Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DSF is here!

pardon me for not sharing this with you promptly, but the much-awaited Dubai Shopping Festival, or better known as DSF, had already begun last 24th January. yes, this thrilling shopping experience finally unfolded with tons of entertainment and festivities lined up for locals and tourists alike.

this is the time of the year when major shops in Dubai do their clearance sale. it’s a kind of shopping experience shopaholics love – discounts of up to 70% off! even the luxury brands join this annual event, too. imagine Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols throwing in some great deals on most of the best brands they carry – Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade. wow, ain’t that uber exciting!!

now before you wonder which of these temptations i gave in to, the answer is none. the only purchases i made since the sale started were my spectacles, a generic knit sweater, a pair of driving shoes (for Ryan), and mobile phones for me & hubby (yes, we switched from Nokia to Sony Ericsson!). i am preventing myself from squeezing life out of my wallet for clothes, shoes and bags because we want to do another trip this year, apart from the holiday back to the Philippines planned for December.

save for a few items i want to buy for V-day (gift for hubby) and much needed make up in addition to my depleting stash, i will have to settle with window shopping this year and resist with all my might to spend for stuff i don’t really need.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

linky love

got tagged by my gradeschool bud Drea :)

cut and paste the following starting here. i have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and i hope that you will similarly publish this post in your blog. you will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list.(do not replace, just keep on adding! yes, we hope it will be a long list!)

it’s real easy! tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially! the benefits of Viral Linking: one of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode! - increase your Google PageRank fast - attract large volume of new traffic to your site - build your community - make new friends!

The Strategist Notebook Link Addiction Ardour of the Heart When Life Becomes a Book The Malaysian Life Yogatta.comWhat goes under the sun Roshidan’s Cyber Station Sasha says Arts of Physics And the legend lives My View, My Life A Simple Life Juliana RW The Callalily Space Petra Summer in Blue Confessions of an Army Wife Bless’ Sanctuary Happy Life Living @ Evergreen State La Place de Cherie, Chez Francine, Le bric a brac de Cherie, Little Peanut, Pea in a Pod, The Creative In Me, Me and Mine , Me and my Two Boys, My Life is Peachy , http://bless519.bravejournal.com/ Memories Frozen in Time My Joys My Charmed Life, The Working Mom, Online Raket, Practical Tips and More, Food Drink Atbp, On A Wonderful Day Like Today, 100% Kelly chary Our Journey as a Family Chat, My Happy Place, Raising Sandy, I am Dzoi, Alpha’s Blog, because life is fun, A Handful of Surprises, My Paper Scraps, Digitally Diane, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Life Is A Journey, A Reality Bite ADD YOURSELF HERE

i'm tagging Dionne, Jesse, Pheng, Jade & Lei :D

3 decades of love…and counting…


dear Mommy & Daddy,

we cannot thank God enough for giving you to us as our parents. we couldn’t find the right words of gratitude to say for everything that you’ve done for us all these years. you’ve nurtured us with your unconditional love and supported us in every decision we made in life. you wished only the best for us, and you’ve even made sacrifices to give us a comfortable life and achieve our dreams, and yet, you did not expect anything in return. we wouldn’t be who we are right now without you...we are so blessed to have you as our parents.

as we celebrate your special day, here’s our special wish for the most loving couple we’ve met in our lifetime: good health to enjoy, more hearty laughter to share, more anniversaries to celebrate and countless memories to make ahead of you!

happy anniversary! we love you Mommy & Daddy!

infinite x’s & o’s,
GRAMARBER
(GRAcie, MARian & BERnadette)
+ your sons, Ryan & Jeff and grand daughter, Ysha

Monday, January 28, 2008

paint the town, er, pink

finally, after 2 years of denying the fact that i need a spiffier mobile phone, i decided to get myself something a bit more on the updated side, yet handy and still very much stylish.

presenting my new loot – a
Sony Ericsson z610i! :D


i know it’s not exactly “new” new, but when i saw it at Axiom two weeks ago, i instantly fell in love with it. well, who wouldn’t - with it’s rose pink color, smooth finish, and hidden mirror effect – it’s every Elle Wood’s dream phone. what an eye candy! it’s successor, the z750 is already out in the market, but i opted to take on this instead because of it’s color and functionality. it’s practical, savvy looking and its features fit my personality and lifestyle to a tee.

however, i also realized that i can’t completely savor my new companion’s features unless i actually have the ample vision to see things clearly. yep, my eyesight has been on the deteriorating side lately, and the constant headaches i've been having for the past few days prompted me to get myself a new pair of eyeglasses. i bravely faced the sad fact that i am now gonna be part of that percentage of people who rely on spectacles on a day to day basis. blame it on bad reading habits and too much time spent in front of the computer!

anyway, i still feel pretty lucky for having found a good optometrist around my area. i just went downstairs to our centre’s basement retail strip and came across the Visual Optics shop where a lovely lady Filipina optometrist assisted me. she patiently showed and explained to me various lenses that would suit my needs, and cheerfully helped me find the right frame that would flatter the shape of my face. and what do you know, i ended up with another item in the shade of pink!


i got myself a pretty good deal with this frame not only because it does look nice, but also because it came with an affordable price. the shop was having a sale ‘til end of the month, and my choice’s price tag was slashed 40% off its original price. thanks to my ALICO health card, i can reimburse the expenses for the lenses and test, and technically just pay for the frame. woohoo!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ma pochette

since i saw this on Louis Vuitton LVoer's blog, i could not stop myself from lusting over it.

Mini Pochette Accessoires Trunks and Bags


i checked the LV stores in Dubai, but both Mall of the Emirates and Burjuman have run out of stock. i would love to get my hands on one because my Petit Noe needs a pochette to carry small items that could get lost inside the bag. more than its old school beauty, this Mini Pochette can provide easy access to my most frequently used little stuff such as keys, access card, lip balm, flash drive & mobile phone. it’s not easy to search in a wide, deep bag, and sometimes it takes me forever to find my access card at work, which can really be a bummer when you are in a rush in the morning. plus, with the Petit Noe’s built-in D-ring, i can easily attach the chain of the pochette so there is a very low risk of losing the pouch because it’s attached to the bag.

if only they offer shipping in this side of the world, it would be a lot simpler for me to get one :(

Sunday, January 20, 2008

a day full of unions...a day full of love

what are the chances that three of your friends from various circles are getting married on the same day?

this afternoon, we were asked to submit our leave forecast for the year 2008. as i was plotting the dates for our holiday on December, it occurred to me that i have to list down the dates of the weddings that we are invited to so we can plan our departure and arrival dates. the only wedding date we haven’t confirmed is A & M’s so i decided to give A a call. i almost fell off my seat when he told me that their wedding date is also on the 20th December – same as the wedding date of our two other friends with their respective fiancĂ©/fiancĂ©e.

i wonder what’s with the 20th that it has become so popular for couples to exchange their vows. well, it’s either that date is extra special for the pair, or simply because it fell on a Saturday, which is convenient for most guests and witnesses to attend. for whatever reasons they have, they sure have created a bit of a dilemma for me. i, for one, hate missing out on special occasions of family and friends alike. out of sincerity of friendship and courtesy, i always make it a point to attend these milestones in their lives, regardless of the likelihood that i would be seated in a table filled with people i do not know. but golly, with all 3 weddings in one day, how could i possibly do that? on a Saturday of December, just a few days before Christmas for that matter??

luckily, one of the 3 weddings is in the morning. that we can easily attend to without a problem because reception finishes by noon. but for the 2 other weddings happening in the afternoon, the only solution hubby & i could think of is for the 2 of us to split – he goes to our college friend’s wedding, i go to my gradeschool friend’s wedding. for the time being, this is our interim solution since it is least likely that we could attend to both weddings, given the proximity of the churches and reception venues, plus the holiday season traffic jams. although Ryan and i would love to be there and attend their special day together, i guess one of us will have to represent “us”, but in a “singular” way.

come to think of it, having all three of these couples make their vows on the same day will make it a lot, lot easier for us to remember their anniversaries! ;-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

gastronomic escapades

hubby, if i may say so, is one of the most adventurous people in the world when it comes to eating. he likes trying out new restaurants and even dares to taste exotic food. but personally, i think he is most fond of the idea of compelling me to try something i’ve never tasted before. i have to admit that i am a picky eater. there, i’ve shamelessly confessed that! not that i’m downplaying, but i don’t think it’s that bad…promise! i’m just not the type who’s gonna eat anything that i find, if i would mildly put it, too gooey and/or a bit unsightly looking. to overcome this, hubby makes me taste stuff that he thinks i should be able to eat in the main so i would look cultured and not appear too fussy in the company of other people. so as not to offend my better half’s feelings, i normally give in…but only for a bite.

he was the one who introduced me to pesto, sushi, isaw and ginataang langka, just to name a few. for some reason, i don’t trust his initial judgment whenever he says a dish tastes delicious. despite the proven fact that he turns out right whenever he says something tastes good, i still have my fears reservations. seriously, it’s rather embarrassing! it’s like questioning the official chef in the house! geez, i should really learn to accept that his palate is more scrupulous than mine.

anyway, while i’m holidaying as a pretend-tourist in Dubai for three weeks, we had a few encounters with a number of cafes and restaurants in town, save for one where i spent an evening with friends. here’s a list of the cafes and restaurants we visited till last Saturday. to appease my hubby, i tried to be a little more open to other food choices, so i made it a point to order something new to my taste.

**********

Sugoi

Ryan is never a fan of mall food courts. he’s got one major reason, and that is the crowd. no, it’s not that he’s snob or anything of that sort. he just hates big crowds…you know, the kind wherein you’d find it difficult to grab a decent table to have your meal. well, i’m all hands down to Sugoi for slightly changing his mind about food courts. since we discovered this Japanese fast food (which reminds us of Tokyo, Tokyo back home) in City Centre Deira, we have been going to the food court more frequently than ever. we love their Prawn Pangko, Yakisoba, Chicken & Beef Teppanyaki & fried rice. and their Salmon Sashimi are guaranteed fresh - you can actually see the chef slicing the portions in front of you. and yes, hubby did convince me that Tuna Sashimi is tasty, too. well, let’s just say i’m happy with my salmon.

“sugoi” truly lives up to its name, which literally translates to great. we love Sugoi and we keep coming back!

Blue Elephant Royal Thai Cuisine

at Al Bustan Rotana’s Thai infamous resto is where we celebrated our anniversary last 27th December. it fell on a Thursday so we were lucky to experience their Sawasdee Siam Night for a buffet of only AED 159 net per person, inclusive of drinks. we were in the mood to eat Thai food, and we must say for its price, it was sulit! i don’t have any food allergies so i didn’t dare check the names of the dishes because otherwise, i would’ve felt intimidated and scrammed to the nextdoor Italian restaurant for dinner. the food was incredibly sumptuous we kept coming back to the buffet table!

no wonder Blue Elephant was once voted as Best Thai Restaurant in Dubai – everything was absolutely good! and since it was our anniversary, we were seated in a corner table where we had a nice view of the koi carp swimming lazily by the flower bordered waterway. it really pays when you make reservations ahead of time J i’ve never been to a buffet in ages, and this experience had me craving for more smorgasbord feasts. mmmmm, yum!

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

we made a little trip to the Jumeirah Beach Road one lazy Saturday afternoon to visit the Sports Market to for some beanies and socks, until we realized we haven’t had our lunch yet. just across the shop was The Coffee Bean, so we decided to troop there as my body was screaming for a caffeine break, too. lunch was a serving of Caesar Salad, Mushroom Fusilli and Roast Chicken sandwich. food was good, but the service could’ve been better. the passion fruit iced tea was a real winner for hubby, while coffee for me was so so. oh well, better than none for a coffee lover like me.

Mugg & Bean

we were in Uptown Mirdiff one weekend to drop off some goodies to a friend. we were supposed to go home after checking out a couple of stores, but decided to have a quick bite first before heading home. Mugg & Bean was right in front of us so we decided to get in and have a bite. hubby picked the M&B Grill, while i went for the Alabama Stacker. seriously, the sandwich tasted Arabic for me, but since i was trying to please hubby, i mightily finished it, but not without giving him a number of bites. i pretended i was sharing my food. hihi!

Casper & Gambini's

hubby & i checked this out while we were malling at Dubai Festival City one weekend. so brave of us even to dine al fresco, despite the chills we were getting because the restaurant was situated in the Canal Walk. well, taste-wise, i learned one thing from my dining encounter in this restaurant: the best pesto ever is from a Veneto Pizzeria Ristorante in Manila. nothing could top that! the next time i find myself sitting in this restaurant, i will make sure i order their bestseller to be on the safe side. hubby was lucky with his order of philly’s - it was yummy. so is the potato crispy skins with its sour cream dip, which was my idea to order :D the banana strawberry freezes and lemonade with mint were refreshing, too, so i guess i just wasn’t lucky with the choice i made on my food.

Dome Cafe

you wouldn’t believe which branch Beth, Cleng and i went to for our get together last week! where else but in the DIFC. yep, right smack in the perimeter of my office. not that i missed going to work because i am enjoying my holiday, thank you very much. it’s just that we were thinking of a quiet place to talk and enjoy a nice dinner, and considering where Cleng would come from (she works in Jebel Ali) and where she lives, Sheikh Zayed was the most convenient venue for us all to meet. i suggested Shakespeare, but The Dome won. good thing we also ended up at The Dome because we had the place to ourselves. it was a Thursday and there were very few patrons around the area. this time, since hubby wasn’t around, i didn’t play adventurous and went straight to ordering my favorite – Grilled Garlic Chicken with a glass of lemon mint to go with it. it was soooo good that even with all the chitchatting, i was able to finish my food in no time!

Kiku

have i told you that my hubby’s favorite dish is Japanese? he can live his lifetime eating all sorts of Japanese food, and would probably never miss eating Filipino food…ever! :D with the cravings for Japanese food these days, we opted to celebrate our 2nd civil wedding anniversary at Kiku in Le Meridien Dubai. we had servings of Salmon Nigiri, Maruboshi Iwashi, Ika No Tsukeyaki, Tempura Moriawas, Sushi Gozen and Chicken Teriyaki Don. yeah, we were so hungry we had 4 appetizers before our main dish! and i did dare taste EVERYTHING. hubby was so proud! food was sumptuous, no wonder they’re multi-awarded. check out Time Out Magazine’s review…you’ll read nothing but praises for this authentic Japanese resto.

Baitong Thai Restaurant

we’ve heard so much about this Thai restaurant located in Karama that’s frequented by Filipinos, but it was our first time last Saturday to check it out. Baitong’s choices are limited, but food is quite ok for the price, so we really can’t complain. their Pad Thai was a huge serving, and thankfully it was because it was soooo good we quickly gobbled it up, along with each of our orders, which i now don’t recall. all i could vaguely remember is that there wasn’t even a morsel of food left on our plates.


**********


so there, that was a brief (??) recap of my escapades with food. i did a li’l bit of exploring on most of the menus and i’m quite happy that i did. next to shopping, eating out de-stresses me, so the next time we dine out, i’d try to be more open to other cuisines and not restrict myself to what i am familiar of.

tomorrow’s another day for errands, and for sure we will be out the whole day. as early as now, I wonder where our hunger will take us. hmmm, we’ll see.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

instant holiday

am i just lucky or what?

i have just gotten back from my holiday last Sunday when the news broke that yesterday's gonna be a public holiday due to the closing of major thoroughfares in the Metro. i know it sounds “over the top”, but the reason behind all this fuss is the visit of US President George W. Bush to
Dubai. not that he is that widely accepted to deserve such special treatment, but we have to face the fact that he has also become very unpopular with the choices and statements he’s made, hence the hostility of a great number of people against him, especially in the Middle East. as a prime target of assassination and terrorist attack, a huge portion of Dubai has been blocked for security reasons. this did not come as a surprise for us, anyway. when he went to London for a visit, half of the city was closed. same thing happened in the various locations he visited, which also resulted in major gridlock, similar to what we have encountered the other day. Sheikh Zayed Road had literally become a parking lot for hours, and motorists were fuming mad!

we wanted to take advantage of the unexpected holiday, so we planned on catching a movie at the nearby Sahara Centre since our area wasn't affected by the road closures. but with the kind of weather we had yesterday, we decided otherwise and chose to stay home. to pass the time, we brought out our favorite boardgame, Scrabble.


not wanting to ignore the craving to eat more when it's cold and raining outside, our thoughts turned to Champorado, which we had for merienda. we still have stock of tuyo, but feeling lazy to fry some in the middle of a tight game of Scrabble, we made do without the dried, salty fish partner. it was still a yummy treat nonetheless!



i guess our day went well, and it was a welcome, er, break for us... *tongue in cheek*

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

what's my fashion style?

i've bloghopped and found this interesting quiz. it simply corroborated what i already know and what other people noticed about me.

Your Fashion Style is Classic

You like what's stood the test of time...
Simple, well styled clothes that don't scream trendy
You stay updated and modern, but your clothes stay in style for a while
You wouldn't be caught in animal prints, fake fur, or super bright colors


i'm pleased with the result! i love shopping so much, but i make sure that most of my purchases would never easily go out of style. how about you, care to share what your fashion style is?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

it's wet outside

listen up everyone - it finally rained in this part of the world. yipee! the weather is so nice, and i like it. no, make that LOVE it!! it’s 15 degrees C outside…very conducive to (over)sleeping :D a perfect final hurrah before i go back to work next week. thank you, God!

i’ve waited so long for this rainfall. it's a welcome thought in this sunny-all-year-round-but-during-summer-quite-humid place.

i’m hitting the sack in a while. for a change, i’m in my pyjamas. i'm a happy camper!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

gift for moi

remember my previous post about Camilla Morton’s bestseller "How to Walk in High Heels"? the book’s absolutely entertaining that i was so eager to get hold of it’s sequel "A Girl for all Seasons". and what better time to get it from Magrudy’s than on Christmas…a perfect excuse to buy myself something i’m coveting for. LOL!


this counts as a Christmas gift to myself, and i love it! :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

farewell to a blessed 525,600 minutes

year 2007 was one of the best years i’ve ever had. it may sound like i’m not too fond of the previous years i’ve lived, but it’s just that this year has been pretty much bountiful for me and hubby. it definitely goes down the list as one of my favorites.

it’s marked as special not only because of the many blessings that we received, but also because a lot of exciting things happened this year. felt like everything started right when we celebrated our 1st anniversary last January as a mister and missus through the civil vow we took. time flew by so quickly…we made it through, and we know we will be celebrating more years of togetherness ahead.

last April, we’ve moved to a slightly bigger apartment, got it smartened up with color schemes, decorated it according to our liking and more importantly, had more friends who came by and visited. we had Lucy and Amanda, our faithful companions, who help us get connected to our loved ones. they are our most treasured machines at home.


halfway through the year, Ryan & i celebrated our respective birthdays surrounded by close friends and people dear to us. we had gatherings with a few surprises thrown in, as well, which made our celebrations truly memorable and extra special.

careerwise, i got my promotion and hubby found a job he’s really interested in. my job took me to New Orleans, USA, to London, UK, and to Monte Carlo, Monaco. in all these business trips, i’ve had many happy memories with my colleagues who were with me. i experienced new things, explored different places, and discovered diverse cultures. in the most recent trip i’ve been to, i was able to bring along hubby, and we were even able to do a bit of sight seeing in the neighboring southern province of Nice in France. (i know i’m meant to share stories about these trips, but will be doing that in another post…this is past due, but i promise to post them before i head back to work on the 13th January) meanwhile, hubby has been so far pleased with what he’s been doing as an IT Consultant. luckily, our schedules are in tune, so the two of us come to and from work together, which is something we both love ‘cause it means more time for the two of us, even in between traffic.

on a related note, Ryan got his driver’s license this year. after 3 tests, he finally snagged it. a driver’s license in Dubai is one of the toughest things to get hold of, and sometimes, the process could really get you down. but thank heavens he ultimately did! ‘twas well worth the trouble because during the later part of this year, we were able to purchase our new ride, Yumi, who has been a wonderful addition to our growing family.

2007 was also the year of our 9th anniversary as best of friends, and it was the best celebration ever! that overnight stay in Fujeirah will always be relished with jovial thoughts. we hope for a good one, too on our 10th :D

this year also proved to be good for us in terms of pursuing our hobbies and interests. hubby was able to work on his baking skill, which is already gaining it’s own fan base. he’s quite pleased that at last he had the chance to fulfil his passion, and i am, of course, 100% supportive of this. on the other hand, i managed to start blogging again after a long hiatus, and my creativity was put into practice through words. i know it needs more work…a little bit of practice every now and then won’t hurt. i’ve minored in writing back in college, so next to talking, this is what i love to do. unfortunately, i’m more inclined with my business writing skills so perhaps this hobby will help me regain my interest in creative writing. add that to the purpose of documenting our lives and imparting our daily tales to our families and friends.
and just before the year ended, we also celebrated our 1st church wedding anniversary. felt like the big day was just yesterday…memories are still fresh in our minds.

we’ve made new friendships in 2007, and rekindled old ones, too. we’ve had more warm embraces, sung happier songs, witnessed more sunshine in our lives, created happier memories, and healed more wounds this year. we’ve received much abundance materially, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. our relationship with God was further strengthened by our deep faith and acknowledgment of the thousand fold blessings that continuously come our way. we are humbled by all of the miracles that He does for us each day, and it makes us truly grateful.

having said a mouthful, we say earnestly say thank you for a good 2007…it was indeed beautiful. we gladly welcome 2008 with open arms, open minds and open hearts. whatever’s in store for us, we are eager and pleased to accept. year of the rat - bring it on!

have a happy & prosperous new year everyone!

signed,
the de Gracias
:)