's closest friends. i will forever be thankful for their support.
4) after all the mumbling and grumbling about actively participating during mom's birthday bash (and not just slamming down drinks at the bar), we all took on our parts to make it one of the best nights of mom and dad's lives. dennis was great about taking pictures throughout the whole evening. he even printed them out the next day so mom could hand them to her guests that came to brunch the following day. he took the responsibility with an amazing attitude and a smile all night which i think carried over to all of us to play our roles.
5) while putting together mom's slideshow, i realized that i didn't have any pictures of mom with her sisters. i kept thinking what a shame that was, seeing how many pictures i have with my lovely sisters. i'm glad this picture was taken. auntie ina and auntie aning have been a big part of my family's life.
6) i don't think the night would have ran so smoothly had it not have been for noralie and her family. being the eldest of the children, she has naturally accepted being our "spokeswoman" and does it rather well if i may add. from ordering exquisite leis for all of the family members to purchasing shell necklaces for all the guests, she put in more than 100% to make this event a success.
7) veronna's speech to mom will forever be one of my fondest memories of my mother. she shared how supportive and nurturing mom was during her break-up with her college boyfriend. mom actually drove up to ucsd, stayed in her dorm and attended her classes with her while taking notes of the lecture. such a heartfelt moment.
8) i wish everyone in the family was in this picture, but it was still so great to pose with the hawaiians (lannon family).
9) after months of planning this party, bickering amongst mom, dad and the family about details of the dinner, squabbles about the financial aspects of the occasion, we pulled it off. mom and dad truly looked happy and calm during the party.
10) i'm a fairly private person when it comes to my emotions and thoughts. i wasn't prepared to deliver a speech - not even utter a few words about my mother to 200 people. i don't even think i would have been comfortable enough discussing my feelings in front of my family. i feel like since i do not have children of my own, it's hard for me to express what a mother is or should be, but do know that i have a mother who is everything a mother should strive to be. i don't have the typical childhood memories of a mother walking me to school or helping me with my homework. with mom being in her late 40s, that's what my older sisters were for! but despite, she didn't rob me of my childhood. i remember her playing silly counting games with me and cindy on the stairs. or entertaining the idea of "working" in her office. or giving me the change from the grocery store after i helped her save "so much money" from clipping coupons. or watching her and being so intrigued as she put on her marykay lipstick. or talking to her so openly about my many heartaches. i may not have children of my own, and may never have children, but i've been working with children for half of my life, and happen to love it with all my heart. and i am certain that my mom has something if not everything to do with that.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

MMX around the world

1) fireworks explode beside the london eye and the houses of parliament on the river thames during new year celebrations in london january 1, 2010.
2) new year's eve fireworks based on the theme "awaken the spirit" explode over the sydney harbour from six barges three hours before midnight on december 31, 2009. over 1.5 million sydneysiders and tourists were expected to line the harbour foreshores to watch 120,000 pyrotechnics usher in new year's day.
3) people admire the moment the sun rises above mount fuji, which is known locally as the "diamond fuji", from atop ryugatake mountain in fujikawaguchiko town, southwest of tokyo on new year's day january 1, 2010. mount fuji, at 3,776 metres (12,388 ft), is believed to be sacred and is seen as a symbol of good luck, more so during the new year period.
4) people watch new year's eve fireworks over venice's st. mark square flooded by high water, early friday, jan. 1, 2010.
5) a long-exposure photo created using sparklers shows children writing out "2010", celebrating on new year's eve in manila on december 31, 2009.
6) russians celebrate the new year on red square in moscow, with the kremlin in the background, right, and st. basil's cathedral in background, left, friday, jan. 1, 2010. tens of thousands of people gathered on the square to celebrate the new year, and view the fireworks as the clock on the kremlin's spassky tower, right, struck midnight.
7) fireworks from the space needle light up downtown seattle, washington to bring in the new year, as seen from kerry park, friday, jan. 1, 2009.
8) people sprint into the water as they participate in the traditional new years dive in the north sea, in the hague, on january 1, 2010. this year saw some 8000 participants in the dive, one of 63 dives across the netherlands.
9) fireworks explode in the sky over the ocean as seen from waikiki beach in honolulu, hawaii, on january 1, 2010 soon after the clock ticked mid-night announcing the first day of new year.
10) "we will open the book. its pages are blank. we are going to put words on them ourselves. the book is called 'opportunity' and its first chapter is new year's day."
-edith lovejoy pierce