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Friday, October 28, 2011

Great Place to Live for Career and Raising Family

I was browsing the net for great places to live for employment opportunities and quality of life. One of the cities cited is Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A lot of people relocate to Edmonton for its high quality of life and the employment opportunities that abounds. The vibrant economy in Edmonton has attracted people from all over the world. Despite the global economic downturn, Edmonton's economy remain strong. Because there are many opportunities for educated and skilled people, the city attracts people from all over the world. Those who choose to relocate to Edmonton will find that looking for Edmonton apartments is not that difficult because of the friendlier sites these days that allow people to look for a place in targeted areas. One of the reasons why Edmonton was named as one of the great places to live and raise a family is the high levels of income and extensive public transit system. Despite the temperatures sink lower than 32F( zero degrees Celsius) 178 days a year,
but its scant precipitation, low pollution levels and high household incomes from Edmonton booming industries still put this city in one of the top choices for a higher quality of life. Edmonton and the rest of the province of Alberta in Canada are expected to continue to provide jobs for immigrants now and in the future. The province of Alberta has higher minimum wage payment standard than British Columbia, thus, placing the household income of the region at a higher level than most of other places.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Cool Warmth of Fall

 Fall Colors @ Lake Poway, San Diego County

Fall Colors @ Lake Poway, San Diego County
Fall Colors @ Lake Poway, San Diego County
Confusing title? Well, it's because that's our kind of Fall here in San Diego, confusing when it comes to weather. This is the time where the days got cooler on average, the nights and early morning are colder. However, this is also the time where we get some days where the afternoons are even HOTTER THAN SUMMER, like what we are having this week. Fall is the season where we get the most offshore wind or locally known as "Santa Ana Winds", very infamous for fanning wildfires. 
What causes Santa Ana winds?
During the summer, Pacific Coast is cooler than inland. When most of UT, and NV are in the 90s or 100s, the Pacific Coast is still in the 60s-70's because of the cooling effect of the ocean. Then, during fall, the high deserts of UT and NV experiences drastic changes in temperature, dropping drastically from the 90s of summer to freezing, whereas the Pacific basin's temperature drops very slowly. This huge temperature difference between the Great Basin and Southern CA basin becomes the driving force of the Santa Ana winds (or downward slope winds). The cold air  from the high desert goes down, as it goes down the air compresses. Air compression warms up the air that passes through lots of passes and canyons further picking up speed as they gain more heat and blow further down to us!
Lake Poway in Fog
Thankfully, the Santa Ana's don't last very long, and this weekend, we are back to normal temperatures and no more strong dry and hot winds. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Gang and....

The Gang....
Meerkats at San Diego Zoo's Safari Park
and then, mom and baby....
Mom Gorilla with her almost 4-month old baby
Mom elephant and her 2 weeks old baby

Tech Learning Experience

Guest post written by my buddy Bernardo Graham
I didn’t know a thing about technology when I first started my company but I had to learn really fast in order to make sure things were taken care of. I looked into ds1 and a phone system for the office and I had to get an IT guy to come in and get all the computers hooked up, too. There’s nothing like being part of a great company like this to really make it all worth it at the end of the day and I know that someday, somewhere it will come back to me. Right now I feel like I’m just working my butt off and barely making ends meet but I guess that’s what happens when you really find your way and start making something of your own! I can’t imagine a better time or place for me to really make my mark on this town and this little business is how I’m going to do it. I know it seems silly but there’s something to be said for being your own boss!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conquering Fear

Three summers ago, I woke up to a beautiful Monday, with unique little cloud formations on the sky. Summer is my break from work, thus, I decided to enjoy the beautiful day!
Sunrise that Summer Monday 3 years ago
Without Khai, I had fewer choices. I went to the mall since that is the activity that Khai and I less do together. However, since I am not a mall rat and did not really have a need, after one hour, I knew, I must leave before the devil Prada calls. I first walked around the community park, but later, decided to continue my walk at the nature trail. At that point, fear slowly came in! I would be hiking alone!  I fear being alone in the trail, I was afraid once I round the hills,

Piedras Pintadas Trail Adjacent to Rancho Bernardo Community Park
I would be transported in an instant to a place that seemed too far away from civilization.
An Outside of Civilization Scenery After Rounding the Hill
However, the clouds were rolling in so beautifully that I was thinking what a beautiful sunset it would be! Since it was still at broad daylight, I took courage. I armed myself with a prayer, an earphone left hanging with a cell phone in sight pretending I was talking to someone! I was following what I read that one of the best offensive arms we can use when we are alone is when we are talking to a cell phone! Not only are the wild animals driven away from us when they hear our human voice, but also, most criminals are afraid of attacking someone who is in a cellphone talking to someone coz they can easily be tracked.  When I reached the lake shore, slowly, I came at peace. Walking by the lake and seeing white egret and ducks seemed to calm down my fear. I had to be silent, I did not want to scare them away, after all, I want to take them a picture :) .
Can you spot the duck? :)
Then, I heard a hiss! I was so afraid it would be a rattlesnake! My heart started thumping, oh no! But as I looked around, I was so glad they were just bunnies! They seemed to be having a meeting where to run away from me :(
Before they ran away, I was able to snap them a picture only that they were hidden behind dried bushes. When they ran away from my sight, they startled little birds that were just on the grass I did not see before, two of these birds landed on a chaparral near me,
Can you spot the two small birds?
I started to calm down again and felt these creatures were heaven sent to accompany me. I took a deep breath, said a short prayer again and resumed my walk. Slowly, I was starting to see a lot more birds, in my every step, they flew away from the grass, a lot of them! Only that I can not take a picture since their color are the same of the hills and in dark shadow. I just enjoyed myself watching them flew, it seemed they were my companions. I started to see also a lot more water fowls of different species on water.
I realized when I cleared myself from fear that I started to see more
Egrets in Flight (1)
Egrets in Flight (2)
Egrets in Flight (3)
Egrets in Flight (4)
While I was following the flight of egrets with my camera, I did not notice I was right at the middle of the trail and a biker stopped since I was blocking his way. I smiled at him, said, "Am sorry to stop you", and moved to the side. He smiled back, telling me, "No problem, that was wonderful! I would have missed that amazing experience if not for you, so thanks to you!" We both took a quick look at the lake again, but there were no more birds in flight, but it was still beautiful.
Reflections On A Calm Lake
He went back riding his bike, and said, "have a good night, you take care!" That assured me I was with nice company in the trail! I resumed my walk, but this time taking into consideration that I won't be stopping right at the middle of the trail so that I wont stop the bikers or the trail runners.
I know the colors would still change more dramatically and more beautifully, but I did not want to be behind the hill hidden from the lights of civilization when it gets dark. As I walked back to the community park, another set of a flock of birds in flight surprised me. This time, they were not forming a V but a curve.
Birds In Flight (1)
Birds in Flight (2)
The sky was getting darker and the colors started to get more intense, sadly, I really had to go despite I still saw some ladies also alone walking with their dogs, and some couples walking leisurely. When I was near the community park, I felt safe enough to look back, oh, how I wished I was still at the other side of the hill facing the lake when the sky turned to these colors.
The Hues of Dusk Over the Hill
The Hues of Dusk Over the Hill
But then, seeing the darkness, I knew I would actually rather be at the community park in the safe lights of civilization. When I was walking on lighted roads already, I looked back again at the hills,
so thankful to God for keeping me safe and for the experience I would have missed had I let fear dictate me. There are two kinds of fear, one that is good, that keep us away from harm. And one that is bad that paralyzes us and stopping us from doing things we could or should do. I know some people fear love cold hurt they never gave themselves a chance to love. I know some people fear losing their riches that they missed out on enjoying life. I know some students fear to fail but they end up failing because they never start! I know some parents fear their kids to play out of the doors afraid of rattle snakes and insect bites that kids end up physically frail and less healthy than they should and are disconnected with the natural world. I am so glad my parents let me play in the field, let me jump into the river, let me wander for mushrooms, let me climb trees, for I do not think I will exchange my childhood with what the world has to offer to kids now which are mostly based on gadgets. There are so many fears, some of them helped us away from danger, like jumping from a skyscraper. But some of them, we just have to let go, to give ourselves the best chance in life.

PS....this is a repost from my old non-existent Friendster blog which I wrote 3 years ago. I still go out hiking sometimes alone, but only on trails that are more popular, where Park Rangers I know are just but a shout away, and following all safety advises. However, I no longer hike alone on very isolated trails after my experience in Yosemite National Park, which you can read in my post: When It's Not Good Hiking Alone.

Savings For Retirement

As part of my resolution in my previous post, "Pondering...Resolving", if I could spend so much time on Facebook, there is no reason I should not be able to spend more time reading on financial planning and other aspects in our life that we should also take responsibility and take care of.
I seldom watch TV, but aside from National Geographic, Travel, Science and Discovery channels, I also enjoy watching the "Suzy Orman Show". She may sound harsh sometimes, but I admire her for being upfront into saying, "Dear, YOU ARE DENIED!" I hear in her voice my parents' teachings when I was younger, that is why I love watching her show since it seems to me I am listening again to the wisdom of my parents. My parents would always tell us that we should always stash away from our income some money for savings for life is short, and if we end up in debt, it would be too long an agony.
However, there are also some situations where regardless how earnest we try to save, in one circumstance we lost everything. Then, we end up in debt. I usually do not raise my eye brow if I know someone has huge debts, for I do not really know what is the real story. Of course, I know others were simply spending carelessly for I know a few, but I do believe, there is a deeper reason why others may be in huge loans, or facing foreclosure, or bankruptcy. One can lost his/her job and get seriously sick at the same time, and without health insurance, all the savings may end up to naught :( It's a sad reality of life, but this does not give us an excuse not to save anymore if we are capable of saving. I say this because others due to circumstance are limited to save, and I admire them for continued dedication to bounce back. It may happen, it has happened to a few, but I am happy to know a lot more who are really enjoying their FREEDOM and retirement. It is always a joy seeing retired people enjoying life in the hiking trails, in the tennis courts, in the golf course, traveling, or wherever. A certain percentage of San Diego retirees are veterans of the Armed Forces. I am glad to see them enjoying life the best they can be, still looking strong despite the age. Many of them enjoy living in their beautiful homes through VA loans, a government-backed mortgage loan company which assists countless veterans in saving thousands of dollars a year.  Qualification to avail of this assistance can be found through their checklist. Life is indeed short, so we should find ways to save to attain independence, and have freedom. FREEDOM from headache and heartaches from paying the bills.

Express Yourself with Express Suits

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ultimate Double Weave Jacket & Pencil Skirt

Don't laugh now, but  for some of us teachers, first day does not mean only preparing our best lesson presentation that will hopefully give us a very good start towards more successful learning in class, but it also includes wearing our professional dress despite we may look very casual at other times of the year. I always go for suits to wow my students. And this school year, my first day of school actually meant wearing my favorite red suit!  It gave me a good start! Somehow, wearing professionally helps me hide my nervousness to handle my new students. I love Express, from the Executive to the Professional and even the Creative Professional, Express has the suits that every man/woman needs!
Their Editor Pants have been part of my wardrobe since I first tried them several years ago after a friend introduced me to it because I always complained then I could not find pants that work so well with my shape. She brought me to an Express store, and from then on, I can only count a few stores I go to whenever I shop for women's suits.  What I love most about it, is the versatility of their suits which can go from work to play, everyday.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Groomed Pelican = Happy One :)

Grooming Pelican
A Smile of Happiness After Grooming
Contentment, " Feeling Fresh!"
These pelican pictures were taken at Nairobi Village lagoon, San Diego Safari Park. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crossing City Streets from Hiking Trails

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TRESemmé . All opinions are 100% mine.
Me, Attempting to Fly High Above Exit Glacier During our Harding Icefield Hike, in Kenai Fjords National Park,  Seward, Alaska.
I hike a lot. Hiking and the ocean are two of my favorite activities to get rejuvenated and to free myself from the daily stresses of work. Thus, I hike in the weekends, and even on weekdays after work when the days are longer. During our vacation, I always plan for a hiking vacation where I experience the peacefulness, serenity and the healing power of nature. Hiking is more than just an exercise for me, it is my time to reconnect with myself, spending alone time with nature helps me see things more clearly and oftentimes bring me to a deeper sense of prayer.
With my very active sweat glands however, hiking makes my hair very oily. However, most of the time, we have to cross the city streets from hiking trails without having the chance of taking a long shower and shampoo. One of the essentials we keep in our car aside from sunscreen and sanitizer is dry shampoo. It helps me get rid of the oil after a long hike without getting into the shower, and without taking so much time wet shampooing. Yet, my hair feels like as if it is newly shampooed. 
TRESemm√© Fresh Start Dry Shampoo was first introduced to me by my hairstylist. Living in San Diego, we found out we both share the love for the great outdoors! I told her however that one of the things I do not like is having a very oily hair after a hike. She said I can solve it easily by using a Smoothing Dry Shampoo from TRESemme. The formula, with Vitamin H & Silk Proteins, refreshes my straight hair style by removing excess oil, impurities and odor to ensure the smooth look of the hair lasts. 
There are a lot more products that TRESemme offers, their dry shampoo full line consists of: 
1. Strengthening Dry Shampoo: The formula, with B12 vitamins and keratin, helps strengthen hair and leaves it full of healthy body.
2. Volumizing Dry Shampoo: The formula, with mineral clay and citrus, removes oil while injecting hair with salon-gorgeous volume.
3.  Smoothing Dry Shampoo: The formula, with Vitamin H & Silk Proteins, refreshes your straight style by removing excess oil, impurities and odor to ensure your smooth look lasts.
4. Moisturizing Waterless Foam Shampoo: The formula, with Witch Hazel, Citrus, and Aloe Vera, refreshes your hair by removing excess oil, impurities and odor while moisturizing hair.
Since I have an oily and straight hair, I find the smoothing dry shampoo best for me. From the hiking trails, I can cross the city streets easily without having to worry of oily and damped hair. Below is a video tutorial on how to use TRESemme shampoo and why this is one of the Top Hair Products for School.
It's really no hassle to use this shampoo, I just spray the shampoo about 8-12 inches from my head in short bursts, shaking the shampoo vigorously before spraying and in between the short spray bursts. After leaving the shampoo about 1-2 minutes, I use my fingertips to massage my hair and my brush to distribute the shampoo. 
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