Postcard Series #22: MamaMiami!

Ooooh, Mamamiamiii!! We hit the jackpot when the studio apartment we booked along downtown Brickell Bay got upgraded to a three bedroom unit! We had an awesome view! Okay, okay so it wasn’t the white sandy beaches of Miami but it’s still an awesome view, right?!

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It was suppose to be Spring break when we were in town but thankfully it was moved by one week so the party scene in Miami didn’t get as rowdy as I was thinking it would be. Sadly, we were in town for work so instead of swimsuits, I had to pack business-appropriate clothes! But we couldn’t resist spending a couple of hours hanging around at this beautiful beachfront!

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I still dream of Joe’s stone crabs. They’re insane. Perfectly cooked claws that crack soooo easily. I was so happy crabs are allowed in my diet so I was able to eat these, guilt-free! The Lord truly has mercy! hahaha Their store opens only when it’s crab season. The rest of the year– from May til October it’s closed!!

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I fell in love with all the art deco-inspired buildings. It felt like a real life Disneyland, I kid you not! Even the bus terminals looked like Disneyland bus terminals! Amazingly beautiful city!

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We capped our four-day visit with catching a basketball game — Miami Heat vs Memphis Grizzlies! The game was tight so it was an awesome show! Pero sa totoo lang, I don’t watch basketball so I was the clueless girl asking my husband who the heck Lebron James was in the crowd or Dwayne Wade. I knoooow — sacrilege to many!! I know the names but not the faces!! Hahahaha

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Postcard Series #21: Dallas!

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Few things beat the joys of family reunions. I was so glad to see our “other” family in the States again and Drew was pumped to finally meet the twins. It was an exciting two weekends: the first weekend was the girls’ dedication/baptism and the second weekend was spent on their first day out to the zoo!! Milestones, milestones!

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Of course we still managed to check out a few food and tourist spots! Drew got to try authentic texan fare with the ribs/sausage/brisket platter and deep fried chicken. But I tell you, it was the smell of the corn breads that was killing me! And the fried okras and the hash and the beans and the….haaay. Cohen was a pain during this trip!

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Retail Therapy

Oh my. Since my operation last Friday, I’ve been limited with my movements but nothing seems to stop me from going online and punching in my credit card numbers to buy all sorts of things!

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Awesome buys from AVA: Castile soaps that are made purely from olive oil and a hot compress pack in a pretty bag from SO TRUE NATURALS; serving board made from sustainably-farmed premium Honduras Mahogany and finished only with olive oil from SUSTAINABLY MADE; and, BPA/BPS-free glass bottle from LIFE FACTORY. I got the hugest size at 22 oz!

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I scored some great pasalubong treats for my sister from TASTE CENTRALl! La Cocina de Tita Moning’s legendary Queso de Bola Spread and Cacao de Davao’s cacao beans — Davao is considered the Philippine chocolate hub!

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Buying American brands from their online shops usually gets you better deals! Benefit sent me an email about their latest promo and boom, I had to grab it! My make up kit needed an update anyway!

Thank you, online shops, for helping me cope with my boredom. Your delivery boys, coming in bearing my packages are also spots of sunshine in my otherwise, incredibly monotonous day. But now I really need to get back to work to pay for all these expenses I’m racking up!!

Because God is Faithful

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A good friend gave me this bracelet last weekend and I’ve been wearing it everyday since. The past weeks have been a bit tough for me personally with a slight health scare. I’ve been feeling better enough that I’ve gone back working at the office but it’s not over yet. I still have to undergo a minor operation on Friday early morning but it’s been such a huge comfort to be surrounded by supportive and encouraging family and friends who pray for me every single day and strengthen my faith.

Because I’m a realist, I play through the worst case scenarios in my mind – from being physically altered, to being terminally ill to dying. Drew hates it when I talk to him about these things that go through my head but because I’m a little bit emotionally retarded I feel like I have to do it in advance so my real emotions can come to the surface. Weird huh? Kanya-kanya lang tayo ng topak! But funnily enough, after the initial fear, I realized that my main emotion was that of confidence that God was in control so it doesn’t really matter what happens. Of course, I’m asking family and friends to pray for the best case scenario. But then what in my head is the best case scenario may not necessarily be the same as the one God has in mind! I simply have to trust in His goodness and his promise that the plan he has in store for me is one that will give me hope and a future that is good for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

So yeah, just breathe, Lea. Breathe.

Coffee 101

I had to laugh when I came across this line from an article circulating on Facebook about a young married couple: “…many of their recreational decisions are dictated by Groupon.” Ours is dictated by Deal Grocer but same banana! I hoard every time there’s a deal from our favorite massage place and from salons nearby for my manis and pedis. I mean, I’m sure I’m going to spend for these things so might as well get them for a song, right?!

Over the weekend, we got into a Coffee 101 class also thanks to Deal Grocer at a newly opened restaurant, Marmalade Kitchen.

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It was suppose to be a sister-in-law-bonding date since we’re both obsessed with coffee, but last minute Nik had to cancel out so Drew stepped in even though he doesn’t drink coffee! (Isn’t my husband just great?! haha) I was soooo happy geeking out on all things coffee. I really had to resist the urge to bring out my pen and jot down notes! (As if there’ll be a test! hahaha) We came away learning how to prepare both hot and cold coffee, making coffee art and the essentials of good coffee making.

Marmalade Kitchen located at The Forum BGC holds various cooking classes and after my Cohen program, I’m sure I’ll find myself attending one again and of course, in their resto to try their food!

New Morning Ritual: Oil Pulling

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I’ve been working from home this whole week due to some minor but inconvenient medical situation. With all that time on my hands, I’ve finally gotten around to trying oil pulling. I first read about it in Indigo Baby’s website (my go-to shop when I have to buy gifts for baby showers). They were selling a product called Gargoyle Oil Pulling Tonic and while I didn’t end up buying that particular brand, I did pick this other one when I stopped over at Sesou Nature Source for my argan oil shampoo. It’s been stuck in my bathroom cabinet until I read about FabAfterForty giving oil pulling a try. My gums have been feeling sensitive of late too so I thought it was high time to give it a go.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat.

How It’s Done:
1. Take one tablespoon of the cold pressed virgin coconut oil (or sesame oil or any high quality organic oil) into the mouth while stomach is empty.
2. Slowly swish the oil around the mouth. This should be done for 15-20 minutes so it’s best to do something else while oil pulling to help pass the time.
3. Apparently, the oils mix with the saliva, turning it into a thin, white liquid. This is where the magic happens as the lipids in the oils begin to pull out toxins from the saliva of the mouth. After a while, that one tablespoon of oil starts to feel like a whole mouthful and the texture becomes more like water than oil. Careful not to swallow the oil!!
4. After 20 minutes, spit out the oil. Apparently, this has become so toxic, it’s best to spit into your trash or a bag instead of the sink. You also don’t want to clog your drains either especially if you use coconut oil which has a tendency to solidify when cold. Not likely to happen in our tropical weather, but best to be safe!
5. I usually wash my mouth with salted water to make sure I remove all the oil in my mouth but some find this unnecessary.

My gums have been thanking me ever since I oil pulled! My lips feel a lot more moisturized too. Some of the reading available online make oil pulling like some magic cure-all. I doubt it is, but what it can do for my oral health is enough to convince me to keep this up!