Archive | Lifestyle RSS feed for this section

Five … Ohhhh (Many wishes)

8 Oct

My September birthday celebrations was extended to October in a different city/state (Seattle, WA) and country (Whistler, BC Canada).

My 50th was definitely unforgettable … I could celebrate this for a year!

To all those who made it memorable, my heartfelt thanks!

First wish - September 7th at the Palace Hotel

First wish – September 7th at the Sheraton Palace Hotel. I was a queen for a day!

IMG_5404

Second wish on September 21st at Poesia

Second wish on September 21st at Poesia. Celebrated with the Castro queens!

IMG_5550

Third wish on September 28th at Cafe divine

Third wish on September 28th at Cafe divine. Third wish was divine

1491375_608837525895125_8119949466417137779_o

Fourth wish on October 3rd at Sheraton Seattle

Fourth wish on October 3rd at Sheraton Seattle, WA – This one was a surprise!

Fifth wish on October 4th at Canlis restaurant

Fifth wish on October 4th at Canlis restaurant, Seattle, WA ~ I would love to celebrate here again and again!

Sixth wish on October 6th at Araxia, Whistler, BC

Sixth wish on October 6th at Araxia, Whistler, BC Canada

Five … Ohhhh (Exhale!)

17 Sep

Yes, today, I turned the big five-O. Half-century ~ five decades ~

Last night, I felt an overwhelming anticipation. I received many birthday wishes from across the world (the Philippines is ahead by 14 hours). I received flowers at work and all day long of well-wishers. The days isn’t over yet … more to write about tomorrow.

50 card

Yes, you are looking at a 50 year old chick ... still wearing her stilettos proudly!

Yes, you are looking at a 50 year old chick … still wearing her stilettos proudly!

Thanks to everyone!

Entertaining: Hot Pot Party

26 Aug

In 2013, I went to a hot pot house party. The hosts told us not to bring anything except dessert and/or beverage of our choice. That was great! I did not know what to do bring anyways. The hot pot party was a hit and I totally love it.

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend's house

My friends put this hot pot together at a friend’s house

Even the kids are eating

Even the kids are eating

 

I entertained my 80 year old parents and see what they think about it. I bought four sets of dishes and the table-top gas burner. Then, I proceeded to an Asian grocery store and asked around what are the ingredients for a hot pot. There was a whole isle of hot pot ideas! The hot pot to was a hit for my parents.

My 80 year old parents loved the hot pot

My 80 year old parents loved the hot pot

Hosting my parents with hot pot

Hosting my parents with hot pot

 

After a year of not doing hot pot, I asked my girlfriends how they feel about doing hot pot and hang out. Wow! They were up to it.

I brought the four sets of dishes, table-top gas burner and a big divided pot and the following ingredients:

baby bok choi, long white radish, julienned carrots & bamboo shoots, enoki & beech mushrooms and condiments.

Baby bok choi

Baby bok choi

Long white radish

Long white radish

Julianned carrots and bamboo shoots

Julianned carrots and bamboo shoots

Enoki mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms

Beech mushrooms

Beech mushrooms

Condiments

Condiments (Goma Shabu & Pon Shabu)

 

Everyone else brought the following ingredients:

Thinly sliced beef, shrimp, soup base (tom ka gai-coconut chicken soup, miso soup and a regular chicken stock), different kinds of fish balls, beef balls, tofu, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, Lemon grass for the soup and different kinds of cooked noodles

IMG_5224

IMG_5225

IMG_5227

IMG_5228

IMG_5230

IMG_5233

Whatever we made was enough for ten. It was super easy to make since you put whatever ingredient you want to put in the pot. After an hour of eating, we were full but we know what we ate was healthy. We actually decided not to clean up right away, thinking that we will have seconds an hour or two later ~ but being girls, we were stuffed.

I will definitely entertain with hot pot again. Will you join me?

Health: Bikram Yoga

25 Aug

I practiced Bikram yoga about 4-5 years ago and I know that the practice requires discipline and determination. I do not remember why I stopped going, maybe because I moved back to the city.

In the past three and a half weeks, I practiced Bikram yoga nine times. I am shooting to practice 3-4 times a week. I bought a $35 groupon at my local Bikram yoga studio to get me started. The groupon was good for 2 months of unlimited practice.

Bikram4

On my first day, I decided to go at 7:00 a.m. – what determination, ha? My first day was not bad at all. After my first day back, I was sore. I just want to go back to sleep. I stretched muscles I forgotten I have – I had to take a pain reliever to get through the day.

Bikram1

I decided to take 4 days of break and the second time I went at 8:00 p.m. Now, my second day was discouraging, I missed 4 or 5 of the 26 poses. It was at the end of the day and I was dizzy doing most of the poses. I took some pain reliever and decided to take another 4 days before I go at it again.

Bikram2

Nice sweaty muscles … but this is not me

 

On my third day, I felt better. Before the class started, our instructor told us to respect our body and make the most of the poses within our limits, without judgment, without guilt. She told us to enjoy the class and just be in the moment. That class turned out to be great!

Bikram3

I practiced 2 days back to back and that turned out to be great too.

I am more flexible now and I have been practicing 2 days in a row in the past week. I cannot believe the improvements that I had. After two classes, I thought I would have given up by now. Well … I bought a new hot yoga mat, additional hot yoga towels and new hot yoga outfits. I’m doing this for a very long time.

http://www.bikramyoga.com/BikramYoga/TwentySixPostures.php

DIY: Wall update

22 Aug

It has been three years and the wall in my dining area is still bare white. My type A personality is itching to do another DIY project. I know that I want to do something simple and easy to change when another idea comes to mind.

I ordered wall stickers at Innovative Stencils (http://www.innovativestencils.com/large-wall-birch-tree-decal-forest-kids-vinyl-sticker-removable-with-leaves-branches-1119/)

In 2.5 hours, I have an interesting looking wall. You should try it!

My first attempt - hope it works

My first attempt – hope it works

The look is coming together

The look is coming together

Cut the stickers and carefully place them on the wall. Press it it firmly.

Cut the stickers and carefully place them on the wall. Press it it firmly.

Carefully remove the backing

Carefully remove the backing

photo_1 (15) photo_2 (14) photo_3 (11) photo_4 (7)

Finished wall. I might out more leaves later on.

Finished wall. I might put more leaves later on.

My California Gold – Napa Valley

4 Aug

Since wineries started charging for wine tasting, I very seldom visit the Napa Valley. When I have out of town guests, I take them to wineries that offer free wine tasting and most of them are in Sonoma.

Luckily, I have a friend who is a member of two private wineries and he can have three friends whom he can invite to join him for an annual harvest festival or for a random free wine tasting. We ate and were wined. This year, I was the designated driver, so, no alcohol for me. I purely enjoyed the company of my friends, who were tipsy (wink). If you are not a member or not a member guest, the cost to come to this event is $75 per winery = $150 per person for the two wineries we went to.

http://farniente.com/

http://www.nickelandnickel.com/

In particular, I loved sitting under 100+ year old oak trees, the sound of water fountain, listening to jazz music and the sound of laughter. The service at the places we went to were superb. Although, I wasn’t drinking wine, they had plenty of water and lemonade. There was an abundance of mouthwatering cheese and hors d’oeuvres. People were friendly. I got to take home a nice empty bottle of dolce wine-with gold plate lettering and a nice wooden box that I can use. Here are some pictures at this annual event.

Slide1

Slide2

Slide4

Slide3

Slide5

Slide6

Slide7

Slide8

Slide9

My California Gold – Mission Inn at Riverside

1 Aug

1,273 miles from San Francisco to Riverside (Round-trip), Riverside as my final destination in this trip, the Mission Inn captured my interest in history, art and luxury. The square block of the hotel felt like I was in Europe. I got excited when I found out that the new owners has the same last name as mine (wink).

Mission Inn main entrance

Mission Inn main entrance

Mission Inn - Spanish Patio

Mission Inn – Spanish Patio

Mission Inn - Spanish Patio

Mission Inn – Spanish Patio

Inside the Spanish Art Gallery

Inside the Spanish Art Gallery

Napoleon & Joseph, St. Francis Shrine

Napoleon & Joseph, St. Francis Shrine

Joseph and Napoleon are the talking parrots at Mission Inn  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6PWiMtbyJQ

Romeo's Dome and the Obscura

Romeo’s Dome and the Obscura

St, Francis chapel

St, Francis chapel

Inside the St. Francis chapel

Inside the St. Francis chapel

Presidential suites area

Presidential suites area

I would love to take a splash on this hot summer day

At the Rotunda

At the Rotunda

Ho-O-Kan

Ho-O-Kan

Mission Inn under ground

Mission Inn under ground

http://www.missioninn.com/?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Brand&utm_content=Brand&utm_keyword=mission%20inn%20riverside

We might come back for the Festival of Lights.

Chicken Curry Masala

29 Jul

With my recent visit around Berkeley, I had the most mouth-watering chicken masala at Kabana Restaurant (http://kabanarestaurant.net/). I was inspired to make this dish at home.

I bought the ingredients (Except for chicken breast)  at Bombay Spice (http://www.yelp.com/biz/bombay-spice-house-Berkeley) and followed the instructions at the back of the Chicken Curry Masala.

Curry Masala Recipe

Curry Masala Recipe

Ingredients for chicken curry masala

Ingredients for chicken curry masala

masala

IMG_5023

Got some nan bread to dip into the chicken curry masala and I am all set. Enough spiciness to make my nose run.

Taste: Hmmmmm … I need to go back to the restaurant and try to copy the taste. I think I’m missing something.

My California Gold – Morro Bay

26 Jul

1,273 miles from San Francisco to Riverside (Roundtrip), stopping along the California pacific coast, at Morro Bay. I have always passed by this big rock but never stopped. On this trip, I wandered around this surfer’s dream beach.

The Morro Rock!

The Morro Rock!

Morro Bay State Beach park

Morro Bay State Beach park

Behind the big Morro Rock - over 250  species of birds

Behind the big Morro Rock – over 250 species of birds

Surfing camp

Surfing camp

Surfer's delight

Surfer’s delight

Surfer delight

Surfers delight

Morro Bay Harbor

Morro Bay Harbor

Sunset at Morro Bay Harbor

Sunset at Morro Bay Harbor

http://www.morrobay.org/

My California Gold – Hearst Castle

25 Jul

1,273 miles from San Francisco to Riverside (Roundtrip), stopping along the pacific coast, by San Simeon. The Hearst Castle had always captured my interest in history, art and luxury.

I have visited the Hearst Castle several times (1997, 2003, 2010 and 2014). Each visit is different and I always enjoyed it. I always wondered how my life is if I have that much money.

In 1997 and 2003, I took the Grand Rooms Tour.

Circa 1997

Circa 1997

Circa 2003 with my parents (Casa Grande)

Circa 2003 with my parents (Casa Grande)

Circa 2003 - With my parents (Neptune Pool)

Circa 2003 – With my parents (Neptune Pool)

In 2010, I took the Cottages and Kitchen Tour.

Circa 2010 - One of the guest house sun rooms

Circa 2010 – One of the guest house sun rooms

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Circa 2010 Neptune Pool

Here are some pics from my recent visit. This year I took the Upstairs Suites tour. The Neptune Pool had been emptied and the railings along the pool were installed ~ It’s not as grand when it’s empty …  Regardless, the whole place is still beautiful and amazing!

The Neptune Pool - no water :-(

The Neptune Pool – no water 😦

The view from the gardens

The view from the gardens

Mr. Hearst office

Mr. Hearst office

Marion Davies' bedroom

Marion Davies’ bedroom

One of the guest bedrooms

One of the guest bedrooms

The Library

The Library

The view from Mr. Randolph Hearst bedroom

The view from Mr. Randolph Hearst bedroom

Indoor pool

Indoor pool

The view from the gardens

The view from the gardens

Casa Grande

Casa Grande

In my next visit, I plan to take the twilight dinner tour.

http://hearstcastle.org/

%d bloggers like this: