Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Since I celebrated my first year engagement anniversary two days ago, allow me to take you to where Vince and I had our prenuptial pictorial.

A little outside the city of Toronto lies a charming historic community called Unionville.  With its heritage dating back to 1794, the quaint Main Street displays structures virtually unchanged from way back 217 years ago, including art galleries, restaurants, pubs and shops.  Unionville attracts thousands of visitors each year during the Unionville Festival.

Vince and I had our engagement shoot at Unionville's 33-hectare Toogood Pond Park.  This park has many point of interests including the pond which is home to many Canada geese, ducks, fish and other wildlife.  Around the pond are beautiful walkways, park benches and picnic tables.  There is a man-made dam that has waterfalls.  There is also a store where you can enjoy an ice cream or refreshment while sitting on the adjoining patio overlooking the pond.  Encircling the pond is a walkway good for leisure walks.  You will also find small bridges within the park.  The changing color of leaves in the fall season completed the picturesque backdrop of our engagement shoot.

Photo credits to our awesome photographer, Jennifer Newberry, who made the entire shoot fun and relaxed without any itsy bitsy awkward moment at all, in front of and behind her lens.  Please note that I reduced the pixel size of these photos for uploading purposes, and that actual quality is way, way better.  Enjoy viewing :)


For more travel stories, please visit:  TUESDAY TRAVEL


Monday, September 26, 2011


Nope, this post isn't about geishas, World War I/II, or the recent earthquake in Japan.  Although those are interesting topics to blog about, they have to give way for Gastronomy Monday :D

Memories of Japan is one of my favorite restaurants in Toronto.  Obviously, it serves Japanese cuisine, but my best memories of this place is its teppanyaki.

Teppanyaki came from the Japanese words "teppan" meaning iron plate and "yaki" meaning grilled, broiled or pan fried.  In North America, teppanyaki means a dish which consists of steak, meat and other vegetable accompaniment, cooked in an iron plate.  What makes teppanyaki dining more memorable are the teppanyaki chefs who perform a show while cooking.  A chef might juggle utensils, flip a shrimp tail into his shirt pocket, catch an egg in his hat, toss an egg up in the air and split it with a spatula, flip flattened shrimp pieces into the diners' mouths, or arrange onion rings into fire-shooting volcanoes.

A Memories of Japan teppanyaki chef getting ready for his flaming volcano trick

My fave in Memories of Japan's menu is the Teppan Narra meal which is composed of an appetizer of salad, sushi, miso soup; entree of steak, salmon, shrimp, veggies, and beef fried rice; and dessert of green tea/vanilla/red bean ice cream.  Isn't that something really worth remembering? ;)

For more foodie stuff, please visit:  GASTRONOMY MONDAY

Weekday Potluck Every Tuesday to ThursdayFTFBadge


Sunday, September 25, 2011


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The kid in me during my Walt Disney World Trip in March 2010 :)

Now, here's the fun part.  Let me see how many meme I can hit with this picture overloaded post. Bring it on!!! :D

MellowYellowMondayBadge Smiling SallyPhotobucketCOLOR CARNIVAL RUBY TUESDAY

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


When Vince and I went to Jamaica in April 2011, we didn't stay in the hotel resort for the whole week we were there.  Not that there wasn't much to do within the confines of Grand Palladium Resorts and Spa.  In fact, the unlimited food and drinks were more than enough to keep us busy.  However, we wanted to take advantage of our visit in the island, so we did several other side trips in between days.  One of the tourist attractions we went to was the Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios.

Me riding on the belly of a Cuban dolphin in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Dolphin Cove offers three interactive programs with dolphins:  Touch encounter lets you touch and kiss dolphins; Encounter swim lets you touch, kiss, play, and belly ride with dolphins; and Swim with lets you touch, kiss, play, and swim (foot push/dorsal pull) with dolphins.  Vince and I did "encounter swim" and we had sooo much fun!  It would have been more fun if they would have allowed personal cameras - especially that they charge extra fee$$$$$$ to participate in those programs.  Guests are somewhat obliged to buy Dolphin Cove's official photos and/or video coverage if they like souvenirs (of course, you'd like one for posterity's sake, right?) - at a somewhat unreasonable price.  So being the cheap us (and it helped that we only brought small cash in our pockets), Vince and I bought just two photos (one for each of us) at $16+ USD a piece.   Don't even bother asking me how much the DVDs cost. *feeling bitter* LOL.

Anyway, other than the dolphin encounter, I also petted a stingray, snorkeled, kayaked, and met and greeted iguanas, snakes, birds, and other animals in Dolphin Cove's jungle trail.  I will blog more about this some other time.

And yeah, if you think swimming with dolphins is cool, wait till you hear about my Seas Aqua Tour and Typhoon Lagoon - Walt Disney World Resort experience, where I swam with sharks, sea turtles, and other more gill-breathing creatures :)

Till then !


For more travel stories, please visit:  TUESDAY TRAVEL


This post is my entry for:

Smiling Sally


Monday, September 19, 2011


Moo La La crepe
Stressed is desserts spelled backwards.

Back in my Toronto days, me and my BFF Neil / or me and Vince / or me, Neil and Vince / or me, Neil, Vince and other friends / shared a lot of bonding moments over desserts at Caffe Demetre.  Lucky me and Neil, there is one close by where we lived.  We would walk our way to the sweet shop and sit there for hours, and just have quality time exchanging each other's point of view and sharing loads of laughter, and at least for that moment, allow our stress to be swept away by Demetre's oh-so-fine home-made ice creams and other desserts.

Tongue Depressor waffle (if my memory serves me right)
One thing that makes Demetre fun and cool is its trademark names for signature dessert creations. Demetre's full menu used to be available online, however, in order to protect its contents from internet piracy, they have limited the details they show in their website. Desserts to choose from include ice cream crepes, freshly baked Belgian waffles, awesome banana splits, fancy sundaes, cake a la modes, pies and cakes. They also serve wicked cappuccinos, lattes, cocoa, organic teas, iced coffees, ice cream shakes, and granitas.

From Here to Maternity - the name of the dessert
and my future condition ;)
My favorite is Moo La La on crepe.  It's got bananas, chocolate ice cream, almonds, whip cream, Nutella hazelnut chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  I also tried a sundae cone version of it called From Here to Maternity.  Vince usually gets a waffle, and Neil - he vents out his stress over a yummy slice of cake and a cup of black coffee.

Demetre's is the perfect stop after dinner with friends on a local restaurant, or an evening with somebody special after a great movie on the big screen.  This place is a sure ball stress buster, however, if I may suggest, there should be a huge flashing warning sign outside each store that says:  "Not for hyperglycemics or eat at your own risk."  Hehe!


For more foodie stuff, please visit:  GASTRONOMY MONDAY


This is my entry for:

FTFBadge Weekday Potluck Every Tuesday to ThursdayTempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Friday, September 16, 2011


Growing up in the Philippines, I remember how my family would hurry and scurry to my grandparent's house every time we'd receive a door-to-door padala box from loved ones and relatives living abroad.  No one would dare miss the opening of such boxes.  For a few seconds, we'd all be mesmerized by the"amoy abroad" scent that comes out of the box once opened.   What would transpire next is a blur.  Before you knew it, someone had grabbed something from the box, thrown stuff at one another, fit clothes on, munched candy bars, and compared what one got with the rest of the bunch.  There would, of course, be the silent scavenger (and sometimes with an accomplice) who, when after everybody else had ransacked the box, would scrape the leftover goodies.  You'd have to be prompt and fast so as to get first dibs, or else you'd be the scavenger or his accomplice (you choose!) :p

Now that I'm on the sending end, I realized that there's a whole lot more to those padala boxes than just being containers of imported goodies. 

First and foremost, it's not cheap to fill a box.  The box itself costs $10 and shipping fee ranges from $50 to $75 depending on the location of pick-up and delivery.

Next, we go to the contents.  Hand-me-downs are good for cushion and stuffing but you cannot send a box that merely contains second-hand items.  I'm sure your recipients will appreciate it better if you throw in a dozen cans of carne norte, Spam, chocolates, perfume, purse, watches, shirts, and other branded State-side items.  You don't want them wondering why the heck are you sending stuff they can easily buy at home, right?  Whenever my husband and I would go shopping for our padala box, we would joke about what our relatives would think of us if we send them Lucky Me Pancit Canton, Century Tuna, and the likes bought from a Filipino store.  You get what I mean?  Hehe!

After then, hauling those goodies from the grocery store is not an easy task.  I'm telling you, when you buy by bulk (it's always cheaper by the dozen and when on sale!), you need a dolly to bring those inside your home and to save yourself some energy from making several trips.  Also, not every Filipino living abroad owns a car, so you can just imagine those grocery bags being carried and transported in buses and subway.

Boxing comes next.  I'd like to point out that a box doesn't usually get filled and sealed in one day.  Normally, we'd buy several items at a time, wait for sales, then wait for the next pay cheque, and repeat the cycle, until the goodies accumulate enough to fill a box.  Once ready, you get a box and wrap duct tape all over it until it's sturdy.  Then, you start putting the goodies inside the "mummified" box.  This is also a somewhat challenging task because you want to make sure that the items inside are packed properly and secured (cookies might get crushed to bits, liquids might leak, etc.).  When everything is set, you give the door-to-door delivery service a call to arrange a pick-up.

One to two months thereafter, your box will reach its destination - and then the next thing you'd know is that your family back home hurried and scurried for the grand opening of this box, and telling you how good it smelled :D

So the next time you see or receive a padala box, keep in mind that it's not just a container full of imported items.  It's got a whole lot of loving in it :)



In less than two months, I'm home!  I have been away for six years, and the excitement builds up as the date approaches.  I can't hardly wait c",)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In May 2011, my husband attended a conference in Florida, and yours truly, of course tagged along.  We were fresh from our Jamaican trip the previous month, so although this short Florida trip was work-related, we consider it as an extension of our honeymoon and an early 31st birthday celebration for me.  We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville - right by the longest river in Florida, St. Johns River.  We didn't really have the chance to explore a lot of Jacksonville attractions as we only spent three nights there but we had a wonderful time.

Main Street Bridge on the background

On our last night, Vince and I took a stroll by the boardwalk along the river.  The lovely spring evening was very inviting.  The warm Florida weather was perfect for a long walk, and the cool breeze was in sync for a carefree conversation.  We had a nice time chatting and peeking into those vintage-looking ferries that transported people who wished to cross the river.  We sat on the wooden rails and waited for manatees to poke their heads out of the lazy waters.  Fancy restaurants with a river view were lined up by the side.  The blue-lit Main Street and Acosta lift bridges blended well with Jacksonville skyline completing a picturesque backdrop.  There was a small chapel by the river as well, which was dressed up at that time, and it looked like somebody just got married there.  It was definitely one of those rare romantic movie scene moments which happens in real life ♥  Simply precious!


For more travel stories, please visit:  TUESDAY TRAVEL


Coincidentally, while blogwalking this morning, I happened to land upon Shengkay's Randomness Journal, and learned about her Orange Tuesdays meme.  So, I'm going to go ahead and jump on her orange bandwagon with this post.  Talking about hitting two birds with one stone, eh? ;)


And looks like I can hop on several more memes:

Smiling SallyPhotobucket



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